Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interactive 1930 Census on Footnote.com

Footnote.com, a pay site, is offering a rather unique use of the 1930 census. Not only is it indexed so you can you search for your ancestors and see an image of the census page, but you can also contribute to the information available.

You can actually attach pictures, stories, and notes to the names in the census record. They can be memorials to your ancestors and visible to other researchers in years to come. This is another example of the blossoming interactive aspect of the Internet that is being applied to genealogy.

You can read more details about the service in Dick Eastman's newsletter at: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/03/commentary-footnotes-interactive-1930-census-and-the-great-depression-collection.html

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Cloud Computing" (AKA Genealogy 2.0)

"Genealogy 2.0" is the not-so-tongue-in-cheek term given to genealogy's use of the the increasingly interactive Internet....and THAT has been dubbed in general as "cloud computing." I'm sure you have heard of this topic before, but may not have realized it: read the post of a couple days ago about the "interactive 1930 census"--that's genealogy 2.0. Do you have a family tree posted in the internet where other members of your family can participate in keeping it updated?--that's an example of cloud computing. Facebook? Twitter?--you guessed it, cloud computing.

This is a future that is already here. The only question is how fast it will grow and to what new and intriguing uses can the technology be applied.

All of this may not be interesting to a lot of people, but it should be, because that technology will influence how we will be using our computers in the future...and that means to a great extent how we will be using our computers to do our genealogy.

The topic was touched on by Paul Echelmeyer during his presentation to the PGS at the meeting on 21 February. You can read more about it in Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter by clicking on the following:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Website for Manchester and Lancashire, UK Genealogy

This is a new website offered by Gerard Lodge. It has free information from Manchester, Lancashire, and beyond. Gerard says it has so much information that your might want to "stop what you are doing and settle down for a good read, you might even want to put the kettle on and make yourself a drink before exploring these pages."

The website also got recognition from Dick Eastman in his online genealogy newsletter. You can visit the site at: http://www.manchester-family-history-research.co.uk/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Are You Related to the Signers of the Bush River Declaration?

Writing for the Tribune Star (Tribstar.com), Tamie Dehler tells the fascinating story of a group of men who authored and signed a document much like the Declaration of Independence, but as early as 1775. The "Bush River Declaration," signed on 22 March 1775 is often referred to as "the first Declaration of Independence made by any representative body in America."

There is a lineage society associated with the signers; it is called the Hereditary Order of Signers of the Bush Declaration. You can see a list of the signers as well as read about the event and the society at: http://www.tribstar.com/history/local_story_080215226.html

Friday, March 27, 2009

Craig Manson authors an interesting Blog titled "GeneaBlogie." He recently posted a story about intelligence gathering during the Civil War. With the background being the intelligence the Union derived from Black sources in general, he tells the specific story of Mary Elizabeth Bowser. Mary Elizabeth Bowser has been the subject of scholarly examination, as well as popular history, novels, and plays. In 1995, she became one of just eight women ever admitted to the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

To make the story even more intriguing, the facts come from a paper produced by the Central Intelligence Agency itself.

You can read Craig article as well as find a link to the CIA paper at: http://blog.geneablogie.net/?p=1295

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Find Those Elusive Female Family Names

Sharon Tate Moody, writing for Tampa Bay Online (TBO.com), has produced an interesting and helpful article about the problems in finding female maiden names. When a woman's identity is merged into that of her husband at marriage, finding her family name to continue research in that line can be a daunting task.

Sharon discusses the problems and some approaches to solving them at: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/mar/22/tr-female-kin-difficult-to-unveil/

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Damon Hostetler Honored by the GLLF

The Greater Largo Library Foundation recently honored PGS member Damon Hostetler with a plaque commemorating his many years as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. Damon was the PGS representative to the Board, and his years of selfless service in this regard to both the PGS and the Greater Largo Library Foundation were certainly deserving of this recognition. The Picture shows PGS President Peter Summers presenting the plaque to Damon (right) at the PGS general meeting on 21 March 2009.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Immigration Featured at the March PGS Meeting

Bret Rineholt, Senior Adjudicator with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, gave a presentation at the PGS March meeting about current immigration law, some historical perspectives of immigration, and an introduction to the genealogy service pages of the Immigration Service web site.

