Special offers in honor of July 4th

Genealogy bargains this weekendSeveral subscription-based databases are offering free access to specific holdings in honor of the 4th of July holiday. It’s a great chance to stay cool and dig into some research this weekend!

On Ancestry.com, you can access their records from the original 13 colonies now through Sunday, even if you’re not a subscriber.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors website is offering its Great Migration database free of charge through July 8.

You can freely search the Revolutionary War records at Fold3, the military database now through July 15.

If you have ancestors involved in establishing the U.S. now is the time to research them! I’m hoping to spend some time with the Great Migration database this weekend and see if I can find my early New York ancestor.

I learned about these special offers from Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Bargains newsletter. If you don’t subscribe, you’re missing out! (It’s another free resource.)

It’s my 3rd blogiversary!

happyblogiversarylgJune 14 marked three years since I published my first post here. (That post was called My quest to learn more about my family history.) Time goes by so quickly. I am so glad I decided to start this blog, for lots of reasons. It has done a wonderful job of helping me stay focused on my family history research. It has prompted me to go to genealogy conferences. It has brought me closer to family. And it has helped me make new friends.

The most popular post on the blog so far has been Reading hard-to-read gravestones, in which I discuss using aluminum foil to make a gravestone legible. I had read about that technique elsewhere and documented my use of it, with my husband’s help, on a family cemetery trip. That particular post has gone my small-scale version of viral: In the last two days, it has been viewed over 5,000 times!

Speaking of statistics, in my first two blogiversary posts, I gathered and published a few statistics. In the interest of consistency, I’ll do it again:

In the third year of this blog:

  • I wrote 72 posts (74 in year two, 79 posts in the first year).
  • There were a total of 84,270 views (35,198 the second year, 6,424 in year one).
  • I had 245 comments, about half of which were my own (compared to 316 and 106 comments in past years).
  • 272 people subscribe to the blog (that number was 160 a year ago and 82 on 6/14/13)

So it looks like I’ve remained somewhat steady in terms of the number of blog posts (though I would have guessed that I’d posted more!). Pageviews and subscribers are growing. In the 2014 calendar year, I had about 55,000 views and I set a goal this year of 100,000 views. I’m on track for that, which is great. (I love having goals.)

I’ve had the opportunity to meet several blog readers at conferences this year and that has been so wonderful! (I was even recognized by a couple of people at the NGS conference!) I hope to meet more of you in the coming year.

Thank you so much for reading this blog. If there are any topics you’d like me to address in Year Four, please let me know!

My grandfather’s handwriting analysis

Getting my grandfather's handwriting analyzedAs I mentioned last month, I sent a handwriting sample (a 30+ page letter) to certified handwriting analyst Nancy Douglas of Write Meaning. I’d seen her booth at RootsTech and was fascinated by the service she offered.

The letter was from my paternal grandfather, Dave Adams, to his fiancee (my grandmother), Beatrix Rasco. It was a sort of confessional: Dave wanted to give Bea full disclosure about his personal family history prior to their marrying. It was sent just a month before their wedding date.

Well, Nancy didn’t disappointed. She provided me with a six-page (singled-spaced) report detailing the personality traits revealed by my grandfather’s handwriting. She took into account the content of the letter and applied it to what she saw in the handwriting.

I read information like, “Dave’s capital letters are often embellished with large loops. Your grandfather was a showman who liked to attract attention and recognition.” And “His personal pronoun ‘I’ shows his mother and father were both very influential in his upbringing.”

She included photos of individual letters and words to illustrate what she meant. It was such a fun report to read!

I was in my twenties when my grandfather passed away. We lived in different towns and while I spent time with him, I don’t feel I knew his personality well. And growing up I certainly never thought about what he was like as a young man.

I think this handwriting analysis is going to be a wonderful springboard for conversation with my 84-year-old father. I have a hard time pulling stories out of him about his family and childhood. I think by bringing up what Nancy gleaned from my grandfather’s handwriting and asking him about it, I’ll hear some great stories about my grandfather.  I’ll also discuss the analysis with my mother and get her perspective on my grandfather’s personality.

Reading Nancy’s report made me want to have my own handwriting analyzed. I think I’ll treat myself to that this summer!

I paid $100 for my grandfather’s handwriting analysis, which feels like a huge bargain for what I received. If you some letters hanging around and curiosity about their writer, I encourage you to give it a try!


Free live streaming of select Jamboree sessions

Free live streaming of SCGS Jamboree!I’m very excited to be attending the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree June 5 to 7. (I loved the NGS conference so much, I’m ready for more learning!)

Here’s some great news: If you can’t attend in person, you can attend some of the sessions virtually. And there’s no charge, thanks to sponsor Ancestry.com.

Registration for live streaming is now open.  Once you register, you’ll have access to all streaming sessions. (You don’t have to register for individual sessions.) Four sessions will be streamed on Friday, six on Saturday and four on Sunday. You can see the list of streaming sessions on this Jamboree blog post. You don’t even have to be available that weekend; you can watch archived versions of the Jamboree live streams up until July 5. If you want to purchase recordings to keep forever, that’s another available option (and there are savings if you pre-order).

I’m also attending the DNA Day on June 4. Live streaming is available for that day as well, for a fee. You can watch any of a select six individual sessions for $20 each or all six for $99. The schedule is detailed in this post. These sessions are not archived or recorded.

SCGS is wonderful about educating the public. They offer free webinars twice a month. The fact that fourteen of the Jamboree sessions are being offered free of charge to genealogy enthusiasts everywhere is really laudable. I look forward to meeting these generous people!