Pinterest for Genealogy

In May, I gave a program on Pinterest for Genealogy at the monthly meeting of the Webster County Genealogical Society. On Oct. 26, I gave a slightly updated version of that program at the Hamilton Heritage Hunters workshop in Stanhope. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties, and I had to just “tell” the presentation without “showing,” as the projector had a different kind of adapter than my laptop, and my laptop didn’t “see” the wi-fi that it needed to. So I just talked about the subject, rather than being able to click on links to go to websites and show what I meant.

So I promised I would put the presentation online, and here it is. Carol Snyder Foltz

Pinterest for Genealogy

I use social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook and so on for a couple of reasons. 1) To learn. I find out new things from other genealogists. 2) to share what I know. My research is on as many sites as I can manage, in order to share what I’ve done so it doesn’t get lost when I’m not around any more.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform. It is a bookmarking site. It’s like a scrapbook of websites.

I used to buy magazines like Woman’s Day and Family Circle. When I liked an article, I would cut it out. Recipes, home decorating tips, organization tips – you name it.

Pinterest is kind of like that, except that instead of physical things cut out from magazines, it aggregates things pinned – or saved – by others. And now it also allows you to upload things that aren’t links to other sites.


A board is a collection of similar items.

A section is part of a board. This is to help you organize things. Under my Family History board, I have other categories like Cemeteries, DNA, Writing, Occupations and more. I also have one (so far) section of family photos.

A pin is a single item in a board. When you save something, it’s called pinning. It’s like pinning something on a bulletin board.

When you follow someone, you will see things they have pinned.

How can we use Pinterest for Genealogy?

The obvious and easiest way to use Pinterest is to pin things that come up on your wall.

When you first sign up for Pinterest, you get default boards. You can add boards and name them. When Pinterest gets an idea what you are looking for (you can use the search box), it will show you more of that type of thing.

Recently, it showed me one thing about funerals. I saved that thing. So it showed me more things about funerals and about estate planning.

The same thing will happen with the other boards that you set up. Once you show an interest in a topic, you will see more of that topic.

You can also follow people or follow specific boards of people. The Webster County Genealogical Society has a Pinterest account. You can follow us at

(Cyndi’s List

(Valerie Elkins

How should you organize your boards?

This is entirely up to you. Look at other people’s boards to get some ideas. The society’s boards are entirely about genealogy topics. My personal boards have a variety. Some of my pins are not all that well organized.

Pinterest has made some changes since it started. One thing is that you can add sections to a board. So I have a Family History board, with different sections like Cemeteries, Census, Immigration, Crafts and scrapbooking, Photo organization … so many categories.

You can also move pins from one board or section to another if you change your mind about how your boards should be organized. I have a board about sewing projects and another one about ideas for quilts to make with my mom’s old clothing. But I don’t have a board just about quilting. So I could create a board about quilting or a section under sewing. And I could move my Ideas for Mom quilts under either of those categories.

What about pins that are not linked to websites?

You can upload images to your boards. Generally, pins are designed to be a thing that you click on to take you to a website for more information. However, there is also a use for just uploading family photos, for example.

Here’s why I have started doing this. I have a family history blog. I pay for a domain name and hosting. When I started this, I wasn’t thinking that far into the future. However, I realize now that my daughters are not going to want to continue my blog. Once I stop paying for it, it will disappear. So I need to get the information online in different formats so that it won’t be lost.

One way to do that is through online trees on sites like Ancestry, Family Search, My Heritage and Wikitree. I have a secret group for a particular set of cousins on Facebook. Secret groups can only be seen by the group members. It’s a very small group, and because it’s secret, if there is someone who might be eligible and want to join, they wouldn’t even know about it.

But Pinterest offers another option to share this information. I can upload family photos with the information relating to them. I can create pins that lead to my blog – and update the links when I finally get around to putting the information on a site that doesn’t require me to continue to pay for hosting (like Blogspot). People do have to sign up for a Pinterest account, but that’s free.

Be aware of copyright issues. (See This comes up in the adult coloring groups I’m in. Using Pinterest to locate websites with information is good. When someone images that belong to someone else to Pinterest and you download those images and use them without attribution to the artist or author is not good. In the case of the coloring pages, I try to find the artist and get the image from their website. For genealogy purposes, I click through to the website. There may be more information there that I can use.

Don’t forget to follow through on your pins. Saving them is one thing. But click through to make sure that the link has information you want and is still valid. You might find that a website has been deleted, or reorganized, so that link names have changed. If the site is still up, you may still be able to find the information.

I recommend “Pinning Your Family History” by Thomas MacEntee. It’s 99 cents on Amazon. It’s a very short book, but has some good tips.

Other Social Media


As I mentioned, I have a secret group on Facebook for cousins on my mom’s side. I also belong to a bunch of genealogy-related groups and follow genealogy-related pages.

