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Friday, March 29, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, March 25-29
Posted by Diane
There's lots of free stuff in this week's genealogy news roundup:
Do you love finding out about people's heirlooms? Were you one of the thousands of people to attend the "Antiques
Roadshow" taping in Cincinnati last summer? I
was! The three episodes filmed here will be broadcast Mondays
April 1, April 8 and April 15, at 8/7 central on PBS.
- More Cincinnati news: The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton
County genealogy department has added two more volumes of its Sanborn
Fire Insurance Maps to its free Virtual Library. Volumes 7 and
8, which cover Norwood and eastern neighborhoods in 1917, conclude the set that staff began digitizing four years
ago. I've already made a note in my research log to dig further into this
the maps here.
Get research tips for solving your genealogy brick walls in our weeklong workshop Genealogy Brick Wall Busters: Tips and Advice to Overcome Your Genealogy Brick Walls, April 19-26.
Family Heirlooms | Free Databases | Libraries and Archives | NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 29, 2013 10:02:47 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
History at Your Fingertips
Posted by Diane
Did you know that your California Gold Rush ancestors from the
East Coast traveled around six months and spent about $200 to make
That the city of Vicksburg, Miss., didn't celebrate Independence Day from 1863, when residents surrendered on July
4 after a 47-day Union siege, until 1945?
That during the Oklahoma Land Rush of April 22, 1889, two cities of
10,000 residents each (Oklahoma City and Guthrie) sprang up in
less than a day?
Genealogist's U.S. History Pocket Reference by Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Nancy Hendrickson delivers
fascinating facts such as these, plus timelines, charts (one, for
example, summarizes the dates, causes and outcomes of the major
Indian wars), maps, important dates (including censuses), and
lists of popular foods, books, music and trends. It encapsulates
historical phenomena you might need a refresher on, such as the
Triangle Trade and Bleeding Kansas.
An awareness of the events your ancestors witnessed can unlock
records in your family history research and provide context for the records you've already discovered.
This conveniently sized
book is chronologically organized into historical eras for easy
browsing of the time periods important to your genealogy
research—and to your understanding of your ancestors' lives.
more about The Genealogist's U.S. History Pocket Reference
Genealogy books | Research Tips | Social History
Thursday, March 28, 2013 8:26:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Archives.com Launches Millions of Lutheran Church Records
Posted by Diane
Subscription genealogy site Archives.com has released its collection of Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA) birth, marriage and death records, which
genealogists have been anticipating since
Archives.com announced the digitization project nearly a year ago.
The collections, appearing online for the first time, total
nearly 4.6 million records from about 1,000 rolls of microfilm. The
records date from the mid-1800s through 1940 and include births,
baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and burials.
You usually have to know which
church your ancestors attended in order to request the record from
the church or find it on microfilm. Because these ELCA records are
indexed by name, though, you don't have to know the church before
you start your search.
Details in the records vary by church, but they often
include parents' names, dates and places of the event, and other
biographical details. Many of the churches has concentrations of
immigrants from Norway, Sweden or Germany as members—so the records could be the key you need to
start researching ancestors in Europe.
You'll learn how to find additional records of Lutheran ancestors—including congregational histories, communion lists, synod publications and more—from our guide Religious Records: Researching Lutheran Ancestors, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Archives.com | Church records
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 2:02:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, March 25, 2013
Genealogy Records for "Hearing" Your Revolutionary War Ancestors' Voices
Posted by Diane
Did your ancestors fight in or witness the Revolutionary War
firsthand? Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Maureen
A. Taylor shares the records she's found especially helpful in doing
research for her forthcoming documentary "Revolutionary Voices: A Last
Muster Film," a project with award-winning documentary producers Verissima Productions:
- Diaries and letters: This is Eleazer Blake, an
apprentice in a wheelwright shop in Rindge, NH, who kept a
In his diary, he mentions the Battle of Lexington and
Concord as well as details of his everyday life. These statements
let you relive parts of his life. Though your Revolutionary
War-era ancestor may not have been a diarist, the writings of his
contemporaries will help you understand the tense times he lived
- Pension applications: While some men exaggerated their
wartime exploits in their Revolutionary War pension
applications, other documents make for painful reading. James
Allen Jr. of Maine applied for a pension several times, but
lacked proof of his service. Allen’s brother submitted a
deposition with a plea on his brother’s behalf: “I have no doubt
my brother served in the Army of the Revolution as he has always
stated to me, and I know that he has for the last 20 years or
more been trying to obtain a pension.” (The November
2008 Family Tree Magazine has online resources for
pension and other military records, as does our Family Tree
University course US
Military Records: Trace Your Ancestor's Service.)
