Statehood day for Minnesota, May 11, 1858. Genealogists, what was it before?

I have lived in Minnesota for all of my life except for one year. In the state, I have lived in four different cities and have lost track of how many abodes! Minnesota (or parts of what it is today) resided in many places, too. The home of the Native Americans who first populated the land has been under France, England, Spain, Northwest Territory, Michigan Territory, Illinois Territory, Wisconsin Territory, . . . but the land never moved. It was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. In 1849 when Wisconsin became a state, the land now known as Minnesota became Minnesota Territory. The territory also included part of what is now South Dakota and North Dakota. Then came May 11, 1858 and statehood was granted by Congress.

If you only discovered the statehood date and learned history forward from that date, you would miss a considerable amount of history and some records that are found elsewhere. 87 counties today. Each has a story just like each current and past inhabitant.

Now I am going to make a note to find and remember the names of counties that no longer exist.

2 days left Legacy Family Tree Webinars 50% off for new subscribers!

Not yet a subscriber? This is a very big deal for you. It’s a celebration of the 1500th webinar being presented and on the website. Use my affiliate link and then add the coupon code 1500 at checkout for 50% off. Valid through the end of day Friday for new memberships only. The regular membership fee is only $49.95.

Irish ancestry connection? Do you belong to TIARA? Join my webinar on May 14th

The Irish American Research Association is offering a webinar presentation for members on Friday, May 14th, at 7:00 p.m. EDT. I am the presenter and my topic is “The WPA Era: Free Records Boon from the Government.” This U.S. federal government program produced much that still provides information for genealogists and historians. Audiences are surprised at how much of what they have seen in their research is a product of this program. The presentation that evening will have some special parts that affect those of us with Irish ancestry and also other parts that relate to just about every researcher with U.S. connections. The presentation is accompanied by a detailed handout. Not a member of TIARA? Why not join now! For more details:

Genealogy news from great websites

MyHeritage’s collection of birth records includes 115 collections containing a total of 1,144,541,613 individual records from all over the world. Some of the collections contain indexes which help you find out where the birth record is located, while others contain the actual image of the record. Guess what!!! Free access to these through April 24th.

Geoff Rasmussen  had a big announcement on Friday. That was the day of Legacy Family Tree Webinars 1,500th webinar! That’s a lot of education. Think about subscribing so you have access to all of them and the accompanying syllabus material. This includes this month’s 24-hour marathon. It was actually 26 hours with Terri Flack and I doing the last two added hours. Subscribe here via my own affiliate link

Every Friday, Findmypast releases new and additional records and collections. Their blog is a great place to keep informed:

Ancestry’s frequently updated list of “Recently Added and Updated Collections” is something I frequently check. One caught my eye: Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Obituaries, 1970-1990. “This collection includes index and images of obituaries from various newspapers in southern Cook County, Illinois, as well as Hammond, Indiana. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Obituaries, 1970-1990” I did find a few possibilities in this.

My best, no, my favorite genealogical presentation topics

When I hear from some genealogical and historical organizations about doing a seminar or single talk for them, I get asked “what are your best topics?”

The best topics have to be judged by those who listen and hopefully learn from them. I can’t always judge that but I can tell which are my favorite presentations. Generally, these are ones that I get extra excited about sharing the information and that I continually research to add updates to the handouts and PowerPoint slides. Any website mentions need to be updated continually! Some of these topics do get some added or tweaked details and new record examples that apply more to the locality of the sponsoring organization.

  • The WPA Era: Free Records Boon from the Government
  • Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking
  • Family History Gems in Century and Bicentennial Farms Programs
  • The Farmer in the Dell . . . and in Many U.S. Records
  • Genealogical and Historical Periodicals in Print and Online: Surprises Await
  • Your Anytime Library: Success in the Virtual Stacks
  • Researching Midwestern River People
  • Sources and Methods for Researching Native American Ancestors

It’s almost like saying which is my favorite grandchild and that is impossible to choose. I do have other topics that are listed under the

Family Tree Webinars 24-hour marathon free for 1 week

Last week’s 24-hour Legacy Family Tree Webinars Marathon had 24 speakers from 7 countries that were watched by 32,000 people from 70 countries. For free. Missed all or 5, or need to watch some again? They are being placed online at FREE for one week.

It was actually 26 hours. The two bonus hours were from my colleague Terri Flack and me. I presented Superb Seven: Fabulous Avenues for Finding Family in Manuscript Collections at the last hour of the last day.

If you wish to also have access to the more than 100 pages of syllabus for these presentations, you do need to subscribe to Family Tree Webinars. The price is $49.95/year. You can click here to see my affiliate link to subscribe to a a membership! Subscribing via this link provides me with a small fee that helps support this blog.

