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<2014 June>

More Links

# Thursday, 12 June 2014
"Retirement" Tips for Ancestry Y-DNA & mtDNA, MyCanvas and Customers
Posted by Diane

By now you've probably heard's announcement about the retirement of Mundia,, Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, MyCanvas and

I haven't seen many expressions of sadness about (whose trees are duplicated in Ancestry Member Trees) and (whose forums, family sites and popular articles will remain online in read-only format). But users of the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, MyCanvas and have a lot to say.

If you're a member of one of these services, here are some tips and blog posts I've found to save your information and move it to another service.

AncestryDNA Y-DNA and mtDNA
  • You should receive an email with instructions for downloading your raw Y-DNA or mtDNA  data as a CSV file (which you an open in Excel).
  • Then you could upload to another photo service, though you may need to convert the files to JPG format first—this website has four ways to convert PDFs to JPG (click the "Four Methods" links at the top, not on the big green arrow). Of course, because the pages are images, you won't have the ability to edit them as you make new research discoveries.

  • If you want to save written text so you can update it and publish a photo book elsewhere, you can go into the edit mode for your project, copy what's inside each text box, and paste it into a Word document.
Thursday, 12 June 2014 10:54:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, 10 June 2014
How to Use Your Tablet to Make Genealogy Research Trips Easier
Posted by Diane

I have to admit, I don't use my Android tablet much except to surf the internet or read in bed (when I really should be getting to sleep).

As a minimal tablet user, I wanted to try out the video classes planned for our Maximize Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy one-week workshop, taking place online June 23-30. 

I watched "Using Your Tablet on a Research Trip" by workshop instructor and self-professed tablet-aholic Kerry Scott.

When she said that she no longer brings her laptop computer on research trips, I was hooked. Boy would I love to stop lugging that thing around at conferences, trying to use it half open on a plane when the guy in front of me reclines his seat, and getting possessive about the single electrical outlet within walking distance of wherever I am.

Kerry uses her tablet when planning a trip, while traveling, and while researching at the library or archive. Here are a few ways she does it:
  • She puts all her travel documents, confirmations and notes in Evernote and shares them with her husband.
  • Downloads reading material and music, as well as PDF versions of research guides for the place she's going
  • Makes a lookup list of records in Excel (which she likes for its sortability) and saves it to the cloud (Dropbox, in Kerry’s case; I’d keep mine in Google Drive). These are her newspaper lookups:

  • Downloads a flight-tracking app such as FlightTrack, plus the airline’s travel app (which usually lets travelers quickly rebook when flights are canceled or delayed)
  • Downloads traffic apps for states along the driving route, a restaurant-finding app, and news apps for big cities on the itinerary (you know, in case the place shuts down due to a grasshopper plague)
  • Uses Evernote's camera feature to capture record images (such as from microfilm) along with source information for easily pairing the record with its citation. Her video has a demo of how this works.
  • Uses a family tree app for quick lookups while at a repository
  • Downloads apps for libraries she's visiting (if available) for catalog searches
  • Downloads a note-taking app, which would be a biggie for me. Kerry uses a stylus to "write" notes on the tablet, like so:

The tips will work for both iPads and Android tablets—Kerry mentioned apps for both, and the course has videos for both. Now I can't wait to check out the rest of the video courses and chat about apps on the workshop message board.

Click here to see the course lineup and other features for our Maximize Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy one-week workshop

Family Tree University | Genealogy Apps | Webinars
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 15:28:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, 06 June 2014
Genealogy News Corral, June 2-6
Posted by Diane

  • British technology company brightsolid (part of DC Thomson, which owns has a new game called Family House you can play on your iPhone, iPad or Facebook. Players build and restore a "family house," moving in more family members as they explore their family history. Players even can represent these virtual family members with avatars dressed in period clothing. Download the app from the iTunes store or play it on Facebook.
  • The subscription-based digital archive of The Stars and Stripes, a newspaper published for the American community in Europe, has been updated with WWII-era editions from London (1942-1945) and Northern Ireland (1943-1945). The archive launched in 2008 with papers from 1948 to 1999. Subscriptions range from $4.95 for a one-day pass to $47.40 for one year.
  • Registration has opened for the Foundation for East European Family History Studies' 2014 conference, taking place Aug. 12-15 in Salt Lake City.  The opening reception features Eastern European hors d'oeuvres—yum!—and classes cover German, Russian, Austrian, Polish, Czech, Jewish and other Eastern European ancestry.  See a program and register at the conference website.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Military records | Newspapers
Friday, 06 June 2014 12:57:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 05 June 2014 to Retire Five Genealogy Services
Posted by Diane today announced that it will "retire" five of its services as of Sept. 5, 2014:
  •, the family website service
  • MyCanvas, the photo book publishing service
  • (though the site will remain online with some content)
  •, the worldwide family tree site
  • Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing's executive vice president of product, Eric Shoup, said yesterday in a conference call with genealogy media that ending these services will allow to focus on its core products and mission.

