Saturday, July 20, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Maps Have You Found Recently?

Today's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver will be extra fun, because the topic is one I love a lot!

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  Do you collect maps of the places that you have ancestors or family?  I do!  I love maps.  And have so many places!

2.  Tell us about a recent map find for your genealogy and family history (it could be any time) and where you found it.  Share the map and a comment on your own blog, or in a Facebook Status  post, and share a link on this post.

I collection maps and atlases in general, especially vintage ones that show earlier names of locations.  I love looking at and reading maps.  I guess I have to fudge a little bit for today's challenge, though.  I have found several maps recently that caught my attention, but I think only one of them has something to do with my own genealogy and family history.  But they're interesting!

360 Cornwall

This is a virtual map of Cornwall with more than 250 locations featured with aerial 360° views.  While it appears to be designed primarily as a way to attract tourist interest, the locations include heritage sites, and it looks cool.  And since my Dunstan family line, which so far I have only in Manchester, is supposed to have originated in Cornwall, that makes this related to my family history.  It's available online and as both Apple and Android apps.  (I chose the image of Penzance because I've actually been there.)

Aerial Montana

Another site with aerial photography is Aerial Montana, which features a map with indexed locations of photographs dating from the 1930's through the 1970's.  The photographs were taken by the U.S. Forest Service of land in the Forest Service Northern Region, primarily western Montana and northern Idaho.  While the photograph collection has tens of thousands of aerial images, the focus has been on digitizing those from the 1930's and making them available.  The map indicates latitude and longitude of about 31,000 images, of which 3,500 are currently online.  An article with background information about the collection can be found here.

Missoula, Montana, 1937

Civil Code in French-speaking Jurisdictions Worldwide

You might not expect to find a map in a Law Library of Congress blog post, but that's where this one came from.  There are apparently 29 jurisdictions in the world that include French as an official language.  The map shows which of those locations still use the French civil law system and how they apply it, whether by itself or in combination with another legal system.  Two countries, Mauretania and Niger, use French civil law and sharia law, which is an interesting combination.  I found this map fascinating because most of the places that are using the French civil law system are former colonies, so it shows history also.

Synchronized Napoleonic Map

I have read about people using Google Maps overlays with historic maps, including in family history.  This is the same idea, with the focus on a 1797 map about southern Germany produced during the Napoleonic wars.  The article to which I've linked, which was published on a Hungarian university site, states that "Hungary is a main provider in the publication of . . . georeferenced maps of the Napoleonic era."  I don't know if that's accurate or if they said it because they're promoting themselves.  I found the topic particularly interesting because I used to be an editor for a magazine about the Napoleonic wars.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Favorite Genealogy-related YouTube Channels

This week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver has us watching online videos, or at least discussing them.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  Do you watch YouTube videos on a regular basis?  What are your favorite YouTube channels for genealogy research?

2.  Tell us about your favorite YouTube channels in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook Status  post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

Well, as usual, I'm an underachiever compared to Randy.  I am subscribed to only 29 YouTube channels total.  I am still not a huge fan of watching videos online, even after all these years of Zooming, so I have to admit I do not watch "regularly."

Of those 29 channels, four are not related to genealogy at all.  (What?  Something in my life that isn't genealogy??)  Of the remaining 25, my favorites are:

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.  They cover such a wide range of genealogical topics at ACPL that there is bound to be something related to your research.  I love that almost all of their presentations are available freely on YouTube afterward.

Truckee Meadows Community College Library Open Genealogy Lab.  This is another place that has a wide range of topics.  When you sign up for their notification list, you also receive the summary after the presentations, including links that were shared, and announcements about upcoming talks from other organizations.

Los Angeles Public Library Genealogy Garage.  Where else can you find recorded presentations on Armenian, Black, Chinese, Jamaican, and Scottish research?

Partnership of Historic Bostons.  I enjoy these because while it's a narrow focus (Boston), it covers so much and the topics are so interesting.  I don't even have any Boston research right now, but I love their talks.

Backlog Archivists and Historians.  I like Backlog's perspective.  These are professional archivists covering interesting subjects related to genealogy, such as handwriting.  Since Jewish research is one of my focuses, it makes sense that I would have a couple of Jewish channels on my list.  JewishGen is still considered the home of Jewish genealogy online, especially since it improved its coverage of non-Ashkenazi Jews.  Most of its weekly talks are later made available on the YouTube channel.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.  This is focused on Ashkenazi Jews and topics beyond genealogy, but with more than 800 videos, there is so much you can learn here.

Like Randy, I prefer video to Podcasts, but overall I prefer reading to video.  I learn much better when I see the words.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Is Your Significant Other's Matrilineal Line?

