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<2010 October>

More Links

# Thursday, 07 October 2010
How to Win a 2011 Genealogy Desktop Calendar!
Posted by Diane

We’re so happy our three 2011 desktop calendars are available for pre-order at, that we're giving away one of each. Those include ...

... the 2011 Genealogy Desktop Calendar, full of beautiful ancestor photos from Family Tree Magazine readers.

2011 genealogy desktop calendar

... the 2011 Civil War Desk Calendar, with historical photos of readers’ Civil War ancestors, as well as camp life and other scenes, plus facts from our forthcoming book Life in Civil War America.

2011 Civil War Desk Calendar

... the 2011 Grave Humor Desk Calendar, featuring the adorable skull people from the Grave Humor book illustrator Marc McChesney.

2011 Grave Humor Desk Calendar

So how can you win a calendar?? Just click Comments at the end of this post and add a comment answering this question:

What’s one thing on your genealogy to-do list for 2011?

At 10 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday morning, Oct. 12, we’ll draw three winners—one for each calendar—from the folks who comment. We’ll announce the winners’ names in a post on Tuesday, so you’ll need to visit the Genealogy Insider blog Tuesday to see if it’s you! 

PS: If you'd like info on how to Comment on Genealogy Insider blog posts, please click here.

Genealogy fun
Thursday, 07 October 2010 10:31:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [157]
New Records, Printable Trees on FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

This week, FamilySearch published its first digital Chinese collection, along with additional digital image collections from Belgium, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Note that the indexes are still being created for these records, meaning you can’t yet search them by typing in a name. Instead, you view them as you would microfilm, by browsing the record images for the place and/or time period when you think your ancestor’s record was created.

You can view these records on the FamilySearch Beta site.

To find the database you want to browse, first scroll down and click the region under Browse by Location. For German collections, for example, click Europe.

Then you can use the Place filters on the left to home in on the place you need.

If you clicked the Germany filter, you’ll see seven German databases. The one with the “Browse images” link is the just-added database.

FamilySearch also added 20 million more records to the Civil War, Revolutionary War, and the 1851 England and Wales census collections. The Civil War collection lets you search an index, and links you to the subscription website Footnote to view the record. You’ll need a subscription to see it. The 1851 English and Welsh census collection employs a similar arrangement with subscription site

As a side note, if you click the Getting Started link from the FamilySearch Beta home page, you’ll see links to some pretty family trees you can download, then print and fill out.

Thursday, 07 October 2010 10:05:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 06 October 2010
October's FTU Class Lineup
Posted by Grace

If Family History Month has you thinking about expanding your own genealogy knowledge, it's a great time to sign up for a Family Tree University course. The spooky October session begins Monday the 11th, and we've got three new courses for you—one of them is free! Read on for the whole course catalog.

Strategies: Ethnic ancestors: Records and sources: Sharing history:

Family Tree University
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 15:33:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 05 October 2010
Best State Websites for Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Location, location, location: That’s what it’s all about in genealogy, because finding out where your ancestors lived is key to locating the records they left behind.  

That’s why, for the December 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine (now mailing to subscribers), we put together a list of 75 of the best US state-focused websites for genealogical research.

As a Family History Month gift, we’ve posted all the state websites online for everyone to check out, free. You’ll find at least one website per state.

Take some time to explore the sites for the states where your ancestors lived—you might find digitized documents, indexes to records, historical articles, finding aids, catalogs of holdings and more. I’ve already mined the Ohio Historical Society website for its death certificates index and the catalog of resources available at the state archives; and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission site is where I learned how to get records of Texas state penitentiary inmates (and thus confirm a family story).

Get more how-to resources for state research, include our downloadable State Research Guides, at

Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 14:17:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, 04 October 2010
Be Our Family Tree Firsts Blogger!
Posted by Diane

In another of our Family History Month happenings, Family Tree Magazine seeks a genealogy newbie to blog about exploring his or her roots.

We're looking for someone who enjoys writing and is interested in his or her family history, but is just starting—or hasn't yet started—to research it.

To enter, compose your first blog post and fill out our entry form.

Magazine editors will select a winner based on the strength of the application to be our Family Tree Firsts Blogger. Then, over six months, the blogger will have access to our how-to genealogy products, classes and webinars, and products, services and surprises from our partners. The blogger will blog twice a week to tell the world about his/her genealogical experiences and finds, and he/she will even appear in a future issue of Family Tree Magazine.

We’re super excited about seeing the world of genealogy through the eyes of a newbie! If you’re new to genealogy and you love to write, click here to apply. Or if you know someone who fits the bill, send him or her to this post. The deadline is Oct. 31.

Family Tree Firsts
Monday, 04 October 2010 13:35:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 01 October 2010
Enter Our Ultimate Family History Giveaway Sweepstakes!
Posted by Diane

Yesterday, I mentioned a couple of Family History Month surprises up our sleeves. Here’s one: The Ultimate Family History Giveaway!

