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# Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Hand-in-Jacket Pose in Old Pictures
Posted by Diane

Flipping through our copy of Hallowed Ground magazine, I was struck by several photos of Civil War army officers posed like this unidentified soldier:

Civil War soldier
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

I’ve seen photos like this before, and I always thought that the men were imitating the painting of "Napoleon in his Study." The emperor, I’d heard, clutched his torso because of a stomach ulcer.

But it seems odd (at least to me) that when you have what would’ve been a rare opportunity to capture your likeness for posterity, you'd decide to undo a couple of coat buttons and stick your hand inside the opening.

When I looked into it, I learned that men who posed this way weren’t necessarily imitating Napoleon, and that he wasn’t sticking his hand in his coat because of an ulcer (though he did have one, according to Napoleon.org).

I found many explanations online, such as “he didn't trust anyone and liked to keep his hand on his wallet” and “painters at the time charged by the limb.” But experts on Napoleon Series site’s FAQ say that the hand-in-jacket pose was  “a common stance for men of breeding” and appears frequently in 18th-century portraiture. Even some ancient Greek and Roman statues have hands in togas.

Napoleon probably didn’t actually sit for the painting; an admirer commissioned that work and the artist painted it from memory.

After consulting historians about the hand-in-jacket pose, author David Feldman writes that certain gestures were indeed part of photographers’ standard poses. For example, you’ll often see two men posed shaking hands or with hands on each others’ shoulders, meant to convey a friendship or familial relationship. Holding a Bible and pointing off-camera are other standard poses.

The historians also suggest that putting a hand in a jacket, or on a table or other object, also might’ve been a way of keeping the hand still for long sitting times.

Here’s Gen. George B. McClellan and his staff:

Civil War Ge. George B. McClellan
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Civil War resources from Family Tree Magazine:

Civil War | Photos | Social History
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:34:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, September 27, 2010
Attention: Genealogy Beginners! Get Started With Our Free Webinar
Posted by Diane

Know someone who's kind of interested in genealogy but hasn't really been bitten by the bug yet?

In honor of Family History Month in October, we're offering a free webinar called 10 Steps to Discover Your Roots: How to Get Started in Genealogy. It’ll take place on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central, noon Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific).

Click here to register.

To share the fun of genealogy during Family History Month, we’re inviting genealogical societies and libraries to broadcast this live webinar to their members and patrons. If your organization is interested in receiving an event kit with instructions and publicity materials for hosting your own "viewing party," please click here to e-mail us.

Note that this free 10 Steps to Discover Your Roots webinar isn’t to be confused with our also-free, two-week Family Tree University course Discover Your Family Tree, starting the week of Oct. 11. Sign up for both if you want!


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Webinars
Monday, September 27, 2010 10:21:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, September 24, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 20-24
Posted by Diane

  • The California Family History Expo is coming up Oct. 8-9 in Pleasanton, Calif. The exhibit hall is free, but you must register ($65 in advance; $75 at the door) to attend classes. Here’s a neat option for those who can’t go to the whole conference: If you’d like to attend just a few classes, you can do so for $12 per class. Register on the Family History Expos website
  • The FamilySearch Beta site has added nearly 2 million new digital images of historical records this week from the Dominican Republic, Italy, Jamaica, Spain, and the United States.
Note that not all of the new records are indexed yet, which means that they’re not included in the search, so you may need to browse. Use the filters on the left side of the Collection List page to navigate to the country, then possibly the type of record and/or province, then select the record set you want to browse.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | Museums | NARA
Friday, September 24, 2010 1:10:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, September 23, 2010
More on Ancestry.com's Acquisition of Footnote
Posted by Diane

Does it feel like Ancestry.com’s been on a shopping spree, with this year’s acquisitions of Swedish records site Genline, research firm ProGenealogistsand now iArchives, parent company of historical records subscription service Footnote?

iArchives started in 1994 and provides document digitization services to libraries, universities, archives and newspapers across the country. Footnote launched in January 2007 as a way to bring that content to home users.

We suspect that even more than the Footnote website, Ancestry.com values the relationships and contracts that iArchives has already established with record-holding institutions. That would make it easier for Ancestry.com to negotiate content digitization agreements.

We love that when it launched, Footnote provided something different for genealogists at a time when online genealogical innovation seemed to have stalled. Footnote’s search interface, records viewer, social networking options and emphasis on history in addition to genealogy still distinguish it from other genealogy database sites.

We just hope Footnote doesn’t turn into another Genealogy.com, a site Ancestry.com purchased in 2003 and still maintains, but has allowed to languish while it pours resources into the stronger Ancestry.com site. We’re also curious how this acquisition will affect another Ancestry.com competitor, Archives.com, which offers Footnote’s census indexes to its subscribers.

The genealogy of the genealogy industry does seem to always lead to Ancestry.com. Rather than a long explanation, here's a quick sketch of the acquisitions and major content partnerships I could think of (Ancestry.com has formed content partnerships with many organizations; I listed only two).


Ancestry.com | Footnote | Genealogy Industry
Thursday, September 23, 2010 11:56:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Introducing Family Tree University Independent Study
Posted by Diane


I wanted to let you know about a new way to take Family Tree University courses that’s now available at ShopFamilyTree.com:

Family Tree University Independent Study Courses let you access all the course study materials—syllabus, lessons, exercises and Reading Assignment articles from Family Tree Magazine—on a CD or as a PDF download to go through at your own pace.

Available Independent Study Courses include:
All the courses were developed by genealogy experts (meet the instructors here) and include examples of genealogy records; step-by-step demos; links to related online content such as articles, videos and tutorials—everything you need to improve your research skills and develop an in-depth understanding of the topic.

