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Thursday, July 31, 2008

JAMESTOWNE ANCESTORS

I thought this press release received from Genealogical Publishing Company may interest Missouri ancestor researchers with Virginia roots:

"JAMESTOWNE ANCESTORS," by Virginia Davis

One of our most popular contributions to a fuller understanding of the "small world of the 17th-century" is the directory, JAMESTOWNE ANCESTORS 1607-1699, by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis, a list of approximately 1,200 persons who are known to have landed or resided there between 1607 and 1699.

Mrs. Davis was particularly well qualified to compile a reliable list of 17th-century Jamestown inhabitants. She was the author of the book, "Tidewater Virginia Families," a compilation of the genealogy and social history of some 40 early Virginia families, and its sequel, "Tidewater Virginia Families: Generations Beyond." In an effort to preserve early Virginia records, Mrs. Davis edited and published the periodical, "Tidewater Virginia Families: A Magazine of History and Genealogy," for 12 years. More recently she transcribed "The Albemarle Parish Vestry Book of Surry and Sussex Counties, 1742-1786," the final Virginia parish vestry book to be made accessible to researchers. Mrs. Davis was a member of the Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters, Order of First Families of Virginia, The Jamestowne Society, and The James Cittie Company.

JAMESTOWNE ANCESTORS honors the island's early settlers and their contributions to Virginia and the future nation. The volume lists all inhabitants of Jamestown Island--both year-round residents and members of the House of Burgesses or other government officials-- who dwelled at Jamestown between 1607 and 1699. Mrs. Davis identifies each individual by name, occupation (burgess, landowner, artisan, etc.), year(s) present in Jamestown, and, in the case of officials, a place of permanent residence. Mrs. Davis includes only those colonists whose presence at Jamestown has been fully documented. Her list can be used as a starting point for achieving membership in a number of hereditary societies that accept descent from Jamestown as a qualification. (A list of 16 such organizations is included in the book.)

Replete with facsimiles of early maps and diagrams and drawing upon recent archaeological research, JAMESTOWNE ANCESTORS 1607-1699 is a comprehensive list of our oldest ancestors. For more information about this book or its author, go here:

LINK

INDEX TO EMIGRANT VOLUMES by DR. HEINZ MARXKORS: SERIES A AND B

From the St. Louis County Library website:

“The index to the volumes listed below was created by staff and volunteers in Special Collections at St. Louis County Library, abstracting the names from Dr. Marxkors' emigrant volumes with his permission. The text in his volumes is in German with some English, but for translation, see the coding sheet ("How to read the data").

The amount of information on each emigrant varies, but may contain place and date of birth, names of parents, name of spouse and date of marriage, etc. The volumes include a limited number of tables and maps. Photocopies are available from St. Louis County Library staff.”

Indexed Sources:

Emigrants from the Former Counties of Büren and Paderborn in St. Libory, St. Clair County, State of Illinois, U.S.A. by Dr. Heinz Marxkors, Bielefeld, Germany, 1998-. Series A, 9 volumes. R977.389 M392E
Auswanderer aus dem Ehemaligen Kirchspiel [Parish], im Ehemaligen Kreis [County], in der Ehemaligen Provinz Westfalen, im Ehemaligen Königreich Preußen: Ausgewandert in die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. by Dr. Heinz Marxkors. Bielefeld, Germany. 1998-. Series B, 15 volumes. Title varies. R943.56 M392A

Index entries are alphabetical by surname, then given name.

Index is also available as a PDF file (355k).

Interested? Go here:

LINK

FAMILY HISTORY HOSTING

Web host that caters specifically to genealogists-- they’re a low maintenance, no-frills host for non-techies who just want to get a site (personal or small business) up and running, without needing to fuss with HTML, XML, CSS, etc…

LINK

NOTE: I haven’t as yet had personal dealings with them, but site looks easy to navigate and prices seem quite reasonable.

WINPATROL

A freeware program (available for Windows 95 through Windows Vista) that monitors your computer for changes to your Windows registry (often a sign that a malicious program has infiltrated your system):

LINK

NOTE: Always scan downloaded programs with your computer’s security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!

NOTE NO. 2: Consider saving downloaded programs to a MY DOWNLOADS or NEEDS VIRUS CHECK folder. Then get in the habit of checking whatever’s still in that folder before installing any program in that folder. That way you won’t forget to virus check before installing a new download!

THE NON-HUMAN FAMILY

I defy you to watch this video and tell me that the creature involved does not truly love his human family:

LINK

NOTE: Video is only about 90 seconds long, so does not take a week to load and play!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS TRAVELING EXHIBIT

Just wanted to let you know that the Belleville (IL) Public Library will be hosting a traveling exhibit titled "Confronting Democracy's Boundaries: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates" from August 4-29, 2008.

Please feel free to forward to potentially interested parties.

Thanks!

Dana L. Prusacki
Archivist
Belleville Public Library
121 E. Washington
Belleville, Illinois 62220
ph 618.234.0441 x22

FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY CLASS LIST

If you’ve ever daydreamed about moving to Salt Lake City just so you could use the Family History Library whenever you were in the mood to, this list of classes they’re offering currently (July 2008) should light a fire under you:

LINK

SATAN CAME TO EDEN

I'm not sure what it’s about, but the title really got my attention…

LINK

NOTE: Apples, anyone?

SHE WAS A TALL DRINK OF WATER…

Perhaps literally…

The Genealogue notes that Swiss residents of the Lake Constance area are up in arms about possibly having the ashes of cremated Germans in their drinking water (can’t say as I blame them)…

LINK

HAUNTED PLACES OF MISSOURI AND ILLINOIS

You may not believe that relatives sometimes continue to linger here on earth after their deaths, but it can be fun to read about supposed hauntings whether or not you are a true believer:

HAUNTED PLACES OF MISSOURI AND ILLINOIS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Alaspa, Bryan W. Ghosts of St. Louis: The Lemp Mansion and Other Eerie Tales. Atglen, Penn: Schiffer Pub, 2007.
2. Courtaway, Robbi. Spirits of Saint Louis: A Ghostly Guide to the Mound City's Unearthly Activities. St. Louis, MO: Virginia Pub. Co, 1999.
3. Gilbert, Joan. Missouri Ghosts: And Other Mysteries. Hallsville, MO: Mogho Books, 2001.
4. Goodwin, David L. Ghosts of Jefferson Barracks: History & Hauntings of Old St. Louis. Alton, Ill: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2001.
5. Kachuba, John B. Ghosthunting Illinois. Cincinnati, Ohio: Emmis Books, 2005.
6. Lewis, Chad, and Terry Fisk. The Illinois Road Guide to Haunted Locations. Eau Claire, Wis: Unexplained Research Pub. Co, 2007.
7. Offutt, Jason. Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State's Most Spirited Spots. Kirksville, Mo: Truman State University Press, 2007.
8. Taylor, Troy. Haunted Illinois. Alton, Ill: Whitechapel Productions Press, 1999.
9. Taylor, Troy. The Haunted President : The History, Hauntings & Supernatural Life of Abraham Lincoln. Decatur, Ill: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2005.
10. Taylor, Troy. Haunted St. Louis: History & Hauntings Along the Mississippi. Alton, Ill: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2002.

WEBLIOGRAPHY

1. Ghost Hunting 101: http://www.ghosthunting101.com/
2. Ghosts & Haunts in Missouri: http://www.missourighosts.net/
3. Ghosts of Jefferson Barracks: http://www.militaryghosts.com/jeff_barracks.html
4. Haunted Jefferson Barracks: http://www.prairieghosts.com/jbarracks.html
5. Haunted Places- Illinois: http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/illinois.htm
6. Haunted Places- Missouri: http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/missouri.htm
7. Haunted Missouri: http://www.prairieghosts.com/hauntmo.html
8. The Lemp Mansion: http://www.prairieghosts.com/lemp.html
9. Missouri Ghosts: http://www.squidoo.com/missouri-ghosts
10. Night at the Haunted Harney Mansion: http://www.prairieghosts.com/overnight.html
11. Paranormal Research Equipment: http://www.prairieghosts.com/overnight.html
12. S.P.I.R.I.T. Investigation of the Harney Mansion: http://www.spirit-stl.com/harney.html

HORNS OF THE BULL, PART III

Isandlwana

Isandlwana (it was a large irregular-shaped height) lay about ten miles out from Rorke's Drift. Lord Chelmsford camped there because heavy rains required that the road they were following be repaired. The area around Isandlwana offered a plentiful supply of drinking water and driftwood for fires, and appeared to offer the field of fire that Chelmsford felt was necessary. He did not, however, order the men to entrench, since he believed that superior British weapons afforded him an insuperable advantage over the Zulus.

The position was not as impregnable as Lord Chelmsford imagined, however. The large area of open ground was in fact pitted with numerous gullies that were obscured by brush and through which fairly large groups of Zulus could pass undetected by British sentries. He also elected not to circle (laager) his wagons, even though it would have made his position more secure, because doing so was a complicated business, and some of the wagons were to be sent back shortly to Rorke's Drift to resupply. He did set out pickets and a mounted vidette, although these early warning systems were posted much closer to camp than officers in Chelmsford's Native Contingent advised. Chelmsford also sent a mounted patrol out towards the east, which reported no sign of Zulus, although reports were filtering in of Zulu activity to the south (the direction from which it would be least expected).

