23 March 2015

Public Vs Private

     The other day I was checking my Ancestry.com hints, viewing only photos.  I was both surprised and not surprised to see almost a dozen photos suggested as hints for one of my GG-Grandfather,.  I was surprised because they were photos from my own collection, yet not surprised because this happens often.  It is frustrating because these photos are attached to my family tree and, instead of using the ancestry feature that allows users to attach photos in a way that is really a link to the original, this person downloaded the photos and re-uploaded them to their tree.

     As I said, this happens fairly often.  In some cases, it's a situation like this one, where it seems that they got the photos directly from
Ancestry.  Other times they got them from another site that I'd shared them to.  And the issue is not that they uploaded the photos, the real issue is that they aren't giving credit.

     In the case of the photos found on Ancestry, the other user has, purposefully or not, subverted a system designed to maintain provenance.   In the case of photos from other sites, the user has declined to cite the source.  Either way, it's the wrong thing to do.

     I vented a bit on Facebook and the comments indicated that many others have become fed-up with this sort of thing and now keep only private family trees.  I fully understand that they have their reasons for keeping private trees and respect their right to have them.

     At the same time, I can't stand private trees.  I view genealogy as a collaborative effort.  I make some discoveries, which connect me to another researcher.  Their family tree gives me information that allows me to make more discoveries.  All of this information is then available for others to build off of.  More and more people add to the data and, if everyone is making their discoveries available online, we all benefit.  This is how I view online family trees.  Why would I make mine private?

     There are a number of ways to share family trees online, from private trees and public trees on many websites, to truly collaborate trees at sites like WikiTree.com.  I would never want someone to do something that they are not comfortable with, but would encourage people to be open to sharing and working with other genealogists.  If we work together we can accomplish more than we can on our own.

15 March 2015

I Could Be a Rosebud

There’s something true about
Red, white, and blue about
Rosie the Riveter

     I had the pleasure to see a presentation on Rosie the Riveter by Carol Cain, during today's DAR meeting.  Ms Cain was extremely entertaining and inspirational, while educating us about "Rosies" during World War II.

    When Ms Cain was first asked, as a teacher, to give this presentation, she didn't know anything about Rosie and her role during the War.  Since then, she has met many real life Rosies and helped inspire the creation of the American Rosie the Riveter Association.  This is a society that I had never before heard of, but which is much like the DAR.  One big difference: the original women that the society honors are alive today and can join along with their descendants.

     Ms Cain's presentation reminded me of a few family members.  First, my Great-Aunt Ollie, who was herself a Rosie.  I only know of her work thanks to her certificate of graduation from the San Diego Vocational School, where she completed a course in Aircraft Construction and Assembly, as well as a reference card that states that she worked on commercial and Air Force aircraft for Convair. Ollie didn't have any surviving children, so I am happy to have these documents to remember her service.

     Otherwise, I know that my maternal Great-Grandparents and their children grew Victory Gardens.  For my Great-Aunt Ree, this service would allow her to join the society as as "Volunteer Rosie" and allow me to join as a "Rosebud."

     Lifetime membership is only $10 for Rosies and $20 for Rosebuds, which seems a small price.  The money helps the association to "recognize and preserve the history and legacy of working women, including volunteer women, during World War II."  I appreciate their mission and will be looking into membership.

12 March 2015

Supporting Documents - A DAR Resource

     A little while back the DAR introduced a new service, the ability to purchase supporting documents online for $20.  These are the documents that are submitted along with membership applications that prove the lineage.  In general, there's no way to preview these documents to see what you're going to get (vital records, family bibles, published histories, etc) before you buy, but these records could be a way to quickly find many records for one of your ancestors.

     I'll give an example of how it all works.

     Take my 6th Great Grandfather, Kindred Braswell, for example.  On his page in the Ancestor Search results, I see that eight members have joined the DAR through him, four of those through his daughter Margaret (my line).  When I click on the green "Purchase" button next to each of those members, I can see that two of them have supplemental documents that I can purchase.  The older application has 21 documents while the more recent application has only two.  This makes sense, as new applications can simply cite older applications as proof.   For the members' applications with no supporting documents available to purchase, I'm not sure if that is because they are not available, or because there are no records submitted.

     The application with 21 records follows my family line for the oldest three generations (click on the pink 'D' button back on the search results page), so I decided to purchase the records.  After a few clicks I was given access to a link to download a PDF with records that were used to prove the Braswell lineage.

     In this case, the records consisted of research notes from courthouse records requests, census records, estate records, and bible records.  In the end, this was an ancestor that I had thoroughly researched, so I already had these records.  But if it had been a new ancestor for me, this would have been a gold mine.

     It is important to note that documents created in the past 75 years are not available to protect privacy.  Also, this same service is available through the mail for $10 (for 10 pages plus .30¢ for each additional page) as a Document Request.  Finally, if you know a member of the DAR with Image Access, they can view all the supporting documents available by ancestor, instead of by member.

05 March 2015

Safety Vault Microfilm

     I recently went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Georgia Archive and learned a lot about how they functions.  One particular aspect that I learned about is Safety Vault Microfilm.  This service allows counties to have their records microfilmed (I'm not sure if it's through the archive or a third party) and stored at the Georgia Archive.  These microfilm rolls are not available to the public, but are stored in one of the many areas of storage that are not considered part of the Archives records.  The Archive employees I spoke to referred me to the individual county's Superior and Probate Court Clerks for details on which records have been microfilmed.  I also don't know when this service started.

     Going forward, if you are researching at a county courthouse in Georgia that has experienced recent records loss (Hancock County, for example), make sure to ask the court clerks if they utilize the Safety Vault Microfilm service and how you might be able to access those records.  For other states, ask if they have a similar service.


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