March 26, 2015

The Next Step For Genealogy Societies: Embrace Social Networking

I just watched a new video by the Federation of Genealogical Societies presented by Thomas MacEntee entitled Social Networking for Genealogy Societies. I would encourage all genealogy societies to watch this video and share it at your next meeting.  I think it will open you eyes as you listen to Thomas’ presentation because he is giving you a very valuable lesson in how to bring your local society up to speed by utilizing social networking.

Social Networking Is Affordable Advertising

FREE: Your society may already be on Facebook, but if not, you may want to create a page and take advantage of this no cost way to advertise your organization. As Thomas MacEntee said, Facebook is now surpassing Google when it comes to being found on the Internet.

FREE: Twitter should be your additional choice for social networking. It’s a great tool for keeping your readers up to date.

FREE: Vimeo is where the Social Networking for Genealogy Societies video presentation is located.  Be ready to take notes when you watch the video because you’re going to want to refer back to other social networking sites and the mentioned ideas if your genealogy society is ready to “get social”.

 

How To Do A Genealogical Interview

Hand with pencil

Get comfortable

If you have made arrangements ahead of time to interview a particular person, try to do it in a quiet setting where there will be little or no interruptions. If you will be tape recording your subject, make sure ahead of time that your recorder is in prime working order (batteries, settings, etc.) and set it close enough to pick up all the dialog, especially if you have a quiet speaking interviewee. Talk about general topics if you will be taking notes, to get them comfortable with the interview setting. Speak slowly and clearly. Tell your subject that you will give them a break when they need one.

Begin with the basics

Depending on what you might already know about your subject’s name and birth dates, you can skip that information and focus on other questions that might give you more background information.

Some questions to ask:

  • Where were you born? (City, state, country)
  • Were you born at home, or in a hospital or nursing home?
  • Do you know what time of day you were born?
  • Was there a world event that took place the same day? (End of a war, weather event, etc.)
  • Were there other siblings? (This could lead to a long answer, so maybe save it to ask in a separate session.)
  • Where do you fall in birth order?
  • Did your parents both work? What were their professions?
  • What do you know about your mother’s/father’s ancestors? (City, state, country)
  • Are there any celebrities in your family tree?
  • Why did they come to the United States from that country?
  • Did they bring any family traditions with them?
  • What important lessons did you learn from your (Mother, father, grandparents, etc.)
  • Who were the best story tellers in your family?
  • What will you always remember about them?
  • Were you taught any special skills? (Cooking, carpentry, sewing, fishing, hunting, etc.)
  • What were the things you did as a child, teen, and adult that have given you the most pleasure?
  • Were you ever in any accidents?
  • What were the newest discoveries during the time you were growing up?
  • How has the world changed since you were a child?
  • In what way was the world better then?
  • What was your favorite subject in school?
  • What did you like to do after school?
  • Did you ride a bike to school, a bus, or walk? Or, were you taken to school by car?
  • Did you get good grades?
  • What was the extent of your formal education?
  • Is there anything that you would like to tell me about that you feel I should know?

Don’t expect to get all of your questions answered in one sitting. Take this list with you and highlight the most important things you want to know. If your subject is willing to answer more questions, then go back and ask your secondary questions.

Depending on your relationship with the subject, keep in mind that your questions could bring up sad or angry memories. If they do, either move on,change the subject or end the interview. This should be a fun exercise, not something unpleasant. Happy interviewing! :)

Preserving Past Family Home Locations With Google Street View

1105 Spring Street

Sentimental Sunday

If you read the title of this article, it might be a bit misleading in that I was able to get the photo below with just Google. I did use SnagIt (which I LOVE!) too to capture the image.  I am not real adept at using Google with SnagIt,  so that’s why you see that silly magnifying glass thing in the picture.  Google presents the opportunity by supplying the street view; SnagIt makes it easy to capture.  No doubt there are other ways.

My Grandpa Elvin “Al” and Grandma Lillian “Eppy” (Epstein)  Moline lived on the second floor in this building probably from the 1950’s to the late ’60’s.  The address is 1105 Spring Street, Seattle, WA.  I think it’s called the Decatur Condos now.  They had the apartment at the bottom of the photo, which included the small balcony.  Grandma was a sun worshiper, so no doubt she was delighted to have a way to get outside.  Their apartment was a corner one, so the three windows from left to right shows the size of their one bedroom abode.

The far left window was their bedroom whose window was really a cool patio door that opened to the balcony. In the middle was the living room, and I think one side of those windows might have opened to the balcony also.  The kitchen windows are last to the right of the three.  My brother has the drop leaf table that used to sit in front of  the kitchen window.

This apartment had an effect on me I can’t quite explain.  We lived in an old farmhouse in Tumwater.  This apartment was the opposite side of the coin and seemed very posh to me.  A couch on one wall in the living room, and two club chairs with a beautiful wooden secretary faced it from the opposite wall.  There were nice paintings on the walls and tasteful knick knacks scattered here and their, but not overdone.  Grandpa Molines’s father was a furniture maker, so I suppose an appreciation for fine furniture rubbed off on him.  Grandma (she was my mom’s step mother) was a bridge player and a registered nurse, so she was very social and was used to being with people all the time, from all walks of life.  Some of the jokes she told would make you blush.

Last, but not least, was one more attraction for Dave and I when we visited the grandparents in this building.  We were always pumped to get in the elevator and ride to…the second floor.  That was pretty anticlimatic, so we would beg Mom to let us go “exploring”.   We made a beeline right for the elevator and rode it up and down lots of times before we saw the same people more than once.  They gave us the “eye” and we knew we had to give up our fun before someone reported us to the office.  We never once did anything destructive or even thought to do that.  We were just kids out of our element. Good times! Good memories!

 

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Patent Searches

How To Find Inventors In Your Family

The above link is a short post I did some time ago, but it fits in perfectly with this week’s topic of Patent Searches for 52 Weeks To Better Genealogy.  You may find some amazing new information about your family members that you hadn’t known before.  Read my article to see where I found patent information.