The picture shows Bret (back row, 3d from left) with various PGS board members at the social period following the meeting.

You can access the USCIS genealogy pages by going first to [http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis] and then clicking on "Services and Benefits" and the "Genealogy."

Bret's presentation was well-received by the 70+ people who attended the meeting. If you missed it, mark you calendar for 18 April when we will have another popular speaker, Drew Smith.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Free PDF to Work Doc Converter

Dick Eastman in his online newsletter points us to a free utility that will allow us to convert a PDF document back into editable text. This can be a very handy utility if you need to reformat material that you initially get in PDF or if you need to extract only part of the document or if you need to actually do some hard-core editing of the content itself.

You can read Dick's article and find a link to the utility at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/03/free-pdf-to-word-doc-converter.html

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Information at SVCGG

The Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group has a web page that I periodically go to for information. When you reach the home page, click on "How To's and Helps" to be taken to a menu of hints, tips, articles, and classes.

Many of the offerings deal with PAF (Personal Ancestral File), but there are several that deal with general genealogy topics as well.

In the "How To's and Helps" page you can view a document that briefly explains how to use the "New Famly Search." That is not available to everyone just yet, but the article gives a good idea of what the net-centric replacement for PAF is all about.

You can find the SVCGG page at: http://www.svpafug.org/index.html

Friday, March 20, 2009

Genealogy Software Reviews

With so many genealogy products now on the market...and with so many software authors coming out with new versions of their software, this site may be helpful to you.

GenSoftReviews gives a short explanation of 422 different genealogy programs and reviews submitted by users of those products. The reviews, indicated by a 5-star rating system, cover the categories of Enjoy using it, Use it often, Easy input, Useful output, and Overall rating.

You can find the reviews at http://www.gensoftreviews.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pinellas Genealogist--Family History Writing Competition

Pinellas Genealogist, journal of Pinellas Genealogy Society, announces its First Annual Family History Writing Competition. The competition is open to one and all, with cash prizes being awarded of $50 for first prize, $30 for second, and $20 third.

Deadline for submissions is July 31st, and the winning paper will be published in the winter issue of Pinellas Genealogist.

For details and rules, go to the link on the home page of Pinellas Genealogy Society's web site at Pinellas Genealogist, journal of Pinellas Genealogy Society, announces its First Annual Family History Writing Competition. The competition is open to one and all, with cash prizes being awarded of $50 for first prize, $30 for second, and $20 third.

Deadline for submissions is July 31st, and the winning paper will be published in the winter issue of Pinellas Genealogist.

For details and rules, go to the link on the home page of Pinellas Genealogy Society's web site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpgs/

New Blog Dealing With Tennessee

Dick Eastman in his online newsletter recently reported on a new Blog dealing with Tennessee history and genealogy. It is sponsored by Arlene Eakle, and she launched it on 17 March. You can get in on the "ground floor" and read it at: http://tnblog.arleneeakle.com/

24/7 Family History Circle

Ancestry.com produces a newsletter titled 24/7 Family History Circle. It publicizes recent changes to the Ancestry site, database additions and updates, and provides helpful comments on using the site in general. It also has links to previous editions all the way back to 2006, and it provides a link to the Ancestry Blog.

This is a great site to use to keep those database changes and additions from slipping by you. It can also alert you to databases that have been around for a while but which you have overlooked. If you are an Ancestry.com user (either at the library or through a personal account), this online newsletter will be helpful.

