15 December 2011

CSI Episode Features Genealogical Research

Series: 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
Episode Title: 'Genetic Disorder'
Episode Number: 1210
Synopsis: "When the body of a naked dead man is discovered by Dr. Robbins' wife in their master bedroom, it leads to a lot of questions for the CSI team."
Original Airdate: December 14, 2011

Some of you may know that I’m a devotee of this program. I have watched every episode, either in real time or on a delayed basis using my digitial video recorder. The synopsis for this episode gave no hint that the plot line would revolve around genealogy. Imagine my surprise when the victim was identified as a genealogist.

It turns out that he was conducting genealogical research for the wife of a cast member (Dr. Robbins, the ME). He was killed in their home, making her a suspect.

The plot twists and turns as the CSI personnel figure out who the victim was, why he was killed in that particular setting, what he was working on, and, of course, who “done it.”

I won’t give away any plot points, in case you haven’t seen the episode yet. But I do want to comment on the genealogical content. The dead genealogist was a partner in a genealogical research service, and the CSI members spent considerable time interviewing and working with his partner, Dr. Sylvia Sloane (played by Bahar Soomekh). The first contact with her comes in a cemetery where she is giving a demonstration of headstone rubbing. Everything she says seems to be OK with current thinking about this activity.

Later, she assists one of the CSI agents in tracking down some people who eventually figure in the solution to the case. One scene supposedly was set in an archives with lots of file cabinets, which they proceed to look through.

There is lots of “gee whiz” forensic science in the episode, as we all have come to expect from this series, but more than a third of the running time did involve genealogy to one extent or other, including discovery of some rather improbable—to me—family relationships.

If you are a CSI buff, if you are interested in genealogy, and if you missed the presentation last night, watch for it when re-runs come around. I predict that it will be one of the more popular episodes.

28 November 2011

RootsMagic 5: First Look at New Features

This morning, I was surprised to learn that RootsMagic has introduced Version 5.

I have been using RootsMagic 4 for some time now and am generally pleased with its features. I had no idea that introduction of Version 5 was imminent. In fact, I learned about the new version being available when I ordered a copy of RootsMagic 4 for a client. Version 5 is what is shipping now. I went ahead and placed my order and the confirming email gave me the option of downloading a  copy so that I could take a look.

Apparently, I am not the only one who was not aware that a new version was ready to be introduced. A Google search for "Rootsmagic 5" turned up only the official website; no mentions in blogs, news announcements, or reviews.

For now, I am keeping a copy of my databases in RootsMagic 4, but I am also opening them in RootsMagic 5 to make a  comparison between the two versions and learn how 5 is better.

First impression: I like the look of the new version, and in reading over the What's New list, the enhancements mentioned seem to me to be useful.

Here are some of the new features:

The Research Manager is now able to create unlimited research logs to document your work and aid your research, and you can quickly search for any text in any research log.

One feature that interests me is CountyCheck, which automatically checks every county you enter (US, Canada, UK, Australia) to verify that it actually existed at the time of the event. Also, a report can be printed out that gives you a list of all events in counties which didn't exist at the time. You also can access maps and county histories for the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. This will be a timesaver for me, I believe, as I have been spending considerable time going on www.epodunk.com and www.wikipedia.com to check county names.

A Timeline View shows a full timeline of the current person's events and those of their parents, siblings, spouses, and children.

There also are numerous changes/improvements to People Views and Database Tools. It will take some time for me to try these out and report on them.

To read the What's New list on your own, click here.

I will be posting further impressions on my other blog: www.CollectingAncestors.blogspot.com.

25 November 2011

WRHS Launches New, More User-Friendly Website

Many changes are underway at Western Reserve Historical Society. We've noted the construction underway in the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum in an earlier posting. Also, several new people have joined the staff at the Society.
Another change--one that is especially welcome to genealogists and family historians--is the society’s new website. Here’s the official statement about this development:
CLEVELAND, OH – – Western Reserve Historical Society launches its new website (www.wrhs.org) on Tuesday, November 22nd.  This new site will enhance the virtual visitor experience with improved interactivity, ease of navigation, online ticketing and a customized event calendar.  The website will be in a testing phase for the following twelve months with feedback requested from users.  Improvements will continue to be added during the testing phase including digital access to the WRHS collections and virtual tours of WRHS facilities.  Development of the website was funded by The George Gund Foundation.  Designers were Chad Allan Consulting and Gryphon Media Group. To view the new site visit www.wrhs.org
When you arrive at the home page for the new website, you will see a new set of navigation tabs: About, Explore & Learn, Research & Collections, Get Involved, Shop, Rentals, and Plan Your Visit.
Most genealogists and family history researchers will want to click on “Research & Collections.” A drop-down menu gives you these choices: Community History, Archives, Research Center, Collection Highlights, Databases, Family History, How to Donate, and What’s New.
One notable difference is the inclusion of “Research Center” in this list. Basically, this is the new name for the Library. Click on this choice and you see a view familiar to visitors to the Library. The website provides the following introduction to this part of the History Center: 
The Research Center 
A part of the Western Reserve Historical Society, housed within the History Center in University Circle, the WRHS Research Center is an amazing resource for the academic and for the family history researcher.  Collections spanning national and local history and genealogy are available Thursday - Saturday in person or online. 
One of the selections available under this heading is Genealogy, which takes you to Collection Highlights, Databases, and Family History. 
The Research Center will remain open during the construction activities in other areas of the History Center.
As I love to remind everybody when we're discussing the Internet, a website is a dynamic channel of communication. We'll be watching for future additions, changes, and improvements at www.wrhs.org.

Social Security Death Index Under Attack

Now it's the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) that is under attack by legislators. 

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that federal legislators have introduced legislation to block our access to the SSDI. (Note: In following this story, keep in mind that the Social Security Administration maintains what it calls the Death Master File. This is released to genealogy database providers like Ancestry, FamilySearch, and WorldVitalRecords who offer it to researchers as the Social Security Death Index.)

The Sun-Times reports that Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) has unveiled the “Keeping IDs Safe Act of 2011.” The report states: "He criticized Social Security’s publicly released Death Master File, which has been used for at least a decade by thieves to access Social Security numbers, file bogus tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service and collect refunds."

