30 August 2013

ISFHWE Excellence-in-Writing Competition Winners Announced (Including NGS' own Phyllis Matthews Ziller!)



The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Excellence-in-Writing Competition.  This year, in addition to recognizing First, Second and Third Place, Honorable Mention certificates are being awarded to recognize the scope of quality entries.  The winners are:

Category 1 - Columns
1st Place – Tara Cajacob, “Discover Zimmerman”
2nd Place – Pat Biallas, “Government Delivers in Honoring Civil War Vet” ; “Graveside Rededication Presents a Step Back in Time”
3rd Place – Diana Crisman Smith, “Bitten by the Typo Bug”,  “The Research Report”
Honorable Mention – Susan Zacharias, “Web of Deceit – April-June 2012 ; Oct-Dec 2012”
Honorable Mention – Pat Biallas, “Stamp Series Commemorates Civil War” ; “Civil War Sesquicentennial Generates Abundance of Historical Offerings”

Category 2 - Articles
1st Place – Janis Forte, “What Legacy for David H. Driver”
2nd Place - Smiljka Kitanovic, “Military Family Research”
3rd Place – James W. Petty, AG, CG, “Black Slavery Emancipation Research in the Northern States”
Honorable Mention – Shannon Bennett, “How_to_get_started_with_genetic_genealogy_and_dna_research”
Honorable Mention – Margaret Barker, “The Twins”

Category 3 – Genealogy Newsletters
1st Place – Phyllis Matthews Ziller, “Nov 2012 NCGS News” ; “Sept 2012 NCGS News”
2nd Place – Mary W. Parker, “Newsletter June 2012” ; “Newsletter Sept 2012”
3rd Place – Sunny Morton, “2012 02 OGN” ; “2012 03 OGN”
Honorable Mention – Janis Forte, “July/Aug2012 Newsletter” ; “Sept/Oct 2012 Newsletter”

Category 4 – Unpublished Authors
1st Place – Sherri Hessick, “Just Another Love Story”
2nd Place – Victoria Kauzlarich, “The Accidental Historian”
3rd PlaceJodi Strait, “Curious Case of Charles Karthaeuser”
Honorable Mention – Robin Thomas, “Beneficiary of a Pack Rat”
Honorable Mention – Rondie  Yancey, “After the War”

Category 5 – Unpublished Material by Published Authors
1st Place - LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, “Searching for the Slave Owners”
2nd Place – Nancy Calhoun, “A Lost Stone”
3rd Place – Andrea Ramsey, “Desperately Seeking Charlotte
Honorable Mention – Kenneth Castle, “My Norwegian Ancestors”
Honorable Mention – Kathleen Broomer, “James A. Spillet Hatter, Newsdealer, Captialist”

Details on the 2014 Competition will be released shortly.  The competition will open on 1 October. Details may be obtained on the website at ISFHWE.org.

Though Phyllis Matthews Ziller received her award for the NCGS News, NGS also benefits from Phyllis's talented editing as well! She is editor of What’s Happening, edits NGS PR pieces, Upfront with NGS Mini Bytes, and anything else we put in front of her.

Learned that Susan Zacharias also supports NGS -- she's the Layout Manager for the NGS Magazine. [9:13EST 30 Aug] 

Congratulations to Phyllis, Susan, and all the other winners.




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29 August 2013

Special Pricing on MyHeritage Subscription for NGS Members -- Ends 8 September 2013





WorldVitalRecords.com A MyHeritage.com Company


Dear NGS member,

From time to time we see a special offer we feel we must pass along to you. We are very excited about this amazing deal from MyHeritage!

MyHeritage is widely known for its breakthrough Record Matching technology -- matching your family tree accurately with its billions of historical records. As they say you can 'Research in your Sleep' while MyHeritage researches your family tree -- automatically.

MyHeritage is offering this special discount on its annual membership price -- act now -- this special offer ends September 8.

