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More Links

# Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Part Library Catalog, Part Blog = Catablog
Posted by Diane

I learned a new word this week. I read about catablogs on the Archives 2.0 wiki (about libraries that use Web 2.0 technologies).

A catablog, the wiki explains, is a library blog that provides short descriptions of collections in blog posts. The posts are tagged and categorized so visitors can easily find topics they’re interested in.

The library materials themselves aren’t on catablogs, but you can use the catablog post to find out what’s in a collection and link to a library catalog listing or finding aid for the item.
  • UMarmot from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is the original catablog, according to Archives 2.0. Choose from categories such as Civil War, Rhode Island, and Immigration and Ethnicity. Posts describe collections including the Simeon Bartlett Account Books, 1792-1867 (business records from a Williamsburg, Mass., freight hauler, farmer and sawmill owner), and Civil War Diaries, 1862-1863.
Some library blogs aren’t dedicated catablogs—rather, they combine posts about historical collections with those on events and other news. For examples, see the Library of Congress blog, the Ohio Historical Society Collections blog and the Columbus (Georgia) Public Library Genealogy & Local History blog.

If your library has a catablog or a traditional blog, consider subscribing to e-mail alerts or to its RSS feed (look for this button to add the blog to a blog reader).

Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 16:00:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Footnote's New Holocaust Collection Free Through October
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site Footnote and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) just released the Interactive Holocaust Collection of a million Holocaust-related records.

The records are online for the first time—and they’re free through October.

The records, which contain millions of names and 26,000 photos, include:
  • Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Flossenburg.

  • The Ardelia Hall Collection of records related to Nazi looting of Jewish possessions.

  • Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps.

  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings.  
The Interactive Holocaust Collection also has 600 personal accounts, provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, of those who survived or perished in the Holocaust. They’ll feature social networking tools that let you search for names and add photos, comments and stories, and create Footnote pages. These will remain free.

You can search the collection from Footnote's regular site or through a special Holocaust site with stories of victims and survivors, tools for setting up Footnote Pages to memorialize Holocaust ancestors, information on concentration camps, and descriptions of the original records at NARA.

Note the pages may load slowly at first due to high traffic. 

After October, the collection will be accessible with a Footnote subscription ($79.95 a year). As stated, the personal accounts will stay free. 

Footnote | Free Databases | Jewish roots
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 09:11:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 28 September 2009 Adds Census Indexes from Footnote
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site announced a partnership to provide its US Collection subscribers with access to historical records site Footnote’s indexes to the 1860 and 1930 US censuses. members can search the two censuses on and see a transcription of basic information from matching records.

To view the digitized census returns, they'll need to subscribe to Footnote. Or, of course, they can access census records in HeritageQuest Online or Ancestry Library Edition through a library; visit a Family History Center to use Footnote there for free; search subscription site; or use census microfilm at a library, Family History Center or National Archives facility.

Footnote’s 1860 census index also is part of the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot.

A subscription to the World Vital Records US Collection costs $39.95 for a year. A subscription  to Footnote costs $79.95 a year.

census records | Footnote | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 28 September 2009 08:44:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 25 September 2009
Genealogy News Corral: September 21-25
Posted by Diane

Is it the end of September already?? Here's our last new roundup for the month 
  • Today’s the last day to get the $55 early bird registration special for the Mesa Family History Expo, Jan. 22-23 in Mesa, Ariz. If you miss the deadline, you still can save by preregistering for $65. Admission at the door costs $75. The exhibit hall is free to the public.
  • Those with African-American roots, mark your calendars for the International Black Genealogy Summit at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., Oct. 29 to 31. It’s the first gathering of African-American historical and genealogical societies from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Watch this blog for more details.
  • On his Genealogy Blog, Leland Meitzler reported on the SwedGen Tour, in which a team of Swedish genealogy experts is stopping at several research facilities to give presentations on Swedish genealogy resources (including subscription records site Genline and the Släktdata vital records site)  and offer one-on-one consultations. See the schedule and preregister at the SwedGen Tour site.
  • I came across a neat blog today called Dear Annie. A Minnesota woman is posting 700 postcards (images and transcriptions) that her Great-aunt Annie Bartos, who died in 1983, saved during her 90 years.

