Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Genealogy Research and Jigsaw Puzzles

James Tanner in his blog “Genealogy’s Star” has written a clever article likening genealogy research to working a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not exactly the same, of course, but the analogy is good enough that there is learning that can be transferred from the jigsaw pursuit to the genealogical one. Besides, I personally love analogies as a way to uncover new ways to look at problems…as for example when I compared genealogists to cats in a piece I wrote titled “What Genealogists Can Learn From Cats.” (Apologies to dog lovers.)

James’ article is entertaining as well as full of good advice. I especially like the first tip he gives: “Study the entire scene first, before you begin and note any unusual details.” {my underline}

Check it out at: Genealogy's Star: The missing piece

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rejected Genealogy Conference Proposals

Thanks to Amy Coffin and “The We Tree Genealogy Blog” for this one. If you want a good laugh…especially if you have been to genealogy conferences and read through the presentation lists…you need to check this out. I can just picture enthusiastic  conference attendees competing to get into these topics.

I especially liked the topics: “Advanced Techniques for Making Your Cell Phone Ring During Genealogy Sessions,” and “GEN-ealogy or GENE-eaology? Pronunciation Fight Club.”

Enjoy the article at The We Tree Genealogy Blog: Rejected Genealogy Conference Proposals

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online

The following was just announced by the RootsTech Conference Folks:

SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, a leading family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2-4, 2012, announced today that fourteen of its popular sessions will be broadcasted live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The second-year conference has attracted over 3,000 registered attendees.

The free online sessions include the keynote speakers and a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the fourteen broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):

Thursday, February 2
8:30-10:00 am, Inventing the Future, as a Community (Keynote Address) by Jay L. Verkler
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Do I Trust the Cloud? by D. Joshua Taylor
1:45-2:45 pm, Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink
3:00-4:00 pm, Twitter – It’s Not Just “What I Had for Breakfast” Anymore by Thomas MacEntee
4:15-5:15 pm, Eleven Layers of Online Searches by Barbara Renick

Friday, February 3
8:30-9:30 am, Exabyte Social Clouds and Other Monstrosities (Keynote Address) by Josh Coates
9:45-10:45 am, Publish Your Genealogy Online by Laura G. Prescott
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Optimize Your Site for Search Engines by Robert Gardner
1:45-2:45 pm, Genealogists “Go Mobile” by Sandra Crowly
3:00-4:00 pm, Google’s Toolbar and Genealogy by Dave Barney

Saturday, February 4
8:30-9:30 am, Making the Most of Technology to Further the Family History Industry (Keynote Address) by Tim Sullivan and Ancestry.com Panel
9:45-10:45 am Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101 by Lisa Louise Cooke
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Future of FamilySearch Family Tree by Ron Tanner
1:45-2:45 pm, Privacy in a Collaborative Environment by Noah Tatuk

Friday, January 27, 2012

City Directory Research

In doing research using City Directories, you soon realize that you need to nail down what directories are available for what locations and what years. It can be very misleading to do a name search in a city directory collection and come up dry. An incorrect conclusion to such an outcome would be that the individual does not live in that location at that time after all. But it could be that the collection simply does not contain a directory for that location and time.

The City Directories of the United States of America can tell you the when and where of city directory publication. Although the site is primarily designed to sell you copies of city directories, it also provides a way for you to see a listing of all of the directories produced.

On the home page search boxes on the left, highlight “Select Locality” and “City Directory.” A list of states will pop up. Select that one that interests you. On the next screen (where you will be greeted with purchase information), scroll down to the “City and year to search” boxes. They have dropdown boxes where you can see what cities had directories produced and for what years.

Check it out at City Directories of the United States of America .

By the way, the PGS has a class on city directory research that includes explanations of this website and much more. Look for it on our class list at http://www.flpgs.org/classes.aspx .

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why we all love genealogy

Did you hear that John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, has two grandsons alive and well and living in Virginia? President Tyler was born in 1790 which 'computes' to two grandchildren alive 222 years later. In 1853 at age 63, Tyler's son, Lyon Gardiner Tyler, was born. Okay so far. 71 years later, in 1924, Lyon's son Harrison was born, and in 1928 his son Lyon, Jr., was born. So here we are with two octogenarians separated by only two generations from a man who might have met George Washington. Wow!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

“Indianapolis Recorder” Available at IUPUI University Library

The “Indianapolis Recorder” is one of the top African-American publications in the nation, and now digitized issues are available on line at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)website. This collection will help you search for and access historically important stories of African-Americans individuals, organizations, and events in Indianapolis, Indiana in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Although there are a few holes, the issues from 1899 through 2005 are essentially available. You can get access to the collection at Indianapolis Recorder | IUPUI University Library

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's Go to the Fair, with FSGS

Florida State Genealogical Society (FSGS), which PGS is a member of, has taken a booth at the Florida State Fair (fairgrounds are over in Tampa), Feb 9-20. This is a first for FSGS. Now they are asking member societies to help find people to man the booth. You could be part of this bold new effort to reach the public about genealogy while at the same time having an excuse to go to the fair!
The booth has to be manned eight hours a day. How the shifts will be organized isn't known, but the time will be broken into shorter periods.
If you want to help make this avant-garde effort a success, contact Susan Jones, saucerdog@verizon.net.

