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# Friday, February 14, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 10-14
Posted by Diane

Happy Valentine's Day and President's Day weekend!
  • We don't often think about slavery in northern US states, but a new website called Mapping Slavery in Detroit documents a University of Michigan project to explore the history of slavery in Detroit. A chart shows stats on slaves and free African-Americans from censuses in 1773, 1779, 1782 and 1810, and an interactive map shows slavery-related sites.
  • A Facebook post led me to a website about an Underground Railroad route along a road I often travel here in Cincinnati. Hamilton Avenue Road to Freedom has background information, a map, photos and more.


African-American roots | Celebrating your heritage | Social History | Social Networking
Friday, February 14, 2014 12:36:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 02, 2013
What's in a Name?
Posted by Beth

Bonne année, Gutes Neues Jahr, Xin nian yu kuai, Feliz Año Nuevo and Kali hronia … Whether you say it in French, German, Mandarin, Spanish or Greek, they all translate to "Happy New Year!" Hope yours is off to a great start!

Speaking of languages, genealogists understand and appreciate the value of names and all the family history information that they can provide. Naming patterns and traditions; spellings; pronunciations; and meanings can impact your search for ancestors from a given locale.

To provide added insight to your ancestral search, we've created 15 PDF downloadable reference guides featuring first names from around the world. Each comprehensive guide is presented in dictionary-style format, making it easy to search for names, spellings and their meanings. For example, A Genealogist's Guide to British Names reveals that the name Harry means "ruler of an estate." Rather prophetic for Prince Harry!

Get more information from your genealogical research this year with a better understanding of your ancestral names!

A Genealogist's Guide to Ethnic Given Names
A Genealogist's Guide to African Names
A Genealogist's Guide to British Names
A Genealogist's Guide  to Chinese Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Eastern European Names
A Genealogist's Guide  to French Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Gaelic Names
A Genealogist's Guide to German Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Greek Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Hawaiian Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Indian Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Irish Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Italian Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Japanese Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Jewish Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Native American Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Russian Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Scandinavian Names
A Genealogist's Guide to Spanish Names


African-American roots | American Indian roots | Asian roots | Celebrating your heritage | French Canadian roots | German roots | Hispanic Roots | Italian roots | Jewish roots | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 12:04:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, December 20, 2012
International Christmas Traditions
Posted by Beth

Across many countries, cultures and regions, the Christian holidays in December and early January are celebrated in diverse ways. Gift-giving customs, symbols, songs and processions can all hold clues to ethnic roots. What Christmas traditions did your ancestors celebrate? Click here for a look at international Christmas traditions.


Celebrating your heritage
Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:29:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 19, 2012
Scavenger Hunt at Grandma's House!
Posted by Beth

If you've got grandkids, nieces or nephews heading over the river and through the woods to your house this Thanksgiving, the holiday gathering is the perfect time to introduce them to genealogy. 


Before- or After-dinner Activities:
Whether you're basting the turkey or basking in a tryptophan afterglow, these printable sheets can keep the little ones busy.
 
Genealogy Word Scramble (Downloadable PDF)

Word Search: Family History Records (Downloadable PDF)

Build Your Family Tree (Fillable and Downloadable PDF)


Weekend Activities:
If you've got a little more time and can be involved in the process, these activities offer a great opportunity to talk about family history while making memories together.

Create a Tombstone Rubbing

Make Picture Magnets

Scavenger Hunt



Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy for kids | Genealogy fun
Monday, November 19, 2012 9:17:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 14, 2011
Researching American Indian Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Do you have American Indian ancestry? Many genealogists believe they do and want to find out for sure. Others know they do but don't know how to research those ancestors.

Now's a good time to look for resources: November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

In 1915, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapaho and president of the American Indian Association, declared the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day and appealed for recognition of American Indians as citizens (Indians were recognized as citizens in 1924).

Later that year, on Dec. 14, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, arrived at the White House with 24 state government endorsements for a national day to honor American Indians. (Here's a photo from the Library of Congress.) He'd gathered them riding on horseback from state to state.

The first National American Indian Heritage Month was in 1990. (More on national observances here.)

Here are some free FamilyTreeMagazine.com articles to help you trace American Indian roots:

ShopFamilyTree.com resources include:

Some of our favorite websites for American Indian research are:

You'll also find indexes to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, March 4, 1907 (known as the Dawes Roll) and Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (the Guion-Miller Roll).


American Indian roots | Celebrating your heritage
Monday, November 14, 2011 3:54:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, July 13, 2011
If You Were a Pie Chart …
Posted by Diane

While working on an article on ethnic heritage and genealogical societies (look for it in the forthcoming November 2011 Family Tree Magazine) I was inspired to figure out what, exactly, Leo is, heritage-wise.


And by “exactly,” I mean “theoretically,” because:

  • you never know what proportion of genes you ended up with from each ancestor after the DNA-combining process
  • geopolitical developments and population shifts can mean ancestors' ethnicity is different from the country whence they came (Your ancestor from Russia would actually be German, for example, if he was one of the many “Volga Germans” who settled in Russia’s Volga River valley.)

  • nonpaternity events, such as adoption and children fathered—unbeknownst to you—by someone other than the person named in records
  • a lack of documentation or incorrect documentation about an ancestor's origins
  • all those ancestors yet to be discovered (unless you’ve found ‘em all)

With that caveat, figuring out Leo’s theoretical heritage combo involves first determining Mom’s and Dad’s percentages. Three of my husband's grandparents came from Germany and one from Hungary, so we'll estimate him at 75 percent German and 25 percent Hungarian. I'll go back to my great-grandparents’ origins: I’m half German, a quarter Lebanese (the source for my last name), and one-eighth each English and Irish. 

I just divided each of our percentages, added up the common German heritage, and came up with these numbers for Leo (I generated the pie chart online using Kids Zone): 

He’s pretty typical as far as American ancestry: In the 2000 census, German was the heritage most often claimed by Americans and by his fellow Cincinnatians. He also shares in the second- and fourth-most-commonly reported ancestries: Irish and English, respectively.

Download the Census Bureau’s Ancestry: 2000 report as a PDF here.

What's your theoretical heritage combo? 

Update: Apparently you can order a t-shirt boasting your ancestry pie chart from MeonaTee.com. Great idea! (Thanks to Megan Smolenyak for mentioning.)


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | German roots
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 9:44:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [9]
# Monday, June 13, 2011
Visit National Parks Free June 21
Posted by Diane

The US National Park Service will waive all entrance fees on Tuesday, June 21, the first day of summer. 

Among the beautiful and historic sites you could visit are Civil War-related places such as Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home, the Gettysburg battlefield and Appomattox Court House. 

You could convince Dad to take the day off work and celebrate a late, budget-friendly Father’s Day (Father's Day is next Sunday, June 19).

Use the Find a Park feature to find parks by name, location, activity or topic. If you scroll down and click a state on the US map, you'll open a page that shows you all the National Parks in that state.


Celebrating your heritage | Civil War | Museums | Social History
Monday, June 13, 2011 3:06:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 02, 2011
What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?
Posted by Diane

Did you know that in 1943, butter had its own food group? See (click the image for a bigger view):



(and that was before Paula Deen was even born).

From ever-evolving food groups to the War Food Administration during World War II, the government has influenced how and what we eat. The National Archives has a new exhibit detailing those efforts.

"What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government's Effect on the American Diet," open June 10 through Jan. 3, 2012 at the National Archives’ Washington, DC, headquarters, gathers folk songs, war posters, educational films, seed packets and more records dating from the Revolutionary War era through the late 1900s. The hundred-plus items are grouped into themes Farm, Factory, Kitchen and Table.

