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# Friday, January 29, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: January 25-29
Posted by Diane


Celebrity Roots | Historic preservation | Newspapers
Friday, January 29, 2010 3:53:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 28, 2010
Best of 2001: Genealogy at University Libraries
Posted by Diane

We told you all about the family history treasures waiting in college and university libraries in the April 2001 Family Tree Magazine.

Genealogists don’t often think of popping over to the nearest academic library for ancestor searching, so I’m posting part of that article, written by University of Houston librarian Gay Carter, for the 2001 installment of our 10th-Annivesary “best of” series:
University libraries are particularly noted for special collections of government documents, microfilm, microfiche, local history materials, ethnic resources, and rare books and manuscripts. Some universities have archives housed separately from the general library. Here's a sampling of microform collections especially interesting to family historians:
  • American Culture Series, 1493-1875 (University Microfilms): publications on all aspects of American life. Here you'd find, for example, History of the Old Cheraws, about South Carolina, 1730-1810, originally published in 1867. The American Farrier and Family Medical Companion, published in 1852, gives advice on popular medical remedies.
  • Confederate Imprints (Research Publications): official and unofficial publications of the Confederacy. It contains such items as the organization of the army, instructions for mail carriers, hymn books and sheet music.
  • History of Women (Research Publications): publications by and about women up to about 1920. An Essay on the Education and Genius of the Female Sex (1795) and The Good Housekeeper (1839) are just two examples.
  • Western Americana (Xerox University Microfilms): publications about and contemporary with each successive frontier. The Navigator: Containing Directions for Navigating the Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers …, published in 1814, was a guide for travelers. Miners and Business Men's Directory for the Year Commencing January 1st, 1856 could help trace a participant in the gold rush.
Special collections often aren't indexed in the library's catalog. Be sure to ask a reference librarian about any special holdings that may aid your research.
Carter also recommends visiting college and university libraries for histories, chronologies, bibliographies, biographical directories, directories, newspapers, maps and atlases and state codes and law reports. (Update: While working on today's e-mail newsletter about this post, I came across a University of Cincinnati Libraries blog post about church records in its collection—specifically mentioning a church my German ancestors may have attended.) 

Make sure you check the library visitor policy before you go. You may have to flash your driver’s license or get a special ID badge.

Related resources from FamilyTreeMagazine.com:


Family Tree Magazine articles | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:47:10 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Wednesday, January 27, 2010
10 Genealogy Books & CDs for $10 Each
Posted by Diane


Feel free to join me in taking a swig of coffee every time a 10 appears in the following post:

To celebrate Family Tree Magazine’s 10th anniversary (our first issue was January 2000) we’re having a 10 for $10 sale in ShopFamilyTree.com. Get your 2010 roots research started off on the right foot—inexpensively—by picking up 10 genealogy how-to helps for a cool $10 each, including:

Books
  • Family Tree Problem Solver by Marsha Hoffman Rising
  • Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs by Maureen A. Taylor
  • The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors book by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
CDs
  • our 2005, 2007 and 2008 collections of back issues
  • International Genealogy Passport
  • Family Tree Essentials: Guide to 15 Key Records for Finding Your Ancestors
  • Family Photo Essentials

And our 2010 Desk Calendar (it comes with a ShopFamilyTree.com coupon for each month)

For more details about each of these $10 items, see our ShopFamilyTree.com 10 for $10 page. Shipping is always free on orders over $25.

Now to go find some walls to bounce off ...


Editor's Pick
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:49:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, January 26, 2010
National Archives Bans Photography in DC Exhibit Areas
Posted by Diane

You’ve got about another month if you want to take pictures inside the exhibition areas of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) building in Washington, DC.

NARA announced that starting Feb. 25, members of the public will be prohibited from filming, photographing and videotaping in exhibition areas. (The press release gives the date as Feb. 25, but the Federal Register says Feb. 24—I'll let you know when I find out which is correct.)

Archivists are concerned that exposure to flash photography is hastening fading of the Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights—and other documents on display in the National Archives Experience.

