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# Monday, 29 June 2009
New Online Local History Collection Launches for Libraries
Posted by Diane

A local history-focused genealogy database may be coming soon to a library near you.

Arcadia Publishing and the electronic publisher Alexander Street Press have launched a new site called Local and Regional History Online: A History of American Life in Images and Texts.

It’ll eventually contain more than a million photos, postcards and maps, plus stories of immigrants, laborers and newsmakers, from all over the United States and some parts of Canada. They're from Arcadia’s 5,000 photo-rich local history books. Click here to see titles of books included so far.

If your library subscribes, you'll be able to use Local and Regional History Online at the library or from home through the library’s Web site.

You can search texts for a name or other term, or search for a book title, author, place it’s about, subject, “featured” person, historical event, date range, organization name or ethnic group. You also can browse these categories.

I was lucky enough to try out the search. If you get to use the site, search for ancestors’ names, but also try names of churches, schools, parks, organizations, employers, neighborhoods, streets, ethnic groups, events and other topics.

This may be a glitch, but my search results didn’t link directly to the page with the match—instead, I was taken to the main page for the book with the matching term. Then I searched again to go to the right page.

Note that many Arcadia books are available for limited preview in Google Book Search, which is how I found this 1920s photo of my great-grandmother’s house in Bellevue, Ky.

Learn more about Local and Regional History Online here. Thanks to Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack for this tip.

Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Social History
Monday, 29 June 2009 16:10:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilyLink Ponders GenSeek Road Show
Posted by Diane

Paul Allen, CEO of FamilyLink, has posted a request for “GenSeekers,” people willing to step out of their lives for a year and drive around the country to meet with genealogists and archivists in small communities. The goal: raise awareness of GenSeek.

GenSeek is a forthcoming site that’s a partnership between FamilyLink and FamilySearch. The site is expected to feature a Web 2.0 version of the Family History Library catalog, along with the opportunity for libraries and other repositories to list their own content.

You can get a notification when GenSeek is ready for launch by entering your e-mail address here.

The GenSeek partnership was announced at the National Genealogical Society Conference in May 2008. This past March, FamilyLink president Steve Nickle gave genealogy Gems Podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke late May as a target release date.

If Allen’s vision works out, the GenSeekers will have all expenses paid, be outfitted with mobile technology, and have a team back at the office to help plan meetings and publish the seekers’ findings. But will the Genseekers have anything to demo?

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 29 June 2009 11:14:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Bringing the Family History to the Reunion
Posted by Diane

This weekend we drove out to southeastern Indiana for my dad’s mom’s family reunion on the dairy farm my grand-uncle and -aunt started in 1934.

With so many new faces showing up at this every-other-year affair, it gets hard to keep track of who’s who. I loved my grand-aunt's generationally color-coded system for creating name tags:

Above is my husband’s name tag, with my grandma’s name in green (her brother and his wife owned the farm), my dad in black, and my own and my husband’s names in blue.

I also got to add Greg to one of the genealogy charts she hung up around the room.

She also brought old family photos and snapshots from past reunions.

Activities included catching up ...

getting to know the local residents ...

and playing basketball by the barn, at least for awhile.

If you’ve got a reunion coming up, check out these tips on bringing your family history into the picture and these recommended resources.

Celebrating your heritage | Family Reunions
Monday, 29 June 2009 09:13:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Friday, 26 June 2009
Genealogy News Corral: June 22-26
Posted by Diane

Here are some of the news items we rounded up this week:
The conference is Sept. 2-5 in Little Rock, Ark.
  • The New England Historic and Genealogical Society is organizing a few genealogy research trips, led by expert genealogists. Groups are headed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, July 12-19; the NEHGS Library in Boston Aug. 10-15; Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 20-27; and Salt Lake City Oct. 25-Nov. 1.
Find more details and prices on NEHGS’ events calendar.
  • Keep an eye on Miriam Midkiff's city directories portal Online City, County and Rural Directories. This week, she's added links to directories from more than a dozen US states and several Canadian provinces.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Friday, 26 June 2009 15:13:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
New Live Roots Tools Manage Your Genealogy Research Projects
Posted by Diane

Genealogy Today enhanced its Live Roots genealogy metasearch site—one of our 101 Best Web sites for genealogy in 2009—with tools that help you manage your research projects.

