Saturday, February 27, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #8

On to Week 8's Challenge...Discover online map collections. This could be a challenge for an entire month! The amount of online map collections available just keeps getting bigger, making genealogists so very happy! I love maps, as I think most people do. Maps remind us of places we have been, places we are going or places we can only dream of going. For genealogists maps help us to visualize our ancestors. We can document a migration trail and "see" the cities, towns, rivers and mountains that they saw along the way. I started this challenge with my library system's online resource databases to see what map collections they have available.

First stop is the Digital Sanborn Maps which were created as fire insurance maps beginning in 1867. While the entire collection is phenomenal, what i like best is the ability to click on a town or city map year by year. This gives you the ability to see how your ancestors town grew and changed over the years.

Next stop is with the Historic Map Works database. If you have access to this collection through your library you will not be sorry you took the time to review. Historic Map Works has a full-color digital collection with over 100,000 land ownership maps for the United States including suburban and rural areas. Currently being added to their collection are nearly 100,000 antiquarian maps...these are the maps that make you say "wow"! This site offers so much including search features, you will not want to miss what the collection has to offer!

The final database I will touch on is also available through my library system and is called Global Road Warrior The Ultimate Guide to the World. This collection is wonderful on so many levels. The best benefit may be for those lucky enough to be able to make a genealogical research trip to another state or country. Global Road Warrior provides access to maps, transportation options, points of interest and photo gallery's.

Hours, even entire days can be spent on just these three collections. The wealth of information we can gain in our research, from maps, is invaluable. There are so many options available to us right from our home, be sure to take advantage of them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #6

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Yes, my challenges for weeks 6 and 7 are out of order. I was out of town for a few days in the last week which put me behind and, apparently, into a confused state! Nevertheless, here is my submission for online research databases available through our local library.

The number of databases available through my library system is significant. From Arts and Entertainment to Science with that most wonderful subject of Genealogy right in the middle! I regularly use the Heritage Quest census, Digital Sanborn maps and World Atlas features. All genealogists will agree those are fantastic tools to be able to access from home. My favorite resource, however, is the Historical New York Times database.

My father's Baudermann family is from New Jersey. While I wasn't sure if I would find anything of value on that family in the New York Times I, of course, put their name in the search box. I got 31 hits, what a surprise! I found through the newspapers, that my grandfather attended and graduated from NYU in 1908. He was also on the track team, as the clipping shows. He was a pretty fast guy, story after story listed him as the winner usually of the longer distance events. As hard as it has been to find information on him, I hit the jackpot on his college years.

I have come to rely on the online databases available through the library system. What a convenient way to work on genealogy research.

New York Times (1857-1922); Dec 22, 1904;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006)pg. 10

Thursday, February 18, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #7

I love this weeks challenge because I love Google maps! Street view is the best thing since peanut butter period! I use the street view option not just for genealogy research but also for any travel plans. When visiting an unfamiliar city, if I will be driving, street view actually shows the drive you will be taking. This has been an invaluable asset in my business as well as personal travel.

How helpful is Google maps for genealogy research? You can't beat it! If your ancestors lived across the country you can input their address and, if you are lucky, there is their house or business.

I was one of the lucky ones. I never met my paternal grandfather, my father had no contact with him after WWII. After finding his death certificate I was able to plug his address into Google maps and ta-da this is where my grandfather was living at the time of his death. My Dad's family is from New Jersey, I live in Kansas City, Google just erased all the miles in between!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting Organized Genealogy Style - Day 8...the end

One days, that is how long I lasted in my quest to getting organized. It wasn't even seven consecutive days! I put forth the effort, I printed off the organization checklists, read various columns on how to get organized and spent money on office supplies. What did this exercise tell me about myself?

1. I like making lists!

2. I like buying office supplies!

3. I like the idea of being organized!

But no matter how many "here is what you need to do to get organized" blog posts I read or podcasts I listened to, none seem to fit me. I did find great organizational tips and checklists which act as valuable reminders on the preservation and safekeeping of documents and emphasize the need for documentation in a database. However, I think the checklists will only be guidelines for me. I need my own method otherwise I'm not totally committed to it.

Lets face it, having a list can be a great motivator, but it also can be a threat. We feel we have to finish the list in a certain amount of time. This is my hobby and I want to enjoy this hobby without the pressure of deadlines.

Those who recognized this passion in their life and were able to follow that to a career have my admiration. I have a fantastic job that I love with a great company and as much as I enjoy this hobby I won't be quitting my day job! Having said that, I would like to continue my education in family history research. I want to learn more about the methodology, abstracts, transcriptions and citations just to start with. There will be more about my approach to further my education in a future post.

So, it is what it is folks. I am an amateur genealogist (have been for 10 years now) and make no claim to being more than that. I know some about genealogy, but have a great desire to know more. With those aspirations of perfectly completed checklists out of the way I can get back to enjoying the research and the finds!

Friday, February 5, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #5

Getting to know WorldCat better is what this week's challenge is all about. On a side note, I haven't received the book I requested in last week's challenge. But I will be patient, it hasn't cost me a dime and I'm grateful the service is available.

I spent some time on WorldCat just plugging in surnames to see what I could find. I found nothing, a lot of books written by someone with my surnames but nothing pertaining to my genealogy.

Next, I began searching using geographic locations. This was very interesting and the amount of information was plentiful. I'm not talking about searching using words like Germany, New Jersey or Missouri. I used specific town names and was very surprised at what has been written about such places, especially for some of the small towns. I found that the small town I live in had three different newspapers in the past. We do not have a newspaper today and it has been ten years or more since the last paper closed. How times change.

Genealogy education was my next choice of search terms. I was expecting to get books such as how to do genealogy research online, using DNA to trace your ancestors etc. The first book returned was a popular book for online genealogy, those that followed were even better. There were books on schools in various parts of the country, city and rural schools, books of graduates and teachers and schools for specific groups of people. This was another reminder that key words used in searches really are key!

With my interest aroused I will spend more time on WorldCat experimenting with various key word phrases and see what I find.