Archivists estimated the documents were subjected to about 50,000 flashes a yeardespite an explicit 30-year ban on flash photography, signage to that effect throughout the exhibit area, and reminders from security guards.

The advent of cameras with automatic flash have made the no-flash policy almost impossible to enforce, according to NARA’s press release. The ban on all photography followed internal analysis and a 60-day public comment period. Click here to read the announcement in the Federal Register, which includes public comments received and NARA responses.

Will not pulling out your camera make a visit to Charters of Freedom less enjoyable or meaningful? Here's an interesting blog post from the Washington City Paper on how this new rule could change the experience of visiting museums.

You won’t be able to take a picture of your family admiring the Declaration of Independence, but you still can get images of the historical documents safeguarded at NARA: Download them free from the Charters of Freedom website or, if you visit NARA in Washington, DC, you can pick up a free color copy.


Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 3:21:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
A Look at NBC's New Genealogy Show
Posted by Diane

The trailer for NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" a celebrity genealogy series premiering March 5, is now available. What do you think?



"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy Industry | Videos
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 1:00:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [27]
# Monday, January 25, 2010
Search Australian Convicts Free Through Jan. 31
Posted by Diane

Starting in 1788, Great Britain sent about 160,000 convicts to Australia, predominantly New South Wales.

Today, an estimated one in five Australians has a convict ancestor. Think you’re among them? To mark Australia Day (Jan. 26), Ancestry.com’s Australian site is letting you search 2.3 million convict and criminal-related records free through Sunday, Jan. 31

Note that you’ll need to sign up for a free registration to search. (If you subscribe to Ancestry.com’s World Deluxe Collection, the convict records are included in your subscription.)

Thanks to @NSWGenealogy for tweeting this news.


Ancestry.com | International Genealogy
Monday, January 25, 2010 9:57:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 22, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: Jan. 18-22
Posted by Diane

There was a plethora of genealogy news this week to gather for our Friday roundup:
  • Footnote hinted on its Facebook page about a new Civil Rights-era records collection to launch in February in partnership with Gannett. Get a glimpse here.
  • The free FamilySearch Record Search pilot site has added 25 million new records for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Guatemala, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States. They include 1920 US census indexes for Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Maine; 1935 and 1945 Florida state censuses; Indiana marriages and more.
  • Subscription site GenealogyBank is adding 280 new African-American newspapers. The first 50 were released this month; see the titles, where they were published and the years of coverage on the GenealogyBank blog.
  • Ancestry.com also announced it’s getting rid of its Member Connections feature (note this is different from Member Connect, which was launched last year). It would let you let you enter an ancestor’s name and get a list of Ancestry.com members also researching that person, but now you can do pretty much the same thing by searching Public Member Trees.
  • The National Archives in Washington, DC, is holding a public meeting next Friday, Jan. 29, at 10:45 am to discuss how the archives meets the needs of the research community. Get details on the NGS UpFront blog.


African-American roots | Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Footnote | Libraries and Archives | Newspapers
Friday, January 22, 2010 9:45:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, January 21, 2010
Genealogy Pages to Fan on Facebook
Posted by Diane

As more and more genealogy organizations create profiles (called fan pages) on Facebook, you can keep tabs on societies, repositories and businesses just as easily as you stay in touch with friends.

Once you’ve "fanned" an organization (see how-tos at the end of this post), its status updates show up in your feed just like your friends’ updates do. They’ll include fun facts, resource highlights, research tips, news, event information, sale announcements and requests for feedback. On the organization’s page, you’ll see wall posts from other fans who share your interests.

Here are some types of organizations to consider fanning (to give you examples, I've included links to some fan pages I found):
You can fan an organization by going to its fan page and clicking the “Become a fan” button at the top:



If your feed tells you that your friend Joe Smith became a friend of the Springfield History Museum, you can click the accompanying link to become a fan, too, or to visit the museum’s fan page. Similarly, if you get a notification that someone suggested you become a fan of an organization, you'll see a “Become a fan” link and a "Learn more" link.

To search for fan pages, type an organization’s name into the search box in the upper right corner of your Facebook page.

