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<2011 January>

More Links

# Thursday, 27 January 2011
FamilySearch Adds Naturalization, Border-Crossing Records
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch’s latest records update includes 3 million new U.S. naturalization records and’s indexes for US border crossings from Canada to the United States  and Mexico to the United States. Previously, these collections were available online only through subscription-based sites. (You can find the records on microfilm at National Archives facilities, the Family History Library and many large genealogy libraries.)

See the FamilySearch website for a list of the rest of its recently added records. If you don’t want to search all the records on the site using the search form on the home page, here’s how to find the individual databases:

  1. Scroll down on the FamilySearch home page to Browse By Location and click the world region of interest.

  2. In the filter links on the left side of the page, click the country. (That’s as narrow as you can get when it comes to places at this time.) In the center of the page, you'll see an alphabetical list of all databases pertaining to that country.

  3. Below the place filters, you can use other filters to narrow the database list by year range and type of record.

  4. Once you’ve narrowed as much as you can, look for the database title in the alphabetical list in the center of the page. (Most US naturalization records are separated into databases for the relevant states, so they're alphabetized under state names for those.)

Using your browser’s Find function (Control+F or Apple+F) to search for a word in the title of the database you need will help you sidestep some inconsistent titling that can make a few collections hard to find.

For example, Revolutionary War pension records are in the database “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications Files,” listed with the Rs, but Revolutionary War service records are in the database titled “United States, Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783”—listed with the Us.

Also, “United States, Index to Naturalizations of World War I Soldiers, 1918” isn’t listed near the naturalization records from US District Courts, which are alphabetized by the name of the state the records are from, or with the WWII records in “United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.”

I noticed those WWI soldier naturalizations don’t show up when you use the Migration & Naturalization or Military Records filter (but they are included in the Court Records). I sent a comment about it; if you find a categorization or other quirk, you can comment using the orange Feedback tab on the right side of the site's pages.

FamilySearch | Free Databases | immigration records | Military records
Thursday, 27 January 2011 10:15:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Preview of "Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode One
Posted by jamie

Following our media conference call with "Who Do You Think You Are?" producer Lisa Kudrow and season two, episode one celebrity Vanessa Williams, we were able to screen the first episode.

While we won't reveal all the juicy details of Williams' ancestry,  here are a few things to look forward to in her "WDYTYA?" episode:

  • Civil War history buffs, rejoice! This episode is chock full of Civil War and Reconstruction history, including the effect of slavery and Jim Crow laws on Williams' ancestors.
  • Williams made history as the first African American crowned Miss America, but she isn't the only noteworthy person in her family tree. She delves into the astonishing history of one of her former slave ancestors.
  • On a trip to Washington, D.C., National Archives researcher Vonnie Zullo stumbles upon a rare genealogical find while researching Williams' great-great grandfather David Carll. The item is so unheard of, Zullo says it's the only one she's come across in her 20-plus years at the depository.
  • If the first episode is any indication of what's to come on "WDYTYA?", expect more air time devoted to original documents and what goes into tracing your roots.

"WDYTYA?" premieres Friday, Feb. 4, at 8pm EST on NBC. Check the Genealogy Insider blog for a brief recap of each episode.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | African-American roots
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 13:49:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
Missouri Genealogy Crash Course
Posted by Diane

From St. Louis' gleaming Gateway Arch to Kansas City in the west and the Ozarks in the south, Missouri has been the Promised Land for some and a pit stop on the way West for others. 

American settlement there began as early as 1787, especially from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas. The population was about 57,000 when Missouri became a state in 1821. Joining descendants of those early French and American settlers were immigrants from Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, England and Czechoslovakia. In the mid-1800s, many Germans and Irish arrived.

We’ll help you trace your Missouri ancestors in our Missouri Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Show-Me State Ancestors live webinar.

The hour-long webinar is Wed., Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. Eastern time (that’s 6 p.m. Central/ 5 p.m. Mountain/ 4 p.m. Pacific). 

Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Nancy Hendrickson, a veteran Missouri researcher, and expert guest presenters Angela McComas from the Midwest Genealogy Center and Dennis Northcott of the Missouri History Museum will share essential history and migration information, details on vital records, the best websites and other resources for Missouri research, and more.

Among the great resources you’ll learn about are the state archives’ county-by-county listing of microfilmed records and Missouri Digital Heritage, where many important sources such as abstracted vital records and naturalizations are digitized. It’s enough to make me wish for Missouri ancestors!

