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More Links

# Thursday, 31 May 2012
Need an Easy, Memorable, Personalized Birthday or Anniversary Gift Idea?
Posted by Diane

Need a quick, fun way to say "Happy birthday!" or "Happy anniversary!" to a loved one? Here's a way to create a personalized, memorable greeting—and at just 99 cents, it's more economical than a store-bought card.

birth year memory page

Each of our Birth Year or Anniversary Memory Pages is a one-page PDF download full of fun trivia from the year of the birth or wedding, including.
  • top news and events
  • movies, songs, fads and celebrity births
  • average prices of common goods
  • notable inventions and advancements in technology and transportation

After you download the PDF, just open it in Adobe Reader (a free download if you don't already have it), type in the recipient's name and birth or wedding information, and save. Then you could:

  • print and frame the customized page to create a personal gift
  • print the page for an album of birthday memories
  • mail the printed page or attach it to a present, as you would a card
  • send it as an e-card via email
  • post a digital image of the page to Facebook

You also could print the page and then write in the recipient's name and other information.

Birth Year Memory Pages are available for each year from 1930 through 2010, and you can also get memory pages covering decades from the 1930s through 2000s.

Anniversary Memory Pages are available in five-year increments from 10th to 70th. This one's for a couple celebrating 25 years in 2012:

anniversary memory page

Take a look at our Birth Year and Anniversary Memory Pages now in

Editor's Pick | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history | Social History
Thursday, 31 May 2012 10:14:24 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 30 May 2012
1940 Census Indexing Update: States You Can Search By Name
Posted by Diane, and (plus its 1940 Census Community Project partner sites) all have free record images available for the 1940 census.

All three sites also are in the process of creating and publishing searchable name indexes to the records. As of this posting, a total of 16 states (update: 20 states on 6/1), part of another one, and the District of Columbia are searchable.

Here are the states you can search at each site:

  • You can search name indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada and Washington, DC. A chart on the 1940 census page lets you see indexing progress.
  • FamilySearch's volunteer indexers so far appear to be outpacing the paid contractors and MyHeritage are using. You can search 14 states/territories by your ancestor's name: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.'s indexing progress map colors searchable states orange. To search, click the state on the map.

  • At this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, you can search name indexes to the same states available at FamilySearch. To access the unindexed portion of the census, this site sends you to the National Archives' 1940 census site (which designed and hosts).
  • As a 1940 Census Community Project partner, has the same states indexed as FamilySearch (though Alaska, a territory in 1940, is missing from the color-coded map on the home page). Update 6/1: FindMyPast also now shows Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana as searchable, though these states are not yet searchable on Look for that to change soon.
  • MyHeritage: Here, you can search a name index for Rhode Island, and a partial name index for New York.

The 1940 census records also are available on, which MyHeritage purchased last year. You'll need to register for a free account on the site (if you don't already have an account there) to view the records. | | census records | FamilySearch | Free Databases | MyHeritage
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 15:07:52 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Free, Searchable WWII Genealogy Collections
Posted by Diane

To mark Memorial Day, subscription genealogy website WorldVitalRecords (now owned by MyHeritage) is making two of its World War II collections free through May 31:
  • WWII Army Enlistment records contain enlistee names, enlistment dates and other data taken from punch cards (so there's no original record to view). If you miss the WorldVitalRecords free period, you also can search these records free on the National Archives website and in Fold3's Memorial Pages.  
For help researching your military genealogy in records of WWII and other US wars, check out our CD Military Research Guide: Researching Ancestors in America's Wars.

Genealogy Web Sites | Military records | MyHeritage
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:45:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 25 May 2012
Crash Course in Wisconsin Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Do you have ancestors in Wisconsin? Then get ready to rev up your genealogy research with our Wisconsin Genealogy Crash Course webinar next Wednesday, May 30, at 8 p.m. ET (that's 7 CT, 6 MT, 5 PT).

In this webinar sneak peek, presenter Lori B. Bessler, reference librarian at the resource-rich Wisconsin Historical Society, gives you the lowdown on US and state census records for Wisconsin, as well as vital records availability.

You can register for the Wisconsin Genealogy Crash Course in (Sign up today to save $10!)

