Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - My Great Grandmother Caroline Petersen

Caroline Hansen Petersen and Susan Petersen
circa 1953
Caroline Hansen Petersen is the only one of my great grandparents who was alive during my lifetime. Here we are at our home in Lincoln, Nebraska. She died in 1962 and I have no recollection of seeing her any other time than on the day this photo was taken.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Nellie Kelly's postcard to Dan Kelly

This is a postcard from Nellie Kelly Rector to her brother, Daniel Kelly (my great grandfather) of Greenwood, Nebraska.

The card is postmarked December (no date) 1911, Lincoln Nebraska

Sunday Eve


Was glad to see you looking so well today. But couldn't get you on the phone (co) tell you about Edward tonight.


Much love, Nellie


The reference to Edward is likely their nephew, Edward Fitzgerald, son of their sister, Mary Kelly Fitzgerald and John Fitzgerald. After the death of his wife, Mamie, in 1902, Edward seemed to move around quite a bit and at the time of his mother's death in 1940, news accounts listed him as a survivor, but "whereabouts unknown." He's one of those elusive family members who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. 

Or was it about another nephew, Edward Kelly, son of their brother Michael C. Kelly and Mary Keleher. To me, that seems less likely as this Edward was a youth of eight years in 1911.

The postcard raises more questions than it answers. Was the reference to Edward Fitzgerald? What was the news that Nellie wanted to tell her brother about Edward? And why is this the only item in Nellie's hand that was kept in the family archives? It certainly must have been of some significance.

Amanuensis - one employed to take dictation or to copy manuscript

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme suggested by Geneabloggers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Genealogy Events in Nebraska - October

Two major genealogy conferences are scheduled for October, so if you are close to Lincoln or Omaha, make plans to attend.










John Colletta will be the featured speaker at a full day conference sponsored by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society and Southeast Community College on October 9, 2010. Cost is $50 which includes conference materials and lunch. The registration deadline is October 1. The conference will be held at the SCC Continuing Education Center, 301 S. 68th Street Place in Lincoln.

Colletta's topics are:

  • Assembling and Writing a Narrative Family History
  • Turning Biographical Facts into Real-Life Events: Building Historical Context
  • Our Spectacular Library of Congress: An Overview with Research Examples
  • Understanding Archives: What They Are and How to Use Them

The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society fall conference will be October 30, 2010 at Nebraska Methodist College, 720 N. 87th St., Omaha. Advance registration is $20 for membership and $30 for nonmembers. Lunch is available for $4.50

Sessions include:
  • Land Records - presented by Lynne A. Farr
  • Oral Histories - presented by Lucille Saunders
  • Organizing Your Files - presented by Cyndy Salzmann
  • What You Can Do With a Digital Camera - presented by Jeff Ramsell

Hope to see at one or both!

Sports Center Saturday - Ken Petersen

It seems appropriate that my first post on the Sports Center Saturday theme be about my Dad, Kenneth Petersen.

In his day, Dad was an all-around athlete and played baseball and football at Lincoln High School (Lincoln, Nebraska) from 1941-1944. He was quite an athlete and had hoped to play professional baseball. Not only did he play for Lincoln High, but also for the Lincoln Blues, the American Legion baseball team. I enjoy listening to him tell about the time when he tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals. But it was 1944, in the midst of World War II and rather than play baseball, he chose to serve his country and joined the U.S. Navy. To this day, he keeps up on all of the professional first basemen.

Kenny Petersen
Lincoln High Links - First Base

Lincoln High School
Freshman Football - 1942 Links Yearbook
Ken is in the 2nd row from the back, third from left
As usual, his last name is misspelled.
Dad received his letter in football at Lincoln High and still has his letter sweater. He also lettered in baseball, but didn't receive the actual letter because he had gone to the Navy. He received the letter about five decades later after my stepmother made a request to the school when she was planning her class' 40th reunion.



