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# Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Q&A With Dick Eastman, the RV-ing Genealogy Blogger
Posted by Diane

For the “Five Questions” interview of our March/April 2012 Family Tree Magazine (page 12), we asked genealogy blogger Dick Eastman about his adventures in his new RV.

(March/April subscriber issues are mailing now, and the digital edition is available at ShopFamilyTree.com. The issue will be on newsstands starting March 6.)

It was hard to choose just five of Dick's answers for the magazine, so I’m putting all of them here. You can read even more about Dick’s peripatetic life from his RV blog.

Q. How long have you wanted to tour the country in an RV?

A. More or less forever. I don't remember when the idea first occurred to me, although I know it was many years ago. I have traveled extensively for business and for personal vacations most of my life. The "vagabond lifestyle" appeals to me. Now, for the first time, I am a homeless person and am enjoying it.

Q. Are RVs hard to drive?

A. Not really. Physically, motor homes are very easy to drive. They have automatic transmissions, power steering, and power brakes. The physical effort involved is about the same as driving an automobile.

However, the driver does have to remember that the motor home is wider and taller than an automobile and it doesn't stop as quickly. In other words, it doesn't stop on a dime. Anyone driving a motor home soon learns to leave a lot of space between the motor home and the vehicle in front of them. You also have to keep an eye open for low bridges and overpasses. 

Q. Where are you most looking forward to visiting in the RV?

A. Anyplace I have never visited before. While I have been fortunate enough to visit many well-known tourist attractions, I have missed hundreds of smaller "gems" and I hope to change that. I want to go to the balloon festival in Albuquerque, the huge airshow in Oshkosh, Wis., and drive the winding road in Deals Gap, NC and Tenn., which is supposedly the most winding road in North America, an attraction for anyone who owns sports cars. It has 318 curves in 11 miles. I hope to drive it in a sports car, not in the motor home. (I tow a car behind the motor home.)

Q. If 1 is someone who wakes up in the morning and decides on a whim where he'll park the RV that night, and 10 is someone who plans out every detail of his itinerary months in advance, what number are you?

A. Probably a 2 or 3. I deliberately do not plan very much. I prefer to be surprised. Occasionally, it backfires, but most of the time it works well.

Q. Have you ever gotten lost in the RV? (While driving it, not inside it.)

A. No. Never. Of course, I do carry four GPSs, a road atlas, a thick book of all campgrounds in the United States, a cell phone, and two two-way radios. It is difficult to be lost.

Q. What do you consider the most essential item for the RV-ing genealogist to possess?

A. Patience. The second most important thing is a good toolkit: pliers, screwdrivers, and things like that. Unlike your home, everything in a motor home shakes when you are driving down the road. The appliances in a motor home suffer a lot more vibration than home appliances will ever encounter. Wires under the dash shake loose, pictures fall off the wall (I had this happen), and other strange things happen. I am almost always performing some minor repair of an unforeseen problem.

Q. If you had to pick, which one of these bumper stickers would you put on your RV?: "This is how I roll" or "Genealogy is TREE-rific!"?

A. Genealogy is TREE-rific!

Q. If you could choose anyone from history as your RV copilot, who would it be?

A. OK, I have to give you two answers: Lewis and Clark. Those two adventurers set off to see things they had never seen before.

I would give honorable mention to several Arctic and Antarctic explorers, except that they spent much of their time in very cold weather. I have already done that. I was born in Maine, lived in northern Vermont, lived in northern New Hampshire, and spent two winters in the Canadian subarctic amongst the Eskimos in in Labrador. I've seen my share of cold weather! Now I am seeking sunshine.


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | 5 Questions Plus
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:51:58 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Picturing Your Family History
Posted by Diane


Are you learning as much as you should from your old black-and-white family photographs? Are you doing as much as you can to preserve them?


You can make sure the answer to these questions is yes by taking the latest Family Tree University Power Course, Picture Your Family History.

In this one-week course, you'll learn how to:

  • How to analyze photos for clues to discover your family history
  • How to use those clues to learn when and where the photo was taken, and who might be in it
  • How to scan photos to get the best possible digital image
  • Tips to rescue worn, torn, scratched, faded or moldy images
  • Free online photo editing tools you can use to digitally repair photos
  • How to repair damage to facial features in your family photographs
  • Where to get help when you can’t do it yourself

Power Courses give you two intensive hours of learning you can immediately use to solve your family history problems. In the time it takes to watch a movie, you can become a better genealogist. 

Click here to learn more about the Picture Your Family History Power Course. Don't forget to use promo code FTU2011 to save 20 percent on your registration.

The photo above shows my great-grandfather and my grandmother in about 1930.


Family Tree University | Photos
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:29:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, February 13, 2012
FamilySearch Raises Microfilm Rental Fee
Posted by Diane

Effective Wed., Feb. 15, FamilySearch will raise the fee for renting Family History Library (FHL) microfilm through FamilySearch Centers in the United States and Canada. The higher fee is "due to the increase in the price of raw microfilm stock and the decreasing availability of this product on the market."(The FHL typically reproduces films for loan to FamilySearch Centers.)

