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Monday, June 30, 2014
Ancestry.com and ProQuest Expand Partnership to Provide Genealogy Databases at Libraries
Posted by Diane
Subscription genealogy website Ancestry.com
and library database service ProQuest
their partnership to deliver genealogy resources to libraries
Under the companies' new, multi-year agreement, ProQuest will
distribute both Ancestry Library Edition and future Ancestry.com
ProQuest already distributes Ancestry Library Edition, a version
of Ancestry.com patrons can use for free on-site at subscribing
libraries. Ancestry Library Edition has most of the
collections found on Ancestry.com; exceptions include the
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, family and local history
books, and Freedman's Bank records. (Click
here for a rundown of differences between Ancestry.com and
Ancestry Library Edition.)
In addition, Ancestry.com will "power" an improved HeritageQuest
Online, which is ProQuest's libraries-only database that
offers census records, an
older version of the Periodical
Source Index, the Genealogy & Local History book
collection, selected Revolutionary War pension and bounty land
warrant applications, Freedman's Bank Records, and more. A potential area for improvement: Except for 1940, HeritageQuest Online's searchable census indexes are head-of-household only; and 1830 through 1850, 1880 and most of 1930 aren't searchable by name.
Patrons of libraries that subscribe to HeritageQuest Online can
access the databases free through the library's website (usually by
entering a valid library card number).
the announcement about the Ancestry.com-ProQuest expanded
Ancestry.com | Genealogy Industry | Libraries and Archives
Monday, June 30, 2014 9:04:11 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, June 27, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: June 23-27
Posted by Diane
- In happier news, the Arkansas
History Commission will relaunch its online digital
archive with new collections, including maps, postcards, WWI
materials and state constitutions. More material will be added,
too, including Civil War documents and oral history interviews
with veterans of World War II and the Korean War. The online
archive will be available through the Arkansas History Commission
- FamilySearch this week announced the online publication of its
one billionth historical record image at the free
FamilySearch.org website. It took seven years to reach the
one billion mark; FamilySearch Records Division director Rod
DeGiulio estimates the next billion record images will be
published within three to five years. Read
more about this milestone on the FamilySearch blog.
FamilySearch | Genetic Genealogy | Libraries and Archives
Friday, June 27, 2014 9:51:49 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Free Canadian Genealogy Records on Ancestry.ca Through July 1
Posted by Diane
Are you researching roots in Canada? Ancestry.ca,
the Canadian sister site to Ancestry.com, is offering free Canadian
genealogy records now through July 1 at 11:59 p.m. to
That includes Canadian censuses, voter lists, vital records,
military records, passenger lists and more. Some of the site's
records, such as border-crossing records and the US and Canada
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, also pertain to
those tracing US ancestors.
Once you run a search and click on a result, you'll be prompted to
sign up for a free account in order to view the matching record.
Click here to
search the free Ancestry.ca Canadian genealogy collections.
Canadian roots | Free Databases
Thursday, June 26, 2014 2:39:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Genealogy Brick Wall Busters: 10 Places to Find Your Ancestor's Family, Friends and Neighbors
Posted by Diane
Our ancestors tended to move with and marry into particular groups
of people, and tracing those "clusters"—even if the people aren't in
your direct lines or even related—is a key strategy to break through
genealogy brick walls. It can help you discover maiden names, places of origin, and other documents mentioning your ancestor.
and Collateral Research 101 Family Tree University online
course, taking place July 7-Aug. 1, gives you a blueprint for
solving genealogy problems with this type of research.
Where can you find names of those in your
ancestor's cluster? Here are 10 places to start looking:
- Home sources: Study old letters, diaries, address books, funeral cards, etc.
Census records: Check out household members and neighbors.
- Witnesses to marriage certificates, wills and naturalization records,
and those who provide testimony in court records and pension
- Sponsors on baptism and confirmation records
- Land records: Note who the neighbors are.
Traveling companions on passenger lists: Examine the entire list for
people from the same place, or people who show up in other records as neighbors, witnesses, etc.
