“The Descendants” and Family History

Last week I had the privilege of promoting of the DVD/Blu-Ray release of “The Descendants” starring George Clooney. It is a movie that has a thread of family history that connects the ancestors of the past with the future descendants of the King family. There is another story that brings it all together. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.

My promotional tour began with an interview by Matthew Wright of the National Post. On Monday morning it was Sun News Network with Alex Mihailovich. On Wednesday I was at CHCH television in Hamilton with Bob Cowan and on Friday it was Rogers TV Daytime Peel series with Brigitte Truong and Jason Marshall.

The process was fun and it was great to see how many people were interested in their family history.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The findmypast.ie blog had a post called “The Quagmire of Administrative Districts – Part 2” which looks at Irish Poor Law Unions, Dispensary districts and Registrars’ Districts.

The Family Recorder blog had a post called “Tuesday’s tip – using the London Gazette” which reminds us of the usefulness of this free resource.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has been very busy this week. They wrote a post called “Monumental Roadshow for grass-roots heritage” which is about the Historic Graves Roadshow providing educational workshops to local communities to help preserve the grave markers in local cemeteries. I think something like that would be a wonderful resource to any community in the world.

They also looked at “Ireland Inspires campaign launched” which is a project of the Federation of Irish Societies in the UK. It is “an umbrella organization for Irish groups in the UK.” This campaign is being launched in conjunction with the Olympics and it is promoting Irish culture.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has another post called “How to kill off goodwill, in one easy lesson.” This refers to the changes at RootsIreland regarding their fee structure and the new charges for search results. Chris Paton of British GENES also has a post regarding this issued called “Adding to the RootsIreland chorus.”

The ActiveHistory.ca blog has a post entitled “Illusionary Order: Cautionary Notes for Online Newspapers” which provides very important information regarding index searches in online newspaper databases. I would recommend reading this post before you do your next online newspaper database search.

The last blog post is a wonderful reminder from Library and Archives Canada called “1921 Census countdown!” The 1921 Canadian census will be given to LAC on 1 June 2013 and it is their intention to put it online as they have other census records. This will probably take a couple of years but at least it is closer. This was the first census taken after the First World War.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Have You Visited FamilySearch Lately?

FamilySearch is more than an online database of records. You can find information on almost anything to do with genealogy. When you arrive on the FamilySearch home page you are greeted with a search form and along the right side of the page are links that might be of interest. At the time of writing this post these included the 1940 US Federal Census and Black History Month. You will find a link to “Go to the previous site” which takes you back to the old FamilySearch website. At the top of the items on the right hand side of the website is What’s New? This takes you to the FamilySearch blog.

Across the top of the home page of FamilySearch are three tabs: Records, Trees, Catalog and Books. When you click on Records you stay on the home page. Trees take you to the page to contribute your family tree to the FamilySearch community. Catalog takes you to the Family History Library Catalog. This takes you to the new version of the catalog which is still in beta and they provide a link to the old version of the catalog.

The final tab is Books which takes you to Family History Books a digitized collection of books that relate to family histories, local histories, how-to books, magazines, periodicals, medieval books and gazetteers. The books come from the genealogical collections of seven different libraries. The site is still in beta.

You might think this was all you could find at FamilySearch but higher still on the home page are a few more tabs. If you click on Learn it will take you to a wonderful world of information. Here you will find links to the Wiki, Research Courses and Discussion Forums.

I have looked at the FamilySearch Wiki in a previous post so will not cover it again here but what I will say is if you have a question about research and records available I would search the Wiki.

When you click on Research Courses you are taken to the Learning Centre. Here you will find videos of varying lengths that provide a look at the records and what you will find in them. The levels go from beginner to advanced and you can find something for 21 different countries or areas such as Latin America. The formats are audio, interactive slides, video and slides, and video. Some of the lessons are offered in thirteen different languages. If you have 6 or 60 minutes you will find something here to help you with your research. I have looked at the courses in a previous post.

The last item under Learn is Discussion Forums. Here you can ask questions about your research, records, locations or anything else related to your genealogy. If you need help with the FamilySearch websites this is the place to go to ask your questions. You need to sign up for an account but that is an easy process.

Not sure where the local Family History Centre is in your area? Then you can search their database to find the one nearest you.

Want to help by indexing some of the records? You can find out more at Worldwide Indexing. They have a two minute test drive to show you how easy it is to index the records.

If you go to the very bottom of the FamilySearch homepage and under the title General you will find a link to Labs. Here you will find a showcase of technologies that the FamilySearch team are working on but are not ready to put into “prime time” as they say. They list current projects and past projects.

One of their current projects is a very useful item if you are doing English research. It is the England Jurisdictions 1851 map. I have looked at this resource in a previous post.

Another useful find under Current Projects is TechTips. This is a wonderful resource for tips to help you with the quickly changing and evolving technology. It is worth having it on your RSS feed.