A subscription gives you an entire year to view these webinars, get the syllabus material, and also be able to watch the past webinars (only 1,400+) and 5,700 other pages of syllabus material that accompanies those. It’s a bargain.

U.S. National Archives in Seattle saved by Biden Administration

I hope you heard my big sigh of relief and that of many others. In 2016 a decision was made that this regional location of the U.S. National Archives was expendable. Federal records that are needed and used weekly were to be moved to NARA locations a distance away. I had blogged previously about that impending horrific action. Many people protested and among those who voiced loud opinions of the planned idiocy were Northwestern U.S. Native American tribes and law firms. Even though the NARA (National Archives and Records Administartion) touts digitization efforts and those of its partners, millions upon millions of original records are in archival boxes in the various NARA locations. These are records needed for many reasons, personal, historical, community, and legal. The Seattle Times carried the good news on April 8th. In part:

“The impending sale of the National Archives at Seattle has been stopped by the Biden administration. What looked like a done deal 14 months ago is no more.

On Thursday, the Office of Management and Budget, which administers the federal budget and had approved the sale of the 10-acre Sand Point facility during the Trump administration, reversed course.

“Tribal consultation is a priority for this Administration … the process that led to the decision to approve the sale … is contrary to this Administration’s tribal-consultation policy, and I am accordingly withdrawing OMB’s approval of the sale of that facility,” Shalanda D. Young, the agency’s acting director, wrote in a letter.”

The full article by Erik Lacitis is here.


Genealogy day-long seminars near and far: virtual all-day learning

Webinars, institutes, conferences, and seminars. Genealogical education is vital and, in many ways, so easily accessible in 2020 and 2021 as these have gone virtual. Don’t forget to check county, regional, and state genealogical societies to see what they have to offer. Some are free, but many have a fee associated. The organization needs to pay for Zoom or other platform they use, pay the speaker, and also support the organization’s overall educational efforts. Heck, even in the case of free events, a nice donation to the society is a smart and caring thing to do! These are just two of the upcoming all-day events that might interest you, no matter where you live!

17 April 2001: Minnesota Genealogical Society Virtual Spring All Star Seminar.

Four impressive speakers: David Rencher, Pamela Boyer Sayre, LaBrenda Garret-Nelson, Michael Lacopo!

For the speaker topics and bios plus how to register:

24 April 2001: Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society, Virtual Spring Seminar.
Genealogical Journeys and the The speakers will be Jill Morelli and Linda Harms Okazaki

Jill’s topics: “Push and Pull: Decision-Making of the 19th Century Emigrant” and “Accessing and Using Scandinavian Records.”

Linda’s Topics: “Finding Your Japanese Roots” and “20th Century Immigrants to the West Coast and Hawaii.”

Emcee and Virtual Meeting Host: Cyndi Ingle, creator of will act as Emcee and Virtual Meeting Host. For more details and registration please visit:

Findmypast genealogy website records by state and country

I forgot that I had this page bookmarked. I probably do need to browse through all my bookmarked sites more often to see which ones still work. This page from Findmypast tells the records held by Fmp by country, state, subject , and country. I still do a variety of searches by names and some places, but this list reminds me of what I can find and search in specifically. Nothing for my two main states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there are Chicago records. Even if something can be found on another genealogy website, sometimes the search on a different one turns up something the other didn’t find or even a surprise!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars 2d Annual 24-hours Genealogy Webinar Marathon

I’m excited to be a part of this The 2nd Annual 24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon hosted by and MyHeritage. The marathon will begin on Thursday, April 8 at 5pm eastern U.S. time (Friday, April 9 at 7am Sydney time) and end on Friday, April 9 at 7pm eastern U.S. time (Saturday, April 10 at 9am Sydney time). It’s FREE.

The wide variety of topics means something for everyone! “You will learn how to trace your ancestors from the world’s top genealogists and educators. From creating your own YouTube channel to DNA, from Cherokee ancestry to Canada and England, there’s something for everyone… in every time zone. And thanks to and MyHeritage, the entire event is free! Pop in for a session or two, or stick around for the full 24 hours — it’s completely up to you. (We couldn’t resist – there are actually 26 hours of classes!) There will even be time for Q&A and door prizes.

My presentation is Superb Seven: Fabulous Avenues for Finding Family in Manuscript Collections. I’ll detail these FREE finding aids, provide tips on using them, and show some neat examples of what you might find.

Register on this page. The attendance for each session is limited to the first 1,000 attendees. If you can’t join us in real time, we’ve got you covered: all recordings will be available afterwards absolutely free for a week. Beyond that, you can watch them anytime with a membership!