17 August 2015

Inside Internet Genealogy: August/September 2015 -- How Do You Utilize Historical Societies for your Genealogy Research?

By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

Several years ago, I received an email from a woman who was indexing obituaries from the local paper in my hometown of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. She noticed an entry for an infant named “Mary Alza” who died in 1916. The indexer asked me if this was one of my relatives and sent me the obituary.  From just a few printed lines I obtained enough information to order the death certificate.  I discovered that this baby girl was the first child born to my grandparents, but she was never mentioned in any of our family stories. This was just one of several genealogical gems I located for my family thanks to the Mifflin Township Historical Society—the local organization that collects and preserves historical information for my hometown of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding communities. Some of the other valuable resources uncovered in the society’s archives included city directories that contained entries for several of my ancestors, and records from a local funeral home that included the burial information for my stillborn older sister.
I tell this story to illustrate how some of my best and most unexpected family history finds did not come from online genealogy databases, but from records housed in various societies in and museums in Pittsburgh and in other locations across the United States.
Mifflin Township Historical Society, West Mifflin, PA
(courtesy of Daniel J. Burns)
 When was the last time you utilized your local historical society, or contacted the one affiliated with the areas where your ancestors settled?  If you don’t think historical societies are still significant in this digital age, then you will want to read the article “Know Your Historical Societies and Find Your Ancestors” by Amanda Epperson, in the August/September issue of Internet Genealogy Magazine. In her article, Epperson reveals that there is much more to historical societies than you think, and includes a nice list of key items you might find in their collections.
In addition to Epperson’s article, the August/September 2015 issue of IG is packed full of research tips, case studies, reminders about backing up your research, and much more. This issue is perfect for your late summer reading list.  Here’s a list of the articles from the complete Table of Contents.

·      Rich Resources: Online State Archives
Carol Richey reveals the wealth of resources you can uncover in online archives

·      Col. Joseph B. Dorr’s Vases
Constance R. Cherba researches the life of Civil War Colonel J.B. Dorr, and locates a missing heirloom through some persistent online searching

·      Seven Resources For World War II Reunion Groups and Associations
Jennifer Holik shares her findings on websites that carry on the memory of those who fought in the US Military in WWII

·      Digitization Project: Snapshots from The Korean War!
Tony Bandy examines a great resource for anyone researching Korean War ancestors

·      Uncovering the Bairnsfather Story
Gabrielle Morgan discovers a link to her family in an historic Australian newspaper article that leads her to uncover the real story behind her aunt’s marriage

·      National Folklore Collection of Ireland: Schools’ Collection
Joe Grandinetti shows how a 1930s homework assignment in Ireland captured the words and wisdom of elders for posterity

·      The Wellington Boulder
Constance R. Cherba digs down to find the secrets behind a unique gravestone

·      Know Your Historical Societies and Find Your Ancestors
Amanda Epperson reveals that there is much more to historical societies than you think

·      Published and Digital Record Sources of the Revolutionary Era: A State-by-State List
David A. Norris gives us a peek at some of the resources available for researching Revolutionary War ancestors

·      Four Essential Keys for Genealogy Backups!
Tony Bandy reminds us that there is nothing more important than preserving your research work with a diligent backup plan

·      The Back Page
Never Give Up On a Difficult Ancestor!

Want to be sure you don’t miss an issue? Subscribe today at http://internet-genealogy.com/shop.html

And…speaking of history, you won’t want to miss the August/September 2015 issue of History Magazine. It’s the only place you can read about playing cards, Laudanum and Paul Harvey in one sitting!

When I first received my sneak peek at the August/September 2015 issue of History Magazine, I was immediately drawn to the article “It’s All in the Cards!” by Gloria Tietgens Sladek—a fascinating look at the history and popularity of playing cards.  One of my clearest memories of my maternal grandfather was how he loved to play cards. He would sit at the kitchen table for hours playing Solitaire (he called it “Beat the Devil”) and he never missed an opportunity for a game of poker or euchre with his buddies at the local bar—the Union Grill in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. Grandpap died when I was nine-years-old and this article brought back many memories for me.  In addition to the article on playing cards, the new issue of History Magazine covers a wide range of interesting topics including orphan trains, the use of Laudanum, and a piece on Samuel F. B. Morse, and a look at the life of famed newscaster Paul Harvey.  

Here’s a look at the complete Table of Contents for the August/September 2015 issue.

