366 Days of Genealogy – July

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and July’s was Canada. 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.

July 1

Happy Canada Day! Do you have Canadian ancestors? Have you checked the Genealogy and Family History section of the Library and Archives Canada website?

July 2

Did you notice on the Library and Archives Canada website that you can access a large number of databases for free? Some of these databases are also offered on pay per view websites.

July 3

LAC has a list of research aids to assist you with your research.

July 4

Don’t forget to check out the virtual exhibits on the LAC website. You never know what you may find.

July 5

LAC has put several microfilms online that you can browse.

July 6

Each province and territory in Canada is responsible for their own vital statistics. You can find contact information and more on the LAC website.

July 7

If you are looking for someone who lived in Canada circa 1940 then see if you can access a copy of their 1940 National Registration. You will need an address or location of where they lived, proof of death which could be a copy of an obituary and the fee is about $50 CDN. It will take about three months to get the information.

July 8

AMICUS is a good resource to see what might be available at LAC. You can search it for books and newspapers. You can find local histories, church and cemetery indexes, family histories and other items that may help you with your search.

July 9

If you are searching for a First World War ancestor you can search the attestation papers on the LAC website for free. If you find a relevant file then you can order a copy of the military file online as well. You will have several choices of the format of the document. It can be printed, digital or on CD.

July 10

When looking for information on your First World War ancestors don’t forget to check out the War Diaries that are digitized and online.

July 11

If your ancestor died in the Second World War then you can search a database on the LAC website to see if you can find more information.

July 12

You can find a list of websites that relate to War Graves on the LAC website.

July 13

If you had an ancestor who died in a war then check the Books of Remembrance link at Veteran Affairs Canada. You will find links to digital images to the books and they are separated into conflicts except for those who served from Newfoundland. They have their own book.

July 14

Did you know that you can search the Alberta Homestead Records at Internet Archive? These are microfilms that you can browse to find more information.

July 15

On the University of Victoria website they have the British Colonist Newspaper (1858-1910) available online to search.

July 16

The Winnipeg Free Press has put their archive online. The date ranges are 1874 to 2011.

July 17

The New Brunswick archives have a database called “The New Brunswick Irish Portal.”

July 18

The Cape Breton University Digital Collections has the Nova Scotia Historical Newspaper Project.

July 19

Memorial University in Newfoundland has the Digital Archives Initiative. You can browse some newspapers and there are links to other newspaper sources.

July 20

Memorial University has a collection of digital maps.

July 21

If your people were living in Newfoundland on 1 April 1949 then they were there when Newfoundland entered Confederation. There is an audio recording of the broadcast from St. John’s and Ottawa on that day.

July 22

The University of Prince Edward Island has a website called Island Archives which provides a wealth of information relating to the history of the Island and its people.

July 23

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec has a digital collection of historic newspapers.

July 24

If your ancestors hail from Saskatchewan the Regina Public Library has the Prairie History Collection. They list the resources available at the library.

July 25

Have you seen the Ontario Time Machine Really Old Ontario Books? It is run by the public libraries in Toronto, Hamilton and Kingston Frontenac and the government of Ontario.

July 26

The Hudson Bay Archives have Biographical Sheets with regards to employment but it may also provide additional information.

July 27

A good beginner’s guide for Canadian research is “Finding Your Canadian Ancestors A Beginner’s Guide” by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee.

July 28

If you have Loyalists in your family then the best book to help you with the research is “United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada” by Brenda Dougall Merriman.

July 29

Brenda Dougall Merriman also wrote an excellent book for Ontario research called “Genealogy in Ontario Searching the Records” revised third edition.

July 30

A gazetteer is a must for doing genealogical research. One for Canada is “Lovell’s Gazetteer of British North America 1873”

July 31

Attending conferences helps you learn more and find out what is new in the area of your research. The Ontario Genealogical Society has a conference every year and it is the largest in Canada.

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

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

366 Days of Genealogy – June

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and June’s was writing and documenting your family history. 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.

June 1

Since we did oral history last month we are going to look at writing and documenting your family history this month. Writing our family history is something we all put off. Remember one thing – the research will never be finished so start writing today.

June 2

There are several useful books on the subject. The first is “Writing and Publishing Your Family History” by John Titford. This is a publication from England.

June 3

Another one is “You Can Write Your Family History” by Sharon Carmack

June 4

“Writing Family History and Memoirs” by Kirk Polking will help with both your family history and when you start to write your own stories.

June 5

Don’t forget about adding more than names and dates to your family history. “Bringing Your Family History to Life through social history” by Katherine Scott Sturdevant provides guidance to help you find out more about the time in which your ancestors lived.

June 6

“Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century A Guide to Register Style and More” was edited by Michael J. Leclerc and Henry B. Hoff and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

June 7

Don’t forget about citing your sources. “Evidence Explained” by Elizabeth Shown Mills is the main reference for this.

June 8

Are you afraid of the blank page? Don’t be. My Aunt, an author and teacher, always told me that the writing process starts with the editing. Start putting the words on paper and the rest will follow.

June 9

There are blogs that will help guide you through the writing process. The first is “Create your Life Story helping you record a lifetime of stories.”

June 10

You might also want to check out the blog Family History Writing.

June 11

I think the name of this blog says it all.

June 12

Are you thinking of writing your own memoirs? This blog might help.

June 13

The Heart and Craft of Life Writing is an interesting blog.

June 14

Writing your family history can take many forms. A lot of people write their family history in the form of a blog. It is usually free to start up and you can write something as long or as short as you want. The good thing about this is that it is not as daunting as a book. It is a story and each time it can be different. Write enough stories and you will have your book.

June 15

Some people like to keep family up to date with their research and family history stories via a newsletter. Stark County District Library in Ohio has a guideline for doing this online. They provide a bibliography of books to help you with the process.

June 16

One book that I like is “Start Your Own Newsletter from Scratch” by Jim Terhune. It was published in 1996.

June 17

If you share your newsletter with extended family you never know what new information may come from it. A story you write or documenting some research you have done might jog their memories.

June 18

If writing the history of your whole family is too daunting then why not start with you? You know your own history better than anyone and have most of the documentation and memorabilia that relates to your life. The first rule in genealogy is start with you!

June 19

You can write your own life story with the help of websites who will guide you through the process.

June 20

Writing your family history doesn’t always have to mean writing a book. You could scrapbook your family history and write journal entries. Again you can start with you and your family, and then move on to other generations. Martha Stewart has several ideas.

June 21

You might decide to do a digital scrapbook. You can find a guide on PDF here.

June 22

Does your family have a lot of recipes that have been handed down through the generations? Writing a family history cookbook could be another way of documenting your family history.

Gena Philibert-Ortega has just written a book called “From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes

June 23

If you are going to produce a family history cookbook you could make every recipe you want to include in the book and take a photograph of it. Write down the memories and stories that are associated with the recipe. Then write a small biography of the ancestor who originated this recipe. If you don’t know the original ancestor then the ancestor who is most associated with the recipe.

June 24

A good book on the subject of creating a family history cookbook is: “Meals and Memories: How to Create Keepsake Cookbooks” by Kathy Steligo. This was published in 1999.

June 25

You could start writing your history by picking the ancestor you feel the strongest connection to and write their story first.

June 26

Is there an ancestor who accomplished a lot during their life time? Start to write their story.

June 27

Write the story of an ancestor who was involved in major world events such as war, natural disaster, economic downturn, a mass exodus or something different like winning a sporting event.

June 28

If you have a black sheep in your family you could start writing their story. Remember that if there are people still alive who might be adversely affected by this story to keep it private to spare their feelings.

June 29

Do you have an ancestor who led an everyday normal life like the rest of us and you don’t know where to start? Augusts’ 366 Days of Genealogy might be able to help.

June 30

The important thing to remember is to start now and not put off writing your family history until tomorrow.

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

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

366 Days of Genealogy – May

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

366 Days of Genealogy – April

April 1

This month we are looking at Libraries and Archives. So lets start with the one I visit the most the Archives of Ontario. Unfortunately you will not find any records online at this archive. You can search their online database and they have some online exhibits that are useful. They also have online guides to some of the records you can find there.

April 2

Library and Archives Canada have many databases to search for free and you can find them through the Genealogy and Family History section.

April 3

The United Church of Canada Archives can help you find what church records are available for your research location. Don’t forget they hold some Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian records. The United Church of Canada wasn’t formed until 1925.

April 4

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick have many digital records online.

April 5

The British Columbia Archives have searchable indexes online.

April 6

Check out the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive.

April 7

What can you find at the Dublin City Library and Archives?

April 8

Learn about archives in Ireland

April 9

Go down memory lane with the Mitchell Library in Glasgow Scotland.

April 10

What can you find in the Scottish Screen Archive?

April 11

Can you find anything in A2A (Access 2 Archives) relating to your family?

April 12

Were your ancestors involved with the Scouting movement in Great Britain?

April 13

What can you find in the World Digital Library?

April 14

Have you searched the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) at the National Archives in the United States?

April 15

What can you find at the Allen County Public Library?

April 16

What can you find at the Family History Library? Try searching beyond the catalogue to see what is new at FamilySearch.

April 17

Looking for an image of Australia? Try the National Library of Australia’s Picture Australia which is now hosted by Trove.

April 18

The National Archives of Australia can help you learn more about researching your family in Australia.

April 19

Project Gutenberg Australia is “a treasure-trove of literature” and you will find many free books under the topic of Australiana.

April 20

When you check out the library website don’t just look at family history check to see what local history has to offer. The Auckland City Libraries in New Zealand have some interesting information.

April 21

The National Library of Wales has quite a few online databases for you to search.

April 22

The Archives of Wales don’t have any online databases but they have a very good how to section for Welsh family history.

April 23

Internet Archive is a great online library to help you with your research and they offer a lot more than books.

April 24

Can’t find a book in your local library? Have you tried WorldCat? Maybe you can get it through inter-library loan.

April 25

Project Gutenberg covers many countries. See what you can find here.

April 26

Check out the blogs on offer through the British Library.

April 27

The National Library of Ireland has a blog.

April 28

Check out the different digital collections you can find at the Library of Congress.

April 29

Using the National Library and/or Archives websites can provide access to some free databases to help you with your research.

April 30

Always go to the website of the National Library and Archives for the country you are researching. They may have a page or PDF dedicated to helping people who are researching their family history and digital databases that may help you.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

366 Days of Genealogy – March

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and March’s was Ireland. 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.

March 1

Do you have Irish ancestors? Have you mapped out where they lived in Ireland? Check out my 366 Days of Family History posts for February 1-4 and create your maps.

March 2

A great book for mapping your Irish Ancestors is “A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland” by Brian Mitchell.

March 3

You must have a good gazetteer in your library. I use “Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland” which is dated 1851.

March 4

Two books that are invaluable to the Irish researcher are: “Irish Record Sources for Family and Local History” by James Ryan and “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors” (all three editions) by John Grenham. John Grenham is about to release the fourth edition of “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors.”

March 5

Researching church records? Then I would recommend “Irish Church Records” by James G Ryan.

March 6

Are you just beginning your Irish research or have you been doing it for a while? Either way it is a good idea to attend conferences and lectures on the topic. If you can’t attend conferences then FamilySearch has an online learning centre with free webinars relating to Ireland.

March 7

Another great resource at FamilySearch is the Wiki. They have informative pages relating to Irish research on their Wiki. If there is a record group you are interested in learning more about you can find out more on the Wiki. There are pages that relate to counties, history and many others.

March 8

If you are not familiar with Irish history then it is a good idea to read up on the subject. The history of Ireland affected its record keeping and it is important to know how and when events happened.

Robert Kee has written “Ireland A History” and the three volume set called the Green Flag series. F.S.L. Lyons is the author of “Ireland Since the Famine” which will give you a good overview of the time period.

March 9

Read as much as possible about Ireland’s history, people and keep up to date with the availability of records. A good way to do this is to read blogs. I like The Irish Story blog for information on history. To keep up with record availability try the British & Irish Genealogy blog and Irish Genealogy News. Don’t forget to follow The Passionate Genealogist.

March 10

If your ancestors worked for a large estate in Ireland you may find them in the estate records. A good book on the subject is “The Big Houses and Landed Estates of Ireland” by Terrance Dooley.

March 11

H.V. Morton wrote a book called “In Search of Ireland” which was published in 1930. The book chronicles his first trip through Ireland. It is an interesting read.

March 12

Have you ever browsed the Eneclann website? They are a Dublin based company and they digitize records and items relating to Ireland. Some of their information can be found on Origins and FindMyPast Ireland. They have digitized journals such as The Irish Ancestor and The Irish Genealogist.

March 13

A useful book is “A Visitors’ Guide Irish Libraries Archives, Museums & Genealogical Centres” by Robert K. O’Neill. It lists institutions found in the 32 counties and provides information under the headings: contact information, hours, access and services, contact, description, holdings and location. You may find a small museum that can help you break down that brick wall.

March 14

Do you belong to a genealogical society in Ireland? I highly recommend joining one to help you keep up to date with new information and to learn more about researching in Ireland. You never know you might find a new cousin.

March 15

Are you looking for Irish maps? A good online source is Past Homes. They have a searchable database of Irish Townland maps that were surveyed between 1829 and 1843. They are in colour and show houses, churches, shops, woodlands and other things. It costs $25.00 US to subscribe for one year and then to download or order other forms of the maps costs extra.

March 16

A real treasure for the Irish researcher is Hayes Manuscript which has been available in large university libraries but is now online and searchable for free. The National Library of Ireland has put this publication online, including all the supplements. You can search by name, place and subject.

March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have an ancestor who worked for Guinness? You can read more about the history of Guinness and their archives on their website. There is a section called genealogy where you can fill out a form to search their employee database. It is a transcription with basic details and provides descriptions of what your ancestor did for a living at Guinness.

March 18

Have you visited the Irish government website called Irish Genealogy? You can search transcriptions of parish registers for Dublin City, Carlow, Cork and Kerry. These records include Roman Catholic parish registers. They will soon be putting Roman Catholic records for County Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher) online.

March 19

The 1901 and 1911 Irish census records have been available since the 1960s. A few years ago the National Archives of Ireland, with the help of Library and Archives Canada, digitized and indexed the census records and put them online for free.

March 20

Have you ever visited the Library and Archives Canada website “The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf?” It provides online access to essays, music and a gallery relating to the “Irish-Canadian documentary heritage held by Library and Archives Canada.” They provide a list of published resources to help you with further research.

March 21

You can find more Irish-Canadian resources at Early Canadiana Online.

March 22

The IreAtlas Townland Database can help you find out more about the townland where your ancestors lived. It will provide you with the townland, what other name it might be known as, acreage, county, barony, civil parish, poor law union and province.

March 23

You can search Griffith’s Valuation online for free at Ask about Ireland.

March 24

The Registry of Deeds project is a work in progress. You can browse by many different categories to see if you can find information on your ancestors land holdings. Remember it is an ongoing project so if you don’t find something go back later. You can help by contributing to the project.

March 25

Findmypast Ireland has been in operation for about a year and they have many unique records on their website. They are a pay per view website. One year costs €59.95 and you can also purchase Pay as you go credits. The rumour is that some time this year you will be able to buy a world package from Findmypast similar to Ancestry.

March 26

Ireland Genealogical Project has been putting free information online. They are organized by county and provide links to many useful websites.

March 27

The Irish Genealogical Project Archives are listed by county and have listings of records available to search. These records are put online by volunteers so some might only have one record in the record source. It is still worth going in and seeing what you can find.

March 28

In the Irish Genealogical Project Archives there is a section called cemetery records. Here you will find a transcript of the monument inscriptions in the cemetery. These are still a work in progress. You can also find pictures of some of the grave stones under the title headstones.

March 29

Don’t forget to check out the Ireland GenWeb Project to see what new information they have.

March 30

Do you have Quakers in your Irish ancestry? Then check out Quakers in Ireland and learn more about their beliefs and their history in Ireland.

March 31

Are you planning a genealogical research trip to Ireland? Then my book “Planning a Genealogical Research Trip to Ireland: The Research Trail in Dublin” can help you prepare for your journey and provides some tips on using the repositories in Dublin. You can purchase a copy at the Genealogy Store. You can also sign up for my research trip to Ireland. There is only space for 7 and you can stop at Who Do You Think You Are? Live on the way to Dublin.

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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