Sunday, November 30, 2008
There are so many excellent carnivals being posted every month, I haven't felt the need for journal prompts lately--plus, life just gets busy.
Fall is my favorite season, and if I have time this week, I'll post my responses to my own prompts.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
There were ten submissions with gratitude expressed ranging from Polish resources to local genealogical societies to the Internet to family members. My own submission, "I'm Thankful for These Genealogy Resources," is located here.
Elizabeth did a great job as first-time carnival hostess! The 14th Edition's topic will be "Christmas Traditions of Central and Eastern Europe" and will be hosted by Jessica Oswalt back at the carnival's home blog, Jessica's Genejournal. Participants do not have to have Central or Eastern European ancestry to participate. Submissions are due on December 21st, and the Carnival will be posted on December 23rd.
You want to lock in your membership right now because the only way to guarantee the value-packed membership price is to lock in your membership now and get great Pajama Genealogy System content month-after-month.
* RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW: Go to this private Web page:
- There you will see TWO different PayPal links where you can reserve your spot on the new Pajama Genealogy Membership site today. Look for the "Buy Now" buttons.
- Or, if you prefer, you can send a check to me at:
P.O. Box 372
North Manchester, IN 46962
* 3 Months Access Pajama Genealogy MEMBERSHIP Site:
>> $33 for THREE Months - January through March, 2009.
That's only $11 per month (or, 36 CENTS per day).
* 12 Months Access Pajama Genealogy MEMBERSHIP Site:
>> $99 for TWELVE Months (Saves you $33) - January through December, 2009.
That's only $8.25 per month (or, 27 CENTS per day).
>> NOTE FOR 12 MONTH MEMBERSHIPS: If you join now, you will ALWAYS be guaranteed the low $99.00 twelve month membership price as long as you remain a member.
Below are some great gift ideas--all under $20--for the genealogist or would-be genealogist on your holiday shopping list. For a complete list of our genealogy books and CDs, go to www.genealogical.com. Also be sure to check out our 50% or More Holiday Sale.
Paper Trees: Genealogical Clip-Art
This is a unique collection of hand-drawn family trees and charts which you can fill in and color by yourself.
Our Price: $18.95
Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy
Psychic Roots is all about the influence of coincidence and serendipity on genealogical research, the chance combination of events over which the researcher has no control but which nevertheless guides him to a fortuitous discovery.
Our Price: $19.95
Getting Started in Genealogy ONLINE
This book is designed as a beginner's guide for those who want to trace their family tree online.
Our Price: $12.95
You Can Write Your Family History
In You Can Write Your Family History, popular author and speaker Sharon DeBartolo Carmack explains exactly what it takes to create a compelling and highly readable family history.
Our Price: $19.95
Understanding Colonial Handwriting
Author Harriet Stryker-Rodda, after years of experience searching through colonial records, has developed here a simple technique for reading colonial handwriting.
Our Price: $6.00
The Family History Research Toolkit
This CD contains forms and charts that are essential for genealogical research.
Our Price: $19.99
Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian
Elizabeth Shown Mills' stunning book, Evidence!, provides the family history researcher with a reliable standard for both the correct form of source citation and the sound analysis of evidence.
Our Price: $16.95
The products that will be offered at the special prices are:
Y-DNA37 - $119
Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus - $199
Y-DNA67 - $218
Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus - $308
mtDNAPlus - $139
Full Genomic mtDNA - $395
SuperDNA - $613
This offer is good until December 31st, 2008 for kits ordered and paid for by that time.
"History Unearthed Daily"
In the first week of December, we will start indexing the 1875 Norway Census. This will be a large segment of the census for rural areas of Norway, but not the entire census. FamilySearch’s Historical Family Reconstitution unit has joined forces with the University of Tromsø in Norway to complete this project. The university is indexing the census records for the urban areas of Norway.
Pass the word along that anyone interested in Norwegian genealogical research is encouraged to help by volunteering as a FamilySearch indexer.
The following projects have been completed in the past two weeks. Patrons should be able to search them shortly online at FamilySearch Record Search:
Missouri – 1870 US Census
Tennessee – 1870 US Census
Morelos – 1930 Mexico Census
Alabama – 1920 US Federal Census
Arkansas Marriages II
Alabama – 1850 US Federal Census – General
Current Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion Status
1916 Canadian Census - English - 25%
Argentina Censo 1869 - Buenos Aires 2 - Spanish - 19%
Argentina Censo 1869 - Cordoba y San Luis - Spanish - 15%
Arkansas Marriages [Part 1] - English - 54%
Arkansas Marriages IV - English - 8%
Belgique – Registres Des Décès (Français) - French - 14%
België - Overlijdens Registers - In het Nederlands - Dutch, Flemish - 7%
Brandenburg Kirchenbücher - German - 29%*
(*This percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)
Bremer Schifflisten - German - 0.6%
España Lugo Registros Parroquiales [Part 1] - Spanish - 8%
Flanders Death Registration - FR, Dutch, Flemish - 33%
Florida 1945 Census - English - 96%
France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche - French - 7%
Guanajuato Censo de Mexico de 1930 - Spanish - 86%
Guerrero - Censo de Mexico de 1930 - Spanish - 51%
Illinois - 1920 US Federal Census - English - 31%
Indiana Marriages, 1790 – Apr 1905 - English - 60%
Indiana Marriages, 1882 – Apr 1905 - English - 84%
Indiana Marriage Returns, 1882 – Apr 1905 - English - 48%
Indiana Marriages, Apr 1905 – Dec 1957 - English - 40%
Massachusetts - 1920 US Federal Census - English - 44%
Massachusetts Death Records 1906-1915 - English - 53%
Massachusetts Marriage Records 1906-1915 - English - 9%
New Hampshire - Early to 1900 Births - English - 18%
Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records - Spanish - 8%
Nova Scotia Antig. Church Records, 1823 to 1905 - English - 39%
Ohio Tax Records – 2 of 4 - English - 61%
Queretaro - Censo de Mexico de 1930 - Spanish - 7%
UK - Cheshire - Church Records - English - 21%
UK - Cheshire - Land Tax - English - 4%
Venezuela Mérida Registros Parroquiales - Spanish - 1%
Do You Want to Play with a Preview Copy of RootsMagic 4?
