April 30, 2013

Michigan Death Certificates 1921-1952 online

Example of a typical Michigan Death Certificate
Great news for genealogists looking for ancestors in Michigan! FamilySearch now has an index for Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 online. I've just spent two hours finding death records for my Vollick and McGinnis family branches who ended up in Michigan. And I'm not done yet!

There are no images available but it's still wonderful to have this index online. So do yourself a favour and take some time today to search the collection. It nicely rounds out the Michigan death records previously online:

April 29, 2013

Digital Public Library of America is Live - and Full of Goodies

The Digital Public Library of America is Live
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is live. And what a treat! I spent a happy couple of hours there last week searching for some of my ancestor surnames.

Within minutes of searching for FOLLICK I spotted two death certificates from a Follick husband and wife in Utah. The search was fast and easy and you can drill down by subject, owning institution, partner institution, location and other choices, if you get a lot of matches.

Details as to the owning institution, DPLA's partner institution and more are also provided for each "hit". Clicking on the thumbnail or the text "view object" takes you to a full size image of the document.

I found photos, documents and other goodies on the DPLA site. And I haven't even spent much time on it yet. I'm looking forward to exploring it more and to seeing new partner sites emerge.

April 28, 2013

The Jackie Clarke Collection: Treasure Trove of Irish Historial Artifacts

The Jackie Clarke Collection: Treasure Trove of Irish Historial Artifacts
Local fish merchant Jackie Clarke collected a treasure trove of Irish miscellany during his lifetime. Ballina, Co. Mayo Ireland was his home since his birth in 1929 until his death in 2000. His wife never knew the extent of his collection because it was kept in a locked room.

After his death, his widow decided it was time to share the newspaper clippings and documents her husband had gathered over the years. So she called in historian and author Sinead McCoole to organize the collection for display. It was estimated that this job would take about 6 weeks.

Then McCoole saw the extent of the historical treasure trove. Bundles and bundles wrapped in parcel paper; fish boxes and fish boxes packed with documents; stuff, and stuff, and more stuff. Six weeks became six months, and then a year. It is eight years later and Ms. McCoole is still at it.

In all there are more than 100,000 items that provide insight into Ireland’s long struggle to free itself of English rule. Some items are fragile maps and rare newspapers, political posters and editorial cartoons, books, diaries, photographs, and films.

Read more at Trove of Irish Historical Artifacts

April 27, 2013

Woodville Victorian Photo Album Page 6

Woodville Victorian Photo Album Page 6

Here is  page 6 of the Victorian Photo Album called "The Army and Navy Album" with illustrations by R. Caton Woodville. To view all pages of this beautiful album as they are put online, please click on R. Caton Woodville


Flip Pal Mobile Scanner Spring Specials

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is having a Spring Sale.  There are some pretty good bargains here and if you have ever wanted one of these amazing mobile scanners, now is your chance.

Here are some things I have done with my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner which I bought in 2011


Instant Photo Border
Creating a Family Recipe Booklet
2. Scanned family recipes in a loved one's handwriting and created a treasured family recipe booklet
Scanning with 87 year old Auntie
3. Visited an older relative to scan their photos
Take Flip-Pal to a Museum
4. Taken Flip-Pal to a Museum and scanned documents
5. Been a Flip-Pal Couch Potato and scanned family photos while watching TV.


Documenting Civil War Photos

 7. Archived a collection of WW1 Photo Albums

 You might also want to read these stories I wrote about using the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Creating a Family Story Book Using Flip-Pal and Shutterfly 

Creating a Hand-Made Journal for a Diary or Life Story using Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner (Step 1)

Using the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Sketch Kit - It's a Winner

Here is the link for the Spring Sale

April 26, 2013

Unclaimed: A Soldier Left Behind as MIA, Found 44 Years Later Alive

Unclaimed: A Soldier Left Behind as MIA, Found 44 Years Later Alive
 John Robertson was a soldier during the Vietnam War. He was shot down over Laos in a 1968 classified mission, declared MIA (Missing in Action) and then presumed dead. He was born in Alabama, married and had a family in the United States.

