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Weekly Planner: Share Your Family History Leads

Do you wait until you have concrete proof of a relationship to share a find with another family member? While you definitely don’t want to pass off an unproven theory as fact, it’s a good idea to share some of your hunches with other family members. Let them know that you’re still trying to prove a relationship, but share the interesting stories. They may be able to help you prove or disprove your theory, and getting them involved in the hunt may spur their interest and inspire them to join you in your family history quest!

Thoughts from a Night Searching, by Juliana Smith

Brooklyn Bridge (from Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.comYesterday I spent the day in search of a topic for my column, and as I often do, I turned to my family for inspiration. I plucked my Dooner notebook from the cabinet and began reviewing my past research. In that folder was an article from a couple years ago, titled Random Thoughts from a Family History Journey that focused on the very family I was intent on researching. I thought I’d do a follow up this week with some thoughts from yesterday’s search.

#1 — Write Your Own Articles
One of the perks of having this job is that sometimes my columns are helpful when it comes to reviewing what I’ve researched. They outline where I’ve searched, conclusions I’ve drawn, and things I’ve already tried that didn’t quite pan out. Because of this, when I write a case study using my own family, I typically file a copy in the binder with that family’s research.

Another benefit is that as I write, I get ideas for new avenues to pursue, and sometimes find holes in my research. When you have to explain the process you’ve gone through and the conclusions you’ve reached to someone unfamiliar with your family story, you have to be thorough. That’s where that light bulb often goes on.

Even if you don’t want to share your article with an audience, write a summary of a day’s (or night’s) research, and file it with your research. Re-read it next time you pull out that file. When you have to set a family aside for a while to focus on other lines, or for those times when life interrupts research, you’ll be glad you took the time to write that summary. Continue reading

Digital Daze, by Maureen Taylor

I read a few weeks ago that scrapbooks are declining in popularity. Could it be true? Is the hobby losing steam or has it just changed from paper and paste to a computer cut and paste industry? I think it’s the latter. Digital scrapbooks are incredible. I’m in awe of anyone who can create a scrapbook page on their computer and make it look so real.

What’s a digital scrapbook? It’s a layout created entirely on a computer. Some folks are so good with graphics-based editing software they design their own “paper” and “embellishments.” You have to see it to believe it. There’s even a magazine called Digital Scrapbooking.com published bi-monthly. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: School Records, from George G. Morgan

Teacher I know! 1931 (from the Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.com)Remember how your parents had to provide information about you, such as date and place of birth, as part of registering you for school? Many schools maintain their records indefinitely, usually in some records retention facility. Registration, grades, yearbooks, and all sorts of other information may still exist.

If you can determine the location of the school that your ancestor or relative attended, and the county it is/was in, chances are that you may be able to obtain copies of school records. Also, don’t overlook the colleges and universities your ancestor attended. Registrars’ offices can be contacted for academic records and alumni associations may have subsequent addresses. Yearbooks are usually a permanent part of the institution’s library so be sure to check them for details about your ancestors’ extracurricular school activities. Don’t forget to check with fraternities, sororities, and alumni offices. Be prepared, however, to provide proof of your relationship in order to gain access to or copies of some of the academic records.

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Your Quick Tips, 18 June 2007

Watch Those Surname Prefixes
As a worker in the LDS extraction program, now called Family Search Indexing, I can corroborate John McCall’s “Quick Tip” of May 21. When recording surnames with prefixes they are always separated from the rest of the name and apostrophes are left out (i.e., McCall becomes Mc Call and O’Hara becomes O Hara). Note also that given names were often abbreviated and they are recorded as they were originally entered into the census or other record. Therefore, “Wm” is recorded that way and not expanded to William, and “Elizth” is not expanded to Elizabeth.

Marilynn Boosinger
Willits, California

AWJ Editor’s Note: Excellent tip! Depending on where you search, it’s a good idea to search surnames both ways. With given name abbreviations, some searches, like those at Ancestry, will often associate them with the full name and see it as a match, but it’s always a good idea to try variations. And don’t overlook initials in place of given names as well. Continue reading

The Year Was 1947

Hollywood screen writers and directors walk up steps of federal court, Washington, D.C. (from Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.com)The year was 1947 and the effects of World War II were still being felt. The Cold War had begun, and in 1947, Communists took control of both Poland and Hungary. Much of Europe had been devastated by the war. Economies were in ruins and hunger and desperation fed the general discontent. With the balance of power in Europe in play, the United States and Russia were in a stand-off.

At a commencement ceremony at Harvard University, George C. Marshall proposed an economic aid program that would lead to recovery with the Western European governments that chose to accept it. The Marshall Plan, as it became known, dispensed today’s equivalent of $17 billion to the countries that chose to accept it and allowed democracy to keep a hold on much of Western Europe.

The “Red Scare” made it to the United States as the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) launched an investigation of the movie industry. Following inquiries with industry insiders, nineteen people were named as having communist views. Ten of these people refused to cooperate, citing their First Amendment rights and became known as the “Hollywood Ten.” They were blacklisted in response to their refusal to cooperate.  Continue reading

Photo Corner

Rufus Shew, and his sister, Helen Shew, taken about 1873 in Fulton County, New YorkContributed by Pete Shew, Stockport, Ohio
This is a tintype photograph of my great-grandfather, Rufus Shew, and his sister, Helen Shew, taken about 1873 in Fulton County, New York.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Sarah Jane (Jenny) Keyes and Jesse Merriman, with their children Edna (on lap) and Harvey ScottContributed by Mary Ellen McCoy Farr
This is a picture of Sarah Jane (Jenny) Keyes and Jesse Merriman, with their children Edna (on lap) and Harvey Scott. My mother, Sarah Kathryn, was their seventh child. My cousin, Dan Merriman, sent me this picture. Harvey Scott is his great-grandfather. I was thrilled to get it as I didn’t have any family pictures. I received pension documents for Jesse’s father Howell and was thrilled to find a description of him in a doctor’s evaluation.

Photo Corner: Seeking Information on John Bailey

John Bailey familyI received the following request for more information.

I was hoping that you could post this picture on your blog. This is supposedly my great grandfathers brother, John Bailey.  My grandfather was adopted by Hugh B. Douglas and Alice Pope Douglas of Maury County, Tennesse around the age of 3 years old.  Maybe someone will recongize him and be able to give me some information on him and his family.

Thank you,
Tracy Jakob

Click on the image to enlarge it.

TGN Sponsors Youth Fair at FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, 18 August 2007

The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry, is sponsoring a Youth Fair at this year’s FGS Conference in the States. Below are the details from the conference website.  

Saturday, 18 August 2007
900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IndianaFGSyouthfair2007.jpg

Children are invited to join us at the Main Library for a fun-filled day of performances, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. The FGS Youth Fair will be held Saturday, August 18th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All events and activities are free and open to the public.

Events and exhibits include:

  • A day in the life of a Union soldier and display of toys and clothing by re-enactors from the 44th Indiana Civil War Historical Association
  • Pioneer music performed by Settlers, Inc.
  • Bagpipe music performed by the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums
  • Wool spinning demonstrations by the Fort Wayne Flax and Fleecers Guild
  • Short talks on Local Historic Figures by Historic Fort Wayne
  • Period costumes provided by the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. Photos of children in costume will be taken and printed on the spot. Scrapbooking materials and assistance will also be provided so you can create a personalized memento.
  • Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana
  • Allen County 4-H
  • Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council
  • Boy Scouts of the Anthony Wayne Area Council
  • Shipshewana Chapter of the Children of the American Revolution

For more information, please contact the Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN 46802; phone (260) 421-1225; email Genealogy@ACPL.info or visit the FGS Conference website.