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# Monday, June 21, 2010
A Look at the New Land Ownership Maps on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com recently added a collection of US land ownership maps—about 1,200 county land ownership atlases digitized from microfilmed at the Library of Congress. The atlases come from 20 states and date between 1860 and 1918.

Maps show land parcels labeled with owners’ names. They vary in appearance depending on when and where they were published. This one shows Van Buren Township, Ind., in 1914.



You can search the collection by state, county, year or owner’s name. When you click to view an image, it may take awhile to hunt for the name you need (use the magnifying glass in Ancestry.com's record viewer to enlarge the image).

Once you find a relative's parcel, look at the other names. You may see names of people who’ve appeared as witnesses on family documents, or families who’ve married into yours. If you can determine when your ancestor purchased the land, you can contact the county (usually, the county clerk or the recorder's office) to request a deed of sale.

It helps to have a good idea of where an ancestor lived and when he owned land before you search this database. The maps offer no identifying information about the landowners, so if you just search on an ancestor to see if he shows up, you may have a hard time deciding if a match is the right person.

The M. Reuter who owns land at the top of the above map may be a relative of mine (I’m guessing my great-grandfather’s brother).


I found the family in the 1920 census ...



but then I realized I have other work I need to get done today. I’ll let you know what I find out about this.

In the mean time, you can learn more about how to find your ancestors' land records in these resources from Family Tree Magazine:

Ancestry.com | Land records
Monday, June 21, 2010 1:38:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 18, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: June 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added records from Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, and the United States to its Record Search Pilot site and Beta Search site. US additions include indexes to the 1910 census for several states, Massachusetts death records, Minnesota probate court wills.
  • Michigan residents can access state history-related documents (such as personal narratives, memoirs, pamphlets and political speeches) and historical essays through Gale’s collection Michigana, Sources in U.S. History Online, available as part of Michigan eLibrary. (Some eLibrary material is accessible to only those who log in with a Michigan library card, driver’s license or state ID.)


FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 18, 2010 2:55:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Make a Family History Book
Posted by Grace

Have you thought about creating a book about your family but didn't know where to start? One of our new Family Tree University classes, Creating a Family History Book, takes you step-by-step through the process!

Instructor Nancy Hendrickson gives you advice for determining a theme, collecting the information you need for the book and putting the whole thing together. She's also got tips for great family interviews:
Anecdotes are the heart and soul of interviews—they are those wonderful little stories we all love reading. But how do you get those anecdotes? Author John Brady writes, "If he says, 'I owe my 40 years of marriage to absolute understanding and compatibility,' ask him, 'What do you mean by understanding and compatibility? Can you give me some examples?'"
 
Asking follow-up questions is important because it lets the subject know you're genuinely curious and interested in what they’re saying. Although you have a prepared list of questions, don't be afraid to follow one of your subject's comments off into unexpected territory. 
 
If this is your first interview, you may feel nervous and awkward. Take heart. You'll improve with practice. When you think the interview is over, ask one last question: "Is there anything else I should have asked you?" You'll be surprised at the great information this question elicits.
This class starts Monday, June 21 and lasts for four weeks. It's self-paced, so you can work on the exercises and your book project whenever it's convenient for you, and Nancy will give you personalized feedback on your work! You can download a copy of the syllabus here and sign up for the class here.


Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree University
Friday, June 18, 2010 10:07:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Stuck? Tips From Our Brick Wall-Busting Webinar
Posted by Diane

If you didn’t make Tuesday’s Brick Wall Busters webinar, you missed out on some great advice from David Allen Lambert, online genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Over the course of the hour, David tackled the research challenges attendees threw at him. Just a few of the helpful tidbits he shared:
  • When you get stuck in the early 1800s, make the last known county your adopted home—that is, camp out with the microfilmed deeds, probates and other records for that place and look at all the people with your ancestral surname.
  • Middle names came into common usage around the 1790s. If you see earlier folk recorded with middle names in compiled genealogies or other family charts, be suspicious of their accuracy.
  • Have a New England immigrant who didn’t naturalize? Many New England tombstones have the deceased’s specific places of origin inscribed on them.
  • If you suspect an ancestor died at sea, look for a “cenotaph”—a memorial (e.g., marker) for a deceased person whose body is not at that site.

