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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Thursday
    Mar032011

    What I Learned About the Future of Genealogy from Running a Student Genealogy Grant, or A New Challenge for the Genealogy Community

    When we decided to set up a memorial grant as a tribute to my mother, Suzanne Freeman, I had no idea it would be so hard to give away money.

    It sounds easy enough, but it’s tough to select between so many well-deserving applicants representing the future of genealogy. From academically trained researchers to local society volunteers to tech-savvy innovators, applicants to the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund represented the best of young genealogists today.

    What I Learned

    It was truly a privilege to learn more about what matters to young researchers and to see that a common theme runs strong from coast to coast – it’s all about family. Without exception, each applicant was moved to pursue their family history because one person in their family had taken the time to tell a family story that struck home.

    The lesson for the rest of us, of course, is to take time to BE that one person to the young people in our families. We have to step back from our books, papers, and computers to just tell stories in a way that engages our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

    In the same way that we labor over developing a well-honed research plan to ferret out elusive ancestors, we have to listen hard and work to craft stories that may catch some young person’s interest. Tell the young athlete about an uncle who played ball, give a pre-teen her grandmother’s party gloves with a story about her first dance, or help a new bride with an old family recipe.

    The Challenge

    All of this leaves me feeling that we, as a Genealogy Community, could do more

    We need to “Walk Your Talk,” as my mom often said. We hear a lot of talk about “the future of genealogy”. . . but what are we doing to help the young genealogist learn enough about the field to want to make it a serious avocation or even a career? 

    Students who applied for the Memorial Grant are all attending school, working jobs, and living on a tight budget with little room for genealogy expenses. Yet, it’s hard to find a genealogy conference, event, or seminar offering a discounted student rate. Students are expected to pay full price, or apply for one of the very few genealogy grants available.

    If there was an obvious youthful presence at RootsTech in Salt Lake City last month, it may be partly due to the discounted student registration fee of $35. Sponsored by Family Search, this sends a clear message to any student interested in genealogy today: We Want You!

    SCGS is one of the few genealogical organizations offering a substantial membership discount for students. When combined with Early Bird Registration for Jamboree, this can offer a real savings for student attendees. And, kudos to SCGS for donating a free three-day registration to the grant recipient, only hours after hearing the grant announcement.  

    Reading applications for the Student Genealogy Grant left me with three wishes –

    • I wish each applicant could be awarded a student genealogy grant to encourage their work.
    • I wish professional societies and event sponsors would make it easier for students to join professional organizations and to attend conferences by offering drastically discounted student rates.
    • I wish more organizations would take a cue from the Southern California Genealogical Society and offer full-registration scholarships to their events. 

    Maybe then we would see a real burst of new leaves in our great genealogy family.

    Monday
    Feb282011

    Memorial Grant Recipient Announced

    I am pleased to announce that Anthony Ray of Palmdale, California has been named as the recipient of the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant. Anthony will receive a $500 cash award and free three-day registration to the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree conference in Burbank June 10-12.

    The 2011 Grant is the first awarded by the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Fund to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education. In recognition of Suzanne Freeman’s interest in Jamboree, this year’s award was directed to help a student attend the 2011 SCGS Jamboree genealogy conference.

    The family grant committee is grateful to the SCGS Jamboree for their support of the grant by providing a free three-day registration to the grant recipient. Any genealogist 18-25 years of age, attending school within the last year, and attending the SCGS Jamboree was eligible to apply for the 2011 Grant. The Grant Committee received applications from young genealogists across the nation interested in attending the SCGS 2011 Jamboree.

    Anthony Ray heads the cemetery indexing project of the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society and is a volunteer researcher assisting with Hispanic research at the Palmdale Family History Center. He has participated in four AVGS Kin-Dig events; this will be his first time attending the SCGS Jamboree. His particular genealogical interests include international heritage research, oral history, cemetery transcriptions, photo restoration, video and audio. Anthony is sophomore at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California where he majors in Music Studies.

    Readers of The Family Curator will know that the Grant was established in 2010 in tribute to my mother, Suzanne Freeman, who was an enthusiastic Jamboree attendee and GeneaBlogger supporter. For the past two years, Mom helped pack GeneaBlogger Welcome Bags and greet bloggers at the conference. I know she would enjoy meeting the young genealogists who will be attending Jamboree this year.

