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# Friday, July 17, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: July 13-17
Posted by Diane

Here are news bits and pieces we turned up this week:
  • British subscription site FamilyRelatives.com has added the Civil War Roll of Honor listings of more than 276,000 Union soldiers buried in national cemeteries, soldiers' lots and garrison cemeteries.
  • The East Central Georgia Regional Library's African-American Funeral Program Collection is online (and free) in the Digital Library of Georgia. The 1,000 funeral programs date from 1933 to 2008, with most dating since the 1960s and coming from churches around Augusta, Ga.
  • The College of Charleston in South Carolina has launched the Lowcountry Digital Library with about 7,500 images (so far) of historical letters, scrapbooks, photos and more.
  • Online genealogy company (and GenealogyWise owner) FamilyLink has another site coming next week, as hinted on Twitter by CEO Paul Allen: “41% have pictures of ancestors on the walls of their home ... We are launching a new site soon for the other 59%”
Could it be related to this digitization service, announced in 2007 but no longer offered?

African-American roots | FamilyLink | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Friday, July 17, 2009 12:25:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free in July: US Virgin Islands Slave Records
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has added 200 years of Caribbean slave records with help from the Virgin Islands Social History Associates. You can access the records free through the end of July (you’ll need to register for a free account).

So far, the collection includes St. Croix slave lists from 1772 to 1821 and population censuses (1835 to 1911), which together have information on more than 700,000 slaves, owners and family members.

The slave lists aren’t yet indexed, so you can’t search by name, but you can browse the record images by year. Here's an example:



You can search the census records. Most are in English, but some are in Danish—the islands became a Danish colony in 1754; the United States purchased them in 1917.


African-American roots | Ancestry.com | Free Databases
Friday, July 17, 2009 11:52:16 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Colonial Williamsburg and Other Places to Time Travel
Posted by Diane

My ancestors got here after Colonial days, but all the same I enjoyed an afternoon in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this week while visiting family.

The park covers 301 acres with 88 original buildings plus other reconstructed ones. I hadn’t realized Colonial Williamsburg isn’t an enclosed park—rather, it’s a historic part of the city of Williamsburg, Va., with streets closed to cars but otherwise publicly accessible. You can walk around outside and enter shops and restaurants for free; a pass gets you into the park’s other buildings (except private homes and offices) and exhibits.

On our whirlwind trip, we visited the courthouse


... apothecary


... blacksmith shop


... and the magazine and guardhouse, carpenter’s shop and gaol (jail). Exhibit  hours vary, and special programs happen daily at different times and places, so if you’re planning a visit, check the online calendar.

You can see our ancestors’ world at living history centers around the country, such as Old World Wisconsin, Ohio Village, Old Sturbridge Village  in Massachusetts and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.

Find more museums here or run a Google search on “living history” and the city, county or state you’re interested in.

Celebrating your heritage | Historic preservation | Museums
Friday, July 17, 2009 10:39:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, July 16, 2009
Library of Michigan Faces Elimination
Posted by Diane

The news that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has abolished the state’s Department of Histories, Arts and Libraries—which includes the state library and archive—has genealogists concerned.

Granholm’s executive order, which will save the cash-strapped state an estimated $2 million in the first year, divvies up parts of the department among other state agencies. Of particular interest to genealogists:  
  • Most Library of Michigan functions, including its genealogy collection, go to the Department of Education
  • The Michigan Historical Commission, which includes the state archives, will be moved to the Department of Natural Resources
In Section B (8) of the order, Gov. Granholm directs the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (head of the education department) to cut state library costs:
Unless the Superintendent determines it to be impracticable, these measures shall include, but shall not  be limited to … Eliminating circulation of specific collections (including, but not limited to, the Main, Dewey, and General Reference collections, the Michigan collection, the Michigan Documents collection, and the Rare Book collection) or, alternatively, transferring such collections to other suitable institutions, . . . (c) Suspending or eliminating participation as a participating lending library in MeLCat, (d) Eliminating or transferring to other suitable institutions the Federal Documents Depository and the non-Michigan genealogy collection.”
The order is effective Oct. 1 unless the state legislature rejects it within 60 days.

Genealogists provide 85 percent of the foot traffic to the Library of Michigan, says Michigan Genealogical Council (MCG) delegate Mary Strouse. The library's Abrams Foundation Historical Collection is one of the 10 largest genealogy collections in the United States (see an overview here). Its Seeking Michigan Web site, a partnership with the state archives, was named to our 101 Best Web Sites list this year.

In a July 13 press release, the governor announced a possible “transformed Michigan Library and Historical Center”—the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention, which would “help equip Michigan citizens for the knowledge-based economy through entrepreneurial and innovative programs,” in partnership with a university or other organization.

What might happen to the library's genealogy collection? Among other consequences, it could be broken up the among multiple locations, interlibrary loan access (through the MelCat system) could be shut down, and access to materials on non-Michigan ancestors could go away.

MCG reports that 10 Michigan senators have introduced bills in response, which would transfer functions of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries to the Department of State.

See the MCG Web site for information on these bills and links to finding Michigan senators and representatives.


Libraries and Archives
Thursday, July 16, 2009 5:14:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
GenealogyWise Is Down
Posted by Diane

GenealogyWise, FamilyLink's social networking site that has surged in popularity after just over a week online, is down this morning. We'll keep an eye on it and let you know what we hear.

Update: FamilyLink CEO Paul Allen tweeted that GenealogyWise is down due to a DNS (Domain Name System) problem, which is being fixed, but it'll be awhile before the site is available again.


