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<2012 February>

More Links

# Wednesday, 01 February 2012
Ultimate German Research Collection
Posted by Diane

If you're like me and have German ancestors, you're part of the United States' largest heritage group: German ancestry is consistently the most-claimed ethnic background on US censuses.

This month's Ultimate Collection will help you research those folks! Our Ultimate German Research Collection has

  • Find Your German Roots: Family Tree University Independent Study Course download
  • German Newspapers in America (on-demand video class)
  • Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Germanic Ancestors digital book
  • Family Tree Passport to Europe CD
  • Tracing German Ancestry in Eastern Europe download

Plus, you get a 25 percent off coupon for the Family Tree University German Genealogy 201 online course (learn more about this course here).

This collection is a $184 value for $69.99, and it's available only while supplies last, and only in February. Get your Ultimate German Research Collection in

Editor's Pick | International Genealogy | Sales
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 14:30:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Black History Records Collection Free on Fold3 in February
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site Fold3 (the former Footnote) is making its Black History Collection free during February in honor of Black History Month.

Among the records in this collection are:

  • Danish West Indies Slave Records
  • the 1860 US Census
  • US Colored Troops Compiled Service Records and pension files
  • Southern Claims Commission files (petitions by Southerners—including many African-Americans—who lost property to Union troops during the Civil War)
  • Military Intelligence Division—Negro Subversion (1914–1941)
  • Vietnam War Marine Corps Photos

You'll be prompted to register for a free Fold3 account when you click to view a record.

African-American roots | Fold3 | Military records
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 15:44:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Enter to Win an iPad in RootsMagic Treasure Hunt
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software company RootsMagic is holding a treasure hunt contest in conjunction with FamilySearch's RootsTech conference Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, but you can play from home, too—and maybe win an iPad.

The treasure hunt involves finding words hidden on the blogs of 15 genealogy bloggers who'll be reporting at the conference.

You'll find entry instructions on the RootsMagic website. Good luck!

We're joining in the RootsTech excitement with conference specials for everyone! You'll get 20 percent off select online genealogy titles at

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | RootsTech
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 13:39:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5] to Live-Stream its RootsTech Presentations
Posted by Diane

We blogged last week that you can watch several RootsTech presentations live via the RootsTech home page. also will live-stream several presentations by its staff. See the list on’s Facebook page.

My top picks:

  • The Inner-workings of the Search Engine, Friday, Feb. 3, 3 pm MST

  • 5 New Things to Try at, Friday, Feb. 3, 1:45 pm MST

  • Who Do You Think You Are? Live Q&A: How Do Our Experts Search?
    Saturday, Feb. 4, 2:30pm MST (This is the day after NBC's season 3 premiere of "Who Do You Think You Are?" so you may get some insider details on the Martin Sheen episode.)
You can watch the presentations on's Facebook page or its Livestream channel.

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

We're joining in the RootsTech excitement with conference specials for everyone! You'll get 20 percent off select online genealogy titles at | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:56:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Genealogists Gear Up to Save the SSDI
Posted by Diane

You've heard a lot lately about new threats to your access to information in the Social Security Death Index. This Thursday, the House Ways & Means Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security will hold hearings on the SSDI and privacy issues. Only those invited may give testimony, and no genealogists made the list—not for lack of trying.

Members of the public can submit statements for the hearing record. These statements must meet the specific format required by the Ways and Means Committee.

The genealogy Records Preservation and Action Committee (RPAC) recommends that such formal statements come from societies. RPAC is a joint task force of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS).

FGS, NGS and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) will submit statements.

The RPAC, however, says it's working on a mechanism for individual genealogists to speak up in an "appropriate but dramatic" way. RPAC members are meeting at the RootsTech conference this week and will monitor Thursday's hearing. The committee plan make an announcement about how you can help save the SSDI by Feb. 14.

Genealogy societies | Public Records
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 09:17:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Monday, 30 January 2012
Project Builds Database of Variant Name Spellings
Posted by Diane

Have you ever run a search on a genealogy website and been surprised at some of the names that got into your search results?, and have started a project to compile a database of surname and given name variants that should be searched along with whatever name you type into a genealogy database.

Traditionally, the Soundex system and/or a site's own algorithms determine what matches you see, but these still can return matches that don't make sense and miss good matches.

The project will improve searching on, but any genealogy data site will be able to use the Variant Names Project database to improve its searching.

You can help build the database by adding alternate spellings for the surnames in your family tree. First, you'll need to create a free WeRelate account by clicking create account at the top of the page.

On the Variant Names project home, select given name or surname, enter the name and hit Go.

You'll see a list of potential alternate spellings with checkboxes. The checked names are included in online searches for the name you entered. (In addition, rare names that share a Soundex code are also included.) Unchecked names aren't included.

Review the list and think about variations you've found in your research. You'll uncheck variants of the name that shouldn't be included in searches, check names that should be included, and add other names in the text box at the bottom of the screen.

The starting-point lists came from an algorithm and WeRelate came up with to find similar names for the 200,000 most-frequent surnames and 70,000 most-frequent given names in's databases. Names also were added from, a site about the etymology of given names, as well as name dictionaries. | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 30 January 2012 15:47:49 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 27 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • Free genealogy search engine Mocavo has made two big hires: Michael Leclerc, who spent 15 years with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as Chief Genealogist; and Ryan Hunter, a former Wall Street analyst who covered companies including, as COO. | Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 27 January 2012 15:57:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Fold3: Military Service Records 1784-1811 Free Through Feb. 5
Posted by Diane

Check this out if you have Revolutionary War or War of 1812 ancestors: Subscription genealogy site Fold3 is making its collection of Service Records of Volunteers, 1784-1811, free through Feb. 5, according to a post on the site's Facebook page.

These images come from 32 rolls of NARA microfilm publication M905. Each soldier's "jacket" typically contains cards abstracting entries for the soldier in original muster rolls, payrolls, receipt rolls, and other lists.

Go here to search this collection. You'll need to register for a free account with the site to view records.

Need research guidance for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 ancestors? Both conflicts are covered in our guide, Research Strategies: 10 Lesser-Known Military Conflicts. It's a $4 download from

Fold3 | Free Databases | Military records
Friday, 27 January 2012 15:54:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Take the Family History Writing Challenge in February
Posted by Diane

Genealogists have come up with their own version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is in November):

The Family History Writing Challenge is a monthlong event in February. To play along, just commit to writing 250, 500 or 1,000 words per day (your pick) about your family history—whether it's a person, a branch, a place, an era or some other focus.

The challenge basics and a Q&A are here. Sign up here to receive daily writing reminders and quotes, as well as links to weekly advice posts. You also can join discussions in a forum.

When I put together a family history narrative a couple of years ago, I noticed some holes in my research, came up with ideas for next steps and saw how much progress I'd made. Even better, it was an easily digestible way to share me research with my family. 

Need motivation? Here's how to get around five common reasons for not writing family history. And here are six quick ideas for writing family history.

If you want in-depth guidance for writing a family history, look into the FTU course and workshop Write Your Family History. By the end of the session, you'll have an outline for your family's story and a start on your narrative.

Genealogy Events | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 27 January 2012 11:17:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]