Get a New View of Your Genealogy Featuring an Interview with Pat Dalpiaz

with Lisa Louise Cooke
Recorded May 2020
Please enjoy free access to this Premium podcast episode. Learn more about becoming a Genealogy Gems Premium member by clicking here

This episode is really about getting a fresh new view of our research and our ancestors’ world. To expand our view we’re going to dig into that word “view” in one of my favorite free tools,  Google books which contains some wonderful gems, and I’ll tell you how to find them. But first I chat with a Genealogy Gems Premium Member  about how her eyes were opened to a new view of her research, and 3 very important things she learned from it.

 

GEM: Interview with Pat Dalpiaz

In Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #238 I shared two tales of mystery. The first was a Valentine’s theme centered around a mysterious love letter. Professional genealogist Kathleen Ackerman shared how a love letter that was missing its last page took her on a genealogical journey full of surprises. And the second story was the mystery of a lost family scrapbook that was chock full of twists, turns and even murder! At the end of that episode I invited you to share your stories of discovery and the lessons you learned along the way. Long time listener and Genealogy Gems premium member Pat Dalpiaz did just that, and she joins me on this episode to tell us about it.

How did you first learn of the story of John Handran?
“John Handran of Newfoundland and Essex County Massachusetts was lost at sea in December of 1885 while aboard the Schooner Cleopatra. The story of that sea disaster is pretty amazing in itself. A brief version is told in the blog post I will reference and share. He left behind a wife and 3 young children.

He also left behind the story of his sea rescue of a fellow Navy shipmate who was swept overboard in Lisbon Portugal from the US Steamer Franklin in 1876, for which he was awarded a Medal of Honor by President U. S. Grant.

This story of his Medal of Honor had been a family story, accepted in full as given by another cousin researcher (expert level). So, I shared it on my blog Gathering the Cousins.”

What stirred the story back up?
“One day about 4 years ago, I was contacted by members of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States as well as by a Canadian who specializes in honoring Canadians who have been awarded the US Medal of Honor. This came about directly as a result of publishing his story on my blog, a point made by others that I can help verify.

I was asked to determine if the John Handran in my family tree was THE John Handran who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1876. Dope slap. I had never made that direct connection using documents and proof. I just accepted the story. So, the work began to collect the “smoking gun” documentation to prove “my” John Handran and the Medal of Honor John Handran.”

What approach did you take to try and verify this story?
“In 2017, I was finally able to locate a newspaper article regarding John’s death that stated he had been in the US Navy connecting him as needed. I found a copy of the 1885 local paper and shared it with the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States.”

What are you doing to restore this historical story to your community?
“As a result, they have been able to coordinate the placement of a “In Memory Of” marker at his widow’s grave in Gloucester Massachusetts. It took almost 3 years to accomplish that feat and then the virus interrupted plans to hold a service to mark John’s bravery and service to country.

In addition, I used some of your recommended Google techniques to locate a granddaughter nearby so she can be part of the service when it is held and visit the memorial when she’s ready.”

Where can listeners read more about this and your family history adventures?
“I also contribute to a blog called Good Morning Gloucester and have shared some of this information in that manner as well. Here’s a link to one of those posts.”

3 Lessons Learned:

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Pat did not know there was a group out there specializing in something as specific as Canadians awarded the US Medal of Honor. Writing about the story on her family history blog brought them to her!

  1. The importance of validating those family stories.

The extra work you do to confirm your family stories might require close-reading very old newspapers or other similar documents. Pat says, “It might take a long time but stick with it.”

  1. Finding family members CAN be accomplished with Google!

Pat said she used the techniques that I talk about in the podcast and my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox on a regular basis, with ongoing success. She wrote: “Thank you as always for your efforts to share your expertise with us. I just renewed my Premium membership. It’s the most worthwhile genealogy money I spend each year!”

john handran plaque

John Handran In Memory Of plaque at Calvary Cemetery in Gloucester MA. An official ceremony will be planned as the pandemic allows.

 

john-handran-death-cape-ann-advertiser-jan-1-1886

The “smoking gun” part of the newspaper article Jan 1, 1886 in the Cape Ann Advertiser which accompanied a longer article about the Schooner Cleopatra sinking.

