My New Responsibilities with the USGenWeb Project

The month of July has gone by in a whirlwind for me due to some new responsibilities.   Effective July 1, I became the new  statewide coordinator for the Tennessee component of the USGenWeb project, the TNGenWeb!  I have been extensively involved with the NCGenWeb Project for several years now and have enjoyed every moment and when the opportunity arose to become more involved with TNGenWeb, I could not turn it down.  As State Coordinator, I’ll work with others in the project to provide what we can in free genealogical resources for your family history research.

There is a lot to do in TNGenWeb but I am excited.  For example, this weekend, we moved the whole project from one server to another so that we could take advantage of additional features.  This in turn, allowed me to finally realize my dream of converting my Blount County, TN site from regular HTML into WordPress (yeah, I’m a WordPress fanatic).

New Blount County, TNGenWeb site

Next on the agenda is to clean up some old files here and there and make sure our pages are as up to date as we can make them.   Then, we have a site redesign coming in the next few months.  If you have research interests in Tennessee, you’ll want to stay tuned!  With news such as historical Tennessee newspapers coming online with the Chronicling America website, there are many tidbits we can pass along to help keep you informed.

Do you use TNGenWeb? If so, leave me a comment about what you like & don’t like.  It will only help us make your experience better.

FamilySearch Just Rocks

Tonight while going onto the FamilySearch website to look for a death certificate in TN, I saw two new collections in their list of records.  Just added today, these browsable only collections are:

These collections are amazing! Even though they cannot yet be searched, just being able to browse them is a huge gain for TN researchers.  The second collection contains a lot more.  Just look at what is offered for the county I coordinate for the TNGenWeb – Blount County.

For a couple of years now I’ve been eyeing the Blount County will records at the Tennessee State Library & Archives.  They have been transcribed by workers of the Works Project Administration and I’ve been planning to put them online.  Well, looks like I only need to create a good index now!  HOW WONDERFUL!

There are so many goodies to be found in this collection.  If you have any Tennessee research interests, you MUST check these out.   FamilySearch – keep this up! :-)

 

Researching While On Vacation

Today was the start of my 2 week vacation and you know how I spent it? Like any true genealogist – in the library :-).  I visited the Tennessee State Library & Archives to gather information to share on the TNGenWeb & NCGenWeb sites in which I participate/ccordinate.  I also pulled a couple of obituaries for researchers who have contacted me during the past month.

I captured a lot of information today and this was the first time I really put my new handheld, portable scanner to use (see my blog post about it here) and it was great! I captured hundreds of images today between it and my camera.  I used it on books and even the microfilm reader to capture newspaper images.  I still need to learn to tweak the microfilm machine for best capture, but for my purposes, what I was able to obtain today will go a long way.

Here is an example of a capture I was able to get by using it on the microfilm machine screen.  It’s not perfect, but it is good enough for me to the abstract decedent, date of death, & cemetery info that I am planning to use.

Here is my list of what I gathered today:

  • Index pages to Blount  County Court Minutes 1795-1804, 1804-1807, and 1808-1811.   I plan to turn these pages into an online listing to assist county researchers for my Blount County TNGenWeb site.  These were compiled in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration.
  • Deaths in the Maryville Enterprise newspaper (Blount County, TN) from January – June 1961.  A Blount County researcher has done an amazing job indexing obituaries from 1867-1960 so I’d like to begin to expand upon what he’s done.   Using the handheld scanner makes this a more feasible project.   Photocopies using the microfilm readers are .25 each.  My method is free.
  • Index to Martin County Madison County Circuit Court Minutes 1821-1828 – for the Madison County TNGenWeb project.
  • Davidson County Wills & Inventories 1795-1804 pt. 1 – I scanned in half of this volume so that I can submit them to the Davidson County TNGenWeb project.  These too were compiled in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration.
  • Vanderbilt University Yearbooks  for 1909, 1910, 1913, 1914, & 1915.  I am currently indexing hundreds of North Carolina yearbooks so am interested in yearbooks these days.  I want to start indexing those from the Nashville area, so what better university to start with than my new alma mater (and place of employment for the past 10 years!).   I focused on capturing the senior class members only for now.   The next school I’d like to do is Fisk so that I can get some much needed African-American representation as well.   This too will be contributed to the Davidson County TNGenWeb project.

I’ve had a busy day don’t ya think?  :-)  This is going to be great material to keep me busy for awhile, but I am trying to get back tomorrow to gather more.

Vanderbilt 1910 Girls Basketball Team - Lamar Ryals (mascot), Eleanor Richardson, Mattie Stocks, Ada Raines (Captain), Rebecca Young, & Stella Katherine Vaughn

Flurry of Activity

I hardly know where to even begin with this post – I have so much going on these days! In the past week, I’ve hardly kept up with all the geneablogsphere activity as I’ve been rather self-absorbed in my newest endeavors.  In the past three weeks or so, I’ve agreed to several genealogy activities.

