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<2012 April>

More Links

# Monday, 09 April 2012 to Release AncestryDNA Autosomal DNA Test
Posted by Diane

Before the 1940 census came out, genealogists on Facebook were buzzing about a new DNA test has been teasing but hasn't yet released.

Blaine Bettinger, who shares his expertise on on using genetic genealogy for family history research on his The Genetic Genealogist blog, tried out the new test for Family Tree Magazine. In this guest post, he explains what it can do for your family tree:

With each year, it seems, genealogists get new tools for examining their family trees. 2012 has already given us the 1940 census to spend countless hours with, and now plans to launch a new autosomal DNA test, AncestryDNA, later this year.

Autosomal DNA tests examine thousands of locations throughout your genome, and that information is used to estimate the percentage of the genome that's derived from regions around the world (called "admixture"). Test results also can help you identify genetic cousins by comparing your DNA to all other DNA in the company’s database.

AncestryDNA offers both admixture and matching, which they call “Genetic Ethnicity” and “Member DNA Matches:”

  • Genetic Ethnicity: This calculation is based on roughly 22 populations around the world from proprietary and public databases, with more likely to be added.

  • Member DNA Matches: This tool shows the individuals with whom you share DNA through a common ancestor. You also receive an estimate of the predicted relationship range (such as third cousin, fourth cousin). This tool also offers what I believe is the most interesting aspect of the AncestryDNA test: the automatic comparison of matches’ family trees.

    In other words, if John Doe and I share DNA, AncestryDNA will compare my family tree to his (if he has a public tree on to determine whether any surnames or even individuals overlap. If there are overlaps, both users will be notified.

    As someone who's spent many hours comparing family trees looking for common ancestors with genetic cousins, I believe this tool will prove to be very useful.

AncestryDNA is currently in beta and isn't yet available for purchase. No pricing information is available yet.

Disclaimer: This information is based on the beta version of the AncestryDNA test. Accordingly, results and features are subject to change before the full launch of the test. Further, I received a complimentary test from in order to evaluate the product. | Genetic Genealogy
Monday, 09 April 2012 09:59:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [7]
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Edie Falco
Posted by Diane

Actress Edie Falco straightened out some family stories on Friday's "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Her mom's cousin had made a family tree with Falco's great-grandfather George Megrath born in Wales; it said George's mother left his father there and took her son to America. Megrath was his mother's surname; his father's surname was Brown.

But at the New York Public Library, censuses show George was born in Wisconsin, with his father from England and mother from New York. Falco compares family stories being passed down to a game of telephone, in which the details get altered with every retelling.

Charles Brown was the "shadowy figure" referred to in episode promos. When an archivist at the Milwaukee County Historical Society helps Falco find "CC Brown" in an 1875 Minnesota census, Falco wisely asks "We don't know for sure this is him?" Brown is a common name.

But the archivist had done additional research in local histories to confirm it was the right man. Turned out he was a newspaper man who married and divorced several times.

Charles mother was a "Sister Katherine Brown," born "at sea" to a sea captain father based in Penzance in Cornwall, England. Unless I missed it, the show never did explain whether she became a nun or how the "sister" became part of her name.

My favorite part about this episode was Falco's search to figure out the truth about family stories. Here telephone game analogy is so true. You can watch it online at the "Who DO You Think You Are?" website.

This deleted scene shows more about another ancestral divorce in Falco's family:

Monday, 09 April 2012 09:29:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
"Finding Your Roots": Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon
Posted by Diane

On last night's "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr." Gates revealed the roots of Hollywood couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. (You'll be able to catch it online if you missed it.)

I was relieved to learn at the very beginning of that Kevin Bacon's caveman hair is for a movie role. Wondering about it would've been distracting.

Both come from distinguished New England families. A few years back I read the book In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family by Sedgwick's uncle John Sedgwick. I was glad to see him interviewed for this episode, and unsure what work the show's researchers would have left to do.

But they did discover something new: Family patriarch Theodore Sedgwick, a prominent lawyer in Colonial Massachusetts, owned a slave. This was surprising because he took on the case of a slave named Mumbet who sued for her own freedom, claiming that the new Massachusetts constitution made all men free—and she won.

Kevin Bacon's Quaker ancestor also owned slaves, though Gates pointed out that at least his will directed they should learn to read and be freed at age 35.

Gates' visit to a high school classroom demonstrated how little-known it is that slavery was so widespread in the northern colonies. I didn't realize that Quakers hotly debated the issue of slavery before setting themselves against it.

