Milwaukee County Genealogical Society
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February 15, 2021 By: Lisa Christopherson
FREE Virtual Strategy Sessions from FHL

One of the many frustrations that can arise with genealogical research is the cost. From reference books, organizational storage and technology upgrades to subscription sites and conferences, it can begin to feel like what is holding back your research is your budget and not your skills. The pandemic has eased some of that, with formerly in-person conferences (which require travel and lodging expenses) now available on-line for reasonable costs (or even free). While planned prior to the pandemic, the new Family History Library (FHL) webpage has some offerings that make staying home even more attractive.  

 

The webpage is part of FamilySearch.org, which most genealogists are already familiar with.  A service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch not only provides access to many records not available elsewhere, but provides them free of charge. There are, of course, some complications as permissions for certain records are limited to church members or only through Family History Centers (or affiliated libraries). Also, while the FHL has made great strides in digitizing the millions of microfilm records it holds, there are still some (usually containing the record you happen to want) that have yet to be digitized.  Or, the record has been digitized, but not indexed and you need to browse through an entire collection to determine if it contains the information you are looking for.  

 

But the exciting feature on the new FHL webpage is found just below the library picture and to the right on the homepage – Research Consultations. These are 20-minute (for DNA, 40-minute) appointments held via Zoom where you can get advice on how and where to look for information to expand your family history knowledge. 

 

These are search strategy sessions, so the person who is helping you is going to be giving suggestions on where to look and what to look for; they will not be breaking down your brick wall for you. That said, if you have a brick wall, it’s usually because you’ve run out of ideas for where to look. A fresh (and experienced) pair of eyes can be just what you need to tear that wall down.  

 

FHL research strategy sessions include geographical areas (countries) as well as DNA, immigration and the FamilySearch site in general. Not all countries are addressed, but they are planning on adding more as time goes on. Right now, most of Europe and Latin America are covered as well as Australia, New Zealand and Japan. There are also sessions available for the U.S. and Canada, though the site does not indicate if this includes individual states or provinces.  

 

The greatest drawback to these offerings is their popularity. When I checked the site, there were no available appointments for the U.S. or Canada through the end of March and they had not yet posted a calendar for April.  

But genealogists are almost forced to be patient and persistent. If I were hoping for a consultation, I would make a point of checking the page on a regular basis and grab an appointment as soon as one becomes available.  

January 20, 2021 By: Lisa Christopherson
A Genealogical Workout

Winter finds many of us pretty much house bound and with the restrictions we’re following because of the pandemic, you may find yourself with more time on your hands than you’re used to. As genealogy people we can, of course, finally start getting some real work done on those stubborn ancestors who have eluded us for years. Or we can really buckle down and organize (or re-organize) all those papers and photos and saved digital files that have somehow reached a point of hopeless disarray 

 

I love doing family research and I can even get into the organizing mood on occasion, but sometimes you need a break. If you’ve been working on a seemingly impenetrable brick wall for days or just can’t face another round of filing, there is something that you can do that will let you show your genealogy stuff and help the community at the same time. 

 

The War Memorial Center in Milwaukee has created a searchable database of Milwaukee County’s war dead from WWII through the present. It contains over 3400 names and is searchable by name, branch, war, date, unit, battle, location, high school, employer, burial/memorial location and other keywords. It is freely accessible to the public at: warmemorialcenter.org/honor-roll-database. 

 

But not every name in the database has all its details and that’s where you, as a genealogist, can save the day. The center is looking for volunteers to research names to come up with the missing details of those who gave their all for our country. 

I have found that it is sometimes more enjoyable to search for the details of others than to concentrate solely on my own relatives. It sharpens your skills and makes you look for different kinds of records. You become more familiar with what is available and where. And in this case, it is for a very worthy cause.  

 

If you are interested in volunteering your time and expertise, contact the War Memorial Center. Kristen Scheuing is the Education Program Manager, and you can email her at education@warmemorialcenter.org or you can call the Center at 414-273-5533. Let them know you heard about it here. 


