Showing posts with label ProQuest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ProQuest. Show all posts

Thursday, July 31, 2014

More IAJGS Conference: Days 3 and 4

I'm still here at the IAJGS conference, and I am happy to report that I had much better luck starting on Tuesday with the sessions I attended.  There were still a couple of duds, but nothing like the disasters of the beginning of the conference.

Some of the presentations have been particularly good.  The standout for me on Tuesday was Jane Neff Rollins, who spoke about finding and using labor union documents for genealogy research.  My great-grandfather was in unions and supported them, plus my aunt's uncle (I do research for family members also) was prominent in his union.  Rollins gave an excellent overview of several types of records that possibly could be found, but it will depend on the specific union and what records it saved.  I would be thrilled to find my great-grandfather in union membership lists, meeting minutes, photographs, or a conference agenda, which are just some of the items that were suggested.  Of course, one of the difficult things is finding where these records might be held, but the University of Connecticut has a page with links to several labor archives around the country.  Those are not the only places union documents might be, but they're good places to start.

Another interesting talk on Tuesday was the story of a Jewish man in Russian Latvia who helped fight for Latvian independence but ended up dying in a Latvian prison during World War II.  Not only did the speaker, Eric Benjaminson, explain several of the more unusual documents that he obtained regarding his cousin's history, he also tried to present a plausible perspective of the Latvians who helped this process along its way.  While that part of his talk was obviously conjecture, I have not seen that included in a presentation before.  He was trying to give a broader view of the history.  His ability to look at the other side's perspective might be related to his thirty years of experience as a diplomat.

I also heard a great talk from Vivian Kahn about 2,000 years of Jewish history in Hungary.  The only disappointment on Tuesday was a lecture by someone whose point seemed to be less to transmit information than to share his anger.  I decided I didn't want to be angry all day also and left early.

Wednesday was not quite at the same level as Tuesday but still informative.  The most useful presentation was about researching Canadian family from outside Canada.  Marion Werle talked a little about the history of Jewish immigration into Canada and then covered a broad range of records that exist, including all the normal ones plus some others, such as colonization records and 1940 national registrations.  Not all of them are actually available to people outside Canada (unless they are Canadian citizens), but she even suggested some ways to deal with that restriction.  She also listed sites on which many records can be found.

It wasn't a presentation, but I led a very productive meeting of Jewish genealogical society newsletter editors.  One of my volunteer positions is IAJGS communications chairman, and the main responsibility is working with the newsletter editors.  This past year I unfortunately was not able to keep up with that as well as I would have liked, but I was really inspired by some of the ideas suggested at the meeting.  One idea I hope to implement is making sure that all newsletters and journals have an index of articles published over the publication's history, possibly hosted on the IAJGS Web site.  Too many genealogy articles don't get enough publicity and disappear too soon, and an article index would help prevent that wealth of information from being forgotten.

I spent a few hours in the resource room on Wednesday searching in ProQuest historical and newspaper databases.  On one day of the conference ProQuest allows access to the databases, most of which are not available as personal subscriptions.  The resource room is usually packed on ProQuest day, with a line waiting at the door.  I don't know what happened, but I never saw a line and the room was never full.  On the other hand, I found very few articles, so maybe I'm not the only who has mined those databases pretty thoroughly already.  But it's still great that we have access for a day.

The other presentation I heard on Wednesday was by Rose Feldman of the Israel Genealogy Research Association.  She spoke about the Jewish Legion and other Jews in Eretz Israel (Palestine) during World War I and a little later.  IGRA researchers have been trying to locate as many documents as possible that document the participation of Jews in Palestine during the war.  They are still discovering documents in unexpected archives but hope to find even more,

Looking forward to two more days of conference, and then some research at the Family History Library before I head back to California!

Earlier commentary on the conference:
Days 1 and 2

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Big News in Online Newspapers

I received a message this morning saying that, one of the two best online newspaper sites and the first site I start my searches with, has been purchased by ProQuest, one of the multinational conglomerates that control much of the online information in the world today.  I wasn't able to confirm that by searching online, but I did find several references to ProQuest now handling NewspaperArchive's marketing.

