Monday, November 30, 2009

Genealogy Blog Awards Announced by Tamura Jones

Tamura Jones has announced his pick for the 2009 Genealogy Blog Awards. Seven blogs were chosen, along with two honorable mentions:

The Graveyard Rabbit

The Chart Chick


Me and My Database : : Geek Genealogy
(Honorable Mention: The Gramps Project Blog)

Elyse Doerflinger's YouTube Genealogy Channel
(Honorable Mention: Climb Your Tree by Lucy)

Forensic Genealogy

Shades of the Departed

Visit Tamura's blog to see the categories in which each blog excelled, as well as links to the blogs themselves.


Personal fundraising widget for 2009 Red Kettle campaign

Click on the Image Above to Adopt a Needy Child or Senior in Your Community

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Casefile Clues

A couple of months ago, I saw that Michael John Neill was starting a subscription genealogy e-newsletter called Casefile Clues. I've always enjoyed Michael's writing, from his articles at Ancestry (free even if you don't have a subscription) to his Genealogy Tip of the Day. I've also had the pleasure of hearing him speak, as he was the featured presenter at my local genealogical society's October Workshop in 2006.

Michael offered to email me a sample copy of his Casefile Clues, which I gladly accepted. I was impressed by the content and the quality of the newsletter, and signed up for a year's subscription, $15.00 - easily purchased via Paypal or with a credit or debit card. I have not since been disappointed. Every week, I receive a copy of Casefile Clues in my email as a .pdf attachment. Each newsletter is about eight or nine pages long and focuses on a distinct research strategy and its process, whether it is determining if an individual with the "wrong" name in a census is actually the individual whom you are seeking; knowing when a record has missing information and why; or understanding whether it is time to hire a professional and exactly what you should ask him or her to research. Going to the Casefile Clues website provides document images and links that correspond with each newsletter.

There are several reasons I'm excited about Casefile Clues. First, it doesn't matter if you are someone who prefers offline research over online, or vice versa. Casefile Clues newsletters are timeless in that the strategies they offer can be used for any type of research, including ethnic records. The information is not going to change in three months! Another point is the focus I've seen on court and land records (although he discusses all record groups), areas in which I feel I am an "advanced beginner," having read a lot about these records but not having as much experience as I'd like in them. I'm looking forward to delving further into these record groups. The third reason I enjoy Casefile Clues is one I've seen listed in other bloggers' reviews: reading these newsletters is causing me to reexamine my own lines with a different focus. I'm very excited about this, as I have been working on some brickwall ancestors for the past couple of months and am now starting to chip away at some of the obstacles, just by the inspiration and tips I've received from Michael's writings!

This publication is definitely worth putting on your Christmas wish list! Additionally, now through Monday, November 30th, Michael is offering a Cyber Monday deal of only $12.00 for a year's subscription (52 issues). Believe me, even at the regular price of $15.00, this publication is well worth it and is, in my opinion, a better resource than many of the genealogy magazines offered out there! This is a publication that should be on your must-have genealogy resources list.

[Disclosure: I received a sample copy of Casefile Clues--at no charge to me and available to any requester--with no obligation to publish a review. I have not been compensated monetarily in any way for this review.]

Personal fundraising widget for 2009 Red Kettle campaign

Click on the Image Above to Adopt a Needy Child or Senior in Your Community

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Own Red Kettle Campaign

Doing the Most Good

If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you know that I grew up in a home with both parents who were, for about eight years, officers (ministers) of the church and charitable organization, The Salvation Army. You will also know that when I graduated high school, I spent my college years working for this organization and met my husband, also a Salvation Army employee, while employed at the Family Services department.

The Salvation Army was started in 1865 by William and Catherine (Mumford) Booth in London, England as the Christian Mission. They ministered to alcoholics, prostitutes, and other street people living in the worst sort of circumstances. They recognized that a person's spiritual needs could not be met until their physical needs had first been satisfied; thus the motto "Soup, Soap, and Salvation" was born. Originally, the Booths tried to bring their converts to local churches, but the organized congregations' classist attitudes convinced them that they needed to form their own movement. They organized themselves in a military way, with officers being ministers, a corps being a church, and soldiers as members. In 1878, the name was officially changed to The Salvation Army, and in 1880, their work began in the United States. The Salvation Army was unusual in that it allowed women to be ministers at a time when they had few legal rights in most civilized countries.

The work of The Salvation Army continues internationally today in its community outreach programs, including alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs and centers; its community centers serving the athletic, day care, and meal needs of children, youth, and seniors; its family service centers (food banks and shelters); its thrift stores, providing employment as well as inexpensive items for sale to low-income families; summer camps and day camps, and many other services. The Salvation Army is often one of the first organizations at disaster sites, and while we often hear about the (deservedly) good work of the Red Cross in times and areas of crisis, The Salvation Army is also there, working quietly behind the scenes, offering not only physical help but spiritual and emotional counseling as well.

