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# Friday, September 05, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 1-5
Posted by Diane

  • The International Society of Family History Writers & Editors (ISFHWE) has announced the 2014 winners of the Excellence in Writing competition. Can I just brag that several have been featured in the pages of Family Tree Magazine?

    Shelley K. Bishop and Schelly Talalay Dardashti took first place in the Columns and Articles categories, respectively (Shelley Bishop also took second in the articles category); James M. Beidler placed second in Newsletters; and Shannon Combs-Bennett earned honorable mention in Columns. Congratulations to all the winners—they're all listed at GeneaPress.

  • Ancestry.com has relaunched the Ancestry App on version 6.0 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. New features include a section for viewing all your hints for a given tree from a single place, the ability to comment on shared photos and stories right from the app, a list view for your family tree (in addition to the existing family and pedigree views), and more. Read more about the Ancestry App here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation
Friday, September 05, 2014 2:19:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 24, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 20-24
Posted by Diane

  • British subscription and pay-per-view genealogy site Origins.net now has record images and searchable indexes to the entire 1901 census for England and Wales. The site already has the 1841, 1861 and 1871 censuses. It will add the1851, 1881 and 1891 censuses in the coming months, to cover the full range of censuses from 1841 to 1901. Search the 1901 census here and the rest of the census collection here.

  • The University of Texas at Austin is digitizing and preserving more than 800,000 documents and photographs from the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane, a mental institution for African-Americans founded in Petersburg, Va., in 1870. Next up is finding resources to put the images online. It sounds like documents with individuals' names would have limited access, with more availability for papers such as annual reports. Read more on UT's alumni magazine website.
  • The Department of Defense signed a $5 million agreement with T3Media to digitize thousands of historical photos, many discovered in obscure places on base or offices that are closed or relocated. T3Media will have a limited period during which the can charge for access to the images (those inside the Department of Defense will get free access). Read more on Defense.gov.


African-American roots | Civil War | FamilySearch | Historic preservation | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 24, 2014 2:16:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, January 16, 2014
Genealogists Mourn Incinerated Records in Franklin County, NC
Posted by Diane

When genealogists talk about "burned records," we usually mean a courthouse fire that happened accidentally or during a Civil War battle.

But the term has taken on a new meaning in Franklin County, NC, where thousands of historical records, long-forgotten in the courthouse basement, were systematically incinerated last month. As word gets out, genealogists and historians across the country are expressing their shock on social media (see links to bloggers' reports below).

Here's the short version of what happened:

Last May, a new county clerk discovered the records in a state of disarray in the basement, along with assorted trash, mold and water damage. The local heritage society formed a plan to inventory and preserve the records, lined up volunteers, and secured the necessary funds and space. Members had started the work when they were ordered to stop and wait for further instruction. At some point officials from the state archives and various county departments were allowed to remove an unknown number of records.

On Friday, Dec. 6, after the end of the workday and without notice to anyone, a crew in hazmat suits cleared out the basement and burned the records in the local animal shelter's incinerator.

Explanations from local officials have mentioned hazardous mold, privacy concerns, official record retention schedules, and possibly others I've missed in reading articles and blog posts. The county manager, who authorized the incineration, has promised a written explanation.

What was lost? No one was able to do a complete inventory of the records, but examples of the basement's contents include an 1890s naturalization document, 1890s chattel mortgages, post-Civil War to Prohibition-era court dockets, and a letter from a WWI soldier serving abroad asking the court to make sure his sister and his estate were looked after.

Several bloggers are following these events and the backlash in detailed posts:
She's also posting about media coverage and public response.
  • Renate at Into the Light is a member of the Franklin County Heritage Society who witnessed the records being carried out of the courthouse basement to be incinerated. Read her story and see photos.


court records | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | Public Records
Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:48:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, March 01, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 25-March 1
Posted by Diane

  • The new Legacies of British Slave Ownership database holds the names of 46,000 slave owners in British colonies who received compensation for the loss of "property" when Britain abolished slavery in 1833 (it outlawed the trade in 1807). The database doesn't name slaves, but it could aid those who are tracing African ancestors by researching the slave-owning families. Search the database here
  • The Civil War Trust's annual Park Day takes place Saturday, April 16 at more than 100 participating battlefields in 24 states. Volunteers help clean and maintain these important Civil War sites by raking leaves, picking up trash, painting signs, clearing trails and more. To learn how you can help, visit the trust's Park Day page and click on the name of the participating Civil War site you're interested in (note that some sites are holding their volunteer events on alternate dates).
... and don't forget about the Heirloom Registry Online Scavenger Hunt taking place next week. Have a good weekend!


African-American roots | Civil War | Historic preservation | Italian roots | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 01, 2013 11:05:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Ellis Island Immigration Museum Archive Relocated
Posted by Diane

The National Park Service has moved treasures from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York Harbor to a federal storage center due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Oct. 29, the hurricane flooded Ellis Island and water filled the basement of the Immigration Museum, which houses the Great Hall where millions of immigrants started their lives in the United States.

Fortunately, the water didn't touch the museum's archive of records and immigrant artifacts, which were located elsewhere in the building. But it did knock out the island's electricity, wreaking havoc on the museum's carefully controlled climate and causing mold to grow on the artifacts and condensation to build up on walls.

You can learn more about the move and see photos and a video in this TribecaTribOnline article.

Both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (on nearby Liberty Island) remain closed. Park Service plans call for reopening, but a date is yet to be determined.  You can get updates on the Statue of Liberty Hurricane Sandy Recovery page.


Historic preservation | immigration records | Museums
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 11:06:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 15, 2012
Mocavo Announces Free Scanning Service
Posted by Beth

If you've got piles of genealogical research laying around, or old books or historical documents gathering dust, Mocavo, the world's largest genealogy search engine, has a "get-'er-done" scanning solution for you to digitize your materials.

The company has announced its Free Scanning Service, available now through the end of the year, that will scan members' historical and genealogical materials—books, documents and standard-size paper sheets—to bring them online for their owners and the rest of the Mocavo community.

ReadyMicro, Mocavo's digitization group, will handle the free document scanning. A member's document(s) will be scanned, and he or she will then receive a digital copy of each document. (Member can have their materials shipped back to them for $10/shipment plus the cost of shipping.) The members' documents will also be placed online at Mocavo.

