As our readers know, one of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the US Library of Congress.
A recent post, written by Mike Ashenfelder, spotlighted the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) and how it is making its digital cultural collections available to anyone with an Internet connection.
Over recent years , the NLNZ has moved towards aggregating its online collections and high-tech resources under an initiative called the National Digital Heritage Archive. On the front end, the NDHA built their own web tools and designed clean interfaces to make the user’s experience easy. And on the back end they partnered with Ex Libris and Sun (now part of Oracle) to develop an OAIS compliant repository.
One of the ways they've done this is through mandated legal deposit. This means that publishers are required to submit their publications to the library.
There are plenty of videos lurking around the internet that claim to give you a crash course in using documents for genealogical purposes.
Today's video simply and succinctly shows how resources such as birth, marriage and death certificates and medical records can help trace your family history. It's a great stepping stone for new amateurs who would like to get "hands-on" at the nearest opportunity.
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.
In this thought-provoking video, Greg Carroll of the West Virginia State Archives discusses the history of slaves and free people of color in West Virginia from 1800-1860.
In addition to informing viewers as to what genealogical research materials are available, Carroll talks of a palpable lack of certain types of information and the need to collect further information. In particular, the oral histories of these people are lacking.
This video also provides some background to the plight of these West Virginians. Well worth a watch.
MyHeritage is on the road once again - this time to Washington DC for the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 14-19.
This time next week, Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz, Genealogy Advisor for the UK Laurence Harris and myself (Genealogy Advisor for the US Schelly Talalay Dardashti) will be attending, presenting programs and staffing the MyHeritage display booth.
We look forward to meeting with old friends, with happy MyHeritage users and making many new friends.
In addition to our new MyHeritage Challenge - read below for how you can participate - we are all speaking at the week-long event.