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<2011 November>

More Links

# Monday, 07 November 2011
Why We Don’t Do Office Tours
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine (and our fellow F+W Media hobby publications) moved into new digs over the weekend. Here's my little home away from home:

Exciting, right?

Wait, there's more:

This is my US presidents poster and red heart button says “I Love Genealogy.”

Here's our library's future home:

And some of my neighbors:

We're all getting settled in, trying to find the best chairs before someone else claims them, and getting ready for meetings with our remote employees who are in town. Happy Monday!

Monday, 07 November 2011 15:36:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 04 November 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 31-Nov. 4
Posted by Diane

  • The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has a new website that's easier to use and enriched with expanded content. Additions to the eLibrary (accessible to members) include more than 500 NYG&B member biographies from the early 20th century, book two of the 1855 New York state census for Manhattan's Ward 17, 32 digitized books and more. Information also accessible t nonmembers includes research guides, News You Can Use with new resources for New York research and a Genealogical Exchange query board.
  • Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., an important Union fort in the Civil War, has been designated a National Monument. It was nicknamed "Freedom's Fortress" for Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s 1861 declaration that escaped slaves who reached Union lines would be deemed contraband of war and not returned to their masters. More than 10,000 enslaved men and women made the journey there by war's end. Learn about Fort Monroe during the Civil War here.

Civil War | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | NARA
Friday, 04 November 2011 14:59:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Interview a Friend or Relative on the National Day of Listening
Posted by Diane

African-American genealogy website LowCountry Africana is an official partner with StoryCorps in celebrating the National Day of Listening on Nov. 25.

This will be the fourth annual National Day of Listening. Americans are encouraged to observe it by spending an hour on the day after Thanksgiving interviewing a friend, loved one or community member about their lives.

Lowcountry Africana will participate by recording interviews with residents in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. These areas are home to many descendants of enslaved Africans of the Gullah-Geechee culture. The slaves' rice-growing skills were vital to the massive rice plantations of the Colonial and Antebellum Lowcountry.

Visit Lowcountry Africana's National Day of Listening web pages, with suggestions for how to participate and instructional videos.

StoryCorps, an organization that provides people of all backgrounds with opportunities to preserve thier life stories, has a free online Do-It-Yourself interview guide.

You'll also find guidance for participating in the National Day of Listening in these free articles:

More resources from

African-American roots | Oral History | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 04 November 2011 09:26:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 03 November 2011
Search 30,000 Names From Holocaust Musuem Records—Free
Posted by Diane

Material from four museum collections containing information on more than 30,000 victims of Nazi persecution is now searchable online for free at

The database is the first searchable collection resulting from the World Memory Project, a partnership of and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The records contain information on thousands of individuals including displaced Jewish orphans; Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp and camps in occupied Poland; and French victims of Nazi persecution.

World Memory Project contributors use software from to index museum records. The indexes are free to search on The museum retains the original records and provides free copies of them upon request. To date, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed almost 650,000 records. | Free Databases | Jewish roots | Museums
Thursday, 03 November 2011 09:06:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection: Save & Share Family History
Posted by Diane

This month’s limited-edition Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection will help you share your heritage with loved ones. You’ll get books for recording family information and stories, plus ideas for creating heirlooms and family history gifts. 

It includes

The $79.99 price saves you 62 percent on the whole shebang. Only 95 (and counting) of the Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collections are left—now’s the time to get started on your family history holiday projects!

Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history | Sales
Thursday, 03 November 2011 08:33:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 02 November 2011
SSA to Remove "Protected" Death Records From Death Master File
Posted by Diane

The Social Security Administration is making changes to the public Death Master File—the source of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) that genealogists know and love to use—that’ll impact your research.

Effective today, Nov. 1, the Death Master File will no longer contain “protected” records the SSA receives from states. According to a notice from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which disseminates the Death Master File, “Section 205(r) of the Act prohibits SSA from disclosing state death records SSA receives through its contracts with the states, except in limited circumstances.”

4.2 million of the 89 million deaths in the Death Master File will be removed, and approximately 1 million fewer deaths will be added each year.

I’m working on getting clarification on when and where the removed deaths occurred, and whether genealogy websites will have to remove those deaths from their current versions of the SSDI.

Update: The records now in's version of the SSDI will stay, says spokesperson Matthew Deighton. "The current records that we have on will remain unaffected," he says. "We understand that we may receive fewer records from the Social Security Administration, but it is not clear which record sets will be impacted at this point. We recognize the importance of these databases to the family history community and will do our best to minimize the impact of this to our users. will continue to monitor this situation."

