January 31, 2015

NEW! Map for African-American Genealogy Resources after the Civil War

Mapping the Freedmens Bureau African-American genealogy ReconstructionThe time period after the U.S. Civil War is a messy era for searching for African-American ancestors from the South. Millions of people were emerging from slavery, without documented histories of who they were or who they were related to–many without even consistent first and last names.

A NEW website helps researchers locate important African-American genealogy resources from the post-war Reconstruction era. Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau is a map-based tool for helping you find the Freedmen’s Bureau offices and hospitals, Freedman’s Bank offices, “Contraband Camps,” U.S. Colored Troops battle sites and other locations nearest your ancestors that may have created records about them. Many of these record sets are just coming online or are newly indexed and are free to search, so the timing couldn’t be better.

What a fantastic tool! I’m so pleased to see this site. Now those who know what location they’re starting with can easily glance at a map and click to see which of these resources exist in a specific locale and where to find them online or offline.

Listen to my interview with African-American genealogy research expert Deborah Abbott, PhD, in the FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 159.

The History of Mapmaking (and a Peek at the Future)

brain_looking_at_map_400_wht_15876Do you love old maps? Then you might enjoy a new video presentation now online at the Library of Congress website on the history of mapmaking and some thoughts about cartography in the future.

According to the website, “From Terra to Terabytes” Map Symposium presents “a sweeping view of the field, as it went from traditional methods of surveying in early years to remote-sensing and computer cartography of more recent years. They also discussed the future of cartography.”

Four sessions are available online. Watch the first session below:

Click to view the other sessions:

Historic_Maps_VideoAre you a Genealogy Gems Premium member? If so, you can learn a lot more about how to use old maps in your genealogy research! Your low annual membership gets you access to five video classes, including 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps. In this Premium Video you will learn which historical maps every genealogist should use; some of the best online resources for finding old maps; how to locate offline historical maps; how to create and save your own historical map collection and techniques for using old maps in your research.

Click here to learn more about Premium membership.

Frustration Using Google Earth for Genealogy is Temporary with this Fix

Manage Genealogy files in Google EarthIf you have experienced frustration managing your genealogy files in Google Earth, you’re not alone. A recent email question from Genealogy Gems Premium Member Linda reminded me what the #1 culprit tends to be: the Temporary Folder. Linda writes:

“I have a question for you about Google Earth. I have been trying to play around with it and when I find a place and want to save it, the “Save to My Places” is grayed out and it won’t let me save. My husband said the same thing happens on his computer. I looked on a Google forum and someone posted a question about it not working recently. Do you happen to have any info about this and does the same thing happen to you?”

While Linda didn’t provide specifics as to what kind of “place” she is trying to save, I’ve been at this long enough to have a pretty good ideathat she found something like a Rumsey Historical Map that she wants to add as a permanent fixture to her geographic genealogy files in Google Earth. Fabulous! Or it may be as simple as someone emailed her a map with a single placemark on it. She has clicked to open it and Google Earth magically opened and displayed it on her screen. Awesome!

In both cases, the important thing to notice, is that the item was sent to the TEMPORARY folder in the PLACES panel. That’s because Google Earth doesn’t assume just because you wanted to look at something means you want to save it in your files forever. And this leads me to the answer to Linda’s question…

The only time “Save to My Places” will not be grayed out is when the item that you are looking to Save to My Places is in the TEMPORARY folder. In other words, it is not yet saved to My Places (as in the cases I mentioned above.)

The Temporary folder is the most overlooked feature of Google Earth, and can play havoc with you unless you understand how it works, particularly in conjunction with the menu functions.

Here’s how to save an item in the Temporary folder to be a permanent part of your My Places:
  1. Click to select and highlight the item in the Temporary Folder
  2. Go up to the menu click FILE
  3. Select SAVE
  4. Select SAVE TO MY PLACESGoogle Earth Genealogy Temporary Folder

The item will then jump from your Temporary folder into My Places. You may need to open My Places by clicking the small black arrow next to it in order to see it at the bottom of your list.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once an item (such as a place mark) is created, and it appears anywhere in the Places panel other than the Temporary folder (such as in a folder you created, or under My Places,) it is technically already in My Places, and therefore does not need to be Saved to My Places. And that is why that option is grayed out.