Every Thanksgiving, the The Salvation Army in the United States kicks off its Red Kettle Campaign to promote the presence of its kettle stands at malls and shopping centers throughout the holiday season. There are two types of kettle workers that you'll see: the first type is the volunteer, usually working as a service member of another organization, such as the Rotary Club or Kiwanis group. The second type of worker, much more common, is a seasonal, minimum-wage employee who either is in need a job to provide for themselves and/or a family, or sometimes a student on break or a person working a second job to make a little extra Christmas money.

The donations received go into The Salvation Army's general fund, and stay within that community, even if there is not a corps (church) in that community. The Army works with social service organizations within small communities if they themselves do not have a corps there. Monies are used year-round to fight poverty locally. For those communities that do have a corps, the monies go toward that corps outreach programs mentioned two paragraphs above. Those in need do not need to be members of The Salvation Army to receive assistance.

This year, I am starting my own Red Kettle Campaign. At the bottom of every post between today and Christmas Day, you will see two icons: one is the Christmas Kettle and the other is the Angel Giving Tree. You can click on either icon to be brought to a webpage where you can make a monetary donation, or adopt an Angel--a child or senior for the holidays. The Angel Giving Tree program originally started to provide children of the imprisoned and jailed with Christmas gifts and needed clothing and toiletry items. It has been expanded to include all needy children, as well as indigent senior citizens.

This year has been especially difficult for many. In my own household, my husband has been unemployed since May and our income has dropped drastically, not only because Unemployment Insurance only pays two-thirds of what his original income was, but because I am now carrying our medical insurance through my employer. Yet, we have so much, and we are grateful for what we have! I am sure many of you are in the same boat. In all of our economic difficulties, let us look beyond our own needs to the even greater needs of others. Please make a donation or adopt a child or senior for the holidays. Your donation will stay in your own community, and if you adopt an Angel, he or she will also be from your local community. As you do so, will you leave a comment below so that I can acknowledge your generosity and so that it will be an encouragement for others to also give?

Personal fundraising widget for 2009 Red Kettle campaign

Click on the Image Above to Adopt a Needy Child or Senior in Your Community

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I'm very overdue in recognizing the two very creative bloggers who awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award recently. Luckie Daniels of Our Georgia Roots and Polly Fitzgerald Kimmet of Pollyblog. On this Thanksgiving Day, I send them my gratitude and appreciation!

As part of this award, I'm supposed to tell seven as-yet-unrevealed things about myself and then pass it on to seven other bloggers. Both parts are difficult, since I've participated in so many memes on this blog, and many bloggers have already been given this award. But I am willing to give it a go!

Seven things about myself:

1. I am hard of hearing, especially in my right ear. My hearing loss is probably not enough to warrant hearing aids, and definitely not enough to qualify me for any disability benefits. It is not a volume issue, it is a loss in the range that allows you to hear consonants. Some of it is due to the many ear infections I had as a child, and the other is probably genetic (my son's hearing is bad enough that he does qualify to wear hearing aids; plus I had an ancestor who had three deaf children out of twelve). I rely a lot on reading lips to clarify meaning ("when" and "where" can sound an awful lot alike and can confuse meaning of a question), and am constantly irritated by people who hide their faces or talk "through their teeth" (don't enunciate).

2. I met my children's father while we were both working for The Salvation Army Family Services Department in Spokane. His brother was our supervisor, and I remember when I first met his brother, I thought "Midkiff" was an extremely weird last name. Thanksgiving always brings back lots of memories of people lined up for blocks around our office building to receive either a free boxed turkey dinner or vouchers for one from the local supermarket.

3. I have lived without running water and electricity for four or five years during my childhood in Alaska (very rainy climate), and without running water for five years during my teen years in Eastern Washington (very dry climate!).

4. I have also lived without television for years: first, because of living without either electricity or television service in Alaska; and secondly, when I was first married, we chose to live without a television for the first couple years of our marriage.

5. Unlike most women, I dislike shopping. When we first looked at this house we bought, our real estate agent tried to sell us on all its good points including, "It's close to the mall." Umm...yeah. This time of year makes me cringe, and I am appalled at the concept of Black Friday.

6. I homeschooled my children for three years. I enjoyed it immensely and when it was no longer fun for any of us, they ended up at public school. So did I...first as a volunteer, then eventually as a special education instructional assistant, because I had a background of working with the disabled.

7. For five years my children's father and I lived at a former Nike missile base, which had been converted to a private microfilm processing and records storage facility. There are many colorful stories from that time period of my life that I will have to someday fictional form, so as to protect the not-so-innocent characters that we worked with.


