Links, 6.27.11

Big summer milestone for our family this week: the first day trip to the beach (or, as we say here in New Jersey, “down the Shore”). The waves were awesome.

Speed sleuthing: How to identify the photographer who took the images in a 69 year old album without any captions? That’s a difficult photo detective challenge. Unless  you’re the New York Times and Der Spiegel, the German newsweekly, which published some of the World War II  images online. Thanks to tips from viewers, within three hours they had an identity for the Nazi photographer who took photos of soldiers, prisoners of war and a close-up of Adolf Hitler.

More detective work: A Maine woman who found a mysterious ring inscribed” CCD to MAL, Dec. 25 1880″ on a beach in Kittery was able to return it to a descendant of the owner. Genealogists who saw news reports about the ring helped with the legwork.

Flamed: The burned courthouse is the specter that lurks in every genealogist’s nightmares. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kenneth Thomas offers tips on how to stop panicking and find ways around destroyed records.

Reverse migration: The New York Times also had an interesting story about why young African Americans are choosing to leave the Northeast and settle in places like Charlotte, N.C., in a turnaround from the Great Migration of the early 20th century.

Tombstone mystery: In St. Paul, Minn., authorities are puzzling over a gravestone that turned up on a city street. Spotted by a passerby, the stone is marked “Marie Olsen, 1879-1932.” Local authorities have found a few Marie or Mary Olsens who died in 1932, but none were born in 1879.

What Kudrow Thinks: Lisa Kudrow, producer of the U.S. edition of Who Do You Think You Are, discusses how she hopes a switch in category will get the show the Emmy nomination that eluded it last year — and reflects on the second season, which included Rosie O’Donnell, Vanessa Williams and Tim McGraw, among others.

Enjoy the week — can you believe Independence Day is just around the corner?


Links, 6.20.11

This, my friends, is the last week of school hereabouts. The children have been gritting their teeth for weeks at national ad campaigns implying that vast areas of the country have been vacationing for a number of weeks now — the injustice, I tell you. Finally they will join the ranks of the liberated! I wish I could say the same for myself. The links provide welcome distractions:

Savings: Thrift-minded Heather Rojas shares a number of online discounts and special offers in a June genealogy bargains roundup. A couple of them expire at midnight tonight, so check them out soon. You have a few days yet on most of them!

Behind the scenes: The Washington Post chats with Trevor K. Plante, Chief of Reference  at the National Archives.

Getting copyright right: Dear Myrtle does a brief but information-packed Q and A with FGS treasurer Cath Madden Trindle, who also knows a scary amount about copyright issues for genealogists. She will speak on this very topic at FGS’s Springfield conference. Meanwhile, read the interview and realize why publishers hire people just to work on rights and permissions.

History lessons: In Part 3 of the Genealogy for Geeks series at Wired, Jenny Williams delivers a nice piece on going beyond vitals and censuses to see what published histories can tell you about your ancestors. She puts in a plug for Google Books, which I heartily endorse.

Day at the museum: Another overlooked resource is local museums, although certainly not by Lorine McGinnis Schulze at Olive Tree Genealogy. She writes about a recent museum visit that yielded a treasure trove of information and images regarding her ancestors, and gives good tips on how to make the most of your own museum digging.

Disappearing acts: It’s frustrating when a research contact surfaces briefly and disappears, never to be heard from again, as Deborah Large Fox at Help! The Faerie Folk Hid My Ancestors! writes. What to do? Sometimes, not much — which is especially infuriating if you’ve shared findings with the contact in question, and they haven’t shared anything back.

Camera lineage: We talk a lot about old photos in geneablogging land, but how about old cameras? In a whimsical blog post for Mother Jones, Kevin Drum takes a journey through the history of his family’s cameras, from 1935 to the present.

Studying: From the Family Curator, an interesting portrait of 20-year-old Anthony Ray, student genealogist and scholarship recipient, at the SCGS Jamboree. Impressive!

I am off now to complete my latest work, 101 Answers to The Question: I’m Bored! What Are We Going To Do Today?

See you soon. I hope.


Links, 6.13.11

Still taking stock of the reports out of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree — so these are links from other places to tide you over. Not that other places weren’t interesting this week, too. Here ya go.

Identifying: Hope for everyone with un-identifiable old photos in their files: Here’s the story of a mysterious old photo that reclaimed its heritage, thanks to the Internet and some curious descendants.

