Notes from the past…


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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #41: Past Genealogy Resources

Nothing good lasts forever and that is definitely true in family history. Think of all the genealogy tools, magazines or websites that no longer exist. Which one stands out in your mind and why? Are there still archives of this tool that can be accessed by the public? Share any information you may have.

So true! That’s why it’s so important to DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT!

One site (rather, massive group of sites) that no longer exists is Yahoo GeoCities. This free hosting community closed its doors in 2009. Many a family historian (including me) used GeoCities as a genealogy web presence. I kept my GEDCOM and many photos and documents available to fellow researcher at my GeoCities site. Fortunately, we GeoCities folks were warned several months in advance of the site’s closure. I moved my database (to RootsWeb Freepages), but… many GeoCities genealogists did not!

Some of those sites are still viewable in various places on the Internet, but many others seem to be gone forever.

Not long before the demise of Yahoo GeoCities, I had met a McBurnett cousin online and, you guessed it, she had a genealogy site at GeoCities. This lady was very instrumental in pointing me in the right direction to research my McBurnett line, and her site had a wealth of information. Not a source I wanted to lose access to!

What to do? I couldn’t possibly go through this site one page at a time to save all the data…

Dick Eastman to the rescue! He also posted about the shut down of GeoCities and suggested a solution in the form of HTTrack, which is a wonderful little free program that enables an entire website to be copied to a local directory (your hard drive). The program is simple to use and within minutes, I had all the McBurnett data safely on my own computer, where I can refer to it as I need to.

This is also an example of another lesson often learned the hard way: BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! (and to more than one location!)

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.


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Dr. Kennedy and the “Great Health Resort of Texas”… or, just what the doctor ordered!

There is a most interesting article in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, discussing the mineral water baths of Mineral Wells, Texas:

Carol Elder is bringing back something that’s been missing from this North Texas city for more than 40 years — mineral baths.

In a sparsely furnished 8-foot-by-11-foot room, customers of the Famous Water Co. can sink into a 69-inch pedestal tub filled with “Crazy Water” for a sensation that hasn’t been available since the historic Baker Hotel closed in 1972, Elder said.

The first mineral baths opened about the time Mineral Wells incorporated in 1882, Elder said. The baths were reputed to heal skin conditions such as eczema, and worse.

Why Crazy Water? According to legend, one of the wells became famous when what was described as a “demented elderly lady” was cured after drinking the water. The town named the well the “Crazy Woman Well,” later shortened to “Crazy Well.”

The mineral waters were reputed to cure all sorts of ailments. Snake oil, you say?

Maybe not, according to my 3rd great-grandfather Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy of Hillsboro, Texas. Read his ringing endorsement below:

I discovered this pamphlet, created about 1895 (I’m guessing at the date, as Dr Kennedy died in 1897), at The Portal To Texas History web site about 3 years ago. I was researching the Good Doctor’s medical career at the time and was happily surprised to find him mentioned here!