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Monday, February 03, 2014
Tips for Tracing Russian Roots
Posted by Diane
This morning's news had me excited about the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics this week
in Sochi, Russia.
Sochi is in Western Russia, on the Black Sea. Western Russia, including areas that are now independent
countries, was the source of significant immigration to the United
States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Tracing Russian roots isn't easy, but it's also less of an Olympian
task than it used to be. These Russian genealogy tips are from our
guide to tracing Russian roots in the January/February
2014 Family Tree Magazine (you
can get just the Russian guide as a digital download from
ShopFamilyTree.com). Or if you're also researching genealogy
elsewhere in Europe, you might want the collection of guides in The
Family Tree Guidebook to Europe.
- “Russian roots” encompasses more than the present-day country.
"Russian" is often used for heritage in places once part
of the Russian Empire or the USSR, such as Ukraine and Belarus.
- The largest influx
of Russian immigrants came during the “great migration” of the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. More than 2.3 million
immigrants from czarist Russia entered the United States between
1871 and 1910, most from western areas of the empire (outside
Russia's current borders) including nearly 750,000 Jews from the
Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians transliterated their names
from the Cyrillic to the Roman alphabet, resulting in numerous
website gives the example of the common surname Муравьёв,
which has more than 15 English variants including Muravyov,
Muravev, Muravjev and Mouravief. Immigrants might have further
Americanized their transliterated names.
list of terms for administrative divisions (province,
district, village, etc.) in Russia and areas once part of it.
You'll find other key terms for
Russian genealogy here.
International Genealogy | Jewish roots | Research Tips
Monday, February 03, 2014 10:52:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 31, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 27-31
Posted by Diane
- Arphax Publishing has updated its HistoryGeo online historical maps
subscription service with new map-viewing tools and new
content, including The First Landowners Project (nearly 8 million
original landowners) and the Antique Maps Project (more than 4,000
maps from around the United States). HistoryGeo also has a new blog, training videos,
and a surname search
to help people use the site. (Anyone can run a surname search to see
if your family surnames occur on any of the site's maps, though you
must subscribe to view details on the matches.)
- A new website that combines family history mapping and social media,
Place My Past, has made
updates including easier finding historical maps for a place you're
viewing, ability to embed maps onto your blog or website, and the
ability to overlay data (such as historical boundaries) onto your
maps. You can upload a GEDCOM and view the main map as a free
member. Subscribers can upload and annotate maps, connect with other
members and more. See
a comparison of member and subscriber benefits here.
- If you have a tree on MyHeritage and you find a MyHeritage record
for a relative not yet in your tree, you now can add the relative to
your tree directly from the record (instead of going to your tree,
adding the relative, then going back to the record and extracting
information into the new profile). See
how to do this on the MyHeritage Blog.
- Do you plan to attend and blog about the National Genealogical
Society (NGS) 2014 Family History Conference, May 7-10 in Richmond,
Va.? NGS has opened its Official
Blogger and Social Media Press registration. Accepted social
media press will receive a press kit at registration, access to the
Press table, and limited license to use the conference official
social media designation and logo. Social Media Press Registration
closes Feb. 21, and those accepted will be notified by March 1.
Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 31, 2014 10:45:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Free: Watch 15 RootsTech Conference Sessions Live From Home
Posted by Diane
genealogy conference happening Thursday through Saturday
of next week in Salt Lake City, has announced the 15 sessions you
can watch online for free.
I won't reprint the entire live-stream session schedule here because
it's already on the
FamilySearch website, but below are some that I especially
want to watch from my desk, and why. (I'll be here at the office
while my intrepid colleagues Allison Dolan and Tyler Moss represent
Family Tree University
in booth #927.)
Thursday, 10:30 -11:30 a.m. MT, Top 10 Things I Learned
About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps, because who
doesn't want to be able to do genealogy from the sofa?
- Friday, Feb. 7, 1-2 p.m. MT, Tweets, Links, Pins, and
Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media
by Lisa A. Alzo. Social media is a resource I don't use much for
genealogy, but it's a great way to crowdsource questions.
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. MT, Become an iPad
Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke. Although I don't have an
iPad (we're an Android family), I'd love to increase my app
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 1-2 p.m. MT, Information Overload:
Managing Online Searches and Their Results by Josh Taylor,
because sometimes the problem isn't how to search, it's how to
work through all those results, decide which ones merit further
evaluation, and know when to stop looking at them.
I'm a little disappointed the keynotes aren't on the list. I wanted
to see Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer
Woman, so you all will have to tell me about her talk.
- Saturday, 5-6 p.m. MT, Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your
Sleep by Deborah Gamble. Funny how my list starts with the
couch and ends with sleep.
