August 24, 2016

Writing Personal History Workbook Assists You Step-by-Step

Writing your personal history can be simple and oh-so-fun with the step-by-step approach from our own Sunny Morton. She has just released her book “Story of My Life” and we are ecstatic to tell you about it! This fill-in-the-blank workbook will guide you as you write and organize the story of your life from birth to retirement.

Story of my life workbook cover

Beginning Your Personal History Journey

Writing a personal history is a big project and one that many of us consider overwhelming. As time rolls on, I know I feel a tugging on the old heart strings to write more of my own history for posterity. I just don’t know how or where to start.

Sunny has the answer in her recent workbook titled Story of My Life. It’s not only a fill-in-the-blank workbook, but inspiring and instructional for any novice or experienced writer. Sunny has also included many tips and hints for how to jog your memory or the memory of others. Others? Yep–others. I love the way she has incorporated ideas in which we can include the memories of others in our personal memoir.

Why This Book is Unique

When asked why her book is different, Sunny shares:

“This book helps you say more than, ‘I remember.’ It helps you say, ‘This is what I got out of my life.’ That’s the ‘so what’ factor that gives your best stories value and staying power. Story of My Life works for every life path and life style, too: its questions cover the gamut from childhood to retirement, motherhood to military life, school to hard-scrabble working, triumphs and failures, and relationships of all kinds.

Along with traditional questions like when and where you were born, Sunny includes places for you to record other special memories. Some special memory ideas include writing about an influential teacher or coach, a godparent, or a flashbulb memory. A flashbulb memory is described as “your memory of a highly public event.” Just reading that reminded me of where I was standing, in an Army base hospital, when I saw the Twin Towers fall on 9/11. It was an event that is burned in my memory and had a lasting effect on me.

More Ideas for Projects and Preservation

Like I said before, Sunny suggests collaborating with others to recall memories of your life from a different perspective. I thought it would be neat to work with my sisters on the “Me and My Mother” worksheets for childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. These help us each reflect on our relationships with her during different seasons of life. I thought it would be neat to collect these worksheets from each of my siblings and have them bound together to give to Mom on Mother’s Day.

workbook2
Other ideas include tips for preserving your precious artifacts and memorabilia.

Writing Personal History at any Time in Life

Whether you are just starting out in your adult life or if you are in the prime of retirement,  you will finally be motivated and able to complete your personal history. Everyone can use a little motivation and encouragement to write those stories. Follow along as Sunny shows you how to weave your way through the good, the bad, the triumphant, and the sometimes tragic, story of you.

Save the Whole Writing Personal History Kit and Caboodle

www.genealogygems.com

For a limited time, “Story of My Life” can be purchased as a set along with Family Tree Memory Keeper for the price of $19.99
(originally $39.98 – you save $20!). To purchase this family history book bundle, click here.

If you are really serious or ambitious about writing your personal history, you might opt for the super-savings bundle titled Write Your Family History Toolkit featuring:

1. Story of My Life (Book, $19.99)

2. Remember That? (Book, $16.99)

3. Family Tree Memory Keeper (Book, $19.99)

4. Writing Your Family Memoir Independent Study (PDF Download, $99.99)

5. Copyright Law for Genealogy (Webinar, $49.99)

6. Pain-Free Family History Writing Projects (Video Download, $39.99)

7. Outline Your Family History Writing Projects (Video Download, $8.99)

This mega bundle is normally priced at $255.93, but on sale for $59.99! And as a special treat just for Genealogy Gems readers, you can use coupon code GEMSHISTORY10 for an additional 10% off!*
Click this link to get yours today!

More Gems on Writing Personal History

Scrivener Software for Writing Family History

How to Reconstruct Your Early Childhood Memories and Stories

Using Facebook Posts to Write Your Personal History

*Coupon expires 12/31/16. Coupon only valid on the Write Your Family History Toolkit.

How to Use Google Chrome to Identify Old Photos for Genealogy

Learn how to use Google Chrome to identify old photos for genealogy and family history with this quick and easy-to-follow YouTube video!

