Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Order Family History Library Films from Home

It's finally here.
The Family History Library has finally set up a system that allows patrons to order their microfilms online and only visit their local Family History Center to view the film.
You can check this system out at
You'll need to identify the microfilms/microfische you need at first, or course.
You will also need to create a user ID and password with Family Search to use this system. No fees charged to sign up. If you've already signed up as a transcriber, that ID will work.
It looks like you can pay by either credit card or PayPal.
Price is a bit confusing. At first, the price showed as $5.00. Once I entered my address, it jumped to $5.50. But that's still $1.00 less than I was charged the last time I ordered a film in person at the North Stake FHC.
Leave a note and let us know how this new system works for you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Ready for the 1940 Census

Yes, I know.
April 2, 2012 seems a long way off.
But if you've lost as many ancestors as I have between 1930 and 1950, you're getting anxious to start digging into the 1940 US Census.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has now posted their 1940 census enumeration district maps online so that we can all get started figuring out exactly which EDs we're going to need to search when the 1940 census is released next spring.
To view the maps, go to
In the SEARCH box enter 1940 Census Maps [county name] [state name].
For example, I entered 1940 Census Maps Hickory Missouri and was rewarded with two results. One of them has a small symbol to the left of the title that indicates "Digital Copy Available." Clicking on that first title takes me to a page with 4 tabs--Details; Archived Copies; Digital Copies; Hierarchy.
Clicking on Digital Copies rewarded me with 4 maps of Hickory County, each marked with the ED numbers for the 1940 Census.
If you've got people lost in US cities in 1940, I'd definitely recommend starting now to identify the probable enumeration districts they were in. Going from city directories to maps can be tedious.
There's no guarantee when indexes to the 1940 census might be made available, but we do know that NARA intends to release the digital census page images on April 2nd, 2012.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are you a History Detective?

OK. I admit it. I'm addicted to History Detectives on PBS.
Tonight's show is #3 in this summer's series (8:00 pm on channel 9/109). If you missed the first two, you can watch them online at
What I love about History Detectives is their "common man" focus. They track down the stories behind artifacts belonging to "regular" people. Many of these artifacts have been in families for multiple generations, along with stories about what they are and where they came from. The History Detectives find experts in all sorts of interesting places--tiny historical museums, universities, company archives--and they show the process of determining the historical significance of the artifacts featured, as well as the results of that process.
I've tried to get the History Detectives to research one of my family artifacts by filling out their online form. No bites so far.
Do you have a family heirloom or artifact with an interesting story? How about writing about it for the SGS Bulletin? With our new printer we can include photographs, maps, and other illustrations in our publications. You don't have to write a book--we can work in almost any sized article. Just scribble a few paragraphs and submit them to You may soon see your name in print!