Stateline Travelers – Part 6 – A Stateline Celebration for 100 Year-old South Beloit, Illinois and Me

Stateline Travelers – Part  6  – A Stateline Celebration for 100 Year-old South Beloit, Illinois and Me

Part of an on-going series by

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, Stateline Genealogy Sorter.

June 24, 2017

 

South Beloit, Illinois will be celebrating 100 years this year.

Their Centennial Celebration will be August 24 – 27, 2017.

Sout Beloit 100

Beloit Wisconsin and South Beloit, Illinois have been linked for our entire history.

Next week the Beloit Public Library is opening their new coffee and food shop, “The Blender”.

I am welcoming South Beloiters to Beloit Public Library to visit “their” GEN Club and Coffee shop here in Beloit.

Opening the week of June 26, 2017

https://www.facebook.com/blendercafebeloit/#

Color Logo Grey Text

Blender interiorBlender sign

What a great place to go for a refreshing drink, smoothie, bakery snack, soup, sandwich, breakfast, lunch, or supper –  after doing genealogy at Beloit Public Library, after a Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library program.

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…0r anytime.  I believe that the open hours of The Blender will be something like 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday; and 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Maybe we can raise a “toast” to great collaborations between Beloit and South Beloit for another 100 years.

I was the Director of the South Beloit Public Library from 1991 – 1993.  Then I got a job as the Head of the Circulation Department at the Beloit Public Library, and I am still here, 24 years later, as the Public Services Librarian.

Catherine Hayes (at that time the former, former South Beloit Public Library Director) was the historian of South Beloit.  All historical knowledge stated here is from the book, “Our Golden History-South Beloit Illinois”, which is a non-copyrighted work by Catherine Hayes.  She wrote the book to inform the people South Beloit of their pre-incorporation roots for the Sesquicentennial.

Catherine and I had many friendly conversations, as she helped me learn how to be a library director, and taught me about the history of South Beloit –

“Always a City, never a Village!”

The South Beloit Centennial Committee is writing a new Centennial history book.

 

 

In 1818, the United States Congress told the people of the Territory of Illinois to form a state government.

A heated debate arose over the correct placement of the northern state line of Illinois.

If the old line of 1787 (Northwest Territory) were kept, Illinois would be much smaller than Wisconsin,

and Chicago would be in Wisconsin because Illinois would have no Lake Michigan shoreline.

A bill passed cutting 8,500sq. miles off of Wisconsin and adding it to Illinois, creating the current state line.

 

By 1838, the village of Turtle became Beloit.

South Beloit became the south part of Beloit.

 

Winnebago County voted in 1842 for annexation to Wisconsin.

However, the south had more people and out-voted the north.

So Winnebago County remained in Illinois.

 

They (south of Beloit) petitioned to become their own city in 1914.

In September 17, 1917, South Beloit became a city.

Hint – these are the newspapers from Rockford Illinois that would also cover South Beloit Illinois:
Winnebago – Rockford   Crusader                  1952 – 1971
Winnebago – Rockford   Morning Star          1961 – 1963
Winnebago – Rockford   Register Star           1988 – 2007
Winnebago – Rockford   Register-Republic  1952 – 1972
The Rockford Public Library should have these on microfilm.
You can contact them for a search if you cannot get there yourself.
We have the Beloit Daily News (in microfilm at Beloit Public Library, Wisconsin)
which also covers news for South Beloit Illinois.
South Beloit does not have their own newspaper that I know of.
We would be glad to look up local history for you, but Beloit Daily News is not indexed for all the years.
We would need to know which date – at least the month and year.
For requests, please send us more information to our Interlibrary loan email.
Or you can contact me at the BLOG email StatelinegenealogyClub@yahoo.com

New Discovery – Rockford (Illinois) Reminisce.com

New Discovery – Rockford (Illinois) Reminisce.com

June, 23, 2017

Vicki’s note – I discovered this fabulous website on-line today.  I am copying just enough of it to let you know that it is worth looking at, even if you are not interested in the history of Rockford, Illinois.  I lived most of my life in/near Rockford, and I learned a lot that I was surprised that I had not heard of before. 

This site is huge, and has so much history and fascinating photographs.  I think that you will enjoy it just for learning more about United States/Midwest history in general.  I do not know who the “I” is who created this site, but I am very impressed at all of the work involved. 

