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# Tuesday, August 06, 2013
FTU Virtual Genealogy Conference Early Bird Deadline Is Friday!
Posted by Diane

I've enjoyed the classes and interaction during previous Family Tree University virtual genealogy conferences—not to mention that I can "attend" from my desk chair at work, or the sofa at home.

I can't wait for the next one, taking place Sept. 13-15 on a computer near you.



The Fall 2013 Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference brings together video classes from some of the most recognizable names in genealogy—including Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems, D. Joshua Taylor of "Who Do You Think You Are?" and TV's upcoming "Genealogy Roadshow," and Judy G. Russell of the Legal Genealogist blog—with lively participant interaction via chats and a message board.

The early-bird registration deadline sure snuck up: Enter code FALLVCEARLY to save $50 on your conference registration, but the code is good only through Friday, Aug. 9.

Here's the list of video classes offered in three tracks. For descriptions, chat schedule and more Virtual Genealogy Conference information, see FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

Genealogy Technology
  • Finding Photos of Your Family History by Nancy Hendrickson
  • Digital Filing for your Genealogy by Denise May Levenick
  • Essential Apps for Genealogists by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Finding Passenger Lists Online by Lisa A. Alzo
  • Timesaving Tools to Automate Your Genealogy Research by Rick Crume
  • Cool Tools for Creating Timelines by Gena Philibert-Ortega

Research Strategies

  • Money-Saving Strategies for Frugal Family Historians by Gena Philibert-Ortega 
  • Same Name, Same Place: How to Tell It’s Your Ancestor by D. Joshua Taylor
  • Evaluating Your Sources by Sunny Jane Morton
  • Analyzing Ancestral Tombstones by Diana Smith
  • Hints for Solving Migration Mysteries by Sunny Jane Morton
  • Courthouse Research Tips and Tricks by Judy G. Russell

Ethnic Genealogy

  • Guide to German Church Records by Rick Crume
  • Strategies for Tracing Colonial Immigrants by D. Joshua Taylor 
  • Seeking Your Scots-Irish Roots by Donna Moughty
  • Find Your Irish Famine-Era Ancestors by Donna Moughty

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Videos
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 1:55:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Chelsea Handler's Roots in Nazi Germany
Posted by Diane

This evening's "Who Do You Think You Are?" promises to reveal more disturbing family news from the not-too-distant past (we blogged last week about the troubled life of Christina Applegate's grandmother).

This teaser for tonight's episode gives you a glimpse of actress and talk show host Chelsea Handler's quest for information about her German grandparents' involvement with the Nazi regime:



The booklet you see in the clip is titled Leistungsbuch, which translates to "performance book." Possibly a German military record? I guess we'll find out tonight.

Watch this season's "Who Do You Think You Are?" at 9/8 central on TLC. (And if you have other plans or don't have cable, TLC has been putting full episodes on the show's website the next day.)


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | German roots
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 11:47:50 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, August 02, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, July 29-Aug. 2
Posted by Diane

  • WikiTree, a free family tree wiki, has added a new feature that helps you determine how genetic genealogy could aid your research. It can be difficult to figure out which test will best answer your genealogical question, and which relatives need to take the test. Now on WikiTree, you can choose a commercially available DNA test from a dropdown menu, and the wiki shows you which ancestors you can learn about from taking that test. The feature highlights when a genealogical puzzle could be solved by taking a test, which test would help, and who should take it. See the press release about WikiTree's new DNA feature here.
  • FamilySearch has added more than 1.1 million index records and record images to the free record search at FamilySearch.org. They come from Belgium, Nicaragua, Spain and the United States. Those with North Carolina ancestors will be particularly pleased to see searchable estate files and marriages from that state. I also thought the US National register of Scientific and Technical Personnel Files (1954-1970) looked interesting, though I didn't find any relatives in it.

    You can link to FamilySearch's new and updated databases from here.


Cemeteries | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, August 02, 2013 2:21:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]