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# Thursday, August 28, 2008
Introducing the New FamilyTreeMagazine.com
Posted by Diane

We got ourselves a new Web site! The brand-spanking-new FamilyTreeMagazine.com launched just a few minutes ago.



Our new setup looks nicer and it's more user-friendly. The improved navigation makes it easy to find the content you want: You can browse the article archives by topic, or search the entire site from any page.

Each article offers buttons to bookmark the page, share it via e-mail or social networking sites, and generate a printer-friendly version. You can even subscribe to your favorite topics via RSS.

Our new home page will highlight more of what’s inside the site, including blog feeds and links to the most recently posted articles.

Even with all those features, what we’re most excited about is the technology behind this new site—it'll be much easier for us to put more great articles online.

If you were comfortable with the quirks of our old site (not unlike a cozy old recliner with a footrest you have to prop up using a two-by-four), these tips might help you get to know (and love, we hope) the new one:
  • To stop the screens in the top middle of the home page from changing, click on any of the four tabs (Welcome, State Guides, Best Web Sites, Expert Advice) to land on that screen.
  • Click the Welcome tab for a link to an article with detailed information on the new site.
  • You can increase the text size through your Web browser. In Internet Explorer, go to Page menu>Text Size. In Firefox, look under the View menu.
  • You can browse our how-to articles by hovering over a category name in the orange navigation bar, then clicking on one of the blue topics that appear in the white space below it. Then, to see all the articles for that topic, click the “See all” link in the upper right.
  • If you click one of the category names in the orange navigation bar, you can click “Subscribe to this topic’s RSS feed” to get an e-mail whenever we add an article to that category.
  • To see the Ethnic Toolkits from our old site, click on Heritage in the orange bar, then select from the blue list of ethnic backgrounds. You also can subscribe to an RSS feed for each of these ethnicities.
  • Find the list of 2008 101 Best Web Sites under Research Toolkit.
We invite you to take a look around the new site (even we keep finding stuff we didn’t know we had online). Got feedback? You can add it here (click Comments blow), post in our Talk to Us Forum or e-mail us.

Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, August 28, 2008 3:38:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Ancestry.de Subscription Price Drops
Posted by Grace

German genealogy blog Abenteuer Ahnenforschung pointed out today that the price of Ancestry.de's basic membership has been lowered to 9.95 euros a year—about $14.65. (For comparison's sake, Ancestry.com's US-only membership package costs $155.40 a year.)

If your family history research focuses on Germany—and you've got a good grasp on the language—this is a total steal. The records available to Ancestry.de subscribers (as well as Ancestry.com users with a World Deluxe Membership) include German city directories from 1797-1945 containing 32 million names, and soon 100 years of Deutsche Telekom phone books with an estimated 70 million names. Time to brush up on your Deutsch...


Ancestry.com | immigration records | International Genealogy
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:27:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
High-Tech Scanning Reveals More of Scrolls
Posted by Diane

Bring up online documents and genealogists usually think of death certificates and census schedules.

But in as little as two years, you’ll be able to examine the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls on the Web. And thanks to cutting-edge digitization technology involving infrared cameras and super-high resolution, you’ll see more text than previously was visible to the naked eye.

This initiative may pave the way for more-revealing scanning of all those genealogical documents. Read more in CNN’s article.


Historic preservation
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 3:01:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Olympian Phelps Joins Ellis Island Fundraising Campaign
Posted by Diane

Olympic swimming phenom Michael Phelps is the newest member of the We Are Ellis Island campaign, which is raising funds to restore the South Side of Ellis Island.

On the campaign Web site, you can watch a promotional video featuring Phelps (hard to recognize with facial scruff and a few inches of hair) and others.

Phelps’ ancestors immigrated through Ellis Island. A campaign spokesperson told me she doesn't yet have full details on their names and immigration dates, since Phelps signed on and shot the video just before leaving for Beijing.

Ellis Island's well-known immigration museum opened in 1990 on its North Side. The largely abandoned South Side was home to a state-of-the-art hospital where sick immigrants were treated—and sometimes ordered to return home.

Look for the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine article on Forgotten Ellis Island, a documentary and book about the hospital, and the patients and staff who spent part of their lives there.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Industry | Historic preservation
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:28:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Library Holds Treasure Hunt
Posted by Diane

Are you the owner of a local, national or even international treasure in printed form?

The genealogy department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is holding a digitization contest to find “unique or rare books, documents, or photos in private hands so that they can be digitized to share with the world via the Library's Web site.”

To enter, you just fill out a form—no need to drop your heirloom in the mail. See the details and submit entries on the library Web site.


Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:27:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, August 25, 2008
"Today" Traces Hosts' Roots
Posted by Diane

If you want your genealogy researched for free but your past is too checkered to run for political office, there’s always the “Today” show host chair.

The show is again airing a series on tracing its hosts’ roots. Today we saw snippets of Meredith Vieira’s family history in Portugal’s Azores islands. On a genealogist's dream journey, Vieira visited the islands and found ancestors’ birth records, discovered family homes, met cousins and joined in the Festa do Espirito Santo (Festival of the Holy Spirit). You may get jealous, but watch the video all the same—it was inspiring.

At the end of the segment, Vieira thanks several people, including our own contributing editor Maureen A. Taylor, who did genealogical research for the "Today" producers.

Readers who share Vieira’s Portuguese ancestry—or have roots in neighboring Spain—can get research help in the June 2004 Family Tree Magazine (available from our Back Issue store).

Also see the Portuguese Genealogy Home Page and LusaWeb.


International Genealogy | Videos
Monday, August 25, 2008 11:17:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 21, 2008
Ancestry.com, JewishGen Team Up
Posted by Diane

The subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com and the Jewish roots site JewishGen have formed an alliance that’ll make JewishGen historical record databases available free on Ancestry.com.

Those databases include names of Holocaust victims, yizkor (memorial) books about Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust, the Given Names Database, and a ShtetlSeeker (helps you locate towns in Eastern and Central Europe).

You can search each database now on JewishGen, but by the end of this year, you'll be able to go to Ancestry.com and search all the databases at once with a more-sophisticated search engine.

The JewishGen Web site also will be hosted in Ancestry.com’s data center.


Ancestry.com | Jewish roots
Thursday, August 21, 2008 9:05:41 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Jewish Roots in The Caribbean
Posted by Diane

In a neat article on CNN this morning, reporter Steve Kastenbaum writes about exploring his Jewish roots on a trip to the Caribbean.

His grandfather moved there from Germany during the 1920s; his relatives were among the more than 15,000 Jews living in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s.

Kastenbaum—and you—can use these sites to learn more about tracing Jewish roots in the Caribbean:


International Genealogy | Jewish roots
Thursday, August 21, 2008 8:53:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Family Tree Maker 2009 Coming Soon; '08 Users Can Upgrade Free
Posted by Diane

An Ancestry.com spokesperson confirmed blog reports (found here and here) of the impending release of Family Tree Maker 2009 and free upgrades for registered users of version 2008.

Public relations manager Anastasia Tyler says the 2009 version of the widely used genealogy program is scheduled for release Sept. 3, which coincides with the upcoming Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. Amazon.com, where you can pre-order the software in packages priced from $29.99 to $99.99, has given the release date as Aug. 26, as have other bloggers.

Tyler also said registered 2008 users will have the opportunity to receive free upgrades—so make sure you’ve registered your software.

She didn’t elaborate on new or updated features, but Dick Eastman posted a description he found online (I couldn’t find that page on FamilyTreeMaker.com—if you can, help a girl out and post a comment with a link).

Update: A reader located the info on version 2009—thanks, Linda!


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 11:33:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [16]
This Week's Genealogy News Roundup
Posted by Diane

Here's a smattering of genealogy biz news from this week:

Footnote raises prices: Citing its greatly increased offerings, Web site improvements and the challenging economy, historical records site Footnote has announced it’s raising subscription prices to $11.95 for one month and $69.96 for a year (up from $7.95 and $59.95, respectively). The changes don’t take effect until Sept. 1, so if you’ve been meaning to join, now’s the time.

Ancestry.com World Archive Project hits milestone: Ancestry.com’s volunteer indexing initiative, the World Archives Project (now in beta) has 650 active keyers who’ve already indexed more than 100,000 records—17,500 of those by one lightning-fast typist. The Wisconsin mortality records project is on track for completion in September.

World Archives’ project Indexers will receive free access to the indexes they’re creating; record images will be part of Ancestry.com’s subscription databases. See our blog post for more on the project.

FamilySearch Indexing keeps chugging along: FamilySearch added 2 million-plus new images or indexed records this week to its free pilot Record Search databases.

Among them are Ohio WWII draft registration card images, marriage indexes for 14 more West Virginia Counties, and an index to the Coahulia, Mexico, 1930 census.

FindMyPast adds 3.2 million parish marriages: The UK family history database FindMyPast has enhanced its Parish Records Collection with 3.2 million marriage records dating back to 1538. Burial records already are in the collection; baptism records are still to come.

The parish records are available with an Explorer subscription, which costs 54.95 pounds ($109) for 6 months or 89.95 pounds ($178) for a year. Learn more about this collection in this Genealogy Insider post.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 9:19:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]