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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
    May132010

    Family Curator Named to My Heritage Top 100

    Thank you MyHeritage.com for including The Family Curator as one of your Top 100 Genealogy Sites for 2010. It is an honor to be named with so many of my blogging colleagues.

    Of course, like many others, The Family Curator was inspired, coached, and supported by those "cornerstone blogs" that are TOP in any list of genealogy blogs such as DearMyrtle, footnoteMaven, Genea-Musings, Shades of the Departed, The Educated Genealogist, The Genealogue, We Tree, What's Past is Prologue (to name but a few).

    In turn, I hope that The Family Curator inspires, coaches, and supports your family history efforts.

    MyHeritage.com Top 100 Genealogy Sites

    Above the Trees

    AnceStories

    Ancestors Live Here

    Anglo-Celtic Connections

    Apple’s Tree

    Arlene Eakle’s Genealogy Blog

    Bayside Blog

    Before my Time

    Betty’s Boneyard Genealogy Blog

    Brenda Dougall Merriman

    British Genealogy

    Census Finder

    Census Tools

    Circlemending

    Creative Gene

    Crowe’s Nest

    Cruwys News

    Destination: Austin Family

    Documenting the Details

    Donna’s Genealogy Blog

    Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

    Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

    FamHist

    Family, Friends and Neighbors

    Family Oral History Using Digital Tools

    Family Research

    Find My Ancestors

    Find Your Folks

    Geneageek

    Free Genealogy Tools

    From Wilno to Worcester

    Gena’s Genealogy

    GenDisasters

    GeneaBlogie

    Genealogy Blog

    Genealogy Canada

    Genealogy Gems

    Genealogy Guide

    Genealogy Lines

    Genealogy in New South Wales

    Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me

    Genealogy Reviews Online

    Genealogy Star

    Genealogy Tip of the Day

    GeniAus

    GeniTales

    Genwriters

    Greta’s Genealogy Blog

    Gus’s Genealogy Blog

    Henthorn Genealogy News

    Jessica’s Genejournal

    JLog

    Kick-Ass Genealogy

    Kinexxions

    Lessons from my Ancestors

    Life from the Roots

    Little Bytes of Life

    Mad About Genealogy

    Midwestern Microhistory

    Moultrie Creek

    New England Genealogy

    Nutfield Genealogy

    Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

    Orkneyjar

    Patten Project

    Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica

    Practical Archivist

    Renee’s Genealogy Blog

    Roots ‘n’ Leaves

    Scotgen

    Scottish Genealogy News and Events

    SephardicGen Resources

    Shauna Hicks History Enterprises

    Shoestring Genealogy

    Small-Leaved Shamrock

    Smoky Mountain Family Historian

    Special Collections and Family History

    Staats Place

    Steve’s Genealogy Blog

    St. Vincent Memories

    Taneya’s Genealogy Blog

    The Accidental Genealogist

    The Armchair Genealogist

    The Association of Graveyard Rabbits

    The Chart Chick

    The Cobbold Family History Trust

    The Family Curator

    The Genetic Genealogist

    ThePeerage

    The Slovak Yankee

    The St. Leon Family

    ThinkGenealogy

    TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History

    TransylvanianDutch

    Twigs of Yore

    Upstate New York Genealogy Blog

    Wandering Genealogist

    Walking the Berkshires

    West in New England

    Zalewski Family Genealogy

    Monday
    May102010

    April Showers Bring the May Blogger's Almanac, Free Download

    It was rain and travel, not flooding, that delayed publication of the May Blogger's Almanac until today. Thank you, Almanac fans, for your patience.

    This May 2010 Edition of the Genealogy and Family History Blogger's Almanac is now available for free download, featuring weekly themes on

    Going Postal with Postcards

    Honoring Mothers & Special Women

    Spring Is Here to Stay!

    Celebrate Outdoor Cooking with National Barbeque Month

    Honoring Those Who Served for Memorial Day

    Last month, bloggers used ideas on the civil war, baseball, and gardening to spark ideas for their own blog posts and photo features. Here are a few highlights from bloggers who returned to leave a link to their posts

    Jenna, Desperately Seeking Surnames, posted glorious photos of her garden peonies and other Alamanc-inspired stories on family baseball memories.

    Jo Arnspirger, Those Who Went Before, wrote about a civil war ancestor whose military service poses a curious puzzle, and also shared family baseball story.

    Sandra, Family Reflections: The Blog, shared her immigrant ancestor's civil war record in a carefully-sourced article featuring photographs and documents.

    Mary, Me and My Ancestors, remembered her dad gardening in New York and Florida, and favorite ballpark hotdogs.

    You can download the May 2010 Blogger's Almanac here. If you like the ideas featured in The Blogger's Almanac and use them at your blog, please leave a link at The Family Curator. Enjoy.