On the morning of 22 January 1879, Lord Chelmsford himself set off with 2,500 men to do a reconnoiter of the area where Zulus had supposedly been sighted in force. He also took four guns with his column. This left a force of around 2,000 men to defend the camp at Isandlwana. Of these, 1,168 were Natal volunteer force troops or Natal Native Contingent.

Shortly before noon on 22 January 1879, a British patrol crested a rise and found themselves in the midst of a Zulu army. This army was composed of at least 20,000 Zulu warriors. The British fired one volley and quickly withdrew, sending messengers in the meantime to warn other patrols, Chelmsford, and the camp at Isandlwana.

As the main Zulu column approached the camp (around 12:30), artillery fire greeted them. Apparently, this fire began while the Zulu were still well out of range, so the fire did little damage to the Zulu. When they got closer, the Zulu closest to the guns threw themselves down when they saw the gunners step away from their guns (an indication the gun was about to be fired).

The Zulu advanced in 20 or so well-disciplined rows, the chest and left horn appearing to observers to be maintaining somewhat better order than the right horn. The British regulars at this point, however, were well-ordered, and their continuous and very accurate fire kept the Zulu attack at bay at a range of around 400 yards (the Martini-Henry's optimum firing distance). Some Zulus were armed with the same weapon, but their fire did much less damage (reports said that they generally fired high and did little damage to the British).

The British maintained discipline and a steady, controlled fire for approximately one hour, at which time their line disintegrated and all hell broke loose. It has been suggested that the British had trouble getting ammunition boxes open and in transporting ammunition to the firing line, but the ammunition boxes were secured with one screw that could be dislodged if necessary with a gun butt. Testimony of several survivors suggests that bandsmen and wagon drivers were set to work carrying ammunition to the line.

Two other problems that may have contributed to the British collapse have been suggested. The first suggests that continuous firing of the Martini-Henry often caused problems with the weapon's lever action, and a cartridge in the chamber would have to be removed by hand before the weapon could be fired again. Testimony mentioning this difficulty, however, concerns the Natal volunteers and the Natal Native Contingent, not British regulars.

The second problem suggested is smoke. Continuous firing of artillery and black powder firearms raising a choking, sight-obscuring cloud of black smoke that makes it hard to breathe and hard to see your targets. In the time shortly before the British collapse, the regulars were mostly firing blind, hoping to hit a Zulu in the smoke and confusion.

Once a withdrawal from camp was apparently ordered by the senior officer, the British firing line disintegrated and the Zulu rushed forward to follow the retreating men. Testimony from Zulu attackers and British survivors suggests that the men in the firing line were stretched too thin, and that there were perceptible gaps between units in the firing line.

An often overlooked reason for the British collapse, of course, was the bravery and determination of the attacking Zulus. As George Pickett said when asked why the advance named for him had failed, "I think the Union Army had something to do with it." British firepower initially stalled the Zulu attack-- they had never before faced such weapons. But attackers were reformed and the attack pressed forward, in spite of terrible losses in the front ranks of the attackers. There is no definitive count of Zulu casualties at Isandlwana, but best estimates place Zulu dead on the field at 1,000 or slightly higher. Many other Zulu warriors were wounded, many badly so-- and with medical care available to battle casualties rudimentary at best, it seems highly likely that many additional warriors died later due to wounds received at Isandlwana.

Casualties

The majority of British casualties were caused by the Ikwa-- the Zulu stabbing spear, with a much lesser number caused by the throwing spear. Some British casualties were caused by small arms fire, partly from older weapons Zulu had acquired prior to the war, the rest from Martini-Henry rifles picked up from soldiers killed earlier that day. Since the Zulu were not trained in the use of those weapons, however, they were not as deadly as they were in the hands of British regulars. Soldiers who were not killed outright in the Zulu attack were killed by being disemboweled-- the Zulu believed that doing so was necessary to release the spirit of a warrior (friend or foe) into the afterlife. No wounded soldiers survived-- all were killed by the Zulu. There was also some mutilation of British corpses beyond the ritual disemboweling-- some soldiers were also beheaded, along with other, even more unsettling desecrations. A press report after the battle noted that two drummer boys had been mutilated while still alive, although experts disagree on whether the boys were dead or alive when the mutilations took place (the report did bring to an end the practice of taking drummer boys in the field with their regiments). Looting of corpses also occurred, in part because Zulu religious beliefs demanded that a warrior take an article of clothing from a man he had killed.

A majority of Zulu casualties were caused by small arms fire, specifically fire from the Martini-Henry rifle. Accounts of the battle in later years by Zulu survivors mention, however, that when ammunition for rifles ran out, soldiers used pistols, bayonets, and the butts of their rifles as clubs. Some soldiers were killed while attempting to flee towards the Buffalo River, but a majority were killed in groups in and around the camp at Isandlwana.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THE VIEW FROM ON HIGH

Well, no, not THAT high…

If you live in (or have relatives in) hurricane / tropical storm-prone areas, NASA is on your six, as they say:

LINK

NOTE: Among other things, you will learn here that Katrina damaged 320 million large trees, resulting in a massive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

HISTORICAL EVENTS IN THE NEWSPAPERS

Ancestry.com offers free access to selected newspaper articles about some historical events like the Battle of Gettysburg, sinking of the Titanic, the deaths of the fighting Sullivans during World War II, and the first visit of the Beatles to the U.S., to name but a few. Interested? Go here:

LINK

COMBINING FILM, PHOTOS, AND MUSIC IN A GIFT

At this point, it’s probably easier than you thought possible to make a gift that combines photos, home movies, and voice recordings of family members into a present that will truly knock someone’s socks off:

LINK

1891 CENSUS OF CANADA

Post on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog about the posting of the 1891 Census of Canada on the Ancestry.ca website.

LINK

RIP JACK ROBERTS (1930-2008)

Missouri Humanities Council blog reprints an obit from the St. Clair Missourian for Jack Roberts, a founder of the St. Clair Museum:

LINK

ST. CLAIR COUNTY (IL) GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY MEETING

St. Clair County (IL) Genealogical Society presents:

Please join us Thursday, August 7, 2008. Our speaker Dana Prusacki will present “What’s New at the Belleville Public Library. “

Dana celebrates her one-year anniversary as Archivist at the Belleville Public Library. Cake will be served.

Our monthly meetings begin at 7:30 pm at St. Luke's Parish Hall, 226 N. Church St. in Belleville, Illinois 62220.

We are always looking for good speakers on genealogical topics. Let us know if you can recommend any speaker(s) from the St. Louis Metro Area, or if you can speak on a topic of interest to our Society.

For more information, program suggestions and inclement weather, please contact Nancy Pannier, 1st Vice President and Program Chair by e-mail npannier@charter.net or you may call (618) 235-7417.

Visitors and Guests are Always Welcome!

HORNS OF THE BULL, PART II

Horns of the Bull:

Shaka also perfected the Zulu tactic known as Impondo Zankhomo, the Horns of the Bull, in which flankers in a Zulu attack formation (the horns) would encircle an enemy and leave it without means of escape. The main line of Zulus (the chest) would then engage with their Ikwas and attack shields and (usually) slaughter them to the last man. The horns were typically made up of the youngest regiments present, while the chest consisted of the most experienced regiments present. Shaka Zulu was noted for his brutal treatment of enemies, and of allies and kinsmen who failed to meet his expectations. It led to his death, in fact: several of his lieutenants murdered him in a scene reminiscent of the death of Julius Caesar.

Historical Background:

The Zulu people had been united and its warriors trained in the art of warfare by King Shaka, who died in 1828. Power passed to Shaka's brother, King Mpande. Mpande had two sons, Mbulazi and Cetshwayo. King Mpande favored Mbulazi, which seemed odd because Mbulazi was a bookish, intellectual type while Cetshwayo was drawn to the military life and studied the life and campaigns of King Shaka. Forces loyal to Cetshwayo attacked British traders in Zululand. King Mpande sent forces under Mbulazi to rein in Cetshwayo. Cetshwayo defeated Mbulazi in a bloody battle at Ndonakusuka. Cetshwayo then ordered the deaths of Mbulazi and five relatives who had supported him, along with thousands of others who had fought for Mbulazi. Thousands of corpses were thrown into the Tugela River, and washed up for weeks afterward at its mouth on the Indian Ocean.

Cetshwayo took over as ruler of Zululand, and proclaimed himself its king after the death of King Mpande in 1872. At this time tension was increasing between the Zulus and their neighbors to the north, the Boers. The Boers occupied the area known as the Transvaal. Boer settlers had been spilling out from the Transvaal and seizing land owned by the Zulu for their farms. A combination of Transvaal financial difficulties and Boer fear of Zulu retaliation led to the British annexation of the Transvaal. This placed a strain on the formerly amiable relations between the British and King Cetshwayo.

Boer settlers continued to pour into Zululand, and Cetshwayo at first looked to the British for help, but finally realized that the British were going to side with the Boers. Some British officials secretly hoped for war with the Zulus, reasoning that 1) victory would be a fairly simple, relatively bloodless affair and that 2) a quick British victory would both placate the Boers and demonstrate to them the military might of the new owners of the Transvaal.

A commission appointed to settle the disputed land claims in Zululand, however, came to the unexpected decision that Boer land claims generally were based on unsigned or forged documents, and that no formal cession of land had ever been made according to long-standing Zulu custom. The British officials who had hoped for war suppressed the commission findings while seeking a way to start a war that both Cetshwayo and officials in London didn't want.

