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<2011 September>

More Links

# Thursday, 29 September 2011
Personal Historian 2 Software Released
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software company RootsMagic has released Personal Historian 2, a new version of its software for writing life stories of your relatives and yourself.

The software creates an interactive timeline to keep individual stories organized, give context to life events and let you write stories in any order you want. Then it compiles the stories into a book with table of contents, chapters, pictures, indexes and more. You can print the book at home, edit it in a word processing program, have it professionally published, and share it.

Features include:

  • step-by-step wizards
  • filtering and searching of stories
  • a library of LifeCapsules—timelines, historical events, fads and memory triggers covering a variety of subjects
  • importing of word processor documents, photographs and other data
  • importing of events, dates and notes from your genealogy software
  • more powerful publishing and output options

Many of these core features are in a free edition of the software called Personal Historian Essentials, which is fully compatible with the paid version. 

Through Oct. 31, Personal Historian 2 is available for an introductory price of $19.95. Thereafter, the price will be $29.95. Learn more on the Personal Historian website

Look for a review or Personal Historian 2 in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine.

Genealogy Software | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:57:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Family Tree Maker 2012 Released With Online Tree Syncing
Posted by Diane just announced the release of Family Tree Maker 2012, the latest version of its desktop genealogy software. (Note that Family Tree Magazine is not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software.)

Current Family Tree Maker users have been looking forward to the most-touted feature in the 2012 version: TreeSync, which lets users sync their trees in Family Tree Maker with their online trees at—including attached photos and historical records.

“Now with the combination of, the Ancestry mobile app and the new Family Tree Maker, users can work on their family tree anywhere, anytime,” says Eric Shoup,'s senior vice president of product.

Other improvements in Family Tree Maker 2012 include:

  • easier user interface

  • upgraded help content and video tutorials

  • improved content-generation and editing options to create “Smart Stories” about family history and family members

  • ability to combine families into one tree, bringing step families and adopted individuals into the main family tree

  • simple generation labels and text boxes to make family trees more interesting and informative

  • upgraded personalization capabilities in charts, letting users add their own images, adding narrative text and displaying explanatory generation labels

  • ability to generate an index report of every person in a tree with birth, marriage and death dates

  • ability to chart the line of descendancy between an ancestor and any descendant in the tree

Read more about the new version at the website

Family Tree Maker 2012 for PC starts at $39.99 and is available at, as well as retailers including Best Buy, Office Depot and The new software comes with a free membership or free trial to the historical record collections at, depending which package you purchase (you need internet access, of course, to access online features).

The next version of Family Tree Maker for Mac, when it’s released by the end of 2011, also will include the TreeSync capability.

Look for reviews of the new Family Tree Maker in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine. | Genealogy Software
Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:29:54 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Genealogy Records on
Posted by Diane

It might be time to revisit the free if you haven’t been by lately: Among the oodles of recent record updates are collections from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Estonia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Honduras, Poland, South Africa and Spain.

To see all the recently updated records, click the region of interest on the home page. Next, click the blue “Last Updated” heading on the right.


The list of record collections will be resorted to show recently updated collections at the top:

For example, some recently updated collections from the United States are:

  • Arkansas births, christenings, marriages and deaths
  • Georgia death index
  • North Carolina estate files
  • Idaho: Clark County records (marriage affidavits, naturalization records, declarations of intention, deeds, patents, brands and marks, mining records, probate records and estate files)
  • Illinois probate records
  • Indiana marriages
  • Ohio: Cuyahoga County probate files
  • Oregon: Columbia County records (land and property, marriage, and naturalization records and indexes)
  • Tennessee county marriages
  • Utah probate records
  • Washington state Army National Guard records
  • Washington state county records

US Civil War records are also gathered onto a Civil War landing page. These include Confederate pensions ad service records for various states, Union Provost Marshal Files, Union Navy Widows' Certificates and more. To see them all listed, go to the Civil War landing page and click the “More” link beneath the “Find your ancestors in the following collections” list. 

This Civil War page also links to bios on some famous faces from the era and links to how-to information. 

Remember that not all of the collections on FamilySearch have been indexed yet. The organization’s policy is to provide researchers with online access to record images as quickly as possible, and get volunteers working on the indexes in the mean time. 

When you see a “Browse Images” link for your collection of interest (such as the Quebec notarial records, above), you’ll need to have a good idea of when and where your ancestor was living when the record was created. Then you’ll go through the record images one by one, similar to scrolling microfilm.

Civil War | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Research Tips
Thursday, 29 September 2011 09:51:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Free September Podcast: Tips on PERSI, Old Books, Online Newspapers
Posted by Diane

The newest free Family Tree Magazine Podcast episode with host Lisa Louise Cooke is now available for listening on or through iTunes. 

