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Friday, October 29, 2010

DEFRAGGLER

Use this utility program to defrag entire drives or individual files:

LINK

SYMPOSIUM ON U.S. COLORED TROOPS

A scholarly symposium on the U.S. Colored Troops will be held on Friday, November 5, 2010, at the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The symposium, "Rather Die Freemen than Live to be Slaves," will feature lectures by nationally known USCT experts, including Dr. James Horton ("The USCT, Pennsylvania, and William Woodlin"), Dr. Richard Blackett ("T. Morris Chester and the USCT"), Dr. James Paradis ("The Sixth USCT at Camp William Penn"), Harri Jones ("The USCT and Pennsylvania"), and Todd Mealy ("Civil War and Civil Rights: A Primer on the William Garnett League"). USCT family historians will also participate, and USCT muster rolls will be exhibited. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the symposium concludes at 5:00 p.m. There is no charge to attend. Call the Historical Society of Dauphin County at (717) 233-3462 or email here for more information or to register for the symposium.

The symposium, sponsored by Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Program of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Historical Society of Dauphin County and Pinnacle Health, is part of Harrisburg's commemoration of the U.S. Colored Troop's Grand Review, originally held in the city in November, 1865. Other commemorative events will be held in Harrisburg from November 4 through 7, 2010. Information about all of the weekend events is available here.


Michael Barton, Ph.D.
Professor of American Studies and Social Science
Director, Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies
The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg
Middletown, Pennsylvania 17057
717-948-6198

FLUFFYAPP

Need to share a large file with a large number of people? Don’t email it- drop and drag it to the Cloud with FluffyApp:

LINK

Note: Basic version is free, and should satisfy the needs of most potential users.

SIGIL

Want to convert a digital file into a properly formatted ebook? Take a look at Sigil- it’s open source, and it’s free:

LINK

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ACE MONEY LITE

Need to take charge of your personal finances (or do you handle the budget for a small business or organization)? Ace Money Lite can probably do the job for you- and it’s free:

LINK

Note: This program’s big brother, Ace Money, can handle the finances of complex estates or big businesses- but you’ll pay for the added computing power!

NARA-KC HOSTS DISCUSSION OF THE EYES OF WILLIE MCGEE

The National Archives at Kansas City will host author Alex Heard for a discussion and signing of his book The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South on Tuesday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. Heard will be available to sign copies of his book after the discussion. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event. Attendees are encouraged to view the Documented Rights exhibition, prior to the panel discussion which focuses on civil rights.

In 1945 Willie McGee, a young black man from Laurel, Mississippi, was sentenced to death for allegedly raping Willette Hawkins, a white housewife. At first, McGee’s case was barely noticed, covered only in hostile Mississippi newspapers and far-left publications like The Daily Worker. Then Bella Abzug, a young New York labor lawyer, was hired by the Civil Rights Congress – an aggressive arm of the Communist Party in the U.S. – to oversee McGee’s defense. Together with William L. Patterson, the son of a slave and a devout believer in revolutionary action against racial oppression, Abzug and a group of white Mississippi lawyers risked their lives to plead McGee’s case. During years of courtroom battles and groundbreaking protests, McGee’s supporters – including William Faulkner, Albert Einstein, Jessica Mitford, Paul Robeson, Norman Mailer, and Josephine Baker – spoke out on McGee’s behalf and flooded President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Supreme Court with clemency pleas.

Drawn from primary source materials, including records of the National Archives and Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, The Eyes of Willie McGee offers a glimpse into the life during the Jim Crow south and the impact of the conflicts between black and white, North and South in America.

Alex Heard is the editorial director of Outside magazine. He has worked as an editor and writer at The New York Times Magazine, Wired, The Washington Post Magazine, The New Republic, Slate and other publications.

Copies of The Eyes of Willie McGee will be available for purchase at The Kansas City Store at the National Archives. Following the program the author will be available to sign copies of his book. For more information or to make a reservation for this free event call 816-268-8010 or register by emailing:

kansascity.educate@nara.gov.

Additional information about the exhibition

Documented Rights is an exhibition featuring documents from the holdings of the 13 regional National Archives facilities that give a voice to the national struggle for human and civil rights. It features more than 80 documents, facsimiles, images and sound recordings. It will be available for viewing at the National Archives at Kansas City, November 2, 2010 - March 19, 2011. For more information about Documented Rights visit:

www.archives.gov/exhibits/documented-rights

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit:

www.archives.gov/central-plains

WINDOWS LIVE ESSENTIALS 2011

Your BFFs at Microsoft have bundled together a group of free programs that you can download here:

LINK

NOTE: Programs include Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Windows Live Mesh, Writer, Family Safety, Mail, Messenger Companion, Bing Bar, Outlook Connector Pack, and Microsoft Silverlight. Your OS must be Vista or 7 to use these free downloads.

NOAA CIVIL WAR COLLECTION

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has digitized a large group of Civil War maps and has made them available on the Internet:

LINK

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BEST STATE GENIE WEBSITES

Family Tree Magazine has released a list of 75 of the best state-related websites for genealogy:

LINK

JAYCUT

Need a simple (and free) video editing application to edit those film clips of your adorable grandkids/memorable family reunion? It’s here already:

LINK

SOUTHERN HISTORICAL COLLECTION AT UNC

The Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina offers an extensive collection of online finding aids:

LINK

HOUSE DIVIDED

New online journal sponsored by Dickinson College that covers the time period 1840-1880. Articles can be read online, listened to, or you can watch a video version:

LINK

Friday, October 22, 2010

EMAIL ICON GENERATOR

Are you worried about spammers harvesting your email address from one or more websites/blogs? You can use this website to generate an image of your email address. Website/blog users can read it, but spammers can’t harvest the email address from an image:

LINK

Just enter your email address and click Generate.

Note: The drawback to using an image, of course, is that it makes website users take one more step to contact you. You may wish to get a free Gmail account instead. The spam filter on my Gmail account is excellent-- I rarely see more than four or five spam messages per week:

LINK

Just click the Gmail button above the Google logo to get started!

SEAMONKEY

You can’t do everything with it-- but you can do most things most people want to do:

LINK

NOTE: this free app includes an all-in-one Internet browser, email & newsgroup client with an included web feed reader, HTML editor, plus IRC chat and web development tools!

TEN FIRST STEPS TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS

A free guide at About.com:

LINK

MEDIEVAL BESTIARY

Some of these animals never existed, and some of the real animals are not depicted very accurately- but they sure look cool:

LINK

DIGITAL DIALECTS

Interested in a foreign language, but wish there were a painless and free way to figure out if you would actually enjoy learning that language? You’re in luck—now there is just such a way:

LINK

NOTE: Site offers about 60 languages- surely there’s at least one that interests you!

SPEED BOOTING

Wish your computer would boot-up faster? There just might be a free way to make it so:

LINK

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DIGITAL TEXT PLATFORM

Do you (or does your society) own the rights to a book, and do you have a WORD or PDF version of that book? If so, you can sell that book via Amazon.com's Kindle Store, even if it's available from another publisher:

LINK

BLIO

Very nice ebook reader- and it’s free:

LINK

ENEMIES WITHIN

If your computer is slowing down, running erratically, or showing other signs that it might be infected with some sort of malware, try using some of these free fixes before paying a repair tech or online service to clean it up:

LINK

NOTE: And if you’re one of those people who still doesn’t use anti-virus software, PLEASE START USING IT TODAY!

UP TO DATE AND SAFE

Here’s an easy way to figure out if any programs you’re running need patches or other updates:

LINK

Monday, October 18, 2010

RESEARCHING AMERICAN INDIAN ANCESTORS

Article from the Ancestry Learning Center:

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CYBERSPEAK

Free access to the archive of Kim Komando’s Cyberspeak column in USA Today:

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USING YEARBOOKS FOR GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH

The Ancestry.com Learning Center has numerous articles on using yearbooks/school records to find info on your ancestors:

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Click on Learning Center-- then put Yearbooks in the Search Topics box in the left-hand navigation bar!

