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SummerofSharing

Because I subscribe, I just received an email stating the above.  Normally I post here with information for you.  Now I’m posting looking for information.  The email basically stated what is normally said about acquisitions.  A bright new day is dawning and neither site will change.  Nothing about what this really means for subscribers.  How are we going to be affected?  Is anyone else out there getting really tired of all this acquisition news?  It may actually end up being an outstanding move.  But I do wish when something like this happens people would explain why this is so great rather than just telling us it will be.  I did sign into my account and the announcement there is the same as the email.  If you take a look at the Mocavo.com website, you will see that they have already made a slight change to their logo.

I just checked out Dick Eastman’s blog.  He has the news from the perspective of Find My Past which does give more information, though not how this is going to affect subscribers. http://blog.eogn.com/2014/06/23/findmypast-buys-mocavo/#more-1644

Does anyone else have any additional news or comments?

Ginny

 

vea/23 June 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

Genealogy LibGuide at the Newton Free Library

The Genealogy LibGuide: Available to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

What on earth is a LibGuide?  Springshare created LibGuides for use by institutions such as universities, colleges and libraries.  They are a great tool for learning and teaching various subjects. Without LibGuides,  individuals would have to rely on a webmaster to enter their information into an institutional website. They would have to get in line with other individuals who needed the same service.  You might have quite a wait.  LibGuides allow you to enter your information into your own subject guide in a matter of seconds.  The Newton Free Library has been using LibGuides for several years to promote resources available to you in a number of subject areas.

How are LibGuides set up?  A LibGuide relies on subject tabs (also referred to as pages) near the top of the LibGuide.  You click on a tab to get to a specific part of a specific LibGuide.  Tabs/Pages are made up of various boxes that can have basic information,  booklists,  links to sources, almost anything that you think will help the people you are trying to reach.

Confronted with the basic information above, I still wouldn’t have a clue what it meant if I had never seen a LibGuide.  This is where I become your guide.  I created and am in charge of the library’s genealogy/family history LibGuide.  I have set it up so that you can use it to learn about different genealogically related topics.  I also teach from it.   If anyone else reading this blog wants to use this LibGuide to teach, feel free to go to it. (Of course you give credit where credit is due whenever you use another person’s work.)  None of our guides are restricted for use by certain people in certain geographical locations.  If you are half way across the world and want to use one of our LibGuides, all your would need to know is the web address. Got that?  Anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Now I would like to introduce you to the Newton Free Library’s Genealogy LibGuide.  If you are impatient and just want to go there and explore it yourself, click on this web address: http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy.  Feel free to take a look and then come back here if you want an explanation of the tabs.  If you have questions, you can either  enter them here in the blog or on the LibGuide itself.

The first tab is an introductory tab.  Here you will find selected genealogical topics that relate to the Newton Free Library.  The one area in the entire LibGuide that you may not be able to use, unless you are a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is the first thing you will see, the Database List.  Some databases you will only be able to use within the library building, like American Ancestors and Ancestry.  Others you can access remotely if you are a Newton resident (Heritage Quest).  If you are not from Newton,  you want to check with your local library.  They may offer these as well.   Below the database section you will find information on the Newton Genealogy Club, recommended websites, and the Dewey numbers for genealogy. (The library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System to categorize books.)  In the side frame you will be able to link to this blog.  My answers to two questions round out this page.  What are the questions?  Take a look.

I put together the next tab, First Advice, for people just beginning their family and ancestor research.  Here you will find advice and links that should take you step-by-step into beginning your research. I hope it will keep you from making all the mistakes I made when I first started out. The next tab, appropriately named What Next, pulls together the First Advice tab into a consecutive list of what you need to do to track down your ancestors.  Included as well are books that can help you with your research as well as a forewarning  of some broad problem areas you will encounter.  As my grandmother would say, forewarned is forearmed.

