Genealogy: Tips for Planning a Family History Road Trip
I love to travel, and was excited when I had the opportunity to write an article on summer genealogy road trips for Family Tree Magazine’s July/August 2014 issue.
For the article, I interviewed staff at top destinations for genealogists around the country, including the Family History Library (FHL), the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Library, Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center, and Ellis Island.
Here are a few things I learned from these professionals about making and planning for a genealogy road trip:
1. Every trip may be different. Especially at genealogy libraries, every trip you make there could be different. Libraries are constantly acquiring new materials and family histories, so even if you didn’t have much luck the last time you visited, something new and relevant to your family history research could have arrived the next year. So, it pays to check back with the library every once in a while.
2. Do your homework before you go. To take the best advantage of resources accessible on-site only, do some research before you go. Search the library’s online catalog so you know what books or microfilm you want to (and can) access. Browse or search any available online databases. Some repositories may store records in off-site storage facilities, so if there’s something specific you want to see, find out how you can request to access to those materials when you’re there (or before you go).
3. Call ahead. Historic sites, libraries, and archives may change their hours of operation (or may be under renovation, which causes access issues to certain records) due to holidays or during their busy or slow seasons. Call ahead to confirm the hours posted on their website are still correct. And while you’re calling, ask if any large groups are scheduled to be at the center during the dates you’re planning to visit. If so, you may want to consider shifting your trip dates to avoid the crowds and maximize your time there.
For more details and specific tips on visiting the FHL, NEHGS Library, ACPL Genealogy Center, and Ellis Island (such as collections you can access, how to get there, and other genealogy and history sites to visit while you’re there), see my article in the Family Tree Magazine July/August 2014 issue.
Also, check out the Family Tree Magazine May 2014 podcast (starting at 7:30) to listen to an interview I gave about this article and genealogy road trip tips.
About Dana’s Creative Services
Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.
Exploring Health Care Degrees
Health care careers today involve not only patient care, but administration, technology development, research, and more. And college graduates with majors in health care-related fields are in high demand.
At the University of the Sciences (USciences) in Pennsylvania, for example, 94 percent of graduates seeking jobs are employed within six months of graduation, and students in some areas (such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and pharmacy) are averaging two job offers upon graduation, according to Shawn P. Curtin, interim associate vice president for enrollment management at USciences.
With jobs in health care ranging from nursing and dietetics to medicine and athletic training, there are plenty of options for high school students (or adults going back to school) to find a career that matches their interests.
In the latest My College Guide Junior Edition, my article on health care degrees explores some of these career options, provides advice for choosing a college, and offers tips for things students can do in high school to prepare for majoring in a health care field.
See more of my writing on higher education topics.
New Hope for Young Cancer Patients
Dr. Nicole Longo, internist and onco-fertility point person at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia, says throughout her career she has started to see a new trend: her patients are getting younger and the kinds of cancers they have are more aggressive.
Each year more than 100,000 people under age 45 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there are nearly a half-million cancer survivors of reproductive-age. As the cancer patients doctors treat become younger, there is a growing concern about what a cancer diagnosis means for the patients’ future ability to have a family and a normal life after cancer.
Because of this, CTCA is now implementing a program to proactively help these young patients not only cope with their cancer diagnosis, but also to discuss how treatments will impact their future fertility.
Learn more about this new program in “Giving New Hope to Young Cancer Patients” from the February 2014 Wisconsin Woman magazine.
Web Browser Plug-ins to Help Protect Your Privacy Online
Did you know that hundreds of advertising, marketing, and other companies may be tracking your every online move? These can be beneficial when advertisers show you ads customized specifically to you, but it can be creepy, too.
While researching information for an online privacy web course and quick guide for Family Tree Magazine, I came across several resources that can help show you who’s tracking you, as well as tools to block organizations from tracking your online movements. I was surprised to find that 114 companies were tracking my online surfing, and began using one of the tools I learned about to block some of the trackers.
Check out my “Web Browser Plug-ins for Privacy” quick guide in Family Tree Magazine‘s January/February 2014 issue for information on several tools to help you retain some of your online surfing privacy.
What’s New With This Year’s FAFSA and Financial Aid
For a recent higher education blog post on My College Guide, I had the pleasure of interviewing financial aid and admissions professionals at several universities, including Carthage College, The University of Tulsa, Agnes Scott College, and Indiana Tech. These professionals provided some great advice about changes to this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applying for financial aid.
Filing the FAFSA as early as possible, since aid is often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, is one of the most important tips these professionals provided. In addition, the FAFSA form has made some changes to parent information required and Congress has changed how federal student loan interest rates are set. Learn more about what’s new with the 2014-15 FAFSA and financial aid in my recent post.
New University Research Findings on Causes of Autism in Children
Autism is a disorder that affects 1 in 88 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But unfortunately, not a lot is known about what causes autism. That’s where university researchers come in. Three new university research studies are shedding light on possible causes of autism.
Read my article about the researchers’ findings on possible causes of autism in the Nutshell column of Brain, Child magazine‘s Winter 2014 issue.
Minimally Invasive Treatments for Varicose Veins
For women and men with bulging or unsightly varicose veins, their condition is not merely cosmetic. It’s the result of a medical condition that could lead to serious medical issues. The good news for varicose vein sufferers is that the old ways of treating vein problems, which required hospitalization and weeks of recuperation, have now been replaced by minimally invasive procedures that often can be done on an outpatient basis with a day or less recovery time.
“Symptoms can start and happen slowly over time, so many people don’t realize they have as many symptoms for varicose veins as they do,” says Dr. Eric Hohenwalter, interventional radiologist and co-director of the Comprehensive Vein Clinic at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Learn about how common varicose veins are, who is at the most risk, what symptoms to look for, and what minimally invasive treatments are available at three Milwaukee-area veins clinics (Lumiére Laser and Vein Center, the Comprehensive Vein Clinic at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Vena – The Varicose Vein Institute) in this month’s Wisconsin Woman magazine (pages 7-9).
Guide to Canvas Photo Printing Services for Genealogists
If you need a holiday gift idea for the family genealogist on your list, you might want to read my quick guide to canvas photo printing services in the December 2013 Family Tree Magazine.
Most digital photo printing services now offer the ability to have photos printed on stretched or rolled canvas. The photo canvases provide a neat and relatively inexpensive (depending on the size) way to give photos a professional, artwork-like quality to spruce up your walls. If you have an image (in a JPG format, for example) of your family tree, you could have it printed so the family historian can hang it on his or her wall, or you could have special family photos printed on the canvas.
Of the six services highlighted in the Family Tree Magazine article, only one—Shutterfly—offers a cool family tree layout (for up to eight photos). To learn more about the differences among canvas photo printing services, check out the December 2013 Family Tree Magazine (page 64).
Expert Tips for Finding College Scholarships
Have I mentioned how much I love writing articles and blog posts for My College Guide? One of the reasons I enjoy this so much is that I get to talk to college administrators, admissions professionals, and financial aid staff all around the country and get their best advice to help high school students prepare for college.
These professionals often have so much great advice to share that we can’t include it all in the magazine articles. This was the case with information on finding and applying for college scholarships for a recent article. Because of this, I compiled the “extra” advice into a new blog post. See expert scholarship advice from professionals at Iowa State University and William Peace University in my latest post.