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# Friday, September 30, 2011
October 1 Daily Deal & Giveaway!
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University are celebrating Family History Month in October by giving away great genealogy supplies all month long!

 

Here’s how it works: Each day at 4 pm ET, 3 Central, 2 MT and 1 Pacific, we’ll announce the winner of that day’s giveaway and reveal the next day’s giveaway.

Each daily prize also will be on sale at ShopFamilyTree.com for that day only—so if you don’t get the giveaway, you can still snatch up a fantastic deal on tools to advance your research!

The daily giveaway for tomorrow, Oct. 1, is our FamilySearch Web Guide! Click here to sign up on our Daily Deal & Giveaway page.

Then just come back here tomorrow at 4 pm ET to see if you’ve won.

Want to buy the web guide? The sale is good until midnight ET tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 1. Click here to buy now.


Family History Month | Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, September 30, 2011 4:17:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Geni Introduces Record Match Service
Posted by Diane

Family tree site Geni has launched a service that makes documents from subscription genealogy sites Archives.com and GenealogyBank.com available to Geni Basic (free), Plus and Pro members through profile-based alerts.

The Record Match service automatically searches the subscription collections of the Archives.com and GenealogyBank websites when a Geni member views a relative’s Geni profile. If there’s a match, the Geni member gets an alert and a link to the record. To view the record, he or she will need to register for a free trial membership on the partner site, or be a subscriber.

Archives.com recently announced the addition of the entire set of available US census records, 1790 through 1930. GenealogyBank is known for its collection of digitized newspapers.

Geni CEO Noah Tutak hinted that more such record partnerships are in the works: “By providing records from the person’s profile, first with partners Archives.com and GenealogyBank.com, and with many others to come, we can save genealogists from spending their time conducting separate searches on the many genealogy databases available.”

Read more about Record Match on the Geni blog


Archives.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers
Friday, September 30, 2011 1:51:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, September 26-30
Posted by Diane

  • The National Archives NARAtions blog has a helpful post today for browsing 1940 census records (set for release in April 2012). When people weren’t home during the censustaker’s first pass, or were living in a hotel or other temporary location, enumerators would list them on separate pages. You’ll find these pages at the end of the records for that enumeration district. So if you’re browsing for your ancestors and don’t find them, be sure to check the last pages of records for that district.
  • More from the National Archives: The official dedication of this National Archives and Records Administration’s new National Personnel Records Center at 1 Archives Drive north of St. Louis, Mo., will take place Saturday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m. Read more about the new NPRC here
  • British subscription site Findmypast.co.uk published 1.3 million Manchester family history records in the Manchester Collection.
The records, provided by Manchester City Council's Libraries, Information and Archives, include prison registers (1847-1881), industrial school admission and discharge registers (about 1866-1912), school admission registers (about 1870-1916), apprentice records (1700-1849), baptism and birth registers (1734-1920), cemetery and death records (1750-1968), marriage registers (1734-1808) and workhouse registers.

NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 30, 2011 1:42:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 29, 2011
Personal Historian 2 Software Released
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software company RootsMagic has released Personal Historian 2, a new version of its software for writing life stories of your relatives and yourself.

The software creates an interactive timeline to keep individual stories organized, give context to life events and let you write stories in any order you want. Then it compiles the stories into a book with table of contents, chapters, pictures, indexes and more. You can print the book at home, edit it in a word processing program, have it professionally published, and share it.

Features include:

  • step-by-step wizards
  • filtering and searching of stories
  • a library of LifeCapsules—timelines, historical events, fads and memory triggers covering a variety of subjects
  • importing of word processor documents, photographs and other data
  • importing of events, dates and notes from your genealogy software
  • more powerful publishing and output options

Many of these core features are in a free edition of the software called Personal Historian Essentials, which is fully compatible with the paid version. 

Through Oct. 31, Personal Historian 2 is available for an introductory price of $19.95. Thereafter, the price will be $29.95. Learn more on the Personal Historian website

Look for a review or Personal Historian 2 in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine.


