Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
November, 2014 (16)
October, 2014 (20)
September, 2014 (17)
August, 2014 (18)
July, 2014 (16)
June, 2014 (18)
May, 2014 (17)
April, 2014 (17)
March, 2014 (17)
February, 2014 (16)
January, 2014 (16)
December, 2013 (11)
November, 2013 (15)
October, 2013 (19)
September, 2013 (20)
August, 2013 (23)
July, 2013 (24)
June, 2013 (14)
May, 2013 (25)
April, 2013 (20)
March, 2013 (24)
February, 2013 (25)
January, 2013 (20)
December, 2012 (19)
November, 2012 (25)
October, 2012 (22)
September, 2012 (24)
August, 2012 (24)
July, 2012 (21)
June, 2012 (22)
May, 2012 (28)
April, 2012 (44)
March, 2012 (36)
February, 2012 (36)
January, 2012 (27)
December, 2011 (22)
November, 2011 (29)
October, 2011 (52)
September, 2011 (26)
August, 2011 (26)
July, 2011 (17)
June, 2011 (31)
May, 2011 (32)
April, 2011 (31)
March, 2011 (31)
February, 2011 (28)
January, 2011 (27)
December, 2010 (34)
November, 2010 (26)
October, 2010 (27)
September, 2010 (27)
August, 2010 (31)
July, 2010 (23)
June, 2010 (30)
May, 2010 (23)
April, 2010 (30)
March, 2010 (30)
February, 2010 (30)
January, 2010 (23)
December, 2009 (19)
November, 2009 (27)
October, 2009 (30)
September, 2009 (25)
August, 2009 (26)
July, 2009 (33)
June, 2009 (32)
May, 2009 (30)
April, 2009 (39)
March, 2009 (35)
February, 2009 (21)
January, 2009 (29)
December, 2008 (15)
November, 2008 (15)
October, 2008 (25)
September, 2008 (30)
August, 2008 (26)
July, 2008 (26)
June, 2008 (22)
May, 2008 (27)
April, 2008 (20)
March, 2008 (20)
February, 2008 (19)
January, 2008 (22)
December, 2007 (21)
November, 2007 (26)
October, 2007 (20)
September, 2007 (17)
August, 2007 (23)
July, 2007 (17)
June, 2007 (13)
May, 2007 (7)

Search

Archives

<November 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

More Links








# Monday, March 31, 2008
Does Genealogy Make You Smart?
Posted by Diane

American Mensa—the 50,000-member association for highly intelligent people—is making genealogy the focus of its Sept. 12-14 colloquium in Salt Lake City.

At Tracking Granny’s Granny: The Genealogy Quest, “Mensans” (who qualify for membership by scoring in the 98th percentile or higher on an intelligence test) will attend sessions on photos, genetic genealogy and online research. They'll also take a field trip to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library.

Registration is open to the public, so folks of humbler intellect are welcome, too. Me, I’d probably be unable to shake the feeling I’m back in sixth grade and just finished my long-division worksheet dead last. Maybe a Mensan, after completing his own family tree in record time, would help me defeat my brick walls.

On the other hand, I wonder which came first: the genius or the genealogy? All that ancestral research and reading and analysis is bound to prod your brain into forming new synapses and becoming sharper. Maybe even Mensa sharp.

If nothing else, perhaps sitting long enough in a roomful of certifiably smart people will make some of it rub off.


Genealogy Events
Monday, March 31, 2008 12:44:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, March 28, 2008
Favorite Sites: Ohio Heritage, Tenement Tour, Animated History
Posted by Diane

I wish I had time to thoroughly examine all the cool sites I come across every day (or maybe I should say, I wish I were more resistant to the temptation to surf).

So instead of bookmarking and then forgetting about today’s finds (and later on, wondering why my Favorites list is so darn long), I’ll share a few:
  • Growth of a Nation: This 10-minute animated movie, complete with a voice-over reminiscent of my 7th-grade history teacher, nicely sums up the United States’ progress from 13 Colonies to a country with 50 states.
Now, to go clean out some of those Favorites ...


Genealogy Web Sites | Social History
Friday, March 28, 2008 3:45:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 27, 2008
Lowcountry Slave Genealogies Released March 29
Posted by Diane

The Lowcountry Africana Web site will launch this Saturday with groundbreaking research on genealogies of slaves on Drayton family plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Barbados.

