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# Tuesday, December 20, 2011
To All of You . . .
Posted by Diane

. . . from all of us at Family Tree Magazine, Family Tree University and Family Tree Books . . .



. . . including Christy, Allison, Kerry, Jackie and Diane, as well as the behind-the-scenes folks who work on e-media, production, circulation and other areas of our company . . .

. . . we hope you have a peaceful and joyous holiday season (and that you get a chance to do some genealogy)!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Genealogy fun
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:04:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Year-End Warehouse Sale at ShopFamilyTree.com!
Posted by Diane

We at Family Tree Magazine would like to start 2012 with a neat, roomy warehouse, sooooo …

We’re having a Year-End Warehouse Sale today through Dec. 23, featuring closeout prices on a variety of our books and CDs! It includes several of our annual back issue CDs, The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors and more.

Check out what’s available in the Year-End Warehouse Sale at ShopFamilyTree.com.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:50:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 16, 2011
Genealogy News Corral, Dec. 12-16
Posted by Diane

Last month, NARA selected Archives.com to host the digitized census records. Ancestry.com also has announced it'll offer a 1940 census index and the record images free, at least through 2013.

  • FamilySearch's RootsTech conference, taking place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, is open for registration. The early bird rate of $149 is valid through Jan. 13, 2012.
  • The National Genealogical Society 2012 Conference, taking place May 8-12 in Cincinnati, also is open for registration. Early bird prices ($175 for NGS members and $210 for nonmembers, plus extra if you want a printed syllabus) are good through March 20.

Archives.com | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Research Tips
Friday, December 16, 2011 3:26:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Software Upgrade News for Mac-Using Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Recent software releases are giving Mac-using genealogists new options:
  • MacFamilyTreeSynium has released version 6.2 of its MacFamilyTree desktop software and version 1.1 of the MobileFamilyTree Pro app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Both feature a new Tree Chart showing all connected persons in a family tree, as well as new reports, improved GEDCOM support and more. The Family Quiz, previously available only in the mobile app, is now also part of the MacFamilyTree software.

Users of MacFamilyTree 6 or MobileFamilyTree Pro 1.0 can upgrade to the new versions for free. Those with earlier versions of MacFamilyTree can update to the most recent version for $12.50.

Otherwise, a holiday sale lets you purchase MacFamilyTree 6.2 for $29 (requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later) and MobileFamilyTree Pro 1.1 for $7.99.

  • Ancestry.com has released Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, which includes TreeSync. This feature lets you sync your family tree in the software with your tree on Ancestry.com.

Also new: You can take photos using your iSight or built-in camera and import them directly into Family Tree Maker. If you’re on OS X Lion, you can use the new full-screen capability to fill your entire desktop with the Family Tree Maker workspace.

You can get Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 in the Ancestry.com online store (it's currently discounted to $52.49) or at retailers such as , Fry’s Home Electronics, and Micro Center.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software
Friday, December 16, 2011 2:04:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
New MyHeritage Mobile App Lets You Access Your Tree on the Go
Posted by Diane

Family network site MyHeritage now has a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android that you can use to access your MyHeritage family tree on the go.

The app attractively displays up to seven generations with photos, and shows individual profiles. It takes advantage of the devices' touchscreen capabilities with panning and "pinch zooming." It also syncs all data, including photos, to your family site on MyHeritage.

The app's communication and photo features make it handy to have at family gatherings:

  • It highlights upcoming birthdays and anniversaries in your tree.
  • You can call or email relatives in one tap.
  • When you take a photo with the device, the app uses face recognition to automatically identify family members taken in the photo.
  • You also can share the photo with them in one easy tap.
  • It even includes the fun celebrity look-alike feature that got MyHeritage noticed way back when.

The app is available in the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace.


MyHeritage
Friday, December 16, 2011 1:07:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 15, 2011
$avings Alert: Learn Strategies for Newspaper Research
Posted by Diane


If you haven't taken full advantage of old newspapers for discovering family history—maybe you're unsure how to find out which ones covered your ancestors' hometown or fear you don't have time to scroll through rolls of microfilm—here's a deal for you:

Take our Newspaper Research 101 Family Tree University Course starting Jan. 9 for just $39.99 (the four-week course is usually $99.99). The special rate is made possible by GenealogyBank.