We told you a bit about these about last month. The new tools will help you keep track of resources you turn up using Live Roots, as well as your offline searches.

For the site to remember your research information, you first need a free Team Roots membership. Then you can use the project management tools via four new buttons that appear throughout the site:
  • Follow: bookmarks resources

  • Comment: lets you comments on resources

  • Record: keep a research log of Live Roots and other searches

  • Share: e-mail notices about resources to friends and family
You can create as many projects as you want—say, one for your mom’s grandfather, who seems to have disappeared between 1885 and 1900; another for your dad’s paternal line in New England; a third for your spouse’s Missouri family; and so on. Within each project, you can track your:
  • Recent Activity: a running history of your interaction with Live Roots features

  • Ancestor Notecards: profiles of your brick wall ancestors, which remain are accessible throughout Live Roots (so you don’t have to retype the name every time you search)

  • Related Resources: items you’ve "followed", so you can quickly revisit them; you can search across the transcriptions you’ve followed

  • Research History: your research log

  • Personal Library: catalog your own private collection

  • Research Notepad: a simple way record miscellaneous genealogy notes, such as a to-do list or the phone number for the library in Granddad’s hometown

  • External Resources: lets you configure links to your research activities on other sites, such Flickr or Twitter
See more information on Live Roots’ new project management tools here.

Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Friday, 26 June 2009 10:55:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 25 June 2009
Free: Search Louisiana Obituary Index 1804-1972
Posted by Diane

The Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index is now online at the New Orleans Public Library Web site.

The database has references to obituaries and death notices published in New Orleans newspapers from 1804 to 1972, and biographical information from older Louisiana biography collections.

You can use three options to find a name in the database:
  • Use the basic search form (below) to search by surname, first and middle names, and the death date. You can use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard at the beginning or end of a name. A Browse button by each field lets you select from an alphabetical listing of all available terms for that field. The Search button is at the bottom of the form.

  • Click the Advanced Search link to add age, birth date, cause of death and other terms.
  • At the bottom of the basic search form, click a letter of the alphabet to browse entries for surnames beginning with that letter. (I wasn’t able to get any of these surname listings to load.)
Matches give you the publication name, date and page number where you can find the original obituary or biographical information. Click Ordering Obituaries for instructions on requesting the item (the cost is $2 per item).

The index is from the New Orleans Public Library's card file of more than 650,000 names. Putting it online was a nearly-10-year endeavor of the library and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Free Databases | Libraries and Archives | Newspapers | Vital Records
Thursday, 25 June 2009 13:55:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 24 June 2009 Launches Expert Connect
Posted by Diane

Just wanted to let you know that’s ExpertConnect service, which we gave you some details on last month, is live at

Project manager Lane Hancock says more than 400 genealogists have registered to provide genealogy services ranging from quick lookups to broad research projects. Experts who've registered to provide custom research must fulfill several qualifications.

Here’s what the site looks like:

Click Start a Project to begin the process of deciding what type of service you need and requesting bids from registered experts.

Or use the Find an Expert link (on th eleft side of the page) to search for specific experts to start a project with. You'll be able to select the type of service you need and the associated geographic location, heritage or religion, time period and/or repository. You'll get a list of experts who've indicated expertise in the options you selected. Click a name to see the person's profile.

Use the My Projects area to keep track of projects you've started.

It’s free to search the experts. After you've selected an expert for your project, you submit funds for the estimated cost to They’re held until the project is completed, then released to the expert.

See the Expert Connect FAQs for more on how the service works.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 17:36:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
Genealogists Jam the Jamboree This Weekend
Posted by Diane

The genealogy world is on the move. Judging from all the blog posts and tweets, a whole bunch of you are headed to Burbank, Calif., for the Southern California Genealogical Society’s (SCGS) Jamboree 2009.

Attendees can choose from nearly 100 lectures, including a workshop from our Photo Detective, Maureen A. Taylor. Ethnic research classes focus on the British Isles, with others on Eastern European, Italian and African American ancestors.

