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<2010 June>

More Links

# Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Group Genealogy Is Fun! 5 Upcoming Conferences
Posted by Diane

Where can you combine family history research, learning and socializing into one neat and satisfyingly exhausting package? Genealogy conferences, of course—just ask the people still basking in the afterglow of last weekend's Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree.

Consider attending one of these upcoming events:

The Federation of Genealogical Societies national conference has extended its early bird registration discount to June 21. The conference takes place Aug. 18-21 in Knoxville, Tenn. Find out more about the classes, special events, exhibit hall (which we at Family Tree Magazine will call home for the four days) and local research opportunities on the FGS website.

This year’s International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference, place July 11-16 in Los Angeles, will feature more than 130 speakers and 250 programs, plus an on-site Jewish genealogy library (staffed with translators), Jewish genealogy film festival, field trips and more. Learn more and register on the conference website.

You can choose from more than 100 classes at Brigham Young University’s Family History and Genealogy Conference, July 27-30 at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah. Register and get more details on the conference website.

Midwestern Roots is another conference you’ll want to put on your calendar. This Indiana Historical Society event is in Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug. 6-7, with pre-conference activities (including a writing workshop, computer labs and migration panel discussion) on Aug. 5.

The Ohio Chapter Palatines to America German Genealogy Society is holding its annual fall seminar Oct. 16 in Columbus, Ohio. Special presentations will cover indentured servitude and immigration to America in the 18th century. Learn more on the organization’s website.

Headed to a genealogy conference? Read our tips for preparing and getting the most out of the event. Check with your local genealogical society to find a conference close to home.

Genealogy Events
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:25:53 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Beefing Up Your Genealogy Know-How
Posted by Diane

Working at a genealogy magazine is educational. I’ve been picking up knowledge while working on some of our Family Tree University genealogy classes, starting up again June 21.

From Diana Crisman Smith’s US Military Records class, for example, I’ve learned all about Compiled Military Service Records (CMSRs). These are the cards that the War Department compiled for soldiers from the Revolutionary War through the Philippine Insurrection, taking information from muster rolls, pay lists and other service records. I learned how you can go from the card to the record that was the source of the information, and saw some examples of CMSRs and muster rolls.

Other lessons in this class cover military pension records, bounty lands, draft registrations and terminology.

Our second session Family Tree University classes start June 21, with the first session's favorites and new offerings including the military records class, finding German roots, creating a family history book and more.

Whether you could use an introduction, a refresher or advanced learning, take a look at our course list, meet our expert instructors and see if there’s a course for you.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Military records
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 15:57:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1] to Buy Genline
Posted by Diane

The biggest US-based genealogy company will acquire the biggest Swedish genealogy company. Subscription genealogy site has agreed to buy Genline, a subscription site featuring virtually all Swedish church records, for about $6.7 million, according to Global NewsWire.

Read more about the transaction here. | Genealogy Industry | International Genealogy
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 08:12:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 14 June 2010
Free British Genealogy Records During England's World Cup Matches
Posted by Diane

Don’t tell my husband I said this, but it’s almost enough to make an American genealogist want to cheer on England's footballers: British subscription and pay-per-view site is free during England’s World Cup soccer matches!

The World Cup match schedule is here. Thirty minutes before kick-off, will stop charging for 3 hours.

Get full details on You’ll need to sign up for a free registration to access records.

Among FindMyPast's records are:
  • British civil registrations (akin to US vital records) starting in 1837
  • 1841 to 1911 English and Welsh census records
  • passengers leaving British ports (which includes those whose journeys originated elsewhere in Europe but brought them through British ports, such as Liverpool)
  • death duty registers of probates generating taxes (1796 to 1903)
  • British Army Service Records 1760-1913
  • National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918
  • Army Roll of Honour 1939-45
  • specialist records (civil service records, directories of the medical professions and clergy, crew lists, shareholders of the Great Western Railway)
Need help practicing for your soccer-fueled genealogy search session? Download our Web Guide, available for $4 from

Free Databases | UK and Irish roots
Monday, 14 June 2010 08:46:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 10 June 2010
Solutions to Genealogy Stumpers
Posted by Diane

There's a yawning gap in my dad’s line from 1918 to 1924. It’s not filled by the 1920 census (as I’ve concluded after years of searching and browsing records), city directories or other records I’ve looked for. What now?