If you want to unfan an organization, that’s easy, too: Just go to the fan page and click “Remove me from fans” near the bottom of the left margin.




Social Networking
Thursday, January 21, 2010 3:33:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, January 20, 2010
How to Get the Most Out of Every Genealogy Record
Posted by Diane

Waaaaaay back in 2000, Family Tree Magazine was born. To celebrate 10 years of helping genealogists trace their family trees, I’ll be sharing some of our best advice from each year of publication.

Kicking things off, Marcia Yannizze Melnyk’s advice from October 2000 helps you squeeze every drop of usefulness from genealogy records. It's still  quite relevant—not everything has changed in the world of genealogy.
Leave no stone unturned. Many types of records provide clues that are often overlooked. Take what I call the “Doberman” approach to your genealogy research: Latch on to a fact and don't let go until you've gotten everything out of it. Squeezing every single scrap of information from a record as a clue to other research will pay big dividends. “Ask” every document these questions:

• Why was the document created in the first place?

• Are you looking at the original or a copy?

• To whom does the document pertain?

• How close to the original event was the document created?

• Who are the witnesses, informants or other persons mentioned in the document?

• Are any family relationships stated or implied?

• Did the person executing the document sign with a signature or mark?

• Is the information reliable, usable, or simply a clue to further research?

• What's the full citation for the document?


Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:53:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Irish Site Seeks Photos of Every Square Km
Posted by Diane

Want to see your Irish ancestral homeland? Contributing editor SharonDeBartolo Carmack alerted us to a free community photo project sponsored by Ireland’s Ordnance Survey.

The Geograph Project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometer of Ireland

The project divides the country into a grid. Contributors register for free, then use a map or enter a place name to identify the square of the grid associated with their photo, and finally, upload the photo with a description and other information. (More on submissions here.) 

You also can browse images from the site’s map. “I was surprised to see someone had uploaded a photo of the National School in the small townland of Ardvarney, where my ancestors lived,” Carmack said.


Genealogy Web Sites | Photos | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:09:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, January 15, 2010
Genealogy News Corral: January 11-15
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry magazine, published for 25 years by Ancestry.com, will be discontinued after the March/April 2010 issue. For more information, see the staff's message on the magazine’s website.
  • In case you missed it, NBC has announced that the US version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" will air Friday, March 5, at 8 p.m.


Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Videos
Friday, January 15, 2010 3:36:48 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Achieve Genealogy Organization Nirvana
Posted by Diane


It’s the time of year when stores line their aisles with giant plastic tubs, Martha Stewart features storage solutions and genealogists struggle to organize stacks of paper and digitized records.

Our next webinar can help you with that last one.

In Organization Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Get Your Family History in Order, you’ll learn how to set up a paper and computer filing system, get a handle on your e-mail correspondence and keep track of your family history search. The tips and strategies will help you save time and become a better, more-efficient researcher.



The webinar takes place Wed., Jan. 27, from 7 to 8 p.m. Early bird registration, which runs until Jan 21 at midnight, costs $39.99 (after that, the fee is $49.99).

Your registration includes:
• Participation in the live presentation and Q& A session
• Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
• PDF of the presentation slides for future reference
• Bonus handout (webinar attendees will receive a post-webinar e-mail with a link to download the bonus material as a PDF)
• a Family Tree Magazine 2010 Genealogy Desk Calendar (which has coupons for monthly savings at ShopFamilyTree.com)
Click here to register for the webinar. Remember that after your purchase, you must complete your webinar registration using the instructions and link on your confirmation page.


Research Tips | Webinars
Friday, January 15, 2010 1:14:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Can Genealogy Save NBC?
Posted by Diane

The genealogy-reality series we’ve all been waiting for, "Who Do You Think You Are?" (WDYTYA), will help plug the gaps in NBC’s prime-time lineup after the poorly performing "Jay Leno Show" ends Feb. 12.

The new series premieres Friday, March 5, from 8 to 9 p.m. ET (the Winter Olympics airs Feb. 12 to 29).

According to NBC's announcement, WDYTYA will conclude by April 30, when "Friday Night Lights" returns early to take the spot.