After the war, Dad returned to the States with impaired vision, dreams of a professional baseball career behind him. He married my Mom and I came along a few years later. I can't remember a time when baseball was not a part of my life. A bit of a tomboy, I enjoyed playing catch with my Dad and he pushed me as hard as he would push a son to play softball the best that I could. Oh, how I remember him yelling at me, "you're running like a girl!" He would hit pop flies to me in our back yard and I would catch them. He'd work with me on fielding ground balls. And I was just as cocky as he was, mastering the ability to catch pop flies behind my back. Oh, how I wanted to do that during a game sometime but knew that I'd get benched the minute I tried.

When we lived in Greenwood, Nebraska during the 1950s Dad got an American Legion baseball team started and became the manager. There were just enough teenage boys in town to put together a team. Our summers were spent at the ball field and traveling to out of town games. Families would caravan to the out of town games and we thought that our mere presence put fear in the eyes of our opponents. We always were thrilled to beat Ashland, our arch rivals. Eventually, the town raised enough funds to buy the team uniforms.

In the early 1960s, we had moved to Lincoln and Dad got a summer job with city Parks & Recreation to coach girls' softball. Of course, I was on the team, playing third base. Trust me, I did NOT get any special treatment as the coach's daughter! If I was playing poorly, Dad didn't hesitate to pull me out of the game. More parent-coaches today could learn from that! Even after Dad quit coaching, I continued to play softball in the summer City Rec league.

In his sixties and seventies, Dad took up golf and played nearly every day that the weather would permit. He even got me hooked on the game and we usually played together on Saturday and Sunday mornings and at least one evening every week. He played as long as his body would let him, until the pain was so severe he could no longer swing a club. I don't think there's anything worse for an athlete than to not be able to participate in sports any longer.

In 2004, Dad and his fellow football teammates were inducted into the Lincoln High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the 1943 Boys State Football Champions. I accompanied him to the awards banquet that evening and enjoyed meeting so many of his high school buddies, some 60 years after they played together.

As Dad has become more hearing impaired over the years, the one thing he still has to watch on television is sports. He doesn't need to be able to hear the TV to be able to follow the game. He's still ranting about that stunt Derek Jeter pulled about a week ago, pretending to be hit by a pitched ball. He also shared with me an article he read in this week's Time magazine about the titanium necklaces that a lot of the athletes wear that allegedly boost their energy level. We joked that maybe Congress needs to have hearings on the use of such performance enhancing jewelry!

When I think of my Dad, he's synonymous with Sports in our family. I'm happy to have been raised on sports, to really learn about teamwork and the joy of winning - that always beats the alternative.

Surname Saturday - LeRoy and Clara Pecht

My great grandparents were LeRoy Pearl Pecht and Clara Rosella Laymon Pecht.



LeRoy Pearl Pecht and Clara Rosella Laymon
On Their Wedding Day



LeRoy Pearl Pecht


Obituaries


Leroy Pecht
Leroy Pecht was born on a farm near Hardy, Neb., April 28, 1879, and departed this life at Holmesville, Monday morning, August 8, 1932, at the age of 53 years, 3 months and 11 days. he was baptized as a child in the Lutheran church, grew to manhood in and around Hardy and attended the Hardy public schools.
On April 11, 1900, he was united in marriage to Clara Laymon, who had remained a faithful companion until death called her loved one away. To this union were born six children, Ruby, Clyde, Cecile and Mildred, two having passed away in infancy.
For the last 16 years Mr. Pecht was engaged in the elevator business at Hardy, Neb., until two years ago when he, with his family moved to Holmesville, Neb., where he became manager of the Farmers' elevator at that place. He had been in poor health for the past several years and for the past three weeks had been bedfast.
He was a member of the Odd fellows at the time of his death, having always done all he could for that organization. He was a kind and loving husband and father, a friend to everyone. Anything he could do to serve another was his policy.
He leaves to mourn his passing, beside his lifetime companion, the four children, Ruby Petersen of Lincoln, Neb., Cecile Viers of Great Bend, Kas., Clyde and Mildred at the home address, one grandson, Kenneth Petersen, two sisters, Mrs. Cora Beal of Superior, Neb., and Mrs. Lotta Kiler of Dodge City, Kas., one brother, Sherman of Sandusky, New York, other relatives and host of friends.
Funeral services were held at Holmesville at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and further services were held from the Lutheran church at Hardy on Wednesday at 1 p.m. The body was laid to rest at Hardy, services being in charge of the Odd Fellows.
Source:  Beatrice Daily Sun, Beatrice, Nebraska, August 11, 1932

