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# Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tips to Get Ready for a Genealogy Research Trip
Posted by Diane

Genealogists including yours truly are headed to Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug. 21-24 for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference.

Fort Wayne's Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, of course,  has the top public library genealogy collection in the United States. Its resources cover not only Indiana, but also the entire United States and even beyond.

I'm not sure how much genealogy research I'll get to do there, with getting into town at the last second and leaving as soon as the conference concludes. But I'm doing a little prep work in case I can sneak over to the library during the Genealogy Center's extended research hours.

I'm using materials from our Genealogist's Research Trip Value Pack for help getting ready:
  • The Genealogist's Research Trip Planner ebook with guides to visiting popular genealogy research destinations such as courthouses, cemeteries, the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers, plus advice for packing, saving money and more.

  • two of our popular pocket references: The Family Tree Pocket Reference and The Genealogist's US History Pocket Reference

  • the easily searchable, printable and portable Family Tree Magazine 2012 Annual CD
  • a sturdy padded binder where I can keep my online catalog printouts of materials I want to view, along with notes about the people I'm searching for in each resource. There's an included notebook, plus pockets for pens and pencils and my handy ruler/magnifier.
Here's the binder stuffed with my stuff; it will come to you with the notepad but otherwise empty and ready for your stuff.



As a bonus, The Genealogist's Research Trip Value Pack comes with a 25 percent off coupon to our Organize Your Research With Evernote on-demand webinar.

The Genealogy Center is super-strong in its collection of family and local histories, so I'll use the online catalog to find any I should check while there (many also are digitized at FamilySearch.org, for those of you watching from home).

Another helpful tool is this web page listing the Genealogy Center's resources by place, with call numbers.

I hope to use the library computers to search PERSI. PERSI, aka the Periodical Source Index, indexes genealogy and history journals published in the US and Canada for the past 200 years. Genealogy Center staff create PERSI from periodicals at the library, so it'll be easy to request copies of articles while I'm there. (Read more about PERSI here, and how you'll soon be able to search it at findmypast.com.)

Will you be at FGS, too? Stop by to see us in booth  519!  Get an exhibit hall map and a directory of exhibitors here.


Editor's Pick | Research Tips
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 1:10:45 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Tips to Find the Genealogy Records Christina Applegate Used
Posted by Diane

Last's night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" with Christina Applegate is a good example of how much you can learn even if you start with very little information. All she had to begin her search for her paternal grandmother was her father Robert's birth certificate and his mother's name.



Robert thought he remembered a few other details, such as when his mother died, but those vague memories turned out to be wrong. At one point he even said "I thought I was older."

Yes, I teared up at the end of the show when Robert appeared devastated to learn of the violence in his parents' marriage and his mother's death caused by tuberculosis and alcoholism. And then when Christina comforted him by pointing out how he's had a positive life despite having every reason not to. And again when he left flowers at his mother's grave, knowing she had wanted him buried by her side.

Genealogy can be healing.

Documents consulted in the episode include: 
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates. Almost all states had mandated keeping these by the early-to-mid-20th century. (A few leave marriage records to counties.) They're generally available from state vital records offices, but often access is limited to immediate family for privacy reasons. Download our free chart of statewide vital record-keeping dates from here.
I liked how the archivists helped Applegate examine documents for clues beyond just names and ages. In the 1940 census, for example, they looked at the years of schooling for each household member as well as the months out of work. They put those details into the context of the lingering Great Depression and what that meant for the family.

If you missed the episode, keep an eye on the "Who Do You Think You Are?" website for a link to watch it online.

To find Family Tree Magazine guides and video classes for doing genealogy research in vital records, the census, newspapers and other records, visit ShopFamilyTree.com. You can use the search box at the top of the site or browse the Genealogy Records category.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | census records | court records | Newspapers | Research Tips | Vital Records
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:15:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, July 30, 2013
It's "Who Do You Think You Are?" Night!
Posted by Diane

Remember to sit yourself down in front of the TV or set your DVR tonight for "Who Do you Think You Are?" with actress Christina Applegate. It airs at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on TLC (and it looks like each episode will become available for viewing online).

I look forward to Tuesdays now not just because genealogy's on TV, but also because I get to pick what we watch. "It's for work" is a pretty good excuse.

In this preview video for the episode, Applegate is surprised to learn her grandparents had a troubled relationship and separated before her father was born.



"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:29:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, July 29, 2013
The Mystery Men in the Family Plot: Turning Genealogy Clues Into Answers
Posted by Diane

More than a year ago, I visited my great-great-grandparents' family cemetery plot in Cincinnati. I knew who would be buried there: besides my great-grandparents H. A. and Frances Seeger and six of their children, there were Frances' parents, Joseph and A. Marie Ladenkotter.

But when I got there, I also found these two guys:

Who were Joseph and John Dierkes?

My search for their identities involved using online and offline clues, as Lisa Alzo suggests in our Turn Online Clues Into Ancestor Answers webinar.

Clue No. 1
I noted that a Joseph and a John Dierkes lived in the Ladenkotter household in the 1850 and 1860 census. Besides my great-great-grandmother Frances Ladenkotter (really Francisca), born in 1852, there was an Elizabeth Ladenkotter, born in 1846.

Lisa advises formulating a theory to explain a genealogical problem. After comparing the Dierkes boys' birth years to those of the Ladenkotter girls, I theorized that the boys were A. Marie's sons from a previous marriage. But they also could've been her much younger brothers, or nephews to her or Joseph Ladenkotter, or even nonrelatives.

