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# Wednesday, July 24, 2013
A Short Quiz on Royal Roots
Posted by Diane

I'm not too cool to be excited about the royal baby. I'm not going to send a present or anything, but a healthy baby welcomed by the world is happy news for a change. And babies are cute.

And I could be related to the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Well, OK, according to the genealogy research I've done so far, the odds I have royal roots are pretty slim.

You might have better chances: More than 60 percent of Americans are descended from royalty, according to Gary Boyd Roberts, author of The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants (Genealogical Publishing Co).

Please note I'm not knocking plebian roots (that's what I have). I find all types of family trees equally interesting, and very occasionally equally boring.

So let's welcome His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge with a short quiz about royal roots. Answers are below:

1. True or false: An ancestor with a title such as duke, earl or baron means you come from royalty.

2. If you're American, your chances of finding a royal ancestor are best if
a. You come from German stock
b. Your ancestors were potato famine immigrants
c. You go back to New England Puritans, Pennsylvania Quakers or Tidewater planters
3. The British royal family adopted a fixed surname
a. by about 1400, same as most others families in England
b. in 1917
c. in 1952
d. last year
4. Good resources for researching royal roots include (choose all that apply)
a. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (two volumes) edited by Charles Mosley
b. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis
c. Jones genealogy: a Welsh family with the ancestry, and some of the descendants of Rev. Rowland Jones, first Pastor of Bruton Parish, Virginia, connected by marriage with President George Washington by Gustave Anjou
Answers
1. False. The term “royalty” applies to the rulers (kings, queens, princes, princesses) and their immediate families. Nobles are the families of high and hereditary rank, often descendants of kings' younger sons, but not always related by blood to royalty. Moreover, being noble didn't necessarily mean you got a title.

2. c. The immigrants who brought royal blood with them to the New World were most likely Puritans settling in New England, Quakers (often Welsh) in Pennsylvania, Scots in mid-Atlantic states, and Anglican “cavaliers” to Tidewater Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. If you have a sizable number—50 to 100—of immigrant relatives in one or more of these areas, you “can expect to find a royally descended forebear,” Boyd says.

3. b. 1917. Before then, members of the British royal family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged. In 1917, WWI anti-German sentiment prompted George V, of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to adopt Windsor as his surname. “Windsor” came from the castle of that name. In 1952, Elizabeth II’s surname and that of her descendants was modified to Mountbatten-Windsor, adding her husband Prince Philip’s surname.

4. a and b. Avoid genealogies by Gustav Anjou (1863-1942), known for falsifying the family histories he wrote for clients.

Our guide to researching your genealogy connections to royalty is in the Spring 2011 Discover Your Roots, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy fun
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 2:28:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
You Don't Have to Be Kelly Clarkson to Research Your Civil War Ancestor
Posted by Diane

Did you watch “Who Do You Think You Are?” last night?



In the season premiere on TLC, singer Kelly Clarkson traced her third-great-grandfather Isaiah Rose from Marietta, Ohio, to his imprisonment at the notorious Andersonville Civil War prison, and back home after his escape. There, he served as county sheriff and a state senator.

The story is common: Lots of Americans have Civil War soldier ancestors, many of whom were held at Andersonville and other prisons. The genealogy research is very doable—and you don’t have to drive around the country like Clarkson did, or meet with a slew of Civil War experts.

It’s neat for "WDYTYA?" viewers to see the original historical records, but the same records Clarkson used are available online or by ordering from repositories. For example: 

Note that many public libraries and FamilySearch Centers offer patrons the use of Fold3 and Ancestry Library Edition for free.

These are just a few of the available resources for tracing your Civil War ancestor. You'll find many more Civil War genealogy resources, tools and how-to information in Family Tree Magazine's Civil War Genealogy Value Pack, which happens to be on sale now—click here to learn more about it.

All that driving from place to place adds historical interest to the show, but it's not realistic for most of us. Thank goodness it's also not necessary for researching in Civil War records.

PS: TLC shared on Facebook where you can watch the whole episode online.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Civil War | Libraries and Archives | NARA
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:59:15 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Online Public Access Search Replaces NARA's Archival Research Catalog
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is shutting down its 10-year-old Archival Research Catalog (ARC) on Aug. 15. ARC catalogs the archives' holdings, with links to holdings that are digitized online.

It's being replaced by NARA's Online Public Access (OPA) search, which combines several searches from the website: You can use OPA to identify holdings that relate to your genealogical search and access digitized records. OPA also provides access to nearly a million electronic records in the Electronic Records Archives, with more to be added. And it searches the websites of the National Archives and the presidential libraries for web pages with terms related to your search.