So what’s the difference between Independent Study and regular Family Tree University courses? Independent Study offers the expertise for you to use now or weeks from now, as fast or slow as you’d like. Regular Family Tree University courses cover the same topics with a bit more structure, with a set four-week session and interaction with an instructor.

See all the Family Tree University Independent Study Courses here. The PDF downloads are available now; the CDs are available for pre-order with an estimated ship date of Sept. 30.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University
Thursday, September 23, 2010 10:29:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Ancestry.com to Acquire iArchives and Footnote.com
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com announced today it has entered into an agreement to acquire iArchives, Inc., and its subscription genealogy website Footnote.com.

The purchase price will be about $27 million in a mix of Ancestry.com stock, cash and assumption of liabilities. The transaction, which will make iArchives a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com, is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of 2010. As part of the transaction, Ancestry.com expects to issue approximately a million shares of common stock.

“This acquisition will provide the company with a complementary consumer brand, expanded content offerings, and enhanced digitization and image-viewing technologies,” states Ancestry.com’s announcement.

Here’s the full announcement on Ancestry.com’s iArchives acquisition.

Update: See our additional commentary on the acquisition here.


Ancestry.com | Footnote | Genealogy Industry
Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:41:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Register Now for FREE FTU Class: Discover Your Family Tree
Posted by Diane

When you’re a family history newbie, the prospect of diving into your roots research can seem overwhelming.

We’ll help you get started with our free, two-week Family Tree University course called Discover Your Family Tree: Genealogy for the Absolute Beginner.

This course, which begins Monday, Oct. 11, will start you on the fun and rewarding journey of discovering your roots. You’ll learn how to begin, where to look for information to extend your family tree, what to do with what you find and how to put it all together. Family Tree Magazine publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy is the instructor.

Family Tree University courses are self-paced. You download each lesson (two for this course; four for most others) and any accompanying articles and go through it at your computer, or you can print the materials. Each lesson concludes with a quiz or exercise. You’ll receive feedback from your instructor via e-mail, and you can communicate with the instructor and your fellow students on a message board.

Registration is open now at FamilyTreeUniversity.com for the free, two-week class Discover Your Family Tree: Genealogy for the Absolute Beginner.

The next session of Family Tree University how-to genealogy courses begins Oct. 11. You can see all the offerings on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.


Family Tree Firsts | Family Tree University | Research Tips
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:41:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 21, 2010
NY Historical Society Slavery Collection Goes Online
Posted by Diane

On the New York History blog today, I saw that the New York Historical Society has digitized nearly 12,000 pages of materials documenting US slavery, the Atlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement.

NY Historical Society Slavery Collection

The diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers and institutional records date form the 18th and 19th centuries, and come from 14 collections. Among them are records of the New York Manumission Society and African Free School, papers of the Boston anti-slavery activist Lysander Spooner, records of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and an account book of the slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Co.

The materials aren’t searchable by name, but you can browse them on the society’s website. Use the Quick navigation pull-down menu to choose a collection, then a record image viewer will open in a new window.

African-American roots | Genealogy societies
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 2:36:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, September 20, 2010
Exploring German Roots
Posted by Diane

Here in Family Tree Magazine’s hometown of Cincinnati, where the population in 1900 was 60 percent German-Americans and a downtown neighborhood is called Over the Rhine, Oktoberfest is a pretty big deal.

The oldest and biggest Oktoberfest, of course, starts in late September in Munich, Germany—which is celebrating its 200th Oktoberfest this year.

Oct. 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen held a grand horse race in Munich to celebrate their wedding five days earlier. The successful event was held again the next year and the next, and Germans—who continue to claim the largest ancestor group in US censuses—brought the celebration to the United States.

Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest includes the Chicken Dance and plenty of goetta, aka “Cincinnati Caviar.” Supposedly, ours is the largest celebration in the United States. Other Oktoberfests take place across the country in towns such as  La Crosse, Wis.; Fredericksburg, Texas; and Tulsa, Okla.

Here’s our article about how a fellow Cincinnati genealogist unpuzzled surname variations to discover his German roots.

Our German Heritage Toolkit has helpful articles for you to explore your own German roots, including
... and more. For extra assistance, you can download our research guide to German ancestors, available from ShopFamilyTree.com or look into our Find Your German Roots Family Tree University course

Family Tree Magazine Plus members with German roots can check out our online research guides to Prussian and Bavarian ancestors, and to Germanic ancestors who lived outside of German borders.


German roots | International Genealogy | Research Tips
Monday, September 20, 2010 2:54:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 17, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 13-17
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch.org recently added 5 million new indexed names and images to its free databases. These 48 new and updated collections come from 19 different countries, including the first records from Nicaragua and Sri Lanka. Also included are church and civil registration record from Brazil; baptism, marriage and death records from Canada; Swedish church records; vital, tax and other records from the United States; and more. You can search the records at FamilySearch beta.
  • I came across a website called Tools of History, a collaborative digitization project for historical manuscripts, photographs, maps, drawings, books and artifacts from south central New York State. Among the collection sare photos of the Daughters of Charity at Lourdes Hospital, Atlases of Chemung County and something intriguing called the “murder pamphlet collection” (looks to be old books, letters, sermons and other accounts of cases in the area). Definitely a site worth exploring if you have ancestors there.
  • Ancestry.com has introduced a new feature called Suggested Records that, well, suggests records for you to check. The suggested records list is being tested on results pages in the 1900 census and the WWI draft registration collections.
If the record you’re viewing has been saved to any member family trees, the list will suggest other records have been saved to the same nodes on those member trees. Randy Seaver takes a close look at Suggested Records on his Genea-Musings blog.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Libraries and Archives
Friday, September 17, 2010 3:52:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]