You can read the newsletter at: http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?m=200903

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PGS Meeting on 21 March Features Immigration

The General Meeting is coming up this Saturday, 21 March, at 11 am at the Largo Public Library. As usual, it is preceded at 9:45 with our question-and-answer session on the use of computers in genealogy. And, as usual, the meeting is open to the public.

The speaker this month is Bret Rinehart. Bret is an immigration officer who will speak on immigration law, both current and historical.

The meeting will also include time for refreshments, personally meeting the speaker, and networking with fellow genealogists. Join us and bring a friend.

Posting Your Family Tree to the Internet

Earlier this week I attended a class by Bob Bryan on publishing your family tree on the Internet. It is something that I have often thought about, but have never taken the time to understand and actually do.

Bob's explanation and demonstration revealed the whole process to be painless and simple. He also explained the pros and cons of publishing your tree...just in case people still had some concerns. Since that class, I have followed his example and published my own tree to "World Connect" (the Roots Web site), and have talked to two other class attendees who have done likewise.

If you have considered publishing your family tree and have hesitated doing so, consider going to Bob's class when it is again offered. You can also read his article about the subject in the spring issue of The Pinellas Genealogist.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting

There are 10 or so neighboring genealogy societies that we exchange program information with. This notice comes from the Manasota Genealogical Society concerning their meeting in April:

Date: TUESDAY, April 7, 2009
Where: Manatee Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd., West Bradenton, Florida
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Guest Speaker: BRYAN MULCAHY

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dynamic Immigration Map

The New York Times has a map online which can show you population concentrations across the county of various ethnic/national groups from 1880 to 2000. This is an interactive page: you can choose your year of interest and the country of origin you want to focus on...so you can see immigration flows across the country over time. This is a really cool site!

This month's speaker is Bret Rinehart and his topic is immigration laws and a historical overview of them. You can "prep" for his talk by doing some exploring of your own at the Times site. Here is the address: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/10/us/20090310-immigration-explorer.html?hp

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Debate on Open Access to Public Records

Recently Dick Eastman, in his online newsletter, wrote a short article on the status of this debate and what the Federation of Genealogy Societies (of which PGS is a member) is doing to bring some resolution to it. You can see Eastman's article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/03/open-access-to-public-records-a-genealogical-perspective.html

The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society, has published a White Paper dealing with access to vital records in this post-9/11 world. The paper offers some sample legislative language that may be used by those crafting bills to fairly represent the needs of genealogists and still protect the public’s rights of privacy. You may view a PDF of the bill at FGS’ website at http://www.fgs.org/rpac.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DNA Testing...Realistic Expectations

I went to Ed Demming's class on the use of DNA in genealogy last night. It was a good class with much to offer. The small class setting was ideal for asking questions and clarifying what is at best a confusing topic.

One of the crosses that the use of DNA in genealogy has to bear is the expectation that it can do more in identifying our ancestors than it really can. That mistaken perception is in part generated, I am sure, by TV mystery shows where DNA seems to give all the specific answers one could hope for. That may be the case in law enforcement where the task is to identify a specific person in connection with a crime, but it is not the case when the task is to trace ancestors back many generations. Ed's class did much to clarify that difference. That is definitely not to say that DNA testing is not valuable...it is. It is a unique tool that gives valuable information. It just doesn't give ALL the answers.

Karen Goldberg Goff, writing for The Washington Times, amplifies the points that Ed made in the class about the potential and the limits of DNA testing. Her article is a good one for understanding just what DNA testing can and cannot do for genealogists.

You can read her article at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/11/its-all-in-the-family/

Federation of Genealogical Societies

The Pinellas Genealogy Society is a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This is an over-arching group that is national in scope and potentially could have all genealogical societies in the country listed as its members. It was founded in 1976

The FGS publishes a quarterly magazine, Forum, which you can find on the genealogy journl shelf in the Largo Public Library.