The company's goal is to work with its community to bring all of the world's genealogical information online for free, helping to put everyone's family history within reach.

This scanning service is applicable for:
  • Paper documents
  • Unbound books and books that can have their binding removed
  • Photocopies of original content
  • Notes and paper family trees
This scanning service is not applicable for:
  • Photographs 
  • Moldy or damaged documents
  • Copyrighted materials
  • Non-historical content
  • Very fragile content
  • Small pieces of paper
  • Old newspapers or clippings
  • Documents larger than 11x17 inches
  • Photographs cannot be processed at this time.

Learn more about Mocavo’s Free Scanning Service here.


Genealogy Industry | Historic preservation | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, November 15, 2012 11:56:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 08, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, June 4-8
Posted by Diane

Read our article about the Ellis Island Hospital Complex on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.
  • Genetic genealogy company 23andMe, exhibiting at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree this weekend, announced it'll release four new genealogical features for beta testing in the coming weeks. Those are family tree building on the site; Ancestry Painting, which breaks down your ancestry based on approximately 20 world regions; the My Ancestry Page, a "dashboard" summary of your ancestry; and the Relative Finder Map View plotting where in the world your matches are.
Learn more about these upcoming features on 23andMe's Spittoon blog.


Cemeteries | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | Historic preservation | Social History
Friday, June 08, 2012 1:55:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, April 27, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, April 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • Registration is open for the Illinois State Genealogy Society’s (ISGS) Fall Conference, Oct. 19 and 20 in Rockford, Ill. Nine genealogy experts will lead more than 15 workshops on topics such as “Breaking Through Brick Walls” and “Discovering the Real Story of Your Immigrant Ancestors.” Friday will also feature youth workshops. Visit the ISGS website for more details or to register.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | Photos | Social History
Friday, April 27, 2012 2:53:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, February 10, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 6-10
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added another 30 million new, free records to its historical records website—16 million indexed names and 14 million browsable images. Highlighting the additions are new databases from Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Micronesia, Slovenia and the United States. The new records also include millions of US births, marriages and deaths, and over 9 million church records from Sweden. See the list of new collections here.
FamilySearch also has launched a free mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and Droid that lets volunteers index digitized records. You can find it by searching for FamilySearch Indexing in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace.
  • Library and Archives Canada is starting a monthly podcast series called Discover Library and Archives Canada (LAC): Your History, Your Documentary Heritage. Episodes will introduce you to LAC services and archivists. You can subscribe to episodes using RSS or iTunes, or tune in on the LAC website.
  • Genealogists have formed the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO), to develop standards for the digital representation and sharing of family history informaiton. The goal is to make data exchanging work with different genealogy websites, software, applications and other services. FHISO will sponsor the Build a BetterGEDCOM Project, a grassroots effort started last year.

Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation
Friday, February 10, 2012 3:00:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Old Houses Get Decked Out for the Holidays
Posted by Diane

If you love historic houses and you're in a holiday kind of mood, see if a historic house museum near you is decorated, vintage-style, for the holidays. You'll get a feel for Christmases before plastic tinsel and the crazy Target lady.

Run a web search or check the events section in your newspaper for events at museums near you, or tours of private homes. You also can browse the historic house museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. I did a little Web surfing, and my personal jet, if I had one, would fly me to these holiday houses:

  • Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville Tenn. A Century of Christmas: 1853-1953, shows how Christmas celebrations here evolved from fresh greens and a simply decorated tree in 1853 to 20th-century electric tree lights and characters.
  • Glessner and Clarke House Museums, Chicago. Two museums display different aspects of holiday celebrations. Clarke House exemplifies emerging holiday customs of the 1850s with simple decorations, and more elaborate decor at Glessner House reflects the growing interest in the celebration of Christmas.
  • Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee. This beer baron's mansion features a nationally recognized Christmas display representing America's Gilded Age.
  • Kimball House Museum, Battle Creek, Mich. A lovely Victorian house museum features lavish decorations.
  • Aiken-Rhett House, Charleston, SC. This home re-creates the Victorian Age in its holiday decor.
  • Mackenzie House, Toronto. This row house belonging to Toronto's first mayor is decorated in holiday greenery.

  • Christmas at Arlington, Birmingham, Ala. Flowers transform this Antebellum home, built by one of Birmingham’s founders, into replicas of Christmas past.
  • A Christmas Story House, Cleveland. So this isn't exactly pre-outdoor electric lights, but it's definitely nostalgic for those who remember Ralphie's quest for an air rifle and Randy's immobilizing snowsuit. You can tour the house where much of the 1983 movie was filmed and and get your own version of the Old Man's leg lamp.

Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Social History
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 11:37:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, November 04, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 31-Nov. 4
Posted by Diane

  • The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has a new website that's easier to use and enriched with expanded content. Additions to the eLibrary (accessible to members) include more than 500 NYG&B member biographies from the early 20th century, book two of the 1855 New York state census for Manhattan's Ward 17, 32 digitized books and more. Information also accessible t nonmembers includes research guides, News You Can Use with new resources for New York research and a Genealogical Exchange query board.
  • Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., an important Union fort in the Civil War, has been designated a National Monument. It was nicknamed "Freedom's Fortress" for Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s 1861 declaration that escaped slaves who reached Union lines would be deemed contraband of war and not returned to their masters. More than 10,000 enslaved men and women made the journey there by war's end. Learn about Fort Monroe during the Civil War here.

Civil War | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | NARA
Friday, November 04, 2011 2:59:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Civil War Witness Trees
Posted by Diane

Workers at Gettysburg National Military Park last week were cutting up a fallen oak tree on Culp's Hill, a key location in the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, when they hit 148-year-old bullets.

Battlefield trees like this one, still bearing scars and bullet wounds, are called Civil War witness trees. (Another kind of witness tree is found in public land states—a surveyor would blaze a tree near a section corner as evidence of the section boundaries.)

I hadn’t heard the term until I read about the Gettysburg discovery, and it makes perfect sense: Eyewitnesses are long gone, but these trees stood on the battlefields when our ancestors dug trenches, reloaded guns, charged the other side, were injured and died.

Many witness trees are famous and were captured in contemporary drawings or Mathew Brady’s photographs, for example:

  • Burnside Bridge Sycamore at Antietam, Md.
  • Appomattox Courthouse Pin Oak in Virginia
  • Copse of White Oaks near Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, Pa.
  • Southern Magnolias at Andersonville, Ga.

