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# Thursday, February 28, 2013
Go on a Scavenger Hunt for Family Heirlooms (and Maybe Win Prizes)!
Posted by Diane

You might've seen the news about the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt that the folks over at Houstory have put together for next week.



I love how it will encourage genealogists to record and share the stories behind their family heirlooms, so I'm happy to be part of it. Plus, you can win a bunch of prizes, including our Family Tree Magazine 2012 Annual CD; How to Archive Family Keepsakes from the Family Curator herself, Denise Levenick; Preserving Your Family Photographs from Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor, and more.

Scavenger hunt days are March 4, 6 and 8, with a prize awarded each day plus a grand prize at the end.

To go on the hunt, you'll need to visit four blogs on their designated hunt day—that's Monday, March 4 for this Genealogy Insider blog. Click here to see the list of all four blogs you need to visit on Monday.

Each blogger will post about an heirloom he or she has logged in Houstory's Heirloom Registry. The post will provide that item's registry code. After you visit each blog, you'll go to the Heirloom Registry website, look up the heirloom using the registry code, view the Registry Certificate for that item, and find a secret code word. Then you'll include the code words from the four blogs on the entry form you can link to from this page.

You'll find all the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt instructions here, and you also can get updates by following Houstory on Facebook and Twitter (#HoustoryHunt).

So I'll see you back here on Monday for the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt, and I'll share a little about one of my favorite family heirlooms. 

Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:51:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Researchers' Favorite Genealogy Books and History-Related Reads
Posted by Diane

Last weekend's Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference was informative, inspirational and just plain fun. Over the next few weeks, I'll share some tips I picked up from the live chats. (And I'll keep you posted on the next Virtual Genealogy Conference, scheduled for September.)

The genealogy books chat made me plan a trip to the library and start surfing Amazon.com: A bunch of conference attendees got together and talked about their go-to genealogy reference books and favorite history-related reads, including those below (for books we carry in ShopFamilyTree.com, I've linked to the listing):
  • Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills

  • The Family Tree Sourcebook by the editors of Family Tree Magazine

  • The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy edited by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking

  • How to Archive Family Keepsakes by Denise May Levenick

  • A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

  • Women and the Law of Property in Early America by Marylynn Salmon ("helps when looking at court records and understanding how women were treating in regards to their rights to own property," said the chatter, and it covers "1750 to 1830ish")

  • Finding Your Father's War by Jonathan Gawne ("for researching WWII soldiers")

  • Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon

  • The Family Tree Problem Solver by Marsha Hoffman Rising ("the perfect book for when you're stuck on a line and need inspiration"), which also comes in a digital version

  • Reading Early American Handwriting by Kip Sperry ("the first part explains about the differences in writing styles, while the last three-quarters of the book has examples of documents with the transcriptions")

  • Genealogists Handbook for New England Research edited by Michael J. LeClerc

  • The Genealogist's Companion and Sourcebook and The Sleuthbook for Genealogists by Emily Anne Croom

  • Finding Indiana Ancestors by M. Teresa Baer and Geneil Breeze

  • Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History by Katherine Scott Sturdevant

  • Black's Law Dictionary, 4th edition ("the 4th edition is the most recent one that still has the old terms, as I understand")

  • No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting by Anne MacDonald, recommended by a chatter who is into knitting

  • Your Digital Afterlife....When Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy? by Evan Carroll and John Romano

  • Norwegians on the Prairie by Odd Lovoll

  • Italian Genealogical Records: How to use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical and Other Records in Family History Research by Trafford Cole

  • Only a Few Bones by John Philip Colletta

  • Finding Italian Roots by John Philip Colletta

  • The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England ("written like a travel guide for people traveling from today back in time to the 14th century")

  • Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg

  • The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood
Would you add any books to this list? Click Comments below and let us know!


Family Tree University | Genealogy books | Genealogy Events
Thursday, February 28, 2013 9:29:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Photo Detective to Uncover Stories of Revolutionary Generation in New Film
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine's Photo Detective, Maureen A. Taylor, is turning her books The Last Muster: Images of the Revolution and the forthcoming The Last Muster: Faces of the Revolution into a film that breathes life into the long-ago Revolutionary War era.

Maureen has discovered and authenticated more than 200 photos of Americans who witnessed the Revolutionary War and survived into the age of photography. "Ten years ago, I was presented with an old photograph and asked to analyze it," she says. "Suddenly, I realized that I was looking into the face of someone who was a young adult during the Revolutionary War."

In "Revolutionary Voices: A Last Muster Film," you'll follow Maureen as she searches for genealogical records of those folks, locates places where they lived and interviews their descendants. See some of those photos and hear about one man in particular, Eleazer Blake, in this video:



Maureen and documentary producers Verissima Productions are raising funds for the project through Kickstarter.com. You can learn more about the "Revolutionary Voices" film and pledge to support it here.


Military records | Photos
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:27:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Learn How to Interpret German Genealogy Records
Posted by Diane

You're looking for genealogy records of your ancestors in Germany, and perhaps you've even found some. They might look like this:



And it makes you understand why everyone talks about how hard it is to understand German records: Not only are you dealing with an unfamiliar language, but the script makes the words difficult to interpret.

Most German Catholic church records are in Latin; Evangelical (Lutheran) records may be in Latin or German. Records as late as the 1930s are usually written in the old German Gothic script.

But there are tricks you can use to figure out what these church records say about your German ancestors.

Our March 14 webinar, Interpreting German Records, will teach you how to work with German genealogy records, from basic translation to decoding hard-to-read handwriting and typeface. German genealogy expert James M. Beidler will show you
  • tricks for reading German script and type
  • resources for building your vocabulary of German terms and deciphering abbreviations
  • a methodology for solving the quirks of the printed Gothic/Fraktur typeface
  • strategies for transcribing and translating the handwritten German cursive script
The Interpreting German Records webinar takes place Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (that's 6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain and 4 p.m. Pacific). You'll save $10 on your registration if you sign up before March 7!

Family Tree University | German roots | Webinars
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:23:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Rumors Fly: Kelly Clarkson Filming "Who Do You Think You Are?" for TLC
Posted by Diane

Genealogy blogger Dick Eastman spotted an online report that the cable network TLC (The Learning Channel) will pick up the US series "Who Do You Think You Are?," which NBC cancelled after last season.

According to the report on the Taste of Country website, NashvilleGab.com announced that singer and "American Idol" Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson is filming an episode of the genealogy series.

NashvilleGab.com referenced mjsbigblog (taglined "American Idol—I love This Cheesy Show), which in turn cited a tweet from a man who met Clarkson in Andersonville, Ga., as well as a brief report from that town's paper.

I hope these folks are right! Rumors of TLC's interest in the series circulated last year, and I think it's a great way for the channel to redeem itself after "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Industry
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 9:41:56 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# 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]