Two minor incidents gave the warmongers their excuse, however- two adulterous wives of a minor Zulu chief were beaten to death in sight of British troops at Rorke's Drift, and a second Zulu chieftain made a raid on a Boer settler's cattle. Rumors planted in the press by the British that Cetshwayo had 50,000 warriors poised to invade Natal didn't help. A demand was made that Cetshwayo drastically reduce the size and composition of his army, surrender the offending chieftains to the British, and submit every dispute between Zulus and Boers or British settlers to a British official. On his refusal, the British invasion of Zululand began.

The British Army

The British Army in 1878-1879 had neither the prestige nor the political clout of the Royal Navy. Conditions for enlisted men were abysmal, and the pay exceedingly low. Since there was no conscription at that time, enlisted recruits generally were men who had few other options. Men enlisted for six years, with an additional six-year reserve commitment. British regiments consisted (on paper at least) of two battalions- one at a home depot in Great Britain, while its partner battalion was deployed overseas. The army in 1878, however, was small enough that in some instances both battalions of a regiment were in fact overseas- both the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th Regiment of Foot were deployed in the Zululand Campaign.

British troops were supplemented with Natal volunteer units and the Natal Native Contingent, which was formed with native levies. Chelmsford had eight Natal volunteer units, and seven Natal Native Contingent battalions at his disposal, and also had 1,200 men of the volunteer Frontier Light Horse available. The problem with his Natal volunteer and Native Contingent units, of course, was that they had neither the training nor the discipline of his British regulars.

British Weapons

The British Army employed the Martini-Henry .45 caliber single-shot, breech-loading, lever-action rifle. It was a reliable and accurate weapon, capable in the hands of an expert marksman of downing a target at 1,000 yards, and rear-sighted for a firing distance of 400 yards. Its muzzle velocity was 375 yards, or 1/5 of a mile, per second. It fired a soft lead bullet that flattened on impact, wreaking havoc on bones and soft tissue. The Martini-Henry rifle was used in combination with a 21 ½ inch bayonet known as a "lunger."

British Strategy and Tactics

Lord Chelmsford, senior commander of British forces in Zululand, elected to divide his forces and ordered them to advance and then converge on Cethswayo's main homestead. During the advance, they were to destroy as many Zulu amakhanda as possible, thus limiting the capacity of the Zulu to carry on a military campaign of any length. Chelmsford hoped to provoke an attack on open level ground, where it was assumed that British military discipline and firepower would more than compensate for British inferiority in numbers. Chelmsford had 16,000 men, including a not-so-reliable as he might have hoped for native contingent, while Cethswayo had at least 40,000 men at his disposal, including several regiments of older men that would be used strictly for homeland defense. Cethswayo, like Chelmsford, hoped for a decisive battle on open level ground, where he thought Zulu superior numbers and Shaka's Horns of the Bull tactics could inflict a telling defeat on the British. He specifically cautioned his war chiefs, however, against attacking entrenched British troops, for Cethswayo thought that taking such a position, while possible, would prove too costly for the Zulu.

Chelmsford's main columns crossed into Zululand at Rorke's Drift, while a much smaller unit under Colonel Charles Pearson crossed into Zululand at the Lower Drift near the mouth of the Tugela River. Some British regulars were left behind in Natal, partly to guard against Zulu incursions, and partly to keep an eye on the Boers. British intentions were painfully obvious to the Boers, many of whom then refused to take any part in the British invasion of Zululand.

British supplies had to transported by oxen that could only move eleven miles per day on good roads in good weather conditions. Chelmsford had no system of supply depots, so each of his columns was obliged to carry all its own food and equipment, and to supply a guard for its supply train from its own limited supply of men.

Monday, July 28, 2008

LATEST MoSGA NEWSLETTER IS HERE!

Well, it's on the Web, anyway. You can find it here:

LINK

NOTE: It will be a while before your print copy shows up in your mailbox...

HORNS OF THE BULL, PART I

Horns of the Bull: British Tragedy and Triumph at Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift

Location:

Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift are located in South Africa, about 60 miles inland from the Indian Ocean near the border where Natal and Zululand meet.

Strategic Importance of the Location:

The border between British-controlled Natal and the Zulu kingdom was formed in the north by the Buffalo River, which flowed southwards into the Tugela River. Just south of Rorke's Drift the river dumped into a gorge and became a raging torrent that could only be forded safely at Tugela Drift, 60 miles south and close by the Indian Ocean. To the north and west of Natal and Zululand was the Transvaal, the area claimed by Dutch settlers known as the Boers.

The Zulu Army:

The Zulu army was composed of units known as amabutho or impi- the equivalent in many ways of a European regiment. These units engaged in both military tasks and non-military labors at the behest of the king. Zulu men at 18 were inducted into an amabutho, and served in the unit until such time as the king authorized them to marry (typically when the man was 35-40 years of age). Amabutho were grouped together in military homesteads known as amakhanda. Food and agricultural labor were supplied to the amabutho by female relatives of the warriors. Even after marriage Zulu men served in the king's army in one of its so-called married regiments.

Several amabutho were combined into a corps, with the ages of men in the combined amabutho differing so that older men could help teach the younger ones how to be good warriors. The Zulu army at the time of the Zulu War of 1879 consisted of 34 regiments organized into 12 corps. Seven of these regiments, however, were composed of men too old to actively campaign in the field, so King Cethswayo probably had about 40,000 men actually able to go off to war.

Discipline in the Zulu army was harsh. A man could be killed (normally beaten to death by other warriors) for failing to follow orders or to meet standards of performance. A Zulu army in the field could if necessary march fifty miles or more in a day. They traveled light, with just their spears and shields. Boys 14-18 years of age oversaw a herd of cattle that followed the army; these boys also carried the blankets and sleeping mats of the warriors.

The Legacy of Shaka Zulu:

King Shaka Zulu is credited with teaching the Zulu army its aggressive (some would say brutal) tactics. It was already aggressive, however, when Shaka took control of a regiment. His innovation was to order warriors in the regiment to melt down their inefficient throwing spears and reshape them as Ikwa, Shaka's famous stabbing spears (the Ikwa name derives from the sucking sound made when the Ikwa was pulled from a victim's body). Zulu warriors carried several throwing spears, and a club or axe, but their weapon of first resort was always the Ikwa. Shaka also had his men make new, smaller shields that could be hooked under an opponent's shield and used to pull it away from his body, so that the Ikwa could do its deadly work. Single men carried colored shields, while married men carried shields made from white cowhide.

Some of Cethswayo's men at the time of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift were in fact armed with firearms, and others were able to gather arms and ammunition from the dead at Isandlwana. Zulu men received no formal training in firearms use or marksmanship, however, and so were generally less proficient in their use than were British regulars. The weapons traded to the Zulu prior to the Zulu War of 1879, moreover, were generally older muzzle-loading weapons, not the newer, more accurate breech-loading weapons carried by British soldiers. Finally, the Zulu had no source of spare parts to repair damaged weapons or men trained to do so, and no equipment or trained men to make new ammunition or reload used cartridges.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

PRESIDENT TRUMAN’S 1948 MILITARY DESEGREGATION ORDER

Truman's Military Desegregation Order Reflects American Values, Gates Says
by Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2008 - President Harry S. Truman's 1948 executive order that desegregated the U.S. military was a definitive statement of equality that declared all servicemembers must be judged by individual merit instead of their racial background, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today. "No aspect of black Americans' quest for justice and equality under the law has been nobler than what has been called, "the fight for the right to fight," Gates said at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the integration of the armed forces held in the Capitol Rotunda. "Our commemoration today of the racial integration of the armed forces makes us reflect on how far we have come toward living up to our founding ideals and yet how much remains to be done," Gates said.

The Defense Department began breaking down the barriers of race at the conclusion of World War II in 1945, Gates said. As in past wars, African-American troops had served in World War II with honor and distinction, he noted. However, African-American troops had to fight and live separately from all-white units. America's sons and daughters fought in World War II to preserve freedom and human dignity for the world's people, Gates said. Yet, African-Americans who'd served with distinction in that war, he noted, "returned to face segregation and harassment at home," as so-called Jim Crow segregation laws in place across the South relegated African-Americans to second-class-citizen status.

Truman's Executive Order 9981, signed July 26, 1948, was an important statement and an important step, Gates said. However, he said, Truman's directive "had to overcome stiff institutional resistance, as deeply entrenched attitudes were hard to change." For example, "segregated units remained the norm and integrated units the exception," Gates noted, for several years after the integration order was issued.

The start of the Korean War in June 1950 prompted the need to put hundreds of thousands of Americans into uniform after the U.S. military had demobilized following the end of World War II. "With the sudden outbreak of war in Korea, the urgent demands of the battlefield trumped the old habit of Jim Crow," Gates said. Before the start of the Korean War, he said, 50 percent of African-Americans in the Marine Corps -- about 750 men -- served as stewards. At the end of the Korean War in 1953, Gates said, there were 17,000 African-American Marines, and only 3 percent served as stewards. "By 1954, the Korean War was over, the last of the segregated units were dissolved, and the momentum for equality and civil rights was carrying over into American society as a whole," Gates said.

In the ensuing decades after Truman's directive took effect, "black and white Americans trained, served, and fought together with honor and distinction," Gates said. Today's integrated U.S. military continues to "put merit and integrity above all," Gates said, noting there's still more to achieve. "My hope and expectation is that, in the years ahead, more African-Americans will staff the armed forces at the highest levels," Gates said. "We must make sure the American military continues to be a great engine of progress and equality -- all the better to defend our people and our values against adversaries around the globe."

