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Thursday, May 08, 2014
We DO Want Mom's Advice—And Her Family History!
Posted by Diane
According to a new survey, nearly two-thirds of adults want to know
more about their family history.
The survey about moms, commissioned by A Place for Mom, asked
adults about topics they'd like to know more about. The top four
It makes me sad that more than a quarter of the adults surveyed said
they don't, or didn't, know their moms as well as they'd like.
- family history (64 percent of the folks surveyed said this)
- Mom's personal history, such as her childhood memories and how she
met Dad (59 percent)
- family medical history (45 percent)
- Mom's life advice (42 percent), a statistic I'll definitely
remember. I'd hate for my children to one day wish for
all the words of wisdom I withheld as unsolicited
know where these survey respondents can find a great
magazine to help them learn more about their family history
and their moms.
When you see your mom this Mother's Day, ask her about her family
history and her life. Here are
some good oral history interviewing questions to start with.
If your mom is no longer with you, write about these topics for your
own children, or for other young people in your family.
can read more about this survey here.
Happy Mother's Day!
Oral History | Research Tips
Thursday, May 08, 2014 1:17:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Six Classic Genealogy Brick Wall-Busting Tips
Posted by Diane
You probably have at least one unanswered genealogy question, an
ancestor who's really difficult to trace, or a family with gaps in
These classic brick wall-busting tips come from our upcoming Conquer
Your Research Challenges: Solutions and Advice to Overcome Your
Genealogy Problems one-week workshop:
- Go over what you've found. Reviewing and organizing
your records is a way to spot new clues. Also consider whether
one of your sources could contain wrong information, or even
whether you have a record for a same-named person who isn't
actually your relative.
- Write it up. Many genealogists abstract
information from their records and/or write up research reports
to help themselves process the information and draw
- Create a timeline. Using your records to create a
detailed timeline for the problem ancestor can help
you sort out a confusing jumble of events and zero in on gaps in
- Follow the people in your ancestor's life. The
records of your ancestor's siblings, other relatives, friends, neighbors and
coworkers might name your family.
Your Research Challenges one-week workshop includes eight 30-
to 60-minute video courses (which you can download to watch again
and again) to show you strategies for tackling brick wall problems.
You'll also get expert advice on your research problems via our
exclusive workshop message board, networking with other researchers,
and our 101 Brick Wall Busters ebook.
- Explore social history. Learning about the lives of
other people who were like your ancestor (maybe they immigrated from
the same place or lived in the same neighborhood)
can help you form theories about your ancestor's life. You'll
also learn how local events may have affected your ancestor.
It takes place online May 23-30. See
the video session lineup and register here.
Family Tree University | Research Tips
Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:41:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
New Genealogy Webinar: Making MyHeritage Work for You
Posted by Diane
Much earlier than the Elvis came along in Tupelo, Miss., in
1935, a baby girl named Elvis was born in 1817 in England.
With the recent announcement from MyHeritage that the website now
includes 5 billion historical records, folks there had fun searching
the site for famous names—including James Bond, Elizabeth
Taylor and others—in the site's birth, marriage, death, immigration,
military and other collections. Fun
facts they found are in an
infographic on the MyHeritage blog.
MyHeritage, which also owns the World Vital Records and Geni
websites, has quickly become a formidable family history resource.
So quickly that many genealogists aren't familiar with the research
potential in the site's record collections, Super Search search engine,
Record Matching tools, and family trees.
You can find out how to discover your ancestors with MyHeritage and
its sister sites in our Making
MyHeritage Work for You webinar with Gena
Philibert-Ortega. It's happening Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m. ET (6
p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT). The webinar includes
Everyone who registers for the webinar will receive access to view
the webinar again whenever you want, plus your own copy of the
- a tour of the MyHeritage and World Vital Records historical
record collections, photographs and family trees
- how to use the Super Search and Record Detective features
- how to use the site's tools to connect with cousins
- how to create a family website, chart, timeline and calendar
- how to use Geni.com
more about the Making MyHeritage Work for You webinar here.
