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# Friday, September 07, 2012
Fresh Fall Sale (Plus Friends & Family Savings) at ShopFamilyTree.com
Posted by Diane

I wanted to do a quick post to let you know we're having a a big sale—the Fresh Fall Sale—in ShopFamilyTree.com! You can save up to 50 percent off select genealogy how-to CDs, DVDs, Video Classes, books and Family Tree Magazine back issues. 

You could get
  • on-demand webinars such as Using Probate Records or our Illinois or Michigan genealogy crash course
  • the Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference to keep handy (it's full of information and tips, and it really does fit in your pocket)
  • our Family Tree Essentials CD with how-tos on the basic genealogical records you need to search for
  • any number of Family Tree University Independent Study courses
... and lots more. Plus I'll let you in on our Friends & Family savings, which gets you another 15 percent off when you enter code FAMILY (expires Sept. 14) at checkout.

Shop the Fresh Fall Sale here, now through Sept. 15!


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, September 07, 2012 4:49:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 3-7
Posted by Diane

Congratulations to all the ISFHWE competition winners—you can see their names here!


Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, September 07, 2012 4:14:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Of Census Searches and Landlubbers
Posted by Tyler

Diana Crisman Smith has been researching genealogy since childhood and has served as a lay librarian at the local Family History Center for more than 20 years. She has written for numerous genealogical publications, including current regular columns in the National Genealogical Society’s NewsMagazine and the Association of Professional Genealogists’ APG Quarterly. In this guest post, she talks about the two sessions she is presenting at Family Tree University’s Fall Virtual Conference: “Smarter Online Census Searching” and “Finding Land Records Online”.

I’m Diana Crisman Smith, and I’ve been researching my family since I was eleven years old. I have been helping others with their research for more than twenty years through writing, speaking, teaching and volunteering at the Family History Center. I have roots throughout the US and Europe, but US research is the starting place for all my family branches. Two of the most useful tools I use in US genealogical research are land records and census records.

Now that so many of the US censuses are available in online images or indexed online, researchers have a wonderful opportunity to use these important records. We all know that they are not perfect, since we can’t always find what we want easily. Join me to learn some tips to make the best use of these records by searching smarter.

I also love “playing in the dirt” with land records. If your ancestors were farmers, they are critical for you; if they were city folk, they still may have land purchases (they bought houses just like we do, which means land records). For those who were in the “Western states” (essentially west of the original colonies, plus a few special states), the Bureau of Land Management website is one of the most useful, but little-known, resources of the Federal Government. Come learn to use some of the great information available through this source.

Act quickly—the conference starts next Friday, Sept. 14! Register now for the Fall Virtual Conference and save $20 with coupon code FRIENDSOFDIANA.



census records | Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Land records
Friday, September 07, 2012 10:20:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 06, 2012
Virtual Genealogy Conference Sneak Peek Video! Using Maps, Photo Restoration, German Places and More
Posted by Diane

In this three-minute video, several Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference expert instructors give snippets from their video classes. Watch to hear about
  • Google Earth and using maps in your research, with Lisa Louise Cooke
  • photo restoration, with Denise Levenick
  • using a genealogy research log, with Thomas MacEntee
  • immigrant ancestors and their foods, with Gena Philibert-Ortega
  • German place-names, with James M. Beidler


To see the Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference course catalog of 15 video classes, the live chat schedule, presenter bios and other details, visit FamilyTreeUniversity.com. (You can save $50 on your conference registration with discount code FTUVCFACEBOOK.)

And don't forget about our free upcoming "Meet the Presenter"social media chats—click here for information.


Genealogy Events | Research Tips | Videos
Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:33:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Get Strategies for Solving Brick-Wall Genealogy Problems
Posted by Diane


Maybe it's Great-great-grandma's maiden name or a 10-year gap in an ancestral family's whereabouts. Or your immigrant ancestor's passenger record is nowhere to be found. 

Whatever genealogy brick wall or elusive ancestor you're struggling with, we've put together a research kit that will help you conquer it. The limited-edition Ultimate Genealogy Problem Solver Collection gathers top tools and tricks for solving tough genealogy problems.



The collection includes:
  • Quicksheet: Historical Biographer's Guide to Cluster Research with advice from renowned genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills

  • 101 Brick Wall Busters with Family Tree Magazine experts' answers to readers genealogy questions

  • Research Remedies CD with guides to research obstacles from maiden name mysteries to incognito immigrants

  • Using Cluster and Collateral Searches to Beat Brick Walls recorded webinar with techniques for getting clues from records of your ancestors' friends, neighbors and relatives

  • Step-by-Step Guide: How to Fix Common Genealogy Errors, a digital download article with strategies for spotting errors in your family tree (and keeping them from coming back)

  • They're Alive! Finding Living Relatives recorded webinar has tips from genealogy sleuth Thomas MacEntee on finding cousins who might have family information

  • Family Tree Problem Solver by Marcia Hoffman Rising, the newly revised classic book with strategies and case studies for breaking through brick walls
Only 35 or so more Ultimate Genealogy Problem Solver Collections are still available (depending when you read this), and they'll be gone after September.

The price for all this is $69.99—a $100-plus savings over buying each item individually.

Get your Ultimate Genealogy Problem Solver Collection now in ShopFamilyTree.com!


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:11:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Finding Female Ancestors, Searching Online and More: Tips From Virtual Genealogy Conference Experts
Posted by Diane

We're holding live, free Facebook and Twitter chats with our Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference expert presenters to give you sneak peeks at the genealogy tips you'll get from this online family history conference.

