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<2009 March>

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# Tuesday, 17 March 2009
St. Patrick’s Day Stats
Posted by Diane

Enjoy these numbers along with your celebratory corned beef and cabbage, soda bread and green beer:

30.5 million US residents claim Irish ancestry, the second most frequently reported ancestry, according to the Census Bureau's Ancestry 2000 report.

4.5 million Irish immigrants traveled to the United States between 1820 and

4.2 million
, roughly, is the population of Ireland.

248 is the number of consecutive years New York City has put on its St. Patrick’s Day parade.

100 pounds of green dye were added to the Chicago River St. Patrick’s Day, 1962. The river was green for a week. (See the 2009 dyeing in this video.)

24 percent of Massachusetts residents have Irish ancestry, says the Census Bureau.
9 cities or towns in the United States are named Dublin (also from the Census Bureau).

0 is the number of snake species native to Ireland (which has more to do with geography than St. Patrick, if you ask the National Zoo).

And you'll find innumerable tips and resources for tracing your Irish roots in our Irish genealogy research toolkit.

Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy fun | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 09:41:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 16 March 2009
TimesMachine Takes NYT Subscribers Back to Old Editions
Posted by Diane

Our contributing editor David A. Fryxell shared this genealogically cool benefit available to New York Times home delivery subscribers: The TimesMachine (I love puns!), an online archive of digital papers from 1851 to 1922.

New York Times subscribers can log into the site, pick a date and click to flip the pages of that day's edition. If you don't subscribe, you can try it out with a few sample editions.

The TimesMachine is suited to browsing, since it doesn't have a search. But anyone can search past editions of the New York Times using a different tool, the Article Archive.

The Article Archive delivers individual articles in PDF form (1851 to 1980) or text-only (1981 to present). Articles from 1851 through 1922 are free, and articles from 1981 to present are free. If your archive search returns articles dated 1923 through 1980, you’ll be asked to pay before you can download those articles.

Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Monday, 16 March 2009 14:19:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Show and Tell: All-American Girls League Player Card
Posted by Diane

Phyllis correctly guessed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) player whose card I'm excited to show off: Pat Scott, pitcher for the Springfield Sallies and Fort Wayne Daisies.

After meeting her, my husband said he bets she could still get out there and throw a pretty good fastball.

See last week's post for AAGPBL research resources.

Female ancestors | Genealogy fun | Social History
Monday, 16 March 2009 09:06:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 13 March 2009
Genealogy News Corral
Posted by Diane

It’s Friday and time to round up the week’s genealogy news bits.
  • From Research Buzz’s Tweet yesterday, the National Library of Scotland has two new resources. One is a digital archive of images including WWI photos, Walter Macfarlane’s collection of genealogies of ancient Scottish families (compiled around 1750), and items from the first printing presses in various Scottish towns.
The library's new digital maps collection gives you access to high-resolution images of more than 6,000 county, town and military maps dating from 1560 to 1935. also added more city directories covering 1935 to 1945, which you can use as a kind of 1940 census substitute. (Don’t be alarmed—the 1940 census isn’t missing. It’s just not yet available, and won’t be until 2012, when we’ll all have a big party outside the National Archives.)
  • Dick Eastman and others have blogged and Tweeted about the New York Times' Immigration Explorer Map. Choose a foreign-born group and a year, and see  where in the United States people from that group were congregating at the time.  It's fun to play with, and if your ancestors have gone missing  for a span of time, you might get some clues for where to look. | Genealogy Industry | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 13 March 2009 14:42:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Second Life Residents Take Genealogy To a New Level
Posted by Diane

Illya D’Addezio at Genealogy Today sent a note about his new Genealogy HUD for the virtual world Second Life (SL). The HUD (short for heads-up display) lets SL residents seamlessly use the genealogy search engine Live Roots from within SL.

SL is an online role-playing game in which residents have characters (avatars) that interact with each other, participate in group activities, travel, etc.

A child of the 80s, I hear "role-playing" and tend to think of Dungeons & Dragons—but this is more like, well, real life.