African-American roots | Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Events | International Genealogy
Friday, 25 September 2009 14:44:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 24 September 2009
Ways to Say "Woot!" for Family History Month 2009
Posted by Diane

Question of the day: What do we celebrate in October? Columbus Day, yes. Halloween. The start of the Christmas season, in most shopping malls.

October also is Family History Month. In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who wrote, "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family.”

Similar legislation has passed in several years since. I couldn't find an official declaration for 2009 (anyone else?), but family history enthusiasts continue to celebrate Family History Month in October.

Don’t hesitate to hold your own party. Give yourself a whole Saturday at the library or Family History Center, ask a relative your burning family history questions, put some photos in an album, jot down a family story, or tell your state representative how much you appreciate your public library's genealogy resources. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has more ideas.

Here’s a sampling of genealogy classes and other special events we’ve heard about. Check program schedules for your local library and genealogy society to see what’s going on near you.
  • Saturday, Oct. 3, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County offers classes, Genealogy and Local History Department tours, and free consultations with Hamilton County Genealogical Society experts. More events happen throughout the month, including a library lock-in Oct. 17. See the Genealogy Section of the library’s October Calendar (a PDF download) for more details.
  • The Fort Myers-Lee County Library in Florida has a free Family History Month class series on Saturdays in October. For more info, mouse over the listings on the library’s online calendar.
  • The Indiana State Library in Indianapolis has lots of classes planned, including dating photographs, Indiana marriage laws and getting started.
  • Online genealogy class Web site GenClass is sponsoring a competition for a free genealogy class—write a 1,200 word essay about a creative way you’ve honored your ancestors and what inspired you. Get the entry instructions here.
Have yourself a happy Family History Month!

African-American roots | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives
Thursday, 24 September 2009 10:17:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Jamie the Intern Bids Family Tree Farewell
Posted by Jamie


As my summer here at Family Tree Magazine comes to a close, I realize that I have learned so much in a mere three months.

When I first came to Family Tree Magazine, I vaguely knew what genealogy was; I didn’t understand that so many people loved researching dead people and what a huge industry it is.

I have learned so much just by checking the facts in articles, selecting reader tips and organizing back issue content. I would find myself engrossed in an article about the windfall of genealogy information that can be found in religious records or cemeteries, when I should have only been checking to make sure the links in those articles worked. I have a greater understanding of history and how it affects looking for my ancestors.

I never thought learning about genealogy and my family history would be so exciting, so enlightening, so entertaining or so addicting. Every article I worked on was like a clue in a giant treasure hunt that lead me down a path to where “x” marked the spot.

Three months ago, I had no idea what my families’ pasts held for me. And while my Kiely and Lehan branches still need lots of research, I have barely even touched the maternal side of my family tree. Completing the search will definitely be a journey that is life long and one that will help me to understand not only where I came from but where I am going.

I really get why “roots mania” has taken hold in America: Genealogy is interesting, fun and a hobby that turns seemingly ordinary people into gen junkies relatively quickly. I can’t go into a thrift store without scanning the names in old Bibles. When I was recently in Washington, D.C., I went to the Smithsonian and saw an old slave register, the first thing coming mind was “Are these names indexed?” I was also upset to learn that the National Archives and Records Administration doesn’t pull records on Saturday, even if they are open.

I can find family histories on GoogleBooks with a few clicks of a mouse and I can use USGenWeb to find a death index for Kentucky that I would have never found before. I can ask – and answer ­– questions on GenForum. I even created a family tree on

My summer spent here at Family Tree Magazine was certainly a whirlwind and worthwhile experience. Now, just wish me luck on getting by without digital census records on demand.

Family Tree Firsts
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 13:31:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Tour in a Free Webinar
Posted by Diane

Since it launched in 2007, historical records subscription site Footnote has added millions of record images to its collections of military records, 1860 and 1930 census records, naturalizations, city directories, newspapers, photographs and more.

Family Tree Magazine is happy to be able to bring you a free, 30-minute webinar that Footnote created with a tutorial of the site—a personalized tour showing you:
  • what records are on Footnote
  • search demos
  • Footnote image viewer
  • creating Footnote Pages about your ancestors with information and images you upload (Footnote's free "basic" members also can create pages and view other members' contributions)
To watch the webinar, click the big orange button below. On the resulting page, you’ll need to type in your first and last name and e-mail address, and then click Register to launch the webinar player.

