Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (January 25, 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.  UpFront With NGS informed us this week about a positively fascinating detective job to identify a young girl in 1908 working in a textile mill during the sad era of child labor abuses in the U.S. If you only have time to read one article this weekend, this is the one you need to read. Author and historian Joe Manning is one tenacious and creative researcher, as you will see. He develops an idea of how to use the 1910 Census to track down possible solutions to the identification project he set for himself and then delves into what must have been a time consuming (but ultimately profitable) task. I can't recommend this read highly enough and I thank UpFront for publicizing its existence.        
2.  Randy Sever at Genea-Musings informs us in two posts this week about's recent addition of hundreds of FamilySearch collections to the Ancestry catalog; however, in his usual style of not simply noting such an event, he goes the extra step of delving into it himself and reporting back to his readers. Randy posts here about his venture into a new collection and what he found.   

3.  Here is a resource I wish I had known about earlier.  I think it is one all genealogists (amateurs and professionals alike) will want to bookmark. Abbreviations used in city directories can be viewed here AND there are bonus links to lists of common abbreviations for first names and for occupation abbreviations. The lists are provided by Genealogy In Time Magazine.    

4.  Do you have ancestors who were involved in the whaling industry in the time before the transition from off-shore whale hunting sailing ships to oceans-roaming modern factory ships? If so, here is a database resource where you can explore all known American pelagic (off-shore) whaling voyages from the 1700s to the 1920s. There are some 15,000 uniquely identified voyages and you can get the vessel name, port of registry or departure, departure year and month, arrival year and month, declared destination of the voyage, the ship Master's name, and the product brought home (sperm oil, baleen oil, and/or bones).

5. I really enjoy reading posts about the detective work genealogists do to solve questions or mysteries in their family history. This week Tracy Meyers of Family Preserves blog takes us along on her detailed mystery tour to try to solve a delicious puzzle about the actual name of her paternal grandfather.  Have a read. It is well worth your time and perhaps you can offer Tracy some thoughts about possible future avenues to explore.    

6.  Many of us have roots in 16th and 17th century England and so we are always interested in information about events in the UK during those times that might have influenced our ancestors to cross the pond to America. Political events, religious issues and catastrophes such as man-made and natural disasters and epidemics could all be catalysts to migration. In the summer of 1665 the "Great Plague of London" decimated the population and 75,000 to 100,000 of the total census of 460,000 Londoners died from bubonic plague.  The Vault provides an informative and horrible death tally of the causes of death (plague and many others) for a single week in London in 1665. It would be no surprise if many families with means decided to leave for America after reading these official statistics!

7.  And lastly for this week . . . They're here! For those who have been waiting to see the postcards that Jana Last obtained through the extremely kind Good Samaritan efforts of her new Irish friend, Ann (see the background post here), Jana posted the first of her new collection with a fascinating story discovered from a 1904 postcard. You will want to follow this wonderful story and see the treasures as Jana shares them with us. See her first postcard and the story that accompanies it here!      

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. John, thank you for mentioning Family Preserves on today's post. While my latest post was written in exhausted frustration, it has served another valued purpose - outlining what I know, how I know it and where I've already searched. And, it has helped bring into focus some further research strategies. I look forward to reader's tips and tricks that they used in similar situations in their research.

    Thank you again.

  2. John,

    Thank you so much for including my post in which I share the first of the Engle Family Postcards in your awesome list today! I appreciate it!