21 November 2014

Medieval Parchment Doodles and Creative Repairs ... who would have expected?


Sometimes you don’t think of something until someone mentions it.  That was certainly the case when I recently read two items about Medieval parchment on Colossal – Art, Design, and Visual Culture both by Christopher Jobson.


I like reading pieces like this because they get me thinking outside-the-box as I look at documents.  Back in the day, they didn’t have staplers, paperclips, whiteout, erasers, glue, or many of the other tricks of the trade that we use to repair issues in documents.  So, what did they do?

I’ve seen words cut out of documents (a definitely permanent form of “delete”), I’ve seen wax used to attach a re-write, I’ve seen thread used to sew a tear, I’ve seen paper scraped to almost transparency to remove some text

I added in the doodling link as I have come across such myself when researching in court records and in private manuscript collections. You will be looking at some serious papers and then all of a sudden see a doodle.  I find that when I see these, they immediately “humanize” the individual in my mind.  Even our ancestors didn’t just work, work, work while on the job.  It makes you wonder what they daydreamed about?  The same things that we do?

Sometimes, the doodles are clearly those of a child.  Did the parent step away from his desk and a child entered and wanted to practice writing or drawing?  Or did the clerk grab a sheet of paper not realizing that the reverse side was already scribbled on and just opted not to rewrite the official document? 

It also made me wonder if my kid’s doodles (their school papers seem to be full of them) mean that someday an important document in the future will contain their scribbles?  It also got me thinking, if we move more and more to a computer-based virtual world and paper continues to be passé, can one really doodle electronically to the same affect?  Will a window into who we are be lost?

So, these types of articles both give me something to think about regarding ancestors and historical documents while at the same time giving me food for thought about the future?

Have you seen a really neat/creative document repair or correction?

Have you come across doodles in the most unexpected places when doing research?

Are there any conservators amongst our readers? Do you know of any neat resources that talk about how documents were repaired through time?





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
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20 November 2014

A 110 Year-Old Still Operating Light Bulb -- Does Anything Held By Your Family Have That Kind of Longevity?



I found it fun and informative to read, The 110 Year-Old Light Bulb That's Never Been Turned Off.

Yet this 110 year old light bulb is proof of what one person can achieve. It's very existence proudly states, I am still here. It is proof that there is far more to all technologies then we can ever imagine. It is proof that true history matters. If only to pay tribute to the genius that got us so very far.

The article is as much about this particular light bulb as it is about conditions of the time and the value to both the idea of and creation of something called the light bulb.

Imagine – any electrical appliance that you have that is still be used 110 years later.  In fact, think of any powered or even manual appliance.  I know that I only have things like a tea set and a few plates which I know to be at least 110 years old.  And, that’s it.

In fact, I often complain that some older items I have are better than any replacement could ever been.  I have a car that is almost 25 years old, and a washer and dryer set that are a bit older ... I even have some light bulbs that lasted 10+ years and their replacements maybe lasted 1-2 years.  Some newer technology is more efficient and has helped the environment or improved other aspects of our world and sometimes, in the past, items were built to last in a way we don’t find today ...

What about in your house or family.  Are there any items that are still being “used” (not just brought out for show and tell) which have been around as long as this light bulb has been operating.



Editor’s Note – Thanks to Thomas MacEntee via his Hack Genealogy FB page for posting about this.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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19 November 2014

Family History Bingo -- Have Fun With The Family This Holiday Season!

Copyright 2014 Diane L Richard aka MosaicRPM
The holidays are approaching and often a time of family gatherings.  I read an Ancestry.com blog post Creative Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Family History Month – Part One which had some neat ideas.

Though, I would change the title to Creative Ways to Just Have Fun With Family History!  I had a blast making the above version of Family History Bingo.  What a fun way to walk down memory lane.  It will be even more fun when I play it with my kids (well young adults)!  Since I am publishing this online, I have only used photos of those who are deceased.  Obviously, for your own family you can include children, parents, cousins and other living relatives.


I then created a version with duplicate photos of people. Can you “match” the photos for each person?  And, since 25 spaces isn’t divisible by two, there is a third image for one person.  Can you match them?  Post your guesses as a comment (FB or at the blog) or send an email to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org.  In a few days I will post a follow-up post with the answers of who they are and where they are in my maternal family tree!


