Saturday, January 20, 2007

CGSSD meeting today

I attended the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today at UC San Diego in La Jolla. This group's interest is a little different than most genealogy societies - it is devoted to computer genealogists, so everybody attending is computer ept. The quarterly newsletter is excellent and award-winning, edited by Joan Lowrey. The venue for the meeting is a classroom at UC San Diego with theatre seating and LCD projectors and wireless internet access. It is ideal for genealogy society meetings (except for the uphill walk from the parking garage).

The meeting has two separate parts. The first hour is devoted to genealogy software user group meetings - today it was for MacIntosh, Legacy and RootsMagic. I went to the RootsMagic session, hosted by Pam Journey. She demonstrated some of the features of the software, including source citation, which is excellent IMHO. I confirmed with her that the software CAN insert field codes into an .rtf file that can be used to generate an index in a word processing document. That is great news - just what I've been looking for (since FamilyTreeMaker can only put an index in a .pdf file). I will probably switch to RootsMagic at some time in the near future - I want to test it out a bit first using the limited program that can be downloaded for free from their web site.

After a refreshment break, the second phase of the program today featured presentations by two software guys providing overviews of Microsoft Windows Vista and Mac OS X Leopard. Both fellows knew their topic, and showed the flash and dash of the new systems. The bottom line was that Leopard would operate on relatively new Mac systems without a problem, bringing more features and user-friendliness. Windows Vista, which comes in four flavors, will be a memory and hard drive space hog at a fairly high price if you replace Windows XP on your computer. They both will improve security and backup capability in addition to more flash and dash stuff. For more info on the capabilities, you can go to the Microsoft and Apple web sites for their PowerPoint presentations.

All in all, it was a good day of learning. Thank you to Gary Hoffman of UCSD, the CGSSD webmaster, for arranging the speakers (whose names I've forgotten unfortunately!).

I will be giving a presentation on 17 March titled "Genealogy Blogging - Soapbox or Service?" What should I say about genea-blogging?

Stonehenge - how did they do it?

Now for something a little different ---

I posted back in early September about visiting "America's Stonehenge" in Salem, New Hampshire while on vacation. While it seems to be laid out on astronomical principles, it is by no means a tremendous engineering feat like the real Stonehenge on the plains of Wiltshire in England.

There have been many attempts to figure out how the stones in Wiltshire were transported and erected. This "Discovery Channel" article describes some theories and tests.

A fellow in Michigan named Wally Wallington has studied this and has shown how large stones can be moved and erected using the brains and brawn of one person without any machinery. The YouTube video is at http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/moving_big_rocks/. The description of the video says:
Wally Wallington has demonstrated that he can lift a Stonehenge-sized pillar weighing 22,000 lbs and moved a barn over 300 ft. What makes this so special is that he does it using only himself, gravity, and his incredible ingenuity.
Watch the video - it's pretty amazing. The key seems to be small rocks!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Randy Revealed?

Well, Jasia at http://creativegene.blogspot.com/2007/01/jasia-revealed.html (in a post called "Jasia Revealed") just responded to Susan Kitchens' "tagged for a meme" challenge to reveal five things about herself. In her post, Jasia challenged me and four others to reveal five things that people online probably don't know about us. Hmmm.

This is difficult after more than 500 posts - and I really don't want to reveal certain family things for privacy reasons. But I'll give it a try:

1) I am an avid San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers fan - I live and die with them. We have Padres season tickets and had Chargers tickets for years. I have attended Padres games in all their San Diego venues - Lane Field, Westgate Park, Qualcomm Stadium and Petco Park. I worked for the Chargers in 1963 at their training camp - slopping toilets and making beds at a dude ranch.

2) I have amblyopia. My right eye turns in and is essentially useless. My vision is uni-ocular unless my left eye is blanked off, and I can't read anything with my right eye. We didn't figure it out until I was age 11 and it was too late to correct without an operation, which wasn't done. This really affected me in baseball - I never could hit well.

3) I'm left-handed. The whole world is born right-handed - it's just that some of us overcome it. I have, but it was a struggle. Thank God for ballpoint pens and LH scissors. This also affected my hitting in baseball, since my right eye was "out front" because I was left-handed.

