Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Genealogy Articles in Local Newspaper

In case you have not run across it yet, there is a monthly genealogy article published in the Largo Leader. It generally comes out in the second or third Thursday of the month.

The articles vary from phisolophical pieces ("What Genealogists Can Learn From Cats") to some that are more nuts and bolts ("Planning Your Research").

Copies of the Largo Leader are available free at the Largo Public Library and many other locations around the area.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FSGS Conference in November

The Florida State Genealogical Society (FSGS) conference is being held in Sarasota this year on 12 and 13 November. This is a large event and one that you may consider attending.

The PGS is a member of the FSGS. In a sense, the FSGS is a capstone society that includes as part of its membership all of the genealogy societies in the state of Florida. Each year the PGS sends a couple of board members to the conference to represent the PGS. In addition to attending the sessions at the conference, we display our banner, set up a display table with handouts about the PGS and its events, and produce a report that is then presented to the PGS membership at a general meeting or is published in our journal. Over the years, the FSGS has even given the PGS awards in recognition of its project and educational accomplishments.

You can get more information about the conference and what it entails at the FSGS website at

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Godfrey Library Online Connecticut Cemetery Project

This announcement recently came from the Godfrey Library:

"Godfrey Library continues to make progress on its Connecticut cemetery project. The library now has 135 cemeteries online from Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven and New London Counties with another 10 being processed. Cemetery size varies from two burials to 8,625 burials. In total there are 104,731 burials and 75,925 photographs. Some of these records appear elsewhere but do not include photos."

Starting this year in about February and continuing until the end of December, PGS members are able to get a discount on a Godfrey membership. If you are interested, see the post dated 16 February 2010 on this Blog for further information. And if you are already a member, check out the site for the database mentioned above.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DNA and Rules and Regulations

The Huffington Post had a recent article from Megan Smolenyak about real and potential restrictions to DNA information and its impact on genealogists and researchers in general. The title of the article is self-explanatory: "Don't Protect Us From Our Own Genetic Information."

In the article, Megan shares the comments of Katherine Borges. the Director of ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, a non-profit organization of over 7,000 members spread throughout the U.S. and 60 other countries.

The subject is important given the growing popularity of DNA testing for genealogical purposes. You can read the article at:

Megan, by the way, is going to be our featured speaker at the GPS Annual Seminar on 12 February, 2011. You might want to mark you calendar now, and watch for other advertisements as the time for the seminar draws nearer. If you want to find out more about Megan, visit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Family History Writer’s Group Meets 28 September

Just a quick reminder that the group meets again in the Largo Public Library at 6 pm on 28 September.

The discussion topic this month will be the dreaded one of grammar....BUT it will not be long, and it will not be painful. Instead it will be stimulating as we look at some fun ways to improve grammatically. We are not going to get smart about grammar so much as talk about some ways to get smart...does that make sense...grammatically?

I'd like to try a different approach concerning our "homework." I'd like the group to help its members with any current projects being worked on. So if you are writing a book or a memoir or a story about an ancestor or anything related to genealogy, bring a couple paragraphs of your project to share with us. If you don't have a current project, pick a topic and write a couple paragraphs to share.

Regardless, expect an appreciative audience and some constructive criticism.

If you have not attended this workshop but are interested in doing some family history writing, drop by and check it out. But be aware, this is not a class. This is a workshop, so be ready to do some writing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

World War II Immigration

When we think of the topic of immigration, I bet we usually bring to mind those who arrived in this country between 1750 and about 1920. But, of course, immigration did not stop there.

A web page titled "Love to Know" has a short but revealing article about immigration that occurred during WWII and beyond. It does not contain a lot of detail, but it may prompt you to a new line of research.

Check it out at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Revolutionary Was Pension Applications on

A significant addition to the databases was rolled out this summer. Images of the Revolutionary War pension application files are now available. Previously there were three primary places to go to see those images:, a reduced set on, and the National Archives or one of its regional centers.

In addition to pension files, Ancestry also now has various lists and rosters from the revolutionary period. A quick comparison of the Ancestry and Footnote sites shows that the documents files available are essentially the same, but the ones on Footnote are easier to use. For examples, in a pension file on footnote, you have a clear view of where an individual's file starts and stops. On Ancestry, you have to look at every page until your ancestor is simply not mentioned any more or you run into a header card for the next file. This can be cumbersome when files run to 50 pages or more. Also, in Footnote you can go directly to a desired muster roll for your ancestor, while in Ancestry you have to start at the beginning of a roll of digitized microfilm and plow through it until you stumble across your ancestor.

But regardless of convenience or lack of it, if you have a Revolutionary war ancestor this is a "must" piece of research for you. If your ancestor (or his widow) applied for a pension and it has survived various natural, man-made, and administrative catastrophes; it will contain a wealth of genealogical information that often includes wife's maiden name, names and birth dates of children, comments on physical and economic well-being, an outline of the military service performed, proof of marriage, etc. Of all military records, pension application files are potentially the most valuable genealogically.

The PGS offers a class on military records and goes into depth about how to find and use pension records. Check the calendar page on the PGS website ( to see when it is scheduled.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Signs Point The Way In The Genealogy Center

As part of the the reorganization of the Genealogy Center at the Largo Public Library, new signs have been placed on the end caps of the book shelves to indicate what topics are located on any particular shelf.

Before the reorganization this summer, the signs that were there were not very helpful. The addition and movement of books over time made them inaccurate. The new signs are not only accurate, but add greatly to the visual effect of the Center.

