Google Maps Offer Street View of Spokane

Last summer, my husband was working out on our front porch doing some priming and painting, when he noticed a vehicle driving slowly down the street. He mentioned it to me later, saying that there was a camera mounted to the roof of the vehicle and it appeared to be taking pictures of all the homes on the block.

“Perhaps it’s the county assessor’s office,” I replied, knowing that all property is photographed and available for view on our county’s website.

Monday, I read through our local paper’s news feed that Spokane had been added to Google Maps’ Street View, even before (gasp!) Seattle or Portland have. And I have been having fun ever since! In fact, at work I’ve been having my students find their homes, friends’ homes, and schools during their technology class this week. I’ve been able to show my own children the places I lived during my college years without using any gasoline. Yesterday, my husband and I had fun “driving” around Vancouver, Washington while he showed me his old haunts.

I’m looking forward to when Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan are offered in Street View so I can check out my ancestral locations. Until then, I’ll play with Google Earth, Windows Live Local, and with Google Maps in the cities that do offer Street View.

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Google Maps Offer Street View of Spokane

Last summer, my husband was working out on our front porch doing some priming and painting, when he noticed a vehicle driving slowly down the street. He mentioned it to me later, saying that there was a camera mounted to the roof of the vehicle and it appeared to be taking pictures of all the homes on the block.

“Perhaps it’s the county assessor’s office,” I replied, knowing that all property is photographed and available for view on our county’s website.

Monday, I read through our local paper’s news feed that Spokane had been added to Google Maps’ Street View, even before (gasp!) Seattle or Portland have. And I have been having fun ever since! In fact, at work I’ve been having my students find their homes, friends’ homes, and schools during their technology class this week. I’ve been able to show my own children the places I lived during my college years without using any gasoline. Yesterday, my husband and I had fun “driving” around Vancouver, Washington while he showed me his old haunts.

I’m looking forward to when Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan are offered in Street View so I can check out my ancestral locations. Until then, I’ll play with Google Earth, Windows Live Local, and with Google Maps in the cities that do offer Street View.

This and That

I backposted an advent memory, “The Christmas Tree,” as I start catching up on some of the posts I missed.

Did you know that T.K. of Before My Time was a cousin of mine? Neither did I, until I read this. She’s my 10th cousin, twice removed (she and my maternal grandmother are the same generation!). Randy is also my cousin; I discovered this last September when he was posting his ahnentafel reports. I suppose if you have any roots that go back to Massachusetts in the 1640s, we could figure out that you’re my cousin, too!

The grandmother of Tim of Genealogy Reviews Online recalled seeing the Statue of Liberty when she arrived in America, yet her ship landed in Philadelphia. Go here to find out how Tim’s amazing discovery at Google Book Search helped him confirm his family’s oral history.

Kevin explains how mold has destroyed the entire contents of a Michigan library in the small community where my 3rd-great-grandparents, Sylvester Fredenburg and Cornelia McClellan, were married. How tragic!

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu shares a video on an exhibit of some of the world’s tiniest tomes.

Want to know the latest news in your ancestral locations? Go here to locate a newspaper from your ancestor’s residence, then check out the paper’s website to see if they have a blog you can add to your newsreader. I’ve been keeping an eye on the blogs of The Grand Rapids Press and The Muskegon Chronicle of Western Michigan. That’s how I discovered this story. Refdesk is also how I look for obituaries for recently deceased relatives from out of state.

This and That

I backposted an advent memory, “The Christmas Tree,” as I start catching up on some of the posts I missed.

Did you know that T.K. of Before My Time was a cousin of mine? Neither did I, until I read this. She’s my 10th cousin, twice removed (she and my maternal grandmother are the same generation!). Randy is also my cousin; I discovered this last September when he was posting his ahnentafel reports. I suppose if you have any roots that go back to Massachusetts in the 1640s, we could figure out that you’re my cousin, too!

The grandmother of Tim of Genealogy Reviews Online recalled seeing the Statue of Liberty when she arrived in America, yet her ship landed in Philadelphia. Go here to find out how Tim’s amazing discovery at Google Book Search helped him confirm his family’s oral history.

Kevin explains how mold has destroyed the entire contents of a Michigan library in the small community where my 3rd-great-grandparents, Sylvester Fredenburg and Cornelia McClellan, were married. How tragic!

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu shares a video on an exhibit of some of the world’s tiniest tomes.

Want to know the latest news in your ancestral locations? Go here to locate a newspaper from your ancestor’s residence, then check out the paper’s website to see if they have a blog you can add to your newsreader. I’ve been keeping an eye on the blogs of The Grand Rapids Press and The Muskegon Chronicle of Western Michigan. That’s how I discovered this story. Refdesk is also how I look for obituaries for recently deceased relatives from out of state.

