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# Monday, August 31, 2009
Tips for FGS and Other Genealogy Conferences
Posted by Diane

This week, I and a few hundred other genealogists from around the country are headed to Little Rock, Ark., for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference.

I’m looking forward to hanging out in the Family Tree Magazine booth (#407), handing out magazines, showing off our latest products, answering questions and chatting with readers. It'll also be an opportunity to catch up with other genealogy bloggers and writers, and get the scoop on the latest news and resources. I'll be posting it here.

Besides touring the exhibit hall, attendees also will go to classes and workshops, field trips to local repositories, luncheons and other social events.

And I’m super-excited about squeezing in a little newspaper research at the Arkansas state archives. My bootlegging ancestor lived on the Texas side of Texarkana, a city that straddles the border, and I’m hoping his “entrepreneurship” made the local news.

Some tips for those going to FGS or another conference:
  • Wear comfortable shoes—you’ll be walking to classes, walking to your hotel, walking through the exhibit hall … you get the idea.
  • The air conditioning always seems to be cranked up at these things, so bring a cardigan.
  • Bottled water is pricey and drinking fountains can be hard to find. You can save by bringing an empty bottle to refill. (I usually bring granola bars, too. I have a thing about knowing where my next meal is coming from.)
  • Bring business card with surnames and places you’re researching and your genealogy e-mail address, in case you run into someone researching your lines.
  • Bring extra address labels, too, so you can stick them on entry forms for drawings (including ours).
  • If you’re attending by yourself and everybody else seems to know somebody, remember genealogists are a friendly bunch. Just say hi and introduce yourself. If all else fails, ask the person next you about his or her ancestors—you’ll have a conversation partner in no time flat.
  • Plan ahead for any research you want to do, so you can make sure you have all the charts and records you need.
  • Take some time before classes start to decide which ones you want to attend and learn where the classrooms are. That way, you won't miss the first 10 minutes because you couldn't find the room.
  • Take a reconnaissance walk through the exhibit hall and mark on your booth map all the vendors you want to return to. Check off each one as you visit it, but be sure to leave time for browsing.

  • Some exhibitors pack up early on Saturday to catch flights and whatnot, so don't leave important business for the very end.
Pre-registration for FGS has closed, but you still can register at the door. A day registration costs $120; the full conference costs $225 (but just visiting the exhibit hall is free).

The conference is at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. You’ll find this and more information on the FGS conference blog.

Hope I’ll see you there!


Genealogy Events
Monday, August 31, 2009 1:28:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, August 28, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: August 24-28
Posted by Diane

  • Hundreds of genealogists—your truly included—are packing their bags for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 2 to 5. I’ll write more about the conference in a separate post next week, but in the mean time, you can check out the conference Web site and blog.
  • The National Archives’ marriage records (1815 to 1866) from the Virginia Field Office of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen’s Bureau) have been digitized and are now available free at the FamilySearch record search pilot site.
  • Subscription genealogy Web site Ancestry.com and its related international sites will be down for scheduled maintenance for about three hours starting Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 1 a.m. Mountain Time. Portions of RootsWeb, Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com and FamilyTreeMaker.com—which live on Ancestry.com servers—also will be unavailable. 
  • Mark your calendars for National Museum Day Sept. 26, when hundreds of museums across the country will offer free general admission to you and a guest when you present a Museum Day admission card, downloadable from this site.
  • A Deerfield, Ill., documentarian has created a show called “The Legend Seekers,” which traces family legends of regular people. You can submit your family story at LegendSeekers.com, see others' stories and get research tips. Chicago-area residents can watch an episode on WTTW Channel 11 Aug. 30 at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. Aug. 31. (It’ll also run on WTTW Prime—Comcast Channel 243—at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31, and 4:30 and 9:30 a.m. Sept. 1.)


African-American roots | Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Museums
Friday, August 28, 2009 11:20:36 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 27, 2009
Put Your Ancestors on Our Cover!
Posted by Diane



We're looking for a great ancestral photo to feature on the cover of the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine (that's our 10th anniversary issue!).

Maybe your family photo is the one.

Post your ancestral photo to our Ancestral Cover Photos Flickr group or e-mail it to us (we'll then post it on Flickr), and we may use it on the cover!

Before you start flipping through those albums, please note these requirements:
  • The image must be dated before 1920 and not show any individuals still living (we don't want to upset any of your more-modest relatives).

  • The image must be high-resolution (at least 300 dots per inch) so it will reproduce well in print.

  • The image must show people (five or fewer is best, that way we'll be able to see everyone).

  • Include your e-mail address and/or phone number with your submission—we'll need to be able to get a hold of you if your image is chosen.
Some disclaimers for you to be aware of: By submitting your photo, you affirm that you are the owner of the image and it is not subject to copyright by any other party. You also grant Family Tree Magazine permission to crop the digital image as necessary for publication, and to use the image in any and all print and electronic media.

