Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines

Highlighted Main Ancestral Lines
How many Ancestors Can you Find?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Unveiling Series E-Magazine Articles

Since I have an extra moment and the last such post had 77 reads...here is some more of the e-magazine article reading:

Birth and Death Records - Basics and Beyond:
      Birth and death records comprise the foundation of vital records since most vital statistics are commonly available on both certificates.  The basics of either are the full names of all individuals listed, dates, and places of key vital events, and the relationships positively identified on the documents.  Going beyond these basic records involves commonly associated available records.  When a child is born there may be an announcement, invitations, memorabilia with hand and footprints, etc.  Similarly, when any person dies there are often many records associated with the death certificate such as funeral home and cemetery records, will and estate records, an obituary, etc.  Often times there are now videos and or groups of pictures on video presented at a memorial service for the departed family member.  Just remember to consider all of the possible records generated for these and other vital events.

Immigration and Emigration:
     What is the difference?  Immigration is when people move from one country to another permanently while emigration is when people move within a country settling from place to place.  Often times our immigrant ancestors are also emigrant ancestors who crossed the pond and moved around a bit after they arrived here.  Many researchers are fascinated with the fact that ancestors crossed an entire ocean to get here, but it is just as amazing to track how they moved from place to place within their new homeland.

Using Familysearch.org LDS Website for Research:
     Familysearch.org is a great website from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints often referred to as the Mormons.  They have been collecting and preserving family records for so long that Mormons have become synonymous with genealogy.  The site is very simple to navigate a search from – just type in a name.  You can narrow the search by adding or changing first and last names, places of birth, locations of vital events, etc.  Just give it a try and you will soon see how helpful their site really is.

Using Google.com for Research:
    Google is another amazing site to conduct family research on.  Just remember to note that sources are still critical as everything you read on the internet hasn’t been verified with primary source documents.   Try searching people’s names first then add a place name and watch the results narrow from thousands to a handful.  Then add a year and maybe you’ll get lucky.  Try this will all of your ancestors and just print anything that matches up and attach it to a completed research log for ancestors’ folders.  It doesn’t get much easier.  Google also has some amazing Map features these days where you can not only view an address from a satellite view, but you can also get a photo view of most major and many minor streets.

Also you can search Google news to brows newspaper articles for notorious ancestors.  There seems to be no end to how Google can help a researcher.

NARA Preservation Presentation earlier this week by Pamela Najar-Simpson

This week I was fortunate enough to enjoy Pamela's presentation during an odd and extended lunch time break.  It was nice to see some preservation intense information from NARA D.C.

The following are my highlights/notes from her very worthwhile presentation. I hope you will be as surprised by some of her insights as I was.


Preservation of records - general rules to prevent damage and reduce deterioration:

0. - If what you are planning to do isn't reversible - then simply don't do it!
1. Lower temperatures - keep them cool.
2. Lower humidity - keep them dry
3. Low light - keep them in the dark
4. Low air pollutant levels -

Foxing - records with rust looking stains from higher humidity
Mold & Insects also cause deterioration and damage

Confusing and Clearer Preservation Terms:

"ARCHIVAL" - it actually has no meaning from a presevation standpoint and is primarily for mere advertising to convince you that some product is better than another.

"ACID FREE" - not a good term because no sold paper or sleeve or folder is completely free of substances that deteriorate over time.  Wood pulp with high cellulose makes paper that can last longer naturally, but it still deteriorates.

"CHEMICALLY INERT and STABLE" - as any product holding documents ages, your goal is to slow down the deterioration/natural breakdown of that inevitable process.

Better Materials to Use:
Polyester is a good example and Gaylord and Hollanger both sell preservation materials that are reliable in these two regards (Chemical Inert and Stable).

Beware of general plastic especially if it designed for long term storage of food products. i.e; baggies and cellophane, etc.

Acid Free Folders, Acid Free Document Boxes, Other Ideas:

The Container Store sells some pricey materials labelled "Archival"

New Terms:  "Buffered vs. Unbuffered" - buffered adds recyclable materials to reduce acid levels, but alkaline issues can be problematic - pH is a delicate balance.  Unbuffered has cellulose only so it is best.  Acetic acid was mentioned several times by Pamela which is essentially vinegar in various pH concentrations.  A difference of just a few % strength can mean a world of difference with paper, folder, and even cardboard deteriorating more quickly.


