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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Tricks for Finding Free Genealogy Data
Posted by Diane
Don't get me wrong. Spending money on genealogy is a good thing.
This is spoken by someone who works hard to create high-quality
educational genealogy material for your consumption.
But I try to practice what my mom taught me about money: You save
what you can when you can, then you use your budget on things that'll really pay off.
This post is about the "save when you can" part. If you can find
some genealogy data you need for no cost, then you can dedicate your
family history funds, for example, to ordering an original record,
taking an in-depth
online genealogy course or subscribing to a website.
- Use free sites: FamilySearch,
of course, but also Find A
Transcribers Guild, USGenWeb,
Genealogy Trails, Civil
War Soldiers and Sailors database, Google Books, Internet Archive, family trees at MyHeritage and other pedigree
sites, state archives, libraries and others. Many others. Use Google searches
and portal sites such as Cyndi's
List to find these sites.
- Know that free sites often have sponsored links (they have to
pay the bills somehow), which may not be obviously ads: You
click on a database title or type your name into a search box,
and you end up on a subscription site, which can be frustrating
if that's not what you expected. Just hit the back button until
you get back to the site you started on (or if the site opened
in a new browser tab, go back to the tab you were on).
Find out about 41 free resources for genealogy apps, forms, software and images in the May/June 2013 Family Tree Magazine.
- Look for free-for-a-limited-time databases around holidays.
Recently, for example, four sites offered free online military
records for Memorial Day. Find out about these offers by reading
genealogy blogs (such as
this one) and newsletters (such as the Genealogy Insider
newsletter), sign up for genealogy websites' email
programs, and befriend those sites on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn how to find and use free genealogy websites with the tools in our Best Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection!
Ancestry.com | Archives.com | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | Research Tips
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 2:53:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, May 24, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, May 20-24
Posted by Diane
- We're working on our Family Tree University Fall Virtual Conference,
scheduled for Sept. 13-15, and we'd love to find out what
genealogy topics you want to learn about. Please share your
thoughts by taking our two-minute survey (to thank you,
there's a conference registration coupon code at the end).
FamilySearch has added records from Argentina, Austria, Italy,
Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and the United States to teh free FamilySearch.org. That includes
1,152,830 index entries and record images of Illinois county
marriages (1810-1934) and 244,523 images of municipal records from
Spain's Province of Valencia (1611-1935). Link to search or
browse all the new and updated collections here.
Family Tree University | FamilySearch | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 24, 2013 11:47:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Free Military Records on Ancestry.com Through May 27
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com is joining the genealogy websites offering free access to military records for Memorial Day. You can search and view 155 million Ancestry.com draft, enlistment and service records free through May 27.
Those include WWI and WWII draft registration cards, new collections of US Alien draft registrations and New York military records, and more.Start your search here.
Read our previous posts about free military records offers at MyHeritage, findmypast.com and Fold3.
Ancestry.com | Military records
Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:51:13 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
May Genealogy Value Packs Are Going ... Going ...
Posted by Diane
Before we call it a day on this month, I wanted to make sure you
know about our May genealogy value collections. They're full of
helpful how-to tools such as books, CDs, video classes and articles,
and they're available at special prices only this month. Check them
Genealogy Value Pack, with video classes on Jewish
names and finding Eastern European origins, Jewish and Eastern
European research guides, and the must-have Finding Our
Irish Genealogy Collection, with video classes on
Irish censuses and genealogy websites, our guide to Griffith's
Valuation, a genealogical atlas and our Family Tree University
Independent Study course on researching in Irish records
Detective Collection, with photo-research guides
from Family Tree Magazine's Photo Detective Maureen A.
Taylor—including her new Family Photo Detective eBook
and an autographed copy of Preserving Your Family
Jewish roots | Photos | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:42:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Military Genealogy Tips for Memorial Day: Finding Pension Records
Posted by Diane
Honor your military ancestors this Memorial Day by learning more
about their lives and service. One way is through pension records,
which can be rich with information about the person who
Various laws made those who served in the armed forces between 1775
and 1916, or their survivors, eligible for military pensions. You
can search some indexes to pensions at sites such as
Ancestry.com, Fold3, FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage
One of the most helpful indexes is the General Index
to Pension Files, 1861-1934, from National Archives microfilm T288
free online at FamilySearch.org.
conflicts, try the Old War
Pension Index, 1815-1926, from NARA microfilm T316.
The pension files themselves are on microfilm at the National
Archives (with copies at the Family History Library), with some
collections online. A few are:
The exception is pensions for Confederate soldiers in the Civil War:
The former Confederate states awarded pensions to their armed
forces, so look to those state archives for records. You
can link to several states' Confederate pensions collections from
and FamilySearch.org also
have collections of some Confederate states' Civil War pensions.
A final tip: If you plan to leave flowers at an ancestor's gravesite
this Memorial Day, consider also leaving a note for the next person,
who may be a cousin.
