History Unfolded – A Newspaper Project


Last week, I blogged about a summer volunteer opportunity through the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. A new challenge was just posted so I added my guess and the reason why. If deciphering transcriptions aren’t your style, here’s a new project that needs your help…

History Unfolded is creating a searchable newspaper database to measure the pulse of regional newspapers during the 1930’s and ’40’s regarding news about 30 Holocaust events. If you love to read old papers, then this is for you! You may use Newspapers.com or a local paper in which you have access. For more details – check out their website.

The Transcription Challenge


The Transcription Challenge is a unique way to volunteer. As AmericanAncestors.org transcribes the Massachusetts: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1798-1900, they have discovered some very difficult words to transcribe. Knowing the old saying “Many hands make light work” and “Two heads are better than one” are true, weekly during the summer, a new transcription challenge will be posted with the undecipherable area circled in red. So far, 4 challenges are available. All you need to do is take a look and make a comment of what you think is written for the appropriate number of the problem’s name. This is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon! Give it a try…

More on Accessing Records

Last post I mentioned that access to valuable genealogical records may be limited due to proposed U.S. legislation. Today I want to let you know about other valuable records that are just waiting to be viewed. By becoming a NARA Citizen Archivist you can help digitize records that are just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a few of the tasks that are need:

Tagging

Transcribing

Uploading Photos

Contribute to Articles

Every little bit helps so find your niche and begin!

Viva Volunteers! A Unique Opportunity for You


I’ve just learned of an organization that does something unique in the genealogical field and I wanted to share it with you. Unclaimed Persons is an organization that unites families with deceased kin whose remains have not been claimed from the Coroner. Unfortunately, this is a situation that is occurring frequently as families relocate and lose touch with an elderly relative that remained behind. UnclaimedPersons.org was founded by Megan Smolenyak in 2008; more than 400 people have been aided but there is more work to do! You can help by volunteering your research skills from the comfort of your own home. Check out the FAQ on the website, visit the FaceBook page for open cases and put on your Super Sleuth hat to begin. Remember, “A good deed is never lost!”

Transcribers Needed! How You Can Help.

I recently received an email from the National Archives regarding a need for volunteers to help transcribe and tag items in the archives catalog.  What an awesome opportunity to help digitize historical records!  With the holiday season approaching, this opportunity is a wonderful way to give back to the genealogy community by helping to make available some of the U.S.’ national treasures! Not sure where to start?  I say, just follow your heart – check out the Transcription Missions and select whichever area interests you.  The directions are simple – just click here and the easy to follow instructions will get you on your way to doing a very good deed.

Mexican War Soldiers – A Project You Can Help With

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 29 Sep 2016.

Looking for a way to give back to the genealogical community?  An awesome preservation indexing project has begun that may be of interest to you.

The U.S. National Park Service’s Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park partnered last month with the Federation of Genealogical Societies for the purpose of developing a database of  individuals who served in the U.S.-Mexican War. The project will be ongoing – after the estimated 130,000 soldiers are entered to a searchable database, military unit information and related documents will be scanned and added.

You can help – just email Patricia Rand at projects@fgs.org.

Love Those Records Found Online? Here’s How You Can Keep Them Coming!

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 10 July 2016.

Remember the days when you had to physically go to a location to find a record?  Or contact someone who lived close to where you needed to hunt and HOPE they would respond via snail mail?  And plan for months to get some ancestor hunting in when on a vacation or business trip?

Seems like years ago but it wasn’t.  How far we’ve come in this fast pace world with having information available at our fingertips whenever and wherever we are.

I’m not sure where the source of the statistic that I keep seeing that claims that about 10% of all records are posted online.  Whatever the number, I think we can all agree that  the benefits of surfing in the comfort of our home far outweighs the small costs we might have to pay to “belong” to an organization to access the records.

But being greedy, I want more!  I long for the day that I can click on any link on Familysearch.org and instantly bring up a filmstrip.  Wow – not having to order, wait (and wait and wait because my local peeps always forget to let me know that the filmstrip arrived), drive to thel library by rearranging my schedule to match when they have volunteers on staff, trying to unspool the film when I find what I want to take to the machine that prints a copy, playing with the copy to lighten/darken/enlarge/shrink, saving to my thumbdrive because their internet is sporadic and I can’t save to the cloud, cleaning up my workspace and then driving home again.  Not fun!

I’ve found four ways that you can help get more records online and this can all be done from your home!  It’s very simple, it’s fun and there’s no cost to you.  Just follow the steps below:

  1. Get cozy in front of whatever device you prefer – desktop, laptop, tablet – your choice!
  2. Click one of the 4 options below and follow their directions

             Family Search Indexing – between July 15-17th

Decoding Civil War Telegrams

Purple Hearts Reunited

World Archives Project from Ancestry

3.  Feel good that you have contributed!

Over the holiday last weekend I happily indexed Civil War telegrams.  For transcriptions, the handwriting was fairly clear and the input method was a breeze.  I used to index for Ancestry but haven’t recently.  I’m not sure if they still offer a discount if you indexed x number of records but they used to.  Check with them and see – it could save you money on your subscription renewal.  I plan to help out Family Search and the purple hearts group in the near future.  Working on my “On The Clock” portfolio took up a lot of my time over the past year so I didn’t have much free time to spend volunteering.  I’m planning on scheduling time in the near future though, as I believe it’s important to help get more records online.  Together, we can increase that 10% online and that’s helpful to everyone!