Are you one of those users who wants to play with RootsMagic 4 before we actually release it? Well, now is your chance.
In mid-December we will begin a "community preview" of RootsMagic 4. This preview will be open to those current RootsMagic users who wish to try out a pre-release copy of RootsMagic. Keep in mind that the preview version could (I mean "will") still have bugs in it, and shouldn't be used for your real data.
But if you want a chance to play around with version 4, sign up for the preview at:
Fill out the information so we can verify that you are a current RootsMagic user and you will be notified when the community preview becomes available.
Despite working 16 hour days trying to get RM4 out in time for Christmas, it looks like it probably won't be ready in time.
BUT... here is this year's 5th Annual Holiday Offer (with a special twist).
In what has become something of a tradition, RootsMagic owners can buy gift copies of RootsMagic, Personal Historian, or Family Atlas at our $19.95 upgrade price. There is no limit on the number of discounted copies you can buy during this limited time offer which will expire December 19, 2008. You will receive the full program as well as a registration card for each copy
And here is the special twist... every gift copy of RootsMagic 3 that you buy through this special offer will come with a free download upgrade to version 4 when it is released. So you will be giving version 3 now, with a free download of version 4 as soon as it is released.
PLUS! We are adding an offer we have never made before. In addition to the $19.95 special price, you can also order our RootsMagic Family History Suite (which includes RootsMagic, Personal Historian, and Family Atlas) for just $49.95 (that's $90 worth of software).
To take advantage of this offer, just visit:
or order by phone at 1-800-ROOTSMAGIC (1-800-766-8762).
The New England Historical and Genealogical Society is excited to offer a new research package to help beginning genealogists get started with their family history. The “Family Discovery Package” makes a great holiday gift for a loved one, or even for yourself. Using information that you submit, our expert genealogists will begin the work for you and provide suggestions for additional research.
This special package includes:
- *1.5 hours of an NEHGS expert genealogy research
- *1 year subscription to New England Ancestors magazine
- *1 copy of RootsMagic genealogy software
- *2 free day passes to continue your research at the NEHGS library in Boston
The "Family Discovery Package" can be ordered for only $99 at www.newenglandancestors.org/
Make plans to give the gift of family this holiday season with one of the most inspiring and interesting gifts available. For more information contact the NEHGS Research Services Department at 617-226-1233 or email@example.com. Learn more about Research Services at www.newenglandancestors.org/
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
First, I'm thankful to all those people in my life who have been so wonderfully kind and thoughtful to me lately. Going into surgery was a Big Deal, as it was my first surgery ever and my only real hospitalization other than being born and giving birth.
- *Thank you to Dr. Christopher Lang and his surgical team for doing major repair work on not one, but two, tendons (I just discovered this in my followup appointment yesterday!) as well as filing off that painful bone spur, leaving me with only four tiny incisions that are healing quite nicely. Thank you to Naomi, the intake nurse at Holy Family Hospital who was so warm and caring, and took the time to make sure I was comfortable and anxiety-free before surgery. Thank you to all the other staff at Spokane Orthopedics and Holy Family who made my medical experience a positive one.
- *Thank you to my children's father, who was a surprisingly good recovery nurse (lest this sounds like a back-handed compliment, if you but knew the Midkiff inability--it extends to his siblings and daughter--to withstand even the thought of blood or bodily fluids, you would understand my gratefulness for assistance with things like changing dressings, etc.)! Also, thanks to my children, Missy, for her willingness to run errands and fix meals, and Matt, for help with lots of household chores.
- *Thanks to Brenda (my daughter's boyfriend's mother) for taking me to the hospital early on surgery morning after my children's father had to work the night before, for the meals cooked and goodies baked (I swear my next surgery will have to be a tummy tuck!), and for taking my teens to their home now and again to give me some needed time to myself.
- *Thank you to my friend, neighbor, and walking partner Kristy for the delicious meal and thoughts and prayers.
- *Thanks to the staff at Garry Middle School for their cards, e-mails, phone calls, prayers, visits, and meals; special thanks to Diane, Monica, Kelleen, and Judy, as well as to Pat, my sub. It is wonderful to look forward to going back to work again. I miss you and the students!
- *Thank you to my children's father's family members and my own family members who also sent e-mails, phoned me, visited, sent prayers and thoughts my way, and sent yummy care packages!
- *Thanks to members of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society and the Genea-Bloggers who have sent good wishes via e-mails and comments.
Secondly, I am grateful for quality medical care. We know the frightening and stressful experience of what it is like to live without medical insurance, and so we are doubly blessed that between my children's father's and my employers, we can now pick and choose the providers that are best suited for our family's needs. I'm also grateful that we live in a country where medical service is close by and of high quality. I feel very blessed that my employer allows me to accumulate sick leave and that because my children's father and I work opposite shifts, it has allowed us over the years to always have someone home when the kids are sick, without using up a lot of our own sick time. It is because of this that I am able to take off so much necessary time from work to fully recuperate.
1. Piano - I started lessons with some books my grandmother (I think) sent me when I was a girl in Alaska. The trouble was, we didn't have a piano at home to practice on. I would stay after school and use the school's piano. I quickly got bored, and never advanced learning beyond reading the treble clef (reinforced by the band instruments I later learned to play). Whenever I look at bass clef, it's like trying to read a foreign language or writing with my left hand: I can do it, but it takes too much concentration to be of any use. These days, I can pick out a tune with my right hand and accompany it with a few chords on my left (this also translates to playing the organ, of course). This is a skill I would like to someday improve.
2. Flutaphone - When we first got a music teacher for our Southeast Alaskan elementary school (someone who flew over from Ketchikan a few times a month), like most beginning band students, I learned to play the flutaphone. The fingering translates very nicely to a recorder, which has a much nicer sound to it than a flutaphone (sorry, Bill!).
3. Flute - I loved the idea of playing a flute; it has a nice, graceful sound to it, and being a girly-girl little girl, I of course, attempted to try it. Two problems: I got dizzy trying to make it create a sound, and my hands and fingers were too small to create the necessary fingerings (I still have the smallest hands of any adult that I know!).
4. Clarinet - so of course, the next instrument to try was the clarinet. I could reach the keys just fine and it was another natural segue from the flutaphone and recorder. I played clarinet in elementary school (5th - 7th grades) and then again in high school band (9th and 10th). I attended a small private school that did not have music classes in 8th grade.
5. Cornet - this was a huge switch for me. The cornet is nearly identical to the trumpet, but it has a shorter, more open bell and produces a mellower sound. This was my first introduction to the brass family, and it was done (where else?) in a Salvation Army band while I was in college. Not only did I practice on my own, I actually took trumpet lessons at Spokane Falls Community College to improve my technique on the cornet. Sometimes I would practice on the bugle at Camp Gifford (a trumpet-like instrument without valves; notes are created by a change in lip position, and so only certain tunes--like Reveille and Taps--can be played on it).
6. Flugelhorn - yes, Virginia, there really is an instrument by that name. Another British-style brass instrument, it looks like a cross between an alto horn and a cornet and is held in a horizontal position like the cornet. However, the flugelhorn has a larger bell AND a larger mouthpiece, the latter making it much easier to produce sound without so much tension in the embouchure (cheek and lip muscles). It also has a fourth valve for alternate fingering ease. I absolutely loved playing the flugelhorn because not only was it easier than the cornet (whose high notes I could never quite attain), but many times the music written for it was a soft counter-melody that gave me a little glory as a "soloist" without the anxiety of putting me directly in the spotlight. I played this instrument with The Salvation Army Western Territorial Band in the 1987 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, a very high honor. The Pasadena High School Band and The Salvation Army Band are the only bands that have a standing invitation from the Tournament of Roses Parade. All others are accepted by special invitation only.
7. Altohorn - After I learned flugelhorn, if there was an altohorn player absent during band practice or a performance, I would occasionally substitute for them. This instument, held vertically, looks like a small tuba and is just a little larger than a flugelhorn. The Salvation Army Bands are based upon the British brass bands where the fingerings for the instruments (with the exception of the trombone) are identical for all the notes. This allows for easy switching and substituting when running short on players.
8. Autoharp - Someone donated a couple of instruments to The Salvation Army church my parents were pastoring in Southeast Alaska when I was a girl. Using music where the chords were already written in, I would strum the strings with my right hand while pushing down on the marked chord keys with my left. Oh, yes, a concertina was also donated, but other than playing around with it, I couldn't really utilize it during actual congregational singing.
There you have it: eight things about me. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged!
Sheri Fenley published post Number 100 over at The Educated Genealogist this week. I'm honored that she lists me as one of the influences for getting involved in blogging. Sheri, we HAD to have you in the Genea-Blogger world...we needed a female blogger who could rival Thomas' antics! ;-)
Last Wednesday, Julie Cahill Tarr of GenBlog also hit her 100th Post! She's been a busy lady hosting the Thanksgiving Meme and a Game of Tag (I'll be late in posting mine, but will add a link to it in her comments).
Give our Genea-Bloggers congratulations on their milestones!
I haven't seen posts at No Fee Required Genealogy in a year, but last month Linda wrote four more. I hope she keeps up the great linking!
