Monday, September 15, 2014

What are your favorite ways to teach kids about their history?

I love teaching - and as a result, end up loving any project that might engage kids and adults in genealogy. I've looking for great kids' genealogy books and finally stumbled across one I love. The Family Tree Detective by Ann Douglas does a great job of highlighting the types of records that can be used to trace family stories. I loved the explanation of what you can learn from old report cards. What are your favorite books?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Those Places Thursday: House Histories in Middletown

 House histories are becoming increasingly popular in genealogy. Instead of tracing a history of a family, you instead trace the history of a home. When was it built? Who lived there? Did it have any special stories? It's a neat way to give depth to your home's stories.
   If that home is in Middletown, your work just got that much easier. The Middletown Room at Russell Library holds the notes for the architectural survey of Middletown conducted by the historic preservation trust in the early 1970s. The trust didn't survey every home in town - they chose representative examples - but for those they did, they made very good notes. You may find information about the home's original style, the amount of land, who built, and much more.
   I've also used the collection to figure out where a family was living when... and why. In one case, the family built a new home, next door to their old one, when their fortunes improved. The detail was something I would never have found on my own. Just think of it as a variation on title searching!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Talented Tuesday: Another hidden collection

 The Middletown Room of the Russell Library (Middletown, CT) is full of fabulous collections you've never heard of...
  This time I'm showcasing a collection that might be of use if your ancestor was ever mayor of Middletown. Each administration kept a scrapbook of important news clippings about events during their term. Instead of being kept in City Hall, they're actually part of the Middletown Room collection. It's a nice way to avoid skimming generations of newspapers. Happy hunting!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Those Places Thursday: Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University has set up a resource page for family history researches. They will help with researching students and faculty of Wesleyan, but admit their resources on the rest of town are limited. Check out the page here.

How do you use Google+?

   I am reevaluating my use of social media. Like many genealogists, I jumped on the Google+ bandwagon. But little by little, I've stopped using it. Why? Because most of us end up simply recopying feeds from our blogs. The rare times I use it, I end up doing exactly the same thing...
  I wonder: is there a more effective way to employ Google+? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Family Tree Magazine

  Yes, I am way behind on this one! I officially got access to Family Tree Magazine for the first time today.  I have to say that I am impressed. The publication provides a solid background in genealogy. Despite the fact that I do a lot of reading in genealogical topics, I found that the issue I was reading covered records I'd never considered. Who would have thought about poor house records? Many of the other articles felt very timely. I'm in the midst of reorganizing my office space... and guess what one of the cover articles was?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Family Photo Detective

 Since I periodically teach beginning genealogy, I love stumbling across clear explanations of genealogy techniques and theory. I am in love  with Maureen Taylor's new book. Family Photo Detective introduces genealogists to the different ways that photographs can be used in genealogy. She touches upon how to date a photograph from type of photography, clothes, and even the photographer's mark. This is the ultimate "how to." Have you ever examined your photographs that closely?