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<2008 May>

More Links

# Friday, 23 May 2008
USCIS Genealogy Service to Handle Citizenship Record Requests
Posted by Diane

A rule published in last Thursday’s Federal Register announces the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS) will set up a fee-based Genealogy Program for responding to historical naturalization records requests. The rule takes effect Aug. 13.

Currently, requests are processed through the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) program, which according to the agency, delays fulfillment.

The new program's fees will be $20 for an index search, $20 for record copies from microfilm, and $35 for copies of paper records.

USCIS initially proposed charging $16 to $45 in April 2006. During the ensuing public comment period, the agency received 33 comments, 28 of them positive and many addressing fee levels. You can see a comments summary in the Federal Register announcement.

Records you can request through this program include:
  • Naturalization Certificate Files (C-Files) dated Sept. 27, 1906, to April 1, 1956
  • Alien Registration Forms on microfilm from Aug. 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944.
  • Visa Files from July 1, 1924, to March 31, 1944
  • Registry Files, from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944. These records document the creation of immigrant arrival records for persons who entered the United States prior to July 1, 1924, and for whom no arrival record could be found later.
  • Alien-Files (A-Files) numbered below 8 million (as in A8000000). A–files were the official file for all immigration records after April 1, 1944. A–numbers ranging up to approximately 6 million correspond to aliens and immigrants who were in or entered the country between 1940 and 1945. A-numbers from 6 to 7 million date from about 1944 to May 1, 1951.
Documents dated after May 1, 1951, even if they’re in an A–File numbered below 8 million, are still subject to FOIA/PA restrictions.
Starting Aug. 13, you’ll be able to submit requests and credit card fee payments through the USGIS Web site on Form G–1041. For records naming someone born less than 100 years ago, you’ll have to prove the person is deceased.

To request an index search, you’ll need to supply the immigrant’s full name and date and place of birth (at least as specific as a year). To request copies of records, you’ll need to provide a file number.

Before the naturalization process was centralized under INS Sept. 27, 1906, local and federal courts kept citizenship records. See the May 2008 Family Tree Magazine and for tips on finding pre- and post-1906 naturalization records.

Family Tree Magazine articles | immigration records | Public Records
Friday, 23 May 2008 13:26:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Happy Blogiversary to Us!
Posted by Diane

Today’s the day—the Genealogy Insider’s first blogiversary. Not only has blogging here let us tell you about new family history developments, resources and tips faster than before; it’s also helped us stay in closer contact with all of you.

We've also been able to have a little fun here. My favorite blog post of the year has to be our staff's Simpsonized selves, which look remarkably like our actual selves (if we all had jaundice).

If you haven’t already entered our celebratory T-shirt contest, yesterday’s post tells you how. And you’re invited along with us on a quick, nostalgic look back at our inaugural year in Wednesday’s entry.

Genealogy fun
Friday, 23 May 2008 11:06:43 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, 22 May 2008
Enter to Win a Genealogy Insider T-Shirt!
Posted by Diane

You, too, can be a Genealogy Insider! To celebrate the Genealogy Insider’s first blogiversary tomorrow, we’re holding a drawing for one of our new T-shirts.

To enter, click Comments below and answer these three questions:
  • How many times a week do you read the Genealogy Insider blog?
  • What is your all-time favorite Genealogy Insider blog post? 
  • What family history topics would you like to see the Genealogy Insider cover more often?
We’ll draw one commenter at random to win a short-sleeve T-shirt proclaiming his or her Genealogy Insider status. Remember, you must provide your e-mail address when you post—we’ll contact the winner for a size and mailing address. (Your e-mail address will appear with at, NOSPAM and dot to keep spam robots from harvesting it.)
You have until 5 p.m. EDT next Tuesday, May 27, to post your comment.
Want to guarantee you get a shirt? Genealogy Insider T-shirts and other gear are available in our CafePress store.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Thursday, 22 May 2008 10:19:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [75]
# Wednesday, 21 May 2008
The Genealogy Insider is Turning 1!
Posted by Diane

Seems like just yesterday Family Tree Magazine entered the blogosphere with our very first post on the Genealogy Insider. But time flies, and that was almost 365 yesterdays ago: May 23, 2007.

To celebrate our blogiversary this Friday, we’re taking a quick look at highlights from our first year:
  • A few of the names we tossed around when the Genealogy Insider was still an idea: Blog Wild, Twigged Out, Theories of Relativity, Root Points. We settled on the name that says "genealogy" and "news."
  • We’ve published 243 posts (not counting this one), around 4.7 posts a week.
Stay tuned for more first-blogiversary developments!

Family Tree Magazine articles
Wednesday, 21 May 2008 12:15:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Free Military Records 'Til May 31 Mark Agreement
Posted by Diane

To celebrate the signing of a five-year digitization agreement with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), The Generations Network (TGN) will make’s military records collection free May 20 through May 31. (Normally, you'd need an subscription at $155.50 per year.)

Some notable records in that collection include the Civil War pension index, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 bounty land warrants, and WWI and WWII draft registration cards.

Now for the new agreement: NARA and TGN already have been collaborating to digitize records, but now TGN staff and equipment will be on-site at NARA to speed up the process.

TGN will index the records and make them available to subscribers; access will be free in all NARA research facilities. TGN also will give NARA copies of the record images and indexes.

