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Friday, January 31, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 27-31
Posted by Diane
- Arphax Publishing has updated its HistoryGeo online historical maps
subscription service with new map-viewing tools and new
content, including The First Landowners Project (nearly 8 million
original landowners) and the Antique Maps Project (more than 4,000
maps from around the United States). HistoryGeo also has a new blog, training videos,
and a surname search
to help people use the site. (Anyone can run a surname search to see
if your family surnames occur on any of the site's maps, though you
must subscribe to view details on the matches.)
- A new website that combines family history mapping and social media,
Place My Past, has made
updates including easier finding historical maps for a place you're
viewing, ability to embed maps onto your blog or website, and the
ability to overlay data (such as historical boundaries) onto your
maps. You can upload a GEDCOM and view the main map as a free
member. Subscribers can upload and annotate maps, connect with other
members and more. See
a comparison of member and subscriber benefits here.
- If you have a tree on MyHeritage and you find a MyHeritage record
for a relative not yet in your tree, you now can add the relative to
your tree directly from the record (instead of going to your tree,
adding the relative, then going back to the record and extracting
information into the new profile). See
how to do this on the MyHeritage Blog.
- Do you plan to attend and blog about the National Genealogical
Society (NGS) 2014 Family History Conference, May 7-10 in Richmond,
Va.? NGS has opened its Official
Blogger and Social Media Press registration. Accepted social
media press will receive a press kit at registration, access to the
Press table, and limited license to use the conference official
social media designation and logo. Social Media Press Registration
closes Feb. 21, and those accepted will be notified by March 1.
Genealogy Events | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 31, 2014 10:45:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Free: Watch 15 RootsTech Conference Sessions Live From Home
Posted by Diane
genealogy conference happening Thursday through Saturday
of next week in Salt Lake City, has announced the 15 sessions you
can watch online for free.
I won't reprint the entire live-stream session schedule here because
it's already on the
FamilySearch website, but below are some that I especially
want to watch from my desk, and why. (I'll be here at the office
while my intrepid colleagues Allison Dolan and Tyler Moss represent
Family Tree University
in booth #927.)
Thursday, 10:30 -11:30 a.m. MT, Top 10 Things I Learned
About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps, because who
doesn't want to be able to do genealogy from the sofa?
- Friday, Feb. 7, 1-2 p.m. MT, Tweets, Links, Pins, and
Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media
by Lisa A. Alzo. Social media is a resource I don't use much for
genealogy, but it's a great way to crowdsource questions.
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. MT, Become an iPad
Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke. Although I don't have an
iPad (we're an Android family), I'd love to increase my app
- Saturday, Feb. 8, 1-2 p.m. MT, Information Overload:
Managing Online Searches and Their Results by Josh Taylor,
because sometimes the problem isn't how to search, it's how to
work through all those results, decide which ones merit further
evaluation, and know when to stop looking at them.
I'm a little disappointed the keynotes aren't on the list. I wanted
to see Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer
Woman, so you all will have to tell me about her talk.
- Saturday, 5-6 p.m. MT, Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your
Sleep by Deborah Gamble. Funny how my list starts with the
couch and ends with sleep.
You can watch the sessions at RootsTech.org;
the video player will be right on the home page. All the session
times are Mountain time, and because you're watching live, you need
to translate them into your own time zone.
I'll be keeping a close eye on the RootsTech conference and
reporting the news from here, so stay tuned!
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:32:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Free and Low-Cost Software to Retouch Damaged Family Photos
Posted by Diane
If you're looking to scan and digitally repair old, faded and
torn family photos, we
have a webinar coming up that'll show you how to do it.
But first, you'll need photo-editing software so you can make the
repairs. Good news: You can find good software for free.
See what photo-editing software might be already on your computer. Windows
Live Photo Gallery, for example, lets you do basic retouching
and adjust exposure and color.
If you want to see what else is out there, look for free photo-editing software you can download. According to Gizmodo, Adobe
is giving away an older version of its Photoshop software along
with the Adobe Creative Suite (CS) 2. This version is suitable for
most genealogy needs with tools
such as Clone, Brightness/Contrast, and color balance. You do have to sign up for an Adobe account to
download it, and Macs will need OSX 10.2.8 to 10.3.8, or the
"translator" program Rosetta.
Update: Unfortunately, it sounds like this offer is only for
previous Photoshop owners. Thanks to the commenters who created an Adobe
account, made this discovery and reported back here. (One also recommended Irfanview.)
