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<2010 August>

More Links

# Tuesday, 03 August 2010
9 Things to Find Out About Your Family Heirlooms
Posted by Diane

There’s a family story on my mom's side about a dent in a silver pitcher Mom inherited from her dad’s mom. I don't remember how the story goes, but it has something to do with my grandpa and his brother arguing.

Luckily, I can go home tonight, call my mom and ask her to repeat the details (at which time I’ll write them down). But that opportunity won’t be around forever, so I’m planning to start keeping track of the specifics and stories about the heirlooms in our family.

If you want to do something similar, here are nine things to try to find out about each heirloom:
  • Who in your family first owned the heirloom
  • When and how it came into that person’s possession
  • When the heirloom was created and by whom
  • How the heirloom has been passed down in your family (in other words, its provenance)
  • Any stories associated with the heirloom
  • Who owns the heirloom now
  • Who will be the future owner of the heirloom (so generations to come don’t lose track of it)
  • The heirloom’s composition (so it can be properly cared for)
  • For an heirloom with monetary value, a professional appraisal amount (so it can be insured)
You can record your findings on our heirloom inventory form, downloadable free from Also try to take photos of the item and any manufacturer's or other identifying marks to keep with your records.

You'll find articles on preserving family photos and heirlooms on For more guidance, see these resources from

Family Heirlooms
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 16:31:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 02 August 2010
New Family Tree University Courses!
Posted by Diane

Just wanted to give you a heads up that registration is open for the next Family Tree University session, which begins Monday, Aug. 16. We've added several new classes:
We’ll also be bringing back a host of popular classes for the August session. You can read about these classes and meet the instructors at FamilyTree
You also can visit to learn how courses work, read genealogy how-to articles, and connect with Family Tree University on Facebook and Twitter.

Family Tree University | Research Tips
Monday, 02 August 2010 15:21:51 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 30 July 2010
Genealogy News Corral: July 26-30
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s own Photo Detective, Maureen A. Taylor, will be providing free 10-minute photo consultations in the FamilySearch booth at the FGS conference, Aug. 19-21 in Knoxville, Tenn. You may bring one photo and must reserve a consultation online (looks like Aug. 19 is almost sold out).

Last year, the governor of Michigan announced a restructuring that abolished the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries, which encompassed the Library of Michigan and its genealogy collection. Though the fate of the collection is still unknown, a Library Journal update reports the genealogy collection is still located at the library, which is operating with reduced finding and staff. See the full update here.

Synium Software released Mac Family Tree 6 this week with features including a new tree editor, new reports and charts and integration with FamilySearch databases. The software requires requires Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 and runs on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs.

A new Chickasaw Cultural Center opened in Sulphur, Okla., with exhibits including a Traditional Village, Spirit Forest and Removal Experience, as well as a Research Center with genealogical, archeological and photo collections. The Chickasaw, one of the Five Civilized Tribes, were forcibly removed to Indian Territory from their homes in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee in the 1830s.

American Indian roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Libraries and Archives
Friday, 30 July 2010 09:33:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Is Lindsay the Intern a Mayflower Descendant?
Posted by Lindsay

I was hoping after last week’s devastating revelation that I could improve the Rudd family morale by verifying the myth that we are descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims. Like the Uncle Sam rumor, this one has been purported by my mother’s family, so instead of blindly trusting the research (see below), I set about to prove it on my own.

I began optimistically after reading an article that said, “It has been estimated by Gary Boyd Roberts, of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, that there are some 30 million descendants of the Mayflower families.” With 30 million descendants, my chances were looking good!

I started by tracing back through Hazel Silverberg, my great-grandmother. Using, I traced her grandparents, Charles Russell Hall (b. 1853, New York) and Alice Roberts (b. 1865).

My alleged Mayflower link is through Charles Russell Hall’s mother, Anne Green Soule (b. 1826, married to Russell W. Hall). I immediately questioned Anne’s two last names, Green and Soule, especially as her mother’s last name is reportedly Cady. Where did “Green” come from? Did she have a previous marriage? If women were remarried after being widowed or divorced, did they keep their name?

On this page of research (date: 12/10/89), Anne Green Soule has a * next to her name, and written below: “is already verified by some other researcher. They let me see it, but it’s against the rules.” Um, what?

It also says, at the bottom, “Anne Green’s birth and death must be confirmed somehow and then we can be official Mayflower descendants.”

So it would seem—to my astonishment—that there is no actual evidence that we are Mayflower descendants. Great.

My online search of records for Anne Green Soule and Russell W. Hall was fruitless. All I uncovered was an 1860 Census record that listed Russell Hall and Anna Hall (b. 1827, NY)—no mention of Green or Soule. At this point I changed my strategy. Knowing of the abundant literature on Mayflower genealogy, I started Google-ing.

I confirmed my relative’s research from the Mayflower pilgrim (George Soule) to Coomer Soule, Anne Green Soule’s alleged father.

I hit a roadblock when—in the only Mayflower family tree I found that listed Coomer Soule’s children—they were listed:
i. JOSEPH CADY SOULE, b. 27 Jan 1805; m. JULIA KEACH.
ii. LUCY SOULE, b. 11 Aug 1808, Woodstock, Windham County, Connecticut; m. NATHAN BROWN.
iii. EMILY SOULE, b. Abt. 1811
iv. ELIZABETH SOULE, b. 22 Mar 1815; m. LYMAN HAWKS.

Well… where’s Anne? And it doesn’t look like any of those daughters married a “Hall.”

I needed help, so I started digging around’s message boards when I stumbled upon this posting from January 3, 2000:
“Looking for the daughter of Coomer Soule and Nancy Cady who is believe to have married Russell Ephraim Hall, Children William Coomer Hall b. 12/8/1857, m. 12/25/1891 Hattie Alma Cone in Hartford, Windsor Co, VT. William d. 12/29/1938.”

This (nameless) poster seems to share my dilemma. He (or she) is implying that there was a daughter who married a Russell Hall. This couldn’t just be one of my aunts though, because William Coomer Hall is a different child than (perhaps the brother?) my Charles Russell Hall.

Unfortunately, my luck stopped there. None of the responses had valuable information. Help me out, Genealogy Insiders! Where should I go from here?

(My mom’s abandoned Mayflower Society application from 2002).

Family Tree Firsts
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 17:34:22 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Find Your Genealogical Mr. Right
Posted by Diane

I blogged last year about my ancestor’s 1944 petition for naturalization, and how it refers to his 1918 filing of “first papers” (a declaration of intent to naturalize)—for which he apparently never filed second papers.

It even gave a document number for those first first papers. But the papers are mysteriously missing both from databases of digitized naturalization records and from microfilm of naturalization records from the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946.

So I got all excited when I found a Fadlallah Haddad in a naturalization index from Chicago. Unusual name, right? It had to be him. But when I looked at the record, some of the details were slightly off. And why would he be in Chicago?

Next, I tried a tip from “Finding Mr. Right” by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack in the September 2010 Family Tree Magazine, and searched for Fadlallahs in other records. And there was one in Chicago in the 1930 census, with a household of unfamiliar names. In that census, my Fadlallah was living with three of his children in Cleveland.

So my momentary bubble burst, but at least I’m not chasing after the wrong ancestor.

The September 2010 “Finding Mr. Right” article has much more on how to tell the difference between two same-named people in the same place, even when their ages and other details are similar: how to create an ID table and a chronology of each person, for example, and researching the best records for distinguishing the individuals. Even handwriting and witnesses on documents can be clues to whether a particular person is or isn’t your man.

Other goodies in this issue:
... and lots more. The September 2010 Family Tree Magazine is available now on newsstands and as a digital download from

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:38:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Favorite Historical Tweeps
Posted by Diane

Twitter has tons of historical trivia to offer. These are some of the fun-to-follow history tweeps I’ve been enjoying (click Comments below to share your favorites):

This online reenactment of the American Revolution will tweet a day-by-day account of the war for eight years.