WDYTYA is an adaption of the hit British show of the same name. NBC’s version will feature actors Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields, producer Spike Lee, and football legend Emmitt Smith.

I got a chance to see a trailer last week while visiting Ancestry.com—which has a big stake as a partner in the series—and it looks like it could be good: poignant, suspenseful, historical, and filled with lovely scenery from the US and abroad.

There’s also celebrity appeal (though it’d be nice and perhaps even more powerful and surprising to see how average Joes off the street have great stories in their pasts).

Many professional genealogists had a hand in the series. At last Saturday's Ancestry.com-sponsored dinner, speaker and New England Historic and Genealogical Society researcher Josh Taylor recounted portions of his on-screen conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker (she later named her new twin girls after ancestors). Ancestry.com chief genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has written a how-to book based in part on her WDYTYA work. A companion website will reveal more behind-the-scenes genealogical research.

Will the show be a success? For NBC to consider more episodes, it’ll have to attract viewers who aren’t already into family history and history in general. Many genealogists are hoping that’ll translate into a tree-tracing mania similar to the one after the “Roots” miniseries aired in 1977.

Some, I think, also look forward to the popular validation that genealogy is a perfectly acceptable and interesting way to pass time.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Industry
Friday, January 15, 2010 10:50:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, January 14, 2010
Records Coming Soon to a Large Genealogy Website Near You
Posted by Diane

Like last year, content growth is again a focus for Ancestry.com in 2010. During last week’s press junket, content manager Gary Gibbs talked about new records coming to the site in 2010:
  • US vital records, digitized in partnership with state archives. They include vital records from Vermont (1908 to 2008) and Delaware (1800 to 1933); divorces from Connecticut; and the Hayes Library Ohio Death Index.
Gibbs said that respondents to a lengthy Ancestry.com customer survey chose birth, marriage and death records as the resource they’d most like to see, and 1861 to 1914 as the time period most important to their search.
  • Seven state censuses were released last year; look for more this year.
  • US county land ownership maps were originally slated for release in 2009, but Gibbs’ team decided to key the records in a more useful but time-intensive way, delaying the launch until 2010.
  • A 1950 "census substitute" consisting of city directories—helpful to reverse genealogists seeking living relatives, and to beginning researchers.
  • 1880 Defective, Dependent and Delinquent ("DDD") schedules. These supplemental census schedules provide details on individuals with disabilities or who were institutionalized. Surviving records are currently scattered among libraries and state archives. (Can't wait until they go online? Download our cheat sheet to DDD schedules and their locations.)
  • Index improvements to the 1790-to-1840 head-of-household censuses will key the tickmarks indicating household members’ sex, age ranges and status as slave or free, so you’ll be able to search on these parameters.
  • The site will add 700 million more names from voter lists to the US Public Records Index database.
I asked about the 1940 census—whether it’ll be indexed and online when the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) releases the census to the public April 2, 2012 (the official April 1 release date is a Sunday). Gibbs said NARA will digitize the 1940 census, but couldn’t say much else except that Ancestry.com is “intensely interested” in the project.

Look for tips on preparing for the release of the 1940 census (as in determining enumeration districts, not making sure your tailgating gear is in shape) in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine.


Ancestry.com | census records | Land records | Vital Records
Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:32:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 13, 2010
March 2010 Family Tree Magazine and Your Genealogy Resolutions
Posted by Diane


The March 2010 Family Tree Magazine hit newsstands Jan. 5 with articles I think will mesh nicely with 2010 genealogy resolutions you may be formulating. For example:

Resolution: Polish your genealogy research skills.
Article: Assess your genealogical fitness level with the survey in “Shaping Up,” then read how to brush up in areas where you need more knowledge. Links direct you to a range of classes (with plenty of free options), websites, books and organizations that can help researchers from beginners to experts learn a thing or two.

Resolution: Enhance your family’s story with social history
Article: Learn how ancestors came into the world in “We Deliver for You,” an overview of childbirth practices in your grandmothers’ and great-mothers’ days. You’ll also find out about birth, hospital and midwives’ records.

