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# Thursday, October 21, 2010
Ancestry.com-Footnote Deal Closes
Posted by Diane

I just wanted to point you to this blog post from Footnote about the official closure of Ancestry.com's purchase of Footnote's parent company, iArchives. From the post:
"You may be curious about how this deal affects members of Footnote.com? The plan is to continue to run Footnote.com the way we have always run Footnote.com—continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our customers, and our business."
That'll be reassuring to those concerned about the effects of the deal on Footnote. The post adds that "we are excited to leverage some of Ancestry.com’s resources and expertise to take Footnote.com to the next level."

You can read the full post on Footnote's blog.


Ancestry.com | Footnote | Genealogy Industry
Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:59:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Fun Facts From the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine
Posted by Diane


Here are a few of the things you’ll learn from the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine, just out on newsstands (it’s available from ShopFamilyTree.com both in print and as a digital download):


  • In the early 1900s, lamination—now an archival no-no—was a celebrated new tool at repositories nationwide. Thousands of historical documents were laminated, including the Emancipation Proclamation. Find out how archives are working with these documents in the December 2010 Genealogy Insider column. 
  • About 125,000 US troops, both Army regulars and new volunteers, served in the Philippine Insurrection from 1899 to 1902. The 1900 US census has information on military personnel stationed in the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

    Read more in our December 2010 guide to records from America’s lesser-known military conflicts. 
  • The Washington State Digital Archives holds more than 90 million records, with 28 million searchable online. Find more state genealogy resources in our guide to 75 of the best state sites for genealogy research (also online). 
  • The Irish National Museum has a firkin of butter buried in a peat bog (once a common storage practice) in the late-17th or eary-18th century. The grayish substance no longer resembles butter. Brush up on butter in the December 2010 History Matters column. 
  • To help kids learn about your family’s genealogy, you can get Hearth Song’s stick-on family tree wall mural to personalize with relatives’ names and photos. Get more kid-friendly genealogy ideas in the December 2010 article Legacy Lessons.
  • Some 250,000 Scots-Irish are thought to have arrived in the United States between 1717 and the American Revolution, with later waves in the 1740s, around 1754, and between 1771 and 1775. Many headed for central Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and the Carolinas, eventually migrating into and across the Appalachians.
Learn how to trace these ancestors (also called Ulster Scots) in our December 2010 guide to Scots-Irish Roots.
  • Most PCs come with Window Movie Maker, which makes it easy to turn digital photos and videos into family movies. See a tutorial in the December 2010 Toolkit.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy for kids | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation | Military records | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:15:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com Launches Ancestry Labs, Person View
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com has launched a new section of its site called Ancestry Labs, a website similar to FamilySearch Labs and Google Labs, where Ancestry.com can test ideas and gather your feedback on them.

You can see a demo of how Ancestry Labs works here. Leave feedback by using the green Feedback tab on the left side of the Ancestry Labs site.

“The projects we place in this area are likely to be early prototypes, and although some of them may make their way into the main Ancestry.com site, some may not,” reads Ancestry.com’s announcement.

The first idea at Ancestry Labs, called “Person View,” includes two components: 

  • Web Records: This feature searches for your ancestor on the internet, shows you basic information (name, date and place) from web pages mentioning your ancestor, and links you to those pages. Sites searched include free databases such as the Western States Marriage Record Index. In a demo in August, project manager Brian Hansen said Ancestry.com is attempting to avoid duplication by not searching the same collections that are already included in Ancestry.com databases.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Ancestry.com offered a similar search in the maligned Internet Biographical Collection, which was pulled down shortly after its introduction in August 2007 amid copyright and other concerns. The difference is that the Internet Biographical Collection actually cached web pages’ content and displayed the results on Ancestry.com, so traffic wasn’t directed to the site and the content’s creator wasn’t credited. 

Ancestry.com is hoping to avoid the same mistakes with the new Web Records view. “In providing access to these, it’s very important to us that we are respectful to the publishers of these websites,” the announcements says. “We will always strive to follow web industry standards for website crawling permissions ... We will put in place processes to remove the content from our search if the website/content owner requests, with the goal of doing this as quickly as possible. We will clearly publish how to contact our team to do this.”

  • Person Consolidation: This way of viewing Ancestry.com search results groups matches by person, rather than just listing each result. The search algorithm decides whether records are for one person, and your results show a person’s name with links to categories of records—Ancestry Records, Family Trees (with no living people included) and Web Records—for that person. Click one of those links to see more links to view each record in that category. The search results also list a person’s family members, and you can click these names to see that family member’s records. 

Person View gives you just the first 10 matches to your search. The advantage is that it Person View simplifies your search results, but the algorithm can make mistakes by grouping together records for two different people, or displaying one person as two different people.

