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<2008 December>

More Links

# Wednesday, 03 December 2008
Google Expands News Archive By 20 Million Historical Pages
Posted by Diane

Google has enhanced its historical newspaper initiative by buying 20 million digitized historical newspaper pages from Canadian company PaperofRecord. The purchase price wasn't available.

The pages—some dating back to the 1700s—will be part of the Google News Archive Search, launched in early September “to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online.”

My search came up with a few interesting early-1900s stories on Haddads (none related, that I know of) in newspapers and books. I found the timeline search more useful—it was easier to pick out results from the era of interest.

PaperofRecord has digitized newspapers from Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe.

According to the Ottawa Business Journal, the purchase—the end of a two-year agreement between the companies—will "essentially shut down" PaperofRecord. Its troubles started when companies such as ProQuest began paying newspapers to digitize pages—the opposite of what PaperofRecord was doing.

In another month or so, PaperofRecord's online database will redirect to Google.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 14:11:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 02 December 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, 02 December 2008 08:47:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 01 December 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

Genealogy fun | Genealogy Industry
Monday, 01 December 2008 15:08:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Tuesday, 25 November 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, 25 November 2008 14:27:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 24 November 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, 24 November 2008 13:30:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 21 November 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

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 21 November 2008 14:35:42 (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, 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, 21 November 2008 14:11:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 20 November 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, 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 offers advice on choosing the right test for your research questions.

Genealogy Industry | Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, 20 November 2008 09:45:19 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 19 November 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 for more resources on researching health history.

Research Tips | Vital Records
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 15:35:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 18 November 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, 18 November 2008 15:41:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]