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# Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ways to Leave a Family History Legacy
Posted by Diane

“What do I do now?” is something I hear from readers every once in a while, as in, I’ve done all this research—now what should I do with it?

What I like about this “Best of” excerpt from Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s “How to Be a Good Ancestor” article in the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine is that it helps answer that question. These are a few of her ideas for putting together and passing on your family history.

Start scrapbooking. Only your imagination limits the scrapbooks you can create. There's the standard heritage album, but also consider these five themes:
  • Family reunion: Make a scrapbook of the gang's get-together, including programs, photos and interviews.

  • School: Create school scrapbooks for yourself and for your spouse, as well as your children. Scan or photocopy yearbook pages and include memorabilia (report cards, your graduation tassel) plus journaled memories of events and friends.

  • Cemetery: Photograph grave markers, and find death certificates and obituaries.

  • Immigration and migration: Maps, passenger lists, passports and naturalization records document your ancestors' travels. Record their modes of transportation with images of prairie schooners or the ships that bore them across the Atlantic.

  • House history: Include deeds, pictures (take photos of similar buildings, if the houses aren't around anymore), descriptions of the furniture and décor, and information on the people who lived in each house.
Assemble an album. Photo albums are a natural legacy project. Just be sure to identify the photos with names, dates and places. One must-have guide for learning how to find and identify photographs: Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, revised edition (Family Tree Books), by Maureen A. Taylor.

But what about all those cool documents you've been collecting, such as military records, passenger arrival lists, vital records, censuses, and wills? Start a binder for each surname and organize documents and charts for each individual behind tabs in acid-free sheet protectors. Place a label on each sheet protector identifying the document and the source where you got it. Not only is this project a great legacy, but it also forces you to keep your research in order.

Put your family history into words. If writing is a pastime you enjoy, try one of these projects:
  • Book: This is the ultimate way to hand down your history legacy because you can give copies to everyone in the family — and even to libraries and archives. My book You Can Write Your Family History (Genealogical Publishing Co.) provides genealogy-focused writing and publishing advice.

  • Essays: Compile a collection of essays on topics such as your own experiences or memories of relatives, then copy and distribute them to kin. If you collect the essays in a binder, you and other family members can add to them easily.

  • Articles: Maybe you don't have enough information to fill a book, but you still want to publish your research results or tell other researchers about a brick wall you've conquered. Genealogical society journals and newsletters are good places to do this. Consult Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century edited by Henry B. Hoff (New England Historic Genealogical Society) for help writing a publication-worthy article.

  • Letters: Whether you mail them or not, compose letters to the youngest members of your family to tell them what life was like when you were growing up. Write about your parents and grandparents, recording your fondest memories of spending time with them in addition to facts about their lives. Make copies for all the kids in your family, and present them on a special occasion.
Feast on family food heritage. Gather family recipes to create a book, CD or Web site for your kin who like to cook. Along with each recipe, include a photo of the dish and the cook who's most famous for it, a brief biography of the chef, and notes about the holidays or occasions when the dish was served. If your family has a strong cultural background, such as Italian or Hispanic, incorporate some food history gleaned from ethnic cookbooks. When family members gather for a meal, don't forget to turn on that tape recorder or video camera. Capture some of the food-focused conversation to include in the recipe book.

Related resources Family Tree Magazine:


Celebrating your heritage | Family Heirlooms
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:51:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, February 23, 2010
New Family Tree Chart Service to Launch March 8
Posted by Diane

Wanted to let you know that the Family ChArtist, the decorative family tree chart-printing service from Generation Maps, will launch March 8.

As I mentioned in a post last week, the web-based service will let you create and print a free 8-1/2 by 11-inch decorative chart—which I think will be pretty popular (especially after everyone gets excited about their family trees from watching “Who Do You Think You Are?”). You'll be able to purchase larger versions to print at home, or order them printed on nice paper.

You can read more about the service and how it works in the press release on The Chart Chick blog.

Keep checking the Chart Chick blog for more peeks at the Family ChArtist's features, and watch this video by Mark Tucker of the Think Genealogy blog:


Celebrating your heritage | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4:47:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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.

Footnote
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!

All-Around
Cemetery
Corporate
Genetic Genealogy
Heritage
How-To
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 | ShopFamilyTree.com 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 FamilySearch.org 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 Ancestry.com, 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]