4) One of my major hobbies was DXing. What in the world is that, you ask? It sounds, well, almost perverted, right? Nope - it means "distant reception" and is basically "listening to the radio, trying to hear the weak stations in between the stronger stations." My specialty was the AM band, and I heard many Asian, Oz/NZ, Pacific Island, Caribbean and South America stations, and a few European/African AM stations from San Diego, most in the middle of the night. I used to wake up at 1 AM and listen until 4 AM then go back to bed before going to school or work. I have 40 year old cassette tapes of some of my catches. I edited DX columns in hobby bulletins and wrote articles about AM radio wave propagation and signal strengths. I essentially gave this up for genealogy (which can be pursued in normal waking hours).

5) I love '50s and '60s pop/rock/R&B/country music. I have about 600 of them on my iPod, and know the lyrics to most of them. I'm a terrible singer, though - my key is J-sharp I'm told. Check my April 2005 archives for my favorites from this time period. While a teenager, I collected radio station surveys and made my own Top 40 music charts. A friend and I operated XELNT - "Excellent music" - a pirate AM radio station in San Diego for a few months.

That's it - it wasn't so hard after all! And there's a number of facts for each item! Now - no laughing or blackmailing, OK? I'm sensitive about these things.

OK, to Craig Manson, Lisa Alzo, Joe Beine, Janice Brown and Sharon Elliott - YOU'RE IT. Please tell us 5 things about yourselves that we probably don't know and then pass it on. Will everyone come out and play? I hope so.

UPDATE 20 January, 1:30 PM: Felicia commented that my #1 above wasn't a real revelation - since most people knew that I was a Padres and Chargers fan because of my lamentations after their playoff losses. OK, I'll give you another revelation:

6) I may have a half-sibling in central Massachusetts that nobody knows the name of, or if s/he was even born or lived into adulthood. According to family lore (and we all know how reliable that is), my father left Leominster MA in December 1940 and drove across the country to San Diego in order to escape a failed romance, and that the girl was pregnant when he left. All of his sisters claim it is true but are short on details. His brother scoffs at the claim, saying that he would have known about it, and it didn't happen. We know the girl's name - Mary Foley, a Catholic girl whose father forbade a marriage.

How's that for a bombshell? Maybe someone is Googling right now to find information about their biological father under these circumstances. They can email me at rjseaver (at) cox.net.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Identity Theft and Privacy Concerns

There was a spirited and informative discussion recently on several mailing lists concerning identity theft and data privacy. Rather than try to summarize the discussion and conclusions here, I decided to post this article from Rootsweb Review dated 17 January 2007 (online here) has the following article:

Using RootsWeb: Private Concerns (Originally published in the RootsWeb Review 13 April 2005, Vol. 8, No.15.)

Question. What can I do if I find private information about myself and my living family members published at RootsWeb?

Answer. That depends upon the nature of the "private" information and where you have found it. Most information about living individuals is not considered "private" and it is widely accessible. Names, dates, andplaces are public, not private, information. GEDCOMs (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) submitted to WorldConnect (http://wc.rootsweb.com/) are automatically "cleaned" for entries that involve individuals born prior to 1930 -- if there is no information listed in the death field. The submitter of the GEDCOM can elect an earlier date for treating individuals as "living" or can even remove the living individual from a file completely for public display purposes. The 1930 U.S. census is available to the public. Thus anyone appearing in it might appear in someone's posted family tree, even though that individual is only say 76 years young.

If you find information about yourself in a WorldConnect family tree file you can contact the submitter at the e-mail address provided on any page of the database and politely request that it be removed from public display. However, unless this information is actually private (LIVING Smith is NOT private) in nature and/or concerns someone born after 1930, it can only be removed through the courtesy of the submitter. RootsWeb does not edit or alter these user-owned and controlled trees.

Note: Some genealogy programs allow users to privatize (exclude) certain individuals or data when creating the GEDCOM and prior to submitting it to WorldConnect. However, this approach is not recommended as the data you remove is the very data WorldConnect's filters need to establish whether an individual is to be treated as living or dead. Also, removing data from the raw file you submit to WorldConnect prohibits it from preserving your complete genealogy file to be used by you as a backup should you need to restore lost data on your own computer. If you don't submit it, you can't retrieve it later.

Q. I'm concerned about identity theft and worry that if information about my family is found at RootsWeb it could lead to my identity being stolen.

