Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps on Library of Congress website

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a great resource to learn more about the building in which your family lived or worked. Today, the Library of Congress announced that it is placing more online. This means free access. You might have already found some Sanborn maps accessible via a library or historical society website or on microfilm at one of these. Now, this collection will pull them all together electronically in one place when it is finished.

The maps cover about 12,000 towns and cities. They show an outline of each building and where the windows and doors are locates. Because these maps were created for insurance purposes, the maps show the property boundaries, if the is a fire wall, where the rail lines existed, street names, and what material was used in the construction of the building. You’ll learn about the nearest fire hydrant, whether the home or other building is brick or wood and what type of roofing it has. Gas lines are show. The maps cover various years from the mid 19th Century to the mid 20th Century. It’s a good way to learn more about a building that no longer stands.

For the full press release on the LOC website, click here. The image below is from the LOC posting on Facebook.


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Genealogy summertime is for all-school, town, and church reunions. Are you attending?

Many family historians in the U. S. view this time of year as genealogy travel time! Visits to libraries, historical societies, archives, and courthouses increase as we search for the extensive number of records that are not online today.

Have you forgotten to add other visits to your travel itinerary? Might the ancestral areas be having an all school, town, or church reunion? Maybe it’s the annual town festival or picnic. Stop and think about the people who might be in attendance. People who knew your parents, grandparents, grandaunts and uncles, and maybe even the great grandparents. What stories might they have to share or old photographs. Which person knows about the family cemetery hidden in the woods?

How do we find out about these events? Simple online searches using the name of the school, town, or church plus reunion. Maybe the name plus words such as picnic or festival.

Is the town newspaper online? Look for a calendar of events.

Check for a genealogical society in the area and see if they have a meeting when you will be there. For any of these events, you might need to alter your trip itinerary a bit. It will be worth it!

Have a fun summer!

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Free genealogy classes in Brainerd, Minnesota, June 1

I am excited to be going back to Brainerd for a day of genealogy lectures. The audience there is wonderful and the area is beautiful with lakes everywhere! The following press release is from the library. Each class is accompanied by an extensive handout.

Press Release  Genealogy Classes on June 1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017:

The Brainerd Public Library will be holding “Revealing Records: Genealogy Workshops” on Thursday, June 1, 2017.  The genealogy workshops will include three different classes scheduled at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:30pm.  Participants can register for as many of the free classes as they want to attend by calling the library at 218-829-5574.  All of the classes will be taught by Certified Genealogist® Paula Stuart-Warren. The classes will include:


  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Genealogical Goldmine: The Records of Old Settlers Organizations – This lecture acquaints researchers with the wealth of information that can be found in many of the records of pioneer settler organizations. Finding places of origin and settlement dates for our migrating ancestors is often difficult, but these records may provide help. Some include parents’ names, detailed accounts of the journey from the previous residence to the new location, and a listing of the members’ children. Details may include date of death, or a location in which the pioneer later resided.


  • 1:00-2:00pm: Online & On Track: Railroad Records, Indexes, and Finding Aids on the Internet – Learn about online personnel records, indexes, books, railroad employee and union magazine indexes, inventories of railroad records, indexes of insurance claims, identified photographs, and links to other free websites and finding aids.


  • 2:30-3:30pm: Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research – Not all of our ancestors belonged to an organized religion. For those who did, the records which have survived until today can often be helpful to genealogists. Names, dates, relationships, places of new and former residences, burial location, and other details may be learned. With some background knowledge of your family, and of the area in which they lived, it may be possible to find church records for your ancestor.


Paula Stuart-Warren is a genealogical educator, researcher and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She is a course coordinator and instructor for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and an instructor for Ancestry Academy and Family Tree University and has lectured in many states and Canada. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a former board member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. A native Minnesotan, she has researched onsite from coast to coast, written for many genealogy publications and has her own website and blog at


This free Legacy Program sponsored by your library 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.

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Undecided about attending GRIP this summer? Need a discount?

I just received this via GEN-EVENTS. I love it when conference discounts are extended to others not able to attend!

Date: Mon, 22 May 2017 14:53:20 -0400
From: “Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL” <>
To: <>
Subject: [GEN-EVENTS] GRIP 2017 courses discounted until May 25!

