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Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Ancestry.com Releases Find A Grave Mobile App for iOS
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com has released its free Find A Grave mobile app for iOS7,
which lets you search the Find A Grave online cemtery database from
your iPhone or iPad, as well as upload gravestone images and
information to Find A Grave. The app also lets you request photos of
gravestones from Find A Grave volunteers, and fill others' requests.
Here's where you can
find a description of the app's features.
You also might get some of your questions answered by reading
Ancestry.com's blog post and the comments, many of which come
from people who've used the app.
You can download
the Find A Grave app for iOS7 in the Apple App Store.
Before you ask—Ancestry.com is working on an Android version, and
does not say when it will become available. I have an Android phone,
too, so I feel your pain.
acquired the Find A Grave website last year, with a promise to
keep it free and invest resources in improving the site. Producing
a mobile app was among the first items on its to-do list.
Ancestry.com | Cemeteries | Genealogy Apps
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 1:47:04 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
FamilySearch, WorldCat Partnership Helps Genealogy Researchers
Posted by Diane
last year about efforts by FamilySearch
and WorldCat (the site that
lets you search holdings of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide) to
share holdings information so you can get results from either site
by searching the other.
Now you can see the fruits of those efforts: According
to the OCLC, which runs WorldCat, WorldCat now has links to
more than a million items in FamilySearch's Family History Library
(FHL) in Salt Lake City. FamilySearch.org now links to catalog
records in WorldCat.
That's great because it saves you time running searches on both
sites, and gives you more options for accessing genealogical
For example, on WorldCat, I searched for the subject Ohio
genealogy. My search results included the book Ohio Valley
genealogies: relating chiefly to families in Harrison, Belmont and
Jefferson Counties, Ohio, and Washington, Westmoreland, and
Fayette Counties, Pennsylvania.
The FHL (highlighted) was among the holding libraries, as were several local FamilySearch Center libraries. They were near the end of my list, which was ordered by distance from my location.
The listings showed that the FHL held the printed version plus "1
other formats." Clicking on that bit of information brought up a
popup window stating that other format is microform, which I could
borrow through a FamilySearch Center near me (printed books don't
circulate out of the FHL).
When I clicked the Family History Library link, I ended up on the
FamilySearch catalog page for this book, except it was the old
version of the catalog. The catalog links to digital versions
of the material if they exist on the FamilySearch.org website.
When a match to your FamilySearch Catalog search is also in the
WorldCat catalog, the FamilySearch listing will have a link to the
catalog listing at WorldCat (highlighted below).
This could help you get your hands on the item if WorldCat tells you
that a library closer to you has it, or if it's a printed book you
can't get without visiting the FHL.
FamilySearch | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 1:20:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Ways to Make Evernote Even Better for Genealogy
Posted by Diane
The free Evernote, which scores of genealogists have started using
to organize their family history research and iron out their workflow, is usually
described as an "online note-taking and web-clipping program you can
access from any device."
That's true, but it's not the whole picture. In our Making
Evernote Effortless webinar on March 20, Lisa Louise Cooke will
describe some of the lesser-known ways you can up your
In my quest to demonstrate there's a lot more to Evernote, I went
looking for often-overlooked features a genealogist might
find helpful. Here's just a handful:
attached documents with Evernote’s optical character
recognition capability, which converts images of printed
documents into searchable text.
Lisa Louise Cooke is an expert on using Evernote
for genealogy. In the Making
Evernote Effortless Webinar, she'll share lesser-known
Evernote tricks and her favorite work-with-Evernote apps for organizing her genealogy research
and streamlining her workflow. You
can learn more about the webinar and sign up here.
- Use apps that work with Evernote to: draw notes on photos (Skitch), connect your
Evernote and Gmail accounts (Powerbot for Gmail),
connect your Evernote and Feedly
easily clip web pages on your iPhone or iPad (Everclip), start typing a
note on your iPhone or iPad whenever the mood strikes and then
send it to Evernote or another service (Drafts), and more. (I haven't tried all these apps, but I wanted to let you
know they're out there.)
Genealogy Apps | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 11:30:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 28, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 24-28
Posted by Diane
The free family tree website WikiTree
has teamed up with author A.J.
Jacobs to find cousin connections for the Global Family
Reunion, to be held June 6, 2015, in Queens, NY. The "megareunion"
will be the subject of Jacobs' next book as well as a documentary.
