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# Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Old Houses Get Decked Out for the Holidays
Posted by Diane

If you love historic houses and you're in a holiday kind of mood, see if a historic house museum near you is decorated, vintage-style, for the holidays. You'll get a feel for Christmases before plastic tinsel and the crazy Target lady.

Run a web search or check the events section in your newspaper for events at museums near you, or tours of private homes. You also can browse the historic house museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. I did a little Web surfing, and my personal jet, if I had one, would fly me to these holiday houses:

  • Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville Tenn. A Century of Christmas: 1853-1953, shows how Christmas celebrations here evolved from fresh greens and a simply decorated tree in 1853 to 20th-century electric tree lights and characters.
  • Glessner and Clarke House Museums, Chicago. Two museums display different aspects of holiday celebrations. Clarke House exemplifies emerging holiday customs of the 1850s with simple decorations, and more elaborate decor at Glessner House reflects the growing interest in the celebration of Christmas.
  • Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee. This beer baron's mansion features a nationally recognized Christmas display representing America's Gilded Age.
  • Kimball House Museum, Battle Creek, Mich. A lovely Victorian house museum features lavish decorations.
  • Aiken-Rhett House, Charleston, SC. This home re-creates the Victorian Age in its holiday decor.
  • Mackenzie House, Toronto. This row house belonging to Toronto's first mayor is decorated in holiday greenery.

  • Christmas at Arlington, Birmingham, Ala. Flowers transform this Antebellum home, built by one of Birmingham’s founders, into replicas of Christmas past.
  • A Christmas Story House, Cleveland. So this isn't exactly pre-outdoor electric lights, but it's definitely nostalgic for those who remember Ralphie's quest for an air rifle and Randy's immobilizing snowsuit. You can tour the house where much of the 1983 movie was filmed and and get your own version of the Old Man's leg lamp.

Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Social History
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 11:37:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
12 Days of Deals: Extra 20% Off Virtual Conference Videos
Posted by Diane

Today you can save an extra 20 percent on our on-demand Virtual Conference videos with code DECDEALS. That first-of-its-kind online event featured half-hour video classes from Family Tree Magazine experts. (Click here to learn more about the Virtual Conference.)

Even if you missed the conference, you can take advantage of 17 great classes, including

Virtual Conference video classes are available individually or in packages. They’re already on sale—now’s your chance to save another 20 percent. Click here to check them out.


Genealogy Events | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Videos
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 10:57:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 05, 2011
Introducing Family Tree University Power Courses!
Posted by Diane

Do you go on family history research benders every once in awhile?

I do: I'll get inspired after a genealogy conference or when I read about new records on a database site, and I'll spend any spare time on research for days. Then regular life takes over until the next spree.

Family Tree University's new Power Courses are designed for genealogists who do their family history research (and learning) in spurts. When you sign up for one, you’ll have access for one week (Monday through Sunday) to a number of learning tools: videos, lessons, downloadable guides and forms, even coupons good for 25 percent off future FTU courses.

You pick the topic you need and the week you want, and we’ll be ready to teach you what you need to know to immediately tackle the problems you’re facing in your research.

Two Power Courses are coming up in December. Click each course name for more details about it:

  • Coming to America: Learn all about how to trace your immigrant ancestors, from their departure from the old country to their new life as US citizens.

  • Tear Down That Wall! Bust through the brick walls that keep you from furthering your genealogical research. Got ancestors who seem to have beamed down from outer space? This course is for you.

We’ll be offering many more Power Courses in 2012. In fact, there’s quite a bit of new stuff coming at Family Tree University. Stay tuned!


Family Tree University
Monday, December 05, 2011 10:08:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
12 Days of Savings: Buy Our 2011 CD, Save 50% on Another CD
Posted by Diane

Today’s deal is brought to you buy our 12 Days of Savings Event: Buy the Family Tree Magazine 2011 Annual CD and get another CD of equal or lesser value for 50 percent off.

You can update your paperless Family Tree Magazine library with our 2011 issues on a convenient CD, and boost your genealogy know-how with a specialized CD such as

Browse all Family Tree Magazine CDs here.

Click here to get our 2011 annual CD and take advantage of today's deal.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, December 05, 2011 9:19:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 02, 2011
Meet Our New Family Tree Firsts Blogger!
Posted by Diane

Just a quick note to send you over to FamilyTreeUniversity.com to meet our new Family Tree Firsts blogger, Shannon Bennett of Locust Grove, Va.

She'll be doing family research with help from Family Tree University courses and sharing what she learns on the Family Tree Firsts blog.

And stop by to say hi to our previous Family Tree Firsts blogger, Nancy Shively, at her Gathering Stories blog.


Family Tree Firsts
Friday, December 02, 2011 4:12:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
12 Days of Savings! Today: Free Calendar With Family Tree VIP Membership
Posted by Diane

Starting today, we're featuring 12 Days of Savings in ShopFamilyTree.com. Today's deal: Sign up for a Family Tree Magazine VIP membership (or upgrade your current magazine subscription to VIP) and enter code VIPFREE to get our 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar free.

