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# Thursday, March 31, 2011
Ohio Genealogical Society Conference
Posted by jamie

The Ohio Genealogical Society's annual conference kicks off today in Columbus. Throughout the weekend, genealogists will share tips and best practices, and family history organizations and companies will exhibit their products.

The keynote speaker for the conference is David E. Rencher, chief genealogical officer of FamilySearch International, who will address attendees at 8 a.m. Friday. In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Rencher said he will announce that a number of Ohio records will be soon be available online for the first time on FamilySearch.org. (Click here to read the entire interview.)

Our publisher and editorial director Allison Stacy is at the OGS conference representing Family Tree Magazine, and she is sharing a booth with our podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke. If you're attending the conference, be sure to drop by our booth and say hello.

Genealogy Events
Thursday, March 31, 2011 1:58:12 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Family Tree University Civil War Research Course
Posted by jamie


The Civil War — also known as the War of the Rebellion or the War of Northern Aggression, depending which side your ancestors were on — generated more casualties, dissention and records than any other conflict in American history. If your ancestors lived in the United States between 1861 and 1865, they undoubtedly felt the effects of the war. And if they were males in their prime, they probably served in a military unit.

If you're ready to learn more about your Civil War roots, then our Family Tree University Civil War Research course is for you. Let FTU instructor Diana Crisman Smith teach you the organization and structure of the militaries and militias, what sources to look for on the home front, how to order compiled service records, and how to find pension records and veterans organizations.

The next session starts April 11, just in time to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the war between the states, and lasts four weeks. Click here to register.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:01:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Shop Family Tree March 30 and Donate to Japan
Posted by jamie

Like the most of the world, we awoke March 11, to the shocking news that a massive earthquake rocked Japan. Watching tragedy unfold halfway across the world — the aftershocks, tsunami and threat of a nuclear meltdown — left us wondering how we could help.

So, we're donating half of all profits from ShopFamilyTree.com purchases made on Wednesday, March 30, to the American Red Cross. The organization is currently on the ground in Japan supplying people with temporary housing, food, water and other necessities, and it needs our help more than ever.

We hope you'll join our campaign to help Japan by shopping with us Wednesday. Click here to visit ShopFamilyTree.com.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:30:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Tech Tips with Lisa Louise Cooke: Online Family History Books
Posted by Lisa

Canadian author and genealogist Dave Obee recently opined on his Facebook page, “I've been hearing about the pending death of the book for several years now. One of these days, the prediction might turn out to be true.”

Obee’s comment kicked off an interesting online conversation. For many genealogists, the surge in online books can sound like a threat to the paper tome. But, as with all things, the market drives business and innovation, and the convenience and flexibility of digital books is very appealing. Here are some Tech Tips to help you dive in and reap the benefits of this growing phenomenon:

Get Started
Allison Stacy, editor of Family Tree Magazine, made this great video for getting started with Google Books.

See How Other Genealogists Use Google Books
Miriam Robbins Midkiff, author of the popular genealogy blog AnceStories: The Story of My Ancestors was featured in this video produced by Google.

Search Within a Book
After conducting your initial search and selecting a particular book, you can search within that book by simply typing specific keywords in the search box found in the column on the left side of the book’s page. This box searches only the book currently being viewed and makes quick work of finding a desired surname on individual pages of a large volume. (Find this tip in my new book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.)

Keep Up To Date
The Inside Google Books blog is a great way to keep up to date on the latest news at Google Books. Add the RSS feed to your iGoogle page or favorite reader by simply clicking the Feedburner button found in the column on the right.

Google eBooks
Have you noticed that the Google Books homepage looks different these days? That’s because they have introduced the Google eBookstore to the offering. Here’s a terrific little video that explains the benefits of online books in a fun and simple way:

Google eBooks
Don’t skip Google eBooks just because they offer books for sale. Try this handy tip to unearth free gems:

1. Go to Google Books.
2. Click blue Go to the Google eBookstore Now button
3. Type family history in the search box and click the Search All Google eBooks button.
4. Click the Free Only link in the light blue box at the top of the page.
5. You’ll get a results list full of free books, many hard to find self-published family histories.

Look Elsewhere
When it comes to digital family history books, Google Books isn’t the only game in town Check out the Family History Archive, then watch the video below to learn more about how to use this robust resource.

I've had such a great time sharing Tech Tips with you these last 2 months. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll join me at the free Family Tree Magazine podcast and Genealogy Gems podcast for more lively conversation about genealogy!

—Lisa Louise Cooke


Genealogy books | Genealogy Web Sites | Tech Advice | Videos
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 9:12:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, March 28, 2011
Give us Your Feedback and get 15 Percent Off
Posted by jamie

Penny for your thoughts? Well, maybe not a penny, but how does 15 percent off at ShopFamilyTree.com sound? Just fill out the Family Tree Magazine subscriber survey and we'll send you a 15 percent off coupon code and an opportunity to win one of 10 great prizes as our way of saying thanks.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and your responses will be extremely helpful for planning and improving both Family Tree Magazine and FamilyTreeMagazine.com. Thank you, in advance, for completing this subscriber survey. We look forward to receiving your valuable input!

Click here to complete the subscriber survey.

ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, March 28, 2011 4:23:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Sunday, March 27, 2011
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 6 Recap
Posted by jamie

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

 "Who Do You Think You Are?" has been on hiatus for a few weeks, so I've really been jonesin' for the NBC family history hit. And Steve Buscemi's episode delivered a one-two punch of drama and mystery that had me on the edge of my seat.

