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Friday, June 01, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, May 28-June 1
Posted by Diane
- Think you have a relative who served in a household of
Britain's Royal Family? (Perhaps as Chocolate Maker to the Queen
or Strewer of Herbs?) In celebration of the Queen’s Diamond
Jubilee, British genealogy website findmypast.co.uk, in
association with the Royal
Archives, has added a collection of Royal Household Staff
Lists. It covers royal residences across the United Kingdom such
as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’ Palace, and
includes 50,000 staff records from the reign of King Charles II
to King George V (1660 to 1924). Details you might learn include
the person's occupation, age, length of service and salary.
- The Civil War Trust is holding its annual
photo contest. You can enter your Civil War battlefield
photos in five categories for prizes including publication of
your image, a trust membership, and registration to the trust's
annual conference. Enter before Aug. 26 by uploading photos to
the Trust's Flickr group—be sure to tag your image as directed
in the contest
rules. (Last year's winning photos are pretty impressive—view
- UK cemetery site DeceasedOnline.com
has added records for 120,000 mostly rural Scottish burials. The
records comprise from 99 cemeteries and burial grounds, with the
oldest dating back to 1526. That brings the total of Scottish
cemeteries with records on the site to 250. Once you search for
a record, you can use pay-per-view credits or subscribe to view
the full information it contains.
Cemeteries | Civil War | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 01, 2012 2:14:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
War of 1812 Genealogy Records Free on Fold3 in June
Posted by Diane
Subscription genealogy website Fold3 is opening up its War
of 1812 records for free access during June.
This is prime time for researching
ancestors who were soldiers in the War of 1812. The war
started 200 years ago June 18 when the United States
declared war on Great Britain.
Fold3's collection has more than 400,000 record images. That
includes 233,000 images of War of 1812 pension files never
before available online. Here's an overview of the free databases:
- War of 1812 Service Records:
These records consist of cards compiled from muster, pay,
receipt and other rolls for soldiers and sailors who served in
the war. For each person named, you'll usually learn his service
dates, terms of service, monthly pay, where he served, and other
- War of 1812 Prize Cases,
Southern District Court, NY: These records relate to
British vessels seized by American privateers and US Navy
vessels. "Prize courts" helped dispose of the ship and its cargo
as war prizes, and the records document questions asked of
sailors, witnesses and others.
Start searching Fold3's War
of 1812 collections here. You can search them all at once using
the search box at the top of the page, or scroll down and click a
collection title to search just those records.
- Letters Received by the
Adjutant General, 1805-1821: This correspondence came
from Army officers and enlisted men, the Secretary of War,
President and other officials, and it deals with Army personnel
and administrative matters. The records are part of NARA
record group 94.
For more help researching your War of 1812 ancestors, look for our
how-to guide by David Allen Lambert in the July/August 2012 Family Tree Magazine (it starts
mailing to subscribers in early June).
The War of 1812 is also covered in our guide
to researching ancestors in 10 of America's "lesser-known"
Family Tree Magazine articles | Fold3 | Free Databases | Military records
Friday, June 01, 2012 1:09:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Need an Easy, Memorable, Personalized Birthday or Anniversary Gift Idea?
Posted by Diane
Need a quick, fun way to say
"Happy birthday!" or "Happy
anniversary!" to a loved one? Here's a way to create a
personalized, memorable greeting—and at just 99 cents, it's more economical than a store-bought card.
Each of our Birth Year or Anniversary Memory Pages is a one-page PDF download full of fun trivia from the year of the
birth or wedding, including.
- top news and events
- movies, songs, fads and celebrity births
- average prices of common goods
- notable inventions and advancements in technology
After you download the PDF, just open it in Adobe Reader (a free download if you don't already have it), type in the recipient's name and
birth or wedding information, and save. Then you could:
- print and frame the customized page to create a
- print the page for an album of birthday memories
- mail the printed page or attach it to a present, as you would
- send it as an e-card via email
- post a digital image of the page to Facebook
You also could print the page and then write in the recipient's
name and other information.
Birth Year Memory Pages are available for each year from 1930
through 2010, and you can also get memory
pages covering decades from the 1930s through 2000s.
Anniversary Memory Pages are available in five-year increments from 10th
to 70th. This one's for a couple celebrating 25 years in 2012:
Take a look at our Birth Year and Anniversary Memory Pages now in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Editor's Pick | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Thursday, May 31, 2012 10:14:24 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1940 Census Indexing Update: States You Can Search By Name
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and FamilySearch.org (plus its 1940 Census Community Project partner sites) all have free record images available for the 1940 census.
All three sites also are in the process of creating and publishing searchable name indexes to the records. As of this posting, a total of 16 states (update: 20 states on 6/1), part of another one, and the District of Columbia are searchable.
Here are the states you can search at each site:
- Ancestry.com: You can search name indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada and Washington, DC. A chart on the 1940 census page lets you see indexing progress.
- FamilySearch.org: FamilySearch's volunteer indexers so far appear to be outpacing the paid contractors Ancestry.com and MyHeritage are using. You can search 14 states/territories by your ancestor's name: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.
FamilySearch.org's indexing progress map colors searchable states orange. To search, click the state on the map.
- Archives.com: At this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, you can search name indexes to the same states available at FamilySearch. To access the unindexed portion of the census, this site sends you to the National Archives' 1940 census site (which Archives.com designed and hosts).
- FindMyPast.com: As a 1940 Census Community Project partner, FindMyPast.com has the same states indexed as FamilySearch (though Alaska, a territory in 1940, is missing from the color-coded map on the home page). Update 6/1: FindMyPast also now shows Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana as searchable, though these states are not yet searchable on FamilySearch.org. Look for that to change soon.
- MyHeritage: Here, you can search a name index for Rhode Island, and a partial name index for New York.
The 1940 census records also are available on FamilyLink.com, which MyHeritage purchased last year. You'll need to register for a free account on the site (if you don't already have an account there) to view the records.
Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:07:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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:
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.
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.
Genealogy Web Sites | Military records | MyHeritage
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:45:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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.
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)
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.
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
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)
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
- 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
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.
- Duration: 60 minutes
- $49.99 (but register
now to save $10!)
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
Genealogy for Americans webinar will enable you to formulate
a solid research plan for discovering your Canadian kin. Register
Canadian roots | French Canadian roots | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:28:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Call for Pictures of Ancestors! You Could Win Our Family Photo Detective Book!
Posted by Diane
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
Genealogy books | Photos
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 2:42:34 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Exploring Hispanic Heritage on PBS' "Finding Your Roots"
Posted by Diane
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
- 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
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
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
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)