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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
    May132009

    Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009, Part 3: Researching at NEHGS

    Note: This is Part 3 of a three-part review "Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009" focusing on the three-day program and the one-on-one consultation sessions.
    Part 1: Preparing to Research
    Part 2:Consulting with the Experts

    Three full days of research at the New England Historical Genealogical Society Library may sound like quite a bit of research time, but it is not surprising that it is still not quite enough. Day One I spent mostly in consultations with the NEHGS experts. The Library was open in the evening, but I left about 5pm to join my husband for dinner, and did not take advantage of the extra research time.

    I vowed to be Focused on Day Two, and went to work immediately after Josh Taylor's excellent presentation on source citation. I have always been a "browser" and took full advantage of the library's open stack policy to examine the volumes on hand for my localities of interest. A handy photocopy machine made quick work of copies for my records, and then I was off to the microtext room where I was pleased to discover the full-text films of the Vermont probate records. Julie Otto helped me conquer my fear of film machines and before long I was making digital copies of the films to examine more closely when I returned home.

    Day Three promised considerable progress, but I had to leave the program at noon and could only attend the morning lecture by Judy Lacey on manuscripts in the HisGen archive collection. Her excellent presentation gave me so many ideas for further research: I would like to return and examine some of the letters, diaries, and journals in the collection with an eye toward finding friends or relatives of my ancestors. I was awed by the extent of the Society's collection; there will be wonderful discoveries in the years to come from this archive.

    So, what will I research on my NEXT visit?

    Local Histories
    Maps and Gazetteers
    Manuscript Collection
    more Family Histories
    Probate Records
    Military Records

    I was determined to use NEHGS resources that are unique to the Library, yet I found myself reading microfilms (can't I get these elsewhere?) and examining various printed volumes. When I returned home and did an internet search at World Cat for the same volumes I found that I would have to request the films from the local LDS Family History Center or visit NEHGS! This reaffirmed my appreciation for the HisGen collection, and made me more than a bit jealous for those researchers who live within easy driving distance of the library. I was also pleased that I had been able to use the digital copy machine to make copies of the microfilms I examined; this will give me many more hours of research time from home as I transcribe documents with the aid to computer enhanced images.

     

    Of course, the online databases also provide unique access to the NEHGS collections. I have found my ancestors in the Rhode Island Vital Records Index, in the Newspaper Archive collection, and in various other digitized resources. The recent addition the indexed TAG articles with The NEHGS Register make this resource indispensable for any researcher working with New England records.

    My experience at HisGen not only extended my pedigree, it also helped me feel confident to tackle research elsewhere. I think this was one of the greatest benefits of the program, I practiced "learning to learn." Thank you NEHGS.

    Tuesday
    May122009

    Organizing a Book Collection with Book Collector 6.1


    In collecting the names and stories of ancestors, family curators are often called to collect and organize all kinds of things from letters and photographs to china, baby spoons, and books. I think the same "collecting gene" that drives a family curator to preserve these treasures may also push a person to collect other things -- souvenir postcards, funny hats, or even photographs of women wearing glasses (hello, footnoteMaven!).

    In my case, I collect books. So many books on so many different subjects that sometimes I purchase the same title twice and even sit down to read a "new" mystery only to discover I am in the middle of a deja-vu experience right about page 30. Good thing this memory lapse allows me to guess "whodunnit" all over again, but this is hard on the book budget.

    On a recent trip to New York City, I had a chance to visit two Greenwich Village bookshops on my list, Partners in Crime and Bonnie Slotnik Cookbooks. Of course, I added a few volumes to my "collection," but I was frustrated because I couldn't remember the name of a great British genealogy mystery writer, and because I couldn't remember which Farm Journal cookbooks I still wanted to find.

    Since returning home I have been testing the trial version of Book Collector by Collectorz.com. This is a hefty program that catalogs books either from manual input of title/author or ISBN, or from scanning the ISBN bar codes. I don't have a bar code scanner, but when I type in the ISBN, the program searches a book database and returns all the book information complete with an image of the book jacket and plot description. From there, I can add my own notes about purchase price, condition, etc., or also indicate if this book is on my Wanted list.

    Collectorz also offers similar collection programs for music, comics, games, mp3s, and photos. The programs for music, movies, and books will run on both PC Windows and Mac OSX.

    This week, Collectorz announced that the companion program Movie Collector is now available as an iPhone/iPodTouch app at the official AppStore, and that Book Collector is slated to be added witin the next few months. The companion iPhone app will sync with the desktop software to provide portable access to your database.

