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Wednesday, March 12, 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 BillionGraves.com.
You can read
more about this project and see photos on the MyHeritage blog.
Cemeteries | MyHeritage
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:20:47 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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, March 12, 2014 8:57:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, March 07, 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
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, March 07, 2014 12:40:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Sliding Around: Ancestry.com Rolls Out New Sliders to Edit Search Results
Posted by Diane
Genealogists are starting to see Ancestry.com'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:
If you don't enter one of these terms, such as a birth, you won't
see a slider for that term.
- 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
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 Ancestry.com but does appreciate the pursuit
of genealogy, and he thinks the sliders are cool.
can read Ancestry.com's post about the sliders here.
This update is being coupled with limiting access to the "Old
Search" experience, which Ancestry.com
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.
Ancestry.com 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
Ancestry.com's Help Center.
Get help working with these changes and finding your ancestors on Ancestry.com in Family Tree University's How to Maximize Ancestry.com One-Week Workshop, starting March 21. Learn more about it here.
Friday, March 07, 2014 10:00:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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)