Category Archives: Genealogy Research Brick Walls

What’s New at the NARA – United States National Archives and Records Administration?

Vicki’s note – mostly from the NARA site. 

Here is a NARA hint from our speaker Katherine Kemnitz, genealogist, from last weeks program on “Formating, Printing and Self-Publishing a Book”.

In her research on  NARA, Katherine noticed that she had a hard time finding her soldier ancestor Clem.  She discovered that between 1877 – 1900s that the NARA hired extra clerks to catalog all Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans.  The clerks would combine several soldiers of various names into one folder with one name, if those soldiers were only short -term enlistments, and only on one pay record.  The only way to see the other soldier’s (names/information) was if someone looked into the folder.

There are so many free tools and resources at NARA.  Click on the links.:

October 16, 2017

What’s New at the NARA – United States National Archives and Records Administration?

 

https://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy

What’s New?

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

October 25, 2017

On Wednesday, October 25, the National Archives will host the fifth virtual Genealogy Fair via webcast. Viewers can participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event on YouTube.

All of the session videos and handouts will be available from             this web page free of charge. You can watch the sessions and download the materials at your convenience.

Are you going to miss the live broadcast? We have you covered! The video broadcasts and the presentation materials will continue to be available after the live event.

NARA is hosting its 5th annual Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The fair will be broadcast live from YouTube.

The Genealogy Fair is NARA’s biggest genealogy event of the year and will feature sessions that offer advice on family history research for all skill levels.

The topics include:

– Federal government documents on birth, childhood, and death

-Recently recovered military personnel files

-Japanese Americans during World War II

-19th century tax assessments

-A special presentation on taking care of your family heirlooms

 

Can I start my family history research by typing a name in the search box?

Our search box will not help you find information on a specific person.  However, we have many tools and resources that can lead you to information about our holdings.  Many of our records have been digitized and are made available by our Digitization Partners.

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Preparatory Schools Were the Early High Schools

Preparatory Schools

Were the Early High Schools

Vicki’s note – This information about the Beloit Seminary/Preparatory/Academy is quoted from the online Beloit College Archives site. 

Hints:

-We can often find information about the local history of a locality at a college near that community. If you are lucky, the information may be on-line.

-The locations of institutions may change locations  from one building/address to another through it’s history.

-Depending on the time period, you may have to look for alternatives for where your ancestor went to “high” school. “Many preparatory schools were opened across the country due to the lack of public high schools in certain areas. Once high schools were built many preparatory schools closed. “

-There is a lot of information in print that you will not find on-line i.e. “approximately 6 linear feet (10 boxes, including oversize flat boxes, loose documents)”.

-An institution may have it’s origins very early in the history of a community, and it may not have actually been established right away.  I.E.  Beloit was first settled in 1836  – “The origins of the Academy stem from the Beloit Seminary, an institution that itself began life in the form of a charter written in 1837, but did not actually form until 1843.”

– Women may have combined or separate schools; and nearby communities (even across state lines) may have organizational connections.  “…1849. However, after it became the Academy women were no longer allowed to attend. At that time the Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford, Illinois) was opened.”

 

 

“The Beloit Academy, also called the Preparatory Department, evolved from the Beloit Seminary in 1849. However, after it became the Academy women were no longer allowed to attend. At that time the Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford, Illinois) was opened. Classes were held in the basement of a new church nearby until the chapel was completed on campus. The Academy prepared men for entrance into Beloit College or other colleges. Many preparatory schools were opened across the country due to the lack of public high schools in certain areas. Once high schools were built many preparatory schools closed. Until the Academy closed in 1910, enrollment in the Academy usually exceeded the college enrollment.

Beloit College Academy Records (AC 16) Beloit College Archives:

https://www.beloit.edu/archives/documents/archival_collections/beloitacademy/

This collection contains Beloit Academy (also called the Preparatory Department) administrative materials such as student registers, grade books, and catalogues, as well as publications (Junta Climax) and alumni correspondence and other materials created by Academy students.  Additionally, there is a compilation of transcripts of articles and meeting minute excerpts concerning the Academy, gathered by Beloit College Professor Robert K. Richardson.

The Beloit College Academy, at one time called the Preparatory Department, was a preparatory school for Beloit College from around 1848 to 1910. It originally focused on study of the classics, and then grew to also include courses in business, English, and science.

The origins of the Academy stem from the Beloit Seminary, an institution that itself began life in the form of a charter written in 1837, but did not actually form until 1843…”

Where are Probate Records?

