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# Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Free, Searchable WWII Genealogy Collections
Posted by Diane

To mark Memorial Day, subscription genealogy website WorldVitalRecords (now owned by MyHeritage) is making two of its World War II collections free through May 31:
  • WWII Army Enlistment records contain enlistee names, enlistment dates and other data taken from punch cards (so there's no original record to view). If you miss the WorldVitalRecords free period, you also can search these records free on the National Archives website and in Fold3's Memorial Pages.  
For help researching your military genealogy in records of WWII and other US wars, check out our CD Military Research Guide: Researching Ancestors in America's Wars.


Genealogy Web Sites | Military records | MyHeritage
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:45:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 25, 2012
Crash Course in Wisconsin Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Do you have ancestors in Wisconsin? Then get ready to rev up your genealogy research with our Wisconsin Genealogy Crash Course webinar next Wednesday, May 30, at 8 p.m. ET (that's 7 CT, 6 MT, 5 PT).

In this webinar sneak peek, presenter Lori B. Bessler, reference librarian at the resource-rich Wisconsin Historical Society, gives you the lowdown on US and state census records for Wisconsin, as well as vital records availability.



You can register for the Wisconsin Genealogy Crash Course in ShopFamilyTree.com. (Sign up today to save $10!)


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Videos | Webinars
Friday, May 25, 2012 2:07:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, May 21-25
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry.com updated its collection of U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls. This collection, which contains records from 1798 to 1958, now contains more than 39 million records. They include muster rolls (regular lists of those present in a given unit), unit diaries and personnel rosters.
  • The National Archives at San Francisco has officially opened to the public more than 40,000 Alien Files or A-Files on immigrants to the United States. The case files were originally created at immigration offices in San Francisco; Honolulu; Reno, Nevada; Agana, Guam; American Samoa and other US territories. The records were transferred to the National Archives from US Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2009. Millions more A-files will eventually be opened to the public—the files are closed for 100 years after the birth date of the person named in the records.
A-Files created at other immigration offices are kept at the National Archives facility in Kansas City, where 300,000 cases were opened to the public in 2010. 
  • A DNA study of Melungeons—a dark-skinned, mixed-heritage group historically residing in Appalachia—has found genetic evidence that these families descend from sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin. Researchers think the population mixing could have happened among black and white indentured servants in mid-1600s Virginia.
According to an Associated Press article, the finding has been controversial among Melungeons, some of whom believe they have Portuguese or American Indian ancestry. Read more about the findings (and how researchers thinks the claims of Portuguese heritage arose) in this news article.


Ancestry.com | Genetic Genealogy | immigration records | Military records | NARA
Friday, May 25, 2012 1:21:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Canadian Genealogy for Americans
Posted by Diane

Has your genealogy research led you to ancestors in Canada? That's not surprising—folks have been crossing the US-Canadian border for a loooong time. Consider:
  • After the American Revolution, around 35,000 Loyalists headed for Canada's Maritime Provinces.
  • By 1812, about 80 percent of the estimated 100,000 settlers in southern Ontario province were of American origin.
  • Approximately 900,000 French-Canadians emigrated to the United States from 1840 to 1930.
  • As available US land diminished in the late 1880s, Canada's Prairie Provinces saw a massive influx of Americans.
  • Around 1895, when US border-crossing records begin, as many as 40 percent of immigrants to Canada planned to end up in the United States.
  • In 1897, the Klondike Gold Rush spurred a stampede of Americans to the Yukon.

Fortunately for US residents tracing Canadian ancestors, an abundance of resources is available—but where do you start?

Why, with our next webinar, Canadian Genealogy for Americans

Author and lecturer Lisa A. Alzo will introduce you to major Canadian genealogy resources and websites, key record groups and essential history. You'll also receive our digital Canadian Genealogy Guide when you register. 