The newspaper report further concludes that "Johnson’s 'KIDS Act' would effectively end public access to the death file, which now can be searched for a small fee or even for free on genealogy and other online sites. The files contain the Social Security numbers and other personal information that can easily be used by identity thieves." Click here for the newspaper report.

Over in the Senate, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has introduced a bill that would give give the Social Security Administration the discretion to hold back Social Security numbers for two years following an person's death. An ABC TV report has details.

The catalyst for introducing this legislation apparently was another newspaper article: "ID thieves cash in on death of Lake Forest 5-year-old." While this story is a sad one, the knee-jerk reaction to it by our congressmen is even sadder.

For what appears to be a comprehensive, balanced report on the situation, click here.

Like most of these situations, the parties involved are making many claims and counterclaims. It may be months before we learn whether another avenue of research will remain available to us.

23 November 2011

Adding Family Health History to Your Family Tree

Did you catch the article, "Exploring your health roots," in yesterday's Cleveland Plain Dealter? In it, PD Reporter Evelyn Theiss strongly suggests that the holiday season that starts tomorrow "is a good time to create a family tree that looks at relatives' medical histories." The article also is available online here.

In this connection, I'd like to point out a resource that is readily available and wasn't reported in the PD article. That is the family medical history tool provided free by the U. S. Surgeon General. It is available here.

I have summarized my own medical family history experience on my other blog, Collecting Ancestors, which you can access by clicking here.

Honoring Your Ancestors in Century Families of Ohio

Have you considered honoring your 20th century immigrant ancestors who came to Ohio before 2011 by filing an application to the Ohio Genealogical Society’s Century Families of Ohio Society? By now you probably are aware that OGS is holding its 2012 annual conference in Cleveland next spring, April 12-14, to be exact, at the Hotel Intercontinental on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic. If you apply before the end of this year, and your application is accepted, you will be inducted during a banquet held on Thursday evening, the first day of the conference.
Century Families of Ohio is a lineage society open to OGS members who prove their descent from an ancestor who lived in Ohio from 1861 to 100 years prior to the current year (in this case, 1911). There is a searchable database of persons who have been honored in the Century Families of Ohio available on the OGS website (2011 was the charter year for CFO). It is open to the public, but if you already are a member of the society, you have access to more information if you first log in with your membership information.
In most cases, the starting document for the ancestor or ancestors to be honored is the earliest Ohio census in which they appear. If your ancestors immigrated to Ohio before 1910, they should appear in the 1910 Census. Other documents that you will need to prove descendency include death, marriage, and birth records for each generation, including your own. Your application and all the included documentation, if accepted, would be added to the CFO database. The application form and regulations are available for download on the OGS website at www.ogs.org.
The other OGS lineage societies are the First Families of Ohio, Settlers and Builders of Ohio, and the Civil War Families of Ohio. Details on each of these lineage societies also can be found on the OGS website. 

22 November 2011

News Flash: MyHeritage Acquires FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com

The news release below was just issued this morning:

MyHeritage Acquires FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com

Significant move into US and addition of historical content mark major evolution for world's most popular online family network

PROVO, Utah & LONDON, UK & TEL AVIV, Israel-- MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web, announced today the acquisition of FamilyLink.com, Inc., maker of the family history content sites FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com. This is MyHeritage's seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. The purchase marks a significant move into the US market commercially and operationally, and will boost MyHeritage’s offering to families with the addition of a vast database of more than 3 billion historical records. With offices and staff in Europe, Australia and Israel, MyHeritage will now be adding its first US-based office in Utah, the home of FamilyLink.com and often cited as the family history capital of the world.

“We are delighted to join forces with the talented FamilyLink team in Provo to deliver meaningful value to families across the world,” says MyHeritage CEO and Founder Gilad Japhet. “Combining close to one billion family tree profiles on MyHeritage with FamilyLink's massive library of historical data delivers a perfect one-stop-shop for families looking to discover and share their family history".

Founded in 2006, both FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com are subscription services which provide access to a huge database of historical content, covering several billion individuals within census, birth, marriage and death records, as well as the web’s largest archive of historical newspapers. This content will deliver new insights and value to the 60 million people who have signed up on MyHeritage in 38 different languages, creating more than 900 million profiles in 21 million family trees. When brought together under the MyHeritage umbrella, the company’s innovative Smart Matching technology will automatically match any of the new historical data to the relevant users' ancestors and relatives within the family trees.

“Our team of family history veterans couldn't be more excited about joining forces with MyHeritage”, said FamilyLink.com CEO Paul Brockbank. “This acquisition creates new horizons in exploring family history. People will receive the opportunity to search the most comprehensive historical content sources and make exciting new discoveries; share this information with their close family and save it into their family tree. Combined under the leadership of MyHeritage, the service will continue to flourish and add more value to millions of families”.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet adds: “The establishment of a US base for MyHeritage in Utah, the international center for genealogical research, is an important milestone in our growth and brings about an exciting opportunity for the company and the families we serve. MyHeritage provides the perfect service to collect the family’s treasured archive to share and keep for future generations in a setting that is friendly and secure – and now we're excited to top this off with vast amounts of content that will add more color and life to family trees. Through our powerful search engine and automatic Smart Matching technology we'll find your mother's yearbook, your great-grandfather's will and your ancestor's immigration record, leaving you with the time to marvel at, enjoy and share your family heritage. We'll do that on a massive, global scale, as we live in a world that is smaller and more tightly connected than ever before”.

This is the latest in a series of strategic purchases by MyHeritage since 2007 which have included Pearl Street Software, makers of GenCircles.com and the Family Tree Legends software; free family tree backup service BackupMyTree.com; European family social network market leader OSN (Verwandt) GmbH; Dutch family network ZOOOF; British family network Kindo.com and Polish family network Bliscy.pl.

