Friday, December 31, 2010

Create Your Own Family Heirloom - It's Easier Than You Think

This past Christmas I received a new family heirloom as a gift.

I didn't know it at the start. When I first received this present from my brother I looked at the title and thought I was in for something mushy from my brother and his girlfriend.

Upon second look I realized that they had put together something wonderful, a book full of family recipes.  And they did it on the sly.  They even got a recipe from me who was none the wiser.

Self-Publishing with

My brother and his girlfriend published this 54 page book using  They created a template in a word processor then filled it up with recipes and photos. 

There are all the usual parts of a book including a table of contents and chapters.  Each page contains one recipe and a brief summary in italics before the recipe explains why it is special to the family member who created or used it. The book is filled with recipes from my family and that of my brother's girlfriend.

The book is small and contains no color photos except for the cover. I think what impresses me the most is that they actually put this together all on their own. 

I have always thought about creating something like this but never actually tried.  I have to admit my brother is a bit of a veteran at using   I guess I'm a bit nervous about trying it and messing it up.

Next Christmas?

Perhaps next Christmas you or I might try to create a little book to give as a present and it might just turn into a family heirloom.

Here are some thoughts as to what I might include in a little book for a family gift:
  • A photo family history of our extended family right now with pictures and brief bio (along the lines of a yearbook)
  • A book presenting brief biographies of one branch of the family
  • A family photo book of our ancestors. Instead of continuing to swap them electronically on CD why not print them and put them in a book as a family keepsake?
  •  An annual edition summarizing family research of the previous year
  • A book of family heirlooms and their stories
  • Stories told by elder family members

I'm sure there are lots more ideas of what can be created with a brief 50-page book.  Share your ideas in the comments and then let's make it a New Year's resolution to get it done by Christmas 2011.

My Top 5 Roots & Rambles Posts of 2010

I suppose it's a little self-indulgent but I'm going to list my top 5 favorite Roots & Rambles posts of 2010. The posts I liked the best aren't necessarily the ones that got the most "hits."

I think these posts are very indicative of where my head was at in 2010. They demonstrate how I was evolving as a researcher and my approach to processing all that I encounter in the world.

1. Canvassing a Town for Historical Resources - A big theme of mine this year was looking for history and genealogy everywhere including unusual and oft overlooked places.  This is a method for seeing and finding resources in a new way.

2. Prove Genealogy Backwards, Read History Forward - Inspired by a lecture from Professor Gary W. Gallagher, this provides a suggestion for a different way to approach the study of history.

3. How I Got Here - The Path to Becoming a Family Historian - It's easy to be "me" centric but the more I considered it I was just a link in a much larger family chain. This also includes thoughts on nurturing children to become future family historians.

4. I Don't See Dead People but I Do See History - History is everywhere. A window into seeing it through my eyes.  A nice complement to #1 above.  Soon you'll be seeing history everywhere too.

5. How James Deetz Changed My Life - One of the catalysts that profoundly changed my research and how I approach genealogy and history.


Schedule Time for Analysis After Your Research Trip - An important reminder and tips on how to capture all the data from a research trip.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Blogs of 2010

It's really hard for me to come up with just 10 favorite blogs. I read so many and lots of them deserve to be my favorite. For whatever reason, these 10 are the standouts.

They are listed in no particular order and leave out the "Big" bloggers and my New England Blogging Peeps.

Boston 1775 by J.L. Bell - the story of the American Revolution in Massachusetts. I'm astonished at his breadth of knowledge and am captivated by his endless curiosity.

Vast Public Indifference - the study of gravestone art. Just incredible. Beautiful art, in-depth knowledge and doesn't hold back on the opinions.

The African-Native American Genealogy Blog by Angela Walton-Raji,  - fascinating stories about stuff I know very little about in a part of the country I'm not familiar with.  I feel like an adventurer every time I read her blog.

Geder Genealogy, Evangelist for African Ancestored Genealogy by George Geder  - George calls it like he sees it. I utterly respect his honesty and willingness to risk sharing it.

