The National Archives at New York City reopened last month in its new facility at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan. You can find information about the new center on the website http://www.archives.gov/nyc. At this new facility, NARA will be giving free genealogy lectures. For a list of their spring 2013 programs go to http://www.archives.gov/nyc/press/2013/genealogy-programs.pdf.
It did not take long for the Family History Library’s Photoduplication Unit to become inundated with requests after they began their digital copy email service. Last week I received an email from them informing me that they are “swamped” and that the time frame in fulfilling requests is now 4-6 weeks. This is not a problem for me because, like many other seasoned family researchers, I have learned to be patient when waiting for records.
Come to our informal program (Thursday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m) to share a personal experience or just to gain some new insights and advice. This will be a fun opportunity to learn from one another.
Someone commented that he gets too many results when searching for articles in the Old Fulton NY Postcards historical newspapers database (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html). I suggested that he try using the Boolean search option which allows a researcher to combine words or phrases by using the terms AND, OR, NOT to narrow or broaden search results. This could be helpful in narrowing your search by combining your ancestors’ surnames and place of residence. For example, if you are looking for the Kennedy family that lived in Hyannis Port, you might try in the Boolean search option the terms Kennedy AND Hyannis Port. On the other hand, if you are not researching the Kennedys of Hyannis Port and too many of your results were for this family, you might try the terms Kennedy NOT Hyannis Port. What I find particularly useful for family research in the database is the Word Proximity capability. This gives you the ability to search for words within a certain proximity to each other. So, if I were looking for articles on John Kennedy, I could use John w/1 Kennedy. This commands the search engine to look only for articles that have the names John and Kennedy within 1 word of each other. It will eliminate hits where the name John and Kennedy just happen to appear on the same page. Of course, if I thought there might be a middle name or initial used in articles, I might use w/2 instead, so articles on John F. Kennedy are not excluded. To narrow the search even more, try combining commands. For example, you can search using the following string of words: John w/2 Kennedy AND Hyannis Port. For articles concerning John F. Kennedy’s wedding, you might include the name of the bride and word “wedding. “
There is no one set formula for best making use of the Boolean search. You might have to try several terms before you locate what you are looking for. However, this type of search should help you find articles more effectively in the Old Fulton NY Postcards historical newspapers. You can also use Boolean searches in some other online newspaper indexes such as the New York Times Historical. Click for Examples of Boolean Searching
If you would like more tips on searching the Old Fulton NY Postcards go to http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton_New_help.html
Just when I thought ordering Family History Library copies couldn’t get easier, it just did. To request digital photocopies from the Family History Library you can now e-mail your request to Photoduplication@familysearch.org. You also no longer need to use a form; however, if you would like to use the old form, you may. To read more about this exciting news go to: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Photoduplication_Services
Join us on Thursday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m when the Sons of Norway will speak on how to research Norwegian ancestors. At this program, you will be introduced to some of the Norwegian records available to researchers.
On January 4, 2013, I posted that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City was emailing copies of requested records to those who provide them with an email address. I mentioned that I could not find either in my inbox or spam, the email that the Photoduplication Unit said they sent me. I thought I had accidently deleted it, perhaps due to not recognizing the sender. Shortly after that post, I followed up by faxing them another request for different records, and last night I received from the Photoduplication Unit an email with the requested copies that I was given 14 days to download. Below is the way the email appeared in my indox:
The turnaround time was so short that I almost could not believe it was from them. So I am happy to report that I was very satisfied with my second experience with this new ordering procedure. It’s definitely a major improvement over the old snail mail system.
I just noticed that there is online genealogical index for deaths that occurred in New York State (excluding New York City) from 1957 to 1962. It is listed on the website www.health.ny.gov/metrix. An online New York State death index seemed like exciting news, so I contacted the New York State Department of Health and asked if they had plans to add more years to the index. They informed me that because of staffing and fiscal constraints, they have no plans to continue the project.
A few weeks ago, The Family History Library Photoduplication Unit sent me a refund check and a message informing me that they had emailed me the copies of records I had requested. This confused me, because for many years the procedure was that you filled out the Request for Photocopies form, enclosed a check (two dollars for each record), and about a month later, the records would arrive in a large envelope. I was unaware that the procedure had changed, and when I checked my email I did not see any message from the Family History Library. I mentioned this to someone who had the same experience; however she found the sent records to her in her email inbox. The email with the attached records was sent from the Photo Duplication Services, and the subject line was “Photoduplication Shared”. In my case, I do not know if the email went to my spam folder or if I accidentally deleted it because I did not recognize the sender. I called the Family History Library and asked them to explain the new procedure. They informed me that they now email records without charge to those who provide an email address on the form. The Request for Photocopies form still has to be filled out. It must be faxed or mailed, but not emailed. Unfortunately, they were unable to resend the email that had been sent to me. In spite of my first negative experience with the new procedure, I welcome the change as it promises to be more convenient, money saving, and even environmentally friendly (if records are not printed out). You can find the form for requesting copies at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/5/5f/Request_for_Photocopies.pdf
The Thought occurred to me as I was doing some holiday baking, that I am the only family member with my mother’s recipes. As someone interested in preserving family history, I thought it was unfair to the rest of the family, that I should be the only one with them. Sometimes I get so focused on extracting information from other family members, that I forget that I also hold some valuable information. Also, everyone in my family knows I have the family pedigree charts, but they might not know I have mom’s recipes and photographs of her cooking. So, I plan on creating a cookbook that will also include photos. By searching the internet, I discovered plenty of websites and blogs with interesting ideas for creating family cookbooks and albums. I figure by next holiday season, everyone in my family will be getting an additional present from me.