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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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    Wednesday
    Jan202010

    Eastward Ho! Getting Out the Boat and Oars for Family History Expo, Mesa

    We may live in a desert here in Southern California, but natives know that sometimes watercraft is a necessity to navigate our city streets.

    Mom recently told me about her childhood experience in Anaheim (you know, the home of Mickey Mouse) during the Flood of 1938. After 30 days of rain, beginning January 27, 1938, the Santa Ana River overflowed its banks flooding the City of Anaheim. My mother had just turned five and the family was relatively new to California. Fortunately, as Mom recalls, their home had a substantial foundation which raised the floor high above ground level. As the waters began to rise, enterprising neighbors pulled out their rowboats and dinghys to navigate the streets.

    Not surprisingly, folks began to gather at my grandparents' house where they could remain safe and dry. Arline was such a lively and friendly person that I imagine she soon turned the "disaster" into a party. Mom remembers people everywhere in the house and water everywhere outside. It must have all seemed pretty exciting to a five-year-old and her seven-year-old sister.

    It's only been raining here for three days and already our neighboring community of La Canada is facing hundreds of evacuations this morning. This time it isn't a river overflowing, but runoff from the hillsides and mountains after the disasterous fires last year.

    Although we don't live in that immediate area, the rain has been pouring over the retaining wall outside our kitchen window making a waterfall and overflowing the drainage. The basement is wet, the raingutters are full, the cat won't venture outside.

    Hopefully, Mother Nature will take a brief break soon so I can ply my way eastward to the Family History Expo in Mesa this weekend. I have really been looking forward to some genealogy inspiration and seeing so many bloggers in one place. Right now though, I am just keeping my oars crossed.

    Tuesday
    Jan192010

    Act Fast to Save on Digitizing Home Movies with Scan Digital

    If one of your New Year's Goals included "Convert  home movies to DVD," you might like to know about a special promotion being offered by Scan Digital Photo Services that will save you 20% on your order. The offer ends today, January 20, so you will have to act fast.

    This past fall I made a little field trip to Scan Digital headquarters in El Segundo, California and was impressed with the facility and attention to detail shown by everyone there in preserving the customers photographs, movies, slides, and audio tape recordings. My two-part report can be read at

    To take advantage of the offer, enter Coupon Code: ORGANIZE2010.

     

    Tuesday
    Jan122010

    Goals? Schmoals. A Few Thoughts on Making Resolutions, Setting Goals, and Writing ToDo Lists

    Some folks would no sooner make a list of so called "new year's resolutions" than they would walk down a dark alley In the middle of the night carrying a bank deposit bag jingling with coins. "Why invite disaster," they may reason. The 87th Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Genes proves that genealogy bloggers are not of that mindset. Jasia lists 66 entries to the New Year's Resolution edition, the highest number of participants of all time! We are goal-setting bunch, for sure.

    While I didn’t participate in this edition of the COG, I too am a goal-setting, resolution-making kind of person. I make lists for everything. Groceries, books to read, closets to clean out, errands. Every list carries a heading shared by an Irish college friend; he called the lists TTBD, Things To Be Done. I like the emphatic ring of the statement, but usually add a subhead as well, TTBD Yard Chores, or whatever.

    I don't generally share these lists with a lot of people; after all, do my friends really need to know that I am so slovenly I need to make it a goal to "Make my bed everyday"? That was a TTBD back in 1985 when I had two little boys, a dog, a fish tank, and four cats, plus a business to manage. I do keep the annual TTBD in my planner, however, and look at it often. It nags me to keep moving ahead, and helps me focus on the big picture when I tend to be distracted by the minutiae of everyday life. You want dinner again?

    The lists seem to accumulate in my Circa project notebook, and I enjoy looking back to see what I have (and have not -- sigh) managed to accomplish. I am delighted that, yes, my bed is now made every day, I have read ALL mystery books and short stories by Agatha Christie (I think), and my china closet is neat and tidy.

