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# Wednesday, March 23, 2011
20 Percent Off Family Tree University Courses
Posted by jamie



If you've been looking to boost your family history search skills, one of our interactive Family Tree University courses may give you the jumpstart you need. The next session starts Monday, March 28, and here's what we're offering:
Use coupon code FTU0311 when you register to get 20 percent off your course, and you'll also receive the Organization Made Easy expert webinar free.

Family Tree University
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 2:47:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Civil War Webinar
Posted by jamie

Good news, family historians! We're offering one of our interactive online seminars for free to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Learn what life was really like during the war between the states for the soldiers who fought and died in the conflict, as well as the civilians they left behind at home. Take a virtual trip back to the 1860s with Michael O. Varhola, the author of the new book Life in Civil War America, to discover what your ancestors wore, said, ate, earned, did for fun and more.

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
* coupon for purchase of Life in Civil War America or 2011 Civil War desk calendar

The Life in Civil War America webinar is scheduled for April 6 at 2 p.m. Click here to reserve your spot.

UPDATE:
If you cannot attend the free webinar when it is being broadcast, you can still access the recording and handouts afterward by registering for the webinar. Click here to register.


Civil War | Webinars
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:21:02 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Federal Judge Blocks Google Books Expansion
Posted by jamie

Hopes of expanding the already voluminous Google Books collection (7 million books and counting) were shelved by a New York federal district court Tuesday, the ruling citing anti-trust concerns.

Google previously reached a settlement with authors and publishers to digitize and display excerpts of out-of-print books, even if the materials are not in the public domain or explicitly authorized by publishers to appear in Google Books. This agreement was challenged by the Authors Guild and subsequently struck down because it gave Google a virtual monopoly on digitized books. The settlement also raised privacy rights concerns because it would allow Google to track the books users read.

Despite the setback, the current digital collection allows users to search and preview books, periodicals and other materials from libraries and publishers around the world. Google books is an especially useful tool for genealogists, as users can often find complete copies of published genealogies, directories, local histories and other useful materials. (We've bookmarked some of our favorite family history titles in our Google Books library.)

For more on using Google Books for genealogy, read this Genealogy Insider blog post or watch the video below:



Genealogy books
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:49:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Only 50 Ultimate Family History Starter Collections Left
Posted by jamie

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 March, we've put together the 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 50 copies of this collection left for March.

The Ultimate Family History Starter Collection contains:
  • Discover Your Roots Spring 2011 digital issue
  • Family Tree Essentials CD
  • Beginner's Guide to Genealogy digital download
  • Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: Tips, Hints and Hacks for Finding Your Ancestors on-demand webinar
  • Family Tree Magazine Web Guides CD
  • Discover Your Family Tree Family Tree University course
If all the items were purchased separately, the price would add up to $122.94, but we've bundled them together for $49.99. Save $72.95 by purchasing the Ultimate Family History Starter Collection on ShopFamilyTree.com.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011 2:05:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Tech Tips with Lisa Louise Cooke: WDYTYA Revisited & Photo Gems
Posted by Lisa

When I got back from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London at the end of February, I not only had a bag full of dirty laundry, but a slew of recorded interviews with fascinating genealogy experts, exhibit hall brochures, treasured purchases and a mountain of digital photographs.

After firing up the washing machine, I sat down at my desk and wondered what I would do with all those JPEG jewels. Photographs capture once-in-a-lifetime moments and treasured family memories that we certainly don’t want to forget. But assembling them in a way that can be enjoyed for years to come is not as simple as it was in the old days when we sat down to our scrapbooks and prints.

Here are three tips for assembling your precious pics in a way that will delight you and those you share them with:

Go Interactive
Genealogy Blogger Mark Tucker recently emailed me a link to one of his posts on Zoom.it, a website that allows you to create interactive displays of your favorite photos. This is really slick for high-resolution shots that you want your audience to explore more in depth.

Here’s a Zoom.it of Hinchingbrooke House just north of London. If you’re a regular listener of my Genealogy Gems podcast, then you will not only know the significance of this house to the Cooke family, but also how incredible it is that I have any photographs of this part of our trip at all! (Hear the full story in episode 106.)

To learn more about how to use Zoom.it yourself and to see a great example of how it can be used with your own family history photos, check out Mark’s post Interactive Online Family History Photos.

