Where to Share?

During the past few years I’ve begun several indexing projects – newspapers, yearbooks, etc.  As I do the indexing, I sometimes become interested in researching the names I come across.  Naturally, I want to share this information as broadly as possible.   Yet, I feel limited in my options to do so.

So, here is a theoretical question.  If you had a yearbook photo of a graduate that you wanted to get into the hands of potential family or researchers that may be interested, how would you do it?   Pretend you had 100 photos that you wanted to do this with.  What would be your strategy for sharing if you had to limit yourself to a few minutes to do it?  Where would you feel you got the most “bang for your buck?”

In my next post, I’ll discuss my view of the advantages/disadvantages of various options but I’m eager to hear from you.

Genealogical Societies and I

This afternoon,  one of my genea-buddies posted a blog post about the benefits of joining a genealogy society.  She notes that membership of gen societies are down and ponders how more genealogists can be recruited to join & she offers great examples of how mutually beneficial the relationship can be.

As I read her post, a lot of thoughts came to mind because this is a topic that I’ve been thinking about the past couple of years myself.   I have often been personally frustrated with the gen societies I’ve interacted with for various reasons.  Not that I don’t see the benefit, but I need to see more in light of what works for me.  As of today, I am a member of only one gen society.  Here are sample reasons why they have not worked out well for me…

a) Payment – this may seem a trivial point for most, but if I have to pull out my checkbook to pay for something, it’s not likely I’m going to do it.  I do not like the hassle of having to write a check, mail it and wait for my membership to be processed.  Signing up to accept money by services such as PayPal is easy enough to do and IMHO, not enough gen societies take advantage of online payments.  I was ecstatic when I learned that the North Carolina Genealogical Society accepted online payments and that made it very convenient for me to join – my membership was processed within a few days.

b) Community - I have joined four societies over the past few years. I appreciate the talent and expertise of people in the society, but I’ve found it difficult to get to know of each members’ expertise.  I have not felt as strong a sense of community as I think could be made possible.  Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by my extensive social networking experiences and the fabulous geneablogger community! I find that what I crave are the online conversations among members.  Here are examples:

- Society A – I’ve been a member of this society the longest so I do feel I have a better awareness of who belongs to the group, but there is no member list made available anywhere.  I know a couple of the officers and a couple of other researchers who do not live in that area, but other than that, I can’t tell you any more about who is in the society besides the names I see in the newsletter.

- Society B – I’m no longer a paying member of this society, but when I joined, I did learn there was an email list, which I thought was great! However, when I asked for the email list I was told I was not allowed to have access to it for member protection.  Well, how I am I supposed to get to know who the other members are, especially when I live in another state? What is the point of being a gen society member if you don’t want it known that you are a member? Again, I know a couple of the officers, but beyond that, I don’t know who the members are or how many members there are.  The newsletter of this society is quite well-done I must say and has won awards, but that in and of itself was not enough for me to sustain membership.  I do still contribute information to the newsletter though.

- Society C – this society is local to me and I was a member for one year.  Though this society is local, I was not able to go to any of the meetings due to my own personal schedule.  They offer good programming at the meetings and there are some I’d like to go to this year now that my schedule is opening up, but again, I don’t know who the members are, nor how many there are.  That could change if I could attend meetings, but I’d like to see an online community too.

- Society D – this is a larger society that I joined but when I asked at the beginning how people get to know each other, the response was through meetings & volunteering and through the newsletter.  Well, again, I don’t live in the state, so I can’t go to the meetings.  There is no strong online community presence, & no email list for members.  They do have a Facebook page, but it is not used much.  And honestly, I don’t find Facebook to be the best avenue for a “group” presence.  Messages, discussions, & wall posts for any particular group get lost among all your friends’ activity.  The newsletter and journals are well done but I would like to interact more with the membership.  I do plan to write an article for the next newsletter so maybe that will help.  I eventually wish to contribute to the journal.  This society blogs infrequently, but you can’t post comments on the posts.  This is a missed opportunity; especially for non-members checking the site who may be potential new members.