My census searches for other Dierkes in Cincinnati turned up lots of results. I gave up looking at them; there was no way to tell if any of them were related to John and Joseph.

Clue No. 2
I put on my big-girl genealogist pants and searched the 1840 census. That census is scary because it names only heads of household. Everyone else was counted within age ranges, so it's hard to tell if you've found the right family. (We have a video class about how to research in the 1840 and earlier censuses.)

I found a household for a Joseph Dierkes, containing a male aged 30-39 (that's Joseph) and a female age 30-39. A. Marie was born in May 1812, according to her gravestone, so she would be 28 when the 1840 census was taken June 1. That and the faded census return made this not a slam dunk.

Clue No. 3
Haphazard web searches led me to the Hamilton County Genealogical Society's (HCGS) online marriage index, with information found in newspaper notices, church records, probate court records and reconstructed court records (there was an 1884 riot at the courthouse). An Anna Maria Dirkers and a Joseph Ladenkotter married between 1840 and 1849, according to church records.

The printed book from which the online index came gave the exact marriage date, May 4, 1845. If the Dierkes boys were A. Marie's sons from a previous marriage, this marriage date would fall nicely into a gap between the children's birth years. 

Clue No. 4
If Dierkes (or Dirkers) was Anna Maria's maiden name, the boys were probably her relatives, not sons. I requested the marriage record from the church.

A volunteer sent me the information from the record (the books are too old and fragile to copy)—the marriage place and date, the priest's name, and the names of two witnesses, Herman Henrik Meyer and Maria Hinken. No name other than Dirkers for the bride, although those witnesses could be related.

Clue No. 5
I felt stuck. There was more haphazard searching. Then I found an entry for Anna Maria Ladenkötter in HCGS online death indexes from newspapers. I noticed a name several blank columns away: Weyer. I held my breath and scrolled all the way up the page. Yes, this was a maiden name column. I hadn't thought about a death notice giving a maiden name.

The notice was from microfilmed German-language newspapers. Through the HCGS website, I found a researcher familiar with German and hired him to get a copy. Eight death notices (I got other relatives' notices while I was at it) ended up costing about $50, worth it for something that would've taken me all day and maybe then some. He could have translated them, too, but I wanted to try it.  

I'm still working on that, but it's easy to tell the notice gives the name as "Anna Maria Ladenkötter geb. Weyer." Geb. is an abbreviation of the German word for "born."

I'm betting that male witness to her 1845 marriage is really Herman Henrik Weyer.

Ancestor Answers
John and Joseph Dierkes are very likely Anna Maria Weyer's sons from her first marriage. What would really clinch this—here's where my strategy for turning these online clues into ancestor answers comes in—is to find her marriage record to Joseph Dierkes, death notices for Joseph Dierkes (naming his survivors) or the boys (I have scoured the HCGS index for these, to no avail), and/or baptismal records for the Dierkes boys.  

... And More Questions
I also want to learn why the boys died (just a few years before Cincinnati birth and death registers began). Civil War, I thought, but I can't find them in the Soldiers and Sailors Database or other Civil War records. That's another genealogical problem to tackle.

The recording of our Turning Online Clues into Ancestor Answers webinar will be available soon in ShopFamilyTree.com.

You'll also find online genealogy research strategies in the book Discover Your Family History Online by Nancy Hendrickson.


Cemeteries | Research Tips | Webinars
Monday, July 29, 2013 11:36:43 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, July 26, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, July 22-26
Posted by Diane

  • Royal genealogy has been a hot topic on the interwebs since the birth of Prince George of Cambridge Monday bumped his Uncle Prince Harry out of the No. 3 spot in the line of successtion to the British throne. MyHeritage has the Royal Family Tree here. I found the Modern View easier to use; you can use the tabs at the bottom of the page to toggle between this and the Classic View. Click on a person to see details about him or her on the left.
  • Ancestry.com has updated its free Shoebox Mobile App (for Android and iPhone), acquired along with 1000memories in 2012. The photo "scanning" app lets you take high-quality photos of your family photos and documents, map their location, and edit, date, and tag them. If you have an Ancestry Member Tree, you can then upload the images to the profile of someone in your tree. Learn more about the app here.


Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Jewish roots | MyHeritage | Photos
Friday, July 26, 2013 11:10:33 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
How to Turn Online Genealogy Clues into Ancestor Answers
Posted by Diane

Doesn't it seem sometimes like everyone else gets lucky in their online genealogy searches, producing family tree revelations with a few taps on the keyboard? While your searches turn up only the 400 other Michael Smiths in your ancestor's neighborhood?

We're presenting a special edition webinar that'll help you work through web searches and small clues to put together answers about your ancestor's life.


In Turn Online Clues Into Ancestor Answers, veteran genealogist Lisa A. Alzo will show you how to:

  • formulate a step-by-step online research strategy
  • set realistic expectations for what you might find online   
  • work around the shortcomings of internet research to follow clues to your ancestor's identity

This 30-minute presentation is Tuesday, July 30, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT). Your $29.99 registration includes a PDF of the presentation slides and access to view the recorded session as many times as you like (that goes even if you're registered but you can't attend on Tuesday).

Find out more about the special-edition Turn Online Clues Into Ancestor Answers in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Webinars
Friday, July 26, 2013 11:09:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]