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<2008 February>

More Links

# Monday, 18 February 2008
Cooking up Stories of Presidents' African-American Chefs
Posted by Allison

NPR aired a fascinating Presidents Day segment in the Kitchen Sisters series about George Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's slave chefs—and the little-known culinary contributions they and other African-Americans have made to White House history.

You can read a synopsis and listen to the story online.

If you aren't familiar with Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva's Kitchen Sisters series, it's dedicated to exploring and preserving social history through food. Browse the archive for other stories of interest to family history and pop culture buffs, including "America Eats: A Hidden Archive of the 1930s" and "The Birth of the Frito."

African-American roots | Social History
Monday, 18 February 2008 11:30:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 15 February 2008
Abe Lincoln's Summer Retreat Opens
Posted by Diane

Anderson Cottage was the Camp David of its day—a summer retreat three miles from central Washington where Abraham, Mary Todd and Tad Lincoln escaped the White House.

Other presidents used the cottage, too, but none as frequently as Lincoln. The 16th president lived there for months at a time during the summer, risking his life during his daily commute to the White House. In August 1864, would-be assasin's bullet left a hole in Lincoln's stovepipe hat.

The home, built in 1842, had become a rundown office building for the nearby Armed Forces Retirement Home when it was rediscovered in the late 1990s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation led a seven-year, $15 million restoration.

Now, after a seven-year, $15 million restoration, President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home opens to the public on President's Day, Feb. 18. Visitors can tour the four-bedroom, two-story, stucco-covered brick Gothic Revival cottage for $12 (purchase tickets ahead of time online).

Read about the restoration on the site’s blog and get more house history in the Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home, by Matthew Pinsker (Oxford University Press, $15.95).

Historic preservation | Social History
Friday, 15 February 2008 16:56:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 14 February 2008
Free Photo Scanning for Social Networkers
Posted by Allison

It's a Valentine's Day gift for family history lovers: Through Feb. 29, is offering free scanning of up to 1,000 4x6-inch photos—all you'll pay is the $19.95 shipping fee (compared to the regular price of $49.95).

What's the catch? The offer is open only to members of several major social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and Flickr (a photo-sharing network). You also have to be a US resident, and the offer's limited to one freebie per person or address. In exchange, asks that you post a review of its service. See the press release for further details.

if you've been thinking about testing the social networking waters but haven't taken the plunge, here's a good incentive.

Family Heirlooms | Historic preservation
Thursday, 14 February 2008 13:02:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Search Site for Shelby County, Tenn., Family
Posted by Diane

Derrick Minck, register of deeds over in Shelby County, Tenn. (home of Memphis), e-mailed me about the plethora of genealogical records available on the Register’s Web site—somewhat unusual for a county government site. (Heads up, fellow Mac users: The site came up in Firefox but not in Safari.)

If you’ve got Tennessee ancestors, stop by and look for
  • Property records: “We have indexes and images dating back to 1812,” Minck writes.
  • GIS: You can search by name or address and see an aerial property photo linked to property data.
  • Archives: Search Shelby County birth (1874-1906) marriage (1820-1910) and death (1848-1956), records—and yes, folks, most matches are linked to record images.
You also can search indexes for Tennessee marriages (1980-2005), divorces (1980-2005) and deaths (1949-2005), with links for ordering copies. Circuit (1893-2000) and chancery (1945-1997) court, naturalization (1856-1906) and Memphis 1865 census indexes are there, too.
Search each record set from the home page. Now staff is scanning Memphis city directories from 1859 to 1924, and Minck says they’re almost ready to post 1859 through 1881.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Public Records
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 15:01:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 11 February 2008
Family History Expo Slide Show
Posted by Allison

For those of you who couldn't make it to the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, Utah, last weekend—and those who want to relive the fun—watch this slideshow of images from the event:

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Videos
Monday, 11 February 2008 17:05:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Saturday, 09 February 2008
News and Notes from the Family History Expo
Posted by Allison

The first day of MyAncestorsFound’s Family History Expo 2008 saw a flurry of activity in the exhibit hall—here at the Family Tree Magazine booth, I barely had a moment to catch my breath. But today I had the opportunity to cruise the hall and learn about new developments in the industry.

The buzzword for this event has been “New FamilySearch”—referring to the highly anticipated revamp of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ genealogy Web site, which is scheduled to go public in early 2009. Several classes focused on how the new system works, and what it means to genealogists. Developers from AncestralQuest, PAFInsight and RootsMagic genealogy software gave demos on how their programs will “sync” with the New FamilySearch.