The Small, Small World facilitated roundtable discussions on Saturday afternoon let folks exchange tips about researching overseas ancestors.

Blogger Summit 2:  Son of Blogger—the sequel to last year’s inaugural meeting for genealogy bloggers—features leading bloggers including Lisa Louise Cooke, Dick Eastman, George G. Morgan and others.

The free exhibit hall will be packed with database and software companies, publishers, societies and other genealogy service providers. Stop by the Family Tree Magazine booth (#118) to meet Cooke, who hosts both the Family Tree Magazine podcast and the Genealogy Gems podcast, and pounce on show specials for how-to genealogy helps.

Registration costs $90 for all three days; and $45 or $50 for a single day. (SCGS members get discounts.)

There are some free sessions on Friday morning: a Librarians’ Boot Camp, Kids’ Family History Camp, and beginning genealogy classes.

For more details and updates, see the Jamboree home page and blog.

Genealogy Events
Wednesday, 24 June 2009 10:25:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 23 June 2009
CNN Site Explores African-American Family Histories
Posted by Diane

CNN iReporter Neal Kelley, of Lawrenceville, Ga., has traced his African American family’s roots to his great-grandfather, a slave in Louisiana in 1842, and he’s hoping to discover his ancestors’ African homeland.

The story of Kelley’s genealogical explorations is part of the Journeys section on CNN’s Black in America Web site.

As you listen to Kelley and other iReporters talk about their families, you see their ancestors’ migrations on a map and a slideshow of family documents and photos.

You also can hover over states on the map for statistics on African-American residents now and then.

Click the surnames above the map to see each family’s story. Click Nation for an overview of historical African-American migrations by era. Use the Submit or see all link at the bottom of the page to share your own photos and videos.
African-American roots
Tuesday, 23 June 2009 13:22:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 22 June 2009
Footnote Rates to Rise
Posted by Diane

Footnote spokesperson Justin Schroepfer tells us that starting August 1, the historical records service is raising its annual subscription rate by $10, to $79.95.

But there's a limited-time special for basic (free) members who want to subscribe and current subscribers who want to renew. Until the end of July, those folks can subscribe or renew for a year at $59.95.

See the special offer page here.

Monday, 22 June 2009 13:00:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 19 June 2009
Genealogy News Corral: June 15-19
Posted by Diane

Passing on these genealogy news bits we rounded up this week.
  • The Connecticut State Library, which is facing a staff reduction due to the state's Retirement Incentive Plan, will be closed on Mondays for the summer. Starting July 1, the library’s new hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • After record additions throughout the first half of the year, the site (developed by subscription and pay-per-view site with the British national archives) now has the complete 1911 census for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It also includes full details of British Army personnel and their families stationed overseas.
Read more about in our post from last week.
  • The free FamilySearch Record Search pilot added 6 million new records this week, including Louisiana and Idaho death records; the 1920 census for Delaware, the District of Columbia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and New Mexico; and digital images of church records were also added for Mexico (the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur).
  • We hear that is almost ready for beta testing. Founder Barry Ewell said the launch was delayed until late summer to expand the site’s educational resources and take advantage of better technology to improve user experience.

FamilySearch | Free Databases | Libraries and Archives | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 19 June 2009 14:11:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 18 June 2009
See Great Depression, WWII Videos on Archives' YouTube Channel
Posted by Diane

Look for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to launch a YouTube channel tomorrow (June 19) in conjunction with its 75th anniversary celebration.

We should see some fascinating footage released over the coming weeks: videos documenting the “space race” and Moon landing, a series on NARA’s presidential libraries, US Department of War WWII reels, and Department of the Interior Great Depression footage.

Tune in tomorrow at (the channel isn't available quite yet).

Libraries and Archives | Videos
Thursday, 18 June 2009 16:37:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Preview of's Member Connect
Posted by Diane

This is an update to yesterday's post about's soon-to-be-released Member Connect feature. has posted a Member Connect preview page. I also have some screen shots of what the service will look like. These are mock-ups, so they may be a little different from what you see when Member Connect launches in a month or two.

