2020 Vision Registration Open!

Drum roll please! The 2020 Vision Conference registration is officially open.

First download and read Gene2020Vision_Package then visit the registration page at PASGS_2020_Vision_Conference. (Distribution of the printable registration form will happen as soon as it is finished.)


“2020 Vision” SGS Conference Session Descriptions

The Prince Albert Branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS) is hosting the provincial biannual conference 17-19 April 2020 at the Coronet Inn. Our call for presenters netted an exciting lineup of face-to-face and virtual presenters.


Check back here for updates including the opening of registration on January 20, 2020.

Plenary 1
“Secrets and Shenanigans: How AncestryDNA Helped with an Unexpected Mystery”
Lesley Anderson
When my 88-year-old friend’s adoptive mother died in 1952, she left an envelope with her adoption papers. I thought researching her family tree would be easy. Little did I know that I would spend over 2 years of research, building multiple family trees and sending out many DNA kits! Using this case study we will go through the process to show how you can use AncestryDNA with your family tree and research to break down brick walls and discover your real story.

Plenary 2 Needed
“Finding Fallen Saskatchewan Soldiers Online”
Doug Chisholm
Doug Chisholm is a northern Saskatchewan bush pilot and researcher of Canadian military history. Through his company, Woodland Aerial Photography, Doug helps interested families to connect with relatives who lost their lives in the Second World War. This session focuses on online research methods to find fallen Saskatchewan soldiers.

Concurrent 1A
“Getting the Most Out of Researching on Ancestry”
Lesley Anderson
This presentation is a basic overview of how to use Ancestry’s Canadian website, Ancestry.ca, but there are many useful tips and hints for anyone starting out on Ancestry no matter which country you’re researching in.
Topics to help you get the most out of your search on Ancestry.ca include the Home page, the Search page the Card Catalogue, Global Search, Searching by location and category i.e. Census, Birth, Marriage and Death, Immigration, Military, Individual Databases. Helpful search tips will also be covered.

Concurrent 1B
“How to Digitize Your Legacy Family Photos and Documents”
Art Taylor (Virtual)
Are you tired of hauling out the slide projector and screen to see the slides in your collection? Does your slide projector still work? Do you have shoe boxes or plastic bins filled with prints and negatives you haven’t seen in years? Wouldn’t it be great to pop a DVD into the player, sit back with your feet up and watch slides and prints on TV?
This clinic will give tips on how to convert your legacy prints, negatives, and slides to a digital format that can be combined with your digital camera’s images and shared in several ways. You’ll get tips on: features to look for when purchasing a scanner; tips about the software that you’ll need to use with a scanner; file formats to use for your scanned images; how to archive and backup your new digital files; and how to produce electronic slide shows on DVD that can be viewed on a standard HDTV and posted on your web site or sites like YouTube. You’ll also see some of the techniques and tools used to restore faded or physically damaged original images so they look almost like new.

Concurrent 1C
“Research and Share the Social Media Way”
Lianne Kruger (Virtual)
Social media can help you with researching your family, help and training, how to share information, and meet distant relatives in multiple platforms.
In this beginner-intermediate session, we will discuss researching your family, research help and training, sharing information with others, and meeting distant relatives.
The platforms we will evaluate are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogs, and Instagram.

Concurrent 2A
“Using AncestryDNA to Power Your Family History Research”
Lesley Anderson
Lesley Anderson will cover tips on getting the most out of your DNA results and the new tools we can use to discover more about our ancestry and DNA.

Concurrent 2B
“Finding Women Homesteaders in Saskatchewan”
Connie Gerwing
Under the Homestead Act only women heads of households were allowed to apply for a homestead in Western Canada. Besides this barrier to women homesteaders there was also a barrier of language and culture for the many non-British women. This presentation will look at finding German speaking and Ukrainian/Polish women who managed to apply for homesteads in the early settlement days of Saskatchewan. Using a database, block settlement maps and land descriptions it was possible to find a number of these women who applied and filed on their own homesteads in those early years.