It's open to the public, and attendees with a proven relationship to
Jacobs get a bracelet and will be in a photo. To learn more
about the reunion, go here. To find out more about helping
WikiTree research those relationships, register for WikiTree, and then
Fficiency Software has announced a
new search technology called Family Relationship Searching,
available through its MyTrees.com
subscription family tree website. The company says the technology
will help you quickly find an ancestor in the site's database
without wading through so many false matches. To search, you enter
information about your ancestor and his or her person's family
members. You also can specify exact or phonetically similar
spelling. Visit MyTrees.com here.
Civil War | Family Reunions | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Friday, February 28, 2014 2:39:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
How to Connect With Genealogists on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube
Posted by Diane
I'm old enough to remember Web 1.0, when you could view online content, and that was about it.
Wow, have things changed.
Now, we learn about genealogy not only from those with the
wherewithal to create and maintain a website, but also from each other, through
social media. Friending and following your fellow genealogists can
lead you to new genealogy resources, strategies, stories and
Plus, it feels good to participate in a community of people as
passionate about something as you are.
Yesterday we announced our roundup of 40 genealogy Social Media Mavericks to follow on blogs, Facebook, Twitter,
Pinterest and YouTube. You can see the roundup in the March/April
2014 Family Tree Magazine article by Lisa Louise Cooke of
Genealogy Gems, and on
These mavericks are great "curators" of online
genealogy information. They share news and research advice, provide
inspiration, ask thought-provoking questions, and offer insight
into historical records and photos. I'm glad they're around to help
us manage the intimidating amount of online family history
Of course, there are a lot of other influential social media
channels. If you're new to social media, or you're just beginning to
add it to your genealogy bag of tricks, Lisa suggests using these
Social Media Mavericks as a starting point. Then branch out to
individuals and groups that meet your research needs.
For example, on Facebook,
I've joined groups and liked pages related to places my ancestors
lived and the orphanage where my grandfather grew up.
Here are ways to connect with researchers on Facebook, Pinterest,
blogs, YouTube and Twitter:
- Once you sign up for Facebook,
in the "Search for people, places and things" box at the top,
type a term such as German genealogy. Don't hit Enter.
You can choose from the options that automatically appear, or
click See more results at the bottom of the list to see more
groups (open or closed, meaning you must request to join),
pages, people, events and apps related to your search terms.
- On Pinterest, try entering
genealogy into the search box at the top left. You'll see
pins related to your search. Click the Boards tab to see other
Pinners' boards with genealogy in the title, or click Pinners to
see pinners with genealogy in their name. If you've registered
for Pinterest, you can repin a pin or follow a board or pinner.
Otherwise, click on a pin to link to the source blog or website
(although not all pins link to more information). (Here's
our guide to using Pinterest for genealogy.)
- To find blogs about ethnicities or places of
interest to you, use the GeneaBloggers search
or run a web search on a topic and genealogy blog.
- YouTube lets you search for
videos using the search box at the top of the page. Once you
find a video you like, you can click the red Subscribe button
(if you're a YouTube member) to make it easy to find that
- On Twitter, you can use the
search box at the top to find Twitterers to follow (similar to
Facebook). Use a hashtag (#) to search for posts tagged with a
particular topic. For example, search for #rootstech to find
posts about the RootsTech genealogy conference.
- Finally, ask your genealogy friends (on Facebook and in real life) who they follow and friend. If your friends find it helpful, there's a good chance you will, too.
Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips | Social Networking
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 3:24:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
11 Things I'm Looking Forward to in the Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane
2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference starts this Friday, Feb. 28,
and goes through Sunday. Now's the time to register if you haven't
In no particular order, here are 11 things I'm looking
forward to about this weekend:
- Watching 16 genealogy video classes on the laptop when it's convenient,
which for me means during naptime (my kids', not mine) or after
bedtime. Or downloading classes to watch later.
They cover ethnic research, records (including land, tax and
occupational records), strategies, online genealogy and more.
- Sneaking downstairs to go to live
chats with genealogy experts. Six are scheduled on topics
from translation tools to forensic genealogy, and I'll be able
to download transcripts for any I miss.
- The Find Your German Town of Origin class with James
M. Beidler: I've found
hometowns for some of my German ancestors, but a bunch
more still have "Germany" or "Prussia" as a birthplace. I'm
hoping to learn new strategies from the author of The
Family Tree German Genealogy Guide.
- The conference Message Boards, where people share
surnames, ancestor stories, research questions, favorite
websites and resources, family recipes and embarassing library
- The Female Ancestors and the Law chat with Judy G.