But for the past 44 years he has been living in a remote Vietnamese village with a Vietnamese wife and children.  Canadian filmaker Michael Jorgensen’s documentary Unclaimed,  introduces a slightly stooped, wiry 76-year-old man living in a remote village in south-central Vietnam who trembles with frustration or pounds his forehead when he is unable to remember his birthday or his American children’s names. He is only able to speak Vietnamese.

Unclaimed follows the dramatic quest of Vietnam vet Tom Faunce to prove that the man he was told about while on a 2008 humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia was indeed an Army “brother” who had been listed as killed in action and subsequently forgotten.  John is now back in Vietnam and has no desire to leave, having fulfilled his one wish: to see his American family once more before he dies.

Unclaimed will have its world premiere at Toronto’s 20th Hot Docs festival on April 30. It will be shown later at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington, D.C., in May.

Continue reading John's story and the making of Unclaimed at Left behind in Vietnam: John can’t understand why nobody came for him

I am definitely going to watch this as I'm very interested to see if DNA was used to prove John's identity.  It's a compelling and powerful story. And it raises many questions which I for one hope the film will address.

April 25, 2013

'Century Chest' Time Capsule Opened In Oklahoma After 100 Years

'Century Chest' Time Capsule Opened In Oklahoma After 100 Years
The Century Chest has been buried under 12 inches of concrete, in the basement of Oklahoma City's First Lutheran Church for the past 100 years.

When it was opened this past Monday, many historical treasures were found including the April 22, 1913 issue of The Daily Oklahoman, a 1913 telephone, examples of women's fashions of the day, Native American artifacts and a pair of women's shoes

As well the chest contained a pen used by President William McKinley to sign the 1900 Free Homes Act for Oklahoma, and a phonograph record featuring voices of people from that era.




One woman's dream came true when her great-grandmother's book of family stories was revealed. Virginia Weinmann always knew that these items were included and hoped she would live long enough to see them. Inside was also a photo of her mother.

Read more and watch the video of the opening at 100-Year-Old Time Capsule Opened

April 24, 2013

Geni.com adds historical records to advance family tree collaboration


Major new features launched to help Geni.com users enrich the World Family Tree and discover unknown relatives 
Los Angeles, USA – April 23 2013: Geni.com, the leader in collaborative family history, today announced the release of two major new features, Record Matching and Smart Matching™, which enrich family trees with relevant historical records and help users discover unknown relatives and ancestors, respectively. This will add significant new detail and color to the World Family Tree, a global initiative by Geni.com that shows how everyone in the world is related, and will help members learn more about their shared ancestries.

The move upgrades Geni.com from a family tree network into a more comprehensive service that includes historical records, fulfilling the promise of its parent company MyHeritage that acquired Geni.com in November 2012. Record Matching and Smart Matching™ are unique technologies developed by MyHeritage which are now made available on Geni.com for the first time. They are designed to automatically search the massive MyHeritage database and suggest matching historical records and family connections that can then be added by users in one click to their family tree on Geni.com.

These new enhancements will illuminate the legacies of the millions of individuals in the World Family Tree, and allow the community to conduct family history research collectively. Enabling members to immediately leverage the work of fellow family historians without duplication is an industry-first. Once a record is confirmed and added to the World Family tree, sources and citations are automatically created, allowing users to view information in the right context. This makes the World Family Tree a more accurate and better documented resource, like the value added by footnotes at the bottom of every article in Wikipedia.

“We’re thrilled to integrate MyHeritage’s groundbreaking features of Record Matching and Smart Matching™ and extend them to our loyal community of Geni.com members and curators”, said Noah Tutak, formerly CEO of Geni.com and now General Manager, USA of MyHeritage. “By adding historical records and unique family tree matching capabilities to the World Family Tree, it becomes the authoritative reference for the human family tree and the go-to resource for anyone interested in family history. This is a great stride in advancing Geni.com to fulfill its mission.”