MyHeritage | Webinars
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 2:48:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, May 02, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: April 28-May 2
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.co.uk has added The Collection which details the
crimes of thousands of boys admitted to three institutions for
children in West Yorkshire, England. The records, which date between
1779 and 1914, also contain information on nearly 400,000 adult
offenders. You can find them in separate collections of reformatory
school records, prison
records and police
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is seeking genealogy
bloggers, societies, writers and editors to be ambassadors for its
2014 conference, happening Aug. 27-30 in San Antonio, Texas. You can
see the requirements and benefits, and register, on the FGS
Ancestry.com | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 02, 2014 10:30:21 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, May 01, 2014
What to Bring When You Hit the Road for Genealogy
Posted by Diane
This time of year marks the start of genealogy road trip trip
season, whether it's to a conference—the National Genealogical
Society annual conference is in Richmond, Va., May 7-10—or to
As you plan this year's genealogy travels, here are things I've
found useful to bring (or not bring) when attending conferences and
going to libraries over the years:
Extra layer. No telling whether a conference classroom or
library will be sweltering or over-air-conditioned, so bring a
- Early-bird mindset. If you want to sit somewhere in particular for a
class, arrive early to secure your spot. For some speakers, such as
Elizabeth Shown Mills
Jones, it's a good idea to arrive early if you want to sit at
- Extra bag. "I wish I had another bag" is a common comment by genealogists who pick up freebies and make purchases from
Family Tree Magazine at conferences. Carry an extra tote bag around with you for purchases,
handouts, syllabi, etc.
- Small comforts. Other things you might wish you had include hand
sanitizer, tissues, a bottle of water (concessions can be pricey),
address labels (for entering prizes at a conference), Dramamine (to
help with microfilm reader motion sickness), your headache remedy of choice,
gum (for a conference; it's usually a no-no in libraries), and more-comfortable shoes.
- Drink and a snack. I rarely want to stop my research to go get
lunch, and sometimes there's no place to get lunch even if I want a break. You can leave water and a granola bar in the car for consumption
outside, if there's no snack room.
- Only what's allowed. Visit a repository website ahead of time for
info on what you can bring inside, whether you can use a cell phone
or digital camera to photograph records, and how you'll make copies (such
as on a photocopier or scanner). Also double-check hours, any
special closures, and whether materials are pulled from storage at
- As little as possible. It doesn't always work, but I try to carry around
only the "stuff" I really need at the library, so I'll have less to keep an eye on and
can minimize fumbling around. Usually I have:
- my phone to access my tree, attached records and research log
(I download any important documents to my phone in case I can't
get a signal at my destination).
- a little purse with my phone, a flash drive for digital
copies, bills and change for copiers or copy cards
- a pen or pencil and a notebook with my prioritized list of materials I need to
find, with pertinent notes about the people I'm looking for
- depending where I'm going, maybe a tablet in a computer bag, but I do tend to be more of a paper-and-pen note taker
Knowledge from the locals. If you're going to a repository, cemetery
or conference that's new to you, ask local genealogists what you should know before you go.
You might get inside info on the best place to park and eat lunch, staying safe, or a librarian who's especially knowledgeable in your research area. If you don't know anyone to ask, a genealogy pal might be able to
put you in contact with a helpful person, or you could friend the local
genealogical society on Facebook.
- Back-up plans. Plan where you'll park, and where you'll park if you
can't find a spot there.
Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Thursday, May 01, 2014 9:51:13 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Ancestry.com Adds Millions of Quaker Genealogy Records
Posted by Diane
If you're researching ancestors who belonged to Religious Society of
Friends (Quakers), you'll want to know about a new collection on
Quaker Collection has birth, marriage, death, disownment and
memorial records from meeting minutes spanning more than 300 years.
