Saturday, August 18, 2007

Searching for Water

This summer has been exceptional for the weather we have experienced. Heavy rains in the southwest, while remaining hot and dry in the southeast. Many crops are damaged and the leaves of trees are falling off early.
As my Mom and I were driving to the FGS Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana this week, we passed a gaggle of geese trying to cross the road. My Mom commented, "They are probably trying to find some water."
Her statement reminded me of one of the major reasons our ancestors might have uprooted the family -- the need for clean, running water. Imagine moving your family across the frontier and finding a lack of water. Consider the following questions: Could the land produce enough to support the family? Were the weather conditions conducive to quality life for the family?
I have always believed that solving a difficult family history problem starts with asking the right question. After this summer, I will add a new question to my list... "Where's the water?" This may help you solve some of your brick-wall problems as well.
Keeping the story alive

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Learning Something New Each Day

I am amazed at how much we can learn each day. Considering how much I don't know, it seems that the ability to learn becomes more important each day. As a genealogical and historical researcher the ability to absorb new facts, opinions, and trends is critical to my understanding of people. It has always been helpful for me to read contemporary accounts of historical events. That is one of my favorite uses of Google Books.

Google Books is an effort to digitize the images along with searchable text. According to their site:

"Our project is to include library collections in Google Book Search and make these books searchable and discoverable. We show useful information about the book, and in many cases, a few snippets – a few sentences to display your search term in context. When a book is out of copyright, you can view or download it in its entirety."

Try this example yourself.

Search for "oklahoma territory" and click Search Books. You will find over 1000 books listed. If you click on Full View at the top of the page, the list will show only those books found in the public domain. Notice the wonderful titles and descriptions. If you select any of the titles, the image will appear and allow you to page through the book, check an index, or search through the title.

Select The American Settler's Guide: A Popular Exposition of the Public Land System of the U.S. Once the image appears, choose Table of Contents from the list on the right of the image. Notice that Chapter 1 of this book details the types of land, while Chapter 2 goes through the process step-by-step. This provides a great tool for researchers to follow the same instructions our ancestors were reading in 1895 or 1884 or earlier.

We may go to specific pages in the book by entering a page number or forwards/backwards arrows at the top of the image or scrolling with the mouse. We may also download a PDF copy of this document to our computer by selecting Download PDF near the top right of the image.

Okay, I've shared the sight and few short tips - So go learn something new today.

Keeping the Story Alive - Mark
J. Mark Lowe
J. Mark Lowe Reviews
Springfield, Tennessee Speakers
powered by Speaker Wiki