 

GEM: Expanding Your View with Google Books

Google Books URL: http://books.google.com

Google Books is a goldmine of genealogical resources including over 25 million books. Many of the books are fully digitized and available for free. In this episode we are focusing on getting a view of our ancestors’ world. Simply focusing on the word view can help us find old book that include photographs, illustrations, maps and more.

Try searches such as:

A view of Australia

An illustrated view of California

Once you identify a book of interest, use the thumbnail view button in the toolbar at the top of the screen (it looks like a checkerboard) to view many pages at one time. This will help make maps, photos, and other images easy to spot.

thumbnail view new york book

Thumbnail view of King’s View of New York City, 1903

Search Operators are symbols or words that narrow or broaden a search. Quotation Marks can be used when you want to search for an exact word or phrase.

Example: “illustrated view”

How to narrow your search results only to fully digitized books:

  1. Go to http://books.google.com
  2. Enter your search query and click the Search
  3. The results page will include all types of books – from fully digitized to no preview. Click the Search Tools button just below the search field.
  4. In the drop-down menu click the down arrow (under Any Books) and select Free Google eBooks.
  5. Your search results will now only include books that are fully digitized and freely available to use.

Here are just a few examples of books found using these strategies:

King’s Views of New York City,A.D.1903: 400 Views

The Ohio Railroad Guide, Illustrated: Cincinnati to Erie Via Columbus and Cleveland

Australia from a Woman’s Point of View By Jessie Ackermann, 1913 – Australia – 317 pages

View of Canada search results

An illustrated view of Canada search results

Illustrated view of California search results

 

Profile America: Scotch Tape History

Wednesday, May 27th. The difficulty of neatly painting cars two different colors led to the patenting of a universally practical product on this date in 1930. Five years earlier, Richard Drew, while working for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, had developed an easy-to-peel, glue-backed masking tape. It considerably eased the task of separating two-tone paint jobs on new cars, which until then involved moistened plaster tape. Then, he expanded its use by introducing a clear backing. The result, an immediate hit, became known as Scotch Tape.

Now, 90 years on, 3M is joined by about 560 manufacturers of various adhesive products nationwide. This specialty generates sales of more than $13 billion a year and provides jobs for about 24,000 people.

Sources:

As you’ll remember I launched this show after the first week of the stay at home recommendation in March, and back then my first recommendation was that you resist the temptation to cut your own bangs. Well it turns out that Scotch tape has had a wide variety of uses throughout the last 90 years.

Nostalgia - cutting your bangs with scotch tape

Nostalgia – cutting your bangs with scotch tape

Scotch Tape in Old Newspapers:

 

“If My Ancestry Subscription Expires, What Happens to My Tree?”

Are you worried about access to your online tree if you let your Ancestry.com subscription lapse? The tree should still be there. But take these steps to be sure your Ancestry family tree remains accessible and secure–along with the records you’ve attached to it.

What happens to my ancestry tree if my ancestry subscription expires?

 

What Happens if Your Ancestry Subscription Expires

Many people start researching their genealogy with an Ancestry subscription. They build their family tree on the web site, adding details about their relatives. 

Then they sift through Ancestry’s billions of historical records and add hundreds or even thousands of new names, dates, relationships and other facts to their family trees. Along the way, they attach records to each ancestor as evidence of what they’ve learned.

All of this adds up to a unique family tree that is precious to your family. 

However, it is very common for the busyness of life to call them away from their genealogy research for a while. This is what happened to Genealogy Gems reader Beverly. She wrote to me, concerned about what will happen to all her hard work on that Ancestry tree:

“I have been a member of Ancestry.com for a long time and have worked on several trees. I love to work on my genealogy but lately have not had time. Can I drop my membership and still retain my trees? I plan to get my membership back at a later day. Right now I am wasting $20 a month.”

Beverly, I hear your pain!

We all go through busy seasons. It’s easy to cringe at the thought of paying for genealogy website subscriptions we aren’t currently using. 

But the idea of losing all our progress on those web sites if we let our subscription lapse is worse. Your Ancestry subscription has not only included your online family tree, but also all of the records that you found and attached to that tree. 

I did a little research along with Sunny Morton, Genealogy Gems Editor and our resident expert on the Genealogy Giants” websites” (Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast and MyHeritage). Here’s what we can tell Beverly and everyone else who is wondering what will happen to their family tree and all that research if their Ancestry account expires:

According to Ancestry, the answer is yes, you can still access your trees with your login credentials after your subscription lapses. The most important thing is that you don’t delete the tree or the account altogether. 