Leland Meitzler's Genealogy Blog was up for a day or so after being down for quite a while, but it didn't last long. We miss you, Leland!
Speaking of the missing, we are all more than a little worried about Janice Brown of Cow Hampshire. Her last post (apparently a scheduled and not a "live"one) was on August 25th. We miss you, too, Janice!
Cyndi Howells has added Wikis for Genealogy to her famous List.
Slightly older news: Denise Olsen of Family Matters is now hosting workshops on her blog. And I hope you're participating in her Christmas Tour of Blogs at Moultrie Creek!
If you got a little lost as to where JL of JLog is now blogging, she explains here.
Lisa at Small-leaved Shamrock just posted the 10th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, whose topic was "For the Love of Ireland." This first-year anniversary edition included eleven contributions ranging from the love of Irish linen to the love of crosses and claddaghs. It's amazing how much one culture has infused itself into our modern American life!
The topic for the 11th Edition will be "My Key to Ireland":
If you have found your ancestral county or village in Ireland, just how did you find your way there? What resources led you to learn the original county or townland or your ancestors? Tell us how you did it and what your feelings were when you made the exciting discovery.
If you have not yet found the area where your ancestors made their homes in Ireland, tell us about the resources that you hope to use to find out. What records and documents do you hope will lead you to that information? How do you plan to go about the search?
If you have always known the place or places where your family hailed from, tell us about them. What draws you there and what else have you learned throughout your search for family history?Share with us your Irish genealogy success story or your plans to "get back to Ireland" within the upcoming 11th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.
Deadline for submissions to the My key to Ireland edition is Sunday, January 18, 2009. This edition will be published at Small-leaved Shamrock on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Battle of Fredericksburg, 13 December 1862. From an early draft of Pathway to Hell: A Tragedy of the Civil War:
Charlie Robbins [of the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, the "Fighting Bucktails"] ran harder than he ever had in his life and tried to spring over one of those ditches. It was too wide, and he thumped hard into the ditch. Stunned and bruised, he looked back and saw the enemy swarming toward him. Running was useless now. He hunkered in the ditch and awaited inevitable capture. Others had beaten him to this exposed hiding place and more leaped in. To his amazement, some of them were Rebels he assumed were trying to desert. Charlie braved another glance over the top of the ditch, and saw Angelo [Crapsey] running toward him. "He was completely done out," Robbins recalled, "and could not run as the rest did to get away from the rebels." Miraculously, Robbins escaped capture to report Angelo's "wounding." Angelo must have been wounded, Charlie assumed. Angelo would never give up no matter how stacked the odds against him.
But he had. The lad who vowed never to compromise threw up his hands and shouted, "I surrender!" A bullet would have been more merciful. At least then Angelo Crapsey would have died gloriously.
Source: Crapsey, Angelo. Photograph. C. 1863. Digital copy from the Faces of the Pennsylvania Reserves website [http://www.pareserves.com/PRVCGALLERY/details.php?image_id=559]. Original photograph's whereabouts unknown. 2008.
Angelo M. CRAPSEY was the stepson of my 4th-great-grandmother, Lura Ann (JACKSON) PECK CRAPSEY. He was raised with Viola Gertrude (PECK) ROBBINS, my 3rd-great-grandmother, and served in Company I of the 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry, later the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves with his childhood friend, Charles H. ROBBINS, who would become my 3rd-great-grandfather. Known as the "Fighting Bucktails" because of their reputation as sharpshooters, the 13th Reserves were often attached to other regiments in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Angelo was interned in the infamous Libby Prison, and was released before the end of the war. His incarceration horribly affected him, and for the rest of his short life, he engaged in one suicide attempt after another, finally succeeding on 4 August 1864, at the age of 21.
While researching the the intriguing story of Angelo Crapsey, Dennis W. Brandt read the many letters Angelo wrote during his war days, along with educating himself about the 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry/13th Pennsylvania Reserves and the Pennsylvania communities of Roulette, Potter County and Smethport, McKean County. I am indebted to him for his research on the Robbins, Peck, and Jackson families, which he generously shared with me. He is also the author of From Home Guards to Heroes: The 87th Pennsylvania And Its Civil War Community (2006, University of Missouri Press; the Shades of Blue and Gray Series).
Pathway to Hell: A Tragedy of the Civil War has been recently published by Lehigh University Press and is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Monday, November 24, 2008
FamilySearch News: Houston Public Library Joins with FamilySearch to Publish Gulf Coast State Histories Online
Houston Public Library Joins FamilySearch in Digitization Effort
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Thousands of publications that capture the diverse histories of Gulf Coast states will be accessible for free online. FamilySearch and the Houston Public Library announced a joint project today to digitally preserve and publish the library’s vast collection of county and local histories, registers of individuals, directories of Texas Rangers, church histories, and biographical dictionaries. The digital records will be available for free online at FamilySearch.org and HoustonLibrary.org.
“Houston Public Library has one of the top 10 genealogy libraries in the nation and a very strong Gulf Coast and international collection,” said Susan D. Kaufman, manager, Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. “Visitors come from all over the country to visit the library. Researchers will benefit from the convenience of online access to the collection targeted under the joint venture with FamilySearch,” added Kaufman.