#1) I will be named as a member of an committee  for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for digitizing 100,000 pages of newspapers from 1823-1922.   If the grant is awarded then our work begins in Summer 2010 and the committee will help make the decisions on which papers will get digitized.  I have a strong interest and like for historical newspaper research, so when the call was put out, I sent my information in quickly!  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

#2) For this committe, I had to do a resume of my genealogy activities.  While I have a nice professional resume for my day job, I did not have anything that I felt reprsented my genealogy endeavors succinctly.  So, after some browsing and checking out my geneablogger-sphere,  I asked Thomas if he’d let me use his resume template.  He agreed and I created my own 1pg version of a Genealogy Resume.

Taneya’s Genealogy Resume

#3) But, my resume is going to have to be expanded beyond 1pg.  Also recently, I was asked by a local company to come and do a talk on beginning genealogy.  The focus is really to be an informal overview of how I set about my genealogy research and give an overview of some of the basic research approaches, record types etc.  They were willing to pay me, but I turned the money down for I have never done a genealogy-specific presentation before.  I’ve presented plenty for my career, but I also look at it as an opportunity to learn.  This presentation will occur next month.

#4) This week though has been busiest of all, for I agreed to become the new webmaster for the NCGenWeb project…

#5) and also take on site coordinator responsibilities for two additional NC counties- Jones & Onslow.  I already had Martin.  I chose Jones & Onslow because of my Koonce ancestry.   The white Koonce family to which my ancestors belonged to, originated from Jones county.  Additionally, the Koonce family was large, so there were cousins over in Onslow county.   Over the past few months, I’ve begin “collecting Koonces” and have begun the initial seeds of  Koonce surname genealogy study for Koonces everywhere, so  my interest in Jones & Onslow counties are deep-rooted.

I’ve written before about my experience with many of the USGenWeb sites; I applaud the efforts of all those that contribute data for without them, the USGenWeb project would not exist, however, I also would like to see the websites have better organization than many currently do.  So, if I’m going to be involved, I have to reoganize them.  I did this for Blount County, TN & Martin County, NC when I took them on.   Fortunately, the newly elected NCGenWeb Site Coordinator also wanted a revamp of the site, so our interests were well-aligned on this matter.

So, over the past few nights I’ve been busy redoing the NCGenWeb site.  I am rather pleased if I can say so myself – WordPress ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!  We even now have a blog, NCGenWeb News, to which I hope we can post something at least a few times each month.  Click on the picture to visit the site – and show us some love by leaving a comment!

I am very excited to have been able to work with the NCGenWeb board and get it online so quickly.

I also have figured out how I am going to restructure the Onslow County site; again, I’l be using WordPress.  After I get Onslow done,  Jones will probably be organized very similarly.  Here is a sneak peek of what I’m planning for Onslow.

This involvement has made me even more excited about USGenWeb projects in general – we should all make sure we do our part to help out by contributing data whenever we can!  These site coordinators do great jobs in helping us access genealogical information, but I do think it is time for more modern interfaces (generally speaking).  I’m doing my part to move this along as best as I can!

Where does the time go?

Over the past several days, I’ve not been online quite as much to work on genealogy. My sister graduated college this weekend from the University of Florida (see my main blog), so that obviously kept me offline.  :-)  In addition, I began a course on research ethics and now I’ve got plenty of reading to keep me busy at night for the next month. But, I sneak in a little genealogy here and there.

I have just sent off an article that will be published in a Alabama genealogy newsletter. More details to come once that is published. I’m quite excited about it!  Then, last week I received an email from Nita, one of my original blogging inspirations, about her Koonce ancestry.  She has an offhand feeling she may have connections to North Carolina where my Koonce’s are from, so we will see what happens there.  It would be so cool to have another connection with a geneablogger as I do with Jennifer.

Last night, I had about 45 minutes to play around with a new Ancestry database. I read over on Craig’s blog about the Tennessee State Marriages, 1765-2002 database.  I was glad to see this for two reasons:

  • one of the genealogies I work on is that of a friend of mine who has deep roots in east Tennessee.  I found many marriage certificate/bonds for people on her tree, including her parent’s marriage certificate. That was cool.  Also, by the information on the marriage detail, I was able to find the maiden name of one of her 2nd great-grandmothers, a Cordelia Fellers who married Henry V. Bolinger on January 18, 1898 in Campbell County, TN. Then, by working through census records, I was able to find her grandfather even and I think I have a suspicion of his father! Ooh the joy!
  • as county coordinator for Blount County, TN, I can now add this to marriage information resources.

Interestingly enough, Kalonji and I were married here in Davidson County in 2001 but we are not in the database.  The Davidson county records only go up to 1860 consistently, then after that, coverage is very sporadic.  Would have been cool to see me in there…

I have a new role!

I was browsing TNGenWeb one day, and decided to look and see which counties were up for adoption. Since I live in Nashville and so close to the state archives, I thought being a county coordinator and further relying on the resources of the archives, would be an excellent way for me to give back to the genealogical community of Tennessee.

So, I chose Blount County and sent an email asking to be the new county coordinator. I heard back yesterday and I am now the one! I will spend the next few weeks familiarizing myself with the content of the site and the rules and regs of being a county coordinator, but I am so excited! My first task? Redesign the site.

Though the USGenWeb sites are EXCELLENT repositories of information, I have been on so many that I think could have a site update. Blount County, TN is no exception. So, I have done a mock-up for a new design that will rely less heavily on the traditional vertical presentation of information that is commonly used. Here is what I have come up with and it is based in large part on the design of Warren County, North Carolina.