Friday, June 23, 2017

Pittsburgh’s Military Museums and Memorial Sites

Pittsburgh has a long military history and its residents continue to understand the importance of keeping history alive for future generations.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum

Photo Credit: Colleen O’Laughlin, WPGS Publications Chairperson

During the Civil War, Pittsburgh’s industries and residents were vital to the Union Army.  In the 1890s the Grand Army of the Republic, a service organization of Union Civil War Veterans, wanted a permanent place to commemorate the military service and sacrifice by local veterans of Allegheny County and the idea of for Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum began to take shape.

The massive building based on the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor was completed in 1910.  It is located in the Oakland neighborhood of the city and sits adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh. Soldiers and Sailors is the United States’ only memorial that is dedicated to honoring those who served in all branches and capacities of military service.

For more than one hundred years, Soldiers and Sailors has collected personal mementos and artifacts from veterans and their families to help illustrate the experiences of the veterans from the Civil War all the way to today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As you walk through the four halls of the museum, visitors will see uniforms, military equipment, artillery, and personal items. The museum halls feature large bronze plaques that contain the names, regiments, companies, and muster dates of 25,000 men from Allegheny County who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Photo Credit: Colleen O’Laughlin, WPGS Publications Chairperson

The front lawn and the walkway of Soldiers and Sailors features cannons, cannonballs, and a torpedo. Two large bronze statues of a soldier and a sailor stand guard at either side of the main entrance to the building. 

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum 

4141 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm 

USS Requin Submarine

Photo Credit: Colleen O’Laughlin, WPGS Publications Chairperson

There is another Pittsburgh museum dedicated to military service. The USS Requin submarine has been moored along the north shore of the Ohio River as part of the Carnegie Science Center since 1990.  Visitors have permission to go below to tour sections of the Cold War-era submarine and see how 80 sailors lived and worked under the high seas.

USS Requin Submarine

Carnegie Science Center

One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212


Open daily (weather and river conditions permitting) 

10 am – 4:30 pm

These remarkable museums allow visitors to gain a new perspective on history. Being able to see just a glimpse into the experiences of our veterans will bring a new understanding of their sacrifice and patriotism.

 - guest post by Colleen O’Laughlin, WPGS Publications Chairperson




Monday, June 19, 2017

Learn How to Build Your Family Tree with DNA

FGS2017 has 9 sessions + 2 workshops to help with that!


Genealogists around the world are using DNA to break down long-standing family history research brick walls.

At the FGS National Conference in Pittsburgh, our genetic genealogy experts will help you learn what you need to know — whether you are just a beginner or want to learn more advanced methods of using DNA test results.

On Thursday and Saturday of our 4-day conference, we have devoted a full track to DNA for genealogy learning, and on Saturday, we have two more sessions dedicated to learning all about Ancestry DNA.

If you want a more in-depth experience, then we have two 4-hour workshops that will help you dive deeper into using DNA for your genealogy research. Click here to learn more

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD


Advanced Third-Party Tools

Together we will examine some of the advanced tools from GEDmatch, DNAGedcom, and others. We will also examine some of the new third-party tools that have launched in the past year or so.

Gale French


Why oh Y-DNA for Genealogy— Basics of Y-DNA Testing

Sponsored by Family Tree DNA
This class will introduce you to Y-DNA and how it is used in genealogy. Y-DNA testing is the process of getting your Y-chromosome results for comparing with other testers. The Y-DNA test offers males a clear path from you to a known or likely direct paternal ancestor(s). It is great for genealogists wanting to confirm a paternal line. The course will also show how women can use the test by recruiting a father, brother, cousin, or uncle to do the test. Good genealogy is verified by an accurate paper trail; great genealogy is supported by DNA results.

Janice Lovelace, PhD



Getting Started with DNA

Sponsored by MyHeritage
Autosomal, mitochondrial, Y-DNA— what do these terms mean and where do you start? This session focuses on the basics of genetic genealogy as it takes a beginning look at DNA testing for the genealogist.


Diahan Southard


The Combined Power of Y-DNA and Autosomal DNA: A Case Study

Using a case study, learn how Y-DNA and autosomal DNA testing helped one family to better understand their own past and gave them incentive to reach out and connect with others. We will cover methodology and the sociology of this kind of situation and best practices for you and your family as you strive to forge bonds with others in a non-traditional way.

Three Powerful Ways to Find Your Best DNA Matches

Sponsored by MyHeritage
Anyone with an autosomal DNA test likely has a long list of potential relatives. But how do you make the most of those matches? Which matches are worth your time and effort? Learn to use genetic and genealogical clues to filter and sort your matches to make the most progress with your test results.

Anna Swayne


Making Family Discoveries Using AncestryDNA

Sponsored by Ancestry
Learn about how DNA works, what’s new at AncestryDNA, and how to get the most out of your DNA matches. We’ll provide an overview of AncestryDNA and how it can help validate your research and find new leads. 

Working with your DNA Matches

Sponsored by Ancestry
Do you want to learn more about what you can do with your DNA matches? Get tips and tricks on how DNA matching works and how you can leverage the tools at AncestryDNA to answer your genealogy questions.

