December 31, 2013

DNA Results Have Us Totally Surprised

The graphic on the left shows the surprising results of my husband's mother's DNA. 

As far as we knew she was solid English and W.A.S.P. lines as far back as 10 generations.

So the Yakut and Sub-Saharan African DNA, as small as it is, is a big surprise. I looked up Yakut and it is a small area in what is now Siberia so I'm guessing that's pretty far back in her ancestry. 

This is exciting for any genealogist and now hubs and I are embarking on a new quest. We want to see if there are gaps we missed in tracing his mom's side of the family tree. 

And of course the very exciting find which I talked about in a previous blog post called DNA Results Leave us Gob-Smacked!
is that the man who my mother-in-law thought was her grandfather, was not. DNA matches have proven that another man was her grandfather and we've narrowed the candidates down to two in a certain family. 

So I am going to research each of those two men's lines back as far as I can to see if we an spot a black ancestor there. We realize we're oversimplifying this task but we want to take a basic easy approach to the puzzle at this point. 

Wish us luck! Have you had any surprises in your DNA results?


December 30, 2013

SSDI Restrictions Passed by Senate

Recently senators voted 64 to 36 to approve  an agreement containing Section 203. This section restricts access to the Death Master File (also called the SSDI) to certified individuals under a new program established under the Department of Commerce. The access restrictions are for 3 years from the date of death.

For more details see  the Washington Post article Senate passes bipartisan budget agreement

You can also read section 203 pages 32-37 to read the restrictions at 

http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20131209/AMNT-113-HJRes59sa-1R_xml.pdf
Barbara Mathews has written an excellent blog post on the S.S.D.I. called What is it about genealogists and the SSDI?

As well you can listen to the 2012 testimony regarding the Social Security Death Master File courtesy of Michael John Neil

December 29, 2013

Gather Family for a Group Photo


If you haven't done this already - at your next family gathering (Christmas, Thanksgiving....etc) gather everyone together for a group shot. 

Think of how much fun it will be for the young children in this photo to see this photo 50 years from now. So take your photo, print some copies and identify everyone on the back. 

It's all about preserving memories.

December 28, 2013

Flip-Pal After Christmas Sale

Flip-Pal After Christmas Sale
Didn’t get a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for Christmas? Now’s your chance—until Jan. 2!


Free Shipping on orders of $145 or more in the USA and Canada!
(Applies to standard USPS service only. Does not apply to USPS Express service.)

Save $20 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Deluxe Carry Case Bundle!
(Regular price $179.98, Sale price $159.98)  Purchase Item

Save $25 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Rechargeable Bundle!
(Regular price $209.97, Sale price $184.97) Make sure you always have freshly charged batteries! This bundle includes the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case and an Eneloop Battery Charger with four AA Rechargeable Batteries.
Purchase Item

Save $35 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Wi-Fi Travel Bundle!
(Regular price $264.96, Sale price $229.96) Wirelessly transfer scans to your smartphone or tablet—plus have freshly charged batteries! This bundle includes a Flip-Pal mobile scanner, a Deluxe Carry Case, an Eneloop Battery Charger with four AA Rechargeable Batteries and an Eye-Fi Mobi 8GB Wi-Fi SDHC Card.
Purchase Item

Save $45 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Really Big Bundle!
(Regular price $288.93, Sale price $243.93) Do you want it all? This bundle includes a Flip-Pal mobile scanner, a Deluxe Carry Case, a Sketch Kit, a Picture Keeper PK 8, an Eneloop Battery Charger with four AA Rechargeable Batteries, a Cleaning Cloth and a Window Protector Sheets 3-pack. Purchase Item

December 27, 2013

New Year's Free Access Collection on Ancestry

New Year's Free Access Collection
Great news! Ancestry.ca is offering free access to the following collections:




