Looking for something good to read? The Genealogy Gems Book Club passes on four titles recommended by RootsTech attendees.
We met so many avid readers at the Genealogy Gems Book Club Open House at RootsTech 2016! Several of them recommended some of their favorite books they thought other genealogists would enjoy: books about family relationships, history, identity and similar themes. Here’s a short list I wanted to pass along to you:
The Story We Carry in Our Bones: Irish History for Americans by Julienne Osborne-McKnight. This was recommended by Holly, who works in a library and had seen it cross her desk before the conference. According to the book description, this history begins in deep history with the Celts and Vikings. It explains the events that led up to the great potato famines, and follows the Irish exodus to the U.S., where she then traces Irish-American life. Sounds like the perfect read for any Irish-Americans out there!
Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem, a memoir by Paula Williams Madison about the author’s journey into her family history, which resulted in a documentary by the same name. “Spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, [this] is a universal story of one woman’s search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity.” The author was one of the keynote speakers at RootsTech. This was recommended by Alexis, who won our Genealogy Gems Book Club door prize (a free Genealogy Gems Premium website membership, so she can listen to the full author interviews!).
The Forgotten Garden, a novel by the international best-selling author Kate Morton. The premise of the story was apparently inspired by Kate’s own family history. It’s described as follows: “A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, ‘Nell’ sets out to trace her real identity.”
The Last Midwife: A Novel by Sandra Dallas, the story of the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town on the Rocky Mountain frontier. Gracy has delivered hundreds of babies, but then a baby is found dead and Gracy is accused as murderer. She’s kept lots of people’s dark secrets over the years–and a few of her–and as the trial looms, she has to decide which of those secrets to give up in order to clear her name.
Finally, here’s one last reminder to savor Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow by Tara Austen Weaver, the current featured book of the Genealogy Gems Book Club. In the next episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, you’ll hear a snippet of our interview with Tara Weaver. Next month, Genealogy Gems Premium website members will be able to hear the entire interview with Tara on the Premium podcast.
Are you a reader? Want some more great recommendations? Want to hear some fantastic interviews with the authors of books we’ve covered in the past? Click here to learn more about the Genealogy Gems Book Club.
Edna Selby, about age 4. Taken about 1873.
Baby names are trendy things. Sure, there are a few standbys in every culture–like William and John in English–but popular baby names come and go. In fact, sometimes you can guess about how old someone is today based on their name (think Josh, Mildred or Shirley).
Popular Baby Names by Decade can help you decide whether your great-grandma Beulah or great-uncle Earl’s names were unusual for their time or a whim of the generation (Earl ranked 21st in 1890 and Beulah ranked 78th).
The site has lists of the most common names in the U.S. census back to the 1880s. You’ll also find a master list of THE most popular baby names during the last 100 years. No surprise: in the U.S., James, John, Robert, Michael and William top the boys’ to buy medication online charts. But I was a little surprised at the most popular women’s names. Click here to see what they are.
Was your ancestor an ethnic minority whose name may have only been popular in their neighborhood or where lots of other Irish, African-Americans or others lived? You can also search for the most popular names within a particular state.
Take a look and think about how your own family falls in. My parents weren’t following the crowd when they named me Sunny, that’s for sure. But my grandmother was a trendy gal: all 7 of her living children’s names hit the top 15 in the 1940s! And in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 78 Lisa has talked about not only the popularity of her first name, but the soap opera star that made Lisa #1 in the early 1960s!
Hello from Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny McClellan Morton. I’m still flying high after a week just spent at GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. This was like mini-graduate school for genealogists, complete with a lush green campus in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania; immediate access to legendary instructors; rigorous coursework that’s exactly what I want to learn; a great genealogy bookstore; and plenty of after-hours socializing.
While I was there, GRIP announced an exciting lineup for 2014 (it’s not even on their website yet). Here are the topics and instructors:
- Finding and Documenting African-American Families with J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Deborah Abbott, PhD.
- Practical Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD.
- Law School for Genealogists with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL.
- Becoming an Online Expert: Mastering Search Engines and Digital Archives with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS.
- Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard with Thomas W. Jones, PhD.
- Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA.
All those initials after these instructors’ names means tons of expertise is poured into every GRIP experience, and if you know any of these folks you know there’s not a “boring professor” among them!
