Sunday, October 30, 2011

Copyright….again -- Government Documents and Public Domain

The subject of copyright never seems to get old. The Blog Genealogy’s Star gives us a detailed look at government documents and public domain to help us understand what is clearly NOT covered by copyright.

Personally, I can never read enough about the topic of copyright. It is so easy to make a mistake when using information found in libraries or on the Internet, that I find I always need to refresh my understanding of the law.

Check it out at Genealogy's Star: Government Documents and Public Domain -- What is clearly not covered by copyright

Friday, October 28, 2011

Differences Between Online and Desktop Trees - Using TreeSync in Family Tree Maker 2012

Family Tree Maker recently announced the release of its 2012 version software. Part of the release is the use of TreeSync to keep trees on your computer and online synchronized.

Randall Seaver in his Genea-Musings Blog gives some details about how the sync process is actually accomplished and how that affects the trees being synchronized.

Actually, he points us to what other bloggers have said, but one way or another, the end result is worth reading. Tree synchronization is a technology that is now going to be with us, so getting smart now and staying updated on its refinements is wise.

Check out Randy’s Blog at Genea-Musings: Family Tree Maker 2012 TreeSync - Differences Between Online and Desktop Trees

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FSGS Conference Coming Soon

If you are interested in attending the FSGS Conference in Orlando 11-12 November, now would be a good time to register. The price goes up after 31 October.

You can easily register online at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Genealogy Stuff

Bob Bryan sends an occasional Email to our PGS members and friends with some genealogy tidbits in them. I thought it would be a good idea to put some of them up on our Blog also. So check out these suggestions:

Native American “Indian” Ancestry? If you have an interest in this topic, you might want to view the Smithsonian video online at This is almost 3 hours in length. From Eastman’s newsletter of 19 Dec 2011.

Another free option for automatic or manual backup of your genealogy data is available from This company has been around for a year or so and was recently acquired by It works for most (but not all) genealogy programs operating in Windows. Several user options are available. For what it’s worth, Eastman’s genealogy column thinks it is a good thing. Read about it at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Civil War Service Records Online

It is rather interesting to try and locate Civil War service records. Not that it is necessarily hard to do, it's just that depending on who your Civil War ancestor is, you will have to look in different places.

If your ancestor fought for the North and came from a norther state, then you will have to go to the National Archives for the records. That is because those records were never microfilmed and exist in paper form only. Of course, you don't have to physically GO to can order them online from the NARA website.

It's a different story if you ancestor fought for the South, or fought for the North but came from a southern state, or was a member of the US Colored Troops. It is different because those records were microfilmed and now have been digitized. That means that you don't have to go the the National Archives to see the images. You can order the microfilm from the Family History Library, or you can travel to any number of other libraries to view them (such at the Tampa Library). You can also now view them online at Fold3 (what used to be

And most recently you can find them online at the website. The indexes are there for searching and to see the images you are shunted over to Fold3. At first it looks like you have to have a subscription to Fold3 to see the images, but if you put your search name in the appropriate box, you can view the digitized contents of the service record for free. This is made possible though an affiliation between the two sites.

Don't forget that to learn more about ordering records from the National Archives, or to learn more about military records in general and where to find them, check out the list of classes offered by the Pinellas Genealogy Society. Go to the PGS calendar page at

If the class is not in the list for the next few months, check back when the calendar is extended.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Let’s Be Reasonable About a Reasonable Search

This discussion about what constitutes a “reasonably exhaustive” search is not for the feint of heart…but we should all suck it up and read it. James Tanner in his Blog Genealogy’s Star has done us all a service by digging into this first element of the Genealogical Proof Standard.

He tackles the questions: What is is exhaustive? What is reasonable? He explains what the standard means (or should mean). He tries to give some objectivity to a subjectively stated standard.

So go get a cup of coffee or tea, then come back, relax, and check out James’ offering at Genealogy's Star: What constitutes a reasonable search?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Allen County Public Library

In genealogy circles, the Allen County Public Library is one of the key destinations in research trips. Although most of us have heard of the library, we may not really know the extent of its collection and services.

