31 December 2012

Deadline for the NGS Family History Writing Competition and the Newsletter Competition submissions is TODAY!

Source: http://www.svsu.edu/media/academicaffairs/imgs/awards.jpg 



NGS Awards Recognize Genealogical Excellence—Deadline Approaching

A full list of NGS awards and competitions, along with the guidelines for submitting award nominations and contest entries, can be found on the NGS website at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/awards_competitions. If you have questions, please contact the awards chair at awards@ngsgenealogy.org.

The deadline for the Family History Writing Competition and the Newsletter Competition submissions is 31 December 2012.

The deadline for all other awards submissions is 31 January 2013.


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28 December 2012

The Emancipation Proclamation will be on display from December 30, 2012, to January 1, 2013, for its 150th anniversary (NARA, DC)



The Emancipation Proclamation will be on display from December 30, 2012, to January 1, 2013, for its 150th anniversary. To prepare this document for display, a senior conservator examined the signature page with a binocular microscope. The fifth page with Lincoln's signature shows darkening of the paper from excessive light exposure. This important document is displayed for a very limited number of hours each year in order to minimize damage.

For the schedule of events this weekend, go to
http://www.EP150.com/

Check out some images of the preservation process, http://preservearchives.tumblr.com/search/emancipation+proclamation

Learn more about the document and see images of each page, http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/





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Extract or Abstract? Both Are Vital Skills

Image as appeared with original article, http://www.theindepthgenealogist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/browse1.jpeg
Recently The In-Depth Genealogist talked about abstracts versus extracts though there is also a link to Ten Tips and Reasons to Transcribe Documents..

First, what’s the difference between an extract and an abstract? An extract is a word for word copy of important portions of a document. An abstract summarizes the important points in a document. Abstracts also allow for the use of your own personal style.

She goes on to discuss how they are similar and yet different and their importance to your research.  Read her entire article.

I know that a lot of genealogists and family historians struggle with determining what details they should or should not include in an abstract.  To help with that, here are some resources about extracts, abstracts and transcriptions with respect to genealogical research:

Need more assistance, consider the NGS online course Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Records.

What is the single most important tip you would give to someone who will be “abstracting” documents?



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27 December 2012

Ancestry.com is offering everyone FREE access to the 30 collections




Starting today, Ancestry.com is offering everyone FREE access to the 30 collections that they added through 2012! Start searching to see who you will find: http://ancstry.me/WoRM5d


Editor’s Note: I don’t know how long this will last and maybe you’ll find a new ancestor today!  And, based on a post by Dick Eastman, it appears until December 29th.


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Genealogy as a Family Affair -- Two New Releases in Voices of Genealogy Video Series, Donna Valley Russell, FASG: “Becoming a Genealogist and an Editor” and Donna Valley Russell, FASG, with George Ely Russell, FASG, FNGS: “Married to Genealogy”



From guest editor, Arlene V. Jennings, CG

The celebration of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s 100th anniversary is ending the year with the release of two new videos featuring Donna Valley Russell in “Becoming a Genealogist and an Editor” and George and Donna Russell together in “Married to Genealogy.”

An expert in Western Maryland genealogy, Donna tells the story of her path from census taker to genealogist and editor. Originally from Michigan, Donna learned her skills there and served as editor of the Detroit Magazine for Genealogical Research. After she and George married, she moved to Maryland and founded her own journal, Western Maryland Genealogy. In 1985, based on the quality and quantity of her scholarly publications, she was named a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. Her published works include Frederick County, Maryland, Wills, 1744-1794; First Families of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, 1649-1658; Frederick County, Maryland, Genealogical Research Guide; Michigan Censuses, 1710-1830; Selby Families of Colonial America; and The Ark and the Dove Adventurers (co-edited with George).

The second new video takes a lighthearted look at the genealogy scene with the George and Donna Russell cocktail hour. George Ely Russell, who first appeared in the Voices of Genealogy in January 2012, is also a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and of the National Genealogical Society. He was the editor of the NGSQ from 1971-1986.