Resolution: Break through your brick wall and figure out whatever happened to Great-great-grandpa.
Article: Maybe a weather event, epidemic, workplace accident or other disaster befell your forebear. “Flirting With Disaster” helps you find death records, newspapers and other sources that may name victims of unfortunate occurrences.

Resolution: Get with the times and equip yourself to digitize photos, record oral histories, back up your hard drive and more.
Article: “Go Go Gadgets” (my favorite title in the issue) explains what to look for in seven tech tools: an Internet connection, all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, digital camera, external hard drive, digital voice recorder, GPS unit and USB flash drive. For each device, we include a chart comparing popular models.

Resolution: Get with the times and figure out Twitter.
Article: Our Toolkit Tutorial illustrates the anatomy of a Tweet, defines Twitter terminology (such as tweep and hashtag) and gets you started on this fast-paced social network.

Resolution: Keep your family connected.
Article: A family website is one way to stay in touch. Our MyHeritage Web Guide outlines how to use a tree on MyHeritage to do research and connect with kin.  


The March 2010 Family Tree Magazine has even more articles, including a guide to tracing Puerto Rican roots, facts about color photography and new sources helping African-American genealogists overcome research obstacles.

Look for the issue in your favorite bookstore, or visit ShopFamilyTree.com to purchase a digital download or order a print copy.


African-American roots | Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Social History | Social Networking | Tech Advice | Vital Records
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2:54:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Inside an Ancestry.com Remote Scanning Facility
Posted by Diane

At the genealogy media event Ancestry.com sponsored last week, our group got a virtual glimpse at the Silver Spring, Md., digitization facility where Ancestry.com scans records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Of its 9 billion textual records, 1 percent of the holdings in NARA’s Washington, DC, research center have been digitized, according to Ancestry.com's Todd Jensen.

In a quest to "go where the records are," Ancestry.com has opened 15 remote scanning operations in the in the United States. Jensen, who oversees the digitization efforts, emphasized the seriousness of the undertaking. Though he didn’t get into specifics, he said costs for the process and insurance are as expensive "as you might imagine."

Pages and pages of government directives regulate the removal of records from NARA’s building:
  • A NARA monitor—subsidized by Ancestry.com—must accompany the documents at all times. When employees go on break or leave for the day, the records are locked in a secure room.
  • The transport vehicle must have a full gas tank and a specially trained driver who follows approved routes (avoiding highways and other roads that permit vehicles carrying hazardous materials) for the 10-mile trip from NARA to the scanning facility.  
  • The documents must be inside when transitioned between the vehicle and the facility.
  • The scanning and secure storage rooms can’t be in a basement or on the top floors of a building.
  • The facility must have approved surfaces. Some paints, rubbers, carpets and other materials can “off-gass,” or emit vapors that harm documents.  
  • The scanning facility must duplicate the conditions of a NARA reading room. Ink pens are banned, for example, and the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled.
  • NARA’s security director reviewed the scanning facility and required some changes, such as hardening the entry points.


Ancestry.com | Libraries and Archives
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:04:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, January 11, 2010
"New" New Search Coming to Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

You might be happy to learn about some changes in store for Ancestry.com's New Search, particularly if you’re using the Old Search in hopes something better than New Search will come along.

During last week’s Ancestry.com press junket, Tony Macklin, manager of the search experience, gave members of the genealogy media (listed at the end of this post) a sneak peek of the updates:

The global basic search form will keep the first and middle name field and last name field. The place field will ask “Where did your ancestor live?” A pop-up calculator helps you estimate the birth year. Options let you add family members’ names and life events.

The global advanced search form is where you’ll see most changes. For the above-mentioned name fields, you'll be able check boxes for filters that let you customize the types of matches you get: records with just initials for the name, just Soundex matches (a feature the professional researchers in our group sorely miss in the New Search), and names with similar meanings or spellings to what you entered.

For the location, filters will let you restrict matches to records associated with just the county or place you entered, or also from adjacent counties/places.

