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Friday, October 18, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 14-18
Posted by Diane
- The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors has
opened its 2014 Excellence in Writing competition. Entries are due
by June 15, 2014. Both members and nonmembers, published and
unpublished, can enter to win cash prizes. Entries must fall into
one of six categories—see
them here. For additional details and entry
the entrant packet here.
updates previewed to 6,000 AncestryDNA customers in September
are now available to everyone who's tested with Ancestry.com. The
updates offer a more-detailed ethnic heritage analysis, including
for African ancestry, a redesigned user interface, and a database of
results from more than 200,000 customers. There's no additional cost
for those who've tested with Ancestry.com; a new DNA test costs $99.
more on the Ancestry.com blog.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | saving and sharing family history
Friday, October 18, 2013 12:54:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, October 17, 2013
FamilySearch Partners With Findmypast.com Owner D.C. Thomson
Posted by Tyler
FamilySearch is forming yet
with a commercial genealogy company—this time, with DC
Thomson, formerly called Brightsolid, owner of the findmypast.com subscription website.
DC Thomson will "deliver a wide range of projects including digital
preservation, records search, technological development and the
means to allow family historians to share their discoveries." No
additional specifics are being offered about the projects.
DC Thomson, in turn, received access to more than 13 million
records from FamilySearch.org, including major collections of
births, marriages and deaths covering America, Australia and
Ireland. Those records have already launched on findmypast.com.
About 600 additional collections containing millions of records will
follow. Those records will continue to be accessible free at
The organizations have previously collaborated on digitization and
indexing projects including the 1940 census and British army
I wonder how these partnership agreements affect each other. Is FamilySearch trying not to play favorites, or does it have fingers in too many pies? For example, can
the records digitized and indexed as a result of Ancestry.com's
$60 million investment with FamilySearch then be shared with
Ancestry.com's competitor MyHeritage.com (which has agreed
to give FamilySearch its Smart Matching and Record Matching
technologies) and/or with DC Thomson (in exchange for the
As has become FamilySearch's practice with such announcements, the
organization has posted an FAQ here. (Question #2 makes it sound a
little like findmypast records are launching on FamilySearch, which
is the opposite of what's happening.)
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Industry | MyHeritage
Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:00:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Create a Family History Book Workshop Registration Giveaway!
Posted by Diane
Maybe you've thought about putting all your family history research
together into a book. I have. It
seems like the best way to make all this work available to my family, in a
digestible way and an easy-to-find, permanent place.
And to honor the ancestors I've gotten to know through my research.
It's a big project. Scary, even.
We want to get you started on your family history book in our Create
a Family History Book One-Week Workshop, Oct. 25-31, guided by
published genealogy author Nancy Hendrickson. The video classes,
written lessons, and message boad interaction with Nancy and
workshop participants will help you
Don't worry, you won't have to do it all now. But the workshop will
prepare you with a start and a plan, so you can chip away at your
genealogy writing project as you're able.
- learn to build a solid foundation for your book
- put together images, documents, stories and research into a
- share your book with your family or a wider audience
can win a free registration for this workshop—click here to enter
our giveaway. The entry deadline is Monday. Oct. 21 at 11:59
Think you need to first "finish" your research or retire first?
Nope! Here are five
comon excuses family historians give for not getting started—and
how to get past those writer's blocks.
Here are some smaller-scale ideas
for family history writing projects that can serve as building
blocks for your family history, or stand on their own as ways to
share your research.
here for the Create a Family History One-Week Workshop details and
Family Tree University | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:30:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Genealogy Clues Your Ancestor Was a Black Sheep
Posted by Diane
One of the folks on this week's "Genealogy
Roadshow"—the last one of the season, filmed in Austin,
Texas—had a Civil War ancestor who, perhaps suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder, shot and killed his wife years after
the war. A very sad story.
Such family tree discoveries can be unsettling, even when family
rumors hint that something bad happened (as they did for this
Genealogy Roadshow guest). On the other hand, genealogists often
relish having ancestors who committed less heinous crimes—maybe
horse thievery or bootlegging—because that means records to
"Black sheep" are more common than you might think: Investigating
our family stories of my great-grandfather's time in prison for
bootlegging led me to the unexpected
discovery that his wife had filed for divorce and claimed cruel
treatment (the case was dismissed).
On the other side of
the family, I was completely surprised to discover that my
third-great-grandparents were divorced
in a sensational case, and a few years later, my
third-great-grandfather was stabbed in a knife fight over a woman
he'd become obsessed with (I still need to blog about this).
