October 1, 2021
Whoever would have thought that we’d have nearly two years when we could not hold physical meetings and see each other? It boggles the mind. But the coronavirus still poses severe threats to us and we can’t predict when it won’t. For the time being, we are going to continue to bring speakers to you by Zoom. That has turned out to be really rewarding — something we didn’t expect — because Zoom allowed us to feature experts from many national and international locations.
We get as many participants at Zoom meetings as we did at in-person meetings.
But we miss your smiling faces!
The future holds hybrid programming . . . some in-person meetings, perhaps mostly social . . . and Zoom meetings that allow us to reach out to non-local speakers. Covid continues to change . . . most everything.
Saengerrunde’s Austin Oktoberfest 2021 has been cancelled. But. . . the German-Texas Society’s Oktoberfest is happening on Oct. 9! For details, go here.
Judy Russell is the seminar speaker at the South Orange County California Genealogical Society on Oct. 16 on four topics:
- Living with Legal Lingo
- Dower and Dowry: Women, Property & Legal Records
- The Year of the Copyright (Picture This! Images We Can Freely Share)
- A Matter of Standards: DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard
Registration for the day is $30 and includes access to six months of speakers. Registration is here.
Scotland Census Records from 1841 to 1901 are now online at MyHeritage. There’s a collection for each year of the census, totaling 24 million records altogether.
Diahan Southard and Thomas MacEntee are live speakers at MyHeritage Facebook on Oct. 4 and Oct. 25.
Michelle Leonard, our September speaker, has a free webinar on “Top Ten DNA Do’s and Don’ts” live on Legacy Family Tree Webinars coming up at 1 p.m. Dec. 1. Go to Upcoming Webinars on the top menu bar and search for Michelle to get to registration. (She has more than one webinar, too)
American Ancestors, by NEHGS, is sponsoring a Family History Library Research Tour in Salt Lake City the second week of November. Single cost is $1,575 (members), including hotel (six nights), tour of collections, lectures, consultations, group meals and preparatory resources. Check it out here.
You can get gravestone cleaning tips at BillionGraves blog here. Buy the right cleaning kit and solution at their store.
300 Years of American Quilts is a slideshow in person and by Zoom, presented by New Jersey’s Ridgewood Public Library at 1 p.m. Oct. 2. Yep, tomorrow. Bet they’ll have a video, though. Register here.
Explore the Confederate Slave Payrolls at the National Archives. The series shines a light on the work of Confederate slaves who were leased to the southern military during the Civil War. Their wages went to their holders.
September 14, 2021
The National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a burial database on its website. The National Gravesite Locater is updated daily, allows you to search for the graves of military veterans and their family members buried in a VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, as well as private cemeteries where the veteran’s grave is marked with a government grave marker. Search here.
The Weekly Genealogist Survey shows that 60 percent of us have no memory of any of our great-grandparents. Half of mine were overseas, so, duh.
The Dallas Genealogical Society is holding its 2021 virtually, on Oct. 23. David Allen Lambert, chief genealogist of New England Historic Genealogy, will be talking about “Maine to Virginia, finding your Colonial Ancestors. Recordings will be available for two weeks following. Early bird registration up to Oct. 3. Check it out here.
The Texas Czech Genealogical Society (TCGS) is holding its 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Sept 25 with all-day festivities in Caldwell (about 90 miles). More info. Click on events.
Legacy Family Tree Webinars is posting 30 live and recorded free webinars on Fridays this month. The entire list and registration is here. Their website has been updated, too! Speakers include Roberta Estes, Daniel Horowitz, Craig Scott, Thomas MacEntee and Judy Russell.
We are Cousins 2nd annual virtual conference starts tonight at this link. It’s a skill-building conference that also focuses on Texas Tejano research.
Virtual Learning with the DNA Geek . . . that would be Dr. Leah Larkin, with American and international guests. Two (repeated) sessions are scheduled for Sept. 29 (a Wednesday). Leah herself gives the first lecture on “From Madness to Method: Making Sense of Your DNA Results.” Cost is $20 for each lecture. Tickets are here.
