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# Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Irish Site Seeks Photos of Every Square Km
Posted by Diane

Want to see your Irish ancestral homeland? Contributing editor SharonDeBartolo Carmack alerted us to a free community photo project sponsored by Ireland’s Ordnance Survey.

The Geograph Project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometer of Ireland

The project divides the country into a grid. Contributors register for free, then use a map or enter a place name to identify the square of the grid associated with their photo, and finally, upload the photo with a description and other information. (More on submissions here.) 

You also can browse images from the site’s map. “I was surprised to see someone had uploaded a photo of the National School in the small townland of Ardvarney, where my ancestors lived,” Carmack said.


Genealogy Web Sites | Photos | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:09:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, January 15, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: January 11-15
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry magazine, published for 25 years by Ancestry.com, will be discontinued after the March/April 2010 issue. For more information, see the staff's message on the magazine’s website.
  • In case you missed it, NBC has announced that the US version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" will air Friday, March 5, at 8 p.m.


Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Videos
Friday, January 15, 2010 3:36:48 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Achieve Genealogy Organization Nirvana
Posted by Diane


It’s the time of year when stores line their aisles with giant plastic tubs, Martha Stewart features storage solutions and genealogists struggle to organize stacks of paper and digitized records.

Our next webinar can help you with that last one.

In Organization Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Get Your Family History in Order, you’ll learn how to set up a paper and computer filing system, get a handle on your e-mail correspondence and keep track of your family history search. The tips and strategies will help you save time and become a better, more-efficient researcher.



The webinar takes place Wed., Jan. 27, from 7 to 8 p.m. Early bird registration, which runs until Jan 21 at midnight, costs $39.99 (after that, the fee is $49.99).

Your registration includes:
• Participation in the live presentation and Q& A session
• Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
• PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
• Bonus handout (webinar attendees will receive a post-webinar e-mail with a link to download the bonus material as a PDF)
• a Family Tree Magazine 2010 Genealogy Desk Calendar (which has coupons for monthly savings at ShopFamilyTree.com)
Click here to register for the webinar. Remember that after your purchase, you must complete your webinar registration using the instructions and link on your confirmation page.


Research Tips | Webinars
Friday, January 15, 2010 1:14:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Can Genealogy Save NBC?
Posted by Diane

The genealogy-reality series we’ve all been waiting for, "Who Do You Think You Are?" (WDYTYA), will help plug the gaps in NBC’s prime-time lineup after the poorly performing "Jay Leno Show" ends Feb. 12.

The new series premieres Friday, March 5, from 8 to 9 p.m. ET (the Winter Olympics airs Feb. 12 to 29).

According to NBC's announcement, WDYTYA will conclude by April 30, when "Friday Night Lights" returns early to take the spot.

WDYTYA is an adaption of the hit British show of the same name. NBC’s version will feature actors Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields, producer Spike Lee, and football legend Emmitt Smith.

I got a chance to see a trailer last week while visiting Ancestry.com—which has a big stake as a partner in the series—and it looks like it could be good: poignant, suspenseful, historical, and filled with lovely scenery from the US and abroad.

There’s also celebrity appeal (though it’d be nice and perhaps even more powerful and surprising to see how average Joes off the street have great stories in their pasts).

Many professional genealogists had a hand in the series. At last Saturday's Ancestry.com-sponsored dinner, speaker and New England Historic and Genealogical Society researcher Josh Taylor recounted portions of his on-screen conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker (she later named her new twin girls after ancestors). Ancestry.com chief genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has written a how-to book based in part on her WDYTYA work. A companion website will reveal more behind-the-scenes genealogical research.

Will the show be a success? For NBC to consider more episodes, it’ll have to attract viewers who aren’t already into family history and history in general. Many genealogists are hoping that’ll translate into a tree-tracing mania similar to the one after the “Roots” miniseries aired in 1977.

Some, I think, also look forward to the popular validation that genealogy is a perfectly acceptable and interesting way to pass time.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Industry
Friday, January 15, 2010 10:50:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, January 14, 2010
Records Coming Soon to a Large Genealogy Website Near You
Posted by Diane

