Digitized law books and genealogical education: Join us this summer!

Have you seen the FB posts about Debbie Mieszala’s ongoing blog series about online access to historic laws? She is being lauded for her work of drawing together the many places that we can check for free to learn what was in effect at the time our ancestors lived in that area. Those laws do greatly affect our research. One of her posts tells of New York “linked digitized law books include colonial laws, session laws, and private acts.” http://advancinggenealogist.com/historic-new-york-statutes/

Did you know that Debbie is teaching four sessions in the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh’s course “Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills” this coming July 14-19? One of her sessions is: “Legal Savvy for the Genealogist” and her description is “Knowing laws past and present, how the legal system works, and the types of legally influenced records available to genealogists are essential. Learn why documents were created, what they mean, and how the law impacted our ancestors’ lives and records about them.”

Debbie holds a certificate in paralegal studies. Debbie and I are joined that week by two other fantastic instructors, Karen Mauer Jones and Melissa Johnson. Learn more at https://www.gripitt.org/courses/digging_deeper/. We still have some seats available. In May, those registered for this course will receive a special offer with details about having one of their brick wall research issues discussed in class. The tips and clues received during the discussion furthers the research and just might solve a long-time problem.

Please feel free to share my post with others who may be interested in the course or Debbie’s series of laws posts.

Rechecking genealogy websites and databases: FamilySearch

In my presentations for genealogical and historical organizations, I talk about the importance of periodically rechecking all the free and subscription websites and databases. New records appear, indexes are added or updated, and bingo you have some new information to investigate. This weeks press release from FamilySearch shows a lot of added indexes names. Checking the catalog, databases, Wiki, and more at http://familysearch.org/ is totally free! Just sign in and have a blast investigating all this for free. The graphic below shows just part of this week’s update news. Now, please excuse me while I check some of these.

From a five-story fall to the Irish origins of one woman: genealogical analysis and deep research

If you get a chance now that it’s online at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, be sure to view/listen to the 19 March webinar by Debbie Mieszala titled “The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree.” Excellent step-by-step case study of a research process to solve the parentage of a woman who died in NYC, but her Irish origins were found by dedicated analysis, comparison of associates, and research in three countries. It gave me some ideas on my own Irish family.

Check out this webinar here sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You will be amazed at the twists and turns. If you don’t get a chance to view this during this next week it’s online for free, consider a subscription to the almost 900 webinars. My affiliate link to the subscription form is http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1739.

March 30 class, Red Wing, MN on researching and writing

Easier Than You Think! Researching and Compiling Family History” is my next scheduled presentation for the Goodhue County Historical Society in Red Wing, Minnesota. Join me on March 30, 2019 from 1:00-3:00. We’ll cover analyzing various documents in the session with a hands-on session, list detail gaps or issues with these, and create step-by-step research plans that will form the basis for excellence in a family history quest. Success improves with careful planning, group discussion, and proven techniques to develop these research plans. This really is easier than you think, and you will leave this workshop feeling smarter, knowing more research resources, and in better control of your research. Bring a laptop computer or tablet if you have one. Session participants will have the opportunity to be the first ones to sign up for an individual consultation about your own research with Paula on April 8th. For more information call the Goodhue County Historical Society, 651-388-6024. This class is co-sponsored by Red Wing Community Education and the Goodhue County Historical Society. 

Class size is limited. The cost is $24 and includes a detailed handout. Be sure to register through Red Wing Community Education today! Call 651-385-4565 for any questions regarding registration. 

Updates to Findmypast from Forfarshire and more

This past Friday’s news release from Findmypast excited me because I have much of my Scottish ancestry in Forfarshire including Brechin, Arbroath, Farnell, Craig by Montrose, Lunan, and Forfar. These are places connected to the ancestral families of my ancestor Helenor Edward who married James Stuart. Their son Alexander Charles Stuart was born in Arbroath in 1847. Helenor was born in Brechin in 1819. Other surnames are Allardice, Leighton, Jap, and Niddery. Of course, the spelling varies on all of these. Now to find time later this week to work in this set of records!

