Showing posts from April, 2011

Preserving Your Scrapbooks

As a genealogist and an archivist, I have seen scrapbooks of every shape and size and full of everything from newspaper clippings to very random ephemera.  If you have seen a scrapbook that is more than a decade or so old, you have probably also seen the problems that occur due to the acidity, overfilling and folding of large items.

Today I attended a workshop on preservation of scrapbooks presented by David Stokoe, conservation librarian at Syracuse University's Special Collections Research Center, and CLRC.

David discussed the multitude of items he has found in scrapbooks during his career as a librarian.  Everything from moss to ballet shoes, along with the usual paper items.  He said there is no such thing as a silver bullet in preservation, but there are many things that can help.

First of all, it is recommended you put the scrapbook into an archival safe box (purchased from an authorized archival supplier or made with archival-safe materials in a way shown here.).  This will ke…

MLIS Monday: Library of the Living Dead

One of my listserv's had a link to Library of the Living Dead: Your Guide to Miller Library at McPherson College. I cannot even begin to say how impressed I am by this guide.  It is a fun and interesting way to get students to learn about the library.  Great job to the librarians at Miller Library!

Happy Easter!

My mom used to sing this every Easter when my sister and I were little.

Wishing for the 1890 Census in NY?

The destroyed 1890 census is a bane of many genealogist's research.  Those of us with New York state ancestors in 40 counties (not Chenango, Columbia, Franklin, Fulton, Jefferson, Livingston, New York (the Bronx and Manhattan), Oneida, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Richmond, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, and Wyoming according to FamilySearch) are lucky - we have a state census that was taken in 1892.

Not only is this census available on microfilm, but it is now searchable with images for most counties at FamilySearch.  It may not have households differentiated or relationships listed, but it does have

Country of birth
If citizen or alien
One example in my research was trying to figure out if Maria Tross' husband was living in Buffalo when she immigrated with her children in 1884 from Germany.  There was no 1890 census for me to check, but when I learned about the 1892 state option, I looked there.  There was &q…

How Do I Make Money in Genealogy?

My take on the fourth in a week-long series of posts at GeneaBloggers entitled Genea-Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money).

How Do You Make Money in Genealogy? – most readers here at GeneaBloggers and at my other sites know that I am a pretty open and transparent guy when it comes to disclosing my material relationships with other genealogy vendors and organizations. Well, I am willing to spell out what I currently do in the genealogy field to try and make a buck.  I’m not going to give exact dollar figures (because you will be greatly disappointed, believe me), but I will be upfront about some current projects.  I’m hoping my colleagues might consider doing the same.


Seriously, though:

I have recently begun accepting clients.  I do not advertise currently and tend to be found through APG.  After speaking with a person at the the NERGC conference from BCG I am rather determined to take more clients, as I have time.  I am also looking into just assisting people in We…

Genealogy-What Do You Mean It Isn't Free?: My Take

This is my response to the third in a week-long series of posts at GeneaBloggers entitled Genea-Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money).

What Do You Mean It Isn’t Free? – how do we as a community deal with the perception that everything – and I meaneverything – is free for the taking when it comes to genealogy. From commercial databases, to freely stealing content from a blog or website, to being incensed when a genealogist charges for a webinar or a syllabus.  This will be a no-holds barred looked at why certain perceptions exist in the genealogy community and how they must change in order for the industry to move forward in the 21st century.

I have always been taught that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  We get lucky in genealogy, with many things that appear free:, RAOGK, Legacy webinars, etc.

The problem with this is that none of these are actually free.  Someone, somewhere, is paying.  Legacy can host these webinars because of all the people who purchas…

Careers in Genealogy-"Off the Chart" Thinking: My Take

This is the second in a week-long series of posts at GeneaBloggers that I giving my opinion on.

My bachelor's degree is in political science, but after graduation I started a career in retail management.  Though this wasn't my plan or what I planned to always do, it has taught me valuable skills.

When I began looking for a more permanent career, library science was recommended to me.  In May, I will join the large group of genealogists with an MLS.  Working in a library or archive will allow me to assist others with their genealogy and to bring history, in the form of primary source documents, to children.

I also am working toward doing what Thomas MacEntree calls the "Franken-career".  I would like to lecture, publish and work further with helping companies or genealogists market themselves through social media.  I also am interested in the idea of "curating".  I have never heard this idea before, but it is very appealing to me.  I love researching and trying…

Genealogy Blogging – For Fun or Profit?: My Take

This is my take on Thomas' series at GeneaBloggers entitled Genea-Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money).

Why is it just one or the other?  I find it fun to make a profit.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Thomas MacEntee, creator of, has brought to light a very timely and important topic this week.  For the next 5 days, I will be giving my take based on the topic he presents.

In every other blogging community I have followed, namely healthy living and mommy blogs, it is well known that if you become a top blogger you will be able to make a profit off of your blog.  Until recently, I had not seen the same happen with GeneaBloggers.