Sooner or later, every genealogist gets stuck like this. If you’ve hit the dreaded brick wall, next week’s webinar is for you:

During Brick Wall Busters: Solutions to Real-Life Stumpers, Family Tree Magazine publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy, along with New England Historic Genealogical Society online genealogist David Lambert, will walk you through strategies for getting around tough research obstacles.

You'll learn:
  • How to analyze your research problem and break it into manageable chunks
  • Ways to surmount common brick-wall scenarios
  • Professional genealogists’ favorite methods for conquering research challenges
As a registrant for the live event, you’ll be able to submit your own brick wall to get personalized advice. Our presenters will tackle brick walls from selected participants during the webinar. And everyone who registers and sends in a question will receive a personalized strategy e-mail from the presenters.

The hour-long webinar is Tuesday, June 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern. You'll find more details at

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, 10 June 2010 09:24:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Footnote's Civil War Records Are Free Through June
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Footnote is making its Civil War records collection free through the month of June.

This is a great opportunity to begin researching your Civil War ancestor (right in time for next year's sesquicentennial of the war's first shots). Get started searching the collection at <>. You'll need to register for a free Footnote basic membership to gain access to the records.

Footnote’s Civil War records, digitized through a partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration, have information on both Union and Confederate soldiers. Among the records are:
  • Union and Confederate service records for many states (these records are being added as they’re digitized)

  • Widow’s pension files (records are being added as they’re digitized)

  • Emancipation documents and slave records

  • Confederate amnesty papers and citizens files

  • Lincoln assassination investigation and trial papers

  • Civil War photos and maps
A good first step to confirm your Civil War ancestor’s service is to search the free Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, which has 6 million names of those who served in the war.

These resources from Family Tree Magazine have more on how to search for Civil War ancestors and use the records on Footnote:

Footnote | Free Databases | Military records
Thursday, 10 June 2010 08:35:54 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 08 June 2010
Family Tree University's Google classes
Posted by Grace

Everybody googles. Heck, I google things about every 4.5 seconds, it seems. And no genealogist should be without a solid working knowledge of this beast of a search engine. That's why we've got a whole Google track over at Family Tree University. Our courses starting June 21 include two just on Google.

In Lisa Louise Cooke's Google Tools for Genealogists, you'll learn about Google Earth, historical maps and more. Here's a sample:
A new feature in Google Earth is Historical Imagery. Click the clock icon on the Tool Bar and a slider bar will appear at the top of the map indicating how far back map images are available for your location. In the case of San Francisco we can turn the hands of time back to 1946 image. To return to modern day just unclick the clock icon or move the slider back up to the current year.
In the new Mastering Google Search class, Cooke gives you the tools to harness the search engine's power. Here's an example of using Google's image search:
Go to Image Search and look for a portrait of a historical figure such as George Washington. In the results pages you'll see many faces of George Washington. However, as you move on through the search results, soon you'll come across other things, like a photograph of George Washington’s false teeth. Not exactly what you were looking for.

To eliminate the unwanted images and narrow in on the desired images, go back to the search box and click the Advance Image Search link. You'll see a blue box near the top and then a white box below. Within that box the first option is Content Types: return images that contain. Click on Faces and click the Search button again.  

Now every search result is a facial image. It might be a portrait on a stamp or on a coin, but it will be a face. We have succeeded in narrowing the original search results down from 6.7 million images to 548,000 images. Think how well this might work with an ancestor who is not quite is famous as George Washington!
Not sure how online classes work? No problem! Just sign up for our free FTU Crash Course that's happening tomorrow! In the half-hour webinar, you'll meet some of our instructors, get a guided tour of the virtual campus and learn how online learning works. One lucky registrant will win a free FTU course of his or her choosing, and everyone who attends get a valuable coupon code. (Even if you can't attend the webinar live, sign up and you'll get a link to view the recording and still be entered into the drawing!)