Where are Probate Records?

Vicki’s note – A good reminder of the importance of Probate Records in proving the relationships of people. 

What are Probate Records? See this definition from Rock County Probate Court:

” Under the supervision of the Circuit Court, the Register in Probate oversees the administration of estates, “testamentary” trusts, guardianships, and mental health commitments. The Register in Probate also makes and keeps records of proceedings; and maintains records of wills admitted to probate, wills for safekeeping, guardianships, and mental health commitments.”

Currently, people do not have to go to Probate Court for a deceased person how has an estate of less than $50,000 in value, but there are other legal forms, or informal court proceedings that will be stored.  And there are more possible records to find – for guardianships and mental health commitments.

I have made good use of the recent addition of the Probate  materials added to Ancestry.com.  I did not know that Ancestry had been so systematic in approaching all of the county courthouses.  A newly added group of wills from Ohio proved the daughter/father status of one of my ancestor families.  Until then, I could not definitively prove their connection.

Hint – try to prove your ancestor’s facts in three different sources, including a primary source like a will.

Read the whole posting Finding Probate Records by Will Moneymaker in his BLOG AncestralFindings.com.

Finding Probate Records

“Probate records are some of the most valuable, informative genealogical records you will come across. There are several different kinds, and each one can tell you previously unknown things about your ancestors. You may find probate records that are simple inventories of estates, wills with varying amounts of personal information in them, and legal records from proving the will (and sometimes, contesting it). Probate records let you know what things your ancestors owned, how much money they had, how well they lived, and their family connections. If a will names children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, in-laws, and friends, as they often do, this information will allow you to confirm suspected relationships and learn new ones.

So, where do you find probate records? There are a few different places.

1. County Courthouses

County courthouses can contain probate records going back centuries…

2. Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com just added a huge new collection of probate records from around the United States this year. These are the same probate records you would find in county courthouses. Ancestry.com sent representatives out to county courthouses across the country to get the courthouses to allow them to digitize their probate records…

3. Older Relatives

If you have older relatives who have collected a large amount of family information over the decades, you should visit them and see what they have in their boxes, chests, and files… genealogical gold

4. State or Local Archive Buildings

Probate records from colonial times may be found in county courthouses, but are more often found in archive buildings. If you are looking for the probate records for an ancestor who lived in America before the American Revolution, visit or write to the historical society in the city, town, or county in which they lived….

Will founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his Moneymaker surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)

Language Challenges in Genealogy

Language Challenges in Genealogy

Vicki’s note – How would you like to do genealogy research in this library?  Not only are the books in lost languages, but there are several books written over each other on each page.

From Online Smithsonian magazine Sept. 5, 2017 article by Brigit Katz: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-lost-languages-found-manuscripts-egyptian-monastery-180964698/

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Keeping you current

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt

St Catherine's

 

“Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there—some of which contain hidden treasures.

Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery. Many of these original texts were written in languages well known to researchers—Latin, Greek, Arabic—but others were inscribed in long-lost languages that are rarely seen in the historical record.”…

“…Other hidden texts were written in a defunct dialect known as Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a mix of Syriac and Greek, which was discontinued in the 13th century only to be rediscovered by scholars in the 18th century. “This was an entire community of people who had a literature, art, and spirituality,” Phelps tells Gray. “Almost all of that has been lost, yet their cultural DNA exists in our culture today. These palimpsest texts are giving them a voice again and letting us learn about how they contributed to who we are today….”

Brigit Katz is a journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Flavorwire, and Women in the World, a property of The New York Times.

Read more from this author |

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-lost-languages-found-manuscripts-egyptian-monastery-180964698/#F4iwvRw5xIJsmHdR.99Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGvFollow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

 

Where is the Book on My Family?

Where is the Book on My Family?

Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

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Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

 

… Here are the best places to look for digital books about genealogy.

Google Books

Launched in 2004 as “Google Print,” Google Books now contains over 25 million scanned book titles.

Internet Archive

The appropriately-named Internet Archive began in 1996 with the goal of archiving the Internet, but the project soon expanded into providing digital versions of other published works. … Most books are offered in several different formats, including DAISY files for the print-disabled.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust (pronounced “haw tea”) is a partnership of several academic and research institutions offering a collection of over 15 million titles from libraries around the world. Books that are uncopyrightable (i.e., some government works) or in the public domain …

FamilySearch

The Family History Books collection at FamilySearch contains more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of family history libraries such as the Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. …

MyHeritage: Compilation of Published Sources

One of MyHeritage’s best-kept secrets is their repository of digitized books. All are free to access, and you don’t even need to log in with a free account! …  To learn more about the digital books at MyHeritage watch the free Legacy webinar – Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage.