  •     1921 Census of Canada Free
  •     Alabama, Naturalization Records, 1909-1991 Free
  •     Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850 Free
  •     Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900 Free
  •     Canada, City and Area Directories, 1819-1906 Free
  •     Canada, Registers of Prisoners of War, 1803-1815 Free
  •     Connecticut, Hale Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934 Free
  •     Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic Post Reports, 1880-1940 Free
  •     Kentucky, Naturalization Records, 1906-1991 Free
  •     London, England, Overseer Returns, 1863-1894 Free
  •     London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1828-1930 Free
  •     Louisiana, Naturalization Records,1836-2001 Free
  •     Manchester, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812 Free
  •     Manchester, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1573-1812 (Cathedral) Free
  •     Manchester, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915 Free
  •     Manchester, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1866 (Cathedral) Free
  •     Manchester, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985 Free
  •     Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 Free
  •     Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 (Cathedral) Free
  •     Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 Free
  •     Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 Free
  •     Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 Free
  •     New Hampshire, Birth Records, 1659-1900 Free
  •     New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947 Free
  •     New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947 Free
  •     New South Wales, Australia, Teachers’ Rolls, 1869-1908 Free
  •     New Zealand, City & Area Directories, 1866-1955 Free
  •     New Zealand, Notices of Deceased Estates, 1880-1950 Free
  •     North Carolina, Naturalization Records, 1872-1996 Free
  •     Perth, Western Australia, Australia, Rate Books, 1880-1946 Free
  •     Puerto Rico, Social and Population Schedules, 1935-1936 Free
  •     Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935 Free
  •     Saskatchewan, Canada, Residents Index (SRI), 1800-2012 Free
  •     South Carolina, Naturalization Records, 1868-1991 Free
  •     Surrey, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912 Free
  •     Surrey, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 Free
  •     Surrey, England, Burials, 1813-1987 Free
  •     Surrey, England, Marriages, 1754-1937 Free
  •     U.S., African American Newspapers, 1829-1947 Free
  •     U.S., Civil War and Later Wars Index to Remarried Widow Pension Applications, 1860-1934 Free
  •     U.S., Confederate Army Casualty Lists and Reports, 1861-1865 Free
  •     U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907 - 1918 Free
  •     U.S., Index to Alien Case Files at the National Archives at Kansas City, 1944–2003 Free
  •     U.S., Union Provost Marshals' Papers, 1861-1867 Free
  •     UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 Free
  •     UK, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911 Free
  •     UK, Mechanical Engineer Records, 1847-1930 Free
  •     UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 Free
  •     UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882 Free
  •     Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 Free
  •     Wiltshire, England, Marriages, 1538-1837 Free

 

December 26, 2013

New Year's Genealogy Resolutions for 2014

New Year's Genealogy Resolutions for 2014
Yep, it's that time again! Last year I reviewed my 2012 genealogy goals and decided I needed to set less lofty standards for myself! So I ended up with one goal in 2013 - to complete unfinished projects.

I listed 4 projects I wanted to clear off my desk and my mind. Here they are along with my review of how I did:

2013 Genealogy Goals - How Did I Do?

Number one: I completed a genealogical mystery novel after two years of hard work. After 7 edits, I sent it to my beta readers and they returned their manuscripts this summer with suggestions for improvement. Based on comments I only need to rework the first two chapters and it's done! That's going to be number one on my list in 2013.



Unfortunately this did not happen. I could make all kinds of excuses - I've had a bout of ill health that has been my top priority since March 1st (and still is) but the bottom line is my final edit is not done

Number two will be the book I started a year ago on Children's Genealogy Games & Activities. It is so close to completion that I am ashamed of myself for not finishing it months ago.


I  worked on this throughout October and November but it's not ready for publication.

Number three is a Family Genealogy book I intended to give to my new sister-in-law at her wedding to my brother.  I hate to say how long it's been sitting in Shutterfly, almost ready to publish. And now her sister wants to purchase two copies of it, sight unseen. That should be motivation for me to complete it!



Success! Done and given to my sister-in-law PLUS a second one on her family genealogy

Number four is the next volume of my book on the Peer Family of North America. I have done all the research and need only to compile it into the various volumes then self-publish them.

Partial Success. The next two volumes are completed and are in the final editing stage.

So I had some success but could not accomplish all my goals. With my various health issues and workload, it was just too much. That's difficult for a high-achiever like me to admit. I'm the student who was never happy with "just" an A. It had to be A+ or it felt like I had not tried my best.

For the coming year I have decided I will have to be content with carrying on with the uncompleted 2013 genealogy goals. One step at a time. Hope that my health issues will lessen or be resolved, and plug away at one project at a time. I think basically I can sum my goal(s) up with this sentence:

DO NOT GET SIDE-TRACKED!

