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# Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Photo Mysteries Contest Winner
Posted by Diane

Congratulations to J. Hansen, winner of the Photo Mysteries Contest we’ve been holding in honor of National Photo Month. Here’s his mystery photo, discovered in a storage area of her dad’s family business (founded in 1886).

Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor will analyze the photo for clues and blog about them on the Photo Detective blog (she’s already getting started here).

The winner also will receive the Digitize Your Family Photos Value Pack  (today’s the last day it’s available in ShopFamilyTree.com—learn more here).

Thank you to everyone who sent in your photos! You’ll see many of them popping up on the Photo Detective blog in the coming months.


Photos
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:06:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Site Lets You Find a Genealogy Speaker, Post Your Presenter Profile
Posted by Diane

If you are a genealogy speaker or you need a genealogy speaker, visit the new GeneaSpeak website

This free site from GeneaBloggers has profiles and presentations of genealogy speakers, a calendar of speaking engagements, calls for papers for upcoming genealogy conferences, and posts about building speaking skills.

E-mail GeneaBloggers if you’d like to post your genealogy speaker profile to the site.

If you’re looking for a speaker for a genealogy society meeting or other event, you can browse the profiles here or use the search box at the top left of the site to type in a genealogy topic or a speaker’s name.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:06:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 27, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, May 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • The new iPhone app BillionGraves.com (1BGraves) lets you contribute to the site’s gravestone image database while on the road. Even without the app, you can add transcriptions to the site's online database. On the site, you can search gravestone records by person or cemetery (it looks like few stones are recorded yet, but you can find cemeteries listed with maps showing their locations).
  • The entire 1930 Mexico Census is now complete on FamilySearch. This indexing project started in September2007 and encompassed 13 million records. 
  • Here’s an update on a smaller genealogy subscription site you may not be familiar with: Family Tree Connection, launched in 2003, is approaching 2 million records. The names were transcribed from more than 5,400 documents including Masonic lodge rosters, military rosters, insurance claims, tax lists, orphanage records, club and society member lists, prisoner logs and mug shots, school catalogs, yearbooks, railroad employee information, rural telephone directories, church member lists and more.
  • Ancestry.com has added new US WWII Navy Muster Rolls (1938-1949) and a US Navy Cruise Books Index (1918-2009) to its military records collection.

Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software
Friday, May 27, 2011 9:30:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, May 26, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: Postal Service Suspended in the South
Posted by Diane

The Civil War started 150 years ago in April, but the sesquicentennial actually stretches over the next four years. So we’re starting a series of blog posts to highlight various events in the war. Today's installment:

On May 26, 1861, US Postmaster-General Blair issued an order suspending postal service in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas as of May 31.

Mail for the shuttered offices was to be forwarded to the dead letter office, except in Western Virginia, where mail was to be sent to Wheeling.

To cope with increased mail during the Civil War, says author Michael O. Varhola in Life in Civil War America, the US Postal Service began dividing mail into first-class, second-class and third-class.

Congress also authorized the use of postage stamps as change after the US stopped issuing coinage. Due to hoarding, coins nearly disappeared from circulation. When the gummed stamps proved hard to use and unpopular, Congress approved glueless stamps called “postal currency.”


The book Life in Civil War America is available in print, as a digital download and as individual chapter downloads. Browse these items and our other Civil War resources at ShopFamilyTree.com


Civil War
Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:39:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Find Your New Jersey Ancestors
Posted by Diane

If you have New Jersey ancestors, you may have noticed that none of the New Jersey population schedules survive for the 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 US federal censuses.

Finding substitute sources is one of the research strategies you’ll learn in our next webinar, New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Garden State Ancestors, Wednesday, June 22, at 7 pm Eastern (6 Central/ 5 Mountain/ 4 Pacific).

Presenter Thomas MacEntee, New Jersey genealogy expert and founder of GeneaBloggers, gave me a sampling of other New Jersey research challenges the seminar will help you with:

  • Before New Jersey was a state or even a British colony, it was part of the New Sweden and New Netherlands colonies. That can make locating records a challenge, so the webinar will address early records for each of these colonies and where to find them.
  • Did you know that many New Jersey couples traveled to other states to get married? You’ll learn which states and counties were most popular and how to search for those marriage records.

Thomas also will tell you how to access New Jersey vital records and other resources, share the best websites for researching ancestors from the state, and more.

Register for the New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course now to get our early bird price of 20 percent off.


Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:00:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Recap of VH1's Genealogy Show "50 Cent: The Origin of Me"
Posted by Diane

Last night, rapper 50 Cent traveled to his family’s South Carolina hometown to trace his roots for the VH1 Rock Doc “50 Cent: The Origin of Me.”

