FREE webinar: Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking

Yes, the pun in the title is intended.  🙂

Join me and Legacy Family Tree Webinars online on Wednesday, November 28, at 11:00 a.m. PST, Noon MST, 1:00 p.m. CST, and 2:00 EST for this presentation. For other time zones, when you click on the link below, you can check for your time zone.

Have a railroad worker in your background? Grandpa, grand-aunt, or uncle? Did a wandering relative work for a railroad? Which railroad and where did it run? Learn about railroad records which may provide some personal details or at the very least prove the relative’s connection to that railroad. Visuals and references demonstrate the wealth of historical materials available all across the U.S. I’ll share the locations of the records for many railroads. When this lecture is over you will know where to turn to find out more about the railroad, its records, and where to find them. The presentation is accompanied by an extensive handout.

A bit about the word free is necessary. The presentation is free on November 28th. Shortly after that it will be available for about a week, also for free. Then it becomes part of the Family Tree Webinars Library available for a fee or to members. A membership allows you to view any of the webinars at any hour and also gives you access to some that are available only to members. Join today for only $49.95 per year.


Register now “for Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking”


Note: this is not the same presentation as my Online & On Track: Railroad Records, Indexes, and Finding Aids on the Internet” that I did in February 2018. The handout is also different with some exceptions. To view that one, click here.


The links above are affiliate links.





Family genealogy: red lipstick, a price sticker, some humor, and passing on a family story

Today I drove past 486 So. Hamline Avenue in Saint Paul and smiled up at the corner apartment. I had to do that today because it’s Grandma’s birthday. Great Grandma Gert, Dirty Gerty, Granny Grapefruit, and just Grandma. Those were all names of love. More on her names another time.

She would have been 118 years old today. She lived to 98.5 years old. That’s some feat! Speaking of feet, one of my favorite stories about her is one she told on herself. She was widowed at age 67 and lived alone for almost 32 years. She lived in a second-floor apartment with no elevator and steep stairs until a nursing home became a necessity. After Grandpa Mike died, she lived only on Social Security and the help of her daughters and grandchildren. She never learned to drive a car and took the city bus to do some of her shopping for many years.

The feet story is related to a pair of shoes. She purchased a pair of shoes at a thrift store and wore them to church. She attended Holy Spirit Catholic Church and this was still a time when those receiving communion would kneel at the communion rail. She came home from church and was putting her “new” dress-up shoes away and noticed that the price sticker was still on the bottom. She was mortified to know that she knelt for communion and let everyone see the price on her cheap shoes. But she laughed and so did I. We had many more good laughs about this over the years.

This was a woman who was born into money, lived well, but then her father lost everything. Her accountant husband didn’t do a great job with their finances either. She raised her daughters in a one-bedroom apartment. She had bad arthritis and other aches and pains. She never really complained. I wish I could hug her today. Instead, I am wearing red lipstick as I write this. She always reminded her daughters and granddaughters to wear red lipstick.

MyHeritage announces Shared Ancestral Places as DNA matching feature

From a My Heritage news release:

MyHeritage has announced a new feature in our DNA matching. “Shared Ancestral Places refer to towns, countries, or U.S. states that appear in your family tree as well as in the family trees of your DNA Matches, where birth or death events of your ancestors (and those of your DNA Matches’ ancestors) took place. These places are identified going back up to 10 generations and can play a vital role in family history research.

When you review a DNA Match, it’s not always clear how the match is related to you and who your common ancestor may be. Up until now, you may be able to figure out how your DNA Matches are related to you by looking at the family trees of your matches, . . .”

For the full announcement check the MyHeritage Blog.

Genealogy conference at MHS in Saint Paul on Feb 16th!

Mark your calendars for February 16, 2019 and get registered before it sells out! The Minnesota Historical Society is having a full-day “Preserve & Organize Your Family History Conference” at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul. A variety of sessions presented by MHS staff and professional genealogists are being offered with a wide range of topics. Full details will be posted on the MHS events website soon.

I am privileged to be the keynote speaker. Registrants will have the opportunity to sign up for behind-the scenes tours of MHS. That is an important perk! I have been on these tours twice and really enjoyed them.

Registrations are already being taken. If you are an MHS member, you receive a benefit of 20% off the registration cost.  To register:


This website and blog are back online!

Yes, I had paid my bills! Several glitches had occurred in October and this past weekend were worked out and I am back to sharing information.

I hadn’t even noticed until several people let me know. I was busy meeting multiple work deadlines that all converged on November 1st. I especially thank Cyndi Ingle of for her help on this.

Duplicate books and periodicals at the Minnesota Genealogy Center

I am sure I needed these. I always need more books. Today I came home from a meeting at the Minnesota Genealogy Center with an armload of needed books.

