Webfinder: Meditation & Stress Reduction

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Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know – Reviews the scientific evidence for the effectiveness – or ineffectiveness – of relaxation techniques in managing a variety of health problems. NOTE: Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people, but those with serious physical or mental health problems should discuss relaxation techniques with their health care providers. (2016, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

6 Mindfulness Exercises That Each Take Less Than 1 Minute – Quick & easy mindfulness exercises for people who don’t want to do formal meditation (2013, Psychology Today; site includes advertisements). Quick Stress Relief [UPDATED LINK!] has advice to help you recognize when you’re stressed and learn techniques for quick stress relief when you need it. The same site offers lots of additional advice on Stress Relief and Mental Health [UPDATED LINK!]. (2018, HelpGuide.org)

Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress – A brief overview of the benefits of meditation and different techniques for meditating. (2017, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Guided Meditation Audio [AUDIO] – If you’re having trouble getting started with meditation, this free audio from the Portland Insight Meditation Community will guide you through the basic practice of mindfulness meditation. The site also offers additional guided meditation audios [AUDIO] for deepening your practice. Basic Relaxation Audios [AUDIO] from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Counseling Center are free audio downloads to guide you through two different relaxation techniques – the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique and the Combination Relaxation Exercise. For many additional free audio downloads, see The Mindfulness Solution [AUDIO] (Ronald D. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School) and Free Guided Meditations [AUDIO] (UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center). The Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, IN) offers free online audios for Mindful Meditation [NEW!] and Gentle Yoga [NEW!]. Mindful.org offers a growing collection of free guided meditation audios [NEW!] [AUDIO]. The American Chronic Pain Association offers a five-minute online guided relaxation video [UPDATED LINK!] [VIDEO] designed to help you let go of physical stress.

Stress – Links to additional information on different kinds of stress and how to manage stress, plus related resources. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Stress Management – Explains how stress affects your physical & emotional health, and suggests a variety of techniques for controlling stress (American Heart Association).

Physical exercise can also help reduce stress! Check out our Fitness, Sport, & Physical Therapy links for some good exercise resources. For additional mental health resources, check out our links to information about Mental Health, Self-Help, & Support Groups.

The South Plainfield Library sometimes offers programs in yoga and meditation. Please keep an eye on the library’s website, library calendar, and/or our Facebook page for upcoming programs.

ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS!

11-minute body scan for children [NEW!] [AUDIO] can help bring calmness, attention, and appreciation to hectic daytime routines and marathon bedtime rituals. Mindful breath-counting practice for teens and tweens [NEW!] [AUDIO] teaches kids the basics of mindful awareness by counting each inhale and exhale. (Mindful.org)

The South Plainfield Library sometimes offers CHILDREN’S MEDITATION for kids aged 7 – 12. Please check with the Children’s Room staff for schedule.

Links updated November 2018.

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Webfinder : Learning Disabilities

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Additude Magazine – Information and support for families and adults living with ADHD and learning disabilities. Includes practical advice about raising children, expert Q&A, and resources to help students with attentional or learning differences succeed at school. (New Hope Media LLC; site includes advertisements)

Books for Special Needs Readers – Links to information & resources on books and reading for adults and children with special needs.

Disability Discrimination: Frequently Asked Questions – Explains federal laws Section 504 and Title II, and laws relating to accessibility & services and disability harassment in public schools, public colleges &  universities, and public libraries. See also Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools [Link opens a PDF]. (U.S. Department of Education)

Do 2 Learn – ‘Thousands pages of social skills & behavioral regulation activities & guidance, learning songs & games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment & life skills.’ This site offers many free resources, but also sells related products. (By computer engineer Dr. Dorothy Strickland, Virtual Reality Aids, Inc.)

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center – This page is designed to help families understand their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), connect with other families, and find high-quality resources related to caring for infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities. See also Disability Discrimination links, above.

LD Support and Resources for Parents – “A wealth of information on understanding learning disabilities, negotiating the special education process, and helping your child and yourself.” (Learning Disabilities Association of America; site includes advertisements)

Learning Disabilities: Understood – Expert information and tools for parents of a child with a learning disability. Covers learning & attention issues, school & learning, friends & feelings, family, and more. (National Center for Learning Disabilities et al.)