(If you get a “Player in Progress” window, don’t close it or navigate away from it until after the webinar is over, or you’ll stop the webinar.)

Footnote | Webinars
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 08:51:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 18 September 2009
Genealogy News Corral: September 14-18
Posted by Diane

Without further ado, our genealogy news roundup for the week:
  • Subscription site (sister site to the US-focused has added London parish records, which among other events cover deaths from the bubonic plague and the 1666 Great Fire of London. They’re part of a collection of London records from 1538 to 1980.
  • Google Books, where you can search millions of out-of-print books, is partnering with On-Demand Books to let you use any Espresso Book Machine to print books in the public domain that Google has digitized from. (There aren’t a lot of places to find these book machines—click here for locations.) Learn more on the Google Books blog.
  • FamilySearch Indexing has launched new indexing projects from Indiana, Idaho, Canada, Spain, Guatemala, and Peru. The 1920 census index for Ohio is undergoing preparation for publication on the free FamilySearch site. Hooray! (We’re from the Buckeye State.) The 1920 census for Texas; Carroll County, Ind., marriages; and several international collections also are being readied for release.
  • World Vital Records lowered the price of its World Collection subscription to $99.95 (from $119.95). This collection gives you access to all the site’s US records, plus those from Canada, the UK, Ireland and other countries. See the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine for our guide to using World Vital Records.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Michigan Genealogical Council Web site for information on an online petition in support of the Library of Michigan, as well as links to news of budget-related library cuts across the country.

census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 18 September 2009 10:29:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Hitting the genealogy jackpot
Posted by Jamie


I have previously explained to you the difficulty in tracing the Royce line of my family tree because of issues with my grandfather’s paternity. Well, I have busted through that brick wall and have made my way to my great-great-grandfather James Henry Royse of Fleming County, Ky.

Frequent name, location and even wife changes (every generation in my direct Royce line from my father to my great-great-grandfather has had multiple wives) made my research difficult.

While working at Family Tree Magazine, I've had to go through the entire catalog of back issues, so I have learned a wealth of ways to trace my roots as well as sharpen my searching skills. One of the back issues suggested looking at forums or joining a Listserv to see who else is researching your family tree. I stumbled across a distant cousin on GenForum who had replied to a post about the Royse family of Fleming County, Ky., in which he referenced an ancestor with a name and birth date similar to someone in my line.

He had left his e-mail address, so I wrote him with all of the details I had about our potential common ancestor. I received a speedy reply that indicated we weren’t talking about the same ancestor, but he did have research on my collateral line. My new-found cousin then kindly made copies of everything he had on my branch and mailed it to me.

I didn’t know what to expect, but when I received the information I raced to open it. At first I glanced over it and saw that the earliest ancestor listed was Thomas Royce, born 1569 in Martock, Somersetshire, England. I then scanned the list looking for James Henry Royse, which my cousin had kindly highlighted for me, and all of the information listed matched my research from the censuses, FamilySearch and other resources I had used on

I then read the whole document through and learned a great deal about my family. My ninth-great-grandfather, Robert Royce, was a constable and was elected to the First General Assembly of New London, Conn. My seventh-great-grandfather, John Royce, and sixth-great-grandfather, Moses Royce, both had trouble with Indians, as John died from an Indian attack on his Pennsylvania farm and Moses’ wife was kidnapped by Indians, never to be heard from again.

My fifth-great-grandfather was quite a character. Arron Royce/Royse fought in the battle of Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War with Col. George Washington and General Braddock. They were captured by the French, and Arron, Daniel Boone and Washington all escaped. He also served as a captain in the Revolutionary War (apparently, I need to get my Daughters of the American Revolution application ready). Arron also is responsible for changing the family name from Royce to Royse, after a fight with his brother John that caused Arron to even move to Fleming County.

This all leads back to my great-great-grandfather James. His son, Allen Taylor Royse, who isn’t in my direct line, decided to change our family name back to Royce. That explains why some census years and other records list the last name as Royse in some cases and Royce in others for James’ family.