Russell of the
Legal Genealogist blog: Half of me wants to learn about
the legal hooey my female ancestors put up with, and the other
half doesn't want to know. But I'll go with the first
half, because those laws determined what kinds of records were
created about women.
- Rick Crume's No Index? No Problem: Tricks for Browsing
FamilySearch.org Records class: I'm eager to get my paws
on the records FamilySearch puts online even before you can
search them by name. Browsing these unindexed records is
time-consuming (I'm looking at you, Ohio,
Hamilton County Records, 1791-1994), so I need these tricks.
- The Mobile Genealogy Apps and Hacks chat with Kerry
Scott: Kerry is a riot (check out her Clue Wagon blog), so this
will be informative and fun.
- The Pain-Free Family History Writing Projects
class with Family Tree Magazine contributing editor
Sunny Jane Morton: Gathering my family history research into a
book is a long-term goal, and I'd love to learn about
small steps that can get me on the path.
- The Brick Wall Busters: Solve Your Stumpers chat with
Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Lisa A. Alzo:
It's a chance to ask questions and get input from Lisa and others in the group. There are always pretty smart cookies at the Virtual Conference, and someone might have dealt with a similar problem to yours.
- Not packing a bag, getting on a plane, having sore feet at the
end of the day, or missing my family.
- Doing all of the above wearing my sweats.
the link to the Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference program—just
click the blue Register button on that page to sign up.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | German roots | Social History
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:47:37 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, February 21, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 17-21
Posted by Diane
- The College of Charleston has launched the Lowcountry Digital History
Initiative to share exhibits that "highlight underrepresented
race, class, gender, and labor histories within and connected to the
Lowcountry region." Current exhibits feature photos and historical
documents related to slavery and the struggle for civil rights. This
map, for example, shows the plan
of the Airyhall rice and cotton plantation in 1849.
The new family history mapping website Place My Past has made some
updates, including a Gallery page of maps and datasets you can layer
over your family tree. Recently added datasets include US
cemeteries, churches and other genealogical points of interest from
the US Geographic Names Information System. You can browse the main
map on Place My Past for free; subscribers ($48 per
year) can upload their family trees to be plotted onto a map, add
notes, and overlay it with maps and visualizations of data from the
Place My Past Gallery.
Findmypast's Australian genealogy subscription site, findmypast.com.au,
has added more than 640,000 convict records. It's an especially
handy database for Australians, as about 20 percent of them
(according to findmypast) are estimated to have convict ancestry.
The new records include more than 515,000 New South Wales and
Tasmania: Settlers and Convicts 1787-1859 documents, and 125,000
Convict Transportation Registers. Read
more about the collection on findmypast.com.au.
- FamilySearch.org has added
close to 4.2 million indexed records and images to collections from
Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic,
France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, United
Kingdom and the United States. UK additions include WWI Women's
Auziliary Corps Records (1917-1920), which aren't yet indexed, so
you'll need to browse them. From the United States, notable
additions include 1850 census slave schedules (browse only) and
records form the Panama Canal Zone (1905-1937, also browse only). Click here to see a list
and access each updated collection.
African-American roots | FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | International Genealogy
Friday, February 21, 2014 11:24:17 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Who Do You Think You Are? Live Genealogy Event Starts Today in London
Posted by Diane
The eyes of the genealogy world turn this week from Salt Lake City,
which recently hosted FamilySearch's RootsTech
conference, to London, where the Who Do You Think You
Are? Live event is going on today through Saturday.
This vibrant event, an outgrowth of the popular British "Who Do
You Think You Are?" television series, is expected to attract
10,000 to 15,000 visitors.
In addition to familiar genealogy
companies such as Ancestry.co.uk,
Family Tree DNA, findmypast and MyHeritage, organizations
with "stands" in the exhibit hall include other genealogy
websites, libraries, museums, family history societies, publishers,
heritage travel planners, archival suppliers and others.
Educational opportunities include Society of Genealogists workshops
and a special section in the exhibit hall; workshops on
Ancestry.co.uk, DNA research, MyHeritage, and how to do genealogy;
consultations with heirloom and photo experts; and a "Military
Checkpoint" in the exhibit hall for help with military research. World War I should be a hot topic in the military arena, due to its
upcoming centennial. The Great War began July 28, 1914 (the
United States joined April 6, 1917).
the Celebrity Theater, visitors also have the opportunity to meet
guests from the "Who Do You Think You Are?" BBC show.
We'll keep an eye on developments from the show and pass them on.
Researching ancestors in England, Scotland or Wales? Get expert British genealogy help in our UK Genealogy Value Pack.
