View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America

The following teaser is from an article posted on nytimes.com

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A thousand years after the Vikings braved the icy seas from Greenland to the New World in search of timber and plunder, satellite technology has found intriguing evidence of a long-elusive prize in archaeology — a second Norse settlement in North America, further south than ever known.

The new Canadian site, with telltale signs of iron-working, was discovered last summer after infrared images from 400 miles in space showed possible man-made shapes under discolored vegetation. The site is on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, the first and so far only confirmed Viking settlement in North America, discovered in 1960.

Since then, archaeologists, following up clues in the histories known as the sagas, have been hunting for the holy grail of other Viking, or Norse, landmarks in the Americas that would have existed 500 years before Columbus.

Read the full article.

Teens tipped over headstones at 175-year-old Michigan cemetery

The following teaser is from an article posted on clickondetroit.com

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Teens tipped over headstones at 175-year-old Michigan cemetery ‘because they were bored’

GENEVA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Authorities say three teenagers have confessed to tipping over and damaging more than 30 headstones at a cemetery in southwestern Michigan.

The Van Buren County sheriff’s department says in a statement that two 15-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl told deputies they tipped headstones at Lacota Cemetery in Geneva Township on March 19 “for fun and because they were bored.”

Read the full article.

Creating a Genealogy Research Disaster Plan

The following article was written by Bryan Mulcahy, M.L.S., Reference Librarian at the Ft. Myers Regional Library, Ft. Myers, Florida:

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Genealogical research can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in a person’s life. Yet it is also a time consuming endeavor. Disasters are a fact of life. Allstate Insurance Company puts this situation into amusing terms with their “mayhem” commercials. However, disasters, whether they are computer viruses, hard drive crashes, or weather related, are a fact of life. The bottom line is having a plan in place before they happen.

Here are some questions every genealogist should consider:

1. What will happen to your precious mementoes, heirlooms, documents, certificates, pictures, movies, DVD/CD’s, and online information?

2. Will your genealogy research survive a computer hard drive crash, a theft of your whole computer system, a fire, earthquake, landslide, flood, or a nuclear catastrophe?

3. What will happen to your research, online data, personal book collection, etc, after your death?

Here are some guidelines that many professionals recommend:

1. Create an inventory of family documents, mementoes, heirlooms, etc, including their origin, general description and physical location.

2. Keep these items in a climate controlled environment preferably in a dark, dry, cool place, in a fire-proof safe or similar container.

3. All documents, heirlooms, photographs, etc. should be placed in archival quality folders and protective containers as applicable.

4. Scan all original documents and save the digital images on the computer. Make backup photocopies of the original documents and provide them to trusted family members for safe-keeping.

5. Scan family photographs and save the digital images on the computer.

6. Organize, date, and label photographs into family groups, giving them descriptive names if possible.

7. Backup your computer hard drive data regularly in order to protect against a hard drive or system crash. Having an external hard drive with many gigabytes is relatively cheap. Data saved is usually portable to another computer. It is usually easy to copy data from the computer hard drive to the external drive. You can choose which data to backup as in only the most important databases, documents, photos, etc.

8. Backups can be handled on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Most experts seem to recommend monthly updates.

9. Send backup copies to trusted family or friends residing far from your place of residence.

10. Death is inevitable. To ensure that your research survives and is used in a manner that you feel is appropriate, you must prepare a genealogical will codicil specifying your wishes for the disposition of mementos, heirlooms, papers, documents, photos, etc. Specify directives concerning the publication and/or use of your research.

11. If you want your research to go to a research repository make sure this is specified and that you have contacted them prior to your death and verified that they will accept the materials.

12. Most legal experts recommend appointing an heir to handle these details and make sure that you have left them a significant bequest to perform these tasks, or to have it done professionally.

Article Used by Permission.

Donation to Conserve & Digitize Documents From the 1911 New York Capital Fire

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In the very early morning hours of March 29, 1911, a fire got started in the 3rd floor Assembly Library of the New York Capital Building. The fire quickly spread throughout the third floor, then on to the fourth floor and both towers. Many thousands of manuscripts and books went up in flames. However, there were documents that were saved – although they may have been charred on the edges. Now AT&T has donated $20,000 to conserve and digitize the valuable documents. The following is from the February 5, 2015 edition of the twcnews.com website.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Water stained papers, careful calligraphy, it’s obvious these documents are not from modern time, nor are they even from the 20th century.

