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It wasn’t too many years after I began doing genealogy that the State Library of Pennsylvania endured some budget cuts and no longer had paid staff assigned to proctor its huge Genealogy and Local History collection. That was in the late 1980s and a patron named Ray Schott, a native of Pittsburgh who was retired …

2019 German conference: Save the date!

Published December 15, 2017

Eureka! The International German Genealogy Partnership’s second international conference will be in downtown Sacramento, Calif., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 15 to 17 June 2019 with the theme of “Strike it Rich with Connections 2 Discoveries.” The first partnership conference was held earlier this year in the Minneapolis, Minn., and drew more than 700 …

I’m going to put my conflict of interest right out from the get-go on this one. I’ve known Shamele Jordon for going on 20 years. She’s a good friend and a better genealogist who specializes in technology and African-American topics. So, when I heard her kicking around the idea of doing a television program – …

In my 30 years-plus of doing genealogy, I always felt that Friedrich Winter or Winder of Tulpehocken Township, Berks County, was one of my best documented ancestors. I had his will – in which he gives his oldest son a “birthright” bequest of “my good wagon,” the equivalent of the family car in 1786. His …

A couple of weeks ago FamilySearch.org, the world’s largest free family history site, announced that use of many of its online collections will require a sign on. The genealogical world greeted the news with a collective sigh … with some putting an extra helping of “sturm und drang” into that sigh. As for me, I …

One of the most profound “good news, bad news” situations of German genealogy is finding an American record that mention a village of origin in the old country. It’s good news, of course, because so many people searching German roots are stuck with documents that say only “Germany” or the only slightly more helpful “Prussia.” …

If you’re not familiar with faithful “Roots & Branches” reader Eric “Rick” Bender from New Mexico, well, then you’re obviously not a faithful “Roots & Branches” reader. Bender was reacting to the column a couple of weeks ago in which I talked about my first trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. …

I’ll be reporting on a number of things from my recent trip to Salt Lake City (via a wonderful weekend of lecturing in Denver, Colorado) in the next few weeks’ worth of “Roots & Branches” columns. There’ll be an update on the digitization status of the Family History Library’s huge cache of microfilmed records from …

SALT LAKE CITY – As someone who was a first-career journalist (and an “old school” journalist at that!), I do love the occasional times I can put a dateline on a “Roots & Branches” column. I’m not quite old school enough to have worked when datelines actually had dates (the original usage, in the days …

Jim Snyder of Hollidaysburg has been helping locate Blair County cemeteries for years as part of the county genealogical society’s Grave Name and Location Project. One of the saddest situations he has encountered is that of the Jeremiah Peck Cemetery in Taylor Township. Unfortunately, where the Peck cemetery was supposed to be, his team found …