FamilyLink | Social Networking
Thursday, July 16, 2009 8:45:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 15, 2009
FamilyHistoryLink to Shut Down Aug. 15
Posted by Diane

Two updates from online genealogy business FamilyLink:
  • Members of FamilyHistoryLink (FamilyLink’s social networking site lunched in 2007) received e-mailed announcements that GenealogyWise, the social networking site FamilyLink launched last week, will replace FamilyHistoryLink. FamilyHistoryLink will shut down as of Aug. 15; members are advised to download and save any important messages. We wondered last week if this would happen.

    More than 5,000 people have signed onto GenealogyWise; they’ve formed 2,360 groups and contributed more than 10,000 items (photos, videos, blog posts, etc.) to the site.

FamilyLink | FamilySearch
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:36:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Comment issues
Posted by Grace

If you've tried to leave a comment on this blog in the last few weeks but weren't able to get it to post, please let us know via e-mail. Include in the e-mail what operating system (such as Windows Vista or Mac OSX) and Internet browser you use (such as Internet Explorer/IE7 or Firefox 2.0).


Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:49:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, July 13, 2009
Meet Jamie the Intern!
Posted by Grace

Hello, Genealogy Insider readers! My name is Jamie Royce, the Family Tree Magazine intern. I'm currently a student at the University of Cincinnati, and I am a native to the area, with family strewn all across the Queen City. I'm also just embarking on my inaugural genealogical journey, which I'll be sharing with you this summer.

On my first day, Diane showed me how to do an Ancestry.com search. We started off with my paternal grandfather because I knew the most information about him, and the 1930 Census popped up. My grandfather's name was misspelled, of course, but something more interesting was found: My 5-year-old grandfather and his mother, who had her married name of Royce listed on the census, was living with her two sisters and their mother, no husband to be found.

Diane and I thought this was weird as there were no wars going on or anything during the time, but with no explanation my findings just slipped to the back of my mind.

A few days later I was talking to my mother and explaining to her the living situation of my Grandpa R. and his mother. She thought it was interesting as well, and then slipped in this bit of information: "Well you know, your Grandpa R.'s mother wasn't married when she had him. Royce is her married name."

No, actually, I didn't know that, Mom. How would I?

Then I realized that my family gets its surname through marriage, as my Grandpa R. was not related to his mother's husband biologically; so I'm only biologically related to people with the last name Royce that descend from Grandpa R. This was a bit shocking to learn.

I was left with so many questions. When did Grandpa R.'s mother get married? Why was she living in her mother's house if she was already going by a married name? Where is her husband? What was his name?

Unfortunately, Hamilton County doesn't have older marriage licenses or vital records digitized, so I'll have to make a trip downtown to find Grandpa R.'s birth certificate and his mother's marriage license. But the 1930 Census did indicate that Grandpa R.'s father is from Kentucky; whether that's his birth father or his mother's husband, I'm not sure.

I also wonder if the mystery Royce adopted Grandpa R. as a son. Grandpa R. did take the name Royce, but I'm not sure what is birth certificate says, if his name was ever legally changed, or if he was adopted by his mother's husband. It clearly is, at the very least, a bit of an open secret that Grandpa R.'s father was not his mother's husband. All of these questions will make my research harder.

Without a definitive original last name on my Grandpa R., I may never find his birth certificate. Does the record indicate his last name was his mother's maiden name of Kiely? Does it now have Royce? Does it have his currently unknown biological father's last name? I may have to scour all of the records around my Grandpa R.'s birth date to find what I am after.

I looked up the address listed on the census for my Grandpa R. and his family, and it turns out the house still stands and is exactly 200 years old. Next week I will tell you all about it, complete with pictures. You won't believe how close I lived to my ancestor's home this entire time without even knowing it.


census records | Family Tree Firsts
Monday, July 13, 2009 12:47:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, July 10, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: July 6-10
Posted by Diane

Some of the genealogy news bits we rounded up this week:
  • The Genealogy Guys will record their podcast before a live audience at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference. The audience will get to submit questions for possible inclusion in the podcast. The conference is Sept. 2 to 5 in Little Rock, Ark.; the podcast recording is 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3. Look for location information at the conference.

  • Geni is offering a free two-week trial of its Geni Pro premium service, which includes more stats, matches and member collaboration than the free basic service. (Geni Pro subscriptions are normally $4.95 per month.)

  • Ancestry.com’s subscription-based Canadian site, Ancestry.ca, has added French Deaths by Guillotine 1792-1796, with 13,000 names of French citizens executed during the Reign of Terror. The names come from a book written in 1796 by a French journalist.
  • ProQuest, the creator of the HeritageQuest genealogy service, ProQuest Historical Newspapers and other databases for libraries, is working on a new search platform that’ll make I easier to find information related to your genealogy search. Expected launch is 2010.
The company is also adding Boston’s Jewish Advocate (1905 to 1990), Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent (1887 to 1990) and the Detroit Free Press to Proquest Historical Newspapers.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | Newspapers | Podcasts | Social Networking
Friday, July 10, 2009 4:08:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New African-American Genealogy Database Coming This Fall
Posted by Diane

If you're researching African-American roots, look for a new database this fall from ProQuest, creator of the HeritageQuest Online genealogy service (available free to patrons of subscribing libraries).

ProQuest African-American Heritage will combine records with research guidance.

Records will include censuses, slave and freedmen records; birth, marriage and death records; church records; court and legal records; genealogies and family histories. Other than the US census and Freedman’s Savings Bank & Trust Co. records (both also are in HeritageQuest Online), ProQuest didn’t name specific records.

Social networking tools come from AfriGeneas, a popular Web site and forum on African-American genealogy; an exclusive version of the classic guide  Black Genesis by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz (Genealogical Publishing Co.); and other reference books.

For more information about ProQuest African-American Heritage, to watch a video and to sign up for a notification e-mail when the service is released, visit ProQuest's Web site.


African-American roots | Libraries and Archives
Friday, July 10, 2009 2:58:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]