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# Friday, March 26, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: March 22-26
Posted by Diane

Tonight is Matthew Broderick’s big night on “Who Do You Think You Are?” Looks like we’ll see some parallels between Broderick’s character, Robert Gould Shaw, in the 1989 movie Glory (which I love) and the actor’s real-life Civil War ancestors. Tune in at 8 pm/7 pm central.

You can follow the National Archives' upcoming Civil War sesquicentennial (I love that word!) exhibit on Twitter. Tweets will highlight people and stories of the Civil War and link to images of items in the exhibition. Part I will be open April 30 to Sept. 6; Part II will be open Sept. 10 to April 11 of next year.

The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is holding its 27th annual Gene-O-Rama Conference—themed Researching Your Female Ancestors—this weekend. You can register at the door for $40 (members) or $45 (non members). Get more information on the society’s website.

Ancestor Seekers, a company that provides research services and organizes genealogy trips to Salt Lake City, has started a fundraiser program for genealogical societies. Guests attending a trip can request to have 5 percent of the fee go to a participating society. Interested societies can contact Ancestor Seekers for more information.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Canadian roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives
Friday, March 26, 2010 1:09:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 25, 2010
$3 Back Issue Sale
Posted by Diane


This week’s Editor’s Pick is short and very sweet: All the print Family Tree Magazine back issues from 2004 to 2007 are 50 percent off—just $3—at ShopFamilyTree.com. (Tip: Start browsing on page 3 of our back issues store.)

It’s great for filling in holes in your collection or getting that research guide you need. Get them while they last!

Remember that Family Tree Magazine VIP members get an additional 10 percent off ShopFamilyTree.com purchases, including sales.


Editor's Pick
Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:16:53 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Special Censuses: Veterans Schedules
Posted by Diane

Our “Best of Family Tree Magazine” series, which delivered advice from our pages back to our inaugural year in 2000, draws to a close with this week's guidance about a lesser-known genealogical resource: special censuses.

These extra enumerations, usually taken at the same as the regular federal census, focused on certain segments of the population, from the “defective, dependent and delinquent” (1880) to farmers (1850 through 1880 records survive).

This excerpt from our July 2009 article by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack tells you about special censuses relating to veterans:
The US and state governments counted veterans a number of times, both during and between regular censuses.
Revolutionary War pensioners: Names and ages of these pensioners were recorded on the backs of 1840 population census sheets. Their names are in A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services, available free through Google Books.
 
1890 veterans schedule: Although the bulk of the 1890 census was destroyed, the schedules of Union veterans and surviving widows survived for half of Kentucky and the states alphabetically following it. Check this census even if your ancestor fought for the Confederacy. Although enumerators were supposed to count Union veterans, some also recorded those who fought for the South. Officials who reviewed the schedules in Washington, DC, simply drew lines through the Confederates’ names, leaving them still readable. The schedules are online at Ancestry.com and on microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL) and National Archives facilities, as well as large genealogical libraries.
 
What can you learn from this enumeration? The name of the veteran or his widow, rank, company, regiment or vessel, dates of enlistment and discharge, length of service, disabilities and remarks such as whether the veteran received a pension. As with population schedules, you don’t know whether James or someone else supplied the information, so look for a military service record to corroborate the data.
 
Special military schedules: During the 1900, 1910 and 1920 federal population censuses, enumerators created separate schedules for military personnel, including those stationed on naval vessels and at US bases overseas. For 1900, these are on National Archives microfilm T623, rolls 1,838 to 1,842 (find a Soundex index on film T1081, rolls 1 to 32). For 1910, military and naval enumerations are on film T624, roll 1,784; there’s no Soundex. The 1920 schedules for overseas military and naval forces are on film T625, rolls 2,040 to 2,041; the Soundex is on film M1600, rolls 1 to 18.
 
The 1930 population census included servicemen, but you’ll find special schedules for merchant seamen serving on vessels. Search them on Ancestry.com, or browse them on microfilm at the FHL and National Archives.
Family Tree Magazine Plus members can read the rest of the special censuses article on our website.

Related resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


census records | Family Tree Magazine articles | Military records
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 10:07:31 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Massachusetts Bill Threatens Vital Records Back to 1841
Posted by Diane

The National Genealogical Society UpFront blog is reporting on another threat to vital records access, which could make it harder for genealogists to learn about their Massachusetts ancestors.

