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# Thursday, July 16, 2009
Library of Michigan Faces Elimination
Posted by Diane

The news that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has abolished the state’s Department of Histories, Arts and Libraries—which includes the state library and archive—has genealogists concerned.

Granholm’s executive order, which will save the cash-strapped state an estimated $2 million in the first year, divvies up parts of the department among other state agencies. Of particular interest to genealogists:  
  • Most Library of Michigan functions, including its genealogy collection, go to the Department of Education
  • The Michigan Historical Commission, which includes the state archives, will be moved to the Department of Natural Resources
In Section B (8) of the order, Gov. Granholm directs the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (head of the education department) to cut state library costs:
Unless the Superintendent determines it to be impracticable, these measures shall include, but shall not  be limited to … Eliminating circulation of specific collections (including, but not limited to, the Main, Dewey, and General Reference collections, the Michigan collection, the Michigan Documents collection, and the Rare Book collection) or, alternatively, transferring such collections to other suitable institutions, . . . (c) Suspending or eliminating participation as a participating lending library in MeLCat, (d) Eliminating or transferring to other suitable institutions the Federal Documents Depository and the non-Michigan genealogy collection.”
The order is effective Oct. 1 unless the state legislature rejects it within 60 days.

Genealogists provide 85 percent of the foot traffic to the Library of Michigan, says Michigan Genealogical Council (MCG) delegate Mary Strouse. The library's Abrams Foundation Historical Collection is one of the 10 largest genealogy collections in the United States (see an overview here). Its Seeking Michigan Web site, a partnership with the state archives, was named to our 101 Best Web Sites list this year.

In a July 13 press release, the governor announced a possible “transformed Michigan Library and Historical Center”—the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention, which would “help equip Michigan citizens for the knowledge-based economy through entrepreneurial and innovative programs,” in partnership with a university or other organization.

What might happen to the library's genealogy collection? Among other consequences, it could be broken up the among multiple locations, interlibrary loan access (through the MelCat system) could be shut down, and access to materials on non-Michigan ancestors could go away.

MCG reports that 10 Michigan senators have introduced bills in response, which would transfer functions of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries to the Department of State.

See the MCG Web site for information on these bills and links to finding Michigan senators and representatives.


Libraries and Archives
Thursday, July 16, 2009 5:14:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
GenealogyWise Is Down
Posted by Diane

GenealogyWise, FamilyLink's social networking site that has surged in popularity after just over a week online, is down this morning. We'll keep an eye on it and let you know what we hear.

Update: FamilyLink CEO Paul Allen tweeted that GenealogyWise is down due to a DNS (Domain Name System) problem, which is being fixed, but it'll be awhile before the site is available again.


FamilyLink | Social Networking
Thursday, July 16, 2009 8:45:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 15, 2009
FamilyHistoryLink to Shut Down Aug. 15
Posted by Diane

Two updates from online genealogy business FamilyLink:
  • Members of FamilyHistoryLink (FamilyLink’s social networking site lunched in 2007) received e-mailed announcements that GenealogyWise, the social networking site FamilyLink launched last week, will replace FamilyHistoryLink. FamilyHistoryLink will shut down as of Aug. 15; members are advised to download and save any important messages. We wondered last week if this would happen.

    More than 5,000 people have signed onto GenealogyWise; they’ve formed 2,360 groups and contributed more than 10,000 items (photos, videos, blog posts, etc.) to the site.

FamilyLink | FamilySearch
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:36:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Comment issues
Posted by Grace

If you've tried to leave a comment on this blog in the last few weeks but weren't able to get it to post, please let us know via e-mail. Include in the e-mail what operating system (such as Windows Vista or Mac OSX) and Internet browser you use (such as Internet Explorer/IE7 or Firefox 2.0).


Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:49:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, July 13, 2009
Meet Jamie the Intern!
Posted by Grace

Hello, Genealogy Insider readers! My name is Jamie Royce, the Family Tree Magazine intern. I'm currently a student at the University of Cincinnati, and I am a native to the area, with family strewn all across the Queen City. I'm also just embarking on my inaugural genealogical journey, which I'll be sharing with you this summer.

On my first day, Diane showed me how to do an Ancestry.com search. We started off with my paternal grandfather because I knew the most information about him, and the 1930 Census popped up. My grandfather's name was misspelled, of course, but something more interesting was found: My 5-year-old grandfather and his mother, who had her married name of Royce listed on the census, was living with her two sisters and their mother, no husband to be found.

Diane and I thought this was weird as there were no wars going on or anything during the time, but with no explanation my findings just slipped to the back of my mind.

A few days later I was talking to my mother and explaining to her the living situation of my Grandpa R. and his mother. She thought it was interesting as well, and then slipped in this bit of information: "Well you know, your Grandpa R.'s mother wasn't married when she had him. Royce is her married name."

No, actually, I didn't know that, Mom. How would I?

Then I realized that my family gets its surname through marriage, as my Grandpa R. was not related to his mother's husband biologically; so I'm only biologically related to people with the last name Royce that descend from Grandpa R. This was a bit shocking to learn.

I was left with so many questions. When did Grandpa R.'s mother get married? Why was she living in her mother's house if she was already going by a married name? Where is her husband? What was his name?