Create a Photo Collage
When assembling a presentation of photos, sometimes less is more. By picking out the cream of the crop, you’ll ensure that your audience will stay enthralled.

But when it comes to creating a photograph collage with ShapeCollage.com, more is better After downloading all of my photos to my hard drive, I just went to ShapeCollage.com and downloaded the free software, navigated to the folder of photos on my hard drive and added them. By selecting Text and typing "WDYTYA” my photos assembled themselves in a creative way to tell the viewer what they were all about.

Video Slideshow
Video production software can also do a nice job of showing off your pics. Here’s my collection spanning the three days of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011. It’s the next best thing to being there!



Photos | Tech Advice
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8:38:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, March 17, 2011
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With Our Free Roots Resources
Posted by jamie

St. Patrick's Day started as a celebration of Ireland's patron saint. During the 5th century, a shepherd was called to serve the people of Ireland through the Catholic church, taking on the Christian name Patrick.

According to legend, Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but the island had no snakes at that time; this is most likely a metaphor for him converting the Irish to Christianity and driving out paganism. Another myth has Patrick using the Shamrock to teach the Holy Trinity.

The holiday falls on March 17, because that is the day Patrick died. Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. The day is widely celebrated in America as a recognition of Irish heritage.

Celebrate your Irish heritage with our roots resources:

For more on St. Patrick's Day, watch a video by the History Channel here.


Family Tree Magazine articles | International Genealogy
Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:37:06 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Online Genealogy Crash Course
Posted by jamie



Jump start you family history search with our Online Genealogy Crash Course. Stop wasting time aimlessly wandering the web — learn how to find your roots online in four hour-long video classes. This DVD brings you recorded webinars with family history experts. Discover valuable tips and tricks for googling your ancestors, using census and vital records websites, and searching the grandmother of all genealogy websites, Ancestry.com.

The DVD contains these tutorials:
Search Engine Tips and Tricks
Streamline Google searches with techniques for using search engines efficiently and effectively. You'll learn:
    •    tips for phrasing your searches
    •    how to tailor your searches to fetch what you're looking for
    •    hints for tools such as Google Books and News Archive
    •    presented by Lisa Louise Cooke


Online Census Secrets

All US census records are online, but finding your ancestor isn't as easy as typing in a name — you need to know where to look and how to make the most of census websites. You'll learn:
    •    key facts about US censuses
    •    how to access free online census records
    •    search strategies for locating hard-to-find ancestors
    •    presented by Allison Stacy and Diane Haddad


Vital Records
Vital records are keys to any genealogical pursuit. We'll show you the basics of how to locate vital records online. You'll learn:
    •    major sites with vital records and indexes
    •    how to get offline records with the help of online resources
    •    presented by Lisa Louise Cooke


Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com

We'll show you insider tricks and techniques for teasing out ancestor information from the site's tens of thousands of databases. You'll learn:
    •    tricks for finding the databases you need
    •    tips for finding elusive ancestors
    •    presented by David A. Fryxell

As a bonus, when you order our Online Genealogy Crash Course, you will receive a coupon for 20 percent off a live webinar. Visit ShopFamilyTree.com for more information and to preorder this DVD.

Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:17:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Ancestry.com Unveils Irish Collection
Posted by jamie

Ancestry.com has launched a new collection of Irish records in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

The collection contains records Irish historical documents from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including maps, photographs and land records.

The Irish Collection, 1824-1910
includes:
  • Griffiths Valuation, 1847-1864: Over 2.5 million records that provide a snapshot of ancestors who rented land or property throughout Ireland in the 1850s
  • Tithe Applotment Books, 1824-1837: In 1823, a law was enacted requiring all land holders to pay a tithe to the Church of Ireland, regardless of their religious affiliation. With details like tithe payer, acreage of their land and amount of their tithe, these 600,000 records in effect provide a census of pre-famine Ireland.
  • Ordnance Survey Maps, 1824-1846: The first detailed mapping of Ireland undertaken during the 1830s and 1840s, the later part of which was produced during the height of the famine.
  • Lawrence Collection, 1870-1910: This collection of 20,000 photographs showcases the length and breadth of Ireland, through the eyes of William Lawrence's photography studio in Dublin.
Click here to search Ancestry.com's Irish collection.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:06:22 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
Free genealogy search engine Mocavo.com launches
Posted by jamie

The world's largest free genealogy search engine, Mocavo.com, launched today, providing family historians access to free genealogy content on the web.

Search engines like Google rank results by popularity, how recently the webpage was posted and how many times the webpage is linked to. But genealogy content may not be often linked to or refreshed regularly, so it may fall to the bottom of the rankings. Unlike other search engines, Mocavo.com's search results are indexed by people who chose exactly want the engine crawls. This allows users to tap into content that would be hard to find on Google.

Mocavo.com includes billions of names, dates and places worldwide, seeking to index all free online genealogy information. Rootsweb, Archive.org, Allen County Public Library, Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, various U.S. state archives, and tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals are already searchable through Mocavo.com.

“Mocavo.com has the capacity to index every single piece of free genealogy content found anywhere on the web, and will be growing by leaps and bounds in the coming months”, said Cliff Shaw, the online genealogy heavyweight behind Mocavo.com, the Smart Matching algorithm, GenForum, GenCircles, Family Tree Legends and BackUpMyTree.com. “We expect Mocavo.com to shortly offer all of the web’s free genealogy information, searchable and accessible to all -- something that has never been done before."

Mocavo.com also crawls free message boards on Ancestry.com, but does not return results for premium content, like census images. Mocavo.com is working to index FamilySearch content.

Click here to search Mocavo.com.



Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:41:44 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 14, 2011
Tech Tips by Lisa Louise Cooke: How to Dig for Genealogy Gold
Posted by Lisa

The other day I was flipping through TV channels when I stumbled upon the reality TV show “Gold Rush Alaska.” As I got lured into watching a couple of episodes (they were running a marathon that day), it all looked very familiar:

Huge excavators were pulling up great bucketfuls of material from the ground. The huge volume of earth would then tumble its way down sifting machines, eventually run across a wave table. The ultimate goal was to sift out the gold nuggets.

Then it hit me: That’s what we do with Google!

Yes, more than once after doing a simple search I have felt like a huge bucket full of earth had been dropped on me. I would stare at the hundreds of thousands of results and wonder, “How am I ever going to sift through all this to find my genealogy gems?” (This concept goes right back to the early days when I began the Genealogy Gems Podcast in 2007. My first gem was on Google, and I have frequently featured the search powerhouse on the show ever since.)

On the show, newbie miners were struggling to figure out which specialized tools they needed to sift immense quantities of dirt and rocks down to the type of material that carries the gold -- the fine black dirt. Then they had to use another set of unique tools to sift the fine black dirt in hopes of finding gold nuggets.

So what are the right tools for the job of sifting through the seemingly endless material on the Internet? And how do we get that unwanted material out of the way so we can get down to the good stuff where our genealogy gems may be hidden?

In the first installment of this Tech Tips Blog Series I shared with you one of my favorite “sifters” –- the dot dot dot (…) technique. But that is just one of a cache of search sifting tools -- known in the search world as operators -- available to family history researchers. Let me share a few more favorites from my new book The Genealogist's Google Toolbox (Genealogy Gems Publications)

Understand the underlying concept: Search is art, not a science!
While search operators behave scientifically and logically, we must construct our search queries artfully. Sometimes it’s what you add in, and sometimes it’s what you leave out, that determines the quality of your results.

Exact phrase sifter
When you want to find an exact phrase in a website, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example, “U.S. federal census” will bring up websites with that exact phrase and eliminate all other variations.

Words apart search
While quotation marks can help you zero in, in some cases they may actually prevent the ideal results. (There’s that “art” thing again.)

We have to keep in mind that sometimes the words that we are looking for won’t appear next to each other even though they normally do. For example, you may be looking for a city directory, and normally you would expect to see the two words together as a phrase: city directory. But by using an asterisk to set them apart, you may find the perfect result that searching for them together may have missed.

city * directory

Results could include:

city phone directory

city telephone directory

city and county directory

Related Search
For this little gem, watch my video from the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel.

I hope these gems bring you a family history strike! Good luck!


Genealogy books | Podcasts | Research Tips | Tech Advice
Monday, March 14, 2011 11:24:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]