The videos were produced by award winning filmmakers Kate Geis and Allen Moore from interviews with Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG, co-editor of the NGSQ. Donna Valley Russell in “Becoming a Genealogist and an Editor” and Donna and George Russell in “Married to Genealogy” are now playing at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.

Previous releases in the Voices of Genealogy archive now on the NGS website (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org) present Mary McCampbell Bell, CG; John Frederick Dorman, CG (Emeritus), FASG, FNGS, FVGS; David L. Greene, PhD, FASG; Frederick C. Hart Jr., CG, FASG; Ronald Ames Hill, PhD, CG, FASG; Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG, FGBS; Harry Macy, FASG, FGBS; George Ely Russell, FASG, FNGS; and Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, FNGS.



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26 December 2012

18th-century French and Spanish records shed new light on United States history

Part of the catalog for the French Superior Council holdings

Artdaily.org posted a neat article about the archives held by the Louisiana Historical Center (New Orleans).

A marathon project is under way in New Orleans to digitize thousands of time-worn 18th-century French and Spanish legal papers that historians say give the first historical accounts of slaves and free blacks in North America. Yellowed page by yellowed page, archivists are scanning the 220,000 manuscript pages from the French Superior Council and Spanish Judiciary between 1714 and 1803 in an effort to digitize, preserve, translate and index Louisiana's colonial past and in the process help re-write American history ... It's at the heart of a wave of research tracing American roots beyond the English colonies and into Spain, France and Africa.

... It wasn't until the early 1900s for serious preservation and translation work to begin. The Works Progress Administration then patched up pages with tape (chemical from the tape is now eating at pages) and wrote English synopses. But past archivists and translators also buried important documents. Entire chunks — most importantly documents dealing with slave trials and women — were conspicuously left out of consideration. In one memorable case, archivists censored a case about a soldier accused of bestiality.


It is always neat to see articles on non-genealogical blogs and sites regarding material that is relevant to the research we do!  I like to think that inside each historian there is a budding genealogist!


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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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24 December 2012

Youngsters may be interested in ‘cousin’ Justin Bieber

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1695340/justin-bieber-ryan-gosling-avril-lavigne-cousins.jhtml


Another holiday, another opportunity to hang out with the “kids” in your family!

Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Maine, has posted this neat article reminding us that though we may not be “into” Justin Bieber and his contemporaries, our children, cousins, grandchildren, nieces and nephews might be!

It can be fun to turn up a distant connection to a celebrity, whether president or king, rock star or noted author. But how many genealogists actually wonder whether they share forebears with international teen star Justin Bieber?

Not you? Well, I’m interested, because the 18-year-old singer from Canada might be just what it takes to kindle interest in genealogy among youngsters such as my grandchildren.

... So how many Mainers can claim a cousinship to Justin Bieber? Given that his French-Canadian ancestors were so early in Quebec, they are probably common forebears to many Mainers of Franco-American descent. Certainly tens of thousands of Mainers, or as my dad used to put it, “a little million.”

There are all kinds of ways to get youngsters curious about genealogy.


Do you have plans to get your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc, interested in genealogy this holiday?  What are they?



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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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21 December 2012

Moving death certificates to the digital age: Unintended consequences

Google Images

You may have noticed that when you now visit a doctor’s office your prescription is sent electronically to the pharmacy and the doctor enters notes into a tablet computer.  I’ve found similar as I recently visited my dentist (no paper file anymore) and my eye doctor.

And, to be honest, I’ve heard a lot of griping about having to use such a system.  Mostly having to do with the time needed to accurately enter the information and select the proper procedure codes (to guarantee payment) etc.  Though, there are benefits to having such records available electronically, especially to easily see your history or share it as needed.

Well, I recently read an article talking about some of the unintended consequences of death certificates also moving to the digital age!  I know that you were wondering when I would get to genealogy and history research!  Well, as genealogists, death (and birth and marriage) records are very important records!  Future researchers will be impacted by “what” death certificates look like in the future just as we are affected by those we acquire for our research.

