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<2010 August>

More Links

# Thursday, 26 August 2010
Posted by Diane

Funny stuff! On, the companion website to our latest book, Grave Humor, you can:
  • See funny tombstone photos (some from the book, some sent in by our fellow funny gravestone enthusiasts)
  • Meet the author, Mr. M.T. Coffin.
  • Download free Grave Humor wallpaper for your computer, iPhone or iPad
  • Submit photos of the funny gravestones you’ve encountered in your cemetery adventures
  • ... and, of course, buy a copy of Grave Humor for your very own (on sale now for $8.79!) 

Grave Humor

Cemeteries | Editor's Pick | Genealogy fun
Thursday, 26 August 2010 09:01:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Library Contest Seeks Historical Treasures for Digitization
Posted by Diane

Do you own a historical record that cries out for digitization? Maybe a diary from a Civil War ancestor, a payroll ledger from a shipping company or a Colonial-era letter?

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is holding its second annual Digitization Contest to find historical treasures to scan and post online.

Documents, letters, diaries, and even large-scale items such as posters and maps are eligible. To enter, complete the short online entry form by the Oct. 1 deadline.

A panel of judges will narrow the entry pool and post information about the treasures online for public voting. The library will digitize the treasures receiving the most votes and add the images to its free Virtual Library website.

The library’s digitization equipment (updated even since our tour just a couple of years ago)  can create high-quality images of fragile items without causing damage.

Learn more on the Digitization Contest website.

Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 13:00:29 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Listen Up! August 2010 Podcast Now Available
Posted by Diane

A bunch of booth visitors at last week’s Federation of Genealogical Society conference said “I love your podcast!” You can see what they mean in the just-released Family Tree Magazine Podcast August episode, available now for free through iTunes and on our website.

Here’s what you’ll discover:
  • Tips and websites for determining whether you’ve found your Harry Smith (or whomever) from author and professional genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
  • A discussion on news from the blogosphere with yours truly
  • A sneak peek at the upcoming November 2010 Family Tree Magazine with publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy
Get the August 2010 Show Notes on

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Genealogy Web Sites | Podcasts | Research Tips
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 16:50:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 23 August 2010
A Visit to the East Tennessee History Center
Posted by Diane

I blogged a bit a couple of weeks ago about the East Tennessee History Center and the research collections inside. Friday morning while attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, I wandered the three or four blocks over to the center for a peek.

The center, renovated and expanded in 2004, is in the old Federal Customs House, constructed in 1874.

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, part of the Knox County Public Library, is on the third floor. The staff graciously let me take some photos, which are normally prohibited in the research rooms. The collection covers East Tennessee as well as other regions and states, especially those where folks who left Tennessee ended up.

The reading room was once a Federal courtroom, with the reference desk positioned about where the judge ruled from his bench.

Downstairs on the first floor, part of the Museum of East Tennessee history occupies what used to be a post office. Exhibits—multilayered with documents, artifacts, images, video and audio—start with the Cherokee Indians who inhabited the area and go all the way through the settling of the frontier, the work of the Tennessee Valley Authority and up to the World’s Fair of the 1980s.

Inside an old reassembled log cabin, you could watch a video about the Civil War in East Tennessee.

I especially liked the displays focusing on regional Appalachian crafts such as broom-making, basketry and quilting,

as well as the blue grass, gospel, country and other musical genres that evolved here. 

You can pay a virtual visit to the East Tennessee History Center here

Libraries and Archives | Museums | Social History
Monday, 23 August 2010 10:37:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Saturday, 21 August 2010
All Smiles at FGS!
Posted by Diane

A couple of photos for you from the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Knoxville, Tenn:

Terry Nicholson (right), a fellow Ohioan, was the lucky winner of our door prize, our 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine DVD. That's Family Tree Magazine publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy congratulating her.

Four of our Family Tree University instructors gathered at our booth yesterday for a meet-and-greet with FTU students and prospective students. There was even some "FTU!" chanting, led by Find Your German Roots instructor James M. Beidler (second from right). The others pictured are (left to right) Tim Pinnick, instructor of Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers; Jana Sloan Broglin, Finding Ancestors in the US Census; and Diana Crisman Smith, US Military Records and Land Records 101.

You can read all about FTU instructors at

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Saturday, 21 August 2010 11:37:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 19 August 2010
Happy 90th to the 19th Amendment!
Posted by Diane

Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the US constitution. I’m especially partial to this one because it granted women the right to vote, declaring “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Tennessee, where we are right now for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, is the state whose General Assembly passed the suffrage amendment by one vote Aug. 18, 1920. By becoming the 36th state to ratify the amendment, Tennessee assured the approval of the three-fourths of the states—the final requirement necessary for ratification.

Assemblyman Henry T. Burn from McMinn County provided the tie-breaking vote. He originally planned to vote against the 19th amendment, but a letter from his mother changed his mind.

“I notice some of the speeches against," she wrote. "They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. [Carrie Chapman] Catt put the "rat" in ratification.”

The next day, Burn told the Assembly that he changed his vote because "a good boy always does what his mother asks him to do."

Read about the long struggle for women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th amendment on these sites:

Female ancestors | Social History
Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:28:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
NEHGS Launches Website
Posted by Diane

The New England Historic Genealogy (NEHGS) has launched a new website, to reflect the society’s broad range of genealogical resources, announced  NEHGS president  D. Brenton Simons. includes NEHGS’ New England and New York content, features, articles, and resources, as well as weekly updates and databases in a variety of regional and ethnic specialties, such as sources for mid-Atlantic, Irish, and African-American research. The site has a new image viewer
for genealogical records, an enhanced search engine, faster navigation and search results time, and social networking-type profiles for NEHGS members.

