My Blogs

More Updated and New Pages, December 2, 2006

The Bookstore has been upgraded. It is now a full-fledged aStore. Have a peek to discover my recommended books for genealogy in general and also by nationality categories.

I have also added a link to a new page. The link appears on every page in the Navigation bar on the bottom. For those interested in creating their own web sites here are a few tools I have found quite useful.

Updated Pages and Access to My Review of Ouimette’s Finding Your Irish Ancestors, October 4, 2006

I’ve updated a few pages (for example recent published articles) and put in a link to my review of a recently released and disappointing beginner’s guide to Irish family history.

NGS 2006 Conference in the States, June 2006

What a super conference! Fascinating topics – especially those I was able to attend – family medical history, Polish genealogy, better presenting and writing, the Spotswood Rice African-American case study, David Moon’s prognostications, and Craig Pfannkuche’s privy archaelogy. Great booths – even a few with people from Ireland.

Scandinavian Round Table at the NGS 2006 Conference

In addition to speaking at the the 2006 National Genealogical Society Conference in the States in Rosemont (near Chicago) on Friday June 9, 2006, I will participate in the Scandinavian Roundtable, Session F329, at 2:30 PM. The moderator is Kathy Meade of Genline North America. Other participants are Dee Anna Grimsrud, speaker on Norwegian genealogy in session F311 and Michelle McNabb, speaker on Danish genealogy, session F318.

Hales Corners Family History Center Open House October 22, 2005

I attended the Open House and Workshop at the expanded Family History Center in Hales Corners, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, on Saturday, October 22, 2005. The parking lot at 9600 West Grange Avenue was full. My time was limited to two morning sessions.

Anne Marie Hummel very competently covered how to find one’s Swedish ancestors’ home parishes. I took a page of good notes and came away with a greater appreciation of Swedish American church records, the value of olf family photographs taken in Sweden, and news of the recently released “EMIBAS” CD.

Gary Haas provided sound advice on preparing for and using the Wisconsin Historical Society Library in Madison, Wisconsin, before taking us on a virtual tour of this grand facilty. “Never hesitate in asking a librarian for help,” Gary said. “There are lots of hidden secrets only they can tell you about.”

Before leaving, Anne Marie gave me a demo of EMIBAS in the now spacious and well lit research room of the Center. EMIBAS has databases of emigrant passenger lists, passport registrations, Swedish American Line passenger lists, and the names of sailors that jumped ship in American ports.

Article and Lecture News – October 2005

My article “10 Things to Look for in Swedish Records” appears in the September/October 2005 issue of Everton’s Genealogical Helper magazine on pages 21 to 25. On newsstands now. If you read it, please pass along your feedback.

My “Review of ‘Your Swedish Roots'” is reprinted in the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society (M.C.G.S) Recorder November 2005 issue on pages 115-116. I am pleased to get out the word on this excellent book.

I will be speaking at the the 2006 National Genealogical Society Conference in the States to be held in Chicago (Rosemont) in early June 2006 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel. My session, F302 “Starting Your Swedish Genealogical Research” is part of the Scandinavian Track.

The Irish Fest Experience – In the Genealogy Tent on August 20, 2005

Volunteer work doesn’t get any better than helping in the genealogy tent at Irish Fest in Milwaukee. My son and I put in a three-hour shift on Saturday night. We manned the surname booth. A non-stop stream of festivalgoers from absolute beginners to experts able to go back to the 1600s kept us busy. The booth is set up with a personal computer with John Grenham’s software installed. With a surname one can pull up its frequency in the Griffith’s Valuation (1840s-1850s), bibliographic information, a snapshot of the name’s appearance in 1891 Irish birth registrations, what the name means and its origins. All these are great talking points, icebreakers, which can quickly lead to a next step or steps that the customer can pursue.

A young woman of Italian and Spanish descendent insisted on having Irish forebears and learning more about finding them. I said there’s always a possibility, if you can go back person by person perhaps one will be Irish.

A young man asked, “how much does it cost [for a consultation]?” before he was willing to sit down. It took some persuasion to convince him that we were volunteers and there was no charge.

Our visiting expert in the tent this year was Mr. Kyle Betit, co-author of “A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors.” His table was next to our booth. For a handful of our clients it was a pleasure to give them the next step of snapping up a copy of Kyle’s book (and get his signature on it).


The most exciting time in genealogy is when we are discovering. In between discoveries there’s a whole range of other actions and they include searching, preparing, planning, strategizing, documenting and learning. The learning is essential or the brickwalls come faster and higher. Without learning we would not know where to look, how to evaluate, what questions to ask. I think it is best to plan to learn. Learning beats my least favorite action, waiting. It keeps the genealogist’s mind keen. A short-term plan is just fine. The plan can be as simple as adding a few low-pressure items to the to-do list (sounds like an oxymoron – isn’t meant to be – after all there can be items on a to-do list that aren’t high priority). The short-term plan could be: go to the National Genealogical Society Conference to learn, listen, discuss and build up the learning part of the to-do list.

Join a Genealogy Society

Participating in a local genealogy organization is a great way to stay motivated, get new ideas, and be helpful. Meeting with others that have a similar interest will keep a genealogist actively researching: testing theories, bragging about results (to someone that will listen and understand), and finding out about new sources to use.

I saw a listing in the community newspaper about a lecture sponsored by a local group. The topic intrigued me. Before the speaker began the group had its general meeting: It was brief and interesting. There was a report from the travel committee chairperson on an upcoming trip to the state historical society. There was a request for contributions to the group’s quarterly publication. There was a raffle for prizes such as a copy of the latest Family Tree Maker software. After the lecture there was time to talk and to browse through hard to find genealogy books for sale at a table.

The dues were reasonable. The benefits were clear. I joined the group. I have since written articles for the group’s periodical and served as an officer. The experience has lived up to my expectations and more, so I’d say it’s a good idea for any serious genealogist to seek out the camaraderie and join a group.