You can see photos of these and other trees at The Bivouac website

Sections of the Culp’s Hill tree with bullets will be displayed in a museum at Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Daily blog has posts about witness trees, with lots of photos and directions for finding them.

Here are some Civil War resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Civil War | Historic preservation | Social History
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 9:12:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Tuesday, July 26, 2011
In the Trenches
Posted by Diane

As the former capital of the Confederate States, Richmond, Va., is ringed by Civil War battlefields. I was determined to visit one of them on a recent road trip to see family. I settled on Cold Harbor, one of several sites that make up the Richmond National Battlefield Park.

The Battle of Cold Harbor, May 31-June 12, 1864, was part of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, during which Confederate troops defended Richmond with six miles of trenches.

I picked up a brochure and map at the small visitor center, then we drove the short park loop and walked a trail tracing over and around the remains of trenches soldiers dug 150 years ago. (My husband gets props for pushing Leo’s stroller up and down the gravel path in Virginia humidity).

The ground looked like corduroy. Markers explained how for days soldiers would crouch in misery in the trenches. They dug “zig zags” between lines of trenches so they could retrieve supplies without getting their heads blown off. They would top the trench with a header log and shoot through a narrow gap below it.

This depression is a rifle pit occupied by a Union soldier. It was the closest position to enemy lines, just 50 yards from Confederate rifle pits.

Most fighting at Cold Harbor took place June 1-3, when Union forces launched assaults. They were unsuccessful. "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made,” Grant wrote in his memoirs. “No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained." 

On June 3 alone, nearly 6,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded, most in just an hour’s time. Both sides’ casualties over the two weeks totaled 16,000. A nearby creek was named Bloody Run. According to the brochure, Cold Harbor was the beginning of modern trench warfare, showing how trenches, supported by artillery, were practically impenetrable.

I have to admit that my eyes tend to glaze over when faced with a battlefield map full of lines and arrows. But standing in the places where soldiers took cover in trenches, hid in rifle pits and charged across fields opened a small window into the past and helped me understand what happened 150 years ago. 

You can listen to a podcast tour of the Battle of Cold Harbor, with vivid battle descriptions, on the Civil War Traveler website

See our slideshow of Civil War images on FamilyTreeMagazine.com here and get resources for researching Civil War ancestors here

You also can sign up for our Family Tree University course Civil War Research: Find Your Ancestors in the War Between the States with instructor Diana Crisman Smith. The next session starts Aug. 1, and you can use code FTU0811 to get 20 percent off your tuition.


Civil War | Family Tree University | Historic preservation | Social History
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 4:30:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Friday, June 10, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, June 6-10
Posted by Diane

  • Manassas, Va., is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas (also called Bull Run) with an event July 21-24 featuring battle re-enactments, living history demonstrations and more, including an appearance by Patrick Gorman (Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood in the 2003 film Gods and Generals). Learn more and purchase tickets at ManassasCivilWar.org

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events | Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives | Museums | NARA
Friday, June 10, 2011 10:02:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 11, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: Feb. 11
Posted by jamie

The General Registrar Office of Scotland will release 1911 census records April 5. This enumeration contains the names, addresses, ages, occupations, birthplaces and marital statuses of more than 4.7 million Scots. Subscription website ScotlandsPeople will have the data available online in full color.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has scheduled its annual conference for Sep. 7–10, in Springfield, Il. This year's theme is Pathways to the Heartland, and David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, is scheduled as the keynote speaker. Click here to read more about the conference or to register.

Facebook application We're Related will integrate with a FarmVille-like application to create an online game for players to explore their family trees and build an online community. While players construct houses, start businesses, immigrate family members and assign jobs, Family Village matches inputted data with relevant real-world documents—such as census records, newspaper articles and marriage records—about the user's living and deceased relatives. Players can then examine the records, print them, or store them in their personal game library. Click here to play Family Village on Facebook.

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies has acquired GenealogyWise.com, a social networking website for genealogists. As a result, the site will gain new features, like allowing users to sit in on live meetings digitally.

Archives.com announced two January winners for it's new monthly grant program. Columbia County, Pa., Historical & Genealogical Society will use its grant to transcribe marriage license dockets 1921 to 1939—an estimated 9,000 bride and groom names. Myron McGhee will use his grant to travel to Alabama to interview residents, review deed transcriptions and scan photographs to test a hypothesis that his black ancestors roots are related to a white family in the area with the same name. Each recipient will receive $1,000 for their genealogy project.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a digital copy of a map used by Abraham Lincoln to coordinate military operations with his emancipation policies. The map illustrates the slave population density in 1860 America geographically, and is available for view here.


African-American roots | census records | Civil War | Historic preservation | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 11, 2011 3:43:52 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 04, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: Feb. 4
Posted by Grace

  • In honor of Black History Month, Ancestry.com launched five new historical collections containing details about the lives of African-Americans who fought in the Civil War, the transportation of slaves to and from the prominent slave ports of New Orleans and Savannah, GA, and first-person accounts from former slaves. Click here to access these collections.

  • The former Oregon state mental hospital, where the Jack Nicholson flick One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was filmed, is trying to match cremated the remains of 3,500 former patients and inmates with surviving relatives. The remains were discovered in 2004 in corroding copper canisters, and officials have been able to identify all but four of the canisters. The names, birthdays and dates of death for the former patients and prison inmates have been published online.

  • The Library of Congress will display, starting in early spring, one of the few existing copies of the first map printed in North America. The map depicts the boundaries of the new American nation -- read about it here.

  • Archives.com has created a synthesized report of online history trends illustrated in a fun infographic. The findings:

    • Ancestry.com by far has the most website visitors, clocking in at more than 7 million per year. Archives.com and MyHeritage.com come in a distant second and third.
    • Google has digitized nearly 15 million books since 2004.
    • FamilySearch.org indexed 160 million records in 2010.
    • Sixty-two percent of Archives.com members are over 45; by comparison, 41 percent of internet users are over 45.

    Read over the entire report on the Archives.com blog.


African-American roots | Genealogy Industry | Historic preservation
Friday, February 04, 2011 1:29:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 13, 2011
Archives Launches Grant Program for Genealogy Research and Preservation
Posted by Diane

Are you working on a family history or historical preservation project for your family or community, but don't quite have the funds to complete it? Subscription genealogy website Archives is launching a grant program that may help.