WorldVitalRecords.com A MyHeritage.com Company



MyHeritage Record Matching and other technology are taking genealogy to the next level. We urge you to consider this special offer as you continue your genealogical research.

For every purchase you make through this great offer MyHeritage donates a generous portion of each sale to NGS to help us in our efforts to expand the work of genealogy throughout the nation.

Jordan Jones - President, National Genealogical Society

MyHeritage is a wonderful resource. Its Record Matching technology is unique and unsurpassed.



MyHeritage provides you with:

• PremiumPlus family site
• Start a new tree or import GEDCOM
• Unlimited storage for your family tree and photos
• Apps for iPhone, iPad & Android
• Smart Matches™ with 27 million trees
• Military and immigration records
• 1790-1940 US Census
• 1841-1901 UK census
• Vital records from 16 countries
• Full privacy control
• VIP customer support
• Join 72 million users who have built trees with 1.5 billion people
• Record Matches™ with over 4 billion historical records
• One billion exclusive family tree records
• Birth, marriage and death records
• Millions of Newspapers, back to 1739
• More added every month!



For a limited time, NGS members can get full access to all of MyHeritage's tools for only $119.39 if purchased before September 8, 2013. That’s a savings of more than $119!

This exclusive, limited time offer will expire on Sunday, September 8. Don't miss your chance to get this low price on this wonderful resource!

Click here to join MyHeritage today for only $119.39!

Sincerely,

Jordan Jones
President
National Genealogical Society


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28 August 2013

Everything is Everything -- a personal genealogy perspective, Guest post by True A. Lewis

Author and Granddaddy Ike Ivery

Guest post by True A. Lewis

Well..... what do you want to know? My answer is always, I want to know EVERYTHING!

I got to try to find as much as I can. I think of EVERYTHING about Granddaddy Ike Ivery born in 1853. I want to know what his dreams, his hopes, his fears, even what his prayers were if that would be possible. There is no one thing, or a few things to get straight. I look for clues everywhere. I want to know EVERYTHING!

Last night Rev.Al Sharpton interviewed and asked Mrs. Mrylie-Evers Williams, she is the widow of Mr. Medgar Evers. What did she want everybody to know about Medgar Evers? She is giving the three minute Convocation at the Inauguration. 

Her answer was: EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING!

Learn EVERYTHING. Learn about the whole person as much as you can. Examine every aspect of their life to get a full story. 
1870 Census

Since 1870 Granddaddy Ike you have been leaving your footprints in Alabama. I've sort of been let on the loose to find them. Put my feet in your shoes, to walk the walk. I knew exactly what Mrs. Evers-Williams meant.

I want to know what they did to you when you walked the 434.5 miles from somewhere in South Carolina to Midway, Bullock County, Alabama, were you would eventually grow up and make your home. I hope it wasn't to much of a struggle and they let you jump on the wagon or a ol' mule from time to time along the way. How many weeks or months was that trip? They didn't smart mouth or beat you for any reason, did they? Did you meet other slaves along the way? What was it like at night along the route? What did you see? What was on your mind about the future? Did you think you'd ever be free? What happened the day Freedom came for you?

I'm glad you got to be with your Parents, William and Minty, after 2 census's I can't find them nowhere. 

Granddaddy Ike, I want to ask you where in South Carolina we come from? The oral history from your Children passed to Grandchildren keep passing that info on. I'm always trying to find the documents.

Grandma Eddie, daughter of Ike Ivery the slave Grandfather

I advanced myself taking a DNA test just to get closer to you. That opened up a whole new World!  But don't worry! I prayed over it. I was gonna be satisfied with whatever the outcome was gonna be. I had you on my mind the whole time.


This is all I thought I had of you, from the ground. In reality, your blood runs through me and you left me so much more.  I see you through your Grand children's eyes. I didn't get to meet your 23 children.  Even my own Daddy. He's passed now, he kept you and your Daughter Eddie Lee alive in all of our hearts all the time. That is why we know ya'll so good.


