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# Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Black History Records Collection Free on Fold3 in February
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site Fold3 (the former Footnote) is making its Black History Collection free during February in honor of Black History Month.

Among the records in this collection are:

  • Danish West Indies Slave Records
  • the 1860 US Census
  • US Colored Troops Compiled Service Records and pension files
  • Southern Claims Commission files (petitions by Southerners—including many African-Americans—who lost property to Union troops during the Civil War)
  • Military Intelligence Division—Negro Subversion (1914–1941)
  • Vietnam War Marine Corps Photos

You'll be prompted to register for a free Fold3 account when you click to view a record.

African-American roots | Fold3 | Military records
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 15:44:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Enter to Win an iPad in RootsMagic Treasure Hunt
Posted by Diane

Genealogy software company RootsMagic is holding a treasure hunt contest in conjunction with FamilySearch's RootsTech conference Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, but you can play from home, too—and maybe win an iPad.

The treasure hunt involves finding words hidden on the blogs of 15 genealogy bloggers who'll be reporting at the conference.

You'll find entry instructions on the RootsMagic website. Good luck!

We're joining in the RootsTech excitement with conference specials for everyone! You'll get 20 percent off select online genealogy titles at

Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun | RootsTech
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 13:39:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5] to Live-Stream its RootsTech Presentations
Posted by Diane

We blogged last week that you can watch several RootsTech presentations live via the RootsTech home page. also will live-stream several presentations by its staff. See the list on’s Facebook page.

My top picks:

  • The Inner-workings of the Search Engine, Friday, Feb. 3, 3 pm MST

  • 5 New Things to Try at, Friday, Feb. 3, 1:45 pm MST

  • Who Do You Think You Are? Live Q&A: How Do Our Experts Search?
    Saturday, Feb. 4, 2:30pm MST (This is the day after NBC's season 3 premiere of "Who Do You Think You Are?" so you may get some insider details on the Martin Sheen episode.)
You can watch the presentations on's Facebook page or its Livestream channel.

The RootsTech conference, organized by FamilySearch, takes place this week, Feb. 2-4, in Salt Lake City.

We're joining in the RootsTech excitement with conference specials for everyone! You'll get 20 percent off select online genealogy titles at | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:56:02 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
Genealogists Gear Up to Save the SSDI
Posted by Diane

You've heard a lot lately about new threats to your access to information in the Social Security Death Index. This Thursday, the House Ways & Means Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security will hold hearings on the SSDI and privacy issues. Only those invited may give testimony, and no genealogists made the list—not for lack of trying.

Members of the public can submit statements for the hearing record. These statements must meet the specific format required by the Ways and Means Committee.

The genealogy Records Preservation and Action Committee (RPAC) recommends that such formal statements come from societies. RPAC is a joint task force of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS).

FGS, NGS and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) will submit statements.

The RPAC, however, says it's working on a mechanism for individual genealogists to speak up in an "appropriate but dramatic" way. RPAC members are meeting at the RootsTech conference this week and will monitor Thursday's hearing. The committee plan make an announcement about how you can help save the SSDI by Feb. 14.

Genealogy societies | Public Records
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 09:17:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Monday, 30 January 2012
Project Builds Database of Variant Name Spellings
Posted by Diane

Have you ever run a search on a genealogy website and been surprised at some of the names that got into your search results?, and have started a project to compile a database of surname and given name variants that should be searched along with whatever name you type into a genealogy database.

Traditionally, the Soundex system and/or a site's own algorithms determine what matches you see, but these still can return matches that don't make sense and miss good matches.

The project will improve searching on, but any genealogy data site will be able to use the Variant Names Project database to improve its searching.

You can help build the database by adding alternate spellings for the surnames in your family tree. First, you'll need to create a free WeRelate account by clicking create account at the top of the page.

On the Variant Names project home, select given name or surname, enter the name and hit Go.

You'll see a list of potential alternate spellings with checkboxes. The checked names are included in online searches for the name you entered. (In addition, rare names that share a Soundex code are also included.) Unchecked names aren't included.

Review the list and think about variations you've found in your research. You'll uncheck variants of the name that shouldn't be included in searches, check names that should be included, and add other names in the text box at the bottom of the screen.

