How Many Photos are on Your Phone?

How Many Photos are on Your Phone?

I have a confession to make. I am one of those people. You know. The people who have thousands of photos stored on their phones. Embarrassingly I will admit that almost 15,000 photos dating back to 2015 are on my phone. They run the gamut of vacations, research trips, family gatherings, and books. Oh yes, lots of books. One day my son told someone that I have more photos of books and food than of my kids. Well, I don’t think it’s true, but I’ll admit it’s probably a close tie.

Iphone photos

Books and Quilts...that's about normal for me.

 

What do you take photos of? The options are endless with a cell phone or mobile device. As genealogists, we have the opportunity to take photos of documents, books, microfilm, and heritage travel. That’s wonderful and it’s such a great research tool. But it isn’t enough to take the photos, you need to get them off your phone.

This is a concern I’ve had for a few years. Those photos might “disappear” if they aren’t backed up by the time I get a new phone or this phone breaks. What happens if I shake off this mortal coil? Will my family take the time to go through 15,000 photos and retrieve the ones that are family memories? (That answer is no and I don’t blame them. So don't forget to share what's important.) I’ve spent some time reading about organizing the photos one collects on their phone and considering what I need to do to organize and focus my rather large phone photo collection. Some of what I have learned might help you.

Not every photo is a masterpiece. I don’t know about you but there are the photos I took to remember where I parked at the airport. There are the photos I took of who knows what that came out blurred. Or the one photo I thought I took that ended up being a burst of 20. Those photos that should be deleted end up being “hidden” by the countless other photos I take in the days after. So that is why it’s important to Delete.

You can delete photos while watching TV or waiting for an appointment. Go through and delete the ones that no longer serve a purpose (like the parking lot photo) or that aren’t worthy of saving to a more permanent solution (like the cloud). Keep deleting and remember to go back and delete every so often so you aren’t cluttering your storage with photos you don’t need. 

Save to something that’s not your phone. One way I solved my photo issue was to pay for a cloud backup. Now, every so often my iPhone is backed up to my Apple storage. I pay a few dollars a month and I no longer worry that those photos of loved ones or trips I took will disappear if my phone dies or If I accidentally delete too much. You will replace your phone at some point. Don’t leave your photos on it!

Organize those research trip photos. Research trip photos need to be downloaded and organized. Update your research log, save the photos to the appropriate folder. It’s too easy to leave them on your phone and forget. And there is never enough time in the far-off land of “I’ll do it later.”

Use Other Apps. I take a LOT of books photos. Or at least I did. Now before I start taking photos of the latest book I want, a little voice in my head says “Use GoodReads.” So I stop, open my GoodReads app and add the book to my list of books I want to read. I don’t need to take a photo and all my books are organized there.

It doesn’t matter what you use. Evernote, Dropbox, GoodReads, or a genealogy app, but there are some photos that might be better off as data in an app and not a photo on your phone.

What’s on your phone?

Your photos are important so why keep them on your phone? Take some time to organize, delete, and upload your photos to another storage device, app, or even print them (gasp!, remember when we did that?!) Make sure that your photos live on by getting them off your phone.

 

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.

 


The Sound of Our English Ancestors

The Sound of Our English Ancestors

My ancestor, Leonora Quayle, was born in 1763 on the Isle of Man. She had moved to Liverpool by the age of 27 where she married and then ultimately died in 1850. I imagine she would have taken her Manx accent with her to Liverpool.

Have you ever wondered what your English ancestors sounded like when they talked? England has many regional accents. One hundred years ago there would have been even more. 

While it may not be possible to know exactly how your ancestor spoke there is a way that we can get an idea. The British Library has 287 sound recordings in a collection called "Survey of English Dialects." 

Survey of English Dialects

The recordings were created by the University of Leeds under the direction of Harold Orton between 1950 and 1961. The goal was to capture "folk-speech" from rural areas in order to preserve the sound of regional accents. The collection is sorted alphabetically by county. Under each county you may find multiple recordings for individual towns. The speakers are mostly men but there are some women too.

I found a recording from the Isle of Man. Here's an 1958 recording of "Amanda [who] expresses her dismay at the lack of discipline she sees in children." Perhaps she can give me a clue as to what my ancestor, Leonora, sounded like.

