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<2014 May>

More Links

# Thursday, 15 May 2014
Websites and Organizations for Italian Genealogy Research
Posted by Diane

David Rumsey Map Collection

From 1880 to 1920, more than 4 million Italians immigrated to the United States (often, traveling back and forth a few times first), where they tended to live alongside other Italians in urban areas. Today more than 17 million Americans can claim Italian ancestry.

Among exciting new resources for Italian genealogy are 137 collections of civil registration, church and other records at the free  Most aren't indexed, so to find an ancestor's records, you'd need to know the comune (the basic administrative division, similar to a municipality) and frazione or contrada (similar to a neighborhood) where he or she lived. An ongoing Italian Ancestors Project is organizing volunteers to index these records.

Family Tree University's new Italian Genealogy 101 four-week online course, starting May 19, will help you use American records to figure out where in Italy your ancestors came from, then delve into Italian genealogical records. has an Italian sister site,, but it also has collections of Italian records available with a subscription to the US site. Some of these will duplicate what's on, after an international records-sharing agreement last September.

Many other websites and organizations that aren't quite as well-known also have resources for tracing Italian roots, including In Italian Genealogy 101, you'll learn about all these and other resources for researching your Italian ancestors, including how to access and understand Italian records, and how to deal with common brick walls in Italian family trees.

Italian Genealogy 101 starts May 19 and runs through June 13. You'll find a course outline and a link to register at | Family Tree University | FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Italian roots
Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:00:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Citing Genealogy Sources for Regular People
Posted by Diane

Source citation is something of a hot button in genealogy. It's easy to become petrified you won't do it right, or to imagine that citing sources will take up all your precious research time.

That's why I love the idea of our Source Citations for Regular People webinar with Shannon Combs-Bennett, coming up this Tuesday, May 20. It's perfect for you if ...
  • you're new to citing genealogy sources
  • you're not sure what information to put in a citation, or what order it should go in
  • you're having trouble finding appropriate citation templates to follow
  • you're not sure what to do with your source citations once you've created them
You'll learn how information you collect about a source varies with the type of source. For an 1870 census record found online, for example, your citation will contain:
  • collection name
  • county and state
  • type of schedule (such as population or mortality)
  • town or city
  • page number
  • dwelling and family number
  • name of the person or household
  • whether you looked at an index or record images
  • website name and URL
  • date you accessed the site
  • source of the websites images (such as a National Archives microfilm number).
Here are a few more tips from the webinar to remember when collecting and organizing your source information:
  • Document the source of the source. If you use a record from that was digitized from FamilySearch’s microfilm copy of the original, your source citation will include each of these “steps” in the publication process. In this case, the information about the record on would be followed by the word citing and then the information about the FamilySearch microfilm. There's a good post about this on the Genea-Musings blog.
  • Note whether you’re using an index or an actual record. Source citations for information from an online index generally indicate this by including the word database. Citations for record images found in online collections generally include the words digital image.
  • Census citations vary by year. Because of the differences in US censuses over time, the information in census citations varies slightly by year. For pre-1850 population schedules, cite the page number and line number. For 1850 and later, cite the page number and family or dwelling number. Also note the schedule you used (population, manufacturing, etc.).
  • Keep citations with the source. Include source citations in your online tree or genealogy software when you attach the record, and wherever you add or update a fact or event derived from that record. Most programs have a source management feature to help you create and use citations.

    Add citations in the margins or to the back of paper copies. Use a photo-editor or Acrobat to add citations to digital copies. You also can keep a database of numbered citations, and add the numbers to your family tree facts and copied records.
  • Source family stories. In family history narratives, add numbered footnotes at the bottom of the page or endnotes at the end of the text. Place the corresponding numbers within the text, where you mention information from each source. Word processing software can automatically format footnotes or endnotes and renumber the notes as you edit.
Everyone who registers for the Source Citations for Regular People webinar receives unlimited access to view the webinar again whenever they want, as well as a PDF handout of the presentation slides. Learn more about this webinar in

Research Tips
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 12:50:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 09 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: May 5-9
Posted by Diane

This week's genealogy news roundup includes a few announcements from the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond, Va.

For more detail on classes, the exhibit hall, and more, Randy Seaver is keeping an NGS 2014 Conference Blog Compendium with links to posts and videos of bloggers reporting on the conference. 
  • FamilySearch will hold an International Day of Spanish Indexing Saturday, May 17, for indexing Spanish genealogy records to be posted at the free website. Learn more here and link to a Facebook page (in Spanish) about this effort. Planning is underway for another indexing day, with a worldwide focus on indexing records in your native language, on July 20.

  • FamilySearch also announced it has added more than 5.4 million digitized images to its record collections over the past week. That includes collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the United States. See the list of updates and click through to search or browse each collection here.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 09 May 2014 13:53:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Free Mother's Day Weekend Access to Mocavo's Universal Genealogy Search
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website Mocavo is offering free access to its universal search for Mother's Day weekend. The site contains more than 340,000 databases of genealogy records.

Mocavo's records are always free when you search one database at a time. This weekend, though, you can search across all Mocavo databases at once and try out advanced search features—benefits normally reserved for Mocavo Gold members.

Note that I could view records, but I wasn't able to download them without having a Gold membership.

You'll need to sign up for a free Basic membership to take advantage of this offer.

Read more about this free access on Mother's Day weekend on the Mocavo blog.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 09 May 2014 13:50:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 08 May 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 were:
  • 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
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.

Hey—I 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.

You can read more about this survey here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Oral History | Research Tips
Thursday, 08 May 2014 13:17:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
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 their timeline.

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 conclusions.
  • 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 your research.
  • 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.
  • 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.
The Conquer 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.

It takes place online May 23-30. See the video session lineup and register here.

Family Tree University | Research Tips
Thursday, 08 May 2014 09:41:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 07 May 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.

Making MyHeritage Work For You Webinar

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
  • 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 on MyHeritage
  • how to use
Everyone who registers for the webinar will receive access to view the webinar again whenever you want, plus your own copy of the presentation slides. 

Learn more about the Making MyHeritage Work for You webinar here.

MyHeritage | Webinars
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:48:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 02 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: April 28-May 2
Posted by Diane

  • 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 records.
  • 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 conference website. | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 02 May 2014 10:30:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 01 May 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 a library.

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 sweater.
  • 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 or Tom Jones, it's a good idea to arrive early if you want to sit at all.
  • 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 particular times.

  • 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, 01 May 2014 09:51:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 30 April 2014 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  The 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 more.

About 85,000 Quakers live in the United States today, according to the 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.

Family 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 meetings. 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.

Search's Quaker Collection here. | Church records
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 14:56:28 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]