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Learning Family History With The 1918 Pandemic Trail Game

Please Note: Sometimes we have bad luck. Shortly after the publication of this article the CDC pulled this game from their website. It is regrettably no longer available.

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If you grew up in the 1990s or later or had a child or grandchild during this time you may be familiar with the educational video game, The Oregon Trail. In this game you follow the Oregon Trail and experience what pioneers faced in their quest to go west. You begin in  Independence, Missouri and travel the trail while facing various obstacles along the way including hunger, accidents, wagon failures, and death.[1] Anyone who has played is familiar with certain phrases uttered in the game such as  “you have died of dysentery,” one of the fates that can befall a player.

Pandemic start

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has taken a cue from the popular 1980s game and designed their own game that tells the story of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Simply called,  The 1918 Pandemic Trail Game, players take a walk through the streets of Philadelphia in September 1918 as the flu has broken out infecting and even killing soldiers at nearby Fort Dix.

Why does the game focus on Philadelphia? Philadelphia was especially hard hit by the flu due to an influx of soldiers and sailors, overcrowding, and a lack of medical personnel. On top of that, crowds watching the Liberty Loan parade ensured that the flu spread rapidly and devastated the city of two million. Philadelphia would see half a million cases of the flu and 16,000 deaths. 12,000 of these deaths were over a 5 week period. [2]

Pandemic PA

Pancdemic characters

As you begin the 1918 Pandemic Trail Game, you choose to play as one of three characters, a letter carrier, a farmer, or a soldier and your mission is to go about your character's day-to-day life making choices that may put you at risk for the flu.

Pandemic mission

Just like The Oregon Trail, initially this game seems like it should be easy. After all, you just have to get through a few scenarios without your character catching the flu.  But there are hazards that are far removed from our modern everyday lives. I played the game as a letter carrier thinking that although my character would be out in public I could avoid contact infected community members. But, of course I was wrong. One obstacle was that unlike today, mailboxes were not mandatory in 1918 which meant my character was forced many times to interact with coughing community members.

I played other scenarios with one of my sons including the soldier character who experiences everything from digging graves for those lost to the flu to going to the parade. Avoiding groups was one sure way to stay safe from the flu.

Pandemic mail facts

Pandmic wave

Not surprising to me, because I didn’t avoid that coughing family on my mail route, I contracted the flu (and perhaps died since there is the RIP on the tombstone next to the news of my infection). Let’s just say I’m very grateful for the availability of the flu shot in today's world since I have had the flu before and it wasn’t a lot of fun. Today we take for granted vaccines and preventative measures, but our ancestors weren’t so lucky. The 1918 flu pandemic was frightening because it did the opposite of who the flu typically affects - younger, healthier people. Otherwise healthy people contracted and died of the flu. 

Pandemic RIP

 

Besides the graphics, this game is definitely old school. It doesn’t currently work on mobile devices and you use your computer’s space bar and enter key to move forward in the game. But technology aside, the history and the information incorporated in this game provides an important message about how the flu affected our ancestors and how we can avoid it today.

So why should family historians care about this game? This is one way you can help tell the story of how the pandemic affected your ancestors. Consider learning more about your ancestor in the year 1918 and then write about it. Use documents and images to help illustrate the facts. Invite family members to play this CDC game and then tell them how this same flu affected your family. It’s a great way to introduce this time period to your family and will make the story of their ancestors even more poignant and interesting.

You can learn more about the 1918 flu pandemic  from the CDC's 1918 Commemoration web page including  a history, a timeline, and stories about those working on understanding the 1918 pandemic better.

Pandemic stats

 

[1] “The Oregon Trail  (1985 video game),” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Trail_(1985_video_game): accessed 20 December 2018).

[2] "Influenza (“Spanish Flu” Pandemic, 1918-19)," The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia (https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/influenza-spanish-flu-pandemic-1918-19/: accessed 20 December 2018). 

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

 


DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing - free webinar by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL now online for limited time

2019-01-02-image500blog

The recording of today's webinar, "DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing” by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Whose permission is needed to test a child or an adult unable to consent? Who owns our DNA? What can we disclose about a cousin who has tested? The rules of the road for the ethical challenges facing genealogists interested in using DNA evidence as part of their family history research. Learn the ethical rules that can guide us through many if not most of the situations in which we as genetic genealogists find ourselves.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 22 minute recording of "DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 840 classes, 1,086 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 3,608 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Maintaining an Organized Computer 1/9/2019

Cyndi Ingle

Visualizing Information for Genealogists 1/15/2019

Margaret R. Fortier, CG

What Would You Do If You Had Five Days in Washington DC? 1/16/2019

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

Using OneNote with your Genealogy 1/23/2019

Tessa Keough

Patriot or Not?: Using the Genealogical Proof Standard on a Closed DAR Line 1/25/2019

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

You Can Do This: Photo Organization and Preservation 1/30/2019

Thomas MacEntee

Six Feet Under Down Under - Cemetery records in Australia 2/5/2019

Jill Ball

Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions 2/19/2019

Melissa Johnson, CG

Polled! Finding your Ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Muster and Census Returns 3/5/2019

