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<2011 November>

More Links

# Wednesday, 16 November 2011 Tests New Record Viewer
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site is beta testing a new record image viewer. Here's what it looks like (this record is my great-grandparents' 1900 passenger list):

The interface is similar to the previous viewer, with some new and improved features:

  • Faster image loading.

  • Works on more platforms and with more browsers than the previous image viewer, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Web browser issues were preventing a large portion of members from using the previous image viewer.

  • New tools, including rotating an image (handy for census returns with the address written along the side of the page), mirror (flips your record over so you're reading it backward, which I've heard can help with hard-to-read records), and new zoom controls.

  • Easy installation. Most people won't have to install anything (I didn't), though you might need to install a more recent version of the free Adobe Flash Player.

To try out the new viewer, click on the options button at the top of the current image viewer:

and then select "Use the Advanced Viewer (Beta)" is collecting feedback from users who try the new viewer. Read more about the new features, see screenshots, and see the known issues on the blog.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 14:31:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
New Leadership at FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch International, which operates the free genealogy website, will have a new chief executive officer. Starting Jan. 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch.

Verkler will assist with the transition for several months as a consultant.

FamilySearch regularly rotates its senior leaders, according to yesterday's announcement.

Under Verkler’s decade of leadership, FamilySearch has become a genealogy industry leader in enhancing online access to genealogy records through technological innovation and partnerships with genealogy businesses, records repositories and societies. Especially notable has been the FamilySearch Indexing project, which has mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide to index digitized records, making them searchable online.

Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors FamilySearch. Before that, he was president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005.

“I am very excited to help lead the work of FamilySearch, to continue the great things that have been done and move forward in new directions as appropriate,” he says.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 08:49:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 14 November 2011
Researching American Indian Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Do you have American Indian ancestry? Many genealogists believe they do and want to find out for sure. Others know they do but don't know how to research those ancestors.

Now's a good time to look for resources: November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

In 1915, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapaho and president of the American Indian Association, declared the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day and appealed for recognition of American Indians as citizens (Indians were recognized as citizens in 1924).

Later that year, on Dec. 14, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, arrived at the White House with 24 state government endorsements for a national day to honor American Indians. (Here's a photo from the Library of Congress.) He'd gathered them riding on horseback from state to state.

The first National American Indian Heritage Month was in 1990. (More on national observances here.)

Here are some free articles to help you trace American Indian roots: resources include:

Some of our favorite websites for American Indian research are:

You'll also find indexes to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, March 4, 1907 (known as the Dawes Roll) and Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (the Guion-Miller Roll).

American Indian roots | Celebrating your heritage
Monday, 14 November 2011 15:54:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 11 November 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 7-11
Posted by Diane

Military records | NARA | Videos
Friday, 11 November 2011 14:40:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Remembering Grandpa's WWII Service
Posted by Diane

Grandpa doesn’t know it—he passed away in 2003—but his old Army photos have graced several Family Tree Magazine publications. That's his portrait in the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook and on our Military Research Guide CD.

He served in the Army 83rd Signal Co. in 1944 and 1945 in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany, and received a Bronze Star medal for his service.

The citation above (which I included on a scrapbook page for Scrapbooking Your Family History by Maureen A. Taylor) says he

…showed outstanding leadership in maintaining wire communications between division and regimental headquarters. During the rapid advance of the division, difficult terrain was encountered and artillery fire. His devotion to duty and outstanding services merit the highest praise …

My grandma once told me that Grandpa limped after the war because he’d dropped a big coil of cable on his foot, and she asked him why he hadn’t gotten it checked out. He said he knew he might not be able to return to the same unit. Those were good men, he said, and he didn’t want to leave them. 

He’s among those in the WWII Army Enlistment records, available on the National Archives’ website and on subscription site

His burial information is also recorded in the Veterans Administration Nationwide Gravesite Locator:

You can memorialize your own military ancestors’ service with our military biography form, downloadable from this page

Go here to download our War Service Reference Guide, which has a timeline of US conflicts plus a birth date chart you can use to determine which major wars your ancestor likely served in.

Learning about your relatives' service to our country (and sharing their stories with your family) is one way to honor them today. Here are some of our favorite websites for doing military research.

Thanks, Grandpa.

Military records | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 11 November 2011 09:58:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Sale of the Century!
Posted by Diane

Today’s date—11/11/11—being a once-in-a-century event and all, it seems like a good opportunity for a once-in-a-century sale.

Today through 11/13/11, you'll find deep discounts on several of our genealogy how-to titles at

For example, you can stock up on Family Tree Magazine back issue CDs (the 2005, 2007 and 2008 CDs are just $4.99 each), or get guides to finding 15 important types of genealogy records in our Family Tree Essentials CD, also only $4.99. (Remember, VIP members get another 10 percent off.)

See the full sale listing at We've got limited quantities, so shop now.

And if you (or someone you know) is into woodworking, gardening, sewing, antiquing or another hobby, you'll want to check out the discounts at our sister publications, too! Sales
Friday, 11 November 2011 09:18:42 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 09 November 2011
Organize Your Family Archive
Posted by Diane

Remember back when Family Tree Magazine Publisher Allison Dolan (then Allison Stacy) inherited nearly two dozen boxes of family history "stuff" from her grandparents?

Scads of you wrote in with advice and stories about your similar situations in blog comments, emails and letters.

The Family Curator blogger Denise Levenick is going to make an example of Allison for your benefit. In our Organize Your Family Archive webinar, Denise will offer strategies and inspiration for

  • determining your goals for your family collection
  • inventorying your archive
  • deciding what to save, donate and throw away or recycle
  • organizing the materials in your archive
  • safely storing everything from letters to photos to musical instruments
The hour-long webinar is Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific). Your registration includes:
  • participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
  • access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • a PDF of the presentation slides for future reference

For a limited time, you can save 20 percent on your Organize Your Family Archive webinar registration. This may be the incentive and guidance you need to start getting a handle on your family archive—and seeing what genealogy treasures it holds.

Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 14:37:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Sale of the Century
Posted by Diane

Just wanted to let you know to keep your eyes on this Friday: 11/11/11 comes only once a century, so word around the office is that we're marking the occasion with a "sale of the century." More details to come ... Sales
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 08:47:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 08 November 2011
Creating a 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has created a page to recruit volunteers for transcribing the 1940 census, scheduled for release April 2, 2012. (We’re just 146 days from 1940 census nirvana!) 

Unlike previous censuses, images of 1940 census records will be available free on the National Archives and Records Administration website. You won’t be able to search for an ancestor’s name right away; instead, you’ll have to browse the record by enumeration district (more on that—and figuring out your ancestor’s enumeration district—here). 

FamilySearch is coordinating a volunteer effort to index those images as soon as they’re released, so you’ll be able to search by name and click to see the record where the name appears.

If you want to help create the free, searchable 1940 census index, go here and sign up on the right side of this page.

Starting in mid-April, subscription website also will begin streaming 1940 census records onto its website, where records will be free to search at least through 2013

Read more about the 1940 census, including what questions your ancestors had to answer, in our free article

Our Census Secrets CD, available from, will help you find ancestors in US censuses from 1790 through 1940. | census records | FamilySearch
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 09:14:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# 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]