Here’s my first PersonView search for Henry Seeger:

And the first match, which consolidates content about Henry Seeger from 15 Ancestry.com family trees (no Ancestry Records or Web Records were found for this Henry). It lists people the search engine believes to be in Henry's family (I'd have to look at each tree and decide whether I think they're all really related to Henry). Clicking on a name, such as Henry’s son Charles, will perform a new search for that person.

Clicking on Henry’s name brings up a timeline of events from those trees, with a little map showing places mentioned in the trees: 

Links on the right bring up information about each tree and let you save the event to your tree:

If your matches contain Ancestry Records, the timeline will link to information from the record (a WWI Draft Registration card, in the case below, was the source for a February, 1873 birth date): 

Web Record matches bring up similar basic information, with a link to the site that has the record (you can't yet save Web Records to your Ancestry tree): 

Click Comments to let us know what you think of Ancestry Labs and Person View.


Ancestry.com
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 8:06:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, October 18, 2010
Got Ancestors From Oakland County, Michigan?
Posted by Diane

The clerk’s office in Oakland County, Mich., has added an online genealogy search with an index of marriage and death records back to 1941. Older records will be gradually added.

Home to the city of Pontiac, Oakland County is just north of Detroit and considered part of the Detroit metro area.

You can search by name and the year of marriage or death if you know it. Marriage record matches give the couple’s names and marriage date; death record matches show the person’s name and date of death.

If you find an index entry for an ancestor, you can click to order a copy of the record ($15 for the first copy, $5 for additional copies, plus a $5 “enhanced access fee” for online orders).

If your ancestor married or died in Oakland County between 1935 and 1941, you can order records from the clerk’s office online even though they’re not yet in the index. If the marriage or death occurred before 1935, you must order records by mail or in person.

Oakland County also has birth records, but Michigan birth certificates created less than 100 years ago are restricted to all but the person named in the record and his or her parents. However, according to the state vital records office website, “an heir may request a copy of a birth record less than 100 years old if they can provide an out-of-state death certificate, or the death information if it was a Michigan death, with the request.” 


Free Databases | Vital Records
Monday, October 18, 2010 4:57:31 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, October 15, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Oct. 11-15
Posted by Diane

We’ve got a host of announcements in this week’s roundup:
  • BackupMyTree, the free genealogy file back-up service that debuted last month, has added support for Reunion for Mac. Although the BackupMyTree software still works with only Windows, users of any operating system can manually upload files—now including Reunion files—through their web browser. Next week, BackupMyTree will add support for The Master Genealogist software, as well as a feature that allows users to include and exclude files in bulk.
  • Genetic genealogy testing company GeneTree is offering two new services designed to help you maximize your genetic genealogy testing efforts. If you buy a DNA Makeover report ($14.95), GeneTree staff will translate your Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA results from another lab into a GeneTree profile. For the Family Tree Diagnostic Service (also $14.95), a GeneTree consultant will review your family tree to find relatives you should consider having tested and what tests they should take to help you achieve your research objectives.
  • Leland Meitzler, organizer of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour annual research trip to Salt Lake City, announced that genealogy technology and social networking expert Thomas MacEntee will present eight classes during this year’s tour. A few topics are Building a Research Toolbox, Facebook for Genealogists, Build a Genealogy Blog, and Twitter: It Isn’t Just “What I Had For Breakfast” Anymore. The tour takes place Dec. 5 through 11, and you can register here
  • The Pennsylvania State Archives will close from Monday, Oct. 18 through Feb. 3 of next year for renovations. The $250,000 project will expand and modernize the lobby and public research areas. (Plans are still in place, though, to eventually replace the facility, which has water leaks and lacks environmental controls and fire suppression system.) Staff will continue to respond to telephone, e-mail and postal inquiries during the closure. You can download the press release as a PDF from the archives’ website.

Ancestry.com | census records | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Genetic Genealogy | Libraries and Archives | Webinars
Friday, October 15, 2010 3:39:31 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 14, 2010
Discover Your Roots With Us!
Posted by Diane


Are you (or is someone you know) somewhere near the starting line of a genealogy journey? Especially for you, we’ve put together a 132-page getting-started “bookazine” guide called Discover Your Roots.



Articles cover everything you need to know when you begin your family history search:
  • filling out forms
  • calculating cousin relationships
  • myths to avoid
  • choosing genealogy software
  • using popular websites
  • researching at the library, courthouse and cemetery
  • using genetic genealogy
... and more. (You can see the whole list of articles at ShopFamilyTree.com.)

