Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday Serendipity (February 24, 2018)

Saturday Serendipity recomends the following reads for this weekend .  .  . 

1.  We have probably all had the experience of suddenly, seredipitously coming across an item that we never thought possible.  A diary from a distant ancestor, a photograph of a relative you never knew about, etc. This week The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS brought us two examples that simply elicit a "WOW!" Learn something about hair as a common gift, memorial, or remembrance in times past and learn about a recent "clump" of George Washington's hair found in a book at Union College in Schenectady, NY here
One would have thought that all the parchment copies that might have been made of the Declaration of Independence would have been found or deteriorated away or completely destroyed by now. Wrong! A newly discovered parchment copy (the 51st known) that was made for James Madison has been found. Read about its preservation and the path to discovery here.        

2.  This week Marian Wood of Climbing My Family Tree blog posted (following a "52 Ancestors" prompt), about items that unexpectedly become family heirlooms.  Have a look at the items Marian showcased here. Elizabeth Handler of Maine to Kentucky blog also participated in the same prompt. You can see her showcased items here
I have long had a weakness for what many might call "unlikely family artifacts" and enjoyed seeing Marian's and Elizabeth's examples. Their posts put me in mind of one I did back in April 2014 about the crucial, but little known G.A.R.P. when it comes to identifying and preserving family artifacts and another I did back in September 2013 about how family treasures exist in the simplest of objects.         

3.  Back when I was a practicing attorney, I remember getting frustrated with a colleague who had our team doing massive "discovery" and accumulation of documents -- and I mean "massive."  We had a large room filled with shelves of binders, file cabinets of documents, and piles of. deposition transcripts. A trial date was coming at us like a train through a dark tunnel. We had done a great job of accumulation, but we were wayyyy behind in assimilating and processing it all into our theory of the case. During yet another team confab, I broke and blurted out, "Look we have shot all these buffalo and now it's time to start eating them!"  I have no idea where that metaphorical image came from, but as I said -- I was frustrated. There was silence and then a nodding of heads and eventually laughter. Reading Amy Crow's post this week about the Fallacy of Writing Your Family History, I immediately recognized how she identified the same problem that is all too frequent among genealogists -- especially those who do not get paid for their work. Have a look at Amy's post . . . and then go sit down and start writing!  😀     
4.  Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog has an interesting and useful poll going on about what genealogy software folks use. She has graphed the results thus far, but the comments from various users could be useful to someone trying to decide on a first software or looking to switch from another.  Have a look at her post and be sure to vote yourself and comment as necessary.   
5.  In a nice example of how having a blog can lead to discovery of previously unknown and undiscovered genealogical information, Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog posted this week about being contacted by someone who wrote an article 13 years ago about a puzzle in her family tree. Read "A Traitor in My Family Tree? Yes!" and get a link to Part I of the story here.
6.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted Parts 9 and 10 in his informative and useful series "Understanding Migration Patterns."  You can read Part 9 here and Part 10 here

7.  And finally, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings blog posted this week some "Genealogy News Bytes" that came across his desk recently. You can read his newsy and useful bytes here.    
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Copyright 2018, John D. Tew
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  1. Look we have shot all these buffalo and now it's time to start eating them! What a wonderful turn of phrase. Thanks for including me and thanks for the reminder that at some point, it's time to start eating!

  2. Thank you for your comment Marian. I really enjoyed your family artifacts. The napkin rings were a wonderful idea and I love the image of your aunt trying to get a more "male oriented" birth recognition. The banner is the kind of item that often eventually gets discarded, but it is the kind of thing that really tells a story that is easily lost without it.

  3. Thanks for mentioning my post. I enjoyed your post about G.A.R.P. - it's interesting to see what has passed the G.A.R.P test in my family and ended up in my possession.

  4. My pleasure Elizabeth. Thank you for your comment on the G.A.R.P. post. It was a fun (and true) one to write.