26 January 2018

Unique Transcribing and Indexing Projects

Indexing for FamilySearch and Ancestry are very worthwhile projects to volunteer your time.

But if we're honest, it can get boring.

I found some other projects that need volunteers.  Unique and interesting projects. 

The Boston Public Library needs help transcribing their collection of handwritten correspondence between anti-slavery activists in the 19th century.  The Boston Public Library's Anti-Slavery collection—one of the largest and most important collections of abolitionist material in the United States—contains roughly 40,000 pieces of correspondence, broadsides, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and memorabilia from the 1830s through the 1870s.

This paper based archive, which is housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, contains handwritten and typewritten transcriptions of Dutch and Flemish (plus some German) nationals who lived in Rome from the 1550s until roughly the 1700s. They are looking for help transcribing for use in a database.

The Smithsonian Digital Volunteers Transcription Center has over 40 different projects going on.  Just a couple of them:

Using the indexed and browsed records provided by FamilySearch, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has begun a collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center. The SI Transcription Center is a platform for digital volunteers to transcribe and review transcriptions of Smithsonian collections. With almost 2 million individual records in the collection, the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project will be the largest crowdsourcing project ever sponsored by the Smithsonian. To supplement the indexing work done by FamilySearch volunteers, the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project will transcribe word-for-word every document in the collection. When completed, the papers will be keyword searchable. This joint effort will help increase access to the Freedmen’s Bureau collection and help the public learn more about the United States in the Reconstruction Era.

This collection of financial papers relate to the plantation operations of several generations of the Rouzee Family in Essex County, Virginia. The papers date from the 1790s through 1860.

Just a few of the many ongoing projects:

1869 Hungarian Census from the shtetl of Horlyo.
Bukovina Telephone Directory for the year 1909.
New York City Marriage Indexes
Birth index from the town Herta, once Romania and currently Ukraine. These list covers the years 1928-1929.

Uncover everyday life during the 19th and early 20th centuries by transcribing letters and diaries.   Transcribe letters, diaries, journals, and other material from the Newberry’s Modern Manuscripts Collections, a repository of American manuscripts from the mid-18th through the 20th centuries. The materials comprise a range of items, including letters exchanged by three generations of an immigrant family, the Everetts, and the Civil War diaries of Private Ferdinand Kilbourne, of Covington, Pennsylvania.

Is pleased to announce the launch of a digitization and indexing project to make naturalization records from nearly 70 Michigan counties freely available online. In a partnership with FamilySearch, and with the support of the Michigan Genealogical Council, the Archives of Michigan is asking you to help transcribe key genealogical information from the records. Once completed, the collection – including both the images and index – will be freely available only at Seeking Michigan.

Operation War Diary
The National Archives in England has digitised the war diaries of the units under the command of the British and Indian cavalry and infantry divisions on the Western Front. The war diaries are made up of a variety of different types of pages, including cover pages, title pages, orders, signals, maps, narrative reports and the main diary pages themselves.  They need help transcribing these diaries.

Citizen Archivists at NARA
With the help of our virtual volunteers, we are increasing online access to the historical records of the National Archives. Join us! You can help crowdsource metadata and information about our records through tagging, transcribing and adding comments in the National Archives Catalog. 

The New York Public Library needs help transcribing 19th and early 20th century real estate records from the Emigrant Savings Bank.  Emigrant Bank was founded in 1850 by members of the Irish Emigrant society to serve the needs of the Irish immigrant community in New York. In its early history, the bank grew to become the seventh largest bank in the nation, and it made major investments in the growth of New York City by underwriting loans for such important initiatives as the construction of St. Patrick√≠s Cathedral and a public works project that ultimately became Central Park.

The Digital Maine Transcription Project
Help transcribe records and documents from the Maine State Archives and the Maine State Library.

By participating in Old Weather: Whaling, you’ll be helping to advance research in multiple fields. Data about sea ice and other weather events are useful to climate scientists, while historians value knowing the course of a voyage and the events that transpired on board. You might even discover something that takes everyone by surprise. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting dive into maritime history!

Help scientists recover the Arctic and worldwide weather observations made by United States ships since the mid-19th century by transcribing ships' logs. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and will improve our knowledge of past environmental conditions. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and tell the stories of the people on board.

