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# Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Tracing the Lost Colony Through DNA
Posted by Diane

Genetic genealogy could help researchers figure out what happened to the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island, NC.

It’s one of America’s most enduring mysteries: What happened to the 100-plus settlers who landed on the island in 1587? When the governor, John White, was finally able to return there in 1590, he found it deserted and, inexplicably, the word Croatoan carved into a tree.

Theories abound: Spanish explorers destroyed the settlement, the colonists tried unsuccessfully to return to England, they assimilated into American Indian groups.

The last speculation is what Brighton, Mich., genetics lab DNA Explain, along with the North Carolina-based Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, will study. Researchers will test the Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA lines of people identified through genealogical research as possible descendants of Roanoke colonists. For comparison, they also may test the colonists’ known relatives in Britain.

Well, my curiosity is certainly piqued!

Have you solved a family mystery through DNA testing? Let us know by posting a comment.


Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 12:14:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, June 06, 2007
More Genealogy Partnerships to Bring You Records
Posted by Diane

It’s a genealogy love-in. Ever since several new business relationships emerged during May’s National Genealogical Society conference, companies have been announcing partnerships right and left. A few of the latest:
For home users, Kindred Konnections subscription packages range from $7 for 10 days to $100 for a year. You can get free access for submitting your own family files to the site; the amount of free access depends on the size of your file.
  • Connecticut’s Godfrey Memorial Library is giving its members the option to add a World Vital Records (WVR) subscription for $45 on top of the Godfrey annual membership fee.  In return, WVR will digitize and index books, articles and church records from the Godfrey library. Both sites will have the indexes.
A WVR subscription normally runs $49.95 and includes the Everton library, SmallTownPapers, a variety of vital records and  books from Quintin Publications. As is customary for new databases, WVR is making its most recent Quintin addition, Ermatinger’s York Factory Express Journal (journeys between Fort Vancouver and Hudson Bay in 1827 and 1828), free through June 14
Meanwhile, the Godfrey library has reorganized its membership levels and put color-coded portals on its Web site for various subscriptions:
1. “red” portal: $35 for 19th century US newspapers, American National Biography Online, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online, the London Times archive and more
2. “blue” portal: $65 for the "red" subscription, plus NewspaperArchive.com

3. “green” portal: $80 for the “red” subscription, plus WVR

4. “gold” portal: $110 for the “blue” subscription, plus WVR

  • WVR and Accessible Archives: Accessible Archives, whose mid-Atlantic-focused databases (including the Pennsylvania Gazette 1728-1800, American County Histories to 1900, African-American newspaper the Liberator and more) have been available only in libraries, will now be ... well, accessible to home users through a WVR subscription. 


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, June 06, 2007 8:48:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, June 04, 2007
How to Hand Down Heirlooms (and Still Be Speaking to Your Family Later)
Posted by Diane

Ever since I can remember, I've had my eye on my mom's set of pyrex nesting bowls in graduated shades of yellow. My parents received them as a wedding present back in the day, and I think they're beautiful. I'm not sure whether my best strategy is to call dibs now, or continue hiding my lust for the bowls from my sisters in hopes they haven't noticed their existence.



Visitors to the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum have been sharing stories of how their families hand down such heirlooms—and they have some pretty good ideas for keeping the peace.

See their suggestions, and add your own tales: http://www.familytreemagazine.com/forum/forums/
thread-view.asp?tid=317&posts=8&start=1
 

Family Heirlooms
Monday, June 04, 2007 3:42:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, June 01, 2007
What's Wrong With Connecticut's Public Records Laws?
Posted by Diane

Connecticut-based Godfrey Memorial Library has become one of the state-approved genealogical societies whose members can get copies of Connecticut birth records.

Access to that state's certified birth records less than 100 years old is limited to the person named in the certificate, legal guardians, spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, certain officials—and genealogy society members.

I suppose we should be thankful the records aren’t closed altogether. But I'm going to complain anyway, and here's why:

First, the law goes against the concept of public records. To get a record, you not only have to prove your identity and your relationship to the person, and pay a fee ($5 to request records from town offices; $15 to request them from the state), you also have to join a special club. Why should genealogists have any more right to a birth certificate than, say, engineers?

