9/11 Twenty Years Later: A Genealogy Connection

I have written many words over those twenty years. I watched the horrific scenes on a TV in Davenport, Iowa with a friend who lived not too far from the Twin Towers. I stood next to a friend waiting for word on her daughter who was working at a D.C. area airport. I heard from friends who had to get off a plane at Washington National Airport and walk safely away from the airport. I was co-chair of a major genealogy conference taking place that week. Most of the words below were originally written in 2007 on my old blog. I couldn’t write yesterday. Just could not. The lives lost, changed, forever different. We need those hugs again. (Please get vaccinated and wear those masks so we can get back to those hugs someday.)

From 2007: Six years ago on 9/11, I was in Davenport, Iowa for the 2001FGS/Quad Cities Genealogical Conference. The conference was to begin the next day. A cadre of volunteers had been planning this conference for five years. I was sitting in my hotel room working on the first of the daily newsletters for that conference. I had the TV on but it was on mute. I looked up at one point and saw some pictures on the news that I figured were some archival footage. The telephone rang and it was Sue Kaufman, one of the conference publicity chairs. She asked if I had the TV turned on and broke the horrible news to me that the images I was seeing were current and not plane crashes from some old movie.

The rest of that day and the days that followed are still sort of blurry in my mind. The FGS Board decided to have the conference proceed. There were already hundreds of registrants onsite and they could not fly back home. Each day the same cadre of volunteers and additional folks rebuilt the next day’s sessions depending on which speakers had arrived in town. Several speakers who had airline flights cancelled, got into cars, some picked up others, and drove across several states to be with the rest of us. Some arrived without their suitcases. Registrants and exhibitors made similar efforts to reach the conference. The registrants were great – they accepted the ever-changing program. That daily newsletter turned out to be a vital daily update.

As a conference chair, I met with representatives of the police department and facility staff. A plan of action was determined and the main aim was to make sure people were OK and that the police would be guarding us – unobtrusively. The two federal buildings in the vicinity made this an important decision. I will never be able to listen to God Bless America again without crying. There were several renditions of it that week – including hundreds of us at once. A huge U.S. flag was hung in the lobby and a large TV was placed there by the convention center for us all to view what was going on. So many people were affected directly by the terror of that day and suffered losses of special family members and friends. The people who worked in the aftermath day in and day out in New York, Pennsylvania, and in Virginia at the Pentagon served their fellow men and women and many of those workers bear lasting scars. The men and women who still serve as our protectors deserve our thanks, no matter our political leaning.

The camaraderie and support evident that week in the Quad Cities is indelibly marked on my mind and that of the other 1,400 people who were at the conference. You know who you are – we have a special bond.

Upcoming genealogy handouts and webinars

My current workload includes updating handouts and PowerPoint slides for four webinars next week and two for the first weekend in October. It always amazes me how many website addresses need to be updated. I am always pleased at new records found online for each of the presentation subjects and love to share that with audiences. My handouts and presentations always reflect some records, books, repositories, and indexes related to the location of the sponsoring organization. We all know that location also includes people from many ancestral locations and I address that, too.

With online presentations, that enables people from many states in the U.S. to join us and often registrants join from other countries. Isn’t it amazing that genealogy education has easly adapted to the webinar concept! I’ve also been involved in full-day or multi-day seminars and conferences  via virtual formats.

If you’d like to know more about my upcoming presentations and register for the events online, view my speaking calendar http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/speaking-calendar/

Maybe I will see some of you online next week!

Genealogy News for you

  • Enjoy Free Access to Census Records on MyHeritage. Discover more about the lives of your ancestors this Labor Day with FREE access to all census records on MyHeritage. Search through this treasure trove of 1.3 billion census records for free from September 1 through September 8, 2021. This includes more than U.S. censuses!

  • Minnesota Genealogical Society 2021 Virtual North Star Conference 30 September – 2 October. 6 plenaries with main speaker D. Joshua Taylor and 23 breakout sessions plus handouts! I am doing two of the breakout sessions.

