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<2013 February>

More Links

# Friday, 15 February 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 11-15
Posted by Diane

  • At the new, free website from Herthstone Legacy Publications called My Genealogy Hound, you can access thousands of biographies extracted from pre-1900 county history books. Biographies from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee are available now, with more states to come. Search the site or browse biographies by surname or state and county. The site also has a selection of free, old county maps from Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kanasas, Missouri, Oklahoma (including Indian nations) and Tennessee, with more to be added.
  • The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has implemented student discounts for registration to its 2013 Family History Conference, May 8-11 in Las Vegas. Students can register for the full conference for $50 (NGS members) or $60 (nonmembers), nearly 75 percent off regular rates. To qualify, students must submit a letter on college or university letterhead from the dean or department chair. See the NGS blog for additional details and qualifications.

FamilySearch | Genealogy books | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage
Friday, 15 February 2013 14:49:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 14 February 2013
Reprise: Swoon-Worthy Love Letters From History
Posted by Diane

Happy Valentine's Day! This is a reprise of a favorite post of mine, from Valentine's Day in 2010—quotes from great love letters in history. Got one to add? Click Comments and share!

In 1797, a British publisher printed The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which suggested sentimental verses for wooing the ladies. Need similar inspiration this Valentine’s Day? Here are a few swoon-inducing quotes from love letters of the past, and where you can read the rest.

Revolutionary War Gen. Nathanael Greene to his wife, Catharine
"There is not a day or night, nay not an hour, but I wish to fold you to my heart.”
I couldn’t find the full letter online, but you can read more about the correspondence of this couple and their contemporaries in Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts.

Poet Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning, Jan. 10, 1846
“It seems to me, to myself, that no man was ever before to any woman what you are to me.”
Samual Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) to Olivia Langdon, Dec. 31, 1868, transcribed at the Mark Twain Project Online
"The Old Year is passing. … It found me careless of the here & the [hereafter]—it leaves me with faith in the one & hope for the [other. It] found [me. my ] heart scorched, bitter, barren, loveless—& leaves it filled with softening, humanizing, elevating love for the dearest girl on earth, Livy—& I, the homeless then, have on this last day of the [die dying] year, a home that is [pre priceless], a refuge from all the cares & ills of life, in that warm heart of yours, & am supremely happy! And so with grateful benediction I give [Godspeed] to this good Old Year that is passing away. If I forget all else it has done for me I shall still remember that it gave me your love, Livy, ..."
Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah, July 14, 1861, a week before he was killed in the Battle of Bull Run (this letter was made famous in Ken Burns’ documentary "The Civil War")
"… something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. ... How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness ..."
Harry Truman to his wife, Bess, May 7, 1933
“I still believe that my sweetheart is the ideal woman…”

Genealogy fun | Social History
Thursday, 14 February 2013 08:50:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 13 February 2013
FTU Virtual Genealogy Conference: Things You Didn’t Know Your Genealogy Software Could Do + Using Irish Censuses
Posted by Diane

Here's another inside look at a class available during our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference—courtesy of the instructor himself. Take it away, Rick Crume:

The most popular genealogy programs have tools to help you record your family history efficiently, plan your research and search online databases. But if you’re a typical genealogy software user, you don’t take advantage of all of those features.

You’ve probably mastered entering birth, marriage and death information in your genealogy software, but have you customized your program to fit your unique needs?

You're doing better than most genealogists if you document your sources, but are you taking advantage of timesaving techniques for this crucial, but mundane, task? And are you exploiting your program’s tools for searching within your family file and in online databases?

In my class 10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your Genealogy Software, I'll show you how to use these and other features in Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic.

I'm also teaching a class on Identifying Ancestors in Irish Census Records. Because so many Irish census records have been lost over the years, you might assume they're of no use in your genealogy research. In fact, it’s well worth checking Irish censuses, especially now that most of the existing ones are online and easy to search.