Don't forget about women of the Revolutionary era: They left behind personal writings, pension documents and memoirs
as well. The stories of their lives as daughters, wives and widows
can also be found in materials left by their fathers, brothers and
Tree Magazine's Ultimate Tracing Female Ancestors Collection
can help you learn more about the women in your family tree.)
- Memoirs: Seneca chief Chainbreaker, also known as
Gov. Blacksnake or Tash-won-ne-ah, dictated his life story
to a neighbor, relating how he served for the British in the
bloody Battle of Oriskany in New York. George Avery wrote in his
memoir that being taken prisoner at Royalton, Vt., in 1780 was a
turning point. “I felt the evil of my life and the Divine
Justice of Providence.” Use WorldCat,
which includes the
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (1986 and
later), to help you find published and unpublished memoirs in
You can hear more life stories about the Revolutionary War
generation by following Maureen's Revolutionary Voices: A Last
Muster Film project. Find
out how you can help make the film happen here.
Female ancestors | Military records | Research Tips | Social History
Monday, March 25, 2013 8:23:48 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, March 22, 2013
Genealogy News Corral: RootsTech 2013 Edition
Posted by Diane
Because the genealogy world has turned its eyes to Salt Lake City
and FamilySearch's RootsTech
conference, this edition of the Genealogy News Corral focuses on
news from the conference.
- In his keynote talk this morning, Ancestry.com president Tim
Sullivan made several announcements:
Over the next five years,
Ancestry.com will commit at least $100 million to digitize
and index new content.
Over the next three years,
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will collaborate to digitize
and index 140 million+ pages of US probate records spanning
1800 to 1930. He called this the organizations' "most
ambitious collaboration" yet, and added the caveat that
permission to put records online must be negotiated with
repositories holding these records.
Ancestry.com is about to release new version of its iPhone
iPad app with enhanced social media sharing, the ability to
compare trees and other features. A third of new Ancestry.com
registrants are through the site's mobile apps (there's also
one for Android), and half of users over last 2 months come to
Ancestry.com through a mobile device.
The Ancestry DNA database contains 120,000 DNA samples and
has delivered more than 2 million fourth cousin relationships.
To increase the size of the database, the price of the test
will be lowered to $99, whether or not you're a subscriber.
(Update: Sullivan didn't include this in his keynote, but Ancestry.com has announced that test-takers can now download their raw DNA data.)
- In addition to a new logo unveiled to RootsTech official
bloggers, FamilySearch will redesign its website with an emphasis
on photos, as a way to engage more people. It'll also add a fan
chart view to its online Family Tree program. Blogger Renee Zamora has lots of details on the
information presented during the dinner.
- According to the
Ancestry Insider, who attended Wednesday's dinner for the
bloggers, FamilySearch is experimenting with broadcasting
sessions to 16 satellite locations in seven countries (with
translation where necessary). If successful, next year the
number will be expanded to 600 locations. That increases to
potential reach of the conference to 120,000 people.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Friday, March 22, 2013 1:43:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
FamilySearch News From RootsTech
Posted by Diane
conference is going on now through Saturday in Salt Lake City, and
FamilySearch is taking the opportunity to make some
- More than 6,700 people were pre-registered for RootsTech,
which is huge for a US genealogy conference. The number is
helped by the conference's location in Salt Lake City, home to
the Family History Library and to many members of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for whom researching
genealogy is a religious calling.
- About 2,000 teenagers signed up for a youth program on
- FamilySearch will soon be available in nine languages for
access by more people around the world. This is consistent with
the organization's increasing focus on historical records from
places besides the United States.
More RootsTech news to come!
Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:42:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Discover the Best Websites for Irish Genealogy Research
Posted by Diane
Having a hard time making progress with your Irish genealogy search?
Maybe you're not looking in the right places. Our March 28 webinar,
Irish Genealogy Websites, will help you find ancestors using
websites that provide key resources for Irish research.
In this sneak peek video, Irish genealogy expert Donna Moughty talks about Irish
civil registrations and the indexes on the
free FamilySearch.org, as
well as other sites.