    I am not so pleased with my progress in the genealogical department. My paper files are in chaos, my database has been in transition between programs for months, and my research is lagging behind Mom's online queries. This is not a good way to begin a new decade.

    Clearly, I need a big sheet of paper for my TTBD Genealogy. I am listing a few broad goals, and then working to break down the top three into Tasks and TTBDs. I know that if I can focus on just a few things, my chances of success are drastically improved. So, top three Genea-Goals for 2010:

    1. Obtain documentation to establish Arline’s family line at least to her grandparents.
    2. Enter said documentation and conclusions into my genealogy database program.
    3. Assemble said information into a format to share with Mom and Aunt Frances.

    One thing that seems to get me bogged down is a tendency to over-research. I have read about every possible genealogical organizing system possible, and so much information seems to just make moving forward difficult. What if I pick the wrong system? How hard will it be to change?

    Instead of worrying about finding the most perfect, best [insert problem area here, i.e. filing system, database, scanning scenario], I’m going to find something good enough and get to work.

    My son said something over the holidays that really struck a chord:

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough.

    I like that. Sometimes, good enough is really just perfect.

    Sunday
    Jan102010

    You're Happy, So am I

    Thank you, Bayside Blog, for treating me to the Happy 101 Awards. I like the idea -- 10 things that make me happy. And, I like the idea that they can be ANY thing, from any facet of life. But we all have had enough stress (holiday, and other), so this is award comes with no obligation. Pass it on if you wish, or just enjoy! (Thanks Greta, for the inspiration on this).

    In the spirit of the award, here are

    10 Things That Make Me Happy

    1. easy source citations
    2. a cat snoring
    3. party ice
    4. autumn in New England
    5. homemade eggnog
    6. turning the heel of a hand-knit sock
    7. home canned tomato sauce on the window sill
    8. fresh-from-a-chicken eggs
    9. poking around in a cemetery
    10. Sunday supper with the family

    And, I nominate for this award, the following wonderful blogs/bloggers (and trying not to duplicate previous nominations):

    Saturday
    Jan092010

    Shades, the Magazine, Shining Bright for the New Year

    FootnoteMaven has done it again with a stunning edition of Shades of the Departed Magazine, now available via ShadesoftheDeparted.com. I am so honored to be included in the Company of Players working on this publication.

    I think one of the Shades Magazine's best features is it's broad range of subjects within the world of capturing images. Family historians and photo-buffs will find interesting articles on using the Ken Burns effect in sharing photographs, restoring and retouching images, dating old photographs, and the Kodak Company in wartime. Readers can lean more about the historical decades captured on film, and even be challenged to think like a sketch-artist in visualizing their ancestors.

    Penelope Dreadful is thrilled to be in print once more with a tale of bashful love and creative spirit in "A Dreadful Proposal, or a Little Birdie Told Her." The thread of this story just flew in the window with the new year.

    It is obvious from the elegant design and crisp images that the Editor is committed to producing a top-notch publication... and at no charge to the reader. Don't miss the January issue of Shades, the Magazine. And, if you like what you read, please take a minute to go back to ShadesoftheDeparted.com and leave a comment for footnoteMaven.

    Thursday
    Jan072010

    New Year, New Challenge

    I am taking up the challenge to update, clean-up, and move over to a new genealogy database program, and with Amy at We Tree whispering in my ear, I have decided to enter my data methodically and ONLY with sources in hand.

    As Amy discovered when she started this project some time ago, this may mean that one is born, but not married until you can actually put your hands on your marriage certificate (my particular conundrum at the moment). Of course, this does not mean that I can sign up at e-harmony; yea verily, instead, I must search 34 years worth of files looking for the elusive document. It must be around here somewhere.

    The up-side of this exercise is that I am truly cleaning house and putting things in order. As many of my notes and conclusions are on paper, and not recorded in any database, this project will give me an opportunity to start from scratch and be consistent.

