Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (April 15, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  If you have any roots in Rhode Island or southeast Massachusetts around Narragansett Bay, then you really should get a copy of "Between Land and Sea" by Christopher L. Pastore, Rhode Island native and Assistant Professor of History, State University of New York - Albany (Harvard University Press, 2014). Prof. Pastore covers the ecological, social, political, and cultural story of the Narragansett Bay and the push and pull among Native Americans, the settlers of Plymouth and early Massachusetts, and the settlers of Rhode Island.  It is an absorbing, informative, and at times fascinating read that reveals Narragansett Bay and the story of establishing the perimeters of the Bay as part of the demarcation of the border between colonial Rhode Island and Massachusetts -- all in only 238 pages. [1]


2.  Regular readers of Saturday Serendipity know what a fan I am of Diane Boumenot and her blog, One Rhode Island Family.  Just a few weeks ago I finally met Diane in person while on a genealogy trip to do some on-site research on my Rhode Island ancestors and relatives.  The occasion was an excellent presentation Diane made to the Rhode Island Genealogical Society (RIGS) at the N. Kingstown Library on creating personal genealogy books very inexpensively -- complete with samples of her own work. Two days ago Diane posted the great news that her webinar titled "Find Your Colonial Rhode Island Ancestors" will be offered for free this weekend (Fri. - Sun.) at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. AND the even more exciting news is that "[t]his summer [Diane] will have several more webinars on the site, offering tips and techniques for tracing our Rhode Island ancestors." Read more at Diane's post here. If you have Rhode Island roots, then you really should avail yourself of Diane's expertise and presentation skills. 

3.  And speaking of the N. Kingstown library (which by the way has an excellent little genealogy room on the lower floor), did you know that this week was National Library Week?  There is still time to celebrate by visiting a library as the week-long celebration ends today.  Read more about this annual week in celebration of libraries here.  The theme this year is "Libraries Transform."  As all genealogists know . . . indeed they do!   
4.  Two weeks and counting . . . Things at's Family Tree Maker laboratory must be a bustling beehive of activity. Two weeks have passed since the first announced launch date for the new and improved FTM 2017 and no general launch yet for those of us who pre-ordered, or for those wanting to begin using FTM and its new features.   Bottom line is that there is still no new release date, but the April 14th status report is detailed and and provides "AN OPTION FOR THE ANXIOUS." The latest status update from can be seen here.

5.  I found two items of interest posted this week at UpFront with NGS blog. One is about removing damaging fasteners from historic document.  Read "Staples -- our friend and our foe!" here. The other is about a new application on a free website called . The app is a tool that can help in GUESSING the age of people shown in old photographs.  Read here about the application, get links, and see the examples that Diane Richard provides from her attempts to use the website (mixed results!).                   

6.  I also found that The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS had two items of interest this week.  The first was a fun and useful one about the most distinctive baby names for each of the past seven generations. You can read the story here.  The other item was a piece in the Cape Cod Times that interviewed NEHGS genealogist Christopher Child. The article is titled "A caveat on DNA testing firms' links to lineage" and you can read it here.    

7.  And finally, today is the 11th Blogiversary for a premier genealogy blogger (and very distant cousin) Randy Seaver. Genea-Musings is 11 years old today and that is quite an accomplishment -- especially considering how prolific Randy has been during that time! Read more about Genea-Musings and its amazing numbers, find out the original name for the blog, see a screen shot of the original blog page, and more by going here.  
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[1]  Thank you to Steve Booth, cousin of my daughter-in-law, who brought this book to my attention and kindly lent me his copy to read!
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (April 8, 2017)

Here area few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  The latest status report on the roll-out of the new Family Tree Maker 2017 is that they missed their new projected shipping date of Tuesday, April 4th. The newest launch date (as of the April 6th UPDATE) is . . . they don't have one! Mackiev is working with Ancestry to solve "some architecture adjustments."  FTM is "getting closer and will continue to keep [users who pre-paid for FTM2017] posted."  If you are an FTM user -- or think you might like to begin using FTM 2017, then you need to follow their path to launch here.

2.  Have you ever heard of "surname extinction?" It is related to the concept of "daughtering out" and of what I guess could be called "marriage deficit" where lack of marriage throughout a generation of a family also includes a failure to procreate and pass on a surname independent of marriage.  You can read more about this phenomenon here at UpFront With NGS blog and get a link to view a  5 minute video about surname extinction here on YouTube (after you click to skip the ad).      

