As our ancestors – or more recently, ourselves, parents or grandparents – traveled thousands of miles to find safety in another country for various reasons, the process of adapting to life in a new place is often challenging.
My great-grandparents came from Belarus to Newark, New Jersey, in 1905. While they barely ever learned English themselves, they made sure that their children learned English and that they did well in school. Their children and grandchildren went on to college and became doctors, engineers or entered other professions. Perhaps it was easier for them as the Yiddish-speaking immigrant community in Newark of that time was so large. There was always someone – who had arrived much earlier and learned the system - to help out with the language or whatever problem needed to be solved.
It is different when an immigrant is part of a new, smaller group of people who have only recently arrived. The community support system is not yet that well-established and the immigrants or refugees rely on the wider community to help them.
A recent study by sociologists at the University of Dayton (Ohio) indicates that adjusting to linguistic and cultural differences is a daunting task. They presented the new research at the 107th meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
MyHeritage is at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference, taking place this week in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) from May 9-12.
The conference is a fantastic opportunity for genealogists and anyone interested in family history research to get together and share ideas.
NGS was established more than a century ago - in Washington DC, in 1903. It provides education and training for the genealogy community and promotes access to and preservation of genealogical records.
This week we report on why people want to gather more information via digital preservation, a hidden cemetery in Indiana, a photo collection of a Japanese-American internment camp in Wyoming, and a slew of events and classes in Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio and Canada.
We offered two views of digital preservation in last week’s North American News edition.
As promised, writer Mike Ashenfelder of the Library of Congress’ preservation blog - Signal - has provided Part 2 of his first post..
In Part 1, he wrote that“relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.”
In Part 2, he addresses why modern genealogists want to gather this information.
“Brian Lambkin, director of the Centre for Migration Studies, said that adding multimedia, geospatial data and more, enriches the biographical information about a person. “Potentially there’s a biography to be written about every single individual,” said Lambkin.”
This is what researchers call “adding flesh to the bones.” Family history research is much more than merely a dry list of names and dates. We want to know more about our ancestors and this includes all aspects of their lives. Ashenfelder’s post provides numerous examples of projects and sites that try to do just that.