Friday, March 7, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Lectures: Websites Updated

For those of you who attended RootsTech 2014 I included a website as part of my handouts. I have updated the links on both "Electric FANs" and "Your Portable, Sortable Research Log." Remember, the link, like the handout, is only for attendees, please do NOT share it with non-attendees. You will have to get the URL from your handout.
Any links I wish to share publicly I will place on this blog and you can share those posts (website for lecture attendees only, blog for anyone).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Finding the Neighborhood" lecture guide

Today I'm giving four lectures to the Georgia Genealogical Society about geographic resources for genealogists. That was the seminar topic requested and I interpreted that to mean mapping, neighborhoods, platting, and a hodge podge of other sources (like atlases and gazeteers). The title I've given my four lecture series is "The Neighborhood: Find It, Map It" and the first lecture is "Finding the Neighborhood." Below are the links from the handout and links to the mapping examples.

"Finding the Neighborhood" enumerator's path example

Example 1: Identifying a Census Enumeration Route With Modern Maps
This example comes from a client report where there was no time to hunt up historic maps to find an address listed on the 1930 census. I can usually find time to pop an address into Google Maps (not Google Earth, in this case) and that's what I did. Historic maps may exist, and probably do, for this location but for the point of the example please pretend they aren't accessible, you may run into a similar situation in your research. This was an urban location with standard street numbers and street names. Unfortunately the "street" I was interested in wasn't found in Google Maps. Instead I tried some of the addresses on the streets enumerated before and after. Below are the results (this is not what was supplied to the client, it is an illustration for the lecture, specifically).

"Finding the Neighborhood" township and range example

     This is another example performed for a client. You may find this technique useful if you just want a better idea where your ancestor lived (a specific part of the county or in this case, a specific part of a township and range) when ownership records aren't available, such as with non-land owners. However, for this client the purpose was even more important. The ancestor of interest had not conclusively been identified in pre-1900 records and the surname was somewhat common. Everything used in this mapping example was available online, either through Ancestry.com or for free from other sites.

"Finding the Neighborhood" modern location from Sanborn maps

This third example is not as "research" intensive as the previous township and range example. It can help bring your family history to life by locating an historic residence on modern streets.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Paperless" Step 1: Print to PDF

Yesterday Dick Eastman published an interesting article about going paperless, or more specifically, "paperlite." If you'd love to reduce the paper in your house but aren't sure where to get started I'd really recommend it. It talks about reducing paper in your home, not just in your genealogy life. "Going Nearly Paperless - How to Get Started" is available on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN) website.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bounty Land Warrant Applications: Why Bother?

This post is for those of you who know bounty land warrant (BLW) applications exist and probably even know you should try and get a copy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DAR Library digital camera policy changed

Last week I visited the DAR Library and discovered they had finally changed their digital camera use policy. Previously the use of any digital camera (including cell phone cameras) was forbidden for the purpose of making copies. You may now use a digital camera to make copies in the Library (not Siemes Technology Center*) for a daily use fee. There are some additional rules which are described on the use agreement you will need to sign. Additional photographic equipment (tripod, flash, etc.) are not allowed. Currently the fee is $15. I could not find information on the website about this policy and I was told there hadn't been many people taking advantage of it.
    Previously I was (repeatedly) told the reason cameras were not allowed was fear of a drop in photocopying fees. A usage fee is a good option for any repository to help cover costs and I'm always happy to pay a reasonable usage fee.
     If you wish to use a digital camera to make copies please follow the rules and pay the fee. All repositories have expenses and a drop in income or funding may result in reduction of hours or complete closure. A camera use fee is better than an increase in the entrance fee as you have a choice whether you wish to pay it (I didn't on the day I visited because I only did research in Siemes). Additionally, make sure you follow any guidelines provided by the repository. Most rules are designed to allow everyone to work in the repository under reasonable conditions (i.e. no blinding flash constantly going off next to you), to protect the records, and to follow copyright law.

