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Friday, October 24, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Oct. 20-14
Posted by Diane
- FamilySearch has announced that Donny Osmond will be the
Saturday keynote speaker at the 2015 RootsTech conference,
taking place Feb. 12-14, 2015, in Salt Lake City (the 2015 Federation of
Genealogical Societies conference will be help in
conjunction with RootsTech). You already knew the Osmond family
is musical, but you might not have known they're also into
genealogy. You can learn all about the family's history on the Osmond Family Organization
For those not attending the RootsTech/FGS conference: In
past years, FamilySearch has broadcast keynote (and other)
RootsTech sessions online. We'll keep you updated on those details
as we receive them.
- Family Tree Magazine Podcast producer Lisa Louise Cooke
and contributing editor Sunny Jane Morton have teamed up to
launch the free Genealogy Gems Book Club. The virtual,
no-commitment club will feature a different family
history-related book every three months. Genealogy Gems Podcasts
(free and premium versions) will feature book-related content,
including an exclusive interview with the author of each book
during that third month. Learn
more about the book club and see the first featured book on
the Genealogy Gems website.
Friday, October 24, 2014 1:06:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
How to Find the New German Genealogy Civil Registration Records on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane
Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com
just added 31 new databases for researching German ancestors. The
11.7 million records cover civil registrations (government birth,
marriage and death records) for various places in Germany, dating
between 1874 and 1950. There's no single link to search just these
31 collections, so you could do a few things:
one database at a time is your best bet if you know it covers the area in Germany where your family lived. Go
to the card
catalog and use the filters on the left: Under Filter
by Collection, narrow the database list to Birth, Marriage and
Death Records; and under Filter by Location; narrow by
Europe, then by Germany.
Then at the top of the list, use the Sort By
dropdown menu to choose Date Added, and the new German databases
rise to the top of the list. Click a title to search that
- You also can view a list of all German birth, marriage and
death records by going to the Search
All Records page and scrolling down to Explore by
Location. Click the Europe tab, then click Germany. Under
Germany Birth, Marriage & Death, you'll see a few databses
listed; if you click the "View other" link at the end of that
short list, you'll see all the German birth, marriage and death
records. This list is arranged by record count, though, and you
can't sort it in other ways.
- If you want to search all the German civil registration
records at once, run a global search for your German ancestor
from the Ancestry.com Search
All Records page. (At the bottom of the search form, make
sure the box for Historical Records is checked.)
your results on the left: In the Collection dropdown menu,
choose Germany and click the green Update button. Next, under
the All Categories heading, choose Birth, Marriage & Death.
If you still have too many results, look at the top of your results
list, click the Categories tab and choose the database titles
that most relate to your search.
For more Ancestry.com search strategies, see our book Unofficial
Guide to Ancestry.com.
My third-great-grandfather Joseph Ladenkötter
was born in 1814 in Rheine, Steinfurt, Germany. Rheine is not among the areas covered with this records addition, but I thought I might find a relative who was born, married or died elsewhere.
I searched on the
surname Ladenk*tter (with the asterisk wildcard to pick up
both Ladenkotter and Ladenkoetter), and found a 1911 marriage
record for Auguste Gertrud Ladenkötter
(it looks like her birth surname was different, so she may
have been a widow) and Wilhelm
August Friedrich. The records are
in German, of course.
surname is pretty unusual, so I suspect that Auguste Gertrud was
married to one of my relatives before she married Wilhelm. (I see the record mentions Rheine.) My
next step is figuring out what the record says, which should
help me find out if my hunch is correct.
Are you researching Germans? Visit ShopFamilyTree.com to find out
more about our German
Genealogy Premium Collection. It contains six
terrific research tools, including the Family
Tree German Genealogy Guide and the German
Genealogy Cheat Sheet (which will be the first thing I get
out when I'm ready to start on the marriage record).
Ancestry.com | German roots | Research Tips
Friday, October 24, 2014 12:30:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
"Finding Your Roots" Traces Celebrity Chefs' Italian, Mexican and Chinese Immigrant Ancestors
Posted by Diane
Last night's "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr." on PBS
focused on the immigrant ancestors of celebrity chefs of different ethnic—and culinary—backgrounds: Tom Colicchio
(Italian), Aarón Sánchez (Mexican)
and Ming Tsai (Chinese).
I don't have family heritage in these places, but I think this already interesting show would be even more interesting if you're researching in any of these areas.
