New Book about Wessyngton Plantation

A couple of weeks ago, when I bought In Search of Our Roots, I’d also seen a book by John F. Baker Jr. called The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation.  Tonight, I went ahead and purchased this book too.  I will probably not be able to start reading it right away, but I’m glad to own it now.   The Wessyngton Plantation was here in Tennessee and the author used their papers held on file at the Tennessee State Library & Archives for some of his research, so this is very close to home for me.   You can read more about the plantation in the online version of Profiles of African-Americans in Tennessee

In the book, the author accounts his family’s background, as well as information about other slave family descendants as he discovered them through his research. Again, this is another example of my previously expressed wish that books of this nature also do accompanying online family trees to faciliate later discovery by others and possible extended family members.  One of the main ancestors of the author is Granville Washington 1831-1898) of which I find no information in Ancestry Trees in a quick and dirty search.  

Biographies + Online gedcoms/family trees are my desire. Who will be the first author to do it?  I am encouraged though to see that on his website, Mr. Baker does have a few representative documents and some newspaper articles about his research.  He is on Facebook, on MySpace, and has a blog too where he continues to share his research.   This looks like a great start to my dream :-)

And, unlike Gates’ book, his is searcheable over at Google Books.  Mr. Baker will be here in Nashville for a book signing in a week, I must try to go!

See below for a two mintue overview of the book

Latest Addition to my Genealogy Bookshelf

Last weekend, I picked up the new book from Henry Louis Gates, In Search of Our Roots. This is the companion book to the African-American Lives 2 special from last year.

I just started reading the book yesterday and I am enjoying it  There are profiles in the book for the highlights of the research Gates and his collaborators did to learn more about each person’s family tree.  Some of the people featured are Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou.

As I began to read the book, I wondered how much of their tree information was available online?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a supplemental online tree to go along with the book where a reader could interactively navigate?  Also, it would be useful to have the information online to faciliate discovery by other researchers (perhaps distant cousins) to connect to the research conducted.

On the African-American Lives site, there is an interactive timeline that includes major milestones in black history as well as major milestones in each of the participants history, but it is an image based representation, thus not indexable or searcheable.

I’ve been thinking about this concept lately as I read another book, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. This book details the family history of white and black Hairstons of Virginia & North Carolina and is full of genealogical details.  One thing that was quite noticeable for me is that the author has a tree structure for the white Hairstons, but so far, I’ve not seen a tree structure for the black Hairston’s he discusses.  I have searched online for tree information for some of those families and not been able to find anything online in a consistent manner.

Here is my wish and desire — for both these books, and any others that chroncile family history having an companion online tree (perhaps at Ancestry Family Trees, WeRelate, or FamilyHistoryLink would be an interesting way to share some of the work online in a way that is more easily discovered by others.  Alternatively, at the site they could use my favorite genealogy software, TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding to provide an online view to the trees.  At the minimum, the Gates book could have been made searcheable at Google Books (update 8/15/09 – it is now searcheable);  the Hairstons book is searcheable.  In the age of web 2.0/ Genealogy 2.0, this would be a wonderful means for establishing more connections!

Search Enhancements At GenealogyBank

I really need to go to bed, but I just had to post this!

I was sneaking a peek in GenealogyBank.com tonight and noticed that they have made some enhancements to their search interface for the Historical Newspapers Collection.   When you go to the search screen, you are shown several new search options that were not there last time I searched about a month ago.  I don’t see an announcement on the GenealogyBank blog though. (update 2/18/09 — today, they made a blog post about it)

The first new item on the search screen is the option to search the *updated content* that is added to the database.  GB often adds new pages and I’d written to them several months ago that it would be nice to be able to search the new additions only.  I was told that it was coming, and now it’s here.  At the time of this post, the options for searching just the updated content allow you to select things added since Feb 2009, since Jan 2009, or since Dec 2008.

genealogybank

They have also added a graphic map of the United States with blue dots to represent locations where they have newspaper content.   While it’s not my dream vision of seeing a Google Maps ultra-mashup of all the online digitized newspapers online, it is a nice view to get a sense for where they have coverage and where they don’t.  I wish all providers of historical newspapers would do something similar.   Beneath the graphic is a list of all the states and you can select which states to limit your search to.  Previously, you could only select one state at at time; now you can select multiple states.

If you haven’t searched GenealogyBank in awhile, you should revisit it.  If you are not a subscriber,  try out the one-month trial.  (No affiliation, just a very happy customer).

To add to my excitement about the new search options, I also found something of great interest to me.  In my last post, I shared how this week has been all about my Koonce research.   A lot has happened this past week with that.  Well, as I often do, I did a keyword search for a city of interest for blog fodder, and one of my results was a slave runaway advertisement that I’d seen before and blogged about previously.  I’d selected to search new content only, so even though this was something I’d seen before, I knew that often ads were run in multiple issues.  I decided to take a look at this particular issue of  the New Bern Sentinel and as I was browsing the pages, I came across this marriage announcement

kooncedavid_marriage

Source: “Marriage: David Nunn & Alice Koonce.” New Bern Sentinel 6 Sept. 1823. GenealogyBank. 16 Feb. 2009 <http://www.genealogybank.com>.

This is the marriage notice of David Nunn and Alice Koonce who married in Jones County, North Carolina in 1823.  I am quite happy to see this! I have Alice Koonce & David Nunn in my “other” Koonce gedcom collection.  I added David & Alice after *meeting* Jennifer, another African-American Koonce researcher who is descended from a slave David sold to his brother-in-law Isaac, named Solomon.   Isaac, as part of some of the pioneer families migrating from North Carolina, moved to Tennessee, bringing Solomon with him and that is where Jennifer’s family is from.  She’s got a wonderful website and blog with more details.  In any case, I just happened to browse the pages and I see a notice of David & Alice’s wedding.   Up until now, I’d only had secondary sources for their marriage.   I can’t believe I have yet another Koonce-related discovery and I wasn’t even searching for it!

Death of Innocence

deathofinnocence Today I picked up the book, The Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley. Mamie is the mother of Emmett Till. I’ve blogged previously about a connection I share with Emmett Till – one of my maternal grandmother’s brothers married into the family of Moses Wright – Emmett’s great-uncle from whose home he was taken. I’m looking forward to reading Mamie’s book and learning more about the events of what happened.

Using Google Maps

My mother was born in 1951 and when she was born her family lived at 100 Brooklyn Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Here is a picture of her uncle June, with her older brother Stanley that was taken around the time he was about 10 months old; my mother was not yet born. 

One day, my mother sent me an email after she was playing around in Google Maps.  The building is still there!  We weren’t absolutely sure it was the same building until I realized the iron gate behind my uncles in this picture are in fact the same as what is there now. 

When I and my brother were born in ’75 and ’78 respectively, my parents lived at 372 167th Street in Bronx, NY.  This picture of my mother with my cousin (born in ’77) was taken in front of the building. 

Here is the Google Maps pic from now and the grocery store my mother tells me they would go to often on the 1st floor is also still there!

The picture of my mother and cousin was taken from the opposite direction as what you can see in the above Google Maps picture, but when I turn the view around, you can see the same background as what is in their picture. 

I love it! I think it’s cool that I’m able to use this technology to get a recent picture of the residences. I really need to do this for other places associated with my family.

Flickr is Great

I’ve been spending some time the past few days searching images in Flickr. There are so many great pictures that people are sharing and I’ve enjoyed looking through them.  I am searching Flickr for pictures relevant to my genealogical interest and I’ve been surprised to find as much as I have. 

Back in April of 2007, I blogged about learning of Somerset Place, a plantation owned by Josiah Collins who had more than 300 slaves. While in Flickr, I discovered someone who had a set of pictures from a visit she made to the plantation. 

You can see the rest of her Flickr set here.

I Missed It!

A couple of months ago, someone posted a comment to my Black Nashville blog to let me know that a new book had come out.  The book was the one above; the author, Sheryll Cashin,  was here speaking on campus today and I couldn’t go! I’m so disappointed.  But, there are plans to put her audio online so I’ll keep checking for it.

Sheryll Cashin is a descendant of Herschel V. Cashin (1854-1924) a lawyer from Alabama.   Her father,  John Cashin Jr., started the National Democratic Party of Alabama. The family has an interesting history and I came to learn of them from research I’d been doing for the Black Nashville blog on James Carroll Napier, a prominent former citizen of Nashville.  Herschel’s daughter Minnie went to Fisk University and she married JC’s nephew.  I haven’t finished reading this book, but what I have read has been inspiring and it’s really put a personal touch on people in her family whose names I’ve only seen on paper.

Maybe I’ll write to her to see if she’s interested in copies of some of the documents I’ve pulled together on her family/extended family.

FindAGrave Photos

Do you use FindAGrave? If not, you should!  Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I today received notification that a picture of my uncle’s headstone had been fulfilled.  My mother has been wanting a picture of it for years now and she no longer lives in the city where he is buried.  

We love you and miss you Calvin!

If you get a chance, sign up for FindAGrave and check for photo requests in cemeteries nearby you. You may just make someone’s day!

My mother and Calvin in the 1960s.

Google Books On A Website Near You

Today Google announced on their Book Search Blog that they have developed a series of partnerships in order to more fully integrate Google Books into existing websites.  In the post, they highlight several advantages of this feature including

“For example, suppose you’ve turned to the Books-A-Millionsite to look for a book on the history of your hometown (say, Mountain View, California). When you see a book that looks promising, you can now click on “Google Preview” to browse through the book just as you might in the physical store, without ever having to leave Books-A-Million’s website. “

Whenever browsing participating websites, you just need to look for the Google Preview button and it will open up a window to preview the book online.  There are many different sites participating – bookstores, university libraries, publishers (even Arcadia Publishing – publisher of the Images of America Series), and social book sharing sites.  One of my favorite sites, WorldCat.org is also participating. 

I’ve blogged about Worldcat before: it allows you to locate books in libraries that may be close to you.  When you are looking at a record for a book, if you see the Google Preview button you can begin to browse what is available. 

You can read more about what WorldCat did here.  Right now, it looks like you need to use APIs in order to take advantage of the book preview.  I wonder if there would be any utility in them making an embed code of some type for an individual book-by-book basis?  One could always make a static link to a book, but I like the look of the embedded book. 

I find this particularly of interest as I’ve been spending some time exploring Google Books for my various genealogy interests.  Each month I choose a database to look at more in-depth and this month, Google Books was the one of choice.   During the Genea-Blogger games, my posts from this month on Google Books included:

I have more posts coming this Friday that are not up yet. I’ve written them and set them for pre-publish. I have the Genea-Blogger Games to thank for that!

Easy Ways to Create Citations

During the Genea-Blogger games, one of the categories involved learning how to properly format and use citations.  Though I cite correctly in my professional life, when it comes to genealogy, I’d been very laid back, so this gave me an opportunity to start to clean up my citations in my trees.

While doing this, I used two tools to help make the formatting part easy – Worldcat & EasyBib.

WorldCat – is an online database of what libraries all over the world have in their collections. Therefore, if there is a book you are trying to track down, this is one of the best sources to consult.  Previously, I’ve blogged about the Lists feature, which I find very helpful.  But the citation feature was particularly helpful for this category of the games.  When you do a search in Worldcat and retrieve a record, there is a link that you can use to get the citation of that book (or item) formatted for you in multiple ways.

When you select “Cite this Item,” you then get a pop-up screen that lists the citation for you in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard & Turabian styles. All you then have to do is copy and paste.  It’s great!

The other site I used was particularly usefulfor non-book formats. Need to cite a website? Newspaper article? Some other format? EasyBib comes to the rescue.

EasyBib – uses a fill-in-forms to create your citation.  It is free if you want MLA style, but costs 7.99/year for the MyBibPro if you want APA style.  Not a bad price, but for my genealogical needs, not worth it. I’m okay with MLA.  :-)

The first step with EasyBib is select what type of format you have -they offer over 50 to choose from, including podcasts, blogs, letters, comics, and more.

Once you select a format, you are given fields to fill-in and you only have to fill-in what you know. So, no worries if there is a part of the citation for which you don’t know.  Then, there is also a section you can click on to expand the form if you retreived to document the method in which you found it – online?  an abstracts journal? Just select your source

There are also several other tools and features on the EasyBib site.  If you register you can share your lists, and use some of the other features.  They even offer a widget you can put on your website to create your citations without even having to go to the EasyBib website. That’s coolness!