Each month, a recipient will receive up to $1,000 to help fund a family history research or historical preservation project. The first grant will be awarded at the end this month.

The company is seeking any project that “contributes to the promotion and advancement of family history research and preservation.” That might be document preservation, historical artifact restoration, record transcription or promotion of historical events.

Both individuals (whether amateur or professional) and organizations (such as libraries, historical societies and archives) are eligible to apply.

You can learn more about the grant program on the application page and send questions to grant@archives.com.

See Archives’ full announcement here.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation
Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:22:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 30, 2010
Inspiriation behind WWII Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It!" poster dies
Posted by jamie

Geraldine Doyle, the inspiration for the iconic Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It!" poster of World War II, passed away Sunday at age 86 of complications from severe arthritis.

Doyle was working at a Michigan metal factory in 1941 when a United Press International photographer snapped this photo of the slender 17-year-old laboring in a polka-dot bandanna:


Geraldine Doyle » Amazon.com

Artist J. Howard Miller was commissioned by the Westinghouse Corporation in 1942 to create morale-boosting posters for its factories. Miller was so smitten with the photo of Doyle, he drew upon it when producing the "We Can Do It!" poster:


"We Can Do It!" Poster » Wallstreetjournal.com

In 1942, Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb composed the popular song "Rosie the Riveter," about the new women's workforce. Shortly thereafter, a Norman Rockwell illustration of a red-headed riveter with the name Rosie painted on her lunch pail graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post:


Rosie the Riveter illustration » Huffingtonpost.com

From then on, Westinghouse Corporation factory employees began associating the woman in the "We Can Do It Posters!" with the hard-working Rosie depicted in Rockwell's illustration.

Because the "We Can Do It!" poster was an internal Westinghouse Corporation project, the poster did not become a pop culture icon until her image was revived by advocates of women's equality in the workplace during the 1980s.

For decades Doyle was unaware she was the inspiration behind the "We Can Do It!" poster — she quit working at the factory one week after the photo was taken, because she feared she may permanently damage her hands on the equipment. It wasn't until 1982, when she came across the original photograph in a 1940s issue of Modern Maturity magazine, that Doyle realized she was the woman behind the classic image.

Doyle then began making appearances as Rosie the Riveter, signing autographs until her arthritis made it too painful for her to write.

"You're not supposed to have too much pride, but I can't help have some in that poster," Mrs. Doyle told the Lansing State Journal in 2002. "It's just sad I didn't know it was me sooner."

Historic preservation
Thursday, December 30, 2010 5:09:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Civil War News Corral
Posted by jamie

  • A retired CIA code breaker deciphered a 147-year-old message between Confederate officers. The dispatch indicates Maj. Gen. John G. Walker would not be sending additional troops to reinforce the Confederate hold on the Mississippi River. The same day, the Mississippi River fell to the Union.

  • Historians found a myriad of errors in Virginia history textbooks, and many of the errors relate to the history of the Civil War. The books include incorrect dates for the Battle of Bull Run and the end of slavery, as well as erroneous figures for the amount of men who led Pickett's Charge.

  • The United States Postal Service is celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by releasing commemorative forever stamps depicting the major battles in the war. Souvenir sheets of two stamps will be issued annually, and the first set will be available April 12.

  • Members of the Cincinnati Sons of Union Veterans are working with a civil war preservation group in Georgia to restore a monument in Chickamauga National Battlefield Park. The monument marks where Gen. William Haines Lytle, a member of one of Cincinnati's founding families, was killed while leading union forces in a counterattack.

  • Many states are facing cutbacks and budget turmoil, leaving little funding for Civil War sesquicentennial celebrations. New York, North Carolina and other states have yet to allocate any money for the festivities, but Virginia and Pennsylvania are leading the charge with budgets of $2 million and $5 million.

  • Family Tree is celebrating the Civil War sesquicentennial with our latest book Life in Civil War America and with a special issue of Family Tree Magazine. Look for it on newsstands March 8.

Civil War | Historic preservation
Thursday, December 30, 2010 11:16:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, October 29, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Oct. 25-29
Posted by Diane

  • British genealogy subscription site FindMyPast.co.uk has released a collection of records from the Second Anglo-Boer War including details on 260,000 British service members and 59,000 war casualties. The database compiles information from more than 330 sources, and resolves errors and conflicting information in some of those sources. The war was fought from 1899 to 1902 between the British Empire and the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State.
  • The Troy (NY) Irish Genealogical Society has posted the records of Italian midwife Alesandra Matera, who practiced in the Troy area during the early 1900s. The transcribed records span 1909 to 1923 and document mostly Italian births, with some Syrians in later years. You can download the transcriptions as PDFs ordered by the father’s, mother’s or child’s last name (the transcriptions themselves are in chronological order, but you can use the Bookmarks bar in your PDF viewer to see the names in alphabetical order). Originals are in the archives of the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

FamilySearch | Historic preservation | NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, October 29, 2010 9:48:40 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Fun Facts From the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine
Posted by Diane


Here are a few of the things you’ll learn from the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine, just out on newsstands (it’s available from ShopFamilyTree.com both in print and as a digital download):


  • In the early 1900s, lamination—now an archival no-no—was a celebrated new tool at repositories nationwide. Thousands of historical documents were laminated, including the Emancipation Proclamation. Find out how archives are working with these documents in the December 2010 Genealogy Insider column. 
  • About 125,000 US troops, both Army regulars and new volunteers, served in the Philippine Insurrection from 1899 to 1902. The 1900 US census has information on military personnel stationed in the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

    Read more in our December 2010 guide to records from America’s lesser-known military conflicts. 
  • The Washington State Digital Archives holds more than 90 million records, with 28 million searchable online. Find more state genealogy resources in our guide to 75 of the best state sites for genealogy research (also online). 
  • The Irish National Museum has a firkin of butter buried in a peat bog (once a common storage practice) in the late-17th or eary-18th century. The grayish substance no longer resembles butter. Brush up on butter in the December 2010 History Matters column. 
  • To help kids learn about your family’s genealogy, you can get Hearth Song’s stick-on family tree wall mural to personalize with relatives’ names and photos. Get more kid-friendly genealogy ideas in the December 2010 article Legacy Lessons.
  • Some 250,000 Scots-Irish are thought to have arrived in the United States between 1717 and the American Revolution, with later waves in the 1740s, around 1754, and between 1771 and 1775. Many headed for central Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and the Carolinas, eventually migrating into and across the Appalachians.
Learn how to trace these ancestors (also called Ulster Scots) in our December 2010 guide to Scots-Irish Roots.
  • Most PCs come with Window Movie Maker, which makes it easy to turn digital photos and videos into family movies. See a tutorial in the December 2010 Toolkit.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy for kids | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation | Military records | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:15:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Preservation Groups List Endangered Sites
Posted by Diane

Two preservation organizations—the Civil War Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation—have released their annual lists of most-endangered sites this week.

