Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogger's Template Designer

I choose Blogger as my choice of blogging tool because it is easy and quick. Google just updated the tools to design the blog and I have to say they are pretty cool. You can create a relatively unique design for your blog. I played around with to create a more interesting design for this blog. Check it out!

My Top 10 Favorite Genealogy Websites

Saw this meme over at The Armchair Genealogist and it reminds me of Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day. I have found a number of great tools this way that also cross over from elearning to researching ancestors on the web and I have been spending a lot of time researching my roots so I have definitely have my favorites. Here is my list.
  • Footnote - I love the search feature the best! It makes it so much easier to find a document when you can find it using convention search methods. It is a subscription site but does offer some free records like the social security index.
  • Family Search Pilot - The pilot website has a similar search feature and it really speeds up searching for documents where you think a name might be misspelled or when you want to search by location. They also have added documents recently. One of my recent finds was a birth document for child of my maternal gg-grandfather. It helped document details in a letter one of my great-aunts had written to my grandmother.
  • Illinois Archives - This site has marriage records dating back to early 1800s as well as birth and death records. Great for cross-checking and ordering hard copies of records.
  • Seeking Michigan - Developed by the Library of Michigan, this is site has death certificates stored online as well as a wealth of information about Michigan's history
  • Find A Grave - The site has over 48 million grave records and is a great site to use as a cross reference. I have found some great stuff here. I should contribute as well.
  • Dead Fred - Great site for browsing old photos and you even might find an ancestor or two
  • Google Books - Google's ambitious project has delivered a wealth of books that once were gathering dust in back rooms of many of libraries. I find it fascinating to read books that were written in the 19th century. Reminds you of how much things have changed. And of course the site offers great search options.
  • National Archives - This site has everything a genealogist loves. it all. military records, old newspapers, photos, and historical documents. 
  • - I can't say I have found anything useful here but the site does offer a window into the past and I have a few disaster stories I would like to confirm and document so it is great place to find clues
  • Ancestry/WorldGenWeb Project/Rootsweb - I lumped these three together because Ancestry pretty much controls Rootsweb with WorldGen project being a part of Rootsweb. Ancestry is great site and has much useful information. It is a subscription site and is reather expensive for an individual. I like to look at the discussion boards for clues. The WorldGen sites are also a great resource to find information you may not find anywhere else.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tracing History

In the past few months I renewed my interest in tracing my ancestors. I think the popularity of the show Who Do You Think You Are has renewed my interest. I have found that not only am I learning about my ancestors but I am also learning about history. For example, my great-great grandfather traveled to the United States to spare his boys from being conscripted in the Bavarian Army. Ironically my grandfather emigrated at a time of growing unrest in the US and found himself fighting in the Civil War. Each document you find helps to tell a story and along the way you also learn some history. This blog will be my place to share tips and tricks I have learned along the way.