The guide also has a starter kit of 14 essential genealogy forms, plus a decorative, fold-out family tree you can fill in and frame. Even better, your purchase includes several money-saving bonuses:
  • a seven-day free membership to Family Tree Magazine Plus
  • a seven-day free trial to genealogy records site Archives.com
  • $25 off a Family Tree University course
  • 15 percent off a purchase at ShopFamilyTree.com
See page 1 of Discover Your Roots for details on redeeming these discounts.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Family Tree University | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:30:39 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 13, 2010
October 2010 Family Tree Magazine Podcast Just Posted
Posted by Diane

This just in: the October 2010 Family Tree Magazine podcast is now available for listening! Here’s what host Lisa Louise Cooke has in store for you in this episode:
  • Allison Stacy, Family Tree Magazine’s publisher and editorial director, fills you in on Family History Month events
  • Get started paring down your collection of papers with tips from online editor Grace Dobush on what to keep and what to toss.
  • Lisa and I talk about Ancestry.com's acquisition of iArchives, Footnote.com’s parent company, and some questions genealogists are asking.

You can listen to the Family Tree Magazine Podcast in iTunes and on FamilyTreeMagazine.com. You can get the show notes on our website, too.


Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Ancestry.com | Footnote | International Genealogy | Podcasts | Research Tips | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:41:35 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Talk on Good Morning America
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com’s Anastasia Tyler and The Journey Takers author Leslie Albrecht Huber appeared on "Good Morning America" today to talk about Ancestry.com’s most recent celebrity roots announcement: President Barack Obama is 10th cousins on his mother’s side with two of his biggest political critics, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

As Huber says in the clip, if you can trace your roots to colonial New England, you’re likely related to all kinds of well-known people. Although most genealogists realize 10th cousins isn't a big deal (it means the most recent common ancestor is a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent), it’s fun to see genealogy make an appearance in the national media.

You can watch the video on the "Good Morning America" website.

Read the Ancestry.com announcement about the Obama-Palin and Obama-Limbaugh connections here.

Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:04:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Family Tree Magazine 2011 Desk Calendar Winners!
Posted by Diane

Thanks to everyone who entered our drawing for Family Tree Magazine’s 2011 desktop calendars, both here on the blog and on Facebook.

Congratulations to the winners! Here are their names and their genealogy to-do list items:

  • Marisa, proud soon-to-be owner of the 2011 Civil War Desk Calendar: My goal is to get old photographs scanned! I want to keep copies in their corresponding "people" folders and also add them online so far away family members can enjoy them.
  • Rebecca Morgan Kinnie, proud soon-to-be owner of the 2011 Grave Humor Desk Calendar: I want to determine if my great-great-grandfather actually died while fighting in the Civil War, or if he deserted. This would explain why he was named the father of my great-grandfather, who was born eight years after he supposedly died!

Peter, Marisa and Rebecca, please e-mail us your mailing address by next Tuesday, Oct. 19, so we can send your calendar.

If you’re not Peter, Marisa or Rebecca and you want your own calendar, you can use the discount code HISTORY10 to get 10 percent off the calendars at ShopFamilyTree.com.


Genealogy fun
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:04:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, October 11, 2010
NOAA Releases Free Civil War Map Collection
Posted by Diane

I was surprised to get an announcement about a new collection of Civil War maps, charts and documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but it actually makes perfect sense:

Under the auspices of the NOAA is the Office of the Coast Survey, which president Thomas Jefferson established in 1807 to produce nautical charts that would provide for maritime safety, defense and the establishment of national boundaries. By the start of the Civil War, the Coast Survey was a leading scientific agency, charting coastlines and determining land elevations. It still surveys coasts and produces nautical charts today.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011, NOAA has gathered materials the Coast Survey prepared during the war years into a free, online collection called Charting a More Perfect Union.

The collection, which will help you visualize terrain, ports, and coasts as they were from 1861 to 1865, includes:
  • 394 maps and nautical charts used for naval campaigns, and troop movements and battles. You can search the maps by keyword(s), state or region, year or chart number. If you click Search without entering terms, you’ll get a list of all the documents in the collection (not in alphabetical or chronological order).
In your map search results, click to preview the map, such as this map of Atlanta, in the site’s image viewer:



Links in your list of search results let you open a high-resolution version of the map as a JPG or a MrSID (a kind of graphic file). A Cincinnati-area map I found opened very slowly as a jpg, but it enlarged to incredible detail. You can right click (on a PC) or control-click (on a Mac) and choose Save As to save the map to your computer.

Find more Civil War resources in our Civil War genealogy toolkit.

Research your Civil War ancestors with help from our guide, available in the July 2007 Family Tree Magazine digital edition.

Civil War | Free Databases | Military records
Monday, October 11, 2010 1:43:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]