Concurrent 2C
“Write on the Back of Your Digital Images”
Art Taylor (Virtual)
Adobe Bridge is a free program from Adobe. It works with both Windows and MacOS, letting the user add the digital equivalent of notes written on the back of a photo print or on a slide mount to identify the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How behind each image. It works with both digital camera photos and with those scanned from paper prints, negatives, or slides. The IPTC Cultural Heritage Panel, also a free download, was created by a group of professional librarians, museum curators, and archivists to provide places for such pros and the general public to enter information in a digital format to help all users of such digital images learn who and what are shown in a particular image. Text entered in these data fields is fully searchable, so if you want to find all of the photos in a collection containing a relative’s name, you could enter the name in a search box and quickly find all of the relevant photos.
Anyone, regardless of level of experience, who has digital images, whether from a digital camera or from scanned photos and documents, can benefit from this presentation. Those whose research has yielded information about the Who, When, Where, Why, and How of individual digital images will learn how that research can be included digitally with their images.

Concurrent 3A
“Ancestry Online Trees”
Lesley Anderson
Online trees are a great way to organize your finds and connect with other family historians who share your ancestry and may have information to share. If you already have your tree on Ancestry or maybe you’re reluctant to put up your tree publicly online, this presentation will show you tips and techniques to make the most out of your family tree at Ancestry.

Concurrent 3B
“Searching SaskArchives New Catalog Plus”
Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan will be presenting on its new public access catalogue AtoM, and how to search and use this database. The presentation will also include an update on our move, as well as reference services and distance research services. The presentation will be led by one of our Reference Archivists.

Concurrent 3C
“Use YouTube to See Your Family with 20/20 Vision”
Lianne Kruger (Virtual)
Lianne will show and discuss the following reasons to use YouTube in family history:
1. YouTube has a video for everything you want to learn, and she will show how to find genealogical tutorial topics.
2. Create your own videos using your phone, tablet or PowerPoint.
3. Create your own channel to store, as a backup, and share, with family, old home videos. Also store and share videos (Vlogging) you create to document your family history.

Plenary 3
“Online and Offline Resources for Saskatchewan and the Great War”
Bill Waiser
Bill Waiser will talk about the impact of the Great War on Saskatchewan, his visits to the Great War battlefields and memorial sites in France and Belgium, and how he has used digital records to tell soldier stories, including that of his great uncle who was lost at the Somme.

Concurrent 4A
“Cautions and Unexpected Revelations When Using DNA to Grow Your Family Tree”
Tammy Tipler-Priolo (Virtual)
This lecture will discuss cautions while using DNA to build your family tree including privacy, trustworthiness, making contact with others, the ever-changing field, etc. as well as unexpected revelations including half siblings, community connections, adoptions, etc. Knowing the pitfalls and where to step when building your tree with DNA results will help you to stay on track and give you confidence that you are tracing the correct family lines.

Concurrent 4B
“Self-Publishing on Amazon”
Johanne Gervais (Virtual)
This presentation will provide participants with an overview on how to self-publish on Amazon.com. Areas covered will be 1). Why Amazon.com is one of the best self-publishing services for genealogists who wish to share their family history material with a broader audience and 2). The publishing process, which includes all the steps required to self-publish on Amazon.com

Concurrent 4C
“A Fresh Light on Old Newspapers”
Dave Obee (Virtual)
Researching in old newspapers no longer means sitting at a microfilm reader for hours on end, winding through a seemingly endless string of news stories and advertisements. Today, the results we seek could be a matter of minutes away, thanks to the many digitization projects that have placed millions of newspaper pages on the Internet. But what are the pitfalls? This presentation takes you through the digitization process, from hard copy to your computer screen. It is designed to help you achieve the best results from your work.

Concurrent 5A
“Free Digital Tools for Canadian Genealogists & Beyond”
Tammy Tipler-Priolo (Virtual)
This lecture will discuss digital tools that are free to use by any genealogist including databases, social media, archives, libraries, blogs, websites, etc. Genealogy as a hobby can get quite expensive. Learn ways to find information on your ancestors for free. Learn the tricks and tips of the trade that all professionals have been using for years. Everyone likes to save a buck and get something for nothing and this lecture will show you where to go and how to go about saving and learning at the same time.

Concurrent 5B
“Myth-Busting Ancestry”
Lesley Anderson
There seems to be misinformation about Ancestry and this session will bust those myths and misconceptions! This is an opportunity to ask your questions, solve your dilemmas, and learning tips and tricks.