Here, curator Alice Kamps and Chief Culinary Advisor (how cool a job would that be?) José Andrés talk about their favorite aspects of the exhibition and a surprising discovery in late-1800s files from the Bureau of Chemistry:



Of course, our family heritage and traditions also influence what we eat. Family Tree Books is collecting short essays for a book about real family recipes and the memories that surround them.

If you have a sentimental spot for Aunt Barbara’s snickerdoodles, Nonna’s pasta e fagioli or Mom’s Sunday roasts, see the submission instructions here

Celebrating your heritage | Museums | NARA
Thursday, June 02, 2011 9:40:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Why Turkey?
Posted by Diane

You’ve probably heard that Turkey may or may not have been on the menu when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians sat down to their harvest feast in 1621.

Venison and wild fowl are the only two foods historians know for certain were consumed at the meal. And the men sent to capture fowl could’ve snagged small, seasonal birds such as quail, pheasant and duck, instead of the harder-to-catch wild turkey.

So why do we make such a big deal out of the Thanksgiving turkey? Why doesn't Grandma serve up venison on her best platter every November?

I did some googling. The pilgrims’ countrymen in England would dine on goose at special meals. Americans who later took up the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving may have substituted one big bird for another, because wild turkeys were more abundant here than geese.

In addition, large birds were a lot more affordable than giving everyone steaks or butchering all the laying hens. This quote about how the turkey became popular at Thanksgiving, from an article by Michelle Tsai, explains it well:

Among the big birds, turkey was ideal for a fall feast. Turkeys born in the spring would spend about seven months eating insects and worms on the farm, growing to about 10 pounds by Thanksgiving. They were cheaper than geese, which were more difficult to raise, and cheaper by the pound than chickens.

Americans started eating turkey for Thanksgiving in the mid-1800s, after Godey’s Lady’s Book editor Sarah Josepha Hale began a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. At the time, the holiday was celebrated mostly in New England on a different day in each state.

Hale published editorials and wrote to several presidents. Finally, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln—hoping to boost the war-weary country's morale—supported legislation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Supposedly, Hale popularized a holiday menu of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. But nostalgic images of the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a huge feast didn’t enter popular consciousness until later in the century.

Turns out the pilgrims and Wampanoag didn’t eat pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce in 1621, either. Not much about our modern Thanksgiving has to do with how the Pilgrims actually celebrated their first harvest—except the most important part, gathering with loved ones to be grateful for what we have.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Social History
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 9:18:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Call for Photos!
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine is putting out a call for photos for two projects featuring readers’ ancestors:
Stop by either Flickr pool to see photos and accompanying stories readers have already submitted. I especially like how George Washington Gaddy’s great-grandaughter relates standing on the Burnside Bridge—where G.W. was last seen before his death—on the Antietam battlefield.

Please submit your photos for either calendar on or before August 24. Include in the caption any details you know about the photo and who's in it, and tell us where you came across it it (for example, in your family's collection, at a historical society, etc.).

Note that you must have a Flickr membership (free or paid) to upload photos or add comments. Click here to learn more about Flickr.

If you have questions or wish to submit a photo by other means, you may e-mail your question or submission to us. Please attach a high-resolution image (at least 300 dpi).

You may submit as many photos as you like. There’s no need to post your real name if you prefer not to, but to be credited if your photo is selected, please provide your name and your city or town of residence.

By submitting photos and captions via Flickr or e-mail, you verify that no other party holds copyright to the image. You also grant F+W Media, Inc., permission to use your contribution in any and all print and electronic media.


Celebrating your heritage | Photos
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:18:02 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, August 05, 2010
How to Write Your Family's Story
Posted by Grace

In our upcoming August session, Family Tree University will teach you how to write right in the new class Writing Your Family Memoir: Create a Captivating Record of Your Family’s Story. Frequent Family Tree Magazine contributor Sunny McClellan Morton will teach the class, which includes advice like this to get your creative juices flowing:
In personal/family memoir or narrative family history, you, your family, and ancestors are now characters in a story. Obviously, you're not creating characters out of your imagination—you have real-life people to portray. But you can—and should—borrow the characterization techniques fiction writers use.

One of the first things a fiction writer learns is to reveal characters to the reader bit by bit, not all at once as can be seen in so many family histories:
"Felice Vallarelli was born on 28 March 1880 in Terlizzi, Bari, Italy."
When we meet someone in real life, no one stands there and reads us life statistics (or if he did, we would consider him a terrible bore). Why should we meet you or your family that way? Reveal your characters slowly—through their actions, how they dressed, their beliefs, and so on.
In four weeks, you'll develop a solid outline and structure for your family history book. (And when you've completed the book, check out Nancy Hendrickson's Creating a Family History Book, which goes into the self-publishing process.) The course starts August 16, so sign up today!


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree University | Oral History
Thursday, August 05, 2010 10:51:58 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 18, 2010
Make a Family History Book
Posted by Grace

Have you thought about creating a book about your family but didn't know where to start? One of our new Family Tree University classes, Creating a Family History Book, takes you step-by-step through the process!

Instructor Nancy Hendrickson gives you advice for determining a theme, collecting the information you need for the book and putting the whole thing together. She's also got tips for great family interviews:
Anecdotes are the heart and soul of interviews—they are those wonderful little stories we all love reading. But how do you get those anecdotes? Author John Brady writes, "If he says, 'I owe my 40 years of marriage to absolute understanding and compatibility,' ask him, 'What do you mean by understanding and compatibility? Can you give me some examples?'"
 
Asking follow-up questions is important because it lets the subject know you're genuinely curious and interested in what they’re saying. Although you have a prepared list of questions, don't be afraid to follow one of your subject's comments off into unexpected territory. 
 
If this is your first interview, you may feel nervous and awkward. Take heart. You'll improve with practice. When you think the interview is over, ask one last question: "Is there anything else I should have asked you?" You'll be surprised at the great information this question elicits.
This class starts Monday, June 21 and lasts for four weeks. It's self-paced, so you can work on the exercises and your book project whenever it's convenient for you, and Nancy will give you personalized feedback on your work! You can download a copy of the syllabus here and sign up for the class here.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree University
Friday, June 18, 2010 10:07:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 11, 2010
How to Get a Decorative Family Tree Poster
Posted by Diane

So you’ve gathered a few generations’ worth of names and dates, and now you want to display your family tree on your wall.

Nowadays you have more options than ever—from free to pricey and do-it-yourself to full-service—for creating a decorative family tree poster. Here are some that we’ve come across:
  • Family networking site Geni announced yesterday that you can turn your Geni tree into a decorative family tree poster you can customize and order on archival photo paper for $29.99 (a framed one costs $119.99). Learn more on the Geni blog.
  • Most genealogy software programs, including RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree and Family Tree Maker, will let you create a family tree chart to hang on the wall. Progeny Genealogy makes add-on "charting companion" software you can use to enhance the charting capabilities of several desktop family tree programs.
  • If you have a family tree on Ancestry.com, you can import the information into MyCanvas and design and print a chart for free, or order one on nice paper in a variety of sizes. (From your tree on Ancestry.com, click the Publish button in the navigation bar at the top of the page.)
  • Generation Maps’ new Family ChARTist service lets you create a decorative tree and print a free 8.5x11 version at home, or order professionally printed larger sizes.
  • You can buy decorative charts to fill out by hand from several vendors, including Fun Stuff for Genealogists and the Family History Store. Or type free decorative family tree chart into Google for blank trees you can download and print. Our Family Tree VIP members receive a printable decorative tree as part of their exclusive Family Tree Toolkit.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:25:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ways to Leave a Family History Legacy
Posted by Diane

“What do I do now?” is something I hear from readers every once in a while, as in, I’ve done all this research—now what should I do with it?

