Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Genealogy and Sources

Earlier this morning, I read a blog entry entitled "5 Bad Genealogy Sources".

I know there is a war between the "new" generation of genealogists that use Internet sources and the "old" generations of genealogists who supposedly only use non-Internet sources.

This seems to be on the "old" generation side. My problem with it is thus:

"Where is the idea of critical thinking in this entry?"

Genealogy is all about critical thinking. New people will take sources and use them blindly without thinking of the following factors:

-Where did it come from?
-When did it come from?
-Who did it come from?
-What is the evidence?
-How many degrees is it removed from the primary source?

And it is up to us more experienced genealogists to teach them this. NOT to tell them to blindly take sources off the list - because for every "bad" source, I can think of an exception.

1. Wiki Sites - Wikipedia is obviously not a great source of information but there are many focused, centered Wikis created by people with a knowledge of the field. I consider http://medievalgenealogy.org.uk/index.html to be a "wiki" of sorts considering its format - and its got more sources than any other website I know.

2. Personal websites - again - you have to READ what the site says. My site contains hundreds of sources and when possible, links or images of original documents. There's a good list of a hundred associated with my family that I can come up with that I know are well sourced as well. I can come up with, sadly, dozens of sources that aren't good sites. But you have to READ and make that decision for yourself.

3. Blogs - I think most of these are about techniques in genealogy. I rarely see any regarding information. I can only think of one site where sources are posted and she's affiliated with USGenWeb. If I saw more personal blogs with sourcing I might think otherwise about them.

4. and 5. Well -- I'm with you on that one. Movies and Stories are great inspirational tales but aren't necessarily accurate. There are a few storytellers that take great pains to do research and be accurate for their stories, though. Alison Weir, for example.

In the end, please apply the critical though process to the use of any source. And keep track of the unsourced ones as well, but don't build your portfolio around them. Many "stories" of my family that were unsourced turned out to be 100% accurate.

-Where did it come from?
-When did it come from?
-Who did it come from?
-What is the evidence?
-How many degrees is it removed from the primary source?

If you think about that each time you read a new website, blog, Wiki, book, newspaper, microfilm, database, etc. - your genealogical project will be something to be proud of!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

an Institution is ending in Chicago ...


For Immediate Release 25 Mar 2009

For confirmation contact Mary Beth Sheehan (773-393-8687)


Let this release serve as notice that the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is not planning to stage a parade in its present form in March of 2010.

This decision was not arrived at lightly. For 31 years, this parade was a staple of the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood communities – a celebration of faith, family and heritage that was cherished by thousands. Founded in 1979 by the Hendry and Coakley families, it was intended to instill in this community an appreciation for the Irish heritage that so many of its residents share.

This parade was an eagerly anticipated annual event which celebrated families, many of whom have created decades long traditions that we hope will endure. But what began as a neighborhood parade is now an event of international proportions. More than 300,000 people typically flock to the Beverly area each year, and the sheer volume has become more than the neighborhood can reasonably accommodate. With these numbers comes a collection of issues that strain both the host community and those individuals charged with effectively managing the crowds. Additionally, the amount of resources required to launch the event has become overwhelming to the community.

The Committee would like to thank the tens of thousands of parade faithful who supported this event for more than 30 years. The multigenerational families who turned out along Western Avenue each year, along with the fine organizations featured in the Line of March, were the essence of what made this parade so special. We would also like to thank the Chicago Police Department for the effort they put into managing the ever-growing crowd while working to maintain the dignity of the event.

While we regret the need to alter such a fine tradition, the Committee feels that suspending the South Side Irish Parade in its present form is the just and responsible thing to do. It is our hope, however, that this will not mean an end to the neighborhood’s annual celebration. The Committee will work to create a series of alternate events that will return us to what the parade’s founders had in mind – a neighborhood-friendly celebration of Irish heritage. Please look for news of our plans later this year.

