June 2012

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.

There is an ongoing project called Mapping Memories to Women in Scotland. Their goal is to record all the memorials throughout the whole of Scotland that remember the achievements and lives of Scottish women.

There is a map that shows the memorials that have been found so far and an A-Z list of the women who have been found.

They are asking for help in finding out more about some of the women listed on the memorials. There is a project with Girlguiding Scotland to see if they can help add to the database.

Maybe one of them is your ancestor? Maybe you can help them find out more.

If you would like to assist the project you can find out more here.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

British GENES blog has two posts of interest this week. The first is “ScotlandsPeople reduces wills and testaments charge.” This is great news for those of us with ancestors from Scotland. Look for your Scottish lady ancestors as well and don’t forget to check under their maiden and married surnames.

The other post is called “GRO Northern Ireland to set up genealogy records site.” This is more good news for those with ancestors from Northern Ireland. Let’s hope the project is completed sooner rather than later.

I love Kerry Scott’s blog posts. She has been absent lately because life happens. She answers her email questions in a post called “In Which I Answer Your Email. Yes, Yours.” Kerry does it again with this very funny post. Considering how much has been going on in Kerry’s life lately I am surprised she found time to write the post but glad she did. Get well soon Kerry!

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

May 1

May’s topic is oral history and interviews. It is important to talk to those family members who remember farther back than you do. They may know something you don’t and during a chat may reveal a tidbit that only they know.

May 2

Don’t push the person you are interviewing to answer a question. Sometimes there might be a secret that they don’t want to divulge. It might be something that you don’t see as scandalous but they do.

May 3

A book that I have found useful is “How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies Recording Your Family’s Life Story in Sound and Sight” by Bill Zimmerman. It was published for the first time in 1979 and I have a reprint from 1992. They talk about using camcorders and audio tapes but you can update those to digital audio recorders, pocket camcorders and smart phones.

May 4

You can find an online step-by-step guide to oral history here.

May 5

Make a list of family members that you would like to interview and the reason why you want to interview them. While compiling this list you may come up with the names of others you would like to interview.

May 6

Create a list of open ended questions that will help you discover more about your family history. Don’t be too specific with your questions. Sometimes a more general question can bring forth more information.

May 7

You may have to do the interview over several visits. You might have to spread them out and not do them on consecutive days.

May 8

It is always nice to bring a little something as a thank you. When I did interviews on the history of Trafalgar Township I brought everyone a small bag of homemade shortbread. It was something that didn’t take much time and was appreciated. You are showing you appreciate them taking time to talk to you.

May 9

If you have pictures or other memorabilia relating to the family bring it along to help the conversation. Sometimes a picture can jog a memory and then the conversation can go in a different direction and provide you with information you didn’t know about.

May 10

When you confirm the date of the interview you can mention some of the topics that you are interested in learning more about so that they can think about it before you arrive.

May 11

Texas A&M have a web page called “Oral History: Techniques and Questions” which provides a starting point.

May 12

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has an interviewing guide in PDF that you can download.

May 13

Discover Nikkei “Japanese Migrants and their Descendants” has a web page that provides a guide to doing your own oral history interview. It starts with the equipment and there are videos to help you along. On the right hand side of the page are some interviews you might find interesting.

May 14

When you have finished the interview make a transcription of the audio. It will make it easier to reference in the future.

May 15

Remember to make extra copies of the interview and store them in different places.

May 16

Ask the interviewee if they would like you to give copies of the interview to their children. They might appreciate it.

May 17

Don’t put the interview online without the express permission of the interviewee. They may not want their interview made public.

May 18

Tell the person you are interviewing what you want to do with the information they share with you.

May 19

You may find they will talk to you but do not want to be recorded in any way. You will have to do it the old fashioned way and take notes.

May 20

You may want to ask the person you interviewed if they would permit you to share their interview with the local history society in the place where they grew up. This is the sort of thing that local history societies love to have in their collections as it provides first hand accounts of life in their town.

May 21

When you are researching your family history think about sourcing oral histories to help you with background research.

May 22

The local historical society may have recorded or have transcriptions of interviews with life time residents of the town where your family lived. They may mention your ancestor and will provide wonderful background information you can use in your family history.

May 23

Oral history recordings of war veterans provide you with an idea of what your ancestor might have gone through during war time, especially if it was someone who was fighting on the same battlefield.

May 24

Don’t just think about the oral histories of war veterans that fought on the side of your ancestor also think about those who fought on the other side. This could provide a new dimension to your family history.

May 25

Oral history is not only something that you can do with regards to your own personal family history. You could interview war veterans and share the interview with people on the many websites where you can listen to war veteran interviews. Library and Archives Canada have audio interviews with First World War veterans on their website.

May 26

You could volunteer at your local historical society to interview people who have spent a life time in your town. It might not have any connection to your family history but you will learn something new about where you currently live.

May 27

While you are thinking about gathering oral histories from other people please don’t forget about your own oral history. What a wonderful legacy to leave your family.

May 28

Creating your own oral history is easy as you know what questions you will answer and you can create a script before you start the camera or digital recorder. You could use pictures and memorabilia on screen or scan them and create a multi media presentation.

May 29

If you want to take it further there are Oral History Associations you can join to learn more.

May 30

If you do not want to do it yourself there are people who do it professionally. The Association of Personal Historians can provide you with more information.

May 31

Are there people you want to interview in your family? Don’t put it off, start today.

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

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Irish Genealogy News had two interesting posts this past week. The first is “Images of Belfast burial records now available.” There are about 360,000 records for Belfast City Cemetery; Dundonald Cemetery; and Roselawn Cemetery.

The second is “Ill-conceived” merger attracts more criticism” which looks at the proposal to merge the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland.

The 16th of June is Bloomsday in Dublin. There are celebrations and events relating to James Joyce’s book “Ulysses.” The National Library of Ireland blog has a post called “Joyce Manuscripts Online – Beta but Beautiful.” I haven’t had a chance to go in and look at them yet. It took me three months but I read “Ulysses” and am very glad I did. It was a challenging but wonderful experience.

Anglo-Celtic Connections has a post called “Blame, or credit, the ancestors” which looks at “Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses.” You need to read the post to find out more. It is an interesting theory and I can see instances of it in my own family history.

Since the 1000 days of remembrance of the War of 1812 began this week there is an interesting post from ActiveHistory.ca called “Podcast: “Whose War Was It, Anyway?” A Roundtable Discussion on the War of 1812.” If you are stuck inside with the heat, humidity and smog this might be a way of spending some of your time.

I enjoy the National Archives of England blog and this week it didn’t disappoint. They had a post called “A challenge and a solution” where they look at the photographic projects they are working on in the Collection Care studio. This is what an archives blog needs to be. They don’t only tell you stories regarding their collections; they also walk you through the process of conservancy and sorting their collections. This blog truly helps you understand what an archive does and the importance of supporting all that they do to preserve our history.

Marian’s Roots & Rambles has a post this week that says “Seriously, Not Everything is Online.” Everyone needs to remember that you cannot find everything online. I heard a statistic that said less than 1% of the information genealogists access is actually found online. The internet is a wonderful tool but not the only stop in your research process.

Find My Scottish Ancestors is starting a “(semi) regular” series on unusual words that they have come across during their research. The first post is “Old Scots Words – Afaldly or Afauldly.” I am looking forward to more of these posts.

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

Maps are a very important tool when you are doing your family history research. It is important to know the area where your ancestors lived, what the land looked like, the other towns in the area, the ease of migration and other items.

Today you can find many maps digitized and online. Two sites that have some good maps for Australia are the National Library of Australia and a website called Map History/History of Cartography.

The National Library of Australia website says you can find “200,000 post-1900 Australian topographic maps” and “800,000 areal photographs of Australia” as well as street directories, atlases and gazetteers. Their “collection includes over 600,000 maps, from early European charts to current mapping of Australia…”

The maps are not just for Australia you can find maps from around the world. Their decade lists goes from 1000 to 2010. The number of NLA digitized material is 14,698.

The Map History website has maps from around the world and a large collection for Australia. They provide a one line description beside each link that provides information about the maps details.

If you already use maps then these sites could provide you with more resources. If you haven’t used maps before then go in and find a map that relates to the area where your ancestors lived. You might be surprised what you find.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Library and Archives Canada is in crisis. There have been many reports about the massive cutbacks and the decimation of our National Heritage.

Our National Family Record Keeper is a bureaucrat and not a librarian or archivist. A bureaucrat is the member of the family who tosses all the paper and photographs from a family member’s estate into the garbage because they don’t understand what they have in their possession.

The Harper government has no concern about public opinion. They have been given their mandate with the majority government and now they are going to do what they want. It is fairly typical of any majority government.

There have been cut backs before for Library and Archives Canada but this time there seems to be a blatant disregard for the preservation of our Nation’s history.

In five years we will be celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial and there is a project called “Canada 150” to help preserve the stories of families, communities, associations, churches and any number of other entities in this country.

Where are people going to do their research for these projects if they do not have access to Library and Archives Canada? The records are not all held locally.

Local archives, museums and libraries are in difficulty because of the cutbacks. Some will probably end up closing their doors. If they do where do their collections end up? Will the collections be able to go to Library and Archives Canada? Will they have the personnel and expertise to deal with the influx of material?

