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<2013 December>

More Links

# Monday, 23 December 2013
6 Simple Ways (3 Are Free) to Use
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website encompasses some 31,000 databases with more than 9 billion historical records. Where’s an overwhelmed genealogist to start? Here are six suggestions (half of them free) for family tree tasks you can do on the site.

For search demos and tips that'll help you get the most out of your subscription (or figure out whether to subscribe), consider our Jan. 23 webinar 10 Simple Strategies for Using

1. Explore what’s available for free. The site also offers a surprising number of free data collections. To find them, go to the Card Catalog, type free in the keyword blank and click Search. And remember that many libraries and FamilySearch Centers offer free access to almost all the site's databases through Ancestry Library Edition.

2. Create or upload your family tree. It's free to put your own family tree files on, a way to share information and organize your research. A subscription will allow you to view the site's suggested matches in records, as well as see other members’ trees that overlap with yours.

3. Follow hints. Once you’ve created a tree, the site will automatically search for record matches. A leaf icon in the corner of an ancestor’s box indicates there's a “hint” for that person. Click the leaf to see the hint (you'll need a subscription to see most hints). If you determine the suggested match really is your relative, you can attach the record to your tree.

4. Scour message boards. The site's vast array of message boards (identical to those on RootsWeb) is free to access. Check boards for all the surnames you’re researching, as well as places where your family has lived.

5. Search. You’ll get the best results by clicking Show Advanced in the upper right portion of the home page and using the advanced search options. Sometimes you get better results by searching a category of records (such as immigration or census records) or a single database. To search a category, select it from the drop-down list under Search. Use the card catalog to find individual databases.

6. Search other trees. See who else is researching your ancestors (and what they're saying about them) by searching the site's Member Trees. As with any online tree site, remember that the information isn't independently verified and may contain errors. Examine any attached records and sources cited, contact the submitter for more details, and do your own research to verify the names, dates and relationships.

The 10 Simple Strategoes for Using webinar takes place Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT and 4 p.m. PT). It includes a handout of the presentation slides, plus access to view the webinar again as often as you want!

Register now for the early bird discount at | Webinars
Monday, 23 December 2013 08:48:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 19 December 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Dec. 16-19
Posted by Diane

This genealogy update is coming to you a day early because I'm looking forward to a little time off to spend with the family over the holidays (and I'm hoping to squeeze in a library visit for some genealogy research):
  • The Lincoln Library, the public library of Springfield, Ill., signed a deal with NewsBank to offer patrons a digital archive of the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register from 1831 through 1950. You can access the archive at the Lincoln Library, or online with a library card.
  • The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has issued Genealogy Standards, a 100-page manual for best practices in genealogy research. This revision updates and reorganizes the original 2000 edition of The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. The 83 standards cover the process of researching family history and the finished products of the research—documenting sources, reasoning, writing and more. You can order it here
  • RootsTech has released a mobile app for its 2014 conference (Feb. 6-8 in Salt Lake City). It lets you create a class schedule, get speaker and exhibitor information, connect with other attendees and tweet about the conference. It's available from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and there's a web app, too. Learn more here.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives
Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:24:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 16 December 2013
Last-Minute Genealogy Gifts—and No Shipping Worries!
Posted by Diane

Don't worry, you're not the only one who's freaking out because Christmas is next week and your list isn't even checked once, let alone twice. has many digital gifts you can order for your favorite family historian (it's OK if that's yourself!) even on Christmas morning, and give that day. For example:
  • a seat in our German Genealogy Crash Course webinar, taking place Thurs. Jan 16 at 7 p.m. (all registrants receive access to view the webinar as often as desired, so you're covered even if the recipient already has plans Jan. 16)
  • a Family History Starter Kit, which has downloadable and printed components, so your recipient will have part of the gift on Christmas and can look forward to receiving the rest by mail (this kit is on sale!)
  • a gift card—choose from $15, $25, $50 or $100
Want a book or CD? Up through Dec. 18, you can select two-day shipping when you order from, and you'll get it in time for Christmas. 

Browse all our downloadable genealogy guides, as well as books and CDs, at Sales
Monday, 16 December 2013 13:05:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Decorating My "Family Tree" With Christmas Ornaments Made by Grandma
Posted by Diane

My family's Christmas tree is finally up and decorated. Well, at least the top half of it is (to help protect it from little hands).

My favorite ornaments are the ones my grandma made. She'd create one for each grandkid (there are 15 of us now) every year. Here's my collection:

Looking at them is like viewing the evolution of craft. Sewing, painting, beading, needlepoint, cross-stitch, plastic canvas—Grandma could do it all.

Some of the ornaments have the year stitched in or painted on the back. And can you tell I had a thing for teddy bears as a kid?

The angel ones remind me how Grandma would call us "Angel," and now that's what she calls my children when we visit.

Each one is a treasure to me. I'd love to hear about your favorite ornaments, too. Merry Christmas!

Family Heirlooms
Monday, 16 December 2013 10:58:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 12 December 2013
MyHeritage Adds 32 Million Genealogy Records From Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website MyHeritage has launched a major initiative in the Nordic countries with more than 32 million records from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, plus dedicated social media channels. The records are accessible with a MyHeritage data subscription ($9.95 per month, billed annually).

