28 August 2007

Oral Histories through Tampa Library

The Florida Genealogical Society [of Tampa] has kindly posted links to oral histories of Tampa that are available online through the Tampa Hillsborough Library System.

The link is on the Florida Genealogical Society's Blog. The first history was with Braulio Alonso. This is the teacher who helped my father complete high school when he came home from World War II. Braulio was also honored by Hillsborough County Schools by naming the new high school that is northwest of Tampa, Braulio Alonso High School.

There must be 40 interviews altogether.

Stealing from the library these interviews will provide the listener a slice of life in Tampa of yesteryear. There is more than Cigar Factories, Ybor City and Gasparilla.

Additional Information:
There are other oral history collections on Florida. The largest seems to be the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. It can be searched and includes outside resources. So far as I have found all these interviews are transcribed.

22 August 2007

Guide for Writing Oral Histories

At our society meetings in the past we have talked about getting family stories down in writing. Yes, there are lots of books that explain how to accomplish the task. Preserve Your Family History (A Step-by-Step Guide for Writing Oral Histories) by LeAnn Ralph in 80 pages for a minimum of $7.95 will help you to get oral stories down as written stories.

What might be different from other versions of the same thing? The writer was a newspaper reporter and from looking through the table of contents she addresses how to put the storyteller at easy. The review talks about 30 subjects and 300 questions (and all in 80 pages.) The review also provides excerpts
from the book including the table of contents.

The book can be downloaded for $7.95, or purchased for $17.90 in paperback at
Booklocker.com [http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1545.html]

20 August 2007

Organized Surname Searching

Sometimes you have a surname that you can't find much more on. Well I found two search engines that search for surnames: Linkpendium and the Surname Navigator

Linkpendium at http://www.linkpendium.com/genealogy/USA/sur/ gives an organized list of online place to look for your surname of interest. If you are search for a surname, do not enter anything in for location searching. What Linkpendium finds are message boards, mail lists, websites, biographies, DNA projects, alternative spellings and a few odds and ends. It is almost exclusively America, Canadian and British resources that it finds.

Surname Navigator
at http://www.kuijsten.de/navigator/ links to a number of databases (not all of them free.) WARNING: Uncheck most of the databases, searching all at once will overload your Internet browser. This search includes more of the world. However it also searches for living people. For the not-for-free finds take what they give and look into some of the other findings that are free.

With both of these search engines you will need to use your discretion as to whether to further pursue the leads that are generated.

Some areas that are missed are interest groups associated with Yahoo, ThirdAge, Google and the like. They find most of the surname hang outs. Of course if the surname is common or a place name these search engines will provide irrelevant findings.

Well try these search engines out, if you find them useful, the add them to you bookmarks or favorites.

If you know of similar search engines, please add them in the comments.

18 August 2007

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

The Library of Congress - National Endowment for the Humanities, have released a beta version of History Newspapers. You can search and read newspapers from 1900-1910. I found several obituaries that I needed from the Adair County News in Kentucky. Of course not all papers for all states are listed but the ones they have are a great asset to people. Check out the site and see if they have one you may need. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

I would not recommend trying this site if you have a dial-up Internet connection.

Have fun and let us know what you find.

Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know

This is the title of a news article in a New York Times for Saturday, August 18, 2007. This article on the day it was published, rose to #3 on the most emailed articles list. With this kind of popularity let's hope more articles like it will appear.

Elmer's Genealogy Library

Kick - Off
Family History Month

Elmer's Genealogy Library in Madison Florida will be hosting two three day conferences; the first will be Friday September 28th through Sunday September 30th.
Topics will include: How to Design a Family Web Page; Digital Cameras: A must have research tool; and a four part presentation on Preserving Your Family Papers, Photographs, & Heirlooms.

The second will be held on Friday October 12th through Sunday October 14th
Topics include: German Genealogy Terms; German Geography & German genealogy websites; Cemeteries and Beyond; New England prior to 1850; Military records and Interviewing yourself.

The library will be open extended hours and maybe even all night on Friday.

For more information please visit
Elmers Genealogy Library

05 August 2007

1816 did not have a summer.

The first I knew of this happening was from PCGS member Anna Stimson. She had very interesting information and found that some of her family probably moved because of the cold summer. The following article was just published in the Ithaca Journal in Ithaca, NY. The situation is very well described by historian Carol Kammen as follows:

The year 1816 started out cold — and never really got warm

The winter in 1816 had been cold and dry with temperatures below normal all over the Northeast. March and April were no better.