You can watch the sessions at RootsTech.org;
the video player will be right on the home page. All the session
times are Mountain time, and because you're watching live, you need
to translate them into your own time zone.
I'll be keeping a close eye on the RootsTech conference and
reporting the news from here, so stay tuned!
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:32:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Free and Low-Cost Software to Retouch Damaged Family Photos
Posted by Diane
If you're looking to scan and digitally repair old, faded and
torn family photos, we
have a webinar coming up that'll show you how to do it.
But first, you'll need photo-editing software so you can make the
repairs. Good news: You can find good software for free.
See what photo-editing software might be already on your computer. Windows
Live Photo Gallery, for example, lets you do basic retouching
and adjust exposure and color.
If you want to see what else is out there, look for free photo-editing software you can download. According to Gizmodo, Adobe
is giving away an older version of its Photoshop software along
with the Adobe Creative Suite (CS) 2. This version is suitable for
most genealogy needs with tools
such as Clone, Brightness/Contrast, and color balance. You do have to sign up for an Adobe account to
download it, and Macs will need OSX 10.2.8 to 10.3.8, or the
"translator" program Rosetta.
Update: Unfortunately, it sounds like this offer is only for
previous Photoshop owners. Thanks to the commenters who created an Adobe
account, made this discovery and reported back here. (One also recommended Irfanview.)
Want other options for retouching old photos? Gizmodo lists
10 free photo-editors here. One of them is Google's Picasa, which we used for our
step-by-step guide to fixing faded, spotted and creased pictures and for the photo above.
A relatively low-cost photo-editing software option that gives you a
lot of functionality is Photoshop
Elements, a "light" version of Photoshop.
and Retouching for Genealogists webinar, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
(6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT) will show you what apps and
programs are available for photo-editing on your computer and mobile
device, how to retouch photos, and more. Check
it out in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:25:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 24, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 20-24
Posted by Diane
- British subscription and pay-per-view genealogy site Origins.net now
has record images and searchable indexes to the entire 1901
census for England and Wales. The site already has the 1841,
1861 and 1871 censuses. It will add the1851, 1881 and 1891 censuses
in the coming months, to cover the full range of censuses from 1841
to 1901. Search
the 1901 census here and the
rest of the census collection here.
- The University of Texas at Austin is digitizing and preserving more
than 800,000 documents and photographs from the Central Lunatic
Asylum for Colored Insane, a mental institution for
African-Americans founded in Petersburg, Va., in 1870. Next up is
finding resources to put the images online. It sounds like documents
with individuals' names would have limited access, with more
availability for papers such as annual reports. Read
more on UT's alumni magazine website.
- The Department of Defense signed a $5 million agreement with T3Media to digitize thousands
of historical photos, many discovered in obscure places on base or
offices that are closed or relocated. T3Media will have a limited
period during which the can charge for access to the images (those
inside the Department of Defense will get free access). Read
more on Defense.gov.
African-American roots | Civil War | FamilySearch | Historic preservation | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 24, 2014 2:16:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Why FamilySearch.org Searches Don't Cover All the Site's Records & How to Find Collections You Need
Posted by Diane
When you search the free
genealogy records on FamilySearch.org, what you might not know
is that your search doesn't cover all the digitized records on the
That's because FamilySearch starts adding collections to the site
even before they're fully indexed and searchable, in the interest of
letting researchers access those records right away. And in one of
the 16 video classes in our Winter
2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference (Feb. 28-March 2), Rick
Crume will show you tricks for finding what you need faster in these
unindexed and partially indexed record sets.
How do you find those browse-only databases in the first place?
Follow these steps:
1. Go to FamilySearch's Browse All
Published Collections page. It looks like this, with all 1,709 collections displayed alphabetically in the middle, and filtering options on the left:
2. From the Place filters on the left, select a region, country,
state or other geographic division. Subfilters may then let you drill down to a state, province or country. The collections list will change
to show only titles associated with the place specified.
3. Additional filters let you view collections from a specific time
period or of a specific type (military, probate and court, etc.).
If you regularly check here for new titles (like I do), click the
Last Updated column heading at the top right to see the most recently updated
collections listed first.
(You also could use the Filter by Collection Name field at the top left to search for words in collection titles, but this might miss
collections not titled as you'd expect.)
A camera icon next to the database title means results are linked to
digitized record images. A Browse Images link in the Records column
means the collection isn’t indexed at all. Some databases are
partially indexed, so you still may need to browse to find a record.
Click on a collection name for a brief description of it, a link to
details about the records in the collection, a link to search the
records (if they're at least partially indexed), and a link to
browse through the collection.
here to see a list of all the video presentations and online chats
you get with our Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:07:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Ancestry.com to Add 1 Billion International Records From FamilySearch
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have expanded their September
2013 agreement to put 1 billion never-before-published international
genealogy records online over the next five years.