National Archives Places Workshop Videos Online

Thanks to Dick Eastman for this “heads up.” The National Archives has started a You Tube channel where it is making available for the first time some of its workshops about various records held at the archives. The videos vary from about 3 to 10 minutes in length and cover such topics as immigration records and military records. They also have presentations for those new to genealogy.

Dick’s article gives us the announcement from NARA and links to several of the workshops. Check it out at National Archives Places Videos of Popular Records Workshops Online for First Time - Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PBS Into Genealogy Again

On March 25 PBS will launch a new 10-part series from Henry Louse Gates Jr. called “Finding Your Roots.” Gates had an earlier series on the same network which pre-dated NBS’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” 

This current offering will feature two people per episode. Two of those featured are Kevin Bacon and spouse Kyra Sedgwick.

Read more about this at PRESS TOUR: PBS explores genealogy again

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick -- PGS Seminar Speaker

We have been advertising the Pinellas Genealogy Society 2012 Seminar coming up on 11 February for some time now, so you are probably aware that Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick is the primary speaker and will make four presentations throughout the day.

But did you know that Colleen, in addition to being an author and lecturer, is also a working forensic genealogist? If you would like some insight to such work, you can check out her website at www.identifinders.com where she posts information about her casework, and her blog at http://identifinders.wordpress.com where she posts ongoing developments.

Colleen's presentations to us will draw in part from her cases, thus giving us a unique mixture of old and new, genealogy and science.

You can get more information about the PGS seminar and a registration form at our website: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpgs/index.htm

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FamilySearch.org Encourages Use of Their Wiki

The following was in a recent publication from Family Search. It is a great reminder about an ofter-overlooked resource.

FamilySearch.org has over 2.5 billion records online, but did you know that by clicking the “Learn More” button featured with each record set, you can connect to additional information about the record sets on the FamilySearch Research Wiki? By clicking on the “Learn More” button you are instantly accessing a wealth of information on the FamilySearch Research Wiki that can add depth and insight to the records you are using for your family history research.
While the information provided can vary slightly, there are 10 types of basic information that are provided for each record group, including:

>Collection Time Period—This indicates the time period the collection encompasses.
>Record Description—The description tells the kinds of records a collection contains. If a record collection contains only baptisms and marriages and you are looking for a death record, for example, then looking in this record collection may not be the best place to start.
>How to Use This Record—Have you ever wanted or needed instructions on how to use a record collection? It may sound silly, but it is important to know how to use a particular record collection. FamilySearch Research Wiki provides detailed instructions on how to use each collection in an easy to understand format.
>Record History—Knowing the historical context in which the records were created as well as the reliability of the records contained in the collection can help in evaluating the records.
>Related Websites—FamilySearch Research Wiki provides links to additional information for the collection.
>Related Wiki Articles—If there are volunteer-contributed articles that pertain to a record collection, then the links to those articles are listed here.
>Known Issues with the Collection—Record collections can have issues and concerns that come up from time to time, and knowing these can help in evaluating records.
>Contributions to This Article—This is where users can add any information they have on the particular record collection, adding more insight to the records.
>Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections—No more worries on how to cite a record—examples are provided here.
>Sources of Information for This Collection—Knowing the sources of a collection can affect users’ decisions about records.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Police trace DNA of 1991 killer back to Mayflower family

By Lee Moran and Meghan Keneally (paraphrase of original story)