Genealogy Software | saving and sharing family history
Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:57:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Family Tree Maker 2012 Released With Online Tree Syncing
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com just announced the release of Family Tree Maker 2012, the latest version of its desktop genealogy software. (Note that Family Tree Magazine is not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software.)

Current Family Tree Maker users have been looking forward to the most-touted feature in the 2012 version: TreeSync, which lets users sync their trees in Family Tree Maker with their online trees at Ancestry.com—including attached photos and historical records.

“Now with the combination of Ancestry.com, the Ancestry mobile app and the new Family Tree Maker, users can work on their family tree anywhere, anytime,” says Eric Shoup, Ancestry.com's senior vice president of product.

Other improvements in Family Tree Maker 2012 include:

  • easier user interface

  • upgraded help content and video tutorials

  • improved content-generation and editing options to create “Smart Stories” about family history and family members

  • ability to combine families into one tree, bringing step families and adopted individuals into the main family tree

  • simple generation labels and text boxes to make family trees more interesting and informative

  • upgraded personalization capabilities in charts, letting users add their own images, adding narrative text and displaying explanatory generation labels

  • ability to generate an index report of every person in a tree with birth, marriage and death dates

  • ability to chart the line of descendancy between an ancestor and any descendant in the tree

Read more about the new version at the FamilyTreeMaker.com website

Family Tree Maker 2012 for PC starts at $39.99 and is available at FamilyTreeMaker.com, as well as retailers including Best Buy, Office Depot and Amazon.com. The new software comes with a free membership or free trial to the historical record collections at Ancestry.com, depending which package you purchase (you need internet access, of course, to access online features).

The next version of Family Tree Maker for Mac, when it’s released by the end of 2011, also will include the TreeSync capability.

Look for reviews of the new Family Tree Maker in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software
Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:29:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
New Genealogy Records on FamilySearch.org
Posted by Diane

It might be time to revisit the free FamilySearch.org if you haven’t been by lately: Among the oodles of recent record updates are collections from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Estonia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Honduras, Poland, South Africa and Spain.

To see all the recently updated records, click the region of interest on the FamilySearch.org home page. Next, click the blue “Last Updated” heading on the right.

 

The list of record collections will be resorted to show recently updated collections at the top:

For example, some recently updated collections from the United States are:

  • Arkansas births, christenings, marriages and deaths
  • Georgia death index
  • North Carolina estate files
  • Idaho: Clark County records (marriage affidavits, naturalization records, declarations of intention, deeds, patents, brands and marks, mining records, probate records and estate files)
  • Illinois probate records
  • Indiana marriages
  • Ohio: Cuyahoga County probate files
  • Oregon: Columbia County records (land and property, marriage, and naturalization records and indexes)
  • Tennessee county marriages
  • Utah probate records
  • Washington state Army National Guard records
  • Washington state county records

US Civil War records are also gathered onto a Civil War landing page. These include Confederate pensions ad service records for various states, Union Provost Marshal Files, Union Navy Widows' Certificates and more. To see them all listed, go to the Civil War landing page and click the “More” link beneath the “Find your ancestors in the following collections” list. 

This Civil War page also links to bios on some famous faces from the era and links to how-to information. 

Remember that not all of the collections on FamilySearch have been indexed yet. The organization’s policy is to provide researchers with online access to record images as quickly as possible, and get volunteers working on the indexes in the mean time. 

When you see a “Browse Images” link for your collection of interest (such as the Quebec notarial records, above), you’ll need to have a good idea of when and where your ancestor was living when the record was created. Then you’ll go through the record images one by one, similar to scrolling microfilm.


Civil War | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Research Tips
Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:51:20 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Free September Podcast: Tips on PERSI, Old Books, Online Newspapers
Posted by Diane

The newest free Family Tree Magazine Podcast episode with host Lisa Louise Cooke is now available for listening on FamilyTreeMagazine.com or through iTunes. 

