Thursday, October 23, 2014

477. Don't Let Living History Get Away!

   I attended a great event on Tuesday. The Indianapolis WW2 Roundtable, of which I am a member, sponsored "An Evening With Richard E. Cole." Colonel Cole was Jimmy Doolittle's copilot on the 1942 Raid on Japan. At age 99, he is one of the four surviving members of that group. We listened as he talked about details of the operation. For military history buffs it was a memorable occasion.
   It occurred to me as I was in the audience that genealogists let way too many of those living history folks escape without telling their stories. Not many of us have a Colonel Cole in our families, but all of us have, or did have, contemporaries of his.
   Did you interview and question your grandparents and granduncles and grandaunts? Hopefully yes but probably not. I regret to this day not sitting down with my grandmother and digging into her memories. She lived to be 94, so I had plenty of time. Don't be like me--do it now!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

476. Looking For An Archive?

  If you want to find what archives are located around your research sites, you might give a look at the ArchiveGrid website. The URL is http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/
[Thanks to the Wheeling Area Genealogy Society for featuring this new resource.]


Saturday, October 18, 2014

475. World War One POW Database...Finally!

   Way back in 2009, as I was putting together a World War One genealogy program, I came across the following item in a family history news publication:

  Detective work by a British historian has unearthed information that could enable thousands to piece together their family histories.
  Peter Barton had been commissioned by the Australian government to carry out research, following the discovery of a mass grave on World War I battlefield at Fromelles in France.
  That trail led him to the Red Cross Museum in Geneva, and to the card indexes and registers compiled between 1914 and 1918. Details include whereabouts of prisoners, their condition or injuries at the time of capture, and the location of field burials.
  Some of the records refer to other mass graves, with exact directions as to where they were dug, and the identities of the soldiers who were buried. Where possible, the registers include home addresses and next of kin.
  The Red Cross is working to organize the archive and to digitize the records, and they hope to have the archive online by 2014.
  He was given access to the basement of the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva. There, he was allowed to examine records that have lain virtually untouched since 1918.
  He estimates that there could be 20 million sets of details, carefully entered on card indexes, or written into ledgers.
  They deal with the capture, death, or burial of servicemen from over 30 nations drawn into the conflict; personal effects, home addresses and grave sites cover page after page.
  All were passed to the Red Cross by the combatants; volunteers logging the information by hand before sending it on to the soldiers' home countries.


   About a month ago, when I was updating that same program to present it to a workshop, I came across my note, saw the target date and gave it a search on Google. I was pleased to find that my patience had paid off; the database is now complete and available for research.
    The URL is http://grandeguerre.icrc.org. Please note that many of the search reports are in French. I don't have any family POW's, but any multi-million item database is not to be sneezed at. Could this source do you some good in your family?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

474. Show Off Your Genealogy Research

   If all your genealogy research materials are sitting in your den in file cabinets or ring binders, you are missing the boat...and are insulting all your immigrants who didn't miss theirs!
   You need to keep your ancestors alive in your memory and alive in your home. You should show them off to your visiting family and friends. So many houses are decorated with generic junk and items that could be in anyone's living space.
   How much better it would be to decorate your space with items of ancestral meaning. Artifacts that you can point to with pride and say, "Yeah, that's my people."
   For instance, we created a WW2 exhibit in our sun room recently that attracts a lot of attention and gives us a chance to talk about some relatives. Along with some military items, we have framed photos of four of our relatives that served in that conflict. I like it every time I pass by. You might try something similar. Go for it! [Incidentally, the top frame has an original family V-Mail. Do your kids know about that?]


Monday, October 13, 2014

473. Genealogy Conference In Shelbyville Saturday

   I'm scheduled as a presenter Saturday at the genealogy conference sponsored by the Shelby County Genealogy Society, along with Betty Warren and Terry Prall.
   My topics are "Early Republic Military Records" and "World War One Genealogy." Terry is doing a program on breaking down brick walls, but I don't know Betty's topic.
   I tried to find some information on the event online, but did not have much luck. Either it's not there or I'm a lousy searcher.
  The event is being held at the Town Hall Building, 54 E. Broadway St. in Shelbyville. If you are interested and want more info, contact Becky Margison at becky@margison.com or at 317-442-5012. I have no other details on start times, costs, or lunch provisions.

Friday, October 10, 2014

472. CNN Goes Genealogy

   As Durante might have put it, "Every buddy wants ta get inta da act!" The latest media operation to join in with a little family history is CNN.
   Starting on Sunday at 9 pm, the network will air a daily series of genealogies about various members of their on-air "family." Go to their website to see if it's something you want to visit nightly next week: http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/06/cnn-hosts-journey-to-find-their-roots-2/


Thursday, October 9, 2014

471. GSMC Conference Saturday!

  I'm looking forward to the GSMC Conference on Saturday at the Indiana Historical Society . Lou Szucs is usually a good speaker and it's always good to get some Ancestry updates from one of their staffers. Have not heard her daughter yet, so that will be new. Still a few spaces available, I think. See you there. [See Post 464.]