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<2011 December>

More Links

# Tuesday, 20 December 2011
To All of You . . .
Posted by Diane

. . . from all of us at Family Tree Magazine, Family Tree University and Family Tree Books . . .

. . . including Christy, Allison, Kerry, Jackie and Diane, as well as the behind-the-scenes folks who work on e-media, production, circulation and other areas of our company . . .

. . . we hope you have a peaceful and joyous holiday season (and that you get a chance to do some genealogy)!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Genealogy fun
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 16:04:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Year-End Warehouse Sale at!
Posted by Diane

We at Family Tree Magazine would like to start 2012 with a neat, roomy warehouse, sooooo …

We’re having a Year-End Warehouse Sale today through Dec. 23, featuring closeout prices on a variety of our books and CDs! It includes several of our annual back issue CDs, The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors and more.

Check out what’s available in the Year-End Warehouse Sale at Sales
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 09:50:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 16 December 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Dec. 12-16
Posted by Diane

Last month, NARA selected to host the digitized census records. also has announced it'll offer a 1940 census index and the record images free, at least through 2013.

  • FamilySearch's RootsTech conference, taking place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, is open for registration. The early bird rate of $149 is valid through Jan. 13, 2012.
  • The National Genealogical Society 2012 Conference, taking place May 8-12 in Cincinnati, also is open for registration. Early bird prices ($175 for NGS members and $210 for nonmembers, plus extra if you want a printed syllabus) are good through March 20. | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Research Tips
Friday, 16 December 2011 15:26:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Software Upgrade News for Mac-Using Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Recent software releases are giving Mac-using genealogists new options:
  • MacFamilyTreeSynium has released version 6.2 of its MacFamilyTree desktop software and version 1.1 of the MobileFamilyTree Pro app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Both feature a new Tree Chart showing all connected persons in a family tree, as well as new reports, improved GEDCOM support and more. The Family Quiz, previously available only in the mobile app, is now also part of the MacFamilyTree software.

Users of MacFamilyTree 6 or MobileFamilyTree Pro 1.0 can upgrade to the new versions for free. Those with earlier versions of MacFamilyTree can update to the most recent version for $12.50.

Otherwise, a holiday sale lets you purchase MacFamilyTree 6.2 for $29 (requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later) and MobileFamilyTree Pro 1.1 for $7.99.

  • has released Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, which includes TreeSync. This feature lets you sync your family tree in the software with your tree on

Also new: You can take photos using your iSight or built-in camera and import them directly into Family Tree Maker. If you’re on OS X Lion, you can use the new full-screen capability to fill your entire desktop with the Family Tree Maker workspace.

You can get Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 in the online store (it's currently discounted to $52.49) or at retailers such as , Fry’s Home Electronics, and Micro Center. | Genealogy Software
Friday, 16 December 2011 14:04:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
New MyHeritage Mobile App Lets You Access Your Tree on the Go
Posted by Diane

Family network site MyHeritage now has a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android that you can use to access your MyHeritage family tree on the go.

The app attractively displays up to seven generations with photos, and shows individual profiles. It takes advantage of the devices' touchscreen capabilities with panning and "pinch zooming." It also syncs all data, including photos, to your family site on MyHeritage.

The app's communication and photo features make it handy to have at family gatherings:

  • It highlights upcoming birthdays and anniversaries in your tree.
  • You can call or email relatives in one tap.
  • When you take a photo with the device, the app uses face recognition to automatically identify family members taken in the photo.
  • You also can share the photo with them in one easy tap.
  • It even includes the fun celebrity look-alike feature that got MyHeritage noticed way back when.

The app is available in the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace.

Friday, 16 December 2011 13:07:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 15 December 2011
$avings Alert: Learn Strategies for Newspaper Research
Posted by Diane

If you haven't taken full advantage of old newspapers for discovering family history—maybe you're unsure how to find out which ones covered your ancestors' hometown or fear you don't have time to scroll through rolls of microfilm—here's a deal for you:

Take our Newspaper Research 101 Family Tree University Course starting Jan. 9 for just $39.99 (the four-week course is usually $99.99). The special rate is made possible by GenealogyBank.

Besides obituaries, newspapers are sources for birth announcements, social column notes and other news stories mentioning your ancestors—even if they weren't prominent community members. 

I still get nostalgic over my first big genealogy find, a 1924 Dallas Morning News article about my grandfather who grew up in an orphanage and was putting himself through college (you can see the article here). I discovered it by chance on GenealogyBank soon after the site launched. 

Newspaper microfilm from the Arkansas state archives helped me fill in details (otherwise absent due to missing court records) about my grandfather's arrest and trial for bootlegging.

In the Newspaper Research 101 course, taught by James M. Beidler, you'll learn:

  • what type of information to look for in newspapers
  • how to find and access papers most likely to mention your kin
  • how to effectively search digital and microfilmed papers

Learn more and take advantage of this once-in-a-blue-moon Newspaper Research 101 tuition on

Family Tree University | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers
Thursday, 15 December 2011 09:43:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 14 December 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

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, 14 December 2011 12:54:07 (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 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

"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 12:46:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 13 December 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

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'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. | Genealogy Web Sites | Public Records
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:54:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Monday, 12 December 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 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

12 Days of Genealogy | Genealogy books | Sales
Monday, 12 December 2011 11:16:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]