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.


DNA Quest by MyHeritage goes global for adoptees

This is an update from MyHeritage:

“DNA Quest is our pro bono initiative to reunite adopted people with their biological family members. We are providing 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, to eligible participants. DNA Quest has just been expanded globally so that now anyone from any country can apply. Applications can be submitted until April 30th, 2018 on If this is applicable to you, apply today, otherwise please help spread the word.”

Back on March 1, I blogged about the pro bono tests initial offering. Read that here.

Please feel free to share this post to let others know.



GRIP genealogy education this summer! Discounted tuition ends April 30th.

Early bird discount on tuition to the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) ends in about one week on April 30. Only 2 courses out of 22 have wait lists. All other courses are open for registration for classes held June 25-29 and July 23-27 in Pittsburgh and July 30-Aug 3 in Amherst, NY (Buffalo). See for full descriptions of all 18 sessions in each of the 22 courses.

On-campus housing is available at this time for all three weeks. Any questions? Email GRIP or visit the GRIP booth at the NGS conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan May 2-5.

This year, my course Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper is offered near Buffalo, New York. It will be at Daemen College in Amherst. Read more about this in-depth learning here.

It’s important to register soon for this course, so that you will receive the mid-May special instructions for assistance in solving one of your “brick walls” during the course.


April 26 webinar: “. . . Finding Records of Germanic Organizations and Other Collections”

The well-known Germanic Genealogy Society (GGS), a world-wide organization based here in Minnesota, is now offering webinars. The live webinars are open to the public, however, attendance is limited. Be sure to sign into the webinar early.

If you are a member of GGS, you have access to the handouts and recorded videos. These are accessible to signed-in GGS members under the Member Login. Join Now to gain full access. GGS also has great educational meetings and publications. I have been a member for many years.


This Thursday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m. CDT, I am the webinar presenter for GGS. 

“They Joined, They Wrote, They Associated: Finding Records of Germanic Organizations and Other Collections.”

U.S. libraries, historical societies, archives, and university libraries special collections sections hold the records from many organizations that our Germanic ancestors joined. The organization may have been a German heritage, charitable, religious, resettlement, political, social, or other organization. Additionally, as parts of our families migrated around the U.S., so did the records. Frequently genealogists think that there may be no records for some of the family. However, there may be substantial information buried away in a manuscript collection.

Finding these collections with records of membership, donations, necrologies, stories, activities, and more has become easier in recent years. Many finding aids online and off lead you to these research nuggets that represent hundreds of years of material. This presentation covers the finding aids, what the descriptions tell us, how to use the descriptions and suggestions for accessing the Germanic family nuggets promised by the cataloging and indexing. The visuals will demonstrate the fantastic ancestral details found in such records, including places of origin in Germanic localities beyond the U.S.

Register Now!


Big sales now for DNA Day!

DNA Day is April 25th, but the big discount sales have already begun on many tests.  Visit the websites of AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23 & Me, My Heritage, and Living DNA. Just type the company name into your favorite search engine.

I hope you are already monitoring at least a few of the many informational DNA blogs, websites, and the many pages on Facebook that really provide help with learning about and analyzing your DNA results.

Minnesota original land surveyors’ notes and markings and today’s work on those

Map of Minnesota with St Louis County marked in red. (From Wikipedia)

“The monument markers were originally set by U.S. government surveyors in St. Louis County from about 1850 to 1911 — guys in wool hats and plaid shirts carrying chains and a compass and a notebook. They camped in the woods and had little communication with the outside world — but took very good notes that have been preserved to this day.”

I have used many of those notes and maps while doing land research and also out of historical curiosity about material in the Minnesota State Archives in Saint Paul. The wealth of land-related records there is amazing. Other states have some of these same records.

The quote above is from a fascinating article in the March 31st Duluth News Tribune.

To learn more about land records at the Minnesota Historical Society and State Archives, visit and look several ways:

  1. In the upper right hand corner of the MHS website’s main page, do a variety of searches using key words such as land records, original land surveys, public land surveys, state land office, and be prepared for a wealth of finding aids for materials at MHS and also for links to land-related articles in Minnesota History.
  2. On that same main pages, under the Research tab, click on Library Catalog and being a search using some of those key words. Add place names for specific locations, too.
  3. Under that research tab, also click on Archival Collection Finding Aids and Research Guides by Topic for more information on a variety of land-related topics.
  4. I have my own well-read and marked copy of A Guide to the Records of Minnesota’s Public Lands by Gregory Kinney and Lydia Lucas (MHS, 1985). That guide is online here.

April 21 Family History Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota

It’s only three weeks until the big Family History Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It’s at the Stearns History Museum. I am pleased to be the featured speaker with four sessions and there are some other really good sessions on the agenda. The museum will have a brand new World War I exhibit.

Register soon so you will get the first notice of the online syllabus availability.

To view the full program and register: