Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mesa FamilySearch Conference - Registration opens September 9, 2015

The Mesa FamilySearch Library has been closed since last November and there is still no estimated date for reopening. However, that isn't stopping them from sponsoring the annual Family History Conference. Here is last week's official announcement:
ANNOUNCING THE 2015 Family History Conference sponsored by the Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at the Tempe Institute of Religion on the ASU Campus in Tempe, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.  The Library may be closed, but family history work goes on!

This year’s conference will feature a keynote address by Todd Powell of FamilySearch.  Mr. Powell is a Senior Product Manager for the FamilyTree Department at  He graduated from BYU and has over 25 years working in technology and business leadership.  Todd is a native of Phoenix and the Gila Valley and enjoys visiting extended family in Arizona.

This year’s theme is “Putting It All Together” and provides a wide variety of over 50 class choices for all types of learners, from beginners to the most advanced genealogists.  Come and learn how to be more effective and efficient when doing your research.  Learn to trace your roots with DNA.  Learn to document your sources.  Get specific information on various ways to research in specific countries.  If you are new to family history, come learn the basics.  Some of the most popular classes are repeated in an effort to accommodate everyone.   Spend all day or come for a single class or two; you may attend a maximum of five classes.

Registration will begin online on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.  At the time of registration, registrants will be given the opportunity to purchase lunch from Jason’s Deli.  Otherwise, the conference is FREE.  See you in October!
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Did you see that? It's FREE! So, arrange your carpools and visit the Mesa FamilySearch Library website on September 9 to register. Last year, registration closed very early because they reached the maximum number of attendees allowed. If you want to ensure a seat this year, be sure to register as soon as possible after registration opens. And while you're on the website, visit the Annual Conference Archives for the handouts for the 2012-2014 conferences, also FREE.

FREE Access to Records this Labor Day Weekend

This announcement was made on the Ancestry Facebook page this morning:
Ancestry has launched the largest online collection of wills and probate records in the United States, with more than 170 million pages and searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005). This unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale the United States.

Search this new collection for your ancestors today thru September 7th FREE:
 Not only that, but they are including ALL U.S. birth, marriage, and death records FREE.

 UPDATE: Reader Rondie reported that she accessed the new Wills and Probate collection this morning and found a very short and incomplete probate record for the person she was seeking. She poked around a little and found that most of his probate papers were incorrectly indexed under another person's name—the person appearing right before him in the probate book. So, if you don't find the records you are hoping for, browse the images because they may be before or after your relative's indexed file.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2016 Tucson Family History Fair is Coming (January 30, 2016)

for the 2016 Tucson Family History Fair to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016. It is still in the planning stages; more information will follow closer to the event. A record 300 people attended the 2015 Fair. The planning committee is reviewing the feedback received from those attendees with the result that next year's Fair should be better than ever. And best of all, there is no charge for this event.

PCGS has partnered with the Tucson Family History Center on this event for the past few years and will again next year. Our members teach classes and provide great displays in the Cultural Hall.

Please check their wiki page periodically for information on the Fair and on the Tucson Family History Center. You can access the wiki page by clicking here or by entering "Tucson Family History Center" in your browser's search engine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Save the Arizona Genealogy Library!

The following is from NGS:

We need your help to save the Arizona Genealogy Library in Phoenix!  Please email our representatives as soon as possilbe, contact information listed below.  The following is from the NGS blog (
Access to one of Arizona's largest genealogical collections is being threatened in a move from the Arizona State Library in the Arizona State Capital to the Arizona State Archives, 1901 W. Madison, both in Phoenix, Arizona.  In the email sent to the Family History Society of Arizona President, Ro Hein, from Laura Stone, Digital Content Director from the State Library, the following was mentioned:
"The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is preparing to announce that the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building will house the genealogy research center. Researchers will now have access to a rich portfolio of resources, including unique Arizona materials, online genealogical sources and expert staff for support. The former location of state genealogy resources at the State Library of Arizona, located in the Historic Capitol Building, will close to the public on July 31."
There is a grave concern that the books, vertical file materials, periodicals, microfilm/microfiche materials and other physical items will NOT be moved to the Archives building, and that there will only be access to digital databases such as and HeritageQuest Online. We do not know the reasoning behind this "immediate" move to the State Archives but we need to be vigilant and pro-active to stop this from occurring. What will happen to the 20,000+ genealogy books and materials presently housed in the Genealogical collection? We know that the State Archives does not have room to house all these materials.
We in the concerned genealogical community are very concerned about the future of the Arizona State Genealogy collections. We are asking all genealogists to take time out of their busy schedules to send an email to the Secretary of State Michele Reagan <>, to the Arizona State Librarian Joan Clark <>, to Digital Content Director Laura Stone <, to the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey <, your legislative representative and any other interested parties. In your email, share experiences you have had with the genealogical library staff, the connections to ancestors you have made through using the resources, and the outreach that has been offered by the genealogical staff for over thirty years. Share that the genealogical collection is a special collection that needs to be saved and not placed into boxes. Be polite, but firm in your message. And, in the email to Secretary of State Reagan and Governor Ducey, add the phrase, "Genealogists vote". Genealogists have a vested interest in keeping the State Genealogy collection where it is, and politicians want to be retained in office, so voting matters to them.
Please send your emails and letters to the above-mentioned people quickly. The move is supposed to take place this Friday, the 31st! We need to stop them.
Thank you for your support of the Arizona State Genealogy Library.
Linda Caldwell McCleary, M.L.S.
Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board (AzGAB) Past President
National Genealogical Society (NGS) Life Member
Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Past Board Member
FGS/NGS Records Preservation and Access Committee Member
Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Former Director
Brigham Young University Professional Genealogy Certificate

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Celebrate Independence Week Genealogy Style!

July 4, 1776, marks the day that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and is considered the birth of the United States of America. That day has been celebrated nearly every year since its first anniversary in 1777 (Wikipedia: "Independence Day (United States)").

Spirit of '76 by Archibald MacNeal Willard, 1875

This year, three genealogy websites are offering FREE access to some of their records in celebration of our Independence Day:
  1. Fold3 is offering FREE access to the Revolutionary War Collection from July 1 to July 15. Visit the Fold3 HQ blog at for details and links to their collection.
  2. NEHGS is granting FREE access to all online searchable databases on related to the Great Migration from July 1 through July 8. You must sign up as a Guest User (also free) to take advantage of this offer. Visit their website at for details and links to the collections.
  3. Ancestry is offering FREE access to their 13 Colonies Collection from July 1 through July 5. Visit the 13 Colonies Collection page at for a full list of the records in this collection and to search all those records.
Take time between your picnics and fireworks to do some free research on your colonial ancestors.

Don't forget that there will be no PCGS meeting in July. Our next meeting will be held August 15 at the regular time, but we are meeting at a different location. Visit our website's calendar page at for the address and a map to our temporary location.

Stay cool!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Write On! Competition Winners

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2015 Write On! Competition.
1st Place --  Margaret Ward for her piece title The Long Journey of Mabel Ida Lewis Smith
2nd Place --  Debra Kabinier for her piece title The Tale of the Traveling China
3rd Place -- Doris Briscoe-Lyon for her piece title An Incident at the Well

Congratulations to the winners! Watch for the winning stories in future editions of The PCGS Researcher.

Thank you to all the writers who submitted an entry to the contest. We hope you will all participate again.   And thank you to our judges who worked hard to ensure a fair contest.

Watch this blog and our website for news of our 2nd annual Write On! Competition!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MyHeritage SIG and Discount for RM Users

MyHeritage is offering a special discount on its annual membership price to RootsMagic users. The regular price is $119.40 per year but RootsMagic users can get it for just $79.99. But this special offer ends June 10. To take advantage of this offer, click the link for June 2015 RootsMagic News archive.

This discount comes at a good time for PCGS members! We are beginning a members only MyHeritage Special Interest Group (SIG)! The first meeting for this brand new SIG is Saturday, August 1, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the University Medical Center, Room 2500C. The SIG is open to all PCGS members, whether or not you use RootsMagic. If you are a current user of MyHeritage, or wondering if MyHeritage is right for you, come to the SIG meeting to learn and share your knowledge.