Now here are seven very creative and deserving genealogy blogs that combine genealogy with other crafting hobbies:

1. Crafts and Genealogy

2. Creative Genealogy

3. Ethnic Scrapbooking

4. Geneascraps

5. Preserving Heritage

6. Saturday's Child

7. Scrap Your Roots

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Newest Newspapers Added to Washington State Library's Digital Project

From the Washington State Library blog:

The Washington State Library has added an early Snohomish newspaper to its online offerings. The Northern Star, from 1876-1879, is the library’s latest addition to the Historical Newspapers Online Project, which makes available the state’s earliest territorial newspapers to anyone with an Internet connection. Indexed by staff and a group of enthusiastic volunteers, news topics include:

The Northern Star joins Olympia’s first papers, The Columbian, The Washington Pioneer and The Pioneer and Democrat, that cover 1852-1857. Also included in the collection are historical newspapers from the cities of La Conner, Lynden, Port Townsend, Seattle, Spokane, Steilacoom, Vancouver, Walla Walla and Yakima. Additional newspapers will be brought online as they are scanned and indexed.

The newspaper Web site was purposely designed for students, genealogists, and historians to easily access historical information. It provides viewers with the ability to search by keywords, dates, subjects, and personal names. To view the newspapers, please visit

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting More Traffic to Your Blog, Part Seven: Check It

Have you ever read a blog that was written by someone who, though they had an interesting piece of writing, fell short in the spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation department? Perhaps you read a story that didn't quite make sense, as the events were not listed in an orderly manner or the details were unclear.

Of course, none of us are perfect, and from time to time, I do reread old posts on my blog and cringe when I find a glaring error. However, in this case, I'm not talking about the occasional mistake; I'm talking about errors that happen so frequently within a single piece of writing that they are a distraction, and can feel mentally painful to read! I've actually unsubscribed from a couple of blogs that were making me frustrated every time I visited them!

You definitely don't want your readers to feel this way. There are several ways you can improve the editing and revision processes of your writing. First of all, understand that editing involves the brick and mortar of writing: spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Editing is what makes the writing "sound and look right" when you read it. Revision is the decorating of your piece: deleting or adding material to make it clear, interesting, and sequential. Revision is what makes your writing "interesting and make sense" to read; it literally means "to look again."

After you have written your post, don't publish it just yet. Reread it to see if it makes sense. Is it too wordy? Not detailed enough? Does it flow or do the sentences sound jerky and unrelated? As you address these issues, you will develop your own style of writing that sets you apart from others. is especially helpful if I can't remember a word I wish to use or if I'm struggling not to repeat the same words too frequently in my post.

Next, use the spell check to scan for errors. Don't rely only on spell check, however. While it may find the basic spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes, it is only a computer program and doesn't catch everything. I often write with a tab open at to make sure that I'm spelling correctly and also using the correct word in a sentence.

Another useful resource is Daily Writing Tips, a blog by Maeve Maddox. It covers spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, popular expressions, misused words, writing basics, and much more! I especially appreciate her free, downloadable eBook, Basic English Grammar.

After I've revised and edited my writing, I'll read it aloud. Then I'll publish it and read it again. For some reason, my eyes will catch things I missed when the post was in draft mode after I read it published on my blog!

Don't forget that good writing skills, both in content and structure, will cause both your regular and new readers to return in the future!

Other posts in this series:
Part One: Get Listed
Part Two: Participate
Part Three: Comment and Allow Comments
Part Four: Create a Profile
Part Five: Join Social Networking Sites
Part Six: The Redux
Part Eight: Learn

Part Nine: Bookmarks, Feeds, and Subscriptions

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 2009 Scanfest

Friday, November 20, 2009

The 24th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy Has Been Posted!

Al Wierzba of Al's Polish-American Genealogy Research is the host of the 24th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, whose theme is "Tips, Tricks, and Websites for Researching Central and Eastern European Genealogy."

Nine articles were submitted by the same number of authors. Even if you don't have ancestry from Central and Eastern Europe, these posts are well worth the reading for general tips and ideas that can help with any research!

The 25th edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy will be hosted by Jessica Oswalt of Jessica's Genejournal. The topic for this edition will be Christmas/Hanukkah traditions. Does your family have any unique Christmas or Hanukkah traditions? Articles on topics such as food dishes, decorations, traditions, etc., of Central and Eastern Europe are welcome. The deadline for the submissions will be December 18, and Jessica will post the edition on the 20th. Please submit articles through the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy website.

FYI: the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy accepts submissions on articles relating to the territory now governed by the following modern governments: Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Russia Federation, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

DAR Databases Now Available Online

From the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution:

After nearly a decade of scanning, indexing, and other behind-the-scenes work by DAR members and employees, the Daughters of the American Revolution is pleased to announce the availability of the DAR Genealogical Research System on our public website. Here are the direct links: or (and click on the Library button at the top, then the second tab in the left-hand column).

The GRS is a growing collection of databases that provide access to many materials collected by the DAR over the past 119 years. Included in this collection of databases is the GRC National Index which has been available to researchers for the past few years. There are still some kinks we’re working out here and there.

When you go to the link above, you will find several tabs that will enable searching in the various databases:

Ancestor – established DAR Revolutionary War Ancestors and basic information about them with listings of the applications submitted by descendants who joined the DAR [updated daily]

Member – limited access to information on deceased/former DAR members – not current members.

