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# Thursday, May 26, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: Postal Service Suspended in the South
Posted by Diane

The Civil War started 150 years ago in April, but the sesquicentennial actually stretches over the next four years. So we’re starting a series of blog posts to highlight various events in the war. Today's installment:

On May 26, 1861, US Postmaster-General Blair issued an order suspending postal service in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas as of May 31.

Mail for the shuttered offices was to be forwarded to the dead letter office, except in Western Virginia, where mail was to be sent to Wheeling.

To cope with increased mail during the Civil War, says author Michael O. Varhola in Life in Civil War America, the US Postal Service began dividing mail into first-class, second-class and third-class.

Congress also authorized the use of postage stamps as change after the US stopped issuing coinage. Due to hoarding, coins nearly disappeared from circulation. When the gummed stamps proved hard to use and unpopular, Congress approved glueless stamps called “postal currency.”


The book Life in Civil War America is available in print, as a digital download and as individual chapter downloads. Browse these items and our other Civil War resources at ShopFamilyTree.com


Civil War
Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:39:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Find Your New Jersey Ancestors
Posted by Diane

If you have New Jersey ancestors, you may have noticed that none of the New Jersey population schedules survive for the 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 US federal censuses.

Finding substitute sources is one of the research strategies you’ll learn in our next webinar, New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Garden State Ancestors, Wednesday, June 22, at 7 pm Eastern (6 Central/ 5 Mountain/ 4 Pacific).

Presenter Thomas MacEntee, New Jersey genealogy expert and founder of GeneaBloggers, gave me a sampling of other New Jersey research challenges the seminar will help you with:

  • Before New Jersey was a state or even a British colony, it was part of the New Sweden and New Netherlands colonies. That can make locating records a challenge, so the webinar will address early records for each of these colonies and where to find them.
  • Did you know that many New Jersey couples traveled to other states to get married? You’ll learn which states and counties were most popular and how to search for those marriage records.

Thomas also will tell you how to access New Jersey vital records and other resources, share the best websites for researching ancestors from the state, and more.

Register for the New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course now to get our early bird price of 20 percent off.


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:00:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Recap of VH1's Genealogy Show "50 Cent: The Origin of Me"
Posted by Diane

Last night, rapper 50 Cent traveled to his family’s South Carolina hometown to trace his roots for the VH1 Rock Doc “50 Cent: The Origin of Me.”

You can watch the show on VH1’s website. If you watch, there are some bleeps in a rap at the beginning, but the rest of the show is clean. And good.

In the show, 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson), who grew up in New York City, travels to Edgefield, SC, where his mom’s family came from. At a reunion, the family talks about what the segregated town was like in the 1950s.

50 visits Edgefield’s genealogical society. The librarian (who had to have been briefed ahead of time, but did such a good job of being nonchalant that I wondered) pulls the WWI draft card of 50's grandfather Will Jenkins from a "Jenkins File" (the society keeps surname files on local families). She also helps 50 use the census on microfilm to find Will’s father Peter, and Peter’s mother Jane.

In the 1870 census, Jane was living with a local prominent citizen, probably her former slaveowner. 

50 also visited the Old Edgefield Pottery museum, with vessels created by “Dave the Slave,” who incorporated sayings and dates into his work. The proprietor refers to Dave as the first rapper.

The show didn’t shy from a bit of confrontation: At Oakley Park Museum,  50 and a woman identified in a caption as being from the Daughters of the Confederacy discuss the symbolism of the Confederate flag.

She also tells him about the Red Shirts, a precursor to the Klu Klux Klan, and advises him to study history to learn about “Mongolian slaves” in South Carolina. Interesting. There’s some uncomfortable giggling when 50 gently challenges her about these slaves and how slaves were treated.

Later, at the Edgefield County Archives, the archivist shows 50 the slave inventory for Jane’s owner, R.G.M. Dunovant, son-in-law of prominent citizen Whitfield Brooks. The archivist finds a reference to Jane, daughter of Adrene, in Whitfield’s will. If that’s 50’s Jane, Adrene is his fourth-great-grandmother. 

The archivist introduces 50 to a woman who’s researching what she calls the brutal side of slavery. In contrast to the woman he met earlier, she acknowledges the treatment of local slaves and gives an example from a coroner's report detailing the death of a slave.

50 next meets a Dunovant descendant, who asks 50 about his career, compliments his song “In Da Club” (the one that says “Go shorty/It’s your birthday”) and gives him a piece of Edgefield pottery. 50 says it’s a turnaround from the days his family talked about, when black people always used the back door at whites’ homes.

You don't have to be a fan of rap or a member of VH1's typical demographic to like this show. 50 Cent has a tough image as a rapper, but you don't see that here. To me, the show feels a little younger and a little less refined than 'Who Do You Think You Are?" which makes it very approachable. You learn about both one person's genealogy and how it ties into what was happening locally and across the country.

For some behind-the-scenes insight, here’s a Vanity Fair article by David Kamp, the writer who did the genealogy research

Did you watch “50 Cent: The Origin of Me”? Let me know what you thought.


African-American roots | Celebrity Roots
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 3:26:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Customer Appreciation Sale: 15 Percent Off + Free US Shipping
Posted by Diane

May 24 is Customer Appreciation Day at ShopFamilyTree.com. Today only, enter code THANKU at checkout to receive 15 percent off and free standard shipping within the United States. 

Now would be a great time to register for next month’s New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course webinar or pick up the Family Tree Magazine 2010 CD

Are you also into gardening, woodworking, quilting, collecting, painting, writing, driving old cars or any number of other hobbies?

You can get the same deal today in our publishing company’s other online bookstores—GardenersHub.com, NorthLightShop.com, (that’s our artists’ store)  ShopWoodworking.com, Collect.com (books about antiques, stamps, coins, etc.) and more. Click here to see F+W Media's shops for your favorite hobby


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 9:12:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 23, 2011
June 9 Is Ask Archivists Day on Twitter
Posted by Diane

Got a burning question only an archivist could answer? Here’s a great opportunity to ask it: On Ask Archivists Day, a worldwide Twitter event taking place June 9, you can pose an archival question for archivists to address.

Start by following @AskArchivists on Twitter (you'll need a Twitter account, of course). Then on June 9, tweet your question and include the hashtag #AskArchivists. You can direct your question to any archivist who’s joining in, or to a specific participating archive—for example, including @USNatArchives in your tweet directs your question to the US National Archives.

Participating archives in the United States and Canada are listed here (the list is still growing). So far, they include the National Archives, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, North Carolina State Archives, Association des archivistes du Québec, Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, plus many college and university libraries.

Get more Ask Archivists Day details on the Ask Archivists blog, and of course, by following @AskArchivists on Twitter.


Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | NARA | Research Tips | Social Networking
Monday, May 23, 2011 11:14:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
President "O'Bama" Visits Irish Ancestors' Hometown
Posted by Diane

You've probably heard about President Obama’s big visit this week to Ireland, which will include a stop in Moneygall, County Offaly, where his third-great-grandfather was born in 1830.

Fulmoth Kearney (“Falmoth Cainey” on his passenger list), age 19, arrived in New York March 20, 1850.

This Irish Times article explains how the connection was made to Obama’s Irish roots through professional researchers in the United States and local church officials in Ireland. 

There’s even a song about the president’s ancestry: “There’s No One As Irish As Barack O’Bama” by Ireland’s Corrigan Brothers. 

The song is the soundtrack for a documentary called Barack Obama's Irish Roots,  which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. You can see a promo clip here

You can get Irish genealogy tips from the articles in Family Tree Magazine's Irish Research Toolkit or download our $4 Irish Genealogy Guide.



Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots | Videos
Monday, May 23, 2011 9:30:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, May 20, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, May 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • A new website called Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names will launch in September. The site will contain free, searchable information about enslaved Virginians named in manuscripts at the Virginia Historical Society. Read more about the project here
  • FindMyPast.co.uk has completed its two-year project to make the English and Welsh birth, marriage and death records on its site easier to use. This final installment of the project makes more than 85 million death records searchable at once, with as little as a surname. The site’s death records include England & Wales deaths, 1837-2006; British nationals who died overseas, 1818-2005; British nationals armed forces deaths, 1796-2005; and British nationals who died at sea, 1854-1890.

African-American roots | American Indian roots | Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 20, 2011 4:05:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Google Stops Digitizing Old Newspapers
Posted by Diane

Got some Google news for you  today: First, Google has announced it’s stopping its quest to digitize old newspapers and post them online in the Google News Archive—to the disappointment of genealogists searching the archive for their ancestors’ names. Also, small newspapers lose the Google option for preserving old issues.

Google will continue to support the existing News Archive, so you can still search it. But it won’t add any search enhancements.

This article from the Boston Phoenix has more on what Google’s doing instead

See other sites where you can search online newspapers in this free FamilyTreeMagazine.com article, and look for even more help using online newspaper databases in our November 2011 issue. (We’ve also got a Family Tree University course on newspaper research.) 

In other (happier) Google news, now you can get definitions for words in Google Books right then and there. Just select the word and a little pop-up menu gives you options to define it, translate it, or search for it in the book, Google or Wikipedia. You have to be in “Flowing Text” mode for this to work; click here for more details


Newspapers
Friday, May 20, 2011 3:47:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, May 19, 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, May 19, 2011 11:00:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 18, 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, May 18, 2011 8:58:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]