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# Thursday, July 31, 2008
Free Database of the Week: Irish Mariners
Posted by Diane

The tip for this free database comes from a post to the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum:

At Irish Mariners, researcher David Snook has built an index to 16,000 Irish-born merchant seamen who served between 1918 and 1921, and whose ID cards (called CR 10 cards) are in the Southampton (England) Civic Archives.

Irish Mariners index entries give the mariner’s name, ID number, birth date and place, next of kin and dates of voyages.

Snook also offers contact information and ordering tips for requesting photocopies of the original cards—which bear photos of the mariners—from the Southampton archives. It'll cost around 2.5 pounds (about $5) plus postage and possibly a research fee, depending on the information you provide.


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:58:25 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
101 Best Sites Highlight: LOC and Diigo
Posted by Diane

Among our 101 Best Web Sites for 2008, this week we're highlighting the Library of Congress and Diigo:
  • Diigo, short for Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff, is a tool that lets you highlight and annotate parts of Web pages for yourself or for sharing with other researchers. You can organize and search your bookmarks, and it all works in your favorite Web browser.

Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:20:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 30, 2008
UK Genetic Genealogy Patent Dispute Ends
Posted by Diane

A patent dispute between British genetic genealogy companies Oxford Ancestors (headed up by Seven Daughters of Eve author Bryan Sykes) and DNA Heritage ended in favor of the latter.

Oxford Ancestors obtained a UK patent for ““Method of using Y chromosome haplotyping in forensic and genealogic tests” in 2004 (it filed for the patent in 1999). The patent consisted of seven claims about the company’s Y-chromosome haplotype analysis and its use in surname and genetic genealogy research.

Oxford ancestors accused DNA Heritage two years ago of infringing upon its patent. In January, DNA Heritage asked the UK Intellectual Property Office to re-evaluate four of the claims, contending the science behind them wasn't sufficiently “novel and inventive” over previous genetic research.

In April, the office issued an opinion (subject to a subsequent three-month review period) that the four claims did not involve inventive steps.

"Other researchers had already shown the connection between surnames, Y-chromosomes and family history," says DNA Heritage president Alastair Greenshields. He added the finding would help keep genetic testing prices affordable because companies won't have to pay royalty fees for their tests.

We're currently seeking comment from Oxford Ancestors and will post it here.


Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:47:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 29, 2008
FamilySearch Answers Questions about Free Census Indexes
Posted by Diane

Since announcing joint US and English census projects with Ancestry.com and FindMyPast, FamilySearch has gotten questions from its record indexing volunteers, who want to know if the indexes they’re creating will continue to be free to the public.

FamilySearch released a statement today saying that “The answer is a resounding YES!”
 
“All data indexed by FamilySearch volunteers will continue to be made available for free to the public through FamilySearch.org—now and in the future,” says the statement sent by FamilySearch spokesperson Paul Nauta.  “Access to related digital images may not always be free to everyone.”

Why's that? Here’s the bottom line:
  • FamilySearch works within the needs of historical record custodians (such as governments, local and national archives, and historical societies) around the world.
  • Indexes will always be free at FamilySearch, even if the index costs elsewhere.
  • If FamilySearch is able negotiate with record custodians to get free access to record images for everyone online via the FamilySearch site, it will.
  • For some records, FamilySearch may only be able to negotiate free image access for visitors to the 4,500 worldwide Family History Centers (which are open to anyone), along with limited home access to FamilySearch members.
  • Those FamilySearch members eligible for limited home access to the restricted record images would include volunteer indexers who contribute a certain amount of work, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (whose tithes help keep FamilySearch operating).
Web developers are coming up with a way to verify the identity of FamilySearch members and expect to have it ready next year.
  • You also often can get free access to the record images by visiting the custodial repository.

census records | FamilySearch
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 1:31:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, July 28, 2008
Video Tour of Cincinnati Library Genealogy Center
Posted by Diane

We’re lucky enough to work up the road from an excellent research resource—the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Genealogy and Local History Department. It’s one of the biggest and best genealogy collections in the country. Our latest video tells you how a recent reorganization stands to benefit genealogists, and highlights resources that just might lead to ancestral answers in your tree.