Enter once per day for a chance to win more than $2,000 worth of genealogy products! They includeThe sweepstakes ends at 11:59 PM Eastern time on Oct. 31, 2010. Click here to enter.

Friday, 01 October 2010 16:21:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Genealogy News Corral: Sept. 27-Oct. 1
Posted by Diane

  • The UK family history subscription and pay-per-view site has launched a collection of transcribed Devon parish records in association with the Devon Family History Society. The records include baptisms from 1813 to 1839, marriages from 1754 to 1837, and burials for 1813 to 1837.
  • Cheri Hunter of Decatur, Ill. will receive the Community Service Award
  • Fred Katko of Peoria, Ill., will receive the Special Recognition Award
  • Christian Bender a student from Oglesby, Ill., will receive the Youth Award
  • Curt Witcher Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., will receive the Distinguished Service Award
  • Margaret Collins of Springfield, Ill., and Daniel W. Dixon, of Auburn, Ill., will receive the Individual Writer Award as co-winners.

  • In a late addition to today's roundup, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society announced today that all issues of the society's NYG&B Record (563 issues dating back to 1870) are accessible to society members on the society's website. You can search every word of the issues, or use a new surname search engine.

Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 01 October 2010 10:30:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 30 September 2010
Celebrating Family History Month in October!
Posted by Diane

Tomorrow starts an exciting month around here—Family History Month! In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who wrote, "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family.”

Similar legislation has passed in several years since. To my knowledge, there wasn’t an official declaration  this year, but family history organizations continue to observe Family History Month in October.

We’ve already told you about our free, beginner-oriented 10 Steps to Discover Your Roots webinar (Oct. 16) and Discover Your Family Tree Family Tree University course (running for two weeks starting Oct. 11).

We’ve also got a couple more surprises up our sleeves—stay tuned right here!

Family History Month often brings great opportunities to improve your genealogy skills, find out about new resources and meet others who share your passion for the past! Check program schedules for your local library and genealogical society to see what’s going on near you.

Here are some of the genealogy classes and other special events we’ve heard about (listed by state; click the link for more information on the event).

If your group is holding a special Family History Month event, please click Comments at the end of this post to share the news. Be sure to include a link where people can learn more.

Genealogical Society of North Orange County Family History Month 2010 Events, Yorba Linda area

California Genealogical Society and Library events (download a flier using the link about halfway down this page), San Francisco

Oakland Regional Family History Center Family History Month classes (click “See flyer” link to download schedule), Oakland

2 Norman Park Senior Center, Chula Vista, Annual Seminar

9 California Family History Day, Sacramento

Southwest Germanic Genealogy Society Family History Month series, Fort Myers (Fridays in October)

Ela Area Public Library Family History Month events, Lake Zurich

Robert W. Lowe Public Library District Family History Month genealogy consultations (by appointment), Sheridan

23 Illinois State Genealogical Society Fall Conference, Peoria

Allen County Public Library Family History Month events (click to download PDF of calendar), Fort Wayne

23 Indiana State Library Genealogy and Local History Fair, Indianapolis

16 Family History Day 2010 with and NEHGS, Boston

Muskogee Public Library Family History Month events, Muskogee

Oklahoma History Center Family History Month activities (click on the “registration form” link), Oklahoma City

Go ahead and hold your own party, too. Give yourself a whole Saturday at the library or Family History Center, ask a relative your burning family history questions, bake Grandma's famous cookie recipe, jot down a family story, or tell your state representative how much you appreciate your public library's genealogy resources.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives
Thursday, 30 September 2010 11:26:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Finding Family in Historical Books Online
Posted by Diane

After learning a few years back that her Railey ancestor owned a farm in Logan County, Ky., our own Allison Stacy had a “why not?” moment and checked the HeritageQuest Online collection of digital books (accessible through many public libraries).

She was flabbergasted to learn that in the early 1900s, an unknown-to-her descendant, William Edward Railey, had written two books with information about the clan: History of Woodford County and Sketches of Randolphs and Their Connection. The second one traces the Railey line from Colonial Virginia to Allison’s grandmother’s older brother.

Our next Family Tree University webinar, Historical Books on the Web: Millions of Tomes at Your Fingertips, will show you how to find old books— family histories, genealogies, county histories, church histories and more—contianing research others have already done about your family.

The webinar is Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. Eastern (6 Central/ 5 Mountain/ 4 Pacific). Presenter Nancy Hendrickson, a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine, will show you:
  • What you can learn about your family in historical books
  • Where to find free books
  • How to search books on the Web
Can't find a book about your family? No luck locating a certain title online? Registrants will have the opportunity to submit family information, and Nancy will demonstrate search techniques using several submissions from webinar attendees.

Registered attendees also receive access to the webinar recording to view again, a PDF of the presentation slides for future reference, as well as bonus handouts.

Sign up now—the webinar is 20 percent off in until Oct. 13 at 11:59 pm.

Editor's Pick | Webinars
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 16:14:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 28 September 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

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, 28 September 2010 15:34:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]