Thursday, November 12, 2015

Treasures in Your Own Back....Post Office 2600 Letters from 17th Century Unopened

Rediscovered Leather Trunk Contains Thousands of Letters From the 17th Century

Talk about the Dead Letter Office! A 300-year-old linen-lined trunk filled with over 2,600 letters that were mailed out—but never received—between the years 1680 and 1706 has recently been discovered in The Hague, Netherlands. The extraordinary collection contains letters from all manner of society, including aristocrats, merchants, lovers, actors, musicians, and even spies. At least 600 of the 2,600 letters have never even been opened. Historians are now taking a closer look.
An international team from Leiden, Oxford, MIT, and Yale are taking part in this project. You can read more about the historians’ study of the letters in a web site called Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered at and especially at

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What IS the Internet Archive and how NOT to search it?

From the previous post, you now know that Internet Archive aka THE WAYBACK MACHINE is the place to go for a LOT of raw data, digital archives, digitized films, etc, but how to search it--here's an article on how NOT to search it with specific instructions on what to do--it's lengthy but worth it.

Courtesy of Ancestry Insider at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Navigate Around the Internet Archive Search Bug

There is a bug in Internet Archive’s “Search Inside” a book feature. Don’t trust it. Let me tell you what to do instead.
Let’s say you found your way to a book on Internet Archive (IA). It is A Complete History of Fairfield County, Ohio (at by Hervey Scott. You want to see if Jonas Messerly is mentioned in it. You select the search magnifying glass up in the upper-right corner.
Internet Archive's title search icon
You search for “Messerly” and, oops, you just searched IA for titles rather than searching inside that single title.
Internet Archive's title search results
Wait, don’t cuss me out yet; that’s not the bug. That’s just user error and a user interface annoyance.
You find another search magnifying glass icon on the right-hand side about half way down the page. The context help popup says “search inside.” You select the icon.
Internet Archive's search inside icon
The page changes a bit and the search icon disappears.
The search inside icon is in a different place in the Internet Archive's full screen view.
Instead of instigating a search, what you’ve just done is switched from one book viewer to another. People  in the know tell me that this failure to search is not a bug. Because the design is supposed to do this, it is a WAD, “working as designed.” Fine. Let’s compromise and call it a user interface flaw. But this is still not the bug of which I speak.
The search inside icon has disappeared. The search-all-of-IA box is still up in the upper-right corner of the screen. You fell for that one once before. “Fool me once…” After looking in vain for another search icon, you notice that the search box you previously dismissed, the one that searched for book titles, is now labeled “Search inside”.
The search inside box is at the top in the Internet Archive's full screen view.
Also not the bug of which I speak. It’s another user error and user interface annoyance.
Now comes the bug. You search for “Messerly” and IA erroneously states “No matches were found.”
The Internet Archive's full screen view with no matches found message
Rather than depend on just the “Search Inside” results, check the raw text. To do this, select the italic I—the “About this book” icon. In the popup, select Plain Text. That brings you to a page containing the raw text from the book. Now use your browser search (^F) to search for Messerly.
Some raw text from an Internet Archive book
There he is on page 73. Now back up to the book viewer and advance to page 73.
Mention of Jonas Messerly in a history of Fairfield County, Ohio
One of the distinct advantages of Internet Archive over Google Books is that downloaded PDF files are searchable. I tested the above book and found that Adobe Reader is not affected by the search bug. You can download from IA with the confidence that your offline study will not be affected.
Mention of Jonas Messerly in a history of Fairfield County, Ohio
Be aware that OCR errors are unaffected by any of this. If a word was not recognized when scanned, then all of these methods will fail to find it.
Finally, the Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that accomplishes amazing things with very little money. No one should be surprised that there are flaws in their software. We are all in their debt. They accept contributions at

Microfilm at Your Fingertips (Not just at FamilySearch)

 Courtesty of OliveTree Genealogy by Lorine McGinnis Schulz 

September 30, 2015

Microfilm at Your Fingertips!

Microfilm at Your Fingertips!
How many of you remember "the good old days" pre-Internet when we spent hours in libraries and archives scrolling through microfilm in a dark room? I sure do! 