A report in the Ithaca Democrat recounted that there was ice a half-inch thick in May, and three inches of snow in June. People reported that ice formed on glass windows as late as the 5th of July. The fields could not be plowed.

It was called the “year without a summer.” Where crops could be planted, they failed to thrive; where they managed to grow at all, the frequent frosts killed off the plants, which were cut down and dried for fodder in August.

In June fires were necessary to keep houses warm, and there was a cold and piercing wind like those more usual in the month of November. On June 6, in Elizabethtown, N.Y., a cold front passed just before dawn, bringing in its wake a three-hour snow storm. The westerly winds froze the ground and destroyed most garden crops.

One man in Vermont recorded in his diary for June 7 that “the surface of the ground was stiff with frost—the leaves of the trees were blackened,” and tubs of water were covered with ice.

Birds fell to the earth and newborn sheep died. In some places there were five consecutive nights of frost — as if in December.

For people with little land under cultivation, as in much of Central New York, the cold was devastating. The cold killed the blooms on fruit trees. A New Hampshire newspaper reported the “season very unpromising, we begin to despair of corn, hay will come extremely light.”

Then the weather moderated, with high temperatures from June 22-24. People thought that the regular weather pattern might be returning. The first days of July brought the promise of being able to make a harvest and the Albany Advertiser predicted that if the warm weather continued, “apprehensions of scarcity will have subsided.”

But on July 6, the wind shifted and the temperatures fell, bringing cold throughout the Northeast, Pennsylvania, and as far south as Virginia. There was a slight moderation for the rest of the month but August brought only gloom with new waves of cold dashing all hopes of a normal harvest. Throughout New England the cold “killed a large part of the corn, potatoes, beans and vines, and also injured many crops.”

In New Jersey a writer mourned August as “such a cheerless, desponding, melancholy summer month.”

The summer weather in 1816 had been terrible, the coldest on record for nearly 200 years of record keeping, and there was great distress everywhere. In addition to scarcity on the farms, prices rose for the produce that was available. Corn, usually 78 cents a bushel, sold for more than $5 a bushel in many places. The shortages were felt most severely in the spring of 1817 when there were no reserves. In De Ruyter, one farmer dug up his newly planted potato crop to feed his family, and others sent agents to agricultural centers to buy whatever was available — at whatever price was asked.

What had caused this awful weather?

Most people agree that the year with no summer was caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in the Lesser Sunda Island of Indonesia in 1815. That blast rated a 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index and sent into the atmosphere 150 to 180 cubic kilometers of ash. By comparison, the eruption of Krakatau in 1883 ejected only 20 cubic kilometers of volcanic material into the air.

In 1816, most people had little idea where Mt. Tambora was located. Its eruption, however, may have had repercussions — even here in Central New York.

Originally published August 4, 2007

The direct link is:
Ithaca Journal Columnist Carol Kammen

02 August 2007

Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) Fall Seminar

The Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) well is holding their Fall Seminar on September 8th at Hillsborough Community Collage Tampa Campus. The distinguished Amy Johnson Crow, CG, will be speaking on:
• Researching Your Civil War Ancestors Online
• Ten Years is a Long Time: Census Substitutes for the In-Between Years
• Finding Ancestors before 1850
• Finding Female Ancestors

For more information please visit the FGS Tampa blog http://fgstampa.blogspot.com/

Registration forms can be found http://www.rootsweb.com/~flfgs/2007FGSFallSeminarRegistrationForm.pdf

Although this seminar falls on the same day as our PCGS membership meeting I would like to encourage you all to attend and bring back some great information to shear with our members.


Spanish Record Extraction Guide

Have you found old records in another language? That should not be an impediment; that old record could be a goldmine of information.

I found online a Spanish Record Extraction - An Instructional Guide at http://immigrants.byu.edu/Downloads/Spanish_Extraction_Guide/Default.htm This website contains some very large pdf-document links that will require that you use faster than dial-up baud rates.

This guide show you how to treat Spanish vital records every mechanically to extract names, dates and places. This guide has tips on handwriting, typical given and surnames, words identifying events and actors, and calendar dates and phrases.

Wow, I wish that I could find a German version too. If you find one, please share it.

One of my best Spanish documents is my uncle's baptismal certificate. It contains his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. It also has dates, place and witnesses.