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# Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Putting It All Together: The Write Your Family History Value Pack
Posted by Diane

I've been doing genealogy research since I started at the magazine 10 years ago (in more earnest in recent years). Lately as I update my family tree, I have this niggling thought: How do I put it all together?



I don't want to just record family history. I want to package it all up in words and pictures, to both summarize and detail my ancestors' lives, and make it easy for people to see all those connections and family events.

This is a comment I've heard in one form or another from many of you. Here's something that might help: Our Write Your Family History Value Pack. It has articles and tools that'll help you carry out a family history writing project, big or small, from start to finish. This value pack includes:
  • Writing Your Family Memoir independent study course from Family Tree University
  • Seven Tips to Write Your Family History article download
  • Personal Historian 2 software on CD
  • Writing Life Stories book download
Learn more about each of these components here. Buying them together in the Write Your Family History Value Pack saves you 66 percent!

The Write Your Family History Value Pack also comes with 25 percent off an instructor-guided Family Tree University course (such as Write Your Family History: Create a Captivating Record of Your Family’s Story or Creating a Family History Book: Guidance for Assembling and Printing a Family Keepsake).

saving and sharing family history | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:40:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Did You Know ... ?: Declaration of Independence Edition
Posted by Diane

Like any group effort, the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence involved some give-and-take and even drama.



These seven facts relay some of the Declaration's back story:
  • The youngest signatory was 26-year-old Edward Rutledge, who was initially opposed to independence from Britain, but voted to adopt for the sake of unanimity. He later was captured by the British but eventually released. Good old Benjamin Franklin was the oldest, at 70.

  • Signatory Richard Stockton also was captured by the British and recanted his signature under duress. 
  • In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, included slavery among his list of grievances against King George of England:
"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere"
This grievance was edited out at the request of delegates from South Carolina. This Wikipedia article discusses how rebuttals challenged the document's "all men are created equal" claims and the impact on American slavery.
  • In what might resemble a writer's worst nightmare, the members of the Continental Congress spent two days editing Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence. He sent copies to several friends with changes indicated, and Henry Lee consoled him, "I wish sincerely, as well for the honor of Congress, as for that of the States, that the Manuscript had not been mangled as it is."

  • Whether the Declaration was signed on July 4 is up for debate. The version of events generally accepted by historians is that Congress adopted the Declaration on July 4 and its president, John Hancock, signed, along with his secretary. On July 19, a handwritten copy was produced to bear all the delegates' signatures; most signed Aug. 2. The Library of Congress website shows all this on a timeline for you.
  • Gen. George Washington read the Declaration of Independence to his troops in New York City on July 9. Soon after, they destroyed the statue of King George III at the foot of Broadway and used the lead to make musket balls.

  • Of the 200 broadsides John Dunlap of Philadelphia printed on the night of July 4, 1776, 26 are known to survive. One was the flea market find of a lifetime: In 1989, a shopper discovered the broadside behind a framed painting he bought for $4. In 2000, it went for $8.14 million at auction.

Learn even more about the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives Charters of Freedom exhibit.

Let genealogy expert and "Who Do You Think You Are?" researcher D. Joshua Taylor help you find your Patriot ancestors in our Researching Revolutionary War Ancestors video course.


NARA | Social History
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 11:51:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, July 01, 2013
Ancestry.com Surveys Users on Old Search
Posted by Diane

In light of the online commentary over the impending discontinuation of Old Search, Ancestry.com has set up a survey to gather your feedback on the site's search function.

Ancestry.com spokesperson Matthew Deighton said the company wants Old Search users to know that it plans to preserve the functionality of the Old Search, and merge it into one consolidated search experience.

In a note to distributed to bloggers Friday, Ancestry.com asked users to take the survey. It also linked to an educational video about the current (aka "New") search experience and to an article with a side-by-side explanation of achieving the same results with New Search as Old Search.

The note also says that some of the functions Old Search fans have lamented losing are present in New Search (I added the bullets to this quote):
"Many of the recent concerns and comments have cited functionality that actually exists in current search, as well as in old search—specifically:
  • Our current search experience allows users to view search results as a list of ranked records or as a consolidated list of categories.
  • Our current search experience allows users to do 'Exact Match' searches.
  • Our current search experience allows users to specify a 'Collection Priority' to filter results by country. "
Read Ancestry.com's note here and take the survey here.


