Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!



July, 2017 (4)
June, 2017 (4)
May, 2017 (4)
April, 2017 (5)
March, 2017 (7)
February, 2017 (6)
January, 2017 (6)
December, 2016 (7)
November, 2016 (9)
October, 2016 (3)
September, 2016 (5)
August, 2016 (3)
July, 2016 (7)
June, 2016 (4)
May, 2016 (8)
April, 2016 (3)
March, 2016 (9)
February, 2016 (9)
January, 2016 (11)
December, 2015 (7)
November, 2015 (12)
October, 2015 (9)
September, 2015 (13)
August, 2015 (15)
July, 2015 (15)
June, 2015 (14)
May, 2015 (13)
April, 2015 (18)
March, 2015 (17)
February, 2015 (15)
January, 2015 (12)
December, 2014 (12)
November, 2014 (16)
October, 2014 (20)
September, 2014 (17)
August, 2014 (18)
July, 2014 (16)
June, 2014 (18)
May, 2014 (17)
April, 2014 (17)
March, 2014 (17)
February, 2014 (16)
January, 2014 (16)
December, 2013 (11)
November, 2013 (15)
October, 2013 (19)
September, 2013 (20)
August, 2013 (23)
July, 2013 (24)
June, 2013 (14)
May, 2013 (25)
April, 2013 (20)
March, 2013 (24)
February, 2013 (25)
January, 2013 (20)
December, 2012 (19)
November, 2012 (25)
October, 2012 (22)
September, 2012 (24)
August, 2012 (24)
July, 2012 (21)
June, 2012 (22)
May, 2012 (28)
April, 2012 (44)
March, 2012 (36)
February, 2012 (36)
January, 2012 (27)
December, 2011 (22)
November, 2011 (29)
October, 2011 (52)
September, 2011 (26)
August, 2011 (26)
July, 2011 (17)
June, 2011 (31)
May, 2011 (32)
April, 2011 (31)
March, 2011 (31)
February, 2011 (28)
January, 2011 (27)
December, 2010 (34)
November, 2010 (26)
October, 2010 (27)
September, 2010 (27)
August, 2010 (31)
July, 2010 (23)
June, 2010 (30)
May, 2010 (23)
April, 2010 (30)
March, 2010 (30)
February, 2010 (30)
January, 2010 (23)
December, 2009 (19)
November, 2009 (27)
October, 2009 (30)
September, 2009 (25)
August, 2009 (26)
July, 2009 (33)
June, 2009 (32)
May, 2009 (30)
April, 2009 (39)
March, 2009 (35)
February, 2009 (21)
January, 2009 (29)
December, 2008 (15)
November, 2008 (15)
October, 2008 (25)
September, 2008 (30)
August, 2008 (26)
July, 2008 (26)
June, 2008 (22)
May, 2008 (27)
April, 2008 (20)
March, 2008 (20)
February, 2008 (19)
January, 2008 (22)
December, 2007 (21)
November, 2007 (26)
October, 2007 (20)
September, 2007 (17)
August, 2007 (23)
July, 2007 (17)
June, 2007 (13)
May, 2007 (7)



<2011 February>

More Links

# Saturday, 26 February 2011
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 4 Recap
Posted by jamie

Spoiler Alert: If you don't already know what happened during Kim Cattrall's episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” you are about to find out.

Actress Kim Cattrall set out to solve a 70-year-old mystery and explore her British heritage on her episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

George Baugh, Cattrall's grandfather, disappeared when her mother, Shane, was 8 years old. When George left, he tried to bribe Shane to accompany him, but she decided to stay behind with her mother. Shane never saw him again, and her mother and two sisters lived in extreme poverty in Liverpool.

After meeting with Shane and her two aunts, Cattralls discovers through a newspaper clipping that George had a sister Edna. Cattrall visits an address listed for Edna, and when no one answers, she knocks on a neighbor's door. The neighbor instantly recognizes Cattrall and tells her that Edna and George's other sister Amy are still alive; she gives Cattrall their address.

When she meets with Edna and Amy, she learns that George had a history of running away and was unhappy with his marriage to Cattrall's grandmother. The sisters also show Cattrall family photos, but none of them are of George.