The changes are bad news for the genealogists who use the SSDI. Banks, employers and others who use the public Death Master File for security reasons—for example, to see whether an applicant is using a dead person’s SSN—will also undoubtedly be unhappy. (So, the Death Master File actually helps prevent identity theft.) Medical researchers use the database to track former patients and study subjects, too.

Here’s the full notice from the NTIS (it's in a PDF linked on this page):

We receive Death Master File (DMF) data from the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA receives death reports from various sources, including family members, funeral homes, hospitals, and financial institutions.

Q: What change is SSA making to the Public DMF?
A: Effective November 1, 2011, the DMF data that we receive from SSA will no longer contain protected state death records. Section 205(r) of the Act prohibits SSA from disclosing state death records SSA receives through its contracts with the states, except in limited circumstances. (Section 205r link -

Q: How will this change affect the size of the Public DMF?
A: The historical Public DMF contains 89 million records. SSA will remove approximately 4.2 million records from this file and add about 1 million fewer records annually.

REMINDER: DMF users should always investigate and verify the death listed before taking any adverse action against any individual.

Vital Records
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 09:32:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Tuesday, 01 November 2011
Free Webinar: Have an Organized Holiday Season
Posted by Diane

Halloween’s over, which means we’re in the holiday season. My blood pressure just went up a little.

Trying to take care of your gift list, keep family traditions going, get things done at work around vacation schedules, and squeeze in genealogy time can make the holidays one of the most hectic times of the year.

But they don’t have to be. Our colleagues over at Betterway Home are hosting a free webinar to help you cut the chaos, stress and clutter from your holiday season.

The free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar is presented by professional organizers Jennifer Ford Berry, author of Organize Now! and Organize Now! Your Money, Business & Career, and Susan Fay West, author of Organize For a Fresh Start.

It takes place Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific).

Sign up and receive:

  • Tips for how to organize decorations, gifts and more
  • Advice to help you manage and enjoy your holiday schedule
  • Help identifying your priorities so you value everything you do
  • Participation in the live Q&A session—get detailed answers to your specific questions
  • Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • Plus a coupon for 20 percent off the presenters’ new books

This year, get organized before you get overwhelmed. Click here to register for the free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar.

saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 15:07:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 31 October 2011
Final Daily Deal & Giveaway: 50% Off Digital Downloads at!
Posted by Diane

Our celebration of Family History Month is coming to a close, and with it all those Daily Deals and Giveaways.

But not before we announce the winner of today’s big grand prize giveaway—a $200 shopping spree at

And the lucky winner is ... Reba Shafer!

There's still one more deal to be had: The Daily Deal for today, Oct. 31, is 50 percent off all digital downloads at

That's a lot of genealogy expertise you can get for a great price. Articles such as:

Family History Month | Sales
Monday, 31 October 2011 15:34:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ghost Towns Haunting Your Family History?
Posted by Diane

Though we think of them as Western phenomena, ghost towns are in every US state. You might’ve heard of Bodie, Calif.; Goldfield, Nev.; Medicine Mound, Texas and Oatman, Ariz.; but what about Moonville, Ohio; Chaska, Tenn., and Skinnersville, Mass.?

Ghost towns happened when the industry that sustained the population died (as with many mining and logging towns in the Old West), when the railroad or highway bypassed a town, or when a public construction project (such as a dam) or a natural disaster wiped it out.

A ghost town might still be marked by abandoned buildings and/or maintained as a tourist attraction, or there may be no visible sign the town ever existed. Did your ancestor live in a ghost town? Here are some online resources to help you learn more about it.

Genealogy Web Sites | Social History
Monday, 31 October 2011 10:48:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Sunday, 30 October 2011
Grand Prize Time!
Posted by Allison

As October draws to a close so will our Family History Month Daily Deal and Giveaway. It's all been leading up to the drawing for our grand prize: a $200 shopping spree!

Sign up now on our Daily Deal & Giveaway page. (Note: Even if you signed up for a previous giveaway, enter again to put yourself in the running for this one.) We'll select one lucky winner at random at 4 pm ET 10/31.

And you won't want to miss the last Daily Deal: Digital downloads are 50% off all day Monday. Enter code DD1031 at checkout to get the discount.

It's a great opportunity to stock up on the recorded webinars and article downloads you've had your eye on—and if you win the grand prize, you can load up on goodies such as books and software.

Come back Monday afternoon to see who wins the grand prize!

Family History Month | Sales
Sunday, 30 October 2011 15:31:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]