The majority of the FamilyLink.com employees will join MyHeritage, based out of the company’s new US office in Provo, Utah: bringing the benefit of their collective expertise within the family history and North American genealogy market. The CEO of FamilyLink.com, Paul Brockbank, previously CEO of Logoworks and GM of Hewlett Packard Web Print Solutions, will play a key role in supporting the transition over the coming months and will later join the MyHeritage advisory board. FamilyLink.com founder Paul Allen, previously a co-founder of Ancestry.com, and FamilyLink.com's "We're Related" Facebook application, will not be part of the merger with MyHeritage.

In the short-term, MyHeritage will continue to operate the two sites FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com, with the intention of achieving full integration within MyHeritage in 2012. With immediate effect and for an introductory period, loyal subscribers and users of MyHeritage will be entitled to discounts of up to 50% on FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com subscriptions, and vice versa.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. With all family information stored in a secure site, MyHeritage is the ideal place to share family photos, and celebrate and preserve special family moments. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype. For more information visit www.myheritage.com.

21 November 2011

NBC Announces Third Season for WDYTYA

There was an item of interest to genealogists and family historians buried in the announcement a couple of days ago with the headline:


The item of interest is in this detail for Friday programming: 

The returning series "Who Do You Think You Are?" makes its season debut on Friday 3 (8-9 p.m.). "Chuck" will have its two-hour finale on January 27th (8-10 p.m. ET). "Grimm" (9-10 p.m. ET) and "Dateline NBC" (10-11 p.m. ET) remain in their respective time periods.

I guess this means that "Chuck" goes off the air opening up the slot for WDYTYA. This is the same time slot it occupied early this year in its second season. No word yet on what celebrities will be featured.

18 November 2011

An Important Annoucement About the 1940 Census

I have been preparing for researching in the 1940 U.S. Census when it is made available on 2 Apr 2012. And I have given one talk about this preparation, and I am scheduled to give another talk to the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society at its February meeting and present a workshop for the Genealogical Committee of the Western Reserve Historical Society on the first Saturday in March, 2012.

We have seen that the National Archives and Records Administration plans to make the digital images available on that first April Monday in 2012, but we didn't know how they would be provided to the public. NARA does not have enough server capacity to meet the public demand, so a contractor would be necessary to provide this service. Now we can announce who will be making the 1940 Census available to us on 2 Apr 2012. See the following press release:

Archives.com Parent Company Inflection Awarded Project to Make 1940 Census Records Free to the Public

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 -- Archives.com, the website that makes discovering your family history simple and affordable, has joined in partnership with the National Archives of the United States to provide the public with free digital access to the 1940 Federal Population Census beginning on April 2, 2012. In close collaboration with the National Archives, Archives.com will build a website for researchers to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 Census, the most important collection of newly released U.S. genealogy records in a decade. 

Archives.com is pleased to contribute to this momentous project, allowing researchers to digitally access the latest release of the U.S. Federal Population Census, the ultimate resource for family historians, at no cost. Census day occurred April 1, 1940 and due to the 72-year privacy restriction these records will be available to the public for the first time in 2012. 

CEO Matthew Monahan said, "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this historic moment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the advancement of online genealogy research. Access to 1940 Census records will allow researchers to discover new family members and previously unknown connections to the past. We're happy to have the opportunity to facilitate the discovery of these records, which document over 130 million U.S. residents, more than any previous U.S. Census."

The 1940 Census will be available to the public April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between Archives.com and the National Archives. The collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.

Chief Digital Access Strategist for the National Archives Pamela Wright notes, "The importance of the 1940 Census cannot be underestimated. At the National Archives, we have been preparing for the launch of these records for years. We are working closely with Inflection to ensure researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census when it opens next year." At launch, researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule.  

To learn more about Archives.com and the National Archives bringing the 1940 Census online, please visit www.archives.com/1940census. The National Archives also has published a number of helpful resources available to researchers on their website, which can help you to prepare to most effectively search the 1940 Census on April 2nd. As the project progresses, updates and additional information will be posted at www.archives.com/blog. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #1940Census. 

About Archives.com

Archives.com is the website that makes family history simple and affordable. Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection a data commerce company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. It has proven its leadership in the family history industry through its commitment to building powerful, easy to use tools, and helping researchers discover new family connections with its growing database of over 1.5 billion records. Archives.com parent company Inflection was chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 Census. Learn more about the project at www.archives.com/1940census.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. Visit www.archives.gov.

20 October 2011

Dick Eastman on Maine Outhouses I Have Known

At the Ohio Genealogical Society's Fall Conference on Oct 1, Dick Eastman presented three serious presentations on subjects of interest to genealogists (see my previous posts) and one humorous talk for family historians. Here is a report on that talk:

Maine Outhouses I Have Known
Substituting for Dick Eastman in this presentation was Mr. Harry Eastman, Dick's "uncle," outfitted in overalls, boots, and farmer hat, who, with a Maine accent, shared his knowledge of outhouses based on “building them for a living.”
First, he stated this important rule in using the outhouse, “You only go when you really have to go, particularly in February when it is 40 degrees below.”
As for building an outhouse, the number one rule is to situate it down-hill and down-wind from the house. Another rule: Two-hole outhouses aren't made for simultaneous use, but for use by small people and adults. Also, he pointed out that skilled outhouse builders can guarantee “no splinters.”
While most people have traditional outhouses, he presented photos of two- and three–story outhouses. He showed a cross-sectional diagram of how a three-story privy is designed, with offset seating from floor to floor. He noted that with a three-story privy, it is a long ways from launch to splashdown.
In preparing for this talk, Harry Eastman found that people didn't write about outhouse experiences. He invited people in the audience to write down their experiences and pass them along to later generations.

18 October 2011

Dick Eastman on Wikis for Genealogy

One of Dick Eastman's presentations at the Ohio Genealogical Society Fall Seminar (01 Oct 2011) covered the topic of Wikis for Genealogy. Here is a brief overview of that presentation.

