Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Light Blogging Week

Just a heads up that this week I'll have little-to-no posts published. I am trying to stay consistent with about three posts per week, but I will be working late three evenings this week, have several deadlines due with other projects, and have been having severe knee pain, which is tiring me out. I do have a three-day weekend coming, in which I hope to rest, see my doctor, and perhaps start scheduling blog posts again.

I appreciate your patience and understanding.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 2015 Scanfest

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Finds and Follows: 23 January 2015

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

The Cobweb: Can the Internet be archived? by Jill Lepore at The New Yorker - this long but fascinating article tells the history behind one of my favorite websites, the Internet Archive

The Real Reason Why Your Ancestors Didn’t Smile in Old Photographs at the Crestleaf blog

W.Va. woman finds unexpected history in her family tree by Marta Tankersley Hays at The Charleston Gazette - from bootleggers to royalty

Death in the wrong place and Following up on death by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist - could your ancestor have TWO death certificates?

Finding the Simon Gates 1803 Home Farm Using Historic Map Works Overlays by Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings - this is a fun one! I enjoyed following Randy's steps to look at my ancestor John Concidine's farm plat overlaid on a Google map. Check it out!

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@elliston75, @PeraneNCo, @AskArchivists, @FemaleFactory, @karendnj13, @rootsandroutesr, @hpconnor447, @maureentrotter, @mattcycle, @mollyscanopy, @IrishRootsMag, @townlandorigin, @rootsireland, @italianside

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Research Reports and Other Types of Published Conclusions

It doesn't have to be complicated.

Our goal in genealogy is to share the results of our research with others. Hoarding our discoveries does no one any good. And, since our ancestors are also the ancestors of many other individuals, we can't "own" them or their lives for ourselves. We must share their stories with others.

The final step of the genealogy research process states that we will "arrive at a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion." If we are professional genealogists, our conclusion will be written up as a research report and given to our client (here's the template I use). If we wish to share our discoveries in a formal way, we may write a family narrative to be published in a periodical such as the National Genealogical Society's Quarterly or the New England Historic Genealogical Society's Register. If we simply want to share our stories with family members, we have a variety of media at our disposal to do so, whether it is a family history book, a blog, a newsletter, a website, or even a video we've produced.

The key is that in publishing our findings, we will, in some way:

  • explain the problem (the question or theory or hypothesis behind our research plan);
  • identify the known resources (which we've faithfully recorded in our research log);
  • present the evidence with source citations and analysis;
  • discuss any conflicting evidence; and
  • summarize the main points and write (or publish in other media formats) our conclusions.
We also must realize that there is no such thing as a final conclusion, because new information can support, question, or disprove our current conclusion.

These above steps are all elements of the Genealogy Research Process and the Genealogy Proof Standard as established by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

But again, publishing your conclusion doesn't have to be a big, scary thing. I'm doing this exact thing, publishing my conclusion about where my ancestor Lura may be buried in a series this month here on my blog. It's not formal. It's not scary. But it does follow the elements listed above.

Just get the word out: make a plan, track your research steps, and publish the story.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Scanfest is Coming!

The January 2015 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, January 25th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Review: Week 2

Wednesday concluded Week 2 of the Genealogy Do-Over, and this is my review of those topics:

Setting Research Goals
As I stated in my post, "Key Genealogy Categories for Targeting Your Goals," my main research goal for 2015 is the following: "I will correctly cite in my RootsMagic database all known facts for my ROBBINS ancestors, as well as all their descendants. I will download or scan all correlating documents, and name and file them on my hard drive according to my digital filing system. My purpose is to have a prepared database for a 2016 goal of publishing a family history. I intend to spend a minimum of one hour a week each Sunday afternoon working on this goal."

I've already begun this work, and serendipitously enough, have just this week gotten in contact with another descendant of my (our) infamous ancestor, Uzza ROBBINS.

Conducting Self Interview
Years ago, I began a blog called AnceStories 2: Stories of Me for My Descendants which had weekly journal prompts. My responses were journaled here at this blog.

I've also kept various journals in electronic and paper form, as well as written a Christmas letter nearly every year since 1990 which serves as an excellent annual summary. My kids gave me, at my request, a Hallmark journal for Mother's Day about five years ago which has questions to answer about my life's story. I do need to spend some time consolidating everything into one location (like my hard drive) and then create back ups. It's just not a feasible goal for this year.

