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<2009 April>

More Links

# Friday, 10 April 2009
Genealogy News Corral: April 6-10
Posted by Diane

Here's a roundup of news bits from this week:
  • UK-based subscription site FamilyRelatives redesigned its Web site to make it easier to find databases. Changes include a simpler look and new menu that categorizes databases geographically. Records come from Australia, England, Ireland and a few from the United States (US records are free to registered users), with Canada, Wales, Scotland and New Zealand collections to come.
A FamilyRelatives subscription costs 30 pounds (about $44) per year. Many records are also available on a pay-per-view basis. See more details on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and some screen shots on Genea-Musings.

Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation | Videos
Friday, 10 April 2009 14:44:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Cure for Hard-to-Read Web Sites
Posted by Grace

Sally Jacobs, the Practical Archivist, shared this amazing Web tool today: Readability, which boils down horribly busy Web sites to the basic text.

You simply visit the Readability Web site, select the format you'd like to read in (including how large you'd like the text), and drag the link to your browser's bookmarks toolbar.

Then, when you encounter a site that makes you want to spork your eyes out, just click the link in your toolbar, and the site's content is miraculously legible!

Here's a before and after with our local news site, which can be a trainwreck of ads and popups, with the actual story barely beginning before the end of the my screen.



Amazing, huh? Click here to try out Readability for yourself.

Genealogy for kids | Tech Advice
Friday, 10 April 2009 12:58:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 09 April 2009
GenWed Has Free Marriage Records, New Blog
Posted by Diane

The marriage records site GenWed just started a genealogy blog called Tracing Your Routes. They jump right into the fray with a review of points on both sites of the debate over the quality and reliability of online sources.

At GenWed, by the way, users submit ancestors' marriage information or digitized documents to a free database. Sources include license applications, certificates, banns (church notifications a couple intends to wed so the congregation can speak up if a spouse or some other problem is lurking in the closet), newspaper announcements and other records.

The site reports more than 25,000 free records for marriages in a range of states and counties, plus more than 30,000 links to “mostly free” marriage records and indexes on other Web sites.

On GenWed’s home page, scroll to the bottom to find the search box for GenWed’s free database, or click on a state name (on the right) to see links to marriage resources for that state.

FYI since we know many of you are keenly interested in the free links: The links under “Professional Searches” lead to fee-based sites, as do the “Search XX State Now!” links at the top of the state pages. You’ll also find ads with search boxes and links marked with a $ that lead to subscription databases.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Vital Records
Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:38:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 08 April 2009
Genealogy News Corral: New Online Records
Posted by Diane

This week’s roundup (late from last week or, as I prefer to see it, early for this week) focuses on record additions to genealogy database sites:
  • New on FamilySearch's free record search pilot: 1920 US census indexes (no record images for this one) for Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts; and Arkansas marriages (with images) from 1837 to 1957 in Clay, Crittendon, Desha and Monroe counties.
  • Subscription site Footnote ($69.95 per year) added Cherokee resources including the Guion Miller Rolls (info and free index on and Cherokee Indian Agency records, plus Civil War Union service records from Kentucky, Southern Claims Commission approved claims from Alabama and Georgia, and two historical newspapers.
What’s up Footnote’s sleeve? Vietnam service awards and photos, Eastern Cherokee Applications of the US Court of Claims, and Southern Claims Commission approved claims for Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Subscription-based Family Tree Connection ($29.95 per year), which focuses on smallish record sets, has more names and images in its collections of WWII ration books and association reports and rosters.
  • Subscription site ($155.40 per year) is adding family histories (usually, at least one per day; see the recent additions page for titles) and updated obituary collections from the US, UK and Ireland, and Australia and New Zealand.
Coming soon: a recently discovered 1890 census fragment listing black farmers in Delaware, South Dakota territorial and state census images, returns from US military posts (regular reports that include names of people stationed there), and WWII draft cards from Illinois.
If you know of content additions not included here, by all means, click Comments (below) and share the news.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 10:09:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Lives, History Lost in Italy Earthquake
Posted by Diane

Monday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake in central Italy killed 250 people (a toll that may grow) and severely damaged historical buildings in the town of L’Aquila, where the quake was centered.

On the Genealogy Blog, Leland Meitzler reports on the damage to the Archivo di Stato (archives), National Museum of Abruzzo and other buildings.

Also see photos on Tom Kemp’s GenealogyBank blog.

The extent of historical records loss isn’t yet known. The Family History Library has some microfilmed civil registration records from the L'Aquila archives.

L’Aquila, founded around 1240 AD, is about 70 miles from Rome in mountainous central Italy. It's the capital city of the Province of L'Aquila and of the Abruzzo region.

