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<2007 June>

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# Wednesday, 20 June 2007
Put Your Family in its Place
Posted by Diane

You want to walk in your relatives’ footsteps this summer. See the places they lived. Go where they went. But how do you find where those were? In the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine, Fern Glazer suggests the following resources to help you pinpoint the places your family frequented.

Censuses: These enumerations provide a snapshot of a family, including the names, ages and occupations of household members, relationships among them and immigration information. The city and county are at the top of each page; the address is on the left. Look at every census during your relative’s lifespan.

City directories: Most American cities (and some rural areas) published directories annually or biannually beginning in the mid-1800s. These alphabetical listings of residents include names, street addresses and occupations.

Some directories include addresses for businesses and public buildings, maps and advertisements. Ads may provide clues about family businesses and details about the neighborhood. To locate city directories for your family’s area, visit Your local library probably has directories for your city. Some large libraries have other towns’ directories; if yours doesn’t, you may be able to borrow them on microfilm through interlibrary loan.

Telephone directories: If you want to find a person or place in more-modern times—say, in the years after the telephone was invented—you might have luck consulting the phone book. Or search US and international listings, including yellow pages, e-mail directories and fax listings, by name, address, phone number or ZIP code at Infobel.

See the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine for more trip-planning advice, including how to map ancestral addresses and create an itinerary even your grumpy brother-in-law can appreciate.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips | Social History
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 10:30:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 18 June 2007 Re-enters the DNA Business
Posted by Diane

It was only a matter of time. plans to sell DNA test kits and add a genetic genealogy database to its array of research offerings.

It’s made possible by a partnership between’s parent company, The Generations Network (TGN), and Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Genomics—one of the country’s largest DNA testing labs, the creator of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) genetic genealogy database, and until now, the owner of consumer genetic genealogy testing lab Relative Genetics.

Relative Genetics will close, and its customers and Y-Match test results database will become part of TGN. will market the tests, with results to be added to’s database, and host the surname projects formerly at Relative Genetics.

Relative Genetics spokesperson Peggy Hayes says the free Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation database, which isn't part of Relative Genetics, is not part of the partnership. "SMGF will continue its mission as a philanthropic organization," she added.'s DNA tests will cost less than $200 and be available later this summer. Sorenson's labs will provide the testing kits and analyze customers' DNA.

The DNA test results database will be free at Former Relative Genetics customers will automatically become registered users, who can access the site’s free services.

The customers will be able to control privacy settings, or opt out altogether by contacting Relative Genetics before July 15. (see Relative Genetics' FAQ page for more on what this development means for customers).

You may remember the GenetiKit, TGN predecessor’s first foray into genetic genealogy. Also a partnership with Relative Genetics, the GenetiKit Y-DNA test kit debuted in 2002 for $219 and faded away a few years ago.

Genealogy Industry | Genetic Genealogy
Monday, 18 June 2007 10:39:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 15 June 2007
Tombstone Rubbing Tips
Posted by Diane

We added a Cemetery Central forum to the message board! Go to to post your graveyard research stories and questions.

I opened it up with the tale (and resulting helpful hints) of creating this tombstone rubbing for the December 2006 Family Tree Magazine:

Maybe you'll have some tips to add to the collection. I'd love to see your tombstone rubbings and photos, too!

Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Friday, 15 June 2007 09:45:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 12 June 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, 12 June 2007 12:14:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, 06 June 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

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, 06 June 2007 08:48:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 04 June 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 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:

Family Heirlooms
Monday, 04 June 2007 15:42:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, 01 June 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, 01 June 2007 17:40:43 (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, 01 June 2007 08:51:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 29 May 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, 29 May 2007 16:55:54 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 24 May 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, 24 May 2007 12:53:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]