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# Monday, November 05, 2012
Why Yes, It Is Possible To Do Genealogy Online for Free!
Posted by Diane

Free is such as nice word—and we're going to help you apply it to your online genealogy research in our next One-Week Workshop.

Using Free Genealogy Websites One-Week Workshop

Our Using Free Genealogy Websites weeklong online workshop, taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, will teach you how to make the most of free websites and services to help you discover your roots. You'll learn:
  • secrets to glean more ancestral information from free sites and databases
  • how to search the web more effectively
  • the best free online genealogy tools—including those you’re not already using
The workshop gives you access to nine pre-recorded video classes—including encore presentations of some of our best Virtual Genealogy Conference sessions—featuring on-screen demos of the recommended websites and strategies.

Classes cover topics such as powering up your web searches, how to find online historical books mentioning your family, searching the free Ellis Island passenger database, using online newspaper research tools and more.

You'll also participate in daily message board discussions to ask questions, exchange ideas and connect with other students and expert workshop staff.

You can participate at your convenience throughout the week: Watch one class per day or fit them all in over a long weekend, then immediately apply what you’ve learned to your genealogy research.

Regular tuition for the Using Free Genealogy Websites One-Week Workshop is $129.99. But you can save $35 by using code WORKSHOPEARLY at checkout. Just hurry, this special code expires Friday, Nov. 16.



Family Tree University | Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | Videos
Monday, November 05, 2012 9:57:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, November 02, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has announced its US Immigration and Naturalization community indexing project is halfway to its goal of creating a free online collection of US passenger lists, border crossing records, naturalization records, and other immigration documents. Two months into the project, 85,000 volunteers have indexed more than 15 million records.

    FamilySearch hopes to have 30 million records indexed by the end of the year.  You can see what's been indexed so far and register to help out at FamilySearch.org/immigration.
  • According to Ancestry.com, actor George Clooney is Abraham Lincoln's half-first cousin five times removed through Lincoln's maternal grandmother, Nancy Hanks. Then men also share a home state of Kentucky: Clooney was born in Lexington; Lincoln, in Hardin County.

    Most genealogists understand such connections aren't really big news—with every generation, each of us has exponentially more cousins, and some of them are bound to be famous (others are bound to be deadbeats)—but writing this little blurb let me gaze at photos of George Clooney.
  • Speaking of making money doing genealogy, the Board for Certification of Genealogists is offering new video testimonials from professional researchers to help you decide if certification is right for you. The site also has posted an hour-long seminar about what you can expect from the certification process (and what's expected of you). 


Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | immigration records
Friday, November 02, 2012 11:28:10 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 01, 2012
Historical Hallows Eve
Posted by Tyler

Hi, I’m Taylor, the fall intern here at Family Tree Magazine. Nice to meet you all!

As Halloween rolls around, you begin thinking of costumes, candies and creatures. But where did all these spooks and treats come from? Before you crack out the latest scary movie and devour your favorite snack, let’s catch up on some Hallow-history.

According to our new book Good Old Days, My Ass Irish Potato Famine Immigrants brought Halloween and the jack-o-lantern to America after 1846. The original jack-o-lantern tale is rather gruesome. “Jack” trapped the devil inside a tree until he agreed that Jack, an avid sinner, would never go to hell. The devil then gave Jack a burning ember to light his way through the dark places in the world. Jack placed the ember into a lantern made of a turnip. When the Irish reached America, pumpkins proved more practical than turnips.

But, one of the world’s oldest holidays, Halloween celebrations have been going on since way past our time and have evolved from the festivals celebrated by our ancestors. Celtic Ireland is credited with creating our spook fests. Known as Samhain, Oct. 31 was for clearing out the old and starting new. As the Celtic New Year, Samhain marked the beginning of the 11th month.

Celtics believed that on this day, the thin veil between our world and the otherworld was weakest, allowing spirits to inhabit the land for a single night. While this mostly included deceased family members, malevolent souls were also allowed passage. The villagers would dress up in scary, distorted masks to deter evil spirits from causing them harm.

The Romans celebration was based on Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees, especially apples. Many dishes served during this gathering were apple based; this is where “bobbing for apples” is derived as well as caramel apples. Seventh century Pope Boniface wanted to channel citizens away from Pagan traditions and declared Nov. 1, All Saints Day, which kicked off Oct. 31 as All Hallows Eve.

While many countries continue these traditions, Hispanic countries have their own interpretation. Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a three-day celebration beginning on Oct. 31. This is a time when deceased loved ones return to their homes. Family members build alters to welcome their ancestors. They will gather favorite foods and items of the deceased as well as flowers and incense to guide them home. The family will then visit at the graveyard to remember those they’ve lost.