If you want to see more of what the FGS has to offer, you can go to their website at: http://fgs.org/index.php

Becoming a Certified Genealogist

Ever thought of becoming a certified genealogist? Ever wonder what the process to become one was? You can now easily get those questions answered within the resources of the Pinellas Genealogy Society.

Jean Kelly, one of our members, is a certified genealogist who has offered to explain the process and "mentor" anyone wishing to travel the path to certification. She can't do the work for you, of course, but there are many questions and pointers she can give you that fall well within ethical boundaries.

In the fall, Jean has offered to present a class on the subject. If you want to contact her personally before then, you can do so at jean@fosterkelley.com

Finding Married Names

The Ancestry Weekly Discovery (Ancestry.com's newsletter) recently had a helpful article about finding women's married names. When a daughter marries and moves away from her birth family, her name is disguised by her husband's surname. Finding her in her new family can be challenging. This article offers some strategies on how to find her again.

You can read the entire article at: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=14218&sssdmh=dm13.195790&o_iid=23560&o_lid=23560

Monday, March 9, 2009

Military Land Bounty Warrants Explanation

If you are unsure what military land bounty warrants are, how they worked, or of what value they are to genealogists, then a recent short but informative article in the Genealogy Blog is for you.

The article can be found at: http://genealogyblog.familyhistoryresearch.net/2008/10/27/the-short-story-of-military-land-bounty-warrants/

Sunday, March 8, 2009

News About the 2010 Census

If you are a "census fanatic" like I am, you may find this article from Dick Eastman's Newsletter interesting.

It appears that there is going to be a hefty price tag attached to the next census, which begins in April of next year.

You can read the article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/03/2010-us-census-will-be-most-expensive-ever.html

Friday, March 6, 2009

Information About Historic Tax Records

Sharon Tate Moody has an written an interesting article about tax records and personal income tax dating back to 1861 when the first personal income tax was imposed to help pay for the Civil War.

The article is fun to read and filled with facts and sources for tax records. Read the entire article at: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb/22/tr-tax-records-detail-ancestors-pay-lives/

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Roots Magic Free Preview of Version 4

This is for everyone using the Roots Magic genealogy software or those who may be interested in see the capabilities of the newest release.

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — March 4, 2009 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced RootsMagic 4 public beta, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable. During the public beta period, all are invited to download and experience the software, free of charge.

RootsMagic 4 boasts an impressive list of new features including integrated web search, improved SourceWizard for citing sources, sharing events among multiple persons, creating pre-defined groups of persons, person and place mapping, recording DNA tests, and improved navigation and data entry. RootsMagic 4 is also one of the only desktop genealogy programs certified to work with “New FamilySearch”.

You can read the entire article at Dick Eastman's newsletter: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/03/rootsmagic-invites-public-to-preview-family-tree-software.html

Editor, lonely but earnest, seeks writers

You're a genealogist? Then you have a story to tell. . . or two, or three. Not a writer? Not to worry! Put your fingers to keyboard and capture the essence of your tale, and we'll work with you to develop an article for Pinellas Genealogist (PG).

PG is always looking for material--a story about your own research, a book review, a description of a genealogical source or repository that you've used, an event, DNA testing. Our needs are many, our interests even greater.

Material can be emailed to: pgsfla@yahoo.com, Subject: Editor, PG.

Or mailed to: Pinellas Genealogy Society; Editor, Pinellas Genealogist; 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, FL 33771-2110.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Graveyard and Cemetery Tips

Some of you may have attended Gary Coil's class recently about preparing for a research trip. In that class Gary talked about visiting cemeteries and included a discussion about some things to take along with you to make the most of your time there. Here is an article that piggybacks on Gary's presentation.

Leslie Wagner has written an article in the Dallas History Examiner giving helpful hints about visiting cemeteries. It is a short article, but it reinforces ideas that Gary mentioned, and it may spur other ideas about how to make such a visit more profitable. Meld what she has to say with Gary's class and you have a fairly complete list of things to consider.