Burst pipes and archival collections do not do well together. Colorado State Archives now.

“Burst pipes caused water to spread across four floors of the Colorado State Archives in downtown Denver on two days in the last week. The extent of the damage isn’t yet clear; workers will have to remove about 2,000 boxes of documents and check them for damage, according to Doug Platt, a spokesperson for the state Department of Personnel and Administration.”

I saw this in my Google news feed and my first thought was “not again.” Not again as in this has happened too often in local, county, state, and federal archives, historical societies, libraries, and other places. The funding has not been there to protect our historical documents. These are necessary documents for legal and historical research and need to be protected everywhere. It’s a sad story to read again. 





That New U.S. National Archives catalog details

It’s an improvement. I like it better than the previous version. In November, the new edition of the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) catalog had its debut. This one and the earlier one are not like most library catalogs. You’ll notice that on your first searches if you haven’t investigated it before. I like the easier way of determining whether some records are digitized. I often do searches by a state name, a few prominent people names, and by type of record. 

I appreciate that once I click on an entry, I see whether something has been digitized fully, partially, or not at all. It’s also easy to confine the search to specific record group, digitized images, years, and other parameters. 

NARA provides some details on the new version here

Check the catalog here. https://catalog.archives.gov/


My updated genealogy presentation calendar for 2023

Today, I added some new presentation dates and topic details to my 2023 speaking calendar. I don’t add all the details until I have a signed contract with the sponsoring group. Click the Speaking tab above to view the calendar and links to registration for the virtual events. 

If your organization is interested in hiring me to do a presentation for your genealogical or historical society, hereditary organization, family reunion, civic group, church club, or other organization, email me at PaulaStuartWarren at gmail dot com.

I am not raising my fees at least for presentations in the first half of 2023. By return email I will send presentation details, rates, and whether I am available for your chosen date(s). I do individual presentation webinars and also full-day seminars virtually. Extensive handouts are provided for all presentations other than a few of those listed. The wide variety of topics are listed under that Speaking tab.

In the first quarter of 2023 I will be adding a couple new presentation topics under that tab and marking a handful that have been greatly updated for the new year. 




RootsMagic up to 37% off sale

From a recent press release:

“Are you looking for a gift that will really bring the family together? Then give the gift of software that unites families. Save up to 37% on our software, including Personal Historian 3Family Atlas, and RootsMagic 8

Through December 31, 2022, use the code HOLIDAY2022 to receive your discount. There is no limit on the number of discounted copies you can buy during this limited-time offer.” Visit here.





Free webinar about using newspapers on Chronicling America

Chronicling America is a great partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Library of Congress, and state cultural institutions such as state historical societies, state archives, state libraries, and university libraries. The result to date includes over 20 million pages of U.S. newspapers from 1777–1963. This webinar will help with what you can do with these newspapers. From the Library of Congress press release today “Genealogy, teaching with primary sources, citizen history projects, and experiments with artificial intelligence (AI)! Come learn how these free and publicly accessible newspapers can be used for research Tuesday, December 13 at 2pm ET. “

Register for the webinar. 


Holiday gift ideas for family historians and others, including you!

I was thChristmas, Presents, Gifts, Holidayinking about Christmas or Hanukkah gift ideas for family historians. What a change from even two to three decades ago. A box of blank CDs, a roll of film for a camera, or a few blank cassette tapes were great gifts. A paper gift certificate for membership in a genealogical or historical society was nice.

Do you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who might be convinced to work on family history? How about a fellow genealogist who did you a favor? December is a big gift buying time for several holidays. You could print this list and any additions you have and leave it where family members can see it! How nice to receive some f these yourself.

I have a” short” list of 2022 gift ideas. No, I did not check any of other such lists that have appeared online. These are my own ideas.