One effect of the situation is that is currently not available through the Family History Library portal at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries, while ProQuest and the LDS Church/FamilySearch negotiate a new licensing agreement.  (I'm sure Godfrey Library has also had to renegotiate, as NewspaperArchive has been available through its portal.)  It is believed that ProQuest and the church will work something out, so NewspaperArchive should return in the near(ish) future to the portal.

I hope, however, that ProQuest does not change the current individual subscription model for NewspaperArchive.  Most ProQuest newspaper databases are available only through institutions such as universities and research libraries, and I would hate to see NewspaperArchive go that route.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Free Access to "ProQuest Dissertations and Theses" for February 2013

Samuel Brainin (z''l), USC, 1966
Every month those who have signed up for the ProQuest Discover More Corps social network have free access to one database.  This month's database is "Dissertations and Theses."  Unfortunately, the dissertations themselves are not part of the database; it is actually only an index.  Some entries have abstracts.  For most you are given the option of purchasing a copy of the dissertation.

It was still fun to poke around in the index.  I have a photo (left) of my cousin when he graduated from the University of Southern California with his Ph.D.  Now I know that it was in 1966, his dissertation topic was "The Estimation of Randomly Varying Parameters in Linear Systems", and it was in Electrical Engineering.  I also found my sister-in-law's Mathematics dissertation from Howard University.  And that's about it for my family that I know of (although my sister is threatening to go for a Ph.D.).

In the San Francisco Bay area, we have three Steve's with Ph.D.'s who are involved with genealogy (Danko, Harris, and Morse).  All of them are in the database.

Finding a relative's dissertation topic usually isn't going to take your research back further generations, but it adds richness to the information you have.  So who are the academics in your family?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recent Updates to Online Newspaper Archives Page

I posted recently about the Wikipedia page for online newspaper archives, a portal with links to other sites with digitized newspapers, abstracts, and indices.  I just completed another round of updates and additions to the page:

• Israel: updated the list of digitized newspapers on the National Library of Israel site
• Missouri: updated the list of available newspapers on the State Historical Society of Missouri Digital Newspaper Project page
• Washington State: added newspapers on the University of Washington Library site, including four student newspapers and the Pacific Fisherman Journal (nope, not kidding, it's real!)
• General USA: added many links to ProQuest newspapers that allow purchase of individual articles.  Most ProQuest databases are for large institutions, but these newly added links allow consumers to access content from home.  Almost all of them are for more recent content, but that can also be helpful in family history research.  In addition, five new states were added to the U.S. list, plus Guam now has an entry.

And remember, since this is Wikipedia, if you find an online newspaper archive that is not listed, you also can contribute to this growing resource.  If you don't want to get involved with Wikipedia, send links to me and I will be happy to add them to the page.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Free Informational Webinars from ProQuest

ProQuest, the company that presents HeritageQuest and many historical newspaper databases online, also offers informational Webinars on how to utilize HeritageQuest (HQ) and Ancestry Library Edition.  The Webinars are free (yay!) and are stored online for later viewing, also for free.

The current list of upcoming Webinars is available here.  The list includes HQ Freedman's Bank and Serial Set records (coming this Monday, January 7, so register soon!), HQ Books and Revolutionary War records, Ancestry U.S. records, and Ancestry Canadian records.  Some of the previously broadcast Webinars available are Ancestry U.K. and Ireland records; HQ Census, PERSI, and Serial Set records; and Ancestry 1940 census.  You even have the option to download the recorded Webinars to your computer and view them at your leisure.  They require a specific viewer, but even that is available for free.

Sounds like an all-around good deal to me!  I'll be watching the Freedman's Bank/Serial Set Webinar on Monday for sure, and I've signed up for a couple more after that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Library Access to Historical Jewish Newspapers in June

For the month of June only, Proquest is providing free access to libraries to its Historical Jewish Newspaper project.  Go to for more information.  The instructions are to join the ProQuest Discover More Corps social network, then click on the tab there for Database of the Month.  Librarians may also request a longer free trial and other products from ProQuest.