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Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Four Ways I've Found German Ancestors' Birthplaces
Posted by Diane
Finding a birth place for your ancestors from Europe is the
genealogical Holy Grail, because it opens up the possibility of
finding overseas records, particularly church records.
For German ancestors, our German
Genealogy Crash Course webinar next Thursday, Jan. 16, has
information about resources that can help you trace your roots back
to Germany. It also gives attendees a chance to ask questions of
presenter James M. Beidler.
In case any of you are ready to throw in the towel on finding your ancestor's place of birth, I wanted to share the places I
found birthplace information (unexpectedly, in a couple of
- My fourth-great-grandfather Edward Thoss was a founding member
of the Covington (Ky.) German Pioneer Society, which I was
surprised to discover on
the Kenton County Public Library website through a Google search. The overview
there gives his birthplace as
Langenweisendorf, Schleiz. The library has a 25th anniversary
book, published in 1902, which lists "Langenweizendorf
I believe this should be Langenwetzendorf.
- My third-great-grandfather Joseph Ladenkotter immigrated in
1836 from Rheine, in the district of Steinfurt. I discovered this from the Passenger and Immigration
Lists Index, 1500s-1900s (it's in print at many
libraries, or search
it on Ancestry.com), which in turn led me to a list of
emigrants called Auswanderungen aus dem Kreis Steinfurt
(Emigration From the County Steinfurt) by Freidrich Ernst
Hunsche. I searched WorldCat
and found this publication at the Allen County
Public Library, so I ordered copies
through the Genealogy Center 's Quick Search service.
- The obituary of my third-great-grandmother (Joseph's wife)
Anna Maria Weyer, printed in the German-language Cincinnati
Volksfreund newspaper, gave her birthplace in Schapen. (The alphabet chart in our German
Genealogy Cheat Sheet helped me read it.)
For a couple of other families, I've had luck by finding people I'm
related to and contacting them about their research. Here's a map of
birthplaces I've found so far. That cluster in northwest Germany is my Cincinnati ancestors; Edward Thoss is the one in the bottom right corner.
- My great-great-grandfather H.A. Seeger was born in Steinfeld, as noted in his 1907 passport application, which I
Ancestry.com. I had no idea he ever traveled overseas, so
this was a thrilling find.
Besides the German Genealogy Crash Course webinar, we also have a
couple of seats left in Family Tree University's German
Genealogy 101 online course. It's starting this week, though,
so you should register ASAP.
Family Tree University | German roots | Webinars
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:04:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 03, 2014
Your First Genealogy News Corral of 2014
Posted by Diane
This is a catch-up genealogy news corral—aside from a day spent at
the Kenton County (Ky.)
Public Library and the Cincinnati History Library
and Archives, I didn't do much genealogy over Christmas and
New Year's. Here's a summary of what's been happening in the
- Family Tree DNA announced it has fully integrated X-chromosome
matching into Family Finder, its autosomal DNA test. On their
matches page, Family Finder test-takers can use a filter to
display only X-chromosome matches, or X-Matches. You'll find a
good explanation of this feature, and a link to more information
on X-chromosome inheritance patterns, on
the DNAeXplained blog.
- The National Genealogical Society has issued a call for papers
for its 2015 family history conference in St. Charles, Mo. (just
down the road from of my college stomping grounds in St.
Louis). If you're interested in lecturing at the
out the guidelines on the NGS website and mark the April 2
submission deadline on your calendar.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 03, 2014 3:03:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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,
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
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)
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!
Thursday, January 02, 2014 10:36:01 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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)