Books

Book Review: How We Survive Here

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

How We Survive Here
by Claire Gebben. Published by Coffeetown Press. 2018. 319 pages.

Claire Gebben remembers her grandmother’s steadfast practice of writing letters back to her family still living in the old country, in the Freinsheim region of Germany. With her grandmother’s passing, Ms. Gebben’s parents continued the tradition. Now a third-generation letter-writer, Ms. Gebben took up emailing her German cousin, Angela Weber, whose strong interest in the family complemented that of Ms. Gebben’s.

Eventually, Ms. Weber made the trip from Germany to the United States to meet her American cousin, bringing with her a treasure: a stack of old family letters that had lain tucked away in a German family attic. The two opened and pored over the letters, now benefiting with Ms. Weber’s keen translational skill. As the events, locations, and happenings of their ancestors’ lives came apparent, Ms. Gebben was moved to memorialize their fates using the letters as markers for the episodes of their days.

The Essential Ebook Converter Guide

Genealogists tend to collect lots of books. Of course, the trend in recent years is to obtain ebooks, not books printed on paper. Ebooks are much easier to store and carry, especially if you have hundreds of books. Ebooks are usually cheaper to purchase, although not always. They are also much, much easier to search for specific words or phrases than are printed books. However, ebooks are not perfect.

Here is a common scenario amongst people who use ebooks: One ebook that the ebook’s owner references often might be stored on the reader’s tablet computer in Kindle’s AZW format. Now the reader would like to have the same ebook on another computer and in another format, such as in EPUB format. How can anyone translate and copy from one format to another?

CZUR Aura: the Inexpensive Book (and Other Things) Scanner that Does Not Require Cutting the Bindings from the Books

Genealogists love scanners. We digitize old photographs, documents, maps, old handwritten notes, and dozens of other things that we wish to preserve in digital formats. Perhaps the most desirable scanners are book scanners, designed to quickly digitize the 100 pages or more pages found in a typical genealogy book. There are but two problems with most of the book scanners:

  1. They are expensive at $400 to $40,000 US, depending upon the features included and the speed of the scanning.
  2. Many book scanners require cutting the bindings off the books and then inserting the stacks of unbound pages into a sheet feeder that looks similar to what is found on high-speed office photocopiers.

Cutting the binding off a book is often traumatic for genealogists! Yes, I have cut bindings from modern reprints of old books without hesitation but I doubt if many genealogists will cut the binding from a book printed 100 years ago or even earlier.

A new scanner that is going into production now will solve most of these issues. Even better, it scans books, loose pages, photographs, and even small objects (coins, toys, jewelry, silverware, and more) without damaging any of the objects being digitized.

My Progress on Digitizing all my Old Genealogy Books

A newsletter reader wrote today and asked an embarrassing question:

“Over a year ago you said you were trying to scan 50 pages a day to get rid of most paper copies of books. How is that going??? Would be interested in reading more, esp. what programs, etc. you are using. I’ve been inclined to do the same, but with me it’s a “now and then if I’m totally bored” process.”

I must admit that I am a bit embarrassed that my progress has slowed down. There are multiple reasons: (1.) I spend my summers up north and my winters in the sunbelt which means the books to be digitized always seem to be in “the other place,” (2.) I travel a lot which is a good excuse for procrastinating on all sorts of plans, and (3.) I suffer from a severe case of general procrastination. I was going to join the Procrastinators’ Club of America but haven’t gotten around to it. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procrastinators%27_Club_of_America and http://articles.latimes.com/1987-06-21/news/mn-9001_1_story-tomorrow for details concerning that organization.)

Luckily, I have found many of my genealogy books are already available in digital formats on Archive.org, Google Books, and numerous other web sites. If one of my books has already been digitized, I simply save the digitized version to my local hard drive and to the backup services, then throw away the paper copy. That has saved me a lot of work.

However, I have found an excellent method of digitizing my remaining books: give the work to someone else and let that company do the work for a rather modest price.

Enter Your Family History Book Now for the Alexander Henderson and Don Grant Awards

The following announcement was written by the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies:

Family History Connections (a business name of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies) presents these two prestigious Awards annually. The Alexander Henderson Award is for ‘the best Australian Family History’ and the Don Grant Award is for ‘the best Australian historical biography with a family history focus’ submitted for the awards in that year.

If you have published a family history book and would like more information about the criteria for the judging of the Awards and an entry form, visit the FHC web site http://www.familyhistoryconnections.org.au. Entries close for the 2018 Awards on 30 November.

New Guides to Tracing Ancestors in Tipperary and Leitrim

The following announcement was written by the Flyleaf Press:

Flyleaf Press has published two new guides: to tracing ancestors in Counties Tipperary and Leitrim. Both are filled with information on the records of these counties, and how and where they can be accessed. This includes guidance on Irish archives and on many on-line sources. Both titles are well illustrated with maps and examples of the types of records to be found; and with other background material. They also provide an understanding of the social history of the respective counties and how this history has affected the keeping and survival of records. There is also a comprehensive index.

