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# Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Save $$ With Our Virtual Conference Early Bird Rate!
Posted by Diane

I wanted to give you a heads up that the $50 early bird registration savings for our Spring 2012 Virtual Conference is good through next Monday, Feb. 13.

The Virtual Conference, taking place March 9 – 11, is packed with video classes, live chats, message board discussions, a virtual exhibit hall and more.

See all the Virtual Conference details at FamilyTreeUniversity.com and use promo code FTUVCEARLY to get the early bird rate.


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 9:00:19 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, February 07, 2012
RPAC Announces "Stop ID Theft NOW!" Campaign to Save SSDI
Posted by Diane

As part of its "Stop ID Theft Now!" campaign, today the genealogy Records Preservation and Access Committee (a joint task force of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society) plans to launch a petition drive to help preserve access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

Update: Click here to read and sign the petition. (Note: The page took awhile to load for me.)

Click here to read FAQs about the petition and how to electronically sign it. I recommend reading them, as I encountered some hiccups in the process of creating an account and clicking to sign.

Last week, we blogged about genealogists' exclusion from a hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security. Read about SSDI threats including a bill that would eliminate it here.

The RPAC petition will urge measures that should immediately "curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from deceased infants and adults."

The SSDI issue came to light after heartwrenching news reports of bereaved parents contending with identity theft when criminals filed tax returns with their deceased children's SSNs.

But eliminating SSDI access won't stop identity theft, say many genealogists. It won't prevent hackers from stealing personal data from government and corporate computer systems, nor will it force the IRS to adopt better practices for preventing and investigating identity theft-related tax fraud, and improving handling of fraud cases.

RPAC encourages family historians and genealogical societies to start by finding out who their representatives are. WhoIsMyRepresentative.com lets you enter your ZIP code to find out.


Genealogy Industry | Public Records
Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:29:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
They’re Alive! Get Genealogy Answers by Finding Living Relatives
Posted by Diane


So I think I finally found out whatever happened to my great-grandmother's brother, who was my grandfather's baptismal sponsor. But I'm feeling tentative about the next steps: researching that family forward and then (gulp) contacting a descendant to try to find out if we really are cousins. 

So I'm looking forward to this week's Family Tree University webinar, "They’re Alive! Finding Living Relatives."

"Living people can be found using some unlikely online tools," says presenter Thomas MacEntee. "You’ll be surprised at how much information is made public about a person and how to find it. And it is all legal and access is often free." 

If that makes you feel just a little bit like a stalker, don't worry—Thomas also will talk about the best, non-stalkerish approach when contacting possible relatives. Phone call? Email? Letter? What should you say?

Here's the webinar info: 

  • Presenter: Thomas MacEntee, owner of Geneabloggers and High-Definition Genealogy
  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 9
  • Time: 8-9 p.m. Eastern/5-6 p.m. Pacific
  • Bonus: Register today and you'll also receive a free download of our guide Research Strategies: Find Living Relatives.

Go here to learn more and register for our They’re Alive! Finding Living Relatives webinar.


Editor's Pick | Webinars
Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:16:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, February 06, 2012
On a Genealogy Roll: My Research Finds
Posted by Diane

This is the year I was expecting to put genealogy aside while I run after a toddler and pry pieces of dog food out of his mouth. But I've been on a lucky streak, genealogically speaking. I made Some finds in January:
  • Then I tried out the Genealogy Today data service after I saw an announcement the Surname Search was updated. I try out resources on my family names, though I never expect much when I type in Haddad. But this time, the hit I got partially answered a longstanding question. The site has indexes from biennial reports of a Texas orphanage, which list my grandfather and his two siblings as "inmates." I knew my grandfather and his brother were there, but their sister's whereabouts at that time had been a mystery.
To top it all off, my husband asked for help with his family history, which is kind of like getting a present, so we did some genealogy together. Now I just hope I didn't jinx it, and this lucky streak continues.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Oral History | Research Tips | Social History
Monday, February 06, 2012 11:06:56 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Friday, February 03, 2012
“WDYTYA?”: Martin Sheen
Posted by Diane

Spoiler alert! If you don’t want to know what happens in season 3, episode 1 of “Who Do You Think You Are?” stop reading right now.