Cattrall returns to the hotel where a package from a researcher is waiting for her. It contains a copy of George's marriage certificate to woman that was not Cattrall's grandmother. The document indicates he remarried less than a year after he left the family without divorcing his first wife.

With his new wife, Isabella Oliver, George moves to Durham County where the couple has three children during the 1950s -- Penelope Isabella Baugh, John Oliver Baugh and George William Baugh.

Isabella's brother, William Oliver, and his wife Maisie lived next to Isabella and George in Durham County. Cattrall finds Maisie in a phone book and meets with her and her daughter. (For more on tracing ancestors using city directories, see our how-to guide.)

Maisie explains that George met Isabella in Manchester in 1938, and they had a daughter, Irene, there before moving to Durham County. His new family with Isabella didn't know anything about George's previous family.

Maisie also tells Cattrall that George and his family picked up and moved to Australia in the 1960s. After traveling Down Under, Cattrall discovers George died in 1974 and Isabella in 1990. She decides not to track down their children in Australia.

After her journey, Cattrall returns to Liverpool to share everything she learned about George with her mother Shane and her aunts. After hearing the story, the sisters decide to contact their half siblings in Australia.
(For more on tracing British subjects in Australia, see the March 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine on newsstands now.)

"WDYTYA" airs Fridays at 8pm EST on NBC. Check the Genealogy Insider blog for a brief recap of each episode.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Saturday, 26 February 2011 11:00:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
An Insider Look at Who Do You Think You Are? Live by Lisa Louise Cooke
Posted by Lisa

In this edition of my guest post for the Genealogy Insider I’m reporting from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event in London, which runs Friday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, Feb 27.

While I could spend time telling you about the huge booths and displays of the genealogy giants like, FamilySearch or Find My Past, I think it would miss the mark on conveying what is truly unique about this particular event. It’s the “little guy” – the local society, volunteer organization and fledgling online start-up – that fills the vast majority of the exhibit hall. Here are just a few that stood out as I made way up and down the aisles:

Discover Ireland
“Genealogy butler” and professional genealogist Helen Kelly sat down with me at the Discover Ireland booth to talk about the countless number of people they have helped trace their Irish ancestors and then make the journey to the homeland. Their free booklet “Tracing Your Ancestors” in Ireland walks family historians through doing research on their own in the U.S, heading online to tap into digital records, hiring professional help as needed, and tips for making the trip and walking the green grass of Ireland in person.

“We have to be quiet sometimes,” says Kelly, “…we have to sit in the landscape and then the stones can speak to us.” Kelly made a compelling case for making the journey “back to the community that nurtured your ancestors.” While many things have changed, you can still experience the accents, landscape and culture that enveloped your ancestors.

Kelly summed it up this way, “We are not just part of our people, we are also part of our landscape.” Stay tuned to my Genealogy Gems podcast, where you will hear my entire conversation with this inspirational expert on discovering Ireland.

Lisa talks with Helen Kelly about tracing Irish roots.

Western Front Association

If you have an ancestor who served during the Great War, the Western Front Association may have just the resources and expertise you are looking for. Founded by historian John Giles in 1980, the association has grown to include thousands of members around the world. Their historical information officer is available to help with research questions, and their publications and unique record holdings make them an ideal resource.

War Memorials Trust
As I approached their booth, a woman named Nancy welcomed me and explained the simple yet vital purpose of the War Memorials Trust: to monitor the condition of war memorials and to encourage protection and conservation when appropriate. They also strive to provide expert advice to war memorial projects across the UK, to act as the specialist organization for war memorial conversation issues and to facilitate repair and conservation through grants. I was pleased to see organizations in attendance that play a vital role in empowering all of us to help preserve our precious history.

Friends of the MPHC
Do you have a bobby in your background? If so, the Metropolitan Police have a resource for you! The Met Collection encompasses artifacts previously hidden from view. The permanent public display at the Met Collection heritage center rotates from the 17,000 items that make up the collection including uniforms, photos, police equipment and a vast database of records. You can visit the collection in person at The Annex, Empress State Building, Empress Approach, Lillie Rd., London SW6 1TR (a 2 minute walk from the Brompton tube station) or visit them online at the Friends of the MPHC website.