Concurrent 5C
“The Geography of Genealogy “
Dave Obee (Virtual)
It is impossible to do comprehensive genealogical research without an understanding of where your ancestors lived. There are several good reasons to use geographic tools in your research. They help you to determine where you are from. They will also help you to find records dealing with your family. Maps and atlases help genealogists sort out where their ancestors lived in relation to regional and national boundaries, churches, rail lines, and other factors that help determine which records hold most hope. Geographic tools will also give you a sense of what life was like for your ancestors. This talk provides a basic overview of what to look for, and how to use the information that you find. (Please note that there are versions of this talk tailored for Canadian research, for English research, and for European research.)


Great Call for Presenter Results for SGS “2020 Vision” Conference

The Prince Albert Branch is hosting the provincial conference “2020 Vision: Seeking Ancestors Using DNA and Digital Tools.” In early July 2019, members met to review the results of their call for presenters. While no presentation is finalized, members see great potential.

Diane Rivet’s first choice would be a DNA presentation like “Cautions and Unexpected Revelations When Using DNA to Grow Your Family Tree.” Other people’s DNA results show great diversity.  What does it really mean when hers say 50% German and 50% English? Also, she believes DNA will help her prune her family tree and remove “gremlins” who don’t belong.

Sheila Soulier recently emailed a digitized photo accompanied by 11 names—too many for a file name. The presentation “Write on the Back of Your Digital Images with Adobe Bridge With the IPTC Cultural Heritage Panel” might be an amazing innovation for her family history photo files. 

Ed Glynn, conference coordinator, puts “Online Source for Scottish Genealogy Research” at the top of his list. He has hit a brick wall in his Scottish research and hopes the presentation might breakdown the wall.

The Branch is committed to informing successful submissions by the end of July. Once replies are in, they will determine the optimal schedule for the concurrent sessions.

Call for Presenters

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society Conference 2020

“2020 Vision: Seeking Ancestors Using DNA and Digital Tools”


17-19 April 2020 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada

Deadline: 28-Jun-2019

The Prince Albert Branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society is hosting the Society’s biannual conference on 17-19 April 2020 at the Coronet Inn in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. The Branch is seeking speakers for its theme “2020 Vision: Seeking Ancestors Using DNA and Digital Tools.” The one hour sessions run Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning.

The subject should be relevant to the conference theme. Suggested areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Using DNA to grow your family tree
  • Using digital tools such as databases, social media, archives, etc.
  • Using digital devices such as scanners, cameras, recorders, camcorders, etc.
  • Using digital tools to create and share family history

Please submit one or two expressions of interest with the following details:

  1. Proposed title
  2. Paragraph describing the content of the session and the target audience

Also send:

  1. Brief description of your expertise in the area
  2. Willingness to do the presentation virtually
  3. Expectation of remuneration

If your proposal is accepted, we will be in touch by 26-Jul-2019 to discuss details and confirm your participation.

Expressions of interest should be forwarded to us by 28-Jun-2019. Please reply to this post and we will connect with you.


Cemeteries Valuable Historic Resource

This article is reprinted with permission from Teena Monteleone, Director of Information Programming, at paNOW

In the coming days, local resident Jim Wilm will join his fellow members from the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS) in Prince Albert’s Memorial Gardens to “read the cemetery.”

“We’ll work in pairs and check the gravestone information against the current records and add new gravestone information and take photos,” Wilm said.

According to the society’s website, the SGS Burial Index contains over 500,000 records of individuals buried in cemeteries or burial sites in 299 rural municipalities in the province. Wilm said he got involved with the program to preserve records as a matter of community pride.

“We want to encourage other communities to look after their cemeteries. Some of them have been overgrown or vandalized or damaged and we want the communities to maintain them,” he said. “They are the historical remembrance of those people who lived there and unless we look after them…they won’t be around.”

He added cemeteries are among the most valuable of historic resources offering reminders of settlement patterns, historic events, religion and genealogy. Through his own research and with the help of DNA testing, Wilm was recently able to determine his family’s link to an important piece of Saskatchewan history.

“My great-great grandfather was a North-West Mounted Police in the Louis Riel rebellion,” Wilm said. “I even found his regimental number and other details about when he joined and what his involvement was. That was something I would have never known about if it wasn’t for the research that showed up about Great-Grandpa Williamson.”