Want other options for retouching old photos? Gizmodo lists
10 free photo-editors here. One of them is Google's Picasa, which we used for our
step-by-step guide to fixing faded, spotted and creased pictures and for the photo above.
A relatively low-cost photo-editing software option that gives you a
lot of functionality is Photoshop
Elements, a "light" version of Photoshop.
and Retouching for Genealogists webinar, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
(6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT) will show you what apps and
programs are available for photo-editing on your computer and mobile
device, how to retouch photos, and more. Check
it out in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Photos | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | Webinars
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:25:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 24, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 20-24
Posted by Diane
- British subscription and pay-per-view genealogy site Origins.net now
has record images and searchable indexes to the entire 1901
census for England and Wales. The site already has the 1841,
1861 and 1871 censuses. It will add the1851, 1881 and 1891 censuses
in the coming months, to cover the full range of censuses from 1841
to 1901. Search
the 1901 census here and the
rest of the census collection here.
- The University of Texas at Austin is digitizing and preserving more
than 800,000 documents and photographs from the Central Lunatic
Asylum for Colored Insane, a mental institution for
African-Americans founded in Petersburg, Va., in 1870. Next up is
finding resources to put the images online. It sounds like documents
with individuals' names would have limited access, with more
availability for papers such as annual reports. Read
more on UT's alumni magazine website.
- The Department of Defense signed a $5 million agreement with T3Media to digitize thousands
of historical photos, many discovered in obscure places on base or
offices that are closed or relocated. T3Media will have a limited
period during which the can charge for access to the images (those
inside the Department of Defense will get free access). Read
more on Defense.gov.
African-American roots | Civil War | FamilySearch | Historic preservation | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 24, 2014 2:16:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Why FamilySearch.org Searches Don't Cover All the Site's Records & How to Find Collections You Need
Posted by Diane
When you search the free
genealogy records on FamilySearch.org, what you might not know
is that your search doesn't cover all the digitized records on the
That's because FamilySearch starts adding collections to the site
even before they're fully indexed and searchable, in the interest of
letting researchers access those records right away. And in one of
the 16 video classes in our Winter
2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference (Feb. 28-March 2), Rick
Crume will show you tricks for finding what you need faster in these
unindexed and partially indexed record sets.
How do you find those browse-only databases in the first place?
Follow these steps:
1. Go to FamilySearch's Browse All
Published Collections page. It looks like this, with all 1,709 collections displayed alphabetically in the middle, and filtering options on the left:
2. From the Place filters on the left, select a region, country,
state or other geographic division. Subfilters may then let you drill down to a state, province or country. The collections list will change
to show only titles associated with the place specified.
3. Additional filters let you view collections from a specific time
period or of a specific type (military, probate and court, etc.).
If you regularly check here for new titles (like I do), click the
Last Updated column heading at the top right to see the most recently updated
collections listed first.
(You also could use the Filter by Collection Name field at the top left to search for words in collection titles, but this might miss
collections not titled as you'd expect.)
A camera icon next to the database title means results are linked to
digitized record images. A Browse Images link in the Records column
means the collection isn’t indexed at all. Some databases are
partially indexed, so you still may need to browse to find a record.
Click on a collection name for a brief description of it, a link to
details about the records in the collection, a link to search the
records (if they're at least partially indexed), and a link to
browse through the collection.
here to see a list of all the video presentations and online chats
you get with our Winter 2014 Virtual Genealogy Conference.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:07:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Ancestry.com to Add 1 Billion International Records From FamilySearch
Posted by Diane
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have expanded their September
2013 agreement to put 1 billion never-before-published international
genealogy records online over the next five years.
The expanded agreement will put another billion records from 67
countries on Ancestry.com. These records, provided by FamilySearch, are
already digitized and will be added to Ancestry.com over the next
few months. The additional collections include more than 1 billion
digitized and indexed records and over 200 million images containing
birth, marriage, death, census and church records from Europe, Latin
America, South Africa, South America, Asia and more.
FamilySearch has a similar agreement with MyHeritage, in which
MyHeritage.com searches return matches from FamilySearch record
In the September agreement, Ancestry.com is investing more than $60
million to digitize microfilmed international records from the
You can read the full press release on GeneaPress.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 3:28:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 17, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 13-17
Posted by Diane
- The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched a
blog called Vita Brevis ("life
is short") that will share genealogy expertise and news from NEHGS
editor-in-chief Scott C. Steward and other staff. It's a great
chance to get an inside look at NEHGS research projects, family
stories and research strategies.