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at http://www.defenselink.mil/.

BELGIUM: THE OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED, 1939-1940

Free download at the Internet Archive about the Nazi invasion and occupation of Belgium during World War II:

LINK

THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER by JOHN A. CARPENTER (1894)

Free download of a lengthy article from The Century Magazine (July 1894) at Project Gutenberg:

LINK

MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T BANK ON ONLINE BANKING…

Thanks to a new hacker ploy, doing so may cost you a LOT more than you bargained for:

LINK

NOTE: Hint-- if you don't automatically look for updates to your Windows operating system when you go online, it's high time you do so...

MAPPING TOOLS FOR GENEALOGISTS

Family Tree Magazine has posted an online article about Web mapping tools of interest to genealogists:

LINK

SCRATCHING THAT GENEALOGICAL ITCH

If you’re new to the genealogy game, you will be interested in this Family Tree Magazine article about starting your family research from Square One:

LINK

MMORPGs

It stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games-- online role-playing games that in some cases (like World of Warcraft) involve millions of competitors. If you’re clueless about MMORPGs, Kim Komando’s intro to these virtual worlds will help you get up to speed on the subject:

LINK

NOTE: Why should you care about MMORPGs? Well, you don’t really need to, unless you’ve got children (or adults who think young) living in your home…

NOTE NO. 2: Although, my friends, I’m guessing it’s a matter of time before an MMORPG designed specifically for historians / family historians is unveiled-- one in which you can wallow to your heart’s content in a specific historical period of interest, and actually interact with avatars representing your own ancestors…

NOTE NO. 3: If that historical MMORPG includes a Civil War module, I may never see daylight again…

NOTE NO. 4: Actually, there are numerous other historical periods I could also happily wallow in…

NOTE NO. 5: I'm assuming that in these virtual worlds we won't be able to SMELL our ancestors. Their hygiene was not usually up to modern standards...

Friday, July 25, 2008

AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN WHITE CIVIL WAR REGIMENTS

Juanita Moss was shocked to discover that the name of her great-grandfather was not included in a monument to the U. S. Colored Troops, when she knew that he had indeed served in the Civil War. Her research showed her that he had NOT served in the U.S.C.T.-- he had joined a white Pennsylvania regiment as a cook! Further research into Civil War service records turned up names of more than 2,000 African-American men from 32 states who appear to have served as cooks in white regiments:

LINK

NOTE: I started researching the history of the 89th Illinois Infantry Regiment in 1989, and noticed that its companies included one or two men with the rank of Undercook. These men were all recruited in conquered states of the Confederacy- none were from Illinois. I posted the compiled service record of Undercook Thomas Pruitt, Company A, 89th Illinois Infantry, on my 89th Illinois website in 2004. He was recruited as an Undercook under authority of General Order No. 230, Headquarters of the Department of the Cumberland, dated 10 October 1863. He was 46 years old when recruited. He is clearly identified on his service cards as being of “African descent”.

LINK

The article about Ms. Moss’s research talks about these African-American men in white regiments who “fought” for the Union Army. The reporter didn't get that quite right, exactly-- these men served as cooks, and as stretcher-bearers during battles and on burial details afterwards—- as non-combatants, in other words. Which is not to say that their duty (like that of conscientious objectors who served as medics in WWII) was without hazard—- Undercook John Flack of Company E was transferred to the 59th Illinois Infantry Regiment, and died of wounds suffered while serving in that regiment.

I know for a fact that these men were eligible after the war to apply for federal pensions based on their service in white regiments-- I’ve got a copy of the pension file of one of these gentlemen from the 89th Illinois Infantry Regiment who received a pension after the war based on that service.

DICTIONARIES OF THE SCOTTISH LANGUAGE

If you’ve got reasons to read documents pertaining to Scottish ancestors, or simply have been itching to really put a burrrr in your brogue, then this online 22-volume set of dictionaries (free access) may be just the ticket:

Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (12 vols)
Scottish National Dictionary (10 vols)

LINK

IF YOUR “CLAN” MEMBER SPELLED IT WITH A K…

You may wish to take a look at this free download from Project Gutenberg:

The Oaths, Signs, Ceremonies and Objects of the Ku-Klux-Klan: a Full Expose. By A Late Member.

LINK

NOTE: Period covered by this book is said to be 1865-1900.

SUBMISSION TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN THE DEATH OF CHILDREN

This free download from Project Gutenberg may help you better understand what your colonial ancestors thought about the deaths of children:

Submission to Divine Providence in the Death of Children Recommended and Enforced, in a sermon preached at Northampton, on the death of a very amiable and hopeful child, about five years old. By Philip Doddridge (1702-1751).

LINK

PAX GOOGLITANIA…

Cyberspace, virtual space, outer space-- Google seems to want to be master of all it surveys. Now it's taking aim at Wikipedia:

LINK

OZMA OF OZ

No, it’s not genealogy-related, but I feel the need to tell fellow Oz-aholics anyway-- Project Gutenberg has made lots of L. Frank Baum books available for downloading for free. Here’s a link for Ozma of Oz:

LINK

TRANSITION TO DIGITAL TV

It boggles my mind that some people are still clueless about the coming transition from analog to digital TV, since the St. Louis TV channel whose news shows we normally watch seems to run a story about it EVERY BLESSED DAY. But just in case you have not watched TV since January 2008, here is a link to several great Kim Komando columns on the DTV transition:

LINK

NOTE: Several of my Luddite “over the air” friends have grumbled to me about why the transition is happening, since “the picture I get now is good enough.” To put it bluntly, folks, digital picture and sound is WAY better than analog picture and sound, and HDTV (set up properly) is WAY better than mere DTV.

NOTE NO. 2: I PROMISE not to run ANY more postings about the DTV transition. If you don’t have cable or a satellite dish, and bought your TV during the Truman administration, get yourself a converter box or, better yet, get yourself an LCD TV! There-- enough about DTV already!

SCHOLAR’S BOOKSHELF SALE!

They’re having a sale with up to 80% off on selected military history titles. If you are a military history nut, or have one in the family, you’ll want to take a look:

LINK

Thursday, July 24, 2008

FREE ACCESS TO FBI CASE FILES

Dick Eastman is reporting that Footnote.com will provide limited-time free access to FBI case files for the period 1908-1922. Why is that significant for genealogists? Because the files includes thousands of investigations of non-resident aliens and "persons of suspect loyalty", that's why! Read the full story here:

LINK

From the Footnote.com press release:

"In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the FBI, Footnote.com announced their entire collection of FBI Case Files will be freely accessible by the public through the end of August. The collection contains over two million records featuring some very surprising hidden stories.

A few examples include, J. Edgar Hoover opening an investigation into actor Charlie Chaplin for allegedly making a contribution of $100,000 for socialist propaganda. Baseball great Babe Ruth was investigated for draft dodging and newspaper mogul William Randolph Hurst was investigated for suspicion of funding the Spanish-American War.

The FBI Case Files date from 1908 to 1922 and feature cases involving espionage during WWI, investigations into German aliens who were politically suspect, reports of violations of prohibition and more. Serious, as well as far-fetched, accounts provide a fresh insider's perspective to the history of this time period."

To find them, just search for "FBI Case Files" (minus the quotes) on the Footnote.com main page:

LINK

WHAT IS BLUETOOTH?

National Cyber Alert System
Alerts & Tips: http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/alldocs.html
Cyber Security Tip ST05-015

Understanding Bluetooth Technology

Many electronic devices are now incorporating Bluetooth technology to allow wireless communication with other Bluetooth devices. Before using Bluetooth, it is important to understand what it is, what security risks it presents, and how to protect yourself.

What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a technology that allows devices to communicate with each other without cables or wires. It is an electronics "standard," which means that manufacturers that want to include this feature have to incorporate specific requirements into their electronic devices. These specifications ensure that the devices can recognize and interact with other devices that use the Bluetooth technology.

Many popular manufacturers are making devices that use Bluetooth technology. These devices include mobile phones, computers, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The Bluetooth technology relies on short-range radio frequency, and any device that incorporates the technology can communicate as long as it is within the required distance. The technology is often used to allow two different types of devices to communicate with each other. For example, you may be able to operate your computer with a wireless keyboard, use a wireless headset to talk on your mobile phone, or add an appointment to your friend's PDA calendar from your own PDA.

What are some security concerns?

Depending upon how it is configured, Bluetooth technology can be fairly secure. You can take advantage of its use of key authentication (see Understanding Digital Signatures for more information) and encryption (see Understanding Encryption for more information). Unfortunately, many Bluetooth devices rely on short numeric PIN numbers instead of more secure passwords or passphrases (see Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information).

If someone can "discover" your Bluetooth device, he or she may be able to send you unsolicited messages or abuse your Bluetooth service, which could cause you to be charged extra fees. Worse, an attacker may be able to find a way to access or corrupt your data. One example of this type of activity is "bluesnarfing," which refers to attackers using a Bluetooth connection to steal information off of your Bluetooth device. Also, viruses or other malicious code can take advantage of Bluetooth technology to infect other devices. If you are infected, your data may be corrupted, compromised, stolen, or lost. You should also beware of attempts to convince you to send information to someone you do not trust over a Bluetooth connection (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information).

How can you protect yourself?

