30 May 2011

Five Things You Need to Know About Memorial Day

When I opened my browser this morning--Google Chrome, set to Google News--the item at the top of the list was "Five Things You Need to Know about Memorial Day." This very well-written item was published on the Internet by the MoorestownPatch, an Internet-based news service covering news and events in Moorestown,  New Jersey (there also is a BrecksvillePatch).

One important thing that I learned from the report: the first observance of this solemn day came in 1868 when "5,000 citizens decorated 20,000 Civil War soldiers’ graves—both Union and Confederate—in Arlington Cemetery."

To read the item yourself, go to http://moorestown.patch.com/articles/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-memorial-day-3 .

29 May 2011

Nordic Novels Provide Insight Into Swedish and Finnish Culture

I like to read detective novels. I read most of the better-known American authors as soon as I can borrow their books from the library, which often means waiting for them after requesting them online.

When I first heard about the Swedish novels in Stieg Larsson's best-selling "Millennium" trilogy, I turned to reading about crime-solving in Sweden with great interest--along with thousands of other readers. His books resided on the New York Times best seller lists for months. The books in the trilogy aren't really detective novels, as they feature Lisbeth Salander, computer hacker, and Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist. Nevertheless, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played with Fire, held my attention during marathon reading sessions, not only because of the interesting story lines, but also because they helped me revisit some of the places I had visited in Sweden during my employment as a metals industry trade magazine editor. (Sadly, Larsson died after submitting the manuscripts to his three books to his publisher, so there won't be any additional books in this series.)

More recently, I obtained a copy of a first novel, Snow Angels, by James Thompson. This novel was set in Finland, above the Artic Circle, and the locations described resonated with me again because of my business travesl to Finland--and with my heritage as a Finn-American.

Here is how one critic describes the book: "Thompson’s protagonist, police inspector Kari Vaara, is in some ways the author’s doppelgänger: Vaara, a Finn, is married to an American woman; Thompson, an American, is married to a Finnish woman. Snow Angels opens with a shocking murder: Sufia Elmi was nothing if not a walking contradiction—by some accounts a virginal starlet, by others a drug-abusing sexual deviate. Now she lies dead, and in an exceptionally grisly manner, her death-throes painting an obscene crimson snow angel in a remote Finnish field.

That first book was published in 2009. Thompson recently brought out his second novel (March 2011) featuring Inspector Vaara, entitled Lucifer's Tears, and set in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. It was another interesting story, involving solving crimes related to Finnish politics. Also, for me, reading it provided more reminders of my brief visits to Finland, as well as exposure to aspects of contemporary Finnish culture.

I have since learned that there is something of a Nordic noir--crime novels involving moody detectives, and of course, the cold weather in the Nordic region. Some names of other Scandinavian crime writers that I aim to read include Karin Fossum (her Inspector Sejer novels take place in Norway); Arnaldur Indridason, who sets his books in Reykjavik, Iceland; and Henning Mankell, creator of the moody Kurt Wallander, a police inspector in Sweden. I was introduced to Inspector Wallander by several eposodes in the PBS Series, Masterpiece Mysteries.

I read a lot of novels, and I find that I learn a lot from them. In this case, I expect to learn more about Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Features of FamilySearch Explained

This past Thursday, I drove out to Painesville's Morley Library for the monthly meeting the the Lake County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society. The attraction: a presentation by Alan Rabe on www.familysearch.org.

It was well worth the 45-min drive. Alan is the area director for the Family History Centers of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. That's not his day job; he took time off work to give the mid-morning presentation to about 45 members and guests.

Alan went online to demonstrate the features of FamilySearch's revamped website design. He explained that the recent design change was needed because the old design couldn't handle the vast amount of data that were ready to be added for access by LDS members and the general public researching their family histories. To use the proper technical term, the new website is designed for "scalability." That means the new design can handle the vast amounts of data that will be available through FamilySearch in the months and years ahead.

Alan took the audience through the four main components of the new design: Records, Trees, Catalog, and Books. 

To start, he demonstrated how users can simply enter a name to find what records might be available. If that yields too many results, he showed how to refine a Records search by using the Advanced Search feature. And even then if you get too many results, he also pointed, you can filter your results by a dozen different filter categories. I hadn't used the Filter function before, but when I got home, I found that it is easy to use.

