52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy — Week 34: Flickr

Here is the challenge this week:

Week 34: Browse Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/). This is a photo-sharing web site allowing users to upload their photos, tag them with specific keywords and share them with the public if desired. Images pertaining to your genealogy research interests may be on this site. For example, one user has photographed and compiled a set of Texas Historical Markers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/texashistoricalmarkers/sets/). Experiment wi…th Flickr for this week’s challenge. Use different search terms related to locations, surnames and cemeteries. Notice how people label their photos. If you have a genealogy blog, describe what you find, or how this tool can benefit genealogy researchers.

I’ve been a Flickr user for quite a while and often will post scans of my family photos on there. You can tag photos with your surnames, place names and other information so that others who share these details with you can find you easily. You also can tag people in your photos and add them to a map. A cousin found me after finding one of my photos.

Other times, I’ll upload the images I’ve used in my blog posts and link back to my blog from Flickr. Using tagging as mentioned above, it’s another way to drive traffic to my blog and to find others with common interests.

SNGF: Happy Clerihew Day

This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is to write a clerihew. A clerihew is a poem with an AABB rhyme scheme. Here’s my quickie contribution:

Deep run the roots of my family tree
The ancestors who came before me
Discovering who they were is my schtick
Breaking down walls made of brick

Can’t wait to see what my fellow genea-bloggers came up with for this!

Using Gist to Keep Up With It All

Recently, an Internet meme began on the topic of what kinds of technology we use to get things done. I’m not sure how comfortable I am sharing all the gadgets and settings that I’m using, but it has spurred me to write this post about a really neat service I just found out about.

Sample Gist Profile Page

I’m using Gist to keep track of my contacts these days. One of the most valuable aspects to Gist is its ability to track a variety of web content by  your contacts. This could include articles they write, blog posts, tweets, etc. All of these items appear in one place when you view a contact on Gist. This is particularly handy for keeping track of contacts with multiple online identities (*ahem* Thomas MacEntee).

Gist Dashboard Highlighting One Contact

You can connect Gist with Gmail, Outlook and Lotus Notes to keep track of the folks you email the most. You also can link it to your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts and it will start tracking your connections on those services too. In addition, you can upload a .csv file with contacts who may not be covered by the services above.

Gist Contacts Tagged with "genealogy"

The result when you are done is a one-stop shop for finding out what all your contacts are up to — from Tweets, to blogs to articles to Facebook posts. I’m going to start using it to keep track of the blogs I follow.

By connecting Gist with your email account, it also can help you track your current conversations with each contact. Alternatively, if you haven’t heard from someone in a while, you can look them up on Gist to see what you’ve missed.

I’ve set up two separate profiles on Gist — one for my genealogy business (to help me keep track of blogs and my clients) and one for my work at the University of Maryland (mainly to help me keep up with my press contacts).

You can customize how you view your contacts by tagging and rating them. Gist can store email addresses, phone numbers and multiple links associated with each contact.

You can create a public profile and then start connecting with other Gist members as well. I have not gotten this far yet, but assume it would lend yet another layer of depth to the amount of information this tool can offer to you.

There are several tutorials available on using Gist features. I recommend checking out the Gist blog and Twitter feed if you’re interested in learning more. You should read their privacy policy too, if you have concerns about giving access to your information.

Here’s my public profile on Gist: http://gist.com/baysideresearch

Follow Friday: Anything & Everything Thomas MacEntee

First of all, I’m going to try my best to list all of the various blogs that Thomas MacEntee writes (and for each one, there’s usually a Twitter account and Facebook fan page to follow/like as well). I know I’ve written about Thomas in this Follow Friday spot before, but he really deserves as many props as possible — he’s the glue that keeps us genea-bloggers together! He’s supportive, resourceful, prolific (obviously) and hilarious. I don’t know how you do it all, man!

Personal family history blog: Destination: Austin Family

Genea-Bloggers (keep track of blogging themes, events, challenges, etc., in the geneablogging community)

High-Definition Genealogy (his business arm, providing market research, consulting and more; check out the cheat-sheets!)

Illinois State Genealogical Society Blog (brand new and I’m really excited about this one since I have ancestors from Illinois)

And I Helped! (his family recipes)

There are still more blogs that Thomas has worked on in the past like the Graveyard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries. Be sure to check some of these out too if the topics are of interest to you!

