GRIP 2018 Packing List: Are you joining these great educational weeks?

I was asked to reprint my GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh) packing list from past years. I am teaching the week of July 29-3 August in my intermediate level course at Amherst. People seem to know that I like to be prepared for just about anything. Of course, your packing list will differ depending on whether you fly or drive. These are in no particular order and are directed at those staying in the dorms. A dorm is a dorm, not a 5 star hotel. I have stayed in a dorm room every year at GRIP. If you have other suggestions, please add them in a comment. Do I bring everything on this list? Most things, but not all.

Not register for the 2018 GRIP? Heaven forbid. There is still room in some courses, including the intermediate level course. All are welcome!

  • a couple spring-type clothespins to close a bag of snacks
  • snacks for between lectures
  • comfortable shoes (2 pair so one can rest for a day)
  • slippers/flip flops
  • laundry bag
  • headphones (you may need quiet for a while or to listen to a different kind of music than your roommate)
  • soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion (remember, it’s not a hotel where these are supplied)
  • razor, shaving cream
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • makeup
  • prescriptions
  • disinfectant wipes
  • post-it pad – leave notes for yourself or a roommate
  • umbrella (it has rained at times)
  • sweater or lightweight jacket in case a classroom is chilly
  • throat lozenges or hard candies in case you get a scratchy throat
  • chargers and a power strip for phones, tablets, and computers
  • account passwords
  • business cards so others can find you after GRIP (Add the surnames you are searching)
  • used genealogy periodicals to share on the freebies table
  • water bottle that doesn’t leak and that can be refilled during the week
  • over the counter or prescription medications
  • your own pillow if you can’t sleep without it!
  • mattress pad or topper (some do bring one; sheets and a light blanket are supplied)
  • thicker towels than what are supplied
  • small fan (I like the room quite cool but my roommate is the opposite)
  • desk lamp
  • Ethernet cable for Internet, no wifi in dorms
  • power strip
  • tissues
  • hair dryer/curling iron
  • some hangers
  • Some paper towels (you really don’t need a whole roll)
  • paper bags/trash bags (rooms have a small wastebasket)
  • rubber bath mat
  • couple file folders for any extra handouts
  • pad of paper and pens/pencils
  • computer or electronic tablet for taking notes and for homework
  • highlighter for marking items in syllabus
  • clothing (definitely not optional)

Scholarship opportunity for GRIP in Amherst, NY for “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper”

This scholarship opportunity for someone signing up for my course touches me in a special way that I bet no one from the Western New York Genealogical Society or the Genealogical Research of Pittsburgh directors will know. I have a distant connection to the WNYGS.

The late June Partridge Zintz who was instrumental in the founding of the WNYGS, was a fellow Warren ancestry researcher. I only met her once and she was a delightful person. We corresponded several times over the years. Different Warren lines, but I was impressed at all her Western New York knowledge and publications. That’s why this means so much to me and helps to promote this course that I love to coordinate and also teach in. I love working with my fellow instructors, Karen Mauer Jones, Cyndi Ingle, and Debbie Mieszala.

After June’s passing, the society library located in the Grosvenor Room (Special Collections Department) of the Central Branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library was named for her. I have researched here in the past.

Read on for the details on applying for the scholarship and other information.  The deadline for applying is June 30 and you need to be a member of the WYNGS. Join! You know I want you to choose the intermediate level course.



The Western New York Genealogical Society, Inc. will be offering our members the opportunity to be selected for one of the following:

• A $485 tuition scholarship for a first-time GRIP participant who attends “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” with expert Paula Stuart-Warren, CG®, FMGS, FUGA.
• A $475 on-campus housing [apartment-style private bedroom, shared kitchen, dining, and living room] scholarship at Daemen College.

These scholarships will provide partial reimbursement for participation in the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Amherst, New York during the week of July 29-August 3, 2018.

For consideration, the course must advance the professional and/or research goals of the applicant. Applicants and scholarship recipients must be paid members of the Society for the current membership year (May 1, 2018 – April 30, 2019). The deadline for applications is June 30, 2018. Please download the form at and email the completed application to A representative of the Programming Committee will notify all winners no later than July 7th.

My summer: shuffling off to the Buffalo, New York area and Frankfort, Kentucky

I am excited to be returning to two of my favorite states this summer to teach. I might squeeze in a bit of research, but that won’t be my main aim. That main aim is to share knowledge with fellow family historians.