The Trees section should be self-explanatory. In checking it out, I entered my test ancestor, Jacob Dingman, and came up with a tree from the Ancestry File collection. There is this disclaimer prominently displayed here: "Ancestral File is a collection of genealogical information taken from pedigree charts and family group records submitted to the Family History Department since 1978. The information has not been verified against any official records. Since the information in Ancestral File is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the file to verify its accuracy."

The Catalog section of the website has been converted into a Wiki. The text for the printed area guides that formerly were available for ordering from the Family History Library have been uploaded to this section of FamilySearch for your reference. This represents a big cost-saving step because it eliminates the cost of printing paper brochures--and because online materials can easily be updated. In fact, users are able to create a Wiki account and upload current information about local repositories and resources for everybody's use. 

In my opinion, the new design of the Catalog is much more user friendly than the previous approach. In addition to the locality guides, you can use the Catalog to find microfilms that possibly provide information that you are looking for.

I entered "Vesanto," the name of the parish of my paternal grandparents in Central Finland. Almost immediately, the search result, "Finland, Kuopio, Vesanto," appeared. Clicking on this, I learned that two microfilms are available of parish records are available for loan from the Family History Library. The rental fee is $5.50 for three weeks use at a nearby LDS Family History Center. A renewal is offered for the same fee. If you are really interested in studying this microfilm extensively, you can pay a third payment of $5.50 and the microfilm is considered on permanent loan to the Family History Center where you are viewing it.

The Books section contains a valuable and growing collection of historical books scanned by  The Brigham Young University Family History Archive. It includes histories of families, county and local histories, how-to books on genealogy, genealogy magazines, periodicals (including some international), medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), and gazetteers. I searched for the surname Dingman, and found the collection includes three ebooks that I will have to examine for possible info about my Dingman line. Check this section out--you might find a useful resource for an ancestor.

There are three other sections of interest: Learn (instructional materials and videos), Indexing (for volunteering to do indexing), and Family History Centers (a central directory to Family History Center and their hours).

I'm afraid this report doesn't do justice to the many valuable features of www. familysearch.org. I have been using it right along, but even so, I learned about many new features to explore going forward by attending Alan Rabe's demonstration.

Tip: Use Notepad when Composing Story for Tree on Ancestry.com

I often use Wordpad when I'm working with the "Add a Story" feature on a Family Tree at Ancestry.com (or to compose a new post for this blog). Wordpad opens faster on my computer than Word, and speed is welcomed whenever I'm working to get a piece written and uploaded. Also, Notepad doesn't impose any formating on what I am composing.

The latter feature is particularly important when I am copying material from another website for the piece I am writing. When I enter the copied material directly into the story window on a Family Tree (or into the Blogspot Post composition space), sometimes the formatting stays with the copy and I have to do some work to get rid of it. The same sometimes happens when I use Word as the intermediate workspace. With WordPad, it's not a problem.

One example: yesterday I copied passenger ticket and passport record information from the Emigrant Register database (subscription required) provided by the Finland Institute of Migration (http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/sinst/emigrantregister.php) and added it as a "story" to a person's profile in a Family Tree on Ancestry.com. No lingering formating to deal with.

Sometimes old technology--in this case, Wordpad--does a job best, and yes, Wordpad is found even on Windows 7.

25 May 2011

Keep Your Eyes Open When Researching

Today, I was reminded of an Aha Moment that occurred in my genealogical research more than 10 years ago.

I was checking the Cuyahoga County Historical Marriage License Index (available online at http://probate.cuyahogacounty.us/ml/) for my daughter's first marriage. Sure enough, it showed up as one of the results.

The surprise was that another result also showed up: my aunt Wilma Huskonen. She had lived in Ashtabula while growing up, and in later life, she lived in Warren, in Trumbull County. I never expected her to be married in Cuyahoga County, but her record entry showed up in the online index.

Using the index info (Bride: Wilma S Huskonen; Groom: Vaino Seppelin; Vol 130 [1923], Page 162), I was able to retrieve the record from microfilm. The Historical Marriage License microfilm is readily available at Fairview Park Library (Cuyahoga County Public Library System's genealogy department) through Vol. 200 (1942), at Western Reserve Historical Society through Vol. 599 (1956), and at the Cuyahoga County Archives (not sure the range of years). However, back in 2000, I retrieved the record from the Marriage License Bureau, Cuyahoga County Probate Court, which is another possibility, but not as convenient as the other sources mentioned. From the license application and return, I learned that Wilma was a telephone operator and that she lived on Fenwick Ave. Vaino was a steelworker living in Warren, and I learned the name of his father and the maiden name of his mother. They were married by a justice of the peace on 14 Apr 1923.

