Saturday, March 5, 2016

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Rebecca is Slate's history writer and she has a knack for finding and posting some fascinating pieces about history and historical documents that are missed by most other sources.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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