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<2009 March>

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# Friday, 27 March 2009
Genealogy News Corral, March 22-27
Posted by Diane

Here's our roundup of the week's genealogy news:
  • It moved around a bit, but NBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?" premiere looks to be set for April 20.
  • With help from actor Richard Dreyfuss, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced this year’s list of the 10 Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields—Gettysburg, Pa., Cedar Creek, Va., and Spring Hill, Tenn., all made the unfortunate cut.
Want to help? You can start by helping spruce up battlefields on CWPT’s Park Day April 4.

Genealogy Events | Historic preservation | Social Networking
Friday, 27 March 2009 15:35:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Facebook Targets Families With New Groups Page
Posted by Diane

The AllFacebook blogger pointed out Facebook's new landing page for members to set up private groups for extended family. 

You already could set up private groups; this is just a way to get families to do it. Facebook may be trying to capitalize on the success of genealogy applications such as FamilyLink’s We’re Related and FamilyBuilder’s FamilyTree.

The landing page is here (you’ll have to log in to Facebook if you’re not already). It lets you name your family group and invite relatives already on Facebook and those not yet on Facebook. Then you can share photos and information just with this group.

More details and commentary on AllFacebook.

Family Reunions | Social Networking
Friday, 27 March 2009 08:54:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Collection Details London History
Posted by Diane

British subscription site—sister site to US-based—has launched a records collection spanning 400 years of London history.

Titled London Historical Records, 1500s-1900s, the collection will include more than 77 million records from parishes and workhouses, plus electoral rolls, wills, land tax records and school reports. It'll predate civil registration—England's equivalent to US vital records—by 300 years.

Right now, just the workhouse records are online. The Board of Guardians oversaw these institutions where impoverished men, women and children worked long hours for meager food and shelter. Records name those born or baptized in workhouses from 1834 to 1934, and those who died in a workhouse from 1834 to 1906.

The other records will be added regularly over the next year. Learn more at

London was the center of Britain’s global empire for centuries. estimates 165 million people around the world, including more than half of British citizens, have an ancestor in the new collection. costs 83.40 pounds (about $120) per year. You also can pay as you go by purchasing a voucher good for a limited time. (See subscription and pay-per-view options here.) | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 27 March 2009 07:59:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 26 March 2009
America's Next Top Immigrants
Posted by Grace

What do modeling and genealogy have in common?

Absolutely nothing—until last night, when the girls of "America's Next Top Model" did a photo shoot at Ellis Island as very fashionable immigrants.

Watch this season's girls impersonating new arrivals in the video below:

Genealogy fun | Videos
Thursday, 26 March 2009 09:00:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Footnote Launches 1930 Census, New Look, New Search
Posted by Diane

Historical records site Footnote just announced its new Great Depression Collection, anchored by an interactive version of the 1930 census that CEO Russ Wilding calls “a gathering place for the American story.”

Footnote members can attach family photos and stories to names on the census images and automatically create Footnote Pages for them.

That opens up at least one back-door genealogy research avenue, suggests spokesperson Justin Schroepfer: If someone left a note on your ancestor’s neighbor’s listing, you could contact the member through the site and possibly get in touch with the neighbor’s descendants.

Also in the Great Depression Collection are digitized and indexed documents from the era, including newspapers with articles on President Roosevelt’s New Deal and ads revealing how much your ancestors paid for groceries.

Along with this release, Footnote revealed a new home page and new search. Duplicate home page links to the same place have been eliminated for a more streamlined look, and there’s no longer a separate advanced search—you expand the search box on the home page to bring up additional search fields.

Footnote searches for plurals and stem names (such as Michael for Mike), but doesn’t automatically look for alternate spellings. I couldn’t find my Haddad ancestors in the 1930 census until I entered the enumeration district and sheet number as keywords—they’re indexed under Haddah. But you can look for alternate spellings by using an asterisk (*) as a wildcard to stand in for any number of letters.

Look for more search tips in our Footnote Web Guide in the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on newstands May 5).

The Great Depression Collection is part of Footnote’s subscription offerings. (There’s a limited-time special offer of $55.95.) Footnote also offers a pay-per-view option for many of its records.

The 1930 census actually went live yesterday, but Footnote postponed the announcement to work out a few bugs (it was killing me to keep my mouth shut, but I distracted myself by updating the abovementioned Web Guide).