Budget cuts are a culprit in both lists. “This year nearly 30 states have experienced cuts to parks’ and sites’ budgets, and a recent survey estimates as many as 400 state parks could close,” says the National Trust’s announcement.

Commercial development is a huge threat, too. One site—Virginia’s Wilderness Civil War battlefield—made both organizations' lists because of plans to build a massive shopping center at the entrance.

Read more about these endangered battlefields on the CWPT website:
  • Gettysburg, Pa.
  • Wilderness, Va.
  • Picacho Peak, Ariz.
  • Camp Allegheny, WV
  • Cedar Creek, Va.
  • Fort Stevens, Washington, DC
  • Pickett’s Mill, Ga.
  • Richmond, Ky.
  • South Mountain, Md.
  • Thoroughfare Gap, Va.
Find more about these 11 most-endangered historic sites on the National Trust website:
  • America's State Parks & State-Owned Historic Sites
  • Black Mountain, Ky.
  • Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, NJ
  • Industrial Arts Building, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Juana Briones House, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Merritt Parkway, Fairfield County, Conn.
  • Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
  • Pågat, Yigo, Guam
  • Saugatuck Dunes, Saugatuck, Mich.
  • Threefoot Building, Meridian, Miss.
  • Wilderness Battlefield, Va.


Historic preservation
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1:11:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 14, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: May 10-14
Posted by Diane

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) released its annual endangered battlefields report, History Under Siege, yesterday. Gettysburg, Pa., site of the war’s largest and bloodiest battle, tops the list of 10 most endangered Civil War battlefields. See the rest of the report on the CWPT website.

FamilySearch added millions of new free records in eight searchable collections: Delaware birth records; the 1875 Minnesota state census; Cook County, Ill., birth records; name indexes for Alabama, Colorado and Illinois; and digitized church records from Litomerice, Czech Republic. Search them at FamilySearch’s Record Search pilot or beta search site.

British subscription site Findmypast.co.uk has made available the full Great Western Railway Shareholder Index, covering 1835 to 1932, along with images of the original records.

GenSoftReviews, a free website that lets you rate and review the genealogy software programs you’ve tried, now has more than 500 programs listed (including 244 full-featured programs, 170 utilities, and more than 80 other useful programs).

I got an e-mail from a new Stockholm-based website called MentoMori that sends your messages and instructions to your loved ones after your death, and will also handle shutting down your social networking accounts. See the FAQs here. Basic and Premium service packages range from about $46 to $92 per year.


FamilySearch | Free Databases | Historic preservation | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 14, 2010 3:07:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 29, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: January 25-29
Posted by Diane


Celebrity Roots | Historic preservation | Newspapers
Friday, January 29, 2010 3:53:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 08, 2010
Genealogy News Corral, Jan 4 to 8
Posted by Diane

Welcome to our first news roundup of 2010!

  • The 2010 National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference April 28 to May 1 in Salt Lake City, will highlight genealogy technology with a GENTECH Hall sponsored by FamilySearch. (GENTECH is a technology-focused genealogical society that merged with NGS in 2005.) There, nearly 100 technology-oriented exhibitors will feature software, gadgets, social collaboration sites, 60 computers for attendees’ use, and more. A GENTECH lecture track will cover cloud computing, blogs, data storage, social networking, photo editing and other tech topics. Learn more on the conference website.
  • Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke has released the first-ever genealogy podcast app for iPhone and iTouch. The Genealogy Gems Podcast app provides users with streaming genealogy audio and video, and exclusive bonus content including Cooke’s 20 page e-book 5 Fabulous Google Research Strategies for the Family Historian. You can get the app at the iTunes app store
  • Ancestry.com and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) will sponsor a Family History Day event Saturday, Feb. 20, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. The day will include six classes, a Q&A with Ancestry.com experts, one-on-one consultations with NEHGS genealogists, and the chance to have your photos and documents scanned on professional scanners. Attendance costs $30; click here to register.

  • The 55,000-member Civil War Preservation Trust announced it helped permanently protect 2,777 acres at 20 Civil War battlefields in five states during 2009. The trust's lifetime total comes to more than 29,000 acres of protected battlefield land at 109 sites in 20 states.

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation
Friday, January 08, 2010 10:44:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 06, 2009
400-year-old Books Return to Germany
Posted by Grace

As a sign of "friendship and trust," the US returned two 16th-century books to Germany today. The tomes were taken by an 18-year-old soldier in 1945, who came across the books in a salt mine in Ransbach, Hessen. He was amazed by the stash—about 2 million books plus 200,000 costumes from the State Opera of Berlin were there, sent underground in 1944 to protect the treasures from incoming troops. (An estimated 15 million books were destroyed in Germany during WWII.) Salt mines were a favorite place to stash valuables because of the mineral's ability to absorb moisture.

Robert Thomas, of Chula Vista, CA, said he was returning the books after six decades "because it's the right thing to do." The US Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas and German Ambassador Klaus Schiaroth exchanged the books from 1573 and 1593 today in a ceremony in Washington, DC.

US Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, the US State Department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues, thanked Thomas for returning the volumes, according to the statement.

“I hope his decision to take this step will serve as an example for others in this country and elsewhere to step forward and return such items displaced during World War II,” he said.

Sources: National Archives, Bloomberg, Associated Press, AFP, Hamburger Abendblatt


Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, October 06, 2009 2:34:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 17, 2009
Colonial Williamsburg and Other Places to Time Travel
Posted by Diane

My ancestors got here after Colonial days, but all the same I enjoyed an afternoon in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this week while visiting family.