You can watch the show on VH1’s website. If you watch, there are some bleeps in a rap at the beginning, but the rest of the show is clean. And good.

In the show, 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson), who grew up in New York City, travels to Edgefield, SC, where his mom’s family came from. At a reunion, the family talks about what the segregated town was like in the 1950s.

50 visits Edgefield’s genealogical society. The librarian (who had to have been briefed ahead of time, but did such a good job of being nonchalant that I wondered) pulls the WWI draft card of 50's grandfather Will Jenkins from a "Jenkins File" (the society keeps surname files on local families). She also helps 50 use the census on microfilm to find Will’s father Peter, and Peter’s mother Jane.

In the 1870 census, Jane was living with a local prominent citizen, probably her former slaveowner. 

50 also visited the Old Edgefield Pottery museum, with vessels created by “Dave the Slave,” who incorporated sayings and dates into his work. The proprietor refers to Dave as the first rapper.

The show didn’t shy from a bit of confrontation: At Oakley Park Museum,  50 and a woman identified in a caption as being from the Daughters of the Confederacy discuss the symbolism of the Confederate flag.

She also tells him about the Red Shirts, a precursor to the Klu Klux Klan, and advises him to study history to learn about “Mongolian slaves” in South Carolina. Interesting. There’s some uncomfortable giggling when 50 gently challenges her about these slaves and how slaves were treated.

Later, at the Edgefield County Archives, the archivist shows 50 the slave inventory for Jane’s owner, R.G.M. Dunovant, son-in-law of prominent citizen Whitfield Brooks. The archivist finds a reference to Jane, daughter of Adrene, in Whitfield’s will. If that’s 50’s Jane, Adrene is his fourth-great-grandmother. 

The archivist introduces 50 to a woman who’s researching what she calls the brutal side of slavery. In contrast to the woman he met earlier, she acknowledges the treatment of local slaves and gives an example from a coroner's report detailing the death of a slave.

50 next meets a Dunovant descendant, who asks 50 about his career, compliments his song “In Da Club” (the one that says “Go shorty/It’s your birthday”) and gives him a piece of Edgefield pottery. 50 says it’s a turnaround from the days his family talked about, when black people always used the back door at whites’ homes.

You don't have to be a fan of rap or a member of VH1's typical demographic to like this show. 50 Cent has a tough image as a rapper, but you don't see that here. To me, the show feels a little younger and a little less refined than 'Who Do You Think You Are?" which makes it very approachable. You learn about both one person's genealogy and how it ties into what was happening locally and across the country.

For some behind-the-scenes insight, here’s a Vanity Fair article by David Kamp, the writer who did the genealogy research

Did you watch “50 Cent: The Origin of Me”? Let me know what you thought.


African-American roots | Celebrity Roots
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 3:26:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Customer Appreciation Sale: 15 Percent Off + Free US Shipping
Posted by Diane

May 24 is Customer Appreciation Day at ShopFamilyTree.com. Today only, enter code THANKU at checkout to receive 15 percent off and free standard shipping within the United States. 

Now would be a great time to register for next month’s New Jersey Genealogy Crash Course webinar or pick up the Family Tree Magazine 2010 CD

Are you also into gardening, woodworking, quilting, collecting, painting, writing, driving old cars or any number of other hobbies?

You can get the same deal today in our publishing company’s other online bookstores—GardenersHub.com, NorthLightShop.com, (that’s our artists’ store)  ShopWoodworking.com, Collect.com (books about antiques, stamps, coins, etc.) and more. Click here to see F+W Media's shops for your favorite hobby


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 9:12:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 23, 2011
June 9 Is Ask Archivists Day on Twitter
Posted by Diane

Got a burning question only an archivist could answer? Here’s a great opportunity to ask it: On Ask Archivists Day, a worldwide Twitter event taking place June 9, you can pose an archival question for archivists to address.

Start by following @AskArchivists on Twitter (you'll need a Twitter account, of course). Then on June 9, tweet your question and include the hashtag #AskArchivists. You can direct your question to any archivist who’s joining in, or to a specific participating archive—for example, including @USNatArchives in your tweet directs your question to the US National Archives.

Participating archives in the United States and Canada are listed here (the list is still growing). So far, they include the National Archives, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, North Carolina State Archives, Association des archivistes du Québec, Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, plus many college and university libraries.

Get more Ask Archivists Day details on the Ask Archivists blog, and of course, by following @AskArchivists on Twitter.


Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | NARA | Research Tips | Social Networking
Monday, May 23, 2011 11:14:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
President "O'Bama" Visits Irish Ancestors' Hometown
Posted by Diane

You've probably heard about President Obama’s big visit this week to Ireland, which will include a stop in Moneygall, County Offaly, where his third-great-grandfather was born in 1830.

Fulmoth Kearney (“Falmoth Cainey” on his passenger list), age 19, arrived in New York March 20, 1850.

This Irish Times article explains how the connection was made to Obama’s Irish roots through professional researchers in the United States and local church officials in Ireland. 

There’s even a song about the president’s ancestry: “There’s No One As Irish As Barack O’Bama” by Ireland’s Corrigan Brothers. 

The song is the soundtrack for a documentary called Barack Obama's Irish Roots,  which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. You can see a promo clip here

You can get Irish genealogy tips from the articles in Family Tree Magazine's Irish Research Toolkit or download our $4 Irish Genealogy Guide.



Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots | Videos
Monday, May 23, 2011 9:30:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, May 20, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, May 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • A new website called Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names will launch in September. The site will contain free, searchable information about enslaved Virginians named in manuscripts at the Virginia Historical Society. Read more about the project here
  • FindMyPast.co.uk has completed its two-year project to make the English and Welsh birth, marriage and death records on its site easier to use. This final installment of the project makes more than 85 million death records searchable at once, with as little as a surname. The site’s death records include England & Wales deaths, 1837-2006; British nationals who died overseas, 1818-2005; British nationals armed forces deaths, 1796-2005; and British nationals who died at sea, 1854-1890.

African-American roots | American Indian roots | Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots
Friday, May 20, 2011 4:05:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Google Stops Digitizing Old Newspapers
Posted by Diane

Got some Google news for you  today: First, Google has announced it’s stopping its quest to digitize old newspapers and post them online in the Google News Archive—to the disappointment of genealogists searching the archive for their ancestors’ names. Also, small newspapers lose the Google option for preserving old issues.

Google will continue to support the existing News Archive, so you can still search it. But it won’t add any search enhancements.

This article from the Boston Phoenix has more on what Google’s doing instead

See other sites where you can search online newspapers in this free FamilyTreeMagazine.com article, and look for even more help using online newspaper databases in our November 2011 issue. (We’ve also got a Family Tree University course on newspaper research.) 

In other (happier) Google news, now you can get definitions for words in Google Books right then and there. Just select the word and a little pop-up menu gives you options to define it, translate it, or search for it in the book, Google or Wikipedia. You have to be in “Flowing Text” mode for this to work; click here for more details


Newspapers
Friday, May 20, 2011 3:47:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, May 19, 2011
And the Winners Are ...
Posted by Diane

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of our “How I got interested in genealogy” contest with world family tree site Geni

The winner of the grand prize—a two-year Geni Pro account and a year of Famliy Tree Magazine—is Sadie Morgan of Rossville, Ga.

The second-prize winners, who’ll receive the Family Tree Magazine "Beginners Guide to Genealogy" digital download and a three-month Geni Pro Account, are:

  • Kim Cotton
  • Lori Pilla
  • Laura Ramsay

We're contacting the winners to deliver your prizes. Congratulations to them, and thank you to everyone who entered. We enjoyed reading about how you got into genealogy! (You can see the entries on the Facebook pages for Family Tree Magazine and Geni.)


Genealogy fun | Social Networking
Thursday, May 19, 2011 11:00:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 18, 2011
This Just In: Genealogy Brick Walls Quake in Fear As New Family Tree University Session Is Set to Begin
Posted by Diane

Editor's Pick






(What can I say, I guess I'm in a bit of a melodramatic mood this morning!) Next Monday, May 23, begins a new session of Family Tree University and a new opportunity to find out what you need to know in order to bust through that big bad brick wall.

Courses run for four weeks with one lesson per week. That's except for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Google Master Class, which combines three courses over eight weeks; and Discover Your Family Tree, a two-week course especially for beginners.

Click each link for more about the class, including a syllabus, student feedback, and even preview videos for some. You can save 20 percent on registration by using offer code FTU0511.


Editor's Pick | Family Tree University
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 8:58:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 16, 2011
Take Two and Call Us in the Morning ...
Posted by Diane

Welcome back to all the genealogists experiencing conference hangover this Monday morning! (The National Genealogical Society annual conference wrapped up over the weekend in Charleston, SC.)

We can’t wait for our own Allison Stacy to stagger skip back into the office to share all the conference happenings!

