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 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.
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.