Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Hidden" Ancestry Database

The database is "Registration Certificates - Widows, Divorced Women, &  Monors, 1907-1914." The database is not really "hidden," of course. It is just one of so many that unless you know it's there, you will never think to look for it...and it's a relatively new one.

It's true that if you do a general person search on Ancestry, this database will be culled for your search criteria, but the results may be quite a few pages down the hit list. In general, if you think a particular database will be productive, it may be a good idea to search it specifically. To do that, click on the search tab, then select "catalog" and then enter words from the title or a key descriptive word.

OK, so after all that, what does "Registration Certificates" give you. Allow me to quote from Ancestry:

" The certificates in this database were generated by U.S. citizens living abroad who were registering their intent to retain their U.S. citizenship. The registrants were widows, divorced women, and minors who had been born abroad to parents who were U.S. citizens. Registrants used several different forms, including separate forms for women who had obtained U.S. citizenship via marriage and women who were citizens before marriage. Information contained on the certificate can include: name, birth date, birthplace, marriage date, spouse’s name, and spouse’s birthplace. Records may also list death date (spouse), marital status, residence, date a person left the U.S., dates of residence in foreign country, naturalization facts, and other details."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another Take on the Genealogical Importance of Hist0ry

“To be a good genealogist you need to be a good historian” is a phrase I have heard often, and they are indeed words to live by. Studying history is an important way we can give context to the lives our ancestors lived.

A recent article by Sharon Tate Moody in—Tampa Bay Online give fresh insight to the value of written histories in our genealogical research. Her article is filled with examples of how  “common folks” participated in historical events, and how reading about that participation adds depth to the history we are normally exposed to.

Read her article at Take research beyond genealogy reference books |

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Irish Research

Thanks to Diane Haddad and her Blog Genealogy Insider for some great information about the Irish and tips about doing Irish research. The article for 15 March also gives some very helpful links to other online sources of information.

You can find Diane’s article at Genealogy Insider - Tips on Exploring Your Irish Family Tree

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tutorial on Reading Old English Handwriting

If you have ever been stumped by Old English script in documents you have been analyzing, then a tutorial by the UK National Archives may be just what you need. It is an online offering that helps you navigate handwriting produced in the 1500 to 1800 time frame.

This is a detailed tutorial with explanations, guidance, and lots of examples to work through.

You can find the tutorial at The National Archives | Palaeography tutorial (how to read old handwriting)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Genealogy Records for Canada

The Genealogy In Time online magazine has recently posted a summary of some of the latest available records pertaining to genealogy records for Canada.

In the list you will find offerings from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC),, and The areas in Canada focused on include Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario and others.

Check it out at Most Recent Genealogy Records for Canada

Monday, May 21, 2012

Best Records for Finding Female Ancestors

Tracking down elusive female ancestors is a task that all of us have faced at one time or another. We know it can be challenging.

If you have been faced with such a task, you may want to look at a Family Tree Magazine  article by Lisa Alzo. In it she gives some time-tested  sources and strategies that may be just what you need. I suspect that none of the records she talks about will be unknown to you, but a review of them may be helpful. The true value of the article in my opinion is not the list, but the explanation she gives on why each group of records may be of value.

Read the article at Best Records for Finding Female Ancestors - Family Tree Magazine

Saturday, May 19, 2012

RootsMagic’s New “Who Was There” Report

Bruce Buzbee, the “Roots Magician” himself, wrote an informative post on the RootsMagic Blog about a new report in the Roots Magic genealogy program called the “Who Was There” report.

With this feature you can specify a place and a date (or range of dates) and the report will show you everyone in your database who was at that place at that time. It is a great tool for zeroing in on people  you want to locate in a particular census…like the recently released 1940 US Census.

There are many ways to fine tune the report other than what I mentioned here. Check out Bruce’s article at RootsMagic Blog » RootsMagic’s New “Who Was There” Report

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top Ten Most Popular Online Genealogy Magazines

You probably have your own selection of online genealogy magazines you like to read, but here’s chance to see the Internet statistics keepers list.

If you do not regularly read an online magazine, perhaps you can find one on this list that will become you favorite.

