Sunday, April 06, 2008

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 6 April 2008

It is Sunday and time for the latest installment of DearMYRTLE’s BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Awards. Making the most of your online research is one goal of this weekly presentation. Avoiding mistakes is represented by two of this week’s entries.

[Ahem, drum roll please…]

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 6 April 2008 awards go to:

BLOG: The Birmingham Genealogical Society Blog (of Jefferson County, Alabama) has several postings regarding what Ol' Myrt here considers all local genealogy & history groups’ responsibilities -- to preserve old records. See:

INSTRUCTION: USGenWeb’s Help for Genealogy Researchers may answer questions with these specific topics:

  • Getting Started
  • Primary & Secondary Resources
  • Calendar Information and Date Formats
  • Finding Names
  • Census Records
  • Land Patent Records
  • Immigration and Passenger Arrival Records
  • Old Occupations Explained
  • Care of old Documents
  • Photographic Preservation
  • Geographical Information & Maps
  • How to Write and Use Queries
  • Computer Programs for Genealogy
  • Miscellaneous Information for Researchers
  • Links

DATABASE SITE: The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System at the National Parks Service is a database of Union and Confederate participants, with links to descriptions of their military units in many cases. I particularly liked the quick access, useful to beginning genealogists. Certainly a definitive conclusion about an ancestor’s service must be determined through surviving official documents housed at the National Archives (Union) or the respective state archives (Confederate), and there are more detailed descriptions of day-to-day activities of military units found elsewhere. But sometimes an avalanche of information is overwhelming to a newbie. Accessed through terminals at National Battleground parks, and via the web link above.

SCANNED IMAGE SITE: If you are missing a picture of an ancestor, why not obtain a copy of a vintage postcard of the main street in the town where he lived? The USGenWeb’s Penny Postcard Project, coordinated by Joy Fisher, is one place you shouldn’t overlook in your research. Such images will go a long way toward encouraging interest among the non-genealogists in your extended family.

PODCAST: The 'Old English in Context' lectures, Hilary Term 2008, by Dr Stuart Lee were thankfully recorded and appear as podcasts via iTunes (in the Oxford University Podcast) for those of us unable to attend these lectures in person. Contemporary literature cannot help but reflect the political & cultural influences, so studying surviving literature will give us an added dimension in our genealogical research. The goal is to look at life through an ancestor’s eyes, casting aside our 21st century definitions and point of view.

VIDEO: Robert Ragan’s “Genealogy Search Variants” explains the use of various search modifiers when using Google to locate genealogy pages. Find more from Robert at . Here the “5 minute” doesn’t mean a quick fix, but a quick lesson.

COMMENTARY: Cheryl Daly’s “If Miss Manners did genealogy” including advice to “Beware of biases and skeletons in the closet - Realize that not everyone will be excited about you uncovering the truth about family origins and family secrets.” You’ll want to read all of Cheryl’s suggestions.

INNOVATION: The Virtual Jamestown Archive “is a digital research, teaching and learning project that explores the legacies of the Jamestown settlement and "the Virginia experiment." I particularly liked the topographical map compared to the excavation at the site.

MOST INTERESTING THREAD: “Top 3 Genealogical Regrets” found in the March 2008 archive of APG-L, the public genealogy email list for the Association of Professional Genealogists. The topic was initiated by who is teaching a beginner genealogy class and inquired of the APG list members about mistakes they made as beginning researchers.

ETHNIC STUDIES: Chinese in California 1850-1925 “illustrates nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California through about 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials. Included are photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, excerpts from diaries, business records, and legal documents; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music, and other printed matter. These documents describe the experiences of Chinese immigrants in California, including the nature of inter-ethnic tensions.” This collection is part of the Library of Congress American Memory Project.

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 :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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