You’ll find more video tours and how-tos on Family Tree Magazine’s You Tube Channel.


Libraries and Archives | Videos
Monday, July 28, 2008 3:10:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 25, 2008
Geni Says Goodbye to Beta, Hello to New Features
Posted by Diane

The free Los Angeles-based family networking site Geni, honored in May as one of Time magazine’s top 50 sites of 2008, has emerged from beta with new features including tree merging and video sharing.

Here’s how tree merging works: When you add an e-mail address to a profile, Geni looks for the address on existing trees. If found, the site sends a merge request to the person asking if they’d like the profiles merged. Conflict resolution tools help find and resolve duplicate people. Find more on tree merging in Geni’s online forum.

Video sharing is free and unlimited, with videos viewable only by your family. As with photos, you can tag videos by event name, creating a kind of virtual multimedia scrapbook of the event. Get more details—including supported file formats and browsers—on Geni’s Forum.

Other, smaller additions include a Recently Online notice of which family members have visited Geni recently, Tree Stats on your home page ,and a Complete Your Family module for inviting relatives to join you on Geni.

Former executives and early employees of such esteemed sites as PayPal, eGroups, eBay and Tribe launched privately held Geni in January 2007. Financial backing comes from venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.


Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, July 25, 2008 10:02:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, July 24, 2008
101 Web Sites: DNA and Mapping Tools
Posted by Diane

Two more great genealogy sites you should check out (for more recommendations, see the full list of this year’s 101 Best Web Sites):
  • GeneTree combines social networking and genetic genealogy. You can make profiles for yourself and your ancestors, keep track of DNA test results and search for matches. Use the site free even if you didn’t take advantage of  GeneTree’s testing services, which include both mitochondrial- and (as of this week) Y-DNA tests.
  • Search the USGS Geographic Names Information System for towns (even those no longer in existence), landmarks, waterways, cemeteries and more in this database of more than 2 million places. You can map any result using a variety of online tools.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:54:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Free Database of the Week: FBI Records on Footnote
Posted by Diane

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Federal Bureau of Investigation  July 26, historical records subscription service Footnote is making its collection of FBI Case Files free through the end of August.

The files date from 1908 to 1922 and number 2 million records that might hold some surprises for genealogists.

One 1918 case I happened across in the Miscellaneous Files category involved the discovery of a trunkful of whiskey at the Central Union Depot in downtown Cincinnati. A report named witnesses, the FBI agents who investigated, the man accused of shipping the trunk in violation of the Reed Amendment (which prohibited transporting alcohol to dry states), and the perpetrator's female accomplice. Later documents show the pair was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Other types of cases include
  • “Mexican Files,” 1909-1921: investigations of violations of Mexican neutrality
  • “Old German Files,” 1915-1920: records of German enemy aliens, sympathizers, and others suspected of disloyalty, mainly during World War I
  • Bureau Section Files, 1920-21: records transferred from the Department of Justice concerning violations of federal laws.
The original records are at the National Archives and Records Administration in Record Group 65.

Click here to search the FBI Case Files database (you also can get to the database using the See All Databases link on Footnote’s home page).


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 11:17:40 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 22, 2008
FamilySearch Cleans Up Well
Posted by Diane

If you haven't been to FamilySearch lately, go take a look—webmasters quietly changed the look of the home page last week.

Now it’s a lot cleaner, with a general search plus a pared-down list of links for the site’s research guides and other most-used resources.

As before, the general search here covers the Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, International Genealogical Index, Socal Security Death Index, Mexico and Scandinavian vital records, and the 1880 United States, 1881 British Isles, and 1881 Canadian censuses.

To find the indexes and record images coming out of the FamilySearch Indexing and Records Access initiativess, look under the Search Records pull-down menu and select Record Search Pilot. Eventually, this and other genealogy tools will be integrated into the main FamilySearch site.

You’ll find many of the links that previously cluttered the FamilySearch home page neatly stashed in the drop-down navigation menu or arranged at the bottom of the page.

Just FYI, many of the interior pages haven’t gotten the makeover treatment yet.