From the Findmypast update:

Scotland, Dundee & Forfarshire (Angus) Hearth Tax 1691

“Did you have Scottish ancestors from Dundee and the county of Forfarshire (Angus)? Search over 50,000 Hearth Tax records from 1691 to find out the number of hearths found within their home. Details like these will provide you with clues about the family’s wealth and status.”

Need more excitement? 7.1 million addition to the U.S. obituary collection and 18,000 article entries added to the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).

Have fun checking these and other items at https://www.findmypast.com/.

Cyndi’s Free List of Genealogy Websites turns 23

I’m trying to wrap my mind around what it must take to continually find, post, explain, double check, and then do updates as a website changes so that CyndisList keeps going for 23 years. Then Cyndi Ingle gets to spend hours delving deeper into many website to find things we can’t find via simple searches on our favorite search engine. 23 years! I have seen Cyndi at work and it still amazes me. I have some suggestions about how we can help her celebrate doing all this for us.

  1. Submit a new link to something that will truly assist someone in their family history quest. BEFORE submitting, be sure to check to see if she has already linked to that website or something within it.
  2. Find a broken link while using the list — submit a correction.
  3. Teach others about CL!
  4. Help keep CL going by making a contribution to help cover the expenses of the website, tech support, site hosting, tech support, and domain registration. She lets us use CL for free but all this comes out of her pocket unless we pitch in once in a while.
  5. Now, how do you contribute or submit a link or update. That’s easy. Visit https://www.cyndislist.com/ and all the help is right there!

Free Genealogy Day in Brainerd MN March 16th!

Brainerd Public Library to Hold Annual Genealogy Conference in March

I am returning to the Brainerd Lakes area to present a full day of genealogy and it’s a free day of learning! It’s not at the library this time, but at Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter which has a larger meeting room. Please join me there!

From the library’s press release:

The Brainerd Public Library is holding a day of free genealogy workshops to help family historians with their research methods and finding resources. On Saturday, March 16, at Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, the library will host professional genealogist Paula Stuart-Warren for two sessions open to all area residents.

A two-hour session titled “Your Family History: Where to Begin?” starts at 10:00 a.m. Stuart-Warren said this session is for those who are curious about their family history and who may or may not have started doing genealogy research. “This workshop is designed to help you learn about researching your family history or update what you have already learned. An extensive handout prepares you for ‘crossing the pond’ to the old country if that is where your family originated. It includes an abundance of useful Internet addresses and details about places to do research. Researching the greater family including the siblings of your great grandparents, all those cousins, aunts and uncles, and even that scoundrel is important. It is never too late or too early to learn more about your family or about the wide variety of records. An added bonus will be a section on DNA testing.”

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., Stuart-Warren presents the workshop “Controlling Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials.” She said the session is aimed at beginning genealogy researchers as well as those who are more experienced: “Do you have stacks of papers, files, certificates, census copies, and other items around your home? Do you panic when you have to find something or have to use the dining room table for a meal? Can you find what you need in your computer files? You will learn tips for regularly keeping on top of the organizing task, with both paper and software, including tips from some professional genealogists.”

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG℠, FMGS, FUGA, is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. Her lecturing experience includes the Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society conferences and seminars in many states and Canada. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS), and is a former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Her ancestors came to the U.S. from eight ancestral countries.

Those interested may attend one or both sessions. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. outside the Sands Ballroom on the north end of Arrowwood Lodge Brainerd Lakes.  Attendees may bring their own packed lunch or purchase a meal at the on-site Baxter’s Bar and Grill, where a short pre-order menu will be available. This free Legacy Program is funded in part or in whole with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, which dedicated funding to preserve Minnesota’s arts and cultural heritage. Register by calling the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the library’s Facebook page for more details: www.facebook.com/brainerdpubliclibrary.

More records from Judge Isaac Parker aka the “Hanging Judge” to be available.

 You might be asking why a woman in Minnesota would be interested in the records of this well-known federal judge from the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith. The National Archives in Fort Worth has a giant collection of his records and today they can be viewed on Ancestry.