September 1, 2020 By: Lisa Christopherson
A Great Genealogical Opportunity
The pandemic that we are all struggling to cope with has a few silver linings. MCGS is offering both its membership programs and beginner classes online, allowing our many out-of-town members to participate.
Of course, MCGS isn’t the only genealogy group that has been suddenly pushed into the virtual world. Most conferences and seminars are now online. In fact FamilySearch has announced that the RootsTech 2021 conference previously planned for February 3–6, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah, will now be held on February 25–27, 2021, as a free, virtual event online. RootsTech Connect 2021 will enable attendees to participate from around the world and will feature inspiring keynote speakers, dozens of classes in multiple languages, and a virtual marketplace.  
Throughout the three-day online event, attendees will have the ability to interact with presenters, exhibitors, and other attendees through live chat and question and answer sessions. 
RootsTech Connect 2021 will offer a combination of both livestream and on-demand content to accommodate differences in time zone for participants. In addition, sessions will be available to view on-demand after the event concludes.   
RootsTech hopes to gather in-person again in the future but anticipates the RootsTech Connect virtual opportunity will become a regular addition to the event. 
I’ve had RootsTech on my “to-do” list for several years but never seemed to be able to get the time (and money) together to attend in Salt Lake City. It is one of the largest gatherings in the world for genealogical learning – and especially learning about the way technology is changing and enhancing our genealogical pursuits.
If you have questions about how technology can help you with your family history or if you’re finding the tech you’re using isn’t quite what you had hoped, a virtual trip to RootsTech could be your answer. Register for free at rootstech.org.  
August 17, 2020 By: Lisa Christopherson
Dig Out (or look up) Your Old Photos!

Because of the pandemic, most of us have had our daily routines upended to a greater or lesser degree. I hope for many of our members this has meant some extra time at home to work on family history tasks that have been on the back burner for a while.  

My Heritage has tried to respond to the “rescheduling” that so many face by offering a little help with your family history. Back in June they offered a variety of their subscription record sets (many of them unique to MyHeritage)  to the public for free, giving many a cost-free way to tackle some brick walls. This time, they are offering two of their most popular tools for everyone to use. On August 11thMyHeritage announced that  MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage in Color will be free to everyone until September 10th.  Previously (and probably again after September 10th) anyone could use the photo tools but were limited to 10 photos. For more than 10 photos, you had to sign up for a Premium membership. With this offer, the number of photos you can colorize and/or enhance is limited only by the amount of time you wish to spend.  

Both tools make a copy of your scanned photo and then works its magic. The Photo Enhancer can clear up and refine faces (particularly in group photos) and MyHeritage in Color adds color to black and white or sepia photos. It can also “correct” faded color photos. You then have a new version of your family heirloom while retaining the original. If you have not yet scanned your photos, there is a MyHeritage app you can download to help you with that process. 

While I referred to the process as “magic,” these tools are based on algorithms refined using millions of sample photos. While one cannot say that is exactly what your gg grandfather looked like or if your great aunt’s dress was really that shade of blue, these tools do give convincing approximations. And it is hard to argue with the price.  

To those who are not “into” genealogy, family history often seems a little dry. Grandchildren probably aren’t going to get much of a thrill looking at a death certificate from 1884. But most everyone responds to pictures. If you are fortunate enough to have a store of family photos, this is an excellent opportunity to revitalize your heirlooms and share them with other family members.  

July 20, 2020 By: Lisa Christopherson
Join the Celebration; We're 85!

 

This is a big year for the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society. In late May of 1935, our organization was founded at the Milwaukee Public Library making this our 85th year.  The woman who founded our society, Nuna H. R. Whitcomb, had previously helped to found a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and would also go on to found the Wisconsin Genealogical Society (now the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society). She served as leader of our society for a mere five years, until her death in 1940. 

Our original plan for the 85th Anniversary program was to have an expanded July “Picnic” event. Because of the pandemic, this event was cancelled. In lieu of that and because of its importance of the occasion we’ve decided to dedicate the November program to a more in-depth look at the history of the society (and of genealogy itself). Members of the Board have been gathering information on some of the founders and others who have contributed to the society over the years. This has been a challenge, as much of the material we would like to access is at the library and unavailable to us at this time. 

We would like long-time members (or long-time researchers) to let us know about your experiences with genealogy over the years. What was it like when you started and how has it changed? Do you have a particular moment of triumph in your research or did you find something that just made you say “Wow!”? Is there a person or event in your family history that still presents a brick wall? 

