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<2009 April>

More Links

# Thursday, 16 April 2009
Interview With TV History Detective Tukufu Zuberi
Posted by Diane

Tukufu Zuberi, whom you might know as one of PBS television’s four History Detectives, is the guest on Lisa Louise Cooke’s current Genealogy Gems podcast episode.

Zuberi is the keynote speaker at the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree June 26-28 (where Cooke will be teaching and staffing the Family Tree Magazine booth—so stop by!).

He tells Cooke about tracing the genealogy of a dummy: Sam, that is, the first black ventriloquist's dummy to appear on Broadway.

And Zuberi talks about the show’s mission to discover the truth about historical (or turn-out-not-to-be-historical) objects, tell the personal stories behind those objects and show how “history is reflected in the living.”

“History is a result of everyday people living their lives,” he says in the interview—a sentiment I’d wear on a t-shirt any day. A must-listen.

Genealogy Events | Podcasts
Thursday, 16 April 2009 13:29:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Listen to our Free April 2009 Family Tree Magazine Podcast
Posted by Diane

Our Family Tree Magazine Podcast April 2009 episode is now online for your listening pleasure.

This month, host Lisa Louise Cooke interviews photo historian Maureen A. Taylor about historical hairstyles,’s Debra Chatfield about the newest records available for British ancestors, and genealogy author James M. Beidler about ancestors’ financial records.

And editor Allison Stacy offers a chance to win our new Passport to Europe CD—but you'll have to listen to the episode by April 30 to find out how. Listen now (it's free) on or in iTunes.

Click below for RSS subscriptions options:

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Thursday, 16 April 2009 12:48:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Find Genealogy Resources From Facebook
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Today’s Illya D'Addezio just released a full version of Live Roots for Facebook. It’s not in the Facebook application search yet, but you can download the Live Roots app to your Facebook profile now by clicking here.

In a nutshell, Live Roots is a searchable guide to online and offline genealogy resources that launched last fall.

The online catalogs it searches are listed here.

D'Addezio says he’ll add a few more enhancements to between now and Monday, and that any updates to Live Roots will automatically be live in the Facebook version.

Once you’ve added the app to your Facebook profile, you can search Live Roots from the comfort of Facebook by clicking the Applications link in the bottom left corner of your profile.

Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips | Social Networking
Thursday, 16 April 2009 11:45:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]