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# Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tips to Research Military Ancestors on Memorial Day
Posted by Diane

Many of us are off work next Monday for Memorial Day—what a great opportunity to explore online resources for researching military ancestors.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day first honored Civil War soldiers. Grand Army of the Republic Gen. John Logan proclaimed a day of observance May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

New York officially recognized the holiday in 1873 and other Northern states had followed suit by 1890. After World War I, when the day came to memorialize all US war dead, Southern states also began to acknowledge the observance.

Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day became traditional after WWI Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps surgeon John McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915.

The name Memorial Day was first used in 1882, but it wasn't common for decades. Federal law didn’t declare it the official name until 1967. In 1971, the date was set to the last Monday in May.

Ready to research your military ancestors? You’ll find digitized military records collections on subscription sites Ancestry.com and Footnote. (PS: Footnote is having a 50 percent off subscription sale for a limited time.) World Vital Records has announced it's providing free access to its US military databases from May 27 through June 1.

Military records at the free FamilySearch RecordSearch Pilot site include Civil War pension index cards, Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrant applications, and WWII draft registration cards for 1942 (not yet indexed).

For more military records resources, links and research help, see these free FamilyTreeMagazine.com articles:
How-to resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites | Military records | Research Tips
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:13:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, May 25, 2010
FGS Plans War of 1812 Pension Records Digitization Project
Posted by Diane

What’s great about 2012? The release of the 1940 census, of course, but what else? It’s also the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has started a Preserve the Pensions project to digitize National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) pension files from that war.

FGS wants to raise $3.7 million for the digitization. It's hoping to finish digitizing all 180,000 files before the 2015 bicentennial of the war’s end (the Treaty of Ghent was signed in December 1814, but battles continued until news of the war’s end crossed the ocean).

NARA’s War of 1812 pension files aren’t microfilmed; the archives receives upwards of 3,000 requests a year for photocopies.

What's in a pension file? Here’s one of several War of 1812 pension files on the Allen County Public Library website.

It has details about the soldier’s residence, marriage, military service, pension amount and more.

If you have a War of 1812 ancestor and can't wait for 2015, you can look for him in an index, then request copies of his pension file from NARA for a fee. Subscription site Ancestry.com has a War of 1812 application files index. The index also is on microfilm at NARA and the Family History Library, and it's transcribed in the book Index to War of 1812 Pension Files by Virgil D. White.

Read more about War of 1812 pension records in NARA’s research guide

Related resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Military records
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:22:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, May 21, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: May 17-21
Posted by Diane

I had the pleasure a couple of weeks ago of talking to Vicky and Jen, of the Vicky and Jen podcast, about doing oral history interviews. We talked about questions to ask, tips for drawing out reticent people, ways to get kids involved and more. Listen on iTunes or at VickyandJen.com.

Subscription site GenealogyBank has added newspaper pages from more than 166 titles in 42 states. If you’ve searched the site before, you can use the “Search only New Content” pulldown menu at the bottom of the search form to search only content added in the past one to three months. (Get more tips in our GenealogyBank Web Guide download, available from ShopFamilyTree.com.)

FamilySearch announced the recipients of its 2010 FamilySearch Software Awards, which go to developers whose “products and technologies that integrate with FamilySearch’s emerging suite of products and services.” You can see a full list of the winning companies on Dick Eastman’s blog.

If you have an iPad, first, I’m jealous. Second, I came across a photo-editing app called Photogene for iPad that imports photos and lets you adjust color, contrast and levels, crop and apply special effects. Then you can save it and share via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter, if you choose. Here’s  a review.

Have a great weekend!


FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers | Oral History | Photos | Podcasts
Friday, May 21, 2010 4:35:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Millions of Historical British Newspaper Pages To Be Digitized
Posted by Diane

The British Library and Brightsolid Online Publishing, the company that owns British genealogy subscription site Findmypast.co.uk, have formed a partnership to digitize historical newspapers.

More than 4 million of the library’s newspapers will be digitized over the first two years. Over 10 years, up to 40 million pages will be digitized. The papers include 52,000 local, regional and national titles spanning 350 years.

The papers will be available through a new website. “I look forward to announcing the web service resulting from this partnership, which will launch and then steadily grow from next year,” says the library’s chief executive, Dame Lynne Brindley.

The digitized papers will be available free on-site at the British Library (it has locations in London and West Yorkshire). The library also will receive digital copies of all scanned materials.

Read the full announcement here.


Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 21, 2010 10:47:02 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 20, 2010
Sale on Our Expert Genealogy CDs and Webinars!
Posted by Diane


I wanted to let you know about a sale we’re having on select genealogy how-to CDs and all recorded webinars—until May 25, they’ll be 15 percent off with coupon code FTCD15.

So, for example:
  • Our Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD (strategies for getting your paper records, digital files, e-mails and research habits in order), normally $19.99, becomes $17.
  • The Family Tree Essentials CD (research guides to 15 key genealogy records), which was already on sale at $14.99, is another 15 percent off, making it $12.74.
Note that your discount is taken off during checkout, after you enter your name and address and all that good stuff. Click here to start shopping!

Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, May 20, 2010 9:21:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Taking Our Own Research Advice
Posted by Diane

Picking up research tips is among the fringe benefits of working for Family Tree Magazine. And the advice works! Here are two examples from my genealogy search:

For our August 2010 article on church records research (subscribers start getting this issue at the end of May), Sunny McClellan Morton interviewed Catholic records expert Ann McRoden Mensch.

Then and there (doing genealogy on the job is another fringe benefit), I went to Mensch’s Local Catholic Church and Family History Genealogical Research Guide, surfed around until I found information on the Cleveland archdiocese, clicked a link and filled out the archives’ online request form.

