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# Wednesday, December 14, 2011
iPhone App Helps You Record Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Here's a new smartphone app to consider grabbing before holiday gatherings: Record Their Stories for the iPhone has a built-in edit suite (stop, start, join and trim conversations) and more than 100 questions to help you capture relatives' stories. Use it with the phone's built-in audio recording capabilities.

Keep the recording on your phone or computer. You also can upload it to the Record Their Stories website and order a professionally mixed version of the recording, complete with music and sound effects.

You can get the Record Their Stories iPhone app for 99 cents from the iTunes app store. Learn more at the Record Their Stories website.

Get more help preparing for oral history conversations (learn everything from what to ask to what you should bring) with expert articles on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

The January 2012 Family Tree Magazine has Lisa Louise Cooke's roundup of favorite apps for family history researchers.


Oral History | saving and sharing family history | Tech Advice
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:54:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
TV Time!
Posted by Diane

Hello, "Who Do You Think You Are?" fans: NBC's mid-season 2012 schedule has the show debuting Feb. 3 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET. We've heard that actors Marisa Tomei, Martin Sheen and Blair Underwood are among the celebs who'll appear.

In other genealogy-TV news: The Ancestry.com blog reported that tonight's (Wed., Dec. 14) episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" will have a genealogy theme. The victim is a genealogist (ouch) who uncovers a dark family secret, and one of the genealogists questioned in the case connects a CSI's family to famous historical folks.

The show airs at 10/9 Central on CBS. If you missed it, you can catch it on CBS.com.


"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:46:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 13, 2011
RootsWeb Removes its Free SSDI Database
Posted by Diane

One of the free resources we’ve recommended for years to search the online Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has been taken offline.

RootsWeb’s SSDI database is no longer available, with a message that

Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available on our free Rootsweb service but is accessible to search on Ancestry.com.

The SSDI is a database of deaths reported to the Social Security Administration, for the most part since 1962. A subscription is required to use Ancestry.com's version of the SSDI, and genealogists including Randy Seaver and Sheri Fenley report that Social Security numbers aren't provided for deaths within the past 10 years.

You might think genealogists wouldn't be concerned with such a recent death, but someone who died in 2002 might've been born in 1920, and his or her application for an SSN (called an SS-5) could name parents born in the 1800s. Plus, the SSDI is useful for tracing family lines forward in time to find distant cousins.

Randy lists other sources of the SSDI, which include the free FamilySearch site.

If you don't have a deceased person's SSN, you still can request his or her SS-5. You'll need to provide a birth date, any other names the person used, and the parents' names, and pay $29 instead of $27. You now can request an SS-5 online.

The "sensitivities" RootsWeb refers to are likely related to a recent news story about criminals using SSNs of deceased individuals to commit tax fraud. (Couldn't the IRS prevent this by comparing SSNs on tax forms to numbers in the SSDI?)

Read more on recent SSDI changes, which include a reduction in the number of new deaths that'll be included in this database, here.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Public Records
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:54:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Monday, December 12, 2011
12 Great Genealogy Gifts (for You or Someone Else), Just $12 Each
Posted by Diane

Have you had your eye on some genealogy helps at ShopFamilyTree.com? Are you searching for last-minute gifts?

We've got you covered with 12 great titles for just $12 each! Choose from:

  • 101 Brick Wall Busters: Solutions to Overcome Your Genealogical Challenges book

  • Remember That? A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Fun Facts, Headlines, & Your Memories book (which I think would be great for the person who doesn't need another pair of slippers, but would love if you bring a baked treat, sit for a spell, and go through this book together and reminisce)

  • Family History Detective: A Step-by-Step Guide to Investigating Your Family History book (terrific for someone who wants to start on his or her genealogy)

  • Family Tree Magazine 2011 Annual CD (update your digital Family Tree Magazine library)

  • Family Tree Pocket Reference book

  • Genealogist's Research Trip Planner digital download (I will be consulting this guide to plan my research in Cleveland this April, which will piggyback on a trip to the Ohio Genealogical Society conference April 12-14)

  • German Newspapers in America video class

  • International Genealogy Passport CD

  • Irish Genealogy Online video class

  • Military Research Guide CD (another good gift for a beginner, or for anyone tracing a Civil War, WWII or other military ancestor)

  • Photo Rescue digital download (wonderful for the keeper of your family's photographic heritage)

Get more details on each 12 for $12 goodie on ShopFamilyTree.com.


12 Days of Genealogy | Genealogy books | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, December 12, 2011 11:16:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 08, 2011
Take $20 Off Our Organize Your Family History Value Pack
Posted by Diane


Today's installment of our 12 Days of Savings will help you complete a nagging item on your genealogy to-do list: Getting your research organized.

Now you can get the Organize Your Family History Value Pack for just $49.99 with code DECDEALS. That’s $20 off the regular price of this kit (which is already discounted over the cost of buying each component separately). 

What’s inside? Instructions and tools to guide you through the process of decluttering, sorting and filing your research (on paper and on your computer), and maintaining a system for organization.

Here’s what the Organize Your Family History Value Pack includes:

  • Organize Your Genealogy: Family Tree University Independent Study Course download
  • Organization Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Get Your Family History in Order on-demand webinar
  • Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD
  • Organize Now! book

Get more details on the Organize Your Family History Value Pack here. You could devote some of your holiday time off to starting the projects in this value pack, and start the new year feeling in control of your research.

Click here to take advantage of this deal.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, December 08, 2011 9:12:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Today's Deal: Our Genealogy Desk Calendar for $6.50
Posted by Diane

Today's 12 Days of Savings bring you 50 percent off the Family Tree Magazine 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar when you use offer code DECDEALS.



The lovely family photos and stories in the calendar deliver research inspiration, and at the 12 Days of Deals price of $6.50, it'll pay for itself with the included ShopFamilyTree.com coupons.

It would make a great little gift for your genealogy pals and your favorite librarian. Click here to get this deal!


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 10:20:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
This Is Not a Drill
Posted by Diane

Seventy years ago today, the Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sent this dispatch to major navy commands and fleet units.


It was the first official word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona was destroyed, killing 1,177 officers and crew. The USS Oklahoma capsized. About 2,400 Americans were killed.

As the number of survivors of the attack—now around 2,000—dwindles, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association has elected to dissolve at the end of this year.

Now it's even more important for those who didn't witness the attack firsthand to preserve the memories of that day. Here are a few places to start: 


Military records | Social History | Videos
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:29:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]