I appreciated how this show detailed various motivations for
immigrants to leave their homelands, and explained how some would
travel back and forth between home and the United States before
finally settling here. This was quite common, especially for men, who would come to earn money to take to their families
back home. More than half of all Italian immigrants in the early
20th century, Gates said, were "birds of passage."
Here are some highlights of this episode:
- Tom Colicchio's great-great-grandfather traveled to America in
1901, returned to Italy, then came back in 1906 and went home
again in 1911. He was pressed into service in the Italian army
in World War I, and finally brought his family to settle in the
United States in 1947. The show described the burgeoning
population, harsh taxes, crime and an earthquake that propelled
Colicchio's family to leave their picturesque town of Vallarta.
- Aarón Sánchez's great-great-grandfather was a prominent
rancher in Mexico who lost everything he had and fled to the
United States during the Mexican
Revolution. He later was able to get his cattle back.
Sánchez's third-great-grandfather, born in Spain in 1822, was
the military commander Hilario Gabilondo. In 1857,
Gabilondo ordered the deaths of about 70 filibusters (Americans
attempting to seize land in Mexico) in an expedition led by
former California state senator Henry Crabb. Read
more about filibustering here.
The show's researchers traced Sanchez's ancestors in
Spain back to his sixth-great-grandfather in the early 1700s. A
DNA test revealed Sanchez has nearly 25 percent American Indian
ancestry (the equivalent of having an Indian grandparent) and 3.7
percent African-American ancestry.
- Ming Tsai's grandfather was a comptroller of a university in
China when Japan invaded before World War II. He was sent to a
prison in Japan, where he was tortured and contracted typhus; he
nearly died. He was able to return to his work after the war,
but the Cultural
Revolution, during which millions of intellectuals and
"bourgeois" were persecuted and killed, forced him to flee.
Many historical relics were destroyed during the
Cultural Revolution, including steles, or carved
stone tablets recording families. The Ming family stele was the
only one remaining in their town. It led researchers records at
the Shanghai public library (probably jiapu,
or books recording paternal family lineage) that allowed them to
trace his ancestry all the way back to his 116th-great-grandfather
in the 27th century BC.
In trying to find out more about steles, I came across the House of Chinn website,
about Chinese genealogy research and the author's own family. You
might find it helpful if you're researching ancestors in China.
You also can search
a surname index to jiapu on subscription website Ancestry.com.Each chef's cuisine is inspired by the foods of his ancestors; each recalled delicious meals with parents and grandparents. As the holidays approach, it's good to remember that food is a great way to introduce family members to their ancestors. You might even say that the way to a nongenealogist's heart is through his or her stomach.
can watch this episode of "Finding Your Roots" online, at the
Asian roots | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV | Hispanic Roots | Italian roots
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:36:08 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Monday, October 20, 2014
Call for Old Family Photos: Family Tree Magazine Seeks Ancestral Cover Model for 15th Anniversary Issue
Posted by Diane
We're getting pretty excited for Family Tree Magazine's big 15th anniversary issue in
January 2015, and we'd love to put your ancestor on the cover!
us your ancestral photo before midnight on Friday, Oct. 31.
We'll choose one photo to appear on our January/February 2015 cover,
and other photos may appear with articles inside the magazine.
Here's how to submit:
- Scan your old family photo at high resolution
(300 dpi or greater). Old family photos of ancestors and relatives are fine,
but no living folks, please. If you have a few favorite photos, it's
fine to send more than one.
If we choose
your photo, we'll contact you and get your mailing address to send
you a copy of the issue.
- Include information you know about the photo, such as the name of
the person or people shown, their relationship to you, when the picture was taken, etc.
Also include your name, email address and phone number.
By sending your photo, you affirm that you're the owner of the
image, and you give us permission to use it on the cover or in the
interior of Family Tree Magazine. We also may use it in
other print or electronic media.
Remember to submit before midnight on Oct. 31!
Family Tree Magazine articles | Photos
Monday, October 20, 2014 1:07:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Free Immigration Records on Ancestry.com Through Oct. 23
Posted by Diane
is offering free access to its immigration records collection
from now through Oct. 23 at midnight ET.
The promotion highlights this week's episode of "Finding Your Roots
With Henry Louis Gates, Jr." which Ancestry.com sponsors. Watch chefs Aarón Sánchez, Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai learn about
their immigrant ancestors Tuesday night at 8 ET/7 CT.
here to start searching Ancestry.com immigration records.
You'll need to register for a free account with Ancestry.com (or log
in to your existing account) to see full search results.
I gave the offer a try, and I'm relatively certain that this is the
passenger record for my third-great-grandfather Franz Edward Thoss,
showing his arrival at the port of New York, Feb. 10, 1837, on the
Tiber, which left from Bremen.
This is for my great-granduncle, Ralph E. Thoss, coming back
from World War II on the Vulcania, which arrived Nov. 10, 1945, from
Le Havre, France. (Here's
a neat website about the "cigarette camps" through which WWII
troops moved when arriving and departing the port of Le Havre. Ralph
was at Camp Phillip Morris.)
more help using Ancestry.com in your genealogy search, check out
our Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com book.
Ancestry.com | immigration records
Monday, October 20, 2014 12:34:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Enter Our Family History Month Sweepstakes: You Could Win a Genealogy Shopping Spree!
Posted by Diane
Happy Family History Month! To help you get started celebrating and
discovering your family's history, we're giving you a chance
(or chances—see below) to win a $100 gift card to
The winner of Family Tree Magazine's Family
History Month Sweepstakes can choose from hundreds of
genealogy how-to guides, books, CDs, video classes and more in ShopFamilyTree.com.
here to enter the Family History Month Sweepstakes before
midnight Eastern on Oct. 30, 2014. (You'll find the official
You can get extra chances to win, too: After you submit your entry,
you'll receive a unique link to share with friends. For each person
who clicks your link and then enters the sweepstakes, you'll receive
an additional two chances to win.
Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:15:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
5 Websites for Norwegian Genealogy
Posted by Diane
If you have ancestors in Norway, their old records might be in
Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. Their parish name might refer to a
village, a fork in the road or the largest town in the area.
1831. Published by D. Lizars, Edinburgh.
David Rumsey Map Collection.
Scandinavian genealogy expert Diana
Crisman Smith is very familiar with these Norwegian research
challenges, and she'll help you get around them in our Norwegian
Genealogy Crash Course webinar, coming up on Thursday, Oct.
Here, Diana gives you a sneak peek at the webinar by sharing some of
her favorite online resources for Norwegian genealogy:
In the Norwegian
Genealogy Crash Course webinar, Diana will show you how to use
these and other resources, and give you details about the most
important Norwegian genealogy records, how to find those records, and
tips for reading the records.
- The National Archival
Services of Norway, which has record indexes and
transcriptions, along with some digital images. You'll also find
interesting articles such as Norwegian Emigration to America
- Norway-Heritage: Hands
Across the Sea, with searchable indexes and helpful
explanationd for understanding Norwegian names.
Genealogical Society (Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, or
NSF) website, which lets you search an online index of its
- FamilySearch.org, which
in addition to online genealogy records, has abundant
information in its research
& History (Slekt & Historie), a site all about the
authors' personal research, along with historical information
and links to more than 100 additional resources.
As always, anyone who registers for the webinar receives a PDF handout of the webinar
slides, as well as access to view the webinar again as often as desired.
more about the Norwegian Genealogy Crash Course webinar in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 11:03:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
"Finding Your Roots" Features Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Benjamin Jealous
Posted by Diane
All three guests—Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Benjamin Jealous—in last night's "Finding Your
Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr." had connections to the
Civil War and to the American Revolution, highlighting the
contradictions in a country that supported the ideals of the
American Revolution yet allowed slavery to continue.
Revolutionary War pension files were the source for most information
on the ancestors' Revolutionary War service. Laws making pensions
available to most veterans or their dependents weren't passed until
years after the war, when the ranks of those eligible to apply were
Revolutionary War pension applications are on microfilm at the
National Archives and the Family History Library. In addition, the
records are digitized and available on subscription sites
Ancestry.com and Fold3. FamilySearch.org has a free index you can
search, then you'll link to Fold3 to see the record.
Learn more about military pension records for the American
Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil War in our Pension
Records Workbook, available from ShopFamilyTree.com.
Here's a rundown of this episode's genealogy finds:
- Ben Affleck, a Boston native, actor and producer, discovered
he has a third-great-grandfather Almon Bruce French who was active
in the Spiritualist
movement that took hold of the country in the latter 19th
century. He believed he was a medium and would travel around
conducting seances so Civil War widows and orphans could
"communicate" with their deceased loved ones.
His sixth-great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary War under
Gen. George Washington in the summer of 1776. Gates also revealed that
Affleck is 10th cousins once removed with his good friend and fellow
Bostonian Matt Damon (Affleck seemed surprised, but this link was actually uncovered several years ago).