Most 19th-century Irish census records have been lost, but the ones you need just could have survived. (Mine did!) And fortunately, the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland survive and are easily accessible online for free. I'll show you several tips for searching them and suggest how they can be useful to your research even if your ancestors left Ireland before 1901.

Family Tree University's Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference, Feb. 22-24, gives you an all-access pass to 15 half-hour video classes, live chats with genealogy experts, and exclusive message board to network with instructors and attendees, and a swag bag of freebies. Click here for more details on the conference.

See these guest posts from other Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference instructors:

The Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Tech Advice | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:10:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 12 February 2013
I think I've got it!, or, Cluster Genealogy Works!
Posted by Diane

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my third-great-grandmother's hard-to-read maiden name in her divorce case file from 1879 to 1881. Many of you offered suggestions for searching for her family in the 1850 and 1860 censuses—thank you!

I tried those searches and I kept examining the case file for clues ... and I'm 98 percent sure I have the maiden name! It shows that cluster genealogy works. Here's how it happened.

I saw this in my third-great-grandmother Mary Frost's testimony:

Her oldest child—my great-great-grandfather—George, stayed with Mary's sister (unnamed here) and worked for the sister's husband, George Hartke, in his grocery store.

I searched for George Hartke on and found this in an 1878 city directory for Covington, Ky.:

I then found his family in the 1880 census, under "Harke":

My great-great-grandfather is listed in the household as "nephew." Interestingly, he's double-enumerated in his mother's household in 1880:

I turned my focus to George Hartke's wife and Mary Frost's sister, Elizabeth. Death records often name parents, especially in the 20th century (Mary's doesn't, though), so I looked for Elizabeth's. Lo and behold:

Let's take a closer look:

Elizabeth's Oct. 22, 1931, death certificate reports her parents as Henry Wolking and "Eliz." Evers, both born in Germany. I did some more census searching and believe the informant, "Mrs. Henry Harke," is Elizabeth's daughter-in-law.

I still haven't found the Wolkings for sure in 1850 and 1860 census records. My best candidate so far is this Wolkins family in 1850:

The father's name doesn't match, which isn't great but also isn't a deal breaker—he could've gone by his middle name or the census taker could've talked to a neighbor, or Mrs. Henry Harke could have been wrong on the death certificate. This family does have a Mary, Tilda (the divorce records refer to Mary's sister Matilda) and Lizzie of the right ages.

Learn more about how to use cluster genealogy in your research from our on-demand webinar, Using Cluster and Collateral Searches to Beat Brick Walls, presented by Thomas MacEntee. It's available in

Originally posted at the Genealogy Insider blog. | census records | Female ancestors | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:48:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
How to Use Google for Genealogy
Posted by Diane

You've probably searched for information on your ancestors using the Google search engine, but have you also waded through a flood of irrelevant search results to (maybe) find useful genealogy information?

Have you taken advantage of Google's other free tools, such as Google Scholar and Alerts? Language tools?

In Family Tree University's next webinar, Lisa Louise Cooke, author of The Genealogist's Google Toolbox, will show you how to research your family tree using these and other Google tools.

Our Googling Your Genealogy live webinar takes place Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (that's 6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain and 4 p.m. Pacific). You'll learn:
  • Basic and Advanced Google search techniques to hone in on your family (even if they had a common name)
  • How to set up timesaving Google Alerts
  • How to use Google Scholar, Google Patent and other tools to find genealogy information
  • How to leap language barriers with Language Tools
  • ... and more
Webinar registrants will receive a PDF handout of the presentation slides and access to watch the webinar again as many times as you like. You'll also get Family Tree Magazine's Step-by-Step Guide to Google article.

Click here to register for our Googling Your Genealogy live webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke (sign up before Feb. 21 to save $10!).

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:02:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 11 February 2013
African-American Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

Black History Month started in 1926 with "Negro History Week," set during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. February was first celebrated as Black History Month at Kent State University in 1970; the US government first recognized the celebration in 1976. The UK observed Black History Month beginning in 1987 and Canada's House of Commons followed suit in 1995.