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The Original Rockford Nostalgic Website

Main Lobby

 

Research can become addictive. It can also be frustrating. You may exhaust every source possible and still not have the answers to your questions. But no matter how many questions remain unanswered, you will have unearthed some interesting information, learned a little more about your community and become familiar with some important history of Rockford past. I have done much research over the years on Rockford and surrounding communities, and continue to do so. I have collected Rockford related items since I was a child.  I would like to share some of that with you – welcome to rockfordreminisce.com

 

Find out what was made in Rockford over the years and the people of who made it all possible. Browse through the different galleries and find information on industry, entertainment, retail, dining, lodging, learn the origin of street names, view Rockford as it appeared in 1880 in our map section and so much more. I hope that many happy memories of Rockford will be remembered by you as you browse through the website and that it will enlighten you as well as educate you. What I have available on the site at present is just a small sampling of what is yet to appear. This website is still a work in progress and I will be adding more items in the weeks and months ahead.

 

All Website Content Copyrighted By RockfordReminisce.com  © 2008-2017

Happy Anniversaries to Us

Happy Anniversaries to Us

It has been a lot of fun, and I have learned so much from all of you, and from finding/writing  interesting articles to help you.

I always write as “Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter” if the posting is all my own writing.

If it is someone else’s work, I always put a reference to other writer’s work and add:

A special “shout-out” to Judith Nichols, who brought the idea of a genealogy  club to the Library, and helped me lead it for awhile.

Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library is 5 years old.

AND

Blog  “StatelineGenealogyClub.Wordpress.com” is 3 years old.

Vicki Ruthe Hahn is the Blog creator of:

“StatelineGenealogyClub.Wordpress.com”                                                 June 15, 2014 ;

and the founder of:

Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library                                   April 13, 2012

 

As of June 20, 2017, there have been:

There are 12 WordPress followers, 40 email followers (total 52);

27 likes & 92 comments.

One day there were 62 views, the most ever.

These views seem to be in addition to Followers looking at emails.

My BLOG doubled with 2254 views in 2015, & 5164 views in 2016.

Half-way through 2017, there have been 2,396 views.

These were from 37 countries in 2015; & 77 counties in  2016, and

62 countries in 2017 so far.    Some just show 1 view per country, but

many have several views, so I feel that I am helping genealogists

throughout the world.

3 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com

3 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us.

Keep up the good blogging.

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Vicki’s Note – article from the July/August 2017 Family Tree Magazine.  We will be do an on-line “tour” of the Ellis Island Museum at our July 14, 2017 program 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City – Peter Urban’s tour – how 12 million immigrants were processed there;  archival photos & films – immigrant experience. 

Here’s more information while you wait.  Lots of great museums in the U.S. to visit this summer, or in the future.  I think that my “Life List of Things and Places to Experience”  just got bigger.  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than “Bucket List”?)

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Top Heritage Museums and Genealogy Research Centers

6/2/2017

Set your sights on these 11 must-visit heritage museums where you can research your roots and walk in your ancestors’ shoes.

 

11 Must-See Heritage Museums for GenealogistsYou’ve probably devoted considerable time to discovering your ancestors’ origins. Just knowing the place they came from, however, is rarely enough. Genealogists also want to know how their ancestors lived, what they did for work, what they wore and ate, what their homes looked like. What you need is a resource that’s not only rich in genealogical information, but also shares the richness of your ancestors’ culture.

And if a relative’s specific place of origin yet proves elusive, learning the history of that heritage group may offer another research pathway, suggesting new records to try or offering clues in the lives of his countrymen.

Heritage centers and museums—usually located in places where people of a particular heritage settled together—cover nearly every ethnicity and cultural group. Whether your ancestors hail from Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Syria, Ghana, Mexico or elsewhere, there’s probably a museum that provides historical materials and a glimpse of that culture’s customs, history and people.

Some centers serve both as history museum and research destination, with manuscript collections, foreign-language newspapers, photographs, maps, local histories and more. They may offer genealogy workshops, translation help and research assistance.

Okage Sama De, the title of an exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, translates to “I am what I am because of you.” That’s the crux of heritage museums’ significance: Exploring one rewards you with a better understanding of who your ancestors were—and thus, how you came to be who you are. Here, we highlight 11 of the best heritage museums in the United States, chosen for their genealogist-friendly research libraries, exhibits, tours, classes and community events. Use this guide as a springboard to similar organizations covering your family’s heritage.

American Italian Cultural Center

New Orleans  •  Immigrants from Sicily, who flooded New Orleans in the late 1800s, gave the Big Easy its famous muffaletta sandwich. You can still steep in your family’s Italian heritage here, in addition to starting your genealogy search. Genealogist Sal Serio conducts family history classes. The center also offers Italian language courses.Genealogists researching Italian roots can access special collections at the library, including books, magazines and Italian-language newspapers. “Vertical files,” Serio says, “are packed with information about businesses and benevolent societies, which are prolific in this part of the country.” Make an appointment with Serio for guidance to the right sources and help with translation.

