27 December 2009

January, January -- what to do?

Once the holidays are over what are you going to be doing? Use the genealogy books, memberships, and subscriptions you received for Christmas? How about these other ideas for the beginning of the New Year?
  • Hmmm, a last minute trip to Salt Lake City might be fun. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy takes place just under 2 blocks from the Family History Library and there is still room in some of the courses. Learn, network with others who speak the genealogy language, and then visit the library to put the learning to work.
  • If you take Course I, American Records, you will receive many hours of one-on-one assistance in the Family History Library from a couple of the instructors. I coordinate that course and enjoy the teaching and also the consulting with students right in the library.
  • Think about scanning those old photographs. I save the old photos in case the format I save them on is not accessible in the future. Once the photos are online or transferred to a CD or DVD I share them with others as another form of at least current preservation
  • Add the titles of your genealogy and history books to LibraryThing.com.
  • Think about continuing education in genealogy. In addition to SLIG, many classes and courses take place both online and in the classroom.
  • Look at the program for the National Genealogical Society's conference that takes place in Salt Lake City April 28-May 1, 2010. Lots of info on the conference pages! The conference is hosted by the Utah Genealogical Association.
  • Later in January, check out the program for the August 18-21, 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that is co-hosted by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Kentucky Historical Society. For now, read the FGS Conference News Blog.
  • Join your local or state genealogical society and add their meetings to your calendar. The FGS website has listings of many societies.
  • Check out the source citations in your genealogy program. Would you want others to see them as they are? If not, it's time to work on them. That includes me!

Never stop looking: Old Fayette County, Kentucky records found

Amy Dunn, a professional genealogist from Owensboro, Kentucky, posted a link to a news article about this on a discussion list for members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. A number of Fayette County, Kentucky records have surfaced. It's one of those things that reminds us to never give up, never say we have looked at everything, and to keep checking back in catalogs and other finding aids. Once again, it shows that it isn't all online.

The Lexington Herald-Leader's website Kentucky.com tells about some "Land, census and marriage records from the late 1700s to the early 1900s have recently resurfaced that could provide a treasure trove of information for genealogists and others." Lexington is the county seat of Fayette County.

The article also tells that the material found includes "property titles, essentially — from 1779 through 1780, when Kentucky was still part of Virginia.Another record book recovered by Fayette County clerks, the "Land Entry Book," contains similar information from 1783 to 1784. Kentucky became a state in 1792.'

Read the article for more details. I wish I needed Fayette County for family research!

26 December 2009

Merry Christmas to all of you

Last weekend we celebrated at my daughter's in northern Minnesota. All four of the grandchildren, two of my three children and a son-in-law were together. We had a great weekend. I now have a heated cushion for my car, jewelry to wear and am supplied with wipes for hands and glassed for quite awhile. Yes, I asked for these. My daughter and son-in-law made a terrific dinner. The best gift of all was being together with all of these family members and getting lots of hugs.

Christmas Eve was to be at my oldest son's but since early on Christmas Eve morning I have had the seasonal flu. Ironically, I had to cancel my 9 a.m. appointment that day for my flu shots! The clinic finally has the vaccines.

I had thought this Christmas would be a tough one since it would be the first one without either of my parents. Instead I slept through most of it. My sister, Linda, and I commented on how much we missed Dad's Christmas morning phone call from him.

I hope you were able to have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas Eve and Day. Don't forget that there are 12 days of Christmas! The Stuart family will be having a big celebration on January 2nd.

North Carolina newspapers online

The state archives in North Carolina has has completed the posting of 23,483 digital images of newspapers online at its website. They are keyword searchable! These cover a time frame from 1751 into the 1890s.

The North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project website states: "In 2009, the North Carolina State Archives completed a project to digitize newspapers from its collection that were, up until that time, only available on microfilm. These materials include papers dating from 1751-1890s from cities like Edenton (1787-1801), Fayetteville (1798-1795), Hillsboro (1786), New Bern (1751-1804), Salisbury (1799-1898), and Wilmington (1765-1816) - a total of 23,483 digital images that are keyword searchable."

The project page includes a list of the newspapers and years that have been made available online. The searches can be made by just a keyword, or limit it by year and/or newspaper title. An advanced search capability allows for additional parameters.

17 December 2009

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Childhood Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve
Until the early 1970s Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my Dad's side of the family. Grandma Toots was last with us for Christmas 1965 and Grandpa Stuart didn't pass away until 1974. We spent the early years at Grandma and Grandpa's at 2019 Princeton in St. Paul.Then we began with one year at our house, one year at Aunt Dorothy's and the next at Aunt Jean's. They both lived in Roseville, Minnesota right by each other. There were 10 of us cousins. I think Grandma Toots gave me either a Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew book every Christmas.

