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# Friday, February 29, 2008
Making a Protective Book Box
Posted by Grace

If you're lucky enough to have inherited a family bible or diary from one of your ancestors, you've probably wondered just where you should keep it. You can read all about how best to keep old diaries and books in the May issue's "Preserving Memories" column.

The article includes many resources for purchasing archival materials, but for the crafting-inclined, we've created a demonstration of how to make a built-to-order protective book box. Click here to download a PDF with instructions, and you can watch a step-by-step demonstration on our YouTube channel!


Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Videos
Friday, February 29, 2008 10:51:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 28, 2008
We Want Your Comments
Posted by Diane

One thing we love about blogs is they’re a two-way street. As much as our own thoughts fascinate us, what we really long for is to hear what’s going on in your head when you read the Genealogy Insider blog. Do you agree? Disagree? Want to add a related resource or tip?
 
To leave a comment in response to a blog post, click the word “Comments” in red below that post and scroll to the bottom of any already-existing comments. Type your name (or a name), and your e-mail address if you want (it’s not required). Type in your comment, then click Save Comment. You’ll have to go through the security rigamarole of entering a code word displayed in a graphic (you may have to do that twice), then your comment will appear in all its glory.
 
Some guidelines to what kind of posts are permissible:
 
1. Naturally, no cursing, personal insults or other offensive language is allowed.
 
2. Your comment must be related to the post you’re commenting on.
 
3. We may remove comments we deem to be advertising your own commercial product or service. Mentioning your product or service is fine, if it’s directly related to the post you’re commenting on and you’re up front that it’s your product.

4. Family Tree Magazine editors reserve the right to remove comments we judge to be inappropriate.
 
Have questions? Post 'em here, or send us an e-mail.



Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:18:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
Get a Taste of MacFamily Tree
Posted by Diane

Synium Software has released a beta version of MacFamily Tree 5.1,
which you can download as a demo. It’ll be available as a final version in early March.

MacFamily Tree 5 debuted in late 2007 for $49. The 5.1 update adds a customizable fan chart, a Media Browser photo gallery, and a more user-friendly interface in the Person, Family, Source and Event edit modes.”

Look for our article on Mac genealogy programs in the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine, on newsstands and FamilyTreeMagazine.com May 13.


Genealogy Software
Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:09:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Are You Smarter Than a Teenager?
Posted by Diane

It’s time to repeat the annual hand-wringing over how little US students know about history. In a January phone survey, 1,200 17-year-olds were asked 33 basic multiple-choice questions in history and literature. The results:
  • Fewer than half could place the American Civil War in the correct half-century.
  • Half didn’t know what the Renaissance is.
  • More than a quarter thought Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World sometime after 1750.
  • About a quarter were unable to correctly identify Adolf Hitler as Germany's chancellor during World War II.
Though what the students didn’t know is appalling, they answered right on 67 percent of the history questions, earning a C overall. (But they got an F in literature.) On the bright side, 97 percent of the teens correctly picked Martin Luther King Jr. as the man who declared, "I have a dream;" 88 percent knew the bombing of Pearl Harbor led us into World War II.

An educational advocacy group called Common Core conducted the survey. Its report claims the results are evidence current education laws lead schools to focus too narrowly on the reading and math skills measured in accountability tests, at the expense of other subjects.

The report (where you can see a breakdown of all the questions) also shows kids with at least one college-educated parent performed better on the test.

I think genealogy is an antidote—you learn about history by exploring your family’s history. Click Comments (below) to let us know what you think, and see our resource listings for “junior” genealogists (and their adult teachers) at FamilyTreeMagazine.com.


Social History
Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:33:17 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Family Tree Magazine Editor on Roots Television
Posted by Diane

Our very own Allison Stacy is appearing now in a video on Roots Television.

At the recent Family History Expo in St. George, Utah, Dick Eastman (of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter fame) asked Allison, Family Tree Magazine's editor-in-chief, for the scoop on what to expect in upcoming issues.