I got Leo settled into bed just before 8, so I got myself settled on the sofa to watch the premiere episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” season 3, featuring Martin Sheen.

Sheen’s Irish-born mother died when he was 11. I was kind of hoping this show would start like others, with a trip home—Sheen grew up in Dayton, Ohio, northern neighbor to my Cincinnati hometown—but we moved right into the stories of Sheen’s two revolutionary uncles.

His mother’s brother was an activist during the Irish Civil War of 1922 to 1923, but, it turns out, not on the side Sheen thought: He was opposed to the Irish Free State and the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Sheen’s father’s brother Matias stood up against Gen. Francisco Franco for the Spanish republic in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939.

Sheen visits prisons where each man was held. The show draws strong parallels with Sheen’s own social activism.

Next, Sheen delves farther back into his father’s family. He learns the names of his fourth-great-grandparents—and that his fourth-great-grandfather had several children with another woman (prompting a “Whoops!” from Sheen). The man also was a judge prosecuting a young woman in the community who’d had an affair, probably with a cleric.

And the better-than-fiction twist: This young woman’s descendant married the judge’s descendant –branches on the family tree from which Sheen sprang.

If you share Sheen’s Irish heritage, check out our Irish Heritage Research Guide digital download or the Irish Research 101 and 201 Family Tree University classes. 

Your ancestors hail from Spain, like Sheen’s paternal branch? Consult our Spanish and Portuguese Research Guide digital download.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Friday, February 03, 2012 10:01:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Mocavo Rolls Out New Content, Features
Posted by Diane

Genealogy search engine Mocavo announced searchable content additions and new capabilities in conjunction with the RootsTech conference.

Content additions include:

  • Allen County Public Library’s Internet Archive records
  • Social Security Death Index
  • Geni.com's World Family Tree.

The new features are:

  • Historical Record Storage & Sharing Platform: You can self-publish high-resolution documents to Mocavo.com for free. They're automatically digitized using Optical Character Recognition, and if you choose, your documents will be searchable by all Mocavo users.

  • Mocavo is releasing iPhone and Android applications (not yet available, but promised within the next 30 days) that let let you upload photos of documents and family pictures to the aforementioned document sharing platform. You also can use the app to search with Mocavo's Search engine.

  • The Mocavo Discovery Stream will deliver a constant source of new user-generated content—whether people are uploading family trees and documents or finding matches using the search engine—similar to the Facebook newsfeed or Pinterest.


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



Genealogy Web Sites | RootsTech
Friday, February 03, 2012 3:19:06 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
GeneTree Introduces New Test, Consultation Service
Posted by Diane

Genetic genealogy company GeneTree.com has introduced a new consultation service and test for getting in-depth genealogical information from your DNA.

The Family Consultation Service (starting at $49.99) is an in-depth examination of your genealogical data and DNA test results. It's designed for avid genealogists using DNA testing to identify ancestors in specific family lines.

Similarly, the Y-19 test ($94.99) is intended for those who've already done some DNA testing and know their haplogroups. "These 19 [markers] are very fast-mutating markers," says GeneTree CEO Scott Woodward.

That makes them useful for identifying more-specific family relationships, especially when several members of a family group have been tested.

The test is best used in association with a consultation, says Woodward. "Many genealogists don't know how to get the most out of the interpretation. For instance, there is a lot you can learn by one single little mutation that two people share. There are a lot of people who need someone to look at their genealogical DNA data and tell them what it means."

If you're at RootsTech, GeneTree.com is offering free 10-minute genetic genealogy consultations.


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



Genetic Genealogy | RootsTech
Friday, February 03, 2012 2:55:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [11]
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Premieres Tonight With Martin Sheen's Roots
Posted by Diane

Tonight's the night! Season 3 of the genealogy-reality series "Who Do You Think You Are?" debuts on NBC, with a look at actor Martin Sheen's Irish and Spanish roots.