  1. Gift certificate for new membership or renewal in a genealogical or historical society. Go online to see what is offered for providing gift memberships.
  2. New high-end surge protector power strips. These need to be replaced about every two years or if a power surge or lightning strike has occurred.
  3. Gift card for an office supply store.
  4. Pack of quality pens for taking notes. My latest favorite is the Pilot Precise V7 RT fine point.
  5. Check to see if the person has an online wish list such as those on Amazon.
  6. Gift card for a local bookstore that has history and genealogy materials. None nearby? Everyone needs some kind of book to read for relaxation so a gift card would still be helpful.
  7. Has your pet owner person expressed a wish to go on a genealogy research trip? How about a gift certificate for a week’s worth of pet sitting or watching their home?
  8. Genealogy education never stops. How about paying for a seminar, conference, or institute attendance or a portion of this? I’m a bit partial to the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Even more partial to the Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills course or the Great Lakes course. Both are offered online in June 2023. https://www.gripitt.org/
  9. A couple packages of multi-color file folders.
  10. A box of archival quality file folders. 
  11. Quality chocolate, cookies, or brownies for when any day is rough. Even the already entrenched genealogist has rough and frustrating research days.
  12. Ear buds for listening to music or podcasts.
  13. Gift membership to Ancestry, MyHeritage, Newspapers dot com, Fold3, or another genealogy website. Maybe to Legacy Family Tree Webinars to view almost 2000 genealogy webinars. My affiliate link is http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1739
  14. Larger monitor for easier online reading.
  15. Ergonomic mouse, office chair, or a foot support for short legs.
  16. Fully designed large home office and library. Right?
  17. Do you live in an older neighborhood? Give the neighbor a short history of the city, neighborhood, or of their house. 
  18. Gift a family member a passed-down Christmas tree ornament, menorah, old family photo(s), or other item. Accompany it with a story about the item and associated people. 
  19. Write a story about Great Grandpa’s life. 
  20. Transcribe some old letters to share.
  21. Do some research for that person and provide them with a short report along with copies of records they haven’t seen. Seeing themselves on the 1950 U.S. census, their father on a WW II draft card, grandmother on the 1900 census, grandparents’ marriage, or other record often brings tears.
  22. Gift certificate for a photo reproduction service or to digitize old movies or slides. It’s one way to get them started if they won’t share and maybe feel a bit guilty about not sharing.

Newspapers to the rescue to solve some family timeline issues.

My Cook ancestral family has origins in Dromcolliher (aka Dromcolligher Civil Parish, County Limerick) Ireland. My Great Great Grandfather James Cook (born ca 1837-1839) is still eluding me in the Catholic parish baptisms, but a sibling, John, has been found. Their parents were James Cook and Mary Green,, and John’s godparents were Edmund Green and Helena Green. I know that their sons, my James and his brother Andrew, came to Faribault, Rice County, Minnesota around 1869.  A descendant of Andrew had mentioned Dromcolliher to me many years ago. My James married Catherine (Kate) Moriarty in Ireland. Her mother Ellen came to Faribault with them. That was a surprise to me many years ago as a beginning genealogist. 

My Cook family from Ireland was always in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota! It’s a lesson many of us have had to learn. My James was the father of three sons and five daughters. Son John Thomas Cook was my great grandfather. When James’ son William died in 1899 in Saint Paul, I found a very small funeral notice in the Saint Paul newspaper that said, “Faribault papers please copy.” I asked my Grandma Gertrude (Cook) Hanley what that meant and with hands on her hips, she said “well, that’s where they were from.” All seven of James’ children were born and were baptized in Faribault at Immaculate Conception church, an Irish congregation. 

My next task was to determine when they moved an hour away to the big city of Saint Paul. City directories provided a pretty good timeline and the 1895 state census helped with that. The first year James and some of his children appear in the directory is 1891, but oldest daughter Mary (Minnie) was in the 1890 directory and working at West Publishing Company. They were renters, so property records were not of assistance in this. James was a plasterer as was his son John T. That occupation was helpful in figuring out which James was mine in the directories. Why did they leave Faribault, and could I figure out a more specific time? James’ brother Andrew and his large family stayed in Faribault. Why did only one of them move? A job opportunity? Revisiting my files and adding new research is always smart.

Searching for a James Cook in the Saint Paul newspapers isn’t easy due to the common name. The Minnesota Historical Society has digitized some newspapers from around the state. I did some checking for family mentions in those for Faribault but didn’t get a sense of when they moved. THEN I saw a Northfield News link. Northfield is in the same county. I may have found a reason they moved and why I have so little family memorabilia. I need to continue reading land records from Rice County.


Northfield News, 19 April 1890, Page 1, column 7. https://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/hub

Grandma also said Grandma Gert also said the family came from County Cork. Guess what county Dromcolliher borders? More research to do.


National Endowment for the Humanities timely initiative

A recent press release from the National Endowment for the Humanities addresses part of what some colleagues and I were discussing today. The education component is vital.

The first two paragraphs of the announcement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo), Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), today announced a new NEH-wide initiative that draws upon the humanities to help Americans study, evaluate, and respond to some of the nation’s most urgent issues.

Today we face some of our greatest challenges as a country: among them, sustaining our democratic institutions, building a more just and equitable society, and preparing for and protecting our cultural inheritance from the effects of climate change. NEH’s new special initiative, American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present, and Future, will leverage the humanities to strengthen our democracy, advance equity for all, and address our changing climate.

To read the full announcement check here



50% off for new Legacy Family Tree webinar memberships!

You know you need this! A New Webinar Membership with “24/7 access to 1,800+ full-length genealogy classes PLUS all 7,000+ pages of instructors’ handouts. Just $49.95 $24.98 (new memberships only).” Legacy Family Tree Webinars is offering this deal for new memberships from now through December 2, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. MT.

Order now, for 50% off!   This also helps support this blog.