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# Friday, June 28, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, June 24-28
Posted by Diane

If you're not a student, you still can save $50 on FGS conference registration with the early bird discount—but it ends July 1, so get a move on. Click here to register.
  • FamilySearch's recent additions to the free genealogy collections at FamilySearch.org include 200,000 record images in the Confederate Officers Card Index Collection, which contains the Military Order of the Stars and Bars' index cards listing Confederate officers. The collection isn't yet indexed so you can't search it, but you can browse by alphabetical surname range. 
Other recent additions include 1.1 million images from Austria, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, and the United States. The US additions include the Wisconsin state census for 1865. See all the updated collections and click through to them here.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 28, 2013 12:59:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Ancestry.com's 2 Percent Speak Up
Posted by Diane

A radio station I listen to in the car does a contest where you have to guess something like "The average person doesn't do this on Mondays until 11:16 a.m." (The answer was "smile." Depressing.)

So my challenge to you is "Two percent of Ancestry.com users have this in common."

Can you guess what it is?

They use the Old Search. Remember Old Search?

It's on its way out. Ancestry.com sent the Old Search users a letter (read it on Dick Eastman's blog) on Wednesday announcing that Old Search would be discontinued as a separate search experience within the next six months.

The letter asks for the users' input into improvements that will bring together the Old and New search experiences into one search. It states that "Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make."

New Search was introduced in 2008, and that's the default you see when you log onto the site. It's hard to even find Old Search—it's a tiny link in the top right corner of the Search page:



The Advanced Old Search looks like this:



For comparison, here's the Advanced New Search:



It's easy to see why Old Search hung around so long: Those 2 percent who use it are extremely loyal to it, and vocal on Facebook (here's one example) and the blogosphere (see the comments on Dick's post).

Many of the Team Old Search comments I've seen say it's more accurate and finds specific records faster, with better-organized and fewer irrelevant results, and that more people would use it if it were more visible on the site (and if Old Search users weren't randomly rerouted back to New Search).

As for me, I haven't used Old Search in a long time. My usual technique is to use the Card Catalog to find the specific database I want to search, then add a place (filtered to the exact place or to a county plus surrounding counties) and/or an exact year of a life event (such as birth or residence) with a range of plus/minus several years.

Are you on Team Old Search or Team New Search? What's your take on this announcement?


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:43:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [11]
# Thursday, June 27, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?" 2013 Celebrity Lineup (Bazinga!)
Posted by Diane

TLC has announced the full lineup of starpower on the fourth season of "Who Do You Think You Are?," which premiers Tuesday, July 23. TLC picked up the series after NBC dropped it last year.



These are the season's celebrity guests. I added a bit of info on where you might recognize them from and on their ancestry:
  • Zooey Deschanel: You may know this actress (she's pictured in the screenshot above) and musician as the quirky title character of “New Girl” on Fox. Her surname comes from her French paternal grandfather; she also has Swiss, Dutch, English and Irish roots.

  • Chris O'Donnell: As his parents’ surnames—O'Donnell and Rohs von Brecht—would suggest, this “NCIS: Los Angeles” actor (he also was on the big screen as Robin to batmen Val Kilmer and George Clooney) has Irish and German ancestry.

  • Christina Applegate: This “Married … with Children,”  and “Samantha Who?” actress was born into the business: Her parents are record company executive Robert W. Applegate and singer and actress Nancy Lee Priddy

  • Jim Parsons: The episode featuring this "Big Bang Theory" star (trademark line: "Bazinga!") is the one I'm most anticipating. BBT is a favorite in our house, and I'd love to see what Parsons is like when he steps out of the role of Sheldon Cooper. The Houston native reportedly has English, Scottish, French and German heritage.

  • Cindy Crawford: German, English and French make up the bulk of this supermodel’s ancestry. She was “discovered” by a newspaper photographer as she detasseled corn in her DeKalb, Ill., hometown. Her appearance at the Connecticut State Library in May clued us in that she was filming for WDYTYA?