I plan to start in on one project and stick with it until it's completed. Easier said than done for someone like me! I tend so jump around from project to project. As one becomes tedious or begins to bore me, I work on another one for awhile. But I am convinced I have to change that for 2014.
 
Wish me luck!


Credits: "2014 New Year Fireworks" by Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

December 23, 2013

Ice Storm? We Laugh at Your Ice Storm!

Ice Storm? We Laugh at Your Ice Storm!
Many of us in N. America are experiencing extreme weather with tornadoes, thunderstorms, snow, flooding and freezing rain. 

In Ontario Canada we got hit with a bad ice storm over the weekend, and thousands are still without power. 

I thought you'd like to see how we Canadians handle bad weather! 

The 7 Most Canadian Things That Happened During the Ice Storm

Stay warm and safe everyone! I hope everyone has power back before Christmas and that those without power have gone to family or had a generator or wood stove.

Here's a photo of what we face this morning as we try to dig out.

December 22, 2013

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (Jesous Ahatonhia)

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (Jesous Ahatonhia)
A few years ago I wrote about this beautiful Huron Christmas Carol. I love it so much I'm bringing it back. It is the first Canadian Christmas Carol  written by the Jesuit Missionary Jean de Brebeuf circa 1643 for the Huron Indians in the wilderness of what is now Ontario. The Jesuits ministered to the Hurons at Ste Marie - a wilderness fortified village.

In 1649 the Iroquois, enemies of the Hurons, attacked and the Jesuit fathers set fire to the village fort rather than see it fall into Iroquois hands. Father Brebeuf and 7 others were tortured and killed by the Iroquois. The eight martyred missionaries were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and are known in Canada as the Canadian Martyrs.

The village has been reconstructed at the original site and is now a living museum as well as complete working village. Ste Marie Among the Hurons is a very popular tourist attraction in the Georgian Bay area and it is not far from my home.

Written in the Huron language, Father Brebeuf's Huron Carol is called Jesous Ahatonhia meaning Jesus is Born. It was not translated until the early 1900s at which time it was translated to French. In 1926 it was finally translated to English. It is still a very popular hymn sung by Canadian school children and in churches. The English version is called "T'was in the Moon of Wintertime" and it is a haunting melody based on a 16th century French Canadian Melody.

I love this carol, I find it very stirring and can picture the Hurons sitting with the Jesuit fathers in the middle of our cold snowy winters, listening to the missionaries sing. As well it has many meaningful connections for me - first, I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons. Secondly, Father Brebeuf, now the patron saint of Canada, baptised my half-9th great grand uncle Francois-Joseph Hertel in Trois-Rivieres in 1642 during the short time he was in Quebec recuperating from a broken shoulder. Lastly, I am descended from Francois-Joseph Hertel's half sister Ots Toch, a half Mohawk, half French woman from New York who went on to marry the Dutchman Cornelis Van Slyke. The Mohawk were part of the Iroquois Confederacy, the enemy of the Hurons at Ste. Marie. 

As children, we Canadians learn this song in school. It still brings shivers when I hear it. 

And now without further ado, here is the Huron Carol Jesous Ahatonhia on video sung in the original Huron language version followed by the French version and a slightly different English version translated by Father Kierans

Huron Wendat Language Version

Estennialon de tsonwe
Jesous ahatonhia
Onnawatewa d' oki
n' onwandaskwaentak
Ennonchien skwatrihotat
n' onwandilonrachatha
Jesous ahatonhia Jesous ahatonhia



English Version by Middleton, most often sung

Another version of this beautiful carol
The Huron Carol ('Twas In The Moon of Winter Time)

'Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy who brings you beauty peace and joy.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Thanks to FootnoteMaven for having her Blog Caroling Christmas Caroling again this year.

December 21, 2013

RootsTech 2014 Mobile App

RootsTech 2014 Mobile App
Roots Tech has a mobile app that you may want to download if you're attending the conference February 6-8, 2014.

The new mobile app  lets you create a class schedule, learn about speakers, connect with other attendees, and more.
 

You can download the RootsTech mobile app from the App Store or from Google Play . If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, see their web app.

