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# Friday, 30 July 2010
Genealogy News Corral: July 26-30
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine’s own Photo Detective, Maureen A. Taylor, will be providing free 10-minute photo consultations in the FamilySearch booth at the FGS conference, Aug. 19-21 in Knoxville, Tenn. You may bring one photo and must reserve a consultation online (looks like Aug. 19 is almost sold out).

Last year, the governor of Michigan announced a restructuring that abolished the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries, which encompassed the Library of Michigan and its genealogy collection. Though the fate of the collection is still unknown, a Library Journal update reports the genealogy collection is still located at the library, which is operating with reduced finding and staff. See the full update here.

Synium Software released Mac Family Tree 6 this week with features including a new tree editor, new reports and charts and integration with FamilySearch databases. The software requires requires Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 and runs on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs.

A new Chickasaw Cultural Center opened in Sulphur, Okla., with exhibits including a Traditional Village, Spirit Forest and Removal Experience, as well as a Research Center with genealogical, archeological and photo collections. The Chickasaw, one of the Five Civilized Tribes, were forcibly removed to Indian Territory from their homes in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee in the 1830s.

American Indian roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Libraries and Archives
Friday, 30 July 2010 09:33:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Is Lindsay the Intern a Mayflower Descendant?
Posted by Lindsay

I was hoping after last week’s devastating revelation that I could improve the Rudd family morale by verifying the myth that we are descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims. Like the Uncle Sam rumor, this one has been purported by my mother’s family, so instead of blindly trusting the research (see below), I set about to prove it on my own.

I began optimistically after reading an article that said, “It has been estimated by Gary Boyd Roberts, of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, that there are some 30 million descendants of the Mayflower families.” With 30 million descendants, my chances were looking good!

I started by tracing back through Hazel Silverberg, my great-grandmother. Using, I traced her grandparents, Charles Russell Hall (b. 1853, New York) and Alice Roberts (b. 1865).

My alleged Mayflower link is through Charles Russell Hall’s mother, Anne Green Soule (b. 1826, married to Russell W. Hall). I immediately questioned Anne’s two last names, Green and Soule, especially as her mother’s last name is reportedly Cady. Where did “Green” come from? Did she have a previous marriage? If women were remarried after being widowed or divorced, did they keep their name?

On this page of research (date: 12/10/89), Anne Green Soule has a * next to her name, and written below: “is already verified by some other researcher. They let me see it, but it’s against the rules.” Um, what?

It also says, at the bottom, “Anne Green’s birth and death must be confirmed somehow and then we can be official Mayflower descendants.”

So it would seem—to my astonishment—that there is no actual evidence that we are Mayflower descendants. Great.

My online search of records for Anne Green Soule and Russell W. Hall was fruitless. All I uncovered was an 1860 Census record that listed Russell Hall and Anna Hall (b. 1827, NY)—no mention of Green or Soule. At this point I changed my strategy. Knowing of the abundant literature on Mayflower genealogy, I started Google-ing.

I confirmed my relative’s research from the Mayflower pilgrim (George Soule) to Coomer Soule, Anne Green Soule’s alleged father.

I hit a roadblock when—in the only Mayflower family tree I found that listed Coomer Soule’s children—they were listed:
i. JOSEPH CADY SOULE, b. 27 Jan 1805; m. JULIA KEACH.
ii. LUCY SOULE, b. 11 Aug 1808, Woodstock, Windham County, Connecticut; m. NATHAN BROWN.
iii. EMILY SOULE, b. Abt. 1811
iv. ELIZABETH SOULE, b. 22 Mar 1815; m. LYMAN HAWKS.

Well… where’s Anne? And it doesn’t look like any of those daughters married a “Hall.”

I needed help, so I started digging around’s message boards when I stumbled upon this posting from January 3, 2000:
“Looking for the daughter of Coomer Soule and Nancy Cady who is believe to have married Russell Ephraim Hall, Children William Coomer Hall b. 12/8/1857, m. 12/25/1891 Hattie Alma Cone in Hartford, Windsor Co, VT. William d. 12/29/1938.”

This (nameless) poster seems to share my dilemma. He (or she) is implying that there was a daughter who married a Russell Hall. This couldn’t just be one of my aunts though, because William Coomer Hall is a different child than (perhaps the brother?) my Charles Russell Hall.