    My goals --

    1. provide a source (even if it is "hearsay") for each item of information entered into the database
    2. properly file a photocopy of the source in my "Source Files" and file the original in an "Original Doc File"
    3. add a photo of each person, whenever possible

    I am intentionally keeping these goals to the bare minimum, knowing my own tendency to make things more complicated than necessary and lose interest in frustration. I am also trying to determine a reasonable goal of names per month to add to the database, but this seems rather elusive. I may do better just working on a set number of hours. To be determined...

    Tuesday
    Jan052010

    Another Party! It's Mom's 77th Birthday Today

    Mom extended her holiday visit to include her birthday, today January 5, and we are looking forward to a day of family celebration with a birthday dinner tonight with her grandson, Christian, and wife, Katie. Who knows, we may even convince her to change her name again!

     

    Color-tinted photograph of Sue Brown, c. 1940.

    About a year ago, Mom surprised me with the casual remark that her "real" name was not Suzanne, as we all had believed for so many years. Her formal birth name had been, Mercy, a family name of old tradition and also the name of her own aunt Mercy Kinsel MacPhee (of kidnapping fame).

    At the time Mom was born in Olathe, Kansas, her grandfather E.B. Kinsel was living in Los Angeles and very ill from the after-effects of a stroke. Her own mother, Arline, was unable to visit her father due to her advanced pregnancy and age (42 at Mom's birth). Instead, she kept informed of her father's condition by letters from friends and family.

    She also wrote her father to tell him when the baby was born, and that she had named the little girl afer his sister, Rebecca Suzanne. However, Mom's birth certificate listed her name as Mercy.

    Those letters are a snapshot of life in 1933. As grandfather Kinsel lay ill in Los Angeles, his daughters fretted about his health and financial resources. In early spring, he suffered another stroke and passed away in May 1933. Neither daughter was able to attend the funeral, but letters from friends shared details of the sad occasion. Sadly, without immediate family in Los Angeles, E.B. was buried and a tombstone was never placed at the gravesite. (We have plans to remedy this situation!)

    Mom remembers being called variations of Rebecca Suzanne as a little girl. Evenually, it just became Suzanne. As she was preparing for her own wedding at 1953, Arline realized that it would be important for names on the marriage certificate and the birth certificate to be the same. Mom's sister recalls a determined trip to the government offices with documentation in hand to make sure the paperwork was completed before the wedding date.

    Many women may change their surname during their lifetimes, but Mom is the only woman I know who  has had multiple first, middle, and last names. At least, we can still call her Mom and Grandma.

    Happy 77th birthday, Mom, Mercy Rebecca Suzanne Winsor Brown May Freeman.

    Thursday
    Dec312009

    It's Party Time in Pasadena

     As my mother-in-law once quipped in her annual Christmas letter, much to the entertainment of her children and grandchildren, "The seats are up all along Colorado Boulevard." Of course, her six grandsons imagined something quite different than the reality of miles and miles of metal and wood grandstands.

    Mom is here from Arizona for a holiday visit and we have just returned from a not-so-quick drive along the route of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Our home is exactly one block off the formation area along Orange Grove Boulevard, and three blocks from the actual starting position of the parade. Driving along the parade route is an annual ritual, mostly so we can be mighty happy that we aren't spending the night on the ground.

    Folks typically start coming into town early on New Year's Eve day in preparation for the 12 noon opening of curbside camping. This year, people are prepared for a chilly California evening with barbeque-type fire pits, inflatable beds, lots of blankets, and warm clothes. The mecury will dip into the low 40s which is "nothing" for most of the country, but "freeeeezing" for us.

     

     

    Getting ready for the Rose Queen Float!

    We are ready for the expected unexpected guests that usually drop in on New Year's Eve... friends, and friends of friends in need of a warm up and rest stop while checking out the route and watching the huge floats move into position. This will begin after midnight, and is an annual tradition for Mr. Curator and sons. They walk along the formation area with big cigars checking out the floats and visiting with neighbors doing the same thing. Of course, such a late night means they are too wiped out to get up early for the parade itself, but we do usually manage to catch the stealth bombers as they fly overhead to mark the opening of the event.

