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.
I finally caught up on most of my blog reading. I missed a lot in the past few months. The following posts are those that were still showing up in that “1000+” in Google Reader, presented in no particular order.
Harold Henderson, CG, “Dueling Birth Dates: Is Your Database the Solution or the Problem?,” Midwestern Microhistory blog, posted 22 October 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed 18 December 2012). I have been highly critical of most genealogy database software in this blog and elsewhere. Part of the reason for my criticism is the design of these software programs after tools for recording conclusions, yet the use of these programs as tools for recording conflicting “facts.” This article explores another aspect of this phenomenon.
Harold Henderson, CG, “What Does It Mean to Be ‘Out of Date’?,” Midwestern Microhistory blog, posted 13 December 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed 18 December 2012). In this post Harold discusses the classic book on American Genealogy by Val Greenwood. Some have argued that Greenwood’s book should be updated to reflect online research. I agree with Harold’s conclusions.
Chris Stevenson, “How Important is an Index?,” Family History Publishing blog, posted 28 November 2012 (http://sgenealogy.com/blog : accessed 18 December 2012). Indexes are arguably the most important thing a genealogical author can include in his book. This article discusses several electronic means for creating your index.
Hari Jones, “The ‘Interpretive Choice’ in Spielberg’s Lincoln,” African American Civil War Memorial blog, posted 23 November 2012 (http://afroamcivilwar.blogspot.com : accessed 19 December 2012). Hari Jones, with the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC, defends the history in the new Lincoln movie. The author is one of the most engaging lecturers I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, and a lot of it stems from his ability to provide specific details and statistics from the Civil War without any notes.
I doubt I really need to recommend these articles. Who would expect anything less than the best from this author? But I will point them out anyway:
- Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, “QuickLesson 12: Chasing an Online Record into Its Rabbit Hole,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (http://www.evidenceexplained.com : accessed 18 December 2012). Where did that digital image come from?
- Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, “QuickLesson 13: Classes of Evidence―Direct, Indirect & Negative,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (http://www.evidenceexplained.com : accessed 18 December 2012). Many genealogists have a difficult time with the concepts of evidence and proof. Ms. Mills discusses evidence.
- Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, “QuickLesson 14: Petitions—What Can We Do with a List of Names?” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (http://www.evidenceexplained.com : accessed 18 December 2012). Just how critically are you really examining your source records?
Kassie Nelson, “Reflections of a Grad Student,” Cedar Tree Genealogy blog, posted 19 December 2012 (http://cedartree.blog.com : accessed 20 December 2012). I have not directly witnessed the anti-academic attitude that Kassie discusses in this post. Sadly, I do not doubt that it exists, and I hope that we—as a field—can move past it.
Randy Seaver, “Watch Out for Early Dates in Ancestry’s ‘Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988′ Collection,” Genea-Musings blog, posted 13 December 2012 (http://www.geneamusings.com : accessed 20 December 2012). This post discusses a very important aspect of colonial research that still causes a lot of confusion: the Julian vs. Gregorian calendars. In this case, Ancestry.com indexers made the mistake of misunderstanding the dates, which will undoubtedly cause a LOT of erroneous family trees.
Betty Lou Malesky, CG, “Genealogy Today: Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” Green Valley News & Sun, posted 10 December 2012 (http://www.gvnews.com/opinion/columnists/genealogy_columnist_betty_malesky/ : accessed 20 December 2012). In the flurry of critical blog posts surrounding Sharon Tate Moody’s recent Tampa Bay Online column, Ms. Malesky defends the position that genealogists should produce accurate work.
Roger Courville, “Five #TED talks every virtual presenter should study,” The Virtual Presenter blog, posted 24 November 2012 (http://thevirtualpresenter.com/ : accessed 18 December 2012). I love TED talks, and I love webinars. With more and more genealogy presenters becoming involved with webinars, this post (and the blog in general) has a lot of lessons that should be learned.
Kevin Levin, “Interpretation of Slavery at Civil War Battlefields,” Civil War Memory blog, posted 4 December 2012 (http://cwmemory.com/ : accessed 22 December 2012). Mr. Levin posts a video from a 2002 University of Richmond panel discussion about historic interpretation at Civil War battlefields. I found it interesting to watch, in part due to my continuing involvement with Monocacy National Battlefield, researching the lives of African Americans enslaved on the former plantation.