Irish Genealogy Websites webinar is Thursday, March 28, at 7
p.m. ET (that's 6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT and 4 p.m. PT). Attendees have
the opportunity to ask Donna your Irish genealogy questions during
the Q&A session. They'll also receive a copy of our Irish
research guide, a PDF of the presentation slides, and a link to view
the presentation again as many times as they want.
here for our Best Irish Genealogy Websites webinar.
Editor's Pick | UK and Irish roots | Webinars
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 3:59:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
What's New and Notable at RootsTech 2013
Posted by Diane
Genealogists are flocking to Salt Lake City this week for
FamilySearch's third annual RootsTech
conference, March 21-23. What's notable and new about the conference
Glad you asked—there's even something for the folks stuck at home:
- The RootsTech expo hall, which is free to the public, is 40
percent bigger this year. It includes opportunities to get
research help in a FamilySearch mini-lab, have a photo or album
digitized, get a large family tree printout, and receive a free
copy of Family Tree
Magazine (when you stop by our booth, tell Tyler,
our online community editor, that I said hi).
- RootsTech attendees can register for just the Getting Started
track of classes for $19 for one day or $39 for three days.
- A Developer Day
on Friday will consolidate the presentations geared toward
creators of genealogy technology tools.
- We know of two scavenger hunts occurring in
conjunction with the conference—RootsMagic's
scavenger hunt includes an at-home component for those not
at RootsTech, and the Heirloom Registry
will hold a conference hall version of its online scavenger hunt
from a few weeks ago.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 11:31:05 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, March 18, 2013
Spring Clearance Sale at ShopFamilyTree.com
Posted by Diane
Who doesn't love a good clearance sale? I sure do. And a genealogy
clearance sale is even better.
We just happen to be having
one at ShopFamilyTree.com. Through tomorrow, March 19, you can
get 30 to 50 percent off a ton of genealogy goodies, including our:
Time to go shopping! Click
here to see everything in our ShopFamilyTree.com Spring Clearance
Monday, March 18, 2013 3:08:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Family Tree eBooks Giveaway Winner!
Posted by Diane
Congratulations to Joyce Shepard of Bedford, Ind., who won our
Family Tree eBooks subscription giveaway! She'll enjoy a year
of access to our digital
library of genealogy how-to books and Family Tree Magazine issues.
Looking for more opportunities to win? Check out our Irish
Ancestry Photo Contest—share a picture of your Irish
ancestors, and you could win a download of our video class Finding
Ancestral Clues in Irish Census Records.
here to submit your photo—the deadline is March 26, 2013.
Genealogy books | UK and Irish roots
Monday, March 18, 2013 8:21:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, March 15, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, March 11-15
Posted by Diane
- RootsTech, the
FamilySearch genealogy conference taking place in Salt Lake City
March 21-23, has announced its lineup of 13 sessions you can
watch free online. They include the opening day keynote by
FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall and storyteller Sid Lieberman;
Researching Ancestors Online with Laura Prescott; and From Paper
Piles to Digital Files by Valerie Elkins.
here to see the list of sessions that will livestream and the
times you can watch (note that you'll need to translate the
times from Mountain Daylight Time to your own time zone).
- The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched a new
that broadens access to resources from the group's library. The
public area of the website offers resources
including a fragment of the 1871 census for the parish of
Drumcondra, County Meath, a database of Irish marriage records
- FamilySearch has added 1.7 million indexed records and record
images to collections from Australia, Austria, China, Dominican
Republic, England, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, New Zealand,
Paraguay, Peru and the United States. US records come from
Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina
the list of updated collections here and click to search or
browse them for free on FamilySearch.org.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 15, 2013 3:28:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Ancestry.com, Origins.net Offer Free (for a Limited Time) Genealogy Databases
Posted by Diane
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, two genealogy websites are offering
free records for a limited time. Note that you'll need to set up a
free account with each site in order to view your search results:
UK and Irish genealogy website Origins.net is offering access to its
of Irish directories from March 16 until March 18 at midnight
GMT (that's about 8 p.m. ET in the United States). Recently added is
Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for 1845 to 1900. You
could learn the person's exact occupation, as well as address and
parish of residence. Note that the most "disadvantaged"
classes—small tenant farmers, landless labourers and servants—are
usually absent from these directories. Learn
more about Origins.net's Irish Directories collection and start
- Ancestry.com is opening up its US passenger
lists and border-crossing records through March 17—search here
whether your ancestors came from Ireland or elsewhere. The search
here initially netted zero results for my name search on Edward
Norris born in 1827, but after I clicked Edit Search to bring up the advanced search window, and then clicked Search again, it worked.
