This time of year many of us will show love with chocolates, flowers, jewelry or–as my husband prefers–tools and Chinese takeout. Many of us will also turn to Hallmark or American Greetings for the perfect card.
Our ancestors exchanged love tokens at Valentine’s Day, too. Love letters, notes and even fancy gifts have passed between suitors for over 300 years.
In England, many would-be lovers started sending pre-printed cards through the mail in the 1840s, when postage rates were standardized.
In the United States, the practice became more popular after the Civil War, when thousands of soldiers-turned-beaus were looking for belles.
The National Archives (UK) has gathered a few virtual valentines in honor of the season.
Browse images of old love letters, handmade and commercially-printed cards, like this 1905 valentine with its bold primary colors. Maybe these will inspire your own expressions of love this season! Or maybe they will inspire you look more closely for the love stories in your family history and honor a romance that came before you.
Learn more about using the National Archives Catalog from home to find even more genealogical treasures by watching Elevenses with Lisa Episode 40 at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/GenealogyGems.
According to Jan Langer, there are said to be over 700 people over the age of 100 living int he Czech republic. Langer “wondered what changes and what remains on a human face and in a human mind in such a long time, and in such a short while in relative terms. I wondered how much loneliness of the old age weighs, and what memories stay in 100-year-old mind.”
In this riveting time lapse video, Langer explores the similarities and the differences in appearance and in physiognomy over 100 years. He used comparative photos (archive portraits from family albums and contemporary portraits) to bring the faces through time. Personally I find the old faces as captivating as the young.
Though characteristics of personality change over time, Langer says it “seems as if individual nature remains rooted in the abyss of time.”
The series was created as a part of a project for Aktualne.cz.
More information can be found at www.fotojatka.cz
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Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of our Family Tree Magazine Digital Subscription Giveaway!
We did the giveaway to celebrate my article in the December 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine, co-written with Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton. The article is all about collaborating on our genealogy research.
I think it’s cool that Amanda’s big on collaboration herself. She blogs about her research at ABT-UNK. (Yes, that’s the name of her blog: it combines two common genealogy abbreviations for “about” and “unknown.”) Amanda points us to a recent post, “a really good example of collaboration via my blog. The two photos in the post http://www.honeytraveler.com/pharmacy/ were provided by two cousins of different degrees who found me via my blog, and five different people (so far) have been involved in identifying the people in the “Christmas Cousins” picture. I’ve connected with lots of other kin who found me via my blog (including a distant cousin in Lithuania, who helped me break through a brick wall there), and they have provided a wealth of information and wonderful photographs!”
Congratulations, Amanda, both on winning our giveaway and on your excellent research and blog. Keep it up! And thanks to Family Tree Magazine Editor Diane Haddad for donating the subscription.
Do you have old pictures but aren’t sure where they were taken? Sometimes Google Earth has the answer. Check out this question from podcast listener Dennis:
Q: “I am scanning slides from my only trip to my ancestor’s home in rural Germany and don’t recall the names or locations of a few people. The clue hear is ‘slides’. They were taken in 1986! I have a question regarding something I thought I heard on one of your podcasts regarding identifying a building via a picture that is uploaded to a web site. Can you give me some help with this?”
A: Yes! On my website, I offer a FREE video in which I demonstrate how to identify a building in an old photo using Google Earth. You can watch the free video by going to www.GenealogyGems.com, hover your mouse over VIDEO, and click on Google Earth for Genealogy in the drop down menu.
Another option is to use the free Google app on your smart phone or tablet. Open the app, tap in the search box, tap the Camera icon, and take a photo of the photo you have that contains the building you want to identify. (This works best with more well known locations.) It’s a long shot, but you never know – Google just may be able to identify it.
Good luck, Dennis–and all the rest of you out there who are puzzling over how to identify old photos’ locations.
Find more tips on using Google Earth for Genealogy in my popular Google Earth for Genealogy 2-Disk Bundle. The free video is just the beginning of what you can do with Google Earth!
How can you keep up with new online information on your family history that may appear at any moment? You can’t, unless you run constant searches on your web browser, and who’s got time for that? Google does! And it accomplish that incredible search feat for you through Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is like having your own virtual research assistant! When you key in your favorite searches, Google Alerts will automatically email you when there are new Google results for your search terms.
How to Create a Google Alert for Genealogy
1. Go to www.google.com/alerts.
2. Sign in to your Google account (or create one).
3. The first time you create an alert, click where it says, “You don’t have any Google Alerts. Try creating one.” Fill in the screen that pops up:
4. Type in your search query. In the example above, I’ve entered my specific search: “Larson” “Winthrop” Minnesota.
5. Make selections to further refine your search alert:
- The type of content you’re looking for: news, blogs, videos, discussions, books or everything.
- How often you want to receive the alerts by email.
- The type of results you want to get. You may want to receive all results, not just the best results which will give you an opportunity to see how your search does. You can always change settings later.
6. Enter the email address where you want the alert emails to be delivered. Google will alert you to new content when it is posted on the Web.
Resources for Getting the Most Out of Using Google Alerts
Learn more about how to conduct effective Google searches for genealogy research, Google Alerts for genealogy, and more in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Second Edition. This fully-revised 2015 edition is packed with strategies that will dramatically improve your ability to find your family history online!
Genealogy Gems Premium Members can also watch my full length Google search video classes:
- Common Surname Search Secrets
- Ultimate Google Search Strategies
- Digging Deeper into Web Sites with Google Site Search
See the complete list of Premium video classes here.
Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership here!