So you want to be a personal historian. One popular hobby related to genealogy is customizing and/or collecting maps in several languages and of different countries. The Baltic lands have been putting their matriarchs on genealogical pedestals since ancient times, and genealogy folklore often follows women’s maiden names aggrandized through folk songs and nature. You could make a video about matriarchs on genealogical pedestals.
Check out my video lecture on how to be a personal historian, "How to Be a Personal Historian: 1 Hour and 44 Minutes Talk." Or see the same video talk on the Internet Archive site, "So You Want to Be A Personal Historian." And for a related topic, writing corporate history success stories and case histories, check out my video lecture online, "How to Write Corporate Case Histories and Success Stories."
Finnish and Latvian genealogy using vintage maps
Finns and Latvians have female presidents. Check out the two European countries that elected women as the president, the Latvian president, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, and the Finnish president, Tarja Halonen. Finland is the first European country to grant women the right to vote (1906). Genealogy is a part of the Māra — the material world and the feminine. In Latvia, genealogy incorporates dievturība, the folk religion of genealogy based on folk verses. You might make a Web-based video on the genealogy, family history, or social history of female presidents around the world.
You’ll find folkloric genealogy alive in the Baltic countries. Folkoric genealogy is about tracing your ancestry and surname origins based on the concept of young people taking advice from older people who get their wisdom from nature. The focus of family history research is that genealogy enriches dievturība.
Dievturība allows each individual to understand family folklore according to his own needs and abilities. All new information and research in the fields of genealogy, science, history, folklore and religion serve to further develop dievturība.
A vintage map will show major cities where you can begin your search in the various halls of records in cities such as Riga, Latvia, Tallinn, Estonia, Jelgava, towns along the Dvina River, Kaunas, Rakwere, Port Kunda, Klaipeda, and other cities whose names have changed since the twenties. For example, Kaunas used to be called Kovno, Rakwere had been Vezenbert, and Klaipeda used to be called Memel.
Depending upon the era, Latvian genealogy records could be recorded in German, Russian or Latvian. Dundaga, Latvia, had been written in German, as Dondangen, and Mitau is now called Jelgava.
The eastern Baltic lands, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia witnessed a 1910 dialect struggle that ended with the development of standard national languages. As a result, some genealogy records are archived in the Russian language, even in Poland. Germany, Sweden, and Finland have genealogy records archived in the language of each country. Jewish genealogy records in Poland are recorded and archived in Russian.
Making videos about your genealogical roots
If you want to make a video for the Web about your roots, you can show your documentary or segment on your Web site with goals of offering regular Family History television programming to wider TV markets and other Internet sites, backed up by genealogy journalism and family history publishing. You’ll attract global viewers. And you can market your videos to advertisers and research-related sponsors.
Customize maps for genealogists or collect and present historic railroad maps or ship routes of migrations. Trace overland migrations or show maps of historic family houses without numbers on streets without names.
Your genealogy/family history business would emphasize researching, collecting, customizing, and reproducing old maps to create a family atlas and personal history time capsule. Your goal is to present your client’s or your own family life and history as part of a world view. This new point of view or perspective acts as an umbrella.
See family history visually in perspective as a larger view, a big picture, and a forest instead of the individual trees, a mass migration, or a global perspective as noted by Roots Magic. You can purchase a CD that allows you to map and explore your family tree or your client’s. Contact Roots-Magic, Inc., in Springville, Utah. Their Web site is Family Atlas. Or write to them at Roots-Magic, Inc., PO Box 495, Springville, UT 84663. Check to see whether the address changed over time. Another alternative is to design your own CDs or DVDs showing clients how to create a family atlas.
Another way of collecting or customizing family maps is to trace migrations in various countries during specific periods of time
A family migration map or social history atlas also can show immigrations, migrations across various cities, or where old houses used to exist on streets in different countries. You can find more information about how to publish customize maps in the January/February 2007 issue of Everton’s Genealogy Helper (magazine) on page 76. The article on family atlas creation reviews Family Atlas software.