December 20, 2013

Preserving Paper Treaures: Step 3 Ready To Create & Store

This is Step 3 of preserving your family ephemera. Yesterday I talked about sorting and organizing all those family papers into piles (See Preserving Paper Treasures: Step 2 Sorting & Organizing)

We're going to talk about paper Pile #1 and Pile #2 today. These consisted of your  most important and valuable papers and documents. To refresh memories, Pile #1 consists of your most valuable ORIGINAL documents that you are not ever going to throw out or see ruined.There is probably a strong emotional attachment to most items in this pile.

WHERE DO I STORE PAPERS FROM PILE #1?

Pile #1 is easy to deal with. You want to preserve these items intact for future generations. You are never going to throw them out or alter them in any way. You have digitized the papers but you need to do something with the actual documents. Here are my suggestions:

SMALL DECORATIVE BOX
 


Keep the treasured documents and papers in a small decorative box, one that is likely to be passed on down through the family after I'm gone. It's small enough that it is probably never going to be used for something else. You might want to add a family chart or note describing the contents of the box. See Passing on Your Family Genealogy Treasures to a Descendant

Remember my huge blanket box full of papers? That would almost certainly result in someone at some time in the future dumping the papers and using the box for storage of blankets or towels or some other household item. But the small antique box I use looks important enough to not be trashed and isn't big enough to store much more than the documents I've placed in it. 

Update January 20, 2014: Please see  Oops I goofed! A Correction re Preserving Paper Treasures for a caveat and correction

ACID FREE BINDER STORAGE You can also place the documents and papers from Pile #1 into acid free sleeves and keep in an archival binder or box. The idea is to keep them in something that will protect them from deteriorating and maximize the chance that they will still be in your family 100 years from now.  Whatever method you use, the papers from Pile #1 are intact and tucked away safely. And you have digital copies you can print to create something nice. (more on that after we talk about Pile #2)
   

 WHAT DO I DO WITH PAPERS FROM PILE #2?   Pile #2 is where you put papers that have meaning for you but are not as important or unique as Pile #1. You would like to see these documents survive and be passed on in the family but they do not have the same emotional attachment for you.  

Pile #2 is where you can be a bit more flexible. Remember this is the pile that contains items you didn't mind altering, keeping in mind that you have digital copies as a backup.   Before I get to what you should do with Pile #2, let me show you some ways to create some nice items from both piles that you can pass on to other family members.

CREATE BOOKS FROM YOUR DIGITAL COPIES
Shutterfly Book Example Page with scanned document

You've scanned and digitized all the items in both piles. This is where I take my digital copies and create books in Shutterfly. See my YouTube Video Tutorial on Using Shutterfly. You can use any self-publishing service such as Blurb or Lulu or, for those in the USA, MyCanvas.

The benefit of creating a coffee table sized book (30 pages or less) is that it looks professional and therefore important enough to keep and you can have multiple copies printed. This means you can give copies to family members and thus maximize your chances that at least one of those copies will survive in the future.

Shutterfly keeps your original book which means you can have copies printed at any time. Blurb has restrictions on how long they will store your book so be sure to read any restrictions before starting your book.

But what to do if you don't want to create a self-published book? Perhaps you don't want to undertake such a big project. Maybe you've never used Shutterfly or any self-publishing service and the task seems daunting. Perhaps it is just too expensive for your budget. That's okay because I have another solution for you.

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK
Trip Scrapbook I created for grandchildren

Consider creating an old-fashioned scrapbook. If you've been lucky enough to inherit a scrapbook that your mom or grandmother kept, you know the kind I mean. Or perhaps you kept one as a teenager - many of us gals glued in tickets from our first prom or a ribbon from a corsage given to us by a  boyfriend.

You can purchase acid-free scrapbook paper to create a lovely book that can be passed on to someone in the family. As you create your scrapbook remember that you are not going to use the original documents in Pile #1. Instead you will use copies. You've scanned them all so it will be easy to print copies on good quality paper. You can cut those copies up and glue them in your book. Using copies allows you to create more than one scrapbook.

Pile #2 is where you have more flexibility because you can use the originals. The papers in this pile can be cut up or altered and used in your scrapbooks. These documents don't have to be handled as carefully as those in Pile #1. You are still preserving these papers for future descendants in book format. Glue them into a scrapbook. Cut them up and create a collage. The sky's the limit because you have digital copies and you can always print more. If you're going to make more than one scrapbook you have copies of the  papers in Pile #2.