The next tab, Going Online, should help you with your online research.  I include useful websites and suggested books. Take special note to the two boxes on the top left.  These are  instructions for how to use Family Search (a database anyone can use for free) and Ancestry (accessed only in a library at no cost or from home with an individually purchased subscription).  I include instructions and  a screenshot for every step. I developed this system for myself.  When I need to remember how to do something computer related over a stretch of time, I created this combination so I would have a clue what I needed to do the next time I had to do the same procedure, usually three months down the line.  It worked for me.  It works for my classes. I hope it will work for you.  If you use it and have a problem, please let me know.  If you click one of these “how to” sheets and nothing seems to happen, check your downloads.  Links to your downloaded material may appear in the upper right corner or lower left of your screen. Once you find it you can click on it and print it. You can also copy the link and save it in your computer.

Now that you have the hang of using a LibGuide, I think the other tabs are fairly self-explanatory.  If you are curious about the LibGuides other librarians here have created for other subjects,  you can take a look at all topics covered at http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net.  Enjoy.

vea/20 June 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

When I was looking at an email I received from Family Tree Magazine Gen last night, I discovered that Ancestry was discontinuing five services that they have previously offered. Below I list the five services. Each has a link provided by Ancestry where a company representative answers addition questions about each service — as FAQs and within the Comments section.

Genealogy.com

MyFamily

MyCanvas

LegacyDNA

Mundia – English

Note that if you have data or content that you have added to any of these sites, you have until 5 SEPTEMBER  2014 to download, print, or otherwise save it.  After that date, it is gone.  Genealogy.com is the only one that they are saving.  Message boards and Family Tree Maker home pages will be available in read only format.  (In other words, you can’t change anything.) This allows Ancestry to keep that URL.  Who in their right mind would make a web address  like Genealogy.com available to the competition.

I have a couple of questions myself:
Have people who subscribed to these services received personal notification of the cancellations?

Ancestry’s title to this notice on their blog is “Ancestry.com Focuses on Core Offerings.”  What exactly do they consider the core offerings they are referring to?  Several people in the comments section of this piece asked that question and to this point in time it has not been answered.

This underlines some of the points I made earlier this month in my post on “Buyer Beware.”  Please, always, always backup your work, all your work.  Do not store everything you do in only one place. This includes  an online service or otherwise “in the cloud.” Make sure you have backup in your computer and on a usb drive or other peripheral.  Then if the service you are using is “discontinued,” you will still have access to your work.

vea/6 June 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

I always make the point when I’m teaching a beginner’s class that it is never a good idea to assume anything in genealogy, not about a person, not about a place, and not about dates. Double and triple that when you go back in time fifty or a hundred years or more.  Dick Eastman’s blog EOGN  reminds me of that with two humorous entries that I include here.  If you are not aware of EOGN, please click the above live link.  You are in for a treat and lots of information.

Imagine if you had never seen an electric light before. You had always lit a gas or an oil lamp or candle to get artificial light.

 

The next example is a clip that relates to technology. Anyone who has used a typewriter will get it. The following link will bring you to  a silent and extremely short  link from YouTube that Eastman discovered.  A woman returns to work after a number of years and a complete change in technology.

Going Back to Work After A Few Years Absence and a Change in Technology

These two humorous examples only go back to the beginning of the 20th and the 21st centuries.   When you go back further in time, you can really get into trouble.

vea/5 June 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

It's easy to find Ancestry's  Card Catalog once you know what you are looking for.

It’s easy to find Ancestry’s Card Catalog once you know it exists. Just click on the Search button and the Card Catalog is on the bottom of the menu.

If you are using Ancestry’s sign in page exclusively to do your searches, you are missing out on a lot and that includes some of your illusive ancestors.  You should be using Ancestry’s Card Catalog.  Card Catalog?   It is an option that allows you to narrow your searches.   It provides you with four specific filters:  By type of collection, by location, by date, and by language.  You can use one or more filters. To bring up the Card Catalog, check out the first illustration.

When you start going into collections, you are going to find that a specific collection or database may have more or varied filters, than what is used on Ancestry’s sign in page.  On that page you can search all the collections within Ancestry, known as a global search.  That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it.  Well, not really.  A global search misses a lot. Think about it.  Ancestry is one very big database made up of over 31,o00 smaller databases.  That is a lot of territory to cover and the search is nowhere near as refined as when you search a smaller database.  In the card catalog you can look for a Civil War soldier by narrowing you search down to “Military” and then narrowing that down to “Draft, Enlistment and Service.”  Then you can narrow the search down to USA and 1860s.  You can also add “Civil War” as a Keyword search.  With all those limits, you should come up with a searchable number of individual databases.  If your original  information is correct, the more you narrow your search, the higher the chances are that you will find your ancestor.