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    Feb222011

    New SCGS Webinars Available

    Have you heard today's exciting announcement from the Southern California Genealogical Society? Free web-based seminars featuring great speakers on timely topics will be available starting March 5 through the Jamboree Extension Series . According to the SCGS press release, each webinar can accommodate up to 1000 attendees and will also be available for viewing in the SCGS member-only area of the SCGS website. 

    Upcoming webinars in March and April include

     Thomas MacEntee, Social Networking - New Horizons for Genealogists

    • George G. Morgan, Tell Me About When You Were a Child
    • Marian Pierre-Louis, Looking After the Poor: Finding Your Ancestors in New England Poverty Records
    • Lisa Louise Cooke, Getting the Scoop on Your Ancestors from Old Newspapers

    The full listing is available at the SCGS website Jamboree Extension page.

    Online learning has stolen the headlines lately following the success of virtual participation at RootsTech earlier this month. Thank you, SCGS for your commitment to extending genealogy learning beyond the conference classroom. 

    Monday
    Feb212011

    Get Your SCGS Jamboree Blogger Badge Today

    The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree has just posted an assortment of great Jamboree badges you can include on your blog or website. It looks like Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers has been VERY busy!

    In a new twist to conference badges, the Jamboree badges come in several styles to promote different kinds of participation --

    • Blogger
    • Speaker
    • Sponsor
    • Exhibitor
    • General Info
    • and yes, I wish I could go!

    You can choose your favorite badge at the SCGS Jamboree blog.

    Sunday
    Feb202011

    Upcoming Tour of ScanDigital Facilities

    Have you considered sending your photos, films, or slides to a digitizing service, but held back because of that nagging worry that "something bad" might happen to your treasures? Fire, flood, tornadoes, earthquakes, loss of heirlooms are all equal in the eyes of the family historian.

    I'm not going to try to convince you to "let go," but I'm planning an article to review a local digitizing service that I have used with good success. I toured ScanDigital's facility in El Segundo, California in October, 2009 and was pleased with services and security systems in place. You can read the full review here.

    Not long ago, ScanDigital relocated in the same little beach community. I've seen the new building and it looks even larger than the old space. It helps that my son lives in El Segundo and passes on these Breaking News tidbits.

    Also not long ago, a reader commented on my article with her own worrisome experience at ScanDigital. I contacted the company and Pamela Weiss posted a helpful response. She also invited me to come to El Segundo to tour the new facility, and I've already said "Yes." I'm waiting for my own digitizing order to be completed, and will schedule to tour and pick up my items at the same time.

    Do you have questions about using a digitizing service? Maybe you would like to know about the tracking system or see photos of the techs at work? Leave your questions in the Comments to this post and I will do my best to get them answered.

    Friday
    Feb182011

    eBook Review: The Future of Memories

    Denise Barrett Olson, blogger, writer, scrapbooker, and editor of The Moultrie Creek Gazette, recently released The Future of Memories: A digital publishing primer for the family historian. Anyone who has sung the "I'll publish the family history some day" blues should read this book; it makes some day feel a lot like today.

    Denise has established a solid reputation as a tech-savvy writer at her several Moultrie Creek blogs, and I always learn something new from her software reviews, technique tutorials, and Research Notes. But what I enjoy most about Denise's blogs is seeing how she puts her tech know-how to work with her own family history projects. The Future of Memories is such a project.

    From scrapbook-style photo layouts to video slideshows to Blurb Books, Denise offers her own digital publishing projects as examples for the services and techniques showcased in The Future of Memories. This is a unique feature of digital publishing unheard of in the world of print books. Read the Barrett family's story of a toy boat regatta, learn how Denise organized and assembled photos to build a photo slideshow and create a movie, and finally, click a link to watch the 4-minute "Caroline Cup Regatta". That's something you just can't do with paper and ink.

    Denise is a big fan of Flickr, the photo-sharing website. I admit, I just can't find my way around it; every time I try to set up a group or photo share I end up creating a photostream of the wrong pictures with a really wrong name. I wish I had read Denise's step-by-step instructions first. I like her idea of using a Flickr group for events, like a wedding, as a way to collect photos from several people to build a photo book later.

    Cemetery researchers will also be delighted to read "The LIving Book of the Dead," detailing how digital publishing tools are being used to develop a guide for the Huguenot Cemetery in St. Augustine, Florida. Digital publication allows a "living document," one that can grow and expand as new research comes to light.