What I like about this “Best of” excerpt from Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s “How to Be a Good Ancestor” article in the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine is that it helps answer that question. These are a few of her ideas for putting together and passing on your family history.

Start scrapbooking. Only your imagination limits the scrapbooks you can create. There's the standard heritage album, but also consider these five themes:
  • Family reunion: Make a scrapbook of the gang's get-together, including programs, photos and interviews.

  • School: Create school scrapbooks for yourself and for your spouse, as well as your children. Scan or photocopy yearbook pages and include memorabilia (report cards, your graduation tassel) plus journaled memories of events and friends.

  • Cemetery: Photograph grave markers, and find death certificates and obituaries.

  • Immigration and migration: Maps, passenger lists, passports and naturalization records document your ancestors' travels. Record their modes of transportation with images of prairie schooners or the ships that bore them across the Atlantic.

  • House history: Include deeds, pictures (take photos of similar buildings, if the houses aren't around anymore), descriptions of the furniture and décor, and information on the people who lived in each house.
Assemble an album. Photo albums are a natural legacy project. Just be sure to identify the photos with names, dates and places. One must-have guide for learning how to find and identify photographs: Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, revised edition (Family Tree Books), by Maureen A. Taylor.

But what about all those cool documents you've been collecting, such as military records, passenger arrival lists, vital records, censuses, and wills? Start a binder for each surname and organize documents and charts for each individual behind tabs in acid-free sheet protectors. Place a label on each sheet protector identifying the document and the source where you got it. Not only is this project a great legacy, but it also forces you to keep your research in order.

Put your family history into words. If writing is a pastime you enjoy, try one of these projects:
  • Book: This is the ultimate way to hand down your history legacy because you can give copies to everyone in the family — and even to libraries and archives. My book You Can Write Your Family History (Genealogical Publishing Co.) provides genealogy-focused writing and publishing advice.

  • Essays: Compile a collection of essays on topics such as your own experiences or memories of relatives, then copy and distribute them to kin. If you collect the essays in a binder, you and other family members can add to them easily.

  • Articles: Maybe you don't have enough information to fill a book, but you still want to publish your research results or tell other researchers about a brick wall you've conquered. Genealogical society journals and newsletters are good places to do this. Consult Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century edited by Henry B. Hoff (New England Historic Genealogical Society) for help writing a publication-worthy article.

  • Letters: Whether you mail them or not, compose letters to the youngest members of your family to tell them what life was like when you were growing up. Write about your parents and grandparents, recording your fondest memories of spending time with them in addition to facts about their lives. Make copies for all the kids in your family, and present them on a special occasion.
Feast on family food heritage. Gather family recipes to create a book, CD or Web site for your kin who like to cook. Along with each recipe, include a photo of the dish and the cook who's most famous for it, a brief biography of the chef, and notes about the holidays or occasions when the dish was served. If your family has a strong cultural background, such as Italian or Hispanic, incorporate some food history gleaned from ethnic cookbooks. When family members gather for a meal, don't forget to turn on that tape recorder or video camera. Capture some of the food-focused conversation to include in the recipe book.

Related resources Family Tree Magazine:


Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:51:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, February 23, 2010
New Family Tree Chart Service to Launch March 8
Posted by Diane

Wanted to let you know that the Family ChArtist, the decorative family tree chart-printing service from Generation Maps, will launch March 8.

As I mentioned in a post last week, the web-based service will let you create and print a free 8-1/2 by 11-inch decorative chart—which I think will be pretty popular (especially after everyone gets excited about their family trees from watching “Who Do You Think You Are?”). You'll be able to purchase larger versions to print at home, or order them printed on nice paper.

You can read more about the service and how it works in the press release on The Chart Chick blog.

Keep checking the Chart Chick blog for more peeks at the Family ChArtist's features, and watch this video by Mark Tucker of the Think Genealogy blog:


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4:47:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 18, 2010
Coming Soon: Easy Decorative Family Tree Printing
Posted by Diane

Family tree chart printer Generation Maps is planning a new service that’ll make it easy for you to create decorative family trees.

Family ChArtist, to launch in early March (the exact date will be announced soon), is a Flash application you’ll use on the Generation Maps website to create decorative family tree charts. You’ll be able to print an 8.5x11-inch version for free, and purchase larger copies as instant PDFs or by mail.

The application will let you choose a design and add names and genealogical details by typing, uploading a GEDCOM, or importing information from a FamilySearch family tree (for those  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints members who have access to the “new” FamilySearch online tree-builder). Generation Maps development director Janet Hovorka says the company also is working with other online family tree services to allow data imports from those sites.

You can see several examples and get more details on Hovorka’s Chart Chick blog. This is among my favorites from her selection:




Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:30:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, December 22, 2009
How Your Ancestors' Christmases Looked
Posted by Diane

I went into some of our favorite historical photo archives and found images of Christmases past. Each link will open in a new window:
Posting will be spotty over the next couple of weeks as we spend time with friends and family. We wish warm and happy holidays to all of you!


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Photos
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:41:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, December 21, 2009
Last-Minute Family History Gifts
Posted by Diane

If you’re scrambling to find just the right presents or you’ve finally faced the fact that the family history book you planned to give the year won’t be ready in time for Christmas, consider one of these ideas for a quick, family history-themed gift:

A framed family photo showing ancestors or an old family home. You also could use ephemera, such as a letter (scan and print color copies for framing). My aunt did this with a handwritten poem my great-aunt wrote about relatives who went to fight in World War II.

Write a few of Grandma’s recipes on pretty recipe cards, and give them with a recipe box, a wooden rolling pin or a baking dish.

A filled-in decorative family tree chart. I like this fan chart from MarthaStewart.com or try one of the charts you can fill in and print from The Family ChArtist or MyHeritage.

A photo CD with digitized family photos and documents.

These photo blocks, which Family Archivist columnist Sunny McClellan Morton created for our December 2009 issue. Purchase the wooden blocks at a craft store and cut photos to fit. Use Mod Podge to attach the photos to the blocks.


To make these refrigerator magnets, use clear-drying glue such as Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue to adhere pictures to the backs of glass gems. Let dry, then trim the photo and glue a magnet to the back of the picture.

Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun
Monday, December 21, 2009 10:56:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Recording Memories of Christmases Past
Posted by Diane

It’s easy to get so busy tracing your ancestors’ lives that you forget to leave traces of your own life.

Which is why I think the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories is so neat. It’s a series of daily blogging prompts for Dec. 1 to 24 that GeneaBloggers author Thomas MacEntee set up to encourage participants to write about Christmases past.

Click here to learn how you can participate. Even if you don’t blog, you could use the prompts to start a holiday memory book you can pass on to your kids or grandkids.

MacEntee will link to participants’ posts each morning on his blog. You can read each day’s posts by clicking on the date on this calendar.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Oral History
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 1:03:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 23, 2009
Easy Ways to Talk Family History Over Turkey
Posted by Diane

Combine nostalgia, holiday traditions, grandma’s pumpkin pie and immediate access to a bunch of relatives, and what do you get?