Copyright 2014 Diane L Richard aka MosaicRPM



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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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18 November 2014

2014 Best Practices Award from the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks




They received the award for the Genealogy Corner, an online, publicly accessible archive that offers a wide variety of online research tools for anyone interested in the history of Collin County:
o   Historical marriage licenses, dating back to 1864 [as recent as 1949]
o   School Census records, 150,000 records dating back to 1941
o   Complete listing of Collin County elected officials, both past and present
o   Birth indexes, dating back to 1903 with some delayed birth records from the 1800s [as recent as December 21, 1935]
o   Death indexes, dating back to 1903 [as recent as December 31, 1986]
o   Marriage indexes, dating back to 1864 [as recent as December 31, 2010]
o   Interactive Cemeteries locator
o   Men and Women from Collin County in the Armed Forces during World War II

You can access ‘Genealogy Corner’ here.  Many of the listed items are indexes.  Copies of the actual documents can then be ordered with details on cost and how to do so provided.

I haven’t thought of Collin County in a few years though it has a special place in my heart as the birth place of my two “Texan” children!  Barney the purple dinosaur was all the rage around the same time.

Past Best Practice Award Winners from NACRC are listed here.  Interestingly, Collin County also received one last year for Marks, Brands and Tattoos.  You can access the currently registered Marks & Brands here (covers 2011 to the present). Really neat!

Archival best practice awards are a win-win.  Normally they involve something which allows the professionals tasked with managing records to be more effective and efficient and outcomes includes safer and often more accessible records which we love as family historians!

Are there other award-giving institutions for practitioners and the repositories of most interest to genealogists?





Editor’s Note – Thanks to Thomas MacEntee via his FB page for posting about this.
Editor’s Note – I added a few comments in brackets.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com
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17 November 2014

Visualizing 1850s Richmond (VA) -- quite neat!


Without panoramic photos, digital cameras capable of shooting still images and movies, and more, it used to be challenging to imagine what a place/community/town/city looked like at a particular moment in time. One had to rely on a few still images, many words, and possibly a few maps, to try to visualize what an area may have looked like at the time when our ancestors lived there.

A neat and recent project, Visualizing the Past, attempts to do just what has not been possible – visualize a locale as it looked at a particular point in time.

Over the past several months, the DSL(*)  has been collaborating with the Library of Virginia, and Maurie McInnis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of art history at the University of Virginia on the To Be Sold– Virginia and the American Slave Trade exhibition. Read more about the exhibition below. Our role in the project was to create a 3D visualization of Richmond in the early 1850’s. The 3D visualization is used to help visitors envision Erye Crowe’s journey through Richmond, and experience the slave trade through his paintings and engravings. The models’ intent is not to replicate every detail of Richmond in 1853, but provide a sense of the architectural styles and atmosphere of the city at the time.

Another extension of the above project is discussed in Richmond Then and Now.

Of course, I couldn’t stop there, so I went searching and I found some other neat projects:

A summary of projects can be found here.

All of these are helpful to the research we do.  As a very visual person myself, I am always appreciative of any tools that assist me in visualizing a place and period in time.


Are you aware of other 3D Visualization Projects which can help us better “see” the world our ancestors lived in?


Editor’s Note: Other Upfront with NGS posts about 3D modeling.




(*) DSL stands for the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com
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14 November 2014

Upfront Mini Bytes -- Limerick Ireland Directories, Court Cases, Arabic, Civil War Graves, UK Red Cross (WWI), USGS, Philadelphia, Minnesota

Welcome to our newest edition of our periodic feature Upfront Mini Bytes.  In Upfront Mini Bytes we provide eight tasty bits of genealogy news that will help give you a deeper byte into your family history research. Each item is short and sweet.  We encourage you to check out the links to articles, blog posts, resources, and anything genealogical!

We hope you found the past editions helpful.  Use your favorite search engine with “Upfront with NGS” “Mini Bytes” or use this Google search link.

Do you have questions, suggestions for future posts, or comments?  Please post a comment or send an e-mail to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Limerick (Ireland) Trade directories, 1769-1976 now available.  You can search by trade, directory, time period, surname, address etc. I have one known collateral ancestor, John Walker Nelson, who lived in Limerick working as a Watch Maker for a few years before marrying and moving.  He is listed in the 1877-1884 directories on Westland Street.

Searching for someone who might have been involved in a court case, 1881-1980 in Seattle, King County, Washington?  If so, consider submitting a query to the Seattle Genealogical Society (SGS – free for members and a fee for nonmembers) for a search in the King County Court Cases Index, 1881-1980.  Cases pertaining to Divorces, probate, name changes, guardianship, bankruptcies, commitments and more.

