Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa)

Serving the Needs of the Genealogical Community for Over 50 Years

DNA for Genealogy Series

Join Drew Smith, noted author and educator, for a four-part lecture series presented by the Florida History and Genealogy Library in partnership with the Florida Genealogical Society.
Each program takes place from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Please see the location in the library listed for each session.
  • Introduction to DNA Testing for Family History - Learn about the different types of human DNA and how each type is inherited from parents. Location: 2-West
  • Before the Genealogical Record: What DNA Can Tell Us about Our Distant Ancestors - Discover how DNA can shed light on the pre-1500 time frame as well as give us ideas about the migration path from East Africa to other parts of the world.  [This session is presented as the November program for the Florida Genealogical Society.] Location: Auditorium
  • Understanding the Results of Y-DNA and Mitochondrial DNA Testing - Find out what Y-DNA and myDNA reports can tell you and how Y-DNA surname groups can assist you with matching other individuals with the same surname. Location: 2-West 
  • Understanding the Results of Autosomal DNA Testing - Hear how differing amounts of shared autosomal DNA can point to how closely you are related to your matches. Location: 2-West


Countywide Genealogy Programs

Be sure to check the Upcoming Events section of our website for a wealth of genealogy and history programs being held in the Tampa-Hilsborough Public Library Cooperative library branches! 

The Federation of Genealogical Societies announced at the FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois, on 31 August 2016 the receipt of an historic $500,000 anonymous contribution to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions fundraising project. The unprecedented donation, which came from outside of the genealogical community, will be matched by Ancestry.com, and in total will provide $1 million to the project. Those funds, along with crowdsourced funds from the genealogical community have provided more than $3 million dollars to the project. With these donations, they are able to officially announce the completion of fundraising for “Preserve the Pensions,” the landmark community fundraising project. The digitization and indexing work continues at Fold3.com where access to the records will be free forever.
The largest fundraising effort ever initiated for a single genealogical record set, Preserve the Pensions involved donations from more than 4,000 individuals and 115 genealogical and lineage societies. Each donation was generously matched by Ancestry.com.
“We are humbled and grateful for the generosity of the genealogical community and those outside of our community who are dedicated to the preservation of records. Thank you!” noted D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “This historic gift, in tandem with the thousands of contributions from individual genealogists and societies, illustrates the incredible power of the genealogical community - together we can make a difference.”
The War of 1812 pensions, among the most frequently requested set of materials within the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), had never been microfilmed or digitized. Now, with fundraising complete for the project, and with ongoing cooperation from the project’s partners and major supporters, NARA, Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, these important documents will be made available free, forever to the general public. The project, set out to raise more than $3 million in 2010, an unprecedented amount for the genealogical community.
“It’s gratifying to see the fundraising portion of this project completed after five years, and now we look forward to ensuring these important records are preserved,” said Ancestry President and CEO Tim Sullivan. “This is a fantastic moment for FGS, the genealogical community, and future generations who will benefit from the perseveration of these rich pension records. We want to thank the more than 4,000 individuals who have contributed and are thrilled to play a matching role in this campaign.”

We, the Florida Genealogical Society in Tampa, have been annual contributors to this important project from almost the beginning. Our support is in line with the objective stated in our society's bylaws which states that we will "support the preservation of and access to records of interest to genealogists and family historians." 
Thank you to each and every member of our society. We helped do it!


Volunteer Projects with the FHGL

The Florida History and Genealogy Library (FHGL) in the John F Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa is one of the largest and finest genealogical collections in the Southeastern United States. On Saturday, August 6, 2016, a presentation was made to our society by George G. Morgan and Bill Harris to discuss new volunteer project initiatives.
Bill is the Manager of the FHGL and George is chair of a committee of the Friends of the John F. Germany Public Library to publicize the excellent collection to the public. They have been collaborating to identify collections of unique materials in the FHGL that can be digitized, indexed, and added to the library system's online digital collections. The first two projects on the extensive list have been identified and were presented to the FGS members. 
Project 1: The Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection needs to be inventoried to determine if all of the images have been digitized, if all of the images have been indexed, and if all of those images are currently online. Volunteers will work with the collection in the library, and will scan and index missing images so that they can be added. This is a potentially high visibility project in that it will identify unique historical images of interest to many people in the community. The project begins in August 2016 and is anticipated to be completed by year end with he help of enough volunteers.
Project 2: Funeral Home Books for the Lord and Fernandez Funeral Home and the J. L. Reed and Son Funeral Home are in the possession of the library. The bound books will be scanned by volunteers using a professional book scanner and can then be indexed either on-site at the library or from home. The project begins in early 2017.
Other projects will follow and will combine the genealogical knowledge and skills of our society members to preserve and make these and other unique materials available to the world.
Seventeen FGS Members volunteered at the meeting and others took information to consider their interest and availability. If you are interested in one of these projects or others, please email George at aha@ahaseminars.com or Bill at Bill HarrisWD@HillsboroughCounty.org. You can be a part of these exciting projects to expand other people's research into previously unavailable materials!


