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# Tuesday, December 02, 2008
"Finest State Genealogy Library" Planned for Ohio
Posted by Diane

Ohio genealogists will soon get a new research destination. “We have achieved full funding for our new building project,” reports E. Paul Morehouse, president of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS).

Construction starts early next year on "the finest state genealogical library in the country," says OGS spokesperson Wally Huskonen in an announcement.

The 18,000-square-foot library near Mansfield, Ohio, will have climate-controlled space for archives, a reading room, a preservation and digitization lab, meeting space, classrooms and offices.

In mid-November, a $350,000 grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission brought the total to $2,564,889—just past OGS' $2.5 million goal. Fundraising continues, though, to pay a loan from the Department of Agriculture and build a maintenance fund for the facility.

OGS is the country's largest state genealogical society, with more than 6,000 members in 95 chapters.


Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:47:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, December 01, 2008
What Your Favorite Genealogist Really Wants From Santa
Posted by Diane

Funny how a weekend that seemed endless when I woke up that first free day passed by so quickly. But it was nice and full: celebrating with friends and family, walking the dog (I was at home during daylight hours!) and finishing 85 percent of my Christmas shopping.

With the onset of holiday shopping season, may we suggest these gifts for the family historian in your life:
  • Membership in a local genealogical society (do a Google search or see Society Hill for contact information)
  • Gift certificate to a Web site such as Snapfish or Shutterfly, where your favorite genealogist can turn old photos into photo books, collages, picture mugs, notecards and more
  • a chauffered trip to a research repository or genealogy workshop, maybe with lunch (your treat)
  • a day at a history museum
What’s on your genealogy wish list this year? Click Comments (below) to tell us (then slip your significant other the link to this post!).

For readers in Family Tree Magazine’s hometown of Cincinnati, our company is holding a warehouse sale that includes how-to books on sewing, writing, woodworking, painting and tons of other hobbies—including, yes, genealogy. Click here for the location and directions.

No matter where you live, you can check out this bargain book selection online at ClearanceBooks.com.


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Industry
Monday, December 01, 2008 3:08:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Get Family History Help in the Latest Family Tree Magazine Podcast
Posted by Diane

In the busy-ness of attending a genealogy expo and tying up loose ends before offices everywhere are deserted for Thanksgiving, I haven’t yet told you our November 2008 podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.

(Of course, if you subscribe through iTunes or another service, you already know this.)

In this new episode, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, you’ll get quick research-project ideas from the author of “Power Hour” in the January 2008 Family Tree Magazine, insight into family traditions from professional researcher Lisa A. Alzo, and a verbal peek at the vast resources inside the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library.

You’ll hear from other Family Tree Magazine writers and the editors, too—see all the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine Podcast topics in the show notes. As always, the podcast is free.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Podcasts
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 2:27:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 24, 2008
Free Database: Local and Family Histories
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch and the Houston Public Library (whose Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is among the country’s best places to research your roots) have announced a collaboration to digitize some of the library's resources and post them online for free.

That includes county and local histories, registers of individuals, directories of Texas Rangers, church histories and biographical dictionaries. The records cover the years from 1795 to 1923.

The project will start with Texas records (yay for me; my Dad’s branch was in the Lone Star State for a time), followed by other Gulf Coast states. It'll take up to five years to complete.

A few books are already digitized and free (they're part of Brigham Young University's Family History Archive; you also can get there from FamilySearch by hovering over Search Records and clicking Historical Books).

You can browse; keyword search on a surname, author or title; or every-word search on any term. Your search results link to digitized images.

If a digitized book is among your Family History Library catalog search results, the catalog listing will link to it.

The digitized Houston Public Library records also will be available free on the library's Web site.


FamilySearch | Free Databases | Libraries and Archives
Monday, November 24, 2008 1:30:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, November 21, 2008
101 Best Sites: Irish Maps and Nevada Censuses
Posted by Diane

This week’s 101 Best Web Site’s highlights cover Irish history and Nevada censuses:
  • Ireland’s History in maps: This fascinating map collection spans the Ice Ages through the years of the Great Famine, with a historical synopsis for each.
  • Nevada Census Online: This state government site earned genealogists' eternal admiration for creating online indexes to the state’s federal censuses from 1860 through 1920 (except the mostly destroyed 1890 census)—free.
See all the rest of our 101 Best Web Sites picks at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, November 21, 2008 2:35:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Target Carries UK-Based Genealogy Software
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software Family Historian, which released version 3 earlier this year, is now available stateside at 1,500 Target stores (but not through Target.com, it appears), as well as at Micro Center and Fry's.

The software, from British-based Calico Pie, Ltd., is known for its family tree charts and diagrams, particularly the unique “All Relatives” diagram that even includes in-laws, and the “Everyone” diagram that shows everyone in your file and their relationships.

You can browse and edit individual files using diagrams. With Smart Trees, you hide, show, move, resize and re-order people and branches, and watch the trees adjust themselves to reflect your changes.

Family Historian claims to be the only program that’s 100 percent GEDCOM compatible and “GEDCOM complete”—meaning it saves and reads all fields in a GEDCOM file. (GEDCOM is the standard file format for genealogy software.)

The program runs on Windows 98 and higher. It's available as a $56 download through the manufacturer's Web site.

If you buy the boxed CD at US retailers (blogger Dick Eastman found it at his Target for $49.99; it's $69.99 on the Micro Center and Fry's Web sites), you get a 6-month membership to World Vital Records and a CD on doing genealogy online.

You can try out Family Historian with a free 30-day trial.

Randy Seaver at the Genea-Musings blog has been reporting on his Family Historian test drive in a series of posts, starting here.