Full-fledged fact or family folklore? We shall see. Of course this all needs to be verified through my own research, but that shouldn’t be too hard as my cousin cited all of his sources. And even if he hadn’t, at least his research would have been a great guide for me to trace my family tree.

Family Tree Firsts | Social Networking
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:16:39 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Thanks for Sharing Your Family Photos!
Posted by Diane

Late last month we put out a call for photos of your ancestors; one person’s photo will be on the cover of the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine, our special 10th Anniversary Issue. I’m excited that you were excited to share your family photos. Thank you!

Our art director Christy Miller, who designs Family Tree Magazine covers, wanted to add her thanks and an update on how selection is going. This from Christy:
We were thrilled to see your response to our call for photos. With more than 300 submissions (and a few more waiting in our in-boxes), it's definitely going to be a challenge choosing just the right photo for the cover.

Every picture you sent tells a story about your family—such as the three sisters having a tea party, the 1909 off-roaders, this American Indian family whose members were removed to Oklahoma, the young woman in this gorgeous hand-colored portrait, this fun wedding-day photo, this one showing some old-fashioned PhotoShopping  … we could go on.
A few people even sent unidentified photos, hoping someone else will recognize the faces of those pictured.
So all the pictures speak to us. For magazine cover purposes, we’re especially liking photos where you can see the subjects’ faces clearly, they’re making eye contact with the viewer, and their expressions are open and friendly (as if to say, “pick up this magazine!”).
Thanks for sharing your photos with Family Tree Magazine. We're thoroughly enjoying looking through them. And don't worry if your photo doesn't get chosen for the cover—we may use it inside the magazine during the year (we'll contact you in that case).
P.S. Does anyone else see a resemblance between the young woman in this photo and actress Julia Roberts?

Family Tree Magazine articles | Photos
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 10:56:19 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Resources for Tracing Hispanic Roots
Posted by Diane

Today’s the start of Hispanic Heritage month, honoring the histories of the United States’ 46.9 million residents of Hispanic origin, who according to the Census Bureau make up the nation's largest ethnic minority.

About 64 percent of the country’s Hispanic residents have a Mexican background; 9 percent are Puerto Rican; 3.5 percent, Cuban; 3.1 percent, Salvadoran; and 2.7 percent, Dominican.

Four Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common last names in the 2000 US census: Garcia (placing eighth with 858,289 occurrences), Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th).

Researching Hispanic roots? Here are some places to start:
  • Our online Hispanic Heritage Toolkit has resources and tips for learning about Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Central and South American ancestors.
See our advice for research in the Caribbean, too.
The site also has a growing collection of church, civil registration and census records from the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Besides researching your Hispanic roots, here are a couple of other ways to mark the occasion:
  • PBS is airing "Latin Music USA," a documentary series, Mondays, Oct. 12 and 19, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | immigration records | International Genealogy
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 09:50:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, 14 September 2009
FamilySearch Record Search Site Updates
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch sent a note to let us know about recent additions to its free Record Search Pilot site. Those include:
  • records from Brazil; Mexico; British Columbia, Canada; the Czech Republic; and Hungary
  • Philadelphia, Pa. marriage indexes, 1885 to 1951
The Record Search site changed a bit earlier this month. From the home page, you can search across all collections. To find a specific database, click Browse Our Record Collections below the search form. On the resulting map, click the region you’re interested in searching, then click the title of the database you want to search.

On the individual database page, click About This Collection to go to the FamilySearch Wiki page on the database. There, you’ll see a sample record image and information on the creation, content, coverage and reliability of the collection.

census records | FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Vital Records
Monday, 14 September 2009 08:51:51 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 11 September 2009
$10 Off Our Upcoming Immigration Webinar
Posted by Allison

Just a reminder that today's the last day to take advantage of the early bird rate on this month's webinar, Online Immigration Records: Retracing Your Ancestors' Journey on Sept. 22.

The discounted price of $39.99 expires at midnight tonight. After that,  registration will cost $49.99.

If you haven't participated in one of our webinars, you could think of it as a "souped up" online genealogy seminar. Besides participation in the live event—which you can attend in your jammies if you want—you get a link to the recording so you watch the session as many times as you'd like, a PDF of the presentation slides and an e-book of related how-to guides for further reading.