Drop by the Genealogy Center to see this and the the many other changes for yourself.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Labonte Volumes Added to the Maine Collection

Eighty-two volumes titled "200 Family Trees From France to Canada to US" have now been added to the Maine genealogy collection in the Genealogy Center at the Largo Public Library.

This huge work was the doing of Father Labonte who donated it to the PGS collection this past year. It traces families that ended up in Maine after originating in France and immigrating to Canada.

It is a unique work in itself, but is also a good companion to the "Maine Family Index, 1900-1912" located on the shelf right next to it. To find the collection, look for "929.2741 Labonte."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Minnesota Marriages Searchable Online

If you have Minnesota ancestors, this is a site you have to look at.

Eighty-seven Minnesota counties are participating in this project to make the location of state marriage records easy to locate. This is an index, do the images of the records themselves. But the beauty of the site is that you can search pretty much the whole state from one place rather than having to search county by county.

You search by Name (bride, groom, or both) and date range. The index identifies which county is the official custodian of the record. Questions and concerns about specific records should be directed to the custodial county, of course. Click on the named custodial county to be redirected to the county website for contact information.

Check it out at:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

PGS Monthly Meeting on 18 September

The monthly meeting of the Pinellas Genealogy Society takes place at the Largo Public Library at 11 am on 18 September.

The speaker will be Peter Summers who will talk about "Census Time Lines." This will be an analysis of family census information as it was recorded over successive census years, and the conclusions about our ancestors that can be drawn or the questions that are posed based on that analysis.

The meeting will be preceded at 9:45 am by a computers-in-genealogy Q&A session.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Website For Genealogy Software Reviews

This is a website that I have mentioned before, but given the number of people new to genealogy that have been attending classes over the summer, it is worth mentioning again. Even I visit the site periodically is see what new software titles may have been added.

It varies of course, but a couple days ago the site boasted having 527 reviews. Now that's a lot of genealogy software!

The reviews are done by actual users of the software and are based on a 5-star system, with five bing the best.

The areas included in the review are:

>Enjoy Using it
>Use it often
>Easy input
>Useful output
>Overall rating

This can be a very informative site if you are trying to stay on top of new genealogy products, and it can be especially helpful if you are actually at the point where you are ready to buy some software. Check it out at:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Atlas Stand In The Genealogy Center

Many of you may recall the section of the first shelf in the Genealogy Center of the Largo Public Library that was devoted to atlases. The books were of all sizes and some had hard covers and some not. That combination of configurations led to shelving problems. No matter what we did, the books looked like a mess, they were difficult to get to, and more often than not when you extracted one atlas, three or four others followed it out and fell to the floor.

As a consequence of the new reorganization of the Genealogy Center, there is now room for a atlas stand. It is located at the end of the computer section. It has a broad top to easily use the selected atlas, and several roll out shelves to conveniently get to those that are stored.

Check it out at the Library.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mea Culpa

Sorry, Folks.

There was a class advertised in the library bulletin called "Internet Explorations" that was to take place today (Wednesday, 8 Sep) at the library. I somehow had the idea that the class was to be held on Friday, 10 Sep. The time was to be the same: 10 am. Consequently, I was not at the library for the class, nor could I respond to the call I got from the library because I was at a meeting in Tampa. Unfortunate circumstances all the way around.

But I plan to be at the library for that class on Friday at 10 am. The problem of course, is that I may be the only one who knows about it...and that's one of the reasons for this post.

This may be a meeting to put on your calendar. Internet Explorations is not so much a class as it is a sharing of cool/productive/interesting websites relating to genealogy that I and the people who attend have run across in the past. Previous sessions have proven to be both fun and helpful as we explore new sites, refresh our Google skills, and share our explorations.

Check it out on Friday, 10 Sep., at 10 am in the Local History Room of the Library.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Digital Books at Hathi Trust

The Hathi Trust website offers a lot of digitized books on line. They are not all genealogy related (you have to search around a bit), but you never know what you will find. Those of you who have Kindles or e-Readers and Nook's and are looking for public domain books to download to your readers will love this site.

From the link provided below, you have the following search options: Catalog, full text, and collections.

After one of those selections it is pretty clear on the mouse clicks to use to display the text.

Check it out at HathiTrust Search Portal!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Class At The Aging Well Center

The next class at the Aging Well Center (at the Long Center in Clearwater) will be a live exploration of the popular website. This site, sponsored by the LDS Church, is one of the largest and most popular genealogy websites. Come to this class to see what it has to offer and learn how to get the most out of the time you spend using it.

If you missed the class when it was presented at the Largo Public Library, drop by the Aging Well Center, 1501 North Belcher Road, Clearwater at 10 am on 11 September.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Suncoast Genealogy Society Meetings

The Suncoast Genealogy Society will now be meeting on the 4th Sat of the month, from 2-4 pm at the Palm Harbor Library. Guests are welcome.

The fall Mini Seminar is going to be on Nov. 6th, with George Morgan as the speaker.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today in History

The Great Fire of London broke out today in 1666. It burned for three days and destroyed about 10,000 buildings, including St. Paul's Cathedral.

To be a good genealogist you have to be a good historian. Could your ancestors have been affected by this event?

Class at Aging Well Center

On 25 August I mentioned on this Blog and agreement that we had reached with the Aging Well Center in Clearwater. (Refer to that post for the details.)

This past Saturday we completed our third class at the Center. The subject was tracking ancestors using the US Census. There were 22 people in attendance, and I am pleased to say, three PGS members took advantage of this new venue.
It the Center is easy for you to get to, check out the programs we will be offering there and drop in.

To the right is a photo of the group.