29 November 2012

Yiddish Goes Digital (with a Little Help from Its Friends)

Crowdsourcing Project Will Create Transatlantic Labor History Archive

Do you know Yiddish? An innovative new project is seeking Yiddish-speakers to help create an archive of journals and newspapers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Participants in the project simply register, select a journal and type translations into a text box. Perfect translations are not required; an overall sense of the documents and the content is more important.

After pages are digitized and translated, they are available — free and completely searchable — on the project’s wiki. Recently translated passages show up right next to their scanned pages. Read the full announcement from Cornell University.

08 November 2012

Irish Immigrants Before, During and After the Famine by Paul Milner
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
November 19, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

10 October 2012

Happy Birthday, MaryAnn!

You've probably heard about the Chicago Fire of 1871, but did you know the Peshtigo Fire started the same day? Peshtigo didn't get the same press -- being in northern Wisconsin and Michigan -- even though it was the worst recorded forest fire in North American history, taking between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. You can see on this map of the fire area that Green Bay, Wisconsin, is just south of the damaged area. 

Shortly after the 1870 census was recorded, Jan and Eva Piotrowska Janusz settled in Green Bay. On October 10, while the woods burned, their third child, Mary Ann, was born. (It would be more than a year later, on 2 Nov 1872, that her birth was recorded in the state records in Madison.)

Tragedy struck again on 26 January 1873 when Jan Janusz died. The death was entered in the state records on 31 Dec 1874 but no cause of death was listed. An illness? A farming or logging accident? Or the lingering effects from the smoke and ash endured 15 months earlier?

With 3 young children, Eva remarried in June 1873 and had 6 more children in the next 12 years with her second husband, Joseph Kroll. Still young at 53, Eva passed away 29 December 1901.

Martin Janusz, probably a brother of Jan's, lived in Milwaukee. Perhaps while visiting relatives, MaryAnn met Pawel Paprocki. They were married in Milwaukee the day after MaryAnn turned 21 — on 11 October 1892. Apparently, it was a love match. MaryAnn and Pawel had 12 children in the next 20 years.

MaryAnn's last child was born 11 October 1912 and named Paul Jr. Sadly, complications during the birth caused excessive bleeding and MaryAnn, at the much too young age of 41, passed away on 19 Oct 1912.  She left 12 children who gave her 73 grandchildren (that I've identified so far).

I'm thrilled that I can introduce my grandchildren to their great-great-great grandmother, and that together we can speculate about the inbetween spaces of her life. 


Happy Birthday, MaryAnn! – from your great-granddaughter, Denise

07 September 2012

Reading Between the Lines of the City Directory by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
September 17, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

10 August 2012

Interactive Workshop: Are You Stumped?
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
August 20, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

05 July 2012

Christmas in July: Members Getting Acquainted
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
July 16, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

08 June 2012

Searching Electronic Databases by Ginger Frere
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
June 18, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

09 May 2012

Uff Da! Researching My Norwegian Roots by Caron Brennan
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
May 21, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

02 May 2012

From Land Records to Google Earth

From Land Records to Google Earth: Mapping your Family’s Place
Presented by Jane Haldeman on May 16, 2012
Presented by the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
More info at http://www.dcgs.org/

27 April 2012

Did You Know?

It must have been quite hard, being a lawyer in the Middle Ages in England. Originally, all your law books would have been in Latin. Then, in the 13th century, they start being written in French. Then along comes English. Lawyers had a problem. Should they they describe the issue using an English word or opt for the equivalent word in French or Latin? And would the words be equivalent anyway?... The lawyers thought up an ingenious solution. They would use both.
-- From "The Story of English in 100 Words" by David Crystal

Legal pairs include will and testament, good and chattels, null and void, aided and abetted, and the triplet: give, devise, and bequeath.  Can you think of others?

26 April 2012

Miracles, Mysteries and Mayhem

Miracles, Mysteries and Mayhem: Online Family Trees 
by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom
Learn effective techniques to determine if branches on a tree are diseased or if they are healthy.


