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<2009 April>

More Links

# Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Get Tricks for Googling Your Genealogy in Our Webinar
Posted by Diane

Google’s a great, no-cost tool to search for your ancestors online—when you can find the information you’re looking for without getting frustrated first.

Here's help: In Family Tree Magazine’s premier Webinar, April 28 at 7 p.m. EST, our publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy will show you how to:
• word your searches more effectively
• focus your searches on genealogy data and specific genealogy sites
• use Google’s special search tools to look up facts and data
• find old photos and newspapers related to your family history
The hour-long live event also includes a Q&A session.

If you’ve never taken a Webinar before, it’s an online, interactive, class you participate in using your Web browser. You’ll be able to ask questions and chat with the host. A broadband connection is recommended for best results.

Registration costs $49.99. There’s a special opportunity for the first 10 registrants: Each of those folks can submit a real-life “Google challenge” to get personalized search advice.

Click here to register. Once you do, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link and other information you need to take the Webinar.

Genealogy Events
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 16:36:58 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Recommended Reading: Family Falsehoods and FamilySearch Widget
Posted by Diane

Two blog posts we think you should put on your reading list this week:
  • Since FamilySearch doesn’t have a recent updates list on its record search pilot site, the Ancestry Insider made a widget that shows new and updated databases. Take a look at it here, and click a title to go to that database on FamilySearch.
  • Many people start their genealogy searches with certain dearly held beliefs about their families that don’t jibe with historical reality. ("We're related to royalty" and "Our ancestor’s name was changed at Ellis Island" are two that come to mind.) Settle in with a cup of coffee and read Dick Eastman’s explanation as to why such family stories are often fairy tales. (Except the Ellis Island one, which is certainly a fairy tale.)

FamilySearch | Research Tips
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 08:23:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Ellis Island Honors Immigrants' Contributions
Posted by Diane

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation announced the recipients of this year’s Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, to be celebrated at a luncheon May 19. You’ll probably recognize them:
  • Eric R. Kandel, MD, won a Nobel Prize in 2000 for his studies in the molecular basis of memory. He immigrated from Vienna as a child in 1939, after Germany annexed Austria.
  • Football legend and Hall of Fame member Joe Namath’s father and maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary.
  • Jerry Seinfeld, of course, is a comedian, television star and producer. I also credit him with helping “Seinfeld” fans instantly bond over entire conversations consisting solely of quotes from the show. His maternal grandparents came from Syria.
  • Gloria and Emilio Estefan, formerly of the band Miami Sound Machine and now, respectively, a singer and music producer, will receive the BC Forbes Peopling of America Award. Both fled Cuba with their families after the rise of Fidel Castro.
The awards honor immigrants (through Ellis Island or another port) and their descendants who've made significant contributions to the American experience. Read more about the honorees at

Celebrating your heritage | immigration records
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 15:06:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 13 April 2009
Free Download: Where to Find 1880 DDD Census Records
Posted by Diane

I wanted to let you know we’ve just uploaded a new genealogy Cheat Sheet to our online Research Toolkit: A state-by-state listing of where to find 1880 supplemental census schedules of “defective, dependent and delinquent" classes (“DDD schedules” for short).

Download it as a PDF from our Record References page.

You'll know to look for your ancestor in DDD schedules if his 1880 US census listing has a mark in columns 15 through 20, showing whether he was ill or had a physical or mental disability. If so, DDD schedules might give more information about his condition or reasons for being institutionalized.

These special schedules, recorded only for the 1880 US census, aren’t in online databases such as’s. Some states’ DDD records are on microfilm at the National Archives and/or genealogy libraries; other states' records are in original form at state archives and libraries. Few are indexed.

We can’t promise our listing is comprehensive, but it does give locations and Web site addresses of repositories where we could find DDD records for each state or territory. If you’re still having trouble finding DDD schedules for your ancestor, start by contacting the state archives where he lived.

For help using DDD and more special census records—including agriculture, manufacturing, mortality, slave and other schedules—look for our guide in the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine. It starts mailing to subscribers this week.

census records | Family Tree Magazine articles | Libraries and Archives
Monday, 13 April 2009 10:46:08 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# 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]