Editor's Pick | Research Tips | Videos | Webinars
Friday, 25 May 2012 14:07:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy News Corral, May 21-25
Posted by Diane

  • updated its collection of U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls. This collection, which contains records from 1798 to 1958, now contains more than 39 million records. They include muster rolls (regular lists of those present in a given unit), unit diaries and personnel rosters.
  • The National Archives at San Francisco has officially opened to the public more than 40,000 Alien Files or A-Files on immigrants to the United States. The case files were originally created at immigration offices in San Francisco; Honolulu; Reno, Nevada; Agana, Guam; American Samoa and other US territories. The records were transferred to the National Archives from US Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2009. Millions more A-files will eventually be opened to the public—the files are closed for 100 years after the birth date of the person named in the records.
A-Files created at other immigration offices are kept at the National Archives facility in Kansas City, where 300,000 cases were opened to the public in 2010. 
  • A DNA study of Melungeons—a dark-skinned, mixed-heritage group historically residing in Appalachia—has found genetic evidence that these families descend from sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin. Researchers think the population mixing could have happened among black and white indentured servants in mid-1600s Virginia.
According to an Associated Press article, the finding has been controversial among Melungeons, some of whom believe they have Portuguese or American Indian ancestry. Read more about the findings (and how researchers thinks the claims of Portuguese heritage arose) in this news article. | Genetic Genealogy | immigration records | Military records | NARA
Friday, 25 May 2012 13:21:29 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Canadian Genealogy for Americans
Posted by Diane

Has your genealogy research led you to ancestors in Canada? That's not surprising—folks have been crossing the US-Canadian border for a loooong time. Consider:
  • After the American Revolution, around 35,000 Loyalists headed for Canada's Maritime Provinces.
  • By 1812, about 80 percent of the estimated 100,000 settlers in southern Ontario province were of American origin.
  • Approximately 900,000 French-Canadians emigrated to the United States from 1840 to 1930.
  • As available US land diminished in the late 1880s, Canada's Prairie Provinces saw a massive influx of Americans.
  • Around 1895, when US border-crossing records begin, as many as 40 percent of immigrants to Canada planned to end up in the United States.
  • In 1897, the Klondike Gold Rush spurred a stampede of Americans to the Yukon.

Fortunately for US residents tracing Canadian ancestors, an abundance of resources is available—but where do you start?

Why, with our next webinar, Canadian Genealogy for Americans

Author and lecturer Lisa A. Alzo will introduce you to major Canadian genealogy resources and websites, key record groups and essential history. You'll also receive our digital Canadian Genealogy Guide when you register. 

Here are the Canadian Genealogy for Americans webinar details:

  • Tuesday, June 5, 2012
  • 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, 5 p.m. Pacific) 
  • Duration: 60 minutes 
  • $49.99 (but register now to save $10!)
  • Registration includes: participation in the live event, access to the recording to watch again as often as you like, a PDF of the presentation slides, our Canadian Genealogy Guide

Our Canadian Genealogy for Americans webinar will enable you to formulate a solid research plan for discovering your Canadian kin. Register at

Canadian roots | French Canadian roots | Sales | Webinars
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:28:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Call for Pictures of Ancestors! You Could Win Our Family Photo Detective Book!
Posted by Diane

photo-detective Would you like to win a copy of our forthcoming book Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries, and see your ancestors' faces in Family Tree Magazine?

Send us your favorite old family photo by Monday, June 4, and you could be the big winner (your photos may even appear in the book). Here's what the outside of the book looks like:

Inside Family Photo Detective, historical photography and genealogy expert Maureen A. Taylor will show you how to add names and stories to the faces in your old family photos. You'll learn how to use the clues in clothing, hairstyles, background and photographer's marks to identify when and where old photographs were taken. Case studies will show you how to apply photo-identification techniques to your family photos and combine photo evidence with your research in historical records.

The book will include a timeline of photography methods and styles, a decade-by-decade overview of fashion trends for men and women, and worksheets to record discoveries about family photos.

To send us your photo, e-mail it to us or post it to our Facebook page by Monday, June 4.

Note that by submitting your photo, you affirm that you are the owner of the image and it is not subject to copyright by any other party. You also grant Family Tree Magazine permission to crop the digital image as necessary for publication, and to use the image in any and all print and electronic media.

Questions? Comment here or e-mail us.

Genealogy books | Photos
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 14:42:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Exploring Hispanic Heritage on PBS' "Finding Your Roots"
Posted by Diane

roots post Sunday's season finale of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." on PBS focused on the Hispanic genealogy of political analyst Linda Chavez and actors Michelle Rodriguez and Adrian Grenier.

