Category Archives: ancestors photographs

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

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.

 

 

Donating Local History Documents and Photographs

Donating Local History Documents and Photographs

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

April 3, 2017

This is part of a  reply to a generous person who wanted to share an important hand-written local history document so that others could access it.  This is an important reminder to all of us to share information about our family’s histories that may help others from the local communities where they lived.

The Beloit Public Library has a special bookcase for books, booklets, or papers,  on people and families connected with Beloit, and two lateral pamphlet file cabinets for local (stateline) history.

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Thanks so much for taking the initiative to let me know about the unique hand-written resource that you have on Roscoe history.

The very best place to donate that document would be the Roscoe North Suburban Public Library branch, as the Library is open more hours than even the local history societies.

(Donate copies of your family photographs too.  Each Library and historic society will have their own requirements and restrictions on what donations they will accept.  Please ask them first.)

There does not seem to be a historical society for Roscoe, IL (although there is one for Rockton Township.

The 2 North Suburban Libraries act as Roscoe’s historical society.

They have a local history collection (as does the Loves Park main library). I lived in the second oldest house (1839) in Roscoe for 12 years. When I sold that house, I donated a (mostly) hand-written mortgage deed to the Roscoe branch library (Reference desk).

You can read about that house, and more about Roscoe and Macktown IL, and Beloit WI history on this post from my BLOG:

Stateline Travelers – Part 3 – This Old House and Me

If you ask them to send you a written acknowledgement, you can use it if you itemize tax deductions. I have no clue what the value would be.  Ebay/Craigslist would give you ideas.

That Library also has a full copy of this book which I just found online (the index). There are Benders listed, but no Moshers.

The Story of Roscoe, Illinois

All history is not on computer or electronic media, especially local history. (Which is a common mis-conception.)  About 80% of genealogy/history resources are online at this time.  More are being added everyday, but many are in paid sites.

Even that 20%, facebook, and email,  has made genealogy searching so much easier than it used to be.  Not too long ago, people had to go from courthouse to library to historical society in person, or write letters, to find their family history.

I am sure that the growing numbers of (baby-boomer) retirees plus ease of searching has led to the recent growth in popularity of genealogy as a hobby.

I am continuously building up our Beloit local history collection, and some state-line history, but we have limited room.

Thanks again, for the generous offer, and information.

Now I will know that your document will be in a place that I (and others) can access easily.

Photographs in a Family Tree

Photographs in a Family Tree

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter

3-26-2017

My family collaborated on creating a 6-generation family tree including photographs. Our main motivation was to get something for our Mom (Daisy Bennett Ruthe) to enjoy.  She has been having dementia for several years, and wanted a picture of each person, so that she could remember who each one was, and who belonged to who.

My sister Chris used a great on-line photograph book-making program, http://mikescamera.com/books-full.html , to make family memory books. She photographed my (second) wedding and made a book for my husband and I.  (Look for promo discount codes online for Mikescamera).  Mom doesn’t know that she will be getting a book soon also.

The program that Chris used for the photograph family tree is Aperture, but she is not sure Apple still supports it.

Another (genealogy fan) sister, Melodie, and I helped Chris with the dates and names of the 6-generation ancestors.  A third cousin (Ancestry.com DNA test respondant!) sent me several family photographs so that we could add more faces for our ancestors which we did not have in our photography collection.

Chris put in different silhouettes for any ancestors that we did not have photos for.  This is the top part of the large sheet, which Chris had laminated.  I did not include any living relatives in this photo (3 more generations.)

Capture

                                                          Our Mom, Daisy, is here   

                                                                  and here. 

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Daisy was happily surprised, “Just What I needed!”  She had a great time re-discovering all of her family/ancestors, and her grand/great-grand children.  It literally took me a couple of minutes before I could take this photograph.  My camera phone was balking, and I had to reboot the camera before it would work.  Mom was still pointing out folks.

Chris insisted that we had to get this project finished and get it to Mom asap.  She was  right.

I have been away from work and too busy to post on my BLOG lately.  My Mom has been in the hospital for observation due to her having visual hallucinations.  The diagnosis is not final yet, but it looks like a more severe form of dementia.  As POA, I will be even more busy with helping her.

The good thing is that I have been able to spend lots of time with her, and am writing down all of her Daisy Stories as she tells us her memories.

Don’t wait.  Always let your people know that you love them, and record their stories.