Presented by the Chicago Genealogical Society
June 2, 2012, 1:30 PM CT
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
More info at http://www.chicagogenealogy.org/

Speed Dating for Genealogists

Speed Dating for Genealogists
Bring your “brick wall” research questions and you will have an opportunity to ask an expert.


Presented by the Chicago Genealogical Society
May 5, 2012, 1:30 PM CT
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
More info at http://www.chicagogenealogy.org/

25 April 2012

Ancestry.com Inc. to Acquire Archives.com

"Simple and Affordable" Fast-Growing Start-up Adds Complementary Offering to Ancestry.com

PROVO, Utah, April 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Archives.com, a family history website, for approximately $100 million in cash and assumed liabilities.

This transaction will enable Ancestry.com to add a differentiated service targeted to a complementary segment of the growing family history category. In addition, Ancestry.com will welcome a team of talented engineers, digital marketers, and family history innovators into the Ancestry.com fold and also gain access to a proprietary technology platform that has supported Archives.com's rapid growth.

Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection LLC, a Silicon Valley-based technology company. Since Archives.com's launch in January 2010, the site has rapidly grown to more than 380,000 paying subscribers who pay approximately $39.95 a year. Archives.com offers access to over 2.1 billion historical records, including birth records, obituaries, immigration and passenger lists, historical newspapers, and U.S. and U.K. Censuses.

"Archives.com has built a fantastic and fast-growing business that we think is highly complementary to Ancestry.com's online family history offering," said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. "We love their focus on making family history simple and affordable, and we are excited to help the talented Archives.com team continue to grow alongside Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and Family Tree Maker."

"Family history remains a dynamic and growing online category," added Sullivan. "Archives.com's focus is consistent with our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history, which will help continue our efforts in delivering amazing discoveries to an even broader audience."

Over the past two years, Archives.com has partnered with multiple well-known family history organizations that have helped build out Archives.com robust collection of family history records. Most recently, Archives.com partnered with the U.S. National Archives to provide free digital access to the recently released 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

"We are proud of the experience we've built with Archives.com and believe strongly in its future potential," said Matthew Monahan, CEO and Co-Founder of Inflection. "Combining with Ancestry.com positions Archives.com to best capitalize on that potential, pairing complementary visions of the marketplace and the opportunity. We've long admired Ancestry.com's content and technology and the innovations that the Ancestry.com team continues to bring to market. We're excited to see how this transaction expands the reach of family history to an even larger audience."

Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the HSR waiting period, Ancestry.com will continue to operate Archives.com separately retaining its brand and website. Multiple Inflection employees, including key product and engineering executives are expected to join the Ancestry.com team.

About Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.8 million paying subscribers. More than 9 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About Archives.com

Archives.com is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 2.1 billion historical records all in a single location. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. Archives.com is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit http://www.archives.com/.

About Inflection

Inflection is a Big Data and e-commerce startup headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, the company has built innovative data services like Archives.com, PeopleSmart.com, and Identity.com. Inflection was founded in 2006 and is backed by tier-one venture capitalists Matrix Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.

ISGS Fall Conference

IL State Genealogy Society’s Fall Conference scheduled for Oct. 19, 20 in Rockford

Everyone from novice genealogists to hobbyists to people interested in becoming professional researchers will find something of value at the Illinois State Genealogical Society’s (ISGS) 2012 Fall Conference scheduled for Oct. 19 and 20 at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center in Rockford.

“There’s something for everyone,” says Stephanie Carbonetti, ISGS Fall Conference Co-Chair. “We want to provide a conference for all levels of interest, whether it’s someone who hasn’t started researching their ancestors yet and doesn’t know where to begin, to people just wanting to hone up on their research skills. There’s so much to choose from!”

This year’s conference, entitled “Family History in Profile,” is being co-hosted by the Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society and will feature nine nationally and regionally known genealogy research experts who will lead more than 15 workshops on such topics as “Breaking Through Brick Walls,” “Facebook for Genealogists,” “Our National Archives,” and “Discovering the Real Story of Your Immigrant Ancestors.”

Carbonetti says this year’s conference also will include a day-long workshop on Friday for young people interested in genealogy. First through fourth-graders will meet from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and fifth through twelfth-graders from 1 to 4 p.m.