    Book Collector is easy and intuitive to use, and set up is easy with the available tutorials. The trial version is limited to 100 books, which is certainly enough room to test its many features. In fact, the only downside I found is the price. The Standard Version is $29.95, but the iPhone/iPodTouch app will require the Pro Version at $49.95 (plus $9.95 for the app), which may be a bit steep if one's library cataloging needs are not extensive.

    Friday
    May082009

    TAG Now Available Online Through NEHGS

    One more good reason to be a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society -- The American Genealogist (TAG) is going online thanks to a new collaboration in which NEHGS will digitize back issues of the journal and make them available at the Society website, NewEnglandAncestors.org.

    Founded in 1922 by Donald Lines Jacobus, TAG is edited by a trio of NEHGS members: Dr. David L. Greene, FASG, past recipient of the Society’s Coddington Award of Merit; Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, director of the NEHGS Great Migration Study Project; and Joseph C. Anderson II, FASG, who is also editor of The Maine Genealogist. These distinguished genealogists, along with dozens of highly-regarded contributors, uphold and advance the standards for genealogical scholarship so carefully articulated by Jacobus and the Jacobus “School.”
    Volumes 1-8 of TAG covering 1923-1832 are already available online at the NEHGS website under the title “Families of Ancient New Haven.” The new searchable database adds Volumes 9–13, published between 1933 and 1937. Additional volumes are slated to be published through Volume 82, at which time new volumes will be added to keep the database current. The most recent five years will not be available online.

    This is great news for genealogists worldwide who can now access the wealth of information in TAG through the internet. Randy Seaver included the full press release at Genea-Musings today; I second his enthusiasm about this new collaboration, and hope that we see even more journals "go digital" in the future.

    Wednesday
    May062009

    Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009, Part 2: Consulting with the Experts

     

    Note: This is Part 2 of a three-part review "Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009" focusing on the three-day program and the one-on-one consultation sessions. In "Part 1: Preparation" I address some of my own questions before attending the program and review registration and pre-event preparation. In Part 3, I will discuss research opportunities at NEGHS.

     

    Mention "bricks" to a genealogist, and the image of a brick wall appears, followed by proposed strategies for climbing or demolishing the obstacle. But there is another use for bricks as well, one used with great care and skill by the staff at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. My experience at the 2009 Spring Getaway demonstrated the value of building a firm research foundation that can withstand any amount of weight as the evidence grows, brick upon brick.

    Day One of the program, attendees met in the second floor education center the library. Conversation was already lively when I arrived and the room full of participants and friendly staff members. The program began with introductions from each member of the entire staff. I had stopped by briefly the day before and met a few people; it was helpful to see them again and put a name with a face. Staff members introduced themselves and explained their responsibilities at the Society or outlined their areas of expertise. From Event Coordinator, to Archivist, to Genealogist, to CEO, the entire staff were present to offer their assistance.

    Then it was the participants' turn to briefly introduce themselves and their goals for the session. Attendees came from New England, Tennessee, West Virginia, New York, Colorado, and California. Some participants had also attended the NEHGS research trip to Washington D.C. and were now ready to conduct more research at the Society Library.

    Marie Daly, Library Director, opened the lecture series with a virtual tour of the library collections. The Library itself is spread out over six floors in an former bank building on Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay. The old teller's windows are still visible in the wood-panelled Reading Room on the first floor, but a modern elevator eases access between floors. The second floor holds the Education Center, a spacious room well-equipped for audio-visual presentations, receptions, and meetings; and the third floor holds Staff and Administrative offices. The Society's collections are housed on the first floor (International Books), fourth floor (microtext documents), fifth floor (local history), fifthA Floor (special collections), and sixth floor (open stacks and reading room). Marie's armchair tour was an efficient way to become familiar with the general layout of the library and the collections.

    Following the lecture, participants were invited to sign up for individual consultations with the HisGen resident experts, what Ryan Woods likened to the legendary "Running of the Bulls." Good manners ruled the day, and I found open appointment times even as one of the last to sign the sheets. I was especially impressed with the staff's good-natured willingness to assist attendees at unscheduled times, and found them to be helpful and patient with my questions.

    My consultation schedule for the first day was rather full, but it left me with lots of ideas for research on the second day, and a few remaining consultations. I was able to meet individually with several NEHGS staff members during the program, and look forward to working with the experts I missed in the future, among them Marie Daly, David Dearborn, David Lambert, Michael Leclerc, Gary Boyd Roberts, and Tim Sallis.