Record Matching
Record Matching is the next generation of family history exploration. It finds matches between family trees and a massive database of global historical records on Geni.com’s parent site, MyHeritage. The records include birth, marriage, death and divorce documents, gravestone photos, census information, military, immigration and other documents. It’s the only service of its kind to automatically find relevant newspaper articles, books and other free text content through semantic analysis, to shed light on the actual lives, personalities and achievements of one’s ancestors.

Smart Matching™
Smart Matching™ automatically finds matches for family trees on Geni.com in the global database of family trees, containing more than a billion profiles, on its parent site MyHeritage. These matches allow Geni.com members to grow their family tree, discover new ancestors and relatives, connect with other family tree owners and reunite with long lost family members. Sophisticated name-matching technology uses synonyms, phonetics and international variations to facilitate discoveries despite differences in spelling and language.

The two matching technologies work together in a cycle that constantly pushes forward the users' knowledge of their family history. They were both developed by MyHeritage and integrated into Geni.com by the companies’ combined engineering teams.

Record Matches and Smart Matches™ are displayed on Geni.com family trees and individual profiles. Users can also view a list of all Record Matches and Smart Matches™ in their Merge Center, where they can sort, view, confirm or reject them. Confirming a match adds a reference to the tree on Geni.com in a single click. These features will continue to improve over time; planned enhancements include regular email updates about new matches and the ability to extract information from records into Geni.com using a convenient interface.

Record Matches are displayed for free as an extract and a range of record collections can be viewed in full for free. For full access to every type of historical record and to all Smart Matches, users are offered an affordable Data subscription. The same subscription also provides full and unlimited access to 
SuperSearch, the powerful search engine for historical records on MyHeritage.

Anyone can join, contribute to and benefit from the World Family Tree by signing up to Geni at 
www.geni.com. Basic accounts are free and are unlimited in size.

April 23, 2013

An 1864 Death Announcement Leads to More Questions Than Answers

A cousin recently sent me a death announcement from 1864 for one of our Vollick family branches. I'd actually already seen it but had forgotten so it was a nice reminder and a push to motivate to figure out which Isaac Vollick had died. There are several candidates in my genealogy database but I was able to easily determine which Isaac fit since I had one living in Nelson Township on Conc. 5, Lot 1 and dying on April 30, 1864.

Here is the announcement:

Hamilton Evening Times article on Isaac Vollick on p 3 on Saturday, May 7, 1864 copied by the paper from the "Champion": SUDDEN DEATH. We learn that a man by the name of Isaac Vallick, residing on the 5th line Nelson, died suddenly in a fit on Saturday last. Mr. Vallick it appears, has been slightly subject to fits for a length of time, and more especially if he was in trouble. This fit, which proved fatal, was supposed to be induced in consequence of his having but the day previous been deprived of a daughter by that stern and relentless messenger - Death. He leaves a family to mourn his demise. Milton Champion

The man who died of a "fit" (no doubt epileptic seizure) was the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Richard Vollick. Several of Isaac's daughters suffered from epilepsy which would not have been well-controlled in that time period.

I've not yet been able to determine which daughter died the day before Isaac died. Since Ontario Death Registrations did not begin until 1869 my task will be challenging! I know of four daughters and have deaths for three of them. It would be easy to assign that fourth daughter as the one dying in 1864 but there may be other daughters who I have not found. So this is a good example of not beging too quick to jump to conclusions.

This announcement also got me thinking about the illnesses and disorders that affected our ancestors. Genetic health is an interesting offshoot of being a genealogy researcher. For instance I've found many occurrences in official records of epilepsy in my Vollick family branches, and it affects some of my living relatives.

My husband's male ancestors mostly suffer heart-related problems and deaths. So a project I want to begin is one where I will list our ancestors (direct and collateral) and their causes of death. By putting them on a spreadsheet I can sort by disorders/diseases and see what is most prevalent. Of course this will not be 100% scientifically accurate as many health issues were not recognized or were labelled incorrectly. But I think it will prove interesting. 


