Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (June 15, 2013)

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.   As readers of The Prism know, a featured series here is Samaritan Sunday, which presents stories of strangers helping strangers with acts of genealogy-related altruism.  I guess it should come as no surprise that everyone and anyone can benefit from the unselfish concern of strangers for the welfare  or interests of unknown others.  This is even so when the beneficiary happens to be a famous billionaire!   A very, very wealthy American recently received a mailed a trunk from a complete stranger as an 85th birthday present.  When the trunk arrived at the office out of the blue and was cautiously opened, it turned out it contained some 110 letters and artifacts from the time of the Civil War.  The materials once belonged to the person's ancestors.  Read the full story here complete with a photo of the materials received.  The Good Samaritan (a woman from Florida) remains anonymous even as she gifted materials so significant that historians are already chomping at the bit to gain access to them.

2.  Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, shares with us two VERY cool new tools that will graphically display data of interest and importance to genealogists.  The first is a tool that displays U.S. demographic data over time for regions of the country or for the whole nation.  The second is a tool to overlay historic boundary lines over any Google Maps location you might select.  Judy also posted yesterday, what I consider to be a "must read" synopsis of the very recent SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United Sates) decision on patentability of naturally occurring human genes.  Judy concisely explains the SCOTUS decision and clarifies what it means to genealogists, and, most immediately, to women who have a seriously increased risk of breast cancer if they happen to have the  BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

3.  Diane Boumenot at One Rhode Island Family serves up another well-written, interesting and informative post.  This one is titled, "What You Can Find in a Rhode Island Newspaper." It is a delightful read with Diane's usual helpful links to resources!   

4.  The Weekly Genealogist newsletter by NEHGS is often praised (and relied on) here for its weekly "Stories of Interest." One story from this week is an article in the Irish Times titled "In praise of an Irish genealogy blog."  As stated in the article, "Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News is now absolutely essential for anyone who wants to know what is happening in Irish genealogy."  You can view the blog itself here

5.  Genealogy is about personal and family history and so it is about the changes in the lives of the people who are quite literally the closest to us.  It is about what they did during their lives and what they were allowed to do or prohibited from doing.  UpFront With NGS has a bi-weekly feature called "Upfront Mini Bytes" that is similar to the popular "Follow Friday" writing prompt used by many genealogy bloggers.  The latest installment links to two articles worth checking out to see that the changes we and our ancestors experience and live through are not always about technology and they are not always buried in the deep mists of time -- some are quite profound and quite recent. Read 10 things Irish women could NOT do in  1970 here, and then read 10 things American women  could NOT do until the 1970s here

6.  As Rick Aschmann explains on his website, "Some people collect stamps.  Others collect coins.  I collect dialects."  UpFront provided the tip to Rick's hobby website where he tracks and maps the 8 major English dialect areas in North America (the U.S. and Canada). If word and name pronunciation and spelling have been an issue in your genealogy research -- or if dialects just interest you -- check out Rick's North American English dialects site and his interactive map here.  A really neat feature is Rick's use of YouTube clips to illustrate the sound of the various dialects -- often using clips of famous or well known personalities.

7.  With the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in just seven short years, there is a very worthy project that Heath Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy brings to our attention -- the needs of the Mayflower II!  Anyone with an interest in history -- and especially those of us who are Mayflower descendants -- should consider this project and our ability to help in even a small way.  Read more about it here in Heather's post, "Save Our Ship!" 

8.  AND, last but not least, I would be seriously remiss if I did not publicly thank Lynn Betlock, Editor of NEHGS's The Weekly Genealogist, for her kind and generous invitation to highlight Filiopietism Prism in the newsletter's series, "A Note from the Editor: A Featured Blog."  The Prism was featured this past Wednesday and I thank Lynn and NEHGS very much for the mention.  The page views of The Prism shot up almost four-fold to over 400 as a result of being mentioned to NEHGS members!  If you are a subscriber, you can see the newsletter and mention of The Prism here.      
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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