Thursday, March 31, 2011

Share Your Family's Food Trandtion

The following is a press release about a new book from F & W Media, the same publishers that bring you Family Tree Magazine. Typically, I don't post press releases but this one is different.  It's is about a book that I am writing.

I am very excited about this different look at our ancestor's lives and hope that you will consider telling your family's food story.

March 31, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jacqueline Musser
(513) 531-2690 x 11467 or

Share Recipes and Traditions for a New Family Tree Book

Food is a key ingredient in every family’s history: Dad’s Saturday morning pancakes, the marzipan Granny served every Christmas, the spaghetti sauce recipe passed down from your Sicilian great-great-grandmother. Family Tree Books wants to know about your family’s food traditions—we’re collecting short essays for a book to be published in spring 2012. We’ll select 8 submissions to feature in the book based on these criteria:

  • Submissions should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
  • Essays should tell the story of a real tradition, specifically:
o  What is the tradition?
o  Who started it and when?
o  What cultural or regional background does the dish or tradition represent? (for example, is it a US regional specialty or a product of your ancestry in Germany, Sweden, Mexico, etc.?)
o  What does the tradition mean to you and your family?
  • Submissions should include a recipe described in the story and a family photo—of the original chef, people described in the story or yourself. (Pictures of the dish itself may be submitted but likely will not be published.)

To enter: E-mail your essay to with the subject line: Family Food Traditions no later than July 13, 2011. To be considered, submissions must adhere to the following specifications:
  • Essays in Microsoft Word (.doc or .rft) or plain-text format. Do not paste your essay into the body of an email.
  • Photos in JPG or TIFF format, 300 dpi or higher resolution.
  • Name, mailing address, phone number and email address given in email message and within the essay.

By submitting, you acknowledge that your entry is your original, previously unpublished work, and you give F+W Media, Inc., permission to use your submission in all print and electronic media. Submitters of chosen essays will be notified via email by September 13, 2011, and receive a copy of the book after publication in May 2012.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Websites for Finding Vital Records and their Alternatives

Last week I spoke to a DAR group and we discussed the topic of vital record alternatives. Through that talk I discussed some websites that I find useful and thought I would share them here. I also based the handout on two articles I wrote for the WorldVitalRecords newsletter. You can find those two articles, 40 Places to Find Vital Records Information, here and here.

Libraries in the United States


Repositories of Primary Sources

Online Archives of California

Online Death Indexes

Online Birth & Marriage Records Indexes


Ancestry Wiki


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Church Almanac by the Protestant Episcopal Tract Society

Several different denominations put out an almanac. These almanacs can give you  information about the  history of the church as well as names of various leaders within the church.

This Church Almanac by the Protestant Episcopal Tract Society provides information about various  diocese around the United States, clergy names, and vendors for the church. This particular set includes almanacs for the years 1852, 1862, 1869, 1872, and  1880, so make sure that you page through the whole digitized copy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Colleen Fitzpatrick Presentation This Saturday

For those who live in Southern California, we have many great opportunities to hear genealogy presentations at societies, libraries, seminars and conferences. This weekend is no exception. This Saturday, Colleen Fitzpatrick will be speaking at the Los Angles Public Library at 2:00pm. You can find details about this presentation as well as Colleen's speaking schedule at her website, Forensic Genealogy.

I have heard Colleen speak many times and not only is she a great presenter but the topics she presents on are fascinating. I first met Colleen many years ago when she had just published her book Forensic Genealogy. I have always loved this book and recommend is to anyone wanting to learn more about analyzing photographs and  thinking like a detective as you research your family history. (Colleen has two other books which are also great). Colleen's approach to forensic genealogy is something that all genealogists can benefit from. I highly respect Colleen and have learned many things from her. One of her best pieces of advice to me was to always be reading.

Looking to learn more about genealogy this weekend? Consider attending Colleen's talk. I know you will be glad you did. You might want to spend the day at the LA Central Library and research before and after Colleen's presentation. They open at 10:00 am and you could research in their fabulous genealogy section, eat at the library cafe and their underground parking is only $1.00 on Saturday.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Church Record Sunday: NYPL Digital Gallery Postcards

Documents and records of our ancestors are vital to what we do as genealogists. But it can also provide some perspective to find images to help tell the story of our ancestor's lives. One way to do this can be by using vintage postcards.

You can find vintage postcards that depict almost all aspects of a place and sometimes events. Postcards of churches exist that can help you illustrate your family history narrative.

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery has many great images spanning all types of mediums. One collection is the Detroit Publishing Company Postcards from the Leonard Lauder Postcard Collection. According to the Collection homepage, "The Detroit Publishing Company was one of the largest American publishers of postcards and photographic views during the early decades of the 20th century. This digital collection represents a portion of a larger collection, totaling 14,500 postcards, donated to the Library in 1986 by Leonard Lauder, executive, philanthropist, and art collector. According to The New York Times, Mr. Lauder began collecting postcards at the age of 6. Today he continues to collect at the rate of some 1,000 postcards per year-for "the pleasure of discovery, and once discovered, the pleasure of preservation."

You can conduct a keyword search on this specific collection.  A search on the word "church" results in 124 hits for churches in various states.

Be considerate of copyright restrictions. Remember to consult the library/archive or the website before you use any image in a narrative that you will be publishing in any format.