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<2010 December>

More Links

# Wednesday, 15 December 2010
12 Days of Genealogy: Independent Study
Posted by Diane

On the third day of Christmas, my genea-Santa gave to me … an FTU Independent Study CD.

Family Tree University Independent Study courses have all the materials from FTU online classes, with the advantage that you can truly proceed at your own pace. The CDs cover about 20 course topics, including Finding Your Ancestral Village (shown above), Google Tools for Genealogists, Newspaper Research 101 and more. 

From the Land Records 101 course, for example, you’ll learn essential terms such as

Widow’s Examination: Required in many jurisdictions until the early 1900s. A wife was entitled to “widow’s rights” or “dower rights” (typically one-third) of her husband’s property—although she often could not directly control or sell it in her own right. Before he could sell the property, she was required to sign an independent statement that she was aware he was selling the property and she was therefore losing her dower rights. If she did not sign, the property could not be sold. 

You’ll also learn how to find and read deeds, land patents, bounty land warrants and more.

FTU Independent Study CDs are available for about 20 course topics. You also can choose a downloadable Independent Study course

12 Days of Genealogy | Family Tree University
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 13:44:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
NBC Reveals "WDYTYA" Season 2 Celebrities
Posted by Diane

NBC has revealed the celebrity lineup for the upcoming season of its “Who Do You Think You Are?” celebrity-genealogy tv series.

Friday evenings starting Feb. 4, you can watch country music star Tim McGraw; pop singer Lionel Richie; comedian and activist Rosie O’Donnell; and actors Ashley Judd, Steve Buscemi, Vanessa Williams and Kim Cattrall trace their roots.

The series is produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky of Is or Isn’t Entertainment. You can read more “Who Do You Think You Are?” news and Season 1 recaps here

Update: A press release today added actress Gwyneth Paltrow to the list of celebrities appearing on season 2 of the show, and promised that "From the trenches of the Civil War to the shores of the Caribbean, and from the valleys of Virginia to the island nations of Australia and Ireland, “Who Do You Think You Are?” will reveal the fabric of humanity through everyone’s place in history."

"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 08:50:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Tuesday, 14 December 2010
12 Days of Genealogy: 10 Years on DVD
Posted by Diane

On the second day of Christmas, my genea-Santa gave to me … 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine on DVD!

We've packed 10 years of Family Tree Magazine issues onto one easy-to-use DVD full of genealogy tips, tools and tutorials. You can search all 60 issues at once, then click to the articles you want. And it’s on sale for $79.99 (normally $99.99).

Read more about the 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine DVD on

12 Days of Genealogy
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:59:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
New FamilySearch Website Unveiled
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has flipped the "switch" to release its redesigned website from beta. Now, when you go to, it looks like this:

The new FamilySearch home page has search fields that let you scour historical records, the Family History Library online catalog or family trees. You also can browse records by location.

On the right, you can link to the FamilySearch blog ("Changes at"—a good place to start for an overview on changes to the site), see online genealogy lessons ("View Online Lessons") and get information on FamilySearch Centers around the world ("Get Personal Help").

We'll keep you updated on news from FamilySearch. Let us know what you think of the site.

Update: I wanted to update this post with some official information from FamilySearch's press release. The new has millions of new records and images, more than 40,000 helpful articles, 100-plus how-to courses, and a forum for discussing your research. According to the announcement, "FamilySearch will continue to implement the new website in phases to ensure all critical elements are functioning as desired. Once complete, the website will be promoted more broadly."

Click here for links to a video and document about the new version of (Pages 8 and 9 of the PDF document has information on what became of the data from the International Genealogical Index, Pedigree Resource File and Ancestral File, which many commenters to the FamilySearch blog post asked about.)

You also can link to the prior version of the FamilySearch, which will remain available during the transition to the new site.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:24:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Gems Podcast App for Droid
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke just released the Genealogy Gems Podcast App for Android phones. It allows genealogists to stream the entire catalog of 100-plus podcast episodes, as well as access bonus content such as videos, PDF files and more.

The new app is compatible with OS 1.6 or later. It’s available for $2.99 in the Android Marketplace or through the AppBrain website

Got an iPhone? Earlier this year, Cooke released the Genealogy Gems Podcast App for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

You can learn more about genealogy apps for mobile devices on the Mobile Genealogy website.

Genealogy Software | Podcasts
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 09:59:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 13 December 2010
NARA Invites Comment on 2010 Census Records
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is inviting you to have a say about what it’ll be like to research the 2010 census records in the future.

NARA is asking for public comment on the Appraisal and Records schedule for the census. These schedules list all the records created during Census 2010—not just the census forms you filled out, but also address canvassing maps, data summaries, various publications and more—and proposes standards for their retention or disposition.

For those records proposed for permanent retention, the schedule contains instructions for their transfer to NARA. For records are proposed for temporary retention, the schedule contains instructions for their later disposal.