Besides obituaries, newspapers are sources for birth announcements, social column notes and other news stories mentioning your ancestors—even if they weren't prominent community members. 

I still get nostalgic over my first big genealogy find, a 1924 Dallas Morning News article about my grandfather who grew up in an orphanage and was putting himself through college (you can see the article here). I discovered it by chance on GenealogyBank soon after the site launched. 

Newspaper microfilm from the Arkansas state archives helped me fill in details (otherwise absent due to missing court records) about my grandfather's arrest and trial for bootlegging.

In the Newspaper Research 101 course, taught by James M. Beidler, you'll learn:

  • what type of information to look for in newspapers
  • how to find and access papers most likely to mention your kin
  • how to effectively search digital and microfilmed papers

Learn more and take advantage of this once-in-a-blue-moon Newspaper Research 101 tuition on FamilyTreeUniversity.com.


Family Tree University | Genealogy Web Sites | Newspapers
Thursday, December 15, 2011 9:43:07 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 14, 2011
iPhone App Helps You Record Family Stories
Posted by Diane

Here's a new smartphone app to consider grabbing before holiday gatherings: Record Their Stories for the iPhone has a built-in edit suite (stop, start, join and trim conversations) and more than 100 questions to help you capture relatives' stories. Use it with the phone's built-in audio recording capabilities.

Keep the recording on your phone or computer. You also can upload it to the Record Their Stories website and order a professionally mixed version of the recording, complete with music and sound effects.

You can get the Record Their Stories iPhone app for 99 cents from the iTunes app store. Learn more at the Record Their Stories website.

Get more help preparing for oral history conversations (learn everything from what to ask to what you should bring) with expert articles on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

The January 2012 Family Tree Magazine has Lisa Louise Cooke's roundup of favorite apps for family history researchers.


Oral History | saving and sharing family history | Tech Advice
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:54:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
TV Time!
Posted by Diane

Hello, "Who Do You Think You Are?" fans: NBC's mid-season 2012 schedule has the show debuting Feb. 3 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET. We've heard that actors Marisa Tomei, Martin Sheen and Blair Underwood are among the celebs who'll appear.

In other genealogy-TV news: The Ancestry.com blog reported that tonight's (Wed., Dec. 14) episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" will have a genealogy theme. The victim is a genealogist (ouch) who uncovers a dark family secret, and one of the genealogists questioned in the case connects a CSI's family to famous historical folks.

The show airs at 10/9 Central on CBS. If you missed it, you can catch it on CBS.com.


"Who Do You Think You Are?"
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:46:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 13, 2011
RootsWeb Removes its Free SSDI Database
Posted by Diane

One of the free resources we’ve recommended for years to search the online Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has been taken offline.

RootsWeb’s SSDI database is no longer available, with a message that

Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available on our free Rootsweb service but is accessible to search on Ancestry.com.

The SSDI is a database of deaths reported to the Social Security Administration, for the most part since 1962. A subscription is required to use Ancestry.com's version of the SSDI, and genealogists including Randy Seaver and Sheri Fenley report that Social Security numbers aren't provided for deaths within the past 10 years.

You might think genealogists wouldn't be concerned with such a recent death, but someone who died in 2002 might've been born in 1920, and his or her application for an SSN (called an SS-5) could name parents born in the 1800s. Plus, the SSDI is useful for tracing family lines forward in time to find distant cousins.

Randy lists other sources of the SSDI, which include the free FamilySearch site.

If you don't have a deceased person's SSN, you still can request his or her SS-5. You'll need to provide a birth date, any other names the person used, and the parents' names, and pay $29 instead of $27. You now can request an SS-5 online.

The "sensitivities" RootsWeb refers to are likely related to a recent news story about criminals using SSNs of deceased individuals to commit tax fraud. (Couldn't the IRS prevent this by comparing SSNs on tax forms to numbers in the SSDI?)

