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<2007 December>

More Links

# Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Looking for one's own Peeps
Posted by Grace

The Birmingham Public Library posted this too-cute video about a little guy's genealogy quest:

Genealogy fun | Libraries and Archives | Videos
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 16:37:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, 10 December 2007
A Happy Holiday Field Trip
Posted by Allison

Few aspects of our Family Tree Magazine editor jobs are as enjoyable as getting out into the genealogical community and meeting the readers of the magazine—particularly our friends at the Anderson (Ohio) Senior Center Genealogy Group.

The group’s fearless leader, Bill Warden, invited our staff to speak to the group at Christmastime in 2004. Thus began our now-traditional “Editors and Cookies” visit each December, wherein the group members bring their favorite cookies to share, including some from heirloom recipes. (Yum!)

So we were delighted to learn that Bill brought take-out boxes to today’s session so we could bring some back to the office! Check out the spread:

But the cookies weren’t the best part of our visit. Far better is the opportunity to interact with people who are passionate about family history—and in many cases, Family Tree Magazine. It’s truly gratifying to hear how the work we do every day helps people, and to know that we make their hobby more enjoyable.

I think everyone had fun today taking the genealogy personality quiz that will appear in our March 2008 issue. Here is everyone concentrating on selecting their answers…

Although we can’t visit every genealogy group personally, of course, we’d love to hear what you like (or don’t like) about Family Tree Magazine. Post your feedback in our Talk to Us Forum.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy societies
Monday, 10 December 2007 18:19:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
DNA Tests Verify Pets' Pedigrees, Too
Posted by Diane

Now four-legged family members can get in on the genetic genealogy act, too. That’s right—owners of mixed-breed pooches can learn about their pets’ pedigrees so they can confidently answer the question, “So what kind of dog is that?”

Fern Glazer, our writer who got genetic genealogy experts to answer readers’ common DNA quandaries for the March 2008 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands mid-January), uncovered a couple of companies that do doggy DNA testing:
  • Last August, DNA Print Genomics launched Doggie DNAPrint 1.0, a test costing about $100 that examines 204 canine markers obtained from a cheek swab to reveal your dog’s ancestry population (its relationship to four ancient ancestral breeds). The company is also building a purebred database that eventually will let you compare your dog's DNA for accurate breed identification.
  • Mars Veterinary recently rolled out The Wisdom Panel MX test. Using a blood sample your veterinarian takes, the test detects specific combinations of genetic markers that can reveal the breed heritage of your dog.

Genealogy fun | Genetic Genealogy
Monday, 10 December 2007 17:21:44 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 06 December 2007
Don't Know Much About Family History, But We Want To
Posted by Diane

Lots of Americans say they’re interested in their family history, but many actually don’t know much about their ancestors, according to an survey released today.

Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents said they’re interested in learning more about their families, but half could name only one or none of their grandparents, 60 percent didn’t know both grandmothers’ maiden names, and 22 percent couldn’t say what either grandfather did or does for a living.

Half the survey respondents had ever researched their roots.

This may be a bit unexpected: More young people than older people were among the 78 percent wanting to know more about their roots. Eighty-three percent of 18-to-34-year-olds were interested, followed 35-to-54-year-olds at 77 percent and those 55 and older at 73 percent.

Could be the older folks are already doing genealogy and know a lot about their families, so they’re not as worried about learning more.

The research firm MarketTools conducted the survey. Information about the number of respondents and how they were surveyed wasn’t available.

What do you think of the numbers? Click comment to share your two cents.

Genealogy Industry
Thursday, 06 December 2007 13:44:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Wednesday, 05 December 2007
1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses Going Online
Posted by Diane

We’ve just seen the first fruits of a project from the National Archives of Ireland and Library and Archives Canada to digitize, index and post online the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses.

You now can search or browse Dublin’s 1911 census records free at; the rest of the 1911 and then 1901 records will follow.

Search on a name or place, then and click on a match to see a page with the household's residents and links to PDF images of the dwelling’s census return forms (they were a bit slow to load).

What an exciting development, and not only because contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack tipped us off just in time to slip the good news into our March 2008 Irish research guide before the issue went to press.

The project is creating the only master index to Irish census records—currently, you have to look up the district electoral division (DED) for your ancestor's townland (similar to a neighborhood) and residence, then find the Family History Library census microfilm covering the right DED.

On your relative’s Household Return (Form A) for 1901, you’ll find his or her name, age, sex, relationship to the head of household, religion, occupation, marital status, county or country of birth, and ability to read, write and speak Irish.

All of that’s also in the 1911 census, plus, for married women, the numbers of years of marriage, children born alive and children still living.

You can get a good picture of your family’s economic status, too: On the House and Building Return (Form B), census takers recorded details about dwellings, such as number of windows, type of roof, number of rooms a family occupies, and overall condition.

Though Ireland took censuses every 10 years starting in 1821, the infamous 1922 Four Courts fire took a toll, as did government officials who destroyed old returns once they gathered statistical information. The 1921 count was skipped due to the Irish Civil War, leaving 1901 and 1911 as the only censuses available.

Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | Research Tips
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 10:48:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 04 December 2007 Adds Passport Applications
Posted by Diane has added a passport applications dating from 1795 to 1925, taken from microfilm in National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) record group 59, General Records of the Department of State.
The US government has issued passports to citizens traveling abroad since 1789. But except for short periods during the Civil War and World War I, passports weren't required until 1941.

A non-naturalized immigrant couldn’t get a passport unless he’d formally declared his intention to become a citizen.

If your ancestor’s passport application is among the 1.5  million here, you’re genealogically set. A few I found include the applicant’s birthplace and year, occupation, hometown, length of uninterrupted residence in the United States, date and court of naturalization, reason for travel and appearance (for the man who submitted this application, right down to his “flat” nose).