Your VIP membership includes

  • a Family Tree Magazine subscription
  • a one-year subscription to Family Tree Plus (that's our online archive of genealogy how-to articles from past issues of Family Tree Magazine)
  • 10 percent off all your ShopFamilyTree.com orders
  • 25 percent off Family Tree University courses
  • our exclusive Family Tree Toolkit

Get today's deal on VIP membership here.

Visit ShopFamilyTree.com every day through Dec. 12 to see the daily deals.

Remember, you get free shipping on orders over $25, and of course there's no shipping on digital products. (This post gives our holiday shipping order deadlines if you need them.)


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, December 02, 2011 11:18:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 28-Dec. 2
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry.com has upgraded its mobile app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. New features include 99-cent in-app purchasing of individual records for non-Ancestry.com subscribers (such as World War I draft cards, census records, birth and death certificates, and school yearbook photos), the "shaky leaf" hints indicating a possible record match to somone in a user's family tree, and easier updating of family trees with information from historical records.

The app, which boasts more than 1.7 million downloads to date, is free from the Apple App Store.

  • FamilySearch.org has added more than 18 million records from Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Spain, the United States and Venezuela. US records include a Texas death index (provided by Ancestry.com); naturalization index cards from Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin; county records from several states and more.

You can view all the new and updated collections and click to each one here.

  • SavingOurs.com is a new volunteer group dedicated to saving historical newspapers and other documents. The organization will work with local volunteers, companies and governments to digitize these documents and ensure they're available free to the public. Visit SavingOurs.com to learn more or volunteer.

  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has started a blog as a four-month-long pilot project. It'll offer tips and tools on LAC's records and navigating its website. Posts so far cover war diaries, Royal Canadian Navy ledger sheets, the newly digitized Lord Elgin collection and more. Visit the LAC Blog here.

Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Military records
Friday, December 02, 2011 10:58:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Access to Ancestry.com WWII Records for a Limited Time
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com is making its WWII records collection free through Dec. 7 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The collection includes WWII draft registration cards (including some newly added ones), WWII Navy muster rolls (1939-1949), records of Japanese-Americans relocated during the war, US Navy cruise books and more.

Go here to search Ancestry.com's WWII records. When you go to view a match, you'll be prompted to set up a free registration with the site (or log in if you already have one).

2,459 Americans died when Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

See the About.com Genealogy blog for more on records Ancestry.com added to its WWII collection for this promotion. Thanks to Kimberly for the heads-up on this news!


Ancestry.com | Military records
Friday, December 02, 2011 10:42:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, December 01, 2011
Back for a Limited Time: Your Favorite Ultimate Family History Collections
Posted by Diane


Starting today, we're bringing back four of this year's best-selling Ultimate Collections in limited quantities. If you missed these the first time around, now's your chance to grab them:
  • Ultimate Photo Preservation Collection (25 available): Tools to help you ensure your family's memories will be around for future generations to enjoy, including the Preserving Your Family Photographs book signed by author Maureen A. Taylor aka the Photo Detective. (This collection sold out in just a few hours the first time around.) 
  • Ultimate Research Trip Collection (25 avaiable): Get the essential advice and supplies you need for visiting archives and courthouses, tromping through ancestral cemeteries and traveling to key research destinations across the country.
All these kits are deeply discounted, too. Click on each collection name above for more details about what's in each one.

Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, December 01, 2011 9:14:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Putting History on the Map
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is joining Historypin, a site that lets users virtually "pin" historical photographs, videos and audio recordings to Google maps.

Users can enhance their pins with descriptions and stories, and compile them into collections and tours centered around a place, time or storyline.

Visit the National Archives on Historypin here. I scrolled down and clicked an image of Samuel Morse's 1848 patent for the electromagnetic telegraph, which opened information about the patent:

Here's the patent on a map of Washington, DC, at the location of the old Patent Office:

Another cool thing you can do is use a transparency slider to overlay a historical image on top of a Google street view of the same scene today. This shows a view from the old Patent Office toward the Treasury building:

Also in NARA's collection, you'll find Mathew Brady Civil War photographs; photos of streets, buildings and historic events in Washington, DC; and images from the recently concluded History Happens Here augmented reality contest. Future additions will include Documerica images, more Mathew Brady, and Brooklyn Navy Yard photos collections.

Go here and type in a place your ancestors lived to see what's pinned there. You don't have to join Historypin to see the pins, but if you join, you can add your own images (you'll need a free Google account).

Historypin is also accessible via a Smartphone app. It's a project of the British non-profit We Are What We Do that seeks to bring generations together around the history of their communities.

Here are images Historypin users have pinned around Cincinnati, where Family Tree Magazine is located. Once I get started exploring these, I'm not sure how I'll stop myself:


Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 11:53:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]