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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Findmypast.com Officially Launches into US Genealogy Market
Posted by Diane
The findmypast.com website, part of British genealogy company
brightsolid, has been online for awhile now with US census records
including 1940, but brightsolid today announced the official launch of
In today's press release, brightsolid positioned itself as David to
market leader Ancestry.com's Goliath. From the release (you can read
the whole thing here):
“We’re not used to thinking of ourselves as small”, says
Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of brightsolid, the world’s second largest
genealogy company. “Our ambitions are big and the launch of findmypast.com is a major
market entry. The truth is that it’s a growing market, with plenty
of room for both of us.”
“We aim to become the go-to family history site, first for
Americans of British and Irish descent, and eventually for all
Americans”, says van der Kuyl.
Brightsolid's first product for the US market, the pay-per-view census site censusrecords.com, launched in February
in conjunction with FamilySearch's RootsTech conference.
Now brightsolid's US focus is on Findmypast.com, which will
offer family tree
building plus subscription or pay-as-you-go access to US
census, vital and military records; plus records from the UK,
Ireland and Australia.
Those overseas records will include UK censuses, English and Welsh
vital records, local parish records, UK passenger departure lists,
British military records, Irish vital records and British
about records coming to findmypast.com here.
Update: Findmypast.com has an introductory subscription offer of $4.95 per month for a World Subscription (normally $249.95 per year), which gives you access to all the aforementioned content.
Brightsolid, which has
18 million registered users across all its websites and more than a
billion genealogical records, boasted a growth rate last year of 75
percent. Last year, the British-focused findmypast.co.uk saw 4.5
million visits from outside Britain, with US residents supplying the
largest portion of those visits.
Following up on last
month's reports that Ancestry.com is seeking buyers,
brightsolid also used today's press release to squash any rumors
that it wants to acquire Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:49:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Monday, July 23, 2012
Behind the Scenes at "Antiques Roadshow"
Posted by Diane
The PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" was filming in Family Tree Magazine's hometown of Cincinnati on Saturday, and I
and our intern Jen were lucky enough to see what goes on behind the
Something like 37,000 people entered the lottery for
3,000 pairs of free tickets for the Cincinnati event—a show record, from
what I understand.
I'll write about the experience and my interview with "Antiques
Roadshow" producer Marsha Bemko in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine,
but we won't have room for all the photos I took. So I'm sharing some
of them here (you can see several on Facebook, too).
First, an overview: Here's the line of folks waiting for the
"triage" area, where each person got a ticket to see the pottery
or prints or folk art or other appraiser. The triage folks
would spot unique items and decide whether an item's appraisal
would be filmed. The person who brought it was sent directly to
the Green Room (off limits to press) until the appraisal took place.
Here's where those lines for various types of items converged.
Appraisals and filming happened in the screened area.
A big part of the day for guests was waiting in line.
These crew members are setting up to film an appraisal.
Here Wes Cowan, who's been with the show for years and also stars on
PBS' "History Detectives," examines a framed
photograph. Cowan is from Cincinnati, but appraisers came from
everywhere for the event.
We were invited to bring items for appraisal, too (and even lucky
enough to bypass the line in my first photo above), so I wrapped up this
glass bowl in plenty of bubble wrap. It was a
wedding gift to my great-grandparents in 1908, and I don't want to
be the one to break it.
The glassware appraiser told me it's called
a bride's basket, and this one's style actually dates it to earlier than 1908, from the
Victorian era. So it may have already been an heirloom when my great-grandmother received it. It's not worth much money, which is fine with my mom
and me—we want it to stay in our family forever. The appraisal was
over in a few minutes. I got the feeling the appraiser has seen a
lot of these.
Do want to make sure your family heirlooms are preserved for posterity? Here are some resources for you:
Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:21:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, July 20, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, July 16-20
Posted by Diane
- Archives.com is sharing another one of its neat
infographics—this one about California in the 1940 census.
You'll learn interesting tidbits such as: The state had a
population of 6.9 million, Betty White was an 18-year-old in Los
Angeles, and a new Plymouth Coupe cost $645. You
can see the infographic on the Archives.com blog.
- An online name index is now available for the service records
of 320,000 WWI airmen in Britain's Royal Air Force (formed in
1918) and its forebears, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal
Naval Air Service. Read about
the index here and in
this post on the archives' blog.
