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# Monday, August 19, 2013
Chris O'Donnell visits St. Louis on "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Posted by Diane

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's "Who Do You Think You Are?" because actor Chris O'Donnell stops in St. Louis, my stomping grounds during college and briefly thereafter.



Although I wasn't researching genealogy in earnest at that time, I did have an appreciation for St. Louis' rich history and I loved to visit the Missouri History Museum. I wonder what St. Louis sites will make an appearance in the show?

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, O'Donnell met with Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center archivist Dennis Northcott, whom I've had fun chatting with at genealogy conferences. (Hey, I'm one degree from Chris O'Donnell!)

On Tuesday's episode, O'Donnell also visits Fort McHenry in Baltimore (I'm predicting a War of 1812 connection), the National Archives in Washington, DC, and the Smithsonian Institution.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" (the US version) airs at 9/8 Central on TLC. If you miss it, episodes are being posted to the show's website after they air. With getting ready for the FGS conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., this week, I might have to avail myself of that option.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Libraries and Archives | Museums
Monday, August 19, 2013 11:28:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, August 16, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Aug. 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription and pay-per-view site Findmypast.com has added books from Archives CD Books Canada to its online collections. The 200 volumes date back to the 1600s and include military, religious, occupational and immigration records, business directories, published genealogies and vital records. The content is primarily Canadian, but also relates to Scottish, Irish, German and other roots. You can see all the books listed on Dick Eastman's blog.


Family Tree University | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, August 16, 2013 12:59:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Editor's Pick: Best English Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

Americans with ancestry in England form at least 9 percent of the US population and comprise the States' third largest heritage group (after those with German and Irish roots).  

If you have English roots, you might share them with early American colonists and/or Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.



One thing you need to know when researching English ancestors, says David A. Fryxell, presenter of our upcoming Best English Genealogy Websites webinar, is the Chapman code for the place they lived.

This three-letter code is a kind of genealogical shorthand to identify traditional administrative divisions in England and other parts of the United Kingdom (before reorganizations in 1965 and 1974).

The Best English Genealogy Websites webinar, happening Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. ET, will arm you with tools for Chapman codes and the challenges of
  • determining your ancestor's parish in England
  • distinguishing your English ancestor from many same-named others
  • reading old handwriting styles (and the occasional document in Latin, if you go back far enough)
  • the Julian-to-Gregorian calendar change, which England implemented in 1752
  • figuring out how genealogical records are organized in England, and accessing those records from here
Be an early bird! Register for Best English Genealogy Websites by Aug. 24 to save $10. Everyone who registers for the live webinar will receive handouts and access to view the recorded webinar again whenever they want.

Research Tips | UK and Irish roots | Webinars
Friday, August 16, 2013 10:39:06 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Zooey Deschanel on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Quaker Genealogy Tips
Posted by Diane

On last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" actress Zooey Deschanel traveled to Pennsylvania to learn more about her fourth-great-grandmother Sarah (Henderson) Pownall's abolitionist activities.



Toward the beginning of the episode, Deschanel was presented with a long family tree of names and dates, perhaps to help viewers transition from the present back to a fourth-great-grandparent. Then the show turned its focus to Sarah Pownall.

My favorite quote from this episode is after Deschanel read an antislavery statement Sarah Pownall signed. Deschanel said "Yesterday all I had was a family tree. Now I have an identity for this woman." Names and dates are nice, but the more you get to know about your ancestors' lives, the more those names mean to you.

You're lucky if you have Quaker roots—Quakers kept good records, and you'll find plentiful printed and online information.

Once you know your Quaker ancestor's name and location, a good resource to start is the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by William Wade Hinshaw (Genealogical Publishing Co., available on CD and searchable on Ancestry.com), which abstracts monthly meeting records.

Also search the Quaker genealogy websites we list on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

Our guide to researching Quaker ancestors, from our Religious Records series, is available in ShopFamilyTree.com.

If you missed Zooey Deschanel's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" it's available for viewing on the show's website.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Church records | Research Tips
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:24:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, August 13, 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? About.com 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, August 13, 2013 1:10:55 PM (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 FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

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, August 13, 2013 12:01:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, August 09, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Aug.5-9
Posted by Diane


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | UK and Irish roots
Friday, August 09, 2013 2:50:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
1921 Canadian Census Record Images Free on Ancestry.ca
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com's Canadian website Ancestry.ca is now offering free access to record images for the 1921 census of Canada.

Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.ca by clicking here.


Ancestry.com | Canadian roots
Friday, August 09, 2013 10:05:21 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, August 07, 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 ShopFamilyTree.com
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | German roots | Research Tips
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 11:29:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
New MyHeritage.com 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 FamilySearch.org's focus on family photos.

From the MyHeritage Treasure Family Photos home page, you can:
  • Search a database of photos attached to MyHeritage.com members' family trees (you need a MyHeritage.com 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 MyHeritage.com

  • 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, August 07, 2013 9:08:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]