The recent article starts out ...

Moving from paper death certificates to an online process called the Washington State Electronic Death Registry System, or EDRS. Sounds like a simple 21st century process that should make the process of completing a death certificate faster and easier right?  Oh, the government designed the system.  Oops.

I’ve been so frustrated by the unintended consequences of a new state governmental process for completing death certificates...

... All I needed to do was remove the discussion of the trauma from the EDRS form and the computer program could allow it to be accepted.

This is clearly silly. Everyone knew that trauma played a role.  In a paper world the medical examiner could have just signed off on the death certificate and all would have been fine.  Now as an unintended consequence of the inflexible nature of this EDRS program, it seems we just have to be selective in our choices of contributing factors on the death certificate so that families can bury their dead and the computer programmers can have the answers they want.  I had been told that the new electronic form was to insure more accurate and complete death certificates.  It seems that the result is that only answers the program likes are acceptable causes and contributing factors to death...


What do you think? Will our descendants get a less complete picture of how we died? Or is the level of detail we are talking about just not significant?

Have you come across other “modern” electronic forms whose restrictions have frustrated you with regards to accurately and completely capturing information of interest to descendants?



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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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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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20 December 2012

National Genealogical Society Issues Call for Papers for the 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia

ARLINGTON, VA, 20 DECEMBER 2012: Beginning 1 January 2013, speakers as well as organizations interested in sponsoring lectures or tracks are invited to submit lecture proposals for the NGS 2014 Family History Conference, Virginia: The First Frontier, to be held 7–10 May 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. The first permanent English settlement in North America, Virginia has been home to countless individuals—some remained for generations; others moved on to the next frontier. Building on the records and history that draws so many back to their roots in the Old Dominion, we will explore the origins of those who settled within Virginia’s borders whether they came by land or sea.

Among the topics being considered are lectures on the history, records, repositories, and ethnic and religious groups of Virginia and neighboring states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee with special emphasis on migrations into, within, and out of the region down the Carolina and Great Wagon Roads, over the Appalachian Mountains, and across the south to Texas and beyond. Other regional topics of interest include the origins of the early settlers, land and military records (especially the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil wars). Proposals are also solicited for the broader genealogical categories including federal records, the law as it relates to genealogy, methodology, analysis and problem solving, and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps in genealogical research.

Sessions are generally limited to one hour. Camera-ready syllabus material, due 17 February 2014, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the syllabus distributed to all conference registrants.

Proposals should include the following information:
  • speaker’s full name, address, telephone, and e-mail address
  • title of the presentation, not to exceed fourteen words, and a brief but comprehensive outline
  • lecture summary, not to exceed twenty-five words, to be used in the program brochure
  • identification of the audience level: beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced, or all
  • speaker biography, not to exceed twenty-five words
  • résumé of recent lectures by the speaker
Speakers are expected to use an electronic presentation program and provide their own digital
projector. NGS will provide projector support, which consists of a VGA cable, cart, and power strip. No live Internet connections will be provided.

Submit each proposal electronically through the NGS website, http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/submit_your_proposal, between 1 January and 1 April 2013. Speakers may submit up to eight proposals. NGS members will be given first consideration as speakers. Interested individuals and organizations should follow published guidelines at the NGS website: http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/call_for_papers
Organizations wishing to sponsor a lecture or track of lectures should review the details and sponsor requirements at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/sponsor_a_session. The deadline to submit sponsored lectures is also 1 April 2013.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.


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Cemeteries + Photos -- When Do You Need Permission!

Google search result

The holidays are often a time when we go and visit a local or family cemetery.  As we gather with family, we like to remember those no longer with us.

This also means that we might want to take photos.  As an individual, taking a photo here and there, we will probably not run into any issues and if we then decide to photograph the entire cemetery as part of a cemetery survey project,  or as a service project, a knowledge of legal rights becomes very important!