    Many eBooks are a horrible visual experience because the author/publisher fails to consider the vast difference between reading print pages and onscreen images. Happily, Denise Olson knows what she is doing and The Future of Memories is a pleasure to read onscreen. She has taken great care selecting appropriate fonts and designing a clean, crisp layout, and then presents the same design tips for the reader to follow.

    The attractive layout is designed in a horizontal page well-suited for the computer monitor and iPad. Each page can be easily read without scrolling. The type is a simple sans serif font well-suited for screen viewing. Use of color and graphics is attractive without being distracting. Generous white space makes each page comfortable to read.

    Denise's writing style is clear, concise, and friendly; she is a gifted technical teacher who must like her readers! The hyperlinks work as expected, page navigation is intuitive and unobtrusive.

    Overall organization is logical and easy-to-follow. I appreciated the Table of Contents, and didn't miss an Index (Spotlight Search is even better and easier), but I would have liked to use a link roundup at the end of the book. The author gives so many useful site recommendations that I had a little difficulty remembering names to search for them later. I would also like to see a few recommendations for useful photo editing tools, although this may be a topic for another book.

    Anyone who has ever thought of publishing a family history, making a slideshow or movie of family photos, or reproducing a treasured family album will enjoy the ideas and expertise shared by Denise Barrett Olson in The Future of Memories. Highly recommended.

    The Future of Memories: A digital publishing primer for the family historian 84-pages Available at The Moultrie Creek Gazette, delivered in PDF format from Scribd; $2.99.

    Disclosure. I purchased my own copy of The Future of Memories and did not receive any form of compensation for this review.

    Saturday
    Feb122011

    More Videos on Personal Archiving 

    If #RootsTech has left you hungry for more video presentations on digitizing personal collections, check out the 2010 Personal Archiving Conference videos available at the Personal Archiving website.

    I viewed the presentation and slides on digitization by Eric Saund from the Palo Alto Research Center. Saund explored the demands of academic and business demands for document processing, but what I found most intriguing was Saund's revelation that he calls himself a "hobbyist" with his own personal family archive, and his conclusion that "the hobby stage brings together kindred spirits" and can drive innovation.

    Over twenty videos are available for viewing on topics including Projects, Tools, Movies, Narratives, and many more.

    The 2011 Personal Digital Archiving Conference will be held at The Internet Archive in San Francisco February 24 and 25. Thanks Bernard Kahle for mentioning this conference during your presentation this morning at RootsTech.

    Friday
    Feb112011

    Go Ahead, Join the Club, Cite Me!


     

    What's that in the road, a head?
    Do we use our iPhone to find the Coroner or GoogleMaps?


    FootnoteMaven has tossed the ball back into the game and WE'RE TALKING PROPER CITATIONS ON THE BLOGS AGAIN! Thank you, fM, for the heavenly angel badge. (Yes, do see Amy's Genealogy, Etc. Blog for I Don't Care Where You Put the Comma).

    Ouch! I LOVE commas. ADORE periods. AM TANTALIZED by semi-colons. My background is journalism and literature, and I've taught both subjects. My favorite books are dictionaries, style guides, and thesauri.

    I've probably read (and graded) more English papers than I have names in my family tree. Only a few students truly grasped the concept of correct MLA citation style; many more submitted creative alternatives ranging from 4th grade Bibliography style to APA to very personal renditions of a Works Cited page.

    I have a litte theory about this, and it may even have some bearing on citations in genealogy --

    Genealogists aren't all that different from high school English students.To be honest, most of us would rather hunt for ancestors than craft citations.

    There's not much FUN in fundamental citations.

    Citation standards can become "counterproductive" to actual research, I agree. It's hard to keep the train moving when we keep stopping to analyze source citation format as well as source information. But, what would happen if we stopped thinking about our genealogy databases as citation machines a la EasyBib and just considered our databases as a kind of Working Notebook.

    I never required students to write a proper MLA citation on their research notecards or notes; it would slow down their research. All they had to do was get enough information to put together a correct MLA citation at a later time. If the student knew enough about MLA to get the author, title, publishing information, etc. they could usually construct the Works Cited page. Some students, however, got a little lazy and only included the journal name, not the article title, or missed the journal volume and number. They were up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

    Any genealogy database that helps us obtain all the information needed for a correct citation -- whatever format that might be -- can only help the genealogy researcher. IF I choose to use Evidence Explained style citations, I will need a full data trail for the census I am viewing on Ancestry.com. I appreciate programs like Legacy7 and RootsMagic4 that offer source templates to remind me to include this full source trail. When I use software that only prompts me for Title, Author, Publishing Information, I may forget to include the source of Ancestry's database. Later, when I go to write a correctly formatted citation for my about-to-be-published article, I find I am missing a crucial piece of the citation puzzle and have to retrace my work. Much better to have all the pieces ready for me to assemble into the full picture.

