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# Monday, September 13, 2010
Free Genealogy Backup Service Launches Today
Posted by Diane

BackUpMyTree, a free online backup service for your genealogy files, launched today.

After you install BackupMyTree software, created by the team behind Pearl Street Software and its Family Tree Legends genealogy program (purchased by MyHeritage in 2007), the software will automatically find family tree files on your computer. It creates a remote, off-site backup you can restore if necessary, and maintains multiple previous versions of your files.

You also can opt to manually upload files through your browser, rather than install the BackupMyTree software.

The service is free. “In the future, we will offer a Pro version of our service for a small yearly fee,” says creator Cliff Shaw. “This version will offer more features, but we will always keep the free version the way it is.”

In addition, there’s no limit on the file size you can store—yet. “If we impose some sort of limit in the future, it will be a very high limit, and we will let all our users know,” Shaw says.

Note that photos and other media included in your tree aren’t yet backed up. According to the site’s FAQ: “We plan on adding this in the near future. Family Tree Maker [genealogy software] often stores photos inside the file, so these photos are backed up as a function of being included in the file.”

BackupMyTree software works on Windows systems. The service supports the genealogy applications Family Tree Maker, Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic 4, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Legends, Family Tree Builder, and GenoPro.


Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | Tech Advice
Monday, September 13, 2010 11:31:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 10, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 6-10
Posted by Diane

  • Today (Sept. 10) marks the 20th anniversary of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opening in 1990. More than 35 million people have visited the museum, which highlights the immigrant experience and the growth of America during the peak immigration years of 1880 to 1924. You can read more about the museum on the Ellis Island website.
For help searching online for your Ellis Island ancestors, download our Ellis Island Web Guide from ShopFamilyTree.com or use the book The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors (on sale for $12.99).
  • Pay-per-view genealogy website ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk was officially relaunched with a new look and and new search features, including search results plotted on maps, to make it easier for you to find ancestors. The site offers records dating to the beginning of civil registration in Scotland in 1855, as well as parish records dating back as far as 1538.
  • FamilySearch’s army of volunteer indexers have started work on the 1930 census, currently the most recent US census available to researchers. As with several other FamilySearch census indexes, volunteers will start with Ancestry.com indexes and create a second comparison index from scratch, then arbitrate discrepancies to reduce errors. FamilySearch also will extract additional fields of census data for improved searchability. You can read more about this project on the FamilySearch blog.


census records | FamilySearch | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 10, 2010 10:03:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 09, 2010
Course Preview: Trace Your Polish Roots
Posted by Grace

If you're among the more than 9 million Americans with Polish roots, Trace Your Polish Roots: Strategies for Searching in the US and Poland will help you find your Polish ancestors by debunking myths, explaining history and pointing you to the most useful records. Ceil Wendt Jensen teaches the class, which includes helpful information like this:
The first step to finding your Polish ancestors starts here in the United States. The core records to look for are the US census and naturalization papers. The census will pinpoint the date of arrival in the US for the family members and state if the males had alien status or were naturalized. It will also offer the key to finding the region the family hailed from: German Poland, Russian Poland or Austrian Poland. Poland was not on the map for 123 years, so ethnic Poles carried papers stating they were subjects of the governing countries.
Sign up here! The next session starts Monday, Sept. 13.


Family Tree University
Thursday, September 09, 2010 5:43:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
What's in The Family Tree Sourcebook?
Posted by Diane


I’m a little biased this week in choosing the book that was my baby for most of the spring and early summer.

The Family Tree Sourcebook, now available for pre-order (and on sale at 34 percent off), is a reference book with all the information you need to trace your roots across the United States:
  • A summary of genealogy research in every state, with a historical overview, vital records information, tips on other major records to look for and places to begin, and maps showing county boundaries.
  • Detailed county-level data telling you which county office to contact for court, probate, vital, and other types of records. Here’s an example:

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers and websites for helpful libraries, archives, and genealogical and historical societies in each state.
  • Bibliographies listing genealogical and historical books that will help you further your research in each state.

  • Special sections on the best websites for state-based research, as well as broader-scope, national resources.
The book comes with a free 30-day trial of Family Tree Magazine Plus, our members-only, online archive of expert genealogy articles from past issues of Family Tree Magazine. (The book’s content also is searchable online as part of a Plus membership.)

You can pre-order The Family Tree Sourcebook now (and get the sale price) at ShopFamilyTree.com.

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:35:29 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# 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]