Learning Disabilities Articles – A collection of articles for parents covering topics such as diagnosing a learning disability, learning problems in teens, types of learning problems, your right to special services, and more. (HealthyChildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics)

NJ Special Needs Education Resources – Links to state information & resources on special education, including Standards & Assessment, State & Federal Regulations, Parental Rights in Special Education, Programs, Assistive Technology, Directories & Resources, Special Education Complaint Investigation Forms, and more (2017, State of NJ). See also Special Education Toolkit.

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) – A non-profit organization committed to empowering families as advocates and partners in improving education and health outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with special needs. SPAN is the statewide Parent Center for New Jersey.

Links updated 11/18

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder : Charitable Giving

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Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) – Evaluates the management practices of hundreds of national charities. Also offers Advice for Donors, including basic advice, and advice on specific topics such as Disaster Relief, Police & Firefighter Appeals, Car & Used Goods Donations, Charity Sweepstakes, Child Sponsorship and more. (Council of Better Business Bureau, Inc.)

Charity Navigator – Rates the financial health of thousands of charities. If you register (free) you can also receive an occasional e-newsletter, suggest groups you would like to see evaluated, and keep track of charities that interest you. The site also offers special reports on topics of current interest to donors, as well as Tips for Donors, and a report on charities’ CEO Compensation, most recently done in 2016. (Non-profit organization; site includes advertisements)

Charity Scams – “If you’re thinking about giving to a charity, do your research to avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity. Here are tips to help make sure that your charitable contributions actually go to the cause you support.” See also Charity Scams Follow Hurricane’s Wake  [NEW!] (Federal Trade Commission).

Charity Watch – Another site that evaluates charities, as well as offering tips and articles for donors. (American Institute of Philanthropy)

Consumer Reports Best and Worst Charities for Your Donations [NEW!] – Offers a list of some of the highest- and lowest-rated charities in a number of categories, as well as general advice on donating wisely. (December 2017)

GiveWell – An independent, non-profit charity evaluator that assesses how well programs actually work, rather than focusing on financial factors. GiveWell is focused on finding “a small number of outstanding giving opportunities” rather than rating large numbers of charities. Click here to learn more about GiveWell’s evaluation process.

GreatNonprofits – Reviews and ratings “by people who have been touched by a nonprofit and want to share their story about it… you’ll discover stories of people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services.” [NOTE: All reviews posted on GreatNonprofits are individual, subjective opinions, and any user’s experience with a given organization may or may not be typical. Content posted by Users is not reviewed by GreatNonprofits.]

GuideStar – ‘The donor’s guide to the charitable universe.’ A searchable database of 1.9 million U.S. non-profit organizations and foundations. Provides financial and management information derived from IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990EZ. Includes links to each charity’s website, where available. Also offers Five Simple Steps to Better Giving, plus a blog for non-profit managers. NOTE: Free registration is required for full access.

New Jersey Charities – Use this site to check on the status of charities operating within the state (New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Charities Registration Section). For resources in other states, see NASCO (National Association of State Charity Officials).

Pro Publica Nonprofit Explorer – ‘Use this database to search over 1.8 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses.’

Too Many Solicitations? – Is your mailbox bursting with frequent requests for charitable donations? This page from Charity Watch offers help to reduce the flow, including a Fundraising Reduction Notice form you can send to organizations. For more advice on dealing with aggressive fundraisers, read Charity Navigator’s articles on How to Stop Solicitations by Mail and What To Do When A Charity Calls, Give.org’s advice on Telephone Appeals and Charity Mailing List Removal.

Links updated October 28, 2018.

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Webfinder : Home Energy Conservation – Heating

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Burn Wise – Information to help you choose EPA-certified wood-burning appliances (wood stove, pellet stove, hydronic heaters, fireplaces, and related products), and use them efficiently and safely (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Consumer Guide to Home Heating – Advice on deciding whether to replace your existing system, finding a good contractor, selecting a new system, improving your system’s performance, and more. (ACEEE, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

Consumer Information: Saving Energy at Home – Practical tips from the FTC on saving energy and money in your home. (Federal Trade Commission)

Energy.gov: Home Heating – Tips on saving money & energy on home heating. See also Home Heating Systems and Heat & Cool Efficiently. (U.S. Department of Energy)

Heat Pumps – Heat pumps can be a cost-effective alternative for heating and cooling your home. This site explains how to choose a heat pump to meet your needs. [NOTE: Some details on financing and installation are specific to Tennesee.] (Tennessee Valley Authority). The U.S. Department of Energy offers additional information on Air Source Heat Pumps and Geothermal Heat Pumps.