- The Southern California Genealogical Society announced its 45th
annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 6 to 8 in
Burbank, Calif. It'll be preceded on June 5 by the daylong Family
History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2014 conference. Learn more about both
events at the Jamboree website.
Friday, January 17, 2014 2:03:29 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Genealogists Mourn Incinerated Records in Franklin County, NC
Posted by Diane
When genealogists talk about "burned records," we usually mean a
courthouse fire that happened accidentally or during a Civil War battle.
But the term has taken on a new meaning in Franklin County, NC, where
thousands of historical records, long-forgotten in the courthouse
basement, were systematically incinerated last month. As word gets out, genealogists
and historians across the country are expressing their shock on social media (see links to bloggers' reports below).
Here's the short version of what happened:
Last May, a new county clerk discovered the records in a state of
disarray in the basement, along with assorted trash,
mold and water damage. The local heritage society
formed a plan to inventory and preserve the records, lined up volunteers, and secured the
necessary funds and space. Members had started the work when they were ordered to stop and wait for further
instruction. At some point officials from the state archives and
various county departments were allowed to remove an unknown number
On Friday, Dec. 6, after the end of the workday and without notice
to anyone, a crew in hazmat suits cleared out the basement and
burned the records in the local animal shelter's incinerator.
Explanations from local officials have mentioned
hazardous mold, privacy concerns, official record retention
schedules, and possibly others I've missed in reading articles and
blog posts. The county manager, who authorized the incineration, has promised a written
What was lost? No one was able to do a complete inventory of the
but examples of the basement's contents include an 1890s naturalization document, 1890s chattel
mortgages, post-Civil War to Prohibition-era court dockets, and a
letter from a WWI soldier serving abroad asking the court to make
sure his sister and his estate were looked after.
Several bloggers are following these events and the backlash in
She's also posting about media
coverage and public response.
- Renate at Into the Light is a member
of the Franklin County Heritage Society who witnessed the
records being carried out of the courthouse basement to be
her story and see photos.
court records | Genealogy societies | Historic preservation | Public Records
Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:48:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
My Genealogy Organization Score: C
Posted by Diane
In light of our Organize
Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop (happening Jan.
24-31, and see below for a chance to win a registration), I thought it would be fitting to show you my genealogy
First, there's this:
When I started researching genealogy, I printed or photocopied all
the records I found. I still get the occasional record on paper (which I scan). For
these, I have binders. One for my dad's side, one for my mom's, and
one for my husband's family.
I have another small file of "stuff," such as papers from a great-aunt,
receipts for my mom's school books when she was little, and my
It's all jumbled together and needs organization
and better storage containers.
Most records I get now are in digital form. How can I put this? I won't even show you. Some of it's on our laptop computer, some of it's on our desktop, and some of it's attached to emails waiting to be filed. Some things are in two or three places.
My plan is to get all my digital files onto one computer. I've been
pretty good about updating my tree online and attaching records, so
at least the information is in an organized form. (From my "In Case I Get Hit by a Bus" to-do list, I do need to share my password with a genealogy-minded someone.)
As for my research log ... well, I need to be better about pausing
in my research to update my to-do list. I've been using Evernote,
but I want to see whether I'll be more consistent if I use a Google
So I give myself a C when it comes to genealogy organization. How
about you? Could you use some help keeping track of what
genealogy information you have and what you need, and putting it into
some kind of order that makes sense?
The aforementioned Organize
Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop has on-demand
webinars and video classes, written lessons, and expert advice from
To Archive Family Keepsakes author Denise May Levenick via the
conference message board (also a good place for sharing tips with
We're giving away a free registration to the Organize Your Genealogy in a Week Workshop! Click here to enter your name before Jan. 21 at 11:59 ET.
The workshop is Jan. 24-31 at FamilyTreeUniversity.com—check it out here.
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1:05:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 10, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, Jan. 6-10
Posted by Diane
- A new, free online archive called Ireland's Memorial Records
lets you search information from printed volumes naming 49,000 Irish
soldiers who died during World War I. The database is a partnership
of the Irish government, Google-Europe and the In Flanders Field
Museum. Search it here.
- FamilySearch has unveiled a new FamilySearch Indexing
website, which looks more consistent with FamilySearch.org and
better integrates with that site.
