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# Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Got the Picture? Using Your Digital Camera for Genealogy
Posted by Diane

The March 2011 Family Tree Magazine (now on newsstands) has a guide to using your digital camera for genealogical purposes—such as capturing images of gravestones, ancestral homes, family heirlooms and your ancestors’ records.

It’s not as simple as taking a quick snapshot, though. Before you start a genealogical photography session, create a shot list of the pictures you want. Here’s what we recommend:

Gravestones Shot List

  • cemetery entrance
  • whole cemetery
  • stones of interest, with nearby stones
  • the whole gravestone, showing the inscription and carving
  • close-ups of the inscription and carvings
  • any creative shots you want of the beautiful artwork and scenes in graveyards

Ancestral Homes Shot List

  • the entrance to the street (a view your ancestor may have seen every day)
  • the house with neighboring buildings
  • the whole house (we suggest first knocking on the door to let the current resident know why you're taking a picture of his house)
  • as many sides of the house as you can capture without trespassing
  • interesting architectural details
  • the yard
  • any features mentioned in family stories (such as the tree Grandpa fell out of as a boy)

Heirlooms Shot List

  • full view of heirloom
  • heirloom with a ruler to show size
  • all sides of heirloom item
  • close-ups of interesting details, such as carving or painting
  • close-ups of manufacturer’s marks
  • close-ups of damage or other features affecting value

Records And Documents Shot List

  • title page of film roll or book
  • full record (be sure to get each page)
  • close-ups of hard-to-read areas
What pictures would you add to our lists? Any tips for others photographing these ancestral items? Click Comments to share!

Family Tree Magazine articles | Photos | Research Tips
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 2:20:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [12]
# Friday, January 14, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 10-14
Posted by Diane

  • The University of Texas at Austin has launched a new history website called Not Even Past to provide “dynamic, accessible, short articles on every field of history.” Using the Read, Watch, Discover, Listen and Texas links at the bottom of the page, you’ll find book excerpts and articles from history faculty and graduate students at the university. Content is sparse so far, but this could be a site worth keeping an eye on.

Libraries and Archives | Military records | NARA | Social History
Friday, January 14, 2011 2:46:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 13, 2011
Archives Launches Grant Program for Genealogy Research and Preservation
Posted by Diane

Are you working on a family history or historical preservation project for your family or community, but don't quite have the funds to complete it? Subscription genealogy website Archives is launching a grant program that may help.

Each month, a recipient will receive up to $1,000 to help fund a family history research or historical preservation project. The first grant will be awarded at the end this month.

The company is seeking any project that “contributes to the promotion and advancement of family history research and preservation.” That might be document preservation, historical artifact restoration, record transcription or promotion of historical events.

Both individuals (whether amateur or professional) and organizations (such as libraries, historical societies and archives) are eligible to apply.

You can learn more about the grant program on the application page and send questions to grant@archives.com.

See Archives’ full announcement here.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation
Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:22:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Ancestry.com Adds Swedish Church Records from Genline
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com announced in its most recent member newsletter that the Swedish church records from Genline, the Swedish genealogy website Ancestry.com purchased last summer, have now become part of Ancestry.com's online databases (they're still available on Genline). 

The records, dating from 1500 to 1937, comprise nearly 18 million images scanned from microfilm and microfiche of the original church records. The collection includes births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, household examinations (akin to censuses), parish books, moving-ins and moving-outs.

You can learn more about these records here


Ancestry.com | International Genealogy
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 2:59:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Family Tree Firsts Blog: The Mysterious Michael Shively
Posted by Diane

Over at our Family Tree Firsts blog, newbie genealogist Nancy Shively (who you may recall was selected last November to blog about her research experiences) can't stop thinking about Michael, born in 1807, the oldest Shively on her tree. Information-wise, he still remains stubbornly out of reach.

Read about two neighboring Indiana land patents and other clues Nancy has found to the mysterious Michael’s whereabouts.

Also, Nancy mentions a Cincinnati connection that clicked for me—I wonder if a local park called LaBoiteaux Woods is named for the family of Michael’s first wife, Keziah Laboyteaux?


Family Tree Firsts | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 11:48:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Write Your Family History: Tips to Get it Together
Posted by Diane

One of the newest course offerings over at Family Tree University is an eight-week master class designed to help you make progress, step by step, on writing a family history book or personal memoir.

In the first half of Write Your Family History, you'll craft an outline for your book and start putting your family's legacy down on paper. The second half of the course is a workshop, in which you'll share your writing with instructor and professional writer Sunny McClellan Morton, and receive feedback on how to move forward. 

The Write Your Family History master class starts Jan. 17, and you can use coupon code FTU114 for 20 percent off your registration and a free 2011 desk calendar.

Here’s an excerpt on gathering and organizing your thoughts:

One of the most important habits you can cultivate as a personal or family historian is keeping a journal. Chances are you already keep one or have in the past; many writers do so almost instinctively. If you aren't in the habit of recording your personal thoughts, now's the time to make journaling a part of your routine.