“They relate to the colonial history of the state of New York,” said Laurence Hauptman, SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History.

“In 1911, the Great Capitol fire occurred, which really put a damper on history for so many years,” said Hauptman. That day, thousands of books and manuscripts burned in the State Library, fueling the fire. “There’s charring from the fire which you can see in this document,” said Dawn Mankowski, paper conservator, pointing to one document.

By way of good fortune, some documents survived…

AT&T has donated $20,000 to conserve and digitize the documents, which would eventually make them accessible to the public.

Read the full article for video and more details of what these documents include!

Advice on the Preservation of Your Family Papers

The following excerpt is from an article posted in the November 14, 2013 edition of the El Dorado Springs Sun Online.

[Missouri] Secretary of State Jason Kander advised Missourians about significant threats to the long-term preservation of all types of paper records, and the steps they can take to make their family records last.

… insects, mold, fire, tape and lamination can undermine record-keepers’ work. As a national leader in document preservation, the Missouri State Archives has developed detailed guides to help the public counter these risks.

To view the conservation notes and other resources provided by the Missouri State Archives, visit www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/conservation/

Read the full article.

Dick Eastman Reminds Us: Back Up Your Genealogy.

Considering how easy it is too lose your data, we all need to heed this advice.

From “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter” for November 01, 2013
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It is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first of every month, if not more often.

Read the full article.

Original Surveyor’s Plat Map Donated to the Kentucky State Archives

The following excerpt is from an article published in the September 12, 2011 edition of TheGleaner.com of Henderson, Kentucky.

Gen. Samuel Hopkins would be doubly pleased this week.

Friday morning the community plans to dedicate the cemetery where he is buried, which had grown up in trees and weeds, but is now practically sparkling new. But recently local surveyor Dennis Branson donated to the state archives a map that is the product of Hopkins’ hands. It’s more than two centuries old and shows how the lands of the Transylvania Co. were divided by lottery among the firm’s individual members and their heirs.

The plat covers 200,000 acres, all of the [Henderson] county that lies north of a line drawn between Rangers Landing and the county’s far western tip. All land titles in that area have their source in that map.

That makes the plat’s value “very significant” for researching title sources, Branson said. “There’s no way to know what tract numbers are where without that map.”

But the map’s historical value is probably greater. When Trace Kirkwood, regional administrator for the local records branch of the state Department of Libraries and Archives, first learned of Branson’s wish to donate it, “I knew he had something special” that “got my juices flowing” because the state archives doesn’t often get donations that date from the late 1790s. “I knew right away he had something that was going to be interesting.

“We’re very pleased to get something like this that Mr. Branson donated to us” despite the fact that “it’s in pretty bad shape. It’s suffered some water damage and it’s pretty difficult to pick anything out on the map.”

Branson had owned the map for decades. His father “salvaged that out of a bunch of maps the city was throwing away.” That probably took place when the city was moving out of the old city hall in 1971, prior to construction of the Henderson Municipal Center.

Read the full article.

Click here for a brief history of Henderson City, and County, Kentucky.

National Archives Conservators Reveal Previously Illegible Text in Magna Carta

The following News Release was posted by the National Archives July 20, 2011:

Washington, DC… After weeks of intensive conservation treatment, the National Archives has completed the first phase of a major project leading to the re-encasement and public display of Magna Carta. The document – written on parchment in 1297 with iron gall ink – is one of 17 surviving versions of Magna Carta in the world today, the only one in North America and the only Magna Carta in private hands. The document is on loan to the National Archives from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group in Washington, DC.

In the course of treatment ultra-violet photography revealed previously illegible writing in the text of the document that had been obliterated by water damage at some unknown time in the past.

Magna Carta was removed from display at the National Archives building in Washington, DC, on March 2, 2011. In a secure location the document has been treated by National Archives senior conservators Terry Boone and Morgan Zinsmeister. The project manager is supervisory conservator Catherine Nicholson. A short documentary video – produced by the National Archives and in the public domain – chronicles the document’s conservation treatment online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqQVY1Zn0oM

The conservation team first assessed Magna Carta’s condition, then proceeded to stabilize the document, which is extremely vulnerable to changes in temperature and humidity. The work was undertaken in an environment under precise climate control.

