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.

FGS & Genealogy Publishing 2.0

Though I’m unable to attend the FGS Annual Conference in nearby Knoxville, I plan to follow along as much as I can via blog posts, Twitter feeds & Facebook status updates.  However, I started thinking about what I’d hoped to have gained from attending FGS and much of it centers on what I perceive as an overall need for genealogy societies to better leverage technology and increase their engagement in online media (e.g. social media & social networking).   I have a lot of thoughts about this but in this post I’ll address the traditional publishing models I see in many genealogy societies and why some changes would be more likely to engage me as a member.

Many genealogy societies produce a journal and/or newsletter in print format. In order to be more accessible, some offer the journal/newsletter online as an electronic download, usually in the form of a PDF document.  I’ve seen one society, the Durham-Orange Genealogical Society, who put their newsletter in an online HTML format and provide the quarterly publication via PDF online using Scribd.  This is a great set-up and the members of the D-OGS have a great person in Ginger to figure out some of the technical underpinnings.  However, I’d love to see the entire genealogical society network incorporate similar practices in a more systematic and robust manner and take this even further.

For example, in the medical academic publishing community most journals are published electronically.  Journal websites frequently provide the following:

  • RSS feeds for newly published articles
  • the ability to “comment” at the article level
  • ability to “share” via social networking sites
  • free abstracts with full access restricted to subscribers
  • HTML & PDF versions of articles
  • free access to articles older than a specified time period (e.g. 12, 18, or 24 months)
  • articles organized by subject categories with those specific categories available as RSS feeds for easy browsing and/or searching

Furthermore, individual journals are often part of a larger collaborative/network of journals (e.g. Highwire at Stanford University) and at the aggregate level users have the ability to search across journals, across subjects/disciplines and across article type.  Membership/subscription management is facilitated at the level of the individual journal.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an online publishing network for genealogy societies that provided similar functionality for their publications?

Below is a screenshot of PLOSGenetics – if you visit the site at www.plosgenetics.org to get a sense of the interactivity & dynamic presentation of their articles and other journals part of the PLOS network.

PLOS Genetics – visit their website to see their interactive and dynamic handling of journal articles.

Imagine being able to log onto one central site where I could access the full-text of the publications of the genealogy societies that I subscribe to, search for articles by state, county, subject categories (e.g. cemetery research, African-American research), browsing the articles of societies that I’m not a member of, but possibly pay for per-article basis, have access to older issues for free, and being able to comment upon and “tweet” about the articles with the online genealogy community.  The integration of Facebook via their Open Graph protocol could help me learn what my friends and fellow geneabloggers are also finding of value. I could download PDF files of specific issues if I’m a subscribing member for local storage.  To me, this seems a much more valuable membership perk than receiving a print version or static PDF file throughout the year.   Electronic publishing is cheaper and funds could be directed to other projects in the society.The Federation of Genealogical Societies, an organization that aims to serve the needs of, provide services & products for, and marshal the resources of it’s gen society members would be an ideal organization to bring about such a portal.  A partnership with ACPL Genealogy Center may add more benefits given their work with the PERSI database for indexing genealogy & local history literature.  I believe that overall, genealogical literature can become more accessible, discoverable and shareable via this model.
Late last night, I went ahead and created a small prototype site at http://www.ncgenweb-data.com/genpress/ to flesh out my thoughts a little further using the latest issue of the journal of the North Carolina Genealogical Society.   This prototype site is far from where I could see this going, but is at least a beginning.  Had I been able to attend I’d loved to have discussed this with FGS Board members and gen society officers.  There are so many interesting-looking presentations that I’d loved to have attended. Perhaps someone will be talking about this kind of potential? Any takers for making this happen? :-)

Wiki Thoughts

Today while reading a blog post on the FamilySearch blog, a phrase they used with regard to their Research Wiki caught my eye — the blog post mentions that anyone using the wiki “need look no further” than their Research Wiki.  The Research Wiki, while a great resource, is far from needing to be the last place to look.