How to Use Google Chrome to Identify Old Photos and Images for Genealogy and Family History

How to Use Google Chrome to Identify Old Photos for Genealogy and Family History

Take 4 & 1/2 minutes to watch this video from our Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel. Your family history will be glad you did!

Like I said, there is more than one web-browser out there. Maybe you are a fan of Firefox or Internet Explorer, but I want you to head on over to Google Chrome to see this really slick feature.

Why Google Chrome Image Search Works

Google Chrome can do a lot of amazing tech things. By learning how to use Google Images, you may be able to finally identify some of those old pictures you have stuffed around the house! This technique works especially well for identifying locations, maps, and high profile buildings. Why does this work? Google has a stellar process for surfing the web (they call it “crawling”) and indexing everything it finds. This effort builds an incredible wealth of information, including information on all of the photos and images it comes across. Google Chrome, Google’s web-browser, can use this data to quickly match your image to other images Google has crawled on the web. Not only can it find the image, but it can bring along with it any other information (such as details about the image) that is attached to the image. And that can all mean big answers for you!

Take It Further: Identify Original Locations of Images and Photos

In my video, I share with you how I used Google Chrome to identify an old family postcard. In this blog post today, I want to share another tip for using Google Chrome to identify old photos. It never fails.

If you’re like me, you get pretty excited as you make family history discoveries. You might find yourself saving documents and pictures to your computer without accurately sourcing from whence they came. Six months later you find yourself wondering, “Where in the world did that image come from?”

Google Chrome can help. Just use the step-by-step instructions found in the video to upload the image to Google Images, and click the Search by Image button. Voila! Google finds the match and you uncover the website where the image came from! This saves valuable time (and I think we can all use more of that) and provides the information you need to properly cite your image source.

Sharing is Caring

Thanks for watching and reading, friends. Did you share this tech-tip video with your genie buddies? I hope you did. For more tech-tips and savvy tricks, be sure to subscribe to our Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel.

More Free Tech Tip Videos
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Create Captivating Family History Videos

 

You’ll Feel Lucky with Free Access to Irish Records for a Limited Time

You will all feel a little lucky this week with new and updated genealogical records for Ireland and several states across the U.S. Records from Nevada, Nebraska, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota are on the list. Updates to two of the Freedmen’s Bureau record collections will wrap up this week’s records you can dig into.
dig these new record collections

IRELAND – RECORDS, GUIDES, AND BOOKS

The New England Historical and Genealogical Society is offering access to their Irish resources for FREE for a limited time. So hurry before it ends on August 9th and see what luck you have digging up your Irish ancestors.

You will need to sign-up, but remember, it’s free. Once you have logged on, you will begin your search here.

Many Irish researchers have difficulty finding records because of the destruction of the Public Record Office in 1922. Not only can you browse the records available, but also the subject guides and books for Irish genealogy.

UNITED STATES – PENNSYLVANIA – NATURALIZATION RECORDS

The Chester County, Pennsylvania website has made their naturalization indexes available for the year span of 1798-1935. To search their indexes is free, but there is no name search field. You may have to scan several pages to find the record that may interest you. The database is also available to search from Ancestry.com and allows you to search by name, date of event, and place of origin.

The index of naturalizations include the name of the individual, name of native country, and a date. The original record could hold additional information. You can request a copy of the original record from their webpage. To learn more about that, click here.

UNITED STATES – NEVADA – MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

The most difficult records too find are often those that were created within the last 50 years. Due to the scarcity of recent records, we are pleased to see Ancestry has added a new database titled Nevada, Marriage Certificates, 2002-2015. You can search by name, date, location, and spouses name.

The digital image of the marriage records differs from year to year and location to location, but generally, you will find the couples’ names, ages, date and location of the marriage, and the person who officiated the wedding.

Nevada, Divorce Records, 1968-2015 has recently been updated on Ancestry as well. This index includes nearly half a million divorce records. You can use the index to locate the county the divorce took place, and then contact that county for the original records. You won’t find the reason for divorce in this index, but you can find the county of divorce and the divorce file number that will help locate the further records you want.

