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.
Genealogy through Google Earth: Part I
Our presenter, Eric Stitt, gave us an overview of how one could use Google Earth to enhance family history. In one instance he was abl
e to map cemeteries and individual grave sites in an area in Kansas where his ancestors are buried. Using GPS coordinates, it is much easier to locate a particular grave on your cell phone when going to the cemetery. The other example was the combat record of one of his grandfather's during WWII. He traces the bombing runs from England to the city in Germany the squadron was attacking and shows the planes in motion giving the time of take off and when the boms were dropped. It is quite an amzing presentation. His handout, "My Google Earth Toolbox" lists several websites he uses. The sheet is found in the Members section.
Publishing Your Family History
Given the amount of time and effort that is put into researching one's family, preserving that information for future generations and making it available to the current generation is important. Eric Wells emphasized digitization. This is something anyone can do with a scanner. If you have a lot of documents and pictures, you may want to send it out to save time. He recommended one company that he has used. Once scanned, photos may need some editing. The older Picasa program is still available and is free. For more heavy duty editing he recommended Gimp which is also free. Photographing heirlooms is enhanced by using a light box. The one he brought collapsed into an easily carried item. He recommended several on-line sites for organizing and laying out what one wants to print. His finished products were displayed. They were
pieces of art. The handout and pictures of his ancester charts and his published book are available in the Members section of this website.
Lori Cox-Paul from the National Archives was our presenter. She gave a compreshensive overview of the Archives holdings and demonstrations on how to best use the web site. To give you an idea of the extent of their holdings, papers laid end to end would circle the Earth 57 times. The holdings grow by 1.4 billion pages per year. The website is divided into five major sections: Research Our Records, Veterans' Service Records, Teachers' Resources, Our Locations and Shop On-line. It is not set up like Ancestry or Family Search. You cannot go directly to a digitized image. The files are arranged in this order: Record Group, Creator, Series, File Unit and Item. Her example was this: Record Group 566, Records of US. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Creator: Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service; Series, Alien Case Files, 1944-2003; File Unit Alien Case File for Angelo Laferla; Item: Alien Registration Form. Her PowerPoint is posted on our Members Only section. The Archives are very willing to help you. In many instances, you can email them for help. They are open Monday-Friday From 8 to 4.
Sharlene Miller from the Missouri State Genealogy Society gave an overview of the Society and the benefits of membership. Her presentation is in the secure download section of the website at the bottom of the page. The Society produces a newsletter and a journal four times a year. It has a collection of four-generation pedigree charts of members. Members seeking information may submit it to their publications. They also provide grants to Missouri genealogy societies for projects. There is a "Missouri First Family" project where individuals can submit their ancestral research to the society for safe-keeping and to be made available to the public.
Genealogy Gig - Ins, Outs and Secrets of Media Research
How do they do it? The TV genealogy shows are engaging, factual and entertaining. From the beginning to the end, 60 minute segments tell the story - the family hiSTORY. The viewer is dismayed as they travel with celebrities through shock, sadness and life events. There’s fame, fortune, and heroism neatly packaged in 60 minutes. How can you uncover these stories for your family history? Genealogy Gig - Ins, Outs and Secrets of Media Research reveals a few tips, hints, and processes that may jump start your own “Family History Episode.”
You can see Kathleen's work on TLC and NBC: Who Do You Think You Are? with Tim McGraw (appears on episode), Reba McEntire, Ashley Judd, and Chris O'Donnell, 2014 on the Cynthia Nixon episode; and 2015 episode Ginnifer Goodwin . She is also a researcher with PBS: Finding Your Roots; a guest interviewer for CCTV Biz Asia; and a freelance writer for AARP and Jet Magazine. She's a celebrated Keynote Speaker and is referenced in Genealogy Online for Dummies
, 7th Edition, 2014. She compiled and authored Colored Marriages of Saline County, MO. 1865-1870,
published April 2014. Military Research Tips
is scheduled to be published Dec. 2016.
Native American Genealogy
by Edmund McNack
Mr. McNack gave a wonderful overview of Native American Geneaology by using his ancestry files to demonstrate research techniques. He mentioned, in particular, the Dawes Roll which is available on the Oklahoma Historical Society website. He also mentioned the Dunn's Roll. As with any research, be flexible with the spelling of the last name. In those times it was easy to change identity. The tribes accepted who you said you were. In addition the Creeks on the Trail of Tears had a policy of not leaving anyone behind; so if there was anyone stranded on their trail without family, they brought them with them whether Native or not. When using the U.S. census records, under the "race" column there sometimes appears "Neg." That means the census taker did not necessarily agree with the persons declaration of race. In those years it was easier to be an African American than a Native American. Some Native American's chose slavery in order to survive. The Mid-Continent genealogy library has the taped interviews of persons on the Dawes Roll.
Genealogy Software and Tools
Mary Celeste and Deb Kaiser led a lively discussion on the genealogy software and tools that members use in their genealoigical research. For each item discussed, we listed positives and negatives. The list included Ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, Facebook, Wikitree, StoryWorth, FindAGrave, podcasts, e-learning sites, blogs and other information and sites. Elna Cox shared a list of helpful websites. The results are posted in the Members Only section of our website. The two items are listed as Genealogy Software and Tools and Genealogy Software and Tools: Websites. There was a lot of helpful information that members shared at the meeting. Deb Kaiser is pictured on the left.
Preserving and Sharing Your Family History
Mary Celeste, our vice president, developed an outline of this topic that included four major sections: Stories, Preserving Your Research, Photos and Technology. Beverly Whitacker addressed the importance of family stories that give flavor and color to one's family history. Fee-based programs, such as,StoryWorth can be the impetus to help you write your own story and HistoryLines gives you templates for organizing into story form the information you have on your ancestor (s). She also spoke about family websites and blogs that can be used to share the stories. Robert Bee addressed the issue of your paper files and who will inherit them. Mary Celeste spoke about photographs and heirlooms that could be the source of one or more stories. In distributing our collection to heirs and/or institutions, keep in mind if just a fork or a cup will be of much value rather than the whole set of china or silverware. John Kuhns addressed the issue of technology. If you save information of CDs, DVDs or flash drives, keep in mind that they evenually deteriorate. Remember also that you will need a program to open those files. Many felt that storing our information in "the cloud" was the safest approach.
For more information on each section, see the outline in the Members Section under "Preserving and Sharing Your Family History."