Thursday, October 29, 2009

FamilySearch Indexing: Want Free Indexed Records Online? Become a Voluteer and Help Create Them

Everyone is delighted with digitizing of records going on at FamilySearch, and opportunity to access the FamilySearch Labs and browse the records as they are released. Rita Marshall, in her article "FamilySearch Indexing: Want Free Indexed Records Online? Become a Volunteer and Help Create Them," suggests taking that enthusiam one step further by participating in the indexing process, helping to move the work along and make even more records available sooner. As the saying goes, "Many hands make light work." And as the author points out, there are benefits to the researcher, opportunities to share your expertise and learn even more. This is an exciting time in genealogy and very rewarding to on the inside track.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Getting a Genealogy Education

Those new to family history will soon find, one surest ways to expand your family tree is to expand your genealogy education. More and more opportunities and resources for learning are becoming available. In her article, "Getting a Genealogy Education," Cindy Drage presents an overview of what you may find. No longer is genealogy just a hobby for seniors. Younger people are not only taking an interest in genealogy, but many are entering the field professionally. Educational opportunities are available to all, at any level of expertise, and at reasonable cost, depending on your goals. If you have no budget for education, a great wealth of knowledge is available through free articles, workshops, and online courses. The most experienced researcher can benefit from the new an innovation techniques of others. There is no lack of educational resources in this highly popular field.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Faith-based Organizations

So maybe Grandpa didn't run off and join the circus, after all. Maybe he ran off and joined a faith-based community. In many cases family members did abandon families to join some sort of community or communal organization. There's definitely a story in there: Did he or she leave the family because the faith required it, did the family choose to stay behind, or did the family reject the person adopting a particular faith? Whatever the reason, when a family member drops off the radar, researchers might want to consider the possibility. In her article, "Genealogy Communities: Faith-based Organizations," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the nature of these communities and how they might be researched. Oh, by the way -- my father did run off an join a circus . . . but he came back . . . and married my mother. The rest, they say, is history.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is a dit name and why is it important to Family History?

Naming conventions are a fascinating study, and knowing more about a culture's naming conventions can contribute to family history. In her article, "What Is a Dit Name and Why Is It Important to Family History," AnnMarie Gilon-Dodson explains the French custom of distinguishing individuals one from another through the use of "dit" names, "the custom of attaching an additional surname to the original family name," separated by "dit," as in "Giles Michel dit Tailon." As the article shows, the practice of dit names can end up, from one generation to the next, creating what might appear to be surname contradictions. An awareness of the practice and how it works, can help researchers better interpret documents and understand contradictions.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Prostitution

Most genealogists want to know the full story of a family and do want to account for all family members, even those with questionable occupations. In her article, "Genealogy of Communities: Prostitution," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the task of researching this very elusive community. Prostitutes often were listed by first name only, and many were hesitant to give their true names. Even so, as the article points out, becoming familiar with the trends and patterns and learning to "read" census records, this community can be researched with positive results.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mining for Genealogical Information in Federal Records

We might think of the National Archives as containing a static body of information, and genealogists anxiously await each new set of records scheduled to come online.  What we might not realize is that in the U.S. (and probably so in other countries as well), the repository is not static at all. The federal archives are continually adding new data, transferred from other government bodies -- information previously unavailable to the general public. In her article, "Mining for Genealogical Information in Federal Records," Rita Marshall makes a case for going straight to the source and NOT waiting for the movie (or online data release) to come out. Old and new, a considerable amount of valuable information is housed in the federal archives that is not available elsewhere. While a trip to Washington D.C. might not be in the stars for all of us, it is important to know what's available. Professional researchers and look-up volunteers in the area of a particular archive are a possible resource.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Asylums, Hospitals, and Sanitariums

Census lists are continually revealing, and sometimes it's a good idea to go back and revisit census records we have already researched. In days past, we tracked where we had been in our research, so we would not go back and tread the same ground. Today, as more and more data comes online with greater indexing and search capabilities, going back may yield new and interesting information. In the latest," "Genealogy of Communities: Asylums, Hospitals, and Sanitariums," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the information derived from census records of these communities. As the article states, "Asylum residents were enumerated and the asylum considered their home." Staff members may also be included, if they lived on the premises. The article provides insights into the "astonishing amount of detailed genealogical data" that can be gleaned from these records.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

FamilySearch posts new data for several states

As published Friday in the Tribune Star, FamilySearch has announced that it has posted the Rhode Island state censuses for 1905 and 1935, the New York state censuses for 1892 and 1905, and the Minnesota state census for 1885. Also up are the Vermont state militia records (1861-1867), the Arkansas county marriage records (1837-1957), the Washington county marriage records (1858-1950), the Delaware birth records (1861-1922), the Georgia death records (1930), and the Salt Lake County, Utah, births (1890-1908) and deaths (1948-). Also of interest are the Ohio tax records (1825- ) the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, marriage records (1885-1951), and the Freedman marriages (1861-1869). A multitude of foreign records is also available on the site as well as many of the federal censuses. To access the site, go to the FamilySearch Labs web site.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Casting a wider net may help find elusive documents

We all have brick wall ancestors or event dates that just can't be found. In his most recent article, "Keeping your eye on the road -- not!" Larry Naukam suggests not only thinking outside the box but outside the neighborhood. When a search of local area sources goes cold, consider casting a wider net into the neighboring communities, which might be "across the river" or in another state. The author illustrates this point with several examples and provides suggestions on the types of sources that might yield further clues.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Genealogy of Communities: Prisons

We might not like to think about the possibility of finding an ancestor in prison, but in her article, "Genealogy of Communities: Prisons," Judy Rosella Edwards makes the point that in earlier times, one did not have to be a hardened criminal to end up in some type of jail or prison. Of course, for some, the black sheep of the family are often the most interesting. And yes, census enumerators counted noses, even in prison. One of the more interesting points made in the article is that inmates' occupations, prior to imprisonment, are often listed, even those who were career thieves. The article also provides suggestions for researching those aboard prison ships and reminds us that the prison "community" was comprised of many people who were not prisoners, sometimes complete families resided on the grounds.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lexicons of Lost Lifestyles: In Passing, Part II

We know what a euphemism is, and the current political climate is full to the brim, finding more and more creative ways to befuddle the common citizen, to make the dubious more "acceptable." And that is the function of a euphemism. To veil or soften the harsher reality. In her latest article, "Lexicons of Lost Lifestyles: In Passing, Part II," Jean Hibben schools us on yet another term intended to manipulate perception, the "dysphemism," the substitution of one word for another, making it more unpleasant or unacceptable. So we can make things sound better than they really are, but we can also make them sound worse. As my son likes to say, "Presentation is everything."

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