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# Friday, July 03, 2009
How Our Ancestors Celebrated the Fourth of July
Posted by Diane

Did you know John Adams thought we all should celebrate the Fourth of July on the second of July—the day in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve Richard Henry Lee’s resolution of independence?

Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America ... It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward.”

But Americans chose to solemnize and celebrate on July 4, the date Congress finally approved the Declaration of Independence. Here are some of the ways our ancestors marked the occasion:
  • In 1777, in Bristol, RI, 13 gunshots were fired on July 4, once at morning and again at evening. Philadelphians rang bells, fired guns and lit candles.
  • In 1778, Gen. George Washington gave his soldiers a double ration of rum on July 4 and ordered an artillery salute.
  • In 1781, Massachusetts recognized July 4 as a state celebration.
  • In 1785, Bristol held a Fourth of July parade—now the United States’ oldest continuous Independence Day celebration.
  • In 1817, the Erie Canal broke ground in Rome, NY.
  • In 1828, Charles Carroll broke ground on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
  • In 1848, workers laid the cornerstone of the Washington Monument.
  • In 1870, Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
  • In 1938, the Fourth became a paid federal holiday (three years later, Congress corrected the omission of Washington, DC, employees from this legislation).
  • In 1973, the Boston Pops Orchestra began hosting an annual music and fireworks show alongside the Charles River.
Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on July 4, 1826—the 50th birthday of the United States. Get more Fourth of July history on this American University professor’s Web site.


Social History
Friday, July 03, 2009 10:48:16 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 02, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: June 29 to July 2
Posted by Diane

This week’s news roundup is coming at you a day early, but it's still chock-full:
  • The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com, has a poignant new ad campaign you’ll probably catch on some media or other (if you’re worried you’ll miss it, see it on Ancestry.com’s YouTube channel). 
  • Ancestry.com also has developed an Ancient Ancestry Finder that guesses your haplogroup (ancestral origins) based on a few questions. It’s fun, and the haplogroups have cute names such as "Boatbuilders" and "Inventors," but keep in mind it's not necessarily accurate. At the end, you get a pitch to buy a $79 DNA test to determine if the Finder is correct.
  • If you’ve been thinking of trying the databases at NewEnglandAncestors.org, now might be the time. The New England Historic Genealogical Society is offering $15 off new memberships during July.
  • This week, FamilySearch enhanced its free Record Search Pilot with 12 new collections, which have records from Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Netherlands, and Spain. New United States collections were added for Delaware, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah.
International indexing projects now underway involve records from the Czech Republic; Baden, Germany; and South Africa—click here if you’re interested in volunteering.
  • The Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) at the Houston Public Library's downtown Julia Ideson Building is changing its research hours during a renovation. Now through Aug. 31, HMRC is open Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, it'll be open by appointment—call (832) 393-1313 to make one.

Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genetic Genealogy | Libraries and Archives | Newspapers
Thursday, July 02, 2009 11:18:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Footnote, Gannett Kick Off Partnership With 60s Flashbacks
Posted by Diane

Subscription historical records site Footnote struck a deal to digitize newspapers from Gannett Co., the largest newspaper publisher in the United States with 84 dailies including USA Today.

With the upcoming 40th anniversaries of the Apollo moon landing July 16 and the Woodstock music festival August 15-18, Footnote started with newspapers covering these events—Florida Today and New York’s Poughkeepsie Journal.

You can relive these two landmark events free (or experience them for the first time) at Footnote’s Moon Landing and Woodstock pages.

Footnote will continue to digitize the full run of these and other Gannett newspapers.


Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers | Social History
Wednesday, July 01, 2009 3:02:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Free Genome Scanning Offer
Posted by Diane

A new genome profiling service called TruGenetics has an introductory offer: The first 10,000 registrants at the site get free genome scanning.

You can get start registering with TruGenetics here.

Genome profiling can give you information about deep ancestry—where your ancient ancestors came from, but not information that’s likely to help you find relatives within a genealogically researchable time frame. 23andme, a similar service, charges $399 for genome scanning.

I haven’t tested this offer. If you do, post a comment here and let me know what you think.

Thanks to Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Rick Crume for this tip!


Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, July 01, 2009 9:01:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]
Search Canadian Passenger Lists Free Through July 3
Posted by Diane

To celebrate Canada Day, subscription genealogy data service Ancestry.ca—the Canadian sister site to Ancestry.com—is making its collection of passenger lists from Canadian ports free through July 3.

The lists cover 1865 to 1935 and include names of more than 5.6 million individuals. An estimated 37 percent of Canada’s population has ancestors in the lists. US residents also may have relatives who arrived in Canada, then later traveled south to settle in the States.

See the full announcement here.

Access the Canadian passenger list collection here.

Canada Day, formerly Dominion Day, is July 1. It celebrates the anniversary of the British North America Act of 1867, which united Canada as a country of four provinces.


Canadian roots | immigration records
Wednesday, July 01, 2009 8:43:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, June 29, 2009
New Online Local History Collection Launches for Libraries
Posted by Diane

A local history-focused genealogy database may be coming soon to a library near you.

Arcadia Publishing and the electronic publisher Alexander Street Press have launched a new site called Local and Regional History Online: A History of American Life in Images and Texts.

