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# Friday, September 13, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 9-13
Posted by Diane

  • Researching today (Sept. 13) or Monday at the US National Archives? This notice just appeared on the Archives' facebook page:

    "The 3:30 records pull for today (September 13) has been canceled due to significant staffing issues stemming from a problem relating to payroll activities at 22 Federal agencies nationwide.

    While we are making every effort to contain these problems, there is some possibility the afternoon pull scheduled for Monday, September 16, may be affected. We will advise you of the situation as we receive information.
    "
  • More (and happier) National Archives news: If you happen to be in the Washington, DC, area this month, maybe you can catch one of the National Archives' free genealogy workshops. Sessions include the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act (Sept. 17), Gold Star Mothers (Sept. 18), Using National Archives Online Resources (Sept. 19), Anti-Tax Petitions from the Civil War to the New Deal (Sept. 21), and more. For more information, go to NARA's DC-area events page and scroll down.
  • Still more National Archives news: NARA is opening the David M. Rubenstein Gallery "Records of Rights" exhibition on Nov. 8, and invites you to help select the first original landmark document to be featured in the exhibit. You can vote online for one of five documents by visiting the Records of Rights Vote web page.

  • Ancestry.com has released Family Tree Maker 2014 for Windows. Updates include a new family view, improved TreeSync (which synchronizes your tree int eh software with your online Ancestry Member Tree), organizational tools that let you sort children by birth order and view people by location, more options for charts and reports, the ability to export a single branch of your tree, more editing options, and improved merging.
You can download Family Tree Maker 2014 or get it on CD. (PS: Family Tree Magazine is not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software or with Ancestry.com. We hear this question often, so I just wanted to answer it for you in case you were about to ask.)
  • This week, FamilySearch added more than 352,000 indexed records to the free collections at FamilySearch.org. Records come from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the United States, and include Czech Republic censuses, Hungary civil registrations, Polish Catholic church records and the US Social Security Death Index. View the full list of updates and click through to search these collections here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Software | Libraries and Archives | NARA
Friday, September 13, 2013 2:54:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 12, 2013
What Genealogists Love About the Virtual Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Trying to decide whether to register for the Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference taking place this weekend?

Maybe these folks can help:



The Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference starts Friday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. ET and goes until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.  Register now!

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Thursday, September 12, 2013 4:46:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, September 11, 2013
What Will You Learn at the Virtual Genealogy Conference, Sept. 13-15?
Posted by Diane

Our Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference is just two days away! Here are two minutes of a few of the genealogy lessons in store for conference participants:




See the Virtual Genealogy Conference program of video classes and live chats here. It all happens this weekend, Sept. 13-15, on a computer near you.


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Videos
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:18:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
'WDYTYA?" Will Return to TLC in 2014
Posted by Diane

"Who Do You Think You Are?" watchers, rejoice—the genealogy series has been renewed for a second season TLC. The network has ordered 10 episodes, an increase over this season's eight.

The celebrities haven't been announced. Which celebrities would you like to see on "Who Do You Think You Are?" in 2014?

Last night's WDYTYA? season finale showed "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons' search for his French roots in Louisiana and in France. Among his ancestors were a Medical College of Louisiana-trained physician and an architect to King Louis XV.

Don't be sad—your genealogy TV-watching isn't over for the year. We still have four episodes of the new series "Genealogy Roadshow" coming up on PBS, starting Monday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. It'll explore noncelebrities' family history claims and reveal the answers before a live audience.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:59:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Jim Parsons on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Surname Meanings and Origins
Posted by Diane

Last night on "Who Do You Think You Are?", Jim Parsons (that's him on the right) learned that his great-grandmother's Hacker surname is French.



Hacker is on the Acadian Memorial Archive's list of common Creole surnames. I kind of wish the genealogist at the Louisiana Historical Center in New Orleans had gone into the surname etymology a few seconds more. Ancestry.com's last name meaning search (which provides definitions from the Dictionary of American Family Names by Oxford University Press) says Hacker is German, Dutch or Jewish

My guess (after finding a bunch of online articles about computer hacking in France) is that the name is variant of Hacher, from the French word for "chop"—perhaps an occupational surname for a woodcutter.

We at Family Tree Magazine get a fair number of questions about "Where does my last name come from?" and the answer isn't always easy.

You can hear some surnames and know immediately they're German (take my Depenbrocks) or Italian (such as Fiorelli) or whatever, but others are more ambiguous. And it could be that your surname is a variant of the original name, or an Americanized spelling your immigrant ancestor adopted after arriving here. Our contributing editor Nancy Hendrickson gives her Shore family name as an example: She always thought it was English, but it's actually a variation of a Swiss name, Schorr.

Want to know where your last name comes from? See our seven surname research tips on FamilyTreeMagazine.com (free article).

Also check out ShopFamilyTree.com surname resources such as the book American Surnames by Elsdon Coles Smith or The Surnames of Wales by John and Sheila Rowlands.

You can improve your online genealogy searching for ancestors' names with Lisa Louise Cooke's Google Surname Search Secrets video class.

Watch the full "Who Do You Think You Are?" episode with "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons on the show's website.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | Research Tips
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:32:21 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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]