What is a Wiki? According to www.dictionary.com, it is defined as a web site that allows anyone to add, delete, or revise content by using a web browser. A wiki is a publishing system. A wiki can be used to publish nearly any kind of information.
A wiki works very well as an encyclopedia. A prime example is Wikipedia, which has a vastly greater number of articles than the former standard: Encyclopedia Britannia.
Why use a wiki? 1. Because it is simple. 2. Anyone can do it. 3. Anyone can contribute. 4. Every subject can include hypertext (e.g. Ohio Genealogical Society, links to Library of Congress, other related subjects).
Eastman suggested that a wiki is a great replacement for a society's publications. It could be available to everybody. It would be relatively easy to create, and it could have many contributors. Also it can updated and added to. A wiki typically is set up so new information goes to a review block, which is reviewed by a panel of administrators, before it is uploaded to the live wiki.
How much does it cost to create a Wiki?  Anywhere from free to $10 per month.

Some wikis in genealogy: Encyclopedia of Genealogy, WeRelate, and WikiTree.

16 October 2011

OGS Gen Boot Camp Was Success

Yesterday (Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011), I attended the OGS Genealogy Book Camp at Camp Isaly, aka the OGS Library in Bellville. I served as a "civilian advisor" to attendees who were learning genealogy in a military setting during the all-day session. The boot camp staff included Drill Instructor Margaret Chaney, Master Sargent Jean Barnes, and Battlion Leaders Sue Zacharias, Dot Martin, and Marlene Applegate. A total of 34 "recruits" signed up for the event and filled the OGS Library conference room almost to capacity. They were divided into three battalions for "G R Duty" (genealogy research) in between training sessions. The training sessions covered Vital Records and Courthouse Research, Census Research, and Researching on the Internet. It was remarkable to see the enthusiasm, especially among some of the recruits who were brand-new to genealogy research.
A selection of photographs is available at the OGS Blog at http://ohiogenealogicalsociety.blogspot.com/2011/10/photos-from-2011-ogs-genealogy-boot.html.

15 October 2011

Dick Eastman on Sharing Information

Here is another report on the OGS Fall Seminar featuring Dick Eastman (my first blog posting about Eastman's presentations was dated 04 Oct  2011 and covered his talk on the Organized Genealogist). The following is on his presentation on sharing information.

In this presentation, Dick Eastman had two primary areas of focus: 1. Making sure that your data is still readable by future generations. 2. How to share as little or as much information as you wish.
Genealogists have favored printed books and microfilm as long-term storage mediums. How long a book lasts depends first of all on the paper it is printed on. Long-term, paper is not very good medium. It must be acid-free to last. Eastman noted that papers from 1975 don't look as good as papers from 1875.
The ink used to make a book also determines its life. Real ink is pretty good for preserving information. It absorbs into the paper and becomes part of the paper. Ink jet printers are not really using ink, but a water-based material that evaporates over time. Archival-quality ink jet printers are available but the printers and inks are more expensive.
Other printers use toner, which looks great but really isn’t ink. Toner consists of tiny particles of plastic deposited on the paper’s surface. It tends to flake off over time.
Life expectancy of microfilm is 200 to 300 years if stored properly and you never use it. Microfilm scratches easily with use. Long-term use requires using of master negatives that are only used to make copies. FamilySearch is aiming to digitize all its microfilm within 10 years.
Google aims to digitize the world's 135 million books by 2020. One advantage of digitized books is that they can be indexed by computer systems.
Eastman recommends that you create digital files. Make multiple copies (backups) and store them in multiple places. He points out, however, that every technology is temporary and lasts about 15 years. Plan to copy materials using new technologies when necessary.
Online backup is the cheapest form of backup. It can be free of charge up to a point, and then only about $50/year for up to 50 GB. Online backup is now cheaper than purchasing a hard drive, and the backup is stored offsite. Making effective use of online backup requires a broadband connection to the Internet.
Cloud computing is the sharing of resources across the Internet. It includes sharing of disc space, and sharing of applications on different computers. Well-known examples of shared applications involve Google docs, Picasa, and gmail.
Options: Keep all of your information private, but protected, and backed up in state-of-the-art data centers. Share bits and pieces of your information but only with people you choose. Share with groups of people, but only with passwords. Make information available with everyone.
The best backup services have multiple data centers and send data to other centers.
With cloud computing, you can easily find matching information supplied by others. 

11 October 2011

FamilySearch to Launch 1940 Census Indexing Effort on Apr 2, 2012

FamilySearch has issued a news release about the 1940 Census and its efforts to provide an index. It says, in part: 

"On April 2, 2012, NARA will provide access to the images of the 1940 United States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.

"Upon its release, FamilySearch and its partners will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online for free and open access."

For the complete news release from FamilySearch, with interesting details about the 1940 census, click here:

06 October 2011

Photography Seminar To Be at WRHS Oct 29

The history of photography, types of photos, and the preservation of photographs will be the topics discussed at a Photography Seminar on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Western Reserve Historical Society. The seminar will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
Presenters are Dr. John Grabowski and Margaret Burzynski-Bays, of the WRHS staff. Their presentations will be aimed at family historians. They invite you to bring a photographic sample and questions about it. There will be time to answer your questions.
Fee for the seminar is $20. For registration, contact nanbwl@juno.com or call 440.205.1942. 