With such a variety of fascinating topics and experts to learn from, it’s no wonder that over 17,000 people have bought tickets to attend the three-day event. Next week I’ll have a complete wrap up for you on the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event.'s booth at Who Do You Think You Are? Live.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy Events | International Genealogy | Military records | Podcasts
Saturday, 26 February 2011 06:22:50 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 25 February 2011
News Corral: Feb. 25
Posted by jamie

For the first time, people in England and Wales will be able to submit census responses online. Beginning March 4, Brits will be able to unlock the digital questionnaire by entering an access code that will be mailed to each household. Read more about the 2011 UK census here.

Our special Civil War issue isn't on newsstands until March 8, but we have a sneak peek of it on our website. See the Civil War as your ancestors did -- through the lens of the era's photographers. View our slideshow on

We're deciding which states to cover in our Genealogy Crash Course live webinar series and we want your input. We've already served up expert tips and tricks for Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. What are your requests? Weigh in by filling out our survey here.

The Academy Awards are this weekend, and CBS is celebrating with a slideshow of highlights from Oscars past. Click here to see the photos.

Our new monthly bundles are jam-packed with products to help you trace your roots — all at one low price. We only have two left of the Ultimate African-American Genealogy Collection, and once they're gone, they're gone. Learn more about the Ultimate Collection here.

Family Tree Firsts blogger Nancy Shively traveled to Florida to meet cousins she discovered while doing genealogy research. Read her story on

census records | Family Tree Magazine articles | Family Tree University | Genealogy Web Sites | Sales | Webinars
Friday, 25 February 2011 11:44:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Ohio Genealogy Crash Course
Posted by jamie

Ever wish you could get the inside scoop on researching Ohio ancestors? Or ask experts your burning questions about a Buckeye State brick wall? Or had a clue how to research forebears that settled in the Western Reserve? We'll grant your wishes in our Ohio Genealogy Crash Course live webinar.

During our live webinars, audio is delivered over your telephone or computer speakers. Power Point presentations and desktop or document sharing are presented over the Internet. This is like a talk-radio program with visuals on the Web. You'll be able to have a live Q&A chat with the speakers.

From the Ohio webinar you'll learn:
  • Essential Ohio history
  • Details on vital records and immigration in the state
  • What ethnicity-based records your ancestor may have left
  • The best websites for Ohio research

Registration for the live session includes:
  • Participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
  • Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
  • A PDF of our Ohio State Research Guide

The webinar is March 16, 7 p.m. EST, and will run for one hour. If you register before March 1, you'll receive 20 percent off. Click here to register for the Ohio Genealogy Crash Course live webinar.

Editor's Pick | Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 14:43:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Only 6 Ultimate African-American Genealogy Collections Left
Posted by jamie

We’re excited about our new Ultimate Collection program. Each month we’ll release a new collection of carefully selected, discounted products to help you achieve your genealogy goals. A limited number of copies of each collection will be available, so get ‘em while the getting’s good.

For February, we've put together the Ultimate African-American Genealogy Collection in honor of Black History Month. This multimedia collection brings you our most invaluable advice from African-American genealogy experts at an unbeatable price.

The Ultimate African American Genealogy Collection contains:

• Family Tree University independent study course Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers CD
• African-American Genealogy Guide digital download
• July 2009 Family Tree Magazine digital issue with a primer on African-American research
• Georgia Genealogy Crash Course on-demand webinar with resources and advice for slave ancestry
Family Tree Magazine 2011 Genealogy Desk Calendar

If all the items were purchased separately, the price would add up to $212.95, but we've bundled them together for $49.99. Save more than $120.00 by purchasing the Ultimate African-American Genealogy Collection on But hurry, there's only six more available for February. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 10:46:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Our Third Discover Who You Are Sweepstakes Winner
Posted by jamie

We're celebrating the return of NBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?" with a giveaway. While celebrities explore their genealogy on the show, we want to give you the opportunity to explore your own genealogical history with our Discover Who You Are Sweepstakes!