- Society E – this is a society to which I’ve never been a paid member, but I like what I see of their online presence.  They have a blog to which I’ve contributed content to many times.  I have met a couple of the members and they too have good programming.  They work extremely well in tandem with the local genealogy library and do great things.  I don’t live in the area but this is the society I’m most likely to join next.   If they offered online payment to join, I’d sign up tomorrow. :-)

With each of these societies though, if they blogged to  summarize what occurs at the meetings, as Randy does for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, I’d feel at least like I had a clue.  If the member roster were made more accessible and I had a way to see online profiles of members and interact with them, I’d feel more like I belonged.   I of course understand that not everyone wants to have an online presence, but I would like to see more online interactivity; more of an online community established for members.   Facebook, GenealogyWise, BuddyPress — so many options exist and you can make a community private if people are concerned about their postings being public.

I’ve posted before my desires to see more video-conferencing technology enabled for those that aren’t able to attend here and here.  The combined expertise and know-how of the members of these groups are probably massive, but if I tonight had a research question and needed help, there is only one of the 5 mentioned above that I would feel like I had a good & fast way (sending it in to the newsletter is not suffice for me) to solicit input from the group members.  And, even in that case, it would have to be sent out for me; I’d not be able to send it out myself.  This really is not acceptable IMHO.  At the minimum a society could publicize the use of the Ancestry/Rootsweb county email groups?  Make a badge/widget for display on those members’ sites that do have an online presence to help with promotion.

c) Publishing — I’m not a fan of the current publishing model of most genealogical societies.

- Newsletters and journals should be done electronically – it would save money on publishing costs; or at the minimum, only send the print version to those who specifically request it.  Print versions could also be sent to libraries (I’m a librarian – so yes, we need preservation copies and for indexing in PERSI).  But, e-publishing needs to happen more consistently.

-  Only one of the gen societies I reference above publish electronically — and in that case, I just a couple of days ago received the journal in the mail when I’d much rather have just received it electronically.   Genealogy societies often do stellar jobs at publishing data and making it more accessible, but again – move towards e-publishing rather than mass book production.

d)  Services — ever since I first learned of the Genlighten service, I immediately thought of how genealogy societies could leverage it.  Join Genlighten and promote your ability to offer lookups of local county & state resources and earn income for it!  I recognize that many libraries do this as well, but again for me personally, I can’t order an obit online (remember my *issue* with writing checks?) from most of the libraries I’ve ever interacted with.  If a gen society connected with Genlighten, I know that I could order the obit and get it in my email and I’d love it! Yes, I can order vital records for less than a $1 from most of the counties in NC, but if the gen society were willing to photocopy the record from the courthouse and send it to me electronically, I’d gladly pay more for it rather than deal with the hassle of sending a written request to the courthouse and then wait a week or more to receive it in the mail if I knew I could get it electronically in a few days.  Best of all, I can pay w/ my credit card online.   Or, index the local newspaper, put the index online (maybe on a USGenWeb county site?), and then charge for the full-text of the obit.  Again, with something like Genlighten, I could make requests online.  It’s a win-win situation.

Okay, I’ve rambled quite a bit, but I honestly am not as willing to pay the annual fee for a gen society if I can’t get or be involved in these kinds of efforts.  You could argue that I should be more involved and try to change it and that is exactly what I plan to do.  I’ve been limited the past two years because I am in a degree program, but that is coming to an end and I’m strategizing on how to make more of a difference.  I am planning to attend FGS this August, so maybe I’ll see more of these types of issues discussed there.  I know I may be the atypical demographic for a gen society, but others have expressed similar thoughts (e.g. Elyse, Dick Eastman – here, here and here).

There are several societies who do some of these and do it well, so I don’t mean to indicate no one is;  I simply crave more.  :-)  I’m not trying to be harsh, but I’m trying to offer my perspective.  As mentioned by Miriam in comment to Elyse’s blog post I just mentioned, I may have to start offering to trade my skills for free membership!

This is actually a blog post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time now, so I thank Brenda for the prompt. :-)   In the words of Madonna in Evita “Have I said too much? There’s nothing more I can think of to say to you.” (shout out to the recent Glee Madonna episode!)

Anyone have thoughts to share?

Finding My Way Back to the Cemetery

After talking to my mother for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post, we began to talk about other things from the past and I asked her a question about one of the houses we used to live in when I was a child.  I remembered this house particularly because it was next to a cemetery.

The house was in Greensboro, North Carolina and with the help of Google Maps, we were able to locate it after *walking* up and down the street w/ the little orange man on Street View.  This is a picture of 1901 Armhurst Rd, Greensboro, NC where we lived at in 1981/1982.

After seeing the house online, I went back to a photo album of old pictures and found several pictures we’d taken in the yard.  My scanner is not working correctly right now, so the pictures will have to wait another day, but I was glad we found the house!

The next step was figuring out the cemetery.  We switched our view of the area from Street View to Satellite View and was able to see the land behind the house.  At first, we weren’t sure that it was still a cemetery, but then I noticed little white specks that looked like they could be headstones.

Wonderful! We’d confirmed it. Now, my mother remembered that at one end the cemetery dumped out onto the major road leading to our neighborhood, so back to Street View we went, dragging our little man over to the right spot.  At this level, it was much easier to see that it was indeed a cemetery.

Now, how would we find out the name? Google to the rescue! Literally 2 minutes later, my mom found a newspaper article about the cemetery after searching Google by entering the search string “cemetery phillips avenue greensboro”.  That led us to this article from October 9, 1907 about the disrepair the cemetery had fallen into over the years and it provided the name, Proximity Cemetery.   It started in 1895 as a burial ground for employees of nearby Cone Mills and about 2000 people are buried there; many though without identification.  It really was quite sad to read about how it had fared.  A little ironic that I started searching for it because of our proximity to it!

Now that I had a name, I went to the USGenWeb site for Guilford County, NC  site to see if it was listed there and it is, along with a link to it’s FindAGrave listing. On FindAGrave, I clicked on the first person that had a tombstone icon next to their name and wouldn’t you know that I knew the person who’d submitted it! His name is David and he’d uploaded a picture for me of Andrew Dennis McBride, father of author James McBride.  I’ve been working on James’ genealogy for a couple of years now and recenlty blogged about the death of his mother, the subject of his best-selling book, The Color of Water.  It was actually uncanny because I’d planned to email David earlier today to let him know of her passing.

It was nice to take this trip back in time to find and learn more about this cemetery.  I wish to find out more about the people who are buried there, so I have more research to do.  I feel like they are a part of my childhood too in some ways for of all the things I could remember about living in that house, the cemetery stands our first and foremost.  And I was 5 years old.

What I Want From Footnote

I’m in the middle of working on a presentation that I have due tomorrow, but I had to take a break to do this post before I forget about it.

So, today I’m in the car on the way home listening to my first Genealogy Guys Podcast.  A few minutes into it, I learn from them that Footnote has released another virtual wall – this time it’s the USS Arizona Memorial in honor of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  I visited Pearl Harbor in May, so I perked up when I heard about it.  (the fact that I missed this announcement in the first place goes to show “out of it” I’ve been w/ my genealogy news of late).

In any case, I just visited the online, interactive memorial and I have to say I’m a little disappointed.  Why? Because to date, while I think Footnote has a great idea to create the ability to contribute to a Person’s Page, they seem to be creating so many duplicate Person Pages that it detracts from the appeal for me.  Is there a way to get Footnote to “merge” individual Person Pages rather than just “Link” two together?  Footnote now has it so that there are Person Pages for the individual collections of the 1930 census, the Vietnam Memorial, the Arizona Memorial, the Social Security Death Index, plus anyone can create a Person Page.

