Friday, January 29, 2010

Tips using the Find-a-Grave website

This seems to be a week for reviewing good resources. A nice article on,"Find A Grave can shorten the search,"  by Sharon Tate Moody points out the benefits of the Find-a-Grave website, with the caveat that nothing takes the place of visiting ancestor graves personally and making that "spiritual connection." The article provides some tips for a successful search. It also observes the site's focus on celebrity grave sites, while distracting (if not downright annoying) to  genealogists, is the very reason the site exists at all, so we can be a little tolerant. The site is definitely worth checking -- I've personally found burial information and photos it would take me a long time to find otherwise.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

The Annie Moore Story -- The Saga Continues

Today, January 1 is the 118th anniversary of the opening of Ellis Island. In a recent article, "Photos of Annie Moore, First Ellis Island immigrant: Help Solve History Mystery," noted genealogist Megan Smolenyak recounts the Annie Moore story and its latest photo mystery. Annie Moore was the first immigrant to pass through the gates of Ellis Island. The article is particularly interesting explaining the twists and turns in identifying the true Annie Moore, with Ms. Smolenyak herself at the heart of the story. The article also provides a link to the 2006 New York Times article, detailing Annie's story.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

When a Picture Is Not Worth a Thousand Words

What's that you say? A picture is not worth a thousand words? Another myth, busted! In her article, "When a Picture Is Not Worth a Thousand Words," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the ways in which pictures can deceive and why they considered secondary, rather than primary sources. The problem today is even worse. Technology has allowed us to warp reality in photos to such a degree that our children's children will never really know for sure what's real and what's not, without expert analysis to see if an image has been "photoshoped." So words of caution are well taken.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Partnership brings new features

Announced in a recent press release . . . and just in time for Christmas, The Generations Network, Inc., operators of and other genealogy web sites, has teamed its virtual storytelling service,, with a photo-sharing site,, to provide user tools for creating custom photo books, calendars, and posters., launched a year ago as Ancestry Press but recently rebranded. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Mountain View, Califormia, operates a photo sharing site.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Sharing Old Photos

Pretty much everyone has a collection of old photos, many with minimal to no identifying information. Such photos typically end up at the bottom of the picture box and stored away -- sometimes even thrown away. Similarly, there may be photos and other memorabilia of casual friend, acquaintances, or distant relatives that really have no place in the family story or the family album. These, too, may get stored away and eventually trashed. Today there are options for sharing these photos. The article, "Sharing Old Photos," discusses some of the options. It's possible to end up being the recipient as well as the contributor to the cause.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

MyHeritiage launches face recognition feature

According to a recent article on, the Tel Aviv-based family tree site MyHeritage has received a $15 million second-round investment from London's Index Ventures, and is now launching a face-recognition feature said to help users organize photos based on who appears in the photos. It can also be used with photos on sites like Flickr, Facebook and Picasa, the article said.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photos as documentation? Maybe not . . .

We've all had the urge, no doubt, at some point, to completely erase a chapter of our lives or make a few tidy changes to the past. We now have that power, it seems, but at what cost? The article, "Photoshop vs. history," on discusses the practice altering photos using modern image-editing software and thereby altering history. Is it revisionist history or something more? Revisionist history is the revision of history based on new information or the reinterpretation of existing information. Given the types of manipulations, the question becomes, what can you trust? As the article suggests it's "just a tad scary -- to contemplate the possibility that many of the tangible artifacts our civilization leaves behind may prove to be, well, lies."

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