April 22, 2013

Last Chance Today to Purchase Tickets for Meals and Tours for the NGS 2013 Family History Conference


ARLINGTON, VA, 22 APRIL 2013: Tick tock! Today is your last chance to purchase tickets for meals and tours and to pre-register for the NGS 2013 Family History Conference, 8–11 May at the LVH-Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Pre-registration for the conference and ticket sales for meals and tours ends today, 22 April, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

The conference begins in two weeks. You can still purchase tickets for meals, the Museums Tour, and the Hoover Dam Tour. The BCG Education Fund Workshop, Librarian’s Day, and the Night Tour of the Strip and Downtown are sold out.

To be placed on the wait list for the BCG Education Fund Workshop or Librarian’s, e-mail the NGS conference registrar, Courtney Holmes, at cholmes@ngsgenealogy.org.  To register for the conference, visit http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conference_info. For tour information visit Las Vegas Area Tours at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conferences_events/annual_conference/las_vegas_area_tours.
On-site conference registration opens Tuesday, 7 May 2013, 12:00 p.m.−7:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!


Add Items to an Existing Registration
Meals and tours cannot be purchased on-site. Ticket sales close today, 22 April 2013.

Meals: log on at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org, click on My Account, select My Events, and then click to Add Sessions.

Tours: log on at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org, click on My Account, and then select Upcoming Events.

April 21, 2013

RootsTech Official Bloggers Get Critiqued

 RootsTech Official Bloggers Get Critiqued
The Genealogy Nit-Picker (aka The Ginger Jewish Genealogist) has written an article on her blog called RootsTech 2013 – The Nitpicker’s Critique, Part 2.

In it Banai critiques the Official Bloggers and calls for changes both in the method of choosing  the Official Bloggers and in the duties each blogger might be expected to fulfill. As you will see from the comments, her post evoked some ire from a few of the Official Bloggers.

Now, first let me state that I was an Official Blogger (and have been for every Conference every year) but I could not attend this year due to health issues. So I did what I could virtually to carry out what I consider my obligations at having the title "Official Blogger". Although I was unsure of any added value, I tweeted during the live streaming sessions. Why do I say I was unsure of any added value? Because almost anyone who wanted to, could watch the live-stream on their own and didn't need to read tweets about it. My hope was that by tweeting, perhaps I would catch the attention of those who weren't aware the session was live. 

Banai mentions me but is not as critical as she is for many of the other bloggers. And yes, she is critical. But is that necessarily a bad thing? She makes some good points - for example she points out that the search features on many of the blogs do not work well. Some blogs apparently do not use topics (keywords) so finding specific posts is next to impossible. That's a valid concern and I agree that those who are chosen to be Official Bloggers need to make it easy for readers to find their posts about RootsTech. In fact all bloggers should be using keywords, labels and topics to make it easier for their readers to find what they want.

One thing Banai mentioned was that most of the Official Bloggers did not make it to many sessions. That implies that they were just sitting around goofing off when nothing could be further from the truth. The first year I attended I (like everyone else) was run off my feet preparing to interview various individuals.

That prep included scheduling a mutual time with  the individual, booking time slots in the interview rooms, doing research on the individual or company then writing up interview questions, conducting the interview then taking the tape of that interview and writing up what I hoped was a good blog post. That is a very time-consuming and labourious endeavour. I had planned to attend several sessions daily but that did not happen. I was too busy with interviews and visiting the vendors to see what was new in the world of genealogy and other official blogger duties. So I ended up only getting to four sessions total.

Banai also expressed her concern over the same bloggers being invited each year. But as she herself points out, FamilySearch (the organizers of RootsTech) have a criteria for choosing genealogy bloggers - and that criteria is based on traffic. Those blogs that are the most popular and have the most traffic are chosen. It's pretty simple and it's the usual way of doing things. 