The collection also includes the classic Encyclopedia of
American Quaker Genealogy by William Wade Hinshaw, college yearbooks and alumni directories, periodicals and
About 85,000 Quakers live in the United States today, according to
the Ancestry.com press release. In the 1700s, nearly half of all
residents in the Mid-Atlantic States were Quaker.
Well-known American Quakers include Pennsylvania founder William Penn, Revolutionary War Gen. Nathanael
Greene, frontiersman Daniel
Boone, abolitionist Levi Coffin, suffragist Susan B. Anthony and
social activist Jane Addams.
Tree Magazine's guide to researching Quaker ancestors,
part of our Religious Records series, explains the structure of
preparative meetings (similar to a congregation), now called a local
meeting; monthly meetings (similar to a parish), which served as
the major record-keeping unit; quarterly meetings; and yearly
Ancestry.com estimates the site now has more than 75 percent of
American Quaker records in existence, thanks to help from Earlham,
Havorford, Swarthmore and Guildford colleges, which were founded by
Quakers, and the British national archives.
Ancestry.com's Quaker Collection here.
Ancestry.com | Church records
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:56:28 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Monday, April 28, 2014
Finding My Great-Great-Grandfather's 1879 Deed Record
Posted by Diane
Don't tell anyone, but I almost did Dora the
Explorer's "We Did It!" dance at work the other day. You might
know it if you have small children or grandchildren.
You might even have done this dance if you're a genealogist who
finally found the old property record you've been looking for.
I will explain. My genealogy research
day last December included a trip to the Cincinnati History
Library & Archives to find my great-great-grandfather's
H.A. Seeger's deed for this
property in its microfilmed deed books.
From searching city directories, I knew my ancestor began living at
112 Abigail St. (the address has changed over the years) about 1880.
The librarian showed me the microfilmed deed book indexes and
explained they don't cover all the records, so if I didn't find what
I need, I should ask about finding the deed by location.
I checked indexes for several years before and after 1880. This took
awhile due to the handwriting and the number of S-surnames (loosely
alphabetized by first name). H.A. Seeger wasn't there.
Another librarian helped me with the location search. Or more
correctly, I looked on and nodded and tried to answer his questions
as best I could. We used a map to find the subdivision name and the
lot number, and scrolled through a microfilm index for this
subdivision. H.A. Seeger's name was listed with book 421 and page
623. He's fourth from the bottom in this fuzzy photo of the screen, which came in
My librarian friend handed me the microfilm covering that book and
wished me luck. Only the
record in that book on that page wasn't H.A. Seeger's. I didn't even
recognize the names. I checked adjoining pages, I checked deed
numbers instead of page numbers, I checked book 412 and on
page 632 in case some indexer transposed the numbers. Then I ran out of time.
FamilySearchorg recently updated its Hamilton
County, Ohio, collection with land and
property records. They aren't indexed yet, but I thought I'd see
what I could find.
I checked my snapshot of the index, and I didn't find deed book 421 in FamilySearch's collection. I was about to close the site
when I scrolled down to see the other records—and I came
across a mortgage book numbered 421. I clicked, typed 623
in the image number field, flipped another page (image numbers are
usually a little off from page numbers because of the cover and
other front matter), and there was H.A. Seeger's record.
(If you're researching in Hamilton County, this genealogical
society web page and the PDFs it links to are extremely
helpful in understanding the confusing numbering of property record
books. There are both a deed and a mortgage book numbered 421.)
He purchased the property May 27, 1879, from Joseph and Agnes Otten
with a loan of $200 from the Woodward Bau und Leih Verein (Building and Loan Association).
The record describes the location of the property, the building, and
the terms of H.A. Seeger's repayment. A note on Dec. 3,
1889, says he paid it off. It gives the book and page numbers
recording the plat and recording Joseph Otten's purchase in 1864, adding two items to my genealogy to-do list.
