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<2012 August>

More Links

# Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Fluffing Out My Family Tree With Social History
Posted by Diane

Compared to the sprawling family tree on my mom's side, my dad’s paternal side looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It goes back only to my great-grandparents, and has my grandfather and his siblings, and my dad and his sisters.
I haven’t found any siblings of my great-grandparents, and I’m not ready to tackle genealogy in the old country, Syria.
I’ve accepted that my paternal tree is going to stay short for the time being. So what I’m focused on now is fluffing out and decorating this Charlie Brown tree with social history details that tell me what my relatives’ lives were like.
Here’s one find: I learned from a city directory that in 1924, after he’d graduated from high school, my grandfather was a helper at the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas.


From Google searching, I learned that the bakery is still in business and pretty well-known.
I Googled the bakery name and history, and found a catalog entry from the Baylor University Institute for Oral History, describing a 1971 interview with owners of the bakery. A transcript was available. I found a Contact link and asked about the best way to get a copy on paper or digitally. Within two days, I had an email with a link to download a PDF.

Two of the men interviewed had started working at the bakery as young men, around the time my grandfather did, and they chatted with the interviewer about their work. Here’s a description of wrapping the bread:

The bakery also made fruitcake, which it's now famous for:

I'm not sure Grandpa was around for fruitcake season, since another 1924 city directory for Austin says he was a student at the University of Texas.

From this and other records, I know he attended the engineering school then and again in the 1930s. Searching online for the history of the school, I turned up a booklet titled:

A history of the department. It looks to be a draft, because it contains editors' notes. Besides information on the school, professors and student life, it gives the curriculum my grandfather likely followed:

Social history is everything that was going on around your ancestor. It could be an acute local event—the county fair, a new business opening up or a natural disaster—that directly affected family members. It could be a long-term occurrence, such as a population migration or war. Or it could be a contemporary issue they shook their heads over.

I'm starting close to home with my grandfather's school and work, but there's a lot to explore. These free articles will help in your social history search: Check out all's social history articles (both free and Plus) here.

A fun approach to discovering social history (and reminiscing with Mom and Dad) is our book Remember That? A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Fun Facts, Headlines, & Your Memories, which lists news and facts on politics, fads, sports, music, movies, inventions and more from 1930 to 2010.

You'll also find places to start in our downloadable Resource Roundup of social history websites. Also don't miss the History Matters column in every issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Do you have a favorite social history tip or resource? Click Comments below to share it.

Libraries and Archives | Oral History | Research Tips | Social History
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:51:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
FTU Virtual Genealogy Conference: Meet the Presenters on Facebook and Twitter
Posted by Diane

Family Tree University’s Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, happening online Sept. 14-16, gives you an all-access pass to 15 family history video classes presented by the same experts you might pay an arm and a leg to see at a regular genealogy conference. You'll also get to share ideas and tips with other attendees in exclusive live chats and on our conference message board.

And it's all from the comfort of home (or wherever you have internet access).

In the coming weeks, you can meet six of our conference presenters, learn about their classes and ask them questions during our free upcoming “Meet The Presenters” social media series.

To participate, just hop onto Facebook or Twitter at the scheduled times below (remember to translate into your time zone) and like or follow Family Tree Magazine:

Virtual Conference classes



Thomas MacEntee
  • Power Up Your Web Searches
  • Tricks For Using
  • Research Logs For The Rest Of Us

Facebook Chat

Wed., Aug. 22

2 pm EDT/
1 pm CDT/
noon MDT/
11 am PDT

Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Best Websites for Finding Historical Maps

Facebook Chat

Mon., Aug. 27

4pm EDT/
3 pm CDT/
2 pm MDT/
1 pm PDT

Lisa A. Alzo
  • Secrets to Tracing Female Ancestors
  • Canadian Immigration Records

Facebook Chat

Tues., Sept. 4

3 pm EDT/
2 pm CDT/
1 pm MDT/
noon PDT

Gena Philibert-Ortega
  • Top 10 Tools For Social History
  • Cook Up Answers About Immigrant Ancestors

Tweet Up (#FTUVC)

Wed., Sept. 5

4:30 pm EDT/
3:30 pm CDT/
2:30 pm MDT/
1:30 pm PDT

Diana Crisman Smith
  • Smarter Online Census Searching
  • Finding Land Records Online

Facebook Chat

Tues., Sept. 11

3 pm EDT/
2 pm CDT/
1 pm MDT/
noon PDT

Rick Crume
  • Using UK Civil Registrations
  • Tracing Irish Ancestors In Griffith’s Values

Facebook Chat

Thurs., Sept. 13

1 pm EDT/
noon CDT/
11 am MDT/
10 am PD

Visit Family Tree Magazine on Facebook here.

