Milwaukee County Genealogical Society
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October 23, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
A Chance to be Famous?
Our website recently received this notice:
CASTING NOTICE
Nationwide
Looking for:
REAL Ancestry.com users -- Seeking people who are real users of Ancestry.com with an interesting life story they'd like to share. Specifically, those individuals that have used the AncestryDNA test to enhance the search for their family tree and discovered incredible details about their origins, perhaps connect with relatives, and perhaps now look at themselves in a different light.
 
1. Name / Age / City, State / Occupation
2. Contact Info (phone, email, skype name)
3. Recent photo / Tell us about your family
4. Tell us about your discoveries using Ancestry.
If this sounds like you or someone you know please send the above information to:
ancestrycasting@gmail.com

October 13, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
Research Help -- Personal Ads
 
I found this in my inbox this morning; I encourage any members with pertinent information to take part in what seems to be a very interesting research project.
 
Dear sir or madam,
 
I am writing to ask whether any of the members of your genealogical society might be able to help me with some research.
 
I am a historian writing a book for a major U.S. publisher about the history of personal ads in America. To this end, I am trying to track down couples who met each other via a personal ad in a newspaper any time between about 1750 and 1950. 
 
Perhaps you know someone whose grandparents or ancestors met their husband or wife via a personal ad? Or perhaps there was a story in your town that one of the neighbors once found love in this way? 
 
If so, I’d be very interested to hear from you.  I can be contacted by email at francescabeauman@gmail.com. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

Many thanks.

Regards,

Francesca Beauman. 
October 1, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
It's Been Busy......
I haven't posted anything for over a month, but there is a reason for my neglect: I've been very busy with genealogical happenings.
The week before Labor Day, I travelled (by train!) to Springfield, Illinois to attend the 2016 FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) Conference as the Delegate from MCGS. It was a very informative (and busy) four days. MCGS joined the FGS late last year to take advantage of the advice and resources they offer societies. As a Delegate, I attended a series of presentations about society management that provided numerous ideas on how to make a society more relevant and useful for its members. As part of that intiative, we will soon be sending a survey to all members. It will be brief, but I hope it will give us an insight into how MCGS fits into your genealogical world and what we can do to be more useful to all of our members. I hope you will all take the time to answer the survey questions when they arrive.
 
The other genealogical event that has prevented me from posting was the MCGS trip to Salt Lake City. If you've never gone on such a trip, I highly recommend it! The Family History Library is THE location to visit on your genealogical adventures. Not only is their collection unbelievable, but they have people who are very dedicated to helping you, regardless of the difficulty of your question. If you just need help logging into their site or want to understand an 18th century German churchbook entry, they either have, or will find, someone to help you with your problem. To make the trip even better, Salt Lake City is beautiful and there are many places to go and things to see (though I have to admit, I didn't do many touristy things, I was too busy in the library). I'm always amazed at what a great deal the MCGS trips are and have always had an enjoyable time. Keep your eyes open and check the website for the announcement of our next trip. [If you're interested in helping out with arranging our next trip send me a message and I'll get you in touch with the right people.]
 
We've also been working on the upcoming Beginning Genealogy Classes, which start on October 29th at 9:30 in the Community Room at the Central Library. We've made some changes to the course content for this year, so even if you've attended in the past, I encourage you to sign up for this year's session.
August 24, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
What Happened to the Newspapers?
Newspapers are a great genealogical resource. Aside from the obvious types of information that appear (births, deaths, marriages), one can often find other interesting tidbits about the life of ancestors in the pages of the daily paper. Accessing images of old newspapers can be challenging and also expensive -- many newspaper databases require a subscription. One exception to that has been the Google Newspaper Archive, which has offered over 2,000 newpapers for free. It is not without difficulty -- the papers are listed alphabetically and there is no search feature within the issues -- but it had been a great option for researchers with Milwaukee ties because both the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel were available. That has now changed.
 
On Tuesday, August 16, the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel listings vanished from the Google News Archive home page. No explanation was given. But according to an article in Urban Milwaukee Daily, the publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gannett, asked Google to turn over the database to NewsBank, a company that specializes in periodical databases. After Google did so, NewBank approached the Milwaukee Public Library, offering them access to the images for -- get this --  $1.5 million, and that was for just the Milwaukee Journal; the Milwaukee Sentinel was not included in the offer.
 
Almost needless to say, the Library could not afford to pay that much for access. 
 
