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# Friday, October 24, 2008
101 Best Sites: Civil War Soldiers and Photo Reunions
Posted by Diane

This week, we’re highlighting these two sites from our 2008 101 Best Web Sites list:
  • Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System: Start your search for Union or Confederate Civil War ancestors in this database of 6.3 million soldiers’ names (names appear twice if soldiers fought for more than one regiment or used a different name) from 44 states and territories. Names link to information about the  regiments and the battles they fought.
  • DeadFred: If you're starting from a pile of old photos or you’re looking for lost family pictures, this photo-reunion site is the place to click. Search by surname, and if you find a match, contact the submitter for information. DeadFred's collection encompasses some 14,600 surnames and 76,00 records, and it's reunited 1,227 old photos with families.
See the rest of the best on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, October 24, 2008 2:32:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 23, 2008
Old Yearbooks of the Future
Posted by Grace

Soon after reading Diane's post on old yearbooks the other day, I found this article about the growing trend of non-traditional senior portraits. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when she has to explain to her grandchildren who Harry Potter is.


Genealogy fun | Photos
Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:36:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Fun at the Fair
Posted by Diane

Congratulations to Jean Nathan of Cincinnati, winner of Family Tree Magazine’s door prize at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Family History Fair last Saturday.

She was one of the researchers who attended how-to classes and visited with representatives of local genealogical societies, the Hamilton County Recorder’s Office and others. It was great to see familiar faces from other genealogy gatherings and talk with newbie researchers.

Jean will go to her mailbox in a few days and find The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, our International Genealogy Passport CD and our November 2008 issue.

The fair marked Family History Month, observed in October in many states. See if your local genealogical society (run a Google search or look here for links) or library (find links here) has any events going on.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 3:37:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Free Database (Until Oct. 30): Yearbooks
Posted by Diane

The subscription data site Ancestry.com is letting you access its high school and college yearbook collection free through October 30.

You can search the whole collection or browse yearbooks listed by state.  Often, coverage is sparse and you'll find just one or two yearbooks for a school.

You’ll need to sign up for a free account, which requires your name and an e-mail address, to see yearbook pages. I think I found a great-uncle on this page (arrow added) about special Friday evening and Saturday science classes at a Cincinnati high school.



A couple of things to keep in mind:
  • The search engine annoyingly catches first and last names that don’t belong to the same person but appear near each other. It clogs up the results, but fortunately, a little preview shot of the yearbook page helps you avoid clicking those false matches.
  • Remember to use your female ancestor’s maiden name (or whichever name she used while in school).
You can contribute to the collection by sending in your own yearbooks to be digitized, too.

Ancestry.com | Free Databases
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 12:53:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, October 20, 2008
Family Tree Firsts: Inside a Library Lock-in
Posted by Diane

I’ve always been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of girl. As a kid, I was the first one to fall asleep at slumber parties and get her hand dipped in warm water (it doesn’t work, by the way).

So when I signed up for last Friday’s genealogy lock-in at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, I was worried I’d pass out on a city directory and end up with street names tattooed on my forehead. But I managed to last almost 'til the end.

If you've never been to a lock-in, it’s an after-hours research session at a library. Around 30 researchers (all the tables were taken!) had the genealogy and periodicals departments all to ourselves. I recognized a few people from April’s Ohio Genealogical Society conference.

The pursuit of family history kept everyone awake and focused, including me. I hadn’t made a firm research plan, so I wasn’t expecting thrilling discoveries. And I didn’t make any, but I got some groundwork laid.

I started off using the library’s free wireless to try some Ancestry.com searches for my dad’s family, who remain absent from the 1920 census. I did find the Social Security Death Index entry for the man who vouched for my great-uncle when he applied for a delayed North Carolina birth certificate in 1971.

Next I turned to Cincinnati city directories. My great-great-grandfather on my mom’s side started a cigar store in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, and his family ran it for years. When I was little, my mom drove me by the building—it had an outline where the “H.A. Seeger Cigar” sign used to be.

Here's a photo from around 1910:


(My great-great-grandfather is third from left; his son is in the doorway).

I wanted to see how long the store was open. My ancestor H.A. Seeger showed up in printed directories starting in 1875, when he boarded downtown, then in 1877, when he opened the cigar store (the family moved in above it). The store's listing disappears after 1955. Here’s a Google street view of the building today:



It was late by the time I was through photocopying directories. I decided to save map research for my next library trip, and browsed the compilations of vital records, church records and cemetery transcriptions from counties across the country.

Then I found my husband’s late-80s photographs among the high school yearbooks. That was entertaining.