Each week in February we will announce a lucky winner on our Facebook fan page and the Genealogy Insider blog. Our third lucky winner:

So what's the prize? Four lucky winners will get Discover Your Roots Kits, which include a bookazine for genealogy beginners, a Family Tree University course, a subscription to Family Tree Magazine, our State Research Guides CD and the Family Tree Pocket Reference eBook—a $205 value!

You can enter each week in February, by doing one or both of the following things:

  1. Comment here on the blog during "WDYTYA." You could write about a technique or resource you learned about from the show, or (if you missed the show) something you're looking forward to learning about your own genealogy.
  2. "Like" Family Tree Magazine on Facebook, and comment on or "like" our statuses about "WDYTYA."

We'll pick a winner each Monday and post their name here and on Facebook. 

This contest will run until Feb. 27, 2011. Official rules can be found here.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 17:00:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [18]
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 3 Recap
Posted by jamie

Spoiler Alert: If you don't already know what happened during Rosie O'Donnell's episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” you are about to find out.

Rosie O'Donnell often asked her grandmother about a specific photo hanging in her house, but her grandmother was tight lipped about the woman. O'Donnell knew she was somehow related to her, but didn't know much beyond that. So she began her "Who Do You Think You Are?" journey by researching the mystery woman.

She starts looking in the 1900 census, finding her great-grandparents Michael and Ellen Murtha. The census indicates Michael was born in French Canada and his parents were born in Ireland. O'Donnell steps back father to the 1880, but shows Michael living in Brooklyn with a different woman — his first wife Anna.

This leads O'Donnell to Manhattan, where she finds the death certificate for Anna Murtaugh, a variation of the Murtha surname. The cause of death is listed as an explosion of an oil lamp. O'Donnell searches neighborhood newspapers for write-ups about the incident, discovering Anna was holding her infant daughter during the explosion.

Catholic church baptismal records revealed Anna's daughter to be Elizabeth Murtha, who lived through the accident and eventually had many children and grandchildren. Tracing the line forward, O'Donnell is reunited with Elizabeth's grandchildren, her second cousins. They confirm that the mysterious photo is Elizabeth's mother Anna.

After solving that mystery, she travels to Quebec to search parish records for Anna's husband and O'Donnell's great-grandfather Michael Murtha, listed as Michael Murtaugh in baptismal records. Michael's parents are listed as Andrew Murtaugh and Anne Doyle. O'Donnell searches a local newspaper to find the obituary for Anne, which lists her birthplace as Kildare, Ireland. For more on searching newspapers, see our Finding You Family in Old Newspapers on-demand webinar.

O'Donnell then heads to Ireland to find out more about the Murtaughs. Many people emigrated from Ireland at the height of the potato feminine, and Andrew and Anne were among them.

Searching Poor Law Union minute books for a mention of the family, O'Donnell discovers two men sponsored the Murtaughs passage to Canada. The Poor Law Union only provided assisted immigration for severely impoverished families during the feminine. To qualify for assisted immigration, a family would have to live in a work house for at least a year. For more on tracing your Irish roots, see our Irish heritage research guide.

"WDYTYA" airs Fridays at 8pm EST on NBC. Check the Genealogy Insider blog for a brief recap of each episode, and post a comment to be entered to win in our Discover Who You Are sweepstakes!

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Church records | Female ancestors | Newspapers
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 10:48:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 18 February 2011
News Corral: Feb. 18
Posted by jamie has improved its 1910 US census collection to include clearer images, alternate names and mother's and father's birthplace search fields. The best part? You can search the collection for free through Feb. 21.

ProGenealogists released its annual list of the 50 most popular genealogy websites.,,, and round out the top five sites. even made the list. See all the sites here.

Think your ancestors greeted each other with a friendly hello? Think again. The first documented usage of "hello" is in 1827, and it was used attract attention or express surprise. It wasn't until after the telephone came into regular use that "hello" was a common greeting. Read the entire history of the word here.