But, after reading the post, I did take another look at the site; for I do use it from time to time.   Over the past few months I’ve been thinking about use of Wikis in genealogy and how I’d love to see a site as comprehensive for genealogy as Wikipedia is for general use.  I think the Research Wiki has this kind of potential.

What I Like

  • interface – clean layout,  easy to navigate, easy to browse or search. given the importance of locality searching in genealogy, having an option to browse by country as they do on the front page is important.  also, on any subpage, there is a clear option in the top right corner to either browse by country or browse by topic. very handy indeed.  of course, the search box is always present.  Breadcrumbs are used throughout most of the site so you know where you are.  The icon at the top of the page needs to change though — it should go to the front page of the wiki, not the main FamilySearch page.  Branding the site as one of FamilySearch’s can be done differently.
  • editing – uses a “what you see is what you get” editor — much like using a word processing program.  This feature encourages broad participation since most users will be familiar with how to do edits if they’ve ever used a word processing program..
  • LDS records – the wiki is especially helpful in that they link to available LDS records and we know there is a lot of those! who else to do that better?
  • formatting – each county page, as an example, has a standard format; makes it easy to orient yourself when you move from county to county.  Topic pages are not standardized, but this would be harder to do given their variety.
  • social – each page has links to send a page to your Facebook or Twitter profile.  None of the other genealogy wikis have this feature.
  • registration – is easy. one-step process. see something you want to edit? register and you can start editing immediately.  and of course, anyone can edit.

The competition?

  • Ancestry Wiki – the newest broad-topic genealogy wiki. I like it’s interface too.  Registration capitalizes upon your Ancesty.com account so there is no need to learn a new password.   I like the overall interface of Ancestry Wiki, but without the use of breadcrumbs it is easy to get lost in the site; there is no constant navigation feature to keep you oriented.  Editing also is not truly WYSIWYG — you have to use Wiki syntax which means a steeper learning curve and is a barrier to participation that could be eliminated.  And, the logo on the site does not link back to the homepage – instead it takes you to Ancestry.com.  At this point, I don’t see it as viable yet for being “the Wikipedia” of genealogy.
  • Encyclopedia of Genealogy – this was started by Dick Eastman and is the oldest genealogy wiki of which I’m aware.   Eastman was forward-thinking to create the wiki and offer it as a way to capture the collective’s genealogy knowledge, but the site so far has less content than the Research Wiki and is not as comprehensive.   This is understandable though so I can’t complain too loudly :-)
  • National Archives Wiki – this is new as well, just announced a few weeks ago.  I applaud NARA’s efforts to incorporate more web 2.0 technologies and will keep my eye on this one.  The scope of the site is too narrow to be “the Wikipedia” of genealogy, but could grow to be a great resource.  I don’t find this wiki very easily navigated.   The link to browse by Record Group blends too easily on the right sidebar and should be made more prominent since most researchers will be familiar with the Record Group structure for NARA records.  The front page of the wiki also tries to squeeze in too much content in the space.   Their page editing is WYSIWG and that’s a positive! However, the registration process is cumbersome – it is not a one-step process like the Research Wiki and/or Wikipedia.  When I “create an account” b/c I’m ready to edit something,  I need to be able to edit right away – if I have to wait and come back I may not come back.

Overall, I’m excited by the potential the FamilySearch Research Wiki offers.  Given the long-standing history of LDS and their efforts to promote genealogy research, including their massive indexing project,  the Research Wiki has potential to become a great resource indeed.  The site has come a long way, but still needs work, so I’m going to do my small part this weekend and edit more pages so I can get an even more comprehensive understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

In Memoriam: Stanley Hines Robinson

Today, July 28, 2010, my mother’s eldest brother, Stanley Hines Robinson passed away.   Hospitalized just 9 days ago, this has come about rather suddenly for our family and we will miss him so.  Stanley had many adventures in life, liked to travel, and was an independent & free spirit.

We love you and will miss you Uncle Stanley.

Stanley @ about 3 months old on the shoulder of his Uncle June. New York, 1950.

