Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
October, 2014 (11)
September, 2014 (17)
August, 2014 (18)
July, 2014 (16)
June, 2014 (18)
May, 2014 (17)
April, 2014 (17)
March, 2014 (17)
February, 2014 (16)
January, 2014 (16)
December, 2013 (11)
November, 2013 (15)
October, 2013 (19)
September, 2013 (20)
August, 2013 (23)
July, 2013 (24)
June, 2013 (14)
May, 2013 (25)
April, 2013 (20)
March, 2013 (24)
February, 2013 (25)
January, 2013 (20)
December, 2012 (19)
November, 2012 (25)
October, 2012 (22)
September, 2012 (24)
August, 2012 (24)
July, 2012 (21)
June, 2012 (22)
May, 2012 (28)
April, 2012 (44)
March, 2012 (36)
February, 2012 (36)
January, 2012 (27)
December, 2011 (22)
November, 2011 (29)
October, 2011 (52)
September, 2011 (26)
August, 2011 (26)
July, 2011 (17)
June, 2011 (31)
May, 2011 (32)
April, 2011 (31)
March, 2011 (31)
February, 2011 (28)
January, 2011 (27)
December, 2010 (34)
November, 2010 (26)
October, 2010 (27)
September, 2010 (27)
August, 2010 (31)
July, 2010 (23)
June, 2010 (30)
May, 2010 (23)
April, 2010 (30)
March, 2010 (30)
February, 2010 (30)
January, 2010 (23)
December, 2009 (19)
November, 2009 (27)
October, 2009 (30)
September, 2009 (25)
August, 2009 (26)
July, 2009 (33)
June, 2009 (32)
May, 2009 (30)
April, 2009 (39)
March, 2009 (35)
February, 2009 (21)
January, 2009 (29)
December, 2008 (15)
November, 2008 (15)
October, 2008 (25)
September, 2008 (30)
August, 2008 (26)
July, 2008 (26)
June, 2008 (22)
May, 2008 (27)
April, 2008 (20)
March, 2008 (20)
February, 2008 (19)
January, 2008 (22)
December, 2007 (21)
November, 2007 (26)
October, 2007 (20)
September, 2007 (17)
August, 2007 (23)
July, 2007 (17)
June, 2007 (13)
May, 2007 (7)

Search

Archives

<October 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2829301234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678

More Links








# Thursday, September 04, 2014
Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day This Sunday, Sept. 7
Posted by Diane

This Sunday, Sept. 7, is National Grandparents Day in the United States. Do something to honor your grandparents—and if you are a grandparent, to honor your bond with your grandchildren.

  
My two rugrats with my grandma, their great-grandma.

Here are a few National Grandparents Day ideas:
  • Pass down old family stories to your grandchild. You could fill a notebook, record yourself talking, or fill in a book of prompts such as Stories From My Grandparent.
  • You might know a lot about the lives of your own grandparents, a relatively recent generation, genealogically speaking. Even so, you could focus on fleshing out what you know with newspaper research and local histories, and/or sum up your research and your memories about your grandparent in an essay.
  • Create a "generations" photo like this one, with a member of your family's oldest generation holding a photo of his or her child, who's holding a photo of his or her child. In most cases, the photo is "faked": You take a picture of each person holding an empty frame, then use photo-editing software to add a picture into the frame. Lots of tutorials are available online; here's one.
How will you celebrate Grandparents' Day?


saving and sharing family history
Thursday, September 04, 2014 9:50:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Four Pointers to Preserve Your Family Heirlooms in a Disaster
Posted by Diane

As a natural worrier, I do my share of worst-case-scenario thinking—natural disasters, economic ruin, environmental destruction, etc. Uplifting, I know. 

But the good thing about National Preparedness Month, which happens each September in the United States, is the abundance of information about how to minimize harm to your family and your stuff if one of those scary scenarios should happen.

When it comes to stuff, genealogists often prize heirlooms above all else. What would happen to your family treasures in a fire or a natural disaster? Prepare them for the worst with these four tips from Family Curator Denise Levenick, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes:

  • Inventory: Create an heirloom inventory with pictures of each item and information about it, including its location in your home. You can do this in a document to keep digitally (store the photo files along with the document) or on paper in a binder. However you do this, keep a copy of the inventory in an off-site location.
  • Prioritize: If you have several heirlooms, prioritize them in order of what to save in an emergency—say, if you had to evacuate your home or escape a fire. (Obviously, after any family members or friends in your home at the time.) Make a list of priority items and where they are.
  • Insure: Talk to your insurance agent, especially about valuable heirlooms. Would loss or damage be covered in a cases of fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, theft or accident? You may need to purchase additional coverage.
  • Plan: Make sure your wishes for heirlooms are known in case something happens to you. Put this information in your will or give it to a trusted friend or family member. Along with this, list login details for any family tree or photo storage accounts. 
Find more disaster preparation help for the genealogist in our Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists on-demand webinar, presented by Levenick.


Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 12:40:40 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Ancestry.com Won't Retire MyCanvas After All
Posted by Diane

Good news for users of the MyCanvas photo book service (including me—I used it to create my wedding album), which owners Ancestry.com had planned to retire in September.

Ancestry.com just announced that instead of discontinuing MyCanvas, it will transfer the site to Alexander's, the Utah-based printing production company that already handled the printing of MyCanvas photo books, posters, calendars and other products.

Eric Shoup, executive VP of product at Ancestry.com, wrote on the Ancestry.com blog that the transfer, which will take about six months, should be a smooth one for MyCanvas users. Users' projects will remain available on Ancestry.com until the site moves over to Alexander's. More details will be available as the transition moves ahead.


Ancestry.com | Photos | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:13:25 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, July 18, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: July 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • The UK-based genealogy company Findmypast and Wall-to-Wall, the "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV show production company,  are working together on Who Do You Think You Are? Story,  a website to help you "produce" your family story. You'll enter information about your immediate family and upload photos, and the site will play an "animated retelling" of your family story, including events that may have affected your family. It will draw from historical records and British newspaper articles at FindMyPast. You can be notified when the site launches by entering your email address on the Who Do You think You Are? Story website. Read more about the service on the Findmypast blog.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage | saving and sharing family history
Friday, July 18, 2014 9:48:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 21, 2014
FamilySearch Centers Add Free Scanning for Your Old Photos and Documents
Posted by Diane

If you have bunches of old photos and records you've been meaning to scan, here's a new option for getting 'er done: FamilySearch has added a free photo and document scanning and preservation service in more than 2,800 of its FamilySearch Centers in North America. (The service is in the works for international centers.)

The scanning equipment, called "multifunction products" (MPFs) is available through a partnership with Lexmark. The MPFs have software that scans your family history materials directly to your account on FamilySearch.org. There, you can tag and share the images, and attach them to people in your FamilySearch family tree.

You also can opt to save your images to a flash drive to take home with you.

To use the service, just bring your photos and documents to your local FamilySearch Center (I would call first to double-check the center's hours and make sure the equipment will be available there for your use).

Use the FamilySearch Center Locator to find the closest location to you.

You can see what the scanners look like in the FamilySearch announcement. From what I can tell, they're flatbed-style scanners, in which you set the photo or document face-down on glass and lower the lid on top. That makes the service best for paper prints. It's usually safer to digitally preserve fragile items, old albums and cased images (such as daguerreotypes) by photographing them. (Here are tips for using your camera to "scan" photos and records.)


FamilySearch | Photos | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 2:40:38 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, April 23, 2014
11 Family Reunion Keepsake Ideas
Posted by Diane

Family reunion season is in the summer, which means now is a good time to think about details such as any mementos or souvenirs you'd like to create, whether to remember the reunion or for attendees to take home.

Here are some ideas for both types of keepsakes. Some will do double-duty as activities to keep folks busy and talking during the event:
  • A family tree thumbprint poster for each person to add his or her unique mark. You would need the blank tree, colored ink pads, and baby wipes so people can wipe off the ink. A printable blank tree is part of our Instant Family Reunion Deluxe Kit in ShopFamilyTree.com (it also includes a planning checklist and book; coordinated templates for pretty name tags, signs and other materials, a decorative family tree you can type in and print copies, and more).

  • A family cookbook, consisting of recipes handed down and relatives' new favorites. You could have contributors send recipes ahead of time and paste them into a Word document to print and share, or have people bring recipe cards you can collect, copy and share. Or go fancier and create a cookbook on a photo book website. Most sites let you share your photo project so others can order copies for themselves.

  • A quilt made of squares contributed by each person or family. You would need fabric markers or paint and cloth squares, and a handy person to sew them all together later on. You could auction off the quilt to raise money for next year's reunion (and then the winner could bring it back to be auctioned again for another relative to keep for the year).

    If you want families to be able to take something home, you could have them create two squares, one for the quilt and one to keep and frame. 
  • A scrapbook, with pages created by each family (ask attendees to bring their family photos). You can scan the pages later to share.
  • An autograph album, with the signature of each reunion attendee.
  • An ongoing album with photos from each reunion, which a designated person could keep, update with new photos, and bring back each year.
  • A large group photo, like this one or even this one. You can have reprints made for each person, or email digital copies (if a professional photographer takes the shot, be sure to get his or her permission first).
  • Have the children interview their grandparents and record it, or have someone write down the questions and answers on an interview form (part of the aforementioned Instant Family Reunion Deluxe Kit). You can create a video or compile the forms into a book to share.
  • T-shirts with your family name and an old photo or a group shot from a previous reunion. It might be fun to have fabric paint or markers so people can personalize their shirts.
  • A family calendar with birthdays and anniversaries marked, and perhaps important dates in family history. You can download calendar templates from the internet at sites such as this one or use the ones available with your word processing software.
  • Plants from Grandma's garden. You could root cuttings ahead of time, then distribute them in small flower pots.

What reunion goodies has your family created? Click Comments below to tell us.

The Instant Family Reunion Deluxe kit is on sale in April in ShopFamilyTree.com. Check it out today—fewer than 50 are left.



Family Reunions | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:07:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, April 22, 2014
10 Tips for Genealogy Spring Cleaning
Posted by Diane



Sweeping, mopping, dusting ... I could do without that kind of spring cleaning. When you already sweep the kitchen floor twice a day (I have two toddlers and a shed-happy dog), you don't get excited about deep-cleaning.

But genealogy spring cleaning: Now that's a different story. Looking through my research, labeling folders, filing documents and giving files consistent names sounds like heaven.