I don’t know if it was the 80s hair or the hour, but I could feel my brain switch to Off mode, so I packed up my laptop and papers, checked my forehead for accidental tattoos (none), said goodbye to the bleary-eyed souls still scrolling microfilm, and went home to get some shut-eye for the next day’s Family History Fair. I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Family Tree Firsts | Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Libraries and Archives
Monday, October 20, 2008 12:20:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, October 17, 2008
101 Best Web Sites: Canadian Census and Jewish Resources
Posted by Diane

Here's a look at two of our 101 Best Web Sites picks for 2008:
  • Automated Genealogy: Those with Canadian roots will appreciate this free, volunteer site with transcriptions and indexes of Canadian censuses.
Transcribed and in various stages of proofreading are the 1901, 1906 (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) and 1911 enumerations. The 1851-1852 census is underway, with an ambitious effort to link to other online records about each individual.
  • Avotaynu: Use this site’s Consolidated Jewish Surname Index to run a Soundex search of information about 699,084 surnames, mostly Jewish, in 42 databases totaling more than 7.3 million records. You also can subscribe to Avotaynu’s free e-mail newsletter on Jewish genealogy.
See the rest of the 101 best at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Canadian roots | Genealogy Web Sites | Jewish roots
Friday, October 17, 2008 1:12:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com Renames AncestryPress; Seeks Yearbooks
Posted by Diane

Two announcements from the subscription genealogy data service Ancestry.com today:
  • Ancestry.com has renamed AncestryPress, its online self-publishing service, and given it a new Web site. It’s now called MyCanvas, and it looks (to me, anyway) more like popular photo-gift sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. The emphasis isn’t just on making family history books, either—you also can create photo books, photo posters and family chart posters with a variety of backgrounds.
Ancestry.com members can automatically create family history books and family tree posters from what’s in their member trees (and they can save $50 on any premium MyCanvas book with the coupon code MCPREM8).

Ancestry.com
Friday, October 17, 2008 12:53:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 16, 2008
Playing Blog Tag: Fives and 10s
Posted by Diane

This is my first game of blog-tag. To play, I’m supposed to answer questions my tagger, Dear Myrtle, sent. Here goes:

10 Years Ago I ...
1. Became assistant editor of Decorative Artist’s Workbook magazine.
2. Took a week-long painting workshop in Florida so I’d know what I was talking about.
3. Would answer the magazine’s e-mail using an AOL account on a shared computer.
4. Moved into my first apartment that was all mine.
5. Knew the names of only two of my great-grandparents.

Five Things on Today's To-Do List
1. Finish up our E-mail Update newsletter.
2. Edit an article about library online catalogs.
3. Be interviewed for the DearMyrtle podcast.
4. Prepare for my first-ever genealogy lock-in tomorrow night.
5. Get together with a friend to plan another friend’s baby shower.

Five snacks I enjoy (just five?)
1. Nature Valley granola bars
2. Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces
3. Trader Joe’s Jo-Jo cookies
4. Chocolate-covered pretzels
5. Fig Newtons

Five Places I’ve Lived
1. Beaverton, Ore.
2. St. Louis
3. Cincinnati
That's all there is, guys, and I might be here awhile.

Five Jobs I’ve Had
1. Ice cream scooper
2. Cashier/hostess at a Big Boy
3. Department store gift-wrapper
4. University law library information desk staff
5. Newspaper stringer
(Don’t worry, I’m qualified to work for Family Tree Magazine—the odd jobs are just more interesting to mention.)

Five Blogs I Tag
1. Maureen A. Taylor at our Photo Detective Blog
2. Bruce Buzbee at the RootsMagic Blog
3. The editors of our sister publication Memory Makers magazine at their blog.
4. Lisa Louise Cooke at Genealogy Gems
5. Schelly Talalay Dardashti at Tracing the Tribe


Genealogy fun
Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:21:29 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Footnote Releases First Civil War Pensions
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site Footnote released its first digitized Civil War Widows’ Pension files today.

Footnote’s collection has 5,257 record images so far. They’re part of a pilot project, announced about a year ago, to work with the National Archives and Records Administration (which holds the original pension records) and FamilySearch to digitize 3,150 pension files of Civil War widows.

FamilySearch and Footnote plan to digitize all 1,280,000 pensions in the series. Pension records were never microfilmed, so until now, your only option to get your ancestor's pension was to travel to NARA in Washington, DC, hire a local researcher, or order copies for $75 or more.

The digitized records are part of Footnote’s $69.95 annual subscription.

You can view the records free at Family History Centers and at NARA facilities. A Civil War pension index is free on the FamilySearch Record Search pilot site.


FamilySearch | Footnote | Military records
Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:04:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Free Database of the Week: Cook County Naturalization Records
Posted by Diane

If your immigrant ancestor settled in Chicago or the surrounding area, here's one for you:

Cook County, Ill. (home of Chicago), has posted a database of transcribed information from declarations of intention filed in the county’s circuit court between 1906 and 1929.

A declaration of intention, sometimes called “first papers,” was the first step toward becoming a US citizen.

Records are still being added. So far, the database contains information from more than 150,000 of the 400,000 declarations of intention filed. A grant from the National ArchivesNational Historical Publications and Records Commission funds the project.

The search is pretty flexible: You can search on a name or part of a name, birthdate, birth place, occupation or other parameters. My search on Syria as the country of birth netted 94 matches.

Click on a match to see the date the intention was filed, birth information, occupation, current residence, port of departure for the United States and date of arrival.

To order the original declaration of intention (for a search fee of $9, plus photocopying charges), click the How to Order link at the bottom of the page.

See Family Tree Magazine's online guide to learn more about finding your ancestors’ naturalization records.


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 1:54:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]