The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend.1. Starting (as we often do) with news and stories from NEHGS, notice was given this week that NEHGS will be taking over publication of The Mayflower Descendant pursuant to an agreement with the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. Published since 1899, The Mayflower Descendant is one of the oldest and most respected journals in genealogy. NEHGS publication will begin in 2016 with two issues a year. Find out more about this development here.
2. Last week Saturday Serendipity mentioned the solution to a mystery about President Warren G. Harding using modern DNA analysis. The were always two accusations about Harding during his time that became enduring mysteries. One was that he had an illegitimate daughter and the other was that he was "black" due to African American ancestry and so was our first black President. One of these accusation has now been proven true and the other false. In case you have not heard which is which on the news, you can read about the details here in the NYT article.
3. If you have a small collection of various family artifacts, heirlooms, and mementos, then you have probably wondered (as I have) how long such items will be valued by your children, grandchildren and more distant descendants. And you probably grapple with issues of how to properly preserve them in case descendants come to share your concern about and fascination with such artifacts of your family history. New Englander Jan Doer has also wondered about such matters in an article titled The Value Of Family Heirlooms In A Digital Age. You can read the article here.
4. The Vault posted a historically important but quite disturbing brochure that has been digitized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. The brochure is an 1855 auction notice by the J.A. Beard & May firm in New Orelans for disposal of the property of deceased planted and investor, William M. Lambeth. The auction was for the sale of Mr. Lambeth's slaves -- two labor "gangs" were to be split up and sold. The brochure illustrates the way such auctions were conducted. The brochure provides names, ages, and some brief descriptions of the people and families being sold and thus might be of some value to African American genealogists today. You can read more about this historical document here and see the brochure pages. The brochure is also available on the Internet Archive.
5. James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog (which recently passed 3 million page views!), has an interesting post on "glottochronology" or the study of how differences between related languages develop over time. Mr. Tanner provides some details with language comparisons and opines on why this discipline is of interest and importance to genealogists. You can read Mr. Tanner's post here.
6. The Legal Genealogist once again visits the question of the difference between owning a copy of a photograph and the the ownership of the right to copy and allow copies of a photograph (known as the "copyright"). This can be a convoluted subject to many, but Judy G. Russell, as usual, walks us through the maze and makes the subject quite easy to grasp. Read Judy's post, "The limits of ownership," here.
7. UpFront With NGS blog posted a piece about Mega-Search's "Genealogy in Time's Top 100 Sites for 2015." Read here about Mega-Search and the various genealogy searches available. [N.B. Apparently there was some problem with using/referencing "Time's Top 100 Sites for 2015" so the link at the Mega-Search site is now disabled, but you can still learn about Mega-Search and its use for genealogy at the Mega-Search site.]
8. A post that provides a confluence of two subjects addressed by pieces referenced above (preserving family heirlooms/artifacts and sharing family photographs) was provided by Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog. Read the awfully sad story in Heather's post titled, "The Will Says 'All Other Family Portraits to be Destroyed."
9. Denise Levenick of The Family Curator blog has a fascinating and very detailed post about the possibility and method for crowdsourcing group photographs in order to get help identifying people in the photos -- and perhaps providing much sought after pictures of family members to those who have few if any of some ancestors or relatives. Read Denise's post "Hey Soldier, What's Your Name? Crowdsourcing IDs in Old Group Photos [TUTORIAL]."
10. And finally, the first of a two-part post at New England Folklore blog by Peter Muise. Have you ever heard about the "Melonheads" of New England? Neither had I. Since Halloween is just around the corner as we approach the end of August, read "Melonheads Part I: A Trip Down Dracula Drive" here.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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