The museum focuses on Italian immigrants to the Southeast, and Italians in jazz and sports. Don’t miss the nearby outdoor Piazza d’Italia, built by the city to honor its Italian heritage. You can play bocce ball, listen to a concert, watch traditional flag-throwers and attend wine tastings.

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

Chicago • The genealogy department here holds newspapers, books, obituaries, annals, maps and other documents in a collection that spans most of Lithuania’s turbulent history, from the 13th century to 1940. Although you can’t research the collection yourself, staff provide in-depth consultation services to museum members. Nonmembers can take advantage of fee-based services including translation of old documents.

Lithuanian name spellings can vary, as can languages used in records. Pre-WWI documents, for example, are usually written in Russia’s Cyrillic script. Records also may be in Latin or Polish.Get to know the culture of your ancestors in the museum, says Karile Vaitikute, genealogy department director. “There are exhibits and a film that describe Lithuanian history, national costumes, Lithuanian art, agricultural items and even a small house,” she says. The museum also provides workshops and guided travel opportunities.

Courtesy of the Cherokee Heritage Center

Cherokee Heritage Center

Tahlequah, Okla. • Your admission to the Cherokee Heritage Center allows you access to the Trail of Tears exhibit, Diligwa (a 1710 Cherokee village), Adam’s Corner (an 1890s rural Oklahoma village) and Cherokee Family Research Center.Most visitors are new to genealogy. “They’re here primarily because they learned from a family story or legend that one of their ancestors is Cherokee,” says Gene Norris, the center’s genealogist. He recommends starting your research with three federally compiled rolls covering the Cherokee: the Dawes Final Roll, the Guion Miller Roll and the Baker Roll. The center’s website offers tips on getting started.

The library offers databases and records including government and private documents, photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, books, manuscripts and articles focusing on Cherokee history and culture. Staff researchers are available for hire.

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

New York, NY •  Ellis Island’s immigration museum tells the stories of arrivals before, during, and after Ellis Island processed immigrants (1892 to 1954). The Peopling of America Center, opened in 2015, shares the migration history of American Indians, slaves transported against their will, and Colonial- and Victorian-era immigrants.

The island’s American Immigrant Wall of Honor is inscribed with more than 700,000 names of immigrants through all ports.

If your ancestors came through Ellis Island, you can walk in their footsteps at the immigration museum, view the renowned Great Hall, and follow an audio tour through the immigrant experience as if you were a new arrival. A centerpiece is the American Family Immigration History Center passenger list archive. Now numbering 51 million names of passengers all the way up to 1954, the database is searchable both on-site and online; search results link to images of original manifests showing the immigrant’s name, age, last place of residence and more. You also can view images of immigrant passenger ships—maybe even your ancestor’s.

Historic Huguenot Street

New Paltz, NY • Huguenots were Protestants, largely from France, who left their homelands to escape religious persecution. Many settled in New York’s Hudson Valley, South Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast. Their descendants include George Washington, the grandson of a Huguenot.

Start exploring this 10-acre museum at the Visitor Center, then head to any of seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 church, a burial ground dating to the earliest settlers, archaeological sites and more. The annual Gathering for Huguenot descendants includes history workshops that may open a door to your family tree.

“Historic Huguenot Street holds genealogies of the New Paltz patentees and associated families, transcriptions of church records, surname folders that include family trees, plus the archive of items such as letters, family Bibles, and estate records,” says spokesperson Kaitlin Gallucci. Access the research library on-site by appointment ($25) or send a research inquiry.

Irish American Heritage Center

Chicago • Nestled on Chicago’s northwest side, the Irish American Cultural Center houses a museum (open for tours by appointment) with artifacts including exquisite Irish lace, an art gallery, the Fifth Province pub, a theater, classrooms and a research library.

“This is the place to find out where you’re from,” says spokesperson Kathy O’Neill. You’ll find 25,000 books on Irish history and literature, newspapers, access to online databases, and other material. A limited-access archives section preserves documents, records and other rare and historic items. Family history classes take place once a month, or you can make an appointment with a staff researcher. Other classes cover Irish language, history and music. Celebrate your Irish heritage here with folk concerts, traditional céilí dances, festivals and storytelling.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i

Honolulu  • Those tracing Japanese roots, especially in Hawaii, will find a valuable resource here. “The center’s historical Okaga Sama De exhibit tells the story of Japanese immigration to Hawaii, from 1860 to statehood and beyond,” says Derrick Iwata, education and cultural specialist.

