Best Bytes for the Week of September 9, 2011

What’s Hot

If you’re not one of the lucky folks at the FGS Conference this week, you can follow along with the action at Twitter or by visiting any of the sites of the many bloggers in attendance.

Elvis is in the Building! And if you happen to get a photo of yourself with him at FGS, you could win a free registration to the 2012 SCGS Genealogy Jamboree! Deadline is September 12, 2011.

Pssst! RootsTech is offering a deal to FGS attendees, as well as wannabes at home. Get the skinny from Amy Coffin at RootsTech 2012 Registration Discount at FGS2011.

FamilySearch Adds Millions of U.S. Civil War Records

Blogger Denise Spurlock is offering a 1-year subscription to if you participate in the Workday Wednesday Challenge: Occupations in Census Records at Reflecting on Genealogy. Deadline is September 15, 2011.


California Governor Signs Law to Protect Against Genetic Discrimination

Blogger Buzz is Announcing the Blogger app for iOS. “With the Blogger app, you can write a new blog post and publish it immediately or save it as a draft right from your iOS device. You can also open a blog post you’ve been working on from your computer and continue editing it while you’re on-the-go. Your blog posts are automatically synced across devices, so you’ll always have access to the latest version.” Awesome!

“Starting this weekend, the closest supernova found in at least 25 years will be visible from your backyard with just binoculars or a small telescope.” Details at How to See a Supernova This Weekend From Your Backyard from Wired Science.

Sacred sites: From Ground Zero to Pearl Harbor, how America deals with heartbreak and healing

Gold Rush history told in biographical novel (Calaveras County, CA)

Dead-end genealogy search leads to historical novel

Help Wanted

Join the conversation: September 11 – Bearing Witness to History.

Judy Webster of Genealogy Leftovers wants to know why people feel compelled to “tweet” live during conferences? Why don’t they just wait until afterwards? Your thoughts on Genealogy Conferences and Social Media Policy?

Jo from Wibbling Jo’s Genealogy Blog needs Canadian tips in A bit of a riddle

“Seeking birth records pertaining to births that occurred at ‘Fairhaven Home for Unwed Mothers (Circa 1929) – Sacramento CA.’ If you know where these records might be held please let us know.” See Mystery Monday – Sharpen those Sleuthing skills – Your help is needed NOW from Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society

Advice Needed-Why Do You Like Your Smart Phone? from The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum

FamilySearch Research Wiki Needs Writers! Details from Genealogy Canada by Elizabeth Lapointe.

Help Given – Do you have an orphan heirloom in need of rescue? Send your orphan heirlooms home! from UpFront with NGS

From the Blogs

Meta… what? Technophoo. Have no fear… from They Came Before by GeneJ

If you’re looking to organize your busy family (so you have more time for genealogy), check out An Organizational Tool for Busy Genealogy Moms… and Dads! from The Armchair Genealogist by Lynn Palermo

Societies and Book Publishers: A New Partnership? from Roots and Rambles by Marian Pierre-Louis

You mean, we can’t even trust MOM? “If Your Mother Says She Loves You…”: On the Importance of Questioning Sources from Mnemosyne’s Magic Mirror by Mel Wolfgang.

Before you visit, read Are You Visiting NEHGS? #1 from Life From The Roots by Barbara Poole

And Never the Twain Shall Meet – Using Divorce Records in Your Research from Carolyn L. Barkley

Saving Private Ryan… and Parker and Johnson and… from Deb’s Delvings in Genealogy by Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist

Should Genealogists Care About Voter Registers? from a3Genealogy by Kathleen Brandt

Genealogical Societies Should Consider Ancestry Content Publisher from Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver

How Your Ancestors’ Occupation Can Help Your Genealogy Research from Begin with ‘Craft’ by Valerie Craft

Excellent analysis: Which sibling is it? The importance of a detailed date from Photo-Sleuth by Brett Payne.

Making A Great Digital Genealogy Publication at Family History with the LINEAGEKEEPER

What’s that again? Of Boilerplate and Black’s Law Dictionary from Staats Place by Chris Staats.

The Last Byte… Just for Fun

Here’s one you have to see to believe: TALK ABOUT A MEAN DRUNK from Family Trees May Contain Nuts. Hopefully this problem can be contained.