Read more on recent SSDI changes, which include a reduction in the number of new deaths that'll be included in this database, here.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | Public Records
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:54:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Monday, December 12, 2011
12 Great Genealogy Gifts (for You or Someone Else), Just $12 Each
Posted by Diane

Have you had your eye on some genealogy helps at ShopFamilyTree.com? Are you searching for last-minute gifts?

We've got you covered with 12 great titles for just $12 each! Choose from:

  • 101 Brick Wall Busters: Solutions to Overcome Your Genealogical Challenges book

  • Remember That? A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Fun Facts, Headlines, & Your Memories book (which I think would be great for the person who doesn't need another pair of slippers, but would love if you bring a baked treat, sit for a spell, and go through this book together and reminisce)

  • Family History Detective: A Step-by-Step Guide to Investigating Your Family History book (terrific for someone who wants to start on his or her genealogy)

  • Family Tree Magazine 2011 Annual CD (update your digital Family Tree Magazine library)

  • Family Tree Pocket Reference book

  • Genealogist's Research Trip Planner digital download (I will be consulting this guide to plan my research in Cleveland this April, which will piggyback on a trip to the Ohio Genealogical Society conference April 12-14)

  • German Newspapers in America video class

  • International Genealogy Passport CD

  • Irish Genealogy Online video class

  • Military Research Guide CD (another good gift for a beginner, or for anyone tracing a Civil War, WWII or other military ancestor)

  • Photo Rescue digital download (wonderful for the keeper of your family's photographic heritage)

Get more details on each 12 for $12 goodie on ShopFamilyTree.com.


12 Days of Genealogy | Genealogy books | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, December 12, 2011 11:16:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 08, 2011
Take $20 Off Our Organize Your Family History Value Pack
Posted by Diane


Today's installment of our 12 Days of Savings will help you complete a nagging item on your genealogy to-do list: Getting your research organized.

Now you can get the Organize Your Family History Value Pack for just $49.99 with code DECDEALS. That’s $20 off the regular price of this kit (which is already discounted over the cost of buying each component separately). 

What’s inside? Instructions and tools to guide you through the process of decluttering, sorting and filing your research (on paper and on your computer), and maintaining a system for organization.

Here’s what the Organize Your Family History Value Pack includes:

  • Organize Your Genealogy: Family Tree University Independent Study Course download
  • Organization Made Easy: 5 Simple Ways to Get Your Family History in Order on-demand webinar
  • Organize Your Genealogy Life! CD
  • Organize Now! book

Get more details on the Organize Your Family History Value Pack here. You could devote some of your holiday time off to starting the projects in this value pack, and start the new year feeling in control of your research.

Click here to take advantage of this deal.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, December 08, 2011 9:12:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Today's Deal: Our Genealogy Desk Calendar for $6.50
Posted by Diane

Today's 12 Days of Savings bring you 50 percent off the Family Tree Magazine 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar when you use offer code DECDEALS.



The lovely family photos and stories in the calendar deliver research inspiration, and at the 12 Days of Deals price of $6.50, it'll pay for itself with the included ShopFamilyTree.com coupons.

It would make a great little gift for your genealogy pals and your favorite librarian. Click here to get this deal!


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 10:20:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
This Is Not a Drill
Posted by Diane

Seventy years ago today, the Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sent this dispatch to major navy commands and fleet units.


It was the first official word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona was destroyed, killing 1,177 officers and crew. The USS Oklahoma capsized. About 2,400 Americans were killed.

As the number of survivors of the attack—now around 2,000—dwindles, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association has elected to dissolve at the end of this year.

Now it's even more important for those who didn't witness the attack firsthand to preserve the memories of that day. Here are a few places to start: 


Military records | Social History | Videos
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:29:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Old Houses Get Decked Out for the Holidays
Posted by Diane

If you love historic houses and you're in a holiday kind of mood, see if a historic house museum near you is decorated, vintage-style, for the holidays. You'll get a feel for Christmases before plastic tinsel and the crazy Target lady.