So while I understand her frustration at not being chosen, I would approach this a different way if it were me. Anyone can attend the Conference and blog and tweet about it. They don't have to be an Official Blogger. So what I would do is attend the next Conference and blog about the sessions and the vendors like crazy. I'd arrange my own interviews with different companies and vendors. In short I'd do the most comprehensive blogging about RootsTech I could possibly do.  And I'd use social media to tweet, post on Google+ and Facebook and pin on Pinterest etc.  

And then I'd write to FamilySearch organizers with links to my amazing and numerous blog posts, as well as stats showing how my traffic rose from x to y visitors/readers during the Conference. And of course I'd end with the suggestion that I'd make a pretty darn good candidate for Official Blogger at the next Conference. 

So Banai while I think you wrote a courageous and well researched article with some good points (maybe it will shake us Official Bloggers up a bit and we'll step back and do our own assessment of the jobs we did at the Conference) I challenge you in a friendly, not confrontational way, to do it better. You have some valid points so let's see you put them in action yourself.  I would love to see you there as an Official Blogger!  But you're obviously going to have to make that happen by doing things better than you think most of the Official Bloggers did.

And perhaps we Official Bloggers need to step back and say "Can I claim this day? Did I do a good job? Am I proud of what I accomplished and did I fulfill what I believe are my obligations to RootsTech and my readers?" If the answer is "yes" then be happy and don't worry about any criticism. If that answer is "well, I guess I could have done such and such a little better..." then make a note to change things next year. Then do it. 

So thanks Banai for a thought-provoking article. It might be critical but it does make us think.
 

April 20, 2013

Woodville Victorian Military Photo Album Page 5

Here is  page 5 of the Victorian Photo Album called "The Army and Navy Album" with illustrations by R. Caton Woodville. To view all pages of this beautiful album as they are put online, please click on R. Caton Woodville

R. Caton Woodville Victorian Military Photo Album Page 5

April 19, 2013

Big Sale on Upgrades of mtDNA from FamilyTreeDNA

Big Sale on Upgrades of mtDNA from FamilyTreeDNA
Great News! Family Tree DNA is offering a really good deal on upgrading any mtDNA to full sequence. For a limited time, whether you’ve tested HVR1 or HVR1+2, you’ll be able to upgrade to the Full Sequence for just $129

Please note that orders must be placed and paid for by 11:59PM on Monday April 22, 3013, to receive the promotional rate. As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale. 

I'm off to Family Tree DNA to order my upgrade right now!

April 18, 2013

A Suggestion for Genealogists Using 23andMe for DNA Testing

A Suggestion for Genealogists Using 23andMe for DNA TestingI am really liking 23andMe.com for DNA testing. I've talked about what the site offers in previous posts for anyone who wants to know more: 

Serendipity Strikes and a Tombstone is Found 

DNA Results Showing Native American and East Asian Heritage

23andMe DNA Results In!

Quite a few people from 23andMe have been contacting me over the past month and that's great. But I administer three different profiles on 23andMe - mine, my husband's and my brother's. And when an invitation to share Genomes comes to me, it does not tell me which Genome profile is being requested. This is an automatic feature on 23andMe and it's wonderful because it's easy. Too easy perhaps. All a person need do is click on a link which sends an automatic request to another individual.  But it would be helpful if the requester also clicked on the link to "send a message".

You would think it would be a simple matter to go to each of the 3 profiles I admin and see if the sender of the invitation matches any of us. But it's not. People often use nicknames on their profiles rather than their real name, so a search under the real name can come up empty.

So after much wasted time and frustration on my part I thought I'd offer a suggestion to anyone using 23andMe. If you are sending an invite  to one of your DNA matches to share Genomes, PLEASE consider also sending a quick message. That message could simply say "Hi xxx I match you and would like to share genomes" If the sender included the name of the match (me, my husband or my brother) I would be so much happier! 

Yesterday was particularly aggravating as I received such an invite. I checked each profile for the name of the sender. I searched his full name. No matches. I searched his first name only. No matches. I searched his surname. No matches. Then I found his username and searched under that but nothing popped up. This took me 30 minutes because it's a bit slow for each profile to load. 