Diane will be hosting the immigration webinar, which starts at 7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central/5 p.m. Mountain/4 p.m. Pacific. You'll find more details on the registration page.

Genealogy Events | immigration records | Webinars
Friday, 11 September 2009 16:53:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral: September 7-11
Posted by Diane

After skipping last week's news corral due to the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, I'm back in the saddle and rounding up genealogy news items:
  • The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has launched a blog called UpFront With NGS, which will complement the society’s monthly e-mail newsletter of the same name. News will be posted regularly on the blog, so you don’t have to wait for the e-mail, and you can leave comments on the blog posts. | Genealogy fun | Genealogy societies | Social History | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 11 September 2009 11:16:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Online Database: 19th-Century British Newspapers
Posted by Diane

Gale (a Michigan-based company that creates educational databases), along with The British Library and the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee, has introduced a new online database of 19th-century British newspapers.

British Newspapers, 1800-1900, gives users access to more than 2 million newspaper pages from 49 19th-century national and regional newspapers in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Content from two of the papers is free; other content is accessible with a fee (see below).

You'll get a good look into your ancestors’ world and maybe find genealogical details in articles, property and legal notices, marriage and birth announcements and photographs.

Supplementary resources include timelines and histories of the 49 newspapers.

You can search the full text of the papers by a person’s name or a keyword and link to high-resolution digital images of the pages. You don't have to pay to merely search, and you can click on a thumbnail image in your search results to see a snippet of the article containing your search term.

To download an article, you must purchase a pass. A 24-hour pass (during which you can view up to 100 articles) costs 6.99 pounds (about $12); a seven-day pass (allows 200 article views) costs 9.99 pounds (about $17).

Articles from The Penny Illustrated Paper and The Graphic are free. When you search, you can check a “display only free content” box that will show you results from just these papers.

Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 11 September 2009 10:50:47 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 10 September 2009
More on the Family Tree 40
Posted by Diane

Thanks to the genealogy blogging community for helping spread the word about our Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, an article scheduled for the May 2010 issue. We hope it will draw readers’ attention to the great work being done on genealogy blogs.

We wanted to get readers involved in the article for a few reasons:
  • To encourage people to check out more blogs, including ones they might not be aware of
  • To make the selection process more of a bottom-up effort, not just our editors’ choices
  • To get genealogists’ help and input in selecting from the huge blogging universe
We chose to do this through a nomination period, followed by a voting period. Genealogy blogger FootnoteMaven raised some questions about the process in her recent “Hmmmmmm” post, so I wanted to clarify some points here. I apologize in advance for the long post!

We’d planned to explain more about voting once we saw how nominations went. Not having done this before, we didn’t know what kind of response to expect, which is why we weren’t more explicit about judging and criteria from the outset—it wasn’t a secret; we just weren’t sure how our criteria would work, based on the number and quality of nominations we might receive.

Voting is intended to make the process participatory, but voting alone won’t determine which blogs are featured in the article. When the voting concludes—assuming we receive adequate nominations—the top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a “final” round, and then our editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list.

Narrowing the list of nominees
There’s no predetermined limit to how many nominees will be included in voting. But we do anticipate a need to eliminate some nominations from consideration. Criteria that would disqualify a blog:
  • It isn’t primarily about genealogy.
  • The blogger doesn’t post original content (for example, if he/she simply aggregates feeds from other blogs).
  • The blog is no longer updated, or does not post new content on a regular basis (say, at least once a week).
In narrowing remaining nominees, we’ll look at the quality of the posts—rampant misspellings (beyond typos—those happen to everyone) and poor language can make posts hard to follow. We’ll look hard at blogs associated with paid services—such a blog might be helpful to readers, or it might be primarily a marketing tool. Those made up strictly of advertising content would likely be eliminated.

If a blog gets just one or a few nominations, that won’t keep it out of the voting. If one blog is nominated many times, though, we’ll note that it’s probably a blog many people are reading.

We thought we’d divide nominees into categories because it’ll be easier for readers to choose from, say, a list of 20 similar blogs than one huge list of all 500 or 1,000 (or however many) nominees. We feel it’s important to see the nominees before setting categories in stone, so we can make sure we have categories that account for all the blogs in the running. We also don’t want to end up with categories containing only two or three nominees, or 100 nominees, which would be unmanageable for voters.

