Monday, November 29, 2010

Bibliographies are So Not Boring

Bibliographies have been on my mind recently.  I don't mean like today and yesterday.  I mean more like the last few months.  I'm worried that I'm becoming obsessed with bibliographies.  I love bibliographies whether I find them in other books or when I create them myself.

One of the first things I do when I read a new historical book is to check the bibliography. I do this for two reasons: 1) to find further resources on the same subject (one of the best techniques when you are beginning research on a new topic) and 2) to judge the book by how good its bibliography is. I'm a harsh critic when an author has a weak bibliography.

When I start a new project one of the first things I do is to start a bibliography, right from the get-go.  Not only does it document the sources that I've used but it becomes a great reference to use again in the future.

As a house historian, I often create bibliographies for specific towns. It's sort of a natural progression from my canvassing a town exercise. This helps me to see everything about that town that is in publication.  I include maps in the bibliography as well. It's critical for me to try to understand what maps have been printed for an area and when.

But I also do bibliographies on specific people.  Even with house histories I will end up researching specific people, especially when they are fairly well-known.  Nothing helps more than understanding what has already been published about that person and what primary resources those authors used.  That saves me time and forces me to think creatively to unearth other possible resources.

Lately, as I've been wearing my macro glasses, I can see applying bibliographies to genealogical research as well.  Instead of just researching the specific documents related to my ancestors in Montgomery County, New York I could create a bibliography of publications related to the town they lived in.  I could also create a time specific bibliography covering say, 1800-1850, in New York generally.  By trying to learn more about the social history surrounding my ancestors at that time and perhaps learning about the associates who resided in the same town, I may finally unravel some of my unanswered questions about my own family history.  For this type of bibliography I think I would also try to hunt down as many journals and first-person accounts as possible.

I hope I've caused you to think twice about bibliographies.  They are not just an after-thought at the end of a book.  When thought out properly, a bibliography can guide your research and save you research time as well.  The next time you start a project, take the time to create a bibliography as you go and make it a dynamic part of your research experience.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Genealogy Videos, Part 2 - Legacy Family Tree Webinars

If you like to learn visually then videos are a great tool for your genealogical education. Luckily, with advances in technology, there are many free, professional videos available. I wrote previously about the tremendous videos available from the APG website.  I will work my way through the other options available.

Legacy Family Tree

One of the newer video providers on the scene is Legacy Family Tree who are now providing free webinars. The webinars are first held live and then are available for viewing at your convenience on their website. Their first webinar was held September 2010.


I've watched the recorded webinar by Dear Myrtle and I thought it was very good.  The sound, visuals and presentation were all very good quality and professionally done.  Most of the videos are around 1 hour long. The longest one is two hours.The video didn't require any special software installation and I really like that.


The webinars to date have been:

Mapping Software for Genealogists by Geoff Rasmussen

Helping Unlock the World’s Records – An Insider’s Perspective on FamilySearch Indexing by Jim Ericson

Sharing Genealogy Electronically by Geoff Rasmussen

 Blogging for Beginners with DearMYRTLE by Dear Myrtle

Evidence Analysis by Karen Clifford 

New Family History Technology by Paul Larsen 

Organize, Share, and Publish Your Digital Photos with Heritage Collector Suite by Marlo Schuldt 


There are 3 upcoming webinars that you can register for to view live.  The advantages of viewing them live are that you get to ask questions, respond to surveys and win prizes.

Share Your Family History with Legacy Charting by Geoff Rasmussen & Janet Hovorka on Dec. 1, 2010.

Helping Unlock the World's Records - FamilySearch Indexing for Power Users by Katie Gale on Dec. 8, 2010

Google for Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee on Jan. 5, 2010

If you have a little extra time this weekend, spend an hour watching a video on the Legacy Family Tree website.  You'll be amazed at what you'll learn.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Daily Dose of History - Mass Moments

As a genealogist, I am also a huge history buff. I love all kinds of history but I am particularly interested in history related to New England.