An atmosphere ripe for talking about family history.

Thanksgiving is a good time to tell and listen to stories, get IDs for mystery faces in photos, and share your genealogy discoveries. It doesn’t have to be weird or forced—don't announce “Time to talk about genealogy!” just as everyone’s settling in to watch football.

Here are a few easy, unobtrusive ways to start family history discussions.
  • Identify the "connector" at the gathering—the relative who knows everyone and starts conversations. Get this person curious about your research by sharing a genealogy discovery or a photo related to his or her ancestor. 
  • Show off a photo of an ancestor who looks remarkably like a relative who'll be there.
  • Over dinner, ask about family recipes, for example, “Where did Grandma learn to make pie like this?”
  • Bring up a Thanksgiving from your childhood: “Remember the time Aunt June used salt instead of sugar in the sweet potatoes?”
  • Mention changes to an old family home you drove past recently—maybe it’s on the market, or someone built an addition.
  • You probably have at least one relative who’s interested in your research. Arrange to show that person some genealogy records at the Thanksgiving gathering, and you may arouse others' curiosity (but be prepared for people to ask for copies).
  • If your child or grandchild is working on a family history project for school or scouts, let him bring his blank ancestor chart and ask relatives for help filling it in.
More resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Celebrating your heritage | Oral History | Research Tips
Monday, November 23, 2009 8:58:20 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Editors Pick: Family Tree Legacies
Posted by Diane


Family Tree Magazine editor Allison Stacy and I talked about everything we’d want in one of those “record your family history” books, and Family Tree Legacies: Preserving Memories Throughout Time is the result. We’re a little biased, but we love how well-organized, versatile and pretty it is (and we think it would make a good Christmas or wedding gift).



This book is a three-ring binder with blank fill-in pages for all kinds of information, and a CD in the back that has printable versions of all the fill-in pages.



Lovely tabbed separators divide the book into themed sections, each focusing on a different type of family history information.



Sections let you record details about your immediate family, extended family, memories and traditions, photographs, family heirlooms, relatives who served in the military, newspaper articles featuring family members, places that are prominent in your family history, family recipes and important dates.

Each section begins with tips and tricks (the one below gets you started finding newspaper articles about your family members) . . .



. . . and then has specially designed pages to record information. The pages below are in the Family Heirlooms section.



There’s also an introduction with 10 steps to discovering your family history and a reference guide with helpful references, websites and books. We also love the fold-out family tree chart (below).



You can use the stickers to mark historical family events in the calendar section, maps in the Places section and more.



We’re hoping Family Tree Legacies will become a keepsake you can pass on to future generations. 

Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy books
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5:09:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, November 05, 2009
Now's the Time to Start on Family History Gifts
Posted by Diane

We don’t mean to rush you into the winter holidays—it was just Halloween—but if you’re thinking of giving family history-related gifts this year, now’s the time to start.

Many such gifts require prep work: For example, you’ll need to gather, scan, digitally touch up and label photos for a photo CD; start laying out an online photo book or calendar; or collect and transcribe family stories. Maybe you want to check another record or two before finalizing a compiled family history.

And by starting early, you can watch for coupon codes and sales; and make sure anything you order online will get to you in time.

As our early gift to you, here’s our December 2006 article with 13 family history gift ideas you can make. The projects range from very quick and easy to moderately quick and easy. The article has supply lists and step-by-step instructions for seven of the projects.

A few more sources of family tree gift ideas:
  • I’m kinda partial to this one: Family Tree Legacies, a book Family Tree Magazine editor Allison Stacy and I put together for recording all kinds of family history information—not just names and dates, but also family stories, news articles, house history, military service details, where people lived and more.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Thursday, November 05, 2009 9:07:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Tell Us Your New Year's Traditions (You Could Win a CD)
Posted by Diane

We’re still taking entries for our November 2009 All in the Family challenge, but only for another week. If we publish your entry in Family Tree Magazine, you’ll win our Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Think of your family’s weird, wacky or wonderful New Year’s traditions. Did you irritate the neighbors by banging pots and pans at midnight? Play board games and watch the ball drop on Times Square? Consume cabbage, donuts or black-eyed peas for luck?

2. Next, describe that tradition in 200 words or less.

3. Send us your description either by posting it to our Talk to Us Forum (you must register with the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum to post) or by sending us an e-mail.

Please include your name and your city and state with your entry, like so: Diane Haddad, Cincinnati, Ohio. If we pick your entry, that’ll make it easier for us to credit you in the magazine.

And in that case, we’ll contact you by e-mail to ask for your mailing address so we can send the CD (so keep an eye on your in box).

You have until Nov. 10 to enter. Let’s hear those New Year traditions!


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:29:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, October 23, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: October 19-23
Posted by Diane

Here are some of the week's genealogy news tidbits:
  • We wrote about ethical wills (last statements concerning personal values rather than property) in the September 2008 Family Tree Magazine. (Family Tree Magazine Plus members can read the article here.)
Ready to get started on one? Personal historian Dan Curtis is offering a free, seven-part online course on writing an ethical will for your heirs.
Discover more resources for Chinese genealogy in these Genealogy Insider posts.
  • The new Amelia Earhart movie is getting tepid reviews (from what I’ve seen, anyway), but the real-life details of her 1937 disappearance might be more interesting. Ancestry.com’s "Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad" collection contains a case file of correspondence concerning an investigation into the theory that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were imprisoned in Saipan. Find out more about the case on Ancestry.com’s blog and on Ancestry.com's “What really happened to Amerlia Earhart?” page.
  • Genetic genealogy company DNA Consultants has added a blog to its revamped website; posts review news and research on dna testing and popular genetics. That involves some complex scientific terms and concepts, so put on your genetic genealogist hat when you visit.


Asian roots | Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Events | Genetic Genealogy | Social History
Friday, October 23, 2009 4:08:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Special All in the Family Challenge: Ancestral Anniversaries
Posted by Diane

For the All in the Family department in the 10th anniversary issue of Family Tree Magazine, we thought it would be fun to go with the theme by including readers’ stories of ancestral anniversaries.

Tell us about your family's longest-wedded couple: who they are, when they were married, how they met or how they celebrated a milestone anniversary, and maybe even their secret for a long, happy union.

If we publish your story in the January 2010 issue, we'll send you one of our genealogy how-to CDs.

Things to remember before you enter:
  • Post your entry to the Ancestral Anniversaries thread in the Talk to Us Forum. (To help combat spammers, forum registration is required for posting. You can register by clicking here.)

  • Please keep your entry under 125 words, so we can include more stories in the magazine.

  • Please add your city and state to your entry for publication in the magazine.

  • We'll contact you for your mailing address and possibly for a photo of your anniversary couple, so please keep an eye on your e-mail account.

  • By submitting, you give Family Tree Magazine permission to feature your contribution in all print and electronic media.
We'll need your entry for this All in the Family challenge on or before September 15. Thanks for sharing your family's stories!


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 1:18:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, July 17, 2009
Colonial Williamsburg and Other Places to Time Travel
Posted by Diane

My ancestors got here after Colonial days, but all the same I enjoyed an afternoon in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this week while visiting family.

The park covers 301 acres with 88 original buildings plus other reconstructed ones. I hadn’t realized Colonial Williamsburg isn’t an enclosed park—rather, it’s a historic part of the city of Williamsburg, Va., with streets closed to cars but otherwise publicly accessible. You can walk around outside and enter shops and restaurants for free; a pass gets you into the park’s other buildings (except private homes and offices) and exhibits.