The starting-point lists came from an algorithm and WeRelate came up with to find similar names for the 200,000 most-frequent surnames and 70,000 most-frequent given names in's databases. Names also were added from, a site about the etymology of given names, as well as name dictionaries. | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, 30 January 2012 15:47:49 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 27 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • Free genealogy search engine Mocavo has made two big hires: Michael Leclerc, who spent 15 years with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as Chief Genealogist; and Ryan Hunter, a former Wall Street analyst who covered companies including, as COO. | Genealogy fun | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, 27 January 2012 15:57:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Fold3: Military Service Records 1784-1811 Free Through Feb. 5
Posted by Diane

Check this out if you have Revolutionary War or War of 1812 ancestors: Subscription genealogy site Fold3 is making its collection of Service Records of Volunteers, 1784-1811, free through Feb. 5, according to a post on the site's Facebook page.

These images come from 32 rolls of NARA microfilm publication M905. Each soldier's "jacket" typically contains cards abstracting entries for the soldier in original muster rolls, payrolls, receipt rolls, and other lists.

Go here to search this collection. You'll need to register for a free account with the site to view records.

Need research guidance for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 ancestors? Both conflicts are covered in our guide, Research Strategies: 10 Lesser-Known Military Conflicts. It's a $4 download from

Fold3 | Free Databases | Military records
Friday, 27 January 2012 15:54:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Take the Family History Writing Challenge in February
Posted by Diane

Genealogists have come up with their own version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is in November):

The Family History Writing Challenge is a monthlong event in February. To play along, just commit to writing 250, 500 or 1,000 words per day (your pick) about your family history—whether it's a person, a branch, a place, an era or some other focus.

The challenge basics and a Q&A are here. Sign up here to receive daily writing reminders and quotes, as well as links to weekly advice posts. You also can join discussions in a forum.

When I put together a family history narrative a couple of years ago, I noticed some holes in my research, came up with ideas for next steps and saw how much progress I'd made. Even better, it was an easily digestible way to share me research with my family. 

Need motivation? Here's how to get around five common reasons for not writing family history. And here are six quick ideas for writing family history.

If you want in-depth guidance for writing a family history, look into the FTU course and workshop Write Your Family History. By the end of the session, you'll have an outline for your family's story and a start on your narrative.

Genealogy Events | saving and sharing family history
Friday, 27 January 2012 11:17:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Genealogy Organizing Tips, "WDYTYA?" Sneak Peek in Our Latest Podcast
Posted by Diane

The January 2012 Family Tree Magazine Podcast, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, is ready for your listening pleasure! In this free podcast episode:
  • tips on organizing your family archive
  • using Evernote to keep your genealogical research organized
  • sneak peek at the upcoming season of "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • Plus: the one trick that will help you make new friends in the online genealogical community

Listen in iTunes or on

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:40:44 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
RootsTech: Sessions You Can Watch From Home + Mobile App
Posted by Diane

If you'll be sitting out next week’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City as attendees giddily blog, Facebook and Tweet about it:

You’ll be able to watch many of the classes online. RootsTech will live stream all the keynote lectures and other sessions taking place in classroom 155 of the convention center.

I checked over the RootsTech session schedule for each day (look in the left column for the room number and click each presentation title for details about it), and found great presentations going on all day in this room 155. My top picks are:

  • Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink, Feb. 2, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

  • Twitter: It’s Not Just “What I Had For Breakfast” Anymore by Thomas MacEntee, Feb. 2, 3-4 p.m.

  • Genealogists “Go Mobile” by Sandra Crowley, Feb. 3, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

  • Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101 by Lisa Louise Cooke, Feb. 4 9:45-10:45 a.m.

  • Privacy in a Collaborative Environment by Noah Tutak, CEO of, Feb. 4, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Remember, all session times are in Mountain Time. Details about how to access the live-stream sessions are still to come—watch the RootsTech website and this blog.

Update: All you need to do to watch the live presentations is go to the RootsTech home page.

If you’re going to be at RootsTech (like our own Allison Dolan and Kerry Scott), you can make sure you check off your conference to-do and to-see lists with the RootsTech2012 app for iPad, iPhone and Android.

You can get them from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace and use them to keep track of your scedule, see venue maps, get conference news and more. Randy Seaver goes into detail about the app at his Genea-Musings blog.

RootsTech, organized by FamilySearch, takes place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:18:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
"Citizen Archivists" Transcribe Records in National Archives Pilot Project
Posted by Diane

The National Archives and Records Administration has started a Transcription Pilot Project as part of its new Citizen Archivist Dashboard.

You can contribute to transcriptions and help make historical documents more accessible to the public.