Returned: More lost and found fun! A Philadelphia genealogist, Sandra Hewlett, stumbled upon the Brooklyn, N.Y. guardianship records from 1830-1852 at a used bookstore. Kings County Surrogate’s Court was thrilled to have them back, as you can imagine. (h/t the NY-BROOKLYN listserve.)

Taking stock: For those who like to follow the investing blow-by-blow analysis, here is a detailed look at how Ancestry.com’s stock performed over the past several months. (I’ll admit I think lineage charts are more interesting.)

Emerald Isle-ing: Two bits of Irish genealogy news: (a) Dick Eastman writes about new online Irish genealogy courses by expert John Grenham. At $569, this is not cheap, but looks to be in-depth and interesting. (b) The Irish Family History Foundation has added 95,000 Wicklow marriages to its databases (log-in may be required).

It must be summer vacation for a lot of you out there. How many of you are packing your bags for genealogy road trips? Don’t forget to send a postcard. And have a nice week.


Links, 6.6.11

Verily, ’twas the week of the Face of Genealogy controversy and righteous kicking of posteriors. Thomas MacEntee called it, the community has responded and the offensive photo in the original LAWeekly post has been taken down. Well done, geneabloggers.

Today in history: You can’t help thinking of D-Day. Here’s how the New York Times handled it. In the Weird Coincidences Department, June 6 also happens to be the day in 1875 when German novelist Thomas Mann was born. (Mann, a notable anti-fascist, spent the World War II years in the United States.) On a completely different note, this is the day (in 1844) that the YMCA was founded in London, ensuring that nobody has any excuses not to exercise.

Switching up: The Irish Times writes an item on Ireland Reaching Out, a genealogy initiative with a twist. It identifies those who left (in this case, southeast Galway) and tracks them, instead of the other way around. Sounds restful.

Freed slaves: The Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register’s Dave Bakke reports on a state database that can help descendants learn more about freed slaves who may have settled in Illinois. The Servitude and Emancipation Record Database contains what sounds like an impressive array of historical records, including the passes that freed slaves were required to carry by law to prove their status. Twenty counties are included, all in southern Illinois.

Grumpy: A Virginia newspaper columnist alerts us to the fact that he is having a bad day with the title Grumblings From Along The Rapidan. I cannot blame his grumpiness with regard to his recent experience trying to find something on Ancestry.com, which, sadly, sounds all too familiar.

Hairy: Dick Eastman mentions the Smithsonian’s Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair contest, wherein you may take your pick of muttonchops, chin-only beards and beard-and-mustache combos to your heart’s content. Alas, all I could take away is the fact that I find all those whiskers kind of oppressive. J.E.B. Stuart probably carries it off the best but who am I to judge, really.

 


Links, 5.31.11

The flags flew, the barbecues went into overdrive, the white shoes came out. Goodness, how exhausting. Time for some soothing links.

Write idea: I love seeing Kimberly Powell sing the praises of Scrivener, a tool which makes sprawling writing projects manageable with an interface that gathers all sorts of research materials  in one easily accessible place. I first learned about Scrivener through a novel-writing group and now it’s a family thing. Mr. Archaelogist uses it for insurance industry research reports. Our resident students have used it for grade school papers. Check out Kimberly’s thoughts on how genealogists can use it too.

Jump in: Another swimsuit edition for the Carnival of Genealogy! John Newmark of Transylvanian Dutch offers a snazzy entry.

Memory bank: The Guardian describes how the British Library is opening a window on a ‘national memory’ with a digital newspaper archive.

Marking up: Interesting post from James Tanner about Wikitext.

False cheer: An intriguingly scathing letter to the Irish Times begs to differ on the “positive portrayals of the Irish diaspora in the United States.” It’s more a reaction to general misty-eyed rhapsodizing about Celtic lads and lasses making good than to the zillion stories about the Obamas’ ancestry that overran Ireland last week.

Help wanted: There is an opening for a full-time genealogist at the D.A.R.’s Registrar Office in Washington, D.C. (Imagine if The Office had taken place there!  On second thought, maybe not.)  h/t Leland Meitzler.

Enjoy the week!


Links, 5.23.11

Good morning, and happy to be here, as I always am. I am glad that this weekend was marked by a non-event, despite all those billboards. I wasn’t raised on Rapture theology, mind. We Catholics tend to like the passage about never really knowing the day or hour, and being ready anyway, especially if you’re a virgin and in charge of the lighting.

