Sunday, July 06, 2008

BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 6 July 2008

It is Sunday and time for the latest installment of DearMYRTLE’s BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Awards. This will be the last list until August, owing to my travel to London, Dover and various Baltic Sea ports with the folks who are also going on the 2008 Legacy Family Tree Cruise.

But do keep those cards & letters (er, um... emails) coming with your favorite website ideas. I particularly need your input about non-US websites. Ol' Myrt here tends to focus on her areas of research experience and I'd like to break out of the box and think globally.

Best of the Internet award winners are entitled to the use of this award graphic, with a link back to this blog entry.

[Ahem, drum roll please…]

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists – 29 June 2008 awards go to:

BLOG: Blog Carnival's Carnival of Genealogy is the super blog among genealogists that may push you to venture outside your current listing of genea-blogs. Here's how it works:

  • Genealogy bloggers compose and publish articles on their individual blog sites.

  • Bloggers submit their own articles to the Carnival of Genealogy if they fit the description of the next bi-monthly carnival. For instance, the next carnival's deadline is the 15th of July, and the topic is "Age".

  • A designated compiler (it changes periodically) pulls together and publishes the next carnival by providing short descriptive paragraphs with links by title to each of the genealogy blogger's entries.

  • The Carnival of Genealogy is published, with additional info about the next carnival's topic, and a link to the next issue's submission form.

  • NOTE the most recent carnival is the Carnival of Genealogy, 51st Edition, published 4 July 2008, compiled by Thomas MacEntee. As always, this Carnival will be published at the compiler's blog site, with a link at the
    Carnival of Genealogy Archive.

INSTRUCTION: Finding Church Records at the LDS (Slovak ) by John J. Jaso who writes "Generally, the records which have been filmed cover the period between the early 1700's to late 1800's or early 1900's." This is encouraging news for newbie researchers who've always thought their Slovakian roots would prove elusive.

DATABASE SITE: Emigrant Tracking: Fininsh & Scandinavian Resources includes info about ports and passenger traffic of Northern Europe and includes a database of emigrants from Ostrobothnia, Finland where we learn from the compiler "The Genealogical Society of Finland has set up an Identified Emigrant
. This database lists only those emigrants from Finland whose birthdate, place, death date and place are known, whereas my database includes emigrants whose final destination and death dates are not known. In addition, the Society's database includes emigrants from areas other than Ostrobothnia."

SCANNED IMAGE SITE: Canadian County Atlas Digital Project created by the Rare Books and Special Collections Division at McGill University. Search by "people" or "maps" to find images from the source material to find things like the Counties of Leeds & Grenville map at shown at the left.

PODCAST: It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it! Each week I listen to hours of genealogy and history podcasts because they are a fun way to learn. Kory Myerink hosted a 2007 series of podcasts known as Family Roots Radio Genealogy Hour. See especially the podcast discussing Effective Library Research, with guest Tomas Jay Kemp, former Special Collections Librarian at the University of South Florida.

VIDEO: The debut of the RootsMagic Blog featured a post 5 July 2008 about the "RootsMagic Insider" and it seems everyone is getting their own "Insider" to report semi-anonymously on pertinent activities to the outside world. Those who love this genealogy management software program will certainly want to add this RSS feed to their feed reader. So why is Ol' Myrt discussing a blog in the category of videos? Well, the RootsMagic Insider has embedded a link fantastic YouTube video created by Common Craft titled "RSS in Plain English - April 2007", a quick tutorial who are considering the adventure of subscribing to a blog. You'll love the style of presentation, and the content is worthwhile.

COMMENTARY: Ol' Myrt commiserated with Craig Manson who wrote SCGS Jamboree: Why Live Blogging Didn't Work for Me. It seems that hotels are attempting to make their room rates appear the same as 3 years ago by no longer including free internet access. At the 2008 NGS Conference in Kansas City, I was also forced to pay $9.95 per day for internet access in my room only to discover it was an unsecure connection. I couldn't use this access in the conference classrooms or exhibit hall where conference coordinators were charged even more by the hotel for internet access. Some were able to connect in the lobby of the hotel at no cost. But since Ol' Myrt tends to read her email and blog in pajamas & fluffy slippers, the lobby wasn't an option at 3am. $9.95 per day is an outrageous amount to spend for a 5 day conference, plus a day or two tacked on to each side for arrival and departure. What a racket. I think this will force people get a USB or PCMCIA laptop card and ante up about $60 a month for a mobile internet connection service. Some examples include:

  • AT&T's Wireless AirCard 881 that plugs into a slot on your laptop and then
    requires a contract to pay for internet access.
  • T-Mobile's somewhat limited Wi-Fi Access Nationwide service currently $19.95 monthly that works with your laptops built-in wireless, but you must connect at designated hot-spots, like Starbucks or certain airports, hotels, etc.

INNOVATION: And speaking of mobile internet access, why not read "Latest iPhone details from AT&T" by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes posted 1 July 2008 at ZDNet Blogs. As I've watched mobile genealogy techies like Dick Eastman (using an iPhone) & Beau Scharbrough (using a Blackberry) fiddle with reading email or viewing websites on their cell phones, it occurs to Ol' Myrt that plain vanilla cell phones like my Nokia (that only sends/receives calls, text messages and pictures) will soon be considered antique. Admit it, when you've been shopping or traveling (as a passenger in the car) you've been anxious to try another search possibility for an ancestor. (You cannot help it when inspiration strikes!) Twice, when I didn't
have my GPS unit in the car, how I wished I had Dick's iPhone to verify the route to my destination using an online map service. (I wonder how those guys are about asking for directions? Maybe that's why GPS devices were invented -- so men can look for directions without anyone observing. But I digress.)

MOST INTERESTING THREAD: A little known but public genealogy mailing list is the Genea-Librarian, for Librarian serving Genealogists, Rita Gibson's "Criteria for keeping materials" initiated some thoughtful, though brief, responses.
Personally, when it comes to figuring out when to give something away, I subscribe to the "pick yarn" theory .

  • OK, the "Pink Yarn Theory of Throwing Things Out" reflects the fact that after you finally throw out that 1/2 skein of pink yarn, kept for ten years since the last child or grandchild used some to make a Valentine -- you are SURE to need that exact pink yarn within the next two weeks. This theory is akin to every genealogist's code "When in doubt, keep it."

    ETHNIC STUDIES: Well, I don't know that anyone would term Quantrill's Guerrillas as an ethnic group, though followers of this group would say they are in a class by themselves. Check out this website for specifics about members of these Missouri Confederates and their struggles during the War Between the States.

    PLUS ONE: Bloglines has received a lot of attention among genealogy bloggers during the week following the 2008 Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree. One advantage of Bloglines is that one subscribes to favorite blogs using only the blog URL (Bloglines then searches for the sometimes elusive RSS code). The second advantage is that one reads blog entries using any computer with access to the internet. In Ol' Myrt's experience, the disadvantage of using Bloglines is that is doesn't update as frequently as Outlook 2007 or SharpReader. So, I subscribe to blog feeds in both Bloglines (to use when I am at a library or archive) and in Outlook 2007 on my desktop computer.

    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.