04 October 2011

Dick Eastman on Keeping Up with Technology

I traveled last Saturday to Bellville, Ohio, to attend the 2011 Ohio Genealogical Society Fall Seminar, which featured Dick Eastman lecturing on “Keeping Up with Technology.”
He gave four presentations to about 85 members and guests. To accommodate the crowd, OGS arranged to hold the conference at Citi Church, about a half a mile from the OGS Library and headquarters.
Eastman’s first presentation was about “The Organized Genealogist.” During this presentation, he expressed his views on several topics: 1. Searching for information with Google and RSS. 2. Backups. 3. Digitizing research results.
Eastman noted that Google’s mission statement includes the company aim “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” He stressed that this aim includes more than just information found on the Internet, and that it is a long-term goal.
Google indexes static pages, and as a result it is great for finding pages of this type. Static web pages are those that don't change until the owner uploads revised pages. Most personal web pages are static. Google will find most of the information posted on static pages.
Eastman pointed out that Google does not produce search results for dynamic web pages. It cannot go in and extract information from dynamic websites.  Pages offered by these websites change frequently. They may even be created only at the moment you ask for them. In response to your request, a database provider’s computer system works behind the scenes, searching its databases and serving up a results page. This is transferred via the Internet to your computer where a copy is held as long as you look at it. If you go back later and request the same info, the page is recreated and downloaded to your computer again.
Eastman talked about using Google’s special syntaxes to specify languages, set up filtering, and request file in certain formats, i. e., to obtain only the search results you want. This can be done manually, but the easiest way to do this is with Google’s advanced search feature.
He also discussed the cache function on Google. As it indexes a web page, Google makes a new copy and retains a copy of a previous page in a cache. Both types show up in search results. The cache copy may be useful when the indexed page is has changed its contents.
RSS, according to Eastman, is a wonderful tool. For most people, the acronym means  Really Simple Syndication. It automates the search for a topic or subject. It enables you to look for newly changed or newly available information without doing the search yourself. To implement RSS for a website you want to follow, copy the RRS feed link from the website, and paste it into your RSS news reader. Google offers an RSS news reader at no charge, and there are others.
Eastman recommended that your data should exist in three versions: 1. Original. 2. Local Backup. 3. Offsite Backup. For convenience, always keep a backup on a hard drive, cd, dvd, or flash drive. This is your Local Backup. Eastman wants to have his original material ready for use at any time. For this purpose, he uses a 32 GB jump drive. For Offsite Backup, there are several services that will back up your files to their servers. Many of these online services offer free backup to 5 GB. Eastman also backs up his files onto a DVD and stores it offsite--at his daughter’s house.
Digitizing documents and photos is important for several reasons: 1. Improve an original photo, using Photoshop or some other photo manipulation program. 2. Share a document or photo with others. 3. Preservation. 4. Reduce the storage space required.
Eastman said, “I am in the process of scanning all of my papers, books, magazines and genealogy documents. And I am destroying most of the originals--on a selective basis.” He is working to downsize the amount of storage space he needs.

03 October 2011

Learn Genealogy in a Military Setting at the OGS Genealogy Boot Camp

On Saturday, Oct. 15, OGS drill instructors will provide basic training for enlistees—both new and experienced—in genealogy during a day-long (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Genealogy Boot Camp at Camp Isaly, 611 State Route 97 W, Bellville, Ohio.

This should be interesting. I'm told the Boot Camp components include Basics of Genealogy, Census Research, and Using the Internet for Genealogy. There also will be time to practice new techniques using the OGS Library and its Internet access to several popular databases.

Only the first 50 to enlist will be accepted. Registration fee is only $20 and includes "chow" (box lunch).

Click here for information and online registration.

03 September 2011

Attending Oktoberfest 2011 and Thoughts about German Genealogy

Yesterday, my wife and I attended the opening day of The Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest (http://clevelandoktoberfest.com/) at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea.

We enjoyed ourselves watching ethnic dance groups, visiting with vendors, and eating brats and potato pancakes (with some beer, of course).

One of the highlights was the hourly performance of a group called Das Glockenspiel. Let me borrow the description from the website: 

The Glockenspiel has become a much beloved fixture at the Oktoberfest. When the hour strikes, the music kicks in and smoke machines billow. With all the jubilance of a night on Bourbon Street, Oktoberfest revelers gather round the flashing lights of the Glockenspiel. Like birds from a cuckoo clock, the slapdancing Schuhplattlers emerge dressed as nuns, old men, monks, or just dressed like themselves. They get the audience to participate in an irreverent dance ... At routine's end, they loose a hail of souvenirs upon those gathered round the Glockenspiel. From beads, to frizbees, t-shirts, key chains and more, Oktoberfest keepsakes rain down so liberally that you'd have to be uncoordinated not to catch something. 

It was only opening day, but by 9 p.m., the fairgrounds midway was already crowded. Other ethnic groups have festivals, but I'm betting that this celebration of ethnic heritage is the largest by far.

That got me to wondering about genealogy and ethnic groups. There are several clubs specializing in ethnic genealogy in the Cleveland area, such as Polish, Hungarian, Italian, and African-American, to name a few, but I'm not aware of any specializing in German genealogy. Certainly the huge number of people with German ancestry would seem to warrant such a group.
I wonder why there is no club for German genealogy in Cleveland. Anybody have any ideas?  

This Blog Is Now Included on Genealogyblog Listing

NEOhio Genealogy Blog is now among the more than 1,900 blogs having to do with genealogy listed on "Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for genealogy blogs."

Go to  http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogs/ to check it out.

Hopefully, this will help spread the word about what's going on in genealogy in Northeastern Ohio and the Western Reserve.

01 September 2011

Changes at Western Reserve Historical Society Don't Affect Genealogy Center

The WRHS website (www.wrhs.org) currently offers this cautionary note for people planning a visit to its University Circle complex:
“Please note that the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection galleries will close Monday, September 5, in preparation for a major renovation of the entire Crawford exhibit area. The Crawford galleries are scheduled to reopen in September 2012. All remaining areas of the History Center, including the Library, Kidzibits Family Education Center, Hay-McKinney Mansion, and exhibit galleries will remain open throughout the renovations. 

Please stay tuned to this site for updates on the construction project.”

Speaking of the Hay-McKinney Mansion, did you catch the “Full House” column by Julie E. Washington, in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer (Thursday, Sept 1, 2011; page E-1). She shares her impressions of this part of the History Center, which she toured after it was re-opened recently following extensive maintenance work. You can access her column, with her historical notes about the mansion, by going to http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2011/09/full_house_hay-mckinney_mansio.html.

There’s even a video featuring chief curator Dean Zimmerman, who served as Washington's   tour guide during her recent visit.

Please note that the Library, Archives, and Genealogy Center will continue to be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

31 August 2011

New Editor to Take Reins of Ohio Genealogy News in 2012

Congratulations to Sunny McClellan Morton!
She has been selected as the next editor of the Ohio Genealogy News. She will replace Debra Cyprych and Jennifer Hershberger as editor on January 1, 2012. Cyprych and Hershberger have held the co-editorship for the past five years.
Sunny writes a regular column and frequent features for Family Tree Magazine and she is the author of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories. She is also an instructor on family history writing for Family Tree University.
Sunny will bring to this position twenty years of solid experiences as a writer, an editor and as a public speaker. She holds undergraduate degrees in History and Humanities from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and has taken graduate-level courses at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
She is actively engaged in genealogical research. She is a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors.