Carol Baxter

The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree 3/19/2019

Debra S. Mieszala, CG

One Touch Genealogy Research: How to Handle a Record Just Once 4/2/2019

Thomas MacEntee

Transcribing Documents: There is More Than Meets the Eye! 4/16/2019

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

English Parish Records: More than Hatch, Match and Dispatch 4/30/2019

Helen Smith

Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking? 5/21/2019

Jeanne Bloom, CG

They really didn't swim! Finding your ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Shipping Records 6/4/2019

Carol Baxter

Using Another Library Source: the Government Document Section 6/18/2019

Patricia Stamm, CG, CGL

Remedies for Copy & Paste Genealogy 7/2/2019

Cyndi Ingle

Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands 7/16/2019

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Finding Families in New Zealand 8/6/2019

Fiona Brooker

Ten Tools for Genealogical Writing 8/20/2019

Harold Henderson, CG

Are you Lost? Using Maps, Gazetteers and Directories for British Isles Research 9/3/2019

Paul Milner

Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy 9/17/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

The Stories Behind the Segments 10/1/2019

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

Civil Law Records in Genealogical Research: Notarial Records 10/15/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

Trove: An Australian and Beyond Genealogical Treasure 11/5/2019

Helen Smith

Native American Research: Things You May Not Know 11/19/2019

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest 12/3/2019

Paul Milner

Marriages Here, There, and Nowhere: Finding Gretna Greens and Borders 12/17/2019

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Print the 2019 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


The Top 10 Genealogy Webinars of 2018

What a year it was for our webinar series! At the beginning of the year we promised to bring you 106 genealogy webinars. We miscalculated. We brought you 200 of them. 200 new ways to find your family history at FamilyTreeWebinars.com. We compiled the top 10 most-watched webinar recordings for you below.

Top 10 Overall

#10

10

#9

9

#8

8

#7

7

#6

6

#5

5

#4

4

#3

3

#2

2

#1

1

Is your favorite among the top 10 in 2018?


This Month's Top 10 Genealogy Webinars

Top10-new

We've tallied the numbers and made a list of the Top 10 FamilyTreeWebinars.com classes for December 2018! Are your favorite topics or instructors among the list? Need something new to learn? Use the list to get inspired!

Each month thousands of Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers head for the library to learn new skills and techniques to help improve their genealogy research. Among the now-839 genealogy classes in the members-only library, these were the most frequently played during the month of December 2018.  They aren't necessarily the newest classes but rather the topics that were sought out by our members.

Have you seen any of these classes? Are these among your favorites too? Some of these classes (and topics) might be new to you! Get inspired to learn more and make your genealogy journey more fun!

The Top 10 for December 2018

1. MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Opening Session: A love affair with genealogy PLUS Industry-changing announcements by Gilad Japhet

2. Turning MyHeritage Clues Into Genealogy To Do's by Thomas MacEntee

3. 101 Ways to Design a Genealogy Chart by Janet Hovorka

4. How I Use MyHeritage by Vidar Øverlie

5. Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 9): Adding an Entry from an Online Database by Geoff Rasmussen

6. Citation for Beginners by Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG

7. Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 8): The Smoking Gun by Geoff Rasmussen

8. Ins and Outs of Indexes: Keys to Unlocking County and State Records by Mary Kircher Roddy

9. Researching with MyHeritage SuperSearch by Daniel Horowitz and Tal Erlichman

10. That's New to Me: Unfamiliar Websites for Your Genealogy by Gena Philibert-Ortega

The Runner-Ups

11. How to Find Your Family in Newspapers with MyHeritage SuperSearch by Lisa Louise Cooke

12. A Guide to Scandinavian Records on MyHeritage by Mike Mansfield

13. Two Ways to Approach Your MyHeritage DNA Match List by Diahan Southard

14. MyHeritage DNA 101 by Ran Snir

15. Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS: Finding a Freedman's Family by Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

16. An Introduction to Geni by Mike Stangel

17. Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

18. MyHeritage DNA: Advanced Features by Ran Snir

19. Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 1 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG

20. Using MyHeritage's Unique Technologies & Learning Online with FamilyTreeWebinars.com by Geoff Rasmussen

Access to classes in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar library are available with an annual or monthly membership. Not a member? Become one! Or watch one of our free classes here.


Register for Webinar Wednesday - DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Register
 
Whose permission is needed to test a child or an adult unable to consent? Who owns our DNA? What can we disclose about a cousin who has tested? The rules of the road for the ethical challenges facing genealogists interested in using DNA evidence as part of their family history research. Learn the ethical rules that can guide us through many if not most of the situations in which we as genetic genealogists find ourselves.
 
Join us and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL for the live webinar Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion. 

Registerbut 

Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

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Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

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Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

JudyRussell-144x144A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor's degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, until recently Judy was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother's side and entirely in Germany on her father's side. Visit her website at www.legalgenealogist.com.