New York University has introduced Arabic Collections Online. This mass digitization project aims to expose up to 15,000 volumes from NYU and partner institutions over a period of five years.  The landing page is in English on the left and Arabic on the right.  I suspect that many of the titles won’t be helpful to genealogists directly and possibly indirectly?!?!

Looking for the final resting place for a Civil War Veteran? Check out the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Grave Database.  The database includes both Union and Confederate soldiers and tells from what state they served in, what branch of service, and where the cemetery is located.  When you click on an individuals name, a detailed information card comes up which will give death date, possibly birth date, may have information on cause and location of death and information on the cemetery.

Over 90,000 people volunteered for the British Red Cross during WWI.  Did one of your family members volunteer?  Names are being added in alphabetical order so if you don’t see a surname of interest, it may mean that the project hasn’t yet gotten to that letter of the alphabet.

Christ Church in Philadelphia has Vestry minutes (1717-1815), baptisms, marriages and burials (1709-1900+) and pew rent registers (1778-1785) now searchable via an on-line database.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) launched a Historical Topographic Map Explorer, allowing one to easily pore through the agency's expansive collection of more than 178,000 of the USGS's maps dating back to 1884.  When you enter a city, you then click on the map and a timeline of available historical maps is revealed.  Select a map and you can then see if overlaid on the original map (you can adjust the transparency) and even download the map.  Very cool!

Official Minnesota documents, from the Office of the Secretary of State, covering 1900-1990 are now digitized and online. “Older, print-only official documents from the early 1900s to 1990, along with index cards used to retrieve them, have been secure in cabinets and boxes at the Office, but now they are available to anyone online.”





Editor's Note: 15 Nov 2014, Corrected date range for King County Court Cases Index item.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
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Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com
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13 November 2014

Jewish Tombstones Repurposed and Now Rediscovered -- Let's Talk Cemetery Relocations


This news article, The Town Making the Horrifying Discovery That It's Built Out of Jewish Tombstones,  conveys horrifying news and at the same time represents a cause for celebration. 

It’s horrifying in terms of the history involved.  It’s a cause for celebration as what was once thought to be lost has now been found and might be preserved for future generations.

After the war [World War II], with Brest's Jewish community devastated, the Communists set about getting rid of the remnants of Jewish culture in the town. In 1959 they dismantled the Jewish cemetery-one of the oldest and largest in Belarus-and turned it into a sports stadium. As the dismantling process got underway, Communist Party members, along with enterprising locals, recognized the high quality of the headstones and "recycled them." As well as in the foundations of houses, these Jewish graves have since been discovered in the makeup of Brest's road surfaces, pavements, and gardens...

... Fifteen hundred headstones have been found in Brest over the past six years...

Tombstone removal is not new and it’s not always undesirable (e.g. 5 Reasons for Relocating an Entire Cemetery) ... think what happens when a river was dammed and/or flooded to create a large body of water (e.g. Cemeteries Relocated by TVA & Kinzua Cemetery Relocations & Falls Dam Project (NC)), or a church sold off the land where it’s graveyard once existed (e.g. The National Archives (UK), Removal of graves and tombstones), etc.  Learn more by reading With Reverance and Respect – Relocating a Cemetery.

Granted, the above article is not talking about a scenario with such a mundane genesis and we don’t always find that our ancestors are where they were originally buried, or, that they were even buried (e.g., body donated for science, cremation, burial at sea, etc). 

Have you heard of other situations where, for lack of a better term, a hidden cache of previously thought to be lost tombstones has been rediscovered?

Are you aware of other databases (besides the TVA one) for cemeteries relocated as lakes or other large-scale projects requiring cemeteries to be relocated were constructed?



Editor’s Note: Thanks to Elizabeth Shown Mills for posting a link to the original article on Facebook.

Editor’s Note: Many cemetery relocations come about through the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  I did not find any “central” repository for cemetery relation records.  Most records seem to be held by the various Districts and with varying availability of online information. The US Army Corps of Engineers does seem to have a Digital Library and when I searched on “cemetery relocation” there were 61 results including some plans for cemetery relocations.  If you know of a more comprehensive source, please post a comment!


Editor’s Note: Just after this piece was written, I discovered another article, Used to rebuild Warsaw, Jewish tombstones return to cemeteries.



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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog. Any opinions expressed by guest authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of NGS.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com
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Unless indicated otherwise or clearly an NGS Public Relations piece, Upfront with NGS posts are written by Diane L Richard, editor, Upfront with NGS.
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