Webinar~Fire Insurance Maps…Google Maps of their Day! Plus Graduation!

Hosted by: Hamilton County (OH) Genealogical Society (thank you!)

Presented by: Jill Morrelli, CG

First, let me say I *big puffy heart* love Sanborn Fire Maps!  In my humble opinion, your genealogical research is lacking if you do not use this resource.  It is, in a word, indispensable!  So, when I heard about this webinar, I signed up immediately!  Right now, I’m creating a project using a story my grandfather wrote about a typical day in his life in 1933 when he was a high school senior.  He worked for a movie theater in the downtown area of our hometown, and his story is about him running an errand and running all about the downtown area, checking into different businesses and seeing different people.  He wrote this from memory for his 50th class reunion in 1983! I’m using the 1924 Sanborn Fire Map for our hometown to plot these businesses, as well as the contemporaneous city directory.  I’ve even created his avatar who will walk his remembered trail! That is his senior class picture attached to a generic body.  I think he’d approve!

Another way I’ve used Sanborn Fire Maps is to locate where my ancestors lived in Cincinnati prior to the interstates being built.  They lived very near the Ohio River.  I have used these maps in conjunction with Cincinnati’s city directories, which, again, another indispensable resource.  These ancestors rented a building and ran a dance hall out of it; I was able to find that location on a Sanborn Fire Map.  It is yet another structure no longer standing.

A third way I’ve used Sanborn Fire Maps is to find where my early Ohio ancestors lived in Butler County, Ohio, in a town named Darrville.

In Richmond, Indiana, the actual bound map books are at the Morrisson-Reeves Library.  The maps are on linen pages, making the book heavy.  When a new map was published, the old book was supposed to be destroyed but many were not.  If they were, however, the linen pages would be recycled as clothing (!) and the leather binding used on boats.

Public health service (see John Snow’s 1854 cholera map of London)

Purpose for fire insurance maps: Carriers insure for loss; not concentrating the coverage; want to know the risk for a particular building

No owners’ names! Will find building type, address, railroads and viaducts, names of additions, etc.

Map books large and heavy!

Great Fire of London, 1666: The beginning of fire insurance (1710); fire insurance in US by 1728, written in London

1790: First map published in Charleston, SC

1815: Lithographs to produce multiple maps; maps had to be drawn in a mirror image!

1850: Map created of NYC business district (George Hope)

1850: Map standardization with the companies to provide maximum info on the map

Black and white (mostly seen online), colored (usually Sanborn), colored and corrected (have layers of tiny papers when changes were made)

Daniel Alfred Sanborn (1827-1883), did 50+ maps from 1867-68!

A surveyor (“strider”) recorded each building in very fine detail

Maps were colored by hand!

Find digitized Sanborn Maps on Library of Congress website!  Also check Google, local libraries, and Indiana University.

Maps created for fire insurance companies where they had clients so some cities/towns with no clients were not mapped.

Always review the first page of a city’s/town’s map, lots of info!

Read the key for color coding!

Read the key for dwelling types!

Special Risks: Manufacturing

Who uses these maps? Urban historians, writers, architects, historic preservationists, genealogists! Also house historians and collectors.

You can analyze businesses using directories and censuses.

Use Google Maps to compare how neighborhoods appear.

Maps can also be used to analyze disasters (Fall River, Massachusetts, 1928).

So glad I was able to sit in on this webinar!  Now I’m off to check for maps online!

Before I forget, this happened:

Big day for all of us!  We extremely proud of his accomplishments thus far and what his future holds! Way to go Ben!!

Busy Weeks Ahead!

I finally had an inspiration!  I need to write an article for a genealogical journal in Indiana, but I was having trouble deciding what to write about (since I want to put together a portfolio for BCG I can’t write something and then use it for the portfolio).  So, I thought about my family and finally decided on my great-grandmother’s roots.  She was one of 9 daughters, no sons.  Her father and grandfather moved back and forth across the Midwest, from New Jersey to Ohio to Iowa, back to Ohio, into Indiana, back to Iowa, and finally back to Indiana!  I’m compiling data right now to put this together.

Yes…busy weeks…my son is graduating and has 6 full days of school left and then a plethora of senior activities to keep us hopping until June 4.  Not to mention an ECIGA meeting this week, DAR Youth Citizenship Presentations coming up plus the state conference, historical society board meeting and manning the table during our Memorial Day Festival, and meeting with my friends at the assisted-living center to help them with their family history research. Whew! I will be so ready for a breather come June!

Amazing

It’s truly amazing how time flies…where does it go?

It’s amazing how I never expected to be as busy as I am when I moved to part-time hours.  I’m busier now than I ever was working 40 hours/week.  It seems like I’ve created some sort of full-time genealogy/social media position and do a little transcription on the side.

It’s amazing how much I enjoy communicating via social media!  I love engaging people to talk about the Museum or my cousin’s art studio or genealogy in general.

It’s amazing how complete strangers can come together and work together to make something great happen.  And, it’s amazing how short-sighted people still are.

So, what have I been up to? … … …

I started this post on 16 September 2016.  It is amazing.

ECIGA is going strong…still holding monthly meetings and learning lots!

I’m almost finished with my third Genealogy Education Program course through the DAR, just waiting on my final graded assignment.  I then hope to hold a couple workshops this summer as I will be an official Volunteer Genealogist!

I’ve begun volunteering once a month at a local assisted-living facility, helping residents utilize FamilySearch.org to organize their genealogy and learn more.  I truly enjoy helping those folks out…what a blessing!  Our little group is called Project Pioneer.