Check out these Halloween history websites to learn more.

www.history.com/topics/jack-olantern-history

www.randomhistory.com/2008/09/01_halloween.html

www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html



Thursday, November 01, 2012 8:23:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Top Tips for Finding Colonial Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Having roots in Colonial America is both a source of pride and frustation: How awesome that your ancestors have been on American soil so long and helped shape the direction of our country—but how difficult to trace them in centuries-old, unfamiliar and often-incomplete records. 

Here's your chance to get Colonial genealogy research advice from one of the best: New England genealogy expert D. Joshua Taylor.

Top 25 Tips for Finding Your Colonial Ancestors

Josh will present our next webinar, Top 25 Tips for Finding Your Colonial Ancestors, taking place Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7pm ET (that's 6pm CT, 5pm MT and 4pm PT). He sent us a few tips to keep in mind when you're tracing Colonial kin:
1. Verify, verify, verify. Because so many of our Colonial families have "already been done," it is important to verify data that has already been published. Mistakes in Colonial families can filter through several generations and cause headaches for genealogists.

2. It hasn't all been done. It is important to get over the common mindset that "my colonial families have all been researched," as there's still so much to discover. During the webinar, we'll talk about a few new resources for tracing Colonial families that are largely untapped by genealogists.

3. Study your history. The Colonial period is a fascinating time in our history, and it is important that you know exactly what was happening in the areas your ancestors were living. Boundary changes, disputes, conflicts with American Indians and a host of other events did impact the lives of our Colonial ancestors.
In the webinar, Josh will show you key strategies for discovering early American roots and tracing Colonial immigrants, which groups settled which areas during the era, common and lesser-known resources for Colonial kin, and the best websites to use.

Once you're registered for the webinar, you'll get
  • Participation in the live presentation on Nov. 13
  • The chance to submit questions before the event and again during the webinar
  • Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • The 75-page PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
  • Eight pages of additional handouts
Click here to register for Top 25 Tips for Finding Your Colonial Ancestors (if you hurry, you'll save $10 with our early bird special)!


Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:35:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Tips for Finding Your Ancestor's Death Record
Posted by Diane

When my husband and I were house-hunting awhile back, we looked at a house adjoining a small pioneer cemetery nearly concealed by trees. Which I thought was cool—you could see the area's history in the names on the worn stones. My husband said, "Quiet neighbors."

But a few friends looked stricken and said they might have to think twice about coming over.

So it goes for many of us genealogists. We're fascinated by cemeteries and death records; other people think that's creepy. But in the spirit of genealogy and Halloween, here are some tips on finding your ancestors' death records:
  • Death records are generally available after the state passed a law that counties or towns had to keep records and forward them to the state health department or vital records office. To find out when that was for your ancestor's state, download our free US Vital Records Chart (PDF document) from here. Compliance with the law wasn't always 100 percent, so keep that in mind.
You can get websites and contact information for state vital records offices from the Centers for Disease Control Where to Wrote for Vital Records listing.
  • Restrictions on public access to death records are generally shorter than those for birth records—depending on the state, it's usually 25 to 50 years if you're not immediate family. Check the state vital records office website for this information.

The town or county health department or a local genealogical society where your ancestor lived can tell you when death recording began there. Remember that these early records often aren't complete.

  • No official death record to be found? Look to other sources, such as newspaper obituaries and death notices, cemeteries, church records, US census mortality schedules and probate records. 

Learn more about tracking down death information for your ancestors from these Family Tree Magazine expert resources:


Research Tips | Vital Records
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:24:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, October 26, 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 22-26
Posted by Diane

  • The Chronicling America free, searchable database of historic US newspapers, has posted its 5 millionth newspaper page. Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2007 as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, the site digitizes newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. It now has more than 800 newspapers from 25 states. 
  • Old Weather, a joint project from the National Archives and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will have citizen scientists transcribing historic Arctic and worldwide weather data from digitized Navy, Coast Guard, and Revenue Cutter ship deck logs. Digital images of the logbooks will be available on the project's website and on Archives.gov. The records offer access to weather data and climate patterns from your ancestor's day, as well as details on US maritime history, military operations and scientific exploration. Learn more about the project and participate at OldWeather.org.
  • A new volunteer genealogy lookup site called Gen Gathering has announced it's looking for volunteers to do simple lookups for others in their home libraries or nearby repositories or cemeteries. You also can use the site to find volunteers who might be able to do lookups for you.  Learn more on the Gen Gathering website


Got Iowa ancestors? Our Iowa Genealogy Crash Course webinar, happening Tuesday evening, Oct. 30, will help you find their vital records, US and state censuses, land records and more. Learn more about the Iowa Genealogy Crash Course in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Genealogy Apps | Genealogy societies | NARA | Newspapers | Social History
Friday, October 26, 2012 11:30:38 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [31]
# Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Switching Things Around With Reverse Genealogy
Posted by Diane


I've just recently started the phase in my genealogy search where you contact distant cousins to exchange family information. It's a fun phase!, and not just because of the enlightening genealogy information and ancestral photos that turn up. It's neat to see how we're related and think about all the other folks out there who could by my cousins.