Now, thanks to The Internet Archive, (part of the WayBack Machine) microfilm is coming right to your computer! Here is their description of the focus of this project:

As books become old and begin to fall apart, librarians depend on microform to preserve their content for the future. Tiny photographs on long strips of film (microfilm) or small cards of film (microfiche) are all that remain of hundreds of thousands of documents that have disintegrated over the last century. While microfilm is perfect for storing and protecting this material, it is a does not allow for much access. In following its mission to provide universal access to all human knowledge, the Internet Archive is teaming up with libraries all over the world to begin digitizing microfilm and microfiche. The goal is to get as much content off the shelves and online.
The books in this collection are from a variety of libraries including the University of Chicago Libraries, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Alberta, Allen County Public Library, and the National Technical Information Service.
You may also want to view the newspapers that have been digitized from microfiche.

So don't wait, click over to and let your fingers do the walking!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Roots n Branches 2015 Workshop Set for Satruday Sept 19, 2015

PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS NOW Available--click here


CLICK here to complete



Digging up Treasures in Your Own Back Yard
Local area Historical Societies and Museums

Virginia Hanson, State Historical Society--Keynote Speaker

Saturday, Sept 19, 2015, 8:30 am - 4 pm


 Click here

sponsored by

Brookings SD FHC

See map below

Brookings Ward
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 
200 22nd Ave, (south of Hospital)
Northeast door

Registration and Check In     8:00 am to 8:30 am
          Welcome     8:30 am

8:45 am – Keynote Speaker: Virginia Hanson, 
Archivist with State Historical Society
“Early Dakota Territorial Records at the State Archives”

Where do you find records of your family when there are no census records?  Or your family fell between the census?  The Early Territory records of Dakota are full of wonderful bits of family information.  This presentation will give you an idea of what to look for and where the records can be found. Documents and samples shown include records from pre-statehood circa 1700-1900 era. Showing resources including; Military Post Returns, Muster rolls, Marriages, Early School Census, Land records, Newspapers, Indian Census, just to start.

Depending on the time allowed, we will include a case file of a young soldier killed in 1862, while stationed at Ft Sully, DT.
Session 1 – 10:10 am – 11:10 am

1. Smith-Zimmerman Museum (Lake County) – Cindy Mallery, Curator
 Treasures of the Past: How the Dead Still Speak
Many unique holdings including a comprehensive Obituary project

2. Treasures in Your Own Computer or Device – Family History Apps for Fun for All Ages
Especially for the Youth by Youth of Brookings Ward 


Session 2 – 11:20 – 12:20 pm

1. Moody County Museum (Flandreau) – Dale Johnson, former Curator
 Mystery at the Library: Which is the Real Granny Weston is in the Painting?
a Model in Native American research (based on Dianne Ammann’s research) An 1896 painting of a Native American Woman in the Moody County Public Library has puzzled patrons for years as to who she was and why the painting was done.  Dale Johnson, Moody County Genealogical Society, will trace story of Flandreau Santee Sioux from 1862 Minnesota Uprising until their settlement in Moody County area and why at least 5 Granny Westons could be the subject of the paining.

2. Rootstech 2015 Video--more Online treasures

30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without

12: 30-1:20 LUNCH

 (Brown Bag—Bring your own or Reserve one of ours—see registration)


Session 3 – 1:30 – 2:30 pm

1. Brookings County Museum (Volga) – Kristin Heismeyer, Historical Advisor 

Walking Through Our Past 
a look at treasures and resources of the Brookings Historical Society and Museum 
including local family history, research resources and outreach programs

2. Faded History –Anisah David, Rural Sociologist, of Bushnell

Hidden Treasures: Ghost Towns/Abandoned Cemeteries (in your own back yard?) 

Substitute Class: ROOTSTECH 2015 VIDEO

30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without

Session 4 – 2:40 – 3:40 pm

1.      SD Agricultural Heritage Museum (Brookings) – Carrie Van Buren, Collections Curator 
Found in Collections: Resources for Family History Researchers 
Maps, Atlases, County/Town Histories, Artifacts, Staff Research Specialties and much more

2.      SD Agricultural Heritage Museum--Gwen McCausland, Director
Preserving Your Family Heirlooms, Photos
 Professional Advice on caring for Family Treasures, Q and A


Other Local Museums and Societies

Displays Related to Class presentations

Free Premium Websites at the FHC


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CommunityWalk Map - Brookings SD FHC