Perhaps your ancestors come from the south of England in Cornwall. In this audio clip from 1963 "William talks about his early working days on the farm and compares modern working conditions and food production with those of his younger days." To the non-British ear this recording is probably much easier to understand the first one.

Or maybe your ancestor came from Lancashire, home to the cities of both Liverpool and Manchester. Here "Three fisherman remember the fisherman's strike of 1926..." This recording was made in 1954.

Explore the recordings included in the Survey of English Dialects and discover how your ancestor might have spoken!

Need help tracing your English ancestors? Check out our many English genealogy webinars in the Legacy library!

 

Marian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research and solving brick walls. Marian is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars where she produces online genealogy education classes. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.

 


Here’s to the Non-Genealogists

Here’s to the Non-Genealogists
Last weekend I spent some time going over some of the information I have collected over the years. I wanted to make sure it was all scanned and uploaded to my online family tree. So I opened a binder I created for one family line back in the early 2000s and saw pages of photos diligently scanned and printed on photo paper by a half grand-aunt that I had never met. In the binder, I had included my emails to this distant family member, and her responses back. I then started wondering about her and, with a bit of Internet sleuthing, discovered she had unfortunately died in 2020. I realized how lucky I had been to find her and benefit from her knowledge.

As genealogists, although we do many things in the quiet of a home office or by ourselves in a library, an archive, or cemetery, we benefit from collaboration. When I present, I often talk about the benefit of networking with other researchers who have experience with the location or time period, or type of research you’re doing. There’s no doubt that we all benefit from crowdsourcing and collaboration with those in genealogy societies, professional staff at library and archives can provide. But there’s another group we often fail to mention.

The Non-Genealogists

You know who they are. They include the older members of your family who consent to interviews. They are the cousin who forwards you obituaries. They are the family member who goes through the family photos and identify family names for you. They are the people you call and ask questions of.

I’ve had several of these people in my life. They don’t care to research family history, but they are interested in helping you preserve it. My dad was one of these people. He spent hours helping me research his grand-uncle, who he knew as a child, and would forward me information he found online that he thought would help. I’ve had cousins I’ve never met before meet with me to take me on tours of ancestral hometowns and share their photo collections. And this half grand-aunt who I found via her half-sister, my grand-aunt, who corresponded with me decades ago and provided me with what she knew about her dad’s family, one of my great-grandfathers.

Non-genealogists aren’t like us. They may care about the old photos and want to pass on the family stories, but they don’t want to spend hours in a library trying to uncover a fact. They graciously part with their time, memories, and their help. They may even reach out to other family members and help you make connections. They're just as happy to have you do the actual research and share your findings with them.

When we think about asking for the non-genealogist for help, whether it's their memories, their heirlooms, their photos, or their DNA, we need to consider:

  • They are busy with their lives
  • Our priorities aren’t theirs
  • They don’t have the same passion for shared family history
  • They may not have an interest in helping us

I see this a lot with DNA matches. Genealogists get upset that DNA matches either don’t have a tree or don’t respond to messages. “Why did they do the DNA test?” Maybe it was a gift. Perhaps they were just curious. Maybe they looked at the results and then never looked at it again. Everyone has different priorities.

Does this mean we shouldn’t reach out to non-genealogists? Of course not. They might be waiting to tell those stories. Maybe they wish they knew a family member interested in those old photos or documents. Perhaps they would like to learn more about your shared maternal line.

Non-genealogists are essential to our work. We need to consider reaching out to them to piece together our family histories. Who knows, they may end up enjoying the thrill of the genealogical chase just as much as you do.

To the non-genealogists, thank you for all you do to help us, genealogists. We couldn’t do it without you.

 

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.

 


Periodical Source Index (PERSI) Available for Free at ACPL

Have you used PERSI? If you have been using PERSI over the years, you may have searched it from a genealogy subscription website, but it was recently announced that PERSI is going back to its home at the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. You can now search PERSI from the Genealogy Center website for FREE.

Not sure what PERSI is? Let's start with an introduction.

The Periodical Source Index

The Genealogy Center explains that “PERSI is the premier subject index for genealogy and local history periodicals, and is produced by the staff of The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library (ACPL). Using this valuable resource provides citations to readily-available periodical sources.”