Here’s what’s on tap for this edition:

  • tips for searching online newspaper collections
  • what PERSI is and why you should use it
  • finding historical books on the web
  • News From the Blogosphere

New to podcasts? Cooke explains here what podcasts are and how to use them


Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator



Genealogy books | Newspapers | Podcasts | Research Tips
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:54:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Genealogy Number Crunching
Posted by Diane


Being an editor, I’m more about words than numbers. (I'll spare you stories of embarrassing math situations I've been involved in.) But hold onto your horses: Today I’m getting a little crazy and throwing out some numbers from our December issue—along with some genealogy resources in word form.


Subscribers will get the December 2011 Family Tree Magazine in their mailboxes over the next couple of weeks. Others can pre-order the digital issue from ShopFamilyTree.com, or look for the print edition Oct. 11 on ShopFamilyTree.com and on newsstands.
  • 2 million (and counting): The number of people profiles on WikiTree. Get a tutorial of the site in the December issue’s Toolkit. 
  • 1.7 million: The number of horses in the Confederate states around the start of the Civil War, compared to 3.4 million in the Northern states. But Southerners tended to have more experience on horseback, resulting in better cavalry units in the Confederacy, says Family Tree Magazine contributing editor David A. Fryxell. In this issue’s Now What? column, he answers a reader’s question about ancestors who went out West during the war to capture horses for Union troops. 
  • 700-728: If your ancestor’s Social Security Number starts with a number in this range, you know he was eligible to receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board. You can request post-1936 records for $27. You’ll find more resources for researching railroad workers, miners, autoworkers and other blue-collar ancestors in this issue.
  • 4: This is the number of fun facts about breakfast in the History Matters column. Did you know doughnuts were considered snacks, not breakfast, until they were served to soldiers in World War II? We'll explain how the morning meal our ancestors enjoyed came to be.
  • 2: The number of family trees everyone has—a genealogical tree and a genetic tree. They’re not necessarily the same: Starting at about your third-great-grandparents, not all of your ancestors are represented in your DNA, says Blaine Bettinger in the December issue. But autosomal DNA testing, among the latest developments in genetic genealogy, can unlock much more of your ancestral DNA than traditional Y-DNA and mtDNA tests can. 
  • 1: The December 2011 issue has one index (on the last page) which covers all Family Tree Magazine articles in 2011. Can’t remember which issue had the guide to Family History Centers? Look here to find out it was in the January 2011 issue, page 16.

(Seeking indexes from past years of Family Tree Magazines? Download them as pdfs from our website.)  

Want to upgrade from newsstand buyer to subscriber? Visit ShopFamilyTree.com to choose from several subscription options (Digital, or US, Canadian or international print).

Go here to become a VIP, which gets you a subscription and a Plus membership, a discount in the store and other perks. 


Editor's Pick | Family Tree Magazine articles | Research Tips
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:45:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, September 26, 2011
Family History Month Daily Deal & Giveaway!
Posted by Diane

Believe it or not, it’s almost October, and you know what that means . . . Family History Month!

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

Family history enthusiasts continue to celebrate Family History Month every October.

Here at Family Tree Magazine, we’ll celebrate with a Daily Deal & Giveaway: We'll offer you a great deal on a genealogy book, CD or other item every day during Family History Month—and a lucky someone will win the daily deal.

More information to come! Stay tuned to this blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the Family History Month Daily Deal and Giveaway!



Family History Month | Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, September 26, 2011 3:40:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 23, 2011
Genealogy News Corral: September 19-23
Posted by Diane

  • JSTOR, a service providing digitized academic journals through libraries, is making articles published prior to 1923 in the United States and 1870 elsewhere free to anyone. This includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals, about 6 percent of JSTOR’s total content. This web page has more information. You can start searching here. To just see the free stuff, make sure the “Include only content I can access” box is checked.

My search on Civil War and Missouri, for example, resulted in matches including “Reminiscences of the Civil War” by Richard Taylor in the University of Iowa’s Jan./Feb. 1878 North American Review. (Thanks to Sharon DeBartolo Carmack for the heads-up about this service.)