The park covers 301 acres with 88 original buildings plus other reconstructed ones. I hadn’t realized Colonial Williamsburg isn’t an enclosed park—rather, it’s a historic part of the city of Williamsburg, Va., with streets closed to cars but otherwise publicly accessible. You can walk around outside and enter shops and restaurants for free; a pass gets you into the park’s other buildings (except private homes and offices) and exhibits.

On our whirlwind trip, we visited the courthouse


... apothecary


... blacksmith shop


... and the magazine and guardhouse, carpenter’s shop and gaol (jail). Exhibit  hours vary, and special programs happen daily at different times and places, so if you’re planning a visit, check the online calendar.

You can see our ancestors’ world at living history centers around the country, such as Old World Wisconsin, Ohio Village, Old Sturbridge Village  in Massachusetts and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.

Find more museums here or run a Google search on “living history” and the city, county or state you’re interested in.

Celebrating your heritage | Historic preservation | Museums
Friday, July 17, 2009 10:39:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, July 07, 2009
World’s Oldest Bible Reconstructed Online
Posted by Diane

A Bible handwritten in the fourth century, edited as many as 800 years later, and portioned off in the 1800s has been made whole online.

The Codex Sinaiticus (“Sinai book”), the world’s oldest Christian Bible at 1,600 years old, was in a Sinai desert monastery when a scholar found it in 1844. He removed portions over the years to publish them, and most of the ancient Greek text ended up in Britain via St. Petersburg.

The institutions that hold parts of the manuscript—the United Kingdom’s British Library; the University Library in Leipzig, Germany; the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg; and St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai—joined the project to put the Codex Sinaiticus online.

Its 400 leaves of parchment (prepared animal skin) include the complete New Testament, much of the Old Testament, plus books not officially part of either.

You can browse the pages by book, chapter and verse; read an English translation for some of it; learn how the book was created, digitized and conserved, and read historical research about it.

Though Codex Sinaiticus isn’t a strictly genealogical project, the in-depth look inside a globe-spanning historical digitization project is fascinating.


Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 2:39:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Donna Reed: A Pinup and a Penpal
Posted by Grace

A Memorial Day tale to warm even the coldest hearts: The actress Donna Reed corresponded personally with World War II GIs, keeping hundreds of the letters, which her children just made public.

Soldiers wrote lots of letters to pinup girls during WWII, but few of these ladies had the down-home appeal of Reed, who went on to star in "It's a Wonderful Life," and surely none were as prolific. From the article:

At 84, Edward Skvarna is retired and living in Covina, Calif. But in 1943, he was fresh out of high school in a mill town near Pittsburgh, newly enlisted in the Army Air Forces and training in Kansas to be a right gunner on a B-29 when he met Ms. Reed at a U.S.O. canteen and asked her to dance.

“I had never danced with a celebrity before, so I felt delighted, privileged even, to meet her,” Mr. Skvarna recalled in a telephone interview this month. “But I really felt she was like a girl from back home. She was from a smaller community, and we were more or less the same age, so I felt she was the kind of person I could talk to.”

Sent to Asia, Mr. Skvarna kept up a sporadic correspondence with her as he flew reconnaissance missions. On May 7, 1945, based in the Marianas, he wrote of receiving a letter of hers that made him “jump with joy” and of a visit he made to a rajah’s palace in India; he also sent photographs of himself and asked for a snapshot of her in return.

“It’s amazing to me that she kept so many of those letters,” Mr. Skvarna said. “It tells you something about the caliber of person she was.”
Click here to read the whole story and see a slideshow of images of her letters.


Historic preservation | Military records | Social History
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5:32:51 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Year's Most-Endangered Historic Sites Span History
Posted by Diane

History doesn’t always mean ages ago, if you look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

It names threatened historic sites as ancient as New Mexico’s Mount Taylor, sacred to American Indian tribes, and as modern as the Century Plaza Hotel, the distinctive curved building opened in Los Angeles in 1966.

The list, which has identified 211 sites since it started in 1988, serves as an alarm to raise awareness of threats facing historic treasures. And it’s been remarkably successful: Only six of the 211 sites have been lost. That makes us hopeful for Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine neighborhood (where my grandfather lived as a child), which made the endangered list in 2006.

For its 22nd annual list, the National Trust wants to raise the alarm for these places. See the National Trust’s blog for details about each site below (and follow @PresNation on Twitter for tweets from the 11 Most Endangered press conference).
  • Ames Shovel Shops, a 19th-century industrial village in Easton, Mass.
  • Cast-Iron Architecture (below, in a National Trust photo) in the 12-block Strand/Mechanic National Historic Landmark District of Galveston, Texas



  • Century Plaza Hotel, opened in 1966 in Los Angeles

  • Dorchester Academy, once a school for former slaves and later, voting registration center during the Civil Rights era, in Midway, Ga.

  • Human Services Center, the former South Dakota Hospital for the Insane, in Yankton, SD

  • Lāna‘i City, Hawai‘i, built by pineapple baron James Dole in the 1920s

  • The Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, Utah

  • Memorial Bridge, the first major lift bridge in the eastern US, connecting Portsmouth, NH, to Kittery, Maine

  • Miami Marine Stadium, a landmark and icon of modern design completed in 1963 in Virginia Key, Fla.

  • Mount Taylor, in the San Mateo Mountains near Grants, NM

  • Unity Temple, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, Ill.

Historic preservation
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 9:16:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, April 10, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: April 6-10
Posted by Diane

Here's a roundup of news bits from this week:
  • UK-based subscription site FamilyRelatives redesigned its Web site to make it easier to find databases. Changes include a simpler look and new menu that categorizes databases geographically. Records come from Australia, England, Ireland and a few from the United States (US records are free to registered users), with Canada, Wales, Scotland and New Zealand collections to come.
A FamilyRelatives subscription costs 30 pounds (about $44) per year. Many records are also available on a pay-per-view basis. See more details on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and some screen shots on Genea-Musings.

Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation | Videos
Friday, April 10, 2009 2:44:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 27, 2009
Genealogy News Corral, March 22-27
Posted by Diane

Here's our roundup of the week's genealogy news:
  • It moved around a bit, but NBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?" premiere looks to be set for April 20.
  • With help from actor Richard Dreyfuss, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced this year’s list of the 10 Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields—Gettysburg, Pa., Cedar Creek, Va., and Spring Hill, Tenn., all made the unfortunate cut.
Want to help? You can start by helping spruce up battlefields on CWPT’s Park Day April 4.