Your OPA search results are grouped into categories based on the type of result:
  • Online Holdings: Search results including digital copies of records.
  • Description Only: Descriptions of records NARA holds that are related to your search terms. To see the actual record, you would need to request copies from NARA, go there yourself, or hire a local researcher to search for the record you need.
  • Archives.gov: Web pages on Archives.gov with matches to your search terms.
  • Presidential Libraries: Web pages on presidential library websites with matches to your search terms.
  • Authority Records: NARA's website describes these as "Organization and Person authority records from the Organization Authority File and Person Authority File in ARC. These contain organizational histories and personal biographies." From what I gather, authority sources are sources (such as The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names) that were used to index descriptions in ARC. The "organizational histories and personal biographies" are in the sources themselves, not part of OPA.
OPA search tips are here. NARA also plans to provide tips for searching OPA on its NARAtions blog. Here's what the Basic OPA search form looks like.



You could search for a name, a research topic such as Civilian Conservation Corps (maybe if your grandfather was a CCC worker) or a record type you want to find out more about, such as War of 1812 Pensions.

I ran a search on a surname I'm searching, Seeger. My results included nine Online Holdings. One is a recent photo including a person named Seeger, and two are digitized 1918 Alien Application Permits for men named Seeger. Not my relatives, as far as I can tell, but in case they could be yours: They lived in Atchison, Kan., and it looks like they were born in Düsseldorf, Germany.



I also received 84 Description Only results,  13 results from the Archives.gov website, 20 results from presidential library sites and five authority records.

Go here to try your own OPA search.

From the Social Security Administration to the FBI, what US federal agencies might have genealogical records of your ancestors? And how do you find them? Check out our guide to researching your genealogy in US government records.


NARA | Research Tips
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 8:58:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, July 19, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, July 15-19
Posted by Diane

  • Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers and High-Definition Genealogy has launched a new website, Hack Genealogy. With the tagline, "Repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy," it'll focus on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry, and how it applied to your family history research.
  • The Civil War Trust has released a Civil War In4 video series to answer frequently asked questions about the American Civil War in a modern, digestible format, and in four minutes. So far, the series has 13 videos; watch them at civilwar.org/in4.
  • The General Society of Mayflower Descendants has named its first ever executive director, Walter Louis Powell. The appointment comes after a yearlong search, and is part of a program to modernize the 116-year-old organization. Powell has worked as an historic preservation consultant, and as a visiting history instructor and interim director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. 


Civil War | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, July 19, 2013 9:11:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 18, 2013
Genealogy Tools for Tracing Ancestors Across the USA
Posted by Diane

Hey, fellow US family history sleuths! This Family Tree Magazine July genealogy value pack celebrates your American heritage with resources to trace your ancestors all across the USA.

The USA Genealogy Value Pack includes:

  • our popular CD of State Research Guides for every US state, newly revised and updated with the latest information and resources
  • the Family Tree Sourcebook: Your Essential Directory of American County and Town Resources
  • our City Genealogy Guides e-book, with essential research advice for 31 cities across the United States
  • our Researching Revolutionary Ancestors video class with D. Joshua Taylor (yes, the Josh Taylor you've seen revealing ancestral information to Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Clarkson and other "Who Do You Think You Are?" guests)
You'll get place-based research guidance, resource listings and maps for every US state, detailed county-level source information, help with municipal records, and demos of strategies for finding Patriot ancestors.

The USA Genealogy Value Pack is on sale in July for $49.99—that's 66% discount. Check it out in ShopFamilyTree.com.

ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:31:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free New England Genealogy Records Through July 21 on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com is offering free access to recently updated collections of New England genealogy records through July 21.

The free records include:
  • Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915
  • New Hampshire, Birth Records, 1659-1900
  • Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915
  • New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947
  • Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915
  • New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947
  • Connecticut, Hale Cemetery Inscriptions, 1675-1934 
  • Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935
  • Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 
  • Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990
Go here to search these records. You'll need to sign up for a free basic Ancestry.com account to view full record details in your search results.

Find expert genealogy research help for New England ancestors in Family Tree Magazine's New England Genealogy Value Pack, on sale now for 44% off in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Ancestry.com
Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:04:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Can Findmypast.com Take PERSI From Most-Overlooked to Most-Used Genealogy Resource?
Posted by Diane

PERSI, aka the Periodical Source Index, may be about to go from one of the best most-overlooked genealogy resources to one of the best most-used.