Our hope is to gather these stories into an 85th Anniversary Booklet to be distributed in November – so time is of the essence. We are compiling our booklet now, but would love to have input from current members (especially those of you who have been members for a long time – you know who you are) about your experiences and any way the society has been useful to you. Particularly for long-term members, if there is a member who is no longer with us that you have memories of, we hope you will share them.  

If you’re willing to share with us, please send your written contribution (and/or photos) to info@milwaukeegenealogy.org. Please put “85th anniversary” in the subject line. If you want to send your contribution by mail, send it to: 

MCGS 85th Anniversary, P.O. Box 1616, Milwaukee WI, 53201-1606 

Because we are still working out the content of the booklet, your contribution may be edited.  If you have any questions, please direct them to the email above. 

Thank you all for your support of MCGS and we hope to hear from you soon! 

June 14, 2020 By: Lisa Christopherson
Milwaukee Records on Ancestry

Most of the members of MCGS are from the Milwaukee area, but that doesn’t mean they have deep ties to the area. While I have been a resident of Milwaukee for nearly a quarter century, my family roots – like those of many of our members – range far and wide. My maternal family originally settled in Northwestern Wisconsin when they came to the US, but my only paternal connection to the Midwest is that my California dad married a girl from Wisconsin.   

 

That being said, I’ve learned a lot about Milwaukee during my time here. And I’m pretty excited to be writing this post because if you are one our many members with Milwaukee ties, Ancestry has some great resources available. Courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library, Ancestry recently added three collections of records that are a true boon to those with Milwaukee heritage. 

The following collections went live on Ancestry in December: 

Births, 1839-1911 

Marriages, 1838-1911 

Deaths, 1854-1911 

 

Previously, accessing such records required going to the county courthouse or scrolling through the microfilm at the Central Library. And with the closing of the Register of Deeds office to public researchers due to the pandemic, getting your hands on actual certificates (not just index entries) could have become quite a problem. 

But with the collections available on Ancestry the matter is greatly simplified. All you need is the name(s) you are looking for. Of course, some of the names that come up in Milwaukee family histories are subject to a variety of spellings (and misspellings) but it is far easier to search multiple variations on the computer than it is in a print index.  

 

In addition to the certificates noted above, Ancestry has had some other collections for the Milwaukee researcher for some time. U.S City Directories, 1822-1995 has Milwaukee Directories from 1861-1960. City directories are a great way to find out about your ancestors between the census years (and fill in that gap left by the loss of the 1890 census). There are also a few directories from Waukesha, Wauwatosa, West Allis, West Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay. 

 

Some of the many German newspapers that were once a staple in Milwaukee are also on Ancestry. This does present the problem of being able to read the German printing. If you have this issue, look up the Max Kade Institute in Madison (mki.wisc.edu). Their website includes a list of people who will translate German documents for a fee. There are also a few issues of Milwaukee English language newspapers. Finding Milwaukee papers online can be a challenge, so even these few are helpful. 

 

If you have any questions or comments about this post, please let me know. Contact me at info@milwaukeegenealogy.org . Include the word “blog” in the subject line. 

 

 

 

May 31, 2020 By: Lisa Christopherson
Who Doesn't Like "Free?"

 

One of the persistent problems facing family historians is that, unless you are independently wealthy, you inevitably must make decisions on how to invest both your time and money. It only makes sense to take advantage of free offers when they roll around and this month there’s an opportunity that most everyone will find useful. 

Starting Monday June 1st and continuing through the entire month, the subscription site My Heritage will be offering certain record sets to the public for FREE. Some of these sets are exclusive to My Heritage (found nowhere else online) but a quick review of the list (available here), indicates that all have the potential to be useful to right researcher – and that may be you. 

The first week is primarily Scandinavian records, followed by a week or so of US records and then travels around the globe. Towards the end of the month are 3 smallish sets of records from Greece that only My Heritage has, so if you have some Greek in your family lineage, it’s worth checking out.  

I think many beginning genealogists think only of Ancestry or Family Search when going online for research, but My Heritage has built a fairly extensive collection over the years. Good researchers endeavor to leave no stone unturned when seeking answers and its always nicer when you don’t have to pay to look under the rocks. 

So, check out the list and set aside some time on the days that are of interest to you. Each set is available for a 24-hour period based on your local time.  

