Monday, August 29, 2011

Tracing Family History Magazine


From as early as I can remember I have loved magazines. The love is inherited. It's in my genes.

My Mother loved and collected magazines. Today this trait would probably be called hoarding. One room of the family home was set aside to store Mom's magazines. The stacks reached over six feet tall and were in alphabetic order. There was a stack for each magazine; National Geographic, Look, and Life. I never had to go to the library to complete a school project I just opened the door to “the magazine room."

Perhaps more correctly, it's an addiction. fM's addiction. I thought you might enjoy sharing my addiction with me, as I discuss the magazines I read and why I read them, one magazine at a time, from the real to the digital world.

The journey begins with Tracing Family History Magazine, also known as Your Family History in the United Kingdom. Yes, a UK magazine and before you dismiss this as having nothing of value to US readers, think again - hear me out - you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Tracing is published in the UK by Wharncliffe Publishing and edited by Nick Barratt. Nick Barratt is probably the UKs best known genealogist, having been the genealogical consultant for series 1 to 4 of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? and the author of numerous history and genealogy books. Think Megan Smolenyak.

The magazine is relatively new, having published its first issue in May of 2010. Prior to publishing Tracing, Wharncliffe published the National Archives magazine Ancestors, another of my favorites.

I love their tag line, “Our Experts Your Stories.” For those who have complained about the celebrity centric genealogy television shows and longed for family history that talks about real research by real people, this is the magazine for you. While the magazine originally did a celebrity feature in each issue, they have been dropped in favor of internet research based articles and features.

Tracing is reader driven. It features its readers’ stories, discoveries, mysteries, documents, photographs and more in every issue. Readers are encouraged to join debates, submit problems to the experts, and suggest or write topics for feature articles. They accept submissions and questions from readers outside the UK. If you have one, they’re interested.

I like the size of the magazine, 8.5 X 11.5. No straining to read the type, the magazine layout design is easy on the eyes. Tracing is full color and employs good use of white space, illustrations and photographs. Consistency in design makes it easy to find articles in past issues.

The magazine has certain mainstays features that appear in each issue.

Beginner’s Guides/How Tos. When it comes to researching my UK ancestors I find these invaluable. I’m unfamiliar with most UK resources, so Tracing gives me a lesson with every issue. The Chris Paton articles “Scottish Beginners Guide” and “Scottish Land Records” are important to my Campbell research. I may not be a novice researcher, but I am a beginner in this area of research.

The People’s Archive/Village Voice series taps the history of the resources found in every area; its people. These are wonderful stories of personal discoveries and town histories by town historians.

Spotlight On selects a different geographical area, archive, or event with each issue and introduces you to the resources that are available to family historians for each.

Casebook features reader success stories dotted with documents and amazing old photographs. Talk about inspiration, they’ve got it here.

Nick's Last Word, opinions and information on timely topics that are certain to engage you.

Along with the "in every issue columns," you'll find feature articles, a cover story, news and events. One of my favorite articles was “Jane Austen, Fashion Icon” written by fashion historian and picture specialist Jayne Shrimpton. Articles on Social History always interest me for their use in describing our ancestors’ way of life, identifying photographs and so much more. All the history articles are beautifully written and illustrated.

Here was an article I enjoyed so much I actually did further research on my own; the “History Mysteries” article in the November 2010 issue on the famous Dr. Crippen murder mystery.

The April 2011 issue contained an excellent article on Civil War research and surname mapping. Truth be told, I find something of value in every issue I read. Take a look; I think you’ll be impressed.

The act of researching is common to all family historians. Articles on methods, techniques, organization, etc. are applicable no matter where we geographically do our research. The articles in Tracing magazine are exceptionally well written and have been of great help in my own research.

Although dotted with wonderful old photographs to illustrate the stories, my one wish would be to see a photograph specific article in every issue.

The magazine is published 13 times per year. At today’s exchange rate a subscription costs about $145. (You can purchased a 6 month subscription - the free gift with purchase is not available in the US.) Yes, UK magazines are more expensive. I buy Tracing by the issue at Barnes and Noble so that I can pick which issues are more pertinent to me. The only trouble? I find I’m purchasing every issue. It’s time to get that subscription. Quality is worth it.