I didn't find any search
instructions, so the method I discovered by trial and error is going
to the archives' catalog and selecting the All Collections
tab. Click the More Options link, then scroll down in that
window and check the Air Force box under Military. Type a
name into the search box and click the magnifying glass. You
might need to use the filters on the left to limit your results
to the AIR (Air Ministry and Royal Air Force) collection.
To browse, go to this
page on the British national archives website. Officers'
records are arranged by name; airmen records are arranged by
service number. Also see this
guide to finding records of airmen in the Royal Air Force.
Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | UK and Irish roots
Friday, July 20, 2012 2:19:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Find Genealogy Research Bargains in our Summer Sizzler Sale
Posted by Diane
What to do while you're inside trying to beat the summer heat?
Why not learn more about how to do family history research? We'll
make it easier with our ShopFamilyTree.com
Summer Sizzler Sale: Now through Monday, July 23, you'll save
40 percent or more on genealogy how-to books, CDs, digital download
guides and video classes.
For example, you can pick up:
to check out these and other genealogy how-to bargains in our ShopFamilyTree.com
Summer Sizzler Sale.
Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:51:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Latest FREE Family Tree Magazine Podcast Focuses on American Ancestors
Posted by Diane
Tune in to the July 2012 Family Tree Magazine Podcast for tips on
researching the genealogy of your American ancestors. Host Lisa Louise Cooke and Family Tree Magazine experts
You can listen to the free Family Tree Magazine Podcast through iTunes or
census records | immigration records | Military records | Podcasts | Research Tips
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:24:40 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Monday, July 16, 2012
Finding Female Ancestors, Cloud Back-ups and Going to the Library: Tips From Our Online Genealogy Records Workshop
Posted by Diane
Participants in last week's How to
Research in Genealogy Records online workshop shared tips and
asked questions in daily chats about everything from researching
in libraries to backing up genealogy data.
Just for you, I smuggled out a bunch of tips on finding women ancestors, backing up your data in the cloud and preparing for a library research trip:
Finding female ancestors
For a hard-to-find female ancestor, go sideways by researching her children, husband, siblings and
Family Tree Magazine editor Allison Dolan
DeBartolo Carmack's advice from way back in our April 2001 issue:
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese said that the 'history of women cannot be
written without attention to women's relations with men in
general and with 'their' men in particular, nor without
attention to the other women of their society.' ... Those who successfully find the maiden
names and parents' names of female ancestors aren't focusing
their research efforts on just the woman in question."
Allison also shared her favorite
websites about women's history and genealogy:
Backing up your computer "in the cloud"
Online community editor Tyler Moss and Sunday chatters exchanged
ideas for cloud back-ups. He uses Dropbox, which offers 2GB of
free storeage plus more if you can get others to join the service.
Subscriptions start at 100GB for $9.99 per
To use Carbonite,
you pay a subscription fee (starting at $59
per year per computer) to have your computer automatically sync
with your backup on the cloud.
is a backup service that lets you start with a free 5GB account.
Google has some
storage options starting with 5GB of free space.
Tyler also shared this
on cloud storage systems from tech site Gizmodo.
Preparing for library research
In the chat I facilitated on genealogy research at
libraries and archives, folks shared what they bring with them to the
change for copiers, $1s or $5s in case I need to buy copy cards, a flash drive
for saving digital images if the library is
so equipped, notepad, pen, a snack (to be consumed
where permitted), catalog printouts for materials I want and any necessary
family tree info.
Others recommend a personal scanner or phone with a camera, laptop, sweater and sticky notes. Tyler even comes
prepared for long research sessions with a chair cushion.
Some libraries don't permit scanners, cameras, sticky notes or other items, so check the website or call ahead.
We were all impressed with one chatter's description of her master
genealogy to-do list: She keeps a spreadsheet with columns for
... and more. She can easily sort the list by library
name and priority. I need to try this!
- title of the item needed
- holding library
- catalog number
- format (book, microfilm, etc.)
- priority level
(high, medium, low)
Fall 2012 Virtual Conference
You, too, can take online genealogy classes from experts and be part of exclusive chats and message board discussions with other researchers—it'll all be part of Family Tree University’s Fall 2012 Virtual Conference, Sept. 14-16.
