Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nebraska Genealogy Events - September 2011

A variety of genealogy and history events are coming up in Nebraska in September. If you have an event to add to the list, please email me. Click here for complete event listings for the upcoming months.

Date & Location

September 13, 2011
7:15 p.m.
Lower Level Theater
Dick Admin. Bldg.
Union College Campus
3800 So. 48th St. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society: Internet Research (Our 35 Favorites)
How can we use the internet to help do research? What are your favorite websites, message boards, blogs, query lists, free and commercial sites? We'll highlight sites used and recommended by our members. Watch the newsletter and emails for requests to share your favorite sites before the September meeting so we can use them in the presentation.

September 15, 2011
12:00 Noon
Nebraska History Museum
15th and P Sts
Lincoln, Nebraska
Nebraska in the Great Recession
Presenter: Bruce Thorson, Instructor, University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications

September 17, 2011
Field Trip to Cheyenne WY Public Library
West Nebraska Family Research and History Center
1602 Avenue A
Scottsbluff, NE

Genealogy Field Trip to the new Cheyenne Public 
Library - Leave Scottsbluff at 9am & return at 7pm

September 17, 2011
2:00 p.m.
W. Dale Clark Library
215 S. 15th St.
Omaha, Nebraska
Dating & Identifying Your 19th Century Photographs
Presented by genealogist and photo historian Gail Blankenau. Learn how to use power combinations of image type, fashions, photographers and your family tree to reveal the who, when and sometimes even the where in those intriguing faces.

September 21, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Crown Pointe Retirement Center
2820 S. 80th St
Omaha, Nebraska
Program to be announced

September 30, 2011
6:30 p.m.
W. Dale Clark Library
215 S. 15th St.
Omaha, Nebraska
Third annual Genealogy Lock-in presented by Greater Omaha Genealogical Society. During this after-hours event, library staff and society members will be available to help participants open the doors into their families' pasts by discovering genealogical treasures in the library's collection.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nebraska State Historical Society Reference Room: New Hours

In response to popular demand, the Library/Archives Reference Room will no longer close over the noon hour, but will be opening one hour later. The new hours will be:

Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 – 4:00

Saturday, 8:00 – 5:00 (Saturday hours remain unchanged)

The new hours go into effect on Tuesday, September 6.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Upcoming Genealogy and History Classes - Lincoln, Nebraska

Southeast Community in College in Lincoln, Nebraska is again offering some great continuing education classes for people interested in genealogy and local history.

Beginning and Intermediate Genealogy

Once again, Marcia Stewart will be teaching Beginning Genealogy, Intermediate Genealogy and and Hands-on Genealogical Research. Beginning Genealogy is on Thursday evenings, October 6 - 20. Intermediate Genealogy is on Wednesday evenings, November 30 - December 7. Hands-on Genealogical Research is one evening only, November 10. See page 24 of the SCC continuing education catalog.

History of Lincoln and Lincoln Suburbs

Noted Lincoln historian Jim McKee will be teaching History of Lincoln on Thursday evenings, October 6 - November 17. History of Lincoln suburbs is scheduled for Wednesday evenings, October 12 - November 9. See page 28 of the SCC continuing education catalog.

Grave Addiction

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 28, 2012. Back by popular demand is Beth Santore of the Grave Addiction web site. She will be sharing her knowledge about gravestone history and symbolism. Via Facebook, Beth shared with me that there will be a field trip to Wyuka Cemetery as part of the class. Registration information will be included in the SCC Winter Catalog.

I've taken Marcia and Jim's classes and recommend them to anyone with an interest in genealogy or Lincoln history. Marcia has a knowledge base second to none and is on top of all of the latest internet resources used for genealogy. Jim's class on the history of Lincoln and his collection of vintage photographs and documents was absolutely fascinating for me since so many of my family were in the city and neighboring counties in the early days of Nebraska statehood. I'll be taking his class on Lincoln suburbs this time around since my pre-teen and teen years were spent in the Lincoln suburbs of Havelock, University Place and Bethany.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Searching for Sina - Sina's Little Book of Pictures - Part 7

It's been a very busy summer, and now it's time to return to sharing more of the photographs from my grandmother Sina Bellinger Kelly's little book of pictures of friends and family.

