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# Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Major Updates to FamilySearch Beta Site
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has announced a major upgrade of its FamilySearch Beta site. Its usefulness has already outpaced FamilySearch's familiar Pilot Record Search site. New features, including the following, make the beta site easier to use and nudge it closer to replacing FamilySearch.org:
  • A new web address at beta.familysearch.org  (though fsbeta.familysearch.org still works).

  • New records, including all those found at the Pilot Record Search site and more, for 450-plus collections.

  • Alphabetized browsing (click All Collections on the FamilySearch Beta home page to access it) so you can quickly find the collections you’re looking for. In most cases, the collection title begins with the name of the state or country where the records were created.

  • If you’re interested in only collections with record images, you can click All Collections, then check a box at the bottom left to see only titles of collection with images.

  • You can type apostrophes into the search fields to find names such as O’Hara.

  • You can filter your search results by collection category. 

  • When viewing a record, you can click to see the previous or next record image in the collection.

  • Census results now list all household members with their genders and ages.

  • If you’re searching Trees (a link on the FamilySearch Beta home page), where the information from FamilySearch’s Ancestral File is, you can find people by event year—that is, the year of birth, death or marriage.
  • For easier navigation and viewing of the site, you’ll find new labels in the header and footer, enhanced color contrast, and visited links that change colors once you’ve already clicked them.


FamilySearch
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 11:31:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Just Discovered: Rare Color Footage of London Blitz
Posted by Diane

Britain marked the 70th anniversary yesterday of the Sept. 7, 1940, start of the Blitz—Nazi Germany’s WWII bombing campaign that lasted until May 10, 1941. It began with 76 consecutive nights of bombing in London and hit many towns and cities across England, eventually killing more than 43,000 civilians.

Color footage of London during the Blitz was recently discovered in the attic of a London home. Alfred Coucher, the wartime mayor of Marylebone in west London and the local chief air raid warden, shot the footage. You can read more about the Blitz footage and see it on Telegraph.co.uk.

Read correspondent Ernie Pyle's description of nightime raid on London here.

Also check out the West End at War website, which is adding the film, historical information, eyewitness accounts and more to document the impact of the Blitz on the London borough of Westminster.  

Related resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Military records | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 10:36:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 03, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Aug. 30-Sept. 3
Posted by Diane

  • Wondering whom to thank for your Monday off work? Historians disagree on who should get credit for Labor Day. Most think it’s either Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, a machinist, secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ, and secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. Read more Labor Day history on the US Department of Labor website.
  • The National Archives in Kansas City has opened to the public 300,000 Alien Case Files (A-Files) for individuals born in 1909 and earlier. This is part of the group of immigration records transferred last year from the US Citizenship and Immigration services to the National Archives. The files themselves date from 1944 and later, but the records remain closed until 100 years after the birthdate of the subject of the file.
The files aren’t online; you can search NARA’s Archival Research Catalog for your ancestor’s name to see if there’s a file on your ancestor (after clicking a name in the search results, click Scope and Content for a few more details about the subject of the record). You can access the records in person or order copies from NARA.
Just choose an alphabetical range and you’ll be linked to an index page listing the vital events within that range. You can use your web browser’s Find function to look for a name. Once you’ve found the name, publication and date, click the Quick Links to Newspapers link to find the image of the page with the information you need.


immigration records | NARA | Social History | Vital Records
Friday, September 03, 2010 1:59:28 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 02, 2010
Crash Course in Pennsylvania Genealogy
Posted by Diane


Awhile ago, we asked Facebook fans which state they’d most want to see a webinar about. Among the many states mentioned, Pennsylvania was the winner.

Philadelphia was the No. 1 port of entry for immigrants during the Colonial era and has remained a financial and cultural center, meaning many of you have ancestors who lived in Pennsylvania.

Ask and ye shall receive! You’ll learn resources and research strategies for tracing them in our next webinar, Pennsylvania Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Keystone State Ancestors.

“Many people have what I call the ‘1850 census birthplace problem,’” says presenter James M. Beidler.

“That is, they have an ancestor in a state such as Ohio, Illinois or California, and the 1850 US census shows Pennsylvania as the birthplace—but nothing else ties the ancestor to a particular part of Pennsylvania. We’ll discuss some ideas on how to break through this brick wall.”

In the webinar, you’ll also learn:
  • Aspects of Pennsylvania history that are essential to doing genealogical research there
  • Details on vital records, immigration resources and other records in the state
  • Ethnic groups that tended to settle in Pennsylvania and the records they may have left behind
  • The best websites for doing Pennsylvania research, such as the steadily expanding website of the Pennsylvania State Archives.
Beidler, himself a Pennsylvania resident, is a frequent contributor to Family Tree Magazine and an expert on research in the state.

The hour-long Pennsylvania Crash Course webinar is Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. Eastern (that’s 6 p.m. Central/ 5 p.m. Mountain/ 4 p.m. Pacific).

Sign up for the webinar now to save 20 percent on your registration!


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, September 02, 2010 9:21:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Research Ancestry.com Immigration Records Free Through Labor Day
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com is making its entire US Immigration Collection searchable free through Labor Day, Sept. 6. (You’ll need to register for a free account to access full search results.)

The freebie celebrates the site’s release of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island. Starting in the 1970s, the National Park Service recorded of immigrants recalling the lives they left behind, why they left and the journey to America. Before now, the stories were available only to Ellis Island Immigration Museum visitors. The Ellis Island Oral History Collection will remain permanently free on Ancestry.com.

Also part of the immigration collection are nearly 2 million new US naturalization record indexes dating from 1791 to 1992, part of Ancestry.com's World Archives Project. The indexes cover the states of Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.

