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# 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]
# Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Exploring Hispanic Heritage on PBS' "Finding Your Roots"
Posted by Diane

roots post Sunday's season finale of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." on PBS focused on the Hispanic genealogy of political analyst Linda Chavez and actors Michelle Rodriguez and Adrian Grenier.

The trio shares Hispanic heritage, but each thought of him- or herself differently:
  • Chavez considered herself of mixed European heritage. She had roots in Spain's New World colonies going all the way back to the 1590s,  when an ancestor sailed to Mexico. In a surprise discovery, she learned many of her family were "conversos," Jews forced to convert to Catholicism, many of whom continued to practice Judaism in private. A large number of conversos left Spain during the Inquisition. Her grandmother's custom of turning a religious statue to face the wall hinted at the surprise—you can read more about this custom in Chavez' essay here.
  • Grenier, who'd always identified with American Indian roots because of a story in his mother's family, discovered he had a conquistador ancestor in Don Juan de Oñate 's army (kind of the opposite of having American Indian roots).

    Grenier seemed shaken when his connection to American Indian heritage was in question, but Gates' team did find a 1663  record at the New Mexico state archives identifying an ancestor as "Indio." So he does have American Indian roots, just further back than he'd believed. I wonder if he'll still identify himself as being American Indian?
  • Rodriguez is Puerto Rican through her father and Dominican through her mother. Gates described her tree as a "tangled web," provoking a hilarious reaction from Rodriguez. Her father's family intermarried repeatedly, likely in an effort to preserve "pure" bloodlines. Three of her third-great-grandfathers were brothers, and her great-grandparents were first cousins.

    Her surprise came on a trip to the Dominican Republic to learn more about her mom's family from a great-aunt. The aunt's parents—Rodriguez's great-grandparents—weren't married, it turns out. Her great-grandfather had a legal wife, and the two women raised the children together.

As in other episodes, DNA tests revealed guests' percentages of maternal ancestry from various parts of the world. You can read more about the tests and each person's results on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.

Also as before, Gates emphasized that mixing between ancestral groups or "races"—in this case, colonial Spanish and American Indian peoples—was common. This is part of what makes the definition of American really pretty broad.

Good news: From Lisa Louise Cooke's interview with Gates in her Genealogy Gems Podcast, it sounds like a second season is already in production.

Watch the full episode on the "Finding Your Roots" website.


Celebrity Roots | Hispanic Roots
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:25:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, March 16, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, March 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • Genealogy and family network website MyHeritage now has a feature that lets members easily create family calendars. You can choose from 15 designs and 28 languages, and create a calendar in one click. It's automatically decorated with your family photos and populated with birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other events from your MyHeritage.com family site. You can add or change events and photos, too, and purchase your calendar for as low as $19.95 plus shipping.
  • Family tree wiki site WikiTree.com has started a Genealogist-to-Genealogist Sharing Network (aka G2G). It'll allow researchers (whether or not they're WikiTree members) to ask other genealogists for help on topics such as general genealogy, research brick walls, or how to use WikiTree.
  • FamilySearch added 20 million new, free records to FamilySearch.org this week for Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, and 13 US states. The release includes 9 million California death records and 5 million Nevada marriage records. See the list of updated databases and link to each one here.
  • Florida International University (FIU) has acquired Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza's collection of thousands of books, handwritten and typed letters, photos and other primary documents relating to Cuba and Cuban genealogy. They include rare 17th- and 18th-century books, out-of-print publications, and thousands of unpublished genealogies and family manuscripts. FIU is now raising funds to create a Cuban center for genealogy centered around this collection. Read more about the Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza collection here.

FamilySearch | Fold3 | Hispanic Roots | Military records | MyHeritage | Social Networking
Friday, March 16, 2012 9:54:45 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Happy Triple Heritage Month: German, Italian & Polish Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

Did you know October is German American Heritage Month, Italian American Heritage Month and Polish American Heritage Month? That’s right. The month is almost over (that was fast!), but we can’t let it go by without sharing resources to help you trace these heritages. Here are some of our favorite online articles, sites and resources:

German
People with German heritage make up the largest ancestry group in the United States, according to the 2000 US census. I'm part of this statistic, at one-half German.

Italian
Those with Italian heritage make up the seventh largest ancestry group in the United States, with 15.6 million Americans claiming Italian roots in the 2000 US census.

Polish
If you have Polish ancestors, you share heritage with 9 million Americans and are part of the country's eighth largest ancestry group.

Hispanic Heritage Month (celebrating the ancestry of another big US heritage group) spanned part of this month, too, ending Oct. 15. You can see Hispanic heritage tips and resources in this blog post.