Genealogy Events | Historic preservation | Social Networking
Friday, March 27, 2009 3:35:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, March 05, 2009
Cologne Archive Collapse: All is Not Lost!
Posted by Grace

When the Stadtarchiv Köln—or City Archive of Cologne—collapsed Tuesday afternoon, two people died, surrounding buildings were irretrievably damaged, and more than a thousand years of records were buried in the rubble.

The archive contained 65,000 documents, the oldest coming from the year 922. The archive's holdings—more than 16 miles of files—included tens of thousands of maps, photos, posters and one-of-a-kind artifacts from the Middle Ages. The collection was valued at $500 million, according to Welt.

The city archive, which first found a place in Cologne city hall in 1406, withstood World War II with no losses. Officials say the building fell into a crater created by work on a nearby subway line. The building that collapsed was built in 1971. According to Wikipedia, it was built with an estimated service life of only 30 years. The archive reached its holding capacity in 1996; some material has been removed for storage elsewhere.

While emergency workers attempted to stabilize the building with concrete, about 100 volunteers have pitched in to save valuable documents from the rubble since Tuesday night, according to a city press release. A small portion of the archives was in an unharmed area of the building. Rain is expected over the next few days, so a temporary roof will be set up over the collapse site to attempt to save more documents.

Hamburg genealogist Andrea Bentschneider did research at the Cologne archive once and describes its holdings as "gigantic."

The collapse comes at an especially bad time, she says, because German privacy law recently changed to allow easier access to civil records. The city archive of Cologne had announced that as of this month, all death records up to 1978, marriage records before 1928 and birth records before 1898 would be available for research without restriction.

"We can only hope that these civil records as well as all other records were secured and saved on microfilm or a similar medium. Otherwise 1,000 years of Cologne's history may be lost forever," Bentschneider says.

It seems that much of the archive's content may be safe. Welt reports that former city archive head says a large part of the archive’s pre-1945 files were microfilmed; the backups are stored in the Barbarastollen archive in the Black Forest.

And FamilySearch filmed 171 rolls of film from the Cologne archive in 1984, says public affairs manager Paul Nauta. The library has been able to help other archives before by providing copies of the lost documents. FamilySearch’s holdings include these items from the Cologne archive:
  • Genealogy and coast of arms 1350-1880
  • Tax lists 1487-1703
  • Orphans house registers 1592-1788
  • Soldier pay records 1552-1613
  • Court records, inheritance and land 1220-1798
  • Court minutes 1413-1652
  • Town council minutes 1440-1653
"This is one of the clarion calls for why preservation services offered by FamilySearch and other like organizations can be so critical. Most genealogy consumers are aware of the convenient access value, but the tragedy of the Cologne archive reiterates the value for preservation," Nauta says.

Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives | Public Records | Vital Records
Thursday, March 05, 2009 9:39:31 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Test Your Civil War Knowledge
Posted by Diane

Need a quick coffee-break activity this morning or afternoon? Try your brain at the Civil War Preservation Trust’s 10-question Civil War quiz.

You’ll also learn a bit about the trust’s battlefield preservation activities this year, which include saving 49 more acres of the Brandy Station battlefield and 117 acres on Morris Island, and launching campaigns focused on Bentonville and Shiloh.


Historic preservation | Social History
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3:11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, August 27, 2008
High-Tech Scanning Reveals More of Scrolls
Posted by Diane

Bring up online documents and genealogists usually think of death certificates and census schedules.

But in as little as two years, you’ll be able to examine the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls on the Web. And thanks to cutting-edge digitization technology involving infrared cameras and super-high resolution, you’ll see more text than previously was visible to the naked eye.

This initiative may pave the way for more-revealing scanning of all those genealogical documents. Read more in CNN’s article.


Historic preservation
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 3:01:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Olympian Phelps Joins Ellis Island Fundraising Campaign
Posted by Diane

Olympic swimming phenom Michael Phelps is the newest member of the We Are Ellis Island campaign, which is raising funds to restore the South Side of Ellis Island.

On the campaign Web site, you can watch a promotional video featuring Phelps (hard to recognize with facial scruff and a few inches of hair) and others.

Phelps’ ancestors immigrated through Ellis Island. A campaign spokesperson told me she doesn't yet have full details on their names and immigration dates, since Phelps signed on and shot the video just before leaving for Beijing.

Ellis Island's well-known immigration museum opened in 1990 on its North Side. The largely abandoned South Side was home to a state-of-the-art hospital where sick immigrants were treated—and sometimes ordered to return home.

Look for the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine article on Forgotten Ellis Island, a documentary and book about the hospital, and the patients and staff who spent part of their lives there.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Industry | Historic preservation
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:28:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Library Holds Treasure Hunt
Posted by Diane

Are you the owner of a local, national or even international treasure in printed form?

The genealogy department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is holding a digitization contest to find “unique or rare books, documents, or photos in private hands so that they can be digitized to share with the world via the Library's Web site.”

To enter, you just fill out a form—no need to drop your heirloom in the mail. See the details and submit entries on the library Web site.


Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:27:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 30, 2008
Legislators Discuss Copyright Reform
Posted by Grace

Ever been hassled by a clerk who demands you have permission from the photographer before making copies of a 100-year-old portrait? Under current copyright law, you'll likely lose the fight with Wal-Mart's photo department. (Read more about copyright quandaries here.)

Legislation working its way through the House and the Senate focuses on so-called "orphan works"—creations whose copyright owners cannot be identified or located. When someone wants to use or reproduce a work that is likely copyrighted, they risk being held liable for infringement; this reform aims to free up orphan works for public use.

Although artists have concerns about the current legislation, copyright reform would be a boon for family historians, museums, libraries and educational institutions. You can read more about the legislation on the website of our sister publication The Artist's Magazine here.


Family Heirlooms | Historic preservation | Public Records
Friday, May 30, 2008 2:33:18 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Can You Identify This Object?
Posted by Diane



Gold star to anyone who said “the remains of a wooden vessel in Florida’s Hillsborough River thought to be a Confederate blockade runner.”

