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# Monday, September 30, 2013
Ancestry.com Acquires Find A Grave
Posted by Diane

We just received an announcement that online genealogy company Ancestry.com has purchased Find A Grave, the site with the largest database of free burial information and photos contributed by volunteers.

Find A Grave will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com, and will continue to be managed by its founder, Jim Tipton.

I already hear people asking if the site will remain free. Yes, says Ancestry.com president Tim Sullivan. From the press release:
"We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation, and look forward to working with Jim Tipton and the entire Find A Grave team to accelerate the development of tools designed to make it even easier for the Find A Grave community to fulfill its original mission to capture every tombstone on Earth.”
I've found family tombstone photos on Find A Grave, and you probably have, too. The 18-year-old site has 100 million memorials to deceased people, and 75 million photos, a significant addition to Ancestry.com's content.

Ancestry.com plans for Find A Grave include a mobile app for uploading cemetery photos (Billion Graves, another cemetery website, has one), improved customer support, an easier editing of already-submitted memorials and foreign-language support.

This isn't the first time Ancestry.com has acquired a free, grassroots genealogy site: You may remember back in 2000, when the company (then called MyFamily.com) purchased RootsWeb. In 2008, RootsWeb was moved onto Ancestry.com servers.

We'll bring you more details as we learn them.
 
 Update: Here's an FAQ on the acquisition from Tipton, who says he realized "Find A Grave had gotten too big to run it as I always have and I also realized that I might not be around some day ... and I wanted to make sure it had a stable home, while still retaining control over how it evolves. But ... I'm hoping this gives me the opportunity to do so many of the things that I've always wanted to do with the site now that I have some real resources behind me."
 


Ancestry.com | Cemeteries
Monday, September 30, 2013 4:27:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [8]
# Friday, September 27, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 23-27
Posted by Diane

  • Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project have compiled a free index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations and inventories. Most of the records indexed here were destroyed during World War II in 1942, according to the site, so "the overall aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded." You'll get source information for any surviving documents that match your search.  The Devon Wills Project, 1312-1891 is searchable free at Origins.net
  • The free FamilySearch.org records collection has grown by 192 million indexed records and record images from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, the United States and Wales. Notable US additions include Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. See the full list of new and updated collections and click through to search or browse them from the FamilySearch News and Press Blog.
  • Subscription genealogy site findmypast.com has launched an Irish Newspaper Collection of nearly 2 million searchable Irish newspaper articles dating as far back as the early-to-mid 1800s . The papers come from the British Library and include The Belfast Morning News, The Belfast Newsletter, The Cork Examiner, The Dublin Evening Mail, The Freeman’s Journal and The Sligo Champion. The collection is available on findmypast.com and with a World subscription on findmypast.com international sites.


Canadian roots | FamilySearch | Free Databases | International Genealogy | Newspapers | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 27, 2013 2:29:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Why We Celebrate Oktoberfest in September
Posted by Diane


It's a question that burns inside my brain this time every year: Why is Oktoberfest celebrated in September?

Here in "Zinzinnati," where German roots run deep, we've already had our Oktoberfest. Our neighbors across the river in Kentucky have one this weekend. In Munich, Germany, home of the first and largest Oktoberfest, the two-week party wraps up the first weekend in October.

The first Oktoberfest celebrated the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810.

So why September? I finally decided to look it up. In turns out the informal roots of Oktoberfest started back in the 15th century, with beer, according to the German Beer Institute.

The brewing season in Bavaria ran from October to March. Beer brewed during the hot season tasted bad, so in late winter, brewers would work extra hard to make enough beer to last all summer. The high alcohol content and storage in casks in cool cellars and caves would preserve it. (You can get all the technical details on the German Beer Institute's site.)

After the summer's grain was harvested, brewers needed to empty those casks to make room for the October start of the brewing season. People were happy to help.

In 1810, by the date the royal wedding made Oktoberfest official, there wasn't much beer left. Horse racing was the main event there, and Prince Ludwig repeated the races every year on his anniversary. Over the years, the festival was extended and combined with finishing off the March beers, evolving into today's party attended by millions around the world.

Proud of your German heritage? Learn more about those roots with our Boost Your German Genealogy Value Pack, on sale for more than 20 percent off in ShopFamilyTree.com.