    First, I spoke with Joshua Taylor from the Research Services Department, who offered his experience with technology and website creation. We discussed copyright protection through PDF watermarks and he gave me some ideas for design and marketing with The Family Curator blog.

    Later in the day I met with Judy Lucey, Assistant Archivist, to discuss preserving my own collection of family papers and photographs. It seems that as much as I have read about preservation, I still had questions, and it was helpful to talk pointedly with an expert in the field. Judy told me about HisGen's own archival protocol for working with historic photographs, and suggested some ways that I could economically and easily organize my collections.

    I was organizing my papers (and my thoughts) in the sixth floor reading room, when D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of the Society stopped to chat. I was so glad to have the opportunity to talk with him about publishing opportunities for my research, and hope to pursue some of these ideas in the future.

    I also met with Julie Otto, Genealogist, and solicited her help over and over in my attempts to master the microfilm reader and scanner. Eureka! We did it. Julie is a phenomenol resource with unlimited enthusiasm. She seems to know just where to find any probate record or local history, and was always ready to help, even during a late-night, last-night marathon session. It was fun to discover that we were nearly born in the same hospital (Queen of Angels, Los Angeles) during the same week of the same year (I'm not telling!). Maybe genealogy was in the stars that year!

    My final "official" consultation was with Rhonda McClure, one of my favorite authors. I showed Rhonda the first few pages of a 1852 court case that had me stumped: Heirs of James Winsor vs. Calvin French et. al. With some deciphering, we determined that my ancestor James Winsor, appeared to be "intemperate" (i.e. a man who liked his liquor) and that after his death his estate had been presented with many bills, among them bills to his father-in-law who seems to have paid for his "board and other things" for nearly two years. Funds were deposited in a Rhode Island bank from the sale of Vermont property, and any number of claims and settlements seem to have been litigated. I had been focusing on researching the problem in Vermont, but Rhonda encouraged me to pursue Rhode Island connections, opening the door to a wealth of available documentation and research. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and I left our discussion charged for action.

    I had only one more "Have to meet" on my list, and I was able to find Chris Childs in a free moment to explain a "Childs" research problem. My mother and I met Chris briefly at last year's Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, and Mom was sure that "of course he's our cousin" Chris Childs would know just how "our Fanny Childs" fit in the big picture. We knew our ancestor Henry Winsor had married Fanny Childs, but we couldn't find her parents. With information from Aunt Mercy about Fanny's supposed father David Childs, Chris found her in the Childs, Childe family genealogy book; the problem was that she was young enough to be his grand-daughter. Aunt Mercy's note about a second wife gave us a clue, and by searching her name we found a likely family in the next census where the widowed mother was living with a child Fanny's age. A wonderful push in the right direction, thanks to Chris' knowledge and work with the Child/Childe family line. As icing on the cake, Chris then showed me the connection in Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary Boyd Roberts with charts prepared in part by Christopher Challender Child from originals by Julie Helen Otto. It would seem that Fanny is leading us on to other family connections. Maybe Aunt Mercy knew a thing or two after all.

    In his introductory remarks, Ryan Woods noted that availability and expertise of the NEHGS staff is one of the hallmarks of HisGen programs, and I must add my applause to his remarks. The knowledge, enthusiasm, and patience of each genealogist and staff member I met excelled my expectations. My philosophy for attending workshops, classes, seminars is simple, "If I learn one new thing, it's worth the price of admission." Sometimes, I learn two new things, and feel elated. I attended the Spring Research Getaway hoping to learn one or two new things about researching my New England ancestors; my experience showed that the program was a bargain. I learned foundation-building skills that are invaluable, met scores of helpful, knowledgeable people, and feel confident to tackle the next research goal with enthusiasm and focus.

    Read More about NEHGS Spring Getaway

    Part 1: Preparing to Research

    Part 3: Researching at NEHGS

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    May052009

    Tech Tuesday: How to Sky Surf


    In-flight web surfing is now a reality. . . for a small admittance fee (of course). I was surprised to discover on my last flight from JFK to LAX that American Airlines was one of four carriers now offering Gogo inflight internet, on some routes.

    The service works as a wireless hotspot providing internet access for email, websurfing, live news and more. Gogo works with mobile phones and laptops equipped with Wi-Fi, including BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobil. Pricing varies by flight length and device. For example, the Gogo Mobile Flight Pass for cell phones is $7.95, while the cost for laptop is $9.95 for flights shorter than 3 hours, and $12.95 for flights 3 hours or longer.

    Although I didn't sample the service on my netbook or BlackBerry, it was obvious that my fellow passengers were enjoying the service. A man across the aisle viewed streaming video on his iPhone and one row up another passenger surfed the web and appeared to be logging in for email.

    The Gogo website notes AirCanada will soon be joining American, Delta, United, and Virgin America in offering the service. Routes are somewhat limited at present, mostly between JFK and San Francisco or Los Angeles for American and United. Delta plans to have over 300 routes available by the end of the year, and Virgin America offers service on several routes west/east, and west/northwest.

    When it comes to those extra flight charges, Gogo is less expensive than checking a bag. Travel light!

    Thursday
    Apr302009

    Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009, Part 1: Preparing to Research

    Note: This is Part 1 of a three-part review of my recent research trip to NEHGS. I have tried to address some of my own questions before attending the program for those who are considering research at the Library, and hope my comments are helpful. In Part 2, I will review the one-on-one consultation sessions, and in Part 3, I will discuss research opportunities at NEGHS.

     

    It has been one of my long-time goals to research my family history at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, and this month I was able to take advantage of the Spring Research Getaway offered each year by NEHGS. I classify myself as an Advanced Beginner in genealogical research, and I knew that I would benefit from an orientation and assistance in using the extensive collections at HisGen.

    The three-day Spring Research Getaway promising guided research with one-on-one consultations and special access to the collections appeared to be well-suited for my needs, and I was not disappointed. My experience with NEHGS was very positive from my first correspondence in January. Questions were answered promptly, and information about the program was directed to help me be successful in my research goals.

    I admit that I was quite nervous about attending the program; concerned that my research goals would be either too "big" or too "small." Although I have a graduate degree and know my way around a university library, I've always felt intimidated by microfilm readers and was sure that I would have an awful time with those monsters. I was also traveling alone for part of the trip, which is its own issue. Happily, by the time I left home for Boston I felt ready to research and confident that I would be able to accomplish at least some of my goals.

    Shortly after registering for the program I recieved an email letter and several attachments from Ryan Woods, Director of Education. In addition to travel information, schedule, and liability waiver, the packet included a Participant Interest Sheet. The accompanying "Tips for Completing Your Partipant Interest Sheet" was a mini-couse in how to write research goals: what to include, what NOT to include, and samples of well-written research questions.

    The schedule showed that we would have time for scheduled consultations with NEHGS experts, and time for personal research.

    A few weeks before the program, I received a packet in the mail with a copy of each participant's research sheet, a list of the consulting staff with notes on their areas of expertise with accompanying Facebook-style photo, a guide to the library, and information about Boston and the library vicinity.

    After laboring over my Interest Sheet I asked for a quick review from Midge Frazel, who has researched at HisGen. She gave me the go-ahead and a huge lead on our potentially-common ancestors.

    I also spent some time online at the NEHGS website. As a member, I was able to access the database resources and do some catalog look-ups for books I might want to investigate. I also viewed the Library orientation material so that I would have some idea of what was available where.

    I am glad that I took time to work on my research goals and review the program materials, so that I was able to move foward even after losing my laptop enroute to the program. Ryan Woods was helpful in working out alternate strategies for using computers at the library and took time to give me a brief tour when I stopped in the day before the program began. When I arrived on Day 1, I was ready to hit the ground running.

    Read More about NEHGS

    Part 2 - Consulting With the Experts

    Part 3 - Researching at NEHGS

     

     

    Tuesday
    Apr282009

    Tech Tuesday: Tips for Travel and More on Lojack for Laptops

     

    I have just returned from a 12-day trip which included genealogy research in Boston at NEHGS and family time in the Hudson Valley and Manhattan. As I mentioned last week, my research was nearly sidetracked by a lost laptop, but Dear Mr. Curator saved the day with a replacement, and I have learned quite a bit from the experience.

     

    First, when traveling alone, limit your carry-on baggage. With many airlines now charging a fee for checked bags, it's certainly frugal to carry on whatever you can; but, losing items can be an expensive alternative. When I went through the security checkpoint at LAX, I was instructed to place my items in four separate bins -- shoes, jacket, purse, laptop. I also had a small carry-on bag. At some point, that last bin was stopped in the scanner and in the confusion of reassembling my gear, I turned away from that last bin. When I returned to the line, the laptop was gone. Security and airport police could only run the taped video, but as I didn't want to miss my plane, I couldn't wait. I didn't know that I had to be there in person for the search to take place; this was something I found out later when I called security. As angry as I was with my own inattention, there is much to be said for staying focused as you go through security. The confusion and commotion are pretty distracting, and it is hard enough to keep track of boarding pass, ID, shoes, coat, and any other items.