And here we are on Twitter.

Pssst! Want to win a registration for the Virtual Genealogy Conference? Click here to enter our Virtual Conference Sweepstakes before Aug. 22 at 11:59 p.m.

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:38:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 14 August 2012
New on Genealogy Conferences and Events Calendar
Posted by Diane

Looking for a genealogy conference or workshop where you can take classes and meet other family historians? Want to get the word out about your genealogy society's conference or workshop?

We've started a Genealogy Conferences and Events Calendar on, where we'll list upcoming national, local, regional and online genealogy events. Stop by to look for workshops and conferences near you.

Send us an email about upcoming events you'd like to see listed. We'll need to know:
  • event name
  • date
  • city and state where it's taking place
  • theme (if there is one)
  • URL of a web page where people can learn more about the event

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:57:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 09 August 2012
FamilySearch 1940 Census Index Grows to 37 States
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has added six more states/territories to its free 1940 census index, for a total of 37 states indexed here. The additions are
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington, DC
  • West Virginia
Volunteers for the 1940 Census Community Project, a collaboration among FamilySearch, and, have finished indexing the 1940 census records. Index data for the remaining 14 states are still being processed. 

Now on FamilySearch, you can search 1940 census records for all the indexed states at once here (I like this interface so much better than the previous map with the state progress pop-ups that were constantly covering up other states).

Or you can narrow your search to a particular indexed state here

You can search 1940 census records for all states on, whose index will be free through 2013.

Want to improve your genealogical skills and connect with other family historians—all from the convenience of home? Check out Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place Sept. 14-16. Early bird registration ends Friday, Aug. 10 at 11:59 p.m.—just enter code FTUVCEARLY at checkout to save $50! | | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:40:19 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 08 August 2012
Record Relatives' Stories With New, Free iPhone App
Posted by Diane

If you're headed to a family reunion or even just visiting Grandma's house, here's a free app you might consider downloading to your iPhone (let's hope there's an Android version out soon):

The Saving Memories Forever app lets you record family stories, then store them on the Saving Memories Forever website.

The app is free, as is a basic membership on the site. An enhanced site membership (lets you have unlimited "Story Tellers" and "Story Listeners," add photos to stories and more) costs $3.99 per month. You'll find a comparison between the basic and enhanced memberships here.

From the app's Quick Start guide (download it from the Saving Memories Forever website), it looks like the app is designed to record responses to questions, rather than a freeform oral history interview.

If you don't have an iPhone, you can upload audio files from your computer to the Saving Memories Forever website, but they must be mp3 files. Learn more about how the site works here.

Not sure what to ask Grandma? We list 20 questions to ask your family members on (free article). 

And if your interviewee isn't much of a talker, you'll find our downloadable guide to oral history interviews with reluctant or reticent relatives on

Become a better genealogist and connect with other family historians from the convenience of home at Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place Sept. 14-16. Hurry! Early bird registration ends Friday, Aug. 10 at 11:59 p.m. Just enter code FTUVCEARLY at checkout to save $50!

Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | Oral History
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:43:54 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 07 August 2012
Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference: Get Family History Help From Home
Posted by Diane

Would you love to soak up all the genealogical knowledge and fellowship you can handle—but you don't have the time or extra income to travel to a family history conference in another city?

We've got the perfect opportunity for you: Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference. This weekend event, taking place Sept. 14-16, gives you online access to video classes, live chats with genealogy experts, our conference message board and a swag bag of freebies from

Attend from wherever you have a computer and internet access. Watch the classes and post to the message board whenever you want during the event; chats take place at scheduled times (conference attendees can view the chat transcripts later).

And you can save $50 with our early bird registration special, but only through August 10 (use code FTUVCEARLY ).

Classes, taught by pros including Thomas MacEntee, Rick Crume, Diana Crisman Smith, James M. Beidler, Lisa A. Alzo, Denise Levenick and others, are organized into three tracks:
  • Genealogy Technology: includes Power Up Your Web Searches, Smarter Online Census Searching, Tricks for Using, and more
  • Research Strategies: Secrets to Tracing Female Ancestors, Paperless Pedigrees: Organize Your Genealogy Electronically, Research Logs for the Rest of Us, and more
  • Ethnic Research: Mastering German Place Names, Using UK Civil Registrations, Tracing Irish Ancestors in Griffith's Valuation, and more
Chat topics cover cloud genealogy, source documentation, courthouse records, brick wall problems and more. I always look forward to the chats, tossing around research questions and advice with genealogists from all over the place.