Here’s what’s on tap for this edition:

  • tips for searching online newspaper collections
  • what PERSI is and why you should use it
  • finding historical books on the web
  • News From the Blogosphere

New to podcasts? Cooke explains here what podcasts are and how to use them

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Genealogy books | Newspapers | Podcasts | Research Tips
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 08:54:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Genealogy Number Crunching
Posted by Diane

Being an editor, I’m more about words than numbers. (I'll spare you stories of embarrassing math situations I've been involved in.) But hold onto your horses: Today I’m getting a little crazy and throwing out some numbers from our December issue—along with some genealogy resources in word form.

Subscribers will get the December 2011 Family Tree Magazine in their mailboxes over the next couple of weeks. Others can pre-order the digital issue from, or look for the print edition Oct. 11 on and on newsstands.
  • 2 million (and counting): The number of people profiles on WikiTree. Get a tutorial of the site in the December issue’s Toolkit. 
  • 1.7 million: The number of horses in the Confederate states around the start of the Civil War, compared to 3.4 million in the Northern states. But Southerners tended to have more experience on horseback, resulting in better cavalry units in the Confederacy, says Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell. In this issue’s Now What? column, he answers a reader’s question about ancestors who went out West during the war to capture horses for Union troops. 
  • 700-728: If your ancestor’s Social Security Number starts with a number in this range, you know he was eligible to receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board. You can request post-1936 records for $27. You’ll find more resources for researching railroad workers, miners, autoworkers and other blue-collar ancestors in this issue.
  • 4: This is the number of fun facts about breakfast in the History Matters column. Did you know doughnuts were considered snacks, not breakfast, until they were served to soldiers in World War II? We'll explain how the morning meal our ancestors enjoyed came to be.
  • 2: The number of family trees everyone has—a genealogical tree and a genetic tree. They’re not necessarily the same: Starting at about your third-great-grandparents, not all of your ancestors are represented in your DNA, says Blaine Bettinger in the December issue. But autosomal DNA testing, among the latest developments in genetic genealogy, can unlock much more of your ancestral DNA than traditional Y-DNA and mtDNA tests can. 
  • 1: The December 2011 issue has one index (on the last page) which covers all Family Tree Magazine articles in 2011. Can’t remember which issue had the guide to Family History Centers? Look here to find out it was in the January 2011 issue, page 16.

(Seeking indexes from past years of Family Tree Magazines? Download them as pdfs from our website.)  

Want to upgrade from newsstand buyer to subscriber? Visit to choose from several subscription options (Digital, or US, Canadian or international print).

Go here to become a VIP, which gets you a subscription and a Plus membership, a discount in the store and other perks. 

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 14:45:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 26 September 2011
Family History Month Daily Deal & Giveaway!
Posted by Diane

Believe it or not, it’s almost October, and you know what that means . . . Family History Month!

In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who wrote, "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family."

Family history enthusiasts continue to celebrate Family History Month every October.

Here at Family Tree Magazine, we’ll celebrate with a Daily Deal & Giveaway: We'll offer you a great deal on a genealogy book, CD or other item every day during Family History Month—and a lucky someone will win the daily deal.

More information to come! Stay tuned to this blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the Family History Month Daily Deal and Giveaway!

Family History Month | Genealogy fun | Sales
Monday, 26 September 2011 15:40:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 23 September 2011
Genealogy News Corral: September 19-23
Posted by Diane

  • JSTOR, a service providing digitized academic journals through libraries, is making articles published prior to 1923 in the United States and 1870 elsewhere free to anyone. This includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals, about 6 percent of JSTOR’s total content. This web page has more information. You can start searching here. To just see the free stuff, make sure the “Include only content I can access” box is checked.

My search on Civil War and Missouri, for example, resulted in matches including “Reminiscences of the Civil War” by Richard Taylor in the University of Iowa’s Jan./Feb. 1878 North American Review. (Thanks to Sharon DeBartolo Carmack for the heads-up about this service.)

  • New records on this week come from US states including California, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Oregon and Vermont, as well as Mexico, Canada, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. See the full list of additions and link to the collections here. Remember that not all of these collections are indexed, so you may need to browse. 
  • The New England Historic Genealogical Society is releasing the seventh and final volume of Robert Charles Anderson’s Great Migration Series: Immigrants to New England 1634—1635. (This latest volume includes all immigrants whose surnames start with T through Y.) It’s available now at The Great Migration series includes a total of 10 volumes; three for the years 1620 to 1633, and seven volumes for 1634 to 1635. You also can subscribe to the website to get online or quarterly newsletters.

FamilySearch | Free Databases | immigration records | NARA
Friday, 23 September 2011 11:25:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 22 September 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

Civil War | Social History
Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:52:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 21 September 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, 21 September 2011 17:17:37 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 20 September 2011
MyHeritage Acquires
Posted by Diane

Family network website 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. 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

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 10:00:55 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]