Ancestry continues to host people’s trees because they want our tree data to share with others, and to give people a reason to come back!

But be aware that if you do not renew your Ancestry subscription, your account will revert to a free guest account. (Your user name and password will remain the same.) This means that you will not be able to access most of Ancestry’s historical records, including the ones you’ve already attached to your trees. And I say “trees” because many people have multiple family trees on Ancestry to be concerned about. 

To see the historical genealogy records that you have attached to an ancestor in your online tree, click on a person in your family tree, and then click Profile:

How to find genealogy records attached to a person in your Ancestry tree

How to find genealogy records attached to a person in your Ancestry tree.

You will be taken to their profile page where you will see the genealogical sources you have attached. 

 

If your Ancestry account expires you can't access records attached to your tree.

If your Ancestry account expires you can’t access records attached to your tree.

These are records that you will not be able to access when your subscription expires.

If Your Ancestry Subscription Expires: Tree Preservation Strategy 

If you plan to let your Ancestry.com subscription lapse for a while, but you want to continue to work with your online trees, consider taking these steps:

1. Download a copy of every record.

The first thing to do is download a copy of every record that you’ve attached to your ancestors’ individual files on Ancestry.com.

You can do this by opening the image of the record, clicking on the Save/Saved button at the upper right, and clicking Save to your computer. I suggest doing this even if you don’t foresee letting your subscription go in the near future.

Saving document from Ancestry before subscription expires

Saving a document to your computer from Ancestry before your subscription expires

2. Save each record in an organized way on your computer.

I recommend using a consistent system to organize these, which I explain in the free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, in episodes 32-33. (Genealogy Gems Premium website members have access to a 2-part video tutorial on organizing their hard drives.)

If you don’t have a consistent way to organize these document images, you’ll soon become overwhelmed with files that all sort of look the same and you won’t be sure what year they are or which ancestors they pertain to without opening each one!

You may be wondering “What about cloud storage options, such as Google Drive or Dropbox?” These type of cloud storage solutions are ok too. However, I recommend using these platforms more as temporary or backup storage or to share with relatives, rather than as your primary storage.

A better alternative would be to invest in cloud-based backup for your home computer. I use Backblaze personally and for my business.

Backblaze lisa louise cooke

3. Download copies of your Ancestry.com trees

Click here for instructions; it’s really easy.

Yes, Ancestry does continue to maintain your trees, but what guarantees do you have?

Data loss does happen even on big websites, and sites change their practices and policies sometimes. If that happens, you could lose all the information you’ve carefully added to your tree.

4. Start using computer software for your “master family tree.”

Don’t just keep your family tree online where you don’t have complete control.

A “master family tree” is your most complete, up-to-date version of your tree (or trees, if you build separate ones for separate family lines).

master family tree

Keeping your master tree on your own computer keeps all your tree data at your fingertips without any subscription required. Having one master file matters even more once you start sharing your tree on other websites or with relatives.

I use RootsMagic, and that is why I happily agreed to them sponsoring my Genealogy Gems Podcast. It works for Mac and the PC.

RootsMagic the Master Genealogist

I like its affordability: there’s a free version you can try for as long as you like, and the full software will cost you the same as about 90 days of access to Ancestry.com.

RootsMagic also has solid relationships with the major genealogy sites: it now syncs with your trees on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, and you can research records on MyHeritage.com and Findmypast.com.

RootsMagic has tons of advanced features to help you create family history charts, books, and reports, and a great user support community online.

Learn More about Ancestry and the Other Genealogy Giants

Keep up with news and changes on the “genealogy giants” websites with our ongoing coverage of Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com here.

Disclosure: this post recommends carefully-chosen products and services for which we receive compensation. Click here to read my full disclosure statement, and thank you for supporting the free content we provide at Genealogy Gems.

New Genealogy Records Online – January 23, 2020

New genealogical records continue to pour on line. This week we’re highlighting the latest from FamilySearch and MyHeritage. We’re crossing our fingers that the records you’ve been waiting for are among them. Happy searching!

new genealogy records

FamilySearch New Records

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—FamilySearch.org added over 8 million newfree, historical records from WWII Draft Registration Cards (1940-1947) and Lincolnshire, England, Parish Registers (1538-1990). The military records are from California, Kansas, Montana, Oregon and Texas.  More indexed records were added from Australia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, and the United States. 

