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Archive for the ‘Internet Genealogy’ Category

The following is from Susan Laura Lugo, Territorial Archivist, DPNR/Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, U.S. Virgin Islands.
I am very pleased to announce the March 1, 2017, official launch of the searchable Web site by the Danish National Archives in commemoration of the March 31, 2017, Centennial observance of Transfer Day, the day on which the Danish West Indies were transferred to the United States of America as the Territory of the Virgin Islands of the United States.

All researchers everywhere now have free, online access to over 5 million scanned images (over 8.5 million pages) of original documents, maps and drawings from the records of the Danish West Indies held by the Danish National Archives.
  • Click on “Search the Records” at https://www.virgin-islands-history.org/en/ and a search screen will display.
  • Scroll down on the landing page to make use of the excellent search tips and guides provided before entering your search terms.
  • The Danish National Archives’ Web site, search guides and finding aids will also be linked this month from the Facebook page for the “VI Public Libraries DPNR” and from the Territorial Archives web page on www.virginislandspubliclibraries.org/archives.asp .
The Territorial Archives within the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States expresses its sincere thanks and gratitude to the Danish National Archives, the Danish Ministry of Culture, and A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation for General Purposes for supporting and carrying out this important digitization project to restore to the people of the Virgin Islands their Danish West Indian history and cultural heritage. 
When I emailed her for permission to post this on my blog, she also added the following information:
NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States] has about 4.0 million pages (2,313 cf) of material in RG55 from the Danish West Indian era (see the finding aid at: http://www.virgin-islands-history.dk/nara/danmark1.pdf), and we still have some DWI records in the Territory (about 1,000 lf).  Our hope is to provide access to ALL the records held across the US/DK/VI so that our history may be unified for the first time in over 100 years.
Note on picture: It is from the Record Series Copybooks of Letters Sent to the King in the Danish West Indies Collection mentioned above.
Written by Susan Laura Lugo, Archivist
Posted by vea/1o March 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net
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Statue of William the Conqueror at Falaise

Statue of William the Conqueror at Falaise

Genealogists understand the need for skepticism when we find new or unfamiliar information on the Internet, especially when it’s in compiled family trees and genealogies.  But when it comes to printed sources we may be tempted to let our guard down. We tend to think of print as more reliable than the Internet. Think again. It’s important to remember the old adage that just because it’s in print, doesn’t mean it’s true.

I was reminded of this when looking at an article about William I (aka William the Conqueror) the other day that my husband pointed out to me on the website of the English newspaper, The Guardian. This past August 25th was the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings when William took England from the Saxons. I learned from the article that many biographers have depicted William as actually being rather sweet and jovial. This came as a surprise to me.  I would think that anyone who could win a battle as bloody as Hastings would be unlikely to have a sweet bone in his body. It is estimated that over 100,000 people died as a result of that battle and the later repression of the Saxons.

Marc Morris, a British historian researching William for a biography, felt instinctively that something was wrong with this characterization of the Conqueror, and he wanted to get the man right. He had Latin expert David D’Avray go back and translate the original source from which this jovial interpretation of the Conqueror originated – a Latin manuscript nearly a thousand years old, part of a chronicle written after William’s funeral. David D’Avray discovered that the section of this chronicle that modern historians had believed was a description of William was not about him at all. The words of praise  actually were offered in memory of  a little-known Abbot named Richard of Verdun.  Both men had died around the same time in 1087 and the description of the genial Richard had been misunderstood and taken as a description of William.*

The mistake persisted as professional historians relied on, and recycled, a translation from a printed source rather than going back and checking the original. Likewise, we find the same mistake being made by many of us as we work out our family histories. We easily assume that surely those published genealogies that we find on the shelves of our local libraries and genealogical societies have to be accurate. After all, they did make it into print, didn’t they?

Helen Osborne has written about this problem in her book Genealogy: Essential Research Methods (2012).** At one point she compares research in England and the United States.  England is a relatively small country so people are more likely to travel to look at original sources.  In the United States people are more likely to rely on printed sources rather than take on the challenge and expense of traveling great distances to consult an original document. As a result Osborne has found that there is “a vast amount of uncritical, unscholarly work deposited in the big genealogical libraries that has found its way into many family trees.” One mistake in a printed source is picked up uncritically by another and another and another, just as happened in the biographies of William I above.