Why you had to be born so long ago? I didn't get to sit up on your lap, smell your snuff, help you shave, or keep you toenails trimmed, bring you some of your daughter Eddie's sweet potato pie. Just a simple walk around the land hand in hand on Pruitt Place.  I just know I would of been your favorite, sitting around listening to your stories of slavery.

Author and Grandma Eddie 

In 1908 The state of Alabama did an Assessment Report for you and I saw your Pocket Watch valued. Who you were staying with on Pruitt Place. You left me a lot of goodies to play with. Marriage licenses, death certificates, census's. I loved the deed where in 1912 you bought land from J.L. and Winnie Thomas. I'm still trying to find them and the coordinates of your property to see exactly where it's at. I'll get that done next trip down home.

Your two sisters. Isabella and Rosanna. It took me forever to find Belle! Named on an application of marriage, she was getting married on your Father William's property, so that told me he was still living at least until 1881. She was marrying Charles Haynes. Was he related to my grandma Mary Haynes, your 1st wife of three legal marriages? Was he her brother? Rosanna married Charles Ford  and I couldn't locate them also. What happened to your sisters? Did they leave Alabama?

Can't find your brother's also. How long did your Parents live? Where are they buried?
1912 Deed

Aunt Sallie Bea your Granddaughter told us of the story of when you passed. You was sick for a short while, and you passed in your sleep. They had you laid out in what they called the parlor room. Everyone had to go through the front room to get back there. Aunt Sallie Bea said she couldn't see you as she had to babysit the children. But she remembers you lying up in there in state for a few days. The bells of Mt. Coney which you helped get built, were released into the community to let them know death was in the family. Daddy was 19. He had to be strong for his Mother, who was so close to you. I know this about your relationship and find it befitting she is buried next to you in death.

We didn't see it as a suffering or lost. You passed away in 1937 well before any of us where born. We got to spend time with other grandparents. Sam and Queen Daniel Miles. They did the best they could in loving us.

Everybody is just about gone now. I have to try to put the pieces together one by one. So that our future generations can have as much info as they need to get to know you too. There will be times when I don't have EVERYTHING, but that will be suffice. 
Burning of the Deed and Mortgage

I'm dedicating a lot of time through research, trips to courthouses, mail requests,oral history interviews to keep your memory alive. No matter the struggle or hard it was. Your Living was not in Vain. Not while I have a VOICE!

As far as you Granddaddy Ike and the rest of the Ancestors, ones I find, the ones I don't know yet. I want to know EVERYTHING!

I expect you to be on the other side of Heaven along the Jordan River, I know you can't help me to cross. But I put my hand up over eyes as the sun is ever so bright, but I can see you Granddaddy Ike.

I know then I'll get all my QUESTIONS answered.

Talk to you soon in my Dreams or while I'm Awake. I know your just around the bend for me.


Truly Yours.
True!
Your Great Great Granddaughter


2013 Copyright True A. Lewis

Editor’s Note: All images provided by author.  Do NOT use without express permission from author




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27 August 2013

Please keep your receipt - What and how many records should we keep, genealogically speaking?


One of the author's many closets of stored "memorabilia" -- paper, textiles and anything deemed "worthy" of being saved!

Records.  We are always seeking and acquiring records produced by or created with regards to our ancestors. 

Let’s turn this around and discuss what records should we “keep” for our descendants?  And, let’s broaden the questions – what “stuff” should we hold onto for further generations.

This thought crossed my mind after reading Please keep this receipt for your records, a blog post on The National Archives (UK) blog.  Though this post focused more on keeping records regarding their relevance to one’s business, I think the same questions need to be asked with regards to one’s personal life.

For each of my children and my husband and I, we have “memory boxes.” These are boxes where through time we can put any memorabilia, whether documents, images, favorite toys, special items of clothing, ticket stubs, and more to be “kept” for the future.  Just about every closet in our house has these types of boxes.  As one box gets full, I write “whose” box it is and the approximate date range of the contents included.  I figure that in the future, my children, grandchildren or other descendants might “chuck” it all out and at least that will be their decision!

