Sun, 13 July 2014
Catch a glimpse of the silent movie era and how it was an integral part of your ancestors’ lives. In this episode, I find out more about the silent movies my grandmother catalogued in her diary, and how they molded a generation.
The cultural influences of the “Picture Shows”
Below is a page from my grandmother’s journal documenting the silent films she saw that year, including the actors who starred in them.
Just like today, the stars who light up the silver screen were mimicked and followed for fashion trends, hair styles, decorating ideas, and moral behavior. Understanding who the role models were at the time gives us a better understanding of the cultural influences of the era. Films are NOT primary resources, but they certainly paint a picture of life at any given time in history.
Finding silent films in my area
To learn more about silent films, I started with a simple Google search, altering my search criteria until I found movie theaters that showed silent films in my area.
The first theater I found was the Stanford Theatre, located in Palo Alto, California. It was first opened in 1925 and stood as Palo Alto’s premier theater house for several decades. In 1987, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation bought the theater and restored it. It is now owned and operated by the non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation.
www.stanfordtheatre.org - The website provides all the movie schedules from 1929-1961, compiled from ads that appeared in the Palo Alto Times. Vaudeville acts were also regularly included in the lineup. And the Wurlitzer organ live accompaniment was a staple.
Grandma’s Diary Entry – Sunday, April 22, 1928
I have to lead singing at church. Walter and I went to the lake. Met Helen Weathers and Jesse Jay and Ed Taylor. Helen and I went in swimming. Went to the show afterwards. The vaudeville was keen. Lew Cody in “Adam and Eve.”
The first silent movie I saw was “Diary of a Lost Girl”, a German movie starting Louise Brooks. It was a late entry silent film released on April 24, 1930. It tells the story of an innocent young girl, who is raped by the clerk of her father’s pharmacy. After she becomes pregnant, she is rejected by her family and must fend for herself in a cruel world. It was not the wholesome far I expected but was riveting nonetheless. (I must acknowledge the organ accompaniment of Dennis James because he added a drama and magic to the film that was priceless.)
The next film I saw was the classic 1923 comedy “Safety Last” starring Harold Lloyd. This is a must-see, full of laugh-out-loud humor. I was starting to get a feel for what drew Grandma to the pictures as a young girl. It was magical, glamorous, and hugely expanded her social network.
Society’s views on the silent film era
To learn more, I was combed through newspapers from her home town in the 1920s at the State Archives. I came across two newspaper articles: “Getting Back to the Home” from January of 1925, and “Harking Back to those Old Home Days” from February 5, 1925.
The first article leads in…
“Much has been said as to the methods of checking the crime and rebelliousness among the young people of today. The automobile, trains and other means of travel as well as moving pictures, dance halls, etc. that attract young people, and so lead them to seek amusement away from home have contributed to the fact that the home is not the center of attraction for the majority of families as it once was.” The article went on to say that there were plans in the works for a community get-together.
The February 5th article reported the events of that evening, which was called “Back to the Home.” The local residents ate pumpkin pie, sang songs, listened to speeches and music, and comic readings. (And I happened to recognize the name of the cellist in the orchestra as being the man who signed as witness on my great-grandfather’s naturalization papers!) The even was a huge success and was deemed “something that will in surely bear repeating.”
Immediately my grandmother’s diary entries bemoaning her mother who was “from the old country” started to become clearer. Grandma felt that Great-Grandma just didn’t understand her. Having experienced the thrill of the old movie theater experience myself, and reading in the newspapers how it was affecting society, I began to better understand that she lamenting more than just the woes of being 15 years old. Society was changing. And as a mother, I began to sympathize with my great-grandmother’s plight of trying to raise three teenagers in the new world.
Enjoying Silent Movies at Home
I live 25 minutes from a little town that has a Silent Film Museum devoted to a company that produced hundreds of them locally back in the teens. Every Saturday night, they show two shorts, and one full length movie each week with live piano accompaniment.
Last week my husband and I went to the regular Saturday night show, and we found ourselves watching the original full-length versions of two movies about San Francisco in 1906. In the last podcast, I covered the San Francisco Earthquake and other historical events, and included a Youtube.com playlist that I created full of old and new videos about the earthquake.
The first movie short was called “A Trip Down Market Street.” This is in my Youtube.com playlist under the title “San Francisco 1905 - 1906 (short form).” The Archivist at the museum said that research has uncovered that this film was shot just about four days before the earthquake hit in April 1906. The filmmaker shot the entire movie from the back of a cable car slowly moving down Market Street toward the Ferry Building. He told us that the reason the movie survived is that the filmmaker shipped the film to their New York offices for processing just one day before the quake.
The second movie short was produced by Blackhawk Films immediately following the earthquake, (www.filmclassic.com/Blackhawk.htm) and was aptly titled “Destruction of San Francisco.” Portions of this film can also be found on the YouTube playlist.
If you don’t live within driving distance to a theater showing silent films, here are some options for viewing at home:
Netflix (UPDATED) – They have an incredible catalogue of films that can be hard to find. You can stream movies from any device at home at www.Netflix.com. Type “silent” in the search box and click the GENRE matches tab. You can also search by your favorite silent movie star (Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, Jackie Coogan, etc). Not all films are available to stream, but many can be delivered in DVD form with a subscription to www.dvd.netflix.com.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) – www.tcm.com/index.jsp - Go to the website and type SILENT in the search box, then click GO. Scroll down to the KEYWORD MATCHES to see what’s available. They often run “Silent Sundays.” I find the best way to approach TCM it to review the schedule for the week on my cable TV menu, and set movies of interest to be recorded.
The Public Library – A quick search of my local library catalogue online showed dozens of silent movies. I found that searching a particular silent era actor as an “author” worked better than searching ‘silent movies’ alone. Beware, movies held over the one week time limit incur hefty fees. But the titles were free, and in the case of my local library, I can place a request for a movie from another library in the same county system, and they will deliver it to my local branch and hold it for me for pick up free of charge. For a global search of libraries try www.worldcat.org
Amazon.com – If you have a specific title or actor in mind, a quick search will tell you if Amazon has it. And if it’s been released, they probably do. However, browsing is more challenging. To narrow your search to only silent movies, select DVD in the SEARCH area, and click GO. Then click “BROWSE GENRES.” From the next page click CLASSICS. Then, in the Browse box on the right, click SILENT FILMS. I got over 400 results. If you’re not looking for a Charlie Chaplin film, add “-Chaplin” to your search and you’ll get the results down to 282 films. You can help support this free podcast by always starting your searches in our Amazon search boxes located throughout the Genealogy Gems website at www.GenealogyGems.com
Ebay.com – If you’re looking for a title that is particularly hard to find, EBay may be the best source. www.ebay.com
Grandma’s Diary Entry – Friday, November 2nd, 1930
“Alfred, Len, Mama and I went to the show in Merced. “Four Son’s.” It was sure good!”
I looked the movie up at IMDb.com, the biggest movie database on the internet. The description stated that the movie revolved around a mother and her four grown sons living happily in a German village prior to WWI. The oldest son, Joseph, yearns to go to America, and his mother gives him her savings to realize his dream. After the war begins, two of the sons go off to battle and are killed. Meanwhile, Joseph becomes an American citizen and joins the army to fight against Germany. The youngest son then leaves to join his battalion, and is killed in battle. After the war, Joseph goes home to New York and sends for his mother. She makes the journey through Ellis Island and they finally reunite.
My grandma’s parents had emigrated from Germany in 1910, just prior to the start of the war. Great-grandfather came over first to find work. When great grandmother discovered she was pregnant with Alfred, she followed three months letter, which was sooner than planned. She secretly made the trip with her 3-year-old daughter. I had to get a copy of this film!