Clue Wagon by Kerry Scott  - Irreverent, spot-on and genealogy too!

The Slovak Yankee by Martin Hollick  - He's so cranky but when he's not in a bitter rant he's brilliant. Hopefully he'll stop ranting soon and get back to what he's best at.

Greta's Genealogy Blog by Greta Koehl  - An all around consistently good genealogy blog.

Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror by Mel Wolfgang - this is a relatively new blog but he always has something thought provoking and worth reading.

Olive Tree Genealogy by Lorine McGinnis Schulze - Lorine is a prolific Canadian blogger. She has a deep well of genealogical knowledge.

Pollyblog by Polly Kimmitt - When I want to improve my genealogy and learn something new this is where I go. Besides being a genealogical powerhouse, her posts are simply fascinating.  Yes I admit when I grow up I want to be just like Polly.


Little Bites of Life by Elizabeth O'Neal - I can't believe I almost forgot this one. One of my most favorite blogs. I probably like this blog so much because I can identify with her so easily. I love to watch her evolve just as I am evolving myself.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Watch Out for an Overly Helpful Zotero

Zotero, a Firefox browser add-on, is a tremendous tool for researchers that helps capture internet based citations for inclusion in your reports.  It can even create bibliographies.

Today I learned that Zotero tries to be overly helpful to its users. That can throw you for a loop when you are least expecting it.

The Problem

I was logging into an electronic database at my library's website. A window popped up asking me to accept a proxy. Not knowing what a proxy was (but thinking it was helpful) I accepted the proxy. Yes, I know, I should have been practicing more safe computing. *sigh*

This is what the pop-up looks like (click image to see a larger view):

What happened as a result was that whenever I went to my library website it forced me to entered my library card number so that I could log in.  This is very frustrating especially when all you want to do it a quick look up in the card catalog.

The Solution

The simple solution is to say "No" when using Firefox and it asks you to accept a proxy.

If, like me, you said "Yes" by mistake and need to undo it here's what you need to do.

Step 1

Select Tools from your drop down menu at the top of your screen.  Then select Add-ons as you see in the image above. Do NOT be tempted to press the Zotero button just beneath it. That will simply start Zotero.

Step 2

Next, under the Extensions tab, you will see a list of the Firefox add-ons that you currently have.  In the box that says Zotero, press the Options button.

Step 3

Uncheck the box that says "Automatically remember proxied resources."  This will prevent Zotero from asking you to save proxies.

If you had accidentally accepted a proxy like me, it would appear in the white box below. (I had already removed mine before taking the snapshot) To remove existing proxies, highlight the proxy name and then press the minus button below.  When you are finished press OK.

Hopefully you will find this helpful.  Thanks to the technical support at the Minuteman Library Network for identifying the problem for me.

Reflecting on the year 2010

As I reflect on my achievements of 2010, I can’t help but think that the greatest achievement is that I achieved anything at all.

The year turned out to be the most difficult and challenging of my life or at least of my adulthood. Unforeseen events brought my family a lot of sadness and worry.

I had been optimistic as the New Year rang in and had great hopes of accomplishing quite a lot. I am a little sad that I didn’t fulfill some of my goals but I think there were other lessons for me to learn this year.

Some of the lessons that I learned firsthand this year were:

Sometimes you need to ask for help

I never like to ask for help. This year some people insisted. And I admit it did help. When the time arises accept help but don’t get attached to it. Move on and become independent again.

We have the strength to get through anything

You know the old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I learned this year that this is true. Humans have an amazing capacity to survive.

Move Forward

And as the other saying goes “When life give you lemons, make lemonade.” Dwelling on things you can’t change is not good. It’s better to make the best of what you are dealt in life. There is always a way to put a positive spin on everything. At the very least it will show you have a sense of humor.

Life is always worse for someone else

No matter how bad you think your life is there is always someone out there who has it worse. It was easy to come up with examples this year as people locally and all around the world struggled. Yes, I had a tough year but many people had it much worse.

Despite my challenging year I still managed to accomplish a lot.

My Gold Stars for 2010:


I was honored to have a book review published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. This was really awesome.