(Update: the Catholic research guide has moved since the August issue went to press. Many links to state information on the new site don't seem to be working, but see the Comments on this post for instructions on how to access the old site.)

A few weeks later, I received in the mail a copy of a funeral register from my great-grandfather’s church in Cleveland, showing his name (it's hard to make out here, but he's third from the bottom).



Last year, while editing our November 2009 federal records article by David A. Fryxell, I realized that that same great-grandfather—who wasn’t yet naturalized in 1940—would’ve had to register with the government under the Alien Registration Act.

That day, I requested his Alien Registration form (form AR-2) from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service’s online Genealogy Program. The record, showing his first name as “Fablo,” supports my case that the “Fadlo Hadad” I found on a 1900 passenger list is the right guy.

Our November 2009 issue is available in ShopFamilyTree.com; it’s also digitized on our 2009 annual CD.

Family Tree Magazine Plus members can access Fryxell’s article on our website.

Church records | Family Tree Magazine articles | immigration records | Research Tips
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:02:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
Preservation Groups List Endangered Sites
Posted by Diane

Two preservation organizations—the Civil War Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation—have released their annual lists of most-endangered sites this week.

Budget cuts are a culprit in both lists. “This year nearly 30 states have experienced cuts to parks’ and sites’ budgets, and a recent survey estimates as many as 400 state parks could close,” says the National Trust’s announcement.

Commercial development is a huge threat, too. One site—Virginia’s Wilderness Civil War battlefield—made both organizations' lists because of plans to build a massive shopping center at the entrance.

Read more about these endangered battlefields on the CWPT website:
  • Gettysburg, Pa.
  • Wilderness, Va.
  • Picacho Peak, Ariz.
  • Camp Allegheny, WV
  • Cedar Creek, Va.
  • Fort Stevens, Washington, DC
  • Pickett’s Mill, Ga.
  • Richmond, Ky.
  • South Mountain, Md.
  • Thoroughfare Gap, Va.
Find more about these 11 most-endangered historic sites on the National Trust website:
  • America's State Parks & State-Owned Historic Sites
  • Black Mountain, Ky.
  • Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, NJ
  • Industrial Arts Building, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Juana Briones House, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Merritt Parkway, Fairfield County, Conn.
  • Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
  • Pågat, Yigo, Guam
  • Saugatuck Dunes, Saugatuck, Mich.
  • Threefoot Building, Meridian, Miss.
  • Wilderness Battlefield, Va.


Historic preservation
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1:11:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 17, 2010
Just Posted! May Podcast Covers Cemetery Records, NGS Conference News
Posted by Diane

We’re talking cemeteries in our May 2010 podcast, now available free through iTunes and at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.
  • Going behind The Editor’s Desk, podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke chats with Allison Stacy about our upcoming book Grave Humor, which finds the lighter side of cemeteries with contributors’ photos of hilarious headstones.
  • The Top Tips segment has Sunny Morton, author of the July 2010 Family Tree Magazine article “Tombstone Tales,” discusses the questions you should be sure you ask when searching for cemetery records.
  • In 101 Best Web Sites, Cooke talks to David Day about his Names in Stone cemetery mapping website.
  • For Safe Keeping, Family Tree Magazine online editor Grace Dobush offers advice for taking tombstone rubbings.
  • My News From the Blogosphere installment takes a departure from the cemetery theme to review some of the news that came out of the National Genealogical Society annual conference earlier this month.
Missed an episode? See details about earlier podcasts on our Podcast page.

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast
Podcasts
Monday, May 17, 2010 9:28:36 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 14, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: May 10-14
Posted by Diane

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) released its annual endangered battlefields report, History Under Siege, yesterday. Gettysburg, Pa., site of the war’s largest and bloodiest battle, tops the list of 10 most endangered Civil War battlefields. See the rest of the report on the CWPT website.

FamilySearch added millions of new free records in eight searchable collections: Delaware birth records; the 1875 Minnesota state census; Cook County, Ill., birth records; name indexes for Alabama, Colorado and Illinois; and digitized church records from Litomerice, Czech Republic. Search them at FamilySearch’s Record Search pilot or beta search site.

British subscription site Findmypast.co.uk has made available the full Great Western Railway Shareholder Index, covering 1835 to 1932, along with images of the original records.

GenSoftReviews, a free website that lets you rate and review the genealogy software programs you’ve tried, now has more than 500 programs listed (including 244 full-featured programs, 170 utilities, and more than 80 other useful programs).

I got an e-mail from a new Stockholm-based website called MentoMori that sends your messages and instructions to your loved ones after your death, and will also handle shutting down your social networking accounts. See the FAQs here. Basic and Premium service packages range from about $46 to $92 per year.


FamilySearch | Free Databases | Historic preservation | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 14, 2010 3:07:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 13, 2010
Walgreens Cancels Plans to Sell DNA Test
Posted by Diane

Walgreens drug stores canceled plans to sell a genetic testing kit because the FDA hasn’t reviewed it.

After Pathway Genomics announced this week that its Insight Saliva Collection Kit would be sold at Walgreens, the FDA told Pathway Genomics that the kit meets the definition of a device and is subject to FDA approval.

Though it's been discussed on genealogy websites, the test kit isn't a genetic genealogy test. Instead, it's meant to assess medical conditions and risk for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. (Pathway Genomics also sells ancestry testing kits on its website.)

The kit was to cost $20 at Walgreens. Then you’d send your sample to Pathway Genomics and pick which tests you want (Drug Response, Pre-pregnancy Planning and other Health Conditions) at a cost of up to $249.

The kit is raising concerns about people getting medical information without input from their doctors. Similar testing is available by mail from companies including 23andMe and DNATraits (part of Family Tree DNA).

Read more about this story here.


Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:44:29 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]