Genealogy Collection in Bentonville, Arkansas to Open in October

Genealogy researchers on a quest for information will find thousands of documents at the Bentonville Public Library, once it opens because of a “significant donation” from Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society. The documents, now housed in a room at Compton Gardens, will move to the new library on Main Street when the building opens in October, said Library Director Cindy Suter. The donation doesn’t come as a surprise. Suter and society members have worked for years to transfer the collection into librarians’ hands. The Enfield room in the 38,000-square-foot library was specifically designed to house the documents and collection.

From the April 11, 2006 edition of The Morning News.

Robert and Shirley Goerlich Murdered

A 54-year-old Florida woman told police she killed an Otsego County couple because they “tortured” her by feeding her “cookies with green mothballs in them.”

Linda Sue Anderson, 54, is accused of shooting to death Robert Goerlich, 70, and his wife, Shirley Goerlich, 69, on Thursday night as the couple sat watching television at their winter home in Port Orange, Fla. Anderson was arraigned Friday night on two counts of first-degree murder and remains in jail without bail, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

“It’s like a bad dream that you just really don’t think happened,” said Shirley Goerlich’s sister, Beverly Pierce of Unadilla.

The News-Journal reported that when Anderson was arrested Thursday night, she told police: “I hate them; they have been torturing me. They make me cookies with green mothballs in them and I get sick.”….

In 1994, Shirley Goerlich won a national award for excellence in writing and publishing from the Connecticut Society of Genealogists for her book, Genealogy: A Practical Research Guide.

From the April 08, 2006 edition of the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

Order Shirley’s book here: Genealogy: A practical research guide

New Colorado Genealogy Blog

Birdie Holsclaw, CG and Julie Miller, CG announce the creation of Colorado Genealogy Blog and invite you to visit the blog at www.cogenblog.com. The purpose of COGenBlog is to share news and tips about genealogy in Colorado.

Editor’s Note: I’ve been reading this new blog – and highly recommend it. I happen to have Colorado roots, and I’ve found Birdie and Julie’s blog to be very helpful.

See: www.cogenblog.com/

Los Angeles Times Obituary Index Now Online

The Southern California Genealogical Society has added a valuable database to its website, The database is a fully-searchable index of decedent names listed in obituaries and death notices published in the Los Angeles Times. The database currently covers the years 1988 through 1993 plus 1995, and eventually will be expanded to include a 20-year index. In addition to the standard obituaries and death notices, the index includes entries for In Memoriam, Cards of Thanks, Funeral Notices, etc. The online obituary index provides the name and year the notice was printed.

The online index is available for use by all researchers at no charge. Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of the actual obituary or death notice can contact the Research Department of the Southern California Genealogical Society and request a copy for a nominal fee. See: www.scgsgenealogy.com

Ancestry.com vs HeritageQuest Online Digital Images

I find that I use both Ancestry.com as well as HeritageQuest Online when doing census research. There a several reasons for this.

First – the digitizing was done by two totally different companies. A little history might be in line here. I was working for Heritage Quest when Brad Steuart made the decision that he would digitize the United States Census records. Brad purchased several “SunRise” microfilm digitizers to do the job. This was back in the days when these machines were extremely expensive, so the dozen or so machines that would have been nice were not in the budget. Instead, our machines ran around the clock. Brad made the decision – which I still believe was the right one – that he would digitize the film in a bi-tonal – or black and white – format. He could have done it in a grayscale format. However, grayscale produces a much larger image, making download time longer. Grayscale also produces what I believe is a much poorer image – if the microfilm image is good in the first place. The bi-tonal image makes black even blacker – and that can be good. If the image is very light (as much of the 1910 film is), grayscale images are often easier to read. However, the vast majority of film isn’t bad. After weighing the pros and cons, Brad went with bi-tonal images.

Following the digitizing, but prior to launch, there was negotiation between Heritage Quest and Ancestry about possible collaboration between the companies in the posting of the data to the Internet. Ancestry decided against it and proceeded to digitize the records again – this time in grayscale.

There is one other issue that should be mentioned as deals with digitizing. During the process, we heard much about enhancement of the images. Most of this was done automatically, but some images took a fair amount of hand work to get dark film corners to lighten, and light images to darken. How good an image we have today is not only because of the original quality of the film, or whether it was imaged as bi-tonal or grayscale, but also on how good the “SunRise” operator happened to be. The operator that was on shift as that image came through the machine often made the difference.

So – to make a long story short – today we have two separate digital databases with two separate digitizations. As you know, sometimes you can read one when you can’t read the other. Most active genealogists use both, if they are available. Sometimes we make a run to the Family History Library to read the microfilm itself.

HeritageQuest Online doesn’t have anywhere near the indexes available that Ancestry does. Many of us use the Ancestry indexes and the Ancestry digital images first. If the images aren’t legible, we move over to HeritageQuest Online. This happened to me last night. I had a 1900 census image out of Webster County, Nebraska that was absolutely black in the lower left corner – and that’s where my family was listed. I couldn’t read the names at all using the Ancestry image. So I moved over to the HeritageQuest Online image. I got lucky. The HeritageQuest Online image was legible and I was able to not only save good image to my hard drive, but I transcribed the entire family into my personal Roots Magic database.