German roots | Social History
Friday, September 27, 2013 10:06:59 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 26, 2013
Unpuzzling Your Ancestors' County Boundary Changes
Posted by Diane



Figuring out your US ancestors' county boundaries can be like doing a puzzle with pieces that keep changing size and shape.

If one of your ancestral families settled early in what's now Morrow county in central Ohio, for example, they conceivably could've resided in—count 'em up—seven different counties without moving an inch: 
  • Morrow County was formed March 1, 1848, from Crawford, Knox, Marion, Delaware and Richland counties. (A small area went back to Richland County the next year.)

  • Marion County, formed April 1, 1820, from a "non-county" area that was attached to Delaware County (it remained attached to Delaware County for administrative purposes until 1924)

  • Delaware County, formed April 1, 1808, from part of Franklin County

  • Franklin County, formed April 30, 1803, from Ross and a non-county area; it overlapped Wayne county

  • Ross County, formed Aug. 20, 1798, from Adams, Hamilton and Washington counties

  • Adams County, formed July 10, 1797, from Hamilton and Washington counties

  • Hamilton County is one of Ohio's original counties, formed Jan. 2, 1790, from the Northwest Territory. It expanded in 1792 with more Northwest Territory and Washington County land.

That's seven different counties that could hold your family's genealogy records. And this isn't even the most convoluted example of how counties would annex land, get carved up, change their borders and switch county seats.

Our Unpuzzling County Boundary Changes webinar will show you how to figure out where your ancestor's records should be during what time periods, using tools such as the Newberry Library's Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, gazetteers, the Map Guide to the US Federal Censuses, 1790-1820, and more.

The Unpuzzling County Boundary Changes webinar takes place Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. ET (6 CT, 5 MT, and 4 PT). Everyone who registers will receive a PDF of the presentation slides and access to view the webinar again as often as you want.

And if you register before  Oct. 10, you'll save $10. Learn more about the Unpuzzling County Boundary Changes webinar here.



court records | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:13:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Genealogy Roadshow Dispels Myths, Tells (Short) Stories
Posted by Diane

Did you watch "Genealogy Roadshow" on PBS last night?

It's easy to see the "Antiques Roadshow" styling: "Genealogy Roadshow" had the lines of people waiting to get in, the onlookers watching the expert consultations, a host, a break to take in a few minutes of local history (of the Belmont Mansion, where the episode was filmed), and the guests' surprised expressions.

I loved how the audience members leaned in to hear what genealogists D. Joshua Taylor and Kenyatta Berry had to say about the guests' family claims.

I loved how twice, another person related to the story emerged from the audience to meet the surprised guest.

And I loved how Taylor and Berry quickly dismissed several common family claims, such as being related to Davy Crockett, George Washington (who had no known descendants) or Jimmy Carter. They always offered a bright side: The husband of the woman who wasn't related to Davy Crockett had a Revolutionary War ancestor, for example, making their children eligible for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Here, we share six common genealogy myths you'll want to avoid as you trace your family tree.

A couple of wishes regarding "Genealogy Roadshow":
  • The show was fast-paced, so there were times I wanted more and slower visual aids to explain the connections researchers had uncovered. We saw family trees in some cases, but the show zoomed through them pretty quickly.
  • I wished to spend more time on some stories. An African-American woman learned from a letter discovered at an archive that she really is related to white Tennessee governor Austin Peay. But who wrote the letter, and why?

    And I just wanted to hear more about the African-American family who learned their enslaved ancestor, Dinah Bell, was brought from South Carolina to Tennessee. A dozen or so family members of all ages were hanging on Taylor's every word, and you could see how much the information meant to them.
That story; the one about the tender photo of Lafayette Cox, an African-American man, holding the little boy of the family he worked for; and the story of Sarah Jones, a young woman who had never met her father, were my favorites.

You can watch the Nashville episode of Genealogy Roadshow online.

I can't wait to see next week's show, set in Detroit!

Do your own genealogy detective work to sort out family stories with help from Family History Detective: A Step-By-Step Guide to Tracing Your Family History and  The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors.



African-American roots | Genealogy TV | Research Tips
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:04:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Friday, September 20, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 16-20
Posted by Diane

  • The National Genealogical Society is conducting a survey for those who've attended one of its conferences, purchased one of its publications or signed up for one of its courses. Both members and nonmembers are invited to respond. You can take the survey here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage
Friday, September 20, 2013 3:46:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 18, 2013
"Genealogy Roadshow" Sept. 23 Debut Investigates Family Stories in Nashville
Posted by Diane

I've already told my husband he's kicked out of the family room for Monday night football next week: That's when the new "Genealogy Roadshow" premieres on PBS.