Unfortunately, my luck stopped there. None of the responses had valuable information. Help me out, Genealogy Insiders! Where should I go from here?

(My mom’s abandoned Mayflower Society application from 2002).

Family Tree Firsts
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 17:34:22 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Find Your Genealogical Mr. Right
Posted by Diane

I blogged last year about my ancestor’s 1944 petition for naturalization, and how it refers to his 1918 filing of “first papers” (a declaration of intent to naturalize)—for which he apparently never filed second papers.

It even gave a document number for those first first papers. But the papers are mysteriously missing both from databases of digitized naturalization records and from microfilm of naturalization records from the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907-1946.

So I got all excited when I found a Fadlallah Haddad in a naturalization index from Chicago. Unusual name, right? It had to be him. But when I looked at the record, some of the details were slightly off. And why would he be in Chicago?

Next, I tried a tip from “Finding Mr. Right” by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack in the September 2010 Family Tree Magazine, and searched for Fadlallahs in other records. And there was one in Chicago in the 1930 census, with a household of unfamiliar names. In that census, my Fadlallah was living with three of his children in Cleveland.

So my momentary bubble burst, but at least I’m not chasing after the wrong ancestor.

The September 2010 “Finding Mr. Right” article has much more on how to tell the difference between two same-named people in the same place, even when their ages and other details are similar: how to create an ID table and a chronology of each person, for example, and researching the best records for distinguishing the individuals. Even handwriting and witnesses on documents can be clues to whether a particular person is or isn’t your man.

Other goodies in this issue:
... and lots more. The September 2010 Family Tree Magazine is available now on newsstands and as a digital download from

Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:38:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Favorite Historical Tweeps
Posted by Diane

Twitter has tons of historical trivia to offer. These are some of the fun-to-follow history tweeps I’ve been enjoying (click Comments below to share your favorites):

This online reenactment of the American Revolution will tweet a day-by-day account of the war for eight years.

Tweets of Old
Funny tidbits from old newspapers “attempt to reveal the lives of our predecessors through the tweets of yesteryear.”

Get “today in history” tweets every day, such as this from July 7: “Houdini performed overboard box trick 1st time today in 1912 in East River”

American History Fun Facts
Follow for history trivia, quotes, fun facts and stories from American history.

Historical Tweets
Humorous Twitter messages from the history books, or, what famous people from history might have tweeted. From Johannes Gutenberg on Oct. 3, 1439: “Finally finished invention. Disappointed to learn that no one can read.”

A secret delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 reports on the events through Twitter: “7/25/1787: Convoluted proposal after proposal on how to elect the president. Make up your minds people!”

Mental Floss
Did you know that during the bitter Adams-Jefferson election of 1800, Martha Washington called Jefferson “one of the most detestable of mankind.” Get more off-the-wall trivia (not all of it historical) from the folks behind Mental Floss magazine.

From the Massachusetts Historical Society, peek at John Quincy Adams’ diary, a line at a time.

Monticello staff tweet from Thomas Jefferson’s diary entries 200 years later.

Genealogy fun | Social History | Social Networking
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 09:42:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 27 July 2010
July Family Tree Magazine Podcast Episode Now Live!
Posted by Diane

Hello, all! The free July 2010 Family Tree Magazine Podcast is available for your listening pleasure. In this episode, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke (who also creates the Genealogy Gems podcast), you’ll:
  • Discover some of the best preservation resources online
  • Learn how to submit photos of your Civil War-era ancestors for our 2010 commemorative Civil War calendar
  • Meet Lindsay, Family Tree Magazine’s summer intern and resident genealogy newbie
  • Find out about the Family Tree Sourcebook, a genealogy records reference appearing in bookstores this fall
You'll find the show notes on, and you can listen there or in iTunes.

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

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Family Heirlooms | Genealogy Web Sites | Podcasts
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 14:55:51 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 22 July 2010
Your Unofficial Guide to Webinar: Early Birds Save 20 Percent!
Posted by Diane

Maybe you recently subscribed to genealogy website—or found out your local library offers Ancestry Library Edition—and you’re not sure how to begin on the huge site. Or you’ve found a few records about your ancestors, and you’re wondering if that’s all there is. Or you don’t know how to take advantage of the site’s recent changes to its search function.