MyHeritage is never shy about promoting its newest features. The latest is Newspaper Name Index, USA and Canada, and Scotland Census, 1841–1901, adding nearly one billion names to their records.
September 1, 2021
Links from Diahan. If you enjoyed Diahan Southard at our summer seminar on the 28th, she has graciously sent links you might be interested in:
AncestryDNA, Timber algorithm and longest shared segment
Phasing and why DNA ethnicity varies in families
. . . and links to two free downloads:
The TXSGS 2021 Family History Conference focuses on Connecting Generations. It’s virtual, Oct. 1 and 2, with 10 online speakers, including Mark Lowe. Plus, an additional 30 pre-recorded will be available through the end of the year. Altogether, 40 sessions you can access for three months. Early bird registration ends Tuesday.
GenTeamEU is a free European site with a variety of databases created by genealogists who are sharing with other genealogists at www.GenTeam.eu. The geographic center is Austria and surrounding countries.
Do you know about Conference Keeper? It’s an up-to-date collection of online genealogical events sorted by location, type and dates. It also has contests, calls for papers and volunteer opportunities. For example, Utah Genealogical Association’s Annual Virtual Conference, the Polish Genealogical Society of American 2021 Conference, and so many more.
We try to review it every month but there are so many entries and options, you really need to check it out for yourself at conference keeper.org.
Don’t forget We are Cousins, a virtual conference Sept. 15-17, which focuses on genealogical skill building related to South Texas and Northeastern Mexico. Register at wacconference.com.
Challenge yourself with a contest that awards the winner with a weekend in New York or London, with spending money. It’s What Happened to Great-Uncle George, a genealogy whodunit from VividPix. You’ll be working through chapters and emails with clues, and of course, learning about their photo restoration software. At least they have a sense of humor about it. Vivid-Pix.com. Their software works on documents, too.
The Weekly Genealogist from American Ancestors reports from a reader survey that 65 percent of respondents had at least once ancestor with seven to nine children. It gets better, though. Eight percent had at least one ancestor with 20 or more children. Who took those kids to Little League practice?
Find My Past has millions of free records to access, including passenger lists and travel records, a million newspaper pages from 1720 to 1880. They’ve got free learning options on YouTube as well.
Ancestry has launched an indexed record set of the contents of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen’s Bureau), which covers just about everyone who lived in the South right after the Civil War. The set is free at http://www.ancestry.com/Freedmens. There’s an introductory video by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Last, because you might cry, two videos of people whose lives changed with DNA discoveries. Thanks to Pat Murphree.
August 15, 2021
The 2020 census is out, but of course you won’t get a look at it for another 70 years. It offers some interesting conclusions, however. We’ve grown 7.4 percent in the last 10 years, for a total population of 331 million, but it’s the slowest growth since the Great Depression. Hispanic growth counts for most of it. Hispanics now make up 18.7 percent of the population. Asian Americans grew faster though, accounting for 8.5 percent of the population.Essentially, America is growing more diverse . . . and more urban. Cities grew fastest and small towns tended to lose population. One expert called the 2020 census “a hot mess.”
Jobs. There’s an opening for a genealogist in Hawaii . . . and a few other places.
Hispanic Genealogy is front and center at the We Are Cousins Conference (virtual) Sept. 15, 16 and 17. All 25 presentations are recorded and available for two months. Register here. There’s a lot of “getting started” knowledge there, as well.
Find My Past and the British Archives have made a million newspaper pages free to search here, with the goal of making another 2.7 million available in the next couple of years. Of course, they have millions more . . . they’d love to have you subscribe to.
Legacy Family Tree Webinars has a weekly (Friday) virtual conference throughout September. They’re calling it Webtember. Presentations by some of your favorite genealogy experts are on tap live, with recordings available through the end of the month. FREE. Register here.