Often times, he said, headstone inscriptions provide the one missing link that leads researchers to other information, so maintaining the deteriorating ones and recording them are an important step to preserving the past. Wilm and other members of the SGS meet at the Lions Club in Prince Albert once a month. They’ll meet one more time before taking a summer break to update the cemetery records which will then be made available in the online database.

Connie Gerwing’s German and Ukranian/Polish Women Homesteaders Research

On her journey towards a history degree, Connie Gerwing became aware of a lobby by British women to change the homestead law. Under the homestead law in Canada, only widows with dependent children could apply. Concerned that “riff raff” such as Eastern Europeans might come in large numbers and populate the prairies, a group of women of British background campaigned to allow British women to homestead even if they were single.  The lobby was not successful, but Connie wondered about the “riff-raff,” those from Eastern European or other European countries.

As she has German and Ukrainian/Polish ancestry, she asked,

“Did widows from these countries file for homesteads? Who were they? What were their commonalities? What were shared problems?”

She searched saskhomesteads.com. First for “Mrs.” This reduced the numbers from 36,000 to 4,500.  Next, she eliminated any women on homesteads originally filed by men. Then she looked for German, Ukrainian, and Polish surnames and checked block settlement maps.  In the end, she identified 222 German and 89 Ukrainian/Polish widows.

Connie Gerwing presents research on German and Ukranian/Polish women homesteaders.

To uncover stories, she searched local history books. She also recommended looking at theses. For example, Paul Paproski’s “The German Catholics of St. Peter’s Colony: 1903-1930.” Or “Les Autres Metis: The English Metis of the Prince Albert Settlement 1862-1886” by Paget Code.

Theresia Lutz’s story highlights commonalities. A widow, she was excited about the opportunity of a quarter section, 160 acres, for a $10 registration fee. Her adult children did their best to discourage her, but she packed supplies and hired a railcar for the trip from Nebraska to Saskatchewan.  She, her dependent children, and a son and his family, waited three weeks for the spring runoff to subside to cross the North Saskatchewan River. Like Goldilocks, she did not homestead on the first land she tried but looked for something “just right” before filing a claim.  Like other widows and most other pioneers, homesteading was a cooperative labour of clearing, breaking, seeding, and harvesting.  After 3 years, Theresia “proved up” her homestead.

These widows shared some issues even though they often couldn’t communicate with each other because of language issues. First, they often didn’t speak English and this made it difficult to fill in the paperwork to complete homestead applications. The Ukrainian/Polish women signed with an X which implies that they were illiterate although it may be that they were illiterate in the Roman alphabet but could read and write in their Cyrillic script. The widows tended to be older, often in their 40’s or 50’s with older children who could help out. Most of them chose homesteads near some of their adult children who helped them fulfill the requirements to obtain the homestead. Evidence of children who lived nearby is common.

Connie’s process and strategies paired with persistence are an admirable model for family historians.

Scanning Film and Slides with Epson Perfection V600 Photo

At the January meeting, a member demonstrated her Epson Perfection V600 Photo using film negatives. The V600 does photos and documents but its magic is it comes with trays for slides and film. She talked about her choices for settings, file naming, and organization.

  • The Epson Perfection V600 comes with film and slide trays.
  • The tray tabs (A, B, C) match spots on the scanner so the tray sits precisely.

  • The document type choices are photo, color positive, color negative (current setting), B&W negative, illustration, magazine, newspaper, and text/line art.
  • As I want to reprint as 4×6 photos, I set the resolution to 600px. If I want an 8×10, I would experiment with a higher resolution.
  • If I’m doing magazine or newspaper, which uses dots, I’d “descreen.”
  • The color restoration is effective for photos that need it.

  • File Save Settings gives you location choice.
  • I’ve chosen the prefix NegYYYY_. The start number accumulates and indicates I’ve done 127 scans for 1985. The next scan will be named Neg1985_128.jpg.


  • The software recognizes each photo. Previewing offers:
    • Unchecking any unwanted photos.
    • Negative film is 4.5×6 allowing a 0.5 adjustment.

  • When all files go in a NegYYYY folder.