Genealogy Master List of Facebook Groups


I follow genealogy researchers and bloggers on Twitter. One favorite is Jennifer Mendelsohn, who does what she calls “resistance genealogy.” That is, she researches the family trees of public figures who say bad things about immigrants. Often, she finds the same things in those family trees that those people are speaking against. Chain immigration (where family members come to the U.S. in small groups), people who immigrate but don’t learn English right away, people who were deemed at risk of becoming a public charge, people who come here as young children. Each of those cases was spoken against by a current descendant of people who did those things.

To find out more about using social media for genealogy, do a search on Google to find websites and YouTube for videos. Follow genealogists on different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) to see what they are saying.


Norwegian genealogy

We have Linda Greethurst giving a program on Norwegian genealogy. She has give us two sites to help with research.

The Norwegian genealogy site is The /en/ is the English version.

Another site is OJ’s homepage.

The dictionary site helps when working on

Many of the Digital Arkivet records have not been indexed, so you may have to browse records. You will need to register for a free account in order to use the site.

Norwegian counties are like states in the U.S.

There should be an official parish register and a copy of the official parish register that was kept at a separate location. Once or twice a year, the keeper of the copy and the minister were supposed to compare the versions, so there might be additions at the end  of the book.

Linda Greethurst recommends “A Research Guide for Norwegian Genealogy” as a valuable resource for researching Norwegian family history. It is published by The Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library in Madison, Wisconsin. Their website is

Websites again:


March 12 event canceled

Our planned event for March 12, 2018, has been canceled. Eowyn Langholf, of Wikitree, was scheduled to talk about Wikitree and collaborative genealogy, but due to unforeseen circumstances, won’t be able to be in Fort Dodge that day. We will reschedule the event when she is able to come.

On this day: Jan. 10, 1918

Dayton Review: 10 Jan 1918

Pioneer Passes

The passing of Allen Dugger at the home of this daughter, Mrs. B.H. Sanders at Briggsdale, Colorado, on Monday of last week marks the passing of another of the pioneer settlers of this county. He was born in Macoupin Co., Illinois, March 26, 1836, hence would have been 82 years of age at his next birthday. At the age of 16, he moved with his parents to Keokuk County, Iowa, where he was married to Adeline Andrews, January 25, ,1857. In 1865 th ey came to Webster County, settling near Lehigh, then Tyson’s Mill, and lived in that community over half a century. Mrs Dugger died in 1911, also at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Sanders, and Mr. Dugger has since made his home among his children. Three children have preceded him in n death, two passing in infancy, and his eldest son, Will, in Denver in1906. Six children survived, three sons and three daughters, Mrs. C.M. Watson and Mrs. B.H. Sanders, Briggsdale, Colo., Mrs. J.T. Collard, Commerce, Okla., J.A. and M.H. Dugger, Sybrant, Nebr., and C.S. Dugger, Barrett, Nebr. His remains were brought to Lehigh, and interment made beside those of his wife in the Beem cemetery on Wednesday of last week. Mr. Dugger was a good neighbor and a respected citizen always. He always took an interest in his friends and companions, as did Mrs. Dugger, and their home was always a social center for old and young. “Aunt Ad and Uncle Al,” as they were know among the young people of their day, always had a welcome ready, and many were the happy social events that are still remembered by the boys and girls of that time, given by this youth loving couple, in the hospitality of their home. A host of old time friends will sympathize with the family in their bereavement.

Winter weather

Our policy is that if the Fort Dodge schools are closed or have a late start due to weather, we will be closed that day. The current weather forecast calls for rain and sleet turning to snow overnight Wednesday, then gusty winds. So we will be closed on Thursday.

We are still open today (Jan. 9) and tomorrow (Jan. 10) from noon to 3 p.m. You can also call 515-302-9854 to schedule a time to visit during Fort Dodge Public Library open hours.

On this day: Jan. 3, 1918

Dayton Review: Jan. 3, 1918


The home of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Thomas was the scene of a quiet home wedding New Years evening, their daughter Inez being united in marriage to Arthur Leffler Holmstrom, Rev. N.E. Kron of the Lutheran Church officiating. The ceremony took place at six o’clock, under an arch of green and white, which formed the color scheme of the decorations. Frances Freeburn played Mendelssohn’s wedding march, and the wedding couple took their places unattended, the ring ceremony being used in the plighting of their voews. Bernice Lundlen sang “O Promise Me,” and “I Love You truly.” Only the immediate families, brothers and sisters, and a few girl friends, were present to witness the ceremony, after which a three course wedding dinner was served, her girl friends doing the serving. The bride was dressed in white crepe de chene with white dull veil caught up with smilax. Both the contracting parties have grown to manhood and womanhood in our midst. The bride is a graduate of our public schools, and the past year has been attending Grinnell College. She is a young lady of pleasing attainments, kindly considerate of these around her always. The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Holmstrom, west of town, a young man of industry and integrity, who will make a success of life. Both a re popular and respected among their associates and friends. They will be at home after March 1st at Maple Ridge Farm west of town, which the groom will farm the coming year. We join in the congratulations and best wishes extended to them.


