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# Thursday, April 21, 2011
Color Your Family Tree Green
Posted by Diane

Our ancestors reduced, reused and recycled more than we do. Think of the stereotypical grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression with the phrase "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without:" She might save slivers of soap, darn socks and collect rainwater for the garden.

During World War II, our ancestors had to get by on less gasoline, butter, sugar, meat and other rationed items. They grew Victory Gardens and saved kitchen scraps, rubber tires and garden hoses, and aluminum cans to be recycled into bombs and tanks. 

Modern life presents us with different opportunities to be green. Here are a few ways you can incorporate environmentally friendly measures into your genealogy research:

  • Does your Family History Center have a microfilm reader that lets you load record images onto portable media? Bring a flash drive or CD when you go to check film, and save the paper.
  • Avoid printing out e-mails, websites and online newsletters if you can help it. Or you can print on both sides of your paper (but check your printer manual first—some manufacturers caution against printing on the back of paper that’s already been run through the printer).
  • Your computer and other electronics that stay plugged in draw energy even when turned off. Plug them into a power strip and switch it off when you’re not using the devices. (Read more about “phantom loads” here.) 
  • Going to a conference? Opt for a syllabus on CD, if available.
  • If you use a digital camera, don't print all your pictures—just the ones you’d like to put in an album or display. (Make sure you back up all those digital pictures, though.)
  • Get together with genealogy pals and carpool to the library, the cemetery and society meetings. Make lists of everything you want to get done so you don’t have to take another trip.
  • Instead of buying bottled water, bring a water bottle on your research trips.

  • E-mail your family newsletters and reunion invitations, rather than printing and mailing them.
We'd love to hear about the ways you're making your genealogy research greener. Happy Earth Day!

Research Tips
Thursday, April 21, 2011 3:38:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Get Your Family Tree Magazine Digital Subscription!
Posted by Diane

I take reusable shopping bags with me to the grocery store. If I forget them, the plastic bags live a second life as garbage can liners or doggy pick-up bags.

I try to be Earth-friendly in my own life, so this Earth Day, I was glad when I found out Family Tree Magazine is helping you do the same by offering digital subscriptions.

We’ll send you an e-mail when each issue is ready, then you can download it to view as a PDF in Adobe Reader. It works for PC and Mac systems. Added bonus: The e-mail goes out when we start mailing subscriber print copies, so you’ll be among the first to see each issue.

Use these links to get started:

You’ll also have the digital subscription option when you renew online.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:31:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Family History Game Launches on Facebook
Posted by Diane

Move over, Farmville. A genealogy-themed game is now available for play by the general Facebook population.

Family Village lets you create a pedigree chart (or input data from the FamilyLink Facebook app) and “immigrate” ancestors from the chart into your Family Village. You can outfit them in historical attire, assign them jobs, and build out the village with houses, landscaping and more (including heritage-related items like international flags and the Eiffel Tower).

The game also searches several websites for free genealogy records related to the information in your pedigree chart, and let you import those records into a family library. You can invite Facebook friends into your village to check out the library.

Partnerships with additional providers of genealogy records and other content are in the works, says Jeff Wells, CEO of Family Village developer Funium. He cautions, though, that the game is “not a research tool.”

You can play Family Village for free, with the option to spend actual cash (in the form of “game dollars”) on some of your ancestors’ purchases. For example, every ancestor gets a newspaper printed on the day he or she was born. You’ll view the headlines, and you can buy a copy of the whole thing.

The game adheres to Facebook privacy standards, wells says, with privacy settings you can adjust.

Wells got the idea for Family Village when his family didn’t share his excitement over his genealogical finds. “We wanted to do something that would end up being a segue way for people who don’t have the interest to get involved in family history,” he says.

According to Wells, 300 million people play social games each month, and 3 to 4 percent of those players spend money on the games. He’s hoping genealogists’ spouses and teenagers will get interested in Family Village and learn more about their heritage.

Will you play Family Village? Do you think it'll appeal to those already into genealogy, or will other people get hooked on it, too?


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Industry | Social Networking
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:45:08 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [10]
Mocavo.com Grows By Thousands of Sites
Posted by Diane

The free genealogy search engine Mocavo.com announced today its added thousands of new sites to its index. That includes more than 3,000 genealogy blogs and other sites submitted by users since Mocavo.com launched a month ago, such as DearMyrtle.com, the Australian Cemeteries Index and TheShipsList

Mocavo.com crawls websites similar to the way Google does, except it focuses on free genealogy content—making it easier for you to find relevant family history information on the web. You can read genealogy-technology blogger Dick Eastman’s enthusiastic comments about Mocavo.com here

Click here if you’d like to suggest a site to Mocavo’s developers, who plan to update the site more frequently. 