Clara Rosella Laymon Pecht
Mrs. Clara Pecht
Clara Rosella Laymon was born in Cole City, Grundy county, Ill., October 2, 1876, and departed this life at a local hospital in Beatrice, Neb., Monday evening, Oct. 20, 1941, at the age of 65 years and 18 days.
On April 11, 1900, she was united in marriage to Leroy Pecht at Nelson, Neb., who preceded her in death in 1932. To this union were born six children, Ruby, Clyde, Cecile and Mildred, two having passed away in infancy.
In the fall of 1929 Mrs. Pecht, with her family, moved to Beatrice, where she had since resided. She had been in failing health and the past two weeks had been bedfast.
She became a member of the Lutheran church at Hardy in 1916 and retained her membership in the church until death. She loved her church and truly lived the Christian way. Her sweet, calm disposition meant much to everyone with whom she came in contact. She always saw the good in everyone, and was an inspiration to all. She truly exemplified real motherhood, never complaining, and shedding goodness and love everywhere she went. she needs no special monument for her ifluence will be remembered by her many friends and relatives.
She leaves to mourn her going the four children, Ruby Petersen and Clyde Pecht of Lincoln; Cecile Viers of Superior, and Mildren Mittan of Beatrice; five grandchildren, three brothers, other relatives and a host of friends.
Funeral services were held at Beatrice at 9:30 Thursday with further services from the Lutheran church at Hardy. The body was laid to rest in Rosemound cemetery.
Source: Beatrice Daily Sun, Beatrice, Nebraska, October 28, 1941
Burial at Rose Mound Cemetery, Republic County, Kansas
LeRoy and Clara Pecht gravestone
Rose Mound Cemetery
Republic County, Kansas



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Do Singles Do Genealogy?

Why do single people do genealogy research? I'd like to open this topic up for comments from blog readers.

On a personal basis, I never gave much thought to why I (a single person) got interested in genealogy. I always enjoyed history, the stories, the old photographs. And doing the research is a lot like being a detective - finding the clues, laying out the timeline, speculating on theories.

It wasn't that long ago when someone (a relative, of course) asked me why I wanted to put so much effort into genealogy when I didn't have any children. The question took me by surprise as it never occurred to me that genealogy was a hobby that only married people with children could pursue!

The question has been gnawing on me on and off for a few months and I'd really like to hear from other  people with no descendants who are passionate about their research. Are we doing this all for nothing because we have no one to pass it down to? What's going to happen to your research when you're "gone-gone"? Are you passing it on to another family member? Donating it to a local archive? Or like me - getting as much available on the internet as possible so that the information will be left behind.

Are we just oddballs or are there more of us descendantless people out there doing genealogy than I realize?

Please comment! I'd like to hear from both singles and marrieds with or without descendants.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11 - Time to Remember

September 11, 2001 is one of those dates that will probably always evoke the same emotions and memories for me. Many families had their lives changed forever on that day. Even though this is a family history blog, I can't let this date go by without honoring the memory of those who lost their lives that day.

Half a continent away from New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, September 11 was a sunny, warm fall day in Lincoln, Nebraska. A coworker and I were preparing to leave for a day in Omaha to check in on several child care centers. It was shortly before 9 a.m. that the word of the first attack was making its way through our office building. Soon, the television sets in the conference rooms throughout the building were turned on and people were gathering to watch history unfold before their eyes. I caught just a glimpse of the news footage of the airplane turning into a fiery ball as it forced its way through the tower.

