15 February 2013

Upfront Mini Bytes

Welcome to the second edition of our new bi-weekly feature Upfront Mini Bytes.  In Upfront Mini Bytes we will 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 first edition helpful.

Do you have questions, suggestions for future posts or comments?  Please post a comment!


As genealogists, we often consider original sources as fairly exemplary as far as accuracy.  Should we?  I wrote that and then realized that I am always telling my clients that we don’t know who gave the information recorded on a birth record, marriage license, census enumeration, etc.  This suggests that obviously, I’m pretty suspicious about any single document and its accuracy, including even original ones.  Read more about just why we need to be suspicious of what is called primary or firsthand information in Michael Hait’s post Is primary information truly reliable for genealogists? [do check out the referenced video]

Haven’t been to a NARA location in a few months?  Do know that effective 1 October 2012 some of the fees changed; though most fees increased, the fees for NATF 81, 82 and 83 decreased. Check here for the old and new fees.

Digital books are really helping us get access to publications which were previously often unavailable to us.  Be sure to look beyond Google Books and Internet Archive. FamilySearch has Family History Books, a collection of more than 40,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world.

Like other produced works, obituaries are covered by copyright!  The Legal Genealogist, Judy G Russell did a great series about this:  Copyright and the obit and Copyright and the post-1963 obit.  The bottom line is if published before 1923, as with other works, the obituary is now in the public domain.  For those published after 1923, read her posts and get the scoop. 

Doing modern research in Atlanta? Like maps?  Check out Planning Atlanta: A New City in the Making, 1930s – 1990s consists of city planning maps, documents and publications primarily from the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Have a Civil War veteran from Missouri who may have become an inmate in a soldier’s home?  Missouri Digital Archives has placed Missouri Veterans Home (St. James) Inmate Registers online. Volumes 1-3 contain the original admission registers for 2297 residents from June 25, 1897 through February 15, 1929. While visiting the site, check out these other genealogy-related digital collections.

Sometimes people think that because we are often researching “dead people” that genealogists and family historians don’t have a sense of humor!  Well, we all know we do!  On Facebook (FB), humorous cartoons or images are often posted from two sources which are NOT genealogy focused and yet frequently hit the genealogical funny bone: Grammarly & Someecards. Know a site with genealogical humor? 

Many of us have veterans in our family tree.  Some of those veterans might be buried in Arlington Cemetery.  If you have ever visited this massive, and I mean massive cemetery, you know that without knowing where you are going, it’s easy to wear out the tread on your shoes.  Navigating the cemetery is now easier with an online interactive map (can be used via the web, at kiosks or via your smartphone).  Read some PR about the new map.

Have a resource, article, etc you’d like to see included in a future edition?  If so, please send an e-mail to [email protected].

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