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<2009 September>

More Links

# Friday, 18 September 2009
Genealogy News Corral: September 14-18
Posted by Diane

Without further ado, our genealogy news roundup for the week:
  • Subscription site (sister site to the US-focused has added London parish records, which among other events cover deaths from the bubonic plague and the 1666 Great Fire of London. They’re part of a collection of London records from 1538 to 1980.
  • Google Books, where you can search millions of out-of-print books, is partnering with On-Demand Books to let you use any Espresso Book Machine to print books in the public domain that Google has digitized from. (There aren’t a lot of places to find these book machines—click here for locations.) Learn more on the Google Books blog.
  • FamilySearch Indexing has launched new indexing projects from Indiana, Idaho, Canada, Spain, Guatemala, and Peru. The 1920 census index for Ohio is undergoing preparation for publication on the free FamilySearch site. Hooray! (We’re from the Buckeye State.) The 1920 census for Texas; Carroll County, Ind., marriages; and several international collections also are being readied for release.
  • World Vital Records lowered the price of its World Collection subscription to $99.95 (from $119.95). This collection gives you access to all the site’s US records, plus those from Canada, the UK, Ireland and other countries. See the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine for our guide to using World Vital Records.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Michigan Genealogical Council Web site for information on an online petition in support of the Library of Michigan, as well as links to news of budget-related library cuts across the country.

census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 18 September 2009 10:29:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Hitting the genealogy jackpot
Posted by Jamie


I have previously explained to you the difficulty in tracing the Royce line of my family tree because of issues with my grandfather’s paternity. Well, I have busted through that brick wall and have made my way to my great-great-grandfather James Henry Royse of Fleming County, Ky.

Frequent name, location and even wife changes (every generation in my direct Royce line from my father to my great-great-grandfather has had multiple wives) made my research difficult.

While working at Family Tree Magazine, I've had to go through the entire catalog of back issues, so I have learned a wealth of ways to trace my roots as well as sharpen my searching skills. One of the back issues suggested looking at forums or joining a Listserv to see who else is researching your family tree. I stumbled across a distant cousin on GenForum who had replied to a post about the Royse family of Fleming County, Ky., in which he referenced an ancestor with a name and birth date similar to someone in my line.

He had left his e-mail address, so I wrote him with all of the details I had about our potential common ancestor. I received a speedy reply that indicated we weren’t talking about the same ancestor, but he did have research on my collateral line. My new-found cousin then kindly made copies of everything he had on my branch and mailed it to me.

I didn’t know what to expect, but when I received the information I raced to open it. At first I glanced over it and saw that the earliest ancestor listed was Thomas Royce, born 1569 in Martock, Somersetshire, England. I then scanned the list looking for James Henry Royse, which my cousin had kindly highlighted for me, and all of the information listed matched my research from the censuses, FamilySearch and other resources I had used on

I then read the whole document through and learned a great deal about my family. My ninth-great-grandfather, Robert Royce, was a constable and was elected to the First General Assembly of New London, Conn. My seventh-great-grandfather, John Royce, and sixth-great-grandfather, Moses Royce, both had trouble with Indians, as John died from an Indian attack on his Pennsylvania farm and Moses’ wife was kidnapped by Indians, never to be heard from again.

My fifth-great-grandfather was quite a character. Arron Royce/Royse fought in the battle of Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War with Col. George Washington and General Braddock. They were captured by the French, and Arron, Daniel Boone and Washington all escaped. He also served as a captain in the Revolutionary War (apparently, I need to get my Daughters of the American Revolution application ready). Arron also is responsible for changing the family name from Royce to Royse, after a fight with his brother John that caused Arron to even move to Fleming County.

This all leads back to my great-great-grandfather James. His son, Allen Taylor Royse, who isn’t in my direct line, decided to change our family name back to Royce. That explains why some census years and other records list the last name as Royse in some cases and Royce in others for James’ family.

Full-fledged fact or family folklore? We shall see. Of course this all needs to be verified through my own research, but that shouldn’t be too hard as my cousin cited all of his sources. And even if he hadn’t, at least his research would have been a great guide for me to trace my family tree.

Family Tree Firsts | Social Networking
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:16:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Thanks for Sharing Your Family Photos!
Posted by Diane

Late last month we put out a call for photos of your ancestors; one person’s photo will be on the cover of the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine, our special 10th Anniversary Issue. I’m excited that you were excited to share your family photos. Thank you!

Our art director Christy Miller, who designs Family Tree Magazine covers, wanted to add her thanks and an update on how selection is going. This from Christy:
We were thrilled to see your response to our call for photos. With more than 300 submissions (and a few more waiting in our in-boxes), it's definitely going to be a challenge choosing just the right photo for the cover.