However, as many of us have experienced, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the information on the internet. For this reason I love a site called Mass Moments which provides a little taste of history every day.

As you would guess by the name, Mass Moments is about Massachusetts history. You can visit Mass Moment on their website or sign up for their email subscription.

A paragraph's worth of history is presented each day.  The paragraph itself is satisfying enough but if you feel compelled to hear the rest of the story you can click on the "more on this Moment" link and read a more in-depth treatment of the historical moment.

For those of you who live on Facebook, you can get your daily Mass Moments update there too. And for people who like to multi-task, you can listen to Moments while you are working on other things.  Each Mass Moment provides a link to an audio file.

The historical bites range from very early Massachusetts history such as King Philip’s War Breaks Out: June 24, 1675 to modern history like Red Sox Win World Series: October 27, 2004.

There are historical subjects of interest to everyone including topics on Women's History, Black History, Sports, Architecture, Religion, Maritime History, Native Americans, Technology and even the Weather.

Some of my favorite past stories have included:

Voters Deny Masaschusetsss Women the Vote

The Great Molasses Flood

David Walker Found Dead

Give it a try.  Maybe you'll find you'll like it as much as I do.

And if you know of something

More New England African American Stories Uncovered

Part of what makes African American research in New England so fascinating is that it has been hidden for so long. People don't associate New England with generations upon generations of African American history. But African Americans have been in New England since the 1600s. One of my goals is to ensure that it stays hidden no longer.

With that in mind, there are three recent stories of New England African American research that are not only interesting but provide real insight into the complexity of life for early African Americans.

The first two appear in the current issue (Fall 2010) of American Ancestors published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).

In an article (p. 41) called "Chance Bradstreet (1762-1810), Servant of Abraham Dodge of Ipswich, Massachusetts", Christopher Challender Child remarks how he saw an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History that mentioned the slave, Chance.  However, the exhibit only had information on Chance between 1777 and 1789.  Child took it as a personal challenge  to re-discover the remaining details of Chance's life.  The fascinating article details his discoveries.

Further on in the same issue be sure to stop and read Diane Rapaport's article "Freeing Joan Jackson: The Precarious Status of a New England Woman." (p.51)  This incredulous tale demonstrates one African American family's struggle to remain together and to retain their freedom.  The article explores the extremely complex issues surrounding emancipation in Massachusetts in the 1780s.

Lastly is an article that appeared in the New Canaan Patch (CT) entitled "Hidden History: The Last Slave of Connecticut" (17 November 2010) which you can read online.  It tells the story of Onesimus Comstock who was born into slavery in 1761 and how he became the last slave of Connecticut.  This article discusses the same time frame as the other two but touches on the disenfranchisement and limited options available to slaves once they attained their freedom.

All three articles provide important insight into the lives of early African Americans in New England.  Together they illustrate and reveal the complexities of what it meant to be African American in the 18th century.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When Life (or death) is Stranger than Fiction -Notice from the Connecticut Courant 1807

The following death notices appeared in the Connecticut Courant, February 25, 1807.


--On the Allegheny Mountain, Mr. James Pollock, son of Justice Pollock, of Westmoreland County. He was horribly murdered by two Frenchmen, who were taken.

--In Green Village, (N.J.) Mr. Isaac Miller, jun. by the upsetting of a waggon.

--In Conway, Mr. Thomas Billings, (From Springfield) aged 72 : He fell from his chair in the fire, and was shockingly burnt.

--In Stockbridge, Mr._ Leighton : he fell from a tree which he had ascended in pursuit of a squirrel.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Just Home from the NEAPG Annual Meeting

Today I spent most of the day at the annual meeting for the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG).

The programs was hosted by member Connie Reik at the Tisch Library at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

We had a one hour business meeting where we elected new officers.  They include:

Tim Firkowski - President
Kate Lowrie - Vice President
Sarah Nesnow - Secretary
Alice Kane - Treasurer

Tim is doing a great job as president.  After a year of jumping straight in with both feet I am confident he will do an even better job in the coming year.  Many thanks to Sarah and Alice for continuing on. And welcome to Kate for accepting the Vice Presidency.  I'm sure she will get many pep talks from Polly to spur her on.

