Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 BAGS German/Scandinavian Conference April 15/16th

 BAGS = Brookings Area Genealogical Society

The Friday night and Saturday conference will be held at the Community Life Center, 625 5th St. Brookings, SD.  The price of the conference is $35.  A box lunch will be available for Saturday event for $7.  Registration forms will be available soon.
Please contact Cheryl Schrader for more information.

Ruth Ellen Maness, AG Frmr Manager Scandinavian (Nordic) Reference, Family History Library, Sr. Research consultant, International Reference, FHL; Lecturer, BYU Family History Conferences, Family History Expos, UGA, Salt Lake Institute and others; 40 years research experience in Scandinavian and Germanic records; Field Trip experience Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and all over the U.S.


6:00-6:30             Registration
6:30-7:30             Effective Family Tree Analysis
7:35-8:45             German Church, Civil Registration, and “County Level” Vital Records
8:45-9:30             It’s Not All On-line!  Printed Sources For Scandinavian Research
8:00-8:30             Registration
8:30-10                The Chicken Walked Here:  Learning to Read Germanic & Scandinavian Gothic    Script and Deciphering Record Patterns
10-10:15              Break
10:15-11              Germanic and Scandinavian Naming Patterns
11-11:45              The Importance of Feast Days in Germanic and Scandinavian Research
11:45-12:30        Lunch
12:30-1:30          State Business Meeting
1:30-3                  Avoiding Mistakes in German and Scandinavian Research AKA Research Tips & Strategy
3-3:30                  Break
3:30-4:15             German and Scandinavian Websites:  Some Free, Some Not

75 Best Websites for US State Genealogy Research in 2015

75 Best Websites for US State Genealogy Research in 2015 

(Family Tree magazine Online)
Any way you slice it, these 75 top state-focused websites are must-visits for tracing your ancestors across the United States.

 Click here to see these 75 top websites for all 50 states!

South Dakota

South Dakota Birth Records
This index holds information from more than 275,000 records of South Dakota births that occurred at least 100 years ago, including many delayed birth certificates that were issued for people born before statewide registration began in 1905.

South Dakota State Historical Society
Find your ancestors in the Mount Rushmore State with the help of these indexes to naturalizations, cemetery records, the 1905 state census and biographies, plus a transcript of the 1885 census of Civil War veterans.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

U.S. National Archives Launches History Hub

U.S. National Archives has Recently Launched a History Hub

The National Archives and Records Administration has recently launched a FREE History Hub, an online research support community, where members of the public can ask questions about research at NARA. The new site is a pilot for the next 6 months, and hopefully will be fully funded after that time. However, there is no guarantee of that.
There’s a dedicated Genealogy section in the History Hub. To access it, go to and register for an account, and then you can contribute in any way that you’d like!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker Software

Ancestry to Retire Family TreeMaker Software

If you are using Family Tree Maker, you probably need to start looking for another genealogy program. Kendall Hulet, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Ancestry, posted an article to the Ancestry Blog today stating, “We’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.”
The announcement is available at

NOTE: There are several great alternative replacement programs--some for the Mac also. Please check the links to the right top of the sidebar.  The 3 Major Program Comparison is dated but has some good comparisons.

If you want to try out a full version of any of these 3 major programs (RootsMagic, Legacy or Ancestral Quest), go to your nearest FHC who should have those available for you to try.

Each also has a free version to download and try at home!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Treasures in Your Own Back....Post Office 2600 Letters from 17th Century Unopened

Rediscovered Leather Trunk Contains Thousands of Letters From the 17th Century

Talk about the Dead Letter Office! A 300-year-old linen-lined trunk filled with over 2,600 letters that were mailed out—but never received—between the years 1680 and 1706 has recently been discovered in The Hague, Netherlands. The extraordinary collection contains letters from all manner of society, including aristocrats, merchants, lovers, actors, musicians, and even spies. At least 600 of the 2,600 letters have never even been opened. Historians are now taking a closer look.
An international team from Leiden, Oxford, MIT, and Yale are taking part in this project. You can read more about the historians’ study of the letters in a web site called Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered at and especially at

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What IS the Internet Archive and how NOT to search it?

