Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Newspapers

Have you ever considered using digitized newspaper websites to learn more about your ancestor's church? Yes, there are religious newspapers but I'm referring to your ancestor's hometown newspaper.

All types of newspaper articles can refer to your ancestor's church. Like the screenshot below, small notices about activities at the church may be mentioned. But don't forget other types of articles that would announce events and report on members.

This page from the  Evansville Argus, shown below, is from 9 December 1939. The Argus  was an African- American newspaper published from 1938-1945. In our Churches is a column that featured churches and their activities. A nice "history" for those with Evansville (Indiana) ancestors.

A nice aside is that there are member names in these church snippets.

There are many   websites to find newspapers online. Subscription websites like GenealogyBank and Newspaper Archives is a good start. Don't forget other genealogy subscription websites as well including and WorldVitalRecords. States have newspaper digitization projects including Utah, California, and  Colorado. In some cases, newspapers can be part of an university or archive special collection or even a digital collection. In this case, this newspaper collection is available on the website for the University of Southern Indiana, David L. Rice Library University Archive and Special Collection.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Genealogy Book Links

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking about digitized books to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego. This is a great topic and really can go on for more than one hour. So many possibilities can be found on library, museum, archive, historical society and digitized book websites.

One of the finding aids that I talked about is the website Genealogy Book Links.

What I like about this list of digitized books is that you can browse by state or subject. Make sure to check out the Religion category as well as the state you are researching.

Check out this website to see if there are any digitized books listed that can help you in your research. 

There are so many digitized books available now through Google Books, Internet Archive, FamilySearch and other websites that are church histories, directories and record transcriptions that can assist you in your research.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Where in the World: My Presentations for September 2012

From Flickr the Commons
In September I will be speaking to a variety of groups on some great topics. I look forward to seeing you at one of the following events.

September 11, 2012, 8pm (Central)  Webinar for the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Topic: Grandma did what?!: Researching your Famous and Infamous Ancestors.

September 13, 2012. Lake Elsinore Genealogical Society. Topic: I LOVE Libraries!

September 14-16, 2012. Family Tree University Virtual Conference. Topics: Top 10 Social History Tools and Cook Up Answers About Immigrant Ancestors. (Use coupon code FRIENDSOFGENA to get a discount)

September 15, 2012. Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego. Topic: Finding your Genealogy in Digitized Books.

September 23, 2012. Sacramento Public Library. Topic: The WPA: Resources for your Genealogy.

September 24, 2012. Davis Genealogy Club. Topic: Remember the Ladies: Researching Female Ancestors.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Travel Meets Genealogy, Part 1: Running Away to Home

In 2011 I  read a review about a new book by travel writer Jennifer Wilson called Running Away to Home. This was no ordinary travel book; this was a "family history meets travel" book. This type of family history research goes beyond sitting in an archive looking for documents or hoping to find an ancestor in an online subscription database. This family history chronicles the year Jennifer and her family spent living in the home of her ancestors, Croatia. I ran out and bought the book, which I later reviewed for the online newsletter GenWeekly.

Fast forward a year. I recently got the chance to interview Jennifer and talk about the new paperback edition of  Running Away to Home available October 2nd. I highly recommend this book and was excited at the chance to share this interview with readers.
Jennifer on a really cool beach (c) 2012 Jennifer Wilson. Used with permission.

As a special bonus, part 2 of my interview is featured on my other blog, Food.Family.Ephemera, where we talk about my other favorite subject, food.

Gena: Your book is a chronicle of an adventure that I have always wanted to do. Had you always want to travel to your ancestor’s homeland? What would you say to someone who wants to do what you did, sell everything and live in an ancestor’s homeland for a year?

Jennifer: I have always been restless. I have always been interested in history. I'm probably the only family member on my mom's side who was curious about the immigrant ancestors. But it wasn't until I was a mom in search of something to pass on to my kids that I yearned to travel back to our roots.