On our whirlwind trip, we visited the courthouse


... apothecary


... blacksmith shop


... and the magazine and guardhouse, carpenter’s shop and gaol (jail). Exhibit  hours vary, and special programs happen daily at different times and places, so if you’re planning a visit, check the online calendar.

You can see our ancestors’ world at living history centers around the country, such as Old World Wisconsin, Ohio Village, Old Sturbridge Village  in Massachusetts and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.

Find more museums here or run a Google search on “living history” and the city, county or state you’re interested in.

Celebrating your heritage | Historic preservation | Museums
Friday, July 17, 2009 10:39:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, July 09, 2009
Fee-Free Weekends at Historic Parks
Posted by Diane

Want to immerse yourself in history but still save a few bucks this summer? Plan to visit a national park on one of these two entrance fee-free weekends:
  • July 18-19
  • August 15-16
You've got more than 100 parks to choose from, including Georgia’s forts Pulaski and Frederica, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana, Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico, and Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming.

Learn more about National Park Service fee-free weekends here.


Celebrating your heritage | Museums | Social History
Thursday, July 09, 2009 2:01:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, June 29, 2009
Bringing the Family History to the Reunion
Posted by Diane

This weekend we drove out to southeastern Indiana for my dad’s mom’s family reunion on the dairy farm my grand-uncle and -aunt started in 1934.

With so many new faces showing up at this every-other-year affair, it gets hard to keep track of who’s who. I loved my grand-aunt's generationally color-coded system for creating name tags:



Above is my husband’s name tag, with my grandma’s name in green (her brother and his wife owned the farm), my dad in black, and my own and my husband’s names in blue.

I also got to add Greg to one of the genealogy charts she hung up around the room.



She also brought old family photos and snapshots from past reunions.



Activities included catching up ...



getting to know the local residents ...



and playing basketball by the barn, at least for awhile.



If you’ve got a reunion coming up, check out these tips on bringing your family history into the picture and these recommended resources.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Reunions
Monday, June 29, 2009 9:13:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ellis Island Hosts Stars, Expands Museum
Posted by Diane

Our lucky New York-based colleague Guy LeCharles Gonzalez attended the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards yesterday. He got the scoop on the latest Ellis Island exhibits and rubbed elbows with the stars (well, at least he was in the same room).

Here’s Guy’s report:

Emilio and Gloria Estefan (below) accepted the inaugural B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award in a star-studded 8th Annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards ceremony yesterday, hosted by actress Candice Bergen in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island.



The awards celebrate the lives and work of individuals who immigrated to America and their descendants; with the Forbes honor going to those who arrived through a port other than Ellis Island. It reminds us that America continues to be the destination for those seeking freedom, hope and opportunity.

Accepting the award alongside her husband, musician Gloria Estefan noted the common denominator shared with the day’s other honorees—Joe Namath, Eric Kandel and Jerry Seinfeld—that no matter where they or their families had come from, or when, they all sought to escape some form of tyranny. In America, they’d found a home where they could live freely and pursue their dreams.

Sponsored by the Forbes family in honor of patriarch B.C. "Bertie" Forbes, the Peopling of America award is also named for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's newest project: the Peopling of America Center.  

The center will expand the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to include the entire panorama of the American immigrant experience—from native American groups to today's New Americans, whose numbers are growing exponentially.

The new center is an ambitious $20 million effort to make Ellis Island even more compelling and relevant for the coming decades, with the goal of telling all of our stories about being and becoming Americans.

Its precursor, the Peopling of America exhibit, is in the Great Hall's former Railroad Ticket Office, where immigrants could make travel arrangements to their final destinations in the United States. Several displays visually chronicle the more than 60 million people who’ve come to the United States, voluntarily and by force, since 1600.

This map details sources and destinations of the Atlantic slave trade:



This exhibit compares immigration (blue arrows) to emigration (red arrows) by decade:



Other displays include an interactive Map of Diversity, which can show the number of people in each state who claim a certain race or ancestry (based on US census data); maps and charts of historical immigration patterns; and the American Flag of Faces, a "living and interactive exhibit" to which anyone can add a photo (names and captions are searchable online).

See more photos of the ceremony and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum here.


Celebrating your heritage | immigration records | Museums | Social History
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 11:16:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 30, 2009
Happy Jewish-American Heritage Month!
Posted by Diane

Jewish American Heritage Month, which starts with the first day of May (that's tomorrow), brings you opportunities to learn about Jewish history.

President Bush announced the first monthlong commemoration of American Jewish roots in 2006. May was chosen to mark successful celebration of the 350th anniversary of American Jewish history in May 2004.
Check with your library, synagogue and Jewish community center to find events near you. You can learn more about Jewish-American Heritage Month and see online exhibits by clicking here, through this site's events calendar still lists 2008 celebrations.

For tips and resources on researching Jewish roots, see our research toolkit and look for Schelly Talalay Dardashti’s seven search strategies in the September 2009 Family Tree Magazine (which mails to subscribers mid-June and goes on sale July 7).


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Events | Jewish roots
Thursday, April 30, 2009 10:32:39 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, April 27, 2009
Be First to Try FamilyTeller Online Community
Posted by Diane

We first met Matt Unger over the Internet when associate editor Grace Dobush covered his Papa’s Diary Project blog—where he transcribes and annotates his grandfather’s diary one day’s entry at a time—for the May 2008 Family Tree Magazine.

Unger sent us a note this week—seems he heard from a lot of people asking for advice on creating similar projects with their own family materials. They inspired him to put his Web development and publishing background to work on an online community called FamilyTeller.

In Unger's own words, FamilyTeller “will allow people to more easily scan, organize, annotate and share family artifacts on the Web.”

Can you beta test this new service? For a discounted subscription rate, you’d get assistance digitizing and uploading documents and photos, automatically catalog and organize them, try a few transcriptions, create a blog-style Web site to share with your family, and more—as well as, of course, provide feedback on your experiences with the site.

Benefits include lifetime discounts on subscription and service fees, plus the chance to influence what the site will be like.

Wanna try it? Fill out this online form and Unger will contact you.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Monday, April 27, 2009 9:20:25 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Ellis Island Honors Immigrants' Contributions
Posted by Diane

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation announced the recipients of this year’s Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, to be celebrated at a luncheon May 19. You’ll probably recognize them:
  • Eric R. Kandel, MD, won a Nobel Prize in 2000 for his studies in the molecular basis of memory. He immigrated from Vienna as a child in 1939, after Germany annexed Austria.
  • Football legend and Hall of Fame member Joe Namath’s father and maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary.
  • Jerry Seinfeld, of course, is a comedian, television star and producer. I also credit him with helping “Seinfeld” fans instantly bond over entire conversations consisting solely of quotes from the show. His maternal grandparents came from Syria.
  • Gloria and Emilio Estefan, formerly of the band Miami Sound Machine and now, respectively, a singer and music producer, will receive the BC Forbes Peopling of America Award. Both fled Cuba with their families after the rise of Fidel Castro.
The awards honor immigrants (through Ellis Island or another port) and their descendants who've made significant contributions to the American experience. Read more about the honorees at EllisIsland.org.


Celebrating your heritage | immigration records
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 3:06:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, April 06, 2009
Campaign Urges Families to Preserve Their Heritage
Posted by Diane

The founders of the International Association of StoryKeepers and the Treasury of Family Heritage family networking site launched the Great Heritage Campaign March 31 to encourage families to preserve their traditions and stories.