Sunny lives in Cleveland. You can read more about her at http://sunnymorton.blogspot.com/

30 August 2011

Ancestry.com Offers Free Week of Access to Immigration Records

The following announcement was released by Ancestry.com:
Week of Free Access Enables Families to Discover Stories of Ancestors’ International Travels and Passage

PROVO, UTAH – (August 29, 2011) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced an entire week of free access to its popular U.S. and International Immigration and Naturalization records. The free access week begins August 29th and runs through the Labor Day holiday ending September 5th. During this time, all visitors to Ancestry.com will be able to search for free the indices and images of new and updated U.S. immigration records as well as selected international immigration records from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. Millions of Americans can trace their family history to other countries, and these collections provide valuable information about the travels and journeys that brought them to America or other countries around the world.
Ancestry.com’s extensive collection of immigration, naturalization and travel records offer an important resource for discovering and celebrating family history. As part of this promotion, the company is adding to its collection of U.S. and international records for tracing relatives from their homeland to other countries around the world. These records include ships passenger and crew lists, declarations of intent, petitions for naturalization, witness affidavits, border crossings, certificates and other records generated by the naturalization process, which is the act and procedure of becoming a new citizen of a country. Because the process has changed significantly over time and varies from country to country, different records are available from a wide variety of state, federal and international sources.

Newly added U.S. collections include Florida Petitions for Naturalization, 1913-1991; Delaware Naturalization Records, 1796-1959 and Utah Naturalization and Citizenship Records, 1850-1960. Noteworthy updated U.S. and international collections include U.S. Naturalization and Passport applications, 1795-1972; UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960; Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956; New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922; Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957; New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1973; Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959.

“One of the most common elements of the American experience is our respect and interest in our native heritage.  Almost all Americans have international roots, and many take great pride and even feel patriotic toward the countries from which their ancestors originated,” said Josh Hanna, Ancestry.com Executive Vice President. “That’s why we continue to build and enrich our collection of immigration and naturalization records and why we are providing free access to anyone who wants to search these records to discover their family’s international history.”

Many families have already made important discoveries in Ancestry.com’s immigration and naturalization collection. Each of the following stories offers an example of the exciting and often emotional discoveries made by some Ancestry.com users.
  • David A. Bader – Atlanta, GA: Bader traced his mother’s immigration from birth in Vienna, Austria, in 1934, during the Holocaust, through a KinderTransport to England (1939-1941), and eventually her immigration into the U.S. He’s also traced her parents’ journeys through concentration camps and other paths that lead to the United States, where the family came back together after their separate journeys of luck and fate.
  • Kristine Plotinski – Romeo, MI: Plotinski recently found the ship manifest of when her grandparents and three aunts immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1947. She shared this document with her aunts and they were deeply touched when they saw their names on the manifest. One of her aunts remarked that she had been unable to find her immigration records on a visit to Ellis Island and recounted that seeing the document from Ancestry.com brought back many memories. Her aunt very clearly remembers the day in 1947 when her ship arrived in New York. She was awed by the lights of New York and the snow and wore a pink coat made with rabbit fur, which her grandmother had made for each of Kristine’s aunts.
  • Jackie Wells – Annapolis, MD:  Although her father died of cancer, Wells was fortunate to spend considerable time with him before he passed. Many of their talks focused on his family history. He did not know much about his mother, who died from a fire when he was three, or about her background. His father remarried and supported a blended family, but did not talk about his background. Since those discussions, Wells has traced her father’s side back to the original immigrants, finding early colonial settlers of New England, a sea captain defending New York’s harbor under George Washington in 1776, early residents of the new capital Washington, hard-working mid-1800's immigrants, Civil War soldiers, sports legends and many poignant personal stories. So far, for two of the immigrants Wells located, she has traveled to and photographed their birth villages, in Italy and in Germany. Wells’ family history research has helped her find and be welcomed by hundreds of newfound relatives who have provided many memories and a much deeper understanding her father’s family history.  
To start researching the immigration and naturalization records for free, please visit www.ancestry.com/immigration.

29 August 2011

Theory Offered in Case of Headstone Mystery in Lorain

I live in Brecksville in Cuyahoga County, about 40 miles from West 23 Street in Lorain in the next county, which has the same name. With the power of the Internet, I learned about a mystery surrounding a headstone found in a backyard in Lorain—and I was able to follow developments in the story--all without leaving the comfort of my home office.

I first learned about the mystery from an email from LinkedIn wherein an acquaintance, Linda Ellis, reported “Finding the Tombstone of Simeon Shepard in a Lorain Backyard.” This sounded intriguing so I followed her link and checked it out. [You can find it at  http://limesstones.blogspot.com/. Scroll way down on the page.]

It turns out that the Morning Journal newspaper in Lorain first ran the story on Aug 18. The report stated that Tarrence Scott, 24, was cleaning up the backyard shrubs at his W.24th Street home when he stumbled upon the headstone. "I thought it was just a brick, I picked it up and pushed it over and it was a tombstone," he reported. "I thought there was a body under there. There might still be a body under there." Scott ran inside an told his wife Jennifer Scott, age 27 who called police. Police advised the couple not to touch the stone and to call a cemetery to come out and inspect.

The tombstone was inscribed as belonging to "Simeon Shepard" and reads "Died June 16th 1864, aged 82 years and 16 days."

The story caught the attention of Channel 8 in Cleveland which broadcast the story the afternoon of Aug 18.

The Morning Journal did follow-up stories over the next two days. These stories ended up being posted by a FindAGrave volunteer in an entry for Simeon Shepard [go to http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=21476766]. From that source, I’m relaying what the newspaper reported on Aug 20:

After two days of searching and calling, the mystery behind why Simeon Shepard's headstone is in the back yard of a West 23 Street, Lorain, home isn't known, but there is a plausible theory.