During the lunch break NEAPG treasurer, Alice Kane, gave a talk on the use of Second Life in genealogy. I am not the best person to describe Second Life, but it is like a parallel universe within the internet.  A newly formed virtual chapter of APG exists and meets in Second Life. Alice demonstrated how Second Life works for those of us who haven't ventured there yet.

After our business meeting we were spoiled to have not one, but two great talks. 

The first was a talk on non-population censuses by Nora Galvin.  I was particularly interested in hearing this talk after exploring some agricultural censuses earlier in the year.  Nora gave a terrific talk and walked us through all the various non-population schedules.  I can see many uses for these censuses, including helping me with my house history research. 

Afterward, Connie Reik gave a talk on a citation tool called Zotero.  Zotero is a Firefox plugin that allows researchers to capture citations easily from websites on the internet such as,, Google Books and even  Zotero makes the process of capturing and creating citations and bibliographies easier than ever.  I was very excited by the prospects of using Zotero and can't wait to get starting exploring it.

Be sure to catch both Nora's and Connie's talks at the upcoming New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Springfield, Massachusetts, April 6-10, 2011.

The coming year promises to hold many opportunities for NEAPG members.  There will be more great talks, repository visits, networking opportunities and Ancestor Road Show opportunities.  Now is a great time to get involved with a dynamic group of professional genealogists.  Give a shout and check us out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Follow Friday: Two Reminders to Help Change Your Perspective

I wish I had time to read all the genealogy blog posts that are published. There is some really good stuff being written.

Here are two posts that I think are worth reading. They both take ordinary actions and try to get you to think differently about them.

Paula Stuart-Warren of Paula's Genealogical Eclectica wrote a blog post entitled "First Impressions Should be Captured." When I first read this post I thought "Yes, yes, yes!"  The research ideas that pop into your head when you first see or hear about a research challenge can be some of your best ideas.  Paula provides great ideas and an exercise to demonstrate the effect.

Melissa Mannon who writes the blog ArchivesINFO wrote "Shared Cultural Heritage: My Unlabeled History."  Her title really captured my imagination. I loved the visual concept of unlabeled history. Melissa demonstrates the importance of unlabeled history in a moving personal story.  She hopes the story will encourage you to care for (and label) your personal history.

Research Challenge: Join in a quick group consultation/research plan exercise

My Facebook friend, genealogist Caroline Gurney, has a brick wall. Caroline lives in England and what's interesting is that her difficult ancestor was a sea captain who used to sail to the Americas during the 19th century. He mysteriously never returned to England and Caroline hasn't been able to find out any more about him.

I thought it would be a fun exercise to post details of her brickwall here and see if her US and Canadian counterparts could participate in an online consultation to give her suggestions for where she should focus her research.


Here's the background on our subject:

Name: John Winn
Born: England, date unknown

Wife: Heneretta (sic - not Henrietta) Tomlin. She was the daughter of William Tomlin, a wealthy London barge owner.
Marriage: in Bow, London in 1829, when he was "of this parish"
Children: His only known child was born in 1830 when John was described as a master mariner (i.e. sea captain) in the baptismal... register.

Probate: His father-in-law's 1848 will in London he was described as: "John Winn, who some years since went to North America and whose existence is uncertain".
His wife's will (written 1856) and death certificate (1857) describe him as a deceased master mariner.

Previous Research

British Newspapers:
I can find no reference to him (such as a missing person advert) in the British Library's 19th century newspaper collection and no identification of him as captain of a ship that went down at any of the websites devoted to wrecks. 

US & Candian Censuses:
There are 46 John Winns in the 1840 US Federal Census but that doesn't give birthplace or occupation to enable me to identify him. There is no 1841 Census of Canada. There are no British born John Winns of the right age, or sea captains, in the 1850 US Federal Census or the 1851 Census of Canada. 