We had our day planned and went ahead with our trip to Omaha. We immediately turned on the car radio to listen to the news as it happened. As soon as the news reports stated that the second tower had been hit, I felt sick to my stomach. I knew immediately that the world as I knew it had just changed forever. At that time of the morning, news reports were estimating that as many as 10,000 people may have been at work in the World Trade Center.

With each mile that we traveled along the interstate highway, the horror of the events became more and more surreal. How could this be happening in our country? We heard that airplanes were being grounded across the United States and travelers were being diverted.

Hitting close to home . . .

About halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, we made our routine visit at a truck stop for something to drink. Several small screen television sets were turned on. It was at this time that we saw the footage of the planes slamming into those buildings so far away from us. Before we reached Omaha, we heard that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Now the news was hitting home because our boss was in Washington, D. C. for a meeting that week. It wasn't until later in the day that we heard that she had checked in with our office and reported she was okay.

As we made our visits to the child care centers, televisions were tuned into the news reports at every location we visited. I was glad to note that the volume was turned down and while the caregivers were trying to keep up with the news reports, they also seemed to be trying to protect the toddlers from really comprehending what was going on. I couldn't imagine how parents would approach the task of explaining this to curious children too young to really understand.

It was getting closer to noon as we went about our visits to the day care centers. We made our next visit and the owner and one child were just arriving at the small house. As we visited with the director, one of the teenage boys from the neighborhood came running into the house yelling, "We're at war! We're at war!" His reaction was a little extreme and I was concerned about how his alarm might be impacting the younger child. But the young child just went about coloring a picture.

The President was just a few miles from us . . .

I don't remember how many day care centers we visited that day - so much of that part of the day is a blur. But I was thankful that we had a few minutes of routine normalcy doing our job during the day. Then we'd get back in the car to hear the latest news reports that were coming out. News that the President was in Florida; he was in Air Force One and on his way to an unknown location. As we heard that the President was at an air base in Louisiana, I immediately said, "He's coming to Offutt." Offutt being Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha, near Bellevue, home of the Strategic Air Command.

It was mid afternoon before we took a break for lunch. As the national news was reporting that Bush was in an "undisclosed location," the televisions in the restaurant were broadcasting local Omaha news footage clearly showing Air Force One taking off from Offutt Air Force Base, about 10 miles from where we sitting. Later in the day, it was confirmed that the President had been at Offutt before returning to Washington, D. C. that evening.

Once I was back home that evening, I turned on the television to see the pictures of what we had been hearing about on the radio all day long. I was in a total fog, not really comprehending the impact of this terrorist attack, hurting for all of the people who died and for the families they left behind. As the New Yorkers were shown holding photographs of their loved ones who were not yet accounted for, it struck me how beautiful all of these souls were - every one of the photos showed happy, smiling, vibrant beautiful people. And their lives were snuffed out in an instant.

In a way I was relieved that our visits to the day care centers kept us occupied that day, because I don't think I could have been in our office environment throughout the day as the events occurred. I admit that over the next several weeks I became obsessed with watching television news footage of this never ending story from the moment I got home from work until I fell asleep at night. I became emotionally attached to what was happening half a country away from me. I could not not watch.

When I finally left the house for something other than to go to work, it was the following Saturday and I went to pick up a few groceries. That was a very eerie experience. I felt like people were walking around like zombies, still stunned from what had happened. No one was speaking. No one was smiling. Everyone was somber and stunned. Even doing something as routine as shopping for groceries had changed. It would be a long, long time before the shock of this event and this black cloud left my life.

Looking back a few decades . . .

I was about 11 or 12 years old when I decided I wanted to be a journalist; I wanted to write and I wanted to report the news. And I completed my journalism degree at the University of Nebraska. But even while I was still working toward that degree, I found myself backing away from "real world" journalism because of tragic events in the world - the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the 1968 riots in Chicago during the Democratic national convention, the killing of the four students at Kent State University in Ohio. I don't think it was a conscious decision during my college years, but as my senior year approached, I found myself shifting my emphasis to coursework in public relations, advertising and marketing - to expand my training beyond news reporting.