The 1991 murder of a teenage girl on her high-school campus may now be closer to being solved — thanks to the DNA of a 17th century family.Seattle police investigating the death of Washington 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough ... have matched crime-scene DNA samples to the historic family of Robert Fuller, from Massachusetts, whose ancestors settled in Salem in 1630 after coming over on the Mayflower. It means one of his descendants could be responsible for the teenager's death.
But as almost 400 years have passed, the number of suspects could now run 'into the thousands.'Forensic consultant Colleen Fitzpatrick said, "The most important thing is having a last name. People get excited about having a Mayflower connection, but the most important thing is having a probable last name for this guy."
... there are over 34,000 Americans that can trace themselves back to one of the 26 familes on board the Mayflower. Dr. Fitzpatrick was undeterred at the scale of the manhunt they would now have to undertake, saying that "geography and physical characteristics" could help detectives narrow their search.
Following the murder, the King County Sheriff's Department circulated two composite sketches of a possible suspect. He was a man in his 20's at the time of the attack, with shoulder-length blonde hair. He was said to be wearing a black trench coat and driving a 1970 tan Chevrolet Nova-style car.
But a name was never put to the sketch.Then, last month, California-based Fitzpatrick was sent the DNA profile. She compared it to others in genealogy databases and found the closest match was to the family of Robert Fuller. And she revealed that, since the DNA trace follows male descendants, there was a "high probability" that the man police are looking for is named Fuller.

Read more: http;//www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2084692/Sarah-Yarborough-murder-Could-DNA-linked-17th-century-Mayflower-family-solve-1991-case.html#ixzz1jfs7MFjc

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick will be the speaker at the Pinellas Genealogy Society Seminar on February 11, 2012.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Get Your Friends Involved in Genealogy

Do you have friends who may be interested in thier genealogy? Perhaps you are a northern visitor and belong to a social group of people from your home up north, or you are a permanent resident here and belong to a neighborhood association or other group that meets regularly. If that is the case, the PGS will gladly come and speak to your group about genealogy and how to get started.

If that is not convenient, but you think the interest is there, we can give you brochures that will lead people to the PGS and to aditional information about genealogy.

Just ask a PGS board member, or the instructor at one of our classes, or send us an email to find out more information on how you can spread the word. Send you questions to pgsfla@yahoo.com.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

GLLF Starts Million Dollar Campaign

Greater Largo Library Foundation (GLLF) is kicking off a Million Dollar Endowment Fund campaign, hoping to raise this amount by October. GLLF, of which PGS is a member, supports Largo Public Library in a variety of ways, such as purchasing equipment and underwriting programs.
The funding provided by GLLF is vital to the library because of the continuing reductions of budget for the past several years. The Foundation is developing a variety of ways that individuals and organizations can contribute to the Foundation and be recognized for their generosity.
The campaign basically will be a year long effort. More information will be publicized in this blog and in PGS Newsletter over the next months.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Would You Like to Help Index the 1940 Census?

The 1940 US Federal Census indexing project ( familysearch.org/1940census ) is the largest, most comprehensive and most recent record set documenting the 132 million people living in the United States in 1940. FamilySearch, Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and other community partners are organizing an effort to index and publish these records online for free.

FamilySearch will provide information and tools for the indexing project. FamilySearch will also offer online webinars and help resources if you have any questions or need additional information.

For more information about the project or how to get involved, send an email to Merlin Jay Price at pricemj@ldschurch.org

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Research Trip to the Family History Library at Salt Lake City in April

If you are interested in joining a group going to the Family History Library at Salt Lake City from 15-22 April, you should check out this link.

The trip is being hosted by Terry and Jim Willard from The Villages (they have been popular presenters at a couple of our meeting programs in the past).

When you get to the website, click on the link to “January-June 2012 Online Catalog.” You will be asked to either open or download a catalog in pdf format (either is easy to do). Scroll down to page 5 for the information.

This is a recurring trip and Terry and Jim are experienced guides. Check it out at The Villages Lifelong Learning College enrichment classes for adults.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PGS Annual Seminar on 11 February -- Register Now

This year’s all-day event (8 am to 4 pm) is stacking up to be one of our best. Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, an internationally known author and speaker will present four sessions:
>Forensic Genealogy—CSI Meets Roots. Who? What? When? Where? Are these the words of a genealogist researching his family tree or a forensic scientist solving a mystery? Maybe both! The goal of this presentation is to spark your imagination to discover new ways of looking at your family mysteries.
>Who is Benjaman Kyle? Imagine living without a social security number or a birth certificate...you could not get a job, drive a car, open a bank account. Yet Benjaman Kyle suffers from amnesia and must function under these conditions. Kyle’s story offers insight to genealogists searching for ancestors who have left behind just as few clues about themselves as Kyle has of himself.
>The Dead Horse Investigation. Who is the man in top hat and tails sitting on a dead horse in the middle of the street? Photographs contain many clues about time, place, and people if we have the necessary analytical skills. This fascinating photograph will be used to delve into the world of photo research, analysis, and interpretation.
>The Database Detective. Understanding how to ine databases is critical for genealogical success, especially since the size and number of online databases are growing so rapidly. This talk will not only show us where to look for information, but more importantly, how to look at it.

