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<2012 March>

More Links

# Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Henry Louis Gates Genealogy Show Premieres March 25
Posted by Diane

The new genealogy series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr. premieres on PBS March 25.

Gates, a Harvard history professor who's hosted previous genealogy shows for PBS including African-American Lives and Faces of America, will explore the roots of 24 well-known Americans including Harry Connick Jr., Barbara Walters, Kevin Bacon, Condoleezza Rice, Sanjay Gupta and Martha Stewart.

Here's the twist that makes this show different: Each episode will feature a pair of celebrities "bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link." DNA testing takes over where paper trails leave off.

The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Johni Cerny, co-author of The Source: Guidebook for American Genealogy, contributed research to the series.

You can watch several clips on the show's website, including this extended preview:

Watch Extended Preview on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Celebrity Roots | Genetic Genealogy | Videos
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:51:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 19 March 2012
PSA: Don't Let Your 1940 Census Search Get Sidelined
Posted by Diane

The census is coming! The census is coming! To be exact, the 1940 census will be released in 14 days, at 9 a.m. April 2 at

We've gone over how to pinpoint your ancestors' 1940 census enumeration district(s) so you can zero in on their record.

Now, as a public service announcement to genealogists, we're carrying this important guest blog post from a noted expert in genealogical medicine regarding the 1940 census and avoiding research-related injury. Take it away, doctor:

Hello, I'm Dr. I.M. Enumerator, N.O.T.M.D. 

Significant clicking, scrolling and dragging will likely be required when you look for your ancestors in the 1940 census.

And unfortunately, too much mousing can lead to a painful condition called 1940 Census Clicker’s Wrist.

Because the 1940 records constitute the first digital census release, we doctors aren't sure what to expect. But those of us familiar with the condition's close relative, 1930 Census Scroller's Elbow, believe it could cause a sore wrist and forearm, stiff "trigger finger" and inability to uncurl the fingers from a computer mouse.

Uncontrolled, 1940 Census Clicker's Wrist could sideline your census search and require professional extraction of the mouse.

But there's no need to suffer. You can avoid the problem if you start this simple, three-step census training program now.**

1. Perform two sets of 10 reps each, twice a day, with one of these:

2. Follow with three minutes of stretching.


3. Become ambidextrous.  

For optimal census searching speed and performance, remember to taper your training program during the last few days before Census Release Day.

If 1940 Census Clicker’s Wrist should strike you, stop mousing immediately and apply ice.

 Don't let 1940 Census Clicker's Wrist stall your search for ancestors. Start your training program today! 

**Consult your physician before beginning any census training program.

Thank you to the doctor for this crucial information. Next, we'll talk about important supplies to stock up on so you'll be ready on Census Day.

census records | Genealogy fun
Monday, 19 March 2012 15:20:16 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Essential Census Tips and Facts at Your Fingertips
Posted by Diane

Just in time for the 1940 census hoopla to start, our new Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference puts resources, tips, lists and need-to-know facts for searching all US censuses right at your fingertips, in a handy book that's also very cute (it really does fit in your pocket).

Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference

The Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference includes
  • websites with census records and their coverage

  • questions from each US census, 1790 through 1940

  • maps of the territory covered in each federal census

  • a key to common abbreviations in census records

  • instructions given to enumerators for each census (which affects how they were to record your ancestors' information)

  • US population and immigration trends revealed in census records

  • explanations of special nonpopulation census schedules

  • resources for state and international censuses

The Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference is now available. Learn more about it in

census records | Genealogy books
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:13:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 16 March 2012
Save 50% or More on Genealogy Stuff at Now Through Sunday
Posted by Diane

Need a My Family Tree Research Planner?

50 percent off!

Our downloadable guide to tracing immigrant ancestors?

50 percent off!

A 2010 Family Tree Magazine back issues CD (after all, it's text-searchable and takes up a slim quarter-inch of bookshelf space)?

54 percent off!

You're probably getting the gist by now: For the Amazing Deals Sale at now through Sunday, lots and lots of genealogy how-to books, print back issues, CDs, article downloads and more are at least 50 percent off.