As I look back over the past forty years, it's clear to me that my subconscious was guiding me because these type of tragic events have a tremendous emotional impact on me. I connect with and have such empathy for the people in these situations. In more recent times, the Tsunami, Katrina . . . the immediate loss of lives really absorbs my emotions.  I could not have been a reporter in these types of situations. At least now I recognize my vulnerability to these world events. And after watching news coverage of September 11 for about four straight months in 2001, I've learned that I have to do what I can to try to detach from these events.

Words of wisdom . . .

One of my all time favorite films is The Way We Were. There's a scene in the film that occurs right after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. Robert Redford as Hubbell says to Katie (Barbra Streisand), who was mourning FDR's death, "Everything that happens in the world does not happen to you personally." I always have to remind myself of that when these tragic events happen.

About two or three weeks after September 11, I was visiting a day care in central Nebraska. It was still something that was very much a part of my everyday thoughts. I asked my client how the events of September 11 were perceived in her community and she responded, "Oh, that. That's just something that happened in New York. It had no impact here."

Wow. How different a perspective from my own. And I know that things that happen in the world will always continue to have some kind of impact on me on a personal level. And that's okay with me. Because if the day would come when I don't become emotionally connected to a world event, it would mean I've stopped caring about people.

And what does this have to do with genealogy?


I suppose that my emotional connection to people I don't know carries over to my genealogy research. As I read news stories about the lives of my ancestors and the tragedies in their lives, I feel a similar connection to those people who walked the earth so many years before I was born. I don't think I could do genealogy without that attachment and desire to learn about how they lived - and died.

If you're still reading at this point, I'm rather surprised. This is the first time that I've ever written about the events of September 11 and I'd guess that by now I've probably seen those planes fly into those buildings 1,000 times. Probably the same number of times I've watched the Zapruder film. Why? Because I'm always trying to understand Why. Why do things happen the way they do? I doubt I'll ever know.

In memory of all of the 9/11 victims. Rest in Peace.

Monday, September 6, 2010

On Becoming a History Detective - Part 1

William Jennings Bryan
As with many of my genealogy friends, I enjoy History Detectives on PBS. There's nothing quite as exhilarating as the hunt.

I have an heirloom plate that features Nebraska's William Jennings Bryan, who ran for President of the United States three times, 1896, 1900 and 1908. The plate has been in our family for at least 100 years.

I've decided to try my skills at becoming a History Detective to see what I can find out about this item and its role in my family history.

The story from family lore was that my Kelly ancestors were supporters of William Jennings Bryan and that this plate was presented to the Kellys by Bryan during a visit to their farm near Greenwood, Nebraska. At one time, I had in my possession two photographs of Bryan that were supposedly taken at the time of the visit to the Kelly farm. These were the typical sepia toned photographs that were printed on postcard stock so they could actually be used as a postcard and mailed.

I believe it was in junior high school when I carefully wrapped up the plate and the photographs and took them to school for show and tell when we were studying this era of American history. I may have written an essay on Bryan, but I don't remember. What I do know is that the two Bryan photographs are no longer with my family photographs. I always took responsibility for losing them, but I really have no idea how, when or why they disappeared. I can still visualize what one of the photographs looked like and I am quite certain I would recognize it if I saw it. I think that one of the photographs was Bryan with a horse, one that supposedly belonged to my great grandfather, Dan Kelly.

Doesn't this sound just like some of the family lore that is shared when the History Detectives come in to find out the real story?

Several years ago, I listed the plate on eBay with a very large reserve price on it, just to see if I could find out anything about the plate. Someone wrote to me and indicated the plate was quite common and the estimated value in the late 1990s was about $20 - $25. I took the plate off eBay and have held on to it ever since. One other time I found a photograph of a plate like this on the internet, but I haven't done any further research. About 12 years ago, I contacted someone at Fairview, the Bryan residence/museum here in Lincoln, Nebraska and was told they did not have this plate in their collection and they would welcome it as a donation. I wasn't ready to let go of it yet.

So, as a good History Detective, where do I begin?