Genealogy Software
Friday, November 21, 2008 2:11:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, November 20, 2008
FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage Offer Discounted DNA Tests
Posted by Diane

The family networking and genealogy site MyHeritage and genetic genealogy company FamilyTreeDNA just announced a partnership that promises DNA testing discounts for you.

The arrangement continues the trend of merging social networking, genealogy and DNA, on sites such as Genetree, Ancestry.com and Familybuilder.

The FamilyTreeDNA-MyHeritage offer includes these discounted DNA tests: 
  • 25-marker Y-DNA: $129 (FamilyTreeDNA doesn’t usually offer a 25-marker test, but its 12-marker test costs $149)
  • mtDNAPlus, which tests mitochondrial DNA and estimates Native American and African ancestry: $129 (this beats FamilyTreeDNA’s regular price of $189)
  • mtDNA and 25-marker Y-DNA: $219 (compare to the regular price of $229 for an mtDNA and 12-marker Y-DNA combo)
The offer page says the specials are for MyHeritage users, though it doesn’t look like you're required to prove you’re a member of MyHeritage.

You can read more about these and other genetic genealogy companies in previous Genealogy Insider blog posts. The DNA toolkit on FamilyTreeMagazine.com offers advice on choosing the right test for your research questions.


Genealogy Industry | Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:45:19 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Time to Talk About Your Family Health History
Posted by Diane

For the past several years around this time, the Surgeon General has urged Americans to use holiday gatherings as an opportunity to talk about health history.

It’s not to make you feel guilty about that extra piece of pecan pie. It’s because your ancestors’ medical conditions may have a genetic component. So maybe you can improve your health outlook by changing a few habits—or at least you’ll know what to watch out for.

While Great-uncle Hector’s intestinal blockage might not be the best dinner-table conversation, we encourage you to gently ask about family members’ illnesses and causes of death when your family gets together.

You can record what you learn using the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait online tool, then print a chart to show your doctor.

Other ways to gather famliy health history:
  • You may find clues about illnesses in journals and letters—health was a major topic of discussion for our ancestors.
If you find yourself wondering what a record means by “podagra,” consult the archaic disease dictionary at Antiquus Morbus (it’s a term for gout in the joints of the foot.)

See FamilyTreeMagazine.com for more resources on researching health history.


Research Tips | Vital Records
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 3:35:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Where Do We Find All That Old Stuff?
Posted by Grace

Readers occasionally ask us if we have information on the photos or letters we show in our articles. Unfortunately, for the most part, we don’t. "Many of our old photos have come from antiques stores and flea markets," says our editor, Allison Stacy. "We used to have a photo stylist go out and buy props for us—kind of like a mystery shopper." So where do we get all the stuff we show in Family Tree Magazine?

Without a stylist these days, we have to get a little creative in finding props, and we aren’t too proud to scavenge. "I brought home copies of some documents and burned the edges of them on my patio one night for a photo shoot" for a story about burned courthouses, says our art director, Kathy DeZarn. "The next morning on my way to work I spotted a bunch of charred wood and broken bricks from a house fire just a few blocks from my home. It was just too good to pass up."

Kathy got the Mason jars in the May 2008 History Matters from her aunt’s basement, and "the boxes of stuff I inherited when my parents died has been the source for all sorts of letters, photos and stuff including one (I only found one) of the shoes my mom wore on her wedding day."

Managing editor Diane Haddad’s grandmother's purse and burgundy dress have been in photo shoots for the magazine, as have various family pictures. My own parents happen to have a house full of antiques and ephemera, which comes in very handy! That's a picture from their living room below. (The telephone, directory and telegraph key in the "Getting the Message" article in the January 2009 issue pictured above came from them.)


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | Photos
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:41:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 17, 2008
Hello, Sunshine: The Family History Expo in Mesa
Posted by Diane

To show you the lovely weather in Mesa, Ariz., host of the Family History Expo whence I just returned, here’s a photo of Friday morning’s 8 a.m. opening session:



(Warm sunshine probably isn't a big deal to everybody who's reading this, but it is for someone who just came home to overcast skies and temperatures in the 30s.) That’s Don R. Anderson, senior vice president at FamilySearch, giving tips on finding ancestors in a digital world.

After snapping this photo, I raced to the Family Tree Magazine booth to prepare for the onslaught of researchers stopping to take magazines and handouts, start or renew subscriptions, and purchase our State Research Guides CD for their very own.

I had a great time meeting family historians from Mesa and beyond, including some (hi, Happy Dae!) whose posts I’ve read here and on our Forum. One visitor’s dad went to high school with my dad.

Keeping my sugar intake nice and steady, I took a Hershey’s Kisses tour of the exhibit hall (many exhibitors tempt conference-goers with candy). I scored a limited-edition macadamia nut kiss, sold only in Hawaii, from Ohana Software, makers of Family Insight.

Sacha, my neighbor over in the Genetree booth, brought cake to celebrate Genetree’s first birthday.



Some of the newer genealogy exhibitors I met on my tour include:
  • Photoloom, a site where you and your family can organize pictures around a photo-based family tree
  • Echo Media, a service for digitizing slides, prints, film and video- and audiotapes

  • LDSJournal, a personal journaling and memoir-writing site

  • Genlighten, a site where you can hire an amateur genealogist to do a research tasks in a distant repository

  • I-ASK, the International Association of Story Keepers, a network of oral history interviewers who also help you digitize photos and videos and share them online with family

  • Prepared Binder, a kind of kit for organizing family records and personal, medical, insurance, financial and other papers

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Monday, November 17, 2008 2:02:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]