NJ Rebates & Incentives, Energy Assistance and Related Programs  (NJCEP) and NJ Homeowner Incentives for Clean Energy (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) – Information about available financing, rebates, and other incentives for energy-efficient home improvements.

Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR – Instructions on installing weatherstripping on doors & caulking around windows, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, and other home energy conservation projects (U.S. DOE/EPA). See also Residential Insulation (Industry association : North American Insulation Manufacturers Association).

Additional resources from USA.gov on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives, and more.

Links updated October 2018.

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Webfinder: Job Resources for Veterans

Links updated 8/13/18

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Leaving the Military – Transitioning resources and advice on Employment & Education, Separation & Retirement, and Guard & Reserves options (Military OneSource).

Career OneStop: Veteran and Military Transition Center – ‘A  one-stop website for employment, training, and financial help after military service.’ There is also a related site, My Next Move for Veterans (U.S. Department of Labor).

New Jersey Jobs: Veterans Services (NJ Career Connections) – ‘Veterans receive first priority referral to all jobs and training opportunities for which they are qualified. In the One-Stop Career Center, there is a Veterans Representative who specializes in helping veterans find the jobs and opportunities for which they qualify. In addition to priority referrals to jobs, vets can enroll in free job search workshops, find help developing a resume, learn about career training programs and get help understanding the network of veterans’ benefits available through the Veterans Administration, state and local governments.’ (New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development).

Career Boot Camp for Transitioning Military Personnel – ‘Some basic training on how to present your resume and military skills in a way that will connect with civilian employers’ (Monster.com; site includes advertisements).

College: Know How 2 Go – For veterans and servicemembers interested in pursuing a college degree, this site provides information on what steps you need to take to choose and apply to colleges, how to find financial aid, and more. (American Council on Education)

Feds Hire Vets – Resources and information to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families find careers in the Federal government (U.S. Office of Personnel Management).

Go Government – Explains how you can use “Veteran’s Preference” status to gives you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs with the federal government. (Partnership for Public Service; non-profit organization)

Hire Heroes USA – Free services to veterans or their spouses, including resume & networking tools, post-military planning, post-military financial & benefits assessment, job search training, and Job Board. (Non-profit organization)

Hiring Our Heroes – Free tools and resources to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation)

Online Job Search Guide for Veterans – Lots of helpful advice and resources for those re-entering the civilian job market after 3 or 30 years of service in the military. (Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt.org)

Troops to Teachers – Help for separating or retiring military personnel who want to pursue a rewarding second career in public education. (N.J. Department of Education)

Veterans’ Employment and Training Service – This service from the U.S. Department of Labor aims at helping America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Vet Jobs – Searchable job listings, employment advice and other employment resources for transitioning military, National Guard, Reserve Component Members and veterans, and their family members (sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). See also:

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder: Disasters

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Are you ready? If not, check out these resources!

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Disaster Supplies Kit [Link opens a PDF] – A handy printable checklist of essential items you should have in your home in case of any emergency, plus key websites to help you stay informed about current or potential emergencies (State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). The Family Communication Plan [Link opens a PDF] is a printable form you can fill out so your family will know how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Fill in this information and keep a copy in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. For additional forms & checklists, see Make a Plan [NEW!] (FEMA).