In my own family tree, there are two pages that exist for my great-grandmother, Josephine Holloway Koonce (page 1 and page 2).  I have added information to both of them because at first I didn’t realize there were two different pages.  I do know that one comes from the 1930 census but I don’t remember how the other was generated.  But, I would love to able to merge these two pages as one instead of having Footnote build up multiple copies of her “page” each time a collection came around that included her in it.  Understandably I recognize that there could be data control issues as people could be merged erroneously, but I’d love to see some approaches to how this could be enabled.  Kinda like how Ancestry does their member trees – a person looking can see a “compilation” record of an individual, as well as still see all the separate trees that include what the system thinks may be the same person.   Footnote could let actual people initiate the merge and possibly combine that with computer algorithms.

The “Link” option just does not take care of this concern for me, and until I’m able to initiate a merge, I doubt I’ll be an active user of Person Page Beta.

Another wish item for Footnote? Instead of just “linking” a relative as a Related page, actually create fields for relationships on that person’s page for parents, siblings, spouses, children etc.  The potential to build up a Footnote Family Tree is there, it just needs to be further developed.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like FootNote a lot! Last year, I found an extremely moving account of someone I’ve been researching in the Missing Air Crew Reports, But, I also have big dreams.  I believe Footnote is dreaming big too in order to even start such a large project.

Okay, back to my work. :-)

Update 12/10 — a Footnote representative responded to my comment on their blog post and explained how you can make a suggestion to merge two individuals.  They do plan to enable such a feature in the future, so submit your suggestions now and they will make sure to address them when they make further progress with the project. Thanks Peter!

Home Microfilm Digitization

I know I shouldn’t be shopping for me, but, an opportunity presented itself to me this afternoon and I could not say no.

Background: Last week I emailed a co-worker of mine who has years of photography experience to ask a question. I wanted to know how I could rig a set-up like this.

PhotoMicrofilm

so that I could capture my own digital images of the microfilm of old newspapers I’ve purchased in the past few years.  The picture you see is the setup that a gentleman named Joel Weintraub. Joel shared the details of this setup in the comments section of a blog post by Dick Eastman on the ST-Genie Microfilm Converter.  I’ve been interested in the type of converter Dick posted about for awhile now, but the cost has been greatly prohibitive for me ($1000+).  Over the past few years, I’ve been transcribing old newspaper issues and creating online indices/blogs for them for wider dissemination but b/c of the expense of digitizing them, I only have about 8 rolls total of microfilm.

When I shared this with my coworker, he offered another, cheaper suggestion — try  a gadget that converts slides & 35mm negatives to digital format.  Hmm.. I guess I am working with 35mm microfilm after all? He sent me several different types and I’d planned to do some further research until I could learn more about them.  Well, today, while at Bed, Bath & Beyond of all places, I just happened to see this device from VuPoint Solutions:

VuPoint Converter

VuPoint Converter

The converter offers two resolutions for image capture – 1800dpi and 3600dpi.  At 1800dpi, I can take more than 6400 images and store them on my 4GB SD card.  This resolution works okay from what I can tell, I’m not sure yet if I need to go up to 3600.

As you can see from the picture, it is designed to be used for slides and 35mm negatives, and that tray didn’t look like it would be too easy for microfilm to work well, but I bought it anyway just to experiment.  And, experiment I have. The microfilm is thin enough that it does slide around well in the slide tray.  So far, it seems the biggest problem I have is that the dimension of the image capture area is not quite big enough for each frame of microfilm.  So, I’m having to rotate the image and take two pictures for each frame.  I appreciate having the viewfinder, so I can at least see how it lays out on the screen, but I cannot see the detail of the newspaper issue.

For items in the paper, such as advertisements, I’m pretty much okay with the quality.  Here is an example of an ad from G.S. Waters & Sons of Newbern, Craven County, North Carolina for their buggy business.

waters

The newspaper article text is another story.  The quality I’ve captured so far is not good enough for posting the actual image, but it is good enough for me to read, transcribe and enter into my databases.  Here is an article from the August 3, 1912 issue of the Kinston Free Press about a man named Henry T. King from Greenville that mentions his work to write a history of Pitt county.

king

Yes, the process will probably be tedious, for after capturing the images, I then need to collate the images into newspaper issues, but I rather like working hands on with the images.  If I were to send the roll out for digitization by a commercial entity, it would cost me anywhere from $70-$100 per roll and ultimately, that probably does save me time in the long run.  However, I’m not in this for volume, but rather to enjoy the experience and reading through these old newspapers, so we’ll see how I adjust over time.  This particular converter was $100 and the SD card was $40.

I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow and thank my coworker for providing me with this suggestion!  If you’ve used one of these, I’d love to hear your experience.

More Napier Connections

Meet Ella.

Ella was the daughter of Sophie Napier Watkins (1854-1917).  Sophie was a cook at Helen Keller’s home.  For the past couple of years, I’ve been working off an on with family members of Ella & Sophie to determine if I could help document the family oral history that they were related to James Carroll Napier (i call him JC), a prominent politician & businessman from here in the Nashville area and former treasurer of the United States Treasury from 1911-1913 under President Taft.  I am not related to this family but became engaged in helping to find any possible connections.

This week I was contacted by a granddaughter or Ella and I’ve been revisiting the genealogy.  Last year when I did when I did the initial research, I was not able to make a firm connection, though I had a series of information that made it likely to me that there was a relationship, but I could not get anything concrete.  Today, I realized the premise I was searching under was incorrect.  I was working under the premise that Sophie was a niece of James Carroll Napier.  Yet, today, it was clarified for me that the family history, coming directly from Ella to her daughter and grandchildren, that it was SHE that was the niece of JC, not her mom Sophie.  Sophie would have been a sibling of JC.

One of my biggest obstacles in trying to determine a niece/uncle relationship between Sophie and JC were their dates of birth.  JC was born in 1845 and Sophie in 1854.  Their supposed shared father, William Carroll Napier (I call  him WC), was born in 1824.  I struggled trying to place a sibling of JC being old enough to have fathered Sophie..  WC’s childbearing age would have begun around 1842 right? So,  how could he have a son who would have had time to father Sophie by 1854? It just never worked out.

Today, I learned that it was not Sophie who was JC’s niece, it was her daughter Ella. Thus, Sophie would have been a sibling of JC’s, and this makes much more sense!  The birth years of WC’s documented children are 1845,  1847, 1849, 1851 and 1859.  Hmm.. there’s a gap there between the last two and see how Sophie’s birth year of 1854 fits very nicely in there??

Besides, I’ve had others contact me saying their family history indicated other undocumented siblings of JC, so I’d had independent suspicion that WC was not having children solely by his wife Elizabeth Jane.  Then, the family sent me this picture of Ella and when comparing it to pictures of JC, all of you who have commented on it have seen strong resemblance in their facial features. In addition, Ella’s granddaughter sent me pictures of more family members and there are resemblances further down along the line - especially with the eyes.

Yep! I’m ready to connect these two families in my database along with a note of how we’ve come to this conclusion, but given the other information I’ve gathered, I am about 90% sure the family’s oral history is validated.  Of course, the quest for more documentation will continue, but isn’t DNA a great thing?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My 16

I’m going to take Randy up on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for August 8, 2009.  Not because of the intent to document my ethnicity for that is very easy – to the best of my current knowledge, all (with the exception of 1) of my ancestors as far as I can trace have been black and former slaves. But for the intent of serving as a great way for others to find me should we have any shared ancestry I think this is an excellent idea!