I couldn’t find “Four Sons” at any of the usual places, so I went to Ebay.com. There I found someone who had a copy, and I bought it. The movie was extremely moving, and I cheered for the naive yet faithful mother as she made her way alone through the confusing world of Ellis Island and the streets of New York. This movie must have been very touching for Great grandmother to watch, and I would guess that it generated conversation about her own trip. Many years later, Grandma fulfilled a life long dream and made the trip to Ellis Island to see it for herself. Before her death, she told an eager granddaughter all about Mama, the journey through Ellis Island, and about her love for the moving pictures.
GEM: Interview with Sam Gill – April 19th, 2007
(Image: Sam Gill introducing a silent film)
Do you by chance research your own family history?
Not much now. As a child I helped my mother quite a bit with her genealogical research, joining her on trips to libraries, helping at home, typing up manuscripts, filling in sheets, etc. My mother published a little pamphlet on the John Ashton family of London, Ontario, Canada for which I’ll provide a link to a recent description.
In my youth, I also recorded via reel-to-reel tape, important family members (father’s mother in depth; mother’s step-mother briefly; mother and father, and siblings casually) in the 1960s and 1970s. They—the older family members-- are all deceased now, and I am very glad I did this. I am currently transferring these tapes to CD.
My brothers George and Paul are very interested in family history, too—now, actually more so than I am, which is very surprising considering my brother Paul showed very little interest in family during his youth. I was extremely interested in family history in my youth, but not as much now, unless it be to discover whatever I can about the personal relationships family members had to one another, as well as to their friends and other loved ones.
How accurately do you think they portray life at that time?
One needs to be very careful with film, today as well as yesterday. Most film—even documentaries—often depict people as they want to be seen, or to perform in stories the way they themselves want to appear, or the way the filmmakers specifically want their characters to appear.
I have a friend who once coordinated the locating of antiques in the Los Angeles area for Christie’s in London, who commented that frequently the furniture he saw in teens silent films of the fairly common society-drama type, were extremely high-end antiques that would command extremely high figures in current auctions, and are the kind of antiques never seen in today’s films, or at least very rarely.
I mention this because it’s a good example of the fact that each person may see something of interest that another person would not even notice or care about. Also, films from the silent era can be important historically and culturally in showing us the way life was; but as with any photograph, it may take a lot of interpretation and understanding to know exactly what it is that we are looking at.
(Image right: Sam and Lisa in the Niles
What influence do you believe the young medium of movies had on the culture of that time?
Huge influence. I believe films from the very beginning had an enormous impact on our culture, and the culture of every country when and where films began to be shown. And as sound was added, even with radio, and later with the immediacy of television, the impact has become even more profound. Many immigrants have commented, too, then as now, on the importance of going to the movies to learn the language and culture of their new country.
I believe youth especially has been affected, but probably all ages. I mention youth because young people are so impressionable, and so things such as fashion, dating techniques, job aspirations, desires of where one might live and play, attitudes toward family and community, nearly every aspect of life has been represented and thus made available to audiences for their “selecting,” taking what each person wants or “needs” and leaving the rest. With what they take, they can mold their lives, or re-define what it is they believe they know and want.
How would you advise a family historian to approach the silent movies as a resource?
See as many films as he or she can, starting with whatever seems of most interest—documentaries; travel films; comedies; dramas; westerns; whatever. For more of the genuine “feel” of the movie-going experience, I believe what we are doing here at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum on Saturday nights, is very important. These silent films were shown with music accompaniment, which aids greatly the impact and accessibility of these films.
With what movie or actor / actress would you recommend they start to become introduced to silent films?
That’s an interesting question, and one that gets at the root of what I mean when I say these films can have a profound impact on a person—especially youth. Just as someone today may be enormously impressed with Johnny Depp or Christina Ricci, or a film about the mafia life, or corporate life in New York City, or even a horror or fantasy film, the same holds true for silent films seen today.
Each of our audience members seems to relate in a highly individualistic way to a film, often to a particular “star”—perhaps being impressed with the steely reserve of William S. Hart; laughing at the often-surreal physical stunts of Buster Keaton who becomes a kind of Every Man against the harsh realities of our physical world; the adventurous-spirit of Douglas Fairbanks; the spunkiness of Mary Pickford who never let anything get her down; and so on.
The film A TRIP DOWN MARKET STREET (1906) has become a great favorite here, where a camera was placed on the front of a street-car heading down from about 8th Street to the Ferry Building in April 1906 just a few days before the earthquake and fire. Horse-drawn wagons, cars and vehicles, automobiles, people on foot, bicycles, you name it, all these methods of transportation are fascinating; but most fascinating, we are watching the people themselves, some oblivious to the filming, others intensely interested, staring right at the camera!
Any other thoughts on the subject as it pertains to folks interested in learning more about the era of 1900-1930?
There are more and more films available on DVD but I still love books, and what one can discover going to the library and pulling film books off the shelves to read at one’s leisure—historical works, cultural studies, picture books (even coffee table books), encyclopedias, biographies and autobiographies, corporate histories of film companies, on and on.
It’s all fascinating, and it’s all out there…to be discovered. Many years ago, someone told me he thought I “lived in the past,” and implied that that was a pretty terrible thing to do. I answered, “I don’t think of it as LIVING in the past, but of EXPLORING the past, like an archaeologist.” I think the truth of that may be the same for genealogists, to explore the past through the discovery of family history, which is after all, human history.
Tue, 17 June 2014
Get up to speed on the world of DNA and Genealogy in this episode. We’ll explore in depth the ramifications of Ancestry closing down some of their DNA tests along with other businesses in their portfolio. Then you’ll meet Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard. She’s a genealogy gem who will be joining us here on Genealogy Gems on a regular basis to help guide us through the murky waters of DNA research in easy to understand, and FUN terms.
Ancestry is shutting down 5 areas of their business
In a recent media conference call Ancestry gave us the heads up that the next day they were going to announce the closures, and those of us on the call had the opportunity to ask questions before the announcement.
While the spin is that they want to focus their efforts "in a way that provides the most impact, while also delivering the best service and best product experience to users"
It is clear that these businesses were not their most profitable. It makes good business sense, and we certainly do want Ancestry to remain profitable so that it can remain in business. But that doesn't mean it won't be painful for many customers.
The 5 areas shutting down are:
These closures definitely did cause some pain with their customers, and I know that includes many of you listening right now.
In fact I started receiving emails almost immediately that morning that Ancestry went public with this, and many of you also posted your comments on the Genealogy Gems Fan Page on Facebook which I invited you to do in the newsletter article I sent out.
In that article I told you that one of the most surprising moment in the conference call was when the Ancestry execs on the call were asked if the DNA samples that customer submitted, particularly those samples of deceased relatives) could be returned so as to be further processed by other companies.
The answer: No.
When pressed if they would allow customers to upgrade tests run on those samples before they were destroyed (yes, they made it very clear they will be destroyed) the answer was that well...they hadn't really thought about that. Leave it to genealogists to ask the important questions, and my hope is that Ancestry will take this question to heart before the closing date of September 5, 2014.
Read more about it on the Ancestry blog, and click through on the area you are interested in to get more answers to questions about the closures.
My impression during the call was that they were caught off guard a bit by the push back from those of us on the call regarding the DNA samples. Ancestry is focused on profitability - and I don't blame them for that, they are in business. If they don't remain profitable they go out of biz and we all lose. It probably wasn't as easy for them to think through the impact on every day family historians because some if not many of the top execs (and I've met them – they are nice people) are not genealogists.
So first I want to share with you some of the comments I’ve received, and then I will give you some of my personal opinions on the subject.
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Comments from You:
Graham in Australia writes:
"This morning I found the following Ancestry DNA announcement in my email and felt the need to immediately respond. No sooner had I sent my response and your newsletter arrived on this very subject.