  • Trisha Yearwood: This country singer does it all: She's also an actress, cookbook author and host of her own cooking show on the Food Network. She was born in Monticello, Ga.
  • Chelsea Handler:A comedian, actress and talk show host from Livingston, NJ, Handler has a German Mormon mother and a Jewish father.
TLC's "Who Do YouThink You Are?" website is here.

Watch a short teaser for "Who Do You Think You Are?" season 4 here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:21:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Editor's Pick: Learn Insider Secrets for Pennsylvania Genealogy
Posted by Diane

Maybe you've done some basic research on your Pennsylvania ancestors in censuses and vital records. But where should you and your genealogy research turn next?



Find out from our Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar with veteran Pennsylvania genealogist Lisa A. Alzo. It's happening Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific).

Among other resources, she'll introduce you to the Pennsylvania Archives—and by that I mean both the Pennsylvania State Archives and the Pennsylvania Archives series. The latter is 138-volumes of published records including early government correspondence; tax lists; and church, land, and military records, and it's free on Fold3.com.

Participants in the Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar also receive:
  • a quick Pennsylvania vital records review
  • strategies for exploring military records for your Pennsylvania ancestors
  • tips for researching in court and tax records
  • information on other state-specific resources that can help you break through research brick walls
  • the opportunity to submit Pennsylvania genealogy questions before the event (via a form when you register for the webinar) and again during the webinar's live Q&A session
  • access to view the webinar recording again as often as desired
  • a PDF handout of the presentation slides
  • a PDF handout of our Pennsylvania Brick Walls e-book.
It pays to be an early bird! Sign up now for the Secrets to Beat Your Pennsylvania Brick Walls webinar to save $10 on your registration.



Editor's Pick | Webinars
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:54:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Battle of Gettysburg 150th Anniversary: Honor Civil War Ancestors With a Virtual Visit
Posted by Diane

With the beginning of July (can you believe that's already next week?) arrives the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg.

It lasted from July 1-3 and involved 160,000 soldiers on both sides, with casualty estimates (also for both sides) ranging from 46,000 to 51,000. Civilians hid in their homes as the fighting happened around them.

Although the Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the war—it put Gen. Robert E. Lee was on the defensive—the Civil War dragged on for nearly two more years.

The astounding numbers of dead at Gettysburg led to the establishment of the Soldiers National Cemetery there. At the cemetery's dedication on Nov. 19, 1863, President Lincoln eloquently spoke the 10 sentences we know as the Gettysburg Address.

If a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield (perhaps for the 150th anniversary commemoration) isn't on your agenda, you still can pay a virtual visit to honor the memories of your Civil War ancestors and see the world through their eyes. Here are some ways to do it:
  • Visit the Gettysburg Foundation website to view photos of the Gettysburg Battlefield and the Gettysburg Cyclorama—French artist Paul Philippoteaux's 360-degree, life-size "painting in the round" by that depicts Pickett's Charge.

  • See photos and soak up history (and plan a visit, if you're lucky enough) at the Gettysburg National Military Park website.
  • The Stone Sentinels website shows you photos of more than 1,200 Gettysburg Battlefield monuments to units, individuals and others; plus farms and other buildings. You can browse monuments to units by the state where the unit was raised, or take a tour using a monument map.

  • The Nationwide Gravesite Locator lets you search for burials of veterans and their family members at Gettysburg National Military Park (choose Gettysburg from the Cemetery dropdown menu and then enter at least a last name).
Did your Civil War ancestor fight in the Battle of Gettysburg? See the July/August 2013 Family Tree Magazine for our seven-step guide to researching Gettysburg ancestors.

Family Tree Magazine articles | Military records | Museums | Social History
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 1:09:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 21, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, June 17-21
Posted by Diane

  • In related news, on Sunday, June 30, FamilySearch will shut off the ability for vendors (such as software companies) to "write" to trees on new.familysearch.org, which is actually the old version of FamilySearch Family Trees. That means that if you're using a third-party product that works with the new.familysearch.org system, you won't be able to use it to update your new.familysearch.org tree. Read more about this on Renee Zamora's blog.


FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 21, 2013 12:35:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Irish Vital Records on Findmypast.ie June 27-30
Posted by Diane

Findmypast.ie is offering free access to Irish vital records from June 27-30. You'll be able to search for free:
  • Ireland Births 1864-1958
  • Ireland Marriages 1845-1958
  • Ireland Deaths 1864-1958
It's part of the site's Ashes to Archives initiative, which marks the anniversary of the Four Courts Fire in Dublin. This June 30, 1922, fire during the Irish Civil War severely damaged the Public Records Office, resulting in a major loss of historical records. It's one of the most infamous events in Irish genealogy.

Findmypast.ie's helpful site tells you what records were lost and what survived (including sources available with a findmypast.ie subscription or pay-per-view credits).

You'll need a free membership on the site to view the Irish vital records.

Got Irish ancestors? Take a look at these resources from ShopFamilyTree.com:


Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 21, 2013 12:33:36 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [74]
# Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Observe Juneteenth by Remembering Slave Ancestors
Posted by Diane

Happy Juneteenth—the holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.  On that day, Union Gen. Gordon Granger stood on a balcony in Galveston and read General Order No. 3, informing the people of Texas that slaves there were freed.

From the beginning, Texas freedmen marked Emancipation Day—now known as Juneteenth—with festivals and remembrances of enslaved ancestors. Observances declined during the early 20th century, but have seen a resurgence since the Civil Rights movement. Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980; 41 other states and Washington DC have designated it a holiday or a day of observance.

Learning about African-American roots during slavery is difficult but it isn't always impossible. These free online articles will get you started:

Also check out these resources in ShopFamilyTree.com:


African-American roots
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:24:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Family Tree University Summer School Sale—Learn How to Tackle Your Genealogy Projects!
Posted by Diane

Want to put together a family history book this summer? Trace your Civil War ancestor? Finally get organized and be on top of your genealogy research?

Enroll yourself in our specially priced Family Tree University Summer School sessions, and do all these things and more.

We're offering a discounted tuition of $59.99 on 11 summer school courses—five starting now, and six starting July 1:

Starting June 17 (available for registration through this Friday):
  • Cemetery Research 101: Dig Up Your Family History
  • Digital Photography Essentials: Techniques to Capture and Preserve Your Family History
  • Time Management for Genealogists: Make Time for Your Tree, Yourself and Your Sanity
  • Exploring City Directories: How to Trace Your Family in Yesterdays Yellow Pages
  • US Military Records: Trace Your Ancestors' Service
Starting July 1:
  • Newspaper Research 101: Find Your Ancestors in American News Sources
  • Computer Boot Camp for Genealogists: Become a Power User in 4 Weeks
  • Creating a Family History Book: Start-to-Finish Guidance for Assembling and Printing a Family Keepsake
  • Reverse Genealogy: Working Forward to Break Down Brick Walls
  • Civil War Research: Find Your Ancestors in the War Between the States
  • Google for Genealogy: Find Ancestors Online
Visit the Family Tree University Summer School Sale page to learn more about each course and register.


Family Tree University
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 4:32:30 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, June 07, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, June 3-7
Posted by Diane

  • The folks at Flip-Pal mobile scanner are presenting a free webinar, Metdata and Digital Images, on Tuesday, June 18 at 7:30 Central Time (that's 8:30 Eastern,  6:30 Mountain and 5:30 Pacific). Presenter Thomas MacEntee will show you how to use a digital photo's metadata (the information embedded in digital files) to add captions and details such as who's in a photo and when it was taken. See more details about the webinar and click to register here.
  • Friday through Sunday marks the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, one of the most-anticipated conferences of the year. Remember to register for sessions you want to watch from home via free JamboSTREAM webcast. See the schedule on the Jamboree blog.
  • Findmypast.com has added 2.5 million court records to its collection of Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers (1828-1912), which has information on petty crimes (such as public drunkeness and allowing livestock to wander) and punishments of Ireland's residents. They're available with a World Subscription or pay-per-view credits on findmypast.com international sites.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Photos | UK and Irish roots | Webinars
Friday, June 07, 2013 11:47:16 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 06, 2013
Founders Online Site Will Give Access to Historic American Documents
Posted by Diane

The National Archives is poised to launch the Founders Online website with thousands of transcribed and annotated documents from George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton.