Tweets of Old
Funny tidbits from old newspapers “attempt to reveal the lives of our predecessors through the tweets of yesteryear.”

Get “today in history” tweets every day, such as this from July 7: “Houdini performed overboard box trick 1st time today in 1912 in East River”

American History Fun Facts
Follow for history trivia, quotes, fun facts and stories from American history.

Historical Tweets
Humorous Twitter messages from the history books, or, what famous people from history might have tweeted. From Johannes Gutenberg on Oct. 3, 1439: “Finally finished invention. Disappointed to learn that no one can read.”

A secret delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 reports on the events through Twitter: “7/25/1787: Convoluted proposal after proposal on how to elect the president. Make up your minds people!”

Mental Floss
Did you know that during the bitter Adams-Jefferson election of 1800, Martha Washington called Jefferson “one of the most detestable of mankind.” Get more off-the-wall trivia (not all of it historical) from the folks behind Mental Floss magazine.

From the Massachusetts Historical Society, peek at John Quincy Adams’ diary, a line at a time.

Monticello staff tweet from Thomas Jefferson’s diary entries 200 years later.

Genealogy fun | Social History | Social Networking
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 09:42:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 27 July 2010
July Family Tree Magazine Podcast Episode Now Live!
Posted by Diane

Hello, all! The free July 2010 Family Tree Magazine Podcast is available for your listening pleasure. In this episode, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke (who also creates the Genealogy Gems podcast), you’ll:
  • Discover some of the best preservation resources online
  • Learn how to submit photos of your Civil War-era ancestors for our 2010 commemorative Civil War calendar
  • Meet Lindsay, Family Tree Magazine’s summer intern and resident genealogy newbie
  • Find out about the Family Tree Sourcebook, a genealogy records reference appearing in bookstores this fall
You'll find the show notes on, and you can listen there or in iTunes.

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Web Sites | Podcasts
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 14:55:51 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 22 July 2010
Your Unofficial Guide to Webinar: Early Birds Save 20 Percent!
Posted by Diane

Maybe you recently subscribed to genealogy website—or found out your local library offers Ancestry Library Edition—and you’re not sure how to begin on the huge site. Or you’ve found a few records about your ancestors, and you’re wondering if that’s all there is. Or you don’t know how to take advantage of the site’s recent changes to its search function.

At 5 billion records (and counting), can help you unlock valuable information about your family—if you know how to make the most of its record search and other tools. Our next webinar, Your Unofficial Guide to Tips, Hints and Hacks for Finding Your Ancestors, will show you just that. You’ll learn:
• How to navigate
• Tricks for finding databases with the genealogical information you need
• Strategies to locate hard-to-find ancestors in the site’s record collections
• Things doesn't want you to know!
The hour-long webinar, presented by Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell, is Wed., Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific).

Sign up now to save 20 percent on your registration. Registration includes:
• Participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
• Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
• PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
• Bonus handouts
Click here to register for Family Tree Magazine’s Your Unofficial Guide to webinar. | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, 22 July 2010 08:37:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Is Lindsay the Intern Related to Uncle Sam?
Posted by Diane

You might remember Lindsay, Family Tree Magazine's hard-working summer intern, from last week's introduction. This week, Lindsay investigates her family's supposed connection to Uncle Sam:

I now have 133 (verified) people on my MyHeritage family tree! The most exciting part of my research has been tracing my ancestors back to their homelands. I have discovered that these include, on my father’s side: Italy, Canada (Scotland) and Germany, and on my mother’s side: England, Ireland, Germany and France. It definitely feels like I’m making progress, especially since I hit my first “brick wall” this week! Well, sort of…
I remember that, as a child, I used to tell people I was related to Uncle Sam—you know, the guy on the “I want you” posters. Did I think this would make me popular? I don’t know, but with the exception of a couple retaliatory remarks (“well, I’m related to Abraham Lincoln”), people didn’t really care.

But one incident—that I just can’t forget—is a heated argument I had with a (then) boyfriend on a road trip to Chicago. When I informed him that he was practically dating a celebrity, he told me that I was wrong—I couldn’t possibly be related to Uncle Sam. He went so far as to claim that Uncle Sam wasn’t even a real person!