- Rosters and newsletters of your ancestors' clubs. This example is a
founding members list from a 1902 history of the Covington (Ky.)
German Pioneer Society.
- Newspapers: Look for names of family and friends in obituaries,
wedding announcements and other articles.
Ready to start finding clues among your ancestors' clusters and
collateral relatives? Find
a syllabus for our four-week Cluster and Collateral Research 101
course here, and register
for the next session, starting July 7.
- City directories: Use the listings by street in the back of some
books to learn neighbors' names.
Family Tree University | Research Tips
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:02:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Monday, June 23, 2014
Findmypast Acquires Genealogy Website Mocavo
Posted by Diane
Another week, another acquisition for British genealogy company Findmypast: The company just
announced that it has purchased Mocavo.com,
a genealogy search engine, records and family tree website. Mocavo
will become a fully owned subsidiary of Findmypast.
from Findmypast is here. You can read Mocavo's statement about
the acquisition on its home page
As part of the acquisition, Findmypast's
indexes to the US Census from 1790 to 1940 are now free at
On Mocavo, you can search and view results from individual datasets
for free; subscribers can search across the site, access advanced
search features and download records. (So to see full results from
the census index for free, you should scroll down on the census
search page and search one decade at a time, rather than the
entire US census at once.)
In 2012, Mocavo
acquired ReadyMicro, which specialized in digitizing
historical records. That acquisition has led to encouraging
development in software
that can "read" handwritten records and make them searchable
“Our heritage and rich record collections coupled with Mocavo’s
sophisticated technology will make for a powerful combination," says
Findmypast director of family history D. Joshua Taylor.
"Expect Mocavo to grow stronger with Findmypast’s support and to
continue to drive innovation in the family history category," says
Cliff Shaw, who founded Mocavo in 2011.
Several of Shaw's earlier genealogy startups have been acquired by
major companies. GenForum, which Shaw founded as a college student,
was purchased by Genealogy.com (and is soon
to become read-only). Shaw also founded Pearl Street Software
and BackUpMyTree, both of which were purchased by MyHeritage.
Last week, Findmypast
acquired British and Irish genealogy site Origins.net.
findmypast | Genealogy Industry | Genealogy Web Sites
Monday, June 23, 2014 12:16:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
An Interview With ACPL Genealogy Center Director Curt Witcher
Posted by Diane
What if you could go to work every day in the United States' largest public library genealogy collection?
Curt Witcher does: He's the director of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Ind., which has collections covering the United States and beyond.
Witcher kindly took time to be interviewed for the July/August 2014 Family Tree Magazine, but we didn't have space to include the whole Q&A in the issue. Here's the rest of our enlightening conversation about the Genealogy Center and a unique family history resource that its librarians produce:
Q. How many visitors do you get on an average day?
A. It depends on the weather. We could see only a couple dozen on bad days, but we push 1,000 people some days. In 2013, we saw just over 96,000. Between May and August, about 80 percent of patrons come from out-of-county.
Q. How does The Genealogy Center continue to thrive in the public library setting?
A. Libraries have a lot of competing priorities these days.
It can be really challenging for libraries to have a large and noted special collection like we have. We were born more than 50 years ago out of desire to serve the underserved genealogists. It was like throwing a match on dry wood: the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Indiana state library and others started donating historical materials to us. We now have north of 1.1 million physical items.
We’ve had some pretty consequential endowment gifts specifically for the Genealogy Center. But to be honest, the community loves the fact that we have this center. We account for $6.3 million in indirect economic impact, like hotels and restaurant business. This community also has a century-long love affair with the library. Its per-capita support is in top 10 percent. The library takes up an entire block and has 13 branches.
Q. You must be very proud to watch PERSI grow up.
A. PERSI [the Periodical Source Index to genealogy articles in US and Canadian magazines and journals] is the brainchild of my predecessor as manager, Michael Clegg. He wanted to do something consequential for genealogists worldwide, like a Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature but for genealogy and local history.
