April 16, 2014

Free Access to Civil War Records on Fold3

 Discover Your Ancestors on Fold3 To remember the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, FOLD 3 invites you to explore all records in its Civil War Collection for free April 14–30.

Explore Civil War documents featuring everything from military records to personal accounts and historic writings. Soldier records include service records, pension index cards, “Widows’ Pension” files, Navy survivors certificates, Army registers, and much more. Other record types include photographs, original war maps, court investigations, slave records, and beyond. Items such as the Lincoln Assassination Papers, Sultana Disaster documents, letters to the Adjutant General and Commission Branch, and the 1860 census are also contained in the Civil War Collection.

Confederate-specific records include Confederate service records, amnesty papers, casualty reports, and citizens files, as well as Confederate Navy subject files and Southern Claims Commission documents.

Join Fold3 in its commemoration of the Civil War. Discover information on famous participants as well as your own Civil War ancestors through documents, photos, and images that capture the experiences and vital information of those involved in America’s deadliest conflict. Then commemorate your ancestors by creating or expanding memorial pages for them on Fold3’s Honor Wall 
 

April 15, 2014

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders
Evernote Genealogy Binder for my son's Schulze ancestors
I'm discovering so many great tools using Evernote to create virtual Genealogy Binders.My first blog post on using Evernote can be found at Using Evernote to Make Virtual Binders for Genealogy Organization 

The latest trick I've found is an amazing time-saver and one I touched on briefly in my last blog post More Ways to Use Evernote to Create Virtual Genealogy Binders. Now I've fine-tuned this method and want to share it with you. It has saved me so much time and duplication. This is the method where instead of creating a new note in your Evernote Binder and methodically importing one file at a time by using the FILES>ATTACH FILES command in Evernote, you accomplish this in a different more efficient way by importing files as batches directly from your computer drive. 

First step is to make sure your computer files are named correctly. I've discovered that if you name your genealogy file (either image or document) with the exact name you want to use as the Title of your note in an Evernote Binder, this file name is imported as the Title of the note. So if you import a file named "jacobdewhirst1820baptism.jpg" the title will be automatically inserted as "jacobdewhirst1820baptism" 

Instead of having to rename it in the note to "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 baptism Yorkshire England", make sure your file on your computer hard drive has the name you want in the Evernote note so that you do not have to redo anything.

Previously I titled my notes in my virtual Genealogy Binders with the year then the person's name then a description. But since Evernote limits how many Binders you can create,I soon realized I needed to put all the siblings of my direct ancestors in the same binder. I can't create one binder for each person. So I needed to rename my notes with the surname then the first name then the year, followed by the description. That way each individual's notes will be grouped together and in chronological arrangement.

It is easy for me to make sure my computer files follow this format. For example as I am searching on Ancestry.com and saving various records for Jacob Dewhirst and family, I rename each file as it is downloaded. The 1841 census for Jacob gets the name "Dewhirst Jacob 1841 Census Yorkshire England" His baptism record gets the file name "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 Baptism Yorkshire England" 


Adding files in batches to Evernote
The next time-saving step is to go to my computer folder where the files are for Jacob Dewhirst. I can highlight them all, right click and choose "ADD TO EVERNOTE". Every file I've highlighted pops into my default notebook in Evernote. 

Now it is very easy to open that default notebook, highlight  all the newly imported files (they will all be together because of how I named them), right click and choose "MOVE TO NOTEBOOK Schulze Genealogy" 

Files added in batches to my default notebook
then moving them to Schulze Genealogy notebook/binder
Every image and document I imported is now very nicely in place in the correct notebook and best of all it is already titled and has been arranged automatically by Evernote in the binder. 

The other tip I have for you is to put quotation marks around the title you give your default notebook in Evernote. That will pop it to the top of the alphabetical list of your notebooks and this is very handy when you want to open that notebook to move your recently imported files.

April 14, 2014

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic
Representation of a Civil War photo
This is a fascinating story of an amazing find in an attic. Hundreds of photos from the Civil War were found in a house belonging to one of the descendants of Alfred Waud, the Civil War artist.