FamilySearch
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:15:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, July 21, 2008
FamilySearch Team to Make England and Wales Census Indexes Free
Posted by Diane

Thanks to another FamilySearch partnership, indexes to the 1841 and 1861 England and Wales censuses are now searchable free at FamilySearch.

Those are the first indexes made available under an agreement with British companies FindMyPast, the Origins Network and Intelligent Image Management. Other England and Wales censuses from 1841 to 1901 will follow this initial release.

For now, you can go to FamilySearch Record Search and do a free search of the 1841 and 1861 censuses on first and last names, age, sex, place of birth, and (for the 1861 census) relationship to head of household. In the future, you’ll be able to search on additional fields of data.

You can search the full indexes and view original images for free at FamilySearch’s Family History Centers, or for fee at FindMyPast, a subscription and pay-per-view records site.

FamilySearch, working with the Origins Network, will provide digital images for the 1851, 1871 and 1881 censuses. It will also enhance the 1871 Census index.

Findmypast.com will provide FamilySearch with copies of its English and Welsh Census indexes from 1841 to 1901. Members of England's Federation of Family History Societies will help complete the index for the 1851 Census.


FamilySearch | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Monday, July 21, 2008 11:35:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to Make US Censuses Free
Posted by Diane

The two largest organizations in genealogy are embarking on a resource-exchanging partnership that will put more records online—starting with US censuses.

Under the agreement, enhanced census indexes will be free for a limited time on Ancestry.com and permanently on FamilySearch. Record images will be available by subscription on Ancestry.com and free at FamilySearch’s 4,500 worldwide Family History Centers, as well as National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regional facilities.

FamilySearch, which is digitizing census records at NARA, will provide its record images to Ancestry.com. These newer images, created with more-recent technology, are of better quality than those available on Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com will give FamilySearch its indexes to censuses from 1790 to 1930. FamilySearch Indexing volunteers will use them as a “first draft,” double-checking information and adding data fields (such as birth month and year) to create an improved index.

FamilySearch volunteers already were indexing some censuses, following a two-pass, arbitrated system: Each record is indexed twice by different people; a knowledgeable third person resolves any differences in the versions. The volunteers have completed a 1900 census index, now free at FamilySearch Record Search.

These existing FamilySearch indexes will be merged with Ancestry.com’s indexes. (If a person’s name is indexed under different spellings, both spellings will remain.)

The partnership’s first exchange is the 1900 census. The improved record images are on Ancestry.com now; the merged index will become available in August. Other censuses will be released over the next several years as the images and indexes are completed.

The census indexes on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will link to record images on Ancestry.com. If someone without an Ancestry.com subscription clicks the image link, he’ll be prompted to join. Subscriptions cost $155.40 per year or $19.95 for a month.

Ancestry.com has long been the target of complaints about its census indexes, so the company and its subscribers will undoubtedly welcome the new-and-improved versions.

Friday, I had a chance to talk with representatives of both organizations, who agreed genealogists will appreciate the broader access to records, improved indexes and higher-quality digital images. On some record images, you even can see previously indiscernible notations, according to Ancestry.com vice president of content Gary Gibb.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, July 21, 2008 10:01:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]
# Sunday, July 20, 2008
GeneTree Adds Y-DNA Testing
Posted by Diane

GeneTree, a family history networking Web site where members can create profiles and explore their genetic genealogy, just added Y-DNA testing to its offerings.

A 33-marker test and a 46-marker test are available; prices start at $149 with discounts for those who’ve already ordered a mitochondrial DNA test through GeneTree.

Since men pass their Y-DNA to sons along with (usually) their surname, Y-DNA testing is helpful for confirming or disproving relationships between individuals with the same last name.

Y-DNA test-takers also can participate in surname studies (which GeneTree president Matt Cupal says the company will kick off in the near future) and enter test results in Y-DNA databases to look for matches.

Women—who don’t have Y-DNA—can participate by having a father, brother or male-line cousin or uncle take a test. For example, your father’s brother or the brother’s son could take a Y-DNA test and the results would apply to you.

Cupal says even though Y-DNA tests are more-used, GeneTree launched with mitochondrial DNA services because they apply to both men and women. (Women pass mitochondrial DNA to their offspring.)