Visitors can tour the Honouliuli Education Center, which focuses on Japanese internment during World War II. Experience Japanese culture at one of the center’s festivals, including a New Year’s Ohana (Family) Festival on the second Sunday in January. Or come for the classes on martial arts and the Japanese tea ceremony (called chado, or the Way of Tea).

The center’s Tokioka Heritage Resource Center offers a wealth of material related to Japanese-American history, art and culture on Hawaii and the mainland. “Our library and archives has an assortment books and oral histories, as well as a number of directories which list Japanese residents in Hawaii,” says center manager Marcia Kemble. (Access the catalog here.) Staff can provide fee-based services such as translation, Japanese name consultation, and genealogical assistance, including help obtaining a family registry record, or koseki tohon, from Japan.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

New York • “In the case of Jewish genealogy, where so many records were lost and lives disrupted, an institution like the Museum of Jewish Heritage provides a crucial narrative,” says Michael Glickman, museum president and CEO.

The core exhibition uses first-person histories, photos, video and artifacts to explain Jewish history and tradition before WWII, European Jews’ confrontation with the hatred and violence of the Holocaust, and Jewish communities today. (View a selection of photos and documents here.) The outdoor Garden of Stones is a memorial to those lost in the Holocaust.

This museum’s “research library” is at its free partner website, JewishGen, where you’ll find discussion groups and more than 22 million records, including Holocaust records, a burial registry and the Communities Database. “Say your grandfather came from a town called Ostroleka,” Glickman says. “You might find six towns with the same name. How would you know which is the town your grandfather was referring to?” The database lists 6,000 Jewish communities, with their political jurisdictions and name variants over time.

National Hispanic Cultural Center 

Albuquerque, NM • Archivist Anna Uremovich calls this center a “full saturation of the Hispanic culture.” Its art museum features a 4,000-square-foot buon fresco depicting thousands of years of Hispanic history, and works from Spanish artists around the world. You also can attend art classes and other events.

The research library and archives is a destination for family historians with deep Southwest roots, holding Spanish census records, land grants, and the 90-volume set of Enciclopedia Heraldica Genealacia Hispano-Americana and the 15-volume Diccionario Hispanoamericano de Heraldica Onamastica y Genealogia. These books include more than 15,000 names from Spanish and Spanish-American families.

Search the library catalog here
(select National Hispanic Cultural Center from the menu at the top right). Uremovich also suggests researching Catholic parish records to learn family birth, marriage and burial details, and sometimes, names of other relatives.

Mark Bealer Photography

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Cincinnati • Search for African-American roots in the John Parker Library on the fourth floor of this inspirational museum (admission isn’t required if you’re just visiting the library). The library hosts a FamilySearch Center, where you can use databases, microfilm and other resources from FamilySearch. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment with an on-site genealogist. “We help between 60 to 120 patrons a month,” says marketing director Jamie Glavic, who recommends first completing as much of a pedigree chart as you can.

The Freedom Center museum can help you understand the experiences of your enslaved ancestors, who they were, how they were transported to America, and how they lived and worked here. Step inside a slave pen built in the early 1800s on a Kentucky farm, and follow in the footsteps of Underground Railroad passengers and conductors whose actions resisted slavery.

Watch a short film, narrated in part by Oprah Winfrey, describing the work of early abolitionists, intent on ending slavery. You’ll learn about those who resisted slavery and how slavery continues today.

Swedish American Museum

Chicago • Step inside this museum in the heart of Chicago’s “Little Sweden,” and you walk in the footsteps of Swedish immigrants, from preparing to leave their homeland to building new communities in America. View artifacts including steamship tickets, passports, folk crafts and household items brought from Sweden. A children’s museum allows kids to do chores in a stuga (farmhouse) and board a 20-foot “steamship.”

The center’s Swedish American Genealogy Research Center is “the only Chicago-area center that focuses on Swedish research,” says volunteer Vereen Nordstrom. It holds Swedish censuses, immigration and burial records; provides access to church records on the Swedish subscription website ArkivDigital; and hosts genealogy classes. Make an appointment to work with volunteers like Nordstrom, or send a research request (free for members of the museum’s Swedish American Genealogical Society; fee-based for nonmembers).

More Online

Family Connections Chart for Your Next Family Reunion

Family Connections Chart

for Your Next Family Reunion

Vicki’s Note: A link to a Facebook “article from https://www.simplemost.com/difference-second-cousins-cousins-removed/

Follow the link above to read the article and to see the chart.  We have several charts at each of the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library on family relationships.