Ancestry.com | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | immigration records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 15, 2013 9:28:52 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Irish Ancestors Photo Contest
Posted by Diane
Do you have Irish roots? Show them off! Share
a photo (or photos) of your Irish ancestors with us, and you
could win a free download of our half-hour video class Finding
Ancestral Clues in Irish Census Records. We'll also feature
the winning photo here on the Genealogy Insider blog.
Library of Congress, LC-DIG-nclc-05036
here to submit your photo online. For publication purposes,
please tell us who's in the photo, when it was taken and the
occasion for the photo (if you know).
The submission deadline is
March 26, 2013. Our staff will choose one favorite picture from all
the photos we receive. The winner will be notified by email and
announced on the Genealogy Insider blog no later than April 4.
Genealogy fun | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 15, 2013 7:54:56 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Best Records for Female Ancestors
Posted by Diane
Are you searching for female ancestors? I hope so! This is my own
great-grandmother with my grandma in the 1920s:
Although we're giving lots of attention to Irish roots this week, we
haven't forgotten that March is also Women's History Month.
This rundown of the best genealogy records for finding the women in
your family tree comes from this
Ultimate Collection: Tracing Female Ancestors.
- Cemetery records: Check the woman’s tombstone and
note surrounding ones, which may belong to her family.
- Church records: Witnesses on a woman’s or her
children’s religious records may be her relatives.
- Court records: Women typically didn’t leave wills (in
many times and places, married women legally couldn't), though a
widowed or unmarried woman may have. Your female ancestor or her
relatives may be named in her father’s or husband’s will. Also
check divorce records, which may have been filed even if a
divorce wasn’t granted.
- Home sources: Examine letters, needlework and quilts,
recipe books, address books, baby books, wedding albums, Bibles
and calenders for names of—and details about—female
- Land records: Women rarely owned land but may be named
in deeds. A married woman may have signed a release of dower
when her husband sold land. Those selling land to a couple,
especially for a small sum, may be the woman’s relatives. Also
consider that the neighbors may be her family.
- Marriage records: These might include a license,
certificate, return, church register, banns, bond or newspaper
- Military pensions: A woman could file for a military
pension when her husband or unmarried son died of war-related
injuries. Widows had to send marriage records to prove the
- Naturalizations: Until 1922, wives automatically became
naturalized when their husbands did. Unmarried women rarely
sought naturalization. Post-1922, look for separate records for
- Newspapers: Pay special attention to society columns,
announcements of births, engagements or anniversaries, and
Female Ancestors Collection gives you a 63 percent discount on
our best tools for learning more about the women in your family
tree. It includes:
- Vital records: A woman’s death record may name her
father (later records are more detailed). Birth records often
give the mother’s maiden name.
Start searching for your grandmothers,
great-great-grandmothers, aunts and other female relatives. Click
to learn more about this Ultimate Collection!
- Finding Female Ancestors Family Tree University Independent
Study Course from Family Tree University
- Secrets to Tracing Female Ancestors video class
- Research Strategies: Female Ancestors 7-page digital download
- Female Ancestors Cheat Sheet
- The Hidden Half of Family: A Sourcebook for Women's
Genealogy by Christina K. Schaefer (Genealogical
Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:10:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Win a Genealogy Library at Your Fingertips
Posted by Diane
Here's a chance
to win a genealogy reference library at your fingertips: We're
giving away a full year's subscription to our Family Tree eBooks
site, which lets you access our digital collection of how-to books
on genealogy, history, heirloom identification, sharing and
preserving your family history, and more,
plus dozens of information-packed issues of Family Tree Magazine. See
the contents listing here.
demo video shows you how easy it is to use the Family Tree eBooks
site (there's even a mobile app).
our Family Tree eBooks sweepstakes, fill
out this form by 11:59 p.m. ET March 14, 2013. The winner will
be chosen at random from all entries received and notified by email.