- Early bird pricing for FamilySearch's
RootsTech conference has been extended to Monday, Jan. 27. Register
FamilySearch will live stream a selection of (as-yet-unannounced)
presentations from the conference, taking place Feb. 6-8
in Salt Lake City. You can watch live on the conference website (Salt Lake
City is on Mountain Time, so be sure to translate session times into
your local time). After the conference, you'll be able to watch
recordings of the videos on the
- Beginning Saturday, Jan. 11, the Texas State Library and Archives
in Austin has expanded its hours to include the second Saturday of
each month, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4:45
p.m., Monday through Friday.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Libraries and Archives | Military records | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 10, 2014 2:58:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Setting and Achieving Your Genealogy Goals in 2014
Posted by Diane
You probably have a few genealogy tasks you'd like to accomplish in
2014—specific records to request, lines to trace, stuff to organize,
photos and letters to scan, stories to share. Writing down these genealogy goals
makes it a commitment. It's the first step to making them happen.
Another step is gathering the knowledge you need to follow through.
That's where our Achieve
Your 2014 Genealogy Goals Premium Collection can help with
tools including our desktop calendar, How To Archive Family
Keepsakes book, Time Management for Genealogists course and
2013 Family Tree Magazine Annual CD.
For inspiration as you spell out your 2014 genealogy goals, take a
look at what these bloggers want to accomplish this year:
Your 2014 Genealogy Goals Premium Collection is available only
in January, and only as long as our limited supply lasts, so check
it out now in ShopFamilyTree.com.
at Nick Gombash's Genealogy Blog: write more, apply for
membership in several military-related lineage organizations,
focus research efforts on Polish families from two places with
hard-to-access records, and others
Thursday, January 09, 2014 10:38:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Four Ways I've Found German Ancestors' Birthplaces
Posted by Diane
Finding a birth place for your ancestors from Europe is the
genealogical Holy Grail, because it opens up the possibility of
finding overseas records, particularly church records.
For German ancestors, our German
Genealogy Crash Course webinar next Thursday, Jan. 16, has
information about resources that can help you trace your roots back
to Germany. It also gives attendees a chance to ask questions of
presenter James M. Beidler.
In case any of you are ready to throw in the towel on finding your ancestor's place of birth, I wanted to share the places I
found birthplace information (unexpectedly, in a couple of
- My fourth-great-grandfather Edward Thoss was a founding member
of the Covington (Ky.) German Pioneer Society, which I was
surprised to discover on
the Kenton County Public Library website through a Google search. The overview
there gives his birthplace as
Langenweisendorf, Schleiz. The library has a 25th anniversary
book, published in 1902, which lists "Langenweizendorf
I believe this should be Langenwetzendorf.
- My third-great-grandfather Joseph Ladenkotter immigrated in
1836 from Rheine, in the district of Steinfurt. I discovered this from the Passenger and Immigration
Lists Index, 1500s-1900s (it's in print at many
libraries, or search
it on Ancestry.com), which in turn led me to a list of
emigrants called Auswanderungen aus dem Kreis Steinfurt
(Emigration From the County Steinfurt) by Freidrich Ernst
Hunsche. I searched WorldCat
and found this publication at the Allen County
Public Library, so I ordered copies
through the Genealogy Center 's Quick Search service.
- The obituary of my third-great-grandmother (Joseph's wife)
Anna Maria Weyer, printed in the German-language Cincinnati
Volksfreund newspaper, gave her birthplace in Schapen. (The alphabet chart in our German
Genealogy Cheat Sheet helped me read it.)
For a couple of other families, I've had luck by finding people I'm
related to and contacting them about their research. Here's a map of
birthplaces I've found so far. That cluster in northwest Germany is my Cincinnati ancestors; Edward Thoss is the one in the bottom right corner.
- My great-great-grandfather H.A. Seeger was born in Steinfeld, as noted in his 1907 passport application, which I
Ancestry.com. I had no idea he ever traveled overseas, so
this was a thrilling find.
Besides the German Genealogy Crash Course webinar, we also have a
couple of seats left in Family Tree University's German
Genealogy 101 online course. It's starting this week, though,
so you should register ASAP.
Family Tree University | German roots | Webinars
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:04:56 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Friday, January 03, 2014
Your First Genealogy News Corral of 2014
Posted by Diane
This is a catch-up genealogy news corral—aside from a day spent at
the Kenton County (Ky.)
Public Library and the Cincinnati History Library
and Archives, I didn't do much genealogy over Christmas and
New Year's. Here's a summary of what's been happening in the
- Family Tree DNA announced it has fully integrated X-chromosome
matching into Family Finder, its autosomal DNA test. On their
matches page, Family Finder test-takers can use a filter to
display only X-chromosome matches, or X-Matches. You'll find a
good explanation of this feature, and a link to more information
on X-chromosome inheritance patterns, on
the DNAeXplained blog.