I thought you might be interest in my response as I am sure there will be many people out there who will be similarly betrayed. I paid out some $250 in 2009 to have my Y-DNA test done with them knowing that this was going to be a long term investment to possibly find matches. I am glad Ancestry don't hand my superannuation savings.
To ancestry: I am disgusted that ancestry is taking this action. You appear to only be after short term gains rather than the long term which is where the strength of DNA testing resides.
In 2009 I invested in my Y-DNA test knowing that this will likely take several years to yield useful paternal match results which was the main thrust behind doing the tests. I don't know who is my biological paternal grandfather and have through the matching facility I have been in contact with the closest person yet and while quite distant it has given me some direction and hope that a match can be found in the future. Your action to remove this has just killed that possibility.
I for one will not be considering taking any autosomal tests with you as this will likely be dumped sometime in the near future."
Roxanne in Oregon writes:
This seems to violate a code of ethics that we have all come to rely on when giving samples to further science as well as our own research. Who knows what the future will hold after we are long gone? Surely our DNA samples will become more helpful as testing becomes more acute. At the very least samples should be able to be transferred to another DNA lab, even if one needs to pay for it.
Who can we write letters to at Ancestry.com and at what address? Maybe if they get enough response the policy of “destruction” will be re-analyzed."
Ken Chahine on June 12, 2014 in AncestryDNA
Comments of note on the Ancestry follow up post:
“Also, did anyone else notice that they mentioned that many of the samples are past shelf life? How does FTDNA guarantee 25 yrs of maintaining our samples?”
“What I’m a little less clear on is why you’re just deleting the results off the website. Can’t you simply archive them so that they’re viewable? Does it really take that much effort or bandwidth to simply let me see my mtDNA haplogroup?”
“BUT I have to question how committed you are to my research when you delete a valuable tool that I paid you for.”
Susan on the Genealogy Gems Podcast fan page on Facebook:
Lisa's opinion on all of this:
I think it's a mistake not to offer alternatives to their customers for retention of the samples. However, I always preach to you, my listeners that you need to retain control of all that is important to you and be responsible. We must be responsible and not put it in someone else's hands. When you test (particularly an older relative), you should save a sample and keep it in your lock box at home if it matters to you.
I'm sympathetic to all involved because this is new territory and it's easy to miss thinking through the ramifications. But it's just like I recommend that you never use Ancestry as their one and only tree. Post your tree, that's fine, but retain the master on a database on your own computer, and then back up your computer!
Finally, I think offering only autosomal is trendy rather than a true comprehensive product tool for the genealogist. I just published some excellent "Getting Stared" DNA Guides in my website store for this very reason. No test and no company is right for everyone. So in my opinion Ancestry is now no longer offering a true complete DNA service to genealogists. They are capitalizing on a trend.
This is just my personal opinion of course.
Lisa's Answer: If it were me, I would probably get a refund and start fresh with FamilyTreeDNA. Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 92 includes an interview with their founder Bennett Greenspan.
Also, we two brand new cheat sheets in our store that are excellent resources:
Also available in a bundle at a savings here.
Randy in Seattle was concerned about another one of the businesses Ancestry is dropping MyCanvas:
I am a long time Ancestry member and a follower of your podcasts and web page. Generally I defend ancestry against a lot the complaints people have about them but this is pretty disheartening news for me. I have puts 100’s of hours into creating a number of ancestry projects and having a printed copy is not the same as having the electronic version available to update and get a new updated print.
Do you have any suggestions on how to make concerns known to ancestry, and do you think there is any possibility of getting them to modify their plans. I would be happy with finding some place or way to download the electronic projects and would at least appreciate more time to get my existing projects finished and printed, especially those I am creating for extended family who will want time to review and print their own copies.”
Leave a comment on that particular post - they are monitoring it. You can also click through on the MyCanvas link for more info. You can also tweet them on Twitter at @ancestry
As to an alternative, personally I use Lulu.com. While it is not a genealogy site, it is excellent and print on demand publishing (books, photo books, calendars, etc.) They have been around quite a while and publishing is all they do, so I expect them to be around for a long time to come.
Katharine in Ohio is also going to miss MyCanvas wrote:
Lisa recommends: http://www.familychartmasters.com
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GEM: Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide
Diahan Southard is Your DNA Guide here at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She's the author of our DNA guides Getting Started: Genetics for Genealogists, and Y Chromosome DNA for Genealogists.
Book Diahan for your own consultation
“Signing up for my service will act like placing both a filter and a translator on your DNA test results. After I do a bit of prep-work in your behalf, we will virtually meet together for 45 minutes. I will provide you a link to a Go To Meeting website where we can see each other and share computer screens. We will review the information provided by the testing company, and I will filter and translate it for you to make sure you understand what you have, and what it means.
I will provide you with a video recording of our conversation as well as a summary and To Do List of your next steps. To get started, just send me an email at guide@yourDNAguide.com and we can schedule a time to meet together. If you prefer, send over your phone number and we can discuss possibilities over the phone.”
Thu, 22 May 2014
Get ready to lay a foundation in your knowledge of Colonial American genealogy research. Beth Foulk is here to walk us through early immigration to America, Indentured Servitude and Bondage, and the records and resources that can help you locate your ancestors from this time period. But first...
Lisa's youngest daughter Hannah got married last weekend!
NGS 2014 Conference in Richmond VA
New Newspaper Collection
Hat tip to Paul Nauta at FamilySearch
From Chris on Family Relics: "I loved your comments on "most treasure family relic" in the latest podcast. I'm very fortunate to have pictures and artifacts from my mother's side, but unfortunately I know very little about my dad's side and have only a few things. I could relate to the woman whose answer was "nothing".
One consolation for me has been a few little things I could find out with just a little digging. I wrote about it on my blog
Finding the things I mentioned at least lets me stand in the shoes of my ancestors and imagine life in that place and at that time. It's not as nice as a "relic", but it brings them to life as real people. I think that's important in genealogy as well. Love the podcast!"
Judy writes to as a follow up to the Google Earth for Genealogy Webinar
After watching today's webinar and seeing the gal search the GLORecords for land patents I tried for William Breeding.
S C O R E ! ! ! ! !
I had tried searching for land patents for William Breeding in the past with no success. My great results are due to finally getting confirmation that it is William Jackson Breeding for sure and watching this gal search today.
Thanks for the heads up on this webinar!!!”
Watch Google Earth for Genealogy free here at the Genealogy Gems website.
Barbara is Shocked: "I really enjoy your podcasts, and was listening to your latest one when your piece about not so happy memories really struck a chord with me.
I recently asked for the file of my Great Uncle from the Australian War Memorial. He was in World War I in France. I found that he had been charged with desertion and sent to goal( (jail)! What a shock, and I don’t think many of the family know a lot about it.
Reading through the transcript of the court marshal and the history of this time of the war, it was pretty clear he was a young man in shock after seeing several of his fellow soldiers die, who did not know what to do. He got separated from his troop and wandered around for a couple of days until he found another company and was arrested. Later he got TB and this probably shortened his life. A sad story, and during my research, I found that 306 Commonwealth solders were shot for desertion. It is quite a controversial part of our history as (thank goodness) the Australian Army refused to allow any of its soldiers to be executed, and this caused some issues with the English officers.
A new law passed on November 8th 2006 and included as part of the Armed Forces Act in the UK has pardoned men in the British and Commonwealth armies who were executed in World War I. The law removes the dishonour with regards to executions on war records but it does not cancel out the sentence of death.
I have decided not to put any of the information online, but keep it in the family archives. Anyone in the family who decides to go looking will find it at the war memorial site, but my uncle did not marry or have children, so that does seem to lessen the impact."