I know that part of my efforts stem from leaving my house for my first job with just a shoe box of memorabilia (how can 20+ years of ones life boil down to a single shoebox?) and then years later all of the family photo albums and other trinkets “disappeared.”  If I wasn’t a pack rat before, I am certainly one now!

And, I clearly cannot keep everything!  As mentioned in the article, keeping receipts (unless you scan or photograph them) often has no purpose since within a short period of time they will have faded.  Since I use a financial software I now only keep “receipts” and documentation that has value when preparing my tax returns. 

As mentioned, anything that I or my children deem as relevant to the “memory box” also gets saved.  I also have an attic full of long ago used toys and other items – they sit there gathering dust and have not been used in many years. Should I hold onto them?  Should I donate them to a charity?  Are some just destined for the trash?

Additionally, I have a safe where I keep a few inherited keepsakes from the 1800s – which have deemed to have little monetary value and yet have great sentimental value – along with some photos and a few original documents from family members now deceased.

As genealogists and family historians, how do we decide what to keep for future generations?  When can we (and maybe should we) just cull through what we have collected and actually (gasp!) throw some things out?  I struggle with this.  Do you?




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26 August 2013

The NextGen Genealogy Network (NGGN) -- Guest Post by Kassie Nelson


Guest post by Kassie Nelson

The NextGen Genealogy Network (NGGN) is a new kind of society for a new age that targets a very specific group of genealogists- those who are younger than the ‘typical’ genealogist.  The mission of NGGN is to foster the next generation’s interest in family history and engagement in our community through digital channels which virtually connect members throughout the world. Since the inception of this society, what our mission will be has continued to evolve and grow. NGGN was born from the combination of ideas and reflections of Jen Baldwin, D. Joshua Taylor and I.  The subject of Gen Y and subsequently a society geared towards specifically Gen Y came up during #genchat on Twitter. We decided to join forces and put our ideas into motion. Our target audience quickly expanded to Gen X and other age groups who have same of the concerns as Gen Y as well as those of any age of who support our mission. As word began to spread about the NGGN, leaders of other genealogical societies began to approach us wanting to know how can they attract and retain more members of the younger generation. Helping other societies has become another objective of ours. The excitement and positive feedback have solidified the need for a society such as this.

The NGGN is the microphone through which the younger generation can speak through. Together we can work together to show the genealogy community on a whole what we know, that we want to learn more and that yes we do actually exist!  Social media is what brought three co-creators together and has helped build a community but it is not the most important factor in bringing more young genealogists into the field. It is simply our presence and secondly our attitude.  The perception that genealogy is just for ‘old people’ is diminished every time a young genealogist steps forward. We hope that not only will we encourage younger genealogists to research their family trees but that we will encourage them to become active members of the genealogy community including in the capacity of leaders.

Innovation, openness and flexibility are the hallmarks of this organization. With a board mainly comprised of people under the age of 40, we are well aware that our day to day lives have a strong influence over how much someone is able to participate and commit to a society. We know what it is like to try to race across town during to rush hour traffic to make it to a meeting or not want to have to choose between spending time with our families and going to a Saturday morning meeting. These issues are not just Gen Y or Gen X issues. Grandparents, aunts and those who started families later in life are in the same position. The challenge of providing structured meetings in a flexible enough manner to meet today’s hectic schedules is one we have gladly taken up. In order to do this we have to be willing to try doing both old things in a new way and entirely new things.  We also realize many of our potential members are college students, living from pay to paycheck or trying not to go broke joining societies. Thus we are committed to keeping our dues low. Our dues will be $15 a year or 15 hours of volunteer work on a calendar year basis.

