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# Friday, September 20, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • The National Genealogical Society is conducting a survey for those who've attended one of its conferences, purchased one of its publications or signed up for one of its courses. Both members and nonmembers are invited to respond. You can take the survey here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage
Friday, September 20, 2013 3:46:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 18, 2013
"Genealogy Roadshow" Sept. 23 Debut Investigates Family Stories in Nashville
Posted by Diane

I've already told my husband he's kicked out of the family room for Monday night football next week: That's when the new "Genealogy Roadshow" premieres on PBS.

This four-episode series has hosts Kenyatta Berry and D. Joshua Taylor revealing the truth behind participants' family stories in front of a live audience, which should bring a fun energy to the show. (I chuckled at this take on the Genealogy Roadshow format.)

Monday's episode was filmed at the Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tenn. One guest is David Miles Vaughn, who's been doing genealogy for five years and wants to know if his family is really related to Davy Crockett—a tale he'd always heard growing up.

Genealogy Roadshow premieres Monday, Sept. 23, at 9/8 Central on PBS. Future episodes are set in San Francisco, Detroit, and Austin, Texas.


Genealogy TV
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:31:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Is Your Family History Archive Ready for a Disaster?
Posted by Diane

My current family disaster plan is this:
  1. Remember where in the house the kids are.
  2. Run to get them.
  3. Yell for husband and dog.
  4. Leave house (or run to basement, depending what's coming).
  5. Grab purse on the way out.
Notice there's no room for photos or genealogy in this procedure. Most of that stuff backed up online, although for a lot of it, I'd have to look up where to retrieve it. And it sure would be nice, once people and pets are safe, to be able to save our important family papers and photos.

But let's face it: "Do the dishes or we'll be forced to eat cereal with our fingers" trumps "Prepare family papers for a terrible disaster that with any luck won't ever happen" on my to-do list.



Seeing the recent devastating floods in Colorado and fires in California has made me reconsider this non-plan for my family history materials. Before the end of the year, I want to 
  • organize my paper research, documents and photos in one place (using these hints from our interview with Eric Pourchot of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works)

  • digitize everything that can be digitized (hear scanning tips from Family Curator Denise Levenick in this Family Tree Magazine Podcast)

  • make sure it's all backed up and easily accessible

  • share everything with family so multiple copies exist
Would you like to take similar steps to protect your family archive? Our Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit can show you (and me) how to do it. It includes:
  • our Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar with Denise Levenick (it takes place Sept. 25, and you'll receive the webinar recording even if you can't attend the Sept. 25 presentation)
  • How to Archive Family Keepsakes book by Denise Levenick
  • Genealogy in the Cloud how-to article
The Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit is on sale for September, which is National Preparedness Month.

You also can just register for the Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar here.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:07:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, September 16, 2013
Can Your DNA Reveal Where Your Ancestors Came From?
Posted by Diane

One of the caveats of genetic genealogy testing has been that you get only a general idea of where in the world your roots are, such as "British Isles," "Scandinavian" or "West African." (Labels and specificity vary with the testing company and the test you choose.) And the ethnicity estimates you do get can have a significant margin of error.

That could be changing. "The AncestryDNA science team is looking toward a future where we could reveal, in the absence of a family tree, the most probable locations where one’s ancestors lived," writes population geneticist Julie Granka on AncestryDNA's Tech Roots blog.

About 6,000 AncestryDNA customers received a preview last week of a new ethnicity estimate that more-accurately calculates the person's ethnicity based on 26 reference populations around the world.  (The new, finer-resolution estimate works with a customer's existing results, so no new testing is needed.)

Granka's post reveals one example of the more-specific analysis: Her team has been able to separate ancestry from West Africa into six population groups based on genetic data. 

Previously, someone with African-American ancestry might learn they have genetic origins somewhere within the green bubble on the left (this image is from the Tech Roots blog, and used with permission). The new analysis can narrow those roots to one of the six colored bubbles on the right.



Those new ethnicity regions of West Africa are Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast/Ghana, Benin/Togo, Nigeria, and Cameroon/Congo, each of which has a distinct set of tribal affiliations.

West Africa was the main source of the slave trade to America. This finding provides a new genealogy research path for African-Americans who've been unable to find records of enslaved ancestors.

Here's another example of the ethnicity estimate update:On the Genetic Genealogist blog, Blaine Bettinger shows you a comparison of his old and new AncestryDNA estimates.

You'll know you're one of the lucky 6,000 AncestryDNA customers if you see an orange button that says "New! Ethnicity estimate preview" on your DNA results page. AncestryDNA will roll out the new ethnicity estimate to remaining customers over the next few months.

Bettinger recently presented our Intro to DNA Crash Course webinar to help you figure out how to use genetic genealogy to uncover your family history and get over research brick walls. Check out the webinar in ShopFamilyTree.com.



Ancestry.com | Genetic Genealogy | Webinars
Monday, September 16, 2013 10:42:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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]