Brigham Young University Genealogy Resources

It’s hard to avoid getting excited in the weekly workshops taught by new member Vickie Petersen at the public library in Mineola.

Sharing that excitement usually starts with someone making a “Eureka, look what I’ve found” noise like “wow” or a similar noise. Sometimes, however, it’s just finding a new resource.

One such experience last Thursday (note: meeting Thursdays 10-noon at the library near the genealogy room) was when Vickie shared the Brigham Young University genealogy resources pages. You can get there by going to familyhistory.byu.edu. We started out on the page where you can print free blank forms to use in research at http://lib.byu.edu/sites/familyhistory/print-forms-research-helps/, but starting anywhere will give you lots of links and pages to explore.

If you want to take a look, set aside some time. There are links all over the first page (and subsequent pages) which can take you to interesting and helpful information and resources.

This is not the FamilySearch or New FamilySearch site, but there are links that will take you there and to lots of other trustworthy and interesting genealogy sources. Some are pay and some are free, but even the pay ones will let you look around at some things without any charges.

Yet Another Online Learning Opportunity

When I posted the previous item on online self-study resources for getting started in genealogy research or getting a refresher, I did a pretty extensive search. However, I have found another thanks to Leah of “The Internet Genealogist” blog at http://shbwgen.blogspot.com/2010/05/follow-friday-familysearch-online.html

She points out in a blog post which you can reach by clicking the link above Self study lesson and videos on FamilySearch.com at this address: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2

I tried one of the videos and learned something in the first few minutes. Exploring these resources could prove a valuable use of your computer time online. They include videos and/or non-video lessons for techniques, tips, and research specifics about areas in the U. S. and in foreign countries.

Free Getting Started – or Refresher – Lessons

Just starting out in your family history search or wanting to to refresh your memory on researching how to and techniques is often available from classes or one-on-one tutoring. There are some online sources, however, which you can access at home (or library) on your own computer and at any time convenient to you.

Among the various choices, four seem to stand out in terms of organization, simplicity of use, and overall value.

Researching Your Family Tree at learnwebskills.com meets all of these criteria and offers exercises to practice what it teaches. It is easy to follow, and you can do one exercise, go off and do other life things for an extended time, and pop right into the next step with little difficulty. The lessons offer a LearnGen Group at Yahoo groups.com which does not seem to be too active, but you could always share you results and questions with us here with an email to the bulletin. (Our email address is netexas@gmail.com). You can access the Researching Your Family Tree lessons at http://www.learnwebskills.com/family/intro.html.

A long time standard of the genealogical community online is Kimberly Powell of genealogy.about.com. She has posted information and tips on a regular basis for many years. Her Introduction to Genealogy series takes a slightly different approach to the beginning or refresher lessons, but they are rich in content and easily understood. Either by themselves are in conjunction with the Researching Your Family Tree lessons above, they are going to give lots of information, tips, and ideas. You can access Kimberly’s lesson series starting at http://genealogy.about.com/library/lessons/blintro.htm.

The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees has also been around for a while and proved it’s worth. Like the others, it offers lots of basic information and is easy to follow. Rootsweb is a premier free website devoted to genealogy and is the source of all kinds of resources which help beginning and advanced researchers. You can access the Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees at http://rwguide.rootsweb.ancestry.com/.

Also, if you have high speed internet at home (or can go to a library computer) you can access the RootswTV video series Research Process Overview. It’s a movie (and a talkie) which covers the basic getting started concepts and interviews various genealogists to illustrate the topic points of every lesson. It is also graphics-rich so that you can see examples of topics and techniques. You can access this RootsTV series at http://www.rootstelevision.com/players/player_howto3.php?bctid=232.

Search The Wood County Democrat Online

Some years of the Wood County Democrat of Quitman (1950 to 1987 plus 1993 and 2005) are searchable online. The most complete decade is 1951-60. Only a few years/issues of the other decades are made available. Some searches require you to be a paid subscriber of a web service, and some are free.

FREE SEARCH

Google News Archives (http://news.google.com/archivesearch) has a free search of the 1951 to 1960 Democrat as well as the year of 2005. The easiest way to search Google’s News Archive contents is to go to the Small Town Papers site (http://www.smalltownpapers.com/newspapers/newspaper_pages.php?id=413). In the search box near the top of the page, type a surname, city name or other word which might have appeared in the newspapers. For example: typing the word funeral, turned up 603 results most of which were obituaries/funeral notices. While on that page, by clicking and dragging you can read other news items and on additional pages of that issue of the newspaper. Typing funeral and a year ( funeral 1956) yielded funeral notices of papers of that year.

PAY SEARCH

Footnote.com (http://footnote.com) has the Democrat for searching and the digital images for the years 1951-60, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1993, and 2005. A one-year membership is $79.95 paid in full at the time you subscribe, or you can pay $11.95 monthly. The yearly option is better if you will be keeping the service for a whole year. There is also a 7-day free trial. You have to give a credit card number, and if you don’t cancel before the seven days is up, your credit card will automatically be charged for a one-year membership. There is a convenient link on your account page to notify them to cancel before your card is charged.

While both Google and Footnote say they get their search data from smalltownpapers.com, if you subscribe to the latter site ($25.00 a year) you only get to access the 2005 Democrat newspapers.

Offline searching is available on the microfilm reader at the Quitman Public Library. Ask for the microfilm at the library desk. Although the microfilm collection at the library has some skipped issues, it starts in 1917.

Computer Tip: Make Type Larger For Reading

Two tips from members of GenealogyWise:
1) Hold down the control key and hit the + key (plus key.) to make type larger. To make smaller again, do the same but use the – key (minus key). The shift key is not needed to do this.
2) Hold down the control key and use the scroll wheel on your mouse. Scroll forward for larger type and backward for smaller type.

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