Ancestry.com
Monday, July 01, 2013 12:58:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, June 28, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, June 24-28
Posted by Diane

If you're not a student, you still can save $50 on FGS conference registration with the early bird discount—but it ends July 1, so get a move on. Click here to register.
  • FamilySearch's recent additions to the free genealogy collections at FamilySearch.org include 200,000 record images in the Confederate Officers Card Index Collection, which contains the Military Order of the Stars and Bars' index cards listing Confederate officers. The collection isn't yet indexed so you can't search it, but you can browse by alphabetical surname range. 
Other recent additions include 1.1 million images from Austria, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, and the United States. The US additions include the Wisconsin state census for 1865. See all the updated collections and click through to them here.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 28, 2013 12:59:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com's 2 Percent Speak Up
Posted by Diane

A radio station I listen to in the car does a contest where you have to guess something like "The average person doesn't do this on Mondays until 11:16 a.m." (The answer was "smile." Depressing.)

So my challenge to you is "Two percent of Ancestry.com users have this in common."

Can you guess what it is?

They use the Old Search. Remember Old Search?

It's on its way out. Ancestry.com sent the Old Search users a letter (read it on Dick Eastman's blog) on Wednesday announcing that Old Search would be discontinued as a separate search experience within the next six months.

The letter asks for the users' input into improvements that will bring together the Old and New search experiences into one search. It states that "Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make."

New Search was introduced in 2008, and that's the default you see when you log onto the site. It's hard to even find Old Search—it's a tiny link in the top right corner of the Search page:



The Advanced Old Search looks like this:



For comparison, here's the Advanced New Search:



It's easy to see why Old Search hung around so long: Those 2 percent who use it are extremely loyal to it, and vocal on Facebook (here's one example) and the blogosphere (see the comments on Dick's post).

Many of the Team Old Search comments I've seen say it's more accurate and finds specific records faster, with better-organized and fewer irrelevant results, and that more people would use it if it were more visible on the site (and if Old Search users weren't randomly rerouted back to New Search).

As for me, I haven't used Old Search in a long time. My usual technique is to use the Card Catalog to find the specific database I want to search, then add a place (filtered to the exact place or to a county plus surrounding counties) and/or an exact year of a life event (such as birth or residence) with a range of plus/minus several years.

Are you on Team Old Search or Team New Search? What's your take on this announcement?


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:43:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Thursday, June 27, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?" 2013 Celebrity Lineup (Bazinga!)
Posted by Diane

TLC has announced the full lineup of starpower on the fourth season of "Who Do You Think You Are?," which premiers Tuesday, July 23. TLC picked up the series after NBC dropped it last year.



These are the season's celebrity guests. I added a bit of info on where you might recognize them from and on their ancestry:
  • Zooey Deschanel: You may know this actress (she's pictured in the screenshot above) and musician as the quirky title character of “New Girl” on Fox. Her surname comes from her French paternal grandfather; she also has Swiss, Dutch, English and Irish roots.

  • Chris O'Donnell: As his parents’ surnames—O'Donnell and Rohs von Brecht—would suggest, this “NCIS: Los Angeles” actor (he also was on the big screen as Robin to batmen Val Kilmer and George Clooney) has Irish and German ancestry.

  • Christina Applegate: This “Married … with Children,”  and “Samantha Who?” actress was born into the business: Her parents are record company executive Robert W. Applegate and singer and actress Nancy Lee Priddy

  • Jim Parsons: The episode featuring this "Big Bang Theory" star (trademark line: "Bazinga!") is the one I'm most anticipating. BBT is a favorite in our house, and I'd love to see what Parsons is like when he steps out of the role of Sheldon Cooper. The Houston native reportedly has English, Scottish, French and German heritage.

  • Cindy Crawford: German, English and French make up the bulk of this supermodel’s ancestry. She was “discovered” by a newspaper photographer as she detasseled corn in her DeKalb, Ill., hometown. Her appearance at the Connecticut State Library in May clued us in that she was filming for WDYTYA?

  • Trisha Yearwood: This country singer does it all: She's also an actress, cookbook author and host of her own cooking show on the Food Network. She was born in Monticello, Ga.
  • Chelsea Handler:A comedian, actress and talk show host from Livingston, NJ, Handler has a German Mormon mother and a Jewish father.
TLC's "Who Do YouThink You Are?" website is here.