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If I missed a good story, please share in the comments.

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items, please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, Deb RuthJen, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Best Bytes for the Week of June 3, 2011

Evil, they name is “Carbohydrate.”

I started a new diet this week, so I hope you will forgive my grumpiness. I seriously think I’m having carbohydrate withdrawals, and it’s starting to affect my mood.

That being said… I will be taking the next 2 weeks off from writing “Best Bytes.” Next Friday, I’ll be busily enjoying the SCGS Jamboree, along with about 70 other geneabloggers and thousands of genealogy enthusiasts from all over the country (dare I say WORLD?). The following Friday, I’ll be in San Mateo at the N.S.C.A.R. Western Regional Meeting, enjoying the sights and sounds of the lovely California Bay Area.

Hopefully by the time I return, I will have experienced an attitude adjustment.

Note to my husband: Please do NOT remind me ONE MORE TIME that today is National Donut Day. It’s a bad idea to mess with a woman having carb withdrawals.

In the News

5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet

Want to go back to get those ancestor answers? Desktop Big Bang Shows Time Travel May Be Possible After All.

Students Curate ‘Inventing Brooklyn’ Exhibit at Brooklyn Historical Society

R.I.P. Paul B. Ferrara, pioneering Virginia DNA scientist, dies at age 68; remembered as visionary.

Help Wanted

The FGS Outreach Committee is accepting nominations for the FGS 2011 Youth Award, which honors volunteers under the age of 18 who have made a significant contribution to an FGS member society. Submit your nominations by July 15, 2011.

Sheri from The Educated Genealogist is looking for interested genealogist to participate in a research group. See NGSQ Articles Online Study Group for details.

Jen from Climbing My Family Tree wonders if she did the right thing in Tombstone Tuesday: Gravestone-Tipping. Really?

D Lee from A Patient Genealogist wonders about the safety of sharing family information online in Tech Tuesday: How do I protect my family?

Jim’s Girl of Jim’s Girl Family History Blog is Looking for Julia Moynihan, Grandad’s Sister the Sister. Can you help?

From the Blogs

This one will give you a big case of ancestor envy: John Laymon – a photograph helps locate 100 family members from Long Lost by Susan Petersen

Had enough of Blogger down-time? Check out Is it time to move to WordPress? from Moultrie Creek Gazette by Denise Barrett Olson.

Smartphone users: don’t let this happen to you – Scrappy Gen Gets Organized – Backup Smackdown Meets Lookout from The Scrappy Genealogist.

Chris Staats from Staats Place wrote a thoughtful post about the ol’ “pros vs. hobbyists” discussion in Beep, beep! Researcher Coming Through!!

It appears that source citations passions are “blooming” like spring flowers again. Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings does his best to fan the flames round up various bloggers’ posts on the topic in Inflaming Source Citation Passions.

Another hot topic this week has been self-publishing your genealogy. By Kimberly Powell of the Guide provides some resources in Self-Publishing for Genealogists.

And… not really genealogy-related, but still a great story: How Twitter made a believer out of me by Shelley from A Sense of Family. I’ll be keeping an eye on TweetDeck the next time I fly!

The Last Byte

My family takes honoring military veterans and service people very seriously, especially at times like Memorial Day. So this story made me very unhappy: Soldiers’ graves at Old West Farms cemetery tell story of bravest sacrifice.

Sadly, the 40 men who served in four wars buried in this 200 year-old cemetery were forgotten on Memorial Day.

I know, I know… people are busy, and not everyone cares.

But let us never forget that freedom isn’t free.

And it doesn’t cost anything to spend a few minutes saying thank you to a veteran, alive or deceased.

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If I missed a good story, please share in the comments!

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn’t have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Best Bytes for the Week of May 20, 2011

Still hanging around.

Well, it’s just after 5:00 p.m. PDT, and I’m still here. I’m guessing you are too, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Hopefully the fact that we’re both still hanging around is a good thing, so, I offer the following for your reading enjoyment. After all, you didn’t have any plans for tonight, did you?

