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The Board for Certification of Genealogists presents “Maternal Threads Unwoven: Identifying Margareta’s Mother in 18 th Century Sweden.”

by Jill Morelli, CG, CGL
Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 8:00 p.m. (EDT)

In spite of birth entries for Margareta’s five siblings in Hishult, there was no record of her birth in the parish. Tax records quickly identified the father and revealed multiple moves within a narrow span of time; however, identification of the mother remained elusive. No witnesses to the births of the children provided clues; no household examinations existed. Coupling the understanding of broad context (naming patterns, inheritance laws, the calendar shift, etc.) with mtDNA and documentary evidence, the mother was identified and the lack of records was explained.

When you register before March 19 with BCG’s partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars ( you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Anyone with schedule conflicts may access the webinar at no charge for one week after the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

A short study of Saint Paul, Minnesota Churches, Synagogues and more.

This afternoon, I was researching a church here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I had not heard of it before. The pastor was the officiant at my Stuart grandparents’ wedding. Olga Theodora Carlsen married Earl James Stuart on 21 June 1916. The wedding did not take place in the church, but rather in the bride’s home. This was not the usual religious denomination for either the bride or groom’s family. One of the resources I used was St. Paul Historic Context Study Churches, Synagogues, and Religious Buildings: 1849-1950. It was a report prepared in 2001 for the St. Paul Heritage Foundation. [post continues below the image]

The report is 27 pages long and has no index or table of contents. The good news is it is digitized and online, therefore searchable by a variety of terms. Many other publications are noted in the text and in a lengthy bibliography at the end. I have used many of these but learned of a couple I need to consult.

p.s. Sad that it used St. Paul and not Saint Paul, the proper name of the city and also of the Commission.

American Naturalization Processes and Procedures, 1790-1985 is gifted to researchers!

I have several bookcases filled with genealogy and history books. Some are available online today, but it’s easier to have some books open and spread out on my desk while researching or creating PowerPoint slides for a presentation. One of my favorite books on these shelves has long been out of print and not available online. That has changed!

It’s not a lengthy tome, is full-page size, and my copy has some sticky notes signifying portions I often reference. The book? American Naturalization Processes and Procedures 1790-1985″ by John. J. Newman, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press, 1985. The late Judge Newman provided us with some valuable history and laws in his book.

Lauren K. Peightel. of the Indiana Historical Society (IHS), knew how much this book is needed. She suggested to her colleagues at IHS that they needed to take a look at making it available and the IHS Press found his heir who gave permission so that we all could benefit. The news has been all over Facebook, but in case you missed that, now you know!

Don’t forget to check it!

Even if you don’t need it today, check the Table of Contents

Continuing genealogy education via GRIP in June and July, 2024

GRIP offers many courses to take you further in your family history research. It’s easy to register at If you have a National Genealogical Society member log-in, use that. Otherwise, you can create a free log-in so you can register. There are still some seats in most courses. Generally there are 25-40 “seats” available in each course, so there is room for you. I am involved in three courses in the online June week:

Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills (I am the coordinator and main instructor. The other instructors are specifically chosen for their expertise and knowledge.)

Not Just Farmers: Records, Relationships, and the Reality of Their Lives (Coordinated by Cari A. Taplin, CG, and I am an instructor for four sessions.)

Midwest Family History Research: Migrations and Sources (Coordinated by Jay Fonkert CG, and I am an instructor for two sessions.)

More on those courses and others are at

Learn more about “Digging Deeper” in past posts on this blog but hear from past students here

Database of Irish-American emigrant letters launched

Great news this week! The University of Galway has debuted a database of letters and other material that covers roughly the late 1600s to the mid 20th century. It includes material sent from North America back to Ireland.

“The archive includes approximately 7,000 letters, running to more than 150,000 documents, along with other important historical papers. It was collected over five decades of research by Kerby A. Miller, Emeritus Professor of History at University of Missouri and Honorary Professor of History at University of Galway, who donated the material to the University of Galway Library. “

Read about the collection: This also includes how to help expand the collection if you have letters or memoirs to contribute.