You’ll be able to click boxes that let you restrict matches to just the historical records databases, just family trees or just photos and maps—effectively doing the same thing as the tabs in the Old search. You’ll be able to limit your results to US sources, too.

The updates will be introduced gradually in the New Search over the next weeks and months. The Old Search will stick around for now, but it won’t get these changes.

Individual collection pages also will get updated searches, but this'll take longer because of the customization required. Redesigned collection home pages will feature links to collection categories, easier ways to browse by location or date, and an “Explore by Location” click-through map that lets you see record groups associated with your ancestors’ places of residence.

For more news and analysis from this Ancestry.com-sponsored media event, watch the Genealogy Insider and these genealogy blogs:


Ancestry.com
Monday, January 11, 2010 10:34:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, January 08, 2010
Genealogy News Corral, Jan 4 to 8
Posted by Diane

Welcome to our first news roundup of 2010!

  • The 2010 National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference April 28 to May 1 in Salt Lake City, will highlight genealogy technology with a GENTECH Hall sponsored by FamilySearch. (GENTECH is a technology-focused genealogical society that merged with NGS in 2005.) There, nearly 100 technology-oriented exhibitors will feature software, gadgets, social collaboration sites, 60 computers for attendees’ use, and more. A GENTECH lecture track will cover cloud computing, blogs, data storage, social networking, photo editing and other tech topics. Learn more on the conference website.
  • Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke has released the first-ever genealogy podcast app for iPhone and iTouch. The Genealogy Gems Podcast app provides users with streaming genealogy audio and video, and exclusive bonus content including Cooke’s 20 page e-book 5 Fabulous Google Research Strategies for the Family Historian. You can get the app at the iTunes app store
  • Ancestry.com and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) will sponsor a Family History Day event Saturday, Feb. 20, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. The day will include six classes, a Q&A with Ancestry.com experts, one-on-one consultations with NEHGS genealogists, and the chance to have your photos and documents scanned on professional scanners. Attendance costs $30; click here to register.

  • The 55,000-member Civil War Preservation Trust announced it helped permanently protect 2,777 acres at 20 Civil War battlefields in five states during 2009. The trust's lifetime total comes to more than 29,000 acres of protected battlefield land at 109 sites in 20 states.

Ancestry.com | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Historic preservation
Friday, January 08, 2010 10:44:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Series Explores "What Made America?" Through Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose "African-American Lives" series have been popular on PBS, is working on another genealogy documentary series to air in February and March.

"Faces of America" uses genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 11 famous Americans, using their ancestors’ experiences to draw a picture of American history.

"The many stories [Gates] uncovers—of displacement and homecoming, of material success and dispossession, of assimilation and discrimination—illuminate the American experience," states PBS' announcement.

Four episodes look progressively further back in history. They cover America’s complicated relationship with new immigrants in the 20th century, the “Century of Immigration” and industrialization from the 1820s to 1924 (the year quotas sharply curtailed US immigration), the early settlement of the New World, and how DNA evidence links us to early geographical origins.

The ancestral origins of the show's "cast” span the globe. Gates researches the family trees of poet Elizabeth Alexander (she composed and read the poem at President Obama’s inauguration), chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, film director Mike Nichols, Queen Noor of Jordan, actresses Eva Longoria Parker and Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

The series airs 8 to 9 pm Wednesdays from Feb. 10 to March 3, but you can catch a few glimpses now:

See more "Faces of America" clips on PBS’ YouTube channel.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Genetic Genealogy | Social History
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 2:01:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
May We Suggest Some Genealogy Resolutions for 2010?
Posted by Diane

Studies show (well, at least one study shows) that 66 percent of adults have ever made a New Year’s resolution.