This four-episode series has hosts Kenyatta Berry and D. Joshua Taylor revealing the truth behind participants' family stories in front of a live audience, which should bring a fun energy to the show. (I chuckled at this take on the Genealogy Roadshow format.)

Monday's episode was filmed at the Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tenn. One guest is David Miles Vaughn, who's been doing genealogy for five years and wants to know if his family is really related to Davy Crockett—a tale he'd always heard growing up.

Genealogy Roadshow premieres Monday, Sept. 23, at 9/8 Central on PBS. Future episodes are set in San Francisco, Detroit, and Austin, Texas.


Genealogy TV
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:31:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Is Your Family History Archive Ready for a Disaster?
Posted by Diane

My current family disaster plan is this:
  1. Remember where in the house the kids are.
  2. Run to get them.
  3. Yell for husband and dog.
  4. Leave house (or run to basement, depending what's coming).
  5. Grab purse on the way out.
Notice there's no room for photos or genealogy in this procedure. Most of that stuff backed up online, although for a lot of it, I'd have to look up where to retrieve it. And it sure would be nice, once people and pets are safe, to be able to save our important family papers and photos.

But let's face it: "Do the dishes or we'll be forced to eat cereal with our fingers" trumps "Prepare family papers for a terrible disaster that with any luck won't ever happen" on my to-do list.



Seeing the recent devastating floods in Colorado and fires in California has made me reconsider this non-plan for my family history materials. Before the end of the year, I want to 
  • organize my paper research, documents and photos in one place (using these hints from our interview with Eric Pourchot of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works)

  • digitize everything that can be digitized (hear scanning tips from Family Curator Denise Levenick in this Family Tree Magazine Podcast)

  • make sure it's all backed up and easily accessible

  • share everything with family so multiple copies exist
Would you like to take similar steps to protect your family archive? Our Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit can show you (and me) how to do it. It includes:
  • our Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar with Denise Levenick (it takes place Sept. 25, and you'll receive the webinar recording even if you can't attend the Sept. 25 presentation)
  • How to Archive Family Keepsakes book by Denise Levenick
  • Genealogy in the Cloud how-to article
The Genealogist's Disaster Preparedness Kit is on sale for September, which is National Preparedness Month.

You also can just register for the Disaster Preparedness for Genealogists webinar here.


saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:07:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, September 16, 2013
Can Your DNA Reveal Where Your Ancestors Came From?
Posted by Diane

One of the caveats of genetic genealogy testing has been that you get only a general idea of where in the world your roots are, such as "British Isles," "Scandinavian" or "West African." (Labels and specificity vary with the testing company and the test you choose.) And the ethnicity estimates you do get can have a significant margin of error.

That could be changing. "The AncestryDNA science team is looking toward a future where we could reveal, in the absence of a family tree, the most probable locations where one’s ancestors lived," writes population geneticist Julie Granka on AncestryDNA's Tech Roots blog.

About 6,000 AncestryDNA customers received a preview last week of a new ethnicity estimate that more-accurately calculates the person's ethnicity based on 26 reference populations around the world.  (The new, finer-resolution estimate works with a customer's existing results, so no new testing is needed.)

Granka's post reveals one example of the more-specific analysis: Her team has been able to separate ancestry from West Africa into six population groups based on genetic data. 

Previously, someone with African-American ancestry might learn they have genetic origins somewhere within the green bubble on the left (this image is from the Tech Roots blog, and used with permission). The new analysis can narrow those roots to one of the six colored bubbles on the right.



Those new ethnicity regions of West Africa are Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast/Ghana, Benin/Togo, Nigeria, and Cameroon/Congo, each of which has a distinct set of tribal affiliations.

West Africa was the main source of the slave trade to America. This finding provides a new genealogy research path for African-Americans who've been unable to find records of enslaved ancestors.

Here's another example of the ethnicity estimate update:On the Genetic Genealogist blog, Blaine Bettinger shows you a comparison of his old and new AncestryDNA estimates.