Disasters: Prepare Your Home & Family – General advice on how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies, including tips for taking care of children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets. Disaster Preparedness Library focuses on specific types of emergencies, including chemical spills, fires, floods, flu, heat waves, poisoning, power outages, terrorism, winter storms, and more. After a Disaster offers guidance on what to do after floods, hurricanes, winter storms blackouts, and other disasters, including checking your home’s structure, utilities & major systems, and recovering emotionally & financially  (American Red Cross). See also Emergency Preparedness & Response (U.S. Centers for Disease Control), and Disasters and Emergencies [UPDATED LINK!] (USA.gov). Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster [NEW!] offers special advice to families with children (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Emotional Recovery from Disaster – Briefly outlines common reactions and responses to disaster, and offers advice on coping. (2013, American Psychological Association). See also Helping Children Cope With a Disaster and Parents Helping Youth Cope with Disaster [UPDATED LINK!] [Link opens a PDF] (2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support, by phone or text, to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. There is also a special service for hard of hearing & deaf people, and an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Financial Preparedness: Lessons from Sandy – Recommends steps to take before disaster hits to be sure your financial accounts, medical & prescription drug information, original copies of important documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.) and other necessities are secured and accessible to you in the event of an emergency (2012, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) [UPDATED LINK!] helps individuals and families collect and organize critical financial, medical, and household contact information. This gives you a centralized record of essential household information whenever you need it so you will be able to rebuild your life more quickly after a disaster (2018, FEMA). Disasters and Financial Planning [Link opens a PDF] includes information on filing insurance claims, applying for private or government assistance, tax relief, and related topics (2015, National Endowment for Financial Education, American Red Cross and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; non-profit organizations).  See also Weather Emergencies: Getting your Financial House in Order (2015, Federal Trade Commission).

Flooding – How to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from floods, including dealing with emergency disinfection of drinking water, mold, private wells & septic systems, and related subjects (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Family Preparedness: Floods and Flash Floods (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management) and Floods: What You Should Know (U.S. Centers for Disease Control). FloodSmart explains the National Flood Insurance Program and your flood insurance coverage options (FEMA). The short video Flooded Cars [UPDATED LINK!] offers tips on how to identify a flood-damaged vehicle when you shop for a car (Insurance Information Institute, Inc.).

Food Safety in an Emergency – Answers to frequently asked questions about food safety after a flood or other disaster, including a helpful  “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” chart (USDA). See also FoodSafety.gov.

Preparedness for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs – People with disabilities often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. The Red Cross offers a free booklet you can download and print, (American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA). See also Ready.gov for Individuals with Disabilities (FEMA). Register Ready is a free and confidential program which allows residents with special needs to register with emergency response agencies, so emergency responders can better serve them in an emergency (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management).

Preparedness for Seniors – Tips for over-50 adults and their families / caregivers (The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc). See also Disaster Planning For Seniors, By Seniors [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross), Ready.gov for Seniors (FEMA). and Safety Tips for Seniors and related links. Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers [NEW!] offers advice for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, whose impairments in memory and reasoning severely limit their ability to act appropriately in crises (National Institute on Aging).

Planning for Pets – Pets can’t prepare, so you need to do it for them! This guide explains what you can do ahead of time to ensure your pets’ safety in times of emergency (Humane Society of the United States). See also Preparing your Pets for Emergencies [Link opens a PDF] (FEMA et al.), Saving the Whole Family® [Link opens a PDF] (American Veterinary Medical Association) and Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross).

Power Outages – Tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including food & water safety, and dealing with extreme heat and cold. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

Protect Your Home in a FLASH – DIY Videos showing steps you can take to strengthen your home and safeguard your family from natural and manmade disasters; videos are hosted on YouTube. See Flash FAQ for additional resources.

Safe & Well List If you have been affected by a disaster, this site provides a way for you to register yourself as ‘safe and well.’ If you are concerned about loved ones in a disaster area, you can search the list of those who have registered themselves as ‘safe and well.’ For help contacting family members during or after an international crisis (war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency), see Find Family Internationally After Crisis (American Red Cross), Restoring Family Links (International Committee of the Red Cross), and Google Person Finder.

Save Your Treasures – Basic guidelines for saving family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes that have been damaged by water (Heritage Preservation and FEMA). See also Wet Book Rescue [NEW!] video (Syracuse University Libraries; hosted on YouTube).

Winter Weather – Advice on protecting your health and safety in winter, including what to do if you get stranded on the road (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). See also Winter Weather Safety (National Weather Service). Winter Driving offers vehicle maintenance & driving tips and outlines laws that help keep you safe on the road in winter (State of New Jersey). See also Car Talk: Winter Driving (NPR; site includes advertisements) and AAA Winter Driving Tips. To test your knowledge about driving safely in a variety of extreme weather conditions, see the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather Driving Quiz!