In 2007, FamilySearch announced its plans to create the largest and most comprehensive collection of free city and county histories online. Over 23,000 digital publications have been made available online since then. The addition of Houston Public Library and its collection furthers that goal.
Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve thousands of Houston Public Library’s historic publications collection and provide free access to the images online. The targeted publications range in date from 1795 to 1923.
The new digital collections published online will have “every word” search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Users will also be able to just browse or read the publications as digital books online if they prefer.
The digitization efforts have already begun, and publications are now viewable online. Texas records are the first publications targeted by the initiative, followed by other Gulf Coast states. The project will take up to five years to complete.
Digital publications will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized. The growing collection can be accessed currently at FamilySearch.org (go to Search Records, and then Historical Books).
“We are honored to be part of such an important and beneficial initiative with a world leader like FamilySearch,” said Kaufman. “The digitization and online publication of Houston Public Library’s historic collections will help increase the inquisitiveness of library patrons and create a heightened sense of awareness of the library’s resources—which then brings customers back more often with more research questions. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Kaufman added.
FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch previously announced projects with Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch’s own Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
The Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. That means local patrons have access to millions of microfilms from FamilySearch’s vast genealogical collection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Patrons can order research material from FamilySearch through the library and use the library’s film readers and copiers to further their genealogical efforts.
About FamilySearch International
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at familysearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Family network itsourtree.com changes its name to dynastree
Hamburg, 24th November 2008. The fastest-growing family network worldwide itsourtree.com got a new name: dynastree. The new name is easier to keep in mind and underlines the cross-generational aspect of the worldwide network.
Co-founder Daniel Groezinger explains: “The new name is an international fusion of the words dynasty and family tree. It symbolizes our network’s essence: connecting the generations by means of the family tree.” Of course, the free network’s services will still be available using the domain itsourtree.com.
The free genealogy network dynastree continues to grow rapidly: Until today, 60 million person profiles have been added to 6 million family trees worldwide. Future plans are the expansion to Russia and Turkey.
Apart from the English site, the services are available in Germany (www.verwandt.de), in Poland (www.moikrewni.pl), Spain and South America (www.miparentela.com), Portugal (www.meusparentes.com.pt), Brazil (www.meusparentes.com.br), the Netherlands (www.verwant.nl), Italy (www.parentistretti.it) and France (www.familleunie.fr). The platform will continue expanding to other European countries as well as worldwide. Itsourtree.com is supported by leading Business Angels, Hasso Plattner Ventures and Neuhaus Partners, a well-known venture capitalist.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
My local genealogical society - the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society is a research resource unto itself...a living, breathing resource. If I get stuck on a problem, or need to know where to look, or if someone comes to me with a question I can't answer, then I go to my fellow members at EWGS. Many of them are people who've been doing research longer than I have been alive...the hard way: in dusty repositories, by snail mail, and through cranking through thousands of rolls of microfilm. They know what puzzling legal jargon or Latin terms mean, or whether something significant is meant by missing information in a document. Furthermore, our society librarians and historian know where to find just about anything hiding in Spokane County, whether it's in the courthouse vault or in an index in an obscure book in the genealogical collection of the public library. My life is enriched by these warm, caring people, and I can't imagine a finer society anywhere!
The Family History Library and Family History Centers - Imagine doing research without the existence of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or its branch libraries, the Family History Centers (wouldn't it be awful!) The LDS Church takes seriously its mission to provide resources through the FHL and FHCs, and considers this a way of blessing the inhabitants of the globe. I couldn't agree more! For people like myself who live far from our ancestral locations, obtaining records via microfilm at a Center or being able to visit the Library is a wonderful experience. I frequent my North Spokane Stake FHC so often that I am on a first-name basis with many of the volunteers and consider the director a personal friend. We share our research successes and challenges and always look forward to the newest wonder available through FamilySearch...like the Record Search pilot site. I receive the gift of hope whenever I research at my local FHC...hope that the records I order and view will provide the next piece of evidence for which I've long been looking!
The Internet - It's so wonderful to be living in this time in history! Thirty years ago as a little girl--or even 15 years ago--I could not imagine the daily wonders I discover online. And to the people behind it all, whether volunteers or paid employees working to provide research lookups, transcribe data to a genealogical subscription site, scan images of books to be viewed online, or use their amazing intelligence and gifts to create wonders like the many faces of Google, I'm tremendously grateful that I am able to access all this information and knowledge!
My family - I've been honored and privileged to be recognized as the family historian and archivist, a responsibility I take seriously. Entrusted by family members with the care of photographs, documents, and mementos from the past, I strive to take measures to preserve and catalog them to the best of my ability so that future generations will know, memorialize, and understand those Who Came Before. I've been touched that my family blesses me with these dear treasures!
As a family historian and genealogist, for what are you thankful?
Friday, November 21, 2008
I can't remember the last time I've such fun with graphic design. Maybe a number of years ago, when I created my family tree website. Or when I purchased Paint Shop Pro and learned how to pixel paint.
