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Wednesday, January 01, 2014
10 Genealogy Resolutions for 2014
Posted by Diane
In January, we at Family Tree Magazine typically note an uptick in
family history interest, perhaps a result of holiday nostalgia and
If you're feeling inspired to preserve family
memories or kick your genealogy research into a higher gear, we
suggest making (and keeping) a few of the following resolutions in
You could resolve to:
- Scan old family photos and other mementos, and share them
with relatives. Be specific—resolve to scan one item every
Saturday, for example. How
to Archive Family Keepsakes has instructions for
digitizing and organizing old photos and other family treasures.
- Set up a genealogy research log and to-do list database using
a cloud service such as Evernote or Google Drive, and faithfully maintain
it to streamline your genealogy workflow.
- Organize your records—on your computer and in your file
a way that makes sense for the way you research. Schedule
30 minutes once a week or once a month to file accumulated
papers. (For serious assistance, consider our Organize
Your Genealogy Independent Study Course Download.)
- Finally call great-aunt Betty and ask to talk about your family history.
- Pick a family and, for each place they lived, run a place
search of the Family History Library online catalog.
Records that are digitized on the free FamilySearch.org will be
linked. Otherwise, order promising film online for viewing at a
nearby FamilySearch Center.
- Commit an hour or so a week to volunteering for a records
indexing project. Try FamilySearch
Indexing or Ancestry.com’s World Archives
Project, or see if your local library or historical
society could use your indexing assistance.
- Join a genealogical society for your hometown or
for a place where your ancestor lived.
- Reach out to other genealogy researchers online through genealogy
message boards, blogging,
posting an online tree, or using a social networking site such
as Facebook or Google+. If you
find someone with common research interests, propose a research
- Start a family history tradition: Institute an old family
recipe night, for example, celebrate an ancestor's birthday, or
make an annual day trip to the family hometown.
- Start writing your family history. Take it one ancestor at a
time. Our intensive eight-week Write
Your Family History online course will get you well on
your way, or start smaller with the prompts in our
It would be a lot to keep all of these resolutions, so think about what you
really want to accomplish this year.
Once you make your resolutions, you'll find the how-to help you need to follow through in
Tree Magazine and at ShopFamilyTree.com,
and you can post genealogy questions to our Facebook page
or email them to me.
Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 9:50:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
African-American Genealogy and Slave Ancestry Research Group Blogfest!
Posted by Diane
Look for more African-American genealogy blogs to come online in the
next couple of weeks: Our
Georgia Roots blogger Luckie Daniels, who started the
Genealogy and Slave Ancestry (AAGSAR) Research Group (a closed
group hosted on Facebook) in August, is planning the AAGSAR Blogfest
for Jan. 5.
Daniels' goal is to bring all the AAGSAR community members online
with a blog or family website, creating a fantastic source of
information and inspiration for African-American family history researchers. "We
very well could see the likes of 75-plus new genealogy blogs online
before 11:59p.m. Jan. 5," Daniels says.
a list of AAGSAR genealogy blogs here, and look for it to grow on Jan.
African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 8:53:05 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, December 23, 2013
6 Simple Ways (3 Are Free) to Use Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane
Genealogy website Ancestry.com 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
For Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com.
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 Ancestry.com, 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
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.
Simple Strategoes for Using Ancestry.com 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!
now for the early bird discount at ShopFamilyTree.com.
Ancestry.com | Webinars
Monday, December 23, 2013 8:48:43 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, December 19, 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
- 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
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
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives
Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:24:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, December 16, 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
ShopFamilyTree.com 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)
Want a book or CD? Up through Dec. 18, you can select two-day shipping when you order from
ShopFamilyTree.com, and you'll get it in time for
- 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!)
all our downloadable genealogy guides, as well as books and CDs,
Monday, December 16, 2013 1:05:39 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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!
Monday, December 16, 2013 10:58:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, December 12, 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
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):
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
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
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
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.
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
Those users have added more than 70 million profiles in 730,000
family trees on MyHeritage.
Get help researching your roots in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and elsewhere
in Europe from the guides at ShopFamilyTree.com.
International Genealogy | MyHeritage
Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:13:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
9 Useful Features for Finding Records on FamilySearch.org
Posted by Diane
With a genealogy website as gigantic as FamilySearch.org, searching
for ancestors' old records can be overwhelming.
As I was putting
together resources for our FamilySearch.org
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
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
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.
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
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 FamilySearch.org
Power User Ultimate Collection in December! It has video
classes, printed lessons and our FamilySearch.org Cheat Sheet to
help you make the most of this huge, free genealogy resource.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:26:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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
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
- 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, December 10, 2013 1:42:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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)