Don’t miss the GeneaBloggers Zazzle store (which Thomas also runs) for all your genealogy-blogging merchandise needs.

I feel like I’m missing some of his other links and contributions, so feel free to add them as comments!

MyHeritage.com’s Top 100 Genealogy Sites <– Bayside Blog Made the List!

I happened upon an announcement on the GeneaBloggers web site that the MyHeritage.com list of the Top 100 Genealogy Sites was announced today. I was surprised and happy to see that Bayside Blog made the list!

I’m so honored by this recognition. I’ve been up and running for less than a year, but the genealogy blogging community is a very supportive one. Thanks to all of you who have been encouraging me.

Congrats also to the other sites mentioned on the list, including many folks I have gotten to know well over the past few months. These include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

Destination: Austin Family

Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

The Family Curator

TJLGenes

And many others! Be sure to check out the full list here.

GeneaBloggers 2010 Winter Games: Week 1

Well, I was off to a strong start, but then life, the day job and client research got in the way (still not clear if any of the client work I’m doing can be counted towards the medals or not…). So, there really hasn’t been a change in my medal status since I last reported in: two bronzes and one silver. We’ll see if I can make some more progress over the weekend…

2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games: Day 3

I went back to work today for the first time in more than a week thanks to the Blizzards of 2010. It’s not quite 9 p.m. as I type this, but I’m already bleary-eyed after work, my commute, volunteering and genealogy research.

But, I did manage to comment on a new-to-me blog post and that means I advance to a silver medal in Reach Out & Perform Acts of Genealogical Kindness category of the 2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games. Woohoo!

The post that inspired me to comment was this gem at the GeneaBlogie blog.

That puts my medal standings at two bronzes and one silver.

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy: Google Maps

Here’s this week’s challenge from Amy at We Tree:

“Play with Google Maps. This is a helpful tool for determining the locations of addresses in your family history. Where your ancestral homestead once stood may now be a warehouse, a parking lot or a field. Perhaps the house is still there. When you input addresses in Google Maps, don’t forget to use the Satellite View and Street View options for perspectives that put you were right there where your ancestors once stood. If you’ve used this tool before, take sometime and play with it again. Push all the buttons, click all the links and devise new ways it can help with your personal genealogy research. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with Google Maps, or suggest similar easy (and free) tools that have helped in your own research.”

I decided to look up the address my paternal grandfather listed on his WWI draft registration card. The address is in Northwest Washington, D.C. By looking at the various views on Google Maps, I was able to determine that he lived near the National Zoo:

And that the location is now nestled between a bank and a Verizon Wireless store:

Google Maps states that a management company (with some pretty negative reviews) currently is housed at the address, but there’s a For Rent sign in the window on Street View.

My grandfather was a physician and it’s likely that his practice was housed in this building as well, especially since it appears to be a mixed use area. I know that the family used to live on the premises because I have other documents, including a letter written by my father as a teenager, bearing the address.

What I want to know is if some of the photos I have of my dad were taken at this address, including his ever-popular Rick Astley shot, which would have been taken around the time the family lived at this address. Has the neighborhood changed that much or was this photo taken at a different location?

Folks who like this kind of task may get a kick out of the Historical Aerials web site. It’s not comprehensive, but you may luck out and be able to see what your ancestral locations looked like from the air decades ago. I was able to find a view of the above street corner from 1963.

[This post constitutes Task A in the Expand Your Knowledge Event of the GeneaBloggers 2010 Winter Games and earns me a bronze medal!]

2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games: Day 2

I didn’t manage to compete in very many categories today in the 2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games. It was more of a housework olympiad for me.

However, if citations for client research count toward the Go Back and Cite Your Sources event, then I’m well on my way to a bronze after thoroughly citing nine sources for a client project.

For now, my medal count remains the same as yesterday: 3 bronze medals.

2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games: Day 1

I’ve earned three bronze medals today in the 2010 GeneaBloggers Winter Games.

In the Expand Your Knowledge Event, I completed Week 7′s task in the 52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy series, which I will post on Monday.

In the Write, Write, Write event, I pre-wrote three blog posts for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I’m going to start working on a fourth (Part III in my What I Did During the Blizzards of 2010 series) shortly.

In the Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness event, I posted photos to FindAGrave.com.