Here are the Canadian Genealogy for Americans webinar details:

  • Tuesday, June 5, 2012
  • 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, 5 p.m. Pacific) 
  • Duration: 60 minutes 
  • $49.99 (but register now to save $10!)
  • Registration includes: participation in the live event, access to the recording to watch again as often as you like, a PDF of the presentation slides, our Canadian Genealogy Guide

Our Canadian Genealogy for Americans webinar will enable you to formulate a solid research plan for discovering your Canadian kin. Register at ShopFamilyTree.com.


Canadian roots | French Canadian roots | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:28:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Call for Pictures of Ancestors! You Could Win Our Family Photo Detective Book!
Posted by Diane

photo-detective Would you like to win a copy of our forthcoming book Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries, and see your ancestors' faces in Family Tree Magazine?

Send us your favorite old family photo by Monday, June 4, and you could be the big winner (your photos may even appear in the book). Here's what the outside of the book looks like:
 


Inside Family Photo Detective, historical photography and genealogy expert Maureen A. Taylor will show you how to add names and stories to the faces in your old family photos. You'll learn how to use the clues in clothing, hairstyles, background and photographer's marks to identify when and where old photographs were taken. Case studies will show you how to apply photo-identification techniques to your family photos and combine photo evidence with your research in historical records.

The book will include a timeline of photography methods and styles, a decade-by-decade overview of fashion trends for men and women, and worksheets to record discoveries about family photos.

To send us your photo, e-mail it to us or post it to our Facebook page by Monday, June 4.

Note that by submitting your photo, you affirm that you are the owner of the image and it is not subject to copyright by any other party. You also grant Family Tree Magazine permission to crop the digital image as necessary for publication, and to use the image in any and all print and electronic media.

Questions? Comment here or e-mail us.



Genealogy books | Photos
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 2:42:34 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Exploring Hispanic Heritage on PBS' "Finding Your Roots"
Posted by Diane

roots post Sunday's season finale of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." on PBS focused on the Hispanic genealogy of political analyst Linda Chavez and actors Michelle Rodriguez and Adrian Grenier.

The trio shares Hispanic heritage, but each thought of him- or herself differently:
  • Chavez considered herself of mixed European heritage. She had roots in Spain's New World colonies going all the way back to the 1590s,  when an ancestor sailed to Mexico. In a surprise discovery, she learned many of her family were "conversos," Jews forced to convert to Catholicism, many of whom continued to practice Judaism in private. A large number of conversos left Spain during the Inquisition. Her grandmother's custom of turning a religious statue to face the wall hinted at the surprise—you can read more about this custom in Chavez' essay here.
  • Grenier, who'd always identified with American Indian roots because of a story in his mother's family, discovered he had a conquistador ancestor in Don Juan de Oñate 's army (kind of the opposite of having American Indian roots).

    Grenier seemed shaken when his connection to American Indian heritage was in question, but Gates' team did find a 1663  record at the New Mexico state archives identifying an ancestor as "Indio." So he does have American Indian roots, just further back than he'd believed. I wonder if he'll still identify himself as being American Indian?
  • Rodriguez is Puerto Rican through her father and Dominican through her mother. Gates described her tree as a "tangled web," provoking a hilarious reaction from Rodriguez. Her father's family intermarried repeatedly, likely in an effort to preserve "pure" bloodlines. Three of her third-great-grandfathers were brothers, and her great-grandparents were first cousins.

    Her surprise came on a trip to the Dominican Republic to learn more about her mom's family from a great-aunt. The aunt's parents—Rodriguez's great-grandparents—weren't married, it turns out. Her great-grandfather had a legal wife, and the two women raised the children together.

As in other episodes, DNA tests revealed guests' percentages of maternal ancestry from various parts of the world. You can read more about the tests and each person's results on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.

Also as before, Gates emphasized that mixing between ancestral groups or "races"—in this case, colonial Spanish and American Indian peoples—was common. This is part of what makes the definition of American really pretty broad.

Good news: From Lisa Louise Cooke's interview with Gates in her Genealogy Gems Podcast, it sounds like a second season is already in production.

Watch the full episode on the "Finding Your Roots" website.