The pilot project includes more than 300 documents (about 1,000 pages) dating from the late 18th to the 20th century: letters to a civil war spy, fugitive slave case files, suffrage petitions and more. All are digitized in NARA's online catalog; the transcriptions will make them text-searchable.

Just a few of the interesting documents I saw were

  • George Summers Letter on Confederate War Prisoners
  • the petition of Jacob Cook in a Fugitive Slave Petition Book from the District Court for the District of Maryland
  • an 1866 contract between "James Mitchell and Dick and Wife" from the Freedmen's Bureau
  • Ann Taylor v. Thomas Hart indenture case file from 1773.

If you want to learn more about a document, you can click on the title, then look for the National Archives Indentifier number and click on that.

You can search for documents to transcribe or browse them by difficulty level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), year it was created, and the status of transcription (“Not Yet Started,” “Partially Transcribed” or “Completed”). 

If you want to participate, see the project's Transcription Tips, Frequently Asked Questions and Policy pages.

The Citizen Archivist Dashboard also offers opportunities to tag images and records, upload photos of records and contribute to online articles.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 10:37:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Britain's Brightsolid Has Plans for US Genealogists
Posted by Diane

Brightsolid, the British genealogy company with sites including and (for Irish records), has announced that it'll again sponsor the RootsTech conference this year—and that it'll use the conference as a platform to launch a new product for the US market.

Feb. 2, Brightsolid CEO Chris van der Kuyl will address a Brightsolid-sponsored RootsTech lunch with a talk on, “Why Everyone Deserves Their Own Episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and How Brightsolid Will Help You Get There.”

Hmmm ...

Remember that Brightsolid also has joined the 1940 Census Community Project, along with FamilySearch and, which turned some American genealogists' heads.

Of course, we'll let you know what the big news is when it's announced.

The RootsTech conference, organized by FamilySearch, focuses on technology in genealogy. It takes place Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City.

FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | RootsTech
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:03:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Friday, 20 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • Genealogy data service Genealogy Today has launched a redesigned home page, easier site navigation and an improved search. This site focuses on smaller datasets, such as Masonic rosters, rural school and college catalogs, insurance claims and church catalogs, published between 1830 and 1930. The search works faster, with a form that offers more options and filters. In your search results, free and paid resources are  combined into a single results set that highlights new and updated items, and identifies free resources and those on other websites. 

  • Registration is open for the 2012 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, taking place Thursday through Sunday, June 8 to 10, at the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel in Burbank, Calif. Early-bird registration discounts are available through April 22. Register on the SCGS website.
  • The Federation of Genealogical Societies has opened registration for its 2012 annual conference, too. It's scheduled for Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. (We'll be there!) Early bird registration is available through July 1. Register on the conference website.
  •, the family tree site covered in the December 2011 Family Tree Magazine, will be available only by invitation from a current WikiTree member. "We’ve had users abusing our wide range of free services and treating the site like their personal back-up service. Not only does this drain our limited resources, it hurts other community members and what we’re trying to accomplish," says WikiTree creator Chris Whitten. "By making membership strictly invitation-only, we can give our community some breathing room to clean up the genealogical messes that irresponsible users have left behind." If you want to join, you can request an invite using a link on the site's membership page.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 20 January 2012 14:33:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Thursday, 19 January 2012
Get $10 Off Two Webinars in
Posted by Diane

Kentucky and Tennessee genealogy often goes hand-in-hand due to the states' similar history on the Old Frontier. Many settlers in both areas arrived via the Cumberland Gap in the late 1700s, so if you have ancestors in one state, you might have them in both, or your people may have spent time in both.

We want to make it easier for you to learn about genealogy research in both areas, so we're offering a $10-off-two webinar deal:

Register for any two of our next three upcoming webinars, and get $10 off your purchase. Choose from:

Enter coupon code WEBTRIO10 at checkout to get this deal. Sales | Webinars
Thursday, 19 January 2012 12:00:53 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
The Ultimate Get-Your-Genealogy-Organized Collection
Posted by Diane

It's getting toward the end of the month, so I'm issuing a reminder to get our Ultimate Get Organized Collection while it's still available. How-to-get-organized articles and classes are among our most popular, and this is the perfect opportunity to get a a package deal on a bunch of them:
  • My Family Tree Research Planner: This undated calendar, customizable for use in any year, has plenty of space to schedule library visits and genealogy society meetings, and track your research to-dos and goals. Click here for a video look inside (scroll down).

  • Organize Your Family Archive OnDemand Webinar: Got boxes of family papers, photos, knicknacks and who knows what else? Denise Levenick, aka the Family Curator, provides tips on how to decide what to save, easy ways to inventory and more.

