Donna’s Picks: Week of February 10, 2008

Here are some posts from genealogy blogs that I really enjoyed this week. If you missed any, be sure to visit these sites!

On the UPGS 2008 site, the article “Preparing to visit the FHL” offers some great tips on how to prepare for a visit to the ultimate genealogy library in Salt Lake City. The article was originally written by Paul and Janice Lipinski for the UPGS (United Polish Genealogical Societies) conference two years ago and was updated by Stephen J. Danko for UPGS 2008. If you’re planning on visiting the FHL in Salt Lake City any time soon, this article will help you make the most of your visit. [2/10/08]

Dear Myrtle posted an article about the Last Living US WWI Vet. Following the story about the 107-year-old Frank Buckles, Myrt provides a list of ideas for tracing an ancestor’s WWI military service. [2/11/08]

Craig at GeneaBlogie asks “Who was the first African-American Priest?” The answer isn’t as simple as one might think! Read Craig’s biographical portraits of the two candidates: Father James Healy (1830-1900) and Father Augustine Tolton (1854-1897). [2/12/08]

Before My Time offers a fascinating look at The Great Depression with a first-hand account of what life was like during that hard time. [2/12/08]

Barbara at Our Carroll Family History tells us What’s New with the PA-HR-Access. The group is fighting PA lawmakers to obtain greater access to vital records. [2/12/08]

Check back next week for more of Donna’s Picks!


Donna’s Picks: Week of February 3, 2008

Here are some posts from genealogy blogs that I really enjoyed this week. If you missed any, be sure to visit these sites!

Lee Drew at FamHist writes about several online tools that come in handy for genealogist. “Zoom, Write, and Learn” discusses Google Earth, Live Search Maps, PAF, Google Docs, ZOHO, and Google Books in a short yet informative post. [2/3/08]

Brave New Traveler isn’t a genealogy blog, but one article this week might prove useful to genealogists. “8 Free Online Resources for Learning A New Language” offers a comprehensive look at some language tools. Many genealogists will eventually have to deal with a foreign language. Whether you’re planning a trip back to the homeland or just want to pick out some foreign words, check out these resources. They’re free! [2/4/08]

This isn’t strictly for genealogists either, but since many of the genealogists who visit this site are also bloggers, it may be useful to some. Lorelle on WordPress has a challenge for bloggers on “Testing Your Blog’s Accessibility”. It’s not just about different browsers or operating systems, but also about making your site readable for everyone – “from cell phone access to color blind.” Click on the link to “Views of a Web Page” and learn about how your blog may not look the same to everyone who views it, and find out how to make changes for the better. [2/7/08]

We all seem to have old family photos full of folks we can’t identify, righ? Jasia at Creative Gene takes a rather, er, creative approach and tries “Using Facial Recognition Software in Photo Identification”. Results were mixed, but it’s an interesting approach that I never would have thought of. Maybe it can help point you in the right direction in determining who’s who in your old photos! [2/7/08]

The Polish Genealogy Project posts about a new “Surname Map” site for Poland. I’ve tried this as well as other sites, and it’s a lot of fun. It can even help in your research if your name isn’t very common.  The blurb for the site doesn’t give the directions, so click on the link – next to “Mapa nazwisk” enter a surname and click the “Szukaj” button.  If your name is in Poland (based on what data source and what years, I’m not sure), a map will appear.  I wrote an article on Surname Maps for various countries Family Chronicle last summer, so I’ll try to put a PDF up soon for my visitors who aren’t Polish.  But some of you non-Polish folks might be surprised…at least one non-Polish genea-blogger listed in my Blog Roll comes up on the map!  [2/5/08]

Check back next week for more of Donna’s Picks.  And many thanks to Jessica, Randy, Apple, and Terry for the “link love” they gave “What’s Past is Prologue” this week!

Donna’s Picks: Week of January 27, 2008

Here are some posts from genealogy blogs that I really enjoyed this week.  If you missed any, be sure to visit these sites!

