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More Links

# Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Putting History on the Map
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is joining Historypin, a site that lets users virtually "pin" historical photographs, videos and audio recordings to Google maps.

Users can enhance their pins with descriptions and stories, and compile them into collections and tours centered around a place, time or storyline.

Visit the National Archives on Historypin here. I scrolled down and clicked an image of Samuel Morse's 1848 patent for the electromagnetic telegraph, which opened information about the patent:

Here's the patent on a map of Washington, DC, at the location of the old Patent Office:

Another cool thing you can do is use a transparency slider to overlay a historical image on top of a Google street view of the same scene today. This shows a view from the old Patent Office toward the Treasury building:

Also in NARA's collection, you'll find Mathew Brady Civil War photographs; photos of streets, buildings and historic events in Washington, DC; and images from the recently concluded History Happens Here augmented reality contest. Future additions will include Documerica images, more Mathew Brady, and Brooklyn Navy Yard photos collections.

Go here and type in a place your ancestors lived to see what's pinned there. You don't have to join Historypin to see the pins, but if you join, you can add your own images (you'll need a free Google account).

Historypin is also accessible via a Smartphone app. It's a project of the British non-profit We Are What We Do that seeks to bring generations together around the history of their communities.

Here are images Historypin users have pinned around Cincinnati, where Family Tree Magazine is located. Once I get started exploring these, I'm not sure how I'll stop myself:

Genealogy Web Sites | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 11:53:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 28 November 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 21-25
Posted by Diane

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here's a special Monday edition of our weekly news roundup:
  •, the Irish website that introduced earlier this year, has added a feature that lets you build your family tree on the site for free (you’ll need to register for a free account with the site). According to the announcement, it’s the first step in the site’s development of a fully integrated family tree program where you can store photos and historical information. | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genetic Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Monday, 28 November 2011 12:15:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Advent Calender of Christmas Memories Captures Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Are you trying to save and share your family history by putting family stories down on paper?

Here's a great way to capture holiday-related memories: GeneaBloggers announces the return of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories blogging event Dec. 1-24. Each day will present a blogging prompt (such as Christmas cookies—yum!) for bloggers to respond to with memories and family history.

Even if you don't have a blog, you can use the prompts to inspire your writing.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories founder, GeneaBloggers' Thomas MacEntee, reports that some bloggers have compiled their posts into books to share with family.

Click here to learn how bloggers can participate in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Also follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue your family story writing with My Life & Times: A Guided Journal by Sunny Jane Morton or Morton's Creating a Family History Book course at Family Tree University (the next session starts Dec. 5).

saving and sharing family history
Monday, 28 November 2011 12:12:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
RootsMagic 5 Software Released Today
Posted by Diane

RootsMagic has released RootsMagic 5, the latest version of its genealogy software for Windows, along with an update to the free RootsMagic Essentials software.

RootsMagic 5 includes more than 80 new feature and enhancements to existing ones. New features include:

  • Timeline View: Show a person’s life in context with events from his or her own life and the lives of family members.

  • CountyCheck: Confirm the existence of a county, state, or country on any given date from a multinational database, and correct place-name errors in your family database.

  • Research Manager: Keep track of research goals, sources and results for a person, family or place in your tree. “On This Day” List: View family events along with famous births, deaths and historical events for any given day of the year.

  • Media Tagging: Tag your images and other media with people, families, sources or places. (For example, tag an image of a census record with the people, families and places named in the record, as well as the census source citation.)

Learn more about the updates in a free "What's New in RootsMagic 5?" webinar Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. Mountain Time (7 Eastern, 6 Central, 4 Pacific). If you’re interested, click here to sign up ASAP, as attendance is limited. (FYI, RootsMagic usually puts recordings of past webinars on its website for those who missed them.)

The free RootsMagic 5 Essentials contains many core features from the RootsMagic software, and the two products are fully compatible with one another.

RootsMagic 5 works on Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2000. It’s available online or by calling 1-800-766-8762.

New users can get the software for $29.95. Users of previous versions of RootsMagic and its predecessor, Family Origins, can upgrade to RootsMagic 5 for $19.95.

Genealogy Software
Monday, 28 November 2011 11:16:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Cyber Monday Deals at!
Posted by Diane

Your boss told me it’s fine for you to use your lunch hour (plus maybe a few extra minutes) to shop online in honor of Cyber Monday. Honest!* Just make sure you add to your must-visit list.