 In frustration I wrote directly to him and gave him the names of the profiles I admin. I asked which one he matched. His response was that he didn't match any of us, he just thought maybe, since he and I shared the FINN surname, we might be related. He may be right but it would have been much more efficient (and friendly) if he'd written a personal message saying he had a FINN ancestor in such and such a location at such and such a time. And did we connect? I could have saved us both a lot of trouble and time as my FINN line is from mid 1700s in Kent England. His is not. 

 So genealogists, be kind and write a brief explanatory message to anyone you are trying to connect with on 23andMe. Actually, let me take this one step further - be kind and write a brief explanatory message every time you contact another genealogist, no matter what service you are using.

  

April 17, 2013

Free Access to International Marriage Records at Ancestry.com

Free Access to International Marriage Records at Ancestry.com
Good news for genealogists. Until April 21, 2013, Ancestry.com is offering free access to its International Marriage Records collections.

This is a huge set of international records and should be very helpful to anyone looking for their ancestors' marriages.




April 16, 2013

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog in Top 40 for 2013 in Family Tree Magazine

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog in Top 40 for 2013 in Family Tree Magazine
Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Midge Frazel of Granite in My Blood for letting me know that Olive Tree Genealogy blog was named as one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Genealogy Blogs for 2013!



What an honour to be included in such a great list of amazing bloggers. I like that the editors placed my blog in the "Good Advice" section!

Family Tree Magazine's explanation of the life of a Genealogy blogger is oh so accurate!

" Creating and maintaining an award-winning family history blog takes genealogical savvy, a modicum of technical expertise, a way with words and pictures—and, above all, stick-to-itiveness. That last lesson came home to us as we reviewed past winners and contenders in our annual “Family Tree 40” roundup for this year’s best-blogs list: Even a fine blog, alas, can become moribund after a few years, or at least distressingly sparse in its postings.

It’s little wonder that even the best blogs run dry sometimes. The life of a genealogy blogger, after all, can be a constant tug of war between writer’s block and the urge to blog, writing about research and doing research, online life and real life with all its daily demands and distractions.

So as we celebrate this year’s crop of 40 award-winning blogs, let’s tip our collective hats to these bloggers who stick with it and keep sharing their wit, wisdom and family history finds with us."
Please read on and see what other blogs were chosen this year. You might find one you haven't yet read!

My blog was also honoured as one of the Top 40 Genealogy blogs in 2012 and 2011. While I didn't make the 2010 list of Top 40 Genealogy Blogs I was mentioned as a blog worth reading. Here's hoping I can keep up the tradition!



April 15, 2013

Online Family Trees - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Online Family Trees - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Travel Document for Maria Gereken 1867
I've always been reluctant to put family trees online. Early in my internet "career" I did put them online but my intent was to have descendants find my tree and then contact me so we could share information. Most of the time that never happened, people just grabbed the trees and ran.

I know this because I soon found details from my trees (details that only I knew) published elsewhere, with no link back to me and no mention that I was the source. It wasn't gratitude or thanks that I wanted. What I wanted was the connection with other descendants! I wanted the opportunity to share information and photos, and to find out how this new "cousin" fit in to the family.

It was also distressing to see my trees merged with other trees and the resulting mess that often ensued. Many family tree researchers don't look at the facts and assess them to see if they fit with their ancestors.  One of the worst I ever saw was a tree that was a compilation of other trees, complete with "sources". But the "sources" when checked, did not match the facts for the individual! I hated seeing my careful research mangled into something unrecognizable. And no, I'm not saying I am infallible. My research can lead my astray. But I'm methodical and cautious and I analyse the sources and facts within before adding them to my tree.

So I deleted my online trees in favour of "teasers" on my Olive Tree Genealogy website.  These "teasers" were just a brief summary of my tree, and a prominent email link for descendants to contact me. They work well and they provide me with new cousins with whom I can share information and stories.