UNITED STATES – NEBRASKA – PASSENGER LISTS

A passenger list database for Omaha, Nebraska? Yep, but these are passenger and crew lists of air manifests between the years of 1958-1965. The collection is titled Omaha, Nebraska, Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes, 1958-1965. If your Omaha relative did a lot of air travel, these records may be of interest to you. These records were were recorded on a variety of forms turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Some details included the name of the airline, type of aircraft, flight number, places of departure and arrival, dates of departure and arrival, full name, age, gender, physical description, military rank (if any), occupation, birthplace, citizen of what country, and residence. For military transports, you may even find the next of kin, relationships, and addresses. Later, manifests may include visa or passport numbers.

UNITED STATES – MINNESOTA – PASSENGER LISTS

The same is true in this database, Minnesota, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1957-1962 at Ancestry. This collection includes both air travel and ships coming into Minnesota ports. The original records were originally digitized by the National Archives and Records Administration. Information you may collect from these digital images include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity, nationality or last country of permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Arrival date
  • Port of arrival
  • Port of departure
  • Ship name

UNITED STATES – GEORGIA – BONDS AND LICENSES

Ancestry has added the Savannah, Georgia, Licenses and Bonds, 1837-1909 database this week. You will find digital images of records from the City of Savannah’s Clerk of Council relating to people and businesses. These records usually include the name of person’s name, occupation, name of business, record date, record place, and subject.

UNITED STATES – FREEDMEN RECORDS

FamilySearch has updated two of their existing collections within the Freedmen Bureau Records. The United States, Freedmen’s Bureau Ration Records,1865-1872 and the United States, Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of the Superintendent of Education and of the Division of Education, 1865-1872 have been able to be browsed for some time. While not all the records have been indexed by name for easy searching, many have. You will want to first run a search by your targeted name. You can browse all the digitized images, but it won’t be easy. The ration records are not filed by county, but by film number. However, if you want to browse the collection of education records, they are searchable by state, then date.

MORE GEMS ON IRISH GENEALOGY

Beginning Irish Genealogy: Tips and FREE RecordsIrish censuses Irish genealogy Irish family history

A Comprehensive Way to Learn How to Research Irish Genealogy

Irish Genealogy: Find Your Poor Ancestors in Ireland

Free Video: Google Books Image Search for Genealogy and Family History

Google books image search saves time

This free video on Google Books image search is another installment in Lisa’s tech tips for genealogy and family history. Find images fast by using the thumbnail icon in Google Books. It’s like speed reading for the genealogist!

I am a big fan of all things Google. I marvel at Google Drive, Google Books, Google Images, and even Gmail! Now, I am learning even more from Lisa’s short videos sharing tech tips for Google. This week, she posted “Google Books Image Search for Genealogy and Family History Research,” and it doesn’t disappoint!

A Reminder of the Power of Google E-Books

You may remember another one of Lisa’s free videos titled “Google E-Books for Genealogy and Family History.” In it, we learned about all the wonderful FREE books available as digital e-books online. Many of our readers are finding fun tidbits about the lives of their ancestors in the books found using these tips. So now, Lisa is sharing another trick for working within the Google e-books feature.

Finding Images Fast with Google

Several years ago, I learned that a book titled “Past and Present of Bureau County Illinois” written in 1906 had lots of information and possibly pictures of my husband’s ancestors. I quickly located the e-book online. I entered in each surname in the search field to find out which relatives pictures might be included. It took awhile.

Instead, I should have used the thumbnail icon to search all the pages at once! The thumbnail icon looks like a grid at the top of your e-book image. By clicking it, you can see a grid view of every page of the book.

Google books image search icon

Look how easy it is to see which pages have an image. You can quickly determine if the image is of a building, person, or even a map. Scroll through a book of over 500 pages in no time!

George B. Harrington, "Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois," 1906, Google Books, page 733.

George B. Harrington, “Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois,” 1906, Google Books, page 733.