Merchant Marines
There are no records of merchant navy officers in the UK before 1845. I spent a day trawling through crew lists at the National Archives. There were many John Winns, all ordinary seamen, but nothing to identify my man. I've been through all available volumes of the Lloyds Register of Merchant Shipping from 1800 to 1860 and identified one ship with a master called J Winn (a domestic coastal vessel) and five with a master called Winn, for whom I cannot find a Christian name from another source and which did not carry on sailing after the 1840s. The only North American ports those ships traded with were Halifax, "New Brunswick" (presumably St John) and Montreal. There are three masters called Winn on the Ship's List website but, from the names of their ships, I have eliminated all three as being different people. My ONLY possible candidate is John Winn, a ship master, aged 35 years & 4 months, who arrived in New York from the Turks on board the schooner "Deposit" on 23 August 1836. However, he is described as US born & resident. 

Surname info:The surname Winn originated in Yorkshire and to this day is most common in north-east England. In the early 19th century there were quite a number of sea captains called Winn sailing from the north-east ports. But to complicate matters, there were also quite a few sea captains called Winn sailing from ports in New England, such as the John D Winn from Salem I mentioned in reply to Cathi on your FB posting.

PRIZE: "If anyone can find this man they will win the Genealogist of the Year award!"
Let's see if we can put our collective expertise together and give Caroline some suggestions to to help her find John Winn.

PLEASE POST YOUR RESEARCH SUGGESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS!  If you have questions for Caroline, please post those in the comments too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Article in Waiting

I finished up a house history article today for my local newspaper.

At the outset it looked like it would be a fairly straight forward project. I did my own deed research and there was also some other information from previous researchers.

But this project proved to be troublesome. Two researchers had done some previous deed research on this house. One was a valiant effort by an inexperienced researcher that contained a number of gaps. The other research was very good and I recognized that it was done by a friend of mine. But unfortunately it only addressed the very early deeds.

My own research had a similar gap that I found frustrating. Why couldn't this one deed transfer be reconciled?

I could have written the article without resolving the conflict but it was nagging me too much. I felt uncomfortable writing an article that I didn't feel 100% concrete about. I felt I needed to know that my research was solid before I could see it printed in the paper.

So I headed over to town hall and went through the original tax valuations year by year. That told me definitively who owned the property and when. That made it easier to head back to the deeds. Problem one solved.

To deal with the other issue with the same house history, I scoured maps until I was satisfied I understood who was in the property and when. But it turns out that I really resolved all my lingering doubts my broadening my scope and turning the project into a genealogical project focusing on the whole family. When I understood the dynamics of the greater family relationship I was able to finally understand the history of the house.

In this particular case, the father owned and lived the family homestead. He also owned a smaller property that is the target of my research. He sold the property I'm researching to his oldest son in 1862. I discovered that he sold his homestead property to his other younger son the same year. Knowing that the oldest son was a boot maker while the younger son was a farmer like his father made all the difference. Suddenly, the division of these properties made sense.

I feel slightly crazy for being so stubborn about not writing the article until I really felt I had resolved the problem and understood the answer. I made my deadline but I spent hours more than I should have. It's just that I'm uncomfortable putting something into print that I can't absolutely stand behind.

Hopefully at least one of you out there will be able to relate to what I'm trying to say.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bloggers and Wannabes, Listen Up!

So you have a blog. Or you want to start one. Let me let you in on a little secret. I am always surprised at how many people don't know this. So here's my own Public Service Announcement.

There's a wonderful place on the web called Geneabloggers. It's a place just for you. And when you start your blog you can announce it there. Over two thousand people could potentially learn about your blog.

I realized recently that I announced two of my blogs - Roots & Rambles and The Symbolic Past - but I forgot to announce my third blog, The New England House Historian. So I need to head over there myself.