*You may be allowed to use a camera to copy microfilm however since a camera stand is not allowed, it is faster and you get better results from a photocopy. The exception may be an extremely large record but you'll need an extremely steady hand!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Platting Deeds

Did you see yesterday's post on Upfront with NGS? "Mapping Deeds -- some options for family historians!" caught my eye. I love using maps in genealogy. I'm lucky (for once) because my family mainly lived in parts of Georgia where land was distributed by land lottery. This results in nice square lots (mostly) that are even easier to map or plat than township/range. If you have Georgia ancestors buying or selling land lottery land, you should become familiar with the available online land lottery maps as they simplify platting, enormously. You can see an example of where I identified ancestors land with Google Earth in this post from my personal blog.  That doesn't really help the rest of you working anywhere else!
I was familiar with DeedMapper software although I had not used it. It's low on my list of things to learn given how much I work in Georgia deeds. However, I've started on a project in Pendleton District, South Carolina land which of course involves metes and bounds. This project isn't exactly standard either as the records already show a drawing of the plot, I just need to get them all onto a map!
Yesterday I took a few minutes to try out one of the tools linked in the Upfront with NGS post. The Deed Platter from GenealogyTools.net is free and simple to use. Since I already had a drawing this was a good test to see if the results would match. Below are the original and the results.
1
Nice match. There are two measurements where the number is a little unclear and I could never get the plat to close perfectly but this was an easy way to test out different possibilities for those hard to read numbers. Also, this is just the image result from the Deed Platter. A full page is generated where you can enter notes from the deed you're using as well as the citation. I saved my result to Evernote using Evernote's Web Clipper which worked out great and is one way to have searchable results. This would be one way to manage a project involving multiple plats and the neighbors and associates represented in those deeds.
This tool doesn't help place the plat on a map but it is free. I will hopefully be trying out the software I wasn't familiar with from the Upfront with NGS post, Metes and Bounds.

  1. Pendleton District, South Carolina Commissioner of Locations, Plat Book 3, 1809-1820, p. 114, John Shi[cut-off] (8 January 1814), relapsed to William Adair (25 November 1814), Anderson County Courthouse; FHL film no. 22,853, item 4, Salt Lake City.

Monday, October 7, 2013

From My Archive: A Few Automated Tasks in Word Every Genealogist Should Know

If you use MS Word for genealogy in any form here are few automated tasks you should learn. See the start of this post is you're wondering why this is "From My Archive."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From My Archives: Petty Criminals = Great Research Opportunities

Here's another (still) relevant post from 2009. See yesterday's post for information on "my archives." This used to be my Wednesday theme ("Mid-week Mayhem"). I've done some light editing to shorten the post.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From My Archives: Digital Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

Before J.P. Dondero Genealogy had it's own blog I did a fair amount of posting on my personal blog "Jennifer's Genealogy (a)Musings." Some posts are related to my personal research but some are similar to this blog. Below is a post from 2010 I think provides some (still) relevant information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

JSTOR JPASS Now Available!

If you follow UpFront with NGS you should have already seen their announcement about the JSTOR JPASS. JSTOR has been posting teasers on Facebook but has now finally made individual access available via the JPASS.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Southern Genealogy Society Formed

I just learned of a new genealogical society formed this year, Southern Appalachians Genealogical Association. Their geographic region covers all of my (personal) southern research interests so I'm hoping for great things from their newsletter. You can learn more about them, join, or subscribe to their mailing list on their website, www.sagenealogy.org.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

City Directories: Date Unclear?

City directories are great as way to track a family between census records. Sometimes they can be used to narrow a time frame for events such as death or even marriages or moves. I've often wondered when a city directory was compiled, though. Here's one way to find a clue.

This snippet is from the Providence, Rhode Island newspaper of 9 April 1894.1 At least in this case, the 1894 information should reflect the residents in the early part of 1894.

1"Providence Directory, 1894," The News (Providence, Rhode Island), 9 April 1894, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Google News (http://news.google.com : accessed 10 September 2013).