  • Time Management for Genealogists download: Learn the skills to manage your limited genealogy research time your way in this Family Tree University Independent Study course download. Discover how to set achievable goals, use online project management tools and more.

  • Family Tree Magazine February 2012 digital issue: Get tips to make over your research methods and workspace for better efficiency.

  • Family Tree Magazine 2012 Genealogy Desk Calendar: This calendar has inspiring ancestor photos from our readers, plus coupons you can use all year in
Through Jan. 31 or while the limited supply lasts—whichever comes first—it's all $69.99, which amounts to a 61 percent discount. Click here to laern more about the Ultimate Get Organized Collection and get yours.
Editor's Pick | Sales
Thursday, 19 January 2012 10:26:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Four Genealogists to Compete for Top Honors at RootsTech
Posted by Diane

Taking a cue from TV, software company Legacy Family Tree is sponsoring the first Genealogy Idol competition during the RootsTech conference in early February.

The four "Idol" finalists are Elizabeth Clark of Falls Village, Conn.; Elyse Doerflinger of Lomita, Calif.; Michael Hait of Harrington, Del.; and Marian Pierre-Louis of Millis, Mass.

The contestants (the first two live at the conference, and the latter two online from home) will compete in three rounds, sharing their favorite genealogy and technology tips, stories of genealogical serendipity, and genealogy/technology website or blog.

In the tradition of "American Idol," the competition will be broadcast to a live webinar audience, whose votes will decide the winner. That person will receive a Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the title of RootsTech Genealogy Idol 2012. Click here to register to watch the free hourlong live webinar (limited to 1,000 attendees), taking place Thursday, Feb. 2 at 3:45 p.m. ET.

If you'll be at the RootsTech conference, happening Feb. 2-4 in Salt Lake City, you can watch the competition at 1:45 p.m. in classroom 255B.

Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Thursday, 19 January 2012 09:20:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Giant 50% Sale at!
Posted by Diane is offering our top genealogy how-to products at half-price today and tomorrow. That includes books, downloadable research guides and webinars such as

See the full list of Giant 50% Sale items on

Remember, purchases totaling over $25 of qualifying items get free shipping (downloads do count toward this total), and Family Tree VIPs get an additional 10 percent off.

Time is tight—after Thursday, these great deals will be gone. Sales
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 08:56:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Tuesday, 17 January 2012
I'm Going to the Courthouse!
Posted by Diane

I've been itching for a chance to do in-person research at the courthouse where my ancestors lived ever since an archivist researcher recommended research there.

My great-grandmother spent two years in the Cleveland State Hospital before her death in 1926, and I requested a search of hospital admission and discharge records at the Ohio state archives (the hospital registers are closed to the public, so I couldn't view them myself). The archivist sent copies of the records (all names obscured except my ancestor's) with a suggestion to check the Cuyahoga County probate court for a commitment hearing.

The probate court handles wills and estates, marriages, guardianships and adoptions. When I contacted the court, I was told the staff doesn't fulfill research requests, but I was welcome to go in person to look for the record.

So my chance is coming up with the Ohio Genealogical Society conference April 12-14 in Cleveland! I'm super-excited—it's been awhile since I've done hands-on research.  

I figure while I'm there, I also can look up some other records: a great-uncle's marriage that's just a hair too recent to be on Family History Library microfilm, as well as some relatives' probate files.

I looked up the courthouse website and called to verify research hours and find out about any special requirements.

I also searched for case file numbers in the probate court online Case Records Search System an index that provides information including names of parties, dates and case numbers. (Not all courts have this type of index, but a web search on the county and court should find one if it does exist.) That should make most of my searching relatively easy, knock on wood.

But the index doesn't go as far back as 1924, when the commitment hearing would've happened, so I'm crossing my fingers hard that a hearing took place. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

court records | Genealogy Events
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 16:48:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, 13 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 9-13
Posted by Diane

  • All 397 US national parks will offer free admission Jan. 14-16 to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. You can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC—just a few of the many national parks that have ties to Dr. King or the Civil Rights movement. 
Use the directory at to find a park.
  • Library and Archives Canada has added digitized images of Upper Canada land petitions (357,831 new images in all) to its website. First search the index here (use the search link at the left; the one on the bottom didn't work for me) to find the microfilm number you need, then use the “microform digitization” research tool to you can browse the image page by page.
  • FamilySearch has added 119 million new, free records to the record search at (that includes about 64 million indexed names and 55 million browsable images). They come from more than 30 countries including Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the United States. See the full list of new and updated databases here.

