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<2008 September>

More Links

# Tuesday, 09 September 2008
23andMe Demystifies DNA for Cheek-Swabbers
Posted by Diane

23andMe, the Google-funded company that profiles customers’ genomes, is teaming up with to beef up the genetic information for's DNA customers.

Users of’s DNA testing services will now get access to the same ancestral content available through the 23andMe Web site.

Ancestry DNA offers Y-DNA and mitochondrial (mt) DNA tests for $149 to $179. Y-DNA follows male lines and can help you search for potential cousins in DNA databases; mtDNA informs you about maternal lines and is best for exploring your ancient ancestry.

See an example of the educational materials Ancestry DNA test-takers will get with their test results.

Meanwhile, 23andMe now “democratizes personal genetics” with its $399 genome profiling service (previously, the only available test cost a pricey $999). This test gives you both health- and ancestry-related information about your genes.

Though its service would still empty out most people's piggy banks, the 23andMe Web site does a good job of explaining genetic testing to laypeople.'s DNA customers should benefit. | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 09 September 2008 08:38:22 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Sunday, 07 September 2008
A Peek Inside the FGS Exhibit Hall
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s home last week was in the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference exhibit hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

If you've never been to a genealogy conference, we wanted to invite you in for a look!


In here, you’ll find displays and representatives from genealogy publishers, genetic genealogy companies, software manufacturers, libraries and archives, genealogical societies and more.

Visitors also can try out online database services such as, FamilySearch, Footnote, ProQuest, Genealogy Today, GenealogyBank and others, and pick up tips from the people who help create those services.

Of course, genealogy conferences also offer a great chance to meet other researchers, seek advice from the experts, sit in on great classes and join field trips to local repositories.

Find more genealogy conferences and classes listed in our online events calendar.

Genealogy Events
Sunday, 07 September 2008 21:23:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 05 September 2008
News From the FGS Conference
Posted by Diane

News-wise, it's been kind of a quiet Federation of Genealogical Societies conference so far, but here are a few of the tidbits we picked up yesterday:

  • The Bureau of Land Management has been quietly adding military warrants to its General Land Office records database.

  • The Irish Family History Foundation has launched an online research service called RootsIreland. Sign up for a free registration with the site, then use it to search nearly 40 million church records at genealogical research centers in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Results show you basic information from the record; viewing a record transcription costs 5 Euros (about $7). You’ll also get information on other records and research services available in your ancestors’ county.

  • ProQuest (the company behind the HeritageQuest database you can access in many libraries) has introduced Historic MapWorks, a service that lets you browse historical maps or search them by keyword, address or latitude and longitude.

Some of the maps have landowners’ names, and you can move around to look at the neighbors and compare the old map to a modern one. It's not in many libraries yet, but ask at your library's reference desk if it's available there.

Genealogy Events | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 05 September 2008 08:10:32 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 04 September 2008, FGS Partner on Indexing Projects
Posted by Diane

At today’s opening session of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Philadelphia, and FGS announced the federation is partnering on’s World Archives Project (now in public beta testing). The project enlists volunteers to index genealogical records.

FGS member societies will sponsor some of those indexing projects by recruiting volunteers and helping with access to records. Volunteers will transcribe information from historical record images, helping to create indexes that’ll remain accessible free on

Active indexers also will be able to access record images that are part of the World Archives Project. (Read more about the project in our blog post.)

Similar to FamilySearch Indexing, will donate a digital copy of the sponsored index and images to the partner organization for a particular record set.

"We’ve been searching for years for the right way to partner with genealogy societies, and we think this project will allow us to help them attract new members by leveraging the popularity of," says Tim Sullivan, president of's parent company, The Generations Network.

"We appreciate the encouragement and support FGS provides and look forward to continuing our relationship as this project marches forward."

Thursday, 04 September 2008 08:57:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Conference Underway in Philadelphia
Posted by Diane

The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia got started last night with exhibit hall preview hours. The hall was busy with genealogists; a live events area features product demos and presentations. This morning is the opening session, followed by three days of conferencing—genealogy classes, meetings and exhibit hall shopping.

