24    Aug 20106 comments

New Mexico: Digitizing historic newspapers

Where can you read about your ancestors' births, marriages and deaths?

If you are lucky, these lifecycle events will be documented in the newspapers where your family lived. The pages also allow us to glimpse how people lived, what they bought, what they ate, their social activities and more through advertisements and local event coverage.

If your family lived in New Mexico, you may find information dating back to 1860, as the University of New Mexico Libraries has just received a major grant to digitize the state's old newspapers (1860-1922).

Continue reading "New Mexico: Digitizing historic newspapers" »

22    Aug 20102 comments

New Zealand: Find family in photos

A New Zealand library has just launched a database with more than 2,500 historical images, as well as cartoons, drawings, posters, watercolors and ephemera. 

The photo below is of Manurewa’s creamery, circa 1905 (CREDIT: Manurewa Historical Society).

South Auckland's Manukau Libraries Footprints Archive database is now accessible to researchers around the world, with images detailing everyday life from the 1870s-1990s, and covering a geographic area from Otahuhu down to Papakura and Franklin. Continue reading "New Zealand: Find family in photos" »

26    Jul 20102 comments

Librarians meet MyHeritage

Schelly and Daniel prepare to meet the librarians in Seattle!

Researchers often dream of being locked up in a library, where we would have all the time in the world to enjoy those resources.

Since we don't usually get the chance to have unlimited access to such facilities, another interesting activity is to be at a conference attended by several hundred librarians.

Daniel Horowitz - Genealogy and Translation Manager at MyHeritage.com - and I were at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Seattle, Washington.

On the first day, we met with people from around the US and those who had traveled from other countries. Attendees were from public libraries, universities, schools, archives and many other organizations and institutions. Continue reading "Librarians meet MyHeritage" »

4    May 20104 comments

Maps: Learning about your community

What do breweries and a local Chinatown have to do with family history?

Students in a free genealogy class at a Sacramento, California library used historic fire insurance maps to walk through their community's 19th-century history without leaving the classroom, according to this story in the Sacramento Bee.

Instructor Melinda Kashuba said these maps are "obscure resource that can let a person's mind wander down the streets of their forebears," and that researchers can learn a lot about the lives of their ancestors.

Here's an example, above left; for the larger image, see below.

These maps indicate schools, churches, businesses and more. All provide additional leads for researchers, according to Kashuba.

An 1898 map of North Bloomfield shows that the area between Main Street and a nearby creek was where Chinese workers lived.

A map of Truckee from the late 19th century said the area between a hillside and West Main Street was lined with "female boarding houses," or brothels, Kashuba said.

Mapmakers had noted that a brewery in Mokelumne Hill was lit by candles and had no night watchman, making it a poor insurance risk, she said.

What makes me even happier - in addition to teaching beginners how to use these maps - is that the class was part of the library's free genealogy program. Future classes will focus on finding New England ancestors and researching church records

The fire insurance maps - a main publisher was the Sanborn Map Co. (Pelham, New York) - were printed 1860-1940, and provided insurance companies data to determine fire risks of  buildings and neighborhoods, without having to send an underwriter on a personal visit. The maps were the equivalent of today's Google views.
Continue reading "Maps: Learning about your community" »

22    Apr 20100 comments

Preservation: Twitter, digital records and more

In this Internet age, how can we preserve digital and traditional photos, documents, recordings and more?

There were several announcements this week by the Washington, DC-based Library of Congress. Here are two of them.

TwitterOne was the acquisition by the LOC of the entire Twitter archive. Ever tweet that you - and everyone else - has ever sent since Twitter launched will be archived for eternity.

There's a good side to this, as well as a cautionary note. The positive note is that our descendants will learn more about us as individuals, what we were interested in, what was important to us, and academics will be able to spend years researching the information and how Twitter changed the world.

In a lighter vein, our future generations will know where we went for lunch, what we ate, if we enjoyed it, and find links to every genealogy (and other blogs) post.

Continue reading "Preservation: Twitter, digital records and more" »

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