"It was either replaced or stolen," Diane Wargo Medina said.

Since she was 19 years-old, Medina has been helping care for the Charleston Village Cemetery on West Sixth Street, Lorain.

So when she heard about the backyard tombstone she was determined to discover where Shepard came from and belonged.

Her investigation ended up being very fruitful, as she studied U.S. Census and death records.

"The date of death matches and they were from the Lorain County area," she said.

There is a monument at Andress Cemetery with Simeon and his wife, Aseneth, names. Aseneth passed away a few years after Simeon.

Which is one of the reasons, Medina believed that the headstone could have been replaced.

Whether the stone ended in the West 23rd Street back yard by accident or on purpose, she believes it belongs in one place only.

"I personally think that (the headstone) should go back over there (cemetery)," she said.

Medina, who repairs headstone at the West Sixth Street cemetery, stated that she would be happy to help relocate and repair the stone.

"I will gladly repair it," she said. "It should go back."

While the mystery of how the headstone ended up in the backyard may never be solved, the mystery of who Shepard was has been.

Shepard was a farmer, born in Massachusetts, who moved to Henrietta with his wife, Aseneth and their daughter, Sarah Shepard, according to the website familysearch.org. [She obviously used the Internet to do this checking.]

I also did a quick check of census records for Simeon Shepard, using Ancestry.com, and found find him and his family in the 1850 census in Henrietta Township in Lorain County. I also noted  several listings for men by the name of Simeon Shepard in earlier censuses, including listings in Massachusetts. The listings include several in New York, which often was a waypoint for people migrating from Massachusetts to Ohio. 

There is one more census result of interest: In the 1860 census, Sarah Shepard, age 35, was living in the home of a hardware merchant, and working as a seamstress, in Wellington, Lorain County, about 15 miles from Henrietta Township (distance gleaned from Google Maps). It seems likely that she was the unmarried daughter of Simeon and Anseneth Shepard listed with them in the 1850 census.

Using the power of the Internet, I was able to see all this within about a half an hour. Wow!

28 August 2011

Online Genealogical Resource on the Firelands

I just became aware of the website, "Firelands History Website," at http://firelands.wordpress.com/. 

The creator, David W. Barton, writes in his welcome message: 

“Sufferers’ Land.” “Firelands.”

These evocative and descriptive phrases refer to a region in northern Ohio set aside by the state of Connecticut for “Sufferers” burned out of their homes by the British during the American Revolution. Part of the Western Reserve, it covered present-day Huron and Erie counties.

After the War of 1812, a flood of emigration erupted out of crowded New England, the result of a pent up desire for new land that had been held in check by the threat of Native Americans defending their homes, and the spur of economic hardship engendered by the catastrophic “Year without Summer” of 1816.Most of these pioneers were bound for the Firelands.

Thus began one of the great migrations of American history; a flood of humanity that poured out of New England and settled lands stretching along the southern shores of the Great Lakes from upstate New York to Illinois and across the Mississippi River into Iowa.

These settlers greatly impacted the history of the United States. In the 1850’s, some of them entered Kansas and clashed with the leading edge of another great migration that had settled the South — a tragic foreshadowing of the Civil War. The grandchildren of the settlers of the Old Northwest formed the backbone of the Union Army of the West during that war and made possible the Republican majority that ruled the nation the remainder of the century.

This website presents histories of the Firelands and genealogies of families that settled there.

For researchers interested in this region, Barton provides an online reproduction of the Sufferers’ Land, a history of the settlement of the Firelands from the founding of the town of Norwalk in 1817 by Platt Benedict to the final Pioneers Reunion and founding of The Firelands Historical Society in 1857. This story may be read from the beginning starting at the Prologue, or by selecting any of the 53 episodes in the Index of Posts.

I am sure that I will be referring to this online resource in my research in the Western Reserve.

19 August 2011

News Flash: Footnote Is Refocusing; New Name Is Fold3

Today the website formerly known as Footnote.com announced the intention to create the finest and most comprehensive collection of U.S. Military records available on the Internet. In the process, the website will become known as Fold3.

The official announcement continues:

Footnote Gets Focused

This announcement isn’t a complete change from what we’ve been doing.  Some of our best and most popular work has been on military titles like the Revolutionary War Pension files, the Civil War Service Records and “Widows’ Pensions,” WWII Missing Air Crew Reports and the Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

This new focus will direct our content plans and allow us to organize the site around military records.  In the future we’ll make other changes that will help us build the best online source for records related to the U.S. military, the men and women who have served and the families who support them.

You will still be able to access the great non-military records previously found on Footnote, but we’ll be adding millions of U.S. military records, like these that we’ve already begun work on:

Word War II “Old Man’s Draft” Cards
War of 1812 Pension Files
Mexican War Service Records
World War I Officer Experience Reports
Confederate Casualty Reports

One change that won’t impact how things work, but is significant and will probably get a lot of attention, is the site’s new name.  Footnote has been a great name, but it doesn’t relate to military records and can carry a connotation of insignificance which doesn’t seem appropriate for a site focused on records related to the great sacrifices associated with military service.

New Name: Fold3

We wanted a name that would show respect for the records we are working on and for the people who have served in the armed forces.  The name Fold3 comes from a traditional flag-folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.

We are excited for this new focus and name because it will help us continue to improve the site and bring you records that will help in your research.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions, please let us know.


During the day following the announcement, people have provided feedback, and the website has issued some updates:

Many of the questions so far have been about what will happen to all the non-military content on the site. Sorry for any confusion we caused on that. We don’t plan to remove any non-military content from the site with the exception of some third-party newspaper content that may be removed at the owners’ discretion. The city directories, naturalizations, vital records, Native American records and other non-military content that we have created for the site will be available on Fold3. You can still find them through search, on the records list page, and in browse under the new “Other Records” category.

There have also been some questions about content moving back and forth between Ancestry and Fold3. We do plan to bring copies of some of Ancestry’s military records over to Fold3 (the World War II “Old Man’s Draft” Cards we are currently adding to the site are an example) and Ancestry may get copies of some Fold3 titles that make sense for their users, but when this happens, the records would be copied, not moved, Fold3 content added to Ancestry will still be available on Fold3 and vice versa.