Barbara also asks for your help: I am trying to track down the family of an Australian sailor from WWI who wrote some lovely postcards. I bought them at a garage sale several years ago, and have only just got around to reading them. I would really love to give them to the family, as they are very touching.
Here is what I know from them:
I can be contacted via my blog Genealogy Boomerangs if any listeners have information. Any help you can give would be appreciated, and thanks again for the great podcasts, I love hearing about all your travels and experiences.
Welcome to our new sponsor: MyHeritage.com!
This episode is also sponsored by RootsMagic.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for supporting this FREE podcast!
GEM: Colonial Research with Beth Foulk
Look for the bibliography on her website:
During the 1600s and 1700s three-quarters of all immigrants were indentured servants and another 50-60,000 were convicts "transported" to America and sold into "slavery" on the plantations of Maryland & Virginia as their sentence for the crime. The conditions in England were abysmal, and for many this was the only out of a broken social system that had failed them.
1718: The Transportation Act is passed, which included:
1. Who could be shipped
2. Surgeon must be on board
3. Dictated the number of convicts that could be on board
Question: Where can the genealogist look to identify if their ancestor was indentured or in bondage?
Answer: The Old Bailey Online – London’s Central Criminal Court 1674 - 1913
Full transcripts of every court hearing during this time period
From the website: “The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913
Also look for:
The pre-eminent authority: Author Peter Wilson Coldham
Other possible records for Indentured:
Other possible records for Convicts:
Census (if your ancestor is the only one with that last name in the area,that could be a clue they were a convict)
There were also Political Prisoners. Look for Diary or Transcripts
Visit Beth’s website:
SONG: The Death of Wolfe
(Song used with permissions from Archiving Early America website)
Come all ye young men all, let this delight you,
Watch the video: Music in a Colonial Williamsburg Tavern
For more inspiration and information search “Colonial Genealogy” at YouTube.
CLOSING: Why You Do Genealogy
Paul wrote: "To start with my Aunt gave me 2,000+ names when I was baptized as she knew the Church members do a lot of genealogy. Many of the stories I found were interesting. But I also got to know my father who was killed about 7 months before I was born."
Tim wrote: "Just the whole destiny thing. When I go back several generations, I wonder what IF he had never married her, what IF she had not moved to this town, met her husband, what IF they had stopped having kids just before my gggrandfather was born...etc. I am who I am and where I am because of decisions that were made long ago. Just kind of cool."
Margaret: "Really nice video. I pursue my family history because I want to take myself back to THEIR time, find out what their lives were like, follow their journeys, trials, tribulations and day-to-day lives. Through census records, city directories and Sanborn maps I discovered my 2nd great grandpa lived around the corner from an ice-cream store in Savannah, with a dairy right behind it! How cool is that!"
Peter: "I do research because I want to know who my family is, where they came from and what they did. After a 20 year search to solve one of my family line missing links I solved it and yelled whoo who, it felt so rewarding."
Margaret: "My mom had always described herself as a Heinz 57. I'm much more curious about just what/who had contributed to who I am. Having roots that reach into ancestors from Germany, England, Mexico and Spain by ways of RI, IN, TX and California make for interesting research!"
Mon, 14 April 2014
I’ve been enjoying time at home getting the new house decorated. I have a wonderful sort of wall niche area in the living room that is perfect for a family history display, so the wheels are turning on what I want to do there. I’ve been pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest for that. And of course I’m getting in my time with my grandsons Davy and Joey. Now that Joey is a year and a half and running all over the place, it’s just playtime bedlam at Sha Sha’s house.
I'll be speaking in Round Rock, TX at the Williamson County Genealogical Society
But soon May will be here and that means I’ll be heading to the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond Virginia. And we are going to do something very unique at NGS this year. In addition to my three scheduled presentations, we’ve got ourselves some extra booth space this year, and I’ll be giving what we are calling Outside the Box Sessions.
You know how it is, you head to a big conference, and you’re running for one 1 hour session to the next. And they are usually pretty big classrooms. Well, we are going to getting outside of that box, and holding 30 minute sessions in our booth area on the topics you’ve told me you want most.
As presenters we don’t get to have the final say on which of our presentations is selected for the main conference, so it’s really exciting to have this unique way of offering the topics you ask us for. It’s a smaller intimate setting, the sessions will be packed with tips you can start using right away, all participants will get a free ebook of the handouts for those quickie sessions, we’ll have prizes and you’ll even have some treats to nibble on. I am really excited about doing this, and I think you’ll find it refreshing, fun and informative.
I’ll doing four sessions – one each day of the conference
And, I’ve invited two of my dearest friends, Janet Hovorka of Family Chartmasters, and The Photo Detective Maureen Taylor to join me and present some of their most popular topics!
So in all, you’ll have a dozen ½ hour sessions to choose from to reinvigorate your genealogy research. If you want to get outside the box, come hand out with us, get the ebook, nibble on some treats and get away from the huge crowds.
Outside the Box Session Schedule:
10:00 Start Organizing Your Photos Today (Maureen Taylor)
New Videos at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel:
A Sneak Peek at What Will be Included in the Future FamilySearch App with Brian Edwards
5 Tools for Paying it Forward in Genealogy With Michael Cassara
A conversation with long time Genealogy Gems listener Michael Cassara who presented a session at RootsTech this year and I thought it was so interesting I asked him to sit down with me to talk more about it. Michael shares one of the ways that he likes to give back to the genealogy community. He buys old inexpensive photographs and does his best to track down family members today and get those ancestors back in to the hands of their families. And he shares some of techniques he uses to do that which you could certainly use in your own family history research.
MJ watched the video and left this comment: “I sooo agree with the karma of sharing our genealogy and our photos. I love the Find a Grave / BillionGrave photo idea. And I know myself about good karma. I found some studio photos of a distant relative, contacted a direct descendant and sent the photos to him. He wrote back and said "my Dad looks just like his grandmother, and never knew it before! And what a gift for my son."
Go to www.Youtube.com/genealogygems and watch the video and leave your comment about your experiences.
Not all Family History is Happy Memories
In what seems to be the exact opposite of the usual obituary you come across as you are searching through newspapers, The Blaze reported that a Reno newspaper has removed an obituary supposedly submitted by children glad their mother was dead.
The obituary was published in the Reno Gazette-Journal last September in acknowledgement of the death of Marianne Theresa-Johnson Reddick. “Marianne Theresa Johnson- Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit…”
And just as importantly, that we have the opportunity to discover the gems in our tree, the unsung heroes, people who did do a good job and contributed to society. In the end, we get to pick who we admire, and we get to decide those areas that we will not perpetuate. After all, if our history stays in the dark, it is apt to look and feel even larger and scarier, but it is also apt to repeat itself.
I’d love to hear from you on this subject. You don’t to share specifics. But how has learning more about your family history empowered you. And if you think it has caused harm, I’d like to know more about that too.
Finally, to wrap up this segment before we get to the mailbox, I just want to send out a big thank you to some very nice folks out there in the genealogy community.
Evernote for Genealogists Thanks Yous
A big thank you to:
Thomas MacEntee: Hack Genealogy“You know what I love about these guides on Evernote? They are easy-to-use, the information is laid out in a format that makes it easy to find what you need, and it truly is something you can keep referring to as you work your way through Evernote and its features.”
Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings
Amy Coffin of the We Tree Blog
Renee Zamora of Rene’s Genealogy Blog
Sue Maxwell, The Granite Genealogy Blog
James Tanner, The Genealogy Star Blog“I had been using Evernote extensively for quite some time. But was faced with dilemma when the program began to evolve rapidly. I simply lost touch with all the features being added and did not understand why I ran out of storage space and was shut down when I didn't purchase some upgrade. So, I transferred what I was doing on Evernote and used alternative products.
