Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

German Resources from the Brigham Young University Family History Department


If you have done any research in German language genealogy at the Brigham Young University Family History Library or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. You probably became acquainted with the writings of Professor Roger P. Minert, a professor of family history at BYU.


Professor Minert has listed 116 books about genealogy and family history on WorldCat.org. I attended the Foundation for Eastern European Family History Studies Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah and attended a number of classes on German research. Professor Minert's name was frequently mentioned. I looked up his publications on WorldCat.org and decided to write about these resources in order to start writing about German genealogical research.

Here is the list to get started. This is the first in a series of posts about German records. These are just the books written by Professor Minert or co-authored. I think you might be interested in some of the books from just one BYU professor if you have German ancestors and this is not a complete list.

Minert, Roger P. Against the Wall: Johann Huber and the First Mormons in Austria, 2015.
———. Alsace-Lorraine place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Alte Kirchenbücher richtig lesen.: Hand- und Übungsbuch für Familiengeschichtsforscher. Wuppertal: Brockhaus, 2008.
———. Baden place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Bavaria place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Brandenburg place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Braunschweig, Oldenburg, and Thuringia place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Consolidated Index to German Immigrants in American Church Records, Volumes 1 through 14, 2015.
———. Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Historical Manuscripts, 2013.
———. Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Vital Records Written in Germany. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2001.
———. East Prussia place names index: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Gerhard Henrich Meinert: His Ancestors and His Descendants. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2000.
———. German census records, 1816-1916: the when, where, and how of a valuable genealogical resource, 2016.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Volume 9, Volume 9,. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2010.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Volume 15, Volume 15, 2014.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Volume 16, Part 1 Volume 16, Part 1, 2014.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Volume 17, Volume 17, 2015.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Volume 19, Volume 19, 2016.
———. Hanover place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Hesse-Nassau place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Hesse place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. In Harm’s Way: East German Latter-Day Saints in World War II. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009.
———. Kingdom of Saxony (with Anhalt) place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Mecklenburg place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Palatinate place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Pomerania place names index: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Posen Place Name Indexes: Identifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Indexes, 2015.
———. Province of Saxony place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Rhineland place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Schleswig-Holstein (with Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck) place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Silesia place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Spelling Variations in German Names: Solving Family History Problems through Applications of German and English Phonetics. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2009.
———. “The Influence of Student-Identified Factors on Enrollment in Foreign Language Courses in Public High Schools in the United States,” 1991.
———. The Rauth Family: From Bavaria to Galicia to the United States. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2000.
———. Under the Gun: West German and Austrian Latter-Day Saints in World War II. Provo, Utah: The Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011.
———. Westphalia (with Hohenzollern, Lippe, Schaumburg-Lippe, & Waldeck) place names indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. West Prussia place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
———. Württemberg Place Name Indexes:Identifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Index. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2000.
———. Württemberg place name indexes: identifying place names using alphabetical and reverse alphabetical indexes, 2015.
Minert, Roger P, and Casidy A Andersen. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Vol. 6, Vol. 6,. Rockport, ME: Picton Press, 2008.
Minert, Roger P, and Jennifer A Anderson. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 2005.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 1, v. 1,. Rockport, Me.: Picton Press, 2005.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 2, v. 2,. Rockland], Me.: Picton Press, 2007.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 3, v. 3,. Rockland], Me.: Picton Press, 2007.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 4, v. 4,. Rockland, Me.: Picton Press, 2007.
———. German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 5, v. 5,. Rockland, Me.: Picton Press, 2007.
Minert, Roger P, Kathryn Boeckel, and Caren Winters. Germans to America and the Hamburg Passenger Lists: Coordinated Schedules. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2007.
Minert, Roger P, Shirley J Riemer, and Susan E Sirrine. Researching in Germany: A Handbook for Your Visit to the Homeland of Your Ancestors. Sacramento, CA: Lorelei Press, 2013.
Riemer, Shirley J, Roger P Minert, and Jennifer A Anderson. The German Research Companion. Sacramento, CA: Lorelei Press, 2010.
Roger P. Minert. “UP Quiz: ‘Was Soll Man Denn Sagen?’” Unteteacgerm Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German 24, no. 1 (1991): 61–63.





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

25 New Videos in the Past Month from the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7hqNOQt-2AfeVEpDuc7sCA/videos
The Brigham Young University Family History Library YouTube Channel has posted 25 new video presentations in the last month with a broad range of genealogically relevant topics. We are always looking for new ideas for helpful and relevant topics. If you have any ideas for new topics, you are welcome to send them to me by means of comments to my blog posts. You can also contact the Library directly through their website.

https://sites.lib.byu.edu/familyhistory/
However, the last part of July and August have the University hosting a series of events and school holidays before Fall semester that will likely slow down our production until school gets back in full swing in September.

We invite you to subscribe to the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel, not only to receive notifications of the new videos but also to help the Library with a little more visibility among the millions of videos uploaded every day to YouTube.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Helping Others With Their Genealogical Research


One of my favorite books is T. H. White's "The Once and Future King." [White, T. H. 1939. The once and future king. Collins.] here is a quote from the book that sums up my philosophy about learning:
The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.
Look at what a lot of things there are to learn! Now, I would add one more step in this learning process: look at all the things there are to teach! And for me, there is one more step: look at all the things there are to write about!