Christmas Eve at our house included homemade au gratin potatoes many of the years. My cousin Mary often mentions how good those were. Once year my Aunt Dorothy made the most mouthwatering beef roast that had cooked overnight in the oven. I thought that was so neat. It was excruciating when the adults made us kids eat dinner before opening presents.

Christmas Day
Until the early 1960s Christmas Day was spent with my maternal Grandparents, Maurice Micheal and Gertrude Margaret (Cook) Hanley. Then after 1967 it was just Grandma -- and she was with us through Christmas of 1997. She passed away in 1999. There were years in the 1950s where my great grandmother Nana and her sisters-in-law would join us. Until the early 1960s my Aunt Jeanie (Hanley) Ronnan was with us on Christmas Day. By the early 1960s she and her growing family stayed home in White Bear Lake. I missed having all those little cousins around. Watching them unwrap gift was more fun than watching my own sisters who were getting older. The picture on the left is from Christmas 1958. The three girls are me and my sisters and our first maternal cousin, Ricky.

Most often we had turkey on Christmas Day. My Mom made the best gravy!

13 December 2009

18 couples from same class still married after 50 years.

Today's Washington Post carries an article, "Still Going Steady" about a high school class of 1959 that includes 18 couples who are still married to each other. That's a neat thing for future genealogists. It's a heartwarming article for the holiday season.

In October, 200 members of the Washington-Lee High School 1959 class met for a reunion in Arlington, Virginia. That was nearly a third of the graduating class. The occasion, as those who passed basic arithmetic in elementary school can calculate, was their 50th anniversary of graduating.

Oh, one more tidbit for the family historians. "Bob and Jane Lanham head the reunion committee and have served as dedicated class archivists, keeping up with an extremely thorough alumni database." I can't help but wonder if they are also genealogists!

11 December 2009

Interesting show about Google on CNBC

I watched a fascinating hour long show on CNBC tonight about Google. The show was titled "Inside the Mind of Google." Google wasn't created until 1998. In some ways it seems like Google has been around forever.

The next times the show will run are on December 24th at 4 and 8 p.m. ET and December 25th at midnight ET. I wish it would run on a better date and time so that you had a decent opportunity to view it. As the CNBC website says, "See how Google came to dominate the search industry and turn it into a profit machine... and see where it's taking its next step... and how the company plans to address arguably the biggest controversy in today's digital age: privacy."

Last year I drove past their huge campus in Mountain View, California. This show gave me a little peek into the buildings. I wish I worked at some place where I received a free cell phone, free meals, free transportation to and from work and where they would do my laundry for me. The reason for all this and more is to ensure that the employees keep working and thinking. All in all, it seemed to be a decent working atmosphere.

10 December 2009

Federation of Genealogical Societies 2010 Conference Hotels

The 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference is being held in Knoxville, Tennessee from 18-21 August, 2010. Who attends these conferences? People from all over the United States, Canada, and even from other countries. Among those who attend are genealogists just starting to research their families to those working on family history for decades. You will also find historians, librarians, genealogical society volunteers, professional genealogists, software developers, writers, archivists, and many others. We all have a common bond.

The FGS Conference News Blog is up and running and today's post is about the two conference hotels in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's important to make your hotel reservations early as the hotels often fill quite quickly. The FGS program and other information will be online at the FGS website later in January.

WWII babies fathered by German soldiers in occupied Europe

Today's Washington Post carries a sobering story about a search for identity by children whose fathers have turned out to be German soldiers. As the Post says "Historians estimate that more than 800,000 children were born to German soldiers enforcing the four-year Nazi occupation of Europe, about 200,000 in France alone."

For one of the men his search for his father was a "decades-long search, of harassing German archivists, of begging historians for clues, of following false leads." Many of the children did not know about their heritage for most of their lives. It sounds much like the frustration of adult adoptees trying to find their own birth parents.

09 December 2009

Those 7,000 books will have a home!

Back on October 30th, I reported on the the Sequoia Genealogical Society's collection of 7,000 books that was not going to be included in the new Tulare, California library building. Click here to read that posting.

Last evening, the Tulare City Council stated support for housing the collection in the new library building. It will still require a council vote next week but it looked good after two hours of comment! "The collection belongs to the city," Councilman Richard Ortega said. "It's our responsibility to see it's well kept."

Read the update in the Visalia Times-Delta by clicking here.

