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# Tuesday, March 18, 2008
News From the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s contributing editor and technology guru Rick Crume crashed the Brigham Young University Computerized Genealogy Conference  last weekend in Provo, Utah.

He reports more than 700 attendees absorbed nearly 100 presentations and explored a large exhibit area. Here's what Rick had to say about developments he uncovered there:

FamilySearch makeover update
The revamped Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library Web site, still in the testing stage, is gradually being rolled out to the church’s temple districts around the world. It’ll be open to the general public once data security issues are addressed.

“New” FamilySearch offers collaboration, multimedia and improved searching. It’ll attempt to consolidate all the family information located in several databases on “old” FamilySearch.

As a shared database open for users to collaborate on, the new FamilySearch is fundamentally different from the current site, which doesn’t let you alter data someone else submitted. You’ll be able to submit information to the new site in GEDCOM format, but you can’t download data as a GEDCOM.

Working with other service providers is the new site’s strong suit. Several genealogy programs, including Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic (but not Family Tree Maker or FamilySearch’s own Personal Ancestral File), will let you synchronize the family files on your computer with New FamilySearch. And you’ll be able to use these programs free at Family History Centers for three years.

Progeny’s Charting Companion utilities  will combine family information from the renewed site with photos from another site to create a photo family tree chart. And Generations Maps will let you order a chart made from names on the new FamilySearch.

Work is underway to digitize the Family History Library’s collection. FamilySearch Labs' Record Search already lets you search millions of indexed names.

How many searches was that?
Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, rattled off a string of statistics on his company, whose divisions include Ancestry.com, RootsWeb, MyFamily.com and Genealogy.com.

Amazingly, Genealogy.com still ranks as the third most popular genealogy Web site, even though TGN virtually abandoned the site after acquiring it several years ago.

Sullivan noted Ancestry.com processes 20 million search requests a day. TGN has invested almost $69 million to digitize records over the past 10 years; $10 million a year now goes toward digitization. In the works: scanning some of the National Archives’ 9 billion undigitized documents.

Sullivan emphasized RootsWeb will remain free despite the change in its domain name to rootsweb.ancestry.com.

From the genealogy social networking front ...
Genealogy social networking sites are multiplying like crazy. Geni now has a million registered users. A new entrant in the field, Family Pursuit, lets you and your relatives use a Web-based genealogy program to collaborate on family history research.

Findmypast.com’s upgraded online family tree, PedigreeSoft, will debut in two or three months with a new URL, www.familytreeexplorer.com.

And some new products and services
  • Family Photoloom, which should be available this month, lets you tag faces in photos and link them to genealogical data
  • Heritage Collector lets you organize your digital photos, label people in them and create family history scrapbooks
  • Biographywiki.com is a wiki that accepts biographies of anyone, famous or not, but the person must be deceased
  • USFamilyTree.com, coming in April, aims to make tracking down your ancestors’ descendants more efficient.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 3:34:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 17, 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, March 17, 2008 9:56:07 AM (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, March 17, 2008 8:45:36 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, March 13, 2008
RootsWeb To Be Hosted on Ancestry.com
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 Ancestry.com beginning next week. Instead of going to rootsweb.com, you’ll log on to rootsweb.ancestry.com.

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 Ancestry.com and RootsWeb. According to the announcement, only 25 percent of visitors to Ancestry.com visited RootsWeb in January 2008, and only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited Ancestry.com.

The Generations Network (formerly MyFamily.com), which owns Ancestry.com, acquired RootsWeb in June 2000.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:25:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, March 12, 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, March 12, 2008 8:46:18 AM (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 FamilyTreeMagazine.com May 13) for more on genealogy social networking apps.


Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:39:17 AM (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, March 12, 2008 7:56:53 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]