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<February 2013>

More Links

# Friday, February 01, 2013
Genealogy News Corral: Special Black History Month Edition
Posted by Diane

In honor of Black History Month this month, today brings you a special African-American history-themed news roundup:
  • An interactive online map—a companion to the PBS "American Experience" documentary The Abolitionistslets you explore the story of the abolitionist movement in America. Powered by History Pin, the Abolitionist Map of America has images, documents and videos from dozens of libraries, museums and other institutions.

    Cincinnati, located on the boundary of free and slave states, was a major Underground Railroad stop. Our Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Genealogy Local History Department selected images and recordings on subjects such as the site of local antislavery newspaper the Philanthropist, the focus of two anti-abolitionist riots in 1836; and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, where the Uncle Tom’s Cabin author lived with her family for various periods of time from 1833 to 1836. 
To find African-American genealogy events near you, check with your local genealogical or historical society, or public library.

Check out articles on researching African-American roots here.

African-American roots | | Fold3 | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives
Friday, February 01, 2013 1:45:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogists Win With FamilySearch/OCLC Partnership
Posted by Diane

Two indispensable genealogy resources are joining forces, resulting in a win for genealogists wanting to access offline family history materials.

FamilySearch and OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center) have reached an agreement to list the holdings of the FamilySearch genealogy catalog in WorldCat, the OCLC's online search portal to catalogs from 74,000 repositories in more than 70 countries.

Under this partnership, OCLC will incorporate data from FamilySearch’s catalog into WorldCat, and FamilySearch will use OCLC cataloging services to continue to catalog its collections in WorldCat. FamilySearch will also incorporate WorldCat results into search results returned by FamilySearch genealogy services.

Once they're combined, instead of searching WorldCat for family and local histories and other sources, then searching FamilySearch for genealogy records, you'll be able to run a search at either site for results from both.

That'll also make it easier to see when a library near you holds copies of FamilySearch genealogy resources—including printed books, which FamilySearch doesn't circulate to its local FamilySearch Centers.

On WorldCat, you can set up a profile to create your own bibliographies, review materials, and more. WorldCat also has a Facebook app so you can search from within Facebook.

Get the most out of WorldCat by downloading our WorldCat search tutorial for genealogists from for $1.99.

Once you find materials you want to borrow from the FamilySearch Family History Library, you'll need to plan a visit to a FamilySearch Center. Click here for our tips on doing genealogy research at FamilySearch Centers.

Read more about the FamilySearch/OCLC partnership in the organizations' press release.

FamilySearch | Libraries and Archives
Friday, February 01, 2013 9:44:20 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Beat Your Military Research Brick Walls
Posted by Diane

Your great-great-grandfather's military pension records could have the answers you want about his Civil War service and the widow he left behind ... if only you could find the records.

Or maybe your military genealogy brick wall is one of these:
  • the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center, which destroyed most records for Army personnel discharged from 1912 to 1960, and air force personnel discharged from 1947 to 1964
  • privacy restrictions for post-WWI soldiers
  • service in a lesser-known war, without widely available or publicized records
  • service during peacetime, rather than a specific war
  • several similarly named soldiers, any one of which could be your relative (at $80 a pop, you won't be ordering that pension unless you know it belongs to your guy)
  • a POW
  • a female ancestor in the Army Nurse Corps, Cadet Nurse Corps, Women Airforce Service Pilots or other unit
  • ... or you just don't know what records are available with regard to your ancestor's military service, or how to get them
Our next webinar, Expert Tricks for Beating Your Military Brick Walls, may be for you. David Allen Lambert, a military research expert and chief genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, will show you the best strategies for solving difficult military records research problems—and he'll tackle real-life brick walls of webinar participants.

You can either submit your military brick-wall questions when you register or during the live Q&A session. Here are the details:
  • Date: Wednesday, Feb. 20
  • Starting time: 7pm EST (that's 6pm CST, 5pm MST and 4pm PST)
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Registration: $49.99 (but save $10 if you register before Feb. 13)
  • Includes: participation in the live event, the ability to watch the webinar again as many times as you like, a PDF of the presentation slides and our "Brick Wall Busters: Proving Military Service" handout.
Click here to learn more about the Expert Tricks for Beating Your Military Brick Walls webinar!