Happily, I found just what I was looking for. There was a picture of my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather, James Coddington. What a great find!

With 25 million books online, we all have a lot of searching to do! Why not share this great tip with your genealogy friends? Let them know about the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel, too so they can view all the helpful tech tips for their family history research. And be sure to click the SUBSCRIBE button so you’ll get all the great search tip videos.

Thanks for reading, friends.

More Gems on Google for Genealogy Research

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DNA Questions: Are My DNA Test Kits Interchangeable?

“Are unassigned DNA test kits interchangeable? Does Diahan Southard do one-on-one DNA consultations for genealogy?” A listener asks, and we have the answers. 

Simona recently wrote in with compliments and two questions for Diahan Southard. Here’s the Q&A, on more resources from Diahan AND whether DNA test kits from Family Tree DNA are interchangeable if they haven’t been use:

Q: “No one, I mean NO one makes DNA easier and more interesting than…your DNA expert Diahan does! I am curious as to what Diahan charges for phone or email consults regarding who to test for what.”

getting started dna guideA: Yes, I agree, Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide and the resident Genealogy Gems genetics expert, is amazing! Diahan answers a lot of those initial question about who to test for what in her handy Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist Quick Guide (click to view/purchase). It’s very affordable and can give you inexpensive answers without needing to pay for one-on-one consultation.

That said, Diahan does offer DNA consultation services. She also teaches a series of how-to videos that’s, again, much more affordable than a DNA video training Genetic Genealogyconsultation (and much more affordable than taking the wrong test or staring at your results afterward with NO idea what to do with them next). Like Simona says, Diahan demystifies DNA like no else does, and these video tutorials are no exception.

Genealogy Gems listeners get a discount on her video series. A year’s access to is regularly $39.95, but Gems listeners can click on a special link to get it for just $24.95. Click here to learn more.

Q: “I have 5 FamilyTree DNA kits on the counter. Are they all the same kits in the raw? I intended them for a Mtdna test, a Y test and 3 autosomal tests for various family folk. Can I switch tests and persons at this stage?”

A: Diahan says: “Yes, the Family Tree DNA kits she has can be used for any test, provided you correlate everything with the customer service team at FTDNA and get all the kit numbers changed to the appropriate tests.

genealogy blog posts countdownDiahan Southard is definitely a valuable “GEM” here at Genealogy Gems. Whether you’re just starting to learn about DNA testing for genealogy research, or you’re trying to get the most out of your results, click here to read tons of free DNA how-tos and advice from Diahan. And thanks for sharing this post with your friends and genealogy buddies!This is so, so important as I know of too many women who have mistakenly used their husband’s YDNA kit number and had their sample run, which won’t produce any results. But FTDNA still ran the test, which means you still pay for it. So be EXTRA careful to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row.”

 

Where to Look When There’s Been a Significant Record Loss

significant record loss

A significant record loss can be due to fire, water, weather disaster, or even theft. A courthouse disaster is one of the worst ways in which a genealogy research plan can be derailed. Learn some alternate locations for vital information to help you keep moving along!

I read somewhere the thirty-five counties of Tennessee have some level of record loss. Can you believe that? After researching long enough, it seems we all run into a county level record loss due to a courthouse disaster. What are we to do? Here are a few helpful tips!

Know Your County

While researching in Lee County, Virginia, I couldn’t figure out why some of the records I needed had not been microfilmed by the Family History Library. The answer was: a significant record loss. Unfortunately, I had wasted time searching for records that didn’t even exist anymore. Instead of going round and round looking for records that may have been lost or destroyed, begin your search by learning whether there has been a record loss in your targeted county. You can quickly find this information in the FamilySearch wiki at FamilySearch.org. Click Get Help at the top right corner and choose Research Wiki from the pull-down options.

Courthouse record loss

Once you have reached the wiki search page, type in the county and state you are interested in.

Courthouse_Record_Loss_3

At the wiki research article for your targeted location, scroll down and look for a disaster icon. There are four icons that represent the type of loss your county has experienced, if any. In the record loss section of the article, you will find what records and years have been lost or damaged.

