Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Next Next Thing

No, that’s not a typo.  It’s actually supposed to be the “next next” thing.

For genealogists – especially those who like to be close to the technological cutting edge – it’s often all about what’s coming after the “next” thing that everybody already knows is just around the corner.

A few things came across my screens during this post-NERGC week that I thought were worth talking about.   

One of them was HISTORYPIN.

Historypin has its roots in England and focuses on “pinning” photos of people, places and things – all in their proper “time and place” context – to an interactive timelined version of Google Maps. Then, the idea is that people will contribute stories about the images.  To get a sense of how it will work, check out the site here.
Note: it still a “beta” site, so there’s not much out there yet.  Plus, since it got started in England, it has a kind of Anglo-centric orientation right now.  Of course, that’s likely to change as people around the world start pinning images to maps and writing stories about them.  Both institutions and individuals can contribute, and if this takes off, it could be the next next thing.

Then, this Saturday, also in England, (specifically at the Sandwell Borough Archives in West Bromwell), tech-savvy types, geeks, genealogists, historians and the interested public are invited to attend HACK DAY.

This is “hack” in a good way.

The purpose of “Hack Day” is to bring together creative, interested, technologically knowledgeable people who can come up with ways to make the region’s archival treasures more accessible.  Here’s an interesting story about what it’s all about. 

Note that in the story there’s also a direct link to the “Black Country History” website.

I thought I’d give that link a whirl late last night.  Never expected to find anything. Surprise! I was wrong! 

In the space of 30 seconds, I found a will abstract for the grandkids’ 3rd great-grandmother, Anna Maria (Standley) Eglington, wife of the late Ferdinand Eglington and, at the time of her death, wife of Harry George Mantle.  Anna Maria died in 1913 at about 80, and since this is a line I haven’t spent much time on yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the serendipitous discovery. 

The clue (to me) was seeing that the site included material from Walsall in Staffordshire, where the Eglingtons were loriners and had an international business that stretched from Europe to the pampas of Argentina.

(Since you asked … loriners make spurs, and the other bright, shiny, small metal objects used in horse harnesses. Think of them as horse haberdashers…)

By continuing to search on the last names at "Black Country History", I also found a photo (left) of Anna Maria’s grandson, Captain Ferdinand Eglington (1885 – 1916) of the 1st-5th South Staffordshire Regiment, who was killed during the Great War. 

And if this year’s Hack Day is successful, more great stuff might appear.

As far as archives and museums are concerned, the “Hack Day” concept hasn’t yet taken hold on this side of the Atlantic.  Could it be the “next next” thing to get more material online directly at local archives sites?

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