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<2012 January>

More Links

# Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Genealogy Organizing Tips, "WDYTYA?" Sneak Peek in Our Latest Podcast
Posted by Diane

The January 2012 Family Tree Magazine Podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, is ready for your listening pleasure! In this free podcast episode:
  • tips on organizing your family archive
  • using Evernote to keep your genealogical research organized
  • sneak peek at the upcoming season of "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • Plus: the one trick that will help you make new friends in the online genealogical community

Listen in iTunes or on

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:40:44 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
RootsTech: Sessions You Can Watch From Home + Mobile App
Posted by Diane

If you'll be sitting out next week’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City as attendees giddily blog, Facebook and Tweet about it:

You’ll be able to watch many of the classes online. RootsTech will live stream all the keynote lectures and other sessions taking place in classroom 155 of the convention center.

I checked over the RootsTech session schedule for each day (look in the left column for the room number and click each presentation title for details about it), and found great presentations going on all day in this room 155. My top picks are:

  • Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink, Feb. 2, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

  • Twitter: It’s Not Just “What I Had For Breakfast” Anymore by Thomas MacEntee, Feb. 2, 3-4 p.m.

  • Genealogists “Go Mobile” by Sandra Crowley, Feb. 3, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

  • Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101 by Lisa Louise Cooke, Feb. 4 9:45-10:45 a.m.

  • Privacy in a Collaborative Environment by Noah Tutak, CEO of, Feb. 4, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Remember, all session times are in Mountain Time. Details about how to access the live-stream sessions are still to come—watch the RootsTech website and this blog.

Update: All you need to do to watch the live presentations is go to the RootsTech home page.

If you’re going to be at RootsTech (like our own Allison Dolan and Kerry Scott), you can make sure you check off your conference to-do and to-see lists with the RootsTech2012 app for iPad, iPhone and Android.

You can get them from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace and use them to keep track of your scedule, see venue maps, get conference news and more. Randy Seaver goes into detail about the app at his Genea-Musings blog.

RootsTech, organized by FamilySearch, takes place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:18:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
"Citizen Archivists" Transcribe Records in National Archives Pilot Project
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration has started a Transcription Pilot Project as part of its new Citizen Archivist Dashboard.

You can contribute to transcriptions and help make historical documents more accessible to the public.

The pilot project includes more than 300 documents (about 1,000 pages) dating from the late 18th to the 20th century: letters to a civil war spy, fugitive slave case files, suffrage petitions and more. All are digitized in NARA's online catalog; the transcriptions will make them text-searchable.

Just a few of the interesting documents I saw were

  • George Summers Letter on Confederate War Prisoners
  • the petition of Jacob Cook in a Fugitive Slave Petition Book from the District Court for the District of Maryland
  • an 1866 contract between "James Mitchell and Dick and Wife" from the Freedmen's Bureau
  • Ann Taylor v. Thomas Hart indenture case file from 1773.

If you want to learn more about a document, you can click on the title, then look for the National Archives Indentifier number and click on that.

You can search for documents to transcribe or browse them by difficulty level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), year it was created, and the status of transcription (“Not Yet Started,” “Partially Transcribed” or “Completed”). 

If you want to participate, see the project's Transcription Tips, Frequently Asked Questions and Policy pages.

The Citizen Archivist Dashboard also offers opportunities to tag images and records, upload photos of records and contribute to online articles.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 10:37:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Britain's Brightsolid Has Plans for US Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Brightsolid, the British genealogy company with sites including and (for Irish records), has announced that it'll again sponsor the RootsTech conference this year—and that it'll use the conference as a platform to launch a new product for the US market.

Feb. 2, Brightsolid CEO Chris van der Kuyl will address a Brightsolid-sponsored RootsTech lunch with a talk on, “Why Everyone Deserves Their Own Episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and How Brightsolid Will Help You Get There.”

Hmmm ...

Remember that Brightsolid also has joined the 1940 Census Community Project, along with FamilySearch and, which turned some American genealogists' heads.

Of course, we'll let you know what the big news is when it's announced.

The RootsTech conference, organized by FamilySearch, focuses on technology in genealogy. It takes place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | RootsTech
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:03:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Friday, 20 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • Genealogy data service Genealogy Today has launched a redesigned home page, easier site navigation and an improved search. This site focuses on smaller datasets, such as Masonic rosters, rural school and college catalogs, insurance claims and church catalogs, published between 1830 and 1930. The search works faster, with a form that offers more options and filters. In your search results, free and paid resources are  combined into a single results set that highlights new and updated items, and identifies free resources and those on other websites. 

  • Registration is open for the 2012 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, taking place Thursday through Sunday, June 8 to 10, at the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel in Burbank, Calif. Early-bird registration discounts are available through April 22. Register on the SCGS website.
  • The Federation of Genealogical Societies has opened registration for its 2012 annual conference, too. It's scheduled for Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. (We'll be there!) Early bird registration is available through July 1. Register on the conference website.
  •, the family tree site covered in the December 2011 Family Tree Magazine, will be available only by invitation from a current WikiTree member. "We’ve had users abusing our wide range of free services and treating the site like their personal back-up service. Not only does this drain our limited resources, it hurts other community members and what we’re trying to accomplish," says WikiTree creator Chris Whitten. "By making membership strictly invitation-only, we can give our community some breathing room to clean up the genealogical messes that irresponsible users have left behind." If you want to join, you can request an invite using a link on the site's membership page.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 20 January 2012 14:33:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Thursday, 19 January 2012
Get $10 Off Two Webinars in
Posted by Diane

Kentucky and Tennessee genealogy often goes hand-in-hand due to the states' similar history on the Old Frontier. Many settlers in both areas arrived via the Cumberland Gap in the late 1700s, so if you have ancestors in one state, you might have them in both, or your people may have spent time in both.