In the mean time, here's a photo from our booth in the exhibit hall:



On the left is Jennifer Woods from the Climbing My Family Tree blog, then Allison, and that’s Cheryl Cayemberg from the Have You Seen My Roots? blog on the right, with Jennifer’s daughter Ellie.

Both bloggers were voted to the 2011 Family Tree 40 in the New Blogs category. Check out their reports from the conference and Jennifer's stunning photographs. (And check out Ellie's NGS video report here.) Thanks to Jennifer for sending this photo, as well.

Scroll down to see our posts with NGS conference news. Did you go? How was it? Have you recovered from the travel, walking, talking, sightseeing and most of all, brain overload?

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Monday, May 16, 2011 10:12:16 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 13, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: NGS Edition
Posted by Diane

Here’s a quick look at some of the news bits coming out of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2011 Family History Conference, which ends tomorrow in Charleston, SC. 
  • We’re hearing there's great attendance at this year’s conference, and that the first two days in the exhibit hall were crowded.
  • The 2012 NGS conference is May 9-12 in Cincinnati (also the hometown of Family Tree Magazine) and the 2013 conference will be in Las Vegas.
  • FamilySearch has set an annual goal to add 200 million record images to its free online records search. Its 2012 RootsTech conference will be Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.
  • Archivist of the United States David Ferrerio, speaking at the NGS opening session, said that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is digitizing the 1940 census in-house and it’ll be available—but not yet indexed by name—on on NARA's website April 2, 2012. It won’t be on any commercial websites on that date.
  • Ancestry.com will begin indexing the census records as soon as they’re available and will post the indexed records online later in the year, the company announced at a conference reception.
Dick Eastman has posted his copious notes from the reception. Some things that caught my eye: the new genealogy Web Search, US Navy Ship Muster Rolls 1939-1949 (coming on Memorial Day), more US birth and death records, a faster record image viewer, a new Android app, and the ability to download data from your Ancestry tree to version 2012 Family Tree Maker software.

Ancestry.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | NARA
Friday, May 13, 2011 4:14:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com Adds Web Search
Posted by Diane

Web Search, one of the concepts from Ancestry.com’s Ancestry Labs site, is becoming part of the main Ancestry.com search. (Here's our original post, from last fall, about Ancestry Labs and Web Search.) 

For Web Search, Ancestry.com will index other genealogy web sites. When you do a search on Ancestry.com, if there’s a relevant match in a record on a site that’s been indexed, that match will be included in your search results along with the historical records on Ancestry.com. Web Search will be a free service.

Here’s what a Web Search result looks like (image, arrows and callouts are Ancestry.com's).

So you can tell which records in your search results are from Ancestry.com and which are from another site, you’ll see an icon and the word “Web” in front of the name of the collection.

The Web Search results include the essential information from the other site (theoretically, enough to help you decide whether the record refers to your ancestor) and a link to visit the website.

“In the same way you should always check the image when you look at an index, make sure you go to the web site to see what other information is there,” advises Ancestry.com in its announcement. “You will usually find additional information.”

You also can click to save the information to your tree.

You don’t have to subscribe or have a guest account with Ancestry.com to use Web Search or get to the source website. But if you want to save the web record to your online tree, you’ll of course need at least a guest account. 

Webmasters who don’t want their genealogy websites indexed in Web Records will be able to contact Ancestry.com and opt out.

See more details and a Q&A on Ancestry.com’s Web Search info page

Many genealogists see Web Search as Ancestry.com’s shot at a do-over of its Internet Biographical Collection, which was pulled down shortly after its introduction in August 2007 amid negative feedback over copyright and other concerns. More on that in this post


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, May 13, 2011 12:37:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, May 12, 2011
NGS Attendees: Free Archives.com Six-Month Membership
Posted by Diane

You’ll soon start seeing more records on subscription genealogy site Archives.com. At the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference opening session yesterday, Archives product director Joe Godfrey announced the site will embark on an ambitious content acquisition and digitization plan, focusing in part on the digitization of material not yet online.

Anne Roach, who chaired FamilySearch’s 2011 RootsTech conference, will join Archives to lead the project.

"This will entail a long-term, multi-million dollar effort," Archives.com product manager Julie Hill told me. "Users will begin to see these records coming online in the next couple of months."

If you're attending the NGS conference (going on now), you can sample the records already available on Archives by picking up a complimentary six-month membership card at the Archives booth (#229 and 231).

Archives also is making a special $1,000 grant award at the conference to an organization or individual working to preserve historical records and/or advance family history research. To apply, stop by the Archives booth for an application. Learn more on the NGS conference blog.


Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, May 12, 2011 1:51:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Listen to Grandma's Music in the National Jukebox
Posted by Diane

Here’s another site that lets you walk in (well, dance in) your ancestors’ shoes—this one, by listening to the songs they loved.

The Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment created the National Jukebox website with 10,000-plus rare historic sound recordings produced in the United States from 1901 and 1925.

At the press conference unveiling the site, musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. performed “I’m Just Wild About Harry” (wish I could’ve been at that press conference!). You can listen to composer Eubie Blake’s version in the National Jukebox.

Search the recordings or browse by genre, artist, target audience (where you can click to the music of Germans, Swedes, Poles, Italians, Jews and other ethnic groups). Listen to recordings on a streaming-only basis. You also can access label images, record-catalog illustrations and artist bios, and create your own playlists.

"This collection includes popular music, dance music, opera, early jazz, famous speeches, poetry and humor. It is what our grandparents and great-grandparents listened to, danced to, sang along with," says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The site represents the largest collection of such historical recordings made publicly available online for study and appreciation. In its agreement with Sony, the Library of Congress gets usage rights to Sony Music’s entire pre-1925 catalog.

I enjoyed George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." What tunes are you listening to in the National Jukebox?


Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives | Social History
Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:24:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Find Ancestors in State Census Records With Our July Issue
Posted by Diane


Consider yourself lucky if your ancestors are from Illinois, Iowa, Florida, New York, South Dakota, or one of the other states that took state censuses.

These relatively underused resources can help you find ancestors between federal censuses, when federal census records are missing, or when your folks are missing from federal censuses.

Wouldn’t you know the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine, now on newsstands and on ShopFamilyTree.com, has a guide to finding state censuses—both online and off. It comes with a handy cut-and-save chart of colonial, territorial and state censuses for every US state.


(I know July seems months away! This issue also covers June.) Other articles in this issue include:

  • Our research trip survival kit, which you’ll definitely want to take a look at if you’re hitting the road for genealogy this summer
  • Presentism and eight other pitfalls to avoid when reading and writing family and local histories. (Presentism, I learned from this article, is drawing conclusions about events and people of the past based on today's norms.) 
  • Our pull-out city research guides for Charleston, SC, and Detroit
  • Our guide to discovering your Croatian roots

… and lots more. The July 2011 Family Tree Magazine is available in print  or as a digital download


Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4:53:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Footnote Posts First War of 1812 Pension Files in Free Database
Posted by Diane

Historical records subscription site Footnote.com has published its first War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications in a free database.

Footnote.com is digitizing millions of War of 1812 records and making them available free as part of a project with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (which in is in the process of raising $3.7 million dollars for the project) and the National Archives.

The first 1,400 record images—less than 1 percent of the estimated 7.2 million documents—are now available, and Footnote will add new records as they’re digitized.

The War of 1812 Pension Application Files can tell you

  • The veteran’s name, age, rank, and service information and dates
  • His widow’s name and maiden name (if she applied for the pension)
  • Soldier’s marriage date
  • Widow’s death date
  • Acres of land granted as a reward for service and the year of the Bureau of Land Management act under which the land was granted, and the warrant number (these details can help you find a bounty land warrant)
  • Applicant’s place of residence
  • Additional names, including those of the soldier’s surviving dependents

You’ll find a guide to researching the War of 1812 and other “lesser-known” US conflicts in the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine.

(Family Tree Magazine Plus members can access the article here.) 


Footnote | Free Databases | Military records
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:30:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch Adds South Carolina Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has announced new South Carolina genealogy resources to mark the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, going on now in Charleston, SC: 

Probate records can be helpful in researching African-American ancestors, because probate files of slave owners often contain inventories of their slaves.

The Civil War, which of course started 150 years ago at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, is the talk of this year’s NGS conference. Click here to see FamilySearch’s related announcement about its Civil War records


African-American roots | court records | FamilySearch | Free Databases
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:31:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch Creates Civil War Records Collection
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has gathered its Civil War-related records into a collection you can access free at FamilySearch.org/civil-war. Some records were already available on FamilySearch.org; others were just added to coincide with the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Charleston, SC.

Among the Civil War databases are:

  • United States, Civil War Soldiers Index: These index cards contain 6.3 million names of Union and Confederate soldiers and African-American sailors, along with basic service information (this information also is on the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System website).
  • Confederate pensions for those living Arkansas (1901-1929), Louisiana (1898-1950) and Missouri (1911-1938): Browse these databases by last name.
  • Civil War Pension Index Cards: These are index cards for pension applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861 and 1917.
  • 1890 Census of Union veterans and widows of the Civil War: Browse by state, county and town; enumerators creating these special schedules sometimes listed Confederate veterans, too.
  • United States, Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914: This database, still being filmed and added to the site, names Army “regulars” (those who enlisted during peacetime—so generally, not men who enlisted to serve in a war). Browse by name.
  • Arizona Service Records of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863: This index links to record images at subscription site Footnote.com (you’ll need a subscription to view the documents).