Workplace Disasters – Resources to help you prepare your business or organization for disasters, or recover from one.

If you are struck by a natural disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov is the official U.S. government website that provides information and services to access and apply for disaster assistance. For additional information, see Benefit.gov’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Benefits.

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Do you want to make a donation to a disaster relief program? Check out our Charitable Giving Webfinder for resources that can help you make your donations count!

Links updated 5/31/18.

DISCLAIMER

Staycation Guide 2018

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museum

Thinking about keeping your vacation local this summer, or maybe just planning to do some exploring right here where we live? Maybe you’re new to the area, or just haven’t had a chance to get to know what’s in your own backyard? We have information that can help you find fun & family-friendly things to do in South Plainfield and the surrounding area!

The South Plainfield Recreation Department offers summer sports camps, swimming lessons, and a Community Pool. Did you know that South Plainfield’s Spring Lake Park has tennis courts, basketball court, playground, bikeways/walkways, fishing, and free concerts? For other parks and nature preserves in the Central Jersey area, see Middlesex County Parks & Recreation, Union County Parks & Recreation, Somerset County Parks, and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. In Hillsborough (Somerset County), Duke Farms offers hiking & biking trails, nature & horticulture programs, family activities, and more. The Nature Conservancy in N.J. [UPDATED LINK!] offers information on nature preserves in the New Jersey area. To expand your range, see NJ State Parks & Forests. Many parks & recreation departments also offer history & culture events and facilities! Use Discover the Forest [NEW!] to search for forests or parks within a specified distance of your zip code.

Close to home, East Jersey Olde Towne Village in Piscataway is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed 18th- and 19th-century structures, tools and artifacts that help illustrate the farm and merchant communities once found in central New Jersey. For information about this and other historic sites in Middlesex County, visit the Middlesex County Office of Arts & History [UPDATED LINK!] (formerly Cultural and Heritage Office). For many additional historic sites, see NJ State Historic Sites & Museums and New Jersey History: Places To Go!.

There some excellent museums within a moderate distance of South Plainfield. The Newark Museum and New Jersey State Museum (Trenton) both feature natural history & science as well as fine art, and each include a planetarium & an auditorium. You can see more fine art at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick and Princeton University Art Museum.

Plays-in-the-Park presents outdoor community theater productions at Roosevelt Park in Edison. Some other theaters in the area offering live theater productions include the Papermill Playhouse (Millburn) and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison).

The Mason Gross School of the Arts Summer Series [UPDATED LINK!] in New Brunswick features a mix of music and dance; most performances are free. For many additional arts & culture events and facilities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, including museums and festivals, see Arts & Culture at Rutgers.

The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Union County Arts Center in Rahway, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark offer a variety of professional entertainments for adults and children.

Sports Teams in NJ and Visit NJ [UPDATED LINK!] have information & links on NJ major & minor sports teams & venues, including the Somerset Patriots baseball team in Bridgewater.

Of course, for most of us, summer in NJ wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to the beach! See VistNJ.org: Beaches in NJ and New Jersey Monthly’s Annual Shore Guide to find the perfect spot and get information about beach fees, facilities, and parking. See NJbeaches.org for beach closings & advisories, and other health & safety information.

More Staycation Resources: Things to Do in New Jersey and Visit NJ [UPDATED LINK!] have info on theme parks, zoos & aquariums, breweries & wineries, arboretums & gardens, arcades & miniature golf, plus trip ideas and more! MyCentralJersey.com’s Local Events calendar includes searchable listings for central N.J. arts & entertainment, food & dining, sports & recreation, and more. Discover Jersey Arts is the hub for what’s going on in NJ’s arts scene, with a event calendar, directory of cultural organizations, and more! FunNewJersey.com and Weird NJ offer lots of additional information on where it’s at in Jersey!

And for some general suggestions for a great Staycation with the kids, see Highlights Magazine’s 5 Big-Thrill, Low-Cost, Close-to-Home Staycation Ideas [NEW!].

P.S. If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to check 511NJ.org before you head out, for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and road closures!