Each week, Thomas MacEntee, who runs the blog, posts a list of all the new genealogy blogs submitted to him. This week's list has 21 new blogs that are being announced. No matter how unknown or well-known you are or with a major organization or not or an author or not, you will all get equal billing in the New Genealogy Blogs annoucement.

I was happy to see this week that I had discovered some blogs recently before they got announced.  Makes me feel like a bit of a talent scout!  I had already discovered In Black and White: Cross-Cultural Genealogy and The Journey Takers. But the rest of them, including Daily Genealogist by the New England Historic Genealogical Society were new to me.

Once you've announced your blog on the site you can return time and again for blogging help. If you get stuck on what to write you can visit the Geneabloggers section on Daily Blogging Prompts.  And when you get more advanced and you want to keep up with how to protect your content you can visit the Copyright section. 

So if you are thinking about blogging or need encouragement with your blogging head over to Geneabloggers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

An Unexepectedly Delightful Morning

This morning I headed off to my local Registry of Deeds to wrap up some research on an article I am writing. While I always enjoy a trip to the registry, I was feeling a little deadline pressure and looking forward to getting the work done.

The morning started off well, though, because the sun was shining after a number of cold, gray, rainy days. When I arrived at the registry all the metered parking spaces were gone. I looped around a few times trying to nail a spot without success. In the end I decided to take a new road in hopes of finding other meters.

How serendipitous that this road should lead me to the oldest cemetery in town. I drove slowly past, scoping out the stones. This would definitely be worth a visit. I used some self restraint and drove on, turning onto the appropriately named Court Street.

At last, there I found parking. Along with the parking I found a row of historic early 19th century homes. I was so tempted to grab my camera and take a stroll but I resisted.

It's not often that I find all facets of the work I love all within one block - genealogy research, historic houses and 18th century gravestone carvings.

I finished up at the registry quickly even having the opportunity to do some extra research. I still had a half hour of free time before my next commitment.

Coming out of the registry I was washed with unusually sunny warmth for November. As I crossed the street heading back toward my car I couldn't resist pulling out my camera (which I carry with me at all times) and capturing the historic homes.

But my real goal was the cemetery. I tossed all my bags in the car and headed over the short half block. This cemetery was full of a great variety and age of stone carvings. It nestled behind a beautiful stone Episcopal church and the quiet side street was lined with more historic homes. Even the sun was cooperating and shining fully on the face of the gravestones.

It's not often that a day trip and a location work out quite so well for me. It was truly an unexepectedly delightful morning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Business Titles - for cash or prestige?

Over the years my business title has evolved. I think I started out as a "professional genealogist" then moved on to simply "researcher" and lately I've been calling myself  "house historian" to reflect my move into my niche market. But I don't know if I will ever be satisfied with one title.

Recently, I was visiting a library and got into a conversation with the genealogy librarian. We were talking about authors and their books. The librarian was telling me which authors came in to do the research on their own books, which ones might have sent others to do research for them and those that never set foot in the library at all. These were all books that required sources contained only in this special library.

I picked up a particular book and the librarian said "Now, she comes in to do all her own research." I flipped to the back to check out her bio and said outloud "Historical Consultant." The librarian noted that this author is one of the few independent (not connected with a university or organization) researchers/historians who makes a good living at what she does. "Intriguing,"  I thought.

It struck me that this author called herself an "historical consultant." I mused over this for a day or two. You have to admit that the word "consultant" says MONEY more than any other title out there. A consultant without doubt is someone who gets paid to provide advice or expertise.

There is a lot of debate about the title "professional genealogist." I mean, why do we have to say professional in front of genealogist? We don't say professional professor or professional historian or professional author.  Perhaps we should be saying "Genealogy Consultant." Now that would let people know that we are professional and there would be no question about being paid for the service.  In fact, many genealogists do a lot of consulting as one of their services.

On the other hand, if you were looking for prestige rather than cash, you might choose a different title.  Not everyone takes clients so prestige might be better in that case.  Perhaps "Genealogical Researcher" or simply "Genealogist" would be good choices.

