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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Best Records for Female Ancestors
Posted by Diane
Are you searching for female ancestors? I hope so! This is my own
great-grandmother with my grandma in the 1920s:
Although we're giving lots of attention to Irish roots this week, we
haven't forgotten that March is also Women's History Month.
This rundown of the best genealogy records for finding the women in
your family tree comes from this
Ultimate Collection: Tracing Female Ancestors.
- Cemetery records: Check the woman’s tombstone and
note surrounding ones, which may belong to her family.
- Church records: Witnesses on a woman’s or her
children’s religious records may be her relatives.
- Court records: Women typically didn’t leave wills (in
many times and places, married women legally couldn't), though a
widowed or unmarried woman may have. Your female ancestor or her
relatives may be named in her father’s or husband’s will. Also
check divorce records, which may have been filed even if a
divorce wasn’t granted.
- Home sources: Examine letters, needlework and quilts,
recipe books, address books, baby books, wedding albums, Bibles
and calenders for names of—and details about—female
- Land records: Women rarely owned land but may be named
in deeds. A married woman may have signed a release of dower
when her husband sold land. Those selling land to a couple,
especially for a small sum, may be the woman’s relatives. Also
consider that the neighbors may be her family.
- Marriage records: These might include a license,
certificate, return, church register, banns, bond or newspaper
- Military pensions: A woman could file for a military
pension when her husband or unmarried son died of war-related
injuries. Widows had to send marriage records to prove the
- Naturalizations: Until 1922, wives automatically became
naturalized when their husbands did. Unmarried women rarely
sought naturalization. Post-1922, look for separate records for
- Newspapers: Pay special attention to society columns,
announcements of births, engagements or anniversaries, and
Female Ancestors Collection gives you a 63 percent discount on
our best tools for learning more about the women in your family
tree. It includes:
- Vital records: A woman’s death record may name her
father (later records are more detailed). Birth records often
give the mother’s maiden name.
Start searching for your grandmothers,
great-great-grandmothers, aunts and other female relatives. Click
to learn more about this Ultimate Collection!
- Finding Female Ancestors Family Tree University Independent
Study Course from Family Tree University
- Secrets to Tracing Female Ancestors video class
- Research Strategies: Female Ancestors 7-page digital download
- Female Ancestors Cheat Sheet
- The Hidden Half of Family: A Sourcebook for Women's
Genealogy by Christina K. Schaefer (Genealogical
Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:10:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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.
demo video shows you how easy it is to use the Family Tree eBooks
site (there's even a mobile app).
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.
Genealogy books | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:00:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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."
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
- The same year, about 52,000 Irish
arrived in New York City. About
650,000 Irish arrived there during
the entire Famine period.
These are some of our favorite Irish research websites (several are
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
Libraries and Archives | NARA
Monday, March 11, 2013 2:56:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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)
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Organize Your Genealogy Research: Challenges and Solutions
Posted by Diane
Organization figured into Virtual Genealogy Conference participants'
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
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
I'll be there, looking for solutions to my organization problems.
- six pre-recorded video classes, with demos of
recommended websites and strategies
- excerpts from our popular Organize Your Genealogy Family Tree
- daily message-board discussions with workshop participants and
- A day when Denise May Levenick, organization expert and author
To Archive Your Family Keepsakes, will be on hand to
provide consultation and answer your questions
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
Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Thursday, March 07, 2013 10:33:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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.
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
- Schedule your genealogical research
time on your calendar, just like any other appointment you
- 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
- 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)
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
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
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.
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
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)
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
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
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
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:
- 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)
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.
Photo Detective is available at booksellers including
Genealogy books | Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, March 04, 2013 9:24:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)