Researchers from the University of South Florida Africana Heritage Project and descendants of slaves who lived on the plantations collaborated to compile and interpret the records. The Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC, sponsored the project and free genealogy wiki WeRelate.org helped develop the site.

Many of the records came from Drayton Hall Plantation (shown below in about 1880), also in Charleston, which holds the family’s papers.


Lowcountry Africana will focus not only on Drayton plantation records, but also on those from throughout the former rice-growing areas of the coastal Southeast, which gave rise to the Gullah-Geechee culture.

African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, March 27, 2008 8:12:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 26, 2008
See Vietnam Wall Names Free on Footnote
Posted by Diane

Footnote’s latest addition lets you search—free—for those whose names are etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

The site has added an interactive exhibit with a database of names linked to photos of each engraved name. The images are from a 460-foot photograph of the wall, consisting of 6,301 separate images “stitched” together.



The Wall bears 58,320 names of armed forces members who died or went missing while serving in the Vietnam War. (Names may be added on Memorial Day each year as the Department of Veterans Affairs receives additional information.)

You can search for a name or browse by a category, such as branch of service and hometown. You'll see a photo of each matching name. Click a match for details, including the person's hometown, rank, specialty (such as maintenance or field artillery), decorations, religion, marital status, birth date and death date and cause.

You also can click View on the exhibit's main page to see the entire stitched-together photo—then zoom in and move around. (As you might expect, the image takes a l-o-o-o-o-ng time to load.) Hover over a name, and a window pops up you can click for details on that person.



The black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial was constructed in 1982 after its creator, 21-year-old architecture student Maya Ying Lin, won a competition to design it. A few years ago, I was one of its 3 million annual visitors. I most remember the solemn quiet—in contrast to the atmosphere around other memorials on the National Mall—and the sound of pencil scratchings as visitors made rubbings of names.

Most of Footnote's digitized historical records are available with a subscription or on a pay-per-view basis, but the virtual Wall exhibit is among the site's free offerings.

Update: Click Comments, below, for additional tips on searching the database and viewing the Wall.

Genealogy Web Sites | Military records
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:43:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
RIP Phone Book, 1878-20??
Posted by Grace

Phone books can be great resources for confirming locations of your recent ancestors, but those big yellow doorstoppers are dying a slow death, the online newsmagazine Slate reports.

They've come a long way since the first phone directory, a one-pager listing all 52 telephone subscribers in New Haven, Conn., debuted in 1878. (The Slate article describes many more mentionable moments in phone-book history.)

The hefty, floppy books were created as vehicles for companies to sell advertising, and last year, 615 million directories were printed in the US, creating revenues of $13.9 billion, according to the Yellow Pages Association. But more and more cell phones are unlisted, and many people turn to the Internet to find phone numbers—especially people under 30. (For example, the last time I used a phone book was when the electricity in my apartment went out and I couldn't find the number I needed by text messaging Google.)

For more phone fun, OldTelephoneBooks.com has many old pictures of telephone books, and some are listed for sale. You can browse by country, state and city.

Genealogy fun | Social History
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:19:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, March 25, 2008
And the Telly Goes to ...
Posted by Diane

The Roots Television show Psychic Roots—featuring Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack interviewing Psychic Roots author Hank Jones—has won a coveted Telly Award!

The Telly Awards, in case you hadn't heard, "honor the very best local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and work created for the Web."

Three other Roots Television shows won, too—a nice feat for the genealogy-focused online television channel’s first year. Today, on “Telly Tuesday,” you can watch them all.


Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 3:05:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 24, 2008
Donated DNA to SMGF? You Could Get a $19.50 Profile
Posted by Diane

If you've participated in the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation’s (SMGF) DNA study, you may be able to get your genetic genealogy test results for just $19.50.

SMGF’s collaboration with the DNA-enabled social networking site Genetree has provided an avenue for SMGF to release the DNA profiles in what study director Scott Woodward calls a “compelling, confidential” way.

To be eligible for the offer, you must have ordered an SMGF participation kit prior to Oct. 23, 2007, and returned the properly completed kit to SMGF postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2007.

If that’s you, you’ll be able to access your mitochondrial (mt) DNA profile (with genetic information passed from mothers to their children), along with the pedigree information you submitted to SMGF, online through Genetree.