I would say that we are very fortunate to live in a country in which most anything is possible with hard work and conscientious actions. That's the gift of our ancestors! We should take advantage of that extravagance by living the life that we want to live. There is nothing in the way of a year abroad except hard work and solid planning. Get the book The Family Sabbatical Handbook by Elisa Bernick and start planning.

Gena: What’s new in the paperback edition of Running Away to Home?

Jennifer: We've added an epilogue, travel photos from the journey, and antique recipes that I gathered in the village. It also includes recipes I mentioned in the story, such as Jim's Mom's Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are the bomb. And my magical peach cobbler! The legal department of St. Martin's Press wouldn't let me publish the rakija recipe that I eventually discovered, though. Boo them!

I'm celebrating all the great new stuff on my blog, where I'm publishing antique recipes submitted by readers from all over the world.

Gena: Are you still researching your family history?

Jennifer: I'm learning more every time I schedule an appearance at a Croatian Club in the U.S., or at book readings, where Croatian-Americans show up and tell me new things. It's amazing, how we're all connected in some way, isn't it? It blows my mind that war still exists, knowing what I do about how there's some thread of connection to almost every human on earth. I just found out the other day that Croatians may have actually come from an area near Afghanistan, and it blew my mind.

Gena: What research tips would you have for family historians with Croatian roots?

Jennifer: If you're from the Mrkopalj area, as my family is, check out the Facebook page called Descendents of Mrkopalj. We all connect on there, and there are some incredibly astute genealogists on there. You can even start there to see if anyone knows someone who can help out with your ancestral searches. Get in touch with area churches with Croatian roots, too, and Croatian-American societies. All treasure troves. My own Running Away to Home Facebook page  is a good place to make Croatian connections. Lots of Croatian-Americans show up on there wanting to know if anyone is related to them. It's a nice family that way.

Gena: It’s apparent that having a sense of the history of the area was crucial to the information you did find. Do you have tips for family historians about finding history that informs your genealogical research?

Jennifer: I would say be fearless about history. Sometimes, I hear stories from genealogists who stopped working on their histories when they found out something upsetting or terribly unpleasant. Just remember: It's better for us to know the past, to face it, so that our children understand where we've been. If we don't know about the mistakes that were made, we're missing pieces of the story that should guide us into the future. More information is always better than not enough. It's true in reporting, it's true in genealogy, it's true in life.

Gena: Any plans to run away again?

Jennifer: Of course! We're doing some initial research on the area of France where Jim's mother's family is from. It's all about food and booze around there -- a much more fitting tone for Jim's life story. My story is all touchy-feely. His will be about meeting grumpy old vintners.

Gena: What’s next for you?

Jennifer: I've got a novel that you should be seeing before too very long. And the travel research that will hopefully shape into a book. I also hope to put a new roof on my chicken coop before winter, so that's looming.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Women's Research Resource: Labor Day Edition

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
How about researching your ancestor's occupations this Labor Day? What about your female ancestor's occupations? No, not all 19th century women were just "housewives." Check out some of these sources for help.

Libraries, Archives, Manuscript Collections

Women’s Work: Home/Work                   
Women & Mines in the UK                                            

Occupations for Women…by Frances Willard (1897)                   
Atlanta’s Washerwomen Strike                                                           
Cyndi’s List, Female Ancestors                                                                 



Sunday, September 02, 2012

Join me for a Twitter Chat on Wednesday

On Wednesday (September 5th) at 4:30pm Eastern I will be participating in a special Meet the Presenters Twitter Chat. We will be chatting about my presentations at the Fall Virtual Conference as well as social history and cookbooks.

To participate follow Family Tree Magazine on Twitter  @FamilyTreeMag and the hashtag #FTUVC. My Twitter ID is @genaortega.

To see the schedule for the other Chats click here.

Please join me and bring your questions! I look forward to your tweets!

Church Record Sunday: Methodists in Texas

History of Methodism in Texas by Homer S. Thrall is a free ebook available on the  Google Books website. The intro to this books begins:

This book published in 1872 includes not only a history of the Methodist church in Texas but also a necrology for the years 1866-1871. Once you access the book, make sure to conduct a search within it for the names of your ancestors.