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<2013 August>

More Links

# Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Zooey Deschanel's Quaker Roots
Posted by Diane

I've been looking forward to tonight's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" with Zooey Deschanel.

I never got into her show "New Girl," but she and her sister Emily (who's on the show "Bones," which I love) are two of my favorite actresses.

Deschanel will go to Pennsylvania for a journey into her Quaker roots.

Can't wait till tonight to know more? Genealogy blogger Kimberly Powell blogged about those roots and other branches of the Deschanel family tree here.

Watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" tonight at 9/8 central on TLC. If you can't watch or don't have cable, the episode will be available for viewing on the show's website.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 13:10:55 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Stop, Look and Analyze Your Genealogy Sources
Posted by Diane

My husband has been nagging gently encouraging me to do genealogy work on his family tree. So on a recent Sunday after the kids were in bed, I spent brief yet productive quality time with the laptop.

The genealogical gods smiled. The combination of a unique last name and a large family (my husband's grandmother was one of 13) in a relatively small town had census and immigration records practically throwing themselves at us.

You know that rush when you find record after record, and you just want to keep clicking and saving, clicking and saving (perhaps egged on by a spouse full of puppy-like enthusiasm)?

I had to force myself to stop and take notes on where all that information was coming from.

As many genealogists who've been there will tell you, and as participants in our upcoming Source Analysis One-Week Workshop will learn, it's much less painful to slow down and record source information when you first find it, than to re-find everything later.

Not sure what to write down about each source? We share three steps to citing family history sources in this Q&A on

The Source Analysis Workshop, an online event Aug. 25-31, covers not just how to cite genealogical sources, but also 
  • how to evaluate the reliability of the genealogy records you discover
  • how to draw sound conclusions about your family tree
Learn more about what's included in the Source Analysis One-Week Workshop here.

Register by Aug. 18 to save $34 on tuition with coupon code WORKSHOPEARLY.

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:01:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 09 August 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Aug.5-9
Posted by Diane | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 09 August 2013 14:50:55 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
1921 Canadian Census Record Images Free on
Posted by Diane's Canadian website is now offering free access to record images for the 1921 census of Canada. is still working on a searchable index, so you'll need to browse the records by place.  Use the Browse This Collection box on the right to choose the province, district and subdistrict where your relatives lived in 1921, then sign up for a free basic account (if you don't already have one) to view the census images.

This census was recently the subject of a petition seeking its release to researchers. The privacy period expired June 1, and the records reportedly had been transferred to the Library and Archives Canada and digitized. But until now, no plans had been announced for their release to the public.

You can read more about the backstory on the 1921 Canadian census release on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.

Browse the 1921 census on by clicking here. | Canadian roots
Friday, 09 August 2013 10:05:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 07 August 2013
Chelsea Handler on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Tracing German Roots
Posted by Diane

From the beginning of last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?," Chelsea Handler knew her mother's father had been a German soldier in WWII. She just wanted to know the extent of his involvement. Her Jewish heritage through her father's family heightened her curiosity.

If you missed the episode, you can watch it on the TLC website.

The Leistungsbuch ("performance book") mentioned in yesterday's post and seen here:

wasn't a military service record after all. Rather, it was a record of the grandfather's scores in the Nazi party's Sports Badge Program, part of the mandatory labor service program and a way to provide military-style training without violating the Treaty of Versailles.

A few things I liked about this episode:
  • It shows the importance of learning the historical context in which your ancestors lived. Knowing about post-WWI life in Germany helped Handler understand why many Germans supported Adolf Hitler when he first came to power. Finding out about her grandfather's experience in the Camp Algona (Iowa) POW camp revealed his likely motivation for later moving his family to America.

  • It showed a side of WWII history—the lives of ordinary Germans during that era—that I didn't know much about. 

  • The WWII historian who met Handler on the beach, and who was there serving in the Army the day her grandfather was captured. I bet he could tell some stories!
Foreign archives and languages makes the research in this episode more difficult for the average person than Kelly Clarkson's Civil War research or Christina Applegate's 20th-century research in New Jersey.

But if your German ancestors, like mine, immigrated to America in the 1800s, church records will be your main source of information in Germany. Chances are you can find German church records yourself. I know this because the October/November 2013 Family Tree Magazine will have Rick Crume's step-by-step guide to German church records. I'll let you know when it's available.

Because so many Americans have German ancestry, we have a number of German genealogy guides in
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | German roots | Research Tips
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:29:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
New Website Helps You Treasure Old Family Photos
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine's Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor has partnered with MyHeritage on its Treasure Family Photos website.

The site emphasizes the importance of preserving and sharing photos, echoing the redesigned's focus on family photos.

From the MyHeritage Treasure Family Photos home page, you can:
  • Search a database of photos attached to members' family trees (you need a data subscription or credits to see full details from the tree)

  • Watch a video with tips from Maureen

  • Start an online family tree to help you organize your photos

  • Upload photos to

  • Find links to websites with photo craft projects you can do with your kids (one of these is our Family Tree Kids photo magnet project)

  • Get tips for preserving and scanning your photos (MyHeritage also has partnered with batch scanning service ScanCafe, which is offering 25 percent off to MyHeritage visitors)
You can see case studies of old photos Maureen has researched for Family Tree Magazine readers on our Photo Detective Blog.

And there's even more advice for identifying, dating and preserving old photos in her book Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries.

Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | Photos
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 09:08:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 06 August 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

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, 06 August 2013 13:55:06 (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, 06 August 2013 11:47:50 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 02 August 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 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, 02 August 2013 14:21:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 31 July 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, 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

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, 31 July 2013 13:10:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]