Genealogy books | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:00:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Six Irish Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane
Take it from someone who's
1/16th Irish: Americans are proud as can be of even the
tiniest sliver of Irish heritage. Especially around St. Patrick's
Day (which falls in the middle of Irish
American Heritage Month).
A strong sense of community amid many hardships helped build that
pride. During the 19th century, the heaviest era of Irish
immigration to the United States due to the Great
Famine (1845-1852), Irish arrivals faced prejudice, poverty,
substandard housing and other problems. Some numbers for you:
- Almost 3.5 million Irishmen entered the United States between
1820 and 1880. Most stayed in large East Coast cities, partly
because they couldn't afford to continue west and partly because
they could create close-knit communities with others from their
place of origin.
- In 1847, the first major year of famine emigration, 37,000
Irish Catholics arrived in Boston, according
to the History Place, where they packed into
slums. A sobering statistic from the site: "Sixty percent of Irish children born in
Boston during this period didn't live to see their sixth
birthday. Adult Irish lived on average just six years after
stepping off the boat."
you ready to research your Irish ancestors? Start with US records
and work your way back to the immigrant generation, looking for a
place of birth in Ireland—you'll need this info to search in Irish
- The same year, about 52,000 Irish
arrived in New York City. About
650,000 Irish arrived there during
the entire Famine period.
These are some of our favorite Irish research websites (several are
This new subscription site (with a pay-as-you-go option) has
records of births, marriages and deaths (aka BMDs); courts and
prisons; military; immigration; land and estates; as well as
newspapers, directories and Griffith's Valuation.
- Information Wanted: Also free is this database of "missing friends"
from the Boston Pilot newspaper, which published notices from
those looking for lost friends from Ireland.
The column ran from 1831 to 1921; this site has 1831 to 1893
plus 1901 and 1913.
You can learn how to research your Irish genealogy online in our
Best Irish Genealogy Websites webinar with Donna Moughty, taking place
Thursday, March 28.
Genealogy: This site
from the Irish Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is
dedicated to Irish genealogy and genealogical tourism. You can
search nearly 3 million pre-1900 church records free, and view
the actual record if it's been digitized.
Then there's also the in-depth guidance in our Irish Genealogy Research 101 and 201 FamilyTreeUniversity courses.
Family Tree University | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots | Webinars
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:21:54 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, March 11, 2013
Sequestration Reduces Research Hours at NARA DC-Area Locations
Posted by Diane
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has
announced that effective this Friday, March 15, sequestration
will affect public hours at NARA locations in Washington, DC, and
College Park, Md.
From March 15 through Labor Day, both facilities would normally
extend research hours until 9 p.m. three days a week. But that won't
be happening this year: To help meet across-the-board budget cuts, research hours will remain 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday
through Saturday all spring and summer.
Exhibit spaces at NARA in DC will be affected, too—they'll be open
from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, instead of staying open until 7
p.m. three days per week.
Sequestration is a series of automatic cuts to federal government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It's
Libraries and Archives | NARA
Monday, March 11, 2013 2:56:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, March 08, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, March 4-8
Posted by Diane
- WikiTree, a free
worldwide family tree website, has launched a new feature called
Surname Following that lets you get updates when other
WikiTree users post content related to names you're interested
in. Log in to WikiTree and follow surnames to receive an email alert
when related content is added to the WikiTree database or a
related question, answer or comment is added to the WikiTree G2G (“Genealogist
to Genealogist”) Q&A forum.
- FamilySearch has
added 10.5 million indexed records and images to its free historical records
search over the last two weeks, including 8,613,673
document images added to the New York Probate Records collection
(1629 to 1971). Other notable collection updates are Brazil, Rio
de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, and Peru, Lima, Civil
Registration, 1874-1996, collection.
Collections for Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, and the
US states of Minnesota and Ohio also have been updated. See more details
and click through to the updated collections here.
- If you're up against a brick wall with some part of your
genealogy research and you'll be in the Washington DC area on
Saturday, March 16, the National Archives is holding a “Help!
I'm Stuck” Genealogy Clinic. You can visit the Research Center
main desk that day to sign up for a free, 20 minute consultation
with an archivist between noon and 4 p.m. For details on this
and other programs at teh archives, see the Archives.gov calendar.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Web Sites | NARA
Friday, March 08, 2013 12:13:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Organize Your Genealogy Research: Challenges and Solutions
Posted by Diane
Organization figured into Virtual Genealogy Conference participants'
research tips (see
yesterday's post) in a major way. Forgotten research steps,
piles of unfiled papers, digital documents
scattered all over your hard drive, and an overflowing email inbox:
All of these take away from your research time and make genealogy
research seem more like a chore than a joy.
