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# Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Win a Genealogy Library at Your Fingertips
Posted by Diane

Here's a chance to win a genealogy reference library at your fingertips: We're giving away a full year's subscription to our Family Tree eBooks site, which lets you access our digital collection of how-to books on genealogy, history, heirloom identification, sharing and preserving your family history, and more, plus dozens of information-packed issues of Family Tree Magazine. See the contents listing here.



This demo video shows you how easy it is to use the Family Tree eBooks site (there's even a mobile app).

To enter our Family Tree eBooks sweepstakes, fill out this form by 11:59 p.m. ET March 14, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received and notified by email. Good luck!

Genealogy books | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:00:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Six Irish Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

Take it from someone who's 1/16th Irish: Americans are proud as can be of even the tiniest sliver of Irish heritage. Especially around St. Patrick's Day (which falls in the middle of Irish American Heritage Month).

A strong sense of community amid many hardships helped build that pride. During the 19th century, the heaviest era of Irish immigration to the United States due to the Great Famine (1845-1852), Irish arrivals faced prejudice, poverty, substandard housing and other problems. Some numbers for you:
  • Almost 3.5 million Irishmen entered the United States between 1820 and 1880. Most stayed in large East Coast cities, partly because they couldn't afford to continue west and partly because they could create close-knit communities with others from their place of origin.
  • In 1847, the first major year of famine emigration, 37,000 Irish Catholics arrived in Boston, according to the History Place, where they packed into slums. A sobering statistic from the site: "Sixty percent of Irish children born in Boston during this period didn't live to see their sixth birthday. Adult Irish lived on average just six years after stepping off the boat."
  • The same year, about 52,000 Irish arrived in New York City. About 650,000 Irish arrived there during the entire Famine period.
Are you ready to research your Irish ancestors? Start with US records and work your way back to the immigrant generation, looking for a place of birth in Ireland—you'll need this info to search in Irish records.

These are some of our favorite Irish research websites (several are free):
  • findmypast.ie: This new subscription site (with a pay-as-you-go option) has records of births, marriages and deaths (aka BMDs); courts and prisons; military; immigration; land and estates; as well as newspapers, directories and Griffith's Valuation.
  • Information Wanted: Also free is this database of "missing friends" from the Boston Pilot newspaper, which published notices from those looking for lost friends from Ireland. The column ran from 1831 to 1921; this site has 1831 to 1893 plus 1901 and 1913.
  • Irish Genealogy: This site from the Irish Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is dedicated to Irish genealogy and genealogical tourism. You can search nearly 3 million pre-1900 church records free, and view the actual record if it's been digitized.
You can learn how to research your Irish genealogy online in our Best Irish Genealogy Websites webinar with Donna Moughty, taking place Thursday, March 28.

Then there's also the in-depth guidance in our Irish Genealogy Research 101 and 201 FamilyTreeUniversity courses.


Family Tree University | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots | Webinars
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:21:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 11, 2013
Sequestration Reduces Research Hours at NARA DC-Area Locations
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced that effective this Friday, March 15, sequestration will affect public hours at NARA locations in Washington, DC, and College Park, Md.

From March 15 through Labor Day, both facilities would normally extend research hours until 9 p.m. three days a week. But that won't be happening this year: To help meet across-the-board budget cuts, research hours will remain 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday all spring and summer.

Exhibit spaces at NARA in DC will be affected, too—they'll be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, instead of staying open until 7 p.m. three days per week.

Sequestration is a series of automatic cuts to federal government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It's explained here.


Libraries and Archives | NARA
Monday, March 11, 2013 2:56:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 08, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, March 4-8
Posted by Diane

  • WikiTree, a free worldwide family tree website, has launched a new feature called Surname Following that lets you get updates when other WikiTree users post content related to names you're interested in. Log in to WikiTree and follow surnames to receive an email alert when related content is added to the WikiTree database or a related question, answer or comment is added to the WikiTree G2G (“Genealogist to Genealogist”) Q&A forum.
  • FamilySearch has added 10.5 million indexed records and images to its free historical records search over the last two weeks, including 8,613,673 document images added to the New York Probate Records collection (1629 to 1971). Other notable collection updates are Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, and Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-1996, collection.
Collections for Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, and the US states of Minnesota and Ohio also have been updated. See more details and click through to the updated collections here.
  • If you're up against a brick wall with some part of your genealogy research and you'll be in the Washington DC area on Saturday, March 16, the National Archives is holding a “Help! I'm Stuck” Genealogy Clinic. You can visit the Research Center main desk that day to sign up for a free, 20 minute consultation with an archivist between noon and 4 p.m. For details on this and other programs at teh archives, see the Archives.gov calendar.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | NARA
Friday, March 08, 2013 12:13:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 07, 2013
Organize Your Genealogy Research: Challenges and Solutions
Posted by Diane

Organization figured into Virtual Genealogy Conference participants' time-saving research tips (see yesterday's post) in a major way. Forgotten research steps, piles of unfiled papers, digital documents scattered all over your hard drive, and an overflowing email inbox: All of these take away from your research time and make genealogy research seem more like a chore than a joy. 

Here's my organization problem (well, one of them): I'll be at work and come across a a relative's record or a website to search. I'll email the record or URL to myself to check out later. Then I either forget about the message or waste time looking for it (and all of its sad, forgotten friends). I need a better way to keep track of and prioritize these reminders.

Family Tree University's One-Week Workshop: Organize Your Genealogy will teach you—and me—how to better manage the process and products of genealogy research. It'll cover how to archive family keepsakes and heirlooms; effectively arrange data, paper and digital files; and keep an orderly research log.

The workshop, taking place March 15-22 (that's a Friday through Friday), includes:
  • six pre-recorded video classes, with demos of recommended websites and strategies
  • excerpts from our popular Organize Your Genealogy Family Tree University course
  • daily message-board discussions with workshop participants and instructors
  • A day when Denise May Levenick, organization expert and author of How To Archive Your Family Keepsakes, will be on hand to provide consultation and answer your questions
I'll be there, looking for solutions to my organization problems.

What's your biggest genealogy organization challenge? The One-Week Organize Your Genealogy Workshop will have ideas to make you a more-efficient researcher, too.

Sign up now with coupon code FTU0313 to save 20 percent on your workshop registration


Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Thursday, March 07, 2013 10:33:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Time-Saving Tips for Busy Genealogists
Posted by Diane

The Time-saving Tips for Genealogists chat at last month's Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference was especially interesting to me, considering my recently expanded family.

Of course I didn't have the half-hour to attend the chat, but Virtual Conference participants get transcripts of all the chats, so I'm still able to benefit from other researchers' wisdom and share some time-saving tips with you:
  • Everyone agreed that organization, staying on-task and information overload are time drains when it comes to genealogy research. Social media also distracts us, and catching up after being away from research steals time, too.

  • Organization was a theme. Be organized from the start—using a research log to keep track of your to-do list for each family line and place you're searching really helps. At least one participant uses Evernote to keep her research log. Trello also was recommended (especially for those who think visually).

  • Keep track of negative search results, too (i.e., you didn't find the record you were looking for) so you don't repeat the same search. Track your online searches of growing databases, so you can go back to look for new results.

  • Schedule your genealogical research time on your calendar, just like any other appointment you have.

  • When visiting a repository, plan ahead, use online tools (such as a library catalog and visitor information) to prepare, and call to verify hours, what you can bring in, etc. This gives you more research time.

  • To-do list apps chatters use include Remember the Milk, Any.do and Wunderlist.

  • Sometimes getting away from home to research is better, because you face fewer distractions.

  • Set a research goal for the week (or a period of time that works for you).

We'll host another Virtual Genealogy Conference this Fall, so stay tuned! In the mean time, check out our Organize Your Genealogy One-Week Workshop, taking place March 15-22.


Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 3:55:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch Family Tree (Finally) Opens to the Public
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has opened its Family Tree online family tree service for public use. See?



This is what I saw when I went to FamilySearch.org. Until now, Family Tree was open to only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and select others, as FamilySearch refined the service.

The long-awaited public debut came without a formal announcement from FamilySearch—I read about it on Genea-musings, whose blogger Randy Seaver read about it on the Larry Cragun Family and Genealogy Blog

The goal of FamilySearch Family Tree is to get everyone working on one family tree, sharing information, comparing research and avoiding duplication. Read more about the development of FamilySearch Family Tree on the Ancestry Insider blog.

From that first page, you can either get started using Family Tree, or access training materials.

If you click Get Started (and you don't already have a tree here), you'll see this:



This tree works a little differently from your five-generation ancestor chart. Each box, instead of holding one person's name and vital information, includes a couple. So both of my parents go in the box to the bottom right of my name, and my husband's parents go in the top box.