Click to find out what we're up to!


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:39:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 25, 2008
How to Find Research Guides on FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

If you have ancestors from Finland, you’ll want to download the free Finnish genealogy research guide FamilySearch has just added to its Web site.

FamilySearch’s excellent online research outlines are among our go-to resources when editing Family Tree Magazine articles about tracing ancestors in this or that place, and we often recommend the guides in our articles. They cover how to do research, historical background, genealogy terms to know, writing request letters, and much more.

But the guides are linked in different places on FamilySearch, so sometimes it's hard to find the right one. Here’s our quick guide to finding FamilySearch guides:
  • Start by clicking the Search tab at the top of the page. Then look in the blue bar under “Search”:

  • Now, for an alphabetical index to the FHL’s research outlines, letter-writing guides, word lists, beginners’ guides, census worksheets and more, click Research Helps. This index is sorted by place, but you can use the links on the left to sort it by title, subject or document type.


Click a document title to access the guide’s content online. Or, click PDF to download a PDF with the information, or click the item number (in the right-hand column) to order a copy mailed to you. Not all the guides have all three options.

  • To get steps for finding the FHL’s microfilmed birth, marriage and death information by place and year, click Research Guidance, then click on a place.

On the next page, choose a tab for historical background, advice for beginners, and research strategies for various records. This information is drawn from the above-mentioned research guides.

  • For in-depth, full-color PDF guides to a selection of ancestries, look on the home page under "Get Started With Family History" and click the word guides. From here, you also can follow links to separate directories of the word lists, letter-writing guides, forms and more.


Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | Research Tips
Monday, February 25, 2008 5:47:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 21, 2008
The Five Ws of Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Researching ancestors in Canada?

Lisa A. Alzo, who wrote a guide to Canadian genealogy research for the May 2008 Family Tree Magazine (on sale March 18), sent these five questions you should ask yourself (though we think they’d be helpful for research all over the globe):

Canadian research has much in common with research elsewhere—your best chances for success will come from having laid a solid foundation. That means being able to answer the genealogical version of the Five W’s:
1. Whom are you researching? Be equipped with all the names your relatives were known by, and all the possible spellings.

2. What do you want to learn? This will give you some insight into what record you need to locate.

3. Where should you look? Canada’s a big country and records were mostly created and stored locally, and under an area’s geographic name at the time.

4. When did it happen? As in other places, different types of Canadian records were kept starting at different times. If your research starts before certain records were kept, you’ll need to find an alternate record to study. And what’s more, the way variousrecord groups were created and stored changed over time.

5. Why do you need a particular record? For example, maybe you want that marriage registration to learn the names of the couple’s parents. Knowing that can help keep you focused and open up possibilities for research in other records.
Look for Alzo’s advice to finding and using genealogical records in the May 2008 Family Tree Magazine.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:01:49 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The World's Longest Family Tree?
Posted by Diane

Chinese philosopher Confucius (who tradition holds was born 551 BC) has 2 million recorded descendants in 83 generations, says one of that number, Kong Dewei, in China Daily.

Dewei is a member of the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee, which will publish the fifth edition of the family register next year. For the first time, it includes women and those living outside of China. Each person paid 5 yuan (about 70 cents) to register; the committee has stopped soliciting names.

People without pedigrees proving descent could take a DNA test to compare with Confucius’ genetic signature, which scientists in China discovered in 2006.

It may sound as though Confucius, whose proper name was Kong Zi, was particularly prolific, but all I could find (in the Handbook of Today’s Religions) is that he had  a son and a daughter—I guess that's what 2,500 years can do for your family tree.

The descendants have held noble titles and governmental posts throughout history. The main lineage fled from their ancestral home in Qufu during the Chinese Civil War, but now the Temple of Confucius and the Confucius Mansion (the residence of the philosopher’s descendants) are tourist attractions.

Now, if only I can figure out how to set up a genealogy compilation committee for my family ...