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“The relationship in each box is what that person’s relationship would be to you, where you are “self,” according to the chart.

 

Understand The Difference Between Second Cousins And Cousins Once Removed

Ancestry.com – U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Vicki’s note – article from a June update email I received from Ancestry.com:

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U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Ancestry.com

passport applications
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
For over 200 years the State Department has issued American citizens with passports. Though they were not required for travel abroad until World War I, passport applications are an excellent resource to tap into for everything from names, birthplaces, and residences, to occupation and immigration details.

Search Here

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Passport applications from 1795–1925 are contained in this database including emergency passport applications (passports issued abroad) for the years 1877–1925; special passport applications (military, diplomats, civilian federal employees, and dependents), 1914–1925; applications for extension and amendment of passports, 1918–1925; applications for certificates of identity in Germany, 1920–1921; and applications for declarants 1907–1911 and 1914–1920. It also contains passport application registers for 1810–1817, 1830–1831, and 1834–1906. Passports issued March 4–5, 1919 (numbers 67500–67749) are missing from the NARA collection and not in this database.

Although there are passport records from multiple states in this database, specific state, U.S. territory, and U.S. possessions collections are as follows:

  • California (1914–1925)
  • Hawaii (1907–1925)
  • Illinois (1914–1925)
  • Louisiana (1914–1925)
  • New York (1914–1925)
  • Philippines (1907–1925)
  • Puerto Rico (1907–1925)
  • Washington (1914–1925)

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925

The U.S. government has issued passports to American citizens since 1789 through several different agencies over the years. For the most part, passports were not required of U.S. citizens for foreign travel until World War I, although they were mandatory for a short time during the Civil War (Aug. 19, 1861–Mar. 17, 1862). An Executive Order given in 1915 and a later act of Congress in 1918 established the passport requirement for citizens traveling abroad. This law lapsed with the formal termination of World War I and treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary in 1921. With the onset of World War II In 1941, the Congressional act of 1918 was reinstated requiring U.S. citizens to carry a passport for foreign travel as is required today.

Passport Applications

Passport applications can provide a wealth of information, including:

  • Name of applicant
  • Birth date or age
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Date of application or issuance of passport
  • Father’s and/or husband’s name
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birth date or age
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birthplace
  • Father’s and/or husband’s residence
  • Wife’s name
  • Date and place of immigration to the U.S.
  • Years of residence in the U.S.
  • Naturalization date and place
  • Occupation
  • Physical characteristics

To receive a U.S. passport, a person had to submit proof of U.S. citizenship usually in the form of a letter, affidavits of witnesses, and certificates from clerks or notaries. Sometimes these additional documents are included as part of the application as is a photo of the applicant.

Application Forms

There was a variety of passport application forms used throughout the years. By 1888 there were separate application forms for native citizens, naturalized citizens, and derivative citizens (children who become citizens through their parents’ naturalization). As a result, all of the above listed information may not be available for every applicant. Likewise, there may be additional information other than what is shown above on the application form; some information may only be obtained by viewing the image of the application.

Passport Application Registers

Passport application registers may provide:

  • Date and number of application
  • Name of applicant
  • Age of applicant (1834–1849)
  • Physical characteristics of applicant (1834–1849)

Some of the above information was taken from:

  • J. Dane Hartgrove. Descriptive Pamphlet to Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, 1986.
  • Loretto Dennis Szucs, Kory L. Meyerink, and Marian Smith, “Immigration Records” in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006).

Free – Watch Southern California Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Jamboree Sessions

Vicki’s note – article from 6-15-2017 Family Tree e- magazine genealogyinsider by Diane Haddad:

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Free – Watch Southern California Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Jamboree Sessions

Through July 10th 2017 –

The Southern California Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Jamboree just wrapped up, and you can watch recorded classes online for free through July 10. First, register at the Jamboree 2017 Livestream Registration Page. You’ll get an email with login information and a link to view videos on topics such as finding immigrant ancestors’ stories, Facebook for genealogy and deciphering foreign-language records.

Using Your Smartphone Camera for Genealogy

Vicki’s note – very helpful article from Family Tree Magazine:

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Using Your Smartphone Camera for Genealogy

Caught on Camera: Smartphone Camera Tips
6/13/2017
Learn to use your smartphone to capture high-quality photos of genealogy records, relatives, gravestones and family homes.

