Celebrate Genealogy Serendipity! (This Book Does, Too)

Have you ever experienced “genealogy serendipity?” Here’s a great book about it!

Recently, I came across an old blog post by my friend Geoff Rasmussen, in which he talks about discovering family gravestones while on a cruise.

A cruise doesn’t seem like the most likely place to discover ancestral grave markers. But his cruise ship stopped at Bar Harbor, Maine, near where several generations of his family lived.

Geoff stepped off and followed his instincts, his GPS device and–he believes–his ancestors themselves. In the short time he had for a shore excursion, he found the long-elusive graves of several relatives in several cemeteries, including distant great-grandparents.

Sooner or later, many of us experience “genealogy serendipity” moments like these. It’s that moment when an ancestor seems to be sitting on your shoulder, leading you to information about her. Or when an uncanny number of coincidences put you in the right place and time to make an important family connection. It can be downright eerie sometimes!

I’ve had my fair share of those types of experiences. I’ve talked about them before on the podcast, like in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 106, when I recounted the numerous buy medicine online paypal unusual happenings during my recent trip to England! And before that, in Episode 39, about how my great-grandmother Lenora Herring’s crazy quilt came into my possession. The story really wasn’t about the quilt. It was about listening to and following the guidance of my ancestors, even though in the moment the path wasn’t clear.

We all need a little inspiration now and then to stay on the genealogical journey. That’s why I am so happy that Geoff took the time to write more of his fabulous stories down. His new book, Kindred Voices: Listening for our Ancestors, is chicken soup for the genealogical soul indeed. This is a gem of a book! Geoff writes that his purpose is to “further energize” us as genealogists, and “give new meaning to the experiences” we have with genealogy serendipity. These are his true stories of feeling the presence of his ancestors as he looks for them.

genealogy book club genealogy gemsWe love passing along book suggestions! Have you seen the ones we’ve recommended for the Genealogy Gems Book Club? Check them out! And thank you for sharing this book recommendation with others you think will enjoy it. You’re a gem!

World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle: Why Not Make Your Own?

world oldest message in a bottleMSN recently reported the surfacing of perhaps the oldest known message in a bottle. If YOU sent one, what would it say? Warning: craft idea ahead!

British scientist George Parker Bidder set afloat a flotilla of 1,000 bottles in 1906. According to MSN, the vessels were “designed to float above the sea floor in attempts to study ocean currents. All of the bottles contained a postcard that listed instructions in English, German and Dutch to return the note to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, England, in exchange for a shilling. When most of the bottles–not all–were found a few months later, Bidder was able to confirm his theory that the deep sea current flowed west in the North Sea, a body of water that borders Great Britain, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.”

Then recently, a newly-discovered bottle came ashore on the beaches of Amrum, a German island in the North Sea. The woman who recovered it did get her shilling–which had to be purchased from eBay.

My Message in a Bottle Experience
A few months ago, I discovered for myself that the tradition of sending out messages in bottles was still alive. While participating in a local Lake Erie beach cleanup near my home on the east side of Cleveland, a member of our group discovered a bottle. Someone buy medicine online japan gave it to me. Inside were several letters written fairly recently. As I scanned them, I gradually realized they were all love letters to a baby who had passed away. We gently put the letters back in the bottle and the bottle back in the water. But I haven’t forgotten it.

Does the idea of sending a message in a bottle appeal to you?
It doesn’t have to be a pain-filled message cast on the waters, though that might be a therapeutic way to say goodbye or “I miss you” to loved ones. Another option is a happy letter, placed in a cute bottle and given right to a loved one (I suppose you could float it in their sink at home!).

I found this cute how-to craft on YouTube that could inspire YOUR message in a bottle. What would you say? To whom would you send it? Where would you launch it, and how would you hope it would be found?

For more craft ideas, check out our Pinterest page on Family History Crafts & Displays or click to read the blog posts below.

Resources

My Name is Jane: Heritage Scrapbook Celebrates Family Tradition

Old Objects Become New Again: Heritage Jewelry with Found Objects

Family History Photo Display with Mementos

www.geneaogygems.comThank you for sharing this post with someone special!

3 Steps to Preserve Thanksgiving Traditions (and other holidays too!)

In this free video, you’ll discover three important steps you can take right now to capture and preserve your family traditions for generations to come from my wonderful friend and colleague Gena Philibert-Ortega. Happy Thanksgiving!

Watch Now:

Resources:

Download the ad-free Show Notes cheat sheet for this video here. (Premium Membership required.)

Show Notes: Three steps to preserve your Thanksgiving traditions

Thanksgiving, in my opinion, is a family history holiday. It’s one where families gather, where we bring out family heirlooms, and where we talk where we share memories. So, it’s a good time to think about your Thanksgiving traditions, write them down, preserve them, and share them. So, let’s talk a little bit about how to do that.

#1 Ask

I have my memories of Thanksgiving from when I was a kid, when I was a young adult, and then later when I was married, and had small children versus older children. However, my kids have their own memories, and grandparents have their memories too. So, now’s the time to ask about those and write them down. Those memories might have to do with food, material culture, which I’ll define in just a second, or they may have to do with events.

Food:

What are the recipes that you use at Thanksgiving?

How does Thanksgiving food change as you grow older? Or as the roles switch?

Who cooks, and how has that changed over time?

Who’s there with you enjoying the meal and the holiday?

These are things that you can interview family members or yourself and write down.

Material Culture and Thanksgiving:

Material culture simply means stuff. So what stuff is used to put on Thanksgiving? At my house, that means the special tablecloth and the China both mine and my grandmother’s.

What do you bring out to serve Thanksgiving? It might be special dinnerware, or special serving pieces. It might be aprons to wear, or special linens.