Mark Lowe headlines the annual Texas State Genealogical Society Family History Conference, Oct. 1 and 2, with nine other experts. He’ll talk about “Locating the Wanderer.” TxSGS is also making another 30-plus sessions available by recording as part of the this annual conference. Virtual, of course, with a virtual expo hall! There’s a wide variety of options here.
July 20, 2021
With Coronavirus cases in Texas up 133 percent today and cases in Travis County up 166 percent, we’re taking a longer view of safety for our members. We are now certain that we will not have a live meeting until at least March, 2022. We all wish it could be different, and we miss seeing our fellow members, but we don’t want to risk anyone’s life.
If you’re thinking about redoing some of the genealogy you did as a “baby” genealogist, you might want Thomas MacEntee’s free ebook— Genealogy Do-Over Workbook — to get you started.
The Oakwood Cemetery Chapel has an exhibit named “To Serve” which looks at Texans’ long history of military service, including more than 3,500 known veterans in Austin city cemeteries. Some of the veterans served in as many as three major conflicts. The exhibit is a collaboration with Save Austin’s Cemeteries. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Oakwood Cemetery Chapel and Cemetery Operations are looking for volunteers to walk the cemeteries and use a phone app to geolocate veteran headstones on specific days. Using the GNSS markers, headstones can be pinpointed to within one foot of
attitude and longitude points. Email email@example.com.
Family History Fanatics (Andy and Devon Noel Lee) is holding a one-day seminar Saturday, Aug. 21, hosted by the Genealogical Society of Kendall County. Live and streaming. Click here to register. $55 for non-members live. $20 streaming.
Registration is open for the Texas State Genealogical Society annual family history conference. This year, it’s Connecting Generations, Oct. 1 and 2, and it’s virtual.
There will be 10 presentations by top genealogy speakers, which will be recorded and available through the end of the year. Those 10 will be combined with an additional 30 video lectures, also available through the end of the year. Multiple packages. Speaker information at TxSGS. You can find registration there, too. Mark Lowe headlines.
The Texas Czech Genealogical Society (TCGS) celebrates its 20th anniversary with a live event on Saturday, Sept. 25. Event information here.
IGHR (Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research) has a free virtual one-day expo featuring Family Search experts on Family Search searches. Live (in Georgia) and streaming. You must register for the Zoom links.
June 3, 2021
conferencekeeper.org is a new site that tracks genealogy events online, by location (including international). Includes a grants and scholarships page, genealogical education programs, volunteer opportunities, conferences and calendars, even a page of genealogy job openings (which mostly aren’t genealogy). In other words, a jewel. Sort of a Cyndi’s List of events.
YouTube has posted a lecture from David Lambert, chief genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, on research on ancestors who live in 1600’s New England. It’s at www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6MW7W9LpFI and is sponsored by the DAR. Look for other lectures in the DAR Genealogical Lecture Series. Free.
MyHeritage has developed a new filtering option on its DNA Matches page that shows only member of a Genetic Group (of which there are 2,114). Lets you pinpoint locations to winnow down matches. And their latest photo toolbox algorithm is Photo Repair, which erases photo damage. Try it out free for limited use.
Clayton Library is now open for in-person research, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also get help and lookups with a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lone Star Slavery Project is looking for volunteers for a projected research project, collecting records for enslaved Texas. Email email@example.com, Kyle Ainsworth.
The National Archives has more than 3,000 reports on escalate and evasion activities of US soldiers serving in Europe in WWII. There’s a new transcription mission for volunteer citizen archivists at https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/missions?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wwii-ee-may2021. Volunteers are also needed for other projects, including African American History.
Leah Larkin at the The DNA Geek reports that Ancestry now has more than 20 million tested people in their DNA database. 23andMe has sold more than 12 million kits. MyHeritage has nearly five million people in their database.
The Texas State Historical Association is providing its TexasAlmanac 2020-2021 free at
https://join.tshaonline.org/ebook-offers/texas-almanac/2020-2021/ Scroll down the page.
The 41st annual Hispanic Genealogical Conference will be at South Padre Island Oct. 14 – 16. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/events/4173394736016510.
