Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Tools in Google Maps

In case you haven't noticed, there are some relatively new tools available in Google Maps. They are not automatically available, however. You have to activate them, but that is a simple process.

After bringing up the Google Maps page on your computer, look in the upper right of the window for the word "new" (probably in red letters). Once you click on that word, a pop up window will open that lists the tools and gives you the option to selectively activate them. A couple of easy mouse-clicks will do the trick.

One tool that I like a lot is the Drag and Zoom option. This one gives you the capability of drawing a box around your area of interest on the map and have the view quickly zoom into that box.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting on 7 December

The Manasota Genealogical Society will meet Tuesday, December 7, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00, at the Manatee County Central Library for a presentation by the Rev. Herb Loomis titled “The Genealogy of Santa Claus Post Cards.” A Special Interest Group to follow with "Organizing Genealogical Data in Your Computer."

For further information contact Jean Morris at (941)722-5156. The society website can be found at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flmgs/

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mending a Document Tear

This was recently published in the GenealogyGems Digest, Vol 70, Issue 1:

Preservation Tip of the Month--Mending a Paper Tear by Becky Schipper
To correctly mend a torn page or document you will need a bone folder {A bone folder or bone folder is a dull edged device used to crease material in crafts such as bookbinding, card making and any other craft where a sharp crease is needed} and Filmoplast P paper mending tape, which is acid free. For non-archival paper you may use Scotch Magic Removable Tape #811.

Carefully matching words and or lines and pictures, use a narrow piece of mending tape to cover the tear. It is always best to mend on the back side if you can accomplish a good match. Apply the tape from the inner or spine side of the page and rub towards the outer edge. Use no more tape than necessary; but if the tear is overly long or very jagged you may need to tape on both the front and back. Burnish the tape with the bone folder to make it almost invisible.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Read About the New FamilySearch Beta Website

Nearly everyone is familiar with the FamilySearch.org website sponsored by the LDS, and by now most of us have poked around the Record Search Pilot page of that website. Now there is a new beta site at https://beta.familysearch.org/ that is shortly going to replace the Record Search Pilot and it is available now.

Growing by leaps and bounds, the beta site is being groomed for "prime time" sometime early next year. Regardless of when it loses its "beta" designation, it is well worth your attention now if you are not familiar with it.

The Standard-Examiner website has an article about the project that will help put it in perspective. Read the article at http://tinyurl.com/298eet9 and then go play. Don't get trapped by only paying attention to the search form on the home page. Take some time to explore the links on the right side of the page as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Honoring Our Ancestors" Website

Megan Smolenyak, our featured speaker at the approaching PGS Annual Seminar in February 2011, has a website that is worth checking frequently. It is filled with articles, links, hints, tips, and more. You can find the site at http://www.honoringourancestors.com/

While you are at the site, be sure and read a little of Megan's background. I'm confident that you will want to hear her in person on 12 February 2011.

The site also gives you the opportunity to subscribe to her free newsletter. Do it, you'll not be disappointed.

You can get a PGS seminar registration form at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpgs/index.htm, or pick one up at the Genealogy Center at the Largo Public Library.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Unique Family Tree Charts

The website babble.com offers some very unique family tree charts. They are not free, but if you have such a need they are worth checking out.

You can see the images and order them at http://blogs.babble.com/family-style/2010/09/16/top-5-most-unique-family-trees/

Roots Magic User Group Will Be Dark This Month

The Roots Magic User Group which usually meets the 4th Saturday of each month will not do so this month, due to the holiday. In fact, it will not meet in December either...for the same reason.

But mark you calendars for the 4th Saturday in January when its activity will pick up again.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Megan Smolenyak to Speak at PGS Seminar

Megan Smolenyak is the featured speaker at the annual PGS Seminar on 12 February, 2011.