    I think that all of Pasadena joins the party tonight. There will be thousands and thousands lining the streets just blocks away and at midnight we will be part of the loud shouts and noisemaking to welcome in 2010. Open your window tonight and you just might be able to hear us too!

    Friday
    Dec112009

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County Palace

    Earlier this week I was in Orange County to meet my sister and brother-in-law for lunch and she handed me a newspaper feature on the Santa Ana home of Princess Usha of Holkar. It didn't take much encouraging to make a very short detour to drive by the house at Heliotrope and Santa Clara Streets. It doesn't look like the palace has changed much since Mom played with the Princess in the upstairs nursery, although the holiday lawn decorations are surely new.

    Monday
    Dec072009

    Shades, the Magazine, is No Shadowy Publication

     

    Shades of the Departed Magazine Holiday IssueWith the Holiday Edition of Shades of the Departed Magazine, it is obvious that publisher/writer/photograph/footnote Maven has set a high standard of excellence for this new online publication, and I am excited to be one of the "Shadettes." So much better than being in the "shadows!"

    This issue features columns by Shades regular contributors, footnoteMaven, Vickie Everhart, Rebecca Fenning, Sheri Fenley, George Geder, Craig Manson, Denise Olson, Caroline Pointer, Donna Pointkouski, and a new feature by The Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor. And, oh, my friend, Miss Penelope Dreadful was tickled to write a little something to accompany the cover photograph of Miss Margery Waters.

    Pour yourself a cup of eggnog, put another log on the fire, and sit down with your laptop to enjoy a wonderful winter reading at Shades of the Departed Magazine. Then take a minute to drop footnoteMaven a note to let her know how much you like the project. It is truly a labor of love and a gift to the genealogy community. Thank you, fM.

    Thursday
    Dec032009

    A Gift for You to Give Your Friends and Family, Merry Christmas Minestrone Soup Mix

    After years of cookie exchanges, jamfests, and baking extravaganzas, my friend Terry Jaurequi and I found a simple and delicious handmade gift for our friends and work colleagues. We get together to assemble an enormous batch of minestrone soup mix, which we then package for holiday delivery.

    Some years we have added a quick bread mix, or yummy crackers. Other times, we give the mix in a basket or tote bag with a  nice bottle of wine. We have found that our friends like the soup so well they start asking about it right after Thanksgiving.

    Since it is a little difficult to squeeze dried beans through the internet, here is a holiday gift to my genea-blogging friends -- the mix recipe and PDF package tag with cooking instructions ready for holiday gift-giving. Print the tag, assemble the mixes, and you are ready to go. It could be the ultimate re-gift! Stir up a batch of Merry Christmas Minestrone to cook while you make these gifts for your own friends, and enjoy. Bon Appetit!

    What You Need:

    • assorted dried beans, lentils, peas, etc. (1 1/2 cup per mix)
    • macaroni (1/2 cup per mix)
    • 2 sizes cellophane bags for packaging – small sucker size for macaroni, larger for mix
    • Merry Christmas Minestrone PDF cooking instructions to print and add to each mix

    A note on selecting beans – We try to use a nice variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Nine pounds of beans will yield about 14 packages of mix. We like to use black beans, red kidney beans, small white beans, pink beans, green and yellow split peas, lentils, garbanzos, baby limas, pinto. We buy at least 1 pound bags.

    To Assemble:

    Find a huge pot. I use my canning kettle so there is plenty of room to mix things up. Dump in all the beans, peas, and legumes. Mix well using your hands.

    Use a glass 2-cup measuring cup to measure out about 1 1/2 cup of bean mixture and pour into the larger cello bag. A canning funnel is helpful for filling the bags. It’s also a good idea to set the bags in a roasting pan or some other container that will help them to stand upright.

    Pour 1/2 cup of macaroni to each of the smaller bags and fold the top over tightly. Staple closed if you like. Add the small bag of macaroni on top of the bean mixture in each bag.