  1. Determine if the plate was associated with one of Bryan's presidential campaigns and, if so, the year.
  2. Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society and go through the microfilms of the Greenwood Gazette newspapers of that era to see if I can find any news reports or social columns that mention Bryan visiting the Kelly farm. Also check their archives for Bryan photographs to see if there is one of him with any of my family members.
  3. Visit Fairview and see if I can find out anything from the Bryan archives about the plate.
I'm not overly optimistic that I will be able to prove that Bryan personally gave the plate to my family, but I have a feeling that the search will be interesting.

Stay tuned.

Happy Labor Day

The Kelly Family of Greenwood, Nebraska welcomes the Garrigus Family of Connecticut


As families gather for end of summer festivities, I wish all of my blog readers a Happy Labor Day.



Sentimental Sunday - faded photographs and memories

I've been sorting through stacks and boxes of old photographs lately and put my latest discoveries in the middle of the kitchen table yesterday so my Dad and I could look through them. A few years ago I had borrowed some family photos from his cousin to make photographic copies - this was well before scanners and digital cameras. This was all done on a copy stand with a 35mm SLR camera and closeup lenses. But I digress.

We spent the better part of the afternoon looking through the photos. Apparently we'd gone through this process once before because his handwriting was on the back of several of the photographs, with identification of who was in the photo. But there were still quite a few photos that weren't identified. As we went through them we were able to make identifications on everyone in the photos with the exception of a man Dad called an "unknown soldier." It was a photograph of Dad and his first cousins and a soldier in Army dress. Dad said he wasn't a member of the family but was spending time with the family that day and ended up in the photograph.

There was another photograph of his aunts and uncles with his grandmother and an unknown little girl. He thought it was me and I pointed out that his grandmother died about ten years before I was born, so it most definitely was not me. A few minutes later we came across a picture of him with his parents and younger sister. He pointed out that his sister was the unknown little girl in the other photograph because she was wearing the same dress. What a eye for detail! I had certainly missed that one.

It's fun to look through the photos because they open up conversation about Dad's childhood memories - and those go back 70 - 80 years. Because of the number of photographs of him and his cousins, I asked if the families spent a lot of time together. He replied that they did - his family frequently spent weekends at his grandparent's home (about a two hour drive, even today). The cousins from the home town also came to Lincoln to visit. He told how his aunt lived with his family for a while when she was attending cosmetology school. And his uncle lived with them for a while until he got settled in a job.

As we looked at the photos he had an embarrassed giggle and asked if I'd ever heard the story about when he was a small boy and his mother and aunt were sewing at his aunt's dining room table. This story did not sound familiar to me, so he went on. Somehow, he managed to get a pair of scissors and became fascinated with the fancy lace tablecloth draped over the sides of the table. So, quite meticulously, he began cutting lengthwise strips of fabric from the tablecloth. He said he got about half way around the table before his mischievousness was noticed. Understandably, his mother was furious, but he said if his aunt was upset, she certainly didn't show it. It seems that little boys, scissors and fancy lace tablecloths are a recipe for disaster!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kindle for Genealogy

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest Generation

I love books. Do you know any genealogist who doesn't? As soon as Amazon.com introduced its Kindle, I knew this was a gadget that was made for me. But I waited. And the wait was well worth it - with the price drop to $139 for the WiFi model, it put the Kindle in a price range I was willing to pay.

Even if you don't own a Kindle reading device, there are many genealogy books and resources available for use on your computer.Many of these are Free. First of all, visit Amazon and download the free Kindle for PC app, or the Kindle for Mac app. Reading apps are also available for a variety of mobile devices.

The Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac apps will allow you to manage and read your e-books on your computer. Even though many genealogy e-books and blogs are available for purchase on Amazon and from other retailers, you can also download books in the public domain and manage them in this app. Even before my Kindle arrived, I had already started my collection of Kindle books and began reading some of them right on my PC. If you're not ready to purchase a Kindle, you can still get the benefit of free public domain books right on your computer.