So, solely because of this handy guide, I now understood the product. I already had the program on all my devices so transitioning back is as simple as clicking. What I needed clarified was how the program functioned vis a vis the difference between the "free" version and the "paid" version. With that out of the way, I am back in the Evernote use realm. Now, I probably could have figured out all the stuff from the Evernote website, but this made it easier for me to get going and actually do something.”
Thanks again to all the bloggers who took the time to give the guides a test run. They are available in our store both for Windows and for Mac.
Genealogy Gems Premium Members can enjoy several Evernote videos as part of Premium Membership:
How the Genealogist can Remember Everything with Evernote (Beginner)
How to Organize Your Research with Evernote (Intermediate)
Making Evernote Effortless (Intermediate) BRAND NEW!
And the “Get Started with Evernote” Mini Series
New RootsMagic Video
Our long time podcast sponsor RootsMagic just published a new video I think you’ll be very interested in. It’s called Importing an Ancestry Family Tree into RootsMagic.
Have you been wondering how to do this? Well, now they have a short video that will show you how. Currently this is limited to trees that you are the owner / manager, since Ancestry doesn't appear to allow downloading a tree belonging to someone else.
You’ll find the video at the RootsMagic YouTube channel
From Jane in Edmonton, Alberta:
“Need your advice (as I am sure do thousands of others!!) First of all, let me take time to let you know how much I am enjoying my subscriptions to your Genealogy Gems and your podcasts. I purchased subscriptions at the Alberta Genealogy Conference in Edmonton last year, and have been thoroughly enjoying them.
You are not along in this genealogical dilemma! It's easy to let the records start to take over and lead you around. One way to combat that is to set a genealogical goal - define what it is you want to know. It might be something very specific about a particular ancestor, or it might just be to fill in the blanks on one particular family. Early in my research focused on one grandparent, and working backwards, I would strive to fill in all the blanks on that person, then their parents, then their siblings. I wouldn't "leave" that family until I felt that I had filled in as much of the family group sheet as possible.
In fact, we have sort of lost track of the "family group sheet" in this technological age. But it is an excellent tool for keeping you on track and focused on the blanks that need to be filled.
An additional strategy is to have a process for dealing with information that comes your way that is a bit off track. Often we feel like we have to pursue it or we'll lose it. I like to use Evernote (free at evernote.com) to capture data that I'm not ready to deal with right now, but definitely want to pursue later. I create an Evernote "notebook" for that family surname, and a note book called "future research". Drag and drop "Future Research" onto the family surname notebook which will create a "stack." Now you can create notes and drop them into the "Future Research" notebook which is inside the applicable family. Add tags to your note like "newspaper," "death record," etc. and some good searchable keywords so that the note will be easy to find when you need it. Now you can capture the item, file it away, and stay focused on the task at hand.
If you would like to learn more about how to use Evernote for genealogy I have a quick reference guide (PDF) in my store that will work wonders in keeping you organized.
From Mary Jane in KY
“Thank you Lisa, I received your ebook fine, and now have it installed on my desktop. I've been watching a lot of your videos, have watched the ones where you had interviews at Rootstech. Each day I watched on my computer, the selected Rootstech programs as they were presented. Last week our Kentucky Genealogical Society and Kentucky Historical Society had an all day Saturday viewing of 10 of the programs given out there. It was a special program that the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Genealogical Society were chosen to participate in viewing - called a Family History Fair. Your program was one of them - How to Use YouTube for Family History: Setting Up Your Own YouTube Channel. And all those syllabi were available for us to print in advance. We had 135 people to attend. We were very privileged and it was much appreciated by a large crowd of people.
You are such a pretty gal, with a bubbly personality. Kiss those babies for me. I've just become a great grandmother. I really enjoy your Genealogy Gems, have received your newsletters for several years, but I don't use anything but the computer. It's something about the older generation not being able to learn all these other gadgets.”
You can watch free videos from the RootsTech 2014 genealogy conference at https://rootstech.org/about/videos/
From Steve in Cedar Falls, Iowa
This is all your fault :)
Yes, this is your fault! That sounds ominous, but this is a good thing! I say your fault because you are the one who encouraged me, on your blog, to start blogging about family history. I started two blogs- one for the paternal side and one for the maternal side. The paternal blog is schellseekers.blogspot.com and the maternal blog is happekotte.blogspot.com.
My intent was to create a place where family could see the family history that I had found. But something else happened in addition to this intent. A guy in New York came across my maternal blog and emailed me that he had something I might be interested in. It was about my third great grandfather who was born in Germany. Before he came to America, he was a part of a German colony in Guatemala. I knew that, but had no proof of when and where he married or even where in Germany he was from. This gentleman from New York is originally from Guatemala and is connected to my third great grandmother who was also part of this colony. He sent me a copy of an original church record from Guatemala giving the date they were married in Guatemala AND the name of the town in Germany that he was from and his date of birth. It gets better!
Google Translate Tip:
My favorite podcast moments thus far are: listening to your moving challenges as you relocated to Texas (misery loves company : ), the guest who stated that it is 'not advised' to shred original documents after digitizing them, the 'Flip Pal' interview, the daunting task of catching up on technology and the learning curve that comes with that, and your suggestions for all of us to make the family names and dates more interesting, in order to get other family members excited about our family history.
Thank you for all you do for genealogists! I met you once at our local library where you gave your Google class, and hope we cross paths again. In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Get well soon!
I remember you had talked about a family reunion sometime in the past , and I wonder if you had any tips of getting family history information out of my family while there are all at the wedding.”
I would suggest searching family reunion websites for ideas you can convert to a wedding reception. A search of Google and Pinterest.com should help you locate them.
If you have your guests seated at tables, that's a great opportunity to provide an icebreaker that can double as a family history gathering opportunity. You could have a form at each place setting for them to fill out. If you are having a videographer, you could have a short list of questions at each table, and when he comes to their table he records them answering the questions. (What's your earliest child hood memory? Who's the earliest ancestor you have a photograph of? What are three things you remember about Great Grandmother? Etc.)
Tue, 11 March 2014
The Genealogy Gems Podcast
Tue, 18 February 2014
In this episode you'll hear what you've been missing and how to get it from the Ancestry Wiki. Also how to do a very specialized type of Google search you may have never tried, a French-Canadian genealogy resource, and more.
Top 10 Reasons I Moved to Texas:
10. They have something here, it’s called weather
9. I live on an acre now so my neighbors don’t complain that they hear me over here talking to myself
8. There’s a Soft Surroundings store in Southlake! And a Pottery Barn, and a Coach purse store, and…
7. Genealogy Bloggers Amy Coffin and Caroline Pointer. If you know them, you understand
6. Wise County has just launched a new genealogy society and they wanted a speaker who lived less than three hours away
5. It’s been almost 10 years since I filmed a reality TV show out here, so I figure they’ve moved on.
4. My cat Ginger is from Texas and what she meows goes
3. After 18 years in California I finally get to have a pool in my backyard
2. They don’t have chicken fried steak in California
1. My Grandsons - Davy and Joey!
A few years ago while attending a genealogy conference, I decided to conduct some on-the-fly interviews for The Genealogy Gems Podcast. I asked folks to tell me about the most prized family heirloom that they possessed. I heard about everything from the door knob of a woman’s parent’s bridal suite, to the bedazzling flapper dress worn by a great grandmother.
All were interesting, but I was stopped in my tracks when one woman looked at me with pain in her eyes and declared “I have nothing. Not a thing. My cousins destroyed everything.”
It was a difficult concept to digest. As the acknowledged “keeper of the family history flame” in my family, I’ve been fortunate enough to have inherited an abundance of family heirlooms from both sides of my parent’s families. How sad it would be to have nothing concrete to hold in your hand; nothing to help you feel the generations that held the item before.
