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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, 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!

U Can Skype Me

I finally added the Skype button to my blog.  U can now Skype me if i’m online! Whippee!

Now, I don’t suspect it will get much use.  A couple of months ago I experimented with Meebo and I would get incoming messages almost every day. Maybe this is one way that I can establish better contact with blog visitors.  I see from search queries how people land on my blogs, so maybe if they know they can just click a button to get me it would be of help? We will see.

The button is over on the right side of the screen.

Flooded Cemetery

Earlier today while reading a colleague’s blog, I came across a link to pictures showing some of the devastation from Hurricane Ike.  I was moved by many of the pictures, especially these of a cemetery.

I’m not sure if both pictures are from the same cemetery, but the second picture is from the Hollywood Community Cemetery in Orange, Texas.   I looked to see if there were any online transcriptions.  At FindAGrave, there are about 20 names listed.    The USGenWeb page for Orange County has a listing up and I learned that it is an African-American cemetery. does not have any.

I truly hope there are members of the community that may have time in the future to help restore the cemetery. I am sure they have a lot of cleanup to do for those that live in the community and my thoughts are with them.

My New Genealogy Membership

Back during the genealogy games I joined the genealogy society for my area, the Middle Tennesse Genealogical Society.  This week, I received my new member packet with a welcome letter an issue of their journal, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy & History.  This society covers almost 40 counties in the middle tennesse region. 

In the issue of the journal I received (Volume 22, Number 1, Summer 2008) there are several articles.  These include:

  • a biography of Dr. Charles Frost Pickering, D.D.S.  Looks like Dr. Pickering graduated from my employer, Vanderbilt University in 1915.  He was associated with Vanderbilt Medical Center!
  • accounts as published in the July 7, 1860 issue of the People’s Paper, a newspaper of Manchester County, Tennessee
  • transcriptions of letters of Walter and Fanny Keeble written during his service from 1861 to 1863.  Hmmm…Keeble is a name that is part of Blount County, TN where I coordinate the USGenWeb/TnGenWeb site. I wonder if there is a connection?
  • a biographical sketch of John Bartleson, a soldier in the Mexican-American War. 
  • abstracts from the Southern Claims Commission for some individuals from Davidson County that were deemed loyalists and received payment.  Footnote has some SCC files online, but the ones in the journal in this issue come from rolls that have not yet been filmed. 
  • An article about TN Delayed Birth Records prior to 1908. I’m not sure I knew about these, so I’m adding them to my to-do list next time I visit the State Archives. 
  • A petition to the state legislation in 1841 against Thomas Durham of Sumner County.
  • Information on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules of the 1880 TN Census — part of the non-population schedules.  Again, something else I am not familiar with.
  • Family bible records of the White-Campbell Family
  • Index to Pardons and Paroles from TN State Prisons, 1904-1925. 
  • A quarterly update from librarians at the TSLA. I did not know there were plans for a new facility in a few years.
Overall, very interesting. I’m glad to have joined! The society offers all the past issues of the newsletter for the past 20 years on CD so I may look into ordering that one day. They also sell an all name index.  As I look through their website again today, I see they have a couple of upcoming workshops.  I hope that I may be able to find time to attend one soon; it looks like they bring in some experienced presenters to help teach.  

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.

Show & Tell

The call for submissions to the 55th Carnival of Genealogy has been announced and the topic is Show & Tell! Participants are charged with sharing an “…heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.”

To this end, I’d like to share this picture of my grandmother, Alice Elizabeth McNair as part of her high school graduating class.  To accompany the picture, I also have her original commencement program as well! These two are part of my treasures because of the fact that I have a photo and the program.

My grandmother is pictured 2nd from the left in the front row of girls; as the picture shows, there were 13 graduating members.  Last year, I made contact with a distant cousin of my grandmother’s who is also related to one of the other girls graduating that year.  I’m not sure which one she is, but the cousin informed me that the girl had passed only a few months prior to us talking. I was able to send her copies of this photo and the commencement program for her to share with my grandmother’s deceased classmate’s children.

The high school my grandmother graduated from was Plymouth Colored High School in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina.  I am pretty sure that somewhere, I have her diploma as well (or, my mother has it).

The Final Post

My final post for the GeneaBlogger Games. What a joy it has been! I’ve already posted what I’ve done, but let me do my final medal counts for the categories I was going to compete in.

  • Category 1: I did my 50 citations, so I earned a PLATINUM Medal for this one.
  • Category 3: a big fat 0! I knew this was the one least likely to get done because a) I’m fairly well organized anyway and b) it takes me a LONG time to do my organization. I cannot just file. I have to file, check records, review records, seek new info to fill in gaps, etc.  So, while I got a start and did a few of my loose files, I did not focus on this category.
  • Category 4: I did four of the five tasks, thus earning a DIAMOND medal. I enjoyed this category tremendously and it was the most important for me; particularly the pre-publish. I am beginning another Master’s program in September with a very heavy course load and will not be doing much genealogy.  With so many blogs, I took this on to create posts to last through the month. I only did enough posts for two of my blogs, but the remainder of the week, I will focus on getting the others. V
  • Category 5: DIAMOND medal here as well.  I just decided not to bother asking anyone to join Facebook. There are many great people signing up already!

I made a page to track my overall tasks that is here. Overall, I’m quite happy with this experience. I have learned a lot and gotten to read a lot of great blog posts from others about the process.  What an amazing network of genealogists there is online!