As a special from the National Genealogy Society conference, the
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) is offering a $40
discount until Thursday, May 25 on a 2017 course. Use coupon code “NGS2017”
when registering at


Elissa Scalise Powell, CG , CGL 25-30 June 2017 and 16-21 July 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA

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The Native American gems in manuscripts: Osage Nation finds Jesuit archives preserving its history

Native American genealogy research is more than locating a name on Bureau of Indian Affairs censuses, tribal base rolls*, or complete faith in a family story that you have a Indian ancestor in your background. It’s learning about how to research family history in general, finding out more about that person or person, proving the story correct or incorrect, comparing people with the same name, and pulling together a comprehensive picture of that person.

Take classes on genealogy, read books on the process, join a genealogical society, learn more about Native American research. Help yourself progress in your ancestral quest.

It’s finding church, missionary, probate, birth, death, land, and so many other records. It’s understanding the usual migrations of the tribe and the forced migrations. It’s intensive work online, in libraries, archives, historical societies and courthouses. It’s not something that can be accomplished in a weekend, a month, or even a year. DNA testing is important but is not the full story. It doesn’t tell you the tribe and may not show Native American DNA. That could be too many generations back in your ancestry. That said, please do test because researchers need all the DNA databases to keep expanding.

A recent newspaper article in the Tulsa World, “Osage Nation finds Jesuit archives preserving its history,” demonstrates that we need to uncover so much more.

From that article:

It was so much more,” said Osage Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “Many of the documents go to the unknown history of our tribe. It involves stories and legends that we did not know. This is very important to the Osage. This is our history. Now, we can fill in some of the unknown. The Osage tribe, in conjunction with the Roman Catholic order of priests, has uncovered what Chief Standing Bear called “a treasure trove of documents about the history of our tribe”.

Your full answers may be somewhere!

* A base roll is a census or other lists that a tribe has established as a basis for determining membership. Typically you must have lineal descent from someone on that roll or rolls that may have been compiled in 1872, 1892, or even 1938. Many of these rolls are called by nicknames related to a place or the person creating the roll. A few of these “named rolls” are the Durant, Guion Miller, Dawes, Hinton, Wallace, or the roll may be know by the year of creation such as “1888 Base Roll” or the “1906 Delaware Roll.” NOTE: there are other factors for tribes that help to determine membership. Check the tribal websites for more information.



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Are you registered for “Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper?”

A bit more than 2 months till the opening of the July 16-21, 2017 week of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh(GRIP)! That means I need to get the welcome letter sent out for the students registered for Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper.

The course instructors are:
Coordinator: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
Melissa Johnson, CG
Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS
Debbie Mieszala, CG
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

We bring many years of knowledge, experience, and a wide array of U.S. locations to you in this course. We love to share this with you.

If you aren’t yet signed up for the course, there is still time to do that. If you wait much longer, you won’t be in time to take advantage of some special research things that apply only to this course. The welcome letter covers the details on those items.

To view all the courses offered at GRIP and to register for this annual education experience, visit the GRIP website.

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Webinar sale: Conquering the Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials

I just noticed that Family Tree University is having a webinar sale. The one I am doing next Tuesday, May 23d, is half price right now. I don’t know how long this will last so sign up quickly!




Conquering the Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials

By Paula Stuart-Warren

Format: Web Seminar

Presenter:Paula Stuart-Warren
Time: 7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central/5 p.m. Mountain/4 p.m. Pacific
Date: Tuesday, May 23rd
Duration: 1 hour, including a live Q&A

Don’t Let Chaos Rule Your Genealogy Research

Are you like most genealogists? That is, 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 can conquer this dilemma and learn genealogy organization tips for regularly keeping your clutter under control, with both paper and software. No one can promise perfection, but this session will share many ideas to get you on your way, including tips from some professional genealogists. We’ll even discuss some “lazy day” methods to keep you on top of your filing.

In this hour-long presentation, you’ll discover ways to keep genealogy research under control. Whether you work with paper or primarily in digital form, you’ll get tried-and-true tips for establishing and maintaining order – without losing your head.

To sign up visit the Family Tree University website.

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Arkansas newspaper news: more online!

This news release is so exciting. Some that I receive are more ho-hum for my own research, but this one is great! I research my late father-in-law’s Arkansas family and have had clients with Arkansas connections. Now to wait for the release of these papers in June!