I was doing a fair share of smirking about all the non-eventfulness, until I read this piece and decided to stop. What’s the point of smirking, anyway? The world is still turning, and we still have work to do.

Onward, links.

Road trip: I don’t normally think “genealogy” and “Vanity Fair” in the same sentence, but everything’s bound to come up sooner or later. Like VF reporter David Kamp’s account of his family history travels to South Carolina with rapper 50 cent.

Technicalities: Kimberly Powell writes a nice introduction to the FamilySearch.org Tech Tips blog, along with a number of other potentially useful sites for anyone interested in ramping up their knowledge of exciting new devices and social media.

Ramped-up Gramps: Also, this is as good a place as any to mention that Gramps has come out with Portable 3.2.6.

Times-ly: And … The New York Times jumps in with a piece on Finding Family History Online, featuring a quote from über-Geneablogger Thomas McEntee. The article is kind of a mish-mosh — oops, I meant to say “round-up” — throwing together various 21st-century enhancements to the genealogy experience, like FarmVille, Facebook, Twitter and WikiTree, and giving them all about equal time. Not a bad piece to root about in. I especially liked the bit about Timeless Footsteps, with which you could embed scannable, biographical information on ancestral tombstones.

Casting: Are you, or is someone you know, a former WWII crewmember on a B-24 or a B-17? Dick Eastman reports that the Collings Foundation wants to line up interviews for a television show they’re putting together called The Last Liberator.

Retracing: I’m truly impressed by this story by the Detroit News’ Francis X. Donnelly about a Polish genealogy group’s 20-year effort to recreate a manifest of names and burial locations in an aging Detroit cemetery. Early burials were especially challenging — records had been lost, so the group used death certificates, library research and monument sales records to fill the gap. A heartening story for anyone who has an undocumented cemetery to cope with.

Scandal re-examined: Another wonderful genealogy sleuthing story by Betty Malesky — she unravels the tale of her great-great grandmother’s scandalous 1865 divorce and finds that all is not quite as the official court papers would make it seem.

O’Really?: The Irish Times explains  how research on both sides of the pond clarified the history of President Obama’s Irish ancestry.

O’Earworms: OK, have you heard the Friday Song? That’s a Wikipedia link there, not the actual song. I would never link to that song. (You’re welcome.) I will, however, link to the lyrics that apparently have taken over the Irish airwaves during President Obama’s visit.

(Excerpt: “He’s as Irish as bacon/And cabbage and stew/He’s Hawaiian he’s Kenyan/American too.” Click through if you dare.)

Bonus points to anybody who recognized the engraving right away. Yes indeed, it’s one of Albrecht Dürer’s Foolish Virgins. Ten points, and have a great week!


Links, 5.16.11

Monday blues? Never! At least, not for long. Links always help.

Awkward: Finding uncomfortable facts in family history is an occupational hazard for genealogists. Columnist Betty Malesky serves up a few compelling examples.

Schoolwork: An interesting initiative gives Alameda County (CA) high school students a chance to study genealogy. As a study topic, it has a way of expanding perspectives, organizers say. Or as one student puts it: “You just don’t come from any old thing.”

Make it count: Wired magazine continues its Genealogy for Geeks series with a primer on using censuses.

Background factors: The LexGo blog of Lexington, Ky., has a review of a book I think I’d like to read — a case study of families whose histories  intersect in complicated ways with the history of race and class in the U.S.

Blogger blackout: Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy confronts the painful truths of the BloggerFail 2011 and asks other bloggers: How do you back up your blogs? More on the epic fail at Genealogy’s Star. In another angle, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings tells what he did while Blogger was down.

Kinfolk: Lady Gaga and Madonna are distant cousins, says a “Hollywood genealogy expert.” No doy.

Around and about at NGS 2011:

FamilySearch.org releases a major collection of Civil War records.

Ancestry Insider covers NARA chief David S. Ferriero’s address.

Lovely conference postcards from Greta Koehl, Linda McCauley, Jennifer (and daughter Ellie) at Climbing My Family Tree, to name a few. If you were there and posted something about your experience, tell us in the comments. Pretty please from those of us with mingy travel budgets?

Hope everyone traveled safely or just played nice, whatever you were up to. Have a great week.


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