The new record viewer (below) has a panel showing who's edited and saved the record you're looking at. You also can use the panel to comment on the record.

When thinks a person in someone else's tree matches someone in your tree, you can view a page like this one, showing information on the potential match from the other tree. New and conflicting information is highlighted; you can choose to ignore it, use it to replace your own information, or add it as alternate information.  

This is the Member Connect recent activity panel that will appear on your home page. It shows your connections' recent family tree updates and saved hints relating to common ancestors. | Social Networking
Thursday, 18 June 2009 09:43:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 17 June 2009
101 Best Web Sites for Genealogy in 2009
Posted by Diane

Our 2009 list of 101 Best Web Sites for genealogy is now online!

For this year's edition of our annual list, we went with 10 categories of 10 sites each, plus one site (maybe you can guess which one) that’s in its own class. We also turned the focus a bit more to the Web 2.0 sites that are changing how you do online genealogy.

We also adjusted our system for indicating free and fee-based sites: Sites that are mostly free but for which you might eventually get out your credit card for some thing or another are marked by one dollar sign ($). Subscription sites and those where you must pay for any meaningful content get a double dollar sign ($$).

Go on over to the list and click through to these great genealogy resources. Got any favorites you’d add, or beefs with any of our picks? Post your feedback to our 101 Best Sites forum.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:52:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Networking Features Coming Soon to
Posted by Diane

I got a preview yesterday of’s new Member Connect feature, a collection of social networking tools that will roll out in the next month or two along with the new image viewer.

The idea behind Member Connect, explained product manager David Graham, is to put you in touch with others who are interested in the same family lines.

Some aspects, such as being able see who's commented on records, are similar to those on records site Footnote.

Member connect has a few components integrated into searches and family trees:
  • When you search and view a record, you'll see member names of users who’ve edited the record (for example, by entering an alternate transcription of the name), or saved the record to a tree or shoebox.
You’ll also get suggestions for related message boards (such as the Roberts surname board for your search on Jeremiah Roberts) and people who’ve listed related research interests in their profiles (for example, others looking for Robertses in Muncie, Ind.). Then you can visit that person’s tree or contact him through the site.
  • A tab in your member tree will show you other members’ ancestors who may match people in your tree. If the match looks promising, a Connect button links the trees and shows you more details—including buttons highlighting new or conflicting information. You can remove the connection altogether, or click the buttons to decide what to do with each fact: keep the new information out of your tree, it as an alternate fact, or use it to replace your information.
You also can contact the member with the matching tree through to thank him or ask about any errors. This way, the “good data” in trees will become more prominent than erroneous data, Graham says.
  • As you link to others’ trees, you build a network of researchers—called “connections”—who share your genealogical interests. More tabs show you your connections’ activity related to people common to both trees, including updated information and records and new records added.
Graham promises will respect your privacy if you don’t want people to see whether you’ve saved a record to your shoebox or added someone new to your tree. You’ll be able to set privacy preferences in your account profile.

People on your trees whom believes are living (no death date and born less than a hundred or so years ago) won’t show up as potential matches.

Update: We've added Member Connect screen shots and a link to's preview page here. | Social Networking
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:21:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
Chronicling America Helps You Find Even More Old Newspapers
Posted by Diane

We’re big fans of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, where you can both search digitized newspapers published in 11 states and Washington, DC, between 1880 and 1922, and search a directory of historical newspaper titles by date and place.

I used the directory to compile a list of papers that might have articles naming my Bowie County, Texas, ancestor in 1913 and 1914. It even gave me information on repositories that hold each title, which years they have, and whether the paper’s on microfilm or in print.

The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, partners in the National Digital Newspaper Program, awarded new digitization grants to the University of Illinois, Urbana; Kansas State Historical Society; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; Montana Historical Society; Oklahoma Historical Society; University of Oregon, Eugene; and University of South Carolina, Columbia.

That means you’ll start seeing newspapers from these states on Chronicling America. The site recently added its 1 millionth newspaper page; a number that eventually will grow to 20 million pages dating back to 1836.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 09:35:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Hear Family History News and Tips in Our Free Podcast
Posted by Diane

Our June 2009 Family Tree Magazine Podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, is now online and ready for you to tune in.

