Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The NLI Blog had a post called Hidden History written by Eimear Walsh a NLI Manuscript Student. She is working on the papers for the Headfort Estate in County Meath. The Taylour family left a lot of material. She found that some letters were written by people who sounded like they were children but were not in Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage. She did a little research and found the answer. She even found a connection to a Governor General of Canada.

Pue’s Occurrences The Irish History Blog had a post entitled Living at the edge of the world by Kevin O’Sullivan. He examines the question how did they live here.

There is a new blog called TheWildGeese.com: Irish Genealogy And Family History which looks like it could be interesting.

Are there any postings in the last week that you think need to be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield Illinois – Part Two

This is my second post on the FGS conference in Springfield Illinois. You can find part one here.

Thursday was a very long day. I was helping out at the booth for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in the marketplace. The marketplace was supposed to open at 10 am but they opened at 9:30 because they just could not wait to get in.

I was able to attend a few lectures during the day and the market place was open until 8 pm. It was great to meet all the different people attending the conference. Some were already students but many became first time students as the National Institute provided a coupon for a free course called “Google for the Wise Genealogist” in the bag given to registrants.

During the day I got to meet many of the bloggers who I read on a daily basis and it was nice to put a person behind the written word. In the evening Geneabloggers held a social evening so I went to that when the marketplace closed. It was a long day but I enjoyed myself.

On Friday I had the opportunity to interview Randy Seaver. He was my premier interview and I will have his interview on this blog in the very near future. Other bloggers I interviewed during the conference were Thomas MacEntee, Gena Philibert Ortega and Lisa Alzo. These interviews will also be put on the blog in the near future.

While working at the booth and doing my interviews I managed to find time to attend a few lectures. Thankfully some of the lectures were recorded so I was able to purchase them.

Saturday was another long day. I finished off my interviews and attended more lectures. The marketplace closed at 5 pm so we packed up and started the drive home. We drove for five hours on Saturday night and then continued the drive home on Sunday.

The conferences are always busy, exciting, eventful and tiring but any time I get to attend a conference I will always say yes. I really enjoy everything to do with a conference from meeting new people, catching up with old friends, learning new things, seeing new places and I usually find something new that increases my passion for genealogy even more.

If you get a chance to attend a conference I would highly recommend it. There is Rootstech in February and the National Genealogical Society is on May 9-12, 2012 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Ontario Genealogical Society Conference is June 1-3, 2012 in Kingston Ontario. Next year’s FGS Conference is in Birmingham Alabama 29th August to 1 September.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield Illinois – Part One

I had the great pleasure to attend the FGS Conference in Springfield Illinois from September 6-10th. I have been playing catch up since I got home so this is a little late. I went down with Louise St. Denis and Susanna de Groot from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

We drove down to Springfield on the Tuesday and arrived just as the blogger reception hosted by FamilySearch began. I had an invitation to this event and was warmly greeted by everyone.

They announced the opening of registration for the Rootstech Conference to be held in Salt Lake City from February 2-4, 2012. You can sign up for early registration here and it costs $129 until November 30th when the price goes up to $189. Rootstech 2012 sounds like it is going to be better than this year.

They have launched a new database for Civil War Era Records.

They also talked about Field Express where they take images from digital cameras and put them straight on the web. These images can be browsed but are not indexed. The turn around time for this is about four weeks but they are trying to streamline it to two weeks.

This type of operation has a lower cost and by putting images directly online means we do not have to wait to have the index created by volunteers before we can view the images.

If you have some spare time you might want to consider volunteering for the FamilySearch indexing project.

FamilySearch are increasing the number of images that are captured in the field. In 2011 they have published nearly ten million and they hope to double this number by the end of the year.

Family History Archives is going to replace the Brigham Young University’s database of genealogy and family history books. It is in beta at the moment and you can access it on the FamilySearch Labs site.

There is a new search engine that is easier to use and more powerful. The site will include all the previously scanned material and will be uploading new and previously unavailable material.

On Wednesday we toured Springfield and visited everything Lincoln. We visited his house, his tomb and the Presidential Museum. The Presidential Museum had a wonderful production highlighting aspects of his life and presidency. The bombs during the Civil War section really made your teeth rattle.

They also had a production that looked at the ghosts that can be found in material held by archives. Unless you go into the archives to search the material these ghosts and their stories will remain forever silent.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

A Must See Resource for Islander Researchers

The Island Archives Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island is a great resource for people with ancestors from the island.

They are digitizing many records and they are being put online.

Island Lives is a collection of PEI’s local histories. You can search by title, people, places and organization name. When you search by people and choose a name then you get a selection of publications where the name is found. You can read online, download or borrow the resource. You are only able to borrow if you live in PEI. You may be able to find the books via Inter Library loan.

Island Newspapers are endeavoring to develop a collection of PEI historic newspapers. The newspapers available will eventually date back to the early 1800s. You can view The Guardian (1880-1921), The Cadre (1969-) and The Sun (1977-). This is a work in progress.

Island Voices is an oral history audio archive that has been created by Reg “Dutch” Thompson a well known historian. The archives mostly cover the 1920s thorough the 1940s. They have a User Guide to help you search and use the database.

Island Stories is still a work in progress and not searchable. They are going to help the community to preserve any archival material that they may have and make it available to others.

Island Images is described as “the most complete collection of visuals by Islanders, and about Islanders. Drawing from the rich collections of the University of Prince Edward Island” and others. This is not available yet.

Island Imagined is a wonderful collection of PEI maps, atlases and gazetteers. There are approximately 1000 such documents. The maps come from The Prince Edward Island Archives and Public Record Office, the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, and the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island.

These maps are interactive. You have three choices: map overlays, map timeline and island timeline. Map overlays have a choice of four maps and they put the map over a current Google Maps image. Map timeline has a line of years across the bottom and when you click on 1900AD then the maps relating to that time period are presented and you can click on the map to view a description. When you click on the title of the description you get an image of the map which you can manipulate to zoom in or out.

Island timeline is an Island history timeline. You click on a time period and a group of selections appear on the timeline. If you click one of them you get a description of an event that happened. You can not click on the titles to find out more. This is a great resource to put flesh on the bones of your family history.

There is a section called Learn More and here you can find FAQ, learning guides, working with maps, articles and online books. Eventually you will also be able to access lesson plans.

Other Collections details and links to other resources. University of PEI provides descriptions and links to archival material relating to the University. There is also a link to Digital Herbarium where they are digitizing and providing access to plant specimens collected at the University since the 1960s. There are nearly 2000 specimens.

If you have people from the Island then this is the place to go to find out more.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The Future of Handwriting

CBS Sunday Morning had a piece on September 18th called “Is penmanship being written off? “ It was a repeat of a piece that was first broadcast 23 January 2011 called “A Farewell to Handwriting?

It examines the history of handwriting and looks at graphology which I wrote about in a previous post.

Today’s technology could mean that future generations are probably not going to have the ephemera of past generations. How many of us actually print off emails and other correspondence? Even if it is printed off how long can it last before it starts to fade? Will future generations have the excitement of finding a letter written by an ancestor 200 years before they were born?

The written word has changed so much since the introduction of the printing press. Is there going to be a time when we won’t even need to know how to write with pen and paper?

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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