 

 

 

Other Travelers, Part 8 – Dogs Are Some of the Best People; And Me

Other Travelers, Part 8 – Dogs

Are Some of the Best People; And Me

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Part of an On-going Series

March 7, 2017

 If you are lucky enough to have been “owned” by a dog, you will understand this Posting.  If not, you will still find some helpful genealogy hints.  The American Kennel Club has been doing “family histories” of registered purebred dogs for decades.  While I was saying goodbye to our sweet 13 3/4 year old “Georgie Corgi”, I (re)discovered her AKC certified pedigree papers.

Hint – Look at documents with open eyes to draw conclusions.  The paperwork showed that the official spelling is Corgi, not Corgie.  It also showed that the original owner had the same first name, and different last name than was on my sales receipt for Georgie.  The first person lived in Arkansas with Georgie (Georgie Lou Ana), and her mother (dam)Vicious Emily “Vice”  and father (sire) Charming Prince Louie, a year before I met them.  That indicates to me that the owner remarried (or took back her maiden name) and moved with her dogs to the farm near Beloit Wisconsin.

I got to meet Georgie’s last puppy before he was shipped off to his new California owners.

Hint – don’t get set on your ancestors being only in one place.  They could be residents in several states, as they move around.

Here are photos given to me of Georgie as a puppy.

2003 Georgie 1

 2003 Georgie upside down

 She loved to be upside down; and high up – on the couch back, or the dining room table!

I was able to “Adopt” (buy) my Pembroke Welsh Corgi for a discounted price at 1  1/2 years old.  Don’t worry, Georgie was not a “puppy mill” dog, but one of a few well-loved dogs who lived on a farm, and part of a part-time hobby raising Corgis.  She was the owner’s favorite puppy and the best example of a Corgi that I have ever seen.  Georgie had her first litter of 3 puppies, but one died. Georgie had to have a c-section, be neutered, and could not be shown or bred anymore. 

 Her paperwork was  inside of a plastic sleeve covered with vaccination stickers. I pulled the papers out to uncover Georgie’s exact date of birth – May 11, 2003. I also had not noticed the rest of Georgie’s name, nor her dam’s and sire’s name until I looked again. Now I know where my dog got her spitfire spirit – ‘Vice”, besides being a Corgi. Hint – go back to the paperwork that you already have, to see new clues.

I got Georgie to keep my older Golden Retriever/Yellow Lab mutt Gentle Ben company.  He came on the trip, to approve.  My older children, grandchildren, and extended family also became very close to them, as both dogs were children-lovers, soft, and knew how to grin.  They came with their already fitting names, big grins, and bonded with their large human “pack”.

 I even found a photo of Georgie’s sire, and complete family pedigrees of her dam and sire.             Hint – look a little further; someone in your extended family may have already done a lot of the same family history that you are searching for.  It is worth reviewing so that you can verify the links.  Some may be wrong, but some may give you good clues.  You may just need to update and continue the pedigree charts. Hint –  Look for first name patterns to see family connections.  i.e. The middle name of children may be the Mother’s maiden name. 

Georgie pedigree

 Old photos of ancestors are priceless.  Hint – make contact with your extended relatives in other lines of the family to see what they might have to share.   I received some new old photos from a third cousin, found with DNA through Ancestry.com.  I had not even thought of that line of the family as cousins.

 2003 Charming Prince Louie

Here is a photo of Gentle Ben, also smiling.

 Gentle Ben smiling

Hint – My best clues for organizing and dating my older mixed up photographs have been – the ages of the family children, and the style of hair, clothes and eyeglasses; and which pets did we own when.  My Mom, Daisy, even remembered the name of the pet dog “Buster” that was in an 81 year photo of her as a child.  She also knew that dog did not come with them from the farm to town.  Older folks may be able to identify old photos by very old memories, even if they don’t remember current events so well.

I gave a children’s sermon once, showing the children that photo of “God” smiling.  I acted confused that God was not spelled “dog”.  Dogs are some of the best people because they “hound” us – never stop following, and looking over, us.  They are happy fur-folks who give us concentrated, un-conditional love for the short time that they “own” us. 

Dogs sure know how to enjoy life, rolling in the essences.  Their hearing is more acute than humans can comprehend – hence good watch dogs.  Their sense of smell is highly superior – Georgie could smell that Gentle Ben had cancer, well before I knew.  Dogs love to play for no reason.  Georgie (and Ben) continued to play, and please us, enjoying even their old age.

We could tell that Georgie was really slowing down the last couple of months.  She tried to continue taking shorter walks, but was breathing hard, even just to walk short distances.  Her favorite hobby was sleeping, when it used to be walking for miles.  We just kept praising and loving her. 