International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 08:34:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 07 April 2009
How Y-DNA Can Work in Your Genealogy Search
Posted by Diane

For a good example of integrating genetic genealogy into your family history research, see this USAToday article (Tweeted by Blaine Bettinger and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak) about Chris Haley’s DNA connections with a Scottish man.

Haley is a Maryland State Archives research administrator and the nephew of the deceased Roots author, Alex Haley.

Haley took a Y-DNA test, which examines the paternal line (the father’s father’s father, and so on), and found a couple of matches through’s Y-DNA database. One match was a man in Scotland, whose daughter June Baff Black had just started doing genealogy (talk about beginner’s luck).

Though Haley and Black haven’t yet been able to find a paper trail leading to their common ancestor, the match on 45 out of 46 markers confirms they’re on the right track.

Roots Television has a video about their first meeting, which happened in March at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show in London.

You can order a DNA test through It's free to search's DNA database by last name (via a search box at the bottom of the DNA landing page) or enter your test results from another company.

The USAToday story also mentions a limitation of Y-DNA testing. Since it’s a relatively new science, you may not find a close match in online databases as quickly as Haley and Black did. | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 10:02:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 06 April 2009
OGS in Pictures
Posted by Grace

Diane and I spent the weekend up by Lake Erie at the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference to give away copies of the magazine and show our latest CDs.

The table where Diane and I sat saw a steady stream of visitors. We love meeting fans! Surprisingly, the gigantic cover of our November 2007 issue only got knocked over once.

Diane took advantage of downtime to edit an upcoming story about the National Archives by Rick Crume, who was also in attendance.

And there was time for cake.

Our fan club!

An impromptu family reunion—my mom stopped by! Mom was in town to visit her family, which is from the north central Ohio area.

On the way back south, Diane and I got a teensy bit lost and ended up driving past a nuclear power plant. No gills so far, so I think we're good!

If you went to the OGS conference, leave a comment and let us know how your weekend was!

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Monday, 06 April 2009 12:23:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Campaign Urges Families to Preserve Their Heritage
Posted by Diane

The founders of the International Association of StoryKeepers and the Treasury of Family Heritage family networking site launched the Great Heritage Campaign March 31 to encourage families to preserve their traditions and stories.

Treasury of Family Heritage co-founder Dennis Stack calls the campaign “a call to action for members of the heritage industry to help bridge the disconnect between its various elements and to drive the movement in an interactive way.”

He adds that his site is a “key piece” of the campaign, serving as a platform where families and heritage-related businesses can connect and preserve stories.

To use the Treasury of Family Heritage, you set up a profile (choose from a family, business or social page), then upload video, audio, images or stories. Packages range from free to $15 per month, depending on storage size.

In the crowded area of family networking/storykeeping sites (Geni, MyHeritage, Genetree, TribalPages, to name just a few), genealogy sites with networking components (Footnote,, FindMyPast, etc.), wikis (WeRelate is one), and genealogy applications for general social networking sites (including FamilyBuilder’s Family Tree and FamilyLink’s We’re Related), will the Great Heritage Campaign direct attention to the Treasury of Family Heritage? We'll have to wait and see.

The Great Heritage Campaign doesn't seem to have its own Web site, but you can watch a video on the Treasury of Family Heritage site.

Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 06 April 2009 10:45:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
We're Honored!
Posted by Diane

We’re excited to be on ProGenealogists’ list of the 25 most popular all-around genealogy blogs, based on Technorati ratings, overall content and industry experience of the bloggers.

(As a former high school student, I know “popular” doesn't always correlate with “helpful”—but I hope in this case it means lots of researchers are finding good advice on the Genealogy Insider blog.)

Subscribe to all the blogs on the list to stay updated on genealogy news and resources. Thanks to ProGenealogists—a professional research firm with experts in a range of areas—for including us! We got this special badge to wear, too.

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 06 April 2009 08:44:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 03 April 2009
Talking Genealogy in Northern Ohio
Posted by Diane

I had a chance to interview Ian Frazier, author of the book Family (Picador, $16) Thursday evening before the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference started up in Huron (on Lake Erie midway between Cleveland and Toledo). 

Frazier was the speaker at the society’s golden anniversary banquet. The book—one of my favorites—is about Frazier’s family, from the time his ancestors settled small towns in the Western Reserve to his own childhood in the northern Ohio town of Hudson. His incredibly detailed research comes across in the book, so I asked him how he organized it all and decided what to keep and what to leave out. You’ll see his answers in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine.

I snapped a picture of the banquet:

And here's Frazier signing books afterward:

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 03 April 2009 20:34:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]