Friday, January 31, 2014

Chicago Area Ancestors?

If you have family in Chicago or Cook County, Illinois consider looking at this research guide created by the Newberry Library in Chicago. It includes links to websites, databases and research guides centering on the Chicago area.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Similar Records in Different Family History Library Digital Collections

Short warning when using "Historical Records Collections" of digital materials at FamilySearch.

Sometimes similar records may appear in different "collections" as shown in this example which circles four different sets of images from New Hampshire materials that include probate files from various New Hampshire counties.

Of course all of us should use the card catalog at FamilySearch, but I'm suspecting I'm not the only one who occasionally does not do that ;-)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Are Your Google Alerts Not Working?

If your Google alerts are not working the way you think they should, consider taking a look at this post on Rootdig.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bridges Across America has pictures of thousands of bridges across the entire United States. Some counties are more represented than others, but users can search by county and see pictures of the bridge and the location of the bridge on a Google map.

Really an interesting site--learn more at

Thursday, January 23, 2014

History of Vaccines

This site at the College of Physicians at Philadelphia may provide you with some historical background on vaccines and epidemics. Interesting reading.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Too Many Browser Windows Open?

Did you know that ctrl-tab will cycle you through your open browser windows in a Windows environment? Thanks to Jenny L. for posting this on her Facebook newsfeed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Digital Images In Reverse Order

For those who don't read my Rootdig blog, here's a post about a roll of microfilm that was digitzed backwards. Always a good idea to look at that first "image" when browsing at FamilySearch.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Office of the Historian of the United States Department of State

Need to brush up on your US history, particularly wars with other nations, boundary disputes, and thte like. The Office of the Historian of the United States Department of State has an excellent page with events, dates, and other information.

Never hurts to brush up on your history.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Blogs

For those of you who did not know, this is not my only genealogy blog. Here's list with the links. Enjoy!
You can subscribe to any of the above blogs for free.

Monday, January 13, 2014

United States Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942

Were you aware of this index created by the arm of the US government responsible for pensions during this era? It's on microfilm from the National Archives and available for free at FamilySearch.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

ELCA Records on

1882 baptismal record from Gothenburg, Dawson County, Nebraska; digital image obtained on has digitized the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's microfilmed copies of some congregational church records. Unfortunately does not have any easy to find the inventory on their site. This PDF file from the ELCA Archives contains a list of congregations represented in the digitized version of their microfilmed congregational records at Keep in mind that it is difficult (almost impossible) to really browse these records on the site.

It's great to have digital access to these records, but the implementation at could have been more user friendly.I generally find a record (ie. a person's entry) in the desired congregation and then "browse" from that image.

The inventory on the ELCA site contains a variety of abbreviations. Here is a listing of those abbreviations as obtained from the ELCA Archives and reprinted with their permission:

ELCA (EA) - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1988-present)
  I. TALC (A) - The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987)
     A. ALC (AM) - American Lutheran Church (1930-1960)
        1. Buffalo (B) - Buffalo Synod 1845-1930
        2. Iowa (I) - Iowa Synod (1854-1930)
          a. Texas (T) - First (German) Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas (1851-1896, district 1896-1930)
        3. JSO (O) - Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (1818-1930)
          a. Augsburg Synod (1876-1903)
          b. Concordia Synod of Virginia (1868-1877)
          c. Evangelical Lutheran Conference (1881-1882)
          d. Indianapolis Synod (1846-1858)
          e. Tennessee Synod (Reorganized) (1848-1884)
     B. ELC (E) - Evangelical Lutheran Church (1917-1960) (was the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America 1917-1946)
        1. Hauge (H) - Hauge's Synod (1876-1917) (split from Eielsen's Synod)
        2. NS (S) - Norwegian Synod  (officially the Synod for the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) (1853-1917)
        3. UNLC (U) - United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1890-1917)
          a. AN (AN) - Anti-Missourian Brotherhood (1887-1890) (split from Norwegian Synod)
          b. NA (NA) - Norwegian-Augustana Synod (1870-1890) (split from Scandinavian Augustana Synod)
          c. NDConf (CO) - Norwegian-Danish Conference (1870-1890) (split from Scandinavian Augustana Synod)
     C. LFC (F) - Lutheran Free Church (1897-1963) (was Friends of Augsburg, 1893-1897, split from United Norwegian Lutheran Church)
     D. UELC (UE) - United Evangelical Lutheran Church (1896-1960) (was the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church 1896-1946)
        1. (DA) - Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church Association (a.k.a. Blair Church) (1884-1896) (split from Norwegian-Danish Conference)
        2. (DN) - Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (a.k.a. North Church) (1893-1896) (split from Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church)
  II. LCA (L) - Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987)
     A. DELC (D) - American Evangelical Lutheran Church (1874-1962) (was the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (1874-1953)
        1. Church Mission Society (Kirkelig Missionsforening) (1872-1874)
     B. AUG (AG) - Augustana Lutheran Church (1860-1962) (was Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America 1894-1948, Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America 1860-1894)
     C. Suomi (SU) - Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (Suomi Synod) (1890-1962)
     D. ULCA (UL) - United Lutheran Church in America (1918-1962) [Member Synods of ULCA, GC, GS, USS]
        1. GC - General Council (1867-1918)
        2. GS - General Synod (1820-1918)
        3. USS - United Synod of the South (1863-1918) (was the General Synod of the Confederate States of America 1863-1866, Evangelical Lutheran General Synod in North America 1866-1876, Evangelical Lutheran General Synod South 1876-1886)
  III. AELC (AE) - Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1974-1987) (split from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)

