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# Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Haunting Holocaust Albums Online
Posted by Grace

Tracing the Tribe pointed us in the direction of a US Holocaust Memorial Museum online exhibit of haunting scrapbooks from the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. Very few photos of Auschwitz during wartime exist, and what makes these even rarer is the subject matter.

"Auschwitz through the lens of the SS" shows the Nazi leadership's daily life at the camp: eating blueberries, dancing to accordion music and taking day trips to recreation areas. The scrapbook, donated to the museum last January, was likely created by SS-Obersturmführer Karl Höcker, was stationed at Auschwitz from May 1944 until January 1945.

One section of the online exhibit compares the SS-centric album with the only other known album from Auschwitz, which contains haunting photos of prisoners. Höcker's album contains no pictures of prisoners at all.

On a somewhat related note, I saw "The Counterfeiters" recently, which is a fictionalized retelling of Operation Bernhard. The Nazis used prisoners at Sachsenhausen to forge British banknotes, eventually producing nearly 9 million of them. The movie, which won Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars, takes some liberties but is really interesting. Read more about Operation Bernhard here.

Update: Click Comments for the Tracing the Tribe blogger's news about Yad Vashem's May 1 online photo archives debut.

Museums | Social History
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:37:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, April 28, 2008
Green Genealogy Tips
Posted by Diane

I was out of town for Earth Day (April 22), but since any day is a good day to be green, here are some ideas for environmentally friendly genealogy research:

Kill lots of birds with one stone (figuratively, of course). If you’re headed to a repository or Family History Center, search the facility’s Web site ahead of time to see what resources it has. Then plan to complete as much of your genealogical to-do list as possible—thus saving a second fossil-fuel-burning trip.

Make it a road trip. Grab a few fellow society members and carpool to libraries and cemeteries. It’ll be more fun that way, too.

Pack out recyclables. If you’re doing research where recycling isn’t available, take home your plastic water bottles and empty soda cans. Or get a reusable bottle and fill it at the drinking fountain.

BYO mug. Instead of taking foam cups, bring a reusable travel mug for coffee. Some shops give you a small discount for using your own mug.

Don’t waste juice. Turn off your desktop or laptop between research sessions—computers draw energy even in sleep mode.

Recharge it. Power your digital camera and other handheld devices with rechargeable batteries. And don’t throw out spent batteries with your regular garbage: They’re considered hazardous waste. Drop them off at a local collection center (click for help finding one, or check with your community's department of environmental services).

Use less paper. Genealogy by nature involves accumulating paper. Many printer manufacturers recommend against printing on the back of used paper (though we’ve done this successfully on our home inkjet printers). You can use scrap paper for taking notes at the library, or recycle it.

Go for paperless copiers. At some repositories, you can use copiers to scan a record and e-mail it to yourself or burn it to a CD. Ask at the information desk, and have someone show you the equipment.

Recycle printer cartridges. Many office supply stores discount new cartridges if you bring in used ones. Some charities take them, too, for fundraising purposes.

Save trees and your back. Attending a genealogy conference? If possible, opt to get the syllabus on CD or as a PDF. The upcoming National Genealogical Society conference (May 14-17), for example, will make the syllabus available to attendees as a PDF.

Isn’t it cool how doing greener research also can save you time and money? Click Comments (below) to add your own tips.


Research Tips
Monday, April 28, 2008 11:24:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Delving into DNA
Posted by Allison

No matter how much experience you have in genealogy, you're always a beginner with some type of research or resource. Right now, I'm a newbie at genetic genealogy: I took my first DNA test last week. If you're contemplating diving into your own gene pool, watch this video of my experience to learn what you're in for:



Genetic Genealogy | Videos
Monday, April 28, 2008 10:15:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, April 25, 2008
We're Famous!
Posted by Grace

Family Tree Magazine's gotten some mentions in the blogosphere lately:

The Genealogue mentions our partnership with Tamagotchi.

• The anonymous Ancestry Insider did a profile on us—unprovoked!—in which things we do are described as being endearing and a rearranged Simpsonized staff photo is included! The Ancestry Insider's obviously got crazy good Photoshop skills. If anyone knows how to make Tamagotchized portraits, please let us know.


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, April 25, 2008 3:44:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 24, 2008
Six Hints for Google Books Search
Posted by Allison

In our July issue, we have a Toolkit article on Google Books Search: a functionality within Google to comb the contents of all kinds of books the company has digitized in conjunction with libraries, publishers and authors.

I've been playing around with Books Search to create a video demonstration of how it can help genealogists (watch it on our You Tube channel), and decided to share a few hints I picked up:

  1. For best results, limit your search to books only: From the Google home page, click the more link in the top frame, then select Books.

  2. Type a surname plus subject:genealogy in the search box to look for published family histories. Not that your results will also include books authored by people with that surname, even if that family isn't the primary focus. By searching for genealogy as the subject, you'll avoid lots of hits on books where the word genealogy just happens to appear in the text.

  3. Search by county and local history books by typing the state, county or city name (use quotation marks around an exact phrase) and the word history in the search box. For example: ohio "wood county" history.

  4. On the results page, look at the end of each listing for Full View, Limited Preview, Snippet View or No Preview Available. This tells you how much of the actual book you'll get to see.

  5. If the book is too big or takes too long to download, an alternative is to save it to a personal Google library you create. You have sign up for a free Google account to use this feature.

  6. For books with limited or no viewable pages, use the Find This Book in a Library link to go to WorldCat, where you can enter your ZIP code to locate it in a library near you or where you can get it on interlibrary loan.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:03:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Family Tree Firsts—Part Five
Posted by Grace

This weekend I reached another milestone: attending my first genealogy conference, hosted by the Ohio Genealogical Society.

