23 March 2009

Genealogy and History Channels on YouTube [Reference Shelf]

ResourceShelf pointed out the European Library YouTube channel in a recent post. I was reminded that YouTube is actually a very lush source of information for genealogists... something I forget when I'm turning to YouTube for quick Elmo videos and the latest music. I was amazed at how much there was of interest!

Here are some interesting channels I have found, all with appeal for genealogists:

* Roots Television- Of course!

* The European Library- Includes links to videos highlighting libraries of member countries.

* UK National Archives Channel

* Spelman College- Haven't uploaded a video in a while, but the videos on their Oral History project are great.

* New York Public Library

* History Channel

* Southern California Genealogical Society

* Reno County Genealogy Society

* Family Tree Magazine

* Teapot Genealogy

* Genealogy Guy

* Allen County Public Library

* Genealogy Gems

* Genealogy Scrounge

* Family History Expos

* Elyse's Genealogy Videos

* Travel Film Archive

20 March 2009

Spring Has Sprung [Reference Shelf]

Since we moved into our new rental home a few months ago, my husband and I have been busy clearing out the large backyard of ivy and other plant-creep. The home and garden were clearly loved, but in the past ten years the owners of the home started to grow elderly, and just couldn't keep up with the garden tasks the way that they had over the fifty years they lived here. It's a work in progress:

It's been a sweaty and often muddy job, but the backyard is starting to get into shape for a summer vegetable bed. Watching the buds emerge from the stark greys and blacks of the fruit trees, watching a small bird build a lint and leaf nest outside of my office window... these moments of spring have been very close and poignant to me this year, perhaps because I am watching it all with a very inspired and wide-eyed toddler in tow.

It got me thinking about the relationships our ancestors had to land. As we trace out relations back through the years, moving out from the urban landscapes in which many of us live, through the neatly gridded suburbs, to the orchards, ranches and farms which sprawl through our family histories like expansive landscapes, you have to wonder what legacies of a relationship with spring, growth, land and earth we have inherited over the generations. You have to wonder, as well, what lessons and values we have lost.

I poked around and found some interesting links to online historical vignettes and information about all sorts of ways we have interacted with The Great Mother Earth over the generations. Hope you enjoy and are inspired by some of them the way I have been. Happy Spring to everyone.


* The American Gardening Museumincludes a small but very nice online exhibition of New England gardening from the 1920's through the 1940's.

* Wessels Living History Farm of Nebraska has a great website covering Midwest farming techniques and history from the 1920's through the 1960's. The site includes some Quicktime video interviews and oral histories with Nebraskan farmers.

* The LOC has some great materials online documenting how we turn to the land in dire times, like the War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables manual published in 1919.

* Growing a Nation, from the USDA and Utah State University, offers tons of information about historical farming, including a great Flash program about the history of American agriculture, and a very informative timeline of American agriculture throughout the decades.

* Harvest of Freedom from Cornell University outlines the history of kitchen gardens in America, and includes close-up images of historic seed catalogs and gardening guides.

18 March 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesdays: Sweet, Sweet Family History

My husband's Great-Great Grandfather, John Richard McIntosh, the famous confectioner of Columbia, South Carolina. Date unknown.

16 March 2009

What's in Your Wallet? [Reference Shelf]

I had a great time at the monthly California Genealogical Society meeting last week, seeing and meeting quite a few of my Geneablogger and Facebook genealogist friends. The presentation and talk by Frances Dinkelspiel on her book Towers of Gold was an unparalleled trip back in time to the California of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A great tip came from Ms. Dinkelspiel when she touched on her use of resources through the eight years she spent researching for the book. She mentioned the use she made of electronic resources available through local libraries like The San Francisco Public Library.

A lightbulb went off over my head... no longer living in San Francisco, I hadn't thought of checking the SF library website for what's available electronically. Having lived in the Bay Area for ten years now, and having moved alot, I have library cards and active accounts in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Contra Costa!

A quick drive through the library sites for those libraries yielded me some great treasures which I don't have access to otherwise: The San Francisco Chronicle from 1865-1922, Sanborn Maps California, HeritageQuest, and all sorts of other resources I've been laboring without for years!

So the tip is: Check out the electronic resources available from your local library; you may be pleasantly surprised!

And the question is: What library cards are in your wallet?

15 March 2009

Bring Back the Sixties! [Tidbits]

Alexander Street Press recently launched a new online database and archival repository, "The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives", and is offering a free trial through the end of March. From the website:

The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960–1974 brings the 1960s alive through diaries, letters, autobiographies and other memoirs, written and oral histories, manifestos, government documents, memorabilia, and scholarly commentary. With 150,000 pages of material at completion, this searchable collection is the definitive electronic resource for students and scholars researching this important period in American history, culture, and politics. The database currently has over 34,000 pages.

I didn't live through the sixties, (dating myself here), but of course it was an important decade and I've grown up in the wake of the cultural quakes that took place then. And who doesn't love primary documents???

To login, perform a search and, when prompted for login information:

userid: bringback
password: thesixties

[Via ResourceShelf]

13 March 2009

Finding Useful PDFs Online [Site Review]

PDFse.com offers a Google-powered search devoted exclusively to PDF files and ebooks. An extremely simple and stripped-down interface allows users to locate PDFs by search or by browsing a tag-cloud of previous searches.

A meander through items in the genealogy and genealogy-resources tag-cloud included varied things like an LOC-authored guide to local history and genealogy publishers, a USGS guide to using Geological Survey maps and resources in Genealogy, and familysearch.org's file on Jewish Genealogy Research.

If you're looking for PDFs with instructional or overview information, PDFse seems to be perfect. Various tests searching for actual PDFs of books didn't fair quite so well... books known to be present online did not show up despite using varied search parameters. Best to stick to archive.org and googlebooks for actual books, but for all else PDF-wise, give PDFse a try.

11 March 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesdays: More Visualizing with Maps

Using Google Maps to trace the westward migration of eight children from a single family. Notice the cluster points in New York, Illinois, the Plains, then California. Children lived ca. 1830's to ca. 1920's, offspring of Robert May and Ann Rowe of England.

View Larger Map

09 March 2009

More Scholarly Resources Online [Tidbits]

More resources for free online scholarly journals of interest to genealogists:

* The History Cooperative includes links to journals like "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography" and "Journal of American Ethnic History"

* Jurn.org is a search-engine specifically searching online e-journals with "free or substantially free" content. Seems to search Historycooperative.org and Thefreelibrary.com, as well as many individual journal sites.

* Questia in a paid-subscription site that does offer some free access to journals and books

06 March 2009

Fantastic Scholastic (Resources Online) [Site Review]

I recently came upon The Free Library in a Google search and spent some time, with interest, on the site. Despite some serious pitfalls, there is some great information on the site for genealogists willing to do some digging. That is, if you can get past the *cough* aesthetic struggles *coughcough* of the site, and can handle its untoward and awkward navigation.

The site does provide a keyword, title, author and subject search, which functions fairly well. You can also browse journal titles by subject, via the homepage. Once you have located a title you are interested in, you can subscribe to an RSS feed for that title and be notified when new content is added.

Some titles of notable interest to genealogists:

* The Journal of Southern History

* The Loyalist Gazette (Revolutionary War)

* Afro-Americans in New York Life and History

* Journal of Social History

Mostly of the historical ilk, but then all genealogists are historians, if all historians are not genealogists!