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<2013 November>

More Links

# Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Making the Most of My Relative's Civil War Service
Posted by Diane

Did Veteran's Day get you thinking about your ancestor's military service and how you can learn more about it?

One research option is the subscription genealogy website, which has records on conflicts from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Indian Wars, Civil War, Spanish-American War, world wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. (Although the site switched its focus to military records a few years back, it also has some nonmilitary records, such as city directories, American Indian censuses, naturalizations and more.)

When we started working on a webinar about researching on, I went looking for family members' records there. Here's a page from the compiled military service record (CMSR) for my third-great-granduncle Frank Thoss (brother of my third-great-grandfather Louis Thoss), a private in Co. A, 53rd Regiment, Kentucky Infantry.

Frank's widow filed for a pension in 1886, according to this pension index card, so I can send for a copy of the application from the National Archives (select widows' pensions are digitized on Fold3).

You can search Fold3 for your ancestors' names, and view records with a subscription (some libraries and FamilySearch Centers let patrons use Fold3 on their computers, so check out that option).

Free Fold3 collections are marked with a small green "Free" in the site's database listing.

Get help finding your ancestors' records on Fold3 in our Making the Most of webinar, on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7pm ET (6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT). Presenter David A. Fryxell will show you
  • the site's collections, including lesser-known records that might have information on your family
  • how to navigate the site
  • the best strategies for searching it (the search works differently from other genealogy sites you might be used to)
  • when you should browse instead, and how to do it
  • how you can find records on ancestors who never actually served in the military
All webinar registrants will receive a PDF handout of the presentation slides, plus access to watch the recording again as often as you want.

Click here for more details on the Making the Most of Fold3 webinar, and to register for your seat.

Fold3 | Military records | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:45:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 07 November 2013
Search Canadian Old Military Records Free Through Nov. 11
Posted by Diane

In honor of Canada’s Remembrance Day, which coincides with Veterans Day in the United States, subscription genealogy website is providing free access to more than 4.4 million military records now through Nov. 12.

The records come from the First and Second World War, the Rebellion of 1837 and the War of 1812.

You'll need to register for a free account (or log into your account, if you've already set one up) in order to view records that match your search. Learn more about's free military records offer and start your search here.

Researching ancestors in Canada? The tools in our our Canadian Genealogy Value Pack (now on sale for $18 off) will get you started. Find Canadian immigration records with our Canadian Immigration Records video class or our Canada Immigration Genealogy Guide download.

Canadian roots | Military records
Thursday, 07 November 2013 09:07:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 06 November 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 third-great-grandmother.
  • 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., 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.
  • 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 libraries. 
I could list resources I'm thankful for all day. What genealogy resources are you thankful for?

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 websites.

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. | FamilySearch | findmypast | Libraries and Archives | MyHeritage
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:36:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 05 November 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:

Kathleen Mehaffey 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 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.

Click here to see the three decorative family tree chart designs in

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:38:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 01 November 2013
Search Canada's 1921 Census Free on
Posted by Diane'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 location. 

The census will be accessible free on 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 and newsstands Jan. 7.

The 1921 Canadian census also is part of the subscription collection on's US sister site,

Canadian roots | census records | Free Databases
Friday, 01 November 2013 11:03:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
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.

    I see 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, 01 November 2013 10:13:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Partnerships Add Burial Records and Obituaries to
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 to add 5.5 million gravestone images and records, and 3.5 million obituaries, to its search engine.

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 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 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, 30 October 2013 13:09:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 29 October 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 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, 29 October 2013 14:14:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 28 October 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.

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, 28 October 2013 15:44:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 23 October 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, 23 October 2013 12:50:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]