This month, Family Tree Magazine editors and expert contributors deliver the scoop on
  • upcoming genealogy events—just in time for summer conference season
  • options for hiring genealogists to help with research tasks big and small
  • ways to genealogically capitalize on family reunions
  • what’s new at Swedish data site Genline
  • the truth behind heraldic myths
See the show notes and have a listen (it's free!) on or click here to subscribe.

Podcasts | Research Tips
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 09:27:53 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Rocky Mountain Genealogy High
Posted by Diane

Our adventurous editor Allison Stacy traveled to the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colo. (north of Denver), June 12 and 13, where she ran the Family Tree Magazine booth.

Visitors could take advantage of show specials on CDs, a drawing for our State Research Guides and Passport to Europe CDs, and free magazines and handouts.

Unique at the Expo was a Blogger Bistro and Twitter Café, where attendees could use workstations and watch conference events on a big-screen tv. Read what the designated “Bloggers of Honor” had to say at Arlene H. Eakle’s Genealogy Blog, HistoricalTownMaps (Bernie Gracy), Becky’s Grace and Glory (Becky Jamison) and Family Tree Climbing (Sarah Strong).

You also can watch video interviews from this and other Expos here and see the schedule of upcoming Family History Expos here.

The Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Allison reports, is brand-new, convenient and super-nice (and, she was told, one of only two places in Colorado to serve buffalo fries).

The Rocky Mountains were tantalizingly close.

Genealogy Events | Videos
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 09:06:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 15 June 2009
Flexible Family Trees Among Arcalife Features
Posted by Diane

We recently got a guided tour of Arcalife, a family tree-building site based in Britain that launched in beta at February’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London. The site is growing by as many as 3,000 members a month, and is gaining a foothold on this site of the Atlantic.

You get 500 MB of storage with a free account. Paid accounts come with more storage and features.

I’ve been playing around with Arcalife, and though (as for most any beta site) some functions are under construction, it looks promising. You can or will be able to do some cool things, including:
  • Build a flexible family tree with people on “nodes” you can move around to change the shape of your tree. You can add siblings, step-parents, partners and other family members who wouldn’t make it onto traditional trees, and set up a profile for each one. You also can modify two individuals’ relationship.

  • Print your tree with an easy-to-use tool that lets you resize the tree, print on multiple pages, and see where the edges of pages will fall.

  • Invite relatives to add to their Life Archives (or you can do so on behalf of deceased people) by following writing prompts designed to tease out everything from “Rules We Live By” to “First Real Job.”

  • Also under Life Archives, fill out Life Experiences for your ancestors and use them to generate a scrolling timeline set to music. (The timeline feature is “limited” for free accounts.)

  • Create a memoir in easy chunks by answering a series of questions.

  • Upload photos and video in the Media Archive (under Life Showcases) and turn them into a gallery or “Life Cube” slideshow (also limited for free accounts). You can import photos from Facebook and other social networking sites.

  • Search the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot and the rest of the Web from within Arcalife.

  • Generate a virtual time capsule of images and stories, choose people to send it to and designate a future date to unlock it.

  • You’ll eventually be able to use fee-based services for conducting oral history interviews, printing large family trees, converting photos or videotapes to digital and more.

Genealogy Web Sites | Social Networking
Monday, 15 June 2009 13:53:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 12 June 2009
Stop by the Colorado Family History Expo
Posted by Grace

Our fearless editor, Allison Stacy, is in Loveland, Colo., this weekend for the Colorado Family History Expo, of which Family Tree Magazine is a sponsor. The weekend is jam-packed with sessions. Click here to see the whole listing.

If you're in the area and want to stop by, you can still register at the door; admission is $85 for both days or $45 for a single day. And make sure to visit us at booth 110!

Genealogy Events
Friday, 12 June 2009 10:10:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 10 June 2009
10 Ways to Use Twitter for Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Twitter isn’t just a place to exchange meaningless thoughts in 140 characters or fewer. For plenty of people, it’s a place to meet and learn from people who share your interests. Genealogy, for example.