Think of “Save to My Places” as “MOVE to My Places”.

Once your item is in My Places, from that point forward you will be saving any changes you make to it by selecting FILE > SAVE > SAVE MY PLACES.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This procedure saves changes made to any and all files in your My Places, including the new file you just added. Anything in your Temporary folder will be lost when you close Google Earth.

Play it Safe!
Be smart and get into the excellent habit of saving My Places every 10 minutes or so, (in case Google Earth, our computer, or internet connection crashes,) and most definitely when you close the program at the end of your work session.

Happy Googling!

Lisa

 

Ebola Patients Would Likely Have Been Sent Here 130 Years Ago

The Abbeville press and banner., October 12, 1892, Image 6 www.chroniclingamerica.com

The Abbeville press and banner., October 12, 1892, Image 6/ www.chroniclingamerica.com

When Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola it was unnerving for everyone here in the U.S. As a new Dallas area resident, and someone who was hopping from plane to plane for a Fall series of speaking engagements, it definitely gave me pause.

Epidemics, quarantines, and communities trying to protect citizens have been age old dilemmas, so it makes sense to look back through history at the strategies employed. There is much to be learned.

If we ask the question “what would have happened if Ebola had struck the U.S. 130 years ago?” we don’t have to look much farther than the location of one of the most recent Ebola patient: New York.

north brother island quarantine

from the Humboldt Republican (Humboldt, Iowa) March 31, 1892
Courtesy www.Newspapers.com

In New York’s East River, tucked between the Bronx and Rikers Island lies North Brother Island, where in 1885 Riverside Hospital was relocated from Blackwell’s Island to isolate and treat small pox patients. From there it expanded to include the quarantine of other diseases.

North Brother Island stands idle today, closed to the public. However from 1907-1910 and 1915-1938 it housed the notorious Typhoid Mary, closing shortly after her death.

Although today the island is closed to the public, anyone can visit virtually with the aid of Google Earth. Join me on a 5+ minute tour of North Brother Island featuring the magazine and newspaper articles of the day, and written, audio and video tours of how it stands today a shell of what it once was. Click here to download and play my Google Earth Historic Tour KMZ file  on your computer. It will be added to your “Places” panel in Google Earth under “Temporary Places.” Open the folder and click the “click to play the tour” icon. Be sure your speakers are on! And take time to click to watch the video and view the articles in the placemarks.

Don’t have Google Earth loaded yet? Download it free here.

If you would like to learn to create your own Google Earth family history tours watch this free video and then pick up your copies of Google Earth of Genealogy Volume I and Volume II.

 

 

 

How to Transfer Google Earth Files from One Computer to Another

google earth genealogyGenealogy Gems reader and listener Walt has enjoyed creating some exciting family history and genealogy maps and files in Google Earth using the strategies I teach here at Genealogy Gems. He wrote me recently to say that he is thrilled to have a new computer, but he is now faced with how to transfer Google Earth files he created for family history from his old computer to his shiny new one. The good news is that it’s not difficult at all!

 

How to transfer your Google Earth files:google earth save files

1. On your old computer open Google Earth

2. All of your files in Google Earth are in the Places panel. In the Places panel, click the small arrow pointing at “My Places” to close it

3. Right-click on MyPlaces and select “Save Place As” from the little pop up menu

4. Name the file OLD GOOGLE EARTH and select where you want to save it on your hard drive. (Saving it to your Desktop will make it easy to find, or just your C: drive.  If you use Dropbox, you could save it there and then easily access it from Dropbox on your new computer.)
click “Save”

