Shout out to Cindy’s list for tweeting the URLs to 2 new videos from FamilySearch re their granite vault.
I’ve put one of them in my sidebar as my featured video. I’m always on the lookout for genealogy videos so this is a great addition. Thanks!
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 records have been indexed in the book
1st United States Colored Calvary
2d United States Colored Calvary
3d United States Colored Cavalry
4th United States Colored Cavalry
5th United States Colored Calvary
5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored)
6th United States Colored Cavalry
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
In my last post, I expressed my desire for a Find-A-Grave app for my smartphone and outlined several specific features I wished to see in the app. After posting and sharing the link, I learned from Thomas that there was an ongoing discussion on the Find-A-Grave forums, and then someone posted a link to a beta version of an app in the Android Market. Sweet! I have an Android phone.
Eager to see how it works, I quickly installed it. The app’s page has several screenshots that will allow you to see how it currently works and I see much promise. It was released May 11, 2010 so is a very early version. So far, it provides basic access to the data at the Find-A-Grave website, but it does not have any of the 7 functions I listed in my post. To be fair though, it is clear from the current menus that many of these are planned, and I am excited!
Overall, the usability of the site is aligned with what I envisioned. It is fast, easy to use and instructions are clear. I believe the developer is definitely heading in the right direction. Now I just need to figure out a way to let the developer know of my blog post!
A couple of months ago I read an article about a Vanderbilt Engineering student named Ben Gotow and his work developing iPhone apps. He developed an iPhone app for artists that has sold more than 20,000 units to date, an app for a Vanderbilt informatics group that allows anesthesiologists to view what’s going on in various operating rooms from their iPhones, and considered another app that immediately caught my attention and sparked my thoughts on the topic of this blog post. It’ s a blog post I’ve been bouncing around for a couple of months and this week’s prompt for Find-A-Grave gives me the perfect opportunity to present the idea.
What was that other app? The app that was mentioned that particularly caught my eye was described in the following manner in the article I read about him
Gotow hopes to develop an app that would allow users to point their phones at a building anywhere on Vanderbilt’s campus and receive information about what is going on inside as well as the building’s history.
When I read this sentence, I had an immediate realization at how cool something like this could be for a genealogical/historical researcher! Not only for Vanderbilt buildings, but if it were crowdsourced somehow or drew from Wikipedia for use from any location. Wouldn’t that be cool? Then, as I thought about its potential for use from any location, I realized that something like this could be useful for Find-A-Grave. Imaging pointing your smartphone towards any cemetery and getting information about that cemetery?
I’m tweaking the original 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy prompt’s objective, but here are my thoughts on how a FindAGrave app could work:
Using an app like this while surveying, viewing a cemetery would be interesting. It may extend the time needed to survey a cemetery, but with all the steps combined of taking a picture and uploading it to the site, it may in the end save time. I’d love to try something like this out. The argument could be made that since smartphones can render websites, the regular Find-A-Grave site could be used, but I personally find usability issues when using the regular site on my Android. Either a specifically designed mobile version of the site or an app would be better from a usability perspective. It is time like these that I wish I were a programmer, or at least had enough money to hire a programmer.
Thanks for the inspiration Ben! Maybe I can get someone at Find-A-Grave, or someone with programming expertise to take this on. I’d need a Droid version though.
Update 5/31 — Thomas tweeted a link to a forum discussion on an iPhone app for Find-A-Grave and I posted a comment there. Also, I had another idea. Here’s the scenario:
Today I am visiting family in Indiana and I’m planning to go visit a cemetery. Maybe a potential function of the app would be to provide me a % of tombstones photographed at cemeteries around me. I could target some of the cemeteries with fewer percentage of tombstones photographed to start with. Recognizing that there may not be headstones for everyone listed at a particular cemetery, it would still be an interesting way to know how to best focus my efforts to help contribute to the site.
I also learned that there is a beta version of the app that was just released a couple of weeks ago. The site to learn more about it is here and you can see comments here. I will do a blog post about it later.
After learning yesterday that the Nashville Metropolitan Archives had a strong yearbook collection, I decided to spend my afternoon there today.
I wrote to the email reference of the Archives last night and received a response that they had a print listing of the yearbooks they have available, so I requested this list upon my arrival. They have a few hundred yearbooks from area schools & colleges.
I first wanted to look at any yearbooks they had for African-American schools. Since their yearbook collection is established mostly via donations, they had only a few available. I scanned the senior class listings from them so I can transcribe them for the Davidson County TNGenWeb site. The ones I captured were Pearl High School from 1955, 1965, 1975 and a school publication from 1942.
Then it was on to my obsession, Vanderbilt! They have many years of Vanderbilt yearbooks, so I captured the graduating classes of many years up to 1919; specifically – 1908, 1911, 1912, 1916, 1917, 1918 & 1919
All in all, a good few hours spent this afternoon!
The genealogy vacation extravaganza continues! Today I spent my time at the Nashville Public Library in their Nashville Room. I came to realized I’d seriously underappreciated the resources in the Nashville Room for I learned today much more about their holdings. As with yesterday, everything I gathered today will eventually go to the TNGenWeb & NCGenWeb projects to aid others doing family history research.
The reason I went to NPL was to capture digital images off of a couple of microfilm rolls I ordered years ago from the NC State Library & Archives. In the past I’d paid to have two rolls scanned by a professional microfilm company, but I keep trying out different ways to do it myself. Our public library has two microfilm machines hooked up to computers and this makes scanning quite easy to do.
I captured key information from:
One of my recreational blogs is Black Nashville History & Genealogy. Most of the info for the site comes from the Nashville Globe, an African-American newspaper that ran in the early-mid 1900s. Today, I captured:
Then, I discovered that the public library has quite a number of yearbooks. I’ve been in yearbook deluge lately so I had to continue and look at those. I even had to take a picture.
Today I captured the senior class listings for:
I also learned that the Nashville Metro Archives has a large yearbook collection so I will need to plan a visit there one day to look at them. Another very productive day! Unfortunately, tomorrow I need to run errands so no genealogy for me, but these past couple of days have been stellar. I now need to start my genealogy project Works-In-Progress List so I can keep track of my status with each of these.
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:
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.