  •  Ancestry has unveiled the world’s largest digitized and searchable collection of Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bank records to date, with more than 3.5 million records available for everyone to search for free at www.Ancestry.com/Freedmens. “The addition of these significant records can be instrumental in helping descendants of previously enslaved people in the U.S. make additional discoveries about their families by offering a path to trace ancestors prior to 1870. This collection can enable meaningful family history breakthroughs because it is likely the first time newly freed African Americans would appear in records after Emancipation.”

  • My speaking calendar has been updated. I’m just a bit busy in September with many hours of virtual presentations. Please join me and the great organizations that have asked me to speak. For the dates and links for more information and registrations: http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/speaking-calendar/



Only online August 24: Controlling Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials

Yes, I am still doing presentations. All online for the foreseeable future until we get this Pandemic under control. All online means more can join in, no matter where you live. It may be at odd hours in your time zone, but it’s the education that matters. I will be doing single presentation webinars and participating in all-day or multi-day seminars. Email me for more details and the fees if your organization wishes one or more of my topics that appear under the Speaking tab above. 

This Tuesday, August 24th, grab a snack or meal and join me and the North San Diego County [California] Genealogical Society for a webinar. My topic is Controlling Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials.

It takes place at 10:00 a.m. PDT which means noon for me in the Central Time Zone. I present some common sense and practical ideas for organizing your accumulating paper and electronic files. I also have a bit of advice from my Grandma Gert. The full description and the link to register (Free!) is here: https://nsdcgs.org/program-meetings/. A handout is available. 

Scroll further down the page to see what else the NSDCGS has on their calendar. 

Paula Stuart-Warren: my upcoming genealogy presentations

The calendar of my upcoming presentations has been updated. I am going to be online for many organizations and with a variety of topics from August into October! http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/speaking-calendar/. After that, I have room for more presentations. Contact me for details: PaulaStuartWarren at gmail.com.

I have made a safety and health decision that at least through the first quarter of 2022, I will only do online presentations. The factor of being in a meeting room with my fellow genealogists who all like to talk is not something I wish to do in the near future due to Covid. I do miss the hugs, excited hand-waving, and nods of agreement, but other than hugs, we can do that online. I have enjoyed the online webinars and seminars the last couple of years. It also means I can turn around and pull a book off one of my bookcases in order to answer someone’s question.

For presentations after that first quarter, my speaking fees will increase for in-person presentations. I will be updating that information in the near future. There will be no increase for virtual presentations whether they are a single webinar or a day-long seminar. That’s a benefit for organizations who are health conscious in our current situation.

Now I better go work on presentation handouts and the accompanying PowerPoint slides for those dates already scheduled.

Catching up on more genealogy and history press releases: great news!

  1. The UK family history website, Findmypast, has announced the publication of a vast online collection of “Old Parish Registers” in collaboration with 9 local archives and organizations across Scotland.  “Dating back to 1561 and spanning 450 years Scottish history, the new collection contains more than 10.7 million historical documents chronicling baptisms, marriages, burials and more.”  Read the full details https://www.findmypast.com/blog/new/scottish-old-parish-registers. My Stuarts, Allardyces, Grants, and Edwards are calling.
  2. Legacy Family Tree Webinars and MyHeritage offer thousands of webinars. This September (aka Webtember) will offer four Fridays full of webinars. The cost: FREE. View on the Fridays, review, or view what you missed throughout the month. Register on my affiliate link http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=6600. To subscribe and view all the handouts and the almost 6,000 archived webinars, join for $49.95 on my affiliate link http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1739.
  3. MyHeritage has acquired “90.91% of the share capital and 89.11% of the voting rights of Filae, a leading genealogy service in France.” It’s another boost for those of us with European roots. I hear my French ancestral lines urging me to investigate! Read the MyHeritage blog for more details. My Daoust, Boyer, Vinet, and other ancestor names are begging to be checked.

Minnesota: $432,940 in 52 Grants to Support History via the Legacy Amendment

Safe historical storage, microfilm readers and printers, microfilm purchases, oral histories, and building preservation are just some of the reasons why 52 grants were awarded to a variety of organizations around Minnesota.