"Many people think SL is all about games and role playing, which there is plenty of," D'Addezio says. "But there are also an increasing number of genealogists joining, dozens of genealogy content areas developing, and numerous voice chats taking place on a regular basis.”

Besides letting SL residents access Live Roots, the Genealogy HUD also helps them compile a list of surnames they're researching to compare with other residents wearing the HUD. Learn more and get the HUD at Genealogy Today.

D'Addezio says he’s also building an interactive family history village where “SL visitors will be able to issue actual search queries to many of the Live Roots data partners from within SL, learn about different genealogy companies, purchase books, magazine subscriptions, etc.”

Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 13 March 2009 09:38:19 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Can You Guess This All-American Girls League Player?
Posted by Diane

Yesterday, a woman who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) stopped in the store where my husband works.

They got to talking, and she signed a baseball card for him, which he gave to me.

The AAGPBL started in 1943 in Chicago to keep ballparks in business, as young men (and potential fan favorites) were being drafted into the military. Cities in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin had teams. Players wore skirted uniforms and, in the first few years, attended charm school at night.

Before I show you this player’s card, can you guess who she is?

She signed in 1948 with the Springfield Sallies, left briefly, then returned in 1951 to the Fort Wayne Daisies. She was the winning pitcher against the Rockford Peaches to give the Daisies their first pennant in 1952. Bonus hint: She’s in this Sallies team photo and this Daisies photo.

Click Comments to make a guess. I'll post the card on Monday.

Was your relative in the AAGPBL? Start your search at the league Web site, try local newspapers and check the Northern Indiana Center for History.

Female ancestors | Research Tips | Social History
Friday, 13 March 2009 07:32:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 12 March 2009
FamilySearch Names Winning Genealogy Programs
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has announced the winners of its new genealogy software award program.

To be eligible, programs had to be compatible with FamilySearch’s Application Programming Interface (API), which allows developers to make their programs work with the FamilySearch site (including the “New Family Search” online tree-building tool, now being gradually rolled out to LDS members).

The 2009 FamilySearch Software Award winners, which include desktop programs, online tools and developers’ tools, were named last night at the FamilySearch Developers Conference in Provo, Utah.

Here's the list (click a program’s name to visit its Web site):

Desktop Productivity
Ancestral Quest (Incline Software): Best Listing Tool
FamilyInsight (Ohana Software): Best Standardizer
RootsMagic 4 (RootsMagic): Best Dashboard

Desktop Syncing or Tree-Cleaning
Ancestral Quest (Incline Software): Most Comprehensive Syncing
FamilyInsight (Ohana Software): Best Person Separator
RootsMagic 4 (RootsMagic): Easiest to Sync

Desktop Use of Media
Charting Companion (Progeny Software): Best for Desktop Printing

Web Productivity
Grow Branch (US Family Tree): Best Web Site Feature for Publishing
(LDS Church members can use this service to submit ancestors for temple work.)

Web Use of Media
Generation Maps: Best Web Site Feature for Printing
TreeSeek: Best Web Site Feature for Mapping (requires users to have a “New Family Search” account)
Developers Choice Awards
David Pugmire’s Best API Library
Ben Godard’s fs-ubiquity: Potential Future Impact on the Genealogy Industry

See's genealogy software guide for information desktop programs for Mac and Windows.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Software
Thursday, 12 March 2009 10:05:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Speaking of Irish Roots and Women's History ...
Posted by Diane

March is both Irish-American Heritage Month and Women's History Month. (If you're an Irish-American Woman, double hats off to you!)

March 2, President Obama followed his predecessors' example and proclaimed March Irish-American Heritage Month. (Wonder if he was thinking of his own Irish roots when he signed the paper?)

The next day, again following precendent, Obama also proclaimed March Women's History Month.

You're guaranteed a reason to celebrate: Even if you're not one of the 30.5 million Americans who have Irish ancestry, I'm pretty sure you have female ancestry. See for resources on tracing both:

Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 07:42:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 10 March 2009
To Save or Not to Save?
Posted by Diane

My mom’s been helping clean out Grandma’s garage. Last night when I visited, Mom was telling me about the piles of old receipts Grandma’s been hanging onto all these years.

