Closing out my 2023 genealogy presentations and doing contracts for 2024 and 2025

Last evening I had the honor of presenting “How to Drag Your Family into Genealogy” during the virtual annual meeting of the Texas State Genealogical Society (TxGS). I was impressed at the reporting of the extent of educational activities and volunteerism in the TxGS. It was also nice to see some long-time friends from Texas and elsewhere via Zoom. Some of us have known each other for 30 years.

This was my last presentation for 2023. It’s been a wild year with presentations for historical and genealogical societies, a group from an apartment complex, and in four different institute courses plus Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Be sure to join LFT Webinars for just $49.95 to enjoy the 2100+ webinars, 8000+ pages of syllabus materials, and lots of great worldwide education My affiliate link to join for a year:

I’ve been updating my 2024 speaking calendar and have a couple more to add soon. If your organization is looking for a single presentation or an all day event (3-4 topics), let me know and I will send you my preliminary information with my background, rates, and some other details. Email: PaulaStuartWarren @

I will be updating my list of topics to note some that have been updated and adding a couple new titles. Several of the topics have added content depending on the area to which I am presenting.

Are you ready to start writing 2024 in a few weeks?

Latest round of Minnesota Historical and Cultural Small Grants

ST. PAUL, Minn. (November 14, 2023) – The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is pleased to announce the newest recipients of 36 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants ($10,000 and less), totaling $313,062 in 24 counties.

Small grants are awarded quarterly to help nonprofits, educational organizations, government units, and federally recognized tribes to preserve and share Minnesota history. This cycle of awards was approved by the MNHS Executive Council on September 14, 2023.

Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants are made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Legacy Amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water, and legacy, including Minnesota history and cultural heritage.

A few of the grants.

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, $10,000
To hire a qualified architect to conduct a conditions assessment of the 1911 St. Olaf’s Norwegian Lutheran Church, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Todd County Historical Society, Long Prairie $1,792
To add 22 rolls of microfilmed Todd County newspapers to make primary records more accessible to the public.

Belle Plaine Historical Society, Belle Plaine, $9,950
To purchase a microfilm reader/printer/scanner to make microfilmed records more accessible to the public.

Fillmore County Historical Society, Fountain, $9,945
To provide better organization of the museum collections, allowing for greater public access to the community’s historic resources.

Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm, $9,996
To hire qualified professionals to produce short manuscripts on significant topics of Iron Range history.

For the full list of grants:

DNA and genealogy membership sales galore

It’s that time of year for sales related to family history research. My email and ads on genealogy websites, and various social media are full of discount sales.

DNA testing is a big focus of the sales. Half-price and more are the discounts available from all the testing companies. For example, MyHeritage is offering a $33 DNA test price through November 24. Some other sites go a bit longer. MyHeritage blog post about the sale

Next check the various subscription genealogy database sites for membership sales! Some are for new memberships but read all the fine print to see if there are ways around this to extend your current membership or add a new one when your’s expires.

Free evening hybrid presentation on Railroad Records on November 16th

Join me for “Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking” this Thursday, November 16, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. CT. It will be online and in-person in Muskogee.

I will be online for this presentation sponsored by Oklahoma’s Muskogee County Genealogical Society and the Tulsa Genealogical Society. Both are great groups and deserve your support for sponsoring this webinar that they have graciously opened to non-members that evening. Members of the societies will be able to rewatch the webinar for two weeks after the 16th.

My description of the presentation:
Did great-grandpa or another family member traverse this nation as he worked for the railroad? For which railroad did he work? Where did it run? Are there railroad records that may give us personal details? Visuals and references demonstrate the wealth of historical materials available all across the U.S. and with some specifics for Oklahoma and surrounding states. The railroads helped to develop places and other businesses. 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.

More details and to register for this event:

Minnesota Digital Library honors Veterans Day with online exhibits

This Veterans Day, the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) joined the rest of the country in honoring military veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with a six-part online exhibit series titled “War Stories.”  “The “War Stories” exhibits include the perspectives of Minnesotans who lived through wars, from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. Veterans recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, photographs, and interviews, which are highlighted in each exhibit.” This excerpt is from the Minnesota Digital Library News which includes links to the exhibits by war. Each war’s links has more links for additional information and images.

All six online exhibits can also be found on The Minnesota Digital Library as War Stories under the Exhibits section Even more can always be found in the collections of libraries, archives, and historical societies around the state.

I was a Naval Reserves and Viet Nam Era Navy Active Duty wife when my husband was in the Navy, my father served in World War II in the Army Air Corps, my father-in-law served in the World War II era Army, uncles and cousins served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Our family lost an uncle to torture in a Korean War POW camp and a cousin was a POW during WWII. A Great Granduncle served in the Civil, Spanish American, and first World Wars, A Great Great Grandfather served in the Civil War. Earlier generations served in the military in Canada and other countries.

Free death-related records for genealogists at MyHeritage through November 1!