* Disable Bluetooth when you are not using it - Unless you are actively transferring information from one device to another, disable the technology to prevent unauthorized people from accessing it.

* Use Bluetooth in "hidden" mode - When you do have Bluetooth enabled, make sure it is "hidden," not "discoverable." The hidden mode prevents other Bluetooth devices from recognizing your device. This does not prevent you from using your Bluetooth devices together. You can "pair" devices so that they can find each other even if they are in hidden mode. Although the devices (for example, a mobile phone and a headset) will need to be in discoverable mode to initially locate each other, once they are "paired" they will always recognize each other without needing to rediscover the connection.

* Be careful where you use Bluetooth - Be aware of your environment when pairing devices or operating in discoverable mode. For example, if you are in a public wireless "hotspot," there is a greater risk that someone else may be able to intercept the connection (see Securing Wireless Networks for more information) than if you are in your home or your car.

* Evaluate your security settings - Most devices offer a variety of features that you can tailor to meet your needs and requirements. However, enabling certain features may leave you more vulnerable to being attacked, so disable any unnecessary features or Bluetooth connections. Examine your settings, particularly the security settings, and select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk. Make sure that all of your Bluetooth connections are configured to require a secure connection.

* Take advantage of security options - Learn what security options your Bluetooth device offers, and take advantage of features like authentication and encryption.

_________________________________________________________________

Authors: Mindi McDowell, Matt Lytle
_________________________________________________________________

Produced 2005 by US-CERT, a government organization.

Note: This tip was previously published and is being re-distributed
to increase awareness.

Terms of use http://www.us-cert.gov/legal.html

This document can also be found at http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST05-015.html.

ARE YOU READY IF GENEALOGI-CATASTROPHE STRIKES?

Tampa Bay Tribune correspondent Sharon Tate Moody is:

LINK

BTW, her solution involves becoming bin laden (you'll just have to read the article to see what I mean..)

BTW No. 2: must have been a little spooky for the single Miss Sharon Tate to have shared that name with the actress brutally murdered by the Manson clan...

IF IT’S FONTS YOU WANTS…

Try trolling for free fronts at Urban Fonts. Includes enough old-fashioned / foreign language / calligraphic fonts to cause uncontrollable drooling in the font-loving genealogist…

LINK

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AFRICAN AMERICAN RESOURCES AT FAMILYSEARCH.ORG

They offer loads of links to numerous helpful sites:

LINK

ENTIRE US CENSUS INDEX TO BE FREE ONLINE

The Genealogy Bank Blog is reporting the following BIG news:

"FamilySearch.org (the Family History Library - Salt Lake City, UT) announced today that it will complete its online index to the US Census 1790 to 1930, making the entire index free online for the first time."

LINK

NEWS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY

The Social Security Administration has a new online calculator that will provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates to help people plan for their retirement.

STARTUP CONTROL PANEL

Would you like to manage start-up programs on your Windows machine with a minimum of muss and fuss? Startup Control Panel can do it for you, and it will barely take up any space on your hard drive:

LINK

NOTE: You can use it with most Windows machines-- but Vista users don’t need it. As the programmer explains on his website:

“Startup Control Panel is compatible with all modern versions of Windows through Windows XP. Windows Vista, after all these years, finally has a very good startup manager built-in; go to Control Panel > Performance Information and Tools, and then click on Manage Startup Programs on the left.”

ANCESTRY.COM CONTENT AND FEATURES UPDATE - JULY 17, 2008

Just received from Anastasia Tyler at Ancestry.com:

Content Updates

We’ve added and / or updated the following Ancestry.com databases between July 6 and July 11:

United States
Michigan Passenger and Crew Lists, 1903-1965
Alabama Census Returns, 1820
Pioneers and Their Homes on Upper Kanawha [West Virginia]
Roane County, West Virginia Families
The Soldiery of West Virginia
West Virginia Estate Settlements
American Wills and Administrations
West Virginia Revolutionary Ancestors

Great Britain
The Book of Household Management - Isabella Beeton 1869

You can view the full list of recently added databases, extending back a couple of months, here: http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/recent.aspx

Coming Soon
The following records will soon be added on Ancestry.com:
North Dakota State Census, 1915 and 1925
Illinois State Census, 1825, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1855, 1865

Other Site Updates

Household Census Merge
We recently released the new Household Census Merge that allows users to add census information about multiple members of a household into a Member Tree on Ancestry.com. Only immediate family members of the person initially searched on can be merged into the tree, and users can select whether to merge in all immediate family members or pick only those they want added to their family tree. If a family member is not already in the tree, the merge can automatically add that person to the tree. Learn more at: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=13110

Norton Tools Problem with Enhanced Image Viewer Resolved
We have recently been working with Symantec, the makers of Norton Internet security products, on an issue one of their programs causes with our Enhanced Image Viewer. If you are able to load an original image, but then your browser freezes or locks up and you have Norton Internet security products installed, Norton assures us that their latest update will resolve this issue; please run LiveUpdate to receive this fix. For instructions on how to run LiveUpdate, please see this article from Symantec’s Knowledge Base:

LINK

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AT CENTRAL LIBRARY!!

SPECIAL EVENT!

St. Louis Public Library Foundation
1301 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 539-0359
http://www.slplfoundation.org/index.asp

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AT CENTRAL LIBRARY!!

When in the course of human events it becomes possible for one people to see one of the most important documents in world history, the opportunity should not be passed up.

The St. Louis Public Library, in partnership with Cricket Wireless and national voter-registration organization Declare Yourself, is proud to present one of 25 surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence for a free public viewing at Central Library on Saturday, July 26.

Come see this cornerstone of history, by which the United States proclaimed its freedom, stood up to the world's mightiest empire, and dedicated itself to the simple but revolutionary ideals of equality and democracy.

What: One of 25 existing copies of the Declaration of Independence
Where: Central Library, 1301 Olive St.
When: Saturday, July 26 10:00 AM-7:30 PM Cost: FREE

Congressman William Lacy Clay will give remarks at 10AM, with the viewing following. Declare Yourself will register voters throughout the day.

So come out, bring your friends and join us as we celebrate this momentous part of our history.

Need more information or directions? Ask us!

Monday, July 21, 2008

IS GOOGLE MAKING US STUPID?

It’s a question Nicholas Carr asks in a thoughtful article in The Atlantic. What’s he’s really asking, though, is this:

“Does frequent, long-term use of the Internet change the way that users read, and even the way that they think?”

Think for a moment, and ask yourself if your reading habits have changed since you started using the Internet on a frequent basis. Do you read as much as you used to? Do you read as much fiction as you used to? Do you actually even READ, or do you find that you are skimming items rather than reading entire books or articles? Read Carr’s entire article, and then make up your mind (and please, no skimming of his article allowed!).

LINK

Note: Let’s suppose your answer is, “Yes, using the Internet frequently has changed the way that I read and think.” Question No. 2 then must be this: “Has your life situation improved or worsened in any noticeable way due to this change?”

VISTA COMPATIBILITY CENTER

Windows Vista has been out now for about 18 months, and it’s fairly common knowledge that Vista doesn’t play nice with some hardware and software. How do you know before you upgrade if the hardware and software you’re currently using is Vista compatible? Why, by using the Vista Compatibility Center website, that’s how:

LINK

Note No. 1: I upgraded recently myself, and can tell you that (as a very rough guide) if the hardware or software in question predates Windows XP, Vista will simply sneer at it and refuse to come out and play. That said, the fact that the hardware or software worked fine with Windows XP is still no guarantee that it will play nice with Vista.

Note No. 2: You should be careful when installing software on a Vista machine if you’re not certain that it is compatible with Vista (create a System Restore point immediately prior to installing). Why? I installed a freeware program on my Vista machine that had worked fine with Windows XP. The freeware program made changes to my Windows registry. The result-- Vista no longer recognized that Microsoft Office 2007 was installed on my computer. I had to delete the freeware program and do a System Restore before Vista would acknowledge that Microsoft Office 2007 was installed.

Note No. 3: Where the heck is System Restore in Vista? Just type restore into your Start Menu search box, and System Restore will magically appear at the top of your Start Menu!

UPGRADING TO VISTA

If you’ve thought about upgrading to Windows Vista, but the numerous versions and "pick-a-number, any number" pricing confuse you, you should take a look at Kim Komando’s handy Vista versions comparison chart:

LINK

Sunday, July 20, 2008

GEOTAGGING YOUR PHOTOS

This Kim Komando Weekly Column includes an article about geotagging photos:

LINK

RESEARCHING GERMAN ANCESTORS: THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY

October 4, 2008

The Ohio Genealogical Society Fall Seminar: John Humphrey, speaker.

Researching German Ancestors: The Agony & the Ecstasy (Part I)
Researching German Ancestors: The Agony & the Ecstasy (Part II)
Researching Pennsylvania Ancestors
Pennsylvania's Early Church Registers


Seminar to be held at the Kehoe Center, North Central State College, Shelby, Ohio.

