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Research Notes 2018-7-30

If you have ancestors who came to the United States through New York, you are in luck. FamilySearch has transcribed and posted Castle Garden New York Passenger Lists (1820-1891), Ellis Island Passenger Lists (1892-1924) and New York Passenger and Crew Lists from 1925-1957. The FamilySearch Blog has several articles about the history of these immigration centers and how to take advantage of the information you will find in these records.


There’s even more records goodness to help your research! The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has just released a number of records covering a period from 1675 to 1929 and include:

  1. Records of Confederate Veterans 1909-1973

  2. Criminal Court Records

  3. Index to Multiple Record Series ca. 1675-1929

  4. Legislative Papers 1782-1866

  5. National Register of Historic Places

  6. Plats for State Land Grants 1784-1868

  7. School Insurance Photographs 1935-1952

  8. Will Transcripts 1782-1855

You can search these records by a person’s name (enter last name first), geographic location or topic. Visit the Online Records Index to get started.


Looking for creative ideas to share your family’s history? Join us at the Storytellers Studio on the MeWe social network. The Studio is full of ideas, tips, projects and resources while MeWe provides a network that protects our privacy and isn’t constantly bombarding us with advertising.

MeWe Studio screen

Storytellers Studio group at MeWe

Here’s a look at the Storytellers Studio home screen in a web browser. The tag cloud located at the right side of the screen is used to index group content. Click any tag to display all the posts related to that topic. Just below the tag cloud is the group’s chat box. Got a question? Post it there and see how quickly someone posts an answer. There’s lots more! Just below the masthead graphic, you’ll see the group’s menu. Use it to view the photos/videos area, files library, event calendar or just search for a topic.

There are plenty of opportunities to connect and communicate with others. The basic post and comment element is very similar to other social networks, but MeWe has even more options. Instead of typing a comment or response to a post, tap the voice icon and start talking. Your recorded comment can be played back anytime. The Chat feature supports text chat, voice calls and even video calls.

MeWe post on iPhone

MeWe post viewed on iPhone

Note that the voice/video options work best on your mobile devices.

If you aren’t familiar with MeWe, you are in for a surprise. It is free, easy to use, and respects your privacy. You won’t be bombarded with advertisement either. There are several “premium” features available that will cost you to use. For example, each member gets 8GB of storage for personal photos, videos, documents and files. Increasing your storage to 50GB will cost you $4.99/month. There are several larger storage options if needed. Other premium options include Secret Chat (similar to WhatsApp without the tracking) at $.99/month and custom emoji packets for $.99 a packet. They are planning to include MeWe Pages at $1.99/month and even games.

While viewing MeWe in your web browser provides the best view of your timeline and your groups, there are also free apps for iOS and Android devices. The view isn’t as pretty, but is just as functional – even more so when you want to have a voice or video call.

To join the Storytellers Studio group, you will first need to create your account on MeWe at and set up your profile. When you are ready, enter Storytellers Studio in the search box at the top of the screen and when the group appears click the Go To Group link. Storytellers Studio is a members-only group so you will be asked to apply. The group leader will accept your request and you’re all set.

Family History Faire

October’s Family History Faire isn’t that far off. If you are looking for creative ways to share your family stories, photos and memorabilia, Storytellers Studio (website and MeWe group) is a great place to start.


This week’s recommended reading isn’t a book . . . it’s a blog post from Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist. Her article is titled Documenting Ourselves and she makes the point that it is just as important to capture and preserve our own history for future generations.


Publishing your family history keeps getting easier thanks to Gedcom Publisher. This service uses your exported GEDCOM file to build your book and includes features to add text chapters in your book. The result is an e-book that can be read on your mobile devices and e-book readers like Kindle or Nook.


Dick Eastman has an interesting overview of Gedcom Publisher and how it works. Visit Gedcom Publisher at to learn more. You can even download an example book to see what you can do with this unique service.


Want to take advantage for FamilySearch’s free online family tree but don’t know where to start? The Family History Library has posted posted four webinars in their “Basic Series” on YouTube making it possible to watch them whenever it’s convenient for you.


St. Augustine Genealogical Society maintains two WordPress websites – our public site  ( and SAGS Support for our members ( Although not supported by the society, there are several additional sites freely accessible with information you might find interesting. These include St. Johns County GenWeb (, Genealogy 101 ( and Storytellers Studio ( Subscribing to all of these sites could put you into email overload, but fortunately there is another option . . . the WordPress Reader. This free app (desktop, iOS and Android) makes it easy to subscribe to these websites and others. The Reader checks each of your subscribed sites regularly and when new content is found, it is delivered to the WordPress Reader instead of your Inbox. Not only that, but you can post comments and save interesting posts for later reference if you wish.


The WordPress Reader App

If you are interested, visit The WordPress Reader page on SAGS Support to learn more and get started.


Final Notes

Each new post published at SAGS Support is automatically emailed to member subscribers and/or delivered to their newsreader. Research Notes is published every Monday morning and other articles are posted during the week. Subscribers have the option to control how often these updates are delivered. Look down at the bottom of this message and you will find a Manage Subscriptions link in the fine print as you see in this example. Click it and you will be taken to the Subscription Management page. Use the Delivery Frequency column to change your delivery options from “Immediate” to either “Daily” or “Weekly”.

Fine Print

Sample of the “fine print” at the bottom of each post.

Also down at the bottom of each delivered post is a Comment button. If you would like to comment on something discussed in a post or ask a question, just click the Comment button and you will be taken online to the comment section of the post where you can share your thoughts and read what others have shared.

To learn more, download a copy of the SAGS Support Guide

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