  • New records on FamilySearch.org this week come from US states including California, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Oregon and Vermont, as well as Mexico, Canada, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. See the full list of additions and link to the collections here. Remember that not all of these collections are indexed, so you may need to browse. 
  • The New England Historic Genealogical Society is releasing the seventh and final volume of Robert Charles Anderson’s Great Migration Series: Immigrants to New England 1634—1635. (This latest volume includes all immigrants whose surnames start with T through Y.) It’s available now at GreatMigration.org. The Great Migration series includes a total of 10 volumes; three for the years 1620 to 1633, and seven volumes for 1634 to 1635. You also can subscribe to the GreatMigration.org website to get online or quarterly newsletters.

FamilySearch | Free Databases | immigration records | NARA
Friday, September 23, 2011 11:25:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 22, 2011
150 Years Ago Today in the Civil War: Lincoln and Fremont
Posted by Diane

It’s high time I did another installment in our series that looks back at what was happening Civil War-wise exactly 150 years ago.

Sept. 22, 1861, President Lincoln wrote a letter to Illinois Sen. Orville Hickman Browning defending his response to an order of John C. Fremont, commander of the Army's Department of the West.

Fremont had declared martial law on Aug. 30 and freed slaves in Missouri. Lincoln wanted him to rescind that order because it didn't comply with the Confiscation Act Congress passed on Aug. 6. The Confiscation Act allowed the federal government to confiscate property used to aid the Confederate cause, including slaves. The act didn’t go so far as to free slaves, though; rather, it merely removed their owners’ claim to them.

Sept. 11, Lincoln modified Fremont's order to conform to the Confiscation Act.

He wrote to Browning that "Fremont’s proclamation, as to confiscation of property, and the liberation of slaves, is purely political, and not within the range of military law, or necessity."  

Civil War resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


Civil War | Social History
Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:52:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Genealogy Matters
Posted by Diane

Here's some reading material for your coffee break: A post today on the Scientific American blog called I’m a Johnson from Wisconsin, and It is Pretty Cool

Neuroscientist-turned-journalist and genealogy buff Madeleine Johnson wrote about how she used a circular family tree chart of her own creation as a starting point to her roots research, and is searching for the story of a great-grandmother who died in an institution.

“Genealogy, distant and recent, gives meaning to personal and shared historical experience,” she writes.

Also check out another post and article she mentions: Going Dutch: I’m one of the Van Dusens of New Amsterdam. So what? in which Matthew Van Dusen says his illustrious ancestry—described in a New York Times article about New Amsterdam’s early settlers—doesn’t increase his own personal importance.

I have to agree with him there, but I do think it's neat to be related to someone you might read about in a history book (I'm not, that I know of). Of course, it's also gratifying to discover and honor the stories of "ordinary" folks in your tree. What do you think?


saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:17:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, September 20, 2011
MyHeritage Acquires BackUpMyTree.com
Posted by Diane

Family network website MyHeritage.com has acquired BackupMyTree, the free backup service for family tree data that launched a year ago.

BackUpMyTree automatically finds family tree files on your computer and creates a remote backup. It’s compatible with major genealogy applications such as Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File and RootsMagic.

So far, BackUpMyTree is storing more than 9 terabytes of genealogists’ data. MyHeritage.com will continue to support the backup service and keep it free. This marks the growing site’s sixth acquisition to date.

BackUpMyTree creator Cliff Shaw (who also created the GenCircles website and the Family Tree Legacies program and records database, which MyHeritage purchased a few years back) will focus on another venture, genealogy search engine Mocavo.com


Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:00:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, September 16, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, September 12-16
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch released more searchable records this week, including  more than 6 million Hungarian Catholic Church records, 4 million Mexican civil registrations, 1 million new Chinese genealogies (1500 to 1900), and Quebec notarial records (1800 to 1900). US additions come from California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Washington and the Virgin Islands, plus 1942 WWII draft registrations. See the full list and link to each database here.
  • Family tree site Geni introduced its $4.95-per-month Geni Plus service as a level between the free Basic and $12.95 Pro memberships. Genealogists’ frustrated feedback after changes to those memberships led to Geni Plus, intended for social genealogists who want to collaborate with other researchers. It's "designed to give these members more power to build their personal family trees while discovering some of the benefits of working with others on their family history," says CEO Noah Tutak. Features include unlimited relatives in your tree and GEDCOM exports for any profile you can view on Geni (up to 100,000 records). See Geni’s blog for more details
  • Subscription British records site Findmypast.co.uk added a million 20th century merchant navy seamen records—the first time they’re accessible online. They list crew members of UK merchant ships from 1918 to 1941 and include photos.
  • This from the New York History blog: If you’re planning to visit Ellis Island and see where many immigrants first entered America, you can download a $1.99 cell phone tour taking you through the immigrant experience. Read more here.

FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots | International Genealogy | Museums | Social Networking | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 4:49:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Search the 1930 Mexican Census Free Online
Posted by Diane

Subscription site Ancestry.com has added the 1930 Mexico National Census (El Quinto Censo General de Población y Vivienda 1930, México) and made the records free to search in celebration of Mexican Independence Day Sept. 16.

With nearly 13 million records, this census counted an estimated 90 percent of the population. Note that citizens from the Federal District, which includes Mexico City, aren’t named.

In its announcement, Ancestry.com calls this the most comprehensive historical Mexican census available online. (FamilySearch.org, the source of Ancestry.com’s index and images, also has the 1930 Mexico census records available in its free historical records search.)

Nearly 30 million Americans—about 10 percent of the US population—can trace their families to Mexico. Other Ancestry.com collections they can use to research their roots are border crossings from Mexico to the United States (1895-1957) and parish records. The records are gathered in a Mexico collection landing page. (The 1930 Mexican census is free to search, but not all the other records in the collection are free.)

If you’re researching ancestors in Mexico, check out these resources from Family Tree Magazine:


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Hispanic Roots
Friday, September 16, 2011 11:33:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, September 15, 2011
Blast From the Past
Posted by Diane

Wondering what hot topics your grandparents discussed with the neighbors, or what tunes your mom whistled as a teen? Want to flesh out your family's story with facts about everyday life? Enjoy reminiscing about days gone by?

Our book Remember That? A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Fun Facts, Headlines and Your Memories, by Allison Dolan and the editors of Family Tree Magazine, is an accounting of the whos, whats, whens and wheres of the 20th century:

  • In 1930, the average annual income was $1,612, milk cost 65 cents a gallon and a home cost $7,146.
  • In 1938, a devastating hurricane hit the Northeast coast.
  • Sales of women's trousers skyrocketed in 1942.
  • Perry Como crooned “Some Enchanted Evening” in 1949.
  • Special K cereal and Crest toothpaste hit shelves in 1955.
  • The FCC chairman called TV a “vast wasteland” in 1961. 

The facts keep coming for each year from 1930 all the way through 2010, categorized into top headlines, prices, government affairs, new products, pop culture phenomena, hit music, popular TV shows and more. It also has pages where you can record your own family milestones and favorites.

You also can download our free "My Life In ..." form from our website that lets you describe your own favorites—clothes, hair, music and more—from three big years in your life (you’ll need to enter your name and e-mail address to access the form). 

Click here to learn more about the book Remember That?.


Editor's Pick | Genealogy books | Social History
Thursday, September 15, 2011 9:38:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, September 13, 2011
What Makes Your Family Special? Tell Us & You Could Win a Family History Publishing Package!
Posted by Diane

Looking into lasting ways to share your family’s story? How about a book?

You could win a family history publishing package in a contest from Family Tree Magazine and custom publisher Abbott Press (our fellow member of the F+W Media family). 

To enter, just e-mail us your name, phone number, and 500 words or less about why your family history should be chosen as the contest winner.

Did your ancestors embody the American dream? Were they important in shaping historic events? Is your family tree full of colorful characters? You tell us what sets your family apart.