Which titles do you prefer and why?  Have you given any thought to the subtle connotations of what your title says about you and your work?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Don't See Dead People but I Do See History

You know the popular phrase  "I see dead people"  said by Haley Joel Osment in the 1999 movie "The Sixth Sense".  I am happy to say that I don't see dead people, but I do see history - everywhere I go.

I particularly see history when I'm driving as there is nothing else for me to do but watch the road.  As I  drive I make note of the road.  Was it an old road or built more recently?  Would it be on an 1850 or a 1790 map?  Not sure - look at the houses.  Are the houses all new, all old or a smattering of both?  Is there a row of similar old houses or is there one old farm house in the midst of ranches and splits?

I look at trees too. How many large mature trees are standing alongside the road?  Could they have been there a hundred years ago or perhaps longer?  Is there only one large tree or is the street lined with old trees? I chastise myself for not knowing more about trees and their growth rates.  Some trees grow faster than others and I'm not sure how to tell the difference.  Note to self: determine growth rates for oaks, maples and chestnuts.

As I pass a railroad crossing I try to determine if the railroad is active or dormant.  There are many dormant or even removed railroad tracks in the area that I live.  Was there an old railroad station nearby? If so, are there old photographs of the railroad station?  Are there likely to be Sears "houses by mail" built in the area which were predominantly delivered by railroad?

When I pass by a church or an old store I wonder how old it is.  How long have people been attending service there or buying their goods there?  Is the architectural style colonial or Greek Revival or something else?

As I continue on I pass stone walls swallowed by new growth woods.  I think back to how this was all farmland at one point.  I try to imagine the landscape devoid of trees and glistening with green pastures and animals or crops.

Everywhere I go, whether countryside or city, I see history.  But don't get me wrong - I am very much in the present.  I make note of  history and try to determine how it has fared through the years and lasted until the present.   Why has it survived?  How can we help other links to the past continue to survive to the present day?

What does this have to do with genealogy? Everything.  My ancestors saw and touched those links to the past.  Those relics of history which exist in my present were in their present too.  It connects us and enriches my understanding of their lives and my own.

How is it that I started to see history everywhere?  I blame it on James Deetz.  You can read more about that in an earlier post "How James Deetz Changed My Life."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Plagiarism - It could happen to you

This week there were two cases of egregious internet plagiarism that were getting a lot of attention. In both cases, the two offenders claimed they didn't know that they were doing anything wrong. Incredulously, one was a magazine editor and the other was a university professor. You would think they would be the last professionals caught plagiarizing.

Very Messy Apple Pie

The first story involved a blogger/web writer who wrote a blog post about medieval apple pies complete with recipes and a bibliography. The editor of Cooks Source Magazine used the article without permission and reprinted the article in both Cooks Source online and in the printed version.

The author of the original internet article took to the internet to protest when she discovered the theft. Later, NPR wrote a story about the resulting internet outing phenomenon.

In this particular case, the editor of the magazine [erroneously] stated that everything on the internet is in the public domain.

Discontented Spirits

In the second case, Mindie Burgoyne on the Who Cares What I Think? blog wrote the history of how one of her blog posts was stolen and used by a Colorado university professor without permission or proper attribution. This particular blog was on the rather unusual topic of "thin places" which according to Mindie is "a place where connection to that [spiritual] world seems effortless, and ephemeral signs of its existence are almost palpable."  Definitely, a unique topic that is easily identified.

This article is particularly interesting because it details how Mindie confronted and dealt with the theft and the how the professor responded.  Most of this article revolves around lack of permission but more importantly lack of proper citation and attribution.

Genealogists on the web

Genealogical writers also need to be concerned about copyright, whether they write for print publications or the web. Writers need to be diligent that their work is appropriately credited and attributed.

The main copyright reference  for genealogists so far has been Carmack's Guide to Copyright & Contracts by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.   This is a short, easy-to-read book that is a must read for any genealogical writer.

