As families gather to celebrate Christmas we are provided with many opportunities to gather and share stories, pictures and documents of the past. Here are a few ideas and tools you can use to make the most of the holiday season. Flip-Pal mobile scanner is a handy little tool. The small hand-held scanner has software that allows you to "stitch" together scans, which gives one the option of scanning a large picture or document. It is very easy to use! On the website Flip-Pal gives useful advice. It also has a program called StoryScans with which you can make a video mixing pictures and audio to put the story behind the picture together. If you are unsure of what to ask your forebears, here is a list of 50 questions to ask your family member to garner the details of their lives. If 50 seems a bit daunting, Family Tree Magazine has this list of 20 questions. Lastly, if you are a died in the wool genealogist and your family expects you to interrupt Christmas dinner with questions about relatives past lives, here is a list of 150 questions!
Last week I attended a seminar on land records and learned of a great tool for mapping your ancestors lives. HistoryGeo.com uses plat maps, land records and other sources to provide a historic perspective overlaying a modern map.
The website is run by genealogy publishing company Arphax, that specializes in original land ownership maps based upon land patents and plat books. Most notable on the website is the First Landowners Project, which provides a searchable database of over 12.3 million landowners in 29 states, including Missouri. To gain full access a subscription is required. I did subscribe and found the maps clear and useful. Users may print or download maps including those magnified to show intricate detail.
The site was named as one of Family Tree Magazine's 2016 101 Best Websites.
Chronicling America, the Library of Congress (LOC) database of American newspapers offering millions of digitized newspaper pages published 1789-1924, will be expanding in 2017, according to a LOC press release. The current 11.4 million page database will grow with the addition of early American papers (from 1690) and modern era (through 1963) papers without copyright protection. According to the press release, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain, while from 1923 to 1963, materials fall into the public domain if their publishers have not renewed their copyrights. Lack of copyright protection must be proven for materials to be added. Additionally, four new state partners were added: Alaska, Colorado, Maine and New Jersey.
I have had some success locating some smaller and limited run Missouri newspapers at Chronicling America. The Sedalia Bazoo was the most exciting find. The paper ran as a daily 1886-1881, and a weekly thereafter through 1904. The October 22, 1889 Sedalia Weekly Bazoo carried the story of my great great uncle's death with details I had yet to find anywhere else. Chronicling America is a great resource, not only of digitized pages but also of determining where current copies of newspapers might be found on microfilm and original hard copy. Here is the Sedalia Bazoopage that shows locations and the approximate date ranges for the paper.