Every picture you sent tells a story about your family—such as the three sisters having a tea party, the 1909 off-roaders, this American Indian family whose members were removed to Oklahoma, the young woman in this gorgeous hand-colored portrait, this fun wedding-day photo, this one showing some old-fashioned PhotoShopping  … we could go on.
A few people even sent unidentified photos, hoping someone else will recognize the faces of those pictured.
So all the pictures speak to us. For magazine cover purposes, we’re especially liking photos where you can see the subjects’ faces clearly, they’re making eye contact with the viewer, and their expressions are open and friendly (as if to say, “pick up this magazine!”).
Thanks for sharing your photos with Family Tree Magazine. We're thoroughly enjoying looking through them. And don't worry if your photo doesn't get chosen for the cover—we may use it inside the magazine during the year (we'll contact you in that case).
P.S. Does anyone else see a resemblance between the young woman in this photo and actress Julia Roberts?

Family Tree Magazine articles | Photos
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 10:56:19 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Resources for Tracing Hispanic Roots
Posted by Diane

Today’s the start of Hispanic Heritage month, honoring the histories of the United States’ 46.9 million residents of Hispanic origin, who according to the Census Bureau make up the nation's largest ethnic minority.

About 64 percent of the country’s Hispanic residents have a Mexican background; 9 percent are Puerto Rican; 3.5 percent, Cuban; 3.1 percent, Salvadoran; and 2.7 percent, Dominican.

Four Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common last names in the 2000 US census: Garcia (placing eighth with 858,289 occurrences), Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th).

Researching Hispanic roots? Here are some places to start:
  • Our online Hispanic Heritage Toolkit has resources and tips for learning about Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Central and South American ancestors.
See our advice for research in the Caribbean, too.
The site also has a growing collection of church, civil registration and census records from the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Besides researching your Hispanic roots, here are a couple of other ways to mark the occasion:
  • PBS is airing "Latin Music USA," a documentary series, Mondays, Oct. 12 and 19, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | immigration records | International Genealogy
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 09:50:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, 14 September 2009
FamilySearch Record Search Site Updates
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch sent a note to let us know about recent additions to its free Record Search Pilot site. Those include:
  • records from Brazil; Mexico; British Columbia, Canada; the Czech Republic; and Hungary
  • Philadelphia, Pa. marriage indexes, 1885 to 1951
The Record Search site changed a bit earlier this month. From the home page, you can search across all collections. To find a specific database, click Browse Our Record Collections below the search form. On the resulting map, click the region you’re interested in searching, then click the title of the database you want to search.

On the individual database page, click About This Collection to go to the FamilySearch Wiki page on the database. There, you’ll see a sample record image and information on the creation, content, coverage and reliability of the collection.

census records | FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Vital Records
Monday, 14 September 2009 08:51:51 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 11 September 2009
$10 Off Our Upcoming Immigration Webinar
Posted by Allison

Just a reminder that today's the last day to take advantage of the early bird rate on this month's webinar, Online Immigration Records: Retracing Your Ancestors' Journey on Sept. 22.

The discounted price of $39.99 expires at midnight tonight. After that,  registration will cost $49.99.

If you haven't participated in one of our webinars, you could think of it as a "souped up" online genealogy seminar. Besides participation in the live event—which you can attend in your jammies if you want—you get a link to the recording so you watch the session as many times as you'd like, a PDF of the presentation slides and an e-book of related how-to guides for further reading.

Diane will be hosting the immigration webinar, which starts at 7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central/5 p.m. Mountain/4 p.m. Pacific. You'll find more details on the registration page.

Genealogy Events | immigration records | Webinars
Friday, 11 September 2009 16:53:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral: September 7-11
Posted by Diane

After skipping last week's news corral due to the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, I'm back in the saddle and rounding up genealogy news items:
  • The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has launched a blog called UpFront With NGS, which will complement the society’s monthly e-mail newsletter of the same name. News will be posted regularly on the blog, so you don’t have to wait for the e-mail, and you can leave comments on the blog posts. | Genealogy fun | Genealogy societies | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 11 September 2009 11:16:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Online Database: 19th-Century British Newspapers
Posted by Diane

Gale (a Michigan-based company that creates educational databases), along with The British Library and the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee, has introduced a new online database of 19th-century British newspapers.

British Newspapers, 1800-1900, gives users access to more than 2 million newspaper pages from 49 19th-century national and regional newspapers in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Content from two of the papers is free; other content is accessible with a fee (see below).

You'll get a good look into your ancestors’ world and maybe find genealogical details in articles, property and legal notices, marriage and birth announcements and photographs.

Supplementary resources include timelines and histories of the 49 newspapers.

You can search the full text of the papers by a person’s name or a keyword and link to high-resolution digital images of the pages. You don't have to pay to merely search, and you can click on a thumbnail image in your search results to see a snippet of the article containing your search term.

To download an article, you must purchase a pass. A 24-hour pass (during which you can view up to 100 articles) costs 6.99 pounds (about $12); a seven-day pass (allows 200 article views) costs 9.99 pounds (about $17).

Articles from The Penny Illustrated Paper and The Graphic are free. When you search, you can check a “display only free content” box that will show you results from just these papers.

Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 11 September 2009 10:50:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 10 September 2009
More on the Family Tree 40
Posted by Diane

Thanks to the genealogy blogging community for helping spread the word about our Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, an article scheduled for the May 2010 issue. We hope it will draw readers’ attention to the great work being done on genealogy blogs.

