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# Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Three New Ways to Learn About Your Ancestor's Military Service
Posted by Diane

On Memorial Day, Americans traditionally place flowers on the graves of those who died in military service (read how this holiday, originally called Decoration Day began). Canadians observe Memorial Day on July 1. 


Library of Congress

Another way to honor your ancestors who served in the armed forces is to learn about their wartime experiences and preserve those stories by writing them down. If it was years ago when you last learned about the wars your ancestors served in, it might be time to give it another go—technology offers new ways to explore historic wars through maps, apps and videos.


Library of Congress

Maps
If you can learn the military unit and battles your relative served in (this military research guide can help), military maps let you trace his movements and even where he would've been during battles. The Library of Congress has a Military Battles and Campaigns map collection, which you can search by keyword using the search field at the top of the page. The one above is from a series showing the 12th Army Group from D-Day through July 26, 1945, in World War II.

The David Rumsey Map Collection has digitized military maps and military atlases you can search or browse using the filters on the left side of the page.

For the Civil War and American Revolution, explore the animated and historical maps at the Civil War Trust website. They include overviews of the entire war and for individual battles.

Apps
Your smart device can help you access military history information wherever you are. Try searching your device's app store for "military history," "[name of war] history" or "[name of battle] history." A few I found include:
  • Civil War Today ($2.99, iOS): This History Channel app shows you a daily newspaper article about the war.

  • Civil War Trust Battle Apps (free, iOS and Android): These let you virtually tour Civil War battlefields for major battles like Chancellorsville and Antietam, and they're good companions if you're visiting the battlefield. 

  • Military History (.99, iOS): This reference has 1,200 entries for  important military events; search by date and keyword. It also has a "this day in history" feature.

  • 20th Century Military Uniforms (about $4, iOS and Android): View uniforms used by various countries throughout the 20th century.
Videos
The Civil War Trust comes through again with educational videos from history experts, including a Civil War In4 series that delves into a topic in four minutes or less.

The National Archives' YouTube channel has playlists including WWI Films, Tuskeegee Airmen and D-Day. The Library of Congress has a YouTube playlist on the Spanish-American War. YouTube also has videos from Ken Burns' documentaries about the Civil War and World War II.

And here's the only known Allied color footage from World War II.

More Genealogy Resources for Military Ancestors
Find websites for researching your ancestors who served in the US Armed Forces in this list of websites and get research tips in our free podcast on military records

In ShopFamilyTree.com, check out our downloadable, complete guides to research in military service records and military pension records.


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Maps | Military records
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:44:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 03 May 2017
Overlooked Genealogy Resource Alert! 9 Tips to Research at Heritage Museums
Posted by Diane

You’ve searched Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, gone to the library and maybe even taken a DNA test to discover your family's immigrant origins. But for a genealogist, just knowing the country or region is rarely enough.

To find records in your family's homeland, you need their town or village. And you probably want to understand how your ancestors lived, what they did for work, what they wore and ate.

Heritage museums give you a look at that culture’s history and people. Many have research centers (an overlooked genealogy resource!) with records such as foreign-language newspapers, maps, photos, histories and more. Staff often can help with research and translation.

Whether your ancestors hail from Germany, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Japan, Africa, Mexico or elsewhere, there’s probably a museum for that—including Family Tree Magazine's roundup of 11 Must-Visit Heritage Museums.


National Hispanic Cultural Center library, Albuquerque

These tips will help you do your best genealogy research at a heritage museum:
  • Scan the museum website to understand its library holdings and geographic focus. The National Hispanic Cultural Center library in Albuquerque, NM, for example, is a great research destination for those with deep Southwest roots. It has more than 12,500 titles, and an archive with rare books, photos, maps and manuscripts.

  • Search the online catalog (if there is one) for materials you'll want to use.  
  • Call ahead to verify hours and any fees (including acceptable forms of payment), ask about special services such as translation or research consultations. Make an appointment with research center staff if needed.
  • Check the museum's events calendar in case you want to time your visit for a family history workshop or cultural festival (such as Historic Huguenot Street's annual Gathering).
  • Find out about research room rules. For example, you may need to request materials ahead of time so they can be pulled for you, or use only pencils for note-taking.
  • Bring a pedigree chart with as much information as you know. Summarize what you’ve learned about immigrant relatives, even if all you have is stories. “If your family talks about your great-grandfather who always went to the river to catch fish, that can be a clue to a geographic area,” says Karile Vaitikute of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago.
  • Bring good-quality, full-color copies or high-resolution digital images of any records needing translation.
  • Consider becoming a museum member or making a donation, especially if the research center charges minimal fees. Send a thank-you note to acknowledge help you received.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i Tokioka Heritage Resource Center, Honolulu

See Family Tree Magazine's list of 11 Must-Visit Heritage Museums here.

To find museums focusing on your family's heritage, search online for the country or ethnicity plus the words heritage, history or cultural and museum. Add the name of a city or town to narrow results to places in that area.


Libraries and Archives | Museums
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 12:35:44 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]