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Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Six Tips for Mapping Your Family History
Posted by Diane
One of my research goals is to visualize my family history on a map
showing all the places my ancestors lived and worked.
I found plenty of advice in last month's Family Tree University
One-Week Workshop, Map Your Family History With Google Earth.
Participants studied course materials and created a family history
map project with guidance from Google Earth
expert Lisa Louise Cooke.
Here are a few tips from Lisa for using Google Earth
and finding old maps of places your family lived:
- A great source of old maps to use with Google Earth is the David Rumsey Historical Map
Collection. Sign up for a free account for access to the
highest resolution downloadable maps (You can still download up
to about medium resolution if you aren't signed in).
using the "Search the Site" box, scroll
down on the home page and use the Map Rank Search tool to search
by year and location.
- Lisa recommends using Google to find online plat maps (these
show property boundaries and owners' names), which might be
anywhere from large mapping web sites to a
genealogist's own site. Try doing a Google Image search
with keywords such as Indiana "Randolph County" "Plat map."
- Another strategy to find plat maps is to run a Google Books search
on a county, state and the term "plat map." If the book you want
isn't fully digitized, copy the title and search for it at WorldCat to find libraries
that have that book.
- You can have Google email you when Google Maps or Google Earth
map images are updated, or Street View becomes available, for
the areas where your ancestors lived. Go to Follow Your World,
log in with your Google account, and follow the prompts.
Enhance your family history search with the maps
and how-to guide on Family Tree Magazine's new Genealogy Map
- Google Earth doesn't auto save, so if it crashes on you,
you'll lose your work. Every so often, go up to the menu and
select File>Save My Places to save everything in My Places.
Check out Family Tree University's next One-Week
Workshop, How to Research Genealogy Records, with video
classes on essential family history records and guidance from expert
researcher Lisa A. Alzo.
Historical maps | Research Tips
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 10:26:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
June Ultimate Collection: Free Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane
As I mentioned in my post
last week about finding free genealogy data, you save where
you can so you can spend where you need to.
A little bit of spending that'll pay off big time is our
Best Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection. (It's also on sale!)
classes, books and articles in this collection of genealogy tools
will show you
Researching your family history doesn't have to break the bank. The
Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection will pay off in
genealogy research funds saved. It's available only in June—check
it out now in ShopFamilyTree.com.
- What free genealogy sites you should be scouring for
information on your ancestors.
- How to use popular free sites such as FamilySearch.org, RootsWeb.com and Internet Archive.
- Online search tricks to find data on smaller, less well-known
free genealogy websites.
- Using the free Evernote
site to organize your research and become a more-efficient
genealogist. (Personal note: I've started using Evernote for my
genealogy to-do list, and it's keeping me from forgetting
research tasks that occur to me while I'm doing something else.
And I can check the list anytime on my smartphone.)
Editor's Pick | Free Databases | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 11:29:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
More on "Genealogy Roadshow" Series on PBS
Posted by Diane
Here's a bit more detail on the
new "Genealogy Roadshow" series coming to PBS this fall:
Four episodes of "Genealogy Roadshow" will air starting Monday,
Sept. 23. They'll be set in Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Detroit
and San Francisco.
The show has professional genealogists research the pasts of everyday
individuals, and present the results in front of a live audience.
The producers of the Irish show the series is based on call it "part
detective story, part emotional journey" in
this Variety article.
more about how 'Genealogy Roadshow" crossed the pond to the United
States on the Variety website.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 8:58:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, May 31, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, May 27-31
Posted by Diane
- To mark the anniversary of the WWII Battle of Midway, which took
place June 4-7, 1942, the US Navy will host a Google+ Hangout with a
panel of historians from the Naval History and Heritage Command,
Pentagon operations leaders, and representatives from the USS Midway
The hangout is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern time on Monday,
June 3. You can watch and participate in the event on the Navy's Google+ page,
or watch it afterward on
This week, FamilySearch added more than 7.3 million images to the
record collections on the free FamilySearch.org. They come
from Austria, Brazil, China, Honduras, Luxembourg, Peru, Portugal,
Switzerland and the United States. New collections include US,
Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986; US, Hawaii, Honolulu
Passenger Lists, 1900-1953; and Honduras, Civil Registration,
1841-1968. See all the updated
collections and click through to search or browse them here.
- The Southern California Genealogical Society will live-stream more
than a dozen sessions of the 2013 Southern California Genealogy
Jamboree, taking place June 7-9. The "JamboSTREAM" webcast is free and sponsored by Ancestry.com.
You must register
to view a session. See the live-stream schedule on the Jamboree blog and
click a class title to register. You'll get a login and password to
use when you log in to watch the session. The times on the schedule
are Pacific Coast Time; remember to translate them into your time
zone so you don't miss the session.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Military records | Social History
Friday, May 31, 2013 1:55:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Secrets to Beat Your Ohio Genealogy Brick Walls!
Posted by Diane
Here's a webinar I'm really looking forward to: Secrets
to Beat Your Ohio Brick Walls, with Family Tree University
instructor Sunny Jane Morton,
on Thursday, June 13, at 7 p.m. ET.
That's partly because most of my family is from Ohio (some
lines have been here at least since the mid-1800s), and partly
because I know what a good researcher and teacher Sunny is!
The webinar is designed for people like me: I've done some genealogy
research on my Ohio ancestors, and now I'm ready to work in
more-involved sources such as probate, deed and tax records. I'd love
to get my hands on paperwork related to my great-great-grandfather's
cigar business in Cincinnati.
Webinar participants will learn about Ohio military records and
rosters, court and tax records, manuscripts, and state archives
resources. You can submit Ohio genealogy questions to Sunny ahead of
time or during the webinar.
Registrants also will get some handouts: our newly revised Ohio State Research
Guide, our Cincinnati Genealogy Guide, and the
webinar slides. And they'll get access to view the webinar again as often as desired.
Here are the webinar basics:
- Date: Thursday, June 13
- Starting time: 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT
- Presenter: Sunny Jane Morton
- Duration: 1 hour
- Price: $49.99 (Save $10 if you register before June
here to register for the Secrets to Beat Your Ohio Brick Walls
webinar. See you there!
Editor's Pick | Webinars
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:24:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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)