So maybe I risk losing a third of you when I suggest making a genealogy-oriented resolution or two. But wait! If you stick around for the rest of this post, I’ll give you some ideas and link to articles that might be helpful in achieving your family history goals:
  • Back up your digitized photos, too (in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine, we’ll recommend several photo-sharing websites for backing up family photos).
Resolve to rent one title a month through a nearby Family History Center. You can get more advice on using FamilySearch in our FamilySearch Essentials Webinar recording.
  • Go through your attic and closets and catalog your family heirlooms. You can use our heirloom recording forms to note the items' original owner, provenance, and other important information. 
  • Commit an hour or so a week to volunteering for a records indexing project. Try FamilySearch Indexing or Ancestry.com’s World Archives Project, or see if your local library or historical society could use your indexing assistance.
  • If you’re a beginning family historian, resolve to search the 1930 census (the most recent one available) for every relative who was alive at the time. See our census search tips, and visit a large library to use census microfilm, HeritageQuest Online or Ancestry Library Edition.


Family Heirlooms | Oral History | Photos | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 12:29:49 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, January 05, 2010
NY Museum Offers Digitized National Guard Records
Posted by Diane

Got a New Yorker who served in the state’s National Guard? The New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs has released of 53,671 pages of New York National Guard records, according to a Dec. 29 announcement.

The digitized records in PDF format include 197 issues of the New York National Guardsman magazine (published monthly from August 1924 to August 1940) and National Guard annual reports from the Adjutant General from 1858 to 1955

Many years of the Adjutant General records have a name index. Otherwise, there’s no search of the digitized records, so you’ll need to browse files for the years you’re interested in. Some of the files are pretty big and take a few minutes to download.

The center’s library also has rich genealogical resources offline, including 2,000 volumes of military and New York State history, more than 5,000 unit and soldier photographs, unit histories (some of this material is online), scrapbooks, letters, maps and more.


Free Databases | Military records | Museums
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 9:02:09 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 04, 2010
Ancestry.com Improves Wildcard Searching
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com made some changes to wildcard searching, which might just add enough flexibility to help you finally find an elusive ancestor in the census.

You can now use a wildcard at the beginning of a name you’re searching for, but if you do, the name can’t end in a wildcard. The name must contain at least three non-wildcards.

The two wildcards are ? to stand in for exactly one letter and * to stand in for any number of letters.

See more details and examples on Ancestry.com’s blog.


Ancestry.com
Monday, January 04, 2010 2:55:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ohio Probate Court Posts Online Records Archive
Posted by Diane

The probate court  for Hamilton County, Ohio—location of our hometown of Cincinnati—launched an Archived Record Search for records from 1791 to 1994.

It's not a database search where you type in a name. Instead, you open image files (PDFs or TIFs) of index books and/or record books for records including:
  • Estates, 1791 to 1984
  • Wills, 1791 to 1973
  • Trusts, 1791 to 1984
  • Guardianships, 1791 to 1984
  • Marriages, 1808 to 1983 
  • Minister's Licenses, 1963 to 1975 (index books only)
  • Birth Records, 1863 to 1908
  • Birth Registrations and Corrections, 1941 to 1994
  • Death Records, 1881 to 1908
  • Probate Court Journal Entries, 1791 to 1837 (no index; you must browse by volume and page number)
  • Physician Certificates, 1919 to 1987 (no index; you must browse by volume and page number)
I spent most of the Bengals' game last night opening and looking through the digitized books. I found a few people who may be relatives—giving me something to add to my 2010 to-do list.

Start by going to the Archive Record Search page and clicking the link for the type of record you’re interested in. On the next page, read the information: it’ll tell you whether the website has the index and/or the record volumes, whether the court has additional index or record volumes that aren’t online, years of coverage, and how complete the records are. 

If an index book is online, click the name of the record at the top of the page. Click on the alphabetical range for the surname you want, which opens the file (it may take awhile). You might have to check several index books if you're not sure of the year you need.

You also might have to scroll through the entire index: In some cases, surnames aren't alphabetized beyond the first letter, or all S surnames with E first names (for example) might be grouped.

Once you find a suspected relative in the index book, note the volume and page number. Then, if the record book is online, go back to the main page for that record and search for a volume and page number to see the record. Otherwise—assuming the record book still exists—you can request photocopies from the court or see if it's on FHL microfilm.

If there's no index book, check the information on the site to see which volumes cover which years. Then type in your best guess of a volume and page number, and start browsing.


court records | Free Databases | Vital Records
Monday, January 04, 2010 9:04:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]