African-American roots | Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Free Databases | Museums | Social History
Friday, 13 January 2012 16:54:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Thursday, 12 January 2012
Spring 2012 FTU Virtual Conference: Take Genealogy Classes and Network From Home
Posted by Diane

Registration for Family Tree University's Spring 2012 Virtual Conference is officially open!

Family Tree University Virtual Conference

This weekend workshop is full of video classes, live chats and virtual exhibits where you’ll learn strategies and resources to boost your research. Because it’s web-based, you can participate from anywhere, at any time during the weekend.

Get details on the conference program here.

The conference takes place 9 a.m. Friday, March 9, to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 11, 2012. You get a three-day, all-access pass to watch 15 prerecorded video classes and participate in live chats. 

Expert instructors include Lisa Louise Cooke, Thomas MacEntee, Diana Crisman Smith, Nancy Hendrickson, Lisa A. Alzo and others.

Register now for the Spring 2012 Virtual Conference and get the early bird rate of $149.99 for entire conference—use promo code FTUVCEARLY when checking out.

Want a taste of what you'll experience?

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Thursday, 12 January 2012 10:00:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Upcoming Webinars: Make $ with Your Genealogy Blog; Kentucky and Tennessee Crash Courses
Posted by Diane

We've got a few Family Tree University webinars lined up for you, so I'll start with the soonest first:
  • Make Money From Your Genealogy Blog is tomorrow (or maybe tonight, depending when you read this), Jan. 12, a 8 pm Eastern. Our online editor and Clue Wagon blogger Kerry Scott is presenting, and she has promised to spill all about what you can really expect when it comes to monetizing your blog.

  • Our Kentucky Genealogy Crash Course, taking place Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 8 pm Eastern, will be presented by local records expert J. Mark Lowe.

    Among other things, he'll help you sort out the state's confusing land records. Land grants in this state-land state originated with colonial and other state governments, and the process of acquiring land was inconsistent before statehood. You still have time to save 20 percent on your registration for this webinar!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 16:17:49 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Historical Mapping Site HistoryGeo Announces Grand Opening
Posted by Diane

HistoryGeo, the web-based historical mapping service from Arphax Publishing we blogged about a few months ago, is out of beta and holding its grand opening.

Improvements include:

  • All subscriptions now include access to all maps, nearly 42,000. No more having to add maps to your map collection and no more limitations on how many maps you can view.

  • All maps from from Arphax's Family Maps books and Texas Land Survey Maps books published so far are included, plus select historical maps and atlases

  • It's easier to annotate maps with Custom Markers, as well as move, edit, and delete your markers

  • Uploading images to associate with Custom Markers is simple in the Map Viewer

  • You can do a Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) search of US populated places and cemeteries, with links to Google Maps for items found

Subscriptions are based on quarterly, semiannual or annual renewal. Regular prices range from $49 to $129, but the site is offering reduced grand opening rates.

HistoryGeo works for PC and Mac users and web browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome. Learn more about the service with these how-to videos.

Look for more about HistoryGeo in an upcoming issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Genealogy Web Sites | Historical maps
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:32:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 09 January 2012
What to Look for on in 2012
Posted by Diane

I wanted to draw your attention to's online article previewing the site's developments in 2012. The list of "12 things you can count on" is categorized into new record collections, new features and site enhancements, new ways to "discover even more," and new help from Ancestry hints and genealogy pros.

New content coming in 2012 includes:

New features to watch for on the site include:

  • new Ancestry hints for people in your Ancestry tree

  • a new image viewer (already being beta tested) that makes record images clearer, plus a new image viewing experience rolled out with popular census collections (this may incorporate some of the features of the sophisticated image viewer on Footnote/Fold3, which acquired last year)

  • new Android mobile apps (usable on the Kindle Fire, NOOK and other Android-powered tablets and phones) to join the iPhone and iPad apps

  • easier sharing of genealogical discoveries through social networking

  • advances in DNA testing (perhaps with autosomal tests)

  • help determining which record collections likely contain records about your ancestors

  • more opportunities to learn from staff genealogists
Get more details on each of these developments on
Monday, 09 January 2012 13:37:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
# Friday, 06 January 2012
Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt Among Season 3 Celebrities for "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Posted by Diane

NBC has named the celebrities who'll research their roots on season 3 of "Who Do You Think You Are?," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Actors Martin Sheen, Marisa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Rob Lowe, Helen Hunt, Rashida Jones, Jason Sudeikis, Rita Wilson and Edie Falco; musician Reba McEntire; former NFL running back Jerome Bettis; and TV chef Paula Deen will be featured this season.