Except when I was building my website, I was still new to HTML coding (which I taught myself, with the help of online tutorials like Lissa Explains All), and when I was pixel painting, I was trying to figure out how to create I-frames (what I did worked with Internet Explorer, but not with Mozilla Firefox--my browser of choice).
So my creativity was tempered with a lot of learn-on-the-fly and frustration.
Lately I've been hearing a lot about Ancestry's MyCanvas program in various press releases on blogs--a program in which you can create personalized items like family history books, recipe books, photo albums, posters, calendars and the like. I had tried out playing around with making a family history book a while ago, but it didn't really interest me. There's this hesitation I have about putting genealogy into print, knowing that a family history is never really complete or accurate (thus my preference for websites and blogs, where one can easily update, correct, delete or add information as it becomes available). I received an e-mail yesterday from Genealogy.com, a member of The Generation Networks family, of which Ancestry was also a part. This message was advertising several MyCanvas products--including calendars--at 20% off (they're $15.96 through December 24; order by December 11th to receive in time for Christmas via standard shipping or by December 16th via expedited shipping). Now for several years I've been envisioning making a family calendar to hand out as early Christmas gifts at our annual Robbins Reunion dinner the end of October, but do you think that I've been able to get on the horn and actually even attempt to create one? Oh, no...not procrastinating me!
So I thought I'd take MyCanvas out for a test drive with a family calendar...and all I can say is: oh, my!
Twenty-four hours later, I've already got three calendars in the works. The first is for my extended family, which will use the classic default holiday/seasonal background pages (I'm just a sucker when it comes to holiday decorations and the like!), each of which I plan to upload images from my PC of family members who celebrate birthdays or anniversaries that month. Another is for a family member that I know would appreciate some of the lovely designs of teapots that I purchased on CD this summer from Pats Web Graphics (I use my photo-editing program to convert images to .jpg files...MyCanvas also accepts .png files). The third is for my husband's family, featuring the postcards that his great-grandmother, Rena (Lerfald) Westaby received in the early 1900s from family and friends while she was working as a maid as a young single woman in the Midwest. Here are some screenshots from that project. Behold, the cover:
Now here it is featured on an April calendar page, using the wonderful digital backgrounds and embellishments of MyCanvas:
Hello, my name is Miriam, and I'm addicted to MyCanvas. And no, I wasn't asked to write a post about this.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
“With close to 220,000 records, FamilyTreeDNA is the largest database of genealogical DNA information in the world. This provides the perfect complement to MyHeritage’s current research tools, giving our members another way to learn about where they come from,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We help people around the world discover, connect and communicate with their extended family network and easily research their family history. Now, by working with FamilyTreeDNA, we can offer a solution when the paper trail runs out.”
Since its founding in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA has tested over 450,000 people, helping customers trace family history when no conventional records are available. The advanced DNA screening technology, among other things, can reveal Native American, African or Jewish descent on paternal or maternal lines, as well as uncover ancestral information for those who were adopted. Through a range of tests, users can obtain information on recent and historical origins, including a migration map on both paternal and maternal lines. MyHeritage's 27 million users will have access to the following three tests:
• Y-DNA25 – a Y-chromosome test for males (US$129)
• mtDNA – a mitochondrial DNA test for males and females (US$129)
• Y-DNA25 + mtDNA – a combined Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA test for males (US$219)
Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of FamilyTreeDNA, said, “MyHeritage is an invaluable resource when researching family history online, which is a perfect complement for our DNA research. Our DNA research can show two people that they are related, and MyHeritage's Smart Matching technology can compare their family trees to show the connection. We are also excited to give our members, through MyHeritage, a way to stay connected with relatives all over the world.”
MyHeritage is a leading online destination for families. On the site, people can find relatives, research family history, and stay connected to family members across the globe. In addition, MyHeritage offers automatic photo tagging technology that makes it easier to label, organize and search for digital photos, giving families another fun way to stay in touch.
MyHeritage was founded by a team of people who combine a passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. It is now one of the world’s leading online networks for families, and the second largest family history website. MyHeritage is available in 34 languages and home to more than 27 million family members and 280 million profiles. The company recently acquired Kindo, a family social network, and is based in Bnei Atarot, near Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information, visit www.myheritage.com.
Find a video about MyHeritage's new photo tagging features here:
About Family Tree DNA
Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com) was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes: until then, testing had only been available for academic and scientific research. Since that time, the pioneering company has developed a breadth and depth of programs and services and created standards that have earned it international respect and made it the world's most popular DNA-testing service not only for genealogists but for anyone interested in delving beyond the surface into family roots. Today, Family Tree DNA's approaches 220,000 individual test records, making it the premier source for researching recent and distant family ties. Family Tree DNA has recently been featured in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and on NBC-TV's "Today Show" and CBS-TV's "60 Minutes."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Completed Indexes Will Be Free Online
Ontario, Canada—FamilySearch International announced its plans to make the indexes to available Canadian censuses accessible online for free with the help of online volunteer indexers and an agreement with Ancestry.ca. The first censuses completed will be those from 1861, 1871, and 1916. Online volunteers are needed to help transcribe select information from digital images of the historical documents into easily searchable indexes. The completed indexes will be available for free at www.familysearch.org.
