Tracing Your Dakota Roots:
A Guide to Genealogical Research in the Dakotas: Second Edition

By Jo Ann B. Winistorfer & Cathy A. Langemo

Published by Dakota Roots, Bismarck, North Dakota, Second Edition, 2006,
208 pages, softcover

Award Winner of the National Federation of Press Women and the North Dakota Professional Communicators and the Gerhard Haukebo Heritage Award, Family History Workshop, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Moorhead, Minnesota.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to announce the Second Edition of Tracing Your Dakota Roots: A Guide to Genealogical Research in the Dakotas.

Let this book be your roadmap as you travel the trail back through time to find your ancestors. In doing so, you'll discover yourself! This book was created to help you do just that - using the vast resources available to you right here in the Dakotas and elsewhere.

At the Introduction, the authors write:

"With all the new developments in technology, genetics and global networking, we decided it was time to furnish you, our fellow time-traveler, with an updated version of our first "Tracing Your Dakota Roots," published in 1999 and reprinted in 2001. In this, our official second edition, we've included lots of good things from the first book, adding material on Internet research, updating Websites and including information on DNA, or "genetic genealogy." You'll find information on "geneablogy," or "blogging" your genealogy online. "

"We have attempted to provide you with the most recent information available. However, we know that some address changes (and especially Website information) are bound to occur. Although we have contacted top genealogy authorities (including those in our local communities) and cited reputable resources, because of our frailties as human beings, some errors will be inevitable. We apologize for them in advance and hope you will give us feedback on any items that need to be corrected, should we decide to do a future printing."

"This drawing decade of a new millennium is the ideal time for looking to the future. But it's also an Ideal time for looking back - reflecting on the past, thinking of our own personal history as well as the history of the Dakotas, the place that nurtured our ancestors, that sustained our roots. It's a time of awakening - as well as realizing how quickly the past is lost if we don't take time to preserve it."

The Germans from Russia section of the book was carefully reviewed by Mary Lynn Axtman, proofreader/editor and Michael Miller, bibliographer, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo.

The reference and research professional staff at the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, and the South Dakota Historical Society, Pierre, were closely involved for consultation and advice in completion of this book. Valuable contents include: sample pedigree charts, family group sheets, maps, genealogy resource checklist, family history questionnaire, helpful addresses, genealogy websites, glossary, and detailed bibliography. The authors have provided a comprehensive index which is very valuable for such an important resource book.

Of much interest to researchers will be the sections on: where to begin, research tips, interviewing and publishing your family history, planning a family reunion, networking with others, ethnic sources, records and research sites, history/migration patterns, bookkeeping systems, and high-tech genealogy.

The book features a specially coated soft cover and 208-pages of detailed genealogy how-to information, sprinkled with photos and illustrations. The user-friendly book begins with the history of the state, allowing readers to see what was occurring in the Dakotas during their ancestors' lives. It ends with suggestions for "celebrating family" through printing a family history or holding a family reunion.

About the Authors:

Jo Ann B. Winistorfer has been seriously tracing her roots since 1984. Three-fourths of her roots stretch into Norway, the other fourth into the Netherlands. Retired associate editor of the North Dakota REC/RTC Magazine (now North Dakota Living), Jo Ann continues to do free lance writing for the magazine, as well as editing projects through Astri Publishng, Waukon, Iowa.

It was while she worked at the magazine that the idea for "Tracing Your Roots" was born. In 1988-89, Jo Ann produced a 13-month series of the columns "Tracing Your Roots" in the magazine as part of the North Dakota centennial. After many requests for back issues, the magazine complied the columns into a book, "Tracing Your Roots in North Dakota." That book sparked the idea for the book you are now holding in your hand - an updated and expanded version of our first "Tracing Your Dakota Roots," published in 1999 and reprinted in 2001.

Jo Ann is an active member of the North Dakota Professional Communicators and the National Federation of Press Women and is a Certified Rural Electric Communicator. She belongs to the Bismark-Mandan Historical and Genealogical Society and a number of Norwegian genealogy groups and bygdelags. She served as a volunteer librarian at the LDS Family History Center in Bismark for several years and has been a presenter at numerous genealogy workshops. She also serves on the board of the Scandinavian Heritage Association in Minot and edits that group's quartly newsletter.

Jo Ann and her husband, Nick, own a farm near Pick City, where they raise Black Angus cattle. They have three grown children, two daughter-in-law's, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Cathy A. Langemo is the owner of WritePlus Inc., a writing, editing, and research firm headquartered in Bismarck, ND. Her degrees in business administration, English, and journalism lend themselves well to the services she offers through WritePlus, including promotional materials development, resume and grant writing, magazine and newspaper articles development, book publishing, and event planning and organizing.

However, Cathy's heart is in the historical and genealogical research services she offers through WritePlus and performs for people across the country. She has also worked on her own Swedish, Scottish, and French genealogy off and on for many years. Cathy spent three summers working as a part-time referance assistant at the State Archives and Historical Research Library in the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck, where she helped patrons with their research.

Cathy is a member of a number of historical and genealogical related organizations, including the Missouri Valley Historical Society, the Bismarck/Mandan Historical and Genealogical Society, the Society for the Preservation of the Former Governors' Mansion, the Three Crowns Swedish-American Association, the Bismarck Historical Society, the Mandan Historical Society, the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation, The National Historical Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the North Dakota Professional Communicators, and the National Federation of Press Women.

Besides her work, Cathy's life centers around her husband, Rick Knudson, pool league, music, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren. Between them, she and Rick have four grown children, one daughter-in-law, and 11 grandchidren.

Review by Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, North Dakota:

This National Award Winner, Tracing Your Dakota Roots, is an expansion and update of the first edition published in 1999, followed by a reprint in 2001.

This second edition contains ten chapters of 'everything you might have ever possibly asked but didn't know the resources available to answer those questions.'

With each page embellished with pictures and graphics, the reader is taken from the Dakota history and ethnic settlement groups to where to begin finding the resources available related to them. The extensive Appendix contains Forms, Maps, Helpful National/Regional/State and Local addresses, Websites, Bibliography, and Glossary.

Tracing Your Dakota Roots, Second Edition is a must have on every new or experienced researcher's library.

Related Articles:

Review of the book by Mary Lynn Axtman

Review of the book by Vi Kruckenberg Schielke

Snelgrove, Erin. "Remembering our Ancestry." Fargo Forum, 16 July 2000, B1 & B3.

Tracing Your Dakota Roots

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Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller