Sunday, March 30, 2008

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 30 March 2008

It is Sunday and time for the latest installment of DearMYRTLE’s BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Awards. With spring in the air, genealogists are excitedly planning summer research trips. Some of this week’s suggestions will help prioritize your trip(s).

[Ahem, drum roll please…]

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 30 March 2008 awards go to:

BLOG: If you’ve promised yourself you are not going on vacation until you get the last of those 3,000 family photos scanned, consider Rick Crume’s suggestion to use a high speed scanning service. "The Internet Guy" Rick Crume is from and author of Plugging Into Your Past. His blog posted 3/7/2007 is no longer available at RootsTelevision, but Rick’s text pulled in by Ol' Myrt’s feed reader is noteworthy: “This blog usually focuses on Internet genealogy, but today I'm going to sneak in a posting on digital photography. Over the holidays, I spent a lot of time scanning old family photographs and copying them to CDs to share with relatives. I scanned several pictures at a time and used Adobe Photoshop Elements to divide the pictures into separate files, but it was still a time-consuming process. Yesterday, USA Today had an interesting article on high-speed photo-scanning services that could save me a lot of time next Christmas. 30 Minute Photos in California uses a high-speed scanner to digitize up to 750 photos in 5 minutes. You can have up to 1,000 photos scanned for $49.95 or as many as you can fit in their prepaid box (more than 1,600 4x6 photos) for $99.95. The pictures are scanned at 300 dpi and returned to you, along with the scanned images on a CD or DVD. This service sounds like a great time-saver, but it's not a perfect solution. You have to pack your irreplaceable family photos in a box and entrust it to the US Postal Service. The owner of 30 Minute Photos says none of his customers has lost a single picture in shipping. Also, 30 Minute Photos won't scan photos smaller than 3x5 inches, so that leaves out 126mm pictures. And they won't scan bent or curled pictures. Still, 30 Minute Photos sounds like an excellent way to get scans of modern snapshots. But before sending off my pictures, I'm going to see if local companies offer a similar service.”

INSTRUCTION:’s genealogy expert Kimberly Powell posts links to a series of articles titled Genealogy Research Trips & Vacations including:

DATABASE SITE: The Olive Tree Genealogy website has (thankfully!) been around for a long time, making it easier for all of us with her transcriptions. No need to travel any farther than your computer desk and “information super highway.” Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy Blog posts free lists including these added in February 2008:

SCANNED IMAGE SITE: 40% of Americans trace their roots back to an ancestor that came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. provides an online search the index of passenger records listing over 22 million people. Once you’ve found an ancestor in the index, click to view his original passenger list entry, and then it is another click to view a photo and description of the transport ship. From this website, we learn the “Ellis Island Immigration Museum is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is one of the country's most popular historic sites. In 2001, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, unveiled the American Family Immigration History Center®. This exciting family research facility at Ellis Island provides visitors with advanced computer and multimedia technology, printed materials, and professional assistance for investigating immigration history, family documentation, and genealogical exploration.”

PODCAST: The new FGS 2008 Philly Podcast, hosted by Shamell Jordan, is sure to be of interest to those planning to travel to Philadelphia for the Sept 3rd through 6th 2008 Federation of Genealogical Society annual conference. The March 26th episode features an interview with Leslie Albrecht Huber, MPA, previewing info she will present in her FGS conference class “Crossing the Ocean with the Internet”. Tune in for Philly-related discussions about the $10 airport shuttle, and local facilities that will be of use to out-of-towners. Test your knowledge as two contestants play “Genealogy Jeopardy”, scheduled to continue during upcoming podcasts. I sure hope the FGS decides to keep running this podcast in the years to come. This is a brilliant idea for building interest in the event, and orienting people to the travel experience!

VIDEO:Flat Stanley’s Family Tree” posted at Stanley travels this world, and the genealogical leg of his journeys is chronicled by Aunt Mae-Mae’s nephew “Austin” Brock Jackson. This is a fun, inter-generational look at family history. Stops along the way: the National Archives; Williamsburg, Virginia, including the stockade; and San Francisco cable cars. It is a good idea to combine ancestral research with doing “touristy” things, particularly for the non-genealogists in your touring group.

COMMENTARY: The article by Paula Stuart Warren, CG “Preparing for a Successful Research Trip” was published 1 July 2004 in Ancestry Magazine also available online. Included is a list of books to assist your planning, in addition to this advice “Coordinate your itinerary carefully if you are traveling with a spouse, family members, or friends. Let your travel companions know in advance what you want to do with your limited research time. You want to be successful in your genealogical research, but you also want your travel companions to enjoy themselves. If they have something fun to do, it is less likely they will be unhappy when you go to the historical society for just one more afternoon.”

INNOVATION: Google Maps provides not only maps and driving directions, but also traffic view, satellite view, terrain view, and street view with your car parked in the driveway. (If it was there the day the Google team shot the photos!) For you men out there who “don’t ask for directions” maybe this hi-tech interface will make the mapping challenge a little easier to take. Create & save your own series of maps, and add interactive content from Google. Google Maps is where I’ve begun to keep DearMYRTLE's Salt Lake City Map to include links for genealogists who visit the Family History Library here in Salt Lake City and need to know where the closest pharmacy, grocery and dining places are located. I’ve now visited all the restaurants listed. (It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!) I won’t list restaurants I don’t like. If your favorite isn’t listed, let me know -- it probably just means I haven’t been there yet. After all, I’ve only lived here since 15 November 2007.

MOST INTERESTING THREAD:Take at least 1 genealogy Trip this year” an ongoing discussion at 43 Things. Challenge yourself to take that trip and write about it.

ETHNIC STUDIES: Being away from home and hearth will probably make even the most enthusiastic genealogy researchers “home sick” and appreciative of Schelly Talalay Dardashti’s “Rain, cold, wind call for comfort food” posted 15 Feb 2008 at the Tracing the Tribe blog. We can each relate to family food traditions, passed down for generations. Catch Schelly’s sense of humor as she begins “The past few days in Israel have been wet, windy and cold. And, of course, there was that pesky earthquake, which at a desk-rattling 5.3 was strong enough to remind me of our Los Angeles days. This sort of weather and environmental danger makes me nostalgic for Jewish comfort food, deli-style. And since Israel lacks even one traditional Jewish deli (felafel and humus just doesn't cut it).”

Please note that this week's award winners may have published the spotlighted content earlier, it is just that this week Ol' Myrt here stumbled across them and wishes to honor excellent work.

If you have suggestions for winning genealogy content be sure to drop me a line. After all, we get by with a little help from our friends.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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