“The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to announce 52 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants ($10,000 and less), totaling $432,940 to organizations in 24 counties. . . . This state-funded program is made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Legacy Amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water and legacy, including Minnesota history and cultural heritage.”

I applaud the aspects related to microfilm but I wish that more of the grant monies were dedicated to digitization so that the real benefit would be expanded to more people who don’t reside in the area of the library or historical organization.

For a full list of the grants, please see the press release on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website: https://www.mnhs.org/media/news/17053.

The National Register of Historic Places: Saint Paul, Minnesota and beyond

This past weekend involved a drive through my hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I love to drive by all the beautifully preserved homes on Summit Avenue and nearby streets. Then a posting on a Saint Paul page on Facebook got me thinking about the National Register of Historic Places for my city and county. With the links below, I’m sure you can find similar lists for your current and ancestral localities. I have read some of the applications and these include details on people, buildings, and organizations. I love looking at the photos of libraries, historical societies, and courthouses in addition to the homes.

The National Park Service pages include these statistics: “Since its inception in 1966, more than 95,000 properties that Americans believe are worthy of preservation have been listed in the National Register. Together these records hold information on more than 1.4 million individual resources–buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects–and therefore provide a link to the country’s heritage at the national, state, and local levels.”

Catching up on my genealogy presentations

In June, I spent a week as a faculty member of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. 10-12 hours each day of online teaching and consulting and follow-up research on students’ questions. It was both an exhilarating and exhausting week.

Now I am catching up on research and reports for client plus working on handouts and PowerPoint slides for my August-October presentations. All will be done virtually. I have also updated my speaking calendar. Each date has a live link for the sponsoring organization so that you can register for the webinar or other presentation. http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/ is the page where you can click to see the calendar. 

Info from press releases in the genealogy world

I’ve been extra busy with teaching and client work the past month and in a particularly good way. I occasionally post information I receive from press releases and other emails. The world of genealogy grows all the time!


Today I spent some time investigating this week’s crop of additions to British newspapers on Fmp. The press release said “It’s a bumper week of releases with 13 new papers and updates to six others. Brand new additions include:Aberystwyth Observer covering 1869, 1874-1884, 1887-1895 and 1899-1910

Censor or Satirical Times covering 1846

Dissenter covering 1812

Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper covering 1846-1851

Emigrant and the Colonial Advocate covering 1848-1849

English Mail covering 1860

Evening Star (London) covering 1843

Fleetwood Express covering 1889, 1896-1917 and 1919-1920

Jewish Record covering 1868-1871”

You can always read their blog to learn about weekly new and updated material on their blog: https://www.findmypast.com/blog/new


The Genealogy Guys Learn subscription education site is on sale at 25% off from July 1st through July 31st for $74 for the first year’s subscription (new members only). Our regular annual subscription price is $99 and this sale price of $74 is a 25% savings! Genealogy Guys Learn currently offers 35 video and 20 written courses with new content added every month. Courses range from beginning to advanced topics. A complete list of current courses and new topics coming soon can be found at https://ahaseminars.com/cpage.php?pt=29.  To enroll: https://genealogyguyslearn.com/.


You can now confirm or reject a Theory of Family Relativity™ on MyHeritage. This functionality was widely requested by their DNA users. “Our Theory of Family Relativity™ feature incorporates genealogical information from all our historical records and family tree profiles to offer theories on how your DNA Matches might be related to you. While the theories presented are often accurate, sometimes, they are incorrect. Before now, there was no way to confirm or reject a theory. Now there is! This new functionality will allow MyHeritage users to systematically review their theories and mark the ones they’ve already looked at so they can focus on new ones.”  Click here for more details.

National Archives (United States)

An email from NARA stated: “Did you know the National Archives Catalog contains over 140 million pages of digitized historical records and more than 27 million descriptions of the records in our holdings? And new pages and descriptions are being added to the Catalog each week!” Click here for more details.