Got questions? Click Comments to ask them, or e-mail them to us.

Update: Please submit your photo(s) by September 15. Also, it's fine to submit more than one image, but please try your hardest to choose up to your five favorites to send. Thanks!


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | Photos
Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:36:48 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, August 26, 2009
NewsInHistory.com Database Launches
Posted by Diane

NewsBank, which produces the GenealogyBank newspaper subscription site as well as news services for libraries, has introduced another site called NewsInHistory.com.

This subscription site, which you can access from home, lets you search the full text of “thousands of historical newspapers and millions of articles” from US newspapers published between 1800 and 2000.

A subscription costs $99.95 for a year or $19.95 per month.

See a title list sorted by state on the site. The content appears similar to GenealogyBank’s Historical News collection, at least for the 1800-to-2000 time frame.

So what’s different? NewsInHistory.com targets a more-general audience of history buffs and scholars. The announcement of its launch emphasizes how the articles “capture the civic, political, social and cultural events of American life.” You search it by a keyword, date and place of publication.  

GenealogyBank content goes back to 1690, for one thing, and the search places more importance on finding ancestors' names. It also has genealogy-friendly collections including America's Obituaries, the Social Security Death Index and Historical Documents.

GenealogyBank costs $69.95 per year or $19.95 per month. Look for our special pull-out guide to using the site in the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers | Social History
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:34:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Pick a Mascot for Family Tree University
Posted by Diane

Would you rather be a Fighting Kin-garoo or a Family History Hawk? Or maybe a Missing Lynx?

We’re on the hunt for a mascot for Family Tree University, the series of online genealogy classes we’re launching in late fall. Family Tree Magazine subscribers can read more about it in the November 2009 issue—coming your way right about now—or visit the Web page and sign up for e-mail notifications.

You can help choose a Family Tree University mascot by clicking here and voting for your favorite (or if you don’t see a mascot you like, you can suggest one).

We'll let you know when classes are starting. Hope to see you on "campus"!


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | Family Tree University
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:58:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, August 24, 2009
New Subscription Site: Genealogy Archives
Posted by Diane

A few weeks ago in our E-mail Update newsletter, I mentioned a subscription Web site called Genealogy Archives.

I was skeptical because most of its collections seemed to be free elsewhere online, you couldn’t get even basic search results without a subscription, and there was no information about the site’s owners.

Genealogy Archives spokesperson Julie Hill took notice and contacted me. I had a chance to talk with her and senior product manager Joe Godfrey, and to try out the site.

Turns out GenealogyArchives, which launched this summer, is affiliated with PeopleSearchPro (not the same as PeopleSearch).

Though the subscription genealogy space is crowded, Godfrey believes his approach is unique: Offer family historians a low-priced option with basic content that’s useful to most people, plus links to add-on, fee-based services (such as the option to order a record through VitalChek).

There's also a forum and Expert Advice section with how-to articles, and you can add your family tree or upload a GEDCOM.

Though it's still relatively small, Genealogy Archives added 200 million new records last week, including the 1860 and 1930 census indexes from Footnote, newspaper obituaries (you get a link to the obituary online and/or a transcription of it), and vital records from California and Colorado. It also looks like there’s more customer support information, including FAQs.

Hill points to the site’s living-people sources as unique content not available with other genealogy sites.



On the home page, the Trace Your Family Tree As Far Back As Possible section is a living-people search. You type in your name and age, and if the site finds the right listing for you, you get a tantalizing “We found your family tree” message and a prompt to join the site for $39.95 annually. (The records found may or may not be relatives.)

The Search for an Ancestor section lets you search the site’s historical records and indexes. It’s not as sophisticated a search as you find on competing sites—a first and last name are required; you also can pick a state and add the birth and death year and record type. (The site searches as though you entered an initial for the first name.)

Results give you the number of matches found, but nothing about them, before you’re prompted to subscribe—so it's hard to decide whether or not to bust out the credit card.

Genealogy Archives subscribers can search within a database, which usually adds a few more search fields. Some of the categories are census records, immigration and passenger lists (from NARA’s free Access to Archival Databases listings), newspapers, “Find Famous Relatives” (finds notable folks with your last name—not necessarily relatives) and cemetery listings (actually, obituaries and the Social Security Death Index, or SSDI). 

I liked how SSDI results link you to a list of cemeteries near each person's place of death, which in turn link to the cemetery’s results in Find-A-Grave or from a Google search, and any USGenWeb entries for the cemetery (no guarantee, of course, that you’ll find information from your ancestor’s head stone).

Godfrey says plans call for beefing up the site with higher-quality family tree software. He hopes a redesign will make the site more engaging and make it easier for you to tell what records it has.

To me, that seems crucial for getting subscribers.

Godfrey adds that he’s having “a lot of conversations with a lot of other folks” (i.e., potential partners) about more content. Also, the Genealogy Archives blog promises “members will be blown away by the dramatic upgrades coming soon.”

