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# Friday, December 06, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, December 2-6
Posted by Diane

  • Millennia Corp. has released version 8 of its Legacy Family Tree genealogy software. Updates include Origins and Migrations reports, animated Migration Mapping, instant checking for duplicate individuals as you enter new relatives, alerts to potential problems such as typos or unusual gaps between dates, source labels to attache to documents, source citations on pedigree charts, and more. The Standard Edition of Legacy Family Tree is free; Legacy 8.0 Deluxe packages cost $29.95 to $59.95 (upgrade packages cost $21.95 to $51.95). Learn more at the Legacy Family Tree website.
  • Online registration is open for the National Genealogical Society 2014 Family History Conference, May 7-10 in Richmond, Va. Full-conference fees range from $195 to $265 (save money by registering before March 24); single-day registration is $105 to $115. You can order a printed syllabus for an additional $25.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software
Friday, December 06, 2013 8:56:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Parks, Polka and Portuguese: A Little Massachusetts History Trivia for You
Posted by Diane

And now, in honor of next week's Massachusetts Genealogy: Beyond the Basics webinar, some history trivia about the Bay State:
  • In 1634, Boston Common became the first public park in America.
  • Puritans established the first public school in America in 1635 at the home of schoolmaster Philemon Pormont. It was later moved to School Street.

  • Lowell, Mass., was America's first planned industrial city, a textile manufacturing center.

  • The state of Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820.

  • The Massachusetts flag was two-sided from 1908 to 1971. The state seal was on one side (an Algonquin Indian on a blue shield), and a pine tree on a blue shield was on the reverse.

  • Massachusettsans invented vulcanized rubber (1839), the sewing machine (1845), volleyball (1895), and the first automatic digital computer (1944).

  • Since 1998, Massachusetts has had an official polka, "Say Hello To Someone From Massachusetts" by Lenny Gomulka
  • In 1795, the population of Massachusetts was nearly 95 percent of English ancestry. Today, Irish and part-Irish are the state's largest ancestry group.
  • Massachusetts has a relatively large population of Portuguese descent. Immigrants came from the Azores in the 19th century to work in the whaling industry; later arrivals worked in textile and other factories.

In the webinar Massachusetts Genealogy: Beyond the Basics, professional genealogist Laura Prescott will show you new resources and strategies for tracing Massachusetts ancestors.

The hour-long session is Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7p.m. ET (6p.m. CT, 5p.m. MT, 4p.m. PT). Registration includes a PDF of the presentation slides, plus access to view the webinar again as often as you want. Click here for more on what you'll learn.


Social History | Webinars
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 2:45:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 03, 2013
12 Gift Ideas for People Who Appreciate Family History
Posted by Diane

I wanted to give you a little help with your holiday shopping list. These are my favorite things from ShopFamilyTree.com, and they'd be great for genealogists, but not just for genealogists. Anyone with an appreciation for family history would enjoy these gifts.

See below the image for the numbered descriptions and links to learn more. PS: A lot of these are on sale for Cyber Week!



1. From the Family Kitchen by Gena Philibert Ortega is a pretty, hardbound book with food history, old recipe resources and pages to record family recipes. It would be nice for the family chef, for Grandma or a new daughter-in-law, perhaps with a few recipes already written inside.

2. The Children's Preservation Kit has the archival storage materials a new parent needs to preserve baby's coming-home outfit, a baptismal gown, favorite toys and more.

3. A parent, grandparent or other photographer who likes capturing faces will appreciate the photography tips in Expressions: Taking Extraordinary Photos for Your Scrapbooking and Memory Art.

4. For the Civil War buff, Life in Civil War America has interesting and surprising details about what it was like for our ancestors who lived during the Civil War.

5. Our Historical Map Sampler genealogy desktop calendar is a nice stocking-stuffer for genealogy and geography enthusiasts.

6. Not sure what to give? A Cup of Comfort for Christmas has heartwarming stories that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

7. The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is on the wish lists of many family historians who want to digitally preserve old family photos discovered on research trips and visits to relatives' homes.  

8. Got a writer on your list? My Life and Times by Sunny Jane Morton, a book in a three-ring binder, is full of prompts, exercises and fill-in pages to help memoirists write their own life story.

9. You can get the Watercolor Design Family Tree as an 11x14-inch paper chart or as a type-in PDF file (includes three sizes) that you can download, fill in with family names, save, print and frame. Print copies as keepsakes for all your relatives.

10. If you're been wanting to give compiled genealogy information to your Mom or Dad, you could give the Family Tree Memory Keeper, filled out. It's a workbook for keeping genealogy information, family stories and records, old recipes, important dates and more (so you might want one for yourself).

11. If your family is proud of its Irish roots, 101 Things You Didn't Know About Irish History: The People, Places, Culture and Traditions of the Emerald Isle will make your relatives even prouder.

12. The Floral Design Family Tree is similar to the Watercolor Design, available as an 11x14-inch paper chart or as a type-in PDF file (three sizes included), just with a different look. I have this framed in my daughter's room.