FootnoteMaven asked specifically about categorizing wide-ranging, very frequently updated genealogy blogs such as Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings. We’ll come up with a broad, all-encompassing category for such “super bloggers.”

She also wondered whether the “excellent genealogy advice,” “offer insight,” etc. qualities mentioned in our first Family Tree 40 post might hint at the voting categories. They’re not meant to. Instead, we just wanted to get nominators thinking about why they’d want to take the step to nominate a particular blog.

Finally, FootnoteMaven also wanted a Family Tree 40 badge that encourages blog visitors to vote for their favorite genealogy blog, not just her own. Here’s an alternate version of the badge she and other bloggers can use:

and the original, which blogger also could choose:

If you have a comment or question, please click Comments and let us know.

Family Tree Magazine articles
Thursday, 10 September 2009 13:21:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Wednesday, 09 September 2009
2009 FGS Conference Roundup
Posted by Diane

Last week's Federation of Genealogical Societies conference was light on news, but still heavy on genealogical enthusiasm and camaraderie. We heard there were about 700 registered attendees, though FGS hasn't shared official numbers. Here's a roundup of conference news, plus links to postings on other blogs:
  • Subscription family tree site One Great Family exhibited this year as part of a new marketing effort to reach the genealogy community.
One Great Family automatically merges trees when it finds the identical person on both, which sounds a bit scary—but where the trees differ, the site maintains the differences and each member sees the version of the tree he believes is correct. President Rob Armstrong says no one can change your view of your tree, but everyone can see your version and accept your view if they choose. A subscription costs $59.95 annually; a free one-week trial offer is available.
  • A new company called Geneartogy uses your ancestors’ names and photos to create frameable, decorative trees on canvas (you also can get the designs on smaller plaques). Prices range from a $98 extra-small plaque to a $408 extra-large canvas, with an additional cost for framing.
(The 2010 National Genealogical Society conference, by the way, is in Salt Lake City, so you could double up on a trip to the Family History Library.)
  • If you’re new to genealogy conferences, you might be curious about the long panel of ribbons dangling from some attendees’ name badges, like so:

(This is podcast host Dear Myrtle’s badge.) Ribbons designate society memberships, honors and more. All registrants got an “ member” ribbon (whether or not they actually were members) and first-time attendees got “First FGS Conference.” FGS board members, speakers and  genealogical societies delegates received ribbons. I got “Podcast Fan” and “Keeping up With Blogs” at a social networking forum. Some highly involved folks had to take special measures to secure their ribbons:

Click to see our earlier posts on the partnership, FamilySearch announcement about Arkansas marriage records and Library of Michigan news.

For more from the conference, check out posts by Dick Eastman, Randy Seaver and Dear Myrtle (scroll down). Feel free to click Comments and add a link to your FGS 2009 conference post. | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 11:31:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Help Save Library of Michigan Genealogy Collections
Posted by Diane

Michigan Genealogical Council (MGC) members stopped by our booth at FGS last week to share news about the Library of Michigan, which was dissolved July 13 by an executive order that goes into effect Oct. 1.

To save an estimated $2 million in the cash-strapped state, Gov. Jennifer Granholm assigned the library collections to the Department of Education and ordered the department’s director to cut expenses by considering measures such as eliminating participation in interlibrary loan.

MGC is circling an online petition in support of keeping the library’s Michigan collection intact, free and within state jurisdiction.

State senators have introduced bills to transfer all Department of History, Arts and Libraries functions to the Michigan Department of State, with separate funding from the state's general fund. MGC president Cynthia Grostick says the measures have passed the state senate, but fears they may languish in the house. See the council’s Web site for updates and information on how to help.

Libraries and Archives
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 10:02:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 04 September 2009
Searching Microfilmed Newspapers
Posted by Diane

This Federation of Genealogical Societies conference  is the first confab outside Ohio where I’ve been able to research ancestors. As soon as I got to Little Rock Wednesday, I checked into the hotel and ran off to the state archives.

