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Friday, January 23, 2015
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 19-23
Posted by Diane
Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives
Friday, January 23, 2015 2:10:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
What Can a Quick Google Search Find for Your Genealogy?
Posted by Diane
Our webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke on Googling Your
Genealogy, coming up Tuesday, Jan. 27, gave me the idea to see what
genealogy results I could find with a quick web search.
I searched for Thoss genealogy kentucky (because I don't
think I'm connected to the Seherr-Thoss family of Connecticut and
New York, or Thosses elsewhere).
Right away I could see that Google also returned matches for Thomas, so I made an adjustment:
That's better. The quotation marks tell Google to find exactly Thoss. Results from the first several pages that appear to be
relevant (and aren't from things I posted online) include:
- the book Early Nineteenth-Century German Settlers in Ohio
(Mainly Cincinnati and Environs), Kentucky and Other States,
on Google Books, listing
my third-great-grandfather and his place of birth in Germany—a great find!
- two old Geocities genealogy sites for related families
- matches in the Kenton County, Ky., library's Northern
Kentucky Genealogy Database, which indexes church,
cemetery, census and other records, as well as newspaper
articles, and in some cases links to digitized versions.
- profiles from Ancient Faces,
based on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
- a PeopleSearch page listing Thosses from the SSDI with dates
of birth and death, and a map plotting those folks' residences
reported in the SSDI.
- a relative's transcribed obituary, with children's names, on
- a local cemetery transcription project with burial information that could be for a relative
That would be enough to get me started building a family tree and
finding relatives' old records. Try it with your surnames!
Further searching using Lisa's tips in the Googling
Your Genealogy webinar would get additional matches and
bring even more relevant resources to the top.
The webinar also will cover how you can make genealogical
discoveries with Google's other tools, including Alerts, Books,
Patent, and Translate. Learn
more about the webinar and register here.
Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 3:37:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Pros Share Family Research Tips in "Genealogy Roadshow: St. Louis"
Posted by Diane
I was excited to see that last night's "Genealogy Roadshow" was in
St. Louis, my old college stomping grounds (wish I knew at the
time that a couple of my Depenbrock relatives had moved there). I
recognized the St.
Louis Public Library, where filming took place, and the
downtown area, and of course the iconic Gateway Arch.
If you have ancestors there, here
are the St. Louis library's online genealogy resources, and
you might want our St.
Louis genealogy research guide.
In telling the show's guests more about their family mysteries,
hosts D. Joshua Taylor, Mary Tedesco and Kenyatta Berry revealed
several genealogy research tips:
- Always look at page two of the passenger list. Page two
helped Tedesco elaborate upon the first guest's family legend
about her great-grandmother, who supposedly immigrated as a
mail-order bride but spurned the intended groom when she arrived
and ran off with another man.
Later passenger lists span two pages side-by-side, and when you
search them online, you initially see the left-hand page listing
the names. Use the arrows in the site's image viewer to flip to
the second page, which contains details such as who paid the
person's passage (in this case, the great-grandmother's
brother), the name of a relative back at home, and the final US
- Even when a family legend isn't accurate, it came from somewhere.
When you're trying to determine if the story is plausible,
look for relatives in the right place and time. In researching a
young woman's fabled relationship to Blackbeard,
Taylor traced her tree back and found relatives along the
Carolina coast involved in seafaring trades in the early 1700s.
(Although he didn't find a relationship, the relatives' presence
in the right places and time means they could've had some
encounter or other connection to the pirate.)
- Relatives often stuck together. A little girl and her
mother found out from a great-uncle's obituary that a
great-great-grandmother's maiden name was Ingalls. How cool
would it be to be related to Laura Ingalls Wilder? Berry used
censuses and land records to trace the great-grandmother's line
to a James L. Ingalls, who filed a land claim in South Dakota
two years before Laura Ingalls Wilder's family arrived there.
Earlier, James L. lived in Iowa not far from Lansford Ingalls,
whose son Charles was the famous author's father. Although she
didn't find records showing a relationship, Berry said the
circumstantial evidence points to one.
As we saw in this segment, it's common to refer to any long-ago
family member as an ancestor, but technically, only people you
descend from—parents, grandparents, great-grandparents—are
ancestors, so Laura Ingalls Wilder would be the little girl's
Watch the full
"Genealogy Roadshow" in St. Louis espisode online here.
- Family research is full of surprises, and you can't assume
based on a person's appearance. A woman, who appeared to
be of European descent and had identified as such her entire
life, discovered a census reference to her mysterious
grandfather as "colored," and a then similar notation on her
mother's birth certificate. Her mother, who had died recently
when the show was filmed, and who also appeared Caucasian, had
wanted her secret kept until her death. Berry showed the woman
additional census records indicating the mother and grandfather
had African heritage. She explained how "passing" for white
meant cutting off ties with one's African-American roots—but it
also could make life easier during that time. What an awful
choice to have to make.
Taylor's expert research strategies for investigating family
mysteries in our on-demand webinar 10 Essential Tricks from
Genealogy Roadshow, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Genealogy TV | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:20:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Hoping to Solve a German Genealogy Mystery at the FHL During RootsTech/FGS
Posted by Diane
I have a couple of questions I want to answer while I'm at the RootsTech/Federation of Genealogical Societies
joint conference in Salt Lake City Feb. 12-14, and have access
to the Family
History Library (FHL) just down the road:
1. Which Caspar is it?
One of my fourth-great-grandfathers was Casparus Ladenkoetter
(or Ladenkotter, the spelling in most American records),
according to the birth record of his son Franciscus Josephus (he
went by Joseph), born July 1, 1814.
index to German baptismal and marriage records includes
Rheine, Germany, where they were from, and one afternoon I
mapped out a working tree on my kids' coloring paper with as many
Ladenkoetters as I could find in FamilySearch.org records. The
circled area is Joseph's branch:
Here's a close-up:
My problem is the German tendency to name siblings similarly. According to the records, Joan Caspar
Ladenkotter was born March 27, 1780, and his brother, Johannes
Franz Caspar Ladenkoetter, born March 7, 1781.
I don't know which one is the right guy to be Joseph's father (searching FamilySearch doesn't turn up a death record for either one). Maybe Caspar's microfilmed marriage record
gives his full name or birthdate, or maybe Joseph's or a sibling's baptismal
record gives the father's full name.
2. If I get that done ...
My second-great-grandfather Heinrich Arnold Seeger was born in
Steinfeld, Germany, Feb. 26, 1852. The FHL has microfilmed
church records from there, and I want to find Heinrich's
baptismal record, his parents' marriage record, and any siblings.
I have these jobs and the relevant microfilm numbers in my research log in Google Drive, which
I can access on my phone, and I'll print out the info just in
case. My research time will be tight, so I want to make sure I can
hit the ground running.
The FHL has extended
hours during the conference:
RootsTech/FGS exhibit hall hours are
- Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 10-14: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb: 15: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you're going to RootsTech/FGS, stop by Family Tree Magazine's booth No. 1238 in the exhibit hall (feel free to ask if I found my Caspar).
- Thursday, February 12, 2015, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
- Friday, February 13, 2015, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
- Saturday, February 14, 2015, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Looking for German ancestors? Get the advice and resources you need in The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide.
Genealogy Events | German roots | RootsTech
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 1:36:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 16, 2015
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 12-16
Posted by Diane
MyHeritage is in the latter stages of developing a
native Mac version of Family Tree Builder.
- FamilySearch has
unveiled a new online
app gallery that helps you find applications and services
from FamilySearch partners that work with the FamilySearch
website. You can search for and browse more than 50 apps to find
apps for searching records, using genealogy software, creating
charts, or storing photos and stories. You also can browse the
apps by operating platform, price, and language. Find the FamilySearch
App Gallery here.
- Six students from De Montfort University have created a
3D representation of 17th-century London, before the Great
Fire in 1666. The students used maps and period diaries to
"build" the city, winning a contest sponsored by the British
Library and video game developers. Watch
the video animation of Tudor London here.
FamilySearch | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 16, 2015 3:01:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Coulda Woulda Shoulda: Genealogy Regrets
Posted by Diane
I get to talk to a lot of folks about family history, and they'll
often say what they wish they would've done in their genealogy
research. Among the most common regrets I hear:
- Not citing sources of genealogy information.
- Not asking Dad or Grandma or Great-aunt Mary about your family
history when you had the chance.
- Not backing up your digital files.
- Not organizing your research from the start.
I have a few genealogy regrets of my own, including:
- Keeping old photos and records in an attic or basement.
Not copying photos in the family album when I could have,
because someone else got the album and may have lost it. I would
look at it whenever I visited my grandma's house. It was a
beautiful late-1800s album with photographs of my
great-great-grandparents' family, and thinking of it now makes
my insides all twisty, so I try not to.
If you have a genealogy regret—you're not alone. We all have
them, and beating yourself up over it doesn't help. All you can do
is learn, and try to do better from here on out. And
share them (in a nonpreachy way) to save others similar
Not hanging onto the oral history interview I conducted with
my other grandma when I was a kid working on a Girl Scouts
badge. I remember flashes of the conversation, including telling
her that I was supposed to interview an older person, and she
was the oldest person I knew. She also said she got water out of
a well when she was little.
If you or someone you know is beginning their genealogy research (or picking it up again),
Started in Genealogy online workshop, Jan. 16-23, can help
them start their research on the right foot and avoid later regrets.
the workshop program on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
our other Family Tree University online genealogy workshops and
Family Tree University | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:24:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
"Genealogy Roadshow" Season 2 Premiere Investigates Family Mysteries in New Orleans
Posted by Diane
Last night's "Genealogy
Roadshow" season premiere was filmed in New Orleans inside the
the seat of government under Spanish rule. It's now part of the
Louisiana State Museum, and I
was lucky enough to visit there several years back.
Filming this season took place as part of a family history fair in
each location (above). Being in the Cabildo added
to the sense of place, as did an aside in a New Orleans cemetery
that demonstrated how much you can learn from a tombstone.
The show shed light on about eight family mysteries from local residents, including:
- My favorite segment was the first, in which two
young women, sisters, asked about their family home. From the photo,
it looked like a shotgun-style
Host D. Joshua
Taylor traced the family in censuses, and discovered from the
veterans schedule that the sisters' third-great-grandfather,
Baptiste Eugene, fought for the US
Colored Troops in the Civil War. A pension based on his
service allowed his widow, Adele, to purchase the house after his
death in 1891.
Adele's pension application was a gold mine, stating how she had
been born free, to a mother whose slaveowner, from Virginia, had
freed his slaves upon his death. Adele named her mother and her
father, a white man.
you're tracing enslaved African-American ancestors, check out the
guide in the January/February 2015 Family Tree Magazine.)
Mary Tedesco, a new
host this season, told a family of their colorful ancestor Charles
A. Montalde, who didn't really die in the Klondike,
as the family thought. Instead, he bounced around from New Orleans
to Sacramento, Calif., to Albuquerque, NM, to Reno, Nev., making
business deals and likely living as a bigamist.
Another particularly interesting story was from a guest whose family
legend told of her great-uncle's murder. Taylor showed newspaper
articles about the case, used marriage announcements to figure out
whose wedding the uncle had been to that night, and used census
records to show the relationships among those involved and the
proximity of their homes.
He pointed out how in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, women
reported how many children they'd given birth to and how many were
still living, helping you see when someone's missing from the
The new season brought another welcome change besides a third host:
The emcee, whose role reminded me of the court reporter on "People's
Court" and didn't seem to add much to the series, is gone. The
storytelling pace also seemed to slow down a bit, making the history
easier to follow.
"Genealogy Roadshow" airs through Feb. 17 on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on
most PBS stations. If
you missed last night's episode, it's available for purchase on
iTunes (and it's free on the PBS website—thanks to GeneaBloggers for the tip).
African-American roots | census records | Genealogy TV | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 10:17:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 09, 2015
New Genealogy Website Helps You Find African-American Ancestors' Freedmen's Bureau and Freedman's Bank Records
Posted by Diane
A new website called Mapping the Bureau
will help you research African-American ancestors after the Civil
The site, created by African-American history and genealogy experts
Toni Carrier and Angela Walton-Raji, has an interactive map of field
offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, a
federal agency set up after the Civil War to serve indigent black
and white families. The same map also shows contraband camps
(communities of African-American fugitive slaves, or "contraband,"
during the war) and bureau hospitals.
When you click a Freedmen's Bureau field office near a place where
your ancestors may have lived, you'll see a pop-up showing the
National Archives microfilm numbers which the records for that
office, as well as links to the digitized versions, if available, on
the free FamilySearch.org
There, you can browse record images for your ancestors' names.
Records of the bureau include labor contracts, marriage registers,
correspondence, applications for aid, monthly reports on abandoned
lands, court trial documents, lists of workers, registered
complaints and more.
The map doesn't show Freedmen's field offices in Virginia, although
Virginia did have field offices. FamilySearch.org's
Virginia Freedmen's Bureau records are searchable by name,
though, making it easier to find your ancestor's records.
Icons for contraband camps and hospitals link to websites with more details
about those locations and their records.
The Mapping the Freedmen's Bureau site also has a similar map
of Freedman's Savings and Trust Co. branches, a separate
organization that operated a bank where African-American workers
could deposit their earnings. Although
FamilySearch.org's Freedman's Bank records are indexed and
searchable, the map links you to the first page of the
microfilm instead of to the search form. You might find it useful
the search form first, then browse if you don't find what you need.
site Ancestry.com has searchable Freemen's Bureau records for
field offices in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, New Orleans, North
Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC, and searchable
Freedman's Bank records here.)
Mapping the Freedmen's Bureau also has sample
old documents you can view, as well as the National
Archives' guides for researching Freedmen's Bureau records for
each state where the bureau operated.
In our Family
Tree Magazine's January/February 2015 article on
researching African-American slave ancestors, you'll learn how you
can use Freedmen's Bureau, Freedman's Bank and other genealogy
records to trace your family lines from the post-Civil War era into
slavery, and learn more about your enslaved ancestors' lives.
African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Friday, January 09, 2015 12:32:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Tips From the Pros: Baby Steps to Organize Your Genealogy
Posted by Diane
When you hear people talk about organized genealogy and think about
your own research, does something like this come to mind?
National Archives and
Records Administration. Historical
Records Survey workers
inventory records in New York
City, about 1935.
It's an uneasy feeling when you don't know whether you already have
this or that information (and where you'd look to find out),
where you got a particular record or "fact," or how you'd
retrieve files after a computer crash (if you'd even be able to).
That must be why "get organized" is at the top of so many genealogy
to-do lists for the new year.
Following these tips from professional genealogists (who shared
their expertise in the May/June
Family Tree Magazine) won't solve your organization
problems overnight, but they can give you a small way to work toward accomplishing organized genealogy.
- Keep an updated research to-do list. I follow this
advice with a research log in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. I can
use my phone or computer to add ideas that come to me while
doing other research. When I complete a task, I check it off and
enter any findings (and then pat myself on the back).
- Label paper and digital file folders with a consistent
scheme. You could use the surname and a type of record,
which helps to make the contents easy to find.
- Come up with a naming scheme for digitized photos and
records, too. For example,
- Take a few minutes to file or recycle papers and neaten
your desk (or the dining room table) as you wind up a
research session. You’ll be able to pick up next time with
But no matter how many bins, drawers and shelves you have, it's your research practices—not the boxes and binders—that'll keep you organized.
- Keep a “to file” basket on your desk or a shelf, and
schedule regular times to file those papers. I do this
with my family's nongenealogy paperwork, which helps keep
papers off the kitchen counter. Most of my genealogy is
digital, so I have a "to file" folder on my hard drive (the
problem now being the lack of a paper avalanche to remind me
to file stuff).
- Don't waste money on unnecessary organizational supplies.
Before you buy anything, figure out what you need to organize.
Declutter and decide how you’ll arrange what's left. For
example, would binders or filing drawers work best? What size
bookshelf should house your library? Will you need archival
boxes to store old photos? You might already have some of the supplies you need.
Tree University's Organize Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop, taking place Jan. 24-31, you'll learn the good research habits necessary to keep your information organized and become a more efficient family historian. You'll also discover tools to help you keep up those organization practices. The video classes and written lessons will teach you how to:
Participants receive full online access to video classes and written lessons (both of which can be downloaded for later viewing), and the exclusive workshop message board. Denise Levenick, the Family Curator and author of How
to Archive Family Keepsakes, will be on hand in the forum to answer your organization questions. You can join in whenever it's convenient for you during the week—no need to log in at any particular time.
- organize your genealogy information, paper and digital files, and notes
- set up and maintain a research log
- use the cloud to store your files and sync them across all your devices
- sort through and digitize the family archive of papers, mementos, photos, albums, letters, receipts, etc. that you've inherited or amassed over the years
- use Evernote to manage your research projects
the full Organize Your Genealogy in a Week workshop program and get registered on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, January 07, 2015 12:37:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
4 Genealogy Challenges to Give Your Ancestry Research a Kick in the Pants in 2015
Posted by Diane
Looking to reinvigorate your genealogy research in 2015? One of
these four genealogy challenges issued by bloggers and open to
everyone might be the kickstarter
These will help you conquer family history goals
by breaking down a big job into manageable pieces, and offering the
support of a group.
Ancestors in 52 Weeks
This challenge was originally issued last year by No Story Too Small
blogger Amy Johnson Crow, and she's
heading it up again in 2015. The idea is that you write
about one ancestor (a relative would work, too) per week all year,
and at the end of the year, you have a biographical collection. If
you need inspiration, you can follow the optional themes Amy will
post each month for the next month (January's
If you have a blog, post your weekly writings and add a link to it
to Amy's weekly recap, which she'll publish on Thursdays. And/or you
could share it on Facebook, include it in a photo album, add it to your
genealogy software or online tree, or file it for using in a family
MacEntee has announced that he's putting
aside the genealogy research he's done and starting all over
again—and you're invited to join him. This is a
challenge you could customize to your own needs: Thomas will retain
only purchased vital records and notes from research trips as he
re-researches his family from himself backward. You might do a
modified do-over, in which you re-evaluate all your research,
documenting sources you've missed, organizing files and filling in
Organized Research Challenge
Brick Wall Genealogist
blogger Susan Bankhead will issue a genealogy organization challenge
to herself and to you each Monday morning in 2015. Each challenge
post will include instructions and suggest tools to help with the
task. You can see
a preview of the organizational jobs you'll tackle every month
here ("organize your desk and computer" is the theme for
This monthly event, coordinated by AnceStories blogger Miriam
Robbins, is a day when genealogists meet on Miriam's blog and chat
(using a tool called Blyve)
while scanning their documents and photos. Scanfest turns an important but
often tedious, easy-to-put-off task into an opportunity to meet and
learn from other family historians. The
2015 Scanfest dates are here.
post has scanning tips and instructions for participating in
Make Your Own Challenge
If none of these genealogy challenges rings your bell, make your
own. You could challenge yourself to:
- tackle one item on your genealogy to-do list per week
- write one source citation every week
- each month, read one a social history book related to your family's ethnic background or places of residence
- call one relative each month to talk about family history
To help you conquer your genealogy challenges, we've gathered some of our best tools from Family Tree
Magazine's 15 years (happy anniversary to us!) into our Best
of Family Tree Magazine Premium Collection.
our Best-Ever Genealogy Tips webinar, a Family Tree Plus
membership, our State Research Guides collection, and lots more. You
can save more than 50 percent on this collection today at
Tuesday, January 06, 2015 5:07:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)