The trio shares Hispanic heritage, but each thought of him- or herself differently:
  • Chavez considered herself of mixed European heritage. She had roots in Spain's New World colonies going all the way back to the 1590s,  when an ancestor sailed to Mexico. In a surprise discovery, she learned many of her family were "conversos," Jews forced to convert to Catholicism, many of whom continued to practice Judaism in private. A large number of conversos left Spain during the Inquisition. Her grandmother's custom of turning a religious statue to face the wall hinted at the surprise—you can read more about this custom in Chavez' essay here.
  • Grenier, who'd always identified with American Indian roots because of a story in his mother's family, discovered he had a conquistador ancestor in Don Juan de Oñate 's army (kind of the opposite of having American Indian roots).

    Grenier seemed shaken when his connection to American Indian heritage was in question, but Gates' team did find a 1663  record at the New Mexico state archives identifying an ancestor as "Indio." So he does have American Indian roots, just further back than he'd believed. I wonder if he'll still identify himself as being American Indian?
  • Rodriguez is Puerto Rican through her father and Dominican through her mother. Gates described her tree as a "tangled web," provoking a hilarious reaction from Rodriguez. Her father's family intermarried repeatedly, likely in an effort to preserve "pure" bloodlines. Three of her third-great-grandfathers were brothers, and her great-grandparents were first cousins.

    Her surprise came on a trip to the Dominican Republic to learn more about her mom's family from a great-aunt. The aunt's parents—Rodriguez's great-grandparents—weren't married, it turns out. Her great-grandfather had a legal wife, and the two women raised the children together.

As in other episodes, DNA tests revealed guests' percentages of maternal ancestry from various parts of the world. You can read more about the tests and each person's results on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.

Also as before, Gates emphasized that mixing between ancestral groups or "races"—in this case, colonial Spanish and American Indian peoples—was common. This is part of what makes the definition of American really pretty broad.

Good news: From Lisa Louise Cooke's interview with Gates in her Genealogy Gems Podcast, it sounds like a second season is already in production.

Watch the full episode on the "Finding Your Roots" website.

Celebrity Roots | Hispanic Roots
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 09:25:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 21 May 2012
Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Paula Deen
Posted by Diane

On Friday's final episode of the NBC genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV chef Paula Deen crisscrossed the state of Georgia tracing her maternal roots.

Deen's parents died when she was a young woman, so not much family information had made its way to her. The show focused on her third-great-grandfather John Batts, a slaveowning planter and member of the Georgia legislature from 1857 to 1860.

Batts' son William (brother to Deen's great-great-grandmother Eliza Batts) fought for the confederates in the 12th Georgia regiment during the Civil War. The Georgia Archives actually had letters he'd written home, as well as letters from his commanding officer. These missives gave Deen an intimate view into William's experiences and his family's reaction after he was killed in action.

At Fold3—the first time I can remember this subscription site being shown on WDYTYA?—Deen finds John Batts' application for a pardon from the US government. Most of the South was covered by President Andrew Johnson's blanket pardon, but wealthy planters like Batts had to swear loyalty and provide documentation they'd freed their slaves.

Tax records at Emory University show John Batts' fate. Things went downhill for the family after an economic depression in 1873. Deen and a researcher note declining values of John's personal and real estate until 1879, when the records show all zeros. A newspaper article reveals that John, sadly, had committed suicide.

Although "Who Do You Think You Are?" won't be returning next season, GeneaBloggers reports that for the first time this season, the episode came in first for viewership in its time slot and was the third-most-watched show for the evening.

These two short videos show research not included in Friday's episode, about Deen's fifth-great-grandfather Joel Walker, an early Georgia settler in the Savannah area.

You can watch the full episode about Paula Deen's family history journey here.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Civil War | Fold3
Monday, 21 May 2012 09:27:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 18 May 2012
Genealogy News Corral, May 14-18
Posted by Diane

  • Subscription genealogy site announced that its 1940 census index for the state of Maine is now searchable free on the site. The site also has 1940 census indexes for Delaware, the District of Columbia and Nevada.
  • In addition to its six state indexes for the 1940 census (Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia), the free has added online records for Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United States, Venezuela and Wales.
US records come from Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. You can see all the new or updated collections and link to them here.
  • The Southern California Genealogy Jamboree is coming up June 8-10 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. Besides the classes and the free exhibit hall, highlights include one-on-one consultations with members of the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Professional Genealogists, three-hour Genealogy World roundtable discussions and a DNA Interest Group that can help you interpret genetic genealogy test results.  
  • The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has announced that the 2013 NGS Family History Conference, will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 8–11. The conference hotel and venue will be the LVH−Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton). Online conference registration isn't yet open. | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
Friday, 18 May 2012 15:46:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 17 May 2012
Your Unofficial Guide to Webinar
Posted by Diane

So you've got an subscription, but you have a nagging suspicion that you're not getting your money's worth. You might still be missing that breakthrough genealogy record, or you could be frustrated by the sea of search results you get—some clearly not even close to being your ancestor.