Use the e-mail subject line "Family Tree-Abbott Press Publishing Contest" and send your entry by Sept. 30, 2011.

We'll pick one winner from the first 200 submissions. The grand-prize winner will receive a complete Premium publishing package from Abbott Press.

The first runner-up will win the Family Tree University independent study course Writing Your Family Memoir (on CD). A second runner-up with get a copy of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories by Sunny Jane Morton.

All entrants will receive a 25 percent discount off any Abbott Press publishing package.

Check out all the contest rules here


Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:30:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
One to Watch: HistoryGeo.com
Posted by Diane

One exhibit generating buzz at the FGS conference last week was HistoryGeo.com, a web-based service from Arphax Publishing Co.

Arphax publishes books of land-ownership maps for US counties—500 to date. Now the company is building an online service that will let you search and view maps; create a map collection; create animated, personalized maps; and network with other members.

Subscribers will get access to 2,000 “big-picture” maps (state- or county-wide), then can search the library of about 40,000 “premium” maps (a number that will grow) by surname or place to add to their own map collection.

You’ll be able to create animations of family migrations and other geographic events; attach custom map markers, your own images and links to other web pages; and collaborate with other researchers. 

This is what the map viewer looks like:

It lets you zoom in and out, navigate to your ancestors' county, add markers, take snapshots of a place, search for maps related to places your ancestors moved, and view migrations. You can make your map markers private, public, or viewable by select others.

The HistoryGeo.com site suggests this application for the custom animated maps: “Watch an animation of both your mother's and father's families as they cross our country, with paths intersecting where you were born.” You could take this further back in time to “watch” when your great-grandparents’ lives intersected, getting research clues such as where to look for marriage or land records 

The service is still being set up, so a limited number of charter membership subscriptions are available ($42 for six months and 500 premium maps for your personal collection; $54 for six months and 1,000 premium maps). You also can register as a basic user to get a feel for the site. Once you register, click Launch Map Viewer to get started.


Genealogy Web Sites | Land records
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 11:53:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 09, 2011
What I Learned Today at the FGS Conference
Posted by Diane

Instead of the regular Friday Genealogy News Corral, I'm sharing some things I learned at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference today:
  • AncestorSync, the folks in the booth next to me, is a way to share genealogy data or sync desktop and online trees without downloading a GEDCOM and uploading it somewhere else (or manually adding the same ancestors in multiple places). So far, it works with Ancestral Quest, Legacy, Mac Family Tree, PAF, RootsMagic and The Master Genealogist desktop programs, and FamilySearch, Geni and OurFamilyology online tree sites, with more to come.
  • The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP) is having a Pennsylvania Family workshop with Ancestry.com Nov. 5. Twelve presentations include experts from Ancestry.com plus additional speakers including Lisa Alzo and Dear Myrtle.

GSP also is working on a new website, so keep an eye on GenPa.

  • 1,000 Memories is a website where you and relatives upload photos, audio and video, and written stories about ancestors—a way of sharing the photos that you inherited, and seeing the ones handed down through your cousin Edna’s branch.
  • Sort Your Story is software that helps you organize your data and digitized documents. You enter your data in the software’s profiler and use the software to organize documents. The profiler also helps you see what information you’re missing for each person in your tree.
  • JustaJoy.com is a service that links orphaned heirlooms with the families that originally owned them. The site works with antiques dealers who have items with family connections—currently, it lists items associated with 40,000 families. You can search the site to see what’s associated with your surname, but you need to join to view information about the listings.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history
Friday, September 09, 2011 9:06:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [14]
# Thursday, September 08, 2011
You Win Some!
Posted by Diane

The FGS conference exhibit hall stayed open late for door prize drawings. You had to be present to win—these are some of the hopefuls waiting to see if they won our 10 Years of Family Tree Magazine DVD.



Sharon Reif of Oak Brook, Ill., was the winner. She plans to put the DVD in her local historical society's library.