Today, Nov. 28, our Cyber Monday sale marks down some of our best-sellers by 40 percent! For example,

See all the Cyber Monday deals here.

And remember, if you’re a Family Tree VIP member, you’ll be able to take off another 10 percent.

*Just kidding. I didn't really talk to your boss, but I'm sure he or she won't mind.**

**OK, I don't really know your boss, so use your own judgment. Our Cyber Monday deals are good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time—you can shop this evening, too. Sales
Monday, 28 November 2011 10:36:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 24 November 2011
Thanksgiving Day: FREE Shipping at
Posted by Diane

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

While you’re waiting to tuck into some sweet potato casserole today, take advantage of free shipping on all orders at! It’s a great opportunity to start your holiday shopping and pick up a genealogy how-to book or CD for yourself.

Then, enjoy some documents and photos from the National Archives related to the story of Thanksgiving in the United States, including George Washington's Oct. 3, 1789, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, and Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of Oct. 3, 1863. Sales
Thursday, 24 November 2011 07:20:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday Savings at
Posted by Diane

We’ve got a few deals up our sleeves for Thanksgiving Day and the upcoming Black Friday weekend:
  • Thanksgiving Day, 11/24: Free shipping on any order with promo code THANKS2011
  • Black Friday Weekend, 11/25-11/27: 20% off storewide (exclusions apply), plus a free digital download
  • Cyber Monday, 11/28: 40% off bestsellers

Start your holiday shopping (for loved ones or for yourself) with The Family Tree Sourcebook, The Family Tree Problem Solver, the beginner-friendly Family History Detective, or one of our Family Tree University Independent Study classes on CD

And for your reference, here are ordering deadlines for ensuring your shipments arrive in time for Christmas:

  • US Postal Service: Order by Wednesday, Dec. 7
  • FedEx Ground: Order by Tuesday, Dec. 13
  • FedEx 2nd Day: Order by Monday, Dec. 19
  • FedEx Overnite: Order by Tuesday, Dec. 20 Sales
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:34:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Listen Up! Free November Podcast Now Available
Posted by Diane

The free Family Tree Magazine podcast November edition is here! Host Lisa Louise Cooke and Family Tree Magazine experts share tips on how to get relatives to discuss family history, a discussion of the Historic American Cookbook Project, and news on the Genealogists for Families project at

Plus, learn more about creating a family history book from Family Tree University's Nancy Hendrickson.

You can listen via iTunes or on

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Podcasts | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:04:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, 21 November 2011 Buys FamilyLink
Posted by Diane

Israeli family tree network company MyHeritage has acquired FamilyLink, the developer of family history content sites and

The acquisition doesn't include FamilyLink's We're Related Facebook app, MyHeritage spokesperson Schelly Talalay Dardahsti tells me. FamilyLink CEO Paul Allen won't be joining the MyHeritage team.

MyHeritage will add its first U.S.-based office in Utah, the home of FamilyLink.

The acquisition adds something MyHeritage lacked: the historical records genealogists use. FamilyLink's records will complement the family trees on “We’ll be able to find your mother’s yearbook, your great-grandfather’s will and your ancestor’s immigration record. We’ll do that on a massive, global scale," says MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet.

This is MyHeritage’s seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. Read the full press release here.

FamilyLink | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage
Monday, 21 November 2011 16:56:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Thanksgiving Myth-Busting
Posted by Diane

The Thanksgiving Myth-busting patrol is here with the truth behind an annual seasonal event:

The presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey goes all the way back to …. 1989. Yes, George H.W. Bush was the first president to officially pardon his Thanksgiving turkey.

He sent Tom off to a Virginia petting zoo with the words “Let me assure this fine tom he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table. Not this guy. He’s been granted a presidential pardon as of right now, allowing him to live out his days on a farm not far from here.” (Thus ensuring that some other poor turkey ended up on the White House table.)

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have continued the pardons. Last year, the two turkeys Obama pardoned (one was an understudy for the official ceremony) went to live at Mount Vernon.

Some claim that Harry Truman pardoned the turkey given to him by the National Turkey Federation in 1947, but the Truman Library has found no evidence a pardon occurred.

In 1963, John F. Kennedy announced he wasn't going to eat the turkey he received, but he didn’t actually pardon it. Ronald Reagan spared a turkey, too, but merely joked about a pardon as he was questioned about the Iran-Contra affair.

