April 13, 2014

A Sunday Walk around the Blogs

Judy G. Russell puts a fine point on copyright with Courtesy, ethics and law.

On Rootsmithing: Genealogy, Methodology, and Technology, Drew Smith discusses the fact that expertise is neither dead nor sequestered. The short of his argument is that copyright does not keep anyone from using published research and genealogy experts are not to blame because newcomers to the field can’t be bothered to use offline resources, including libraries.

Along similar lines, Michael John Neill, on RootDig, discusses the twin myths of the Genealogy Elite and the Genealogy Police.

The American Historical Society recently published a blog post, Big Changes in Store for the Future Management of Government Records discussing the impact of President Obama’s recent memorandum on managing government records.

I discovered an interesting new blog this weekend written by Kari Roueche, who recently graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Master degree in Liberal Studies/Archival Studies. The blog is called Archiventures and explores various aspects of history in the eastern Tennessee area.

March 30, 2014

A Sunday Walk around the Blogs

Lee Carpenter writes about a new addition to Foxfire’s property over at Appalachian History, a German-style barn donated by Sam Beck, Warwoman Community, Rabun Co., GA.

In Looking around, Judy G. Russell offers a friendly reminder that not everything in a courthouse has been microfilmed and/or digitized in.

One of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ recent QuickTips covered sigillography. Can you guess what it means before checking her excellent discussion?

Sometimes, history can be downright bizarre. While rooting through a trunk inherited from his aunt Bonnie Revis, Frederick Cochran found a piece of cake left over from a 1924 wedding held at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, where Revis worked as a cook.

March 16, 2014

A Sunday Walk around the Blogs

Well, here’s what I’ll be doing this summer… (Hint: Not genealogy.)

Thomas MacEntee offers, Plagiarism: A Venereal Disease in the Genealogy Community, in which he discusses how a certain, known plagiarist is up to his old tricks again. Thomas also asks an important question: Why does the genealogy community continue to tolerate this person’s activities?

Elizabeth Shown Mills ask, Genealogy? In the Academic World? Seriously? in QuickLesson 18 on the Evidence Explained website.

March 11, 2014

Paw Martin and Daylight Savings Time

My father often tells tales about his maternal grandparents, Paw and Maw Martin, whom he adored. They lived right next door when he was growing up, so he saw them often and has many fond memories of them.

One story Dad tells is about Paw’s reaction to Daylight Savings Time, back when it was implemented in the US. Paw refused to go by the “new” time, so anyone who wanted him to be anywhere during the months affected by DST would have to convert that time to Standard Time.

I know, this makes Paw sound like a curmudgeon, but he wasn’t; he was actually a very good man. Possibly, his attitude toward a time switch had something to do with being a farmer. Animals have clocks in their heads, not on their mantels, and when a cow’s used to being milked at a certain time, that’s the time it needs to be milked. There’s a reason farmers work from day’s light to day’s end. It has little to do with the position of hands on a clock, and more to do with efficient use of light and other resources.

Every year when the clocks change, I think of Paw and wonder if I might have inherited a little bit of his practical nature where time’s concerned.

February 26, 2014

Mailing List for Publications

I’m trying to move my publication efforts into the 21st century, and that includes deep and serious thoughts about marketing. Right now, I have four titles out (three non-fiction and one novel), with more in the works. Figuring out how to let people know when new titles are available for purchase is one of the challenges self-published writers and compilers face.

To that end, I’ve started an e-mail list for my publishing company, Bone Diggers Press. Right now, I mail flyers through the U.S. Postal Service to past customers, which can get expensive and isn’t always effective. (I secretly believe some libraries are throwing the flyers away without opening them, even those that have expressed interest in purchasing future titles.) So, I’m hoping the e-mail list will be an easier, more cost-effective way for me to communicate with potential customers.

If you’ve purchased a title from me in the past, you’re on my USPS mailing list. If you’d rather receive an e-mail, just let me know and I’ll help you shift from physical to digital notices. To sign up for the e-mail list on your own, go here and submit your preferred e-mail list.

February 26, 2014

Wordwise Wednesday: etc. and et al.

Latin is still alive and well in the English language, contrary to what most people believe. Today’s examples are frequently used abbreviations taken directly from that language: et cetera (abbreviated etc. or &c., in older documents) and et alia (et al.). Both are Latin for “and others,” but they have different uses. “Etc.” is used to extend a list of things, whereas “et al.” continues a list of people. For example:

When writing, one should have plenty of supplies on hand, such as pens, paper, etc.

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy contains articles written by Kory L. Meyerink, Loretto Dennis Szucs, et al.

Note that an acceptable interpretation of “et al.” is “among others.”

While these abbreviations are incidental, they are often confused. Knowing when to use which helps make one’s writing sharper and more easily understood.