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, whose mitochondrial DNA database you can search using GeneTree’s DNAvigator tool, also has amassed more mitochondrial- than Y-DNA results.

Right now DNAvigator searches 51,000 of SMGF’s 72,000 mitochondrial DNA results; that number will be increased in the coming month. Eventually, a new version of the DNAvigator will search both mitochondrial- and Y-DNA results.

Cupal says GeneTree has more than half a million profiles, which includes both living members and their ancestors.


Genetic Genealogy
Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:34:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 18, 2008
Ancestry.com Plans Free Public Webinar on New Search
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com is holding a giant public Webinar for anyone who wants to learn more about its new search experience. (A webinar is a real-time online class.) The session is July 30 at 8:30 pm EDT.

Since it was unveiled a few months ago, Ancestry.com’s new search experience has generated plenty of online commentary, much of it from people who had problems using it. At the beginning of July, director of product management Kendall Hulet told me 90 percent of people were still using the old search.

Looks like Ancestry.com is focusing on getting people comfortable with the new search interface. Geared toward intermediate and advanced researchers, the webinar will focus on how to use these tools:
  • record previews
  • image snapshots
  • refined searches
  • type-ahead features
  • global searches
  • advanced searches
  • filters
  • keyword searches
Hulet will do the instructing.

You don’t have to be a member of Ancestry.com to attend, but you do need to preregister at event.on24.com/r.htm?e=
112633&s=1&k=F61A5B2CBEC642037CADDF67687EA541. You’ll receive instructions about how to access the webinar and you’ll get reminder e-mails before the event.


Ancestry.com
Friday, July 18, 2008 9:36:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, July 17, 2008
101 Best Web Sites: Dutch and Civil War Resources
Posted by Diane

Here are details on two more of our 101 Best Web sites (see the rest on FamilyTreeMagazine.com):
  • Genlias, the enviable Dutch database, is a partnership of public archives in the Netherlands and overseas with nearly 45 million names extracted from some 10.8 million civil register records. (Death records enter the public domain after 50 years, marriage records after 75 years and birth records after 100 years.)
New here are statement of succession records (inheritance declarations used to calculate death duties) dating from 1808. You can get a list of available records by region, too.
  • Get a jump on your Civil War research at the National Park Service Civil War Home Page. The war's sesquicentennial commemoration isn’t until 2011 to 2015, but preparations have already begun. Now, you can learn about the war's beginnings in "Bloody Kansas" and link to additional online resources. Also get a timeline, find out about Civil War parks and more.


Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:21:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Effort Underway to Open 1926 Irish Census
Posted by Diane

The Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations (CIGO) wants the Irish government to open the country’s 1926 census ahead of schedule—as soon as possible, instead of in 2026, as Ireland’s 100-year restriction dictates.

CIGO has started an online petition to support the Genealogical Society of Ireland’s (GSI) soon-to-be published parliamentary bill dealing with the release of the 1926 census.

The group argues the 1926 census should be opened because “virtually every adult then living is now deceased” and the data recorded is similar to that available in civil registration and other records.

Members also point out the 1926 census would be particularly helpful to genealogists. Many of those enumerated were born before Irish civil registration began in 1864, and it was the first census in 15 years (the scheduled 1922 count was skipped due to the Irish Civil War).

Precedent favors opening the census, according to CIGO. “Public access to the 1901 and 1911 Irish census was established as early as 1961 . . . only 50 years after the 1911 census had been compiled.” (In the United States, censuses are opened 72 years after they're taken.)

The National Archives of Ireland is publishing the 1911 census online; so far, you can search records for Dublin. A partnership with Library and Archives Canada also calls for digitizing the 1901 census.

