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# Thursday, October 02, 2008
Genealogy Software News: User Reviews, AGES-Online, Family Tree Maker
Posted by Allison

A few software tidbits that came across our desktops recently:

  • Wonder about other family historians’ opinions of the genealogy software you’re considering buying? Take a peek at Genealogy Software Reviews, a site dedicated to evaluations by average users.

    It works much like the customer review sections on Amazon.com and other e-tailers: Users rate a product from one to five stars based on how much they use it and like it, as well as write comments about the software—which range from a sentence to several paragraphs (in general, don’t expect in-depth analysis).

    Genealogy Software Reviews covers the full gamut of family tree software: full-featured programs, add-ons, freeware, shareware, more than 360 programs in all (who knew so many existed?). That does include some long-defunct programs, such as ROOTS and Ultimate Family Tree. We suggest searching for a particular program, or filtering by category to browse the type of program you’re interested.
  • Web-based genealogy software AGES-Online has improved the system so you can more easily collaborate with others on building your tree: You can now set up additional users within your account, and specify the level of access you want each one to have for adding and editing data. AGES offers a free 30-day trial, with subscription plans ranging from $39.95 to $109.95 a year.

  • Several folks have inquired about how to get their free upgrades to Family Tree Maker 2009. I did a little digging on the Ancestry corporate blog, and learned that registered version 2008 users were supposed to receive an e-mail with a download code for their free upgrade—but comments on the company blog and message boards indicate some didn’t receive their invitations.

    A thread on the Ancestry blog says, “If you registered a US or Canadian 2008 version of Family Tree Maker and didn’t receive the email … please let us know here in a comment.” So post there, and if you don’t get a response within a few days, we suggest contacting that company directly at (800) 262-3787.


Genealogy Software
Thursday, October 02, 2008 10:44:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Coming Soon: Help for Genealogy Newbies
Posted by Allison

In keeping with the "behind-the-scenes" aspect of this blog, I thought I'd give everyone a sneak peek at one of the projects the Family Tree Magazine staff is working on.

Beginner's Guide to Genealogy is a primer that culls together some of our best articles on getting started tracing your roots. It's been fun to revisit "classic" advice we've published throughout the years—I've found at least a few nuggets of information I'd forgotten. (Which, for me, is really saying something—the staff accuses me of having a photographic memory of the entire magazine archive. It's what happens after you proofread every article four or five times. But I digress.)

Here's a sampling of topics in the Beginner's Guide:
  • overview of basic records
  • oral history interviewing
  • writing queries that get answers
  • Web search techniques
And a sneak peek at the cover:



Beginner's Guide to Genealogy will be available as a digital download from our online store by Oct. 15. Which means I better get back to work!



Family Tree Magazine articles
Wednesday, October 01, 2008 6:12:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 30, 2008
101 Best Web Sites: Online Newspapers
Posted by Diane

This week's installment of 101 Best Web Sites delivers two resources for paging through historical newspapers:
  • Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
    Click on the county map to see what's available and where to find it in this collection of nearly 450,000 digitized pages from 136 Colorado newspapers, published from 1859 to 1933. Coverage spans 71 cities and 41 Centennial State counties. You'll need Internet Explorer to get the most out of this site.
  • Newspaper Abstracts
    Find your ancestors in the news—without getting ink on your fingers. At last count this volunteer project included nearly 52,000 pages of abstracts and extracts from historical newspapers, with an emphasis on items of interest to genealogists such as obituaries.
See the rest of the best sites in the Research Toolkit area of our Web site.


Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 6:34:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, September 29, 2008
Technology in Plain English
Posted by Allison

With the online genealogy world embracing “Web 2.0,” you’re probably hearing a lot of related terminology that might confuse you a bit. Actually, I know you’re hearing it, because we use it on this blog and in the magazine—and since I’ve only learned about these things through writing about them, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that many of you would enjoy some accessible-to-the-average-person explanations of newfangled Web technology.

Enter the CommonCraft Show, which offers—you guessed it—“explanations in plain English.” On its YouTube channel, you’ll find short videos demonstrating social networking, Twitter, wikis, blogs and other online trends. I stumbled across CommonCraft’s RSS in Plain English video on the RootsMagic blog, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the videos convey the concepts in a way that’s accessible to anyone—and even entertaining.