See the full list of Civil War databases here (click the More » link).

You can search the Civil War records from the FamilySearch/Civil War page (note the search won’t include the browse-only collections, which aren’t yet indexed), or click on a database title to search or browse just those records.


Civil War | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Military records
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:20:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, May 10, 2011
New Genealogy Tech Products Roll Out at NGS Conference
Posted by Diane

Two new products being introduced at the National Genealogical Society's annual Family History conference, getting underway today in Charleston, SC, include:
  • GenDetective software, a release from RumbleSoft Inc., analyzes your genealogical data and makes research recommendations based on missing or incomplete data. You can generate reports based on a location, time period, family line or individual, and print or view them on an iPad, iPhone, PDA, Droid smart phone or tablet (Xoom), Kindle, eBook reader, net book (mini), or laptop.
A feature I think looks especially useful: If you’re visiting somewhere for business, vacation or genealogy, you can create a research itinerary for that locale.
  • Many genealogists have family information in their genealogy software and online, and don't want to update their trees in both places. If that's you, AncestorSync could be what you need.
This utility, from Orem, Utah-based Real-Time Collaboration, lets you synchronize your family tree, source documents, citations and notes across all your computers and your online tree (the developers have partnerships with online tree sites FamilySearch, Geni and ourFamilyology). You can download, upload, or synchronize your tree “without anyone or anything getting lost in the process,” according to the announcement.
AncestorSync supports program formats including Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File and RootsMagic, and will soon support The Master Genealogist and MacFamilyTree. It’ll be available in June for a $15 annual fee, and is PC- and Mac-compatible

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | Tech Advice
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:24:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, May 09, 2011
Enter Family Tree Magazine's Photo Mysteries Contest
Posted by Diane

In honor of National Photo Month, we’re giving away help from our Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor and a Digitize Your Family Photos Value Pack, which includes our Organize Your Photos digital download, Photo Sharing 101 on-demand webinar and Photo Rescue e-book.

To enter our Photo Mysteries Contest, just submit your photo and/or a question about identifying or preserving your family photographs in one of these ways:

Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor will select one entry to feature on the Photo Detective blog and receive the Digitize Your Family Photos Value Pack.

The questions we receive also may be featured in the free Photo Detective Live! webinar May 18, or in future Photo Detective blog posts.

Here are the official contest rules.



Monday, May 09, 2011 4:01:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 06, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, May 2-6
Posted by Diane

  • As part of its annual conference next week in Charleston, SC, the National Genealogical Society will offer a one-day Genealogy 101 session on Saturday, May 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration costs $50. Online registration is closed, but you can register at the door. Space is limited, so get there early.
  • A new organization has formed with the goal to provide in-depth genealogical education in the Mid-Atlantic region and nationally. The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) is planning a weeklong genealogy seminar for Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27, 2012, in Pittsburgh. Learn more on GRIP’s website.
  • If you’ll be in the Washington, DC, are next week, you can learn how to research the National Archives’ records of Union and Confederate Army units and Navy ships at one of two free workshops: May 10, 11 a.m. at the Washington, DC, Research Center; or Thursday, May 12, 11 a.m. at the College Park, MD, research center. Learn more on the National Archives’ events page
  • FamilySearch has added more than 2 million digital images to its record collections come from Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Switzerland, U.S., and Wales. More than 1.7 million of those images were added to the Brazil Civil Registration collection, and 346,000 church records were added for Honduras. The record images aren’t yet indexed, so you’ll need to navigate to the collection of interest on FamilySearch and browse the images. You can see the list of updated collections and link to each one here

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Military records | NARA
Friday, May 06, 2011 3:26:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 05, 2011
New Irish Genealogy Records Site Launches
Posted by Diane

British genealogy subscription site FindMyPast.co.uk has launched an Irish records site, Findmypast.ie.

The site has more than 4,000,000 records dating from 1400 through the 1920s, including:

  • Landed Estates Court Records (1850-1885), detailing more than 500,000 tenants living on estates all over Ireland
  • Griffith's Valuation (1847-1864), which lists approximately 80 percent of householders in Ireland and names more than 1,400,000 individuals
  • Directories Collection of national, provincial and local directories, which have information about towns and names of businesses, tradespeople and residents

FindMyPast.ie was developed in partnership with Eneclann, a Dublin-based company that offers Irish genealogy services, as well as digital publications and other services.