Want to do find your ancestor's land records and do a "We Did It!"
genealogy dance of your own? Get in-depth help from our online
Records 101: Using Deeds, Plats, Patents & More, with
Diana Crisman Smith. It starts May 5 and runs four weeks. See
a course outline and register at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
court records | Family Tree University | Research Tips
Monday, April 28, 2014 12:23:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, April 25, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, April 21-25
Posted by Diane
- The Ohio Historical Society
(OHS), which also serves as the state archives for my home state of
Ohio, is changing its name to the Ohio History Connection as of May
24. The society's research found that many people interpret the name
as exclusive and antiquated. Besides the state archives, OHS runs
the Ohio Memory website and 58 museums and historical sites across
the state. It's also undertaking a newspaper digitization project. Read
more about the name change here.
- FamilySearch has added more than 10.7 million images of records from
Australia, Brazil, England, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and the
United States. You can
see the list of updated collections here. Remember that if a
collection has a 0 in the "Indexed Records" column, you'll need to
browse those records instead of searching. Click on the collection
title to get to the page where you can browse or search it.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy
Friday, April 25, 2014 2:08:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
11 Family Reunion Keepsake Ideas
Posted by Diane
Family reunion season is in the summer, which means now is a good
time to think about details such as any mementos or souvenirs you'd
like to create, whether to remember the reunion or for attendees to
Here are some ideas for both types of keepsakes. Some will do
double-duty as activities to keep folks busy and talking during the
- A family tree thumbprint poster for each person to add his
or her unique mark. You would need the blank tree, colored ink
pads, and baby wipes so people can wipe off the ink. A printable
blank tree is part of our Instant
Family Reunion Deluxe Kit in ShopFamilyTree.com (it also
includes a planning checklist and book; coordinated templates
for pretty name tags, signs and other materials, a decorative
family tree you can type in and print copies, and more).
- A family cookbook, consisting of recipes handed down and
relatives' new favorites. You could have contributors send
recipes ahead of time and paste them into a Word document to
print and share, or have people bring recipe cards you can
collect, copy and share. Or go fancier and create a cookbook on
a photo book website. Most sites let you share your photo project so
others can order copies for themselves.
- A quilt made of squares contributed by each person or family.
You would need fabric markers or paint and cloth squares, and a
handy person to sew them all together later on. You could
auction off the quilt to raise money for next year's reunion
(and then the winner could bring it back to be auctioned again
for another relative to keep for the year).
If you want families to be able to take something home, you
could have them create two squares, one for the quilt and one to
keep and frame.
- A scrapbook, with pages created by each family (ask attendees
to bring their family photos). You can scan the pages later to
- An autograph album, with the signature of each reunion
- An ongoing album with photos from each reunion, which a
designated person could keep, update with new photos, and bring
back each year.
- A large group photo, like this
one or even this one.
You can have reprints made for each person, or email digital
copies (if a professional photographer takes the shot, be sure
to get his or her permission first).
- Have the children interview their grandparents and record it,
or have someone write down the questions and answers on an
interview form (part of the aforementioned Instant
Family Reunion Deluxe Kit). You can create a video or
compile the forms into a book to share.
- T-shirts with your family name and an old photo or a group
shot from a previous reunion. It might be fun to have fabric
paint or markers so people can personalize their shirts.
- A family calendar with birthdays and anniversaries marked, and
perhaps important dates in family history. You can download
calendar templates from the internet at sites such
as this one or use the ones available with your word
- Plants from Grandma's garden. You could root cuttings ahead of
time, then distribute them in small flower pots.
What reunion goodies has your family created? Click Comments
below to tell us.
Family Reunion Deluxe kit is on sale in April in
ShopFamilyTree.com. Check it out today—fewer than 50 are left.