When was the last time you used an actual, dedicated digital camera to take photos? If you’re like most of us, your smartphone has replaced your old point-and-shoot digital camera. If you got your phone within the past few years, it likely offers a high-resolution camera with sophisticated algorithms to compensate for the small sensor and lens size. That small size makes your smartphone easy to keep in a pocket or purse and capture friends, family and genealogy resources at any time. And if you have a data plan, it’s also easy to instantly sync these photos to the cloud.

Your smartphone is the ideal tool to “photocopy” microfilm records and library books, preserve images of ancestors’ gravestones, take snapshots of all 45 people at your next family reunion, and record the homes and other buildings that form the backdrop for your family’s story. Most of us rarely get opportunities to capture these important genealogy images, so you want to make sure you do it right the first time. Follow these tips to get the perfect shot when taking five types of family history photos.

Microfilmed record

A few inexpensive accessories can turn your smartphone camera into a portable microfilm scanning machine, and make your library research time more efficient. No more waiting for a turn at the scanner-equipped film reader or taking laborious handwritten notes. Not all libraries permit cameras, so check with the librarian before you go. Here’s how to do it:

  • For best results, use a small flexible tripod or a clamp with a smartphone mount. I like the Joby GripTight Mount and GorillaPod tripod, which securely holds my cell phone and has bendable legs I can attach to the upper hood of the microfilm reader desk.
  • A remote shutter release like the CamKix prevents “camera shake” when you press the shutter.
  • Position the camera to aim straight down over the reader projection surface. Eliminate glare or reflection by placing a large sheet of plain white paper onto the projection surface. Adjust the microfilm reader lens to sharpen the projected image.
  • Turn off your camera flash and close apps you aren’t using to help conserve power. Take a few test shots before you get started on your project. Make sure the image is sharp and clear, and includes the entire page. If necessary, brighten or darken the film reader lamp to minimize glare.
  • When you start a new roll of film or a new section of records on the same roll, take a photo of the film box and file number or of the source information on the title page. You can use the photo to create a source citation in your research log.

Books, documents and photos

Smartphone cameras are often a better solution than flatbed scanners or photocopiers for digitizing fragile or bound books at the library, and you don’t have to worry about running out of change. When you’re surprised with a photo find at a relative’s house, your smartphone may be all you have to reproduce it. Multiple documents, maps, and other papers can be digitized quickly and with excellent results using a smartphone camera. Remember to ask permission before photographing library materials. Turn off your flash if required (it often causes glare, anyway).

  • Make sure your lens is clean. Apple recommends using only a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a camera lens cloth, to carefully clean dust and fingerprints from the iPhone camera lens. Avoid moisture, compressed air or cleaning agents of any kind, particularly anything abrasive. See your cell phone dealer for more extensive cleaning or repair.
  • To avoid shutter shake and save your arms when photographing many pages, use a remote shutter release. A copy stand, such as the Fopydo Smartstand, also is useful. You’ll also want a bookrest or bean bag to support a book’s covers when open (the library may have these available—ask when you call ahead).
  • If possible, find a flat surface with plenty of light.
  • Support your smartphone on the copy stand, if you’re using one. Place a document or photograph flat on the table and position your camera directly over it so the lens has an unobstructed view of the entire page. Avoid shooting at an angle, which distorts the shape of the paper or photo.
  • If you’re shooting a book, place it on a bookrest so it stays open. You may need to use one hand or a bean bag to gently flatten the page. Position the camera over the page, tilted at the same angle as the page.
  • Take test shots with (if permitted) and without flash to see which produces the best photos in the available light.
  • Speed your scanning workflow by using a scanning app, such as CamScanner (iOS, Android, Windows), Genius Scan (iOS, Android) and TurboScan (iOS, Android), instead of the phone’s built-in camera. These apps crop and straighten pages as you scan, create files with multiple pages, and offer enhanced lighting. You also can name pages as you “scan” them, add a date stamp and choose whether to create a PDF or JPEG file.
  • Save scanned images to your Camera Roll or email account, or export them to your cloud storage service.

Gravestones

Capturing a good image of a gravestone lets you extract all possible information and edit it to improve readability. Some cemeteries have regulations regarding the type of equipment you can use or they require photographers to get permission from the office, so call ahead before you go. And of course, respect the solemnity of the surroundings.