Whether or not it sounds heavenly to you, the tips readers sent for our Genealogy Spring Cleaning Contest will help you get—and keep—your research organized. Here are the winning tips and some of my other favorites (we're compiling a free download with categorized additional tips from the contest, and we're also planning on featuring some in a Family Tree Magazine article).
  • Anita Boynton, who won our grand prize, will get a free registration to the Family Tree University Organize Your Genealogy online course. She says: "I color coded my four grandparents' lines, so that I can easily grab a folder or whatever as I need it. I used red, yellow, blue and green, so I can easily use colored pens, pencils, binders, stickers, etc., to sort, tag and mark boxes and pages, color-code categories in my Outlook email browser for tasks and contacts, etc."
Our two runners-up each received our How to Archive Family Keepsakes e-book by Denise Levenick.
  • Luanne Newman's tip helps her keep an ongoing timeline of ancestral residences: "As I find dates pertinent to an ancestor, I enter it into an Excel file. For instance, my grandfather was a chef in Chicago and as I run across correspondence from an employer or information on his draft card, I'll put the employer's name and the date he was employed there. I have a file for each relative to update when I find fun facts. 
  • Herbert Boring has a tip for keeping track of master copies of records and forms, "A lot of the time when I can't find a copy of a paper, I just make more copies until I don't know what the original is. When you make or get the first copy of something, make a small mark on it with a yellow highlighter. It will not show up when you make a black-and-white copy, so you'll always know which is the original."
A few other tips that resonated with me are:
  • I have written up a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for my digital files. This way I am saving photos and documents the same way and I'l be able to find them later. » Tina Telesca
  • For future generations and their organization—I am collecting autographs from family members.  I take my autograph book with me at family get togethers, reunions, and whenever we have a chance to visit family out of state. » Marsha Landry
  • I file all documents, photos and other items in chronological order in binders using sheet protectors. Each binder starts with a couple's marriage and ends with their death. As each of their children marries, a page is inserted directing reader to a new binder starting with the marriage of that child. » Jan Rogge
  • I've scanned all of my parents' and grandparents' photos to Flickr.  It only costs about $25 a year, and that way the photos are safe if my house gets blown away by a tornado.  I've created "sets" for each grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.  If a family member is interested, I can send the link to the person they're inquiring about. I have the majority of pictures labeled with who they are and other information. » Melissa Hull
  • I have a great little multi-sectioned notebook in which I've dedicated a section for each family I am researching. I no longer have bits of paper and post-its wandering around my research space. It fits inside my purse so I can bring it with me. » Sharon Sommier
  • As I receive papers, I make a goal to scan them right away. The original then enters my folder that is building up continuously. Once that folder is full, the sorting begins.

    For digital materials, I have a folder on my computer desktop.  There's nothing like a good movie to sit there and watch while sorting through, documenting information and putting them into their digital folders! » Sarah Stout
  • I used OneNote to organize all those pieces of information that just don't fit into the family tree—at least not yet. I have a scribbler called Family History with tabs for each family surname. When I find information that I'm unsure fits,  I enter it under the appropriate family tab then on the individual's page. I make sure I put the source, so when I want to go back to that information I know where I can find it.
You can make other scribblers, such as research logs, genealogy general information or anything else you'd like to keep track of. » Ellen Thompson-Jennings
And Carolyn Hoard has the honor of submitting the funniest tip. I have a feeling most genealogists can relate: "Shut your office door when people arrive. Don't forget to migrate stuff into your storage room. Close the door fast, before it escapes!"



Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:41:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, April 01, 2014
8 Ways To Know It's Time To Start Writing Your Family History
Posted by Diane

genealogy stories wedding photo

We research our ancestors for lots of reasons. For me, it's so they'll be known and remembered—not just by me, but also by my family.

Lots of us genealogists have a goal to write our family history. It's one of the best ways to organize research finds, draw conclusions, and neatly package our family history (instead of delivering it in a pile of records, notes and sources).

But we can't wait until we're "finished" researching to start writing. All genealogists know you never finish researching: There are always more relatives to discover and brick walls in the way. So how do you know when it's time to start writing? Here are eight tipoffs:

1. People are curious. For me, it was when people in my dad's family started asking about my research. I brought my binder of records (this was before I kept most documents digitally) to a family gathering. I promised copies to my aunts, and it occurred to me that I should add some context. Their paternal line was small enough that I could write a simple narrative in a Word document (here's more on that), put it on CDs with PDFs and JPGs of records, and hand them out at Christmas. 


2. An important anniversary is coming up. Your parents' Golden wedding anniversary, or a 25th annual family reunion, is a great occasion to put together some form of a family history book. Or consider current events: The upcoming WWI centennial is an opportunity to share the stories of ancestors of that era.

You don't have to write a complete family history—you could undertake one of these smaller, more manageable family history projects. Just give yourself enough time for whatever you plan to do.

3. You've found a story that wants to be told. Maybe your Civil War ancestor's pension record is a windfall of information about his experiences, your father or grandfather told you about surviving the Great Depression, or you strongly identify with your pioneer great-grandmother. My grandfather who died before I was born grew up in an orphanage and put himself through college. These stories hold important lessons.

4. You're at a brick wall. You might think you have to break through the brick wall first, but this is actually one of the best times to start writing. Writing about a research problem will help you analyze what you've found and come up with new ideas. Plus, if you wait until you solve every question, you might never start writing. You might even invoke Murphy's Law of Genealogy: The moment you finish writing your family story, you'll find the record you've been after for years.

5. You solved a brick wall or achieved a research goal. If you finally found your immigrant ancestor's passenger record or identified a mystery photo, celebrate by writing that story and how you solved the problem. It'll help you take stock of your research and figure out your next goal.

6. You need a break. If you're feeling burned out on doing research, or you need to refocus, stop looking for new information. Instead, look through everything you already have and start writing.

7. You feel like you should be writing this stuff down. If you have a nagging feeling that you should be writing about the family history you've learned, there's a reason for it. Obey the voice in your head!

8. You've done some research. You can start writing a story at any point—no need to wait until your family tree is yay big. If you've only gotten to your grandparents, write about them. Or go closer to home and write how your parents met, or how you met your spouse.

In fact, this may be the best way to do it. As you continue researching, connect these smaller stories together and you'll have an ongoing narrative of your family history.

Our Write Your Family History Value Pack has books and lessons to help you plan out and work on your family history book writing project.
 
And if you need guidance on managing source information and citations in your research and writing project, look into our Family Tree University Source Analysis one-week online genealogy workshop, April 18-25, with professional genealogist Michael Hait.



Family Tree University | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 10:14:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Free and Low-Cost Software to Retouch Damaged Family Photos
Posted by Diane



If you're looking to scan and digitally repair old, faded and torn family photos, we have a webinar coming up that'll show you how to do it.

But first, you'll need photo-editing software so you can make the repairs. Good news: You can find good software for free.

See what photo-editing software might be already on your computer. Windows Live Photo Gallery, for example, lets you do basic retouching and adjust exposure and color. 

If you want to see what else is out there, look for free photo-editing software you can download. According to Gizmodo, Adobe is giving away an older version of its Photoshop software along with the Adobe Creative Suite (CS) 2. This version is suitable for most genealogy needs with tools such as Clone, Brightness/Contrast, and color balance. You do have to sign up for an Adobe account to download it, and Macs will need OSX 10.2.8 to 10.3.8, or the "translator" program Rosetta
Update: Unfortunately, it sounds like this offer is only for previous Photoshop owners. Thanks to the commenters who created an Adobe account, made this discovery and reported back here. (One also recommended Irfanview.)
Want other options for retouching old photos? Gizmodo lists 10 free photo-editors here. One of them is Google's Picasa, which we used for our step-by-step guide to fixing faded, spotted and creased pictures and for the photo above.

A relatively low-cost photo-editing software option that gives you a lot of functionality is Photoshop Elements, a "light" version of Photoshop.

Our Photo-Editing and Retouching for Genealogists webinar, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT) will show you what apps and programs are available for photo-editing on your computer and mobile device, how to retouch photos, and more. Check it out in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:25:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Wednesday, January 01, 2014
10 Genealogy Resolutions for 2014
Posted by Diane

In January, we at Family Tree Magazine typically note an uptick in family history interest, perhaps a result of holiday nostalgia and family get-togethers.

If you're feeling inspired to preserve family memories or kick your genealogy research into a higher gear, we suggest making (and keeping) a few of the following resolutions in 2014.

You could resolve to:
  1. Scan old family photos and other mementos, and share them with relatives. Be specific—resolve to scan one item every Saturday, for example. How to Archive Family Keepsakes has instructions for digitizing and organizing old photos and other family treasures.

  2. Set up a genealogy research log and to-do list database using a cloud service such as Evernote or Google Drive, and faithfully maintain it to streamline your genealogy workflow.

  3. Organize your records—on your computer and in your file drawer—in a way that makes sense for the way you research. Schedule 30 minutes once a week or once a month to file accumulated papers. (For serious assistance, consider our Organize Your Genealogy Independent Study Course Download.)

  4. Finally call great-aunt Betty and ask to talk about your family history.

  5. Pick a family and, for each place they lived, run a place search of the Family History Library online catalog. Records that are digitized on the free FamilySearch.org will be linked. Otherwise, order promising film online for viewing at a nearby FamilySearch Center. 

  6. Commit an hour or so a week to volunteering for a records indexing project. Try FamilySearch Indexing or Ancestry.com’s World Archives Project, or see if your local library or historical society could use your indexing assistance.

  7. Join a genealogical society for your hometown or for a place where your ancestor lived.

  8. Reach out to other genealogy researchers online through genealogy message boards, blogging, posting an online tree, or using a social networking site such as Facebook or Google+. If you find someone with common research interests, propose a research collaboration.

  9. Start a family history tradition: Institute an old family recipe night, for example, celebrate an ancestor's birthday, or make an annual day trip to the family hometown.

  10. Start writing your family history. Take it one ancestor at a time. Our intensive eight-week Write Your Family History online course will get you well on your way, or start smaller with the prompts in our digital download.

It would be a lot to keep all of these resolutions, so think about what you really want to accomplish this year.

Once you make your resolutions, you'll find the how-to help you need to follow through in Family Tree Magazine and at ShopFamilyTree.com, and you can post genealogy questions to our Facebook page or email them to me.


Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 9:50:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, December 03, 2013
12 Gift Ideas for People Who Appreciate Family History
Posted by Diane

I wanted to give you a little help with your holiday shopping list. These are my favorite things from ShopFamilyTree.com, and they'd be great for genealogists, but not just for genealogists. Anyone with an appreciation for family history would enjoy these gifts.

See below the image for the numbered descriptions and links to learn more. PS: A lot of these are on sale for Cyber Week!



1. From the Family Kitchen by Gena Philibert Ortega is a pretty, hardbound book with food history, old recipe resources and pages to record family recipes. It would be nice for the family chef, for Grandma or a new daughter-in-law, perhaps with a few recipes already written inside.

2. The Children's Preservation Kit has the archival storage materials a new parent needs to preserve baby's coming-home outfit, a baptismal gown, favorite toys and more.

3. A parent, grandparent or other photographer who likes capturing faces will appreciate the photography tips in Expressions: Taking Extraordinary Photos for Your Scrapbooking and Memory Art.

4. For the Civil War buff, Life in Civil War America has interesting and surprising details about what it was like for our ancestors who lived during the Civil War.

5. Our Historical Map Sampler genealogy desktop calendar is a nice stocking-stuffer for genealogy and geography enthusiasts.

6. Not sure what to give? A Cup of Comfort for Christmas has heartwarming stories that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

7. The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is on the wish lists of many family historians who want to digitally preserve old family photos discovered on research trips and visits to relatives' homes.  

8. Got a writer on your list? My Life and Times by Sunny Jane Morton, a book in a three-ring binder, is full of prompts, exercises and fill-in pages to help memoirists write their own life story.

9. You can get the Watercolor Design Family Tree as an 11x14-inch paper chart or as a type-in PDF file (includes three sizes) that you can download, fill in with family names, save, print and frame. Print copies as keepsakes for all your relatives.

10. If you're been wanting to give compiled genealogy information to your Mom or Dad, you could give the Family Tree Memory Keeper, filled out. It's a workbook for keeping genealogy information, family stories and records, old recipes, important dates and more (so you might want one for yourself).

11. If your family is proud of its Irish roots, 101 Things You Didn't Know About Irish History: The People, Places, Culture and Traditions of the Emerald Isle will make your relatives even prouder.