Click here to see everything included in the sale. Remember, in you get free shipping on orders over $25 (and digital downloads count toward the total). Sales
Friday, 16 March 2012 10:34:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, March 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • Genealogy and family network website MyHeritage now has a feature that lets members easily create family calendars. You can choose from 15 designs and 28 languages, and create a calendar in one click. It's automatically decorated with your family photos and populated with birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other events from your family site. You can add or change events and photos, too, and purchase your calendar for as low as $19.95 plus shipping.
  • Family tree wiki site has started a Genealogist-to-Genealogist Sharing Network (aka G2G). It'll allow researchers (whether or not they're WikiTree members) to ask other genealogists for help on topics such as general genealogy, research brick walls, or how to use WikiTree.
  • FamilySearch added 20 million new, free records to this week for Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, and 13 US states. The release includes 9 million California death records and 5 million Nevada marriage records. See the list of updated databases and link to each one here.
  • Florida International University (FIU) has acquired Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza's collection of thousands of books, handwritten and typed letters, photos and other primary documents relating to Cuba and Cuban genealogy. They include rare 17th- and 18th-century books, out-of-print publications, and thousands of unpublished genealogies and family manuscripts. FIU is now raising funds to create a Cuban center for genealogy centered around this collection. Read more about the Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza collection here.

FamilySearch | Fold3 | Hispanic Roots | Military records | MyHeritage | Social Networking
Friday, 16 March 2012 09:54:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 15 March 2012
Tips on Exploring Your Irish Family Tree
Posted by Diane

I grew up thinking I’m an eighth Irish, through my great-grandmother Mary Norris. But my genealogy research has since revealed that I’m only 1/16th Irish—Mary’s father was from Ireland, but her mother was German.

And this little guy is 1/32nd Irish:

So this St. Patrick’s Day, Leo and I will have to make the most of our respective slivers of Irishness.

Whether you're a lot or a little Irish, you share heritage with the second-largest heritage group in the United States. Here are some more stats:

  • 50,000 to 100,000 Irish came to America in the 1600s, and 100,000 more in the 1700s. Eight signatures on the Declaration of Independence belonged to men of Irish descent.

  • In the American colonies, up to 90 percent of indentured servants were Irish. 

  • About 250,000 Scots-Irish settlers from Ulster province arrived in the United States during the Colonial era. They were descended from Scottish and English tenant farmers settled in Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster.

  • In the century after 1820, about 5 million Irish arrived on US shores. Irish made up almost half of all US immigrants in the 1840s and one-third in the 1850s, the decades of the Great Potato Famine.

  • Today, Massachusetts is the most Irish state, with about a quarter of the population claiming Irish roots. has some great advice for tracing your Irish roots:

For in-depth help researching your Irish ancestors, take a look at our Irish Ancestry Value Pack, with:

  • how-to guides
  • the Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Irish Ancestors book download
  • the Irish Research 101 Family Tree University Independent Study course

The Irish Ancestry Value Pack is just $49.99 this month.

Editor's Pick | International Genealogy | Sales | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, 15 March 2012 08:09:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Upcoming Genealogy Webinars: Census Secrets and Indiana Crash Course
Posted by Diane

Just a quick reminder that our Online Census Secrets webinar is this Thursday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.

Family Tree Magazine publisher Allison Dolan will share key facts about censuses, where to find free census records and what to expect when the 1940 census is released. She'll also show you how to use the major online collections to find your ancestors, using real examples from webinar viewers to demo census search strategies.

Click here to learn more about the Online Census Secrets webinar.

And our Indiana Crash Course webinar is right around the corner next Tuesday, March 20 at 8 p.m. ET. If you have Hoosier ancestors like I do, click here to find out more about this learning opportunity.

census records | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 07:44:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 13 March 2012
House History Research Tips From the Virtual Conference
Posted by Diane

One of last weekend's Family Tree University Virtual Conference live chats I was really interested in was Marian Pierre-Louis' house histories chat. Researching my great-great-grandfather's cigar store and home in Cincinnati is on my genealogy to-do list.