I still volunteer and am on the Board at my local historical society…always looking for ways to get some exposure (check us out!).  Next on my agenda…learn to write grants to secure some much-needed funding!

I’ve been writing more and more and am feeling a lot more comfortable doing so.  With permission from folks I’ve helped, I might share some things here that I don’t plan on using in my BCG portfolio.

Speaking of which, once I get my son graduated in the next month, I plan to go “on the clock!”  I’ve been working on compiling the different parts of the portfolio and, as I mentioned above, am feeling more comfortable with writing and piecing information together coherently.  One thing I’m considering doing as a presentation is breaking down the Genealogist’s Code of Ethics that one must sign when completing a portfolio.  Not only do I want to sign it, but I also want to fully understand it and share that info with others.

I still work part-time from home as a medical transcriptionist.  However, it seems as though more often our workload runs low…most likely an effect of the work being sent to India or being replaced with point-and-click technology.  I urge people to carefully read reports they receive from their doctor to ensure the information is correct!  The human element of checks and balances regarding catching errors on medicolegal documents is going away so be aware of what is in your chart, at your doctor’s office, at the hospital you visit, at the clinic, anywhere or anyone who provides care for you.

That’s pretty much the update!  I’ll try to blog once weekly now, maybe every Sunday since that’s a quiet day for me, to keep up-to-date, especially when/if I go “on-the-clock.”

Before I go…this is AMAZING…check out Genes For Good, a Facebook app.  Participate in a few health-related surveys and receive a DNA kit and testing for free!  Offered through the University of Michigan. 🙂

New Position

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APGen.org) includes chapters, one of which is the Indiana Chapter.  I have been a member of APG for 2 years and a member of ICHAP for the last year.  Elections were held recently for chapter officers, and I won the Vice-President position.  I am very excited about this…remember my Four Cornerstones post?  One cornerstone is professionalism in genealogy.  And that is exactly what APG and ICHAP promote.  I’m looking forward to taking a more active role in this great group and supporting professionalism as genealogists.  This is a very exciting opportunity!  If you’re in Indiana and a member of APG and would like to become involved, please let me know!  We hold meetings online through GoToMeeting and plan at least one face-to-face get-together a year.

genealogy, genealogists, professionalism

Fun Holiday Weekend & Big Announcement!

The weekend before Christmas went by in a flash, a whirlwind of fun holiday events that kept me on my toes.

It started with the last planning meeting for ECIGA.  We’ve had 4 organizational meetings thus far in 4 different counties.  Our group serves 5 counties, and the very first meeting was in my home county but it was more of a “do we want to attempt this?” type meeting, not planning.  We have, I believe, 10 charter members in good standing and nearly all of our officer/director positions filled.  We are 30 days out from our very first meeting so now it’s time to really spread the word.  If interested, please check out ECIGA.

The next day, I attended my DAR chapter Christmas meeting, held at the local historical society where we enjoyed dessert treats and listened to the Madrigal Choir from the high school.  Last year I attended this also and that was the day I turned in my DAR application, so it’s been 1 full year now that I’ve been part of the chapter.  The ladies of the chapter are dear to me, charming and full of knowledge.

From desserts, I met up with my family for our annual Christmas get-together at a popular pizza joint where I had supper (my meals have been haphazard this weekend!).  It’s a combined dinner to celebrate Christmas and our December birthdays.  This year, we decided that instead of all the adults buying all the other adults gifts, we’d have a contest at Thanksgiving and whoever won that contest would be the recipient of a Christmas gift that the losers all pitched in on.  The contest was the ugliest Christmas sweater, which my Mom won.  Her gift?  A girl’s night out with her 3 daughters and niece (and wee baby grandson since he’ll only be about 6-7 months old). She wants to see the house where Michael Jackson lived in Gary, IN, so we’ll take her there and then over to Amish land in Shipshewana.  Should be interesting!

IMG_1014 Typical selfie.

The next day was the Christmas Open House for our historical society.  We open up the museum for guests to come tour if they’d like, enjoy some light snacks, and listen to one of our local talents play Christmas carols on the historic Jesse French piano.  An absolutely lovely day…the weather was actually springlike, the guests were wonderful, and so nice to open the museum for a fun holiday party.  The museum will be open for 1 more week, then close for January and February.

FullSizeRender(6) Bust of Benjamin S. Parker and the Christmas tree.

My big news: I’m scaling back my hours at my day job to part-time (20 hours per week) to focus more on taking clients for research and volunteering at the historical society.  My job is based on production so I’ll have to work hard to produce what I do in 40 hours, but I feel I’ll gain a better balance overall between work and life.  This year I have Christmas Day and the day after off work so I’m working on my business website.  Once accomplished, I’ll post the information.

Merry Christmas all.

ACPL and ACGSI Upcoming Event

Have you heard of John Philip Colletta? If not, then you’re about to!  I believe I first heard Colletta speak at the NGS Family History Conference in 2014 in Richmond, VA.  Excellent speaker, very engaging, just an overall good storyteller and you come away having learned something.

How excited was I, then, to receive an email today about this??

I am very grateful to the Allen County Public Library and Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, Inc. (ACGSI), for hosting Mr. Colletta for an all-day learning experience!  Not to mention, this is a very affordable one-day seminar, ranging from $10 as a member of ACGSI for the morning session to $45 as an ACGSI member for morning and afternoon sessions plus the evening banquet.

This is one not to miss! Make plans to get to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in June!