Watch a short teaser for "Who Do You Think You Are?" season 4 here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:21:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Editor's Pick: Learn Insider Secrets for Pennsylvania Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Maybe you've done some basic research on your Pennsylvania ancestors in censuses and vital records. But where should you and your genealogy research turn next?



Find out from our Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar with veteran Pennsylvania genealogist Lisa A. Alzo. It's happening Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific).

Among other resources, she'll introduce you to the Pennsylvania Archives—and by that I mean both the Pennsylvania State Archives and the Pennsylvania Archives series. The latter is 138-volumes of published records including early government correspondence; tax lists; and church, land, and military records, and it's free on Fold3.com.

Participants in the Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar also receive:
  • a quick Pennsylvania vital records review
  • strategies for exploring military records for your Pennsylvania ancestors
  • tips for researching in court and tax records
  • information on other state-specific resources that can help you break through research brick walls
  • the opportunity to submit Pennsylvania genealogy questions before the event (via a form when you register for the webinar) and again during the webinar's live Q&A session
  • access to view the webinar recording again as often as desired
  • a PDF handout of the presentation slides
  • a PDF handout of our Pennsylvania Brick Walls e-book.
It pays to be an early bird! Sign up now for the Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar to save $10 on your registration.



Editor's Pick | Webinars
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:54:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Battle of Gettysburg 150th Anniversary: Honor Civil War Ancestors With a Virtual Visit
Posted by Diane

With the beginning of July (can you believe that's already next week?) arrives the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg.

It lasted from July 1-3 and involved 160,000 soldiers on both sides, with casualty estimates (also for both sides) ranging from 46,000 to 51,000. Civilians hid in their homes as the fighting happened around them.

Although the Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the war—it put Gen. Robert E. Lee was on the defensive—the Civil War dragged on for nearly two more years.

The astounding numbers of dead at Gettysburg led to the establishment of the Soldiers National Cemetery there. At the cemetery's dedication on Nov. 19, 1863, President Lincoln eloquently spoke the 10 sentences we know as the Gettysburg Address.

If a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield (perhaps for the 150th anniversary commemoration) isn't on your agenda, you still can pay a virtual visit to honor the memories of your Civil War ancestors and see the world through their eyes. Here are some ways to do it:
  • Visit the Gettysburg Foundation website to view photos of the Gettysburg Battlefield and the Gettysburg Cyclorama—French artist Paul Philippoteaux's 360-degree, life-size "painting in the round" by that depicts Pickett's Charge.

  • See photos and soak up history (and plan a visit, if you're lucky enough) at the Gettysburg National Military Park website.
  • The Stone Sentinels website shows you photos of more than 1,200 Gettysburg Battlefield monuments to units, individuals and others; plus farms and other buildings. You can browse monuments to units by the state where the unit was raised, or take a tour using a monument map.

  • The Nationwide Gravesite Locator lets you search for burials of veterans and their family members at Gettysburg National Military Park (choose Gettysburg from the Cemetery dropdown menu and then enter at least a last name).
Did your Civil War ancestor fight in the Battle of Gettysburg? See the July/August 2013 Family Tree Magazine for our seven-step guide to researching Gettysburg ancestors.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Military records | Museums | Social History
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 1:09:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 21, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, June 17-21
Posted by Diane

  • In related news, on Sunday, June 30, FamilySearch will shut off the ability for vendors (such as software companies) to "write" to trees on new.familysearch.org, which is actually the old version of FamilySearch Family Trees. That means that if you're using a third-party product that works with the new.familysearch.org system, you won't be able to use it to update your new.familysearch.org tree. Read more about this on Renee Zamora's blog.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 21, 2013 12:35:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Irish Vital Records on Findmypast.ie June 27-30
Posted by Diane

Findmypast.ie is offering free access to Irish vital records from June 27-30. You'll be able to search for free:
  • Ireland Births 1864-1958
  • Ireland Marriages 1845-1958
  • Ireland Deaths 1864-1958
It's part of the site's Ashes to Archives initiative, which marks the anniversary of the Four Courts Fire in Dublin. This June 30, 1922, fire during the Irish Civil War severely damaged the Public Records Office, resulting in a major loss of historical records. It's one of the most infamous events in Irish genealogy.

Findmypast.ie's helpful site tells you what records were lost and what survived (including sources available with a findmypast.ie subscription or pay-per-view credits).

You'll need a free membership on the site to view the Irish vital records.

Got Irish ancestors? Take a look at these resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 21, 2013 12:33:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [74]