Or maybe you're thinking about investing in an subscription and wondering if it'll be worth it.

Our May 23 webinar will answer your questions and help you get the most out of your membership. It's called Your Unofficial Guide to Tips, Hints and Hacks for Finding Your Ancestors. (Family Tree Magazine isn't affiliated with, so this webinar won't be a commercial.)

Your Unofficial Guide to

The webinar will cover:
  • How to efficiently navigate
  • Tricks for finding the record collections you need
  • Search tips for locating hard-to-find ancestors in databases
  • Things doesn’t tell you (like the limitations of its collections and how many freebies are on the site)

The Your Unofficial Guide to webinar takes place May 23 at 8 p.m. Eastern (that's 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain and 5 p.m. Pacific). It's presented by David A. Fryxell, a veteran genealogist and a Family Tree Magazine contributing editor.

We'll help you start finding the genealogy answers you need in the world's largest genealogy database website. Register for Your Unofficial Guide to now to take advantage of our $10 off early bird special! | Editor's Pick | Sales | Webinars
Thursday, 17 May 2012 09:27:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 16 May 2012
This Weekend's Genealogy TV Season Finales
Posted by Diane

This week's season finale of "Who Do You Think You Are?" is also the series finale, at least on NBC. In the show, chef Paula Deen learns about her family history in the Deep South. She discovers a senator, slave owners and family letters. Here's a short preview:

Watch the show at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on NBC.

Sunday at 8 p.m. on PBS' "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." actors Michelle Rodriguez and Adrian Grenier and author/journalist Linda Chavez explore their Latino roots.  All share Spanish colonial roots, yet they self-identify differently differently: as American Indian, Puerto Rican, Dominican or simply Latino.

Here's a video preview of Rodriguez's discoveries.

Watch Michelle Rodriguez's Puerto Rican Roots on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:06:56 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act: Genealogy Resources for Land Records
Posted by Diane

homestead act post Were your ancestors among the millions who claimed federal lands under the Homestead Act of 1862?

We're coming up on the 150th anniversary of this groundbreaking (pun intended) legislation that accelerated the country's westward expansion. Look for opportunities to learn more about your homesteading ancestors.

President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862. Beginning Jan. 1, 1863, a homesteader could receive up to 160 acres of public domain land by applying for a claim (which required a filing fee), improving the land, living on it for five years, and then filing for a patent.

Anyone who was 21 or older or the head of a family—women, immigrants and freed slaves included—who'd never taken up arms against the US government could file an application to claim land.

The first person to claim land under the act was Union Army scout Daniel Freeman on Jan. 1, 1863. The story is he'd met some officials of the local land office at a New Year's Eve party and convinced them to open the office shortly after midnight so he could file his claim before reporting for duty.

Homesteading ended in 1976 in most of the United States and 1986 in Alaska. The last claimant under the act applied for 80 acres on Alaska's Stony River and received his deed until 1988.

Only about 40 percent of those who ever filed completed the application process and received land titles. More than 2 million homesteads were granted, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Between 1862 and 1934, 10 percent of land in the United States was privatized under the act.

Use these links to research your ancestor's homesteading experience:

General Land Office Records Online
The BLM's General Land Office (GLO) was charged with overseeing the homestead application process. It's free to search for and view more than 5 million federal land patents issued since 1820. (If your ancestor applied for a homestead but never received title to his or her land, there won't be a record here.) You'll also find a reference center with a land records glossary, FAQ and more.

Using Land Patents
This free article has tips for using the GLO online records website.

Nebraska Homestead Records
Fold3 is digitizing the National Archives' homestead records for Nebraska. You can search the collection, which is 39 percent complete, for free. The files, from the Records of the Bureau of Land Management, consist of final certificates, applications with land descriptions, affidavits showing proof of citizenship and more. And here's a video about the homestead records digitization project.

Homestead National Monument of America
This national monument near Beatrice, Neb., explains the Homestead Act and its impact on the United States. Click the History and Culture link to learn more about the act, see its text, view maps, "meet" well-known homesteaders and more.

BLM: Commemorating 150 Years of The Homestead Act
This BLM site has a Homestead Act timeline; videos about historic homesteads, building a frontier home and more; and a Q&A.

National Archives: Ingalls Homestead Records
This article from the National Archives' Prologue magazine (Winter 2003 issue) discusses my favorite homesteaders—the Ingallses and Wilders of Little House on the Prairie fame—and shows portions of the families' homestead records.

