8    Aug 20110 comments

Genealogy Survey: Help collect data

Surveys about genealogy and family history are important as answers provide researchers with helpful data. The data may influence new services and future resource development.

The Canadian Genealogy Survey is a new one that may be of interest to both newcomers and experienced genealogists.

Although we posted an abridged version of  the survey announcement in the latest edition of Links We Like on the MyHeritage blog, we felt an extended post with more information was warranted.

The title is a bit of a misnomer as respondents are not required to be a Canadian citizen or resident and may come from anywhere in the world. The researchers are Carleton University Professor Leighann Neilson (Sprott School of Business) and Emeritus Professor Del Muise (History Department).

Participate in the survey here.

Continue reading "Genealogy Survey: Help collect data" »

15    Mar 20112 comments

Disasters: Are you ready?

While the world today knows all about the tragic aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, there were a few days when we were in the dark - literally.

We attended a conference in Colorado last week. After a five-hour drive through magnificent scenic vistas ranging from desert to snow-capped peaks, we had only a few hours to prepare and get to the venue.

The conference was busy, our colleagues focused on presentations, and we had not obtained Internet connection codes due to the heavy schedule. There wasn't time to read a newspaper or turn on the television - we were in a cocoon where the outside world didn't exist.

Finally, after two days, we managed to get online to check email, and we saw the terrible news about Japan's earthquake and the immense suffering of the people.

As a former Californian who has been through a few earthquakes, but nothing as bad as what the people of Japan experienced, all those thoughts came rushing back. The shaking, rocking and rolling is hard to describe to those who have not experienced such tremors. I can't imagine what it feels like to go through an earthquake of that magnitude, and our hearts, thoughts and sympathies go out to all those impacted.

No matter where you live, at some point you may be impacted by a natural disaster, be it a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, flood, rain storm, tornado (or cyclone) or fire.

How do you prepare for such an event which can forever change the lives of inhabitants in a certain place?

To prepare for such disasters, contact local emergency organizations for lists of what families should keep on hand - just in case - as protection of life is always the most important element.

In addition to protection of life, we also might think about protecting our precious family possessions, such as photographs and research.

How can you protect those items against loss?

There are various methods. Scan photos and documents to CDs and send copies to relatives who live in other areas. Photograph family objects and distribute those copies. Prepare copies of family history and supporting documents and send them to relatives in other areas. No matter what happens where, copies of your research will be available.

While we all need to be prepared to protect our lives in the face of a possible disaster, take some time now to protect your research.

Here are two questions for readers:

  • Has the earthquake in Japan changed the way in which you will personally plan for a possible disaster?
  • What have you done to protect your research?

I look forward to reading your comments.

5    Jan 20072 comments


Click to view photo in full size

PHOTO: Bahalachin Ethiopian Jewish Center executive director Solomon Akale (left), Schelly and Solomon's brother Yasu, at an event spotlighting the Center's plans to build a Heritage Center and Museum. The evening, which included traditional foods and a performance by the center's folklore ensemble, was held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in Tel Aviv. A future article will cover the importance of genealogy to this community

Who's interested in genealogy?

As a researcher and journalist who writes on genealogy and family history research, I've heard that question and others: "Don't you have anything else to do?" "Why are you bothering me?" and the classic "Everyone's dead - who cares?"

I've interviewed 80-year-olds who ask those questions and then begin to recall childhood memories. My phone sometimes rings at 3 a.m. as the caller, oblivious to international time zones, says, "Quick! I just remembered something. Write it down before I forget."

Genealogy isn't only about those no longer with us. Family history is as much about the living, making connections, linking past to present, preserving and transmitting our unique history to our descendants.

It shouldn't be just a dry list of names and dates. It is about discovering our ancestors' origins and lives. We honor and remember our ancestors as we share discoveries with our families.

The mystery of history - more precisely family history - has fascinated me for nearly 20 years, and I've been writing about genealogy for more than a decade, in addition to speaking at international conferences, teaching online genealogy classes, blogging and, of course, researching my families and that of my husband.

My genealogical interests range far and wide, and this new blog will provide opportunities to investigate even more resources, publications and events across the field. I'll share interesting and useful information noted in newspapers and magazines as well as new books. Local and international events of interest will be noted, and you'll learn how these can help you and your research.

Most importantly, because genealogy is more than a two-way street - more like a multi-lane highway - your input is very important to this process. I'd like to know what you think, the topics you want to see covered and the genealogical problems you're having.

Send in your comments, requests for topics or questions on your genealogical problems. Share a new resource you've discovered and how it has helped you, a new book you've read, or anything else related to genealogy.

I'm looking forward to reading your messages.

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