If you want to specialize within a niche area of genealogy or family history, you can create a small home-based online business where you design for clients customized family maps in a variety of graphics formats, such as a PDF file. Your client’s or ancestor’s time capsule or map may be customized to show names of nearby locations. You can convert coordinates, such as listing a place and showing events and matches for that event, place, or location. The tools of this type of software are very powerful for making databases, listing events, and matching locations to events.
Another way of customizing old family history maps is to put markers on the map that are easy on the eyes. For example, create time sliders. The Family Atlas software lets you turn on a Time Slider to filter markers based on event dates. In this way, you can easily create an animated view of migrations. The software runs under most of the Windows formats currently in use. But check to see what updates have changes in the software over the past few years. Contact the company to see what updates on the software might run on your present computer.
The whole point of making and customizing maps in genealogy or family history research is to make research more visual—closer to a “mind-mapping” experience instead of text only
Genealogy presentation and journalism is moving toward multimedia—combinations of text, sound, imagery, and touch or scent as would appear in a time capsule. In two dimensions, text, sound, and imagery are possible in genealogy—from animation to memorabilia, video, and audio. To combat technology become obsolete, print is always in vogue. Your print will last longer on vellum and/or other acid-free papers.
A lot of church records are online. For example Swedish church records and genealogy materials have gone from microfilm to online. Genline, in Sweden, presents digital images for tracing Swedish ancestors. Instead of being on microfilm in various family history libraries, the church records that were on microfilm are now on the Genline website.
If you decide to customize family history maps as part of a time capsule or alone, the type of records might include immigrations, church or other house of worship records, a knowledge of handwriting from historic times, migrations records, parish records, a browser capable of seeing images, a knowledge of how the original records were put together, and basic words used in the country’s genealogical records. Records usually are cross-referenced.
Transferring genealogy records from microfilm to digital images, discs, or flash drives
If you’re going to use Genline, the image browser is called the Genline Family Finder. For other countries, you can open a business transferring genealogy records from microfilm to digital images and create your own databases. You can choose a country or city to begin with and focus on serving the needs of a specific community or ethnography by transferring materials on microfilm to an online database or a database on a CD or DVD or similar digital device or disc.
An excellent genealogy Web site that has many links to family atlas-type maps is the Farhi genealogy website. Check out the map of old Smyrna, now called Izmir. There’s also a graphic listing (French) a few names from the “1941 Farhi surnames in Alexandria, Egypt Telephone Directory” online at the site, Farhi images.
This Web site is an excellent example of showing a world perspective of customized family history/genealogy maps and text material showing how the scholarly Farhi family migrated at different times from various Middle Eastern cities such as Alexandria and Damascus to cities in Europe and the USA during historic times.
The first known 12th century Farhi moved from France to Spain. See the images at the Farhi site and at this Farhi site, and also at this other Farhi image site. Also see this image site. A Farhi migration occurred from Arles, France to Florenza, Spain in 1215.
Another migration took place in 1357 when a Farhi descendant moved to Palestine after being educated in Montpellier, France. The Farhi genealogy continues, emphasizing maps of the Farhi family after moving to various Middle Eastern countries. There are maps on the genealogy Web sites.
A notable map is the old Damascus Farhi house map. The map on the Web site shows the family houses as they existed in the 18th and 19th centuries. You can make a map of your own ancestor’s homes and streets in the towns in which they lived. According to the Farhi house map Web site, “In 19th Century Damascus, Raphael el Muallim Farhi lived in a one of the most opulent houses of Damascus.” The Farhi old city map website shows a map of the old walled city in Damascus and displays “three Farhi houses (119, 120 & 277), the Liniado (268) and the Lisbona (4941).” According to the Farhi map Web site, “From this city plan, the Muallim Farhi house was indeed the largest of them all.”