     

    Wednesday
    May052010

    Get Away for Research at NEHGS

    My favorite New England library, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, has just announced dates for the Summer 2010 Come Home to New England research sessions, June 14-19 and August 9-15. I attended the Spring Research Getaway in 2009 and consider it a "must-do" for New England researchers.

    My three-part review of the week is included in the NEHGS announcement (along with a nice photo of me with staff expert Gary Boyd Roberts).

    If you have been thinking about making a date for some serious research, sign up for this program soon. The small number of available spots mean that it will fill up quickly.

    Read more on NEHGS research programs, the Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009:

    Part 1: Preparing to Research

    Part 2: Consulting the Experts

    Part 3: Researching at NEHGS

     

    Monday
    May032010

    and the Winners Are. . .

    Jenna, Desperately Seeking Surnames, and Jo Arnspiger, Those Who Went Before, have each won a copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software program in The Family Curator's Blogger's Alamanac Contest.

    Jenna and Jo were selected in a completely random drawing held this afternoon. All entries were printed out on slips of paper and tossed into an "authentic" straw Shaker hat. Mr. Curator closed his eyes and picked the two lucky winners.

    Coincidentally, both winners entered posts on the Blogger's Almanac baseball theme. Jenna wrote Plaaaaaaaaaay Ball in honor of her son's high school baseball career, and Jo wrote My Mother, Baseball, and My Grandfather recalling her mother's love of the sport.

    I have never been much of a sports fan myself but baseball seems to be something I can understand, and I loved reading their articles about families and the All-American pastime. If you missed them last month, do take a minute to visit their blogs and read their heartwarming stories.

    Thank you, everyone, for downloading the Blogger's Almanac, for sending me your kind and encouraging comments, and for participating in the Contest. I hope you find the Almanac's blogging ideas helpful in sparking your family history writing, and I would love to hear more about the kinds of themes you like most.

    The May Issue of the Blogger's Almanac is "in the works" and should be available as soon as I unpack from the National Genealogical Society conference. Stay tuned for the latest edition.

    Friday
    Apr302010

    Last Call for Entries to the Blogger's Almanac Contest

    Today is the final day to enter the Blogger's Almanac contest to win a free copy of RootsMagic4. Share your Almanac-inspired stories and enter The Family Curator's contest to win a FREE copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software.

    More details and guidelines at the Contest Page. Enter early and often; contest ends tonight at midnight; wiinners will be announced Monday, May 3, 2010.

    Thursday
    Apr292010

    Snow Day at NGS 2010 Salt Lake City

    It's not a bad kind of snow day when you can spend the day inside a beautiful convention center attending top-notch genealogy lectures and checking out all the newest tech-toys for genealogists. It's even better when you can run through the white stuff to spend a few hours surrounded by microfilm at the Family History Center.

    Day Two at the National Genealogical Society 2010 Conference dawned cold and white, quite a surprise for the Californians, Floridians, and Hawaiians in attendance. Like Randy Seaver, I too attended Elizabeth Shown Mills' outstanding presention yesterday, and planned to hear her talk today.

    On Wednesday I also attended an excellent lecuture by John T. Humphrey on Understanding the Process that Creates the Records and came away with a plan to outline the probate requirements for the states I am researching. John's examples demonstrated that knowing the record-making process can speed research and add value to the work.

    I also attended the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors Banquet where I sat next to Renee Huskey of Photoloom, and met several family history writers from across the country. Michael Leclerc spoke shared a few Tales from the Editor's Desk, and gave us all a glimpse at life inside the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Today was a full day of speakers, vendor visits, and library look-ups. I heard Claire Bettag on Research Reports: Meeting the Standards, Elizabeth Shown Mills on What Kind of Document is This: Original? Derivative? Primary? Secondary? or Whatchamacallit? and Kay Haviland Freilich on From Research to Report: How to Write a Proof Summary. Each presenter stressed the Genealogical Proof Standard and BCG standards; it was clear that the BCG Skillbuilding track was well-planned and carefully coordinated among speakers.

    I also managed to squeeze in a short look-up at the Family History Library for the probate of James Winsor, died 1801. Now I have a few references and will try to get back to find the "good stuff." I have been very impressed with the Library staff -- helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and very accomodating. The Library must have added extra help this week because the books are being shelved almost as fast as they are returned to the cart, and the assistants keep the microfilm printer/scanner line moving smoothly.

    I finally caught up with Sheri Fenley, The Educated Genealogist, and Donna Pointkowski, What's Past is Prologue, for dinner and a lilttle SLC field trip. It was great to compare conference sessions and research tips.

    Another busy day is slated for tomorrow; I hope the snow holds off until we get inside the Salt Palace Convention Center, and then it can blow a gale!