Well, this is an interesting challenge today from Randy Seaver for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  Have you worked on the matrilineal line of your significant other?  Who are the mothers of the mothers of your significant other?

2.  Tell us about that matrilineal line in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

I haven't researched the family history of my ex for some time now, but I did get a few generations back.

My ex is Hugh Kartar Singh (1951– ), born in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, son of Karm Singh (about 1906–1984) and Mary Margaret McKenney (1914–1993).  His matrilineal line, as far as I have researched it, is:

• Mary Margaret McKenney (1914–1993), born in Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, daughter of Hugh Vincent McKenney (about 1886–1961) and Honora McSweeney (about 1879–1958).

• Honora McSweeney (about 1879–1958), born in Ireland (probably in Ballyvourney, County Cork), daughter of John McSweeney (about 1826–1911) and Catherine O'Leary (about 1834–1921).

• Catherine O'Leary (about 1834–1921), born in Ireland (possibly in Ballyvourney, County Cork), daughter of Arthur O'Leary (?–?) and Nora (Honora?) Twomey (?–?).

And that's all I have.  No research into Irish records as of yet and no DNA info.  My older stepson was interested in his family history for a while, but that petered out and so far has not yet reignited.  My younger stepson has not shown any interest to date.  And so far none of the grandchildren has expressed an interest.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Have You Made Progress on Your 2024 Genealogy Goals?

Let's see how well I'm doing on my genealogy plans for this year, since Randy Seaver has made that the challenge for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  Marian B. Wood wrote a blog post, Halfway through 2024:  Genealogy Progress and Plans, to assess her progress to date in 2024.  This is an excellent idea for an SNGF challenge.

2.  How are you doing with your genealogy goals for 2024?  If you did not make goals for 2024, what goals do you hope to achieve in the rest of the year?

3.  Tell us about your goals in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

Not going to color-code mine as Randy did.  I think I'll use bold and indentation instead.

I wrote about my 2024 genealogy goals in January (coincidentally, for a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post) here, in case you want to read the original post.

I set six goals for myself.

Get back to posting regularly on my blog. 👍

    • Status:  Definitely improved over last year!  In 2023 I had a grand total of only 33 posts, and I already have 47 posts this year (not counting this one), before the end of June.  I'd say I'm doing quite well on this goal.

Finish going through scans of the photo bonanza from my sister. 👍

    • Status:  I have done some more labeling of photos, but I have a long way to go.  I know I will need assistance in identifying all the cars my father took photos of, but someone has volunteered to help me with that.  So I'm doing okay on this goal, but I need to make sure I don't let myself slack off.

Pursue more research on the man who is possibly the child my aunt gave up for adoption (and at least seems to be related to our family). 😟

    • Status:  I haven't done anything with this project yet this year, so I better get a move on.

Finish posting the rest of the family events from my family tree database.

    • Status:  I'm not behind on this, since I need to pick it up again in November.  It's on my calendar, but it's another thing I need to keep track of and not slip up as I did the past two years.

Do more research on finding my biological great-grandfather. 😟

    • Status:  I haven't done anything with this yet this year.  I know I need help at this point.  I've determined that trying to find a descendant of my prime candidate isn't going to be particularly helpful.  I did have someone offer to help with looking at the DNA trail, so I need to ask her if she's still willing.  And I still need to pursue trying to find a photograph of Mr. X to see if there's an obvious resemblance, which wouldn't hurt.

Create some new genealogy presentations I've been thinking about. 👍

    • Status:  I already have accomplished this by creating one new talk about the U.S. census, and I know I'll be making another new presentation soon, because I'm committed to giving a talk about New York newspapers for the New York State Family History Conference in September.  So this goal also is in good shape.

When I posted my goals in January, I was worried that maybe I was being a little too ambitious.  Now that I've put all this down in writing, however, I feel pretty good about how well I'm doing.  Three are good and one hasn't come up yet on the calendar.  I do need to knuckle down on the other two, though.

And I need to thank Marian for having cute little icons I could copy and use in my post!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Did You Ever Use a Typewriter?

IBM Selectric II
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

I discovered that June 23 is celebrated as National Typewriter Day (or sometimes just as Typewriter Day).  June 23 was chosen apparently because a patent was granted to Christopher Latham Sholes on that day in 1868.  His Wikipedia page says that he invented the QWERTY keyboard (which was designed to slow typists down), but the patent awarded in 1868 doesn't seem to be for that version, but rather an earlier model.

I learned to touch type (typing without looking at your fingers) on a typewriter in high school in a semester-long class offered for that specific purpose.  My mother had suggested I learn to use a typewriter because it would be a useful skill.