We’ve run a pretty modest operation but through our partners over the years we’ve done pretty great things. First PERSI came out in paper. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we had a partnership with what’s now FamilySearch International to put PERSI on microfiche, then broadcast it out to their Family History Centers. It was our first breakout from the traditional print library market—to make PERSI more mass distributed.
Then we worked with Ancestry.com, then HeritageQuest, to get it online. Now we're over the moon to partner with FindMyPast and add digitized content. Customers today are not satisfied to find the indexed entry. Their expectation is to get to the article with a click.
With keyword searching on Google, why do we still need PERSI?
People are tired of huge datasets. We don’t want 31 million hits on a narrow topic.
The more-sophisticated searchers know that not everything most important is on the first five pages of Google search results. We’re so committed to having another way to find their family history. If you don’t use periodical literature, you risk missing 30 percent of the materials you need to move your research forward.
Q. What is your role with PERSI now at ACPL?
A. We continue to subject-index PERSI (it’s not an every-name index). We have the equivalent of 6 full-time staff on PERSI. We thumb through every page to make sure we don’t miss anything. Easily 25 percent of these publications have significant articles that just don’t make it to the title page. It’s not the most exciting job to index every article, but you understand you’re contributing to one-of-a-kind resource for the exciting family history world.
See the July/August 2014 Family Tree Magazine for more Q&A with Curt Witcher.
5 Questions Plus | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Monday, June 23, 2014 10:05:24 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, June 20, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: June 16-20
Posted by Diane
- FamilySearch has added more than 4.9 million indexed records
and images to collections from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, United States and
Venezuela, with especially notable collections form Costa Rica,
Portugal and Venezuela. You can see the list
of updated collections and click through to search or brose
them, on the FamilySearch blog.
In addition, to commemorate Juneteenth,
FamilySearch has added to its collection of records of the Bureau
of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, or the Freedmen's
Bureau. These document the post-Civil War era and include marriage
records legalizing marriages of former slaves, labor contracts,
military payment registers and more. Read
more about the records in FamilySearch's announcement and link
to the Freedmen's Bureau collections (which FamilySearch.org
organizes by state) here.
- The Civil War Trust is launching a fundraising campaign to
save the North Anna area of the Jericho Mills battlefield in
Virginia. Matching grants, donations from private foundations
and other funding means the trust already has 90 percent of the
purchase price needed to acquire the area. It likely will
eventually be made part of the Richmond National Battlefield
more about North Anna and the campaign to save it on the Civil
War Trust website.
African-American roots | Celebrity Roots | Civil War | FamilySearch | Genealogy TV | UK and Irish roots
Friday, June 20, 2014 11:08:18 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Best Facebook Comments Re: Ancestry.com DDoS Attack
Posted by Diane
In case you haven't heard, Ancestry.com was down part of Monday and
most of yesterday, and intermittently today, due to what the company says was a DDoS (Distributed
Denial of Service) attack. Find A Grave and RootsWeb also were
In such an attack, multiple perpetrators use "bots" to bombard a
website with traffic, so that the site can't respond to legitimate
traffic. Both Evernote
and Feedly were targets of DDoS attacks last week; their
attackers demanded payment to stop the attacks.
On its Facebook page and in a statement,
Ancestry.com said the attack has been neutralized, but users may still experience intermittent outages or slowness while the site recovers.
They should clear their cookies and cache before logging back
on. Family Tree Maker users should switch the program's sync
setting to manual until service is fully restored.
No Ancestry.com members' family tree or personal data were compromised in the attack.
The site outage drew Facebook comments ranging from supportive to accusations of site mismanagement and demands
for refunds or subscription extensions. There were lots of capital letters
and exclamation marks.
Someone even suggested the real
reason the site went down is all the dads taking advantage of the
Father's Day subscription special. (Way to spoil it for the rest of us, dads!)
But I'll focus on the clever Facebook comments I saw. These appeared in response to Ancestry.com Facebook page
ancestry deleted their cookies and emptied their cache?