If you find yourself skeptical of what a British genealogist is saying about American libraries, don’t be. She has a point. Just check with the Daughters of the American Revolution, among one of our earliest American lineage societies.   DAR genealogists have discovered that some proofs of lineage accepted by their predecessors no longer hold up. The links are broken in a number of cases and have to be proven using more reliable original sources, if such sources can be found. In these situations previous genealogical paths to a particular ancestor can no longer be trusted.  People now seeking membership in the DAR may have to forge new trails to prove they are descended from soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Of course printed sources can continue to be used as potential signposts to documents, but never as infallible proof.

Anyone familiar with the Internet is likely to have noticed how freely it can take mistakes and replicate them on a far grander scale than book publishing ever could. The Web has made it even easier to find questionable family trees online that people copy with abandon, not even checking sources (that is, assuming they are given in the first place). But the Internet has also given us a more positive gift, the ability to pull up an actual image of original records housed in other states and other countries. We no longer have to travel great distances to look at them. We do have to learn how to locate them, cite them, and use them, but that has always been a part of doing accurate genealogies. The crucial further step is to learn how to use Internet sources prudently. This takes time and experience.  But the result will be the creation of a more reliable family history and a deeper understanding and appreciation of our ancestors.

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*Marc Morris’ book is entitled William I: England’s Conqueror and has been published by Penguin this summer on the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The mistranslation begins with the publication in the nineteenth century of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, whose prose is characterized by Morris as a “flowery Latin . . .  not the administrative Latin that most medieval historians – like me – can cope with.”  See Dalya Alberge, “Not So Jovial After All: How Historians Misunderstood William the Conqueror,” The Guardian, August 20, 2016.

**Helen Osborne, Genealogy: Essential Research Methods (London: Robert Hale, 2012), pp. 176-177.

 

vea/31 August 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

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DSC06280I just received the June/July issue of Internet Genealogy.  One of the first sections I go to in each issue is “Net Notes.” It’s a series of short pieces covering recent website activity that may be of interest to readers. The first entry describes some online releases from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC).  I have a special interest in Canadian genealogy so I took a closer look — and came to an unexpected halt. One of the entries cites LAC’s release of a database consisting entirely of immigrants from the Ukraine (1890-1930) arriving in Canadian and American ports. I had just put together a list on Ukrainian genealogical resources for several patrons who needed help on this topic. This entry gave me another resource to add to my list that might help break down some of their brick walls. If it hadn’t been for this article, I might never have found this little gem.

Flipping through genealogy magazines can not only help to keep you up to date, but can unearth treasure you’d never find otherwise. Perhaps some of the following might help you. Do you have ancestors in the American colonies during the Revolution or in the United States during the War of 1812? The Canadian piece also includes references to databases on the War of 1812, and to the Book of Negroes (with 3,000 names of Black Loyalists who fled the Port of New York at the end of the Revolutionary War). It concludes with another database consisting of the recently digitized list of Loyalists and British Soldiers (for the period 1772-1784) from the Carleton Papers.

Other articles in this issue center around saving family stories. One describes what can be done with FamilySearch.org’s Memories section, which is devoted to researching and preserving family stories. Then there are related pieces, “Stellar Storytelling Apps” and “Recording Family Interviews with Audacity.”

DSC06341British genealogy is represented with two articles.  One lists seven websites relating specifically to the Victorian era. The second highlights three free UK websites run by volunteers.

The magazine rounds off with articles on “Researching the Great Depression,” “Supreme Court Cases and Your Family History,” and a review of Yale’s Photogrammar Project that digitizes photographs of the 1930s and 1940s and makes them available online. There are also the monthly features “The Back Page,” “Genealogical Society Announcements,” and additional short pieces in the Net Notes already mentioned.

DSC06342Perhaps I now have you curious, but frustrated because you don’t subscribe to the magazine. Not to worry. The Newton Free Library does. Pay us a visit. You can find this and other genealogy magazines just to the right as you enter the Special Collections Room on the first floor.  Take a few minutes to see what’s there.  Here there be discoveries to be made, brick walls to be dismantled, and gold to be found.

 

 

vea/16 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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How can I track down records?

How can I track down records?