DISCLAIMER

Links updated 5/18.

Webfinder: Genealogy Resources

Ancestry Library Edition logo Heritage Quest logo

African-American Research – Information about Pre-Civil War, Military Records, and Post-Civil War Records at the National Archives, plus links to other helpful resources for African-Americans trying to trace their family history (National Archives and Records Administration). See the Afro-American Genealogical Research Guide for a list of useful print resources (Library of Congress). See also Slave Trade Voyages and its sister site, African Origins (Emory University et al.)

American Indian Ancestry [Link opens a PDF document] – Printable guide to acquiring the genealogical documentation needed to establish descent from an Indian tribe for membership and enrollment purposes (2013, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs). See also Native American Records, which includes information about records at the National Archives, and links to many other useful resources (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).

Civil War Ancestors – Advice on researching ancestors who fought in the Civil War. The page’s link to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) was broken when checked in May 2017, but you can click here to access the CWSS database (National Park Service). See also Genealogy Notes: Civil War (2006, National Archives and Records Administration) and Civil War Research (FamilySearch.org).

Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center [FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO VIEW RECORDS.] – If any of your ancestors came to this country through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, you can find out exactly when they arrived, and on what ship. Enter the name of the passenger in the Passenger Search box, and click on ‘Results’ to get a list of matching records.

Family Tree Charts (Printable) – Choose one of three PDF charts to print and fill in with names and dates of your ancestors (ThoughtCo; part of the IAC family of websites. Formerly About.com. Site includes advertisements). See also family group sheets [Link opens a PDF document] & ancestor charts [Link opens a PDF document] (National Genealogical Society), and Library of Michigan Pedigree Chart [Link opens a PDF document].

Genealogy How-To Guide – An excellent step-by-step guide to researching your family history, from Genealogy.com (site includes advertisements). Genealogy Research Tutorials offers ‘simple tutorials that may answer some questions you have about getting started, gathering information from others, or turning professional.’ The tutorials are free, but include some references to publications for sale, and resources available only to members (National Genealogical Society).

Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center – ‘A national clearinghouse for persons seeking the fates of loved ones missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath. We assist U.S. residents searching for proof of internment, forced/slave labor, or evacuation from former Soviet territories on themselves or family members.’ To begin your search, contact your local Red Cross chapter (American Red Cross). See also International Tracing Service (ITS), which ‘serves victims of Nazi persecutions and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. The ITS preserves these historic records and makes them available for research.’

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Explains what genealogy resources are available through the U.S. National Archives and how to obtain them. Covers census, immigration, military, and other records, plus FAQs, tips for doing genealogical research, preserving your family records, and more. See NARA’s Ethnic Heritage Resources for online resources specific to various ethnic groups, including African-American, Asian, British, Eastern European and Russian, Hispanic, Jewish, and Native American. Prologue Magazine offers Genealogy Notes on a range of topics such as African American History, American Indians, Immigration & Naturalization, Prison Records, and various wars.

New Jersey Division of Archives and Records [UPDATED LINK!] – Searchable databases of marriage, death, & property records from the 17th – 19th centuries, military records, and other New Jersey historical records. See also New Jersey Genealogy (Rutgers University Libraries). NJ Digital Highway [UPDATED LINK!] lists New Jersey historical & genealogical societies, libraries, museums, etc., arranged by town or county (State of New Jersey). Includes links to websites, where available. See also Genealogy: Rootsweb N.J. Resources and Rootsweb websites: NJ [NOTE: Rootsweb was down when checked 4/18] . For resources in other states, see links to official State Archives in all 50 states, and USGenWeb (run by volunteers).

Preserving Family Records – Information on how to preserve family documents, photos, memorabilia, and home movies (National Archives and Records Administration). For information on how to preserve items that have been damaged in a flood or other disaster, see Caring for Your Treasures (Heritage Preservation; non-profit organization). See also CCI Caring for Objects and ICON Caring for your Collection.

Proquest Tips for Tracing Your Family Tree – Advice from a genealogy expert on researching your family history. (2014, from the publisher of Ancestry® Library Edition and HeritageQuest® Online)

Veterans’ Gravesite Locator – ‘Search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and various other Department of Interior and military cemeteries.’ (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Vital Records: Replace Your Vital Documents – USA.gov page offering information on ways to obtain copies of birth, marriage & death certificates, military service records and more.