    Fold the cooking instructions so that the name shows on the front with the recipe on the back and staple to the top of the bag. Add a ribbon or bow if you like; or place the bag inside a tote bag with colored tissue.

    Here is the recipe for each mix that is printed on the PDF, ready to cut and fold for your mixes.

    Merry Christmas Minestrone

    Cooking Instructions

    In addition to this mix, you will need

    7 cups water

    1 large can (28oz) ready-cut tomatoes, undrained

    1 small onion, chopped

    2 tsp. Italian seasoning

    4 cups assorted fresh vegetables, sliced

    1 can (8oz) tomato sauce

    1-2 cups water

    1 lb. cooked ground beef, Italian Sausage or chicken (optional)

    Put water in large pot and add bean portion of soup mix. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours.

    Add canned tomatoes (undrained), onion, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables, tomato sauce, additional water, and macaroni. Lower heat and cook until macaroni and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add meat if desired, and heat through.

    Makes 6 to 8 hearty servings.

    Tuesday
    Dec012009

    Free Slow Cooker Cookbook at the Kindle Store; Act Now, It May Not Last

    One of the nicest surprises about the Amazon Kindle project has been the steady release of titles priced at $0.00. Yep, that is FREE. In the past few months I have downloaded novels, sneak preview excerpts, nonfiction, and now a cookbook!

    Anyone who loves family history probably spends considerable holiday time at the family table. And from the interest in family cookbooks, heirloom recipes, and geneablogger cookbooks, I am probably not alone in looking for simple ways to get delicious meals on the table, especially during the holidays.

    Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker, Recipes for Entertaining by Julie Kaufman and Beth Hensberger was published in hardback and paperback in 2007, but it remains a popular 4-star reviewed slow cooker book. It is now available in Kindle format, which means that anyone with the Kindle for PC or Kindle for iPod Touch or iPhone app can read the book without additional hardware investment.

    I wondered how useful a cookbook would be in digital format and downloaded the book last night. Typically, these FREE titles don’t last long. I can only imagine that Amazon is testing the market publishing more cookbooks in Kindle format, or just trying to promote their e-reader device to the cooking market.

    As you might imagine, a cookbook doesn’t read exactly like a novel, even though they are one of my favorite bedtime genres. If a recipe is well-written I find that I can pretty well guess what it might taste like, and whether or not I want to make it. Of course, chocolate mousse on the page isn’t quite the same as the real thing, but it does save a lot of calories to stick to reading recipes rather than making them.

    Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker differs from many cookbooks because it has an extensive section on choosing and using a slow cooker, especially for entertaining. Because it is written in prose format (rather than recipe format), this section is easy to read on the Kindle. I have used a Crock Pot since its early days in the 70s, but still found some good ideas in this section. I especially liked the charts giving cooking times to convert conventional recipes to slow cooking. I think this section would be especially helpful for cooks just learning to use a slow cooker.

    Following this section, the book moves to more typical cookbook chapters on appetizers, hot drinks, vegetables and other sides, main dishes, and desserts. I found several dishes I would like to try soon, but realized I didn’t want to hand-copy the entire recipe to paper or use my Kindle reader in the kitchen.

    Here is my workaround – I opened the book in the Kindle for PC application, used Jing screen capture application to capture and save each page to my computer, then opened Word and pasted the images into a Word Doc. In Word, I could print the page to use for a grocery list and cooking. Granted, it isn’t as easy as flipping open a cookbook, but it works pretty well.

    LambShanksWord1

    I discovered that viewing the pages was even better on the Kindle for PC application than on the actual Kindle because the recipe displayed more like the actual book. This may change when my Kindle device receives the Amazon firmware update which will add features for adjustable margins.

    Easy cooking during the holidays is a Good Thing in my house. More time for research and for blogging!

