primary sources

30 Aug 2015

SAA Archives Change Lives

Proud of my profession today with this new outreach effort from the Society of American Archivists. Enjoy this video from SAA Archives Change Lives. “Archives take lives and make them legacies.” What a wonderful one-sentence summation of archives and genealogy.

Have archives changed your life? Tell SAA about it here. (This page is designed for professionals, but I’m sure SAA wants to hear from users, too.)

4 Aug 2015

Black Sheep Chicken Thief

There’s a black sheep chicken thief in our family tree. I found my father-in-law in the 1930 census as an “inmate” of the Kansas State Industrial Reformatory at the age of 19. Because my husband was not raised by his father, we didn’t know what he’d done.

Quick Googling revealed the records of this reformatory were at the Kansas State Archives. His case file revealed he “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously, did steal, take and carry away in the night time 24 Rhode Island Red Chickens, of the fair and reasonable value of over $20” from a neighbor. Another count of stealing 36 chickens from another farmer was dropped when he pleaded guilty to the first charge. He got five years and served almost two years before he was released.

Five years for $20 worth of chickens sounds excessive to me, but it does seem that he made rather a career of it and perhaps had […]

4 May 2015

Primary Source Analysis Tool

The Primary Source Analysis Tool is a creation of the Library of Congress that can help your genealogy research.
LC’s Primary Source Analysis Tool was originally designed to help teachers enliven history for their students using historical documents. The exercises built into the Primary Source Analysis Tool can also be helpful for genealogy research, encouraging you to look at family primary source photos or documents with a fresh perspective.

For genealogical purposes, it helps to use the Primary Source Analysis Tool on your family primary sources with other genealogist friends or groups. Or you can think of yourself as both the teacher and the student as you work through the questions.

The Library of Congress exercise is as follows:

Using Primary Sources
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by […]

4 Nov 2014

Request Free FamilySearch Scans – Tuesday’s Tip

UPDATE: The Family History Library has announced: “Online requests for photo duplication services of microfilm and books are no longer available.” Click the link above for more information from FamilySearch.

Did you know you can request free FamilySearch scans for specific records? The good people at have been offering to scan and email specific records from microfilm and books in their collections for free for some time. But FamilySearch recently unveiled a new online form for requests, so even if you have used the service before, this post can help you.

Here are the steps to request free FamilySearch scans:

Register for a free FamilySearch account here, if you do not already have one.
Check to make sure record is available in the collections and that it is not already available online.
Submit a maximum of five requests (one image per request) each month, using the new photoduplication request form.
Provide the following REQUIRED information in the online form, so that the Photoduplication Team can […]