“If we can spark an interest in a young person, then they will carry it all through their life,” she adds. “When young people do family research, they have the benefit of being able to talk with older members of their family who are still alive and who can provide them with valuable information.”

Scheduled presenters include John Philip Colletta, PhD, a Washington, D.C.-based genealogy lecturer who has worked at the Library of Congress, taught workshops at the National Archives, and is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University; Thomas MacEntee, Chicago, organizer of the 2,000+ member GeneaBloggers, lecturer and teacher of online webinars; Dr. Daniel Hubbard, a former particle physicist who owns Personal Past, which focuses on American, Canadian and Swedish records; Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, trustee and treasurer of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and a full-time professional researcher specializing in Chicago and Cook County records.

Other presenters are Dr. Gary K. Hargis, past president of the ISGS, president of the Fox Valley Genealogical Society in Naperville, and director of the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America; Oriene Springstroh, founder and first president of the Fox Valley Genealogical Society, and past editor of the ISGS “Quarterly” magazine; Larry Pepper, owner of PepperPhotograph.com and an expert on restoration of old photos; Dave McDonald, director of the National Genealogical Society and president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists whose research focuses on the Midwest and Plains states, New England, the UK and Germanic Europe; and Kathy Carey, a district director and past Illinois state registrar and organizing secretary for the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a volunteer genealogist.

Carbonetti says the ISGS holds these conferences annually at different locations around the state in part to provide information and generate an interest in the people who helped establish and develop Illinois, and to encourage people to seek, preserve and make Illinois family history data available.

Enrollment for the Youth Workshops is limited. Special early registration pricing for the conference is available. To register for the conference or the Youth Workshops, to download registration forms, or to get more information, visit the ISGS website at www.ilgensoc.org

04 April 2012

Newspaper Research in the Midwest by Debbie Mieszala
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
April 16, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

15 March 2012

RootsMagic Webinars

I've had the good fortune to choose Family Origins as my genealogy software back-in-the-day and through corporate mergers, I hung on to this excellent application. I followed along when it was reborn as RootsMagic. I have tried other applications but I always find them more complex or missing something that RootsMagic offers.  

RootsMagic Version 5 was released last November and, to help new and long-term users understand the over 80 new enhancements and features, RootsMagic is offering a series of free webinars demonstrating the additions in this version. 
  • Thursday, March 15, 2012 — New Media Tagging in RootsMagic 5
  • Thursday, March 22, 2012 — New Source and Citation Features in RootsMagic 5
  • Thursday, March 29, 2012 — New Research Logs and Manager in RootsMagic 5
  • Thursday, April  5, 2012  —  New Timeline View in RootsMagic 5
  • Thursday, April 12, 2012 —  Installing and Upgrading to Personal Historian 2
  • Thursday, April 19, 2012 —  New CountyCheck in RootsMagic 5
  • Thursday, April 26, 2012 —  New Reports and Options in RootsMagic 5
You can register online for these webinars or view previous webinars at any time. No -- I'm not an affiliate. I just love this software. It's intuitive for beginners and feature-filled for experienced family researchers.

07 March 2012

Using the FamilySearch Wiki

Using the FamilySearch Wiki by Maureen Brady
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
March 21, 2012, 7:00 PM CT
Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 Wadsworth Rd - Lower Level, Beach Park, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

05 March 2012

The Curious Case of the Missing Dude

The Curious Case of the Missing Dude by Debbie Mieszala
James McBride seemingly vanished after coming of age. This case study presents how multiple versions of obituaries and other records helped uncover a name change, discover a famous James, and identify what became of his kin.