Also at another geographic location in another century, check out the genealogy Web site depicting some of the descendants of Deacon Stephen Hart, an early 17th century New England settler with records in Massachusetts starting from 1632.
When you develop world view family history maps, you are changing the perspective from family to social history, from local to global view
What you can do is focus on customizing maps or other detailed accounts of the methods used by genealogists. When you write any work of genealogy journalism or customize visuals to create family maps or atlases, you are making an inquiry encompassing centuries. Anything you create should be on the type of acid-free paper or other medium such as vellum that can be read without the use of technology because technology changes rapidly.
There’s no way to play a record if the record player can’t be found. At least languages can be translated for more years than technology allows recordings to be played. You might also have the materials transferred each generation to a new medium to keep up with the changes in recording and playback devices.
Customizing genealogy maps
With languages, you can always have your relatives with each generation do a deed in memory of the original ancestor by transferring or translating old family atlases, maps, and text or multimedia recordings to the newest form of presentation. If you customize maps, include place names, family names, house locations, street locations if the houses don’t have numbers.
If the streets are not named, insert latitude and longitude locations and other markers of where the old houses were located. Indicate if the homes are still standing or what they became in recent times. Maps of schools, cemeteries, houses of worship, and family gathering places may be included in a family atlas.
Another graphic project in addition to a map or atlas would be a decorative family tree. You can specialize in genealogical clip art or other family tree designs. Highly recommended to learn this are the books Paper Trees: Genealogical Clip-Art, by Tony Mathews, available from Genealogical Publishing Company, and the book titled, Creativitree: Design Ideas for Family Trees, by Tony Mathews.
Creating legacy guides
Another business you can create includes legacy guides that offer the social history surrounding your ancestors or your client’s ancestors. You can create a book on any ancestor’s life by writing detailed descriptions of the local environment or even the entire world in which that ancestor lived. Include time lines of what happened nearby as well as internationally at the time of a particular ancestor’s life span.
It’s taking social history and using events and historic issues in the news to expand the life of an ancestor of a family living at that period of time. You might also include the ancestor’s wishes, plans, highlights, accomplishments, or collected wisdom, proverbs, slogans, and quotations. If you want to create a legacy book, then highly recommended as a guide is the Legacy Guide by Carol Franco and Kent Lineback, published by Penguin Group, Inc. 2007. Use all these resources to help you put into perspective the various possibilities you can offer to clients when you start a genealogy and personal history communications business.
You not only want to capture maps or make atlases, but you also can include facts in addition to memories
The goal is to share with others the meaning of life. These recommended books all offer frameworks for capturing personal history as a documentary. These keepsake heirlooms are more than albums or time capsules and more than gift books or diaries. The books guide you to weave personal history into turning points. Life story highlights are milestones. These events shape worlds as well as families. The whole idea of a book, a database, or a customized map of migrations and locations of ancestral homes preserves legacies for generations.
Resources for Research and Reviews of Great Articles and Books on Genealogy Research Techniques
See any copies of Everton's Genealogical Helper | Series | LibraryThing (magazine) Jan/Feb 2007 Historical Maps Can Help, Jeffrey A. Bockman, pgs.16-24. The article mentions key Web sites for persons interested in creating and customizing family maps. One of the most useful government websites is at the Bureau of Land Management online. Check out the site, and for your rural research, look at county atlases.
Bockman’s article also mentions “a large collection of historic railroad maps online.” The article refers searchers for transportation maps also to the map section of The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America (8th Edition), by George B. Everton.
Here's how to start your own ancestry-television business online on a shoestring budget. Learn how to launch family and personal history videos online with video podcasts (vodcasts) or other public access television programming on Web sites or on various niche broadcasts.