 


October 28, 2019 By: Lisa Christopherson
Something Different to Check Out at MPL!
The Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies at UW-Madison will be having an exhibit at the Central Library from November 4th to December 1st. Titled "Neighbors Past and Present: The Wisconsin German Experience," the fourteen panel exhibit covers German migration and settlement in Wisconsin, questions of ethnicity and identity in newly forged communities and the cohesiveness of these communities over the decades, especially in times of economic crisis or war. Specific topics include language; print culture; religion; Amish and Mennonites; traditions and social clubs; education; rural and urban life; political and civic engagement; times of war; and immigrants and their descendant in the global world, past and present.
There will also be a lecture on Saturday, November 9th by Alison Efford (Associate Professor of History, Marquette University): 
Mathilde Franziska Anneke's Civil War: Milwaukee's Famous German-American Feminist. 
Sounds like a wonderful reason to take a trip downtown. See the exhibit, grab some lunch in the library cafe and spend some time working on your family history in the Humanities Room!
 
 
July 15, 2019 By: Lisa Christopherson
Time and Space still available!
Saturday July 27th
Milwaukee Public Library Community Room 1
12:00 p.m.
 
Where have your genealogical adventures taken you? Have you broken through a brick wall? Discovered a famous (or infamous) ancestor? Held a family reunion or shared your hard work with family members? Taken a trip to an archive or ancestral hometown?
 
This is your chance to  share your family history experiences with others who appreciate and celebrate your passion and dedication. You can display items related to your family and research and/or give a short presentation on your experiences.
 
The MCGS Board will provide lunch and beverages.
 
Want to share your discoveries and adventures?
Please contact us in advance so we can organize display tables and presentation time.
 
Send an email to: info@milwaukeegenealogy.org
or call Lisa Christopherson at 414-699-0746.
June 18, 2019 By: Lisa Christopherson
Join Us at the Picnic!
Saturday July 27th
Milwaukee Public Library Community Room 1
12:00 p.m.
 
Where have your genealogical adventures taken you? Have you broken through a brick wall? Discovered a famous (or infamous) ancestor? Held a family reunion or shared your hard work with family members? Taken a trip to an archive or ancestral hometown?
 
This is your chance to  share your family history experiences with others who appreciate and celebrate your passion and dedication. You can display items related to your family and research and/or give a short presentation on your experiences.
 
The MCGS Board will provide lunch and beverages.
 
Want to share your discoveries and adventures?
Please contact us in advance so we can organize display tables and presentation time.
Space is limited.
Send an email to: info@milwaukeegenealogy.org
or call Lisa Christopherson at 414-699-0746.
 
June 5, 2019 By: Lisa Christopherson
PGSA Meeting
POLISH  GENEALOGICAL  SOCIETY  of  AMERICA August 18, 2019, Regular Meeting 
 
Latest Update and Review of the Metryki and Geneteka databases 
 
Date – Sunday, August 18, 2019. 2pm – 4pm Location – Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Avenue   Batavia, IL   60510 
 
Attendance is free to members and non-members. The presentation will also be offered as a free Webinar to members around the world.  To defray costs, non-members will be charged a $10 fee.  Visit our website to register.
 
Guest Speaker: Ola Heska 
 
Topic Summary:  Polish genealogical data bases are expanding, advancing and adding new features.  Ola will discuss what is new, plus review the basics, on how to use these resources to their greatest potential in your Polish genealogical research.  Geneteka currently contains over 28 million indexed records from various regions of Poland.  It is accessible without a login or fees.  It is created and administered by volunteers of the Polish Genealogical Society in Poland.  Metryki is a database of over 5.5 million scans, mainly from the Mazowsze and Łódź area.  Learn how to make the most of these resources.  Detailed handouts will be provided. 
 
Webinar registration for members and non-members can be made by clicking here.  https://pgsa.org/product/webinar-latest-update-and-review-of-the-metryki-and-geneteka-databases-august-18-2019/
May 22, 2018 By: Lisa Christopherson
DNA Bootcamps Available to Members
We are proud to announce that MCGS members now have unlimited access to six DNA Bootcamps -- webinars and handouts from Thomas McEntee and Mary Eberle -- to help you understand how best to use DNA to support and expand your genealogical research.
Topics covered include:
1) Getting Started with DNA and Genealogy
2) Additonal DNA Tools and Concepts
3) Interpreting Your AncestryDNA Results
4) Interpreting Your FTDNA and 23andMe Results
5) Solving Family Mysteries with DNA
6) Finding Birth Families Using DNA
 
Each Bootcamp includes two 90-minute webinars with handouts for viewing and/or printing. 
 