It was seriously awesome to meet so many Family Tree Magazine readers (especially the one who said her favorite part of the mag is "Preserving Memories").

Although I spent most of the weekend helping out at our exhibitor table (see below), I also got to attend a few of the sessions. I sat in on "Pig Blood in the Snow: Court Records Can Solve Problems" mostly because of the name—but also because our upcoming September issue includes an article on court records. I also really enjoyed Jeffrey Alan Bockman's "Using Maps in Genealogical Research." I now know better than to believe Grandma's story about having to walk 4 miles to school each way.

Kenny Burck, first vice president of OGS and German research aficionado, was certainly the most decorated genealogist I met last weekend.

All his various badges, medals and pins denote memberships and lineages. (This would be a great picture to try out photo tagging on!) Can anyone top Kenny?

Later, I struck up a conversation with Hans-Friedrich Coordes, who was at the conference representing the KfTN, which tracks down relatives and ancestors in Europe. (I'm a fluent German speaker and like to practice every chance I get!) He was in Cincinnati only for the weekend, but he made an incredible genealogical discovery in the little time he had.

Another exhibitor told him she had ancestors with his surname—from the same town in Ostfriesland Hans-Friedrich is from, even. After comparing some names, they determined they were not-so-distant cousins. He was blown away.

Have any of you made great connections at a conference?


Earlier in Family Tree Firsts:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four


Family Tree Firsts | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 5:24:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Saturday, April 19, 2008
More From the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference
Posted by Diane

We’re hearing about 600 genealogists have gathered here in Cincinnati for the Ohio Genealogical Society annual conference, yesterday and today at the Sharonville Sheraton hotel.

 

Genealogical societies from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky are here, as well as book vendors and exhibitors including RootsMagic, WorldVitalRecords and the Godfrey Memorial Library. Thursday night, the revamped genealogy department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County stayed open late for night-owl researchers.

 

One first-time conference attendee just told me he couldn’t wait to get home—after learning in a class about FamilySearch Labs’ Ohio death certificates collection, he spent hours finding new ancestral information. Now he’s chomping at the bit to enter everything in his software.

 

A psychic convention is happening in the convention center right across the street from this conference. We thought about organizing a field trip, or sending a contingent to persuade them to open a booth here in the OGS exhibit hall. Imagine the brick wall-breaking potential.

We’ve been taking photos we’ll post early next week in a little slideshow, including one showing the most-decorated genealogist we know. You’ll see what we mean.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:14:39 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, April 18, 2008
Shaking Things up at OGS
Posted by Diane

Genealogy can rock your world. At least around here it does: Cincinnati welcomed attendees of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) annual conference with an earthquake, unusual for our area. The 5.4 quake was centered west of us near Olney, Ill., which is north of Evansville, In., and it woke me up just before the alarm about 5:45 (I had to walk the dog).

More to come from OGS …


Genealogy Events
Friday, April 18, 2008 8:19:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, April 17, 2008
Terrific Family Tree Teamwork Contest
Posted by Allison

We all know genealogy brings families together—and we’d like to recognize families who’ve embraced that collaborative spirit to make genealogical breakthroughs. Has your clan worked together to solve a family mystery? Taken a teamwork approach to writing or documenting your family history?

Tell us your story! Explain who was involved, how the collaboration came about and what you achieved in 500 words or less.

We’ll select several true tales of family teamwork to feature in our November issue. It’s a chance to not only trumpet your collaborative triumph to the genealogy world, but also win prizes for your feat: We’ll pick one featured family at random to receive a grand-prize package designed to facilitate further collaboration. The package includes:
  • Family Reunion Organizer software from RootsMagic
  • Free scanning of about 1,600 4x6 prints—or as many as you can fit in the prepaid box—from ScanMyPhotos.com
  • An interactive family Web site with one year of free hosting from MyGreatBigFamily.com
Plus, each featured family will receive a copy of our State Research Guides CD.

To enter, post your story in the Terrific Family Tree Teamwork Contest section of our forum—near the top of the site under Exclusives for Registered Users. If you aren’t already a registered user, you’ll need to sign up to view the contest area and post. Don’t delay! The deadline is May 15.


Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, April 17, 2008 11:06:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Let's Hope They Don't All Bring Potato Salad ...
Posted by Diane

Here’s one family reunion that’ll be easy to crash. More than 50,000 Minerd-Miner family members from across the United States are invited to the clan's 22nd annual reunion June 27-29 in Pittsburgh.

The event averages crowds of 100-plus people bearing the surnames Minerd, Miner, Minor, Minard and others.

Pittsburgh, near where the Minerds first put down roots, is hosting this year's Minerd-Miner reunion as part of its 250th anniversary. The family patriarchs, Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Minerd Sr. and his wife, Maria Nein, settled near Mill Run in Pennsylvania’s Fayette County in 1791. They had 12 known children, 87 grandchildren, 469 great-grandchildren and 1,344 great-great grandchildren.

And we can say knew them when: Family Tree Magazine named Minerd.com  to its list of Top 10 Family Web Sites back in April 2003.

At the time, the site had 850 ancestor profiles and 2,700 images; today there are 1,175 bios and 5,000 pictures. More than a million have visited since its May 2000 launch.

My favorite part, Connectedness, takes a look at Minerds who ran in the Oklahoma 1889 land rush, fought in wars, worked (and died) in steel mills, served on Pittsburgh's city council and more. Check it out, especially if you’re planning to crash the reunion—you’ll have to blend in somehow.


Family Reunions | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:47:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]