You can subscribe to Findmypast.ie for 6 months for 37.95 EUR (about $55) or 12 months for 59.95 EUR (about $88).


Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, May 05, 2011 1:26:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Resources for Finding Your Female Ancestors
Posted by Diane



Happy Mother's Day to the moms out there and those on my family tree, including my great-grandma (here in the early 30s, holding one of her little ones) and my grandma (the little girl with her hands folded in front of her).

One of your biggest brick walls, you tell us, is finding the women in your family tree. That’s because historical records tend to name men more often, and women generally changed their names when they married (though those from some cultures, such as Italians, usually used their maiden names on official records).

This Mother’s Day, we want to help you learn more about your female ancestors’ lives. These free articles on FamilyTreeMagazine.com give tips and resources to aid your search: 

And here are some resources for finding female ancestors from ShopFamilyTree.com:

Remember: Order anything from ShopFamilyTree.com and get FREE our "Memories of Mom" digital download from the forthcoming book My Life & Times by Sunny Jane Morton (available October 2011). This offer ends Monday, May 9.
Female ancestors
Thursday, May 05, 2011 9:39:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Celebrate National Photo Month With Us
Posted by Diane


As a publication that celebrates family photographs, we have a few goings-on for National Photo Month in May:
  • This month’s Ultimate Photo Preservation Collection sold out in record time, so we’re introducing another collection: the Digitize Your Family Photos Value Pack. Only during National Photo Month, you’ll save 69 percent on these tools to help you build a digital archive of your family's cherished memories:
  1. Organize Your Family Photos independent study course download
  2. The new Photo Rescue ebook
  3. Photo Sharing 101 on-demand webinar 

Learn more at ShopFamilyTree.com. (Bonus: Order anything at ShopFamilyTree.com now through Monday, May 9, and get the "Memories of Mom" digital download from the forthcoming book My Life & Times by Sunny Jane Morton.)

  • Finally, watch this blog for news of our Photo Mysteries contest, starting next Monday, to get a chance to win an Ultimate Digital Photo Collection.

Editor's Pick | Photos | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 4:06:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Family History Book of My Dreams
Posted by Diane

... only it's not about my family. I came across a unique, fascinating family history display on one of FamilyTreeMagazine.com’s sister sites, a design publication called Imprint.com.

After the death of Gordon Felton, originally Gunter Fajgenbaum, his son, graphic designer Nicholas Felton, used the hundreds of artifacts his father left to create a visual synopsis of his life.

The 12-page book features infographics showing information about Gordon’s family, each decade of his life, the places he lived and traveled, his collections of music and postcards, and more.

Here are a few of the pages (click each page for a bigger view):

The first page (above) uses pie charts to show the number and types of items Gordon saved from each year of his life.

Page three summarizes his youth in England, with a photo and stats from his school reports (best and worst subject, most frequent adjectives teachers used to describe him, etc.).

The center pages show the places Gordon traveled, with at-a-glance information such as the highest altitude visited and number of locations in each hemisphere.

I admire the mad graphic design skills that went into this book. But beyond the gorgeous looks, I love how Nicholas studied his father’s ephemera and compiled facts (such as movies he saw and the type of music he listened to) that kind of summarize the family archive and give insight into what kind of person Gordon was.

You can read more about the book here.

Flip through all the pages life-size on Nicholas Felton’s website

Have you created a visual display of family history (whether in a book or another form)? Click Comments and tell us about it.


Family Heirlooms | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:17:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Ancestry.com and Holocaust Museum to Create Free Index to Holocaust Records
Posted by Diane

Subscription website Ancestry.com and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are launching the World Memory Project to recruit volunteers to build an online resource for information on Holocaust victims.

Volunteers will build an index to the museum’s archives, which hold information on more than 17 million people targeted by the Nazis, including Jews, Poles, Roma, Ukrainians, political prisoners and others.

Ancestry.com will donate the indexing software and project management, and will host the completed indexes, which will be free to search. Holocaust survivors and their families can contact the museum to obtain copies of original documents at no cost.

Since launching the project in beta in February, Ancestry.com contributors have already indexed over 30,000 of the museum’s archival documents, which will soon be searchable free on Ancestry.com.

People from anywhere in the world can help index the remaining records by visiting www.WorldMemoryProject.org and registering to become a contributor.


