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Thursday, September 05, 2013
Finding the *Right* Ancestor: Tips From the Virtual Genealogy Conference, Sept. 13-15
Posted by Diane
So, there's just over a week left until the start of our Family
Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place
Sept. 13-15, and I'd hate for you to miss your chance to register!
The 16 video classes, six live chats and lively message board
discussions are aimed at helping you research more efficiently and
accurately, find "problem" ancestors, and discover your ethnic
For example, take D. Joshua Taylor's presentation "Same Name, Same
Place: How to Tell It’s Your Ancestor." He'll show you how to use
strategies and tips such as:
- List all the spelling variations of an ancestor's name. You
could record the birth (or baptismal) name as the "official"
name, then use an alternate information or notes section of your
software or charts to record the other names.
- If two same-named men live in a town and you're not sure
which records are your ancestor's, set up a table to compare the men's
identifying information—birth, death and marriage dates and
places; family members' names; occupations; addresses; etc.
- Create a timeline of all the records you've found for an
ancestor. You might note, for example, that he hadn't yet
arrived in the United States to be listed in the 1850 census, so
those records probably aren't for the same guy.
- Land and tax records can help you sort out two people of the
same name, because both won't own the same property or be taxed
on the same things.
the program of video classes and chats on our Virtual Genealogy
- Female ancestor red flag: Some names were so common (hello,
Mary and Anna!) that a man might've had two spouses with the
same first name, leaving future family historians to assume they
were one woman. If you notice a large gap in children's ages, a
wife giving birth at an unlikely age, or her age and other
details suddenly changing in records, look for evidence of a
previous or subsequent marriage for her husband.
I love that you can attend this conference from home—forget about
travel expenses, hotel stays, missing work and packing your sensible
You'll view classes and network on the message boards (folks
ask and answer research questions, post their surnames, share
favorite ancestors and more) whenever it's convenient over the
Live chats are scheduled, though attendees who miss one can still
get the transcript. AND you get a swag bag of genealogy freebies
here to learn more and register for the Virtual Genealogy
Conference. I hope to "see" you there!
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:37:31 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Researching British Convict Ancestors
Posted by Diane
Do You Think You Are?" last night, country singer and cookbook
author Trisha Yearwood learned her orphaned, impoverished
fifth-great-grandfather was convicted of stealing
and killing deer from an estate in 1760s England.
But instead of being hanged—then the lawful punishment for this
crime—he was transported to Britain's American Colonies. There, he received land that once belonged to the Creek Indians, and his
fortunes eventually reversed.
Here's Yearwood viewing that land,
along with historian Joshua S. Haines.
Though early American historians downplayed the presence of former
British convicts in their midst, it's now estimated that more
than 52,000 immigrants to the 13 Colonies from 1700 to 1775 were
convicts and prisoners.
(The same article points out that
African slaves and indentured servants also were a significant
proportion of arrivals; only about a quarter of
the era's immigrants traveled here of their own will.)
If your British roots go back to a convict, see our free
FamilyTreeMagazine.com article about online genealogy resources
for British convicts, such as records from the Old Bailey in
London and Scotland's Inverary Jail, as well as the UK national
archives' prison photos.
For researching British ancestors in general—whether or not they
were convicts—check out our Ultimate
British Genealogy Collection of how-to guides and video
courses on uncovering your family's records. It's 60% off right now
in ShopFamilyTree.com, but only 100 are available!
You can watch the full "Who Do You Think You Are?" Trisha Yearwood episode online.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Research Tips | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 04, 2013 10:16:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Trisha Yearwood
Posted by Diane
Tonight is genealogy TV night once again: Country music star and
cookbook author Trisha Yearwood, a native of Monticello, Ga., traces
her roots on TLC's "Who
Do You Think You Are?" at 9/8 central.
Yearwood visits the Nashville
Public Library to search for information on her father's side
of the family. She'll also go to England, but not to trace royal lineage, as
Cindy Crawford did in last week's episode.
TLC describes Yearwood's search, "she uncovers an ancestor’s history
of crime, loss, and perseverance."
Here, she combs through a document with historian James Horn at
the National Archives
In case your evening involves other plans or you don't have cable,
TLC has been posting "Who Do You Think You Are?" episodes on the
show's website after they air.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, September 03, 2013 11:39:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, August 30, 2013
Free US Census Records on MyHeritage Labor Day Weekend!