PERSI is a periodical index of history and genealogy magazines, newsletters, and journals that span the 1800s to the present day. The majority of the periodicals are US-based, but it also includes publications in Canada, the British Isles, and other countries. The periodicals in PERSI are in the collection of the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana), and they index the materials. However, it is not an every-name index. Instead, it is a subject index and includes indexed words such as record types, location, surnames as subject, and how-to articles.

Why Use PERSI?

You might be thinking, "why should I use PERSI? After all, it's an index!" Indexes provide us with a unique finding aid. In this case, these periodicals have articles of use to our research including histories, images, and indexes of local records that genealogy societies, historical societies, and individuals have published in newsletters, magazines, and journals. These articles can provide an ancestor's name or context for researching your ancestor's time and place. And they can point the way to unique record collections you didn’t know existed. It's vital to seek out and identify materials located in the place your ancestor lived. These periodical articles can provide a glimpse of what is available.

Searching PERSI

PERSI Homepage

How do you search PERSI? ACPL has the PERSI search page broken down so that you can search:

  • Surnames
  • United States
  • Canada
  • British Isles
  • Other Counties
  • Research Techniques
  • Article Title Keyword.

This search page is different than previous versions of PERSI. In the past, various genealogy websites have licensed the PERSI content and created their own search for the materials. This new version is slightly different. Also, the previous license holder, FindMyPast, started digitizing articles found in PERSI. Those digitized copies do not exist in this edition. 

Although there is a surname search, please don’t limit yourself to just that search. Genealogists are accustomed to searching by name, date, place on genealogy websites, but that's not the best way to search PERSI. You would be better served by doing a location search and exhausting what articles have to do with your ancestor’s location. I'm not saying don't search by your ancestor's surname under any circumstances. What I am saying is don't stop there.

PERSI location search

For example, once you click on the country you're interested in, you will come to a page that asks for, in the case of the United States, state, and county. Once you click the search button, you’ll receive a results page that includes categories and how many articles match that category for your location.

PERSI Location Results

Once you click on the category of your interest, you can see a list of articles.

PERSI Cemetery Results

So now what? You can order photocopies of the article from ACPL. Click on the link for Article Fulfillment found on the Our Services page. Use the information found in PERSI to complete the form and the fee. You will receive an envelope and bill for the per-page copy charge of your ordered articles in about six weeks.

Do you have to order copies from ACPL? No, you could see if the periodicals are at your local library, or you might be able to find them online or through an interlibrary loan. If you're planning a research trip to ACPL, you might want to have a list ready so that you can copy the articles yourself.

To learn more about searching PERSI, see the Genealogy Center's webinar at https://youtu.be/RN7gUzHdZ4o.

What Will You Find?

I love PERSI because it's an easy way to find the information you may not be expecting. Some of my favorite finds have been articles with names from community cookbooks and signature quilts. Those articles had names I was researching but were not searchable by a name. Instead, I had to search by location. You don't know what you don't know, and PERSI is a great way to find treasures you aren't aware of.

 

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.

 


Can You Guess the Historical Object? - Answer

Can You Guess the Historical Object? - Answer
So did you figure out what that mystery item was? Chances are you did since it seemed that most blog readers knew exactly what this item is.

If you recall I gave you the following clues:

  • This item is made of a lightweight metal (aluminum or tin)
  • This was mostly used by women to complete chores in more than one room of the house.
  • You would find this for sale in catalogs in the early 20th
  • It could be used in the kitchen but it has nothing to do with food.
  • This item saved money
  • This one that I bought at an antique store is just one “look.” There are different versions including a version that is square instead of circular.


The item in question is called a soap saver. Its purpose is probably obvious from its name. It held pieces of left-over soap (you know, those small pieces that no one wants to use). You add those pieces to the wire mesh basket and then when doing laundry you could swish the basket in the water and use up that leftover soap. This helped families save money by using all of the soap and would have been used when doing laundry pre-washing machines.

Did you get it right?

How did I figure it out? Well, it took a bit of researching in old retail catalogs. I assumed it dated somewhere around the early 20th century. I first thought it was a kitchen gadget and in a way it could be, but not for cooking. So I looked through catalogs until I found a photo of it.

Once I had the name, I looked in Google Patents for examples of it. Here’s one that I found.

