Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
August, 2014 (11)
July, 2014 (16)
June, 2014 (18)
May, 2014 (17)
April, 2014 (17)
March, 2014 (17)
February, 2014 (16)
January, 2014 (16)
December, 2013 (11)
November, 2013 (15)
October, 2013 (19)
September, 2013 (20)
August, 2013 (23)
July, 2013 (24)
June, 2013 (14)
May, 2013 (25)
April, 2013 (20)
March, 2013 (24)
February, 2013 (25)
January, 2013 (20)
December, 2012 (19)
November, 2012 (25)
October, 2012 (22)
September, 2012 (24)
August, 2012 (24)
July, 2012 (21)
June, 2012 (22)
May, 2012 (28)
April, 2012 (44)
March, 2012 (36)
February, 2012 (36)
January, 2012 (27)
December, 2011 (22)
November, 2011 (29)
October, 2011 (52)
September, 2011 (26)
August, 2011 (26)
July, 2011 (17)
June, 2011 (31)
May, 2011 (32)
April, 2011 (31)
March, 2011 (31)
February, 2011 (28)
January, 2011 (27)
December, 2010 (34)
November, 2010 (26)
October, 2010 (27)
September, 2010 (27)
August, 2010 (31)
July, 2010 (23)
June, 2010 (30)
May, 2010 (23)
April, 2010 (30)
March, 2010 (30)
February, 2010 (30)
January, 2010 (23)
December, 2009 (19)
November, 2009 (27)
October, 2009 (30)
September, 2009 (25)
August, 2009 (26)
July, 2009 (33)
June, 2009 (32)
May, 2009 (30)
April, 2009 (39)
March, 2009 (35)
February, 2009 (21)
January, 2009 (29)
December, 2008 (15)
November, 2008 (15)
October, 2008 (25)
September, 2008 (30)
August, 2008 (26)
July, 2008 (26)
June, 2008 (22)
May, 2008 (27)
April, 2008 (20)
March, 2008 (20)
February, 2008 (19)
January, 2008 (22)
December, 2007 (21)
November, 2007 (26)
October, 2007 (20)
September, 2007 (17)
August, 2007 (23)
July, 2007 (17)
June, 2007 (13)
May, 2007 (7)

Search

Archives

<March 2008>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2425262728291
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345

More Links








# Monday, March 10, 2008
Ancestry.com Posts 500 German City Directories
Posted by Grace

Pay database Ancestry.com last week put online 500 German city directories, from Aachen to Zwickau. Often overlooked as a genealogy resource, city directories can fill in the blanks between censuses and help trace wandering ancestors. Ancestry's new collection includes business and professional directories, as well.

From the main German Genealogy Records page, you can browse by state (mistakenly labeled as Counties in the drop-down menu) and by time period. Or try searching for a name in the fields on the left side of the page.

The records include about 27 million names, according to the 24-7 Family History Circle blog, with most records from the late 1800s to mid-1900s.

World Deluxe Membership is required to access the digitized directories. Click here to search them.

International Genealogy | Public Records
Monday, March 10, 2008 2:46:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Maps of historic London
Posted by Grace

If your family hails from London (or you just like cartography), you'll love this site: the British Library's virtual exhibition of historical maps of the city.

The 40 historic plats are organized on a Google map, making it easy to determine what areas they represent. The maps and images are also divided by time period, and you can access a zoomable version to see them up close. I especially like the map from 1653 with the lengthy title "A guide for Cuntrey men In the famous Cittey of LONDON by the helpe of wich plot they shall be able to know how farr it is to any Street."

For more resources for researching your English roots, you can always refer to our Ethnic Toolkit. The University of Texas also has a large collection of historic British maps in its Perry-Castañeda Map Collection.


International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:25:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
What Is Census Soundex Microfilm?
Posted by Diane

In a recent Two-Second Survey, we asked FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum members whether they've looked up someone in a microfilmed census soundex index. Of the 351 respondents, 211 have. Another 46 said they've never needed to, and 83 weren't quite sure what it's for. (The rest picked “other.”)

For the 83 folks in that last group—and everyone else out there nodding their heads in curiosity—we’ve put together this little overview:

The Soundex system is a way of coding similar-sounding surnames to help you find ancestors whose names were misspelled in census records or indexes. You can use FamilyTreeMagazine.com's online Soundex generator to figure out the code for your surname—mine is H-330.