This month shines a spotlight on those researching African-American ancestors—and the challenges that slavery and segregation have placed in their way. These are some of our favorite resources to help you face those challenges and commemorate the lives of your ancestors:
Looking for more in-depth advice on how to research your African-American ancestors? Try these:

African-American roots | Family Tree University
Monday, 11 February 2013 11:31:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
We're Giving Away a Copy of Family Photo Detective
Posted by Diane

Here's our Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor's new book about researching your family photos (and those mystery photos that might or might not be your family):

... and you could win a copy by entering your name in our Family Photo Detective giveaway.

What's inside Family Photo Detective? You'll learn how to:
  • Determine whether you have a daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cabinet card or other type of image
  • Use clothing, accessories and hairstyles to help date the image
  • Research photographer imprints
  • Compare facial features in multiple photos to help identify individuals 
  • Interview family members for information
  • Use photo props and background to add context
The Family Photo Detective giveaway ends Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET. And if you refer a friend who enters (by sending the link in your entry confirmation), you'll get two extra chances to win. Good luck!

Genealogy books | Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, 11 February 2013 10:53:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 08 February 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 4-8
Posted by Diane

  • PBS has gathered its African-American history content into one place to help you celebrate Black History Month. Watch programs including Freedom Riders and Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr., take a quiz about miletones in African-American history, get ideas for celebrating the month with kids and more.
  • Know a young genealogist who could use $500 toward genealogy education, plus a free registration to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree? Applications are being accepted for the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant, created to honor the mother of The Family Curator blogger Denise Levenick. It's open to any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has attended school in the last 12 months. The recipient must attend the 2013 Jamboree in Burbank, Calif., to receive the award. Application deadline is March 18, 2013, at midnight PST. Learn more here.
  • is giving its registered users the opportunity to watch the BBC show Find My Past, which reveals how ordinary individuals are related to people from significant historical events.  With a free registration, you can watch episodes that first aired during the past 30 days. Thereafter, episodes will be available to the sites subscribing members. Learn more on
Also new in's World subscription is a collection of 200 British newspapers from England, Scotland and Wales from 1700 to 1950.

African-American roots | Genealogy for kids | Genetic Genealogy | MyHeritage | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 08 February 2013 15:04:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process
Posted by Diane

Want a closer look at the 15 video classes in our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference, Feb. 22-24? In the next couple of weeks, several of our expert instructors will stop by to share what you'll learn in their presentations.

Without further ado, here's Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, who's put together the class Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process:
 When it comes to brick walls, sometimes you need to think outside the genealogy box. Cracking a cold case requires a proven process to guide you through the challenging waters. And in looking for a solid process that could drum up new leads, my thoughts continually returned to criminal investigators. They face many of the same challenges you do, even if your ancestor wasn't a "black sheep."

Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process is a presentation I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I couldn't be more pleased to to present it at the Virtual Genealogy Conference. I'll draw on some of the best ideas from cold case investigators to create a process that can guide you through the lengthy process of breaking through genealogical brick walls.

In each step, I'll give you a cache of strategies you can put into play right away. Each is designed to keep you organized and focused while generating new leads.

So dig out that old cobwebbed case file you'd just about given up on, and join me in the Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process class at the Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference.

The Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Friday, 08 February 2013 11:35:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 07 February 2013
The Virtual Genealogy Conference Sweeps Winner Is ...
Posted by Diane

I'm happy to announce the lucky winner of our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference sweepstakes!

My fellow Ohioan Maureen Buckel from Hartville has won a registration to the conference, taking place Feb. 22-24.

She'll get access to 15 video classes organized into tracks for technology, research strategies and ethnic ancestors; exclusive live chats with our expert instructors; and a message board for conference participants to exchange questions, ideas and surnames.

Congratulations, Maureen! I look forward to "seeing" you at the conference.

Learn more about the Virtual Genealogy Conference, check out the program of classes and chats, and register here. Only two more weeks are left to sign up!

The Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Newspapers
Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:10:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]