Genealogy is an open field for learning. Isn't that great? We can keep learning every day and still not run out of things to learn. Once we have learned, we never run out of things to teach and should we be so inclined, we never run out of things to write.


Monday, July 17, 2017

What is a Digital Genealogical Workflow? Part Three: Organizing and Accessing the Digital Notes


Incorporating computers and all their iterative devices into a daily genealogical workflow is an interesting challenge. For me, the word "interesting" connotes activities that are both challenging and difficult. You can only begin to rely on a digital workflow if you have already begun to use digital devices ubiquitously. For example, if you are still using a flash drive as a primary element in your digital work flow, then you are dependent on remembering to carry a flash drive everywhere you might need one. A true conversion to a digital workflow relies on using digital items that you will automatically and consistently have with you. Fortunately, those devices now exist in the form of smartphones, tablets or iPads, computers and a means to connect all those devices together almost seamlessly.

In addition, the digital workflow assumes that you have either a way to store digital documents and images without resorting to a secondary storage device such as a flash drive or hard drive and further that you know how to integrate all of you research activities into this digital workflow.

The whole idea of digital incorporation breaks down if the genealogist resists using any one of the devices or activities involved in the process. One example is if the genealogist hates his or her smartphone and sees it as a "tether." This usually comes from a feeling of compulsion to respond to every outside inquiry that comes through that channel of access to the internet. Basic to this whole concept of using electronic devices as tools is the idea that they are "tools" and when used for purposes other than "work" they become distractions. For example, if I use my smartphone or tablet to access Facebook all day or to play video games, I am defeating the concept of using the device for a tool. Essentially, this is an issue of self-control and discipline. If you become addicted to texting or Facebook or Instagram, you will be incapable of viewing these electronic devices as working tools.

In my case, I operate in a larger genealogical community composed of many different contacts. Researching my own genealogy and that of others is a major component of what I do, but writing, presenting and working in the BYU Family History Library are also major components of my daily workflow. Depending on your own involvement, you may not feel the need to maintain almost constant contact with the larger genealogical community, but the basic tools are still part of the process.

For example, my iPhone is part of the set of digital tools that enables me to capture information from libraries, cemeteries, archives and other research location and integrate the images I capture into my workflow. But let's start at the core of the workflow concept and work outward to the use of a smartphone.

The core idea of a digital workflow is the use of a centrally located family tree program that supports all of your digital activities. The idea here is to eliminate unnecessary steps in the research process so that information is acquired, stored, evaluated and made permanently accessible in a way that avoids duplication of effort and loss of data.

To start out, I will repeat an example of moving information from a paper-based document or record, i.e. a book, through the process to storage.

Step One: Acquisition
Let's suppose that I am sitting in a library and find a book with information about my target research family. Assuming the library allows me to use my smartphone, I take a photo of the title page and the page or pages where the information is found. I have now acquired the information and the way to create a citation to the source.

Step Two: Storage
This step is automatic if I have set up my smartphone to archive all my images in an online storage program. Either while I am taking the photos, if an internet connection from my smartphone is available, or when I leave the library and once again I am online, the images are automatically transferred to an online image storage program such as Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Dropbox Photos or some other backup program.

Step Three: Evaluation
When I arrive home and I am sitting in front of my desktop computer or when I have access to my laptop or whatever, I can then review the digitized images I have gathered and begin the process of transferring all of the data into my designated family tree program. As I have written many time before, I use the FamilySearch.org Family Tree for this purpose. But, depending on your preferences, you could use another online program or a local computer-based program. This is the step where duplication of effort becomes a real issue. If you have to copy or re-key the information more than once, you will begin to resent the extra effort and either delay incorporating the information into your work flow or lose it altogether.

The Evaluation process is really where the research begins and ends. If you do not carefully examine all the information you have gathered, the whole process is a waste of time. In this process, I use a series of online documents that are available either from Google Docs, Dropbox, or some other program that allows me to keep my notes and observations in a format that is readily accessible from any one of my devices. By the way, many of the desktop programs available today, have online digital counterparts that allow you to synchronize your database to a variety of electronic devices.

Step Four: Creating Accessibility
Organizing your data is essentially the process of tagging and incorporating all of the information in an accessible fashion. For example, if I tag all of the information and add sources to every individual mentioned in the document or record, then I have a consistent and usable way to review and evaluate all the information I gather. The information then stays accessible to all my devices.

There are still a few more details that need to be addressed. I am also adding this series to the list of topics that will be covered in the future by a BYU Family History Library YouTube Video. Occasionally, I find myself repeating what I have already said or written. But this is a process of evolving ideas and come back to the same topics allows me to expand and change the perspective on what I am saying. For example, see "Taking Advantage of Your Smartphone for Genealogy - James Tanner."

