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<February 2010>

More Links

# Monday, February 22, 2010
Sneak Peek at Footnote's "Newer Viewer"
Posted by Diane

Historical records site Footnote has been quietly working on a “newer viewer”—a new-and-improved version of the site's record viewer.

Here's the current version:

With the updates, Footnote wants to make record images load faster and be easier for you to work with, and to make browsing to related images easier. Read about the new features and get a look at them on Footnote's blog.

The newer viewer isn’t ready for release yet, but Footnote is letting you try it out and provide feedback. Give it a whirl using the link at the bottom of Footnote’s post.

Monday, February 22, 2010 2:02:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Announcing the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs
Posted by Diane

The May 2010 Family Tree Magazine is on its way to subscribers, so it’s time to reveal the listing of the 40 genealogy blogs you all nominated and voted as favorites.

That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t many more stellar blogs among the hundreds family historians use to chronicle their successes and brick walls, share history, offer genealogy guidance and more. All their legions of posts add up to an extraordinary store of collective knowledge about how to discover, preserve and celebrate your family history.

We’re hoping this look at the genealogy blogosphere inspires you to go exploring for more blogs to add to your reader.

See our online article for more on the "FT40," as well as tools to find more genealogy blogs.

Congratulations to the following Family Tree 40 bloggers (listed in alphabetical order by category). We admire their writing, research and photography skills, and applaud their work to promote the pursuit of family history. I hope their blogs will proudly wear the Family Tree 40 logo!

Genetic Genealogy
Local & Regional
News & Resources
Photos & Heirlooms
Personal & Family

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, February 22, 2010 12:12:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, February 19, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: February 15-19
Posted by Diane

Want to be on The Generations Project? See the show’s website to apply.
  • Speaking of television, if you missed the second episode of Faces of America on Wednesday, you can catch it online.
You can learn about Library and Archives Canada’s WWI resources in the online Canadian Genealogy Center.

Military records | UK and Irish roots | Videos
Friday, February 19, 2010 3:29:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 18, 2010
Coming Soon: Easy Decorative Family Tree Printing
Posted by Diane

Family tree chart printer Generation Maps is planning a new service that’ll make it easy for you to create decorative family trees.

Family ChArtist, to launch in early March (the exact date will be announced soon), is a Flash application you’ll use on the Generation Maps website to create decorative family tree charts. You’ll be able to print an 8.5x11-inch version for free, and purchase larger copies as instant PDFs or by mail.

The application will let you choose a design and add names and genealogical details by typing, uploading a GEDCOM, or importing information from a FamilySearch family tree (for those  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints members who have access to the “new” FamilySearch online tree-builder). Generation Maps development director Janet Hovorka says the company also is working with other online family tree services to allow data imports from those sites.

You can see several examples and get more details on Hovorka’s Chart Chick blog. This is among my favorites from her selection:

Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:30:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Unlocking Genealogical Secrets in Census Records
Posted by Diane

Before I got into genealogy, I imagined a census like this: The government passes down word that a census must be taken. All residents freeze. A small army of census takers rises up with their pens and papers, and goes forth to knock on every door and write down exactly who lives there. Life resumes.

My dreams of this orderly process were shattered long ago, but working on our Census Secrets CD reminded me again how hard it can be to find people in census records.

This CD has guides to help you get past census research obstacles such as unexpected spellings, mistranscribed names, those pre-1850 head-of-household censuses, changing borders, missing records, etc. It also has cheat sheets and charts to help you find federal, state and colonial censuses, plus forms for every US census so you can track who you searched for and what you found.

See a list of topics the Census Secrets CD covers here.

The articles, charts and forms are text-searchable PDF articles. You open them with free Adobe Reader software, so they’re compatible with Macs and PCs.

Census Secrets is available now for pre-order, and it's 15 percent off until March 4—just $16.99. (Remember, Family Tree VIP members get another 10 percent off everything in the store.)

census records | Research Tips | Sales
Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:13:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Exploring the Genealogically Improbable
Posted by Diane

Sometimes to break a genealogy brick wall, you have to break a rule by considering an improbable ancestral scenario. Unusual circumstances did occasionally occur.

That’s the idea behind this week’s “Best of” entry—one of contributing editor David A. Fryxells’ 31 brick wall-busting tips from the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.
As Sherlock Holmes liked to lecture Dr. Watson, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” So consider even the most unlikely possibilities when confronting your brick walls: Could there have been two men by the same name in the county at that time? Might your third-great-grandfather have married his cousin? Maybe your great-grandmother remarried in between censuses, thus changing her name.
Admitting to the improbable—but not impossible—is how I finally broke through the brick wall of my frustrating Ekstroms. I had found Olof Ekstrom's widow, Mary A., in an 1892 Rock Island and Moline, Ill., city directory. She matched my great-great-grandmother Anna Maja Pehrsdotter, who'd married Olof back in Sweden—Anna Maja easily could have been flipped and Americanized to Mary A.

