Links: 5.24.10

This weekend I drove by a historic cemetery near my home, and noticed a team of volunteers with armloads of flags decorating veterans’ graves — a timely reminder that Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, is nearly upon us. So are this week’s links.

Reading for pleasure: Kimberley Powell shares reading tips from an unusual perspective: recreational reading with a genealogy angle. Her picks — two novels and a personal memoir — sound really interesting. Material for a genealogy book club, perhaps?

Pittsylvania roots: It appears that First Lady Michelle Obama has family roots in Virginia’s Henry and Pittsylvania counties, and a local history center is broadening its research into a connection made by Megan Smolenyak. Experts say all of the First Lady’s maternal line can be traced to this area. Now researchers are contacting many excited distant cousins in search of photos and background.

Digitizing British newspapers: According to this press release, the British Library is launching an effort to digitize 40 million pages of its historical newspapers collection and make them available online. The library’s collection spans three centuries and includes 52,000 titles. The mind boggles.

Gimmicks deconstructed: Blogger Chris Rodda, whose mother is a professional genealogist, explains with biting humor why giving Michael Walshe and his “Historical Research Center” your hard-earned cash is not the smartest genealogy research move.  She also wonders aloud why something called The History Channel is running shows like Ice Road Truckers, along with questionable genealogy ads. An excellent link to pass along the next time someone suggests you order a copy of your coat of arms for the TV room wall.

Enjoy the week!

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