Excerpts from the great news release:

The Arkansas State Archives, in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), has digitized 24 Arkansas newspapers through a joint newspaper digitization project with in order to provide more access to these resources, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst announced today.

The State Archives contributed 208 rolls from 17 different Arkansas newspapers, with a total of 209,000 pages scanned, digitized, and indexed by In addition, the digitized newspapers will be made available online for free to patrons in the State Archives research room and at the Central Arkansas Library System. began the process of digitization and indexing the papers in February 2017.

Contributions to the project from the State Archives include The Osceola Times, 1873 – 1925; the Helena Weekly Clarion, Feb. 1869 – April 1870; the Helena Weekly World, 1895-1902; the Helena Southern Shield, 1840-1870; the Fort Smith Herald, 1848-1915; the Fort Smith Times, 1898-1909; Arkadelphia’s Southern Standard, 1869-1924; the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, 1893-1923; the Batesville Guard, 1877-1911; the Batesville Daily Guard, 1907-1924; Hot Springs New Era, 1912-1923; the Monticellonian, 1894-1919; Fayetteville’s The Arkansan, 1859-1861; the Arkansas Banner, 1843-1851; the Arkansas Advocate, 1830-1837; the Arkansas Intelligencer, 1843-1849 and 1857-1858; and the Arkansas Times & Advocate, 1837-1838.

The Central Arkansas Library System also contributed 336 rolls of microfilm from seven Arkansas newspapers. Titles include the Weekly Arkansas Gazette, 1819-1868; Arkansas Gazette, 1865-1922; Arkansas Democrat, 1878-1922; Arkansas Mansion, 1883-1884; Little Rock Daily News, 1919-1922; Mountain Echo, 1886-1922; Nashville News, 1898-1922.

The entire collection of digitized newspapers will be available online to the public via subscription through by June. The ASA is happy to partner with CALS in working to improve access to these valuable sources of historical information.

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FGS announces call for genealogy resentation proposals for 2018 in Fort Wayne

2018! Yes, the Federation of Genealogical Societies is talking about the 2018 conference. By the way, I hope you are planning to attend the 2017 conference from August 30-September 3 in Pittsburgh. I will bet there along with many other speakers and registrants. I think the program lineup is really great. For more info:
FGS has announced that presentation proposals are now being received for the FGS 2018 Conference, “On the Three Rivers—Past, Present & Future” to be held 22-25 August, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Allen County Public Library as local host. Outstanding nearby research facilities and attractions will enhance the conference experience. The deadline for submission of lecture proposals is Friday, 14 July 2017. For more details check the FGS Voice blog.
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Germanic Genealogy Conference by the numbers

I love statistics. Maybe I should attribute that to my German ancestors? The International German Genealogy Partnership’s (IGGP), inaugural International Germanic Genealogy Conference is already full of statistics and other numbers. The Minnesota based Germanic Genealogy Society (GGS) is the local host and is assisted by great volunteers from all over the U.S. and beyond. I hope you will join us in Minnesota this summer.

  • 2.5 months till it begins (July 28-30) which means you can still register!
  • 2 hotels are already full but others are waiting for you and a shuttle will be available
  • Already registrants from 34 states and 4 countries other than the U.S.
  • 40 speakers
  • 6 luncheons and a banquet, all with great speakers
  • 1 Biergarten event at Germanic American Institute (GAI) in my hometown of Saint Paul. Music, networking, and music on Summit Avenue, the avenue of spectacular mansions.
  • 23 organizations are members of this global partnership
  • Museums, historical sites, shopping, and more await you in the 32d state which just celebrated 159 years of statehood
  • 17.9 miles. I knew you would ask. The conference site is that far from my apartment. I will not be making an airline reservation.
  • 4 more bulleted items for you or your non-genealogist companions:
    • our Minnesota Twins are out of town that weekend, but the Minnesota United, our major league soccer team is in town that Saturday night.
    • We have the Mall of America which is a gigantic shopping mall with more than 400 stores, employing close to 12000 people. Between 35 to 40 million visits yearly to shop, dine, and visit the amusement park.
    • We have 2 big zoos, the huge Valleyfair amusement park, and lakes by the thousands
    • Come early, stay after to make use of numerous great research facilities
  • Register now and be sure to add conference meals by the end of June!
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