Monday, August 31, 2015

Genealogy Blogs

One of the most difficult things about working in Genealogy & Local History is keeping current. I subscribe to a number of blogs and newsletters. Some of the announcements and information overlaps, but I realize it's better to have the overlap than to miss something. 

Below are some websites, blogs and newsletters you can follow. The list is in no particular order or ranking. Of course, there are many others, and I'm not endorsing any of them.

Genealogy Bank http://blog.genealogybank.com/
Ancestry Blog Updates http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/  
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter http://blog.eogn.com/
Upfront with NGS (National Genealogical Society) http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/ 
New York Genealogy and Biographical Society Blog https://newyorkfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/
Family Tree Magazine Newsletter http://www.familytreemagazine.com/
Family Search Blog https://familysearch.org/blog/en/
Fold3 Blog http://blog.fold3.com/
New England Historic Genealogical Society has a newsletter AND 
American Ancestors.org (NEHGS databases and newsletter) http://vita-brevis.org/
 

Of course, there are many societies, organizations, and newsletters.
I'd love to hear about others that you think are worth reading each day or week.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Local History from historical texts

For those of you who think genealogy and local history is about mining the records, here's a fascinating publication from 1610 about the plantation in Ulster (Ireland) by the English.
The Great Parchment Book http://www.greatparchmentbook.org/ has been conserved and is now digitized and searchable. If your ancestor is from Ireland, you might find their name in this text. Or you could study the history of the community through the manuscript and the story it tells.


While I am more likely to use this piece in my Rare Book Librarianship / History of the Book course, it also pertains to a course on the types of documents historians use to study local history.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mapping swaths of history

I stumbled across this post http://www.wired.com/2014/10/ed-mccarthy-boston-history-mapper/ about Ed McCarthy who is mapping the entire history of Boston. What a job! Can you imagine deciding what belongs on a map? Finding the map and then determining how to document it, connecting event to map? If this was for my class, we'd have to do some serious brainstorming about types of events, types of maps, display, "collection development", access points, indexing, and so much more. Take a look at the article. How would you approach mapping and documenting your community?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Overwhelmed by Maps

I just finished recording too many lectures about maps for the genealogy class. I guess the number of lectures reflects both the complexity and diversity of the topic, and my passion for maps.
As I was perusing my e-mail this morning, I noticed the new JSTOR DAILY newsletter. In it was an article about maps aptly titled, "Finding Your Place by Looking at Maps" http://daily.jstor.org/uncatalogued-finding-your-place-by-looking-at-maps/  I couldn't resist adding the column to next week's session.

Can you find your place on the map?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Archives Reading Rooms and the Treasures Within


What's hiding in our archives and record centers? Why do researchers come seeking manuscripts, records, and that oh so difficult to find fact? Over the decades, our cultural institutions, particularly archives, special collections, and records centers have become repositories for historically significant materials. They hold records of government actions and reports, documents that confirm dates of birth, marriage, divorce, death, crimes, and more. There are records from organizations that document how the group grew, expanded, and dissolved. Along the way, these repositories collected maps, manuscripts (published and unpublished), drawings and blueprints, photographs, movies, and oral histories. Take together these records tell a story of our society from a variety of perspectives.

As we embark on a research project this semester, you will have your own research experiences, find pieces of forgotten puzzles and little known facts. You'll be sharing those adventures with your fellow classmates and with me. In the meantime, if you want to read about someone else's adventures in the archives check out Arlette Farge's The Allure of the Archives (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-C) . Translated by Thomas Scott-Railton. Forward by Natalie Zemon Davis. (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2013.)

Happy hunting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Persistence and Genealogy go together

When you embark on a research project, you need to be persistent. Well, you need to decide on a goal, in academia that's an hypothesis or thesis. Then you need to look around and determine the types of tools, databases, books, and resources will help you reach that goal. Next you need to actually look for and find information that sends you along that path. You'll find some paths are dead ends, some take you to an unknown place which may or may not be relevant, and others will take you to some nugget of information, some clue that sends you looking and searching some more. Eventually, you'll have enough clues, enough information to work with your hypothesis and come to a conclusion. 

In genealogy, the path is long, circuitous, and, well, addictive. Eventually, maybe, you'll find all the family members you seek. Persistence is the key. 

In our course, we'll be compiling short biographical sketches of people and places. You'll learn about research tools that will help you find nuggets of information, those savory clues that whet your appetite for more. Since the course is finite, you'll need to find what information you can. In your quest for family information, the quest may be decades long with one more clue to find, one more stone to uncover.

Here's the latest post (8/10/2014) from Mocavo entitled "Five Things Star Trek Taught Me About Genealogy." http://blog.mocavo.com/2014/08/five-things-star-trek-taught-genealogy You'll have to let me know if it applies to your journey.

Enjoy the quest and take heart. Half the fun is in the journey.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sharing News about the Weather

What types of news do we share when gathering together? Acquaintances and strangers talk about whatever drew them together, a lecture, a movie, or an event. Friends talk about family, births, and celebrations, while families talk about family members, catching up on births, marriages, and deaths. A common thread may be our families, but weather still remains the most popular topic of conversation.

Here's a bit of news from 1635 that will delight the genealogist and historian in us all. I came across this blog post in "Eastman's Online Genealogy" (8 Aug 2014) http://blog.eogn.com/2014/08/09/the-great-colonial-hurricane-of-august-1635/


  


How do we document weather events? Newspapers, television, and now blog posts and social media are full of the news. What about events before newspapers? We need to look to diaries, letters, and official government reports. How would you dig up the news on an event in the 1600s in North America? 
Here are some links to modern stories about this storm.
NBC reconstruction of the storm: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15825277/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/scientists-reconstruct-pilgrims-killer-storm/#.U-djLGOuk1c
 
This article from islandnet includes an image of the storm path http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/events/gh1635.htm 

wunderground's historian put together a nice history of hurricanes on the east coast from the 1600s to the present: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/historic-hurricanes-from-new-jersey-to-new-england-16342011 

Of course, you can read Reverend Richard Mather's diary from 1635 http://www.americanancestors.org/reverend-richard-mather/ where he writes about the events of the day.


We'll be explore this topic and more in the genealogy course this fall.