The proposed schedule provides that the 2010 decennial census forms we all filled out will be preserved in the form of scanned images. (You can read about the archives’ preservation of digital images here.) It calls for those and other “permanently valuable” records to be transferred to NARA within 10 years after the census.

For more information and to link to the Appraisal and Records schedule, see this post on the archives’ NARAtions blog.

The documents are lengthy. You can get a summary of many of the documents proposed for preservation on the archives’ Records Express blog

Comments and questions regarding the proposed retention/disposition of records are being accepted on both of the above-mentioned blog posts through Dec. 30.

census records | NARA
Monday, 13 December 2010 11:15:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
12 Days of Genealogy: Questions for Grandma and Grandpa
Posted by Diane

While we love a calling bird and a lord-a-leaping as much as the next person, we’re not sure how those lovely gifts would fit into our family history research. So we’ve come up with our own countdown, 12 Days of Genealogy, that has ideas for genealogy presents you can give family or put on your Christmas list. The countdown commences now!

On the first day of Christmas, my genea-Santa gave to me: a great book called Questions to Bring You Closer to Grandma and Grandpa: 100+ Conversation Starters for Grandchildren and Grandparents

With questions such as “What is your favorite family memory?” “How did the world you grew up in differ from today's world?” “Is there anything in life you wish you did, but never have?” this book will help grandkids—young ones and grown-ups—start conversations that will bring the generations closer and pass on family lore. 

Questions come in nine chapters including “On Our Family History,” “On Children, Parenting and Being a grandparent” and “Grandma and Grandpa’s Favorite Things.” There’s plenty of space to write in the answers, and you’ll also find advice for starting the conversation and using the book.

Learn more about the book Questions to Bring You Closer to Grandma and Grandpa on

A quick reminder: Today, Dec. 13, is the last day to order for ground shipping delivery by Christmas.

Oral History | 12 Days of Genealogy
Monday, 13 December 2010 10:07:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Help Choose the 2011 Family Tree 40!
Posted by Diane

In the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine, we’ll name the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs—the Family Tree 40. And we’d like your help in choosing from blogs nominated by the genealogy community.

To vote, use the survey at

The nominees are divided into eight categories. In each category, please choose five blogs (you'll get an error message if you choose too many).

Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. You may vote multiple times. (If you have a genealogy blog, feel free to use this badge to encourage your fellow family historians to vote.)

Thanks a bunch to our Family Tree 40 panelists—Genealogy Gems blogger Lisa Louise Cooke, Genea-Musings blogger Randy Seaver, Myrt of the DearMyrtle blog and Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers—who helped in formulating the blog categories and qualifications, as well as narrowing categories with the most nominations.

For more on the Family Tree 40 blog categories and qualifications, see this Genealogy Insider blog post.

Click here to vote in the Family Tree 40.

PS: You can go here to easily click through to visit all the blogs in the Family Tree 40 voting!

Family Tree 40
Monday, 13 December 2010 09:32:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Thursday, 09 December 2010 Improves Basic Search Flexibility
Posted by Diane

You’ll start seeing some changes to subscription genealogy website’s Basic search form over the next few weeks. says its users asked for more flexibility in entering place and date information: What if you don’t know when and where an ancestor was born—but you do know he lived in a certain place at a certain time?

So you’ll soon be able to enter a place into a “Name a place your ancestor might have lived” field. That will search records for any life events—birth, residence, marriage, military service and death—that match that location. User testing revealed this moved relevant matches up in search results, says product manager Anne Mitchell.

The new form also adds a “Calculate it” button, which will estimate a birth year based on when your ancestor lived in the place you specify.

If you do know when your ancestor was born, married, died, served in the military or lived someplace else, you can click an “Add an event” link to add one of these life events and the place and date of that event.

Finally, the links to clear the form and show the Advanced Search form have moved to the bottom of the Basic Search form, next to the Search button.

The changes will begin rolling out to some US members today and become available to all users over the next few weeks.

Visit’s blog for more information and to see what the new form looks like. | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 09 December 2010 10:09:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 08 December 2010 Holiday Shipping Info
Posted by Diane

If you're planning on ordering magazines, books or CDs/DVDs from as Christmas gifts, you'll want to be aware of these ordering deadlines for delivery by Dec. 25. The dates below apply to addresses within the United States:
  • For shipping via the US Postal Service, order by 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Wed., Dec. 8 (that's today).

  • For shipping via ground transport, order by 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Mon., Dec. 13.

  • For two-day and standard overnight shipping, order by 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Mon., Dec. 20.
  • Products labeled "This item ships directly from the manufacturer" should be ordered by Eastern Standard Time Mon., Dec. 13.

Remember that also offers many downloadable digital products, such as research guides, Family Tree University Independent Study courses, Family Tree Magazine back issues, on-demand webinars, books and VIP memberships, which of course don't require shipping. And most of these digital products still count toward your $25 order total to receive free shipping on other items you might order at the same time. Sales
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 12:02:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]