The treatment began with an in-depth examination supported by extensive photographic documentation before and during treatment. Old repairs and residual adhesive were removed and the areas of loss were filled with long-fibered, handmade conservation papers, toned to match the color of the parchment. The fills were secured with an adhesive mixture of gelatin and wheat starch paste. Additional fills and repairs were applied to damaged areas by conservators Boone and Zinsmeister. All the repairs used chemically-stable materials which can be easily removed if future conservation techniques require it.

The document was then humidified and flattened. Magna Carta will lie undisturbed for at least three months under blotters and weights until the sensitive parchment reaches equilibrium moisture content, prior to being placed in a new, sealed encasement filled with carefully humidified argon — an inert gas – late this year. The encasement is now being fabricated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The encasement is based on a sophisticated engineering design used to house and protect the Charters of Freedom – Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights – also designed and built by NIST.

The project is underwritten by the document’s owner, Mr. Rubenstein, who in June 2011 announced a $13.5 million gift to the Foundation for the National Archives – the single largest Foundation gift to date – to help create a new permanent exhibition gallery and visitor orientation plaza in the National Archives building in Washington, DC. Known as the David M. Rubenstein Gallery and scheduled for completion in 2013, it will showcase Magna Carta and other original documents that chronicle the expansion of human rights across the centuries, adding context to the Charters of Freedom. Magna Carta is scheduled to return to public display in February 2012 adjacent to the Rotunda, where it will await completion of the new Gallery.

Tips to Preserve Wet Papers Documents & Photographs from the North Carolina State Archives

The following information is from the North Carolina State Archives:

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – If your special papers and photographs are not in plastic, or stored somewhere safe, there are steps that may save water-damaged treasures.

Gov. Bev Perdue requested a Disaster Declaration for 18 North Carolina counties touched by fierce thunderstorms this past weekend, and 10 have been declared disaster areas by the federal government. This is a time for all citizens to get their emergency plans and supply kits ready for the summer storm season.

The North Carolina State Archives, Department of Cultural Resources, recommends the following suggestions from Heritage Preservation (www.heritagepreservation.org):

Safety first. There may be health risks, so wear plastic or rubber gloves for cleanup. If there is mold, wear a protective surgical mask or respirator, goggles and coveralls.

Prevent mold. You need to work fast, as mold can form within 48 hours. Reduce the humidity and temperature around your treasures quickly as you clean and dry them.

Can’t do it all? Objects that can’t be dealt with immediately should be put in open, unsealed boxes or bags. Photos, papers, books, and textiles that can’t be treated in 48 hours should be frozen.

Air Dry. Gentle air drying is best, indoors if possible. Avoid using hair dryers, irons, ovens, and prolonged exposure to sunlight. This will do irreversible damage. Increase good airflow with fans, air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

Handle with Care. Use great care when handling heirlooms, which can be especially fragile when wet. Separate damp materials by removing contents from drawers, taking photographs out of damp albums, removing paintings from frames, and placing paper towels between pages of wet books.

Clean Gently. Loosen dirt and debris on fragile objects gently with soft brushes and cloths as rubbing can grind in dirt.

Salvage photos. Rinse photographs carefully in clean water. Air dry photos on a plastic screen or paper towel, or by hanging a corner with a plastic clothespin. Don’t let the surfaces contact while drying.

Prioritize. Focus on what’s most important if you can’t save everything.

Call in a pro. A conservator may be able to help with a badly damaged treasure. Set it aside in a well-ventilated room until you find professional help. For help, contact the Guide to Conservation Services, American Institute for Conservation, (202) 452-9545, http://aic.stanford.edu.

These recommendations are for guidance only. Neither Heritage Preservation nor the State Archives in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources assumes responsibility or liability for damaged objects.

Saving the Water-damaged Items from the Flooded Local History Room at the Rockingham Library

Earlier this moth, a water pipe burst in the Local History Room in the Rockingham Library of Bellow’s Falls, Vermont. The following excerpt is from an article in the December 30, 2010 edition of the Vermont Public Radio website. It details conservation efforts taking place to save some of the precious historic documents.

(Host) Earlier this month a burst pipe unleashed a flood of water in the local history room of the Rockingham Restoration & conservation efforts to save documentsLibrary.

