I’ve got some good news and…

Good Evening from our GSG newsroom in Holland, MichiganToday is Monday, May 18, 2020.

And to begin our news today, I have more good news than bad. Lets start with the bad and get it over with.

1. I received notice that the Howard Miller Library and Community Center will remain closed now until 15 June 2020. If this extension is to be continued yet again, you will all be notified as soon as possible.

I participated in the Michigan Council meeting last week and all libraries, archives and places similar in nature are on a delayed opening. Details are being discussed as exactly how to open. Are check out and information desks to be encased in plexiglass? Is furniture to be moved? Are computer areas to be re-done with removal of some computers, rewiring of electrical stations, etc.? The number of patrons allowed in at one time? You see they are struggling and need our support as they work through whatever is the next set of directions and calendars are to be followed.

2. With this extended closure, our Basics and Beyond class scheduled for 6 June can not meet at the building. It isn’t looking hopeful for GSG on 27 June, but again, I will keep you posted.

BUT there is GOOD NEWS!!!!

1. Ancestry Library Edition that you have been able to access from home for the month of May has now been extended until 30 June!
So if you have been using this resource, you have another month to play!

2. The Genetic Detective show with CeCe Moore scheduled to air tomorrow 19 May has been rescheduled to Tuesday 26 May. The time I was told will be 10:00pm – 11:00pm on ABC.

3. My British Institute that was originally scheduled for Salt Lake City in October is now converted to a virtual event. If anyone is interested in Irish, English and Welsh research, please visit our website at http://www.isbgfh.com Click on British Institute for all the details. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get ahold of me.

4. I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!!! Some of you have had great finds during the I don’t have to go to work time off, and have texted, mailed me beautiful cards, emailed, and even called! Remember, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me an email. When we all get together, I will share some of these items!

5. And now for the exciting news (and for me scary and nerve-racking!)

A few of you have contacted me and we have been discussing the possibility of having a ZOOM meeting! Now for those of you who have no clue as to what I am talking about…. Zoom is a video communications platform for groups to have meetings from the comfort of their own home. Basically, everyone will get a link to “sign up – it’s FREE” and download the program. It is extremely easy.

Then, when the time comes, I will send an invitation out to everyone. You basically click on that invitation link and it “should” take you right to the online meeting. Now if you have never used Zoom before, there are several of us who can help you on your first try before the meeting, and answer questions for you.

Since next weekend is already Memorial Day Holiday, we will schedule our first ZOOM meeting for 6 June at 10:00am Eastern. (for those of you snow birds not in the Eastern time zone who haven’t come back yet).

Now what will work best?
A desktop computer, if you have a camera, and speaker! Tablets also work. Smartphones also work. But the smaller the screen you have, the less you will be able to see everyone. I will set up the screen so that everyone’s face can be seen. Obviously, your computer monitor will be better, than your Smartphone. But we will get together either way!

I have the ability to mute everyone’s microphone, which helps when your furry friend decides to tell you that a squirrel is on the neighbors yard, or your grand child wants to know if it is raining in Holland (vs. Zeeland) so he can go to the beach, or your mom wanting to add to her grocery list. When the meeting starts, our trial team decided that it would be best if you raise your hand (in front of your camera) and when called on, unmute your microphone and tell us about what is going on or ask questions etc.

I know the first time will be “rough”… but please bear with us as we work through the new technology.
We are all missing each other and it has been far too long as it is.

Here is the link: https://zoom.us/about
The Sign Up, It’s Free is in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

So in the mean time, sign up on Zoom. If you are a first timer, email me and we can set up a practice zoom with you in advance. This gives us all 2 weeks to give you a trial run. Thanks to all the participants at our trial run Sunday to offer to assist others!

So that is about all the news I have this evening…. and as the ever wonderful Walter Cronkite said…

And That’s The Way It is, 18 May 2020
I’m Megan Heyl – Good Night!

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GSG May 2020 – Don’t be surprised!

Hello Everyone!

Once again the official “word” has hit my inbox. Now that the Governor has extended the Stay Home Order until May 28, and the Howard Miller Community Center extended their closed date until May 31, this means once again we can’t meet and greet!

And for those of you in the Basics and Beyond class… please cross your fingers and click your ruby red slippers that in June we are back! As soon as I hear something, you will know.

I hope many of you were / are able to get onto Ancestry Library Edition and get some successful searches! Remember, we are too old to pull all nighters anymore… so schedule late night nap times… it isn’t like anyone has any place to be the next day and by now all days end in “Y” … keep hydrated and set a timer to get up, get a snack and stop at the prince and princess throne room.

So now onto lots of info for all of you…

So I have found out a few more freebies for everyone, and sales to mention.

Ancestry DNA is having a sale on their test kits. 40% off, now only $59. Sale ends May 10, 2020.