Here are the Family Tree University Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference basics:
  • When: 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16
  • Where: your internet-enabled computer
  • What: all-access pass for 15 half-hour recorded video classes, live chats, our conference message board and swag
  • Registration fee: $149.99 through Aug. 10 with coupon code FTUVCEARLY

We'll see you at the conference!

Genealogy Events
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 16:35:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 06 August 2012 New York Offers Free New York Genealogy Records
Posted by Diane

An agreement between and several New York genealogy organizations has created New York, a free searchable database of New York records on

Records include state censuses, naturalizations, marriages, military records from several wars and federal special censuses from 1850 to 1880.

Free access to New York is available to New York State residents, but you'll need to set up a free account if you're not already a subscriber. Start on this state archives web page, where you're directed to type your New York State zip code into the search box. You'll be redirected to the New York page on Run a search there, click on  a search result, and set up a free account when prompted (don't click on the trial offer or Subscribe link) to get access to the New York records.

I'm hoping something similar is in the works for other states!

Researching New York ancestors? Check out our online video class New York genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Empire State Ancestors, available in

Want to improve your genealogical skills and connect with other family historians—all from the convenience of home? Check out Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place Sept. 14-16. Early bird registration ends Friday, Aug. 10 at 11:59 p.m.—just enter code FTUVCEARLY at checkout to save $50! | Free Databases
Monday, 06 August 2012 16:36:03 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, 03 August 2012
Genealogy News Corral, July 30-August 3
Posted by Diane

  • Recent records updates to bring the site's free Slovakian records collection to more than 5 million searchable records. Plus, you can browse the Slovakia 1869 census on Other record additions come from South Africa, Canada, Poland, Portugal and the United States.
Click here to see the updated collection and link to each on on

FamilySearch | NARA | Social History
Friday, 03 August 2012 12:04:58 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
1940 Census Now Fully Searchable on
Posted by Diane has announced that its 1940 census index is now complete—you can search it for ancestors in all 48 US states (Alaska and Hawaii hadn't yet become states in 1940) plus territories.'s index will be free to search through 2013.

FamilySearch isn't far behind. Its volunteer-created index is almost complete, and only 19 states' indexes remain to be added to the site's search. The 1940 census index is free on as well as its 1940 Census Community Project partners and | | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Friday, 03 August 2012 09:18:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 02 August 2012
Scanning Old Family Photos With Flip-Pal
Posted by Diane

Now that we're carrying the Flip-Pal mobile scanner in, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I gave it a try on one of my favorite pictures: My great-grandparents on their porch in Bellevue, Ky., about 1925, judging from my grandma's age (she's the baby).

The scanner is nice and light, about the size of a book, and it runs on four AA batteries. The scanning window is smaller than a desktop scanner, 4x6 inches, so you need to scan a larger document in parts and then stitch them together. (The scanner comes with Easy-Stitch software to do this.)

You can scan at a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi. 300 is the lowest recommended dpi for images you want to digitally archive, and will allow you to make a good print that's the same size as the original photo. 600 dpi is even better, because you can enlarge the photo before printing it.

I tried the Sketch Kit, sold separately from the scanner, which lets you annotate photos and documents in a low-tech way. It's a clear acrylic panel you place over your picture and write on with an erasable marker, like so:

Then to scan the annotated photo, you pop out the Flip-Pal lid, flip the scanner over and press the big green button to scan the Sketch panel on top of your picture:

(I kept accidentally pressing the green button during the lid removal and flipping.) Here's that scan:

You'll also want the photo itself, minus the Sketch panel. For that, you pop the lid back in and place the picture face down on the scanner, as you would for a desktop scanner. The scan:

The images are saved onto an SD card. I discovered just this morning that my computer here at work has an SD card reader—perfect. (The scanner is also compatible with wireless Eye-fi SD cards.) If you don't have a card reader, you can plug the card into the included SD-to-USB adaptor and stick that into your computer's USB drive.

You can see technical specs for the Flip-Pal scanner here and FAQs here. I did these two quick scans without reading instructions, but I'll check them out to learn more about the scanner settings and how to use the stitching software.

You can find the Flip-Pal scanner and accessories such as the Sketch Kit  and a carrying case in If you're trying to decide whether to buy, we've also got a Flip-Pal product review article download.

Got a bunch of family photos and heirlooms you need to archive and share? Learn how in our Aug. 9 Digitize Your Family History webinar.

Editor's Pick | Photos | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Thursday, 02 August 2012 13:02:43 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]