You’ll need a free Genetree basic membership to view your profile. It’ll take about two weeks for your request to be filled—get instructions for obtaining your results on Genetree's "unlock" page.

The SMGF study started in 2000 at Brigham Young University’s Center for Molecular Genealogy, with researchers collecting blood samples and pedigree charts at genealogy conferences. The goal? Build a database of DNA and corresponding genealogical information.

Several years ago, the project outgrew the university and moved to SMGF, where the database now contains nearly 100,000 DNA samples and more than 6 million corresponding genealogical records from people in 170 countries.

You can search SMGF databases and contact potential relatives through the site, but until now, participants didn’t receive their test results.

On Genetree, which launched in beta last October, you can create profiles for yourself and deceased relatives, add DNA test results or order an mtDNA test ($99 or $149), search for relatives, share memories, build a family tree, and invite relatives and friends to participate.


Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Monday, March 24, 2008 9:55:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, March 21, 2008
Smithsonian Develops Photo Initiative
Posted by Grace

The Smithsonian possesses more than 13 million images in 19 museums and 700 collections, organized by discipline. In the past, it's been difficult for researchers—and even curators—to know where all the images pertinent to a topic might be found.

The Smithsonian Photography Initiative aims to change all that, making the institute's massive collection accessible for the general public and inviting history fans to get involved.

One facet of the initiative, click! photography changes everything, is a repository of essays on how the medium has altered the world we live in. Right now, 100 experts' musings can be found on the site; in the fall, click! will invite the public to submit images and comments. (Click here to read about our Photo Detective Maureen Taylor's translation of her own grandmother's wedding portrait and how it changed her perception of Nana from a static portrait to a living woman.)

Enter the Frame encourages Web site visitors to "tag" Smithsonian photographs to make them more easily searchable. When you tag a photo, you apply keywords that describe the image. This could include dates, locations, seasons, topics, descriptions of people in the photo, objects in the photo, etc. For example, the photo at right (from our Photo Detective blog) might get tagged with mourning, black dress, woman, gloves, seated, veil and hat.

Click here to see a list of all the Smithsonian Photography Initiative projects, including click! photography changes everything and Enter the Frame. You can read more about the benefits of tagging in Family Tree Magazine's May 2008 Toolkit article "Tagging Along."

Historic preservation | Libraries and Archives | Museums | Social History
Friday, March 21, 2008 3:29:47 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 20, 2008
Many USGenWeb Sites Leave RootsWeb
Posted by Diane

About.com: Genealogy blogger Kimberley Powell reports many USGenWeb project administrators are moving their sites off RootsWeb—a change she says has long been coming, but was hastened by The Generations Network’s (TGN) decision to transfer RootsWeb to Ancestry.com’s domain (read more about that move in last week's blog post).

See which USGenWeb state and project sites are moving on Powell's blog. It looks like the relocated sites are adding redirects, and national and state administrators are keeping up with link updates.

A little background: USGenWeb is a network of free genealogy Web sites, one for each state and county. Each state and county site has a volunteer administrator who maintains it and adds information and links, which is why the sites look different. USGenWeb also hosts special projects on the national and state levels, such as the Family Group Sheet Project to post and link to online pedigree charts. National USGenWeb administrators link to the everything from the USGenWeb home page.

The national USGenWeb site and many of the local sites have long been hosted on RootsWeb, which TGN purchased in 2000 and has financially supported—and kept free—since then.

Powell says some USGenWeb administrators have been unhappy with slow RootsWeb servers and the lack of ability to add some of the bells and whistles today’s Web surfers are used to seeing.

Others are uncomfortable with the RootsWeb acceptable use policy—the legalese of which gives TGN license to use the data posted on RootsWeb servers (submitters retain copyright)—or feel the free, volunteer nature of USGenWeb is incompatible with a for-profit host. Of course, the connection was always there, but it's more obvious with ancestry in RootsWeb's URL.

The Family Group Sheet Project’s site, for example, has moved, and its redirect page bears a prominent message that "THIS SITE IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANCESTRY."

Read more about what USGenWeb administrators have to say on Powell’s blog, and let us know what you think by clicking Comments below.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, March 20, 2008 7:07:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Tuesday, March 18, 2008
News From the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s contributing editor and technology guru Rick Crume crashed the Brigham Young University Computerized Genealogy Conference  last weekend in Provo, Utah.

