Two new-to-me resources: Power Your Genealogy Research with Technology Flipboard Magazine & 4YourFamilyStory.com

flipboardmagazineToday for some reason I googled “Flipboard for genealogy.” Flipboard is the iPad app that creates beautiful magazines on your iPad (or other tablet, I believe). I don’t really have my mind wrapped around it completely (and when I do, I’ll write about it here, I promise), but the top hit in my google search was Power Your Genealogy Research with Technology, a Flipboard Magazine put together by Caroline Pointer. It pulls together various articles and blog posts related to genealogy. Flipboard is a really enjoyable way to experience the web. You can access it from your mobile device on the Flipboard app, but you can also access it on your computer via the web.

One frequent source of information on the magazine was 4YourFamilyStory.com.  Each day, 4YourFamilyStory.com’s blog creates a list of X number of genealogy things you need to know this morning (might be six, might be seven, whatever that day brings).

The listings include what’s added to various online databases that day and links to interesting genealogy-related articles. Everything is timely and clearly presented. I really feel like I’ve stumbled upon a treasure trove!

The discovery of these two new-to-me resources will prove to be valuable when I’m trying to think about what to write about and what to research. I thought you might enjoy learning about them too.

Do you know The Story Trek?

STRTK_LargeI have to admit I’d never heard of the television show The Story Trek before I attended the RootsTech conference. The host of the show, Todd Hansen, was one of the keynote speakers and he inspired us with the message that everyone  (and he means everyone) has an interesting story to tell.

On The Story Trek, Hansen goes door to door with a small television crew in a randomly selected city and neighborhood and asks whoever answers the door to tell his or her story for the television camera. Hansen is clearly gifted at extracting stories from people and the show is riveting. We saw excerpts during his enjoyable keynote (which you can watch here; it starts at the five-minute mark). That led me to locate full episodes of the show online. You can watch them on the BYUtv website or download the BYUtv app.

Two thumbs up from me. Enjoy!

Enjoy RootsTech from home

rootstechlogoI’m in Salt Lake City at RootsTech 2014, a fantastic conference. My brain practically hurts from all the learning. And being around thousands of fellow genealogy enthusiasts is really energizing.

At the opening keynote, this lovely video debuted. I’ve enjoyed watching it since, and think you might like it too.

If you weren’t able to come, you can still benefit from some of the learning opportunities. Some of the sessions will be live streamed. Check out the live streaming schedule and perhaps you’ll be able to schedule some time today and tomorrow to watch live. You can read session descriptions first, so that you can see whether the streamed sessions will be of interest to you. To watch live, just go to the RootsTech homepage. Streaming videos are right there.

Some of the presentations will be archived. You’ll be able to find them here. Over at the RootsTech YouTube channel, you can watch interviews with various luminaries in the world of genealogy.

This year’s conference is large, but extremely well organized so it’s not overwhelming. Next year’s will be super-sized, since it’s being held Federation of Genealogical Societies conference. Mark your calendars for February 12 to 14, 2015.

City directories: a great resource, used carefully

City directories can provide clues--and sometimes red herringsThis quarter, I’m exploring the Adams family–those ancestors from my paternal grandfather’s line. I’ve been fortunate recently to find my great grandparents heavily represented in city directories in the 1910s and 1920s. I’ve also found my grandparents and even my parents in city directories via Ancestry.com.

An individual’s entry in a city directory can provide some great information (depending on the year), including:

  • Address
  • Spouse
  • Occupation
  • Value of personal property

Tracking an ancestor’s address from year to year can be really revealing.

I was thrilled to see in the 1912 Chehalis County Directory paragraphs about each of the towns in the county. About Quiniault (now spelled Quinault), which is the town that my grandfather and his parents were living in that year, I learned this:

Population: 125. A village on Lake Quiniault, settled in 1890, 150 miles west of Seattle, 60 by rail and mail route, northwest of Montessano, the county seat. 40 north of Hoquiam, the banking point, 28 northwest of Moclips, the shipping point. Mail stage tri-weekly to Hoquiam ($4.00), to Humptulips ($2.00). A.V. Higley, postmaster.

That paints a picture of a very remote place, doesn’t it? Quinault is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The occupation of my great grandfather, Elmer, was listed as farmer. I can’t really imagine what life was like there in that small town, so far from everything, with four small children.

One thing I’ve come to realize about city directories, however, is that offer a snapshot that may look very different than reality. For example, I know from my grandfather’s letter to my grandmother that his parents did not live together in Olympia.  You would not know it from the Olympia city directory, where both Elmer and Hattie are listed at one address year after year. Similarly, my parents are listed in the Spokane city directory in 1954. I know that in fact they were stationed in London at the time. (My father was in the Army.) So as much as I love finding an entry in a city directory for one of my people, I’m learning to not take the information as gospel.