On, we bust five more Thanksgiving myths, including the one about the buckled Pilgrim hat of children’s stories.

And go here to read about the real first Thanksgiving in the New World.

Genealogy fun | Social History
Monday, 21 November 2011 13:57:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 18 November 2011
Don't Waste Your Money: SSA Extends Age Restriction on SS-5s
Posted by Diane

I wanted to draw your attention to a post on Megan Smolenyak's Roots World blog about a disturbing change to the Social Security Administration's policy on fulfilling requests for relatives' for Social Security applications (called SS-5 forms):

The SSA will block out parents' names on the SS-5 you requested if the applicant was born less than 100 years ago and you don't provide proof the parents are deceased.

If you requested the SS-5 in order to learn those parents' names in the first place, of course, you can't prove they're deceased. And you're out the nonrefundable $27 fee you sent with your request.

I haven't heard a public announcement from the SSA about this policy. Smolenyak learned of the change after requesting an SS-5

This comes on the heels of the SSA's removal of "protected" death records from the Death Master File, the source of the Social Security Death Index.

Read Smolenyak's post here.

Public Records
Friday, 18 November 2011 12:24:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Thursday, 17 November 2011
NARA Picks to Provide Online Access to 1940 Census
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has selected Inflection—the parent company of the genealogy subscription site—to to design and host a free website for the 1940 census, to be released April 2, 2012 at 9 a.m.

Researchers will be able to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 census. See NARA's full announcement here.

To kick off the partnership, has created a web page about the launch of the 1940 Census.

You won't be able to search the census by name right away on April 2; instead, you'll need to know the enumeration district (ED) your relatives lived in and then browse the records for that district. You can find the ED if you know your ancestor's address in 1940 or in 1930.

Here's a post about an online tool that can help you determine the ED.

FamilySearch is heading up an effort to index the 1940 census records ASAP after they're released, which will let genealogists search by name.

Subscription website also has announced plans to provide the 1940 census for free, at least through 2013. | | census records | FamilySearch | NARA
Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:07:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
It's A Hot Genealogy Mess
Posted by Diane

Our publisher Allison Dolan has been slowly digging through the inherited family archive she's affectionately calling her "hot genealogy mess."

Thank goodness for our upcoming Organize Your Family Archive webinar and the advice from its presenter, Denise Levenick, because Allison's found some things she knows have historical value, but she's not sure what to do with. Here are some contents of just one of the two dozen boxes Allison inherited:

Maybe you've shopped at a Kroger grocery store? In 1883 in Cincinnati, Bernard Kroger founded what's now the largest US grocery chain.

Allison uncovered letters and newspaper clippings from Kroger family members. A handwritten notecard states that one of her ancestors was B.H. Kroger's private secretary from 1928 to 1938. 

Another treasure is an album full of photos from the South Pacific. It belonged to a woman named Dorie, who may have been a friend of an aunt.

Color me jealous. We'll keep showing you more peeks inside this archive.

The Early Bird Special for the Organize Your Family Archive webinar ends Nov. 20, so if you have your own hot genealogy mess going on, register now.

saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Thursday, 17 November 2011 10:42:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 16 November 2011 Tests New Record Viewer
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy site is beta testing a new record image viewer. Here's what it looks like (this record is my great-grandparents' 1900 passenger list):

The interface is similar to the previous viewer, with some new and improved features:

  • Faster image loading.

  • Works on more platforms and with more browsers than the previous image viewer, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Web browser issues were preventing a large portion of members from using the previous image viewer.

  • New tools, including rotating an image (handy for census returns with the address written along the side of the page), mirror (flips your record over so you're reading it backward, which I've heard can help with hard-to-read records), and new zoom controls.

  • Easy installation. Most people won't have to install anything (I didn't), though you might need to install a more recent version of the free Adobe Flash Player.

To try out the new viewer, click on the options button at the top of the current image viewer:

and then select "Use the Advanced Viewer (Beta)" is collecting feedback from users who try the new viewer. Read more about the new features, see screenshots, and see the known issues on the blog.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 14:31:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
New Leadership at FamilySearch
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch International, which operates the free genealogy website, will have a new chief executive officer. Starting Jan. 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch.

Verkler will assist with the transition for several months as a consultant.

FamilySearch regularly rotates its senior leaders, according to yesterday's announcement.