You'll know you're one of the lucky 6,000 AncestryDNA customers if you see an orange button that says "New! Ethnicity estimate preview" on your DNA results page. AncestryDNA will roll out the new ethnicity estimate to remaining customers over the next few months.

Bettinger recently presented our Intro to DNA Crash Course webinar to help you figure out how to use genetic genealogy to uncover your family history and get over research brick walls. Check out the webinar in ShopFamilyTree.com.



Ancestry.com | Genetic Genealogy | Webinars
Monday, September 16, 2013 10:42:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, September 13, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 9-13
Posted by Diane

  • Researching today (Sept. 13) or Monday at the US National Archives? This notice just appeared on the Archives' facebook page:

    "The 3:30 records pull for today (September 13) has been canceled due to significant staffing issues stemming from a problem relating to payroll activities at 22 Federal agencies nationwide.

    While we are making every effort to contain these problems, there is some possibility the afternoon pull scheduled for Monday, September 16, may be affected. We will advise you of the situation as we receive information.
    "
  • More (and happier) National Archives news: If you happen to be in the Washington, DC, area this month, maybe you can catch one of the National Archives' free genealogy workshops. Sessions include the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act (Sept. 17), Gold Star Mothers (Sept. 18), Using National Archives Online Resources (Sept. 19), Anti-Tax Petitions from the Civil War to the New Deal (Sept. 21), and more. For more information, go to NARA's DC-area events page and scroll down.
  • Still more National Archives news: NARA is opening the David M. Rubenstein Gallery "Records of Rights" exhibition on Nov. 8, and invites you to help select the first original landmark document to be featured in the exhibit. You can vote online for one of five documents by visiting the Records of Rights Vote web page.

  • Ancestry.com has released Family Tree Maker 2014 for Windows. Updates include a new family view, improved TreeSync (which synchronizes your tree int eh software with your online Ancestry Member Tree), organizational tools that let you sort children by birth order and view people by location, more options for charts and reports, the ability to export a single branch of your tree, more editing options, and improved merging.
You can download Family Tree Maker 2014 or get it on CD. (PS: Family Tree Magazine is not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software or with Ancestry.com. We hear this question often, so I just wanted to answer it for you in case you were about to ask.)
  • This week, FamilySearch added more than 352,000 indexed records to the free collections at FamilySearch.org. Records come from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the United States, and include Czech Republic censuses, Hungary civil registrations, Polish Catholic church records and the US Social Security Death Index. View the full list of updates and click through to search these collections here.


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Software | Libraries and Archives | NARA
Friday, September 13, 2013 2:54:13 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 12, 2013
What Genealogists Love About the Virtual Genealogy Conference
Posted by Diane

Trying to decide whether to register for the Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference taking place this weekend?

Maybe these folks can help:



The Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference starts Friday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. ET and goes until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.  Register now!

Family Tree University | Genealogy Events
Thursday, September 12, 2013 4:46:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Wednesday, September 11, 2013
What Will You Learn at the Virtual Genealogy Conference, Sept. 13-15?
Posted by Diane

Our Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference is just two days away! Here are two minutes of a few of the genealogy lessons in store for conference participants:




See the Virtual Genealogy Conference program of video classes and live chats here. It all happens this weekend, Sept. 13-15, on a computer near you.


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Videos
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:18:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
'WDYTYA?" Will Return to TLC in 2014
Posted by Diane

"Who Do You Think You Are?" watchers, rejoice—the genealogy series has been renewed for a second season TLC. The network has ordered 10 episodes, an increase over this season's eight.

The celebrities haven't been announced. Which celebrities would you like to see on "Who Do You Think You Are?" in 2014?

Last night's WDYTYA? season finale showed "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons' search for his French roots in Louisiana and in France. Among his ancestors were a Medical College of Louisiana-trained physician and an architect to King Louis XV.

Don't be sad—your genealogy TV-watching isn't over for the year. We still have four episodes of the new series "Genealogy Roadshow" coming up on PBS, starting Monday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. It'll explore noncelebrities' family history claims and reveal the answers before a live audience.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:59:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
Jim Parsons on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Surname Meanings and Origins
Posted by Diane

Last night on "Who Do You Think You Are?", Jim Parsons (that's him on the right) learned that his great-grandmother's Hacker surname is French.