At 5 billion records (and counting), can help you unlock valuable information about your family—if you know how to make the most of its record search and other tools. Our next webinar, Your Unofficial Guide to Tips, Hints and Hacks for Finding Your Ancestors, will show you just that. You’ll learn:
• How to navigate
• Tricks for finding databases with the genealogical information you need
• Strategies to locate hard-to-find ancestors in the site’s record collections
• Things doesn't want you to know!
The hour-long webinar, presented by Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell, is Wed., Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific).

Sign up now to save 20 percent on your registration. 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 handouts
Click here to register for Family Tree Magazine’s Your Unofficial Guide to webinar. | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, 22 July 2010 08:37:48 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Is Lindsay the Intern Related to Uncle Sam?
Posted by Diane

You might remember Lindsay, Family Tree Magazine's hard-working summer intern, from last week's introduction. This week, Lindsay investigates her family's supposed connection to Uncle Sam:

I now have 133 (verified) people on my MyHeritage family tree! The most exciting part of my research has been tracing my ancestors back to their homelands. I have discovered that these include, on my father’s side: Italy, Canada (Scotland) and Germany, and on my mother’s side: England, Ireland, Germany and France. It definitely feels like I’m making progress, especially since I hit my first “brick wall” this week! Well, sort of…
I remember that, as a child, I used to tell people I was related to Uncle Sam—you know, the guy on the “I want you” posters. Did I think this would make me popular? I don’t know, but with the exception of a couple retaliatory remarks (“well, I’m related to Abraham Lincoln”), people didn’t really care.

But one incident—that I just can’t forget—is a heated argument I had with a (then) boyfriend on a road trip to Chicago. When I informed him that he was practically dating a celebrity, he told me that I was wrong—I couldn’t possibly be related to Uncle Sam. He went so far as to claim that Uncle Sam wasn’t even a real person!

Well, he is in fact a real man by the name of Samuel Wilson, and he was a meatpacker for the US Army during the War of 1812. So, my goal this weekend was to prove, once and for all that he is, in fact, my ancestor. Easy, right?


Let’s start with the facts: Samuel Wilson was born in Arlington, MA in 1766 and lived in Troy, NY during the War of 1812. He passed away in 1854 (see his grave here on Find-a-Grave). From what I discovered online, he married Betsey Mann and had four children, of which only one (Benjamin) reproduced. Benjamin Wilson (1802-1859) married Mary Wood.

How does this relate to me? In addition to a surplus of unrelated articles about the real Uncle Sam, I was able to dig out a couple of articles from my mom’s genealogy folder. 

In the one above, dated May 16, 1931, William Rudd (my great-great grandfather) states: ”’Uncle Sam’ Wilson had a daughter, Caroline Wilson, who became Mrs. Pierce. Mrs. Pierce had a daughter, Mary, who became Mrs. Rudd—and she was my mother, and thus ‘Uncle Sam’ Wilson was my great-grandfather.”

Wait a minute: Caroline Wilson? This name was not once mentioned in my Uncle Sam research. Furthermore, I read that it was only Sam’s son, Benjamin, who had children. Does this mean my ancestors fabricated this alleged ancestor and are, thus, fame-mongers? 

I have verified that William Rudd’s father was George R. Rudd (b. 1854) and that he married a woman named Mary (b. 1852). All of the information mentioned in the article above is true, except for the father-daughter relationship between Caroline and Sam. 

But, wait!  I uncovered some very interesting information in the 1880 census from Cincinnati, OH. According to the census, George and Mary Rudd were living with Caroline Pierce (“mother”, b. 1823 in New York), Samuel Wilson (“uncle”, b. 1827, New York), and John Wilson (“uncle”, b. 1838, New York).

From this, I assume that Caroline’s maiden name was Wilson and she is somehow related (maybe the sister of) Samuel and John Wilson. But because the dates are so off (this Sam Wilson wouldn’t have even been alive in 1812), it doesn’t make sense. Maybe Caroline and Sam Wilson’s father was named Sam—but still, it is probably not Uncle Sam.

I daresay my Rudd ancestors were simply confusing two people of the same name, from the same state (in genealogy, it apparently happens all the time). Am I missing something, Genealogy Insiders? Is it possible Sam fathered an illegitimate child somewhere? Perhaps, but for now, I will have to break the sad news to my family that no, we are not actually related to Uncle Sam.