On this page are two more images of Sina's friend, Garnet Lee, and two other friends, Debra Hoham and Mona Armstrong.

I've located Mona Armstrong in the 1900 census for Greenwood, Nebraska. She was listed as the 12 year old daughter of Joe and Floretta Armstrong.

So far, nothing has turned up on Debra Hoham, but I will keep looking since I want to find out whatever I can about Sina's circle of friends.

I absolutely adore the photo of the ladies in their hats! I do believe that Sina and her friends enjoyed posing for the camera!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow Friday: Iowa Girl Memories and On the Trail of Hillhouse

It seems as though life has gotten in the way of regular blogging this summer and some may have noticed that I haven't been keeping up my usual "Around the Blogosphere" posts. But, I've still been tagging my favorite posts in my Google Reader and if you scroll down this screen, you will see a blog roll of my favorite posts from other bloggers.

That being said, this week, I'm returning to a Follow Friday post because I feel a great sense of pride for these two people who started blogging about their family history this week.

On the Trail of Hillouse - This blog is written by my long time friend (since 1983), Jan Eloise Morris. Jan is what I would consider a true Renaissance woman with many varied interests. What I sometimes only dream of doing, Jan actually does. She has recently returned from Paris, hosting a tour for fans of The Doors and Jim Morrison and a pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise cemetery, where Morrison is buried. We became friends through our connection to country music and have had some great times in Nashville together. I also had the most wonderful 50th birthday weekend a few years back when I visited her while she was living in Los Angeles. As much fun as L.A. was, I'm glad to have my friend back in Nebraska.

I've been talking about genealogy blogging with Jan for months and after she heard me speak about blogging last weekend and using this format to share family history that she came home and within 24 hours had her blog up and running. Jan has an eye for graphic design and she also is able to weave her research into fascinating stories. Jan has also organized and conducted town tours in southeast Nebraska.

I love what she has already done with her Hillhouse blog and look forward to reading more.

Iowagirlmemories - The other blog I want to share this week is written by Evelyn Pecht. Evelyn was also in the class I taught on blogging last weekend. Evelyn and I had been in contact with one another before since our Pecht families come from the same area in Pennsylvania. We are most likely related - it's just a matter of discovering how. Evelyn started her blog this week and it is really taking shape.

One of Evelyn's posts this week is about her Grandma. This really struck a chord with me, as I have similar memories of visiting the hen house for eggs! Evelyn is an eloquent writer who is able to paint pictures with her words. I'm looking forward to reading more from her and watching her evolve as a blogger.

I hope you'll find Jan and Evelyn's blogs as interesting as I do. Please pay them a visit and welcome them to the genealogy blogging community.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Descendants of Homesteaders Wanted for Oral History Project

Are you a descendant of a homesteader? Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act.

The Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska wants to find relatives of people who filed claims under the Homestead Act. The purpose is to gather stories of the experiences of homesteaders.

The monument is developing a database of homesteaders and descendants. Oral histories will be taken under the direction of the University of Nebraska and Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

If you are a descendant of a homesteader, send your name, address, phone number and email address to Friends of Homestead, Homestead National Monument of America, 8523 W. State Highway 4, Beatrice NE 68310.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fun Day at the Omaha Public Library

Some readers of are aware that 2011 has marked the beginning of my genealogy speaking "career." While I have done public speaking and training workshops for many years, hitting the genealogy speaking circuit presented something new and challenging - and a lot of fun!

Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing my passion for genealogy blogging with fellow genealogists at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha. My friends and I arrived at the library early, so we were able to spend time in the genealogy room and get a quick tour of the available resources from Karen, one of the volunteers from the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society (GOGS).

Could it be magic?

The first thing that caught my eye was the card catalog of Omaha area obituaries. There was one in particular that I was looking for, so I pulled out the drawer and set it down on the table. Somehow, the drawer of hundreds of index cards opened up and the obituary that was staring me directly in the face was for my second cousin! Was magician Criss Angel in the room?