Here’s how family historians can use Twitter in their research:

1. Find other genealogists. Click Find People to search for folks with genealogy in their username. If you regularly read a blog, look on the blog for a link to Twitter. Once you find people you like following, see who they follow (listed on the right side of the person's Twitter profile).

2. Learn about research resources. Many bloggers (including yours truly) feed their posts to Twitter, so you click the "tweet" to see the whole post. You’ll also pick up tips in people’s tweets about the latest records they’ve found.

3. Get opinions on genealogy Web sites and products.

4. Ask questions. You can just throw it out to your followers, or direct your question to someone using @ and the user name, like this: @FamilyTreeMag.

5. Be heard by people who work at genealogy companies. Use Find People to search for the company name.

6. Get links to how-to advice. Tweets are 140 characters at most, but people often link to helpful articles they’ve found online.

7. Hear about industry news. It’s like having thousands of eyes and ears looking for even obscure and not-yet-announced stories. If you see RT in a tweet, that means someone is repeating the tweet of someone he or she follows—you can see how the news gets around.

8. See how funny genealogists can be. One to follow: @TheGenealogue

9. Find events. Genealogy societies, libraries, museums, and conferences often tweet upcoming events.

10. Get cheap stuff. Many companies use Twitter to publicize sales and giveaways (some are exclusive to Twitter followers). Online backup service @Mozy, for example, has regular Twitter giveaways.

To sign up for a Twitter account, go to and click Get Started—Join. Then follow Family Tree Magazine at @FamilyTreeMag.

Research Tips | Social Networking
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 15:53:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Search Four Canadian Census Indexes Free Online
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has added indexes to the 1851, 1861, and 1871 Canada Census to its record search site (click North America on the map, then scroll down to the list of Canadian records).

The 1881 census already was online, and plans are in place to add the 1891 census.

All are the products of a three-way partnership: provided indexes to the 1851 and 1891 censuses, and FamilySearch created indexes for the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses. (Both sites offer these indexes.) The originals are housed at Library and Archives Canada.

Information in these census might include your ancestor's name, age, birthplace, religion, occupation, residence and ethnicity. Some information on the records is in French.

Note that FamilySearch has posted only the indexes, not the record images. It will eventually release record images to “qualified FamilySearch members.” (I believe this means volunteer indexers who’ve indexed a certain number of records.)

If you find ancestors in the free FamilySearch index for the 1851 census, you can use the location information to find those folks in the unindexed 1851 census images at the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site. (The Canadian Genealogy Centre also has 1901, 1906 and 1911 census images, but you must know about where your ancestor lived to use them.)

The Family History Library also has the records on microfilm (run a Keyword search of the online catalog on Canada census). You can rent the film through your local Family History Center.

The digitized records also are available on the subscription sites and (which also have the 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916 censuses). | Canadian roots | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 12:30:53 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 09 June 2009
1911 Wales Census Is Now Online
Posted by Diane has added the 1911 Wales census to, its partner site with the British national archives. The census lists 2.4 million Welsh residents.  

You can search the index by person or place, then purchase credits redeemable for viewing a transcription of the record (10 credits), or the record itself (30 credits).

Due to high demand, Britain's 1911 census records are being made public as each region’s census is digitized, ahead of the previously scheduled 2012 release date (with some sensitive information about illnesses and the children of women prisoners held back).

The first release was in January. In addition to Wales, records for all England’s counties are now online.

census records | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, 09 June 2009 12:36:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Familyrelatives Adds British Landowner Records
Posted by Diane

British database site added Britain’s Victorian “Doomsday Book” showing who owned land in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland more than 100 years ago.

The book, published in 1873, includes landowner returns that provide the name and address of every owner, the amount of land held, and the yearly rental valuation of holdings that are larger than an acre.

More than 320,000 landowners owned an acre or more, representing 1 percent of the population of the United Kingdom at the time. Nearly 850,000 owned less than an acre. London was excluded from the returns.

To search, click the Search tab on Familyrelatives' home page, then scroll down to the Land Records heading and choose a country.