The bottom line: It always pays to keep your eyes open for an unexpected result when doing family history research.

Oops! Missed the VH1 Episode of 50 Cent's Family History Journey Last Night

I knew ahead of time about the family history-oriented episode on the rock channel VH! featuring rapper 50 Cent. BUT, I forgot that it was last night. Anyway, I was watching a fascinating documentary on WVIZ (Channel 2 on Time-Warner Cable) about the history of the Cleveland Clinic.

I was reminded of my oversight this morning when I opened my email and read the latest issue of "Genealogy Insider," which was posted at 2:55 this morning. The lead item, by Diane Haddad of the Family Tree Magazine staff, was entitled:

Recap of VH1's Genealogy Show "50 Cent: The Origin of Me"

Yes, you can go ahead and click on the link and read her report if you were like me and missed the broadcast.

I tried to watch the episode on the VH1 website this morning (I'm a morning person), but there apparently were some problems with the correct link being posted. I also tried to watch some of the clips, but the video was uneven and starting each clip was 30-sec commercial that I couldn't defeat. Overall, not a positive web experience.

In one of the clips, 50 Cent observes that a man he was visiting knew his music, then he states "But everybody knows my music." Well, 50 Cent, you got that wrong! I not only don't know your music, I hadn't heard of you at all before this episode was publicized. To be more precise, I don't listen to or even acknowledge rap music. I guess that I am a couple generations separated from appreciating this music genre.

One more thing: in the show, you are wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap! In my book, that's another reason to not to be a fan of you.

However, I did enjoy reading Diane Haddad's recap of your episode, 50 Cent, so thanks for focusing some attention on the exploration of family history..

24 May 2011

WRHS Receives $12 Million Bequest

  As a member of the Western Reserve Historical Society, I was pleased to see the front-page news report in today's (Tuesday, 24 May 2011) Cleveland Plain Dealer that it would receive more than $12 million from the estate of Kay Crawford. Mrs. Crawford was the widow of  Frederick C. Crawford, an avid car and plane collector, and president of Thompson Products that later became TRW. Fred Crawford donated his collection to WRHS and it formed the core of the society's Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. He died in 1994
  Late in 2009, when the society announced that it was selling off some of the cars in the collection to pay down debt, Kay Crawford supported the outcry of area auto buffs against the move. Gainor Davis, president of the society, and other officials, met with Crawford, and eventually the ruffled feathers were smoothed over, resulting in this bequest, that Davis called "a transformational gift for us."
  Kay Crawford died in 2010, at age 94.
  One provision in her bequest is that the Cleveland Foundation will administer the use of the funds by WRHS.   Further, according to the PD report, "The Crawford name must remain on the auto-aviation museum, the exhibit must remain open to the public, and money from the estate can only be used for the transportation-themed collection, which now includes about 140 cars, 10 airplanes and numerous motorcycles, bicycles and other collectibles."
  Why do I consider this development relevant to genealogy and family history in Northeastern Ohio? Plainly, it helps solidify the future of WRHS as a local institution, and indirectly helps assure the future of the Genealogy Center housed in the Library of the society. 
  From the PD report: "The nonprofit is 'poised for a rebirth' according to Davis. Donations to its annual fund jumped by 25 percent during the past fiscal year, and general admission revenue rose by 13 percent."
  Further,  "the historical society also learned recently it will receive $250,000 from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission to restore several structures at Hale Farm & Village, its 90-acre living history museum in Bath."
  Now if WRHS could just find a generous benefactor for the Genealogy Center and Library, maybe they could remain open more days of the week (in addition to the current Thursday-Friday-Saturday hours) to better serve the genealogical community of NEOhio.