5. Send an email to yourself and attached the save .KMZ file that you just created.

6. Open the email on your new computer
(make sure you already have Google Earth downloaded on to your new computer)

7. Double click the attached KMZ file to open it

8. Your computer will detect it is a Google Earth file and will open it in Google Earth.

9. The file will be stored in the Places panel under Temporary Places
Click, drag and drop the file from Temporary to MyPlaces
Under the menu click FILE > SAVE > SAVE MY PLACES to save it.

google earth for genealogy and family historyWant to learn more about using maps in Google earth for your family history research? Watch my FREE class on Google Earth for Genealogy. And we have a 2 disk video tutorial bundle in our store that will walk you through exciting projects step by step.

Genealogy Gems Premium members can also watch my NEW video class online, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps. (Not a Premium member? Learn more here.)

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 172: NEW Book Club

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family HistoryEpisode 172 of the free Genealogy Gems podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

This is a big episode you won’t want to miss! Here are the highlights:

  • The top story is the launch of our NEW Genealogy Gems Book Club. I join Lisa on the podcast with some appetite-whetting description of the first featured book.
  • A listener writes in with a great success story on finding newspaper articles on her Australian ancestors.
  • A free interactive boundary map for British parishes and using Google Translate in your genealogy research.
  • What’s replaced Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK)? Lisa’s creative answer!
  • Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard tells us about a very cool DNA party in New Zealand hosted by the National Genographic Project.
  • A unique Star Trek-like journey into innovations of yesteryear!

Click here to listen to Episode 172. You can also listen and subscribe through iTunes and there’s even a Genealogy Gems app that gives your listening experience all kinds of extras. Click here to learn more about the FREE Genealogy Gems podcast and how to listen.

English Parish Boundaries: A Little-Known Online Tool

English parish map from FamilySearch.org.

English parish boundaries: map on FamilySearch.org.

Did you know that FamilySearch has an interactive map to help you find English parish boundaries in 1851?

Daniel Poffenberger, who works at the British desk at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, showed me this map gem. He says this map was about 7 years in the making!

Before you click through to the map, you should know:

  • Use the main Search interface to search by a specific location.
  • Click on layers to indicate whether you want the map to show you boundaries to parishes, counties, civil registration districts, dioceses and more.
  • Click and drag the map itself to explore it.
  • Wales is also included here but the Welsh data doesn’t appear to be entirely complete (try it anyway–it might have what you need).
  • The map isn’t yet permanently operational. It does go down sometimes, possibly because they’re still working on it.  It doesn’t print easily. It’s suggested that if you want to print, you hit “Ctrl-Print Screen” and then paste it into Word or another program that accepts images.

Click here to see the FamilySearch England & Wales 1851 Parish map.

Genealogy Video

Want to learn more about using maps? Premium members can check out my video, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps.” Not a Premium member yet? Click here to learn more.

Historical Norwegian Maps Online: Great Genealogy Resource!

norway_flag_perspective_anim_500_wht_3647Recently we heard from Gordon in Billings, Montana, U.S.A, who passed on news about historical Norwegian maps online now at their National Map Works. He says:

“I have been enjoying your podcasts for a couple of years now, so I though I would pass on a piece of information that some of your listeners might want to hear about.

I don’t know how many of them do research in Norway like I do but I suspect that most of the ones that do, do not make a habit of reading the Norwegian newspapers. Since my wife was born in Norway, we do read her hometown paper on a regular basis. Just yesterday, that paper, Bergens Tidende, had an article reporting that the “Statens Kartverk” (the National Map Works) has recently digitized and posted on-line 8000 historical maps of Norway. (Click here for the article.)

Unfortunately, the website for the maps has not put a link in their English section yet, but there isn’t much to read beyond place names on the maps anyway. You can view the maps here.

Just choose a county, click the green button, and see a wonderful collection of maps for anyone with ancestors from Norway.”