Old Search is exacting its revenge.
2.5 of my captivity.. my captors torment me with comments
about "intermittent" outages. Withdrawal symptoms are
setting in ... eyes blurry from staring at screen, mouse
hand shakey ... I have even tried gardening ... sorting my
books alphabetically ... even cleaning shower recess ...
family is getting concerned
MyFamily, MyCanvas, Genealogy.com, Mundia and the Y-DNA
and mtDNA tests, and the internet gods retire you!
can't get on the site. What am I supposed to do, actually
get some sleep or something?
am I supposed to discover which vastly wealthy relative
I'm related to now?
And this is the winner, which West
in New England blogger Bill West posted on his own Facebook
And lo, the servers of Ancestry were beset
by the Plague of DDOS, and then were the genealogists locked out
from the Realms of Ancestry. Neither could they work on their
family trees, nor add photos nor memorials to Find A Grave. Then
great were the lamentations of the genealogists, and many were
beset with frustration, weeping and gnashing their teeth in the
outer darkness as they waited for the servers of Ancestry to
once more open unto them.
Meanwhile, others turned to worshiping the false idol,
Subscribe to Family Tree Magazine.
Sign up for our free, weekly email newsletter full of genealogy news and tips.
Ancestry.com | Social Networking
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:15:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Reading Ancestors' Old Records: Problems to Watch Out For
Posted by Diane
When I look back at the letters my grandma wrote to me when I was in
college, I'm in awe of her beautiful handwriting. Most of us
would agree that handwriting isn't what it used to be. Thanks to
computers and email, we're all out of practice.
But that doesn't mean all the old, handwritten records you've discovered
through your genealogy research are a piece of cake to read. Old
writing styles, unfamiliar characters and abbreviations, fading ink, and
individual writers' idiosyncrasies can make the documents extremely
difficult to understand.
In our Tricks
for Reading Old Handwriting webinar, taking place Thursday,
June 26 at 7p.m. ET, professional genealogist D. Joshua Taylor will
show you strategies for understanding those hard-to-read old
records—including these letters and other characters to watch out
- u, n, w and m; a, o
and u; v and r: These letters that can
look alike in lower-case form.
- as, os, us: These letter combinations
often appear similar in lowercase form.
- i, t: Undotted is and uncrossed ts can
resemble each other, or an e or an l. Also watch
for misplaced crosses and dots (in the name below, Miller, the dot is over the e, making it look like an i).
- I and J; M and N; S,
L and T; T and F; U and V:
These capital letter groupings may look alike.
- ē: A double-letter formation may be abbreviated as a
single letter below a horizontal line.
- do or ": These abbreviations for “ditto,”
common in records formatted in rows (such as a census) mean
“same as above.”
- Ƒ or ƒ: The s, especially in a
double-s formation, may have a long flourish. This “long s” is
easily confused with a p or an f. (This word is "blessing.")
- : This character, called a thorn, occurs in very
old texts and looks like
a y. It represents
th, so the example here (from the 1620 Mayflower Compact), with an e over
the thorn, means "the."
Got old, handwritten records you're having a hard time reading?
Check out our Tricks
for Reading Old Handwriting webinar in ShopFamilyTree.com.
- 3, 6, 8: These numerals may look
alike. If the record has page numbers, copy pages one through 10
to use as reference samples.
Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:46:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
British Genealogy Company Findmypast Buys Origins.net
Posted by Diane
British family history company Findmypast.co.uk,
part of DC Thomson Family History, announced today that it has
bought Origins.net, another genealogy site focused on British and
Origins.net, according to the announcement
from Findmypast.co.uk, is the first company to set up a
pay-as-you-go model for accessing online genealogy records. Its
records include marriage indexes, poor law records and the National
Origins.net will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Findmypast and
its founder Ian Galbraith will continue to work for the site on
collection development. The site will continue to run as usual,
though its records also will become part of Findmypast's offerings.
