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# Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Where to Find a Genealogist-for-Hire
Posted by Diane

When it starts accepting clients in June, Ancestry.com’s ExpertConnect service (read our post about it) will be just one option for hiring people to do research tasks, such as photographing a gravestone or photocopying a record. Here are a few others:
  • Genealogy Freelancers: This site lets you post your project details and get bids from professionals around the world.
  • Genlighten: Here, you also can collect bids for research tasks. The focus here is on lookups, record retrieval and similar services.
  • Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness: These volunteers have signed on to do simple research favors for free (except expenses such as mileage and photocopying fees). You’re encouraged to return the favor by helping out someone else.

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:59:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
Ancestry.com to Launch Professional Genealogy Service
Posted by Diane

You may have heard mentions of a soon-to-come Ancestry.com service called ExpertConnect. It’s designed to let people who need research services—anything from simply getting a record or taking a gravestone photo to a full-scale research project—gather bids from people who can offer them.

After a bid is accepted and the service completed, Ancestry.com gets a cut of the fee.

Anyone can register to offer lookups and other simple research services, but those offering services for more-involved research projects have to register as a professional with ExpertConnect.

That’s the source of some controversy, since there’s no industry standard for what makes someone a professional genealogy researcher. (See the Genea-Musings blog post on the Association of Professional Genealogists discussions last month.) Ancestry.com settled on a series of qualifications; those offering professional-level services on ExpertConnect must satisfy several.

Other points of contention: Under the ExpertConnect contract, the client owns the copyright for any research reports the expert generates. And a ranking system similar to eBay’s lets clients rate the experts, leaving reputations vulnerable to clients who don’t understand the uncertain nature of genealogy research.

Ancestry.com says that experts will be able to request reviews of questionable rankings, and that the ExpertConnect system can head off problems by letting experts and clients renegotiate projects as they progress.

ExpertConnect will start accepting clients in June. You can check out the types of services available here; click Join to register as a service provider.

My next post will give you other options for hiring out your research tasks.


Ancestry.com
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:38:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 18, 2009
New Podcast Episode Has Census Tips and More
Posted by Diane

The latest episode of the free Family Tree Magazine podcast delivers census records help, genealogy social networking tips and more.

In this May 2009 episode, Curt Witcher, who manages the renowned genealogy department at the Allen County Public Library, chats with host Lisa Louise Cooke about special “non-population” census records and how to glean important genealogical information from them. Contributing editor David A. Fryxell serves up creative tips for using the census. And Justin Schroepfer, marketing director for historical records subscription site Footnote talks about I Remember, a brand new Facebook application just launched this month.

Listen now at FamilyTreeMagazine.com or in iTunes. Click below for RSS subscriptions options: 

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator


census records | Podcasts | Social Networking
Monday, May 18, 2009 2:02:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Saturday, May 16, 2009
Genline Updates Mean More Swedish Records
Posted by Diane

Swedish records subscription site Genline has added a bunch of records, made some user-friendly upgrades and formed a partnership that’ll help you discover free and low-cost photos and documents from all over Sweden.

Yesterday, I got a tour of the updates from Peter Wallenskog from Genline’s board of directors. Here's an overview:

  • Record additions underway include birth, marriage and death records through 1920. Coming soon: parish books and vital records up to 1937.
  • Household examination books (akin to censuses), which you currently find by browsing, are being indexed by farm name. Many farms were owned by the same family for generations. About 40 percent are already indexed; that’ll probably be 90 percent by the end of the year.
  • Genline is adding very high-resolution, clear images, with tools so you can enhance them by increasing contrast, remove specks, and more.
  • A transcription feature, introduced just a few days ago, lets users build a personal name index to Genline records by transcribing names as they find them. Other users can search on those names, vote for one or another transcription, and contribute their own version of a transcription. 
  • Familjeband is a Swedish family history site where users build family trees, upload photos and communicate on a message board. Through an agreement with local groups in the Sverges Hembygdsforbund (Swedish Local Heritage Movement), Genline is helping develop a section of Familjeband called Bygdeband (now in beta), where these local groups are uploading photos, letters, probate papers, deeds and other records. Related records are linked, and a map shows places associated with records in the database.

Familjeband is accessible through a free registration and is in Swedish. Later this year, it’ll get an English interface, and records in Genline will be linked to related records in Familjeband. Eventually, it’ll cost a little—maybe $4 a month, says Wallenskog—to access records in Familjeband.

  • Genline also hopes to partner with Swedish heritage groups on this side of the pond to add records and photos to Familjeband. So far, groups from Kansas are uploading documents from Swedish schools and churches. 


Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:25:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, May 15, 2009
Sir Walter Raleigh and North Carolina Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Raleigh, NC, is named for Sir Walter Raleigh. He’s the English explorer whose royal charter to colonize “the Colony and Dominion of Virginia” (which at the time extended far beyond present-day Virginia) resulted in the lost colony of Roanoke Island in 1591—but also paved the way for later colonization in the New World.



Sir Walter’s statue outside the convention center looks like he’s surveying his dominion.

The area’s first permanent European settlers came south from the colony of Virginia around 1650. The Province of Carolina was established in 1660. In 1712, North Carolina split off’ it became a royal colony in 1729 and was the 12th state to ratify the US constitution in 1789.

Here are some North Carolina genealogy links:

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, May 15, 2009 11:41:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com: New Search and International Updates
Posted by Diane

In yesterday’s Ancestry.com bloggers meeting, held at the National Genealogical Society conference, leaders of several parts of the company talked about what the company’s been up to and goals for this year.