The expanded agreement will put another billion records from 67
countries on Ancestry.com. These records, provided by FamilySearch, are
already digitized and will be added to Ancestry.com over the next
few months. The additional collections include more than 1 billion
digitized and indexed records and over 200 million images containing
birth, marriage, death, census and church records from Europe, Latin
America, South Africa, South America, Asia and more.
FamilySearch has a similar agreement with MyHeritage, in which
MyHeritage.com searches return matches from FamilySearch record
In the September agreement, Ancestry.com is investing more than $60
million to digitize microfilmed international records from the
You can read the full press release on GeneaPress.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 3:28:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 17, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 13-17
Posted by Diane
- The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched a
blog called Vita Brevis ("life
is short") that will share genealogy expertise and news from NEHGS
editor-in-chief Scott C. Steward and other staff. It's a great
chance to get an inside look at NEHGS research projects, family
stories and research strategies.
- The Southern California Genealogical Society announced its 45th
annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 6 to 8 in
Burbank, Calif. It'll be preceded on June 5 by the daylong Family
History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2014 conference. Learn more about both
events at the Jamboree website.
Friday, January 17, 2014 2:03:29 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Genealogists Mourn Incinerated Records in Franklin County, NC
Posted by Diane
When genealogists talk about "burned records," we usually mean a
courthouse fire that happened accidentally or during a Civil War battle.
But the term has taken on a new meaning in Franklin County, NC, where
thousands of historical records, long-forgotten in the courthouse
basement, were systematically incinerated last month. As word gets out, genealogists
and historians across the country are expressing their shock on social media (see links to bloggers' reports below).
Here's the short version of what happened:
Last May, a new county clerk discovered the records in a state of
disarray in the basement, along with assorted trash,
mold and water damage. The local heritage society
formed a plan to inventory and preserve the records, lined up volunteers, and secured the
necessary funds and space. Members had started the work when they were ordered to stop and wait for further
instruction. At some point officials from the state archives and
various county departments were allowed to remove an unknown number
On Friday, Dec. 6, after the end of the workday and without notice
to anyone, a crew in hazmat suits cleared out the basement and
burned the records in the local animal shelter's incinerator.
Explanations from local officials have mentioned
hazardous mold, privacy concerns, official record retention
schedules, and possibly others I've missed in reading articles and
blog posts. The county manager, who authorized the incineration, has promised a written
What was lost? No one was able to do a complete inventory of the
but examples of the basement's contents include an 1890s naturalization document, 1890s chattel
mortgages, post-Civil War to Prohibition-era court dockets, and a
letter from a WWI soldier serving abroad asking the court to make
sure his sister and his estate were looked after.
Several bloggers are following these events and the backlash in
She's also posting about media
coverage and public response.
- Renate at Into the Light is a member
of the Franklin County Heritage Society who witnessed the
records being carried out of the courthouse basement to be
her story and see photos.
court records | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | Public Records
Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:48:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
My Genealogy Organization Score: C
Posted by Diane
In light of our Organize
Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop (happening Jan.
24-31, and see below for a chance to win a registration), I thought it would be fitting to show you my genealogy
First, there's this:
When I started researching genealogy, I printed or photocopied all
the records I found. I still get the occasional record on paper (which I scan). For
these, I have binders. One for my dad's side, one for my mom's, and
one for my husband's family.
I have another small file of "stuff," such as papers from a great-aunt,
receipts for my mom's school books when she was little, and my
It's all jumbled together and needs organization
and better storage containers.
Most records I get now are in digital form. How can I put this? I won't even show you. Some of it's on our laptop computer, some of it's on our desktop, and some of it's attached to emails waiting to be filed. Some things are in two or three places.
My plan is to get all my digital files onto one computer. I've been
pretty good about updating my tree online and attaching records, so
at least the information is in an organized form. (From my "In Case I Get Hit by a Bus" to-do list, I do need to share my password with a genealogy-minded someone.)
As for my research log ... well, I need to be better about pausing
in my research to update my to-do list. I've been using Evernote,
but I want to see whether I'll be more consistent if I use a Google
So I give myself a C when it comes to genealogy organization. How
about you? Could you use some help keeping track of what
genealogy information you have and what you need, and putting it into
some kind of order that makes sense?
The aforementioned Organize
Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop has on-demand
webinars and video classes, written lessons, and expert advice from
To Archive Family Keepsakes author Denise May Levenick via the
conference message board (also a good place for sharing tips with
We're giving away a free registration to the Organize Your Genealogy in a Week Workshop! Click here to enter your name before Jan. 21 at 11:59 ET.
The workshop is Jan. 24-31 at FamilyTreeUniversity.com—check it out here.
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1:05:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)