But last year I grit my teeth and put my youngest son's family tree on a third party website. I did this because I wanted to  share the information I had on the family. It was proving difficult to research, as the immigrant ancestors were from Germany and settled in Yorkshire England circa 1869. I also hoped that the broader exposure than my website could give the family would result in a descendant or two finding me.

Yesterday it paid off. I was contacted by a man who is descended from the sister of my son's great-grandpa Schulze. And best of all his family has the Family Bible! Soon I was looking at scanned images of three pages of the births and deaths of the children of the immigrant ancestors Henry and Mary Schulze. I also learned their German names - Georg Heinrich Christian Schulze and Maria Catharina Friederike Gereken. The Bible entries are in beautiful ornate script, no doubt written by Maria herself at the birth of each of her children.

This new-found cousin is a wealth of information. He also shared the scanned Travel Documents issued to Mary Gereken in 1867 when she planned to leave Germany for England. I asked his permission to share these records with other family members and it was quickly granted. This is a very exciting find and one I'm anxious to share with my son and his Schulze aunt.

But I'm still not going to put my entire family tree online. This encounter was a wonderful example of the best that can come from putting your tree "out there". But I believe it's atypical and as happy and excited as I am, I don't trust that I will be lucky enough to have that good experience again. The ugly part of online trees have scared me off.


April 14, 2013

Unpaid Royal Navy pension claims now online at National Archives UK


Unpaid Royal Navy pension claims now online
Next of kin claims for unpaid Royal Navy pensions 1830-1860 are now available to search and download online at National Archives UK.

These records are applications for the unpaid wages or pensions of deceased officers or their widows.

The records cover officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and civilian employees of the Royal Navy and Naval Dockyards.

They can include vital information for researchers such as the officers' date of death, his rank, the name and address of the claimant, the date the claim was admitted and examined and the total value of the effects claimed.

The records are free to search in Discovery but there is a small fee for downloading them.

Search the records now.

April 13, 2013

Woodville Victorian Military Photo Album Page 4

Here is the fourth page of the Victorian Photo Album called "The Army and Navy Album" with illustrations by R. Caton Woodville. To view all pages of this beautiful album as they are put online, please click on R. Caton Woodville

R. Caton Woodville Victorian Military Photo Album Page 4

April 12, 2013

Need Help? Join D. Joshua Taylor on Twitter for a LIVE Q and A

Need Help? Join D. Joshua Taylor on Twitter for a  LIVE Q&A
Mark your calendars! 

Genealogy expert D. Joshua Taylor from findmypast.com will be holding a live Twitter question and answer session on April 15, at 1 pm EST.

Interested genealogists can follow along with the #fmpExpert hashtag or ask a question using @findmypastUS


April 11, 2013

Ellis Island Needs Funding to Recover from Hurricane Sandy

Ellis Island Needs Funding to Recover from Hurricane Sandy
The Ellis Island website has this announcement about its need for funding:

DONATE NOW AND YOUR GIFT DOUBLES!
One of our board members generously made a Challenge Grant which will match your donation dollar for dollar up to $100,000. Your gift will help The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Foundation as it works with the National Park Service to restore Liberty and Ellis Islands from the damage sustained by Hurricane Sandy and continue to preserve and enhance the islands for future generations. 
Follow the link if you wish to make a secure online donation to help this organization recover from Hurricane Sandy.  


April 10, 2013

Speedeebee! A Fun Way to Have Family Time

Speedeebee! A Fun Way to Have Family Time
I like to talk about fun games adults can play with their children. Because as much as I love technology and social media, it's too easy to forget to spend quality time with our children and grandchildren. It's much easier to turn on the X-Box or Wii or your iPad so they can play Angry Birds or some other popular game. Not that there's anything wrong with those diversions! They're great fun and they teach many skills. But they're solitary activities and as parents and grandparents it's up to us to encourage family time - sharing stories, talking and playing games. And what better way to share your ancestor stories than during a fun game activity.