Standard Finder “provides access to standardized information for names, locations and dates.” FamilySearch is beginning the process of standardizing all these items in their databases and across their website.

They have a new current project called Fresh to help those who have never done family history research. More information is expected in the next few days.

If you thought FamilySearch was used only to search databases think again. Why not go in this weekend and have some fun? You never know what you might learn.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Join us in 2013 Touring the Research Trail in Dublin!

Have you ever wanted to travel to Dublin to research your Irish family history?

Wish you had someone who could help you prepare and go with you to the local repositories?

I will be taking a group of researchers to Dublin Ireland to do their family history research from February 26 to March 6, 2013.

Space is limited to 7 so sign up now to avoid disappointment!

Please download the brochure for more information.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Genealogical Research and the Wiki

The wiki is a useful tool for genealogists to have in their bookmarks tool box. What is a wiki? According to google.com a wiki is “a web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.”

The most well known wiki is Wikipedia. On this wiki you can find information about countries, provinces, states, counties, towns and villages. You can also find information about churches and other organizations to be found in the area you are researching. Many people have started a wiki page about their ancestors.

FamilySearch has a wiki which is a wealth of information. There were 66,570 articles at the time this post was written. If you are trying to learn more about things such as Methodist church records in Ireland there is a page that can help you. They provide links to websites that can provide more information. They also provide the steps to search the Family History Library catalogue to see what records are available.

There is a tutorial at FamilySearch to help you use the wiki and start your own wiki page. It is called Help: Tour. You can learn to contribute to the wiki, store information on the wiki and research your family history on the wiki.

Ancestry.com has a wiki that has four kinds of content: “The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy,” “Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources,” “Other great Ancestry.com content” and “Content added by you.” They have a list of pages that they would like to have added to the wiki and are asking for contributors to start these pages.

My Heritage has a wiki called My Ancestry Wiki which is based on the family tree. You either upload your own or join one that is already started. You can invite family members to go in and update and add new information.

The wiki’s that would be most useful to the researcher at the moment are the FamilySearch Wiki and Wikipedia. The other wiki’s are a work in progress and tend to be very specific in the areas of coverage.

Wiki’s are a great tool but you must use them carefully and double check all the information you find. Check the sources for the pages to see where the information originated.

If there is a subject you are very well versed in then consider creating your own page on a wiki.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Clare Santry of Irish Genealogy News had a post called “Where there’s a will…” where she talks about the National Archives of Ireland catalogue and “the Calendars of grants of probate of wills and letters of administration from 1858-1982.”

Chris Paton of the British GENES blog had two posts connected to Clare’s on the Irish wills calendars. The first is “Southern Irish wills calendars to go online” where he shares his difficulties finding the will calendars. He then wrote a second post called “Southern Irish probate calendars – direct links” where he makes it easy for the rest of us to find the catalogue references. The links are all PDF files. Thanks Chris!

He also had a post called “Belfast Newsletter released on Ancestry” where he looks at the Belfast Newsletter, 1738-1925 Ancestry release and other options for finding the Belfast Newsletter online.

Marian’s Roots & Rambles had a post this week called “Not All PDFs are Alike” which reminds us to look closely at the digital images we are searching to make sure we understand how it was created, how long ago it was created and what software was used to create it. Then what happens when you find errors in these records.

The National Library of Ireland blog had a post called “History as the Sum of Our Stories.” They are promoting the Europeana 1914-1918 project. They are going to local areas in Europe and “digitizing pictures, letters, memories for the 100th anniversary.” The author of the post, Avice-Claire McGovern, shared her own family history with regards to the First World War.

The Irish Story blog had a post called “When Aungier Street became the Dardanelles” – Interview with James Durney.” They interview James Durney about an article he wrote in the Irish Sword journal of Irish military history. It is about “…the experience of a street in Dublin, nicknamed, “the Dardanelles” by British troops during the Irish War for Independence.”

The Ancestry.com blog had a post called “These Families We Inherit” which is a post about the author of The Descendants Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Now for a little shameless self promotion, this morning I was interviewed on SunTV about family history. This is to help promote the release of The Descendants starring George Clooney on DVD and Blu-ray. It is a great movie and I would recommend it.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Claire Santry of Irish Genealogy News had the best news this week with a post called “1926 Census gets green light.” This is an important census as it is the first one done under home rule and the first census since 1911 as the 1921 census was cancelled.

She had a post called “New social and historical topics on AskAboutIreland.” Askaboutireland has added new information regarding Irish cooking, farming and arts and literature.

The ACPL blog had a great post called “10 Tips for Researching at ACPL” which is a good resource for anyone going to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre in Fort Wayne Indiana.

