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# Thursday, March 10, 2011
Family Tree 40 Best Blogs Winners
Posted by jamie

Genealogy blogs are serving a more and more important role in family history research. Anyone with internet access can maintain their own blog, sharing their best tips, research stories, information about their ancestors and more. Even our Family Tree Firsts blogger Nancy Shively has stumbled upon distant cousins by chronicling her research online.

Blogs are invaluable to the online genealogy community; that's why we started the Family Tree 40, our annual roundup of the best genealogy blogs as decided by our readers. The results are in — visit FamilyTreeMagazine.com for a roundup of all the winners.

Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, March 10, 2011 3:03:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 09, 2011
March Madness for Genealogists Free Webinars
Posted by jamie

If you're not a basketball fan, join Family Tree Magazine contributor Lisa A. Alzo for her March Madness for Genealogists free webinar series. Space is limited to the first 100 attendees, so you must reserve a spot to participate.

The available webinars include:
Getting Started in Genealogy: The Basics
Saturday, March 12, 1:00 p.m. EST
Register here.

Silent Voices: Tips and Tricks for Tracing Female Ancestors
Saturday, March 19, 1:00 p.m. EST
Register here.

Life Stories: How to Write a Compelling Family History Narrative
Saturday, March 26, 1:00 p.m. EST
Register here.

Read more about the free webinars on Lisa's blog The Accidental Genealogist.


Webinars
Wednesday, March 09, 2011 11:45:31 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Ancestry.com News Corral
Posted by jamie

Ancestry.com ended 2010 with 1.4 million subscribers, up 31 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009. The genealogy website also posted sales of $82.7 million for 2010, up 38 percent from a year earlier. Read the full financial report here.

If you have a British black sheep in the family, you may be in luck. Ancestry.co.uk has published parole records of some of the United Kingdom female prisoners sentenced during 1853 to 1871, and 1883 to 1187. The database includes 4,400 records and 500 photos, and is available to U.S. Ancestry.com members with a world subscription. Click here to search the Licenses of Parole for Female Convicts collection.
 
Ever wish you could access your family history easily anywhere? Now there's an app for that. Ancestry.ca has unveiled a new genealogy app for iPad and iPhone. The Ancestry app features multi-generational family trees complete with images of family records and photos, giving users access to their family history on the go. The app is available as a free download in the iTunes Store.


Ancestry.com | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, March 08, 2011 2:13:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Our Civil War Issue on Sale Now
Posted by jamie


We're celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by devoting our May 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine to the war between the states. In this issue, we give you the inside scoop on tracing Blue and Gray ancestors, tips for preserving military uniforms, a guide to ordering an official military grave marker and more. It even includes a special excerpt from our new book Life in Civil War America.

Our special Civil War issue of Family Tree Magazine goes on sale today. Look for it on newsstands or purchase a copy from ShopFamilyTree.com.

Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, March 08, 2011 9:36:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Saturday, March 05, 2011
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 5 Recap
Posted by jamie

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

Singer-songwriter Lionel Ritchie explored his great-grandfather's history on his episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Richie began his journey at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where his mother, father and grandmother were professors. Gathering clues with his sister, Richie uses his grandmother's Social Security application to find her father's name — John Louis Brown.

He heads to his grandmother's birthplace of Nashville to learn more about J.L. Richie searches an old marriage registry and finds J.L. married Volenderver Towson on April 6, 1890. An archivist then shows Richie a copy of a divorce complaint, revealing J.L. was 50 when he married the 15-year-old Towson. A judge grants the divorce because J.L. abandoned his young wife for over two years.

Perplexed, Richie searches city directories from the 1880s, which list J.L. as a member of a black fraternal organization Knights of Wise Men. The group, founded in 1879, offered financial benefits to all members for illness and death. The Knights of Wise Men was a prototype of modern organizations that propelled the Civil Rights Movement, and J.L. was the national leader of the group.

According to an 1891 Chattanooga, Tenn., newspaper article, the Knights of Wise Men eventually collapsed because the group had to pay out a large amount of death benefits at once during a small pox epidemic; the treasurer then ran off with what was left of the money. For more on researching African-American ancestors in newspapers, see our Family Tree University independent study course here.

A 1929 Chattanooga city directory reveals J.L. was caretaker at a black cemetery, Pleasant Gardens. J.L.'s death certificate indicates he was buried in that cemetery. The document also lists J.L.'s father as Morgan Brown and his mother as unknown.

Richie visits Pleasant Gardens, distraught to see the graves overrun by weeds and grass. J.L. is buried in the pauper section of the cemetery, where most of the graves are unmarked.

Richie then finds J.L.'s pension application. At first he thinks J.L. was a soldier in the Civil War, but he was actually body servant — a butler to soldiers. Slaves were hired out for this dangerous job, and free blacks did it for low pay. J.L.'s owner was listed on the pension application as Morgan W. Brown, meaning J.L. could have been a slave and his owner could have also been his father. Learn more about tracing slave ancestors here.

At the Nashville Public Library, Lionel discovers there are two Morgan Browns in the area: Dr. Morgan Brown and his son Morgan W. Brown. Dr. Brown's journal reveals he owned a working slave plantation and one of the slaves, Mariah, gave birth to a son, Louis, in 1839, an unusual notation for a master to make in his journal. Dr. Brown was about 80 years old when Louis was born, but his son Morgan W. Brown was 39 at the time. It is still unclear which Morgan Brown is J.L.'s father.