The New York Times is celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by posting collaborative blogs in a section called Disunion. The blogs utilizes contemporary accounts and historical assessments to chronicle the Civil War as it unfolded 150 years ago. Stay up-to-date on the posts by liking Disunion on Facebook.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been jokingly lobbying for an invite to the royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton with no success. But, much to Degeneres' surprise, she is actually related to Middleton -- the two are 15th cousins. Because of the connection, DeGerenes is now awaiting her save the date. | Celebrity Roots | census records | Civil War | Genealogy fun | Social History
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:06:16 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 16 February 2011
"Discover Your Roots" Now Available
Posted by jamie

Discover Your Roots, a 132-page guide to getting started in genealogy from Family Tree Magazine, is the perfect introduction to researching your family history. 

We've jam-packed Discover Your Roots with tips, tricks and how-to guides. Here's a sampling of my favorites:
  • Jumpstart your genealogy research with our 16 ideas that you can accomplish in 20 minutes or less.
  • Embark on your maiden voyage with our guide to researching female ancestors.
  • Navigate death certificates, delayed birth certificates, Social Security applications and WWI draft registration cards with the help of the Document Detective.
  • Become a census sleuth with charts and clues for each US enumeration.
  • Boost your online genealogy with our 101 best free websites roundup, proving some of the best things in life really are free.
  • Keep track of all your new-found family history with our genealogy worksheet starter kit and a decorative fold-out family tree chart.
Look for Discover You Roots on newsstands, or pick up a copy at

census records | Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 12:53:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
More From RootsTech With Lisa Louise Cooke
Posted by jamie

With all the anticipation of the first ever RootsTech conference, it’s hard to believe it’s already come and gone. Here are some highlights from this year’s conference that I hope inspire you to attend next year. (Block out February 2-4, 2012 on your calendar!)


Microfilm Distribution: As a member of the media, I had the rare opportunity to see how hundreds of thousands of microfilm rolls make their way around the world each year.  The Family History Library distribution center is the size of 19 football fields and stores 725,000 film copies, each copy averaging 100 feet in length.  Films are stored in huge automated shelving systems holding trays of film that are tracked and accessed by computer. Even though there is a goal to digitize all microfilms held by the FHL, there will always be a need for microfilm distribution because of copyright restrictions. 


Inside the microfilm distribution center at the Family History Library.


Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner: One of the winners at this year’s conference was the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. Many a happy genealogist clutched their new portable workhorse, and those that didn’t already have one were muttering quietly that they really needed one. Having acquired a Flip-Pal scanner myself not long ago, I can say that the buzz was warranted. Look for the Family Tree Magazine review of the Flip-Pal scanner in our May issue, on newsstands March 8.


The Media Center:  I felt a bit like Maxwell Smart in the Cone of Silence from "Get Smart," as I conducted interviews in the glass cubicles at the center of the exhibit hall. The cubicles weren't sound proof, but they provided a convenient place to record audio and video while still capturing the ambiance of the place.  One of my first interviews was with Patricia Van Skaik of the Cincinnati Public Library, who won the Most Distinguished Presenter award for her Saturday presentations. The media center was a stroke of genius on the part of the organizers. It gave podcasters and bloggers the room and tools we needed to get the word out.



Lisa interviewing Patricia Van Skaik in the media center.

Interviews: Curt Witcher, manager of the genealogy deptartment at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., also sat down with me for an in depth interview. He sees technology converging with genealogy, and his keynote address was quite a hit from sounds of between-session banter. Watch our conversation below:


You can see more from RootsTech at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Click subscribe while there and you can receive email notification as they are posted.


Virtual Presentations Roundtable: I wrapped up the whirlwind three-day conference as a panelist in the Virtual Presentations Roundtable. Thomas MacEntee pulled together a panel of experienced webinar presenters, including editor of Family Tree Magazine Allison Stacy, Photo Detective Maureen Taylor, DearMYRTLE, Geoff Rasmussen and Marian Pierre-Louis.  Not only did we provide tips on how societies can hold their own virtual presentations, but the session itself was a virtual webinar.  And to top it off, the RootsTech folks streamed the session live on the RootsTech website!


RootsTech made a bold leap onto the conference scene, and from every indication, it’s here to stay.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Tech Advice
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 11:13:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]