She is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject of genealogy, and her achievements in the field have been diverse and widely recognized. She is the author of four books, and probably the best known is In Search of Our Ancestors, that served as the companion book to the 13-episode PBS Ancestors series, and Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the NBC series. She has also written Trace Your Roots with DNA, In Search of Our Ancestors, and Honoring Our Ancestors. She has served as Chief Family Historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com and founder of UnclaimedPersons.org, a volunteer group that assists coroners and medical examiners.

Some other noteworthy genealogical accomplishments include the true story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island, Tracing Barack Obama's roots to Ireland, providing forensic consulting services to the U.S. Army to locate thousands of family members of soldiers still unaccounted for from World War I thru Viet Nam, helping Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley of Roots fame, use DNA testing to confirm the family's oral tradition of their ancestry, and figuring out who would be king of America if George Washington had been king instead of president.

Megan is also a popular speaker and TV guest, having appeared on Good Morning America, NPR, Today Show, CNN, BBS Breakfast and many more. She has also written numerous magazine articles and is the recipient of National Genealogical Society's Award of Merit, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from John Hopkins University.

You can get a registration from from the PGS website (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpgs/index.htm) or pick one up in the Genealogy Center of the Largo Public Library.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Atlanta Historic Newspapers Online

More than 67,000 pages of several Atlanta, GA newspapers are now online. The cover the years 1857 to 1922.

You need a DjVu plugin installed on your computer to view the images, but the site lets you know if you have to download it or not. If you do, a handy link is provided.

The search screen is complete with the ability to exclude terms as well as search for desired phrases and words.

You can check out these papers at http://atlnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/atlnewspapers/search

Thursday, November 18, 2010

PGS Represented at Annual FSGS Conference

Pictures: (1) PGS Banner on Display, (2) Sally Brown and a "customer" at the PGS Table

Sally Brown and I represented the PGS at the annual Florida State Genealogical Society (FSGS) Conference at Sarasota, Florida on 12-13 November 2010. The FSGS is a federation of all of the genealogy societies in Florida, so we are automatically a member, and there are individual as well as society members.

Part of every conference is the opportunity to network with presenters and other attendees. We made contacts with several presenters we will consider inviting to speak at our monthly meetings, and we also talked to several societies about our availability as speakers at their meetings. There are at least three societies that we are invited to speak at each year, and contacting them at this conference goes a long way toward keeping our relationship current.

The principal speaker at the conference was Maureen Taylor (The PhotoDetective). All of her presentations dealt with photographs in one way or another. Her topics were “Discovering Genealogical Clues in Family Photographs,” “Telling Your Family Story: Blogs to Heritage Scrapbooks,” Photographs and Stories From the American Revolution,” and “How to Find Family Photographs On and Off Line.” She is the author of several books about the identification, protection, and use of photographs in genealogy, at least two of which we have in our collection. Maureen also gave personal sessions for those who had questions about specific photographs they brought with them.

Other speakers also made presentations, and some of their topics were as follows:
· Kim Garvey—“Immigration and the Atlantic World Model”
· Michael Neill—“Establishing Your Own Migration Trail”
· Pauline Flewett—“English Parish Chest Records”
· Mark Middleton—“Digital Archiving”
· Pamela Cooper—“Pensions of the Poor”

The above is just a sampling of the presentations. In all there were at total of fifteen breakout sessions in addition the Maureen’s presentations.

Some authors and publishers were at the conference selling their books and we purchased a couple to add to our collection at the Largo Public Library. The titles are
· "You Ought to Write That Down: A Guide to Organizing and Writing Genealogical Narrative" by Paul Drake
· "Preserving Your Family Photographs" by Maureen Taylor

In addition to attending many of the presentations of the conference, we also engaged in some activities to promote the PGS. One of those was participating in the presentation of society banners. This takes place early the first day when each society who brought a banner to the conference participates in a small ceremony of presenting their banner to the crowd and then placing it in display for the duration of the conference. Before the conference ends a medallion is affixed to each displayed banners signifying its presence at the conference. The PGS banner has several of those medallions already.