This is what reverse genealogy is all about: finding cousins, sharing family information and memories, and breaking down research brick walls. 

It's starting with your ancestors and working forward in time to find living relatives (the reverse of what genealogists typically do).

Our Reverse Genealogy Value Pack has all the tools you need to locate folks who may hold the keys to your tough family history problems:
  • Research Strategies: Reverse Genealogy article download by Lisa Louise Cooke: Get advice for making like Sherlock Holmes and finding cousins, including tips for figuring out where to look, as well as the best websites and directories to use.
  • Reverse Genealogy independent study course download: This course, also developed by Lisa Louise Cooke, has in-depth instructions on tracing your family lines forward to find living relatives.
  • They're Alive: Finding Living Relatives on-demand webinar by Thomas MacEntee: Learn about using people-finding websites, how to approach a possible cousin (without feeling like a stalker) and more.
  • Step by Step Guide: Safely Sharing Data Online article download by Rick Crume: You want to find relatives and you want them to find you, but how do keep from putting "too much" out there (and maybe letting the wrong people find you)? This advice will help you stay safe.
Right now the Reverse Genealogy Value Pack is just $49.99, a 66 percent savings. Get yours in ShopFamilyTree.com.

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2:32:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Arlington National Cemetery Launches Burial Database
Posted by Diane

Arlington National Cemetery has unveiled a public database of the 400,000 burials there.

Called ANC Explorer, the database is available online and as a Mobile app. You can search it to locate gravesites on a map; get details including birth, death and interment dates, and branch of service; generate front and back photos of a headstone or monument (where available); and get directions to those gravesites.



Building it led to the first review, analysis and coordination of almost 150 years of Arlington Cemetery records. The Army photographed 259,978 gravesites, niches and markers and instituted a rigorous process to review each headstone photo with cemetery records and other historical documents. The effort grew out of reports in 2010 of misidentified graves and poorly kept records at the cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, once the estate of the family of Martha Custis Lee, wife of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Veterans and family members from the Civil War and every subsequent US war are buried on its 624 acres.

The first soldier buried there is Pvt. William Henry Christman of Pennsylvania, on May 13, 1864.


Cemeteries | Military records
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:21:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, October 22, 2012
Cemetery Research Tips & More in the October 2012 Family Tree Magazine Podcast
Posted by Diane

The October 2012 Family Tree Magazine podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, celebrates Halloween with cemetery research tips, including:
  • Advice for cracking the "tombstone code"—the symbolism in carvings and inscriptions—from contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

  • How to preserve the genealogy and history information cemeteries hold, and share those details with others, from Family Tree University instructor and Find A Grave volunteer Diana Crisman Smith

  • Tips for visiting a cemetery (what you can do from home, what to bring and what to look for once you're there) from Family Tree University Cemetery Research 101 course instructor Midge Frazel

  • Tombstone rubbing dos and don'ts with Family Tree Magazine publisher and editorial director Allison Dolan
And Lisa and I chat about some recent big acquisitions in the genealogy world.

You can listen to Family Tree Magazine's free genealogy podcast in iTunes or on FamilyTreeMagazine.com. Show notes are on FamilyTreeMagazine.com, too.

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Cemeteries | Genealogy Industry | Podcasts | Research Tips
Monday, October 22, 2012 1:10:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
European Private Equity Firm to Purchase Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Online genealogy company Ancestry.com, rumored for months to be seeking a buyer, has found one in European private equity firm Permira.

Ancestry.com announced that company owned by the Permira funds and co-investors has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Ancestry.com for $32 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at $1.6 billion. Ancestry.com president and CEO Tim Sullivan, as well as its CFO/COO Howard Hochhauser, will keep a majority of their equity stakes in the company. Spectrum Equity will also remain an investor.

The transaction, subject to stockholder approval and other closing conditions, is expected to close in January 2013.

According to the announcement of the agreement, Ancestry.com will keep its focus on content, technology and user experience. It'll continue a growth strategy led by content acquisition and technology investment, with the support of the Permira funds and the investor group. It'll also expand its product offerings in areas such as DNA, and build the Ancestry.com brand and the family history category on a global basis.

There are no anticipated changes in Ancestry.com’s operating structure. Ancestry.com will remain headquartered in Provo, Utah, with a continued large presence in San Francisco, Dublin, London and other international markets.


Got Iowa ancestors? Our Iowa Genealogy Crash Course webinar, happening Tuesday evening, Oct. 30, will help you find their vital records, US and state censuses, land records and more. Learn more about the Iowa Genealogy Crash Course in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry
Monday, October 22, 2012 9:04:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]