Once upon a time, genealogists would look through an actual card catalog, organized by state and then by Soundex code, for index cards with their family’s name. The cards looked like this (click to see one), and told you which census volume and sheet listed your family.

Eventually, the index cards were microfilmed. The National Archives and Records Administration and the Family History Library have Soundex film for all the states; many state archives, large public libraries and genealogical societies have Soundex film for their states, too.

Nowadays, census databases such as Ancestry.com’s ($155.40 per year) and HeritageQuest Online’s (free through many libraries) automatically search for surname spelling variations—that's why so many modern researchers haven't used Soundex.

But many genealogists swear by Soundex microfilm indexes for locating especially hard-to-find ancestors in census records. One of our Two-Second survey respondents commented that he or she never uses any other form of census index. There’s an endorsement!


Research Tips
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:00:52 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, March 04, 2008
NARA Posts Free Passenger Indexes Online
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has added passenger lists of Russian, German and Italian immigrants to its free Access to Archival Databases (AAD) service. (Irish passenger lists already were available here.)

Each collection consists mostly of immigrants who identified their nationality as Russian, German or Italian and arrived at the ports of New York, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans or Philadelphia during the 19th century.

The database for each nationality also contains some names of immigrants from other places. For example, 90 percent of people in the German records said they were from Germany or a “German” area—the other 10 percent came from elsewhere.

The data are from passenger list indexes created by the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. Keep in mind they’re not complete listings of all Russian, German, Italian or Irish immigrants.

For each collection, you'll see a Manifest Header Data File and a Passenger Data File. The search isn't the most intuitive we've ever seen, so get started with these tips:
1. From AAD, click Passenger Lists under Genealogy/Personal History. Then, click the Search button to the right of a Passenger Data File to look for an ancestor. (NARA calls the search terms you enter “values.”)
2. In your results, click View Record on the left to see first and last name, age, sex, occupation, last residence, destination and other information.
3. Use the ship manifest identification number to determine the port of arrival. Click View the FAQs and scroll to the chart showing ports and the range of manifest numbers assigned to each port’s records.
If you think you've found an ancestor, you can search the database for his or her passenger manifest identification number. That lets you see all passenger records from that ship—handy for finding traveling companions.
In the Manifest Header Data File, you can search for all ships with a particular manifest identification number, ship name, departure port or arrival date. For example, say you know your German ancestor arrived March 16, 1846. Click the Search button next to the German Manifest Header Data file and enter 03/16/1846 in the Arrival field. You'll get all the ships included in this database that arrived that day. Then you can go back to the Passenger Data File and search for the passengers on each ship.

I highly, highly recommend reading the FAQ document—each database has its own, linked at the top of the search screen. It’ll help you search the databases and understand your ancestor’s record.

Some places of origin or other data are difficult to interpret. You’ll want to see your ancestor’s orginal passenger list, which you can do on microfilm at major genealogy libraries, NARA facilities and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library. You can view records online through the subscription Web site Ancestry.com.


Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, March 04, 2008 10:21:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, February 29, 2008
Making a Protective Book Box
Posted by Grace

If you're lucky enough to have inherited a family bible or diary from one of your ancestors, you've probably wondered just where you should keep it. You can read all about how best to keep old diaries and books in the May issue's "Preserving Memories" column.

The article includes many resources for purchasing archival materials, but for the crafting-inclined, we've created a demonstration of how to make a built-to-order protective book box. Click here to download a PDF with instructions, and you can watch a step-by-step demonstration on our YouTube channel!


Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Videos
Friday, February 29, 2008 10:51:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 28, 2008
We Want Your Comments
Posted by Diane

One thing we love about blogs is they’re a two-way street. As much as our own thoughts fascinate us, what we really long for is to hear what’s going on in your head when you read the Genealogy Insider blog. Do you agree? Disagree? Want to add a related resource or tip?
 
To leave a comment in response to a blog post, click the word “Comments” in red below that post and scroll to the bottom of any already-existing comments. Type your name (or a name), and your e-mail address if you want (it’s not required). Type in your comment, then click Save Comment. You’ll have to go through the security rigamarole of entering a code word displayed in a graphic (you may have to do that twice), then your comment will appear in all its glory.
 