Treasury of Family Heritage co-founder Dennis Stack calls the campaign “a call to action for members of the heritage industry to help bridge the disconnect between its various elements and to drive the movement in an interactive way.”

He adds that his site is a “key piece” of the campaign, serving as a platform where families and heritage-related businesses can connect and preserve stories.

To use the Treasury of Family Heritage, you set up a profile (choose from a family, business or social page), then upload video, audio, images or stories. Packages range from free to $15 per month, depending on storage size.

In the crowded area of family networking/storykeeping sites (Geni, MyHeritage, Genetree, TribalPages, to name just a few), genealogy sites with networking components (Footnote, Ancestry.com, FindMyPast, etc.), wikis (WeRelate is one), and genealogy applications for general social networking sites (including FamilyBuilder’s Family Tree and FamilyLink’s We’re Related), will the Great Heritage Campaign direct attention to the Treasury of Family Heritage? We'll have to wait and see.

The Great Heritage Campaign doesn't seem to have its own Web site, but you can watch a video on the Treasury of Family Heritage site.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, April 06, 2009 10:45:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tips From a Family Reunion Whiz
Posted by Diane

Remember our blog post about a year ago about the upcoming super-size Miner-Minard-Miner-Minor 2008 family reunion? 

Organizer Mark Miner sent us a post-party update. Maybe you can steal some inspiration for your own annual gatherings: He's someone who knows how to put on a reunion. Below, a few takeaways.
  • Enlarge your invite list. From his genealogy research and family Web site, Miner estimates 50,000 people were eligible to attend. They didn't all get engraved invitations, though—he used the media to get the word out, and more than 115 cousins traveled to the three-day reunion last June.

  • Consider sponsorship. It wouldn't work for everyone, but this celebration's reach and the family’s roots near Pittsburgh earned it official status as part of that city's 250th birthday.
  • Visit a historical site. “Our primary event was in the Sen. John Heinz History Center," Miner writes. "Guests were treated to remarks by history center CEO Andy Masich and Pittsburgh 250 executive director Bill Flanagan, as well the unveiling of a photo-memorial to cousin Erick Foster, killed serving in Iraq in 2007.”
Photo and memorabilia displays included a photograph of Oklahoma pioneers James R. and Lydia (Miner) Brown and letters from a cousin, Corwin D. Tilbury, who served on Pittsburgh’s city council during the city’s 150th birthday in 1908. (Mark put period postcards and photos on a Pittsburgh 150 Web page.)
In the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands May 5) look for tips on using family reunions to (gently) squeeze genealogy information from relatives.

And click Comments below to share your own reunion advice.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Reunions
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:58:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 17, 2009
St. Patrick’s Day Stats
Posted by Diane

Enjoy these numbers along with your celebratory corned beef and cabbage, soda bread and green beer:

30.5 million US residents claim Irish ancestry, the second most frequently reported ancestry, according to the Census Bureau's Ancestry 2000 report.

4.5 million Irish immigrants traveled to the United States between 1820 and
1930
.

4.2 million
, roughly, is the population of Ireland.

248 is the number of consecutive years New York City has put on its St. Patrick’s Day parade.

100 pounds of green dye were added to the Chicago River St. Patrick’s Day, 1962. The river was green for a week. (See the 2009 dyeing in this video.)

24 percent of Massachusetts residents have Irish ancestry, says the Census Bureau.
 
9 cities or towns in the United States are named Dublin (also from the Census Bureau).

0 is the number of snake species native to Ireland (which has more to do with geography than St. Patrick, if you ask the National Zoo).

And you'll find innumerable tips and resources for tracing your Irish roots in our Irish genealogy research toolkit.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:41:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Speaking of Irish Roots and Women's History ...
Posted by Diane

March is both Irish-American Heritage Month and Women's History Month. (If you're an Irish-American Woman, double hats off to you!)

March 2, President Obama followed his predecessors' example and proclaimed March Irish-American Heritage Month. (Wonder if he was thinking of his own Irish roots when he signed the paper?)

The next day, again following precendent, Obama also proclaimed March Women's History Month.

You're guaranteed a reason to celebrate: Even if you're not one of the 30.5 million Americans who have Irish ancestry, I'm pretty sure you have female ancestry. See FamilyTreeMagazine.com for resources on tracing both:

Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:42:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 02, 2009
Superstitious Ancestors? Enter Our Challenge for a Chance to Win
Posted by Diane

It’s both 15 days till St. Patrick's Day and your last chance to get in on Family Tree Magazine’s March 2009 “Lucky Charms” All in the Family Challenge.

To enter, tell us about a lucky charm or superstition in your family. For example, when I was a kid, whenever someone was getting married or we had a soccer tournament or good weather was needed for some other reason, Mom would set a figurine of Mary in the kitchen window (facing outside, or it wouldn't work).

Maybe you’ve saved Grandpa’s lucky penny or you throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder while cooking, just like Grandma always did.

Cross your fingers and describe your family’s lucky charm or superstition for us. E-mail your entry before March 9, and be sure to include your name and hometown.

If we select your entry to publish in the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine (knock on wood), you’ll win our Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy digital download.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Family Tree Magazine articles
Monday, March 02, 2009 4:25:38 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, February 27, 2009
Start This Sunday With Genealogy TV
Posted by Diane

Family historians get a two-fer this weekend on CBS “Sunday Morning”: Topics include keeping your family’s memories technologically accessible and the first national census. Bet this show would go great with pancakes.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Events
Friday, February 27, 2009 11:46:47 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 19, 2009
Photo Book Discount at Shutterfly
Posted by Grace

Heard through the grapevine that Shutterfly is offering 20 percent off its photo books—plus two free 8x10s—with the promo code BOOKSANDPRINTS. Offer ends March 10.


Celebrating your heritage | Photos
Thursday, February 19, 2009 8:53:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 23, 2009
My Ancestral Homes Tour
Posted by Diane

This past Christmas Eve, my mom took me on a tour of the houses where her family lived just across the Ohio River in Bellevue, Ky.

It included my great-grandma Mamie’s home—an old photo made it into a book on Bellevue by Arcadia publishing. Google Book Search does it again:



The house my mom’s dad built on the same street has burned down, but Mom showed me where she babysat and where her best friend lived. A grocery store down the street is now a house. Mom said she’d stop after school, pick out what Grandma needed for dinner, and add it to the family's tab (try that at Super Target).

My Great-grandma and Great–grandpa Frost’s first home looks a lot smaller now than in this photo from around 1925 (Family Tree Magazine readers might remember the picture from our September 2008 house history research guide.)



I remember the house below (Google Maps does it again), situated right by the railroad tracks, where the same great-grandparents lived in their later years.



At Christmas, the whole family—their five kids, at least a dozen grandkids and several of us great-grandkids—would all squeeze inside. Some of those great-aunts and -uncles and second cousins I haven't seen since Christmases at Great-grandma's.

It's neat to be able to visit your ancestral homes in person, but you may not have to drive around to see them. Check out what a FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum member did with Google Maps.

Celebrating your heritage | Research Tips
Friday, January 23, 2009 10:44:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 22, 2009
New Site Helps You Plan Heritage Travel
Posted by Diane

Are you hoping to one day see where your ancestors lived and walk where they walked?

Heritage Travel, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has pre-launched a Web site called GoWithAPurpose.com, focused on heritage travel.

Registered users will be able to post travel reviews, stories and photos—or, if all you can do in these times is live vicariously through others' experiences, you can read their posts and dream about your own trip.

