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# Wednesday, June 17, 2009
101 Best Web Sites for Genealogy in 2009
Posted by Diane

Our 2009 list of 101 Best Web Sites for genealogy is now online!

For this year's edition of our annual list, we went with 10 categories of 10 sites each, plus one site (maybe you can guess which one) that’s in its own class. We also turned the focus a bit more to the Web 2.0 sites that are changing how you do online genealogy.

We also adjusted our system for indicating free and fee-based sites: Sites that are mostly free but for which you might eventually get out your credit card for some thing or another are marked by one dollar sign ($). Subscription sites and those where you must pay for any meaningful content get a double dollar sign ($$).

Go on over to the list and click through to these great genealogy resources. Got any favorites you’d add, or beefs with any of our picks? Post your feedback to our 101 Best Sites forum.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:52:34 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Networking Features Coming Soon to Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

I got a preview yesterday of Ancestry.com’s new Member Connect feature, a collection of social networking tools that will roll out in the next month or two along with the new image viewer.

The idea behind Member Connect, explained Ancestry.com product manager David Graham, is to put you in touch with others who are interested in the same family lines.

Some aspects, such as being able see who's commented on records, are similar to those on records site Footnote.

Member connect has a few components integrated into Ancestry.com searches and family trees:
  • When you search and view a record, you'll see member names of Ancestry.com users who’ve edited the record (for example, by entering an alternate transcription of the name), or saved the record to a tree or shoebox.
You’ll also get suggestions for related message boards (such as the Roberts surname board for your search on Jeremiah Roberts) and people who’ve listed related research interests in their profiles (for example, others looking for Robertses in Muncie, Ind.). Then you can visit that person’s tree or contact him through the site.
  • A tab in your Ancestry.com member tree will show you other members’ ancestors who may match people in your tree. If the match looks promising, a Connect button links the trees and shows you more details—including buttons highlighting new or conflicting information. You can remove the connection altogether, or click the buttons to decide what to do with each fact: keep the new information out of your tree, it as an alternate fact, or use it to replace your information.
You also can contact the member with the matching tree through Ancestry.com to thank him or ask about any errors. This way, the “good data” in Ancestry.com trees will become more prominent than erroneous data, Graham says.
  • As you link to others’ trees, you build a network of researchers—called “connections”—who share your genealogical interests. More tabs show you your connections’ activity related to people common to both trees, including updated information and records and new records added.
Graham promises Ancestry.com will respect your privacy if you don’t want people to see whether you’ve saved a record to your shoebox or added someone new to your tree. You’ll be able to set privacy preferences in your account profile.

People on your trees whom Ancestry.com believes are living (no death date and born less than a hundred or so years ago) won’t show up as potential matches.

Update: We've added Member Connect screen shots and a link to Ancestry.com's preview page here.


Ancestry.com | Social Networking
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:21:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
Chronicling America Helps You Find Even More Old Newspapers
Posted by Diane

We’re big fans of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, where you can both search digitized newspapers published in 11 states and Washington, DC, between 1880 and 1922, and search a directory of historical newspaper titles by date and place.

I used the directory to compile a list of papers that might have articles naming my Bowie County, Texas, ancestor in 1913 and 1914. It even gave me information on repositories that hold each title, which years they have, and whether the paper’s on microfilm or in print.

The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, partners in the National Digital Newspaper Program, awarded new digitization grants to the University of Illinois, Urbana; Kansas State Historical Society; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; Montana Historical Society; Oklahoma Historical Society; University of Oregon, Eugene; and University of South Carolina, Columbia.

That means you’ll start seeing newspapers from these states on Chronicling America. The site recently added its 1 millionth newspaper page; a number that eventually will grow to 20 million pages dating back to 1836.


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:35:15 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Hear Family History News and Tips in Our Free Podcast
Posted by Diane

Our June 2009 Family Tree Magazine Podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, is now online and ready for you to tune in.

This month, Family Tree Magazine editors and expert contributors deliver the scoop on
  • upcoming genealogy events—just in time for summer conference season
  • options for hiring genealogists to help with research tasks big and small
  • ways to genealogically capitalize on family reunions
  • what’s new at Swedish data site Genline
  • the truth behind heraldic myths
See the show notes and have a listen (it's free!) on FamilyTreeMagazine.com or click here to subscribe.


Podcasts | Research Tips
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:27:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Rocky Mountain Genealogy High
Posted by Diane

Our adventurous editor Allison Stacy traveled to the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colo. (north of Denver), June 12 and 13, where she ran the Family Tree Magazine booth.



Visitors could take advantage of show specials on CDs, a drawing for our State Research Guides and Passport to Europe CDs, and free magazines and handouts.



Unique at the Expo was a Blogger Bistro and Twitter Café, where attendees could use workstations and watch conference events on a big-screen tv. Read what the designated “Bloggers of Honor” had to say at Arlene H. Eakle’s Genealogy Blog, HistoricalTownMaps (Bernie Gracy), Becky’s Grace and Glory (Becky Jamison) and Family Tree Climbing (Sarah Strong).

You also can watch video interviews from this and other Expos here and see the schedule of upcoming Family History Expos here.

The Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Allison reports, is brand-new, convenient and super-nice (and, she was told, one of only two places in Colorado to serve buffalo fries).



The Rocky Mountains were tantalizingly close.



Genealogy Events | Videos
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:06:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]