The NextGen Genealogy Network was officially organized this summer as such we are still working on getting completely setup. We are fortunate to have determined volunteers who have been working hard to develop ideas and bring them to life. Newsletters, holding monthly meetings at alternating times, mini-meetings, support groups, webcasts, providing educational material for other societies as well as our members on topics such as social media usage and research methodology are just a few of these ideas.  As we are able to raise funds through the collection of dues and other fundraising efforts we endeavor to provide research grants to young genealogists and scholarship opportunities to help members attend national conferences. 

Early on we knew we wanted to create an all-inclusive sense of community where we celebrate our different backgrounds and approach one another with an open mind. In order to do so we have also needed to create a safe environment in which both small and significant issues can be discussed in a constructive manner. Our chair likes to use the metaphor building bridges when speaking of NGGN. Building bridges is only possible with open communication and cooperation. We hope to not only help build bridges between the young and the old but between nonprofessional and professional, genealogist and historian.

Lastly but certainly not the least, we think genealogy is fun. Certainly we will provide our members with educational opportunities and structured meetings but we also want to have fun together. Connecting with other genealogists your age when you are under 40 is easier said than done. Having laughs with one another is an important part of building a sense of community.  Our members are the best members in the world. They ooze enthusiasm and have already taken the lead on organizing informal meetups at local and national conferences.  We have some creative and fun plans we are looking forward to announcing later this year. 

If you would like to join our community please check us out at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nextgennetwork/

Copyright 2013 by Kassie Nelson




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23 August 2013

Upfront Mini Bytes – Avoiding Burnout, Sinister History, National Atlas, 101 Best Websites, IL Rev War Ancestors, War Crimes, and more

Welcome to our newest edition of our bi-weekly 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.

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

Maps. There are never too many maps!  Recently, Randy Seaver, blogger at Genea-Musings, did a piece on The "Rivers of America" Map, which was fascinating and introduced me to a new resource – the National Atlas Website.  This image shows those identified water-bodies that flow into the Neuse River before it flows into the ocean. As Randy mentions, understanding water and how/where it flowed is important to our understanding of how (and where) our ancestors traveled.

Genealogy and family history research can be fun, exhilarating, and also frustrating!  When we are frustrated, we are often not having fun and if we are not having fun, should we stop?  Before you reach that point, do read Genealogy Today: Ten tips to overcome ‘genealogy burnout’.  Hopefully these might keep your genealogical journey as fun and fruitful as the day you started.

Are you researching Revolutionary War Ancestors in Illinois?  If so, you might want to check out the newly expanded and revised publication, Soldiers of the American Revolution In Illinois (Illinois State Genealogical Society). The book has been expanded to include new entries, children of the entry, (other family members), and history found in and referencing to pension records relating people, places and events, location of graves, etc.

So much trivia, so little time!  Even before my daughter became a linguist, I have enjoyed learning about language, including the origin of words and phrases we commonly use.  If you share this same interest, you might enjoy reading Surprisingly sinister history of most commonly used phrases.
 
It’s that time of year again for Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites list.  Access the 2013 list here.

Canadians can celebrate -- Library and Archives Canada announced that the Census of 1861 is now available online. Information was collected for people living in Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

For the first time ever we can now readily access more than 2,200 documents from a largely unknown archive housed at the United Nations that documents thousands of cases against accused World War II criminals in Europe and Asia. The unrestricted records of the United Nations War Crimes Commission were put online in early July by the International Criminal Court. The finding aid for the records is found here. You can search the database here.  Select “United Nations War Crimes Commission” from dropdown menu.

As summer is still with us, I’ll end with some trivia –The History of CTRL + ALT + DELETE. If you have ever used a computer, and that covers just about every genealogist I know, then you at one time or another have used this function – either on purpose or out of desperation!










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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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22 August 2013

Can Genealogy Afford To Be Hyper-Local? Guest post by Thomas MacEntee



Guest post by Thomas MacEntee

Are you familiar with the term “hyper-local?” In online media, for a brief period of time hyper-local sites such as Patch.com (owned by AOL) and the now defunct Everyblock were all the rage. The idea was to connect people on a local level and let them exchange information. Sort of like talking over the fence with your neighbors without actually having to meet them face-to-face.