Asian roots | International Genealogy
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:47:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 18, 2008
Cooking up Stories of Presidents' African-American Chefs
Posted by Allison

NPR aired a fascinating Presidents Day segment in the Kitchen Sisters series about George Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's slave chefs—and the little-known culinary contributions they and other African-Americans have made to White House history.

You can read a synopsis and listen to the story online.

If you aren't familiar with Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva's Kitchen Sisters series, it's dedicated to exploring and preserving social history through food. Browse the archive for other stories of interest to family history and pop culture buffs, including "America Eats: A Hidden Archive of the 1930s" and "The Birth of the Frito."


African-American roots | Social History
Monday, February 18, 2008 11:30:03 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, February 15, 2008
Abe Lincoln's Summer Retreat Opens
Posted by Diane

Anderson Cottage was the Camp David of its day—a summer retreat three miles from central Washington where Abraham, Mary Todd and Tad Lincoln escaped the White House.

Other presidents used the cottage, too, but none as frequently as Lincoln. The 16th president lived there for months at a time during the summer, risking his life during his daily commute to the White House. In August 1864, would-be assasin's bullet left a hole in Lincoln's stovepipe hat.

The home, built in 1842, had become a rundown office building for the nearby Armed Forces Retirement Home when it was rediscovered in the late 1990s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation led a seven-year, $15 million restoration.

Now, after a seven-year, $15 million restoration, President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home opens to the public on President's Day, Feb. 18. Visitors can tour the four-bedroom, two-story, stucco-covered brick Gothic Revival cottage for $12 (purchase tickets ahead of time online).



Read about the restoration on the site’s blog and get more house history in the Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home, by Matthew Pinsker (Oxford University Press, $15.95).

Historic preservation | Social History
Friday, February 15, 2008 4:56:02 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, February 14, 2008
Free Photo Scanning for Social Networkers
Posted by Allison

It's a Valentine's Day gift for family history lovers: Through Feb. 29, ScanMyPhotos.com. is offering free scanning of up to 1,000 4x6-inch photos—all you'll pay is the $19.95 shipping fee (compared to the regular price of $49.95).

What's the catch? The offer is open only to members of several major social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and Flickr (a photo-sharing network). You also have to be a US resident, and the offer's limited to one freebie per person or address. In exchange, ScanMyPhotos.com. asks that you post a review of its service. See the press release for further details.

if you've been thinking about testing the social networking waters but haven't taken the plunge, here's a good incentive.


Family Heirlooms | Historic preservation
Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:02:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Search Site for Shelby County, Tenn., Family
Posted by Diane

Derrick Minck, register of deeds over in Shelby County, Tenn. (home of Memphis), e-mailed me about the plethora of genealogical records available on the Register’s Web site—somewhat unusual for a county government site. (Heads up, fellow Mac users: The site came up in Firefox but not in Safari.)

If you’ve got Tennessee ancestors, stop by and look for
  • Property records: “We have indexes and images dating back to 1812,” Minck writes.
  • GIS: You can search by name or address and see an aerial property photo linked to property data.
  • Archives: Search Shelby County birth (1874-1906) marriage (1820-1910) and death (1848-1956), records—and yes, folks, most matches are linked to record images.
You also can search indexes for Tennessee marriages (1980-2005), divorces (1980-2005) and deaths (1949-2005), with links for ordering copies. Circuit (1893-2000) and chancery (1945-1997) court, naturalization (1856-1906) and Memphis 1865 census indexes are there, too.
Search each record set from the home page. Now staff is scanning Memphis city directories from 1859 to 1924, and Minck says they’re almost ready to post 1859 through 1881.


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Public Records
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 3:01:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 11, 2008
Family History Expo Slide Show
Posted by Allison

For those of you who couldn't make it to the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, Utah, last weekend—and those who want to relive the fun—watch this slideshow of images from the event:



Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | Videos
Monday, February 11, 2008 5:05:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Saturday, February 09, 2008
News and Notes from the Family History Expo
Posted by Allison

The first day of MyAncestorsFound’s Family History Expo 2008 saw a flurry of activity in the exhibit hall—here at the Family Tree Magazine booth, I barely had a moment to catch my breath. But today I had the opportunity to cruise the hall and learn about new developments in the industry.

