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# Friday, January 21, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 17-21
Posted by Diane

  • The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) just unveiled a new website featuring links to ISGS records projects, links to other Illinois resources and a new members-only section. Visitors also will find archived ISGS Newsletters back to 2008, listings of Illinois genealogy events, free databases and more.

Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives | Military records | Newspapers | Photos
Friday, January 21, 2011 11:14:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Family History Project: Baby Book
Posted by Diane

You might’ve picked up from casual mentions on the blog that I have a tiny future genealogist on the way in the next week or two. So over the next few months, our other Family Tree Magazine editors and some awesome contributors will keep you up-to-date on genealogy news and resources (though I may pop back in to show a baby picture or two).

Being a family historian, I of course plan to record all the baby excitement for posterity. But I couldn’t find any baby books I really liked—ones where I could include all the information I want, add pages and pictures, and save keepsakes. So I’ve been putting together my own, and I wanted to share it in case it inspires ideas for your own babies or grandbabies:

First, I flipped through baby books at the store and googled baby book pages to get ideas for what type of things I’d want to write down (baby shower info, the baby's “firsts,” etc.). I ended up relying mostly on these printable pages, customizing them to my needs. I'll add a family tree chart, too.

I and went to the store for a cute binder (not vinyl, which isn't photo-safe), some acid-free cardstock and polypropylene envelopes. Here’s the binder:

The polypropylene envelopes (red was all I could find) got hole-punched and hold cards and other mementos:

I set up the pages in Word with fonts and borders I like (leaving a wider margin on one side for hole-punching), and printed them on the cardstock to fill in by hand. (You could type everything, if you want.):

An envelope on this page keeps baby shower memorabilia:

I also can print photos to include. A couple of tips for expectant families: Scan ultrasound images because the originals tend to fade quickly. Also, a friend advised me to take some cardstock to the hospital because the staff might make extra footprints for me.


Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | Photos
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:48:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, January 19, 2011
More in Store
Posted by Diane

We’ve added on to our ShopFamilyTree.com genealogy store! You’ll now find many more how-to, reference and other helpful genealogy books.

My favorite way to find stuff I need is to type the name of a place (such as a state or country) or research topic (such as military or photos) into the keyword search box in the top left corner of the store.

If you’re a VIP member, remember to log in (click My Account at the very top of the page) for your 10 percent discount.

Here’s a sampling of what’s new:

  • US State Research Guides: Click a state for a list of our familiar State Research Guides, plus new products related to research in that state.


Editor's Pick | Genealogy books
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 1:48:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Good News for Canadian Roots Researchers!
Posted by Diane

I’ve heard about some exciting developments for those researching Canadian roots, so I thought I’d lay ‘em out here:

Perhaps most thrilling for Canadian researchers, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the country’s main repository of historical records, has announced plans to put most of its services online within the next seven years—in time to celebrate the confederation’s 150th anniversary in 2017. That plan includes several goals, among them:

  • Starting this year, you'll be able order digital copies of documents in LAC’s collection; paper copies will be phased out by April.
  • Over the next year, LAC will double the volume of its already exceptional online content, adding millions of genealogy images in partnership with Ancestry.ca (sister site to Ancestry.com).

The Canadiana Discovery Portal is a beta site that lets you search more than 60 million pages of Canadian content from archive collections in libraries, museums, universities and government agencies across the country. Just type a search term, such as a name, place or topic, into the box on the home page. You’ll get digitized books, photos. audio and video You can sort results by relevance or newest/oldest, and filter by language, media (image, audio or video), contributing archive or date range covered.

You can raise your glass to this: Ancestry.ca is honoring the 225th anniversary of Molson Brewery with “mug-rattling” family stories of the Labatt and Molson families, Canada’s most famous brewers. One such tale you can read about in old newspapers: Harry Markland Molson, great-grandson of John Molson, perished with the Titanic in 1912. 

If you're looking for some guidance in your Candian roots research, here are some of Family Tree Magazine’s resources to check out:


Canadian roots | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 11:55:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]