Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Excuses For Knowledge Are Gone With The Wind

There was a time in the genealogy field when gaining new knowledge for me was limited to the books I could purchase, from attending an annual day long conference in the area, or by trial and error. The cost of going to Salt Lake City was beyond and still is my reach as well as so many of these amazing conferences held in areas like California, Arizona, Boston----well you get the idea.

Those days are gone and I am thrilled. I am actually in learning overload and loving it! There really isn't any excuse anymore for me that prevents my ability to gain further skill sets needed to improve my knowledge, assist in breaking through walls, and further round out the story while practicing the new skills.

And the best part? The cost, which involves nothing more than a pad of paper, a pen or pencil, a possible drive down the street, and some time.

Here is a list a recent opportunities as well as upcoming or continued opportunities:

Family Search has an entire learning center called "Research Courses" and its many categories include Research Principles & Tools (Descendancy Research, Inferential Genealogy, Using Research Logs, using different online databases, as well as other strategies), Reading Handwritten Records, USA Research (census, military, Colonial, Native American are among the list), Foreign Country Research (England, German, Spanish, Ireland, Italy, Russia, New Zealand, and Poland) as well as areas for Professional Genealogists. These are videos, many which include a handout to assist in the process.

Legacy Family Tree has a series of webinars that are excellent and well done. I have attended several and there are some worthy of thought upcoming including "More Blogging for Beginners" by DearMYRTLE scheduled for Wednesday, March 2nd, and "Building a Research Toolbox" by Thomas MacEntee  scheduled for Wednesday, April, 6th. What I appreciate is if I am unable to attend the discussion the webinar remains on Legacy for several weeks for review.

I am going to put in another plug for my nearby libraries as well. I am so impressed with the drive they posses to offer services that keep those of us interested in the historical aspects of our ancestors as well as to learn more about the resources that exist locally .

Willard Library (our local genealogical treasure for me) is the host of "Evansville and the Tri-Sate After the Civil War" to be held on Thursday evening, February 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm. Harold Morgan is a local author that has assembled several books including "Home Town History: The Evansville Indiana Area, A Photo Timeline", and "Home Front Heroes: Evansville and the Tri-Sate in WWII". Harold is an excellent presenter and I am sure there will be a crowd to see how Evansville and the area responded after the Civil War.

Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library is in the midst of a series called "Preserving Our Past" that continues until May the 11th. Upcoming classes include: Maps (learning about our Digital Sanborn and Historic MapWorks collections), Historic Architecture, House Histories (what it is and how it can be used), Local History on Demand (learn about ContentDM), Scanning Documents and Photos, and Textiles.

I know there are other opportunities in each of our communities and online increasing all the time.

Maybe the Jetsons really are on the way! - Personal Genealogy Week 8

What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology do you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid? These are the questions asked this week in "52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy" created by Amy Coffin of We Tree fame and listed each week on Geneabloggers for our enjoyment.

I recently made a list with my teenage daughter about the amount of advances that had come into the world during my lifetime as part of a discussion in which she felt our generation was the best one due to all the "cool things that happened in our era." I was told there would be no new John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the experiences that we went through as this nation grappled with civil rights issues, or the excitement of the first man on the moon. She told me that no sport figure would compare with Michael Jordan, the 95,000 fans that were cheering on the women's soccer team when they won in overtime in the Rose Bowl, etc.

I tried to remind her that in her few years she has seen the revelations of the smartphone into its own little computer, the e-reader, the Ipod, LeBron James, Tiger Woods in his better days, the first African American President, and what the power of the people can do with their actions recently in Egypt, but I am not so sure she is convinced yet. I think time will change her mind.

The technology I have watched through my childhood include:

cell phone as big as a suitcase
Kodak cameras
cable Television (and of course color tv before that)
a dryer that doesn't involve a crank
home computers
8-track, cassette, and CDs and their players
and one of my favorites at the time--------- PONG!!!!!! What could possibly be more exciting than watching a white ball go across a black screen to hit  a white paddle over and over? I can still hear the music! My neighborhood was so excited that my father had brought home that game you would have thought we were royalty. Luckily, Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong came along and took over my heart later. There was nothing like the arcades.

The toys of my adulthood include:

laptop computer
SLR camera
home and portable scanners
big screen television
high speed internet
meals that nearly magically cook themselves (I'm still waiting for the robot, but children do help)
and my trusty GPS that I chose to name Jill

I avoid to the best of my intentions:

the tech guys who choose to live outside the United States and I know much more than I'd like to admit
detailed instructions  (unless it involves anything needing to be assembled- then I am a woman on a mission that no person can keep up with!)

There is so much I could include you would be reading until tomorrow, but that Reader needs to move on, so until next time:

May all your genealogical pursuits be successful!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thankful for Scanfest!- Tombstone Tuesday

In my determination to continue onward with several projects (one which involves putting many family photos- the older the better- into a digital frame for my parents as an anniversary gift) I decided that I couldn't miss the opportunity to participate in Sunday's Scanfest sponsored by Miriam Robbins Midkiff on her blog AnecStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.

Scanfest is typically held the last Sunday of the month, and the future dates (as they stand at this moment) are actually listed on The February 2011 Organization Checklist at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. I would highly recommend taking a look at those lists, even if you have utilized last years' because she revamps them as neeeded,and as we all know, genealogists always need more organizing.

Anyway, Scanfest was fantastic for me on so many levels. I connected with some  new people, have a list of more resources to check, got advice for ways to scan different items such as an old journal and suggestions for documents (the consensus is 300 to 600dpi and always in tif, not jpg, by the way), and just the camaraderie of it all kept me at the scanner the whole time. As a result, a mystery in my family was solved.

My paternal grandparents are buried in a little country cemetery as big as most current families house lots called "Little Prarie" in White County, Illinois. There are few markers in this little place in the middle of nowhere. Bbecause the family was so poor they couldn't afford to engrave the stones and instead attached a metal sign to the front of them.

Over time those signs have gone away, and I have not known which stone representated my grandmother and which was my grandfather-until I happened to find a few photographs among a file that I decided at the last minute to scan.

Even as I placed the photo on the scanner I didn't realize that my answer to the question was in front of me until I got out  my magnifying lupe to see, but now I can proudly place a photo on this blog for Tombstone Tuesday of my paternal grandparents:

Flora Maude McDaniel (left)    Clarence Lemuel Tucker
Little Prarie Cemetery  White County, IL