Members Only - RootsMagic Software/Book

Our society members have another new member benefit. RootsMagic has made available to our society members several great discount pricing offers on their software and a bundle including the book, Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic, by Bruce Buzbee, the creator of RootsMagic software.
Here are the ordering options:
  • Order the electronic version of the RootsMagic Ver. 7 software and the PDF version of the book - $19.95
  • Order the RootsMagic Ver. 7 software on disk - $19.95 
  • Order the RootsMagic Ver. 7 software on disk and the softcover version of the book - $29.95
Visit the Members Only area of our website, select Secure Download, and click on the RootsMagic Software Discount box. The PDF document there describes the offer and provides the code to use to obtain the discount pricing.

Members Only - Findmypast Discount

Our society has just acquired one more benefit to add to the long list of reasons to be an active member. Findmypast.com has partnered with us to provide our members with a 50% discount for a twelve-month world subscription on findmypast.comFindmypast is a constantly growing resource, and offers a unique and diverse collection of genealogical records. They currently have more than 850 million U.S. records, and more than 1.8 billion records in their global collection. One of the many strengths of their holdings are extensive record collections for the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. A world subscription will give you access to their entire online collection of material, including the incredible British Newspapers collection, which spans from 1710-1953, and includes thousands of local and regional publications from England, Wales and Scotland. The subscription will give you access to immigration and naturalization records as well as the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), now exclusively housed at Findmypast. These are just a few titles that are available that span a global history, reaching back to the year 1200.
 Findmypast.com has issued FGS a unique registration code for use on findmypast.com. When you register for a world subscription and enter the code, the 50% discount will automatically be applied to your subscription. It’s that easy!  Learn more in the letter in the Secure Downloads area of the Members Only section of our website.

Florida County Formation and Records

We often get questions about Florida history, and particularly about the counties. We have added a PDF file to the Public Downloads area of our website that provides a list of every Florida county, its formation date, the parent county from which it was formed, and the years from which the county courthouse holds birth, marriage, death, land, probate, and court records.
This information was derived from Ancestry's "Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources", 3rd edition, published in 2004. That book can be found in its entirety online at the Ancestry Family History Wiki at http://wiki.ancestry.com and provides details for every state.

Friends of the John F. Germany Library

The Friends of the John F. Germany Public Library is a very active group, and they support the community in many ways. One very important thing they do is fund and arrange programs for people of all ages throughout the year. That includes the annual Family Heritage Festival held in October that provides free genealogy presentations and many other activities.
The Friends of the John F. Germany Public Library launched a Facebook page on May 16th. It will include information about the Florida History and Genealogy Library, announcements of programs and events at the downtown library, and more news that you can use!


Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection

Nearly 15,000 images in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection chronicle the history of the Tampa Bay area as it faced wars, natural disasters, economic booms and busts. The collection presents a pictorial record of the commercial, residential and social growth of Tampa Bay and Florida's West coast from the late 1800s to the early 1960s. The images offer a view of a community at work, from cigar factories, sponge docks and strawberry fields, to grocery stores, service stations and bank lobbies. Many of the photographs also depict a community at leisure, enjoying a day at the beach, participating in local celebrations, attending the Florida State Fair, or playing favorite games such as golf, tennis, shuffleboard or checkers.

This extraordinary archive - a visual link with our past and our heritage - is preserved at the John F. Germany Public Library for the public to view and use. The Library has made reference prints for public examination. A photocopier/scanner is available for reproductions of the reference prints or customers can bring their own photographic equipment to make digital images of the materials. Reprints of the photographs from our negatives are also available through a photography studio.

Visit  the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection at the Library's website at http://hcplc.org/hcplc/research/burgert/ to browse or search this remarkable collection. And visit our Society's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FGSTampa/ as we showcase images on that page over time.


Tampa-Hillsborough Library Programs

The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries present a wealth of educational programs throughout the county. We are pleased to announce and help promote these programs on our website. Please visit the Upcoming Events area of this website to see major programs scheduled, and be sure to visit the THPL Events Calendar at http://hcplc.evanced.info/signup/eventcalendar.aspx?&et=9 to locate educational opportunities near you.

Hillsborough County Century Families

The Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa (FGS Tampa) is pleased to announce the Hillsborough County Century Families program. The Hillsborough County Century Family designation is available to applicants who can document that they are descended from a family who lived within the modern-day boundaries of Hillsborough County more than 100 years ago.  As part of their research and application process, applicants are encouraged to use family documents, research materials available within the Florida History & Genealogy Library (located at the John F. Germany Public Library), research materials available within the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections, and source documents found in online databases.
More details about the application and documentation process are available in the Public Downloads area of the FGS Tampa website at http://fgstampa.org/fileDownload.php?cid=26&sid=1.


Visit Our Facebook Page

Our Facebook page is updated almost every day, and is filled with excellent links and tips. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/FGSTampa. If you're a Facebook user, visit the page and Like us. Our Facebook page will then become part of the regular news feed on your page, and you won't miss a thing.