Conducting Family Interviews
When I first started doing genealogy in 1987, I wrote all my grandparents who lived across the country from me, and asked them questions, which they answered in letters. I also interviewed them when they came for visits, and kept notes of some of the phone conversations I had with my maternal grandmother.

My parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. I am considering how I could conduct some audio or video interviews about their lives, although both were proficient letter writers, and both sets of my grandparents saved the hundreds of letters my parents wrote to them in Michigan from Alaska from 1966 through 1979. My paternal grandparents also saved my dad's college letters from Canada in the early 1960s. I've been scanning all these letters over the past five years. Yes, it has taken that long! I have kept notes of conversations I've had with my parents in the past 30 years when they've  told stories about their ancestors or when I've asked specific questions about family history.

I do have one grandaunt still living, and I've been thinking I need to interview her as well. In fact, that would be a priority over interviewing my parents, considering her age. She is the youngest sibling of my paternal grandfather (who was the eldest). She wouldn't remember some of the grandparents and great-grandparents of that generation the way my grandfather did, but getting her perspective on the family history would still be invaluable. She does live across the country, so I would probably interview her via letter as I did my grandparents.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Finds and Follows: 16 January 2015

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

Darned Records: When You Let Gollum Index at The Ancestry Insider - from the Humor Department

Speaking of the Humor Department, have you checked out Geneapalooza? This weekday genealogy cartoon always starts my day out right!

Hire a professional? Why on earth would I do that? by the unnamed blogger at For Us the Living - great reasons to hire a professional

On the very same day, I read Barbara Poole's Somebody Answered my Plea to Help Solve A Brick Wall, and I Gladly Paid Him! at Life From the Roots.

Announcing the Genetic Genealogy Standards by Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist - we're witnessing genealogy history, folks, and--better yet--the standards will help our research

Top 10 Gmail Labs and Features You Should Enable by Whitson Gordon at Lifehacker -  I'm a big GMail user and fan here, always looking for ways to tweak it

Why are there Blue "Silver" Books? by Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy - as a Mayflower descendant who doesn't own any of these books, but have used them at my genealogical society's holdings, I've wondered this myself

How you can find out if you're related to someone famous by Rob Cardwell at WTVR - this reporter didn't know much about his family tree and even less about Richmond, Virginia history when he moved there from Florida. However, he made some interesting discoveries! - hat tip to GenealogyBlog's Leland Meitzler

10 Years, Over 150 Records Requested--How Many Did I Actually Receive? by Diane Gould Hall at Michigan Family Trails - are you keeping track of your requests? How? Diane displays her handy spreadsheet.

Farm-Spotting: The Simon Gates Home Farm in Gardner, Massachusetts by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings - Cousin Randy did some platting to determine where his ancestor's farm lay. Read this and the following posts, especially if you are a cartophile (map lover), as I am.

Looking for historic NW images? State Library has 'em! by Brian Zylstra at From Our Corner (a blog of the Washington Secretary of State) - your ancestor didn't have to live in Washington State for you to find great images. The collection includes photos from all over the Pacific Northwest. No PNW ancestors for you? Let this prompt you to look in your ancestors' state library digital collections (check out my incomplete Online Digital Archives and Databases series for links to state libraries' digital collections from Alabama through Nebraska, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories).

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@WashburnLinda, @Irish_Genealogy, @NJGenealogy, @ValsRoots, @mamaligablues, @Quizman3

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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My 9th Blogiversary

Nine years ago today, I started my blog.

It was, I hoped, a place where I could share my ancestor's stories. It also was a place where I ended up sharing my own. 

Over the years, I've acquired--and lost--readers according to the flows and ebbs of my writing. It has mirrored my creativity and passion for genealogy, as well as the overwhelming busy-ness that sometimes is my life.

In the past nine years, this blog has won prestigious as well as simply fun awards. But there were times when I wondered if I could even keep it going. Through it all, I never lost my love of genealogy or of writing, even when it seemed like I had no time or energy to do either.

It was never about the awards, anyway. It was always about sharing what I had learned about my family or about genealogy in general with an appreciative and supportive audience, many of whom have become dear friends, and some of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life.

Technology has changed so much even since 2006, but I plan to continue blogging as long as there's a platform and an audience to do so. After all, there are many more ancestor stories to tell, tips to share, and boxes of material for Scanfest!

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. 

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