They were purchased by one man who carefully inventoried each photograph and stored them in archival sleeves. In the end the collection consisted of over 500 albumen prints from the Civil War and the American west.

Read the story at My Photo Archiving Find Of A Lifetime How I Found Hundreds Of Civil War And Old West Photos In An Attic In Vermont

April 13, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is "A Special Song", a song you loved as a teenager. What music was popular when you were young? What did your parents listen to? What bands or groups did you ooh and aww over? 

We didn't have a radio or record player until I was about 9 or 10 years old as my mother always wrinkled her nose in disgust when she heard music and would emphatically state to anyone who would listen, "I hate music!" After my father bought a player, he got several 33LP records (remember those?) of musical show such as Oklahoma and South Pacific. I soon learned all the songs and my favourite was "Happy Talk" from South Pacific. Dad also had lots of Irish crooners and an album by George Formby which he listened to constantly. I loved the song on that album "Does your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour.."

When I was 10 I chose to have my own record player rather than the bicycle which was tradition in our family. At the age of 10 each of my siblings got a bike but I wanted to be able to listen to music. My mother was shocked but she begrudgingly went along with my choice. I was so thrilled when my little plastic record player with plastic records arrived!
My bedroom became my haven and I'd sit and play my records over and over. 

I was a teen in the 60s so of course The Beatles were a huge impact then! But I have to be honest and say I preferred The Rolling Stones.When I was a young teen I started off listening to folk music - Ian and Sylvia, The Mamas and Papas,  and other similar groups but it didn't take long before I was heavily into The Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, The Doors and other "edgier" groups.  

I still love music and even though I'm a "senior" I try to keep up with what's new and what's happening in the music world. The gals where I get my hair done chuckle over my iTunes songs in my playlist as it's quite a mixture of songs by such artists as  Shinedown, One Republic, Dashboard Confessional, Adele, Ed Kowalczyk, Pit Bull, Walk off the Earth, Flo Rida, Hedley, Hawksley Workman, The Killers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady GaGa, Elton John, Maroon 5, Mary J. Blige, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Santana, Shawn Mullins, Sting, TIna Turner, Sublime, Velvet Revolver, Melissa Etheridge, Green Day and many more. 

Credits: "Music Card" by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

April 12, 2014

The Heartbleed Bug - Time to Change Your Passwords

The Heartbleed Bug - Time to Change Your Passwords
Unless you've been living under a rock you have no doubt heard about the Heartbleed Bug. Basically it's a bug (a glitch) in the encryption used by many big companies such as Facebook and Dropbox. No doubt you do use some of the companies who may have been afffected or at risk. That means we all need to change our passwords once a site has given the thumbs up that they've patched the security risk.

To make your life easier, here is a link to  Mashable's list of sites that have recommended user passwords be changed. It is updated daily so check it often to see if new sites have been added. If you do not live in the United States you won't find the list of banks and government sites much help. 

For those you will have to visit your country's specific bank and government agency sites to see if you need to take precautions.

When you go to change your password, please create a strong password. It should be a mix of characters, numbers and letters and it should be random. Don't use your pet's name or your child's date of birth. Don't use your mother's maiden name. Don't use a recognizable sentence or phrase such as "thecheshirecat"  or "thequickbrownfoxjumpedoverthelazydog" Even changing some of the letters such as a and e to characters is useless against the amazing fast tools hackers have to crack passwords. 

Here's a list of the top 500 worst passwords. Make sure your password isn't on this list! 

And please do not use the "trick" of creating a base password and altering it slightly for different websites. That's not a good idea even though many are touting it as a way to remember all the passwords we need to keep. Because of course you are not using the same password for every site, are you? I hope not! You must have a unique password for each site or you are at risk. If you use one password for all, and then Site A is hacked the hacker now has access to all sites you frequent. 