Please see the following for the earlier posts in this series.

http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-is-digital-genealogical-workflow_9.html
http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-is-digital-genealogical-workflow.html

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Busy Times Ahead


During the next three weeks, I will be participating in or presenting at three different workshops and conferences. I will also be out for a camping trip away from computer connections. I anticipate times when I will not be able to post regularly. But the benefit will be that I will accumulate a whole new and long list of topics to write about.

I will be presenting at the following two conferences and also be attending the conferences:

I will also be attending a workshop sponsored by FamilySearch in Salt Lake City, Utah. We will also be camping for a week with our family. 

Sorry about the interruptions, but please take the time to view a video on the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel or read some of my thousands of previous blog posts. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How does Net Neutrality Affect Genealogists?


You may or may not have had a startling warning appear on your computer telling you that the website you are trying to use may be blocked in the future. These unsupported and alarming messages are part of the battle going on over the euphemistically named issue of "net neutrality."

As genealogists, some of us spend a lot of time working online on our computers. Issues such as current hullabaloo over net neutrality intrude into our work whether we are interested or not. Because the entire issue, if there is one, is so emotionally politicized, it is almost impossible to get a fair idea of what is actually being discussed and what the issues are all about. Because this issue intrudes into my daily use of the internet, I finally decided to write about the issue.

First of all, a bare bones definition of net neutrality:
The principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
If you think about this for even a few seconds, you will begin to see that this statement opens up a whole Pandora's box of issues. Do we really want every terrorist, pornographic and other evil websites in the world to have free and complete access to the entire internet? At one level this statement seems to be advocating unlimited and unrestricted speech even when that speech is dangerous and destructive. Do you really want spammers to have unlimited and complete access to you and your family?

What most of the emotional appeals current being made ignore is the difference between regulating content, i.e. the message of the signal and the signal itself. Related ideas include not only net neutrality, but also open standards, transparency, lack of Internet censorship, and low barriers to entry.

The key here to understanding what is going on is to focus on the three words at the beginning of the definition: "Internet service providers." This whole issue is not about whether or not terrorists can send you messages, but, at its core, it is about the ability of commercial internet service providers' ability to limit and charge different fees for different commercial activities. For example, can Comcast or Cox charge more for streaming Netflix than they do for streaming some other content? However, the argument has been put into the context of the individual internet user's ability to freely connect to content. Here is a quote from savetheinternet.com, a private organization.
When you go online you have certain expectations. You expect to be connected to whatever website you want. You expect that your cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting you to all websites, applications and content you choose. You expect to be in control of your internet experience. 
When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality.
Hmm. But you might get a little more insight into what is going on if you keep reading into the next paragraphs:
Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked. 
In 2015, millions of activists pressured the Federal Communications Commission to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules that keep the internet free and open — allowing you to share and access information of your choosing without interference. 
But right now this win is in jeopardy: Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to destroy Net Neutrality. And on May 18, the FCC voted to let Pai’s internet-killing plan move forward.
Who is this? Here is their explanation:
Freepress.net is a project of Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund. Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund do not support or oppose any candidate for public office. We are nonpartisan organizations fighting to save the free and open Internet, curb runaway media consolidation, protect press freedom, and ensure diverse voices are represented in our media.
I could go on. If you want to know more you can look up this charity and many others on the Charity Navigator.

I am reminded of the battle that occurred many years ago when VCRs were first introduced. The big movie producing companies wanted to ban VCR taping. They took the position that if individuals could record movies, then the movie industry would be destroyed. They put up petitions on tables in the theaters to gain public support. Today, the movie industry makes more money off of DVDs and licensing than they sometimes do off of theater presentations. Additionally, the movie industry was certainly not destroyed by recorded movies. As with the present net neutrality issues, the discussion involved the method of distribution and not directly the content.

Sometimes, even though the various parties react in highly emotional ways, none of the "solutions" proposed really address the underlying issues. There are countries in the world that limit almost all the content of their internet service providers. For example, Netflix is completely blocked in China it is also blocked in some countries due to regulations from the U.S. Government. Do we have a fundamental, human right to watch Netflix?

Has the internet always been free and open? Not at all. It actually started out as the ARPANET or the Advanced Research Project Agency Network run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA.

The real issues here are commercial and political. As they say, "follow the money." Who will benefit from "net neutrality" and who will end up paying more for internet access? For more information, start with this article on Wikipedia: Net neutrality.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah



The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is taking on a new look. Large photo graphics are being installed not only here on the exterior but also inside. This is part of the new direction of the Library. The entire first floor of the Library has been converted into a Family Discover Center. 



The stations of the Discovery Center are very large screen monitors and each area focuses on a family history related activity. The center is staffed with a number of full-time and Church Service Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are not there to proselytize but to assist visitors in having an immersive family history experience. The books and microfilm are still there on the other floors and researchers are not required to enter the Discovery Center if they do not want to do so. 


My wife and I spent some time in the Family History Discovery Center before it was officially opened and were surprised at the variety of activities and the interest they generated. On my most recent trip, I was completely engaged in looking at books and microfilm and did not spend any time in the Discovery Center. 


To find out more about the Family Discovery Center see their web page

https://familysearch.org/discovery/