Washington State Archives invites you to become "honorary archivists" through the transcription and indexing of historically important records in Washington State.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
This group is still looking for volunteers to transcribe ship passenger lists.

So what are you waiting for?  

19 January 2018

Now That It's Over - My Thoughts On Being President of a Genealogical Society

Last night was my genealogy society's annual dinner.  Traditionally it's the night we give awards and recognize members for their service.  It's also the night when the new officers are installed.

I served as president of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society for four years and have termed out.  I got the position because 4 years ago the president resigned after serving for only a few months.  I was vice president at the time and so that president just dumped the whole enchilada on my lap.  

I went kicking and screaming as I was dragged into the hot seat.  I was not prepared at all for this responsibility.  I thought I would have had 3 or 4 years as vice president, working under the president, getting primed for the leadership position to come.

In a few short months, I learned how to create an agenda, how to run a meeting, how to keep people from killing each other and the hardest task of all - learning to stand up front and center and talk to a crowd of people.  I am incredibly petrified to do public speaking.  Even if I have a script in front of me so I know what to say, I am scared stupid.  But I learned to do it.  

Being president is like being a conductor of an orchestra.  He doesn't actually play any instruments during a performance, but he needs the knowledge of how each instrument should be played and have the ability to step in and play should the need arise.

While it has been "Good to be the Queen" it is time for a new leader to take the reins. The past 4 years have been challenging and interesting and I am satisfied that our society has improved and is flourishing in a number of ways. 

I had two goals I wanted to reach during my term of office:  

  • Obtain 501(c)(3) non-profit status for the society.  
  • Create a bright and shiny new website, one that would help bring us into the 21st century.  

I can check both items off my list.

We did some new and different things:  

  • We partnered with the San Joaquin County Historical Society and created the First Families of San Joaquin County program.
  • We presented our first day-long seminar with 4 speakers and over 100 attendees.
  • We held a special 1/2 day seminar during the summer - special because our society goes dark for the summer.
  • We set up a booth at several community events to help promote the society.
  • We reached out further to the community teaching beginning genealogy classes at the junior college.
  • We added 2 more libraries to our Saturday genealogy workshops.

Over the last 4 years, our society has grown in both membership and benefits - 23 NEW MEMBERS IN 2017 bringing us to over 100 members now -  and is financially healthy.

I hope that in some small way, I have inspired and encouraged the members of SJGS to grow as genealogists and to take the step and volunteer to keep the society going.

 I can't encourage you all enough to make that step - get involved.  15 minutes or 15 hours -  volunteers are a very special breed.  They step in when they see the need.  They share their skills, talents and time.  Every one of you has something to bring to the table and make a difference.  Every one of you has a voice and you need to use it.  The society exists only because of you, the members. 

You can throw money at any organization, you can throw money into any nonprofit, and feel like "you know what, I did my part, I'm good to go" but if you really want to leave a legacy and if you really want to impact lives, I think it's really important that you get your hands dirty and you get involved in the experience.  

Congratulations and Good Luck to Jacqi Stevens, new president of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society!

16 January 2018

RootsTech 2018 - Will I See You There?


I do love me a good genealogy conference.  Next month I will be attending RootsTech for the very first time.  National genealogy conferences usually have around 1000-1500 attendees.  I was told that around 25,000 people attend RootsTech.  The more the merrier I always say.

In the coming weeks I will be writing about how to prepare for a national conference - what to wear, what to bring, and more.

For now, have a gander at the photos below and you can see for yourself why I love me a good genealogy conference.

George and Drew

Randy Seaver and Cheryl Palmer and Peter the Parrot

Donna Pointkouski, Lisa Alzo, Sandra Benward and Me

Elizabeth Swaney-O'Neal and Me

 Ron Arons

Among all the genealogists in the room:  Caroline Marshall Pointer, Tonia Kendrick, Me, Elyse Doerflinger, Diana Ritchie, Elizabeth Swaney-O'Neal, Kathryn Doyle

Name Badge Swag

l-r: Randy Seaver, Janet Hovorka, Lisa Alzo, Amy Urman, Angela Packer McGhie and Me