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# Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Free Black History Records on Fold3 & More African-American Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

In honor of Black History Month this month, genealogy website Fold3 is offering free access to its Black History Collection of records through the end of February. That includes:
  • Washington, DC court slave and emancipation records

  • South Carolina estate inventories and bills of sale (1732-1872)

  • US Colored Troops Civil War service records

  • Southern Claims Commission records (which also mention nonAfrican-Americans who made claims against the federal government for property lost during the Civil War)

  • War Department Military Intelligence Division records on "Negro subversion"

  • ... and more titles. 
You'll need to register for a Basic Fold3 membership in order to view records. Here's the Fold3 blog post about this offer.

Looking for other resources and records for tracing African-American ancestors? Here are several other sites we like (the last three are more how-to focused; the ones before that are more records-focused): Learn how to research African-American roots during and after slavery in Family Tree University's Finding African-Americans in Newspapers four-week online course with instructor Tim Pinnick. It starts Feb. 24—learn more here.

You'll find our African-American genealogy guides in ShopFamilyTree.com.


African-American roots | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:22:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 07, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: RootsTech 2014 Edition
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch's RootsTech conference, going on through Saturday in Salt Lake City, kicked off its Friday with a dynamic keynote address by the Legal Genealogist Judy Russell. She started with an archivist's statement that oral family history can be lost in just three generations, because it isn't purposely and accurately passed down (see the exact quote on Judy's blog). The recording isn't yet available on the RootsTech website, but it will be.

Remember that you can watch live streamed presentations on the RootsTech.org home page, too. (Try switching browsers if you just see a black screen. I had to switch to Chrome from my usual Firefox.) 

Yesterday, I posted news from FamilySearch, including a new obituary indexing initiative and free access to Ancestry.com, MyHeritage and findmypast.com at Family History Centers (and, for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from home).

Here are a few more news items:
  • Subscription/pay-per-view website findmypast.com is restructuring its subscription offerings to include a one-month option. A one-month US subscription for $9.95, which includes all records from the USA. A one month World subscription costs $19.95, which includes access to records from around the world.
  • Subscription genealogy site MyHeritage has added 815 million US public records of US residents to its SuperSearch. This compilation was assembled from telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, voter registration lists and other records available to the public. The information spans the last five decades, making it helpful for finding living relatives. Read more on the MyHeritage blog.
  • Mocavo has added 20,000 new databases, bringing its database count to more than 250,000. They're free to access if you search one database at a time (find them listed here). To view match details when you run a search across all databases, you must be a premium member ($7 or $9 per month). One thing you can do is search all databases for an ancestor, view the match "snippets" for promising-looking records, note the databases they're in, then go to the database listings and search the ones you need.
  • In a low-fanfare breakfast with a small group of bloggers and media, representatives from subscription site Ancestry.com said that records of Mexico and Germany are an area of content focus, among other plans. I'll once again send you the extremely thorough Ancestry Insider for additional details.

  • RootsMagic, maker of RootsMagic software, just launched a RootsMagic app for Android devices. You can access your RootsMagic files, explore your tree, view all your RootsMagic data and more. Read about the RootsMagic app here, and download it here
If you want to see what it's like to be at RootsTech, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings is posting detailed daily reports (including links to posts by other bloggers who are at the conference), as is Miriam Robbins at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage
Friday, February 07, 2014 4:20:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 06, 2014
FamilySearch Launches Obituary Indexing Effort & More News From RootsTech
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch held a media dinner last night before the start of the RootsTech conference. The Ancestry Insider has a great report on the key points. A few I'd like to highlight:
  • This fourth-annual RootsTech has about 8,000 registrants. After the conference, 622 locations around the world will hold events featuring recorded RootsTech sessions.
  • FamilySearch is launching an effort to index 100 million newspaper obituaries this year. A pirate named Capt. Jack Starling is apparently roaming around the conference in promotion of this effort, so don't be surprised if you see him popping up in your Facebook news feeds.
  • Ancestry.com, findmypast and MyHeritage, each of which has strategic partnerships with FamilySearch, will be free to use at FamilySearch Centers. Each website also has plans to let users transfer information between a tree on that site and a FamilySearch family tree.

    Update: According to blogger Dick Eastman, members of the LDS church (which operates FamilySearch) will receive free in-home access to these commercial sites.  
The Salt Lake Tribune has an article here with more on FamilySearch's commercial partnerships.