I didn’t have a specific article to find—rather, I wanted any news item about my great-grandfather’s criminal trial for bootlegging. There wasn’t a name index, so I knew I was in for some heavy-duty scrolling. I had the conviction and incarceration dates, but not a date of arrest, so I had several months to cover in 1913.

First thing when I arrived, I got my very own research card. The archivist had me double-check holdings for the newspapers I wanted. I’d neglected to bring singles or a $5 bill for a copy card, so I also ran to the concession and bought a soda to get change.

Next, I requested a couple years’ worth of microfilm and started scrolling. I started with the dates I knew and scrolled backward through earlier papers, then forward, looking for headlines on the faded pages.

Bootlegging arrests filled the news--apparently the sheriff was really cracking down. The few items mentioning my ancestor’s name told when he was arrested, how he filed for a writ of habeas corpus, and how two others arrested at the same time jumped bail.

Though not the play-by-play trial accounts I was hoping for, the articles also gave me a clue to what might’ve happened to his missing court records. He served his prison sentence in Texas and his case is indexed in Bowie County, Texas, records, but a batch of files that includes his case number is missing.

According to the newspaper articles, some witnesses lived on the Arkansas side of Texarkana, and Bowie County officials traveled to the courthouse in Miller County, Ark., for a pretrial motion. So maybe his case file ended up in Arkansas.

Miller County court records for the years I need aren’t on Family History Library microfilm, so I’ll send a request to the circuit court clerk the minute I get home. Fingers crossed.

court records | Libraries and Archives | Newspapers
Friday, 04 September 2009 22:23:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Search Arkansas Marriages Free on FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

To coincide with the ongoing Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Little Rock, Ark., FamilySearch released the first installment of a collection of Arkansas marriage records on its free Record Search Pilot site.

Volunteer indexers from the Arkansas Genealogical Society have completed a quarter of the project so far--that’s 442,058 records linked to 199,431 digital images of original marriage certificates from the counties of Ashley, Baxter, Boone, Chicot, Clay, Crittenden,Desha, Drew, Fulton, Jackson, Johnson, Lee, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Perry and Pike.

FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | Vital Records
Friday, 04 September 2009 13:01:08 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1] Review at Blogger Summit
Posted by Diane

I put a “back at 3” sign in Federation of Genealogical Societies conference booth yesterday and headed to’s “blogger summit.”

It turned out the meeting was more review than news, the company's lawyers having nixed any “forward thinking statements” in anticipation of its IPO.

But I guess a review couldn’t hurt once in awhile, especially with, as content manager Gary Gibb conceded, just-released databases quickly overshadowing ones released just before them, significant additionsbeing termed mere “updates” on the list of recently added content, and some collections (such as audio recordings of oral histories) drowning in the sea of databases.

Key improvements for this year have been:

  • An enhanced image viewer, which lets you view the record image and the index on the same page. This is available in preview mode for some censuses, including the 1880 US census. It also lets members build a better index by adding alternate information for most fields. The additions are viewable immediately to other people, and they’re searchable within about three weeks.
  • Ancestry member trees have a new person and tree viewer that are easier to navigate
  • The lifespan search filter, which has eliminated some irrelevant results. A lot still needs to be improved, says VP of product Eric Shoup. He says won’t “kill” the old search, but wants to create a search experience that combines what works about both the old and new searches. Potential improvements include more control over searches on a place and name, improving the search for an individual collection, making it easier to browse records and changing the search algorithm to deliver relevant results.
Friday, 04 September 2009 09:20:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 03 September 2009
Nominate a Genealogy Blog for the Family Tree 40
Posted by Diane

Do you have a favorite few genealogy blogs that you read regularly? Maybe the blogger offers excellent genealogy advice, insightful analysis or a unique point of view. Or the writing especially creative or humorous.

If so, we want to know about it. In the May 2010 issue, we’ll be naming the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs (“Family Tree 40” for short).

First, we’re asking the genealogy community to nominate the genealogy blogs they read most. Later, family historians will vote on their favorite blogs in several categories.

Click here to nominate your favorite blogs by filling out our online form.

The nomination period is from Sept. 3 to 30. You can nominate as many blogs as you want (one at a time), your own included, as long as each blog is related to family history in some way.

