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# Thursday, January 02, 2014
Genealogy Research Identifies Faces in Historic Murals
Posted by Diane

Genealogy detective work and crowdsourcing, led by our local Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper, solved a hometown history mystery: the identity of factory workers in 16 huge mosaic murals in Cincinnati's Union Terminal train station, now the home of local history museums and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives. (Fourteen of the murals were moved to the airport when the train station concourse was demolished, and nine of those will be moved again, when the airport terminal they're in is demolished.)




The murals, created by Winold Reiss in 1933, depict industrial scenes of unnamed workers in unnamed factories. The main part of the article tells how the newspaper, with help from local history buffs and readers, identified the workers using the artist's reference photos, Union Terminal financial records, genealogical records, interviews, and nearly 3,000 emailed suggestions.

Of course I turned to the worker profiles right away in hopes of finding a relative. I didn't, but it was fascinating to read about each man and the work he did, and to compare his image in the mural to the reference photo. You can read their stories and see the murals and photos here.


Thursday, January 02, 2014 11:58:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
How to Start the Day Right: Coffee and Genealogy
Posted by Diane

The promise of hot coffee was about the only thing that made me drag myself out of bed before dawn this morning, with three inches of snow on the ground and more falling as I got ready for my first day back at work after the holidays.

But I've been looking forward to showing you what my thoughtful husband gave me for Christmas:



That's the 1860 census with the household of my third-great-grandparents Edward and Elizabeth (Butler) Norris on the coffee mug, and several photos and records from research on my Haddad side on the mousepad.

To make them, Greg sneaked into my digital files and uploaded several images to a photo-gift website. He even used the file name of the census record to make sure the right family was displayed. 

I hope you're starting the year with genealogy inspiration around you. Happy New Year!


Genealogy fun
Thursday, January 02, 2014 10:36:01 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
# 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 family get-togethers.

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 2014.

You could resolve to:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Organize your records—on your computer and in your file drawer—in 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.)

  4. Finally call great-aunt Betty and ask to talk about your family history.

  5. 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. 

  6. 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.

  7. Join a genealogical society for your hometown or for a place where your ancestor lived.

  8. 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 collaboration.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 digital download.

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 Family 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)  #  Comments [1]
# 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 200-member African-American 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.

See a list of AAGSAR genealogy blogs here, and look for it to grow on Jan. 5.


African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 8:53:05 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [17]
# 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 site.

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 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 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!

Register 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)  #  Comments [2]
# 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 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, December 19, 2013 10:24:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# 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 alone twice.

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)
  • 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 ShopFamilyTree.com 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 ShopFamilyTree.com, and you'll get it in time for Christmas. 

Browse all our downloadable genealogy guides, as well as books and CDs, at ShopFamilyTree.com.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, December 16, 2013 1:05:39 PM (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, December 16, 2013 10:58:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# 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 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 ShopFamilyTree.com.


International Genealogy | MyHeritage
Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:13:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# 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 collections: 

Searching



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 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.


FamilySearch
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:26:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]