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Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
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  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Researching in Australian Archives - free webinar by Helen Smith now online for limited time

2019-01-01-image500blog

The recording of today's Down Under webinar, "Researching in Australian Archives” by Helen V. Smith is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

There are many Australian archives for research. From local council, town, State, Commonwealth, religious, business, organisational and more. Jurisdictional responsibilities changed over time, so it is important to know when and where your ancestor was to determine which archive might contain the records you need.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 22 minute recording of "Researching in Australian Archives"  is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 839 classes, 1,085 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 3,608 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming Down Under webinars (free)

Visualizing Information for Genealogists 1/15/2019

Margaret R. Fortier, CG

Six Feet Under Down Under - Cemetery records in Australia 2/5/2019

Jill Ball

Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions 2/19/2019

Melissa Johnson, CG

Polled! Finding your Ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Muster and Census Returns 3/5/2019

Carol Baxter

The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree 3/19/2019

Debra S. Mieszala, CG

One Touch Genealogy Research: How to Handle a Record Just Once 4/2/2019

Thomas MacEntee

Transcribing Documents: There is More Than Meets the Eye! 4/16/2019

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

English Parish Records: More than Hatch, Match and Dispatch 4/30/2019

Helen Smith

Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking? 5/21/2019

Jeanne Bloom, CG

They really didn't swim! Finding your ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Shipping Records 6/4/2019

Carol Baxter

Using Another Library Source: the Government Document Section 6/18/2019

Patricia Stamm, CG, CGL

Remedies for Copy & Paste Genealogy 7/2/2019

Cyndi Ingle

Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands 7/16/2019

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Finding Families in New Zealand 8/6/2019

Fiona Brooker

Ten Tools for Genealogical Writing 8/20/2019

Harold Henderson, CG

Are you Lost? Using Maps, Gazetteers and Directories for British Isles Research 9/3/2019

Paul Milner

Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy 9/17/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

The Stories Behind the Segments 10/1/2019

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

Civil Law Records in Genealogical Research: Notarial Records 10/15/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

Trove: An Australian and Beyond Genealogical Treasure 11/5/2019

Helen Smith

Native American Research: Things You May Not Know 11/19/2019

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest 12/3/2019

Paul Milner

Marriages Here, There, and Nowhere: Finding Gretna Greens and Borders 12/17/2019

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Print the 2019 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


Tuesday's Tip - FamilySearch Import Tree (Intermediate)

FamilySearch Import Tree

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

FamilySearch Import Tree (Intermediate)

You can import directly from FamilySearch by opening the FamilySearch interface and selecting Import Tree. Before we get into the specific importing options here are a few general tips:

  • Don't try and import 200 generations at one time. This make cleanup very difficult. Only import a small section. Once that is cleaned up you can import another section
  • And you WILL be doing cleanup. When you do a direct download you get all of the errors that people have entered. You will have factual errors and data formatting errors (standardization)
  • Always download into a new, empty Legacy file. Do all of your cleanup there and then import this new file into your main file. Before and after the import make sure you check/repair all files involved. You will also need to deal with any duplicates you have introduced once you combine the files. Make sure you name these files in such a way you won't get them confused with your main file

Import Tree

You can start the import with yourself or with any FSID you choose. If you choose someone other than yourself, click the Verify button to make sure that you do indeed have the correct person. The last option, Current person selected..., is greyed out because I am importing into a blank file. If you were to import into an existing file this option would be available to you.

If you select 0 Ancestors and 0 Descendants you will only import that one person. You can select up to 200 generations of Ancestors and 100 generations of descendants but I wouldn't max this out unless you have a lot of time for cleanup. 

ALWAYS check the box to Assign source citations to imported data. The info is no good to you unless you know where it came from.

Include spouses of children is optional. I usually check this because it helps me differentiate between persons of the same name based on who they married.

I would leave the Check for duplicates UNchecked unless you are doing a small import. You can always tell Legacy to check for duplicates later (Update Matches > Recheck linked individuals for duplicates). 

I always check the box to Include only preferred parents. There are some people on FamilySearch that have 20 sets of parents. Most of these are duplicates. I don't need that kind of aggravation. After the import you might still see a few people with two sets of parents. These are parents that you are related to in more than one way and Legacy isn't able to decide which set you would prefer to keep. This is almost always a case of a child being linked to their real parents and also linked to a set of wrong parents. I flag these for later research (Search > Find > Misc. > Individuals with multiple parents).

Once you click the OK button you can go throw a load of laundry in the dryer or empty the dishwasher. Depending on how many generations you chose and whether or not you are including spouses, checking for duplicates, and all parents (not preferred) it can take a while for Legacy to complete the import. You can watch the progress on the screen if you wish. You can also use your computer while it is downloading but I like to shut everything connected to the internet down so that all of the bandwidth can be dedicated for the download (for example, cloud syncing, auto email checking, etc). 

Once you your download has completed, do a check/repair on this file and back it up. Now the clean up fun begins!

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.