I also found her, already a widow, in an 1885 city directory. But where was she—or Olof, for that matter—in the 1880 census, if she'd emigrated in 1873, as Swedish records indicated? The only Mary in the census who seemed to fit was married to a Bernard Vankirkhoon (actually Van Kirkhove, I later learned), a Belgian gent! Looking closer, I saw that the household included several children named not Vankirkhoon, but Ekstrom—with roughly the right first names and ages.
I kept going back to that census page. It didn't fit any of my assumptions, but it did fit the facts, if I looked at them in a completely different way:
• What if Olof had died soon after immigrating and never made it to Illinois—where I couldn't find any record of his death?
• What if Anna Maja, now Mary A., had then married this Belgian guy?
• And what if the Belgian also had died—between 1880 and that 1885 city directory—and Mary decided to return to her previous married name?
• What if the 1880 Olof Ekstrom in the Vankirkhoon household was the same person as the Oliver Eckstrom I'd found at the same address as the widow Ekstrom in the 1892 city directory—making him my great-great-uncle?
Once I was willing to consider this alternate explanation, I soon found obituaries, passenger manifests and loads of other records that matched the scenario. The pieces of the puzzle fell into place. All I had to do, if you will, was try looking at the picture upside-down.
Related resources from Family Tree Magazine:

Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:58:04 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Family Tree DNA Introduces "Family Finder" Test
Posted by Diane

Genetic genealogy company Family Tree DNA is launching a new DNA test called Family Finder that’ll let you connect with family members across all ancestral lines.

While Y-DNA tests match men with a specific paternal line and mitochondrial DNA tests finds potential relatives along only the maternal line, Family Finder—an autosomal DNA test—can look for close relationships along all ancestral lines.

But rather than simply helping you confirm potential relationships with specific individuals, Family Finder is intended to match you with new relatives. Test results include a list of matching people in Family Tree DNA’s databases.

Men and women can take the test and match the results to male and female cousins from any of their family lines in the past five generations.

Family Finder is available now to current Family Tree DNA clients for $249, and will be offered to everyone in mid-March. Family Tree DNA CEO Bennett Greenspan called the new test the company’s “most exciting genetic genealogy breakthrough” since launching its Y-DNA test.

Read more about Family Finder on Family Tree DNA's website.

Related Resources from Family Tree Magazine:

See our DNA category for articles—both free and Plus—on using genetic genealogy in your family history research. (PS: Family Tree Magazine isn't affiliated with Family Tree DNA.)

Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:55:02 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Live Roots Adds Access to FamilySearch Record Search Results
Posted by Diane

Live Roots, a genealogy tool that helps you organize your research and find genealogy resources by searching the internet, now lets you view search results from the free FamilySearch Record Search pilot site from within Live Roots.

To get started, go to the Live Roots partner site search page, scroll down to FamilySearch Record Search and type your search term (click the blue plus sign for advanced search options), then click the Search button.  

In your search results, click on a name to see details from the record. If an image is available, click the View Image link (located below the record details) to see the record.

Why search through Live Roots instead of just going to the Record Search pilot? On your Live Roots search results page, you’ll be able to click to try the same search on other sites such as, Footnote, GenForum, Flickr and more (to see search results from subscription sites, you'll need a subscription to that site).

Live Roots also lets registered members (membership is free) keep track of searches and results, and add resources to a personal library. (See this article for more information on managing genealogy projects in Live Roots.)

Also new: You can add the Live Roots search engine to the search provider box in the upper right corner of your web browser, letting you use Live Roots no matter what web site you’re on. Just click the link in this Live Roots blog post.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:12:08 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 12, 2010
In "Who Do You Think You Are?" News ...
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke scored an interview with Lisa Kudrow, producer (and cast member) of the upcoming “Who Do You Think You Are?” tv show, premiering March 5 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Their conversation will be in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 81, available starting this Sunday, Feb. 14, on the Genealogy Gems website., a partner in the show, created a webpage to encourage you to spread the word about it with downloadable flyers, an e-mail you can forward to friends, wallpaper for your computer and more.

Kudrow addresses genealogy enthusiasts in this video, which also contains the “Who Do You Think You Are?” trailer you may have seen.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | | Genealogy Events | Podcasts | Videos
Friday, February 12, 2010 12:12:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Genealogy News Corral: February 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • Neat website alert: The Ministry of Food goes with an Imperial War Museum London exhibit about the British public’s adaption to food shortages during World War II. You can see photos from the exhibit, check out Ministry of Food publications on gardening and cooking, and watch video clips.
And here’s a blog by a woman who’s living for a month on a 1940s British ration diet
  • has improved Collection Filters in the New Search. When you’re in the Advanced Search, a pull-down menu lets you give priority to matches associated with various countries or ethnic backgrounds. See how it works on the blog. | FamilySearch | Genealogy fun | Museums | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Friday, February 12, 2010 12:07:06 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]