A. "Identify theft" has become a buzz word, but it is a misnomer. Actually in most instances it refers to credit card theft and most of that happens offline. A recent survey reported on the Better Business Bureau website indicates that the vast majority of so-called "identity theft" cases involve"paper" theft -- not Internet theft. Even the cases that do involve the Internet are the result of computer viruses, spyware, stolen passwords, and "phishing" scams and are not due to information found on genealogy websites. Genealogy websites do not even represent a blip on the radar of this problem. http://www.bbbonline.org/idtheft/safetyQuiz.asp

Q. Banks and credit card companies use my mother's maiden name for identification purposes. Won't having that information available at Roots Web make it possible for someone to steal my identity?

A. Thieves need more than names to get into your bank account. However, you should not use easily found information for identifiers or passwords for your bank, credit card or other financial account information. If you have previously given your mother's maiden name or your birthdate as an account identifier -- call or visit the bank or other institution where you have the account and change the identifying password to one that is not publicly available. Even if you do not post genealogical information on the Internet, your birthdate and mother's maiden name may be publicly accessible in various places and they should not be used for identification purposes. Heed the advice in these articles:

http://www.creditreporting.com/id-theft.html http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/yourlife/Articles/a2004-01-28-8tips.html .

Safeguard all data which is actually *personal* and should be kept private -- such as your Social Security number, bank account and credit card numbers. Do not include this type of private information in any ofyour genealogical records -- on or off the Internet.

Q. The SSDI (Social Security Death Index) at RootsWeb includes the Social Security numbers of my deceased family members. Won't this put them at risk of having their identities stolen?

A. On the contrary, the publishing of the Social Security numbers and names of deceased individuals enables businesses and other interested parties to verify whether or not a Social Security number is active or whether the account holder is deceased. This actually serves to prevent identity theft by publicly posting a list of deceased individuals. Social Security numbers are not re-used.

Ever since we saw the first "cries of alarm" over someone stealing your identity because you put your real name on one of your e-mails, Richard Pence, a newspaperman and long-time genealogist, has been challenging the various newsgroups and mailing lists to provide him with authenticated information showing that genealogical information was the underlying cause of an identity theft. No one has seriously tried --except Pence claims that he did get an e-mail from someone that claimed "that it actually happened to a neighbor of my cousin." Further questioning revealed that that one statement was the extent of the sender's knowledge about the fate of the neighbor.

Pence reports, "So, although I have made repeated challenges it is now approaching 20 years and no one has provided a documented case("documented" meaning verifiable by police or court records) yet."

[Editor's note: Richard Allen "Dick" Pence is one of the pioneers of computer genealogy. He was among the first to see the value of personal computers for genealogical recordkeeping and began organizing his records with one of the earliest of these machines in 1978.

http://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/ http://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/twolongs.htm]

Randy's Note: Published with permission of RootsWeb Review. Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 17 January 2007, Vol. 10, No. 3.

News and Genealogy Databases at San Diego Public Library

The San Diego (city) Public Library has the following genealogy oriented databases (at http://www.sandiego.gov/public-library/catalog-databases/):
1) Ancestry Library Edition - can be accessed only at the library and branches, not from home

2) Biographical and Genealogical Master Indexes

The SDPL also has two newspaper databases that can be used to find genealogy data (for use in the library or with home access with a library card bar code number):

1) ProQuest Historical Newspapers - this has only the New York Times Archive, 1851 to 2003.

2) ProQuest Newsstand - the following newspapers are in the SDPL subscription:

Afro-American Red Star - 10/3/1992 to current
American Banker - 1/2/1987 to current
Atlanta Constitution - 1/1/1995 to 11/2/2001
Atlanta Journal - 1/1/1995 to 11/2/2001

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - 11/3/2001 to current
Boston Globe - 1/1/1980 to current
Chicago Defender - 11/22/1999 to current
Christian Science Monitor - 9/30/1988 to current

Denver Post - 8/21/1988 to current
Detroit News - 5/23/2006 to current
The Guardian - 8/18/1992 to current
Houston Chronicle - 2/13/1985 to current

Michigan Chronicle - 1/5/1994 to current
New York Amsterdam News - 1/2/1993 to current
New York Times (Late Edition) - 6/1/1980 to current
San Francisco Chronicle - 1/1/1985 to current

Los Angeles Sentinel - 10/17/1991 to current
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 1/1/1992 to current
New Orleans Times-Picayune - 4/12/1993 to current
USA Today - 4/1/1987 to current

Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition) - 1/2/1984 to current
Washington Post - 1/1/1987 to current

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Community genealogy blogs

I was scrolling through Chris Dunham's Genealogy blog directory at http://blogfinder.genealogue.com and saw the "Searching for our Ancestors Journal" blog at http://community.livejournal.com/genealogy/.

