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Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Genealogy Resources To Be Thankful For
Posted by Diane
It's a month of being thankful—in daily Facebook posts, at the
Thanksgiving table, and in our 11
Online Genealogy Resources to Be Thankful For webinar on
Nov. 20. Here are some of the genealogy resources I'm
thankful for (in no particular order):
- Other genealogists! They've shared tombstone photos,
burial records, baptismal information and genealogy happy
dances, and helped me fill in blank spots in my tree. Recently,
a genealogist I emailed about a possible connection (I found his
online tree with a Google
search of the last name, city, and the word genealogy)
helped me figure out the correct German birthplace for my
- An organization that's digitizing genealogy records,
mobilizing millions of volunteers to index them, and making them
available free online has to be on a genealogist's thank-you
list. I'm talking about FamilySearch.
I check the site regularly for new and updated
collections in the places my ancestors lived. To do this for your research, scroll
down on the search page and click the world region of choice. Then choose the state or country
from the filters on the left. Click Last Updated on the right to
see what's been added recently.
- I'm thankful for subscription-based resources, too.
They make possible all the research I wouldn't get done if
I had to travel to the places my ancestors lived. And that's
most of my research—these days, it's hard to get out of the
house child-free, period. Ancestry.com,
GenealogyBank, findmypast, MyHeritage—whichever one has
the records you need is the right one for you. To save some
money, see if your local library or FamilySearch
Center offers free access to any subscription sites.
I could list resources I'm thankful for all day. What genealogy
resources are you thankful for?
- Of course, I want to go to those libraries
and archives and pore over the records and books
they have. I'm thankful that libraries and archives are there to
preserve and organize historical records, with knowledgable
staff who help family historians find what they need. And I'm
extremely thankful for interlibrary
loan, which has allowed me to find ancestors in
microfilmed prison registers and city directories from other
In the 11
Online Genealogy Resources to Be Thankful for webinar,
presenter Gena Philibert-Ortega, will share a feast of resources for
doing genealogy online—and how to get the most out of those
The webinar is Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m.
MT, 4 p.m. PT). As always, anyone who registers
will receive a 25-plus-page handout of the presentation slides, and
access to view the webinar again as many times as they want.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | findmypast | Libraries and Archives | MyHeritage
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 2:36:48 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Hooray for the Winner of Our Decorative Family Tree Chart!
Posted by Diane
We have a winner of the framed decorative family tree chart featured
on the cover of the October/November Family Tree Magazine:
of Citrus Heights, Calif., come on down!
We'll create an 11x14 chart with the family names Kathleen provides,
frame the chart and send it on to California.
Want this chart for yourself? It's not hard or expensive: You can go
to ShopFamilyTree.com and purchase a PDF download that
includes three sizes of the family tree chart. You can type in your names, print
the chart, and frame it. You can save your chart with the names in
it, or clear it, add different names, and print another one.
(If you're the hand-lettering type, you also can order a printed
chart on nice paper.)
I think they'd make great genealogy-themed gifts for the holidays, or for a new baby
or married couple. You
can see the family trees in my kids' rooms in this post.
here to see the three decorative family tree chart designs in
Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 2:38:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, November 01, 2013
Search Canada's 1921 Census Free on Ancestry.ca
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.ca's free 1921
Canadian census collection is now indexed. That means you can
search the records by name and other criteria instead of having to
know exactly where your ancestor lived, and then browsing by
The census will be accessible free on Ancestry.ca for at least three
years, says spokesperson Matthew Deighton. You'll need to set up a
free registration (or log into your account, if you already have
one) in order to view the records.
The 1921 Canadian census is the country's most recent census available
to the public. It lists everyone in a
household and contains details including birthplace (for a person
and his or her parents), immigration year and religion, says Family
Tree Magazine's Document
Detective George G. Morgan.
Morgan will show you clues in the 1921
Canadian census in our January/February 2014 issue, on ShopFamilyTree.com
and newsstands Jan. 7.
The 1921 Canadian census also is part of the subscription collection on
Ancestry.ca's US sister site, Ancestry.com.
Canadian roots | census records | Free Databases
Friday, November 01, 2013 11:03:33 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 28-Nov. 1
Posted by Diane
- FamilySearch also has made
some minor updates to the online catalog, mostly to add
useful features the old version of the catalog had. But one I'm not crazy about
is that when you search, places are now hidden if the library
doesn't have any related microfilm, books or other titles.
the benefits of hiding places instead of letting you run a place
search that won't have results, but I think negative results can
be useful: Then you know that yes, the place does exist,
and you need to redirect your search to another repository.
Also, sometimes I'll type a place into the catalog just to see
the suggested locations. Now, if the library doesn't have
anything for a location, it won't be suggested.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records
Friday, November 01, 2013 10:13:05 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Partnerships Add Burial Records and Obituaries to MyHeritage.com
Posted by Diane
Halloween talk of death won't scare many genealogists, who are acutely interested in when, where and how their ancestors died. But what's scary sometimes is the search for
evidence of an elusive ancestor's death.
Maybe this will help:
MyHeritage has joined with the BillionGraves
cemetery records website and the memorial website Tributes.com to add 5.5 million
gravestone images and records, and 3.5 million obituaries, to its
These records are available for free on SuperSearch, MyHeritage's
search engine for historical records on the site. Those with family
trees on MyHeritage will receive Record Matches to alert them to
matches in these new collections. (The Tributes.com obituaries will
tend to be recent deaths.)
In related news, MyHeritage is holding a Halloween
photo contest: Enter your most creative and original Halloween
family photo by Nov. 3, and three entrants will win a one-year
MyHeritage data subscription. Get
details on the MyHeritage blog.
Need advice for finding out about your ancestors' deaths? Try our Death
Records Workbook eight-page download, available for $4.99 in
ShopFamilyTree.com. It has instructions and resources for finding
death records, substitute records that can provide death
information, sample records, and a form to help you organize
your death records search.
MyHeritage | Vital Records
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:09:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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
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
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.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:14:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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
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
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
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.
Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms one-week workshop,
happening Nov. 15-22, will help you
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.
- 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
for the Digitize Your Genealogy Documents, Photos and Heirlooms
workshop before Nov. 11 to save $35 on tuition with code
Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Monday, October 28, 2013 3:44:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
Genealogy TV | Research Tips
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:50:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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
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
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.
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
tax records, including those of poll taxes, personal property and
record sets focusing on non-English groups
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)
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)