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!

Google Books Index

In case you haven’t happened across this yet, Jennifer at Rainy Day Research has a great resource that she is building – a Google Books Index.

Jennifer creates a list of those books in Google Books that are public domain and focused on genealogical/historical information.  As I come across books that I think would be good additions, I just send them to her, but then I also thought I should write a blog post about it as I find it quite helpful.

Connecting with Cuil

With all the fanfare around the launch of the Cuil.com search engine, I was planning to spend a little time exploring the site. In all of 5 minutes earlier today, I had formed my initial impressions of it – that I’m not sure I like it.  But, that could be me being hasty and not accepting something new, so I’ll spend some time later this week doing more investigations.

However, it has already done something for me. Today, I was contacted by a descendant of one of the family trees I am working on, that of James Carroll Napier.   We just spent an hour and half on the phone having the best conversation and just like other Napiers I’ve been contacted by, he’s declared me an honorary cousin!

His branch of the family has had a strong oral history and his uncle used to spend time at the house of JC & wife, Nettie. How cool!  DB (we’ll call him) found me as he was playing around with Cuil himself looking for any heretofore unknown JC Napier items and found the pictures I’d posted to Find A Grave of JC’s and family tombstones.

Here’s to Cuil for making me a new genealogy buddy!

Footnote Findings & Feature Friday

I haven’t been working on my own family genealogy much this past two weeks or so – we’ve been rather busy and I’ve been devoting quite a bit of time to a few other genealogy projects; but, tonight I took a few minutes to play around on Footnote’s website.  I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have developed some blogging memes – one of them was to take a database a month and search/browse for content relative to my genealogy blogs. I call it “Feature Friday”.

  • Last week, I found something in Footnote for my Kinston Free Press blog of deceased soldiers from Kinston on the Vietnam Memorial
  • Tonight I found a UFO sighting that was reported in Plymouth, NC for my Roanoke Beacon Blog
  • And, I just blogged about a descendant of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt (namesake of my employing institution) who was approached to go in with a group of people to buy an island in France and make the American dollar the legal tender.

The time that I spend poking around gives me a better sense of the collections – as we know, much information continues to be frequently added.

For my own family tree however, back in May I found my grandmother’s brother listed on a crew list for the USS Neosho.  I already knew he was on this ship and let me tell you, that ship saw some crazy action – I leared a couple of years ago that about 80% of the crew was lost in action around the time of Pearl Harbor.  That is a story for another post – but my spotlight page is here.  I believe I have overcome my “battle with footnote“  :-)

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