Here's the RSS clip for your enjoyment:


Videos
Monday, September 29, 2008 3:43:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 26, 2008
FindMyPast Adds English Census, Baptism Records
Posted by Diane

If your ancestors were born or lived in London, you’ll want to take note of two new additions to FindMyPast’s paid-access online records:

  • In its ongoing effort to redigitize the 1901 English census—using new scanning technology to produce clearer images and better transcriptions than earlier versions of that same enumeration—the company added 4.6 million records covering the county of London.
This summer, FindMyPast and the Origins Network began working with FamilySearch to index the 1841 to 1901 British censuses (read our report). You can search the 1841 through 1861 indexes free on FamilySearch Record Search.
  • FindMyPast’s growing collection of parish records now includes 2.3 million new baptisms, including 346,000 from East London. The parish records are a joint project with the UK Federation of Family History Societies.


census records | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 26, 2008 10:01:48 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 25, 2008
101 Best Web Sites: Military History and Records Portal
Posted by Diane

Peruse this week’s highlights from our 101 Best Web Sites for family history:
  • eHistory: We put this free Ohio State University site in our military research category for rich records of conflicts—including the The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. (the OR), battle overviews, Miller's Photographic History of the Civil War, maps and timelines.
  • Access Genealogy: Besides oodles of links, this free portal also serves up census, vital, immigration, cemetery and military records; plus biographies and such Native American essentials as the 1880 Cherokee census and the Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes (aka the Dawes Rolls).
You can search by surname, or go to United States Genealogy to browse databases by title.
See the rest of our 2008 101 Best Web Sites picks on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Genealogy Web Sites | Military records
Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:15:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Tales of Terrific Family Tree Teamwork
Posted by Diane

Waaaaaay back in April, to play up the promising possibilities of genealogical research collaboration, we asked for your entries in our Terrific Family Tree Teamwork Contest.

We heard a lot of great stories, but managed to winnow them down to the winners, who're portrayed in the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine. There’s something to learn from each example:
  • Our grand prize-winners, Bev Ophoven Ewing and Kathleen Lenerz, have never actually met. In 1998 they discovered a cousin connection online. Now, they tackle family mysteries by bouncing ideas around, building off each other’s thinking and divvying up research tasks.
  • Gwendolyn Cameron and her cousins wanted to learn about their great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran. They traced him to the state hospital where he'd died. The group organized a memorial service, and since our November issue went to press, the hospital has restored its historic graveyard. A rededication is scheduled for tomorrow.
  • Susie Bullion recruited her team by creating a memory quilt with squares relatives filled with stories. To share the history, she and her siblings typed up the stories, researched background information and turned them into a family memory book.
  • Valerie Craft’s family history research began as a college project that never ended. Her mom served both as fan and teammate, especially helpful in putting Valerie in touch with distant relatives.
All the teams won our State Research Guides CD; the grand prize also includes Family Reunion Organizer software from RootsMagic, a Web site from MyGreatBigFamily.com and free batch photo scanning from ScanMyPhotos.

See these and other teamwork tales in our Exclusives for Registered Users Forum (note you must be registered with the Forum and logged in to view this section).


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:49:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Update Your Christmas Card List
Posted by Diane

Two recent genealogy industry name changes to note:
World Vital Records created FamilyLink.com, then chose FamilyLink.com as its new corporate name (World Vital Records stuck around as the name of the company's database service). The name change lets FamilyLink.com become a full-on corporate Web site while FamilyHistoryLink.com remains a networking site.

Genealogy Industry
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:53:39 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Resource Confusion? New Online Directory Promises Help
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Today’s Illya D’Addezio tells me he’s in the final steps of creating an online genealogy directory that’ll let you find and access multiple resources from one place.

Using the free Live Roots site, which launches Oct. 10, you can search a variety of genealogy databases and publishers’ catalogs, and learn where information from the same resource exists in multiple places, online and off.

With the same genealogy information frequently printed in books and hosted on numerous Web sites in a variety of forms (indexes, transcriptions, record images, narratives, etc.), this tool may help you sort out the confusion—and show you where to find the actual records all that data came from in the first place.

You'll be able to search Live Roots on a name, place or other keyword, then link to the online resources, learn how to access the offline ones, or click to commission a researcher who can get a record for you.

We’ll spill more details about the site as they’re available.


Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:32:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Monday, September 22, 2008
MyHeritage: Facebook for Families?
Posted by Diane

MyHeritage, the Israel-based genealogy site that made a splash a couple years back with its celebrity look-alike photo search, has made another step toward its goal to be “the Facebook for families.”

(This right after Footnote launched its “Facebook for the deceased.” Facebook has to be feeling really good about itself right now.)

MyHeritage just acquired Kindo, a London based, internationally focused online family networking service that’s reminiscent of Geni. Part of the deal has MyHeritage setting up operations in London.

Also boosting MyHeritage’s social networking aspirations is a recent $15 million venture capital investment (including funds from a former Facebook investor).

One more update: The site's new photo tagging technology uses the facial recognition feature that powered the celebrity look-alike search to let users automatically tag the people in their photos (similar to what Google is doing with its Picasa software).


Genealogy Industry
Monday, September 22, 2008 5:02:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]