Dr. Brown wrote his will during Mariah's pregnancy, granting Mariah and her child freedom, land and money for education of the child upon Dr. Brown's death. It is unclear if the executor of the estate, Morgan W. Brown, carried out Dr. Brown's wishes. For more on researching African American ancestors, see our guide here.

"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?" | Civil War
Saturday, March 05, 2011 11:15:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, March 04, 2011
News Corral: March 4
Posted by jamie

Genealogy has gone prime time. NBC gave "Who Do You Think You Are?" the green light for a third season. "Faces of America" will return to PBS for another season. And on this week's "Top Chef All-Stars," contestants traced their family treed and competed at Ellis Island, cooking up dishes based on their family's heritage. Read more about the genealogy TV trend here.

GenealogyBank is offering a yearly subscription to its newspaper collection for 75 percent off. This offer is good through March 14, and you can learn more on GenealogyBank.com.

Family Tree Firsts blogger Nancy Shively discovered her great-grandfather suddenly came into money and lost it all, and she's determined to find out more. Read her full story on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

The last living World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died Sunday. Buckles drove an Army ambulance in France in 1918, after lying about his age to recruiters. He was 110 years old. Read his full story here.

The National Archives at Atlanta will present a Civil War Symposium, a day-long program commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The event features scholars and historians from leading archival and academic institutions, as well as an exhibit of 19th century African American newspapers. The symposium is slated for April 16 and costs $20 to attend. Visit NARA's website for more information.

Don't forget about our Ultimate Family History Starter Collection. This multimedia bundle brings you our most invaluable tips, tricks and how-tos to help you jump start your genealogy research. There are only 150 copies of this collection available through the end of March. There's more information in this Genealogy Insider blog post.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Family Tree Firsts | Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers
Friday, March 04, 2011 3:49:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Baby's First Family History Center Visit
Posted by Grace

Diane's on maternity leave for a few more weeks, but that hasn't stopped her from continuing her genealogy research. She brought baby Leo with her on a recent trip to a Family History Center to request some microfilm. I am sure he was a very popular guy! Look at those hands -- he's just itching to get his mitts on some microfiche.

If you're planning on taking a trip to a Family History Center for the first time, you've got to read our article "Family History Central" (available to Plus members) from the January 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine.


FamilySearch | Genealogy for kids | Genealogy fun

Friday, March 04, 2011 11:05:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, March 03, 2011
Our Last Discover Who You Are Sweepstakes Winner
Posted by jamie

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

Each week in February, readers entered the sweepstakes by commenting on the Genealogy Insider blog and our Facebook fan page. Our last lucky winner:

So what's the prize? Four lucky winners received 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.

We loved interacting with you all on Facebook and the blog. And while the sweepstakes is over, we hope you keep in touch.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy fun
Thursday, March 03, 2011 9:41:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Who Do You Think You Are? Live Wrap-up Report with Lisa Louise Cooke
Posted by Lisa

Once again, the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London attracted thousands of eager visitors anxious to learn more about their family tree. It was my great pleasure to not only participate as a speaker this year, but also to report on the event for the Genealogy Insider.


The exhibition hall was packed for WDYTYA? Live.

According to Else Churchill, genealogist for the Society of Genealogists in the UK and organizer of the society’s workshops at the event, BBC Magazines Bristol has purchased a major share of the show from Brand Events, who has organized it for the last five years. The new owners will be managing the event from this point forward, and they are already busy making big plans.

I was very excited to bring a technology topic to the event with my Make Google Work Harder for Your Family History workshop. On the heels of RootsTech, WDYTYA? Live will be looking toward technology and social media and their role in genealogy, expanding those topic areas next year.


Lisa teaching her Google workshop at WDYTYA? Live.

Churchill and her team worked tirelessly to organize the Society of Genealogists workshops, and their Ask the Expert booth, spearheaded by Lori Weinstein, was a big hit once again. I participated in a 2 hour shift on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed working one on one with eager attendees.

Visitors also really appreciated the expanded gallery area upstairs and from what I could see, they made very good use of it. They found more room to roam in the military and photographic exhibit areas, plenty of tables and seating (where my husband and I held an impromptu family reunion with three other distant British Cooke cousins!), and even a pasty pie stand (which, of course, I felt obligated to taste test – yummy!).

One of the unique aspects of WDYTYA? Live is the inclusion of celebrities profiled on the BBC TV series "Who Do You Think You Are?" Monty Don ("Gardener’s World"), Hugh Quarshie ("Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace"), and celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott kept audiences riveted as they recounted their personal family history journey.

Additional News:

  • The British Library announced its digitization of the India Collections
  • Deceased Online has added Scottish MIs
  • FindMyPast.co.uk will be adding transcriptions of Scottish census records only
  • The Genealogists is adding war memorials

And here's a few more photos from the event:

Ancestry.com scanning booth

Lisa with Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor.

Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives booth


Lisa interviews a representative of the Western Front Association.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events | Podcasts | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 9:14:25 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Celebrate Women's History Month By Finding Female Ancestors
Posted by jamie

March marks National Women's History Month, a celebration of the often overlooked contributions women have made to history. The month evolved from National Women's History Week, established in 1978 by the Education Task Force of Sonoma County, Calif., to coincide with International Women’s Day.

In 1981, Congress issued a joint resolution supporting Women’s History Week. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women’s History Month resolution has been approved every year with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Celebrate Women's History Month by researching your female ancestors.  Here are a few of our online resources:


Female ancestors
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 12:12:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]