Tombstone Tuedsay: Dred & Ellen Wimberly

Back in June, through the kind assistance of a researcher in North Carolina, I was sent photos of the headstones and home of the brother of one of my 3rd great-grandmothers.  This is Dred Wimberly and his wife Ellen Bertha (Jenkins) Wimberly. They are buried in Unity Cemetery in Rocky Mount, NC and their home is in Tarboro.

Dred was born a slave to James S. Battle (and hence my 3g-grandma was too) and because of his relationship to Kemp Battle, his later owner, after the Civil War Dred became a member of the North Carolina General Assembly.   Having these pictures is priceless to me.

Headstone of Dred Wimberly (1868-1937)

Headstone of Ellen Bertha (Jenkins) Wimberly - d. 1945

Home of Dred Wimberly - Raleigh St, Tarboro, NC

More Compiled Service Records @ Internet Archive

The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center has added more compiled service records to the Internet Archive.  One of the latest additions are the Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served with the United States Colored Troops: 1st through 6th Calvary.  There are 107 reels in this collection.  For more information about these records, read a detailed overview.

These are also available at Ancestry.com and are 39% complete at Footnote.  But, at the Internet Archive they are free!  NARA should add these to their list of microfilm digitized by partners.

These records have been indexed in the book

1st United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 1 - Ackess, Alexander – Bom, John H.
  • Reel 2 - Bomer, James – Cartwright, John
  • Reel 3 - Casey, Thomas – Davenport, John J.
  • Reel 4 - Davis, Augustus – Floyd, George
  • Reel 5 - Fly, Benjamin – Griffin, Oliver
  • Reel 6 - Griffin, Quinton – Holstead, Peter
  • Reel 7 – Holt, George – Jones, Herbert
  • Reel 8 - Jones, Howell – Macoy, Peter
  • Reel 9 - Madry, Andrew – Mosley, Jacob
  • Reel 10 - Moss, James – Polk, James
  • Reel 11 - Pollard, Sipio – Sales, William
  • Reel 12 - Sample, Abram (Abraham) – Smith, Ives
  • Reel 13 - Smith, James – Times, Nelson
  • Reel 14 - Tines, Archer – Wheldon, Charles M.
  • Reel 15 - Whitby, Joseph – Wilson, Isaac
  • Reel 16 - Wilson, James – Zoe (no first name)

2d United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 17 - Abbot, John – Bell, Charles
  • Reel 18 - Bell, Henry – Burns, Richard
  • Reel 19 - Burroughs, George L. – Cotton, Samuel
  • Reel 20 – Coues, Alexander – Duncan, Levi
  • Reel 21 - Dunkins, Ezikiah James – Gardner, Richard
  • Reel 22 - Garris, Henry – Harrison, Thomas
  • Reel 23 - Harrison, William – Humphries, David
  • Reel 24 - Hunter, Francis – Jones, Robert
  • Reel 25 - Jones, Robert F. – Martin, Robert (Martin)
  • Reel 26 - Martin, Thaddeus – Osborne, Henry S.
  • Reel 27 - Oulden, Jacob – Prior, Edward or Edmund
  • Reel 28 - Proctor, David – Sawyer, Wilson
  • Reel 29 - Scabber, Charles – Stanley, William
  • Reel 30 - Stanley, Wright or Right – Upshear, Neverson
  • Reel 31 - Upshear, Samuel – Whites, Joe
  • Reel 32 - Whites, Silas – Zodrick, Isaiah A. or Isaiah