12. The Floral Design Family Tree is similar to the Watercolor Design, available as an 11x14-inch paper chart or as a type-in PDF file (three sizes included), just with a different look. I have this framed in my daughter's room.


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 3:51:47 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Hooray for the Winner of Our Decorative Family Tree Chart!
Posted by Diane

We have a winner of the framed decorative family tree chart featured on the cover of the October/November Family Tree Magazine:



Kathleen Mehaffey of Citrus Heights, Calif., come on down!

We'll create an 11x14 chart with the family names Kathleen provides, frame the chart and send it on to California.

Want this chart for yourself? It's not hard or expensive: You can go to ShopFamilyTree.com and purchase a PDF download that includes three sizes of the family tree chart. You can type in your names, print the chart, and frame it. You can save your chart with the names in it, or clear it, add different names, and print another one.

(If you're the hand-lettering type, you also can order a printed chart on nice paper.)

I think they'd make great genealogy-themed gifts for the holidays, or for a new baby or married couple. You can see the family trees in my kids' rooms in this post.

Click here to see the three decorative family tree chart designs in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 2:38:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, October 28, 2013
8 Photo and Document Scanning Tips for Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Does a pile of papers and pictures stand between you and your dream of a digitized family archive? Digitized files are easier than their paper counterparts to share with relatives, back up, and turn into a family history book one day.

Get started scanning with these quick tips from our upcoming One-Week Workshop: Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms.

1. Not sure where to start? Start digitizing your most valuable and irreplaceable items first.

2. Set an achievable goal, such as scanning 10 items a week, or participating in Scanfest (genealogists meet online the last Sunday each month and chat as they scan).

3. You could speed up the scanning process by scanning multiple photos at once. Some photo software (such as Adobe Photoshop Elements) automatically separates the scanned images into separate files.

4. Choose the right resolution—usually, 300 dpi for documents and at least 600 dpi for images. If you plan to print an enlargement or zoom in for detailed retouching, go up to 1,200 dpi.

5. Consider saving master copies of photos as TIFFs, and use JPG copies to share and for everyday viewing. The PDF format is a good choice for documents.

6. Before you scan, clean your scanner glass with a soft, dry cloth. If it's really dirty, spray a little glass cleaner on the cloth (never on the glass). If the photo or document is dusty, gently brush it with a soft, dry brush.

7. Organize digital files as you scan. Decide on a file structure for your scanned images and file them right away. If you use photo-organizing software, tag images with the name of the person or family associated with the item, plus a place, date, type of record, and other pertinent information.

8.
Back up your scans in multiple locations, such as to the cloud, to an external hard drive, and on your sister's computer.

The Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms one-week workshop, happening Nov. 15-22, will help you 
  • create a manageable plan for your digitizing project
  • work with fragile and bulky items
  • learn the best options for digitizing items
  • Learn how to back up your digital files
The workshop gives you access to four pre-recorded video classes with presentations and demos, excerpts from Family Tree University's popular Digitize Your Family History course, plus daily message-board discussions and a Q&A with digitization expert Denise May Levenick, author of How To Archive Family Keepsakes.

Register for the Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms workshop before Nov. 11 to save $35 on tuition with code WORKSHOPEARLY.


Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Monday, October 28, 2013 3:44:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, October 18, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors has opened its 2014 Excellence in Writing competition. Entries are due by June 15, 2014. Both members and nonmembers, published and unpublished, can enter to win cash prizes. Entries must fall into one of six categories—see them here.  For additional details and entry instructions, download the entrant packet here.
  • The AncestryDNA updates previewed to 6,000 AncestryDNA customers in September are now available to everyone who's tested with Ancestry.com. The updates offer a more-detailed ethnic heritage analysis, including for African ancestry, a redesigned user interface, and a database of results from more than 200,000 customers. There's no additional cost for those who've tested with Ancestry.com; a new DNA test costs $99. Read more on the Ancestry.com blog.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | saving and sharing family history
Friday, October 18, 2013 12:54:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Create a Family History Book Workshop Registration Giveaway!
Posted by Diane



Maybe you've thought about putting all your family history research together into a book. I have. It seems like the best way to make all this work available to my family, in a digestible way and an easy-to-find, permanent place. And to honor the ancestors I've gotten to know through my research.

It's a big project. Scary, even.

We want to get you started on your family history book in our Create a Family History Book One-Week Workshop, Oct. 25-31, guided by published genealogy author Nancy Hendrickson. The video classes, written lessons, and message boad interaction with Nancy and workshop participants will help you
  • learn to build a solid foundation for your book
  • put together images, documents, stories and research into a full manuscript
  • share your book with your family or a wider audience
Don't worry, you won't have to do it all now. But the workshop will prepare you with a start and a plan, so you can chip away at your genealogy writing project as you're able.

You can win a free registration for this workshop—click here to enter our giveaway. The entry deadline is Monday. Oct. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Think you need to first "finish" your research or retire first? Nope! Here are five comon excuses family historians give for not getting started—and how to get past those writer's blocks.

Here are some smaller-scale ideas for family history writing projects that can serve as building blocks for your family history, or stand on their own as ways to share your research.

Click here for the Create a Family History One-Week Workshop details and program.


Family Tree University | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:30:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, October 09, 2013
In Which I Do Some Genealogical Decorating With Pretty (Easy) Family Tree Charts
Posted by Diane

I promised our Genealogy Insider email newsletter readers that I'd show the framed family tree charts I put in my children's rooms.

You can get these charts as type-in downloads or as blank paper versions at ShopFamilyTree.com. You also can win a framed one—more on this below.

Leo's tree is the 8x10-inch Watercolor design



Why not hammer in the picture nail with what your two-year-old has immediately at hand?



For Norah's tree, I used the Floral design, also the 8x10-inch size.



Until Daddy takes care of the picture ledge item on his honey-do list, its home is on Norah's dresser (next to her hairbow frame, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. Yes, I actually completed a project I pinned).



These obviously aren't my research charts or a complete record of all of the kids' known ancestors. Nope. Instead, they're a beautiful way to display the names of my children's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Because these trees are in children's rooms, I chose frames in kid colors. (I printed copies for their baby books, too.)

You also could use a more-versatile gold-tone frame, like our giveaway family tree. I think these decorative family trees would make lovely gifts for the holidays, a baby shower or a wedding.

Three family tree chart designs are available in ShopFamilyTree.com—the Floral and Watercolor trees I used, and this Vintage tree:



The family tree charts are available two ways in ShopFamilyTree.com:  
  • a downloadable PDF, which includes three sizes—8x10, 11x14 and 16x20. You can type names right into the spaces on the PDF file and print it on your printer (what I did), or take the file to an office store to be printed.

  • a printed chart. You get an 11x14-inch blank chart that you fill out by hand (trace lightly with pencil first, or type names on your computer and print them onto clear labels). It looks like this option might be temporarily out of stock, though.
Here's how you can win the 11x14-inch Watercolor family tree chart, printed with your family names and framed: Enter our drawing. That's it!

Oh, the giveaway deadline is Nov. 1, and you can get extra chances to win if you get friends to enter. See details on the Family Tree Chart Giveaway page.



Editor's Pick | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy for kids | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:39:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Is Your Family History Archive Ready for a Disaster?
Posted by Diane

My current family disaster plan is this:
  1. Remember where in the house the kids are.
  2. Run to get them.
  3. Yell for husband and dog.
  4. Leave house (or run to basement, depending what's coming).
  5. Grab purse on the way out.
Notice there's no room for photos or genealogy in this procedure. Most of that stuff backed up online, although for a lot of it, I'd have to look up where to retrieve it. And it sure would be nice, once people and pets are safe, to be able to save our important family papers and photos.

But let's face it: "Do the dishes or we'll be forced to eat cereal with our fingers" trumps "Prepare family papers for a terrible disaster that with any luck won't ever happen" on my to-do list.



Seeing the recent devastating floods in Colorado and fires in California has made me reconsider this non-plan for my family history materials. Before the end of the year, I want to 
  • organize my paper research, documents and photos in one place (using these hints from our interview with Eric Pourchot of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works)

  • digitize everything that can be digitized (hear scanning tips from Family Curator Denise Levenick in this Family Tree Magazine Podcast)

  • make sure it's all backed up and easily accessible

  • share everything with family so multiple copies exist
Would you like to take similar steps to protect your family archive? Our Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit can show you (and me) how to do it. It includes:
  • our Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar with Denise Levenick (it takes place Sept. 25, and you'll receive the webinar recording even if you can't attend the Sept. 25 presentation)
  • How to Archive Family Keepsakes book by Denise Levenick
  • Genealogy in the Cloud how-to article
The Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit is on sale for September, which is National Preparedness Month.

You also can just register for the Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar here.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:07:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Putting It All Together: The Write Your Family History Value Pack
Posted by Diane

I've been doing genealogy research since I started at the magazine 10 years ago (in more earnest in recent years). Lately as I update my family tree, I have this niggling thought: How do I put it all together?



I don't want to just record family history. I want to package it all up in words and pictures, to both summarize and detail my ancestors' lives, and make it easy for people to see all those connections and family events.

This is a comment I've heard in one form or another from many of you. Here's something that might help: Our Write Your Family History Value Pack. It has articles and tools that'll help you carry out a family history writing project, big or small, from start to finish. This value pack includes:
  • Writing Your Family Memoir independent study course from Family Tree University
  • Seven Tips to Write Your Family History article download
  • Personal Historian 2 software on CD
  • Writing Life Stories book download
Learn more about each of these components here. Buying them together in the Write Your Family History Value Pack saves you 66 percent!

The Write Your Family History Value Pack also comes with 25 percent off an instructor-guided Family Tree University course (such as Write Your Family History: Create a Captivating Record of Your Family’s Story or Creating a Family History Book: Guidance for Assembling and Printing a Family Keepsake).

saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:40:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 08, 2013
National Photo Month Giveaway: Photo Preservation Kit!
Posted by Diane

Did you know that May is National Photography Month?

Of course, photography plays a huge role in family history research. Nothing connects you with an ancestor and inspires you to discover more about his or her life, than a photograph.

This one is one of my favorite family pictures. It shows my great-great-grandfather about 1910 in front of the cigar store he opened in Cincinnati. He's standing third from left. His son, my great-grandfather, is in the doorway on the left.



This National Photo Month, we want to help you celebrate and preserve your favorite family photos by giving away one of our new Photo Preservation Kits (now available in ShopFamilyTree.com).



The kit contains specially selected archival photo storage and preservation products from archival supplier Gaylord Bros., plus easy-to-follow instructions from Family Tree Magazine's Family Archivist, Sunny Jane Morton. 

You can enter our National Photo Month Sweepstakes here. And you'll get two extra chances to win for every friend who registers using your referral link (which you'll get after you submit your entry).

Our National Photo Month Sweepstakes entry deadline is May 20.

You'll also find these National Photo Month specials at ShopFamilyTree.com:

Genealogy fun | Photos | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 11:22:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, March 04, 2013
Sharing Stories of Heirlooms—Old and New
Posted by Diane

When it comes to preserving and sharing the stories of family heirlooms (something we talk a lot about here at Family Tree Magazine) I think it's important to log not only antiques that have been in your family for generations, but also newer objects you hope will become heirlooms.

That's why, as part of the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt, I registered my childhood rocking chair in Houstory's Heirloom Registry.



The registry is a site where you can keep a log of your family heirlooms. You affix an Heirloom Registry sticker to an inconspicuous spot on each item, and your descendants can use the code on the sticker to look up what you had to say about that object.