If like me you have dozens of passwords for all the services you use, you must either use a password Manager  such as Dashlane or LastPass, or you must write them down and keep them in a secure (preferably locked) spot in your home.  Obviously I can't share specific secrets with you of the ways I manage or store my passwords but I can tell you that for the dozen passwords I must take with me on the road, I use a code to disguise the actual password. In other words, the password is there but the name of the site to which it refers is not noted in any way a person would understand. As well the actual password is coded so that only I know what certain letters and characters mean. Some mean I remove them from the password. Some mean I capitalize the letter. Some mean I substitute a specific character. 

Yep I know, it sounds like a spy novel. But my motto is "Better Safe than Sorry". With all the hacking going on these days and with the incredibly fast ways hackers have to break passwords, I take no chances. 

Don't wait. Change your passwords when each site has fixed or patched the security flaw.

April 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: It's All in the Name

52 Ancestors: It's All in the Name
1837 document from Storm starting he is known as
both Vollick and Follick in his neighbourhood
My 5th great-grandfather Isaac Vollick, born 1732 in Schoharie, New York, was a United Empire Loyalist who came to Upper Canada from the United States during the American Revolution. He was the illegitimate son and only child of Isaac VanValkenburg and Maria Bradt.

It is through Isaac the Loyalist that Follick and Vollick descendants claim their Mohawk heritage. Isaac's great-great-grandmother was Ots-Toch a half French, half Mohawk woman who married Cornelis Van Slyke a Dutchman who settled in Albany New York in 1627

Although no record of a marriage has been found for Isaac and Maria, their son Isaac used his father's surname until 1782. During his years as a private in Butler's Rangers, Isaac's surname changed from Van Valkenburg, meaning in Dutch, 'from the castle of the falcons' (van=from; valken=falcons; burgh=castle), to Valk or Valck which means 'falcon'. It appears that Valk was his nickname and on being recorded by English clerks, a vowel was inserted between the final 'l' and 'k' making the surname Valic or Volick. Over the years, the surname was written as Vollick, Volic, Valic, Valck, Valk, Volk and Follick (the German/Dutch accent making a 'v' sound like 'f' to English ears).

My line, descended from his son Cornelius, took the Vollick surname. His son Storm used the Follick surname. In the next generation some Follick descendants used Vollick while some Vollick descendants used Follick.  It makes it interesting trying to research all branches of this family!

April 10, 2014

Evidence of St. Louis French Colonial Log Home Found

Evidence of St. Louis French Colonial Log Home Found
Evidence of a French colonial home in St. Louis was found beneath layers of concrete and bricks during digging by the Department of Transportation.  It is the first trace of  Colonial St. Louis, Missouri which was thought to be completely destroyed by later building. 

Archealogists and historians have confirmed that the house which was constructed of vertical logs rather than horizontal, was built in 1769 by Joseph Bouchard, then later owned by Philip RiviƩre.

The history of the early settlement of St. Louis is a fascinating story. It began as a fur trading post in 1764 so this newly excavated log home is one of the very earliest. 


Credit: Image from Northern Illinois Libraries Digitization Projects

April 9, 2014

One Man in England Saves 5000 WW1 Photos from Being Destroyed

One Man in England Saves 5000 WW1 Photos frrom Being Destroyed
Screen Dump from BBC News Sussex website
This is a fascinating story about an ordinary man in England who took it on himself to save and preserve WW1 photos, cards, letters and other objects from the dump. 

Bob Smethurst worked at collecting garbage for decades. In the early days there were garbage pails that had to be dumped into the trucks. As  these pails were dumped, papers and photos were easily spotted. Not wanting some of the lovely photos of soldiers and WW1 postcards he saw to be lost forever, Smethurst began saving them. Little did he know that he would end up with over 5000 photographs and letters, some of them very rare.

Mr. Smethurst defines himself as a custodian of these documents and is making plans on what should happen to the collection. 

This is a fascinating story and how I would love to visit Mr. Smethurst and look through is amazing collection.

For more details and photos see Revealed: Extraordinary collection of 5,000 WWI photographs salvaged from RUBBISH DUMPS by a former dustman and Sussex dustman saved rare WW1 photographs