More free online Minneapolis and Hennepin County city directories

From the Hennepin County Library Special Collections newsletter:

hennepin county library special collectionsMarch/April 2024Check out what’s new and noteworthy this spring in Special Collections.New in the Digital Collectionscity directories
More Hennepin County City DirectoriesThe online city directory collection is growing! Last month we added three more years of Minneapolis directories, which now cover nearly 100 years (1859-1955). We also added Lake Minnetonka (1941-1977) and Morningside (1962-1966). More directories will be digitized later this year from additional suburbs including Richfield, Golden Valley, Brooklyn Park and more.Search and browse the online directories

Recaps of RootsTech 2024: MyHeritage

Even when I am not in attendance at a big conference, institute, or seminar, I do appreciate receiving a press release from various societies and companies that had big announcements, discoveries, or other news from the event. I don’t always have time to get the news out to my readers, but I do try. The points below are from MyHeritage and their Keynote address at RootsTech.

  • 20 billion records — we recently reached the significant milestone of 20 billion historical records available on MyHeritage!
  • All-new profile pages with hints — a major enhancement to the profile pages on MyHeritage including the ability to see and add new details from matches in the context of the page. Read more here.
  • — a whole new website for exploring historical newspapers from all over the world. Read more here.
  • Coming soon: AI photo scanner on the MyHeritage mobile app — the smart scanner previously available only on the Reimagine app will be added to the MyHeritage mobile app very soon.
  • Coming soon: share your DNA results with an expert — the ability to share your DNA results securely with a DNA expert to help you with your results will soon be added.
  • Coming soon: Ethnicity Estimates 2.0 — a major upgrade to our ethnicity estimate model will be released in the summer of 2024

March 10: “By the way, the special promotion we had going for DNA data uploads — offering free access to Ethnicity Estimates and advanced DNA tools to anyone who uploads a new DNA data file to MyHeritage — has been extended until March 10.”

Be sure to sign up to receive electronic newsletters or blog announcements from the various genealogy companies and societies. It’s a great way to keep up and not miss special sales or news.

RootsMagic 50% off until midnight MST March 4

Oops, I am behind on RootsTech special offers and presentations. I blame it on spending time with family and then extended time on the FamilySearch experimental labs searching deeds and wills.

If you have been thinking about using RootsMagic as your own genealogy family tree program, you can purchase it for 50% off the usual price. This offer is also for those who didn’t attend RootsTech in person.

Bruce Buzbee and the team at RootsMagic said “Those who can’t attend RootsTech this year can get the same conference special online by visiting Hurry, this offer is only available through Monday, March 4, at 11:59 pm MST.”

RootsMagic Offer:

FamilySearch Labs:

Check under the RootsTech Event tab for the Expo Hall and offers by many vendors and then check Class Schedule for recorded presentations you can view from home.

Cyndi’s List: 28 Years Strong for Genealogy and History

Cyndi Ingle should be very proud of herself! Her Cyndi’s List is celebrating its 28th Anniversary today. 28 years of finding links, updating links, and providing us with those links to keep up on things genealogical and historical. Cyndi does this and keeps her site free. She loves us paying attention to the links on the right side of her site. We can submit new links and she appreciates it when we send link updates.

From a Facebook post today: “Still your online starting point for online research. Thank you for using Cyndi’s List and sharing it with your friends. The site is due for a long-needed update, so please consider a birthday donation to support the site. I appreciate all of you who have supported Cyndi’s List all these years. Thank you!!”

New to Cyndi’s List? Start by browsing the categories: I advocate browsing the categories so that you get a feel for how she categories various things we need in our research.

FamilySearch Labs: AI enabled searching for all names in deeds and wills

A few hours late today resulted in some new deeds and ancestral names in deeds of other people. All the names are rarely indexed until now. Searching by name and place in digitized records was easy peasy. Thank you, FamilySearch! I have used this excellent, but not perfect, advancement a few times now and I can describe it in one word. WOW. Fantastic news from RootsTech today.

FamilySearch Labs are basically experimental/beta products that are more than previews, but yet not ready for FamilySearch to say “all finished, all good!” I was amazed at the excellent accuracy in the reading of the documents. Sure some issues arose, but comparatively few. I recognized the county name on some records, but some took a quick look to be sure what the heck the records clerk wrote back in the 19th century. I saw the county name of Winona in Minnesota constantly the victim of poor handwriting in the docs. The “Expand your search with Full Text” part of the Labs does not include deeds or wills that FamilySearch has not had previous access to. Doggone it. I need a few more counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, plus more years in the ones that are available. My blame is on the record holders, not FamilySearch.

Try it out If you are on social media, you likely saw many posts about this new tool today.

Read more about this really neat advancement courtesy of Artificial Intelligence and I am sure, many hours of behind the scenes work by FamilySearch personnel. The Labs have some additional sections but I have not yet previewed them .

p.s. My colleague Kimberly Powell has already written tips for using the full-text search: