Rochester, New York, Images and Local History Online

St. Patrick's Girls' Orphan Asylum (Postcard from the collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History Division.)A while back, I wrote an article about searching for historical images of ancestrally-related places–On the Street Where They Lived. This week, as I worked on another project, I was looking for a photograph of the Rochester orphanage where my second-great-grandmother and her sister had a brief stay after their mother died of tuberculosis. After unsuccessfully searching the usual places (Google Images, LOC Photo Collection, etc.), I remembered that the Rochester (Monroe County) Public Library has an extensive online collection of images online. I went to the library site and was thrilled to find this lovely postcard image of the orphanage where my Tobin ancestor and her sister were enumerated in the 1850 census. If you have ancestors from Rochester, be sure to check out the many collections they have available online. Click here to visit the library’s Local History and Genealogy page.

I want to send a huge thanks to the Rochester Public Library–and to all the libraries who work so hard to make these types of collections available to us!

This image is from the collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History Division. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Ancestry Adds 1.6 Million Wisconsin Death Records, 1959-1997

Ancestry____logo1.bmpAncestry has posted an index of Wisconsin, 1959-1997 (excluding 1968) online. The index includes the name of the deceased, a certificate number, date of death, county of death, and county of residence. Earlier years will also include age, gender, and race.

Using the certificate number and other information found in this database, you can order the original death certificate from the Wisconsin Department of Health, Vital Records Services. Visit their website for more information.

Click here to search the Wisconsin Death Index, 1959-1997.


Weekly Planner: Update Message Boards

When you update your Public Profile, take a minute to review your old message board posts. Have you found answers to some of those questions or learned additional information that could be added? Reply to your post with new information so that family members who come across that post will find the most current data you have available. While you’re at it, search the message boards to see if someone has posted new information or queries relating to your ancestors.

Using Ancestry: Public Profiles, by Juliana Smith

Juliana Profile.bmpSome of the biggest family history breakthroughs are the direct result of connecting with a long-lost cousin who is working on the same family line. Not only is it great to reconnect with family members with whom you have lost touch throughout the years, but you never know what gems may have been passed down through their branches of the family tree. (One of these days I’m going to find someone who inherited the family Bible!) Plus, if your newfound cousin lives closer to the location where your research is centered or near a major genealogical facility, you may find a new partner for on-site research.

With all this at stake, it’s no surprise that since genealogy collided with the personal computer, tools that help connect family historians who share research interests have been a mainstay. Message boards, research registries, and online trees are all products of the desire to connect with others. Ancestry hosts all of these services, as well as the ability to post comments to many of the historical records found in its collections.

The recently-updated free Public Member Profile brings these elements together so that anyone who runs across one of the many breadcrumbs you have left on the site can–with a click–see if your research interests match their own. These breadcrumbs could be in the form of a post to a message board, a comment posted to a record, a profile in the Member Directory, or through your online tree.

What’s in a Public Member Profile?

~ Personal Info
You can choose how much or how little you want to reveal about yourself. In my profile, I’ve opted to share mainly information related to my research interests. You can also post your photograph. The photo I’ve chosen isn’t current, but rather, it’s my favorite baby picture. (If you want a good laugh, I posted it with last week’s quote. Click on the image to enlarge it.) For those of you who know me, you’ll note that my personality hasn’t changed much over the years, although thankfully I’ve been able to tame that wispy bit of hair on top of my head.

The profile also lets you add information about your experience in family history, display links to your homepage or blog, and share some of your favorite websites. Continue reading

Album Redux: Questions and Answers, by Maureen Taylor

In May I wrote a column on photo albums to answer some of the questions posed in a previous article. The response to both of those has been a little overwhelming. There were so many questions about family photo albums that I barely know where to begin. I’ll start by addressing specific queries that appeared in the comments section of the blog.

Removing Photos from Magnetic Albums
Several folks wrote about using hair dryers to soften the glue on those magnetic (actually glue) pages. While initially that appears to be a good solution, let’s think about it. The golden rule of caring for photos is not to do anything to an image that can’t be undone. Resin-coated photos from the latter half of the twentieth century have surfaces that soften with heat, so by using a hair dryer you’re actually damaging the print. The hot air will soften the surface (or burn it if the setting is too high) then when the heat is removed the surface will once again return to its regular state. Also as soon as the glue begins to melt you start to remove the photo from the album and end up handling the heat softened surface of the print. The two solutions I mentioned–using a microspatula or dental floss–don’t involve changing the chemical properties of a print and are less likely to damage your pictures. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Take a Friend to the Cemetery, from George G. Morgan

Although quiet and peaceful in appearance, cemeteries can be dangerous places. Snakes, spiders, open graves, toppling tombstones, and unseen holes–all it is a good idea to take a friend with you when you visit a cemetery. He or she can provide company, help you search for graves, and act as a deterrent to anyone who might wish you harm. In the event of an accident or emergency, your friend can be the difference between life or death by providing first aid or going for help. It is also a good idea to let someone else know where the two of you have gone to conduct your research and to carry your cell phone with you. Safety first.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Your Quick Tips, 16 June 2008

Check with Embassies
Through my genealogy research, I connected with some second cousins at a Danish castle this past week to celebrate a fiftieth birthday. One of the guests was of Swiss descent and stated that the Swiss Embassy had established a website for Swiss who were researching their roots. I’m not sure how many of these sites exist, but since people have to register with their embassy it might be a research avenue to pursue.

Karen Lakey Continue reading