It appears to be a group blog with two leaders and over 400 "members" who can contribute. The system works with a member posting something, usually asking for help or suggestions, and different members provide the help or advice or whatever. It seems to work well - every post has a number of comments, many of them very helpful.

That is what I experienced a long time ago (like in 1993) on Prodigy (and I know others who experienced it on CompuServe and AOL as well) - a helpful community with common interests. Over time, you tend to become friends and share your genealogy interests with the helpful people on the forum (or blog in this case).

Now think about how you could use something like this in your local genealogy society. Your leaders could announce programs or highlight activities, and your members could share success stories, ask for help with a research problem, etc.

There are other possibilities - special interest groups for certain counties or states or types of resources.

While this group blog is something like a message board or email mailing list, I think it becomes more personal if you participate in it. The ability to post images is a big plus, I think. You are a member of it, you feel ownership and belonging in it. It seems much more dynamic than mailing lists or message boards. I'll bet that many of the people participating are relatively young - under 40.

Your thoughts and comments? Any experiences with group blogs?

Library Databases - Wonderful Research Tools

Have you read the article by George G. Morgan's on his "Along Those Lines" blog at http://ahaseminars.livejournal.com/10781.html about "Library Databases - The Unused Asset"? If not, please click on the link and read it.

I checked into my local library online databases to see what might be helpful to me and my colleagues in Chula Vista - the list is here. You need a CVPL library card to access the databases.

There are three newspaper databases on the Chula Vista Public Library site:

1) Newsbank - America's Newspapers - 51 US newspapers with full text search capability, many from the 1980's to the present day.

2) EBSCO - Newspaper Source - full text from 25 US and international papers, and selected full text for 260 regional US newspapers. I couldn't find a list of them to determine the time spans for them.

3) ProQuest - Newspaper Source - unfortunately, it looks like the library didn't renew their subscription recently.

In addition, the Chula Vista library provides access to Ancestry Library Edition on the library computer system, but not for home access. Ancestry LE has access to many historical newspapers in their collection.

In the coming days, I will look at the San Diego Public Library and Carlsbad Public Library online databases also, since I, and many of my CV colleagues, have a library card for those systems.

While this specific information will only help my colleagues in Chula Vista, I hope it will spur you to check into the online databases that your local library provides access to. You may be pleasantly surprised!

UPDATE 18 January: The specific newspapers in the Newsbank America's Newspapers collection in the Chula Vista Library database include:

Chicago Tribune - 1985 to current
Detroit Free Press - 1982 to current
New York Post - 11/21/1999 to current
New York Times Book Review - 1/2/2000 to current

New York Times Magazine - 1/2/2000 to current
New York Times - 1/2/2000 to current
Philadelphia Inquirer - 1981 to current
Arizone Republic - 1/1/1999 to current

Denver Post - 6/1989 to current
Las Vegas Review Journal - 9/26/1998 to current
Boston globe - 1980 to current
Washington Post - 1977 to current

Miami Herald - 5/19/1982 to current
Charlotte Observer - 1985 to current
Kansas City Star - 1991 to current
Al Dia (Dallas) - 9/29/2003 to current

Arlington (TX) Morning News - 4/1/1996 to 1/12/2003
Dallas Morning News - 1984 to current
Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 1991 to current
Quick DFW (Dallas) - 11/10/2003 to current

La Opinion (Los Angeles) - 2000 to current
Los Angeles Times - 1/5/2006 to current
Orange County Register (including 23 weeklies) - 1987 to current
San Diego Union-Tribune - 2000 to current

San Francisco Chronicle - 1985 to current
San Jose Mercury-News - 1985 to current
Seattle Times - 1985 to current

Hamburg Passenger Lists (1850 to 1934)

www.Ancestry.com has added the Hamburg Passenger Lists (1850 to 1934, excepting 1915 to 1919) to their long list of Immigration databases in the US Deluxe subscription. It is an excellent addition.

At present, however, the database contains only an index for the records between 1890 and 1913. The other years will be added in the future, so you'll have to check back if your people emigrated in other years.

Alternatively, you could search for your targets who travelled in other years by browsing the images year-by-year (the years are listed at the bottom of the search page).

