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<2009 October>

More Links

# Tuesday, 06 October 2009
400-year-old Books Return to Germany
Posted by Grace

As a sign of "friendship and trust," the US returned two 16th-century books to Germany today. The tomes were taken by an 18-year-old soldier in 1945, who came across the books in a salt mine in Ransbach, Hessen. He was amazed by the stash—about 2 million books plus 200,000 costumes from the State Opera of Berlin were there, sent underground in 1944 to protect the treasures from incoming troops. (An estimated 15 million books were destroyed in Germany during WWII.) Salt mines were a favorite place to stash valuables because of the mineral's ability to absorb moisture.

Robert Thomas, of Chula Vista, CA, said he was returning the books after six decades "because it's the right thing to do." The US Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas and German Ambassador Klaus Schiaroth exchanged the books from 1573 and 1593 today in a ceremony in Washington, DC.

US Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, the US State Department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues, thanked Thomas for returning the volumes, according to the statement.

“I hope his decision to take this step will serve as an example for others in this country and elsewhere to step forward and return such items displaced during World War II,” he said.

Sources: National Archives, Bloomberg, Associated Press, AFP, Hamburger Abendblatt

Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 14:34:08 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 05 October 2009
Family Tree 40 Blog Voting is Open
Posted by Grace

Voting is now open for the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs (“Family Tree 40” for short).

Go to to vote. Voting takes place from Oct. 5 to Nov. 5, and you can vote more than once. We grouped the nominated blogs into categories, and you'll be asked to vote for a specified number of blogs in each category. (We aimed to have you vote for a quarter of the total number of blogs in each category, but rounded the number in some cases because, well, you can't vote for half a blog.)

URLs are included on the voting form, so you can check out the blogs if you want. For those who wonder how the categories were determined, here's a rundown:
These bloggers give you a little (or a lot) of everything: news, research advice, their own family stories, photos, opinions and more. There’s no one quite like the Genealogue, so we thought about that blog for awhile. It landed in this category because the Genealogue posts a satirical take on genealogy news, holds occasional research challenges and blogs about his own family history every so often.

These blogs primarily cover the blogger's (or, in a case or two or more, bloggers') own research and ancestors. Family historians write what they know and what’s important to them, so this is our biggest category.

Most posts in these blogs cover resources, genealogy events and history for a city, town, state or region.

These blogs focus on cemetery research, gravestone photos and the like.

Content on these blogs is primarily about sharing, researching and preserving family photos and/or heirlooms.

Here, blog content focuses on a particular heritage group, such as African-American, Jewish or Irish. We had some tough decisions in this category, as some family-related genealogy blogs by nature also examine that family’s ethnic heritage.

Blogs in this category deliver a range of genealogy news and information about new resources.

These blogs have instructional content on genealogical resources and methodology. In some cases, bloggers wrote about their own research and ancestors, but framed posts in an instructional manner.

Genealogy Companies
Blogs in this category are written on behalf of a genealogy company, and contain helpful (but not overly advertising-oriented) information on the company’s products, as well as other resources.

Genetic Genealogy
Blogs that are primarily about genetic genealogy and family health history.
The top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a "final" round, and our editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list. The Family Tree 40 will be announced in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine and in the Genealogy Insider e-mail newsletter. You also can follow us on Twitter for contest updates (we'll use the hashtag #FT40).

Click here to get voting!

By the way, feel free to grab either of the little logos below to promote your blog or someone else's!

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Monday, 05 October 2009 09:37:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, 02 October 2009
Genealogy News Corral: September 28-October 2
Posted by Diane

It's Friday, and that means it's time to rustle up some genealogy news:
  • Got St. Louis-area ancestors? Consider subscribing to Genealogy and House History News, a free monthly e-mail update listing additions to the Missouri History Museum's Genealogy and Local History Index (click the “Sign up for the E-mail List” link). If you find a relative, you can order a photocopy of the record.
  • FamilySearch has added a few more databases to the Record Search Pilot, thanks to its hard-working indexing volunteers. You can search indexes and view images of Protestant church records from France (1612-1906).
The 1920 US census index (but not record images) was added for Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Carolina.
You can browse images of church records from Italy, Slovakia, Argentina and Mexico (these indexes are still being processed).
To find records associated with the place your ancestors lived, click Browse our Record Collections on the Record Search home page, then click an area of the map.
  • Happy third birthday to RootsTelevision! The free genealogy TV Web site shared a list of its most popular videos, several of which relate to family history happenings that broke into “mainstream” news. See the list on the Og Blog.
My trusty colleagues Allison and Grace will post while I'm sneaking in some vacation next week. I might chime in from afar, or I might be too entranced by autumnal loveliness to make it happen. We'll see.

FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives | Videos
Friday, 02 October 2009 14:20:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 01 October 2009
New Webinar: Finding Vital Records Online
Posted by Diane

Varying availability and privacy restrictions can put getting your US ancestors’ official birth, marriage and death records among your more frustrating genealogical pursuits.

Help is on the way in our next webinar, Vital Records: Researching Your Ancestors' Births, Marriages and Deaths Online.

This session, presented by Lisa Louise Cooke (known for the Genealogy Gems and Family Tree Magazine podcasts), will cover vital records in the United States, including
  • An overview of US birth, marriage and death records and what's in them

  • Answers to the burning question of why coverage and access varies from place to place

  • Types of vital records Web sites to keep an eye out for

  • Online resources vital records and indexes

  • Even if the record you need isn’t on the web, how to use online resources to get offline records
Participants receive access to a recording of the webinar, PDF copies of the presentation slides, and bonus Family Tree Magazine articles on vital records.

The webinar is Oct. 21, 7 pm EDT. Early birds save $10 on registration—it costs $39.99 until Oct. 8. And the first 10 registrants have the opportunity to submit information for possible use as examples in the presentation.

Click here to register.

Vital Records | Webinars
Thursday, 01 October 2009 17:08:41 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Part Library Catalog, Part Blog = Catablog
Posted by Diane

I learned a new word this week. I read about catablogs on the Archives 2.0 wiki (about libraries that use Web 2.0 technologies).

A catablog, the wiki explains, is a library blog that provides short descriptions of collections in blog posts. The posts are tagged and categorized so visitors can easily find topics they’re interested in.

The library materials themselves aren’t on catablogs, but you can use the catablog post to find out what’s in a collection and link to a library catalog listing or finding aid for the item.
  • UMarmot from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is the original catablog, according to Archives 2.0. Choose from categories such as Civil War, Rhode Island, and Immigration and Ethnicity. Posts describe collections including the Simeon Bartlett Account Books, 1792-1867 (business records from a Williamsburg, Mass., freight hauler, farmer and sawmill owner), and Civil War Diaries, 1862-1863.
Some library blogs aren’t dedicated catablogs—rather, they combine posts about historical collections with those on events and other news. For examples, see the Library of Congress blog, the Ohio Historical Society Collections blog and the Columbus (Georgia) Public Library Genealogy & Local History blog.

If your library has a catablog or a traditional blog, consider subscribing to e-mail alerts or to its RSS feed (look for this button to add the blog to a blog reader).

Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 16:00:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Footnote's New Holocaust Collection Free Through October
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site Footnote and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) just released the Interactive Holocaust Collection of a million Holocaust-related records.

The records are online for the first time—and they’re free through October.

The records, which contain millions of names and 26,000 photos, include:
  • Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Flossenburg.

  • The Ardelia Hall Collection of records related to Nazi looting of Jewish possessions.

  • Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps.

  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings.  
The Interactive Holocaust Collection also has 600 personal accounts, provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, of those who survived or perished in the Holocaust. They’ll feature social networking tools that let you search for names and add photos, comments and stories, and create Footnote pages. These will remain free.

You can search the collection from Footnote's regular site or through a special Holocaust site with stories of victims and survivors, tools for setting up Footnote Pages to memorialize Holocaust ancestors, information on concentration camps, and descriptions of the original records at NARA.

Note the pages may load slowly at first due to high traffic. 

After October, the collection will be accessible with a Footnote subscription ($79.95 a year). As stated, the personal accounts will stay free. 

Footnote | Free Databases | Jewish roots
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 09:11:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 28 September 2009 Adds Census Indexes from Footnote
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site announced a partnership to provide its US Collection subscribers with access to historical records site Footnote’s indexes to the 1860 and 1930 US censuses. members can search the two censuses on and see a transcription of basic information from matching records.

To view the digitized census returns, they'll need to subscribe to Footnote. Or, of course, they can access census records in HeritageQuest Online or Ancestry Library Edition through a library; visit a Family History Center to use Footnote there for free; search subscription site; or use census microfilm at a library, Family History Center or National Archives facility.

Footnote’s 1860 census index also is part of the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot.