Missouri Genealogy Crash Course webinar attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, and be able to view the webinar again as many times as they like. For a limited time, you can save 20 percent on your registration at

Editor's Pick | Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 11:11:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 25 January 2011
MyHeritage Upgrades Smart Matching
Posted by Diane

Family networking and genealogy site has upgraded its Smart Matching technology to add new collaboration features.

Smart Matching finds matches between the people in users’ family trees on MyHeritage. To date, those trees total more than 680 million people in 17 million trees.

The updates include a new presentation of Smart Matches, plus more efficient organizing and reviewing of matches. The new Consensus Page aggregates data from all Smart Matches, presenting a “big picture” for each match. It summarizes the names, birth and death dates and places, marriage info, etc., and indicates the number of times each piece of information has been used in other family trees.

SmartMatching works in “real time” as users enter new information into their trees, as well as offline. Users are notified of new matches by e-mail. The service is free for basic members, but those on subscription plans also get enhanced options for contacting other tree owners and confirming or rejecting matches. If both tree owners confirm the match, the trees are linked, rather than merged, so each owner retains control of his tree.

See more about SmartMatching here.

Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:05:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
FTU Courses Starting Monday + Free Webinar!
Posted by Grace

If you've been thinking about taking a Family Tree University class (get cracking on that new year's resolution!), now's the time to sign up. Everyone who registers for a class in the next session, which starts Monday, Jan. 31, also gets free access to the Your Unofficial Guide to webinar recording! We're even kicking in all the bonus materials -- something you don't normally get when you buy a webinar recording in our store. So browse through our course listing below -- if something catches your fancy, now's the time to strike.

Family Tree University

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 10:58:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 24 January 2011 to Discontinue Expert Connect
Posted by Diane will discontinue its Expert Connect service, launched in June 2009 to link those seeking genealogy research services with service providers, as of March 18 of this year, according to an announcement today.

New project postings, bidding and awards will be discontinued Feb. 3, according to a message sent to service providers.

"Though this service has been a positive experience, has decided to focus on other business priorities," stated the announcement.

It continued, "Both experts and members currently involved in Expert Connect have been notified of this update. We encourage members to finish out existing projects with experts they have located through the Expert Connect service and if needed, continue relationships for future projects they may have."
Monday, 24 January 2011 16:31:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Q&A With The Folks Behind "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Posted by Diane

A little bit ago, editorial assistant (and soon-to-be frequent blogger here) Jamie Royce and I participated in a media conference call with “Who Do You Think You Are?” producer Lisa Kudrow and Season Two, Episode One celebrity Vanessa Williams.

Each journalist on the call got to ask two or three questions. When our turn came, we wanted to know whether Kudrow and Williams would have pursued genealogy to such an extent themselves, had they not been on “WDYTYA?”

Williams, who learns on the show that her African-American ancestors served in the Civil War and in the Tennessee legislature after Emancipation, is a bit of a history buff and had actually already set up a family tree on (a partner in the series). She had the interest, she said, but not the necessary knowledge or access to the information.

Kudrow’s dad was way into in genealogy, as you might remember from last season’s "WDYTYA?," and had spent a lot of time at the FamilySearch Center in Los Angeles. He had a many names and dates, and Kudrow was able to flesh out that information and get in touch with living relatives through the show.

We also mentioned how hungry Family Tree Magazine readers are to see more of what goes into the research—how researchers uncover the records, what archives they visit, what the records look like—and asked whether this year we might see more of that detail in the episodes or even on the "WDYTYA?" website.

Kudrow acknowledged your desire to know more of the nuts and bolts of the research. Earlier in the call, she had noted how painful it is to have to cut video from each episode due to the 42-minute running time. “There just isn’t time,” she lamented.

So you probably won’t see much more nuts-and-bolts research in the episodes, but we’re hoping NBC will put more of that behind-the-scenes content on the website. posted research recaps to its blog after each Season One episode, so we'll look for more of those, as well.

Thomas MacEntee of Genea-bloggers also was on the call—see the answers to his questions and other notes from the call here. Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems was there, too—keep an eye on her blog for her take

Kudrow talked about the value of personalizing history with stories like those featured on the show. You might think history was just something that happened to strangers a long time ago, but when you see how it affected your family, it has so much more impact.

“I hope it’s a history lesson for people, and I hope it inspires them to ask questions,” Williams said.

"WDYTYA?" premieres Friday, Feb. 4, at 8pm EST on NBC.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" |
Monday, 24 January 2011 16:23:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, 21 January 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, 21 January 2011 11:14:59 (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, 21 January 2011 08:48:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 19 January 2011
More in Store
Posted by Diane

We’ve added on to our 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, 19 January 2011 13:48:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]