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# Thursday, September 22, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: Lincoln and Fremont
Posted by Diane

It’s high time I did another installment in our series that looks back at what was happening Civil War-wise exactly 150 years ago.

Sept. 22, 1861, President Lincoln wrote a letter to Illinois Sen. Orville Hickman Browning defending his response to an order of John C. Fremont, commander of the Army's Department of the West.

Fremont had declared martial law on Aug. 30 and freed slaves in Missouri. Lincoln wanted him to rescind that order because it didn't comply with the Confiscation Act Congress passed on Aug. 6. The Confiscation Act allowed the federal government to confiscate property used to aid the Confederate cause, including slaves. The act didn’t go so far as to free slaves, though; rather, it merely removed their owners’ claim to them.

Sept. 11, Lincoln modified Fremont's order to conform to the Confiscation Act.

He wrote to Browning that "Fremont’s proclamation, as to confiscation of property, and the liberation of slaves, is purely political, and not within the range of military law, or necessity."  

Civil War resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


Civil War | Social History
Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:52:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Genealogy Matters
Posted by Diane

Here's some reading material for your coffee break: A post today on the Scientific American blog called I’m a Johnson from Wisconsin, and It is Pretty Cool

Neuroscientist-turned-journalist and genealogy buff Madeleine Johnson wrote about how she used a circular family tree chart of her own creation as a starting point to her roots research, and is searching for the story of a great-grandmother who died in an institution.

“Genealogy, distant and recent, gives meaning to personal and shared historical experience,” she writes.

Also check out another post and article she mentions: Going Dutch: I’m one of the Van Dusens of New Amsterdam. So what? in which Matthew Van Dusen says his illustrious ancestry—described in a New York Times article about New Amsterdam’s early settlers—doesn’t increase his own personal importance.

I have to agree with him there, but I do think it's neat to be related to someone you might read about in a history book (I'm not, that I know of). Of course, it's also gratifying to discover and honor the stories of "ordinary" folks in your tree. What do you think?


saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:17:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, September 20, 2011
MyHeritage Acquires BackUpMyTree.com
Posted by Diane

Family network website MyHeritage.com has acquired BackupMyTree, the free backup service for family tree data that launched a year ago.

BackUpMyTree automatically finds family tree files on your computer and creates a remote backup. It’s compatible with major genealogy applications such as Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File and RootsMagic.

So far, BackUpMyTree is storing more than 9 terabytes of genealogists’ data. MyHeritage.com will continue to support the backup service and keep it free. This marks the growing site’s sixth acquisition to date.

BackUpMyTree creator Cliff Shaw (who also created the GenCircles website and the Family Tree Legacies program and records database, which MyHeritage purchased a few years back) will focus on another venture, genealogy search engine Mocavo.com


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:00:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 16, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, September 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch released more searchable records this week, including  more than 6 million Hungarian Catholic Church records, 4 million Mexican civil registrations, 1 million new Chinese genealogies (1500 to 1900), and Quebec notarial records (1800 to 1900). US additions come from California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Washington and the Virgin Islands, plus 1942 WWII draft registrations. See the full list and link to each database here.
  • Family tree site Geni introduced its $4.95-per-month Geni Plus service as a level between the free Basic and $12.95 Pro memberships. Genealogists’ frustrated feedback after changes to those memberships led to Geni Plus, intended for social genealogists who want to collaborate with other researchers. It's "designed to give these members more power to build their personal family trees while discovering some of the benefits of working with others on their family history," says CEO Noah Tutak. Features include unlimited relatives in your tree and GEDCOM exports for any profile you can view on Geni (up to 100,000 records). See Geni’s blog for more details
  • Subscription British records site Findmypast.co.uk added a million 20th century merchant navy seamen records—the first time they’re accessible online. They list crew members of UK merchant ships from 1918 to 1941 and include photos.
  • This from the New York History blog: If you’re planning to visit Ellis Island and see where many immigrants first entered America, you can download a $1.99 cell phone tour taking you through the immigrant experience. Read more here.

FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | International Genealogy | Museums | Social Networking | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 4:49:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Search the 1930 Mexican Census Free Online
Posted by Diane

Subscription site Ancestry.com has added the 1930 Mexico National Census (El Quinto Censo General de Población y Vivienda 1930, México) and made the records free to search in celebration of Mexican Independence Day Sept. 16.

With nearly 13 million records, this census counted an estimated 90 percent of the population. Note that citizens from the Federal District, which includes Mexico City, aren’t named.

In its announcement, Ancestry.com calls this the most comprehensive historical Mexican census available online. (FamilySearch.org, the source of Ancestry.com’s index and images, also has the 1930 Mexico census records available in its free historical records search.)

Nearly 30 million Americans—about 10 percent of the US population—can trace their families to Mexico. Other Ancestry.com collections they can use to research their roots are border crossings from Mexico to the United States (1895-1957) and parish records. The records are gathered in a Mexico collection landing page. (The 1930 Mexican census is free to search, but not all the other records in the collection are free.)

If you’re researching ancestors in Mexico, check out these resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 11:33:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, September 15, 2011
Blast From the Past
Posted by Diane

Wondering what hot topics your grandparents discussed with the neighbors, or what tunes your mom whistled as a teen? Want to flesh out your family's story with facts about everyday life? Enjoy reminiscing about days gone by?

Our book Remember That? A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Fun Facts, Headlines and Your Memories, by Allison Dolan and the editors of Family Tree Magazine, is an accounting of the whos, whats, whens and wheres of the 20th century:

  • In 1930, the average annual income was $1,612, milk cost 65 cents a gallon and a home cost $7,146.
  • In 1938, a devastating hurricane hit the Northeast coast.
  • Sales of women's trousers skyrocketed in 1942.
  • Perry Como crooned “Some Enchanted Evening” in 1949.
  • Special K cereal and Crest toothpaste hit shelves in 1955.
  • The FCC chairman called TV a “vast wasteland” in 1961. 

The facts keep coming for each year from 1930 all the way through 2010, categorized into top headlines, prices, government affairs, new products, pop culture phenomena, hit music, popular TV shows and more. It also has pages where you can record your own family milestones and favorites.

You also can download our free "My Life In ..." form from our website that lets you describe your own favorites—clothes, hair, music and more—from three big years in your life (you’ll need to enter your name and e-mail address to access the form). 

Click here to learn more about the book Remember That?.


Editor's Pick | Genealogy books | Social History
Thursday, September 15, 2011 9:38:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]