Soap saver patent

From there I Googled “soap saver” and found other examples. Because there are modern-day “soap savers” I sometimes added a keyword like “metal” to my search. One article I found from the website Love to Know, included a photo of my soap saver.

 

Love to know screenshot
Love to know screenshot

Readers figured out the mystery item in any number of ways. There were those who knew what it was because they had a family member who owned one themselves. Like this comment by Anthony Grace:

"I believe this is a device to use up small soap remnants. By agitating it (with a piece or pieces of soap) in washing up water, the user could generate soapy water solution for cleaning pots and pans. I occasionally used one of these items as a child (70+ years ago!) so the answer was in my memory!"

But there were others who figured it out using various online tools including online retailers like Etsy, Google, and Google Lens. In one case a reader commented that she learned how to search using an image and that helped her find the answer (Geoff did a TechZone video about searching using a reverse image search.) In some cases readers even found modern-day examples that you could buy. Edwina Shooter found one for sale in Australia at this website.

It was a lot of fun to read everyone's comments. The reason we didn't publish them as you submitted them is we wanted everyone to have a guess without the correct answering showing up in the comments. One of my favorite comments was from Judy Conklin who wrote, 

"The object presented is a SOAP SAVER. I just Googled the words "old soap saver" and a picture of the object popped up. We had one at home - many years ago. Now, if only birth, death and marriage records were as easy to find!!"

I agree Judy! But any type of research can help improve your overall research skills.

The most common wrong answer was a tea infuser. While they are similar, the metal mesh on this item is too wide and the whole thing is too big for a tea cup. The photo below shows the difference in size compared to my butter dish. It does occur to me I should have provided something to show the scale and I have found tea infusers online that do look similar so that was a good guess. 

 

Tea infuser and soap saver

Did you figure out what the item was? All those who left a comment with the right answer were put in a random drawing for a free month subscription to Legacy Webinars. The winner of a one-month Legacy Webinar subscription is Ruth Taylor!

Thanks to everyone who participated! 

 

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.

 


Your Genealogy Webinar Action Plan for 2022

Your Genealogy Webinar Action Plan for 2022

Happy New Year! In January, our thoughts turn to new beginnings and plans. Geoff Rasmussen recently announced the 2022 Legacy webinar schedule. That schedule always gets me thinking about all the education opportunities coming up for the year. So my question is, what do you plan to learn?

It’s easy to respond with an enthusiastic “Everything!” But you may want to take some time to plan out your webinar watching and come up with an action plan so that you can make the most of your webinar viewing. From my personal experiences teaching and watching webinars, I know there are some best practices to consider to get the most from your experience.

6 Best Practices

We are so lucky to live in a time where technology has brought us so much knowledge and information. I remember in college, I had an independent study class that consisted of recorded lectures on VHS tape, and I thought that was very high tech! That early version of the webinar did allow me some flexibility to listen to lectures on my schedule.

But easier access doesn’t always mean that we are doing what we need to, to get the most of the experience (remember my recorded college lectures? I tended to fall asleep due to a heavy work and school schedule).

What are some “best practices” to get the most of what you watch this year? Here are 6 I would suggest.

1. What is your goal?

What’s your reason for listening to that webinar? Do you have a specific research type or methodology you want to learn? Take time to write that goal down. When you find yourself not paying attention, you can remind yourself why you are there and what you want out of the next hour.

2. Focus on the Webinar.

No really. I know how it is. You have a webinar playing, and you're checking social media, and answering someone's email. Then you're ordering groceries to be delivered and wondering what you should make for dinner. No, don't do that. Give yourself the gift of focusing, totally being present only on the webinar. If you have to do a quick search of the website the speaker just mentioned, fine. But try to focus on what the presenter is saying. When we simply watch a presentation, we don't retain everything we hear, so imagine how much you retain when your mind is multitasking? According to author and TED Talk presenter Julian Treasure, we only retain only 25% of what we hear so imagine what you're missing in that other 75% [1]. 

3. Jot Down Questions.

Before you even watch the webinar, what do you want to get from it? What do you need to know for your research? Jot those down before the speaker even begins and if those questions aren't answered, consider asking in the chatbox.

4. Take Notes.

Do you take notes when you watch webinars? Note-taking helps you to retain information simply by the act of writing the information down. You can print the handout and annotate it so that it is more meaningful for your particular research.