Massachusetts Senate Bill 820 would close the state’s birth and marriage records dated after 1841, the year statewide record keeping began, so only the person named in the record or his parent, guardian or attorney could see it or get a copy.

From the UpFront blog: “The bill's text eliminates the current section that closes out-of-wedlock births and replaces the entire section with text that closes all births and marriages ... the last sentence states, ‘The provisions of this section shall not apply to such records, returns or notices recorded or filed prior to January first, eighteen hundred and forty-one or to such copies thereof.’”

Right now, you can order certified copies of vital records dated 1841 to 1915 from the Massachusetts State Archives—it's unclear how Senate Bill 820, if passed, might affect that service.

Some post-1841 Massachusetts vital records and indexes are available at sites such as the NewEnglandAncestors.org subscription databases and in the free FamilySearch Record Search pilot, as well as on Family History Library microfilm.

Many states restrict records for up to 100 years—after which the person in the record is likely to be deceased—but closing 169-year-old records seems unnecessary. See the UpFront blog for information on to whom you can address your concerns regarding the legislation.


Public Records | Vital Records
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 9:02:48 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Turner Publishing Takes Over Ancestry.com's Book Business
Posted by Diane

Independent publisher Turner Publishing will take over Ancestry.com's book publishing business, according to an agreement announced today.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Turner will assume control of most existing inventory and related publishing contracts for Ancestry Publishing, a division of Ancestry.com.

Turner, which has a genealogy book line, will be the vendor for more than 100 Ancestry titles, including The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, and 1-2-3 Family Tree.

Turner will support the newly acquired titles with additional marketing and distribution efforts. The agreement also grants Turner limited use of the Ancestry.com name for publishing purposes.

Ancestry.com appears to be focusing on its digital business. Earlier this year, the company announced it would cease publication of 25-year-old Ancestry magazine with the March/April 2010 issue.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:41:42 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, March 19, 2010
"WDYTYA?" Episode 3 Recap
Posted by Diane

Spoiler alert! Don't read if you don't want to know yet what happend in "Who Do You Think You Are?" episode 3.

In tonight's "Who Do You Think You Are?" Lisa Kudrow explores her ancestry in Belarus. This is the episode she’s said in interviews is very tough emotionally, because it deals with the Holocaust.

This episode starts at home as the other ones did, with Kudrow talking to her dad. His parents are East European Jews. Her great-grandmother was killed during the Holocaust along with others from her shtetl. Many years later, her dad was deeply affected at the retelling of how he learned what had happened in the town from a boy named Yuri.

From the beginning, Kudrow is looking to explore this side of the family. Her great-grandmother was killed during the Holocaust along with others from her shtetl. Her dad was deeply affected even this many years later.

She’s headed to Minsk. Anyone remember the Friends episode when Phoebe’s boyfriend Max had to go live in Minsk? I’ve heard some people express frustration with the recaps after each commercial break, but I like the opportunity to catch up and digest what’s going on.

Imagine learning your ancestor suffered a terrible death--was “killed and burned,” like Kudrow’s great-great-grandmother. It’s hard to believe something like that could happen in the charming place where Kudrow’s grandmother grew up.

She hears the story from an old woman who witnessed the devastation, and tried but wasn’t able to save a young girl from the massacre. After the break, Kudrow reads how the community’s Jews were rounded up and killed in the marketplace. Yes, this is hard to watch.

It’s striking me that this episode is more personal and impactful than history classes I’ve taken.

Now Kudrow is in Poland in search of her cousin Yuri Barudin, who had told her dad what happened to his grandmother long ago. He’d changed his name to Boleslaw, one that sounds more Polish. She lets her fingers do the walking looking for his son. This is the “I think we’re related” scene in the promos—it’s a happy scene.

The family recognizes Kudrow from television. What would it be like if a TV star showed up at your door? Yuri didn’t witness the massacre, he had managed to get away and later learned of the story. Kudrow telling her dad about meeting Yuri is the happiest part of the show for me.

Dad and Yuri are Skyping, and we hear how Yuri left $50 long ago when he met Kudrow’s dad. This shows how even after tragedies rip families apart, family history can bring them together across oceans.

If you missed it, you'll be able to watch this episode on Hulu.