Ancestry.com | Jewish roots | Museums
Tuesday, May 03, 2011 10:15:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Your Advice for the Busy Mom, Dad and Grandparent Genealogist
Posted by Diane

About a month ago, when I started back at Family Tree Magazine from maternity leave, I asked you all how you squeeze in genealogy with parenting (my cute little guy, Leo, is just over three months old now). I wanted to share the great advice I got—which also will be useful for researchers busy with grandparenting and life in general:
  • You have to do other things when he is sleeping or have him in one of those swings that you can put him in. They grow fast and you will miss a lot if you don't keep him with you as much as you can. —Irma
  • I fit research in in tiny little increments. My children are ages 3 and 5, and I'm home with them full-time. It's hard. If I get to the library, it's on a Saturday (after intense negotiations with my husband as to who will cover the kids when). My online research takes place before 6 a.m. (when the first one gets up) or during naptime.

Mostly, I try to remind myself that this is the period in life where you're supposed to focus on the family tree in your own house, not the one in your file cabinet. You will be amazed how quickly they grow up, and those dead people aren't going anywhere. They'll still be there in a few years when he just wants you to leave him alone so he can play video games. —Kerry Scott (who blogs at Clue Wagon

  • Genealogy is something we never stop doing even if it is only going over details in our head while rocking, feeding or holding a baby in the middle of the night. Find a good place to sit with Leo and in the same area put an art easel (use the cheap ones children use) and put items you need to contemplate, then get yourself a recorder. Record ideas or thoughts about genealogy or day-to-day items. Replay when you have time. Enjoy the time he is awake. My baby turns 45 this year and I still can remember those times. —Patricia Nemeth
  • My children grew up underneath the tables at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, back in the day (1985-1990). They made a little fort and basically hung out and behaved because they knew Chuck E. Cheese was the last stop before heading home. —Kay McCullough
  • Concentrate on the descendant right now—the ancestors will wait. Get a recorder to remember what Leo does and says as he grows. He'll appreciate knowing about that when he has descendants, as much as he'll appreciate knowing about his ancestors. And you'll have plenty of time between the ages of 50 and 90 to research genealogy—believe me, I know. —Gene Kuechmann
  • When my daughter was that young, I decided to focus more on making history and memories, instead of looking at records. Those will wait for me, although I did do some research from time to time when I got a moment. This is the time to take pictures—maybe a scrapbook or slideshow—to record your ongoing family history.
Oh, and while all those relatives are over to ogle the baby, don't forget to ask them about the family history. Somehow people are more inclined to talk when they know it is for someone who definitely doesn't know the story.

When we finished a cemetery trip or a library trip (yeah, I did make her sit through those—she helped by drawing pictures I would publish in the family book), there was always a trip to Taco Bell as a reward. —Shasta

  • It seems like just yesterday when I was trying to research and raise little ones. Naptime and late at night were the best times to do genealogy (and an occasional Saturday when Dad was home). But there were long stretches of time when I didn't do any, simply because we were too busy making our own family history. Or I was too tired! —Michelle Goodrum
  • I squeeze in small moments of searches whenever I can—while making dinner, etc. I stay super-organized so I know exactly where I left off. —Elyse Doerflinger (who blogs at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

Research Tips
Tuesday, May 03, 2011 9:58:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 02, 2011
You Could Win a Year of Family Tree Magazine and a Geni Pro Account!
Posted by Diane

We’re getting together with world family tree site Geni to give you a chance to win a Geni Pro Account and Family Tree Magazine subscription!

Now through May 8, write a post on the Family Tree Magazine Facebook wall or Geni Facebook wall describing how you first got into genealogy.

One person who posts will be randomly chosen to win a one-year subscription to Family Tree Magazine and a two-year Geni Pro Account. 

Three runners up will win a copy of the Family Tree Magazine "Beginners Guide to Genealogy" digital download plus a three-month Geni Pro Account.

Good luck!

Here are the contest rules:

  1. No purchase necessary.
  2. Winners will be chosen randomly.
  3. Odds of winning are directly related to how many people enter the contest.
  4. One winner will be chosen to win the grand prize. Three will be chosen to win the secondary prize.
  5. The contest starts at 12AM ET May 1st, 2011, and it ends at 12AM ET May 8, 2011.
  6. You are responsible for anything in regards to the legality of entering a contest in the area in which you live.
  7. Rules can be updated at any time without notice.
  8. The winners will be notified via their provided contact information the week following the end of the contest.
  9. The winners have seven days to claim their prize.
  10. One entry per person.
  11. You must have a free Geni.com account.
  12. To be eligible to win, you must live in the United States.

Genealogy fun | Social Networking
Monday, May 02, 2011 1:03:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]