You can roll your eyes now, just like I did after I stepped back and thought about this crazy concept of meeting locals online. Very often what is hyped and is touted as “the latest cool thing” becomes a case of the “emperor has no clothes” and falls flat on its face. (On a side-note, I actually LOVED Everyblock. It would update me via email on everything that happened within a set radius of my address here in Chicago including crimes, building permits and more. It was like having my own Gladys Kravitz.)

So what is the lesson here for the genealogy industry? Beware of limiting yourself to local clients and constituents. With today’s technology, organizations are no longer bound by local geography and should have at least a global awareness, if not a global presence.

Geography Is No Longer Our Master

This is one of the lessons that I’ve learned in launching my own genealogy business. I live in Chicago where I have no other family and no ancestral connections. My New York ancestors seemed to be skittish about traversing through Ohio to the West or hopping on Great Lakes steamer. As I developed genealogy services to sell to the public, I figured that my target market could either be Chicagoans or I could just cast a wider net and go global.

Imagine it is 3:00 am in Chicago and I am Skyping with a client in Australia who needs information on how the genealogy market works in the United States or wants to learn about starting a webinar series. Hanging out with a “neighbor” chatting across a “virtual” fence is realty and no longer the stuff of science fiction.

Advances in technology such as faster Internet connection rates as well as easy-to-use social media platforms make it easy to reach almost any audience. There are segments of the genealogy industry seemingly unaware of this opportunity including many genealogy societies.

Selling Local Character To A Broad Audience

The days of meeting in a church basement once a month to have society members discuss local history and genealogy are over, or soon to be. There is no way that any such organization could possibly survive with current practices and faced with dwindling membership. For business owners, constantly trying to tap into a local-only market will eventually hit a wall with diminishing returns resulting in frustration.

Here are some tips on how any organization or business can go “global” and sell their services while still preserving a sense of local charm and character:
·       Use social media. I’ve said it many times, but it is worth saying again: You have to embrace social media to the point of learning the basics. No one said you had to like Facebook, but at least set up a page for your organization. Facebook is the #2 feeder of website traffic, after Google (and Pinterest is #3, by the way). When you are on social media, ANYONE can find you, not just your local residents.
·       Educate yourself on social media and technology. There are some valuable resources available for free: one is the Social Media for Genealogy group on Facebook and the other is Technology for Genealogy, also on Facebook. In both of these groups there are no “stupid questions” and there are many helpful genealogists willing to share their knowledge.
·       Raise your group’s awareness. It takes time to realize that you are no longer working and thinking just locally. Set up a virtual or online membership at a discounted rate. Offer online members a digital version of your newsletter and/or quarterly or other educational materials. Virtual members are almost never a drain on a groups resources and allow you to build a loyal global fan base.
·       Sell your local expertise. This can be done locally as well as online. Locally: create a small book of local historical information and genealogy resources for area hotels and bed & breakfasts. These places all have libraries where guests can relax and read a book. Make sure materials are branded with your business or group name and contact info. Try the same thing online but create e-guides that can be downloaded easily. The goal is for you or your group to become the “go to expert” for your local area.
·       Cultivate followers and initiate conversation. This is the most difficult thing to do, whether it is in person or on line. Join online genealogy groups and follow conversations related to your area of expertise. Don’t jump in right away, but lurk a bit so you understand the “vibe” of the group. Slowly offer helpful info and advice. The same will work at your local library or repository. Befriend newcomers and offer to show them the ropes. As someone once observed: a group may seem like a clique or a bunch of “regulars.” But join in the conversations and pretty soon you’ll be a regular too.

Conclusion

Embracing a broader view and a broader audience might be the survival mechanism needed for many in the genealogy community. Combine affordable and accessible technology along with a little bit of marketing savvy, and you could have a formula for success.

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee
Bio: Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. For more information visit http://hidefgen.com.




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