Thank you for all your comments. We appreciate your passion and support for Footnote. We hope as the dust of this change settles, you’ll find that the site feels familiar and that the most important parts of Footnote are still part of Fold3.

24 July 2011

Learning European Geography the Easy Way

I make no secret of the fact that I read detective and spy novels. Most of the time I am reading one novel while I have another on hand waiting to be read. Using this system, if I grow tired of the one I am reading--and sometimes I do--I can readily switch to the second one, and keep myself entertained.

Recently, I discovered the spy novels by Alan Furst. Beginning in 1988, and continuing through 2010, he has written eleven novels in the series dubbed the Night Soldier Novels. 

So far, I have read the most recent six of the eleven and in addition to being entertained, I have learned quite a bit about events leading up to World War II and particularly the geography of Europe, including eastern Europe.

I particularly liked the most recent book in the series: Spies of the Balkans. At the center of this drama is Constantine "Costa" Zannis, a senior police official, head of an office that handles special "political" cases. As war approaches, the spies begin to circle, from the Turkish legation, from the German secret service, a travel writer sent by the British, and others -- from Bulgaria? From Italy? Nobody knows. 

But Costa Zannis must deal with them all. And he is soon in the game, securing an escape route-from Berlin to Salonika , and then to a tenuous safety in Turkey , a route protected by German lawyers, Balkan detectives, and Hungarian gangsters. And hunted by the Gestapo.

Zannis travels throughout central Europe and I was able to follow those travels on the prefatorial map. Doing so solidified my understanding of the geographic relationships of Greece, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia (in the case of the last two, remember this is pre-WWII Europe).

In the other novels I have read, his main characters are located in, or travel to or through, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, and Finland. They even appear in Egypt and other north African countries.

You can be sure I am going back and reading his earlier novels as well.

05 July 2011

More Advanced Technology for Marking Grave Sites

Yesterday, I posted a report of a geocaching trip that took me, my son, and my grandson to the three cemeteries here in Brecksville, and how the creator of the trip served up a bit of history and genealogy along the way.

For that effort, I used my Garmin Etrex Legend GPS unit, which is now about nine years old. I hadn't used it for some time, and had to spend some time getting re-acquainted with how to use it--and particularly how to enter longitude and latitude data. When I was using it, I found it to be useful for marking the locations of a grave site--within about 20 feet of accuracy. That  was usually close enough so that I (and others) could find it again later.

After doing some research on the Internet, I learned that I can download an app or two that will enable me to perform the same marking function on my Droid smart phone. Using this approach may even be more accurate than using the nine-year old Etrex.

So I have something else to put on my genealogy "to do" list: Evaluate the more up-to-date approach to marking grave sites (and using my Droid for geocaching, as well). When I get around to it, I'll report the results on this blog.

04 July 2011

Geocaching and Genealogy in Brecksville on the 4th

Yesterday I went geocaching in Brecksville and acquired some knowledge of local genealogy as well. I had stumbled on the "Brecksville Bicentennial Cemetery Tour" created by RexC & The Girls on 23 Jun 2011. I downloaded the description of the "tour" and entered the first longitude-latitude data in my hand-held Garmin Etrex Legend. Then I set off with my son and grandson to take the tour.

Actually, I knew where the first location was: Riverview Road Cemetery. But the exact long-lat data assisted us in finding the memorial plaque for Richard Farrar, an early settler in Brecksville Township nearly 200 years ago, and a Revolutionary War vet. After finding the marker, we had to do some simple arithmetic to fine-tune the next waypoint (long-lat data) for Benjamin Waite, another Revolutionary War vet. He is memorialized by a large stone and plaque on Brecksville Road (Rt 21) south of the town center.

Again we did some simple math to get the third waypoint: the grave of Josiah Wilcox, a third Revolutionary War soldier. He is buried in the Rice or Barr Road Cemetery. More simple math led us to the Brecksville Cemetery on Highland Road. Here we found the grave of Lemuel Bourne who arrived in Brecksville Township with his wife Delia in 1813.

More math led us to the Breck family marker where the information about Dr. Theodore Breck led us finally to the location of the cache: a large plastic jar wrapped in camouflage tape. Here, we signed into the logbook, selected a Brecksville Bicentennial refrigerator magnet and left a Hot Wheels car.

I had worked on the Pioneer Families Recognition Project for the Brecksville Bicentennial Home Days, so I was familiar with the folks where the subject of this neat geocaching adventure, which also included a nice exposure to some local genealogy. Thanks, RexC, for creating it.

30 June 2011

Learning about Using the 1940 Census

Here is the latest announcement from Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub of One-Step Research fame about using the 1940 Census when it becomes available next Spring:

    "In less than 10 months the 1940 US Population Schedules will become public. It will not be name indexed, so it will be necessary to do an address search in order to find families. Address searching involves knowing the ED (enumeration district) in which the address is located. The National Archives (NARA) earlier this year indicated they had plans to make available in 2011 the 1940 ED maps of cities and counties, and ED descriptions, but their recent move to consider having a 3rd party host all the images may have appreciably set back this timetable.    

 "The only website that currently has location tools for the 1940 census is the Steve Morse One Step site (http://stevemorse.org). There are several such tools there, and it could be overwhelming to figure out which tool to use when. There is a tutorial that attempts to clarify it (http://stevemorse.org/census/intro.html) and an extensive FAQ (http://stevemorse.org/census/faq.htm).

    "We are announcing the opening of another educational utility to help people learn about the different 1940 locational search tools on the One Step site, and information about the 1940 census itself. It is in the form of a quiz, and should help many, many genealogists quickly learn how to search an unindexed census by location. The new utility is at:http://stevemorse.org/census/quiz.php and is called “How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step”. Not only is it informative, we hope it is entertaining.

    "Thanks. Joel Weintraub & Steve Morse"

We should be the ones giving "thanks." The utility is very informative and should help us all in understanding what is necessary to work with the 1940 Census next year when it is released by NARA.