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<2009 February>

More Links

# Tuesday, 24 February 2009
South Carolina Slave Records to Go Online
Posted by Diane

More genealogy records are coming to Lowcountry Africana, a Web site and research project to study the Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage of those with African-American roots in South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida.

Working with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Lowcountry Africana will digitize more than 25,000 documents from Charleston estate inventories dated 1732 to 1867. They include the names of more than 30,000 slaves.

More than 14,000 South Carolina bills of sale (1773 to 1872), most for transactions involving slaves, also will be digitized. They’re already indexed along with other resources on the South Carolina Archives Web site (click Series Descriptions to see what all else is there).

The index and digital images will be free on both Lowcountry Africana and the South Carolina archives’ site. You can volunteer to index the records at AfriQuest, another Lowcountry Africana site.

African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 24 February 2009 14:08:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Our Organizing Extravaganza
Posted by Diane

If you’re feeling guilty because you haven’t jumped on that New Year’s resolution to organize your genealogy files, this post won’t make you feel any better. (But be consoled by the tips at the end.)

The accumulated paper and other stuff was getting to be a bit much here at Family Tree Magazine. So last Friday, we held an all-out, all-day organizing extravaganza.

Not a file drawer, bookshelf, box, or folder on the server escaped our critical “do we really need this?” collective scrutiny. (Here, Allison displays her recycling skills.)

Associate editor Grace Dobush and art director Christy Miller sorted through props and film from way back before photo shoots went digital.

Where was I? Taking care of my desk drawer, an “after” desperately waiting to happen.

It always looks worse before it looks better. We emptied boxes in a requisitioned cubicle and sorted and arranged. This …

became this …

and this …

I feel refreshed. Energized! Like our time investment in revising filing systems and straightening storage spots will make us more efficient and quicker on the job.

If you want to have your own organizing day, pizza for lunch helps the motivation. And see these tips on

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | Research Tips
Tuesday, 24 February 2009 12:29:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, 23 February 2009
Slave Spies Helped Win Civil War
Posted by Diane

Interesting article on CNN today about African-American slaves who helped the Union effort in the Civil War by spying on their Southern owners.
After Confederate president Jefferson Davis’ slave William Jackson escaped in 1861, he provided the Union with valuable information he’d overheard about supply routes and strategy. Harriet Tubman, Robert Smalls and countless others also delivered secret intelligence. Union soldiers called their reports “black dispatches.”

Ken Dagler, author of a book titled Black Dispatches (who’s also “written extensively on the issue for the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence”) tells CNN that slaves’ reliance on oral tradition gave them practice memorizing details.

For the life of me, I couldn’t find Dagler’s book online to link to. But I did find this article on the CIA Web site by a P.K. Rose of the CIA Directorate of Operations, and a Library of Congress listing for a book Black Dispatches also by P.K. Rose.

Waaaaaaait a minute. Dagler works for the CIA ... so does P.K. Rose ... are you catching my drift?

African-American roots | Military records
Monday, 23 February 2009 09:41:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 19 February 2009
Photo Book Discount at Shutterfly
Posted by Grace

Heard through the grapevine that Shutterfly is offering 20 percent off its photo books—plus two free 8x10s—with the promo code BOOKSANDPRINTS. Offer ends March 10.

Celebrating your heritage | Photos
Thursday, 19 February 2009 08:53:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Newspaper Site Unveils User-friendly Search Updates
Posted by Diane

The historical newspaper and document subscription site GenealogyBank just announced a few changes to its search:
  • You can simultaneously search all GenealogyBank's digitized newspapers from one or more states by clicking on Historical Newspapers and selecting your states.
  • To search papers from a city (or two or more) in the same state, start by clicking on the state, then select your cities from the map.
  • To search specific newspapers, select a city as previously described, then choose titles based in that city. (Looks like you can't search papers published in different cities.)
  • You can limit your search to recently added content, too, by choosing from the dropdown menu on any of the abovementioned search pages.
  • To limit your search to article category (such as obituaries or birth notices), click on the category you want on the left side of your search results page.
GenealogyBank subscriptions cost  $19.95 per month or $69.95 per year.

Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 13:52:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Pennsylvania State Library May Face Severe Cuts
Posted by Diane

According to the Web site, the State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg will see massive cuts if Gov. Ed Rendall’s proposed budget for 2009-2010 goes through.

Of the library's 57 positions, the plan would eliminate 50 and transfer one, leaving six staff members to maintain public access to the library’s resources.