Family Tree Magazine resources to help you research your ancestors' land records (whether federal records such as land entry case files or  local records such as deeds) include:

Fold3 | Genealogy Web Sites | Land records | NARA | Research Tips
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 10:36:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Sunday, 13 May 2012
NBC Won't Renew "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Posted by Diane

Next week's "Who Do You Think You Are?" season finale with Paula Deen has turned into a series finale: NBC opted not to renew the show for a fourth season.

We still may be able to catch the show elsewhere on TV. In a statement on the cancellation, Tim Sullivan--president of, a partner in the series--said that his company and the show's producers, Is or Isn't Entertainment and Shed Media, are looking at other avenues of distribution.

See what shows were canceled here.

NBC's 2012-2013 lineup is here.

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:15:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [39]
# Saturday, 12 May 2012
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Not All Family Legacies Are Happy
Posted by Diane

The young woman I bought coffee from this morning (before heading to our booth at the National Genealogical Society conference in Cincinnati) was talking about last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" and how she wants to check out the exhibit hall today. Which is what we hope the show will do--be the spark that takes someone's interest in family history and turns it into action.

So, the show: Actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis researched his dad's paternal line, discovering a legacy of sons who grew up without their dads.

A death record told Sudeikis his dad's dad, Stanley, died young, at age 32, from a fall, and shared a residence in Chicago with an unknown woman who was the informant on the record. A coroner's investigation shed more light on the situation: The woman was a cousin who testified that Stanley abused alcohol and slept in the park.

Court records showed Sudeikis his grandmother had filed for a legal separation from her husband because he'd abandoned the family. He'd never met Sudeikis dad.

It turned out he was living what he knew. In census and marriage records, Sudeikis found that Stanley's father, Stanley Sr., had abandoned his first wife (Sudeikis' great-grandmother) and married another woman in Connecticut. There was no record of a divorce from the earlier marriage.

Stanley Sr.'s father died in Pennsylvania in a mining accident when his son was a boy.

Not all family legacies are positive, but I like how this episode shows family history can be rewarding even when you're learning some sad truths. At the end of the episode, Sudeikis honors his dad for breaking a cycle, and being a great father even though he didn't have a model to follow.

You can watch this show online at the "Who Do You Think You Are?" website.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots

Saturday, 12 May 2012 11:52:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 11 May 2012
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Jason Sudeikis
Posted by Diane

Actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis, known for his performances on "Saturday Night Live," is the guest on this week's "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC. Episode promos promise "one shock after another" in Sudeikis' family tree.

Here's a video sneak peek at the show:

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Videos

Friday, 11 May 2012 14:58:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 10 May 2012 Adds 10 Billionth Record
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website announced the addition of the site's 10 billionth record today.

The announcement pointed out that its collection, which has grown 150 percent in the last three years, "is larger than those of all other online family history sites combined." On average, the site has added 55 million records a month since the website went online 15 years ago.

The earliest digitized records are wills executed in London in 1507. The earliest record indexes date back to marriage licenses and probated wills in Dublin from 1270. The most popular collection remains the US census. | Genealogy Web Sites

Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:53:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
1000memories releases ShoeBox App for Android, ShoeBox 2.0 for iPhone
Posted by Diane

1000memories today launched its ShoeBox app for Android and a redesigned version of the app for iPhone. The app is designed to make your phone a sort of portable scanner: You "scan" a photo by snapping a picture of it, then upload the photo to your 1000memories site.

ShoeBox can auto-detect the edges of a photo and crop and straighten it. Users can add dates, names, locations and other information about the picture.

The newest version of the app for Android and iPhone lets users seamlessly organize scans into different collections and instantly share them with certain people using their mobile devices and the 1000memories site.

We blogged about the October 2011 debut of Shoebox for the iPhone here. Following that launch, ShoeBox became one of the top three free apps in the photography category and top two in the family history category.

ShoeBox is available in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Thursday, 10 May 2012 09:39:45 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 08 May 2012
FamilySearch: 1940 Census Is Only One of This Year's Projects
Posted by Diane

At tonight's FamilySearch bloggers meeting at the National Genealogical Society Conference, FamilySearch both celebrated the progress of the 1940 Census Community Project and emphasized that it's just a part of what the organization hopes to accomplish his year. Here are some stats we were presented with:

  • Getting 400,000 historical record images online at is FamilySearch's goal for 2012, and the 1940 census is just one percent of that.

  • has collections for 60+ countries, with the United States leading the charge at 200 million images with more than 1 billion indexed.

  • More than 530 million digital images of historical records are on the site, with 1.7 billion indexed.