I became aware of LDSGenealogy through a Dick Eastman post sent to me by a genealogy buddy.  Being a skeptical New Englander to begin with, I was suspicious when I saw the name.  I know that FamilySearch.org is the official LDS family history site.  What exactly was going on with this site? Luckily my skepticism was unwarranted. The site is completely legit. The people in charge of the site explain who they are and what they are doing in their “About” section. In it they state “As members of the LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we originally designed the site to be helpful for LDS church members doing genealogy research. We have since expanded the site to include a lot of helpful information for everyone. We welcome any and all visitors who might find this site helpful.”

And helpful it is.  It is a directory of records useful to genealogists that can be found online. When you go into it, you will see a list of states, counties, and towns and cities.  You won’t waste a lot of time looking through individual subscription and free services to locate a needed record. Under each location listed there are groupings of records and where you can find them online.  If they are not online, of course, you will need to continue hunting.

There is another very good reason to take a look at the site — the articles.  They are excellent.  I’ve been doing family history research for awhile now, but each time I go into an article I learn something or sometimes remember a tip or caution that I had forgotten over the years.  Take a look at this site.  It will be well worth your time.  The home page is logically laid out, simple and straightforward.

LDS Genealogy: http://ldsgenealogy.com

 

vea/25 March 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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Newton City Hall 5 February 2016

Newton City Hall 5 February 2016

FindMyPast comes through again with something to keep us busy on a snowy New England day. Remember what I said just two posts ago about FindMyPast going aggressively after the American Market?  I just learned from a posting on Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter that FindMyPast announced at RootsTech that it is launching the largest online collection of U.S. marriages in American history with over 100 million records dating from 1650 t0 2010. The work on this project is not completed, but FindMyPast is making the first 33 million of these records available to anyone who wants to use them for free through February 15th.  To learn more details, click on the link above to Dick Eastman’s article. Once you take a look at the article, go to  http://www.findmypast.com and try out the records.

vea/5 February 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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A member of our local genealogy club just emailed  to tell me about an offer from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. They are offering free access to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont vital records (birth, marriage, and death records) until the end of January. They are promoting their free guest memberships. It’s worth checking out if you have ancestors in these three states, even if you’ve already found information in places like Ancestry or FamilySearch.  NEHGS has materials and collections you will find nowhere else.

To find more details about their guest (free) memberships, check out their American Ancestors website.

Below is the information posted about the offer on the American Ancestors website.

Good to Meet You, 2016!

Register free as a Guest User to get access to three of our most popular vital records databases for the month of January 2016.

Guest User accounts allow web visitors to use a limited suite of AmericanAncestors.org databases and access content such as making purchases from the online store. To receive unlimited access to all 250+ million records and other benefits, become a member of NEHGS.

In addition to the standard suite of databases available to guest users, other new databases may be available to guest user for a limited time. To see the complete list of databases currently available to guest users, visit the advanced search page and use the “free” check box.

vea/22 January 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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Cyndi's ListCyndi Howells has spent the last eighteen years creating, maintaining, and improving an index to websites relating to family history and genealogy on the Internet. When I  want to check what is available online for a specific subject, my first stop is always  CYNDI’S LIST (http://www.cyndislist.com).   As of 31 July she has 332,821 links and 204 categories.  She includes live links so you can jump to a website if you wish.  If you are checking out countries, remember that Cyndi also includes smaller geographical divisions  such as districts, counties, provinces, etc. listed below the country being indexed.

Otherwise I have a fairly scatter shot method of collecting websites.  I will find them in my precious books, in magazine articles, in Facebook postings, blogs, patrons.  I then try to immediately attach them to my lists.  I subscribe to the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, a weekly compilation of his blog entries with original articles by him added. I get a number of sites from that. If you are curious, you can access his blog for free at http://blog.eogn.com.  But none of this is organized.  It’s catch as catch can.  If you want organized, trust me, Cyndi’s List is the place to go.

This is an extremely short posting for me.  I was looking around for other sites to add.  You know what?  This is the best.  I’ve been using it for years.  I don’t think you can do better.  But I open to suggestions. But if you have one, check it against Cyndi’s List first to see how it compares.

vea/7 August 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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A Genealogist In The Archives

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Boston 1775

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Daily Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Legal Genealogist

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

Nutfield Genealogy

FINDING ANSWERS AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net Newton, Massachusetts

One Rhode Island Family

My Genealogical Adventures through 400 Years of Family History