Brightsolid, the British company behind findmypast.com and other genealogy websites, has agreed with PERSI's creators at the Allen County (Ind.) Public Library (ACPL) to publish the index—and the company plans to make each index entry link to an image of the article it refers to.

Let's back up for a minute and talk about PERSI: It's an index to articles in thousands of genealogy and local history periodicals published in the US and Canada back to 1800. Any of which could contain information that helps you with a family or place you're researching

Allen County librarians began creating PERSI in 1986. It now has about 2.5 million citations and adds 100,000 per year, according to the Journal Gazette.

The index was made searchable on Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest Online (which has a more recent version you can search at libraries that offer HeritageQuest Online). You can run a search, and then if you find an index entry that mentions a family or place of interest, you can order a copy of the article from ACPL.

That's been the only way for you to access all those genealogy periodicals. You know, unless you want to subscribe to all of them, and then read them. And then find the periodicals no longer in publication, and read those, too.

Until now. If brightsolid can secure permission from publishers, findmypast.com subscribers will be able to search for articles related to their ancestors, and then link to digitized images of the articles. That can't happen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

Read more about PERSI in the Journal Gazette.

Don't want to wait? Learn how to use PERSI and other databases in HeritageQuest Online (including family and local histories, censuses and military records) with our HeritageQuest Online Web Guide.



findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:05:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, July 15, 2013
Watch the "Who Do You Think You Are?" Kelly Clarkson Episode on iTunes
Posted by Diane

The US show "Who Do You Think You Are?" doesn't debut on TLC until July 23, but you already can watch the first episode, featuring singer Kelly Clarkson, on iTunes. Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers tells you how (you'll need to sign up for an Apple ID if you're not already on iTunes).

This morning I watched along as Clarkson traced her Civil War ancestor Isaiah Rose from Ohio to Georgia, where he was imprisoned at Andersonville, and back.

Kelly Clarkson is a hugger. It seems weird to me to hug the archivists and historians at the library, but then I'm not a big hugger in general. If you're learning remarkable and humbling new stories about your ancestors, maybe hugging would be part of your genealogy happy dance.

I don't want to give too much away before the episode airs. So all I'll say is that viewers get to visit the Andersonville National Historic Site, see historical illustrations and photos (including a shocking image of a man who was held there), and hear a contemporary account from a prisoner. To me, that's the best part of the show—you learn about the history that might have affected your own ancestors and that shaped our country.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Monday, July 15, 2013 4:33:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, July 12, 2013
House Histories: Do You Believe in Ghost Signs?
Posted by Diane

This was a totally  unexpected find: I was casually searching the Library of Congress website for old images of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, where several ancestors lived. This photo popped up in my results:



The building closest to the camera was once my great-great-grandfather's cigar store and family home. The picture is part of a group of shots from the neighborhood, taken in 1982 for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). There's an accompanying PDF document with history and architecture notes.

When I opened the giant high-resolution TIFF of the image, I saw this:



Do you see it, too? It's a "ghost sign"—the outline of some of the letters from the store's "H.A. Seeger Cigar Manufacturer" sign. Here's a closer look at part of it:



My mom once drove us kids by the building, and we saw where the letters had been. I've often wished we took a photo during that stop—the building's been renovated and that ghost sign is gone. So this is an extra-special find.

This copy of a photo from my family collection shows what the sign looked like back in the day:



In an earlier picture I've posted before, the sign's lettering was different and there was no street lamp or window on the first floor. If I can figure out when those updates happened, it'll help me date this photo.

Time to learn more about this building. Are you researching an ancestor's house? Our guide to constructing a house history is a $4 download in ShopFamilyTree.com.

Here's how found the photo: On the Library of Congress site, I searched for the term Cincinnati German and limited my results to "Photo, Print, Drawing," like so:



The group of pictures was second in my search results. Not everything in the LOC catalog is digitized online, but luckily, these are. I knew to click on it because the streets in the description are the ones around the building.



We list more websites with databases of old photos here. Many state and local archives digitize photos for online memory projects, too.

You can learn more about finding, identifying and preserving old photos from our Photo Detective Collection, with study materials from photo historian Maureen A. Taylor and digital photography expert Nancy Hendrickson.


Libraries and Archives | Photos | Research Tips
Friday, July 12, 2013 11:11:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, July 8-12
Posted by Diane

An online petition to release the 1921 Canadian census is circulating. You can read more about it and link to it on the Olive Tree Genealogy blog.


Canadian roots | Celebrity Roots | findmypast
Friday, July 12, 2013 10:18:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]