From the previous post, you now know that Internet Archive aka THE WAYBACK MACHINE is the place to go for a LOT of raw data, digital archives, digitized films, etc, but how to search it--here's an article on how NOT to search it with specific instructions on what to do--it's lengthy but worth it.

Courtesy of Ancestry Insider at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Navigate Around the Internet Archive Search Bug

There is a bug in Internet Archive’s “Search Inside” a book feature. Don’t trust it. Let me tell you what to do instead.
Let’s say you found your way to a book on Internet Archive (IA). It is A Complete History of Fairfield County, Ohio (at by Hervey Scott. You want to see if Jonas Messerly is mentioned in it. You select the search magnifying glass up in the upper-right corner.
Internet Archive's title search icon
You search for “Messerly” and, oops, you just searched IA for titles rather than searching inside that single title.
Internet Archive's title search results
Wait, don’t cuss me out yet; that’s not the bug. That’s just user error and a user interface annoyance.
You find another search magnifying glass icon on the right-hand side about half way down the page. The context help popup says “search inside.” You select the icon.
Internet Archive's search inside icon
The page changes a bit and the search icon disappears.
The search inside icon is in a different place in the Internet Archive's full screen view.
Instead of instigating a search, what you’ve just done is switched from one book viewer to another. People  in the know tell me that this failure to search is not a bug. Because the design is supposed to do this, it is a WAD, “working as designed.” Fine. Let’s compromise and call it a user interface flaw. But this is still not the bug of which I speak.
The search inside icon has disappeared. The search-all-of-IA box is still up in the upper-right corner of the screen. You fell for that one once before. “Fool me once…” After looking in vain for another search icon, you notice that the search box you previously dismissed, the one that searched for book titles, is now labeled “Search inside”.
The search inside box is at the top in the Internet Archive's full screen view.
Also not the bug of which I speak. It’s another user error and user interface annoyance.
Now comes the bug. You search for “Messerly” and IA erroneously states “No matches were found.”
The Internet Archive's full screen view with no matches found message
Rather than depend on just the “Search Inside” results, check the raw text. To do this, select the italic I—the “About this book” icon. In the popup, select Plain Text. That brings you to a page containing the raw text from the book. Now use your browser search (^F) to search for Messerly.
Some raw text from an Internet Archive book
There he is on page 73. Now back up to the book viewer and advance to page 73.
Mention of Jonas Messerly in a history of Fairfield County, Ohio
One of the distinct advantages of Internet Archive over Google Books is that downloaded PDF files are searchable. I tested the above book and found that Adobe Reader is not affected by the search bug. You can download from IA with the confidence that your offline study will not be affected.
Mention of Jonas Messerly in a history of Fairfield County, Ohio
Be aware that OCR errors are unaffected by any of this. If a word was not recognized when scanned, then all of these methods will fail to find it.
Finally, the Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that accomplishes amazing things with very little money. No one should be surprised that there are flaws in their software. We are all in their debt. They accept contributions at

Microfilm at Your Fingertips (Not just at FamilySearch)

 Courtesty of OliveTree Genealogy by Lorine McGinnis Schulz 

September 30, 2015

Microfilm at Your Fingertips!

Microfilm at Your Fingertips!
How many of you remember "the good old days" pre-Internet when we spent hours in libraries and archives scrolling through microfilm in a dark room? I sure do! 

Now, thanks to The Internet Archive, (part of the WayBack Machine) microfilm is coming right to your computer! Here is their description of the focus of this project:

As books become old and begin to fall apart, librarians depend on microform to preserve their content for the future. Tiny photographs on long strips of film (microfilm) or small cards of film (microfiche) are all that remain of hundreds of thousands of documents that have disintegrated over the last century. While microfilm is perfect for storing and protecting this material, it is a does not allow for much access. In following its mission to provide universal access to all human knowledge, the Internet Archive is teaming up with libraries all over the world to begin digitizing microfilm and microfiche. The goal is to get as much content off the shelves and online.
The books in this collection are from a variety of libraries including the University of Chicago Libraries, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Alberta, Allen County Public Library, and the National Technical Information Service.
You may also want to view the newspapers that have been digitized from microfiche.