23 May 2011

President Obama's Irish Roots

It is a feel-good story involving genealogy and family history.
The Internet featured a flood of news reports about the visit President Barack Obama paid today (Monday 23 May 2011) to the small Irish village of Moneygall, in south-central  Ireland. It was the home village of his great-great-great grandfather Falmouth Kearney, a shoemaker before he emigrated to America. The stories of this improbable and memorable pilgrimage for America's first black president into his Irish past include reports of the high interest among the locals in seeing the U.S. president during his visit.
Obama walked the thronged Main Street of Moneygall, where Kearney, his ancestor on his Kansas-born mother's side, lived until leaving for the United States in 1850 at the height of Ireland's Great Famine. Obama's roots in the town were discovered during the 2008 presidential campaign (for a report, see http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/10/kin.html).
The president even got to hug a distant relative: Henry Healy, a 26-year-old accountant for a plumbing firm.
Falmouth Kearney immigrated to Ohio and is buried in Fayette County. It is amazing to do a Google search on his name and see how many websites have information on him and his connection to Barack Obama.

13 May 2011

New Computer Up and Running with Windows 7

I have spent this past week selecting, buying, and installing a new Dell computer with Windows7.
The transfer of existing data files from my 7-year-old PC went smoothly, although it took some time. 

Restoring the software, however, was a separate process and was pretty intense, partly because I had to find the original program discs or downloads as the first step. As it turned out, some of the software I was using wasn't quite up to working with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 on my new computer. So I had to select and purchase some new software, including Microsoft Publisher 2010. Last night, I completed that step and was able to open all the existing Publisher files for the Western Reserve Genealogy Bulletin, published by the Genealogical Committee, an auxiliary of WRHS. This was important because I  edit and lay out it out every three months. The neat thing about this new version is that it can create PDF files directly rather than having to go through another piece of software. I value this capability because the Bulletin is being distributed to some subscribers as a PDF via e-mail.
Incidentally, the old computer (also a Dell) was running OK, but it's 30-GB hard drive (pretty measily by today's standards) was nearly full of data files and programs. The new computer with Windows 7 and 6 GB of RAM is fast -- starting up programs, searching on the Internet, etc.

09 May 2011

Week-Long Gen Ed Program Coming to Pittsburgh in 2012

The formation of GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, was announced recently, and a website launched at http://www.gripitt.org/Planning now underway calls for a week-long program of genealogical courses beginning Sunday, July 22, 2012 and running through Friday, July 27, 2012. 

The event is scheduled to take place at LaRoche College, 9000 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15237. If you want to check out the facility, the college website is at http://www.laroche.edu/home.cfm. The facilities look to be new and comfortable.

According to GRIP, t
he instructors will be "experienced genealogical researchers, lecturers, and writers who bring their expertise into the classroom with case studies and problem-solving exercises. The students come from a wide variety of backgrounds but all share their passion for family history and for learning how to efficiently break down ‘brick wall’ genealogical puzzles."

The organizers indicate they are planning four different, week-long genealogical courses. They promise that they will "incorporate hands-on learning in a state-of-the-art and friendly community atmosphere. Socializing during meals or in the evenings may let distant cousins discover each other or a new-found research buddy."
Why is this being done?  According to GRIP, "The demand for in-depth genealogical education is so high that week-long courses sell out shortly after registration opens, disappointing many potential students. At the same time genealogists who have taken many courses want new content. Beginning in July 2012 the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), offering week-long courses of high quality with internationally recognized instructors, will address these needs."
Registration will open in February next year. To learn more stay, tuned to www.GRIPitt.org.

08 May 2011

Keeping Your Passwords Safely in the Cloud with IronStratus--for Free

I think I have found an answer to dealing with the plethora of passwords that I use to access my various Internet accounts, social networks, subscriptions, etc. 

I have a password database program on my laptop and desktop computers, and I have managed pretty well to synchronize them so that they have the same information. However, the other day I wanted to sign in to a online database from a computer that didn't have my database. I was stymied because I couldn't remember the exact password for this particular database.

IronStratus appears to be the answer to this password problem. It is a free, cloud-based service that offers one-click access to all web applications.  Using IronStratus can reduce password and login time and effort while providing good security at the same time. With it, I can access websites that require a sign-in from anywhere there is an Internet connection and a browser.

An IronStratus account can be created in as little as 5 minutes and requires no software to set up or manage. The free account can be set up at:https://secure.ironstratus.com/registration/signup. In the process, you do create the one password that you have to remember.

