The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Archive for the tag “geographic”

The Online Genealogist sez “Know Your Geography!”


I don’t usually call out others on their blog postings, but being the huge map hound that I am and more so given the source, I just had to here.


And my comment…

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My question is this…  If a great point is made using a poor example, does that bring the credibility of that point down a few notches?

After knowing the geography, is it really such a great point; especially coming from a blogger that represents a subscription website featuring newspapers from all over the country?

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Given Mr. Kemp’s impressive resume, shouldn’t he have known this and chosen a better example for his sorta-almost-kinda-great point?

Now, if this had been penned by a newbie genealogist or obviously-hired content writer {ahem}, I wouldn’t even be blogging about it.  But we’re barraged with so many tips and the like online, we have to really be selective in what to use…and what to TOSS.

Sorry, Tom – I’m not meaning to put you in front of the virtual firing squad or anything, but your post happens to be a PERFECT example of the point I’m trying to make here.  Which will hopefully be great.  “Any last words?…”


And if you don’t know that Burlington, Vermont is in Chittenden County, but Chittenden, Vermont is in Rutland County or that St. Louis and East St. Louis are in different states, you may need to hire ME – The Online Genealogist!



Genealogy research without these will leave you LOST




In reviewing GenealogyInTime‘s Top 100 Websites for 2014, one of MY most-used sites for research wasn’t on here – Old Maps Online.


Old Maps Online is more of a collection of historical map collections; I’m talking AMAZING collections, most notably Cartography Associates’ David Rumsey Map Collection and Boston Public Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.

If you don’t use maps in your research, why the heck not?  Historical maps often provide excellent clues when tracking your ancestors; especially if they remained in one place for an extended period of time.

Streets, rivers and hills; roads, streams and mountains; any of them could be named after your ancestor.  Williams Drive, Pierson Hill, Carson’s Crossing, Skinner River.  All named for somebody.  Or a family of somebodies if several generations lived in an area.

You could also check out some of those very detailed county atlases from the late 1800s and find exactly where your ancestor lived.  I love aimlessly browsing through these.

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Given the time that these county atlases were published, many can be used as an 1890 Federal Census replacement of sorts.

Maps should be one of your FIRST stops in a research project.  Whether you know the area or not.

I’ve discovered SO MUCH by utilizing geographical genealogy!


And if you’re having trouble finding your way in ANY aspect of your genealogical research, I can help to point you in the right direction!



Internet Archive is THE internet archive

Internet Archive has everything!!!!!!

OK, not really; but close to everything – and all in one place!

It’s one very impressive website and MASSIVE undertaking.

And that is not an exaggeration!


This recent Mother Jones posting nailed it.


With regard to most of their stats, those numbers fully written out would take several pages each to print!

“Uhhhhhmm, how many digits are in a gazillion??”

Anyway, find a category on here and browse, browse, browse!



Google Street View History Feature

I’m really liking what Google Street View has available for the more-photographed areas – historic views of the same place!  Sure, it only goes back to 2008 in most cases, but it’s still interesting enough, documenting local history, albeit very briefly.

I’ll use the Kilton Public Library in my hometown of West Lebanon, New Hampshire as an example here.  In October 2008, it was an empty lot.


In July 2009, most of the frame was up.


Completed by September 2012.


And the latest shot, from July 2013.


And here’s a similar example, but reversed.  This building was just south of the library in October 2008.


Why “was”?  Because it was GONE by July 2009.


To see what’s available for a particular view, click on the clock and a history box will come up.  This example has four such views to choose from.


What does this have to do with online genealogy?  Well, it’s online and historic, but not very helpful genealogy-wise…yet.

Imagine this feature in 100 years, though!  Better yet, a great “What if?…” is if it went back 100 years now; how cool would THAT be?

Google has been attempting to do something like that in their user-submitted historic photos of various areas, but that’s not quite the same.

The main point in bringing this up is how QUICKLY things can change.  I found these two prime examples within yards of each other!

Moral of the Story:  Capture it NOW in photographs; before it’s GONE and you CAN’T.

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The DOAR is always wiiiiiiiide open at OpenDOAR!

This is one of those directory websites you could easily spend the day browsing through.

The OpenDOAR is the largest collection of links to most of the world’s major libraries, with an emphasis on college library eCollections and other online offerings.

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Listed mainly by continent, there’s a large page for each of them!


The great thing here is that the link goes directly to the homepage for that repository’s online electronic databases.



All sorts of genealogical nuggets to be found here for SURE!

I have yet to get the dreaded “404 Error” via an OpenDOAR link, so it’s well-maintained. And as alluded to above, I’ve already hit several of them!

This is as far as I go for the show.  The fun here of course is BROWSING!  Just knowing what’s available for your specific research areas for future use is huge.

So, if you’re sitting around one rainy day and need an escape…

“Let’s go to FIJI!!…”

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Thank you, University of Nottingham!!!!

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OpenDOAR is DEFINITELY one to keep at the top of your bookmarks list!

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