Archive for the ‘Notable Genealogy Blog Posts’ Category

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 12 March 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

The Narrator (pseudonym), “Tuesday’s Tip – Interpreting primary sources – the 6 ‘w’s,” Essex Voices Past blog, posted 21 February 2012 and “Tuesday’s Tip: Primary sources – ‘Unwitting Testimony’,” Essex Voices Past blog, posted 28 February 2012 (http://www.essexvoicespast.com : accessed 5 March 2012). These two articles are geared more towards historians than genealogists, but they discuss important aspects of interpreting the records we use: basically understanding what the document says, and what it means (but doesn’t say).

Harold Henderson, “How to prove parents without direct evidence,” Midwestern Microhistory blog, posted 8 March 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed 9 March 2012). In this enlightening post, Harold dissects the evidence and the proof argument of a case study in a recent issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

Daniel Hubbard, “Learning and Imagining,” Personal Past Meditations blog, posted 4 March 2012 (http://www.thepersonalpast.com/blog/ : accessed 9 March 2012). Daniel discusses breaking the rules of genealogy, particularly the one about starting with yourself and moving methodically back in time.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 4 March 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Malissa Ruffner, “Treasure Hunt – Using the WPA/HRS Index,” Family Epic blog, posted 14 February 2012 (http://familyepic.posterous.com/ : accessed 29 February 2012). I was immediately drawn to this post because it discusses the recent resurrection of the Baltimore City Archives in Maryland. (I can remember several years ago when the old Baltimore City Archives was closed because of poor archival conditions.) But Malissa also discusses a name index for Baltimore City created by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Do researchers in other areas know of other similar indexes?

Malissa Ruffner, “(Loose) Paper Chase,” Family Epic blog, posted 21 February 2012 (http://familyepic.posterous.com/ : accessed 29 February 2012). Another great post from Malissa! This one contains the trifecta: slave research, research in loose court papers, and researching historic laws.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG, “Free or Slave?,” Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, posted 16 February 2012 (http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com : accessed 3 March 2012). Ms. Jerome discusses an example of a “certificate of freedom” in Kentucky, granted to a free black man born to a white woman. As she reports, the status of children followed the status of their mother, so anyone born to a free woman was also therefore free. This is a seldom-mentioned law that existed throughout most of the country.

James Tanner, “Distance — a misunderstood concept,” Genealogy’s Star blog, posted 29 February 2012 (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com : accessed 3 March 2012). In this post, Mr. Tanner describes the importance of physical distance (rather than political boundaries) and travel time in researching our ancestors.

And I also must mention two blogs that exemplify the possibilities of how blogs can be used to educate and demonstrate key genealogical skills:

Rachal Mills Lennon, M.A., CG: Finding Southern Ancestors at http://www.findingsouthernancestors.com/blog1.html. Ms. Lennon uses case studies to explore advanced research methods, particularly the “FAN Club” (family, associates, neighbors) principle or “cluster genealogy.”

Margaret G. Waters: Orangeburgh Plats: Orangeburgh District, South Carolina Land Records at http://orangeburghplats.com/category/blog/. Ms. Waters has been platting early surveys in Orangeburgh District, South Carolina, using topographic maps. If you are researching in this area, this site is an essential resource. Even if you are not researching in this area, the examples set and methodology used by Ms. Waters will help.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 26 February 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Kathryn Lake Hogan, “Why Should You Hire a Professional Genealogist?,” Looking4Ancestors blog, posted 22 February 2012 (http://www.looking4ancestors.com/ : accessed 25 February 2012). Kathryn explores issues surrounding the hiring of a professional genealogist, including why hiring a professional might be necessary and how much one might expect to pay (in Canadian dollars).

James Tanner, “Lessons in Genealogy from 1915 Part One,” and “Lessons in Genealogy from 1915 Part Two,” Genealogy’s Star blog, posted 20 February 2012 (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/ : accessed 24 February 2012). Mr. Tanner explores a book on genealogy methodology published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints back in 1915. I am a big fan of genealogical history and historiography, and have downloaded the book from Internet Archive for my own exploration.

Judy G. Russell, CG, “Certified, yes; certifiable… well…,” The Legal Genealogist blog, posted 25 February 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 25 February 2012). A very humorous look at Judy’s voyage to earning her shiny new credential from the Board for the Certification of Genealogists. Be sure to go congratulate her!