In the News

May 20, 1873: The Pants That Changed the World

How the universe has grown: 5.3 billion mobile devices. That’s billion. With a “b.” Amazing. Infographic: A Look At The Size And Shape Of The Geosocial Universe In 2011.

Scientists Fight University of California to Study Rare Ancient Skeletons

Living history becomes part of school curriculum

Trade-In Your Used Cameras at Amazon for Gift Cards

Help Wanted

Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog is Calling all artists [to enter the] International Jewish Genealogy Month poster contest. Deadline for entry is June 15, 2011.

D. Lee at A Patient Genealogist wonders how much faith to put in Rootsweb Family Trees. See Wanting Wednesday: Is this a tangent?

Debi Austen at Who Knew? is about to embark on her first genealogy Research Trip, and needs some packing and pre-trip shopping advice.

Blaine Bettinger of The Genetic Genealogist has dedicated his DNA to the public domain. See My Genome Online – A Challenge To You to participate in the challenge.

Heather Kuhn Roelker from Leaves for Trees is doing some research for a friend and asks: Mexican Genealogy Research…where are the records?

Jessica from Jessica’s Genejournal has announced an Update to the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. The deadline for submissions is June 17, 2011. wants your opinion: Jamboree: Focus Group Announcement.

The AOTUS asks: Are you in? YOU, the People: Citizen Archivists and Digital Engagement at The Text Message.

From the Blogs

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has been writing an interesting series about New Family Search Family Tree. There are 6 posts so far, but knowing Randy, there will be more. Follow them all here.

Also at Genea-Musings, Randy alerted California genealogists to the proposed legislation regarding California Vital Records. Get your wallets out, folks.

How do you decide on which genealogy sites and services to spend your hard-earned cash? Deborah Large Fox of Irish Genealogy: Help! The Faery Folk Hid My Ancestors! offers some GUIDELINES FOR BEING A SMART GENEALOGY CONSUMER.

I thought this was a great family photo: Getting Ready for a Wedding — Hopfengartner’s (1908) posted at Family History Tracing by David.

Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames asks: Musings On A Monday Lack of Courtesy or Lack of Common Sense? In other words, is lifting/borrowing/coping documents and photos from one tree to add to one’s own – without contacting the tree owner first – a lack of courtesy or a lack of common sense? (I say both.)

Where did they go? Follow the Epidemics, Plagues, and Scares from a3Genealogy by Kathleen Brandt.

Coolest ancestors of the week: I come from a long line of wizards… from Genealogy Geeks by Jen.

Blurb users: You Gotta See This + 20% Off Blurb Code, good until May 31st (from eighteen25).

For your weekly warm fuzzy: My Daughter’s View of the NGS 2011 Conference in Charleston from Climbing My Family Tree.

The Last Byte

This story really has nothing to do with genealogy or family history… yet. But it will someday, for one student’s family. A 7-Year-Old’s “Space Life” Wins The 2011 Doodle 4 Google Contest.

Congratulations, Matteo, and may you go on to do many more things to make your family proud!

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If I missed a good story, please share in the comments!

*   *   *

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn’t have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Best Bytes for the Week of May 13, 2011

So I’ve been a little reluctant to post this today, afraid that it would go into the Blogger Black Hole, where sad, little blog posts unlucky enough to be published on Wednesday vanish into the ether. Although Blogger claims that nearly all posts have been restored, I’m still waiting for my post about the ProGen meet-up at Jamboree to magically reappear.

[taps fingers impatiently]

But in the spirit of peace, cooperation, and the understanding that every free product will have it’s occasional hiccup, I offer this lovely poem: Bad Haiku Friday: Be Nice to Blogger from Twinfatuation by Cheryl Lage.

Well said, Cheryl.

In the News

Digging down to family roots: Internet’s easy access has pumped new life into ancestor research.

Would you by a Kindle that was pre-loaded with ads? Target Now Has the Kindle (And You Can Win One!) here.

A great eco-solution? Or downright creepy? THIS AWESOME URN WILL TURN YOU INTO A TREE AFTER YOU DIE.

You know you watched it. We all did. Nearing 100 Million Views, Decorah Eagles Become The Most-Watched Live Stream Ever.

Only in California (and 2 other states): State to double crime searches using family DNA.