3.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS linked this week to a piece that is probably all too familiar to genealogists with long-suffering spouses or partners who end up "tagging along" on genealogy adventures. Having just returned a few weeks ago from a genealogy trip to RI and MA where Molly chauffeured me to cemeteries, a town clerk's offices, various ancestor haunts, etc. (and walked rows of gravestones assisting me in the hunt) I think she might get a kick out of this one (or identify a kindred soul at least). You can read the piece here

4.  This week The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, reminded us of the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I -- the supposed "war to end all wars." In reminding us, Judy also points out that  . . . many men = many records. She provides lists of many links to sources each genealogist should consider exploring at some point. You can read Judy's post here and surf the many useful links she provides.                       

5.  The New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) bi-annual conference is just over two weeks away. It is being held in Springfield, Massachusetts this year. Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog posted yesterday about the NERGC conference and you can read all about it (with many links to other blogs that have covered it) by going here. As Heather says, this is a major genealogy conference and will be of special interest to those having New England roots, but the topics are useful for anyone with a serious interest in genealogy. 

6.  Amy Johnson Crow posted a reprise and update of a post she first published back in 2015. The title says it all. . . "5 Photos You Should Take at the Cemetery." See Amy's list here.    
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (April 1, 2017)

NO FOOLING around today at Saturday Serendipity .  .  .  here area few recommendations for your April Fool's Day weekend reading.

1.  For those with Connecticut roots, NEHGS just announced this week that they are updating the Connecticut Marriages and Deaths, 1790 - 1833 database. The database now has images and can be searched by first name, last name, parents' and spouse's names, location, date, and record type. Learn more here.              

2.  The Weekly Genealogist newsletter of NEHGS brings to our attention this week a very interesting article published at This month marks the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into World War I. As author Stephen Fried's opening line states, "Just weeks after joining World War I in April 1917, the United States was in deep trouble -- financial trouble." The article is titled "WORLD WAR I: 100 YEARS LATER How the Liberty Bell Won the Great War." Read Mr. Fried's informative article here.      

3.  Those who follow Saturday Serendipity know that I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) and that I have followed the acquisition of  FTM from by Software MacKiev.  Yesterday, March 31st, marked the planned roll-out of MacKiev's new FamilySync to replace the former TreeSync .  .  . and as a result syncing between FTM and trees ceased on March 29th and will not resume until today. Family Sync will only be available in MacKiev's FTM 2017 edition, which was planned for release yesterday. Without FTM 2017 no previous FTM versions will sync with trees located on Ancestry. UpFront With NGS blog has a good explanatory post here and anyone with trees on and on FTM software residing on a home computer should definitely read that post. [NOTE:  I preordered a download of the new FTM 2017 for Mac on March 23rd and had my purchase confirmed with a reply email, "Your order is processing. You will receive additional information via a separate email."  The roll-out was to have taken place yesterday.  I have yet to receive any additional email or information from MacKiev.]        

4.  We genealogists are always on the lookout for possible sources to advance our family genealogies and so speaking of World War I and the blog UpFront With NGS, the blog brings to our attention this week the partial digitization of The Stars and Stripes newspaper. The current online collection of the newspaper includes "the complete seventy-one week run" of The Stars and Stripes during World War I. Read more about this collection and get links here.                  

5.  In another in a long line of "food for thought posts" by blogger James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog, Mr. Tanner posted a piece on privacy -- what is and what is not "private."  The post is worth a read and you can do so here. [While Mr. Tanner makes some very good points about the amount and type of information that is available on living people, he also illustrates the varied sources that would be required to compile a profile of living people. It can be done by searching out and using openly available information after expending varying levels of effort, inconvenience, and expense, but I think it remains true that we in the genealogy community (who are, after all, trying to compile at least basic profiles on our ancestors and relatives -- dead and living) have a heightened and special responsibility (absent explicit permission) to avoid providing in a public forum or repository (such as public trees) a compiled profile that would otherwise require considerable effort, inconvenience, and expense to assemble.]  

6.  A post by Elizabeth Handler at From Maine to Kentucky blog reminded me of a website I learned about a few years ago and somehow always forget to check out periodically. The site is called DeadFred and it is a photo archive where folks upload old photos in the hope that they can be reconnected with descendants or relatives. Read here how the site provided a real genealogy gem for Elizabeth and get a link to the website.  

7.  Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog posted another informative and useful piece this week. Her post of March 30th titled "A Sense of Place" provides tips on resources that help scratch the itch that many genealogists have to learn as much as possible about the places where ancestors and relatives actually lived. And as Diane notes, "If you want to solve a brick wall, one best practice is to learn as much as possible about the nearest locations you can find." For those with Rhode Island roots, Diane identifies the wonderful work and guides done by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission. Read Diane's post here and get the convenient and useful links she provides. [NOTE: I have used one of the RIHPHC guides myself and posted about how it solved a problem for me -- with a little help from my mother too. You can see that post here if interested.]
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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