"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Friday, March 19, 2010 8:21:03 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
Genealogy News Corral: March 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • The second week of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” increased its viewership by 13 percent in adults age 18 to 49, and 4 percent in total viewers. The show finished in the ratings within a tenth of a point of first place for the 8/7 central time slot in adults age 18 to 49, and is tied for No. 1 among the major networks in adults age 18 to 34.
Tune in to tonight’s episode as Lisa Kudrow searches for her roots in Belarus.
  • The UK’s General Register Office (GRO) has announced a restructuring of its charges for ordering birth, marriage and death records. Starting April 6, you’ll select from two instead of eight options, so it’s simpler, but the fees for standard service are going up from  £7.00 to £9.25 (about $10.60 to $14). See the GRO website for more information
  • Ancestry.com is offering a free webinar about using Family Tree Maker 2010. It’s May 19, 8 pm EDT (thanks to the person who commented below to let me know about the new date!). Watch as the experts demonstrate advanced features available in Family Tree Maker 2010. Read more and register on Ancestry.com’s website.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | African-American roots | Ancestry.com | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 19, 2010 11:27:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Three Ways to Recharge Your Genealogy Research
Posted by Diane

Seeing results can motivate you to work harder at everything from getting in shape to learning a new skill. Maybe that’s why my genealogy efforts tend to flag when I haven’t made any new discoveries recently.

So a I was browsing my Family Tree Magazines for our “Best of 2008” installment, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s “Recharge Your Research” article from the July 2008 edition jumped out at me.

Here are three of her 12 techniques for injecting new energy into your genealogy search:
Write a report. After writing dozens of family histories and a zillion research reports, I firmly believe there's no better way to see the holes and faulty logic in your research than by stringing together those facts into sentences. As you start writing—both to tell the ancestor's life story and explain why you think your Miles Johnson in Allamakee County, Iowa, is the same Miles Johnson in Whiteside County, Ill.—you'll surprise yourself by how much you know (or how much you don't).
Think of it as writing yourself a report on your research. This is often why professional genealogists can solve some sticky research problems. As they explain their thought processes and theories to a client, they're also analyzing their research. When you start writing a report, you'll realize, “Gee, I missed checking the such-and-such record” or “That Wallace surname is cropping up a lot in the ancestor's records.” Savvy professionals write reports as they're researching, because it helps them sort what they're gathering and keeps them on the right track.
Consult county and local histories. You've looked at county and local histories for places your ancestor lived, but have you gone back for a second look after doing more-extensive ancestor research? On your first pass through these histories, you might've been skimming for a mention of your forebear. This time, look at what was happening when your family lived in the area.
Sarah Collins' son Rodalphus, died in Tyringham, Mass., March 2, 1783, at age 13. His death record didn't reveal the cause. When I looked at a local history, I discovered the town suffered several smallpox epidemics after infected soldiers brought the disease there in 1777. The community was still battling the disease in 1785. Even though the book didn't mention Rodalphus Collins, it helped me understand what might've taken his life. This made me take a closer look at other family members in the area who died during that time.
Read a state or county guide. Maybe ancestral answers lie in some place-specific record you didn't know to check. How to learn the secrets of your kin's locale? Family Tree Magazine published State Research Guides for each state from 2005 to 2009. You can buy a compilation CD or download individual state guides from ShopFamilyTree.com. Another helpful reference is The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists (Family Tree Books), which provides county-by-county records information for the United States.

Look for locality-specific guidebooks, too, such as Virginia Genealogy: Sources & Resources by Carol McGinnis (Genealogical Publishing Co.) and Chicago and Cook County: A Guide to Research by Loretto Denis Szucs (Ancestry).
Family Tree Magazine Plus members can read the entire "Recharge Your research" article here.
  • Related resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:
  • State Research Guides compilation CD or book



Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:45:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, March 15, 2010
Editor's Pick: HeritageQuest Online Web Guide
Posted by Diane


In Family Tree Magazine, we often recommend HeritageQuest Online—a database service offered through many public libraries—as a free alternative for finding US census records, family and local history books, Revolutionary War service records and Freedmen’s Bank records.

Not all of the census records on HeritageQuest Online are indexed, though, and the databases can be tricky to search.

Enter our HeritageQuest Online Web Guide.



It’s available from ShopFamilyTree.com in a few forms:
In this Web Guide, genealogy technology guru Rick Crume explains how to access HeritageQuest Online, what records are in its databases, and the best ways to search each database.

Like our Web Guides to other popular genealogy sites, the HeritageQuest Online guide has
  • an in-depth description of how to use the site and its collections
  • a quick-start guide and need-to-know statistics (such as the site’s contact information, major content areas and any fees)
  • step-by-step search demos
  • a cheat sheet of quick links, resources, hacks and shortcuts
  • hyperlinked URLs so you can click through to all the websites recommended in the guide
Remember, Family Tree Magazine VIP members get 10 percent off ShopFamilyTree.com purchases!


Editor's Pick | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, March 15, 2010 12:10:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Behind the Scenes of "WDYTYA?": Researching Emmitt Smith's Roots
Posted by Grace

Ancestry.com's PR and events manager Anastasia Tyler offers this behind-the-scenes look at the second episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?":
Seasoned researchers know that discovering the slavery roots in a family tree can be time consuming and difficult -- perhaps even seemingly impossible. But, as Emmitt Smith's story shows on this week's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?," African-Americans can discover their heritage. The genealogy team who worked on Emmitt's tree shares a behind-the-scenes look at how they made the jump from post-1870 records to pre-Civil War records as they documented Emmitt's enslaved ancestors.
 
Post-1870 Research
Vital records, census records and other primary sources allowed the research team to document Emmitt's family tree back to great-great-grandparents -- William Watson and Victoria Puryear. A 1900 census record from Monroe County, Ala., indicated William and Victoria were both born in Alabama during the Civil War. These facts suggested that William and Victoria could have been born slaves, and perhaps their parents as well.
 
Since Victoria and William were born in the early 1860s, it was likely that records created post-1870 could shed some light on their parents. Vital records were especially helpful here; Victoria's death certificate included the names of her parents, Prince Puryear and Annie McMillian.
 
The 1870 census added clues: Prince Puryear and his family (including young Victoria) were listed in Monroe County, Alabama. Additional Puryear households were also found on the same census page. The ages for the heads of the Puryear households made them potential brothers of Prince. These heads of households also had the same racial designation as Prince -- mulatto. Finally, one of the households listed a 55-year-old mulatto woman born in Virginia named Mariah Puryear. "Our first thought was 'Could Mariah be Prince's mother?'" says genealogist Joseph Shumway of ProGenealogists. If the answer was yes, if Mariah was Prince"s mother, then Mariah would be Emmitt's fourth great-grandmother.

Pre-Civil War Documentation
The research team needed to establish whether Mariah Puryear from the 1870 census was Prince Puryear's mother. Slave research involves looking at records pertaining to the slave-holding families. Vital records were not kept for slaves, but slaves may be mentioned in records created when the slave owner dies and in records pertaining to deeded transactions. So the research team first had to determine the identity of the slave-holding family. Once found, the family's records could reveal further information about Prince Puryear's family and his potential connection to the woman named Mariah.
 
Emancipated slaves, in general, didn't stray too far from their most recent owner's property. In addition, many former slaves retained the surname of the former slave holders. So the researchers turned back to the 1870 census, looking for white families in the same vicinity as Emmitt's Puryear ancestors. Interestingly enough, there was a white Puryear family living in Monroe County, Ala. This family, potentially, could have been the slave-holding family.
 
The Puryears, like many slave owners, had extensive real estate, so the team looked for the family's land records, deeds, and probate records. In the Monroe County probate records (on microfilm at the Family History Library), the researchers found probate records pertaining to the 1850-51 estate of Mary Puryear. The inventory of Mary's property was a key document. In it she listed Mariah and her children, by name: "Mariah and children Henry, Mary, McTom, Victoria and Prince Albert." Henry and Thomas were the names of two potential Puryear brothers who appeared on the same 1870 census page with Prince and Mariah. The inventory "matched the information we"d found in the census," says Joseph. "With the combination of names and location, there was no doubt."

Further records showed that Mary Puryear was the widow of slave owner Alexander Puryear and helped to solidify the connection between Prince, Mariah and the Puryear slave-holding family. "There are records out there," Joseph concludes. "Just be persistent."


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | African-American roots | Celebrity Roots
Monday, March 15, 2010 8:48:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]