28 February 2013

Historic preservation and access -- just as important to genealogists as document preservation and access

source: http://media.nj.com/the-times/photo/2012/06/11138396-standard.jpg


Joe Carney, a member of the Princeton Battlefield Society sent me a link to a Documentary Short Film created by a Princeton University student, Battle For the Field.

Though we often, in genealogy and family history circles, talk about document preservation and access, the preservation and access of the locations and structures where historical events occurred is equally important.

Talk to any genealogist or historian and there is such a visceral reaction to standing on the land where one’s ancestors may have trod or visiting a building they may have stepped foot in. I just had this conversation with a local historian last week.

In order to ensure that future generations get to have this same emotional experience, we need to ensure that the land and structures and landmarks as existed in the times of our ancestors are still around for future generations.

Check out this small subset of a very large collection of Vimeo videos on Historic Preservation...

Basically, just search on Vimeo (and YouTube or your video platform of choice) on historic preservation and see what efforts are currently underway to preserve historically significant structures, archeological sites, land and more).

Like the Princeton Battlefield, do you know of other “at risk” pieces of history?  If you do, please post a comment about these.  Let’s build awareness of these “at risk” pieces of history in the hopes that maybe we can ensure that they will be around for future generations just as we have worked to ensure that historically-relevant documents are preserved.


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27 February 2013

Proposed New York Legislation Will Allow Access to Adoptees' Birth Records

source: http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/ehow/images/a01/t3/av/copy-birth-certificate-800x800.jpg


Most of us are familiar with how difficult it can be to get any vital record, never mind when you are an adoptee and seek your original birth certificate.

According to an e-mail sent out by the German Genealogy Group on Long Island (and published by Dick Eastman),

The Adoptee Bill(s) of Rights would repeal the 1935 legislation that sealed in perpetuity the original birth certificates, and thus the original identities, of anyone adopted in the state of New York.

The Bill permits an adopted adult to access birth certificates and medical histories when they reach the age of 18. It also creates a contact preference to be filed by the birth parents...

Do read the full post and learn what you can do to help this measure pass!  As with many efforts to increase vital records access the voice of the genealogical and family history community need to be heard.

Though it’s nice to report on news where access to vital records might be expanded, unfortunately, most of the recent news has been about continued efforts to limit access to the Death Master File et al.  Do periodically check the website for the Records Preservation and Access Committee to keep abreast of threats to records access.


Do you know of another state where vital records access might be expanded?


Editor's Note: There was also a recent post about OH and a proposed bill to open birth certificates to adoptees.

Editor's Note: I came across this interesting article -- Adoptee Rights & Access to Their Original Birth Certificates.  It brings up a number of interesting points.  One which jumped out at me is that until an adoption is finalized, many of the "original" birth certificates were publicly available at the local county clerk's office. Only "after" an adoption did they become sealed or amended. This would be true in a state like NC, where I live, and non-certified copies of vital records are pretty much public record as soon as they are recorded.


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26 February 2013

So many blogs, too little time -- what is a genealogist and family historian to do?

source: http://chinadivide.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/too-many-china-blogs-530x353.jpg


Every day I see Thomas MacEntee (via his FB page) post about new genealogy-related blogs and also about the anniversaries of existing blogs and know that I will probably never read most of them (guilt aside there are only so many hours in the day).  Geneabloggers itself has a roll of over 3000 (and counting) genealogy and family history-related blogs!

Needless to say, there is no way any one person can read all of these blogs or even a fraction of them.  And, the above list doesn’t even include the non-genealogy blogs you also subscribe to.  After all, you do have a life beyond genealogy, right?

One series of techniques that I use is ... 
  • I either sign up to get e-mails as a blog entry is posted (ideally I can sign up for a digest mode where I get one e-mail a day regardless of how many posts) or I use a service like Yahoo!Alerts (previously mentioned in an Upfront with NGS post), or, I see if this particular blog has a Facebook (FB) presence.  For the latter, for example, I see all of Thomas MacEntee and Dear Myrtle’s posts via FB.  If something strikes my fancy, I then e-mail myself what they posted with a headline that will be picked up by my e-mail rules tool (see below).
  • Once I had “all” the blog feeds that interest me set up to be e-mailed to me, my next step was to create “rules” in my e-mail software (I use Outlook).  I flagged both specific e-mail address, keywords, etc and created a rule where any genealogy-related newsletter or blog post feed ended up in a folder called “Genealogy Newsletters.”
  • Oncee a day (well, sometimes once a week), I then go into that folder and I sort the entries by “author” and then chronologically.  This way I will see say all of Dick Eastman’s blog posts together and in order, Kimberly Powells About.com posts, etc.  I do this because a certain amount of news is repeated by several sources in any given day.  It’s pretty easy to spot which “stories” were posted across several blogs and then I will ignore subsequent references to that topic.
  • Periodically, I realize that the posts I get from source B are repeating the information I get from source A and I will then unsubscribe (or delete my Yahoo!Alert) source B.  Other times, I learn about a new blog and then subscribe to its feed.