To access the webinars, log in on the members page and click on the DNA Webinars link on the left side of the page. Each video has a password listed at the top that you must enter to play the video.

December 21, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
Good News, Everyone
Milwaukee Newspapers are back on line -- and they're free!
 
 
For a time, the archive of the major Milwaukee newspapers have been unavailable online; this article explains why that happened and why they're back.
November 6, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
Have Ancestors from Poland?
From the Polish Genealogical Society of America:
Rising from the Ashes
Warsaw, Poland
Sunday, November 19 2:00 - 4:00 CST
Margaret Guzek discusses the events leading up to the destruction of Warsaw during World War II, then the heroic and meticulous effort of post-war Poland to reconstruct the beauty of its historic Old Town. Warsaw’s restored historic quarter is now an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
JOIN  IN PERSON Copernicus Center 5216 W Lawrence Avenue Chicago or
JOIN BY WEBINAR Event information and registration link at https://pgsa.org/news/
October 16, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
Wisconsin Historical Society Speaker
WCGS October 25, 2017 Meeting
SPEAKER:     Lori Bessler
PROGRAM:   How to Find Genealogical Collections Anywhere and Everywhere
 
Genealogical research is a journey that takes you to many, many places.  There is a lot to find online but the resources you find in research institutions and repositories will fill in even more of the family stories.  Lori Bessler, Reference Librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society, will provide instruction on how to find genealogical collections online and at a variety of institutions.  She will show you how to identify institutions and what to expect from these resources.
 
Waukesha County Genealogy Society will meet Wednesday October 25 at Southminster Presbyterian Church (Nelson Hall), 200 Richard Street, Waukesha, WI. A short business meeting at 6:45 PM with Lori Bessler's presentation to follow at 7:00 PM.
September 13, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
A Fine Opportunity

 

This came to us through the website and it seems like a great opportunity to learn something new while helping members of the genealogical community:

Howdy Milwaukee County Genealogical Society!
 
UPDATE: The flooding from Hurricane Harvey has destroyed homes of 6 of our members. After talking with Family History Fanatics (the producers of our eConference) we are going to be donating 50% of the registration fees to these 6 members from our society. Registration is only $15 and we would appreciate all the support we could get.
 
The Humble Area Genealogical Society is hosting an eConference and would appreciate if you could forward this information to any of your members that might be interested in participating.
 
THAGS eConference: Back to Research
Saturday, 23 September 2017 from 8:30am - 4pm CDT
 
Join us for an eConference! We've arranged for four great speakers to teach us about a variety of research topics. Registration costs $15 and you can watch the live webinar presentations or see the replay on your own schedule for up to 30 days after the eConference. During the eConference you'll be able to ask questions through the webinar program's chat features. After these four hours of instructions, the speakers will convene for a final panel discussion to answer questions not finished during the webinars or any additional questions you have. It will be a great day of education and entertainment.
 
How to Register:
 
Go to the conference page on our website http://www.humblegen.org/conference and click on the register button.
 
After clicking the "Register Now" button, you'll be taken to PayPal, where you can pay using your PayPal account or with a credit card or eCheck. After payment is complete, you'll be directed to the "Finalize Registration" page. You'll enter your name and email (this doesn't have to be the same email as your PayPal account) to complete the registration process. An email will be sent to you with links and passwords for the eConference.
 
eConference Schedule:
 
Time Speaker Topic
8:30 am Karen Rasmussen / Andrew Lee Welcome
9:00 am Amy Johnson Crow Desperately Seeking Susan: Finding Female Ancestors
10:30 am Melissa Finlay Which Charles is Which? Separating Same Name Individuals
12:00 pm Devon Noel Lee Using FamilySearch More Effectively
1:30 pm Michael L Strauss Bankruptcy to Equity: Using Federal Court Records
3:00 pm Panel Discussion Family History Fanatics' "Genealogy Unscripted"
 
Desperately Seeking Susan: Finding Female Ancestors - Amy Johnson Crow
 
How do you find female ancestors when they lived in a world where most of the records were written by and about men? Explore sources and strategies to help you fill in the female half of the family tree.
 
Which Charles is Which? Separating Same Name Individuals - Melissa Finlay
 
Some individuals with similar names have been combined, crossed and muddled over time. Learn how to differentiate between same-named people using a composite of time, place, family members, occupation and other unique identifiers.
 