The publishers of the Journal Sentinel say their archives will be available soon, but have not offered further details. In the meantime, most back issues of the Journal and Sentinel are available at the Central Library downtown, but it is unfortunate we have lost the convenience of the online issues. One can only hope that access to the images will be affordable.
July 7, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
"Picnic" in July
Just a reminder that our July membership meeting on the 22nd will start at noon, not the usual 1p.m. Also, this our annual 'picnic,' so bring your lunch (and your laptop), because there is no formal program, but members are encouraged to share their genealogical triumphs and conundrums with the other attendees. 
June 26, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
MCGS on Facebook
Some time ago, I started a Facebook page for the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society but we really haven't been making much use of it. I would like to change that, so I'm asking anyone who reads these posts to go to Facebook and search us out. It's a closed group, but I will approve your request (most often in a few hours). The group is closed to prevent non-relevant posts and advertisements. If you do join the group, I ask that you post a little something about yourself and your interest in genealogy. If you're so inclined, you can include a family story or interesting genealogical fact. I  would really like to see this become a resource for our members beyond the website forums. I think one of the great things about genealogy is that most people are so helpful and willing to share when you run into a problem or have a question. I don't think it's possible to have too many opportunities to keep in touch with one another.
Hope to hear from you soon........
June 22, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
Family Search Shutdown
In case you haven't heard by now, the Family Search website will be unavailable from 1 a.m. (Central) June 27 for as long as twenty-four hours. They are doing some upgrades and will be testing the new system changes before going public with them. 
June 20, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
Thanks to Bonnie in Burlington
Among the numerous (sometimes overwhelmingly so) genealogy sites, newsletters and blogs I try to keep track of, it the Facebook page of the Genealogy Society of Burlington Wisconsin. I have no idea how large their group is, but their Facebook page is pretty active and I often find items of interest posted there.
Just recently, Bonnie Bolster posted a link to a site I had not heard of, Genealogy Gophers (www.gengophers.com). This is a site that is worth checking out; they have over 80.000 books (many from Family Search) that you can full-text search and its totally free. They even give some good search tips so you get the most out of your efforts. 
I haven't had a lot of time to try it out just yet, but I know I will be in the near future.
June 5, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
The Genealogy of You
I saw this at "The Genealogy Insider" by Diane Haddad and the Family Tree Magazine staff. I realized as I read it that not only is most of this information not recorded about me, but I probably can't answer significant portions of it about my siblings or parents either. Sometimes, as we dig into the past, we forget to document the present.
 
   In Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy, Sunny Jane Morton has worksheets and writing prompts to help you get started preserving your own memories—even if you don't think you're a writer. Here's a list of topics to consider writing about for the future generations of your family tree. Not all apply to every person, but they're adaptable to fit your unique life:
 
   1. Your full name and when and where you were born
   2. Your siblings' names, and when and where they were born
   3. Your parents' names, when and where they were born, what they were like, the kind of work they did, special memories about them
   4. The same for your grandparents and great-grandparents, if you knew them
   5. How your parents met
   6. Your childhood: the games and books you liked; your hobbies, sports and activities; where you went to school; favorite and least favorite subjects in school; what you wanted to be when you grew up; your chores around the house; trouble you got into
   7. Your high school years: school subjects you excelled at and struggled with, sports and activities, jobs, friends and dates, learning to drive, how you got along with your parents
   8. Your college years, job training, and/or transition into working life
   9. Experience serving in the military
   10. Adult relationships and/or how you met your spouse
   11. Where you settled as a young adult, your friends and activities, religious life, travel, work
   12. Being a parent: when and where your children were born, their names and how you chose them, what you loved and didn't love about having children
   13. Life lessons you've learned and advice you'd like to share
   14. Family stories passed down to you, that you in turn want to pass down to others
   15. Medical struggles that might also impact others in your family, if you feel comfortable sharing them
   16. Of course, your genealogy discoveries 
May 26, 2016 By: Lisa Christopherson
Google Hints
 
This was posted in a Facebook group I follow, 31 Days to Better Genealogy:
 
Being more specific while using Google’s search engine can lead to greater flow in relevant genealogical information. In order to maximize Google for your genealogy searches, take note of the following:
Use quotations around specific names or phrases, such as “John Green”
The quotations ensure that the words are not just found at some point on the website, but that they must be together and in that order.
Add an asterisk in the search terms, such as “John * Green”
The asterisk acts as a placeholder and Google includes results that contain something in between, such as a middle name or initial.
Use a dash, such as “John * Lincoln” —Abraham
A dash subtracts or excludes a keyword from search results.
Add a date range, such as “John * Lincoln” —Abraham 1790..1830
That searches for results within the years selected.
 
These suggestions not only work for Google, but many other search engines (and databases). Always check out the “Search tips” or “advanced search,” especially if you are new to a site.