Fellow genealogists know that quite often these moments of synchronicity just happen. What is even more amusing to me is that my very first blog post was an "obituary wanted" for this man's mother. That blog post is the first example in my blogging presentation about how to use your blog to locate long lost cousins. At that moment, I knew it was going to be a great day.

Susan and Evelyn
Cousins? Quite Likely!
After getting a lay of the land of all of the wonderful genealogy resources at the library, we headed for the conference room where I would be speaking. I was approached by a delightful woman who introduced herself, and I knew her immediately from a comment she had left on my blog last year.

She is Evelyn Pecht, and our Pecht families both hail from the same area in Pennsylvania. Now that we've met, I have no doubt that we will kick up our efforts to find out if we are, indeed, cousins. Since this is a unique surname and the families lived in the same vicinity, I'm guessing there's a very good chance we're related. Attending genealogy events doesn't get any better than this! Even if we're not cousins, I'm thrilled to have met Evelyn - I really enjoyed our brief conversation and look forward to getting together again.

All I can really say about my presentation is that I had a great time. The audience was attentive, seemed interested and open to the concept of blogging and asked very good questions! I enjoyed visiting with everyone who stayed to chat and ask questions afterward.

A very special thank you goes out to Martha Grenzeback, Librarian at OPL, who organizes these events and made arrangements for me to speak yesterday. She gets five gold stars!

Genealogy Resources at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha

The one thing that I forgot to do was to get my Omaha Public library card, since the Lincoln and Omaha libraries have reciprocity with one another. That is an amazing service and I thank both library systems for making this available to readers and researchers in both communities. I am looking forward to my next research trip to the W. Dale Clark Library this fall - when I'll come prepared with my notes, netbook and "To Do" list!

To learn more about the genealogy resources and events at OPL, click here.

Follow Omaha Public Library on Facebook and Twitter.

My friends and I had a great lunch afterwards at Stokes in the Old Market, and no trip to Omaha is complete without stopping at the Baker's Candy Factory in Greenwood. It was great fun for a Girls Day Out!

Thanks again, Martha, OPL, and what I hope will be a new group of genealogy bloggers!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hello, Omaha Public Library - Family History Bloggers!

Welcome to everyone in the audience for "Sharing Family History by Blogging" at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha today!

I hope that you have been inspired to begin your own genealogy blog to share your family history or make connections with your long lost relatives.

Please feel free to contact me for help or advice as you begin on your blogging journey!

Now, let's visit some of the hundreds of genealogy blogs so you can see what other genealogists are writing about.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homestead digitization project to work on Chadron area records

The digitization of Homestead Records project is now moving on to the Chadron, Nebraska land office records. Read about the latest update written by Blake Bell of the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Homestead digitization project to work on Chadron area records

Also, mark your calendar for the evening of August 19 for what promises to be an extremely interesting episode of Geneabloggers Radio with an emphasis on homestead and land records. Blake will be one of the guests as will Lincoln's own Gail Blankenau.

Since participating in the Land Records and Genealogy Symposium last month, this topic has become very near and dear to my heart and I'm thrilled that the Nebraska records are the first to be digitized.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Before Hollywood, there was Nebraska

Earlier this weekend, I was having a bit of fun with blog readers, coming up with our ideas for celebrities to feature on a season of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? In addition to genealogy, I have a passion for learning as much as I can about movie actors (and other media celebrities) who have their roots in Nebraska. I indulge my passion for Nebraska personalities and movies filmed in the state on my web site, Someday, you might even spot me wearing an outfit that Kathy Bates wore in the Nebraska-based film, About Schmidt.

So, you ask, what does that have to do with genealogy? Well, once I get on, I sometimes get distracted. If I can't find what I'm looking for (remember, all you have to do is look!), I will poke around and see what I can find about our Nebraska actors. Since I named Jane Fonda in my WDYTYA fantasy season, I was going through some of my old folders and found that I had already done some digging into her family history.

The William B Fonda Family
Omaha Nebraska, 1930 Census
In 1930, we find 24 year old Henry J. Fonda living with his parents and younger sister in Omaha. I love what I see as I scroll across the page:

Henry Fonda's Occupation in Omaha
Stage Actor
1930 Census
Henry's occupation is a stage actor! He made his stage debut at the Omaha Community Playhouse, under the direction of Dorothy Brando. Does that last name sound familiar? It should. A six year old Marlon Brando, Jr. also appears in the 1930 census for Omaha, along with his parents, Marlon, Sr. and Dorothy and two sisters.

