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<2011 April>

More Links

# Wednesday, 06 April 2011
South Carolina Genealogy Crash Course
Posted by jamie

Researchers with South Carolina roots have 500 years' worth of records to explore. We'll show you how to navigate Palmetto State resources from early Colonial days to the 20th century in our South Carolina 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 South Carolina webinar you'll learn:
    •    Essential South Carolina history
    •    Details on vital records and immigration in the state
    •    What ethnicity-based records your ancestor may have left
    •    The best websites for South Carolina research

Registration for the live session includes:
    •    Participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
    •    Unlimited access to the webinar recording
    •    PDF of the presentation slides for future reference

The webinar is April 20, 7 p.m. EST, and will run for one hour. If you register before April 13, you'll receive 20 percent off. Click here to register for the South Carolina Genealogy Crash Course live webinar.

Civil War | Editor's Pick | Sales
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 14:06:35 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Enter the Life in Civil War America Sweepstakes
Posted by jamie

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, each week we're giving away Family Tree Magazine's Life in Civil War America book! Simply like Family Tree Magazine on Facebook and share on our page a Civil War ancestor story or a tidbit from our Life in Civil War America webinar or Life in Civil War America book. You can also enter by posting a comment on any Genealogy Insider post about Life in Civil War America.

Each Friday in April, a winner will be chosen from that week's comments and wall posts, and they will be notified by an announcement on Family Tree Magazine's Facebook page. The four winners will each win the Life in Civil War America book. Check our Facebook page and Genealogy Insider blog frequently for upcoming posts where we'll comment on and/or answer the questions we receive about Life in Civil War America.

The sweepstakes starts April 6, and runs through April 29.

Need more details? Read the official rules here.

Civil War | Genealogy fun
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 12:51:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [17]
Free Civil War Records
Posted by jamie

To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, is opening up millions of Civil War records, including the 1860 and 1870 US censuses, for free searches April 7 – 14.

The American Civil War Research Database is Ancestry's effort to compile and link all available records of soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The collection contains state rosters, pension records, regimental histories, photos and journals.

The database is divided into soldier records, regiment records, battle histories, and officer records. By searching soldier records, you can discover the soldier's name, residence, date of entry, regiments, companies, rank, promotions, transfers, events (such as POW, wounded, etc.) and how and where the soldier exited the military (discharge, desertion, muster out, or death). Some states also include in their official records a soldier's birthplace, age at enlistment, occupation, and physical description.

Click here to search Ancestry's American Civil War Research Database. | Civil War
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 10:29:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 04 April 2011
Share Your Family Recipes and Food Traditions
Posted by jamie

Food is a key ingredient in every family's history: Dad's Saturday morning pancakes, the marzipan Granny served every Christmas, your Sicilian great-great-grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe. And we want you to share your family's food traditions with us.

Family Tree Books is collecting short essays for a book about real family recipes and the memories that surround them. We'll select eight submissions to feature in the book based on these criteria:
  • Submissions should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
  • Essays should tell the story of a real tradition, including:
  • What is the tradition?
  • Who started it and when?
  • What cultural or regional background does the dish or tradition represent? (for example, is it a US regional specialty or a product of your ancestry in Germany, Sweden, Mexico, etc.?)
  • What does the tradition mean to you and your family?
  • Submissions should include the recipe described in the story and a family photo—of the original chef, people described in the story or yourself. (Pictures of the dish itself may be submitted but likely will not be published.)
To enter: E-mail your essay to with the subject line Family Food Traditions no later than July 13, 2011. To be considered, submissions must adhere to the following specifications:
  • Essays must be in Microsoft Word (.DOC or .RTF) or plain-text format (.TXT). Do not paste your essay into the body of the email.
  • Photos must be in JPG or TIFF format, with a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.
  • Your name, mailing address, phone number and email address must be included in the email message and the essay document.
For full entry details and official rules, click here.

Genealogy books | Genealogy fun
Monday, 04 April 2011 12:59:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Saturday, 02 April 2011
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Episode 7 Recap
Posted by jamie

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

The daughter of actress Blythe Danner and producer/director Bruce Paltrow, Gwyneth Paltrow has Hollywood roots. But the actress looked past her famous family to explore her ancestors' extraordinary stories during her episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Gwyneth began by researching her mother's side of the family at the New York Public Library. She finds an obituary for her great-grandmother Ida May Danner, which lists her parents as David and Isabel Stoute Yetter. Isabel's death certificate indicates her a full name is Rosamond Isabel Yetter, born in Barbados, West Indies, and she worked as a domestic servant.

Using this information, Gwyneth finds Isabel and her sister Martha on a passenger list for a commercial sailing ship traveling from Barbados to America. The pair are the only two passengers on this voyage, somehow managing to travel on cargo ship instead of a passenger ship. Isabel is age 18 when she immigrates to America.

Gwyneth then travels to Barbados to find out more about her great-great-grandmother Isabel. At the department of archives, she searches baptismal records, discovering Isabel's father was a merchant clerk — a respectable middle class occupation. She then searches a burial register, finding Isabel's mother and father were both dead by the time she was 13 years old. (For more on searching vital records, see our on-demand webinar.)

During Isabel's time in Barbados, females greatly outnumbered males, so marriage prospects were very limited. Job opportunities were also in short supply for unmarried white women because free black women in Barbados would work for lower wages. And without family ties except each other, Gwenyth concludes the sisters moved to the United States to see what opportunities awaited them there.

Gwyneth then researchers her paternal grandfather Arnold "Buster" Paltrow's family. Buster often spoke ill of his mother Ida Hymen Paltrow's parenting skills, and she seemingly exhibited signs of a severe depression. Gwyneth wanted to know more about Ida and what may have caused her depression.

Ida attended Hunter College, known as Normal College in 1897 when she studied there. The school was a teacher's college, the top profession for a New York woman. Ida was often absent, according to student registries, and she was discharged from the school in 1898. Death certificates for Ida's mother Rebecca Paltrow and Ida's brother Samuel Paltrow indicate Ida attended to them as they died months apart in 1897, explaining her absences from college.

Gwyneth continues her search at the New York City Municipal Archives. The 1920 census lists Ida's family with the surname Paltrowitz. Ida's oldest daughter Helen Paltrowitz, who was 1 in the 1910 census, is not found in the 1920 census. Gwyneth then searches death records, discovering Helen died at age 3 when she was run over by a wagon. Gwenyth concludes these tragedies contributed to Ida's depression.

Gwyneth then focus on one last ancestor, Ida's husband Meyer Paltrowitz. She discovers Meyer's grandfather was Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Pelterowicz, a master of Kabbalah, a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious creator and the mortal and finite universe. Books about Hirsch indicate he was regarded as an extremely holy man and a miracle worker. (For more on tracing Jewish roots, see our guide.)

"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?" | Research Tips | Vital Records
Saturday, 02 April 2011 10:51:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Friday, 01 April 2011
Ultimate Civil War Anniversary Collection
Posted by jamie

Each month we're releasing 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.

In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, the April ultimate collection is packed with must-have titles for anyone interested in Civil War family history. This multimedia bundle brings you our most invaluable tips, tricks and how-tos, as well as books on civil war artifacts, historical perspectives, and what life was like in that day and age. There are only 99 copies of this collection available through the end of April.

The Ultimate Civil War Anniversary Collection contains:
    •    Life in Civil War America
    •    Family Tree Magazine May 2011 digital issue (our special Civil War issue)
    •    Online Military Records: Document Your Family's Service webinar
    •    US Military Records Family Tree University independent study course
    •    Civil War Diary Quilt
    •    Family Tree Magazine 2011 Civil War Desk Calendar
    •    Warman's Civil War Collectibles
    •    The Everything Civil War Book

If all the items were purchased separately, the price would add up to $254.88, but we've bundled them together for $79.99. Save $174.89 by purchasing the Ultimate Civil War Anniversary Collection on

Military records | Sales
Friday, 01 April 2011 09:27:19 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Vote on Our April Cover!
Posted by Grace

We've got a special digital edition coming out today, April 1 -- and you can vote on which cover you like best! Click the image above to see it larger. And here's a sneak peek of the inside:

Click the image to see a larger version and read all the insider tips about the 1940 census. You can download a copy the 1940 Census cheat sheet to share here. (To help interpret some of the markings, you may want to watch this video.)

By the way, happy April Fools Day! :)

And here's some real census advice:

census records | Genealogy fun | Videos
Friday, 01 April 2011 09:05:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, 31 March 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 (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, 31 March 2011 13:58:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, 30 March 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, 30 March 2011 12:01:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 29 March 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 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 Sales
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 12:30:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]