And the Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943, database has been enhanced with nearly 2 million records documenting crew members on ships who arrived in Boston.

Of course, Ancestry.com's Immigration Collection also has virtually every available passenger list for US ports, as well as the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, a good resource for tracing early immigrants.

Get tips for beating brick walls in your immigrant ancestor research on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

For help searching Ancestry.com, use Family Tree Magazine’s Ancestry.com Web Guide, available on our Web Guides CD from ShopFamilyTree.com.

Update: Ancestry.ca, the Canadian sister site to Ancestry.com, also is offering its immigration records free through Sept. 6. Here, you'll find Canadian passenger lists and border-crossing records, among other resources.


Ancestry.com | Free Databases | immigration records
Thursday, September 02, 2010 9:01:29 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, August 31, 2010
New Genealogy Classes for September
Posted by Grace

Thinking of going back to school? Family Tree University's September session begins Monday, Sept 13, and we've got three new courses for you. Read on for the whole course catalog!

STRATEGIES
New: Organize Your Genealogy: Get Your Research in Order (and Keep It That Way)
Whether you work on paper or do everything online, getting your research organized is essential to keeping track of ancestors and making sure you know where to put new ones in your family tree.

More courses: ETHNIC ANCESTORS
New: Trace Your Polish Roots: Strategies for Searching in the US and Poland Trace your ancestors from America to Poland. This course will debunk myths, explain history and point you to the most useful records.

More courses: RECORDS AND SOURCES
New: Newspaper Research 101: Find Your Ancestors in American News Sources
In this class you'll learn how to find and use newspaper archives—online, on paper and on microfilm—to put together missing pieces of your genealogical research.

More courses: SHARING HISTORY
These classes will help you preserve your family's legacy and get creative with your genealogy:

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:22:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Family Tree Maker 2011 Released
Posted by Diane

Online genealogy company Ancestry.com has released Family Tree Maker 2011, an updated version of its genealogy desktop software.

You can purchase Family Tree Maker with a full Ancestry.com subscription or a free trial. The software also comes with either a printed or electronic Companion Guide. It starts at $39.95 online at FamilyTreeMaker.com and at some retail stores.

The 2011 version has more than 100 improvements, including:

Smart Stories: An editor that lets you drag and drop text and photos from your Family Tree Maker tree into story pages that update automatically when you make changes to your tree.

Timelines: You’ll be able to find and add more events to your ancestors' timelines and add your own historical events.

Charts: The 2011 version has four new fan chart styles. You can enhance charts with backgrounds, borders and embellishments, and change fonts based on fact type.

Improved Ancestry.com integration: A hallmark of Family Tree Maker is its ability to search Ancestry.com’s records collections for people in users’ family trees when the computer is connected to the internet. An Ancestry.com subscription is required to see results. Uploading and downloading of your tree is faster in version 2011, and you can see your Member Connect activity and related message board posts right on your home page.

Media management: Drag and drop, cut and paste, and categorize multiple items at the same time. A new tool helps you locate missing media files.

Enhanced reports: Ancestor and descendant reports have been enhanced, and there’s a new surname report. You can now sort your custom reports, and save and reuse report settings.

Ancestry.com is holding a free Family Tree Maker 2011 webinar Sept. 15 at 8 pm Eastern. You can register by clicking here.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 8:35:40 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, August 30, 2010
Two Days Left in ShopFamilyTree.com $250 Giveaway!
Posted by Diane

You have only two more days to enter to win our ShopFamilyTree.com $250 shopping spree! The sweepstakes ends Aug. 31 at 11:59 Eastern.

You can enter up to once per day at Win.FamilyTreeMagazine.com. (Read all the rules here.)

The winner will be able to choose from hundreds of expert genealogy how-to books, CDs, and other products, such as


Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, August 30, 2010 10:14:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, August 27, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Aug. 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • The Federation of Genealogical Societies has re-launched its Society Hall online directory. If you think you know the name of the genealogical society, historical society, family association or library you want to contact, you can search by keyword; otherwise, choose a state from the drop-down menu for a list of societies in that state (note that the directory might not include every society in the state).
  • An Irish library and museum website called Ask About Ireland has posted an important Irish record group free online: Griffith’s Primary Valuation is an accounting of property values in Ireland that took place between 1847 and 1864. You can search by a family name and place, or use the Place Name search to search by just a place. 
Each result contains the family name, the first name, county and parish. Click links to see details for the individual (landlord and tenant names, location, and publication information for the original map), the person’s residence plotted on a map, and a copy of the original Griffith's Valuation page entry.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Free Databases | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, August 27, 2010 2:42:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com Launches Largest Online School Yearbook Collection
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com beefed up its school yearbook collection to total 10,000 yearbooks and 60 million records (names), staking a claim to the largest searchable collection of yearbooks available online.

I like the idea of yearbooks as genealogical resources because of the potential of finding a photo of an ancestor as a young person, and learning about interests such as tennis or science (you won't find that in the census).

Ancestry.com's collection contains two databases: US School Yearbooks, which already was on the site; and US School Yearbooks Index, the new additions.

The yearbooks come from military, public, parochial and private high schools, junior highs, academies, colleges and universities from almost every state. The books date from 1875 to 1988. Click here to search.

The search can be a bit frustrating. The first and last names you type in won’t necessarily be near each other on the yearbook pages in your search results, so you’ll get a lot of irrelevant matches. Adding a place of residence and a birth year or range will help.

Once you do find somebody, you can page through the book to see if he or she is photographed or listed elsewhere (such as with the football team or on a “Most Popular” list). Also try to find yearbooks for other years the person spent at that high school or college.


Ancestry.com
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:28:18 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]