Here's my organization problem (well, one of them): I'll be at
work and come across a a relative's
record or a website to search. I'll email the record or URL to myself to check out
later. Then I either forget about the message or waste time looking for it (and all of its sad, forgotten
friends). I need a better way to keep track of and prioritize these
Family Tree University's One-Week
Workshop: Organize Your Genealogy will teach you—and me—how to better
manage the process and products of genealogy research. It'll
cover how to archive family keepsakes and heirlooms; effectively
arrange data, paper and digital files; and keep an
orderly research log.
The workshop, taking place March 15-22 (that's a Friday through
I'll be there, looking for solutions to my organization problems.
- six pre-recorded video classes, with demos of
recommended websites and strategies
- excerpts from our popular Organize Your Genealogy Family Tree
- daily message-board discussions with workshop participants and
- A day when Denise May Levenick, organization expert and author
To Archive Your Family Keepsakes, will be on hand to
provide consultation and answer your questions
What's your biggest genealogy organization challenge? The
One-Week Organize Your Genealogy Workshop will have ideas to
make you a more-efficient researcher, too.
Sign up now with coupon code FTU0313 to save 20 percent on your workshop
Editor's Pick | Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Thursday, March 07, 2013 10:33:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Time-Saving Tips for Busy Genealogists
Posted by Diane
The Time-saving Tips for Genealogists chat at last month's Family Tree University Virtual
Genealogy Conference was especially interesting to me, considering my recently expanded family.
I didn't have the half-hour to attend the chat, but Virtual
Conference participants get transcripts of all the chats, so I'm
still able to benefit from other researchers' wisdom and share some
time-saving tips with you:
- Everyone agreed that organization, staying on-task and
information overload are time drains when it comes to genealogy
research. Social media also distracts us, and catching up after
being away from research steals time, too.
- Organization was a theme. Be organized from the start—using a
research log to keep track of your to-do list for each family
line and place you're searching really helps. At least one
participant uses Evernote
to keep her research log. Trello also was recommended
(especially for those who think visually).
- Keep track of negative search results,
too (i.e., you didn't find the record you were looking for) so
you don't repeat the same search. Track your online
searches of growing databases, so you can go back to look for new
- Schedule your genealogical research
time on your calendar, just like any other appointment you
- When visiting a repository, plan ahead, use online tools (such as a
library catalog and visitor information) to prepare, and call
to verify hours, what you can bring in, etc. This gives you
more research time.
- To-do list apps chatters use include Remember the Milk, Any.do and Wunderlist.
- Sometimes getting away from home to research is better, because you face fewer
- Set a research goal for the week (or a period of time that
works for you).
We'll host another Virtual Genealogy Conference this Fall, so
stay tuned! In the mean time, check out our Organize
Your Genealogy One-Week Workshop, taking place March 15-22.
Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 3:55:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
FamilySearch Family Tree (Finally) Opens to the Public
Posted by Diane
FamilySearch has opened its Family Tree online family tree service
for public use. See?
This is what I saw when I went to FamilySearch.org. Until now,
Family Tree was open to only members of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints and select others, as FamilySearch refined the
The long-awaited public debut came without a formal
announcement from FamilySearch—I read about it on
Genea-musings, whose blogger Randy Seaver read about it on the
Larry Cragun Family
and Genealogy Blog.
The goal of FamilySearch Family Tree is to get everyone working on
one family tree, sharing information, comparing research and
avoiding duplication. Read
more about the development of FamilySearch Family Tree on the
Ancestry Insider blog.
From that first page, you can either get started using Family Tree, or access
If you click Get Started (and you don't already have a
tree here), you'll see this:
This tree works a little differently from your five-generation
ancestor chart. Each box, instead of holding one person's name and
vital information, includes a couple. So both of my parents go in
the box to the bottom right of my name, and my husband's parents go
in the top box.
I clicked Add Husband in my parent's box and was directed to a
search page—the goal is to keep me from adding a new person
for my dad if someone else has already put him in the tree.
you instead click the Add Person tab, Family Tree will still look
for that person first. If it finds matches, you can either select the
right person or add a new person.