Buscemi, a native New Yorker, began his genealogy journey by meeting with his parents. His family wanted to know more about his mother's ancestry because Amanda Van Dine, Buscemi's mother's mother, took her own life in 1928, leaving a void on in the family tree.

The death certificate of Amanda Van Dine's mother, Jane Van Dine, reveals her parent's names, Julia Vanderhof and Ralph Montgomery, as well as her address when she died. Coincidentally, the address is now a restaurant Buscemi frequents.

The 1880 census lists Jane Montgomery as an 11-year-old live-in servant in Camden, N.J. A researcher explains to Buscemi that it was common for children to enter the workforce, especially poverty stricken families.

Buscemi then searches Ancestry.com's user-uploaded family trees to find more on Jane Montgomery's parents. Another user has posted a tree with information about Ralph Montgomery, who was born in 1834 in Milton, Pa. Buscemi contacts the person who made the tree, to get more info from them.

In the mean time, he heads to Harrisburg, Pa., to visit state archives. Ralph Montgomery is listed as a dentist in tax records, but the 1860 census indicates he was a grocer and married to woman named Margaret with two young children. Buscemi is stunned to learn his great-great grandfather had a family before he married Buscemi's great-great grandmother Julia Vanderhof.

Buscemi then takes to microfilmed copies of the Pennsylvania Telegraph to try to learn more. He discovers a small snippet about a suicide note signed by Ralph Montgomery found near the Susquehanna River. Clearly, he did not complete suicide, but this must have been a particularly trying time for Ralph Montgomery.

Court records reveal Ralph Montgomery was charged with assault and battery in 1859, but the charges were later dropped. He disappears from tax records in 1861, the year the Civil War began.

This leads Buscemi to search military records. Muster cards reveal Ralph Montgomery enlisted in Pennsylvania's 91st regiment. He deserted June 1962 in Alexandria, Va., a common occurrence for a citizen army, and returned August 1962. He fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg, a bloody loss for the Union. After fighting another battle, he deserted for the last time. (For more on the war between the states, see Life in Civil War America.)

The special Civil War veterans schedule of the 1890 Census lists Ralph's first wife Margaret as a widow; she assumed Ralph was dead when her husband never came home.

Buscemi then get a hold of Ralph Montgomery's New Jersey death certificate. The document indicates he was a dentist and died of tuberculosis. He was buried in strangers row, where indigent or unknown people were buried in unmarked graves.

Buscemi then returns to Brooklyn to meet the person who posted the Ancestry.com family tree. Carol Olive, Buscemi's third cousin, reveals Julia Vanderhof, Ralph Montgomery's second wife, remarried to Charles Brandenburg. Her children who were working as servants, including Jane, are again living with their mother in Brooklyn in the 1892 New York census. (For more on Empire State ancestors, see our on-demand webinar.)

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

And if you haven't already, check out the bonus scenes for each episode of "WDYTYA?" on Hulu.com.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Civil War
Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:39:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Friday, March 25, 2011
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire 100 Years Later
Posted by jamie

The top three floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory blazed shortly before quitting time March 25, 1911, trapping 146 people, mostly women, in the inferno.

A stray cigarette or match dropped into a bin of fabric scraps is credited with starting the the fire. The exits were locked by supervisors, who claimed the workers would steal things if they weren't carefully monitored, trapping them inside. Fire ladders and hoses couldn't reach the top floors. The fire escape collapsed under the weight of fleeing workers. Many women jumped to their death rather than burn alive.

The Triangle factory is near the Lower East Side, a hub of Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s, so many Jewish women worked at the factory and consequently died in the fire. The factory still stands and is now a New York University classroom building, with three plaques memorializing the devastation. (Click here for more on Jewish women in the fire.)

Ironically, the very garment these women were making under deplorable labor conditions is viewed historically as a liberating fashion. The shirtwaist (depicted below) was paired with a skirt to give women more physical mobility, which lead to social mobility as women flooded into the workforce and into the streets to claim their independence. It was certainly a far cry from the bustles, hoop skirts and corsets that confined women for generations prior.



A woman wearing a shirtwaist and skirt | Gjenvick.com

A list of the victims reveals horrifying details about the dead. Ignazia Bellotta's body was identified by the heel of her shoe. Esther Harris died after she broke her back climbing down an elevator chute. The stocking of Julia Rosen was stuffed with $842, several years worth of wages and the equivalent of $19,000 today. Srar Kupla survived her eight-story jump to escape the fire for fire days before she died. (View the entire victim list here.)

Six of the 146 people who died in the fire remained unidentified for nearly 100 years, until independent researcher Michael Hirsch matched the victims with their names and relatives. After the fire, investigators had assumed these unidentified victims were recent immigrants with no family in the United States to claim the bodies. http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/victimsWitnesses/unidentifiedVictims.html

And while the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was a horrifying American tragedy, it spurred sweeping reforms, including new safety and fire regulations, child labor laws and workman's compensation. It also ignited the American labor movement and union membership.

If you subscribe to HBO, catch the documentary "Triangle: Remembering the Fire". It premiered March 21, but check local listings for repeats or visit HBO's website for more information.

We also created this slide show of photos from the fire.



For more on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, visit Cornell's website.


Friday, March 25, 2011 1:30:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# 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]