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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - October 13, 2011

The October 2011 meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library on Thursday, October 13, at 7:00 pm.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.

The following reports were presented.

Financial report for the month of September 2011, as follows:



Do you have a family member that is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.

The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00

Contact our Secretary, Barbara Hitch, at, about a gift membership.

October Meeting

On October 13, 2011, the Madison County Genealogical Society held its regular meeting at the Edwardsville Public Library. A program titled Using Family Search Organization Free Digital Records and Microfilm was presented by Kathy Nevin, training coordinator for the O'Fallon, Illinois, Family History Center.

Ms. Nevin started out by telling the audience the Family History Center is a branch of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They provide access to billions of online records and to a circulating collection of 2.5 million microfilms from over 100 countries. The center provides limited assistance for research. The staff members are volunteers and most are learning by doing ­ researching their own ancestors and hoping to learn something that will help you in your research.

Kathy then described the resources available at the Family History Center:

The FHC has some local cemetery records, reference material for German research, DAR lineage books, misc. records from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and other states. They have a catalog of microfilm and microfiche that are on permanent loan at the Center that can be viewed by all the patrons. The reader/printer is very popular. You can make paper copies, but several of the patrons have discovered they can save money and trees by copying their documents to a flash drive. There are also several computers with Internet access.

Unique to all Family History Centers is the FHC Services Portal. This gives our patrons access to premium websites (those that usually cost money, but are free when used at the FHC). The premium websites include the following:

The 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive. This collection contains full runs of 48 newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth century Britain. It includes national and regional newspapers, as well as those from both established country or university towns and industrial powerhouses of the manufacturing Midlands. Scotland, Ireland and Wales are included. You can save, print or email the article images.

The Newspaper Archive is supposedly the world's best resource for newspaper articles. It contains tens of millions of searchable newspaper pages, dating as far back as the 1700's. You will want to review the available newspapers because not all papers in all areas are included.

The American Civil War Research Database is the definitive online resource for researching the individuals, regiments, and battles of the American Civil War. This database contains indexed, searchable information on over 4 million soldiers and thousands of battles as well as over 17,000 photos. Basically, it includes a record for virtually every soldier who served in the war.

The Family History Center has the family history library edition of That means we have everything available on ancestry that would cost you a pretty hefty subscription if you had it at home. You can use it at the FHC for free.

Find My Past was the first website to make the complete birth, marriage and death records for England and Wales available online, back in 2003. Since then countless other historical records have been published on the Internet. Until civil registration it was local parishes that kept records of important events. Find My Past, in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies, is publishing these local parish records online. As with a lot of Internet sources, it is a work in progress.

On August 18, 2011, Footnote announced their intention to create the finest and most comprehensive collection of US Military records available on the Internet and changed the name of the site from Footnote to Fold3.

The Genealogist
has a large number of databases which can be searched individually. Key records include the census for England and Wales (1841-1901) and the civil registration indexes of births, marriages and deaths (BMD) 1837-2005.

Genline FamilyFinder is basically a software program that allows you to search, view, and print pages from Genline's Swedish Church Records archive. This is specialized software and only available on two of the FHC computers.

Most of you are probably familiar with Heritage Quest since it is available through most libraries. These are the records it gives you access to.

Historic Map Works is a high quality, full color digital collection of historic maps. The core of the collection consists of almost 1.5 million maps detailing the geographic and development history of the US over a period of several hundred years.

Paper Trail is the newest website available at FHC and was created by the Oregon-California Trails Association. It is based on a searchable index of the American westward migration journeys. The database includes a list of libraries where the original historic documents can be found but requires patience and creative spelling to search. is a website provided by the LDS Church and available at the FHC. You do not have to be a Latter-day Saint to use it. In fact, you will have to use it to order microfilm that will be sent to the center to be viewed by you, so you will need to have your own account. Free research guides and genealogy forms are available for downloading from this site. You can even take online genealogy classes. And last but not least, you can do a search for your ancestors in the indexed records.

How can help with your research? Take a look at the search options. You can use the Records Search to search for your ancestor by name, or by location. You can search for your ancestor using the Tree search. This gives you access to what some of you may remember as Ancestral File or Pedigree Resource. You can search through the Library catalog using places or surnames - or you can even search for a specific book title or author.

This presentation was well received and generated quite a few questions.