It’s an easy, but partly sad, reason. My children and grandchildren have ancestors who appeared before Judge Parker. My father-in-law was born in Arkansas and before his parents were even married, his father had the “opportunity” to appear in Parker’s court. The reason? Altering $! silver certificates to make them $10 and apparently not too well. Michael Warren was not hung, or else my descendants wouldn’t be here today! He was sent to prison in Michigan. I’ll save the rest of that story for a future blog post. Oh, he wasn’t their only ancestor or relative to appear before Parker. Again, stories for another day.

Yesterday, on the bicentennial celebration of Arkansas Territory, it was announced that a huge collection was purchased and will be housed at the state archives in Little Rock. Further, they will be digitized and available later this summer. I want to touch them but before I can get back to the state archives, there will be an opportunity to view them online. “The documents will be accessible on the archives database that is searchable for free online at archives.arkansas.gov/research/search-records.aspx

“The collection, which contains about 6,000 pieces and was appraised as $477,665 in value, was bought by the state for $314,500, said Department of Heritage spokesman Scarlet Sims.”

The collection was acquired from the sons of the late William Fadjo Cravens of Fort Smith, a former congressman, lawyer and Fort Smith banker who passed away in 2012. His grandfather, William Murphy Cravens, had been a defense attorney in Parker’s court in the mid-1800s.”

Read the fascinating full story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.


My Heritage offers 5000 free DNA kits to adoptees

Just received this press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   MyHeritage Extends DNA Quest Initiative to Help More Adoptees Reunite with Their Birth Families
MyHeritage pledges 5,000 additional free DNA kits for global distribution to eligible participants, following the success of the first phase of its pro bono initiative

March 01, 2019 01:18 PM Eastern Standard Time
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today that it is extending DNA Quest, its pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees with their birth families through at-home DNA testing. The first phase of DNA Quest was launched in March 2018 and offered 15,000 free DNA kits to adoptees and those seeking to reunite with family members who were placed for adoption. This resulted in many successful reunions. Due to the large number of applicants, a waiting list of several thousand people was established after registration closed in May 2018. The next phase of DNA Quest announced today re-opens applications on the project website (www.dnaquest.org) and will offer an additional 5,000 free DNA kits to eligible applicants from all countries. Preference is given to applicants who are unable to afford genetic testing.

MyHeritage helps people find their relatives using its DNA Matching technology. The MyHeritage DNA database is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and currently numbers 2.5 million people, including people who tested on MyHeritage and others who uploaded the results of their DNA test for free from other providers. Numerous participants have already reconnected with long-lost family and others have obtained vital clues to assist them in their search. New discoveries continue to emerge, offering participants newfound hope of reuniting with their long-lost loved ones. The search for biological family, especially for birth parents, is time sensitive, as each year older relatives pass away.

Mitch Yurkovich, a Michigan resident and father of four, was adopted as a baby and recently reunited with his biological parents and siblings through DNA Quest. Mitch described the moment that he pieced together the story of his past: “I began to shake, and couldn’t stop smiling! My heart started to race and I was utterly blown away! This was news better than anything in my wildest dreams… I had found my biological family!”

MyHeritage is committed to ensuring that participants receive support on their journey to find their birth families. Last year, the company formed a top-notch advisory board for DNA Quest comprised of world class adoption experts and genetic genealogists, to provide guidance to MyHeritage and the participants. The current project will continue in this manner in 2019 with the same advisory board.

Eligible DNA Quest participants will receive a free MyHeritage DNA kit, which consists of a simple cheek swab. DNA samples are processed in the company’s CLIA-certified, CAP accredited lab in the U.S. and results are available 3–4 weeks after the sample is received. All data is kept private and secure and personal information is never shared with any third parties.

Applications for DNA Quest are now open on the initiative’s website: www.DNAQuest.org. Applications will close on April 30, 2019.

Some notable DNA Quest success stories:

1. DNA Quest reunion featured on Good Morning America

2. New Zealand siblings living just miles apart meet for the first time

3. Emotional reunion of siblings who found one another through DNA Quest

4. DNA Quest reunites half-siblings in their 50s