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# Thursday, April 18, 2013
Two Genealogy Databases to Search While They're Free
Posted by Diane

You have a couple of days left to take advantage of these free database offers from sites where you'd normally need to subscribe or hope your library subscribes:
  • Ancestry.com has made its marriage records collection free to search through April 21 at midnight ET. These records are great sources for female ancestors' maiden names and sometimes the couples' parents' names, in addition to the marriage date and place. You'll need to register for a free account, if you don't already have one, to view records.
  • ProQuest's Historic MapWorks Library Edition (link to it from this page) is free to at-home users through April 20 in honor of National Library Week. Here, you can browse by place or search for an address, keyword or GPS coordinates to find old landowner and other maps. (The landowner maps aren't indexed by name here, so you need to search for the place and then find the person's name on a map.) You can download maps and overlay the maps with Google maps to pinpoint the modern location.

    I searched for Colerain township in Ohio, in hopes of finding the location of my Depenbrock relatives' farm—and I found it. This is part of an 1884 township map; I've highlighted the farm.



The Depenbrock property borders on the land of my great-great-grandmother's brother's wife's family.

Ancestry.com | Free Databases | Land records | Research Tips
Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:33:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Tuesday, April 16, 2013
New FamilySearch.org Adds Photo Feature and More
Posted by Diane

The "Coming Soon" banner on the FamilySearch.org website since last month's RootsTech conference has been replaced by this:



FamilySearch just flipped the switch on several site enhancements and a polished new look. FamilySearch's announcement says the site enhancements will "allow visitors to collaboratively build their family tree online, preserve and share precious family photos and stories, and receive personal research assistance—all for free."

Besides the recently released FamilySearch Family Tree, new FamilySearch.org features include:
  • Photos and Stories: Upload photos of ancestors, share them through social media, tag them and add them to profiles in your tree.
  • Fan Chart: Turns your FamilySearch family tree into an interactive fan chart, or lets you add your tree to FamilySearch as you create the fan chart
  • Live Help: Call or chat with a FamilySearch volunteer online, or find a FamilySearch Center/Family History Center near you
I clicked on the photos area, and it looks like FamilySearch is using an invitation system to avoid overloading the site. I got a message that all of today's invites are taken, and to check back at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

What do you think of the new FamilySearch.org?

FamilySearch
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 1:36:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Introducing the 2013 Family Tree 40 Genealogy Blogs!
Posted by Diane

Seeking genealogy news, help understanding your family tree software, essential research advice, or simply the feeling that someone shares the family history journey you've embarked on?



All these and more are available from the bloggers on the 2013 list of the Family Tree 40 top genealogy blogs. Congratulations to these dedicated researchers and writers!

To quote Family Tree Magazine's contributing editor David A. Fryxell, who wrote about the Family Tree 40 in our May/June 2013 issue (on newsstands and at ShopFamilyTree.com April 30), "Let’s tip our collective hats to those bloggers who stick with it and keep sharing their wit, wisdom and family history finds with us ... In making this year’s selections, we paid particular attention to that stick-to-itiveness standard." And "We love blogs packed with information, but we also adore those brimming with the blogger’s personality."

You can read about the Family Tree 40 and click through to each blog from FamilyTreeMagazine.com. They're arranged into these categories:
  • Good advice (genealogy tips and how-tos)
  • Tech support (reviews and instructions for genealogy technology)
  • Gravestone matters (tombstone photos, cemetery research tips)
  • Heritage help (researching ancestors of specific ethnicities and national backgrounds)
  • Shop talk (genealogy news and new products)
  • Story time (the bloggers' personal research and family history)
We also encourage genealogists to look beyond our list to find genealogy blogs that might help answer their research questions, illuminate an ancestral hometown, or bring entertainment to a ho-hum day. The combo of research needs and blog-reading preferences is different for every genealogist, and we all can be thankful that topics and writing styles in the genealogy blogging community are just as varied.

Here are a few ways to find genealogy blogs you'll love:
As the main blogger here at the Genealogy Insider blog, I know how hard it can be to find the inspiration—and the time—to put up a post every day or several times a week. I give personal props to the Family Tree 40 and all the genealogy bloggers out there. Thanks for the work you do!


Family Tree 40
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:58:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Friday, April 12, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, April 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription genealogy website Ancestry.com announced on Facebook that its collection of marriage records will be free April 17-21 (so you have a few days to plan your research). You'll need to register for a free account to view the records.
  • ProQuest offers databases you can usually use only in libraries that subscribe to the services, but during National Library Week this week, you can try out several of the databases at home for free. The one I see that most genealogists will be into is Historic MapWorks Library Edition, which contains maps dating back to the 1700s. I found my Depenbrock family's farm in Colerain Township, Ohio, on an 1884 land owner map in less than 5 minutes! Go here to link to this and the other free databases.


Ancestry.com | Free Databases | Land records
Friday, April 12, 2013 2:54:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 11, 2013
Your Ancestor's SS-5: Get It Before It's Too Late
Posted by Diane

It's time to look up your 20th-century ancestors in the Social Security Death Index and request their Social Security number applications (SS-5s) if you haven't already.

Threats to close the Social Security Death Index are resurfacing with a vengeance: President Obama's budget proposal would give the Commissioner of Social Security license to grant or deny access to the SSDI and our ancestors' SS-5 forms. It makes the records' availability subject to a bureaucrat instead of the Freedom of Information Act.

Other genealogy bloggers have expertly explained why there are more effective ways to prevent tax fraud and protect the identities of taxpayers, while also meeting the needs of genealogy hobbyists and those who use Social Security records to identify survivors of deceased servicemembers and unclaimed persons. Read more from:
I'll explain what the SSDI is and why it's important to genealogy: The SSDI is a computerized file of deceased individuals whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. It contains mostly deaths from 1962 and later, though my great-grandfather who died in 1949 is listed.