Australia        

Australia, Convict Tickets of Leave, 1824-1874
Indexed Records: 60,093 
New indexed records collection

Belgium

Belgium, Antwerp, Civil Registration, 1588-1913
Added 68,547 indexed records to an existing collection

Belgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600-1913
Added 8,767 indexed records to an existing collection

Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912
Added 53,070 indexed records to an existing collection

Canada

Nova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001
Added 565  indexed records to an existing collection

England         

England, Lincolnshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1990
Indexed Records: 3,947,025
New indexed records collection

England, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898
Added 2, 263 indexed records to an existing collection

England, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898
Added 1,369 indexed records to an existing collection

England, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-1950 
Added 557,993 indexed records to an existing collection

England, Oxfordshire Parish Registers 1538-1904
Added 474 indexed records to an existing collection

England, Oxfordshire Parish Registers 1538-1904
Added 1,471  indexed records to an existing collection

England, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-1887
Added 2,074 indexed records to an existing collection

England, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-1887
Added 815 indexed records to an existing collection

 

Finland          

Finland, Tax Lists, 1809-1915
Indexed Records: 24,525
Added indexed records to an existing collection

France           

France, Vienne, Census, 1896  
Indexed Records: 6,635
Added indexed records to an existing collection

Netherlands  

Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Vital Records
Indexed Records: 6,684 
Added indexed records to an existing collection

Peru               

Peru, Catholic Church Records, 1603-1992  
Indexed Records: 34 
Added indexed records to an existing collection

 

Poland           

Poland, Lublin Roman Catholic Church Books, 1784-1964
Indexed Records: 6,522
Added indexed records to an existing collection

Sweden         

Sweden, Stockholm City Archives, Index to Church Records, 1546-1927
Indexed Records: 98,780
Added indexed records to an existing collection

California

California, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1945  
Indexed Records: 2,083,701
Digital Images: 2,112,990
New indexed records and images collection

Hawaii

Hawaii, Grantor and Grantee Index, 1845-1909
Indexed Records: 229,833
Added indexed records to an existing collection

Kansas

Kansas, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1945
Indexed Records: 429,561
New indexed records collection

Montana

Montana, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1945  
Indexed Records: 144,392 
New indexed records collection

Oregon

Oregon, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1945
Indexed Records: 295,077 
New indexed records collection

Texas

Texas, World War II Draft Registration Cards,1940-1947
Indexed Records: 1,794,395
Digital Images: 1,819,299
New indexed records and images collection

MyHeritage New Records

Here’s the latest from the folks at MyHeritage:

Historical Books – Index of Authors and People Mentioned, 1811–2003

Description: An index of persons mentioned in various English-language public domain books as well as the names of authors of these publications. This collection of 494 million records is an index of persons mentioned in various English-language public domain books as well as the names of authors of these publications. The number of digitized books is over 3 million. The following searchable information can be found in most records in the index: the title and the year of publication, name of the author(s), birth and death year of the author(s), the names of all the individuals mentioned in the publication, the publisher, and the subject(s) of the publication.

Number of Records: 494,096,291 records in 3,024,213 books

 

Authors of Scholarly Articles

Description: Names of authors of millions of scholarly articles. This collection of 272 million records includes the names of authors of millions of scholarly articles. Authors’ names are collected from over 50,000 journals and open-access repositories from all over the world. Records typically include the given name and surname of authors and co-authors, the article’s title and date, the name of the journal, and the name of its publisher. For some of the articles, a link is provided to view the article online.

Number of Records: 272,046,994 records

VITAL RECORDS

Texas Marriages and Divorces

Description: An index of marriage license applications from all counties in the state of Texas for the years 1966 to 2016. This collection was updated and now contains 26 million records.

Number of Records: 26,591,435 records

 

France, Military Death Index, 1914–1961

Description: An index of death records of individuals who died fighting in the French armed forces, members of foreign armed forces who died fighting in France, and civilians who were killed in France.

This free collection of 5 million records is an index of death records of individuals who died fighting in the French armed forces, members of foreign armed forces who died fighting in France, and civilians who were killed in France. The majority of the records pertain to the First World War, although there are also records from the Second World War, the Franco-Prussian War, and various other conflicts that occurred in France or that involved the French armed forces. Records may contain the following searchable information: first and last name of the individual, date and place of birth, date and place of death, burial place, and the first and last names of the individual’s parents and spouse.