I clicked Add Husband in my parent's box and was directed to a search page—the goal is to keep me from adding a new person for my dad if someone else has already put him in the tree.



If you instead click the Add Person tab, Family Tree will still look for that person first. If it finds matches, you can either select the right person or add a new person.

Once you add someone to Family Tree, you can't delete the person, but you can delete certain details about the person. Other Family Tree users can change details about any person (and you can change them back), but they're supposed to explain their reasoning and add sources. Changing a person from deceased to living, though, requires a review from FamilySearch admins before it takes effect.

There's a lot to Family Tree, and this isn't even close to an exhaustive review. You can access a basic user guide plus other training materials here, and look for our upcoming Family Tree Magazine article about FamilySearch FamilyTree.

Have you tried FamilySearch Family Tree? What do you think?

Update: Here's an announcement from FamilySearch about the launch of Family Tree.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 9:26:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, March 04, 2013
Sharing Stories of Heirlooms—Old and New
Posted by Diane

When it comes to preserving and sharing the stories of family heirlooms (something we talk a lot about here at Family Tree Magazine) I think it's important to log not only antiques that have been in your family for generations, but also newer objects you hope will become heirlooms.

That's why, as part of the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt, I registered my childhood rocking chair in Houstory's Heirloom Registry.



The registry is a site where you can keep a log of your family heirlooms. You affix an Heirloom Registry sticker to an inconspicuous spot on each item, and your descendants can use the code on the sticker to look up what you had to say about that object.



This chair is something I played with, and I hope my daughter Norah will play with it. Santa (aka Mom and Dad) gave it to my two older sisters and me when I was about 18 months old, which would have been in 1975. My mom says that I "kind of took over ownership." This makes me feel better about my sisters always hiding my dolls and calling shotgun first when we were kids.

I  considered posting a photo of myself sitting in the chair, but the only one we have is a diaper shot. So instead I offer this:



Yes, I get to kiss those chubby almost-4-month-old cheeks every day.

Even if you don't want to register your family heirlooms online, pleasepleaseplease write down information about them (you can use the free downloadable Heirloom Inventory on FamilyTreeMagazine.com) and share copies with loved ones. Please.

Now for the scavenger hunt fun! 
  • If you’d like to start the scavenger hunt now, go to The Houstory Hearth blog’s special Scavenger Hunt Page. There you’ll find information about the hunt, the prizes, and the list of the other three blogs you’ll need to visit today.
  • If you already know what you’re doing, here’s the Heirloom Registry ID Code you need to obtain my secret word: CEFD-304-562-5138-2011
  • If this is your final stop for Hunt No. 1, be sure to submit your entry form with your secret words before Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at midnight PST. Instructions for Hunt No. 2, which starts on March 6, will be posted at the Houstory Hearth blog at 12 a.m. EST on March 6. Good luck—and happy hunting!
 


Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Monday, March 04, 2013 11:15:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Family Photo Detective Book Winner!
Posted by Diane

Congratulations to the lucky winner of our Family Photo Detective book sweepstakes: Patti Wier of Artesia, NM!

She'll receive a copy of the hot-off-the-presses Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen A. Taylor.



Patti will be able to take advantage of Maureen's advice for using clothing, backgrounds, props and photographer imprints to learn more about who's in her old family photographs. Blending this type of photo research with research in genealogy records is a great strategy for discovering details about your ancestors.

Family Photo Detective is available at booksellers including ShopFamilyTree.com.

Genealogy books | Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, March 04, 2013 9:24:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, March 01, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 25-March 1
Posted by Diane

  • The new Legacies of British Slave Ownership database holds the names of 46,000 slave owners in British colonies who received compensation for the loss of "property" when Britain abolished slavery in 1833 (it outlawed the trade in 1807). The database doesn't name slaves, but it could aid those who are tracing African ancestors by researching the slave-owning families. Search the database here
  • The Civil War Trust's annual Park Day takes place Saturday, April 16 at more than 100 participating battlefields in 24 states. Volunteers help clean and maintain these important Civil War sites by raking leaves, picking up trash, painting signs, clearing trails and more. To learn how you can help, visit the trust's Park Day page and click on the name of the participating Civil War site you're interested in (note that some sites are holding their volunteer events on alternate dates).
... and don't forget about the Heirloom Registry Online Scavenger Hunt taking place next week. Have a good weekend!


African-American roots | Civil War | Historic preservation | Italian roots | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 01, 2013 11:05:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]