    So, sorry Amy, I do care where you put the comma -- in your final paper. But you are so right, genealogy can be a whole lot funner!

    Go ahead, cite me! 

    Thursday
    Feb102011

    Virtual Attendance at #RootsTech 2011

    Family Search earns an A+ for opening RootsTech 2011 to virtual attendance by those of us unable be in Salt Lake City this week for the live event. I have already enjoyed the opening sessions from HP's Shane Robinson and the visionary introduction from Jay Verkler, along with accompanying Tweets from those attending in person, and online.

    As Verkler remarked, things are possible today "in the cloud" that we could only have imagined a few years ago, and the future looks limitless.

    I especially like the opportunities for innovation and collaboration that will be available at the conference -- internet cafe, un-conference meet-ups, playground -- and I think a lot of us will be watching to see what comes out of these opportunities. Genealogists are looking for developers to listen and respond to their requests, especially regarding data transportability, citation standards, and mobile access.

    I hope FamilySearch and other technology companies will let us know what products and features are a direct result from fires sparked at RootsTech 2011.

    Monday
    Feb072011

    There's More Than Just the GEDCOM, Talking About Genealogy Software. . .

    Last week I posted a question on Facebook that generated a lot of interest, and I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the discussion here, and invite even more input.

    My question was prompted by a move from PC to Mac platforms; now that I have new software options,

    I want to know what Mac users use for a genealogy database. Do you stick with Mac: Reunion, MacFamilyTree, Fam Tree Maker Mac or run something through Parallels/VM Fusion?

    A tally of results shows that of the 12 Mac users who responded

    Reunion - 8
    Family Tree Maker Mac - 2
    Roots Magic via VM Fusion - 1
    Family Historian via Parallels -1

     

    Source templates, note-taking, and research logs all seem to be the major features of concern. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn a new program and then accurately transfer data via GEDCOM, so there needs to be a pretty compelling reason to switch.

    Randy Seaver has done a great job at Genea-Musings evaluating GEDCOM transport in and out of various PC programs. Has anyone done a similar work-up that includes Mac programs like Reunion, iFamily, FamilyTreeMaker Mac, or MacFamilyTree?

    I have used or sampled Legacy 7, RootsMagic, Reunion, and MacFamily Tree and had varying degrees of success with GEDCOM imports and exports, but for me there's more to a great genealogy database than GEDCOM.

    I am looking for a few specific features in my ideal program. In addition to the expectation that it will reliably handle "standard" genealogy event and fact data, my ideal program has to:

    • be fairly intuitive to learn and use

    • have a crisp, attractive interface that is uncluttered and easy to use

    • offer extensive source options (preferably ESM-style)

    • offer easy navigation and keyboard shortcuts

    • offer several customizable report formats and charts

    • be well-supported by company teams and user forums

    • offer tutorials, good documentation, and/or screencasts

       

    • grow with me as I become more experienced

    I won't be a RootsTech this week, but I look forward to hearing about new developments in technology that will make our tasks even easier. What software do you use on your Mac or PC, and what features are on your software Wish List?

     

    Tuesday
    Feb012011

    We Want to Give $500 to a Student Genealogist

    Do you know a student genealogist who would like to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank this June? Would he or she like to receive $500 to help with expenses to attend the conference?

    Please help spread the news about the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant for Student Genealogists – applications will be accepted until midnight February 15.

    Any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has attended school in the last 12 months is eligible to apply. The winner will receive free three-day registration to the conference, courtesy of the SCGS Jamboree, and $500 cash.

    Complete details and application materials are available at http://www.thefamilycurator.com/suzanne-freeman-grant/

    Suzanne Freeman was an enthusiastic attendee at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree and a life-long supporter of youth activities and volunteerism. The 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by offering a $500 grant to a young genealogist attending the 2011 SCGS Jamboree.  