OGS Members: $30.00; Non-OGS members: $35.00. Contact information:

Ohio Genealogical Society,
713 South Main St., Mansfield OH 44907-1644;
Phone: 419-756-7294
E-Mail: ogs@ogs.org Web site: http://www.ogs.org

REVOLUTIONARY WAR GENEALOGY

Live in, or going to be vacationing in Tennessee in September? Then this may be of interest:

September 20, 2008
East Tennessee Historical Society

REVOLUTIONARY WAR GENEALOGY: How to trace your Revolutionary War ancestor and find his service, pension, and bounty land records. Instructor: George K. Schweitzer, Ph.D., ScD. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The East Tennessee Historical Society is headquartered in the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville, along with the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, the

Knox County Archives & the East Tennessee History Museum. Our website is www.east-tennessee-history.org. All programs take place at:

East Tennessee History Center
601 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN

To register, or for more information about the above program, call 865-215-8809.

RSS DISTRESS

If you just don’t “get” RSS (or are not even sure what I’m talking about), Kim Komando’s column on the subject should help bring you up to speed:

LINK

NEW CENSUS RESEARCH OPTIONS

Dick Eastman checks in on new options in census research:

LINK

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MISSOURI IRISH VIDEOS

Mike O’Laughlin writes in to say he’s put up several new Missouri Irish videocasts on YouTube. I watched the St. Louis Irish videocast- very entertaining and nicely done!

I've just put up 2 new Missouri Irish (genealogy/history) videos on YouTube, soon to go up on my web page. They are based on our Missouri Irish book, recently updated.

Thanks,
Mike O'Laughlin

They are at:

St. Louis Irish

Kansas City Irish

Missouri Irish History and Song


You may also wish to visit Mike’s Irish Roots Café. There are sections for members and free-to-all sections on the website.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES (UK) RESEARCH GUIDES

I've mentioned the National Archives (UK) Research Guides before, but it's worth repeating:

If you're researching UK ancestors, you should be aware that the National Archives (UK) makes a ton of research guides available (for free) on its website:

LINK

For example, take a look at Burial Indexes Research Guide:

LINK

Or Coroners' Inquests:

LINK

Or try Tracing 19th & 20th Century Criminals:

LINK

ANCESTRY.COM SITE SEARCH “WEBINAR”

Received from Anastasia Tyler at Ancestry.com:

If you are one of the countless people who wasn’t happy with the old search function on the Ancestry.com website, you should consider registering for an online "webinar" that will show you how to use our redesigned search function.

The “webinar” is scheduled for Wednesday, July 30, at 8:30 pm (EDT), and will demonstrate how to use the many tools in Ancestry.com’s redesigned search:

· Advanced Searches
· Filters
· Global Searches
· Image Snapshots
· Keyword Searches
· Record Previews
· Refined Searches
· Type-ahead Tools

Kendall Hulet, Ancestry.com’s Director of Product Management, will serve as host for this “webinar.”

You can register to attend the “webinar” here. This “webinar” is free, and you don’t need to be an Ancestry.com subscriber.

ST. LOUIS GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY UPCOMING MEETINGS

Tuesday, July 22, 2008. Irish SIG Meeting (SIG is a Special Interest Group of the St. Louis Genealogical Society-- however, meetings are open to the public). 7:00 pm at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters. The featured speaker is Sandra Brunsmann Hughes and the topic is Irish Records on the Internet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 Regular meeting of the STLGS (open to the public) 7:00 pm at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters. The featured speaker is Mike Everman of the Missouri State Archives, and the topic is Family History Resources in the 19th Century.

Please come and bring a friend! LINK

US HOSPITAL FINDER

I think you’ll want to bookmark this one:

Input a zip code or city name (e.g.: St. Louis, MO), and US HospitalFinder provides you with a list of hospitals located within a 30-mile radius of that zip code or town. The listings provide hospital name, address, phone number, and distance from the central point (of the 30 mile radius). Above the listings is a map where the hospitals appear as red crosses: click on a red cross, and you get a close-up map of that hospital’s location, plus additional information like number of beds, services offered, and web address. Interested? Go here:

LINK

MANCHESTER HISTORY FESTIVAL

If you’re planning a trip to Old Blighty in 2009, and are researching kin from the Manchester area, you may want to keep this in mind:

A Manchester History Festival is being planned for Friday 20th and Sat 21st March 2009. It will be held in the Town Hall Albert Square.

It is being organised by Manchester University Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester City Council, and is intended that the festival will become an annual or biannual part of the city's calender.

Local history groups libraries and family history societies are being contacted. A web site is being created and maintained as a resource and means of connection for schools, societies, universities cultural institutions and the wider public.

A must for your calendars.

Best wishes,

Trish Whitmore

ENGLISH DIRECTORIES

A lengthy list of directories and topographical surveys owned by the Trafford, England Public Library (located in Greater Manchester):

LINK

Friday, July 18, 2008

GREAT DAY FOR GENEALOGISTS WITH HISPANIC ANCESTRY

Genealogy Bank Blog reports on exciting developments for genealogists with Hispanic ancestors:

LINK

GENEALOGY DISASTER PLAN

Julie Miller in the Broomfield Enterprise shows you how to be prepared in case disaster strikes:

LINK

DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CENTER

You may not be aware that the U.S. Government runs a school in Monterey, CA that teaches military and diplomatic personnel to read, speak, and write various foreign languages. The public can poke around on the DLIFLC website to see what the facilities are like there, and to learn what languages are offered now (and which ones were offered at various times during the past 20 years):

LINK

WHAT’S IN THAT BOX, SARGE? A GIANT SQUID?

No, there were actually two giant squid in the box that the Air Force just hauled from Europe to their new home at the Smithsonian Institution (home may not be the right word-- these squid are living-impaired specimens, if you get my drift):

LINK

GENLIAS

Should you be interested in the Genlias website? If you’re researching Dutch ancestors, you certainly should be:

LINK

The link takes you to a quick tour of the site-- in English, for those of you who are not fluent in Dutch…

ILLINOIS STATE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY FALL 2008 CONFERENCE

October 18, 2008
Elgin, Illinois

We are celebrating our 40th anniversary with:

Computer Lab Sessions • ISGS Help Desk

Experience the power of the internet with these hands-on computer offerings!

It's All Online! Or Is It?
Lori Bessler, reference librarian for the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, provides basic instructions to make your online research more successful and productive.

Digital Collections and Online Catalogs
This intermediate level session by Lori Bessler targets online resources and strategies for locating the expanding list of digital collections.

Ctrl/Alt/Simplify: Word Tips for Genealogists
Debra Mieszala harnesses the power of Microsoft Word as a genealogical tool. Graduate to creating tables, footnotes and indexes.

Seating is Limited • Register Today!

ISGS Help Desk:
Have you hit a brick wall? Ask the experts! 15 minute individual appointments will be available throughout the day.

Register online using Paypal or print a registration form: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilsgs/

Any questions: isgsconference@sbcglobal.net

FINDING OUR GERMAN ANCESTORS

The St. Louis Genealogical Society presents a full day of lectures on German Research, presented by Larry O. Jensen, teacher, author, nationally-known lecturer. Mr. Jensen has over thirty-five years of German research experience, and completed his graduate studies in history at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.

October 11, 2008
8:30 AM-4 PM
Viking Holiday Inn
10709 Watson Rd
Sunset Hills, MO

1. ABCs of German Genealogical Research
2. Determining Places of Origin of Emigrant Ancestors
3. Maps & Atlases
4. Sources Used in Resolving Intermediate & Advanced German Research Problems

Mr. Jensen is the author of A Genealogical Handbook of German Research, volumes I and II, and Maps of the German Empire of 1871, and writer of numerous German genealogical articles for the German Genealogical Digest.

StLGS Member before 15 September $45; Non-member before 15 September $55.

St. Louis Genealogical Society
4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140
St. Louis, Missouri 63143
Phone: 314-647-8547 Fax: 314-647-8548
www.stlgs.org

Thursday, July 17, 2008

SLPL PRESENTS: DOUBLE DEUTSCH!

It must be September- Dr. George K. Schweitzer is back in St. Louis!

Join us as the Good Doctor takes us on a grand tour of “German Genealogy on the Internet" and then takes much of the pain out of “Reading the Old German Script."

You don't want to miss the show as Dr. Schweitzer performs garbed in authentic German costume- lederhosen really do make the man!

Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Place: ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY
Events Pavilion
1301 Olive Street
St. Louis, Mo 63103
Time: 10 AM – 1 PM

To register or for more information: 314-539-0386 or cmillar@slpl.org

FROM THE FRIENDLY FOLKS AT THE CENSUS BUREAU

True, it’s recent statistical / economic info (1977-2002), not the stuff we genealogists really like about long-dead relatives, but it’s VERY INTERESTING recent statistical / economic info:

LINK

PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH TRIP

Taking a trip to a library or archives soon in search of misplaced ancestors? You'll want to read this blog post first:

"You've combed through all the websites, books, and CDs you could get your hands on; now the time has come for you to travel to a distant courthouse or archives in pursuit of your ancestors. What preparations should you make beforehand? What should you take? What hotels are near the research facility(ies)? Whether this is your first research trip or your 20th, Carolyn Barkley's article on "Planning Your Research Trip," now available on our blog, is MUST reading--before you pack your suitcase!"

JiWIRE

Wi-fi directory and hotspot locator:

LINK

ACCESS EVERYWHERE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO WI-FI

Article from PC Magazine:

LINK

GSSI FALL CONFERENCE 2008

It's not too early for MoSGA members in southeastern Missouri / southwestern Illinois to start planning a day trip to the Genealogical Society of Southern Illinois Fall Conference. It will be held this year on Saturday, 11 October 2008 at John A. Logan Community College in Carterville, Illinois. This year's featured speaker is Patricia Walls Stamm.