The information in the index is very comprehensive. I put in my "Seaver" surname and only one was returned, but it gave me this information from the index:

Name: Frances Seaver
Departure Date: 30 Apr 1904
Estimated birth year: abt 1869
Age Year: 35
Gender: weiblich (Female)
Marital Status: verheiratet (Married)
Family: Household members
Residence: Batavia
Ethnicity/Nationality: USA (American)

Ship Name: Patricia
Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft)
Ship Type: Dampfschiff
Emigration: Reise
Accommodation: Erste Kaj├╝te
Ship Flag: Deutschland
Port of Departure: Hamburg
Port of Arrival: Boulogne; Plymouth; New York

Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 154
Page: 763
View original image

That is a lot of useful information. I'm sure that this database, when it is fully indexed, will be very useful to researchers with German ancestry. As with the www.AncestorsonBoard.com web site, the lists are not limited to foreign-born passengers - they include American-born passengers returning to America.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Carnival of Genealogy #16 is up!

The 16th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is available for your perusal at http://creativegene.blogspot.com/2007/01/carnival-of-genealogy-16th-edition.html. The topic this time is food - recipes, smells, memories, etc. It's a good one - read the entries and drool.

I did post something about food here, but I forgot to submit it to the Carnival. Oh well - it was mainly memories, certainly no recipes or smells!

The next Carnival of Genealogy topic will be Acknowledging those who've helped us get where we are with our genealogy research. Who was that special individual who inspired you to begin your genealogy research? You can register your blog post using the Carnival submission sheet at http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_346.html.

"A true inventory..."

I've spent about 8 hours so far this week transcribing the wills and inventories of three ancestors - Stephen Hazard (died 1727), Thomas Greenman (died 1728) and Moses Barber (died 1733) from the South Kingstown (RI) Probate Records on FHL Microfilm 0,931,833. (If anyone wants a copy of the transcriptions, please let me know.) These records are part of my work of finding probate records of my Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island families - I copied these records back in July and am typing them into the Notes section of my genealogy program. I like to transcribe the wills completely because they usually are very informative and prove relationships, and they eventually end up in my family history books.

It struck me as I was doing the inventories just how simple the life back around 1730 seems to me in the 21st century. These were fairly wealthy men - Stephen Hazard's personal estate totalled 2,760 pounds and Moses Barber's was over 450 pounds. But their lists of possessions, while several pages long, contained a limited amount of clothing, furniture, kitchen things, tools, food, supplies, livestock, etc.

As part of my estate trustee task, I created an inventory of the major items (appliances, furniture, artwork) in my mother's house, and assigned estimated values to them, with the help of my son-in-law back in 2002. The list took several typed pages in MSWord. We didn't list every item in the kitchen, the pantry, the garage, the closets, the desk, each room, etc., we lumped each collection of "stuff" in each room into one line item. As I did this task, I reflected on just how all of this "household stuff" was collected and by whom. It represented several generations of my mother's family and I was sad to have to get rid of most of it.

We are doing a home remodel project right now, and had to empty the garage rafters and the kitchen cabinets. My goodness, we have a lot of "household stuff." I'm sure it would take weeks, and several notebooks, to list every article of stuff that we have, from major appliances down to paper clips, in a manner similar to the 1730 inventories.

I look around the Genea-Cave and wonder how in the world anyone will be able to sort everything out and intelligently decide what genealogy items to keep and what to pitch. I guess the answer is that I'd better "finish" my work and publish it sometime. I should scan the important papers that support my research and store them electronically. Eventually, all of the work could go on a DVD and be given to my daughters, my niece and my cousins. I plan to put it all on Rootsweb WorldConnect or some other free database so that others can share the benefit of, or find the errors in, my work. I also plan to donate copies of my books and/or manuscripts to the local libraries and the Family History Library.

How about you? Will your heirs be able to sort out your genealogy work and dispose of it according to your wishes? Have you even planned the disposal of your genealogy "stuff?"

Della's Journal - Week 3 (January 15-21, 1929)

This is Installment 3 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother. The "players" and "setting" are described here. The last week is here.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, January 15th: Emily worked. I went to town put $80 back in bank when I got clock. Took paper back [to] Union Title Co. We signed to extend Mortg[age] to West Shores Investm? when due. Showered last night.

Wednesday, January 16th: Ironed. Emily worked. We worked out a little. Write Ruth. Rained in night.

