Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Random notes and musings

This is going to be like a Mark Patinkin (see Mark Patinkin at ProJo) column with various, miscellaneous points that aren't really connected. I think Bill Reynolds calls it "For what it's worth," but here goes:
  • Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't yet know this, but I was thrilled to discover a ProScanner 1100 at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, now a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and renamed the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center. Don't forget a jump drive! Although they thoughtfully provide them for sale. Excellent for the vital records and newspaper collections.
  • The Providence City Archives is getting the positive publicity it deserves due to the fabulous work of Paul Cambell and his staff. (Treasure Trove of History 9/9/2015)
  • I've been to several town halls recently and the key thing to ask is for the vault inventory. Most have a list of stuff that is not accessible in the land evidence books, but they will let you check out the list and request things that may be of interest to your project. I've also been taking pictures of the vault inventories and converting them to PDFs so when I go back to that town hall, I can check the list before I go and plan my research more efficiently.
  • Trying to put all the sources I've ever searched in RI into a spreadsheet is NOT an easy task. My goal has been to develop my own source lists from all my old research projects, but there isn't an easy way to export my genealogical database Master Source file. I'll figure it out eventually, but the idea is to be able to quickly identify and sort sources for research projects in certain towns and be able to sort by town, type of record, time period of records in addition to the actual source citation information. Sort of an annotated bibliography for the state of RI. If I ever finish, I'll let you know. I'm sure there's an easier way to do this, but that would require me to learn even MORE new stuff, new programs. I thought computers were supposed to make life easier.
  • Did I mention that I want to sort it by repository? Shoot. Me. Now.
  • There is so much information available for genealogy on the internet that my head is going to explode, especially the blogosphere. Is that a word?
  • Renovations at the repository that you REALLY need to get into, that's been closed for 6 months or more, ALWAYS take longer than projected. Always.
  • The only thing worse than the continued closure is the lack of updates on when they might reopen.
  • I have no idea how anyone is able to maintain all of their online presences or whatever they're called when there are so many. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, websites, APG profile, BCG profile.  I can barely update my website, and the new website design is something I've been putting off for six months! How am I supposed to get any actual work done?
  • I have 3 speaking engagements next month and am very excited to be developing 2 new talks! I'll be at the Falmouth Genealogical Society speaking on "Conserving our Personal Collections." 
  • I'll be heading to NJ for the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of NJ for their Nashi Pedky Family History Group Conference presenting "It's Like Velcro: Autosomal DNA for Genealogy." 
  • I'll be at #GenGen in NY City with2 newish ones: "An overview of DNA Tests for Genealogy" and "DNA as part of the Genealogical Proof Standard," as part of Genetics over Generations, the renamed Genealogy Event.
Now that my random list is finished, I have to go make sure that I cross post this to 14 other platforms. Maybe that's why I have a recurring activity on schedule: "update online materials."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Treasure trove that makes more work, but it's fun

A couple of weeks ago, I received a wonderful cache of family photos from my mum-in-law, and have been starting to sort out who's who, and learn more about identifying people. Not being an expert with years of experience like Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, a fellow Rhode Islander, I have to start from scratch. But I've learned a few things along the way that I thought I would share.

1. Know the source of the photos.
The pictures that I received were people that my mom-in-law didn't know. Why? Because they were from her husbands' family. My father-in-law died in the spring, and when she was going through all of her photos looking for pictures for the collages her grandchildren assembled, she found a box of photos she had forgotten about. And then, of course, my father-in-law wasn't there to identify them, so I know that they must be related to his family, not hers.

2. Ask surviving relatives to identify the people before it's too late.
My father-in-law has one surviving sister, so she is on my list of people I need to sit down with to identify the pictures. She will recognize most of them and if fact may have already told me who they are when we identified other photos, which brings me to the next point...

3. Compare them with photos of people you already know.
Many years ago, I took pictures of my aunt's mass card collection, the same aunt who is my father-in-law's surviving sister, and should know who's in the pictures. The mass cards had been collected by her mother over the course of her lifetime. Many of the mass cards have photos on them and I can pick out at least one of the men from my unknown photos and match it to my identified photos. From there, I can make  some pretty good guesses about the surrounding folks, based on if it's a family group photo, a wedding photo or whatever.

4. Cruise the internet
Using Ancestry.com, I was able to connect to a cousin who has a copy of the same image I have, and guess what? Hers is identified! So use the web to find pictures and make sure that you share the ones you have. It's the best kind of back-up when photos are widely distributed among disparate family members, even if they are only tangentially related. Additionally, many of the photos I received had the photographer and the location on them. Use that information correlated with what you know about a family to help you with identification. If you know the photo has a Maine photographer, track down the families you know lived in Maine at some point, and go from there.

And now, a selection of some fabulous, soon to be identified photos: