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Friday, February 27, 2015
Genealogy News Corral: Feb. 23-27
Posted by Diane
Subscription site Findmypast
added several new UK, Irish and Australian record collections for
Findmypast Friday, including 1832 cholera victims, British Trade
Union membership registers, Irish newspapers, New South Wales
cemetery transcriptions and more. Read more about the updated
databases on the Findmypast
Fridays home page.
FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy TV | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 27, 2015 3:41:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Group Genealogy Effort Underway to ID Mystery Photo of Buffalo Soldiers
Posted by Diane
Genealogist Luckie Daniels, a blogger at Our Georgia Roots, is
leading an effort to identify a
recently discovered mystery photo of African-American Buffalo
a larger version of the image.)
A Taos, NM, woman discovered the old photo sandwiched behind an
illustration in a cheap frame she'd purchased years ago at an estate
sale in Los Angeles. (A good reminder to look inside old framed images you might be
planning to get rid of.) An auction house appraiser told her the 10 men in military uniforms were members of the US Cavalry, 9th Regiment, Company G.
Soldiers were the first peacetime all-black regiments of the
regular US Army. They originally were members of the 10th Cavalry
Regiment, raised in 1866, but eventually included the 9th Cavalry,
24th Infantry and 25th Infantry regiments.
Historians disagree on
exactly how they came to be called "Buffalo Soldiers," a name that likely originated from the Indians these soldiers were known for
When the owner of the photo recently visited
the Taos News for an interview about the image,
Daniels, a staff member there, happened to be nearby. She started
the blog Where
Honor Is Due to centralize the efforts of interested
researchers across the country. "All insights and leads are
welcome," she says.
The blog's most
recent post shares an image of 9th Cavalry Troop L wearing baseball
uniforms, spotted in a video
produced by the New Mexico History Museum and PBS, which might help narrow a time frame and location for the mystery photo. Buffalo
Soldiers began playing competitive baseball around the 1890s.
You'll find a good introduction to this story on the Taos
News website, and you can keep up with the ongoing research at
Where Honor Is Due
the first post).
African-American roots | Military records | Photos
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 10:37:56 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 20, 2015
Genealogy News Corral: Feb. 16-20
Posted by Diane
- MyHeritage is adding millions of Scandinavian genealogy records to
its collections, most of which aren't available anywhere else
online. The entire
1930 Danish census (which includes Greenland and the Faroe
Islands) is now on the site. All other available Danish censuses
from 1787 to 1930 will be added over the next two years, as well as
parish records from 1646 to 1915.
Also being added are Swedish
household examination rolls from 1880 to 1920. About 22
million of the 54 million records are already on MyHeritage, with
the remaining records scheduled to go online before the end of June
more details on the MyHeritage blog.
The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has added an Early Irish Birth
Index to its website. The index contains more than 5,000
records of alternative sources for birth information in
Ireland—censuses, newspapers, diaries and more. The birth
index is available only to IGRS members, however, its free to search
for just a surname and view the number of matches. IGRS also has a marriage
database that anyone can search for free.
Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 20, 2015 12:26:03 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, February 19, 2015
FamilySearch, NEHGS Form Resource-Sharing Partnership
Posted by Diane
FamilySearch and the New England Historic
Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have announced a new
resource-sharing partnership, and at the same time NEHGS revealed
changes coming to its AmericanAncestors.org
Under the multi-year agreement, FamilySearch will provide NEHGS with
more than 2 billion records from its global collections at
FamilySearch.org and its online Family Tree. These records will be
added to the newly upgraded AmericanAncestors.org, as well as an
online family tree experience NEHGS is planning for the site.
The FamilySearch records NEHGS will add to its website include US
census transcriptions (1790–1930); civil registrations for Italy,
Germany, Scotland, and the Netherlands; English birth, christening,
marriage, and death record transcriptions dating from the 15th
century through 20th centuries; and census and vital records for
states across the United States.
In return, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members will
get free access to the genealogy databases at AmericanAncestors.org.
LDS church members can register for this access on the familysearch.org/partneraccess
website (where they also can get free access to Ancestry.com,
Findmypast and MyHeritage).
Additionally, NEHGS will provide millions of its records to
FamilySearch, including US and Canadian cemetery records, old tax
records, early American military records, early New England marriage
records, historical newspapers, and more.
FamilySearch | Genealogy societies
Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:49:44 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
"Genealogy Roadshow" Episode 6 Investigates Family Mysteries in Philadelphia
Posted by Diane
Last night's "Genealogy
Roadshow" visited the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia. This was the last regular episode this season, but
it looks like next week, we'll see a "Best
of Genealogy Roadshow" season finale with highlights from both
The stories, along with genealogy tips and resources gleaned from
- A Methodist minister had heard that her ancestor was a horse
thief and counterfeiter who'd given his spoils away, Robin
Hood-style. Kenyatta Berry revealed that the great-grandfather,
Ed Harmon, was indeed part of "Boss"
Buck's gang of horse thieves in an area known as the
Pennsylvania Wilds. Newspapers and court records recounted how
gang members were arrested for trying to sell counterfeit money.
There was no evidence, though, that the gang gave away their
money, but Berry said later records did indicate that Harmon
managed to become a law-abiding citizen.
- Mary Tedesco helped a family get to the bottom of the story
about a great-grandfather, Charley Flynn, who'd gone missing.
Tedesco noted that the show's researchers were suspicious when
they discovered the July 18, 1929, date of birth for Flynn's
younger son was the same date Flynn's wife gave as her husband's
death date. They found no evidence he died that day or even that
year—but they did find a 1989 obituary with a matching name and
other details. Charley appears to have simply left his wife in
1929, and later married another woman.
- A young lady with her aunt and uncle brought a family story
that their relative had started the world's longest-burning
fire. It turned out that her great-great-grandfather, a miner,
had been involved in a long, contentious strike in Ohio. A small
group miners set
the New Straitsville mine on fire, not expecting it to be burning more than 100 years later. The only person to
admit his involvement never named his accomplices.
- A woman with a family story about a seafaring ancestor found
out her third-great-grandfather John Griffis was indeed the
captain of a merchant ship, who was authorized by Congress to
act as a privateer
during the Quasi-war
with France from 1798 to 1800. His ship's arrivals and
departures were reported in newspapers, helping Roadshow
researchers trace his whereabouts.
- An African-American family had a story that a formerly
enslaved ancestor, Orin Fulp, was fathered by a slaveowner.
Berry traced him back in census records, comparing his 1910
listing as "mulatto" to his 1880 listing as "black." She pointed
out that former slaves didn't always take the last name of their
owner, but in this case, post-slavery census records show Orin
farming on land he'd purchased near other Fulp families, white
and black. (Use our guide in the January/February
2015 Family Tree Magazine to trace enslaved
African-American ancestors.) No paper records provide a
conclusive link, but a DNA test showed a match between the guest
and a white family, suggesting her family story is true.
You can watch
the Feb. 17 episode of "Genealogy Roadshow" on the PBS website.
I almost forgot: You can apply online to have your family mystery investigated on next season's "Genealogy Roadshow."
African-American roots | Genealogy TV | Jewish roots
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 12:39:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Exploring Your Family Tree in FamilySearch's New Family Discovery Center
Posted by Diane
Something cool I got to try during last week's RootsTech/FGS
conference in Salt Lake City is the new FamilySearch
Discovery Center, which I can best describe as an interactive
museum about your family history.
The Discovery Center I visited is the pilot, located inside the FamilySearch Center in the
Smith Memorial Building. Another one will be in
Seattle, and a third will be in the Museum of the American Revolution, to open in 2017 in Philadelphia. Each center's exhibits can be
customized to its location.
You'll get the most out of a visit if you have a FamilySearch family
tree, but you can get a taste of the experience even without a tree.
Either way, you'll receive images from your visit via email.
When you arrive, sign in on an iPad, either with your FamilySearch
login, or as a guest by entering your name, birthdate, and sex, and taking a
selfie. Then you carry the iPad with you from station to station,
docking it at each one. Stations use your name,
ancestor information (if you have a FamilySearch family tree), and
uploaded images and stories to help you experience your family
For example, the first station showed me the meaning of my first
name, stats on my first and last name, and events from my birth
year (you can customize this to show highlights from any year during
Another station used an Xbox Kinect-like device to let you pose in the
ethnic dress of your ancestors (depending where they're from) and
take a snapshot. If you have a
FamilySearch family tree, the ethnicities are chosen for you based
on birthplaces in your tree. Otherwise, you can choose from about
Here I am as a (somewhat idealized) German fräulein.
The station below maps your ancestors' origins and places of residence as
recorded in your FamilySearch family tree. On the touchscreen, you
can pan around the map, select profiles from your family tree,
and view photos and stories for those people.
This one is really best if you have a FamilySearch tree. Otherwise, you'll see a map with statistics on
immigration over time.
The next station takes you inside a room that evokes a time
machine, with a large curved screen showing a living room in a
home, and a large touchscreen that displays your FamilySearch family
tree. The living room changes to reflect the time period of the person you
select in your tree, and you see stories (not from your
tree) about objects on the screen.
Although this station has an
impressive setup, it was less personal than the others. My tour guide told me this exhibit is being tweaked because visitors aren't spending much time here.
Two story recording rooms—one for individuals (on the left in the photo below) and one that also can accommodate groups—let you record your answers to a personal interview conducted by a man on a screen.
You can choose a
group of questions based on your age, and some of them are pretty
deep (for example, what do I consider my greatest
accomplishment and my worst failure, and what have I learned
from each). In the future, people might be able to get their
questions ahead of time, so they can think about the answers.
You can bring photos on a flash drive to view and talk about, and
your interview will be emailed to you.
The final station is a review, showing you the screenshots of your
experience that you'll also receive later by email (that's me below in Armenian dress, the closest option to my Haddad ancestors' origin in Syria).
I found the Discovery Center a fascinating experience, one with the potential to get visitors excited about their family stories and help them leave a legacy of their own.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:29:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 13, 2015
News From FamilySearch's RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City
Posted by Diane
FamilySearch held a dinner Wednesday for members of the media attending the RootsTech conference, happening in Salt Lake City through Saturday. Outreach director and chief marketing officer Shipley Munson shared an overview of the upcoming conference, news, and background on RootsTech's "Who Inspires You?" theme.
Munson gave an estimate of 20,000 registered attendees here, and said that's a conservative number. Every US state except West Virginia is represented, and attendees have come from 35 countries. Saturday will be Family Discovery Day, when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend special classes with their children.
RootsTech's selection of some keynote speakers and themes focused on topics such as storytelling and family togetherness has drawn criticism for the departure from the event's original purpose to unite genealogy and technology. Munson seemed to acknowledge this by referring to the "lifestyle" and the "genealogy" audience members at the media dinner.
He explained the conference's "Who Inspires You?" theme by talking about a book called The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler, a psychology professor at Emory University. His research team found that family history knowledge is an important component to family health and confident children.
"Family history is more than genealogy. It's about the collection of stories and photos that give meaning to families," Munson said. "The highest form of family history is the story, and you are the storytellers."
The FamilySearch Family Tree has about 1.1 billion people. The hints that match records to people in the trees is 98 percent accurate. FamilySearch is testing a new indexing system using character recognition software to create the "A-run" index for printed records, with a second pass by human indexers.
Next, FamilySearch's David Pugmire gave an overview of the FamilySearch Innovator Showdown, a competition among those who've introduced new genealogy technology tools and apps. Four finalists, chosen at Tuesday's Innovator Summit, will compete for $25,000 in prize money:
A live audience and judges will choose the winner after Friday morning's keynote presentation by former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager.
- ArgusSearch: A Google-like search engine that allows any user to search within any documetn, even most handwritten ones
- GenMarketplace: A place where you can post a genealogy lookup or other job, and the price goes up (to a maximum price you choose) until someone claims it and does it for you.
- Lucidpress: An app that lets you create publications for print, digital presentations and video
- Storyworth: A tool that lets you record family stories a bit at a time, via your responses to regular emailed prompts
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Friday, February 13, 2015 10:41:09 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
New Family.me Site Combines Social Networking and Genealogy
Posted by Diane
One website celebrating its debut at the RootsTech/FGS conference is Family.me. This private social
network for families combines the real-time sharing capabilities of
social networking with genealogy tools.
And if you're among the first 10,000 users to sign up, you'll receive a free
account for life, says spokesperson Jackie Enterline. She adds that
the site might consider ways to "monetize" in the future, such as
Family.me features include:
Family.me is a "game-like," mobile-friendly way for family members
to share memories, says chief executive officer Harrison
Tang. "Rather than one family member doing all of the genealogy
work, parents, children, cousins, siblings, aunts and grandparents
alike can piece together their information, such as looking up
historical records, adding recent photos or documenting precious
memories on the timeline.”
- A family tree builder where you can add names,
relationships and other details
- Invite family members by email or through a social
- Memory sharing through stories and uploaded media
- Record search: Family.me is working with FamilySearch
to make the digitized records on FamilySearch.org available to
Family.me users, and Family.me tools will be available to
- A "mobile-first" design for using the site's tools on
Here's what the family tree area looks like:
And a record uploaded to the tree:
Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 2:17:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
RootsTech 2015 Sessions You Can Watch Online for Free
Posted by Diane
Feeling left out because you can't go to this week's RootsTech
conference in Salt Lake City? You can get in on some of the action
by going online to watch the sessions RootsTech livestreams for
Although I haven't seen an official RootsTech announcement about the
livestreamed sessions, the FamilySearch
blog did post a list of 20 "can't-miss" sessions and indicates
which ones you'll be able to watch on the RootsTech.org website. Just visit the RootsTech.org
home page at the time listed (be sure to translate it from
Mountain Time into your local time zone).
Sessions expected to be available for online viewing, and the times
you can watch them, are:
- 30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without by D. Joshua Taylor,
Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. MT
- Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox by Thomas
MacEntee, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. MT
- The Write Stuff: Leaving a Recorded Legacy; Personal
Histories, Journals, Diaries and Letters by Valerie Elkins, Feb.
13 at 4 p.m. MT
- The Global Family Reunion: How You Can Join the Biggest
Family Ever by A.J. Jacobs,
Feb. 14 at 8:30 a.m. MT
- Finding the Living among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find
Your Living Cousins by Amy Archibald, Feb. 14 at 10:30 a.m. MT
The list of RootsTech sessions you can watch online may grow over
the next couple of days, so keep an eye here and on RootsTech.org. Last
year's livestreamed sessions also were available online
after the conference, which may again be the case this
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 11:04:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 06, 2015
Free Access to Ancestry.com's British Genealogy Records This Weekend
Posted by Diane
Do you have ancestors from Britain? Ancestry.com is offering
free access this weekend to its entire UK collection (these records
are normally part of Ancestry.com's World Explorer subscription).
The hundreds of UK records databases in this offer include
You can see a list of all databases included in the free offer by
scrolling down on this page.
- censuses of England, Scotland and Wales
- digitized local and family histories
- court records
- parish records
- civil registrations (government registers of births, marriages
- military records
- passenger lists (incoming and outbound)
The free access ends Sunday, Feb. 8, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
You'll need to set up a free registration with the site (or log into
your account if you have one) to view records that match your
searching Ancestry.com's UK collections here.
Ancestry.com | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 06, 2015 10:00:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)