I do not have a problem with people making a profit off their blogs, although I do believe in disclosure statements and telling your readers that you are posting an affliate link.  It does get annoying when nearly every blog you read has the same giveaway/review.  It gets unethical, in my opinion, when bloggers review items pos…

Gress Civil War Draft Registrations

[caption id="attachment_955" align="aligncenter" width="625" caption="Joseph & Michael Gress"][/caption]

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I have the newly-found Civil War Draft Registration of my great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Gress:

Residence:  Eden [Erie County, NY]
Name: Joseph Gress
Age 1st, July 1863:  22
White or colored: White
Profession, occupation or trade: Farmer
Married or unmarried: Unknown
Place of Birth: New York [sic: Germany]
Former Military Service: [Blank]
Remarks:  [Blank]

and Joseph's brother Michael:

Residence:  Eden [Erie County, NY]
Name: Michael Gress
Age 1st, July 1863:  25
White or colored: White
Profession, occupation or trade: Farmer
Married or unmarried: Married
Place of Birth: New York [sic: Germany]
Former Military Service: [Blank]
Remarks:  [Blank]

Source (Same for Michael, who is 1 line lower): "U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865," database and images, (http…

NERGC: Bringing the Civil War to Life through Library Programs & Curriculum Development

After a wonderful lunch sponsored by ProQuest, we moved on to presentation number 4 for Librarians’ & Teachers’ Day: “Bringing the Civil War to Life through Library Programs & Curriculum Development” by Donna E. Walcovy, Ph.D..  12 April 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and librarians, teachers and genealogists will be celebrating with a multitude of programing.  This was a great presentation.  Donna is a very exuberant speaker and brings cool props!

The presentation begun with Donna showing us a sword from Civil War that began to her cousin, President William McKinley – too cool!  She then told a story of buying one neighborhood boy a Civil War Union outfit and play guns.  She then bought the boy across the street the same items for Confederates.  The boys would then play Civil War in the back yard.  What a great way to get children interested in history.

How else can we introduce children and adults to history?  Journals from the time, Civil War pape…

NERGC: Strategies for Making Archival Records Accessible to Genealogists

On Thursday at NERGC I attended the Librarians' and Teachers' Day.  These types of events are always very useful to me both as a genealogist and as a librarian/archivist.  It also counted as 5 hours of continuing education credit.

The first session was Kathleen M. Reilly of the Berkshire Athenaeum's Local History Department, discussing Strategies for Making Archival Records Accessible to Genealogists.

Accessibility is one of my main issues as a librarian and archivist.  As a researcher in Western New York, I understand the problems faced by low to no accessibility of records.

The Berkshire Athenaeum's Local History Department was able to make their records easily accessible during a recent remodel.  One of my favorite changes they made were putting all vital records together, rather than by location.  Considering the constant change of towns and counties, this makes research much easier.  They also have movable stacks and put the vital records and cemetery records on …

New England Regional Genealogical Conference

I attended NERGC in Springfield, MA this weekend.  Unfortunately, my hotel did not have internet, so I have been slowly writing up posts on all the session I attended.

I cannot say enough about how wonderful the conference was.  This was my first genealogical conference and if others are this amazing, I picked the right hobby.  I was planning on attending the next conference (in 2013) even before this one was finished.  I was lucky enough to come home to an email that I won a free registration for 2013!  I cannot wait!  My biggest problem with the conference is that it's not annual.

The expo was a little bit too great... I ended up buying 4 books (all of which I, of course, needed;-)).  It was fun to see all the societies and genealogical resource companies.  Since I do not have ancestors from New England, many of these did not apply to me, but I have enjoyed reading through the society newsletters that were given away.

I will post one or two session/workshop summaries a day for the …

NERGC: Kids & Collections: Making Meaningful Connections

Liz Shapiro, executive director of the Sharon Historical Society, was the second speaker for the NERGC Librarians’ and Teachers’ Day.  Her presentation was titles “Kids & Collections: Making Meaningful Connections”.  This was an awesome presentation and if you get the chance to here Ms. Shapiro present, I highly recommend it.

Our of our jobs, as librarians,  is to figure out what we have, how it can help teachers and bring families in.  We have to look for that “cool” factor.  Her motto is “Making it real!”

Making  your collection accessible:

Their website is “content-rich, designed to emphasize the sharing of our historic collections, including documents, photographs, and other archival materials.”
They have great social media (in my opinion): Flickr, wordpress, twitter, fb, google maps, youtube:
All cemetery info online.

Create programs, both in school and on-site for children/families.  In school “Goal: to connect students in a pers…

Report Assessment

Assessment has been the theme of the past few weeks of my life.  Both in my ProGen group, in one my classes at school (I got to create a rubric for a project) and at work at Starbucks (where my store got a 98:-D).  One of the most important parts of any plan, but often the most overlooked.

The most thought of forms of assessment tend to be surveys and focus groups.  The best way to assess how well something worked is by using a rubric, which gives concrete standards along a scale.

If you are like me, you often wonder whether your genealogy reports are up to the proper standards.  Even if you use reference books, articles or websites while writing them, it can still be hard to tell if you have the correct information in it.  For our March ProGen assignment, we used the BCG rubric to edit everyones research report from the prior month.

Used for genealogists applying for certification, this rubric gives standards for nearly every genealogy report you could need.  It is very simple, but you …

MSLIS Monday: A Library Job!

I have recently accepted a job as a consulting archivist for the Jewish Heritage Center of Central New York.  Though part-time, it has, and will continue to, afford me an opportunity to use my archival training to organize their archives.  I will also be able to develop the collection and use my genealogical skills to assist visitors with their research.

It is tremendously exciting!  It is also hard to believe that in just over 1 month I will officially be a librarian!

In other news, I will be attending Librarian Day at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference Thursday and attending the rest of the conference over the weekend.  Will anyone else be attending?