In addition to Dr. Fitzpatrick, three other presenters will give sessions (you get to choose one). The speakers are Debbe Hagner, Damon Hostetler, and Debra Fleming. Debbe is going to talk on “Researching Funeral Home, Grave Site and Cemetery Records.” Damon is going to talk on “How and Why of Migration.” Debra is going to present “Newspaper Research—Following That Lead.” Each of these speakers has presented at our monthly meetings in the past.

So there you have the complete run down on all of our speakers for the 11 February 2012 seminar. But there is a lot more that will be going on during that day. Don’t forget that your registration fee includes food: continental breakfast, lunch, drinks during the day, and snacks as long as they last.

In between speakers, the book sale will be going full steam, and the featured speaker will be available to chat and will be signing her books for sale. There will be representatives of several historical and lineage societies to chat with, and we will have door prizes and raffles throughout the day.

February 4, 2012 is the deadline for PGS 2012 Seminar registration to take advantage of a significant discount. The cost is $42 for members and $47 otherwise. After that and up to the seminar itself on 11 February, the price goes up to $50.

Those who have attended one of our seminars previously can vouch for how much fun they are and how much you can learn during the day. So new member, old member, or not a member; experienced attendee or first time attendee; new researcher or old hand—get your registration in now. You can pick one up at the Genealogy Center in the Largo Public Library or go to the PGS website at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpgs/

Monday, January 9, 2012

AncestryCom's Channel on YouTube

Ancestry.com has its own channel on You Tube. You can view short videos dealing with a variety of subjects such as finding Civil War ancestors, searching on Ancestry, how to prove Native American ancestry, how to use WWII draft registration cards, and more. The videos can range from a minute to 15 minutes or more, depending on the subject.

The play list has about 125 items on it and continues to grow.

Check it out at AncestryCom's Channel - YouTube

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Internet Searches: Some Twists and Some Helps

The online GenealogyInTime Magazine offers a fascinating article on what they call “Ten Innovations in Online Genealogy Search.” The Internet is analyzed by how it is structured and how the data, specifically genealogy data is stored on the Internet. Armed with this information they give us insights to make our searches more productive.

The GenealogyInTime website also provides us some specialized search engines designed for genealogy searches. In reading the article you get not only the insights, but also explanations of, and links to, their search tools.

This is not light reading, so get a cup of your favorite beverage and settle down for some study. Also, this is only part I. You will find a link to Part II at the bottome of the article.

Check it out at Ten Innovations in Online Genealogy Search

Friday, January 6, 2012

Going Paperless

We have all heard about the "paperless office," and we have probably all personally struggled with too much paper accumulating through our research efforts.

Dick Eastman is no different, but he has taken dramatic and successful steps to reduce the amount of paper he has to contend with. He has written on this subject before, but one of his lastest articles arguably his most detailed on the subject.

Check out what he has to say about the idea, and the approach he has taken. You can read his article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2011/12/why-i-went-paperless.html .

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jamboree at the Cumberland Gap

Because 50 million Americans have ties to the Cumberland Gap, it was the venue for a free public event called the Genealogy Jamboree 2011--Destination Cumberland Gap. There were 3100 + genealogist from 39 states and 2 countries, that had fun and enjoyed the speakers, vendors, exhibitors.

It was such a success that the Date June 7-9, 2012 is now set for a repeat event at the Cumberland Gap later this year.

Organizers are asking that attendees to send in pedigree charts for use during the event. In 2011 about 700 were received and were a big hit. If anyone would like to set up a tent for a family surname, a historical/genealogical author, a society, or a vendor; contact the organizers at their web page: genealogyjamboree.us . The facebook page is at facebook.com/genealogyjamboree. This event was free to the public this year and it will be next year. Mark Treadway is the event director

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roots Magic 5 Released

Roots Magic announced the release of version 5 in near the end of November. The cost is $29.95 for first-time buyers and $19.95 for those upgrading from an earlier version.

From the Roots Magic website, here are a few of the new features of the software:

Timeline View – put a person’s life in context with events from their own life and from the lives of family members.

CountyCheck – confirm and correct the existence of a county, state, or country on any given date from a multi-national database. It can even show you online maps of county boundaries for that date.

Research Manager – avoid “reinventing the wheel” by keeping track of research goals, sources, and results that you have collected on a person, family, or place

"On This Day” List – bring your family history to life and view family events along with famous births, deaths, and historical events for any given day of the year.

Media Tagging – tag your media with people, families, sources, or places. For example, tag an image of a census record with the people, families, and places mentioned in the record as well as the census’ source citation.

Plus over 80 other enhancements and features

Check it out at http://www.rootsmagic.com/ . Be sure to follow the site's "Learn" tab to listen to a webinar on the product's new capabilities.