In the lobby is the book adoption area. These are duplicate genealogy and history books, periodicals and maps that need a new home. Pick a few and leave a money donation with the volunteer at the front desk. I noticed some mighty nice items. I would guess the area holds more than 100 items. They cover a wide variety of time periods and locations.

Check the location of the Center and the hours here.

2018 MGS North Star Genealogy Conference is almost here! Register now!

I hope you are already registered for this event. These two main speakers are great and when you add all the breakout sessions to them, it’s one of those events you SHOULD attend! Add vendors, door prizes, a banquet, and more and you have another special event. The Minnesota Genealogical Society puts on fantastic annual conferences.

2018 North Star

Genealogy Conference

Looking Back, Sharing Forward 

5-6 October 2018

Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West,
Plymouth, MN

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS
Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS


For full details and registration details:


Denver Public Library and CO Chapter of the Palatines to America fall seminar

Denver, here I come! The Colorado Chapter of the Palatines to America’s fall seminar is on 20 October. It is co-sponsored by the excellent Western History/Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library. I am honored to be the seminar speaker. I will be presenting four sessions:

• World War I Era U.S. Alien Registrations
• German Research Gem: Back Issues of Genealogical and Historical Periodicals
• Major Midwestern Databases and Indexes
• They Joined, They Wrote, They Associated: Finding Records of Germanic Organizations and Other Collections

I presented three of these at the inaugural International Germanic Genealogical Conference in 2017. Of course those are being tweaked and updated for this seminar. The third presentation on Major Midwestern Databases and Indexes is a new one and is also targeted toward researching our Germanic ancestral families. All four are accompanied by handouts.

The Colorado Chapter of Palatines to America

                         And the Western History/Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library

Present an All-Day Seminar and Book Fair featuring

Paula Stuart-Warren, Certified Genealogist ®, FMGS, FUGA

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2018 from 9:30am until 4:30pm

In the B2 Conference Room of the Central Denver Public Library

1 0 West 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado

For more information check here .



FGS announces leadership changes

I love an organization in which strong people step up to such vital volunteer jobs. Congratulations to all these great colleagues. I served on the FGS Board of Directors and love to see FGS continue thriving.


New President, Treasurer and Vice President of Membership

September 15, 2018 – Austin, TX.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is pleased to announce that Faye L. Stallings has been appointed by the Board of Directors to become President of the organization effective September 15, 2018.  Faye has served as Treasurer of the organization since January 1, 2017.  She brings to the organization more than 20 years of leadership and executive experience with a Fortune 100 company, as well as a passion for genealogy.

FGS would like to express immense gratitude to Teri E. Flack who has served as the interim President for the past few months and wish her much success in pursuing her personal interests.

FGS would also like to announce the appointment of Rick Shields who succeeds Faye as Treasurer and Cari Taplin, CG, as Vice President of Membership.  Rick is a certified public accountant with not-for-profit finance experience.  Cari has served on the FGS Board of Directors for 3 years, and she shares her love for genealogy through her writing and lecturing.


About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and empowers the genealogical and family history community, especially its societies and organizations, by advocating for the preservation and access of records and providing resources that enable genealogical organizations to succeed in pursuing their missions. FGS helps genealogical societies and family history enthusiasts alike to strengthen and grow through online resources, FGS FORUM magazine, and through its annual national conference which provides four days of excellent learning opportunities for both societies and family history enthusiasts. FGS launched the Preserve the Pensions project in 2010 to raise more than $3 million to digitize and make freely available the pension files from the War of 1812. Fundraising was completed for that project in 2016 and the digitization continues. FGS was also the driving force behind the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors project alongside the National Parks Service. To learn more visit


Contact:       Federation of Genealogical Societies
PO Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
phone: +1 (888) 347-1500
fax: +1 (866) 347-1350

Sept. 13 presentation: “Sources and Methods for Researching American Indian Ancestors”

My next in-person presentation is Thursday, September 13, 2018 at the Hudson, Wisconsin public library. The topic is “Sources and Methods for Researching American Indian Ancestors.” The presentation runs from 10:30-11:30 and I promise to hang around to answer questions. The presentation is accompanied by an extensive handout for each attendee.

I have more than 20 years of experience and knowledge in the area of Native American research for individuals, law firms, and with tribes.  My experience includes in-depth research at the U.S. National Archives in several of its locations, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, at several state historical societies and state archives as well as in courthouses and libraries in many states. This presentation will aid your research no matter whether you already have some records showing your Native American ancestry or are simply ready to get started. The examples will whet your genealogical appetite to search for similar items for your own family. We are blessed in Wisconsin and Minnesota with many nearby record including those online.  Native American ancestry from other states? Don’t worry, you’ll learn more, too.