The NLI blog had a post called “Newspaper Descriptors Project” which describes the latest project of the National Library of Ireland and Newspaper & Periodical History Forum of Ireland. They are providing short descriptors for the newspaper titles in the National Library’s newspaper database. This information will be invaluable to anyone using the newspaper database.

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has a post called “Individual RootsTech 2012 Videos Available Now” where he provides a list of the talks that are now available.

Chris Paton of British GENES (British Genealogy News and Events) has a post called “First WDYTYA Live talk goes online.” The Society of Genealogists is putting recordings of talks given at their workshops online.

The ActiveHistory.ca blog had an interesting post called “History vs. Geography and Sourcemap.com” which looks at the importance of geography to history. He looks at blending geography and history using sourcemap.com.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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366 Days of Genealogy – February

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and February’s was maps. You will get bonus posts relating to the theme but only on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page these will not be posted on the monthly blog review.

February 1

Do you have a file containing maps for each family group representing each place the family lived? Write down the place names where your family lived. Include the parishes, civil districts, ecclesiastical districts, town, townland, township, city, county, province, state, and country.

February 2

Draw a map for each jurisdiction found in the area where your family lived. You can draw the maps on a single page and use different coloured pencils to differentiate the jurisdictions. On the side create an index to show the jurisdiction each colour represents.

February 3

You have created a map for a specific place where your ancestors have lived. Now write a list of the names for jurisdictions surrounding the place where your ancestors lived.

February 4

Draw a map for the surrounding jurisdictions that relate to the place where your ancestors lived.

February 5

You have created two maps to be used as a resource to help you with your research. Now go and see what records are available for each jurisdiction and look at each level.

February 6

Add your maps and record lists to your research plan as references to help you while you are doing research.

February 7

Do you have printed maps of the areas in which your ancestors lived? Buying an old map can be a useful tool in your research since the boundaries could have changed over the years.

February 8

Look at the areas where your ancestors lived on a modern day map. Google maps are a good resource for this as you can see what the area looks like today. Don’t forget that some road names and house numbers could have changed over the years.

February 9

If you have English ancestors then check out the England Jurisdictions 1851 map at FamilySearch. You can narrow the search down to a town or parish. You can take the search further to see the different jurisdictions related to a parish. Then you can see if there are any church records available through the Family History Library.

February 10

Have you tried Ancestral Atlas? You can sign up for free and can upgrade to a subscription for £20.00. Users add family history events to the map. You can attach your family information to a place where it happened and decide to share it or keep it private. If you find a pin in an area of interest then click on it to see who else has added information. This covers the world and you never know what you may find.

February 11

If you have Irish ancestors then check out Ordnance Survey Ireland. You can browse their maps or look at a PDF version of Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary. There are two series of maps which date from 1837-1842 and 1888-1913. You can browse the maps online or you can purchase them.

February 12

You can find Irish County Maps at the London Ancestor website. They also have maps for London, England, Scotland and Wales.

February 13

Looking for maps of Scotland? Then check out The National Library of Scotland website. They have maps ranging from 1538 through to the modern day.

February 14

There is a Gazetteer for Scotland online and you can find details of towns and villages throughout Scotland.

February 15

If you have ancestors that are from Canada or some who passed through you can find some maps at The Atlas of Canada website. There is a link to historical maps.

February 16

The National Archives of England have a website called Labs where you will find links to the Valuation Office Map Finder and the Doomsday map which allows you to search for some of the places mentioned in the Doomsday book.

February 17

If you are looking for maps of the United States of America there is a site called Atlas of Historical County Boundaries that could be useful.

February 18

Another source for maps for the United States is the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. They have a collection of maps that are available online.

February 19

A resource for world maps is The Map as History website.

February 20

Maps are a great resource to help you figure out the migration pattern of your ancestors. The New World Encyclopedia has a section on Human Migration that is interesting.

February 21

If you have connections to Australia the National Library of Australia has an online digitized map collection.

February 22

Those with New Zealand connections may want to check out the digitized map collection at Christchurch City Libraries.

February 23

Christchurch City Libraries also have an online collection of digitized maps from around the world.

February 24

For those who have a military ancestor and are interested in find out more about where they fought then a battlefield map would be the place to start. You can find a World War II Military Situation Map for Western Europe at the Library of Congress American Memory Project website.

February 25

Do you have an ANZAC in your family? Then check out the Mapping Gallipoli page on the Australian War Memorial website.

February 26

Firstworldwar.com has a collection of battlefield maps and others that cover all the countries affected by the First World War. It is a good site to find out more about the First World War.

February 27

To learn about reading maps you can read the about.com guide to map reading or download a PDF file of “Map Reading Guide: How to Use Topographical Maps.” I recommend downloading the PDF file as it is easy to understand and covers most points.

February 28

You can find a broad range of historic maps at the British Library website.

February 29

For more links check out Cyndi’s List “Maps & Geography.”

To get a new tip each day all you have to do is “Like” Blair Archival Research.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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