My 16 great-great grandparents are:

1.  Unknown? – I am not exactly sure who the father is of my great-grandfather Barfield Koonce. No name is given on his death certificate, and I’ve only found Barfield enumerated with grandparents. Maybe if we had the 1890 census I’d know more, but this is one of my genealogy brickwalls.  Whomever it is, he would have likely been born around the 1850s in Craven County, North Carolina.

2.  Caroline KOONCE was the daughter of James & Isaih Koonce. Caroline was born around January 1851 in either Jones or Craven County, North Carolina.  After having my great-grandfather and at least one other child, Caroline married George C. West on March 18, 1891 in Craven County.  She died August 12, 1928 in Dover, Craven County, North Carolina.

3.  Thomas HOLLOWAY Jr. was born around 1853 in Wayne County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Thomas & Phillis HOLLOWAY.  He married Polly Hood around the late 1870s.  The family lived in Wayne County in 1880 and I do not know when he died.

4. Polly HOOD was born abt. 1860 likely in Wayne County, North Carolina.  Her mother’s name was Caroline.  Polly died in Ft. Barnwell, Craven County July 16, 1916.

5. Samuel Becton LAWHORN was born abt. 1871 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Valentine & Harriett Lawhorn.  He married Cora Cox on May 28, 1899 and according to the Lawhorn Family Bible died April 11, 1917.

6. Cora COX was born March 3, 1876 in Craven County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Robert & Amanda Cox. Cora’s first husband was Samuel Becton Lawhorn whom she married May 28, 1899. After his death, she married neighbor Willie Morton on December 23, 1924.  She died November 26, 1949 in Craven County, North Carolina.

7. Randolph KILPATRICK was born September 2, 1885 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Edward Kilpatrick & Violetta DONALD.  In 1905 Randolph married Mary Maggie HARVEY.  He died September 24, 1966 in Craven County, North Carolina.   (His mother Violetta is reported by family to be half Native American, and her grandson told me a few years ago that she had hair all the way down her back, a trait that was carried down to all of her daughters.  He remembers her from when she lived with him and his family and she died when he was about 15 years old.  So, this would make Randolph 25% Native American.)

8. Mary Maggie HARVEY was born August 4, 1889.  Her exact parentage is not exactly known, but according to family information, she was the daughter of two individuals that were both married to other people.  Her father was Clayton HARVEY and her mother is said to be a DAWSON, but I’m unsure if that was her mother’s married name or maiden name.  Mary died August 21, 1940, likely in Craven County, North Carolina.

9. William ROBINSON was born in September of 1830, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  He may have been the son of Bob & Hagar Robinson.  In 1855 he married Rebecca Toon. His date of death is unknown.

10.  Rebecca TOON was born in May 1841, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina. Her parentage is unknown as is her date of death.

11. John LENNON was born approximately in 1854, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  Another researcher has informed me that his parents were Josh & Barbary Lennon.  John married Etta Lennon March 30, 1882 in Columbus County, North Carolina.  His date of death is unknown.

12. Etta LENNON was born approximately in 1862, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  The current thought on her parentage is that she was the daughter of Council & Elizabeth Abigail Lennon though I am not 100% sure on this.  She married John Lennon in 1882 and married Isaac ROBINSON May 25, 1905.  Her date of death is unknown.

13. Andrew D. MCNAIR was born May 5, 1866 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was the son of Rufus Tannahill McNair and Mariah Wimberly.  Andrew married Gracy Bullock around 1893, then after her death, married Bennie Slade.  Andrew died February 10, 1930 in Washington County, North Carolina.

14. Gracy BULLOCK was born in March 1874 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Lawrence & Chanie Bullock.  Gracy’s date of death is unknown, but it was prior to 1910.

15. Anthony WALKER was born in May 1850, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Prince Walker & Lovey Boston.  Anthony married Martha Jane Baker on December 29, 1881.  He married Winnie Walker between 1910 & 1920.  Anthony died January 10, 1921.

16. Martha Jane BAKER was born in August 1853, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  She was the duaghter of Daniel & Frances Baker.  Martha died between 1900-1910.

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!