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# Tuesday, September 10, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Ends the Season With a "Big Bang"
Posted by Diane

Tonight, TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" ends its TV season with a bang—a Big Bang, that is, in an episode featuring "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons (see what I did there?). He plays Sheldon Cooper, a portrayal often credited for the sitcom's success.

In this preview of tonight's WDYTYA?, Parsons sounds like any other getting-started family historian. He says he wants to learn more about his genealogy to honor the memory of his father, and that someone—he can't remember who—told him the family has French roots and a Louisiana connection.

You can watch Parsons on WDYTYA? tonight on TLC at 9/8 Central.

Update: See my post-watching post about Jim Parsons' "Who Do You Think You Are?" epsiode here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:43:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, September 06, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 2-6
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added 260,000 genealogy records and images from Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand and the United States to the free collections at FamilySearch.org. You can see the list of updated collections and click through to each one here. (If there's a 0 in the Indexed Records column for the collection you need, that set isn't searchable. Instead, you'll have to browse to find records for your family.)


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 06, 2013 2:12:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch, Ancestry.com Team Up To Put 1 Billion International Genealogy Records Online
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have announced a new long-term strategic agreement that'll bring you a billion international genealogical records.

According to the announcement, "The two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault. ... Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch."

(FamilySearch's Granite Mountain Records Vault is the storage facility for master copies of records the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has microfilmed over the years.)

It sounds like Ancestry.com will put up the necessary funds, and FamilySearch will provide volunteers for digitizing and/or indexing. It makes sense to me: As Ancestry.com tries to expand its global reach, it can utilize the record-duplication work that's already been done. And FamilySearch can speed up its project to digitize its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.

The announcement was short on details such what record collections would be digitized first or how and where the records and indexes would be accessible.

Past Ancestry.com/FamilySearch partnerships have resulted in varying arrangements. For example, in 2003 the organizations integrated FamilySearch's free 1880 census index with record images at Ancestry.com. Today, you can search free indexes at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. FamilySearch's results link to record images at Ancestry.com (the 1880 census images are currently free on Ancestry.com, which as far as I can tell wasn't part of the original agreement).

A 2008 agreement to exchange FamilySearch's high-quality images for select US censuses and Ancestry.com's indexes for those censuses resulted in free indexes on FamilySearch.org, which link to record images on Ancestry.com. The images are viewable to Ancestry.com subscribers and on FamilySearch Center computers.

Read the full announcement about this new agreement on Ancestry.com. We'll keep you updated on related developments.

Update: Here's an announcement from FamilySearch about the partnership with Ancestry.com. It links to a Q&A that addresses such issues as "what's in it for FamilySearch volunteers" and "will there be a fee to see indexed records."


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry | International Genealogy
Friday, September 06, 2013 9:54:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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 roots.

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.
  • 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.
See the program of video classes and chats on our Virtual Genealogy Conference website.

I love that you can attend this conference from home—forget about travel expenses, hotel stays, missing work and packing your sensible shoes.

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 conference weekend.

Live chats are scheduled, though attendees who miss one can still get the transcript. AND you get a swag bag of genealogy freebies from ShopFamilyTree.com.

Click 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)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 04, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Researching British Convict Ancestors
Posted by Diane

On "Who 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)  #  Comments [0]
# 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.

Instead, as 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 of England.

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)  #  Comments [0]
# 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.

Visit 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)  #  Comments [0]
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 tickets here.
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!


Genealogy Events
Friday, August 30, 2013 11:24:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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
  • passenger lists
  • border-crossing records
  • passports
  • citizenship and naturalization records
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.

Access 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)  #  Comments [0]
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.

    Using Stephen 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)  #  Comments [0]