Note: The first abbreviation is used as a call number in the archives collection catalog. The paranthetical codes are those used in the archives congregational microfilm database. Other non-predecessor synod codes used in that database are:

(EI) - Eielsen's Synod (1845-1997)
LCMS (MO) - Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (1847-current) (was German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States 1847-1917, Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States 1917-1948)
WELS (W) - Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (1917-current) (was Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Other States 1917-1919, Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Wisconsin and Other States 1919-1959)
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Michigan and Other States (1860-1917)
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Minnesota and Other States (1860-1917)
   German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Wisconsin and Other States (1850-1917)
   German Evangelical Lutheran District Synod of Nebraska and Other States (1904-1917)
ELCIC - Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (1985-current)
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (1960-1985) (split from The American Lutheran Church, 1960, full autonomy 1966) (LCA Canadian congregations joined in 1985 forming ELCIC)
AALC - American Association of Lutheran Churches (1987-current) (split from The American Lutheran Church)
AFLC (AF) - Association of Free Lutheran Churches (1962-current) (split from the Lutheran Free Church)
CLBA (LB) - Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America (1900-current)
ELS - Evangelical Lutheran Synod (1918-current) (was Norwegian Synod of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church 1918-1957 (a.k.a. "Little Norwegian" Synod)) (split from the Norwegian Synod)
Lat - Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1975-current)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Need Umlauts?

If you need the codes to create a variety of diacritics, here's a list of the alt codes to create them

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Plat Plotter

If you need a new site to try platting out properties in metes and bounds, give this a try. I've not really experimented with  yet, but it looks interesting

Thanks to Peggy L-my Facebook friend for pointing me in the direction of this one.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Do You Always Believe Bibliographies and Inventories?

Catalogers are human and, being human, they occasionally make a mistake. A recent of online church records with which I was working indicated they only went to 1900.

It turns out there were entries from the 1910s as well.

If I had believed the inventory I would never have located entries from 1905 that were helpful in my research.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jump Start Genealogy 2014

Genealogy Jump Start 2014!

Need to jump start your genealogy in 2014?? Note date change!

To help get your genealogy new year off to a great start, we are offering a series of three webinars on 10 January 2014, my "Genealogy Jump Start 2014."

All presentations are made using Gotomeeting--no software required. Handouts will be sent via PDF at least one day before the presentations. Join us and get your research jump started for 2014!

Day Time
Title and Description
24 Jan 2014 at 11:00 am Central
This presentation will discuss the elements of sourcing genealogical documents. Included will be a variety of example, starting with online census records and including a variety of original, microfilmed and digital material. The first fifteen registrants can submit one item to be used as one of the in-class illustrations. Geared towards advanced beginners and anyone who wants to learn more about the importance and elements of citation.
24 Jan 2014 at 1:00 pm Central
Correlation and Analysis of Information
This presentation will discuss methods for putting together what you have already located, ways to analyze that information to maximize the clues it does contain, and the several different angles from which the researcher should look at every document and record. Geared towards intermediate level researchers--or beginners with some experience who are tired of getting stuck. 
24 Jan 2014 at 3:00 pm Central
There is No Preponderance of Evidence
Professional genealogists suggest we longer use this term in our research for some good reasons. We’ll discuss those reasons briefly. But more importantly we will see ways to handle those situations when information is not clear and convincing and how to best “make our case” when the answers we seek are not explicitly stated in records. This presentation will discuss two in-depth examples (from 18th and 19th century situations). Intermediate researchers.

Questions? Email Michael at

The presenter:

Michael John Neill has actively researched his genealogy for thirty years in over twenty states and five foreign countries. He is an experienced online and onsite researcher, a college professor and has written on a wide variety of topics. Michael has given day-long genealogy how-to seminars across the  United States and has led a group trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake for eight years. He maintains the Genealogy Tip of the Day and blogs. Michael's style is clear, down-to-earth, and informative. 

Don't Forget About

Sometimes the websites that have the images get to be addicting and it's easy to forget about those that "just" have indexes. is one of those sites. It has immigration indexes for the old Castle Garden in New York City for 19th century immigrants. I have a couple of ancestral families whose names have been transcribed correctly on and not so accurately on those other sites.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Missouri Plat Books

141 county plat books from Missouri have been scanned and can be viewed for free on this section of the Missouri Digital Heritage website--part of the Missouri Secretary of State's internet presence.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Linkpendium in Beta Testing

Linkpendium is still in beta testing (so there are some bugs), but if you've given this genealogical search engine a try, consider doing so at

If the resulting page does not come up, hit the link to view the cached page.