He reports more than 700 attendees absorbed nearly 100 presentations and explored a large exhibit area. Here's what Rick had to say about developments he uncovered there:

FamilySearch makeover update
The revamped Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library Web site, still in the testing stage, is gradually being rolled out to the church’s temple districts around the world. It’ll be open to the general public once data security issues are addressed.

“New” FamilySearch offers collaboration, multimedia and improved searching. It’ll attempt to consolidate all the family information located in several databases on “old” FamilySearch.

As a shared database open for users to collaborate on, the new FamilySearch is fundamentally different from the current site, which doesn’t let you alter data someone else submitted. You’ll be able to submit information to the new site in GEDCOM format, but you can’t download data as a GEDCOM.

Working with other service providers is the new site’s strong suit. Several genealogy programs, including Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic (but not Family Tree Maker or FamilySearch’s own Personal Ancestral File), will let you synchronize the family files on your computer with New FamilySearch. And you’ll be able to use these programs free at Family History Centers for three years.

Progeny’s Charting Companion utilities  will combine family information from the renewed site with photos from another site to create a photo family tree chart. And Generations Maps will let you order a chart made from names on the new FamilySearch.

Work is underway to digitize the Family History Library’s collection. FamilySearch Labs' Record Search already lets you search millions of indexed names.

How many searches was that?
Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, rattled off a string of statistics on his company, whose divisions include Ancestry.com, RootsWeb, MyFamily.com and Genealogy.com.

Amazingly, Genealogy.com still ranks as the third most popular genealogy Web site, even though TGN virtually abandoned the site after acquiring it several years ago.

Sullivan noted Ancestry.com processes 20 million search requests a day. TGN has invested almost $69 million to digitize records over the past 10 years; $10 million a year now goes toward digitization. In the works: scanning some of the National Archives’ 9 billion undigitized documents.

Sullivan emphasized RootsWeb will remain free despite the change in its domain name to rootsweb.ancestry.com.

From the genealogy social networking front ...
Genealogy social networking sites are multiplying like crazy. Geni now has a million registered users. A new entrant in the field, Family Pursuit, lets you and your relatives use a Web-based genealogy program to collaborate on family history research.

Findmypast.com’s upgraded online family tree, PedigreeSoft, will debut in two or three months with a new URL, www.familytreeexplorer.com.

And some new products and services
  • Family Photoloom, which should be available this month, lets you tag faces in photos and link them to genealogical data
  • Heritage Collector lets you organize your digital photos, label people in them and create family history scrapbooks
  • Biographywiki.com is a wiki that accepts biographies of anyone, famous or not, but the person must be deceased
  • USFamilyTree.com, coming in April, aims to make tracking down your ancestors’ descendants more efficient.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 3:34:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 17, 2008
Got Irish Roots?
Posted by Diane

Happy St. Patrick's Day! A few numbers to help you appreciate the occasion:
  • 30.5 million US residents who claim Irish ancestry
  • 4 million population of The Republic of Ireland
  • 22.5 percent Massachusetts residents with Irish ancestry
  • 4.8 million immigrants from Ireland admitted for US residence since 1820
  • 100 pounds of green dye added to the Chicago River St. Patrick’s Day, 1962 (the year that verdant tradition began)
  • 3 million spectators at New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade
  • 52,000 number of Irish immigrants who arrived in New York City in 1847
  • 372,000 total population of New York City in 1847
  • 107 years Boston has held an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade (Beantown witnessed the country’s first recorded St. Paddy’s Day celebration in 1737)
  • 9 places in the United States named Dublin
We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but if you’re Irish every other day of the year, too, the March 2008 Family Tree Magazine Irish research guide—and our online Irish Toolkit—will help you trace those roots back to the Emerald Isle.


Family Tree Magazine articles | International Genealogy | Social History
Monday, March 17, 2008 9:56:07 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Find Old Newspapers at Free Library of Congress Site
Posted by Diane

The Library of Congress has added more than 79,000 digitized newspaper pages to its free Chronicling America Web site, for a total of 500,000 pages and 61 titles.  

The papers date primarily from 1900 to 1910, and come from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC. Among these pages are articles about the 1901 assassination of president William McKinley and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (below).