Like last year, content growth is again a focus for Ancestry.com in 2010. During last week’s press junket, content manager Gary Gibbs talked about new records coming to the site in 2010:
  • US vital records, digitized in partnership with state archives. They include vital records from Vermont (1908 to 2008) and Delaware (1800 to 1933); divorces from Connecticut; and the Hayes Library Ohio Death Index.
Gibbs said that respondents to a lengthy Ancestry.com customer survey chose birth, marriage and death records as the resource they’d most like to see, and 1861 to 1914 as the time period most important to their search.
  • Seven state censuses were released last year; look for more this year.
  • US county land ownership maps were originally slated for release in 2009, but Gibbs’ team decided to key the records in a more useful but time-intensive way, delaying the launch until 2010.
  • A 1950 "census substitute" consisting of city directories—helpful to reverse genealogists seeking living relatives, and to beginning researchers.
  • 1880 Defective, Dependent and Delinquent ("DDD") schedules. These supplemental census schedules provide details on individuals with disabilities or who were institutionalized. Surviving records are currently scattered among libraries and state archives. (Can't wait until they go online? Download our cheat sheet to DDD schedules and their locations.)
  • Index improvements to the 1790-to-1840 head-of-household censuses will key the tickmarks indicating household members’ sex, age ranges and status as slave or free, so you’ll be able to search on these parameters.
  • The site will add 700 million more names from voter lists to the US Public Records Index database.
I asked about the 1940 census—whether it’ll be indexed and online when the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) releases the census to the public April 2, 2012 (the official April 1 release date is a Sunday). Gibbs said NARA will digitize the 1940 census, but couldn’t say much else except that Ancestry.com is “intensely interested” in the project.

Look for tips on preparing for the release of the 1940 census (as in determining enumeration districts, not making sure your tailgating gear is in shape) in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine.


Ancestry.com | census records | Land records | Vital Records
Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:32:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 13, 2010
March 2010 Family Tree Magazine and Your Genealogy Resolutions
Posted by Diane


The March 2010 Family Tree Magazine hit newsstands Jan. 5 with articles I think will mesh nicely with 2010 genealogy resolutions you may be formulating. For example:

Resolution: Polish your genealogy research skills.
Article: Assess your genealogical fitness level with the survey in “Shaping Up,” then read how to brush up in areas where you need more knowledge. Links direct you to a range of classes (with plenty of free options), websites, books and organizations that can help researchers from beginners to experts learn a thing or two.

Resolution: Enhance your family’s story with social history
Article: Learn how ancestors came into the world in “We Deliver for You,” an overview of childbirth practices in your grandmothers’ and great-mothers’ days. You’ll also find out about birth, hospital and midwives’ records.

Resolution: Break through your brick wall and figure out whatever happened to Great-great-grandpa.
Article: Maybe a weather event, epidemic, workplace accident or other disaster befell your forebear. “Flirting With Disaster” helps you find death records, newspapers and other sources that may name victims of unfortunate occurrences.

Resolution: Get with the times and equip yourself to digitize photos, record oral histories, back up your hard drive and more.
Article: “Go Go Gadgets” (my favorite title in the issue) explains what to look for in seven tech tools: an Internet connection, all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, digital camera, external hard drive, digital voice recorder, GPS unit and USB flash drive. For each device, we include a chart comparing popular models.

Resolution: Get with the times and figure out Twitter.
Article: Our Toolkit Tutorial illustrates the anatomy of a Tweet, defines Twitter terminology (such as tweep and hashtag) and gets you started on this fast-paced social network.

Resolution: Keep your family connected.
Article: A family website is one way to stay in touch. Our MyHeritage Web Guide outlines how to use a tree on MyHeritage to do research and connect with kin.  


The March 2010 Family Tree Magazine has even more articles, including a guide to tracing Puerto Rican roots, facts about color photography and new sources helping African-American genealogists overcome research obstacles.

Look for the issue in your favorite bookstore, or visit ShopFamilyTree.com to purchase a digital download or order a print copy.


African-American roots | Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Social History | Social Networking | Tech Advice | Vital Records
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2:54:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Inside an Ancestry.com Remote Scanning Facility
Posted by Diane

At the genealogy media event Ancestry.com sponsored last week, our group got a virtual glimpse at the Silver Spring, Md., digitization facility where Ancestry.com scans records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Of its 9 billion textual records, 1 percent of the holdings in NARA’s Washington, DC, research center have been digitized, according to Ancestry.com's Todd Jensen.

In a quest to "go where the records are," Ancestry.com has opened 15 remote scanning operations in the in the United States. Jensen, who oversees the digitization efforts, emphasized the seriousness of the undertaking. Though he didn’t get into specifics, he said costs for the process and insurance are as expensive "as you might imagine."

Pages and pages of government directives regulate the removal of records from NARA’s building:
  • A NARA monitor—subsidized by Ancestry.com—must accompany the documents at all times. When employees go on break or leave for the day, the records are locked in a secure room.
  • The transport vehicle must have a full gas tank and a specially trained driver who follows approved routes (avoiding highways and other roads that permit vehicles carrying hazardous materials) for the 10-mile trip from NARA to the scanning facility.  
  • The documents must be inside when transitioned between the vehicle and the facility.
  • The scanning and secure storage rooms can’t be in a basement or on the top floors of a building.
  • The facility must have approved surfaces. Some paints, rubbers, carpets and other materials can “off-gass,” or emit vapors that harm documents.  
  • The scanning facility must duplicate the conditions of a NARA reading room. Ink pens are banned, for example, and the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled.
  • NARA’s security director reviewed the scanning facility and required some changes, such as hardening the entry points.