Learn more about the Virtual Conference on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
Female ancestors | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips | Tech Advice
Monday, July 16, 2012 3:34:38 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, July 13, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, July 9-13
Posted by Diane
- British subscription genealogy site findmypast.co.uk announced it
has added more than 2.2 million records in the past month, including
parish baptism, marriage and burial records collections dating back
to 1568 for Wales, East London, Sheffield/Yorkshire, Kent,
Lincolnshire, Plymouth and West Devon. Search the records at
The National Archives
Southeast regional facility in Atlanta is planning an exhibit
and workshop on Ellis Island immigration records. The Ellis Island:
The Lost Mural exhibit opens July 21 with a replica of a 1938 Works
Progress Administration mural from the Ellis Island immigrants'
dining hall, along with immigration documents and portraits of
famous immigrants including Alfred Hitchcock, Greta Garbo, Alexander
Graham Bell and others.
A related genealogy records workshop with
immigration records expert John Philip Colletta will be held Sat.,
Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $20; call (770) 968-2555
if you're interested in attending.
Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, July 13, 2012 2:23:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Ancestry.com Adds 15 More States to Free 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com is opening the floodgates on its 1940 census indexing:
This morning, free, searchable 1940 census indexes for 15 more
states are available at Ancestry.com. "We ... are now very well ahead of
schedule from our initial completion predictions," says spokesperson
This makes 25 searchable states plus Washington DC on Ancestry.com.
The 15 new states are:
Already indexed at Ancestry.com were Colorado, Delaware,
York, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington DC.
- New Hampshire
has 31 searchable states in its free index (which also is searchable
via Archives.com and findmypast.com): Those include
all but three states west of the Mississippi River (indexes for Arkansas,
Missouri and Texas aren't yet completed). Eastern states with
indexes at FamilySearch include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana,
Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and
Since MyHeritage released its
1940 census indexes for Rhode Island and part of New York, we
haven't heard about any new states.
The 1940 census is free to
search at all the sites hosting records.
Ancestry.com | Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch
Friday, July 13, 2012 11:56:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Ancestry.com Acquisition Means Changes at GeneTree and SMGF.org
Posted by Diane
GeneTree, the genetic genealogy and family tree building site
Ancestry.com acquired earlier this year, will close. Customers
received e-mail notification to download DNA results and pedigree
before Jan. 1, 2013.
An FAQ page on Ancestry.com contains
instructions for customers to download
information from GeneTree and, if they want, upload
it to Ancestry.com (you can opt for a free guest account
instead of a paid subscription).
If you've ordered a test from GeneTree or have questions about
transferring your information to Ancestry.com, see this FAQ page
As part of the deal, Ancestry.com also acquired the DNA assets of
the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy
Foundation, which has collected DNA results and associated
family tree data for 12 years. The Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA
results databases on the smgf.org website will no longer be
updated, but they'll continue to be available.
From the SMGF.org
SMGF has decided that AncestryDNA?
is better positioned to provide the benefit to the public that is
central to SMGF's mission. For this reason, SMGF's DNA-related
assets were acquired
by AncestryDNA in March 2012
. SMGF is very excited to join
AncestryDNA , and we are confident that the pioneering work begun
at SMGF will continue to grow and have an even greater impact on
the future scientific understanding and public outreach of genetic
Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry | Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, July 12, 2012 2:56:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Search Iceland Censuses Back to 1703—Free!
Posted by Diane
Are you researching genealogy in Iceland?I saw on the National Genealogical Society's UpFront blog that the Iceland
National Archives has put an index to many censuses online (and
the site is available in English).
You currently can search censuses for 1703, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1850,
1855, 1860, 1870, 1890, 1901 and 1910.
Censuses for 1762, 1801, 1816 and 1880 will be added soon. And
according to the website,
images of selected censuses from the 18th and 19th centuries
will be added when they become available.
The basic search lets you search one or more censuses on the name,
household position, farm/house name, parish or county. The advanced
search lets you search on a combination of these, plus age and sex.
In your search results, click on a person's name
to see details such as sex, age, marital status, household position,
religion and place of birth. Click in the Farm/House column for that person to see a list
of everyone in the household.
The information from the census is in Icelandic, of course. I used
Google Translate to get a translation for household position terms.
That column seems to be roughly equivalent to US censuses' relationship to
the head of household (such as "wife," "child") or occupation (such
as "farmer," "maid").
The site also has population
statistics from Iceland's censuses and interesting historical information
about censuses there.
If you do happen to have ancestors from Iceland, you'll find more
resources for researching them on our International
Genealogy Passport CD, which compiles helpful genealogy
websites, publications and organizations from nearly every nation on
Free Databases | Genealogy societies | International Genealogy
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 3:36:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)