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# Monday, January 25, 2010
Search Australian Convicts Free Through Jan. 31
Posted by Diane

Starting in 1788, Great Britain sent about 160,000 convicts to Australia, predominantly New South Wales.

Today, an estimated one in five Australians has a convict ancestor. Think you’re among them? To mark Australia Day (Jan. 26), Ancestry.com’s Australian site is letting you search 2.3 million convict and criminal-related records free through Sunday, Jan. 31

Note that you’ll need to sign up for a free registration to search. (If you subscribe to Ancestry.com’s World Deluxe Collection, the convict records are included in your subscription.)

Thanks to @NSWGenealogy for tweeting this news.


Ancestry.com | International Genealogy
Monday, January 25, 2010 9:57:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 22, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 18-22
Posted by Diane

There was a plethora of genealogy news this week to gather for our Friday roundup:
  • Footnote hinted on its Facebook page about a new Civil Rights-era records collection to launch in February in partnership with Gannett. Get a glimpse here.
  • The free FamilySearch Record Search pilot site has added 25 million new records for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Guatemala, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States. They include 1920 US census indexes for Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Maine; 1935 and 1945 Florida state censuses; Indiana marriages and more.
  • Subscription site GenealogyBank is adding 280 new African-American newspapers. The first 50 were released this month; see the titles, where they were published and the years of coverage on the GenealogyBank blog.
  • Ancestry.com also announced it’s getting rid of its Member Connections feature (note this is different from Member Connect, which was launched last year). It would let you let you enter an ancestor’s name and get a list of Ancestry.com members also researching that person, but now you can do pretty much the same thing by searching Public Member Trees.
  • The National Archives in Washington, DC, is holding a public meeting next Friday, Jan. 29, at 10:45 am to discuss how the archives meets the needs of the research community. Get details on the NGS UpFront blog.


African-American roots | Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Footnote | Libraries and Archives | Newspapers
Friday, January 22, 2010 9:45:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 21, 2010
Genealogy Pages to Fan on Facebook
Posted by Diane

As more and more genealogy organizations create profiles (called fan pages) on Facebook, you can keep tabs on societies, repositories and businesses just as easily as you stay in touch with friends.

Once you’ve "fanned" an organization (see how-tos at the end of this post), its status updates show up in your feed just like your friends’ updates do. They’ll include fun facts, resource highlights, research tips, news, event information, sale announcements and requests for feedback. On the organization’s page, you’ll see wall posts from other fans who share your interests.

Here are some types of organizations to consider fanning (to give you examples, I've included links to some fan pages I found):
You can fan an organization by going to its fan page and clicking the “Become a fan” button at the top:



If your feed tells you that your friend Joe Smith became a friend of the Springfield History Museum, you can click the accompanying link to become a fan, too, or to visit the museum’s fan page. Similarly, if you get a notification that someone suggested you become a fan of an organization, you'll see a “Become a fan” link and a "Learn more" link.

To search for fan pages, type an organization’s name into the search box in the upper right corner of your Facebook page.

If you want to unfan an organization, that’s easy, too: Just go to the fan page and click “Remove me from fans” near the bottom of the left margin.




Social Networking
Thursday, January 21, 2010 3:33:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, January 20, 2010
How to Get the Most Out of Every Genealogy Record
Posted by Diane

Waaaaaay back in 2000, Family Tree Magazine was born. To celebrate 10 years of helping genealogists trace their family trees, I’ll be sharing some of our best advice from each year of publication.

Kicking things off, Marcia Yannizze Melnyk’s advice from October 2000 helps you squeeze every drop of usefulness from genealogy records. It's still  quite relevant—not everything has changed in the world of genealogy.
Leave no stone unturned. Many types of records provide clues that are often overlooked. Take what I call the “Doberman” approach to your genealogy research: Latch on to a fact and don't let go until you've gotten everything out of it. Squeezing every single scrap of information from a record as a clue to other research will pay big dividends. “Ask” every document these questions:

• Why was the document created in the first place?

• Are you looking at the original or a copy?

• To whom does the document pertain?

• How close to the original event was the document created?

• Who are the witnesses, informants or other persons mentioned in the document?

• Are any family relationships stated or implied?

• Did the person executing the document sign with a signature or mark?

• Is the information reliable, usable, or simply a clue to further research?

• What's the full citation for the document?


Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:53:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]