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# Tuesday, April 13, 2010
New Resource for Early Oregon Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Looking for Oregon pioneer ancestors? Check out the Oregon State Archives' free Early Oregonians Database with information extracted from census, death, probate and other records.

Compiled starting in 2004 by archives staff and volunteers, the database holds more than 150,000 entries on people living in Oregon from 1800 to 1860. (American Indians lived in Oregon during those years and earlier, but because of lack of records, few are represented in the database.) Learn more about how the database was compiled in the State Archives' announcement.

You can search by an ancestor's name and the date range; click More Options to add names of the person's parents and spouses. The site returns a maximum of 200 matches, so if your search is too broad, you'll need to narrow it with more criteria.

Your results list shows the person's name and, if known, the date and place of birth and parents' names. Click the name to see more details about the person and others associated with him (such as parents or a spouse mentioned in the database source records) on a screen like this:


Be sure to click each tab and look for source information. In this case, the Census Events tab reveals that the data on this particular James Smith came from the 1860 US census:


If you're researching Oregon ancestors, you'll also want to use the online Oregon Historical Records Index and Oregon Historical County Records Guide. Family Tree Magazine's Oregon State Research Guide digital download ($3) will help you use these and other resources.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:34:08 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, April 12, 2010
FamilyTreeMagazine.com Maintenance Today
Posted by Diane

Greetings! I wanted to let you know FamilyTreeMagazine.com will be down for maintenance for about 90 minutes between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time today.

This also may affect the Genealogy Insider and Photo Detective blogs and the Forum. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.



Monday, April 12, 2010 10:53:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com Upgrades 1920 Census Collection
Posted by Diane

Subscription site Ancestry.com has released an improved version of its 1920 US census collection, with clearer images and a re-keyed index.

The enhanced digital images were taken from microfilm master copies of the original census records. The new index contains 250,000 new names, as well as differences in existing names due to the arbitrated indexing process (two different people would index the records, with a third expert to resolve any differences in the two versions).

The new index also incorporates the new index incorporates about 20 million Ancestry.com user suggestions from for alternate names and corrections.

You can read more on the Ancestry.com blog.

When I saw the news, I hopped online to look for my Haddad ancestors, who've eluded me in the 1920 census. Alas, I didn't find them, but you can bet I'll try more searches later.

For help searching census records, see the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine print edition (which comes with a Census Research Toolkit CD), our Census Secrets CD and/or our Online Census Secrets webinar recording.


Ancestry.com | census records
Monday, April 12, 2010 10:47:16 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, April 09, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: April 5 to 9
Posted by Diane

  • The Georgia Historic Newspapers site has added a free Atlanta Historic Newspapers Archive with digitized pages from 14 newspapers published in Atlanta from 1847 to 1922. You can keyword-search the full text of the whole collection or an individual title, or browse issues by title and year. (You may need to download the DJVu Plugin to view articles.)
  • The Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston, considered one of the country's best public libraries for genealogical research, is facing a reduction of operating hours due to budget cuts. Hours will likely change to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and closed Friday and Sunday. (Current hours are Monday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Friday, April 09, 2010 9:06:18 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Search Footnote's Census Records Free Through April
Posted by Diane

I just received word from historical records subscription site Footnote that its free census record search will be extended through the end of April. You'll need a free Footnote account to search; you can get one at <www.footnote.com/census>.

Footnote's census collection includes the 1860 and 1930 US censuses, as well as fractions of the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses.

Footnote is planning to add the rest of the US census, 1790 through 1930, by the end of the year. 


census records | Footnote | Free Databases
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 11:55:06 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Gets Second Season
Posted by Diane

Woo-hoo! NBC has given “Who Do You Think You Are?” the green light for a second season.

From the NBC press release:
"Who Do You Think You Are?" from executive producer Lisa Kudrow is averaging a 1.6 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers overall in "most current" results for its season thus far. In preliminary results for last Friday, "Who Do You Think You Are?" won the 8-9 p.m. ET hour in adults 18-49, marking the first time any regular competitor in this slot has beaten an original episode of CBS's "Ghost Whisperer" in 18-49 rating since November 17, 2006. "Who Do You Think You Are?" has improved the time period by 23 percent in adult 18-49 rating versus NBC's average for the traditional 2008-09 season in "live plus same day" results.
You can watch “Who Do You Think You Are?” episodes on NBC.com.


"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 7:56:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [13]
# Monday, April 05, 2010
Search 1880 DDD Schedules for 14 States on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website Ancestry.com has added many states' 1880 special census schedules of “defective, dependent and delinquent" classes, also known as DDD schedules.

You'll know to look for your ancestor in DDD schedules if his 1880 US census listing has a mark in columns 15 through 20, showing whether he was ill or had a physical or mental disability. If so, DDD schedules might give you more information about his condition or reasons for being institutionalized. (Learn more about this and other special censuses in the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine).

Surviving DDD records are scattered among libraries and state archives. (See Family Tree Magazine's downloadable, state-by-state guide to finding DDD records.)

But now you can search many of the records from home: Ancestry.com subscribers can search DDD schedules from California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington Territory.


Ancestry.com | census records
Monday, April 05, 2010 9:30:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, April 02, 2010
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Recap: Brooke Shields Episode
Posted by Diane

Spoiler alert! This post reveals details about the Brooke Shields episode of “Who Do You think You Are?” so don’t watch if you haven’t seen the episode and you want to be surprised.

The theme tonight: how genealogy can help you understand—and forgive—your ancestors, and how it can give you a sense of belonging.

