Saturday, February 14, 2009

Turning Michigan-Canadian Research Upside Down

Through a series of examples, in her article, "Turning Michigan-Canadian Research Upside Down," Judy Rosella Edwards illustrates her thesis that "Immigrants did not always follow a straight and obvious route. Michigan-Canada migrations create an intriguing panorama of people on the move. Browsing through biographies from the 1800s it becomes obvious that arrivals from the Old World traipsed back and forth between the United States and Canada." The article also shows how an understanding of the early geography can direct or redirect research.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Migration Patterns Reflected by Township Government

We've all seen the "Twp" designation in census records, referring to a local township, and unless you are familiar with townships, you may assume a township to be a small, early American community akin to a village. In fact, the subject of townships is a little more complex, sometimes controversial, and even telling when it comes to understanding when and where townships were organized and by whom. In her article, "Migration Patterns Reflected by Township Government," Judy Rosella Edwards focuses on this latter aspect, the genealogical value of township research, clarifying the term and its dual meaning along the way. A study of early townships may be one way to trace your ancestors back in time.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mapping the World and Its Data

Maps are excellent tools, fun and interesting, but can be intimidating, especially for those new to genealogy. Today's technology has made maps more accessible and the task of working with maps considerably easier; and yes, even fun. In his article, "Mapping the World and Its Data," Larry Naukam gives us a primer on super-imposing old maps onto Google Earth for a then-and-now comparison all for free.. If you haven't yet discovered Google Earth, it is satellite imagery that lets you zoom in to view virtually any place on the planet. Superimposing an old map onto Google Earth allows you to walk the land, so to speak and gain new insights into your family history.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

County boundry changes in Colonial Virginia

Identifying county boundary changes can often lend a new perspective to research. In her article, "The First Eight Counties of the Colonies," Melissa Slate discusses county boundary changes in Colonial Virginia. One of the most interesting . . . and sometimes challenging . . . aspects of genealogy is pinpointing ancestors in time and place. Geographical boundary changes, regardless of county, state, or country being researched, may suggest looking across the line for that elusive ancestor.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Google is more than a search engine

Many of us are familiar with Google as a search engine, but it is much more than that, as noted in Gena Philibert's most recent article, "Using Google in Your Genealogy, Part 1." In addition to reviewing how to get the most out of the Google search engine, the article also reviews the Google Map feature, including Panoramio, which combines maps with user-submitted pictures of places found at different locations. Other benefits of using Google in your research will appear in Part 2.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Researching Extinct Counties in Virginia

As noted by Melissa Slate in her article, "They Came and They Went: Extinct Counties of Virginia," one stumbling block that beginning genealogists often encounter is the changing boundaries within the regions that they are researching. Boundaries may have changed many times during the course of a location's history, so it cannot be emphasized strongly enough to research the backgrounds of the localities in which you are doing your research. . . . Virginia is a particular challenge for researchers." The article provides information on specific counties in Virginia--many of which no longer exist, which experienced boundary changes.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Knowledge of State and County lines is key to research

In her article, "State and County Lines May Lead You to Your Ancestors," Karan Pittman points the importance of knowing state and county creation dates, as well as boundary changes. Not only can county boundaries change, as one new county is carved from two or more others, but state boundaries have also been known to change. A family could become residents of a new state or territory, without ever moving a stick. So it was with the "Western Lands" of North Carolina -- in 1784 settlers in the western lands created the small, independent State of Franklin, in an audacious move that did not set well with North Carolina and was dissolved just four years later. However, the writing was on the wall, and in 1790, North Carolina ceded her western lands to the U.S. Government, and the area, known as the "Territory of the U. S. South of the River Ohio," was later to become the state of Tennessee. As Karan points out, knowledge of these geographical divisions is key to directing your research and understanding the social, economic, and political dynamics surrounding your ancestor's lives.

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Where in the world is Grandpa Jones?

Wonder no more. With the aid of modern GPS technology, you may be able to pinpoint Granpa's location down to a hair's breadth. In his article, "GSP and Genealogy," Alan Smith provides a little background and information on Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and gives researchers some idea of how this very cool satellite technology can be applied to genealogy. An important point Smith brings into the discussion is documenting, suggesting there may come a time when "GPS location" becomes a standard notation in our genealogical records — one more bit of key information to pass on down the line.

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