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# Tuesday, September 13, 2011
What Makes Your Family Special? Tell Us & You Could Win a Family History Publishing Package!
Posted by Diane

Looking into lasting ways to share your family’s story? How about a book?

You could win a family history publishing package in a contest from Family Tree Magazine and custom publisher Abbott Press (our fellow member of the F+W Media family). 

To enter, just e-mail us your name, phone number, and 500 words or less about why your family history should be chosen as the contest winner.

Did your ancestors embody the American dream? Were they important in shaping historic events? Is your family tree full of colorful characters? You tell us what sets your family apart.

Use the e-mail subject line "Family Tree-Abbott Press Publishing Contest" and send your entry by Sept. 30, 2011.

We'll pick one winner from the first 200 submissions. The grand-prize winner will receive a complete Premium publishing package from Abbott Press.

The first runner-up will win the Family Tree University independent study course Writing Your Family Memoir (on CD). A second runner-up with get a copy of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories by Sunny Jane Morton.

All entrants will receive a 25 percent discount off any Abbott Press publishing package.

Check out all the contest rules here


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:30:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
One to Watch: HistoryGeo.com
Posted by Diane

One exhibit generating buzz at the FGS conference last week was HistoryGeo.com, a web-based service from Arphax Publishing Co.

Arphax publishes books of land-ownership maps for US counties—500 to date. Now the company is building an online service that will let you search and view maps; create a map collection; create animated, personalized maps; and network with other members.

Subscribers will get access to 2,000 “big-picture” maps (state- or county-wide), then can search the library of about 40,000 “premium” maps (a number that will grow) by surname or place to add to their own map collection.

You’ll be able to create animations of family migrations and other geographic events; attach custom map markers, your own images and links to other web pages; and collaborate with other researchers. 

This is what the map viewer looks like:

It lets you zoom in and out, navigate to your ancestors' county, add markers, take snapshots of a place, search for maps related to places your ancestors moved, and view migrations. You can make your map markers private, public, or viewable by select others.

The HistoryGeo.com site suggests this application for the custom animated maps: “Watch an animation of both your mother's and father's families as they cross our country, with paths intersecting where you were born.” You could take this further back in time to “watch” when your great-grandparents’ lives intersected, getting research clues such as where to look for marriage or land records 

The service is still being set up, so a limited number of charter membership subscriptions are available ($42 for six months and 500 premium maps for your personal collection; $54 for six months and 1,000 premium maps). You also can register as a basic user to get a feel for the site. Once you register, click Launch Map Viewer to get started.


Genealogy Web Sites | Land records
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 11:53:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 09, 2011
What I Learned Today at the FGS Conference
Posted by Diane

Instead of the regular Friday Genealogy News Corral, I'm sharing some things I learned at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference today:
  • AncestorSync, the folks in the booth next to me, is a way to share genealogy data or sync desktop and online trees without downloading a GEDCOM and uploading it somewhere else (or manually adding the same ancestors in multiple places). So far, it works with Ancestral Quest, Legacy, Mac Family Tree, PAF, RootsMagic and The Master Genealogist desktop programs, and FamilySearch, Geni and OurFamilyology online tree sites, with more to come.
  • The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP) is having a Pennsylvania Family workshop with Ancestry.com Nov. 5. Twelve presentations include experts from Ancestry.com plus additional speakers including Lisa Alzo and Dear Myrtle.

GSP also is working on a new website, so keep an eye on GenPa.

  • 1,000 Memories is a website where you and relatives upload photos, audio and video, and written stories about ancestors—a way of sharing the photos that you inherited, and seeing the ones handed down through your cousin Edna’s branch.
  • Sort Your Story is software that helps you organize your data and digitized documents. You enter your data in the software’s profiler and use the software to organize documents. The profiler also helps you see what information you’re missing for each person in your tree.
  • JustaJoy.com is a service that links orphaned heirlooms with the families that originally owned them. The site works with antiques dealers who have items with family connections—currently, it lists items associated with 40,000 families. You can search the site to see what’s associated with your surname, but you need to join to view information about the listings.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history
Friday, September 09, 2011 9:06:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [14]
# Thursday, September 08, 2011
You Win Some!
Posted by Diane

The FGS conference exhibit hall stayed open late for door prize drawings. You had to be present to win—these are some of the hopefuls waiting to see if they won our 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine DVD.



Sharon Reif of Oak Brook, Ill., was the winner. She plans to put the DVD in her local historical society's library.



These two guys were hanging out across the aisle from our booth.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:25:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
FGS Conference Updates
Posted by Diane

It was a long, busy day at the FGS conference, but I do have a couple of updates to share:
  • FamilySearch’s Dennis Meldrum gave me a demo of the soon-to-be-launched new Family History Archives website.

The Family History Archives, now hosted on the Brigham Young university libraries site, lets you search the text of nearly 18,000 family and local history books. But the collection is outgrowing the BYU site, and a backlog of digitized books are waiting to be put online. 

The new site will launch in about a month and a half, says Meldrum, with around 45,000 books from the Family History Library and a half-dozen other libraries. You already can try out the new site in beta at FamilySearch Labs

The new search has one field where you enter a name, subject, author, keyword or any combination of these. You’ll download the entire book that matches your search results, then you can use a PDF viewer for finding your search terms within the book.

  • If you’re researching ancestors in Sweden, you’ll want to explore a site called Lantmäteriet.se. This free site from the Swedish land registration authority (comparable to the US Bureau of Land Management General Land Office) has digitized historical maps and property records, for a total of 3 million maps and 70 million pages of text from the years 1628 to 1927.

I got just a quick demo of this site, but it’s one you could spend a lot of time on. You search by county, municipality and place, and get back maps and records for that place. (The advanced search lets you add more parameters, such as dates.) You’ll need the free DjVu plugin to view the maps. You can click Buy to order a download of the map.

There’s an English version of the maps search, but I found I had to use Google translation tools to read the information about the collection


FamilySearch | Genealogy books | International Genealogy
Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:06:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, September 07, 2011
FamilySearch Adds to Civil War Records
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch.org added millions of new records this week of both Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War.

Those include veterans applications for military headstones, records of headstones for deceased Union veterans, Confederate POW records, registers of homes for disabled soldiers, service records and more.

Also newly added are notarial records from Canada, church records and civil registrations from Mexico, and a variety of records from England.

You’ll find a chart here listing the new collections and linking to the individual databases. Note that not all of the collections are searchable. Indexes haven’t been completed for some, such as U.S., Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861–1865. In that case, you’ll need to browse collections by date or place.


Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 10:04:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Penny Tour of the Lincoln Home
Posted by Diane

I’m in the Land of Lincoln: The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference is getting underway here in Springfield, Ill. After quickly setting up our booth (#804, if you’re here—come say hi!) and visiting with some friendly genealogy faces in the exhibit hall, I ran over to the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site to try to catch a tour before closing time.

We had a great tour guide, a National Park Service ranger who says his colleagues call him Ranger Santa in December (you'll see why a few pictures down).

Here’s the house Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln bought in 1844. They lived there until Lincoln was elected president, when they rented it out and moved to Washington, DC. Robert Lincoln, their only surviving son, kept the home as rental property and donated it to the state of Illinois in 1887.

Here’s the house as it looked in 1860, in a historic image on display at the visitors’ center.

This is the Lincoln’s doorbell.

The rear parlor is where a committee from the 1860 Republican convention formally notified Lincoln he’d been nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.

In the living room, Lincoln would sprawl out on the floor (most of the furniture was too small for him) with his kids and the family dog, Fido.

Upstairs in Lincoln’s bedroom, Santa Ranger pointed out how high the 6”4’ Lincoln’s shaving mirror was hung.

The stove in the kitchen at the back of the house is the one Mary Todd Lincoln used. Our guide pointed out some of the log cabins Lincoln lived in as a boy were no bigger than this kitchen.

The last Abraham Lincoln descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985. He was the grandchild of Robert Lincoln, the only son to survive into his 20s.Think you're related to the Lincolns?

Get a quick look the Lincoln family tree hereYou can see more detail on Abe Lincoln's ancestors here. Click the links for first generation (Abraham Lincoln), second generation (his parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln), etc.

These websites will help you research potential presidential roots.

Here’s a fun fact our guide shared: Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a middle name. Find other First Family facts here.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Social History
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 9:28:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 02, 2011
Google Advice Galore for Genealogists
Posted by Diane



You got a taste of how to use Google to ramp up your genealogy search in our free Ask the Google Guru webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems (if you missed the free webinar, or you want to see it again, you can access it here).

There’s a lot more advice where that came from in the limited-edition Ultimate Google for Genealogists Collection. These resources, all from Lisa, show you strategies for searching smarter and saving time by using Google tools.

Only 200 collections are available, and we think they could sell out by early next week. (Hence this special second-in-a-week Editor’s Pick.)

Here’s what’s in it:

  • The Genealogist's Google Toolbox book, signed by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Google Earth for Genealogy DVD, volumes I and II
  • Google Tools for Genealogists Family Tree University Independent Study Course download
  • Search Engine Tips & Tricks: Google Techniques to Boost Your Research Webinar

The Ultimate Google for Genealogists Collection is specially priced at $79.99, a 56 percent discount. Get more details about each of these items here.


Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, September 02, 2011 2:02:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]
Genealogy News Corral, August 29-September 2
Posted by Diane

  • The Family History Library (FHL) is starting to roll out online microfilm ordering in the United States and Canada, meaning you soon won’t have to visit a FamilySearch Center to order microfilmed records (you’ll still need to go in person to view them, of course). First, you’ll find the film you need in the FHL online catalog, then you'll order it here. California, the Pacific Northwest and other points West were first to get online ordering, with the rest of us still to be added in phases.
  • UK subscription genealogy site FindMyPast.co.uk is adding a million 20th-century merchant navy seamen records (Britain’s Merchant Navy Day, is Saturday, Sept. 3). The records name crew members of UK merchant ships from 1918 to 1941, offer physical descriptions and include photos.
  • As an update to our November 2011 online newspapers article, which highlighted the subscription website Paper of Record in addition to other online sources, Rick Crume gave me a heads up about some improvements to the site: First, highlighting of your search terms has been restored on the digitized newspaper pages in your search results. Second, you now have the option to search a broader date range than five years within a single title.

FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 02, 2011 10:34:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Thursday, September 01, 2011
Archives.com to Add Entire US Census
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site Archives.com will add indexes and images for the entire US federal census, probably the most-used US genealogical record, in what Archives.com CEO Matthew Monahan calls a “game-changer” for genealogists.

As part of the effort, Archives.com reached an agreement with FamilySearch—the source of the census records—to dedicate a minimum of $5 million to digitizing genealogy records that are not currently online.

The indexes for all censuses are available now, as are images for the 1850, 1870 and 1900 censuses, for a total of more than 500 million names and 3 million images. The rest of the images will be added over the next weeks and months, says spokesperson Julie Hill. Learn more about the site's census collection on its census resource page.

The census search screen looks like this:

You can see it's more streamlined with fewer options than Ancestry.com's census search. You'll also receive fewer results—a search of all census years for the last name Haddad (not exact) living anywhere in the United States, born in Ohio between 1907 and 1911, netted me 30 matches on Archives.com and 63 on Ancestry.com. This might be good or bad for your research—it can be overwhelming to search through a flood of matches, but you also might lose some searching flexibility.

Here's a page of Archives.com search results:

When you click on a match, you first see this page displaying all the indexed fields:

Archives also is introducing a new, Flash-based image viewer that lets users zoom in, adjust contrast, invert colors and more (a basic image viewer will be an option for computers without Flash):

We’re thinking this is what Archives.com product director Joe Godfrey was referring to in May, when he opened the National Genealogical Society conference by announcing the site would “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, joined Archives to lead the project.

The addition of the census will bring Archives.com, which launched in July 2009, into more-direct competition with industry leader Ancestry.com. Until Archives.com adds the rest of the census images, Ancestry.com is the only site providing access to all extant US census records and document images.

Archives.com will keep its subscription price at $39.95 "for the time being," says Hill. "That’s one-eighth the price of an Ancestry.com World membership. If you compare the subscriptions on a line-by-line basis, its remarkable how many high-value collections are available for one-eighth the price.”


Ancestry.com | census records | Archives.com
Thursday, September 01, 2011 1:26:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]