The Doomsday records are available only with a subscription (about $50 a year); not as a pay-per-view option.

Genealogy Web Sites | Land records | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, 09 June 2009 09:46:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 08 June 2009
The Mystery of the Stray Headstone
Posted by Diane

About a year ago, a headstone appeared on the side of a road in the city of Weed, Calif.

Jennifer Bryan, a member of the Siskiyou County Genealogical Society in Yreka, Calif., is trying to find out where it belongs. The stone has never been set into concrete, she says, but it is engraved:
William C. Vann
Dec., 7, 1910 - May 5, 1972
“We’ve checked with all the local cemeteries, monument stone carvers and funeral homes, and haven’t been able to local where this headstone belongs,” Jennifer writes. “We realize this may be a ‘rejected’ headstone, or perhaps it was lost in shipping and the engraver has created a new one for the family by now.”

But in case William C. Vann’s family (or maybe a delivery truck driver who got in a bit of hot water) is wondering what became of his headstone, Jennifer and her fellow society members are asking for your help.

Anyone researching a Vann family, possibly in California, that William may have belonged to? Got a theory how the stone came to be on the roadside? Click Comments (below) to post here.

Here’s a photo of the stone:

Cemeteries | Genealogy societies | Vital Records
Monday, 08 June 2009 12:17:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [18]
Heirloom Webinar Discount Expires Tonight
Posted by Allison

Attention, coupon clippers: Today is your last chance to save $10 off registration in our next webinar, Heirloom Preservation Made Easy.

Use coupon code yc72fk78cr when you sign up to get the early bird price of $39.99. The coupon expires at midnight Eastern daylight time today, June 8. The webinar will take place June 24 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Although it's easy to get caught up in the challenges of research, this session focuses on a subject we often don't pay enough attention to until a precious memento is lost or ruined. Don't let that happen to you!

Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Events | Webinars
Monday, 08 June 2009 12:01:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 05 June 2009
Sale on Genealogy CDs, Downloads and Books
Posted by Diane

I’m letting it slip about the sale on genealogy how-to CDs (including the much-coveted State Research Guides CD), digital downloads and books in our MyCraftivity online store.

But you'll need the secret code!

When you’re ready to check out, enter FTSUMMER15 in the Special Offers box, and we'll take 15 percent off your entire order. That’s on top of the sale prices already in effect for most items—so, for example, the aforementioned State Research Guides CD becomes $32.30 (regular price is $49.99).

The code expires June 12, so start shopping.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Friday, 05 June 2009 14:54:16 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Genealogy News Corral, June 1-5
Posted by Diane

Got several genealogy news items to cover this week, so without further ado:
Get more details on the site in this Genealogy Insider blog post.
  • Millions of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services' alien case files (also called A-files) dating from 1944 and later were signed over to the National Archives (records will be relocated to the National Archives’ San Francisco and Kansas City facilities later this year).
Henceforth, USCIS can forward files 100 years after the birth date of the person whose file it is. The USCIS press office tells me you’ll still be able to order the 1944-to-1951 A-files through the USCIS Genealogy Program (through which you also can order naturalizations and alien registrations).
  • Subscription site is letting you preview upcoming changes to the family tree pages—to see them, click Family Trees on's home page, then click the light blue bar at the top that says “Check out the new look.” (You must have a tree on to see the preview.)
The new look will make pages load faster, be easier to navigate and display more information, says Kenny Freestone on the blog. Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings describes the changes in detail. | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 05 June 2009 13:46:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 04 June 2009
Newest General Land Office Records: Master Title Plats
Posted by Diane

Land-records researchers might be interested to know that most of the Master Title Plats for Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota will be available free on the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States General Land Office Records Web site starting Monday.

These plats are maps relating to federal government land ownership. They show authorization for various uses (such as mining or oil drilling rights), agency jurisdiction, and rights reserved to the federal government on private land in a township. Accompanying historical indexes list related actions (such as new or canceled use authorizations).

So how would you use them for genealogy?

GLO systems manager John Butterfield suggests that if you have the legal land description and other information from your ancestor’s land patent, you can use a Master Title Plat for that township to see where the property was located.