5. Ask Questions.

Use the chat to ask questions. Your question may not be picked, but you have a better chance if you make sure to ask right away.

6. Summarize.

A TED talk by Julian Treasure (mentioned above) teaches an acronym to use when thinking about listening. That acronym is RASA which stands for Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, and Ask. Receive means to pay attention. Appreciate is one way you can show your listening to a person (using responses like oh, ok). The last two are probably obvious, Summarize what the speaker said back to them, and Ask questions.[2] Even though this is meant for 1:1 conversation, you could do the same thing when listening to a webinar. Remember those notes you were taking? You can note any follow-up actions like searching on a website or checking out a recommended book. After the webinar is over, take some time to jot down the three main points (or more) that are your take-aways from the webinar.

What do you do to prepare to learn from a webinar? What are your best practices? Let’s share ideas in the comments below.

See you at the next webinar!

 

[1] “5 Ways to Listen Better,” TED (https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better/transcript?language=en: accessed 5 January 2022).

[2] Ibid.

 

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.

 


Expand Your Research Options Using Catalog Subjects

Expand Your Research Options Using Catalog Subjects

The FamilySearch Catalog. Chances are you use it. But are you using all it offers? Case in point: subject headings.

Subject Headings are likely something you’ve encountered in other library catalogs. You will see subject headings in pretty much every library catalog you use, even the FamilySearch Catalog. So what are they? “Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is a list of words and phrases – called headings – that are used to indicate the topics of library resources. It is used by most academic and research libraries in the United States, as well as by many public and school libraries. It is also used by libraries throughout the world....LCSH brings consistency to library collections by categorizing topics into logical arrangements, and by controlling synonyms, variant spellings, and homographs.”[1] So in a nutshell, subject headings are a way that library materials are cataloged. 

What this means for you is the opportunity to find other works that are similar to your item of interest. This doesn’t always work to our advantage, sometimes there simply aren’t other similar resources in the catalog, but in some cases, you might uncover additional resources. I find this especially helpful in cases where I have conducted a keyword search.

November 2021 FamilySearch Catalog

So let’s look at two examples from the FamilySearch Catalog. In this first example, I did a Place search on Spain, Madrid and then chose the category Civil Registration. This is the card catalog entry for the single result in this category.

FamilySearch Catalog Madrid

Notice under Subjects it says Locality Subjects and provides two links:

Spain, Madrid - Census

Spain, Madrid - Civil registration

In this case, the civil registration link is for this entry and no others exist in this category. The census link includes two resources, this entry and another.

Now let’s look at a different example, this time I conducted a keyword search on the phrase “women newspaper.” This is an example where my keyword phrase probably isn't the best so I could benefit from other suggestions. One of my results was the book, Index of references to American women in colonial newspapers through 1800. Notice that in this case not only are there more links but they are divided by Locality Subjects and Library of Congress Subjects.

FamilySearch Catalo American Women

Notice that these include Locality Subjects for Genealogy and Newspaper Indexes for the United States as well as Library of Congress Subjects for Women and American Newspapers. In this case, the LOC subjects lead me to no other resources. However, the Locality Subjects lead me to over 100 additional resources. This can be beneficial in helping me locate additional items for my research.

The FamilySearch Catalog is a vital resource for your genealogy. Don't stop at entering a search. Study your results to get the most from your research. Learn more about using the Catalog so your research can benefit. To start, read the FamilySearch Wiki page “Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog.” 

 

[1] “Process for Adding and Revising Library of Congress Subject Headings,” Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/aba/cataloging/subject/lcsh-process.html: accessed 18 November 2021).

 

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.

 


Capturing Your Family's Food Memories

FoodMemories

I just finished reading actor Stanley Tuccis’ new book Taste - My Life Through Food. In it, he recounts his life and the role food played from his childhood to his young adult years, his marriages and children, to his most recent bout with cancer. It’s more than an autobiography, it is peppered with recipes that he fondly recalls. Readers are privy to simple recipes like his father’s Pasta con Aglio e Oilio (pasta with garlic and olive oil) and Tomato Salad to the more complex Timpano, a special Christmas recipe in the Tucci family.