04 December 2009

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Cards

My mother always sent Christmas cards and I loved those that arrived at our house when I was growing up. I loved to look at the return addresses and see where people lived. Very few people included a letter telling about their year and the family. Now when I receive one of those from a relative I read every word -- looking at it from a genealogical standpoint. It's amazing how much detail can be found in them. So, don't groan when you receive one of those -- just be ready to cull info from it. Those births, deaths, marriages, divorces, graduations, and illnesses can all find a place in your genealogy software!

For most of the years I was married, I always sent cards and kept my list from year to year. In fact, I still have those lists. What a kick (and sad at the same time) to go back and remember neat people that are no longer on this earth.

I am lucky to have two Christmas single sided postcard size cards that a relative Marie Slaker sent to her son and daughter in 1915. This is a collateral line and I am not quite sure which Marie it is. The cards don't have the names of the son and daughter!

I also have a card sent to someone in the family by William H. Rohr of Watertown, Wisconsin. No year is given but he died in 1919. He is the half-brother of my Great Great Grandmother Marie
(Fisher) Slaker.

03 December 2009

NHPRC recommends 2.9 million in grants

This press release just came from the U.S. National Archives. It will be interesting to see how the projects pan out over time.

December 3, 2009

Washington, D.C*. New Archivist of the United States David Ferriero ended his first full week on the job by chairing the meeting of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), celebrating its 75th anniversary. At its meeting, the Commission recommended to the Archivist 32 grants totaling $2.9 million for projects in 20 states and the District of Columbia. These recommendations include grants for digitizing historical records, electronic records preservation, and historical documentary editions.

Grants totaling $1.6 million were recommended for 11 publishing projects from the U.S. Colonial and Early National Period, and three additional publishing projects received Commission endorsement. A grant to the Wisconsin Historical Foundation will support the 39th annual Institute for Editing of Historical Documents, which provides training for new documentary editors. Seven new volumes of documentary editions received subvention support for print editions.

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College received a grant to develop a virtual laboratory to support instruction in electronic records management, and the University of Denver will undertake a two-year project to develop and test open source records managements software called Liaison. Seven digitization projects were recommended, including the Historic African American Education Collections in Atlanta and New York's Colonial Council Records, 1664-1781. Mount Holyoke College, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Hawaii State Archives received funding to establish electronic records programs, and Michigan State University will begin Spartan Archive to manage the university's institutional memory through electronic records management archives. View the full list of recommended grants at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2010/nr10-28.html.

Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of the NHPRC, presented the grant applications and policy issues to the full Commission. The Commission welcomed its newest member, Washington State Archivist Jerry Handfield, who represents the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators. Commission members also heard a presentation by John Nemmers, a Descriptive and Technical Services Archivist at the University of Florida Libraries, on the progress of "America's Swamp," a digitizing project on the history of the Florida Everglades, funded by the Commission.

Archivist David Ferriero is the Chairman of the Commission, which includes representatives from all three branches of the Federal government as well as the leading archival and historical professional associations. The NHPRC is the grantmaking arm of the National Archives. It is the sole federal funding agency whose only focus is the documentary heritage of the United States. Established in 1934, the NHPRC awards grants for preserving, publishing, and providing access to vital historical documents.