- Khandi Alexander, an actor, knew nothing of her family history, which
Gates pointed out is common in African-American families who chose
to forget the painful experiences of slavery and segregation. She'd never even seen a picture of her grandfather, who she
learned died as a young man in an industrial explosion in Florida.
The newspapers called it an accident, but his family suspected it
was rigged by employees who didn't want a black supervisor.
Alexander's second-great-grandfather, born a slave, was the son of
an unidentified black slave and a white slaveowner. Through that man,
Alexander is descended from a man who served in the American
Revolution and went on to own 85 slaves on a large plantation.
Her DNA test showed she's about three-quarters African, and a
more-specific analysis pinpointed the areas in Africa where her DNA
- Benjamin Jealous, a civil rights activist and past president
of the NAACP, is a descendant of Peter G. Morgan, an
African-American who was born into slavery, took advantage of the
rare opportunity to learn a trade, and earned enough to purchase his
own freedom just before the Civil War. He received special
permission to remain in Virginia (the law there stated that freed
slaves had to leave the state), and claimed ownership of his wife
and daughters as slaves to help protect them from being kidnapped
and sold into slavery. He freed them with a moving manumission
statement in 1864.
In his white father's family, Jealous has
eight ancestors known to have served in the American Revolution,
including a 16-year-old who played the fife at the Battles
of Lexington and Concord.
Jealous' DNA test revealed he is 80 percent European and about 18
can watch the full "Finding Your Roots" episode with Ben Affleck,
Benjamin Jealous and Khandi Alexander on the show's website.
And keep an eye on the
show's Genealogy Blog, where genetic genealogist CeCe Moore is
providing more information about the show's DNA testing strategy and
the results revealed on air.
African-American roots | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV | Military records | Research Tips
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:49:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, October 10, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Oct. 6-10
Posted by Diane
- A genealogist has started the InstitutionalCemeteries.org
website to catalog cemeteries established for asylums,
poorhouses, prisons, orphanages and other institutions, whose
residents often were buried unclaimed and forgotten. On the site,
you can view maps by region of the country, and you also can submit
information on any such cemeteries you know about.
- FamilySearch has announced
plans to digitize a portion of the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
starting with compiled family histories. The digitized documents
will be available free at FamilySearch.org. You
can read more in the announcement here.
- For all you UK genealogists: Ancestry.com
is holding a "Branching Out" sweepstakes for UK residents (a
separate sweepstakes was held for US residents). The grand prize
includes 20 hours of professional genealogy research, a one-year
Ancestry.co.uk WorldWide subscription and a copy of Family Tree
Maker software. The sweepstakes is open to residents of the UK
(except for Northern Ireland), and you can enter
here by Sunday, Nov. 9.
- The TV series "Genealogy Roadshow" is filming in Philadelphia the
weekend of Oct. 25 and 26, and producers are looking
to cast men and women age 35-55 (the casting call doesn't say,
but I believe it's to be the onlookers shown in the background as
guests' genealogy mysteries are unraveled). This gig pays $75, and
the chance to witness firsthand as family history legends are
supported or shattered. You
can submit your application here.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy TV | Libraries and Archives | NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, October 10, 2014 2:09:16 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
CNN Highlights Genealogy in "Roots: Our Journeys Home" Series, Oct. 12-20
Posted by Diane
CNN will highlight genealogy in a weeklong series
"Roots: Our Journeys Home," Starting this Sunday, Oct. 12, at 9.p.m. The series will follow 13 of the network's most
familiar faces as they trace their roots.
You'll see hosts and anchors
including Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper (who's having a great
genealogy year, having also recently appeared on "Finding Your Roots
With Henry Louis Gates Jr."), Chris Cuomo, Wolf Blitzer, Sanjay
Gupta, Christine Romans and others.
The series will touch on a variety of topics, ethnic origins and
places: Bourdain travels to Paraguay; Blitzer visits the Auschwitz
extermination camp in Poland, where his paternal grandparents died;
Michaela Pereira, adopted as an infant, goes to St. James Parish,
Jamaica; Gupta explores the places where his parents were born in
Pakistan and India; Kate Bouldan learns about her ancestral family's
glass-blowing business in a tiny Belgian town.
The series culminates in a two-hour special on Monday, Oct. 20, at 9
p.m. ET, hosted by Cooper and Pereira.
can see a schedule of
CNN's "Roots: Our Journeys Home" series
and an overview of each installment here.
And here's a video sneak peek:
Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Friday, October 10, 2014 11:03:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)