Under Verkler’s decade of leadership, FamilySearch has become a genealogy industry leader in enhancing online access to genealogy records through technological innovation and partnerships with genealogy businesses, records repositories and societies. Especially notable has been the FamilySearch Indexing project, which has mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide to index digitized records, making them searchable online.

Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors FamilySearch. Before that, he was president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005.

“I am very excited to help lead the work of FamilySearch, to continue the great things that have been done and move forward in new directions as appropriate,” he says.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 08:49:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 14 November 2011
Researching American Indian Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Do you have American Indian ancestry? Many genealogists believe they do and want to find out for sure. Others know they do but don't know how to research those ancestors.

Now's a good time to look for resources: November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

In 1915, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapaho and president of the American Indian Association, declared the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day and appealed for recognition of American Indians as citizens (Indians were recognized as citizens in 1924).

Later that year, on Dec. 14, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, arrived at the White House with 24 state government endorsements for a national day to honor American Indians. (Here's a photo from the Library of Congress.) He'd gathered them riding on horseback from state to state.

The first National American Indian Heritage Month was in 1990. (More on national observances here.)

Here are some free articles to help you trace American Indian roots: resources include:

Some of our favorite websites for American Indian research are:

You'll also find indexes to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, March 4, 1907 (known as the Dawes Roll) and Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (the Guion-Miller Roll).

American Indian roots | Celebrating your heritage
Monday, 14 November 2011 15:54:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 11 November 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 7-11
Posted by Diane

Military records | NARA | Videos
Friday, 11 November 2011 14:40:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Remembering Grandpa's WWII Service
Posted by Diane

Grandpa doesn’t know it—he passed away in 2003—but his old Army photos have graced several Family Tree Magazine publications. That's his portrait in the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook and on our Military Research Guide CD.

He served in the Army 83rd Signal Co. in 1944 and 1945 in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany, and received a Bronze Star medal for his service.

The citation above (which I included on a scrapbook page for Scrapbooking Your Family History by Maureen A. Taylor) says he

…showed outstanding leadership in maintaining wire communications between division and regimental headquarters. During the rapid advance of the division, difficult terrain was encountered and artillery fire. His devotion to duty and outstanding services merit the highest praise …

My grandma once told me that Grandpa limped after the war because he’d dropped a big coil of cable on his foot, and she asked him why he hadn’t gotten it checked out. He said he knew he might not be able to return to the same unit. Those were good men, he said, and he didn’t want to leave them. 

He’s among those in the WWII Army Enlistment records, available on the National Archives’ website and on subscription site

His burial information is also recorded in the Veterans Administration Nationwide Gravesite Locator:

You can memorialize your own military ancestors’ service with our military biography form, downloadable from this page

Go here to download our War Service Reference Guide, which has a timeline of US conflicts plus a birth date chart you can use to determine which major wars your ancestor likely served in.

Learning about your relatives' service to our country (and sharing their stories with your family) is one way to honor them today. Here are some of our favorite websites for doing military research.

Thanks, Grandpa.

Military records | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 11 November 2011 09:58:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Sale of the Century!
Posted by Diane

Today’s date—11/11/11—being a once-in-a-century event and all, it seems like a good opportunity for a once-in-a-century sale.

Today through 11/13/11, you'll find deep discounts on several of our genealogy how-to titles at

For example, you can stock up on Family Tree Magazine back issue CDs (the 2005, 2007 and 2008 CDs are just $4.99 each), or get guides to finding 15 important types of genealogy records in our Family Tree Essentials CD, also only $4.99. (Remember, VIP members get another 10 percent off.)

See the full sale listing at We've got limited quantities, so shop now.

And if you (or someone you know) is into woodworking, gardening, sewing, antiquing or another hobby, you'll want to check out the discounts at our sister publications, too! Sales
Friday, 11 November 2011 09:18:42 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 09 November 2011
Organize Your Family Archive
Posted by Diane

Remember back when Family Tree Magazine Publisher Allison Dolan (then Allison Stacy) inherited nearly two dozen boxes of family history "stuff" from her grandparents?

Scads of you wrote in with advice and stories about your similar situations in blog comments, emails and letters.