We want to make it easier for you to learn about genealogy research in both areas, so we're offering a $10-off-two webinar deal:

Register for any two of our next three upcoming webinars, and get $10 off your purchase. Choose from:

Enter coupon code WEBTRIO10 at checkout to get this deal. Sales | Webinars
Thursday, 19 January 2012 12:00:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Ultimate Get-Your-Genealogy-Organized Collection
Posted by Diane

It's getting toward the end of the month, so I'm issuing a reminder to get our Ultimate Get Organized Collection while it's still available. How-to-get-organized articles and classes are among our most popular, and this is the perfect opportunity to get a a package deal on a bunch of them:
  • My Family Tree Research Planner: This undated calendar, customizable for use in any year, has plenty of space to schedule library visits and genealogy society meetings, and track your research to-dos and goals. Click here for a video look inside (scroll down).

  • Organize Your Family Archive OnDemand Webinar: Got boxes of family papers, photos, knicknacks and who knows what else? Denise Levenick, aka the Family Curator, provides tips on how to decide what to save, easy ways to inventory and more.

  • Time Management for Genealogists download: Learn the skills to manage your limited genealogy research time your way in this Family Tree University Independent Study course download. Discover how to set achievable goals, use online project management tools and more.

  • Family Tree Magazine February 2012 digital issue: Get tips to make over your research methods and workspace for better efficiency.

  • Family Tree Magazine 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar: This calendar has inspiring ancestor photos from our readers, plus coupons you can use all year in
Through Jan. 31 or while the limited supply lasts—whichever comes first—it's all $69.99, which amounts to a 61 percent discount. Click here to laern more about the Ultimate Get Organized Collection and get yours.
Editor's Pick | Sales
Thursday, 19 January 2012 10:26:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Four Genealogists to Compete for Top Honors at RootsTech
Posted by Diane

Taking a cue from TV, software company Legacy Family Tree is sponsoring the first Genealogy Idol competition during the RootsTech conference in early February.

The four "Idol" finalists are Elizabeth Clark of Falls Village, Conn.; Elyse Doerflinger of Lomita, Calif.; Michael Hait of Harrington, Del.; and Marian Pierre-Louis of Millis, Mass.

The contestants (the first two live at the conference, and the latter two online from home) will compete in three rounds, sharing their favorite genealogy and technology tips, stories of genealogical serendipity, and genealogy/technology website or blog.

In the tradition of "American Idol," the competition will be broadcast to a live webinar audience, whose votes will decide the winner. That person will receive a Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the title of RootsTech Genealogy Idol 2012. Click here to register to watch the free hourlong live webinar (limited to 1,000 attendees), taking place Thursday, Feb. 2 at 3:45 p.m. ET.

If you'll be at the RootsTech conference, happening Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, you can watch the competition at 1:45 p.m. in classroom 255B.

Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Thursday, 19 January 2012 09:20:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Giant 50% Sale at!
Posted by Diane is offering our top genealogy how-to products at half-price today and tomorrow. That includes books, downloadable research guides and webinars such as

See the full list of Giant 50% Sale items on

Remember, purchases totaling over $25 of qualifying items get free shipping (downloads do count toward this total), and Family Tree VIPs get an additional 10 percent off.

Time is tight—after Thursday, these great deals will be gone. Sales
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 08:56:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, 17 January 2012
I'm Going to the Courthouse!
Posted by Diane

I've been itching for a chance to do in-person research at the courthouse where my ancestors lived ever since an archivist researcher recommended research there.

My great-grandmother spent two years in the Cleveland State Hospital before her death in 1926, and I requested a search of hospital admission and discharge records at the Ohio state archives (the hospital registers are closed to the public, so I couldn't view them myself). The archivist sent copies of the records (all names obscured except my ancestor's) with a suggestion to check the Cuyahoga County probate court for a commitment hearing.

The probate court handles wills and estates, marriages, guardianships and adoptions. When I contacted the court, I was told the staff doesn't fulfill research requests, but I was welcome to go in person to look for the record.

So my chance is coming up with the Ohio Genealogical Society conference April 12-14 in Cleveland! I'm super-excited—it's been awhile since I've done hands-on research.  

I figure while I'm there, I also can look up some other records: a great-uncle's marriage that's just a hair too recent to be on Family History Library microfilm, as well as some relatives' probate files.

I looked up the courthouse website and called to verify research hours and find out about any special requirements.

I also searched for case file numbers in the probate court online Case Records Search System an index that provides information including names of parties, dates and case numbers. (Not all courts have this type of index, but a web search on the county and court should find one if it does exist.) That should make most of my searching relatively easy, knock on wood.

But the index doesn't go as far back as 1924, when the commitment hearing would've happened, so I'm crossing my fingers hard that a hearing took place. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

court records | Genealogy Events
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 16:48:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]