Descendants – index of generations in applications between the DAR member and the Revolutionary War ancestor. There is much eighteenth and nineteenth-century information here. [ongoing indexing project]

GRC – everyname index to 20,000 typescript volumes (some still being indexed) of genealogical records such as cemeteries, Bibles, etc. This index is not limited to the period of the American Revolution at all.

Resources [In particular, the digitized DAR Library Revolutionary Pension Extract Card Index and the Analytical Index Cards. Other information sources will be coming in the near future, mostly relating to Revolutionary War service, bibliographies, Forgotten Patriots (updates), etc. Read the introductions to these to learn why these are both important genealogical indexes. For example, the Rev. War pension index includes the names of people mentioned in those pensions that were abstracted (not just the pensioner or widow)!!!!]

Library Catalog – our book, periodical, and manuscript holdings

Each of these has interrelated content, and a description of each is given more fully on the website. You will notice restricted information in many search results. This is the result of a concerted effort to protect the identity of our members while providing historical genealogical information to researchers.

The national numbers of members (without the names of living members) given in the search results are needed to order copies of applications and supplemental applications. They do not lead online researchers to any other information about the member.

P.S. Randy Seaver has written a wonderful tutorial on using these databases on his genealogy blog, Genea-Musings.

Digital Updates to the Washington State Library

From the Washington State Library Blog:

Digital Updates

Historical Newspapers in Washington – 1 new title.

The years 1861-1864 have been added to the Puget Sound Herald in Historical Newspapers in Washington online project, which now covers six years of Steilacoom pioneer news, from 1858 to 1864.

Classics in Washington History

We have added a new category – 20th Century Events – to our Classics in Washington History. This category currently contains the Works Progress Administration Papers and, new to the collection, papers by the War Relocation Authority on the Japanese Internment :

The Community Analysis Report concerns how authorities should “deal” with the Japanese and Japanese American people they have incarcerated through an understanding of their customs and cultural background. Causes of social unrest, segregation, education, Buddhism and labor relations are topics covered within these papers.

The Community Analysis Notes “reveal the life experience and viewpoints” of the incarcerated Nisei. Why did many young men say “no” to two questions on the Army registration form? How did the Japanese deal with engagement and marriage in the camps? How did it differ from pre-internment days? How did they adjust to life in the camps?

The Project Analysis Series analyzes various events that occurred during the relocation project. What happened at Tule Lake in November 1943? Why did it happen? What was the reaction to opening Selective Service to Nisei? What are the motives behind Nisei requesting repatriation?

Other additions to Classics in Washington History are :

Reminiscences of Washington Territory by Charles Prosch

The editor of the Puget Sound Herald, Charles Prosch, recounts his memories and opinions feely on such subjects as newspapers, the army, churches, and doctors in the early days of Washington Territory.

Seattle General Strike

Account of the Seattle general strike from the point of view of the unions, written by the History Committee of the General Strike Committee.

F. A. Chenoweth letter to Gov. McMullin

This Letter to Gov. McMullin from F. A. Chenoweth, a justice on the Territorial Supreme Court, concerns his role in and opinions on the controversy over the proclamation of martial law by the previous governor, Isaac I. Stevens. He outlines his disagreements with Stevens and explains his actions during the events and his disapproval of the arrest of Judge Landers.

Oregon: the claim of the United States to Oregon

This small book contains the diplomatic correspondence between the U.S. and England regarding the claim of America to the Oregon Territory. These arguments and counter-arguments were part of the negotiations leading to the Treaty of 1846 and the establishment of the border between the U.S. and what is now Canada.

The Whitman Massacre of November 29, 1847 provides a painful window into a time of conflicting cultures, priorities and prejudices. The State Library has added two works to the Digital Collections that further illuminate this painful event.

Authentic account of the murder of Dr. Whitman and other missionaries by Fr. J.B.A. Brouillet

For decades after the tragedy at the Whitman Mission, writers, preachers and others sought to place blame for the event itself and for the underlying causes. Resentments against the Hudson’s Bay Company and religious prejudices often colored narratives, and led to charges of cowardice or malice.

One viewpoint comes from Fr. Brouillet, the Catholic priest who first discovered the massacre and helped to bury the dead. His brief book, published in 1869, attempts to refute Rev. Henry Spalding’s accusations that the Catholics fomented resentments against the Whitmans among the Indians. He does this by gathering statements and letters from people present in the territory at the time and involved in the events, and by trying to analyze the underlying causes. See an Authentic account of the murder of Dr. Whitman and other missionaries in Classics in Washington History.

Journey across the plains in 1836 by Narcissa Whitman

This work contains three separate sets of letters from Narcissa Whitman to her friends and relatives, both back east and in the Oregon Territory. The collections include several letters from Marcus Whitman as well. The letters were published as part of the proceedings of the Oregon Pioneer Association, and the speeches and committee reports of the Association are also included, as is a separate essay on “The Schooner ‘Star’”.

The letters reveal a woman who is determined to live up to her religious ideals. She accepts the loss of home and her extended family. She accepts her husband’s frequent absences and the physical hardships of frontier living. Yet, she continually begs her family to write more often, and is without any letters from home for two years due to long distances. She is never quite at home with the Indians and has difficulty learning the language. There are hints in her narratives about the tensions among the missionaries and the discouragement when few others arrive to join the mission effort. The letters, though relentlessly optimistic, create a portrait of an intensely social and conventional woman laboring in isolation and surrounded by a culture that remains foreign to her.

Footnote Announces Their New Interactive Native American Collection

We are excited to announce the release of our latest interactive collection: the Native American collection. Working together with the National Archives and Allan County Library, has created a collection featuring over 1.8 million records that will help people discover new details about Native American history and genealogy.

Visit the Native American Microsite today and explore records only found on

* Ratified Indian Treaties - dating back to 1722

* Indian Census Rolls - featuring personal information including age, place of residence and degree of Indian blood

* The Guion Miller Roll - perhaps the most important source of Cherokee genealogical research

* Dawes Packets - containing original applications for tribal enrollments

* And other documents relating to the Five Civilized Tribes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The 84th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is Posted!

poster courtesy of the footnoteMaven

Jasia recently posted the 84th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, whose theme was "What the COG (Carnival of Genealogy) means to me. This was a fabulous carnival to both participate in and read! I really liked the way Jasia organized the posts, and I encourage you to enjoy it.


Call for Submissions! The topic for the next edition of the COG is: “Orphans and Orphans.” The first type of orphan refers to those ancestors or relatives who lost their parents when they were young. The second type of orphan would be those siblings or cousins of our ancestors whom we think of as “reverse orphans.” They are the relatives who, for whatever reason – death at a young age, never having married or had children, or having children who did not survive to provide descendants – have no direct descendants of their own, so it falls to us, their collateral relatives, to learn and write their story. Greta will be the host this time around (thank you Greta!). The deadline for submissions is December 1st.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blog carnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RootsMagic Releases Free Genealogy and Family Tree Software

As a enthusiastic RootsMagic user, I was excited to receive this press release!

"RootsMagic Essentials" Brings Free Tools for Family History

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 18, 2009 — RootsMagic, Inc. announced the immediate availability of RootsMagic Essentials, free desktop genealogy software based on their award-winning RootsMagic 4 system. RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features found in its namesake that allow the public to easily start tracing their family trees.

Essential Features for Everyone
“Many of our users have told us that they have friends and family members who are interested in getting started in family history but aren’t ready to invest in a more comprehensive package like RootsMagic,” said Bruce Buzbee, president. “RootsMagic Essentials gives them the features they need to start researching and recording their family tree at a price that can’t be beat—free!”

RootsMagic Essentials shares many of the same features with the full RootsMagic software including clean and friendly screens, the ability to add an unlimited number of people and events, pictures and media management, the SourceWizard to write your source citations for you, powerful merging and clean-up tools, dozens of reports and charts, support for international character sets, FamilySearch integration, and the ability to share data with other people and software programs. The full version of RootsMagic is available for purchase and includes features not available in RootsMagic Essentials.

Free and Available Now
RootsMagic Essentials is available now for free at Users of other genealogy software products will find it easy to experiment with RootsMagic Essentials using their own data. RootsMagic Essentials can directly import data from PAF, Family Tree Maker (through 2006), Family Origins, and Legacy Family Tree. It can also read and write data using the popular GEDCOM format.

"We're excited to make RootsMagic Essentials available to the community," said Michael Booth, vice-president. "Our mission is to provide 'software to unite families' and our hope is that RootsMagic Essentials will encourage more people to record their family trees and connect with their family histories".

About RootsMagic, Inc.
For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose—to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular "Family Origins" software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.

That tradition continues today with "RootsMagic", our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. "Personal Historian" will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. "Family Reunion Organizer" takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And "Family Atlas" creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.

For more information, visit

Source: RootsMagic, Inc.

Update on FindAGrave

FindAGrave now has 38 million memorial pages listed on its free website, which includes many details about the individuals' lives, links to other family members' memorial pages, and photographs of the individual and/or his or her tombstone! As an indicator of how fast this website has grown over the years, on December 21 of last year, I reported they had 28 million memorial pages. All of these are created by visitors like ourselves.

If you would like to learn more about FindAGrave, you can request my free syllabus as well as read my post on the Family Linking Feature.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting More Traffic to Your Blog, Part Six (or, The Redux)

Last winter I started a series on Getting More Traffic to Your Blog, aimed specifically at new geneabloggers. It was a series that I--surprise, surprise--never quite finished, partly because life got busy, and partly because Julie Cahill Tarr of The Graveyard Rabbit wrote a similar series touching on some of the same ideas I had gathered.