Unfortunately, Hamilton County doesn't have older marriage licenses or vital records digitized, so I'll have to make a trip downtown to find Grandpa R.'s birth certificate and his mother's marriage license. But the 1930 Census did indicate that Grandpa R.'s father is from Kentucky; whether that's his birth father or his mother's husband, I'm not sure.

I also wonder if the mystery Royce adopted Grandpa R. as a son. Grandpa R. did take the name Royce, but I'm not sure what is birth certificate says, if his name was ever legally changed, or if he was adopted by his mother's husband. It clearly is, at the very least, a bit of an open secret that Grandpa R.'s father was not his mother's husband. All of these questions will make my research harder.

Without a definitive original last name on my Grandpa R., I may never find his birth certificate. Does the record indicate his last name was his mother's maiden name of Kiely? Does it now have Royce? Does it have his currently unknown biological father's last name? I may have to scour all of the records around my Grandpa R.'s birth date to find what I am after.

I looked up the address listed on the census for my Grandpa R. and his family, and it turns out the house still stands and is exactly 200 years old. Next week I will tell you all about it, complete with pictures. You won't believe how close I lived to my ancestor's home this entire time without even knowing it.


census records | Family Tree Firsts
Monday, July 13, 2009 12:47:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, July 10, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: July 6-10
Posted by Diane

Some of the genealogy news bits we rounded up this week:
  • The Genealogy Guys will record their podcast before a live audience at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference. The audience will get to submit questions for possible inclusion in the podcast. The conference is Sept. 2 to 5 in Little Rock, Ark.; the podcast recording is 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3. Look for location information at the conference.

  • Geni is offering a free two-week trial of its Geni Pro premium service, which includes more stats, matches and member collaboration than the free basic service. (Geni Pro subscriptions are normally $4.95 per month.)

  • Ancestry.com’s subscription-based Canadian site, Ancestry.ca, has added French Deaths by Guillotine 1792-1796, with 13,000 names of French citizens executed during the Reign of Terror. The names come from a book written in 1796 by a French journalist.
  • ProQuest, the creator of the HeritageQuest genealogy service, ProQuest Historical Newspapers and other databases for libraries, is working on a new search platform that’ll make I easier to find information related to your genealogy search. Expected launch is 2010.
The company is also adding Boston’s Jewish Advocate (1905 to 1990), Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent (1887 to 1990) and the Detroit Free Press to Proquest Historical Newspapers.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | Newspapers | Podcasts | Social Networking
Friday, July 10, 2009 4:08:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New African-American Genealogy Database Coming This Fall
Posted by Diane

If you're researching African-American roots, look for a new database this fall from ProQuest, creator of the HeritageQuest Online genealogy service (available free to patrons of subscribing libraries).

ProQuest African-American Heritage will combine records with research guidance.

Records will include censuses, slave and freedmen records; birth, marriage and death records; church records; court and legal records; genealogies and family histories. Other than the US census and Freedman’s Savings Bank & Trust Co. records (both also are in HeritageQuest Online), ProQuest didn’t name specific records.

Social networking tools come from AfriGeneas, a popular Web site and forum on African-American genealogy; an exclusive version of the classic guide  Black Genesis by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz (Genealogical Publishing Co.); and other reference books.

For more information about ProQuest African-American Heritage, to watch a video and to sign up for a notification e-mail when the service is released, visit ProQuest's Web site.


African-American roots | Libraries and Archives
Friday, July 10, 2009 2:58:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 09, 2009
Fee-Free Weekends at Historic Parks
Posted by Diane

Want to immerse yourself in history but still save a few bucks this summer? Plan to visit a national park on one of these two entrance fee-free weekends:
  • July 18-19
  • August 15-16
You've got more than 100 parks to choose from, including Georgia’s forts Pulaski and Frederica, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana, Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico, and Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming.

Learn more about National Park Service fee-free weekends here.


Celebrating your heritage | Museums | Social History
Thursday, July 09, 2009 2:01:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 08, 2009
FamilyLink Launches "Facebook for Genealogists"
Posted by Diane

FamilyLink has launched a new social networking site especially for genealogists called GenealogyWise.

Randy Seaver, whose Genea-Musings blog clued us in to the quiet launch of GenealogyWise, has posted some screenshots and thoughts. FamilyLink likely invited a small group to join so the site will already be lively when an official announcement goes out.
 
GenealogyWise does appear to be buzzing with activity. Similar to Facebook, you create a profile, find friends, set up groups, upload photos and invite people to events. There’s also a discussion forum, blog and video areas any GenealogyWise member can contribute to, a genealogy search (this links you to the World Vital Records subscription site), a store (also goes to World Vital Records) and a chat area.

FamilyLink is also owner of World Vital Records, the We’re Related and MyFamily Facebook applications, WorldHistory.com interactive history site, and several other ventures.

Interestingly, FamilyLink has another genealogy social network, FamilyHistoryLink, launched in 2007 as FamilyLink (it was renamed when the company took FamilyLink as its corporate name). FamilyHistoryLink still wears a beta label and looks dated in comparison to GenealogyWise. I wonder if FamilyLink will phase it out?

Facebook has a well-established genealogy community, with more than 500 genealogy groups and several genealogy applications. Can GenealogyWise compete?

Would you stick with the all-encompassing Facebook, switch to GenealogyWise’s dedicated genealogy network, or use both—or neither? Let us know by clicking Comments below.


FamilyLink | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 11:01:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [10]
# 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]