We've got three chats to go:
  • Today, Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 4:30 p.m. ET, join our Tweet-up on Twitter with Gena Philibert-Ortega, who'll be talking about social history and tracing immigrants (we'll be using hashtag #FTUVC).
  • Stop by our Facebook page Thursday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. ET to get Rick Crume's advice on tracking down ancestors in UK civil registration records and Ireland's Griffith's Valuation.
Remember to translate the chat times into your time zone. You don't have to be a Facebook or Twitter member to see the chats, but you must be a member to post a question.

The chats we've already had are chock-full of research help! Here's where to find them:

The Family Tree University Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place online Sept. 14-16, gives you access to 15 video classes, live chats, our exclusive conference message board, and our virtual exhibit hall (where you can win prizes by being part of our exhibitor scavenger hunt).

To learn more, visit FamilyTreeUniversity.com. (Pssst!: You can save $50 on conference registration with coupon code FTUVCFACEBOOK.)


Family Tree University | Female ancestors | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | Research Tips | Social History | Social Networking
Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:34:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
English, Irish, Welsh or Scot: In Genealogy Research, it Matters Not
Posted by Tyler

Genealogy guru Rick Crume is a long-time contributing writer for Family Tree Magazine. At next week’s Fall Virtual Conference, he breaks free from his written word wheel house and brings you two interactive video presentations: "Using UK Civil Registrations" and "Tracing Irish Ancestors in Griffith's Valuation." No matter where over the pond your family hails from, the resources exist to dig out their stories. In this guest post, Rick gives a brief synopsis of his search-stimulating sessions:

If you have ancestors who emigrated from the British Isles in the nineteenth century, free online indexes are the perfect way to start tracing them. English and Welsh governments began recording births, marriages and deaths in 1837, but until recently, researchers had to physically visit Great Britain or spend hours scrolling through microfilm to thoroughly search the indexes. Now they’re available for free on several websites. By finding your ancestor's name in an index before requesting a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate, you’ll get faster service, as well as ensure that the record you are requesting is for the right person.

Before beginning research on family history anywhere in Europe, it’s often important to first identify the specific place where your ancestors lived. While many Irish records have been lost over the years, a tax survey conducted across Ireland between 1848 and 1864 survives. This can now be used to help locate your ancestors’ exact parish of residence. Armed with that information, you can then pursue other Irish records for information on your family.

Join me next week for two courses: "Using UK Civil Registrations" and "Tracing Irish Ancestors in Griffith's Valuation." You'll learn where to find the best free online indexes to these resources, tips for searching them effectively and how to use them as springboards to assist with future record finding.


Time is running out! Register now for the Fall Virtual Conference and save $20 with coupon code FRIENDSOFRICK.

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 05, 2012 10:07:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Show and Tell! Birmingham Public Library's Genealogy Research Heaven
Posted by Diane

After setting up Family Tree Magazine’s booth for last week’s Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Birmingham, Ala., I headed down the street a few blocks to the Birmingham Public Library to check out the Linn-Henley Research Library. It's in a lovely 1927 building (renovated in 1984) and holds the library's collections on Southern and local history and genealogy, maps and the city archives.

Local records here include municipal and county records; church, civic organization and business records; personal papers of local business and community leaders; and more. You'll also find plenty of microfilm here, including censuses and military records.

I’ve blogged a bit about the library and its digital collections, but here are some visuals to whet your genealogy research appetite:

The main Linn-Henley library entrance.

The main reading room, decorated with murals by Ezra Winter. Someone commented on Family Tree Magazine's Facebook page that the room "smells just like a library should," and that's exactly right. I love the smell of old books!

The print city and suburban directories start in 1883 and go into the 1990s.

Here's a small part of the family histories collection.

Many libraries have surname files like this one, full of assorted records and papers organized by family name. (There was nothing for Haddad or my other surnames—I wasn't expecting anything but you can bet I checked.) That envelope peeking out at the top of the photo was attached to 1990s letters relatives sent each other about their family history.



Visit the Birmingham Public Library's genealogy resources web pages here.

Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:01:02 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, August 31, 2012
NGS To Provide Genealogy Education to Facebook Gamers
Posted by Diane

Online social game company Funium and the National Genealogical Society (NGS) will work together so players of Funium's Facebook game Family Village can explore their family trees using a number of NGS resources and research aids.

NGS created a landing page on its website especially for Family Village players. It'll feature a step-by-step genealogy guide with instructional videos, and grants players free access to materials typically reserved for NGS members.

Funium officially opened Family Village to all Facebook users Aug. 21. Players foster their own personalized virtual community by building businesses and houses, immigrating family members, and assigning jobs. Family Village encourages players to build a documented family tree and matches that data with real-world documents, such as including newspaper articles, census records the users’ relatives.

Visit the NGS Family Village page here. To play Family Village, click here.

Friday, August 31, 2012 12:45:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Prepare for German Place Names
Posted by Tyler

German heritage has been the #1 most claimed ancestry in the US, so we here at Family Tree University have done our best to accommodate our Deutsch friends. In this guest post, Presenter Jim Beidler breaks down his session on German place names at Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference:

Probably the No. 1 goal of most genealogists is tracking one or more immigrant ancestors all the way to an Old World hometown, and the many folks of German descent are no different. Unfortunately, problems of history, phonetics and duplicated names often get in the way of that quest.

“Mastering German Place Names” is designed to combat these problems. I am a seasoned researcher that has been sleuthing for the Heimats of his almost entirely German-speaking ancestry for more than a quarter century, and will present my top tips in this Virtual Conference course.

Learn more about the Fall Virtual Conference.


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | German roots
Friday, August 31, 2012 11:31:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]