The Unstable Internet – Bad News about PLACE MY PAST

Another site is disappearing. It’s one that I’d never tried out, but only discovered as it is closing. Looks like a genealogist would find it useful, so I’m sorry to see it go. It let you find locations on old maps to go with your family tree.

If you’ve been using this, there isn’t much time to rescue your information that you may have placed there.

Here’s the announcement:

“We have some important news for our Place My Past users.

One of the main datasets that we use to find locations used in your family tree is called Freebase, it’s a project run by Google that contains information from Wikipedia. Recently Google has announced that Freebase will be retired very soon. We have looked for alternative sources for this information but have not been able to find one that would provide the best experience for our users.

We are also dealing with some other internal issues that would ultimately effect the usability of the site.

Both of these issues have caused us to come to the conclusion that we need to close Place My Past. We will be closing the site on 19 March 2015. All of our members’ genealogical and personal data will be deleted on this date.


The Place My Past team


Finding Old Photos

My mom is on a treasure hunt for old family photos. I’m looking for ones to add into her books of family memories that we’re collaborating on. She has lots of memory essays and I’ve created some books to show them off. It surprises me that she keeps turning up more and more vintage photos.

Now I have to find the right places to insert these into her books. Here’s a sample of what she found today while rummaging around:Vining vamily photo - probably in Arkansas


It would be great to have a little more glamorous family, but I feel lucky to have this glimpse into the past.

Memory Triggers – Family Background

In writing your family memories, take time to write down your family background. 

What was your family’s ethnicity? When did they come to the United States? What stories did you hear as a child about the family’s background? How are your family origins shown in your life now (foods, cultural beliefs, etc.).  Did you have anyone famous in the family or did the family participate in some historic event?

For example, these triggers would start me writing about my family’s Scottish and Irish heritage, and their immigration during colonial times to Maryland and to Hingham, Massachussetts. I’d want to include about the participation in the Oklahoma land rush and about the great-great-great grandfather who was in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War.

Use these triggers to write your own family heritage memories and maybe even do some research if you aren’t sure of some things.

Here’s a webpage that I created about being Scotch-Irish. While working on it, I discovered the names of my great-great-great grandfather on the McGhee part of the family tree. So exciting!

Scotch Irish hat hat
Scotch Irish hat by Linda_MN
Browse for another trucker hat on

Finding Family

The second day in Neguac, we knocked on the door of the house with the ALLAIN and FORBES signs in the yard.  When a lady answered the door, my husband explained that we were probably related.  He told her who his grandfather and great-grandfather were.  She drew us into the house and we met her husband who was a first cousin to my husband’s father.  We finally figured out later that made him his second cousin.  They were in their eighties and we embarked on a mixed conversation of French and English. 

Jacqueline called her children and sister-in-law to come over to meet the long-lost relatives from the States.  One daughter brought over her grandmother’s diaries and another brought family photos.  The visit continued as we all trooped over to Chez Raymond for a seafood lunch.  Another cousin (second or third?) had been called to meet us there.  Bebert was his nickname and he was the keeper of family memories.  Over lunch, he recited family stories and connections running back for generations to the first arrival from France in the 1600s. 

We drove to several houses after lunch just to photograph the exteriors.  Bebert had identified these as Allain homes, including where my husband’s grandfather had lived before emigrating to the States.  One house was gone and a pharmacy stood on its location across from the graveyard.

Returning to Levis and Jaqueline’s we met more relatives.  Conversation was lively as we all got acquainted and they shared family history with us.  By six o’clock, one cousin asked us over to her home to see photos she had and to have pizza.  Finally as dusk fell, we tore ourselves away to go set up our camper at the campground.  The mosquitoes in Neguac are truly ferocious. 

It took us awhile to unwind after such an exhilerating day of meeting so many new relatives.  The warm welcome will stay in our memories for a long time.

Another Writing Challenge at eHow

This challenge requires twelve articles written between January 25 and January 31.  That’s seven days, so here’s my effort to meet the challenge.  I’ll add the articles to the list below as I finish them.

  1. How to Stop Biting My Nails
  2. How to Stop Bitching
  3. How to Tend the Flag in Golf
  4. How to Raise Money with a Friends of the Library Group
  5. How to Help a Library with a Friends of the Library Group
  6. How to Make Taco Salad the Easy Way
  7. How to Decide If Cataract Surgery Is for You
  8. How to Find Nationality of Last Names
  9. How to Make Library Book Displays for December
  10. How to Make Valentines from Altered Cards
  11. How to Use Walla Properly
  12. How to Make a Grandmother Happy

Wow, I’m done and it’s two days ahead of the deadline.  That was good practice, as I think the next challenge will be 13 articles in 7 days.  If you sample any of the articles, leave me a comment to let me know what you think.