RootsMagic users…. they are offering 50% off MyHeritage data subscription. Sale ends May 11, 2020.

Need to binge watch something? Craving popcorn?

A New Leaf

While some of the other popular programs in this list examine celebrity family trees, the Ancestry.com-sponsored program “A New Leaf” focuses on everyday people. The 13-episode series originally aired on NBC as part of the network’s Saturday morning block, “The More You Know.” You can watch episodes for free on NBC’s website.


This 23-episode series from BYUtv explores family history records from around the globe, weaving expert genealogy how-to with moving personal stories. You’ll learn about doing genealogy research and get inspired. Watch for free at BYUtv.

Ancestors in the Attic

Jeff Douglas hosts this irreverent, fast-paced series that takes Canadians on road trips and worldwide searches to track down their ancestors. Check WorldCat and your local library to find the show on DVD.

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In each episode of this series, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the roots of two or three well-known Americans. History lessons are mixed in to show the context of ancestors’ lives. Guests also sometimes get DNA surprises. Season six began in January 2020 on PBS, with more new episodes scheduled for October.

Genealogy Roadshow

This PBS series, hosted by a trio of genealogy experts, features an “Antiques Roadshow”-style setup. Experts answers family history questions of everyday Americans in quick segments, with polished visuals of old records, photos and family trees. Watch by subscription on the PBS website or purchase episodes on YouTube.

The Genetic Detective

Genetic genealogy expert CeCe Moore stars in this ABC show, set to premiere on May 19, 2020. (Check your local listings.) Moore was the genetic genealogy consultant on “Finding Your Roots” and “Genealogy Roadshow,” and she and her team have assisted law enforcement in solving dozens of cases using DNA. Her new show will follow her as she works with police departments to catch criminals using DNA and genealogy research.

The Generations Project

Secrets come out in the 38 episodes of this BYUtv series. It follows everyday people as they research their ancestors to solve family mysteries—discovering keys to their own identities in the process. Watch for free on the BYUtv website.

Long Lost Family

This deeply emotional series on TLC, hosted by Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, reunites separated families. In touching scenes, the searchers meet relatives they’ve been desperately seeking. Watch on TLC, online with a TLC subscription, or purchase episodes on YouTube.

Relative Race

Watch four teams compete “Amazing Race”-style, following clues and complete challenges as they race across the country to meet unknown relatives. (Producers discovered the relatives through DNA testing.) Watch free on the BYUtv website or look here for cable/satellite services and TV streaming apps that offer it.

Roots Less Traveled

Ancestry.com debuted this series on April 4, 2020. The show, designed for teenagers, follows pairs of family members as they travel together and discover their shared family history. Like “A New Leaf” before it (see above), “Roots Less Traveled” airs during NBC’s Saturday morning “The More You Know” block. You can watch episodes on NBC.com.

Who Do You Think You Are?

In each episode, accompany a celebrity on a journey to archives and ancestral hometowns. The American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” is modeled after the British show of the same name. While this show has aired on TLC since 2013, season 11 will return to NBC on a to-be-announced date.

Last updated: April 2020

Wanna Read? Here is a special offer…

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is offering non-members free access to five years of NGS Monthly. Starting now through 31 July 2020, everyone interested in family history can read insightful articles in our digital publication archive. The articles offer family historians invaluable insights on methodology and digestible recommendations on genealogical research by considering the techniques of skilled researchers and scholars, and how they solved difficult research problems. Topics often examine valuable lessons in case studies published in the scholarly NGS Quarterly to help readers understand how to apply new concepts to their own work.

Wanna Research? Here is a special offer…
The National Archives are offering some amazing research opportunities. Did you know the National Archives Catalog contains 110 MILLION digitized pages of historical records? FREE!! Search by topic, name, phrase… then type, date, location. New records are uploaded every week. Sign up for their newsletters and read their blog.

And for those who need access to United Kingdom Archives…..
The National Archives in the UK are making digital records available on their website FREE of charge for as long as the KEW site is closed to visitors. You may order and download up to 10 items at a time with no more than 50 items over 30 days. THIS IS HUGE!!!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! (this was listed above, I’m just a little excited!)

MAY 19 – MAY 19 yes MAY 19
ABC just announced that on (you get one guess what day) they are premiering a new TV show… THE GENETIC DETECTIVE! This follows CeCe Moore and how she uses her research skills to transform the face of crime solving using DNA! She is the one who cracked the case of Joseph James DeAngelo – the Golden State Killer, and many more.

Wanna help??
Got some time on your hands and you want to help someone? Remember the program I did on indexing at FamilySearch? If you just put in 10 minutes… or more…. the record you transcribe will help someone. Just like all the times you have gotten information from the site, someone took a few minutes to transcribe it and help you. It costs nothing but time. So grab a beverage, sign in and sign up. You can do it!