As a service to new geneabloggers, and with Julie's permission, I have listed below both our series which I hope will be of benefit to many of you:

Monday, November 16, 2009

The 18th Edition of the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival is Posted

Twenty-three bloggers have shared ancestral and modern photos around the theme "Travel" at Shades of the Departed's 18th Edition of the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival. Be sure to check them out!

Now The Call For Submissions!

Smile For The Camera
10 December 2009

The word prompt for the 19th Edition of Smile For The Camera is "Gift." It is the holiday season and a time for giving. So give Smile readers the gift of sharing, sharing a family photograph. It can be a gift given or received, it can be the gift of talent, it can be the gift of having the photograph itself. The interpretation of gift is yours. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT)
10 December 2009

There are two options:

1. Send an email to the host, footnoteMaven. Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, your name, and the name of your blog. Put 'Smile For The Camera' clearly in the title of your email!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.

See you at the Carnival!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Scanfest is Coming!

The November 2009 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories next Sunday, November 22nd, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time. Normally held the last Sunday of the month, we have moved it a week earlier due to many people being occupied with the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Scanfest may be a new term for some of my new readers. What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth (or for stubborn spots, use a little eyeglass cleaner, again, sprayed onto the cloth, not the glass), and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, November 21st at 4 PM, PST and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!

The Joy of COG

...or, What the Carnival of Genealogy Means to Me

poster courtesy of the inimitable footnoteMaven, who has been designing COG posters since the 28th Edition

In the beginning...

Mid-December 2006. I had been blogging quietly for nearly a year, at a different blogging platform, with an audience of one: myself. I found a few other genealogy blogs (four, to be exact), one of whom was Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings. He had highlighted something that was new to me, the Carnival of Genealogy.

I had never heard of a blog carnival before, much less the Carnival of Genealogy (COG). I discovered upon reading it that it was similar to an online magazine, except all the articles (posts)--focused on one theme--were written at each of the authors' (bloggers') blog sites instead of at one online location. The Carnival post listed at the Creative Gene blog was like a table of contents listing each submission with a descriptive paragraph and a hyperlink to the full article.

Aha! Here was a way to find more genealogy bloggers, and perhaps a few more readers as well! I quickly wrote out my first submission for the 14th COG, whose topic was Genealogy Gift Giving, My Genealogy Gift List: Victoria's Secret? Never!

Wow! Jasia, the host of the COG, wrote a very kind description: "You have to read this one... written tongue in cheek, Miriam gives a good giggle while telling us whose secrets she'd really like to discover! Very clever!" And I noticed my blog got more views than all the previous views combined! Furthermore, I received my very first COG comment from Lee Anders: "Love your post! Who has a need for Victoria's Secret when there are juicier secrets out there just waiting to be uncovered?" Needless to say, I was hooked!

Let Me Count the Ways
Participating in the COG has multiple benefits. First, there's the focus one must take to write a quality article. It sharpens thinking and writing skills. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone to prepare a post and in looking at the corresponding genealogy research necessary for the topic, I end up going a little deeper into my analysis of the sources, timelines, and documents involved. Sometimes I make new discoveries! The COG is good for writing, but it's also great for research!

Next, there's the reading; having others read your post and reading other submissions. The COG definitely increases traffic to your blog, but it also creates a "paper trail" for other relatives researching the same ancestors. Years after I've written a post for the COG, I'll get a comment from someone whose Google search on an ancestor led me to my blog. Again, the COG is good for readership, but it's also great for making genealogical connections! Also, by reading others' submissions, you get exposure to different writing and research styles, and who knows? You may just discover you have a distant cousin who's also blogging the COG!

And then there are the connections: not just the possibility of connecting with distant cousins, but the camaraderie that grows between yourself and other COG bloggers. Some of my closest friends are those I have never met in real life! We write and we read each other's blogs. We laugh and we cry. We pray for them when they're going through personal rough spots and we do the genealogy happy dance when they break through a genealogy brick wall. We end up being Facebook friends and Twitter followers and we email and instant message and Skype each other. And for all that, the COG is alone worth it!

My Faves
I have a few favorite COG editions, and they tend to be annually themed, traditionalist that I am. They include the Resolutions Editions (January), the iGene Awards, a.k.a. the "Best of the Best" (February), the Women's History Month Editions (March), the Swimsuit Editions (June), and the Wish List Editions (December).

Of all the ones I've written, my favorite are My Genealogy Gift List: Victoria's Secret? Never! (14th Edition - and my first COG submission), Childhood Food Memories (16th), the two I wrote for the 18th Edition, 5 Tips for Michigan Internet Research and Recommended Reading for Michigan Research, One Woman: Barbara Dorothy Valk, Missionary to Central Africa (20th), Eight Generations of Mothers (24th) and A Polar Bear in North Russia (30th).

Two submissions that are among my favorites were actually written by my parents. My mother wrote her school day memories in Mom, How'd You Get So Smart? (48th), and I copied an article my dad had written years ago for an association newsletter, "Pygmy Goats in Alaska" (53rd).