The premiere is Friday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. on NBC.

You can see the full press release on the GeneaBloggers blog.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Friday, 06 January 2012 15:20:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3] Updates Family Tree Builder Software
Posted by Diane

Family networking site has released version 6 of its free Family Builder software for Windows.

In general, updates include automatic research in historical records and new features for viewing and sharing family information:

  • Following MyHeritage's recent acquisition of genealogy data site World Vital Records, Family Tree Builder 6.0 adds the site's historical content to its features. The software automatically searches for historical records relevant to the people in your family tree whenever you add or edit information. A separate World Vital Records subscription is required to view records.

  • Family Builder 6.0 also improves integration with your family websit e. You can produce charts of Family Statistics (such as most commonly used first names or average lifespan), view profile pages and family timelines, and more. You also can view Family Events such as gatherings and birthdays on a monthly or yearly calendar.
See the full list of updates and more details about each one on the blog.

The new Family Tree Builder 6.0 is available for Windows in 37 languages. Download it for free from

Genealogy Software | MyHeritage
Friday, 06 January 2012 14:14:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 05 January 2012
Genealogy News Corral Catch-up
Posted by Diane

Happy 2012 to you! It was a nice holiday lull, but now it's time to ease back into the swing of things. Here's a roundup of some genealogy headlines to get things started:
  • PBS' Winter-Spring 2012 lineup includes a 10-episode celebrity genealogy series called "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr." premiering Sunday, March 25 at 8 p.m.
Gates will delve into the genealogy and genetics of famous Americans including Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey, Jr., Branford Marsalis, John Legend, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters and Rick Warren. The show's website is here, though is hasn't yet been fleshed out with any content.
  • A few updates to the genealogy web search engine You can now upload files to your account using Dropbox; just follow these instructions on the blog. Also, if you log in before you search, you can mark off search results you've already looked at with an "I've Read This" button, and you can rank matches as “The Person I’m Looking For," “Maybe A Good Match," “Not Who I’m Looking For” and “Broken Link.”
Finally, the site has introduced Mocavo Plus, an advanced version the site's developer says will get you more-relevant matches with features such as wild card searching, date-range searching, GeoSearching (in the US) and more. Subscriptions cost $9.95 per month or $79.95 (a sale price) per year.
  • The National Archives and Records Administration has launched "Know Your Records" online videos from the popular genealogy how-to workshops hosted at its facilities on topics such as such as census, immigration and military records. Catch the videos on the archives' YouTube channel.
  • The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced its schedule of upcoming workshops at its Boston research library. If you'll be in the area, you can learn about the library's resources, local history, researching African-American ancestors and more (NEHGS also is organizing a research trip to Belfast in May). Check out the schedule on the website.
  • Genetic testing site 23andme, which provides test-takers with medical- and ancestry-related analyses, has generated some controversy in changing site policies. Now, those who let their 12-month subscriptions lapse will lose access to their Relative Finder matches, Health Reports and other features that rely on their genetic data. They'll still have access to the raw data. Read more about the controversy on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.

Celebrity Roots | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy | NARA | Videos
Thursday, 05 January 2012 09:42:06 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 04 January 2012
New, Free Online Collection: Indianapolis Recorder African-American Newspaper, 1899-2005
Posted by Diane

More than 5,000 digitized issues of the Indiana-based African-American newspaper Indianapolis Recorder are searchable online at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis library website.

The issues span 1899 to 2005 (those from 1917 to 1925, and January to April 1932, are missing).

You can keyword search the full text or browse by year. An advanced search lets you designate words as exact, exclude words, and run a proximity search to find two words appearing within a certain distance of each other on a newspaper page. (In the advanced search, multiple library collections are selected by default. To search just the Indianapolis Recorder, scroll down, check the box to deselect all the collections, then check the box next to Indianapolis Recorder.)

You can share links to articles via social media or email, or bookmark them in your browser. You can save articles by right-clicking or control-clicking and selecting Save Image As (an alternative would be to take a screenshot).

Click here to start searching the Indianapolis Recorder archives.

Learn more about finding ancestors in African-American newspapers in the Family Tree University course Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers: Research Strategies for Success, taught by Tim Pinnick.

African-American roots | Newspapers
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 11:14:49 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]