Saturday, May 21, 2011

SNGF: Wordle

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, from Randy,  is to:

1)  Go to the Wordle site - and create your own unique Wordle  - it's a word cloud.  You can use either a clump of text, enter your own words (say, surnames, or given names), use a blog page address, or something else.  Your choice!  Be creative with the fonts, colors, backgrounds, and layout.

2)  Save it as an image (I used Print Screen, pasted it to a Word document, used the Windows snipping tool to edit it, and saved it to a file).  Tell us how you did it.

3)  Show us your handiwork!  Add the image to a blog post of your own or on a web page of your own.

Mine for my blog is:

Are You Ready for the Rapture?

You may have heard the news that the rapture will be occurring to day at 6pm EST.  Although I find this doubtful, it is important to have your data backed up in event your own personal computer-Armageddon occurs.

Genealogists, thanks to Geneabloggers, are reminded to backup their data the first day of every month.  In honor of the potential rapture, I thought I would discuss some data backup methods a week early.

We often discuss the importance of backing up our genealogical materials such as our family tree file, images, and even our blogs, but what about the rest of your online files?

Do you use Google?  Twitter? LinkedIn? Facebook? How about Flickr?  Have you ever thought about what would happen if you accidently deleted your account?  Or if the site had an outage, similar to what Blogger had last week?  I use Backupify, which is a free service that continuously backs up all of my information on sites such as those mentioned above and emails me weekly to let me know that everything has been protected.  I highly recommend this service to help you in protecting your data.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh the Places You’ll Go…


Arguably one of the best books ever and brought up often at this time of the year.

Today as this post posts, I will be attending convocation at Syracuse University, where I will receive my Master’s in Library and Information Science and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Cultural Heritage Preservation.

The past two years have flown by and I am amazed by all of the wonderful I people I have met, the conferences I have gone to, the classes I have taken, and projects I have completed.  The skills I have gained will serve me throughout life.

I cannot wait to see where the next stage of my life leads.

To paraphrase Dr. Seuss:

Today is my day.
I’m off to Great Places!
I’m off and away!
I have brains in my head.
I have feet in my shoes
I can steer myself
any direction I choose.
Today is my day!
My mountain is waiting.
So... time to get on my way!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Top 3 Reasons to View the Actual Vital Record

In genealogy, when we order vital records, we often get a typed, certified copy from the city or town we order it from.  Although this is a good start and can prove useful, one should always aim to see the original to compare and, if possible, make a copy/take a photograph of.

Why is this?

1. The Back of the Certificate

Just like today, people often wrote notes on the back of a piece of paper.  Although you may not find one, imagine if you found a little note that helped you further your search. 


In this example, the back of the certificate (the top part on the image) has the phrase “Baptism St James Epis.”.  This led to a lot of information from the Episcopal Diocese of Buffalo on my Whitehead family.

2. Missing Information in Fill-In-The-Blank Forms

Not all information on a vital record will not necessarily be told to you on a fill-in-the-blank form used by the town clerk to send you the information.  One example of this is a name change.  Here is an example of the birth certificate of my great-grandfather, Alfred Casell, that he had and that I was lucky enough to come into possession of.


I could have stopped with this, saying I had proof of when and where he was born and had a full certificate of his twin sister which proved who their parents were.  However, I knew I may be able to find more information, so I got his full certificate.


As you can see this is a great find. I learned that in addition to changing his last name, he also changed his given name.  I also learned that he changed his name legally, through the court, which gives me another record to search for.

3. Typos

People make mistakes.  I have typed information incorrectly into my family tree program and into bibliographies for class papers.  In the course of proofreading and checking my information (was grandma really 11 when she gave birth?  Especially when she didn't get married for another decade?), this items get found and corrected.

Town and city clerks are busy and, unfortunately, finding vital records for genealogists is not their most important task.  As such, they may not have time to check over their typing.  One example of this is my great-great grandfather Marco A. Casell's death certificate.  The date of death is typed as November 26, 1932, at the age of 69 (born 1968, speaking of typos... 1868) and it has a filed date as November 27, 1937.  The filing date being 5 years later would be one clue there was a problem, as is the fact that the age is wrong based on the dates given.


Luckily, the Town of Colden gives both a typed form and a copy of the original record.  As we can see he did die in 1937, not 1932.  Bonus points to those readers who also realized that this example proved point number 2, as well, in relation to items such as an AKA and a burial date.


As you can see from these examples, it is important to always see an original vital record in order to make sure the information is correct and complete.

Have you had experiences of this in your research?  Please comment below.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Prom



c. 1947, Robert Alfred Casell.

"May I Introduce To You..." by Gini

I was the subject of a "May I introduce To You..." feature by Gini Webb of Ginisology! I can't even begin to thank her for the wonderful write-up and opportunity to be a part of this.  If you are a GeneaBlogger, you should contact her about your own feature - she makes the process super easy and is tremendously nice.  Thank you, Gini!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Greetings from MARAC!

I am currently at the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.  While here, I will be attending workshops and presentations on EAD, oral history, social media within archives, and promoting cookbook and recipe collections, among others.

This is my first archives conference and I am glad it will be something smaller than SAA, which I am told is rather overwhelming for a first timer.

Information on the sessions I attend to come!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

World Memory Project

I received this in an email today. A very important indexing project that I will be helping with. I hope you will join me.

"Imagine not knowing a loved one's fate for 65 years — and then finding the truth in a document you never knew existed.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has collected more than 170 million documents detailing the experiences of individual victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II. Now is partnering with the Museum to create the World Memory Project, which allows anyone, anywhere to help make these documents searchable online for free — so more families can discover what happened to loved ones victimized by the Nazis during one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Here's how you can help.
You may have heard of the Ancestry World Archives Project, our established community that has spent years preserving historical documents and making them searchable online for free. The World Memory Project is using the same software and processes to build the largest free online resource for information about individual victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II.

Being part of the project is as simple as typing information from documents into searchable databases. Even just a few minutes of your time can make a difference.

We hope you'll join the World Memory Project in helping families discover missing relatives and facts about their past."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quote for Today

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Data Backup Day: Self Hosted Blogs

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The first of each month is data backup day at GeneaBloggers.  If you have a self-hosted blog, are you backing it up?  I recently learned, thanks to Katy Widrick, that just using the wp-dbmanager plug-in is not enough.  This plug-in does not back-up your files, posts or photos.

In order to backup your hard work, make sure you download the backup file from your hosts cPanel.  This file is HUGE and takes quite a while to download to your system, but it is well worth the time for your peace of mind.  Downloading this monthly and also saving it to an external hard drive or online backup site (such as dropbox), will keep your files safe in case of any problems with your server.

Back to Basic: July

July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...