Crates of histories and genealogical archives were sent to a restoration company in Illinois. But for a number of damaged documents, help was much closer. A professionally trained paper conservator has a workshop on Main Street in Bellows Falls [Vermont].

VPR’s [Vermont Public Radio’s] Susan Keese has more.

(Keese) The pipe burst on a Sunday. When workers arrived on Monday, the research room was flooded and water was streaming down over the shelves.

The Rockingham librarians acted fast. Within hours 38 crates of bound volumes were loaded onto refrigerator trucks – a precaution against mold — and headed for a facility that specializes in freeze-drying water-damaged documents.

The remaining pieces went to a local business called Works on Paper. The owner, paper conservator Carolyn Frisa, went to work that day on an album of photographs.

(Frisa) “We were able to take them out of the binder right away and lay them out to dry on a special type of cloth. If they hadn’t been caught right away and they had dried in their plastic sleeves there’s a very good chance that the emulsion from the photographs would have stuck to the plastic and been destroyed.”

(Keese) Frisa studied paper conservation in London and pursued her craft at some well-known conservation centers before setting up her own studio in Vermont.

She’s restored priceless historic manuscripts and prints, and letters with just sentimental value.

The photographs from the library are dry, but still need work.

(Frisa) “You can see that they’ve curled and sort of cockled unevenly and some of the ink inscriptions have bled, but they’re still legible.””>a flood of water in the local history room of the Rockingham Library.

Crates of histories and genealogical archives were sent to a restoration company in Illinois. But for a number of damaged documents, help was much closer. A professionally trained paper conservator has a workshop on Main Street in Bellows Falls.

VPR’s Susan Keese has more.

(Keese) The pipe burst on a Sunday. When workers arrived on Monday, the research room was flooded and water was streaming down over the shelves.

The Rockingham librarians acted fast. Within hours 38 crates of bound volumes were loaded onto refrigerator trucks – a precaution against mold — and headed for a facility that specializes in freeze-drying water-damaged documents.

The remaining pieces went to a local business called Works on Paper. The owner, paper conservator Carolyn Frisa, went to work that day on an album of photographs.

(Frisa) “We were able to take them out of the binder right away and lay them out to dry on a special type of cloth. If they hadn’t been caught right away and they had dried in their plastic sleeves there’s a very good chance that the emulsion from the photographs would have stuck to the plastic and been destroyed.”

(Keese) Frisa studied paper conservation in London and pursued her craft at some well-known conservation centers before setting up her own studio in Vermont.

She’s restored priceless historic manuscripts and prints, and letters with just sentimental value.

The photographs from the library are dry, but still need work.

(Frisa) “You can see that they’ve curled and sort of cockled unevenly and some of the ink inscriptions have bled, but they’re still legible.”

Read the full article.

The Boxford Historical Document Center in Boxford, Massachusetts

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Boxford {Masachusetts] – Tucked into the heart of West Boxford Village is an unassuming building that houses many of the town’s treasures — the Boxford Historical Document Center.

The modest one-story brick building, situated next to the Second Congregational Church at the corner of Washington and Main streets, is jam packed with historical records, photographs, maps, genealogies, microfilm, models and numerous artifacts that have meaningful connections to the history of the 325-year-old town.

Built in 1930 as a library in memory of Catherine Ingalls, the structure was transformed 46 years later into a historical document center at the time of the country’s Bicentennial in 1976 thanks to the efforts of Dick Hopping, Rosamond Price Gowen and Dorothy Woodbury who “recognized the need for a center to preserve the town’s records and documents,” explained Boxford Archivist Martha Clark this week.

Taking the Tri-Town Transcript on a tour of the Document Center this week, Clark pointed to the oldest document in the archives — the first Book of Records from the First Congregational Church of Boxford, dating back to 1702-1703. The original book lists names of the church’s earliest members including Lt. John Peabody of Topsfield, Lt. Perley’s wife of Rowley and the widow Hannah Peabody. It also lists baptisms and Town Meeting notes from the early 1700s.

“All church records are on deposit here,” added Clark who pointed out the Second Congregational parish formed in 1736 and a Third Congregational Church formed briefly in the 1800s in response to a disagreement between the parishioners and the pastor of the First Church over sheep ownership.