Old House Secrets

I began a house history column in a local newspaper called Old House Secrets in March 2010. The articles provide information on how to research the history of your house or tell the history of local historic homes. By the end of the year the newspaper expanded to include a second edition in another town.


This year I really got blogging! I started Roots & Rambles in 2009 but didn’t really start actively blogging until 2010. I also started two other blogs: The Symbolic Past focusing on 17th and 18th century gravestones and The New England House Historian. Blogging has been a really wonderful activity for me and I’m greatly enjoying the relationships I’ve developed with blogging colleagues.

Speaking Engagements

This year I gave 17 talks across Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. That’s the most I’ve ever given in one year. I love to do talks because it gives me an opportunity to meet people in different areas that I might not otherwise meet. It also gives me the chance to see new places.

If I did anything else this year I’m at a loss to remember it. This list makes me feel pretty good. Despite all the challenges I continued to move forward.

I have bright hopes and lots of goals for next year but I’ll leave that for another blog post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why I Like Twitter

I got on Twitter with hesitation. I admit it took me quite awhile to get used to Twitter and to figure out how it works. I think I'm getting the hang of it. In fact, now I really like it.

Here's why:

It's a level playing field

On Facebook there is a sense of relationship and a degree to which you know a person. You are in a constant friction managing family, close friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

Twitter, on the other hand, is a level playing field. We're all acquaintances regardless of actual (or lack there of) real relationships. The main reason for this is that Twitter is completely open to the whole internet (unless you've locked it down, but that's no fun). Anybody can "follow" you or check in to see what you are "tweeting." Facebook is in a constant state of restriction - who shall I be friends with and how much should I let them see.

Freedom to interact

Twitter has a sense of Freedom of Speech.  You can choose not to say anything to anyone you follow and that's ok.  You can also reply to people you don't know at all and who don't know you.  In fact, you can "meet" some really interesting people this way.  There's no pressure either way.  At least I don't feel any.

Less is More

On Twitter you only have 140 characters to speak your mind. It makes you get to the point really quickly. If I want to be wordy I'll switch over to my blog. I like the quick pace of Twitter.

An International Bunch

Twitter has a way of being very international because of mutual interests.  That broadens my horizons.  For some reason a number of people in the UK and Australia started following me.  Not sure what I have to offer them but I started following many of them in return.  Seeing their tweets on a daily basis gives me a greater sense of the world.  I know that Scotland and England have been getting hammered with snow this year because of their tweets.  Do I need to know it's snowing in England? No.  But I like to know it.  I like to have a better and more intimate sense of what is going on in the world.  And it's fun too.


I really began to enjoy the power of Twitter when I embraced my many passions rather than trying to brand myself just in the world of genealogy.  I tweet mostly about genealogy, history and historic houses but I am interested in many more things.  I like lots of things in life and I can follow people who tweet on those topics.  Instead of narrowing my branding, I'm broadening my connection with the world.  That's cool.  I can follow anyone just because their topics interest me. 

Genealogy and History

Many genealogists talk about how to engage historians in dialogue.  Well, you're missing the boat if you keep talking about it amongst genealogists.  Genealogists and historians get along great on Twitter and have many interactions.  I have been so enriched by discovering historians on Twitter.  Yes, we approach the world slightly differently but on Twitter we interact and share. 

Where I stand 

Mind you I still love Facebook. It's a special more secure place where I can interact with my community. I just wanted to stand up on my box and say, "I get Twitter now.  I love it.  I'm embracing it and I thought I'd let you know why."

The Dark Side of Twitter

There is of course a dark side to Twitter.  It's public.  Completely public.  Sometimes people get lulled into a false sense of security.  Don't.  Before every tweet you should ask yourself these questions:

1) Am I revealing too much information about myself?
2) Am I happy with everyone in the world (include my Granny) seeing this tweet?
3) Should I really say this or is it better left unsaid?

If you can remember to stay safe of Twitter, the world is your oyster.  I know it's mine. 

Thanks for reading but I've got to get back to my Tweeps now....... :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Humbling Week - Awards and Nominations

I have been humbled this week.