John at Transylvania Dutch has a good article on City Directories including how useful they can be in your research and how to find them. [1/27/08]

In a similar way, Steve highlights Finding Obituaries Online.   Steve lists several online resources as well as the fees to access them.  Now if only of my ancestors actually had obits this would be great! [1/28/08]

Thomas has a wonderfully creative post on genealogical societies vs. stay-at-home genealogists called The Pajama Game: Can a Romance Blossom Between Genealogy Societies and Stay-at-Home Genealogists?  The topic has been discussed recently on several blogs, and Thomas uses the premise of the movie Pajama Game to explore it further.  It’s creative, humorous, and makes some worthwhile points that yes, it is possible for the two groups to co-exist and have a healthy marriage together.  [1/30/08]

Tim reminds us about the value of newspaper articles with Ellis Island Immigration News in 1903.   By using the New York Times archives, he discovered a valuable resource to add perspective to our ancestors journeys. [2/1/08]

After we’ve all been writing about our families in 1908 and 1808, Randy reminds us how to find out what happened on this day, or in that year.  The comments add even more sites to do more of the same and remind us of events that our ancestors experienced in their lives. [1/28/08]

Check back next week for more of Donna’s Picks!

Donna’s Picks: Week of January 20, 2008

Here are some posts from genealogy blogs that I really enjoyed this week.  If you missed any, be sure to visit these sites!

At CreativeGene, there are a series of three posts responding to Lisa’s challenge to write about your ancestors in 1908.  Jasia took the challenge a bit further than the rest of us by providing a great summary of the historical and cultural settings of the areas that were her ancestors’ homes in 1908.  Travel back in time and see a snapshot of Detroit, the Galician Partition of Poland, and the Russian Partition of Poland.  Each post has some great photos – and even videos – that help you imagine life in those areas one hundred years ago. [1/25/08, 1/26/08, 1/27/08]

Craig at GeneaBlogie reviews a genealogy-related book, One Drop by Bliss Broyard.  The book recounts the author’s search for her father’s black roots, which were kept hidden from the family.  Craig writes “One Drop is everything a genealogical narrative ought to be–historical, cultural and personal … In short, every genealogist will find something of interest here.”  Thanks, Craig, for another good book to add to my lengthy reading list! [1/26/08] 

DearMYRTLE writes about “giving it your all” with regard to your genealogical research.  She tells us how to “get real” about our research and offers some pointers on how to do just that. [1/26/08]

FamHist makes my list for the second week in a row with a post entitled “Genealogy – Get Them Interested Young”.  Lee has some great suggestions on getting children interested in their own genealogy based on a genealogy “Merit Badge” offered by the Boy Scouts.  I hope to try a few of these out on my nieces and nephews.  [1/24/08] 

Chris started a new “irregular” feature at the Genealogue this week called “Genealogy Hack” which offers tips to solve specific problems.  His tip on saving Ellis Island images of passenger lists will be handy now that the “function is disabled” on the site!  [1/22/08]

Donna’s Picks: Week of January 13, 2008

Here are some posts from genealogy blogs that I really enjoyed this week.  If you missed any of these posts, be sure to check these out!

From FamHist, Fifty Questions for Family History Interviews provided some great examples of questions we should ask our relatives.  I wish I had asked my grandparents these questions.  And I’m sure my nieces and nephews would love to one day read my parents’ answers when they’re no longer here to tell their stories in person.  While it’s not exactly the Proust Questionnaire, they will certainly get your relatives talking about their own history! [1/17/08]

From Genea-Musings, read Online Research Strategy for Russell Smith. We all have an ancestor like Russell Smith that’s still avoiding being found, and Randy offers a very systematic and methodical approach to using some of the best online sources.  I’ve used most of these myself, but without writing it down in this way who knows what I missed?  Try these thirty-six-plus resources the next time you search for ancestors online.  [1/15/08]

100 Years in America posted Snapshots of the World Back in 1908.  Lisa posed the challenge to other bloggers: Where was your family in 1908?  Twenty-one bloggers responded and wrote about their families and the world in which they lived one hundred years ago.  Read this round-up for links to some intriguing posts.  [1/13/08]

At Tracing the Tribe, Schelly writes about Helene Berr: France’s Anne Frank.  Helene Berr wrote a journal describing life as a Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Paris.  She died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, and her account speaks of both the horrors and the hopes of the time.  I’m looking forward to the English translation – thanks to Schelly for alerting us all to this worthy read. [1/14/08]

And now for something completely different… The Genealogue has returned!  Chris gives us the Top Ten Worst Ways to Begin a Family History.  Don’t try this at home, kids, but do take the time to read this hilarious parody. [1/16/08]

This concludes this week’s edition of “Donna’s Picks” – I hope you’ll like them too.