According to NARA’s Web site, 95 percent of mid-19th century passport applicants were men. A man's wife and children traveling with him were listed on his passport. Likewise, children traveling with only their mother were on her documents.

Later in the 1800s, women more often obtained passports in their own names. By 1923, they constituted more than 40 percent of applicants.

The records are available with a $155.40-per-year subscription to, or you can order copies from NARA. Note passports issued March 4 and 5, 1919, are missing from NARA’s film and from's database.

Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 04 December 2007 09:14:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 03 December 2007
Family Tree Magazine Sponsors Family History Expo
Posted by Diane

Guess what? We’re sponsoring ourselves a genealogy conference!

Family Tree Magazine is the key sponsor for the fourth annual Family History Expo, Feb. 8 and 9 in St. George, Utah.

The conference (formerly the Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree) draws speakers from all over the United States, including Trace Your Roots With DNA co-author and historian Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Reading Early American Handwriting author Kip Sperry, DearMYRTLE blogger Pat Richley, World Vital Records president David Lifferth, RootsMagic president Bruce Buzbee and others.

The exhibit hall will feature more than 60 exhibitors, including Family Tree Magazine in booth 419. Each attendee gets a free Family Tree Magazine, plus chances to win prizes such as subscriptions and The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists (Family Tree Books, $29.99).

Registration costs $60 in advance (sign up online at MyAncestorsFound) or $65 at the door.

Here’s a little extra incentive: Nestled in the southwest corner of Utah, St. George is a balmy 50 to 60 degrees in February, when those of us in more northern locales are shivering through bone-chilling temps. I thought you’d come around!

Genealogy Events
Monday, 03 December 2007 16:59:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 30 November 2007
Fun with math and microfilm
Posted by Grace

Yesterday, we Family Tree Magazine editors got to thinking about just how big the Family History Library's collection is. I don't even know what inspired us, but we wondered—would the FHL's microfilm reach to the moon?

We did the calculations—and they won't. But it's still pretty far:

The FHL has 2.4 million rolls of microfilm. A microfilm box is about 4 inches wide. A mile is 63,360 inches, and the FHL's got 9.6 million inches of microfilm boxes, assuming they're all a standard size. Laid end to end, those boxes would stretch about 151.5 miles.

So you could get from Salt Lake City nearly to Pocatello, Idaho, on the FHL's microfilm boxes. Or from Indianapolis to Gary, Ind., or if they were in Texas, from Fort Worth to Abilene.

Photo from The Queen's University Library.

FamilySearch | Genealogy fun
Friday, 30 November 2007 15:49:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, 29 November 2007
Holiday Gift Ideas for Genealogists
Posted by Diane

When it comes to holiday presents, genealogists don’t seem hard to please—anyone who’d crawl around a weedy cemetery in search of a tombstone can’t be that high-maintenance. But if you’re at a loss for what to give the genealogist in your life, try one of these suggestions:
  • a set of Family Tree Magazine CDs: the International Genealogical Passport ($12.95), the 2006 compilation ($24) and 2007 compilation ($20)
  • a GPS, which traveling researchers can use to locate cemeteries, libraries, the old family homestead or a place to eat lunch
  • a prepaid gasoline card to help fund those research trips
  • a cemetery research kit with non-fusible interfacing (for tombstone rubbings), rubbing wax (you can get it from stores such as FunStuffforGenealogists), masking tape, gardener’s shears and knee pads, bug spray, and an “I brake for cemeteries” bumper sticker
  • a genetic genealogy test
  • a research favor, especially if a fellow genealogist has a hard time getting around. Maybe do lookups for her at a Family History Center, drive him to a conference or help scan a load of photos.
If you've gotten a great genealogical present—or are hoping for one this year—click Comment and tell us what it is.

Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun
Thursday, 29 November 2007 08:45:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Family Tree Firsts—Part Two
Posted by Grace

If you remember reading my first post in the Family Tree Firsts series, you may recall I was excited for the next visit with my dad's parents so I could pick their brains. My trip back up to Cleveland for Thanksgiving did not disappoint.

Showing my grandma and grandpa the WWII draft cards, passenger records and census schedules I found were enough to get them talking about their parents and grandparents. I got a lot of names, dates and other interesting information, which I typed as fast as I could on my laptop, and when it ran out of batteries, I switched to a notebook.

My grandma told me her father, Stanley, was sad he couldn't go back home to visit his mother because he had ran away from the Russian army. He had only an elementary school education, so my grandma would teach him spelling and writing and give him tests. My grandmother's grandmother's first husband, whom she had her children with, died while they were still in Europe, and she married again when she got to the US. (Her second husband, Edmund, is on the far right in the picture at right, next to my grandmother during her first communion. Her father, Stanley, is on the left.)

My grandfather never knew his grandparents, but he could tell me a little about his parents. (That's them, Tanka and Wasyl, in the picture at right.) Wasyl's brother came to the US, but he had two sisters who continued on to Argentina and were never heard from again. I'll be interested to see what I can find out about that. I also never knew before last week that my grandfather was a twin; his sister died when she was just a baby.

After my grandmother accused me of using unethical interrogation techniques (totally untrue), she had me help her get some photo albums from the closet. They were in practically pristine condition, and my mom and I took them home so we could scan some into the computer. (For more on scanning, see our January issue's story on photo digitization.)

What I'm most thankful for is having had so much time with my grandparents. Being 25, I'm probably in the minority having all four still around. I'm pretty surprised how much information about my family's past I was able to get in a conversation over Chinese takeout. (Having read our March 2008 issue's story on oral history helped!)

Earlier in Family Tree Firsts:
Part One

Family Tree Firsts
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:50:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]