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<2014 May>

More Links

# Wednesday, 21 May 2014
FamilySearch Centers Add Free Scanning for Your Old Photos and Documents
Posted by Diane

If you have bunches of old photos and records you've been meaning to scan, here's a new option for getting 'er done: FamilySearch has added a free photo and document scanning and preservation service in more than 2,800 of its FamilySearch Centers in North America. (The service is in the works for international centers.)

The scanning equipment, called "multifunction products" (MPFs) is available through a partnership with Lexmark. The MPFs have software that scans your family history materials directly to your account on There, you can tag and share the images, and attach them to people in your FamilySearch family tree.

You also can opt to save your images to a flash drive to take home with you.

To use the service, just bring your photos and documents to your local FamilySearch Center (I would call first to double-check the center's hours and make sure the equipment will be available there for your use).

Use the FamilySearch Center Locator to find the closest location to you.

You can see what the scanners look like in the FamilySearch announcement. From what I can tell, they're flatbed-style scanners, in which you set the photo or document face-down on glass and lower the lid on top. That makes the service best for paper prints. It's usually safer to digitally preserve fragile items, old albums and cased images (such as daguerreotypes) by photographing them. (Here are tips for using your camera to "scan" photos and records.)

FamilySearch | Photos | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:40:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Free Military Genealogy Records on MyHeritage This Memorial Day Weekend 2014
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website MyHeritage is offering free access to US military old records over Memorial Day weekend. You can search and view the collection free from May 23 through May 26, 2014.

To see a list of the military collections on MyHeritage, go to this page and look under the headings for Draft, Enlistment & Service; Pension Records and Military Documents. Click on the "More" links for each category. Some of the collections are:
  • Korean War casualties list
  • WWII Army enlistment database
  • WWII draft registration cards from various states
  • index to service records of Civil War Confederate Soldiers
  • War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederation Armies (the "OR")
  • index to Revolutionary War pension records
  • Official US Army Register for various years
  • Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and Reserve Officers on Active Duty for various dates
Click here to search MyHeritage military genealogy records (remember, the free period is May 23-May 28).

Get in-depth search help for genealogy records in our Web Guide digital download, available now in

Also, here's our post from last year about the origins of Memorial Day and the nationwide minute of silence and remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.

Free Databases | Military records | MyHeritage
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 10:58:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 16 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: May 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • The genealogy series "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.," which traced the ancestry of well-known Americans using DNA combined with traditional research, will return to PBS on Tuesday, Sept. 23, according to PBS' recently released fall lineup.
The lineup doesn't mention "Genealogy Roadshow," the 2013 series that researched genealogy claims in the families of non-famous folks. It's looking like the US version of this series isn't coming back. (Ireland's version will return.)
  • The Civil War Trust has released a new Battle App, this one for the Atlanta Campaign, which began 150 years ago between the forces of Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Available for iOS and Android, the App takes users on a virtual tour with videos, maps, photos and more. You can download the Atlanta Campaign and other Battle Apps using the links on the Civil War Trust website.
  • British and Irish genealogy website now has a new, full index plus digitized images for the 1881 census of England and Wales, covering all counties. The records are available with a subscription to

Celebrity Roots | Civil War | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy TV | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 16 May 2014 10:38:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free WWII Records on Fold3 Through May 31
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site Fold3 is opening up its WWII military records collection free through May 31, in honor of Memorial Day. You'll need to set up a free membership with the site to view the records.

Highlights of these records include:
  • draft registration cards
  • Army enlistment records
  • Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File
  • Navy muster rolls
  • missing air crew reports
  • casualty lists
  • photos
(WWII service records, available from the National Archives only to veterans and their next of kin for privacy reasons, aren't online.)

My grandfather and his brother served in WWII, and their Army enlistment records (taken from the National Archives' database) are on Fold3, with basic facts about them at the time of enlistment: birth year, marital status, education level, occupation category, enlistment date and place, and Army serial number.

I'll show you another relative's record—the "Old Man's Draft" card for my great-grandmother's brother (this is the front of the two-sided card):

The Old Man's Draft was the fourth registration for World War II, for men born between April 28, 1877 and Feb. 16, 1897. It's worth searching Fold3's WWII collection for relatives born during those years, even if you know they didn't serve. 

Search Fold3's WWII collection here. Learn more about this free records offer on the Fold3 blog.

You'll find search strategies and tips for Fold3 military, naturalization, city directory and other records in Family Tree Magazine's Fold3 Web Guide download, available at

Fold3 | Free Databases | Military records
Friday, 16 May 2014 09:50:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# 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]