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Pay per view obituaries… what???

I’ve been uploading images of graves from my local veterans cemetery on FindAGrave.com and trying to add obituaries. The headstone isn’t the only thing that matters; celebrating the life of the person is equally, if not more, important. Unfortunately, many of the obituaries have been “archived” and when you click them, most direct you to a new search for the newspaper or to a site where you have to pay to view the obituary. I am miffed and mystified by this. Should people have to pay to view an obituary? Where does this leave genealogists? Should genealogists for groups that create listings of obituaries that people can search for free?  I’m thinking I may do just that.

 
 

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Come on–you all know you had it or have it

What is it? It’s that outrageously disorganized pile, box, or cabinet full of genealogy stuff that hasn’t been properly filed or sorted … or scanned. Mine is a dreaded paper pile inside a cabinet that is chock full of pictures, documents, and scattered notes.

How to tame the paper monster:

  • Start by sorting through and categorizing items – make sure that items that are related to each other (for example, an old photo with a note about it on a scrap of paper) stay together. Sort:
      • documents like marriage, birth, death certificates and announcements are separated and grouped by surname
      • photographs with as much documentation of possible, lest we forget who the person in the old photo is
      • research notes separated into surname groups
  • Find a filing system that works well for you – all that doesn’t do much good unless you have a place to put the stuff
      • some genealogist report using notebooks with acid free page protectors – a separate one for each surname – I found this to be a good route until I worked my way further and further back and ended up with way too many notebooks
      • some genealogists use file drawers and have a separate file for each family name – this was a far more workable solution for me
          • good idea here – create a master set of sheets so that you know exactly what surname file you need to access for a particular piece of information

Now, I’m not f pro, just an amateur working my way through the paper monster. Please feel free to use the comment section to share any tips that other amateurs might find helpful.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in organization

 

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An interesting discovery in the 1900 census

Having practiced quite a bit of genealogy, I have found multiple relatives through oral family history, WWII draft cards, and census records. I was even lucky enough to find transcription of the marriage certificate for my great great grandparents on my Dad’s maternal side (still have to go to the family history library and order the microfilm). I also have quite a bit of experience with indexing records for FamilySearch.org and have been noticing occupations on census records more and more. So, I decided to look at the census records for the family members I found long ago, before I knew anything really about genealogy. I was just happy back then to trace back to a name.

I went back to the census records I verified earlier, but didn’t look at too closely. I found my great great grandmother had an occupation other than “keeping house” – seen on most census records.

MIDWIFE

My great great grandmother Mary Jane was a midwife! Pretty amazing!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Census, domentation

 

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An awesome scanning device…

Here is a review I created for Amazon about the VuPoint portable scanner – I love this thing. You can also view my Amazon Reviewer page to read the review directly from Amazon’s web page

Below is the text of my review:

I am in the midst of tracing my family tree and was looking for something like this that I could pass over a delicate document without worries of having to try to feed it through a regular portable scanning device. Plus, there are so many things that you just can’t feed through or lay flat on a scanner. This tool is perfect for the day when I can go to a historical archive and need to scan a document.

That said, this scanner did not come with very good directions – in fact it came with hardly any directions at all. It came furnished with batteries (but not the microSD card – you’ll need to supply your own). I thought the batteries were dead because when I clicked the power button nothing happened. It took a few minutes for me to figure out that you have to hold the power button down for 3-5 seconds to turn it on and to turn it off. You’ll also need a paperclip to put in this teeny tiny hole near the microSD card slot so you can format the card the first time you use it.

After I figured out how the scanner worked I scanned two items (I posted both in the pictures section – an image of Time magazine that came out really well on the first try, and a scan of the directions that came with this scanner – printed matter doesn’t seem to scan as easily as pictures do). They were automatically saved in .jpeg format, which is great because you can edit what you scan later. For example, in the genealogy field, you may scan more of a page than you need – many archived documents have references to more than one family that you can edit off the document, saving only the portion you want to keep.

On the whole, I am really pleased with this scanner. It has little rollers on it that roll smoothly over the surface you’re scanning. It was easy to upload the images I scanned onto my computer using the USB cord provided. It came with a pouch to store it in and a fine cloth to clean it with. The lack of directions would be my only complaint. I was able to figure things out, but it might be a little harder for someone who is not as comfortable with this type of technology to set up on their own. So if you aren’t very tech savvy, still buy this gadget, but have a tech savvy friend help you set it up.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2010 in documentation, tools

 

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