It’ll eventually contain more than a million photos, postcards and maps, plus stories of immigrants, laborers and newsmakers, from all over the United States and some parts of Canada. They're from Arcadia’s 5,000 photo-rich local history books. Click here to see titles of books included so far.

If your library subscribes, you'll be able to use Local and Regional History Online at the library or from home through the library’s Web site.

You can search texts for a name or other term, or search for a book title, author, place it’s about, subject, “featured” person, historical event, date range, organization name or ethnic group. You also can browse these categories.

I was lucky enough to try out the search. If you get to use the site, search for ancestors’ names, but also try names of churches, schools, parks, organizations, employers, neighborhoods, streets, ethnic groups, events and other topics.

This may be a glitch, but my search results didn’t link directly to the page with the match—instead, I was taken to the main page for the book with the matching term. Then I searched again to go to the right page.

Note that many Arcadia books are available for limited preview in Google Book Search, which is how I found this 1920s photo of my great-grandmother’s house in Bellevue, Ky.

Learn more about Local and Regional History Online here. Thanks to Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack for this tip.


Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Social History
Monday, June 29, 2009 4:10:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilyLink Ponders GenSeek Road Show
Posted by Diane

Paul Allen, CEO of FamilyLink, has posted a request for “GenSeekers,” people willing to step out of their lives for a year and drive around the country to meet with genealogists and archivists in small communities. The goal: raise awareness of GenSeek.

GenSeek is a forthcoming site that’s a partnership between FamilyLink and FamilySearch. The site is expected to feature a Web 2.0 version of the Family History Library catalog, along with the opportunity for libraries and other repositories to list their own content.

You can get a notification when GenSeek is ready for launch by entering your e-mail address here.

The GenSeek partnership was announced at the National Genealogical Society Conference in May 2008. This past March, FamilyLink president Steve Nickle gave genealogy Gems Podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke late May as a target release date.

If Allen’s vision works out, the GenSeekers will have all expenses paid, be outfitted with mobile technology, and have a team back at the office to help plan meetings and publish the seekers’ findings. But will the Genseekers have anything to demo?


FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, June 29, 2009 11:14:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Bringing the Family History to the Reunion
Posted by Diane

This weekend we drove out to southeastern Indiana for my dad’s mom’s family reunion on the dairy farm my grand-uncle and -aunt started in 1934.

With so many new faces showing up at this every-other-year affair, it gets hard to keep track of who’s who. I loved my grand-aunt's generationally color-coded system for creating name tags:



Above is my husband’s name tag, with my grandma’s name in green (her brother and his wife owned the farm), my dad in black, and my own and my husband’s names in blue.

I also got to add Greg to one of the genealogy charts she hung up around the room.



She also brought old family photos and snapshots from past reunions.



Activities included catching up ...



getting to know the local residents ...



and playing basketball by the barn, at least for awhile.



If you’ve got a reunion coming up, check out these tips on bringing your family history into the picture and these recommended resources.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Reunions
Monday, June 29, 2009 9:13:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, June 26, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: June 22-26
Posted by Diane

Here are some of the news items we rounded up this week:
The conference is Sept. 2-5 in Little Rock, Ark.
  • The New England Historic and Genealogical Society is organizing a few genealogy research trips, led by expert genealogists. Groups are headed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, July 12-19; the NEHGS Library in Boston Aug. 10-15; Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 20-27; and Salt Lake City Oct. 25-Nov. 1.
Find more details and prices on NEHGS’ events calendar.
  • Keep an eye on Miriam Midkiff's city directories portal Online City, County and Rural Directories. This week, she's added links to directories from more than a dozen US states and several Canadian provinces.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Friday, June 26, 2009 3:13:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
New Live Roots Tools Manage Your Genealogy Research Projects
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Today enhanced its Live Roots genealogy metasearch site—one of our 101 Best Web sites for genealogy in 2009—with tools that help you manage your research projects.

We told you a bit about these about last month. The new tools will help you keep track of resources you turn up using Live Roots, as well as your offline searches.

For the site to remember your research information, you first need a free Team Roots membership. Then you can use the project management tools via four new buttons that appear throughout the site:
  • Follow: bookmarks resources

  • Comment: lets you comments on resources

  • Record: keep a research log of Live Roots and other searches

  • Share: e-mail notices about resources to friends and family
You can create as many projects as you want—say, one for your mom’s grandfather, who seems to have disappeared between 1885 and 1900; another for your dad’s paternal line in New England; a third for your spouse’s Missouri family; and so on. Within each project, you can track your:
  • Recent Activity: a running history of your interaction with Live Roots features

  • Ancestor Notecards: profiles of your brick wall ancestors, which remain are accessible throughout Live Roots (so you don’t have to retype the name every time you search)

  • Related Resources: items you’ve "followed", so you can quickly revisit them; you can search across the transcriptions you’ve followed

  • Research History: your research log

  • Personal Library: catalog your own private collection

  • Research Notepad: a simple way record miscellaneous genealogy notes, such as a to-do list or the phone number for the library in Granddad’s hometown

  • External Resources: lets you configure links to your research activities on other sites, such Flickr or Twitter
See more information on Live Roots’ new project management tools here.


Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Friday, June 26, 2009 10:55:31 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]