    Second, be aware of any purchase protection services that may cover your loss. I was glad to discover that my new HP mini-notebook was covered from theft or loss by my American Express card purchase within the 90-day window. AmEx requires paperwork and approval, but hopefully I will be reimbursed for the loss. If I had been past the 90-day coverage, I may have filed a claim with our homeowners insurance and paid the $100 deductible charge to replace the laptop. When our sons left home for college, we added computer coverage to our insurance and were glad to have it in force when laptops were a big-ticket item some years ago.

    Third, carry your data on a flash drive separately from the laptop. I was SO GLAD that my genealogy data was on a little flash drive in my purse. This meant that even if I hadn't replaced my laptop, all was not lost. The only downside for me was that I was unable to access my Legacy data without the program itself. With the replacement laptop, however, I was able to log on to the internet, download Legacy and then open my file. I wouldn't be surprised if more genealogy software companies imitate Roots Magic with the Roots Magic To Go feature in the future. This would be a lifesaver.

    During my first session with Joshua Taylor, computer guru at NEHGS, I explained my mis-adventures and laughingly said I needed something like a lojack for laptops. Without blinking, Joshua said that he had used exactly such a service, and it's called just that "Lojack for Laptops."

    The subscriptions service registers your laptop and is activated when notified that the computer is lost or stolen. Standard service tracks the laptop for recovery; premium service also activates a command to securely delete data on the computer remotely the first time the computer is connected to the internet. Mr. Curator thinks this would be worth the price of admission if I travel again!!!

     

     

    Tuesday
    Apr212009

    Tech Tuesday: Needed--Leash for Laptops

    This week's regular Tech Tues column will be brief: avert Genealogical Disaster by carrying data on a flash drive that is NOT with the computer.



    More on "Lojack for Laptops" and "How to Replace a Lost Laptop when Travelling" next time.



    P.S. -- why do I feel that I am in one of Penelope Dreadful's tales?

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

    Thursday
    Apr162009

    Hint, hint

     

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

     

    Wednesday
    Apr152009

    Where is the Family Curator?

     

    On location for research... Guess where?

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

     

    Tuesday
    Apr142009

    Tech Tuesday: At Last... Reading on a Netbook

    Wouldn't it be great if a mini-notebook, or netbook, could do duty as a Kindle-like book reader? This feature would add even more value to the already tiny but full-featured computer. I knew I could use my new HP Mini for email, Internet, and my geneaology software, but I didn't realize the high frustration of reading an ebook on the horizontal 9 x 5.5-inch screen. All that scrolling just to read a paperback-size page of text is no fun at all. Wouldn't it be nice if I could just turn the netbook on end and read in portrait-view?

    My library subscribes to a popular lending library program for ebooks. By accessing their Digital Library, I can check out both audio and ebook content. Audio programs are available in a variety of formats, but ebooks are available only as Digital Rights Managment (DRM) copy protected files that can only be viewed on Adobe Digital Editions reader. This is a nice little reader with severe limitations... The netbook screen is oriented in "landscape" mode, but if I turn the little netbook on its end holding the mouse/keypad side in my right hand, I could easily read a book in the more natural "portrait" mode and access the touchpad mouse to "turn" the pages. Alas, it was not to be.

    While the full Adobe Reader will allow page rotation, this capability has not yet come to Digital Editions, and Adobe Reader cannot access the DRM files. (Reader 7 will allow both rotation and DRM, but as it is no longer supported, a user must be using an original version.)

    Dan Ackerman at Kindle City must have felt my pain. "Kindle, schmindle...I've got your $350 e-book reader right here" he writes, with a free application called EeeRotate, designed for the Acus Eee PC, but that also works on amy PC.

    I tried it out first on my laptop computer and hit the magic key combination -- Ctrl, Alt, Rt Arrow. The entire screen, not just the active window, rotated on its side. Hey, couldn't you use it to view an entire document in a more natural format? Wouldn't this be useful if you were transcribing and wanted to see a full page? I think I like this!

    On the HP Mini, I am now reading a DRM library book -- sideways. Life is good.