We were accepted! The GSG group was accepted again this year to the Michigan Genealogical Council! Membership was paid and we’re official again! (that is great news folks!)

So far ALL of my speaking engagements all over the state and parts of Illinois have been cancelled through September. My British Institute was just cancelled last week, but we are going to put on a Virtual 3 day event… so before you think about heading out to some event, do call ahead to make sure it hasn’t been cancelled or postponed.

And remember – if you find something, help someone, organize somewhere, let me know! Our return to GSG and B&B (not bed and breakfast the few of you who just snickered) will have some stories! Hints: a car, pj’s, overdue books, a dead guy with a cool name, photographs and much more!

I am researching how we can have a virtual meeting. Watch for details soon!

Until we meet again… keep researching and Happy Hunting!

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May Meeting – You’ve guessed it!

Hello Everyone!

I would like to have you all think that I have a crystal ball and can see into the future, and please do believe that if you wish! But the reason for this note is to let you all know that we will need to cancel the Basics and Beyond class scheduled for May 2.

The library notified me that they are going to remain closed until “at least” May 15. Tomorrow our Governor is supposed to extend our stay at home order, which would also go past May 2. So to be safe and follow directions – I’m cancelling our class.

Now, in the mean time, I am trying to figure out if there is a way we can have a virtual meeting in the near future. I’m missing you all so much and am anxious to hear what you have all been doing. I have collected some “victory” genealogy stories and some just “life” stories during this time. If you have made any research discoveries, please send me a note and let me know the details. Your family may not be excited but you know that “I Get It!” and nothing thrills me more that you have found family, or cleaned your desktop!

So in the mean time… stay safe and stay sane!

Watch for another email in the next week about some research resources for you to use during your stay at home staycation!

I’ll start you all off with one…. because I can!

If you have a library card, chances are that your library subscribes to Ancestry dot com Library Edition. (spelled out so it would not link)
I know Herrick and Zeeland and a few others that belong to the Lakeland Library Cooperative do have this available at their facilities to use while at the library. They have joined together to offer this database for you to access from your home. Now if you do not have a library card, visit the library websites and apply for a virtual library card that will help you access the eLibrary throughout the length of closure.

For Herrick card holders: Go to: https://herrickdl.org
The top of the page is topics, choose GUIDES. Click on that. A drop down will have GENEALOGY. Click on that. In the upper right side of the page, will be a box called Genealogy Databases. The fourth one is Ancestry Library Edition. Click on that. You will then need to type in your library bar code and library card PIN number. Once you do that, submit. HAVE FUN!!

For Howard Miller Public Library card holders: Go to:https://www.cityofzeeland.com/168/Library
On the left side of the page is a column of choices. Click on OTHER RESOURCES. A drop down box will have many choices, choose GENEALOGY RESEARCH VIA ANCESTRY LIBRARY . Scroll down a bit until you see START YOUR RESEARCH NOW! Click on those words. You will then need to type in your library bar code and library card PIN number.Once you do that, submit. HAVE FUN! Now if you do not have a library card, visit the library website and apply for a virtual library card that will help you access the eLibrary throughout the length of closure.

Hugs and happy hunting everyone!

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Basics & Beyond Class Reminder

Basics and Beyond for April is our Break Month.
No class was scheduled.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed 🤞 for May 2nd!
As soon as I hear if there are any changes, you will hear!

Stay safe!

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Basics and Beyond Class Special Announcement

Sunday 15 March 2020

Hello Basics and Beyond Classmates!

I have an announcement to make….

Last night I received a call from the Director of the Howard Miller Public Library and Community Center. Beginning Saturday March 14th at 3:00p.m., The facility is closed to the public until “at least” through Sunday April 5, 2020. This April date is “pending”, meaning that a decision will be made as to the rest of the events and building remaining closed for an extended period of time.

What this means is….. The April 4 meeting (which was already our month off) has been cancelled due to the library closure. Our next meeting scheduled for May 2 is “in the air” at this time. As soon as I know when the library will be reopened, I will let you know.

Before anyone heads to their local library, please call ahead. I know Hudsonville, Zeeland, All Grand Rapids, and both Holland (Herrick) libraries are closed until further notice. Remember, that all of the “e” services will still be accessible from home, Hoopla, Overdrive, RBdigital, Mango Languages, Lynda, Creativebug, Tumblebooks, Kanopy…. each library has different resources, so check it out on your “down” time!

I will send out my usual reminder on the Thursday before our meeting to remind everyone that our program has been cancelled.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy.
I will look forward to seeing you hopefully in MAY – do you think the flowers will be blooming by then? Tulip Time is May 2-10!!!
In the mean time, take some time to research your relatives!

Happy Hunting,

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Basics And Beyond – Class 6

Good Morning!

