All posts by Kyle Hurst

About Kyle Hurst

Kyle, Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press, holds a B.A. in both history and anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and has a master’s certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University. With experience at the National Archives and Record Administration in Waltham, Kyle has worked on a wide variety of research projects as part of the Research Services team at NEHGS and, with Newbury Street Press, has contributed to a number of family histories. She has been credited for her contributions to The Root,, and she has also written for American Ancestors magazine.

The Other Half

Courtesy of ABC Inc.

On October 27, NEHGS hosted a Family History Benefit Dinner featuring Bill Griffeth and Cokie Roberts, both accomplished news commentators and authors. Whereas Bill has written of his experiences with unexpected DNA results concerning his paternal side, Cokie has made a career of highlighting the lives of women in American history.

In honor of her accomplishments, the Society presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for History and Biography and a beautifully hand-bound book of her ancestors. As I compiled her robust genealogy, I worked to include the kinds of stories that would interest an author of female biographies. Continue reading The Other Half

“Ask a lady her age!”

80th bday
With my grandmother, the granddaughter of Andrew and Mary Smith, on her 80th birthday.

For the past two weeks, many NEHGS staff members celebrated birthdays, bringing to mind my birthday celebration last year. At the restaurant, our waiter announced my birthday to the entire restaurant and led them in singing to me. While that was embarrassing, it was fine until he asked my age. I answered with the old adage, “You know, it’s not polite to ask a lady her age.” As a genealogist, however, that answer left me feeling disappointed in myself. Where would we be today if our ancestors always responded to that question in such a way? Continue reading “Ask a lady her age!”

A Christmas box

Grandpa with Scrapbook
My grandfather with his album. Click on the images to expand them.

In this season of giving, sometimes the most enjoyment comes from sharing items you forgot you had instead of those newly received. Three years ago, I celebrated Christmas at the mountain home of my paternal grandparents. At some point, my grandfather mentioned to my father and aunts that he still had a box of their old vinyl records in storage. Naturally, they could not recall what might have been left over from their school days, and my cousins and I were curious about our parents’ musical tastes. We convinced my grandfather to dig out the box. Continue reading A Christmas box

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Die Deutsche Schrift Cover
First two images from Fritz Verdenhalven, Die Deutsche Schrift (The German Script) (Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany: Degener, 1991).

An article linked from The Weekly Genealogist had me thinking about how to conduct research in unfamiliar languages. I will soon receive eight microfilm reels containing German Catholic church records. The contents will be recorded in Latin, but key information could appear in German script. Sometimes it melds together to the point I’ve completely forgotten which language I am reading.

For the most part, church, and vital records adhere to a template, so even those of us who do not know the language can parse out facts pertinent to our ancestors. The key to accomplishing this feat lies in referring to guides to the language and/or records.
To help, Rhonda McClure has created a guide to German research for us. Some institutions post online translation tips and vocabulary lists. Brigham Young University offers some great script tutorials, and the FamilySearch wiki features a variety of language aids. Continue reading Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

A primer on current copyright law

Lecture 2 5 screenshot 1
Images from Anne Gilliland’s lecture “Public Domain,” part of the “Copyright for Educators and Librarians” course at Duke University

In this information age, many of us worry about others sharing pieces we have written, scanned, or recorded. What we may not consider, but should, is whether we ourselves have the right to use, donate, or sell certain items.

Recently, I participated in a four-week online course on copyright (for teachers and librarians) via Duke University. Meanwhile, my colleague Sally Benny attended a two-day education session during the Society of American Archivists (SAA) conference in Washington, D.C. Continue reading A primer on current copyright law