Black and White photos are more stable and usually fine to last a long time when not interfered with by other adjacent less stable materials.

Color photographs, however, are problematic due to the vast array of less stable ingredients used in the various dyes so Copy/scan & digitize them for longer preservation options.  You may want to modify scanned color images with the MSO Picture Manger back to black and white and save under a slightly different name, print and file that if you like - this is incredibly easy on most recent computers.  Below are two images as an example of one of my compilation images switched to B & W which took only about five seconds to modify and save:

Image Permanence Institute - dates back to early Kodak history see also Rochester Institute of Technology.

Storing Portraits:
Polyester  L sleeves - top and side open for less restrictive storage and easier access to documents within.
Polypropylene is good too.

Problems Old Photo Albums:
(This is where Thomas MacEntee would plug the remarkable usefulness of the Flip-Pal scanner as well)

Preserving Books:
Keep in original format - spines are biggest hurdle to scanning and preservation efforts.
Box them for protection - several companies sell custom sized versions just for books.

Shelving Books:
Keep Same or similar sizes together for support.
Store large volumes flat for stability.

Over sized items (Maps, blueprints, large family tree charts, etc):
$465 will get you a 41 inch wide five drawer cabinet at the time this article was published and that is a cheap one:  Deluxe Steel Flat File (Gray)Deluxe Steel Flat File (Gray)

These are pricey flat storage cabinets with large to huge drawers, but for a more typical budget...

1. Roll these items loose with a larger diameter and wrap with plastic and tie for protection.
2. Always avoid folding oversize items when possible because deterioration is often accelerated along any creases/folds.

Magnetic media storage (Cassette and VHS tapes):
These are short term options with a life expectance of about 20 years even when professionally done - not at home.
Technological Obsolescence: - outdated Floppy Diskettes went by the wayside too

Electronic Media: - even worse 
Physical Item is fragile and damage to it could be a total loss
CDs & DVDs - Archival Gold CD & DVR: 

Pamela hadn't heard of the Millenniata M Discs to my surprise, but who of us will even be around to know if they work in 1,000 years?

American Intuition for Conservation


Sunday, March 23, 2014

                                 Transcribed From My Writings on Reflections at Work in Jan 2014

The intent of a document is critical to understanding it.  Only so much can be inferred by the reader.  Beyond that, the designer of the template must include his or her specific intent textually somewhere within the document.  Whether he or she chooses to make this statement of intent visible to the naked eye is entirely up to the designer.  Beware of white of near white text since it can be sifted through via click and drag or Optical Character Recognition (OCR) programs’ detection abilities.

Some Key Questions to Ask when Reviewing Any Document:

Q1.  Why was this document generated?

Q2.  What agency or organization generated this particular version of this document?

Q3.  Is this version of the document possibly a copy and or altered?

Q4.  What benefit could be gained by altering and/or copying this particular document?

i.e;  Any DD Form 214 clearly states that it is for official discharge from United States Military Service using a template that clarifies all of the particulars of the listed service member’s time in that specified branch.  Recent versions have a particular anti-alteration background for sections of the document that might be used for nefarious benefits eligibility so they require verification of the member’s copy to the government filed original prior to issuance of such benefits.    

I see I now have 25 blog followers!  Thank you all for reading my fairly sparse posts here - I hope to improve my frequency once better paying work can be acquired as you can surely understand.

 - Eric

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Balancing your time is a challenge as a creative genealogist!

  • You need time to research
  • You need time to create
  • You need time to network on-line
  • You need time to network offline
  • You need to work and pay the bills until your genealogy ideas can support you
  • You need to continue learning new applications and tips
  • You need to branch into other related fields
  • You need to somehow find a few hours to sleep each day!
No wonder we feel so spread out most days!

Since I am feeling transcendental today:

Beware when God lets loose the Great Thinker on the earth for then all things are at risk... @ H.D. Thoreau

Very well then I contradict myself. @ W. Whitman

Have a great weekend!  - Eric/ Genedocs Founder