Some of you may know that I am currently enrolled in Boston University’s online Genealogical Research Certificate program. The course lasts about 15 weeks, or a full semester. Classes started in mid January and we are about to hit the one month mark. I consider myself a fairly competent genealogist and I wanted to take my skills up a notch. My dream job would be to work as a professional genealogist at an archive or a library someday. Or at the very least to begin taking paid clients. Up to this point, I have done tons of pro bono work for family and friends, but not really at the professional level. When I say professional, I mean, developing a research plan, doing in depth analysis, and report writing. To this point, I have done work more in the vein of a professional researcher not a full blown genealogist. Since I have starting transcribing my grandparents’ letters, I really feel that my work now has a purpose or a singular focus. I have begun to narrow down my research and I feel a lot less ADD about what I have been doing. The coursework has also given me some great tools and strategies for developing my future research.
I mention the Boston University coursework because of one of the tools I learned about recently. How many of us use Google maps when doing genealogical research? I actually have used them quite a bit. I’ve used the satellite view to try to pin point a rural cemetery (an old, abandoned cemetery on private farmland) in rural Indiana so I could help a Find A Grave volunteer locate it and take pictures for me. I’ve used the street view to locate houses where relatives have lived in the past (or look at my childhood homes). Last week, I posted the picture of the house in Norfolk, Virgina where my grandfather stayed on my Facebook page. All thanks to Google maps. But what happens when street view is not available? Besides crying and cursing that the Google photographers haven’t made it to that neighborhood yet? Well, I am here today to talk about another website called zillow.com. My coursework suggested using it as a tool for genealogical research.
Zillow.com is a real estate website. It also does not have pictures of every house in the country, but it has some. Like for instance, there are pictures of houses for sale (since it is a real estate website). On a lark, I started looking through Zillow’s listings for Kentland, Indiana. And guess what? The house where my grandparents lived from 1941-1958, on East Dunlop Street, is currently for sale. This is the house where my grandmother wrote all her letters. Another great thing about the Zillow website is that there are interior shots. Yup, pictures of inside the house as well as the outside! How exciting is that? Once I discovered the online listing, I posted it on my Facebook page because I wasn’t exactly sure it was the right house. My dad immediately replied “That’s it!” We spent a good half hour walking through the virtual house over the phone. I have never been to Kentland since my grandparents no longer lived there by the time I came along. It was great fun listening to my dad talk about all the rooms and tell stories about things that had happened as well as noting some of the modern differences. I am also a very visual person, so now, when I read the letters I try to picture the surroundings as well. With the pictures, that just got a whole lot easier.
If you are interested in checking out the zillow listing for 508 E. Dunlop Street, click here.
Another cool day for August. It is cloudy and looks like rain. I haven’t been feeling so good so stayed in bed today. Thought maybe I would feel better if I kept off my feet for a day or two. I had some work I wanted the boys to do up here so I directed the work from bed. I had never put your books and magazines away so that is done now. All the A.M.A. [American Medical Association] are stacked according to year & month and the books according to numbers so in case of wanting one they are easy to get to. I put them in the space adjoining my closet so they wouldn’t get dusty and since that space wasn’t being used. John did the sorting. Mark carried them in. They had to get breakfast & lunch and are now washing dishes. Mark has to mow after he gets thru. He had too much company yesterday and didn’t get through. If it doesn’t rain soon this should be the last mowing for this season.
(page 2) The Zell’s furniture came late yesterday evening but haven’t seen anything of the family yet. I suppose they will come sometime today or tomorrow since school starts tomorrow.
The Statons are all well again. Jimmy must have had the tummy ache because he was out playing the next day. Liuk came over last night to clean the fish Bill gave us but decided they weren’t good so we didn’t use them. They were what Bill got on his trip almost two week ago. He left them and had them shipped so we figured they haven’t been kept cold enough. I wasn’t going to mention it but Mark saw Arlene this morning and told her we couldn’t use the fish because they didn’t smell good.
Arlene talked to me over the phone this morning and has decided to go to the hospital and see if they can get things started if she doesn’t have to go in a day or two. I think today is her limit. I know she is getting tired of waiting.
(page 3) Had a letter from Prud Ins [Prudence Insurance?] this morning. They said since you were in service they were taking your name off their list as examiner and thank you for your past service, besides that there were several circulars but no letters.
I was going to have Krulls & Johnsons come out tomorrow evening for a weiner roast but since I am not feeling so good I called Dorothy and told her I would have to postpone it. She said she had forgotten it and they were planning to go to Chicago to shop. I think if I keep quiet for several days I will feel better because just being in bed today has made a difference.
Betty Lou came this morning and wanted Mark to go over to the pasture and help her catch her pony but I told her Mark had work to do. Then Buddy and another boy came and I sent then on. I thought after tomorrow he will get
(page 4) plenty of playing during recess and besides I didn’t feel like having a crowd of children around today. Buddy & Tommy B. were with him all afternoon yesterday and they were from one thing to another all the time. It kept me busy telling them not to do things.
It is getting toward mailing time so will get this ready for Mark to take to town.