I have received two - not one - but two Ancestor Approved Awards.

The first one was from Travis LeMaster of the TJL Genes: Preserving Our Family History blog. I treasure it for the very kind words he emailed when he gave it to me.

The other was from Bill West of the West in New England blog.  Bill is one of the New England bloggers that I've come to rely on for their support and encouragement as I continue on my own blogging journey. 

Thanks to both of you for thinking of me!

And then today the shortlist for the Family Tree Magazine (yes, a real printed magazine) Top 40 Best Genealogy Blogs came out.  I checked the list out of curiosity to see who was there, not expecting to see Roots & Rambles.

I was a bit surprised to find myself there. I'm a bit of a quirky writer.  I think too much and write about all the stuff that I'm thinking.  I'm not particularly funny and I'm overly sincere.  Not the stuff that wins popularity contests.  But someone out there felt like nominating my blog and I thank you for that.  Indeed it was an honor just to be included in the nomination.

Voting is open for the Family Tree Magazine contest until December 20th.  You can vote here if you are so inclined. 

Thanks again to Travis and Bill and that anonymous person who nominated me (maybe you'll reveal yourself?!!) for appreciating my blog. I'm so glad you like it.

I Need Your Help - Give Me Just 1 Minute of Your Time

Over the past year I have witnessed many threatened closings or cutbacks to libraries and archives across the country. I've embraced them all as if they were my own. Signing petitions or writing letters or emails.

Now it's my turn. Now my research and my ancestors are threatened.

I want to reach out to you to ask you to sign an online petition to help make a difference. It will just take a minute.

And those of you from outside New York are even more important to include. We need these administrators to understand how much economic impact genealogical and family history trips have.


Thanks to Dick Eastman for alerting the genealogical community to the proposed cutbacks at the Montgomery County, New York Archives.  His post asked readers to sign the online petition.

Dick was alerted by Kelly Farquhar,  County Historian/RMO of Montgomery County, New York.  I have been personally helped through the years by both Kelly and Earlene Melious, who job they propose eliminating.

Montgomery County Board of Supervisors wants to reduce staffing at the Montgomery County which will in turn force reduced hours.  That will impact all of us who rely on this archive for important New York related materials.

My paternal lineage comes Montgomery County, New York.  My ties there start in the late 1700s.  Many of the local family names are found in my family tree - Edwards, Mount, Smith (Schmidt), Van Vechten, Vrooman, Schenck, Van Schaick, Fonda,  and Vorhees.

Reactionary Actions that are Poorly Thought Out
My feeling is that the Board of Supervisors likely does not understand the tremendous impact that historical and genealogical researchers have on archives such as these.  We turn out in droves spending money not only in the Archives but also in the local shops, restaurants, hotels etc.

By reducing access to the Archives the Board of Supervisors are in fact reducing revenue to the whole surrounding community. 


I ask for your help by taking a minute to sign the online petition. 

The petition asks for "Town" but doesn't list  a separate field for "State".  So on that one location field either list your town, state or just state if you prefer.  It's important that we send a message that the whole country is watching and is impacted by these cutbacks.



Thanks for your help!  Your support means an awful lot to me.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do Librarians Really Do This?!!

I was chatting with a friend of mine this morning via email. We were discussing the book O' Artful Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor.

At one point in the book the lead character, Sweeney St. George, a professor of funerary art, goes to the university library to do some research.  Unfortunately the library is going to close shortly.  She begs the librarian to allow her to take home a box of original, historical manuscripts. The librarian hesitates but then acquiesces.  Being the honorable and trustworthy professor she is, Sweeney promptly returns them the next day.

My friend also pointed out to me that author Robin Lee Hatcher does something similar in her book, A Matter of Character. The main character, a woman, went to a small village and got involved in some genealogical research and then went to the library, found a diary and asked the librarian if she could take it home overnight.

So tell me, my librarians friends, is this simply a ruse of fiction authors or does it really happen sometimes? 

I don't think I would ever dare to ask!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kids, Don't Break the Family Heirlooms!