Subscribers and active users of each service will receive an email with details on any refunds (if applicable) and how to retrieve their content, and each site will have retirement landing pages and FAQs for customers. Here's an overview of what will happen:
  • customers can export their group data using an Export Now button that appears on the site when you're logged in. Prorated refunds will be automatically issued to owners of active sites.
  • MyCanvas customers can complete projects through Sept. 4. After then, printing orders won't be accepted and saved projects will be deleted. Kinda makes me sad, because I created my wedding photo book here. You should be able to print a project for free at home by going to My Projects, clicking Preview for a project, then clicking the Print button (if you have trouble, try selecting pages to print a couple at a time).
  • subscriptions and member accounts will end, but the site will remain online (it would be silly to give up a domain name like with the message boards and Family Tree Maker home pages in read-only format, as well as the most popular educational articles.
  • Mundia family trees also are on, where you can search them for free (you must subscribe in order to contact tree owners, which is the case with all of's member trees). Mundia tree owners can download their family trees in their native language  before Sept. 5.
  • Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are no longer being sold on (but the company will continue to sell its AncestryDNA autosomal tests, and autosomal DNA customers aren't affected). Customers who've taken Y-DNA or mitochondrial DNA tests can download their raw data by visiting the AncestryDNA website. Y-DNA and mtDNA customers' samples will be destroyed (it might become possible to upgrade samples to autosomal testing, such as for someone who is now deceased—stay tuned).

Click here to read's blog post on the discontinuation of these services
Thursday, 05 June 2014 12:06:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Using Search Wildcards on Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

Searching for ancestors online is about more than just typing a name into a database or search engine, as you probably learned after the first few dozen times your search for a problem ancestor came up empty.

For example, my third-great-grandmother Elizabeth (Teipel) Thoss mysteriously vanishes sometime between her youngest child's birth in 1894 and the 1900 census, when her husband is a widow. She's not where she should be in death records, and searches on genealogy sites net few results. When I search collections indexed with optical character recognition software, I get hundreds of hits on the word "those."

There are a bunch of variants for Elizabeth's maiden and married names, too. Wildcards, which you'll learn about in our upcoming Secrets of Successful Web Searches webinar, can be helpful when you can't find an ancestor because the name in the record (whether the original or a searchable index) isn't spelled as you expect.

 secrets of successful web searches

Usually, a * wildcard stands in for zero or more characters in a name, and a ? stands for one character, but genealogy websites handle them differently:

You even can use * as a wildcard with some search engines: Put it at the end of a truncated word to find related words (such as Thos* to find Thoss, Thossen or Those). But on Google,  * stands in for a whole word.

In addition to wildcard searching, our Secrets of Successful Web Searches webinar will show you
  • Search secrets that work across popular genealogy websites, as well as with Google
  • How to use and Google to unlock family history information on
  • How browsing can help you find ancestors that searches overlook
  • How to get results by searching without a name
The Secrets of Successful Web Searches webinar is next Thursday, June 12, at 7 pm Eastern (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific). You can learn more about it in | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, 05 June 2014 10:43:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 04 June 2014
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Premiere Announced + More Genealogy TV News
Posted by Diane

Cable television network TLC has announced the premiere date and the stars of the 2014 season of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (US version).

The new season will start Wednesday, July 23, at 9/8 central on TLC. (If you don't have cable or can't watch that evening, the episodes usually become available on the show's website after they air.)

Six new episodes will air, featuring the family histories of:
  • Valerie Bertinelli, an actor whose work includes the 70s/80s series "One Day at a Time" and the current "Hot in Cleveland"
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, an actor on "Modern Family"
  • Lauren Graham, actor on "Gilmore Girls" (one of my most-favorite-ever TV shows)
  • Kelsey Grammer, actor on "Cheers" and "Frasier"
  • Cynthia Nixon, actor on the "Sex and the City" TV series and movies
  • Rachel McAdams, Canadian actor in movies such as "The Notebook" and "About Time," and her sister, celebrity makeup artist Kayleen McAdams
In addition, TLC has acquired 10 of the episodes that aired on NBC during previous seasons. Those feature Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Rob Lowe, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Vanessa Williams and Rita Wilson.