But even if you have no ancestors in those states, you can use Chronicling America's searchable directory of US newspapers from 1690 to the present. Say you want to find articles about a trial your ancestor was involved in. Search the directory for titles of local papers by entering the state, county and town; the year of the trial; a keyword appearing in the newspaper's title; publication frequency (such as daily or weekly); or type of paper (such as an ethnic or labor press).

You’ll get a list of papers that might have articles on your relative. Click each title and the View Complete Holdings Information link to see libraries that have the paper, and which year's that library's collection covers.

If none of the libraries are near you, see if you can submit a search request or borrow papers on microfilm through interlibrary loan.

Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
Monday, March 17, 2008 8:45:36 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, March 13, 2008
RootsWeb To Be Hosted on Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

The Generations Network (TGN) CEO Tim Sullivan announced today that the free genealogy Web site RootsWeb will be transplanted to the domain of the subscription site Ancestry.com beginning next week. Instead of going to rootsweb.com, you’ll log on to rootsweb.ancestry.com.

RootsWeb will otherwise stay the same and stay free, says Sullivan. “This move will not change the RootsWeb experience or alter the ease of navigation to or within RootsWeb. RootsWeb will remain a free online experience.” Old URLs will work; you won’t need to update any bookmarks.

The reason for the change is to get more people to move back and forth between Ancestry.com and RootsWeb. According to the announcement, only 25 percent of visitors to Ancestry.com visited RootsWeb in January 2008, and only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited Ancestry.com.

The Generations Network (formerly MyFamily.com), which owns Ancestry.com, acquired RootsWeb in June 2000.


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:25:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, March 12, 2008
... and DNA Consulting becomes DNA Testing Systems
Posted by Diane

In another family history industry renaming, genetic genealogy testing company DNA Consulting is now called DNA Testing Systems, says founder Donald N. Yates.

Yates also announced he's relocated the company from Santa Fe, NM, to Scottsdale, Ariz.

DNA Testing Systems will add DNAPrint Genomics’ line of biogeographical ancestry tests to its product selection. Those offerings include the AncestrybyDNA test (sold under the name Whole DNA), which breaks your genetic heritage into Native American, East Asian, Sub-Saharan African and Indo-European anthropological groups.


Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:46:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
iFamily becomes Familybuilder
Posted by Diane

The social networking site application formerly known as iFamily has renamed itself Familybuilder.

Facebook and Bebo members can use the app to set up family profiles with photos and national flags and connect with other Familybuilder users. The app has 2.2 million registered users on Facebook and 33,000 on Bebo, with 8.5 million family profiles across both sites.

Earlier this year, Familybuilder got $1.5 million in investment capital to expand to other social networking sites.

See the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands and FamilyTreeMagazine.com May 13) for more on genealogy social networking apps.


Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:39:17 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
GenealogyBank Deposits More Records
Posted by Diane

The subscription site GenealogyBank has made some additions to its databases of newspapers and historical records:
  • Last week the company announced it’s added more than 4 million newspapers, records and documents from 24 states. Those include expanded holdings of newspapers such as Montana’s Anaconda Standard (Jan. 2, 1898, to April 30, 1915) and Georgia’s Savannah Tribune (Dec. 4, 1875, to Dec. 27, 1913).
  • GenealogyBank also has posted the first 20 titles, covering Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, from its new collection of Hispanic newspapers. Those papers eventually will span 1808 to 1980.
Here's a 1929 marriage announcement from the Indiana Harbour, Ind., Amigo de Hogar:

GenealogyBank spokesperson Tom Kemp estimates the site’s 221 million-plus family history records contain 1.3 billion names. GenealogyBank subscriptions go for $9.95 for 30 days, or $69.95 for a year.

Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:56:53 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 10, 2008
Ancestry.com Posts 500 German City Directories
Posted by Grace

Pay database Ancestry.com last week put online 500 German city directories, from Aachen to Zwickau. Often overlooked as a genealogy resource, city directories can fill in the blanks between censuses and help trace wandering ancestors. Ancestry's new collection includes business and professional directories, as well.

From the main German Genealogy Records page, you can browse by state (mistakenly labeled as Counties in the drop-down menu) and by time period. Or try searching for a name in the fields on the left side of the page.

The records include about 27 million names, according to the 24-7 Family History Circle blog, with most records from the late 1800s to mid-1900s.

World Deluxe Membership is required to access the digitized directories. Click here to search them.