Don’t get the idea from my above illustration that it always works this way. Often it’s the other way around. The Ancestry.com image (especially of “light” handwriting) is sometimes better. And there are times when neither image is any better than the other. However, there are enough times that they are, that I would be very unhappy if I didn’t have access to both. Thank God and Davis County, Utah, that I do…

ProQuest Enters the Obituary Database Field

ProQuest Information and Learning announces ProQuest Obituaries (tentative title), offering access to obituaries and death notices from the full runs of major national newspapers dating back to 1851. ProQuest Obituaries enables users to easily find ancestors and historical figures, and to trace their family histories through a database of more than 10 million names.

ProQuest Obituaries will provide obituaries and death notices in image format from the complete runs of major national newspapers dating back to 1851, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Constitution, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Defender. No other product offers access to obituaries and death notices from the complete historical runs of these major national newspapers…

ProQuest Obituaries will launch in the summer of 2006. The first release of ProQuest Obituaries will focus on deep historical records, and will then grow to include over 150 current newspapers.

From the March 21, 2006 ProQuestNews Release.

1901 and 1911 Irish Census to be Digitized by Library and Archives Canada

A ground-breaking international cultural agreement was celebrated today at Library and Archives Canada during a ceremony to mark the official signing in Canada of the Documentary Heritage Research Partnership between the National Archives of Ireland Library and Archives Canada.

This agreement establishes a unique research partnership between both institutions to digitize the 1901 and 1911 Irish census records and create online tools to provide information to researchers and genealogists. This data will enable millions of Irish descendants in Canada and around the world to retrace their families and their heritage.

From a news release distributed by CCNMatthew.

Clark County, Washington Cemeteries Online

Clark County, Washington, Genealogical Society volunteers are assembling photos and information for an online directory to all known cemeteries, large and small, within county borders.

In addition to burial records (showing information such as dates of birth of death, family relationships and funeral homes), Web sites for each cemetery will include addresses, driving directions, obituaries when available and maps of the grounds. Perhaps most ambitious of all, society members and others plan to photograph each stone and grave at all but the largest cemeteries. See: www.rootsweb.com/~waclacem/

Find a Library Catalog – Online

Looking for a library? – or then again, are you looking for an online library catalog? At Vanderbilt University’s lib-web-cats website, you can find all kinds of them. You can browse by locality, or search by city, county, state, library type or combination of those terms. See: www.librarytechnology.org/libwebcats/

The New Sons of Union Veterans National Graves Registration Database

If you have Union Civil War ancestors, you’ve got to check out the new National Graves Registration Database posted by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. I just took a quick look and found that my Union vets are listed.

If you don’t spot your ancestor, you can register and enter the data from your computer. See: www.suvcwdb.org/home/index.php

Kyrkhult, Sweden Microfiche Center Closes

The microfiche research center in Kyrkhult, Bekinge closed April 27, 2006. This sad event was caused by a decreasing number of visitors and growing costs.
Unfortunately, this important information is lacking on its English-language web page (www.arkivcentrum.nu/), but found on the Swedish pages.

It is possible that the microfiche collection, which was rented from the Swedish National Archives, may be placed in the Regional Archives (landsarkivet) in Lund, and thus available in southern Sweden.

From the December, 2005 edition of the Swedish-American Genealogist.

Search Indexes of the Barnsley UK Register Office

The Barnsley Indexing Project enables internet users to search indexes held by Barnsley Register Office, select a birth, marriage or death record they are interested in and download an application form.

The register office staff will send a certificate containing the record of interest. There is no fee to use the online facility, but a charge of £7 is made for each certificate.

The online resource can be accessed directly at http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/bguk

(Note: In March of 2009, I tried to access this index, and it seems to have disappeared from the site.)

Chicago’s Jewish Graceland

Why would anyone be interested in a cemetery whose first burial was in 1851 and where there have not been many recent burials? For Jewish genealogists, Jewish Graceland is a treasure of our heritage. It documents members of the earliest Jewish community that helped build Chicago.

To preserve this heritage and the lives of these pioneers, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI) has recently completed an inventory of all of the burials here and is in the process of making them available via the Internet to the worldwide Jewish community. This service is being made possible via the website: www.jewishgen.org/.

The Hebrew Benevolent Society was founded in 1851. Its founders included David Witkowsky, an early president of Congregation B’nai Sholom (the second oldest synagogue in Chicago, now a part of K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation). One of the society’s main purposes was to create a Jewish burial ground. There already was a similar group, the Jewish Burial Ground Society, which operated a cemetery in what is now Lincoln Park. This Lincoln Park cemetery, which was the first Jewish cemetery, soon had to be moved to another site because of its proximity to Lake Michigan. Jewish Graceland would become the second Jewish cemetery in Chicago.

From the Jewish United Fund website.

Hamburg Permits to Emigrate Have Been Filmed

Permits to Emigrate (Reisepass Protokolle), applications for Permits or Passports of persons sailing from Hamburg to America, have been microfilmed for the years 1851 to 1929. The applications, indexed, required the physical description of the applicant, the former place of residence, and names of family members. In the Family History Library Catalog (www.familysearch.org), enter “Reisepasse Protokolle.” The 323 films are listed by number.
From the January 2006 Immigrant Genealogical Society Newsletter