Once you add someone to Family Tree, you can't delete the person,
but you can delete certain details about the person. Other Family
Tree users can change details about any person (and you can change
them back), but they're supposed to explain their reasoning and add
sources. Changing a person from deceased to living, though, requires
a review from FamilySearch admins before it takes effect.
There's a lot to Family Tree, and this isn't even close to an
exhaustive review. You can access a
basic user guide plus other training materials here, and look
for our upcoming Family Tree Magazine article about
Have you tried FamilySearch Family Tree? What do you think?
Update: Here's an announcement from FamilySearch about the launch of Family Tree.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 9:26:02 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Monday, March 04, 2013
Sharing Stories of Heirlooms—Old and New
Posted by Diane
When it comes to preserving and sharing the stories of family
heirlooms (something we talk a lot about here at Family Tree Magazine)
I think it's important to log not only antiques that have been in
your family for generations, but also newer objects you hope will
That's why, as part of the Heirloom Registry
Scavenger Hunt, I registered my childhood rocking chair in
Houstory's Heirloom Registry.
The registry is a site where you can keep a log of your family
heirlooms. You affix an Heirloom Registry sticker to an
inconspicuous spot on each item, and your descendants can use the
code on the sticker to look up what you had to say about that
This chair is something I played with, and I hope my daughter Norah
will play with it. Santa (aka Mom and Dad) gave it to my two older
sisters and me when I was about 18 months old, which would have been
in 1975. My mom says that I "kind of took over ownership." This
makes me feel better about my sisters always hiding my dolls and
calling shotgun first when we were kids.
I considered posting a photo of myself sitting in the chair,
but the only one we have is a diaper shot. So instead I offer this:
Yes, I get to kiss those chubby almost-4-month-old cheeks every day.
Even if you don't want to register your family heirlooms online,
pleasepleaseplease write down information about them (you can use
downloadable Heirloom Inventory on FamilyTreeMagazine.com) and share copies with loved ones. Please.
Now for the scavenger hunt fun!
- If you’d like to start the scavenger hunt now, go to The
Houstory Hearth blog’s special Scavenger Hunt Page.
There you’ll find information about the hunt, the prizes, and
the list of the other three blogs you’ll need to visit today.
- If you already know what you’re doing, here’s the Heirloom
Registry ID Code you need to obtain my secret word:
- If this is your final stop for Hunt No. 1, be sure to submit
your entry form with your secret words before Tuesday, March
5, 2013 at midnight PST. Instructions for Hunt No. 2,
which starts on March 6, will be posted at the Houstory Hearth blog
at 12 a.m. EST on March 6. Good luck—and happy hunting!
Family Heirlooms | Genealogy fun | saving and sharing family history
Monday, March 04, 2013 11:15:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Family Photo Detective Book Winner!
Posted by Diane
Congratulations to the lucky winner of our Family Photo Detective
book sweepstakes: Patti Wier of Artesia, NM!
She'll receive a copy
of the hot-off-the-presses Family
Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos
and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen A. Taylor.
Patti will be able to take advantage of Maureen's advice for using
clothing, backgrounds, props and photographer imprints to learn more
about who's in her old family photographs. Blending this type of
photo research with research in genealogy records is a great
strategy for discovering details about your ancestors.
Photo Detective is available at booksellers including
Genealogy books | Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, March 04, 2013 9:24:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, March 01, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Feb. 25-March 1
Posted by Diane
The new Legacies
of British Slave Ownership database holds the names of
46,000 slave owners in British colonies who received compensation for the loss of
"property" when Britain
abolished slavery in 1833 (it outlawed the trade in 1807). The database doesn't name slaves, but it could aid those who are tracing African ancestors by researching the slave-owning families. Search the database here.
... and don't forget about the Heirloom
Registry Online Scavenger Hunt taking place next week. Have a good weekend!
- The Civil War Trust's annual Park Day
takes place Saturday, April 16 at more than 100 participating
battlefields in 24 states. Volunteers help clean and maintain these
important Civil War sites by raking leaves, picking up trash,
painting signs, clearing trails and more. To learn how you can help,
trust's Park Day page and click on the name of the
participating Civil War site you're interested in (note that some
sites are holding their volunteer events on alternate dates).
African-American roots | Civil War | Historic preservation | Italian roots | UK and Irish roots
Friday, March 01, 2013 11:05:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)