Are you part of the movement to transcribe digitized records? Have you found your passion for this new art? Transcribing is an amazing development in the genealogy world, and there are volunteer opportunities all over the web. Transcribing is transforming the whole genealogy community.
Most transcription projects rely on a volunteer base. Because of projects like these, the number of people actively involved in family history work is growing. When the number of people interested grows, the wealth of information and connections made can only grow. This means the likelihood of getting “stuck” somewhere in your research should be diminishing.Read More
Dig up the past
Usually people suggest you don’t dig up the past, but as family history buffs, we know that the past is full of great stuff. When you write your Mother’s Day card this year, show that you care about her life by finding facts, pictures, and memorabilia to share with her. If you have the chance to get together with your mother this year, talk with her about her life and her past to create connections with her and increase your own knowledge about where your mother came from and how she got to where she is today.
Give her new resources
Even if your mother isn’t a genealogist like you, she’ll love seeing her family in a piece of history. Find her parents (or grandparents) on the 1940 census. And if she’s on there too, even better!
You can also provide new family history resources by helping out with BillionGraves’ Million More in May promotion. By contributing to the headstone database, you are helping mothers all over the world connect with their ancestors.
Compile a book
Use your Fhnotebook account to create a small book about your mother. Use pictures you’ve collected, interesting stories you remember sharing with her, and important facts and dates to create a great, personal family history resource that she’ll love. You can easily create photo books on many photo printing sites, and they even have easy-to-use templates to get you started.
Get her set up with FHnotebook
Finally, you can help her get her family history research organized and digitized. Create an account for her. Set up notebooks with her married name and maiden name, and add a few pictures and documents to get her started. She’ll love being able to clip pages from the web and store documents somewhere where they won’t be forgotten or misplaced.Read More
April showers bring May flowers, setting a perfect stage for the BillionGraves’ Million More in May promotion! During the month of May, all BillionGraves users are encouraged to go out and take thousands of photos in their local cemeteries. You can join in by registering and downloading the free app to help BillionGraves reach one million new records in one month!
BillionGraves has had an amazing first year. The number of records is growing exponentially. During the month of May, with volunteers around the world contributing, BillionGraves hopes to add one million new records to the database.
The BillionGraves team breaks down the goal into feasible numbers: if two thousand users take 500 pictures each, they’ll reach 1,000,000 new images this month. This still seems like a lot, but a beginning picture taker will be able to document 500 images in 2 hours or less. Imagine how many records would be recorded in just two hours each weekend in May. The new records need to be transcribed as well, and once they are, BillionGraves will have their 1 Million records in May added to the database, searchable all over the world.
At the end of the month, the top 25 photographers and the top 25 transcribers will be rewarded with a free BillionGraves t-shirt! If you’re among the top 25 in either category, you’ll be publicly recognized on the BillionGraves Leaderboard on the website. You’ll help motivate others to continue adding new images and transcribing records.
The BillionGraves database is a valuable resource. The information being gathering is not available anywhere else. Volunteers are documenting entire cemeteries, providing exact locations for cemeteries and even specific headstones within that cemetery. Then, when you search for your ancestor, you have the ability to see all the headstones in the vicinity—many connections can be discovered by locating relatives buried nearby the one you searched for. This information is priceless, and that’s why BillionGraves exists. So, when we all contribute new records, we all benefit from the information collected.
You can get involved by registering on the BillionGraves site if you don’t have an account already. Then, download the app for your iOS or Android device. Finally, visit your local cemeteries to take pictures during the entire month of May!Read More
Today’s research roundup is about collecting and processing your audio and video files. While the process of rounding up digital media files is easy yet sometimes tedious, rounding up hard copy media files can be difficult and expensive. You’ll have to make decisions about what files to convert so you can store them digitally and what files to continue to save in their original format.
Rounding up your digital media files is a matter of finding them on your computer or other devices and storing them all in one place. FHnotebook provides a simple framework for you to store your media files, and you can organize them into family-specific notebooks.Read More
The 1940 Census is out, and you can access it from FamilySearch.org, National Archives, Ancestry.com, and a few other sites. I was just as excited as all of you to see it, and I thought I’d share my experience researching the 1940 Census so far.
I’m a later-in-life child, and as a result, I barely knew my grandparents. I was excited for the 1940 census so I could find my grandparents on it and learn a bit more about them. And, I’ll be honest, I was excited to be the first person in my family to locate my grandparents on the census—it would be like finding a great resource no one had looked at before. I began by trying to locate their correct enumeration districts.
The Genealogy Insider blog really helped me get started; Diane Haddad has spent a lot of time keeping up with which sites have which images uploaded, as well as the indexing progress for each site. I started with FamilySearch since they had Colorado up already, and that is where my maternal grandparents lived in 1940. After locating and poring over images from several enumeration districts, I couldn’t find them. I tried Ancestry.com as well, just to use a different system (their Beta viewer makes it easy to move around the image you’re viewing), but I still haven’t found them.Read More
Social media sites are great resources for your research. While other methods for research have been around longer, and are thus “tried and true,” social media is a good resource to try when your research becomes stale. Here is a brief overview of several social networking sites and how you can use them for family history research.