The Family Curator blogger Denise Levenick is going to make an example of Allison for your benefit. In our Organize Your Family Archive webinar, Denise will offer strategies and inspiration for

  • determining your goals for your family collection
  • inventorying your archive
  • deciding what to save, donate and throw away or recycle
  • organizing the materials in your archive
  • safely storing everything from letters to photos to musical instruments
The hour-long webinar is Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific). Your registration includes:
  • participation in the live presentation and Q&A session
  • access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • a PDF of the presentation slides for future reference

For a limited time, you can save 20 percent on your Organize Your Family Archive webinar registration. This may be the incentive and guidance you need to start getting a handle on your family archive—and seeing what genealogy treasures it holds.

Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 14:37:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Sale of the Century
Posted by Diane

Just wanted to let you know to keep your eyes on this Friday: 11/11/11 comes only once a century, so word around the office is that we're marking the occasion with a "sale of the century." More details to come ... Sales
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 08:47:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 08 November 2011
Creating a 1940 Census Index
Posted by Diane

FamilySearch has created a page to recruit volunteers for transcribing the 1940 census, scheduled for release April 2, 2012. (We’re just 146 days from 1940 census nirvana!) 

Unlike previous censuses, images of 1940 census records will be available free on the National Archives and Records Administration website. You won’t be able to search for an ancestor’s name right away; instead, you’ll have to browse the record by enumeration district (more on that—and figuring out your ancestor’s enumeration district—here). 

FamilySearch is coordinating a volunteer effort to index those images as soon as they’re released, so you’ll be able to search by name and click to see the record where the name appears.

If you want to help create the free, searchable 1940 census index, go here and sign up on the right side of this page.

Starting in mid-April, subscription website also will begin streaming 1940 census records onto its website, where records will be free to search at least through 2013

Read more about the 1940 census, including what questions your ancestors had to answer, in our free article

Our Census Secrets CD, available from, will help you find ancestors in US censuses from 1790 through 1940. | census records | FamilySearch
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 09:14:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 07 November 2011
Why We Don’t Do Office Tours
Posted by Diane

Family Tree Magazine (and our fellow F+W Media hobby publications) moved into new digs over the weekend. Here's my little home away from home:

Exciting, right?

Wait, there's more:

This is my US presidents poster and red heart button says “I Love Genealogy.”

Here's our library's future home:

And some of my neighbors:

We're all getting settled in, trying to find the best chairs before someone else claims them, and getting ready for meetings with our remote employees who are in town. Happy Monday!

Monday, 07 November 2011 15:36:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 04 November 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Oct. 31-Nov. 4
Posted by Diane

  • The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has a new website that's easier to use and enriched with expanded content. Additions to the eLibrary (accessible to members) include more than 500 NYG&B member biographies from the early 20th century, book two of the 1855 New York state census for Manhattan's Ward 17, 32 digitized books and more. Information also accessible t nonmembers includes research guides, News You Can Use with new resources for New York research and a Genealogical Exchange query board.
  • Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., an important Union fort in the Civil War, has been designated a National Monument. It was nicknamed "Freedom's Fortress" for Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s 1861 declaration that escaped slaves who reached Union lines would be deemed contraband of war and not returned to their masters. More than 10,000 enslaved men and women made the journey there by war's end. Learn about Fort Monroe during the Civil War here.

Civil War | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | NARA
Friday, 04 November 2011 14:59:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Interview a Friend or Relative on the National Day of Listening
Posted by Diane

African-American genealogy website LowCountry Africana is an official partner with StoryCorps in celebrating the National Day of Listening on Nov. 25.

This will be the fourth annual National Day of Listening. Americans are encouraged to observe it by spending an hour on the day after Thanksgiving interviewing a friend, loved one or community member about their lives.

Lowcountry Africana will participate by recording interviews with residents in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. These areas are home to many descendants of enslaved Africans of the Gullah-Geechee culture. The slaves' rice-growing skills were vital to the massive rice plantations of the Colonial and Antebellum Lowcountry.

Visit Lowcountry Africana's National Day of Listening web pages, with suggestions for how to participate and instructional videos.

StoryCorps, an organization that provides people of all backgrounds with opportunities to preserve thier life stories, has a free online Do-It-Yourself interview guide.

You'll also find guidance for participating in the National Day of Listening in these free articles:

More resources from

African-American roots | Oral History | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 04 November 2011 09:26:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 03 November 2011
Search 30,000 Names From Holocaust Musuem Records—Free
Posted by Diane

Material from four museum collections containing information on more than 30,000 victims of Nazi persecution is now searchable online for free at

The database is the first searchable collection resulting from the World Memory Project, a partnership of and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The records contain information on thousands of individuals including displaced Jewish orphans; Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp and camps in occupied Poland; and French victims of Nazi persecution.