Thank you for your support,

The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks' Day! New Alltop Feed

(This adorable photo is by dalcrose at Flickr under a Creative Commons license)

I have but a wee bit of unproven Irish ancestry in me. My grandmother's family always carried the story that their ancestor Robert Perry was Irish. So far I've got the tree back to 1700s Virginia and hit a dead end. He may have been Irish, English, or possibly Welsh.

So I'm not sure. If it was true, my share of the Irish bloodline wouldn't be large, but enough to celebrate today! :-)

One of my favorite sites to use for mass amounts of news - Alltop - released customized URLs and personal sites. Hurray! If you would like to learn more about what I like to read, feel free to check out the

Crafting in Yoohooville Alltop

Essentially, its a hybrid list of many of the blogs I read that's kind of like looking through a magazine rack, only its online stuff (though a couple blogs are missing, namely Bargain Babe and Retire at 40).

Please check it out and enjoy! And feel free to create your own Alltop and let me know where it is so I can check you out too!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Help BlueAvocado Get 1 Billion Plastic Bags Off the Street!


Change the way you shop - for good. Watch this video and make the pledge to use fewer plastic bags. Together we can keep one billion plastic bags from polluting our streets this year.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Monster Mini Golf - the countdown begins!!!

We are inviting you to the 5th Annual Monster Mini-Golf Pub Crawl to benefit Berwyn C.A.R.E.S!

Sign In is from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Windsor Bar
Tee Off is at 12:30 pm
After Party is at 6:00 pm at the "19th Hole" at Windsor Restaurant featuring pizza compliments of Berwyn's own Salernos!

Drink specials will be available at every bar and there are plenty of prizes to be had!

Registration is $50 and is due by April 13, 2009!

Bars include:
Cabin Fever
George's Tavern
Quan's Oasis
Windsor Restaurant & Sports Bar
The James Joyce Irish Pub
Salerno's Pizza
Garv Inn
Cherry Lounge
Olive or Twist
Over the Rainbow

For more details and our registration flyer, visit, our http://www.berwynjaycees.org or our Facebook Group

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Social Media - how much time does it take? (or the #1 question I get asked)

This is probably the top question I get asked, so I thought I'd list my time out here:

-Twitter: I check in a couple times a day, and scroll maybe the first page of tweets in my newsfeed. I post tweets more frequently, but those take maybe two minutes to write. - Total: app. one hour per day

-Facebook: Err...I spend a lot of time on here On days when I have to help the Jaycee groups I spend an extra hour - probably two hours a night and an hour spread across the day.

-Blogging/Reading Blogs: I don't blog as often as I should (guilty!), but I do spend a lot of time reading my favorite blogs (Frugal Dad, Retire at 40, Sustainablog, Construction Marketing Ideas, Seth Godin's Blog, Blog Maverick/Mark Cuban) - probably an hour a day total. If I write something for my blog make that an hour and a half.

-Ravelry/Craftster: I peruse at my leisure. I will go weeks without going on at all, and then stay on for hours a day. It all depends on that weeks content or if I'm looking for something. - probably fifteen minutes a day

-Email: I still spend a LOT of time on email - I run the mailing lists for my USGenWeb sites, interact with people on the Canadian ones and am an the National Advisory Board for USGenWeb - which translates into a ton of email. I also get a lot of newsletters sent to me because I'm terrible about checking websites. - Total spent across the day, 3 hours across 3 email accounts.

-Google: I've set up alerts for my name and my maiden name to see what comes up. Sometimes I have to play defense, but most of the time its a pleasant surprise to see my name in the news (even if its not me). - total spent: 10 minutes a day

-Flickr: I still post pics when I have time, but rarely do I do it when its not associated with Ravelry somehow. - maybe ten minutes or less each week

That being said, its not the majority of my day spent on the SM circuit. I still make plenty of time for working, knitting, eating and working out.

Anyway, what reminded me of this was the latest batch of emails I had received expressing wonder about how much time it took to do this and then there was a beautifully written piece at Museum 2.0 about the topic of how much time they spend doing things and what they recommend for time crunched museum peeps.