Courthouse_Record_Loss_2

It is important to remember that you should never assume that what is listed on the wiki is 100% accurate. There may be times when records were “lost” at one time, but turn up later…you never know. It pays to check the wiki first, then confirm with a knowledgeable person at the county courthouse or local genealogical society. Check, check, and check again.

Finding Alternative Sources When Dealing with a Record Loss

Courthouse record loss can be an obstacle, but not a barrier. You can continue to do effective research in these situations with a little know-how and some exhaustive searching. Leave no stone unturned!

Many know that the 1890 federal census was almost entirely destroyed by fire and consequent water damage in 1921. Because of this record loss, I figuratively lost my family between 1880 and 1900. Using another record source entitled “Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes,” I found that many of my family members had filed for this allotment. The 1887 General Allotment Act, or Dawes Act, allowed land to be allotted to members of Native American tribes. In 1893, the Dawes Commission began accepting applications and these application packets are packed full of genealogical data.

In my fourth great-aunt’s application packet for enrollment in the five civilized tribes, she listed all her children (even the illegitimate ones), who her father was, who her paternal grandfather was, and where they had lived over the last 75 plus years. It helped me to put together the family story line that had been lost.

When there has been a county level record loss, look for federal records which could be advantageous. Some additional federal records to consider might be: pension files, military records, naturalization records, or passport applications.

Even when there has been a county level record loss of one set of records, consider where you might find the information you need in another record set. I noticed that Claiborne County, Tennessee had lost or damaged marriage records between 1801 and 1837. However, no deed or land record sets have been lost. You may be surprised to learn that deeds and land records will often name a spouse. Though this doesn’t give you a date of marriage, it works as a record to support a marital relationship and can narrow down the year of marriage.

Death records been destroyed? Don’t forget our recent article on finding cemetery records as an alternative! Newspapers and obituaries are another great source of information. For a cheat sheet of alternative records for vital statistics, check out the United States Record Selection Table at FamilySearch wiki.

When faced with any record loss, it’s reassuring to know that records were created at all levels of government, offering us viable alternatives. I would love to hear your story. In the comments below, I hope you’ll share the losses you have faced and the creative alternatives you uncovered.

More Gems on Alternative Records

Cemetery Records: An Alternative to Death Records

A Life Changing Find at the National Archives

Findmypast Leads the Way for New Record Collections

dig these new record collections

 

Findmypast is leading the way for new and updated genealogical record collections this week. FamilySearch and local county archives are following suit with historical newspapers, city directories, biographies, and more! We are digging these record collections for New York, Indiana, Ontario, Canada, England, Wales, and Scotland.

UNITED KINGDOM – CRIMINALS

This just in! Findmypast has just announced over 2.5 million new records for the lives of our “felonious forebears!” For the first time, Findmypast is making these records available, giving us a look into the history of crime and punishment for the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries in England and Wales. These records span the years of 1779-1936 and are the final installment in the Crimes, Prisons, and Punishments collection. The total collection contains over 5.5 million records.

Just a few of the things you may learn from these records include: judges’ recommendations for or against pardons, grounds for mercy, licenses from previous convictions, and the overall state of the prisoner’s health. Better still, the collection contains mugshots!

UNITED KINGDOM – MILITARY

A collection titled British Army Service Records Image Browse is now available for Findmypast users. Notice, the title includes the words Image Browse. These records are digital images, but are not searchable by typing in a name like you would normally do. A browse search gives you the opportunity to explore pages of the National Archive’s military records by each piece. You may find forms including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards. There are six series relating to just the Royal Hospital Chelsea. A very large database in its entirety, it includes records between the years of 1702-1916.

SCOTLAND – ELECTORAL REGISTERS

Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Electoral Registers 1864-1931 Image Browse collection can be viewed at Findmypast as well. Linlithgowshire is known as West Lothian, today. This new and updated records collection includes electoral registers. Electoral registers are lists, created each year, of people who are eligible and registered to vote. These lists could include reasons for eligibility, including possible ownership or occupation of a property as a tenant. Until 1918, the right to vote was closely associated with property. Electoral registers record the individual’s name, occupation, and residence, as well as notations regarding whether a person was a proprietor or tenant, and descriptions of the property. Also, you may find the name of the place or village where the property was located. Though you cannot search by name, you can search by district and year.