3d United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 33 - Aaron, John – Black, David
  • Reel 34 - Black, Richard – Cameron, Wyatt
  • Reel 35 - Cammel, Austin – Cooper, Stephen
  • Reel 36 - Coran, Joseph – Erving, Tilson
  • Reel 37 - Erwin, Anderson – Gool, George
  • Reel 38 - Gordon, Alfred – Haskins, Jasper
  • Reel 39 - Hawkins, Frank – Jackson, Harvey
  • Reel 40 - Jackson, Henry – Kembro, Abraham
  • Reel 41 - Kenedy, Lemuel – Lott, Judge
  • Reel 42 – Lott, Matton – Mitchell, Berry
  • Reel 43 - Mitchell, George – Pettis, Edmond
  • Reel 44 - Pettis, George – Roberson, Jefferson
  • Reel 45 - Roberson, Wallace – Simpson, Levi
  • Reel 46 - Sims, Anderson – Taylor, Phillip
  • Reel 47 - Taylor, Richard – Washington, Isaac
  • Reel 48 - Washington, Oscar – Williams, Mitchel
  • Reel 49 - Williams, Moses – Young, Mathew

4th United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 50 - Abraham, Randall – Blanchan, William
  • Reel 51 - Blanchard, Moses – Clark, Moses
  • Reel 52 - Clark, Theodore – Ellars, James
  • Reel 53 - Ellars, John – Heath, Culbert
  • Reel 54 - Henderson, George – Johnson, Henderson
  • Reel 55 - Johnson, Henry – Mayberry, Nelson
  • Reel 56 – Macomory, John – Oliver, Celestine
  • Reel 57 - Olsten, Alexander – Robinson, William
  • Reel 58 - Robinson, William E. – Thomas, Stephen
  • Reel 59 - Thomas, William – Williams, Horace
  • Reel 60 - Williams, Isaac – Zulia, Francois

5th United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 61 - Abel, Fletcher – Biggs, Randall
  • Reel 62 - Birch, Benjamin – Burly, Frank
  • Reel 63 - Burly, James – Coffman, James D.
  • Reel 64 - Coke, Samuel – Dudley, John
  • Reel 65 - Duke, John – Givens, Peter
  • Reel 66 - Glen, John – Harriden, Edmund
  • Reel 67 - Harrigan, Harden – Hughes, Thomas
  • Reel 68 - Hulse, James – Keller, Ephraim
  • Reel 69 - Kelley, Franklin-Matthews, Benjamin
  • Reel 70 - Maupin, Preston – Murry, Ned
  • Reel 71 – Murtney, Morton – Ray, John
  • Reel 72 - Ray, Thomas – Sherrod, Willliam
  • Reel 73 - Shrewsbury, Joseph – Stone, John
  • Reel 74 - Stone, Lewis – Trye, Benjamin
  • Reel 75 - Trueheart, Samuel – Williams, James
  • Reel 76 - Williams, Jerry – Yowell, Joseph

5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored)

  • Reel 77 - Abbey, David – Biers, William
  • Reel 78 - Billings, Jeremiah – Burgess, Williams
  • Reel 79 - Burnett, Lewis – Cook, Joseph T.
  • Reel 80 - Cooper, Isaac – Dunmore, William
  • Reel 81 - Durbin, Stephen – Furman, Seneca A.
  • Reel 82 - Gadson, James – Gurley, Joseph L.
  • Reel 83 - Guy, James – Hill, John W.
  • Reel 84 - Hill, Richard – Johns, Thomas H.
  • Reel 85 - Johnson, Aaron – Lambert, William
  • Reel 86 - Lancaster, James – Mason, John
  • Reel 87 - Mason, John H. – Nelson, Philip
  • Reel 88 - Nelson, Preston – Preston, Thomas
  • Reel 89 - Price, Adam – Sampson, George P.
  • Reel 90 - Sanborn, Madison – Stringer, William
  • Reel 91 - Strother, Frank – Vance, William H.
  • Reel 92 - Van Hoesen, Charles – Wilkinson, Simon
  • Reel 93 - Williams, Abram H. – Young, Thomas

