Links, 3.28.11

I am trying to think of the garden, and how to make it prettier this year. Someone dug some really wonderful borders here maybe fifty years ago, and it’s a tribute to their eye and skill that the outlines still look pretty good, despite our neglect. Somewhere under the winter debris and the overgrown plantings is a really great garden. Kind of like my genealogy work.

Evicted: The Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society finds itself orphaned in the wake of a decision to demolish part of the Auburn, Maine school that contains its headquarters. They’re looking for suitable new digs that can accommodate their extensive collections of data on Franco-American families. Here’s wishing them well in this time of transition.

Sad and confused: Families with ancestors buried in some of the 1,200 Bensenville (Ill.) graves being moved to make way for an expansion of O’Hare Airport share their considerable frustration at the process with the Chicago Tribune. The story drives home how convoluted and painful it can be to manage such a transition. Some relatives say that kin unknown to them have authorized moving the graves, and the city isn’t sharing who did what. “I guess it is first come, first served,” says one unhappy relative. “I didn’t know it was a race to see who could get there first.”

Without a trace: Here’s a cemetery with the opposite problem: no takers. Preservationists in the Canadian town of Gatineau are trying to figure out a way to reclaim a neglected, overgrown family cemetery with historic importance. Ideally, they’d like to find descendants of the family who would take an interest, although local officials wouldn’t mind giving the place heritage status.  Their problem: The family in question still owns the land and must be consulted, but nobody can locate them.

Greek odyssey: Sometimes it’s too easy to get grumpy about how fast the world is changing, until you see an article about a fascinating and detailed website that documents emigrants from the Greek island of Kastellorizo and their Australian descendants. And then you marvel all over again the amazing ease of connection and communication that’s possible in the Internet age.

Sad map: The 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire resulted in an outpouring of articles, from the political to the philosophical to the personal. The Bowery Boys took a cartographic approach: mapping the homes of the dead — a snapshot of immigrant life in New York City at the turn of the century. Genealogy researchers might find it worth a look as an example of how understanding the neighborhood demographics can be a useful signpost, particularly in big cities like New York.

Record growth: In an update released last week, noted that more than 1.7 million records were indexed in a single day (Monday, March 21), along with other eye-popping statistics detailing the remarkable growth surge of the LDS’ online repository.

Now hasn’t that last item inspired you to go off and check those databases again? I’ll race you there. Oh, and enjoy the week.


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