In other RootsTech news, FamilySearch announced the winners of its annual developer challenge, which rewards the most innovative new concepts to family history. They are Genealogy Systems LLC's Find-A-Record, a searchable index of record collections (so far, mostly on FamilySearch.org); PhotoFaceMatch from Eclipse Identity Recognition Corp.; and the Saving Memories Forever story-saving app. Read more about the winners here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Events | MyHeritage
Thursday, February 06, 2014 11:15:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Findmypast.com Adds PERSI Genealogical Index
Posted by Diane

Was it really more than six months ago that subscription/pay-per-view genealogy website findmypast.com announced it planned to add the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to its databases—and better yet, link each entry to an image of the original article it refers to? Time flies!

You now can search PERSI on findmypast.com. If you hover over the Search Records tab and choose Newspapers & Periodicals, then select PERiodical Source Index (or just click here), you'll see:



PERSI, created by librarians at the Allen County (Ind.) Public Library Genealogy Center, is an index to thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic journals and magazines. Most cover the United States and Canada, but some cover Britain, Ireland and Australia.

The database on findmypast.com includes 2.5 million index entries, and it will be updated on a quarterly basis. Some entries link to the digitized articles, including the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 1871-1920, and more will be added over time. A partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies to preserve society publications is making this effort possible.

When I've searched PERSI in teh past, I've found it difficult to determine if the source article was about my relative or someone else, and what type of information the article contained. How great would it be to just click and read the full article online?

You can search PERSI on findmypast.com by last name, place and/or keyword, and matches include the article title, periodical title and year the article was published. You can click for more information or the digitized article, if you're a findmypast.com subscriber or have pay-as-you-go credits.

Don't limit yourself to name searches, because genealogical society publications often contain descriptions of unique local resources, but not necessarily indexes. Try searching PERSI just by place and/or with a keyword, such as a church your family attended or a place a relative worked.

For PERSI entries that don't link to source articles, you can order copies from the Genealogy Center (click the Services tab). 

Read the full PERSI press release on findmypast.com.
 

findmypast | Genealogy societies | Research Tips
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 11:51:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Genealogy Tip: Check the 1900 and 1910 Censuses for Clues to Unknown Children
Posted by Diane

Sometimes the best we can do for a “date night” at our house is hanging out in the living room while my husband watches a game and I do genealogy on the laptop.

On one of these thrilling evenings, I was using the Cincinnati Birth and Death Records (1865-1912) database, a card index created long ago from city vital registers. I kept remarking on the death records of infants I'd come across. Each one made me more grateful for my two healthy (I’m crossing my fingers and knocking on wood right now) little ones.

Greg was feeling the same way. He wondered how a genealogist today could even know to look for a baby who died at a few hours, days or weeks old before official birth and death records began.

You could form a hunch based on long gaps between children, or maybe oral tradition, a tiny headstone, a letter or another home source would be a clue. There’s also the census: The 1900 and 1910 censuses had columns for women indicating “mother of how many children” and “number of those children living.”

I realized then that I’d always assumed my great-great-grandmother Frances (Ladenkotter) Seeger hadn’t lost any of her children. I hadn’t found any records indicating that was the case, and no infant’s headstone is in the family plot.

Sure enough, when I looked again at her listings in the censuses for 1900

and 1910

those two columns showed a nine and a seven. Two of her babies had died. (Of the 12 mothers on the 1900 page, only two had the same number in both columns.)

I looked for them in the Cincinnati database of births and deaths. Joseph Heinrich died in 1877 at 29 days old of “pyaemia result of dorsal abscess” (septicemia related to an abscess on his back). I also found his cemetery burial record (which had his name).  

I found the birth of the second baby, Mary, on Aug. 2, 1878.

I may have found the death: This card, for a baby who died of premature birth at two hours old, has the right address, date (“8-3-78,” which would mean a birth shortly before midnight), and a close last name (Suger), but the baby’s name is Herman instead of Mary.

Either the birth or death card could have an error carried over from the original registers (which still exist, apparently, but are fragile and not available for research), or one made in transcription. I haven’t had any luck searching cemetery records, either.

Details about a relative who died as a newborn more than a century ago might or might not provide leads to additional genealogical information. Either way, putting these babies on the family tree matters to me, as I’m guessing it does to other genealogists. It creates a truer picture of your ancestral family, and more important, it keeps a brief little life from remaining unknown.



Research Tips | Vital Records
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 2:55:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# 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 "Pale of Settlement."
  • Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians transliterated their names from the Cyrillic to the Roman alphabet, resulting in numerous variants. This 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.

  • Here's a 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)  #  Comments [0]
# 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)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Free: Watch 15 RootsTech Conference Sessions Live From Home
Posted by Diane

RootsTech, FamilySearch's 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 knowledge.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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.

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)  #  Comments [0]
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.

Our Photo-Editing 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)  #  Comments [8]
# 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)  #  Comments [1]