Eventually, 175,000 letters, diary entries, publications and other documents will be on Founders Online. Their source is 242 printed volumes that collect the papers of each man from the National Archives, Library of Congress and other archives around the world. The volumes also include editorial essays that introduce the materials and add historical context.

The site will launch at www.founders.archives.gov (there's a placeholder page there now)  June 13 with a ceremony at the National Archives building. Student winners of the National History Day contest will be among the first to search the site's records.

This video gives you an overview of Founders Online and the documents it provides access to:



Read more about how the papers were collected, transcribed and annotated in this online article from the Winter 2010 issue of Prologue, the National Archives' magazine.


Libraries and Archives | NARA | Social History
Thursday, June 06, 2013 9:04:18 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Six Tips for Mapping Your Family History
Posted by Diane

One of my research goals is to visualize my family history on a map showing all the places my ancestors lived and worked.

I found plenty of advice in last month's Family Tree University One-Week Workshop, Map Your Family History With Google Earth. Participants studied course materials and created a family history map project with guidance from Google Earth expert Lisa Louise Cooke.

Here are a few tips from Lisa for using Google Earth and finding old maps of places your family lived:
  • A great source of old maps to use with Google Earth is the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Sign up for a free account for access to the highest resolution downloadable maps (You can still download up to about medium resolution if you aren't signed in).

    Instead of using the "Search the Site" box, scroll down on the home page and use the Map Rank Search tool to search by year and location.
  • Lisa recommends using Google to find online plat maps (these show property boundaries and owners' names), which might be anywhere from large mapping web sites to a genealogist's own site. Try doing a Google Image search with keywords such as Indiana "Randolph County" "Plat map."
  • Another strategy to find plat maps is to run a Google Books search on a county, state and the term "plat map." If the book you want isn't fully digitized, copy the title and search for it at WorldCat to find libraries that have that book.
  • You can have Google email you when Google Maps or Google Earth map images are updated, or Street View becomes available, for the areas where your ancestors lived. Go to Follow Your World, log in with your Google account, and follow the prompts.
  • Google Earth doesn't auto save, so if it crashes on you, you'll lose your work. Every so often, go up to the menu and select File>Save My Places to save everything in My Places.
Enhance your family history search with the maps and how-to guide on Family Tree Magazine's new Genealogy Map Collection CD.

Check out Family Tree University's next One-Week Workshop, How to Research Genealogy Records, with video classes on essential family history records and guidance from expert researcher Lisa A. Alzo.


Historical maps | Research Tips
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 10:26:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 04, 2013
June Ultimate Collection: Free Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

As I mentioned in my post last week about finding free genealogy data, you save where you can so you can spend where you need to.

A little bit of spending that'll pay off big time is our Best Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection. (It's also on sale!)



The video classes, books and articles in this collection of genealogy tools will show you
  • What free genealogy sites you should be scouring for information on your ancestors.
  • How to use popular free sites such as FamilySearch.org, RootsWeb.com and Internet Archive.
  • Online search tricks to find data on smaller, less well-known free genealogy websites.
  • Using the free Evernote site to organize your research and become a more-efficient genealogist. (Personal note: I've started using Evernote for my genealogy to-do list, and it's keeping me from forgetting research tasks that occur to me while I'm doing something else. And I can check the list anytime on my smartphone.)
Researching your family history doesn't have to break the bank. The Best Free Genealogy Websites Ultimate Collection will pay off in genealogy research funds saved. It's available only in June—check it out now in ShopFamilyTree.com


Editor's Pick | Free Databases | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 11:29:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
More on "Genealogy Roadshow" Series on PBS
Posted by Diane

Here's a bit more detail on the new "Genealogy Roadshow" series coming to PBS this fall:

Four episodes of "Genealogy Roadshow" will air starting Monday, Sept. 23. They'll be set in Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Detroit and San Francisco.

The show has professional genealogists research the pasts of everyday individuals, and present the results in front of a live audience.

The producers of the Irish show the series is based on call it "part detective story, part emotional journey" in this Variety article.

Read more about how 'Genealogy Roadshow" crossed the pond to the United States on the Variety website.



Tuesday, June 04, 2013 8:58:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]