This chair is something I played with, and I hope my daughter Norah will play with it. Santa (aka Mom and Dad) gave it to my two older sisters and me when I was about 18 months old, which would have been in 1975. My mom says that I "kind of took over ownership." This makes me feel better about my sisters always hiding my dolls and calling shotgun first when we were kids.

I  considered posting a photo of myself sitting in the chair, but the only one we have is a diaper shot. So instead I offer this:



Yes, I get to kiss those chubby almost-4-month-old cheeks every day.

Even if you don't want to register your family heirlooms online, pleasepleaseplease write down information about them (you can use the free downloadable Heirloom Inventory on FamilyTreeMagazine.com) and share copies with loved ones. Please.

Now for the scavenger hunt fun! 
  • If you’d like to start the scavenger hunt now, go to The Houstory Hearth blog’s special Scavenger Hunt Page. There you’ll find information about the hunt, the prizes, and the list of the other three blogs you’ll need to visit today.
  • If you already know what you’re doing, here’s the Heirloom Registry ID Code you need to obtain my secret word: CEFD-304-562-5138-2011
  • If this is your final stop for Hunt No. 1, be sure to submit your entry form with your secret words before Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at midnight PST. Instructions for Hunt No. 2, which starts on March 6, will be posted at the Houstory Hearth blog at 12 a.m. EST on March 6. Good luck—and happy hunting!
 


Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Monday, March 04, 2013 11:15:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 28, 2013
Go on a Scavenger Hunt for Family Heirlooms (and Maybe Win Prizes)!
Posted by Diane

You might've seen the news about the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt that the folks over at Houstory have put together for next week.



I love how it will encourage genealogists to record and share the stories behind their family heirlooms, so I'm happy to be part of it. Plus, you can win a bunch of prizes, including our Family Tree Magazine 2012 Annual CD; How to Archive Family Keepsakes from the Family Curator herself, Denise Levenick; Preserving Your Family Photographs from Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor, and more.

Scavenger hunt days are March 4, 6 and 8, with a prize awarded each day plus a grand prize at the end.

To go on the hunt, you'll need to visit four blogs on their designated hunt day—that's Monday, March 4 for this Genealogy Insider blog. Click here to see the list of all four blogs you need to visit on Monday.

Each blogger will post about an heirloom he or she has logged in Houstory's Heirloom Registry. The post will provide that item's registry code. After you visit each blog, you'll go to the Heirloom Registry website, look up the heirloom using the registry code, view the Registry Certificate for that item, and find a secret code word. Then you'll include the code words from the four blogs on the entry form you can link to from this page.

You'll find all the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt instructions here, and you also can get updates by following Houstory on Facebook and Twitter (#HoustoryHunt).

So I'll see you back here on Monday for the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt, and I'll share a little about one of my favorite family heirlooms. 

Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:51:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 10, 2013
Blog Book Tour: How to Archive Family Keepsakes
Posted by Beth



How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records (Family Tree Books, 2012) by Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, launches a blog book tour today that runs through Saturday, Jan. 26.

Visit 14 popular genealogy blogs and websites featuring Denise and her book for book excerpts, interviews, special guest posts, free downloads and giveaways. View the schedule at the Blog Book Tour Page.

With top reviews from leading genealogy bloggers and 5-star ratings on Amazon.com, this new resource by Denise will help you organize and preserve your family history heirlooms and research in 2013.

How to Archive Family Keepsakes offers practical guidance for family historians who are:
  • helping a parent or loved one downsize to a smaller home.
  • needing a simple, effective filing system for genealogy research.
  • interested in scanning and making digital copies of genealogy records.
  • looking for a way to preserve your family history and heirlooms for future generations.
The book is currently available at ShopFamilyTree.com at a 28 percent discount. Proceeds from the sale of the book during the online book tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Denise’s mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman.




Family Heirlooms | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:37:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Editors' Pick: Organize Your Way to Your Best Genealogy Year
Posted by Beth



Effective family history researchers know that organization is the key to productivity. Are you as organized as you'd like to be—or could be? If your new year's resolution is to cut through your genealogy clutter, check out this trio of PDF book downloads by Denise May Levenick, the Family Curator that provides practical step-by-step solutions for organizing physical and digital materials, once and for all.





How to Organize Inherited Items 
Are you the lucky recipient of Mom and Dad's "stuff"—a lifetime's worth of family photos, papers, and memorabilia packed into boxes? Learn how to organize inherited items in a way that honors them while bringing peace to the rest of the family. You'll learn how to:
    •    Effectively sort and purge boxes that you inherited
    •    Decide which family heirlooms to keep
    •    Donate items to museums, societies, and charities
    •    Protect and pass on keepsakes

TIP:
People who inherit family archives often take on one of three roles: Curator, Creator or Caretaker (or perhaps a combination). Once you identify why you've inherited the family archive, it's easier for you to determine what to do with it.
Curator: understands the responsibilities involved in caring for a family archive, from organizing to preserving; knows enough to recognize significant objects and suggest and implement ways to care for, display and preserve them
Creator: finds ways to use a family archive materials—whether it be inspiration, raw materials or information sources—in his own creative projects, such as completing a family pedigree, writing a biography, assembling a scrapbook or compiling a family medical history
Caretaker: serves as the temporary family archive "holder" until the next person in line takes it over
___




How to Organize Family History Paperwork 
Family history research can quickly create mountains of paperwork. This download give you step-by-step instruction to effectively organize and digitize your genealogy research papers. You'll learn how to:
    •    create a personalized filing system to suit your genealogy research style and experience
    •    turn your computer into a filing clerk and research assistant by establishing a clear, consistent naming pattern for files and folders
    •    Scan old paper records and store them electronically to save space and make them easier to find
    •    make digital copies of original source documents
    •    organize your family history research for future generations

TIP:
Think about your genealogy files as two different record types—original documents that you want to physically preserve and store, and working documents used every day that are more temporary in nature. A different digital routine is needed for each record type.

TIP:
Use a consistent file-naming scheme for your digital documents. Some genealogists find that a combination of Surname, Date and File ID work well for digital files; others use a numerical reference number that corresponds to their paper files.
___




Organization Strategies for Genealogy Success
Effective family history researchers know that organization is the key to productivity. You'll learn how to:
    •    Organize your genealogy research methods
    •    Organize your family history source citations
    •    Select the best software for efficient and effective research
    •    Connect with fellow researchers online to help find answers to your genealogy brick walls

TIP:
Research success begins even before the first internet query box is completed or the first reel of microfilm is loaded. You have a research goal—to find your ancestor. What you need is a research strategy—a written, step-by-step proposal to achieve your goal. An effective research strategy includes at least 4 major steps:

1. Set a goal.
a. Identify the problem or goal.
b. Break down the goal into smaller, focused mini-goals.

2. Decide what sources to search.
a. List record groups that may provide a solution.
b. List specific sources to search.
c. Locate repositories holding the sources you need.

3. Search the source.
a. Note the results of your search, positive or negative.
b. Copy the raw information.
c. Record the source citation data.

4. Analyze the information.
a. Evaluate the information.
b. Record your findings in your notes and database program.
c. Determine your next step.

5. Repeat from Step 1.

___

You can achieve your genealogy research goals this year with these and other new and recommended books, CDs, downloads, and all-inclusive research kits that will show you how to research your heritage, both online and off. PLUS: Get organized and save, too! Spend $30 on any of these recommended products in January and get the Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD for 50% off; just enter code ACHIEVE2013 at checkout to save on this essential CD.


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Tech Advice
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 12:54:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 04, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Dec. 31-Jan.4
Posted by Beth

  • Entries are being accepted through March 22 for the 13th annual Listen to a Life Essay Contest run by the Legacy Project, a big-picture learning project for all ages, and the nonprofit Generations United.
The contest, open to young people ages 8 to 18, encourages connections across generations. To enter, a young person interviews a grandparent or grandfriend 50 years or older, gathering information about the older person's hopes and goals through their life; how he or she achieved goals and overcame obstacles; or key life experiences. The young person then writes and submit a 300-word essay based on the interview.
The winner will receive a Lenov ThinkCentre computer. Click here for more information, including rules and entry form.
 


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Friday, January 04, 2013 9:32:12 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Editors' Pick: Ancestry.com Search Secrets Webinar
Posted by Beth




If one of your new year's resolutions is to manage your genealogy research time more efficiently and effectively, you'll get 2013 off to a stellar start with our Ancestry.com Search Secrets webinar.
 
Sifting through the millions of records available on Ancestry.com can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, yet the wealth of data is critical to your research. Whether you're digging for your family in census records, military records or public member trees, let presenter Laura G. Prescott teach you her top tips for making the most of your searches on this genealogy juggernaut.

Date: Thursday, Jan. 24
Time: 7pm EST/6pm CST/5pm MST/4pm PST
Price: $49.99 ($39.99 early bird until Jan. 17)

What You'll Learn:

  • How to rein in the massive amount of information available on Ancestry.com
  • Hints to set manageable search parameters for finding your family
  • How to dig into individual databases for specific records
  • Tricks and tips to make your search efforts more efficient and effective
  • PLUS: Get a free PDF download of our Ancestry.com Web Guide

To learn how to harness the information on Ancestry.com so you can quickly and easily track down your relatives, register here



Ancestry.com | Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 10:45:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 17, 2012
December 2012 Family Tree Magazine Podcast: Record and Share Your Family History
Posted by Beth

The December 2012 Family Tree Magazine podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, offers tips on recording and sharing your family history family, including:
  • Six steps to get your family history book into library stacks, from Family Tree Magazine (FTM) contributing editor Sunny Jane Morton

  • D. Joshua Taylor of brightsolid talks about the FindMyPast.com website, which specializes in British genealogical records

  • Tips for assembling and printing a family keepsake, from FTM online editor Tyler Moss, as noted in the class Creating a Family History Book: Start-to-Finish Guidance for Assembling and Printing a Family Keepsake 

  • Recommendations for research sources from FTM publisher and editorial director Allison Dolan

You can listen to Family Tree Magazine's free genealogy podcast in iTunes or on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.  


Podcasts | saving and sharing family history
Monday, December 17, 2012 9:32:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 06, 2012
Editors' Pick: December's Ultimate Collection: Genealogy Websites
Posted by Beth





At this busiest time of the year, we've made it our mission to help make your web research easier and more efficient. Ramp up your research skills and save time in the process with December's Ultimate Collection: Genealogy Websites. The Family Tree Magazine editorial team has hand-picked its favorite resources to help make you an online genealogy research pro.

Gift yourself the gift of time this holiday season—at a 66 percent discount—to take your research to the next level.
Editor's Pick | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, December 06, 2012 9:23:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, December 03, 2012
Hilarious Holiday Photos
Posted by Beth

What’s not to love about the holidays? Gaudy decorations, ridiculous costumes, unusual traditions, extended amounts of time spent with family—it’s a recipe for happy memories and hilarious photos.

Share your funny holiday photo (of two- or four-legged friends!) with us, and it could appear on our Facebook page and even in our upcoming book Hilarious Holiday Photos.

PLUS: Submit a photo before Jan. 3, 2013, for the chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! The photo that the author and editors find the funniest will receive the gift card.

So get out your camera this holiday season and capture those …
    •    Creepy mall Santas
    •    Santa-fearing, crying kids
    •    Bad Christmas sweaters (and sweatsuits)
    •    Pets in seasonal garb
    •    Hokey holiday decorations
    •    Terrible gifts
    •    Unfortunate New Year's outfits
    •    … whatever strikes your funny bone!