Second, the state is, in effect, abdicating its own responsibility to safeguard these records. Instead, it's putting genealogy societies in charge of them. Do you think local genealogy societies are screening members and denying applications of potential terrorists and identity thieves? If someone wants to use your Connecticut birth record for nefarious purposes, do you really think he’ll be scared off by the Godfrey Library's $35 annual fee?

What’s the point of closing the records if anyone can join a genealogical society and get any birth record?


Public Records
Friday, June 01, 2007 5:40:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ode to Interlibrary Loan
Posted by Diane

Usually I stick to writing prose, but recent family research developments inspired me to go all poetic:

What would I do without thee, interlibrary loan?
Texas prison records were far away, I bemoaned.
 
The Lone Star State Archives on its Web site
listed microfilm offering ancestral insight.
 
But alas, how could I travel to Austin
With what the airline tickets are costin’?
 
Then I spied words lovely to behold:
“Interlibrary loan,” right there in bold.
 
All I need do was make an inquiry
at the reference desk of my local library.
 
Nary four weeks nigh, I received the voice mail
The film now awaited—I could barely exhale!
 
A $5 fee and I, to a microfilm reader,
Ran quicker (well, almost) than Derek Jeter.
 
Some scrolling and—my ancestor! My very own
Genealogical revelation, thanks to interlibrary loan.


Seriously, if you're searching the online catalog of some faraway library and it has the microfilm you need, and you're considering taking out a second mortgage to make the trip there, see if the library participates interlibrary loan. If it does, print the catalog page and take it directly to your library's reference or circulation desk, and ask to submit an interlibrary loan request.

Want helpful hints on using interlibrary loan? The April 2006 Family Tree Magazine has what you're looking for.


Genealogy fun | Research Tips
Friday, June 01, 2007 8:51:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, May 29, 2007
A Few New Databases
Posted by Diane

We put our ears to the ground this week and heard about a few databases recently online:

The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
Browse (by year) or search (by keyword) digitized versions of The Jewish Criterion (1895 to 1962), The American Jewish Outlook (1934 to 1962), and The Jewish Chronicle (1962 to the present).

Search results show up as codes (rather than an article title or other clue to whether the match is relevant) consisting of an abbreviation for the newspaper name and the publication year. Click the code to see the article; click again for a larger one. The search uses Optical Character Recognition—a robot that scans articles for words resembling your search terms. Bad scans and stray ink spots can confuse the robot, so you might end up with odd results.

Genealogical Forum of Oregon Indexes
This Portland-based genealogical society has been busy indexing its records. Find your ancestor, then order photocopies of the original records for $5 each.

Multnomah County marriage records, 1855-1907: Browse these records by choosing a year range, then the first surname on the page where your ancestor should appear.

WWI Draft registrations: Browse 176,862, names of Oregon registrants by surname. (Look for a guide to researching WWI ancestors in the November 2007 Family Tree Magazine).

Oregon Obituaries: Many in this growing index were born in the 1800s and early 1900s. Browse by surname; results show the newspaper title and publication date, plus the GFO’s filing information.

Oregonians in the 1890 veterans schedule: Information from this special census schedule can substitute for the burned 1890 US census.

Little Rock National Cemetery
The webmaster of Arkansas Ties photographed the entire cemetery, then posted (for burials through 2002) a surname index to the tombstone photos online. As a memorial tribute, images are available (five per person per week) free by mail.

Boston Streets
This cool site has four sections: Moments (100 years of street scenes); People (city directories from 1845, 1855, 1865, 1870, 1872, 1875, 1885, 1905 and 1925); Places (atlases from 1874, 1898 and 1928); and “Cowpaths” (named for the cute but false story that Boston streets meander because they trace old bovine trails, this map-based tool plots information from the other databases).

You can search the contents of the first three sections separately. Or, plot the location of your ancestor’s city directory listing or a photograph on a Cowpaths map. You start in Cowpaths by assigning different search criteria to up to four map layers—the red Visual Materials layer is for photos—then view the layers together or individually.

I’m finding Cowpaths a bit tricky to use, so be sure to read the instructions you get by clicking Help. I never did get the source of the plotted information to show up in the information display area below the map—let me know if you're more successful.


Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 4:55:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 24, 2007
Well, hello there!
Posted by Grace

Welcome to the Genealogy Insider blog, your source for Family Tree Magazine’s user-friendly take on what’s happening inside the genealogy industry. That means we’ll not only give you the news, we’ll also tell you what it means to your genealogy research.

Along the way, I’ll share expert research tips, behind-the-scenes peeks at life inside the cubicle walls of the country's best-selling how-to genealogy magazine, and the occasional random (and ideally, highly entertaining) thought. All with the hope of inspiring and furthering your family history search—and keeping it fun.

So, let’s get this party started!



Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:53:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]
Nine Steps to Civil War Ancestors
Posted by Diane

The July 2007 Family Tree Magazine makes researching Civil War soldiers doable for anyone, with nine steps to uncovering genealogical records on Union and Confederate ancestors. Here's a quick overview of the steps:

1. Search the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.

2. Order your ancestor's Compiled Military Service Records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

3. Seek the soldier's pension file, at NARA for Union soldiers and state archives for Confederate soldiers.

4. Look for NARA's records of the first US military draft, enacted in 1863.

5. Consult your ancestral state censuses and the 1890 US census schedule of Union veterans and widows (extant for states alphabetically from Kentucky through Wyoming).

6. Research records of veterans organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic (post records are usually at state historical societies and archives) and United Confederate Veterans (on Family History Library microfilm).

7.  Find cemetery records using sources such as the Department of Veterans Affiars National Gravesite Locator.

8. Get the back story on your ancestor's regiment—the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System can get you started here, too, with its regimental histories.

9. Look for digital maps and images on Web sites such as the Library of Congress' American Memory collection.

You can find thorough how-tos and additional resources for each of these steps in the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine, available now on newsstands and at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Research Tips | Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:45:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Free Ancestry.com Military Records 'til June 6
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has made access to its military records collection free through June 6 to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day, when the Normandy invasion began in 1944. You can both search and download record images (you'll need to register with the site before viewing records).



I found my great-grandfather's WWII draft registration card, which he signed April 26, 1942, when he was 61 years old. This "old man's registration" called on men born from April 28, 1877, to Feb. 16, 1897. It's the only WWII draft registration available to the public.

Now if only I could find a WWI draft registration card for him, which would fill in a big genealogical gap...



Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:24:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Not-So-Silent Partners
Posted by Allison

Genealogy is all about relationships, so perhaps it was fitting that several newly forged business relationships were the buzz of last week’s NGS conference. Why all the hype? These partnerships promise to put a plethora of new genealogical records on the Web, and expand online access to existing resources.

Leading the partnership parade is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which has teamed up with World Vital Records (WVR), Footnote, the Godfrey Library and ProQuest CSA to make those organizations’ subscription databases available for free at its Salt Lake City Family History Library and 4,500 branch Family History Centers. (Note: ProQuest’s HeritageQuest Online won’t be accessible in every center—call yours to check on availability.) The church hopes these databases will help fill the void left after the discontinuation of free Ancestry.com access in the library and centers (read our coverage).

In addition to on-site access, LDS is collaborating with WVR and Footnote to enrich both sites’ paid content. With the church’s help, Footnote is in the process of posting 3 million Revolutionary War pensions, making the full files available online for the first time. WVR will be posting selected records (likely including—you guessed it—births, marriages and deaths) from both LDS microfilm and the digital document images church cameras have captured in recent years. Although the record images hosted by WVR will require a subscription, indexes to them will be available free on FamilySearch (and you’ll be able to view them free at LDS centers).

In the meantime, WVR is adding content from two more partners: The Ellis Island database of 22 million passengers and crew arriving in New York from 1892 to 1924, courtesy of the State of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (results link you back to www.ellisisland.org to view the original records), and Quintin Publications’ catalog of 10,000 books—which encompass compiled genealogies, local histories and other material previously unavailable online.

That’s not all: Thanks to a collaboration with LexisNexis, ProQuest CSA is adding portions of the US Serial Set—representing 480,000 page images from 150,000 government documents dating back to 1789—to HeritageQuest Online. Those records complement the censuses, family books and other databases already on HeritageQuest, which is accessible through subscribing libraries.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:55:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]