After two years of searching, underwater archaeologists from the Florida Aquarium have identified the object as the Kate Dale—one of three blockade runners owned by then-Tampa mayor James McKay.

Confederate blockade runners stocked with goods snuck past Union blockades to trade with foreign countries. During the Battle of Fort Brooke in October 1863, troops from Union gunboats traveled up the Hillsborough River and burned the Kate Dale at her moorings, along with fellow blockade runner Scottish Chief.

Read more about the discovery in the St. Petersburg Times.

Historic preservation | Social History
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:09:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 02, 2008
San Francisco's Historic Mission Dolores Cemetery
Posted by Diane

Last week after talking about kids’ genealogy in Sacramento, Calif., I met up with my sister in San Francisco for a couple of days (she lives 20 minutes from me here in Cincinnati, but was also out West on business).

One of my favorite sights was Mission Dolores, the popular name for the Misión San Francisco de Asís since it was founded June 29, 1776. The present mission chapel, built in 1791, is a block and a half away from the first location.



Still home to an active parish, it’s the oldest intact building in San Francisco—the thick adobe walls survived the 1906 earthquake. Next door is the Mission Dolores Basilica, first built around 1876 and rebuilt after suffering severe quake damage.

The walled Mission Cemetery, final resting place for Ohlone, Miwok and other indigenous peoples as well as notable pioneers, is the only cemetery left within city limits.






The cemetery is smaller today than it once was, but has been restored with native plantings.



You can find known Mission Dolores burials listed at FindaGrave. Read a bit more about the cemetery’s past in the transcribed historical newspaper articles on SFGenealogy.com.

Cemeteries | Historic preservation | Social History
Friday, May 02, 2008 9:03:39 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, March 21, 2008
Smithsonian Develops Photo Initiative
Posted by Grace

The Smithsonian possesses more than 13 million images in 19 museums and 700 collections, organized by discipline. In the past, it's been difficult for researchers—and even curators—to know where all the images pertinent to a topic might be found.

The Smithsonian Photography Initiative aims to change all that, making the institute's massive collection accessible for the general public and inviting history fans to get involved.

One facet of the initiative, click! photography changes everything, is a repository of essays on how the medium has altered the world we live in. Right now, 100 experts' musings can be found on the site; in the fall, click! will invite the public to submit images and comments. (Click here to read about our Photo Detective Maureen Taylor's translation of her own grandmother's wedding portrait and how it changed her perception of Nana from a static portrait to a living woman.)

Enter the Frame encourages Web site visitors to "tag" Smithsonian photographs to make them more easily searchable. When you tag a photo, you apply keywords that describe the image. This could include dates, locations, seasons, topics, descriptions of people in the photo, objects in the photo, etc. For example, the photo at right (from our Photo Detective blog) might get tagged with mourning, black dress, woman, gloves, seated, veil and hat.

Click here to see a list of all the Smithsonian Photography Initiative projects, including click! photography changes everything and Enter the Frame. You can read more about the benefits of tagging in Family Tree Magazine's May 2008 Toolkit article "Tagging Along."

Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives | Museums | Social History
Friday, March 21, 2008 3:29:47 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 29, 2008
Making a Protective Book Box
Posted by Grace

If you're lucky enough to have inherited a family bible or diary from one of your ancestors, you've probably wondered just where you should keep it. You can read all about how best to keep old diaries and books in the May issue's "Preserving Memories" column.

The article includes many resources for purchasing archival materials, but for the crafting-inclined, we've created a demonstration of how to make a built-to-order protective book box. Click here to download a PDF with instructions, and you can watch a step-by-step demonstration on our YouTube channel!


Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Videos
Friday, February 29, 2008 10:51:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, February 15, 2008
Abe Lincoln's Summer Retreat Opens
Posted by Diane

Anderson Cottage was the Camp David of its day—a summer retreat three miles from central Washington where Abraham, Mary Todd and Tad Lincoln escaped the White House.

Other presidents used the cottage, too, but none as frequently as Lincoln. The 16th president lived there for months at a time during the summer, risking his life during his daily commute to the White House. In August 1864, would-be assasin's bullet left a hole in Lincoln's stovepipe hat.

The home, built in 1842, had become a rundown office building for the nearby Armed Forces Retirement Home when it was rediscovered in the late 1990s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation led a seven-year, $15 million restoration.

Now, after a seven-year, $15 million restoration, President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home opens to the public on President's Day, Feb. 18. Visitors can tour the four-bedroom, two-story, stucco-covered brick Gothic Revival cottage for $12 (purchase tickets ahead of time online).



Read about the restoration on the site’s blog and get more house history in the Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home, by Matthew Pinsker (Oxford University Press, $15.95).

Historic preservation | Social History
Friday, February 15, 2008 4:56:02 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 14, 2008
Free Photo Scanning for Social Networkers
Posted by Allison

It's a Valentine's Day gift for family history lovers: Through Feb. 29, ScanMyPhotos.com. is offering free scanning of up to 1,000 4x6-inch photos—all you'll pay is the $19.95 shipping fee (compared to the regular price of $49.95).

What's the catch? The offer is open only to members of several major social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and Flickr (a photo-sharing network). You also have to be a US resident, and the offer's limited to one freebie per person or address. In exchange, ScanMyPhotos.com. asks that you post a review of its service. See the press release for further details.

if you've been thinking about testing the social networking waters but haven't taken the plunge, here's a good incentive.


Family Heirlooms | Historic preservation
Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:02:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 30, 2008
25,000 Acres of Civil War Battlefields Protected
Posted by Diane

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), a group that preserves Civil War battlefields from encroaching development, did some math and announced its 2007 stats.

Last year, CWPT secured the permanent protection of 1,616 acres at 12 battlefields in five states: Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

One of those site is the Glendale battlefield (also called Frazier's Farm) in Henrico County, Va., where three Confederate divisions converged the retreating Union Army June 30, 1862.

An estimated 75 percent of Glendale's core fighting area is now preserved, at a price of $4.1 million. CWPT works by purchasing acreage or conservation easements (legally enforceable preservation agreements with landowners).

CWPT's 2007 totals pushed it past the 25,000 milestone: Over two decades, the group has protected 25,289 acres of battlefields at 99 sites in 18 states.

On tap so far for 2008: Passage of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, which reauthorizes government funding for matching grants to preserve Civil War battlefields.


Historic preservation
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 3:10:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]