I have a few things around my house that were passed down to me from my parents. I prefer to display them and be surrounded by them rather than protectively tucking them away in the attic.

In my house displaying family heirlooms poses some challenges with three boys under 12 years old constantly running around. Occasionally we do have mishaps. Earlier this week some wood and paint got chipped off an item. (I sigh and move on.)

I thought I would share with you my technique for keeping children from breaking the family heirlooms. Mind you this is not a fool proof technique but it works.

I say to my kids, "This is a very old thing that is important to our family. Someday it's going to belong to you. If you break it, you won't have it."

It's a very simple technique. The boys usually never say anything in response but they always leave the room and take their roughhousing somewhere else.

Please note: This does not work well with children under six years old. My youngest is only five, hence the continued occasional "chips." ** sigh **

If you have any techniques of your own for thwarting accidental youthful destruction, please share them with me!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How I Got Here - The Path to Becoming a Family Historian

[Please note this article has nothing to do with education or credentials]

In yesterday's blog post "Bridging Generations with Intent" I touched on the idea of raising and nurturing children to become family historians.  I thought that this would be good timing to follow it up with my own story.

Professional genealogists are often asked how they came to become professionals at genealogy.  It's almost as if non-genealogists are incredulous that someone could become a professional.  There is usually an anecdotal story that precedes the education and credentials.

In my case, I became interested in family history on my own, of my own initiative in 1999 when I was pregnant with my first child.  It is fairly common that major life events like the birth of children or grandchildren inspire people to seek out of a better understanding of their connection to their own family history.  By the time my third child was on the way I was completely absorbed in genealogy and family history research.  Shortly after that I decided I wanted to take it to the next level and become a professional.

I could end my story there.  That's the very "me" centered story.  It's accurate but it's not complete.  In the years since then I have pondered the question many times, "Why did I become a genealogist?"  The answer is much more involved and complex.  In all honesty, it was fairly inevitable.  Let me explain.

In order to answer this question for myself I had to look to the past.  Seems appropriate for a genealogist.  I had to recognize the incredible contribution that my mother had on shaping who I am. 

The Influential Genealogist

My mother was a genealogist, a very serious amateur, for as long as I could remember. And she was consistent.  There would never be a reunion or family gathering without my mother pulling out family group sheets, interviewing and taping the elders and generally asking questions about people who came before us.  She visited cemeteries in search of ancestors, celebrated the birthdays of dead relatives (which, as a kid, I always thought was kind of weird) and constantly talked about family heirlooms and the people who had owned them. Back in the '60s when my Mom was raising young children she would spend every Saturday researching at the Connecticut State Library. Without realizing it, my entire childhood was an apprenticeship for becoming a family historian though I didn't know it at the time.  Of course, now I have Mom to thank for all that.

Award for a Supporting Role

But if I'm going to be really honest, it wasn't all about Mom either.  How did Mom get to be like that anyway?  That answer to that is Dad.  It was only recently I learned that my Dad was also a family historian.  I'm not going to put him on the same level as my Mom because he hasn't maintained consistent activity throughout his whole life the way my Mom did.  But he has maintained his interest and curiosity throughout his life and stills drives me to solve those unanswered family questions.  The fun part is that now Dad and I can go on research trips together. 

Larger than Life Impact

But, no, that is really not the end of it either.  Mom and Dad became interested in family history under the strong influence of another family historian, Uncle Bill.  William Henry Edwards (1898 - 1976) was my grandfather's brother.  I have no living recollection of him but it is entirely possible that I met him.  Uncle Bill, from what I've been told by my parents, was a vivacious man with a passion for family history and the arts.  He so strongly influenced my parents that they developed their own interest not only in family history but also in a love of literature and poetry.  I think it is interesting that of all the potential disciples (my Dad, his brothers and their cousins (Uncle Bill's kids) it was my Dad and Mom who got bit with the genealogy bug.  No one else in the family took as quite a strong interest. (Though to be fair, I do believe Uncle Bill's son was interested in knowing and preserving the family history.)