29 July-3 August, 2018 for shuffling near to Buffalo

I am coordinating and teaching in the “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper” course for the 2019 edition of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh’s on-the-road week. It’s being held, at Daemen College in  Amherst which is on the outskirts of Buffalo. You can still sign up for the course and join us in work, fun, sharing, and solving family history “brick walls.”

Never been to Buffalo? On top of furthering your knowledge, you can take some short jaunts to more places. It’s close to Niagara Falls, the main Buffalo library is great for family history research, and then you can visit two of my favorite places. Those are Cheektowaga and Tonawanda. Yes, I have been to both places and I love to say those names. I have been to both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the falls. Never been to Canada? It’s so close, bring your passport, and make a quick trip to add another country to your list.

More info: click here.


August 4, Kentucky Genealogical Seminar

It’s been a bunch of years since I have been back to Kentucky. That’s a shame for someone who is a Kentucky Colonel and whose children have deep roots in the state.  Green County and the surrounding area is home to centuries of their Warren and related families. Yes, I have researched in the county.

I will be doing four presentations that Saturday for the Kentucky Genealogical Society.

  • Finding Ancestral Places of Origin:
    Research strategies for finding ancestors and birthplaces
  • Newspaper Research: The Dailies, Weeklies, and Beyond
    Finding them in both logical and unexpected repositories and using them to learn about your ancestors. Specialty, ethnic, religious and other newspapers are too often neglected.
  • The Farmer in the Dell – and in Many U.S. Records
    Exploring the extensive records and places for learning more about ancestral farmers and farms
  • Major Midwestern Archives and Their Records
    Highlighting major Midwestern archives and their holdings, finding aids, websites, special indexes, and available assistance for those not visiting in  person.

Register for the KGS seminar now. In addition to the presentation, there are door prizes, including five (5!) DNA test kits.


5000 Volunteers Make Minnesota Proud at Fort Snelling National Cemetery

Fort Snelling National Cemetery is the resting place of my parents, parents-in-law, aunts, uncles, and other relatives and friends. This weekend 5000 volunteers placed American flags on each and every gravesite at the cemetery. I thank them for this enormous task. They all placed more than 200,000 flags. I know some genealogists who participated in this great honor.

The video from one of the sponsors, local TV station KARE 11, is worth watching.

Yes, Memorial Day is to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Services, but I was glad to see that all received a flag at Fort Snelling. Last November I blogged about my uncle (by marriage) who is now at Fort Snelling after his remains from a Korean War POW camp were identified.

To learn more about the history of this cemetery, check this page and scroll down for the history.




Follow up information to my 15 May webinar on Developing Good Research Habits

Thank you to my readers who joined me in yesterday’s webinar Developing Good Research Habits for the Board for Certification of Genealogists on Legacy Family Tree webinars.  Several inquiries (and my answers) at the end of my presentation might be of interest to others. I hope I answered everyone who contacted me by email, this blog, and on Facebook.


1. First of all, the webinar is now available free through 22 May.  Click here on the webinar website and scroll down to BCG. This is my affiliate link that does produce a small commission that helps in work to produce more webinars.


2. A guide for citations

The book I mentioned and helpfully aided by Rick Sayre and Marian Pierre Louis is by Elizabeth Shown Mills. It’s a big tome, but with a great index. After a few days of crafting citations, you will be a pro at it.

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015.

Also check  Cyndi’s List  under the category of “Citing Sources” for dozens of links to websites that deal with the topic.


2. Evernote (and One Note)

The book I mentioned is by Kerry Scott.  How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step‑by‑Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2015.

Also check Cyndi’s List under the categories of “Evernote for Every Genealogist” and “Organizing Your Research.”


3. Legacy Family Tree webinars

Many past webinars on the website cover these topics and more. My affiliate link for subscribing is:

A membership gives you access to all of the 700+ webinars and accompanying syllabus. Talk about great education!



Repost: Some great basic genealogy guidebooks

As promised during the questions on tonight’s BCG webinar, here is the repost about a few guidebooks.   Genealogy guidebooks are an important part of our genealogical education.The list below is a sampling of basic genealogy guidebooks that are important to beginning and also for more advanced researchers.  If you are only checking online resources and yet wondering what other records there might be, these guides will fill you with tons of ideas and places to look. This is not a list of all that is available.

1.    Croom, Emily Anne. Unpuzzling Your Past. 4th Ed. “Expanded, Updated and Revised.” Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2010.

2.    Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. 4 thed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2017.

