It's June already and summer activities are beginning to ramp up big time! Family gatherings are probably already in the works and genealogists see these as opportunities to gather, add to, and disseminate family trees.
I've been asked to write a review of a new perk at ObituariesHelp.org where they are offering for free 18 Printable Family Trees that you can download and print off in your own home, or take them to a higher quality printing office and have them done there. Either way, this is an excellent opportunity for you to give the gift of a printed family tree to your graduate, as a wedding gift, or print off many of them and pass them out at family reunions so family members can fill them in and return them to you for your records. The possible ways to use them are endless!
Some examples of the downloads you can get for your Free Printable Family Tree include the Three Generation Bowtie (shape) tree, a six generation Partner Family Tree, and even a Ten Generation Circular Family Tree. The trees are in various shape and size formats such as an actual tree (three generation, perfect for display as a wall chart), landscape, pedigree chart, ancestry and hourglass in addition to fan, bowtie and circular.
Keep in mind that not everyone is currently working with a genealogy program where you can print off filled in trees, but they are very interested in their family history and would love a keepsake like this. I did download one of the family tree templates and I was very impressed by the quality of the chart when it was printed here at home.
At the beginning of this year I got quite a shock when I found that Ancestry had renewed my full access to their site to the tune of around $300! Luckily, I had the money available at the time, but it was still a very large sum to shell out for just a hobby. I won't be doing the same thing next year, but I am always on the lookout for other ways to get genealogical information at an affordable (or free) price.
My newest issue of Family Tree magazine arrived a few days ago, and one of the article that caught my eye was 10 Great Little Subscription Web Sites.
Here is what FT magazine has to say on this topic:
may be genealogy's biggest subscription Web site, but it's not the only
game in town. We tried out the "little guys" and found 10 small
commercial sites worth your money.
Wouldn't it be great if you could tap into some of Ancestry's databases? Did you know that you can, and that some of them are free. Actually, there are over 200 free databases you can access. So, if you have some free time and want to check them out, go through GenealogyBuff's website and see the lists of free DB's. I intend to do just that today, and to bookmark the site! Thanks GenealogyBuff!
The main purpose for my new blog iPentimento was to have a central location where people researching Oregon state history, the Holmes surname, or Oregon City history, could find a well-sourced biography of my 1st cousin William Livingston Holmes. William was one of the first sheriff's of Clackamas County when it was still Oregon Territory. Just this last weekend I uploaded the files for his biography to a page on iPentimento. I have also included some pictures I took at Rose Farm, the house William Holmes built; also included on the page is a two generation family tree for the Holmes family.
William and his wife Louisa, along with there three children were members of the 1843 Oregon Trail wagon train that left Missouri in late spring and traveled many months to get to the end of the Oregon Trail at Oregon City in November of that year.
It was a long and arduous trip for them, and it is likely they walked most of the way. One thing that many people may not think about is that when the wagon trains left Missouri the land was somewhat flat and the travelers were fresh, as were the oxen teams pulling the wagons. It is a sad fact that as the trip wore on, the terrain was more difficult to traverse, and their energies were flagging by the time they got to the Columbia River. They would have to either try to make it overland to Oregon City, or lower their wagons and livestock into the treacherous river and hope that they didn't drown in the process. A good book to read about this wagon train is Blazing a Wagon Trail to Oregon: A Weekly Chronicle of the Great Migration of 1843 (Paperback) .(ref)
This family was just one of 1000 souls who were on this particular wagon train, the first organized one to make it to Oregon City. There are some great Oregon Trail web pages online. One of them is Stephenie Flora's Oregon Pioneers page. She has been kind enough to link to the William Holmes page from her site.
I don't know if any of you have discovered this site yet, but it is called Family Link and might be a good place to start if you plan on sharing any of your family trees and/or photos. I have just signed up, and I will add new information as time permits. My direct link to my profile will keep you updated, so be sure and bookmark it please. Just a caution here. I am not totally sure this is going to be a free site forever, so please check the site before signing up. I do see that they encourage you to sign up for World Vital Records. Hey, just don't blame the messenger, ok? Thanks!
I had an interesting email exchange with a mannamed Robert who was representing Find A Grave. I had posted some new information to their site about my cousin William Livingston Holmes under the section of "famous" persons. My posting included a photo of William's headstone, and also a photo of the man. The reply I got was 'canned', but it tells me that our national history is certainly not important to a site like Find A Grave. Here is what he said:
Thank you very much for submitting a memorial to Find A Grave. You indicated that William Holmes should be considered for inclusion on the 'famous' pages. Unfortunately, William Holmes does not appear to fit our criteria for a 'famous' listing. You can learn about Find A Grave's famous listings, including what we look for in a 'famous' entry, by reading our 'Famous FAQ'. You can jump directly to our FAQ by following the link below:
So, what's my gripe? Here is my reply to "Robert":
Hi Robert, I am not writing to "argue" or anything. I listed William Livingston Holmes as 'famous' because he was the first sheriff of Clackamas county in Oregon. That probably sounds mundane, but at the time he was elected in 1845 the size of the county extended from the Rocky Mountain divide to San Francisco*, up into British Columbia and west taking in parts of Puget Sound. He was the first and only law man for the area before Oregon even became a state.
He might have been famous in his time, and not ours. Thanks anyway, and for the email.
Granted, Clackamas county, Oregon was sparsely populated at the time, but in the wild and untamed 'far west' that it was, there were still murders and other acts of mayhem committed on a regular basis. William Holmes may have had deputies to help him, but at age 38 he was the only man who was sheriff of the county that took in a very large expanse of real estate while he was in office.
William Livingston Holmes is my first cousin, five times removed. I just think that he should be given his due acknowledgement as an Oregon Trail Pioneer, as well as one of the first to settle in Oregon and become one of its contributing citizens (see Rose Farm). I am currently writing a biography about Wm. Holmes.
Have you visited Dead Fred lately? This is a very handy site where you can upload your family photos and let the world know just where your ancestors are buried. The younger generation might go "ewww" about this, but for those of us who do genealogy and want to share the wealth of our records and photos, this site is a good place to start. Besides, it is free to register, and they only ask that you donate now and then. The usual amount is $1. Not too hard on the wallet, eh?
One of the things I like about the site is that you can also leave a sentiment and flowers on a virtual grave. With my ancestors spread all over the country, that is a nice way to show you are thinking of them.
There are five ways to search on the site: by surname; location, check the mystery photos to see if you can identify anyone; or just do a keyword search. You might want to look through the section on school annuals too.
You might also like to visit Find a Grave also. Another good site for genealogy research. On this site you can even search for famous person's gravesites too. A friend of mine is the step-granddaughter of Henry Travers (Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life") and I found where he was buried, and even who was buried nearby and sent that information to her.
I heard this story on Northwest Cable News at noon today, and could barely contain myself. Who knows what genealogical riches might await the Oregon researcher!? I would love to see what is in this collection, mainly because of my connection to early Oregon though my Holmes cousins who lived in Oregon City. I will be writing a story about William L. Holmes soon, and I hope to interest some genealogical web sites in purchasing the rights to reprint it. Stay tuned...