Archive for March, 2012

March 5, 2012

Are Published Transcriptions Still Necessary?

The advent of Internet genealogy and the rapid growth of online databases of original records have facilitated genealogical research in ways that previous generations could never have imagined. For a small monthly fee, researchers can sit at home and access thousands of census records from around the world through online databases, not to mention military records, city directories, and a growing number of other records. With a few keystrokes and the push of a mouse button, they can contact distant cousins and share information, a process that once took days, if not weeks. They can access digitized copies of hard-to-find out of print genealogies with little more than a Google search.

With all of this emphasis on digital research, should traditional methods be ignored? Specifically, do we still need printed publications, like records transcriptions? To answer those questions, we must consider the nature of both digital and traditional genealogical research.

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March 4, 2012

A Sunday Walk Around the Blogs

There’s hope yet for burned records. The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis is working to restore, among other things, military personnel records damaged in a 1973 fire that devestated the NPRC’s holdings. This is exciting news for those of us whose ancestors’ paperwork may have been affected by that fire.

Julie Tarr gives 4 Reasons to Convert Your Genealogy Research into Writing, a timely reminder to all genealogists. Julie’s blog focuses on genealogical writing.

Finally, Robyn at Reclaiming Kin has an informative post about Ex-Slave Pension Records, a source with incredible potential for documenting the lives of former slaves. Robyn has taken the time to capture several images showing a range of the documents one might find in this collection.

March 2, 2012

Hello, Jemima! Now Wait Your Turn…

A recent trip through the Superior Court records of Rabun County netted an interesting connection: an 1838 petition naming Jemima Kell as the sister of James Kell.1

Years ago, another researcher gave me information on Rabun County’s Kells. Not a Jemima amongst them. Ok, no problem, I thought. I’ll just contact that researcher and see if she’s uncovered anything new. Unfortunately, delivery to the e-mail address I had for her failed, and her web site is no longer up. In desperation, I posted to a message board. The researcher I was looking for hasn’t answered yet, but another one has. I’ve queried back for more information. Not knowing this particular other researcher, my imagination is going into overdrive about our anticipated exchange.

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March 1, 2012

The Little Lulu: Painting of the Air Battle

The Internet can be a powerful tool for connecting people. I’ve been trying to post the information I have on my grandfather’s time in the Army Air Corps during World War II, particularly as a crew member of the Little Lulu, a B-24 Liberator assigned to bomb oil refineries in Europe. Daddy Thad (Sgt. Thad J. Watson Sr.) was shot down over then-Czechoslovakia August 24, 1944. One crew member managed to bail out of the airplane, but the remainder, including my grandfather, were killed when the plane crashed.

I knew that my grandmother had corresponded with the residents of the village near where the battle took place. Posting information about the crew of the Little Lulu netted contact with one of those villagers, and now another has created a stunning picture of the battle. The artist is Vit Soukup, son of Jiri Soukup, and the painting is called Thad’s Last Victory. As Jiri said, Vit is a very talented artist.

Please take the time to view this wonderful tribute to my grandfather and the other crew members who died that fateful day.

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