  • Bring a soft brush to remove loose dirt from the stone and a spray bottle with plain water to help bring out the inscription. Don’t apply any other substances, such as shaving cream or flour, to the stone. If the cemetery isn’t maintained, bring garden shears to trim weeds that cover the inscription. Don’t forget water for yourself, sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Use the built-in viewfinder grid to keep the gravestone straight and level.
  • To illuminate a hard-to-read inscription, try to photograph the stone when sunlight hits the face at about a 30-degree angle (morning for an east-facing stone, midday for west-facing stones). Using a reflector or a large white board can help you aim light at the stone. If the sunlight is too strong, shade the stone with a dark cloth. You’ll want to have a helper to handle this paraphernalia while you shoot, as well as for safety reasons.
  • Photos of hard-to-read gravestones can easily lose their identifying information. Your phone’s photo app probably lets you add text on an image, or you can use an app that places a caption below the image on a frame. Instants Photo Edition by Soreha (iOS) adds a Polaroid-style frame to photos captured “in-app” with the camera, or already in your camera roll, with an optional space for a caption. MOLDIV photo editor (iOS and Android) lets you add captions on the photo or within a simple frame around the image.
  • Record and upload GPS and inscription data to the web with a cemetery app such as Find A Grave or Billion Graves (both available for iOS and Android).

Houses and other buildings

Your ever-present smartphone is a handy tool for photographing family homes and the buildings where your ancestors worshipped, worked or attended school. A few tricks will help you best capture the entire facade and, for public structures, move inside to photograph interior rooms. If you’re photographing a private home from a public sidewalk or street, it’s not required—but it is good manners—to first let the owner know the purpose for your pictures. Don’t enter any yards unless the property owner gives you the go-ahead. Be aware that some public buildings have photo and media restrictions for security reasons.

  • Morning or afternoon light, or overcast skies, will give you the most pleasing light with fewer harsh shadows. On sunny days, plan to photograph buildings when the sunlight falls on the front of the structure, rather than directly overhead or facing the camera.
  • Position yourself at a comfortable distance, where you’re safe from passing traffic or other hazards. If you plan to take several photos, a tripod and smartphone camera mount may be helpful.
  • Use the camera’s built-in viewfinder grid to keep the horizon or roofline level. Or use the Camera Plus App (Android and iOS), which offers the traditional “rule of thirds grid” (which helps you compose a pleasing image) and a horizon level. The iPhone’s built-in Camera App includes a grid you can enable in Settings>Photos & Camera>Camera>Grid.
  • To include the tall dome of City Hall or sprawling wings of a ranch-style home with the built-in camera app, you’ll need to step back far enough to see the entire structure in your camera viewfinder or use a wide-angle lens on your camera. Sometimes that’s hard to do. A clip-on wide-angle or fisheye lens (which is curvilinear and will cause straight lines in your photo to appear curved) is especially useful in tight city streets, where it can be virtually impossible to back up far enough to photograph large buildings. The lens also lets you capture interior views of home living rooms, kitchens, and other spaces.
  • Experiment with taking portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) images. The panorama mode available on newer smartphone cameras is another option for including wide structures. See the techniques for Family Group Photos for ideas on using this feature.
  • Turn on your phone’s geotagging, or location, option to help you remember the exact location of the building.
  • Before snapping your photo, check the corners and edges of the frame for power lines, poles, bus benches, parked cars and unsightly trash bins. Try to minimize them if you can. A few of these “props” can help set the date and place, but too much confusion in a photo can overwhelm your main subject.

Relatives

Frame-worthy group photos rarely just happen. It’s hard to get a gaggle of people assembled in one place, all smiling and looking at the camera at the same time. Use these pro photography tips to make the pictures from your next family reunion the best in decades.

  • Smartphones typically boast two lenses. The front-facing lens, best for selfies, is usually relatively low resolution. For example, the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL both offer a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera and 7 or 8 megapixel front-facing camera. Use the main, rear-facing camera for the best photos.
  • Plan ahead for group shots, if possible, by encouraging relatives to wear solid-color tops. That puts the focus on faces in your pictures. But don’t be overly strict: Uncle Harry’s signature bright plaid button-down deserves a place in history.
  • Turn off the flash to avoid red-eye and harsh shadows. Shoot outside in the early morning or late afternoon, or under an overcast sky. In bright sun, go for open shade, like under a large tree. Avoid patchy shadows.
  • Select a spot with an uncluttered background that’s free from distractions such as trash cans, telephone poles and cars. A park, garden or beach location works well.
  • Gather props like stools, benches, lawn chairs and even ladders to achieve different levels. Pose the kids on laps and on the grass in front.
  • Wide panorama pictures are great for large groups or playful smaller groups (such as everyone holding hands in a chain). Take advantage of your smartphone panorama mode by slowly panning the group in the direction of the arrow on your phone camera app (practice this ahead of time—you don’t want to have a large group posed and waiting on you to figure out your phone).
  • To include yourself in the picture, use a tripod and the self-timer or a remote shutter release. Set up your camera and compose the picture. On the iPhone, access the self-timer by tapping the timer dial at the top of the photo screen, then select 3 or 10 seconds. Check the user guide for other phone models.
  • Take a bunch of photos. You’re certain to get some pictures with closed eyes, runny noses, fussy kids and awkward body language. More photos gives you a better selection. You can take multiple shots in quick succession with the burst mode feature found on most Android and iOS smartphones. Simply hold down the shutter button and the camera will take 10 frames per second. This can result in lots of images, though, so be aware you’ll need to choose the best and toss the rest.