I know that professional archivists will be gasping in horror at the thought of cutting up or using the originals from Pile #2 in a scrapbook but we are preserving them and creating a way to view them and enjoy them.

YOUR SCRAPBOOK - FANCY OR PLAIN?


Your scrapbook can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can create fancy borders, add stickers or designs and be very creative or not, as you see fit. Remember your scrapbook does not have to be a work of art. The goal is to achieve a way of keeping these family papers together in a format that can be passed on.

Since your goal is to maximize the chances that this scrapbook will survive and be passed on, you need to put more thought and time into creating the outside cover. The nicer and more professional the cover of your scrapbook looks, the more likely it will be treasured and preserved and given to yet another generation. My husband has a saying "If it looks like junk it will be treated like junk. If it looks important it will be treated with reverence."

ARCHIVAL BINDERS
Archival Binder Box

If creating a scrapbook or a self-published book seems too daunting or time-consuming you might choose to place your original documents from both piles in an archival binder to pass on to a family member at some point.

THE GOALS

Whatever method you choose, there are 3 goals:

1. To preserve the documents
2. To pass them on to other family members
3. To be able to enjoy the documents yourself in an easy-to-use manner

THERE'S MORE!
You probably think this is the last post in this series. But guess what? We've talked about how to preserve, share and enjoy your ancestors' treasured paper records. But we haven't talked about you and your life and your documents! If you have descendants they are going to want to know about you, their ancestor. So keep watching this space for a new series on making sure you are keeping and preserving records about your life as well as the lives of your ancestors.

December 19, 2013

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 12

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 12
Continuing on with my WW1 Photo Album archive here is the 12th page in my mother's cousin Doris Simpson's album. 

Sadly I don't know who anyone is on this page! 













December 18, 2013

Preserving Paper Treasures: Step 2 Sorting & Organizing

Preserving Paper Treasures: Step 2 Sorting & Organizing
Yesterday I talked about Step 1 of preserving your paper treasures as well as digitizing them.  Or as Eric commented on the post yesterday "Digitize it, but don't trash it!" If you missed the first post, please see Preserving Paper Treasures: What's New Today is Obsolete Tomorrow

Today I'm going to show you how to handle all those tubs, filing cabinets and blanket boxes full of unsorted miscellaneous ephemera. Because you and I both know that we genealogists are savers. We save copies of documents we find. We save great-grandma's bill for flowers dated 1889. We save Grandpa's love letter to Grandma from WW1.

Let me preface this blog post with saying that I am not including photos in this tutorial. That's a different subject with it's own issues but I'll talk about preserving your most precious photos in a future blog post. 

The problem is that it is extremely unlikely that anyone in the future will want to digitize all those papers. So we must do that now. But if we want to maximize the chances that the originals will still be in the family 100 years from now we have to go beyond digitization. 

Trust me, no one will want to keep a huge blanket box full of papers. It will be used for some other purpose or sold and the contents tossed out. But I have a few suggestions for how best to ensure that your family papers survive for many more generations to come. 


DIGITIZE FIRST!  
First you must scan and digitize all of these papers. Save the scans to your computer, to a cloud service (or several cloud services), burn them to a CD ROM, put copies on a flash drive or an external hard drive and share them with family members. 

CRITERIA FOR SORTING DOCUMENTS

Preserving Paper Treasures: Step 2 Sorting & Organizing
Now you must sort those papers. If you're like me that is difficult. They are all treasures to me. But sorting is necessary and you will need to make 3 piles based on the importance or value of each document. The criteria for creating these 3 piles will differ from person to person but let me quickly define my criteria. 

For me personally I determine a document's "value" or importance based on:

a) the age of the document. The older the document is, the more valuable it is to me. My great-great-grandmother's receipt for bolts of cloth she bought in 1857 is a valuable document in my mind

b) the amount of information or story the document holds. The story it holds is not the same as the number of words, it is the detail within and how it sets my ancestor in history. For example a military discharge certificate tells a huge story about my  grandfather even though there are very few words on it.

c) how unique the document is. In other words if I have my mother's report card from 1922 that might be difficult or impossible to get from any other source. It is a one-of-a-kind document and is thus valuable.