The site also is investing millions of dollars and has agreements in place to digitize more Nordic content and add it over the next few years.

The new Nordic historical record collections comprise birth, death, marriage, baptismal and others, covering more than 90 million names. Here's a country-by-country breakdown of the new collections (click each country name to search MyHeritage records of that country):
  • Sweden: 11 million records with 31 million names, including baptism documents dating back to 1611, marriage documents dating back to 1630 and burial documents dating back to 1649
  • Norway: 10 million records with 30 million names, including baptism documents dating back to 1634, marriage documents dating back to 1660, burial documents dating back to 1666, and the Norwegian national census of 1875
  • Denmark: 5.5 million records with 14 million names, including baptism documents dating back to 1618, marriage documents dating back to 1635 and burial documents dating back to 1640
  • Finland: 5.5 million records with 16 million names. These collections include baptism documents dating back to 1657, marriage documents dating back to 1682 and burial documents dating back to 1725
MyHeritage, which has more than 470,000 registered users in Sweden, 350,000 in Norway, 300,000 in Denmark, and 200,000 in Finland, has also launched a blog, Facebook account and Twitter account dedicated to each country. You can access them from this MyHeritage blog post

Those users have added more than 70 million profiles in 730,000 family trees on MyHeritage.

Get help researching your roots in Norway, SwedenFinland, Denmark and elsewhere in Europe from the guides at

International Genealogy | MyHeritage
Thursday, 12 December 2013 09:13:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 10 December 2013
9 Useful Features for Finding Records on
Posted by Diane

With a genealogy website as gigantic as, searching for ancestors' old records can be overwhelming.

As I was putting together resources for our Power User Ultimate Collection, I thought it might be helpful to point out some of FamilySearch's most-useful features for searching records, viewing matches, and browsing collections: 


1. On the records search page, you can use wildcards in names when searching records and family trees. An asterisk (*) stands for any number of letters and a question mark (?) stands for one letter.

2. Matches automatically include similar name spellings. Click the boxes by the first or last name to search on exact name spellings.

3. You also can click Exact boxes to search for the exact place of residence, birth, death or other life event you specify.

4. Use the Search with a relationship section to search with the name of a spouse, parent, or other person who might appear in a record with your target ancestor. This can help the right records rise to the top of your results list, especially when you're searching for someone with a common name.

Viewing Matches

5. Use the arrow in the Preview column to view indexed information from each match.

6. To run a new search, instead of going back to the search page, use the Refine Your Search box to the top left of your search results page.

Filtering Matches

7. In your search results, the filters located on the left side of the screen let you narrow the results list by collection (such as 1920 census records or WWI Draft registrations); places and year ranges (1700s, 1800s, 1900s) for birth, marriage, death, residence and other life events; and gender.

Finding the Best Collections to Search

8. To find collections of digitized records that you can search individually or that aren't yet searchable (because they haven't been indexed), go to the Browse All Records page  and use the filters to narrow the list by place, year range, or type of record.

For example, if I want to look for church record databases related to places in Germany where my immigrant ancestors are from, I would click Place filter Continental Europe and then Germany. From Collections, I'd choose Birth, Marriage and Death (where church records are categorized). You also can search withthe Filter By Collection Name box, but you have to be able to guess a word in the collection title.

9. Collection titles with Browse Images in the Records column aren't indexed—you have to browse by locality, name, or however the records are organized.

Save more than 65% on the Power User Ultimate Collection in December! It has video classes, printed lessons and our Cheat Sheet to help you make the most of this huge, free genealogy resource.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 16:26:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
New: Place My Past Website Maps Your Family Tree
Posted by Diane

A new website called Place My Past (currently accessible to those who are invited) looks to be a hybrid of a family tree site, a mapping site and a social network.

Depending on your membership level, Place My Past lets you explore places and events using map tools; upload, share and view historical maps; trace your family's geographic roots; and explore their movements over time.

Users sign into the site with a MyHeritage account (so you'll need to create a tree on MyHeritage if you don't have one) and the site will import and plot your family tree on its map.

Although it's open by invitation only right now, you can ask to be notified by email when the site officially launches.

To give you an idea of what the site does, Place My Past created this US map with events from the Kennedy family tree.

When I clicked on Lancaster, Pa., a little pop-up had a city profile and gave me a link to view family events there.

Besides Events, you also could see media attached to that location and others following it.

Explore the site here, or take a tour (with comments pointing out features and tools).

There are three levels of Place My Past registration: 

  • A free Guest registration lets you view the site's main map with location details and "anonymized" information about people and events
  • A free Member can upload family trees; add and update people, places and events; and view public information from other members.
  • For $4 per month (billed as $48 per year), Subscribing members can view family migrations; upload and share historical maps; follow people, places and events; and connect with other members.

Love old maps? Learn five ways to use old maps to solve genealogy research problems in our webinar Five Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research With Old Maps, taking place this Thursday, Dec. 12, with Lisa Louise Cooke.

Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | Social Networking | Maps
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 13:42:56 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 06 December 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, 06 December 2013 08:56:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 04 December 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, 04 December 2013 14:45:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 03 December 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, 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, 03 December 2013 15:51:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]