Use whatever style suits you for writing your journal—you're the only one who will see what you write. Any scrap of memory or personal impression may become important later, so just get everything down now and worry about sorting it all out when the time comes. 

When you start thinking about writing a memoir or family history, it's natural to feel overwhelmed—so many colorful characters, inspiring stories, and dates and places to keep straight. You'll need to make some choices, perhaps difficult ones, about what will and won't fit into your book. Before you begin writing, it's important to devise a plan to organize your ideas and the information you'll be gathering as you complete your research.

We suggest you start by filling in the beginning and ending dates of your book, so you have the boundaries of your complete dateline. Then associate an event with each date. Use only a few key words or a phrase to denote each event—just enough to jog your memory when you refer to the dateline later.

After you've filled in as many dates and events as you can at this point, go back and determine the historical theme relevant to each event. The historical theme is crucial to your story; it will help place your "characters" into historical perspective.

Here are two examples of personal events with their historical themes:

Date: 3 June 1907
Event: Eleanor arrives alone at Ellis Island.
Historical theme: What was it like for a woman to go through processing at Ellis Island on her own?

Date: 25 Apr 1920
Event: Uncle Harry moves to Florida and buys land.
Historical theme: What drew people to Florida in the 1920s?

Register for Write Your Family History at Family Tree University.com (remember to use coupon code FTU114).


Editor's Pick | Family Heirlooms | Family Tree University
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:42:29 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Eight Genealogy Programs Receive User Choice Awards
Posted by Diane

Checking out reviews is a great step to help you decide which genealogy software program is best for you. The website GenSoftReviews, which has gathered more than 720 reviews in two years, has named its 2010 Users Choice Award recipients.

All programs with at least 10 reviews and user ratings of 4 or higher out of 5 received the Users Choice Award. Those are (in order starting with the highest-ranked):

You can get quick facts about these programs, as well as links to Family Tree Magazine reviews, from our free online Genealogy Software Guide.

See the full GenSoftReviews User Choice Awards announcement here.

What's your favorite genealogy software, and why? Click Comments to let us know.


Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 9:34:25 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 10, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 3-7
Posted by Diane

Here's our weekly news roundup from last week:

The $99 early bird registration ends Jan. 15 for the RootsTech 2011 conference, taking place Feb. 10-12 in Salt Lake City. Learn more about the conference and register on the RootsTech website

RootsMagic is offering several free webinars to help you use your RootsMagic genealogy software. You can view the available classes and register on RootsMagic.com. Classes are limited to the first thousand people; a recordings will be available for viewing after a class takes place. 

Ancestry.com has made Family Tree Maker For Mac available for download from the new Mac App Store for $99.99. Learn more about the program at FamilyTreeMaker.com. The software also is available from Ancestry.com’s online store

A TV show in the works is looking for “families who reinvent traditional dishes to reflect their unique cultural backgrounds and their love of American cuisine.” The show also seeks family stories that revolve around food. See the casting call and instructions for responding on the Geneabloggers blog

The British genealogy subscription website Findmypast.co.uk has published more than 9 million records from the Society of Genealogists in London. They include Boyd’s Marriage Index (1538 to 1840), Boyd’s London Burials (1538 to 1872), Faculty Office Marriage License Allegations (1701 to 1850), Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index (1750 to 1800) and more. You can search indexes and transcriptions with a FindMyPast subscription or pay-per-view credits, then order copies of some original records from the Society of Genealogists. More of the records will become available during 2011.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Monday, January 10, 2011 9:33:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 06, 2011
4 Reasons Why You Should Sign up for the MA Webinar Today
Posted by Grace

Our next webinar, the Massachusetts Genealogy Crash Course, will be happening live at 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 18. If you've got Northeastern ancestors, you're a lucky duck. If you haven't signed up already, here are four reasons why you should -- and fast:

4. We've got three top Massachusetts experts lined up: David Dearborn, Midge Frazel and David Lambert.

3. You get to ask them your most pressing questions about Massachusetts research!

2. You get a copy of the Massachusetts State Research Guide and a PDF of the presentation slides.

1. The early bird discount -- $10 off -- ends Friday at midnight, so if you want to save some cash, sign up soon so you don't miss out.


Family Tree University | Webinars

Thursday, January 06, 2011 5:29:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Young Genealogists: Tips and a Grant to Attend the Jamboree!
Posted by Diane

Know a young person who's gung-ho about genealogy? Genealogy writer Denise Levenick is sponsoring a $500 grant to send a young genealogist (age 18 to 25 as of July 1) to the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, Calif. June 10-12.

The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant honors Levenick’s late mom, who worked with youth organizations and enjoyed attending last year’s Jamboree.

The application requirements and instructions are on Levenick’s The Family Curator website

We get questions pretty regularly about how to interest younger kids in genealogy. You’ll find our suggestions in these free articles:

Now I’d like to open it up to you: What genealogy projects have you done with your kids, grandkids or students? What are your tips for holding their interest? Click Comments to share your ideas.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy for kids
Thursday, January 06, 2011 4:55:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]