After you have  created the account, you can sign in to each of your Social Network and other Internet accounts one by one and IronStratus will remember what you enter. When you want to access one of these Internet accounts, you simply sign in to your IronStatus account with the single username and password and choose the target account from the account list you have created. By clicking on the target account from this list, you ask IronStratus to sign you in--and after few seconds you are in that account.

It has worked well for me so far and I am proceeding to add account names and data to cover all my needs. 

07 May 2011

My Five Minutes of On-line Fame

This morning (Saturday, May 7) I am featured in Brecksville Patch, an on-line daily news service covering news and events in my hometown of Brecksville.

The reason: I am conducting a free genealogy workshop at the Brecksville Human Services Center on Wednesdays, 1-3 pm through June 8. We utilize the three public access computers at the center to create online family trees for participants. So far, I have worked with a dozen people starting their family trees. In one case, a woman has made connections with a "cousin" in the United Kingdom as a result of creating her family tree. As she corresponds with this new cousin, I expect her to gain family information that she wouldn't learn any other way.

To read the article, click on the link: http://brecksville.patch.com/articles/helping-brecksville-residents-uncover-their-ancestry?ncid=M255

It will only take 5 minutes to access and read the article, hence my 5 minutes of fame.

06 May 2011

Typing European Names Containing Diacritical or Accent Marks

The other day I wanted to type Finnish surnames accurately into an e-mail message. The Finnish alphabet has two letters with diacritical or accent marks: ä and ö (also the upper case versions: Ä and Ö). I was working in my e-mail client Outlook 2003 and there was no way to insert these characters as there is in Word 2003 (using the drop-down “insert symbol” table). Finally, I remembered that years ago I had printed out a little cheat sheet for using the Alt key and coding to do the job. The solution was to key in Alt 132 for ä, Alt 142 for Ä, Alt 148 for ö, and Alt 153 for Ö.

But the situation piqued my interest. What did I need to know about typing special characters when they occurred in Swedish names and words? In German names and words? I went to Google and searched for “type accent marks Finnish.”

The first search result gave me a website called Vistawide World Languages & Cultures at http://www.vistawide.com/languages/typing_foreign_language_characters.htm.

The introduction to this website stated:

How to type foreign language characters

Instructions for typing special characters, otherwise known as diacritical marks, in foreign languages follow below. These include the accent, circumflex, grave, tilde, and umlaut, as well as ligatures, rings, slashes, and special punctuation marks.

Languages included here have Latin-based alphabets and do not require the installation of additional utilities and fonts [my boldfacing].

The website presented a complete table for typing special characters—by language—not only for Windows (PC), but also for the Mac, and for HTML (which would be useful for adding Finnish and other surnames that include diacritical marks to my website at www.huskonen.com ).

Needless to say, I immediately made this one of my Favorites. I will refer to it whenever I am working with surnames spelled with diacritical marks. 

03 May 2011

Bin Laden's DNA

For the second day in a row, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's main newspaper, devoted its first page to coverage of the tracking down and killing of Osama Bin Laden. As I scanned the front page of today's (Tuesday, May 3, 2011) edition, I was attracted to one headline among the list of articles inside: "A DNA Match. Details on page A9." I immediately turned to this article inside the 10 pages of "special coverage" to see what I could learn about DNA testing. There were several facts new to me.

In the balance of this post, I am including most of that article by two Associated Press reporters because of its focus on the use of DNA in confirming the identity of bin Laden. The text below from www.Cleveland.com, the PD's website, differs slightly from the version in the paper. Comments by me are included in square brackets.