We also want to see funny photos from other holidays, including:
    •    Funny couples photos that capture the love of Valentine’s Day
    •    Photos that leave us green with St. Patrick’s Day pride
    •    Funny All-American photos 
    •    Halloween costumes that make us howl with laughter
    •    Thanksgiving celebrations
    •    … and more!


Photos | saving and sharing family history
Monday, December 03, 2012 9:26:45 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 29, 2012
10 Best Genealogy Gifts for the Holidays
Posted by Beth

Is hard-to-buy-for Aunt Helen the repository for recipes, photo albums and keepsakes? Does Grandpa Joe archive all of your family's facts and dates in his head—not to mention all those lesser-known scintillating tidbits? If you need holiday gift ideas for your genealogically inclined relatives, look no further!

Click here for Family Tree Magazine's 10 must-have items to help discover, preserve and celebrate your family's history, making you the family hero in the process. (And, you can always get a gift for yourself and just wrap it for the big day!)


Genealogy books | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, November 29, 2012 9:13:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 27, 2012
November 2012 Family Tree Podcast: Digitize Documents and Photos
Posted by Beth

The November 2012 Family Tree Magazine podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, celebrates family with a focus on digitizing your documents and photos, including:

You can listen to Family Tree Magazine's free genealogy podcast in iTunes or on FamilyTreeMagazine.com. Show notes are on FamilyTreeMagazine.com, too.


Photos | Podcasts | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 9:49:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, November 26, 2012
Cyber Monday Savings
Posted by Beth




Hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Just want to make you aware of our Cyber Monday Savings featuring extra savings on new live webinars, plus limited-quantity value packs, available today only! And, if you didn't get to shop our Thanksgiving Week Sale, you've got until 11:59 pm. EST tonight to take advantage of the awesome savings.

Help friends and family—and yourself!—dig deeper into ancestry at a great value, just in time for the holidays!



saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, November 26, 2012 9:26:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Family Tree Black Friday Sale All Weekend Long!
Posted by Beth


We at Family Tree Magazine wish you and yours a Norman Rockwell-esque Thanksgiving filled to the brim with food, family and fun!

After the last piece of pumpkin pie has been devoured and any leftovers are tucked away in the fridge, thoughts often turn to the upcoming holiday season. Why not get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping—for your genealogy-minded family and friends (as well as yourself!)—from the comfort of your own home?

We're pleased to share our BIGGEST Thanksgiving Week Sale ever—from Thanksgiving Day through 11:59 p.m. EST Cyber Monday (Nov. 26)—featuring our BEST prices of the year! Watch for:

  • Up to 64% off Beginner Genealogy Tools
  • Up to 70% off Research Your Heritage Tools
  • Up to 66% off Online Research Tools
  • Up to 64% off Tools to Organize & Share Your Findings


AND:
  • Up to 40% off Books
  • Up to 45% off On-demand Courses
  • Up to 50% off CDs
  • Up to 70% off Value Packs


PLUS:
  • We're releasing a limited-edition kit perfect for the holidays that you won't want to miss! Watch for it Thursday in our newsletter and on our website.


Let us help you avoid the Black Friday (and crazy weekend!) shopping and traffic frenzy. Take advantage of our BLACK FRIDAY ONLINE SAVINGS ALL WEEKEND LONG AND THROUGH CYBER MONDAY for the BEST prices—and the BEST gifts—for your genealogist friends and family!




saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:00:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 15, 2012
Mocavo Announces Free Scanning Service
Posted by Beth

If you've got piles of genealogical research laying around, or old books or historical documents gathering dust, Mocavo, the world's largest genealogy search engine, has a "get-'er-done" scanning solution for you to digitize your materials.

The company has announced its Free Scanning Service, available now through the end of the year, that will scan members' historical and genealogical materials—books, documents and standard-size paper sheets—to bring them online for their owners and the rest of the Mocavo community.

ReadyMicro, Mocavo's digitization group, will handle the free document scanning. A member's document(s) will be scanned, and he or she will then receive a digital copy of each document. (Member can have their materials shipped back to them for $10/shipment plus the cost of shipping.) The members' documents will also be placed online at Mocavo.

The company's goal is to work with its community to bring all of the world's genealogical information online for free, helping to put everyone's family history within reach.

This scanning service is applicable for:
  • Paper documents
  • Unbound books and books that can have their binding removed
  • Photocopies of original content
  • Notes and paper family trees
This scanning service is not applicable for:
  • Photographs 
  • Moldy or damaged documents
  • Copyrighted materials
  • Non-historical content
  • Very fragile content
  • Small pieces of paper
  • Old newspapers or clippings
  • Documents larger than 11x17 inches
  • Photographs cannot be processed at this time.

Learn more about Mocavo’s Free Scanning Service here.


Genealogy Industry | Historic preservation | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, November 15, 2012 11:56:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Family Tree Firsts Blogger Entries Due Friday
Posted by Beth



Just a friendly reminder that if you're a newbie genealogist, you could be Family Tree Magazine's next Family Tree Firsts blogger!

We're looking for someone who enjoys writing and is interested in his or her family history, but is just starting—or hasn't yet started—to research it.

We'll select one winner based on the strength of the application. Over the course of six months, you'll have access to Family Tree Magazine's how-to genealogy products, Family Tree University classes and webinars, as well as other products, services and surprises from our partners. You'll blog once a week to share your genealogical finds, trials and tribulations. We might even include you in a future issue of the magazine!

To enter, click here to fill out an application and compose your first blog post. This will let us get to know you and see how you'd write your blog. But, hurry! The deadline is Friday, Nov. 16. Good luck!


Family Tree Firsts | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:25:12 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 02, 2012
Scanning Old Family Photos With Flip-Pal
Posted by Diane


Now that we're carrying the Flip-Pal mobile scanner in ShopFamilyTree.com, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I gave it a try on one of my favorite pictures: My great-grandparents on their porch in Bellevue, Ky., about 1925, judging from my grandma's age (she's the baby).

The scanner is nice and light, about the size of a book, and it runs on four AA batteries. The scanning window is smaller than a desktop scanner, 4x6 inches, so you need to scan a larger document in parts and then stitch them together. (The scanner comes with Easy-Stitch software to do this.)

You can scan at a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi. 300 is the lowest recommended dpi for images you want to digitally archive, and will allow you to make a good print that's the same size as the original photo. 600 dpi is even better, because you can enlarge the photo before printing it.

I tried the Sketch Kit, sold separately from the scanner, which lets you annotate photos and documents in a low-tech way. It's a clear acrylic panel you place over your picture and write on with an erasable marker, like so:



Then to scan the annotated photo, you pop out the Flip-Pal lid, flip the scanner over and press the big green button to scan the Sketch panel on top of your picture:



(I kept accidentally pressing the green button during the lid removal and flipping.) Here's that scan:



You'll also want the photo itself, minus the Sketch panel. For that, you pop the lid back in and place the picture face down on the scanner, as you would for a desktop scanner. The scan:



The images are saved onto an SD card. I discovered just this morning that my computer here at work has an SD card reader—perfect. (The scanner is also compatible with wireless Eye-fi SD cards.) If you don't have a card reader, you can plug the card into the included SD-to-USB adaptor and stick that into your computer's USB drive.

You can see technical specs for the Flip-Pal scanner here and FAQs here. I did these two quick scans without reading instructions, but I'll check them out to learn more about the scanner settings and how to use the stitching software.

You can find the Flip-Pal scanner and accessories such as the Sketch Kit  and a carrying case in ShopFamilyTree.com. If you're trying to decide whether to buy, we've also got a Flip-Pal product review article download.

Got a bunch of family photos and heirlooms you need to archive and share? Learn how in our Aug. 9 Digitize Your Family History webinar.

Editor's Pick | Photos | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Thursday, August 02, 2012 1:02:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]
# Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Learn How to Digitize and Archive Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms
Posted by Diane

Attending Antiques Roadshow last weekend has definitely put me in the mindset of figuring out what family heirlooms we have and where they came from, and how to preserve and share their stories with family.

My sisters and I, for example, didn't know about our great-grandmother's bride's basket until I asked my mom if she had something she'd like me to take to the show for appraisal.

Victorian Glass and Silver Bridal Basket

So I'm glad to see us doing a webinar called Digitize Your Family History: How to Preserve Precious Photos, Documents and Heirlooms. It's on Thursday, Aug. 9, presented by Denise Levenick, known as the Family Curator and author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books).



If you register early, you'll be able to submit a scanned photo or document, or a picture of an heirloom that Denise might use as an example during the webinar. That means you could get preservation and digitization advice specific to your family treasure. ("Early" is the key word.)

Here's what else you'll learn in the Digitize Your Family History webinar:
  • What items you should digitize

  • How to deal with fragile and oversized items, as well as heirlooms you can’t scan (like our bridal basket)

  • Tips for creating digital copies of your photos and documents

  • How to archive and organize digital copies for your own research and for posterity

  • Key terms and online resources for digitizing heirlooms
Registrants will also get a free preview chapter of Denise's book How to Archive Family Keepsakes, and a coupon for the book.

And as in every webinar, they'll receive copies of the presentation slides, as well as access to view the webinar again as often as they like (that goes even if you register but for some reason miss the webinar).

Digitize Your Family History takes place Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. Eastern time (that's 6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain and 4 p.m. Pacific).

Click here to learn more and register!



Family Heirlooms | Photos | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 2:15:02 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, July 23, 2012
Behind the Scenes at "Antiques Roadshow"
Posted by Diane

The PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" was filming in Family Tree Magazine's hometown of Cincinnati on Saturday, and I and our intern Jen were lucky enough to see what goes on behind the scenes.

Something like 37,000 people entered the lottery for 3,000 pairs of free tickets for the Cincinnati event—a show record, from what I understand.

I'll write about the experience and my interview with "Antiques Roadshow" producer Marsha Bemko in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine, but we won't have room for all the photos I took. So I'm sharing some of them here (you can see several on Facebook, too).

First, an overview: Here's the line of folks waiting for the "triage" area, where each person got a ticket to see the pottery or prints or folk art or other appraiser. The triage folks would spot unique items and decide whether an item's appraisal would be filmed. The person who brought it was sent directly to the Green Room (off limits to press) until the appraisal took place.



Here's where those lines for various types of items converged. Appraisals and filming happened in the screened area.



A big part of the day for guests was waiting in line.



These crew members are setting up to film an appraisal.



Here Wes Cowan, who's been with the show for years and also stars on PBS' "History Detectives," examines a framed photograph. Cowan is from Cincinnati, but appraisers came from everywhere for the event.



We were invited to bring items for appraisal, too (and even lucky enough to bypass the line in my first photo above), so I wrapped up this glass bowl in plenty of bubble wrap. It was a wedding gift to my great-grandparents in 1908, and I don't want to be the one to break it.



The glassware appraiser told me it's called a bride's basket, and this one's style actually dates it to earlier than 1908, from the Victorian era. So it may have already been an heirloom when my great-grandmother received it. It's not worth much money, which is fine with my mom and me—we want it to stay in our family forever. The appraisal was over in a few minutes. I got the feeling the appraiser has seen a lot of these.