Mom had pulled out some papers—the hospital bill for my aunt’s birth, the building materials order for the family’s first home—and the rest were in what-do-we-do-with-this? limbo.

Of course, I had to go through it all. I took a bunch of papers, including the bill for Mom’s first communion around 1954

and the receipts for her second-grade schoolbooks (someone played connect-the-dots on the back)


and 12th-grade tuition (including a $25 graduation fee).

I’ll definitely save stuff related to my mom. But what about the other kids’ schoolbook lists, random furniture receipts, a refrigerator repair ticket, ancient correspondence from an insurance company, BBB reports on business schools an aunt was thinking about attending, and similar items?

Theoretically, it’s great to keep every piece of paper. But with limited space and crowded lives, reality demands most of us be choosy about what we save. What would you do with these papers? Click Comments (below) to reply.

Added to my to-do list: Review the February 2007 Family Tree Magazine guide for what to do when you inherit the family archives (print copies are sold out, but this issue is available as a PDF download). And if you're considering donating family materials to a historical archive, see the advice on our Now What? blog.

Family Heirlooms | Family Tree Magazine articles | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 09:15:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [13]
# Monday, 09 March 2009
Q&A With Beta-Free GeneTree
Posted by Diane

The family networking and genetic genealogy site GeneTree has shed its beta skin and emerged, as the company’s announcement describes, “a simple, intuitive way to regularly communicate with extended family, and to securely share and store family contact information, personal profiles, photos, video and ancestry documents.”

You also can order both mitochondrial DNA and Y-DNA genetic genealogy tests, add the results to your profile and search for people who match.

GeneTree president and COO Matt Cupal and I had a quick Q&A over the phone today:
GI: What would you consider GeneTree’s greatest strength?
MC: Probably the positioning that we’ve had along, which is that it’s a family social network, but it has this unique twist of using DNA to extend your concept of family.
GI: Could you give me a quick rundown of GeneTree’s post-beta features?
MC: We’ve improved a lot of the components of the social network, so it’s easier to invite people and stay connected. For example, the page you land on now is a news feed that tells you everything that’s going on in your networks—that could be more DNA connections, or another family member has added a photo or updated the family tree with more people. That's also e-mailed to you once as week as a digest.

We’ve made some dramatic improvements in our family tree building software. It’s intuitive and easy to use. We’ve also added a GEDCOM upload. We’re working on improving it, always, but right now you can have up to 2,000 people inside your GEDCOM.

One of the really cool things about the site is that you can do collaborative family tree work, so you and your cousins and all your other relatives can be on at the same time and make things happen.

GI: Do many people who haven’t ordered a DNA test from GeneTree have their family information on the site?
MC: About 5 percent of the people who come on the site have actually taken DNA tests. It’s a no-cost system to be a member and have your family information there, and that's by far the majority of members.

GI: How many members are there?
MC: We’re moving toward 100,000, and we’ve got about 1.5 million profiles right now—that’s people on trees.
GI: Now that beta’s over, what developments are you planning?
MC: Surname studies are fairly high on the list. We’re also looking at ways we can expand this to the rest of the world. We’re intrigued by the idea of allowing people from multiple sites to come into the system. Maybe they’re a member of Geni or TGN [The Generations Network, owner of] or any number of systems—we’d like to enable them to use the DNA facilities.

We want to make DNA more understandable to the general population—those who are strongly interested in genealogy and those who are more passively interested—to help them better understand how they can use DNA.

We’re starting with an educational component. We’re also designing some new DNA tests to be a little more understandable—still based on the same principles, but tests that can grab the imagination of the general populace more than, say, the particular values of your Y-markers.

GI: What’s your take on the genetic genealogy market right now?
MC: Clearly it’s going to be a challenging time this year. Something we’re working on to help offset that is some lower-priced alternatives, so people can get in the game at a lower number and get their feet wet.
We'll keep you updated on these developments. See the genetic genealogy toolkit on' for more DNA answers.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Monday, 09 March 2009 16:04:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]