ORGANIZING DOCUMENTS INTO PILES
 
Preserving Paper Treasures: Step 2 Sorting & Organizing
Determine your criteria for prioritizing your documents and then you're ready to sort into your 3 piles.

Pile #1 consists of your most valuable ORIGINAL documents that you are not ever going to throw out or see ruined. I stressed original because this is not where you put copies of images of census records that you found online. Instead these would be such items as that WW1 love letter from Grandpa to Grandma, your uncle's military discharge papers, your dad's death certificate, or your grandmother's baptism record. You probably have a strong emotional attachment to items in this pile and you likely feel they are of historical importance.

Pile #2 This is where you put papers that have meaning for you but are not as important or unique as Pile #1. You would like to see these documents survive and be passed on in the family but they do not have the same emotional pull for you.


This pile might include such things as a newspaper clipping from Grandma's scrapbook, or Christmas cards that were sent to an ancestor from one of their friends. Perhaps there is a Valentine's card from Grandpa to Grandma with only his signature.  In other words these are items that you find interesting or your parents or grandparents treasured but they don't carry the same weight in your mind as the items in Pile #1. This is a very personal decision as to what is most important or valuable and what is of lessor importance.

Pile #3 is the toss pile. For me personally there is a good chance there will be nothing in this pile! I should purge but I will have a difficult time doing so. But the more papers you have in your possession the more ruthless you will need to be. If you can bring yourself to create this pile, please do. To show you how difficult a toss pile is for me, I have a ticket stub for a dance that my mother had in her possessions. I don't know the story behind this ticket. I don't know when the dance took place. I don't know why my mother kept it. So it has no meaning, no story behind it. I should toss it. But I doubt I will. 

You may also wish to consider creating a 4th Pile. Pile #4 consists of original documents that you are willing to pass on to other family members right now. If you aren't prepared to do this or there is no one in your family who is ready or willing to accept some of the items, that's fine. But consider doing this as it will reduce the stress on family who may be left to decide who gets what after you are gone. 

As an example you can see in my photos above that I have a serviette (napkin) from my brother's first wedding in the 1950s. It has the names of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding so it holds important details. I don't really want that napkin but perhaps one of his children would like to take over as guardian and keeper! As well I have two birth announcements for two of my nieces.  They include photos of each baby at birth, plus details of time of birth, weight, size, parents' names etc. Those notices aren't important for me to keep any longer and I think it is time to put them in Pile #4 then pop them in envelopes and mail to my nieces. 

In my next blog post I will talk about what we're going to do with Pile #1 and Pile #2 in order to maximize our chances that those papers will still be in the family 100 years from now. 

You can follow these upcoming blog posts by choosing the topic "Preserving Paper Treasures" from the right hand side bar.

December 17, 2013

Preserving Paper Treasures: What's New Today is Obsolete Tomorrow

Preserving Paper Treasures: What's New Today is Obselete Tomorrow
Obsolete floppy discs
See that pile of floppy discs beside my laptop? That's called obsolete technology. I haven't got a computer or laptop that will read them. 

I could, with a great deal of effort, get my hands on something that would allow me to look through those discs and extract any information I might want to keep. But I won't. That's way too much work and time and effort!

And this is but one example of outdated technology. At the time didn't we all figure we could digitize our documents, create our files and save them until we wanted/needed them? But that is what happens with the rapid advance of technology. We end up with important data that can't be read in 5, 10, 15 or more years from when we created it.

As genealogists we save documents, whether original or copies. We need that marriage license of our great-grandparents. We treasure the original 1918 bill for Grandpa Bob's funeral. The push is on to digitize them, to go paperless. But let's be realistic! Will we be able to read or access those treasured digitized items in 10 years or 20 years time? 

Sure we saved a copy on our harddrive but computers crash and data is lost. We saved a copy to the Cloud, that was good wasn't it? But we have zero control over cloud services and they may disappear overnight, or there could be a catastrophic failure and saved data is lost. We have copies on CDs and flash drives and external hard drives and we've shared some of those with family. We're covered, right? Wrong. CDs and flash drives might not be readable in the future, just as those little floppy discs are unreadable to most of us.

Even if the cloud with our digitized documents is still there, if you are no longer around, is there anyone in your family who knows your password or has the technical skills to get to it? 