Presented by the Lake County (IL) Genealogical Society
March 12, 2012, 7:00pm CT
Mundelein Park district, 1401 N. Midlothian, Mundelein, IL
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~illcgs/meetings.htm

03 March 2012

Organizing Your Research Files Electronically

Going Digital: Organizing Your Research Files Electronically
Presented by D. Joshua Taylor
Free Webinar on April 10, 2012, 8:00-9:30pm CT
Thinking of going digital? Organizing your research files electronically can speed up processing time, save space, and help anyone become a better genealogist. Learn how to take your paper research notes, logs, and documents and convert them into your own personal “digital archives.”
Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar Series

01 March 2012

SGS 2012 Fall Conference

SGS 2012 Fall Conference in Rockford, Illinois
October 19-20, 2012
More info at http://www.ilgensoc.org

20 February 2012

Breaking Down a Brick Wall

Breaking Down a Brick Wall by Nancy Thomas
A Case Study in Unlocking My Irish Ancestry: How I Found the Marriage Record of My Irish Great-Great Grandparents.
Presented by the Chicago Genealogical Society
March 3, 2012, 1:30 PM CT
Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, Chicago
More info at http://www.chicagogenealogy.org/


Pre-Fire Marriages

The state of Illinois offers several databases that can be a significant help in your research. Since 1985, the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) has cooperated with the Illinois State Archives to create an index to Illinois marriages occurring prior to 1901. 

My mother wanted to stay active in her retirement but was physically limited, so she spent her mornings transcribing the Kankakee county married records from oversized photocopies of the original books into a software application used to index the records. The database can be searched at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/marriage.html

French Canadian settlers came to Kankakee County in 1834, after the federal government signed the Treaty of Camp Tippecanoe in 1832. The earliest marriage records for Kankakee are filled with surnames like Lambert, Brunnenier, LaMuret, and Jeannot. Over time, there was a decline in French surnames and an increase in Irish and German.

While the online Illinois marriages database provides only the names, date, location, and file numbers for a marriage, the original Kankakee books usually included residence, occupation, parents, and witnesses. Mom and I were fascinating by number of men living in Chicago who married wives in Kankakee county. Keeping in mind that many of these records are pre-1871, the Kankakee marriage records are a valuable resource to check if your ancestor was married  before the Chicago Fire.

So take another look at the Illinois marriage database. Be VERY creative with surname spelling and you may track down your illusive pre-Fire ancestors.

13 February 2012

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing

I've had the pleasure of attending several lectures by Megan Smolenyak though the years. She's as vibrant and energetic as her reviews describe her. From her 200 book "In Search of Our Ancestors," to her most recent release, "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing," Megan's casual style pulls you in to her story and starts you thinking of ways her experiences can help you in your family search.

Megan's ability to be at the right place at the right time seems effortless --  but is really the result of hours of research, phone calls, and networking to stay at the cutting edge of new resources, technologies, and techniques. Read her books -- all of them! -- and watch for her posts. Megan is showing us the future of family research

Follow Megan at her website http://megansmolenyak.com/ and her social media links:

08 February 2012

Black Roots: Tracing The Family Tree and Researching Vital Records by Tony Burroughs
Presented by the Zion Genealogical Society
Feb. 18, 2012, 1:00-3:30 PM CT
Registration required. Free admission.
Zion-Benton Public Library, 2400 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, IL 60099
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilzgs/

07 February 2012

What's Happening at FamilySearch.org

What's Happening at Family Search by Maureen Brady
Learn about the numerous changes planned for FamilySearch.org this year.

Presented by the Lake County (IL) Genealogical Society
Feb.14, 2012, 7:00pm CT
Mundelein Park district, 1401 N. Midlothian, Mundelein, IL
More info at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~illcgs/meetings.htm

06 February 2012

What's in a Name?

I was listening to a podcast and was stuck by a comment that was made. The podcaster was talking about census records and was explaining that the person being researched was called Minna on one census but was erroneously called "Milly" on another. I was annoyed by this misleading, off-handed comment.

Yerbi Miller
In my research I've discovered many instances of people "Americanizing" their names in different ways during their youth before settling on the name they used as an adult.  

My husband's great aunt was born in Chicago in October 1887.  She was 13 years old for the 1900 census and listed as Rebecca—her Hebrew name. However, in the 1910 census she's listed as Goldie Miller.


Gertrude Miller Stein
Her marriage license in Chicago on 5 May 1915 to Morris Stein lists her name as Goldie but, a year later on 29 May 1916, she's Yerbi Stein on her first son's birth certificate.