Thanks for the tip, Gordon! I’ll add this tip of my own: Open the website in Chrome and Chrome will automatically offer to translate the website. Simply click the Translate button, like you’ll see below:

norwegian maps

Getting the Right Place Names on Your Family Tree

all_over_the_map_anim_300_wht_13636Do you ever find yourself scratching your head about which of many local place names to record for a family event? A question on this comes in from podcast listener Joanne K.:

“On FamilySearch I found birth and marriage records of a direct ancestor, then other ancestors and potentials. The records show they were christened or married in Gossersweiler, Bayern. I subsequently obtained a New York marriage record of the direct ancestors wherein both husband and wife list their place of birth as Volkersweiler, Bayern. A search shows this is ½ mile from Gossersweiler. I assume Gossersweiler is the parish church for the village of Volkersweiler. So therefore, for these two people, I can record Volkersweiler as the place of birth and Gossersweiler as the place of baptism, correct?

My bigger question is, what do I record as the place of birth for all the other family members I have found? Can I show a place of birth if all I have is a christening record or marriage record from Gossersweiler? I believe I would find that they were mostly born in Volkersweiler but know I can’t record this as a fact. I also have no wish at this time to get documents from Germany for all these family members.”

Mailbox question from Beginning GenealogistJoanne, I can’t speak to whether Gossersweiler is where the folks from Volkersweiler went to church: you’d have to ask a German expert. But you got the basics right: record each event separately as you found it. For the couple, this means the birthplace in Volkersweiler and the christening and marriage in Gossersweiler. For the other relatives, you don’t have residence information yet–just christening and marriages in Gossersweiler. Enter those specific events and let the data stand alone. That way, in the future when you–or someone following in your footsteps–return to research these other relatives in more depth, you’ll know exactly what is what. It doesn’t hurt to enter your guess on the birthplaces (and why) in notes in individual records. That can provide additional clues to future research without confusing anyone.

Not sure you’re using the right place names on your family tree? It can be tricky to determine local place names when there’s a village and a parish or other overlapping jurisdictions. Check out this post to learn about a great online tool for determining standardized place names.

Finding Places on a Map: Try This Little-Known Genealogy Tool

students_studying_for_class_300_wht_9362Do you ever get lost when looking for ancestral hometowns in Europe or other parts of the world? Boundaries change–national ones as well as regional ones. Place names change. Several little villages may all have gone by the same name over time. And darn those spelling and place name variants!

There’s a great online tool for finding places on a map. It’s the FamilySearch StandardFinder. Under the Place tab, enter the place name that’s got you befuddled. You’ll get a result screen that looks something like this:

FS placefinderWhat do each of those columns mean? We asked a Product Manager at FamilySearch and here’s what he told us:

Column 1:  The official name of the place.

Column 2:  Link/official name to the jurisdiction that the place exists within.

Column 3:  “Normalized” variant names (i.e. other names the place is known by)

Column 4:  General/high-level type (the type) of the place.  Div:  The more specific type (if applicable).  Code: The code for the general type.  FC:  The feature code (taken from NGA’s feature code).

Column 5:  The years within which the place existed (typically within the jurisdiction it belongs to).

Column 6:  The full official (standardized) name of the place and its jurisdiction.

Column 7:  Culture:  The generalized culture that the place exists within.

Column 8:  ISO code:  The ISO code (if applicable).

Column 9:  Geo code:  the “centroid” (or central spot) of the place specified as the latitude and longitude.

Column 10:  The permanent identifier of the place, useful for referencing the place within applications, systems, and products.”

A couple of these columns are a little technical for me, but I can still extract a LOT of information from these results! Place names, variant names, jurisdictions, lifespan of that location, latitude/longitude and all the possible places a possible location might be.

You’ll likely notice that there are Standard Finders for names and dates, too!

Historic_Maps_VideoLearn more about online strategies for map research with Lisa’s 2-CD series, Using Google Earth for Genealogy.

Genealogy Gems Premium members can also access video classes on geography for genealogists, including three classes on Google Earth and the newest video class, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps.