Friday, June 26, 2015

Genealogy and Libraries

Pontiac Library, Warwick, RI, August, 2015, photo by Midge Frazel

After discovering your ancestors at home, the next stop should be your library. This was my childhood library. They led me to the larger library in Providence, Rhode Island, where I saw my first adult book about genealogy. If I try hard enough, I can still hear the summer fan inside this building as I browsed through the books.

Now, libraries can subscribe to Findmypast and patrons can learn about their ancestors. 

Here's their press release:


Findmypast Community Edition Now Available to U.S. Libraries
·         Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announces the availability of a library edition within the United States
·         Provides access for libraries, archives, and other organizations to billions of records from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States
·         Free, no obligation, 90-day trial available

Salt Lake City – June 25, 2015
Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announced today the official release of their product for libraries and organizations in the United States. The Findmypast Library Edition gives library access to billions of records from Findmypast’s wide array of collections from the United States, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and other areas of the world. Collection highlights include:
·         Largest online collection of parish records from the United Kingdom
·         Exclusive access to the new PERiodical Source Index (now with images)
·         Most comprehensive Irish family history records in the world

Amongst the billions of records now available to library patrons is the new PERiodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI, a popular tool used by genealogists, includes more than 2.5 million indexed entries from thousands of genealogical and local history publications. For the first time, images of articles have been included in the collection – with more being added on a regular basis.

“We are delighted to bring the best resource for British and Irish family history to America’s library market,” said Annelies van den Belt, CEO of Findmypast.

The Library Edition provides tools for patrons to work in tandem with a library’s subscription and at home. Individual user accounts allow patrons to build their own family tree, save records from the library’s subscription, and continue working on their family tree.  Library patrons will also have access to Findmypast’s Hints, which aids in the discovery of records from their own family tree.

Librarians can contact for further information, pricing, and to start a free 90-day free trial of the product.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Blogging

Mr. Highly Caffeinated, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Summer in the Blogging World
Today, hubs (shown here) and I ventured out in the world so I could go to Kohl's and get my Red, White and Blue clothes to wear to the party my daughter and son-in-law are having on the 4th of July. On the way, we stop for coffee. Here in New England, we take our coffee very seriously. This cups hold 64 oz. and that might make me so wired, I wouldn't be able to write.

On the way there, I thought about my summer blogging goals. I finally finished the first two chapters of Elizabeth Shown Mills new edition of Evidence Explained. I think about how great it would have been to have some of the wonderful new books in my library when I was starting out as a genealogist. It is a great time of year to be out in the cemetery or sitting on the porch and reading. 

Setting goals is still a rather new idea and so is keeping a research journal. I think they help a lot. I am grateful to all of my Facebook friends who come to each others rescue when help is needed. 

In education this is called successful practice, and sharing great ideas is what makes being alive today wonderful.  I will be working on my index card project for my cemeteries and gravestones a little at a time. I will share what I think works and what doesn't.

Have you seen the new Ink Joy pens that have a soft tip stylus end? I bought two packages!

Tools of the trade, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Class of '65

Things to hold in your hand, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Remembering the Class of '65
Twenty-five years ago on 6 Oct 1990, hubs and I went to the Sheraton Islander on Goat Island in Newport, Rhode Island  (now a Hyatt Hotel) to attend my 25th high school reunion. At the time, I wondered how expensive it was for my classmates to travel to RI and stay in this hotel as we drove there from Massachusetts. "Pretty fancy", as my Dad would say. 

I was lucky to talk to two of my Facebook friends who attended their reunions of '63 and '64 and find out what they did for those two year 50th reunions. There were only two classes ahead of me in our new school.

The directory shown here give current (as of 1990) addresses (not email) for each person or couple attending the reunion and a photo that they took that night of each of us or for a couple. I wanted to show you this as a final wrap up of of the three posts this weekend. Today is the "day of the week" of the 50th anniversary of the graduation. Monday.

Perhaps I will still hear of a planned event but I looked at the list of those classmates that planned the 25th and I know that one has passed away. I have found one name at Facebook and I have asked him to be my friend. We'll see, as my parents used to say.

This week on Pinterest, I noticed a great idea for preserving the graduation cap tassel. You put it in a clear plastic Christmas ornament ball. I think I will do this. I will take a photo when I do.

Today, I will be "savoring the memories", and hoping some of us are still alive and remembering those who are gone. I still remember walking into the new, as yet, unfinished school for seventh grade and will hold tight to that day forever.

The Mighty Falcons forever...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Newspaper Evidence

The Providence Journal/The Evening Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island,
15 June 1965, partial copy of the article, 2015

In my high school yearbook, is this folded article from the newspaper of Rhode Island. The morning edition was called the Providence Journal and the evening edition was called The Evening Bulletin. Yes, that's right. There were two editions produced daily. As kids, we were not allowed to touch the newspaper until our father was done with it. Yes, sports was more important than news even then. This "undated" article might have run in both the morning and evening edition. I can't be sure, but I do know that we subscribed to the evening edition. My mother did not read the paper and my father could read the morning edition at work to get sport scores. What you see here is the top part of the article. The rest, still intact in my files, doesn't have a date on the back either and it is just a list of graduates. 

Let's glean the evidence for the citations! 

  • "last night in Cranston" so the paper is 15 June 1965
  • girls wore red (see my photo) and boys wore grey (the school colors chosen for our school when I was in 7th grade) Highly controversial because I remember kids saying they voted for blue and white and it got around that the administration chose the colors and they were just being polite to ask us to vote. (World War II control) My yearbook has black and white pages.
  • 221 diplomas handed out. Hopefully the reporter counted the names listed)
  • The ceremony was supposed to be outdoors in the school quadrangle but due to rain was held in the gym. The auditorium (also new) would not hold the approximately 500 parents plus students graduating and the band and the adults officiating at the ceremony. Fire laws prevented that many people for the auditorium.
  • The ceremony was one hour and five minutes. The clock behind me at home says 5:30. The program says 7 o'clock. Remember, there was no place for us to sit in the bleachers. They must have set up chairs on the gym floor. I don't remember that at all. So now, two pieces of evidence need to be cited: the newspaper article and the ceremony program.
  • We did not have a valedictorian. There were two high schools in my city, the established Cranston High School (East) and my school, Cranston High School West (grades 7 to 12) The "Ideal Cranstonian" title was also in my mother's yearbook from East. Ed Lamagne is now Dr. Edmund Lamagne and a professor at URI.  
  • The class President, David Hall, presented the class gift, which was a lectern. I have no memory of that.  I don't know where David Hall lives or if he and (other class officers) planning our 50th reunion. 24 Oct 2015 in Providence!
  • Three clergymen officiated. Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths gave a fair representation of our state's religion. (my junior prom date's father was the Rev. Carl Jones, Jr. and his daughter was in my class) As I recall, he handed his daughter her diploma instead of the school principal. 
  • The band played. Yes, those seniors wore their caps and gowns to do that.
That's quite a lot of information (besides graduate names) for one newspaper article. Now only local papers would give out this much information to be cited.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Never Walk Back

Photo Collage by Midge Frazel, 2015
"I am a slow walker but I never walk back"

This quote comes from the Senior Supplement of my high school newspaper. Since it is on the masthead and in quotation marks, it must be a quote from someone. It turns out to be a quote from one of our most important Americans named Abraham Lincoln.  (I "googled" that phrase to find that out.)

We can't walk back and look at our own lives, if we DO NOT leave evidence behind. These artifacts kept in my yearbook can tell my descendants a lot about me. However, each piece of evidence must be scanned and posted online since no one wants to have to actually touch the items. Future genealogists are digital.

Let's begin with the photo in the upper left. This is a photo of me taken by my mother in the fall of 1964. (photo at Flickr) We can't be sure of the date since the photo developing date is all we have to go by. The back of the photo (in my handwriting) says Senior year, 1964. School years go from September to June in this time period. It is afternoon (by the shadows) and I am carrying books. I am "dressed up". This may have been after school on the first day of school because my mother forgot to take my photo in the morning. The bottom, gray, envelope is a college catalog and applications which they handed out that day. Today, and in the future, applying to college is done much earlier that this. In those days, only top students applied in their junior year of high school. I am 16 years old in this photo. My books are uncovered which is further evidence that this is the first or second day. There was punishment for not covering your books by the second week of school. The school called your parents. World War II parents were held accountable. That's not a bad thing.

In those days, we were expected to be in a sport or a club and be in attendance at the culmination of those events. (Note the ticket was 50 cents for students.) I was not in the drama club (photo at Flickr) or the school newspaper (photo at Flickr) but I was on the student council. 

Did I remember that? No. The evidence is in the school supplement of the "West Wind" and in the yearbook which was called "Anthos" (photo at Flickr) The program, called "Class Day" is included here because it was a very special day for us. We had no more classes, could wear shorts to school and had a program in the cool of the newly built auditorium and then we had a barbecue lunch. Early release was a big hit. Many of us went home and headed to the beach.  It was Thursday, June 10th, 1965. I remember the next day was dress rehearsal for graduation and proper behavior (and no talking) was expected.

My senior year held a special event that I remember so clearly. As I had completed 3 years of Spanish and they didn't offer an advanced class, I was expected to fill that spot in my schedule with another class of academic credit. I was lucky since Miss Muriel Cobb, a mentor teacher, came forward and signed for me to take first year Latin.  I think she did it to make a point to the faculty. Latin was not dead and students who were considering a career in the sciences should take it. She was a very exceptional, powerful, tough and special teacher. It was an incredible experience with a very big memory (not mentioned here) for me.

I joined the Latin Club and the "Toga Party" at the end of school was amazing. (photo at Flickr) It was covered in the Providence Journal newspaper of all of Rhode Island. It is one of my fondest memories. I was really fun. Of course, I took photos and kept the program for the event. 

Latin Banquet, 1965, photo of Midge Frazel
Remember these are evidence and can be cited in your personal story. Tomorrow, we will analyze the newspaper evidence for my graduation. 

Find your own artifacts, put them in archival envelopes and boxes and start writing citations.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Graduation Golden Anniversary

Memories of High School Fifty Years Ago, collage by Midge Frazel, 2015

50 Years Since Graduation Day

As genealogists and family historians, we tend to look at our lives and those who came before us with a closer eye. "Normal people" do not spend their own lives preparing to archive their own memories for people to look at in the future, do they?

That takes a lot of high energy and several days of being highly caffeinated.

Sunday, June 14, 2015 is the golden anniversary of my graduation from high school. When I was 17, I thought I might not live long enough to see this day. That thought seems forever ago and yet, here is that time.

My parents graduated from high school in 1935, from different high schools, at the opposite ends of the state of Rhode Island. Their involvement in the activities leading up to their fifty year reunions, did make me think about what that might be like for me. 

But, I am not a "normal person", I'd been interested in genealogy for a long time when I was 17, but since I thought it was about "dead people", I am surprised to realize that I have enough material from high school to run my own reunion. As I went on to get bachelors and masters degrees so, you'd think I would have lost all this stuff by now. But, I care about my belongings and my personal history as much as I do my ancestors. You should, too.

In the next two blog posts, we will examine what I have archived and why I did it but from a genealogy perspective and how my "stuff" might look to my descendants. 

If you are a #nextgen genealogist, you can start now, being prepared to help your descendants look at your past life. I am #nextgen. I can teach you.

 But, for today, I will enjoy being alive. That's the first lesson and the hardest. I have so many classmates that have passed away. It hits you hard. They are YOUR age. That's when 50 years is really a LONG time. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Straining to Hear

iHome Compact Speaker, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Straining to Hear

I bought this little "pop-up" speaker to use with my small technology (like my iPad mini 3 and my iPhone) and put it in my Christmas stocking bag. I tested it in January and I was amazed at the power of the sound and the quality too.

My aging Windows 7 desktop computer was not very expensive and has been a workhorse for the past 5 years. It doesn't have a wireless card and it doesn't have powerful speakers. 

I solved the lack of speakers by purchasing wireless headphones and they are great. I don't like wearing them for several hours at a time. Yesterday, while listening to the streaming sessions, I wish I'd had stronger sound.

This morning, I suddenly remembered my portable speaker. It expands (think "pop-up") and fits nicely on top of my CPU. I plugged the USB end into the front port (red arrow) and plugged the headphone jack into the headphone port located next to the USB ports on the front (pink double headed arrow). Then I flipped the switch on the speaker to the ON position and the on light glows.

Plugging the USB into that port charges the speaker. There are no batteries.

The mini USB jack fits into the speaker (blue arrow). 

I am no longer straining to hear.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are Genealogists Dedicated to Journaling?

Confessions of a Journal Junkie, 2015
photo by Midge Frazel

Companion blog post to "Genealogist Love Office Supplies"
I went to Target this morning and looked over their selections of journals, planners and calendars. Some of them are definitely for the females. They are easy to spot, as pink and flowery stands out in the display. However, several were plain color or they had planes, hot air balloons or forest scenes suitable for the needs of men and boys. 

I know that educators promote journal writing because I wrote about that in one of my in print books for teachers after interviewing those educators that came to learn in my tech classes. I "heard" that teachers are having students learn a bit of cursive writing as an art form using journals.

