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# Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This Weekend's Genealogy TV Season Finales
Posted by Diane

This week's season finale of "Who Do You Think You Are?" is also the series finale, at least on NBC. In the show, chef Paula Deen learns about her family history in the Deep South. She discovers a senator, slave owners and family letters. Here's a short preview:



Watch the show at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on NBC.

Sunday at 8 p.m. on PBS' "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." actors Michelle Rodriguez and Adrian Grenier and author/journalist Linda Chavez explore their Latino roots.  All share Spanish colonial roots, yet they self-identify differently differently: as American Indian, Puerto Rican, Dominican or simply Latino.

Here's a video preview of Rodriguez's discoveries.

Watch Michelle Rodriguez's Puerto Rican Roots on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1:06:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act: Genealogy Resources for Land Records
Posted by Diane

homestead act post Were your ancestors among the millions who claimed federal lands under the Homestead Act of 1862?

We're coming up on the 150th anniversary of this groundbreaking (pun intended) legislation that accelerated the country's westward expansion. Look for opportunities to learn more about your homesteading ancestors.

President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862. Beginning Jan. 1, 1863, a homesteader could receive up to 160 acres of public domain land by applying for a claim (which required a filing fee), improving the land, living on it for five years, and then filing for a patent.

Anyone who was 21 or older or the head of a family—women, immigrants and freed slaves included—who'd never taken up arms against the US government could file an application to claim land.

The first person to claim land under the act was Union Army scout Daniel Freeman on Jan. 1, 1863. The story is he'd met some officials of the local land office at a New Year's Eve party and convinced them to open the office shortly after midnight so he could file his claim before reporting for duty.

Homesteading ended in 1976 in most of the United States and 1986 in Alaska. The last claimant under the act applied for 80 acres on Alaska's Stony River and received his deed until 1988.

Only about 40 percent of those who ever filed completed the application process and received land titles. More than 2 million homesteads were granted, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Between 1862 and 1934, 10 percent of land in the United States was privatized under the act.

Use these links to research your ancestor's homesteading experience:

General Land Office Records Online
The BLM's General Land Office (GLO) was charged with overseeing the homestead application process. It's free to search for and view more than 5 million federal land patents issued since 1820. (If your ancestor applied for a homestead but never received title to his or her land, there won't be a record here.) You'll also find a reference center with a land records glossary, FAQ and more.

Using Land Patents
This free FamilyTreeMagazine.com article has tips for using the GLO online records website.

Nebraska Homestead Records
Fold3 is digitizing the National Archives' homestead records for Nebraska. You can search the collection, which is 39 percent complete, for free. The files, from the Records of the Bureau of Land Management, consist of final certificates, applications with land descriptions, affidavits showing proof of citizenship and more. And here's a video about the homestead records digitization project.



Homestead National Monument of America
This national monument near Beatrice, Neb., explains the Homestead Act and its impact on the United States. Click the History and Culture link to learn more about the act, see its text, view maps, "meet" well-known homesteaders and more.

BLM: Commemorating 150 Years of The Homestead Act
This BLM site has a Homestead Act timeline; videos about historic homesteads, building a frontier home and more; and a Q&A.

National Archives: Ingalls Homestead Records
This article from the National Archives' Prologue magazine (Winter 2003 issue) discusses my favorite homesteaders—the Ingallses and Wilders of Little House on the Prairie fame—and shows portions of the families' homestead records.

Family Tree Magazine resources to help you research your ancestors' land records (whether federal records such as land entry case files or  local records such as deeds) include:


Fold3 | Genealogy Web Sites | Land records | NARA | Research Tips
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:36:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Sunday, May 13, 2012
NBC Won't Renew "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Posted by Diane

Next week's "Who Do You Think You Are?" season finale with Paula Deen has turned into a series finale: NBC opted not to renew the show for a fourth season.

We still may be able to catch the show elsewhere on TV. In a statement on the cancellation, Tim Sullivan--president of Ancestry.com, a partner in the series--said that his company and the show's producers, Is or Isn't Entertainment and Shed Media, are looking at other avenues of distribution.

See what shows were canceled here.

NBC's 2012-2013 lineup is here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?"

Sunday, May 13, 2012 10:15:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [39]
# Saturday, May 12, 2012
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Not All Family Legacies Are Happy
Posted by Diane

The young woman I bought coffee from this morning (before heading to our booth at the National Genealogical Society conference in Cincinnati) was talking about last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" and how she wants to check out the exhibit hall today. Which is what we hope the show will do--be the spark that takes someone's interest in family history and turns it into action.

So, the show: Actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis researched his dad's paternal line, discovering a legacy of sons who grew up without their dads.

A death record told Sudeikis his dad's dad, Stanley, died young, at age 32, from a fall, and shared a residence in Chicago with an unknown woman who was the informant on the record. A coroner's investigation shed more light on the situation: The woman was a cousin who testified that Stanley abused alcohol and slept in the park.

Court records showed Sudeikis his grandmother had filed for a legal separation from her husband because he'd abandoned the family. He'd never met Sudeikis dad.

It turned out he was living what he knew. In census and marriage records, Sudeikis found that Stanley's father, Stanley Sr., had abandoned his first wife (Sudeikis' great-grandmother) and married another woman in Connecticut. There was no record of a divorce from the earlier marriage.

Stanley Sr.'s father died in Pennsylvania in a mining accident when his son was a boy.

Not all family legacies are positive, but I like how this episode shows family history can be rewarding even when you're learning some sad truths. At the end of the episode, Sudeikis honors his dad for breaking a cycle, and being a great father even though he didn't have a model to follow.