During the semester, I got up to 54 words per minute overall and 51 per minute with no errors.  This was with the older style of typewriter that had the carriage you had to manually push back at the end of every line.  I don't remember the name of my teacher, but she was so excited by my speed that she wanted me to to secretarial school.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had higher aspirations than being a secretary, but I did figure out that my rate was better than average.

My mother was right:  I was able to apply my touch typing skills almost right away in college.  Before desktop computers became the norm, I typed lots of papers for people and made money doing so, which was really helpful, because I went to the University of Southern California on scholarships, not on my family's money.

After I graduated, desktop computers began to be introduced to many of the departments at USC, and my typing skills gave me a leg up on keyboarding.  Every time I applied for a job in a new department I was timed again.  The fastest rate I remember was 108 words per minute; I think that was with no errors.

For a long time I owned and maintained a typewriter, before I could afford a computer.  I favored the IBM Selectric (I think I owned a blue Selectric II), and I had a decent collection of elements, which were how you changed your typeface in the old days.  I remember I stored them in plastic cases specially designed for them (I think I had four cases!).  You had to change the element each time you wanted to change your font, say from regular to Italic.  I loved that typewriter!  But eventually I was able to afford a computer, and the need for the typewriter diminished to the point that I couldn't justify keeping it anymore.  I don't even remember if I was able to find someone who wanted it or I just had to dump it.

IBM Selectric elements in storage case
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Genealogy "Rabbit Hole" Did You Go Down Recently?

Tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun topic from Randy Seaver is a favorite of genealogical researchers everywhere.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  What genealogy "rabbit hole" did you go down recently?  Did you have genealogy fun?  How did it help your genealogy research?

2.  Share your response on your own blog or in a Facebook post.  Please share a link in Comments on this post if you write your own post.

What?  Genealogists falling down rabbit holes?  Who would have thought such a thing could happen?

The most recent rabbit hole I went down was totally the fault of Reclaim the Records, that scrappy little nonprofit that's filing lawsuits all over the country when records jurisdictions don't follow Freedom of Information rules, even their own, and then sharing all the records they acquire freely and publicly through the Internet Archive.  I love them!  (And I remember when Brooke Schreier Ganz started the whole thing!)

I don't remember when the various New Jersey indices were posted, and RtR doesn't put dates on a lot of its posts, but a couple of months ago I started poking around.  They have New Jersey Marriage Index, 1901–2016; New Jersey Death Index, 1904–2017; New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Indices, 1901–1903 and 1901–1914; and New Jersey Geographic Birth Index and Delayed Birth Index, 1901–1929.

I have a lot of New Jersey relatives.  For many of them I did not have specific birth, marriage, or death dates.  My father and both of his parents were born in New Jersey, and I had their information, but between multiple relationships on both sides and half-siblings all over the place, I didn't have documentation for everybody else.  So I decided one evening to start looking.

I think it started innocently enough.  All I wanted originally was to find the birth dates of three of my grandfather's siblings, for whom I had only "about" and a year.  And then I figured while I was looking, I should find all of the siblings in the birth index, just to verify that I had the correct dates.  Oh, and maybe I should look up all their marriages.  Oh wait, some of those siblings didn't live to adulthood, so I should look for them in the death index.

Several hours later . . . .

I had lots of fun, but I still don't have everyone!  I found one of the birth dates, but two are still missing.  The birth index showed a different date for one of the siblings for whom I already had a date.  I can't find death dates for three children.  And three marriage dates are still hiding from me also (although it's possible one or more of those might not have taken place in New Jersey; lots of people in Jersey went to good old Elkton, Maryland, as my aunt did).  Or maybe some of those couples didn't actually get married.

One amusing discovery was finding the original index entry for my grandfather and then a handwritten one based on his amended birth certificate.

I wrote several years ago about my frustrating and fruitless search for my grandfather's birth certificate and how it took my sister going in person to the New Jersey State Archives to discover that he had been recorded as a girl on his birth record, explaining why I had been unsuccessful in three attempts at finding a birth certificate for a boy.  The lovely archivists had also unearthed an amendment to the original birth certificate, filed by my great-grandmother 37 years later, changing Grampa from a girl to a boy.

Well, both of those records are reflected in the state birth index.

Birth index showing Gertrude Armstrong (bottom), born April 6, 1903, page 7173
(edited image)

Birth index showing Bertram L. Sellers (bottom), born April 6, 1903, page 7173
(edited image)

And in a very strange coincidence, the handwriting for the entry for the amended birth certificate strongly resembles my grandfather's handiwriting.