This is one way that I try to keep some “control” over so many blogs and so little time to read them.

Want more ideas or just to feel good about what you don’t end up reading, check-out I Read Too Many Blogs; How Can I Get Through Them All? on lifehacker.


Do you have a tip to share on how you manage what, when and how you read from blogs?







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25 February 2013

I have again underestimated what the Library of Congress has online -- have you?


Raise your hands if you underestimate what the Library of Congress (LOC) has online? Do you see my hand raised?  Well it is.

I "thought" that I was making pretty good use of the site via its collection of maps, newspapers and slave narratives ... well, as often is the case, I was wrong!

Once again, I stumbled across something I wasn’t familiar with -- Early Virginia Religious Petitions

... presents images of 423 petitions submitted to the Virginia legislature between 1774 and 1802 from more than eighty counties and cities. Drawn from the Library of Virginia's Legislative Petitions collection, the petitions concern such topics as the historic debate over the separation of church and state championed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the rights of dissenters such as Quakers and Baptists, the sale and division of property in the established church, and the dissolution of unpopular vestries. The collection provides searchable access to the petitions' places of origin and a brief summary of each petition's contents, as well as summaries of an additional seventy-four petitions that are no longer extant.

I am constantly on the look out for information about churches – their existence, history and membership since surviving records can be a great source of family history information.

Are there other collections online at the LOC American Memory Collection which you have found a gold-mine of information?


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22 February 2013

Who Do You Think You Are Conference -- FREE Live Streaming This Weekend




Who Do You Think You Are? is not just a US tv phenomena, it started as a British show and there is also an associated annual conference by the same name held in London (UK). This is a massive genealogical conference which probably more than 12,000 people will attend.

Well most of us cannot attend that conference, going on NOW, 22 -24 February 2013.

Well Ancestry.co.uk is live streaming (via Ancestry Academy Livestream) select programs from the conference.


Remember – the times are in UK time (GMT), meaning that the schedule is 5 hrs ahead of EST. So, a 2pm program in the schedule is happening at 9am EST.




Editor's Note: Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for sharing this via Facebook.




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Black History Month -- Have you checked your local newspaper for neat & relevant news items?


Though many don’t get print newspapers anymore, most local newspapers nowadays have an online presence.


Images associated with article "From Slavery to White House"

Many of these newspapers do print articles about historical and genealogical topics of interest.  Many of these topics mirror themes such as Black History Month.

For example, my local newspaper the News & Observer (and yes, I still get a print copy – my morning cup of coffee is only good when I’m holding a newspaper in hand!) recently published these fascinating articles: 

In the past, I have found series of articles about landmarks, families, bits of history and more in this and other NC newspapers.  You might find that someone writing for the newspaper in a community where your ancestors lived is a history buff and so is publishing articles like those above talking about history that might have relevance to your family history research.

If your local newspaper or a newspaper local to where you are researching has a neat history and/or genealogy-themed column or a tendency to publish articles about historical events, places and/or people, please do a shout out by posting a comment!




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21 February 2013

Issuu has some neat genealogical magazines including the "new" In-Depth Genealogist one


It still amazes me how much really neat “stuff” I just stumble across!  Imagine if I was looking with some real purpose.

Recently, I learned that the In-Depth Genealogist has published the first edition of a new magazine, Going In-Depth, on Issuu.

Kind of like potato chips, it’s hard to start after just having one.  So, I searched on the terms genealogy and ancestry on the website to see what else might be available via Issuu and found the following additional publications:
  • Irish Lives
  • Inside History (NZ and Australia)
  • Dutch (the magazine – regular column digging for roots)

And, obviously there are a "ton" of other publications in varying formats!

See a publication that interests you?  You can subscribe.

Did you see another neat genealogical or history oriented publication on Issuu?
Do you know of another similar site where the complete contents of publications are available for free access?



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20 February 2013

About.com Genealogy Readers Choice Awards -- Time to Vote! NGS Journal and Magazine nominated!




Time to Vote!

Your National Genealogical Society has been nominated for the following About.com Genealogy Readers Choice Awards!