- The National Genealogical Society has issued a call for papers
for its 2015 family history conference in St. Charles, Mo. (just
down the road from of my college stomping grounds in St.
Louis). If you're interested in lecturing at the
out the guidelines on the NGS website and mark the April 2
submission deadline on your calendar.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | Genealogy Software | UK and Irish roots
Friday, January 03, 2014 3:03:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Genealogy Research Identifies Faces in Historic Murals
Posted by Diane
Genealogy detective work and crowdsourcing, led by our local Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper,
a hometown history mystery: the identity of factory workers in
16 huge mosaic murals in Cincinnati's Union Terminal train
station, now the home of local history museums and the Cincinnati History Library
and Archives. (Fourteen of the murals were moved to the
airport when the train
station concourse was demolished, and nine of those will be
moved again, when the airport terminal they're in is demolished.)
The murals, created by Winold Reiss in 1933, depict industrial
scenes of unnamed workers in unnamed factories. The main part of the
article tells how the newspaper, with help from local
history buffs and readers, identified the workers using the
artist's reference photos, Union Terminal financial records,
genealogical records, interviews, and nearly 3,000 emailed
Of course I turned to the worker profiles right away in hopes of
finding a relative. I didn't, but it was fascinating to read about
each man and the work he did, and to compare his image in the mural
to the reference photo. You
can read their stories and see the murals and photos here.
Thursday, January 02, 2014 11:58:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
How to Start the Day Right: Coffee and Genealogy
Posted by Diane
The promise of hot coffee was about the only thing that made me drag
myself out of bed before dawn this morning, with three inches of
snow on the ground and more falling as I got ready for my first day
back at work after the holidays.
But I've been looking forward to showing you what my thoughtful
husband gave me for Christmas:
That's the 1860 census with the household of my
third-great-grandparents Edward and Elizabeth (Butler) Norris on the
coffee mug, and several photos and records from research on my
Haddad side on the mousepad.
To make them, Greg sneaked into my digital files and uploaded several
images to a photo-gift website. He even used the file name of the
census record to make sure the right family was displayed.
I hope you're starting the year with genealogy inspiration around
you. Happy New Year!
Thursday, January 02, 2014 10:36:01 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
10 Genealogy Resolutions for 2014
Posted by Diane
In January, we at Family Tree Magazine typically note an uptick in
family history interest, perhaps a result of holiday nostalgia and
If you're feeling inspired to preserve family
memories or kick your genealogy research into a higher gear, we
suggest making (and keeping) a few of the following resolutions in
You could resolve to:
- Scan old family photos and other mementos, and share them
with relatives. Be specific—resolve to scan one item every
Saturday, for example. How
to Archive Family Keepsakes has instructions for
digitizing and organizing old photos and other family treasures.
- Set up a genealogy research log and to-do list database using
a cloud service such as Evernote or Google Drive, and faithfully maintain
it to streamline your genealogy workflow.
- Organize your records—on your computer and in your file
a way that makes sense for the way you research. Schedule
30 minutes once a week or once a month to file accumulated
papers. (For serious assistance, consider our Organize
Your Genealogy Independent Study Course Download.)
- Finally call great-aunt Betty and ask to talk about your family history.
- Pick a family and, for each place they lived, run a place
search of the Family History Library online catalog.
Records that are digitized on the free FamilySearch.org will be
linked. Otherwise, order promising film online for viewing at a
nearby FamilySearch Center.
- Commit an hour or so a week to volunteering for a records
indexing project. Try FamilySearch
Indexing or Ancestry.com’s World Archives
Project, or see if your local library or historical
society could use your indexing assistance.
- Join a genealogical society for your hometown or
for a place where your ancestor lived.
- Reach out to other genealogy researchers online through genealogy
message boards, blogging,
posting an online tree, or using a social networking site such
as Facebook or Google+. If you
find someone with common research interests, propose a research
- Start a family history tradition: Institute an old family
recipe night, for example, celebrate an ancestor's birthday, or
make an annual day trip to the family hometown.
- Start writing your family history. Take it one ancestor at a
time. Our intensive eight-week Write
Your Family History online course will get you well on
your way, or start smaller with the prompts in our
It would be a lot to keep all of these resolutions, so think about what you
really want to accomplish this year.
Once you make your resolutions, you'll find the how-to help you need to follow through in
Tree Magazine and at ShopFamilyTree.com,
and you can post genealogy questions to our Facebook page
or email them to me.
Research Tips | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 9:50:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)