  • Comprehensive collections include Mexico civil and church records and civil registrations from the Netherlands.

  • FamilySearch has a contract with the Italian government to digitize civil registrations there dating through 1940.

  • Besides records, FamilySearch is also working on a program that has 10,000 volunteers answering genealogists' questions online via VOIP and chat technology.

  • Now for the 1940 census project, 101,000 volunteers have helped index or arbitrate census; 170,000 of them new this year. They were recreuited through genealogical societies (650 are participating), a blog ambassador program, targeted online advertising and other efforts.

  • 95 percent of all FamilySearch indexing activity is for the 1940 census, but as the project winds down, FamilySearch will try to transition those indexers to other indexing projects.

  • 30 percent of all the census records were indexed within 37 days. As of tomorrow, six states' indexes will be published: Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire.

  • California is more than 40 percent indexed.

  •,, the National Archives and ProQuest also receive copies of the volunteer-created index.

  • The 1940 census index could possibly be completed (though not necessarily published) by July.

    census records | FamilySearch | International Genealogy | Italian roots
    Tuesday, 08 May 2012 21:58:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
  • Adds WWII Cadet Nursing Corps Records
    Posted by Diane has added more than 300,000 WWII Cadet Nursing Corps Card Files dating from 1942 to 1948.

    The United States Public Health Service supervised the Cadet Nurse Corps Program to train nurses during the war. The records name more than 124,000 women between the ages of 17 and 35 who participated in the program. Eighty-five percent of all nursing students in the United States were a part of the Cadet Nursing Corps. (Read more about the Cadet Nurse Corps program here.)

    The Corps was non-discriminatory; members included American Indians, African-Americans and even displaced Japanese Americans.

    The records include corps membership cards. Different versions were in use over the time period, but usually include at least the name of the cadet, serial number, name of the nursing school or hospital, address of the school, and dates attended.

    You can search this collection at

    Looking for a WWI Red Cross Army Nurse? Get research tips on | Female ancestors | Military records
    Tuesday, 08 May 2012 13:16:42 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 07 May 2012
    Online Resources for Tracing Cincinnati-Area Ancestors
    Posted by Diane

    Do you have ancestors from the Greater Cincinnati area? So do some of us at Family Tree Magazine. Those who attend this week's National Genealogical Society Conference can visit our booth (#432) to swap ancestor resources, but if you can't get here, these are some of our favorite local genealogy resources you can access from home:
    • Northern Kentucky Genealogy Index
      This library just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati lets you search names in Northern Kentucky records including cemetery, church, city directory, court and more.
    Subscription site has Ohio death records and Kentucky birth, marriage and death records; and the free has Ohio deaths, Kentucky probate records (unindexed) and Kentucky vital records indexes.

    Check the May/June 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine for our Cincinnati City Guide, which has even more resources and tips for helping you find ancestors in the Queen City.

    Research Tips
    Monday, 07 May 2012 14:33:50 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Friday, 04 May 2012
    Genealogy News Corral, April 30-May 4
    Posted by Diane

    • Canadian historians and genealogists are concerned over the impact of budget cuts on federal libraries and archives. Library and Archives Canada will have to eliminate 20 percent of its workforce, and government libraries housing archival collections in the transport, immigration and public works department will be closed. Read more about the cuts on the CBC News website
    • The National Park Service (NPS) has launched a new Civil War website where you can explore the war and historic sites associated with it. On the home page, you can see a timeline, find NPS sites to visit and link to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Click Stories for history about the war; click People for introductions to the era's central figures, and click Places to virtually visit the NPS' war-related sites.

    Canadian roots | Civil War | Genealogy Web Sites | Libraries and Archives
    Friday, 04 May 2012 15:23:55 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Thursday, 03 May 2012 Introduces New AncestryDNA Service
    Posted by Diane announced the launch of AncestryDNA, a new DNA test the company bills as an affordable way to combine DNA science with's family history resources and a global database of DNA samples.

    The analysis cross-references your DNA information with test results from people around the globe (drawn from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation's database) to help you learn more about your ethnic background and find distant cousins. When there's a genetic match in's DNA database, your tree will automatically be compared to that person's.

    In this guest blog post, genetic genealogist Blaine Bettinger, who tried out the new autosomal DNA test, sheds more light on what's special about it.

    The new service comes after a year of planning and beta testing, says president and CEO Tim Sullivan. “We think AncestryDNA has created a unique and engaging experience that will provide existing subscribers with an entirely new way to make amazing discoveries about their family history."

    AncestryDNA is currently available by invitation only to subscribers for $99. The service should become available to the public later this year.