…Genealogy Gophers

Despite the funny name, Genealogy Gophers offers access to more than 80,000 digitized “family histories, regional and local histories, genealogy magazines, how-to books, gazetteers, newsletters, and medieval histories.” … developed specifically for “identifying real people named in genealogy books.”…

 

Elizabeth O’Neal is a freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog My Descendant’s Ancestors, where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly “Genealogy Blog Party.”

Solving Photo Mysteries

∞ Vicki’s Note – Maureen has given us some efficient steps on how to effectively search for solutions to our unknown ancestors in mystery photographs.  We can find the answer to the “I know they are my ancestors, but I don’t know who they are” quandary.

I have found her books and her BLOG invaluable to find photograph identification answers.  Maureen is one of my genealogy heroes.

 Solving Photo Mysteries

 Maureen A Taylor – photodetective.  FamilyTreeMagazine.com

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Read her full article here –  There’s a Good Chance This Photo Mystery Is Solved!

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There’s a Good Chance This Photo Mystery Is Solved!
Posted by Maureen…four steps to tackle a mystery photo:1.    Establish a time frame.

2.    Focus on place.

3.    Search for records.

4.    Watch for matches.

… Based on the clothing clues, I dated the image to circa 1897.

… go through her genealogical material and add a bit more detail to her original query:

  • ….  A more specific location will hopefully make finding a match easier.
  • The last name …. Spelling differences aren’t uncommon….do a broad search of censuses. … don’t filter results to exact spellings.

…estimate the ages of the children in this photo …  In the 1880 census,… 1900 …

Finding a Match

I found …in FamilySearch censuses. In 1880, Joseph F. had children …

Adding 17 years to their ages for an estimated 1897 photo date gives us…  This identification seems to fit the mysterious photo.

Next, I’d encourage Barbara to do “reverse genealogy,” and research forward in time to find descendants of all these children. She then could reach out to find out photographs of them and verify that the faces match.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

·  Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries

·  Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900

·  Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

·  Hairstyles 1840-1900

·  Photo-Organizing Practices

·  Preserving Your Family Photographs

·  Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

 

 

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

July 10, 2017

An email I received after attending this one-day Conference last Saturday, July 8.

 MCGS
Dear Vicki,

Thank you for spending the day with us at McHenry County College!  We hope the conference was helpful to your research and that you had a great time connecting with other genealogists.

Hope to see you next year!

 Ξ

And my answer is – YES!  This is the third time that I went to this Conference.  It is only about an hour away from Beloit, and well worth your time.  They have fabulous, knowledgeable speakers, and the cost is $70, including lunch.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Conference was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at McHenry County College, 8900 Rt. 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This year’s annual conference featured:

  • Mary M. Tedesco, host/genealogist on the PBS TV series Genealogy Roadshow, (seasons 2 &3).    Contact her through the ORIGINS ITALY website at www.originsitaly.com.                                                                                                        She gave lots of techniques for good, basic genealogy, and how to find the names and locations of origin for your ancestors from overseas.  I attended a second session that Mary gave on how to find your Italian ancestors.   Mary is every bit as knowledgeable and friendly as she appears on television.  I enjoyed getting to know her a bit.

Vicki Hahn and Mary Tedesco:2017, July 8 Mary Tedesco & Vicki Hahn WSCG Conference, McHenry County College, IL

  • Thomas MacEntee, creator of GeneaBloggers.com.                                                      I got to talk with Thomas, but had too many other sessions that I needed to hear.   I was not able to go to one given by him this year like I have other years.

 

  • Paul Milner, author, & specialist in British Isles & U.S. research.                                      He gave a session on how to find your Irish ancestors.

 

  • Michael Lacopo DVM, nationally known lecturer – adoption, emigration & immigration, and many ethnic groups.                                                                            He gave a session on how to find your German ancestors.

 

  • A variety of vendors with publications and genealogy supplies.

 

Each of the speakers gave us a one week course in one hour!   Soon, I will be condensing all of that information, (plus more that I have learned elsewhere), into one session on “Finding your Overseas Ancestors”.  Be looking for a program on “jumping the pond” in our Stateline Genealogy Club programs next year.

