Where to Put That Old Family Journal Online?

Do you have an old family journal or diary from your ancestor? What are you doing with it?

Curt Balmer transcribed his great-grandfather’s journal.

The old journal is a record of John Balmer (1819-1898) and Margaret Ann (Carey) Balmer (1831-1890). The Balmers were born in Ireland and moved to Ontario, Canada. John’s journal recorded how he worked to earn the money he needed to pay for the cross-Atlantic voyage, as well as details of the couple’s life together and experiences in Canada.

Curt Balmer asked how he could post his ancestor’s journal on the Internet. He wanted to get it preserved and made available online so that family members for generations could read it and know their ancestors’ stories. He asked for suggestions on where and how he could post the journal online.

Here are just two of the suggestions I made about where to post the transcript of the family journal online.

First, upload a copy of your family journal transcript to a free website like Scribd.com.

screenshot of John Balmer's journal on Scribd.com

Credit: Scribd.com

You can see John Balmer’s journal on Scribd.com here: http://bit.ly/135xACz

Scribd lets you upload any book you create and want to share online.

This is a good website for sharing the documents you create with others.

With just one or two clicks you can upload a transcript like this one of John Balmer’s journal.

My second suggestion is to post the journal onto an online family tree website like FamilySearch.

screenshot of John Balmer's journal on FamilySearch.org

Credit: FamilySearch.org

This is easy to do.

Simply find your ancestor on the FamilySearch family tree. If he is not there, add him.

Then click on the “stories” button and copy & paste your journal transcript, pasting it to his story box on that site.

With just a few clicks John Balmer’s autobiography has been easily preserved for your family online on Scribd and on FamilySearch.

What other websites or apps would you suggest for preserving the transcription of this old family autobiography/journal online? Please share them with us in the comments.

Genealogy Serendipity: Ancestor’s Bible & Journals Returned to Family

Let me tell you about my cousin Ransom and the kindness of a stranger who returned his long-lost Bible and journals through a serendipitous chain of events.

photo of Ransom Smith's Bible and journals

Photo of Ransom Smith’s Bible and journals by the author

Ransom Ferdinand Smith (1864-1940) lived in Woodstock, New Hampshire. He was a first cousin of my great-grandmother Frances Lila (Sawyer) Huse (1863-1958).

On Monday (Sept. 10th) I entered the details of Ransom F. Smith’s life on my family’s online tree site.

On Tuesday (Sept. 11th) I received this e-mail: “My search for Ransom F. Smith, married to Carrie and living in/around Grafton, N.H., from 1812-1922 led me to your family’s online tree. I acquired his Bible and 4 daily journals (3 small, 1 large) at an auction in MA about 30 years ago. They were in the bottom of a box lot of linens! If you are interested in having them, would you please email me.”

Imagine that—I put the family’s genealogy information online Monday. The very next day a woman is cleaning her house and unpacks a linen box she hadn’t looked at for 30 years. At the bottom of the box she finds a Bible and four journals, and tries to return them to the original owner’s family.

She Googled Ransom’s name…

Bingo—she found my online family genealogy page, contacted us, and mailed these priceless family records to us. Serendipity!

It’s a great day for genealogy

It’s a great day for genealogy!

It’s a great day for genealogy! And, it’s a particularly good day for me too!

Today marks exactly 43 years since I started working in genealogy.
Wow, it’s been fun.

It was 26 July 1965 – in Stamford, CT – George B. Everton, Sr. (1904-1996) and his wife Ellen (Nielsen) Everton (1902-1987) were conducting a genealogy workshop at the Ferguson Library. I worked at the “Ferguson” and was listening to their presentation from the hall – standing in the doorway – when he announced that they were going to give out a few door prizes – “to the youngest and oldest person” attending the lecture.

He said, “the youngest person is easy …. it’s him” – pointing to me. I was shocked – but was pleased to receive a 10-generation family tree chart. And, as they say – the rest was history.

When I started to fill in that chart the family knew a few generations – now we have records on over 70,000 ancestors and cousins in the family computer and I now have “cousins” from all parts of the world.

It has been fun. Over the past 43 years I have taught workshops and given presentations in 37 States & was a keynote speaker at the first genealogy conference in China. I have written over 20 books and many, many articles that were published in national, state and local – genealogy, library and archival journals.

And the capstone has been the opportunity to be the “Father” of GenealogyBank – and to watch it grow into an essential core genealogy online service – with over 3,500 newspapers you just won’t find anywhere else – easy access to more than 1 billion of our ancestors & cousins.

It’s a great day for genealogy and a great day for me too!