Family Tree Firsts | Research Tips
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 14:38:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 20 July 2010
FamilySearch Tests New Version of FHL Online Catalog
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch is beta testing a new interface for the Family History Library catalog. You can try it out on the FamilySearch beta site and provide feedback using the orange Feedback tab on the right.

The Family History Library (FHL) is the largest genealogy collection in the United States. Some of its resources are accessible online through, and you can borrow microfilmed records by visiting an FHL branch Family History Center (FHC). 

Here's the beta catalog search screen:

You’ll like how you click less when you search: Instead of a separate search page for each type of search, you can select the type of search (place name, last name, title, keyword, etc.) you want from a dropdown menu and type in your search terms.

Library holdings matching your search results are displayed in a list, like this:

Filters to the left of the list let you break down results by category (such as birth, marriage and death records; census and voter lists, family trees, military records, etc.), place, availability (online items, or items available from the FHL or FHCs) or language.  

All the record information for an item is on one page. Here's an example:

The title, author, publisher and other basic information is first, followed by “Notes” (a description of the item), the library subjects the item is associated with, then the film notes. (In the current catalog, a link takes you to the film notes—a list of all the microfilm reels in a series and what’s on them—on a separate page.)

That can make for a long catalog page, depending on the item. Some indexing links at the top of the page, so you can jump down to the subjects, film notes etc., would be helpful.

Resources on how to use FamilySearch, from Family Tree Magazine:

FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:09:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 19 July 2010
We're Giving Away $250 in Genealogy Gear!
Posted by Grace

Would you like to win $250 in genealogy books, CDs and DVDs? Who wouldn't! Enter our Genealogy Giveaway Sweepstakes by Aug. 31, 2010, and you could be the big winner.

In fact, you can enter every day, so bookmark and try your luck. We'll announce the randomly selected winner in early September. Note: You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter.

Editor's Pick | Genealogy fun
Monday, 19 July 2010 18:29:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [8]
Footnote, LowCountry Africana Partner on SC Slave Records
Posted by Allison

A new genealogy partnership means more online records for researchers with African-American roots.

Subscription website and free records site Lowcountry Africana are starting a new collection of estate inventories and bills of sale for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872.

Estate inventories often name slaves that deceased owners left to heirs. Bills of sale document transactions involving slaves.

So far, just a portion—about 3 percent—of the collection is now searchable free at Footnote.

Lowcountry Africana has established an online volunteer program to create an index for this collection. To learn more about this volunteer program or to sign up to be a volunteer, visit the Lowcountry Africana site.

Charleston was a port of entry for the Atlantic slave trade, so thousands of African Americans may have ancestors who came from, or traveled through, South Carolina.

FamilySearch donated copies of the microfilmed records for digitization. The originals are at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

African-American roots research assistance from Family Tree Magazine:

African-American roots | Footnote | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 19 July 2010 09:33:06 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 16 July 2010
Genealogy News Corral: July 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • has completed its acquisition of, the leading Swedish family history Web site. acquired all shares of Genline for approximately 53 million Swedish kronor, about $7.2 million.
  • also has updated its New Search screen to add maps you can click to browse data collections associated with a state or county, as well as access to your recent searches and recently viewed data collections. To use these features, click the search tab on’s home page (if you see a New Search link in the upper right, be sure to click it—these updates aren’t in the old search). See more details and screen shots on the blog.

  • British subscription site has made it easier for you to find birth records on the site. More than 100 million records were re-indexed.  Now, your search results will be in a list of individual names, rather than a range, so you won’t have to view pages and pages of records in order to find your ancestor. In the advanced search, you can now search records from one or more counties. Search birth records here. Fully indexed marriage and death records should follow later this year.
  • Subscription site has launched 16.3 million Parisian birth, marriage and death records dating from 1700 to 1907. French is the second most common ancestry in Canada. Use these links to access the records:
Paris, France & Vicinity Marriages, 1700-1907
Paris, France & Vicinity Births, 1700-1899
Paris, France & Vicinity Deaths, 1707-1907 | Canadian roots | Genealogy Industry | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 16 July 2010 13:58:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 15 July 2010
Need Programming for a Genealogical Society Meeting? Check Out Family Tree University Webinars
Posted by Diane

Is your genealogical society looking for affordable programming for meetings and workshops? Family Tree University webinars may be the answer.