While attending a lecture this weekend the presenter said something rather prophetic. He said that not even our children’s children will see everything digitized and online in their lifetime. We still have a need for libraries, archives, museums and historical societies to preserve and protect our historical data.

If Library and Archives Canada is only to preserve the information relating to the Government of Canada and not for the people of Canada then it needs to be renamed Library and Archives for the Government of Canada.

Please let your voice be heard.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Save Library & Archives Canada

Send a Letter to Help Save Library & Archives Canada

Daniel Caron letter in Canada’s History Magazine

Saving Library and Archives Canada

The Wrecking of Canada’s Library and Archives

Cutbacks At Library And Archives Canada

Saskatchewan Archives cuts

Nanaimo archives in crisis after feds cut grants

Harper’s Assault on the Past

Cuts to Canadian archives suit the Harper Tories in more ways than one

Why Did Harper Cut Canada’s Library and Archives

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The National Archives UK blog had a post called “Dastardly Digital Dilemmas: 3) Telling Stories” which looks at the fact that the digital age can mean no written notes on documents. These written notes sometimes provide more information than just the document themselves.

The Family History Writing blog had a post called “The Record Keeper.” Anyone who does family history would be considered the family record keeper. This is a story about one such person and their adventures in preserving family records.

Brenda Dougall Merriman’s blog has a post this week called “The Power of the Record” where she is lamenting the lack of support from genealogy societies and groups in Canada to the decimation of Library and Archives Canada.

Canada is not the only country whose national institutions are in crisis. Ireland is having a similar problem. The Irish Genealogy News blog posted a press release from the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland called “APGI: Ireland’s cultural institutions are in crisis.

The one glimmer of good news in Ireland was that Eneclann and a partner have taken over the genealogy services at the National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland.

I would like to congratulation the other bloggers who were mentioned in the Family Tree Magazine “Around the World in 40 Blogs” article, in particular Family History Across the Seas and British & Irish Genealogy. These are two blogs that I follow and enjoy reading.

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

The Passionate Genealogist has been included in Family Tree Magazine’s “ Around the World in 40 Blogs.”

It is an honour to be included with so many wonderful bloggers.

The Passionate Genealogist is under the heading “Winding Roads” which includes blogs that “wander through several countries as they follow a family’s journeys.”

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

On the Linen Hall website there a section called “Unearthing Hidden Treasures in the Linen Hall Library.” The Linen Hall library is starting to digitize some of their collection and they have put a few items online. These items are not going to help the average Irish genealogist but they are interesting.

One of the items is “Poems in the Scottish Dialect” by Robert Burns printed in 1787. You can also find a “Contemporary account of the Battle of the Boyne” from the London Gazette published in July 1690.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Have you heard of the Archives & Records Association UK & Ireland? They have a website called Learn About Archives. Across the top of the page there are eight tabs.

The first tab is Home but the next tab is Archives Services and here you will find a directory of over 80 archive services. They say that shortly you will be able to download a PDF file and you can find a Google map to show you where the archives are located. Each week they highlight a particular archive.

In the directory you will find a map, contact information such as address, phone number, contact person and email and website addresses. You will find directions and hours of operation. There is usually a description of the records that are held at the archives.

You will find information on archives in all of the 32 counties of Ireland.

The next tab is Learn and here you have the choice of What are Archives?, Beginning Your Research, Visiting an Archives Service, Sources, Guidelines and Conservation. Click on any of these links to learn more.

Documents are next and here you will find topics such as: Guinness, Famine, Census, Photographs, Women, Politics, Letters & Diaries, Maps & Plans and Military. Click on any of these links and you will find digital examples of these resources.

News provides links to the news of the archives in Ireland, the Events tab promotes the exhibitions of various archives around the country and about us is self explanatory. The last tab is Links and here you can find links to all sorts of resources.

One of the links is to the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Archive Collections.

There are four resource areas at the bottom of the page: Descriptive Guidelines, Documents, IAR (Irish Archives Resource) and Exhibitions. In previous posts I have written about the Irish Archives Resource so I won’t be looking at IAR in this post.

The Guidelines link takes you to a page which provides the Irish Guidelines for Archival Description and you can read the Archives and Records Association of Ireland’s newsletter.

The Documents link takes you to the same page as the Documents tab at the top of the home page.

The Exhibitions link takes you to Flickr and an assortment of photographs and digital images.

This website is a place to learn about some of the lesser known archives to be found in Ireland. It is also a place to keep up to date with new developments regarding Irish archives. If you are looking for a record that you can’t find in the usual places see if there is an archive that might hold that elusive item.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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