Thursday, October 25, 2012

BlogTalk Radio–After Action Report

medium_1412225I just finished my interview with Bernice Bennett on Research at the National Archives and Beyond.  It was really a lot of fun.  I just hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.  For those of you from the islands, I hope I portrayed our homeland well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogtalk Radio - Searching for Your Island Roots with David Lynch

Flyer-Radio_Talk_ShowAs I mentioned before, I will be interviewed on Thursday, Oct 25, at 9pm ET by Bernice Bennett, the host of Research at the National Archives and Beyond.  This is an internet radio program, broadcast live and recorded for later retrieval via web or podcast.  Here is the official announcement.
Searching for Your Island Roots with David Lynch
Bernice Bennett welcomes David Lynch who brings a new approach to searching his Caribbean roots, specifically in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the former Danish West Indies. David used his 20 years of experience in scientific research to guide his work in uncovering his family’s 300 year history in the islands. Very few records are available online, so David explored the rarely used NARA RG 55 in College Park and other sources. These records hold a wealth of information including tax lists and a nearly complete set of newspapers from St Croix dating from the early 1800’s. In the process he learned a lot about the islands, the people, and a family history that was very different then he expected.
He chronicles his discoveries in his blog – 200 Year’s in Paradise – selected as one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 for 2012
To listen, just click on the link here. If you want to participate, you can call in with comments or questions at (646) 200-0491.  There is also a live text chat line that should be opened at about 8:45 ET, about 15 minutes before the show.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Birthday Trip to Paradise

IMG_5388 (Medium)Are you obsessed with researching your family and visiting the places your ancestors lived?  Do you have difficulty convincing your spouse that an ancestral home town would be an exciting spot to spend that hard-earned vacation budget or precious annual leave? Here’s a great suggestion for how to get your spouse to not only support the idea, but to actually suggest it: 
Have ancestors from a beautiful tropical island.
This year, for my birthday, my wife suggested we take a trip to St. Croix so that I could visit all of the places I have found in my research and meet up with the people I’ve contacted.  Of course, if we spend some time at the beach, that would be fine too.  So we agreed and we’re going next month, from November 8th - 15th.
Although I’ve been there many times (this picture is from my 2006 visit), I never knew that my family had such a long history on the island.  I knew about my grandmother’s house on Strand St in Christiansted, but I never knew about the other family homes.  I definitely want to take a walking tour and get pictures of the locations I’ve found.  I want to visit 45 Fisher St, where the van Beverhoudts lived for 100 years.  I want to put some context into the records I‘ve collected. I also plan to visit Whim to look at their resources and we’ll hop over to St Thomas for a day. But, what else is there?  I don’t really know much about what’s available on-island that I can’t do from home.  This is where I need help.
I’m reaching out to any readers who are familiar with the resources on the islands.  What else should I do while I’m there?  What records/resources are available there that I can’t reasonably get from home?  How could I maximize the genealogical value of the trip?  What would you do if you only had a week (while leaving time for the beach)?  Who should I look up while I’m there?
Please leave me a comment or send me an email with suggestions.  With your help, I’m hoping this can be as productive as it will be fun.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Half-Cousins: Are they Really Just Cousins?

Recently, I participated in a LinkedIn discussion about a perennial genealogy problem:  How do you calculate degrees of cousins and “removes”?  Most people are, understandably, lost when you refer to a 3rd cousin twice removed.  I offered my two cents on how the system worked.  Then a new topic came up.  What do you call the relationship between children of half-siblings, children with only one common parent?  “Half-cousins”? Can you have “Half 3rd cousins twice removed”?  Is this even a real term?  Many people commented on this and apparently this discussion has been around a while.  So, I figured I’d chime in.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Timeline Pedigree

Some time ago I ran across a novel approach for displaying ancestor timelines on the ProGenealogists blog.  In their November 10, 2011 post Timeline Pedigree Charts, they describe a way to build a timeline in Excel that gives a visual representation of the pedigree chart with a little timeline thrown in.  While it takes a little planning it’s well worth it and really helps put your ancestors in context.