    You can sign up to be notified once that happens at | Genetic Genealogy
    Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:57:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
    Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course!
    Posted by Diane

    When I blogged about the April 25 Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course webinar, (now available on demand in, I teased you by asking “What do genealogy, baseball, "Prairie Home Companion," the Minnesota State Fair, WCCO Radio, and the Lennon sisters all have in common?

    Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course Webinsr

    (Actually, webinar instructor and Minnesotan Paula Stuart-Warren did the teasing, but I helped.) 

    We didn't want to leave you hanging, so here's the answer in Paula's own words:

    It’s just another example of “genealogy is everywhere!”

    More years ago than I care to remember, Tim Russell, a WCCO Radio personality in Minnesota, would talk about his relationship to the Lennon Sisters. Then he'd play the Lawrence Welk bubble music. My mom would call me and tell me to figure this out for Tim because she was getting tired of the bubble music.

    One day I called the station and said that yes, if Tim and the Lennon sisters shared a common great great grandfather, they were third cousins. His producer asked me to share this on the air. Shy ol’ me gulped and forged ahead.

    She also asked if I'd be on his radio show during the Minnesota State Fair. That produced a really big gulp, as the show was broadcast from a big glass booth for all fair-goers to see. We decided that I'd do some research on Russell's family and present it to him on air. 

    Research at the Minnesota and Wisconsin state historical societies proved the third cousin connection between Tim and the Lennon Sisters. Their common ancestors Judge James Lennon and his wife Catherine Bellew were born in Ireland, but lived most of their lives in Appleton, Wis. I also turned up more on Russell's great-grandfather George Lennon’s involvement with the St. Paul Saints baseball team in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Baseball teams have their own genealogies.)

    Tim shared the research with the Lennons. I was privileged to be thanked on air in a call with Kathy Lennon, and I received some nice thank-you notes. I let them all know that my then-8th-grade son helped (he still does research today at 35 years old). 

    So, now we have the genealogy, baseball, Lennon Sisters, Minnesota State Fair, and WCCO radio connection. How do we fit in the public radio show "Prairie Home Companion"? Tim is one of the show's actors, creating multiple sounds and voices.

    Thank you to all those who joined in the Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course webinar and for asking such great questions. Kerry Scott from Family Tree University did a great job. If you didn’t get a chance to join us, the recorded Minnesota webinar is available through

    Genealogy fun | Webinars
    Thursday, 03 May 2012 09:25:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Wednesday, 02 May 2012
    This Friday on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Rashida Jones
    Posted by Diane

    This Friday on NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" actress Rashida Jones (you might recognize her from "Parks and Recreation") uncovers her maternal family history from Manhattan to Eastern Europe—and finds answers to her grandmother's missing years.

    Here's a little preview:

    Watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 Central on NBC.

    "Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
    Wednesday, 02 May 2012 15:15:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
    Tips to Get Ready for a Genealogy Conference
    Posted by Diane

    Genealogy conference season has begun, and we're getting excited for next week's National Genealogical Society conference here in Cincinnati.

    Headed to the conference? These tips will help you get ready. (And we're in exhibit hall booth #432—come say hi!)
    • Wear comfortable shoes—you’ll be walking to classes, walking to your hotel, walking through the exhibit hall, walking to lunch. I put cushioned insoles in my conference shoes.
    • Either the air conditioning is cranked up at these things, or you get stuck in a stuffy, crowded room. Dress in layers and bring a cardigan.
    • Stay hydrated. Bottled water can be pricey and drinking fountains can be hard to find. You can save by bringing an empty bottle to refill. I keep a snack on hand, too.
    • Bring business card with surnames and places you’re researching and your genealogy email address, in case you run into someone researching your lines.
    • Bring extra address labels so you can stick them on entry forms for drawings (including ours).

    • Leave space in your luggage (or bring an empty bag) for the handouts, freebies, books and other things you'll be taking home.
    • If you’re attending by yourself and everybody else seems to know somebody, remember genealogists are a friendly bunch. Just say hi and introduce yourself. If all else fails, ask the person next you whether his or her ancestors are from around here. You’ll have an instant conversation partner.

    • Look ahead of time for nearby breakfast, lunch and dinner spots so you're not trying to find a place to eat when you're starving. (Here are downtown Cincinnati dining options.)
    • Plan ahead for any local research you want to do, so you can make sure you have all the charts and records you need. Get addresses and hours of the facilities, and figure out directions and parking.
    • Take some time before classes to decide which ones you want to attend and learn where the classrooms are. That way, you won't miss the first 10 minutes because you couldn't find the room.
    • Take a reconnaissance walk through the exhibit hall and mark on your booth map all the vendors you want to return to. Check off each one as you visit, but be sure to leave time for browsing and asking questions.