Reading this memoir is like sitting down with Stanley Tucci and talking, eating, and laughing. He comes across as a “real person” and not a celebrity. His love for Italian food is infectious. I devoured the book in one day.

TucciFood-2

But this isn’t a book review.

As I read and enjoyed this book I thought about what a great family history book it was and how we  should all consider writing something similar. So often it’s difficult to write a family history because you may not feel like you’re a writer and it can seem like an overwhelming task. But you can write about memories of food! You start with your memories and what you know. Those memories might encompass several generations (in my case I knew one of my paternal great-grandmothers, a cook, very well). You can start with documenting your family (you, parents, grandparents, etc) and your food history. Possible writing prompts include:

  • What was a special occasion at your house and what did you eat? 
  • What foods did you eat for the holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, etc)?
  • What did you eat for birthdays?
  • What did your parents or grandparents serve when you were sick?
  • What was an after-school snack when you were young?
  • What foods did you eat at your grandparents and how was that different than what you ate at home?
  • Did anyone in your family have a garden? What did they grow? How did they use that food?
  • Did your family hunt or fish? What recipes were cooked to incorporate that food?
  • What are foods that come from your ethnic/heritage background?
  • Where did you buy food? 
  • What food was considered a treat?
  • What rules did your family have around eating (clean plate, have to try everything, etc)?
  • What did you eat for school lunches?
  • What’s the “weirdest” food your family ate?

You get the picture. From those questions you can write up short stories, maybe just a page or two long. You can add recipes when appropriate and even images of you cooking those recipes, or photos of your family cooking, in the kitchen, at the table, etc. This isn't a cookbook, this is a family food history featuring a handful of recipes.

Tucci’s food memoir isn’t just about him. He introduces us to his parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended family. He then discusses his friends, wives, children and stepchildren. It’s not the story of one man’s obsession with food (although, that’s part of it) it’s the story of ancestry, a homeland, family past and present, and his memories of them. He writes of his mom:

"Food, its preparation, serving, and ingesting, was the primary activity and the main topic of conversation in my household growing up. My mother insists that she was capable of little more than boiling water when she married my father. If this is true, she has more than made up for this shortcoming over the last century. I can honestly say that on the four-burner electric stove she used throughout my childhood and on the gas hob that replaced it many years later, she has never cooked a bad meal. Not once. The focus of her cooking is Italian, pimply recipes from her family or my father’s family.” [1]

Genealogy can be an act of gathering solely names and dates to make generational connections. But a family history narrative that includes memories of food is appealing to family members who are not interested in genealogy.

Thanksgiving is approaching in the United States, but no matter wherever you are, this is a great time to ask your family about their food memories, swap recipes, and document you family’s food history. 

What precious memories will your family food memoir recount?

 

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.

 

 

[1] Tucci, Stanley. Taste. My Life Through Food (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2021) p. 12-13.


5 Places to Look for Your Ancestor's Burial Location

The Simsbury Cemetery in Simsbury, Connecticut. Copyright Marian Pierre-Louis

Sure, you know the BIG cemetery websites. Chances are, you use them all the time. You may have even uploaded gravestone photos to those websites. But what are the websites with cemetery and burial information that you don't use? Below are 5 to consider as you research your ancestors.

1. Genuki

Genuki

GENUKI "provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland." Volunteer supported, this website provides all kinds of links and information you need to research the UK or Ireland. Once you locate the place you are researching, you can choose a Cemeteries link, or you can search using the name of the location and the word "cemeteries." This will provide you with links and information about cemeteries in the area, steering you towards cemetery transcription projects.

2. US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project

 

US GenWebTombstone

I think old books and websites are sometimes forgotten or discarded because they don't have all the bells and whistles. The US GenWeb Tombstone Transcription project was once one of the few free websites providing researchers with genealogical content. When they began, they had a novel idea. "We need to record these tombstone inscriptions now---before they are lost forever to the winds and the rains. However, many cemeteries have already been recorded by various Genealogical Societies, just as many have not. And, of those recorded, how accessible is that data to the world? If we join together and do this recording, we will guarantee that our ancestors are not forgotten----that their memorials will live on so that future generations may remember then as well as we do."