A subscription to the World Vital Records US Collection costs $39.95 for a year. A subscription  to Footnote costs $79.95 a year.

census records | Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 28 September 2009 08:44:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 25 September 2009
Genealogy News Corral: September 21-25
Posted by Diane

Is it the end of September already?? Here's our last new roundup for the month 
  • Today’s the last day to get the $55 early bird registration special for the Mesa Family History Expo, Jan. 22-23 in Mesa, Ariz. If you miss the deadline, you still can save by preregistering for $65. Admission at the door costs $75. The exhibit hall is free to the public.
  • Those with African-American roots, mark your calendars for the International Black Genealogy Summit at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., Oct. 29 to 31. It’s the first gathering of African-American historical and genealogical societies from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Watch this blog for more details.
  • On his Genealogy Blog, Leland Meitzler reported on the SwedGen Tour, in which a team of Swedish genealogy experts is stopping at several research facilities to give presentations on Swedish genealogy resources (including subscription records site Genline and the Släktdata vital records site)  and offer one-on-one consultations. See the schedule and preregister at the SwedGen Tour site.
  • I came across a neat blog today called Dear Annie. A Minnesota woman is posting 700 postcards (images and transcriptions) that her Great-aunt Annie Bartos, who died in 1983, saved during her 90 years.

African-American roots | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Events | International Genealogy
Friday, 25 September 2009 14:44:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 24 September 2009
Ways to Say "Woot!" for Family History Month 2009
Posted by Diane

Question of the day: What do we celebrate in October? Columbus Day, yes. Halloween. The start of the Christmas season, in most shopping malls.

October also is Family History Month. In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who wrote, "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family.”

Similar legislation has passed in several years since. I couldn't find an official declaration for 2009 (anyone else?), but family history enthusiasts continue to celebrate Family History Month in October.

Don’t hesitate to hold your own party. Give yourself a whole Saturday at the library or Family History Center, ask a relative your burning family history questions, put some photos in an album, jot down a family story, or tell your state representative how much you appreciate your public library's genealogy resources. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has more ideas.

Here’s a sampling of genealogy classes and other special events we’ve heard about. Check program schedules for your local library and genealogy society to see what’s going on near you.
  • Saturday, Oct. 3, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County offers classes, Genealogy and Local History Department tours, and free consultations with Hamilton County Genealogical Society experts. More events happen throughout the month, including a library lock-in Oct. 17. See the Genealogy Section of the library’s October Calendar (a PDF download) for more details.
  • The Fort Myers-Lee County Library in Florida has a free Family History Month class series on Saturdays in October. For more info, mouse over the listings on the library’s online calendar.
  • The Indiana State Library in Indianapolis has lots of classes planned, including dating photographs, Indiana marriage laws and getting started.
  • Online genealogy class Web site GenClass is sponsoring a competition for a free genealogy class—write a 1,200 word essay about a creative way you’ve honored your ancestors and what inspired you. Get the entry instructions here.
Have yourself a happy Family History Month!

African-American roots | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives
Thursday, 24 September 2009 10:17:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Jamie the Intern Bids Family Tree Farewell
Posted by Jamie


As my summer here at Family Tree Magazine comes to a close, I realize that I have learned so much in a mere three months.

When I first came to Family Tree Magazine, I vaguely knew what genealogy was; I didn’t understand that so many people loved researching dead people and what a huge industry it is.

I have learned so much just by checking the facts in articles, selecting reader tips and organizing back issue content. I would find myself engrossed in an article about the windfall of genealogy information that can be found in religious records or cemeteries, when I should have only been checking to make sure the links in those articles worked. I have a greater understanding of history and how it affects looking for my ancestors.

I never thought learning about genealogy and my family history would be so exciting, so enlightening, so entertaining or so addicting. Every article I worked on was like a clue in a giant treasure hunt that lead me down a path to where “x” marked the spot.

Three months ago, I had no idea what my families’ pasts held for me. And while my Kiely and Lehan branches still need lots of research, I have barely even touched the maternal side of my family tree. Completing the search will definitely be a journey that is life long and one that will help me to understand not only where I came from but where I am going.

I really get why “roots mania” has taken hold in America: Genealogy is interesting, fun and a hobby that turns seemingly ordinary people into gen junkies relatively quickly. I can’t go into a thrift store without scanning the names in old Bibles. When I was recently in Washington, D.C., I went to the Smithsonian and saw an old slave register, the first thing coming mind was “Are these names indexed?” I was also upset to learn that the National Archives and Records Administration doesn’t pull records on Saturday, even if they are open.

I can find family histories on GoogleBooks with a few clicks of a mouse and I can use USGenWeb to find a death index for Kentucky that I would have never found before. I can ask – and answer ­– questions on GenForum. I even created a family tree on

My summer spent here at Family Tree Magazine was certainly a whirlwind and worthwhile experience. Now, just wish me luck on getting by without digital census records on demand.

Family Tree Firsts
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 13:31:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]