A lot of numbers were tossed out, which the company uses to understand which Ancestry.com databases and features you use most. For example, after member-to-member messaging was moved onto the site (so instead of just sending an e-mail to another user, you send a message that’s stored in the person’s in-box on the site), members sent 25 percent more messages. Responses increased 35 percent.

Some interesting stats involved the new search interface vs. the old one. Use of the two is evenly split, with longer-time members sticking with the old interface and newer members favoring the new interface (I have to wonder if they just haven’t discovered the old search yet). “Old-search searchers” do an average of 37 searches a day, and “new-search searchers” do an average of 21 searches per day.

The guy in charge of developing a newer new search, Tony Macklin, was frank about what’s wrong with the new search (this is from my scribbled notes, so it’s not a direct quote): queries don’t always return consistent results between the two platforms, you get too many irrelevant results, browsing by place is too difficult, and the individual database search templates aren’t as customized (Macklin uses the old search for individual databases). His examples were coupled with user comments.

He said changing the search interface without changing the actual search was a mistake, and the goal is to eventually bring together the best parts of both platforms. 

Content-wise, Ancestry.com has grown to 8 billion names. Family trees recently passed the census as the most-used data set.

Some upcoming additions include the WWII “Old Man’s Draft” for Illinois, newspapers from 30 new cities, Jewish records with two new yet-to-be-announced partners, Navy cruise books, pre-1850 city directories and vital records.

In a large reception Ancestry.com held last night for conference attendees, senior VP Andrew Waite said the company is aiming for a balance of 30 percent upgrading current collections and 70 percent adding new ones—but that this figure has been more like 50/50 during the last few months.

Ruth Daniels from the UK office talked about negotiating digitization agreements in other countries, where records may be widely dispersed at state and local repositories, and laws and cultural attitudes differ around who should have access to records. For example, public access laws make UK records easier to acquire; Italy’s decentralized archives make things more challenging there. The just-released German telephone directories and records from the London Metropolitan Archives, launched in March and still being added, are two successes.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events
Friday, May 15, 2009 9:28:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Photos From the NGS Conference
Posted by Diane

Here are a few photos of the National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, NC:


FamilySearch (above), Ancestry.com, Footnote, ProQuest and other genealogical data providers do demos in the exhibit hall.


Here's a bird's eye view of the exhibit hall (it's toward the end of the day, so not as many folks are browsing around).


Here's another angle. You can see Ancestry.com's booth at the top center of the photo.


Book vendors often bring boxes and boxes of county and family histories, how-to books, maps and other sources.

Genealogy Events
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:52:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
News From the National Genealogical Society Conference
Posted by Diane

This morning we had tons of booth visitors, fresh from the opening presentation by actor Ira David Wood III. He’s played Sir Walter and Old Tom in The Lost Colony, an outdoor show since 1937 produced by Roanoke Island Historical Association.

A few news bits so far:
  • Look for subscription historical records site Footnote to make its 1930 US census free for a limited time later this summer. The site also will come out with a collection of American Indian records within the next few months.
  • Swedish church records subscription site Genline is introducing a transcription feature. Once you find an ancestor’s record, you can easily transcribe the name and make it available to other users. As names are transcribed, they’ll be available for searching. Right now, you browse Genline by parish, but this means that eventually, you’ll be able to find ancestors without knowing their parish first.
  • We heard about some changes coming soon for genealogy resources catalog directory site Live Roots. One sounds really useful: A way to save online searches to a “project” so you’ll know which sites you’ve checked, when, and how many results were returned, and you could easily repeat searches. You could create as many projects as you want—one for each county, say, or each surname.

FamilySearch | Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:22:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 11, 2009
Last Chance for $10 Off Census Webinar
Posted by Allison

The hours are waning to take advantage of the $10 early-bird discount on our next online workshop, Online Census Secrets: Best Web Sites and Strategies to Find Your Ancestors.

Diane and I will be leading this online seminar--"webinar" for short--May 27 at 7 p.m. EDT. If you've ever had trouble locating an ancestor in the census, you'll learn helpful tips and hints in this interactive session. We'll be demonstrating online census searching on screen, so you can see our advice in action.

Registration includes participation in the live workshop and Q&A session, of course, as well as these goodies:

• Online access to the workshop recording after the session concludes
• PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
• “Master the Census” article PDF
• Quick-reference chart showing which Web sites have which censuses and indexes

And until midnight EDT tonight (May 11), you can get $10 off the $49.99 workshop fee if you use coupon code: h6cl3cv7x4.

Visit our Web site for more details on the census workshop and to learn more about how webinars work.

census records | Genealogy Events | Webinars
Monday, May 11, 2009 5:58:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Live Roots Enhances Search of Online Databases
Posted by Diane

An update to last week’s post about searching popular genealogy database sites (both free and fee-based) from Live Roots’ search page:

The Live Roots webmaster has since added advanced search features to help you find resources in the subscription sites Ancestry.com, Footnote, World Vital Records and GenealogyBank.

To access these features, go to Live Roots' partner sites search page and click the plus sign below the name of the site you want to search. Remember, you won’t get to see full details for matches in subscription sites if you’re not a subscriber. (Visit a Family History Center for free access to many subscription databases.)

The online catalog for the BYU Family History Archive collection is Live Roots' next big addition.


Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, May 11, 2009 11:02:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]