    Wednesday
    Apr282010

    Still Time to Enter to Blogger's Almanac Contest

    Just a little reminder that you can still enter to win a free copy of Roots Magic 4 genealogy software from The Family Curator. The contest is open through Friday, April 30 and winners will be announced on Monday, May 3. Anyone who uses a Blogger's Almanac-inspired blog post or writing can enter; details are posted on the Contest Page.

    I have enjoyed seeing the photos, stories, and longer features this month, and hope you will share your work, even if you don't want to enter the contest.

    Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames posted a Peonies on Parade for the gardening theme and I can't wait to see them in full bloom.

    Tuesday
    Apr272010

    Family History Weekend Highlights in New Hampshire

    

    How often does it happen that travel for a family event coincides with a genealogy society meeting in that same distant state? Not often, but this past weekend I was able to attend both my great-nephew’s christening in Lebanon, New Hampshire and the morning session of the joint meeting of the Genealogical Society of Vermont (GSV) and the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists (NHSOG) at the Howe Library in neighboring Hanover.

    Kevin Maynard was the true star of the day, only speaking out when the water splashed his brow. Big sister Bridget handled the celebration with grace and generosity, probably figuring that she might as well enjoy the day even if she was upstaged (temporarily) by her brother. Occasions where we actually witness vital records in the making become even more special when families live in distant parts of the country, and we were reminded again that family is first.

    Finding families was also the topic of the day for the Spring Meeting of GSV and NHSOG. I attended the morning session and came away with a new appreciation for New England records research and several solid ideas for tackling my brick walls.

    Research in New Hampshire When the Trail Grows Cold was the subject of presenter Diane Gravel’s 60-minute talk. She covered a wealth of records, from vital, land, and town, to lesser known resources such as warnings-out, poor records, and justice of the peace records.

    Diane’s presentation was illustrated with PowerPoint slides showing brief case studies and examples from her own New Hampshire research and describing techniques would apply to research in many other localities. It was clear from her effective use of visual slides that Diane is an accomplished researcher and speaker; I plan to watch for her at future conferences and make certain to attend her sessions.

    Following the morning session, I enjoyed lunch with GSV President Bob Murphy and Newsletter Editor Deidre Burridge and the opportunity to hear about future plans for the society. They returned to the Howe Library to hear the presentation by Michael Sherman, "Rethinking Freedom & Unity:  Family History in State History," and I rejoined family for our own Family History Event.

    If you are traveling to visit friends or family, you might want to check on local genealogy event as well. Happy coincidences do happen.

    Sunday
    Apr252010

    Sunday Bulletin: NEW New Hampshire Vital Record Released

    24 April 2010 -- Celebrating a new addition to New Hampshire church records with Kevin Maynard and Daddy's home brew, blessed for the occasion by friend and celebrant, Father Miles. Don't worry, Kevin, maybe they will save a bottlle until you're 21.

    Friday
    Apr232010

    Why I Love Vermont

    Fair Haven, Vermont. First Baptist Church and Marble MansionSent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

    Monday
    Apr192010

    Dutchess County Drive-By

    Today's wildlife census -- 1 hen turkey, 1 deer, 1 mink, xxxxxxx orioles.

    Sunday
    Apr182010

    Dutchess County Spring Sunset

    Today's wildlife census -- 1 hen turkey, 2 mallards, 1 merganser, 2 cardinals, 1 mink, 3 robins, xx bats, xxx crows.

    [The Family Curator is on a research trip to New York State, with a bit of "making family history" en route.]

    Friday
    Apr162010

    Go Green, Write About Your Farmer Ancestors with the Blogger's Almanac

    "Farmer reading his farm paper"
    By George W. Ackerman, Coryell County, Texas, September 1931
    National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service

    First, there was the Old Farmer's Almanac, a much-used favorite in farm familes for when-to-plant advice, as well as for "New, Useful, & Enertaining Matter." But if you are looking for ideas on what to write, instead of how to plant, The Genealogy and Family History Writer's Almanac might be more helpful today.

    The April Edition of The Blogger's Almanac features a week of green-inspired ideas for blogging about farming, gardening, household tips, and "going green."

    Share your Almanac-inspired stories and enter The Family Curator's contest to win a FREE copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software. More details and guidelines at the Contest Page. Enter early and often; contest ends April 30, 2010.

    Friday
    Apr092010

    Civil War Blogging Ideas and a Chance to Win RootsMagic4 Free

    Find new ideas for writing about your Civil War ancestors in the April edition of The Genealogy Blogger's Almanac, available for free download at The Family Curator.

    April is a month filled with momentous dates in the Civil War, from the opening shots at Fort Sumter, to the bill abolishing slavery in Washington, D.C., to the assassination of President Lincoln, to the final surrender at Appomattox. Remember your ancestors with photos and articles about their experiences during those years.