Registration is free. (Funny, the list of interests registrants can choose from doesn’t include "genealogy" or "family history.")

Early-bird registrants also can “participate in an exclusive pre-launch recognition program, and receive special, insider-only benefits.” Advertising and historic tourism organizations will help fund the site.


Celebrating your heritage
Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:12:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 08, 2008
Save Money on Photo Gifts
Posted by Diane

Still at a loss for what to give relatives this year? How about turning a calendar, mug, puzzzle, keychain, album or other item into a keepsake by adding a special photo (or photos)?

And you can save money with the holiday specials at several online photo services:
  • Snapfish is posting a new special every 48 hours. Until midnight tonight (Dec. 8), for example, 12-month photo calendars are 33 percent off.
  • Shutterfly is taking up to 30 percent off photo books and 25 percent off calendars, and giving free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
  • MyCanvas (part of Ancestry.com) is offering 20 percent savings on all products through Christmas Eve.
  • American Greetings' PhotoWorks has a buy one/get one free offer for photo calendars that ends Dec. 31. And now through Dec. 12, photo books are discounted and shipping is free on orders of $20 or more.
  • I didn’t see any holiday specials at Photomama, but you get 50 free prints for signing up and there are some unique gifts such as t-shirts, pet bowls and lollipops adorned with photos.
If you sign up with Ebates and then start your shopping from there (select the Electronics and Photo category, then Photo Services), you’ll get cash back for purchases on participating photo and other Web sites.


Celebrating your heritage | Photos
Monday, December 08, 2008 9:09:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tales of Terrific Family Tree Teamwork
Posted by Diane

Waaaaaay back in April, to play up the promising possibilities of genealogical research collaboration, we asked for your entries in our Terrific Family Tree Teamwork Contest.

We heard a lot of great stories, but managed to winnow them down to the winners, who're portrayed in the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine. There’s something to learn from each example:
  • Our grand prize-winners, Bev Ophoven Ewing and Kathleen Lenerz, have never actually met. In 1998 they discovered a cousin connection online. Now, they tackle family mysteries by bouncing ideas around, building off each other’s thinking and divvying up research tasks.
  • Gwendolyn Cameron and her cousins wanted to learn about their great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran. They traced him to the state hospital where he'd died. The group organized a memorial service, and since our November issue went to press, the hospital has restored its historic graveyard. A rededication is scheduled for tomorrow.
  • Susie Bullion recruited her team by creating a memory quilt with squares relatives filled with stories. To share the history, she and her siblings typed up the stories, researched background information and turned them into a family memory book.
  • Valerie Craft’s family history research began as a college project that never ended. Her mom served both as fan and teammate, especially helpful in putting Valerie in touch with distant relatives.
All the teams won our State Research Guides CD; the grand prize also includes Family Reunion Organizer software from RootsMagic, a Web site from MyGreatBigFamily.com and free batch photo scanning from ScanMyPhotos.

See these and other teamwork tales in our Exclusives for Registered Users Forum (note you must be registered with the Forum and logged in to view this section).


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:49:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Civil War Research and Events Updates
Posted by Diane

A few Civil War research and history news items to start your day:
  • The Western Maryland Regional Library has put the Antietam National Cemetery payroll for 1866-1867 online. The digitized and transcribed book bears names and wages of laborers who built the wall around the cemetery. You can browse or search (the search is in the upper right; choose the payroll database from the pulldown menu).
Entry is via the CWPT’s Flickr site. The deadline is Aug. 31, with prizes in four categories ranging from certificates of recognition to free Civil War conference registrations.
  • This year marks the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Gettyburg, and more than 10,000 participants will stage a battle re-enactment July 4-6. Tickets range from $24 per adult for a day to $57 for three days, with lower prices for kids. Get ‘em at the Gettyburg Re-enactment Web site.

Celebrating your heritage | Military records | Social History
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:55:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 07, 2008
The Best Scrapbooking Blogs
Posted by Grace

If you're the crafty type, you're probably at your best when you're among creative people or when you stumble across something beautiful that makes you cry out I want to do that. What's that old saying—no scrapbooker is an island?

The March issue of Family Tree Magazine's Preserving Memories column was conceived while thinking of the crafter in dire need of inspiration. Our very scientific process of visiting approximately a bazillion blogs resulted in this list of five fabulous sites.

Bookmark these babies and enjoy!

Lessons from the Scrapbook Page: On this inspirational blog, you can watch the latest installments of Real Women Scrap TV.

Mad Cropper: Keep up-to-date with news from the scrapbook world and plenty of step-by-step projects.

Memory Makers Blog: The editors of our sister magazine give you a peek at their latest pages (like the one you see at right).

SimpleStudio: Simple Scrapbooks serves up advice plus lots of layouts and photos.

Sprague Lab: This "studio of scrapbook alchemy" focuses on computer-assisted scrapping.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun
Monday, January 07, 2008 3:49:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, December 24, 2007
Christmas Traditions Around the World
Posted by Diane

Well, my stocking is hung by the chimney with care, and there better not be a mouse stirring anywhere.

The stocking tradition probably started in Europe, where kids hung their everyday socks from nails for St. Nick to fill. Here are some other holiday traditions our ancestors from around the world have celebrated:

In France, kids put shoes by the door or fireplace, waiting for the Christ child to fill them with presents during the night.

Dutch children put hay and sugar in a shoe outside the house on the night before St. Nick’s Day. After his horse has a snack, St. Nick (Sinterklaas)  leaves goodies in each shoe.

Dec. 13 in Sweden is St. Lucia's Day, celebrating the patron saint of light. Traditionally, a family’s first daughter would wear a long white dress and crown of leaves, then serve coffee and treats to the family. (Somehow I can’t see my sister ever doing this.)

A sprite-like child with angelic wings called the Christkind ("Christ Child") is delivers presents in areas including parts of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein. Legand has it Martin Luther invented the Christkind to discourage the figure of St. Nicholas.

Christmas in the Philippines starts Dec. 16 with dawn masses called Misas de Aguinaldo (Gift Masses) or Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass) On Christmas Eve, families go to midnight mass and then eat a traditional feast.

Between Christmas and New Years Day, Norwegians go Julebukking. People wearing masks and costumes knock on neighbors’ doors, and the inhabitants try to guess the julebukkers’ identities.

Inspired by the sound of a burning log, a London confectioner named Tom Smith invented Christmas crackers in 1847. The colorful wrapped tubes that snap and reveal a trinket when people pull on the ends are universally popular in England and other Commonwealth countries. Australians call them bon-bons.

Mexican children leave notes in their shoes on Jan. 6, when tradition holds the Three Wise Men arrived with gifts for baby Jesus.

In the UK and Canada, Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas (or the next week day, if Dec. 26 falls on a weekend). There are many theories behind its origins. Nowadays, it’s known for great sales.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Social History
Monday, December 24, 2007 2:48:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Just What Is Figgy Pudding, Anyway?
Posted by Diane

In the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” a crew of carolers demands to be served figgy pudding before they’ll leave—causing generations to wonder: What exactly is figgy pudding?

So I checked around. It’s a British-style pudding, actually resembling more of a cake, which reached its popularity peak as a Christmas dessert in the 1800s.

You can bake, steam or boil figgy pudding. It’s got figs, of course, plus apples, nuts, cinnamon, cloves, butter, sugar, bread crumbs, milk and eggs. Oh, yes—the recipe I found also calls for three strips of finely crushed bacon. Just what I love in a dessert.

