Working with Photographs and Slides for Genealogy
John Kuhns presented a slideshow of his presentation which is available in the Members section of this website. He covered tintypes which present unique problems. When working with color photos they can be manipulated by changing hue, contrast, brightness and focus to mention a few. He said newspaper photos are the worst to work with because of poor quality. He also talked about repairing damage. He suggested scanning at the highest resolution possible when working with slides and to leave the scanner lid open when scanning them. Enlarging photos may give you some detail in terms of date or occupation, but also crop to include just the people. He also mentioned the formats in which the photo is stored, such as, BMP and JPEG. The Adobe Photoshop software has a wealth of tools but is expensive. Many in the group suggested Photoshop Elements which has the tools we are most likely to use. Be sure to see the whole presentation for additional information.
Social Media & A Search Engine: Genealogy Tools for the 21st Century
Tracy Keeney took us on a fascinating journey hunting for scarce and sometimes non-existent records of her Armenian family history. At the beginning of World War I, the Russians and the Turks were enemies. The Armenians were looked on with suspicion the by Turkish government. That was followed by wholesale massacre of able bodied men and the forced march through the desert of their women, children and elderly. The traditional searches through Ancestry and Family Search revealed little. So Tracy started using social media to find living relatives. She would search white pages to find names that were Armenian and contacted them. She did the same searching on Facebook and used Messenger to contact individuals. She gradually got a national group started on Facebook and received even more information. Eventually, she was able to identify the people in a family photo her mother had and even found one source that had a hand drawn map of her ancient village labeled with the family name of those that lived in the various homes. Her handout in the members section gives the social media she used plus some tips for effective searching and communication.
It's Your Turn
John and Carol Kuhns provided an excellent planning session for members to think about what programs they were intersted in for the coming year. There were two groups and we lined the walls with our suggestions. A spirited discussion lead to many creative ideas.
Using Newspapers to Tell and Write a Life Story
Using the story of her family and incidents that were not talked about, Mary Celest was able to use the local newspaper to unravel the mystery
. Small town newspapers are often gold mines in terms of details and one doesn’t need to be famous or important to get in the paper. More and more papers are becoming digitized which makes them much easier to search than looking through microfilms. Sometimes the information is inaccurate so it is important to have other collaborating documents. Her handout (in the members section) lists many newspaper sites, magazine articles on newspaper searching as well as books. In addition she added several tips and cautions for your newspaper search.
Book Publishing at Woodneath Library near Liberty, Missouri
For the March meeting we traveled to the Woodneath Library branch of Mid-Continent Library system. Dave Burns, our speaker, is the Press Manager for Mid-Continent Public Library’s Story Center department located at Woodneath. He introduced us to the Express Book Machine which can print a book between 40 and 800 pages in 5 to 7 minutes. If you want more than 10 copies, it will take longer. The cost is $10 per book plus $0.05 per page plus sales tax of 9.1%. The cost of a 50 page book would be $13.64. Your text must be already formatted. Bring the text file in Adobe PDF and a separate cover file in PDF on a flash drive. The cover can be in color, but the text is in black and white. What they cannot do is bind loose-leaf pages, include color illustrations or print copyrighted material. There is a very helpful pamphlet available for free from the library called, “An Introduction to Printing with the Expresso Book Machine.” There are 59 EBMs in the world, 30 in the United States, and only 7 in public libraries. Call for an appointment.
Capturing History Now
by Beth Foulk
The focus of Beth’s presentation was current and more recent family history. The current history includes interviews with living relatives (come prepared with questions and don’t go over an hour), newspaper clippings (wedding announcements, obituaries, graduation events, military news, etc.), church bulletins and newspapers, alma mater publications, Christmas letters and special thank you notes. Legacy.com can help you search for obits (free), but to get the clipping you may have to pay a fee. Government documents, such as, birth, marriage and death certificates are usually only available to the person if still living or the immediate family if recently deceased. Don’t overlook personal records, such as, resumes, passports and driver’s licenses. To store these items purchase an acid free box. Then digitized them.
An Adoptee Journey thru DNA for TRUTH
Carolyn Pooler was adopted as an infant. From an early age, she longed to know the truth about her biological family and to find them. She attended her first support group related to adoption in 1995. She did her first DNA with 23 and Me in 2011, then FTDNA in 2013 and finally in 2015 she did Ancestry DNA. Along the line she discovered a nephew who was also adopted and hunting for his family. She has worked hard with a group to get Missouri to issue birth certificates for adoptees. This year they became available. Her advice to those searching is to research the adoption laws in the state of adoption to see what your options are. She eventually discovered both parents who were deceased by that time, but found aunts and even a grandmother and her siblings.