Family Reunions | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:07:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
10 Tips for Genealogy Spring Cleaning
Posted by Diane
Sweeping, mopping, dusting ... I could do without that kind of
spring cleaning. When you already sweep the kitchen floor twice a
day (I have two toddlers and a shed-happy dog), you don't get
excited about deep-cleaning.
But genealogy spring cleaning: Now that's a different story. Looking through my research, labeling folders, filing
documents and giving files consistent names sounds like heaven.
Whether or not it sounds heavenly to you, the tips readers sent for
our Genealogy Spring Cleaning Contest will help you get—and
keep—your research organized. Here are the winning tips and some of my
other favorites (we're compiling a free download with
categorized additional tips from the contest, and we're also
planning on featuring some in a Family Tree Magazine
Our two runners-up each received our How
to Archive Family Keepsakes e-book by Denise Levenick.
- Anita Boynton, who won our grand prize, will get a free
registration to the Family Tree University Organize
Your Genealogy online course. She says: "I color coded
my four grandparents' lines, so that I can easily grab a
folder or whatever as I need it. I used red, yellow, blue and
green, so I can easily use colored pens, pencils, binders,
stickers, etc., to sort, tag and mark boxes and pages,
color-code categories in my Outlook email browser for tasks and
- Luanne Newman's tip helps her keep an ongoing timeline of
ancestral residences: "As I find dates pertinent to an
ancestor, I enter it into an Excel file. For instance, my
grandfather was a chef in Chicago and as I run across
correspondence from an employer or information on his draft
card, I'll put the employer's name and the date he was employed
there. I have a file for each relative to update when I find fun
A few other tips that resonated with me are:
- Herbert Boring has a tip for keeping track of master
copies of records and forms, "A lot of the time when I
can't find a copy of a paper, I just make more copies until I
don't know what the original is. When you make or get the first
copy of something, make a small mark on it with a yellow
highlighter. It will not show up when you make a black-and-white
copy, so you'll always know which is the original."
- I have written up a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for
my digital files. This way I am saving photos and
documents the same way and I'l be able to find them later. »
- For future generations and their organization—I am collecting
autographs from family members. I take my autograph
book with me at family get togethers, reunions, and whenever we
have a chance to visit family out of state. » Marsha Landry
- I file all documents, photos and other items in chronological
order in binders using sheet protectors. Each binder
starts with a couple's marriage and ends with their death. As
each of their children marries, a page is inserted directing
reader to a new binder starting with the marriage of that child.
» Jan Rogge
- I've scanned all of my parents' and grandparents' photos
to Flickr. It only costs
about $25 a year, and that way the photos are safe if my house
gets blown away by a tornado. I've created "sets" for each
grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. If a family member is
interested, I can send the link to the person they're inquiring
about. I have the majority of pictures labeled with who they are
and other information. » Melissa Hull
- I have a great little multi-sectioned notebook in
which I've dedicated a section for each family I am researching.
I no longer have bits of paper and post-its wandering around my
research space. It fits inside my purse so I can bring it with
me. » Sharon Sommier
- As I receive papers, I make a goal to scan them right away.
The original then enters my folder that is building up
continuously. Once that folder is full, the sorting begins.
For digital materials, I have a folder on my computer
desktop. There's nothing like a good movie to sit there
and watch while sorting through, documenting information and
putting them into their digital folders! » Sarah Stout
- I used OneNote to organize all those pieces of information
that just don't fit into the family tree—at least not yet.
I have a scribbler called Family History with tabs for each
family surname. When I find information that I'm unsure
fits, I enter it under the appropriate family tab then on
the individual's page. I make sure I put the source, so when I
want to go back to that information I know where I can find it.
You can make other scribblers, such as research logs,
genealogy general information or anything else you'd like to keep
track of. » Ellen Thompson-Jennings
And Carolyn Hoard has the honor of submitting the funniest tip. I have a feeling most genealogists can relate:
"Shut your office door when people arrive. Don't forget to migrate
stuff into your storage room. Close the door fast, before it
Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:41:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)