Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month, September through May starting at 7:00 p.m. and are held in the River Falls Public Library. The programs cover a variety of material from general to specific and hold the interest of everyone. Information on various upcoming genealogy events in the area, the state, and the nation are shared. There are also wonderful treats and a time to visit with others.
From 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. SCVGS members will be available to help others with genealogy research questions.
The River Falls Public Library is a beautifully designed building at 140 Union Street, at the corner of Union and Main Streets. Main Street is also Wisconsin State Highway 35. Turn east on Union Street beside the library and go to the parking lot behind the building where there is ample parking. The handicapped accessible meeting room is on the main floor just inside the doors.
September 10, 2015—Annual Sharing Meeting—Share the successes you have had over the past year and especially over the summer months with other members at this informal gathering. Bring documents, stories, photographs, heirlooms, guests, and anything else you would like to share. This is always one of our most popular meetings. Please note that this meeting is on the 2nd Thursday of the month due to several members going to Salt Lake City the third week to research.
A magazine swap will also be held at the September meeting. If you have past issues of genealogical or historical magazines/journals/newsletters that you no longer want, please bring them to the meeting. Anyone can purchase the magazines/journals for 25¢ each; the newsletters are free. Come early to browse.
October 15, 2015—”Leaving Your Family Legacy”—A lot of time and money goes into collecting various genealogy items, including documents, photos, heirlooms, etc. It would be devastating if all of your research was lost after you are gone. Del Thomas will discuss the importance of leaving your family legacy to someone or someplace for future generations.
November 19, 2015—“New York Research“—New York has a well-deserved reputation among genealogists as perhaps the most difficult location in which to do research. Nevertheless, there are sources which the persistent genealogist can use to make progress on those elusive New Yorkers. Sue Kratsch will discuss some of the most helpful sources, both on and off the web. She has been researching her New York ancestors for nearly 40 years, concentrating on “upstate” areas north of New York City, primarily before 1900.
December 10, 2015—Holiday Ethnic Gathering—Note that this is the 2nd Thursday of the month. Come dressed in traditional or holiday clothing or dressed in colors representing your heritage, bring an ethnic treat to share, and spend time talking with friends old and new about genealogy. No formal program.
January 28, 2016—Annual Work Night at the Area Research Center—The January meeting is a work night in the Area Research Center (ARC) on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus. This is our chance to give back some of our time to the ARC by helping with one or more indexing projects or other work as chosen by Archivist, Kathie Otto. The ARC is located on the lower level of the Chalmer Davee Library. Clear signage will direct you to the Area Research Center. We will work from 6:00-8:30 p.m. followed by refreshments. Most likely we will continue with the indexing of criminal court records for Pierce County. If you have a laptop, please bring it and pair up with someone who does not have one. It really helps to work in pairs. Note that this is the 4th Thursday of the month, when the university is back in session after the holiday break.
Limited parking is available behind South Hall, next to Chalmer Davee Library. Other parking is available in the lot across Cascade Avenue next to North Hall. Entrances to the parking lot next to North Hall are on S 2nd Street and Spring Street. After 4:30 p.m., parking is free. If you are traveling from the west on Cascade Avenue, continue straight at the roundabout, take the first right and then turn into the parking lot on your left to enter the lot next to Chalmer Davee Library. If travelling from the east on Cascade Avenue, continue straight at the first roundabout, go all the way around the 2nd roundabout and take the first right. The parking lot next to Chalmer Davee Library will be on your left. Parking in this lot is also free after 4:30 p.m.
Refer to the map below to help find your way to either of the parking lots.
February 18, 2016—“From Sentence in Norway to Freedom in American—Ragnild’s Story”—A cotter’s daughter who gave birth to a baby in concealment and drowned the child was sentenced to “lose her neck, and the head to be put on a stake”. She was later pardoned by the King of Norway and spent four years in prison. She married, had a daughter and two sons, and in 1866, emigrated to the Rush River area of Pierce County, Wisconsin. She is buried in North Rush River Cemetery.
St. Paul genealogist Dixie Hansen was contacted by Torill Steivang of the Regional Archives in Hamar, Norway, who was assisting Dr. Hans Petter Schjonsby to research Ragnild. A professional documentary was made by the Hamar Archives (in English) and will be shown at the meeting. The story is told in the context of Norwegian emigration history and the general female dilemma of giving birth without being married and seeing no solution other than pretending it never happened. SCVGS played a minor role in researching Ragnild and her family in Rush River. Ragnild’s children all married, leaving descendants throughout the Midwest.
March 17, 2016—“Extra! Extra! Read All about it in Online Newspapers”—Historical newspapers hold a wealth of family history information. This presentation offers a brief overview of the value of newspapers and provides tips on how to use free and paid websites to find digitized newspapers online. Some of these sites may also be free onsite at Family History Centers or your local library. Featured websites include Chronicling America (free), NewspaperArchive, 19th Century British Newspapers, GenealogyBank and more. Come learn how to find newspapers that can add color and details to your ancestors’ lives.
Kim Ashford has spent 15 years researching her family history. She recently earned her Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies with an emphasis in Family History from Brigham Young University. She is the current President of the Germanic Genealogy Society and an assistant director at her local Family History Center. In addition to assisting patrons, she frequently teaches classes on a variety of topics related to genealogy.
April 21, 2016—Stump the Genealogist—Open Question and Answer with Professional Genealogist Paula Stuart-Warren—Paula Stuart-Warren, Certified Genealogist, specializes in Midwestern research and Plains Indian research. She is also very knowledgeable in railroad records research; the fur trade; emigration, immigration, and naturalization records; court records; federal records; Catholic records, and numerous other areas. Bring your questions, especially those that relate to brick wall research, and ask a professional. Paula should be able to give you direction to take your research to the next level.
Paula spent six years on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Genealogical Society and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).
May 19, 2016—“Preparing for a [Genealogy Research] Trip to the Wisconsin Historical Society” webinar—The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) has one of the best genealogy libraries in the country and covers all of North America. It houses federal population schedules for the entire U.S. and the Wisconsin state census records, the Wisconsin Pre-1907 Vital Records Index and microfilmed versions of the actual records, town and county histories, a huge collection of family histories, city directories, and one of the best newspaper collections, especially for Wisconsin. The collection for New England states is excellent. Learn how to use these collections from Lori Bessler, Reference Librarian of the WHS.
SCVGS is planning a genealogy research trip to Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society in June 2016. More details to follow.