Family Tree University produces monthly educational webinars on a variety of genealogical topics, such as online census records, military records, the FamilySearch website, heirloom preservation, breaking through brick walls, organizing your research and more.

In response to genealogy groups' questions about showing webinars during their meetings, we've come up with a some options:
  • You can license one of our pre-recorded webinars for as little as $100, depending on the size of your group.

  • You can have a Family Tree University instructor deliver a live webinar (giving your members the opportunity to ask questions) starting at $250.
All you’ll need is access to a computer, projector and screen during your meeting. Check out our selection of Family Tree University webinars here.

You also can commission a webinar on a topic of your choice, or let us hook you up with a Family Tree University instructor for an in-person presentation (prices vary).

E-mail us if you’re interested in Family Tree University genealogical society programming.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Webinars
Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:45:41 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 14 July 2010
JewishGen, MyHeritage Collaborate on Jewish Family Trees Project
Posted by Diane

Genealogy sites JewishGen and and MyHeritage are collaborating to build the Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) project on JewishGen.

FTJP offers a central resource for storing and finding Jewish family trees as GEDCOM files.

If you build your family tree with a special version of’s free, downloadable family tree software, your tree will be automatically transferred to the FTJP—with your consent.

You can set privacy controls using tools on MyHeritage. Trees of existing MyHeritage users won’t be transferred.

For help using MyHeritage in your genealogy search, see Family Tree Magazine's MyHeritage web guide, available as a digital download from ShopFamilyTreecom.

You'll find guidance on researching Jewish ancestors in our Jewish research guide, also available from

Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | Jewish roots
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 15:23:50 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Help Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors!
Posted by Diane

It took me two years to find my great-grandfather in Ellis Island’s passenger database. I finally found him after getting his naturalization papers, then using the arrival date reported in those papers and Steve Morse’s passenger search to browse records by month.

It turns out my ancestor was listed under a short form of his birth name—not the name he used in America—and both he and his wife made themselves two years older.

(You can read the long version of my immigrant ancestor search saga here.)

Almost half of all Americans have a relative who immigrated through Ellis Island, making its passenger records a key source for linking your family tree to the old country. But if your ancestors fibbed, used an unfamiliar name, didn’t arrive when you think they did, or were mistranscribed in the passenger database, you’ll have a hard time finding them. 

Our July 21 webinar will help you overcome these challenges by sharing the secrets to finding your ancestors in a sea of records. Presenter Lisa A. Alzo will show you how to identify Ellis Island immigrants, take you around the website, and demonstrate tools to help you search efficiently.

Click here to register for the live webinar Ellis Island: Find Your Ancestor in a Sea of Online Records.

And we're giving registered attendees $25 off our Family Tree University course Tracing Immigrants: How to Research Your Family’s American Arrivals.

Click here to view all FTU courses.

Editor's Pick | immigration records | Webinars
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 13:57:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Meet Lindsay the Intern!
Posted by Diane

Everyone, please say hi to Lindsay, the Family Tree Magazine intern! As she helps put together magazine issues, books and digital downloads, she’s hoping to learn all about genealogy while gaining experience in the magazine biz.

Lindsay will keep you updated on how her genealogy education is going right here on the Genealogy Insider blog—here’s her first post:
Earlier this year, my mom sent me the following email:

“Lu, you won't believe this, but we are related to Audrey Hepburn! She is my 13th cousin, one time removed! We are also related to a host of other famous people, on my mother's side. Katharine Hepburn is our 4th cousin 2 times removed, Isaac Newton is our 3rd cousin 13 times removed, Howard Hughes is our 8th cousin 1 time removed and then we are related to Edwin Hubble, Ed and John Tilly, more Mayflower passengers, several First Ladies, Jane Austen 8th cousin 5 times removed, Richard Lovelace, another author 5th cousin, 9 times removed, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Browning 14th cousin, 1 time removed. Anne of Russia, who was an Empress of Russia, Alexandre Dumas is our 12th cousin, 5 times removed.