Another promotional activity we undertook was setting up a display table for our society. The table was identified with our large tri-fold poster with the society logo, and several handouts were displayed as well. The handouts dealt with our Blog and website addresses, copies of our newsletter and journal, lists of books we sell, lists of classes we teach to other organizations, and lists of our CD-Rom classes. We also had registration forms for the society and the annual seminar in February.

In summary, the FSGS conference in my experience has always been a valuable experience, and this year was no exception. I believe that our association with that organization has benefited us, and it has benefited from our support as well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Headstone Photos Online

Allen Wheatley has a hobby that may benefit some of us: he takes pictures of headstones in cemeteries all over the country and posts them online. Here is his explanation: "I started photographing just my relatives in their cemeteries but found I needed to go back often to get newly found cousins. So I switched to getting complete cemeteries. Now I rarely go to a cemetery because of relatives therein, I just enjoy getting all the pictures and sharing with you."

He currently has cemeteries from just over 30 states. There just might be a connection between your ancestors and his coverage. Check it out at: http://teafor2.com/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Online Classes at Familysearch.org

I have talked about the online classes available from the website familysearch.org before, but this is such a valuable resource that I feel justified in mentioning it again.

This LDS sponsored website is long on education, but most visitors don't get much past the typical search for names and vital statistics. That is a shame because the research guides and online classes are so extensive and so helpful.

At this point there are more than 80 online classes available, and they are free. They cover a multitude of topics including European research by country, Civil War research, beginning genealogy, and state censuses just to name a few. Of particular interest may be the series of thirty classes on reading and interpreting non-English records.

You can get to the list of classes by clicking on "Free Online Classes" on the familysearch.org home page, or by clicking directly on this link: http://tinyurl.com/debr9s

By the way, the PGS is offering a class on getting the most out of the familysearch.org website. It will be at the Largo Public Library at 10 am on 30 November.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family History Writer's Workshop Takes a Break

The monthly Family History Writer's Workshop, normally held on the 4th Tuesday of each month, will take a break for the holidays.

The next meeting will be on 25 Jan 2011 at 6 pm in the Largo Public Library.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get a Feel for Your Ancestors' Daily Lives

There is an online magazine that is devoted to telling the history of the times in America before 1900. Its articles give you some insight to the events that shaped our ancestors' lives.

The website is an attractive presentation that itself looks like an old newspaper, and the article headlines are hot linked to the full stories. It is published quarterly, and older issues are available (the link is near the bottom of the home page.

If you are interested in searching for a particular topic, there is a search box at the bottom of the home page.

This can be interesting but addictive reading. You can check it out at http://www.common-place.org/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Find Your Ancestor's Ship at ShipIndex

Your immigration research is not done simply because you found your ancestor's name on a passenger list. You also want to get some information about the ship on which he or she traveled. Actually seeing a picture of it and reading about its voyages can give you an idea of the experience your ancestor had.

You can find ship references at the Ship Index website. It tells you which books, magazines, and online resources mention the vessels you're researching. With 142,804 entries in the free database and 1,420,968 entries available with premium access, you're bound to find useful information there. Given that part of the site is closed unless you subscribe, you might run into a dead end occasionally, but it is worth the hunt. Remember, this site gives the primarily references to go look at, not the information itself.

Check it out at http://shipindex.org/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reminder: PGS Slogan Contest Ends 13 November

We want a slogan that will elegantly, clearly, and forcefully define our Society. We want to be able to put it on our seal, our letterheads, the newsletter, the journal, on tri-fold handouts, the PGS banner – anywhere and everywhere that the public can associate it with the name Pinellas Genealogy Society.

The person whose slogan is selected will be rewarded with the knowledge that they will go down in the history of PGS. Oh, yes, and there is also a significant and worthwhile prize that goes along with that.You can send in as many suggestions as you like, the more the better. They should be sent by email to pgsfla@yahoo.com. If you don't have email capabilities, you can mail them to Journal Editor/PGS Slogan, c/o Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, FL 33771-2110.