    You can access the cookbook and application with these links --

    Kindle for PC Application (free) (Mac Version “coming soon”)

    Kindle for iPhone or iPod Touch (free)

    Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6  

    Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker, Recipes for Entertaining

    Monday
    Nov302009

    Gobbling Up Resources at the Los Angeles Public Library with Amy Coffin

    After the turkey and all the fixins’, when attention in Los Angeles shifted completely to the USC-UCLA face-off at the Coliseum, I had a chance to meet up with Amy Coffin, We Tree blogger, and show her a few local sights.

    When I met Amy at the SCGS Jamboree last June, we discovered that she has California roots and present-day family living nearby. We worked out a plan to get together on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, figuring our families could spare us for a few hours by then. I have been on new-grandmother-alert while my son and family are in town and waved farewell for the afternoon to pick up Amy who was staying with her in-laws.

    It was great to meet Amy’s tall handsome son and equally tall handsome husband, and the rest of the clan. The guys were heading for the Big Game with a much-coveted parking pass, game tickets, and plans for a Bruin tailgate party. Amy’s son was so excited that his feet were mostly off the floor.

    When Amy introduced me to her mother-in-law she remarked that her husband’s sister had attended the Catholic girls’ high school where I taught English. Small world!

    We had decided to take a little field trip to the Los Angeles Public Library to check out the genealogy collection. En route through Pasadena, I drove Amy through Mayfield Senior School where I taught, and pointed out a few local sights. Then we hit the Pasadena Freeway for the short drive to the Library. I hadn’t been there in a while and my GPS incorrectly directed us to a spot a few blocks away, but Girl Scout training kicked-in and we found our way to 5th and Flower, home of the LAPL.

    It turned out that Saturday was a great day to visit the Library -- $1 parking at the adjacent lot, light traffic, and the library had been closed both Thursday and Friday. The LAPL web site was informative with clear directions and parking details.

    The building is long and narrow with four floors above the main floor and four levels below. The web site indicated that the Genealogy and History collection was located on the 4th; I hadn’t read carefully enough – the 4th Floor was administrative offices, but the 4th Level (down down down down) was our destination.

    We took the zig-zag escalators to the bowels of the library where Amy was delighted to find shelves and shelves of local directories. We set up at a nearby table and Amy located her Los Angeles ancestors home addresses with good success.

    I didn’t have so much luck. I was trying to find my great-grandfather E.B. Kinsel who died in Los Angeles in the 1930’s. I have the burial card from Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood, but don’t know when he came to L.A. or where he was living. Family lore has it that he was living with “that woman” Lillian Garnett. Looking for Kinsel and Garnett yielded no positive results, but a few clues for two women by that name. More work to do. I used both print and microfilm copies of the directories in my quest; the library has an extensive collection of microfilm directories from Los Angeles county and throughout the U.S.

    After a few hours with the directories, we looked around the rest of the floor to discover the wealth of family and local histories available. The library also has a large collection of Sanborn and other local maps. It is obvious the resources are there for another field trip on Amy’s next visit West.

    We headed back to Pasadena just as the sun was starting to set and casting that wonderful late-autumn glow over the San Gabriel Mountains. Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Amy. It was so much fun to talk “shop” and swap tales. Come back soon.

    Thursday
    Nov192009

    Thanks for the compliment

    It’s always fun to be “picked,” and even more fun when the compliment comes from someone you’ve never met but with whom you share a bond. I am honored that Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here enjoys The Family Curator and has tagged me with the Kreativ Blogger Award, and I was especially delighted to learn that Leslie Ann is an Idaho girl, I am too if only in my heart.

    In keeping with the spirit of the Award, here are seven things readers may not know about me --

    1. I lived in Moscow, Idaho for three years and still miss the rolling Palouse hills.
    2. I won First Prize for my home-canned salsa at the Latah County Fair.
    3. I love icy cold glass bottles filled with fresh milk and a cup of cream at the top.
    4. I have designed counted-cross-stitch patterns for national magazines.
    5. I have made soap from lye and dye from fruit and vegetables.
    6. I live in the second largest city in the United States.
    7. I wish my city ordinance allowed backyard chickens in my neighborhood.