Since that day I’ve remained inspired to help people find ways to track down information and artifacts that make up their family history. Time and time again, I’ve found that just when you thought there was nothing left to find, an item will resurface. The Galaxy Quest movie quote (surely based on the famous words uttered by Winston Churchill in 1940) is one I cling to when it comes to genealogy: “Never give up! Never surrender!”
This motto has never been so gloriously justified as it was recently when a woman from Indianapolis, Indiana received the surprise of a lifetime this Christmas. The Purple Heart awarded to Pat Davis’ father, (a father she never met) was found recently and returned to her. Watch the compelling video below where the daughter holds the unearthed piece of family history in the palm of her hand.
Kyla wrote: "I had old photos and letters returned to me by a woman who found me on a genealogy message board. Her father had obtained them from my brothers who were throwing them away. It was like a miracle."
RootsTech 2014 may have come to an end, but SCGS Jamboree is just around the corner
I’m pleased to return this year to speak at the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. This popular conference, hosted by The Southern California Genealogical Society, runs June 6 to 8, 2014 in Burbank, California, USA.
The theme of the 2014 Jamboree is Golden Memories: Discovering Your Family History. It promises to pack tons of fun into a long weekend, as it always does.
My classes on Friday and Saturday include:
Who Needs Google Reader? Flip Out Over Genealogy Content with Flipboard!
Ultimate Google Search Strategies for Genealogists
How to Create an Exciting Interactive Family History Tour with Google Earth.
SCGS Jamboree 2014 welcomes 55 speakers, over 60 exhibitors, 134 class sessions for a variety of experience levels, and special events. Online registration is open on the Jamboree website, and the Marriott’s website is ready to take your reservation. Hope to see you there! Read more about it here.
Genealogy Test Reveals Dad’s DNA Swapped in Artificial Insemination
It’s not uncommon for genetic DNA tests to reveal that you’re not related to people you thought you were. But here’s a twist I’ve never heard before.
A family who had a daughter by artificial insemination of the husband’s sperm eventually decided to do some DNA testing for family history. Imagine the wife’s shock when she discovered that her husband and daughter shared no DNA!
They got a bigger shock when they did a little research. Apparently the biological father worked at the lab that handled the family’s insemination process. The man is dead now, but it appears he may have deliberately swapped in his own sample for the father’s.
Of course lots of questions have come up–including how many other children may have received the DNA of a man who was a convicted kidnapper.
My heart goes out to this family and to others who now fear their genetic fatherhood was hijacked. Read the full story here (it’s popped up in several news outlets now, but I first saw it at KUTV.com). Watch the video at the Genealogy Gems Blog
Newly Remastered and Republished Podcast Episodes
Family History Episode 16 – The Family History Library Catalog
Family History Episode 17 – Using Family History Centers Part I
Family History Episode 18 – Using Family History Centers Part II
What’s New at Evernote
BillionGraves Now Accepting Your Documentation
I’m hearing so much these days about source citation and I love it! Everyone seems to be getting smarter and better at sourcing their research finds. And genealogy websites are making it easier and more collaborative. Here’s just one example, an announcement just made by BillionGraves:
“After months of work in response to hundreds of user requests, BillionGraves has added several new features designed to validate and enhance the headstone records found on BillionGraves. The Supporting Record feature now allows users to upload evidence-based documents that support the BillionGraves records that have been collected through our mobile Apps. This means that users are now able to upload headstones, birth/death, burial, marriage, cremation, and many other types of records without needing a smart phone.
Thousands of records are being uploaded every day and are breaking down genealogy brick walls and making connections that once seemed impossible. While working closely with our users and genealogists we found that there were many headstones and burials that just couldn’t be accounted for with our current systems; including unmarked graves, cremation scatterings, destroyed stones, and so on. Our Supporting Records features eliminate this problem while maintaining the validity and accuracy of the BillionGraves database.”
Answer to A Genealogical Google Search Question
Jo-Anne: “Is there a Google Earth Cd of the 1932 L.A. Olympic Games?”
Lisa’s Answer: I would try the following Google Search as follows...
Quotation Marks around a word or phrase mean that the word or phrase must appear in all results.
Adding .KMZ or .KML tells Google that you want Google Earth files as the highest priority. Put quotation marks around the file designation and you’ve just told Google to ONLY return Google Earth files.
Lisa wants to know: “What type of Google Earth files / maps / tours would you be interested in finding?”
What Would You do?
From a concerned listener: "I have a dilemma I'm not sure how to handle. I have a recent ancestor that I never met, but my parents knew. This ancestor did some remarkable things in his lifetime, but also some terrible things to members of his family, some of whom are still living. I want to write about the good things he did, but I don't want to upset the relatives he hurt. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle recent ancestors with difficult pasts?"
Lisa wants to know: What do you think? Have you faced this situation, on either end?
A Podcast for French-Canadian Research
Thank you to our wonderful sponsor
GEM: The Ancestry Wiki with Crista Cowan
In this gem, Crista Cowan explains how to find the wiki, how to search it, and how to explore it because "we don't know what we don't know."
Producer: Vienna Thomas
Tue, 7 January 2014
Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 163: Get ready to flip out with me over Flipboard. It’s a free app and web tool that you have to see to fully appreciate. In this episode I’ll take you behind the scenes at Flipboard in the Silicon Valley and talk to the folks who create the product that helps you enjoy the online content you love. I’ll also share a little discovery I made about family history when I threw my back out over the holidays (there’s got to be an easier and less painful way to do family history research!) and get you up to date on all the genealogy news.
The back pain in my family history was there all the times but I didn’t recognize it! My Great Grandmother Louise’s “hand on hips” stance in many of the old family photos was more than just a sassy attitude. It reflected a family history of back pain that plagued my grandmother, my uncle, and me.
And what do you suppose folks will think a 100 years from now when the news stories are long gone, and they are reviewing the footage of the sign language guy at Nelson Mandela’s funeral? A reminder that not everything we see in old home movies and photos may necessarily be as it seems?
Happy 4th Birthday Genealogy Gems App! Get the App:
New Episodes of Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast
The fourth annual Rootstech conference, hosted by FamilySearch, will be held February 6-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to renowned keynote speakers, the conference features over 200 classes, hundreds of booths in a huge Expo Hall, and evening events.
Keith wrote: “I previously wrote you a few months ago when I launched my own blog, sonofswift.tumblr.com. I am happy to report that tomorrow marks my 150th post. Thank you for reading my first message on your show. I have since had it listed on Geneabloggers and started a weekly picture post, Wordless Wednesday. After spending a considerable amount of time trying to break down brick walls, I'm currently focused on learning about my, and my wife's, great grandparents, which I call "thickening the branch. In the new year I plan on releasing eBooks containing all my research from the past six months with accompanying trees. All of it is thanks to guidance I get from listening to your podcast. Thank you for all that you've done and will continue to do.”
Congratulations on your blog's milestone! Now anytime someone searches Google for one of your ancestors they will find you. I'm so happy to hear that the podcast has been helpful to you in your journey.
From Maryann: “Sitting here addressing Christmas cards and grabbing a bit of lunch when I decided to check my email. Spotted your email and opened it up. Skimmed through it, went back to the top again to check out more of what you wrote about the RootsTech 2014 Flipboard magazine you put together. Looked over at the stack of cards still waiting, but thought I'd grab a few minutes to just get it downloaded. Thanks to your book, I already have and use Flipboard, so it didn't take long to find the magazine and subscribe. It looks FANTASTIC. Can hardly wait to sit down and spend time reading through the articles and watching the videos. Right now, though, that stack of cards is shouting me, so I'd better set aside my iPad (after reading your book, I chose a mini, and am forever grateful for the help your book gave me, especially in setting up my apps) and get back to them.”
