Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (March 26, 2016)

The recommended items of interest for this week are as follows . . . 

1.   Today is the last Saturday in March and therefore this is the last opportunity for Saturday Serendipity to recognize Women's History Month with a recommended "listen" as opposed to a recommended read (as is more usual for Saturday Serendipity). This week I return to Nate DiMeo's audio podcast, the memory palace, to recommend you listen to his piece on Margaret Knight. To learn who Margaret was and why she has an important (though little known) place in Women's History, have a listen to Episode 78: No. 116,842.  You will be glad you did.  

2.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS mentioned a very useful and interesting piece this week that ran in the Boston Globe. Almost all of us at one point or another have been flummoxed and frustrated by the need to decode and transcribe the cursive handwriting in old land records, diaries, letters, etc. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in Massachusetts is now about to complete a project designed to transcribe handwritten land records from 1793 to 1900. To learn more about this project, which is underway at the registry in Dedham and is said to be the first project of its kind, go here.   

3.  Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has a new post about a birth location puzzle she and a cousin have encountered based on their research. The puzzle emerged when they participated in the recent challenge to color code the location of the birth of ancestors.  Read about the challenge and their conundrum here.  Judy also provides a link for a template to create your own color-coded chart of ancestor birth locations.

4.  I must admit that the various commonalities and causation pedigrees that many genealogists have created for their families is a new and intriguing concept to me. Laura Mattingly of Old Trunk in the Attic blog posted last weekend about her creation of a pedigree chart to depict the common characteristics and experiences she shares with her ancestors. Read about these kinds of projects and Laura's creation here.

5.  As part of a continuing interest in mentioning possible esoteric sources for genealogy clues and data, I came across a post at The Vault that could hold some very sad but hidden nuggets for some genealogists. A recently published book by Peter Manseau titled, "Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray Bullets and Bad Luck," collects notices of fire arms tragedies from 1739 to 1916. It might be possible for some mysteries about ancestor or relative deaths to be answered by investigating the information in this book.  To read more about the book and to see several of the newspaper notices the author collected, go here

6.  And finally, since as genealogists we all deal with the subject of death in one way or another, there is a lengthy, but very interesting, piece at Wait But Why blog about the dream of defeating death through what is called "cryonics" or "cryogenics" (the freezing of the body after death).  About 300 people are presently being preserved in vats of liquid nitrogen in the hope of one day being able to live again. How does this process work and what is the procedure for becoming a "cryonicist?" If interested, you can read much more about this subject here.    
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (March 19, 2016)

The recommended items of interest for this week are as follows . . . 

1.   As March and Women's History Month comes slowly to a close, I'd like to introduce (or perhaps re-introduce) readers to Nate DiMeo's excellent history podcast called "the memory palace." A former colleague introduced me to this audio podcast a few years ago and I keep coming back to it time and again to listen to new episodes (especially when on long road trips). Nate mines the annals of little known, obscure historical events and the people involved in them. And like all history sources, we genealogists never know when we might come across a nugget to enhance our family genealogies. I highly recommend the memory palace and as a contribution to Women's History Month I provide this link to Episode 76: Mary Walker Would Wear What She Wanted -- a 9-minute sample of the memory palace and a poignant reminder of the obstacles faced by women in 19th Century America.

2.  How cool is it to discover that a historic Colonial house built in 1692 that you have seen (but never up close until recently) was owned by the brother of the wife of your 2nd cousin, 7 times removed? It is pretty darn cool when you find out who the cousin was!  To find out, read Barbara Poole's post here -- complete with photos of the house -- at Life From The Roots blog.

3.  And how cool is it when a genealogy-minded Good Samaritan reads a piece on your blog and then sends you a day book and other items that belonged to a sought after relative? Read here Diane Boumenot's post and see photos of the items and the relative at On Rhode Island Family blog.    

4.  James Tanner at Genealogy's Star blog has two posts this week about preparing to search a graveyard. If you have ever thought about doing such a search, you would be well advised to read both posts.  You can read Part One here and Part Two here

5.  We genealogists always pay attention to surnames -- and to given names when looking for specific individuals -- but how often do we know or pay attention to middle names?  Often middle names are family surnames and they can provide very useful clues for our research. Now there is a resource for discovering middle name frequency over the last twelve decades (1880-2000). Thanks to UpFront With NGS blog, you can read about this resource and get a link to the database here

6.  And finally for this week, Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist blog has reprised a very interesting and useful post -- first published two years ago -- about providing a citation to an image.  You can read the post here
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (March 12, 2016)

From the road this weekend as we visit our granddaughter Nora in New Jersey . . .  less than a handful of  recommended reads for the weekend.

1.  The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS reminds anyone interested in ancestors or relatives who lived in towns in Massachusetts that in the early years of the 20th Century NEHGS was a moving force in getting legislation to fund the production of vital statistic books for towns in the state through the year 1850. NEHGS has now updated its database of these books to add 2,000 records for the town of Chatham and 4,000+ records for the town of Harwich.  When available, the names of parents and spouses have also been provided. You can get to the database by going here (but you will need to be a member or join). 

2.  As part of its continuing effort to make genealogists aware of FREE (or relatively free) genealogy and family history resources, UpFont With NGS blog provided two new lists of 20 such resources for such diverse locations as the U.S. Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Hungary, and even the Vatican.  You can see the list and get links to the new sites here and here.