Sedgwick also took a DNA test revealing that she is half Jewish, and she seemed to express relief. But at the beginning of the show, she was described as half Jewish through her mother, so I didn't understand that emotion—perhaps some explanatory scenes were edited out.

And the big drumroll: Gates revealed to the couple that they're ninth cousins once removed (which is very, very distant). Even without the news reports coming out before the show, I would've seen this one coming a mile away, as soon as Sedgwick said at the start of the episode "My biggest fear is that we're cousins."

Celebrity Roots
Monday, 09 April 2012 08:52:53 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 06 April 2012 Maintenance
Posted by Diane

Just a quick housekeeping note to let you know is undergoing scheduled maintenance and may be unavailable for a brief period. If you visit and aren't able to find the genealogy how-to product you need, please wait a short time and try again. Thank you! Sales
Friday, 06 April 2012 15:30:55 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
1940 Census Status Update: PM Edition
Posted by Diane Record images for all US states and territories are available, as are searchable name indexes for Delaware and Nevada.

FamilySearch: Available record images are:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia

MyHeritage: Records for all states and territories are available now, as is an index to Bristol County, RI

National Archives: Records for all states and territories are available.

Check for books, article downloads, online classes and CDs on how to research your genealogy in census records. Enjoy looking for your 1940 ancestors this weekend! | census records | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | NARA
Friday, 06 April 2012 15:26:37 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]'s 1940s-Era Records Collection Free Through April 10
Posted by Diane

If you don't yet know your ancestor's address in 1940 for purposes of finding him or her in the 1940 census, here's a resource for you:'s collection of 1940s-era records is free to search through Tuesday, April 10. The collection includes birth, marriage, death and military records from the 1940s, plus US city directories and the 1930 US census.

Search the 1940s-era records collection here.

Note this collection doesn't include the 1940 census.'s 1940 census is a separate records collection, available free here. | Free Databases
Friday, 06 April 2012 09:54:32 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
1940 Census Status Update: Where to Find Your Ancestors' Records
Posted by Diane

You'll now see an "Index Status" column on's census progress chart. has published the first searchable name indexes to the 1940 census for Delaware and Nevada.

The site has almost finished uploading records for the states, predicting completion this morning. At this time, has record images for all states and US territories except Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and South Carolina.


FamilySearch has added a color-coded map showing its progress. Hovering over a state highlights the records-posting and indexing progress for each state (if nothing happens when you hover, try a different browser). On the map, Texas shows as "records unavailable," but they are online at FamilySearch, at least for the counties I tried.

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia


Records for all states are available here, as is an index to Bristol County, RI

National Archives:

All states are available. | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | NARA
Friday, 06 April 2012 08:41:41 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Edie Falco
Posted by Diane

Tonight on NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?," (8p.m./7 Central) Edie Falco—the actress who played Carmela on "The Sopranos" and the title role on "Nurse Jackie"—explores her roots.

In this preview, she tries to find out the identity of an unknown figure on her family tree.

Here's another preview:

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Friday, 06 April 2012 08:21:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 05 April 2012
1940 Census Status Update: Where to Find Records for Your Ancestor's State
Posted by Diane
  • Complete: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Panama Canal Zone, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

  • Almost complete: Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota

  • Next up: Maryland, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
MyHeritage: Records for all states are available now, as is an index to Bristol County, RI

National Archives: all states available | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage | NARA
Thursday, 05 April 2012 16:24:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Get Minnesota Genealogy Tips & Resources
Posted by Diane

If you've got roots in Minnesota, you should know the state has a lot more than lakes, the Mall of America and Garrison Keillor.

Minnesota also is a resource-rich state for discovering your family history, as you'll learn in our April 25 Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your North Star State Ancestors webinar.

Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course webinar Family Tree Magazine

Lifelong Minnesotan and genealogy expert <a href=" http:="""" target="_blank" border="0">Paula Stuart-Warren will spill secrets and share her favorite sources for finding Minnesota ancestors, which include the terrific Minnesota Historical Society (it has great online resources, too) and regular state censuses from 1865 to 1905. 

Whether you come from Minnesota's American Indian residents, early fur traders and soldiers, or later German and Scandinavian settlers, you'll learn how to find ancestor answers.

Here are the details: 

  • Date: Wednesday, April 25
  • Starting time: 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central/ 6 Mountain/ 5 Pacific)
  • Presenter: Paula Stuart-Warren
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Price: $39.99 when you register before April 18

Click here to register for the Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course at

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, 05 April 2012 09:49:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]