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# Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Selected New York Times Articles Now Free
Posted by Grace

Great news this morning (via the Genealogy Blog): The New York Times has made large sections of its online archive free. Articles from 1851 to 1923 are in the public domain and available for download, and stories published in the last 20 years are also free. Articles published between 1923 and 1986 are available for a fee.

If you go to the New York Times site, you can enter your search terms in the bar near the top of the page and select whether you want to search articles since 1981 or before 1981. Once you have your results, you can select the Advanced option to limit your search to specific dates. The stories are downloadable as PDF documents. (If you happen across articles that aren't in the free years, they're $4.95 each, or you can get a monthly pass for $7.95 that allows 100 story downloads.)

I went hog wild and found a lot of fascinating articles. You don't have to have New York City roots to find good material. None of my ancestors' names turned up in the search, but I found great articles about the ships my ancestors came over from Europe on. (For example, two months before my great-grandfather arrived, an emergency appendectomy was performed on the S.S. Uranium with the E string from a violin.)

You should also try searching for your hometown, just for fun. I discovered an article about a Wellington, Ohio, dairy magnate's campaign against oleomargarine and "filled cheese" in 1894. After his impassioned speech, he raised $150 for the cause in just a few minutes.

Give the search a try, and leave me a comment about your own good finds!


Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 10:33:24 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Thursday, September 13, 2007
DNA Consulting to Launch Genetic Genealogy Forum
Posted by Diane

DNA Consulting is planning an online forum called DNA Ancestor Communities for genealogists who’ve taken DNA tests.

I got a sneak peek at the site, to launch this week at dnacommunities.com. The forum has boards for people whose tests have revealed European, Native American, Melungeon and “World” (non-European) heritages, plus a general Q&A board.

On request from DNA Consultants customers, monitors for each category will search updated versions of the OmniPop DNA comparison database. (Users tested by another company can order searches and analysis for $120.) The OmniPop database, which DNAConsulting licenses, contains DNA test results from volunteers. It’s also free online but can be pretty tricky for laypeople to use.

DNA Ancestor Communities monitors also can help forum members learn to use another online comparison database from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

DNA Consulting staff will answer genetic genealogy questions on the site's General Discussion board. Principal investigator Donald Yates says he hopes the site will help people understand results from DNA Consulting's DNA Fingerprint test, but you don’t have to be a customer to join the forum.


Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, September 13, 2007 8:06:43 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Campaign Raising Funds for Ellis Island Restoration
Posted by Diane

A “Save Ellis Island” ad on CNN.com piqued my curiosity today. The ad is part of a national fundraising campaign called We Are Ellis Island that launched Aug. 17.

Genealogists and the American public are intimately familiar with (and grateful for) the Great Hall on Ellis Island, which was restored and opened as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in the 1990s.

Those behind We Are Ellis Island—a nonprofit called Save Ellis Island and Arrow, a division of clothing company Phillips-Van Heusen Corp—hope to raise enough to restore the deteriorating buildings that remain. That includes the three structures of the Hospital Complex (read about them here).

Arrow donated $500,000 to finish restoring the Ferry Building, which reopened April 2.

You can visit the We Are Ellis Island campaign Web site to donate, share your family’s Ellis Island story (you must register first) and upload pictures.

The campaign also includes television and print advertising. All feature photographs of famous folks, including actor Christian Slater, American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee and football star Joe Montana, wearing Arrow apparel and posing attractively inside the unrestored buildings. The celebrities’ Ellis Island stories are among those on the site.


Genealogy Industry
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:31:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The Hottest News from 1775
Posted by Grace

Even if you don't trace your roots back to Colonial Massachusetts, you'll get a kick out of the attention to detail at the Boston 1775 blog.

J.L. Bell, the author of the blog, unearths tidbits every day about the beginnings of the American Revolution. It's "Back to School" week now, which means lots of information and anecdotes about past education practices.

The blog is a real trove of information. Links on the lower right side of the page let you explore the blog's archives by topic, such as dentistry, Continental soldiers and all names that are mentioned. On the left side of the blog, you can access links to related blogs and Colonial history resources.

Click here to get the latest from 1775.


Genealogy Web Sites | Social History
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 11:52:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, September 10, 2007
Famillion Touts Celebrity Connections
Posted by Diane

Another free genealogy social networking site called Famillion has been in the news. It’s headquartered in Israel (as is MyHeritage, which recently purchased Pearl Street Software).

Famillion, which has family tree building capabilities, photo albums and profile pages, says its Tree Merging Technology will locate overlaps in trees and suggest relationships (this sounds similar to the SmartMatching feature in Pearl Street’s languishing GenCircles pedigree database).

Famillion also just announced a GEDCOM upload to ease the job of entering family information.

The site looks slick and its “connect the world” tagline is noble, but the webmasters seem drawn to hyperbole. The About window says “You might… find connections to the world's Albert Einsteins, Madonnas and Bill Gates. You may find yourself chatting with Angelina Jolie.”

Somehow I think Angie’s a little too busy with Brad, Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh and Pax to chat me up online.

That claim and the celebrity photos on the home page smack of a too-obvious attempt to capitalize on America’s Hollywood obsession. The same could be said of MyHeritage and its celebrity lookalike photo search, though that site redeems itself with downloadable genealogy software and a search engine.
 
On the plus side, maybe non-genies will come to these sites looking for celebrity connections and get hooked on exploring their own mere-mortal family histories.