Help Wanted

Know of any endangered or forgotten Historic Family Cemeteries in Virginia? Preservation Virginia would like to know about them (via TCasteel of Tangled Trees).

How do you balance your “real” life with your genealogy life (I don’t)? Nancy at Family Tree Firsts has realized there are So Many Trees, So Little Time, and would like some time management advice (there’s a ProGen lesson for that).

Does this place look familiar? (Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Fancy Fur from Climbing My Family Tree by Jen.

Where do you put them? Conference Papers (add ’em to the piling system) from Geniaus.

Debbie from Mascot Manor Genealogy is considering teaching a class in Family History for Children and would like to know what you would put in your syllabus.

Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist is working on A Most Curious Case, and well… you’ll just have to read it for yourself to believe it.

Help Given: If you want to write a book on archives, libraries, cultural heritage organizations, or information science, Kate T. at ArchivesNext can help you with that.

From the Blogs

Having NGS Conference withdrawals? Follow the NGS Conference 2011 Posts Compendium at Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver. Publishes First Digital Versions of War of 1812 Pension Application Files Adds Web Search from Genealogy Insider by Diane

Lots of news this week about the National Jukebox from the Library of Congress. Susan Kitchens of Family Oral History Using Digital Tools did a nice write up at National Jukebox at the Library of Congress.

Several interesting posts about images and metadata: Metadata, Image Files and Migration from The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum, which is in response to Adding source information to image files – Tuesday’s Tip by Heather Roelker at Leaves for Trees. Also Photo Metadata from Moultrie Creek Gazette by Denise Barrett Olson.

Top 3 Reasons to View the Actual Vital Record from Amanda’s Athenæum by Amanda E. Perrine.

A truly awesome place: Wait There’s More! Researching at “Archives II” from by By: Carolyn L. Barkley.

It pays to check out those collateral ancestors: Researching Sisters Leads to Finding Great Great Grandmother from Journey to the Past by Brenda Leyndyke.

Just for fun: The Nerd State of Blissful Library Addiction from GeekDad. If you’re interested, I’m from the Air Pollution state.

The Last Byte

This week, my favorite story was again about young people doing good things. This time, they’re learning about their ancestors, and developing a sense of pride in their heritage.

Several Berkeley Technical High School teens are taking classes at the Family History Center in Oakland, California, as part of the Family Journeys Ancestry project started during Black History Month in February.

As one teen in the program discovered, “You don’t just come from any old thing. You come from a rich history.”

A seasoned genealogist couldn’t have said it better.

For your weekly warm fuzzy, read Genealogy search expands East Bay teens’ worlds.

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If I missed a good story, please share… er… once Blogger brings comments back online.

*   *   *

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn’t have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Best Bytes for the Week of April 22, 2011

How did you celebrate Earth Day today (or this week)? Sadly, I spent most of the day with a cold, adding to the landfill by using almost an entire box of tissues. I’ll try to make up for it by putting them all in the recycling bin tomorrow (can I recycle used tissues?).

Up Front

In honor of Earth Day: Color Your Family Tree Green.

Planning to attend the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree? There’s an app for that.

Winners of the 2010 GENEii Family History Contest have been announced (and again I say, “Maybe next year.”).

Canadians, Become part of history on May 2, and don’t be erased for future generations of genealogists (via John Reid at Anglo-Celtic Connections).


In honor of Royal Wedding fever, is offering free access to their U.K. and Canada Marriage Collection through midnight EST on April 30, 2011. Start searching here.

Gale Digital Collections is offering free access to their 19th century newspaper collection through April 24, 2011. You still have 2 days to try it out! (via Taneya of Taneya’s Genealogy Blog).

Lost Cousins is offering free access to their site until May 2, 2011 (via Scottish GENES – and don’t miss the funny comment by Judy W.).

Not free, but every little bit helps: Sale — 20% off Purchase Through 26 April 2011 — Genealogy Research Resources You May Not Have Known About! (via UpFront with NGS).

In the News

It’s about time: Bill would create memorial to Revolution, War of 1812 patriots.

Fresh Evidence Adds Weight to Human Ancestor’s Identity

I’d hate to meet this guy in a dark cave: Biggest Spider Fossil Ever Found.