BALL’S BLUFF STAFF RIDE

An Army Staff Ride guidebook that explores this lesser-known (but politically important) early Civil War battle:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

GOOGLE TAKES THE CAKE

Little Google is nearly a terrible teen-- it just turned twelve:

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ALL-IN-ONE PRINTERS

Kim Komando offers tips for selecting the right all-in-one printer for your needs:

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UNCLAIMED.ORG

Want to quickly find out if a state owes you money from a forgotten bank account, undelivered tax refund, etc? Go here:

LINK

NOTE: My wife and I got a check for $24 (hey, it will pay for a movie and snacks!).

HEY DOC!

This freeware helps you keep track of your own medical information:

LINK

JAPANESE BALLOON BOMB ATTACKS ON THE U.S.

Smithsonian publication on Japanese attempts to carry the war to the American mainland using paper balloons that carried explosive devices. They launched 9,000 such contraptions. Most landed without incident or were shot down by military aircraft in the U.S. and Canada, but one that landed in Oregon killed a minister’s wife and five children on a day trip to a recreation area:

LINK

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

TARAWA GIVES UP ITS DEAD

A task force combed the area earlier this year for remains of Marines killed during the 1943 assault on Tarawa:

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NOTE: The plan is to use DNA from surviving relatives to identify as many Marines as possible!

CLONESPY

If you’ve had your computer awhile, it’s likely you have some duplicate files on your machine. This free app will find them for you (even if a file has more than one name):

LINK

NOTE: You can have Clonespy automatically delete files it finds, or it can transfer them to a folder you double check before making deletions. You should definitely double check-- and if you’re unsure about deleting a file, keep it just in case it’s somehow essential for one or more programs on your computer!

JACK THE RIPPER

A guide to information on the Butcher of Whitechapel and his bloody misdeeds held by the National Archives (UK):

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HORRORS OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES- WITCHCRAFT

Online exhibit of witchcraft/witch trials materials in the collection of the National Archives (UK):

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NAVY ANCESTORS RESEARCH

A Family Search Wiki that provides guidance to persons who are researching 19th century U.S. Navy ancestors:

LINK

ARMY ANCESTORS RESEARCH

A Family Search Wiki that provides guidance to persons who are researching 19th century U.S. Army ancestors:

LINK

Monday, October 04, 2010

POOR LAW UNION RECORDS

If you think some of your English ancestors were paupers, you’ll want to search this online database of Poor Union records:

LINK

NOTE: Records start in 1834 (end dates vary by Poor Law Union).

SUBMARINE APPENDECTOMY

Let me set the scene for you: it’s World War II, and you are the Medical Corpsman on a Navy submarine. A crewman comes to you with what appear to be signs of acute appendicitis. You don’t have a doctor on board, and you’re in Japanese patrolled waters, so there’s no way to reach a doctor quickly enough to save the crewman. What do you do? Here’s what happened on a sub that was in that very situation:

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GERMANY’S WWI WAR DEBT

Yes, that's WWI-- they've finally repaid it all (as of 3 Oct 2010):

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NEW NARA-KC EDUCATION SPECIALIST

The National Archives at Kansas City announces the addition of Mickey Ebert as the Education Specialist. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Ebert has over 30 years of classroom experience. She will be developing curriculum based on National Archives exhibitions; scheduling school tours; and facilitating primary source workshops for students and educators. Ebert can be reached directly with questions or tour requests call 816-268-8013 or email mickey.ebert@nara.gov.

Friday, October 01, 2010

WILL BLU-RAY REPLACE DVDS?

Maybe-- but only in the short term, because Kim Komando thinks that Internet streaming / downloads will soon be how the average movie buff gets his or her movies / TV shows in the not-so-distant future-- if, that is, available broadband transfer speeds are fast enough and if any necessary hardware is cheap enough:

LINK

MILITARY RECORDS SELECTION TABLE

If you are looking for a particular bit of information (parents, birth date, spouse, etc.) about a 19th century soldier ancestor, this chart suggests which kind(s) of military record (service record, pension record, etc.) may contain the bit of information you seek:

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INDIAN FIGHTERS

A very nice Family Search Wiki that provides guidance to persons who are researching 19th century ancestors who fought in wars with American Indian tribes:

LINKS

INDIAN WARS TIME TABLE

Having trouble keeping track of all the Indian wars in which this country has engaged? This handy time table will really help:

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GOVERNMENT BOOK TALK

The Government Book Talk blog has been up and running for six months now. Congrats to all involved!

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