Family Tree Magazine articles | Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 26 March 2009 07:36:19 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 25 March 2009
RootsMagic 4 Officially Launches
Posted by Diane

RoostMagic has officially launched version 4 of its popular genealogy software (the company issued a public beta test March 5).

Developers say version 4, which won awards at the recent FamilySearch Developers Conference for its compatibility with the "New FamilySearch" online tree-tracker, is a "complete rewrite."

(New FamilySearch is being rolled out to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members, and will eventually be part of the FamilySearch Web site.)

You can download or upgrade RootsMagic 4 now; CD orders will ship April 20. The cost is $29.95 ($19.95 for an upgrade or—for a limited time—a switch from several other programs). You also can purchased the software bundled with other RootsMagic products.

See the RootsMagic Web site for screen shots and an in-depth look at the updates. Look for our review in the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine, on newsstands May 5.

Genealogy Software
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 11:34:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Tips From a Family Reunion Whiz
Posted by Diane

Remember our blog post about a year ago about the upcoming super-size Miner-Minard-Miner-Minor 2008 family reunion? 

Organizer Mark Miner sent us a post-party update. Maybe you can steal some inspiration for your own annual gatherings: He's someone who knows how to put on a reunion. Below, a few takeaways.
  • Enlarge your invite list. From his genealogy research and family Web site, Miner estimates 50,000 people were eligible to attend. They didn't all get engraved invitations, though—he used the media to get the word out, and more than 115 cousins traveled to the three-day reunion last June.

  • Consider sponsorship. It wouldn't work for everyone, but this celebration's reach and the family’s roots near Pittsburgh earned it official status as part of that city's 250th birthday.
  • Visit a historical site. “Our primary event was in the Sen. John Heinz History Center," Miner writes. "Guests were treated to remarks by history center CEO Andy Masich and Pittsburgh 250 executive director Bill Flanagan, as well the unveiling of a photo-memorial to cousin Erick Foster, killed serving in Iraq in 2007.”
Photo and memorabilia displays included a photograph of Oklahoma pioneers James R. and Lydia (Miner) Brown and letters from a cousin, Corwin D. Tilbury, who served on Pittsburgh’s city council during the city’s 150th birthday in 1908. (Mark put period postcards and photos on a Pittsburgh 150 Web page.)
In the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands May 5) look for tips on using family reunions to (gently) squeeze genealogy information from relatives.

And click Comments below to share your own reunion advice.

Celebrating your heritage | Family Reunions
Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:58:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 23 March 2009
What's NOT in Ancestry Library Edition
Posted by Diane

In Family Tree Magazine articles including our May 2009 guide to the subscription genealogy site, we often suggest Ancestry Library Edition—free to patrons at many public libraries—as a budget-friendly way to access most of's collections.

What exactly do we mean by “most”? Here’s a list of databases that aren’t in Ancestry Library Edition (due to licensing and other issues), and some alternate resources for each:
  • Family and Local Histories Collection
    These town, county and family histories and journals aren't in Ancestry Library Edition, but they are part of HeritageQuest Online, another service many libraries offer (and it's usually accessible to patrons from home via the library’s Web site).
  • Historical Newspapers Collection
    See if your library offers access to ProQuest Historical Newspapers or GenealogyBank.
  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index
    The original data in this index to approximately 4,588,000 individuals came from P. William Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Though it's not as up-to-date, see if the library has the book. Note Ancestry Library Edition does have the database of National Archives immigration passenger lists.
  • Biography and Genealogy Master Index
    This database lists millions of Americans who’ve been profiled in collective biography volumes such as Who's Who in America. Some libraries offer this index separately.
    The Periodical Source Index, a collection of 2 million-plus references to family history articles published in US and Canadian periodicals since 1800, is searchable (in more-updated form) using HeritageQuest Online. | Libraries and Archives
Monday, 23 March 2009 08:50:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 20 March 2009
Is It Just Us?
Posted by Diane

We couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this chart:

and this one:

(Available on

Just sayin'.

Genealogy fun
Friday, 20 March 2009 15:56:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Genealogy News Corral, March 16-20
Posted by Diane

Roundin’ up the week’s genealogy news bits. Yee-haw!
Click here to see Family Tree Magazine's Twitter page and follow us (you need a free registration with Twitter to follow someone).

Or click here to learn more about Twitter.
  • Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter got a makeover (or maybe a makeunder, to those keen on the new subtle colors). Go on over and have a look.

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Friday, 20 March 2009 14:34:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]