Most records databases  and indexes on the site are available to NEHGS members ($75 per year); but the site also has a few free indexes, an array of how-to articles, a genealogy question of the day, the NEHGS library catalog and more.

Though its scope has broadened, Simons says NEHGS will remain committed to its core strength: New England genealogical scholarship. “New England will always be our greatest strength and primary focus, as well as our cherished institutional name. We have much New England material to bring to the public and the new website will add 25 million additional New England names to search.”

For more information on, see this NEHGS press release.

Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 19 August 2010 12:20:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
FamilySearch News From FGS
Posted by Diane

Day one of our Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Knoxville, Tenn., started off bright and early with a FamilySearch-hosted breakfast to update the genealogy media on recent and upcoming changes to FamilySearch.

Most exciting are the developments on the FamilySearch beta site. Eventually, this site will seamlessly integrate all the FamilySearch tools that now live on different sites: the Record Search Pilot, Family History Library catalog, pedigree databases, FamilySearch Wiki, FamilySearch blog, online videos and other learning tools, “new” Family Search (the family tree feature that’s currently available to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and others.

The Record Search Pilot and library catalog search (already on the beta site) are far more sophisticated than those on the Record Search Pilot site and FamilySearch, respectively.

According to FamilySearch product manager Robert Kehrer, all the records now on the pilot site will be searchable on the beta site within a month. FamilySearch isn’t big on giving launch dates, but Kehrer says some major updates to the beta site will take place by the end of the year, others will be ongoing.

FamilySearch beta eventually will replace the current FamilySearch site, whose technology doesn’t allow it to host all these useful tools. You can see what’s on the beta site so far at

In other FamilySearch news, FamilySearch is hosting a Rootstech conference Feb. 10-12 in Salt Lake City to bring together “technologists” and genealogists. The goal is to encourage innovation in genealogy., the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Brigham Young University also are sponsoring the conference.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Thursday, 19 August 2010 11:42:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 17 August 2010
See you in Knoxville!
Posted by Grace

We're looking forward to seeing many of you at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference tomorrow through Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. For those staying home, we'll be doing our best to bring you the conference news and happenings here on the blog.

If you're going, be sure to visit us in booth 316. We'll have magazines and other handouts (while supplies last) and our newest books, CDs and other products for sale. The exhibit hall, which is free to the public, is open Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can also meet some of our Family Tree University instructors from noon to 12:30 p.m. Friday at our booth!

If you haven't registered yet for the conference, you can do so on-site. The cost is $235 for the full four days or $125 for one day. (And again -- you can visit the exhibit hall even if you're not a registered conference attendee!)

Visit the FGS website for the conference program, exhibit hall map and special events information. The conference news blog has updates, handy advice and insider information from event organizers. Read our earlier post about local research opportunities, including extended research hours at the East Tennessee Historical Society.

See you at the show!

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 13:08:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
New Class: Exploring City Directories
Posted by Grace

The August round of Family Tree University courses began yesterday, but there's still time to sign up for this session! Of particular interest is Exploring City Directories: How to Trace Your Family in Yesterday's Yellow Pages. Course instructor Patricia Van Skaik is a genealogy librarian, so she really knows her stuff. Read this excerpt of a case study from the class to see for yourself:
An 1846 Cincinnati city directory reveals that photographer Charles Fontayne operated a business in Cincinnati in 1845. In fact, in the 1840s and early 1850s he did not live in Cincinnati, but instead one mile across the river in Newport, Ky. However, he did not appear in any US census schedules until 1860. 

William S. Porter's family knew he moved to Cincinnati by 1850, but knew little about him before then, including his reason for migrating to Cincinnati. The 1849 directory reveals Porter's arrival about a year after Fontayne's, and shows Porter becoming Fontayne's business partner in a photography studio.

The photographic method of the time, the daguerreotype, was extraordinarily expensive and could only be supported by a large and prosperous city. Cincinnati was the sixth largest city in the United States, just behind Baltimore, and very cosmopolitan as revealed through the wide range of products, including luxury goods, advertised in the directories. Photographers were an elite group with only eight listed in the 1850 Cincinnati directory.

Applying the cluster strategy to the business associates led to looking for connections between Fontayne and Porter before their partnership in Cincinnati. Baltimore city directories from the early 1840s show Fontayne and Porter as business partners there. We can conclude that Porter followed Fontayne to continue the business, a successful endeavor as demonstrated by their ornate advertisement.

The Fontayne and Porter case study illustrates several of key concepts of delving deeper into city directories:
  • Use the cluster strategy with co-workers. Business associates may have worked together elsewhere prior to their arrival in their current city.
  • Chain migration—one individual traveling ahead to be joined later by another—can apply to occupational groups.

  • Business location is important and strategically chosen.

  • Business owners may have lived in a different city or state.

  • Read between the years and compare information about the industry and your ancestor.

  • Look to advertisements for further information about the ancestor or company, including its target audience and prosperity.

  • Identification in a city directory points to new leads for genealogical sources.
You can see the Exploring City Directories syllabus here, and sign up for the course here! (Note: If you use the coupon code SCHOOL20, you'll get $20 off this course or any other this month!)

Family Tree University | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 09:53:40 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]