Opening Notes
Trivia: Renaissance Teeth, The Chuck Wagon

The Town Destroyer
Don Hollway follows George Washington's army on its 1779 invasion of New York and the Battle of Newtown

The Art of Samuel F.B. Morse
William Floyd Jr. examines the life of the accomplished painter and inventor of the telegraph

Taylor Gordon: "Negro Singer Who Put Montana on the Map"
Brian D'Ambrosio explores the life of a man who became a vibrant figure in the "Harlem Renaissance"

America's Orphan Trains
Clark Kidder examines a primitive social experiment that resulted in orphaned and neglected children being sent across the United States

The War of Jenkins' Ear
David A. Norris examines a tumultuous period in 18th century Spanish-English relations

First Blood at Mulhouse
In an excerpt from his book, Imperial Germany's "Iron Regiment" of the First World War, John K. Rieth offers some insight into the opening battle of World War I

It's All in the Cards!
Gloria Tietgens Sladek deals the low-down on the history and popularity of playing cards

Harvey "Panned for Gold and Struck it Rich"
Dorothy Rieke looks at the life of famed newscaster Paul Harvey

Laudanum: The Wondrous Remedy
Melody Amsel-Arieli looks at the history of the use of Laudanum down through the ages

A look at a selection of books and other media you might want to add to your shelf

Not a subscriber?  Take advantage of special promotional pricing and sign up today at http://history-magazine.com/shop.html

Until next time…Happy Reading!

10 August 2015

Amusement Parks and More: Sizzling Summer Reading Awaits in the July/August 2015 Issue of Your Genealogy Today By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A. 

Ah, summer… I have fond memories of riding bikes with friends, swimming in my neighbor’s pool, and many special trips to area amusement parks, especially Kennywood— the one closest to my childhood home in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. I was reminded of my days enjoying rollercoaster rides, Potato Patch French Fries, and the Penny Arcade, when I read the article “Historic Amusement Parks: Your Family & America’s Playgrounds” by Sandy Hack in the July/August 2015 Issue of Your Genealogy Today. In her article, Hack discusses how you can use vacation photos and clipping to add color to your family history. I was so inspired by this article that I dug out my old family photographs and began writing down my memories to include in my own family narrative. 

Photo courtesy of Lisa Alzo

  In addition to the article on amusement parks, this issue of YGT covers the topics of mtDNA testing, property laws and female ancestors, how to bring foreign letters and symbols into your writing, beginning your World War II research, and much more. The regular columns on Genealogy Tourism (this time focusing on Scotland) and Advice from the Pros (“10 ways to improve client reports”) offer practical advice, and as always, Dave Obee gives us some great genealogy “food for thought” in his Back Page column where he questions the future of genealogy on television after Ben Affleck. 

Table of Contents for the July/August 2015 issue: 

 • Historic Amusement Parks: Your Family & America’s Playgrounds Sandy Hack looks at how vacation photos and clippings can add color to your family history research 

 • DNA & Genealogy Diahan Southard asks: In an ever-changing DNA world, is mtDNA testing still an important tool for family historians? 

 • What the Widow Got-- George G. Morgan looks at how your female ancestor may have been affected by property laws

 • Beginning Your World War II Research -- Jennifer Holik explores the offline resources for researching your WWII military ancestor 

 • Book Reviews Lisa A. Alzo reviews two books by Jennifer Holik: The Tiger’s Widow, and Stories from the Battlefield 

 • Finding Grandad at the Canal! -- Isabelle Kettner Addis explores her grandfather's contribution to building the Panama Canal through Internet searches and family lore 

 • Sacrifice for Victory: Rationing during World War II -- Carol Richey looks at how your home front ancestors were affected by the measures taken to support the war effort 

 • The Unwritten Records of Pens and Pencils -- David A. Norris jots down some thoughts about writing instruments that may have contributed to family history 

 • Bringing Foreign Letters and Symbols Into Your Writing -- David A. Norris offers tips for adding that little extra to your documents 

 • Advice from the Pros -- Amanda Epperson reveals 10 ways to improve client reports 

 • Research Trip -- Carol Richey collects some valuable tips from key staff at the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library 

 • Genealogy Tourism -- Christine Woodcock examines the resources available to genealogists interested in researching their roots in Scotland 

 • The Back Page -- Dave Obee questions the future of genealogy on television after Ben Affleck 

 Whether you subscribe to the print edition or enjoy the digital version, you are in for some sizzling summer reading in the July/August issue of Your Genealogy Today. Grab a glass of iced tea or lemonade, relax in that hammock or lounge chair and peruse the pages of YGT for helpful tips and ideas you can apply to your genealogy research. This is the third issue of Your Genealogy Today (formerly known as Family Chronicle). Not a subscriber? Go to http://yourgenealogytoday.com to take advantage of the special limited time pricing for Print or PDF subscriptions.