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<2009 November>

More Links

# Thursday, 05 November 2009
Editors Pick: Wish Lists in
Posted by Diane

Got your eye on a few how-to genealogy books, CDs, digital downloads or other helps in

Now you can keep track of those wanted items—and, if you choose, communicate your hankering to those whose gift lists you’re on—by creating a wish list.

Here’s how:
1. Go to Click My Wish List in the top right corner of any page.
2. If you’ve ordered something before, you might already have an account, and you can log in here. If you don’t have an account, click the “Not Registered? Click Here” link to create a user name and password (you don’t have to buy anything to register).
3. Once you’re logged in, click the Wish List link to go right to your list.
4. Set up a list by entering a description (such as “Diane’s Christmas list”), an expiration date, and deciding whether to keep it hidden. If you check the “private” box, you won’t be able to e-mail the list to others, but you can view and make purchases from it. Click submit.
5. Whenever you’re browsing around in the store and see an item you’d like, click the Add to Wish List button. You’ll be taken to the entry in your list.
Once you’ve added items to your list, click Wish List to see the "E-mail Wish List to Friends" link. (If you made your list private, you won’t see this link. Just uncheck the Private box to see the link.) Now you can type a message and enter up 20 e-mail addresses of people who’ll receive your list.

They’ll get an e-mail that starts with “[Your name] has opened a wish list at and wanted to let you know. You can view the list by clicking on the link below.”

Then they’ll see your message and a link to your list on

Editor's Pick | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 05 November 2009 09:39:19 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Now's the Time to Start on Family History Gifts
Posted by Diane

We don’t mean to rush you into the winter holidays—it was just Halloween—but if you’re thinking of giving family history-related gifts this year, now’s the time to start.

Many such gifts require prep work: For example, you’ll need to gather, scan, digitally touch up and label photos for a photo CD; start laying out an online photo book or calendar; or collect and transcribe family stories. Maybe you want to check another record or two before finalizing a compiled family history.

And by starting early, you can watch for coupon codes and sales; and make sure anything you order online will get to you in time.

As our early gift to you, here’s our December 2006 article with 13 family history gift ideas you can make. The projects range from very quick and easy to moderately quick and easy. The article has supply lists and step-by-step instructions for seven of the projects.

A few more sources of family tree gift ideas:
  • I’m kinda partial to this one: Family Tree Legacies, a book Family Tree Magazine editor Allison Stacy and I put together for recording all kinds of family history information—not just names and dates, but also family stories, news articles, house history, military service details, where people lived and more.

Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Thursday, 05 November 2009 09:07:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
FamilyRelatives Adds A Million British Military Records
Posted by Diane

British subscription and pay-per-view site FamilyRelatives is adding a million new military records spanning from 1808 to World War 1.

They include:
  • The Peninsular Medal Roll (1808-1814), naming some who fought in the Peninsular Wars against Napoleon from 1808 to 1813.
  • De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour (1914-1918), a two-volume set with biographies of 25,000 men. The site currently has 12,500 of the biographies—those of men who lost their lives in the Great War.
  • Harts Army Lists for several years. The lists were published regularly between 1839 and 1915, and give details of war service.
See the full list of new military records on (scroll down on the linked page). An annual FamilyRelatives subscription costs 30 pounds (about $50). Click here to see pay-per-view options.

Military records | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, 05 November 2009 08:36:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 04 November 2009
Massachusetts State Library in Danger?
Posted by Diane

First it was the Library of Michigan. Now the State Library of Massachusetts is reporting on its blog that the Massachusetts governor’s office announced during an Oct. 29 press conference that the governor is considering closing the State Library of Massachusetts to cut expenses.

A press release about the state's budget gap, which the governor issued the same day, doesn’t specifically mention the library, but it says state agencies have been asked to prepare for additional cuts.

The state library's blog post links to a petition you can sign, and to contact information for the governor’s office.

The Massachusetts Library Association was already planning a rally at the Massachusetts State House today to support libraries, whose funding has declined over the years even as use goes up.

Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 13:47:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 03 November 2009
Tell Us Your New Year's Traditions (You Could Win a CD)
Posted by Diane

We’re still taking entries for our November 2009 All in the Family challenge, but only for another week. If we publish your entry in Family Tree Magazine, you’ll win our Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Think of your family’s weird, wacky or wonderful New Year’s traditions. Did you irritate the neighbors by banging pots and pans at midnight? Play board games and watch the ball drop on Times Square? Consume cabbage, donuts or black-eyed peas for luck?

2. Next, describe that tradition in 200 words or less.

3. Send us your description either by posting it to our Talk to Us Forum (you must register with the Forum to post) or by sending us an e-mail.

Please include your name and your city and state with your entry, like so: Diane Haddad, Cincinnati, Ohio. If we pick your entry, that’ll make it easier for us to credit you in the magazine.