02 December 2009

Century Farms: Montana now recognizes

The Montana Historical Society has just created the Centennial Farm and Ranch Program, joining similar programs in other states. The new program, at the direction of the Legislature, is "to identify and honor the families that have kept a farm or ranch for 100 years or more." As in other states, the designation requires that a farm or ranch must have stayed in the same family and been passed down through “spouses, children, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or adopted children in a continuous sequence of ownership.” The Billings Gazette states: “The form is detailed and includes questions about the history of the farm or ranch and the people who lived on it.” That last sentence is what family historians want to hear. Click here to read the article. 
What is a Century Farm? In general, it is a farm in which ownership has stayed in the same family for a designated length of time such as 100 or 200 years or for operation since the formation of a state or county, province, or other milestone. Such programs exist across the U.S. and Canada. Even New Zealand honors Century Farms. Another requirement might be that the farm must be a minimum size or have a minimum farm, animal, crop, or other product output. 
What might Century Farm records hold for you? In many cases the programs add new farms and families each year. The applications range from a few line statement to special multi-page forms which require documentation. In most cases, these are programs not created by genealogists, but the records and clues provided are valuable in our research as the cart below shows. Not all applications have survived once the award was granted. In Minnesota, the older forms are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society. 
What might you find in such old forms? Family photos, original and then current farm acreage, legal description of land, photos of buildings, detailed genealogy, list of owners from past to present, name of original owner(s) and spouse, relationships of each to present owner, land abstract, how purchased, tax records, date land purchased, date and birthplace of original owner, deeds (including copies of originals held by family), past and current farm crops and products, place original owner first lived, original cost of farm, and even the names of the children of the original owner. .
Who or what operates the program? It might be run by a state or county fair, state agricultural society, the Grange, a private group, a farming industry magazine, state level agriculture department, farm extension agency, or other organization. The earliest program I have found is New York in 1937 with many of the honored farms dating back to the 17th century. Oregon’s began in 1958 just prior to the state’s centennial in 1959. North Carolina’s awards began in 1970. Many of the programs in the U.S. began at the time of the 1976 Bicentennial of the country. Some farming-related magazines publish yearly updates of farms added. As of 1986 there were 783 Century Farms in Tennessee. Iowa had over 8,000 century farms in 1985; today there are more than 15,000 in Iowa. 
Locating the records. Not all programs make the applications available for research. Older applications might be found in a variety of places: state and local archives, historical societies, large public library, or a university library special collections department. With so many repository catalogs online it is relatively easy to check for a location of older applications. A program may have an online listing of the honored farms or an index might be found via USGenWeb.com. If there is no website for a state’s program, check agricultural magazines, rural newspapers, and the state's genealogical and historical periodicals. 
Some websites to check out
Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award
Marathon County, Wisconsin
Minnesota Century Farms
Missouri Century Farms
Tennessee Century Farms
Selected Century Farm Publications
Baer, M. Teresa, et al., eds. Centennial farms of Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press, 2003. [Includes genealogical indexes by Ruth Dorrel.] 
Century Farms of Wisconsin. Shawnee Mission, KS: Inter-Collegiate Press, 1984. 
Gorman, Libby, et al. North Carolina Century Farms: 100 Years of Continuous Agricultural Heritage. [Raleigh, NC]: North Carolina Department of Agriculture, 1989. 
Harriger, Jean K., ed. The Century Farms of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Brookville, PA: Jefferson County Historical Society, 1988.
Kant, Joanita. A History of South Dakota Century Farms. Sioux Falls, SD: Century Farms Book Committee. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1985. 
Ladell, John and Monica. Inheritance: Ontario’s Century Farms Past & Present. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1979.
Leonard, Deach Ford. Century Farms of Vermont. Montpelier: Vermont Hist. Soc., 1986. 
Men of the Soil: Century Farms. n.p.: Nova Scotia Rural Beatification Committee, 1970. 
Morain, Thomas J. and David Miles. Century Farms of Iowa: The History of Farming in Iowa. Dallas: Taylor Pub. Co., 1986.
Wanless, Dorothy L. Century Farms of Minnesota: One Hundred Years of Changing Life Styles on the Farm. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1985. 
Washington’s Centennial Farms: Yesterday and Today. Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Agriculture, [1989]. 
Wermuth, Mary L. Michigan’s Centennial Family Farm Heritage, 1986: A Michigan Sesquicentennial History. Hillsdale, MI: Ferguson Communications, 1986.
West, Carroll Van. Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective. [Nashville, TN]: Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 1986.

01 December 2009

Advent Calendar for Geneabloggers: The Christmas Tree

Christmastime has always been important in our family. As my children were growing we started some traditions. I had traditions as I grew up. Over the next few weeks I will share some of these as part of the days leading up to Christmas. I know that both the immediate and extended family will remember some of these things. I wonder what they will be saying about my Christmas trees over the years?

For Geneabloggers, the December 1st topic is the Christmas Tree. This is a perfect topic for my family.

Growing up we always had to have perfect trees. Mainly this was my Mother, but my Father was no slouch in that department. We looked and looked for the tree. Many years it was at a tree lot at Snelling and St. Clair avenues in St. Paul -- at the edge of the Macalester College campus. If the tree wasn't perfect in all ways, we had to get extra boughs to fill in the blank spots. My family members will laugh if they recall Mom sitting on the couch directing the way the tree was put into the stand, where the extra boughs were put in a hole drilled by my Dad. Then the ornaments. We did have some beautifull glass ones. We were allowed to hang most of them, but Mom had to supervise so they were in the right place. Then the lights and tinsel. They had to be placed perfectly and each strand of tinsel had to be smoothed flat with your fingers. The picture above is from 1957. Pay attention to the Santa in the upper left hand corner -- you will hear about it later.

The result? A wonderful looking tree that could be seen through the three huge windows of the yellow rambler at the corners of Bowdoin and Magoffin streets in St. Paul as you see in the picture above. As they got older, Mom and Dad did get an artificial tree but it was never "undecorated." It was simply wrapped up and carried down to the basement intact. I should be honest -- we did have an earlier fake tree. Really fake. Aluminum. It was the tree relegated to the basement. Ugly as all get out. Why did we have that? I have no idea. The picture of the aluminum tree is from 1962.