3.  March is Women's History month and Nancy at My Ancestors and Me blog has provided a list of recommended books along with her reviews.  You can access Nancy's list here.  Only 19 days left in March to read Nancy's eight picks . . . so you better get started!  

4.  Pete Muise of New England Folklore blog has posted a new piece titled "Ghost Stories and Lewiston Maine's Riverside Cemetery." Some nice photos of headstones are provided.  If you have ancestors or relatives now residing in Riverside Cemetery, Peter's piece might give you something to think about if you visit.  You can read the post here.  
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for March 5, 2016

Randy Seaver's regular Saturday Night Genealogy Fun feature at Genea-Musing blog is a bucket list check sheet this week. Since I have not participated in SNGF in a really long time, I decided to play this week.  My list appears below.  A check in the box means I have done the particular activity involved -- which might be more than some of you wish to know.  

(X) Shot a gun
( ) Gone on a blind date
(X) Skipped school
( ) Watched someone die
(X) Visited Canada
(X ) Visited Hawaii
( ) Visited Cuba
(X ) Visited Europe
(X ) Visited Las Vegas
(X ) Visited Central America

( ) Visited Asia
( ) Visited Africa
(X) Visited Florida
(X ) Visited Mexico
(X ) Seen the Grand Canyon in person
(X ) Flown in a helicopter
(  ) Served on a jury
(  ) Been lost
(X ) Traveled to the opposite side of the country
(X ) Visited Washington, DC

(X ) Swam in the Ocean 
( ) Cried yourself to sleep
(  ) Played cops and robbers
(X ) Played cowboys and Indians
( ) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Sang karaoke
( ) Sang a solo or duet in church
( ) Paid for a meal with coins only
(X ) Made prank phone calls
( ) Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose

(X ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(X ) Had children
(X ) Had a pet
(X) Been skinny-dipping
(X) Been fishing
(X ) Been boating
(X) Been downhill skiing
(X) Been water skiing
(X ) Been camping in a trailer/RV
(X ) Been camping in a tent

( ) Driven a motorcycle
( ) Been bungee-jumping (ripcord jumping)
(X ) Gone to a drive-in movie
(X ) Done something that could have killed you…
(X ) Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life
( ) Rode an elephant
( ) Rode a camel
(X ) Eaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner
(X) Been on TV  
( ) Stolen any traffic signs

(X ) Been in a car accident
(X) Been in the Hospital in past 24 months
(X ) Donated blood 
( ) Gotten a (speeding) or any other type of ticket in the past 12 months
( ) Gotten a piercing
( ) Gotten a Tattoo 
(X) Driven a manual transmission vehicle
( ) Ever owned your dream car
(X ) Been Married
( ) Been divorced

( X) Fell in love
( ) Fell out of love
(X) Paid for a strangers meal
( ) Driven over 100 mph
( ) Been scuba diving
(X) Written a published book/story/poetry
( ) Eaten snails

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Graphic ripped off from Genea-Musings!
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Bucket list answers Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday Serendipity (March 5, 2016)

After an extended hiatus to take care of some health and family matters, Saturday Serendipity returns this week with a few recommended reads for the weekend.

1.  Regular readers of Saturday Serendipity know that one of my favorite sites is The Vault by Rebecca Onion on Slate. Rebecca is Slate's history writer and she has a knack for finding and posting some fascinating pieces about history and historical documents that are missed by most other sources. Now Rebecca has solved a problem that has haunted her about her site and in the process has provided us with what I think could be a very useful tool for enhancing the genealogical stories we all strive to construct and intensify with interesting historical mileposts.  The Vault has added a new "Timeline" feature that will allow you to see Rebecca's posts in their chronological context -- and thereby perhaps select some to intensify and flesh out your genealogical stories with interesting historical items that might have been seen or used by your ancestors.  Read more about this new feature here.

2.  And speaking of The Vault and how it can be useful in finding obscure new sources for genealogists . . . if you have ancestors in South Carolina, you should check out this post at The Vault from February 17th. A history site called CSI: Dixie has 1,582 digitized coroner's reports from six counties in 19th century South Carolina. It can be searched by key word OR by s description of the act that resulted in the person's death (drowning, suicide, etc.).

3.  As genealogists, we all deal with researching and documenting the lifespan of our ancestors and relatives. Here is a thought-provoking piece at Wait But Why blog that puts the human lifespan and how it is spent in some intriguing perspective. I think reading this will give us all pause about making the most of our time here on planet earth.

4.  Ever heard of "Bissextile?" It is better known as February 29th or "Leap Day," and as we know, it only comes around about every four years. The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS provided a link this week to an interesting piece about past focus on February 29th as a time (apropos of "Sadie Hawkins Day") when single women could propose marriage to men. Read here about a real life "bachelor list" published in Chicago on January 1, 1888 so that single women could be better informed about the available targets for proposals come Bissextile 1888. Perhaps you might find the answer to how an ancestor found her spouse among the names and descriptions of the highlighted bachelors!

5.  If you use Family Tree Maker, then you will want to read Randy Seaver's review of the recent announcement that the new FTM versions from Software MacKiev are available.  You can read Randy's helpful summary here at Genea-Musings blog.   

6.  Do you find yourself relying more and more on Cloud storage for your genealogy and other data? If so, you might want to read James Tanner's piece, "5 Reasons NOT to depend entirely on Cloud Storage" here at Genealogy's Star blog. 
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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