By the time her second son was born in 1919, and in the 1920 census, she was recorded as Gertrude Stein—the name she used the rest of her life. She was 31 years old before she was recorded using the name her family knows her by today.

This name game occurs in all kinds of records for the immigrant generation. I would never have found my Grandfather's Confirmation if I hadn't questioned the appearance of an Eddie Pagel in an index that I couldn't match to any Pagel I knew about. I had discovered a youthful name-blip for my Eric Carl Pagel. Should I ever try to locate his records I now know to watch for Eddie.

The lesson? Don't assume the record is wrong when the information isn't what you expect. You may have discovered a snapshot-in-time that offers new clues to follow.

What name-blips have YOU uncovered?

05 February 2012

Desperately Seeking Susan

Desperately Seeking Susan: Finding Female Ancestors 
by Amy Johnson Crow
Free Webinar on March 13, 2012  8:00-9:00 pm CDT
Presented by the Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar Series
More info at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/223286734

Tracking Your Ancestors' Footsteps

Tracking Your Ancestors' Footsteps
37th Annual Conference of the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
Speakers include: Paul Milner on Finding Your English Ancestors, Tony Burroughs on Getting Around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Lou Szucs and Juliana Smith on Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Project , Maureen Brady on FamilySearch.org changes, and Jennifer Holik on Social Networking. Additional topics will be covered. Lunch will be served.


Presented by the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
Saturday, February 25, 23012, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm CT
at the Hilton Garden Inn, 4070 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL 60174
More information at http://www.dcgs.org Registation at http://www.dcgs.org/rgstrn.shtml

03 February 2012

Threat to Social Security Death Index Access

Reposted from http://rootdig.blogspot.com/   28 January 2012

Threats to the SSDI
There is a move afoot in Congress to restrict access to the SSDI. Genealogists know that banks and other agencies use the Master Death File in an attempt to prevent fraud. The availability of this information does not increase fraud. Crooks have other means to defraud based upon identities. The restriction of the SSDI is being done as a knee-jerk reaction.

A copy of H. R. 3475 is here.
Information on the 2 February 2012 hearing is here.  Societies and groups can file formal written responses here.

Let your representatives in Washington know that you do NOT support this bill. Remind them that:
  • information on many deaths is easily available in newspapers and obituaries as well.
  • the ability to easily determine who is already dead makes it easier for agencies to COMBAT fraud
  • this is a knee-jerk reaction
To obtain your Congressional representatives addresses or find out whom your representative
is go to:

Cool Tools for Publishing

Cool Tools for Publishing by Lisa Alzo
Thanks to technology and the Internet, it’s easier than ever to document and share your genealogical discoveries.
Free Webinar on February 14, 2012, 8:00-9:30pm CST
Presented by the Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar Series
More info at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/223286734

02 February 2012

Metro Chicago

Having worked on my family's history for over 40 years (I started in grade school, honest!) I've reached that point where I have to ask, "What happens to all the information I've collected when I'm gone?" My family has always been supportive of my "hobby" but none of them share my need to find my scattered cousins and tell their stories.

I had the opportunity to listen to the RootsTech 2012 Conference, Feb 2-4, 2012. (Thank you so VERY much for the live stream all three days!) The idea seems to be to create a unique identifier for every person who has ever lived—or at least those who appear anywhere online or in a database—so that the same individual can be identified in multiple records and images. Such a forward-thinking goal makes it very important that I clean up the content I have (yeah, yeah, citations) and that I get that information online. 

So, as others have already done, I'm posting what I have discovered while researching my extended family. My father's side settled in Milwaukee; my mother's side—and my husband's—in Chicago.

I'm also posting Webinars and Events that pertain to Metro Chicago. There isn't a single place to get all event information, so I'm adding to the chatter in the hope that more people will see an announcement that interests them and attend. As good as blog summaries may be, they can't provide the experience of attending a genealogy meeting.

Metro Chicago Genealogy, established 1967. I hope you learn something new that helps your search. — Denise Pagel Moskovitz
P.S. You can see the full-sized map at http://www.flickr.com/photos/10461908@N03/5785040748/sizes/o/in/photostream/