Speedeebee is such a game. I really liked it. I played it first with hubs and we had some good chuckles! But the real fun came when my son and my 7 year old grandson played it with me over Easter. It was so much fun and it also gave us a chance to share stories and chat.

Speedeebee is meant for 2 to 6 players, ages 8 to adult. And it's perfect for that age group. My 5 year old grandson couldn't play it, but the 7 year old loved it. It comes in a nice little canister, making it perfect for road trips.

There are 4 dice (one each of red, green, purple and blue) with letters instead of dots, and 50 cards.  Basically you roll the dice as instructed on the top card. Each card has 3 choices of "challenges" and the person taking their turn chooses which challenge to read to the players. He or she then throws the number of dice instructed on the challenge question and reads the question. The first player to yell out a correct answer, takes the card. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

Questions include such challenges as

Name something you could find in a kitchen that contains this letter. Throw one die

Name something associated with winter, starting with one of these letters. Throw all four dice

Name a word containing the blue letter but NOT containing the other three. Throw all four dice.

When my 10 year old granddaughter saw us playing she joined in and so did her mother, so it became quite lively and loud at that point.  All in all Speedeebee is a really good fun game which encourages memory, quick reactions, thinking and interacting with others.


Disclosure: I was sent a free game for review purposes but my opinions are entirely my own.




April 9, 2013

Auschwitz Survivor Searching for Long Lost Twin Brother

Auschwitz Survivor Searching for Long Lost Twin Brother
Eli as a child
Eli Gottesman and his twin brother Jeno (Jolli) were incarcerated in Auschwitz. When the camp was liberated, Eli was 4 years old and he did not know if his family was alive. He was given the name Menachem Bodner and taken to Israel by a man who became his adopted father.

All Menachem remembers is that he had a brother and a mother, and in his pocket was a worn family photo. Over the years he tried searching for his family and his twin but to no avail. Then Genealogist Ayana KimRon found his internet postings and contacted him. She began searching and it was Ayana who found Menachem's real name, and that of his brother.

Menachem has the Auschwitz ID number that will never be erased: A 7733. His twin Jeno's number was A 7734. The last record of Jeno is February 9, 1945.

Anaya turned to social media for help, setting up a Facebook page, A 7734, which has been viewed more than a million times.

Eli as he looks today
Anaya has found out more details of Eli's birth family including the fact that he had a baby brother, Josef, who died in Auschwitz. Bodner's birth father also died there but his mother, Roza Gottesman-Berger, not only survived several Nazi concentration camps, but returned to her home village of Stroino on the Ukraine-Hungary border, hoping to find her children.

It is not known what happened to Roza but extended family members and villagers say that shortly after her return, she was rounded up with other returning Jewish refugees and shot dead by Nazi-sympathizers.

Eli is 73 years old now and his consuming wish is to find out what happened to his twin brother Jeno. Anyone who has any knowledge or details should contact Anaya by visiting the Facebook page, A 7734 or contact Anaya at FamilyRoots2000@gmail.com

April 8, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America to Launch April 18, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America to Launch April 18, 2013
The Digital Public Library of America  takes the physical-to-digital ambition of Google Books and wed it to the civic spirit of the US public library system, providing a centralized portal to a decentralized network of digital media from libraries, museums, universities, archives, and other local, regional, and national collections.

The DPLA  will hold a launch event on April 18 at the Boston Public Library.

Unlike Google Books, the DPLA doesn’t hoover up institutions’ documents to be stored on its own servers. Its primary goal is to support coordinate scanning efforts by each of its partner institutions, and to act as a central search engine and metadata repository. Most of these libraries and museums have been slowly scanning and cataloguing their collections for years; the DPLA helps make those materials aggregatable and interoperable. At least initially, it’s not nearly as focused on printed books as Google has been, but rather gathers an eclectic mix of texts, photos, data, and art, especially rare documents. It also provides a sophisticated frontend portal for discovery and research.

Continue reading about this exciting project at the DPLA website