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# Friday, February 22, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 18-22
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry.com has opened its AncestryDNA test to all US residents. From last May until now, the test was open just to Ancestry.com subscribers. This autosomal test analyzes more than 700,000 DNA marker locations and cross-references them with Ancestry.com's catalog of DNA samples.

    The AncestryDNA test also breaks down your ethnic heritage by percentage from 20 populations. See the September 2012 Family Tree Magazine for The Genetic Genealogist blogger Blaine Bettinger's take on the AncestryDNA test.
  • Planning that long-awaited trip to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City? Take note that the library will change its Saturday hours in April. Beginning April 13, the FHL's Saturday operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (current Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.).  “This change is being made so that valuable staff and volunteer resources can be allocated to other busier times during the week that have greater patron demand,” says library director Don Anderson.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:49:29 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Jump-Start Your African-American Genealogy
Posted by Diane

As we enter the last week of Black History month, I wanted to make sure those researching African-American roots know about this new Value Pack of genealogy tools:  our Jump Start Your African-American Genealogy Value Pack.

Slavery and segregation present unique obstacles to tracing African-American family history—but finding those roots isn't always impossible.

The books, articles and classes in this new value pack will help you formulate strategies and uncover sources to help you deal with brick walls in African-American genealogy research. You'll also learn about resources that exist just for African-American ancestors.

The Jump Start Your African-American Genealogy Value Pack contains:
  • Find Your African-American Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide
  • Best African-American Genealogy Sources article download
  • Best African American Genealogy Websites half-hour video class
  • Reconstruction 101 for African-Americans half-hour video class 
Getting all these resources in one Value Pack means they're yours for just $29.99 (instead of $75-plus).

Click here for more details on the Jump Start Your African-American Genealogy Value Pack.


African-American roots | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:32:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
London Calling
Posted by Diane

No, I'm not blogging about The Clash. I'm posting about what's drawn some of your favorite American genealogy bloggers across the Atlantic this week: the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! genealogy show Feb 22-24 in London.

That's "Who Do You Think You Are?" as in the BBC television program that inspired the American version, which NBC cancelled after last season (boo!).

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! is known for its high attendance (about 13,000 last year) and large, vibrant exhibit hall. The 2013 show has more than 160 exhibitors and sections for:
  • National Archives Theater with workshops on using British national archives resources
  • Celebrity Theater with guests from the "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • Photography Gallery focusing on old family photos (and featuring our own Photo Detective and Family Photo Detective book author Maureen A. Taylor)
  • Military Pavilion where experts from museums display artifacts and answer military research questions
  • Ask the Experts area for 20-minute consultations with genealogy pros
  • DNA workshop area
The British Society of Genealogists also is offering family history workshops.

We'll bring you conference-related news announcements, as well as Maureen's reports on the Photography Gallery.

Feeling left out? Don't: There's no need to spring for an airline ticket, book a hotel or wear holes in your walking shoes to attend our Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference—it also takes place this weekend, but at a computer near you. You can view 15 video classes, interact with instructors and your fellow exhibitors, and open up a swag bags of genealogy goodies, all while sporting your bunny slippers. Click here for more information.

The Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by



Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 2:10:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Making the Most of Mocavo
Posted by Diane

And so we continue our peeks inside the video courses you can watch if you attend the Family Tree University Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place this weekend, Feb. 22-24.

Here’s Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell with a scoop on his class Making the Most of Mocavo (Mocavo being a genealogy search engine that also offers records and lets you upload your tree and genealogy documents):

My presentation will walk you through getting the most out of Mocavo, which bills itself as “the world’s largest genealogy search engine.” Like Google for genealogy, it searches sites containing more than 6 billion indexed names; unlike Google, though, Mocavo focuses strictly on sites with genealogy information. Mocavo also offers its own specialized collections of digitized books, most notably 3.5 million yearbook pages, and family trees and documents uploaded by its users.

Beyond the ins and outs of search, though, we’ll also explore uploading trees and your own photos and documents to Mocavo. Once your tree is online, Mocavo will begin scouring for “Smart Tree” suggested matches and sending you alerts based on your tree and your saved searches.

But trees aren’t the only things you can upload to Mocavo, which does all the dirty work of making documents searchable—by you and other researchers. Uploading to Mocavo is also a handy way of storing your family-history finds “in the cloud.”

We’ll also look at Mocavo’s mobile app for iOS and Android, which lets you view your documents on the go. When you search using the mobile app, too, those searches get saved for the next time you login on the Mocavo website. You probably didn’t know Mocavo could do so much. After my presentation, you’ll be a Mocavo pro!

Register for the Winter 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference here.

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

The Virtual Genealogy Conference is sponsored by




Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2:44:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 15, 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, February 15, 2013 2:49:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 14, 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, February 14, 2013 8:50:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 13, 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 ShopFamilyTree.com 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, February 13, 2013 2:10:03 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, February 12, 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 Ancestry.com 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 ShopFamilyTree.com.

Originally posted at the Genealogy Insider blog.


Ancestry.com | census records | Female ancestors | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:48:11 AM (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, February 12, 2013 11:02:33 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 11, 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 FamilyTreeMagazine.com 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, February 11, 2013 11:31:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]