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# Monday, June 15, 2009
Flexible Family Trees Among Arcalife Features
Posted by Diane

We recently got a guided tour of Arcalife, a family tree-building site based in Britain that launched in beta at February’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London. The site is growing by as many as 3,000 members a month, and is gaining a foothold on this site of the Atlantic.

You get 500 MB of storage with a free account. Paid accounts come with more storage and features.

I’ve been playing around with Arcalife, and though (as for most any beta site) some functions are under construction, it looks promising. You can or will be able to do some cool things, including:
  • Build a flexible family tree with people on “nodes” you can move around to change the shape of your tree. You can add siblings, step-parents, partners and other family members who wouldn’t make it onto traditional trees, and set up a profile for each one. You also can modify two individuals’ relationship.

  • Print your tree with an easy-to-use tool that lets you resize the tree, print on multiple pages, and see where the edges of pages will fall.

  • Invite relatives to add to their Life Archives (or you can do so on behalf of deceased people) by following writing prompts designed to tease out everything from “Rules We Live By” to “First Real Job.”

  • Also under Life Archives, fill out Life Experiences for your ancestors and use them to generate a scrolling timeline set to music. (The timeline feature is “limited” for free accounts.)

  • Create a memoir in easy chunks by answering a series of questions.

  • Upload photos and video in the Media Archive (under Life Showcases) and turn them into a gallery or “Life Cube” slideshow (also limited for free accounts). You can import photos from Facebook and other social networking sites.

  • Search the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot and the rest of the Web from within Arcalife.

  • Generate a virtual time capsule of images and stories, choose people to send it to and designate a future date to unlock it.

  • You’ll eventually be able to use fee-based services for conducting oral history interviews, printing large family trees, converting photos or videotapes to digital and more.

Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Monday, June 15, 2009 1:53:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 12, 2009
Stop by the Colorado Family History Expo
Posted by Grace



Our fearless editor, Allison Stacy, is in Loveland, Colo., this weekend for the Colorado Family History Expo, of which Family Tree Magazine is a sponsor. The weekend is jam-packed with sessions. Click here to see the whole listing.

If you're in the area and want to stop by, you can still register at the door; admission is $85 for both days or $45 for a single day. And make sure to visit us at booth 110!



Genealogy Events
Friday, June 12, 2009 10:10:48 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 10, 2009
10 Ways to Use Twitter for Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Twitter isn’t just a place to exchange meaningless thoughts in 140 characters or fewer. For plenty of people, it’s a place to meet and learn from people who share your interests. Genealogy, for example.

Here’s how family historians can use Twitter in their research:

1. Find other genealogists. Click Find People to search for folks with genealogy in their username. If you regularly read a blog, look on the blog for a link to Twitter. Once you find people you like following, see who they follow (listed on the right side of the person's Twitter profile).

2. Learn about research resources. Many bloggers (including yours truly) feed their posts to Twitter, so you click the "tweet" to see the whole post. You’ll also pick up tips in people’s tweets about the latest records they’ve found.

3. Get opinions on genealogy Web sites and products.

4. Ask questions. You can just throw it out to your followers, or direct your question to someone using @ and the user name, like this: @FamilyTreeMag.

5. Be heard by people who work at genealogy companies. Use Find People to search for the company name.

6. Get links to how-to advice. Tweets are 140 characters at most, but people often link to helpful articles they’ve found online.

7. Hear about industry news. It’s like having thousands of eyes and ears looking for even obscure and not-yet-announced stories. If you see RT in a tweet, that means someone is repeating the tweet of someone he or she follows—you can see how the news gets around.

8. See how funny genealogists can be. One to follow: @TheGenealogue

9. Find events. Genealogy societies, libraries, museums, and conferences often tweet upcoming events.

10. Get cheap stuff. Many companies use Twitter to publicize sales and giveaways (some are exclusive to Twitter followers). Online backup service @Mozy, for example, has regular Twitter giveaways.

To sign up for a Twitter account, go to Twitter.com and click Get Started—Join. Then follow Family Tree Magazine at @FamilyTreeMag.


Research Tips | Social Networking
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:53:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Search Four Canadian Census Indexes Free Online
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has added indexes to the 1851, 1861, and 1871 Canada Census to its record search site (click North America on the map, then scroll down to the list of Canadian records).

The 1881 census already was online, and plans are in place to add the 1891 census.

All are the products of a three-way partnership: Ancestry.ca provided indexes to the 1851 and 1891 censuses, and FamilySearch created indexes for the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses. (Both sites offer these indexes.) The originals are housed at Library and Archives Canada.

Information in these census might include your ancestor's name, age, birthplace, religion, occupation, residence and ethnicity. Some information on the records is in French.

Note that FamilySearch has posted only the indexes, not the record images. It will eventually release record images to “qualified FamilySearch members.” (I believe this means volunteer indexers who’ve indexed a certain number of records.)

If you find ancestors in the free FamilySearch index for the 1851 census, you can use the location information to find those folks in the unindexed 1851 census images at the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site. (The Canadian Genealogy Centre also has 1901, 1906 and 1911 census images, but you must know about where your ancestor lived to use them.)