Family Tree University | Free Databases | German roots | Hispanic Roots | International Genealogy
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:40:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 16, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, September 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch released more searchable records this week, including  more than 6 million Hungarian Catholic Church records, 4 million Mexican civil registrations, 1 million new Chinese genealogies (1500 to 1900), and Quebec notarial records (1800 to 1900). US additions come from California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Washington and the Virgin Islands, plus 1942 WWII draft registrations. See the full list and link to each database here.
  • Family tree site Geni introduced its $4.95-per-month Geni Plus service as a level between the free Basic and $12.95 Pro memberships. Genealogists’ frustrated feedback after changes to those memberships led to Geni Plus, intended for social genealogists who want to collaborate with other researchers. It's "designed to give these members more power to build their personal family trees while discovering some of the benefits of working with others on their family history," says CEO Noah Tutak. Features include unlimited relatives in your tree and GEDCOM exports for any profile you can view on Geni (up to 100,000 records). See Geni’s blog for more details
  • Subscription British records site Findmypast.co.uk added a million 20th century merchant navy seamen records—the first time they’re accessible online. They list crew members of UK merchant ships from 1918 to 1941 and include photos.
  • This from the New York History blog: If you’re planning to visit Ellis Island and see where many immigrants first entered America, you can download a $1.99 cell phone tour taking you through the immigrant experience. Read more here.

FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | International Genealogy | Museums | Social Networking | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 4:49:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Search the 1930 Mexican Census Free Online
Posted by Diane

Subscription site Ancestry.com has added the 1930 Mexico National Census (El Quinto Censo General de Población y Vivienda 1930, México) and made the records free to search in celebration of Mexican Independence Day Sept. 16.

With nearly 13 million records, this census counted an estimated 90 percent of the population. Note that citizens from the Federal District, which includes Mexico City, aren’t named.

In its announcement, Ancestry.com calls this the most comprehensive historical Mexican census available online. (FamilySearch.org, the source of Ancestry.com’s index and images, also has the 1930 Mexico census records available in its free historical records search.)

Nearly 30 million Americans—about 10 percent of the US population—can trace their families to Mexico. Other Ancestry.com collections they can use to research their roots are border crossings from Mexico to the United States (1895-1957) and parish records. The records are gathered in a Mexico collection landing page. (The 1930 Mexican census is free to search, but not all the other records in the collection are free.)

If you’re researching ancestors in Mexico, check out these resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 11:33:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Genealogy Tips for Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted by Diane

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15, the anniversary of the 1821 declaration of independence for the Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

September also is marks the independence days of Mexico (16th), Chile (18th) and Belize (21st).

President Lyndon Johnson approved Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the observation to cover a 30-day period ending Oct. 15.

The month celebrates the long and important presence of people of Hispanic descent in North America. The Spanish fortress of St. Augustine, Fla., founded in 1565, is the first continuously inhabited European settlement in North America. The Spanish explored the US Southwest in the 16th century and founded Santa Fe, NM, in 1610.

The website Our American History/La Historia de Nuestra América relates the part the Spanish and Hispanic Americans played in the American Revolution—a role I have to admit I’ve never learned much about.

You can research Hispanic roots with help from our Hispanic Heritage Toolkit, which has articles including
...and more.

In ShopFamilyTree.com, you can snap up our digital research guides to Mexican roots and Spanish and Portuguese roots.

If it’s language tips you need (maybe for reading records or visiting your ancestral homeland), try our Everything Guides to learning Spanish and learning Brazilian Portuguese.


Hispanic Roots | International Genealogy
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 2:15:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Resources for Tracing Hispanic Roots
Posted by Diane

Today’s the start of Hispanic Heritage month, honoring the histories of the United States’ 46.9 million residents of Hispanic origin, who according to the Census Bureau make up the nation's largest ethnic minority.

About 64 percent of the country’s Hispanic residents have a Mexican background; 9 percent are Puerto Rican; 3.5 percent, Cuban; 3.1 percent, Salvadoran; and 2.7 percent, Dominican.

Four Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common last names in the 2000 US census: Garcia (placing eighth with 858,289 occurrences), Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th).

Researching Hispanic roots? Here are some places to start:
  • Our online Hispanic Heritage Toolkit has resources and tips for learning about Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Central and South American ancestors.
See our advice for research in the Caribbean, too.
The site also has a growing collection of church, civil registration and census records from the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Besides researching your Hispanic roots, here are a couple of other ways to mark the occasion:
  • PBS is airing "Latin Music USA," a documentary series, Mondays, Oct. 12 and 19, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | immigration records | International Genealogy
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:50:25 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]