 

  • Tracing your Tipperary Ancestors by Noreen Higgins-McHugh ISBN: 978-1-907990-32-8
  • Tracing your Leitrim Ancestors by Tom Coughlan ISBN: 978-1-907990-33-5

Both titles are published in the same format and offered at the same retail price: €14.00
160 pages; 227 x 145 mm; paperback; indexed; b/w illustrations.

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Local History and Genealogy Books are Available Online

The Kelowna and District Genealogical Society Cemetery Recording Committee has been busy! Members of the committee have written and published 15 books about Kelowna local history and genealogy and then published a 16th book that is an index to the other 15. The index book lists more than 9,000 names.

The printed books have sold out. However, all of them are also available online at no charge.

Book Review: Professional Genealogy – Preparation, Practice & Standards

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Professional Genealogy
Preparation, Practice & Standards
Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2018. 678 pages.

I recently attended a morning meeting with my local genealogy group. As we were filing into the room, someone set out the new edition of Professional Genealogy for people to look at.

My colleague Sara saw the book and announced, “My dog ate my Progen.” We all chuckled, appreciating a weak attempt at humor so early in the morning. Then we heard a more insistent tone, “No, really, my dog ate Progen!” Now she’s got our attention. What kind of dog would eat Progen?

Now It’s Easy to Publish Your Family History in an Electronic Book with Gedcom Publisher

John Cardinal is well-known for the excellent software products and services he has created, including the genealogy hosting service, Family History Hosting, and his products that produce web pages for personal genealogy web sites: Second Site and GedSite. Now he has a new product that produces electronic books (ebooks) containing the results of your family history research. These ebooks can be read on most ebook readers, such as an iPad, as well as on Windows and Macintosh computers. Here is the announcement:

Narragansett, RI – July 25, 2018 – Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce Gedcom Publisher.

Gedcom Publisher is a ground-breaking application that creates an electronic book in EPUB format by combining text and images you enter with information taken from your GEDCOM file. Gedcom Publisher knows the ins and outs of constructing a book in EPUB format, and it knows how to read your genealogy data. That means you can focus on the content of your family history book.

“Digital publishing is very popular,” said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting, “and it’s likely that when our grandchildren mature, most if not all their reading will be e-books, not paper books. That’s why we should create family histories using electronic books.”

Book Reviews: Some Lesser-known Resources

The following book reviews were written by Bobbi King:

Below are some resources that may be useful to genealogists.

Guide to Cuban Genealogical Research

By Peter E. Carr. Genealogical Publ. Co. 1991, reprinted 2001. 103 pages.

This small volume is several years old, but the content offers historical perspective on Cuba and its inhabitants that could be useful to the researcher looking into Cuban records and sources. A few examples of chapter content are information about land records, census records, newspaper records, consular records, along with a list of genealogical societies and social clubs. There is a list of references for further reading, and an index.

Cuban Census Records of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries; Censos, Padrones y Matrículas de la Población de Cuba Siglos 16, 17 y 18

Journeys: An American Story

A new book about the American immigration experience is about to be released. It looks like it should be a good read. Even Warren Buffet wrote, “It’s no secret that immigration has been a major reason behind America’s 242 (and counting) years of success. The stories that [authors] Andrew and Mary share illustrate the positive and powerful impact that immigration has had in weaving the fabric of America. Journeys is inspiring — I encourage you to read.”

Quoting from the book’s web site:

Scan and Digitize Your Books for $1 Each

I have been scanning genealogy books for several reasons. Finding information in digitized books is much easier and faster than manually searching through thousands of printed pages. However, the biggest reason is for a word that still gives me shivers. It is a word dreaded by almost every soon-to-be retiree:

DOWNSIZING

A few years ago, I became a “snowbird.” That is, I go south every winter and north every summer, following many of the birds. I now spend my winters in Florida where the weather is much more pleasant than where I have lived most of my life in the “snowbelt.” However, I still spend summers “up north.”

Having two homes has several obvious advantages but also more than a few disadvantages. First of all, it seems like every time I want to use something, such as a book full of genealogy information, it is always in “the other place.” That is a serious disadvantage for any genealogist!

Next, I downsized. My new home in the south is considerably smaller than where I spend my summers.

So here are the quandaries:

Internet Archive’s Book Scanning Robot

This is the way to digitize old books! The Internet Archive’s version of the Kirtas APT 1200 book scanning system in Toronto, Ontario, is shown in this video. Simply insert a (bound) book, press a button or two, and let the robotic scanner turn the pages automatically, saving a digital image of each and every page as it operates.
The first section of the video shows an operator working with the robot on every page turn. Later there is a section in this 10-minute video where the robot runs without being touched.