In addition to hearing fascinating tales of participants' old family homes with kitchens constructed from peach crates, cheese packaging used for insulation and old newpapers as wallpaper, I got tips for researching the cigar store and other ancestral homes, such as my great-grandparents':

And I smuggled some tips from the chat to share with you all! (The conference participants can download chat transcripts to keep.) Here they are:

  • If the house is relatively new, Marian suggests starting with deed research. "I've researched every house I've lived in, even one built in 1985," she typed.
  • Start with the book and page number of the property deed in county or town records. Many areas have property assessor records online, where you can search by address. Then you'll trace the deeds to find out names of the previous owners.
  • City directories are a great tool for house history research, especially for multifamily dwellings or those with with renters.
  • You can get a historical contractor to walk through your house and 'read' it. "That is your best shot for knowing when the various parts were built," Marian suggests.
  • One participant asked whether it's possible to research a house that's been torn down. "Absolutely," Marian replied. "The deeds and tax records never disappear (well unless there's a fire in the courthouse or something)."

If you missed the Virtual Conference, the 15 video classes (see a few of them listed here) will be available soon at

And if you're particularly interested in house histories, we also have a digital download guide to researching houses in

Family Tree University | Photos | Research Tips | Social History
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 08:53:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Saturday, 10 March 2012
"Who Do you Think You Are?": Jerome Bettis
Posted by Diane

It was fun watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” in the company of other genealogists during our Family Tree University Virtual Conference live chat. (The conference is taking place this weekend.) 

In this episode, former Pittsburgh Steelers player Jerome Bettis visits Kentucky to learn about his mom’s roots. He didn’t trace as many generations as in some other episodes, but I liked the attention spent on each person.

Bettis, an African-American, turned to newspapers for details not documented in official records. He found references to court cases for his great-grandfather being struck by his boss, and in a separate incident, his great-great-grandfather being hit by a train.

The deck was stacked against each man in his case, but Bettis discovered in court records that his great-great-grandfather Abe Bogard won his complaint against the Illinois Central Railroad. Bettis actually got to talk to someone who remembered hearing about the case from men employed by the railroad at the time.

One of my favorite aspects of this episode was the way a Western Kentucky University history professor showed Bettis how to trace his family into slavery. Presuming that the name Bogard was taken from a former owner, Bettis found a white Bogard family in the area and checked will records and slave dower lists (reports of slaves women had inherited).

They found a Jerry and Eliza, with a son Abe. I can’t imagine the feeling that would hit you when you see a record showing that your family members were owned by other people, and monetary values placed on their heads.

The owner, Joseph Bogard, willed Bettis’ ancestors to his wife. After she died, Abe and his parents were sold off to separate owners. The good news is that the 1870 census, the first US census to name former slaves, showed the family was reunited.

Here’s a Western Kentucky University article about the professor’s work with Bettis

Here’s a article about making the jump from freed slaves in the 1870 census to enslaved ancestors in the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules

Update: For those of you wondering why Burnett Bogard, Jerome's great-grandfather, abandoned his family, part of the answer is in this deleted scene about a rift in the family's church:

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | African-American roots | Celebrity Roots
Saturday, 10 March 2012 10:17:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 09 March 2012
Genealogy News Corral, March 5-9
Posted by Diane

  •, along with United Vacations and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, is holding a sweepstakes to coincide with the DVD release of the movie The Descendants. (I have to admit I'm not much of a moviegoer, so I don't know whether The Descendants has anything to do with genealogy, but I do know George Clooney is in it.)

    Prizes include a "glamping" (glamorous camping) trip to Hawaii, a year-long membership and The Descendants on Blu-ray. Click here to enter.
  • added 31 million new, free records this past week for Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Italy, Micronesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia and the United States. Those with California roots, in particular, will appreciate the more than 24 million Golden State birth records dating from 1905 to 1995. See the full list of updated records and link to each collection here. | | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 09 March 2012 10:04:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]