Sunday, October 31, 2010

GHLL Weekly Update

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of November 1 - November 7, 2010.

Please visit the GHLL site and take a look around.  There is a tremendous amount of domestic and international information available.  If you see something you like, let them know with a post on the message board.  If you are looking for something in particular, please mention that also.  The GHLL is a group of volunteer contributors who are always looking for ways to help fellow genealogists.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Musings on a Munday

Genealogy conference exhibitors, how much time have you spent to educate yourself on successful trade show marketing?  Exhibiting in a professional manner is not just for large corporations.  When taking the time, money and effort to exhibit, be the best you can be.

Exhibitor is a great resource for exhibit managers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Citing Sources

Originally Posted by Dick Eastman on October 17, 2010

October 17, 2010
Citing Sources

One thing that genealogists need to do is to always cite their sources. I well remember my early days of family tree searches. I would record new information into three-ring notebooks. (This was long before the invention of the personal computer.) I would write down names, dates, places, and perhaps a bit more information that I was lucky enough to find.

Unfortunately, in those early days I did not write down where I obtained the information. Nobody told me that I needed to do this, and I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out for myself. I simply assumed that everything I found was accurate. After all, it was printed in a book, wasn't it?

As time passed, I frequently found new information that contradicted what I found earlier. When I discovered these discrepancies, I needed to determine which piece of information was more accurate. The question that arose time and again was, “Where did I find that information?” Sadly, I often did not know.

The better solution would have been to always write down where I found the information along with the data itself. This is known as citing your sources. To quote author Elizabeth Shown Mills in her excellent book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian: "Any statement of fact that is not common knowledge must carry its own individual statement of source. ...Source notes have two purposes: to record the specific location of each piece of data and to record details that affect the use or evaluation of that data."

I am older now and, hopefully, wiser. I have spent many, many hours weeding out incorrect data, and now hopefully I have documented all my sources of information. I wish that someone had told me years ago about the need for source citations; that one step would have saved me many, many hours of backtracking. I hope that, by writing this article, I can influence some genealogy newcomers to have better habits than I did.

Of course, citing a source is not as simple as writing down the name of a book. You also should record the book’s author, publication date, the page on which you found the data, and even the name of the library or other repository where you found that book. Serious genealogists will also record the library’s call number.

Of course, not all genealogy information is found in books. You also find information in hand-written records in courthouses, as well as in family Bibles, on microfilm, on Web pages, in e-mail, and other places. Each source of information may have unique requirements for recording the source references.

My favorite reference for finding out how to record genealogy sources is the book I mentioned earlier: Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997, ISBN#: 0806315431,

Elizabeth Shown Mills also has released a shortened QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Sources that I recently reviewed at This, too, is a big help.

An online Web site also gives excellent information about sources. Duke University’s Guide to Library Research Web site includes an item entitled Assembling a List of Works Cited in Your Paper. These Web pages contain a wealth of information about citing articles in books, magazine, journals, letters, personal interviews, and more. It is an excellent reference, although not aimed at the genealogist. The downside is that it does not provide specific information about citing census records, land records, or other genealogy-specific sources of information.

While not as complete as Mills’ book, the Assembling a List of Works Cited in Your Paper still provides information that every genealogist should know. You can read it at:

If you or someone you know is in the early stages of their genealogy quest, I urge you to start recording your sources according to the guidelines of such excellent works as these. The more time passes, the happier you will be that you did so.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Musings on a Munday

I've noticed conflicts in the scheduling of genealogy conferences this year.  How much due diligence are the conference managers doing when selecting a date for their conference?  Do competing conferences have open lines of communication with each other?  Who holds a central calendar that all genealogy or historically related conferences can post their events to?  NGS?  FGS?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Civil War Veterans at Mt. Vernon

In September of 2010, I visited an Aunt and Cousin in Seattle.  We spent some time reviewing information we had on our family and I was able to add new information into my Legacy database on my Allen line.

My Aunt is by marriage and I had not seen the family history information she had on her family before.  She has items that will make a genealogist dance...several volumes of books containing hand-written genealogies and a family bible!  This bible was her Great-Grandfather's (Thomas Marion Rabon) that he carried with him during the Civil War.  It is stained, worn and starting to come apart.  At some point in time, someone took plastic and used straight pens to attach to the outside covers of the book.  I believe they thought they would be protecting the cover, but we all know the damage plastic can cause.  Still, the bible itself is beautiful.

Once I returned home I began searching for the Rabons on  This is one of the family lines we all love to have.  There has been much research done and family trees put online.  I always love to get all these clues to help give direction to my research.  One of the family trees looked especially promising and included photos, although the tree was private.  I sent an email stating my interest in the family and within 24 hours the photos and documentation started flooding my inbox.  I "introduced" my Seattle Aunt and Cousin to their new Texas Cousin, Carol.  It was very exciting for everyone, sharing information and photos!

This picture, in particular, caught my Seattle Cousin's eye.  Yes, that is Mt. Vernon in the background, the photo title states this photo was taken during a Civil War reunion. We have been able to identify Thomas Rabon, he is near the center of the photo, 3 rows back and is holding up his hat.

Thomas Rabon Civil War Reunion at Mt. Vernon

This photo by itself is pretty awesome, but it gets better.  My Seattle Cousin started searching online for "civil war reunions at Mt. Vernon", eventually finding this video created by Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective.  This video contains a very similar photo and gives the details as to why a Civil War reunion would have been held at Mt. Vernon.  Please watch it, it is very interesting.

What an incredible find and what an incredible connection made.  The genealogy world really is a small place, we just need to take advantage of that fact.

Photo courtesy Carol Castro
Video from the Photo Detective

Monday, October 11, 2010

Musings on a Munday

Professional Genealogists - the amount of free genealogy research information on this site is tremendous.  Click on "Research Tools" from the top menu and start browsing through all that is offered.  The German research section was especially helpful to me.

p.s., please don't change this site!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Family Search - Granite Mountain Records Vault

As originally posted October 9, 2010 at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Thanks for sharing Dick!

October 09, 2010

Video: FamilySearch - Granite Mountain Records Vault

Listen to this article. Powered by
FamilySearch has created videos that describe the Granite Mountain Records Vault where microfilm and digital media are stored and preserved. The video presents a tour of something that very few people will ever see: the inside of the Granite Mountain Records Vault.

The video is offered on YouTube in two parts:

Part 1 describes the vault and tells how the temperature and humidity are rigidly controlled. Under these ideal storage conditions, microfilms are expected to last for 200 years and the digital records will last even longer.

You can watch Part 1 of the video at or click on the image below:

Part 2 of the video describes the technologies and processes used to "unlock" the collections of genealogy records preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. This video explains how records stored in microfilm and other formats are digitized, indexed, and published online in a searchable format, where they can be accessed by researchers around the world at This video also discusses how FamilySearch plans to preserve these digital records indefinitely, longer than microfilm.

You can watch Part 2 of the video at or click on the image below:

My thanks to Teresa Sanofsky for letting me know about these videos.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shades of the Departed Memento Mori

Click here to read another beautiful issue from the wonderful collaborators at Shades the Magazine.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Musings on a Munday

Find A Grave - when visiting this site, be sure to review the photo requests posted for the cemeteries you are interested in.  You may just find someone looking for the same ancestor.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

GHLL Weekly Update

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of October 4 - October 10, 2010.

Please visit the GHLL site and take a look around. There is a tremendous amount of domestic and international information available. If you see something you like, let them know with a post on the message board. If you are looking for something in particular, please mention that also. The GHLL is a group of volunteer contributors who are always looking for ways to help fellow genealogists.