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# Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Video: Making Genealogy Fun for Kids
Posted by Diane

So last week I took a quick trip out to San Diego to talk on the morning news about genealogy for kids and Family Tree Magazine’s partnership with Tamagotchi.

With the latest version of Tamagotchi's digital pets, kids can raise “Tama” families and trace their pets' family trees—which presented an excellent opportunity to help kids learn about their own family trees in a fun way. They can get human genealogy tips in Tama Generations’ Family Center and on our Family Tree Kids! site.

For more on Tamagotchi trees and how kids can research their own families, watch the video (remember, I woke up before the crack of dawn) on San Diego's NBC affiliate Web site.


Genealogy for kids | Genealogy fun | Videos
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 8:49:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, April 03, 2008
We're Honored
Posted by Allison

When it comes to recognizing useful genealogical tools and services, we're used to doling out the honors—from our annual 101 Best Web Sites roundup to our "Libbys" libraries awards, coming in the July issue—rather than receiving them. But this week, we've gotten news that two awards have been bestowed upon Family Tree Magazine:
  • In a study of online traffic rankings, Utah-based professional research firm ProGenealogists found FamilyTreeMagazine.com to be one of the 50 most popular genealogical Web sites for 2008. Not surprisingly, heavy-hitting data providers Ancestry.com and RootsWeb (both owned by The Generations Network) topped the list. Some of the other rankings might surprise you—see the full list.
  • ScanMyPhotos.com customers selected this blog as the Best Genealogy Reference Tool and Family Tree Magazine as the Most Popular Genealogy Publication in the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards. You can read about all the winners at ScanMyPhotos.com’s online Photo Preservation Center.
It’s nice to know that genealogists find our tools, tips and information so useful. We’d love to hear your feedback, too (both compliments and critiques): Tell us how you think we can make our magazine, blogs and Web site even better by posting a comment.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:51:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Announcing Family Tree Kids!
Posted by Diane

Got a kids or grandkids who are interested in family history? Need to put together a genealogy project for students or a scouting group? We created Family Tree Kids! just for you.

The site, designed for children ages 8 through 12, has family history-related games and crafts; activities that’ll help kids build their family detective skills and learn about their families; and a fun family tree kids can download, fill in with ancestors' names, and print.

A grownups’ section offers a resource toolkit for parents and teachers who are helping kids with genealogy projects.

Our partnership with Tamagotchi, makers of the popular digital pets, inspired Family Tree Kids! Familitchi, the newest version of Tamagotchi’s pets, encourages kids to learn about family history.


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | Genealogy for kids
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 7:22:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Free Site Has Lowcountry Slave Records
Posted by Diane

Tidal marshes in the coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia and extreme northeast Florida lent themselves to rice cultivation. Plantation owners would seek out slaves from Africa’s Windward Coast—Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia—where rice was indigenous.

The traditions of these Africans make up the rich Gullah-Geechee culture, and their lives are the focus of Lowcountry Africana, a free Web site that launched last Saturday with research guidance and records.

Its Lowcountry Lives link serves up life stories (hosted on project partner We Relate, a genealogy wiki) of Lowcountry ancestors. Right now, stories cover slaves from Drayton family plantations and their descendants.

An online Research Library has a reading room (which links to off-site articles), resources for teachers, and links to free African-American databases on the historical records site Footnote, another Lowcountry Africana partner (most of Footnote’s records are by subscription or pay-per-view).

The Search Records link takes you to the Lowcountry Africana Community in the AfriQuest database (also hosted by We Relate, AfriQuest will launch June 19 with a range of user-contributed records).

There, you can browse records or search by name, place and/or keyword. Matches link to source information and images or transcriptions. For example, the 1871 Freedman's Savings and Trust Record listing for Ceasar Smith linked to a transcription showing his birthplace, residence, age, occupation, family members’ names and more (naturally, you still want to find the original record).

The records also include bounty claims (shown below) and other documents from Freedmen’s Bureau field reports, as well as wills, estate inventories, Southern Claims Commission records and papers from Drayton family records.



You can submit your own records to Lowcountry Africana, too (click Help on the Submit Items page for instructions).

African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 7:15:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Our Latest Issue ...
Posted by Diane

This special Family Tree Magazine edition is for display only today:


Genealogy fun
Tuesday, April 01, 2008 8:37:26 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Monday, March 31, 2008
Does Genealogy Make You Smart?
Posted by Diane

American Mensa—the 50,000-member association for highly intelligent people—is making genealogy the focus of its Sept. 12-14 colloquium in Salt Lake City.

At Tracking Granny’s Granny: The Genealogy Quest, “Mensans” (who qualify for membership by scoring in the 98th percentile or higher on an intelligence test) will attend sessions on photos, genetic genealogy and online research. They'll also take a field trip to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library.

Registration is open to the public, so folks of humbler intellect are welcome, too. Me, I’d probably be unable to shake the feeling I’m back in sixth grade and just finished my long-division worksheet dead last. Maybe a Mensan, after completing his own family tree in record time, would help me defeat my brick walls.

On the other hand, I wonder which came first: the genius or the genealogy? All that ancestral research and reading and analysis is bound to prod your brain into forming new synapses and becoming sharper. Maybe even Mensa sharp.

If nothing else, perhaps sitting long enough in a roomful of certifiably smart people will make some of it rub off.


Genealogy Events
Monday, March 31, 2008 12:44:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, March 28, 2008
Favorite Sites: Ohio Heritage, Tenement Tour, Animated History
Posted by Diane

I wish I had time to thoroughly examine all the cool sites I come across every day (or maybe I should say, I wish I were more resistant to the temptation to surf).

So instead of bookmarking and then forgetting about today’s finds (and later on, wondering why my Favorites list is so darn long), I’ll share a few:
  • Growth of a Nation: This 10-minute animated movie, complete with a voice-over reminiscent of my 7th-grade history teacher, nicely sums up the United States’ progress from 13 Colonies to a country with 50 states.
Now, to go clean out some of those Favorites ...


Genealogy Web Sites | Social History
Friday, March 28, 2008 3:45:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 27, 2008
Lowcountry Slave Genealogies Released March 29
Posted by Diane

The Lowcountry Africana Web site will launch this Saturday with groundbreaking research on genealogies of slaves on Drayton family plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Barbados.

Researchers from the University of South Florida Africana Heritage Project and descendants of slaves who lived on the plantations collaborated to compile and interpret the records. The Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC, sponsored the project and free genealogy wiki WeRelate.org helped develop the site.

Many of the records came from Drayton Hall Plantation (shown below in about 1880), also in Charleston, which holds the family’s papers.


Lowcountry Africana will focus not only on Drayton plantation records, but also on those from throughout the former rice-growing areas of the coastal Southeast, which gave rise to the Gullah-Geechee culture.

African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, March 27, 2008 8:12:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 26, 2008
See Vietnam Wall Names Free on Footnote
Posted by Diane

Footnote’s latest addition lets you search—free—for those whose names are etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

The site has added an interactive exhibit with a database of names linked to photos of each engraved name. The images are from a 460-foot photograph of the wall, consisting of 6,301 separate images “stitched” together.



The Wall bears 58,320 names of armed forces members who died or went missing while serving in the Vietnam War. (Names may be added on Memorial Day each year as the Department of Veterans Affairs receives additional information.)

You can search for a name or browse by a category, such as branch of service and hometown. You'll see a photo of each matching name. Click a match for details, including the person's hometown, rank, specialty (such as maintenance or field artillery), decorations, religion, marital status, birth date and death date and cause.

You also can click View on the exhibit's main page to see the entire stitched-together photo—then zoom in and move around. (As you might expect, the image takes a l-o-o-o-o-ng time to load.) Hover over a name, and a window pops up you can click for details on that person.



The black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial was constructed in 1982 after its creator, 21-year-old architecture student Maya Ying Lin, won a competition to design it. A few years ago, I was one of its 3 million annual visitors. I most remember the solemn quiet—in contrast to the atmosphere around other memorials on the National Mall—and the sound of pencil scratchings as visitors made rubbings of names.

Most of Footnote's digitized historical records are available with a subscription or on a pay-per-view basis, but the virtual Wall exhibit is among the site's free offerings.

Update: Click Comments, below, for additional tips on searching the database and viewing the Wall.

Genealogy Web Sites | Military records
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:43:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
RIP Phone Book, 1878-20??
Posted by Grace

Phone books can be great resources for confirming locations of your recent ancestors, but those big yellow doorstoppers are dying a slow death, the online newsmagazine Slate reports.

They've come a long way since the first phone directory, a one-pager listing all 52 telephone subscribers in New Haven, Conn., debuted in 1878. (The Slate article describes many more mentionable moments in phone-book history.)

The hefty, floppy books were created as vehicles for companies to sell advertising, and last year, 615 million directories were printed in the US, creating revenues of $13.9 billion, according to the Yellow Pages Association. But more and more cell phones are unlisted, and many people turn to the Internet to find phone numbers—especially people under 30. (For example, the last time I used a phone book was when the electricity in my apartment went out and I couldn't find the number I needed by text messaging Google.)

For more phone fun, OldTelephoneBooks.com has many old pictures of telephone books, and some are listed for sale. You can browse by country, state and city.

Genealogy fun | Social History
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:19:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]