Voting will take place from Oct. 5 to Nov. 5. We’ll let you know here and in the Family Tree Magazine E-mail Update newsletter when voting is open.

You also can follow us on Twitter for contest updates (we’ll use the hashtag #FT40).

The Family Tree 40 will be announced in the newsletter and in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine. Start nominating and stay tuned!

Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 03 September 2009 09:15:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 02 September 2009 to Partner with NEHGS
Posted by Diane

At a reception it hosted tonight at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, CEO Tim Sullivan and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) marketing director Tom Champoux announced a new partnership.

NEHGS’ historical records, which Champoux says date back up to 400 years, will be part of’s World Archives Project . The digitized records and their indexes will be accessible to subscribers of or (NEHGS’ Web site). Update: The indexes will be free.

The records to be digitized are as yet unspecified. (Sullivan was tight-lipped in general due to’s pending IPO filing with the SEC.)

We'll keep keeping you updated with conference news. | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 22:27:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
If Your Ancestor Was an Alien
Posted by Diane

I got a letter from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Friday. For a split second I was worried—like if you get an unexpected letter from the IRS. But then I remembered that way back in May I'd requested the case file number for my great-grandfather’s alien registration.

I was inspired to put in my request back in May, when I was editing our November 2009 article on getting federal government records. (This issue goes on sale next week at newsstands and

In the paragraphs on the USCIS genealogy service, David A. Fryxell explained how the Smith Act of 1940 required non-citizens age 14 or older to register as aliens. I remember putting what seemed like dozens of semicolons in the long list of what the "AR-2" form asked of registrants:
  • biographical information such as name, name at arrival and occupation
  • relatives' names
  • physical description
  • arrival date, place and ship name
  • membership in clubs and organizations
  • whether and where citizenship papers had been filed
  • any arrests
... and more. AR-2 forms date from August 1940 to March 31, 1944. I put together the pieces and realized that my great-grandfather, who immigrated in 1900 and declared his intention to become a citizen in 1942, would've had to register. Maybe I'd get some clues for stretches of time when I can’t find records on the family.

I stopped my editing immediately and took four minutes to send my online Genealogy Program request. (A benefit of this job is that doing a little research counts as verifying information.)

USCIS staff are working through a request backlog. As soon as I got the AR-2 file number Friday, I sent off my request for a copy of the form. (Because I’m moving, I'm having it sent to my parents. I told them not to worry if they get a letter from the USCIS with my name on it.)

I wish you could order both the number and the record at the same time, but alas, it’s a two-step process that takes a total of $55 and about six months.

Besides AR-2 forms, the Genealogy Program also gives you access—for a fee—to naturalization certificate files (Sept. 27, 1906, to March 31, 1956), visa files (July 1, 1924, to March 31, 1944), registry files (March 2, 1929, to March 31, 1944) and immigrant files (April 1, 1944, to May 1, 1951; these are being transferred to the National Archives 100 years after the birth of the immigrant named). See the USCIS genealogy page for more on making your request.

immigration records | Research Tips
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 12:57:59 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 01 September 2009
Special All in the Family Challenge: Ancestral Anniversaries
Posted by Diane

For the All in the Family department in the 10th anniversary issue of Family Tree Magazine, we thought it would be fun to go with the theme by including readers’ stories of ancestral anniversaries.

Tell us about your family's longest-wedded couple: who they are, when they were married, how they met or how they celebrated a milestone anniversary, and maybe even their secret for a long, happy union.

If we publish your story in the January 2010 issue, we'll send you one of our genealogy how-to CDs.

Things to remember before you enter:
  • Post your entry to the Ancestral Anniversaries thread in the Talk to Us Forum. (To help combat spammers, forum registration is required for posting. You can register by clicking here.)

  • Please keep your entry under 125 words, so we can include more stories in the magazine.

  • Please add your city and state to your entry for publication in the magazine.

  • We'll contact you for your mailing address and possibly for a photo of your anniversary couple, so please keep an eye on your e-mail account.

  • By submitting, you give Family Tree Magazine permission to feature your contribution in all print and electronic media.
We'll need your entry for this All in the Family challenge on or before September 15. Thanks for sharing your family's stories!

Celebrating your heritage | Family Tree Magazine articles | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 13:18:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]