So what's a genealogist to do? Well, first of all you should absolutely digitize your papers  and photos and save them in every spot you can think of! The more backups the better. But don't be too quick to throw out those paper originals! 

Preserving Paper Treasures: What's New Today is Obselete Tomorrow
Blanket Box of Ephemera
But where do you keep them? How do you ensure they get saved and passed on to future generations? I keep mine in a very large antique blanket box. It's about 2 feet by 3 feet and is used as a coffee table. It's full of paper documents. 

But I know that at some point in the future someone (most likely one of my grandson's wives, or a granddaughter) will almost certainly look at that blanket box and think "Hmmmm I could store a lot of bedding in here! And what's with these papers? Holy cow, do we really need to give up good storage space for my husband's great grandmother's driver's licence or her marriage certificate?" And his grandpa's death certificate!!??"    

And the papers I have treasured and saved for future generations will be tossed. So what do we do? How do we get the maximum chances that our paper ephemera will be kept by future generations?

In the next few blog posts I'm going to show you several different plans for preserving these paper documents and treasures such as Great Grandmother Harriet's baptism certificate or Great uncle Syd's military discharge papers.

You can follow these upcoming blog posts by choosing the topic "Preserving Paper Treasures" from the right hand side bar.

December 16, 2013

New DNA Tools

New DNA Tools
My husband's new DNA results
Judy G. Russell of The Legal Genealogist blog explains some new DNA tools so well I think you should just read hers. It's called Updated DNA tools and you can read it by clicking on the title.

After reading Judy's post I logged in to my husband's account and saw that at last his African ancestry has been confirmed! We knew he had a black ancestor, Jonathan Butler, who came from Pennsylvania to Upper Canada (present day Ontario) around 1808 but we had never seen it confirmed through DNA.

Not only is it confirmed but we have a more precise location - East Africa! We also see, for the first time, a small % of East Asian/Native American. That will be interesting to try to pinpoint.

December 15, 2013

British Library Puts 1,000,000 images into Public Domain

 
British Library Puts 1,000,000 images into Public Domain
Sample of Public Domain Image from British Library
This is exciting news and here is a snippet from the British Library's announcement


We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain.

The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.
You can access these public domain images at the British Library's Flickr Acoount

Credits:
Image taken from:
Title: "The Coming of Father Christmas"
Author: MANNING, Eliza F.
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11650.f.64."
Page: 17
Place of Publishing: London
Date of Publishing: 1894
Publisher: F. Warne & Co.
Issuance: monographic
Identifier: 002368636


See more at A million first steps and The British Library Puts 1,000,000 Images into the Public Domain, Making Them Free to Reuse & Remix

December 14, 2013

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 11

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 11Continuing on with my WW1 Photo Album archive here is the 11th page in my mother's cousin Doris Simpson's album. 

There were only 3 photos on this page and the only person I can identify is the bottom photo of my grandmother's brother Sydney Simpson.


WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 11

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 11

December 13, 2013

Lost & Found Case #19: U.S. Army Dog Tag Found in England

Found Dog Tag Buddy U.S. Amry
Buddy 7111. Message Center. APO 874. US Army
 Claire sends photos of this American Dog Tag. Her grandfather found it in or near Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, England. 

With only one name (Buddy) it seems like a rather unusual soldier's dog tag to me. I'm wondering if the U.S. Army used dogs and issued tags for them. 

BUDDY
7111
MESSAGE CENTER
A.P.O. 874  U.S. ARMY  

Hopefully one of Olive Tree Genealogy's fabulous readers will know something about this I.D. tag! UPDATE: I just found reference to A.P.O. 874:

 APO 874 was located at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, England during February, 1944 to May, 1944. This Army Post Office serviced the units assembled in the Lichfield area of England for the invasion of France, which started on June 6, 1941 [http://en.allexperts.com/q/Military-History-669/WW-II-Replacement-Co.htm#b]

We have five unsolved cases of soldiers' dog tags for anyone wanting to put on their sleuthing hat! 


The open cases are:

#18 T. W. Kelly
#16 George Coleman
#15 Lester Lorfing 
#11 John Thomas Dryborough
#6 George H. Stevens

December 12, 2013

The 12 Genealogy Days of Christmas

The 12 Genealogy Days of Christmas

To my readers: I wrote this jingle this morning to reflect my version of The 12 Days of Christmas for genealogists.