Thursday, January 17th, cloudy: E[mily] worked. I went to town deposited A[ustin]'s Pd. Mrs. Setchel Tel for she is sick. Got statement. Put deed to Ma's place in Safty box. I had it recorded. Wrote Hazel. Went to meeting of the 2nd National Sec Co, they are not paying their Int now. Electing new officers for the new year and will merge with some other companies so to change so they can take mortg[age] on Real Estate. Picture of Mrs. Samples house & letter to Ma.

Friday, January 18th, cloudy: E[mily] home. We stayed in all day. Ma boiled part of ham cooked some prunes Mrs. Jones gave us her son raised. Betty has a piece of the plain that A[ustin] gave her she is going to write about it in school today.

Saturday, January 19th, cold: A[ustin] did not come home on time had to work at plane that was to go with the ? mark east Sun[day].

Sunday, January 20th, showery: Lyle's stayed home, went out after eggs & oranges in afternoon. I did not go out. Mrs. Johns said her sister went to Paradise Valley Sanatorium.

Monday, January 21st, showery & cool: Received West Shores Inv Co check $168.05.
------------------------------------------------------------------

My sense is that this family worked hard and really enjoyed their Sundays off. They almost always went somewhere on Sunday, except this week!

Massachusetts Vital Records (to 1849) Online

Those with Massachusetts ancestry before 1850 are well aware of the so-called "tan books" for most of the towns that were published many years ago. These books gleaned birth, marriage and death records from town records, church records, probate records, family Bibles, gravestones, etc.

The books are available in libraries, or on microfiche (e.g., the University of Michigan Microfilm collection), and bits and pieces are online at different web sites. The New England Historical and Genealogical Society has an index online at their www.newenglandancestors.org subscription web site for most of these tan books.

Now there is another - FREE - option for researchers. Many volunteers have participated in the copying, scanning and transcription of the vital records of many towns, and these are being posted at the http://www.rootsweb.com/~maessex/VitalRecords/ web site, under the direction of John Slaughter. The web site notes:

In addition to the transcriptions, part of the project is putting images of the pages online. Where these are done, they are linked from the transcriptions. These are there for the researcher to print for documentation purposes. The transcriptions are intended to be a research aid and are not the source. Use the images for that. Where images are not yet online, they can be requested from us.

To search the records by town, go to Town name index. To look for specific surnames, go to Surname index.

The vital records pages are still under construction and will be for quite a long time. The length of time will be determined by how much time and money I can devote and how many volunteers help in doing this work.

So far the transcribers have 324,498 births, 216,778 marriages and 139,609 deaths for a total of 680,885 transcribed records.


Each set of town VRs being scanned and transcribed are listed on the web page. Each town has a link to the records, and the transcribed records have links to the scanned pages. This system is excellent!

The really important addition to the knowledge base is the Surname index which lists the towns for each surname, and provides links to the town records. At a glance, you can see which towns have the surname you're interested in. Excellent resource!

There is more explanation at the web site - read all of it. This is a tremendous project undertaken by volunteers, and the organizers and volunteers should be saluted and hailed for their effort. The effort is still in work and more transcriptions and indexing will be provided over time.

Bravo to John Slaughter and his volunteer team for a job really well done providing free primary information (based on original source material) to the genealogy world.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Genealogy Periodicals - an Underused Asset?

Are you reading genealogical periodicals from your areas of interest? If you don't subscribe to them, how do you access them? How do you find back issues? Are they name-indexed?

Arlene Eakle has a wonderful article about her experiences reading periodicals, and her methods of accessing and reading them here. Arlene is very experienced and an expert - it would be wise to take her advice. I agree completely with her.

One of my favorite things to do whenever I visit a repository in my ancestors' home town is to browse the local or regional genealogy society newsletters and publications. Many of them just recount society events, but some are gold mines of local data that is available nowhere else.

In San Diego, the Carlsbad library has a tremendous collection of genealogy periodicals from many state and local societies. The San Diego Genealogical Society library in El Cajon also has a great collection. When I visit these places (only once or twice a year, unfortunately), I try to spend an hour or two browsing the collection. The SDGS also publishes a subscription journal called "Leaves and Saplings" which covers local San Diego genealogy data - like vital records, cemetery records, voter registers, etc.

I whined some time ago on this blog that there are not every-name search capabilities or page images available for genealogy journals, and the kind folks at Ancestry.com pointed out to me that such a search and image capability would violate copyrights of authors and/or societies. It is still a needed research resource, but it is evidently not attainable.