Do want to make sure your family heirlooms are preserved for posterity? Here are some resources for you:

Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:21:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, May 31, 2012
Need an Easy, Memorable, Personalized Birthday or Anniversary Gift Idea?
Posted by Diane

Need a quick, fun way to say "Happy birthday!" or "Happy anniversary!" to a loved one? Here's a way to create a personalized, memorable greeting—and at just 99 cents, it's more economical than a store-bought card.

birth year memory page

Each of our Birth Year or Anniversary Memory Pages is a one-page PDF download full of fun trivia from the year of the birth or wedding, including.
  • top news and events
  • movies, songs, fads and celebrity births
  • average prices of common goods
  • notable inventions and advancements in technology and transportation

After you download the PDF, just open it in Adobe Reader (a free download if you don't already have it), type in the recipient's name and birth or wedding information, and save. Then you could:

  • print and frame the customized page to create a personal gift
  • print the page for an album of birthday memories
  • mail the printed page or attach it to a present, as you would a card
  • send it as an e-card via email
  • post a digital image of the page to Facebook

You also could print the page and then write in the recipient's name and other information.

Birth Year Memory Pages are available for each year from 1930 through 2010, and you can also get memory pages covering decades from the 1930s through 2000s.

Anniversary Memory Pages are available in five-year increments from 10th to 70th. This one's for a couple celebrating 25 years in 2012:

anniversary memory page

Take a look at our Birth Year and Anniversary Memory Pages now in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Editor's Pick | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Thursday, May 31, 2012 10:14:24 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 02, 2012
How to Savor Your Family's Food History and Save Favorite Recipes
Posted by Diane

I'm in love with our newest book, From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Family Recipes by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Before you even open the book, it's pretty: Hardbound, with a lovely cover and a cute yellow ribbon bookmark.

From the Family Kitchen book

And then it's about food history and family recipes, a topic that fascinates me.

From the Family Kitchen book

Who better to describe the book than its author? Here's what Gena has to say about this labor of love:

Do you ever wish you knew more about your ancestors’ lives? When I think of my ancestors, I wonder how their lives were similar to mine. I also ponder what I can add to my genealogy research that will be meaningful to future generations. 

From the Family Kitchen will help you understand and appreciate your ancestors’ everyday lives by exploring the foods they ate. These details make your family history more vivid and more interesting to younger folks—not to mention very tasty. 

This isn’t just another guidebook. It’s a keepsake designed to help you gather and preserve your family’s food traditions, past and present. You can use From the Family Kitchen to:

1. Learn where to find recipes Great-grandma would've cooked. I’ll walk you through the history of American foodways, and introduce you to resources for researching the food traditions of specific eras and regions. The book even includes historical recipes, cooking instructions and entertaining advice to give you a flavor of your ancestors’ experiences. 

From the Family Kitchen book

2. Better understand the foods of immigrant ancestors. Your family’s food traditions today might still reflect your ancestors’ cultural heritage—but how have those dishes changed over generations and across countries? I’ll explain how to find out.

3. Interview your family about their food memories. Get tips for gathering recipes and recollections. The book includes dozens of suggested questions to ask. 

4. Record your family food traditions. Within the book are beautiful recipe journal pages for preserving the dishes you discover in your research, and especially today’s family favorites—creating a legacy for future generations. 

From the Family Kitchen book

This is Diane again. This hardcover book is a great addition to your genealogy or cooking bookshelf, and it makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. You can order From the Family Kitchen from ShopFamilyTree.com on sale for a short time, for $22.39. 

Bon appétit!


Genealogy books | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Social History
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 1:31:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, March 21, 2012
FREE Webinar: Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for Fabulous Family Photos
Posted by Diane

Free Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Webinar

We're hosting a free webinar next Tuesday about one of the most talked-about photo-preservation tools in genealogy: the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.

Presenters Thomas MacEntee and Diane Miller will show you:

  • tips for using Flip-Pal in your genealogy work
  • hints for archiving family photos with Flip-Pal
  • how Flip-Pal can help you share photos with your family
  • how to download the webinar presentation and slides for your future reference

Registered attendees will get access to the webinar to view again as many times as they like (we'll e-mail instructions after the webinar).

Plus, all registrants will receive a special product offer!

The free Flip-Pal webinar is Tuesday, March 27, at 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central, noon Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific).

The presentation is about 45 minutes, plus 10 minutes for Q&A.

Click here to register for our free webinar Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for Fabulous Family Photos.


Photos | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:33:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, January 27, 2012
Take the Family History Writing Challenge in February
Posted by Diane

Genealogists have come up with their own version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is in November):

The Family History Writing Challenge is a monthlong event in February. To play along, just commit to writing 250, 500 or 1,000 words per day (your pick) about your family history—whether it's a person, a branch, a place, an era or some other focus.

The challenge basics and a Q&A are here. Sign up here to receive daily writing reminders and quotes, as well as links to weekly advice posts. You also can join discussions in a forum.

When I put together a family history narrative a couple of years ago, I noticed some holes in my research, came up with ideas for next steps and saw how much progress I'd made. Even better, it was an easily digestible way to share me research with my family. 

Need motivation? Here's how to get around five common reasons for not writing family history. And here are six quick ideas for writing family history.

If you want in-depth guidance for writing a family history, look into the FTU course and workshop Write Your Family History. By the end of the session, you'll have an outline for your family's story and a start on your narrative.


Genealogy Events | saving and sharing family history
Friday, January 27, 2012 11:17:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, December 14, 2011
iPhone App Helps You Record Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Here's a new smartphone app to consider grabbing before holiday gatherings: Record Their Stories for the iPhone has a built-in edit suite (stop, start, join and trim conversations) and more than 100 questions to help you capture relatives' stories. Use it with the phone's built-in audio recording capabilities.

Keep the recording on your phone or computer. You also can upload it to the Record Their Stories website and order a professionally mixed version of the recording, complete with music and sound effects.

You can get the Record Their Stories iPhone app for 99 cents from the iTunes app store. Learn more at the Record Their Stories website.

Get more help preparing for oral history conversations (learn everything from what to ask to what you should bring) with expert articles on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

The January 2012 Family Tree Magazine has Lisa Louise Cooke's roundup of favorite apps for family history researchers.


Oral History | saving and sharing family history | Tech Advice
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:54:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Putting History on the Map
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is joining Historypin, a site that lets users virtually "pin" historical photographs, videos and audio recordings to Google maps.

Users can enhance their pins with descriptions and stories, and compile them into collections and tours centered around a place, time or storyline.

Visit the National Archives on Historypin here. I scrolled down and clicked an image of Samuel Morse's 1848 patent for the electromagnetic telegraph, which opened information about the patent:

Here's the patent on a map of Washington, DC, at the location of the old Patent Office:

Another cool thing you can do is use a transparency slider to overlay a historical image on top of a Google street view of the same scene today. This shows a view from the old Patent Office toward the Treasury building:

Also in NARA's collection, you'll find Mathew Brady Civil War photographs; photos of streets, buildings and historic events in Washington, DC; and images from the recently concluded History Happens Here augmented reality contest. Future additions will include Documerica images, more Mathew Brady, and Brooklyn Navy Yard photos collections.

Go here and type in a place your ancestors lived to see what's pinned there. You don't have to join Historypin to see the pins, but if you join, you can add your own images (you'll need a free Google account).

Historypin is also accessible via a Smartphone app. It's a project of the British non-profit We Are What We Do that seeks to bring generations together around the history of their communities.

Here are images Historypin users have pinned around Cincinnati, where Family Tree Magazine is located. Once I get started exploring these, I'm not sure how I'll stop myself:


Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 11:53:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 28, 2011
Advent Calender of Christmas Memories Captures Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Are you trying to save and share your family history by putting family stories down on paper?

Here's a great way to capture holiday-related memories: GeneaBloggers announces the return of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories blogging event Dec. 1-24. Each day will present a blogging prompt (such as Christmas cookies—yum!) for bloggers to respond to with memories and family history.

Even if you don't have a blog, you can use the prompts to inspire your writing.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories founder, GeneaBloggers' Thomas MacEntee, reports that some bloggers have compiled their posts into books to share with family.

Click here to learn how bloggers can participate in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Also follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue your family story writing with My Life & Times: A Guided Journal by Sunny Jane Morton or Morton's Creating a Family History Book course at Family Tree University (the next session starts Dec. 5).


saving and sharing family history
Monday, November 28, 2011 12:12:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Listen Up! Free November Podcast Now Available
Posted by Diane

The free Family Tree Magazine podcast November edition is here! Host Lisa Louise Cooke and Family Tree Magazine experts share tips on how to get relatives to discuss family history, a discussion of the Historic American Cookbook Project, and news on the Genealogists for Families project at Kiva.com.

Plus, learn more about creating a family history book from Family Tree University's Nancy Hendrickson.

You can listen via iTunes or on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator



Podcasts | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 9:04:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 17, 2011
It's A Hot Genealogy Mess
Posted by Diane

Our publisher Allison Dolan has been slowly digging through the inherited family archive she's affectionately calling her "hot genealogy mess."

Thank goodness for our upcoming Organize Your Family Archive webinar and the advice from its presenter, Denise Levenick, because Allison's found some things she knows have historical value, but she's not sure what to do with. Here are some contents of just one of the two dozen boxes Allison inherited:

Maybe you've shopped at a Kroger grocery store? In 1883 in Cincinnati, Bernard Kroger founded what's now the largest US grocery chain.

Allison uncovered letters and newspaper clippings from Kroger family members. A handwritten notecard states that one of her ancestors was B.H. Kroger's private secretary from 1928 to 1938. 

Another treasure is an album full of photos from the South Pacific. It belonged to a woman named Dorie, who may have been a friend of an aunt.

Color me jealous. We'll keep showing you more peeks inside this archive.

The Early Bird Special for the Organize Your Family Archive webinar ends Nov. 20, so if you have your own hot genealogy mess going on, register now.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:42:07 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, November 11, 2011
Remembering Grandpa's WWII Service
Posted by Diane

Grandpa doesn’t know it—he passed away in 2003—but his old Army photos have graced several Family Tree Magazine publications. That's his portrait in the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook and on our Military Research Guide CD.

He served in the Army 83rd Signal Co. in 1944 and 1945 in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany, and received a Bronze Star medal for his service.

The citation above (which I included on a scrapbook page for Scrapbooking Your Family History by Maureen A. Taylor) says he

…showed outstanding leadership in maintaining wire communications between division and regimental headquarters. During the rapid advance of the division, difficult terrain was encountered and artillery fire. His devotion to duty and outstanding services merit the highest praise …

My grandma once told me that Grandpa limped after the war because he’d dropped a big coil of cable on his foot, and she asked him why he hadn’t gotten it checked out. He said he knew he might not be able to return to the same unit. Those were good men, he said, and he didn’t want to leave them. 

He’s among those in the WWII Army Enlistment records, available on the National Archives’ website and on subscription site Ancestry.com:

His burial information is also recorded in the Veterans Administration Nationwide Gravesite Locator:

You can memorialize your own military ancestors’ service with our military biography form, downloadable from this page

Go here to download our War Service Reference Guide, which has a timeline of US conflicts plus a birth date chart you can use to determine which major wars your ancestor likely served in.

Learning about your relatives' service to our country (and sharing their stories with your family) is one way to honor them today. Here are some of our favorite websites for doing military research.

Thanks, Grandpa.

Military records | saving and sharing family history
Friday, November 11, 2011 9:58:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Organize Your Family Archive
Posted by Diane

Remember back when Family Tree Magazine Publisher Allison Dolan (then Allison Stacy) inherited nearly two dozen boxes of family history "stuff" from her grandparents?