You can sign up for a free seven-day trial of Genealogy Archives, though you do need to enter your credit card number.

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, August 24, 2009 11:20:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, August 21, 2009
Genealogy News Corral: August 17-21
Posted by Diane

We rounded up these items for this week's news corral:
  • FamilySearch and Svensk Arkivinformation (part of the National Archives of Sweden) are starting a huge project to create a free online index to 418 million names in Swedish parish registers of births, christenings, marriages and burials. Volunteers will index registers from the start of recordkeeping (between 1608 and 1686, depending on the parish) through 1860.
  • Heritage Travel, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is launching a free online travel community called Gozaic with several “circles” for those interested in history-related travel. Those include Civil War Buffs, Abraham Lincoln, Family Heritage Travel, Journeys into Hidden America and others. Visit the pre-launch site to learn more.
  • On a celebrity baby blog this week, actor/producer Lisa Kudrow describes her next project as “a genealogy series in which we take stars to their ancestral landmarks ... different countries and places where they see documents and they see homes or buildings or things that have to do with their family.” (Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full statement.)
Maybe the postponed US version of “Who Do You Think You Are?will see the light of our TV screens. (Last we heard, it didn’t make NBC’s fall lineup, but might show up as a mid-season replacement.)


Celebrity Roots | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | International Genealogy
Friday, August 21, 2009 12:13:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Headed to the Family History Expo Next Week!
Posted by Diane

The Salt Lake City Family History Expo, which Family Tree Magazine is sponsoring, is next week—August 28 and 29, to be exact—in Sandy, Utah, just south of the genealogical capital of the United States.

Editor Allison Stacy will be in the exhibit hall in booth 202, handing out magazines and other freebies and displaying the latest CDs and other products from Family Tree Magazine.

You can check out the list of exhibitors, classes and many opportunities to win prizes on the Family History Expos Web site

The exhibit hall is open to the public. A conference registration, which gets you into classes and other activities, costs $68 until Aug. 24; at the door, it's $78 for both days or $48 for one day. This event is unique in that you can pay to take individual classes for $12 per session.

There’ll also be Internet access in the Blogger Bistro and Twitter Café where attendees can use a workstation to blog or tweet.

The expo’s 11 Bloggers of Honor will be blogging throughout. Organizer Holly Hansen’s blog is here; you can link to all the blogs from the expo’s Web site.

Follow the expo on Twitter at @FHExpos. Its hashtag is #FHX09-SLC. Search Twitter on this hashtag to see Tweets about the conference.


Genealogy Events
Friday, August 21, 2009 10:35:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, August 20, 2009
Full Circle
Posted by Diane

In April, I interviewed Ian Frazier, who penned the story of his northern Ohio ancestors into a book called Family, for the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands Sept. 8). 

A half-hour after our interview, Frazier was the keynote speaker at the Ohio Genealogical Society's golden anniversary banquet. During dinner, he sat next to the loquacious Kenny Burck, president of the Hamilton County (Ohio) Genealogical Society.

Frazier’s account of their conversation about Kenny’s son Bobby, aka New York City's Naked Cowboy, appears in the Aug. 24 New Yorker.

And my husband of almost a year was Bobby Burck’s lab partner in high school.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Thursday, August 20, 2009 8:21:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Family Tree Maker 2010 Released
Posted by Diane

Capturing your family’s story in a meaningful way appears to be the focus of updates to Family Tree Maker 2010, released today from Ancestry.com.

New and improved features to this popular genealogy software will help you build your family tree, record memories, and organize photos, stories, videos and audio clips so you can more easily share your family's story.
 
More specifically, the updates include
  • better tools to create family books from information and photos in your tree

  • the ability to create and export slide shows from photos in your tree

  • scanner support that lets you add photos to your tree right from your scanner and organize them into categories at the same time

  • the ability to track relatives’ migration paths by mapping locations of events such as births, marriages and deaths with Microsoft Bing Maps

  • an improved relationship calculator that lets you view relationships between any two people in your tree

  • a new timeline report and updates to the family group sheet and genealogy reports

  • standard source templates that make it easier to cite a variety of types of sources

  • extended-family birthday and anniversary calendars
Like previous versions, when you’re connected to the Internet, Family Tree Maker 2010 automatically searches genealogy databases on Ancestry.com for records about people in your family tree. You need an Ancestry.com subscription to view any matching documents.

See an overview and screenshots of Family Tree Maker 2010 here. You can purchase it online for $39.95 (includes a two-week Ancestry.com trial subscription); shipping is free for a limited time. There's no upgrade option. (Clarification here in response to a comment: There's not a lower-price version on the Ancestry.com Web site for 2009 users looking to upgrade, but yes, you can upgrade from 2009 to 2010.)

The software also will be available in stores.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:57:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [9]