Links, 10.11.10

Today, as you probably know, is Columbus Day. But you may not know that it is also author Elmore Leonard‘s 85th birthday. Plus, I was amused to learn that it is the launch of “winter coat season“, at least according to stylists who say buying a new winter coat annually is a must, lest one’s look become tired. (They don’t say what to do when your wallet becomes tired, though. )

More important, if you’ve planned a long-weekend getaway to a city that houses a National Archives repository and were thinking of stopping by, don’t forget they’re closed today, along with many other libraries and archives — check before you go!

Italian ancestry: October is Italian-American Heritage Month, and if it turns your attention toward exploring Italian roots, here’s a nice collection of articles from the Family Tree Magazine archives. (Some of them are Plus Edition; full text available to subscribers only.)

Disastrous knowledge: At JewishGen Blog, Ann Rabinowitz writes about famines and famine relief in Part Four of an interesting series on disasters and their bearing on genealogy.

Internet doubts: In the Victoria (TX) Advocate, columnist Martha Jones considers what is lost and what is gained in the age of quick online database access to census records. Her point: Convenience is gained; context may be lost.  “I have come to realize that even though researching census records through microfilm reels took hours and hours, as a genealogist, I could begin to find the ‘flavor of the community’ in those pages of yore.”

Internet togetherness: Across the continent from Jones, Montreal writer Danielle Murray takes a more benign view of the Internet age, focusing on its ability to reconnect distant relatives. She contrasts her fascination with people-finding to the traditional genealogy practiced by her Uncle Milt: “Uncle Milt was a true genealogist — he went backward. I, on the other hand, have searched sideways. He hunted the dead; I’ve gone after the living. I don’t know if there’s a name for that.”

Read it forward: I love this post at Roots and Rambles on “reading history forward“; it explores the contrast between experiencing historic events in real time and recounting them decades after the fact in a history book, and considers what that means as we piece together family history.

Have a great week — and a great holiday, if you’re lucky enough to get today off!


3 Comments on “Links, 10.11.10”

  1. Hah! Heather beat me to it before I could Google … I knew Leif Ericsson had to be commemorated somehow! October seems to be a popular month in general for people to celebrate a variety of ethnic heritages, which probably is the best thing when all is said and done. (Having just finished the book “1491”, I’ve got mixed feelings about Columbus Day myself.)

  2. Heather Rojo says:

    We just finished celebrating Leif Ericson day here in New Hampshire. A big deal in my neck of the woods. I guess we are slightly closer to L’anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

  3. jo says:

    good one. what if your wallet is retired. Wonder if they have days for the others who are said at one time or another to find america. First nationals day or Lief Erickson day.
    Have a good one.

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