Tip: When shooting a photo, steady your camera by standing with your legs slightly apart and arms held at an easy height, or use a tripod with swivel head.

Smartphone Smarts

You don’t have to use the latest model phone to capture great digital photographs. Most devices released in the last two or three years feature high-resolution cameras and compatibility with popular photo and editing apps. Each device and model will be slightly different, so take time to learn the basic features of your phone’s built-in camera app, including:

  • turning the flash on and off
  • locking focus on the subject (usually by touching the screen)
  • adjusting exposure
  • using the self timer
  • selecting the mode (such as video, photo or panorama)
  • setting resolution
  • performing basic editing (use photo-editing apps for advanced edits)
  • sharing photos

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Denise May Levenick is the author of How to Archive Family Photos (Family Tree Books).
A version of this article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Stateline Travelers – Part 5 – My 3 x Gt-Grandma , and Me. She got teeth & fashion!

Stateline Travelers – Part 5 –

My 3 x Gt-Grandma , and Me.  She got teeth & fashion!

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Part of an On-going Series

June 11, 2017

Photo composite fun.

Imagine my shock when I realized that these two different looks were the same person – my great great great grandmother, Catherine McIntosh Greenup.

I love looking for the stories as I do family histories, and piecing them together verbally and visually.

In about five years, she completely changed fashions, and became confident (new teeth?) and very urban sophisticated.  She dressed less like the unsophisticated Virginia/Kentucky country look, and more like the “big” city of Macomb, Illinois look.

This is one of the slides that I composed for my genealogy program – “What They Wore When” or “Contemporary Fashion Through the Ages – How to Tell Which Timeline Your Ancestors Are, by What They Wore.”  I have given the program three times, and am booked for two more presentations in the next few months.

 

3 x Gt Grandma photos

 

 

Hint – I never expected to find that I had any ancestors from Kentucky.  Try to learn about all states that your ancestors lived in.

Kentucky was granted statehood in 1792.  it became the fifteenth state in the US and the first state west of the Appalachian mountains.

So it looks like my Gt-Gt-Gt Grandma Greenup was born in Kentucky 17 years before it became a state, and there are zero chances that there will be a state vital record of that.

 

 

Organizing Family Photographs on Your Computer

Vicki’s Note – article from Family Tree Magazine.  This is how I organize my paper files, and is standard for that.  On my computer, I  organize by surname first.   Good point to  add the first name of the father, and sub-folders for each family member.:
Organizing Your Hard Drive: Photo Filing Tips
6/5/2017
Struggling with a system to organize your digital photos? Think like a census taker and try this method of filing pictures by head of household.

How to Set Up Photo Folders on Your Hard Drive

1. Navigate to the Photo folder inside the appropriate surname folder. Click to select it.

2. Inside the Photo folder, create a subfolder for each head of household you have pictures of—for example, John Johnson Family or Samuel Johnson Family.

3. Inside each of these family folders, create a folder for each family member: John, Mary (his wife), John Jr., Susie (children) and so on.

Photo Filing Guidelines

Genealogists research our ancestors within the context of their familial relationships, so filing in this manner keeps that at the forefront of our thinking.

  • Men: File pictures under their parents prior to marriage, and under their own name after marriage. For example, John Jr.’s photos prior to his marriage will be in the John Jr. folder inside the John Johnson folder. Photos after John Jr.’s marriage are filed in a new John Johnson Jr. folder.
  • Women: Filed in the same way as records—Susie’s photos prior to her marriage go in the Susie folder inside the John Johnson folder, and you’ll place photos after her marriage in the Susie folder inside her new husband’s folder.
  • Group photos and multiple families: Photos of multiple family members go in the head of household’s folder—you have to navigate there to get to the other relatives’ folders, after all. But suppose you have a picture of both the John Johnson and Samuel Johnson families around the Christmas tree. What to do? Duplicate the photo and save a copy in each of the respective families’ head of household folder.

More help organizing your family photos and research from the experts at Family Tree Magazine:

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