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<2008 December>

More Links

# Friday, 05 December 2008
Footnote Releases Web's Biggest WWII Collection
Posted by Diane

Subscription historical records site Footnote has posted the Web's largest collection of WWII records just in time for Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7)—and they’re free for a limited time.

Footnote CEO Russ Wilding and National Archives programs director James Hastings made the official announcement this morning at a Washington, DC, press conference.

The collection offers four main components:
  • An interactive version of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii (it's similar to Footnote’s free, interactive Vietnam Wall memorial) showing servicemembers who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. You can search for a name and link to its image on the memorial, as well as get details about the person’s service. Or you can manuever across a giant image of the memorial.
  • WWII Hero Pages—similar to the free, Social Security Death Index-based Footnote Pages released earlier this year—which lets you create an online tribute for your WWII ancestor with photos, timelines and stories. More than 8.8 million pages have already been created.
  • WWII photos, consisting of more than 80,000 digitized images from the National Archives that haven’t been online until now. You can browse by topic or search captions that highlight the people, places and events in the images.
  • WWII documents include submarine air patrol reports, missing crew reports, news clippings, Pearl Harbor muster rolls, JAG files and more.
Note the collection doesn’t include WWII military service records. These records, stored at the National Archives’ National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, are restricted for privacy reasons. A servicemember—or if he’s deceased, his next-of-kin—can request his file. See the center’s Web site for more information.

No specifics on how long the collection will stay free, though I’d hazard a guess that the USS Arizona Memorial and Hero Pages will be permanently free.

PS: I just learned that is the case, and the photos also will remain free. The document collection will be free for all of December.

Footnote | Military records
Friday, 05 December 2008 11:11:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Search Burials in Two English Counties (Mostly Free!)
Posted by Diane

Richard Smart wrote me from across the pond about an organization he directs, The National Archive of Memorial Inscriptions.

On its Web site, you’ll find a database of 170,000 names from 580 burial grounds in Bedfordshire and Norfolk, and it’s added to regularly.

You can search by name, a death date range, age range at death, county, and place. Wildcards work: ? stands for one letter; * (asterisk) substitutes for any number of letters.

You get quite a bit of information for free—first and last name, burial ground and county, and date of death. Buy the full inscription for 4 pounds (about $6), and for most records, add historical text, a photo of the church and/or a plan of the graveyard for 1 pound (about $1.50) each.

Fuzzy on the details of your ancestor’s burial, or want to see who else is in a graveyard?

Smart shared this tip for browsing: “If you enter any place from the Availability page, in either Bedfordshire or Norfolk, into the Place box on the home page, you will get free of charge a listing of all the data available from that place, except for the actual inscription.”

Cemeteries | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 05 December 2008 08:40:06 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]