I also hosted my first COG last August with a theme I picked myself, Disasters! (77th). Although time-consuming to create (which leads me to credit Jasia as a superwoman to do this first twice a month and now once a month!), it was a lot of fun and very interesting to put together.

Ups and Downs
Writing for the COG isn't always easy. By looking at the list of my COG submissions at the bottom of this post, I can see periods when my computer wasn't working, my life was chaotically busy, or my writing had hit a slump.

I'm not the only one who rollercoasters. A short while back, some of us "oldtimers" had an email discussion bemoaning our lack of posts, creativity, and motivation, and our writers' blocks. The only thing to do is to pick yourself up and keep going. Sometimes those bursts of great writing come forth only after forcing yourself to sit down and write.

I don't always submit my posts in a timely manner. I've missed a few deadlines but published my posts anyway, because I knew I had something that needed to be said. I've recycled a few old posts from time to time to use, either because I wasn't feeling creative, or actually when a few old posts fit the COG theme perfectly. Good writing takes time, and my usual COG post takes me approximately two to three hours to write.

But all in all, I have enjoyed writing for the COG and I hope to increase the amount of my submissions after a lean year of blogging in general.

Back to the Future
If you've never written for the COG before, I encourage you to do so! I wrote a tutorial here at the Bootcamp for Geneabloggers blog on how to submit a post to the carnival. If you've never hosted a carnival, then I also encourage you to contact Jasia and let her know you'd be willing to do so. She's always looking for more hosts!

I look forward to many more years of future COGs as well as to its natural evolution. There can only be better things to come as our writing and research improves!

Jasia, thank you for starting this wonderful event, for keeping it up despite all the hard work and times of discouragement. Your carnival has been a wonderful example for many other genealogy-based carnivals and you deserve all the accolades that come your way!

My COG Submissions

14 - My Genealogy Gift List: Victoria's Secret? Never! (Annual Wish List Edition)

15 - My New Year's Genealogy Resolutions for 2007 (Annual Resolutions Edition)

16 - Childhood Food Memories

17 - "I'd Like to Thank the Academy"

18 - 5 Tips for Michigan Internet Research and Recommended Reading for Michigan Research

19 - 185 River Street

20 - One Woman: Barbara Dorothy Valk, Missionary to Central Africa (Annual Women's History Month Edition)

22 - Bob and the Cow

24 - Eight Generations of Mothers

26 - Six Generations of Fathers: The Midkiff Men and Spokane, Washington: Home of Father's Day

28 - Origins of Our Surnames

31 - The Legend of Joseph Josiah ROBBINS

32 - A Polar Bear in North Russia

34 - 29 East LaCrosse: Haunted or Not?

36 - Loving Genealogy...For Over 30 Years!

37 - Dear Sinterklaas (Annual Wish List Edition)

39 - The Midkiff Family: Y2K Ready

39 - My New Years' Resolutions for 2008 (Annual Resolutions Edition)

41 - Guests for Dinner

42 - AnceStories Presents the iGene Awards (Annual "Best of the Best" Edition)

43 - Technology and Genealogy

45 - 1967 Model No. 1

46 - Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

48 - Mom, How'd You Get So Smart?

49 - In the Good Old Summertime (Annual Swimsuit Edition)

51 - An Independent Man: John WILKINSON, Jr.

52 - What's Age Got to Do With It?

53 - "Pygmy Goats in Alaska"

54 - Our Family Language

55 - Digital Show and Tell

56 - Miriam's Ten Essential Genealogy Books

61 - Advent Memories No. 18: Christmas Stockings and Advent Memories No. 3: Holiday Foods

62 - All I Want for Christmas Is... (Annual Wish List Edition)

63 - Resolutions (Annual Resolutions Edition)

64 - Winter Photo Essay: Marie Lewis

77 - Fire! (my submission)

77 - Disasters! (hosted)

82 - My Favorite Genealogical Society

83 - Eight Musical Things About Me

Forgotten Remains Get Burial Rites

This story in my local paper, from North Idaho, reminds me of Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak's Unclaimed Persons Project. In this case, it's about forgotten remains of veterans or their spouses, and what the Missing In America project is doing about it. It's a national project, but it started in Idaho.

You'll want to read this as soon as possible, because The Spokesman-Review archives its articles behind a subscription wall after only a day or two.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Surname Saturday: CONCIDINE

The CONCIDINE surname belongs to my paternal grandmother's adoptive mother. My grandmother was an adoptee, and I have been highlighting both her biological and her adoptive families' surnames in my Surname Saturday posts. I use the letter B to distinguish between adoptive and biological families in my ahnentafel.