Famous Canadians in the 1916 Census
What do Art Linkletter, Sir William Samuel Stephenson, and Elvina Fay Wray have in common? They all have ties to one of the three provinces that make up the 1916 Canada Census, and some lucky volunteer may experience the thrill of transcribing their information for the free online index.
1. Arthur Gordon Kelly (Art Linkletter) will be found as a four-year-old child at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was abandoned as an infant and then adopted and raised by a preacher. He hosted House Party and People Are Funny both on radio and later on newfangled television, and he is best remembered for his interviews with children on the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things. His adoptive parents were Fulton John Linkletter and Mary Metzler.
2. Sir William Samuel Stephenson was a Canadian soldier, airman, businessman, inventor, spymaster, and a British intelligence specialist during World War II. Stephenson is best known by his wartime intelligence codename of Intrepid and is considered by some to be one of the real-life inspirations for James Bond. He was born William Samuel Clouston Stanger, January 23, 1897, in the Point Douglas area of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
3. Elvina Fay Wray was born September 15, 1907, on a ranch near Alberta to Elvina Marguerite Jones and Joseph Heber Wray and will most likely show up as a nine-year old-child in the 1916 census. She made her film debut in Gasoline Love (1923), but it was her lead role in The Wedding March (1928) that made her a star. She became a cult figure after her role in King Kong (1933), as the beauty captured by a giant gorilla.
Interested volunteers can begin helping immediately by registering online at familysearchindexing.org, downloading the free indexing software, and selecting the 1916 Canada Census project. A digital image of a census page will appear. Volunteers simply type in the data highlighted on the computer screen and save it online. It takes about 30 minutes to complete one census page, and volunteers have a week to complete it if need be. Volunteers only need to be able to read, type, and have Internet access to participate.
“The 1916 census was selected first because it is the most recent and smallest of the three censuses targeted in the first phase. It included three of the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta) and has about 1.7 million names—so it will not take long to complete,” said Stephen Young, FamilySearch project manager.
There are other hidden benefits to volunteering. Volunteers become familiar with historical documents, the valuable stories they can conceal, and their usefulness and application to genealogical research.
Indexers do not need to worry about their skill level at reading censuses. Each census page is transcribed by two different indexers. Any discrepancies between the two entries will be arbitrated by a third indexer. The result is a highly accurate, free index of tremendous value to family history enthusiasts. Young says the more online volunteers that help, the quicker the free census indexes will be available online for all to enjoy and benefit from.
One indexer recently commented, “I am intrigued with how the people come alive for me as I index. I indexed a household . . . containing a family with young children, grandmother, maiden aunt, and a couple of unmarried siblings. They had five servants, and I visualized a well-to-do household; the married son working maybe as a lawyer or doctor, taking care of his extended family. I see both sad and happy stories.”
FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide. In 2007 it announced plans to begin digitizing and indexing its collection for broader, online access—starting with popular collections like Canadian censuses. FamilySearch has digitized the 1916 Canada Census and is seeking online volunteers to help create a searchable index for it and other census and non-census Canada projects. The 1861 and 1871 censuses will be next.
Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC) owns and is providing the digital images for the Canada census projects.
About a month ago, I realized I hadn't accessed the September-October issue. I went to the website, but was having difficulty. I could log in, but when I clicked on the link to access the online edition, I was brought back to the login screen. So using the "Contact Us" feature, I sent off an e-mail explaining my predicament. I received an response the next day from Walt Fuller, President and Publisher of Everton with some suggestions and another one from Miste Newport, Office Administrator, the following day, with step-by-step instructions. I'm still not sure what the problem was (user error? faulty links?), but I have to say that the customer service is out of this world! Thanks to Everton's Genealogical Helper helpful staff, I was able to download both the September-October 2008 issue as well as the November-December one. You can be sure they've got a repeat customer!
Ancestry's Learning Center currently has 20 videos featuring Chief Historian Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as host of their series of genealogy how-tos on getting started, research challenges, and information sources, to name a few: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Videos.aspx
Register now for the latest webinar airing today at 8:00 PM, EST, "Discovering Family Tree Maker 2009". Or view 14 archived webinars on topics ranging from ethnic roots to using Ancestry's new search engine: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx
A five-part series on beginning research course for England has recently been released by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at their FamilySearch.org site. Class outlines and handouts are included: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/Education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 (Or go to http://www.familysearch.org, click on Library and choose Education from the drop-down menu. Then choose Research Series Classes Online from the left-hand menu.)