If you’re ready for seriously advanced genealogy education, check out GRIP or other learning experiences like it. In the United States, I know about SLIG in Salt Lake City, IGHR at Samford University in Birmingham, and NIGR at the National Archives. There are also more flexible (but still demanding) options like ProGen Study Groups, Boston University’s Genealogical Research Programs and the National Genealogical Society’s American Genealogy Home Study course.
Don’t forget to check out programs and conferences offered by your own state, regional and local genealogical societies. They usually offer a variety of topics for beginners to more advanced students–and they’ll be closer to home and less expensive. Our own Genealogy Gems premium memberships offers a fabulous genealogy education for a fabulous price: in addition to premium podcast episodes, you also get a new, full-length video tutorial every MONTH to watch whenever you like, along with unlimited access to all previous full-length video tutorials. Check out our list of Premium Videos here.
The television channel TLC has picked up the series “Who Do You Think You Are?” and you can tune in to the first episode on Wednesday, July 23 at 9|8c. There’s been a slow leak of celebrity names, but the wait is worth buy medication online it. Here’s how the celebrity list is shaping up:
- Christina Applegate
- Kelly Clarkson
- Cindy Crawford
- Zooey Deschanel
- Chelsea Handler
- Chris O’Donnell
- Jim Parsons
- Trisha Yearwood
Here’s the first taste of what you’ll see:
The #WDYTYA website is up and running and you can visit here
You may be doing some “home archiving” without even realizing it, if you’re the keeper of any family photos, documents, heirlooms, or artifacts. Professional archivist and genealogist Melissa Barker offers these tips for the family historian and keeper of the family archive.
I have always said that “home archiving” is something genealogists do, perhaps without ever calling it that. So family historians can definitely benefit from learning how archivists work. Here are five ways to think like an archivist.
5 Home Archiving Tips for Family Historians
1. Learn to preserve family artifacts.
Archivists are always educating themselves on how to preserve certain items that have come to their archives. Genealogists inherit family heirlooms all the time. Learning how to preserve them is thinking like an archivist.
Tip: Preserving an item means keeping it from further deterioration. This may mean putting it in special storage materials, keeping it out of strong light, and storing it in a place that isn’t too hot, cold, or humid. Click here to read an article on humidity and your family archive.
2. Organize your “collection.”
A very important job for archivists is keeping their records collections organized so they know what they have and can pull them efficiently. Genealogists, as home archivists, would also benefit from keeping their genealogical records organized.
Tip: Get inspired! Click here to catch some tips on organizing your digital photos from Denise Levenick, The Family Curator and author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records.
3. Store your treasures carefully.
Archivists are always careful to use special materials such as archival file folders and boxes to put records and artifacts into for preservation. Genealogists should use archival materials to preserve and store their records just like archivists do.
Tip: Click here to read my article on how to archive family history documents. It’s packed with great tips and recommended products to store your items safely.
4. Keep the stories that go with your artifacts.
Telling the stories of the people that have come before us is also something that archivist try to do with the records they have in their care. Archivists do this by sharing their records collections with the public through displays, exhibits, and open houses. Genealogists should tell their ancestor’s stories by sharing their family histories with their families and passing down their ancestor’s stories to the next generation.
Tip: Create a meaningful display of artifacts in your own home. Group together items that tell a story, preferably unique, eye-catching items. Add framed copies of documents and photos (keep originals safely tucked away). Click here for some fantastic ideas from Lisa Louise Cooke on sharing your family history with the non-genealogists in your family.
5. Archive your own mementos.
Archivists collect today for tomorrow! Many archivists collect documents and artifacts that are produced today so they can be preserved for tomorrow. They collect items such as the high school graduation program, digitizing the local newspaper, and that local diner menu.
Genealogists do the same thing in their “home archiving” by collecting and preserving a funeral card, digital photographs they took at the grandbaby’s birthday, and the marriage invitation you received for your niece’s wedding.
Home Archiving, National Archiving: It’s all in the Genealogy Gems Podcast
Did you know I’m on Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast now? I chime in frequently with that “offline” archival perspective that’s so important in our research. Click here to see the list of recent episodes. In Episode 211, publishing this week, I report on a fascinating way you can help make collections from the National Archives more accessible to everyone. Why not listen in? It’s free!
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