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<2008 November>

More Links

# Friday, 07 November 2008
The Other Insider Inside the National Archives
Posted by Diane

If you’ll be lucky enough to visit the National Archives and Records Administration facilities in Washington, DC or College Park, Md. (Archives I and Archives II, respectively) in the foreseeable future, get ready for the trip by perusing that other Insider’s blog posts about his recent journey there.

The anonymous Ancestry Insider goes over where to eat, how to get around the area, the archives’ record-pulling rules, getting a researcher ID card and more.

(Just between you and me, I think the Ancestry Insider's ID looks a little fishy.)

Libraries and Archives
Friday, 07 November 2008 17:17:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
101 Best Sites: Grassroots Genealogy and English Records Catalog
Posted by Diane

I threw two darts at the 101 Best Web Sites article in my September 2008 Family Tree Magazine—here are the two sites we’re highlighting this week:
  • RootsWeb: This venerable volunteer-run site now resides in’s domain, but don’t worry—it’s still free. It shares some visual elements with and the page URLs have ancestry in them, but it has kept its friendly feel and remains an ideal jumping-off point for new researchers. Besides a great Getting-Started guide, you’ll find a ton of mailing lists, message boards, family tree files (in the WorldConnect Project) and more.
  • Access to Archives: Called A2A for short, this catalog describes historical records in 416 English and Welsh repositories, including local record offices and libraries, universities, museums, and national and special institutions.
See the rest of our best Web sites picks on

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Friday, 07 November 2008 16:21:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 06 November 2008
Remembering Canadian Veterans, Re-Watching The War
Posted by Diane

We’re coming up on Veterans Day (in the United States) and Remembrance Day (in Canada), and our contributing editor Rick Crume told me about a neat remembrance of the 68,000 Canadians killed in World War I.

Nights through Nov. 11, those names will be projected onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa and buildings elsewhere Canada, and onto the side of Canada House in London's Trafalgar Square.

At the 1918 Vigil site, you can search for names of Canadians killed in the Great War to learn the person’s service number, rank, regiment, death date and the when the name will be displayed.

Also marking Veterans Day, many PBS stations are re-airing Ken Burns’ WWII documentary The War. It had me riveted to the sofa last year when it first aired.

Click here to search for broadcasts on your PBS station. You can get more veterans’ stories on the Veterans History Project's special Web site Experiencing War. (I got a chance to talk with Ken Burns recently, and I’ll share some of the conversation in a later post.)

For more on military records, see the Genealogy Insider military records category and the online toolkit.

Canadian roots | Military records | Social History
Thursday, 06 November 2008 08:18:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 04 November 2008
Counting Your Ancestor's Vote
Posted by Diane

After you've exercised your right to vote today, see if you can find your ancestors’ political leanings in voting registration records.

On her blog, Kimberley Powell recommends some resources—including the California Voter Registration Index and a free index for Cleveland, Ohio, in 1907.

At Cincinnati's downtown library, I  once found a 1970s voter registration book listing my grandma. Check with your ancestor's county board of elections, local library or historical society for information on old voter registration records in the area.

And you can learn how your ancestor voted (not his favorite candidate, but whether he tossed a ballota into a bucket, dropped a color-coded paper ticket into a box or pulled a lever) in this article on

Me, I’ll try to get a little work done between checking exit poll results on CNN.

Free Databases | Research Tips | Social History
Tuesday, 04 November 2008 11:00:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 31 October 2008
101 Best Sites: Show-Me Records and African-American Roots
Posted by Diane

Here are this week's highlights from our 101 Best Web sites for researching your family history. As always, you can click right through to all the 101 picks from
  • Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative: I was super-excited about this Web site when it debuted this spring, and I still am. It’s a one-stop shop for digitized historical records, abstracts and indexes from the state archives and other repositories throughout Missouri. If a record you need isn’t digitized, go to the Local Records Inventory Database to find out where to write for county-level records.
  • AfriGeneas: We’ve named this African-American genealogy resource a top site several years over for its wealth of how-to tips and message boards, census records, slave data, an index of 50,168 surnames and a collection of 16,338 death records.

Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 31 October 2008 15:45:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Happy Halloween From Family Tree Magazine!
Posted by Diane

We're all ready for trick-or-treating.

Have you answered our Forum poll about your favorite Halloween traditions? You'll find it in the Back Fence Forum.