As you can see, I have selected this display to demonstrate that although I am a lover of technology, I have a lot of paper bound journals. I buy them when I am on vacation too. You can see two Mickey Mouse themed journals bought at Disney World. Many people favor Composition books and I found one that was not the ordinary black and white and could be bought in pink, blue or orange. For a while, I only bought spiral bound books with tear out sheets. The one on the left (underneath) that is yellow and green is one of the two I have left.

The one with the big pink flowers and the one with the dark blue book cover are the same and my favorite for working with projects. The pages rip out. They let me think about families and individuals without worrying about order and neatness. I add the important facts to the journal, work out relationships (think: step families and adoptions, first wife vs second or third, pedigree collapse)
Of course, the gravestones I write about are transcribed to a journal, index card or paper pad next to my computer.

Example of Note Taking Journal, 2015, Midge Frazel

I am not the first person in my family to journal. My maternal great grandfather kept a newspaper clipping journal as a teenager. I photocopied the genealogical related pages and then donated it to the historical society where he grew up. There are all kinds of weather reports in it. Someone could find that useful.

Newspaper Clipping Journal of Charles Edward Stewart

Newspaper Clipping Journal of Charles Edward Stewart

Two people in my family kept diaries and those have been published. One has the ONLY record of one of my ancestors death and it was accepted as proof for a Mayflower application. Both of these (in the photo below) can be both a goldmine for information and a challenge to read with the non-standard spelling and dates. I often have to read the passages out loud to figure them out.

Steadman and Minor Diaries, 2015
But, by far, the most important personal journaling I have done has really been simple. For every electronic device I own, I keep a steno pad with information about that device. I keep the list of specs, the dates of purchase, when I installed what and any problems I have had. Trust me, it has proved helpful more than once. 

Journal-Log Books for Technology, by Midge Frazel

Gwen Kubberness of Dragonfly Journaling-Smash books is a great inspiration to all of use addicted journal writers. She is a genealogist who also blogs. I love her Pinterest boards and so will you. Genealogists are creative people.

Are you a journal junkie for genealogy, too?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Keeping the Records

Church Records, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Keeping the Records

There should be someone in every family who is responsible for keeping the records. It won't be a surprise to anyone reading this that I am that person for my family. As an organized and techno-literate person that job always falls to me. The only problem with that is that it ALWAYS falls to me. 

It started with a Bible. No, not my 2nd great grandfather's Bible that I inherited, it started with the Bibles I was given as a child. My father gave me a Bible on Christmas Day, December 25, 1955. Then, the Sunday School I attended gave me a Bible for attendance at Sunday School. That one has a typed presentation date in it. 

In college, I was required to buy a Bible for a Humanities class.  I wasn't spending money on another Bible, so I called my father to deliver it. He did. I had to teach other students how to find the passages for the required readings. 

It was very annoying to me that they didn't know how to find anything in a book. Some had never owned a Bible or even looked at one. Rhode Island is a tolerant state but I was feeling less than tolerant. I took one of the college bought Bibles and typed up the page numbers needed and handed them out to students. I did not wish to be known as the girl who helped with the assignment. It was a horrible class with a very old and cranky professor.

When hubs and I went to join a church, I asked my parents for my baptismal certificate. They looked and couldn't find it. I made my father go to the church we attended and get another copy. It is on the top of the pile in the photo in this post. He was not happy to do so. I suspect it cost him a donation to the church to get it. When he gave it to me, I asked him where HIS was. He said he couldn't find that, either.

Dad, raised as a Baptist, should have remembered his baptism. It is a very big deal to Baptists as they practice adult baptism and profess their belief as an adult at about twelve years old. I reminded him  that he was baptized on the same day as I was.  I think the minister was remiss in not giving out the certificates. That is irresponsible. Never do anything important in December.

These types of records are called church records and differ from vital records as they are not certified as proof to join lineage type organizations. Consequently, I have redone all of my records, our marriage record, and my parents records too. I just kept going to get my great grandparents records too. All of them are certified. I am happy to report all dates and places were verified as to what I was told.

I like keeping records. I don't like anyone to touch my organized, archived, scanned records. I have gone so far as to lock them in a fire resistant box. I know my job.

Here's the thing. If everyone was responsible for their own records and passed them on (with threat of death to lose them), being a genealogist would be an easy thing. Of course, I am a smug, only child and can say that with ease.  

We can go on and on about the great photos, stories and mementos in our family tree but dates are important too.

It is worth noting that my date of baptism is 11 December. Twenty years from that exact day and month, my daughter was born. 

Do you know where your vital records and church records are?