Posted by Diane
More Labor Day weekend genealogy goodies! MyHeritage has announced
that its entire US
Census collection, 1790 to 1940, will be free to access from Saturday,
Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 2.
To view the census records, you'll need to sign up for a free MyHeritage
account if you don't already have one. Start
your census search here.
the MyHeritage blog for more details on the MyHeritage US
census collection and this offer.
census records | MyHeritage
Friday, August 30, 2013 11:41:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Genealogy News Corral, Aug. 26-30
Posted by Diane
- The California Genealogical Society (CGS) is presenting an
interesting live program inspired by genealogy TV series such as
"Who Do You Think You Are?" and the upcoming Genealogy Roadshow:
CGS experts researched the genealogy of three local celebrities
and will present their ancestral stories in an evening event
called "Their Roots Are Showing," Oct. 26 at a local theater.
Tickets cost $50, which also includes a silent auction. Learn
more from the CGS
press release and purchase
If you've been looking for a good reason to polish up
the family history stories you've begun working on, here you go:
ISFHWE's 2014 writing competition opens Oct. 1. Details coming
soon on ISFHWE's website.
Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!
Friday, August 30, 2013 11:24:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Ancestry.com Offers Free Immigration Records Through Labor Day
Posted by Diane
I just got an email that Ancestry.com is offering free access to
its collection of Immigration and Travel records through Labor
Day. That includes
and more. The records are free through midnight ET on Sept. 2, so
right about now would be a good time to start searching and saving.
You'll need to sign up for a free Ancestry.com account if you don't
already have one.
- passenger lists
- border-crossing records
- citizenship and naturalization records
Ancestry.com's free immigration records collection here.
Want to learn how you can become an Ancestry.com power user? ShopFamilyTree.com has our Ancestry.com
Ultimate Collection at 63 percent off for a limited time.
Or try our downloadable Ancestry.com
Cheat Sheet for a quick-reference guide to the best search
strategies, finding the records you need, troubleshooting and more.
Ancestry.com | immigration records
Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:35:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Editor's Pick: Find Your Ancestors' Immigration Records Online
Posted by Diane
I still remember the feeling when I finally found my
great-grandparents' immigration recorded on a ship's passenger list—and I remember
how long and difficult that genealogy search was. (I
recapped it for blog readers here.)
If you're having trouble finding an ancestor's immigration
record, or you want to start looking, check out our Sept. 26 Online
Immigration Records webinar with genealogy expert Lisa A.
Alzo. You'll learn:
- How to find out when your ancestors immigrated.
Finding my great-grandfather's 1942 naturalization record,
which provided his birth name, port of entry, and immigration
date, broke open my search. (It turned out his memory of when he and my great-grandmother arrived was off by about a month, but that's not bad for 40 years later.)
- How to use websites and online tools, such as Ancestry.com, Morse's One-Step web pages
and the Elis Island and Castle Garden databases, to
aid your search.
Morse's one-step search tool for Ellis Island immigration
records to search records a month at a time helped me overcome indexing problems and my great-grandparents' fibs about their ages, which had made the record hard to find in previous online searches.
- Where to find records from major US ports of immigration
- Where to find sources for early immigration
Everyone who registers for the live Online
Immigration Records webinar will receive a PDf of the
presentation slides, plus access to view the recorded webinar as
often as desired.
The Online Immigration Records webinar is Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET.
Good news! You can save $10 on your webinar registration by signing
up before Sept. 19.
Editor's Pick | immigration records | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Webinars
Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:49:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Charlemagne Connections and English Roots
Posted by Diane
It's actually not unusual to descend from Charlemagne,
whom Cindy Crawford learned is in her family tree on last night's "Who Do
You Think You Are?" As noted in the show, the eighth-century
Frankish king had 20 children with different women (with eight of 10
known wives or concubines).
Charlemagne, who lived from April 2, 742 to Jan. 28, 814, was Cindy
When you go back 40 generations,
and you have roughly a trillion ancestors—more than the number of
people who existed at the time Charlemagne lived. (Virtually all
family trees have consanguineous marriages, so the same person will appear
in multiple places in a tree.)
NationalGeographic.com article explains how there comes a
point in history when "all individuals who have any
descendants among the present-day individuals" (that's us) "are
actually ancestors of all present-day individuals."
