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.
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).
Digital School Yearbooks for Genealogists
When researching family history, many of us are aware of the essential records to check—censuses; birth, marriage and death records; and immigration and naturalization records, to name a few. But have you ever thought about looking close to your ancestors’ home, in his or her school yearbook?
Many websites now have digital versions of middle school, high school, and college yearbooks available from the 1700s through the 1900s. Some websites offer free access, while others charge a fee. In fact, some free websites may have the same yearbooks as the subscription sites, so be sure to check the free sites first.
Learn more about yearbooks available online in my new quick guide to digital yearbooks in Family Tree Magazine‘s October/November 2013 issue. If you can’t find a yearbook for a school you’re looking for on the websites listed in the article, check the school’s library or archives website, as several schools (particularly colleges and universities) may have digitized yearbook collections available for free on their own websites.
Emerging Trends in Online Higher Education
In the last decade the number of schools offering fully online degree programs has doubled. But traditional online degree programs aren’t the only educational offerings on the internet—there’s also massive open online courses (MOOCs), online certificate programs, and competency-based online programs.
For the October 2013 Wisconsin Woman magazine, I interviewed students and administrators from various University of Wisconsin (UW) schools and programs to learn about all of these different types of programs and trends in online education.
In the process, David Schejbal, dean of the UW-Extension’s continuing education division, told me I was the first writer to know the date when students can begin applying for the UW-Extension’s new competency-based online degree program: November 18.
Check out the October 2013 Wisconsin Woman magazine (pages 7-9) for my article on emerging trends in online college education.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice if Scholarship Money Grew on Trees?
For high school students (and their parents), figuring out how to pay for skyrocketing tuition, room and board, fees, and books is no easy task. Unfortunately for students, college money doesn’t grow on trees. But there are tons of scholarships, video contests, and essay contests students can enter from 9th through 12th grade to earn money to help pay their future college bills.
In my recent article for My College Guide‘s Sophomore 2014 edition, I spoke with college professionals from William Peace University and Iowa State University to get their advice on starting the scholarship search early.
Read the My College Guide scholarships article. (My article starts on page 36c of the digital edition.)
Family History and Technology
Before I entered the world of higher education communications and marketing, I was an assistant editor at Family Tree Magazine. Working at this magazine started a new passion to research my own family history. I continue to research my family history today, and I continue to write (and sometimes edit) article for the magazine.
So far in 2013, Family Tree Magazine has published three articles I’ve written about technology tools for genealogists—a software review on Saving Memories Forever, a quick guide to tablet computers, and a quick guide on password managers.
The Saving Memories Forever software review is available online (subscription required) and the quick guides are available as digital downloads in the magazine’s online store.