3.   Morgan, George. How to Do Everything Genealogy. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015.

4.  Rose, Christine and Kay Ingalls. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy. 3d ed. New York: Alpha Books, 2012.

May 17, 2018—Stump the Genealogist—Open Question and Answer with Professional Genealogist Paula Stuart-Warren,

I was going to compose a post to tell about an event for Thursday, May 17, but the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society already has the info put together on its website. We did this a couple years ago and people stayed for three hours with questions. I was able to answer most questions but if I don’t know the answer specifically, I can point you to a place to find the sought-after information.

Won’t you join us in River Falls, Wisconsin at the public library meeting room at 7:00 p.m.? Even if you don’t have a specific question, it’s a time to learn from those that others present. If you live in the Twin Cites area, it’s less than an hour to River Falls. The meeting and parking are free. You might consider joining the society, though!

May 17, 2018—Stump the Genealogist—Open Question and Answer with Professional Genealogist Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA—Bring your questions, especially those that relate to brick wall problems, and ask a professional. Paula should be able to give you direction to take your research to the next level.


Paula Stuart-Warren, Certified Genealogist, is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher, and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She specializes in Midwestern research; Native American research; the Works Progress Administration (WPA); railroad records; the fur trade; emigration, immigration, and naturalization records; court records; federal records; Catholic records, and numerous other areas. She spends extensive research time at state archives, historical societies, and at various locations of the National Archives. She is a long-time course coordinator and instructor for SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) and GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh) and for Ancestry Academy, and has presented seminars all across the U.S. and in Canada. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies), of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, and a former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Eight of her foreign born ancestors chose Wisconsin as their first place to settle in the U.S. Of those, five then moved to Minnesota.

My Free BCG webinar Tues. May 15: Developing Good Research Habits

Join my free webinar Developing Good Research Habits on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. EDT (7 CDT, 6 MDT, 5 PDT) and the middle of the morning or night in some other countries!  This is a Board for Certification of Genealogists presentation and is hosted on Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Developing those good, er, successful research habits takes planning, time, experience, and patience to be effective. Learn steps and tools for becoming a better researcher both at home and in repositories, and for developing successful habits that make the most of your genealogy time budget.

The presentation is accompanied by a handout. Register for this webinar at Legacy Family Tree.

BCG has many presentations that are part of the hundreds of webinars at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. To view all these archived webinars, join Legacy Family Tree for full access. Heck, it averages out to $4.17 per month for unlimited viewing of the webinars and handouts.

These are affiliate links for which a small percentage is paid.



Railroad record collection organization at Cornell University

I love my Google News alerts that share news relate to records, repositories, and family history. In my various presentations on railroad records and family history, one repository I usually include in the discussion is in Ithaca, New York. Cornell University’s Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives has an amazing collection of records from railroads, railroad worker labor unions, photographs, books, articles, payroll records, and correspondence. This is on my bucket list of places at which I want to research in person. It’s not just a New York related collection.

The 2 May 2018 edition of the Cornell Chronicle shares news about additional organizing of the collection. From the article:

“A 2015 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission funded the work, which organized 63 of the more than 200 railroad collections held by the Kheel Center.

Comprising 380 boxes of records, photographs, correspondence and more, the 63 newly processed railroad collections support research in the ILR School and beyond. They document the often tense relationship between railroad carriers and the groups representing their workers, and range roughly from the 18th century – when horse-drawn carts traversed the tracks and whale oil lit the headlamps on steam engines – to the 2000s.”

Read the article here and learn more about some of the collection here.

9 more reasons to sign up for the GRIP course: Tools for Digging Deeper

As I work on material for this year’s Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh’s week in the Buffalo, New York area, I decided to see what suggestions had been made in the evaluations for the past years of my course.  The course I coordinate, Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper, did receive some good suggestion which will be incorporated. It was also heartwarming to read the kudos our team of instructors for this course has received. A selection of these:


  • I thought all the material was well prepared and presented.
  • Group project was very useful.
  • The newspaper class was particularly good.
  • I enjoyed the real world examples.
  • I learned a lot and got my money worth.
  • Specifically liked the variety of topics.
  • Keep doing what you are doing. You each have your own styles. It’s marvelous.
  • It really has opened my eyes to new ways to think and research.
  • Very nice to gain different perspectives & benefits from expertise & styles.


It always nice to be complimented for our intensive work on the course sessions. We also received some nice comments about each of the instructors. I hope you will be able to join us in Amherst, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. The area is filled with places to research family history.

To learn more, visit the GRIP website.