Until then, since there’s no microfilm index to the 1901 and 1911 censuses, find your ancestors using the advice in Sharon DeBartolo Carmack's March 2008 Family Tree Magazine Irish roots research guide:
To find the Family History Library (FHL) census microfilm with your ancestors’ county, first learn the district electoral division (DED). Find the DED in Townlands in 1901-1911 Censuses of Ireland, Listed by District Electoral Divisions, on FHL microfilm rolls 1544947 through 1544954. Then run a place search of the FHL catalog on the county and civil parish names, and look for a 1901 or 1911 census heading. Click on each title, then on View Film Notes to find the roll for the right DED. (You can rent FHL microfilm through a Family History Center near you.)
Click here to read more about the initiative and link to CIGO’s online petition.


census records | International Genealogy | Research Tips | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:12:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, July 14, 2008
Free Chicago Vital Records Search Goes Online
Posted by Diane

In the March 2008 Family Tree Magazine Branching Out news column, we reported the clerk’s office in Cook County, Illinois—home to Chicago—was digitizing vital records for an online index.

The project is finally finished, and you can search the index at the county's Genealogy Online Web site. Records date back to the 1880s (the Great Chicago Fire destroyed Cook County vital records from before 1871).

First, you’ll need a free site registration. Then you can search birth and death certificates (older than 75 and 50 years, respectively), and marriage licenses (older than 50 years) by name and optional year range, or year and file number.

Online genealogy guru Steve Morse has created an online form that gives you a sounds-like option for names.

Matches show the person’s name, the record date and file number, with an option to download a copy of the record from the clerk's office for $15.

You also could use the index information to order the microfilmed records from the Family History Library (run a keyword search of the online catalog on cook county and birth, marriage or death). The rental fee runs about $5 per roll; visit your local Family History Center to put in your request.

(Update: Click Comments below for expert tips on finding microfilmed Cook County vital records. Also, as a Family Tree Magazine E-mail Update newsletter reader pointed out, records are still being added to the CookCountyGenealogy database.)


Genealogy Web Sites | Public Records
Monday, July 14, 2008 9:20:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, July 11, 2008
New Source for British Parish Records
Posted by Diane

The UK fee-based data site FindMyPast.com is adding baptism, marriage and burial records from more than 1,000 parishes across Britain.

The records date as far back as 1538, making them valuable sources for research before civil registration began in 1837. You can search by surname across all the records without knowing where your ancestor lived.

Starting today, you can view more than over 15 million parish burial records and memorial inscriptions. A total of 7 million baptism, marriage and probate records will become available later this year.

The parish records are available with an Explorer subscription to FindMyPast.com, which costs 54.95 pounds ($109) for 6 months or 89.95 pounds ($178) for a year.

You also can search some English baptism and marriages through FamilySearch Labs' Record Search (scroll down and look under Vital Records).


Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, July 11, 2008 9:13:41 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 10, 2008
New Blog Series: 101 Best Web Sites Profiles
Posted by Diane

I’ll be highlighting two of our 101 Best Web Sites for genealogy (selected at random) each week right here. My math skills aren’t the greatest, but I figure at this rate, we’ll finish up in time to start next year’s list.
  • Let’s start with Documenting the American South, where the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill library publishes digitized texts, images and audio files.
We called this site one of the “Best for African-American Researchers” because of its strong African-American collections, including information on slavery, biographies and Southern black churches. But it covers a wide range of Southern history topics, including literature, North Carolinians in World War I, and southerners’ letters and other writings.
You’ll need to register with the site to search the name index. You see limited results for free; the cost to view full record entries starts at 5 pounds (that's about $10).
The September 2008 Family Tree Magazine (which hits newsstands next week) has the full 101 Best Web Sites list, or click through to them all from FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

And you can visit our Forum to nominate your favorite family history site for honors in 2009.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:20:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Ancestry.com Plays up New Search Experience
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com staffers have been working the PR circuit lately to promote the new "search experience" opened to the public this spring. Makes you wonder whether the old search will be shut down soon—after all, the company wouldn’t run the two searches side-by-side forever.

In an interview last week, product development manager Kendall Hulet told me about 90 percent of people still were using the old search. And on blogs including our own, Ancestry.com’s and the Ancestry Insider, most seem to prefer the old search.

Part of the issue may just be getting used to a new way of doing things, but Hulet knows there still room for improvement.
 
"There are bugs," he admitted, but emphasized you can use the Tell Us What You Think button to send feedback (comments specifically describing a problem are most helpful). The Ancestry Insider quizzed him about two bugs, including one that causes more false matches with the new search than the old.