Two Book Reviews in One: The Wicked Trade and also The Suffragette’s Secret

The following book reviews were written by Dina Carson, a Colorado genealogist, author, and publisher:

The Wicked Trade
by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Self-published. 2018. 357 pages.

Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist, is back with a new case from the descendants of Ann Fothergill. They left behind a mysterious letter implying Ann’s association with the notorious Aldington Gang—a group of smugglers thought responsible for the murder of Quartermaster Richard Morgan.

They had been rounded up and hanged.

At least some of them were. How did the leader of the gang escape the gallows? And how did Ann make her way from “the tiny, filthy houses rife with poverty, larceny and prostitution” to own not one but several Inns and Public Houses?

Could she have been the key to the smugglers’ success and the gold they supposedly abandoned evading capture by the Preventative Officers—a ruthless group of King’s agents who had the power to order the execution of anyone caught smuggling. Was she the real ring leader, or merely caught up in the wicked trade? And which descendant is about to get caught up in the greed that often follows a tale of long lost gold? Only Morton Farrier can put together the clues to solve a nearly 200-year-old mystery.

A Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan Released

The following announcement was written by Jennifer Alford, Publisher of The In-Depth Genealogist

The fifth in a series of guides to popular research destinations

The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book in the research series by writer, Katherine R. Willson entitled “A Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan”. The book is a great resource for genealogists who plan on researching in this geographic area. This guide offers information for genealogists regarding the top libraries, archives, and museums in Grand Rapids, as well as the surrounding areas. These repositories offer abundant treasures for the researcher of all levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Also highlighted in this guide are a wealth of non-genealogical options for urban adventurers, art aficionados, beer connoisseurs, nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and the universal tourist. One could easily spend a week in this area and only sample a small portion of what this part of Michigan has to offer: stunning scenery, fantastic food, and unique attractions.

Work is Underway at NYG&B on a Guide to New York’s State Archives

The following announcement was written by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

NEW YORK CITY – April 27, 2018 – The NYG&B, New York’s oldest and largest genealogical organization, is spearheading the key publication.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has begun work on a guide to the New York State Archives, designed specifically for genealogists, local historians, and other researchers. The groundbreaking publication is being produced in cooperation with the New York State Archives and will be authored by professional genealogist Jane E. Wilcox.

The publication will feature more than 20 chapters outlining numerous materials from the New York State Archives collections key for tracing New York families. Ms. Wilcox, a member of the New York State Archives Advisory Committee and the NYG&B Family History Advisory Committee, brings a wealth of experience to the project. A full-time professional genealogist and the founder of Forget-Me-Not Ancestry, Ms. Wilcox focuses on colonial and early national New York and area research.

COSLA: eBook Feasibility Study for Public Libraries

Libraries everywhere are struggling as the world switches from printed books and magazines to e-publishing. Where do libraries fit into this brave new world?

A study by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) suggests that libraries can grow and thrive by focusing on eBooks. The study suggests that libraries need to anticipate this shift and become part of the eBook story. The study isn’t new, being published in 2010. However, I believe the information in the study hasn’t changed appreciably since then.

Specifically, the study states that libraries must:

Book Reviews: 6 Books by Joseph Lee Boyle

The following was written by Bobbi King, EOGN.com’s Book Review Editor:

Delaware Runaways, 1720-1783, “Very impudent when drunk or sober”

White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1763-1768, “much given to Liquor, and chewing Tobacco”

White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1769-1772, “much addicted to strong drink and swearing”

White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1773-1775, “much given to strong liquor, and low company”

White Pennsylvania Runaways, 1776-1783, “she snuffs, drinks and smokes”

By Joseph Lee Boyle. Published by the Genealogical Publishing Company.

Thousands of white Europeans did not come to the American colonies as free men and women. They were transported from Britain as indentured servants, political exiles, or convicts. In every colony, enslaved white persons preceded the engagement of black slaves long before the blacks arrived. Some were abducted to the colonies, some were runaways from impoverished homes selling themselves as servants, and some were exiles and vagabonds. White bound labor remained significant until the American Revolution.

Book Review: American Settlements and Migrations: A Primer for Genealogists and Family Historians

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

American Settlements and Migrations: A Primer for Genealogists and Family Historians
by Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company. 2017. 108 pages.

This is a smallish book, indeed a primer, “any book of elementary principles.” This book reviews the population movements of the New England states and colonies as well as the western states and Pacific coast areas.

Primer is an easy read, but full of information. Chapters overview the settlements of:

Book Review: History for Genealogists

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

History for Genealogists
By Judy Jacobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2016. 310 pages.

This is a timeline style of book.

Understanding the social setting of our historical families sets the stage for appreciating why they moved, why they married those particular people, and why they undertook those particular occupations and endeavors of their lives.

History covers chronologically the events for military battles and wars, disease epidemics, economic events, migration trails, politics, disasters, and other momentous happenings.