These topics came at a perfect time, as I am about ready to search outside of the United States.  I have learned from these experts that it is not an easy task, but they prepared me well (enough) to begin the search.

Several of them would lend professional assistance to you if you decide to hire an expert, or if you need a knowledgeable guide to help you in Europe.

Join me next year.

MCIGS 2018 SUMMER CONFERENCE

Saturday, July 7, 2018 SAVE THE DATE!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society P.O. Box 184, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 www.mcigs.org email:mcigs@mcigs.org Phone:815/687-0436

Rural Cemetery Studies

Rural Cemetery Studies

7-3-2017

Vicki’s note – a quote I read from another on-line source that I found. I am including the entire addendum from the on-line book.  However, I could not find out who did the 2012 revision of this priceless 1970s publication.  My hat’s off to any and all (Find-a-grave, Boy Scout, etc.) volunteer photographers,  restorers, and researchers who find and preserve genealogical information for the rest of us.

I also love his quote about those ancestors, “…who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families.”

Read this just to know how lucky we are to have the Internet and computers to aid us in our research.

Hint – google on-line.  You may just find the very exact resource you need for the tiny area that you are researching.:

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RURAL CEMETERIES OF McDONOUGH COUNTY, ILLINOIS

VOLUME VII
NEW SALEM -ELDORADO
BY DUANE LESTER
GOOD HOPE, ILLINOIS
PRINTED BY
SCHUYLER –BROWN HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
AND
THE SCHUYLER JAIL MUSEUM

http://genmarker.com/McDonough/RuralCemVols/Vol07Rev.pdf :

” a monument is erected not because a person died, but because a person lived”

“ADDENDUM
Mr. Lester’s Magnum Opus is nothing short of monumental. It is not easy to gain access to many of these historic family burial sites. By the time of Mr. Lester’s survey (1970’s) numerous plots were long left abandoned, overgrown with trees and weeds and monuments under attack by weather, livestock, vandals, and property owners who did not care about the burial sites of McDonough County’s brave pioneers.
Thankfully, we now (2012) have laws to protect our county’s historical legacy and these final resting gardens.
I am in awe of Mr. Lester for his transcriptions of hard – to – read tombstones and his laborious typing of his 18 Volumes of the Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County. He did not have access to a computer. In addition to transcribing information from tombstones, he had to painstakingly access county records (e.g. 1840 county tax list), federal census records, and local newspapers requiring a great deal of time and effort.
As a genealogist in 2012, I have access to the internet with fast access to US Census
records, Family Search (records kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints) and numerous other legal documents, books, and family journals.
Mr. Lester used an old-fashioned key – strike, ribbon tape typewriter where mistakes
were hard to correct and appear as overstrikes. There are very few attesting to his skill as a typist.
What an US Census record will not contain are the names and dates of infants who died between census surveys. Mr. Lester’s tombstone records give names and dates of children, whose lives were brief, but would otherwise be lost to history without his efforts. Frequently, he provides names of brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers that allows for completion of family group sheets.
Another work of love for those who dared to settle the prairie lands of western Illinois and raise their families is being performed by Dr. A. Gil Belles. He has been able to install signs for each of these rural cemeteries and provide GPS (Global Positioning System) information making it easier for anyone wishing to visit a rural cemetery to help them actually find it.
Gil also works closely with Boy Scouts and other civic groups to help cleanup, clear brush and dead trees, locate buried tombstones, and restore stones. My revision of Mr. Lester’s document will provide information on all cemetery restoration projects.
Any changes made to Mr. Lester’s original work was done in blue color font. His maps were scanned and copied into the text and remain like his original work and are not subject to editing.
His text was transcribed using MS Word, enabling me to control font size and color. Retyping text also leaves room for typo errors. Mr. Lester’s rare typo errors are corrected but not displayed in blue. This MS Word document allows on -the – fly editing of any “Notes, Corrections, Additions, and Changes” found at the end of every cemetery. This was Mr. Lester’s intent to produce a working document and improve accuracy about the information on those buried.
I have retyped state abbreviations as they are now used (e.g. IL, instead of Ill.). On 1840 county tax lists I omitted cents (e.g. $140, instead of $140.00). The current MS Word font uses less space, thus, placing more text per line. This shrinks his documents and reduces pages. This , then, changes page numbering in each Table of Contents.
Cemetery locations are also found on the internet. See: McDonough County Illinois Cemeteries http://graveyards.com/graveyards/IL/McDonough

Other Travelers Part 9 – The Underground Railroad and Me; My Ancestor Thomas Campbell was an Abolitionist!