February 19, 2014

Wordwise Wednesday: A Blogging Meme for Writers

Because I’m probably going to focus more on writing over the next couple of years, I wanted a way to channel that energy into my blog. Don’t worry. I’m not giving up posting about local families and research. Instead, I wanted to have a place where I can explore genealogy and writing, and particularly the methods behind the madness, such as when to follow “the rules” and when to break them. As with all the blogging memes I use here, I won’t post every week, at least, not after the new’s worn off.

I know there are plenty of other genealogy-focused writers out there who blog, so feel free to take this meme and run with it. Have fun, explore your writing-crafty side, share your mad writing skills, and maybe we can all learn a thing or two.

February 18, 2014

Shifting Priorities

A few of y’all might have noticed that I’ve only posted here infrequently over the past few months. Part of the reason is because I’m shifting my attention away from genealogy onto other things (more on that in a moment), and part of it is because since November 2013 I’ve been completely unable (for non-health related reasons) to get out and do research.

The “other things” I’m doing include refocusing my activities toward writing both non-fiction (genealogy) and fiction. In the past year, I’ve published Rabun County, Georgia, Writs, 1836 – 1859 (a book-length abstract of important historic court records), several articles for The Appalachiana, an article for the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly (on Georgia’s poor school records), and my first work of fiction.

The latter came about in kind of an odd way. Back in November, when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get out to do research for a while, I started playing around with what has long been a dream of mine: writing a novel. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for decades, and the way I actually accomplished it was in many ways thanks to my skills as a non-fiction writer. The end result is The Prophecy, which I’ve self-published under the pseudonym Lucy Varna. The Prophecy isn’t really confined to a particular genre. Richard says it’s suspense with romantic elements, but I intended for it to be romantic suspense with paranormal elements (immortal women, a curse; sorry, but no vampires).

Even before I wrote started plotting (I use that word loosely) and writing The Prophecy, I’d been considering shifting my focus to more writing- and editing-related activities. It’s no secret that I’m pursuing certification through the BCG and that I’m trying to slowly establish myself as a serious academic genealogy author. Writing and publishing a novel doesn’t mean I’m leaving genealogy or those particular goals behind. It just means that I have more than one possible future path.

For now, I’m trying to juggle writing both non-fiction and fiction. The rest of my genealogy related activities are still in place, although they’re receiving less attention than I would like. I still can’t get out to do research (again, non-health related reasons) and I’m not taking on any new projects, unless something really interesting comes my way (in which case, I reserve the right to change my mind). One project I’d like to pursue and have been thinking seriously about is a historical faction (novel) set here in Rabun County. That’s a long story, and I’m not ready to reveal the details yet, but look for more information in a year or so.

In the meantime, I will try to find time to post more often here. I haven’t forgotten this blog; far from it. But my time is severely limited right now. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but I will try to budget enough time each week for ye olde blogge.

January 28, 2014

Rabun County’s Weather, January 1899

We’re having a snow day today here at home. Interestingly enough, the weatherman predicted no snow for northern Georgia; yet, there it is: three inches of snow, and more coming down by the second.

Just for fun, I thought I’d post some excerpts from The Clayton Tribune‘s community columns for January 1899. All were taken from my published transcription of Rabun County’s early newspapers, Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 – 1899.

6 January 1899 issue:

Tiger: “We are having some very cold weather.”

Warwoman: “According to the ruling days the weather will be very favorable for out door labor up to June.”

If you’re wondering what “ruling days” is, the old-timers believed the first twelve days of January corresponded respectively to the twelve months of the year, weather-wise.

13 January 1899 issue:

Warwoman: “We are experiencing a cold snap at present, hope the weather will moderate soon and we may have a pleasant January.”

Bridge Creek: “The weather is very cold and unsettled now.”

20 January 1899 issue:

Upper Tiger: “We are having some more disagreeable weather and the roads are muddy. The overseers are trying to have them worked so that Judge Estes will not grumble when he attends court next month.”

North Chechero: “It is the muddiest time now we have had in quite a time. W. L. Carver arrived home last Friday and reports more mud and it in larger pieces.”

26 January 1899 issue:

Bridge Creek: “Mud and rainy weather seems to be plentiful.”

North Chechero: “I am glad to see nice weather again. The roads are drying out some.”

Vandiver [column] 1: “Rain and mud, no end to the mud.”

Vandiver [column] 2: “We are very proud of the beautiful weather and if it remains fair I think we will have less mud.”

So it seems that no matter what the era, people are always interested in the weather and either complaining because it’s bad or joyful because it’s not. Plus ça change…

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

To all my geneabuddies and friends, I wish you a safe and happy New Year. May 2014 be full of possibilities, promise, and the joy of friends and family.

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