Genealogy fun
Friday, 31 October 2008 07:37:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 30 October 2008
New Podcast Helps You Start Your Ancestor Search
Posted by Diane

Having a tough time getting the genealogy ball rolling? Need some family history motivation?

Tune into a new podcast from Lisa Louise Cooke and Personal Life Media Network called Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. The tips are geared to beginners, with success-story interviews that'll also inspire more-experienced researchers.  

“My hope is that this podcast will reach out to non-genealogists and show them that discovering their family history is possible," Cooke says. "Getting started is the hardest part.”

Learn more and listen to the first episode here

You can get an audio player from Cooke’s Genealogy Gems News Blog. Just click the Get! button on the player and add it to your Facebook page, iGoogle page—wherever. It plays not only the new show, but also Cooke's Genealogy Gems Podcast, our Family Tree Magazine Podcast, the Family History Expos Podcast and Digital Photography Life (advice on making the most of your digital camera).

You also can subscribe to Genealogy Made Easy through iTunes.

Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Thursday, 30 October 2008 07:41:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 29 October 2008
26 Million Jewish Records Free on
Posted by Diane

Today we’re seeing the first fruits of subscription database site’s partnership with JewishGen, announced this summer. just released 26 million records from JewishGen and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an international humanitarian organization. The records in today's release will be available free on

JDC records, online for the first time, include
  • Jewish Transmigration Bureau Deposit Cards (1939-1954) showing money American Jewish citizens paid to support the emigration of friends and relatives from European countries during and after WWII.
  • Munich, Vienna and Barcelona Jewish Displaced Persons and Refugee Cards (1943-1959), records of Jews who received food, medical care, clothing and emigration assistance from the JDC.
In addition, the 300-plus databases previously on JewishGen will now be on, including
  • Worldwide Burial Registry of more than 1 million names from nearly 2,000 Jewish cemeteries around the world.
  • Yizkor Book Necrologies, a list of the names of those murdered in the Holocaust (users are directed to the Yizkor Books, which memorialize town devastated in the Holocaust).
  • Given Names Database, where you can learn European, Hebrew and Yiddish translations of an ancestor’s given name.
  • Holocaust Database of 2 million names, including those of 1,980 inmates in Oscar Schindler's factories.
Under the agreement, eventually will receive access to 10 million-plus records, some of which date back to the 1700s, as well as JewishGen’s user base of 250,000. also will provide technical support to JewishGen's Web site. | Free Databases | Jewish roots
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 11:31:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Now in Beta:
Posted by Diane, a new service from FamilyLink, launched into private beta testing with interactive maps, timelines, videos, geocoded photos, museum artifacts and family trees.

The video demos (you're looking at one in the screenshot below) show what you’ll be able to do on the site. For example, you can look at a map showing where events happened during a time period you’re interested in. You also can see locations of related events, such as Revolutionary War battles.

Family historians can create family trees that plot ancestors on maps and show events during their lives, and link to photos of the area.

According to at least one Tech blogger, “The company also says they are developing an iPhone application that will show you interesting historical events near where you are at any given time.” Cool.

Joining and using is free, for now. (When I signed up for the beta test, I got a message that said I’ll get an e-mail when there’s room for me.)

Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 28 October 2008 15:52:42 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 27 October 2008
Google Love
Posted by Diane

Life before Google? Sometimes it hurts to think about.

Even before learning some tricks while working on our January 2009 Family Tree Magazine genealogy Googling article, my favorite Google trick was the site search. I’d be racking my brain because I knew I saw something about probate records on some page of a site, and for the life of me I couldn’t find it again.

I go to my Google toolbar and type in site: plus the URL and the search terms, and Google will search just that site. For example, say I want to find FamilySearch’s Denmark research outline. Here’s my Google search: denmark research outline.

The first result is exactly what I'm looking for.

Other tools I love: language translation (handy when editing foreign-research articles), area code lookup and—since I found out about them from the googling article—the currency converter and calculator tools.

On our Web site, you'll find five time-saving Google shortcuts and an excerpt from Google Your Family Tree, a book by Daniel Lynch. Our readers share their Google love on our Forum.

Learn more about making the most of Google in the January 2009 Family Tree Magazine (it's mailing to subscribers right about now; you can get it Nov. 11 on newsstands and from

Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Monday, 27 October 2008 16:07:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]