The Legal Genealogist, Judy G Russell, in response to a readers query ...

Reader Timothy Campbell in Elmira, Ontario, Canada, and a cousin of his in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have encountered some problems in taking gravestone photographs. “As an active genealogist I have taken part in transcribing and photographing headstones in cemeteries,” Tim writes. “I was recently told that I could not photograph headstones in our municipal cemetery without permission from the municipality. … The same scenario happened to my cousin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May. … What law does this fall under?”

... provides a lot of great information that you will want to know!  Read her post, bibliography and all the posted comments – a lot of really great information is to be found.

What has been your experience with cemeteries which you have wanted to photograph?



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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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19 December 2012

Bringing history to life -- Google Cultural Institute -- Really Neat & Free Resource




To be honest, I’ve never thought of an entity such as Google as having blogs except those related to its various services. And, as par for the course, I was wrong.

There is a blog with the title of this post which talks about the Google Cultural Institute ...

Today you can discover 42 new online historical exhibitions telling the stories behind major events of the last century, including Apartheid, D-Day and the Holocaust. The stories have been put together by 17 partners including museums and cultural foundations who have drawn on their archives of letters, manuscripts, first-hand video testimonials and much more. Much of the material is very moving—and some is on the Internet for the first time.

Wow!  It’s a very visual site and certainly made an impact on me.  Our ancestors made history and the history occurring during their lives shaped them!

Which exhibit really caught your attention?  Is there one which “all” genealogists and family historians should check out?


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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.
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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 December 2012

Internet Archive -- still a wonderful and free gem for genealogy and family history researchers!




One of the great and free resources for genealogists online is the Internet Archive.  Whether I am looking at a digitized directory, using the Wayback machine to re-capture something I “forgot” to save, reading a long-ago published community history, etc, I probably access this website at least once a day.

Back in October, SFGate published a piece about its creator, Brewster Kahle.

The article starts out ...

Brewster Kahle was a 19-year-old computer science student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when a friend posed a simple, yet life-changing question: "What can you do with your life that is worthwhile?"

Kahle came up with two answers. The first, developing a microchip to ensure the privacy of telephone conversations, didn't pan out. But 32 years later, Kahle is still happily pursuing his second big idea - to create the digital-age version of the Great Library of Alexandria.

His Internet Archive - fittingly based in an old Richmond District church that architecturally harks back to the ancient Egyptian library - is building a rich repository of modern digital culture. It's best known for the online Wayback Machine, which provides a searchable online museum of the Internet, archiving more than 150 billion Web pages that have appeared since 1996.

Do recognize that the Internet Archive is a non-profit entity.  And, for once, as a Christmas present to the world of genealogists and family historians, I just made a donation to it.  It has provided countless value to me over the years and like many, it’s easy for me to “take advantage” of freely available resources and forget that real money is needed to maintain anything!

How has the Internet Archive helped your family history research?



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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.
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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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17 December 2012

Digitizing Curios -- A neat window into hard-to-digitize objects!






Unlike photos and books, curios can present a challenge when one wants to digitize and share such with family members (or others) who can’t/won’t come to your house/facility to see them.

I ran into this issue when I inherited thimbles, china and a silk shawl from family in England.  These are items of great sentimental value though of little monetary value.

Brown University library has started a blog called Curio  ...

Curios are valued for their oddness or rarity, and are generally locked away for safekeeping. Digitizing Brown University Library’s unique collections affords Digital Production Services staff contact with curious artifacts on a daily basis, which can present technical challenges for digitization or description. Items featured here are singled out for their unique properties and for the methods used to digitize them.

Just fascinating to read the various posts.  And, helpful to us amateurs who have our own family heirlooms (aka curios) which we would like to share with our extended family, though not necessarily in person!
 



Do you have any tips for me (I have the shawl, thimbles and china in my possession) or others wanting to digitize their curios?  What was your most challenging one to capture?


Skip -- Lancashire England -- Fountain Family Heirloom


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