Tonight I sat back on the couch and flipped open the laptop in preparation for learning about Brooke Shields family history. At the beginning (after the annoyingly long series promo), Shields talks about her childhood: Modeling by 11 months old, then acting in movies. (Read more about her career on the “Who Do You Think You Are?” website.) Her parents, who divorced by the time Shields was 5 months old, she says, “were the antithesis of one another.” She describes her dad as aristocracy and mom as working class. “I never knew where I belonged,” she says.

She heads to Newark, NJ, where she was born but about which she has no early memories. Shields doesn’t know anything about her mom's parents, other than her grandma’s name, Theresa Dollinger, and the fact she had a sister.

“I think my grandmother was horrible to my mother and I started disliking her at a very young age,” Shields says. How sad.

She meets Michelle Chubenko, a genealogist specializing in New Jersey family history. They search birth certificates on microfilm. They find Theresa's and learn her mother’s name, Ida. Next, they look for the sister. Excellent strategy.

Surprise! Ida had two other children! Brothers John and Edward were born in 1910 and 1914. John died in infancy. But what happened to Edward?

Shields is eager to find out. “You feel like you’re a detective,” she says, which is exactly what I think so many people like about genealogy.

On a busy street, she meets historian Tom McCabe. He shows her a 1910 image of the same street, where Theresa Dollinger lived as a child.

Chubenko has more vital records to show Shields. Ida, Theresa’s mother, died of uterine cancer when Theresa was 10. Shields realizes her grandmother probably had to be an adult and a “parent” to her younger siblings at a young age.

Another tragedy: Edward died by accidental drowning at age 13—presumably while in Theresa’s care. Chubenko gives Shields an article about the drowning, and she goes to the spot where it happened. Local boys were bathing in the river on a hot day, and Edward couldn’t swim.

Shields' feelings toward her grandmother have turned to empathy. We’re seeing how understanding your ancestor’s lives can help you forgive them.

Next, we follow Shields to research her father’s family at the New York Historical Society, where genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts has prepared a family tree. Shields' father died in 2003, and she doesn’t know much about that side, but she believes they were well-off in Italy.

Giovanni Torlinia, her 5th-great-grandfather (I think; could be off by a great or two) who died in 1829. It’s thought Giovanni’s father Marino changed the family name to Torlonia. Shields wants to know what came before, and travels to Rome.

She visits the building where her ancestors had a bank, as a crowd gathers to gawk. Marino Torlonia was a cloth merchant who supplied the invading French, and he opened up the first private bank in Italy with branches in several countries. He became wealthy enough to buy properties, including one near Rome, and Shields tours Villa Torlonia. It’s an opulent palace filled with murals and sculpture.

We’re looking at a record (I didn’t catch what it is) showing Marino Torlonia’s origin in France.

She goes to the region of Augerolles and learns from another expert Marino was actually born in France as Marin Torlonias. An abbott who Marin worked for was exiled and Marin helped him escape to various places in Europe, ending in Rome. They’ve found THE house, a humble stone structure, where the family started. Shields feels a connection—she loves France and was a French literature major in college.

She explores another branch of her dad's family: Christine Marie, who has the tantalizing word “royale” after her name on a family tree. Shields searches Ancestry.com while on the train (I was beginning to worry the site wouldn't make an appearance!) and learns Christine was born in the Louvre, which used to be a royal palace.

She meets Charles Mosely, a expert on royal genealogy. He tells Shields she’s related to Henry IV through Christine Marie. In the Saint-Denis cathedral, they visit a chamber storing the hearts of many French kings. Shields climbs onto a shelf and touches the container with Henry IV heart, as Mosely stammers, unsure whether to stop her. Don't try this at your local museum, kids!

At Versailles, which Louis XIV built, Mosely tells Shields Louis XIV—grandfather of Henry IV—is her first cousin many generations removed. Mosely ticks off a list of other royals Shields is related to. She’s amazed.

“Being able to find your place in the grand scheme of things—there’s something empowering about that. By going on this journey, I feel more complete as a person.” I think even if your roots are a lot more humble and pedestrian than this—more like Shields’ mother’s side, perhaps—you’ll feel empowered when you know the people who came before you.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Friday, April 02, 2010 8:17:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Genealogy News Corrral: March 29 to April 2
Posted by Diane

  • Tonight on “Who Do You Think You Are?” watch actress Brooke Shields reconnect with her royal past. Take note of the new episode schedule, which inserts a repeat and a bye week:
April 2: Brooke Shields
April 9: Sarah Jessica Parker (Repeat)
April 16: No episode
April 23: Susan Sarandon
April 30: Spike Lee
  • The Brigham Young University library has posted data from the Mormon Immigration Index CD (originally published in 2000) in a searchable database. Data come from immigrants’ accounts, passenger lists and other resources documenting Europeans (especially from the British Isles) who became Mormons and immigrated to the United States.
  • For those of you who are LDS church members, the subscription family tree site OneGreatFamily is launching a new web site called OneClickTempleTrip.com that taps into “New FamilySearch” for a quick and easy way to identify ancestors you can take to the temple for ordinance work. (New FamilySearch is a family tree site available to many LDS members; it eventually will become available to the public.)


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Free Databases | immigration records
Friday, April 02, 2010 11:41:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 01, 2010
April Fool's Pranks From History
Posted by Diane

Last month, in a bid to receive free internet connections from Google, the mayor of Topeka, Kan., announced his city would change its name to Google for a month.

With an expression of gratitude, Google today announced its name change to Topeka.



April Fools!

Read about Google’s past April Fool’s Day hoaxes here.

One of our favorite genealogy jokes has been around for awhile. Go to Steve Morse’s One-Step Web Pages and click “Where’s Grandpa? Finding your great-grandfather in one step” under Births, Deaths and Vital Records.

(Or if you don’t want to play, just click here.)

For history’s best pranks, see The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time from the Museum of Hoaxes.


Genealogy fun
Thursday, April 01, 2010 12:09:44 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]