“Now this is just from my Grandma's Father's side of the family.  We are probably related to some much more amazing people and we will figure it out, eventually.”
Are you thinking, “what a strange and diverse group of relatives”? I didn’t give this message too much thought at the time. I probably said something along the lines of “That’s so neat, Mom! Several First Ladies?” and thought little more of it.
That is, until I joined Family Tree Magazine as its 2010 summer intern. My name is Lindsay Sena and even though I started this internship a month ago, I’m still just beginning to learn the ins-and-outs of genealogy research. I may be fresh out of college, but I realize that it would be nonsensical to pass up the amazing resources at FTM (read: it will be years until I can afford my own subscription to

So last week I finally sat down and began filling out a five-generation chart. Luckily, my mom offered me information that went far beyond five-generations—including one line that a cousin traced all the way back to the 16th century (I hope to verify this—you may see why I have developed a skepticism of this information). Because my family tree was overflowing, I transferred the data to a tree on and have been regularly updating and revising.

It is a privilege to be working at Family Tree Magazine. I understand now why people are so passionate about genealogy; it’s the thrill of unraveling the mystery, which is your unique heritage. I’ve already uncovered some pretty juicy stuff, and I plan to blog at least once a week with my progress.

So, Genealogy Insider readers, as I embark on this genealogy journey, please offer me any suggestions and advice—I can use all of the help I can get!

Family Tree Firsts
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 16:12:22 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, 12 July 2010
NARA Opens Voting for Website Redesign
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is redesigning its website to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for.

Check out the four design options and cast your vote here. Update: Voting has closed, but you still can use this link to check out the design options.

All the new home page designs feature fewer links than the dizzying number on the current home page. I love all the information on the site, but it can be difficult to find what you need.

You can learn more about the NARA redesign—including how the public participated in creating the organizational structure of the new site—here.

Family Tree Magazine guides you through finding genealogy answers on NARA’s current site in our National Archives Web Guide, available from

Family Tree Magazine articles | NARA
Monday, 12 July 2010 16:39:27 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, 08 July 2010
101 Best (Free) Genealogy Websites for 2010!
Posted by Diane

We’re excited this week to announce the 101 Best Genealogy Web Sites for 2010—a compilation of our favorite free sites for researching family history.

This year’s 101 Best Websites are all free—and by free, we mean the primary function or content is free. You can go to the site and find what you wanted to find or do what you intended to do without getting out your credit card.

The sites appear in the September 2010 Family Tree Magazine (now mailing to subscribers), and we’ve also posted them free on so anyone can click right through to these great tools for family tree research.

The sites are divided into 13 categories (for big, free sites; genealogy records sites; sites for researching immigrants; African-American research sites; etc.). Just click a category name to see the sites in that category.

So start exploring these 101 websites and see what ancestral discoveries you make.

You’ll soon begin to see the selected sites wearing their “101 Best Sites” badges. Congratulations to all the selected sites, and a huge thank-you for putting our family histories within a little closer reach.

For more help researching your family tree on the web, see the Online Genealogy store at

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Thursday, 08 July 2010 11:05:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 07 July 2010
Your Civil War Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Do you have a treasured photo of a Civil War ancestor? To mark next year’s sesquicentennial of the start of the War Between the States, we’re putting together a special Civil War 2011 commemorative calendar featuring Family Tree Magazine readers’ ancestors.

If you’d like your Civil War ancestor—male or female, adult or child—to be featured, just submit your photo to our Civil War ancestors’ Flickr pool.

Note that you must have a Flickr membership (free or paid) to upload photos or add comments. Click here to learn more about Flickr.

Please include in the caption any details you know about the photo and who's in it, and tell us where you found it (for example, in your family's collection, at a historical society, etc.).

You may submit as many times as you like. There’s no need to post your real name if you prefer not to, but to be credited if your photo is selected for the calendar, please provide your name and your city or town of residence. (The photo above shows Martin Dively, third-great grandfather of Andrea A. Walter.)

If you have questions or wish to submit a photo by other means, you may e-mail your question or submission to us. Please attach a high-resolution image (at least 300 dpi).

And for the fine print: By submitting photos and captions via Flickr or e-mail, you verify that no other party holds copyright to the image. You also grant F+W Media, Inc., permission to use your contribution in any and all print and electronic media.

Military records | Photos
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 15:45:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Family Tree Magazine Webinar: Ask the Editors
Posted by Diane

I’m excited and nervous all at the same time about this week’s editor’s pick: For the first time ever, we’re hosting a live, online Q&A session with readers.

It’s in the form of a free webinar called Ask the Editors: Family Tree Magazine Answers Your Questions, on Wed., Aug. 11, from 7 to 8 pm Eastern.