Other Travelers Part 9 –

The Underground Railroad and Me;

My Ancestor Thomas Campbell was an Abolitionist!

(Part of an On-going Series – “Other Travelers”)

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

June 29, 2017

Thomas Campbell

 

My paternal Grandmother Muriel Ruthe’s maternal Great Great Grandfather Thomas Campbell (1786 Pennsylvania – 1858 Morgan County, Ohio) was an abolitionist, i.e. “one who before the Civil War had agitated for the immediate, unconditional, and total abolition of slavery in the United States.”  The July  1787 “Ordinance of Freedom” for the Ohio Territory, Article 6 stated that there would be no slavery, but that slavery owners could claim their runaway slaves in Ohio.

From about 1820, Morgan County was part of the Underground Railroad.  In 1842, 16 slaves were escaping from Wood County, Virginia.  They stopped at a Station near James Coles on the river near McConnelsville.  They also hid in Jehu Coulson’s tobacco house, Issac Clendenin’s house, Joshua Wood’s house and, Esquire Lint’s office.  Their owners, Mr. Henderson, and O’Neil Summer of Virginia, offered a $3,000 reward for their capture.  They requested a search warrant.

Several men from the area stalled the owners by talking, and about 30 rode horses in opposite directions to confuse the pursuers, while the slaves escaped.  The owners, and their men, posted guards west of Deacon Wright’s, and at Campbell’s Mill to keep watch at the junction of two main roads. (Thomas Campbell and Henry Moore had an early mill on Island Run.)

The slaves were led on a branch route a short distance down from Island Run, then up to the head of Brush Creek, and then to thick brushwood near the mouth of the Moxahala River.  There they were met by an Underground Railroad Train Conductor from Putnam, and got away.

From 1842 – 1861 Morgan County assisted 285 “Negros” to gain freedom!   (I think Thomas Campbell, even though old and slower then at age 56, either rode with the other men to confuse the pursuers; convinced the owners to set a guard near his Mill because he knew a shortcut behind it for the slaves; or maybe led the slaves partway on the shortcut to continue to their freedom.   I am very proud of him.)  Who knew Ohio was such a hotbed of abolitionists?

This information is from Morgan County, Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Some of  It’s Pioneers and Prominent Men”, by Charles Robertson, M.D., revised and extended by the publishers, Chicago, L. H. Watkins and Co, 1886.  It took reading most of the book to glean the 2 historical references to my ancestor Thomas Campbell.  He was not prominent enough to pay for a separate biography.   I found the book at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library in Madison, WI.  It is time for another trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania, etc. via (WHS) Wisconsin next year.

Hint – read about the history of your ancestor’s places, and you may find them!  And photocopy, photograph, scan, or take neater handwritten notes than I did.  There may be some mistakes here, as I had very little time before the library closed, and about 400 pages to skim through.  I was so happy to find it, and love Historic County Histories.  Look here for the WHS catalog to see what else they have.

 

Upload DNA Results to MyHeritage for FREE!

Vicki’s note – 5/31/2017 email from Thomas MacEntee:

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Upload Your DNA Data to MyHeritage for FREE!

Did you know that many DNA test companies CHARGE YOU to upload DNA data from another company?

Not MyHeritage! You can click HERE and get started today . . . and you’ll be able to take advantage of the new improvements in the Ethnicity Estimate algorithm at MyHeritage.

I just rechecked my own AncestryDNA data that I uploaded to MyHeritage and WOW! I received more information and it actually resolved some issues I had with the Ancestry results.  I’m finding that the MyHeritage results align more with the research that I’ve been doing!

“MyHeritage, as part of its Founder Populations project, now offers the most ethnic populations than any other major DNA testing company. This project worked with over 5,000 participants from its user base of 90 million, based on their extensive family trees located at MyHeritage. These participants received complimentary DNA test kits to gather data to be used in this database.  “Thanks to this analysis, MyHeritage DNA has become the only mass-market percentage-based DNA test that reveals ethnicities such as Balkan; Baltic; Eskimo & Inuit; Japanese; Kenyan; Sierra Leonean; Somali; four major Jewish groups – Ethiopian, Yemenite, Sephardic from North Africa and Mizrahi from Iran and Iraq; Indigenous Amazonian; Papuan and many others.”

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