Ancestry.com | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:04:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, January 11, 2010
"New" New Search Coming to Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

You might be happy to learn about some changes in store for Ancestry.com's New Search, particularly if you’re using the Old Search in hopes something better than New Search will come along.

During last week’s Ancestry.com press junket, Tony Macklin, manager of the search experience, gave members of the genealogy media (listed at the end of this post) a sneak peek of the updates:

The global basic search form will keep the first and middle name field and last name field. The place field will ask “Where did your ancestor live?” A pop-up calculator helps you estimate the birth year. Options let you add family members’ names and life events.

The global advanced search form is where you’ll see most changes. For the above-mentioned name fields, you'll be able check boxes for filters that let you customize the types of matches you get: records with just initials for the name, just Soundex matches (a feature the professional researchers in our group sorely miss in the New Search), and names with similar meanings or spellings to what you entered.

For the location, filters will let you restrict matches to records associated with just the county or place you entered, or also from adjacent counties/places.

You’ll be able to click boxes that let you restrict matches to just the historical records databases, just family trees or just photos and maps—effectively doing the same thing as the tabs in the Old search. You’ll be able to limit your results to US sources, too.

The updates will be introduced gradually in the New Search over the next weeks and months. The Old Search will stick around for now, but it won’t get these changes.

Individual collection pages also will get updated searches, but this'll take longer because of the customization required. Redesigned collection home pages will feature links to collection categories, easier ways to browse by location or date, and an “Explore by Location” click-through map that lets you see record groups associated with your ancestors’ places of residence.

For more news and analysis from this Ancestry.com-sponsored media event, watch the Genealogy Insider and these genealogy blogs:


Ancestry.com
Monday, January 11, 2010 10:34:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 08, 2010
Genealogy News Corral, Jan 4 to 8
Posted by Diane

Welcome to our first news roundup of 2010!

  • The 2010 National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference April 28 to May 1 in Salt Lake City, will highlight genealogy technology with a GENTECH Hall sponsored by FamilySearch. (GENTECH is a technology-focused genealogical society that merged with NGS in 2005.) There, nearly 100 technology-oriented exhibitors will feature software, gadgets, social collaboration sites, 60 computers for attendees’ use, and more. A GENTECH lecture track will cover cloud computing, blogs, data storage, social networking, photo editing and other tech topics. Learn more on the conference website.
  • Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke has released the first-ever genealogy podcast app for iPhone and iTouch. The Genealogy Gems Podcast app provides users with streaming genealogy audio and video, and exclusive bonus content including Cooke’s 20 page e-book 5 Fabulous Google Research Strategies for the Family Historian. You can get the app at the iTunes app store
  • Ancestry.com and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) will sponsor a Family History Day event Saturday, Feb. 20, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. The day will include six classes, a Q&A with Ancestry.com experts, one-on-one consultations with NEHGS genealogists, and the chance to have your photos and documents scanned on professional scanners. Attendance costs $30; click here to register.

  • The 55,000-member Civil War Preservation Trust announced it helped permanently protect 2,777 acres at 20 Civil War battlefields in five states during 2009. The trust's lifetime total comes to more than 29,000 acres of protected battlefield land at 109 sites in 20 states.

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation
Friday, January 08, 2010 10:44:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Series Explores "What Made America?" Through Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose "African-American Lives" series have been popular on PBS, is working on another genealogy documentary series to air in February and March.

"Faces of America" uses genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 11 famous Americans, using their ancestors’ experiences to draw a picture of American history.

"The many stories [Gates] uncovers—of displacement and homecoming, of material success and dispossession, of assimilation and discrimination—illuminate the American experience," states PBS' announcement.

Four episodes look progressively further back in history. They cover America’s complicated relationship with new immigrants in the 20th century, the “Century of Immigration” and industrialization from the 1820s to 1924 (the year quotas sharply curtailed US immigration), the early settlement of the New World, and how DNA evidence links us to early geographical origins.

The ancestral origins of the show's "cast” span the globe. Gates researches the family trees of poet Elizabeth Alexander (she composed and read the poem at President Obama’s inauguration), chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, film director Mike Nichols, Queen Noor of Jordan, actresses Eva Longoria Parker and Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

The series airs 8 to 9 pm Wednesdays from Feb. 10 to March 3, but you can catch a few glimpses now:

See more "Faces of America" clips on PBS’ YouTube channel.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Genetic Genealogy | Social History
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 2:01:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]