Favorite Genealogical Journal or Magazine (both the NGS Magazine and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ))

Do check out all the categories and cast your votes – you can vote one time for each category.  Voting will conclude 19 March 2013 (midnight).




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Stefani Evans, conference chair for the National Genealogical Society 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas on the BlogTalkRadio TONIGHT! Get the scoop on the conference!




Stefani Evans, conference chair for the National Genealogical Society 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, joins host Jane E. Wilcox for The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told radio show on www.BlogTalkRadio.com/JaneEWilcox this evening, Wednesday, 20 February, at 9:00 p.m. EST. Stefani will talk about all that is in store for participants at the conference from May 8-11: speakers, topics, special events, and tours. Find out why the NGS 2013 Family History Conference is the must-attend genealogy event this year!

Listen on-demand after the show airs at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/janeewilcox/2013/02/21/national-genealogical-society-in-vegas-with-stefani-evans




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19 February 2013

Newberry Library Launches Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey



A big challenge to genealogical and family history researchers can be that “news” about our ancestors was published in ethnic non-english publications produced where they lived in the U.S. 

Many of us never had or have lost the ability to read in any language other than English.  This can be a real challenge just not when trying to access early church records (e.g. those Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches of my ancestors in Massachusetts kept their records in Finnish and Russian/Latin, respectively, which means they are essentially unavailable to me) and also newspapers.   

If your emigrant family was from Chicago (as my husband’s was), you will be excited to learn that The Newberry Library has made available online (and for free) The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey This was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Projects Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

I tried to search on some of the Polish and Russian names from my husband’s side of the family with no success.  Hopefully you will be more successful.


Did your family live in a Chicago community where a language other than English was spoken?  Did you search this collection and find them mentioned?




Editor’s Note: It is likely that most of our family members will not be found in this collection.  Even if your family is not found, you might learn something about the emigrant community to which they belonged or similarly the town or locale where they immigrated to.




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18 February 2013

Interesting History News -- Mississippi Has Finally Definitely Ratified the Thirteenth Amendment

source: http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/cons/features/0206_01/slide3.gif



Amazing ... an article By Adam Clark Estes, The Atlantic Wire, titled Thanks to 'Lincoln,' Mississippi Has Finally Definitely Ratified the Thirteenth Amendment states ...

A middle-aged recent immigrant from India recently set into motion a series of events that eventually led to Mississippi finally re[c]tifying the Constitutional amendment banning slavery. The rousing finale of the movie Lincoln served as inspiration. It sounds like a joke, but it's true. And even though it's been nearly 150 years since that fateful day in the Capitol in 1864, Mississippi's becoming the final state to officially ratify the Thirteenth Amendment serves as the final punctuation mark on a dark chapter in American history.

Do read the full article for the complete story.

This reminds us that what we think officially occurs isn’t always what has happened.  We are always hearing about “funny” laws that are still on the books in a community and yet are not enforced; now we have the opposite.

A bit of trivia for a Monday morning as we continue at Upfront to celebrate Black History Month.


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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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Official Genealogy Bloggers sought for 2013 NGS Conference


Press Release
Contact: Robert Raymond
Phone: 703-525-0050
rraymond@ngsgenealogy.org  


ARLINGTON, VA, 18 February 2013: The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the opening of the Official Blogger registration for the 2013 Family History Conference, 8-11 May, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

NGS welcomes bloggers’ participation at its conference and also wants to welcome them as members of the press to the NGS conference. In recognition of the important media role they play in the field of genealogy, NGS invites bloggers to register at its website to request “Official Blogger – NGS 2013 Family History Conference” designation and use of the NGS logo.


NGS recognizes that the genealogical community is gifted with a large number of engaged and talented bloggers who write regularly about the release of new records, upcoming events, research methods, tools, software choices, and other items of interest to the community. The designation of Official Blogger is a way for the National Genealogical Society to give recognition to the daily contributions these bloggers make to keep the field of genealogy current, particularly with news that is not covered in the mainstream media.

Source: http://www.catalystspace.com/images/blog/bloggers.jpg


Official Bloggers will have a limited license to use an “Official Blogger – NGS 2013 Family History Conference” designation and logo. The NGS Conference blog will link to their blogs. Official bloggers will have access to the Media Center on the exhibit hall floor. For more information on the NGS Social Media Policy, see: http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/social_media_policy.

If you write a blog or micro-blog, and would like to be recognized as an “Official Blogger of the NGS 2013 Family History Conference,” please navigate to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/official_blogger to apply and let us know a little bit about you and your blog.

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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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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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!

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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 UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org.



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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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