Many of the larger genealogy periodicals have published indexes of their holdings, some have published CD-ROMs with the images on them, and some provide search capability and image access on their subscription web sites (e.g., NEHGS has all of the above). All societies or periodicals should be encouraged to make and publish indexes, CD-ROMs and provide web page search and image access of their publications. Of course, that all takes money...

Then there is the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), which is available online at HeritageQuestOnline through a subscribing library, or on microfiche or books at an FHC or local library. However, PERSI only catalogs the author, title, date, keywords and periodical name. There is no every-name search capability. If you do find an article of interest, it can be obtained, for a cost, at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. See http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy/index.html for more information.

The 2007 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference will be held in Fort Wayne from August 15-18, 2007, hosted by the Allen County Public Library. The Allen County library should be a must-visit for researchers who have not been there before. SDGS recently sponsored a member research trip to ACPL - I hope to go sometime soon.

UPDATED 16 January, 9 AM: Thanks to Becky for correcting my error about the FGS conference - the correct location and dates are shown in red above. Note to self: why don't you check these things out before you screw up again?

Passengers from British Isles - Ancestors On Board site

A new web site, www.AncestorsOnBoard.com, now offers transcripts and images for passengers aboard ships leaving the British Isles. Currently, they have only 1890 to 1899, but plan to extend it to the years 1890 to 1960. From their email to me:
You can now search BT27 UK Outbound Passenger Lists, which are brought to you by www.findmypast.com in association with The National Archives. Our dedicated team have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make these valuable records available online for the very first time.

Records now available online cover people leaving the UK on long-distance voyages between 1890 and 1899. Passengers include not only permanent emigrants, but also businessmen, workers, diplomats and tourists. You might find anyone from people fleeing persecution in Russia to cowboys returning home to America.

Records vary, but transcriptions usually tell you name, age,
occupation, destination, travel and ship details as well as other people of the same name travelling on the ship.

The information about costs at the Ancestors on Board site say:
It costs just 5 units to view each transcription and only 30 units to view high resolution colour images. Images have been scanned using the latest technology to produce superb quality images from original documents, which in some cases are more than 100 years old.

To purchase units you must register with findmypast.com, or log in if you are already registered, then simply click on the 'buy units' link on the left hand side of the screen. Units are available from just £5 for 50 units.

If you buy more units, the price per unit comes down somewhat to around 8 pence per unit for the package with the most units.

So, the index of available records is free, the transcription for each record costs 5 units (or 50 pence, or about $0.90 US), and the color image costs 30 units (or 3 pounds, or about $5.40 US).

Is this worth it? It really depends on your research needs. If you are looking for passenger records in this time frame, and the information is critical to your search, it is definitely worth it, since the alternative is to go to England and find the microfilm at an office of some sort and probably pay for any transcripts or images you might want to copy.

Note that this Ancestors on Board site is part of the www.findmypast.com web site which has a lot of British Isles data, including census, civil registration, military records, migration, and more.

I inserted my Seaver surname in the Ancestors on Board search engine, and it found 30 passengers leaving from British Isles ports in the 1890 to 1899 time frame. The index provides limited information (surname, given name, year, departure port, destination country and port). You can view a sample transcription for free, but the sample image requires a download to view it.

I doubt if I will use this resource very much, since I do very little British Isles research, but if I need to use it for client research then I know that it is available at a reasonable cost.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Arrgggh!! A genealogy-free day

So cancel my reservations in Miami for February 4th already. Argghhh!

It's been a very frustrating day for me - my Chargers blew their playoff game with bad hands, bad mouths, bad tackling, and bad coaching. There were too many "ifs" to be counted. New England hung around and made fewer mistakes down the stretch than the Chargers did. The big news here will be if the coach, Marty Schottenheimer, is fired. Most everyone thinks he will - I do too. Too bad, I like Marty. He may go to the Steelers or the Dolphins and not win playoff games for them also.

So now my favorites are Indianapolis and New Orleans to win the conference championships and go to the Super Bowl. I tend to favor teams representing cities whjo have not been to or won the Big One (San Diego went in 1994, but lost). If they get there, I will root for New Orleans because of Drew Brees (former Charger QB) and Reggie Bush (San Diego boy).

The only redeeming feature of this day may be the first two hours of "24." They'd better be good.

I'll try to post some genealogy things tomorrow when I am not as POed or frustrated as I am now. My wife decided to go to church in the 4th quarter...I'm glad she wasn't home to hear my tirade.

My apologies for wasting your time tonight. Please, no gloating...