Scads of you wrote in with advice and stories about your similar situations in blog comments, emails and letters.

The Family Curator blogger Denise Levenick is going to make an example of Allison for your benefit. In our Organize Your Family Archive webinar, Denise will offer strategies and inspiration for

  • determining your goals for your family collection
  • inventorying your archive
  • deciding what to save, donate and throw away or recycle
  • organizing the materials in your archive
  • safely storing everything from letters to photos to musical instruments
The hour-long webinar is Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific). Your registration includes:
  • participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
  • access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • a PDF of the presentation slides for future reference

For a limited time, you can save 20 percent on your Organize Your Family Archive webinar registration. This may be the incentive and guidance you need to start getting a handle on your family archive—and seeing what genealogy treasures it holds.


Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 2:37:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, November 04, 2011
Interview a Friend or Relative on the National Day of Listening
Posted by Diane

African-American genealogy website LowCountry Africana is an official partner with StoryCorps in celebrating the National Day of Listening on Nov. 25.

This will be the fourth annual National Day of Listening. Americans are encouraged to observe it by spending an hour on the day after Thanksgiving interviewing a friend, loved one or community member about their lives.

Lowcountry Africana will participate by recording interviews with residents in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. These areas are home to many descendants of enslaved Africans of the Gullah-Geechee culture. The slaves' rice-growing skills were vital to the massive rice plantations of the Colonial and Antebellum Lowcountry.

Visit Lowcountry Africana's National Day of Listening web pages, with suggestions for how to participate and instructional videos.

StoryCorps, an organization that provides people of all backgrounds with opportunities to preserve thier life stories, has a free online Do-It-Yourself interview guide.

You'll also find guidance for participating in the National Day of Listening in these free FamilyTreeMagazine.com articles:

More resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


African-American roots | Oral History | saving and sharing family history
Friday, November 04, 2011 9:26:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, November 03, 2011
Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection: Save & Share Family History
Posted by Diane


This month’s limited-edition Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection will help you share your heritage with loved ones. You’ll get books for recording family information and stories, plus ideas for creating heirlooms and family history gifts. 

It includes

The $79.99 price saves you 62 percent on the whole shebang. Only 95 (and counting) of the Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collections are left—now’s the time to get started on your family history holiday projects!


Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, November 03, 2011 8:33:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Free Webinar: Have an Organized Holiday Season
Posted by Diane

Halloween’s over, which means we’re in the holiday season. My blood pressure just went up a little.

Trying to take care of your gift list, keep family traditions going, get things done at work around vacation schedules, and squeeze in genealogy time can make the holidays one of the most hectic times of the year.

But they don’t have to be. Our colleagues over at Betterway Home are hosting a free webinar to help you cut the chaos, stress and clutter from your holiday season.

The free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar is presented by professional organizers Jennifer Ford Berry, author of Organize Now! and Organize Now! Your Money, Business & Career, and Susan Fay West, author of Organize For a Fresh Start.

It takes place Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific).

Sign up and receive:

  • Tips for how to organize decorations, gifts and more
  • Advice to help you manage and enjoy your holiday schedule
  • Help identifying your priorities so you value everything you do
  • Participation in the live Q&A session—get detailed answers to your specific questions
  • Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • Plus a coupon for 20 percent off the presenters’ new books

This year, get organized before you get overwhelmed. Click here to register for the free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 3:07:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 27, 2011
New App Puts a Scanner in Your Pocket
Posted by Diane

A free iPhone app released today from memory-sharing site 1000memories makes your phone work like a scanner.

The Shoebox scanning app helps you digitize, organize and share collections of photos from the past.

You use the camera on your iPhone to snap a picture of a photo. Shoebox auto-detects the edges of the photo, then crops and straightens it. You can add information such as dates, names, and locations, then upload the photo as a JPG to 1000memories.com. There, you can be organize and share your pictures.

Of course, the quality of Shoebox "scans" depends on the phone's camera. If you have the latest iPhone, the 4S, your digitized Shoebox photos will be on par with what you'd produce with a typical desktop scanner, 1000memories cofounder Jonathan Good told me. The 4S has an 8.0 MP sensor for high-resolution mobile scans, as well as an improved f2.4 lens for quality lower-light scans.

Good says he also gets excellent results using his iPhone 4. The app is compatible with all previous iPhone models, as well as the iPad.

An Android version is coming soon, Good added (to the delight of this Android user).

“The popularity of the iPhone camera has proven that people want something that’s quick, accessible, and easy to share,” says 1000memories' other cofounder, Rudy Adler. "For us, that’s what providing a social mobile scanner is about - making it as easy as possible for people to get their photo collections digitized and shared with the people they care about.”

It'll certainly make scanning a box of photos quicker, and it'll be easier to digitize photos in your relatives' possession—no need to persuade Aunt Bertha to let you cart her precious album home.

Note that the app outputs a JPG file, but the TIF format, which creates uncompressed files, is the most widely used type of file for digital master photos. That lack of compression is also why TIF files are large and impractical for electronic sharing. So you may want to create TIF backups of important pictures.

Go here to learn more about Shoebox and download it.


Genealogy Software | Photos | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, October 27, 2011 11:04:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Start Writing Your Life Story: Watch the Free Webinar
Posted by Diane

Everyone has a story to tell, but recording those stories for future generations can be a daunting task. What should you share? How much should you write? How can you clear the fog from memories made long ago?

Sunny Jane Morton, author of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal For Collecting Your Stories, answered these and more questions in last week’s free webinar Start Writing Your Life Stories.

One idea that struck me right at the beginning is to imagine that a biography has been written about your life. When you look at the book jacket, what does it say? What main theme of your life, setting and colorful characters does it mention. “In the broadest sense, that book jacket is your story,” Morton says. “Everyday life is found in the chapters inside.”

If you missed the Start Writing Your Life Stories webinar—or you want to watch it again (still free!)—just click here and fill in your name and email address.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:11:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Writing Down Your Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Thanks to all who entered our family history publishing contest with Abbott Press. We enjoyed hearing your unique family stories!

It was beyond difficult to narrow the field, but we did it. These winners’ entries left us wanting to read more about their ancestors:
  • Grand-prize winner Shirley Booth-Byerly of Robertsdale, Ala., wins a complete publishing package from Abbott Press

I hope the contest got more people thinking about sharing their family history with relatives. If you've been putting off getting your family’s story down, here are five common excuses and why they won’t cut it

If you’re not ready to tackle a family history writing project, try these six ideas on for size: They’re shorter-but-still-meaningful ways to share your family stories.

But if you've been dreaming of recording your ancestors' tales, you can get in-depth help in the Family Tree University course Write Your Family History: Create a Captivating Record of Your Family’s Story with Sunny Jane Morton.

Need inspiration? My favorite family history is called Family by Ian Frazier (I got to interview him for Family Tree Magazine, and I was a nervous wreck). Here are some other family histories you'll enjoy



saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 3:11:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, October 07, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, October 3-7
Posted by Diane

  • New records on FamilySearch this week include five million civil registration images from the Philippines from 1945 to 1980, plus records from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain.
US additions include Sebastian County, Ark., births and deaths; San Mateo County, Calif. Italian cemetery records; Florida Confederate veterans and widows pension applications; Clark County, Idaho, records; Indiana marriages; North Carolina estate files; Columbia County, Ore., records; and Utah probate records. Remember that not all collections are indexed yet, so you may need to browse record images by date or place.

Go here to see details on the additions and link to each updated collection.

  • This one’s for anyone who has worn or is planning to wear a wedding gown: The Wedding Gown Project is sponsoring a writing competition for stories about buying, making, fitting, wearing, storing or passing down your wedding dress. The deadline is Nov. 30, and three cash prizes will be awarded. Author and documentarian Donna Guthrie will compile the stories for a documentary in 2012. See The WeddingGownProject.com for entry details.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | saving and sharing family history
Friday, October 07, 2011 1:02:18 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, September 29, 2011
Personal Historian 2 Software Released
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software company RootsMagic has released Personal Historian 2, a new version of its software for writing life stories of your relatives and yourself.

The software creates an interactive timeline to keep individual stories organized, give context to life events and let you write stories in any order you want. Then it compiles the stories into a book with table of contents, chapters, pictures, indexes and more. You can print the book at home, edit it in a word processing program, have it professionally published, and share it.

Features include:

  • step-by-step wizards
  • filtering and searching of stories
  • a library of LifeCapsules—timelines, historical events, fads and memory triggers covering a variety of subjects
  • importing of word processor documents, photographs and other data
  • importing of events, dates and notes from your genealogy software
  • more powerful publishing and output options

Many of these core features are in a free edition of the software called Personal Historian Essentials, which is fully compatible with the paid version. 

Through Oct. 31, Personal Historian 2 is available for an introductory price of $19.95. Thereafter, the price will be $29.95. Learn more on the Personal Historian website

Look for a review or Personal Historian 2 in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine.


Genealogy Software | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:57:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Genealogy Matters
Posted by Diane

Here's some reading material for your coffee break: A post today on the Scientific American blog called I’m a Johnson from Wisconsin, and It is Pretty Cool

Neuroscientist-turned-journalist and genealogy buff Madeleine Johnson wrote about how she used a circular family tree chart of her own creation as a starting point to her roots research, and is searching for the story of a great-grandmother who died in an institution.

“Genealogy, distant and recent, gives meaning to personal and shared historical experience,” she writes.

Also check out another post and article she mentions: Going Dutch: I’m one of the Van Dusens of New Amsterdam. So what? in which Matthew Van Dusen says his illustrious ancestry—described in a New York Times article about New Amsterdam’s early settlers—doesn’t increase his own personal importance.

I have to agree with him there, but I do think it's neat to be related to someone you might read about in a history book (I'm not, that I know of). Of course, it's also gratifying to discover and honor the stories of "ordinary" folks in your tree. What do you think?


saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:17:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, September 13, 2011
What Makes Your Family Special? Tell Us & You Could Win a Family History Publishing Package!
Posted by Diane

Looking into lasting ways to share your family’s story? How about a book?

You could win a family history publishing package in a contest from Family Tree Magazine and custom publisher Abbott Press (our fellow member of the F+W Media family). 

To enter, just e-mail us your name, phone number, and 500 words or less about why your family history should be chosen as the contest winner.

Did your ancestors embody the American dream? Were they important in shaping historic events? Is your family tree full of colorful characters? You tell us what sets your family apart.

Use the e-mail subject line "Family Tree-Abbott Press Publishing Contest" and send your entry by Sept. 30, 2011.

We'll pick one winner from the first 200 submissions. The grand-prize winner will receive a complete Premium publishing package from Abbott Press.

The first runner-up will win the Family Tree University independent study course Writing Your Family Memoir (on CD). A second runner-up with get a copy of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories by Sunny Jane Morton.

All entrants will receive a 25 percent discount off any Abbott Press publishing package.

Check out all the contest rules here


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:30:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 09, 2011
What I Learned Today at the FGS Conference
Posted by Diane

Instead of the regular Friday Genealogy News Corral, I'm sharing some things I learned at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference today:
  • AncestorSync, the folks in the booth next to me, is a way to share genealogy data or sync desktop and online trees without downloading a GEDCOM and uploading it somewhere else (or manually adding the same ancestors in multiple places). So far, it works with Ancestral Quest, Legacy, Mac Family Tree, PAF, RootsMagic and The Master Genealogist desktop programs, and FamilySearch, Geni and OurFamilyology online tree sites, with more to come.
  • The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP) is having a Pennsylvania Family workshop with Ancestry.com Nov. 5. Twelve presentations include experts from Ancestry.com plus additional speakers including Lisa Alzo and Dear Myrtle.