    • If you have local ancestors but you live far away, ask the locals about their favorite resources. If you can, get a local genealogist's email address in case you need more advice when you're back home. (I'll post some of my favorite Cincinnati genealogy resources next week.)

    • Some exhibitors pack up early on Saturday to catch flights and whatnot, so don't leave important business for the very end.
    Hope I’ll see you at the conference!

    Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies
    Wednesday, 02 May 2012 14:50:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
    How to Savor Your Family's Food History and Save Favorite Recipes
    Posted by Diane

    I'm in love with our newest book, From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Family Recipes by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

    Before you even open the book, it's pretty: Hardbound, with a lovely cover and a cute yellow ribbon bookmark.

    From the Family Kitchen book

    And then it's about food history and family recipes, a topic that fascinates me.

    From the Family Kitchen book

    Who better to describe the book than its author? Here's what Gena has to say about this labor of love:

    Do you ever wish you knew more about your ancestors’ lives? When I think of my ancestors, I wonder how their lives were similar to mine. I also ponder what I can add to my genealogy research that will be meaningful to future generations. 

    From the Family Kitchen will help you understand and appreciate your ancestors’ everyday lives by exploring the foods they ate. These details make your family history more vivid and more interesting to younger folks—not to mention very tasty. 

    This isn’t just another guidebook. It’s a keepsake designed to help you gather and preserve your family’s food traditions, past and present. You can use From the Family Kitchen to:

    1. Learn where to find recipes Great-grandma would've cooked. I’ll walk you through the history of American foodways, and introduce you to resources for researching the food traditions of specific eras and regions. The book even includes historical recipes, cooking instructions and entertaining advice to give you a flavor of your ancestors’ experiences. 

    From the Family Kitchen book

    2. Better understand the foods of immigrant ancestors. Your family’s food traditions today might still reflect your ancestors’ cultural heritage—but how have those dishes changed over generations and across countries? I’ll explain how to find out.

    3. Interview your family about their food memories. Get tips for gathering recipes and recollections. The book includes dozens of suggested questions to ask. 

    4. Record your family food traditions. Within the book are beautiful recipe journal pages for preserving the dishes you discover in your research, and especially today’s family favorites—creating a legacy for future generations. 

    From the Family Kitchen book

    This is Diane again. This hardcover book is a great addition to your genealogy or cooking bookshelf, and it makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. You can order From the Family Kitchen from on sale for a short time, for $22.39. 

    Bon appétit!

    Genealogy books | saving and sharing family history | Sales | Social History
    Wednesday, 02 May 2012 13:31:57 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Tuesday, 01 May 2012
    1940 Census Records and Indexes Update
    Posted by Diane

    Here's the latest on genealogy websites where you can find the 1940 census and which states you can search by an ancestor's name: Record images for all US states and territories are available free, as are searchable name indexes for Delaware, Nevada and Washington, DC. A chart on the 1940 census page lets you see indexing progress. At this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, you can search name indexes to Colorado and Delaware. To access the unindexed portion of the census, this site sends you to the National Archives' 1940 census site (which designed and hosts).

    FamilySearch: Digitized records are available here for all US states and territories.

    FamilySearch just announced that more than 85,000 1940 Census Community Project volunteers have already finished indexing 20 percent of the census, and thousands more volunteers sign up every week.

    Not all the indexed records are available to search online yet. FamilySearch's indexing progress map colors searchable states orange; so far, you can search name indexes for the states of Delaware and Colorado. To search, click the state on the map. (I clicked on Kansas and tried a search because Community Project partner has a Kansas index, but the results were people in Colorado.) On this 1940 Census Community Project partner site, digitize records are available for most states. Records for Texas, California, Utah, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin and several others are missing. You can search name indexes for Delaware, Colorado and Kansas—except for Kansas, they're the same states as for FamilySearch, because it's the same index.

    MyHeritage: Records for all states and territories are available now for free. This site introduced the first searchable index, for the state of Rhode Island, but hasn't added any other states since. MyHeritage also has updated its mobile app so you can search 1940 census records from your iPhone, iPad or Android phone.

    The 1940 census record images also are available on, which MyHeritage purchased last year. You'll need to register for a free account on the site (if you don't already have an account there) to view the records.

    National Archives: Records for all states and territories are available here for free. | | census records | FamilySearch | Genealogy Web Sites
    Tuesday, 01 May 2012 16:18:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]