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<2008 March>

More Links

# Monday, 17 March 2008
Got Irish Roots?
Posted by Diane

Happy St. Patrick's Day! A few numbers to help you appreciate the occasion:
  • 30.5 million US residents who claim Irish ancestry
  • 4 million population of The Republic of Ireland
  • 22.5 percent Massachusetts residents with Irish ancestry
  • 4.8 million immigrants from Ireland admitted for US residence since 1820
  • 100 pounds of green dye added to the Chicago River St. Patrick’s Day, 1962 (the year that verdant tradition began)
  • 3 million spectators at New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade
  • 52,000 number of Irish immigrants who arrived in New York City in 1847
  • 372,000 total population of New York City in 1847
  • 107 years Boston has held an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade (Beantown witnessed the country’s first recorded St. Paddy’s Day celebration in 1737)
  • 9 places in the United States named Dublin
We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but if you’re Irish every other day of the year, too, the March 2008 Family Tree Magazine Irish research guide—and our online Irish Toolkit—will help you trace those roots back to the Emerald Isle.

Family Tree Magazine articles | International Genealogy | Social History
Monday, 17 March 2008 09:56:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Find Old Newspapers at Free Library of Congress Site
Posted by Diane

The Library of Congress has added more than 79,000 digitized newspaper pages to its free Chronicling America Web site, for a total of 500,000 pages and 61 titles.  

The papers date primarily from 1900 to 1910, and come from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC. Among these pages are articles about the 1901 assassination of president William McKinley and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (below).

But even if you have no ancestors in those states, you can use Chronicling America's searchable directory of US newspapers from 1690 to the present. Say you want to find articles about a trial your ancestor was involved in. Search the directory for titles of local papers by entering the state, county and town; the year of the trial; a keyword appearing in the newspaper's title; publication frequency (such as daily or weekly); or type of paper (such as an ethnic or labor press).

You’ll get a list of papers that might have articles on your relative. Click each title and the View Complete Holdings Information link to see libraries that have the paper, and which year's that library's collection covers.

If none of the libraries are near you, see if you can submit a search request or borrow papers on microfilm through interlibrary loan.

Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Monday, 17 March 2008 08:45:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 13 March 2008
RootsWeb To Be Hosted on
Posted by Diane

The Generations Network (TGN) CEO Tim Sullivan announced today that the free genealogy Web site RootsWeb will be transplanted to the domain of the subscription site beginning next week. Instead of going to, you’ll log on to

RootsWeb will otherwise stay the same and stay free, says Sullivan. “This move will not change the RootsWeb experience or alter the ease of navigation to or within RootsWeb. RootsWeb will remain a free online experience.” Old URLs will work; you won’t need to update any bookmarks.

The reason for the change is to get more people to move back and forth between and RootsWeb. According to the announcement, only 25 percent of visitors to visited RootsWeb in January 2008, and only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited

The Generations Network (formerly, which owns, acquired RootsWeb in June 2000.

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 13 March 2008 16:25:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 12 March 2008
... and DNA Consulting becomes DNA Testing Systems
Posted by Diane

In another family history industry renaming, genetic genealogy testing company DNA Consulting is now called DNA Testing Systems, says founder Donald N. Yates.

Yates also announced he's relocated the company from Santa Fe, NM, to Scottsdale, Ariz.

DNA Testing Systems will add DNAPrint Genomics’ line of biogeographical ancestry tests to its product selection. Those offerings include the AncestrybyDNA test (sold under the name Whole DNA), which breaks your genetic heritage into Native American, East Asian, Sub-Saharan African and Indo-European anthropological groups.

Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, 12 March 2008 08:46:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
iFamily becomes Familybuilder
Posted by Diane

The social networking site application formerly known as iFamily has renamed itself Familybuilder.

Facebook and Bebo members can use the app to set up family profiles with photos and national flags and connect with other Familybuilder users. The app has 2.2 million registered users on Facebook and 33,000 on Bebo, with 8.5 million family profiles across both sites.

Earlier this year, Familybuilder got $1.5 million in investment capital to expand to other social networking sites.

See the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands and May 13) for more on genealogy social networking apps.

Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 12 March 2008 08:39:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
GenealogyBank Deposits More Records
Posted by Diane

The subscription site GenealogyBank has made some additions to its databases of newspapers and historical records:
  • Last week the company announced it’s added more than 4 million newspapers, records and documents from 24 states. Those include expanded holdings of newspapers such as Montana’s Anaconda Standard (Jan. 2, 1898, to April 30, 1915) and Georgia’s Savannah Tribune (Dec. 4, 1875, to Dec. 27, 1913).
  • GenealogyBank also has posted the first 20 titles, covering Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, from its new collection of Hispanic newspapers. Those papers eventually will span 1808 to 1980.
Here's a 1929 marriage announcement from the Indiana Harbour, Ind., Amigo de Hogar:

GenealogyBank spokesperson Tom Kemp estimates the site’s 221 million-plus family history records contain 1.3 billion names. GenealogyBank subscriptions go for $9.95 for 30 days, or $69.95 for a year.

Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 12 March 2008 07:56:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 10 March 2008 Posts 500 German City Directories
Posted by Grace

Pay database 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, 10 March 2008 14:46:16 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 05 March 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, 05 March 2008 16:25:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
What Is Census Soundex Microfilm?
Posted by Diane

In a recent Two-Second Survey, we asked 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'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’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, 05 March 2008 16:00:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 04 March 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

Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, 04 March 2008 10:21:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]