DNA testing confirms Osama bin Laden death, sources say

WASHINGTON — The U.S. used multiple means to confirm the identity of Osama bin Laden during and after the firefight in which he was killed, before placing his body in the North Arabian Sea from aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier, senior U.S. officials said Monday.
The al-Qaida leader was identified by name by a woman believed to be one of his wives — bin Laden had several — who was present at his Pakistan compound at the time of the U.S. raid. He also was visually identified by members of the U.S. raid squad, a senior intelligence official told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. Under ground rules set by the Pentagon, the intelligence official and two senior defense officials could not be identified by name.
The intelligence official said the DNA match, using DNA from several family members, provided virtual certainty that it was bin Laden's body. The U.S. is believed to have collected DNA samples from bin Laden family members in the years since the 9/11 attacks that triggered the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. It was unclear whether the U.S. also had fingerprints or some other means to identify the body on site.
U.S. officials also said bin Laden was identified through "facial recognition," a reference to technology for mapping unique facial characteristics, but it was not clear exactly how the Navy SEAL troops performed the comparison.
Positive identification of the remains is considered a critically important part of the U.S. operation, given the symbolic importance of bin Laden's leadership of the Islamic extremist movement that was based in Afghanistan until the U.S. invaded in October 2001.
Officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done but the test explains why President Barack Obama was confident to announce the death to the world Sunday night. Obama provided no details on the identification process.
Dr. Bruce Budowle, a former senior scientist at the FBI, said DNA confirmation can be achieved quickly under the right circumstances.
Budowle, currently director of the Institute of Investigative Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, said using a sample of blood or a cheek swab, "you extract the DNA that day, get the PCR done in the same day, put it on the machine that night... and interpret it the following day." PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, technology allows scientists to rapidly copy a single stretch of DNA using cycles of heating and cooling. Then it's a matter of adding fluorescent dyes to compare specific spots on that chunk of DNA with the relative's sample.
If markers on standard, well-known regions match, they have a positive identification.
[As noted, the foregoing was taken from Cleveland.com. The following was included in the PD's article, and I add it here because it's interest to genealogists.]
DNA matching usually involves obtaining material from a blood sample or cheek swab. The vast majority of a person's DNA sequence will be the same as every other person's. So a test, which can be done in a few hours if needed, focuses on a small number of locations on the genome, usually 13 to 16 spots.
These spots are on what is sometimes referred to as junk DNA areas of genetic material that do not contain instructions for building brain, bone, or muscle. A DNA analysis looks for patterns of two or more nucleotides, the chemicals that form DNA.
These strings of nucleotides are called short tandem repeats. The closer the relative, the more that pattern of repeats matches. In an identical twin, they should be the same.
A parent and child should share half the number of repeats. In siblings, the combinations can vary;  in half-siblings, they can vary even more.
"With a sibling, there is only a likelihood that you'll share some DNA with them," said Mitchell Holland, a forensic scientist at Penn State and former head of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. "With a half-sibling, that complicates things even further."
Bin Laden did not have any full siblings. He did have more than 50 half-siblings, some of whom have close ties to the United States and had long ago distanced themselves from him. Using a half-sibling's DNA could still yield a resonably high chance of identification, more than 90 percent. And collecting DNA from several half-siblings would increase the likelihood of making a match.
"If you have that, you can attempt to reconstruct the parents," Holland said. "You know the numbers the proof is coming from. But the math is relatively complex."

Bin Laden's DNA

For the second day in a row, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's daily newspaper, devoted its front page to the finding and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Today's edition included 10 pages of "special coverage."

As I scanned the article headlines listed, one caught my attention: "A DNA Match. Details on page A9."

Before reading any other coverage, I turned to A9 to read the report by two Associated Press reporters. I was not disappointed by the coverage, as I learned some new facts about DNA testing. You can go to this link in the Plain Dealer's website, Cleveland.com, to read about DNA testing in this situation:


Cleveland Public Library's Digital Gallery Offers Local, Historic Maps Online

At the May meeting of the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society tonight, I learned about the map digitization effort underway at the Cleveland Public Library's Map Department. Tom Edwards was the featured presenter at the meeting. He is the map librarian for CPL, where he had been employed for some 20 years.
Edwards presented an overview of the different types of historic maps and discussed briefly how they can be used in genealogical and family history research.

The important aspect of his presentation, however, was using the Internet to access some maps in the department's collection that have been digitized and put online to be searched by anyone with Internet access. I immediately went home and followed his instructions to do a Google search for "Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery." That search string took me immediately to department's home page at http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/

From the selections offered, I chose "Advanced Search" to search for an 1858 Brecksville map that he had used as an example. It popped right up on my home computer screen and I was able to zoom in on the southwest corner of the township. There was Lot 35 identified as belonging to Seth Paine, the original settler in the township. By 1858, Paine was deceased, but the property was still listed in his name. I was able to make a high resolution capture of this section of the map for possible use in the Brecksville Bicentennial History book project.
I know I will be using this resource more in the future.