"all Europeans alive today have among their ancestors the same man
or woman who lived around 1400 ... About a thousand years ago, a
peculiar situation prevailed: 20 percent of the adult Europeans
alive in 1000 would turn out to be the ancestors of no one living
today (that is, they had no children or all their descendants
eventually died childless); each of the remaining 80 percent would
turn out to be a direct ancestor of every European living today."
So anyone of European descent is probably related to Charlemagne,
and to his royal relatives as well. Of course, documenting the
generations back to royalty is another thing. You
can get started discovering your royal roots with the six steps in
our Spring 2011 Discover Your Roots bookazine.
If you have English ancestry of any variety, as Cindy Crawford did
through her Trowbridge line, there's still time to sign up for our Aug.
29 webinar and learn how to research English genealogy online.
You also can get our e-book A
Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors.
If you missed last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" you
can watch it on the show's website.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 10:25:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
FGS Report: News From Ancestry.com and FamilySearch
Posted by Diane
I wanted to share some of the Ancestry.com
and FamilySearch updates I
learned about while at the Federation
of Genealogical Societies conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., last
- This update is to family trees on Ancestry.com: The site is
gradually rolling out a new "Story View" in individual profiles. It uses information from the person's
timeline to create a basic narrative about his or her life
events. The narrative is presented in timeline format along with
images of records or photos you've attached to the person or
event. You can edit the narrative and crop the images to focus
on the part you want.
I don't have Story View yet or I'd show you what it looks like,
can see more Story View details and screenshots on the
Genea-Musings blog (Randy has had access to Story View for
- Ancestry.com also recently updated the new, interactive image
viewer with a Related Content panel that shows Member Connect
information (such as other Ancestry.com members who've viewed
that record), Suggested Records (other records that might name
your ancestor) and Related Trees (other family trees on the site
that have people matching your relatives).
- If you search from an Ancestry.com member tree, over the next
two weeks you'll start seeing "smart filtering," which lets you
hide results from collections in which you've already found a person's record. For example, say you've already found your third-great-grandfather
in the 1880 census. When you next search the census collection, you can filter out all results from the 1880
census and focus on other results.
Your search results also will start with a list of
records you've already attached to the person you're researching,
so you can see what you have and what you need.
We didn't arrive in Fort Wayne until Wednesday evening, so we missed
the FamilySearch dinner on Tuesday (bummer—I heard the freebies included a solar phone charger), but I stopped by the
FamilySearch booth in the exhibit hall for a quick update:
- The organization's focus continues to be on sharing family
history stories and photos as opposed to hard facts, with
messages about "turning hearts" and "Not charts ... but hearts."
- FamilySearch is working on plans to open Family History
Discovery Centers in "high-traffic areas" (Philadelphia was
mentioned to me as a location for a prototype) with oral history
recording studios and other technology to help the "casually
interested" start researching their family history.
- FamilySearch will begin to equip its FamilySearch Centers with
oral history recording equipment, similar to what you might find
in a StoryCorps booth.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 4:47:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
PBS Series "Genealogy Roadshow" Explores Roots of Everyday Americans
Posted by Diane
I learned a little more about PBS' upcoming Genealogy Roadshow
series while at the Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference
The show, slated to air Mondays from 9 to 10 p.m.
ET starting Sept. 23 (my husband'll have to find someplace else to watch Monday night football),
will combine history and science to uncover the roots of everyday Americans. This season's participants come from four
cities: Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; Detroit; and San Francisco.
Genealogy experts will explore unverified family history claims
about connections to a famous event or historical figure (sounds to
me like a genealogical version of "History Detectives") by using
family heirlooms, records, DNA and local historians.
will reveal many of the answers they discover in front of a live
audience in a location relevant to the participant's family history.
Here's a teaser:
"Genealogy Roadshow" hosts are Kenyatta
D. Berry, a professional genealogist and president of the Association of Professional
Genealogists, and D.
Joshua Taylor, whom you've seen on "Who Do You Think You Are?"
and who serves as lead genealogist at findmypast.com.
(Both have also appeared in the pages of Family Tree Magazine
and been interviewed in our "Five Questions" column. Coincidence?)
"Genealogy Roadshow" is based on an Irish series of the
Genealogy TV | Videos
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 3:05:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)