Run a web search or check the events section in your newspaper for events at museums near you, or tours of private homes. You also can browse the historic house museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. I did a little Web surfing, and my personal jet, if I had one, would fly me to these holiday houses:

  • Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville Tenn. A Century of Christmas: 1853-1953, shows how Christmas celebrations here evolved from fresh greens and a simply decorated tree in 1853 to 20th-century electric tree lights and characters.
  • Glessner and Clarke House Museums, Chicago. Two museums display different aspects of holiday celebrations. Clarke House exemplifies emerging holiday customs of the 1850s with simple decorations, and more elaborate decor at Glessner House reflects the growing interest in the celebration of Christmas.
  • Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee. This beer baron's mansion features a nationally recognized Christmas display representing America's Gilded Age.
  • Kimball House Museum, Battle Creek, Mich. A lovely Victorian house museum features lavish decorations.
  • Aiken-Rhett House, Charleston, SC. This home re-creates the Victorian Age in its holiday decor.
  • Mackenzie House, Toronto. This row house belonging to Toronto's first mayor is decorated in holiday greenery.

  • Christmas at Arlington, Birmingham, Ala. Flowers transform this Antebellum home, built by one of Birmingham’s founders, into replicas of Christmas past.
  • A Christmas Story House, Cleveland. So this isn't exactly pre-outdoor electric lights, but it's definitely nostalgic for those who remember Ralphie's quest for an air rifle and Randy's immobilizing snowsuit. You can tour the house where much of the 1983 movie was filmed and and get your own version of the Old Man's leg lamp.

Genealogy fun | Historic preservation | Social History
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 11:37:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
12 Days of Deals: Extra 20% Off Virtual Conference Videos
Posted by Diane

Today you can save an extra 20 percent on our on-demand Virtual Conference videos with code DECDEALS. That first-of-its-kind online event featured half-hour video classes from Family Tree Magazine experts. (Click here to learn more about the Virtual Conference.)

Even if you missed the conference, you can take advantage of 17 great classes, including

Virtual Conference video classes are available individually or in packages. They’re already on sale—now’s your chance to save another 20 percent. Click here to check them out.


Genealogy Events | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales | Videos
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 10:57:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 05, 2011
Introducing Family Tree University Power Courses!
Posted by Diane

Do you go on family history research benders every once in awhile?

I do: I'll get inspired after a genealogy conference or when I read about new records on a database site, and I'll spend any spare time on research for days. Then regular life takes over until the next spree.

Family Tree University's new Power Courses are designed for genealogists who do their family history research (and learning) in spurts. When you sign up for one, you’ll have access for one week (Monday through Sunday) to a number of learning tools: videos, lessons, downloadable guides and forms, even coupons good for 25 percent off future FTU courses.

You pick the topic you need and the week you want, and we’ll be ready to teach you what you need to know to immediately tackle the problems you’re facing in your research.

Two Power Courses are coming up in December. Click each course name for more details about it:

  • Coming to America: Learn all about how to trace your immigrant ancestors, from their departure from the old country to their new life as US citizens.

  • Tear Down That Wall! Bust through the brick walls that keep you from furthering your genealogical research. Got ancestors who seem to have beamed down from outer space? This course is for you.

We’ll be offering many more Power Courses in 2012. In fact, there’s quite a bit of new stuff coming at Family Tree University. Stay tuned!


Family Tree University
Monday, December 05, 2011 10:08:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
12 Days of Savings: Buy Our 2011 CD, Save 50% on Another CD
Posted by Diane

Today’s deal is brought to you buy our 12 Days of Savings Event: Buy the Family Tree Magazine 2011 Annual CD and get another CD of equal or lesser value for 50 percent off.

You can update your paperless Family Tree Magazine library with our 2011 issues on a convenient CD, and boost your genealogy know-how with a specialized CD such as

Browse all Family Tree Magazine CDs here.

Click here to get our 2011 annual CD and take advantage of today's deal.


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Monday, December 05, 2011 9:19:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 02, 2011
Meet Our New Family Tree Firsts Blogger!
Posted by Diane

Just a quick note to send you over to FamilyTreeUniversity.com to meet our new Family Tree Firsts blogger, Shannon Bennett of Locust Grove, Va.