Leland Meitzler in  his GenealogyBlog provides a good overview of the library that is worth reading. It may even influence you into including it in your next trip through Indiana. You can find the article at Allen County Public Library — A Genealogical Treasure

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FSGS Conference in November

The Florida State Genealogical Society will hold its 2011 Annual Conference November 11 and 12 at the Sheraton Orlando North Hotel, Maitland, FL.

The two-day conference will feature Keynote Speaker Lloyd Dewitt Bockstruck who will offer four fascinating new lectures. Additional presenters will address selected genealogical topics, and vendors will exhibit new products.

Visit their website,, for easy online conference registration and hotel information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Family History Writing Competition -- Deadline Approaching

Pinellas Genealogist, quarterly journal of the Pinellas Genealogy Society, is accepting entries for the annual Family History Writing Competition from members and non-members of the Society.

Entries should be based on the author’s research of a family history or a genealogical account of family lines and lives, discussing the steps followed and the conclusions that resulted from the research. Entries may be original, unpublished papers or published papers. If previously published, please submit permission to reprint from the original publisher along with the entry.

Prizes will be awarded to three submissions selected by our judges: 1st prize is $50, 2d prize is $30 and 3d prize is $20.

All entries must be received no later than 31 Oct 2011. That is just around the corner, so start writing now! See the competition rules and information on where to send entries on the PGS website at:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Family History Assistance Day is Coming Up

The PGS is sponsoring Family History Assistance Day on 29 Oct 2011 from 12-4 PM at the Largo Library.

During this event, you can receive one-on-one help from experienced researchers. How often have you wanted to sit in front of a computer with someone who can show you how to get started in your research? How often have you wanted to consult with someone about some problem you have encountered? This event may be for you.

It event will operate on a first-come-first-served basis. If there are people ahead of you, there will be other events such as classes going on to help make good use of your wait time.

The event is free and open to the public, and there is no need to preregister.

Roots Magic Users Group Meets 22 October

Join us at the Largo Library at 10 AM on Saturday, 22 October for the monthly Roots Magic Users Group. This is a question and answer session for those who are using the software and want to improve their skill, or those who are trying to decide which genealogy software program to buy.

This month we will also explore a piece of software called GenSmarts. Although it is authored by the maker of Roots Magic, GenSmarts will work with any genealogy software program.

The session is free and open to the public.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Free Webinar: Ask the Google Guru

This webinar by Lisa Louise Cooke, has already been presented, but it has been archived and is available for free viewing.

Lisa is the author two books on using Google features to assist in genealogy research, and so is well-positioned to give some good advice. To get to the webinar, you have to file out a couple on-line forms.

By the way, the PGS offers a class on using Google to support your genealogy research. Keep your eyes on our calendar to see when it is next offered (

You can access the webinar and see more information on Lisa and her publications at Ask the Google Guru FREE WEBINAR |

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting Ready to Go on a Research Trip

In his Blog Genea-Musings, Randy Seaver treats us to the steps he has taken to get ready for a research trip to the Midwest.

We wish Randy the best of luck, but our interest goes beyond that. Read between the lines of Randy’s post to get an idea of what good preparation is all about. Although you and I may not be going where Randy is planning to visit, his preparation in general can guide our own. A productive trip is dependent on good preparation, and Randy gives us some insights on how to accomplish that.

By the way, he references the book New Englanders in the 1600’s by Marin Hollick. It indexes published genealogical research from 1980 to 2005 for New England families, and Randy considers it “invaluable.” Well, we have that resource in our collection at the Largo Public Library.

Check out Randy’s post at Genea-Musings: I'm almost ready now to go research!