International Genealogy | Public Records
Monday, March 10, 2008 2:46:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Maps of historic London
Posted by Grace

If your family hails from London (or you just like cartography), you'll love this site: the British Library's virtual exhibition of historical maps of the city.

The 40 historic plats are organized on a Google map, making it easy to determine what areas they represent. The maps and images are also divided by time period, and you can access a zoomable version to see them up close. I especially like the map from 1653 with the lengthy title "A guide for Cuntrey men In the famous Cittey of LONDON by the helpe of wich plot they shall be able to know how farr it is to any Street."

For more resources for researching your English roots, you can always refer to our Ethnic Toolkit. The University of Texas also has a large collection of historic British maps in its Perry-Castañeda Map Collection.


International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:25:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
What Is Census Soundex Microfilm?
Posted by Diane

In a recent Two-Second Survey, we asked FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum members whether they've looked up someone in a microfilmed census soundex index. Of the 351 respondents, 211 have. Another 46 said they've never needed to, and 83 weren't quite sure what it's for. (The rest picked “other.”)

For the 83 folks in that last group—and everyone else out there nodding their heads in curiosity—we’ve put together this little overview:

The Soundex system is a way of coding similar-sounding surnames to help you find ancestors whose names were misspelled in census records or indexes. You can use FamilyTreeMagazine.com's online Soundex generator to figure out the code for your surname—mine is H-330.

Once upon a time, genealogists would look through an actual card catalog, organized by state and then by Soundex code, for index cards with their family’s name. The cards looked like this (click to see one), and told you which census volume and sheet listed your family.

Eventually, the index cards were microfilmed. The National Archives and Records Administration and the Family History Library have Soundex film for all the states; many state archives, large public libraries and genealogical societies have Soundex film for their states, too.

Nowadays, census databases such as Ancestry.com’s ($155.40 per year) and HeritageQuest Online’s (free through many libraries) automatically search for surname spelling variations—that's why so many modern researchers haven't used Soundex.

But many genealogists swear by Soundex microfilm indexes for locating especially hard-to-find ancestors in census records. One of our Two-Second survey respondents commented that he or she never uses any other form of census index. There’s an endorsement!


Research Tips
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:00:52 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, March 04, 2008
NARA Posts Free Passenger Indexes Online
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has added passenger lists of Russian, German and Italian immigrants to its free Access to Archival Databases (AAD) service. (Irish passenger lists already were available here.)

Each collection consists mostly of immigrants who identified their nationality as Russian, German or Italian and arrived at the ports of New York, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans or Philadelphia during the 19th century.

The database for each nationality also contains some names of immigrants from other places. For example, 90 percent of people in the German records said they were from Germany or a “German” area—the other 10 percent came from elsewhere.

The data are from passenger list indexes created by the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. Keep in mind they’re not complete listings of all Russian, German, Italian or Irish immigrants.

For each collection, you'll see a Manifest Header Data File and a Passenger Data File. The search isn't the most intuitive we've ever seen, so get started with these tips:
1. From AAD, click Passenger Lists under Genealogy/Personal History. Then, click the Search button to the right of a Passenger Data File to look for an ancestor. (NARA calls the search terms you enter “values.”)
2. In your results, click View Record on the left to see first and last name, age, sex, occupation, last residence, destination and other information.
3. Use the ship manifest identification number to determine the port of arrival. Click View the FAQs and scroll to the chart showing ports and the range of manifest numbers assigned to each port’s records.
If you think you've found an ancestor, you can search the database for his or her passenger manifest identification number. That lets you see all passenger records from that ship—handy for finding traveling companions.
In the Manifest Header Data File, you can search for all ships with a particular manifest identification number, ship name, departure port or arrival date. For example, say you know your German ancestor arrived March 16, 1846. Click the Search button next to the German Manifest Header Data file and enter 03/16/1846 in the Arrival field. You'll get all the ships included in this database that arrived that day. Then you can go back to the Passenger Data File and search for the passengers on each ship.

I highly, highly recommend reading the FAQ document—each database has its own, linked at the top of the search screen. It’ll help you search the databases and understand your ancestor’s record.

Some places of origin or other data are difficult to interpret. You’ll want to see your ancestor’s orginal passenger list, which you can do on microfilm at major genealogy libraries, NARA facilities and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library. You can view records online through the subscription Web site Ancestry.com.


Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | International Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, March 04, 2008 10:21:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]