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 3:51:47 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 25, 2013
Tips to Find and Share Old Family Recipes
Posted by Diane



Food takes center stage at the holidays, when many families enjoy old recipes passed down from grandmas and great-grandmas. Occasions such as Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are ideal times to gather up family recipes, find out relatives' memories about the dishes, and share them.

Collect and share old family recipes with these guidelines and our Preserving Family Recipes Value Pack:
  • contact relatives near and far and ask them to contribute their family recipes, or their favorite memories of foods they ate on special occasions

  • Host a potluck dinner or family reunion. Invite family members to bring their favorite dishes, along with the recipes, to a holiday dinner or reunion.

  • Take a picture of each relative along with the dish he or she brought.

  • Ask relatives what they remember eating on special occasions, and for their memories of the dish.

  • You can create a simple recipe book with recipes, stories and inserted photos in Word. Make copies at a copy shop (where you can have it spiral bound if you want). Or use an online photo book service; many of which have pre-designed templates especially for creating recipe books.

  • You also could create recipe cards (using a template such as this) and give them in recipe boxes.

  • Invite family members over to cook together. It's a nice way to learn a special recipe from the expert and/or teach it to the next generation. Take photos or record the process. If you need help with old measurements, get our free, printable conversion chart (it's pretty enough to double as frameable kitchen art).

  • If you don't have family recipes, books like these and these about ethnic and historical cooking can help you learn about what your ancestors probably ate.

The Preserving Family Recipes Value Pack gives you a nicely discounted price on our From the Family Kitchen book plus video and written lessons on researching and sharing your family's food history. Get yours while they last in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Family Recipes | Social History
Monday, November 25, 2013 8:49:42 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, November 22, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 18-22
Posted by Diane

  • Heredis 2014 for Windows is now available, with highlights including a Search Wizard that lets you display known information about a relative and those around him, helping you note areas where more research is needed. A new Migrations map displays ancestral migrations with numbered pins and lists of life events that happened in each place. See all the new 2014 Heredis for Windows features here.
  • Ancestry.com has a collection of data from Associated Press news articles. The collections include a name index to AP stories (1905-1990), a subject index to AP stories (1937-1985), and AP stories and news features (1937-1985) that were selected by news libraries as being "of national or international importance." The latter two collections are searchable by keyword.
Two additional collections, which you can browse, the AP Service Bulletin (1904-1927) and The AP World (1943-2001) are publications for news organizations and journalists. These may be most useful if you're researching someone who worked in the media. See more details on the Ancestry.com blog.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software
Friday, November 22, 2013 2:52:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
A Genealogy Dream in the Making: OCR Software That Reads Old Handwriting
Posted by Diane

Mocavo announced this week that it's making progress on optical character recognition (OCR) software that will read cursive handwriting, which could revolutionize how digitized records are put online.

OCR software is often used to index typeset genealogy records, such as newspapers, city directories and family history books. It lets you search every word in those records, without any person ever having to read the record and extract names and dates.

Current OCR software is pretty good at reading those typeset documents, although it makes mistakes when documents or digitized images have problems such as fading, blurring and ink spots. When I search OCR-indexed records for my last name, I get a lot of irrelevant matches containing the phrase "had had."

OCR software that can read not just typed or printed words, but also cursive handwriting of various languages, historical eras and styles, means digital records could become searchable online a lot faster. Potential benefits include:
  • There would be no need for armies of volunteers to index records.
  • You would be able to search the entire text of documents, not just the names and dates captured by indexers.
  • Full transcriptions of documents would be readily available.
Matt Garner, a developer Mocavo inherited last year when it acquired Ready Micro, has been instrumental in developing the software.

On the Mocavo blog, company founder Cliff Shaw described the process, which first involved developing OCR software that could  "perfectly separate handwriting from typewritten text."

Now, Shaw says, the company is getting closer to the "Holy Grail" of being able to accurately read handwritten text. "With limited vocabularies (potential answers), we’re achieving 90-95% accuracy," he writes.

They still have work to do to achieve the ability to read handwriting of a wide range of styles, and to overcome problems with faded or ink-spotted documents I mentioned above. Read about the software and see examples on the Mocavo blog.



Our Master the Best Genealogy Websites one-week online workshop will make you a research wizard at Mocavo, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and other genealogy websites. Check it now at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, November 22, 2013 9:54:52 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, November 21, 2013
Beyond-the-Basics Genealogy Resources for Tracing Massachusetts Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Around Thanksgiving, you might stand a bit taller with pride in your Mayflower Pilgrim roots.

Whether your Massachusetts ancestors include Pilgrims (who were actually headed for Virginia, but strayed off-course during a storm), Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers, Irish or French Canadian immigrants, or other Bay State residents, you can delve deeper into their genealogy records with help from our  Massachusetts Genealogy: Beyond the Basics webinar.