And in that case, we’ll contact you by e-mail to ask for your mailing address so we can send the CD (so keep an eye on your in box).

You have until Nov. 10 to enter. Let’s hear those New Year traditions!

Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 15:29:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 02 November 2009
It Works! Writing a Family History Narrative
Posted by Diane

I’ve heard the tip that writing your genealogy research into a narrative forces you to organize your information and for theories about what your ancestors did. I’ve even suggested this tip to people—but I never took my own advice.

Until recently, that is, when relatives started asking for copies of records, and I started feeling guilty that I haven’t already shared them.

But I don’t want to just hand over a stack of papers (or more likely, a CD with a bunch of PDFs) and leave people to interpret them on their own. I wanted to tell the family’s story and provide a framework for the records I've found.

And even though I've looked at these records a million times, in creating my narrative I've spotted some holes and tweaked my timeline. A few examples:
  • I realized (duh!) that I had the 1930 census schedule for my great-grandfather and three of his children, but one wasn’t listed with the family. I found him lodging in a nearby town.
  • I realized my great-grandfather didn’t check in at the state prison until after his sons were placed in an orphanage. That's the reverse of what was on my mental timeline.
  • It occurred to me that I should see if the Lions Club that sponsored part of my grandfather’s college education has minutes from the meeting he attended to thank the group.
I didn’t think I’d accomplished much in my research. But now that I’ve laid it all out, I realize how far I’ve come—and I’m inspired to rev up my efforts.

My narrative isn't anything fancy. I just reviewed my records and notes chronologically, and explained what each document is, what it says about our relatives, and any theories and questions it inspires. I’ll update it as I learn more.

A timeline or a research journal also can help you analyze your work. Try these resources:

Research Tips
Monday, 02 November 2009 16:26:56 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Friday, 30 October 2009 Cemetery Collection Free Through Nov. 5
Posted by Diane

This just in: is making its "creepiest collections"—records of cemeteries and gravestones free through next Thursday, Nov. 5. You will need to register for a free account to view details of your search results.

 Use the search box on this Halloween landing page to access the free databases.

Click here to see the list of cemetery indexes and inscriptions included in this offer. | Cemeteries
Friday, 30 October 2009 16:02:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral: October 26-30
Posted by Diane

Here are some genealogy news bits we've rounded up for you this week. Happy Halloween!
  • Familybuilder DNA has added Groups, a feature that let customers collaborate on genetic genealogy research. They’ll be able to create and join groups focusing on commonalities such as haplogroup, national origin, surname, birthplace, etc. read more on

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 30 October 2009 14:48:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 29 October 2009
Census Collection Q&A With Footnote
Posted by Diane

By now, you’ve probably heard the announcement that historical records site Footnote is adding indexes and images for the entire US census. Our Q&A with Footnote spokesperson Justin Schroepfer offers more information on the changes to come for the site:

1. Is Footnote creating new census images and indexes? How is this being done?

We are digitizing the microfilm and indexing the data ourselves the same way we have done the [1860 and 1930] censuses. The way we do the census records is different with the addition of what we call ‘sub documents.’

We create sub documents for each individual on the census. It features the indexed information, and allows users to click that they are related and add their own contributions in the form of stories, photos or other documents. Essentially, this creates what we term the Interactive Census Collection.

2. When will we start seeing the new censuses added to the site? What states will be first? When do you anticipate the collection will be complete?

We have already started on 1920, 1910 and 1900. We are starting with the most populous states from these decades. We anticipate the entire census collection to be completed by the end of next year. We created a page where users can check the status of each decade and sign up for a notification when content is added to a specific state from a specific decade.

3. Looking down the road, how will the census addition affect Footnote’s subscription pricing ($79.95 per year or $11.95 per month)?

We are always trying to keep the price of our membership manageable by operating lean and efficient. The pricing for Footnote memberships will not be affected by the addition of this specific collection. It is included in the Footnote membership fees as they stand now. We believe that we can cover our costs by providing significant increase in value to the current product. This, in turn, should help with conversion and retention.

4. Will changes to the workings of the site be necessary to accommodate the added data, searches and traffic?

Adding over 9 million images to the site with the indexes and the sub documents is not a small feat. Our engineering team has been working to ensure that the site experience, including the speed, remains optimal. The team has made some creative decisions to handle this new data and help ensure the customer experience is not negatively affected.

Thursday, 29 October 2009 11:53:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Last Week to Vote in the Family Tree 40!
Posted by Diane

Remember to cast your vote for your favorite genealogy blog—the top 40 will be in a May 2010 Family Tree Magazine article.

Click here to see more information on the voting categories.

And click here to vote. Thanks for taking part!

Watch for Family Tree 40 updates here and on Twitter (look for the hashtag #FT40).

Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, 29 October 2009 09:28:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]