There is also a chapter by Val D. Greenwood, J.D. called "Copyright and Fair Use" in the book Professional Genealogy, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

While both of these works are excellent and will get you on the right path, the waters have gotten much murkier for those publishing on the internet.

Addressing today's online issues

The realm of publishing on the internet is confusing to say the least.  Protecting your work when it can be easily copied and pasted is much more difficult.  And there are two battlefronts here: 1) outright theft like the two examples above and 2) stealing of content by splogs that do attribute and provide links back to original sources but do so without permission on sites that earn revenue from advertising.

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers has been at the forefront of leading the charge against sploggers and internet plagiarists for genealogists.  He calls out the theft of content against genealogical bloggers and assists with getting the stolen content removed from the offending sites. He has used "Content Theft" and "Copyright" tags to make it easy to locate his posts on those topics.

Where do we go from here?

Thomas has made a great start but it is not enough and he can not do it alone.  I believe it is time for a new publication to help genealogical writer's address the questions they have about online copyright and plagiarism.  We need to understand how to protect our work online and how to handle it when theft occurs.

I hope that a member of the genealogical community will produce a publication such as this.  Preferably it would be written by a copyright lawyer or a genealogist working in conjunction with a copyright lawyer.

What do you think?  Has the online copyright issue impacted you?  Do you want to know more about this topic so that you can protect your work?

Friday, November 5, 2010

And the most influential genealogist is....

Did you even know there was a ranking such as this? There is, at least on Twitter anyway.

Last week I wrote about the international aspect of Twitter and how much of the world's genealogists can be found there.

I had said "Unfortunately, there is no way to calculate just how many people view an individual tweet."  That's not completely true (for many different reasons). There is a website that follows and measures activity on Twitter.  It's called WeFollow.

WeFollow has two types of rankings - most influential and most followers.  You can check the rankings for any topic that is designated by a tag (ex. #genealogy).

So who is the most influential genealogist on Twitter according to WeFollow? 

Drum roll please.  It is Geneabloggers by Thomas MacEntee.  The rest of the top 10 include (in order) Megan Smolenyak, Footnote Maven, Family Tree Magazine, Roots Television, Steve Nickle, Randy Seaver, Mark Tucker, World Vital Records and Michael Hait.

But....a few qualifications of the supposed rankings are in order.  I should mention that I found no explanation about how they calculated their rankings on the WeFollow website (if anyone knows where I can get that please let me know).

My take is that the WeFollow rankings are calculated STRICTLY on WeFollow subscribers.  I base this on the fact that I was not included on the list before I joined.  So in order to be included in the rankings a Twitter user must have joined WeFollow.

Secondly, I'm presume the rankings are based on a combination of total tweet, total re-tweets and total number of followers.

Also, I can only imagine that time must factor into this somehow.  A new WeFollow member would hardly jump to number one the first day.  Does that follow that the longer one has been subscribed, the higher their rankings will be?  There is probably a threshold level when the time element fades.

There you have it - the top 10 most influential genealogists on Twitter.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Videos Out by APG

Once again the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) has videotaped a number of the talks from their recent Professional Management Conference.

I'm really looking forward to watching the new videos from  APG. The inaugural videos from last year by Mary Penner, Heather Henderson and Elissa Scalise Powell were wonderful. I think we are being spoiled by having so many extra to view this year. Thank you APG for posting these online thus making them available publicly.

If you are a professional genealogist, or even just considering taking a step in that direction then you will get a tremendous benefit from watching the videos.  They cover topics that address core business skills which professional genealogists need to know.

This year's lineup includes Leslie Albrecht Huber ("Get Published in Magazines"), Elissa Scalise Powell ("Choosing the Best Continuing Education Opportunities"), Paula Stuart Warren ("Niche Planning and Marketing"), Donna Moughty ("Expand Your Revenue: Produce and Sell Your Lectures in Video Format"), and D. Joshua Taylor ("A Key to Success: Your Online Presence").

The toughest decision is going to be which one to watch first!