World Memory Project contributors use software from to index museum records. The indexes are free to search on The museum retains the original records and provides free copies of them upon request. To date, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed almost 650,000 records. | Free Databases | Jewish roots | Museums
Thursday, 03 November 2011 09:06:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection: Save & Share Family History
Posted by Diane

This month’s limited-edition Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collection will help you share your heritage with loved ones. You’ll get books for recording family information and stories, plus ideas for creating heirlooms and family history gifts. 

It includes

The $79.99 price saves you 62 percent on the whole shebang. Only 95 (and counting) of the Genealogy Keepsakes Ultimate Collections are left—now’s the time to get started on your family history holiday projects!

Editor's Pick | saving and sharing family history | Sales
Thursday, 03 November 2011 08:33:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 02 November 2011
SSA to Remove "Protected" Death Records From Death Master File
Posted by Diane

The Social Security Administration is making changes to the public Death Master File—the source of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) that genealogists know and love to use—that’ll impact your research.

Effective today, Nov. 1, the Death Master File will no longer contain “protected” records the SSA receives from states. According to a notice from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which disseminates the Death Master File, “Section 205(r) of the Act prohibits SSA from disclosing state death records SSA receives through its contracts with the states, except in limited circumstances.”

4.2 million of the 89 million deaths in the Death Master File will be removed, and approximately 1 million fewer deaths will be added each year.

I’m working on getting clarification on when and where the removed deaths occurred, and whether genealogy websites will have to remove those deaths from their current versions of the SSDI.

Update: The records now in's version of the SSDI will stay, says spokesperson Matthew Deighton. "The current records that we have on will remain unaffected," he says. "We understand that we may receive fewer records from the Social Security Administration, but it is not clear which record sets will be impacted at this point. We recognize the importance of these databases to the family history community and will do our best to minimize the impact of this to our users. will continue to monitor this situation."

The changes are bad news for the genealogists who use the SSDI. Banks, employers and others who use the public Death Master File for security reasons—for example, to see whether an applicant is using a dead person’s SSN—will also undoubtedly be unhappy. (So, the Death Master File actually helps prevent identity theft.) Medical researchers use the database to track former patients and study subjects, too.

Here’s the full notice from the NTIS (it's in a PDF linked on this page):

We receive Death Master File (DMF) data from the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA receives death reports from various sources, including family members, funeral homes, hospitals, and financial institutions.

Q: What change is SSA making to the Public DMF?
A: Effective November 1, 2011, the DMF data that we receive from SSA will no longer contain protected state death records. Section 205(r) of the Act prohibits SSA from disclosing state death records SSA receives through its contracts with the states, except in limited circumstances. (Section 205r link -

Q: How will this change affect the size of the Public DMF?
A: The historical Public DMF contains 89 million records. SSA will remove approximately 4.2 million records from this file and add about 1 million fewer records annually.

REMINDER: DMF users should always investigate and verify the death listed before taking any adverse action against any individual.

Vital Records
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 09:32:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Tuesday, 01 November 2011
Free Webinar: Have an Organized Holiday Season
Posted by Diane

Halloween’s over, which means we’re in the holiday season. My blood pressure just went up a little.

Trying to take care of your gift list, keep family traditions going, get things done at work around vacation schedules, and squeeze in genealogy time can make the holidays one of the most hectic times of the year.

But they don’t have to be. Our colleagues over at Betterway Home are hosting a free webinar to help you cut the chaos, stress and clutter from your holiday season.

The free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar is presented by professional organizers Jennifer Ford Berry, author of Organize Now! and Organize Now! Your Money, Business & Career, and Susan Fay West, author of Organize For a Fresh Start.

It takes place Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific).

Sign up and receive:

  • Tips for how to organize decorations, gifts and more
  • Advice to help you manage and enjoy your holiday schedule
  • Help identifying your priorities so you value everything you do
  • Participation in the live Q&A session—get detailed answers to your specific questions
  • Access to the webinar recording to view again as many times as you like
  • Plus a coupon for 20 percent off the presenters’ new books

This year, get organized before you get overwhelmed. Click here to register for the free Have an Organized Holiday Season webinar.

saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 15:07:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]