Links updated April 2018.

Webfinder: Auto Repair

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AAA Car Care Tips – A collection of free printable car care brochures, with links to related resources. (American Automobile Association)

Battery Maintenance – Explains how to perform routine maintenance on your car battery, with clear illustrations. See also Troubleshooting a Car That Won’t Start (from the publishers of the For Dummies how-to books; site includes advertisements). Got a dead battery? Car Talk provides a printable illustrated guide to Jump-Starting Your Car (site includes advertisements).

Car Care  – Advice on keeping your vehicle in top condition, along with DIY tips, and more. (Car Care Council / Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association)

Car Repair & Maintenance For Dummies – A library of free, well-illustrated how-to articles & videos, from the publishers of the popular For Dummies how-to book series. (Site includes advertisements)

Car safety ratings – Results of crash tests on new cars, plus info on  Shopping for a safer car and related topics (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). See also SaferCar.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Aging Drivers links offer helpful advice for older drivers and their families or caregivers.

Car Talk  – Website for America’s funniest auto mechanics from the popular public radio talk show – ‘the Marx Brothers meet Mr. Goodwrench.’ Model previews, discussions, columns, surveys, and lots of humor. You can subscribe to the ‘Best of Car Talk’ podcast or listen to the show online, too (free). (NPR; site includes advertisements)

Gas Mileage Tips  – Advice on how to your car in shape to save gas – and money (U.S. EPA / Department of Energy). See also Consumer Reports Fuel Economy Guide (some articles only available to subscribers), Saving Money on Gas (FTC), and Drive Green, Save Green (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Lemon Law (N.J.) – Stuck with a lemon? Find out what your rights are in NJ, and what remedies are available to you (N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs). BBB Auto Line Dispute Resolution Program offers a free online vehicle complaint form covering more than 2 dozen auto manufacturers, and includes links to lemon laws in all states (Better Business Bureau). The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System [NEW!] is designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being resold. You can use it to access important vehicle history information.

NIASE – The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website provides Car Care articles, Glove Box Tips, and a directory of certified repair shops.

Tires – Advice on maintaining your tires for maximum safety, plus information on tire ratings and labeling (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). See also How To Handle Tire Blow Outs (National Safety Commission).

Winter Driving Tips (Car Talk) – ‘Tips to get ready for the snow and sleet-covered roads and dipstick-freezing temperatures.’ (NPR; site includes advertisements). See also AAA Winter Car Care Checklist. See also Winter Driving (State of New Jersey) and Summer Driving [NEW!] (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Needlework

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Stitch Guide (Annie’s Crafts) – Online lessons in knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, beading, and more, plus A-Z stitch guides.

Craft Yarn Council Learning Center – Lessons in the basics of crochet and knitting.

Knitty.com – Free knitting patterns and instructions for sweaters, hats, scarves, accessories, and more. The TECHknitter blog offers lots of helpful knitting tips & tricks.

Lionbrand.com – Online classes, free patterns, video library, FAQ’s for crochet & knitting, and more!

Allcrafts.net – Links to free patterns for sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, holiday crafts and more.

AllPeopleQuilt.com – Inspiration, education, and motivation to passionate quilting enthusiasts of all skill levels. Includes free quilt patterns and how-to videos.

Quilters Cache – Great site for anyone who is interested in quilting and patterns; includes patterns, lessons, photo gallery. Scroll down to the drop-down menu to navigate.

The Quilting Company – Free articles, videos and more. Formerly Fons and Porter. The website also sells magazines, patterns, fabrics, and other quilting supplies.

Sewing.org (The Home Sewing Association) – Free sewing projects, patterns, learn-to-sew articles, SEW-lutions Guidelines, sewing & craft tips, bridal sewing, crafts for kids and more. The 4-H Sewing Library offers sewing projects (and related links) suitable for young people (grades 3 – 12) or other beginners.

Ravelry.com – ‘Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.’ [NOTE: Registration is required for access, but the Ravelry blog is open to all.]

Updated April 2018.

DISCLAIMER