The most common social network is, of course, Facebook. People from all generations are connected on the site. Not only can you share personal information or questions with the people you have “friended” on Facebook, you can also share interesting articles, blogs, or other web pages on your profile. If you discover an important article about an ancestor’s hometown, you can share it on Facebook so other people can learn about it, too.Read More
In the last two Research Roundups, we talked about collecting the written word—in the form of personal papers and email. Today, we’ll talk about how to gather photographs and make sense out of the billions and billions of images you have. The wonderful thing about FHnotebook is how you can organize your files into your specific notebooks, storing pictures next to documents and audio files, and you can further label each file with category tags to make them searchable.
First, and most importantly, find a systematic way to gather and digitize your hard copy pictures. Even if you don’t want to spend the time or money to create beautiful digital copies, you should still document your hard copies for several reasons: 1) Security: storing and backing up your files in the cloud means that you’ll always have access to copies of your files, no matter what happens to your computer or home; 2) Storage space: instead of keeping thousands of important photos readily accessible in boxes and file cabinets, you can store them all digitally in your FHnotebook, which will use less space and be more easily accessible; and 3) Organization: not only can you search and find specific items more easily with FHnotebook, but you can add category tags to pictures to group related images in multiple ways, helping you make crucial connections in your family history research.Read More
In just over two weeks, the 1940 census will be released. This is a really big deal in the genealogical community, if you didn’t know! The census will contain a wealth of information to help you with your family history research. You will be able to access the census free on the website starting April 2. Not only will you be able to view the records for free (unlike previous census images), but you can download your research right from the site.
An index for the 1940 census does not yet exist since the images won’t be released until April 2, but FamilySearch and Ancestry.com are providing a way for volunteers to index the census so that it can be searchable and available to the public. The indexing project will greatly improve your ability to research the wealth of information included in the census, so to expedite the indexing process, you can join the volunteer effort! Visit the FamilySearch website to learn more and to sign up as a volunteer. You can also sign up on the 1940 Census website.
Besides the obvious excitement of gaining access to new family history research, the hubbub surrounding the release of the 1940 census is the fact that people today actually know people who are on it. Babies born in 1940 are only in their early 70s now, and their parents could still be alive as well. When you study the census, you’ll be able to make important family connections as well as find occupations, immigration data, and locations for your own relatives.
Use FamilyHistorynotebook to save and store the information you glean from the census. Keep the information organized into your various family notebooks, and cross-reference overlapping information using category tags.
For more information on the 1940 Census:
- Archives.gov: The official website of the National Archives, where you can learn more about the census itself, the questions asked on it, etc.
- 1940 Census Community Project: sign up to volunteer, learn about the 1940s, and read blog posts by census ambassadors.
- DearMYRTLE: just one of the many sources for webinars, advice, and tips and tricks for researching the census.
Image via the1940census.com.Read More
Have you seen the NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are? It’s a great reality show by NBC that delves into celebrities’ ancestry and teaches them about their heritage. This is the show’s third season, and they have continued to do a great job helping celebrities learn more about their ancestors. This season has already had four episodes, but you can catch up on episodes on the show’s homepage. Diane of Genealogy Insider gives helpful recaps and commentary on the show if you want to learn more.
Each episode takes one celebrity around the world as they research and learn about several of their relatives. Going back to their roots always proves to be a significant life event for the stars. The show spends time researching all sorts of documentation: birth certificates, obituaries, censuses, tax records, etc. While the show can’t always explain exactly how to take advantage of all the resources highlighted in the hour-long show, they expose the viewers to many possibilities for furthering family history research.
Who Do You Think You Are? strives to open people’s eyes to the excitement of learning about their own past. Previous participants have been Reba McEntire, Blair Underwood, Spike Lee, and Ashley Judd, plus tons of others. While helping these celebs find their roots, the show is also getting America pumped about family history work.
If you feel stuck in your family history research, try watching the show for motivation and inspiration. The show may tell you of avenues you haven’t ventured down before, and you may be able to try them out and find what you need to continue your research. Partnering with Ancestry.com, Who Do You Think You Are? airs on Fridays on NBC. You can also watch episodes on the NBC website or on Hulu.
Image via NBC.comRead More
One of the greatest ways to generate family history information is to interview relatives and record their stories. In theory, this is an easy process, but there are several things to consider when planning on interviewing a family member. How should you go about these interviews? What questions are the most important? Should you keep your great-grandmother focused instead of letting her ramble on about who knows what? I can’t answer these questions for you; each situation is different. But I can give you some advice as you gather valuable and exciting information from your own relatives.
There is plenty to do to prepare for a family history interview. Of course you need equipment: paper and pen, tape recorder, smartphone or tablet—we recommend FHmedia!—etc. Then, you need a plan. Even if you don’t stick to your plan at all during the interview, it’s still smart to have a few topics you want information on and specific questions you want to ask. In many situations, it helps your interviewee to have a specific topic to discuss for this specific interview. You don’t want this discussion to go longer than an hour or two for both of your sakes, so narrowing down the scope of the interview will be helpful.Read More