Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (February 7, 2015)

The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend. 

1.  Have you ever thought you might need or want to hire a professional genealogist? NEHGS mentioned this story of interest on how to hire a professional genealogist.  The article is by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and NEHGS researcher Suzanne Stewart.  [Article Factoid:  The average hourly rate for a professional genealogist is $60.]     

2.   There was an interesting post this week at Past Smith blog with which I completely agree. In fact it echoes a theme I posted about on several occasion such as here back on October 3, 2013, here back on September 11, 2014 and here on October 1, 2014 . . . it is the idea that genealogy is not just about looking into and discovering the past, it is also about creating and preserving family history for descendants in the future. See Past Smith's post  "Are You Looking Back or Looking Forward?" here and learn about The 4 Family Stories You Must Save for Your Children.       

3.  The Vault had a very timely and interesting map post this week. Go here to see maps from the late 19th Century showing measles mortality in the U.S. before the advent of vaccines.

4.  Also at The Vault this week was a piece that especially caught my eye. It is about the "slips of paper that called 19th-Century militias to muster" and includes several images of what the muster notices looked like. I found this piece interesting because I have original 1840 militia muster notices to my 3X great grandfather, Eber Miller.  I have posted images of those notices here and here on The Prism.  

5.  The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, has a wonderful post today about the advent of the telephone in American life. You can read Judy's post here. As Judy points out, the telephone was a true game changer with lasting effects on American society . . . and they continue to this day.  

We all have stories about the telephone and Judy asks us to share, so here is a quick one of mine from the early 1960s when my family was living in Salem Depot, NH. 

My parents bought an almost brand new home in Salem -- a nice Cape Cod that I have posted about and shown previously on The Prism. We had a telephone as everyone in this new development did, but it was in the era of the "party line" where more than one household shared a connection. The woman who lived two or three houses down from us on the other side of the street was on our party line and she was a Class A talker who was completely oblivious to the needs of others to have access to the line. My mother had four young children and was an RN who worked part-time shifts at a hospital in Lawrence, MA and she needed use of the line for work scheduling, kid emergencies, etc. I think the first time I ever heard my mother swear was when she was totally exasperated after multiple tries to get use of the line. Finally she picked up the phone and said icily into the hand set something along the lines of, "You have been chatting on this line for almost two hours now and others have a need of it for important matters. Get off the damn phone so others can use it too!

6.  Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog posted a useful piece this week titled "10 Unexpected Places to Find Family History Online." You can read Heather's post here.

7.  And finally, UpFront With NGS blog posted a notice that Fold3 is making its Black History Collection available for FREE during Black History Month -- which is February, THIS month! Read more about this opportunity here.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog post, and thanks for your funny story about the party line phone in Salem. Just by coincidence I was in Sakem today.

  2. That is a coincidence! Do you by chance know when it was that the town became just plain "Salem" as opposed to "Salem Depot," New Hampshire? When we lived there 1959 - 1962 it was known as Salem Depot. Of course Rockingham Race Track and a Coca-Cola plant were the big employers at the time. I don't think the depot building was in much use at the time. It would have been a nice commute into Lawrence, but this was the time of cars and when middle class families were moving to having more than one, so they preferred the flexibility and pride of driving their own cars I am sure.