Hint – enjoy your elders, and spend lots of time with them.  Ask them to share their memories, and the stories of their lives and of your ancestors.  We never know when they will pass away.

The last couple of days, Georgie came to me and stared deeply into my eyes.  I have had her do so many times before.  She tried to do the Vulcan mind-meld – it was her way to tell me when she wanted to go out, or that her water dish was empty, or that she needed a rub and hug, or to tell me it was time to go to bed when I was addictively continuing to look for just one more genealogy hint on the computer. 

 But I have never had the intensity of her look like she “told” me then.  All other needs were met; she just wanted to give me extra loving, and be reassured. And now I know, Georgie was telling me that she knew she would be leaving soon; goodbye.  

 Georgie was considerate, and thinking of her humans, to the very end.  I found Georgie dead (of a heart attack?) the next morning on the plastic in front of her kennel, after she had “put me to bed”, and got up from her sleeping pillow by our bed .  Finding her has been harder on me than “putting down” Gentle Ben.  Gentle Ben had been more concerned about me crying, than of his own pain.  “Mom, it’s o.k.; are you alright?  I forgive you.”  Either way, it surprises me, and my husband, how hard it is to lose a pet.  But totally worth their keep.

 Dogs tell their love with their eyes, and I know that I am very special because Georgie and Gentle Ben told me so.  How very lucky we are to have that special confirmation from someone (human or fur baby).

Hint – this is one small reason that we “do” family history – to feel that connection to a part of ourselves, that is not ourself.  To have the grounding into who we are. 

So here is the genealogy joke: Whether we are “mutts” or “purebreds”, only means – is it more challenging ,or less, to track our ancestor’s journeys?

Rock County Postcards

Rock County Postcards

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

2-8-2017

Here is a on-line site for you to see the history of Rock County by looking at historical postcard photographs.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wircgs/postcards/rock_co_postcards.html

beloit

bpl-1914

We also have a book at Beloit Public Library on Rock County postcards:

A postcard history of Rock County

Belvidere, Ill. : Boone County Journal, c2000. c2000

Beloit Genealogy & Local History GEN 977.587 P845 Reference

and Beloit Adult Non-Fiction 977.587 P845 to check out.

 

6 Keys to Success for African-American Genealogy Research AND Free Book

Vicki’s Note – 2-1-2017  Family Tree Magazine article posted on Facebook:

6 Keys to Success for African-American

Genealogy Research
Posted by Diane Haddad


Library of Congress

National African-American History Month began in 1926 when Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History founded Negro History Week.

The observation was expanded to a month in February 1976 with a declaration by President Gerald Ford. In 2017, you’ll find commemorations

So let’s talk genealogy. Those researching African-American ancestors often face a brick wall at slavery. These keys from Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sunny Jane Morton are important to give yourself yourself the best possible chance to find your family:


Library of Congress

1. It’s not impossible. Tracing relatives in slavery is difficult due to the scarcity of historical records naming slaves. But with persistence, many African-American genealogists have been able to identify their enslaved ancestors.

2. Trace your family back to the Civil War using typical sources and methods, such as talking to relatives and searching censuses, vital records and newspapers. You may find that some records are segregated, such as a “colored” marriage register.

3. Study your family’s migrations. During the 20th century, millions of African-Americans in the rural South moved to cities in the north and west. If your family followed this pattern, ask relatives about your family’s moves and use censuses and city directories to track them.

4. Check the 1860 and 1850 censuses. About 90 percent of African-Americans were enslaved at the time of the Civil War, and weren’t named in censuses. Free blacks often do appear in censuses and other records.

5. Identify slaveholding families. Enslaved people didn’t have legal surnames. Freed slaves sometimes (but not always) took the surname of a former slaveholder. If this was the case for your family, the name may lead you to their location during slavery. You may need to use records of the slaveholding families, such as wills and estate inventories, to trace your enslaved ancestors’ whereabouts.

6. Go offline. To learn about African-American ancestors before 1865, you’ll probably need to research in records that aren’t online.

Click here to download our free e-book Trace Your African-American Ancestry, with six guides from Family Tree Magazine to help you discover your African-American family history.

And this just in: Genealogy website Fold3 has announced that its African-American genealogy records collection will be free to access for the month of February. You may need to set up a free Fold3 registration to use the records.

My Ancestors Were Immigrants

Vicki’s Note – 1/30/2017 article from Family Tree Magazine.