If you've already done basic research using federal censuses and state-level vital records, take this opportunity to learn about more-advanced resources from Massachussetts genealogy expert Laura Prescott. Examples include:
  • Massachusetts and Maine (then part of Massachusetts) Direct Tax List of 1798

  • Massachusetts state censuses in 1855 and 1865

  • school, business, meeting, freemen and other town records (in Massachusetts, towns are the basic record-keeping unit)

  • probate, land and other court records

  • the resources of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Massachusetts Archives and other state-specific repositories
The webinar is Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT). Anyone who registers gets access to view the webinar again as often as desired, plus handouts of the webinar slides.

Go here to learn more about the Massachusetts Genealogy: Beyond the Basics webinar and to register.


Webinars
Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:40:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Become an Online Genealogy Research Wizard
Posted by Diane

As a modern genealogist who has a lot to do in addition to looking for ancestors, you probably spend most of your research time—what precious minutes you get—online.

We'll help you find more family information in your limited online genealogy research time with our weeklong online workshop Mastering the Best Genealogy Websites, coming to a computer near you Dec. 13-20. (Pssst! See below for a money-saving coupon code.)



This workshop will help you master content-rich sites including Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Fold3.com, and Mocavo.com (which has recently added thousands of databases as part of its "Free Forever" initiative), as well as online tools with strong genealogy application, such as Evernote and Google.

You'll learn the best ways to navigate these sites, find out what databases they contain, and search them for records about your family. You'll also be able to consult with Discover Your Family History Online author Nancy Hendrickson about your online genealogy questions. The Mastering the Best Genealogy Websites workshop includes:
  • Five 60-minute on-demand webinar classes, viewable whenever it's convenient for you during the week (or download to view later)
  • one video class, also downloadable and viewable at your convenience
  • two printed how-to guide downloads
  • web search makeovers and message board Q&As with Nancy Hendrickson
View the full Mastering the Best Genealogy Websites workshop program on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

Save $35 when you register by using coupon code WORKSHOP!


Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:34:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Four Free Websites to Find Old Maps
Posted by Diane


Plan of Cincinnati and Vicinity, S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1860, David Rumsey Map Collection

In genealogy research, old maps can help you
  • Pinpoint the location of your ancestor's property.
  • Follow migrating ancestors across the ocean, around the country or through the city.
  • Answer questions such as where two branches crossed to produce the next generation.
  • Figure out where a family went to school, church and the grocery store.
  • Identify potential cluster research subjects (i.e., the neighbors).
  • Understand your ancestors' neighborhoods.
In our 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy With Old Maps live webinar, happening Thursday, Dec. 12,  Lisa Louise Cooke will show you the five kinds of maps you should look for and the best ways to use them to solve genealogy research problems.

In the mean time, try these four websites to find free maps of the places your ancestors lived.
  • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: The maps and other cartographic images here focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century North American and South American materials. You can view maps, compare them side-by-side and download hi-resolution files.
  • Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection: This University of Georgia site features maps depicting the New World, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Revolutionary Georgia, Union & Expansion, the American Civil War, Frontier to New South, Savannah and the Coast and Transportation.

Free Databases | Land records | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:11:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, November 18, 2013
How My Sister Tracked Down a Family for Old Photos Found in a Thrift Store Dresser
Posted by Diane




Lawyers and genealogists have a lot in common (just ask the Legal Genealogist), including investigative  skills. My lawyer sister used hers recently to find a home for a collection of family mementos.

It's a happy story, so I asked if I could blog about it.

A stranger called my sister, Jen, at work, about old photo albums, papers and trinkets she found in a dresser she bought at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.

(Reminder to double-check inside any furniture and behind picture frames before you donate them!)

The woman looked for a name, found Jen's married surname with a photo, googled it, and found Jen's profile on her law firm's website. Jen went to pick up the stuff.  

She pored over it with her husband and his sister. It was a big collection. "There were nine photo albums of old black and whites from about the early 1900s to the 1960s, plus an album of color photos from the 1970s and '80s, old Disabled American Veterans and American Legion hats and pins, and Freemasons certificates and mementos," Jen says. (She didn't take a picture; the box pictured above is just for illustration.)  

Except for the one photo, which showed my brother-in-law's great-aunt and -uncle, none of the items appeared to be from his family.

Another name appeared a few times amongst the items (not included here for privacy purposes). Jen googled the names and came up with two obituaries for a husband and wife. One was fairly recent and mentioned no surviving children, only unnamed nieces and nephews.

Jen put on her lawyer hat and reasoned the family might still be dealing with an estate. She visited the Kenton County (Ky.) Property Valuation Administrator's website and found a home listed under the deceased couple's names. She googled the address—it was for sale. Then she tracked down the real estate agent in charge of the listing, contacted him with an explanation about the stuff, and asked him to forward her contact information to his clients.

A few days later, one of the nieces called Jen. "I described what was in the photos and what some of the names listed in the photos were, and it was all familiar to her. She came to the office to pick everything up, and was super excited about getting it."

The niece is related to my brother-in-law, at least through marriage, because his great-aunt and -uncle are her relatives, too. Happy ending!


Family Heirlooms | Research Tips
Monday, November 18, 2013 1:44:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]