NEW SOUTH WALES – CENSUS

The only surviving records for New South Wales is the 1901 census and you can search it at Findmypast. The New South Wales census for 1901 is searchable by name, county, and district. You may find your ancestors in these transcriptions and images of the original census document. Transcribed information may include:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Sex
  • Year
  • Location
  • District
  • Sub-district
  • County
  • State
  • Country
  • Series
  • Film number

By viewing the original images, you may be able to discover additional information, such as the number of individuals living in the same household, the number of residents who are Aboriginal or Chinese, and any remarks noted.

ENGLAND & WALES – CENSUS

If you don’t have a subscription to Findmypast, you can search the England and Wales Census 1851 for free at FamilySearch. The schedules are arranged by county and then divided by civil parish. There are some missing images of this 1851 census. For a list of the missing images, check out Ancestry.co.uk.

The 1851 England and Wales Census records usually contain the following information:

  • Date, place, district, parish, and county where census was taken
  • Given names and surnames for members in each household
  • Age, gender, and birthplace for each household member
  • Marital status and occupation for each household member
  • Relationship to the head of the household

STATEN ISLAND – NEWSPAPERS

The New York Public Library has more than 9,000 pages from The Richmond County Advance online. This newspaper collection covers the years between 1886 to 1910. You can search them for free at nypl.org/sinewspapers. You will want to keep a close eye on this website, as more papers will be coming online in the near future.

CANADA – CITY DIRECTORY

The city directory for Peterborough, Ontario, Canada is a collection of 115 Peterborough city and county directories dating back to 1858. These city directories for Peterborough have been fully digitized and are now available online to search for free. There are some years that are missing, but this is a really amazing collection. The City of Peterborough, the Peterborough Public Library, the Peterborough Museum and Archives, the Trent Valley Archives, and the Trent University Archives, have worked together to bring this collection to the public. You can find and search the records at https://archive.org/details/peterboroughcitydirectories&tab=collection.

UNITED STATES – INDIANA

Indiana Biography Index at the Indiana State Library can be found online. You can search this database by surname. Remember, this is only an index and the results you receive will look like copies of index cards. Each of the 250,000 cards have at least one citation to a book, magazine, or other printed source. From there, you can locate these printed materials at the Indiana State Library or possibly in a library near you.

WILL YOU PASS THE WORD

Wow! What an amazing list of new and updated record collections for this week! I hope there is something you are anxious to check on for your own family history. Will you pass the word along to your friends about these new sources? Thanks, friends.

MORE RECENT NEW AND UPDATED COLLECTIONS

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Genealogy 4-H Project and Merit Badge Earn Special Recognition

Genealogy 4H Projects and Merit Badges Earn Special Recognition

From left to right: Emily Guinther, Amie Tennant, Braden Guinther, and Tove Russell

Wouldn’t you love to get your children or grandchildren more involved in family history work? Learn how to help them participate in the genealogy 4-H project program or earn their Boy Scout genealogy merit badge. You too can help in the work by becoming a genealogy merit badge counselor.

There are dozens of ways to encourage our youth to participate in genealogy. Some even include scholarships, ribbons, trophies, and badges. It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work! Today, I’m sharing about genealogy 4-H projects and the Boy Scout genealogy merit badge.

The Genealogy 4-H Project Program

4-H is a organization or club made up of a group of five or more youngsters guided by one or more adult volunteer leader. In the U.S., each club helps their youth to complete a 4-H project for the annual county fair. Genealogy is one of hundreds of possible projects. Genealogy projects are broken down into three divisions or years. Each yearly division project builds on the one before so that at the end of three years, the youth will have compiled a very thorough genealogy.