We wanted to get readers involved in the article for a few reasons:
  • To encourage people to check out more blogs, including ones they might not be aware of
  • To make the selection process more of a bottom-up effort, not just our editors’ choices
  • To get genealogists’ help and input in selecting from the huge blogging universe
We chose to do this through a nomination period, followed by a voting period. Genealogy blogger FootnoteMaven raised some questions about the process in her recent “Hmmmmmm” post, so I wanted to clarify some points here. I apologize in advance for the long post!

We’d planned to explain more about voting once we saw how nominations went. Not having done this before, we didn’t know what kind of response to expect, which is why we weren’t more explicit about judging and criteria from the outset—it wasn’t a secret; we just weren’t sure how our criteria would work, based on the number and quality of nominations we might receive.

Voting is intended to make the process participatory, but voting alone won’t determine which blogs are featured in the article. When the voting concludes—assuming we receive adequate nominations—the top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a “final” round, and then our editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list.

Narrowing the list of nominees
There’s no predetermined limit to how many nominees will be included in voting. But we do anticipate a need to eliminate some nominations from consideration. Criteria that would disqualify a blog:
  • It isn’t primarily about genealogy.
  • The blogger doesn’t post original content (for example, if he/she simply aggregates feeds from other blogs).
  • The blog is no longer updated, or does not post new content on a regular basis (say, at least once a week).
In narrowing remaining nominees, we’ll look at the quality of the posts—rampant misspellings (beyond typos—those happen to everyone) and poor language can make posts hard to follow. We’ll look hard at blogs associated with paid services—such a blog might be helpful to readers, or it might be primarily a marketing tool. Those made up strictly of advertising content would likely be eliminated.

If a blog gets just one or a few nominations, that won’t keep it out of the voting. If one blog is nominated many times, though, we’ll note that it’s probably a blog many people are reading.

We thought we’d divide nominees into categories because it’ll be easier for readers to choose from, say, a list of 20 similar blogs than one huge list of all 500 or 1,000 (or however many) nominees. We feel it’s important to see the nominees before setting categories in stone, so we can make sure we have categories that account for all the blogs in the running. We also don’t want to end up with categories containing only two or three nominees, or 100 nominees, which would be unmanageable for voters.

FootnoteMaven asked specifically about categorizing wide-ranging, very frequently updated genealogy blogs such as Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings. We’ll come up with a broad, all-encompassing category for such “super bloggers.”

She also wondered whether the “excellent genealogy advice,” “offer insight,” etc. qualities mentioned in our first Family Tree 40 post might hint at the voting categories. They’re not meant to. Instead, we just wanted to get nominators thinking about why they’d want to take the step to nominate a particular blog.

Finally, FootnoteMaven also wanted a Family Tree 40 badge that encourages blog visitors to vote for their favorite genealogy blog, not just her own. Here’s an alternate version of the badge she and other bloggers can use:

and the original, which blogger also could choose:

If you have a comment or question, please click Comments and let us know.

Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, 10 September 2009 13:21:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, 09 September 2009
2009 FGS Conference Roundup
Posted by Diane

Last week's Federation of Genealogical Societies conference was light on news, but still heavy on genealogical enthusiasm and camaraderie. We heard there were about 700 registered attendees, though FGS hasn't shared official numbers. Here's a roundup of conference news, plus links to postings on other blogs:
  • Subscription family tree site One Great Family exhibited this year as part of a new marketing effort to reach the genealogy community.
One Great Family automatically merges trees when it finds the identical person on both, which sounds a bit scary—but where the trees differ, the site maintains the differences and each member sees the version of the tree he believes is correct. President Rob Armstrong says no one can change your view of your tree, but everyone can see your version and accept your view if they choose. A subscription costs $59.95 annually; a free one-week trial offer is available.
  • A new company called Geneartogy uses your ancestors’ names and photos to create frameable, decorative trees on canvas (you also can get the designs on smaller plaques). Prices range from a $98 extra-small plaque to a $408 extra-large canvas, with an additional cost for framing.
(The 2010 National Genealogical Society conference, by the way, is in Salt Lake City, so you could double up on a trip to the Family History Library.)
  • If you’re new to genealogy conferences, you might be curious about the long panel of ribbons dangling from some attendees’ name badges, like so:

(This is podcast host Dear Myrtle’s badge.) Ribbons designate society memberships, honors and more. All registrants got an “ member” ribbon (whether or not they actually were members) and first-time attendees got “First FGS Conference.” FGS board members, speakers and  genealogical societies delegates received ribbons. I got “Podcast Fan” and “Keeping up With Blogs” at a social networking forum. Some highly involved folks had to take special measures to secure their ribbons:

Click to see our earlier posts on the partnership, FamilySearch announcement about Arkansas marriage records and Library of Michigan news.

For more from the conference, check out posts by Dick Eastman, Randy Seaver and Dear Myrtle (scroll down). Feel free to click Comments and add a link to your FGS 2009 conference post. | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 11:31:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]