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# Thursday, January 29, 2009
Ellis Island Hospital Documentary Airs in February
Posted by Diane

Forgotten Ellis Island, a documentary based on film producer Lorie Conway’s book of the same name about the immigrant hospital at America’s busiest port of arrival, is set to air on many PBS stations Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. (It'll air Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in some places.)

See the Forgotten Ellis Island Web site and check local TV listings for updates. (The online schedule for our PBS affiliate let me set up an automatic e-mail reminder.)

I interviewed Conway for the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine, and the Ellis Island hospital is among my favorite topics I’ve covered. Conway shared photos and stories of immigrants treated there, revealing the hospital’s history and how the staff handled patients' varying cultures, languages and illnesses—while trying to balance a mission of humanity with a duty to protect the US population from diseases.

As mentioned in the November 2008 article, patient records are missing except a few documents scattered in other files.  The hospital buildings are under the care of Save Ellis Island and awaiting restoration.


Family Tree Magazine articles | immigration records | Social History
Thursday, January 29, 2009 11:42:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Reality Show Set for April Premiere
Posted by Diane

A genealogy-reality TV show-in-production we highlighted in the September 2008 Family Tree Magazine has a premiere date: April 20 at 8 p.m., according to the Hollywood Reporter. It'll air on Mondays.

Modeled after Britain’s successful “Who Do You Think You Are” series, the show will have professional genealogists tracing the roots of celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon.

See a description on NBC’s Web site.

Celebrity Roots
Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:46:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We’re All Atwitter
Posted by Diane

… and by that I mean you can now follow Family Tree Magazine on Twitter

What’s Twitter, some of you might ask. It’s a free social network that lets people communicate via short messages (140 characters or fewer) called tweets.

Go here to see our Twitter page. Under “Following” on the right, click the icons to see Twitter pages we’re following.

To join Twitter, you first create a profile and search for others to follow. A genealogy search brings up bloggers, enthusiasts, libraries and publications, who tweet about news, their research, what they’re doing and random thoughts. When you log in to your profile, you can tweet and view the tweets of people you’re following.

This is just the basics. For more details, go to Twitter’s home page


Genealogy fun
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 11:40:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Winter Wonderland
Posted by Diane

It’s a wintry wonderland here at Family Tree Magazine HQ. We’ve seen it all in the past day and a half—snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain, weird little white pellets.

The office is closed in honor of this layer cake of winter precipitation. My car is a Corolla-shaped white lump, but the backyard looks lovely and Janie’s thrilled.


Genealogy fun
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:15:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Tuesday, January 27, 2009
$79 Can Buy You a 33-Marker Y-DNA Test
Posted by Diane

Ancestry DNA has lowered the price of its 33-marker Y-DNA test to $79 (down from $149).

Results from this test include marker values you can enter into a database to search for relatives and a map showing your haplogroup and other information about your family’s ancient origins. Results don’t include a breakdown of ethnic origins, a type of analysis that has become more controversial of late.

Ancestry.com has changed up the look of the DNA section as well.

For help deciding which DNA test is right for you, see FamilyTreeMagazine.com's genetic genealogy toolkit.


Ancestry.com | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:10:49 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, January 26, 2009
New Year, New Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

Happy Chinese New Year! Today begins the Year of the Ox.

The subscription Web site Ancestry.com has posted several databases for those researching Chinese roots, including Chinese Arrivals at Philadelphia, 1900 to 1923; US Chinese Immigration Case Files, 1883 to 1924; New York Chinese Exclusion Index; and a Chinese Surname Index for the Jiapu collection of Chinese family histories (which are recorded in Chinese).

Get details about these collections on the Ancestry.com blog.

We put together some Chinese research resources and posted them here.


Ancestry.com | Asian roots | International Genealogy
Monday, January 26, 2009 8:27:50 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 23, 2009
News from NewEnglandAncestors.org
Posted by Diane

We’ve gotten a few news items from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), whose Web site is NewEnglandAncestors.org:
The Nutmegger database will be released in stages, starting this week with issues from 1968 to 1973. Members of both organizations’ Web sites can search them.
  • Last, NEHGS did some math and announced it added 5 million names to the site last year, including a million Massachusetts records and more than 3 million Social Security Death Index records.
In 2009, Web site database development coordinator Sam Sturgis is shooting for one or two databases every week.

Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, January 23, 2009 12:24:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
My Ancestral Homes Tour
Posted by Diane

This past Christmas Eve, my mom took me on a tour of the houses where her family lived just across the Ohio River in Bellevue, Ky.

It included my great-grandma Mamie’s home—an old photo made it into a book on Bellevue by Arcadia publishing. Google Book Search does it again:



The house my mom’s dad built on the same street has burned down, but Mom showed me where she babysat and where her best friend lived. A grocery store down the street is now a house. Mom said she’d stop after school, pick out what Grandma needed for dinner, and add it to the family's tab (try that at Super Target).

My Great-grandma and Great–grandpa Frost’s first home looks a lot smaller now than in this photo from around 1925 (Family Tree Magazine readers might remember the picture from our September 2008 house history research guide.)



I remember the house below (Google Maps does it again), situated right by the railroad tracks, where the same great-grandparents lived in their later years.



At Christmas, the whole family—their five kids, at least a dozen grandkids and several of us great-grandkids—would all squeeze inside. Some of those great-aunts and -uncles and second cousins I haven't seen since Christmases at Great-grandma's.

It's neat to be able to visit your ancestral homes in person, but you may not have to drive around to see them. Check out what a FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum member did with Google Maps.

Celebrating your heritage | Research Tips
Friday, January 23, 2009 10:44:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 22, 2009
New Site Helps You Plan Heritage Travel
Posted by Diane

Are you hoping to one day see where your ancestors lived and walk where they walked?

Heritage Travel, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has pre-launched a Web site called GoWithAPurpose.com, focused on heritage travel.

Registered users will be able to post travel reviews, stories and photos—or, if all you can do in these times is live vicariously through others' experiences, you can read their posts and dream about your own trip.

Registration is free. (Funny, the list of interests registrants can choose from doesn’t include "genealogy" or "family history.")

Early-bird registrants also can “participate in an exclusive pre-launch recognition program, and receive special, insider-only benefits.” Advertising and historic tourism organizations will help fund the site.


Celebrating your heritage
Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:12:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Free Database: San Francisco Mortuary Records
Posted by Diane

Mortuary records are among genealogy’s overlooked resources, and can provide new details about an ancestor’s death.

Those with San Francisco roots have a free, convenient way to access that city’s mortuary records thanks to an SFgenealogy.com indexing project.

Webmasters Pamela Storm and Ron Filion, announced that their 60 volunteers have completed the first phase of indexing the Halsted Mortuary Records database.

The database includes digitized images of 45,000-plus mortuary records dating from 1923 to 1960, along with an index. (Earlier records are still being processed; later records are being indexed.)

You can search on name and date of death. For the surname, you can choose from search options including Soundex, Metaphone, Double Metaphone and NYSIIS. Read more about these on SFGenealogy.

Here's a shot of a record view page:



According to the webmasters, the Halsted mortuary was one of the oldest and largest in the City by the Bay. Some of its records include re-interments and military burials.

Free Databases | Vital Records
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:08:16 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]