    Monday
    Jan312011

    January Update on 2011 Genealogy Resolutions with Blogging Buddy, Amy Coffin

    Did you know that Januarius had 29 days until Julius added two more, giving us more time to set our proverbial goals and exercise plans in place before February came crashing in? Too true! 

    janus.gif

     

    The Roman God, Janus, patron of gates and doorways is often shown with two faces looking opposite directions. Like me, he must not know if he is coming or going at times.

    So, here it is the last days of January (on the new calendar) and time to report my progress thus far toward those Genealogy Resolutions set with Amy Coffin in the optimistic days of December. Amy posted her first update January 10, while I was still debating whether to take down the holiday decorations or "work" on those genea-goals. Guess what won out?

    Christmas in Pasadena is merely a prelude to The Big Day of the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl football game. Each year the city has an influx of visitors numbering in the tens of thousands, so that by December 30 it's a good idea to make a big pot of chili and put the car in the garage for a few days. It's also a great time to tackle a Big Project.

    The first goal I tackled was the Organizational Goal (a big one in multiple parts):

    1. Clean up my Mac after the transfer from PC
    2. Investigate new options in genealogy database programs for the Mac
    3. Move photos to an external drive
    4. Get back-up plan in place

     

    When the helpful folks at the local Apple Store moved my email over to my new iMac, they also moved my pictures and files. This would have been fine except every single file, photo, and document on my lovely new Mac now had the new embedded date of July 18, 2038.

    Obviously, this had to be fixed. A call to Apple Support advised me to reformat my hard drive and start over. Not fun. The alternative was to dump all the files and move over the originals with the correct dates. Either way you look at it, a laborious project. Actually a perfect project for New Year's in Pasadena. In between toasts to 2011 and parade reruns, I was able to cleanup the situation. I now have my old files on my new machine, and can access them by the correct dates. I checked off Part 1 of my Organization Goal and moved on to Part 2: "investigate new options in genealogy database programs."

    I knew it would be distracting to take down the Christmas tree, so I turned on the twinkling white lights and spent a week or so investigating Mac genealogy database software. This was an education in itself and worthy of at least one more post. I downloaded trial versions, ran through my list of essentials and generally kicked the tires of what is available. To be fair, I did not ignore the option of running a Windows program on the Mac through Parallels, Boot Camp, or VMFusion. If I research this topic much more I will never move forward; time to check off "Research" and make a decision. More on this later.

    Between testing software and lurking in forums, I also managed to move my photos to an external hard drive and get reacquainted with my absolute favorite photo management program, Adobe Lightroom. Since I was in a testing software mood, I also tried iPhoto, but found it just couldn't handle my tagging needs. Also bought and installed Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, my favorite easy photo editing program.

    I know I really need to do the last step in this goal, the back up plan, but, hey, the Christmas tree was losing needles so fast I thought I was risking fire as well as data crash. I finally got the tree out in time for the Martin Luther King holiday.

    All that computer work made me feel a little guilty that I was ignoring my Writing Goal. I decided to take a lesson from my teaching days and Plan a bit before putting words on paper. First step for the family history I want to republish is to scan Aunt Mercy's Winsor Genealogy -- task completed and images stashed on my external drive. I also finished an article on photo preservation and sent that off to the editor. I am moving forward on this goal.

    Regretfully, progress toward the research goal = zero.

    Amy, how am I doing? We do have the Overachievers reputation to maintain with Sheri Fenley and Cheryl Palmer. Maybe we should take them on, sort of a team challenge. What do you say, ladies?

     

     

     

    Friday
    Jan282011

    Remember to Label Your Gear

    I learned the hard way last year that there was a Very Good Reason we had to label our stuff for camp. Mom always said I was a bad camper and never came home with everything I packed. I guess I haven't changed much because while attending the NGS Conference in Salt Lake City last spring, i managed to lose my flash drive at the Family History Library.

    It's the way of things that I didn't realize it was gone until the next time I went to the library and wanted to save some scanned images. Suddenly, I couldn't find it. The helpful staff directed me to the Lost and Found desk where the Sherlock Holmes of lost data drives brought out a plastic shoe box (yes, an entire shoe box) filled with orphaned USB sticks.

    This young man had opened each drive looking for identifying information. Of course, all I could say was that my drive would have files with "Winsor" or "Kansas" in the title. . . maybe. Fortunately, I must have been the only one with those names because he was able to pull out a drive and double-check with me to be sure it was the correct one.

    While we had the drive open, he showed me how to make a simple Text Edit file which would identify the drive when (note, I am not saying "if") I lost it again.