The price for a short-term film loan will be $7.50 per roll (that's up from $5.50), with another $7.50 to extend the loan. An extended film loan costs $18.75. A microfiche loan costs $4.75.

See the full announcement from FamilySearch here.

FamilySearch is posting millions of digitized records (which are being indexed by volunteers) on FamilySearch.org; see if the records you need are there before you pay to rent the film.

Learn how to maximize your FamilySearch Center visits with our guide, a $4 download from ShopFamilyTree.com.


FamilySearch
Monday, February 13, 2012 10:02:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, February 10, 2012
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Marisa Tomei Episode
Posted by Grace

Spoiler alert! Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happened on Marisa Tomei’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on NBC.

I missed some of tonight’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” and here’s why:

But I did see that she started out at home in New York, where her mother retold the family legend about how Marisa’s great-grandfather Leopold was killed in a bar by a jealous husband or someone he owed money to. That was the story Tomei wanted to find out about.

In Italy, Marisa was at first thrown off track by a cemetery record that said Leopold had died of an illness. That would have been a major bummer after all the murder mystery buildup.

But later (after the part I missed except to notice the beautiful Italian scenery and Marisa Tomei’s enviable wardrobe), newspaper articles and court records show that Leopold was killed by a business partner who'd been fired. The man hired a fancy lawyer and got off with a minor charge, then disappeared.

I think my favorite part of the episode was the letter a cousin wrote to Marisa to share memories of Leopold’s wife Adelaide. What a dream that would be.

If you missed this episode, you can watch it on the show's website.

See our "Who Do You Think You Are?" page for beginning research resources including our free downloadable Getting Started Cheat Sheet, plus show news and tweets.

If you have Italian roots to research, consult our $4 downloadable Italian Genealogy Guide and the book Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans by John Philip Colletta.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Italian roots
Friday, February 10, 2012 9:57:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
CD & DVD Clearance at ShopFamilyTree.com!
Posted by Diane

We're having a CD and DVD Clearance Event today through Monday at ShopFamilyTree.com!

You'll save 50 to 75 percent on how-to genealogy products including
  • 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine 2000-2009 DVD
  • Trace Your Roots Online CD
  • Family Tree Passport to Europe CD
  • Research Remedies CD
  • ... and more!

Click here to see everything included in our CD and DVD Clearance Event!


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, February 10, 2012 4:01:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 6-10
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added another 30 million new, free records to its historical records website—16 million indexed names and 14 million browsable images. Highlighting the additions are new databases from Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Micronesia, Slovenia and the United States. The new records also include millions of US births, marriages and deaths, and over 9 million church records from Sweden. See the list of new collections here.
FamilySearch also has launched a free mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and Droid that lets volunteers index digitized records. You can find it by searching for FamilySearch Indexing in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace.
  • Library and Archives Canada is starting a monthly podcast series called Discover Library and Archives Canada (LAC): Your History, Your Documentary Heritage. Episodes will introduce you to LAC services and archivists. You can subscribe to episodes using RSS or iTunes, or tune in on the LAC website.
  • Genealogists have formed the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO), to develop standards for the digital representation and sharing of family history informaiton. The goal is to make data exchanging work with different genealogy websites, software, applications and other services. FHISO will sponsor the Build a BetterGEDCOM Project, a grassroots effort started last year.

Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation
Friday, February 10, 2012 3:00:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Tonight on "WDYTYA?": Marisa Tomei Explores Her Italian Roots
Posted by Grace

Tonight on NBC's “Who Do You Think You Are?” actress Marisa Tomei explores her roots in Italy and tries to unravel a murder mystery in her family.

Here’s a preview video of Tomei receiving a letter from her 83-year-old Italian first cousin twice removed.

Of course we'll blog about the episode right here.

Ready to research your own Italian roots? Consult our $4 downloadable Italian Genealogy Guide and the book Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans by John Philip Colletta.

And see our "Who Do You Think You Are?" page for beginning research resources including our free downloadable Getting Started Cheat Sheet, plus show news and tweets.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Friday, February 10, 2012 8:48:52 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, February 09, 2012
Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers FTU Course: Just $39.99
Posted by Diane


If you're researching African-American ancestors, we've got a great deal on our Family Tree University course Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers: Research Strategies for Success, with instructor Tim Pinnick.

Thanks to a sponsorship from GenealogyBank, registration in the four-week session starting Feb. 20 is just $39.99 (down from the regular $99.99). So if you've been thinking about taking this course, now's the time.

You can learn more about the class and see the syllabus here. Past students have been surprised at the number of newspapers that have been published in the United States covering African-American communities.

Also check out Tim's Newspapers forum at Afrigeneas, one of our favorite genealogy websites for those tracing African-American roots.


African-American roots | Family Tree University | Newspapers
Thursday, February 09, 2012 10:00:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
RootsTech News Wrap-up
Posted by Diane

The RootsTech conference was the talk of the genealogy world last week. For those of you catching up on conference news, here's a listing of our RootsTech posts: Keep an eye on RootsTech.org and Ancestry.com's YouTube channel for each organization's recorded presentations to become available.

Next year, RootsTech will be a little later in the year, March 21-23, in Salt Lake City.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Videos
Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:10:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]