Meanwhile, we’ll research celebrity roots if we think they commingle with our own, but we’re too busy climbing brick walls to be genealogical paparazzi.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, September 10, 2007 10:42:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, September 07, 2007
Ancestry.se and More Swedish Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has launched a Swedish Web site, www.Ancestry.se. Accessible with a $299.40-per-year ($29.95 per month) World Deluxe membership, the site contains Swedish emigration records with 1.4 million names, and vital records from 81 Lutheran parishes in Sweden’s Varmland County.

The same records are also available through Ancestry.com’s US records collection ($155.40 per year). Note they’re not linked to digitized original records.

The original emigration data comes from a CD called Emigranten Populär. Data were culled from various records including passport lists, passenger lists and correspondence. For more on what you can learn from the records, see Ancestry.com’s “about” page for that database.

You can buy a version of the database on a two-CD set called Emigranten for $190 from Göteborgs-Emigranten in Göteborg. Other Swedish record sources you can check out:
  • Emigrantslistor, passenger-list information from 1851 to 1940 the police department kept for Stockholm. The Family History Library has this on microfilm, as well as emigrations through other Swedish ports.
  • Emibas, a CD of 1.1 million emigrants listed in between 1845 and 1930. It’s available from Ancestors Swedish.
  • Genline has digitized virtually all Swedish church records and made them searchable in its database. Access costs around $370 for a year; you also can buy shorter subscriptions and take advantage of special offers.
  • SVAR, a division of Sweden's national archives, offers a smaller collection of digitized church records, as well as some censuses and vital records (click the English icon on the Web site). It costs about $146 per year, with shorter subscriptions and other packages available.
For more help, use our Swedish online ethnic toolkit and see the October 2006 Family Tree Magazine (sold out from our back issues store, but ask for it at your library).


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Friday, September 07, 2007 5:03:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 05, 2007
New Resource for Newspaper Personals
Posted by Diane

Speaking of newspapers (see below), the webmaster behind the GenealogyBuff search engine has helped start a site called PersonalButPolite.com with transcribed personals columns from old papers.

It's free to search or browse by place. The site's small, but you can submit your own transcriptions by e-mail. See the PersonalButPolite Update blog to keep track of additions.

Personals then were a far cry from today's "man seeking woman..." ads. You could find short announcements of local residents' comings and goings and births and deaths, as well as people looking for lost friends.


Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:33:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Research Family Reunions in Newspapers
Posted by Diane

Next time you're using a database of historic newspapers, try this tip from Tom Kemp, of the GenealogyBank subscription newspaper site: Look for articles about your kin's family reunions.

Society pages in old newspapers would report on local gatherings, often with names of the family patriarch and out-of-town or well-known attendees. You can download a few examples from GenealogyBank's free downloads page.

Search for family surnames and the words family reunion. Try adding a place if you get a lot of hits. Kemp also suggests searching for reunions of high schools and colleges and military units.

A subscription to GenealogyBank costs $19.95 per month or $89.95 per year. Many public libraries offer cardholders free access to its sister database, NewsBank, through their Web sites.

Other resources include Ancestry.com's newspapers ($155.40 per year in the US Records Collection) and the growing newspaper databases at World Vital Records ($49.95 for two years).

You'll find more options for finding newspapers both online and in libraries on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

Also see the newspaper research guide in the February 2007 Family Tree Magazine.


Family Reunions | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:12:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Ancestry.com Launches DNA Beta Site
Posted by Diane

Back in June, The Generations Network (TGN) acquired Relative Genetics and its test results database from Sorenson Genomics. (See our blog report.)

Now we’re seeing the fruits of that union on the DNA Ancestry beta site. There, you can order Y-DNA tests for $149 (33 markers) or $199 (46 markers), or mtDNA tests for $179. On the overview and ordering pages, you get information on the tests, and you can see a sample test results report. Trace Your Roots with DNA (Rodale, $14.95) co-author Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak became TGN’s chief family historian early this year, so expect good-quality background information.

Those with a free Ancestry.com registration will be able to search a test-result database and enter results from other companies’ tests.

The Relative Genetics site will be phased out by the end of 2007. See DNA Ancestry's FAQ page for more information.

Look for more genetic genealogy help in upcoming issues of Family Tree Magazine. Also see the October 2006 Family Tree Magazine’s user-friendly testing guide (sold out from our back issues store, but ask for it at your library).


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 9:24:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, August 31, 2007
The State of Genealogy in Germany
Posted by Grace

We don't need to tell you that genealogy's a big deal. But for the sake of backing up the argument, here are some numbers. A poll released by The Generations Network in 2005 said 29 percent have created a family tree—that's more than 80 million people. Ancestry.com alone has 760,000 subscribers.

Now, about one in six Americans reported having German ancestry in the 2000 US Census—more than 43 million people.

Considering how many US genealogists might be rooting around in the archives of Baden-Wurttemberg and Brandenburg, it seems surprising that only about 30,000 Germans are tracing their family roots, according to German news channel N-TV.

But the lack of fervor in Deutschland has deep-seated roots.

Genealogy was at its most popular in Germany during the Third Reich—it was a way of proving Aryan heritage. Because much of the general population associated the hobby with national socialism, nearly all genealogical organizations were disbanded in 1945, and the hobby still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many Germans.

With the advent of Internet-driven research (and perhaps with the influence of countries like the United States and United Kingdom, where genealogy is big business), it seems like Ahnenforschung is making a comeback. TV stations are producing genealogy-focused programs like "Die Spur der Ahnen" ("The Trace of the Ancestors") and "Vorfahren Gesucht: Abenteuer Ahnenforschung" ("Ancestors Sought: Genealogy Adventure"). For those fluent in Deutsch, a German-language blog affiliated with Ancestry.de gives an interesting take on family history.

So now I’m curious—what's the state of genealogy in other countries? Leave a comment!


Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Friday, August 31, 2007 2:49:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]