  • Military pensions provide much useful detail about your ancestors, but generally won’t name a soldier’s parents.
Hear all of David’s insightful tips and strategies in the on-demand Brick Wall Busters webinar recording, available now on ShopFamilyTree.com.

And be sure to check out the NEHGS Online Genealogist Question of the Day.


Genealogy societies | Research Tips | Webinars
Friday, June 18, 2010 9:35:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 17, 2010
4 Genealogical Questions You Always Wanted to Ask ...
Posted by Diane

While hosting the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke has discovered answers to some burning genealogical questions. She shares them in this post:
 
As I continue my trek down Family Tree Magazine Podcast memory lane, I’m struck by how many talented and knowledgeable people I’ve had the good fortune to interview. Even better, I get to ask those questions that are on all of our minds:
  • How did the DeadFred photo-reunion website get its name? 

  • Can you get copies of materials from the Library of Congress (LOC) without being there in person? 

  • If I get my DNA tested, does that mean the FBI can look at my profile and compare it to criminal cases?

  • How many DNA markers should I have tested?
Inquiring minds want to know, and on the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, I do my best every month to find out!
 
In the July 2009 podcast episode, DeadFred.com founder Joe Bott spilled the beans behind that wacky website name. “Sometimes you need a hook to get people’s attention!” he said. He came up with the name while looking at an old photograph of the deceased Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.

That catchy name coined back in 1998 has lured thousands of people to post their mystery photographs, resulting in over 1,500 photos being reunited with their families in the past 10 years. Bottom line: DeadFred works! (Learn more about online photo sharing in our Photo Sharing 101 webinar recording.)
 
The question about getting copies of LOC materials was front and center in my mind after I heard James Sweeny, an LOC reference services librarian for 20-plus years, reveal some impressive stats:
  • The LOC is the largest library in the world.

  • It has more than 60,000 genealogies from around the world.

  • It has 20 million cataloged books.

  • Its unmatched US city directory collection covers 1,200 cities, towns and counties across the country.

  • The library building  has 20 reading rooms.
In the September 2009 podcast episode, Sweeny encourages listeners to check out the LOC website and use the “Ask the Librarian” feature. It turns out that staff will make a limited number of complimentary (yes, free!) copies and mail them to you. This is great when you need to check a book's index or look up a surname in a hard-to-find city directory. If you need a lot of copies, you can arrange the service for a fee without ever leaving home. 
 
Another little-known fact about the LOC's mostly non-circulating collection:  Many of its genealogies and local histories are also available on microfilm, which does circulate to your local library. Again, check the online catalog and ask a librarian for more information.
 
And finally, Dusty Rhoades of DNA testing service and social networking site GeneTree answers that nagging question about DNA testing and criminal cases in the November 2009 podcast episode.
 
“Genealogy DNA testing can’t tie you to the scene of a crime,” says Rhoades. That's because genetic genealogy tests and forensic DNA tests look at different parts of the chromosome.
 
Another common question is “how many markers should I test?” Rhoads recommends between 33 and 46. Testing only 12 markers can lead to false positives. And though a connection may appear strong with 33 markers, testing 46 markers may show it’s not as strong as it looks. 
 
And of course, when it comes to DNA, it’s a case of the more the merrier.
“The more people who get involved, the easier it is for us to find you matches” says Rhoades. (Find more genetic genealogy answers in the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine's Complete Guide to Genetic Genealogy.)
 
When it comes to questions, the Family Tree Magazine Podcast has answers!  And because it’s pre-recorded, you can find the answers today and well into the future. Got a burning genealogical question you'd like to hear about in the podcast? E-mail it to us!

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | Libraries and Archives | Photos | Podcasts
Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:18:43 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 16, 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, June 16, 2010 2:25:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 15, 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, June 15, 2010 3:57:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Ancestry.com to Buy Genline
Posted by Diane

The biggest US-based genealogy company will acquire the biggest Swedish genealogy company. Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com 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.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry | International Genealogy
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:12:13 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, June 14, 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 FindMyPast.co.uk is free during England’s World Cup soccer matches!

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

Get full details on FindMyPast.co.uk. 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 FindMyPast.co.uk Web Guide, available for $4 from ShopFamilyTree.com.


Free Databases | UK and Irish roots
Monday, June 14, 2010 8:46:25 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 10, 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 ShopFamilyTree.com.

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:24:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]