Here’s a snapshot of other news:
  • Newcomer FamilyPursuit is a Web-based family tree program that aims to make it easy for families to collaborate on recording and researching genealogy. It’s currently in a public beta phase—you can get sneak peek at its features on the Web site, or sign up to become a tester.
  • Milennia Corp. is preparing to release version 7 of its Legacy Family Tree software in March. The new edition will add wall charts and source templates, among other features
  • GenealogyBank, the subscription Web site for historical newspapers, government records and primary documents, is adding hundreds of Hispanic newspapers to its collection.
  • Ancestry DNA, the genetic genealogy arm of data megasite, will be adding surname groups this spring, along with groups for different geographic locations and haplogroups.
  • Add Family Tree and Me to the list of companies offering decorative family tree charts. Owner Shirlene Dymock aims to provide designs elegant enough to display in your living room—see samples of the layouts, backgrounds and frames online.
  • Online genealogy TV channel RootsTelevision has now posted all the episodes of both PBS “Ancestors” series. You’ll also be able to catch interviews from the Expo on RootsTelevision.
  • Podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke was also busy doing interviews during the Expo. Among the conversations to be featured in upcoming episodes: Richard Black of the Godfrey Memorial Library, Kathy Meade of Swedish church records Web site Genline, and presenter Kathryn Lake Hogan speaking about immigration resources. Visit Genealogy Gems for details on subscribing to this free online radio show.
  • Speaking of Swedish records, Meade tipped me off to a recent news story on about a reinterpretation of Swedish law that would allow more-recent church records to be digitized and posted online—shrinking the 100-year waiting period to 70 or 85. Watch this blog for announcements on where and when those records may become available to you.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | Videos
Saturday, 09 February 2008 23:08:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 08 February 2008
Pirating Genealogies
Posted by Allison

Arrr, where’re me ancestors? Hundreds of family history enthusiasts are here at the two-day Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, Utah, to answer that question. The event kicked off Friday morning with the “Pirates of the Pedigree” keynote address, and appropriately, costumed volunteers are on hand in the exhibit hall to assist vendors and attendees.

Put on by Utah-based research firm MyAncestorsFound, the Expo features a variety of classes and an exhibit hall packed with genealogical products and services—including sponsors FamilySearch, Cherry Creek Radio,, World Vital Records, DearMYRTLE,, Generation Maps, Footnote, RootsTelevision, Godfrey Memorial Library, and our very own Family Tree Magazine.

Stay tuned for news and observations as the Expo continues.

Genealogy Events
Friday, 08 February 2008 17:15:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Family History Expo Is on in St. George
Posted by Diane

The Family History Expo, sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Family Tree Magazine, is happening today and tomorrow, Feb. 8 and 9, in St. George, Utah. (You may know the Expo by its former name, the Genealogy and  Family Heritage Jamboree.)

Editor Allison Stacy is there, handing out magazines and taking in some classes. If you’re going, stop by booth 419 to say hi.

Didn’t pre-register? No problem—you can sign up at the door for $65. That gets you enhanced research skills through 101 presentations from experts in a variety of topics, an audience with more than 50 vendors and exhibitors, opportunities to commune with fellow researchers, and chances to win drawings and door prizes (maybe even one containing a few Family Tree books).

Genealogy Events
Friday, 08 February 2008 08:50:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 07 February 2008
Footnote Offers Free Records for African-American History Month
Posted by Diane

The subscription and pay-per-view historical records service Footnote is making some of its collections free during February to commemorate African-American History month. Those include:
  • records from the Amistad case. The Spanish slave ship was illegally transporting African “cargo” in Cuba in 1839 (Spain had outlawed the slave trade) when the enslaved passengers revolted. The crew members sailed to Long Island Sound and the United States seized the ship. After a long trial, the Africans (whose counsel included former president John Quincy Adams) were declared free.
  • Southern Claims Commission records of southerners' petitions for compensation for crops, livestock and other supplies Union troops seized during the Civil War. Testimony of witnesses, both black and white, appears in many claims. More than 20,000 claims were filed.
Most of Footnote’s records are the product of its year-old partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration. Footnote has more than 26 million digitized images and adds 2 million new ones each month. Registered members of the site can upload their own records and narratives.

A Footnote subscription costs $59.95 per year; you also can purchase a record image for $1.95.

African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 07 February 2008 08:58:14 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 06 February 2008
More Resources for Cincinnati Researchers
Posted by Diane

We got a note from our hometown Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which already has one of the best public library genealogy collections in the country, about its recently expanded Genealogy and Local History Department and its new online goodies.

The new department consolidates materials previously spread throughout the library, making room in public areas for 7,000 more books and 8,000 reels of high-demand microfilm. Its Cincinnati Room lets patrons access historical materials such as local newspapers and manuscript collections.

Librarians also will schedule one-on-one consultations to help direct patrons’ research. Visit the department’s Web site to take a video tour and link to research databases. Check out the librarians’ list of favorite online resources for Cincinnati-area research, too.

Digitized historical materials also have made it onto PLCHC’s Virtual Library. Those include several 19th-cenury Cincinnati city directories and volumes such as the 1868 The Black Brigade of Cincinnati: Being a Report of its Labors and a Muster-Roll of its Members, the 1838 Report of the First Anniversary of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, and the 1852 Annual Announcement of Lectures of the Miami Medical College of Cincinnati. Click on a book cover to download the file as a PDF.

One of the John Seegers listed in this 1866 city directory may or may not be my ancestor; I'll have to go home and check.

We’re interested in hearing what's new at your favorite genealogy library—click Comment and let us know.

African-American roots | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 14:19:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]