You can read about the new "Who Do You Think You Are?" season on The Wrap.

In other genealogy television news:
  • "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.," will premiere on PBS Sept. 23. Guests will include actor Sally Field, Food Network chef Aarón Sánchez, actor Ben Affleck, singer Carole King,actor and comedian Tina Fey, political commentator Alan Dershowitz, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and others.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy TV
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:20:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Tips for Researching Norwegian Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Did you know Norway is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its constitution this year? In 1814, Norway's constitution was signed as part of the transfer of the country from a union with Denmark to a new union with Sweden. That set the stage for Norwegian independence in 1905.

David Rumsey Map Collection

You can see photos of the bicentennial celebration outside Norway's Parliament here.

In the United States, those claiming heritage from Norway are the 10th largest ancestry group, according to census data. FamilySearch posted recently about Norwegian roots and its Community Trees Project containing lineage-linked data from Norwegian bygdebøker (parish books) and other sources. You can search all the community trees here, or browse individual Norwegian parishes by scrolling down to Norway on this page.

If you're researching ancestry in Norway—or nearby in Sweden or Denmark—you'll find our Scandinavian Genealogy Guide helpful.

You can get in-depth genealogy research guidance in our Scandinavian Genealogy 101 Family Tree University online course. It starts Monday, June 16, and includes four lessons (take them at your own pace) along with guidance from instructor Diana Crisman Smith via the course message board.  You'll learn about Scandinavian patronymic, military, farm and geographic names; geography; resources such as websites, bygdebøker and censuses; language tips; and more.  View a Scandinavian Genealogy 101 course syllabus and register here.

FamilySearch | International Genealogy
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 09:28:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 30 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: May 26-30
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch's recently updated collections come from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, and the United States. They include Quebec notarial records, Freedmen's Bureau records, and New York passenger arrival records from 1909 and 1925 to 1957 (that's after the time period you can search at, and it includes air passengers). Go here to read more about the updates and click through to search or browse each one.

  • Record additions at subscription website include Irish marriage and death notices from American newspapers, 4 million British army service records dating from 1914 to 1920, 19th-century marriage and death notices from New York City newspapers, and more. It's part of the site's 100 in 100 campaign to release 100 new record sets in 100 days.
  • The ScotlandsPeople website has added the wills of 31,000 soldiers from 1857 to 1964. They include records of 26,000 soldiers who died in World War I and 5,000 who died in World War II. A few hundred come from earlier wars. You can read more about this digitization project and sample records here (click Image Gallery). Register for free with the site to search the wills and view basic information; it costs 10 credits (about $2.90) to view a document.

FamilySearch | findmypast | Genealogy books | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 30 May 2014 12:00:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Your Comments Needed on New Standards for Genetic Genealogy Research
Posted by Diane

A committee of genetic genealogists and scientists have drafted ethical and usage standards for genetic genealogy research, and they're asking for your feedback by June 15, 2014.

You can download the Genetic Genealogy Standards and Ethics document as a PDF or view it online here, and click the Comment link on the left side of the page to contribute your comments.

The three-page draft has 21 guidelines intended for use when purchasing, recommending, sharing results of, and writing about the results of DNA testing for genealogy. They address topics such as:

  • privacy of test-takers (especially when the person who takes the DNA test is someone other than the person who purchases the test and/or uses the results)
  • DNA sample storage
  • raw DNA data (this refers to the data on the alleles at each single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, that the DNA test analyzed)
  • unexpected test results
  • health information
  • understanding the types of available DNA tests and their limitations
  • interpreting results
  • combining DNA testing with other genealogical evidence
  • citing genetic genealogy sources (it looks like this standard is under development)
Click here to read more about the document's purpose and see names of members of the Genetic Genealogy Standards Committee

If you could use help understanding how to use DNA testing in your genealogy research, look into Family Tree Magazine's on-demand webinar, Using DNA to Solve Family Mysteries.  

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:58:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 23 May 2014
Genealogy News Corral: May 19-23
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has updated the Civil War record collections at the free and created a landing page with links to them, as well as to wiki articles about researching Civil War records. Civil War collections include service records, Army Register of Enlistments, Confederate pension applications, soldiers' home registers and more.
It's important to note that for some collections, such as Civil War service records, you can search an index on, but the index links to the record image hosted on, where you'll need a subscription to view it.

Civil War | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 23 May 2014 11:53:03 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]