What would happen if there were a knock on the door, you opened it and a box was delivered into your hands. Inside, you would find documents, photographs (labeled!), journals and other records.
What would you like to see in that box?
For me, that's an easy answer. One of the last family members to arrive in the US from Belarus brought with him a 300-year-old family history. The few people who saw it described it as a sort of book, compiled of different kinds of papers, different calligraphies, many different languages, all bound together.
Journals and diaries are excellent resources for family history research.
Don't you wish your ancestors had recorded their daily lives and thoughts in a format that has come down to you as a treasured keepsake through the centuries?
I know someone whose ancestor left a journal written several hundred years ago. The writer describes the family's everyday life in difficult new surroundings, how they celebrated holidays, the writer's wishes for her descendants far in the future and much more. It is as if the writer knew it would be treasured and passed down through the generations, as it has been. It is a priceless heirloom.
Put yourself in the shoes of a great-grandchild who finds your journal. What do you think will interest him or her? What is happening in your life now that you want future generations to know about? Do you want to include advice for future generations?
Following the success of How to find your relatives in the 1940 US Census, we invite you to register for our next webinar: "Family Tree Builder: Tips and tricks to make family history research easier." The webinar will take place on Thursday, May 17 at 2pm EDT*.
Want to learn the tricks of the trade from our MyHeritage experts? In this session, we’ll discuss:
• Building or importing a family tree
• Tips to help you improve your research
• Sharing information with other family members
MyHeritage's free software - Family Tree Builder - is perfect for creating family trees, adding photos and optionally publishing to the Web for sharing with family members with full privacy control including preventing online publishing of specific people, specific notes, specific facts or certain facts for all people.
Laurence Harris and Mark Olsen will take you step-by-step through researching the census. They’ll demonstrate how to find the people you’re looking for and how to understand the records you find.
We’ll also look at other methods to help reveal records such as using city directories or converting previous census EDs, how to decipher the information and follow clues for further research.
A question-and-answer session with our expert panel - also including Daniel Horowitz and Schelly Talalay Dardashti - will follow.
We’ve also updated our MyHeritage Mobile App so you can search the census on-the-go.
Register for the webinar.
* Time Zones:
London, UK 7pm
New York, 2pm
Salt Lake City, 12 noon
Los Angeles, 11am
Do you have any questions you'd like answered? Put them in the comments below, and we'll address them during the webinar.
Feel free to "like" this post. Share it with your friends so they can also join in - the webinar is open to everyone.
We look forward to seeing you online.
This week’s edition includes an archaeological find, more on a new book, NARA’s citizen archivist dashboard, Canada’s Veterans’ Week, a Canadian newspaper digitization project, new FamilySearch records and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s new website.
Follow the links for each item to find more information and read the complete articles.
-- In the US, Veterans Day was observed on November 11, and there is a MyHeritage Blog post devoted to this important day.
-- In Canada, Veterans’ Week was observed November 5-11. For full coverage of this remembrance week, see the Genealogy Canada blog, authored by Elizabeth LaPointe. She has done a masterful job of spotlighting organizations, institutions and websites connected to veterans in a series of posts. If you have Canadian family that served, her resources may assist you to find information.
Creepy crawly? That's my name for old-style research.
The kind that involves digging through musty, dusty archives filled with cabinets and shelves stuffed with papers, files, ledgers, registers and books. We never know what might be found – or what might find us – during those excursions.
This is what the University of Leyden's library looked like, c1610. Many old archives and libraries in out of the way places look much the same.
So much information is available online today – and more appears daily - that many newcomers are unaware of what research used to be like . Many of us continue to access information the old-fashioned way!
Newcomers also need to remember that not everything is online yet, and a good portion may never be. Thus, all researchers need to know where to find original documents and records. These may range from making a personal visit to a remote courthouse to obtain a 250-page probate file - with valuable family information - to viewing old property records that may never be digitized.
When I began my research, I began with phone calls to and interviews with many people. I needed that basic information (names, dates and stories) to be able to learn more about those individuals.
As many genealogists say, genealogy is the framework upon which family history is built. Think of genealogy as the construction framework, and family history as what we add to that framework. Without genealogy and its focus on names and dates, one could not pursue family history with any accuracy.
This is a guest post by Jennifer Holik-Urban*
My grandmother told me a story about my cousin Frankie Winkler. She said Frankie came ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division. He died on 24 June 1944 of head wounds received on D-Day. When his remains were returned to Chicago, his uncle and father viewed the remains and did not think it was Frankie. I listened to this story, took notes and left it at that. It wasn’t until many years later in my research did I seek out Frankie’s story.
When my parents traveled to Europe in late 2009 they visited a U.S. cemetery in Ardennes. They met a Marine named Michael who worked for the American Battle Monuments Commission. Being the only visitors to the cemetery that day, Michael gave them a two hour guided tour. My mom told Michael about Frankie and he told her about a military file called the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). An IDPF was created for each service man or woman who died during service. It provides information on their death, personal effects, interment overseas, some files contain letters from the family, disinterment information and reburial information.
Michael also gave her the name of the historian, Joe Balkoski, for the 29th Infantry Division in Maryland. Armed with this information she emailed me as soon as she could so I could start the process of tracking down the IDPF and contacting this historian. We both wanted to know what happened to Frankie.
I had very little information on Frankie’s military service. From his grave and the Honor Roll of Cook County I obtained his unit information. His sister provided a copy of his Purple Heart certificate and a photograph. I had his obituary and the cemetery record that indicated his burial was in 1948. He was buried in Chicago four years after he died. Why?
While MyHeritage.com was at the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois, chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz had an opportunity to visit the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.
I was part of a detailed tour of the facility with Gwen Podeschi, history reference librarian.
Opened in October 2004, the library is maintained via state funds. Its main goal is to collect and preserve family and personal (non-official) correspondence and material of Abraham Lincoln and other Illinois state personalities. It holds more than 12 million historical items including 1,100 oral histories, 2 million manuscripts and 3,000 old and contemporary maps.
Collections also include early Mormon history, anti-slavery, coal miners’ accidents, train accidents and the 1893 World Colombian Exposition.
The library is home to the largest Lincoln documents database and such items as the documents of trials in which Lincoln was involved. The legal collection is fascinating as it also preserves the lists of juries in every case tried. If your relatives lived in Springfield, this can be a good resource as they may have served on one of those juries.
The law practice collection is not open to the public, but librarians are more than happy to help visitors find the information they seek. Appointments are suggested, and the collection is searchable via the Internet.
In this very informative video, John Deeben, Archives Specialist at The National Archives in Washington DC, describes how compiled military service records can be used for genealogical research. Using some great examples of past genealogical research, John shows how even the most amateur genealogist can benefit from microfilm, textual and digital records.
This video is part of the National Archives' Know Your Records program.
MyHeritage.com's resident experts have mapped out their speaking stops and conference appearances over the next few months.
Both Daniel Horowitz and Schelly Talalay Dardashti will be speaking at RootsTech. A week later, they - along with UK genealogy advisor Laurence Harris - will speak at the "Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE" family history fair in London.
We're all looking forward to greeting MyHeritage users, and encourage you to drop by the MyHeritage booth to say hello, or attend other events in your community.
For the detailed list of locations and talks by Daniel and Schelly in the US, UK and Canada , click to see this post on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.