Celebrity Roots | Hispanic Roots
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:25:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, May 21, 2012
Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Paula Deen
Posted by Diane

On Friday's final episode of the NBC genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV chef Paula Deen crisscrossed the state of Georgia tracing her maternal roots.

Deen's parents died when she was a young woman, so not much family information had made its way to her. The show focused on her third-great-grandfather John Batts, a slaveowning planter and member of the Georgia legislature from 1857 to 1860.

Batts' son William (brother to Deen's great-great-grandmother Eliza Batts) fought for the confederates in the 12th Georgia regiment during the Civil War. The Georgia Archives actually had letters he'd written home, as well as letters from his commanding officer. These missives gave Deen an intimate view into William's experiences and his family's reaction after he was killed in action.

At Fold3—the first time I can remember this subscription site being shown on WDYTYA?—Deen finds John Batts' application for a pardon from the US government. Most of the South was covered by President Andrew Johnson's blanket pardon, but wealthy planters like Batts had to swear loyalty and provide documentation they'd freed their slaves.

Tax records at Emory University show John Batts' fate. Things went downhill for the family after an economic depression in 1873. Deen and a researcher note declining values of John's personal and real estate until 1879, when the records show all zeros. A newspaper article reveals that John, sadly, had committed suicide.

Although "Who Do You Think You Are?" won't be returning next season, GeneaBloggers reports that for the first time this season, the episode came in first for viewership in its time slot and was the third-most-watched show for the evening.

These two short videos show research not included in Friday's episode, about Deen's fifth-great-grandfather Joel Walker, an early Georgia settler in the Savannah area.


You can watch the full episode about Paula Deen's family history journey here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Civil War | Fold3
Monday, May 21, 2012 9:27:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 18, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, May 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com announced that its 1940 census index for the state of Maine is now searchable free on the site. The site also has 1940 census indexes for Delaware, the District of Columbia and Nevada.
  • In addition to its six state indexes for the 1940 census (Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia), the free FamilySearch.org has added online records for Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United States, Venezuela and Wales.
US records come from Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. You can see all the new or updated collections and link to them here.
  • The Southern California Genealogy Jamboree is coming up June 8-10 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. Besides the classes and the free exhibit hall, highlights include one-on-one consultations with members of the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Professional Genealogists, three-hour Genealogy World roundtable discussions and a DNA Interest Group that can help you interpret genetic genealogy test results.  
  • The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has announced that the 2013 NGS Family History Conference, will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 8–11. The conference hotel and venue will be the LVH−Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton). Online conference registration isn't yet open. 


Ancestry.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, May 18, 2012 3:46:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, May 17, 2012
Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com Webinar
Posted by Diane


So you've got an Ancestry.com subscription, but you have a nagging suspicion that you're not getting your money's worth. You might still be missing that breakthrough genealogy record, or you could be frustrated by the sea of search results you get—some clearly not even close to being your ancestor.

Or maybe you're thinking about investing in an Ancestry.com subscription and wondering if it'll be worth it.

Our May 23 webinar will answer your questions and help you get the most out of your Ancestry.com membership. It's called Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: Tips, Hints and Hacks for Finding Your Ancestors. (Family Tree Magazine isn't affiliated with Ancestry.com, so this webinar won't be a commercial.)

Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com

The webinar will cover:
  • How to efficiently navigate Ancestry.com
  • Tricks for finding the record collections you need
  • Search tips for locating hard-to-find ancestors in Ancestry.com databases
  • Things Ancestry.com doesn’t tell you (like the limitations of its collections and how many freebies are on the site)

The Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com webinar takes place May 23 at 8 p.m. Eastern (that's 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain and 5 p.m. Pacific). It's presented by David A. Fryxell, a veteran genealogist and a Family Tree Magazine contributing editor.

We'll help you start finding the genealogy answers you need in the world's largest genealogy database website. Register for Your Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com now to take advantage of our $10 off early bird special!


Ancestry.com | Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Webinars
Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:27:09 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]