And remember -- Family Tree University's June webinar, Brick Wall Busters, is still taking registrants at the early bird price until tomorrow (June 9) at midnight. You can sign up for just $39.99 and submit your own brick wall for some expert advice.

Family Tree University | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 16:55:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Shoestring Travel Sites and Other Favorite Tips From the Podcast
Posted by Diane

In celebration of the free Family Tree Magazine Podcast's second birthday, host Lisa Louise Cooke remembers some of her great guests and favorite advice with this guest post:

It’s a kick traveling down memory lane as we celebrate the 2nd birthday of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast this month. What really struck me as I was preparing to write this blog post are some of our stats. In two years we’ve had more than 40 expert guests, including:
In total, we’re talking about 15-plus hours of content so far. It’s like attending a virtual genealogy conference from the convenience of your own home! And sometimes you learn surprising things that you might not otherwise hear.

For example, Maureen A. Taylor is known as the Photo Detective, but did you know that in her family she’s also referred to as the Family Cheapskate?  In the February 2009 podcast episode, she pulled some of her best tips out of her article Research Trips on a Shoestring (March 2009 Family Tree Magazine).

I could easily see where this label came from! Not only does Maureen have a knack for seeing critical clues in photos, but also for spotting good deals online. She recommended some of her favorite-yet- less-well-known travel sites, including, and Travelzoo. I'd never heard of any them, but now regularly check them for deals.

In that same podcast episode, my conversation with Patricia M. Van Skaik of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was also an eye opener.

As a Californian, I hadn't considered libraries in Ohio to be high on my list of research locations, but Patricia changed all that. Cincinnati Library genealogy holdings cover all 50 states and 23 foreign countries, and the collection is more than 150 years old. In fact, back in 1850, Cincinnati was the sixth largest city in the nation—which makes it a hotbed of records from that time period. Add in a map collection ranked in the top three in the country and I’ll never look at distant libraries the same way again!

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Libraries and Archives | Podcasts | Research Tips
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 15:12:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 07 June 2010
Ways to Walk in Your Ancestors' Shoes
Posted by Diane

According to their passenger list, my Haddad ancestors first arrived on US shores Nov. 11, 1900. That was five days after President William McKinley was re-elected, beating challenger William Jennings Bryan. The next day, the World’s Fair in Paris closed. A little more than a month later, the new main building of the Ellis Island Immigration station was opened.

Want to find out what was happening on or about an important event in your family’s history? These sites can help:'s This Day in History: You’ll see a top story from on today’s date in history; click View Calendar to select another date.

Any Day in History: Pick a date and get a list of famous people’s birthdates, holidays and a timeline of historic happenings on that date.

New York Times On This Day: Find events on today’s date, or click the tiny Go To previous date link for a clickable list of dates. Select a date to get a list of historical events on that date.

BrainyHistory: Select a year range, then a year, and get a list of events that happened on most days of the year.

Library of Congress Today in History: Get a look at some library materials related to historic events on today’s date. Click archives to enter another date.

On This Day in History: Pick a date and see events, births and deaths that happened on that day.

What happened in my birth year?: Type in your birth year (or any year) and you’ll see a countdown and get an essay—letter by letter—about what life was like and what happened that year. This cool tool only goes back to 1900, though. Find out what happened this week in history and browse timelines such as American history, technology, famous people and sports. At the bottom of the page, click What Happened On to select a date.

Related resources from Family Tree Magazine:

Social History
Monday, 07 June 2010 15:41:40 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 04 June 2010
National Doughnut Day slideshow
Posted by Grace

The Salvation Army declared the first Friday of June National Doughnut day in 1938 to commemorate the World War I soldiers' affinity for the sweet treats. Women volunteers with the Salvation Army handed out doughnuts to the men on the front lines, who then took their predilections home with them. (That's where the name Doughboy comes from.)
We scoured the Library of Congress' photo archives for historic pictures of doughnut-eating in action.

Visit our website to see the slideshow (You can click through to our Flickr page to see the details and descriptions of the photos.)

Genealogy fun | Libraries and Archives | Photos
Friday, 04 June 2010 14:35:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]