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# Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Quiz Yourself on the Royal Family
Posted by Diane

Are you related to royalty? Well, even if you're not, you can test your knowledge of the British royal family with a little quiz we put together in anticipation of Friday’s royal wedding between Prince William and Kate (officially, “Catherine”) Middleton.

Quiz yourself here.

Americans can watch the wedding, taking place at 11 am in London (6 am on the US East Coast), on several network and cable channels. Of course, coverage of pre-wedding events will start much earlier. Here’s a website to help you plan your tv viewing

I love to see a girl become a princess as much as the next person (maybe more), but sleep is precious in my house these days, so I’ll be snoozing away at 6 a.m. if the baby lets me.

Do you plan to watch? Are you related to any British royals? How'd you do on the quiz?

Later this week, I'll post some resources to help you discover your royal roots.

Update: Geni shared this royal family tree (complete with longest-lived royals and other fun facts) with us. Have a look!


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:40:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, April 25, 2011
Rapper to Trace Roots on VH1 Show
Posted by Diane

Rapper 50 Cent will trace his roots in a VH1 “Rock Docs” documentary called “The Origin of Me,” to air May 23 at 9 pm.

The show follows 50 Cent to South Carolina, where his family lived before migrating to New York City in the 1950s. He visits relatives, investigates his roots at the Edgefield County Archives and meets the descendants of slave owners.

From the press release: “50 also learns that in the years following the Civil War, his ancestors faced the infamous ‘Redshirts,’ the precursors to the KKK, giving him a new perspective on the violence he encountered as a young man in Queens.”

VH1 promises to show a different side of the hard-edged rapper, whose albums include Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and Before I Self-Destruct (2009).

Born Curtis James Jackson III in the South Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York City, he was 12 when his mother was murdered, he served prison time for drug-related charges and he survived being shot nine times at close range.

Read more about the show and 50 Cent on VH1’s blog.


African-American roots | Celebrity Roots
Monday, April 25, 2011 12:19:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, April 22, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, April 18-22
Posted by Diane

  • Searching for an ancestor’s marriage in England or Wales from 1837 to 2005? This is your week. To mark the occasion of Britain’s royal wedding, Ancestry.co.uk is offering free access to its English and Welsh marriage indexes through April 30. The records from 1837 through 1915 already were free, but this is a good chance to search for 20th-century marriages. You’ll need to set up a free registration with the site to access search results.
  • The Federation of Genealogical Societies is debuting an Internet radio show dedicated solely to genealogy societies. It’s called My Society, and it’ll air every Saturday from 2-3pm Eastern (1-2pm Central, 12-1pm Mountain, 11am-12pm Pacific) starting tomorrow, April 23. To listen, go to www.blogtalkradio.com/MySociety (under Upcoming Broadcasts, if you click the blue “more” link, you’ll see a phone number you can use to call into the show).
  • The Southern California Genealogical Society has created an interactive smart phone app for the Genealogy Jamboree conference, taking place June 10-12 in Burbank, Calif. The app lets you review lecture sessions and add them to your calendar, search for exhibitors on a trade show floor map, get news updates and more. Download it using the links provided in the conference blog

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, April 22, 2011 4:22:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Our Third Life in Civil War America Sweepstakes Winner
Posted by Diane

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! Our third winner is Barb Stevens,m who posted a comment to this blog:

My husband's ggg grandfather Conrad Tschummi—and his son, same name, served in a CT unit in the Civil War. The father made it home safely, but his son died of disease. I did research at our CT State Library and found they had the original handwritten records of the entire tour of duty listing injuries, deaths, pay, punishments for not following the rules—I could follow the entire tour by these original records. They are incredible and a find I never dreamed ever existed.

Due to the fragile condition of the large, rolled sheets of paper and the fact that they probably won't be safe to unroll many more times, I paid to have them copied by the library and now they are safely in a roll in a large mailing tube.

Anyone looking for Civil War documents, ask at the facility if they have any records kept off site like they do in CT. These were brought to me to read in an enclosed and guarded area and I actually had tears in my eyes as I read them.

To enter, like Family Tree Magazine on Facebook and share on our wall a few details about a Civil War ancestor, 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 blog 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. The winners will each receive a copy of the Life in Civil War America book.

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

Need more details? Read the official rules here


Civil War | Genealogy fun | Military records
Friday, April 22, 2011 2:57:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]