Friday, April 16, 2010

Sons and Daughters of Genealogy: Joining a Lineage Society

If you have ever considered joining a lineage society, Rita Marshall's article, "Sons and Daughters of Genealogy: Joining a Lineage Society" may give you that extra incentive. As the article points out, in addition to showing pride in your ancestors' accomplishments, joining a lineage society also serves to test you metal as a researcher and may provide the motivation to firmly document your family history. The article also provides a link to help you identify the many lineage societies in the United States. You may want to check Cyndi's List for organizations in other countries. There are various types of societies, some based on events such as wars, some based on place, and some based on a single, notable ancestor -- pretty much, something for everyone. Lineage societies and fraternal organizations are, for the most part, service organizations, and most require an annual renewal.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fooled: Three Hoaxes That Make Jokes Out of Genealogical Research

As Lincoln said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." Unfortunately, "some" do become victims of frauds and hoaxes. In every field, it seems, there is someone (or several) who profit or take pleasure in duping others. Genealogy is no exception.  In her article, "April Fooled: Three Hoaxes That Make Jokes Out of Genealogical Research," Rita Marshall explores some of the more infamous genealogy frauds in history, some that being perpetuated to this day. And new ones abound. The moral of the story is be aware and do your own due diligence so you can recognize a fake when you see it.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Are You Ready to Go Pro? Achieving a Certification in Genealogy

If you've ever considered genealogical certification, you may be interested to read Rita Marshall's article, "Are You Ready to Go Pro? Achieving a Certification in Genealogy." The article outlines requirements for certification and accreditation. While board certification is clearly the more rigorous of the two, either will allow you to test your "genealogy chops."

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Research Me, I'm Irish: Five Tips for Tracing Irish Ancestry

In her article, "Research Me, I'm Irish: Five Tips for Tracing Irish Ancestry," Rita Marshall gives some sound and practical advice for researching your Irish ancestors. Chief among her advice is, "Don't go to Ireland. . . . At least not yet." Like any other research, it's very hard to jump in the middle of something until you have found sufficient leads indicating you are researching in the right place. Ireland is especially difficult given the lack of early records. My own family has a line going back to Northern Ireland in the early 1700s. While the chances of documenting this immigrant ancestor in Ireland at that time period looks quite bleak, the article does give some tips on ways to narrow the field.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Finding Relatives and Stories Lost in WWII

In her article, "Finding Relatives and Stories Lost in WWII," Rita Marshall discusses two free services that can be used to locate relatives who disappeared during the war, including those in concentration camp prisoners, forced laborers, or displaced persons. And where the family is known and accounted for, these resources can also help add to or fill in the blank spots in history. As the article notes, there is increasing interest in this information "from second and third generations that would like to learn more about their own roots."

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Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ten Questions of the 2010 Census: What They're Asking and Why

Yes, it's time once again for the U. S. Census. Some people have a real aversion to answering census questions, and that has been true historically. Of course, for genealogists, the census past is often the cornerstone of their research. This week, in her article, "The Ten Questions of the 2010 Census: What They're Asking and Why," Rita Marshall takes a look at the 2010 census and ponders some important questions. This year's census is abbreviated, to say the least, which begs the question, what will that mean to researchers 72 years hence (when this census goes public), who will be missing key information we have come to rely on so heavily. 

Not to worry. We live in the information age. It has been said that todays' generation is the most documented generation in history. The federal government itself has enough social programs and registrations to document us cradle to grave and everything in between, and in some cases, in utero and beyond the grave, all placed into databases and searchable. Add to that the wonders of modern technology benefiting the individual, literally thousands of digital photos, movies, and voice files on the home computer; blogs for all occasions; and the proliferation of social networks revealing way too much about too many people. The data is out out there. As the author says, "Will we even still need the census as a genealogical tool by 2082?" 

But wait . . .  we may live in the information age but it's also an age of rapid change -- can these records be preserved over the decades when every 18 months or so a new technology makes the old one obsolete. Backing up your data in an age of rapid change. It's something to consider . . . sooner rather than later.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Census Taker?

If you've ever wondered what it was like to be a census taker, here's your chance. The U. S. Census Bureau is hiring for the 2010 census year. In her article, "Do you have what it takes to be a census taker?" Rita Marshall explores the opportunity. As the article states, "We've admired their dedication and been exasperated by their penmanship,"  here is the chance, literally, to walk a mile in his moccasins. Nothing like a little first-hand experience to increase our understanding and appreciation.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Is It Time For Overseas Help? Working With a Foreign Researcher

Many of us do not have the resources or the particular expertise required to take our research abroad. Rita Marshall in her article, "Is It Time For Overseas Help? Working With a Foreign Researcher," explores the benefits of hiring and working with an overseas professional, as well as how to locate a competent researcher. Just as we are familiar with the resources in our own country, professionals in a foreign country are adept with their country's resources -- this can save you time and money, overall. Even so, as the article points out, "it's hard to know how an international genealogist will work out until he or she is tested," so it's best to start out small. Whether working with a professional locally or internationally, the basic rules apply: be prepared and communicate, communicate, communicate.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Three Reasons You Need Local History Books

In our heart of hearts, we know the benefit digging into local history books. But with more information available online, we may be less inclined to head for the library. Also, as Rita Marshall points out in her article, "Three Reasons You Need Local History Books," when were are enjoying a great bit of success in our research using other resources, it's easy to bypass the often "thick, somber history books detailing a town's history." And yet, local histories often contain hidden gems we that are hard to anticipate. The article offers insight into different ways local histories might be used. It's also important to note that many local histories can be found online at no charge; it's worth entering the title into your favorite search engine to see if the book you seek is offered in full text format -- some offer previews only. However, not all local histories will be offered online, free or otherwise, which means, back to the library: it's worth the trip.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do a Different Genealogy Search this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving really does begin the holiday season -- from that day on, up through New Year's Day, families gather and connect, almost more than any other time of year. And while Thanksgiving has been named National Family History Day, with families encouraged to gather their family health history, the opportunity presents itself all season. In her article, "National Family History Day: Do a Different Genealogy Search This Thanksgiving," Rita Marshall reviews the U. S. Surgeon General recommendations on how to start a family health history and who to include. And something not often discussed are the follow-up questions, and how to interpret the information you receive "genealogy style."

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Friday, November 20, 2009

What Amelia Earhart Can Teach You About Family Mysteries

Evaluating evidence and arriving at conclusions is a critical step in the research process. The mystery is what give genealogy much of its allure, the discovery of the unknown. Whether hurdling a brick wall or unravelling a family legend, it's important to be as objective and thorough as possible. In her article, "What Amelia Earhart Can Teach You About Family Mysteries," Rita Marshall illustrates through recently declassified information on Amelia Earhart, the challenges of evaluating evidence. As the article point out, our motivations can influence our interpretations.

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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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