She'll be doing family research with help from Family Tree University courses and sharing what she learns on the Family Tree Firsts blog.

And stop by to say hi to our previous Family Tree Firsts blogger, Nancy Shively, at her Gathering Stories blog.


Family Tree Firsts
Friday, December 02, 2011 4:12:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
12 Days of Savings! Today: Free Calendar With Family Tree VIP Membership
Posted by Diane

Starting today, we're featuring 12 Days of Savings in ShopFamilyTree.com. Today's deal: Sign up for a Family Tree Magazine VIP membership (or upgrade your current magazine subscription to VIP) and enter code VIPFREE to get our 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar free.

Your VIP membership includes

  • a Family Tree Magazine subscription
  • a one-year subscription to Family Tree Plus (that's our online archive of genealogy how-to articles from past issues of Family Tree Magazine)
  • 10 percent off all your ShopFamilyTree.com orders
  • 25 percent off Family Tree University courses
  • our exclusive Family Tree Toolkit

Get today's deal on VIP membership here.

Visit ShopFamilyTree.com every day through Dec. 12 to see the daily deals.

Remember, you get free shipping on orders over $25, and of course there's no shipping on digital products. (This post gives our holiday shipping order deadlines if you need them.)


ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Friday, December 02, 2011 11:18:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, Nov. 28-Dec. 2
Posted by Diane

  • Ancestry.com has upgraded its mobile app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. New features include 99-cent in-app purchasing of individual records for non-Ancestry.com subscribers (such as World War I draft cards, census records, birth and death certificates, and school yearbook photos), the "shaky leaf" hints indicating a possible record match to somone in a user's family tree, and easier updating of family trees with information from historical records.

The app, which boasts more than 1.7 million downloads to date, is free from the Apple App Store.

  • FamilySearch.org has added more than 18 million records from Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Spain, the United States and Venezuela. US records include a Texas death index (provided by Ancestry.com); naturalization index cards from Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin; county records from several states and more.

You can view all the new and updated collections and click to each one here.

  • SavingOurs.com is a new volunteer group dedicated to saving historical newspapers and other documents. The organization will work with local volunteers, companies and governments to digitize these documents and ensure they're available free to the public. Visit SavingOurs.com to learn more or volunteer.

  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has started a blog as a four-month-long pilot project. It'll offer tips and tools on LAC's records and navigating its website. Posts so far cover war diaries, Royal Canadian Navy ledger sheets, the newly digitized Lord Elgin collection and more. Visit the LAC Blog here.

Ancestry.com | Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Military records
Friday, December 02, 2011 10:58:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Access to Ancestry.com WWII Records for a Limited Time
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com is making its WWII records collection free through Dec. 7 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The collection includes WWII draft registration cards (including some newly added ones), WWII Navy muster rolls (1939-1949), records of Japanese-Americans relocated during the war, US Navy cruise books and more.

Go here to search Ancestry.com's WWII records. When you go to view a match, you'll be prompted to set up a free registration with the site (or log in if you already have one).

2,459 Americans died when Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

See the About.com Genealogy blog for more on records Ancestry.com added to its WWII collection for this promotion. Thanks to Kimberly for the heads-up on this news!


Ancestry.com | Military records
Friday, December 02, 2011 10:42:27 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, December 01, 2011
Back for a Limited Time: Your Favorite Ultimate Family History Collections
Posted by Diane


Starting today, we're bringing back four of this year's best-selling Ultimate Collections in limited quantities. If you missed these the first time around, now's your chance to grab them:
  • Ultimate Photo Preservation Collection (25 available): Tools to help you ensure your family's memories will be around for future generations to enjoy, including the Preserving Your Family Photographs book signed by author Maureen A. Taylor aka the Photo Detective. (This collection sold out in just a few hours the first time around.) 
  • Ultimate Research Trip Collection (25 avaiable): Get the essential advice and supplies you need for visiting archives and courthouses, tromping through ancestral cemeteries and traveling to key research destinations across the country.
All these kits are deeply discounted, too. Click on each collection name above for more details about what's in each one.

Editor's Pick | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, December 01, 2011 9:14:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]