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Image may contain: one or more people and text

Understanding Immigrant Ancestors and Ellis Island

1/30/2017
You’ve got questions about discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history; our experts have the answers.
A Family Tree Magazine reader wrote in: “My father came through Ellis Island on a cattle ship from Slovakia when he was 12 years old. How were such passengers recorded when they landed at Ellis Island? Or is there no record?”
You've got questions about discovering, preserving and celebrating your Ellis Island immigrant family history; our experts have the answers.
Image courtesy of Library of Congress 

Without knowing the name of the ship, it would be impossible to tell whether your father actually came over on a “cattle ship,” or it just felt  like the passengers were herded onto the ship like cattle. Some vessels were not originally designed to carry passengers, but cargo, such as iron, anvils, salt, coal, and even cattle. These ships’ masters installed temporary rough pine berths for passenger voyages, and dismantled them when it was necessary to carry cargo instead of humans.

If you know the name of the ship, you may be able to find out specific information about it in these reference sources:

  • Ships of Our Ancestors by Michael J. Anuta (Genealogical Publishing Co.)
  • Great Passenger Ships of the World (5 volumes) by Arnold Kludas (Stephens)
  • Passenger Ships of the World Past and Present by Eugene W. Smith (George H. Dean Co.)

Online research

You also can research ships in subscription site Ancestry.com’s ship pictures database and using EllisIsland.org’s Search by Ship feature.
As for the manifest, or passenger list, regardless of what else was transported, all human passengers were to be recorded on immigration passenger lists before a ship left its port of departure. Immigration passenger lists were in use between about 1891 and 1954. Arrivals from 1820 to 1890 would be recorded on less-detailed customs passenger lists.

Ellis Island received and processed newcomers starting in 1892. Upon arrival, the lists were turned over to the authorities on Ellis Island.  You can search the free Ellis Island database online.

Ancestry.com has digitized surviving lists for both time periods for Ellis Island and other US immigration ports. Remember, spelling doesn’t count when searching online immigration databases. If you don’t find your father under the spelling you expect, be creative and try several variations.

3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days

Vicki’s Note – article from Family Tree Magazine 9-1-2016.  There is a 6 volume set of One Room Rock County Rural Schoolhouse pictures and histories at the Beloit Public Library  – both in our Local History/ Genealogy collection and copies to check out and borrow to use at home.

Book Cover

A history of the rural schools of Rock County, Wisconsin. Vol. 1 : townships of Avon, Beloit, Bradford

Kidder, Clark.
[Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], c2014-2015. 2015

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Genealogy & Local History  GEN 378.7758 Kidder 2015 Oct v.1  REFERENCE
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  378.7758 Kidder 2015 Oct v.1  ON SHELF

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3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days

Photo Detective with Maureen A. Taylor

Sunday, September 04, 2016
3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days
Posted by Maureen A Taylor

For the first three years of grade school, I went to class in a 19th-century building. A big wide staircase and a classroom cloak room stick in my mind. That building is long gone, replaced by a modern school. I’ve search for a picture of the original structure to see if my memories of it compare to how it actually looked.

Finding images of the schools my family attended is a good beginning to understanding their classroom experience, and it helps flesh out my family story.

Depending on when and where they lived, the school could be a one-room schoolhouse or a massive brick-and-mortar city school.


Nebraska State Historical Society, [Digital ID, e.g., nbhips 12036]

If your ancestor attended school in Nebraska, count yourself lucky. The Nebraska State Historical Society added images to the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress. This one is a sod school, District 62, 2 miles west of Merna, Custer County, Neb., in 1889.

In this picture, you can see the backwards writing on the bottom edge of the original glass plate.

According to the cataloging record, in 1974, someone identified the teacher in the middle as Elsie Thomas who married a Bidgood. One of the girls in the back row, second to the left of the teacher, is Nettie Hannawald. There is another picture of Nettie online as well.

Tip 1: Look online. Search the Library of Congress for pictures of schools in places your ancestors lived. Choose “Photos, Prints, Drawings” from the dropdown menu at the top, and type search terms such as Merna Nebraska school.

Then expand your search to Google images. A quick search for history of public school architecture Grand Rapids resulted in a lot of hits including an online article and photo essays for Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tip 2: Check newspapers.
In a town where I once lived, an old schoolhouse is now a bank, but I learned a lot about the building form old newspapers. In the 1930s, some members of the town balked at installing indoor plumbing. The old outhouse was good enough, they said.

Search newspapers looking for school information:

  • You might locate information about the school building.
  • Merit student lists in the paper could mention your relative
  • There might be an engraving or a photograph published

Tip 3: Ask the locals. Public libraries and historical societies often have pictures of old school buildings. Check the library or society website for a collection of digital images. Include school yearbooks in your search.