Here are a few clues that you may have a black sheep ancestor on
Strategies: Criminal Records download helps you track down
court, prison and other records of ancestors who strayed to the
wrong side of the law.
- Family stories. They aren't always true, as we've seen on
"Genealogy Roadshow," but there's often a grain of truth behind
- An unexplained disappearance from the family. It could
indicate an unrecorded death or migration for work, or it could
mean the person deserted the family.
- Your ancestor is listed in prison on a census. You'll usually
see the institution listed at the top of the form, and he may be
listed as an "inmate" or a "prisoner." (Not all inmates were in
prisons, though: In 1920, my bootlegger's son was an "inmate" in
an orphanage. It was just a term for someone who lived in an
If you know or suspect your ancestor was imprisoned, you can
find some records or indexes online. For federal institutions, check the National
Archives' Online Public Access search. For state prisons, check the state archives' website. Also look for prison records you can borrow on microfilm through interlibrary loan.
- You find newspaper articles about a divorce filing, desertion
(wives would sometimes post newspaper ads for missing husbands),
arrest, or a court action. I've been unable to find the court
records for my great-grandfather's bootlegging trial, so newspaper
mentions of it are all I have (so far).
- You find court records. When I was checking a court index in
search of the bootlegging case, I came across an entry showing
my great-grandparents as plaintiff and defendant: their divorce
Criminal Court Records on-demand webinar with Judy G. Russell
delves even deeper into the trial process, what court records it
might have generated about your ancestor, and how to find those
Watch this week's "Genealogy
Roadshow" online here.
court records | Genealogy TV | Newspapers
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:58:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
MyHeritage, FamilySearch Form Partnership to Exchange Technologies and Records
Posted by Diane
Genealogy website and family network MyHeritage has announced
a long-term strategic partnership with FamilySearch in which
MyHeritage will provide its Smart
Matching and Record
Matching technologies to FamilySearch, and FamilySearch will
share 2 billion records
from all over the world and family tree profiles
By the end of this year, FamilySearch records—including vital
records, censuses and more—and family tree profiles will become part
of the SuperSearch
on MyHeritage, and will be matched with MyHeritage members' family
Some of the content will be available free to MyHeritage
basic members, and some will require a MyHeritage.com data
subscription to view. FamilySearch's volunteer-indexed records will
continue to be available free through FamilySearch.org, according
to a FamilySearch FAQ.
When MyHeritage.com technologies are implemented on FamilySearch.org
sometime in 2014, SmartMatching will automatically find connections
between FamilySearch user-contributed family trees and MyHeritage
family trees, and Record Matching will find historical records
relevant to people in FamilySearch family trees.
MyHeritage members who don't want their family trees Smart Matched
with FamilySearch family trees can use the settings under "My
Privacy" to turn off Smart Matching with other MyHeritage websites
and partners (see
instructions in this FAQ).
This comes on the heels of FamilySearch's
partnership with Ancestry.com, which has Ancestry.com putting
up $60 million over the next five years to digitize a billion
FamilySearch records, in exchange for the records and indexing
Learn more about the MyHeritage/FamilySearch partnership from this
MyHeritage blog post and FAQ. Also see
FamilySearch's FAQ here.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry | MyHeritage
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:19:50 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, October 11, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 7-11
Posted by Diane
- The Federation of Genealogical Societies is running a three-part webinar series on genealogy society membership and communication. The webinars are presented by our friend George G. Morgan (author of Family Tree Magazine’s Document Detective column) and include:
- The Shape of the 21st Century Genealogical Society (Oct. 22)
- Harness the Power of Email in Your Society (Nov. 4)
- How to Develop and Implement Affordable Membership Benefits (Nov. 18).
Learn more on the FGS Voice blog and use the links in the post to register for each one.
FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | Genealogy TV | Webinars
Friday, October 11, 2013 9:19:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Free eBook: Finding Ancestors With GenealogyBank
Posted by Diane
I've blogged before about my family history finds in newspapers,
first "big" one, on GenealogyBank—a 1924 Dallas Morning News
article about my grandfather, then a boy in a Texas orphanage. It
even had a photo of him.
GenealogyBank is letting us offer a
free ebook you can download about how to find your ancestors
in records on the site (which is known for its huge newspaper
collection, although it also has historical documents and books).
here to get your free How to Search GenealogyBank.com ebook.
Genealogy books | Newspapers
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 1:53:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
In Which I Do Some Genealogical Decorating With Pretty (Easy) Family Tree Charts
Posted by Diane
I promised our Genealogy
Insider email newsletter readers that I'd show the framed
family tree charts I put in my children's rooms.