The next meeting of the Basics and Beyond Class is this upcoming Saturday, March 7, 2020.

The time is 10:00am – 12:00pm.

The place is the North Activity Room at the Zeeland Community Center, lower level. (Same room as Genealogy Study Group)

This month we are going to be exploring FREE RESOURCES!

Handouts will be available, so be sure to join us!

Water will be available, but feel free to bring your favorite caffeinated beverage and food if you wish.

Be a friend, Bring a friend!

See you Saturday!


Any questions? Send me an email at HuntingDownHistory

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Basics And Beyond – Class 5

Good Morning!

The next meeting of the Basics and Beyond Class is this upcoming Saturday, February 1, 2020.

The time is 10:00am – 12:00pm.

The place is the North Activity Room at the Zeeland Community Center, lower level. (Same room as Genealogy Study Group)

This month we are going to be diving into Vital Records. Everything you wanted to know and then some!

Handouts will be available, so be sure to join us!

Water service will be available, but feel free to bring your favorite caffeinated beverage and food if you wish.

Be a friend, Bring a friend!

See you Saturday!


Any questions? Send me an email at HuntingDownHistory@gmail.com

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Basics and Beyond – New Classes

I am pleased to announce that the classes are up and running, and that there is always room for more.

Check out the details here.

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Speed Bumps and Pot Holes

The case of the blogger who hit a speed bump. Or in case you live in Michigan, this could be the case of the blogger who fell in a pot hole.

I belong to several groups, actual get up and get your body to the meeting on time groups and then there are the virtual online groups. Both groups require taking chunks of time out of each day while sometimes requiring more physical than mental time and exhaustion.

If you are anything like I am, you approach each project or task head on, usually with your head bowed down a bit and eyes not exactly facing forward. Picture some breed of bovine who is huffing and puffing, pawing at the ground in anticipation of what lies ahead. Now and then the tail will flip and swat at flies, but you realize this is all part of the posturing that goes on before the starting gun fires that shot releasing all that pent up energy and whatever ideas might be in that brain.

Most of us have awesome aspirations, a wish list per se.
Most of us have awesome desires, a want list per se.
Most of us have awesome dreams, a fairy godmother would be good per se.

All of this is fine and dandy… but then most of us realize that life sometimes decides to throw a speed bump or pot hole in our path. Each one that often takes us by surprise and often offers a little sting to some part of our bodies. We must admit that when we were children, we would giggle at such a startling jolt, but as we age, we don’t find it as funny and often growl instead of grin.

So it is with no excuses that I need to get back in the saddle and pull my posterior out of the pot hole – or off the ceiling from hitting that speed bump – and get my life and schedule back in sync with what makes me happy and hopefully makes others smile a bit too. For it is always better to remember how to grin and giggle than growl – and nobody ever said that you could not smile too much! So it is with that I start putting my genealogical thoughts back on track and saddle up… much has happened – but there is always more to come!

Adventures – not all roads are paved!
Until next time when I reveal a few adventures that I have had, remember to Keep On Hunting!

– Genealogy Huntress

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Hunting from a Hamster Wheel – the final entry:

I wanted to let my readers know that there was a happy ending to the story of Hunting From a Hamster Wheel, and no, the hamster did not die.

As you recall, I was in search of an obituary from 1983. I tried calling the local newspaper, historical society, genealogical society, library, university, state archive, and funeral home. All of these resources proved to be dead ends.

I found that the newspaper where the funeral home posts its obituaries had been digitized and was now available through a few of the online, pay-for-use newspaper sites! Needless to say, I took this lead and ran with it. I found many pay websites that offer a free trial for a short period of time, so I registered, set my temporary password, and entered the site holding my breath and crossing all fingers and toes for luck. Of course, by this time I was ready to cross my eyes too!

I typed in the necessary information and hit “Search” and watched the spinning icon that reminded me of that spinning hamster wheel, when all of a sudden the spinning stopped and, right before my eyes, was the very obituary that I had been searching for through the other common resources. It just so happened that I had overlooked the online newspaper resource. Quicker that it takes you to read this, I hit the print and save command buttons. In fact, you have never seen anyone press those buttons so quickly!

There it was in black and white, the obituary of the man I was searching for! His birth and death dates and places aligned with my information. The obituary correctly stated that he was preceded in death by his parents, two other brothers and a child. Finally, it listed the “known” facts of the funeral home and the cemetery where interred.

The very last paragraph stated that he would be so dearly missed by his infant son and new bride… WHAT?!?!

Sadly, and with a bit of frustration, I realized that finding this obituary concluded my original assignment. It took all of my courage not to throw caution to the wind and continue to pursue this last, tantalizing lead out of curiosity, and so I must be content with the knowledge that you never know where the path will lead you when you start one of these searches, and you cannot always follow all of the paths.

– Genealogy Huntress

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