Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (January 11, 2014)

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 recommendations for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  As this particular item is being written a few days earlier than usual, we are covered in snow here in northwestern Virginia and bracing for cold that could break records -- although as a New Englander the depth of the snow and the bite of the cold is not what I recall from New Hampshire in the early 1960s.  Nonetheless we will be paying special attention to the weather forecasts for Saturday, January 11th because we are attending my nephew's wedding in Philadelphia today.  So this weather-conscious event and a post last Saturday by Judy Russell at award winning blawg, The Legal Genealogist, have emphasized the importance weather can have on our family history and memories.  Judy tells a nice story about her experience of awesome winters, but she also provides some great links to use to check weather facts for your memories and family histories. Read "The Storms of Memory"here and get some very useful links provided by Judy.        
2.  One of the discoveries that we often make about our ancestors and the times in which they lived, is that child labor outside the family home and off the family farm was treated much differently than it is today. The Vault provides some nice graphics in the form of U.S. maps showing child labor regulation in the early 1930s.  A series of maps illustrate: the ages each state established for when compulsory day school attendance ended; the minimum level of educational attainment by grade required for children going to work under age 16; the states that required physical examinations of children going to work; the hours per day that children under age 16 were allowed to work; and the states that allowed children under 16 to do night work in factories and stores. It was a different world for child labor in the 1930s and depending on which state a child lived in, it could be a VERY different world.

3.  A post from Up Front With NGS provides a timely reminder of the importance of analyzing documents used to substantiate genealogical claims and conclusions.  The post also provides useful links to tools for assisting in one's analysis.

4.  Speaking of discoveries that are made during genealogy research . . . how about coming across a possible murder in the family? Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family is one of the more thoughtful and thorough genealogy bloggers around and her research posts are always a pleasure to read and admire, but her post this week, "Using Evidence to Solve a Murder," is especially engaging and instructive regarding how to ferret out and use sources.  It is a top drawer read for this week! 

5.  Judy Russell, our Legal Genealogist, scored again this week with a fun post about songs that could serve as theme songs for genealogists.  Go to her post "Singing a different tune"and be sure to read the many comments that answer her query about other songs that could fit the bill.  There are many links provided so you can listen to several of the the songs recommended.

6.  NEHGS has just announced the launch of a new blog titled, "Vita Brevis." The blog is a vehicle for "offering short essays by the Society's expert staff on their own research processes, methods, and results, as well as news of the greater genealogical community." Have a look at the first posts . . . and by the way "Generatio longa, vita brevis" (the title of the very first post) translates to "A generation is long, life is short!"

7.  The Weekly Genealogist newsletter by NEHGS alerts us to the newly available, digitally enhanced, on-line version of The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States by Charles O. Paullin. The atlas is a composite project begun in 1903 and contributed to by many scholars. At 162 pages of text and almost 700 maps graphically depicting subjects such as the routes of explorers, settlement progress, political developments, etc., there is a lot of interesting and useful data to be gathered from this resource (which can also be viewed in hard copy at the NEHGS library).    

8.  Here is a delightful read about an amazingly serendipitous "Eureka Moment" by Jana Last at Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. It involves a wonderfully kind Good Samaritan in Ireland, some very old picture postcards found in a Galway second-hand market, and . . . well just go to the link and read it for yourself! [I wanted to make Jana's story a post in my Samaritan Sunday series, but I will be out of town at a wedding and how could I possibly tell it any better than Jana's has already done!?]  

9.  Finally, I posted here back in October about the importance of  recording our experiences of present events for the benefit of our ancestors. And last August I posted here about how I was concerned about the ability to record and preserve our gathered genealogy research, stories, and data in such a way that it is not lost due to obsolete digital formats or by the immediacy of a simple press of a delete button. I wanted us to contemplate the beauty, permanence, and easy accessibility of the paper-based medium. Bill West of West in New England muses on these same issues in "Some Say The World Will End In Fire, Some Say In Ice." I think we should all remind ourselves of the importance of creating AND preserving all our genealogy data for the really long term.  Bill mentions his plan to preserve his blog in book form, which is an excellent idea that I discussed with my cousin Heather Rojo some months ago.  For several years now Heather has periodically preserved her blog in book form using Blurb. On her recommendation, I have now begun doing the same. [See Heather's April 22 & 23, 2010 posts about preserving her blog on Blurb by scrolling down after clicking on her "Blurb" label in the right margin of her blog home page.] The first volume of my Blurb blog book [say THAT five times fast!] became a Christmas gift to each of my sons just two weeks ago. I plan a future post about the experience and the result. If you blog or plan to, read the posts linked above and then resolve as a high priority New Year's Resolution to preserve and share all your efforts in the good ol' permanent, easily accessible form of a paper-based blog book!
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. John,

    Thank you for including my Engle Family Postcard Adventure story in your list today! I'm honored that you also wanted to include it in your Samaritan Sunday series.

  2. Thanks for mentioning the blog books. I think every blogger should consider making blog books as gifts to fans and family members. Spread the stories around. Use it as a "hard copy" backup. Donate one to a library. Make it available for sale online. These stories are too good to lose!