You can get
these charts as type-in downloads or as blank paper versions at ShopFamilyTree.com. You also can win
a framed one—more on this below.
Leo's tree is the 8x10-inch Watercolor design.
Why not hammer in the picture nail with what your two-year-old has immediately at hand?
For Norah's tree, I used the Floral design, also the 8x10-inch size.
Until Daddy takes care of the picture ledge
item on his honey-do list, its home is on Norah's dresser (next to her hairbow frame, inspired by something I saw on
Pinterest. Yes, I actually completed a project I
These obviously aren't my research charts or a complete record of all of the kids' known ancestors. Nope. Instead, they're a beautiful way to
display the names of my children's parents, grandparents and
Because these trees are in children's rooms, I chose frames in kid
colors. (I printed copies for their baby books, too.)
You also could use a more-versatile gold-tone frame, like our
giveaway family tree. I think these decorative family trees
would make lovely gifts for the holidays, a baby shower or a
Three family tree chart designs are available in ShopFamilyTree.com—the Floral
trees I used, and this Vintage
The family tree charts are available two ways in ShopFamilyTree.com:
Here's how you can win the 11x14-inch Watercolor family tree chart,
printed with your family names and framed: Enter
our drawing. That's it!
- a downloadable PDF, which includes three sizes—8x10, 11x14 and
16x20. You can type names right into the spaces on the PDF file and print it on your
printer (what I did), or take the file to an office store to be
- a printed chart. You get an 11x14-inch blank chart that you fill
out by hand (trace lightly with pencil first, or type names on
your computer and print them onto clear labels). It looks like
this option might be temporarily out of stock, though.
Oh, the giveaway deadline is Nov. 1, and you can get extra chances
to win if you get friends to enter. See details on the Family
Tree Chart Giveaway page.
Editor's Pick | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy for kids | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:39:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
"Genealogy Roadshow" Seeks Guests for Possible Season 2
Posted by Diane
Word on Facebook has it that "Genealogy
Roadshow" is seeking guests for a second
season. (Whether there'll be a
second season hasn't been announced, so we'll have to keep our fingers crossed.)
Want "Genealogy Roadshow" researchers to investigate your family stories? Click here to fill out the
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 4:08:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Chinese Immigration and Angel Island
Posted by Diane
One of my favorite aspects of PBS'
"Genealogy Roadshow" is the mention of historical people and
events that have become fuzzy memories for folks who once learned
about them in a history class. The show elaborates on some of these
people and places, and others have me googling on my phone.
Last night, Genealogy Roadshow was set in San Fransisco's US Mint
building, with stories ranging from the 1860 Wiyot
Massacre to the 1906
earthquake and fire. The California
Gold Rush came up when a guest wasn't related to James
Marshall, whose gold discovery in the American River started
San Francisco's Chinese community was highlighted when a young
Asian-American woman wanted to know about her family and its fabled
connection to gangster Big Jim Chen. Researchers weren't able to
prove the story because Chen apparently hid his tracks well.
A history segment focused on Chinese immigration and the Chinese
Exclusion Act of 1882. Here's a little more about Chinese
immigration through San Francisco:
Angel Island in San Francisco Bay
was the immigration point for many Asians entering the United States
between 1910 and 1930 (along with Australians, Candians, Central and
South Americans, Russians and others).
station there served mainly as a place to to detain and
interrogate immigrants, mostly Asian, who were trying to enter the
country. When the 1906 earthquake destroyed San Francisco birth
records, it presented an opportunity to get around the
Exclusion Act, which made an exception for the children of US
citizens: Chinese who'd naturalized could claim to have had
additional children during a visit to China, then sell the "slots"
to those wanting to immigrate.
Immigration officials tried to identify these "paper
lengthy interrogations about the immigrant's home, family and
village in China. Visitors to Angel Island still can see some
of the poetry detainees carved into the walls as they passed
Nearly 250,000 case files were produced for Angel Island immigrants;
they're at the National
Archives at San Francisco. UC Berkeley has a database
with 90,000 of these immigrants' names and case file numbers.
You also can read some
immigrants' stories on the Angel Island Immigration Station
You'll find a guide to researching Angel Island ancestors and
locating their case files (even if they're not in the UC Berkeley index) in
2010 Family Tree Magazine.
You can watch the San Francisco "Genealogy Roadshow" online. Next week's
episode takes place in Austin, Texas. That's where my grandfather went to college in the 1920s and '30s, so I'm hoping to pick up some local history.
Asian roots | Genealogy TV | immigration records
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 3:59:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)