Ancestry Card CatalogTo the left you see Ancestry’s Card Catalog.  The orange rectangle is the Search button.  Once you have chosen the parameters of your search, you hit it.  Above the search button are your Title and Keyword search boxes. The Keyword box is where you would type “Civil War” mentioned above. Directly below “Search” you find your four filters, starting with broad categories for Collections.  Once you pick a category, you will find sub-categories that will help you narrow your search still further.  Below categories you will find locations, then years, then language. You can keep using these to narrow your search until you get a reasonable number of databases you can search.  Once you complete the search for one person, don’t forget to hit the “Clear All” button to the right of “Search.”  Otherwise, when you start searching for a new person, the program will remember your old search and keep adding your new search filters to the older filters, leading to some very strange results.

The larger section to the right of your filters is a list of databases by popularity.  The list includes individual databases, what collection they belong to, how many records are included, and if there has been any updates and when the most recent update was added.  Useful information.  You can change how this section is sorted.  Instead of popularity, you can choose “Database Title” or “Date Updated” or “Date Added” or “Record Count.”  The Card Catalog give you a great deal of flexibility.

If you don’t have a personal subscription to Ancestry, check to see if your local library does.  If it doesn’t, perhaps another library in your network or system does.

vea/22 May 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

Caution SignARCALIFE: Websites Can Disappear

I first became aware of ArcaLife when I was looking for a reliable online site that would save a person’s memories and family stories. I thought I had found just the site when I read the first chapter of Matthew and April Helm’s AARP Genealogy Online.  Their entire first chapter consisted of instructions on how to use ArcaLife to save memories online.  When I went to use it, I couldn’t find it. It had completely vanished.

I did some more research. ArcaLife was originally set up to help individuals and families save their memories, photographs, stories… It purpose was not only to create an online site to store this information, but also to make it possible to create personal archives that could be passed down to future generations.  This was an ambitious goal.  When I checked Internet Archives Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of websites on random days, I found there were 55 saves between 3 October 2008 and 3 September 2012.  Part of the site was free and part required a subscription.  So far I have been unable to find out what happened to ArcaLife; what happened to Digital Estate Corporation, the company that owned it; and most importantly, what happened to all the stories, photos, and archives that were housed there.  The moral of this story is to always have a backup whenever you trust your family archives to anything online.  Write your stories, collect your photos, scan your papers onto your computer, save them on a flash/usb drive, print them out.  If something very bad happens to one, you will have backup.

NEWSPAPERARCHIVE.COM: Read the Fine Print

Kerry Scott at ClueWagon recently did a post entitled “Want a Full Refund on Your NewspaperArchive.com Subscription?  Just Ask About Their Charity.” It has me very concerned.  She discovered that NewspaperArchive.com was automatically renewing subscriptions and they were doing it for only six months at the same price they had previously used for a full year.  She decided not to renew her subscription. She had told them not to automatically renew her when she first subscribed. She had used a credit card that expired during the summer so she wasn’t worried about them accidentally automatically renewing her subscription.  She also emailed them in a timely manner telling them she would not be renewing.  Sounds like due diligence to me.  Not to the company though.

This gets very involved. To explain everything that happened next would take as much space as her original posting. Since this happened to her,  I would strongly suggest that you read her original post in its entirety.  Just click on the title linked above.  She discovered some surprising information on what it is legal for companies to do with automatic renewals and to expired or temporary credit cards.

What you need to know and to do:

1. Keep track of your subscriptions:  How much they cost (to the penny) and when they run out.

2. Read the fine print when you sign up for any online subscription: What is their policy relating to automatic renewals, expired credit cards, temporary credit cards, and anything else that involves what come out of your wallet.

3. Look carefully at your signup pages. Make absolutely certain nothing else is checked off, including extraneous charities. (If that doesn’t get you to read Scott’s posting, nothing will.

4. If you subscribe to NewpaperArchive.com (not to be confused with other websites like Archive.com), and are having trouble unsubscribing or are having your deadline coming up, you must read this blog.

When you are dealing with subscription sites, be careful out there.

vea/8 May 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  http://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

 

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