    And, be sure to enter early and often in the contest to win a free copy of RootsMagic4 genealogy software. Just list your Blogger's Almanac-inspired article at the contest page and you will be entered to win. More details and contest guidelines at TheFamilyCurator.com.

    Thursday
    Apr082010

    Writing for Blog Carnivals, Entries That Make the Hosts Smile

    This two-part series on Writing for Blog Carnivals was first published in September 2009 and has been revised and updated for April 2010.

    Part 1, Writing for Blog Carnivals, Interviews With the Carnival Hosts

    Discover what a blog carnival is all about and how you can participate. Carnival hosts also share their experiences and describe what it takes to run a successful carnival event.

    Part 2, Writing for Blog Carnival Entries That Make the Hosts Smile

    Carnival Hostesses with the Mostest share some of their favorite carnival entries and talk about what makes a memorable article.

    Carnival hosts have two things in common – they love what they do and have a tough time singling out “favorites” from the many wonderful entries to the events.

    Carnival Entries That Make the Hostess Smile

    Jasia relates that after nearly 80 editions of the Carnival of Genealogy, “it’s more the edition topics that are memorable. . . but a few articles stand out for two reasons, passion and talent. The authors are all passionate about the topics they’re writing about, and they are very talented writers. It’s just that simple.”

    FootnoteMaven says, “In the case of Smile for the Camera it’s all about the photographs; the sheer joy of seeing how each participant interprets the word prompt in a pictorial submission. I’m also a sucker for a creative blog name. It always gets my attention.”

    For the Festival of Postcards, Host Evelyn Theriault notes that what stands out most to her is when bloggers do something different for them, such as a geneablogger “paying attention to the postcard publisher or postcrossers adding little research blurbs to accompany their modern postcards.” She likes seeing the ways that bloggers from different niches approach the postcard subject.

    When coaxed, the carnival hosts gave several examples of what they consider memorable entries, and it’s easy see the qualities that makes these articles stand out from the crowd. Careful research, humor, creativity, and good writing are all evident in the following articles (presented here in alphabetical order) –-

    Be Yourself

    Most importantly, memorable articles are written by bloggers who dare to “be themselves” and let their own unique voice be heard. Whether you are new to blogging, or an old hand looking for a fresh perspective, it’s a refrain that never gets old, “Be Yourself” as footnoteMaven says.

    “When writing for the COG, your article will be appearing alongside many others. Develop your own voice to stand out from the crowd,” Jasia advises writers. “if you’re quick-witted, go for some humor. . . if you’re detail oriented, deliver your content with source citations in all their glory. If your talent is writing emotional posts that touch people’s hearts, don’t submit anything less.”

    “I am continually amazed at the effort Smile participants put into each post,” adds footnoteMaven. “There’s a lot of love going on with those photographs. You cannot help but be touched by the enormity of pride, and the value to our family history that the participants place on, often one of a kind, photographs.”

    This pride of family is often the spark that moves an someone to respond to a particular carnival edition. If the theme fails to resonate, the writing can fall flat too for lack of passion. In fact, according to Jasia, passion is one of the key factors to a successful carnival posting. Without passion, the article will likely not be memorable at all.

    Mini-Step: Write a Very Short Piece

    Does an upcoming carnival topic appeal to you? Perhaps you have the perfect story to tell or photograph to share, but you’re still timid about joining in. Consider the words of Evelyn Theriault and “focus on writing a very short piece – a few paragraphs at most.” Don’t be intimidated, she adds, just do it.

    Write a mini-article, post it to your blog, and complete the submission form or email to meet the deadline (even better, be a day or two early). When the carnival goes online, post another article announcing it at your blog, and be sure to provide links from the original article to the carnival article as well.

    Mini-Step: Join the Carnival as a Commenter

    Another way to ease into carnival participation is to be an ACTIVE reader. Carefully read entries to current carnivals, ask yourself what you like about the article, what you might do differently. When you find a particularly memorable article, take time to leave a comment. Comments are great writing practice and help you focus on what you really want to say, all useful in honing your own style.

    Comments are also the best way to convey your appreciation to the carnival hosts and writers. A few words lets them know that you enjoy the time and effort they give to producing the event, and encourages them to continue.

    Next Step: Just Do It, With Passion

    “To anyone contemplating participating in a carnival,” adds footnoteMaven, “Do it! I have always found it to be a very rewarding experience regardless of which side of the post you find me on.”

    “Just do it,” writes Evelyn. “

    Bring your passion to your piece, and, as Jasia says, “When the passion is there, the article will likely be memorable.”

    See you at the Carnival!

    Thanks to footnoteMaven, Jasia, and Evelyn Theriault for sharing their thoughts on hosting genealogy blog carnivals for this two-part article. Please leave your comments for the Carnival Hostesses or the author, Family Curator.

    What does it take for a carnival article to be your favorite?