Marlon Brando, Jr., age 6
Omaha, Nebraska 1930 census

Although not born in Nebraska, Johnny Carson always considered himself a Nebraskan, having grown up in Norfolk and graduating from the University of Nebraska. Where was he in 1930? He was four years old and living in Red Oak, Iowa with his parents, Homer ("Kit") and Ruth Carson, and his siblings Katherine and Dick, who worked with Johnny during much of his show business career.

The Homer Carson Family of Red Oak, Iowa
John W. "Johnny" Carson, age 4
1930 Census

Going back even farther, to 1900, we find the Austerlitz family of Omaha. Frederick Austerlitz was the son of Austrian immigrants and was born in Omaha on May 10, 1899. He and his older sister, Adele, went on to become dance partners in vaudeville until she married in 1932. You probably know him better by his stage name, Fred Astaire.

The Austerlitz Family of Omaha, Nebraska
1900 Census

It's always great fun when I can combine my two passions: genealogy and Nebraskans on film.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend: YOUR Ideal Season of Who Do You Think You Are?

Imagine, just for a moment, that you are the producer of the hit NBC television series, Who Do You Think You Are? What celebrities would you like to see on your perfect season of the show? And why would you choose them?
Is it because it's a particular celebrity you like or did you once read or hear something about their background that intrigued you and you'd like to learn more about?

Here are some of my choices that could make an interesting season:
  • Fashion designer Stella McCartney - Dad is Paul McCartney and some of the family roots have already been published. Strong Irish background - it would be interesting to see the places where the elder McCartney and Mohin families lived. And her mother, Linda Eastman's family name was Epstein. Linda's father changed the name. That side of the family would be interesting as well.
  • Whoopi Goldberg - just because.
  • Russell Crowe - I know nothing about his Australian heritage, and he's an interesting enough character on his own that he surely must have some fascinating ancestors.
  • Either Dan Brown or Patricia Cornwell, best selling authors. Everyone else probably wants to see J. K. Rowling, so I'd opt for a different popular author.
  • Tom Hanks - because I read once that he is related to Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks.
  • Brad Pitt - just so my friend, Jan, could meet her celebrity Hillhouse cousin.
  • Brian Wilson, founder of the Beach Boys, who is my 10th cousin, once removed, through our common Mayflower ancestor, Francis Cooke. I'd like to see how a professional genealogist documents the lineage back to the Mayflower passengers.
  • Jane Fonda, because of her family's Nebraska roots. Her father, Henry Fonda, was born and raised in Nebraska and made his acting debut at the Omaha Community Playhouse. I'd like to learn more about the older generations of that family.
Clearly, my fantasy season of WDYTYA has an unlimited budget and some private celebrities who probably would have no interest in participating. But it's my fantasy, so it doesn't matter!

Be as creative, inventive or as selfish as you like. Provide your list and your reasons in the Comments section below. Have some fun with this one!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cass County Historical Society Museum Fall Workshop

Gail Blankenau will be the featured speaker at the October 1, 2011 Genealogy Workshop sponsored by the Cass County Historical Society Museum in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

Gail will present Genealogy 101 - help budding researchers to get started on their family history journey and Genealogy 102 - how to work on the next level of your family tree.

There will be two opportunities for participants to make use of resources at the Cass County Museum, such as newspapers on microfilm, family history files, scrapbooks and history books. Gail and the museum staff will be available to help.

Check-in is at 9:45, with the day's activities running from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Subway sandwiches will be provided for lunch and are included in the registration fee.

The cost is $20 for Cass County Museum members and $35.00 for non-members. Deadline for registration is September 1, 2011 and is nonrefundable.

646 Main Street
Plattsmouth, Nebraska

With my maternal roots planted firmly in Cass County, I'm certainly making plans to be there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862 - Beatrice, NE

Mark May 20, 2012 on your calendar for a program at the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska to mark the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act.

President Obama and other dignitaries have been invited to attend, according to this article:

150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862