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 19 February 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Kimberly Powell, “Search for Sources, Not Just Surnames,” About.com Genealogy blog, posted 29 January 2012 (http://genealogy.about.com : accessed 17 February 2012). Kimberly discusses the importance of educating yourself about what records are available that might be relevant to your research at every level of government.

Daniel Hubbard, “Footnotes on my Footnotes,” Personal Past Meditations: A Genealogy Blog, posted 12 February 2012 (http://www.thepersonalpast.com : accessed 14 February 2012). In this post, Daniel discusses the need to understand the provenance of the sources you are using.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 12 February 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Lucy Ferriss, “In Defense of Browsing,” Lingua Franca blog, posted 8 February 2012 (http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca : accessed 8 February 2012). Not a genealogy blog. Lucy Ferriss discusses why the loss of brick and mortar bookstores, in favor of the online alternatives, is detrimental to writers and bibliophiles.

Polly Kimmitt, CG, “Open-Mindedness and Compromise Not Dirty Words,” PollyBlog, posted 16 January 2012 (http://pk-pollyblog.blogspot.com : accessed 8 February 2012). In “The Genealogy Paradigm Shift” I discussed the technological changes in society that are also affecting the genealogical community. One example that I used was the closing of many local genealogical societies compared with the growth of online genealogy communities. In this post, Polly further explores this topic with grace, and discusses how genealogical societies and tech-savvy genealogists can work together to move into this new era.

Judy G. Russell, “SSDI Hearings: OUCH!,” The Legal Genealogist blog, posted 3 February 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 8 February 2012). Judy watched the hearing of the Ways and Means Committee on the Social Security Death Master File (“Social Security Death Index”) and it did not look good. I agree!

Fred Moss, “RPAC launches ‘Stop Identity Theft NOW’ Petition,” Records Preservation and Access Committee blog, posted 7 February 2012 (http://www.fgs.org/rpac : accessed 8 February 2012). Rather than just complaining about the potential loss of the Social Security Death Master File, the RPAC–a joint committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies–has introduced an alternative that continues access while limiting the potential for abuse. This post describes a petition on the White House website in support of this alternative.

Randy Seaver, “Answers to Questions from Ancestry.com,” Genea-Musings blog, posted 10 February 2012 (http://www.geneamusings.com : accessed 11 February 2012). Randy asked a representative from Ancestry.com some pertinent questions about how the site will develop over the next few years. The responses are enlightening.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 5 February 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Note: Between the APG Professional Management Conferences and the 2012 RootsTech Conference this week, most of the blogs that I read on a regular basis have either been inactive or covered the conferences. So this is a short list this week.

James Tanner, “What is left to digitize?,” Genealogy’s Star blog, posted 21 January 2012 (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com : accessed 28 Jan 2012). Mr. Tanner emphasizes that–even though hundreds of millions of records have been digitized–the surface has barely even been scratched. As genealogists, we still need to consult original records.

Linda Woodward Geiger, “Evidence: A Matter of Context for Genealogists & Historians,” Anamnesis: Musings by Linda blog, posted 4 February 2012 (http://www.musingsbylinda.com/anamnesis : accessed 4 February 2012). A light-hearted post that does make a subtle point about evidence.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 29 January 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist blog (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 23 January 2012).  I can’t recommend a single post on Judy’s blog. I have to simply recommend them all. Understanding the laws that created our records, and the meanings of the legal terms that appear in them, is an essential step in our understanding of the information we find in records. Judy, who has a law degree, discusses these and other legal issues vital to genealogists.

Dawn Watson, “More, Please!,” Genealogical Research: A Hobby or an Obsession? blog, posted 20 January 2012 (http://genealogical.wordpress.com : accessed 21 January 2012). Dawn discusses how research is not just about “finding the records,” but about what the researcher does with those records–how the researcher looks at those records. This is a very important point that gets lost on many beginning genealogists (and sometimes forgotten by more experienced genealogists).

Judy Hynson, “One Slave’s Story,” Stratford Hall Projects Blog, posted 6 January 2012 (http://stratfordhallprojects.blogspot.com : accessed 21 January 2012). Judy is the Director of Research at Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and familial home of the Lees of Virginia. This post is a response to a published story in the Detroit Free Press relating the oral history of an African-Canadian family that claims to be descended from an enslaved sister of Robert E. Lee (that is, the daughter of Robert E. Lee’s father and one of his female slaves). Judy discusses the records that relate to the slaves of Stratford Hall, in an attempt to discover the truth of the family’s oral history.