See an example of how to search for and use GLO patents on

Free Databases | Land records
Thursday, 04 June 2009 16:54:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 03 June 2009
Learn How to Care for Your Family's Treasures
Posted by Diane

In our little house, we have a few objects—nothing super-valuable—that I consider heirlooms: A dress my grandma sewed using the same pattern as her wedding dress; my husband’s grandfather’s harmonica; a playing card box from the time my dad’s family lived in Pickstown, SD, while his dad was working on the Fort Randall dam.

It’s not so much the thing, it’s what the thing represents to you. So heirlooms can take all kinds of shapes and sizes, and present an array of storage challenges—which makes me glad our next Webinar is about Heirloom Preservation Made Easy.

It's scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at 7 p.m. My colleague Grace Dobush will present expert, sensible, easy-to-follow techniques on caring for and displaying everything from photos to old dolls and toys. Your registration for this Webinar includes
  • Participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
  • Online access to the workshop recording after the session concludes
  • PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
  • Quick-reference heirloom care chart
  • PDF of See and Save, a guide to protecting and storing paper, photos and textiles
  • PDF of Keep It Reel, a guide to preserving audio and video memories
Go here to learn more and register—and get an early bird coupon code good for $10 off your registration fee through June 8.

Family Heirlooms | Webinars
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 14:15:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 02 June 2009
Neurologist Uses Genealogy to Track Rare Disease
Posted by Diane

I came across an interesting article today about a neurologist who used genealogy research to trace a rare inherited disease that affects just five families around the world.

Pallido-Ponto-Nigral-Degeneration (PPND) strikes in middle age, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Victims usually are dead within eight years.

Examining WWII-era records in a hospital basement, Dr. Zbigniew K. Wszolek discovered that two US families with the condition were linked through adoption. The common ancestor: Sarah Bott, born in 1854 in Iowa.

Her parents and grandparents lived to a ripe old age, as did her husband and his children from a second marriage. But four of Bott's five children were crippled and died in middle age (Bott herself died at age 30 in surgery). Wszolek concluded the disease-causing mutation occurred spontaneously in Bott.

Wszolek tracks the family on an 11-foot family tree. Of Bott’s 315 living descendants (spread out over 11 states), 48 now have PPND.

See more on Wszolek’s research in this article.

Another article focuses on the family members in Montana and how they’re coping.

Look for information on researching your family's medical history in an upcoming issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Here are some family health history online resources you can explore right now.

Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 02 June 2009 17:13:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 01 June 2009
Finding Ancestors' Border-Crossing Records
Posted by Diane

Entry laws tightened today for those crossing the US/Canadian or the US/Mexican border on land—now you must have a passport or an acceptable equivalent to get across.

It’s a bit more of a hassle, but at least future genealogists will have records. Plenty of our ancestors immigrated, then up and moved across the border. Some went back and forth several times.

Border-crossing records start later than ship passenger lists. Here's a rundown of what's available:

Canada to the United States
Until 1895, border crossings from Canada to the United States weren’t recorded at all. Thereafter, most border crossings are on microfilm known as the St. Albans lists (after the Vermont town where the US Immigration and Naturalization Services had its main office), with geographic coverage varying by year:
  • 1895-June 1917: All border crossings
  • June 1917-July 1927: Crossings east of the North Dakota/Montana state line
  • After July 1927: Crossings east of Lake Ontario
Other 1895-and-later crossings also are microfilmed. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Web site has a handy list of the film. They’re digitized in the subscription site’s immigration collection, too.

United States to Canada
Ancestors crossing to Canada weren’t recorded until April 1908. Even then, those considered returning Canadians, or who crossed where ports didn’t exist or were closed, weren’t listed. Library and Archives Canada has records; see the Canadian Genealogy Centre for information.

They're also on

Mexico to the United States
Microfilmed records for ancestors who entered the United States from Mexico—which includes many Asians, Syrians and South Americans, as well as US citizens returning home—start as early as 1903 at some ports. Records begin later for other ports. NARA has an online guide and list of film. These records also are on

immigration records
Monday, 01 June 2009 15:20:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]