26 July 2013

Upfront Mini Bytes -- American Revolution, Parents + Family History, Maps, Archiving Family History, and more ...

Upfront Mini Bytes

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 [email protected].


Faces of the American Revolution.  I sometimes forget how early photography was created and how long-lived some of those who served during the Revolutionary War were.  Both the article and the images are a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these soldiers. For more information, check out Maureen Taylor’s webpage and also Revolutionary Voices: A Last Muster Film.
How old is the average country?  This post looks at years of independence to “age” each country.  The relevance to genealogists is that such a date (and sense of age) might help us as we search for records.  Are we looking under a “new” name when an old name for the country was relevant when our ancestors were alive and/or lived there? For example, East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971.  Do check out the underlying map here.

There has been much discussion recently about engaging the younger generations in genealogy research.  And, though, it might be hard for those of us who have been doing genealogy for decades to believe, there are many older individuals who have not yet explored their ancestry.  With that in mind, the article Why encourage your ageing parent to investigate their family history? reminded me that I do have many friends who are not genealogists. Additionally, many families are often seeking some activity that brings the family together.  Might not exploring one’s family history do the job?

Infographic: The Literal Meaning Of Every State Name In The U.S. Who knew that North Carolina really means “North Freewoman’s Land”)?  Beware, this map can be addicting to look at!

Sticking with maps, there was another neat one created called A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map Of America. Though these maps reflect contemporary connections – e.g. where the money goes, who you talk with, etc. – you can also use it to think about your ancestors.  We know from researching families that you would get little “hubs” of activity around a state line (e.g. NC/VA) or between two areas (northeastern NC and the whole Norfolk/Portsmouth area) for jobs, etc.  Maybe you can figure out whom your ancestors and their neighbors interacted with.

Maintaining and archiving family history is critical.  Remember, as you live your life, you are creating historical documents and taking historical photos and videos, etc.  These and any items we inherit or acquire from those who lived before us need to be archived so that future generations can enjoy them as well.  Do check out the three-part New York Times series, Tips on Archiving Family History – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Throughout time, abbreviations have had a place in writing and then in what we read.  To this day, I abbreviate all kinds of words as I jot notes in my calendar.  Fortunately, it seems that for the most part, when forenames were abbreviated by clerks, they were fairly consistent in which abbreviations were used for which names.  Check out First Name Abbreviations. Does this mean those listed were the only abbreviations used? Of course not and they do give you a place to start.

Are you Irish American?  If so, you might have some fun with this infographic created by Genealogybank. Details are provided below the image.

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