I asked Hulet about that bar in the new search results that basically says you’ll be wasting your time if you continue looking at results. Why even include those far-fetched matches?

The warning is an attempt to help people who otherwise would spend hours clicking every single result, Hulet says, while also giving more-experienced users access to any record that has the remotest chance of being an ancestor. “What I suggest to people who don’t want to see all those results is to use more Exact terms in their search,” he added.

Something else to watch out for: In the advanced search, if you click the Exact box for one of your terms, the search won’t find records that don’t include that information. (Sorry for the double negative—say you choose Exact for a birth date. Your search won't pull up a newspaper engagement announcement that lacks birth information.)

Hulet couldn't say when the old search might go away. He did say something you'll be happy to hear—an improved search engine is in the works (though he cautioned the upgrade would take some time).
  
Hear more from Hulet about Ancestry.com's new search experience on DearMyrtle’s July 1 podcast.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:43:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [9]
# Tuesday, July 08, 2008
It's Getting Crowded In Here ...
Posted by Diane

There’s another Insider in the genealogy blogging world: Bruce Buzbee of the genealogy software company RootsMagic started his blog with a post called "The RootsMagic 'Insider.'"

He also announces "RootsMagic 4 is coming," which we didn’t doubt, but he sorta leaves us hanging on when. He does promise it’ll be the biggest upgrade ever, and all the changes will be revealed on the RootsMagic blog—in reverse order of magnitude.

The marketing brilliance is blinding! We'll be paying attention. He also included a good video about how to subscribe to blogs using a blog reader.


Genealogy Software
Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:02:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Sunday, July 06, 2008
Iowa's Libraries and Museums Assess Flood Damage
Posted by Diane

Freelance writer Dana Schmidt, of Ames, Iowa (you may remember her as a former Family Tree Magazine staffer), sent us this report about how the recent recording-setting floods have impacted libraries in her state:

Now that it’s been a couple weeks since rivers flooded parts of Iowa, we’re beginning to get a clearer picture of how devastating damages are in some libraries, and how other libraries escaped the worst.

In hard-hit Cedar Rapids, where the Cedar River crested at about 31 feet—nearly 20 feet over flood stage, beating the former high set in June 1851—nearly 5 feet of water submerged theground floor of the Cedar Rapids Public Library. According to a State Library of Iowa report, floodwaters rose three bookshelves high and humid conditions have contributed to the loss of the library’s entire adult book collection. The Cedar Rapids Gazette also reports magazines, journals and reference books, which were housed on the ground floor, are likely ruined, and the library may remain closed for a year

The Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids also suffered. Ten feet of water surrounded the building and rose to the ceiling inside. According to the state library, about 20 percent of the museum’s artifacts were removed before the flood, but little of the remaining collection will be salvageable. Museum staff continues to update the Web site with recover news.

Inside Iowa’s New Hartford Public Library (near Waterloo), 18 inches of water covered the floor; it’s expected the building will need to be gutted. The library lost 82 percent of its collection.

In Iowa City, the University of Iowa’s Main Library managed to keep its collection dry, despite basement flooding. Cedar Rapids’ African-American Museum also was affected, but more than 90 percent of its collection is expected to survive. The museum's online flood timeline tells about the museum’s collection preservation efforts.

Do you live in Iowa? click Comments (below) to tell us what you saw.


Libraries and Archives | Museums
Sunday, July 06, 2008 4:42:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Thursday, July 03, 2008
No Sign of a Cherry Tree
Posted by Diane

Archaeologists believe they've discovered George Washington’s boyhood home on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Virginia.

For three years, they’ve been excavating foundations, stone-lined cellars and other remains of what’s likely an eight-room, one-and-a-half story residence.

Those characteristics, as well as artifacts—wine bottles, figurines, wig curlers, a clay pipe with a Masonic crest (the first president was a Mason), and more—led to the conclusion the house is indeed that of Washington’s family.

One thing missing: Any hint of the cherry tree young George supposedly confessed to whacking down.

Read the full story in the New York Times.