Today, some of what they provided in terms of indexes can be found elsewhere as digitized materials. However, it still worth checking. The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project can easily be regarded as something you wouldn't need considering what cemetery content is available online. Still, as a volunteer project, you never know what they captured vs. what was perhaps captured afterward. It's still a place to exhaust before giving up on finding a burial. Transcriptions and some photos can be found on the website. It's a pretty basic search and browse but is a must for exhausting US online cemetery information.

3. CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project

Canadagenweb

CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project "currently offers a free and searchable listing of over 18,000 known Canadian cemeteries. We are continuously adding new information provided by volunteers." You can search the website by a person or a cemetery. Currently, the website is undergoing some maintenance. Those interested in the website should also join their Facebook page. Joining the Facebook group will help you receive information about updates to the site.

4. Interment.net

Interment.net

Interment.net boasts 25+ million "cemetery records, transcripts, and burial registers, from tens of thousands of cemeteries across the world, all contributed by genealogists, cemeteries, government agencies, and private organizations." You can search and browse by region or special collections (including U.S. veterans burials and mining disasters). This collection is a single-source worldwide collection, which is different than similar websites. They define single-source as "Each transcription we publish comes from a single-source, be it the cemetery office, government office, church office, archived document, a tombstone transcriber. Other websites already do an excellent job of crowd-sourcing a single cemetery together. But genealogists also need to see the original records from a single source. That's what we offer." However, there is something else it lacks that the other big cemetery websites have, photographs. Keep in mind that as you browse, you will need to scroll down the page to find various links to places and cemeteries. For those searching for U.S. ancestors, you may want to read a previous Interment.net blog post, WPA Historical Records Survey about the WPA and its role in the cemetery indexes we use today.

5. Genealogy Society Websites

Obviously, this isn't one website. This is a reminder to check the local genealogical society where your ancestor lived and died (because they could have died in a different location). Genealogy societies conduct cemetery transcription projects that they publish online and in book form. In some cases, they may have this information behind a member paywall. Joining the society and having access to members-only content can be worthwhile. In addition, they are the experts on that location. So even if they haven't conducted a cemetery project, they may have information that can help you in your search. Don't forget they may also research for a fee.

Where is Your Ancestor Buried?

There's nothing wrong with using the BIG cemetery websites but don't forget that they all rely on volunteers, so they may not have what you need. Other volunteer projects might be focused on the history of that locale, have access to historical materials, or conducted transcriptions earlier before destruction to a gravestone made it impossible to read or view. If you don't initially find what you need, remember to check older websites to exhaust your online search. 

 

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.

 


Learning from Others

Learning from Others

The other day I presented a lecture on searching newspaper websites. During my hour-long presentation, I discussed different tips and methods for using digitized newspaper search engines. I talked about tools that these websites provide that filter results to reveal relevant hits. All of the information I presented was vital to understanding how to use digitized newspaper websites for genealogy research. But, even after all the techniques, I discussed there was one thing I left out—the importance of learning from other genealogist’s experiences.

Can Anyone Help?

The great thing about genealogy in an age of technology and massive amounts of online information is that genealogists, whether researching for clients or themselves, utilize social media, blogs, and websites to document their research experience. Their articles and posts include what they found or didn’t find, as they review the steps and tips they use to search genealogy search engines.

One example of a free newspaper website is Fulton History (also known as Old Fulton Postcards). This free digitized newspaper website provides various search options beyond just entering a name in a search engine. Options include using stemming, fuzzy searches, and synonyms that help you expand your search and find ancestors even if their names are misspelled.

As I searched for more information about the Fulton website, I noticed blog posts that described users' search experiences. For example, Cliff Lamere's web page titled Using the Fulton History Newspaper Site provides some valuable tips, including how to adjust for OCR errors. Vital information for searching any digitized newspaper website.

The Genealogical Society of Bergen County's web page provides information about Boolean searches as well as proximity searches. Once again, helpful for the Fulton website but also significant when searching others.

Look for Help Outside of the Website

Genealogy relevant websites provide FAQs and educational tutorials to help their users make the most of their search. However, there is a benefit to learning from the experiences of independent users who have navigated the website successfully and make that information available online. By conducting a Google search with the name of the website or database, joining a Facebook group for website users, or asking other genealogists via your social media web page, at a genealogy event, or in a genealogy society, you may learn more about how to search a website successfully.

That's the type of information we all need to find our ancestors in online databases.

 

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.