Looking for the best genealogical websites? Family Tree Magazine has just come out with a list of 101 Best Websites for 2021. Many will be familiar.
May 19, 2021
It’s been nearly 15 months since we stopped having live meetings, and to all of our surprise, we have more members and friends coming to Zoom meetings than we did to in-person meetings. Easier than driving. Still, we miss the camaraderie of live meetings. Plus, we can videotape the Zoom meetings and post them behind the member wall, if speakers agree (they generally do).
The thinking of the board is this: we miss our genealogy friends. We find it easy to participate via Zoom (and if you’re having trouble, contact Karen or me). Two truths. Contradictory. So we’re going to experiment with having both kinds of meetings, just not at the same time. Starting at the end of the year, assuming that immunity grows, we’ll schedule two Zoom meetings in a quarter, and one in-person event, yet to be determined. If you have thoughts, let us know. The advantage of Zoom, other than not driving in Austin traffic, is that we can get a greater variety of speakers and subjects.
The advantage of in-person meetings is that we can be with each other. We’ll let you know more as plans develop, but as of the moment, we’re on Zoom for the rest of this year.
Yes, there are still website kinks. Not too many, though. The disappearance of our new site was due to malware, our developer discovered as we were rebuilding. Some of us are adding more security to our home computers, which you might want to consider.
Using DNA, researchers have identified the remains of a sailor who disappeared in the Arctic 176 years ago. nytimes.com/2021/05/05/science/hms-erebus-sailor.html.
Identifiers International has cases coming in every day and is actively recruiting experienced genetic genealogy independent contractors to collaborate with law enforcement in solving cases. Best way to reach them is on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/identifinders.
If you’re doing Canadian research, the Archives of Ontario just announced that thousands of their archived microfilms are now digitized on Family Search. Check it out at http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/access/digitized_microfilm_collections_on_familysearch.aspx
The Texas Oral History Association is asking folks who are interested in oral history research to submit proposals for papers and presentations at their 10th annual conference Sept. 24 -25 in San Antonio. Inquiries and proposals should be emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brigham Young University and its famed Family History Library has a collection of short (5 to 10 minute) videos to help people who are just getting started in genealogy. If you know someone who wants to dip their toes in the genealogy waters, you might refer them to https://fh.lib.byu.edu/classes-and-webinars/basic-tutorials/. There are lots of options for more experienced genealogists there, too.
TxGenWeb is celebrating its 25th anniversary and its annual seminar on May 22 is open and free. Virtual. Get more information by mailing email@example.com.
The Second Annual We Are Cousins Conference (virtual) is Sept. 15 – 17, with early registrations ending May 31. The conference will appeal to general education needs with an emphasis on southwest Texas/Hispanic genealogy. 24 speakers are already scheduled. For more information, https://wacconference.com/speakers/. If you’re looking for Spanish military orders and their detailed records (Order of Santiago), go here: https://mexicangenealogy.info/records-of-the-order-of-santiago-1501-1799/
May 3, 2021
We’re loading the last changes to the second version of website, and the membership section is working. Because we’ve had to redo the site, there are a few items that aren’t perfect yet. You probably won’t notice them. But you might.
The membership list has been recreated (thank you Karen!), and you can now log in if you’re a member. You can use your-last-used password, or change it. If you have any problems with it, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Betty Fowler and Dee Sanchez won the two Jean and John Marostica Scholarships to attend this year’s session of the Texas Institute for Genealogical Research, which will be meeting virtually June 13-18. Congratulations! The scholarships were created after the passing of both Jean and John in recognition of their separate and joint contributions and commitments to AGS.
Texas State Library and Archives
Archivists and librarians hold 20 minute Zoom webinars every month, open to the public. Check out their schedule at TSL.Texas.Gov. While you’re at it, take a look at their impressive Genealogy Resources section.
Future proofing Your Genealogy Research . . .
. . . an ebook by May’s speaker Thomas McEntee is available free at his website, genealogybargains.com.
