Monday, September 20, 2010

RSS Explained In Plain English

For the better part of year, I've been hearing about RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds. My response, typical of most people browsing the Internet, was "Why do I need that?"

I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea. I can just save the URL to my Favorites, right? Why do I need to subscribe to an RSS feed? Click here and the answer will soon be obvious.

Take your research to the next level. Subscribe to The Sand Creek Sentinel for more genealogy tips.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

The Battle Of Antietam: September 17, 1862

How well do you know your Civil War history?

Today marks the 148th anniversary of the single bloodiest day of the Civil War at the Battle of Antietam. If you can answer the following four questions correctly, I’ll give you a pass on the above video.

• Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, & Missouri remained a part of the Union and were exempted from the Emancipation Proclamation? True or False?

• Antietam is to the Union as __________ is to the Confederacy.

• What action did President Lincoln take after the Union victory, at Antietam, in September 1862?

• Who was Abraham Lincoln’s presidential opponent of 1864?

• According to President Lincoln, which Union general had a case of "the Slows"?

NB: Yale Professor David Blight is the Director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the author of A Slave No More. You might think that discovering two previously unpublished slave narratives in the 21st century is remarkable and it is. As family researchers however, even more remarkable is the research done to validate the events recorded for posterity by Wallace Turnage & John Washington.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spinning History Through The Movies

With a renewed love of history, I'm always looking for documentaries or movies that serve my twin interests in history and family history. Yesterday, flipping through the TV channels, I stumbled on National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) and later, Wild, Wild West (1999).

National Treasure: Book of Secrets follows National Archivist, Ben Franklin Gates (aka Nicolas Cage) and his father, Patrick Henry Gates (aka John Voight), as they seek to uncover the back story of Abraham Lincoln's assassination and 18 missing pages from the diary of John Willkes Booth.

In Wild, Wild West, at the behest of President Grant, Jim West (aka Will Smith) & Artemus Gordon (aka Kevin Kline) team up to battle wits with Dr. Arliss Loveless (aka Kenneth Branagh) and his "lady-fiends". Kenneth Branagh's southern accent is right on.

Yes, okay, so Roger Ebert ripped both of these movies to shreds but that doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy the Civil War tie-in.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pawn Stars: Labor Day TV Marathon

I'll make this short and sweet. Don't call me tomorrow because I'll be watching my newest guilty pleasure, on the History Channel, all day long!

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Born in Africa: Martha & Amey

The other day, while reviewing the 1870 U.S. Census for Oktibbeha County, for the umpteenth time, I came across two African-born women. In 1808, Congress officially banned the international slave trade from Africa but it continued illicitly. Considering that, it was possible that Martha Walcer, born about 1820, was born in Africa. On the other hand, Amey McVay [sic], born about 1790, was definitely a more probable candidate.

Beyond an 1871 marriage listing for Samuel McPhail to Rodie Parramore, of Oktibbeha County, MS, I was unable to further locate Amey's immediate family. I did locate a Spencer McPhail on the 1900 Oktibbeha County Census but I couldn't find the tie-in. As far as Martha, I couldn’t location her or her family on the 1880 census.

Fortunately, I have plenty of other options to explore.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Evernote: The Best Organizational Tool Ever!

Location! Location! Location! is to Real Estate what Organization! Organization! Organization! is to Genealogy. If you're like me and have notes on assorted slips of papers (e.g., napkins, backs of receipts, and post-it notes) and in too many notebooks to count, then you'll soon appreciate just how wonderful this software application can be in organizing all of your genealogical research.

In addition, I'm in the process of creating a website. Jotting down ideas, adding video links and pictures is a piece of cake and finding those same items is a breeze with the search feature. While I've downloaded the Windows-version, there is also a Mac-version of this software available, as well as an iPad, iPod, and an iPhone version. I love the 21st Century!

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