The ancestor of figgy pudding (and plum pudding) is a medieval spiced porridge known as Frumenty.

Here’s a nontraditional figgy pudding with persimmons. Bon appetit!


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Social History
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 9:08:23 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 29, 2007
Holiday Gift Ideas for Genealogists
Posted by Diane

When it comes to holiday presents, genealogists don’t seem hard to please—anyone who’d crawl around a weedy cemetery in search of a tombstone can’t be that high-maintenance. But if you’re at a loss for what to give the genealogist in your life, try one of these suggestions:
  • a set of Family Tree Magazine CDs: the International Genealogical Passport ($12.95), the 2006 compilation ($24) and 2007 compilation ($20)
  • a GPS, which traveling researchers can use to locate cemeteries, libraries, the old family homestead or a place to eat lunch
  • a prepaid gasoline card to help fund those research trips
  • a cemetery research kit with non-fusible interfacing (for tombstone rubbings), rubbing wax (you can get it from stores such as FunStuffforGenealogists), masking tape, gardener’s shears and knee pads, bug spray, and an “I brake for cemeteries” bumper sticker
  • a genetic genealogy test
  • a research favor, especially if a fellow genealogist has a hard time getting around. Maybe do lookups for her at a Family History Center, drive him to a conference or help scan a load of photos.
If you've gotten a great genealogical present—or are hoping for one this year—click Comment and tell us what it is.


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun
Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:45:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Family History-Themed Gift Ideas
Posted by Diane

Wondering what to give your son, daughter, brother or mother-in-law for the holidays? Everyone loves a warm-and-fuzzy tribute to family history. Let these present ideas set your gift-giving gears spinning:
  • Digital photo frames are ubiquitous this year, and more affordable than in the past. Load the memory card with images, and keep them coming all year. They start as low as $70, and you can get digital photo keychains and tiny desktop frames for less than that. Check big retailers and electronics stores for these.
  • Make copies of your family’s favorite vintage photos and put them in a mini-album (available from scrapbooking and crafts stores) or a collage frame.
  • Order decorative family tree wall charts from a site such as The Family History Store, or find one free online (Martha Stewart has a nice fan chart). Then polish up your penmanship and fill out a tree for everyone. You also may be able to produce wall-worthy charts using your genealogy software.
  • Put together a family story-and-photo book using AncestryPress. You can print it yourself for free and put it in a binder, or have it spiral-bound at a copy shop. Or, order a hardbound copy through AncestryPress for around $30 and up.
  • For parents or grandparents, how about one of those fill-in-the-blank memory books that encourages them to share thoughts and stories in writing? One is Memories for My Grandchild by Annie Decker and Nicole Stephenson (Chronicle Books, $19.95). The family cook might enjoy a recipe journal such as Cook's Recipe Collection by Iona Hoyle (Ryland Peters & Small, $19.95).
  • If you have a lot of relatives on your list, make a CD of photos and give everyone a copy. You can dress it up (but you don't have to) by designing a nice insert.
Are you giving family history-themed gifts this year? Or have you gotten a great one in the past? Click comment and tell us about it—you just might help someone finish his gift list.

Celebrating your heritage
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 3:27:48 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, November 19, 2007
The FIRST First Thanksgiving
Posted by Diane

We hate to disappoint you, but the very first Thanksgiving in the New World wasn’t the Pilgrims’ legendary feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Nope, the first Thanksgiving was Dec. 4, 1619—a year and 17 days before the Pilgrims even left England—at Berkeley Plantation, when Capt. John Woodlief and 37 other settlers held a short religious service the day they ended their two-and-a-half-month voyage from Bristol, England.

Now, don’t go getting your drumsticks all in a bunch: Not a morsel of food was involved in that first first Thanksgiving. Makes you kinda glad the one we celebrate is the second first one—even though the Pilgrims, lacking sugar and ovens, didn’t have sweet cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. (They didn’t wear those black hats with big buckles, either, rendering inaccurate the Thanksgiving art projects of second-graders everywhere.)

See FamilyTreeMagazine.com for more about Berkeley Plantation and the real first Thanksgiving, and for a dash of Thanksgiving genealogy.


Celebrating your heritage
Monday, November 19, 2007 9:37:48 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, October 12, 2007
Our Photo Detective in the Wall Street Journal!
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s very own Photo Detective, Maureen A. Taylor, is featured in today’s Wall Street Journal, right there on the front of its Weekend Journal section.

The article tells the stories of several families whose photos Maureen has used to fill in a missing piece of the past. Several of the pictures, such as this one showing three young ladies, have been featured in Maureen’s Photo Detective column in Family Tree Magazine and her Photo Detective blog on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

You also get a sense of the research that goes into each photo analysis. Maureen draws on her burgeoning library of obscure reference books; guides to historical uniforms, clothing, accessories, fraternal insignia, artifacts and other items that show up in our ancestors’ photographs; a closetful of antique photos; other historians' insights; and a store of knowledge that comes from studying history and analyzing thousands of images over the years.

See a portion of the article on the Wall Street Journal Web site.

In Family Tree Magazine and her Family Tree Books, Maureen shares tips you can use to glean family history clues from your own clan's photos. Here are some links to get you started:

Photo Detective blog
Here, Maureen analyzes readers' photos, gives advice on preserving old images and more.

Photo Detective Online Archive
Maureen has been identifying images on FamilyTreeMagazine.com for years! Access those articles here.

Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, 2nd edition
In this book, Maureen offers in-depth advice and examples to help you analyze your own family's photographs.

Dating 20th-Century Photographs: Links
Maureen recommended these Web sites in a June 2006 Family Tree Magazine article on analyzing and preserving more-recent images.

Photographic Mystery—Solved!
Another photo success story, showing the value of consulting your relatives when researching family photos.

Now What? Online: Dating Foreign Photos
Some things to look for in images taken overseas.

Software for Organizing and Editing Photos
Maureen and other Family Tree Magazine authors recommend these programs for fixing up and storing digitized images.

The Photo Detective
Maureen's Web site, where you can submit photos and ask questions and find out where to see her presentations.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles
Friday, October 12, 2007 1:25:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 28, 2007
Oktoberfest in "Zinzinnati"
Posted by Diane

German is the ancestry Americans most often claim, and Family Tree Magazine’s hometown, Cincinnati, could run for flag-bearer. We're so German that one of the city's oldest neighborhoods is called Over the Rhine.

Our Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which I attended last weekend, is the biggest Oktoberfest outside Munich. We’re proud of our world record for the largest group chicken dance: In 1994, the visiting Crown Prince of Bavaria led 48,000 of us in tweet-tweeting our hands and flapping our elbows to Der Vogerltanz. (We held the title until 1997.)

This year, BallinStadt, the Hamburg emigration museum that opened in July, even sent someone to tell Oktoberfest revelers how they could learn about their German ancestors’ departure for America.

Our Oktoberfest is also a gold mine for lovers of goetta (prounounced get-uh), aka "Cincinnati caviar." The story is German immigrants brought us this peasant dish, meant to stretch meat supplies.

Goetta is mostly ground pork and pinhead (steel-cut) oats seasoned with bay leaves, rosemary, salt, pepper, and thyme, then boiled, sliced into square patties and fried. My mom made it for breakfast, but any time is goetta time at Oktoberfest:









In summer, a local Goettafest offers even more variety, including, for the truly devoted, goetta fudge. Tasty.

Hungry? You’ll find recipes for goetta here and here.

Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun
Friday, September 28, 2007 4:32:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]