These two guys were hanging out across the aisle from our booth.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:25:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
FGS Conference Updates
Posted by Diane

It was a long, busy day at the FGS conference, but I do have a couple of updates to share:
  • FamilySearch’s Dennis Meldrum gave me a demo of the soon-to-be-launched new Family History Archives website.

The Family History Archives, now hosted on the Brigham Young university libraries site, lets you search the text of nearly 18,000 family and local history books. But the collection is outgrowing the BYU site, and a backlog of digitized books are waiting to be put online. 

The new site will launch in about a month and a half, says Meldrum, with around 45,000 books from the Family History Library and a half-dozen other libraries. You already can try out the new site in beta at FamilySearch Labs

The new search has one field where you enter a name, subject, author, keyword or any combination of these. You’ll download the entire book that matches your search results, then you can use a PDF viewer for finding your search terms within the book.

  • If you’re researching ancestors in Sweden, you’ll want to explore a site called Lantmäteriet.se. This free site from the Swedish land registration authority (comparable to the US Bureau of Land Management General Land Office) has digitized historical maps and property records, for a total of 3 million maps and 70 million pages of text from the years 1628 to 1927.

I got just a quick demo of this site, but it’s one you could spend a lot of time on. You search by county, municipality and place, and get back maps and records for that place. (The advanced search lets you add more parameters, such as dates.) You’ll need the free DjVu plugin to view the maps. You can click Buy to order a download of the map.

There’s an English version of the maps search, but I found I had to use Google translation tools to read the information about the collection


FamilySearch | Genealogy books | International Genealogy
Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:06:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, September 07, 2011
FamilySearch Adds to Civil War Records
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch.org added millions of new records this week of both Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War.

Those include veterans applications for military headstones, records of headstones for deceased Union veterans, Confederate POW records, registers of homes for disabled soldiers, service records and more.

Also newly added are notarial records from Canada, church records and civil registrations from Mexico, and a variety of records from England.

You’ll find a chart here listing the new collections and linking to the individual databases. Note that not all of the collections are searchable. Indexes haven’t been completed for some, such as U.S., Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861–1865. In that case, you’ll need to browse collections by date or place.


Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 10:04:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]
Penny Tour of the Lincoln Home
Posted by Diane

I’m in the Land of Lincoln: The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference is getting underway here in Springfield, Ill. After quickly setting up our booth (#804, if you’re here—come say hi!) and visiting with some friendly genealogy faces in the exhibit hall, I ran over to the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site to try to catch a tour before closing time.

We had a great tour guide, a National Park Service ranger who says his colleagues call him Ranger Santa in December (you'll see why a few pictures down).

Here’s the house Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln bought in 1844. They lived there until Lincoln was elected president, when they rented it out and moved to Washington, DC. Robert Lincoln, their only surviving son, kept the home as rental property and donated it to the state of Illinois in 1887.

Here’s the house as it looked in 1860, in a historic image on display at the visitors’ center.

This is the Lincoln’s doorbell.

The rear parlor is where a committee from the 1860 Republican convention formally notified Lincoln he’d been nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.

In the living room, Lincoln would sprawl out on the floor (most of the furniture was too small for him) with his kids and the family dog, Fido.

Upstairs in Lincoln’s bedroom, Santa Ranger pointed out how high the 6”4’ Lincoln’s shaving mirror was hung.

The stove in the kitchen at the back of the house is the one Mary Todd Lincoln used. Our guide pointed out some of the log cabins Lincoln lived in as a boy were no bigger than this kitchen.

The last Abraham Lincoln descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985. He was the grandchild of Robert Lincoln, the only son to survive into his 20s.Think you're related to the Lincolns?

Get a quick look the Lincoln family tree hereYou can see more detail on Abe Lincoln's ancestors here. Click the links for first generation (Abraham Lincoln), second generation (his parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln), etc.

These websites will help you research potential presidential roots.

Here’s a fun fact our guide shared: Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a middle name. Find other First Family facts here.


Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Social History
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 9:28:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 02, 2011
Google Advice Galore for Genealogists
Posted by Diane



You got a taste of how to use Google to ramp up your genealogy search in our free Ask the Google Guru webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems (if you missed the free webinar, or you want to see it again, you can access it here).