The following information may also be found in most records: rank and regiment, company, conflict, military decorations, additional notes on locations, and the individual’s family situation.

Number of Records: 5,332,260 records

Germany, Hesse Marriage Index, 1849–1931

Description: An index of marriage records from several communities that are within the state of Hesse in Germany.

This collection of 4.77 million records includes marriage records from several communities within the state of Hesse in Germany. Marriages were usually recorded in the bride’s place of residence. When the information is available a record will include the groom’s given name and surname, age or birthdate, birthplace, residence, occupation, marriage date, and information about the groom’s parents. A record will also include the bride’s given name and surname or maiden name, age or birthdate, birthplace, residence, occupation, and information about the bride’s parents.

Starting in 1874, the state mandated that new local civil registry offices be responsible for creating civil registers of birth, marriage, and death records in the former Prussian provinces, among them many communities in Hesse.

Number of Records: 4,770,560 records

Germany, Hesse Birth Index, 1874–1911

Description: An index of birth records from several communities that are within the state of Hesse in Germany.

This collection of 3.78 million records includes birth records from several communities within the state of Hesse in Germany. When the information is available a record will include the child’s given name, the date of a birth, and sex. Information about the mother includes given name, maiden name, last name, address, and spouse. Information is also provided about the informant. An informant was often the father of the child or a midwife.

Number of Records: 3,784,938 records

NEWSPAPERS

This is the next installment in our U.S. newspaper collections. We have added 14.6 million pages from nine states: Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Tennessee. The newspapers in this update range in date from the late 19th/early 20th century to 2009.

Newspapers are an important resource for genealogy and family history research as they contain obituaries and other vital record substitutes such as birth, marriage, and death notices. Additionally, society pages and stories of local interest contain rich information on activities and events in the community and often provide details about the persons involved.

Before vital records were recorded by city, county, or state governments, local newspapers often published articles listing or detailing these events. Obituaries contain vital and biographical information on the deceased as well as his or her family and relatives.

Society pages began as a way to entice readers with gossip and news about the wealthy and famous but soon evolved to cover the goings-on of “average” citizens. An incredible array of information can be discovered in these society pages or sections from seemingly mundane notices and reports on events such as parties, job changes, hospital stays, and social visits by friends or relatives. These pages are a source of historical events that are unlikely to exist in any other record.

Coverage and completeness in this collection varies by title.

Florida Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of over 8 million newspaper pages from 25 newspaper titles published in various cities and towns in the state of Florida.
Time frame: 1901 to 2009.
Number of Records: 8,084,846 pages in 25 newspaper titles

Illinois Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Illinois.
Time frame:  1840 until 2009.
Number of Records: 83,452 pages in 14 newspaper titles

Kansas Newspapers

Description: This collection of 1.4 million newspaper pages is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Kansas.
Time frame: 1869 to 2009.
Number of Records: 1,473,037 pages in 39 newspaper titles

Minnesota Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Minnesota.
Time frame: 1902 until 2009.
Number of Records: 92,171 pages in 26 newspaper titles

Montana Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Montana.
Time frame: 1890 until 2009.
Number of Records: 155,210 pages in 94 newspaper titles

Oklahoma Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Oklahoma.
Time frame: 1927 to 2009.
Number of Records: 521,793 pages in 14 newspaper titles

Tennessee Newspapers

Description: This collection is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Tennessee.
Time frame: 1870 until 2009.
Number of Records: 66,994 pages in 8 newspaper titles

Texas Newspapers

Description: This collection of 1.2 million records is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Texas.
Time frame: 1848 to 2009.
Number of Records: 1,254,230 pages in 33 newspaper titles

Wisconsin Newspapers

Description: This collection of 2.8 million newspaper pages is a compendium of newspapers published in various cities and towns in the state of Wisconsin.
Time frame: 1884 to 2009.
Number of Records: 2,887,946 pages in 3 newspaper titles

Searching all of these collections in MyHeritage SuperSearch™ is free, but a Data or Complete subscription is required to view the full records, save them to your family tree, and fully access Record Matches. Our Record Matching technology will automatically find relevant historical records revealing new information about any ancestors who appear in these records.

 

 

 

 

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