Here's a quick preview of season 3 (I know that's not Martin Sheen below):

I was already excited about the season, but even more so after a media conference call with Sheen on Monday. He was brimming over with enthusiasm about the ancestors he discovered through the show. You'd think he met them in person.

I asked about the location where he felt most connected to his roots, and he spoke about the cathedral in Tui, Spain. (You can see it here.)

"That is a place that I have visited many times since 1969, when I made my first trip to Spain and to visit my father's community. And I only learned during this last trip with "Who Do You Think You Are?" that my great- great-great-great-grandfather is buried in that cathedral," Sheen said. "And I never knew that.

"In fact I used to walk over his burial spot in the cathedral. Everybody did. You are just walking along. And when I got to the show—I don't think it is included in the show—but they showed me where it was. I was not aware until we did the show of how intricately connected my heritage was with that town and specifically that cathedral."

The Martin Sheen episode starts tonight on NBC at 8 p.m. ET (check your listings for local times). If you miss it, you'll be able to catch it on Hulu and on the show's website (which is probably how I'll see it, unless a certain one-year-old observes his bedtime to the minute).

Of course we'll be blogging all about it. Keep up with this season and get our beginning genealogy guidance—for yourself or for friends who get inspired watching "Who Do You Think You Are?"—on our "Who Do You Think You Are?" landing page.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Friday, February 03, 2012 9:49:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 02, 2012
1940 Census Community Project Update
Posted by Diane

Here's an update on the 1940 Community Census Project, a partnership among FamilySearch, Archives.com and FindMyPast.com. It was the focus of a RootsTech bloggers dinner yesterday.

The 1940 census images will be hosted on Archives.gov, the National Archives website. Archives has been awarded the digitization contract for these images.

Indexing will begin as soon as the records are released online April 2. Each page will be indexed twice, with a third arbitrator to resolve difference in the two indexes.

FamilySearch is making upgrades and doing "test loading" to make sure its site can handle the extra traffic the indexing project will generate.

Chris Van Der Kuyl, CEO of brightsolid (the British parent company of FindMyPast.com), described the 1940 project as "one of the most exciting crowdsourced projects on the internet." A video commercial to be released on YouTube will bill it as a "national service project" and genealogical societies will receive incentives for galvanizing members to index.

Part of the funding provided by brightsolid and Archives.com will be dedicated to producing other free digital collections. The idea is that money that might otherwise be used to build competing census collections will now go to creating access to material that's not already online. It's "putting money into the community that would otherwise be duplicated," says John Spottiswood of Archives.com.

To volunteer for 1940 census indexing, sign up on the 1940 Community Census Project website.


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


Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | RootsTech
Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:40:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Brightsolid to Launch 1st Pay-As-You-Go Census Records Site
Posted by Diane

Remember how British genealogy company brightsolid was poised to announce plans to launch a new product for the US market? Here it is:

Brightsolid just announced a new pay-as-you-go site for US census records, 1790 to 1930, plus 1940 when it's released later this year. It'll be called CensusRecords.com, and is already live as as an early beta version that invites user feedback.

This is the first site that will let you search for your ancestors in the cnesus, then purchase the record with their names—a model that'll potentially make census research more affordable and accessible to those who don't want to commit to a genealogy website subscription.

No doubt brightsolid hopes—I know I do, too—that the pay-as-you-go service will lure casual researchers to get more involved in family history research.

Censusrecords.com visitors will be able to search for free. To view documents and download them to their computer, they can subscribe or buy pay-as-you-go credits, which start at $7.95 for 1,000 credits (good for 60 days).

Pay-as-you-go costs could add up if you're not sure you've found your ancestor and have to check a bunch of records, but if you're sure you've found the right folks, this could be your most cost-effective approach.

With the confluence of several factors—a growing interest in family history, economic concerns, anticipation for the 1940 census, and "Who Do You Think You Are?" showing genealogy to the masses—Censusrecords.com is poised to be a big hit. What do you think? (Hit Comments below to share your thoughts.)


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


census records | Genealogy Industry | RootsTech | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:33:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]