The genetic genealogy world just got a little bit smaller: DNA Heritage ceases operations and transfers databases to FTDNA by Your Genetic Genealogist.

TV mogul Norman Lear to bring original copy of Declaration of Independence to Eisenhower Library

Close, but not quite: DNA links bones to martyred saints.

How would you enter THIS in your genealogy database: Three-parent babies a step closer after watchdog gives research go-ahead despite ‘life meddling’ fears.

For your warm fuzzy fix: Waukesha girl’s sweet gesture returned by grateful troops. Awesome!

Help Wanted

Photo Detective Maureen Taylor would like to hear your stories of how you found photos of your Civil War ancestors in unlikely places. Share your story and Help a Fellow Genealogist (Civil War-Style).

Kate T. of ArchivesNext asks What would you want out of a History & the Web conference? Stop by and share your thoughts.

Valerie at Begin with ‘Craft’ posted My Most Wished For Genealogical Records. If you have suggestions on where she might find similar records, please let her know.

Jen at Climbing My Family Tree is Having a Slight Panic Attack. She’s getting ready to move (again), and wants to know how you deal with your genealogical data during a move?

Family History Day at the California State Archives wants your resources. What resources would you suggest for the beginning genealogist?

David at Family History Tracing Needs help with Slovak Record.

Ginger Smith of Genealogy by Ginger’s Blog needs help with James Godwin of Sampson Co NC.

John at TransylvanianDutch has begun delving into his fiancee’s Norwegian ancestry, and needs help Deciphering a name.

Pugbug at Gravestoned wants to know What do you see? (Not a clue. A petrified surfboard?)

The Utah Genealogical Association has Openings Available for several volunteer opportunities.

No law gainst destroying the bronze markers on veterans graves? Seriously? last2cu says I Need Your Help For A Friend!

From the Blogs

I was so sorry to hear that Cheryl Palmer’s Great Swedish Adventure has come to an end. Read the final installment at Heritage Happens.

Taneya of Taneya’s Genealogy Blog has set up a new research tool for genealogists: The Genealogy Digital Bookshelf. Give it a try, and let her know if you find it useful.

Frustrated with’s search feature? Julie of GenBlog has some great Search Strategies. Check out part 2 here.

Need a distraction? Family History Game Launches on Facebook.

Debbie Parker Wayne (who recently received her CG – congratulations, Debbie!) at Deb’s Delvings in Genealogy offers perspective on Educational Sources for Historical Context.

John Speed’s atlas, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine has been digitized and put online (via The Map Room).

I hate scrapbooking (I know, what kind of MOTHER am I?). But Denise Barrett Olson makes it look a little bit more fun in Keynote Scrapbooking – Playing with Papers at Moultrie Creek Gazette.

Lovely story by Barbara Poole at Life From the Roots: A Blog, An Obituary, and A Little 1892 Dress.

So that’s how they did it: Photo buttons by Photo-Sleuth Brett Payne.

And we think earthquakes are scary: Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Again? by footnoteMaven.

If you’re like me and can’t keep your great-greats and twice-removeds straight, you’ll want to check out Vickie’s lovely Tech Tuesday :: Kinship Chart at BeNotForgot. Thanks for the PDF, Vickie!

The Last Byte(s)

Yes, I’ve read the “posts-that-everyone-is-talking-about,” and yes, I have an opinion. But after wading through more than 1,000 blog posts this afternoon, I don’t think I have much to add that hasn’t already been said, and I’d just rather not go there right now. For those of you who do want to go there, Greta Koehl did a nice summary in her Follow Friday Newsletter today on Greta’s Genealogy Blog, so I encourage you to check out the posts there.

I will, however, say that I’m disappointed. There’s room for everyone in the genealogy sandbox, folks, and there’s no reason not to play nice. In the words of the infamous Rodney King, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

If you’ve ever been blasted by the “Anonymous” nasty commenter, visit WHY I OUGHTA!!! by Lori E. at Family Trees May Contain Nuts. You go, girl!

Finally… in honor of Easter, you won’t want to miss Genea-Rabbits Rock! by none other than The Educated Genealogist Sheri Fenley.

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To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items, please visit my Google Profile. Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal
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