    Monday
    Apr132009

    Randy Seaver's FTM Reviews Noted by SCGS

    Randy Seaver, popular blogger at GeneaMusings, may be getting even more traffic on his site with the Spring 2009 issue of The Searcher, publication of the Southern California Genealogical Society.

    The Searcher notes that Randy blogged "a comprehensive series of reports on the operation and performance of Family Tree Maker 2008" including screen shots and step-by-step instrucitons. Since this report was written, Randy has reviewed Family Tree Maker 2009 and also reviewed Roots Magic 4, and he may even have more reviews online by the time you read this!

    Randy seems to be "in the know" for most new programs and services, and writes comprehensive, objective reviews at Genea Musings. Use the Blogger Search box to find the program you would like to research.

    Tuesday
    Apr072009

    Tech Tuesday: Old-Fashioned Social Networking, It's Commonplace


    One of my favorite internet magazines, Common Place, has just published a special issue dedicated to American literature. Stanza and Kindle readers won't want to miss Max Cavitch on
    "Who Publishes an Early American Book? From Codex to Kindle," only one of several outstanding articles on American literature and publishing.

    Common Place takes its name from the commonplace book, a part of every educated person's schooling in Early Modern Europe. Young scholars used a sheaf of paper or bound book as a place to copy significant passages, essays, poetry, or even letters for reference and sharing. It was the earliest version of social bookmarking!

    "Literature as Evidence: Historians recommend American books" by Eric Slauter will be of special interest to researchers and family historians. Slauter briefly discusses the popularity (or not) of Adam Seybert's 1818 volume, Statistical Annals

    an eight-hundred-page, six-pound volume, printed in the dimensions of a modern metropolitan phone directory, with 175 numeric tables describing population, commerce, and debt—aimed at nothing less than a full representation of the United States in book form.
    When Seybert's Annals failed to be a bestseller (imagine that!), the U.S. government ended up purchasing hundreds of copies. Seybert's work helped establish America's love affair with statistics, numbers, and facts, "what historian Patricia Cline Cohen has called the 'quantitative mentality' of the early United States."

    Family historians and genealogists quickly find that there is more to a life than names, dates, and places. Discovering social context through literature is an exciting way to flesh out our ancestors' stories and bring the past to life. It is affirming to note that Slauter cites historians who have moved past data-only to include literature as evidence of shifts in social attitudes and as documentation of life experiences. This is exactly the kind of social context the family historian attempts to build.

    Friday
    Apr032009

    A Fine Feathered Tale for Friday

    Word on the street is that Miss Penelope Dreadful is preparing another "dreadful" tale for her monthly Weekend With Shades column. Follow Penny Dreadful at Twitter.

    Tuesday
    Mar312009

    Tech - Tombstone Tuesday: Look What We Found on the Web!


    This week's regular Tech Tuesday column has been pre-empted by Tombstone Tuesday: technology is helping break down walls with connections between Genea-Bloggers and even a virtual tombstone sighting.

    What began as a request for research tips at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, quickly turned into an online research-fest when blogger Midge Frazel, Granite in My Blood, read my research goals. Seems Midge loves a puzzle, and before I was out of bed this morning, Midge was emailing me from New England with all kinds of helpful information, including the possible burial place of my ancestor. It's a case of genealogical kindness of the best kind.

    The small Mathewson Cemetery located off Winsor Avenue in Johnston, RI is reported to have 75 burials, and yes, Midge, that looks like a monument to me too!

    Just in case there are still folks who think that technology isn't worth the bother, I thought it would be instructive to list how technology helped us connect:

    • Sunday morning - While reading the February 2009 Scanfest Archive from AnceStories, I noted that Midge Frazel mentioned doing research at the NEHGS.
    • Contacted Midge via her Facebook page; chatted briefly at Scanfest Sunday 27 March.
    • Monday, Midge and I talked via email and she gave me some good tips for working at "HisGen."
    • Tuesday, Midge finds a Will extract naming my ancestor Henry M. Winsor, at genealogy.com and locates a small Mathewson cemetery in Johnston, RI using GoogleMaps; forwards pdf and jpg image files.
    • I scan and send Midge pdf images of letters to and from the Mathewson family that I received from a Vermont researcher my mother found on a message board.
    Whew! It's not even noon on the West Coast and suddenly the walls are coming down. We've connected through Facebook, CoverItLive, and email; discovered information through database searches and virtual map imagery; and shared information through digital files scanned or copied and sent via email. I can only imagine how long it would have taken B.I. (Before Internet) to accomplish so much. Thanks Midge. This is the best Tombstone Tuesday ever!