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# Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Genealogy Event Packs a Lot of Family History Into One Day in NYC
Posted by Diane

Are you lucky enough to be in the Big Apple this weekend? (I'm humming "Autumn in New York" right now.)

If so, you should definitely take some time out this Saturday, Nov. 2, to see what The Genealogy Event is all about. This family history show at New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion is a day full of how-to sessions, expert consultations, and exhibits of resources and tools.

The 36 half-hour sessions and four 45-minute mini-workshops focus on a range of research topics, including Ancestry.com searching, genetic genealogy, photo research, using maps, criminal ancestors, and others.

You also can register for a free 15-minute professional consultation in the Expert Lounge (so practice succinctly pitching your question—the longer you talk, the less your pro can talk).

And check out the resources of 27 exhibitors including Family Tree Magazine in booth 217. Pick up a free issue of the magazine (while they last) and say hi to our publisher Allison Dolan!

The Genealogy Event is open Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Appointments with experts begin at 10:15 a.m. and sessions begin at 11 a.m.

You can purchase an All-Day Pass at the door for $35 or online for $30 (plus a $1.50 online transaction fee). A Twilight Pass ($25 at the door, $20 plus $1.50 online) gets you in from 5:30 to 8 p.m.


Genealogy Events
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:14:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, October 28, 2013
8 Photo and Document Scanning Tips for Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Does a pile of papers and pictures stand between you and your dream of a digitized family archive? Digitized files are easier than their paper counterparts to share with relatives, back up, and turn into a family history book one day.

Get started scanning with these quick tips from our upcoming One-Week Workshop: Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms.

1. Not sure where to start? Start digitizing your most valuable and irreplaceable items first.

2. Set an achievable goal, such as scanning 10 items a week, or participating in Scanfest (genealogists meet online the last Sunday each month and chat as they scan).

3. You could speed up the scanning process by scanning multiple photos at once. Some photo software (such as Adobe Photoshop Elements) automatically separates the scanned images into separate files.

4. Choose the right resolution—usually, 300 dpi for documents and at least 600 dpi for images. If you plan to print an enlargement or zoom in for detailed retouching, go up to 1,200 dpi.

5. Consider saving master copies of photos as TIFFs, and use JPG copies to share and for everyday viewing. The PDF format is a good choice for documents.

6. Before you scan, clean your scanner glass with a soft, dry cloth. If it's really dirty, spray a little glass cleaner on the cloth (never on the glass). If the photo or document is dusty, gently brush it with a soft, dry brush.

7. Organize digital files as you scan. Decide on a file structure for your scanned images and file them right away. If you use photo-organizing software, tag images with the name of the person or family associated with the item, plus a place, date, type of record, and other pertinent information.

8.
Back up your scans in multiple locations, such as to the cloud, to an external hard drive, and on your sister's computer.

The Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms one-week workshop, happening Nov. 15-22, will help you 
  • create a manageable plan for your digitizing project
  • work with fragile and bulky items
  • learn the best options for digitizing items
  • Learn how to back up your digital files
The workshop gives you access to four pre-recorded video classes with presentations and demos, excerpts from Family Tree University's popular Digitize Your Family History course, plus daily message-board discussions and a Q&A with digitization expert Denise May Levenick, author of How To Archive Family Keepsakes.

Register for the Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms workshop before Nov. 11 to save $35 on tuition with code WORKSHOPEARLY.


Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Monday, October 28, 2013 3:44:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# 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]