Editor's Pick | Military records | Webinars
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:06:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Free Access to's Black Genealogy Records in February
Posted by Diane

Fold3 is providing free access to its Black History Collection of historical and genealogical records for the month of February—Black History Month in the United States. 

Those records document slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the World Wars and the Civil Rights Movement. Here's a sampling of the record sets in the collection
  • Court Slave Records for Washington, DC
  • South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732–1872
  • US Colored Troops Civil War service records
  • Southern Claims Commission records
  • The Atlanta Constitution newspaper
  • WWII "Old Man's Draft" Registration Cards
Some of the record sets, such as the Southern Claims Commission records (Southerners' reimbursement claims for property Union troops seized during the Civil War) and WWII draft cards, also will cover non-African-Americans.

Visit the Black History Collection home page to see samples of the records and links leading to more information about each collection.

You'll need to set up a free registration to access the collections. On the Black History Collection home page, click on the link in the blue box to get started.

If you're tracing black ancestors, you'll find tips and advice in guides at, including:
Click here to see all the African-American genealogy research helps at

African-American roots | Fold3 | Free Databases
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:20:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 28, 2013
I Found the Maiden Name—But What Is It??
Posted by Diane

So I finally got my hands on a copy of the divorce case for my my third-great-grandparents, Thomas and Mary Frost (more later about how I got it). As I hoped, it has her maiden name!

There's just one problem—I can't read it, exactly:

Alanis Morrisette would call this situation ironic.

I searched for Mary Wol*am (the wildcard * can stand in for more than one letter). Some of the possibilities are Wollam, Wolam, Wolham, Woldham, Woltam and Wolfram.

I even found an 1850 census record for a Wollam family living in Ohio with a Mary of the right age, born about 1840. But this family has no Matilda, one of Mary's sisters, who gives her name but not her age in a deposition for the divorce case. The same family (I think) in later censuses doesn't have a Matilda, either, and is no longer in Ohio. (My third-great-grandparents married in Cincinnati in 1865.)

I can't find a family in the census that fits Wolham, my first thought when I read the name. And no luck yet in my search for a Wol-something-am (or a Frost) marriage record.

I've looked through the rest of the 103-page file for another maiden-name mention and can't find one, though the writing is really hard to make out in places. I need to spend some quality time with the document.

Are you searching for a female ancestor's maiden name? Check out our new Family Tree University course Finding Female Ancestors (I'm planning to!), which starts this week—it's open for registration through Friday. You'll get help developing a research strategy for female ancestors, teasing out maiden names and more.

Here's the link to learn more about the Finding Female Ancestors course.

court records | Female ancestors
Monday, January 28, 2013 12:30:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [21]
# Friday, January 25, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 21-25
Posted by Diane

  • Just a reminder: You have until Monday at 11:59 p.m. ET to register for our Family Tree Magazine VIP giveaway! Some lucky person will win a free one-year VIP subscription, which includes a subscription to the print magazine, a Family Tree Plus membership (giving you access to exclusive how-to articles on our website), tuition discounts at Family Tree University, 10 percent off every order, and our Family Tree Toolkit. Register here for your chance to become a Family Tree VIP for free
  • The Minnesota Department of Human Services is gathering bids for a project to digitize 5 million pages of old adoption records dating as far back as the late 19th century. The records are now on about 2,000 rolls of microfilm and likely include thousands of adoptions (the exact number isn’t known because files vary in length). Adoption records in Minnesota become public after 100 years, according to, and 2017 is the 100-year anniversary of the law mandating adoption recording. 
  • You might’ve heard about HBO's upcoming fictional genealogy series, "Family Tree." It stars Chris O’Dowd as a Brit who occupies himself by investigating his family history after he loses his job and his relationship. Thanks to contributing editor Rick Crume for sending me a link to an Entertainment Weekly article about the show. Do you plan to watch?