You can search the SSDI on websites including FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com (which excludes recent deaths) and order your ancestor's SS-5 for a fee from the Social Security Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Once you find an ancestor in the SSDI, you can request his or her SS-5, which requests parents' names, among other information. This is the only record I've ever found giving my great-grandfather's mother's name.

Here's how to order your ancestor's SS-5.


Public Records | Vital Records
Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:31:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
5 Strategies to Overcome Genealogy Brick Walls
Posted by Diane

Today I'm sharing five strategies for dealing with tough genealogy problems in the spirit of next week's Genealogy Brick Wall Buster's online workshop.

The workshop runs April 19-26 and offers Family Tree Magazine's best advice for overcoming research obstacles, plus the opportunity to get expert advice on your brick wall from professional researcher Lisa A. Alzo.

 "
  • Bend the rules of genealogy that say to "work backward one generation at a time." Skip a generation, identifying your ancestor's grandparents by using what you know about his cousins or aunts and uncles; then maybe you can work forward to the missing link of his parents.
  • For immigration brick walls, search passenger lists for friends and neighbors the person might have traveled with, then examine the list for your ancestor's (possibly garbled) name. If you can't find a town of origin, use censuses to see if his neighbors are from the same country, then study those folks. Here's how an immigration brick wall came tumbling down for me.
  • Once you've exhausted the census and other common sources, try less-obvious types of paperwork your ancestors might have left. Land records are one example. Is your brick-wall ancestor mentioned in school records, occupational records, meeting minutes or old manuscripts? Use your imagination, your library and online catalogs, such as FamilySearch's and the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.
  • Our contributing editor David A. Fryxell advises, "As Sherlock Holmes liked to lecture Dr. Watson, 'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' So consider even unlikely possibilities when confronting your brick walls: Could there have been two men by the same name in the county at that time? Might your third-great-grandfather have married his cousin? Maybe your great-grandmother remarried between censuses, thus changing her name." 
Click here to see the program for the Genealogy Brick Wall Busters workshop. After you complete your registration, you can submit your brick wall to Lisa via a form in your confirmation email.


Family Tree University | Research Tips
Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:48:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Help Us Get to 10,000 Likes! (There's Something in It for You)
Posted by Diane

Why should you help Family Tree Magazine get to 10,000 likes on Facebook? Here are three reasons:
1. I've always wanted to be popular.
2. If the "Microsoft Word Will Never Understand That My Name is NOT a Spelling Mistake" page can get 161,707 likes, we can get 10,000.
3. When we hit 10,000 likes, we'll post a coupon of our fans' choosing! Vote in our Facebook poll for either 30% off a Family Tree University course or 15% off your entire purchase at ShopFamilyTree.com.
Visit Family Tree Magazine on Facebook  to vote for your favorite deal and share it with your friends.


Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Social Networking
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:56:16 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Genealogy Video Tip: Finding Old Land Records in Illinois
Posted by Diane

Our Secrets to Beat Your Illinois Brick Walls webinar Thursday evening, April 11, picks up where our Illinois Genealogy Crash Course left off, introducing you to more-advanced, lesser-known genealogy resources ito trace ancestors in Illinois.

In this video tip from the Secrets to Beat Your Illinois Brick Walls webinar, presenter David A. Fryxell gives you resources for finding land records in Illinois, from the days of French, then British, then Virginia jurisdiction, through the public domain lands era, to more-recent deed records.
 


You've still got a couple more days to register for the Secrets to Beat Your Illinois Brick Walls webinar! Learn more about the webinar and sign up at ShopFamilyTree.com.


Land records | Research Tips | Videos | Webinars
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:55:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Intro to Genetic Genealogy Testing Crash Course
Posted by Diane

Is a DNA test the answer to your genealogy prayers or a waste of money? Well, it depends on the test you take and how you use the results. Blaine Bettinger, aka The Genetic Genealogist, will help you understand how to use genetic genealogy as part of your family history research in our Intro to DNA Crash Course webinar on April 25.



If you've:
  • considered taking a DNA ancestry test
  • been overwhelmed by the options for genetic genealogy tests to take and testing companies to use
  • wondered about the differences among Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal tests
  • thought that genetic genealogy probably isn't worth it for your research, anyway
  • taken a test and been unsure what to do with your results
... this webinar is for you.

Participants in the Intro to DNA Crash Course webinar will be able to ask their genetic genealogy questions in a Q&A session during the webinar. They'll get a copy of the webinar slides, access to watch the webinar again as often as desired, and our genetic-genealogy guide Research Strategies: Going Beyond Surnames.

Here are the webinar details:
  • Date: Thursday, April 25
  • Starting time: 7pm EST/6pm CST/5pm MST/4pm PST
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price: $49.99 (sign up by April 18 to save $10!)
Register for the Intro to DNA Crash Course webinar here.

Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:11:28 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, April 05, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, April 1-5
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added 23.9 million indexed records and images to the free FamilySearch.org, with new browsable image collections from Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, England, Italy, Mexico and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 19.2 million document images from the new collection United Kingdom, WWI Service Records 1914-1920; 2 million index records from the collection US WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; and almost the 931,000 index records from the collection US New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1925-1942. Search or browse these databases from the chart here.

  • In case you missed it (and were wondering), Irish genealogy research company Eneclann has researched Tom Cruise’s roots. The actor's real last name is Mapother, but Cruise actually is a family name. His great-grandfather, born in 1876 to Mary Pauline Russell Cruise and her second husband Thomas O’Mara, took the surname of his half-siblings and thus became Thomas Cruise Mapother I. Read more and download a copy of the family tree here.


Celebrity Roots | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | German roots | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, April 05, 2013 1:44:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]