You can watch this show online at the "Who Do You Think You Are?" website.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots

Saturday, May 12, 2012 11:52:20 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, May 11, 2012
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Jason Sudeikis
Posted by Diane

Actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis, known for his performances on "Saturday Night Live," is the guest on this week's "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC. Episode promos promise "one shock after another" in Sudeikis' family tree.

Here's a video sneak peek at the show:


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos

Friday, May 11, 2012 2:58:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 10, 2012
Ancestry.com Adds 10 Billionth Record
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website Ancestry.com announced the addition of the site's 10 billionth record today.

The announcement pointed out that its collection, which has grown 150 percent in the last three years, "is larger than those of all other online family history sites combined." On average, the site has added 55 million records a month since the website went online 15 years ago.

The earliest digitized records are wills executed in London in 1507. The earliest record indexes date back to marriage licenses and probated wills in Dublin from 1270. The most popular collection remains the US census.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites

Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:53:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
1000memories releases ShoeBox App for Android, ShoeBox 2.0 for iPhone
Posted by Diane

1000memories today launched its ShoeBox app for Android and a redesigned version of the app for iPhone. The app is designed to make your phone a sort of portable scanner: You "scan" a photo by snapping a picture of it, then upload the photo to your 1000memories site.

ShoeBox can auto-detect the edges of a photo and crop and straighten it. Users can add dates, names, locations and other information about the picture.

The newest version of the app for Android and iPhone lets users seamlessly organize scans into different collections and instantly share them with certain people using their mobile devices and the 1000memories site.

We blogged about the October 2011 debut of Shoebox for the iPhone here. Following that launch, ShoeBox became one of the top three free apps in the photography category and top two in the family history category.

ShoeBox is available in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Thursday, May 10, 2012 9:39:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 08, 2012
FamilySearch: 1940 Census Is Only One of This Year's Projects
Posted by Diane

At tonight's FamilySearch bloggers meeting at the National Genealogical Society Conference, FamilySearch both celebrated the progress of the 1940 Census Community Project and emphasized that it's just a part of what the organization hopes to accomplish his year. Here are some stats we were presented with:

  • Getting 400,000 historical record images online at FamilySearch.org is FamilySearch's goal for 2012, and the 1940 census is just one percent of that.

  • FamilySearch.org has collections for 60+ countries, with the United States leading the charge at 200 million images with more than 1 billion indexed.

  • More than 530 million digital images of historical records are on the site, with 1.7 billion indexed.

  • Comprehensive collections include Mexico civil and church records and civil registrations from the Netherlands.

  • FamilySearch has a contract with the Italian government to digitize civil registrations there dating through 1940.

  • Besides records, FamilySearch is also working on a program that has 10,000 volunteers answering genealogists' questions online via VOIP and chat technology.

  • Now for the 1940 census project, 101,000 volunteers have helped index or arbitrate census; 170,000 of them new this year. They were recreuited through genealogical societies (650 are participating), a blog ambassador program, targeted online advertising and other efforts.

  • 95 percent of all FamilySearch indexing activity is for the 1940 census, but as the project winds down, FamilySearch will try to transition those indexers to other indexing projects.

  • 30 percent of all the census records were indexed within 37 days. As of tomorrow, six states' indexes will be published: Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire.

  • California is more than 40 percent indexed.

  • Archives.com, findmypast.com, the National Archives and ProQuest also receive copies of the volunteer-created index.

  • The 1940 census index could possibly be completed (though not necessarily published) by July.


    census records | FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Italian roots
    Tuesday, May 08, 2012 9:58:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
  • Ancestry.com Adds WWII Cadet Nursing Corps Records
    Posted by Diane

    Ancestry.com has added more than 300,000 WWII Cadet Nursing Corps Card Files dating from 1942 to 1948.

    The United States Public Health Service supervised the Cadet Nurse Corps Program to train nurses during the war. The records name more than 124,000 women between the ages of 17 and 35 who participated in the program. Eighty-five percent of all nursing students in the United States were a part of the Cadet Nursing Corps. (Read more about the Cadet Nurse Corps program here.)

    The Corps was non-discriminatory; members included American Indians, African-Americans and even displaced Japanese Americans.

    The records include corps membership cards. Different versions were in use over the time period, but usually include at least the name of the cadet, serial number, name of the nursing school or hospital, address of the school, and dates attended.

    You can search this collection at Ancestry.com/nursing.

    Looking for a WWI Red Cross Army Nurse? Get research tips on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


    Ancestry.com | Female ancestors | Military records
    Tuesday, May 08, 2012 1:16:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, May 07, 2012
    Online Resources for Tracing Cincinnati-Area Ancestors
    Posted by Diane

    Do you have ancestors from the Greater Cincinnati area? So do some of us at Family Tree Magazine. Those who attend this week's National Genealogical Society Conference can visit our booth (#432) to swap ancestor resources, but if you can't get here, these are some of our favorite local genealogy resources you can access from home:
    • Northern Kentucky Genealogy Index
      This library just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati lets you search names in Northern Kentucky records including cemetery, church, city directory, court and more.
    Subscription site Ancestry.com has Ohio death records and Kentucky birth, marriage and death records; and the free FamilySearch.org has Ohio deaths, Kentucky probate records (unindexed) and Kentucky vital records indexes.

    Check the May/June 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine for our Cincinnati City Guide, which has even more resources and tips for helping you find ancestors in the Queen City.


    Research Tips
    Monday, May 07, 2012 2:33:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]