Other interesting documents at the center are the early 1800 papers of Moses Dorman, an 1830s personal account book of resident Isaac Hale, an autograph book owned by Myra Day and the business records of Charles Chaplin’s Depot Road Saw Mill from the late 1800s.

Read the full article in the August 13, 2010 edition of Wickedlocal./com/Middleton

Do It Now! – Before the Termites Get At It!

Following is another thought-provoking article by my friend, Tom Fiske:

A couple years ago I met with a friend, Carolyn, who had an old diary from the 1860’s. It was a handwritten account by her ancestor, Seth B. Reid, Trunk of Treasureswho rode his horse from Austin, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. He was leaving the Confederate States of America and heading for the closest outpost of the United States of America. Along the way he met various people who later became famous and some who became infamous. Carolyn and I wrote an article for one of Leland Meitzler’s magazines, which some readers may recall.

Carolyn Beaucamp was heir to an old trunk, too. It was full of Reid family memorabilia. It had been her mother’s and Carolyn had not opened it. This year she had a look inside and she found . . . subterranean termites! They had invaded the trunk and eaten much of its contents.

Carolyn was able to salvage a few old bibles, some watches, a package of letters, a doll, a few items of 1860 clothing and a handful of photos, starting with what seems to be the Daguerreotype method. But that was about all. The rest had been eaten away. She invited me over to survey the salvaged items.

She had already written an inventory. What to do next? I had to stop drooling, for one thing. It looked foolish. I suggested that Carolyn scan into her computer copies of whatever she could, and bring out or enhance the full images through various computer program methods. Old faded photos, for example, could be made seeable again.

Then I suggested a thorough genealogy of the people involved. There were only a handful of folks, starting with about 1840. Some of the photos were of folks Reid met on his trip from Austin, so Carolyn would not be able to identify everybody. But Reid’s son, his wife, and daughter-in-law and her family were all Carolyn’s ancestors and cousins. There was good reason to get to know these people: they were her family.

She could consult letters from people mentioning other people that could help. Bible pages contained family information. Including these facts with a genealogy and timeline would be of really great help in determining whose images were whose and who once owned the personal items, such as eye glasses and perhaps clothing. There are style books she could consult to get dates for some of the strange articles.

All was not lost. But a lot was gone forever.

Who knew that termites were eating up her family history? The important lesson people can draw from this experience is that time is not on your side.
Time and termites wait for no man.

Besides, deep in the hearts of some of Carolyn’s five children there may lurk the image of the dreaded dumpster, waiting to carry off her ancestry to a swamp somewhere. She probably should make the entire collection look worthwhile so that they will honor it and display it in their homes, where it belongs.

Saving “Stuff” That May Become Artifacts

The following excerpt is from a good article on artifact preservation in the June 1, 2010 Deseret News.

The stuff of our lives — the meaningful things we surround ourselves with, find, are given, gather up, inherit — is the stuff of history.

“These things may not make big money on ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ but they can have real significance in our lives,” says historian and author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who has long enjoyed material culture and the “seriousness of innocuous things.”

History is not what happened, it is an account of the past, based on surviving sources. If there are no sources, there is no history.”

The article goes on to explain the basic of preserving many artifacts found around the home. It’s worth reading.

Read the full article.

These Gloves Aren’t for Gardening…

Cotton gloves for handling documents Are you looking for a special genealogy gift for a friend, family member or Birth chartfor yourself? www.FunStuffForGenealogists.com has some great things for you! Just added and in hot demand are Cotton Gloves for handling those precious artifacts and photos. Also added are birth charts for a boy, girl or a lovely generic tree chart. See Fun Stuff for Genealogists for lots of scrapbooking items as well as jewelry, pedigree charts, archival preservation materials and lots more!

14 Boxes of Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers to Be Available to the Public Shortly

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WASHINGTON—The last great archives of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency may soon be available to researchers and the public — 14 boxes of handwritten notes, gifts and correspondence, including a letter from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini congratulating him on his 1933 inauguration.

The House on Monday approved a bill to clear the way for the memorabilia to be donated to Roosevelt’s presidential library and museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.

While the House bill is identical to legislation the Senate passed in October, it will still have to return to the Senate for one more vote before it goes to the president.

The boxes have been sitting sealed at Roosevelt’s presidential library since July 2005, tied up in an ownership dispute between the government and a private collector.

Read the full AP article in the November 16, 2009 edition of Boston.com.