Click on the image to see a larger version of it.



Here's a link to their conference registration form:

LINK

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WINDOWS LIVE PHOTO GALLERY

Wikipedia tells you everything you need to know about this free Windows Vista / XP photo organizer:

LINK

This link tells you all you need to know about the Windows Live suite of products and services:

LINK

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS

Adobe Photoshop Express allows you to do minor editing of photos online, and allows you to store up to 2GB of your photos online (for free):

LINK

EVERYWHERE MAGAZINE

From their website:

“The travel magazine made by you! The Everywhere community can share photos and stories about places you and others create! The best stuff will be published in Everywhere Magazine!”

Every issue features five different places / topics. Issue Five, for instance, features San Francisco and Vietnam, plus Places to Rejuvenate, Take a Jet Set Weekend, or Take a Weird Tour.

LINK

JOHNSON’S ISLAND

They’re excavating the site of Johnson’s Island Prison (Ohio), a Civil War prison for captured Confederate soldiers:

LINK

THE WARSAW GHETTO

Three-part series on the Polandian blog:

LINK

FREE MUSIC FOR YOUR HOME VIDEOS

Need a free source of music for your home / amateur videos? If so, Moby wants to help! Moby is a popular recording artist who’s offering to let amateur filmmakers use some of his music for free in their home movies / amateur film productions. You can also purchase a license if you want to use any of his music in a for-profit production. Need more info, or want to hear what he’s making available?

LINK

ENCYCLOPEDIA SMITHSONIAN

Move over Wikipedia (well, slightly, anyway)! If you need facts in these areas:

ART & DESIGN
HISTORY & CULTURE
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Try the Encyclopedia Smithsonian:

LINK

DIGGING DEEPER INTO WIKIPEDIA

Yes, it’s a very helpful online encyclopedia, but what else is it good for?

1. WIKINEWS

Current News on the following topics and regions of the World:

Crime and the Law; Culture & Entertainment; Disasters & Accidents; Economy & Business: Education; Environment; Health; Obituaries; Politics & Conflicts; Science & Technology; Sports; WackyNews; Weather

Africa; Asia; Central America; Europe; Middle East; North America; Oceania; South America; World

2. WIKIBOOKS

Free educational textbooks.

3. WIKIVERSITY

Open content learning resources and projects at all levels.

4. WIKISPECIES

A free, open content directory of species, with more than 141,000 taxonomic articles currently available.

5. WIKTIONARY

An open-content dictionary.

Monday, July 14, 2008

VIRTUAL PROTECTION

If you’re clueless about viruses, adware, malware, spyware and all the other online threats that Internet users face every day, then Kim Komando’s 2005 tutorial on online security will prove very helpful. Yes, I know, it’s dated 2005, but the basic information is still sound, and the (up-to-date) links to various free anti-virus, anti-malware programs will certainly be to your liking:

LINK

TYPES OF MARRIAGE RECORDS

George G. Morgan has a lengthy post on types of marriage records at the 24/7 Family History Circle:

LINK

101 BEST GENEALOGY WEBSITES OF 2008

Family Tree Magazine’s best list for 2008, categorized by type of site:

LINK

FGS 2008 CONFERENCE BLOG

FGS is running a blog to keep attendees up on speakers, exhibitors, conference hall, and other updates. After having so much fun at NGS 2008, I certainly wish I was going to Philadelphia in September:

LINK

Sunday, July 13, 2008

AMATEUR SHUTTERBUGS-- LISTEN UP!

Getty Images is going to start keeping an eye on Flickr, the photo-sharing site, with an eye towards acquiring a license for photos it feels have commercial potential. Money from the sale of usage rights for photos will then be split between Getty Images and the photographer. Interested?

News article on this development

Flickr

Getty Images website

COOK COUNTY RECORDS ONE-STEP INDEX

From: Joy Rich
Subject: [Genealib] Cook County Vital Records- Steve Morse One-Step Index
To: genealib@mailman.acomp.usf.edu

Steve Morse has created a One-Step search for the online Cook County, Illinois, vital records. They include birth certificates that are seventy-five years old or older (before today's date in 1933); marriage certificates that are fifty years old or older (before today's date in 1958); and death certificates that are twenty years old or older (before today's date in 1988).

On his website, place the cursor over "Vital Records" on the upper left side of the page and click on "Chicago Vital Records." Steve's One-Step eliminates the need to compute the Soundex code and also makes it easy to find the name of a spouse.

Joy Rich
Chapter Representative, New York Metro Chapter
Association of Professional Genealogists

SUNSET HILLS HISTORICAL SOCIETY EVENTS

Our July meeting will feature Mr. Rick Rea, historian for the St. Louis Vintage Baseball Club. He will discuss the history of baseball, which was brought to St. Louis around 1860. Mr. Rea will also display old time baseball uniforms. The meeting will be held at Sunset Hills City Hall on 28 July 2008 at 7:00 PM.

On 19 August 2008 we will host a Korean War Veterans’ get together at the Community Center at Watson Trails Park. The veterans will meet from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and then the public is welcome to view a 36-star American flag that will be on display from 11:00 AM to Noon.

Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors!

Thanks,

Nancy Preheim

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, INTRODUCING PIXZILLA…

Remember when 2 or 4-megapixel digital cameras seemed like a big deal? Well, those days are long gone, brothers and sisters! The digital camera world now has its own 500-pound gorilla: Kodak has just announced a 50-megapixel camera! Dick Eastman can give you the rest of the story:

LINK

Friday, July 11, 2008

HATE VISTA? YOU CAN RUN XP, TOO!

How can you do it? By setting up a virtual XP computer on the same machine that’s running Vista for you! Again, how can you do it? By reading Kim Komando’s column on that topic, that's how:

LINK

Note: To do this, however, you’ll need a legally acquired copy of XP, plus a ton of RAM and goo-gobs of free space on your hard drive!

EXPOMUSEUM

Need more information about an international fair or expo, such as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair? ExpoMuseum covers them all, 1851-present:

LINK

JUST RECEIVED FROM YOUR BUDDIES AT THE IRS…

No, no-- you can climb down off that chair and loosen up that hemp necktie-- it’s actually good news! They’ve increased the reimbursement rates for business and moving mileage:

LINK

WORLD'S WAR EVENTS, Vols. I & II

When they say World War, they’re talking about World War I-- these two free Project Gutenberg ebooks will be of great interest to persons who want to know more about what their soldier ancestors experienced during the Great War:

LINK

EXODUS TO KANSAS

“Exodus to Kansas” is an online Prologue Magazine article (Summer 2008) about the 1879-1880 mass migration of black Americans (approximately 15,000 involved) from the South to Kansas:

LINK

BATTLEFILM

“Battlefilm” is an online Prologue Magazine article (Summer 2008) about NARA’s World War I moving picture holdings:

LINK

A PROPHET WITHOUT HONOR…

Captain Elias Zacharias told the Navy well in advance that Japan was likely to attack Pearl Harbor, and even told them the likeliest time for the attack (a Sunday morning), but Zacharias had a reputation as an arrogant loose cannon…

LINK

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GOOGLE’S SECOND ACT CHALLENGES SECOND LIFE

Apparently the real world is not a large-enough prize for the Google guys: Google has taken on Second Life, the virtual community, by launching its own free virtual community, known as Lively. Users can create their own avatars, or virtual counterparts, which can be male, female, or even other species. Google is asking that users be at least 13 years old. Google is planning to use various social networking sites as “launch pads” into Lively- you can already do so from Facebook, with MySpace to follow shortly. Full story here:

LINK

Lively’s homepage:

LINK

GOT MICHIGANDERS?

LIBRARY OF MICHIGAN 2008 GENEALOGY SEMINAR

The Library of Michigan's 2008 Abrams Genealogy Seminar - "Piecing Together Our Past" - will take place Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in downtown Lansing.

Dr. George K. Schweitzer, author of nearly 20 genealogical research books and a frequent speaker well known for his use of period costumes, will present Saturday's keynote address - "Tracing Ancestors Back Across the Atlantic" - co-sponsored by the Ingham County Genealogical Society. Dr. Schweitzer will give a second program, on Civil War genealogy, later on Saturday.

Participants may mix and match sessions from two research tracks. The first focuses on popular research topics and highlights resources at the Library of Michigan, including: Revolutionary War research, Michigan death records, and using city directories and newspapers for genealogical research. The second track features sessions spotlighting the collections at the Library of Michigan and other Michigan research institutions, including the Archives of Michigan, the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library, the Public Libraries of Saginaw, and the Loutit District Library in Grand Haven.

Registration for the 2008 Abrams Genealogy Seminar is $40, which includes a boxed lunch on Saturday and a seminar syllabus. Ingham County Genealogical Society (ICGS) members are eligible for a discounted registration rate of $25.

The Sheraton Lansing Hotel (925 S. Creyts Rd., Lansing) is offering a special discounted rate of $89 for participants. Call (517) 323-7100 for reservations, and mention the Abrams Genealogy Seminar to receive the discount.

The complete schedule of events and registration form for the Abrams Genealogy Seminar are available here. If you have any questions, please contact the Library of Michigan's Special Collections Services at (517) 373-1300. The Library of Michigan is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center at 702 W. Kalamazoo St., two blocks west of the State Capitol in downtown Lansing. The main entrance and visitor parking are located north of Kalamazoo Street, just east of M.L. King Boulevard.