Where it Began

And no, I'm still not quite done yet.  Uncle Bill had been influenced by his parents, Seeber Edwards and Sarah Estella Gurney.  At the end of the 19th century Seeber and Sarah were actively corresponding with relatives inquiring about family history.  They were also participating in those "mug books" and ensuring that their families were included.  Seeber was documenting his Edwards family and Sarah was researching the Gurneys.  What's interesting is that I have quite a bit of correspondence detailing their genealogical quest.  The letters still exist and have been passed down to me.

The paper trail and oral history ends with Seeber and Sarah.  Where did they get their desire to become family historians?  I'll never know if it was the fad of the times spurred on by the mug books or whether they were influenced by a previous generation to take great care of their family history.

As I evaluate how I got to this point in my life as a family historian and genealogist it is hard for me to deny the strong influence that has been passed through the generations.  I could say I became interested on my own and leave it at that.  But I think much greater forces were at work.  Because I was exposed to genealogy throughout my entire childhood I was much more inclined to take it up as an adult.

Those naysayers out there could be saying, look to your siblings as proof that exposure as a child doesn't turn people into genealogists.  Well, yes and no.  I have two brothers.  Neither of them are professional genealogists nor do they actively do research.  But both of them do have a very strong sense of family, a desire to know our family history and a real sense of tradition. And unlike many people, they are interested in listening to family stories and encouraging the preservation of family history.  So I'll say it rubbed off on them too.

My Message to You

My message to you is be an example for your children or grandchildren.  Don't force them to learn family history but consistently live your life so that you model in all your actions and interactions the importance of family history.  I would argue that that is one of the most effective ways to encourage future generations.

photo: Seeber Edwards and Sarah Estella Gurney c. 1897 with their first born son.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bridging Generations with Intent

Just before Thanksgiving the blog Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror had a wonderful post called "Forging Links in the Chain of Memory - A Thought for Thanksgiving."  It ruminates on a Thanksgiving dinner table with several generations of family.  That dinner included an age spread of 14 months to 93 years. What struck me was that the 93 year had a grandmother born 3 months after Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. What a connection to the past!

I started to think of the possibilities that occur at intergenerational meals.  My mind started whirling with all sorts of thoughts. Here they are:

Bridging Generations

For a long time now, I have considered the generational reach that each of us carries.  That reach extends at least five generations.  Ideally, we know our grandparents when we are children. We know our parents and of course our own generation (siblings, cousins).  Then we have our own children (or nieces and nephews).  Hopefully we will all get the chance to meet our grands as well.

Within the span of our lifetime we carry first hand knowledge of our grandparents that we can pass directly to our grandchildren.  If traditions and ties are strong in your family that can then be passed on as oral history to the next generation.

Sometimes I like to think about the family members that my father knew as a child.  My father lost both of his grandfathers early but his grandmothers were both alive when he was ten.  I know that he had some great aunts and uncles that lived into their 90s which he kept in touch with.  But I've never really stopped to sit down with my Dad and say, "Hey, who did you meet as a kid and what was your impression of them? What do you remember?"

Have you ever done that with your older family members?  Try to catch their living memory of that connection to previous generations.

Breaking Bread

Another thought that crossed my mind when reading the blog post was what a wonderful opportunity to sit down to a multi-generational dinner. Not everyone has this opportunity either because distance separates them or they have lost loved ones.

I thought back to my own Thanksgiving dinners.  They were not very multi-generational.  Typically my Mom and us kids and maybe some other folks.  Same thing when we went to our Dad's house.  We did have many opportunities at family reunions thankfully.

Perhaps we should all start thinking about having multi-generation meals and celebrations.  We should be more purposeful about it to ensure that the opportunities arise before the chance is gone.

Initiating the Young

My other thought about generational reach at the Thanksgiving table was about teaching children.  Genealogists often talk about how to get kids interested in family history.  They say to learn a foreign language well you need exposure to the language before age 12.  Perhaps it's sort of the same situation with family history.  Instead of forcing children to embrace family history perhaps we should simply be exposing them to family history.  By planting the seed early, it will grow and mature as they become adults.  That's how it happened with me.

