FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

My Friend – David Burgess – A Short Life

The other day, Roger Bell, President of Footnote told me about one of his friends who died at age eleven.

Tonight I remembered his story and thought about my own friend, David Burgess, who was killed along with his mother in anBurgess_accident_sm auto accident when he and I were five.

My memories of his last two hours of life haven’t dimmed much in the intervening  years.

His hand waving out of the car window as they drove away…   I can still see his hand waving…

He would be dead in just a few more minutes.

I found the old newspaper clippings that I’d cut from the Salt Lake Tribune the day after the accident and used them in a  Footnote page about David’s last day on earth.

The story from my perspective would have gone to the grave with me until Roger’s comments triggered  memories of my friend, David Burgess ……..  and now, thanks to Footnote, the story is recorded for others.  Click here to read it.

I hope his siblings find it one day.

How many memories, photos and old newspaper clippings do you have stored away that need to be recorded and shared before it is too late?

Jot them down.  Put them on your blog, on your website, on Footnote or in a binder that you donate to a library.

Someone, sometime, will be extremely appreciative of your thoughtfulness.  Gifts of this nature are worth more than gold.  If you’ve ever been the recipient of one of these “gifts”, you know that it is true.

It’s all just part of “Pay-It-Forward” …  Right?

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15 November 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

Find Me on “The Wall”

The team at Footnote.com have been working on a very special project for the past few months. They’ve captured images of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. and have added a tremendous amount of information to the names of every person listed on it.

The work has been infectious to team members and others who have seen it. It is your turn now. Visit it at http://www.footnote.com/thewall

The entire wall has been masterfully photographed and is searchable by name. Who is represented by all of these names? They are the fallen heros of the Vietnam war.

The statistics listed are astounding. 58,322 names, 2,056 bodies not recovered and an average age of 22.8 years.

When you find your family member, friend or other name, click on their name and you are presented with their information, such as date of birth, date of death, branch of the service and other significant information.

Now that this page exists, you can add photos, written remembrances, histories and other details about them so today’s and tomorrow’s generations will not forget them, their bravery and their service to the nation.

Click here to watch the comments by one Vietnam Veteran about finding the name of his friend on the wall. You too will begin to feel the “infection” that seeing these names evokes in your heart. Watching the short video is time well spent.

The names represent real people, each with a unique story who died in service to their country.

Not only is the physical site of the wall sacred ground, but now its specific digital location becomes sacred ground.

There is no cost to view the wall or to add comments. Sit down and take a tour of the wall today.

Is it a historical presentation? Yes. A family history presentation? YES!

All of us hope that someone remembers us after we too have passed on. Now, you can remember your fallen family and friends by using “The Wall” and adding remembrances and photos of them.

21 March 2008 Posted by | Photos | , | Leave a comment

Small Town Newspapers

Small town newspapers are always a family history researcher’s best friend. I’ve been looking through some old copies of one of these publications for any information on my ancestors.

Recently, I found my 2nd great grandfathers obituary published on the front page of a small town paper 80 miles and several large cities north of where he lived. I was extremely surprised to see it in a ‘foreign’ newspaper.

In days gone by, the population wasn’t as large as it is today and most of the communication was done through newspaper articles. There are numerous unique entries on the pages of these papers that you’d rarely see in print today.

Did someone in town have a birthday party? Yes? Well, she was wearing this dress and got these presents and this is the name and home town of everyone who came to her party. Not only that, but “these” visitors stayed with her overnight and the next day they visited “these” folks and then went to dinner with “these” folks.

Whew! The nitty gritty of their lives was published for review. When someone passed away, had an accident, served in the military, had a good crop or served pie at the church fair, the events were often recorded in the local paper in detail.

I love this type of information in my research. Not only does it give me many facts to add to my records, it also helps me find the married names of daughters and cities of residence of family members. They also provide the much coveted historical ‘color’ that we need to help us visualize our ancestors lives and environment. It is Good Stuff in my opinion.

I noticed that Footnote is putting a lot of small town newspapers on their website and I have spent some time perusing through the current postings. None of the locations have helped in my research this far, but I’m told that many, many more small town newspapers will soon be on the site. I’ll watch them closely over the next few months.

You have to love the uninhibited reporting of the reporters in these newspapers. I laughed at one photo showing a car that had missed turning on either fork of a road and had instead run straight into a big tree. It seems that a fellow was out a little late on Friday night and the ‘soda’ he was drinking with his friends was a little stronger than what he’d been telling his folks. I don’t suppose he was able to concoct a story to off-set the family’s totaled car that was shown in the article, still in its mangled glory.

Make sure you don’t overlook these wonderful newspapers in your own ancestral quest. Odds are you’ll find some information in them about your ancestral family that you’ve dearly hoped to find for years.

7 March 2008 Posted by | Digital Newspapers | , , | Leave a comment