What kinds of things are on the little kids table?

What is brought out and talked about and how has that changed over the years?

What do you use for special occasions like Thanksgiving? Do you go out to eat?

What events are associated with Thanksgiving for your family? Some families like to play a little flag football, some families watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.

Whatever it is for your family, write that down, talk about it, explain what it is. Remember, we’re preserving memories that our children and grandchildren will read in the future. They may not understand what that event is. So, make sure you describe it.

#2 Document

What are some of the ways you can document your traditions? Well, you can do it with photographs.  You can share photos from the past Thanksgiving. Have everybody bring the photos they have. You can even create a Thanksgiving album for your family. You can gather photos, photos from recent Thanksgivings, and even take photos of this Thanksgiving. You can ask family members to write their memories. You could also interview family members and create a video.

Paper or computer programs:

For example, maybe you could put together recipe cards and hand them out at Thanksgiving. Have everybody write their favorite recipes and then duplicate them and pass them out.

Family cookbook:

There are certainly many different programs online that you can use to create one yourself or that you can send to a specialized cookbook publisher.

Tablecloth:

Get a white tablecloth and bring out waterproof markers and ask family members to write their name. Write the date write events that have happened in the year. Write down memories if they want for little kids have them trace their hands, have them sign their name the best they can write their ages down. You can use that year after year, or you can preserve it for one specific year.

#3 Share

A lot of us have the habit of gathering information and then not really sharing it. But sharing it is what makes sure that things are preserved and ensures that it’s preserved that it goes down the generations. And it’s a good idea to have copies in case some are lost. Sharing is important. So how do we do that?

Physically:

We can do that by creating physical items like:

  • photo albums
  • flash drives (create duplicate flash drives and hand them out to the family.)
  • post things on social media, like a family Facebook page, or maybe a Pinterest board, or even your online family tree on Ancestry or FamilySearch
  • the cloud – where family members can download what they need when they need it. And you can continue to add family members over the years. And that might be done in a cloud program like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Preserve Your Thanksgiving Traditions Today

There are all kinds of ways that you can share Thanksgiving traditions and memories with other family members. Do what’s best for you what’s easiest for you, and what gets the information out there sooner rather than later. Thanksgiving is a special time and it’s something that we may all look forward to maybe because of the food or the family. I hope that you take some time this Thanksgiving to preserve your family memories. Happy Thanksgiving!

Resources:

Download the ad-free Show Notes cheat sheet for this video here. (Premium Membership required.)

About My Special Guest Presenter: Gena Philibert-Ortega

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, social and women’s history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) & a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include 3 books, numerous articles published in magazines and online, & Tracing Female Ancestors (Moorshead Publishing). She is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s magazine, Crossroads. Her writings can also be found on the GenealogyBank blog. She has presented to diverse groups including the National Genealogical Society Conference, Alberta Genealogical Society Conference, Geo-Literary Society, & the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Her research projects include Sowerby’s British Mineralogy: Its Influence on Martha Proby and Others in the Scientific Community during the 19th Century for the Gemological Institute of America, as well as genealogical research for the first season of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow & the Travel Channel’s Follow Your Past. Her current research includes women’s repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, & women’s material culture.

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

Every week we blog about new genealogy records online. Which ones could be the key to busting your genealogy brick walls? New this week? Vital records for Delaware, South Dakota, Illinois and Texas. Italy civil registrations. Newspapers from Indianapolis, Louisville KY and San Bernadino CA. Immigrant passenger lists for Mississippi ports.

We dig these gems

DELAWARE VITAL RECORDS. Over a million images of vital records from Delaware (1650-1974!) have been added to a 3-million strong collection you can browse at FamilySearch. Images of birth, marriage and death records for the city of Wilmington, Delaware are also newly browsable on FamilySearch. These date mostly to 1881. Birth records end in 1919; marriages and deaths in 1954.

ILLINOIS BIRTH CERTIFICATES. Over 370,000 births from Cook County, Illinois (home to Chicago) are now indexed at FamilySearch. These span 1878-1938; more records will be added on an ongoing basis.

ITALY CIVIL REGISTRATION. FamilySearch continues to churn out  newly-digitized Italy civil registrations to its free site. They’re not indexed yet, but these are newly browsable: Arezzo (back to the 1300s!), Bergamo, CremonaEnna, Imperia (San Remo) and nearly a million images for Pescara. Birth, marriage and death records may all contain important genealogical information.

U.S. NEWSPAPERS. Newspaper.com subscribers now have access to over 200,000 pages (1868-1922) from The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), over 107,000 pages (1907-1922) from The Indianapolis  Star (IN) and 1.3 million pages (1894-1998) from The San Bernadino County Sun (CA)

U.S. IMMIGRATION–MISSISSIPPI PORTS. Indexed images of passenger arrival records at the ports of Gulfport (1904-1964) and Pascagoula (1903-1935, 1955-1964) are now available to Ancestry subscribers. According to the database description, “they typically include the name of the vessel and arrival date, ports of departure and arrival (as well as future destinations on a ship’s itinerary), dates of departure and arrival, shipmaster, full name, age, gender, physical description, military rank (if any), occupation, birthplace, citizen of what country, and residence. For military transports, you may find the next of kin, relationships, and address listed as well. Later manifests may include visa or passport numbers.”

SOUTH DAKOTA BIRTHS AND MARRIAGES. Nearly 700,000 indexed records comprise this new FamilySearch collection. The collection spans 1843-2014.

TEXAS MARRIAGES. About 1.3 million indexed records and related images have been added to a Texas county marriage records collection at FamilySearch.

 

thank you for sharingPlease help us spread the word about these new genealogy records online! Thank you! You are a gem!

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