29    Nov 20151 comment

The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours

This is a guest post by genealogy professional Thomas MacEntee. He specializes in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. His latest endeavor is Genealogy Bargains, a way to save money on genealogy and family history products and services.

“Mommy? Where are you?”

At age four, I almost drowned in a lake at my father’s hunting camp in upstate New York. It is one of my earliest memories that remain with me to this day. I remember looking up from the water and seeing my mother reach down for me. I could see her, almost clearly, yet she could not see me. And time stood still.

My mother saved me that day after I had wandered away from the rest of the family and slipped on the wet grass along the bank of the lake. Luckily, it was only a few seconds after I fell in that she realized something had happened. While on her hands and knees at the water’s edge, she frantically reached around the murky bottom until she was able to grab the waist of my pants and pull me out.

I was saved that day. It was one of several times when this gentle yet strong woman would agitate the waters of my life, to save me and then soothe me to make those waters calm. Continue reading "The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours" »

7    Sep 201533 comments

Privacy Issues for Family Historians

This article is a guest post by Dick Eastman, one of the most recognized names in the genealogy world. A pioneer geneablogger, he uses technology to improve your family history experience.

Genealogists often face conflicting requirements. We want to publish our own family information online in hopes that others will see it and recognize connections to their own family. Those other genealogists then can contact us, and we can collaborate to expand the known family trees of each of us. The problem is that today's news is full of alarming articles about identity theft, fraud, and similar illegal acts. While some of the news articles describe real threats, others are published as "scare tactics" that magnify smaller issues to sound as if there are imminent dangers for all of us. Alarmist articles often strike unnecessary fear into the hearts of those who do not understand the difference between major and minor threats.

Fears of identity theft from public genealogical information often are irrational. Identity thieves obtain personal information about living people and rarely, if ever, get that information from ancestral data published online. The most common way thieves lift your personal information is by stealing your wallet, not from a website. (Reference: The Most Common Causes of Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself.) Continue reading "Privacy Issues for Family Historians" »

6    Oct 201416 comments

Death Records: Vital to Your Research

This guest post has been written by expert genealogist Miriam J. Robbins. Miriam has been instructing and lecturing in the United States since 2005. She has been interested in her family history since she was a young girl, living in Southeast Alaska. She began her genealogy research in 1987, and ten years later was successful in reuniting her grandmother with her biological family. Miriam writes an award-winning genealogy blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, and keeps busy adding links to her Online Historical Directories and Online Historical Newspapers websites.

The month of October is known for Family History Month as well as the holiday of Halloween. What better combination of the two than to learn about death records in genealogical research? Death records are one of the first and best types of records used in beginning genealogical research because of the variety of formats in which they appear, the basic facts which they contain, and the immense details that many list about both the decedent's life and death.

It’s important to learn a little about the history of death records in your ancestor’s location, as it will help you understand how the facts were gathered and recorded, what information the records may contain or omit, why the records themselves may be missing or difficult to find, and where to locate the death records currently. Continue reading "Death Records: Vital to Your Research" »

27    Jul 20133 comments

Ty’s Journey: Part 2

When you travel abroad, you have an opportunity to visit your ancestral home, as well as the important buildings and locations that might have been relevant to your ancestor’s life. These include houses of worship, schools, businesses, beaches, parks and other locations your ancestors may have frequented.

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury England (near Stonehenge)

In addition, you may be able to visit repositories holding documents for your family, including libraries, archives and record offices. However, just showing up at a location won’t always do much good. It’s important to pre-plan and do prep work before you visit, or you may just be frustrated and come away with little of real value.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit. Continue reading "Ty’s Journey: Part 2" »

24    Jun 20138 comments

Guest Post: Ty’s World Trek

We're delighted to introduce a new guest contributor to our blog - Tyrell "Ty" Rettke. After battling ulcerative colitis and a series of corrective surgeries, Ty is on a round-the-world adventure and will help people he meets in various countries to trace their family histories.

From a small town (Ketchikan) in Alaska, Ty, 28, is interested in history and in tracing his own family heritage. In the first of his monthly posts, he heads to Ireland to see his roots.

Ty, 28, from Ketchikan, Alaska, is on a trip around the world

There are many reasons people travel. One trend is people visiting their ancestral homes. For me, this includes Ireland. So when I made my way across the Atlantic on my mission to circumnavigate the globe, I decided that Ireland was a must for my journey around the world.

Continue reading "Guest Post: Ty’s World Trek" »

3    Oct 20116 comments

Social Networks: Our ancestors had them

This is a guest post by Caroline M. Pointer*

He had done it again.

Joseph Marshall WWI

Joseph Marshall WWI

My grandfather had managed to shock me again. Had it not been enough that he had three wives before my grandmother? Had it not been enough that my grandmother had been his mistress before she became his wife? Had it not been enough that he had been estranged, if not formally excommunicated, from the Catholic Church? Had it not been enough that he had successfully sued his sister? Had it not been enough that he had been estranged from his family for nearly his whole adult life? Had it not been enough that he changed our surname from Marschall to Marshall, unlike the rest of his family?

Apparently not.

The irony of this whole situation with my grandfather, a.k.a., Joseph Marshall and Big Paw Paw, has not escaped me. He had many relationships that left paper trails, but he wasn't very good at maintaining those relationships. In retrospect, Big Paw Paw had had a social network, and I have been able to uncover bits of his story through it.

Since Big Paw Paw’s story was the first I had tried to uncover six years ago, I did everything in a roundabout way with plenty of backtracking. And I wish I had had a clue about looking at ancestors’ networks. It makes sense now. I mean, I don’t live in a bubble. Do you?
Continue reading "Social Networks: Our ancestors had them" »

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