Thanks to the GenealogyInTime Magazine for this article. Top Ten Most Popular Online Genealogy Magazines

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Courthouse Research Tips

We all know the value of doing research at courthouses. You will find vital information there that you can find nowhere else.

Many of you have even attended the Pinellas Genealogy Society class on researching courthouse records.

A recent article in Genealogy Insider by Diane Haddad complements our class. In the piece, Diane gives us five tips that will make any courthouse research effort more productive. If you think even more broadly as you read the tips, you can easily apply them to most any research trip.

You can find the article at Genealogy Insider - Tips From My First Courthouse Research

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Are You A “GG”? (Genealogical Computer Geek)

Follow the link below to read a humorous article by James Tanner (Genealogy’s Star) the hits the nail on the head for many of us.

Genealogy's Star: How to be a total genealogical computer geek

Friday, May 11, 2012

Problems with the Census

We are all familiar with the problems of accuracy we run into when researching the census. At times that leads to frustration and, in some, a questioning of the value of the census. William Dollarhide writing in Genealogy Blog gives an interested review of question areas in the census most subject to errors.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that due to its errors the census is not valuable. Bill goes on to point out that even with its flaws the census is an invaluable genealogical resource. If you go to the census expecting total accuracy, you are missing the point. For the most part the census gives us clues…clues we can use for further research to confirm what the census contains, and for information that goes even beyond what the census offers. For instance, it gives us places of events and date ranges for those events that can lead to successful court house searches as well as the discovery of records at the National Archives. Those are just two examples.

If you would like more on mistakes that can be found in the census, Check out Bill’s article at Census Mistakes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FamilySearch Makes Progress on Indexing 1940 Census

If you would like to see a nifty display of the progress being make on indexing the 1940 census, click on the link below.

You can see the status in broad strokes on an interactive map, or expand the window to see the detailed progress for each state.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Write Those Stories Down…NOW

If you would like a short and entertaining incentive to put pen to paper and write down your memories of growing up, of family, of special occasions, or of whatever, take a minute to read James Tanner’s recent piece in Genealogy’s Star. You can find it at Genealogy's Star: Peeking under the bed, throwing shoes down the hall...

Third Annual Hospice Centenarian Birthday Party

For the past three years, as long as the event has been in existence, PGS has been a sponsor of  the Sun Coast Hospice Centenarian Birthday Party.

Each year, Pinellas residents 100 years and older are invited as honorees to the event, held at the Hospice campus on Roosevelt Road in Largo. There is entertainment,  local TV personalities as emcees, and of course, cake.

But the highlight of the event is the introduction of the honorees. That is where PGS comes in. We provide a short family history questionnaire that each attendee completes. Those responses are then used to introduce that person to the group. Each individual has fun answering the questions (for example, how did you meet your spouse, what was your first car, and what did your family enjoy doing together), and everyone has fun listening to the answers as a way to learn about their fellow honorees.

The pictures show the assembled group of 39 honorees and guests, the cake, and out display table.

This continues to be a rewarding event of which PGS is proud to be a sponsor.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Important Death Records

William Dollarhide wrote an article recently in Genealogy Blog on ten documents concerning death that are important to have.

Death certificates are on the list, of course, but so are less frequently used probate records, and rarely used medical examiner records.

This is a good article to refresh your memory on some record groups that you may not be paying attention to. You can find the article at Death Records: A Check List of Ten Documents Every Genealogist Should Acquire

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FGS 2012 Conference in Birmingham, Alabama

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Alabama Genealogical Society invites everyone with an interest in genealogy and history to the spectacular FGS 2012 Conference. It will be held from August 29 - September 1, 2012 at the Birmingham Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

"Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the 'Old Southwest'" is the conference theme, and it is hosted by the Alabama Genealogical Society. Watch for full details.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 1-3 June

The Ontario Genealogical Society will hold its annual conference from 1 to 3 June in Kingston, Ontario.

Issues such as borders; land settlement and pension records (on both sides of the border) of participants in the war of 1812 and other wars; immigration and migration; and genealogical resources in areas bordering eastern Ontario as well as in Ontario will be among the topics covered by speakers at the Conference.

For more information if you are planning to be in the Ontario area can be found at