Digitizing will start with Immigration and Naturalization Service passenger and crew arrival and departure lists (1897 to 1958) and death notices of US citizens abroad (1835 to 1974). Neither record set has been available outside NARA research rooms.

In the future, look for immigration, birth, marriage, death and military records.

NARA also has non-exclusive digitization partnerships with other organizations, such as FamilySearch and subscription historical records site Footnote. You can see details of those partnerships on NARA's Web site.

Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Military records
Tuesday, 20 May 2008 11:22:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Genealogy: For the Dogs?
Posted by Diane

In last week’s E-mail Update newsletter, we announced the opening of our CaféPress shop, where you can get Family Tree Magazine T-shirts, tote bags, mugs and other sundries.

Janie begged for a dog T-shirt. She thought it looked delicious. I caved, so here she is modeling it.

Janie learned two things: First, the dog T-shirts run small—she’s about 38 pounds and the large is a bit snug (we also got some human T-shirts and they seem true to size).

Second, it’s very difficult to eat your T-shirt while it’s on your body.

Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 20 May 2008 09:20:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 19 May 2008
Video: Sneak Peek at the Midwest Genealogy Center
Posted by Diane

While in Kansas City last week for the National Genealogical Society conference, we ventured a few minutes down the highway to Independence, Mo., where we were lucky enough to get a peek at the Mid-Continent Public Library’s genealogy branch and its soon-to-open Midwest Genealogy Center.

Around the beginning of June, the 12,000-square-foot genealogy branch will move its overflowing resources into the 52,000-square-foot genealogy center. But you'll get an insider’s peek at both facilities—and learn what you can look forward to after the move—in our short video. (Note the genealogy branch will close May 27 through June 1 while staff members pack and unpack.)

And you’ll see why the library’s genealogy collection makes it one of the July 2008 Family Tree Magazines Libraries to visit Before You Die.

Libraries and Archives | Videos
Monday, 19 May 2008 15:13:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Saturday, 17 May 2008
Could you be an Osmond?
Posted by Diane

Are you a little bit country … or a little bit rock and roll? Genetic genealogy company Genetree might be able to help you decide.


Genetree just launched a Web site about its partnership with the Osmond family (maybe you can name them all, but for the record: Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy) as they get ready for their anniversary tour.


Genetree is joining the tour for a bit and promoting a $149 mitochondrial test (which comes with a souvenir Osmond photo). You can compare your results with the Osmonds’ genetic profiles in Genetree to see if you might be related. Keep in mind a mitochondrial test won’t pinpoint common ancestors within a genealogically researchable time frame.


Big fan? Scroll down the site and check out Osmond family photos, which you can click for dates and IDs.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Saturday, 17 May 2008 12:15:28 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 16 May 2008
What's Happening on the FamilySearch Site
Posted by Diane

You may have heard whisperings about a new FamilySearch Web site underway, and wondered what it's like and when you’ll get a crack at using it. Today we got some information to share.


FamilySearch Labs is testing a variety of tools FamilySearch hopes to include on its Web site. The challenge, spokesperson Paul Nauta told us, is that each tool requires different architecture. FamilySearch’s main site (at hasn’t changed yet because its architecture must be updated to accommodate all the cool new features in the works. Eventually, the tools will be built into that site.


But you already can use some of these features on the domains where they’re being tested:

  • Record Search is a tool for searching the first digitized records—including censuses, church records, Civil War pensions and more—coming from FamilySearch’s many partnerships with repositories and digitization companies. It has a microfilm reader-like viewer (minus the elbow-busting crank) that lets you zoom in on an image, nimbly move around, and switch from black on white to white on black.

  • Family Tree (previously called Pedigree Viewer), which lets users build an online, collaborative family tree, is available in demo version to the public. It’s being rolled out gradually to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints locations, after which it’ll go public.

  • FamilySearch Indexing is the site volunteers around the world are using to create indexes to digitized records. It’ll tell you how you can volunteer, too.  

Those are the main tools, but there are a couple of others you can try at FamilySearch Labs.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 16 May 2008 13:19:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 15 May 2008
Seen and Heard at NGS …
Posted by Diane

There are the big National Genealogical Society conference announcements, then there are the news tidbits you pick up around the exhibit hall. Here are some of those:


Look for Genetree, the genetic genealogy-meets-social-networking Web site, to add Y-DNA testing to its mitochondrial DNA testing services in the not-too-distant future.


Arphax Publishing has put out the first three books (each covering one county) of its Texas Land Survey Maps series (another book will come out each week). You may find them extra helpful because Texas, a state-land state, didn’t follow the same survey methods you’re used to seeing in public-land states.


The new is kind of like eBay for genealogical research services: If you need someone to go to a courthouse or get a birth certificate for you, post a request. If you can provide the service, submit a bid. A rating system lets researchers rank how you did.


The New England Historic Genealogical Society has launched, a portal to the organization’s Empire State resources. Spokesperson Tom Champoux says the group wants people to know resources cover more than just New England.


The Oregon-California Trails Association created Paper Trail (I love a good pun), a database of names and other information from thousands of 19th-century trail-related documents.


Irish researchers can find a helpful Irish Roots Cafe podcast at


Next week, and NARA will hold a press conference to announce a new, large-scale digitization partnership.

Genealogy Events
Thursday, 15 May 2008 18:03:32 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]