I would be thrilled if the magazine had a digital issue. Something I could load on my iPad as I do with several of the UK design magazines. At the moment they don't have a digital edition, but are contemplating one. Perhaps you could head to their facebook page and tell them you’d like to see one.

Tracing has an extremely active facebook page and Twitter account that keep you up to date on the magazine, the genealogy world, contests, polls, and questions posted by readers. They maintain a Your Family History web page with all the information you need to know about the magazine. One more wish? I'd love to see a comprehensive list of all the articles that have been published in the magazine available online.

I would also like to thank Megan Sagar, the Subscriptions Executive for Wharncliffe History Magazines for her patience, for answering all my questions about the magazine and for sending several issues to compliment my stash so that I could write this article.

As my Mother "the magazine expert" always said, “Quality will out,” and it is certainly out and about in Tracing Family History Magazine.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worship - COG 109

109th EDITION OF THE Carnival Of Genealogy

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is:

Where Did Your Ancestors Worship!

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Show us and tell us about the churches, synagogues, chapels,
temples, grottoes, cathedrals, missions, kirks, mosques,
revivals, or open air religious services
where your family has worshiped.

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This edition of the COG will be guest hosted on a new blog,
coming September 1st. How exciting!!

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And we're not telling where this new blog is or what it's about.
You'll just have to wait till the secret is revealed!

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Share your wonderful articles with the new
blog in town!

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The Deadline For Submissions Is
September 1st

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Attention All COG Participants

Read Also The Changes To The COG In 2011

Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blogcarnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Introductions for your articles will not be provided for you due to the volume of articles submitted. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sour Cream, Raisins, and Rhubarb

This article is dedicated to my mother-in-law, Lucille Palmer. She must have been a good cook, for after 41 years of marriage I’m still hearing about it.

My husband's past is tied to food. I often said that a trip to visit my in-laws was like being diabetic (I should know, I am one).

A diabetic's life is not an easy one. Meals are tied to time and content. Once a meal is out of the way you are planning for the next. I find a diabetic spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about food. All of the above applies to my husband's family.

Diabetics usually think about food we can't eat. Here endeth the similarity, for they ate everything and lots of it.

My husband's family spent more time planning, timing and thinking about food than any group of people I've ever known. Once breakfast was finished and the dishes cleared, my father-in-law would be asking what was for lunch and dinner. It was, my husband explains, due to the fact they were farming people. Food was energy. Timed to get you out in the fields where you would burn up that energy, then back in for the next meal, and so on. Every meal was rewarded with dessert.

My husband has always spoken longingly of his mother's cooking, so when his father died and we cleaned out the family home he was so excited to happen on an envelope of her handwritten recipes. Heavily weighted toward dessert, I might add.

In going through the little handwritten cards I found three ingredients used over and over again. Sour cream, raisins, and rhubarb. There was sour cream raisin cake, pie, and cookies. Sour cream rhubarb cake, pie, and cookies. The sour cream raisin pie was the most exciting find for my husband. Sour cream raisin pie is his favorite.

Reading through the recipes was a miniature history lesson featuring 1950's decorated cards, cards attributing the authorship to her children, relatives, neighbors, and an occasional cut-out from one of the farming magazines. Ingredients of the time and of her garden. Ingredients such as Karo syrup, Crisco, and the irrepressible Jell-O. And from the garden zucchini, rhubarb, corn, and plums. Food memories for my husband.

There were recipes titled Linda Bundt's Bundt Cake, Betty Harvey's Frog Eye Salad (Serves 35), and Kathy's Ribbon Ice Box Dessert. Many of the cards are punctuated with Lucille's comments - Very Good, the Real McCoy, problem!

And tucked away in the middle of thousands of cards I found a surprise. A recipe in my own handwriting. A dish I had made for Lucille over forty years ago. Saved. To understand my surprise, you'd have to know I was a second wife, a difficult position to play in any game. After thirty years, she warmed to me. So, even if she never made my recipe. She saved it. And that means a great deal to me, even after all these years.

In her honor, I am scanning the cards and transcribing the recipes into a book for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It will tell of her life and be punctuated with photographs. I think it would have pleased her.

Thanks for the recipes!