Deadline is 13 Nov. 2010. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Classes at the Largo Public Library

Here are the genealogy classes scheduled at the Largo Public Library for the week starting 7 November:

Photo Organization & Basic Image Enhancement using Picasa--08 Nov., 10:00 AM
Ancestry.com--search techniques for getting the most from this huge collection of databases--09 Nov., 6:00 PM
Naturalization Records--Many of our immigrant ancestors went on to become naturalized citizens of the United States. This class outlines the naturalization process, the documents produced during that process, the information they contain, and where they can be located--10 Nov., 10:00 AM

All classes are free and open to the public.

Friday, November 5, 2010

GenWriters Helps Family History Writers

If you are thinking of writing down some of your family history, the GenWriters site is for you. It provides hints and tips and links to help you add depth and color to your ancestor's lives as you write about them.

It gives not only guidance on writing, but also links to historic information that can add interest to your family history: some link topics are "Migration Patterns & Trails," "Timelines & Chronologies," and "Wars & the Military."

The site also gives guidance on such topics as getting started to write and the editing process.

Check out this site at http://genwriters.com/

And, of course, if you are writing about your family, or thinking about doing so, drop by the PGS Family History Writer's Group. It meets at 6 pm every 4th Tuesday at the Largo Public Library.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Check Out "Linkpendium"

The website "Linkpendium" is a must stop for researchers. It doesn't provide any data on its own, but it links to a multitude of sources you may be interested in. It is continually updated so new sites are added as time goes on.

Navigation is easy on the site. From the home page you are provided a list of localities and surnames that link to more complete information and further links. For instance, I click on "Wisconsin Genealogy" and then further chose Waushara County and was treated to cemetery listings, county history, lists of Wisconsin Civil War soldiers, links to appropriate RootsWeb mailing lists, and much more.

This is one of those sites you want to revisit periodically. You can see the site at http://www.linkpendium.com/

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ancestry.com and Footnote.com

The word has been out for a few months now about Ancestry's purchase of Footnote, but the deal was apparently not officially done until a few weeks ago. Footnote sent a note to its subscribers soon after the ink had dried. Here it is:

"Several weeks ago Footnote.com (as part of iArchives) agreed to be acquired by Ancestry.com and that transaction has officially closed today [21 October]. As we join forces with Ancestry.com there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move even faster toward our goals. You may be curious about how this deal effects members of Footnote.com? The plan is to continue to run Footnote.com the way we have always run Footnote.com — continuing to do what we believe is best for our customers, our business and our brand.
"Now that the deal is officially closed we are excited to leverage some of Ancestry.com’s resources and expertise to take Footnote.com to the next level. It has been exciting to see Footnote.com grow over the past 4 years. Footnote.com started with only 5 million historical documents and today we have nearly 70 million searchable documents, over 1 million members, nearly 100,000 Footnote Pages, and over half million annotations added. We couldn’t have done it without our members and the great team at Footnote.com and we are excited for Ancestry.com’s support in the next chapter."

It is difficult to predict the precise future in regards to footnote. Most likely, in my opinion, it will continue to exist in tandem with Ancestry. There is some overlap in the offerings of the two sites, but mostly they are complementary. It would also be reasonable to expect that Ancestry subscribers will be offered a reduced subscription rate to Footnote.

I personally remain enthusiastic about Footnote.com. It offers a great historical perspective through digitized original documents which is often helpful in understanding our ancestors' lives. And where Footnote and Ancestry overlap, Revolutionary War pension applications and compiled service records for example, Footnote's presentation is much preferred.

As you may recall, in the first half of 2010 the PGS offered to its members a reduced subscription rate for Footnote. We intend to do that again in 2011. I had a conversation last week with Brian Hansen, the GM of Footnote, and he was very open to establishing our relationship again in 2011.