And Taunja is also flipping over Flipboard: “I've had Flipboard on my smartphone and didn't know what to do with it! Just subscribed to the Rootstech magazine and it looks wonderful...thanks so much! Looks like a better learn a little bit more about Flipboard.”
GEM: Flipboard Interview
Well, it didn’t take long to track down some great alternatives, and in this gem I want to focus on the one I flipped out over for tracking and enjoying my favorite online media like blogs and videos. It’s called Flipboard, and if you have my book Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, then you’re probably already familiar with it.
Now wait, don’t turn off this episode because you don’t have an iPad. You don’t need one to use and enjoy Flipboard. It’s a free app for Android and Apple devices – so we’re talking all kinds of smart phones and tablets can use it.
Now while the app allows you to pull together all your favorite RSS feeds together and displays them in a beautiful way, Flipboard also has a Magazine feature. In a recent issue of the free Genealogy Gems eNewsletter – which you can sign up for on our homepage at www.genealogygems.com – I wrote an article all about a magazine I created all by little self using the free Flipboard web tools. These magazines – and I really call them magazine issues, because they are like stand along issues of a magazine – can be viewed on your computer web browser as well as the app, and you can add content from all over the web, and share it with others.
When I saw the magazine feature for the first time my mind just started racing with all the genealogical possibilities. I’ve created several free magazines that you can enjoy, and I’ll tell you more about how to access those at the end of this segment. But first, we’re going to head to the Silicon Valley and meet with the folks at Flipboard to get an up close and personal look at the company, the app, and these awesome magazines.
In this interview I travel to Flipboard's offices in Palo Alto, the home of a few names you might recognize, such as Facebook, and meet up with Todd Lapin. He is on Flipboard’s editorial team and runs their new blog focused on discovering of great content http://magazines.flipboard.com and he also runs their MagMakers twitter handle: https://twitter.com/FlipboardMag
RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge is a free magazine available in the free app https://flipboard.com/ and on the web at http://tinyurl.com/RootsTech2014. The magazine pulls together great web content from RootsTech speakers, exhibitors, and official bloggers in one beautiful and convenient place.
Looking for more great genealogy themed Flipboard magazines? Check out two more new issues from Lisa Louise Cooke:
Genealogy Gems Premium Members can hear for about using Flipboard for Genealogy in the upcoming Premium Episode #106 later this month. The episode will also include additional notes and instructions. Click here to become a Genealogy Gems Premium Member today.
Wed, 4 December 2013
Wondering how to get your kids and grandkids engaged in family history? Looking for worthwhile activities for the kids over the Christmas break? In this episode author Janet Hovorka provides answers. Our children are the future of our families, and there's no better time to help them engage, explore and enjoy their family history! App Users: Be sure to check out the audio Bonus Content in the Genealogy Gems App!
Where You Can Find Over a Million British Church Records that are Now Indexed!
From Gary: “There was a recent episode of the Las Vegas Based “CSI” show in which a genealogist was used to help solve a crime and the head CSI guy (Ted Dansen) and the Genealogist debated about Genealogy being a science. Only took them 1 hr (and 30 commercials) to do what takes us a live time –Hummmmmm!!!”
Premium member Roger in Utah: “Thanks for another great podcast – this time on MY ancestral homeland of Norway. I have spent many hours using the digitalarchivet.no website. While you can use the English version, parts of it are only in Norwegian.
Norway, like most Scandinavian countries, has put nearly all of their parish records online. It is a wonderful resource. You have to learn what some of words are, such as birth, Christening, confirmation, marriage, death, etc. But even just these can help a lot. If you learn a few more Norwegian words, you can more fully access the vast amount on information available on that site.
In that podcast you also talked about taking a risk and contacting someone about possible family information. Through some of my Norwegian research I found a man who lives in a little town about an hour north of Oslo.
He is the leader of a group called the Hadelandlag Society. Hadeland is a region of Norway. I got an email address for this man, Ole, and contacted him. He has been wonderful to me. He went to a local repository and looked up information on my family from the information I gave him. Of course, I thanked him profusely for helping someone he did not even know. We have now emailed several times. Certainly the “risk” paid off.
I have also found some US chapters of the Hadelandlag Society and have become a member. And I found some distant cousins as a result, one in Canada, and one in Minnesota. We email somewhat regularly. See what taking the “risk” can do.”
Matt Has a Mystery and is Looking for Extra Sets of Eyes: “Thank you for your podcasts! … even listening to the older podcasts can provide needed perspective on how to break through your brick walls. Speaking of brick walls, mine may be crumbling. I've been trying to trace the parents/ancestors of my great-grandmother. Up until this past summer, I had no information whatsoever. On May 30, 2013, I found an 1855 New York State Census entry that may tell me who her family is. I wrote up a blog entry about the current status of the search and I'd be interested in your thoughts.” Matt's Blog
From Alan in Minneapolis, MN: “I started listening to the podcast about a year ago, and it's been a great reminder of things that I had forgotten how to use Google for. Thanks to your hints, I've found descendants for 2 of my wife's great-great uncles who moved away from the farm in Illinois and we lost track of. The Google tips from early on in the series have even helped in projects at work- my colleagues think I'm spending hours searching for things that I'm finding in a couple minutes with some of the tricks.
Also after hearing about blogging your family history for at least the last 3 pod casts, I've finally decided to take the leap and start publishing my discoveries on a blog (groundhoggenealogist.blogspot.com) so I can post there rather than send emails and miss some of the cousins or send Facebook messages and miss the others. I've only written two posts (one's up one set to publish Sunday morning), but I hope this is something I can keep up. Just a note to say thanks.”
Janice in Montreal started a genealogy blog: “I attended several of your presentations at the BIFHSGO conference a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them. Partly as a result of hearing your advice, I have started a blog on which I'm posting the short family history articles I've been writing, as well as comments on the research process. The story called "An Economic Emigrant" explains why I'm a Canadian rather than an American. Please take a quick look when you get a chance.” writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca.
Ethan is looking for some Fold3 help: “I recently went to look for the graves of my great-grandparents and learned in doing so that their son, my grandpa's brother, died in WWII. Since he has a very common name, George L. Allen, I have been unsuccessful in trying to look up his records on fold3.com or other search engines. Any hints on how to narrow my search? This is the information I was able to obtain just from his headstone: Private First Class, 63rd armored infantry battalion, 11th armored division. He died Jan 6, 1945, just as the war was dying down. Other than that, I don't know if he was in the Pacific or in Europe. My fold3.com search yields thousands of results. Any help would be appreciated!”
Lisa’s Answer: Fold3.com does have some educational videos on YouTube. In particular: How to Search on Fold3. If you don't get the full answer you are looking for, leave a comment on the video to ask a more specific question or ask how to contact them with your question. YouTube is interactive when it comes to comments and I would anticipate they would respond.
Family Tree Magazine Webinar Recording: Making the Most of Fold
GEM: Helping Your Kids and Grandkids Engage in Family History with Janet Hovorka
Janet is the author of the book Zap the Grandma Gap
Above: Janet Hovorka, Owner of FamilyChartmasters
Visit the free Website for more Zap the Grandma Gap
Sign up for the FREE Genealogy Gems Newsletter at www.GenealogyGems.com
Explore Lisa's brand new Pinterest Board: Best U.S. Libraries for Genealogy
Thu, 14 November 2013
I was so impresssed with Yngve Nedrebø, the Chief archivist at Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway) who I recently interviewed for the Family Tree Magazine podcast that I'm publishing an extended version of that interview here on the Genealgoy Gems Podcast. This is a "must hear" for those with Norwegian heritage. In this episode you'll also hear from a fellow listener and get a chance to see his family history tour that he created in Google Earth using the techniques I teach in the Google Earth for Genealogy video CD series. And we'll get a taste of the history of coffee.