CONCIDINE is a surname from Ireland, being the equivalent of the surname CONSTANTINE. While this surname is often spelled CONSIDINE, in our family line it is quite frequently spelled with a C instead of an S.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #88B - Dennis CONCIDINE - (b. c. 1800) - little is know about this man except that he was born in Ireland (probably Ennis, County Clare), and that his wife's name was Nora GILLIGAN. They emigrated to Rochester, Monroe Co., New York about 1827, and then removed to Wyoming Co., New York four years later, where they lived out the remainder of their days.

Ahnentafel #44B - John D. CONCIDINE - (1823 - 1906) - Born in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, I first found him in the 1850 US Federal Census in Allendale Twp., Ottawa Co., Michigan. By then he was married to Elizabeth McDIARMID; together they had a family of nine children. John was one of the early settlers and farmers of Byron Twp., Kent Co., Michigan, where he died in 1906. He is mentioned in the memoirs of Belinda Thompson Irwin here, as well as in the History of Kent County, Michigan.

Ahnentafel #22B - John Dennis CONCIDINE - (1854 - 1925) - Born in Byron Center, Byron Twp., Kent Co., Michigan, John first married Anna Matilda "Annie" HIGBY, with whom he had seven children, five of whom survived infancy. After Annie's death in 1903, he married the housekeeper, Minnie Belle FIELD. They had one son. Three of John's sons from his first marriage moved to Illinois, and John and Minnie moved there in his elder years. He died in Afton Twp., DeKalb Co., Illinois, but was buried in the family plot in Byron Township.

Ahnentafel #11B - Nellie May CONCIDINE - (1883 - 1953) - Nellie was John's only daughter to survive infancy. She became a school teacher, teaching in Kent and Muskegon Counties, the latter being where she met German immigrant Alfred Henry HOLST. They married in 1905, and had a set of twins in 1909, who died shortly after birth. Nine years later, they were finally able to conceive another child, a daughter. After moving from Muskegon County to Wisconsin, then back to Michigan, this time in Ottawa County, they decided to take in a foster child after some shirttail cousins adopted a little boy. The boy's older sister that they fostered was my maternal grandmother. They raised her and considered her their adopted daughter, although like most adoptive families at that time, no legal process took effect...until the underage girl wished to be married. In order to give their consent, they had to be the legal parents, and so Nellie and Alfred adopted my grandmother shortly before her 16th birthday and subsequent marriage the next week to my grandfather. Nellie died at the age of 69, just six months after her husband.

Ahnentafel #5 - my maternal grandmother - living

Ahnentafel #2 - my father - living

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More about the CONCIDINE family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): CONCIDINE ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Some CONCIDINE obituaries

3. Posts about CONCIDINE ancestors and relatives on this blog

4. Some scanned CONCIDINE documents

My CONCIDINE immigration trail:

County Clare, Ireland > Monroe Co., NY > Wyoming Co., NY > Ottawa Co., MI > Kent Co., MI > Muskegon Co., MI > WI > Ottawa Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

Sunday, November 01, 2009

November 2009 Calendar of Events

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

--from "The Garden Year" by Sara Coleridge

Holidays, History, and Heritage

American Indian Heritage Month (United States)

Black Catholic History Month (worldwide)

New York State History Month (United States)

Family Stories Month
(Check out Passing It On; a great site dedicated to preserving, celebrating and sharing family and personal history.)

National Adoption Month (United States)

November 1: All Saints' Day (Christianity)
Daylight Saving Time Ends

November 2: All Souls' Day (Christianity)
Día de los Muertos (Mexico)

November 3: Election Day (United States)

November 5: Guy Fawkes Night (Britain and New Zealand)

November 11: Remembrance Day/Veterans Day

November 16: Dutch-American Heritage Day

November 26: Thanksgiving Day (United States)
Family Health History Day (United States)

November 27: National Day of Listening (United States)

November 27 - 30: Eid al-Adha (Islam)

November 29: First Sunday of Advent (Christianity)

November 30: St. Andrew's Day (Scotland)

Do any of the above events feature in or affect your heritage, culture, or family history?

November Carnivals and Other Events:

Posted November 1 - the November 2009 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival - Write Your Own Epitaph

Posted November 3 - the 83rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - Musical Instruments

Posted November 4 - the 16th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture - Irish Portraits

Posted November 15 - the 18th Edition of the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival - Travel

Posted November 15 - the Premier Edition of Shades of the Departed

Posted November 18 - the 84th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - What the COG Means to You

Posted November 20 - the 24th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy - Tips, Tricks, Websites for Researching Central and Eastern European Genealogy

Posted November 26 - the Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge

November 1 - Data Backup Day

Read the latest Data Backup Day post by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers.

Scanfest will be early this year to circumvent the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We will be meeting on Sunday, November 22, 2009 from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time.

Go here to add the above deadlines and dates to your Google Calendar,
courtesy of Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family.

The stripped and shapely

Maple grieves
The loss of her
Departed leaves.

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.

And yet the world,
Displays a certain

The beauty of The bone.
Tall God

Must see our souls
This way, and nod.

Give thanks: we do,
Each in his place
Around the table
During grace.

--"November," by John Updike