Susan Farrell Bankhead, CG, “The Proof Is In The Pudding: Citing The Source,” Susan’s Genealogy Blog, posted 12 January 2012 (http://www.susansgenealogyblog.com : accessed 27 January 2012). There are a lot of blog posts that touch on aspects of source citation. (Heck, I’ve written at least a dozen myself.) What is special about this one? The last section of the post discusses a common problem genealogists encounter: what do you do if you do not have direct evidence? I won’t reveal the answer – visit her blog to find out.

Daniel Hubbard, “The Path of Logic,” Personal Past Meditations blog, posted 8 January 2012 (http://www.thepersonalpast.com : accessed 27 January 2012). In this post, Hubbard discusses the logical–and often illogical (or more appropriately alogical)–paths that we take to discover the evidence that leads from our problem to our conclusion. A very good meditation on the nature of our research.

Robyn Smith, “A Strategy for Researching Freedmens Bureau Records,” Reclaiming Kin blog, posted 20 January 2012 (http://msualumni.wordpress.com : accessed 28 January 2012). Robyn has long been one of my favorite bloggers (and a close “real-life” friend. This blog post is an excellent example of why. Freedmen’s Bureau records are not widely available online, and there are few legitimate indexes–none of which are all-inclusive. Despite the difficulty of working with the records, there are no more useful records for researching African Americans during the Reconstruction era, ca. 1865-1875. In this post Robyn describes her strategy for using the record groups. Well done.

Notable Genealogy Blog Posts, 22 January 2012

The following recent blog posts are those that I consider important or notable. Unlike other similar blog lists, I cannot guarantee that they will all be from the past week. (Some weeks I simply do not have time to read any blogs.) But I will try to write this on a fairly regular basis.

Kris Hocker, “How to Use the Online Land Records at the PA State Archives,” /genealogy blog, posted 3 January 2012 (http://www.krishocker.com : accessed 21 January 2012). Kris provides extremely useful information about accessing the warrants, surveys, patents, and other land records that have been digitized by the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Marian Pierre-Louis, “APG Membership Becomes More Valuable,” Marian’s Roots and Rambles blog, posted 16 January 2012 (http://rootsandrambles.blogspot.com : accessed 21 January 2012). The Association of Professional Genealogists is the only organization supporting genealogy as a profession in the United States. So far in 2012, several new programs sponsored by the APG have already been introduced. As Marian states, APG membership is definitely becoming more valuable.

Barbara Matthews, “Three adjectives to be used with the word genealogist,” The Demanding Genealogist blog, posted 15 November 2011 (http://demandinggenealogist.blogspot.com : accessed 21 January 2012). This blog helps to clear up some of the confusion over terminology used for genealogists themselves. Instead of making the primary distinction “hobbyist” vs. “professional,” Barbara promotes the use of “avocational” for those genealogists who do not get paid, “professional” for those who do get paid, and “scholarly” for those who produce quality research–regardless of whether one does or does not get paid. Fantastic post!

The Geneabrarian [pseudonym], “Eliminating the Hobby from Genealogy,” The Geneabrarian Reference Desk blog, posted 6 January 2012 (http://geneabrarian.blogspot.com : accessed 21 January 2012).  This is one of the most important posts I have read in some time. The Geneabrarian observes that the characterization of genealogical research as “just a hobby,” is detrimental to the perception of the field. This can actually hurt us tremendously when it comes to library funding and records access. Whether you are a professional genealogist or an avocational genealogist, we must stop calling genealogy a hobby!

The Geneabrarian [pseudonym], “In Defense of the Field: The Study of Genealogy Does Matter,” The Geneabrarian Reference Desk blog, posted 13 January 2012 (http://geneabrarian.blogspot.com : accessed 21 January 2012). The Geneabrarian follows up the post mentioned above with this one: another step toward improving the perception of genealogy and genealogists. She draws upon her experience as a trained librarian and archivist, as well as a lifelong genealogical researcher.

Please feel free to add links to other notable blog posts in the comments of this post.

 

Concept Map for Genealogical Research

I haven’t forgotten my promise to include my review of the Ancestry.com webinar on African-American research.  Been so busy lately.  My own course on African-American genealogical research is now available at GenClass.  Take a look if you are interested in this subject at all.  The first session will begin April 1.
I really wanted to mention & post a link to a great video that Dan Lawyer created for his blog, Taking Genealogy to the Common Person.  It is a quick and simple “concept map” view of genealogy — its goals & methods.  Very nice!
I know this is a short entry — is Twitter shortening my attention span?
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