Tour of Largo Library Genealogy Center

There will be a tour of the Largo Library Genealogy Center on Saturday, 15 Oct (after the society meeting). It is open to the public and will start in the Genealogy Center at 1 PM. Join us and learn about this impressive genealogy resource.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Look at the Entire Record

In his Genealogy Tip of the Day Blog, Michael John Neill reminds us to look at more than just the alphabetical listing of a city directory. There may be much more about your ancestor in the business listing, advertisements, etc.

This is great advice, and can be expanded to just about any record we may find. Just think of all the wonderful information found on “the rest” of a census form (after you record the names of the members of the household), or all that good stuff tucked away in obits.

You can read Michael’s tip and more at Genealogy Tip of the Day: Look at the Entire City Directory

Kim Garvey to Speak on Saturday, 15 October

On Saturday, 15 Oct 2011, at 11:00 the Pinellas Genealogy Society will spondor a presentation titled "Pointing the Way Towards 21st Century Remembrance." It will be resented by Kim Garvey.

Kim is an historian, librarian, lecturer and owner of Tree Trax, a genealogical services company. She has written for several genealogical magazines, such as, the National Genealogical Quarterly and the Florida Genealogy Society Reach Out. She is a graduate of Salt Lake City Institute of Genealogy Research, a member of the National Genealogy Society, the Association of Professional Genealogist and the Florida State Genealogy Society among many others. She specializes in a variety of areas and topics related to historical methods, immigration, ethnicity and cemeteries.

At 10:00, before Kim's program, The Computers in Genealogy group will meet. This is an informal discussion group in a question and answer format on anything related to the use of computers in genealogy.

Both events are free and open to the public. Put them on your calendar and plan to attend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Search Merchant Navy Seamen Records 1918-1941

A million or so records of UK Merchant Seaman are now available at the FindMyPast website. Apparently, this is the maiden voyage for these records being available online.

FindMyPast is a pay website, but you can do a search for free to see the resulting list of hits. What you can’t do is see the images of the index cards that comprise the database. The cards were used to produce a centralized index of merchant seamen serving on British merchant navy vessels between the two world wars.

Check it out at Search Merchant Navy Seamen Records 1918-1941 |

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lee County Seminar

The Lee County Genealogical Society is hosting it's annual Fall half day seminar on Saturday, October 22, 2011. Special speakers are Gary M. Smith and Diana Crisman Smith.

Gary will talk about Tax Records: Why Do We Care? This will be followed by a joint presentation by Gary and Diana on Methods for Organizing Your Genealogical Records – He Said/She Said.

The cost of the seminar is $20.00 per person and pre-registration is required. Check the website at

Here is the address of the seminar:Fellowship Hall, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 4141 DeLeon Street, Fort Myers, Florida

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Arlington Tombstone Project

Leland  and Patty Meitzler in their GenealogyBlog recently gave us a post about a project to photograph all of the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery. Apparently this is in response to a law passed last year.

The project is about half done, and plans are to make the records available to the public when it is completed.

You can read Leland’s post to get the more complete story at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Class on Using Heritage Quest Databases

In case you missed the HeritageQuest class at the Largo Library recently, you can catch it at the Aging Well Center this Saturday, 8 Oct.

The class is free and begins at 10 am. The Aging Well Center is located in the Long Center at 1501 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Curious About Google Search?

The Genealogy in Time Blog provided a link to a video that explains how Google goes about improving its search function.

The video is only a little over 3 minutes long. Knowing a bit about the logic of Google search can help us as users. Check it out at How Does Google Improve Search?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

5 New Titles Recently Added to Fold3

If you have a subscription to Footnote and have not checked on the site lately, you may want to do so.

First of all, its name has changed to Fold3. When you sign on you can get all of the information about the name change. You can still get to the site using, but you might as well change your favorites link to now.

Another reason to visit the site is to check out the databases it has been working on. You can now find an increasing number of entries from War of 1812 Pension Files, Mexican War Service Records, Confederate Casualty Reports, WWI Officer Experience Reports, and WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards.

You can read the Fold3 blog about these and other changes at 5 New Titles Recently Added to Fold3 | Fold3 Blog