    Here are three ways to help you find a wayward flash drive:

    1. Rename the flash drive with your last name.

    Labeled Flashdrive.png

    2. Use your PC or Mac simple text editor to open a new document. Give it a few simple lines with your name and contact information, and name the file something like IF FOUND. It's a good idea to use your mobile phone number or email; something that you can easily check when you are out of town.

    Lev FlashDrive.png

    3. Stick a printed label on the outside of the drive. I print labels with my P-Touch Label Maker stick them on everything from my netbook (lost that one in the airport screening) to flash drives.

    With the Roots Tech Conference fast approaching, attendees are starting to think about their tech tools and gadgets for the event. My friend Joan Miller at Luxegen has started her packing list, and I am sure she will have everything neatly labeled. I wonder if Joan was a Girl Scout?

     

    Monday
    Jan242011

    The Tale of "Poor George"

    Graveyard Rabbits and others interested in headstone iconography will enjoy the latest edition of Common-place, The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. In Object Lessons, Digging Up History, Edward E. Andrews describes "how Photo-Flo and elbow grease are saving New England's historic cemeteries."

    "Poor George," we grunted as we looked down to survey the damage. George was hurting. His face was flat on the ground and, while ants and shoots of uncut grass explored ways to migrate around his heavy, white body, layers of mold and errant pine needles concentrated in the decaying crevices on his back. . . As my colleague and I stood over George, contemplating the best way to clean him up, it occurred to us that we were using the word him to describe what was really an it."George" was not an actual person, but a gravestone that memorialized a person's life and mourned his death.

    The article describes cemetery preservation projects along with a brief discussion of headstone materials and restoration practices. Andrews goes on to describe a web project documenting Newport Rhode Island's black burial ground, "God's Little Acre, and the relationships between gravestone art and society, the ways that gravestones "reveal larger attitudes about the meaning of death itself." He brings the discussion back to "Poor George" by analyzing the marker and inscription as "a commentary on the perils of westward migration and family disruption."

    When my high school English students read The Scarlet Letter, I introduced a special unit on Puritan gravestones and cemeteries. Students were required to analyze the symbolic meaning of the engraved stones, mostly the traditional urns, willows, death's head, hourglass, and angels. We didn't do too much with the inscription itself. Andrews' interpretation of the brief lines on George McIntire's headstone take iconography a step further.

    Without knowing the cause of his death in September 1865 in Cinncinnati, Ohio, Andrew offers the idea that the marker notes McIntire's death as a "bad death," one where the deceased was in social isolation from his family. McIntire is buried in the First Congregational Church cemetery in Wellesley, Massachusetts, some distance from Cinncinnati. The inscription reads

    No mother stood beside his couch,
    To cheer his dying bed;
    No sister there with kindly hand,
    To bathe his aching head

    Andrews reads this as a cautionary tale for other young men, "In the end, the stone is not really about McIntire, but about the anxieties and fears that migration might cause for all members of a family."

    I find this a fascinating approach to studying gravestones, and encourage you to visit Common-Place and read the entire article. I am going back to look at the photos of my ancestors' gravestones with a new ear to what they may be saying.

    Common-Place is an online newletter sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and The University of Oklahoma features scholarly articles on a wide variety of subjects related to Early American life.

    Thursday
    Jan202011

    Kudos to the ISGS New Website

    Searching for my Chamblin/Chamberlain ancestors just got easier with the debut of the newly redesigned Illinois State Genealogical Society website. I've been exploring the site and am excited about new avenues for research.

    I like the clean landing page and great snapshot header. It is easy to scan the menu offerings and choose what you need. The Facebook and Twitter links are at the top of the news, along with the easy to use search box. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the featured Special Participation Projects.

    Since I am not a member of ISGS, I skipped down through the extensive Member links to see if I could access some of the other materials. I found Genealogy Forms, and a great Link list to ISGS, Genealogical Societies, and Research Tools.

    Anyone researching Illinois will find the list of Illinois Resources especially helpful. From county boundaries to the statewide marriage index, this is a great link list.

    The site also provides free access to Civil War Certificates, World War I Certificates, Certified Prairie Pioneers, and the Family Bible Records Surname Index.

    Thomas MacEntee, host of GeneaBloggers, is the modest wizard behind the redesigned ISGS website, and serves as webmaster and Director, Publicity Chair and Death Records and Obits Chair for the Illinois State Genealogical Society.