The Family History Library also has the records on microfilm (run a Keyword search of the online catalog on Canada census). You can rent the film through your local Family History Center.

The digitized records also are available on the subscription sites Ancestry.ca and Ancestry.com (which also have the 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916 censuses).


Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:30:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, June 09, 2009
1911 Wales Census Is Now Online
Posted by Diane

FindMyPast.com has added the 1911 Wales census to www.1911census.co.uk, its partner site with the British national archives. The census lists 2.4 million Welsh residents.  

You can search the index by person or place, then purchase credits redeemable for viewing a transcription of the record (10 credits), or the record itself (30 credits).

Due to high demand, Britain's 1911 census records are being made public as each region’s census is digitized, ahead of the previously scheduled 2012 release date (with some sensitive information about illnesses and the children of women prisoners held back).

The first release was in January. In addition to Wales, records for all England’s counties are now online.


census records | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 12:36:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Familyrelatives Adds British Landowner Records
Posted by Diane

British database site Familyrelatives.com added Britain’s Victorian “Doomsday Book” showing who owned land in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland more than 100 years ago.

The book, published in 1873, includes landowner returns that provide the name and address of every owner, the amount of land held, and the yearly rental valuation of holdings that are larger than an acre.

More than 320,000 landowners owned an acre or more, representing 1 percent of the population of the United Kingdom at the time. Nearly 850,000 owned less than an acre. London was excluded from the returns.

To search, click the Search tab on Familyrelatives' home page, then scroll down to the Land Records heading and choose a country.

The Doomsday records are available only with a Familyrelatives.com subscription (about $50 a year); not as a pay-per-view option.


Genealogy Web Sites | Land records | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 9:46:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, June 08, 2009
The Mystery of the Stray Headstone
Posted by Diane

About a year ago, a headstone appeared on the side of a road in the city of Weed, Calif.

Jennifer Bryan, a member of the Siskiyou County Genealogical Society in Yreka, Calif., is trying to find out where it belongs. The stone has never been set into concrete, she says, but it is engraved:
William C. Vann
Dec., 7, 1910 - May 5, 1972
“We’ve checked with all the local cemeteries, monument stone carvers and funeral homes, and haven’t been able to local where this headstone belongs,” Jennifer writes. “We realize this may be a ‘rejected’ headstone, or perhaps it was lost in shipping and the engraver has created a new one for the family by now.”

But in case William C. Vann’s family (or maybe a delivery truck driver who got in a bit of hot water) is wondering what became of his headstone, Jennifer and her fellow society members are asking for your help.

Anyone researching a Vann family, possibly in California, that William may have belonged to? Got a theory how the stone came to be on the roadside? Click Comments (below) to post here.

Here’s a photo of the stone:



Cemeteries | Genealogy societies | Vital Records
Monday, June 08, 2009 12:17:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [18]
Heirloom Webinar Discount Expires Tonight
Posted by Allison

Attention, coupon clippers: Today is your last chance to save $10 off registration in our next webinar, Heirloom Preservation Made Easy.

Use coupon code yc72fk78cr when you sign up to get the early bird price of $39.99. The coupon expires at midnight Eastern daylight time today, June 8. The webinar will take place June 24 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Although it's easy to get caught up in the challenges of research, this session focuses on a subject we often don't pay enough attention to until a precious memento is lost or ruined. Don't let that happen to you!


Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Events | Webinars
Monday, June 08, 2009 12:01:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, June 05, 2009
Sale on Genealogy CDs, Downloads and Books
Posted by Diane

I’m letting it slip about the sale on genealogy how-to CDs (including the much-coveted State Research Guides CD), digital downloads and books in our MyCraftivity online store.

But you'll need the secret code!

When you’re ready to check out, enter FTSUMMER15 in the Special Offers box, and we'll take 15 percent off your entire order. That’s on top of the sale prices already in effect for most items—so, for example, the aforementioned State Research Guides CD becomes $32.30 (regular price is $49.99).

The code expires June 12, so start shopping.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:54:16 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Genealogy News Corral, June 1-5
Posted by Diane

Got several genealogy news items to cover this week, so without further ado:
Get more details on the site in this Genealogy Insider blog post.
  • Millions of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services' alien case files (also called A-files) dating from 1944 and later were signed over to the National Archives (records will be relocated to the National Archives’ San Francisco and Kansas City facilities later this year).
Henceforth, USCIS can forward files 100 years after the birth date of the person whose file it is. The USCIS press office tells me you’ll still be able to order the 1944-to-1951 A-files through the USCIS Genealogy Program (through which you also can order naturalizations and alien registrations).
  • Subscription site Ancestry.com is letting you preview upcoming changes to the family tree pages—to see them, click Family Trees on Ancestry.com's home page, then click the light blue bar at the top that says “Check out the new look.” (You must have a tree on Ancestry.com to see the preview.)
The new look will make pages load faster, be easier to navigate and display more information, says Kenny Freestone on the Ancestry.com blog. Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings describes the changes in detail.

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 05, 2009 1:46:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]