Get Family Tree Magazine Web Guides, Family Tree University courses and other online genealogy helps from ShopFamilyTree.com.


Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:33:36 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, April 18, 2011
Using Indexed Records on FamilySearch.org (and a Question for You)
Posted by Diane

Here’s that post I promised on tracking down my grandfather in Texas church records using indexed information in FamilySearch.org

I kept up with my Google blog reader (sometimes at 3 a.m.) while on maternity leave, so I noticed the regular record updates at FamilySearch.org. That’s how I got a surprise hit on my grandfather while casually searching collections from states my ancestors lived in.

The match, from the collection Texas Births and Christenings, 1840-1981,  has indexed information (so, no image of the record itself) from a church baptismal register in Gonzales, Texas:

The information was close to a baptismal certificate I already had from our family papers. In 1960, my grandma wrote the church where my grandfather was baptized to request the baptismal record. Apparently she needed it so my grandfather, who didn’t have a birth certificate, could participate in his company pension program. Here’s what the priest sent her:

I was never 100 percent confident in the birth information on this certificate, since it was created when he was almost 60 and my research gives two birthdates and places for my grandfather. So I was excited when I saw on FamilySearch.org the microfilm number for the original baptismal register (circled in red above).

I ran a Family History Library online catalog search for the film number and found this catalog record: 

It's hard to read here, but the baptismal register is from Sacred Heart Church, formerly called St. Joseph, in Gonzales, Texas, part of Archdiocese of San Antonio. (Note the 1960 baptismal certificate says St. James Church at the top.)

I printed this catalog page and took it to the FamilySearch Center to rent microfilm no. 25152. 

When the film came in, I quickly found my grandfather’s record (thanks to the page number provided in my FamilySearch.org search result). Here’s the first page, with my grandfather at the bottom:

My great-grandfather Mike Haddad appears in a few records as "Fadlo" (probably short for his pre-immigration name)—I believe that's why he's recorded as "Daddlod" here. 

And the second page, with columns for the sponsors, the minister who performed the ceremony, details on the person's Confirmation (another Catholic sacrament, usually received around age 13), and “remarks.”

See the note on the far right in the Remarks column? That reports my grandfather’s marriage t0 my grandma in 1942 in Cincinnati.

The handwriting was uniform throughout the entire book. From the title and publisher pages, 

it looks like this was a blank register book printed in 1944, which someone later filled in with information from diocesan church records going back to 1883.

My guess is that the (?) in the sponsor column next to Saida’s name—a symbol also appearing by several other names on the page—means the person who copied the original records into this book couldn’t quite make out the handwriting.

In 1960, when my grandma sent her request to St. Joseph, she must've provided her marriage information. Then the priest who answered her letter would’ve looked at this book in order to fill out the baptismal certificate, and added the marriage details to the notes column. 

So this still isn't the actual record that was created in 1902 when my grandfather was baptized, but I have more confidence in that 1960 baptismal certificate (and the birth date it provides) now that I've seen where that information came from.

One question: Why does the baptism certificate sent to my grandma in 1960 say "St. James" at the top, when the church register is from St. Joseph (later changed to Sacred Heart)? Perhaps the diocese routed all records requests like my grandma's to St. James? What do you think?


Church records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Research Tips
Monday, April 18, 2011 11:23:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Friday, April 15, 2011
Our Second Life in Civil War America Sweepstakes Winner
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! Here's our second winner:



To enter, 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 (like this one).

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 receive a copy of 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
Friday, April 15, 2011 11:15:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [10]
Genealogy News Corral, April 11-15
Posted by Diane

From April 10 to 24, digital content provider Gale is celebrating National Library Week by providing free access to several resources. Those include the NewsVault (more than 10 million pages from historical newspapers and periodicals) and Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive (antebellum newspaper articles and books focused on slavery). Usually, you must use Gale databases via libraries that subscribe to them, but you can search the databases directly during this free access period

It’s DNA Day! Today only (Friday, April 15), genetic genealogy company FamilyTreeDNA is offering a promotional code you can use to get a discount on several types of DNA tests. See FamilyTreeDNA’s Facebook page for details.

Family Tree University professor Tim Pinnick sent us a note that he’s moderating the new African-American-American Newspapers forum on the Afrigeneas website. Stop by to ask questions and share your finds from Black newspapers

FamilySearch announced this week that it’s released 500,000 new US county marriage records, as well as records from Costa Rica, England, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Spain, in the Historical Records Search. Click here to see the list of the updated collections. (Look for our guide to the new FamilySearch.org website in the September 2011 Family Tree Magazine.)

Subscription genealogy site Archives just announced the addition of 3.5 million new US vital records to the website, including the obituary index from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Ohio (also searchable here). Other updated collections come from Texas, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina, Arizona, South Carolina and Colorado.

iArchives, the records digitization arm of subscription site Footnote, announced plans to collaborate with the Federation of Genealogical Societies to digitize 180,000 War of 1812 pension applications. They’ll eventually be available on Footnote. Read more details on the FGS Voice blog.


FamilySearch | Footnote | Free Databases | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | Military records | Newspapers
Friday, April 15, 2011 9:52:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 14, 2011
Get Help Researching Military Ancestors
Posted by Diane


Does tracing your ancestors' military service seem like an uphill battle?

For most wars after the American Revolution and the birth of the federal government, you’ll consult the National Archives and Records Administration, which has compiled service records, pension files and other federal records (some are on microfilm and/or digitized, some are still only in paper form).

To see a list of what military records NARA has on microfilm, go to its Order Online system, click Microfilm at the top of the page (ignore the log in fields unless you actually submit an order), click Advanced Search, select Military Service Records from the Subject Catalog pull-down menu, and click Search.

If you see a microfilm you’d like to search, you can look for copies of the film at the Family History Library (and borrow the film through a local FamilySearch Center) or see if the film is digitized on the free FamilySearch.org, or on a subscription website such as Ancestry.com or Footnote.

If an ancestor fought in a Colonial war—that is, any war taking place before the American Revolution—you’re more likely to locate state militia pay lists, muster rolls and military hospital records in state archives and military historical societies covering the war or the place where your ancestor enlisted. It’ll be easier to find records if you can learn which regiment or company your ancestor was part of.

This is a little taste of the advice is from our new Military Research Guide CD, which has Family Tree Magazine’s best in-depth guidance and tools for researching ancestors who served in the US armed forces. 

Click here for more details about the research topics and worksheets covered in this keyword-searchable, Windows- and Macintosh-compatible CD. It’s available now at ShopFamilyTree.com


Editor's Pick | Military records | Research Tips
Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:25:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Civil War Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

The American Civil War began 150 years ago this week. But you already knew that. What you maybe didn't know is that the National Park Service has a Civil War Sesquicentennial Home Page with a play-by-play of that first Battle of Fort Sumter, as well as contemporary news reports.

As part of our Life in Civil War America sweepstakes, we’ve heard from many of you who’ve taken advantage of newly available Civil War records such as those from Ancestry.com and the National Archives (free on Ancestry.com through April 14; you also can check out Footnote’s Civil War records free through April 14) to start learning about your Civil War ancestors.

Interested in taking your research further? Here are some resources that may help:

  • The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: More than 6 million names of soldiers (those who served in more than one regiment have multiple listings) from the Union and Confederacy, as well as African-American sailors. You can learn basic service details, find regimental histories and listings of soldiers by regiment, view battle summaries and see records from Andersonville and Fort McHenry prisons. 
  • Civil War Women: Diaries, letters and other primary sources from Duke University 
  • Civil War Sesquicentennial Tools: Links to online tools and podcasts (such as Longwood University’s weekly review of key Civil War events taking place exactly 150 years ago) that help you research your family’s Civil War history.  
  • Civil War Genealogy Toolkit: Link to state archives’ online Civil War records, Civil War history sites, how-to articles, Civil War history organizations and more. 
  • Military Research Guide: Our free guide will show you how to research your Civil War and other military ancestors. 

Other Family Tree Magazine Civil War research helps include:


Military records
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 3:02:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Hello Again!
Posted by Diane

It’s been awhile. My first couple of days back at Family Tree Magazine HQ after the past few months just taking care of this little guy

(look at those chubby little cheeks!) have been a whirlwind of figuring out where our projects are and what’s going on in the genealogy world.

Here’s what my lovely coworkers had waiting for me on my first day back: 

I’ve eaten, slept and breathed family history for the past seven and a half years on staff at Family Tree Magazine. That’s in my job description.

But while I was on maternity leave, my genealogy life was a lot more like yours: Reading news blogs and searching online databases when I had a few minutes, finding someone to watch the baby while I squeezed in trips to the FamilySearch Center (baby Leo even accompanied me on a short microfilm-requesting stop). I'd watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" on Hulu in the middle of the night while I was up with the baby.

I’ll do another post about what I discovered on that FamilySearch microfilm. But I definitely feel more one with you!

I hope you can offer some advice: How do you fit genealogy into your everyday life? When do you squeeze in your online and library research? Thanks!



Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:04:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [13]