Family Tree Magazine
Right now, there are four videos (Using Google Books Search, Visual Guide to House Styles, etc.) hosted at the magazine website's video page. These are hosted at YouTube and a link is provided to access all 13 Family Tree Magazine videos on their YouTube channel: http://www.familytreemagazine.com/videos
Genealogy Gems TV
Although Lisa Louise Cooke's main focus is on podcasting, she offers a large variety of videos on her Genealogy Gems TV site. There's always something creative going on at GenealogyGems! These videos are also hosted at YouTube:
This project created by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak contains the most comprehensive and largest collection of free genealogy videos on the web. It includes interviews of genealogy "celebrities," tapings of national conferences and seminars, and offers 22 channels of tutorials on topics as diverse as DNA, family reunions, and various ethnic roots. Also available are many of the episodes from the popular PBS Ancestors Television Series (episodes numbered 101 - 109): http://www.rootstelevision.com
Treasure Maps Genealogy Videos
Robert Ragan's got more than just the two videos linked at his website's Genealogy Videos page! I found seven at his YouTube channel, GenealogyGuy (not to be confused with the Genealogy Guys, Drew Smith and George Morgan). Robert is one of those great teachers that patiently shows step-by-step directions to help even the less-technologically confident achieve success: http://amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/genealogy-videos.html
I've already mentioned a couple of YouTube genealogy channels, but there is so much more out there! Simply go to YouTube and search for "genealogy" or "family history" to find more! If your favorite genealogy videographer has created a YouTube channel, you can subscribe (for free) to be notified of their newest uploads. Not all videos will be tutorials; many individuals have created their own family history videos, so you never know if perhaps you'll find a connection to another distant cousin! Some of my favorite YouTube genealogy tutorials are created by Elyse Doerflinger (she's got 26!) and Mike of Irish Roots Cafe (15 videos on Irish research!).
http://www.youtube.com - search for genealogy , "family tree" or "family history", etc.
While Google owns YouTube, there are some videos out there that aren't hosted at that particular website. Searching at Google Video, I found diverse topics such as GenSmarts, DNA, African-American genealogy, and even a video about genealogy merit badges narrated by Dr. Steven R. Covey!
http://video.google.com/ - search for genealogy , "family tree" or "family history", etc.
Do you know of any other websites for free genealogy tutorials? Leave links and comments below.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"The word prompt for the 8th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Stocking Stuffer. Show us that picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell us whose stocking you'd stuff." Submission deadline is December 10th and can be entered here.
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"The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: Traditions!...What traditions were passed on to you from an earlier generation? Do you keep those traditions? What tradition(s) will you or have you passed on to a younger generation? Do you think they will keep it up? Do you care if they do?...Write about your traditions and submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions is December 1st."
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The 12th Cabinet of Curiosities will return home to Tim Abbott of Walking the Berkshires. The Cabinet is always published the third Monday of every month and can be entered here.
Lisa Louise Cooke is getting ready for the holidays over at her Genealogy Gems News Blog and asked for a little help from Pat Richley of DearMYRT; Allison Stacy, Editor and Publisher of Family Tree Magazine; Genealogy Insider Blogger and Family Tree Magazine Managing Editor Diane Haddad, and myself. We were only to happy to comply; you can see our shenanigans at the Genealogy Holiday Hoe Down (shhh! don't tell my orthopedic surgeon about that cartwheel I did!).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We couldn't be prouder of her! She has overcome so many obstacles that life has thrown her way. She attended school full time, worked full time, and single-handedly parented three active little boys. She's failed, gotten back up, dusted herself off, tried again, and succeeded. I'm blessed to have this woman as my sister and as a role model for my daughter. Congratulations, Kat! I love you!
All you need are speakers or a set of headphones to plug into your computer to listen to Lisa's terrific shows!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have a partially torn (more accurately described as "frayed") rotator cuff tendon in my left shoulder. Over time, other muscles have compensated for the sore one that is connected to the torn tendon, and pulled my humerus (upper arm bone) up and forward about an inch and a half, and my shoulder blade up about a half inch. As you can imagine, it has caused a great deal of pain and limited movement, as well as bursitis.
I have a tight acromial arch...part of the shoulder blade that curves around and forms the "socket" where my upper arm fits, and the arm bone is rubbing against the acromion, adding to the problem. The orthopedist will be doing arthroscopy (there's a clear photo on this page of arthroscopy on a left shoulder) and filing off part of the bone to allow more freedom of movement. He'll also decompress the bursa (treat the inflamed tissue) and check out the tendon to see if it'll need repair or will heal on its own.
If all goes well, I should be home in about four hours from start to finish, but won't be allowed to return to work for two weeks. Never having had surgery before, I don't know how my body will respond to surgery and anesthesia and if my recovery time will be normal or extended. I hope to be able to be back online very soon (keyboarding away with one hand!).
There was no injury or accident associated with the tear of the rotator cuff. My orthopedist described it as a slow wearing over time, exacerbated by the shape of my aromion. My regular job of assisting students in and out of wheelchairs probably hasn't helped (I won't be doing that again for a LOOOONG time).
Life has been busy--as it always is--since the school year started, and when I haven't been busy, I've been coping with pain. Otherwise, I would have been able to write some scheduled posts to be published in the next two weeks. However, there are many wonderful genea-bloggers out there, and I encourage you to check out the lower right-hand menu for the latest posts from my favorite reads. Or check out my profile page and look at the Blogs I Follow list at the bottom (I actually follow more than these; Blogger limits me to 200!).
I hope by the time I'm back in action that Ancestry will have finally released the Michigan and Washington State Death Certificates they've been promising for weeks (I'm getting tired of seeing "Coming Soon!"). I'll be finding lots of my relatives and ancestors (Michigan) as well as many of my husband's relatives and ancestors (Washington) in these databases.