Beginning Mistakes by Beth Foulk
With so many on-line genealogy trees, it seems so easy to pluck the information you want and build your tree quickly. The problem is that you don’t know how accurate that information is. It is best to start with the information you know and to document your way to finding your ancestors. It helps to list their siblings so that you can decide if a date or place seems out of order. Don’t skip a generation. It is important to find as many original sources as you can. Summaries and indexes are helpful, but sometimes there is information in the original that is crucial to your search. Beth emphasizes FANS which stands for Family/Friends, Associates and Neighbors. All can be clues to relationships and origins. Did a lot of friends from Uncle Joe’s home village migrate to the same U.S. city? Here are some other resources to explore: microfilms, city directories, histories (county and personal), diaries and living family members.
How the Genealogy Community Benefits from the LDS Beliefs about Family
Lauri Jean Swett is a professional genealogist who currently volunteers at the Platte City Family History Center. Her presentation explained what the LDS Church (Latter Day Saints) offers the genealogy community. The church has filmed vital records all over the world. They do not own the records; so the owner determines how they will be used. Some say that everyone can have free access to them. Others restrict them to the Family History Libraries. Others restrict them further to just the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. And some are simply not available to the public. Many are free. The Church is in the process of digitizing its microfilms and those will be brought on line as they are done. The Church hosts FamilySearch.com where unlimited photos and documents can be attached to your ancestor’s profile. It is a public family tree where others can add information to your family. The Church also hosts Roots Tech in Salt Lake City usually in February. They also host the local Genealogy KC held in the fall. They are currently helping the Midwest Genealogy Center digitize their books.
To DNA or Not to DNA, That Is the Question
Before submitting a DNA sample, one needs to ask what you want to determine. Those questions can be, “What is my ethnic heritage? Do I have cousins that I don’t know about? Is my sibling a full or half-brother/sister?” Further questions may arise once the sample has been processed: Why don’t I match the DNA with those who have the same last name? Sharlene Miller presented a wealth of information on DNA and fielded many questions from the group assembled. One of the helpful pieces of her material was a comparison of various DNA testing sites: Ancestry, 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA, My Heritage and Living DNA. Her presentation is in the Members Only section.
Missouri State Archives
by Christina Miller
Christina Miller is the Senior Reference Archivist at the Missouri State Archives. She has a wealth of information about the Archives. In her presentation she gave examples of some of their collection. If you are interested in a former govenor, there is a collection from 1836-1889 and 1964-2008. There are county records which include deeds, marriages and court records. Additions to that collection are made on a regular basis. There is a searchable Land Patents database. There are some military records, including the Civil War. If you can't find a relative for a period of time, you might want to search their penitentiary records. There are mug shots. There is a pre-1910 birth and death database that you can search. The death certificate database contains scanned copies of the certificate from 1910 to 1966. Each year they add another year which takes three or four months to get on-line. For the complete presentation, go to our Members section, log in, select secure download, handouts, Missouri State Archives (p. 2).
by Kathleen Brandt
You begin tracing your ancestor’s migratory path by beginning where they eventually settled and moving backwards. Census records give locations and relationships. County histories often give a biography of early pioneers. Land records locate the ancestor in a specific place. Diaries tell of movements. Wills give the location of each inheritor. Marriage records tell where the couple married and sometimes who their parents were. Newspapers, especially in small communities, can give interesting details about the ancestor you are researching. There are some of the tools to help you determine the migratory path.
March and April Meetings were cancelled dued to conflicts and room availability.
Genealogy through Google Earth, Part II
Erik Stitt expanded on his November presentation to our society. He uses Google Earth Pro which is a free download. He showed us how to pinpoint a grave site by using GPS coordinates. You can do that with a smart phone by standing at the gravesite or by using Google Earth to pinpoint the grave and then recording those coordinates. He uses different colored markers to indicate whether the grave is in direct line or a colateral (aunts, uncles). The marker can have the name of the individual and other information, such as, a picture. The other feature he used was to place a digital image of an old township map for the current Google Earth area and line them up. The old maps may contain cemeteries that are not on newer maps. Pick three different points that are likely not to have changed and mark them (railroad tracks, major sections lines, current cemeteries, structures that still exist). Then adjust your map to fit those boundaries. Township maps can be found on-line. Townships were the geographical areas of a county. There was much more that he covered that could only be explained by seeing him demonstrate it on the screen. It is amazing what one can do with Google Earth.
“Hats Off to Our Ancestors: A Light-Hearted Look at Lineage Societies
Our Vice-President, Mary Celeste, took us through a host of lineage societies by donning a hat for each one. We normally think of the DAR or the SAR, but Mary found dozens more and said she only scratched the surface. Most likely, you would be eligible for some kind of lineage society. There are ones for Civil War soldiers, pioneers, ethnic (Irish, English, Welsh, German, Polish, etc.), for those who fought in the Alamo and many others. The list is endless.