The buzzword for this event has been “New FamilySearch”—referring to the highly anticipated revamp of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ genealogy Web site, which is scheduled to go public in early 2009. Several classes focused on how the new system works, and what it means to genealogists. Developers from AncestralQuest, PAFInsight and RootsMagic genealogy software gave demos on how their programs will “sync” with the New FamilySearch.

Here’s a snapshot of other news:
  • Newcomer FamilyPursuit is a Web-based family tree program that aims to make it easy for families to collaborate on recording and researching genealogy. It’s currently in a public beta phase—you can get sneak peek at its features on the Web site, or sign up to become a tester.
  • Milennia Corp. is preparing to release version 7 of its Legacy Family Tree software in March. The new edition will add wall charts and source templates, among other features
  • GenealogyBank, the subscription Web site for historical newspapers, government records and primary documents, is adding hundreds of Hispanic newspapers to its collection.
  • Ancestry DNA, the genetic genealogy arm of data megasite Ancestry.com, will be adding surname groups this spring, along with groups for different geographic locations and haplogroups.
  • Add Family Tree and Me to the list of companies offering decorative family tree charts. Owner Shirlene Dymock aims to provide designs elegant enough to display in your living room—see samples of the layouts, backgrounds and frames online.
  • Online genealogy TV channel RootsTelevision has now posted all the episodes of both PBS “Ancestors” series. You’ll also be able to catch interviews from the Expo on RootsTelevision.
  • Podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke was also busy doing interviews during the Expo. Among the conversations to be featured in upcoming episodes: Richard Black of the Godfrey Memorial Library, Kathy Meade of Swedish church records Web site Genline, and presenter Kathryn Lake Hogan speaking about immigration resources. Visit Genealogy Gems for details on subscribing to this free online radio show.
  • Speaking of Swedish records, Meade tipped me off to a recent news story on genealogi.se about a reinterpretation of Swedish law that would allow more-recent church records to be digitized and posted online—shrinking the 100-year waiting period to 70 or 85. Watch this blog for announcements on where and when those records may become available to you.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | Videos
Saturday, February 09, 2008 11:08:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, February 08, 2008
Pirating Genealogies
Posted by Allison



Arrr, where’re me ancestors? Hundreds of family history enthusiasts are here at the two-day Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, Utah, to answer that question. The event kicked off Friday morning with the “Pirates of the Pedigree” keynote address, and appropriately, costumed volunteers are on hand in the exhibit hall to assist vendors and attendees.

Put on by Utah-based research firm MyAncestorsFound, the Expo features a variety of classes and an exhibit hall packed with genealogical products and services—including sponsors FamilySearch, Cherry Creek Radio, Ancestry.com, World Vital Records, DearMYRTLE, TheSpectrum.com, Generation Maps, Footnote, RootsTelevision, Godfrey Memorial Library, and our very own Family Tree Magazine.

Stay tuned for news and observations as the Expo continues.



Genealogy Events
Friday, February 08, 2008 5:15:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Family History Expo Is on in St. George
Posted by Diane

The Family History Expo, sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Family Tree Magazine, is happening today and tomorrow, Feb. 8 and 9, in St. George, Utah. (You may know the Expo by its former name, the Genealogy and  Family Heritage Jamboree.)

Editor Allison Stacy is there, handing out magazines and taking in some classes. If you’re going, stop by booth 419 to say hi.

Didn’t pre-register? No problem—you can sign up at the door for $65. That gets you enhanced research skills through 101 presentations from experts in a variety of topics, an audience with more than 50 vendors and exhibitors, opportunities to commune with fellow researchers, and chances to win drawings and door prizes (maybe even one containing a few Family Tree books).