Genea-Google-ology and the Search for a Detroit Sailor’s Family

Discover Navy Widows’ Certificates.

Google has wonderful bells and whistles that are of immense value to us “geneahistorians.” I like to call them Genea-Google-ology Tools! Have you tried Google Alerts? You can be alerted with a message sent to your e-mail inbox every time your surname of interest (or other keyword or phrase) shows up on the Internet!

For instance, every time any of the words midkiff, sweers, tuinstra, valk, or westaby show up online, I get a handy-dandy e-mail letting me know, along with a link to that site. The above surnames are some of the more unusual ones in my husband’s and my ancestries. You can also choose a phrase (put your search terms within quotation marks) or a combination of words (use the plus [+] key). I have genealogy+michigan as another alert, which searches for both words (not necessarily together) on a website or blog. You can control where your results come from, too: news, blogs, web, groups, or comprehensive (all).

You can also tweak your alerts a bit, by narrowing your results using the minus ( – ) key. Using only tuinstra as a search term, I was getting links to dozens of articles written by well-known journalist Fons Tuinstra, stationed in China. I changed my alert to tuinstra -fons to get better hits. I was also getting a lot of hits for a Joost Valk that did not apply to my genealogy, so again, I made a change to valk -joost. I still get some unconnected hits, but they have decreased in volume considerably.

“So how do I set up Google Alerts for myself?” you may be asking. Go here to begin. As far as I can tell, you do not need a Google account or Gmail address to set up an alert. The process is fairly simple, and once you sign up, you should start receiving alerts soon. As a matter of fact, you can control how frequently you receive these alerts, too: once a day, as it happens, or once a week. And you can edit your alerts at any time!

This morning, I received an alert on my genealogy+michigan search terms, and was linked to a blog, which in turn linked to an article from the Detroit Free Press, which told of the search for the family of a Detroit sailor who went down in a submarine with 70 others, off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska during World War II. Seems like the submarine, the USS Grunion, has possibly been found (it was located, but then was “lost” again); but the family of Navy Seaman Second Class Byron A. Traviss has not. Searchers are hoping to discover his family’s whereabouts before the sub’s location is found again.

Readers are encouraged to make contact if they know of the whereabouts of the Traviss family.

Genea-Google-ology and the Search for a Detroit Sailor’s Family

Discover Navy Widows’ Certificates.

Google has wonderful bells and whistles that are of immense value to us “geneahistorians.” I like to call them Genea-Google-ology Tools! Have you tried Google Alerts? You can be alerted with a message sent to your e-mail inbox every time your surname of interest (or other keyword or phrase) shows up on the Internet!

For instance, every time any of the words midkiff, sweers, tuinstra, valk, or westaby show up online, I get a handy-dandy e-mail letting me know, along with a link to that site. The above surnames are some of the more unusual ones in my husband’s and my ancestries. You can also choose a phrase (put your search terms within quotation marks) or a combination of words (use the plus [+] key). I have genealogy+michigan as another alert, which searches for both words (not necessarily together) on a website or blog. You can control where your results come from, too: news, blogs, web, groups, or comprehensive (all).

You can also tweak your alerts a bit, by narrowing your results using the minus ( – ) key. Using only tuinstra as a search term, I was getting links to dozens of articles written by well-known journalist Fons Tuinstra, stationed in China. I changed my alert to tuinstra -fons to get better hits. I was also getting a lot of hits for a Joost Valk that did not apply to my genealogy, so again, I made a change to valk -joost. I still get some unconnected hits, but they have decreased in volume considerably.

“So how do I set up Google Alerts for myself?” you may be asking. Go here to begin. As far as I can tell, you do not need a Google account or Gmail address to set up an alert. The process is fairly simple, and once you sign up, you should start receiving alerts soon. As a matter of fact, you can control how frequently you receive these alerts, too: once a day, as it happens, or once a week. And you can edit your alerts at any time!

This morning, I received an alert on my genealogy+michigan search terms, and was linked to a blog, which in turn linked to an article from the Detroit Free Press, which told of the search for the family of a Detroit sailor who went down in a submarine with 70 others, off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska during World War II. Seems like the submarine, the USS Grunion, has possibly been found (it was located, but then was “lost” again); but the family of Navy Seaman Second Class Byron A. Traviss has not. Searchers are hoping to discover his family’s whereabouts before the sub’s location is found again.

Readers are encouraged to make contact if they know of the whereabouts of the Traviss family.