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Genealogy This Week - 16 January 2010


Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists:

Using Maps in Genealogy – The US Geological Survey has a wonderful pamphlet called Using Maps in Genealogy that you can download for free. If anyone knows how to read an old map, it’s the US Geological Survey, so you might as well learn from the best. The document is full of useful online and offline references (such as where to find old place names) for anyone wanting to trace their ancestors in the US. [Link]

Online Versus Offline Records – Ever wondered how much more popular genealogy records become once they go online? As described in Irish Central Magazine, access to the 1911 Irish census increased by a factor of some 45,000 times when the records went online versus people who actually took the time to visit the Irish national archives in person to search through the physical records. Apparently, people seem to prefer to surf for genealogy records at home in their pyjamas. [Link]

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Civil War Letters – An accidental find of 140 Civil War letters has now found a home online at the Southington, Connecticut library’s website. The letters, which became available online this week, were written by Captain Andrew Upson to his wife. Captain Upson was a well-educated graduate of Yale College and his letters are often insightful and touching. The letters cover everything from daily life to his personal encounter with Ulysses S. Grant to many famous battles, including the bloody battle of Fredericksburg. Captain Upson did not live to see the end of the Civil War. He died from wounds received in battle. But, his memory lives on in his fascinating letters. The letters can be read online for free in both scanned and transcribed form. [Link]

Remove Unwanted Programs From Your Computer – New Windows computers from major brand manufacturers often ship with trial software and other annoying and unwanted bloatware. You can get rid of all these programs with a free software program called PC Decrapifier. This is an excellent program to run if you received a new computer over the holidays. It will help clean up and speed up your computer. We run this great little utility program every time we get a new computer. [Link]

Consolidate Your Instant Messaging and Social Networks – If you are one of those people who use multiple internet messaging and social networking sites, then here is a site that you might find very useful. Called Meebo, this site will actually consolidate MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace and several other instant messaging sites into one web page. A great time saver, this site is simple and easy to use. Don’t be confused by the basic look of the site, however. Meebo has serious financial backing from some of the largest and most prestigious venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Did we mention that Meebo is free to use? [Link]

The Library of All Libraries – Before the digital age, libraries were the central depositories of knowledge. They are still very important for any genealogist searching through old archive records. And in the history of mankind, no library has been more important that the famed Library of Alexandria. Founded in 288 BC, the Library of Alexandria was though to house of copy of every known scroll in the ancient world, hundreds of thousands of them in total. Scrolls were the ancient form of books, but unfortunately most of these scrolls were lost in a devastating fire at the library in 48 AD. Now, the Egyptian government has spent $220 million building the successor to the ancient Library of Alexandria. Know as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the modern version of the old library contains many artifacts from the ancient world. You can read all about it and see pictures of the new library in this CNN article. It might even be worth visiting if you find yourself in Egypt. [Link]

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