Genealogy Events | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:57:20 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
MyHeritage and BillionGraves Launch Global Gravestone Recording Initiative
Posted by Diane
Genealogy website MyHeritage
and cemetery recording site BillionGraves
are collaborating to launch a crowdsourcing initiative to preserve
information from cemeteries around the world.
BillionGraves offers an app for iOS and Android that cemetery
visitors can use to upload gravestone photos and their GPS
coordinates to the web. Volunteers can then transcribe the images on
the BillionGraves website, making them searchable.
MyHeritage is helping to make the app available in 25 languages and
support Gregorian, Julian and Hebrew dates.
Over the coming weeks, MyHeritage users will receive information
about how to download the app and participate in this initiative. You
can read more about it and see what the app looks like on the
Update: The partners have opened up the website where you can register and get started recording graves.
Researchers will be able to search the gravestone information free
on BillionGraves.com (where volunteers have already uploaded
millions of gravestone records) and on MyHeritage. Anyone with a
MyHeritage family tree will receive free Record Matches to the data.
Cemeteries | MyHeritage
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:32:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Genealogy Problem Solving: 6 Strategies That Helped Me
Posted by Diane
Our Feb. 27 webinar Genealogy
Problem Solving: Creative Ideas for Overcoming Research
Challenges got me thinking about the strategies that have
helped me solve problems in my family history research. I looked
back on some old posts and came up with these six before I
realized what time it was:
1. Tracing family and friends, aka “cluster genealogy.”
This approach helped me discover my third-great-grandmother Mary
Frost’s maiden name, which wasn’t legible in her divorce case
can read about it in this blog post.
2. Looking for alternate sources of missing information. Six
or seven years ago, my request for records of my
great-grandfather’s 1913 bootlegging trial in Texarkana,
Texas, came back with a “found nothing” note. Not long after, at the Family History Library in Salt
Lake City, I
scrolled and scrolled through microfilmed Bowie County,
Texas, court records. Like the county clerk, I came up empty.
But while attending a
genealogy conference in Little Rock, Ark., in 2009,
at the chance to use microfilmed Texarkana newspapers
(Texarkana straddles the Texas/Arkansas border). They didn't
provide the level of juicy detail I’d hoped for, but several
articles had updates on the trial.
3. Using multiple sources for the same data. Using the Ellis Island passenger search,
Stephen P. Morse’s One-Step
search form for the Ellis Island site, and passenger
records on Ancestry.com eventually led
me to my Haddad great-grandparents in passenger list records
of ships arriving in New York.
4. Formulating a theory. When I found two
mystery men in a family cemetery plot, I looked at what I knew
about them and then came up with a theory about their identities.
From there, I could come up with steps to see if my theory was
you can read about here.
5. Researching a potential relative forward in time. I do this often when I'm
not sure whether a record I find is really my ancestor. For
example, I've found online trees with my great-great-grandmother
in a different family. I understand how it happened: She was born
just after the 1880 census and her
1890 census listing is, of course, toast. A similarly named
person lived in Indiana in the 1900 census.
What if I was the one with the wrong lady? I
researched the other person forward, and she ended up in northern
Indiana—so she couldn’t be my great-great-grandmother in
Covington, Ky. (I later found my ancestor in 1900, listed under a
nickname as a servant for an unrelated family.)
6. Keeping on keepin’ on. Continuing to research an
ancestor—not necessarily focusing just on my problem or
question—has probably been the most helpful strategy. It
also requires the most time and patience.
As an example: It was after I found my great-grandfather Mike
Haddad’s passenger list that I requested
his alien registration record (AR-2), which gave his first
name as Fablo. Later, I found a son's marriage record, which
gave his father's name as Fadlow. A few years ago, I ordered
of the baptismal register listing my grandfather. The register named his father as “Daddlod.”
Had I found these records before beginning my ship's list
search years ago, I would’ve looked harder at the passenger named
Fadlo Hadad—who turned out to be my ancestor.
But as it was, not realizing my great-grandfather Mike had
used that name, it took me several more years to identify him
in passenger lists.
What genealogy research strategies have you used to solve
questions? In our Genealogy
Problem Solving webinar, taking place Feb. 27 at 7p.m. ET, Gena
Philibert Ortega will share creative techniques she and
other professional genealogists use to overcome difficult
problems. Anyone who registers will receive access to download the
webinar for future viewing, as well as a PDF of the presentation slides.
Click here for more details on Genealogy
Problem Solving: Creative Ideas for Overcoming Research
Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 2:37:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)