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<2014 March>

More Links

# Wednesday, 12 March 2014
MyHeritage Employees Digitize a Cemetery to Kick Off Global Initiative
Posted by Diane

To kick off its global initiative to digitize cemeteries, a partnership with the BillionGraves website and app, MyHeritage mobilized 80 employees at its headquarters in Israel to photograph an entire cemetery's worth of gravestones—51,754 images in all.

The employees used the BillionGraves app to digitize and upload stones in Sgula Cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel. It's one of the country's oldest cemeteries, established in 1888.

The images of the stones, inscribed in Hebrew, are available for transcription on

You can read more about this project and see photos on the MyHeritage blog.

Cemeteries | MyHeritage
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:20:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
US National Archives to Close Three Facilities
Posted by Diane

The US National Archives and Records Administration will close three facilities over the next two years as part of ongoing budget adjustments, according to a statement by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero.

The three closures are:
All employees at the affected facilities will have the option to continue working with the National Archives, with relocation expenses paid for workers at the Anchorage location.

These moves will save the archives about $1.3 million annually.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:57:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 07 March 2014
Genealogy News Corral, March 3-7
Posted by Diane

  • Family Curator Denise Levenick has opened the application process for the 2014 Susan Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant. The $500 award is given in honor of Levenick's mother to a student genealogist between the ages of 18 and 25. The recipient will also recieve a complimentary registration to the 2014 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, Calif., and must attend to receive the reward. The application deadline is March 31 at midnight; learn more and download application forms here.
  • The National Genealogical Society will live stream 10 lectures from the 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Va. You can purchase "admission" to the lectures, grouped in two tracks of five each, which includes viewing of the live streamed event plus three months of access to watch the recorded sessions again. Learn more on the conference website.
  • The Library of Michigan will add "Second Saturdays" to its regular scheduled open hours during the week. Beginning April 12, the library will be open the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library also is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See more information in the library's announcement.
  • The National Archives building in Washington, DC, will feature a new exhibit, "Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures," March 21 through Jan. 5 of next year. It will feature original signatures from documents at the archives, and the stories behind them. You can take a peek at the exhibit on the National Archives Museum website.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Libraries and Archives | NARA
Friday, 07 March 2014 12:40:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Sliding Around: Rolls Out New Sliders to Edit Search Results
Posted by Diane

Genealogists are starting to see's the new "slider" feature on its search results pages, which the company is rolling out to members as a way to quickly broaden or narrow search results.

I ran a search as normal for my great-great-grandfather Henrich Seeger, who was born in 1852 in Germany, and lived in Cincinnati. Here's what the sliders on my search results page looked like:

Once you've been upgraded, you'll see up to four types of sliders in your search results:
  • First and last names of the person being searched 
  • Birth and death dates and places
  • One "Any Event" fact (such as Lived in, Marriage or Military)
  • One residence location
If you don't enter one of these terms, such as a birth, you won't see a slider for that term.

Dragging the sliders adjusts the filters applied to your search terms. The further right you drag each filter, the narrower your search. In the rightmost position, the slider sets the associated search term to Exact.

As you drag the slider, a little pop-up window tells you how narrow that search term is. For example, when I dragged the Birth date slider two spots to the right, a window popped up to tell me the filter was set at +/-5 years (which would find records with birth dates between 1847 and 1857). Had I gone all the way right, the popup would say "Exact."

Then you would click Update to apply the new filter.

You also can click the Edit Search link to bring up the Advanced Search screen (I cropped it in this screenshot), so you can adjust your filters manually:

The advantage of using the sliders is that it's supposedly faster and easier—you don't have to take the step of opening the Edit Search screen to adjust filters. I also see how the visual the sliders provide could help users understand how filters narrow or broaden a search.

I'll probably still use the Edit Search window over the sliders. It's just as fast and easy for me, and I like to see all the search options laid out. For me, the sliders aren't a big improvement, they're just another way of doing things, although I do think they visually clutter the screen.

On the other hand, I showed this new feature to my husband, who doesn't ordinarily use but does appreciate the pursuit of genealogy, and he thinks the sliders are cool.

You can read's post about the sliders here.

This update is being coupled with limiting access to the "Old Search" experience, which announced last June would happen. I'm seeing a fair amount of upset among Old Search fans on social media, for example, in this post from the West in New England blog. says it is enhancing the "Category Exact" mode, which is intended to simulate the Old Search experience. See instructions for using Category Exact to simulate Old Search in's Help Center.

Get help working with these changes and finding your ancestors on in Family Tree University's How to Maximize One-Week Workshop, starting March 21. Learn more about it here.
Friday, 07 March 2014 10:00:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 05 March 2014 Releases Find A Grave Mobile App for iOS
Posted by Diane 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'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— 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. | Cemeteries | Genealogy Apps
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 13:47:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
FamilySearch, WorldCat Partnership Helps Genealogy Researchers
Posted by Diane

We blogged 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. 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 information.

Searching WorldCat
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 website.

Searching FamilySearch
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, 05 March 2014 13:20:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
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 Evernote efficiency.

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:
  • Search attached documents with Evernote’s optical character recognition capability, which converts images of printed documents into searchable text.
  • Link notes to keep related information together.
  • 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 accounts (IFFFT), 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.)
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.

Genealogy Apps | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:30:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 28 February 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 go here.
  • Fficiency Software has announced a new search technology called Family Relationship Searching, available through its 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 here.

Civil War | Family Reunions | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Friday, 28 February 2014 14:39:26 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 26 February 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 inspiration.

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 information!

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 blogroll, 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 channel again.
  • 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, 26 February 2014 15:24:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 25 February 2014
11 Things I'm Looking Forward to in the Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Our Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference starts this Friday, Feb. 28, and goes through Sunday. Now's the time to register if you haven't already!

In no particular order, here are 11 things I'm looking forward to about this weekend:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The conference Message Boards, where people share surnames, ancestor stories, research questions, favorite websites and resources, family recipes and embarassing library stories.

  5. 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.

  6. Rick Crume's No Index? No Problem: Tricks for Browsing 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 

  10. Not packing a bag, getting on a plane, having sore feet at the end of the day, or missing my family.

  11. Doing all of the above wearing my sweats.

Here's 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, 25 February 2014 15:47:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]