Using FamilySearch More Effectively - Devon Noel Lee
 
FamilySearch.org has billions of names in the family tree and millions of records for genealogical research. This class discusses how to use this collaborative tree more effectively using indexed and unindexed records and leaving a trail of your research decisions along the way.
 
Bankruptcy to Equity: Using Federal Court Records - Michael L. Strauss
 
Was Grandma a bootlegger? Did Grandpa pay his taxes? Records of the Federal courts are among the National Archives' largest holdings-and yet some of the least used records. Open a new chapter of your family history and discover little-known branches in your family tree as the records of the Federal Court system are discussed in detail.
 
We hope to see you online on the 23rd of September!
 
-The Humble Area Genealogical Society
 Humble, TX
 
This eConference is being produced by Family History Fanatics. 25% of the ticket price goes directly to The Humble Area Genealogical Society to support their preservation and education activities. If your society would like more information on hosting an eConference, email familyhistoryfanatics@gmail.com.
August 28, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
German Handwriting Workshop

For those of us of German descent, one of the frustrations we can run across is finding the records we need, only to discover they are written in Old German Script. Here is an opportunity to acquire some of the skills you need to make sense of those treasures:

 

 

Deciphering Old German Script Workshop

Saturday, September 30, 201710:00am – 4:30pm
Marquette University, Milwaukee
Raynor Memorial Libraries Conference Center, Beaumier Room
1355 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233

*Lunch included*

 

     

         Are you a historian trying to decipher old German handwritten documents? A genealogist researching your German-speaking ancestors?  In this workshop, Mark Louden will introduce you to the basics of reading German handwritten materials, with a special focus on those from the 19th century. Antje Petty will give suggestions on how to work with German-language genealogical records. The workshop combines presentations with practical exercises. You are welcome to bring your own documents to work on. Though a reading knowledge of German is helpful, it is not required.

 

Mark Louden is the Director of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies and a Professor in the  department of German, Nordic, Slavic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Antje Petty is the Associate Director of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies.

The workshop is cosponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Marquette University.

 

REGISTER by September 21 —- Space is limited! Sign up early!

 

Workshop Fee (includes lunch)                                           
Regular: $39
Member of the Friends of MKI: $34
UW-Madison or Marquette student: $25

 

Fill out the attached registration form and mail with payment to
Friends of the Max Kade Institute
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, WI 53706
(you will receive an email confirmation)

 

or register ONLINE at https://mkifriends.org/workshops/

 

For further information visit https://mkifriends.org/workshops/  or contact Antje Petty: apetty@wisc.edu  or 608-262-7546

 

June 26, 2017 By: Lisa Christopherson
Good News/Bad News : FHL Microfilm
We knew it was going to happen eventually, but now it's official ---
On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services. (The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31, 2017.)
 
What? No more microfilms? Isn't this bad news? How am I supposed to find those church records for my great grandfather's marriage in Germany?
 
Actually, it's good news. FamilySearch has already digitized over 1.5 million rolls of microfilm and they are now availabe on the FamilySearch website under "Records." They predict they will have the entire collection completed by 2020. This means that you can access these materials directly from the FamilySearch website, without having to order the films, wait for their delivery and trying to find the time to use them at your local Family History Center. Since hours vary and we all have busy schedules, this will make research easier in many ways. Digitization should also make indexing easier, so you can look forward to less browsing. 
 
The bad news, of course, is that the project won't be complete until 2020. So, even though there are literally billions of images via the website, if the film you want is one of those waiting to be digitized, you may hit a serious snag in your research. And I did note that their announcement did not indicate if all images on the website would be available to public users. Right now, much of the book collection is digitized, but accessible only from computers at the Family History Library or Family History Centers. Though I personally haven't done tons of reasearch recently on FamilySearch, I haven't run into such restrictions in the past. But if there is some restriction on access, it does remove the time it takes to order and receive films, even if you still have to make the trip to an FHC. 
 
Overall, this is a wonderful development. Microfilm is rapidly becoming obsolete and, even well cared for and properly stored, deteriorates over time. Eventually, the records on the films would become unusable. Digitizing preserves these images and  allows you to save the image to your collection (with proper citation, of course) without the hassle of trying to print out a legible copy.
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.