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May 4, 2012

Published May 3, 2012

Decipher your ancestor’s head gear with Maureen Taylor (AKA The Photo Detective) with tips from her new book Bonnets and Hats. And then grab your spouse for a genealogical musical number.


Thanks for the Shout Outs:

Branching Out Through the Years

New German podcast

Going the Extra Yad by Emily Garber

Cooke-ing at the Arizona Family History Expo, 20-21 Jan 2012

Size Doesn’t Matter at the Jen on Gen blog


FamilySearch Update

The 1940 U.S. census indexing project was launched this April as part of a broad online community effort.

- Over 85,000 volunteers have already completed 20 percent of the census project.

- A record number of active indexers used the program in a single day—34,947 volunteers. 

- In one day more than 3.2 million records were indexed and 1.5 million were arbitrated.  

Recently Completed Projects The Genealogy Gems News Blog



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Sterling is lucky to have old family photos but needs some help preserving them. He writes:  “I've become a regular listener of your Genealogy Gems podcast and I find that I'm enjoying it as much as any of the NPR radio shows that are my listening mainstays. I've learned so much from listening to you over the past few months and I'm deeply grateful.

I have a question that perhaps you or one of your listeners know the answer to. I have a family photo album, circa 1915, in which all the photos have been glued to black construction-type paper…Can you or anyone listening suggest a safe method for removing these photos from their old pages in order to recover the information that's on the backs of them?

An answer from The Practical Archivist Sally Jacobs

Family Tree Magazine article / answer

Sally also writes:
“My advice was to use interleaving sheets to protect the image side of the photographs from the acidic paper, rather than deconstruct her ancestor's scrapbook. That advice still stands, but your listener has brought up one of the few exceptions to this rule: Information has been written on the back of the glued photographs. That doesn't mean I'm giving Sterling a green light to soak his ancestor photographs. 

NOTE:  Water and photographs should not be mixed by anyone who isn't a trained conservator!

The scrapbook format is difficult to process because of the different elements from which it is made. The adhesive may be water soluble and simple to soak off. Try to isolate a leaf of the book with some plastic sheeting (i.e. place a piece of plastic under the leaf to avoid damaging the leaf below). Place a damp piece of blotting paper over one of the newspaper clippings under a light weight. Leave it for about twenty minutes then very carefully, using a spatula, lift the newspaper from the leaf. Place the newspaper clipping between two pieces of dry blotting paper to dry."

Thanks to Sally Jacobs the Practical Archivist.  You can get lots more greats preservation advice from her at


Swedish TV Series: Line in Denmark wrote in again to give us an update on a popular Swedish TV show about family history: “I have some exiting news about the Swedish tv show that I mentioned in my last email. "Everything for Sweden."  On this link they are looking for new contestants for the second season!

“I have taken up your advice on contacting long lost family members. I still don't have the courage to phone them, but instead contacting them on e-mail. So far it has been a big success. I would never have done it if I hadn't listened to your show. So thanks! Love your podcasts - please keep on making them!”

Beverly Loves the Podcast: “I'm a relatively new listener and premium member. I was bitten by the genealogy bug when I was about 12 years old and now I'm a grandmother. I've been calling myself a reformed genealogist because the "bug" has been dormant for a while…Thank you for all you share with your listeners. You have a real gift for communicating in a clear and personable way. I look forward to all your gems I have yet to uncover.”



Get your free audio book and over 40,000 audio book titles to choose from at Audible:


GEM: Interview with The Photo Detective Maureen Taylor, author of the book Bonnets and Hats

Link for Hat video  


GEM: The Genealogy Widower
The other day I was doing my usual trolling of the web searching for new genealogy gems, and I found a very musical oe that I want to close out the show today with.  If you have a wife or husband like mine who really isn’t in to genealogy, gather them around the computer or iPod because I’ve actually got something on the show they are going to totally identify with.  This is a special song that comes to us from Michael Stewart also known as The Genealogy Widower… 

You can download a free copy of Michael Stewart’s song the Genealogy Widower here.