Linda from Ventura Seminar writes in about her recent success:
“I just loved your presentation Saturday at the Ventura Genealogy Seminar. I learned so much and feel very enthused to really get to work on all this. In fact I was so encouraged I got brave and called a telephone number that I had found for a possible 1st cousin, once removed. And surprise, it was him and we had a lovely 30-minute conversation and I’m going to send him information and he and his wife invited me to Florida to visit!! How about that. It was so exciting, still haven’t gotten over it.”
Linda said that she was encouraged enough to get brave and make that telephone call. That can be a pretty scary thing. We all have things that we need a bit of bravery to do.
And that brings me to an important question that I posed in the most recent edition of the free Genealogy Gems Newsletter.
Having you taken a technological RISK lately?
Eric shares his Google Earth Family History Tour:
After viewing it I couldn't help but wonder if there was video out there. And sure enough I found a few. I'm sure there are more with potential:
YouTube video update: If you’ve had trouble embedding videos recently in your own family history tours, or genealogy blog, it's actually YouTube that is causing the problem. If you look closely at the YouTube embed code they are (for some unknown reason) leaving off the "http:" and so the code doesn't work. Copy and paste the embed code into a Google Earth placemark and then correct the URL so it is complete and it will work for you. (Do note though that the person who uploaded the video can opt not to allow it to be embedded. If that's the case, there will be a statement on the video page)
Cameron is Looking for Death Certificates
From Lisa: I ran a quick Google search and found the following on the Emanuel County, Georgia records site:
I would also recommend contacting local historical and genealogical societies. They often have the inside scoop on what's available and how to access it locally. A quick Google search should help you make contact. Run the search in Google Earth and it will plot them out for you on the map!
GEM: Norwegian Genealogy and the National Archives of Norway
One of the shining stars on the Internet that offer rays of research hope for those with Norwegian heritage is the National Archives of Norway’s Digital Archive. Lisa’s special guest: Yngve Nedrebø, Chief archivist at Riksarkivet. http://www.arkivverket.no/eng/Digitalarkivet
GEM: Wartime Coffee Bean Counting
Wed, 9 October 2013
In this episode you will meet other listeners who are getting the word out about their family history through blogging as well as give you some genealogy blogging pointers,and I will introduce you to one of my first “Favorite Genealogy Gems”
Look who I ran into in Detroit: Steve Luxenberg, author of "Annie's Ghosts"
You’ll have around 40 topics to choose from, held mostly in the evening so there will be loads of time to explore the landscape.
My understanding is that this cruise is filling up very quickly so if you’re interested be sure and click the links above for more details.
Evernote is certainly the fastest-growing note-taking technology out there, so it is no wonder that it is incredibly popular with genealogists. But there is so much packed in to it that I notice that many genealogists aren’t taking full advantage. Keep this handy cheat sheet close at hand and you’ll have everything you need.
This four page laminated guide includes:
$8.95 plus shipping. Also available for UK, Canada or Australia shipping
ANCESTRY.COM and FamilySearch recently announced that they have made an agreement to jointly make a billion global records available online over the next five years by digitizing, indexing and publishing the records from the FamilySearch vault. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.
The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.
Daughter Receives WWII Soldier Father's Letter Decades Later - Read the article
Watch the Video:
In this episode we celebrate listeners who are sharing their family history through blogging:
New Blogger Keith is a Son of a Swift
I have run a personal family history site for the past five years and now, based on your advice, launched my own genealogy blog. I already had a tumblr account, so I started sonofswift.tumblr.com (Son of Swift is a translation of my name from the original Gaelic, O'Seibhleain). Thanks for the great idea and I will continue to listen as I conduct my research into the future.”
Chris is Now Blogging
Follow up from Chris:
“After getting my feet wet, I decided to join GENEABLOGGERS network at www.geneabloggers.com . Wow. My first goal was realized just after that. I found another blogger who is a "double cousin" through two different branches of my family. Thanks so much for your advice.”
Margaret is on a Family Album Journey
Wayne Uses Blogging to Discover Genealogy
Premium Member Sandy is Digging into her Family Roots
Steve is Poking Around the Past
From Gloria who describes herself as “A Die Hard Fan”
Lisa’s Blogging Tips
Give your readers an easy way to subscribe by email
Instructions for Subscribing to a blog via email: (feel free to add these to your blog)
Let your readers know that the service is available to them by adding a Text Widget to the side bar of your blog with the above instructions and a link to Blogtrottr.
Try assigning themes to your blogging days. It can help you get a jump start on writing, as well as help you determine which areas are your favorites that you may want to focus on my more in the future as your “niche.”
Check out Geneabloggers at www.Genealogybloggers.com for genealogy blogging support and theme ideas.
Break up long posts into several posts. They are easier for you to publish, and easier for your readers to consume.
Collect blogging ideas in Evernote. Set up a notebook called “Blogging Ideas” and tags for your various subject areas such as:
Learn everything you need to know about using Evernote for genealogy by becoming a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. In addition to over 100 exclusive Premium episodes, membership includes my one hour Evernote class video, and the Evernote instructional mini-series.
Get the Evernote for Windows for Genealogists Quick Reference Guide in the Genealogy Gems Store
GEM: Lisa’s Favorite Genealogy Gems (Just in time for Christmas!): Espy Frames by Jen Garrett
As I get older, I find myself tiring of the same old gift giving every year. You know how it is – we all have too much stuff, and what we become more and more interested in is that which will last, and have a lasting impression on our family and those we love.
So as I travel throughout the year I keep my eyes peeled for things that really stand out – items that are truly Genealogy Gems. Wonderful products that I want for my own home and family, and ones I think that you will appreciate and enjoy as well. So I’ve decided that Lisa is going to have her Favorite Genealogy Gems. And the first one that I want to introduce you to today are Espy Frames by Jen Garrett.
I will never forget taking my annual walk through the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference exhibit hall this last year. I really didn’t expect to see anything earth shattering or new. But when I reached the end of the first row and turned the corner I was instantly mesmerized by what I saw.
Laid out across a long table, and hanging on the walls behind it were the more glorious and spectacular frames I had ever seen. Most were large thick frames around mirrors, but a few encompassed vintage photos. But they had three very important things in common. They all were dripping with vintage gems, jewels, charms, buttons and antiques. They were all one-of-a-kind pieces of art, and each one told a very unique story. Oh, and they had one more important thing in common. They were all created by Jen Garrett.
In this gem segment of the podcast I want to introduce you to Jen. She is a very special lady, which an incredible talent for story telling through these incredible art frames. I hope you come away with is that there are new and creative ways to help tell you ancestors story.
(image above: Jen's barn workshop)
I have a very special hand tinted photo from the 1930s of my beloved Grandma Alfreda Burkett in her nursing cap, taken the day she graduated from nursing school. She looks so young, and beautiful and full of excitement for her new career, which would last for over 50 years. I’ve waited to hang that photo in my home because I knew it deserved a special frame, and I’ve just never found one that did it justice. The frame that I bought that day, absolutely does it justice. It’s covered in vintage items from that era, all with a medical theme.
Exclusive Collection Hand Selected by Lisa
Jen’s frames are an investment well worth making. And if you would like to acquire one of these very special frames you will find an exclusive collection now in the Genealogy Gems website store, just in time for the holidays.
I have personally selected these frames and they are all truly incredible works of art!
Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing a frame, may I encourage you to just go and window shop. You’ll be inspired. And once a frame I this collection has been purchased it’s gone forever, because they really are one-of-a-kind.
Be sure to click on them to see the enlarged view. The photos don’t do the frames justice, but the larger images will give you a taste of all of the incredible and intricate details in them. On a PC you can hold the Control key and plus the plus key (+) to zoom in even further. Enjoy!
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