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Genealogy societies | Public Records | Vital Records
Friday, January 25, 2013 11:14:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, January 24, 2013
Last Chance: Save $50 on our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Hi, all! Just wanted to let you know that our $50 off your Virtual Genealogy Conference registration promotion ends Friday night, Jan. 25! To take advantage, click here and enter the code WINTERVCEARLY at checkout. 

Family Tree University’s Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference takes place Feb. 22-24.You get an all-access weekend pass 15 half-hour video classes, live chats with genealogy experts, an attendees-only message board and more. It’s a great option for people who want to get better at doing genealogy without having to take time off work or pay the travel expenses.

Click here to see the Virtual Genealogy Conference video class topics and chat schedule

Click here to register for the Virtual Genealogy Conference

Remember, you have until tomorrow, Jan. 25, at 11:59 p.m. ET to save $50 with promo code WINTERVCEARLY.

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:11:22 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Search Irish Vital Records Free on Thursday Jan. 24
Posted by Diane

Researching ancestors in Ireland? Flex those typing muscles: Tomorrow, Jan. 24, Irish genealogy website will let you access 21 million Irish vital records free in honor of its first Irish Family History Day.

This according to the Irish news websites IrishCentral and siliconrepublic

The vital records, new on the site, range from the 1800s to 1958. Read more about them here is a website from brightsolid publishing, which also operates (US), (Australia and New Zealand) and (England, Wales and Scotland), among other genealogy websites. When you visit from the United States, you may get a pop-up suggesting you use the American site, but you can just close it and carry on.

Also, if you're in the United States, be mindful of time zone differences when you plan your search session(s). is based in Dublin, which is five hours ahead of the US East Coast.

Update: Now that Irish Family History Day is upon us, I found more information about this offer. Visit's Irish Family History Day page for a promo code that gets you 50 free credits to use the site's pay-as-you-go records. The code is valid through Jan. 31.

Free Databases | UK and Irish roots | Vital Records
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:04:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Editors' Pick: Expert Tricks for Beating Your Military Brick Walls Live Webinar
Posted by Beth

Ever wished you had a professional genealogist at your beck and call when trying to solve your military brick wall? Have you run into obstacles while tracing your military veteran ancestors and want tips for getting on track? Or do you just need some general strategies for battling brick walls? Find the solutions you're looking for in Expert Tricks for Beating Your Military Brick Walls Live Webinar.

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 20
Time: 7pm EST/6pm CST/5pm MST/4pm PST; 1-hour duration
Presenter: David Allen Lambert, chief researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society
Price: $49.99 ($39.99 early bird until Wednesday, Feb. 13)

About This Webinar:
  • Submit questions about any conflict—from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, from the Spanish-American War to World War I—to have them answered in the live presentation.
  • Learn top strategies for tracing elusive veteran ancestors whether your research stumper relates to military pensions or war widows.
  • Get key tips for busting through brick walls.
  • PLUS: Receive a free PDF, "Brick Wall Busters: Proving Military Service."

Register here: Expert Tricks for Beating Your Military Brick Walls Live Webinar 

Military records | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:10:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 18, 2013
"I do solemnly swear …"
Posted by Beth

The Lincoln inaugural Bible—used by President Barack Obama when he took his first presidential oath of office in 2009—will be used again by the president, along with Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible, at his second inaugural ceremony Jan. 21. The two Bibles will be stacked one on top of the other, as the president takes the oath of office.

The Lincoln Bible, bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed metal rim, will be on view from Wednesday, Jan. 23 through Monday, Feb. 18, in the exhibition “The Civil War in America” in the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

On March 4, 1861, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administered the oath of office to Abraham Lincoln using a 1,280-page Bible provided by William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, because Lincoln’s family Bible was packed with other belongings that were still en route to Washington from Springfield, Ill.

Genealogy fun
Friday, January 18, 2013 2:36:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]