Hacker is on the Acadian Memorial Archive's list of common Creole surnames. I kind of wish the genealogist at the Louisiana Historical Center in New Orleans had gone into the surname etymology a few seconds more. Ancestry.com's last name meaning search (which provides definitions from the Dictionary of American Family Names by Oxford University Press) says Hacker is German, Dutch or Jewish

My guess (after finding a bunch of online articles about computer hacking in France) is that the name is variant of Hacher, from the French word for "chop"—perhaps an occupational surname for a woodcutter.

We at Family Tree Magazine get a fair number of questions about "Where does my last name come from?" and the answer isn't always easy.

You can hear some surnames and know immediately they're German (take my Depenbrocks) or Italian (such as Fiorelli) or whatever, but others are more ambiguous. And it could be that your surname is a variant of the original name, or an Americanized spelling your immigrant ancestor adopted after arriving here. Our contributing editor Nancy Hendrickson gives her Shore family name as an example: She always thought it was English, but it's actually a variation of a Swiss name, Schorr.

Want to know where your last name comes from? See our seven surname research tips on FamilyTreeMagazine.com (free article).

Also check out ShopFamilyTree.com surname resources such as the book American Surnames by Elsdon Coles Smith or The Surnames of Wales by John and Sheila Rowlands.

You can improve your online genealogy searching for ancestors' names with Lisa Louise Cooke's Google Surname Search Secrets video class.

Watch the full "Who Do You Think You Are?" episode with "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons on the show's website.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Ancestry.com | Celebrity Roots | Research Tips
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:32:21 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 10, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Ends the Season With a "Big Bang"
Posted by Diane

Tonight, TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" ends its TV season with a bang—a Big Bang, that is, in an episode featuring "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons (see what I did there?). He plays Sheldon Cooper, a portrayal often credited for the sitcom's success.

In this preview of tonight's WDYTYA?, Parsons sounds like any other getting-started family historian. He says he wants to learn more about his genealogy to honor the memory of his father, and that someone—he can't remember who—told him the family has French roots and a Louisiana connection.

You can watch Parsons on WDYTYA? tonight on TLC at 9/8 Central.

Update: See my post-watching post about Jim Parsons' "Who Do You Think You Are?" epsiode here.


"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:43:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, September 06, 2013
Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 2-6
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch has added 260,000 genealogy records and images from Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand and the United States to the free collections at FamilySearch.org. You can see the list of updated collections and click through to each one here. (If there's a 0 in the Indexed Records column for the collection you need, that set isn't searchable. Instead, you'll have to browse to find records for your family.)


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy societies | UK and Irish roots
Friday, September 06, 2013 2:12:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
FamilySearch, Ancestry.com Team Up To Put 1 Billion International Genealogy Records Online
Posted by Diane

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have announced a new long-term strategic agreement that'll bring you a billion international genealogical records.

According to the announcement, "The two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault. ... Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch."

(FamilySearch's Granite Mountain Records Vault is the storage facility for master copies of records the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has microfilmed over the years.)

It sounds like Ancestry.com will put up the necessary funds, and FamilySearch will provide volunteers for digitizing and/or indexing. It makes sense to me: As Ancestry.com tries to expand its global reach, it can utilize the record-duplication work that's already been done. And FamilySearch can speed up its project to digitize its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.

The announcement was short on details such what record collections would be digitized first or how and where the records and indexes would be accessible.

Past Ancestry.com/FamilySearch partnerships have resulted in varying arrangements. For example, in 2003 the organizations integrated FamilySearch's free 1880 census index with record images at Ancestry.com. Today, you can search free indexes at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. FamilySearch's results link to record images at Ancestry.com (the 1880 census images are currently free on Ancestry.com, which as far as I can tell wasn't part of the original agreement).

A 2008 agreement to exchange FamilySearch's high-quality images for select US censuses and Ancestry.com's indexes for those censuses resulted in free indexes on FamilySearch.org, which link to record images on Ancestry.com. The images are viewable to Ancestry.com subscribers and on FamilySearch Center computers.

Read the full announcement about this new agreement on Ancestry.com. We'll keep you updated on related developments.

Update: Here's an announcement from FamilySearch about the partnership with Ancestry.com. It links to a Q&A that addresses such issues as "what's in it for FamilySearch volunteers" and "will there be a fee to see indexed records."


Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy Industry | International Genealogy
Friday, September 06, 2013 9:54:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, September 05, 2013
Finding the *Right* Ancestor: Tips From the Virtual Genealogy Conference, Sept. 13-15
Posted by Diane

So, there's just over a week left until the start of our Family Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference, taking place Sept. 13-15, and I'd hate for you to miss your chance to register!

The 16 video classes, six live chats and lively message board discussions are aimed at helping you research more efficiently and accurately, find "problem" ancestors, and discover your ethnic roots.

For example, take D. Joshua Taylor's presentation "Same Name, Same Place: How to Tell It’s Your Ancestor." He'll show you how to use strategies and tips such as:
  • List all the spelling variations of an ancestor's name. You could record the birth (or baptismal) name as the "official" name, then use an alternate information or notes section of your software or charts to record the other names.
  • If two same-named men live in a town and you're not sure which records are your ancestor's, set up a table to compare the men's identifying information—birth, death and marriage dates and places; family members' names; occupations; addresses; etc.
  • Create a timeline of all the records you've found for an ancestor. You might note, for example, that he hadn't yet arrived in the United States to be listed in the 1850 census, so those records probably aren't for the same guy.
  • Land and tax records can help you sort out two people of the same name, because both won't own the same property or be taxed on the same things.
  • Female ancestor red flag: Some names were so common (hello, Mary and Anna!) that a man might've had two spouses with the same first name, leaving future family historians to assume they were one woman. If you notice a large gap in children's ages, a wife giving birth at an unlikely age, or her age and other details suddenly changing in records, look for evidence of a previous or subsequent marriage for her husband.
See the program of video classes and chats on our Virtual Genealogy Conference website.

I love that you can attend this conference from home—forget about travel expenses, hotel stays, missing work and packing your sensible shoes.

You'll view classes and network on the message boards (folks ask and answer research questions, post their surnames, share favorite ancestors and more) whenever it's convenient over the conference weekend.

Live chats are scheduled, though attendees who miss one can still get the transcript. AND you get a swag bag of genealogy freebies from ShopFamilyTree.com.

Click here to learn more and register for the Virtual Genealogy Conference. I hope to "see" you there!


Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:37:31 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 04, 2013
"Who Do You Think You Are?": Researching British Convict Ancestors
Posted by Diane

On "Who Do You Think You Are?" last night, country singer and cookbook author Trisha Yearwood learned her orphaned, impoverished fifth-great-grandfather was convicted of stealing and killing deer from an estate in 1760s England.

But instead of being hanged—then the lawful punishment for this crime—he was transported to Britain's American Colonies. There, he received land that once belonged to the Creek Indians, and his fortunes eventually reversed.


Here's Yearwood viewing that land, along with historian Joshua S. Haines.

Though early American historians downplayed the presence of former British convicts in their midst, it's now estimated that more than 52,000 immigrants to the 13 Colonies from 1700 to 1775 were convicts and prisoners.

(The same article points out that African slaves and indentured servants also were a significant proportion of arrivals; only about a quarter of the era's immigrants traveled here of their own will.)

If your British roots go back to a convict, see our free FamilyTreeMagazine.com article about online genealogy resources for British convicts, such as records from the Old Bailey in London and Scotland's Inverary Jail, as well as the UK national archives' prison photos.

For researching British ancestors in general—whether or not they were convicts—check out our Ultimate British Genealogy Collection of how-to guides and video courses on uncovering your family's records. It's 60% off right now in ShopFamilyTree.com, but only 100 are available! 

You can watch the full "Who Do You Think You Are?" Trisha Yearwood episode online.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | Research Tips | UK and Irish roots
Wednesday, September 04, 2013 10:16:37 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Tonight on "Who Do You Think You Are?": Trisha Yearwood
Posted by Diane

Tonight is genealogy TV night once again: Country music star and cookbook author Trisha Yearwood, a native of Monticello, Ga., traces her roots on TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" at 9/8 central.

Yearwood visits the Nashville Public Library to search for information on her father's side of the family. She'll also go to England, but not to trace royal lineage, as Cindy Crawford did in last week's episode.

Instead, as TLC describes Yearwood's search, "she uncovers an ancestor’s history of crime, loss, and perseverance."



Here, she combs through a document with historian James Horn at the National Archives of England.

In case your evening involves other plans or you don't have cable, TLC has been posting "Who Do You Think You Are?" episodes on the show's website after they air.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, September 03, 2013 11:39:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]