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<2011 May>

More Links

# Thursday, 19 May 2011
And the Winners Are ...
Posted by Diane

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of our “How I got interested in genealogy” contest with world family tree site Geni

The winner of the grand prize—a two-year Geni Pro account and a year of Famliy Tree Magazine—is Sadie Morgan of Rossville, Ga.

The second-prize winners, who’ll receive the Family Tree Magazine "Beginners Guide to Genealogy" digital download and a three-month Geni Pro Account, are:

  • Kim Cotton
  • Lori Pilla
  • Laura Ramsay

We're contacting the winners to deliver your prizes. Congratulations to them, and thank you to everyone who entered. We enjoyed reading about how you got into genealogy! (You can see the entries on the Facebook pages for Family Tree Magazine and Geni.)

Genealogy fun | Social Networking
Thursday, 19 May 2011 11:00:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 18 May 2011
This Just In: Genealogy Brick Walls Quake in Fear As New Family Tree University Session Is Set to Begin
Posted by Diane

Editor's Pick

(What can I say, I guess I'm in a bit of a melodramatic mood this morning!) Next Monday, May 23, begins a new session of Family Tree University and a new opportunity to find out what you need to know in order to bust through that big bad brick wall.

Courses run for four weeks with one lesson per week. That's except for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Google Master Class, which combines three courses over eight weeks; and Discover Your Family Tree, a two-week course especially for beginners.

Click each link for more about the class, including a syllabus, student feedback, and even preview videos for some. You can save 20 percent on registration by using offer code FTU0511.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 08:58:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 16 May 2011
Take Two and Call Us in the Morning ...
Posted by Diane

Welcome back to all the genealogists experiencing conference hangover this Monday morning! (The National Genealogical Society annual conference wrapped up over the weekend in Charleston, SC.)

We can’t wait for our own Allison Stacy to stagger skip back into the office to share all the conference happenings!

In the mean time, here's a photo from our booth in the exhibit hall:

On the left is Jennifer Woods from the Climbing My Family Tree blog, then Allison, and that’s Cheryl Cayemberg from the Have You Seen My Roots? blog on the right, with Jennifer’s daughter Ellie.

Both bloggers were voted to the 2011 Family Tree 40 in the New Blogs category. Check out their reports from the conference and Jennifer's stunning photographs. (And check out Ellie's NGS video report here.) Thanks to Jennifer for sending this photo, as well.

Scroll down to see our posts with NGS conference news. Did you go? How was it? Have you recovered from the travel, walking, talking, sightseeing and most of all, brain overload?

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Monday, 16 May 2011 10:12:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 13 May 2011
Genealogy News Corral: NGS Edition
Posted by Diane

Here’s a quick look at some of the news bits coming out of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2011 Family History Conference, which ends tomorrow in Charleston, SC. 
  • We’re hearing there's great attendance at this year’s conference, and that the first two days in the exhibit hall were crowded.
  • The 2012 NGS conference is May 9-12 in Cincinnati (also the hometown of Family Tree Magazine) and the 2013 conference will be in Las Vegas.
  • FamilySearch has set an annual goal to add 200 million record images to its free online records search. Its 2012 RootsTech conference will be Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.
  • Archivist of the United States David Ferrerio, speaking at the NGS opening session, said that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is digitizing the 1940 census in-house and it’ll be available—but not yet indexed by name—on on NARA's website April 2, 2012. It won’t be on any commercial websites on that date.
  • will begin indexing the census records as soon as they’re available and will post the indexed records online later in the year, the company announced at a conference reception.
Dick Eastman has posted his copious notes from the reception. Some things that caught my eye: the new genealogy Web Search, US Navy Ship Muster Rolls 1939-1949 (coming on Memorial Day), more US birth and death records, a faster record image viewer, a new Android app, and the ability to download data from your Ancestry tree to version 2012 Family Tree Maker software. | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | NARA
Friday, 13 May 2011 16:14:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0] Adds Web Search
Posted by Diane

Web Search, one of the concepts from’s Ancestry Labs site, is becoming part of the main search. (Here's our original post, from last fall, about Ancestry Labs and Web Search.) 

For Web Search, will index other genealogy web sites. When you do a search on, if there’s a relevant match in a record on a site that’s been indexed, that match will be included in your search results along with the historical records on Web Search will be a free service.

Here’s what a Web Search result looks like (image, arrows and callouts are's).

So you can tell which records in your search results are from and which are from another site, you’ll see an icon and the word “Web” in front of the name of the collection.

The Web Search results include the essential information from the other site (theoretically, enough to help you decide whether the record refers to your ancestor) and a link to visit the website.

“In the same way you should always check the image when you look at an index, make sure you go to the web site to see what other information is there,” advises in its announcement. “You will usually find additional information.”

You also can click to save the information to your tree.

You don’t have to subscribe or have a guest account with to use Web Search or get to the source website. But if you want to save the web record to your online tree, you’ll of course need at least a guest account. 

Webmasters who don’t want their genealogy websites indexed in Web Records will be able to contact and opt out.

See more details and a Q&A on’s Web Search info page

Many genealogists see Web Search as’s shot at a do-over of its Internet Biographical Collection, which was pulled down shortly after its introduction in August 2007 amid negative feedback over copyright and other concerns. More on that in this post | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 13 May 2011 12:37:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 12 May 2011
NGS Attendees: Free Six-Month Membership
Posted by Diane

You’ll soon start seeing more records on subscription genealogy site At the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference opening session yesterday, Archives product director Joe Godfrey announced the site will embark on an ambitious content acquisition and digitization plan, focusing in part on the digitization of material not yet online.

Anne Roach, who chaired FamilySearch’s 2011 RootsTech conference, will join Archives to lead the project.

"This will entail a long-term, multi-million dollar effort," product manager Julie Hill told me. "Users will begin to see these records coming online in the next couple of months."

If you're attending the NGS conference (going on now), you can sample the records already available on Archives by picking up a complimentary six-month membership card at the Archives booth (#229 and 231).

Archives also is making a special $1,000 grant award at the conference to an organization or individual working to preserve historical records and/or advance family history research. To apply, stop by the Archives booth for an application. Learn more on the NGS conference blog.

Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 12 May 2011 13:51:59 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Listen to Grandma's Music in the National Jukebox
Posted by Diane

Here’s another site that lets you walk in (well, dance in) your ancestors’ shoes—this one, by listening to the songs they loved.

The Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment created the National Jukebox website with 10,000-plus rare historic sound recordings produced in the United States from 1901 and 1925.

At the press conference unveiling the site, musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. performed “I’m Just Wild About Harry” (wish I could’ve been at that press conference!). You can listen to composer Eubie Blake’s version in the National Jukebox.

Search the recordings or browse by genre, artist, target audience (where you can click to the music of Germans, Swedes, Poles, Italians, Jews and other ethnic groups). Listen to recordings on a streaming-only basis. You also can access label images, record-catalog illustrations and artist bios, and create your own playlists.

"This collection includes popular music, dance music, opera, early jazz, famous speeches, poetry and humor. It is what our grandparents and great-grandparents listened to, danced to, sang along with," says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The site represents the largest collection of such historical recordings made publicly available online for study and appreciation. In its agreement with Sony, the Library of Congress gets usage rights to Sony Music’s entire pre-1925 catalog.

I enjoyed George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." What tunes are you listening to in the National Jukebox?

Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Social History
Thursday, 12 May 2011 12:24:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Find Ancestors in State Census Records With Our July Issue
Posted by Diane

Consider yourself lucky if your ancestors are from Illinois, Iowa, Florida, New York, South Dakota, or one of the other states that took state censuses.

These relatively underused resources can help you find ancestors between federal censuses, when federal census records are missing, or when your folks are missing from federal censuses.

Wouldn’t you know the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine, now on newsstands and on, has a guide to finding state censuses—both online and off. It comes with a handy cut-and-save chart of colonial, territorial and state censuses for every US state.

(I know July seems months away! This issue also covers June.) Other articles in this issue include:

  • Our research trip survival kit, which you’ll definitely want to take a look at if you’re hitting the road for genealogy this summer
  • Presentism and eight other pitfalls to avoid when reading and writing family and local histories. (Presentism, I learned from this article, is drawing conclusions about events and people of the past based on today's norms.) 
  • Our pull-out city research guides for Charleston, SC, and Detroit
  • Our guide to discovering your Croatian roots

… and lots more. The July 2011 Family Tree Magazine is available in print  or as a digital download

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 16:53:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Footnote Posts First War of 1812 Pension Files in Free Database
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site has published its first War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications in a free database. is digitizing millions of War of 1812 records and making them available free as part of a project with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (which in is in the process of raising $3.7 million dollars for the project) and the National Archives.

The first 1,400 record images—less than 1 percent of the estimated 7.2 million documents—are now available, and Footnote will add new records as they’re digitized.

The War of 1812 Pension Application Files can tell you

  • The veteran’s name, age, rank, and service information and dates
  • His widow’s name and maiden name (if she applied for the pension)
  • Soldier’s marriage date
  • Widow’s death date
  • Acres of land granted as a reward for service and the year of the Bureau of Land Management act under which the land was granted, and the warrant number (these details can help you find a bounty land warrant)
  • Applicant’s place of residence
  • Additional names, including those of the soldier’s surviving dependents

You’ll find a guide to researching the War of 1812 and other “lesser-known” US conflicts in the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine.

(Family Tree Magazine Plus members can access the article here.) 

Footnote | Free Databases | Military records
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 11:30:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch Adds South Carolina Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has announced new South Carolina genealogy resources to mark the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, going on now in Charleston, SC: 

Probate records can be helpful in researching African-American ancestors, because probate files of slave owners often contain inventories of their slaves.

The Civil War, which of course started 150 years ago at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, is the talk of this year’s NGS conference. Click here to see FamilySearch’s related announcement about its Civil War records

African-American roots | court records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 09:31:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]