So don't wait, click over to and let your fingers do the walking!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Roots n Branches 2015 Workshop Set for Satruday Sept 19, 2015

PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS NOW Available--click here


CLICK here to complete



Digging up Treasures in Your Own Back Yard
Local area Historical Societies and Museums

Virginia Hanson, State Historical Society--Keynote Speaker

Saturday, Sept 19, 2015, 8:30 am - 4 pm


 Click here

sponsored by

Brookings SD FHC

See map below

Brookings Ward
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 
200 22nd Ave, (south of Hospital)
Northeast door

Registration and Check In     8:00 am to 8:30 am
          Welcome     8:30 am

8:45 am – Keynote Speaker: Virginia Hanson, 
Archivist with State Historical Society
“Early Dakota Territorial Records at the State Archives”

Where do you find records of your family when there are no census records?  Or your family fell between the census?  The Early Territory records of Dakota are full of wonderful bits of family information.  This presentation will give you an idea of what to look for and where the records can be found. Documents and samples shown include records from pre-statehood circa 1700-1900 era. Showing resources including; Military Post Returns, Muster rolls, Marriages, Early School Census, Land records, Newspapers, Indian Census, just to start.

Depending on the time allowed, we will include a case file of a young soldier killed in 1862, while stationed at Ft Sully, DT.
Session 1 – 10:10 am – 11:10 am

1. Smith-Zimmerman Museum (Lake County) – Cindy Mallery, Curator
 Treasures of the Past: How the Dead Still Speak
Many unique holdings including a comprehensive Obituary project

2. Treasures in Your Own Computer or Device – Family History Apps for Fun for All Ages
Especially for the Youth by Youth of Brookings Ward 


Session 2 – 11:20 – 12:20 pm

1. Moody County Museum (Flandreau) – Dale Johnson, former Curator
 Mystery at the Library: Which is the Real Granny Weston is in the Painting?
a Model in Native American research (based on Dianne Ammann’s research) An 1896 painting of a Native American Woman in the Moody County Public Library has puzzled patrons for years as to who she was and why the painting was done.  Dale Johnson, Moody County Genealogical Society, will trace story of Flandreau Santee Sioux from 1862 Minnesota Uprising until their settlement in Moody County area and why at least 5 Granny Westons could be the subject of the paining.

2. Rootstech 2015 Video--more Online treasures

30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without

12: 30-1:20 LUNCH

 (Brown Bag—Bring your own or Reserve one of ours—see registration)


Session 3 – 1:30 – 2:30 pm

1. Brookings County Museum (Volga) – Kristin Heismeyer, Historical Advisor 

Walking Through Our Past 
a look at treasures and resources of the Brookings Historical Society and Museum 
including local family history, research resources and outreach programs

2. Faded History –Anisah David, Rural Sociologist, of Bushnell

Hidden Treasures: Ghost Towns/Abandoned Cemeteries (in your own back yard?) 

Substitute Class: ROOTSTECH 2015 VIDEO

30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without

Session 4 – 2:40 – 3:40 pm

1.      SD Agricultural Heritage Museum (Brookings) – Carrie Van Buren, Collections Curator 
Found in Collections: Resources for Family History Researchers 
Maps, Atlases, County/Town Histories, Artifacts, Staff Research Specialties and much more

2.      SD Agricultural Heritage Museum--Gwen McCausland, Director
Preserving Your Family Heirlooms, Photos
 Professional Advice on caring for Family Treasures, Q and A


Other Local Museums and Societies

Displays Related to Class presentations

Free Premium Websites at the FHC


CLICK here to complete

CommunityWalk Map - Brookings SD FHC