Genealogy Events
Friday, February 08, 2008 8:50:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 07, 2008
Footnote Offers Free Records for African-American History Month
Posted by Diane

The subscription and pay-per-view historical records service Footnote is making some of its collections free during February to commemorate African-American History month. Those include:
  • records from the Amistad case. The Spanish slave ship was illegally transporting African “cargo” in Cuba in 1839 (Spain had outlawed the slave trade) when the enslaved passengers revolted. The crew members sailed to Long Island Sound and the United States seized the ship. After a long trial, the Africans (whose counsel included former president John Quincy Adams) were declared free.
  • Southern Claims Commission records of southerners' petitions for compensation for crops, livestock and other supplies Union troops seized during the Civil War. Testimony of witnesses, both black and white, appears in many claims. More than 20,000 claims were filed.
Most of Footnote’s records are the product of its year-old partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration. Footnote has more than 26 million digitized images and adds 2 million new ones each month. Registered members of the site can upload their own records and narratives.

A Footnote subscription costs $59.95 per year; you also can purchase a record image for $1.95.


African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, February 07, 2008 8:58:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 06, 2008
More Resources for Cincinnati Researchers
Posted by Diane

We got a note from our hometown Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which already has one of the best public library genealogy collections in the country, about its recently expanded Genealogy and Local History Department and its new online goodies.

The new department consolidates materials previously spread throughout the library, making room in public areas for 7,000 more books and 8,000 reels of high-demand microfilm. Its Cincinnati Room lets patrons access historical materials such as local newspapers and manuscript collections.

Librarians also will schedule one-on-one consultations to help direct patrons’ research. Visit the department’s Web site to take a video tour and link to research databases. Check out the librarians’ list of favorite online resources for Cincinnati-area research, too.

Digitized historical materials also have made it onto PLCHC’s Virtual Library. Those include several 19th-cenury Cincinnati city directories and volumes such as the 1868 The Black Brigade of Cincinnati: Being a Report of its Labors and a Muster-Roll of its Members, the 1838 Report of the First Anniversary of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, and the 1852 Annual Announcement of Lectures of the Miami Medical College of Cincinnati. Click on a book cover to download the file as a PDF.



One of the John Seegers listed in this 1866 city directory may or may not be my ancestor; I'll have to go home and check.

We’re interested in hearing what's new at your favorite genealogy library—click Comment and let us know.

African-American roots | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:19:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Watch African-American Lives 2 Premiere This Week
Posted by Diane

Plan to park yourself in front of your TV tomorrow night to watch "African-American Lives 2," the latest in a succession of Henry Louis Gates-hosted shows that has genealogy experts tracing the roots of well-known African-Americans. The two-part series premieres Feb. 6.

Producers added a twist this year: Everyday folks could apply to have their own pasts explored along with those of 11 VIPs, including actor Don Cheadle, comedian Chris Rock and Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Of the more than 2,000 applicants, producers selected Kathleen Henderson, a college administrator in Dayton, Ohio.

A week or so ago, Henderson told me a legend her family proudly exchanges at reunions about the source of their Woodbridge surname. “When slavery ended, our ancestor left the plantation and struck out on his on,” she said, explaining that the story got more elaborate depending whom you asked.

“He wanted to shed himself of the remnants of slavery, so he took nothing, especially not the master’s last name. After he left the plantation, the first thing he came across was a wooden bridge, so that’s where the name came from.”

You’ll have to wait until the show airs to find out this freedman’s identity and the truth behind the family legend.

Henderson also says the show’s researchers dug up some information on her father’s mother that “blew my mind.”

On the "African-American Lives 2" Web site, you can meet Henderson, quiz yourself on source documents the researchers used, hear from genetic genealogy experts, and see the show participants’ ancestral events plotted on a historical timeline.

Henderson sees what she learned as a springboard for more discoveries. “It’s part of a chapter, or it’s the first edition. It answered a lot, but it set up more questions for us.”

 Check local air times on the show's Web site.


African-American roots
Tuesday, February 05, 2008 2:22:22 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]