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18 Aug 2016

Free Aerial Photography Resource for Genealogists

The ASPRS Aerial Data Catalog is a free aerial photography resource for genealogists to use in their research.

Provided by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), this is a useful tool for locating aerial photography for both U.S. and international geographic areas of the past and the present. ASPRS bills this database as “the Source for Finding Aerial Collections”.

The ASPRS Aerial Data Catalog aggregates aerial photography from private companies, universities, states, non-governmental organizations, and federal sources. The catalog contains metadata allowing users to determine if coverage exists over an area of interest. The acquisition date, film type, sensor type, and scale are also provided along with the repository contact information. Click here for more information.

Once you have located a set of records, you can narrow a search by applying a filter once, or multiple times, to refine your search. If you need assistance, please check the Help page for more tips.

Here are some of the latest uploads to this site, […]

11 Aug 2016

Rambles Through Our Country in 1890

The Library of Congress Prints and Photos blog today features an 1890 game called Rambles Through Our Country – An Instructive Geographical Game for the Young. While it’s nice just to marvel at the chromolithograph printing of this colorful game, this item has research value for genealogists working on records from the United States in 1890.

There are probably no earth-shattering revelations here, but the images and the way in which Americans viewed individual states in 1890 makes interesting reading, as well as providing context for your research.

Lara Szpszak writes, “The goal of the game is to help players become familiar with American geography and the treasures the United States has to offer. A player spins the “teetotum” and places their counter on the matching number on the map. Each number then corresponds to a location and description in the accompanying booklet. Fortunately, the booklet is available online from the Internet Archives!” […]

19 Mar 2016

Why We Do Genealogy

How many times have you been asked why we do genealogy?
Back when I was a working archivist-librarian, the bosses who held the pursestrings would ask me why we should even bother with all that old stuff. After all, it was so expensive to take care of and nobody really cared about those dusty old archives. My immediate, though internal, answer was always, “How can you not care about history?”

None of my grad school classes in history or library science prepared me to justify archival preservation, research, or outreach, especially to bosses who had never done primary-source research themselves. Eventually I figured out ways (with more or less success) to make preservation and access to the historical records in my care palatable to administrators who only had eyes on the bottom line.

A few years ago, I posted about a visit to the Tenement Museum, one of the best historical museums anywhere.

I have eight great-grandparents […]

13 Jul 2015

Place Research Tool

Place Research Tool is the new way to search the huge database of geographical information at FamilySearch. Place Research Tool helps you find standardized information for place names with links to GPS-generated maps, variant spellings, and dates when names were in effect. In addition to helping genealogists search for exact spellings and locations, FamilySearch indexers also use this database.

Place Research Tool has its origins in the now superseded Standard Finder from FamilySearch Labs.

The image above shows the new Place Research Tool results page, complete with map.

To the right is what the search results page looked like under Standard Finder. As always, double-click to enlarge images.

I wrote about Standard Finder in this blog some time ago, noting its ability to advance place name research. This is particularly helpful for areas where the borders changed frequently and place names varied between different languages, as seen in this ancestral village of mine that was once was Rawitsch in Prussia and now is Rawicz in […]