6th United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 94 - Abbot, John – Birch, James
  • Reel 95 - Bivins, Gabriel – Buckner, George
  • Reel 96 - Buckner, Henderson – Compton, James
  • Reel 97 - Cook, Benjamin – Ellis, William
  • Reel 98 - Ellis, Wyatt – Godley, Isaac
  • Reel 99 - Gooch, Alexander – Herston, Abraham
  • Reel 100 - Heywood, John R. – Johnson, Jackson
  • Reel 101 - Johnson, James M. – Marshall, Lyman
  • Reel 102 - Marshall, William – Neihardt, Isaac D.
  • Reel 103 - Nelson, Joseph – Redd, Tiney
  • Reel 104 - Redway, Hamilton K. – Sebree, Bob Woodcock
  • Reel 105 - Sebree, Crittenden – Sumpter, John
  • Reel 106- Sutherland, Williams – Washington, Charles
  • Reel 107 - Washington, George – Wren (no first name)

2010 NCGenWeb in Review

Just a quick post to share our year in review highlight on the North Carolina USGenWeb project website.  I’ve now been webmaster for almost exactly one year!  The year-in-review highlights some of the milestones in the project this year and should we continue to keep it up, would be a great way to document some of the project history.

In other USGenWeb news:

  • for the NCGenWeb I created a database of more than 17,000 college graduates throughout North Carolina that focuses on 1930 and earlier. This summer I’ll be expanding it to up to 1940.
  • I’ve started a college graduate database for TNGenWeb too – hope to have that one publicly available by summers’ end
  • I’m the new assistant county coordinator for Hillsborough County, Florida
  • I am in the process of collaborating with another county coordinator on a site that is designed to promote the USGenWeb project and leverage social networking tools and applications.

My personal family history research has been on hiatus as I’ve been dedicating more efforts to the NCGenWeb project, but I have plans to remedy this soon enough.  I’ve had some exciting leads lately that I need to get around to fully documenting and blogging about.

I’m a USGenWeb cheerleader so remember, if you have family data that you’re blogging about – consider also contributing it to the appropriate USGenWeb county.

Tombstone Tuesday: William and Henrietta Bowers Bolinger

This Tombstone Tuesday post is dedicated to my friend & co-worker Rachel.  I’ve been working on her family tree for a few years now off and on and she recently did a little online searching of her own and found tombstone pictures of her 3rd great-grandparents, William Bolinger and Henrietta Catherine (Bowers) Bolinger.   They are buried in Rheatown Cemetery in Rheatown, Greene County, Tennessee.

Henrietta Catherine Bowers Bolinger

William Bolinger

William  (1826-1900) was born in Virginia according to census records and though I don’t yet have documentation of his parents, they were of foreign birth.  Henrietta (1831-1916) was also from Virginia, the daughter of Jacob Bowers and wife Mary.  Henry & Henrietta were married July 18, 1854 in Greene County and from what I’ve gathered so far, had 7 children.  In reviewing the records I see I have much more to do for this line;  so many branches, so little time.

Historic Tennessee Newspapers Going Digital & Online!

One of my favorite historical newspaper resources is the Chronicling America site by the National Digital Newspaper Program partnership between the Library of Congress & the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The site contains digital images of  newspapers from 16 states covering 188-1922 and is a valuable source of information in our genealogical research.

The goal of the project is to have representation from all states and in the latest round of grant awards, more states have received funding to come aboard – Tennessee included.  I personally am thrilled to have a chance to be involved in the project as I will be a member of the Advisory Board in the role of an interested recreational genealogist/end user of the project results.  Newspaper research is a high priority for me so I’m ecstatic!

More about the TN Project

  • Coordinated by joint collaboration between the University of Tennessee Knoxville & the Tennesse State Library & Archives
  • Goal is to digitize 100,000 pages of historical TN newspapers from 1836-1922.  There will be representation from all three of the grand divisions of the state
  • Selection of the papers to digitize is part of the project, but there are over 1,000,000 pages to choose from!

The grant involves an experienced body of individuals; coordinated by JoAnne Deeken @ UTK.  I look forward to getting to know others on the team and helping to assist in the recommendations for titles to digitize.  High on my personal wish list for inclusion is the Nashville Globe, a black newspaper published in Nashville from 1907-1960.    I have been indexing parts of it over the past three years and access to the full run during this time frame would be of benefit for African-American genealogical research.

Other states awarded funds to add newspapers (some already have contributed) to the Chronicling America site are:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Washington

How exciting!