We'll keep you updated on conference news. Meanwhile, some show-and-tell. I got into Philadelphia early and tooled around to some of the historic sites, including:

Christ Church Burial Ground, whose walls guard Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite (not in this photo) and those of other founding fathers and Christ Church congregation members. Few of the headstones are still readable, but a church record book has told caretakers the inscriptions many stones used to bear.

Independence Hall, where the Constitutional Congress debated the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (The chair at the head of the room is the one from which John Hancock presided over Congress; other chairs aren't original.)

… The Liberty Bell (this is the side opposite the famous crack), which used to be in the Pennsylvania State House. I learned it didn’t crack when the Declaration of Independence was signed—no one knows exactly when the large gap formed, but it was some time between 1817 and 1846.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Oral History
Thursday, 04 September 2008 07:58:58 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 03 September 2008
We'd Like Your Feedback!
Posted by Grace

As you poke around our new site, please let us know what you think of it by taking our survey! All your feedback helps us make even better.

Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 15:49:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 02 September 2008
Picasa Debuts Next-Generation Photo Tagging
Posted by Grace

Google's photo webware Picasa is venturing into the next generation of photo tagging this afternoon with facial-recognition technology. As CNET and TechCrunch report, the new feature labels people in your albums for you. Once you start using "name tags" on your photos, Picasa will suggest other photos that contain the same person (or similar-looking people, or a bike wheel, as one reporter encountered) so you can tag them all at once.

If you've had experience with photo tagging on Picasa or Flickr, you know that it can be a time-consuming process. But the CNET reporter says of the new Picasa: "It took me less than 15 minutes to tag close to 200 faces in a set of more than 100 photos, and that included some start-up time such as figuring out how the system worked, establishing names for various common subjects, and correcting a few errors."

My first question, of course, is how well this technology can be applied to old photos and identifying mystery ancestors. If you've tried tagging your ancestors, leave a comment and tell us about it!

Tuesday, 02 September 2008 14:53:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 01 September 2008
Free Database of the Week: Erie Railroad Workers
Posted by Diane

In honor of Labor Day, this week’s free database is the Erie Magazine Last Name Index, created by a Milwaukee-based Erie Railroad fan.

It’s actually not truly a database, since you don’t search it—instead, you browse by last name. Names come from Erie Railroad Magazine, published for workers who helped build the railroad. It started in southern New York (because the upstaters got the canal) and eventually extended into Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois (learn more from the Erie-Lackawanna Historical Society). 

Look around the rest of this railroad enthusiast's great site, too, for historical information, employee rosters, rail officials’ names and resources for continuing your search for Erie and other railroad ancestors.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 01 September 2008 10:11:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
101 Best Sites: Canadian Histories and European Places
Posted by Diane

This week’s highlighted 101 Best Web Sites for genealogy take us to Canada and Europe:

  • Our Roots/Nos Racines: Digitized local histories from across Canada have landed on this site with English and French versions. Topics include the Klondike Gold Rush, Irish immigrants at Grosse-Île, indigenous communities, historic forts and trading posts, and more. Once you've found a volume about the places and times your ancestors experienced, you can search for their names and other terms.

  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online: Stumped by European place names? This guide to more than 900,000 places in Europe and around the world covers current and historical geography. Many location listings give coordinates, helping you to find them on a map.

To see all our 101 Best Web Sites for 2008, visit the (new!)

Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Monday, 01 September 2008 10:03:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 29 August 2008
Family Tree Magazine Expert Talks Roots on the Today Show
Posted by Diane

The "Today" show hosts have been showing off their roots all week in a genealogy series. This morning, Family Tree Magazine contributing editor and resident Photo Detective  Maureen A. Taylor was in a spot with Al Roker, answering viewers’ research questions. 

See if you can spot the cover a familiar-looking genealogy magazine!

We've posted a video of Maureen's second segment with Meredith Vieira on the Photo Detective blog.

Research Tips | Videos
Friday, 29 August 2008 13:44:43 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]