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# Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Eight Family Tree Tips to Take Away From "Genealogy Roadshow"
Posted by Diane

Genealogy television shows like TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" and PBS' "Genealogy Roadshow" are meant to entertain us, but that doesn't mean we can't learn a thing or two from them.

In fact, our Tuesday, Nov. 12 webinar, 10 Essential Research Tricks from "Genealogy Roadshow," is full of such lessons from co-host D. Joshua Taylor.

Here are my own favorite takeaway family tree research tips from "Genealogy Roadshow":
  • Don't believe everything your family told you about your ancestors. Whether it's the year Great-grandpa arrived in the United States or a rumored link to George Washington, treat family stories as theories that require research to prove or disprove.
  • You can't get away from the "start with yourself and work backward" principle. No matter what family claim the "Genealogy Roadshow" experts were researching, the research started with the present and moved to the person's parents, then grandparents, etc. You didn't get details about every generation in the show's quick segments (remember the entertainment factor), but those generations were listed in the trees that flashed by.

  • You're related to lots of people. Among them is probably someone famous and someone infamous (remember this next time one of those announcements comes out about which celebrities are related—it's really not anything unusual). The way to document a connection between two people is to research both family trees as you normally would, and find a person common to both trees.
  • Build on others' work. "Genealogy Roadshow" sometimes used already-existing, reliable research about famous folks. Don't be afraid to look for clues in published family histories and family trees you find online—just make sure you do research to verify all the names, dates and relationships in those resources, so you don't end up repeating someone else's mistakes and claiming the wrong ancestors.
  • Once you get beyond your garden-variety first or second cousin, figuring out exactly how you're related to someone can seem complicated. The trick is to find the most recent common ancestor to the two cousins in question. If there's a different number of generations between each cousin and the most recent common ancestor, the cousins are "removed." The number of removes is equal to the number of generations that separates the two cousins. We explain cousin relationships here and have a free relationship chart PDF download here.
  • Sometimes genealogical discoveries come quickly, and sometimes it takes a lot of research to find answers. The show's hosts often used the word "we" when talking about records discovered. Behind the scenes, full-time, professional researchers were devoting hours upon hours to tracing guests' family trees. You might not be able to devote that much time at once to your research, but keep plugging away a little bit at a time. And keep track of what you've done so next time you can pick up where you left off.
Josh Taylor's 10 Essential Research Tricks From "Genealogy Roadshow" will help you do better family tree research whether you watched the show or not. And you'll save $10 when you register now!




Genealogy TV | Research Tips
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:50:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Genealogy Resources for Hard-to-Find Virginia Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Virginia genealogy researchers, meet the Library of Virginia. And the University of Virginia Library, and several other resources for tracking down your Virginia roots.

In our Oct. 24 webinar Virginia Genealogy: Beyond the Basics, you'll become well-acquainted with these repositories and other resources for Virginia-specific genealogy records, both online and offline offline records at repositories.



Virginia genealogy expert Shannon Combs Bennett will let you in on her favorite tricks and strategies for tracing hard-to-find Virginia ancestors (including dealing with the state's burned counties).

Here's a sampling of the Virginia genealogy records covered in this webinar:
  • county records including wills, deeds, court orders, vital records and naturalization oaths
  • chancery records and other court records
  • official vital records, including those before statewide recording began
  • church records
  • tax records, including those of poll taxes, personal property and land
  • military records
  • record sets focusing on non-English groups
And you don't even have to worry about scribbling notes, because all webinar registrants receive a handout of the presentation slides and access to view the recorded webinar again as often as they like.

The Virginia Genealogy: Beyond the Basics webinar takes place Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific). Time's running out to register! Learn more about the webinar and sign up today in ShopFamilyTree.com.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:40:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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 instructions, download the entrant packet here.
  • The AncestryDNA 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. Read 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)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 17, 2013
FamilySearch Partners With Findmypast.com Owner D.C. Thomson
Posted by Tyler

FamilySearch is forming yet another partnership 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 FamilySearch.org.

The organizations have previously collaborated on digitization and indexing projects including the 1940 census and  British army service records.

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 unspecified projects)?  

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)  #  Comments [0]
# 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
  • learn to build a solid foundation for your book
  • put together images, documents, stories and research into a full manuscript
  • share your book with your family or a wider audience
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.

You can win a free registration for this workshop—click here to enter our giveaway. The entry deadline is Monday. Oct. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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.

Click here for the Create a Family History One-Week Workshop details and program.


Family Tree University | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:30:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
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 discover.

"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 your hands:
  • Family stories. They aren't always true, as we've seen on "Genealogy Roadshow," but there's often a grain of truth behind the stories.

  • 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 institution.)

    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 case.
Our Research Strategies: Criminal Records download helps you track down court, prison and other records of ancestors who strayed to the wrong side of the law.

The Using 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 records.

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)  #  Comments [2]
# 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 with MyHeritage.

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 trees.

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 assistance.

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)  #  Comments [0]
# 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)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Free eBook: Finding Ancestors With GenealogyBank
Posted by Diane

I've blogged before about my family history finds in newspapers, including my 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).

Click 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)  #  Comments [1]
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 pinned).



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 great-grandparents.

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 wedding.

Three family tree chart designs are available in ShopFamilyTree.com—the Floral and Watercolor trees I used, and this Vintage tree:



The family tree charts are available two ways in ShopFamilyTree.com:  
  • 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 printed.

  • 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.
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!

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)  #  Comments [0]