Yours truly will host, along with publisher/editorial director Allison Stacy and online editor Grace Dobush.

The part that makes me a little nervous is that it’s mostly unscripted: You can ask any question you have about genealogy, research methods or Family Tree Magazine. While we can’t guarantee resolutions to research problems, we’ll try to tackle anything you throw our way.

Click here to register for our free Ask the Editors webinar.

After you submit your registration, you’ll get a confirmation e-mail with the link you’ll use to attend the webinar when it’s time (you’ll also get reminder e-mails as the date approaches). After the webinar, attendees will receive an e-mail with a link to access a recording of the webinar.

And don’t forget to check out our July 21 webinar, Ellis Island: Find Your Ancestor in a Sea of Online Records. As of today, you still can save $10 on registration.

Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 15:11:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 06 July 2010
NARA Archives I Adds Saturday Record Pulls in July
Posted by Diane

Great news for those taking research vacations this month to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC, called Archives I.

Archives I is starting a pilot program to “pull” paper records (retrieve them from storage for viewing in the Research Room) on Saturdays during July.

The Saturday pull times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Previously, staff did not pull any records on Saturdays. (Note that Archives II in College Park, Md., isn't participating in the pilot program.)

Weekday pull times are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there’s an additional pull at 3:30 p.m.

Researchers at the archives need to fill out and submit a Reference Service Slip for each requested record, which staff will retrieve at the next pull time. Without Saturday pulls, weekend researchers have to submit their requests early, or limit themselves to using microfilm, which is self-service.

For information on researching at the National Archives in Washington, DC, see its online guide.

You can use many National Archives resources at home through Learn how to make the most of this site from our National Archives Web Guide, available from

Tuesday, 06 July 2010 10:16:40 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 02 July 2010
Genealogy News Corral: June 28-July 2
Posted by Diane

A free website called London Lives has posted 240,000 manuscripts and 3.35 million names of “non-elite” 18th-century Londoners. Sources include criminal and court records, parish registers, workhouse records and more. (Click here for more details about the resources.) Registration isn’t necessary to search, but you can register to create a personal workspace and link documents together into biographies.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has announced that Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, head of the National Archives and Records Administration, will speak at the FGS annual conference Focus on Societies Luncheon on Aug. 18 in Knoxville, Tenn. Learn more on the FGS conference blog.

Two items from the National Archives and Records Administration this Fourth of July weekend: First, the archives has a new logo, which will be featured on the archives’ first-ever float in the National Independence Day Parade. What do you think? I like it!

Second, the National Archives is launching a video series called Inside the Vaults, which will take you behind the scenes as staff and research highlight new finds at the archives, and report on “complicated and technical subjects.” The first video features the conservation of the Declaration of Independence and a mysterious handprint in the lower-left corner of the document.

Free Databases | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | NARA | UK and Irish roots | Videos
Friday, 02 July 2010 15:21:41 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Tell Us What You'd Like to See in Family Tree Magazine
Posted by Diane

This is the time of year when we plan future Family Tree Magazine issues and how-to genealogy products, so we're hoping you'll lend a hand by sharing your thoughts on some ideas we cooked up for 2011 and beyond.

Please take our 3-minute survey by clicking here.

At the end, you'll get a coupon code for 15 percent off the genealogy books, CDs, Family Tree Magazine back issues, and webinar recordings in

Family Tree Magazine articles | Sales
Friday, 02 July 2010 08:43:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 01 July 2010
Save $ and Be a Better Genealogist With Our 4th of July Sale
Posted by Diane

It’s Fourth of July sale time at and! Here’s how you can save $$ while becoming a better genealogist:
  • At, you can save 40 percent on Family Tree Magazine products by entering offer code SFT111 when you check out (some exclusions apply). This offer expires July 5.
Click here to start browsing our genealogy how-to books, CDs, back issues, digital downloads and webinar recordings.
  • At Family Tree University, you can take $13 off any genealogy course registration by entering the code 13COLONIES. This offer also expires July 5.
Courses include Land Records 101 (starting July 19 or Sept. 13), Tracing Immigrants (starting July 21), Digital Photography Essentials (starting July 19) and more—click here to see all our FTU offerings.

Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Sales
Thursday, 01 July 2010 09:27:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]