This year, I followed along as Tove Russell of Shelby County, Ohio worked with her four grandchildren to accomplish their genealogy 4-H projects. Two of the teens were able to take their work to the county fair. Emily and Braden Guinther have just completed their second year. To complete the second year genealogy requirements, they did the following:

  • Began a personal journal,
  • Completed a family group sheet for each aunt and uncle, including an interview if able,
  • Visited a courthouse, library, or cemetery for the purpose of researching genealogy,
  • Learned to use a microfilm and/or micofiche reader,
  • Attended a genealogy workshop or genealogical society meeting,
  • Added new information to their pedigree chart,
  • Wrote a personal history essay, and
  • Copied and shared their family history findings with another family member.

Braden’s favorite part of his genealogy journey was writing the persoGenealogy 4H Projects and Merit Badges Earn Special Recognitionnal essay and learning to use the microfilm reader. Emily’s favorite part was learning her great-grandmother married her brother-in-law when her first husband passed away. Each of the kids had several fun stories to share! I particularly liked learning about their great-grandfather (who I remember as a child) working as a grave digger!

Both Emily and Braden won a ribbon for their genealogy 4-H projects. In addition, Emily won Honorable Mention.

The Genealogy Merit Badge

The Boy Scouts of America also has a genealogy and family history initiative. The organization has been particularly helpful in completing many cemetery projects for BillionGraves. Among their many merit badges, the genealogy merit badge is still rather unique. Requirements for this merit badge are extensive, but some of the requirements include:

  • Defining the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant,
  • Keeping a journal for 6 weeks,
  • Interviewing a relative,
  • Naming three types of genealogical resources and how they can help a genealogist,
  • Visiting a genealogical library, society, or archive,
  • Completing at least a three generation pedigree chart, and
  • Completing a family group sheet.

I was very excited to learn that I could become involved as a local genealogy merit badge counselor. If you would like to do so, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old,
  • Be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training,
  • Be able to work with Scout-age boys,
  • Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America,
  • Complete the Youth Protection training, and
  • Complete and submit the BSA Merit Badge Counselor Information Form.
Genealogy 4H Projects and Merit Badges Earn Special Recognition

Genealogy Merit Badge

You can turn in your form to any local Boy Scout troop or Scout Master. After your information form and application have been evaluated, you will be notified that you are now a genealogy merit badge counselor. You can work with one specific Boy Scout troop or many.

Historical and genealogical societies may also enjoy hosting an event for their local Boy Scout troop to learn all about genealogy in their area. What a great way to get involved in the community and support the youth!

Did you participate in a genealogy 4-H program or earn a genealogy merit badge as a youth? If so, we would be delighted to hear about it in the comments below. If you have some pictures to share of your genealogy 4-H project or the project of your children or grandchildren, head on over to our Facebook page and share a photo. We love hearing from you, Gems!

More Gems on Genealogy for YouthFacebook_Logo

Family History for Kids: 3 Ways to Interest Young People in Genealogy

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How to Create a Coloring Book for Family History

 

Meaningful Service Hours for High School Seniors

Meaningful Service Hours for High School Students

On July 30, 2016, in honor of the veterans of the Armed Forces, BillionGraves and the Boy Scouts of America will host a nationwide service project, Finding the Fallen. Here’s what you need to know to get involved.

Finding the Fallen is the perfect project for youth of all ages, especially your High School Seniors who need to complete service hours for graduation. By joining the project, you and your youth will serve these heroes by photographing and logging the GPS locations of the headstones in our local and national cemeteries and then uploading them to BillionGraves.com.

BillionGraves works with a community approach and they need everyone’s help to make this a successful event! Why not make it a day of friends, family, and service? To organize yourself and your friends, you will need to create a free account at BillionGraves.com and then visit https://billiongraves.com/finding-the-fallen. You can choose to participate as a Boy Scout group, a group of friends, or as an individual.

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Once you have clicked SIGN UP, you will be sent an email with directions for the next steps. In the meantime, you will want to download the free BillionGraves.com app to your smartphone or mobile device. If you need a little help doing that, click here to follow step-by-step instructions.