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
11 genealogy subscriptions
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 well-sourced family trees
11 genealogy subscriptions
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for
my McGinnis family

 Credits: Original lyrics by Lorine McGinnis Schulze 2013
"Merry Christmas10" by gubgib on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

December 11, 2013

Christmas Photos and Memories

Christmas Photos and Memories
This is the earliest family Christmas photo I have. I'm not there so I suspect this was taken in 1945 or 1946. 

The photo looks like it was taken in my Grandmother's house in Guelph Ontario Canada and it includes my 3 siblings and my cousin. 

After this photo there's a jump of 10 or more years before another Christmas picture!  It too was taken at Grandma's house and I'm wondering if we didn't own a camera. 

Otherwise I can't explain why we have no family Christmas  photos except these. 

Christmas Photos and Memories
 
This photo is of me (with the doll)  and my sister. We don't look very happy so I've always wondered what was happening. 

I should have been ecstatic because that doll was the one I wanted more than anything that year. If you held its little arms it walked! The legs were articulated and that was quite thrilling to me. 

But we were very poor and I knew there was a good chance I would not get that doll because it was too expensive. I do recall how thrilled I was to see it! 

Do you have early Christmas photos? I wish I had some of my mom or dad as children but there are none. 

I often wonder how my grandparents celebrated Christmas but there's no one left to ask. 


December 10, 2013

December 9, 2013

Monday Musings: Copyright and Plagiarism

Monday Musings: Copyright and Plagiarism
A rather lively discussion of Copyright went on yesterday in a Facebook group. Sadly it degenerated into a couple of participants engaging in name-calling and emotional tirades. But the topic is important and I have been thinking about it more this morning.


One the one side were those who insisted that if you put something online (a family tree, an article, a photo) you must be prepared for it to be taken and used without your permission. 

A few declared that if we don't want our work taken then don't put it online. Then there were those who mistakenly thought that as long as the item(s) taken were not being sold or used to make money in some way, it was okay.

Those groups are wrong. We should not simply shrug our shoulders and ignore copyright violations. Anything original online is immediately under copyright and deserves our protection. That's where education comes in. Many times people violate copyright because they truly do not understand how the internet works and what the copyright laws are. 

In response to the suggestion that if we don't want our work taken, don't put it online -  if we independent webmasters stopped putting articles, photos, and data collections online, all the free websites and blogs would quickly disappear. 

As for the misconception that as long as the stolen work is not being used to profit the person who took it without permission, it does not matter what the intent is. Taking published work without permission violates copyright.

Definitions

There seemed to be confusion over copyright vs plagiarism vs fair use. Here are some definitions that were posted during the discussion yesterday

Definition of plagiarism: copying the work of someone else and publishing it as your own without permission and without crediting the work to the author. [Cyndi Ingle on https://www.facebook.com/groups/17834741205/ ]

Definition of fair use: purposely gray area in copyright law. Fair use includes using something for purely educational purposes or for review or for satire. But the *amount* of something that can be copied and called fair use is purposely vague. It depends on a case by case basis. [Cyndi Ingle on https://www.facebook.com/groups/17834741205/]


and the definition of copyright from the Merriam-Webster dictionary

Copyrightthe exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work) 

Examples

Basically it means if I write and publish an article on my blog or my website, and you copy it without my permission and republish it elsewhere, you violated my copyright. It does not matter whether or not you gave attribution to me as the author, it's still a copyright violation. 

If you take a paragraph or a few sentences from my original article and use them in a new article you are writing that is fair use. But if you neglect to cite me as the original author of those words, it's plagiarism

How to Play Fair and Stay Out of Trouble

It's wise to always read a website's Terms of Use or Copyright Statement/Notice to find out what the restrictions (if any) are on items on that specific site. Big companies such as Ancestry.com have very specific Terms of Use that must be followed by anyone using the site. Smaller websites, such as my Olive Tree Genealogy, usually have a Copyright Notice of some kind that explains what the restrictions are for copying items on the site.

Suggested Reading

Cyndi's List has quite a few links related to Copyright Laws and Issues at http://www.cyndislist.com/ip/