If anyone has additional questions about the Abrams Genealogy Seminar, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kris Rzepczynski
Genealogy Coordinator
Library of Michigan
517.373.9456

TRI-COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER (JUNE 2008)

My friend, Nancy Thompson, has news for MoSGA Members:

"Greetings to all you MoSGA members!

The June 2008 Tri-County Genealogical Society Newsletter is available here."

Regards,

Nancy Thompson
Tri-County Genealogical Society
218 West Walnut St,
Nevada, MO 64772

Note: Tri-County Genealogical Society serves Cedar, St. Clair, and Vernon counties in Missouri.

GRANT HISTORIC SITE NIGHT WALKS

August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2008

"Join us for this nocturnal living history program, during which we will encounter historical figures from the past of Ulysses S. Grant! This event is free and open to the public, although spaces are limited and reservations are required. Interested? Call us to register or for more information at 314-842-3298."

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is located at 7400 Grant Road in St. Louis County.

LEE AND GRANT AT THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM

This exhibit (on display currently) at the Missouri History Museum includes uniforms, artifacts, artwork, weapons, and handwritten documents that help to reveal the personalities of each man, and their respective places in history. There will also be items on display from the Missouri History Museum’s collection that show the connections of Grant and Lee to this area.

Missouri History Museum
Lindell & DeBaliviere in Forest Park
St. Louis, Missouri 63105
(northwestern edge of Forest Park)

Related Events at the Missouri History Museum:

James B. Eads, U. S. Grant, and the Civil War Ironclads
7:30 PM, Lee Auditorium
Tuesday, 29 July 2009

Lee, Grant, and the Legacy of the Civil War in Race Relations Today
2 PM, Lee Auditorium
Sunday, 3 August 2008

Rebel Yell: a Primer on the Civil War in Missouri
6:30 PM-8 PM, Schnucks Learning Center
August 5, 12, 19, & 26, 2008

This four-part course explores the war in Missouri, battle strategies, and the day-to-day lives of Missouri’s Civil War soldiers. Course includes a free tour of the Lee and Grant exhibit.

Nose to Nose, Yet Side by Side: a Personal Look at Two of America’s Most Famous Generals
2 PM, Lee Auditorium
Sunday, 31 August 2008

For more details, or to register, you can call 314-746-4599.

VIETNAM CENTER AND ARCHIVE BLOG

The Vietnam Center and Archive is proud to announce the launch of our new blog. This blog will be used for a variety of topics and will be updated often by members of the Vietnam Center and Archive staff.

Blog topics will include: Vietnam Center and Archive news and updates, information about the Oral History Program, updates concerning the Virtual Vietnam Archive and the physical archive, interesting items from our holdings, website updates, and reference resources and outreach. We hope this new blog will both be a way to keep people informed about the progress of the Vietnam Center and Archive, as well as provide a valuable research tool. Several articles have already been posted, so please visit our blog and leave us your comments.

Visit the blog.

A link to our blog is also located in the top right corner of our website.

Mary McLain Saffell, C.A.
Associate Director, Archivist
The Vietnam Center and Archive
Texas Tech University
Special Collections Library, Room 108
Lubbock, Texas 79409-1041

READ THE WORDS

Readthewords.com is a new free service that should be of interest to genealogists, historians, librarians, students, educators, and persons for whom reading is difficult. To use the full range of their services, you will need to register, but registration is quick, painless, and non-invasive.

Readthewords.com allows you to create MP3 files or podcasts from text files you provide (up to 80,000 words in length). Text files can be in English, French, or Spanish. If you have registered, you can choose from a fairly wide variety of male and female voices (including a male and a female with UK accents, in case you feel your MP3 / podcast needs a touch of class, don’t you know). You can then download the MP3 file or embed the podcast on a blog or website.

I am planning to create several podcasts for this blog, because I happen to like computer-generated voices. I am also planning to get some text files from Project Gutenberg and create MP3 files of some shorter classic works of literature (any, that is, for which they don’t have an MP3 file already available) for my mother, who has macular degeneration and can no longer read or see TV broadcasts. Right now I’ve got my eye on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which I’m certain she’ll enjoy. I also can see any number of uses libraries or schools could make of this service (just check to be sure that non-profits can use their services for free first). I’m sure you can think of many other uses for Readthewords.com.

LINK

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CUTTING THE HIGH COST OF VISITING LIBRARIES & ARCHIVES

Need to cut costs on your summer trips to libraries and archives (and who doesn’t?)? Michael John Neill has some tight-fisted advice for you:

LINK

THE “HIGH” COST OF USING SUBSCRIPTION WEBSITES

Dick Eastman weighs in with another great post sure to anger the “everything should be free” crowd:

LINK

COOK COUNTY (IL) RECORDS

You know how finding information on Cook County ancestors used to be a difficult proposition at best? Well, that’s about to change in a BIG way:

LINK

Here’s what Dick Eastman has to say on the subject:

LINK

NOTE: BTW, searching their index is free, but access to images of their records is not…

NEW ANCESTRY.COM HOMEPAGE

Received from Anastasia Tyler at Ancestry.com:

Ancestry.com today launched a brand-new homepage that logged-in members will see the next time they visit the site. This new page combines the best of the old homepage with all of the personalized features and tools formerly in the MyAncestry tab. The result is quick, central access to the resources each member searches most.

· Family Tree Access – Surveys and site analysis told us that the 5 million Ancestry members building their family trees on Ancestry.com want quick access to their trees (particularly the pedigree view). We updated the homepage’s link to the family tree, added thumbnails of images uploaded to the trees, and included summaries and quick access-points to the tree. Multiple family trees can be viewed from the “My Trees” link.

· Quick Links – In the “My Quick Links” section, members can add personalized Web links to any page on Ancestry.com – or to any page anywhere on the Internet. This allows quick, instant access to resources each researcher uses most frequently: message boards, census records, or specific collections and databases.

· What’s New – Surveys also showed that Ancestry researchers want information on new records and features added to the site. We created the new “What’s Happening at Ancestry” section to meet this need. The “New records on Ancestry.com” list is dynamically updated every time new records are added to Ancestry.com.

· Organize Research – To help members keep their research organized, we also added the Shoebox, Recent Activity, and a new To-Do list to the new homepage.

Combining the old homepage and the MyAncestry page into a single page reduces the number of clicks it takes researchers to access the features they use most. As part of this combination, there is no longer a separate “My Ancestry” tab. All of the tools and features from the My Ancestry page are now on the new homepage.

Learn more about the new homepage at www.ancestry.com/home/lihp/faq.aspx. We welcome feedback, thoughts and ideas on the new homepage (which can be submitted through the link above).

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?

Some of you are probably thinking that the match was likely made in a much hotter place...

Ancestry.com and NARA have reached an agreement under the terms of which Ancestry.com will be able to do onsite digitization of records previously not available on microfilm. This means that the records in question will be widely available for the first time to persons outside NARA’s Washington, DC facility. A post on the Ancestry.com blog tells us which records they’re planning to digitize first:

LINK

THRILLING NARRATIVES OF MUTINY, MURDER, AND PIRACY

Free ebook at Project Gutenberg (catchy title, don’t you agree?):

LINK

IN FLANDERS FIELDS AND OTHER POEMS by JOHN MACRAE

I can recall the thrill I felt when I first read "In Flanders Fields" in high school. The bad news is that the horrific war that inspired that poem-- World War I-- killed Dr. Macrae in January 1918 (pneumonia). The good news is that he wrote numerous other poems before his death-- and many of them are nearly as memorable as “In Flanders Fields.” For example, read “Isandlwana” (the site of a horrific massacre of British troops during the Zulu War of 1879):

LINK

MUMMY’S THE WORD IN OLD BLIGHTY…

There’s a battle of sorts raging in Britain about the ethics of putting dead persons on display in museums, having been brought to a boil by the recent BodyWorks exhibit shown there. The controversy has even extended to persons who died three thousand years ago and then were subjected to a mummification process that they fully expected would allow them to live forever:

LINK

Note: Would your opinion on the propriety of displaying mummies in museums change if your awe-inspiring research skills had somehow proven that a mummy on display was a long-lost relative?

GENEALOGY THOUGHT-PROBLEM

Here's a genealogy thought-problem for the men out there:

If you had somehow met your father for the first time when the two of you were the same ages in high school, the service, or in college, do you think you would have become friends?

Your reflex answer might be, "Of course!"-- but do you REALLY think you would have?

I'm forced to conclude that my dad and I most likely would not have become friends. We shared a couple of interests-- history, drawing, reading-- but Dad was an athletic, gregarious guy who loved sports and enjoyed working with his hands. He was able to strike up a conversation with nearly anybody about nearly anything, and everybody seemed to like him (my older brother was very much like Dad). I have always been more of a brainiac and introvert, and for a long time was very much the odd man out in social situations. I like to think I've become much less introverted over the years, although I think these defining characteristics would definitely have meant that my father and the younger me would have moved in vastly different social circles.

So, I'm forced to conclude that my dad and I would not have become friends if we had first met as young men about the same age. Would you and your dad have become friends?

Note: Ladies, you can of course ask the same question about yourselves and your mothers. Feel free to send in your own reactions to this thought-problem: we'd like to know what you think!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

THEY LIKE US, THEY REALLY LIKE US...

Randy Seaver has some very nice things to say about MoSGA Messenger and the MoSGA website on his Genea-Musings blog:

LINK

Thanks, Randy!