Forensic genealogy identifies three murder victims
The story of how investigators identified three young victim from 1983 and 1988 using DNA, and how investigators across the country are revisiting unsolved crimes. Article features (among others) Kevin Lord, our speaker last year.
National Archives Genealogy Series
To replace its 2020 Virtual Genealogy Fair — another Covid cancellation, the National Archives is producing a genealogy series throughout May and June via YouTube. The series will focus on tools for getting to federal records. No reservations required. May sessions are broad; June sessions are more focused. Videos will be posted with presentation materials after the broadcasts.
The first session on preserving digital material is scheduled for this Tuesday (the 4th)
at 1 p.m. ET. You can get the rest of the schedule at https://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.
Missing 1890 Census and Substitute Records
Genealogist Lisa Louise Cook presents a 45-minute video and an extensive list of ways to cope with the missing census and replacement resources at https://lisalouisecooke.com/2021/04/27/1890-census-substitute-records-guide/
Most of the regular players are offering reduced prices on Mothers Day DNA kits.
April 26, 2021
Don’t forget that outstanding speaker Thomas McEntee will be talking by Zoom May 25 on Utilizing Social Networks for Genealogical Research.
DNA Day is Saturday!!!!! Most purveyors of DNA are having sales.
In honor of DNA Day, Diahan Southard and Nathan Dylan Goodwin, author of the Chester Creek Murders, will be on Zoom this Saturday at 1 p.m. CST talking about using the same sleuthing skills for finding murderers and ancestors. 1,000 can join the live webinar but anyone who registers ahead of time can get a link to the video. Goodwin has a forensic genealogy series on Amazon.
TSLAC (Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a Zoom webinar once a month. This Friday: Locating County Records. Check their site for registration.
The Round Rock Library has Fold3 and newspapers.com for home use. All you need is a free Round Rock Library card, Betty Jean Steinke reports.
Seattle won a lawsuit against the federal government, keeping the Archives in their building. The feds wanted the land for real estate.
MyHeritage is offering free access to all birth records on their site until April 24.
April 4, 2021
When it rains, it pours. Right after we discovered that our website hosting company had lost our entire new website, another website glitch appeared and our members were notified that they were no longer members. That was wrong. An error.
A big error of unknown causes, although we think it had something to do with the software deciding that old data just wasn’t real anymore.
We do have a new hosting company and are putting the new website back together. Not surprisingly, it’s complex. Our highest priority is making sure that the membership software is working. A couple of people have been able to log in and join, but there’s editing to do everywhere. On the membership page, it still says 2020, for example. Thank you for hanging in with us.
Fold3 — the Ancestry-owned military database — is offering a 25 percent reduction on its annual membership, reduced to $59.95. No word on how long it will be available.
We continue to be big fans of the Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Here’s their top 10 March webinars, with links:
FamilySearch.org – 10 Links You Have to Try by Devin Ashby
British Genealogy Online: The Top English & Welsh Family History Websites by Rick Crume
An Introduction to DNA Painter by Jonny Perl
Polish genealogy online – portals and databases by Kinga Urbańska
‘What are the Odds?’ An online tool that can help solve DNA puzzles by Jonny Perl
Why are Parent/Sibling DNA Comparisons so Confusing? (TechZone) by Michelle Leonard
How to locate an ancestor in Ontario, Canada West or Upper Canada (when you don’t know where they lived) by Janice Nickerson
Researching Ancestral Locations in Prussian Genealogy Records by Nancy E. Loe, MA, MLS
Four ways DNA Painter can help with your family history research by Jonny Perl
Reporting on Research: Standards Encourage Better Communication by Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL
The 1950 Census is coming. It will be released on April 1 of next year. How can you maximize your research? You can help with transcriptions at the National Archives or Ancestry, and other genealogical sites.
Member Gayle Boyce sent us a cheat sheet on using Family Search she got from another meeting. There are bound to be new items on it (attached here)
If you’re interested in the family histories, memoirs and genealogies at the German Texas Heritage Society, board member Margo Blevins at their office would like to hear from you about how they can make those properties more accessible.