THE DAY OF THE EVENT

The BillionGraves app helps volunteers to locate cemeteries in their area. When viewing the BillionGraves app home page, select the Cemeteries icon and then the Show Nearest option. This will provide a list of local and national cemeteries in the area. Though the national cemeteries are particularly encouraged for this event, there are always members of the military buried in our local cemeteries, too. If you do not have a national cemetery nearby, you are welcome to visit your local cemetery. Remember, many military graves are marked with bronze plaques next to the headstone, or some local cemeteries have a special plot for military burials.

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When you visit the cemetery on July 30th, first click the Cemetery icon on the BillionGraves app. You can search for the cemetery by name or just click Show Nearest. When you choose Show Nearest, a list of nearby cemeteries will appear and you can choose the one you are in. You will notice a number indicating how many images have been taken of that particular cemetery. Select the small map icon on the bottom right corner of the screen and it will show you (in real time!) which headstones have already been photographed in that cemetery.

Now, return to the app homepage and click the camera icon and go! Point the camera at each individual headstone and avoid wide shots that include other graves. Just move from marker to marker and click as many as you want. You might want to go a step further and bring a rag or broom with you to clean off any overgrowth on the headstone or marker.

Remember, if images have already been taken in the cemetery, orange markers will reveal the location of those particular graves. Once you have completed taking pictures in the cemetery of your choice, return to the app homepage. Now, click on the Photos icon and upload your images by following the prompts. The BillionGraves app will immediately indicate the location of those grave photos. This will help others coming behind you to not duplicate the work.

With your time and the use of a cell phone, you can help preserve the memory of a soldier and have some very meaningful service hours for high school graduation requirements.

Be sure to shoot a couple selfies and group photos to commemorate your fun day! We would love to see them, so stop by our Genealogy Gems Facebook Page and upload them there.

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The BBC Announces Season 13 Celebrities for WDYTYA

WDYTYA logoThe genealogy genre of television continues to make a splash in prime time. Who Do You Think You Are? is leading the way and inspiring our genealogy journey with a fresh perspective on research strategies.

The BBC has just announced their season 13 celebrities for Who Do You Think You Are? and we are excited! We have many British readers and wanted to share the good news. In particular, our American readers may be especially interested in yet another version of WDYTYA to sink their teeth into! Though viewers in the U.S. will not likely be able to view the show in its entirety, anyone can enjoy helpful video clips at the BBC WDYTYA official YouTube channel.

Colette Flight, executive producer, says that season 13 will hold some “incredible stories…sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but always compelling.” We all love a good story, but you might be more interested in the research techniques the show shares.

As I watched clips from season 12 on YouTube, I was intrigued at just how many Irish genealogy tips and tricks I learned. Did you know that vestry minutes held at the church could hold state information such as what your ancestor did for a living? This was because, at one time, Ireland was ruled from London, and the Protestant Church of Ireland was like a branch of government. Church records, including vestry minutes, could hold some key pieces of information for your family history.

Season 13 of WDYTYA will air this fall with Danny Dyer, best know for his role in EastEnders, finding out he has some royal connections.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will share her journey as she finds out more about her long lost great-grandfather, Tommy. It was also interesting to note that Cheryl used DNA to help make ancestral connections.

Amanda Holden, Sophie Raworth,  Ricky Tomlinson, Sunetra Sarker, Warwick Davis, Greg Davies and Irish television presenter Liz Bonnin are among the line-up. I’m especially looking forward to one of my all-time favorites, The Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen.

American based TLC has also recently announced that the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? has been renewed for another season. The exact release date for season 9 is still pending, but we will be following along closely to let you know when we do!

What has been your most favorite or inspiring WDYTYA story? Has there been one in particular that has helped you to make a connection in your own family? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave us your story in the comments below.

MORE GEMS ON IRISH GENEALOGY RESEARCH

Beginning Irish Genealogy: Tips and FREE RecordsShare Bold

Irish Catholic Parish Registers from National Library of Ireland

A Comprehensive Way to Learn Irish Genealogy

 

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