Well, he is in fact a real man by the name of Samuel Wilson, and he was a meatpacker for the US Army during the War of 1812. So, my goal this weekend was to prove, once and for all that he is, in fact, my ancestor. Easy, right?


Let’s start with the facts: Samuel Wilson was born in Arlington, MA in 1766 and lived in Troy, NY during the War of 1812. He passed away in 1854 (see his grave here on Find-a-Grave). From what I discovered online, he married Betsey Mann and had four children, of which only one (Benjamin) reproduced. Benjamin Wilson (1802-1859) married Mary Wood.

How does this relate to me? In addition to a surplus of unrelated articles about the real Uncle Sam, I was able to dig out a couple of articles from my mom’s genealogy folder. 

In the one above, dated May 16, 1931, William Rudd (my great-great grandfather) states: ”’Uncle Sam’ Wilson had a daughter, Caroline Wilson, who became Mrs. Pierce. Mrs. Pierce had a daughter, Mary, who became Mrs. Rudd—and she was my mother, and thus ‘Uncle Sam’ Wilson was my great-grandfather.”

Wait a minute: Caroline Wilson? This name was not once mentioned in my Uncle Sam research. Furthermore, I read that it was only Sam’s son, Benjamin, who had children. Does this mean my ancestors fabricated this alleged ancestor and are, thus, fame-mongers? 

I have verified that William Rudd’s father was George R. Rudd (b. 1854) and that he married a woman named Mary (b. 1852). All of the information mentioned in the article above is true, except for the father-daughter relationship between Caroline and Sam. 

But, wait!  I uncovered some very interesting information in the 1880 census from Cincinnati, OH. According to the census, George and Mary Rudd were living with Caroline Pierce (“mother”, b. 1823 in New York), Samuel Wilson (“uncle”, b. 1827, New York), and John Wilson (“uncle”, b. 1838, New York).

From this, I assume that Caroline’s maiden name was Wilson and she is somehow related (maybe the sister of) Samuel and John Wilson. But because the dates are so off (this Sam Wilson wouldn’t have even been alive in 1812), it doesn’t make sense. Maybe Caroline and Sam Wilson’s father was named Sam—but still, it is probably not Uncle Sam.

I daresay my Rudd ancestors were simply confusing two people of the same name, from the same state (in genealogy, it apparently happens all the time). Am I missing something, Genealogy Insiders? Is it possible Sam fathered an illegitimate child somewhere? Perhaps, but for now, I will have to break the sad news to my family that no, we are not actually related to Uncle Sam.

Family Tree Firsts | Research Tips
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 14:38:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 20 July 2010
FamilySearch Tests New Version of FHL Online Catalog
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch is beta testing a new interface for the Family History Library catalog. You can try it out on the FamilySearch beta site and provide feedback using the orange Feedback tab on the right.

The Family History Library (FHL) is the largest genealogy collection in the United States. Some of its resources are accessible online through, and you can borrow microfilmed records by visiting an FHL branch Family History Center (FHC). 

Here's the beta catalog search screen:

You’ll like how you click less when you search: Instead of a separate search page for each type of search, you can select the type of search (place name, last name, title, keyword, etc.) you want from a dropdown menu and type in your search terms.

Library holdings matching your search results are displayed in a list, like this:

Filters to the left of the list let you break down results by category (such as birth, marriage and death records; census and voter lists, family trees, military records, etc.), place, availability (online items, or items available from the FHL or FHCs) or language.  

All the record information for an item is on one page. Here's an example:

The title, author, publisher and other basic information is first, followed by “Notes” (a description of the item), the library subjects the item is associated with, then the film notes. (In the current catalog, a link takes you to the film notes—a list of all the microfilm reels in a series and what’s on them—on a separate page.)

That can make for a long catalog page, depending on the item. Some indexing links at the top of the page, so you can jump down to the subjects, film notes etc., would be helpful.

Resources on how to use FamilySearch, from Family Tree Magazine:

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:09:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]