Paul Williams, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Williams, and Miss Milly Kirkman, a daughter of A.S. Kirkman, all of Pilot Mound, were quietly married at Boone on Tuesday, December 18th. A wedding reception was given them at Pilot Mound the next evening, Mr. and Mrs. Alva Linn of this place attending, Mrs. Linn being a sister of the bride. Both are well known and highly respected young people of that community, who have grown to young manhood and womanhood there. They will reside on a farm southeast of Dayton, which the groom will work the coming year. Dayton friends of the newly wedded couple extend them sincere good wishes for a truly happy married life.

On this day: Dec. 21, 1917

Fort Dodge Messenger and Chronicle: Dec. 21, 1917

City Briefs

Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Wilson leave Saturday for a holiday visit in Minneapolis and St Paul.
Mr. and Mrs. Strong Hinman expect to spend the Christmas vacation with relatives in Wichita, Kas.
Mrs. W.H. Rubel leaves today for Dubuque where she will spend the holidays at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J.J. Roshek.
Lieutenant Emmett Lenihan comes up from Camp Dodge tomorrow for the Christmas holidays which he will spend with his relatives here.
Joe Stecher, the Nebraska wrestler, spent Wednesday night in this city en route to his home from Humboldt where he attended the Gotch funeral.
Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Larosn are entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Berg Osvog of Canton, S.D., this week. Mr. and Mrs. Osvog are on their wedding trip.
Mrs. Georgia M. Joselyn and daughter Estella leave this evening for Rockwell City where they will spend Christmas at the Edward S. Joselyn home.
Mrs. Maude Huffman has filed suite for divorce from Marion Huffman. The petition alleges that they were married in 1909 and have one adopted child.
Misses Dorothy Hurlbut. Katharine Ryan, Ruth Fitzpatrick and Annice Woodward are expected int he city Saturday noon from Milwaukee Downer where they have been attending school. They will be in Fort Dodge for the Christmas holidays.
Many hunters of Fort Dodge left early this morning on the big rabbit chase – the purpose of which is to catch rabbits to be turned over to the poor of the city. The weather is ideal for the hunt. The hunters are expected to report at the municipal building this evening with the day’s catch.
Blanks have been received in the office of the county clerk for the recording of births. The new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 1918. Ten days is given to record a birth. Failure to do so makes one liable to a fine of not less than $5 and not more than $100 and imprisonment of thirty days. The responsibility of recording births rests with both the parents and physician or midwife.
Mr. and Mrs. Mack Hurlbut are entertaining a number of their relatives over the Christmas holidays. Their guests will be Mrs. George Spangler of Winthrop who arrived yesterday, and Mr. and Mrs. S.T. Spangler of Winthrop, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Swan of Independence, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh E. Jones and daughter Frances of Northwood and George Spangler of Winthrop will come tomorrow.

On this day: Aug. 24, 1917

Fort Dodge Messenger and Chronicle: Aug. 24, 1917
Fort Dodge People at Humboldt Fair
Fair Reported Unusually Good This Year
Fireworks Display is Fine
Many residents of Fort Dodge drove to Humboldt Thursday evening to attend the Humboldt county Fair, which opened that day. They report the fair as unusually good this year and the fireworks display especially fine. Among those who were in attendance were Mr. and Mrs. R.R. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs R.P. Atwell, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hannon, Frank Hellman, Cozette Alline, Mary Nelson, Vida Fuhrman, Alta Reentz, Frank O’Hearn, Grace Tinkham, Lou Pray, A.C. Heath, Wm. Peters, Dr. and Mrs. Philip Dorr, Gertude Pfaff, Catherine Lex, Mary Reilly, Charley Casey, Andy Hamlin and Bert Hogan.

Coming to America

Our program after the meeting on July 10 was about immigration. Carol Foltz gave a short presentation and tried to answer the following questions:

Why did people come to America?
Many people came in hopes of a better life. For many reasons: religious persecution, economic hardship, famine or war. There were others who were sent as prisoners of war or criminals. My ex’s many-times great-grandfather, William Munro, was captured in the Battle of Worcester and sent to the colonies in 1651. England sent criminals until the Revolutionary War, then sent them to Australia until 1868.

When did people come to America?
There were several main waves of immigration: the colonial period, the mid-19th century, the start of the 20th century, and post-1965.

How did people come to America?
Mainly by boat, until airplanes were available. But the types of boats varied, from wind-driven sailing ships to steamboats that could cross the Atlantic in a few days. In Carol’s family, one of the latest immigrant families came over in February 1912, just two months before the Titanic.

Who came to America?
People who wanted a better life.

Where did people enter America?
We think of Ellis Island first, but it wasn’t the first port or the only port where immigrants landed. In the New York area, Castle Garden preceded Ellis Island. But other ports include Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, as well as ports on the West Coast.

Where did people settle in America?
Many settled in cities, but many pushed West. Some would settle for awhile, then uproot and move further West.

A history of immigration in the USA

The Irish potato famine

Immigration to the United States

Immigration to the United States, 1851-1900

The Immigration History of the United States (Video)

Growth, Cities, and Immigration: Crash Course US History #25 (Video, John Green talks very fast.)

U.S. Immigration Before 1965

10 Myths About Immigration in the United States