    Many wonderful blogs are already wearing this badge, so I challenged myself to seek out young blogs (less than six months old) worthy of being named Kreativ. In my quest, I found --

    1. Stephen Mills is writing about funeral and mourning customs at A Land of Deepest Shade. His articles thus far have featured poignant photographs and compelling narrative. I’m looking forward to reading more at this site.
    2. It’s great fun to find a new voice with old stories, like Lavinia Schwarz at Hacienda Circle. Monday Maps are just one of her topics. You have to love a lady who writes about her ancestor, “I love my men, but I adore our grandmothers.” Keep writing, Vinnie!
    3. Astrid is documenting her Norwegian and Italian genealogical work at Of Trolls and Lemons, a very creative blog name itself. I especially enjoyed her Treasure Chest Thursday post detailing her grandmother’s jewelry and the stories each piece tells. I hope we hear more from Astrid.
    4. I’m a sucker for word-play, and A Multitude of-sens promises to be a clever blog to follow. Tracy writes “I’ve got Christensens, Johnasens, Petersens, Olsens…”  She has been posting regularly for Tombstone Tuesday, with other interesting topics in-between. I didn’t know about The Locator, did you?
    5. The Professional Descendent researches Scottish ancestors and writes on a variety of topics at her blog of the same name. Don’t miss Dead Woman Walking, the photograph and story of photo enhancement before Photoshop.
    6. I love finding a blog that moves my own research forward, so thank you thank you to Angela who is writing What Was Their Story. I do have Missouri ancestors who have been difficult to locate, and her tip about the Missouri Digital Heritage is a great resource.
    7. Polly Fitzgerald Kimmitt is a busy writer, working on projects for a local online newspaper and keeping up with her new blog, PollyBlog. The tag line explains quite a bit: How to Juggle Genealogy and Life. I look forward to some great ideas here, as well as more beautiful document photographs and careful transcriptions.
    Tuesday
    Nov172009

    Google Books Settlement Will Bring More Out of Print Books to Family Historians

    As a fan of Google Books, I am pretty excited about last week’s settlement for the class action lawsuit filed by authors and publishers over digitizing rights by Google Books. The preliminary agreement, if approved, will bring more access to full-text books to the public AND compensate authors and publishers. This could be a happy solution for all parties.

    Three years ago, or just about the time Google Books really started rolling with a massive list of digitized books, the Authors Guild and
    Association of American Publishers sued Google over the rights to digitize their works without compensation. Writers everywhere have been watching the results of this action.

    One major result of this settlement is a new expanded Google Books Search which will include out-of-print and in-print books. Authors and publishers will have an option to make books available for print or purchase to readers that are still under copyright but out-of-print. This will be a great boon to researchers, since niche books often have short press runs and become difficult to find.

    Titles for Google Books will come from two sources: The Partner Program (authors and publishers) and The Library Project (world-wide libraries). This will undoubtedly boost the number of books available for search and access, especially older out-of-print books that are being digitized by libraries.

    A second major change is the way users can access in-copyright books, whether in-print or out-of-print. Google Books presently shows snippets of these books; under the new agreement, users could purchase access to the full text through an individual Google Book account, or have access through library or institutional subscriptions.

    Google Books notes that out-of-copyright, out-of-print books will continue to be available for download and printing. The implication is that this service will also continue to be at no charge.

    For researchers, this means that Google Book Search can return results for active, current books, hard to find out-of-print books, and older copyright-expired books all with one search.

    Google Books also makes note that expanded subscriptions for libraries educational institutions and public will also be offered creating “opportunities for researchers to study the millions of volumes in the Book Search index. Academics will be able to apply through an institution to run computational queries through the index without actually reading individual books.”

    I’m not sure what that last bit means, other than maybe researchers will be able to tally volumes in a given category or subject, but the fact that it is included as a distinct item indicates further interest in the topic.

    As part of the settlement, Google Books will also be creating the Authors Rights Registry to assist author-searches and insure that authors are compensated for their work. This may be a bit of a slap on the hand to Google, but can only be good for authors and publishers.