Social History
Thursday, July 03, 2008 5:29:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Quick Look: Resources for Revolutionary War Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate the birthday of the United States, here’s a quick look at resources for learning about ancestors who witnessed our country’s struggle into existence:
  • Revolutionary War veterans’ pension files are digitized on HeritageQuest Online, available free through many public libraries. (For pension files longer than 10 pages, this collection contains just the genealogically significant documents.)
  • In Footnote’s Revolutionary Era Collection, you’ll find the full pension files, plus Revolutionary War muster rolls and service records. You’ll need a subscription to access those, but many historical documents here are free, including Constitutional Convention records and George Washington’s correspondence.
Many of these warrants awarded land in what’s now Kentucky and Ohio; the Kentucky Land Office made its records free online.
  • Check out these genealogy and history Web sites, too:
Archiving Early America
(Documents and maps from 18th-century America)
The Battle of Bunker Hill

Charters of Freedom: Declaration of Independence

GenealogyGems Fourth of July Podcast
(A special episode filled with historic speeches and nostalgic patriotic tunes)

Hargrett Rare Map Collection: Revolutionary America

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

NewEnglandAncestors.org
Click Comments (below) to add your own favorite Revolutionary War-era research resources.


Genealogy Web Sites | Military records | Research Tips
Thursday, July 03, 2008 8:39:02 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Fourth of July Sale!
Posted by Grace

Want to experience some genealogical fireworks? Our State Research Guides CD will spark your US research—and for a limited time, get 20% off, plus free shipping! You can save on any Family Tree Magazine CD with this special offer, good only through Wednesday, July 9. Take advantage of the Fourth of July Sale by visiting our store and entering the coupon code FAM4TH when indicated during the order process; the discount will be applied at checkout.

Here's what you'll save:

State Research Guides CD
Retail: $49.99 Sale: $39.99
Contains how-to guides and recommended resources for genealogy in all 50 US states, plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

2006 Annual CD
Retail: $24 Sale: $19.20
Includes all six regular issues plus the Genealogy Guidebook special issue.

2007 Annual CD
Retail: $20 Sale: $16
Contains five issues plus a bonus family tree chart and directory.

International Genealogy Passport
Retail: $12.95 Sale: $10.36
Features a region-by-region directory of resources to trace your roots anywhere in the world, plus our 2005 Sourcebook special issue.

Click here to visit the shop.


Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 4:26:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
A Match Made in History
Posted by Diane

How cute is this story? Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross—or rather, two people who impersonate them in Philadelphia—have fallen in love, and they’re getting hitched the day before the Fourth of July.


J. Smith for GPTMC

The lovebirds beneath the costumes are Ralph Archbold, a nationally recognized Ben Franklin re-enactor, and Linda Wilde, who often appears as Betsy Ross.

What better place for Ben and Betsy to wed than Independence Hall? The couple will dress in Colonial attire and exchange vows in a public ceremony there. Then they’ll head to a private reception at the old City Tavern, one of Benjamin Franklin's favorite restaurants.

The pair met last Sept. 1, when Wilde begged Archbold to give a friend’s wedding toast as Franklin. They talked history at the event, and Archbold later called Wilde in search of a last-minute Betsy Ross.

The rest is history.


Genealogy fun
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 9:08:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Listen Up: Podcast Episode 2 is Live!
Posted by Grace

Have you already checked out the Family Tree Magazine Podcast? Episode 2 is live today, and features a sneak peek at the September issue, news from the blogosphere, an inside look at our 101 Best Web Sites awards with David A. Fryxell, plus news about WeRelate, genealogy "wikis" and the Mid-Continent Public Library's new Midwest Genealogy Center.

New to podcasts? It's easy peasy! Click the "Listen to this episode" link following the episode summary. Your browser will open a new window or tab displaying a bar that allows you to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind through the episode. (You can also read our Podcast Primer for step-by-step instructions.) Watch for a new episode every month!

In related news, we're thrilled that DearMYRTLE featured the premiere episode of our podcast in the latest installment of her Best of the Internet for Genealogists awards. If you haven't listened to episode 1, just follow this link to listen. And we can't help but give a plug to DearMYRTLE's own podcast—check it out on her Web site.


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 4:28:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]