Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Technology dependence can work against us

There's a cute story by Arnold Lobel called, "The Letter." Toad is waiting by the mailbox, sure he's going to get a letter that just never comes. Frog decides to send Toad a letter to make him happy. Frog gives his letter to Snail, who agrees to deliver it. Frog rushes back to Toad's house and together they sit waiting for the letter to arrive. They wait four days. Snail mail is a little slow. In "Snail Mail Revisited," the author shows how too much dependence on technology can be a liability.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Discovering a sample of your ancestor's handwriting

If you are interested in finding a sample of your ancestor's handwriting, it might just be at your fingertips. In her latest article, "Google Books: A Source for Ancestral Handwriting," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests a novel approach for finding personal inscriptions and signatures. In the past, it might have been necessary to inherit books with a family inscription, or you might have "happened" upon such a book in the local library. While such signatures themselves are not indexed (yet), you might find success with a little creative sluething.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Digitzing in the Library World, Part 2

To genealogists, the promise of individual libraries digitizing their holdings is exciting to consider. This week, Larry Naukum continues his series, "Digitizing in the Library World, Part 2." The article provides the insider point of view on library digitizing decisions, and along the way, points to some useful resources.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Auntie Mame: Friend or Foe?

Friends of the family can serve as great resources to one's own family history. Friends may have kept old wedding or birth announcements; they may have photos of you family that you've never seen before; or they may have kept personal family records that included information your family. Then there's the flip side. Friends may also lead us astray in our family history research. An interesting article on Bay, "Beware of Friends Posing as Relatives," points out that close family friends, sometimes adopted into the family and given honorary titles such as aunt or uncle, can set a researcher down a wrong path trying to prove a family relationship that simply does not exist. While there may be no real remedy for this excursion, the make-believe relative may be one more factor to weigh.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Meals Through the Ages

If you are interested in learning a little about the everyday life your ancestors, consider looking into the foods and food preparation of the day. In her article, "Meals Through the Ages," Gena Philibert-Ortega suggests a number of resources for researching foods during a particular time period and for finding vintage cookbooks.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Be aware of genealogy scam tactics

Always a good reminder, Kimberly's Genealogy Blog on, zeros in on "How to Identify Genealogy Scams." For researchers, its worth taking the time to become familiar with the tactics, quite often charging you for information that is readily available OR charging to lead to sources that you could find easily on your own or through legitimate, free resources.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Place names and boundary changes can direct research

"I grew up at Coles Station, Illinois. We all said "at" because Coles Station is not much of a town — so we never really felt like we were 'in Coles Station,'" writes Judy Rosella Edwards, in her article, "Coles Station: The Ever-Changing Place Name." The article shows how one small town not only changes names over the years, but is claimed at different times by different counties. This story is repeated over and again in genealogy and underscores the importance of local area research. Not only do county boundaries change when new counties were formed, as we see in the census maps, but individual towns may be claimed by one county and then the other for economic or political reasons. And communities along state border lines always deserve close examination; where the research seems to suggest an ancestor migrated from one place to another, it may be they never moved an inch, but the borders changed. Such details are significant in finding people at different times and in locating documents. Even today, in various parts of the world, wars are changing boundary lines, countries come and go and place names are changed to suit the new regime. There is much more to the geography of the world than the lay of the land.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

French-Canadian and Quebec vital records online

As repoted on, "Genealogy website offers centuries of French-Canadian records," has launched what it says is the largest collection of French-Canadian and Quebec vital records, spanning 346 years of history. . . . its searchable collection of baptism, marriage and burial records extends from the year 1621 to 1967. is an online database of family and social history in Canada with 400 million names pulled from collections such as the 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia, vital records from as early as 1813 and U.S./Canada border crossings from 1895 to 1956.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Message boards revisited

Message boards work in mysterious ways. Thanks to search engines like Google, your message board queries can be found even by those who are not genealogists and family history researchers, but others with family ties and information. In her article, "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down -- Thank You, Google," Elisabeth Lindsay revisits the benefits of message boards and encourages users to keep their information current so they don't miss a thing.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Revisiting the Research Library

Genealogy may be a whole new experience for those who have not visited a research library recently. "You may be surprised," says Judy Rosella Edwards in her article, "Revisiting the Research Library." Noting some of the changes in her own area in Illinois, the author also offers a few tips on what you can do before you visit to save time.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Meeting David Wilson" airs Friday, Apr 11

"Meeting David Wilson" a feature length documentary about the enduring legacy of slavery in today’s young black society airs Friday, April 11 at 9 p.m. ET. David Wilson, a 28-year-old African-American journalist, travels into his family's past to find answers to America's racial divide. Along the way, he meets another David Wilson, the descendant of his family's slave master. This discovery leads to a momentous encounter between these two men of the same name but whose ancestors were on the opposite sides of freedom. A DVD of the film will be available April 11.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Midwest Genealogy Center set to open May 11

An article in the the Fort Worth's Star Telegram, "Site for Genealogy Buffs," announces the new $8 million Midwest Genealogy Center, set to open May 11 in Independence, Missouri. The new center houses microfilm and microfiche with Civil War histories, American Indian records, black family history records, passenger lists, plantation records and more.

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National Archives Hosts Free Genealogy Fair, Apr 23

The National Archives will host its fourth annual Genealogy Fair on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., according to an article in the Biloxi Sun Herald. The fair will provide information and guidance for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike. This event is free and open to the public. For a schedule of lectures and demonstrations, see

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Who Do You Think You Are?" - UK phenomenon returns for 5th season

Jerry Springer? Is there more than one? Well, if it's who we think it is, his image was redeemed by his performance on the (U.S.) Dancing With the Stars, so . . . okay. As reported on, the popular genealogy program, Who Do You Think You Are?, returns to BBC One for a fifth series, later this year. Six well-known faces from the world of politics, television, design, acting and fashion, Patsy Kensit, Esther Ranzen, Jodie Kidd, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Boris Johnson MP . . . . and Jerry Springer all embark on emotional, personal and constantly surprising journeys. These journeys cross centuries and continents to uncover compelling family and social histories. Who Do You Think You Are? attracted more than six million viewers to the last series.


Genealogy books - accessing valuable but scattered family information

Genealogy books is a broad term, but referring to books that contain specific information that might be of benefit to your own research, gaining access to a particular book can be a challenge. "The problem with purchasing all of the books out there with bits and pieces of your family history in them is that you will need a fat wallet and a large area of book shelves. Most of us can check out an occasional book and copy the necessary pages, but most can not travel to every appropriate library in the nation which holds certain books." In his article "Genealogy Books in Print and Online," Alan Smith suggests avenues for accessing books you may not necessarily want to buy.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Researching Newspapers, an update

Newspapers chronicled our ancestor's lives, their friends and neighbors and their community. Researching newspapers can provide us with much more information than a simple obituary. In her article, "Researching Newspapers," Gena Philibert-Ortega brings us up to date on this valuable resource.

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