Sources for free genealogy books

I discovered a county history book on Google books that I was interested in reading. It's a public domain book and there was a download link available. The 1,203 page book was available as an Adobe pdf file. I downloaded the book to my computer.

Next step: The Kindle can function as a mass storage device by connecting it to your computer via a USB port. You can view the files and transfer files between your computer and your Kindle just as you would with a flash drive. By doing a copy and paste, I was able to transfer the Adobe pdf file to my Kindle. The document displays exactly as any pdf file would on your computer. Yes, there are drawbacks. The document is not searchable. However, if you happen to have Adobe Professional 9.0, you could run an OCR scan on the document and perhaps at least some of the document could be searched.

Another source for free genealogy resources is the Internet Archive. I searched the terms "nebraska history" which resulted in several books and publications. Johnson's History of Nebraska is a book I'm familiar with, so I clicked on that. On the left side of the page are the download options: pdf, daisy, epub and Kindle as well as other types of downloads. Click on Kindle to download. This is saved to your computer as a MOBI file. Once downloaded, you can read the book in a reading app or transfer the document to your Kindle via the USB port option.

I will acknowledge that the lack of a search feature is a drawback, but if you want to read or skim this type of history book, it's easy to do either on your computer or your Kindle.

Genealogy resources for your Kindle

A visit to Amazon.com and searching for topics of interest to you will result in a variety of genealogy resources. If you want to find the free or inexpensive items, filter your search results to "price: lowest to highest."

The development of the Kindle has created a new marketplace for self-publishers. I'll use Geneablogger Thomas MacEntee as an example. Last month, Thomas made two of his books available for Kindle:

Approaching the Lectern: How to Become a Genealogy Speaker

A Genealogy Blog Primer

For a relatively low price, you can purchase these books and read them on your computer (which I did while waiting for my Kindle to arrive) or have them available for reading on your Kindle.

Many of the bloggers are also syndicating their blogs for subscription on Amazon.com. I did that with LongLostRelatives.net although I don't know why someone would pay for a subscription when they can read it on the web for free. I made this blog available for Kindle mainly for exposure for the blog. But just to see how this works, here's where people could subscribe to LongLostRelatives.net for the Kindle:

LongLostRelatives.net on Kindle

On Amazon, you will also find many "how-to" genealogy books available. Many are the less expensive self published books, but you'll also find some like:

Who Do You Think You Are? by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

How to Do Everything Genealogy by George Morgan (which was one of the first two Kindle genealogy books I purchased)

I also want to give a plug to fellow geneablogger Dr. Bill Smith, whose novel, Back to the Homeplace, was the other initial purchase I made for my Kindle.

So how does this help me with my genealogy research?

I began this post by saying how much I love books. And one thing I find with genealogy research is that there never seems to be enough time in the day to read everything I want to read. With my Kindle, I can carry as many as 3,500 books in my handbag. Technically, the WiFi version is 7.5 inches x 4.8 inches and no thicker than a pencil. It's great to be able to carry this vast library with me anywhere. I seem to have a lot of dead time - 15 minutes here and there waiting for appointments. With my Kindle, I can stay on top of my reading by making use of that dead time.

You can highlight passages, make annotations, and with the "text to speech" feature, you can even have the Kindle read to you. You can also transfer photographs, audio files and audio books to your Kindle. You can even access the web with a WiFi connection, although I found this extremely slow and cumbersome.

The Kindle is certainly not as sexy as Apple's iPad, and the Kindle does not have color display. But for the price and as a reading device, it's hard to beat.

The older I get, the more I see the need to downsize and that includes my vast collection of thousands of books. You book collectors know how heavy those boxes of books are to move! With my Kindle, I can have my books with me wherever I go.

If you're a Kindle owner, please comment about how you use your Kindle or offer any other tips you have on using the Kindle for genealogy.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I did not receive any compensation for the products mentioned in this post. I personally purchased the Kindle and the books by MacEntee, Morgan and Smith. I do have an affiliate agreement with Amazon.com which means I may receive a referral commission for any purchases made at Amazon.com as a result of clicking through any of the links to Amazon.com from this post.