There’s a lot more advice where that came from in the limited-edition Ultimate Google for Genealogists Collection. These resources, all from Lisa, show you strategies for searching smarter and saving time by using Google tools.

Only 200 collections are available, and we think they could sell out by early next week. (Hence this special second-in-a-week Editor’s Pick.)

Here’s what’s in it:

  • The Genealogist's Google Toolbox book, signed by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Google Earth for Genealogy DVD, volumes I and II
  • Google Tools for Genealogists Family Tree University Independent Study Course download
  • Search Engine Tips & Tricks: Google Techniques to Boost Your Research Webinar

The Ultimate Google for Genealogists Collection is specially priced at $79.99, a 56 percent discount. Get more details about each of these items here.


Research Tips | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, September 02, 2011 2:02:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]
Genealogy News Corral, August 29-September 2
Posted by Diane

  • The Family History Library (FHL) is starting to roll out online microfilm ordering in the United States and Canada, meaning you soon won’t have to visit a FamilySearch Center to order microfilmed records (you’ll still need to go in person to view them, of course). First, you’ll find the film you need in the FHL online catalog, then you'll order it here. California, the Pacific Northwest and other points West were first to get online ordering, with the rest of us still to be added in phases.
  • UK subscription genealogy site FindMyPast.co.uk is adding a million 20th-century merchant navy seamen records (Britain’s Merchant Navy Day, is Saturday, Sept. 3). The records name crew members of UK merchant ships from 1918 to 1941, offer physical descriptions and include photos.
  • As an update to our November 2011 online newspapers article, which highlighted the subscription website Paper of Record in addition to other online sources, Rick Crume gave me a heads up about some improvements to the site: First, highlighting of your search terms has been restored on the digitized newspaper pages in your search results. Second, you now have the option to search a broader date range than five years within a single title.

FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 02, 2011 10:34:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Thursday, September 01, 2011
Archives.com to Add Entire US Census
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site Archives.com will add indexes and images for the entire US federal census, probably the most-used US genealogical record, in what Archives.com CEO Matthew Monahan calls a “game-changer” for genealogists.

As part of the effort, Archives.com reached an agreement with FamilySearch—the source of the census records—to dedicate a minimum of $5 million to digitizing genealogy records that are not currently online.

The indexes for all censuses are available now, as are images for the 1850, 1870 and 1900 censuses, for a total of more than 500 million names and 3 million images. The rest of the images will be added over the next weeks and months, says spokesperson Julie Hill. Learn more about the site's census collection on its census resource page.

The census search screen looks like this:

You can see it's more streamlined with fewer options than Ancestry.com's census search. You'll also receive fewer results—a search of all census years for the last name Haddad (not exact) living anywhere in the United States, born in Ohio between 1907 and 1911, netted me 30 matches on Archives.com and 63 on Ancestry.com. This might be good or bad for your research—it can be overwhelming to search through a flood of matches, but you also might lose some searching flexibility.

Here's a page of Archives.com search results:

When you click on a match, you first see this page displaying all the indexed fields:

Archives also is introducing a new, Flash-based image viewer that lets users zoom in, adjust contrast, invert colors and more (a basic image viewer will be an option for computers without Flash):

We’re thinking this is what Archives.com product director Joe Godfrey was referring to in May, when he opened the National Genealogical Society conference by announcing the site would “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, joined Archives to lead the project.

The addition of the census will bring Archives.com, which launched in July 2009, into more-direct competition with industry leader Ancestry.com. Until Archives.com adds the rest of the census images, Ancestry.com is the only site providing access to all extant US census records and document images.

Archives.com will keep its subscription price at $39.95 "for the time being," says Hill. "That’s one-eighth the price of an Ancestry.com World membership. If you compare the subscriptions on a line-by-line basis, its remarkable how many high-value collections are available for one-eighth the price.”


Ancestry.com | census records | Archives.com
Thursday, September 01, 2011 1:26:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [12]