Make Customized Family History and Migrations Maps: How to Research, Collect, Customize, Create, and Reproduce Old Maps as a Family Atlas and Personal History Time Capsule
Yes, there are online markets waiting for you to start your own Family History Channel online. Choose your niche. You could broadcast those historic genealogy maps with video commentary on your Web site as an online television station. Your family history videos can improve the quality of life for others by showing how you made choices and overcame adversities to finally transcend life’s issues by showing commitment to your most important values.
Family history is one of the fastest growing viewing markets around the world and the second most popular hobby. It’s social history. It can be an online TV documentary. It draws global traffic. Make money from your family history/genealogy hobby by customizing family atlases using historic real estate, plat, and panoramic maps.
Look at historic railroad maps, real estate maps, and maps of schools and houses of worship. In some countries, you can trace older maps of the wealthy manor houses and a variety of large buildings. Look for signs of property changing hands from the one ethnic group’s nobility to another ethnic group’s peasants just after the turn of the 20th century.
You might be interested in researching land grants, tax records, deeds to property, and notary recordings to see whether your ancestors owned one of these manor houses or ended up in Siberia. A Trans-Siberian genealogy site actually exists at the Trans-Siberian Railway Forum (genealogy and railway history). For example, suppose you’re Swedish but your ancestors at one time lived in Latvia, and spoke Swedish. For Latvian genealogy, contact Latvian Research. You might be surprised to find records kept in several languages.
Vintage Railroad Maps and Family History Hobbies on Video
Video is a great medium for guides to genealogy such as vintage railroad maps. Upload your vintage maps to the Web as video clips. You can collect or customize vintage railroad maps from around the world, from a particular area, or from your local area.
An old Livonian, Finnish, and Estonian proverb about the Baltic Sea peoples states, “Genetically, they are related, and so are their railroads.” So look at a vintage railroad map dated to the year that your relatives or clients lived in a particular area of the world. Videos are learning opportunities when you provide details.
To find a detailed old map of the Baltic countries, a great place to start is with former editions of Encyclopedia Britannica dated to the year of your ancestor’s residence in one of the Baltic countries. Follow similar steps when tracing your ancestry from any other place. Research tools like maps are global.
A good starting point with a Baltic map also is the Latvian GenWeb site at Rootsweb. At this site you’ll see a link for a variety of resources
John Bartholomew & Son, Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland, published an excellent 9 ¾” by 7 ¼” Baltic Railroad Map that includes only three Baltic nations—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Those countries had been under Soviet rule since World War II. However, they were independent at the time of the map’s publication in 1929.
If you want to learn about the cultural components or history of each country bordering the Baltic that once belonged to the Soviet Union, try the The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. Click on various groups such as the Latvians (Livonians) at or for special groups within Lithuania, such as the Tatars, try the link to the Polish or Lithuanian Tatars site.
In tracing family history, it’s important that you find a vintage map like this one showing details of cities, small towns, railroads, steamship routes, and natural features. It’s like finding a map of the old neighborhoods, streets, and houses.
Regardless of the city or nation your ancestors came from, the research tools are the same—vintage railroad maps, real estate maps, and maps of routes of orphan trains can point to clues even after stores have been built on top of historic homesteads. For compelling videos on roots and family trees, you might focus on matriarchal genealogy folklore. As social history, you can compare matriarchal societies to patriarchal ancestral nations. After all, family history is part of social history.
If you're recording a personal history on video or audio, you'll also need to transcribe what's on the recording to make sure as technology advances, that there's at least a written transcription of what is on the recording device. The paper you transcribe needs to be of the type that lasts many decades to outlive the technology device in case the material is not transferred from the old technology to new technology. Many recordings are stored for decades, even centuries in archives or passed from one generation to the next without getting transferred to the newest technology devices. Usually, what's readable in printed text such as a transcription, can still be read.
Vellum or acid-free paper and storage techniques of conservation can be helpful to learn about when storing recorded and transcribed oral history records. Also check out some of the oral history sections of libraries that archive such materials for future researchers, genealogists, and descendants.