A press release from Daniel Horowitz at MyHeritage shares some details about free access to death-related records: “I’m happy to share that from October 27 to November 1, 2023, we’re offering free access to all death, burial, cemetery, and obituary records on MyHeritage: 370 collections and 881,738,760 records in all.” If you don’t have a MyHeritage subscription, you will be asked to at least register.

October is American Archives Month: Some challenges for you!

In addition to October being celebrated as Family History Month in the U.S, it’s also the ultra-important American Archives Month.

Many types of archives are found across the United States. City, county, state, region, university, military, religious, ethnic, music, medicine, and of course at the national level, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide history records at many levels. Many also have displays, books, artifacts, classes, lectures, and other items.

Some have online catalogs, detailed collection inventories, record indexes, digitized records, and biographies related to the place or type of archives, and many keep improving.

Some have grown by leaps and bounds as far as digital records and indexes, some have excellent newspaper collections online, and surprises are everywhere. A few have gone backward as far as online content, ease of use, and responding to members and patrons. The pandemic is only partly to blame, inadequate technology staff and standards are more to blame. Another part of the blame lies in funding and taking care of employees. I wish all could be given an A+ but it’s not to be. Yes, we need to encourage boards, councils, cities, counties, legislators, and others to be aware of the importance of preserving history and stop cutting funding. Some people are surprised at all the uses for the history these facilities hold.

I was going to name some favorites, but instead of that, I have some challenges for you. The results will be educational, and it would be great if you would share a few words about your discoveries as a comment to this blog post or send to me via email at PaulaStuartWarren at

  1. If you live in a U.S. state, visit the website of your state archives. Spend at least 15 minutes clicking on every tab, button, or list of sections. Let others know some of the wonderful things under those entry points.
  2. Next visit the website of the state archives of an ancestral state and do the same thing.
  3. Then visit the website of a major college or university and locate the archives and/or special collections and peruse the tabs, buttons, and sections there.
  4. Locate a religious or ethnic archive in your state of residence and do the same checking there.
  5. Lastly search for the existence of a special archives in your state of residence. Medical, musical, bugs, tongue depressors? Let me and others know whether it has documents, library, or other research items.

Don’t forget that we should donate to archives, too! Money, artifacts, books, family or business papers, as long as we check with the place first.

Free all-day genealogy conference from the Arkansas Genealogical Society

On Saturday, October 14, 2023, the Arkansas Genealogical Society (AGS) is offering a full-day conference with one speaker in the morning and another in the afternoon. Two speakers, four topics total, handouts, and to top that off, it’s FREE and via Zoom. Sign up and join us on Saturday.

My morning presentations include examples from many U.S. places.

  • Tho’ They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
  • The U.S. National Archives: The Nations Attic

Lori Thornton will present two southern topics in the afternoon.

October 9, 2023, Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been so designated by 17 states, and several cities, but not all. The federal government needs to officially designate this. President Biden did issue an official Presidential Proclamation in 2021, but Congress needs to up the recognition. My home state (and where I still reside) has officially recognized today as such for several years. Yay for Minnesota.

Did your family arrive in the United States or what was to become the United States in 1650, 1750, 1850, 1950 or even in the last year? We need to honor the original inhabitants of this land. Native Americans likely resided on the land where homes, apartment buildings, grocery stores, post offices, historical societies, resorts, and even that pharmacy where you get your life-saving medications. Yes, Native Americans gave up much land in exchange for promises made by the government via Treaties. No, not all Treaties have been faithfully fulfilled.

We each should be aware of the original history of the place we live and those of our ancestral families. If you have Native American heritage, you are likely aware of all the awful issues your ancestors suffered through. Ignorance is not an excuse anyone should make. Unfortunately, not all our education has informed us equally and some very little. We all need to learn more about the land on which we reside.

I have been privileged to be involved with Native American research in Minnesota and several other states for 30+ years for many Tribes and individuals. Today I am working on the PowerPoint presentation for a 2.5-hour session on Native Americans of the Northern Plains that I will be presenting for the first time at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s January Virtual Course 8 “Researching Along the Northern Plains.” I have already turned in my 22-page syllabus section and now have more to add.

It’s a great day to do some online searching for Indigenous Peoples’ Day and learn a lot in a short time. Do you know what Tribes are the original inhabitants of the area where you live today? Do you know the history and specifically about forced removals to another part of your state or even to several states away? Do you know how many young Native American children were taken away from their parents and forced to an Indian boarding school?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars Top 10 for September and the #1 rated September Webinar is . . .

Legacy Family Tree Webinars now has 2,076 webinars from 387 speakers accompanied by 7,901 syllabus pages. Most webinars are free the first time offered and for a week afterward. The syllabus material is only available to members. A membership entitles you to view some special webinars plus everything else. These are great webinars!

At the end of each month, Geoff Rasmussen tallies up the top ten, next ten, and runner-up webinars as rated by attendance and evaluations. The list for September is on their news blog post of October 2. I was pleased to be in the top 10 as far as attendance. Then I read to the end of the post and for a change, I am going to boast a bit by showing what it said. By the way, the syllabus was 9 pages. If you wish to become a member, using this link helps to keep this blog active.