Some guidelines to what kind of posts are permissible:
 
1. Naturally, no cursing, personal insults or other offensive language is allowed.
 
2. Your comment must be related to the post you’re commenting on.
 
3. We may remove comments we deem to be advertising your own commercial product or service. Mentioning your product or service is fine, if it’s directly related to the post you’re commenting on and you’re up front that it’s your product.

4. Family Tree Magazine editors reserve the right to remove comments we judge to be inappropriate.
 
Have questions? Post 'em here, or send us an e-mail.



Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:18:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Get a Taste of MacFamily Tree
Posted by Diane

Synium Software has released a beta version of MacFamily Tree 5.1,
which you can download as a demo. It’ll be available as a final version in early March.

MacFamily Tree 5 debuted in late 2007 for $49. The 5.1 update adds a customizable fan chart, a Media Browser photo gallery, and a more user-friendly interface in the Person, Family, Source and Event edit modes.”

Look for our article on Mac genealogy programs in the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine, on newsstands and FamilyTreeMagazine.com May 13.


Genealogy Software
Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:09:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Are You Smarter Than a Teenager?
Posted by Diane

It’s time to repeat the annual hand-wringing over how little US students know about history. In a January phone survey, 1,200 17-year-olds were asked 33 basic multiple-choice questions in history and literature. The results:
  • Fewer than half could place the American Civil War in the correct half-century.
  • Half didn’t know what the Renaissance is.
  • More than a quarter thought Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World sometime after 1750.
  • About a quarter were unable to correctly identify Adolf Hitler as Germany's chancellor during World War II.
Though what the students didn’t know is appalling, they answered right on 67 percent of the history questions, earning a C overall. (But they got an F in literature.) On the bright side, 97 percent of the teens correctly picked Martin Luther King Jr. as the man who declared, "I have a dream;" 88 percent knew the bombing of Pearl Harbor led us into World War II.

An educational advocacy group called Common Core conducted the survey. Its report claims the results are evidence current education laws lead schools to focus too narrowly on the reading and math skills measured in accountability tests, at the expense of other subjects.

The report (where you can see a breakdown of all the questions) also shows kids with at least one college-educated parent performed better on the test.

I think genealogy is an antidote—you learn about history by exploring your family’s history. Click Comments (below) to let us know what you think, and see our resource listings for “junior” genealogists (and their adult teachers) at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Social History
Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:33:17 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Family Tree Magazine Editor on Roots Television
Posted by Diane

Our very own Allison Stacy is appearing now in a video on Roots Television.

At the recent Family History Expo in St. George, Utah, Dick Eastman (of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter fame) asked Allison, Family Tree Magazine's editor-in-chief, for the scoop on what to expect in upcoming issues.

Click to find out what we're up to!


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:39:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 25, 2008
How to Find Research Guides on FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

If you have ancestors from Finland, you’ll want to download the free Finnish genealogy research guide FamilySearch has just added to its Web site.

FamilySearch’s excellent online research outlines are among our go-to resources when editing Family Tree Magazine articles about tracing ancestors in this or that place, and we often recommend the guides in our articles. They cover how to do research, historical background, genealogy terms to know, writing request letters, and much more.

But the guides are linked in different places on FamilySearch, so sometimes it's hard to find the right one. Here’s our quick guide to finding FamilySearch guides:
  • Start by clicking the Search tab at the top of the page. Then look in the blue bar under “Search”:

  • Now, for an alphabetical index to the FHL’s research outlines, letter-writing guides, word lists, beginners’ guides, census worksheets and more, click Research Helps. This index is sorted by place, but you can use the links on the left to sort it by title, subject or document type.


Click a document title to access the guide’s content online. Or, click PDF to download a PDF with the information, or click the item number (in the right-hand column) to order a copy mailed to you. Not all the guides have all three options.

  • To get steps for finding the FHL’s microfilmed birth, marriage and death information by place and year, click Research Guidance, then click on a place.

On the next page, choose a tab for historical background, advice for beginners, and research strategies for various records. This information is drawn from the above-mentioned research guides.

  • For in-depth, full-color PDF guides to a selection of ancestries, look on the home page under "Get Started With Family History" and click the word guides. From here, you also can follow links to separate directories of the word lists, letter-writing guides, forms and more.


Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | Research Tips
Monday, February 25, 2008 5:47:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]