Our Military Research Value Pack—now just $49.99—has a webinar, CD of how-to articles, and a class that provide you in-depth guidance for finding your ancestors' military records throughout US history.
Military records | Research Tips
Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:07:38 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
US Colored Troops Service Records Free Through May 31
Posted by Diane
Today—the 150th anniversary of the creation of the US Colored Troops
(USCT)—the National Archives has announced the completion of the
USCT Service Records Digitization Project.
The USCT Service
Records collection is available free to everyone today through May
31 on Fold3, which was a partner in the project.
The USCT was established May 22, 1863 by War Department General
Order 143 to organize African-American soldiers to fight for the
Union Army. Its members fought in 39 major battles and 400 other
engagements. Sixteen received the Medal of Honor.
The collection holds nearly 4 million record images. The
service records can include muster rolls, enlistment papers,
correspondence, orders, prisoner-of-war memorandums and casualty
reports. Some files include deeds of manumission and bills of sale
for former slaves whose owners received compensation for freeing the
slaves to enlist.
Search or browse the
USCT records collection here.
African-American roots | Fold3 | Military records
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 4:29:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Access MyHeritage Military Records Free Through May 28
Posted by Diane
In honor of Memorial Day, MyHeritage is granting free access to military
records from its most popular collections through Tuesday, May
The US records include Revolutionary War pension indexes, an index to
the 1840 special census of Revolutionary War pensioners, Confederate
service and pension records, War of 1812 pension indexes and more
(some of the military records might not be included—for example, I
was prompted to subscribe when searching the Tennessee Pension
You'll also find some collections for
British and Australian records.
here to search the MyHeritage military records. Use the links
on the right (under In Military) to see what records are available.
can read more about this free military records offer on the
forget about findmypast.com's free military records offer, which
ends May 27.
Military records | MyHeritage
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:17:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Premieres July 23 on TLC
Posted by Diane
It's official: Ancestry.com has confirmed the rumors that "Who Do
You Think You Are?" is coming to TLC.
The show will premiere July 23. Eight episodes will feature
celebrities including actresses Christina Applegate and Zooey Deschanel, and supermodel Cindy Crawford.
Ancestry.com's announcement didn't name Singer Kelly Clarkson, but a
Clarkson sighting in Andersonville, Ga., sparked rumors she'll
As a sponsor, Ancestry.com provides family history research on the
featured celebrities. The US version of the celebrity-genealogy
show, produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky of Is or Isn't
Entertainment, aired for three seasons on NBC and was canceled after
the 2012 season.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 8:36:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
"With Sacred Vigilance"
Posted by Diane
“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance ... Let no
neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming
generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free
and undivided republic.”Those are the words of Gen. John Logan, the national commander of
the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), who declared that May 30 would
be a day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers with flowers.
May 30, 1868, about 5,000 attended a Decoration Day ceremony at Arlington National
Cemetery. Members of the GAR and children from the Soldiers' and
Sailors' Orphan Home placed flowers on Union and Confederate
New York officially recognized Decoration Day in 1873, and all the
Northern states had followed by 1890. Most of the South honored Confederate dead on a separate day until after World War I,
when the day expanded to honor those who died in all American
The term "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882 and became common
after World War II. A law in 1968 made it the holiday's official
name and moved it to the last Monday in May. Some groups advocate moving Memorial Day back to its traditional May 30 date to remind the country
of the day's true meaning.
To that end, the National Moment of Remembrance Act, passed in
December 2000, encourages Americans to observe a minute of silence
and remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.
Cities across the country held local observances before the one at
Arlington in 1868 (read
about those on the Veterans Administration website), with the
official Memorial Day birthplace award going to Waterloo, NY: In
1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson made the designation 100
years after the town's first Memorial Day on May 5, 1866.
I'll be back later this week with some tips for honoring your
military ancestors by learning about their lives and service to
Military records | Social History
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 4:45:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, May 17, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, May 13-17
Posted by Diane
- Next Tuesday, the Journey
Through Hallowed Ground Partnership will hold a tree planting
ceremony in Gettysburg, Pa., to kick off its Living
Legacy program: a plan to plant or dedicate a tree for each of
the 620,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War.
Taking part will be 7th-
and 8th-graders from Gettysburg and Hartford, Vt., who've been
researching and writing about soldiers from their hometowns. Each
group will plant a tree to honor one local soldier, and the
soldiers' stories will be available to smartphone users through QR
codes on the trees. You
can watch a video about the project here.
- Ancestry.com has changed its
search results page to highlight key features, load the page faster
and require less "stuff" to be downloaded to your computer. The new
design lets you filter categories with one click, gives you tabs
(instead of a pulldown menu) to switch between the record view and
category view of search results, and bolds database titles. See
before and after screenshots on the Ancestry.com blog.
Ancestry.com | Civil War | Genealogy societies
Friday, May 17, 2013 1:31:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)