GSP also is working on a new website, so keep an eye on GenPa.

  • 1,000 Memories is a website where you and relatives upload photos, audio and video, and written stories about ancestors—a way of sharing the photos that you inherited, and seeing the ones handed down through your cousin Edna’s branch.
  • Sort Your Story is software that helps you organize your data and digitized documents. You enter your data in the software’s profiler and use the software to organize documents. The profiler also helps you see what information you’re missing for each person in your tree.
  • JustaJoy.com is a service that links orphaned heirlooms with the families that originally owned them. The site works with antiques dealers who have items with family connections—currently, it lists items associated with 40,000 families. You can search the site to see what’s associated with your surname, but you need to join to view information about the listings.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history
Friday, September 09, 2011 9:06:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [14]
# Thursday, August 11, 2011
Your Advice for Organizing Family Archives
Posted by Diane

Last week, Allison fessed up about her so-far-untouched mountain of boxes inherited from her grandmother, full of genealogy records, pictures and news clippings, with some nongenealogical stuff thrown in for good measure.

 

A bunch of you chimed in with advice, encouragement and stories that’ll benefit other overwhelmed family archivists. The gist of your advice is:

  • Take your time. Baby steps!
  • Sort by family, people or place.
  • Digitize.
  • Archival storage.
  • Share.
  • Consider donating what won’t be kept.

Here are some more details from your suggestions and stories. To read the full comments, go to Allison’s “Organizing Grandma’s Archive” blog post and click Comments at the bottom. 

  • Claire suggested making an inventory of the items: “Tackle one box a week. Label the first box 1, the second 2, etc. Go through the contents and list everything in a notebook under the appropriate tab. For example, in the Anderson-Dugan tab, you might have:
John Dugan birth certificate, box 1
Photo of Anderson family reunion 1930, box 1

"At some later date you might relocate everything to a better storage system," Claire adds, "but at least for now you'll know the contents of each box.”

  • Joseph Martin would allow more time: “I count 15 boxes in your stack. Give yourself two months to sort and organize one box. In less than three years, you will be done.”

  • Renee advises scheduling small chunks of time (30 to 50 minutes) a few times a week, so things don’t feel overwhelming. “I wouldn't begin to move things around until you document how the documents appeared, since what folder they were in or what they were next to can have bearing on the meaning of the document. I would take photos of the box and each item in the box as you unpack them.”

She also recommends digitizing as you go. “If you re-create the folders and boxes digitally, you'll always know the exact order they arrived in. You can then tag them or make digital copies and reorganize them according to your preference. It will make you familiar with what's there and you won't have to reorganize the actual papers. You can just store them (or toss, if needed) and work with the digital copies.” 

  • Patti McElligott describes her system of 3-inch binders for each family name, with each family member on a tabbed index sheet. Paper records for each person go inside clear sheet protectors behind his or her tab.
Patti’s tip for labeling photos: “Take a stack, and anytime you are sitting down, write on the back the who, what, where etc. There are pens made for this that will not damage the pictures.”
  • Cheryl Hughes was also left with an archive like Allison’s, but from several different relatives and families. She’s been working on it for 10 years. “I still get boxes, as I am thought of as the 'picture person' of all these families,” Cheryl says.
She separated papers from the pictures, and had some of the old photos and tintypes restored and copied. “I am copying all pictures to CDs or SD cards and having prints made to share with other family members … the originals are in safe, acid free boxes, with copies in albums.” 
  • Micki Gilmore’s inherited archive is smaller. “I plan to digitize. There are some great scanners out there,” she says, and plans to tackle one box at a time.
  • Diane Hart has been digitizing photos all summer. “The photos are on discs, and then I view them on a slide show on my computer. They look so nice! … From photos I received from my 83-year-old aunt, I made a disc for her with a very nice identifying label, printed a thumbnail photo gallery of disc contents, and included my contact information. Then I drove miles to deliver this to her, and we watched the slideshow. She absolutely loved it! She is the only living child in my Dad's family of 13.”
  • S. Lantz is using Clooz software to keep track of her archive. “[It] allows you to tag names in your genealogy name list with each item (photos, census, documents, books, etc.). If you assign a unique number to each item, you can run an individual report that will list all of the items tied to that individual.” 
  • Juanita Dean uses photo boxes and tabbed dividers to organize her photos by place, then event. “If you look at the photos yearly, put them in a larger box that is handy to share for reunions, otherwise use archival boxes to put them away.”
  • I love Ardith Hale’s words: “The Chinese say you can move a mountain one spoonful at a time.” She advises Allison catalog and digitize, then sort.
“I have been given a huge store of pictures, which we went through with my mother to assign names, then sort by family. Each family gets theirs. Older ones are being digitized, copied and spread around so that hopefully somewhere there will be a copy. Unidentifed ones are kept together in the hope that some reunion or gathering can attach a name.”
  • Shasta says “Take your time, think of a plan, and execute it slowly, a little bit at a time … I managed to scan our family photos by doing a few each day, a little extra when I had time.”
If you're looking for more advice, the January 2011 Family Tree Magazine has Denise Levenick's (she's the Family Curator blogger) guide to organizing a family archive like this one.

Feel free to keep sharing your stories about sorting through family collections—we love to hear 'em.

Family Heirlooms | Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, August 11, 2011 9:35:48 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Thursday, August 04, 2011
Organizing Grandma's Archive
Posted by Allison

Speaking of organization challenges, in the November 2011 issue, I ask for readers’ help with a dilemma: how to sort and store the genealogy archive my grandmother passed on to me. I’m not one to make a mountain out of a molehill ... But this actually resembles a mountain:



For her part, Grandma did manage to loosely organize the collection into boxes for specific relatives or branches of the family.







She also sorted scores of family letters into binders.



Still, some material isn't sorted or labeled. Along with the treasures are random non-genealogy-related items that need to be weeded out. And none of it is stored in what you could call an archivally friendly manner.

I'll admit the prospect of reorganizing and digitizing this mountain of memories has overwhelmed me. So I'll pose the same question to all of you family and professional archivists out there: What's your advice for making this project manageable?

Can't wait to hear your suggestions.

Family Heirlooms | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:42:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [29]
# Thursday, June 16, 2011
A Marriage Certificate Finds its Family
Posted by Grace

Whenever I find loose family photos or paperwork at antique malls (which is very often, because I love antiquing), I always feel sad for the families separated from the ephemera. On a trip home recently, my dad showed me a marriage certificate he'd found in an estate sale cleanout. (Guess where I get the antiques habit from?)

This beautiful certificate was for Walter C. Peck of Cleveland, Ohio, and Irene E. Kershner of Berwick, Pa., who were married on July 5, 1924, in Berwick, Pa., by the Rev. H.R. Shipe. I just had to know if this marriage certificate had a family that would want it.

So I did a little genealogical detective work on Ancestry.com.


(Click the image to enlarge it)

I found a Walter (age 31) and Irene Peck (29) living at 1273 Bonnieview, Lakewood, Ohio, in the 1930 census (recorded on April 5, 1930). They had two children, Clarke (5) and Carlos (8 months), and Walter was a ticket agent for a steam railroad. They rented their home for $50 a month and owned a radio set.

But Irene also showed up listed with her parents, William and Sarah Kershner, at 373 Monroe, Berwick Township, Pa., on the 1930 census (recorded April 8, 1930). Her two sons, Clark (listed as 4 and 11 months) and Carlos (7 months), are also included. (I'm figuring they were visiting during enumeration time.) I found the Kershners at the same address in the 1910 census, with Irene, 10 at the time, being among seven listed children.

Irene pops up in the 1920 census as a sister-in-law to Jacob and Lucretia Nagel in Lakewood, Ohio. She worked as a stenographer at a chemical company.

A WWI draft registration card filled out June 5, 1918, for a Walter Clark Peck living at 1339 E. 80th St. in Cleveland states he worked at a chemical company in Cleveland -- perhaps Walter and Irene had a workplace romance. Walter's emergency contact was his mother, Elizabeth Peck, who lived at the same address. Walter shows up on the 1910 and 1920 censuses living with his parents, Clark W. and Bessie Peck, in Cleveland.

Ohio death records show Walter C. Peck, born in 1897, died at home in Fairview Park, Ohio, on Nov. 13, 1961. I couldn't find a death date for Irene; Carlos Peck passed away in 2002.

But Clark Peck is still alive, and I called him on the phone today. He's a bit hard of hearing, so I mostly spoke to his wife, Beryl (Heiser) Peck, who confirmed pretty much everything I'd found.

Beryl said Walter Peck and Irene Kershner had met at Grasselli Chemical in Cleveland, where they'd both worked. Walter later worked for the Canadian Pacific Rail for many years; Beryl said Walter traveled around the world a couple times before he passed away in his 60s. Irene lived until the last 1980s. Now in his late 80s, Dr. Clark Peck practiced dentistry and taught at Case Western Reserve University for 30 years. He and Beryl now live in Westlake, Ohio, and have two children and many grandchildren.

By the time I got off the phone, I was tearing up from happiness. Beryl thanked me multiple times for contacting them -- I'll be mailing out the marriage certificate (and a copy of this blog post) to her and Clark today. I'm so glad that this beautiful record will return to its family -- and stay with them for many years to come.


Related resources:
Ancestry.com | saving and sharing family history | Vital Records
Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:49:24 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Free Webinar on Writing Your Memoir
Posted by Diane

If your family history research has led you down the path of writing—and maybe even selling—your life story, think about registering for this free, hour-long webinar hosted by our friends at Writer’s Digest magazine.

How to Write a Marketable Memoir, taking place Monday, June 20, at 1 pm Eastern (that’s noon Central, 11 am Mountain and 10 am Pacific), will give you tips on how to self-edit, “hook” readers, find your voice, and research the potential market for your work.

The webinar is presented by literary agent Paula Balzer, author of the book Writing and Selling Your Memoir.

Click here to register for the free How to Write a Marketable Memoir webinar.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:20:03 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The Family History Book of My Dreams
Posted by Diane

... only it's not about my family. I came across a unique, fascinating family history display on one of FamilyTreeMagazine.com’s sister sites, a design publication called Imprint.com.

After the death of Gordon Felton, originally Gunter Fajgenbaum, his son, graphic designer Nicholas Felton, used the hundreds of artifacts his father left to create a visual synopsis of his life.

The 12-page book features infographics showing information about Gordon’s family, each decade of his life, the places he lived and traveled, his collections of music and postcards, and more.

Here are a few of the pages (click each page for a bigger view):

The first page (above) uses pie charts to show the number and types of items Gordon saved from each year of his life.

Page three summarizes his youth in England, with a photo and stats from his school reports (best and worst subject, most frequent adjectives teachers used to describe him, etc.).

The center pages show the places Gordon traveled, with at-a-glance information such as the highest altitude visited and number of locations in each hemisphere.

I admire the mad graphic design skills that went into this book. But beyond the gorgeous looks, I love how Nicholas studied his father’s ephemera and compiled facts (such as movies he saw and the type of music he listened to) that kind of summarize the family archive and give insight into what kind of person Gordon was.

You can read more about the book here.

Flip through all the pages life-size on Nicholas Felton’s website

Have you created a visual display of family history (whether in a book or another form)? Click Comments and tell us about it.


Family Heirlooms | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:17:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]