Panel Session: Ask the DNA Experts


by Blaine Bettinger PhD, JD, Judy G. Russell JD, CG, CGL, Diahan Southard

Ask DNA experts your questions about DNA testing for genealogy. Angie Bush, MS, will serve as moderator for this panel featuring Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, and Diahan Southard. What does the future hold? What ethical and legal issues should be considered when DNA testing? What tests, tools, and tricks do these experts use that may help in your research?

Register Now!

Join us for the FGS 2017 National Conference, “Building Bridges to the Past,” in Pittsburgh, PA, August 30-September 2, 2016. Register now to get the early-bird price which ends July 1, 2017.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer 2017 Issue of FORUM is Out


If you need more from your genealogy software, Elizabeth O'Neal has advice for shopping around in "Desperately Seeking Software: How To Find Your Perfect Match." 

For those of you heading to Pittsburgh for the FGS 2017 conference in August, Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, MLS, gives you "A Guide to Research Facilities in Pittsburgh and Nearby Areas."


Rachel M. Popma has tips for newsletter and journal editors in "Society Publications: How to Find Valuable Content for Your Readers." 

In "Google for Nonprofits," Denise Barrett Olson explains how to use these simple yet powerful tools to streamline society management. 


And that's not all. 

Table of Contents

3 ...... Editor's Message

6 ...... President's Message: Full Circle by Rorey Cathcart

8 ...... Desperately Seeking Software: How to Find Your Perfect Match by Elizabeth O'Neal

13 ...... FGS 2017 Conference: A Guide to Research Facilities in Pittsburgh and Nearby Areas by Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, MLS

18 ...... Society Publications: How to Find Valuable Content for Your Readers by Rachel M. Popma

23 ...... Google for Nonprofits by Denise Barrett Olson

28 ...... Next Generation: Consider Sponsoring a Scholarship by Shannon Combs-Bennett

30 ...... Forensic Genealogy: The Case for Turning Down Contingency Fees by Helen Haldeman Daglas

32 ...... Records Preservation & Access: RPAC News, Dawes Rolls, Digitized Records & More by Linda McCleary, MLS

36 ...... Reviews

47 ...... Before You Go . . .


How to access FORUM:

Current FGS Member Society Leadership: Sign-in now to start reading immediately or download it to read on your desktop or mobile device. (After signing in, click on FGS FORUM – Latest Issue in the sidebar.) Don't forget to renew your membership in order for your society's leadership to continue to access FORUM and its archives.

Current FGS FORUM subscribers (individuals): sign-in now to start reading immediately or download it to read on your desktop or mobile device. (After signing in, click on Volume 29 No. 1 to read.)

Who can subscribe to FORUM? Anyone. You don't have to be a member of a genealogical society in order to subscribe.

Not already a subscriber? You can subscribe today to FGS FORUM.

Genealogical Society Leaders: If your society is not a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, become one today and let your society's leadership begin accessing FORUM and its 25+ year archives which is just one of the many benefits of FGS membership. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Improve Your Results with 5 Sessions by Ancestry Experts

FGS 2017 Ancestry Track


Today’s spotlight is on #FGS2017 Platinum Sponsor, Ancestry.com. Part of their sponsorship is Saturday’s Ancestry Track, when Ancestry's experts will be on hand to help you improve your family history research results! 

Crista Cowan


Crista Cowan has worked at Ancestry.com since 2004 and is known there as The Barefoot Genealogist. She frequently speaks at genealogy events around the country.

The Difference Between Searchers and Researchers


There is a difference between searching and researching. We need both skills to climb our family tree. Using the Ancestry search engine as an example learn how these powerful tools can help us be good searchers AND good researchers.

  • Time: 3:30-4:30 PM
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate

Anna Swayne


Anna Swayne has 11 years of experience in DNA genealogy, with 5 of those at AncestryDNA. Her focus is educating on the power of DNA and the story it can unlock.

Working with your DNA Matches


Do you want to learn more about what you can do with your DNA matches? Get tips and tricks on how DNA matching works and how you can leverage the tools at AncestryDNA to answer your genealogy questions.

  • Time: 8:00-9:00 AM
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate, advanced

Making Family Discoveries Using AncestryDNA


Learn about how DNA works, what’s new at AncestryDNA, and how to get the most out of your DNA matches. We’ll provide an overview of AncestryDNA and how it can help validate your research and find new leads. 

  • Time: 9:30-10:30 AM
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate, advanced

Juliana Szucs


Juliana Szucs has worked at Ancestry.com for 18+ years. She is a regular blogger on the Ancestry blog and is a social community manager and staff genealogist on the research team.

Getting the Most from Ancestry


Juliana will guide you through the resources and tools available on Ancestry, sharing strategies that will help you find the best route to your ancestors. 

  • Time: 2:00-3:00 PM
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate

Street Savvy Discovering Your Urban Roots


Feeling overwhelmed with research in the big city? Juliana will share tips that will help you pin down your ancestors in cities—large and small.

  • Time: 5:00-6:00 PM
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate


Register Now!

Join us for the FGS 2017 National Conference, “Building Bridges to the Past,” in Pittsburgh, PA, August 30-September 2, 2016. Register now to get the early-bird price which ends July 1, 2017.


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