Those resources include government publications, a book collection Benjamin Franklin started, historical newspapers, and a genealogy room with maps, state and county histories, church and cemetery records, and more.

The library’s budget would be half its current $4.8 million.

Read the PennLive article here and see the budget proposal on the Pennsylvania Library Association Web site.

Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 12:23:06 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Chinese Canadians Profiled on Genealogy Wiki
Posted by Diane

Canada’s Vancouver Public Library (which started the Chinese-Canadian Genealogy Web site) and Library and Archives Canada have created a genealogy wiki centered around the country’s Chinese Immigration List.

The list bears the names of Canadian-born Chinese who registered with the government as required by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. Designed to curtail Chinese immigration to Canada, the act joined a procession of laws levying head taxes on Chinese immigrants. The regulations were finally lifted in 1947.

The wiki contains transcribed information on 461 people recorded on the list, covering the years from Won Alexander Cumyow’s birth in 1861 to Lee Kang Gee’s birth in 1900 (both were born in British Columbia, where most of Canada's Chinese residents lived).

Researchers with more details on any of the 461 individuals can help build their profiles—see the Participate page to get started.

You can search 98,361 names from Canada's General Registers of Chinese Immigration at the online Canadian Genealogy Center.

See the May 2009 Family Tree Magazine (now mailing to subscribers; on sale March 10) for more help researching immigrants to Canada from all over the world.

Asian roots | Canadian roots | Free Databases | immigration records
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 14:27:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 13 February 2009
Looking for a Genealogy Learning Opportunity?
Posted by Grace

A few genealogy events are coming down the pike, including:

Family History Expos—St. George: Family Tree Magazine is a sponsor of this laid-back conference in sunny St. George, Utah, Feb. 27 and 28. Registration costs $60 until Feb. 14 (get a move on!) and $65 after.

Ohio Genealogical Society: This large state society confabs April 2-5 in Huron, Ohio. (If you love roller coasters, Cedar Point isn’t far away.) March 15 is the early registration deadline; download the conference brochure for prices.

National Genealogical Society (NGS): We hope to see you at this conference in Raleigh, NC, May 13-16. Register before March 31 for the early-bird discount (check out the new NGS Web site while you’re at it).

Jamboree: This energetic Southern California Genealogical Society event is June 26-28 in Burbank. I didn’t see registration information yet, but you can book your hotel and sign up to get updates.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies: Online registration just opened for this conference in Philadelphia Aug. 2-7. (The program schedule listing classes is still to come.)

Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS): FGS is headed to Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 2-5. You can register online—it’s $175 until June 2. (Download the printable registration form to see at-the-door registration fees.)

See more genealogy events and post your group’s events in our online calendar. Posting instructions are in the FAQs and Updates Forum.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 13 February 2009 09:12:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 12 February 2009
More Civil War Records on
Posted by Diane

Subscription site has joined the records-posting party on this occasion of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Here's what's new in the site's Civil War collection:
  • The Abraham Lincoln Papers includes more than 20,000 letters written to and from the president, as well as drafts of his speeches. (This collection is free.)
  • New Orleans Slave Manifests, 1807 to 1860, has ship manifests (from National Archives microfilm) documenting more than 30,000 slaves en route to New Orleans from the upper Southern states.
You can browse the record images, but you can't search them yet. World Archives Project volunteers are indexing them as you read this. See some transcribed information free on Afrigeneas.
  • Confederate Applications for Presidential Pardons contains records of former Confederates who requested pardons.
Lincoln successor Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation of general amnesty for Confederates, but it didn't cover certain groups such as government officials, higher ranking military officers and those with property valued at more than $20,000. Those people had to apply for pardons.
  • Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles has information on nearly every officer and soldier who fought in the Civil War (compiled from sources such as state rosters and regimental histories).

African-American roots | | Genealogy Web Sites | Military records
Thursday, 12 February 2009 10:07:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
What’s Up at FamilyLink
Posted by Diane

FamilyLink, the company behind the World Vital Records subscription data service and genealogy networking site, has a new, nice-looking corporate site.

Click Projects for information on upcoming products such as (now in private beta, it’ll let you view historical happenings by time, place, event or person) and GenSeek (billed as a service that'll "revolutionize" how you do genealogy, GenSeek is rumored to be the Web 2.0 incarnation of the Family History Library online catalog).

PS: For much more on GenSeek, see Tamura Jones' blog.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 12 February 2009 09:26:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]