We can be purposeful about creating multi-generational Thanksgiving meals or other celebrations.  After we have gathered together we must be sure to take the next step and talk with the elders about the relatives who have passed that they remember first hand.  By specifically taking the time to talk about those relatives in front of children, the children will then learn that family history is important.  Years later when they start their own family they will remember these strong traditions and continue them.

A Final Thought

I'll end this post with the final words from Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror:

"Most of all, amidst all the feasting and rejoicing, take time to do something to forge another link in the chain of memory that binds us to generations past, so that you in turn will be linked in memory to generations yet to come"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Bookshelf

I have a bookshelf reserved for books by or about (with one exception) family members. I don't look at it often but it makes me proud when I see it. On this shelf I find:

Edwards & Angell, A Firm History Including 1989 Update by Edward Winsor - I can't get away from these Edwards no matter what I do :) My farmers who turned into lawyers.

Pitt, January 1962, On the cover - Professor Peterson's Magic Lantern (with newspapers clippings inside clipped by my mother) - Uncle Petie, I never knew you but, oh, how you and Aunt Helen shaped my life.

Pittsburgh Festival OVERTURE Bicentennial Issue, 1958-59, with articles by Edwin L. Peterson and his disciples.

On Holy Ground, Reflections in a New England Town by Beverley F. Edwards (a birthday gift 2007)- Aunt Bev, you've had more impact on my life than you've ever realized.

Seeber Edwards 1869-1914, In Memorium - confronting, understanding and embracing the past has been one of my greatest gifts. To the next generation I leave a new Seeber who is likely to be just as charming as the last.

A Joyful Noise by Janet Gillespie - The essence of Westport and the Edwards connection. This one is not by family but is about a beloved family place.

Diapers Days of Dallas by Ted Dealey - I haven't read this book but so proud to embrace my Dealey heritage

No Life So Happy by Edwin L. Peterson (with a newspaper clipping about Peterson's course on fly-tying and a personal hand written note by him to my grandparents after his mother's death)

Synergy by Angie Sedwick - a much loved cousin

Holy Bible presented to Helen Rose Walleck by Grandma Walleck, Dec. 25, 1947

Thanks for the legacy!

Genealogy Videos – Part 3 - Roots Television

This is the 3rd in an ongoing series about genealogical videos that are available free on the internet.

Previous posts include:
Part 1 - APG Videos
Part 2 – Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Roots Television

One of the early adopters of video for the internet was Roots Television. Roots Television wanted to make a permanent channel for genealogy 24/7 on the internet. It is the brain child of  internationally known genealogist Megan Smolenyak and Media Producer Marcy Brown. They went live in September 2006. Roots Television has the largest collection of free genealogy videos on the internet. They continue to add at least one new video every week.

What can you expect to find?

When you arrive at the homepage for Roots Television you will find a video loaded and waiting for you. You don’t have to watch that one but it just goes to show how simple accessing videos is. To the right of that video under a “Browse Videos” header are five tabs presenting other video content.

If you don’t find those of interest, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you have the option to choose a “channel.” Each channel (or topic) is represented by a different photograph. Some of the channels include: New & Featured, Conferences, DNA, How To, Military, British Roots, African Roots, Ancestors Series and much more.

Roots Television nearly “went off the air” earlier in the year due to costs. There was such an out cry that it now accepts advertising in order to keep it going. The videos, however, are still free for viewing.

Today I watched the “Getting Started” episode from the PBS Ancestors series. Other than the out of date clothing and at times overly expressive hosts, the program was professional, enjoyable and fun to watch. It's a good place to start for people who are new to family history research.

Some of my favorite Roots Television videos include:

Down Under Florida: The Ashley Family by the Genealogy Guys - George C. Morgan and Drew Smith

Elizabeth Shown Mills being interviewed on the Wholly Genes Cruise, 2008

The conference videos are a great way to learn more about some of the national speakers you haven’t met in person.

Need an afternoon coffee break?  Why not stop by Roots Television and get some new ideas for your genealogy research.