"This rich collection will help descendants of early North American
settlers to bridge the gap to the old country, as well as anyone
with UK ancestry looking to delve beyond 19th and 20th century
records,” says Findmypast partnership director Elaine Collins.
Genealogy Industry | UK and Irish roots
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:32:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, June 13, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: June 9-13
Posted by Diane
Are you planning on attending the joint RootsTech/Federation of
Genealogical Societies conference, February 11-14, 2015, in
Salt Lake City? Four Salt Lake City hotels are now taking
reservations with reduced rates to conference attendees. I have a
feeling hotels will be sold out, so book early. FamilySearch's
announcement about conference hotels is here.
- The Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) will
hold its fourth annual Forensic Genealogy Institute (FGI) March
26-28, 2015, in Dallas. Intensive courses are designed for those
interested in researching genealogical cases with legal implications
(for example, to establish inheritance in court). You'll find details
about the courses on the CAFG blog, and you can learn
more about FGI here. Registration will open this summer.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Events | Land records
Friday, June 13, 2014 12:48:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, June 12, 2014
"Retirement" Tips for Ancestry Y-DNA & mtDNA, MyCanvas and MyFamily.com Customers
Posted by Diane
By now you've probably heard Ancestry.com's
announcement about the retirement of Mundia, Genealogy.com,
Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, MyCanvas and MyFamily.com.
I haven't seen many expressions of sadness about Mundia.com (whose
trees are duplicated in Ancestry Member Trees) and Genealogy.com
(whose forums, family sites and popular articles will remain online in
read-only format). But users of the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, MyCanvas
and MyFamily.com have a lot to say.
If you're a member of one of these services, here are some tips and
blog posts I've found to save your information and move it to
AncestryDNA Y-DNA and mtDNA
- You should receive an email with instructions for downloading
your raw Y-DNA or mtDNA data as a CSV file (which you an
open in Excel).
- Then you could upload to another photo service, though you may
need to convert the files to JPG format first—this website
has four ways to convert PDFs to JPG (click the "Four
Methods" links at the top, not on the big green arrow). Of
course, because the pages are images, you won't have the ability
to edit them as you make new research discoveries.
- If you want to save written text so you can update it and
publish a photo book elsewhere, you can go into the edit mode
for your project, copy what's inside each text box, and paste it
into a Word document.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:54:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
How to Use Your Tablet to Make Genealogy Research Trips Easier
Posted by Diane
I have to admit, I don't use my Android tablet much except to surf the
internet or read in bed (when I really should be getting to sleep).
As a minimal tablet user, I wanted to try out the video classes
planned for our Maximize
Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy one-week workshop, taking
place online June 23-30.
I watched "Using Your Tablet on a Research Trip" by workshop
instructor and self-professed tablet-aholic Kerry Scott.
When she said that she no longer brings her laptop computer on research trips, I was hooked. Boy would I love to stop lugging
that thing around at conferences, trying to use it half open on a
plane when the guy in front of me reclines his seat, and getting possessive about the single electrical outlet within walking distance of wherever I am.
Kerry uses her tablet when planning a trip, while traveling, and while
researching at the library or archive. Here are a few ways she does
- She puts all her travel documents, confirmations and notes in
Evernote and shares them with her husband.
- Downloads reading material and music, as well as PDF versions
of research guides for the place she's going
- Makes a lookup list of records in Excel (which she likes for
its sortability) and saves it to the cloud (Dropbox, in Kerry’s
case; I’d keep mine in Google Drive). These are her newspaper
- Downloads a flight-tracking app such as FlightTrack, plus the
airline’s travel app (which usually lets travelers quickly
rebook when flights are canceled or delayed)
- Downloads traffic apps for states along the driving route, a
restaurant-finding app, and news apps for big cities on the
itinerary (you know, in case the place shuts down due
to a grasshopper plague)
- Uses Evernote's camera feature to capture record images (such
as from microfilm) along with source information for easily
pairing the record with its citation. Her video has a demo of
how this works.
- Uses a family tree app for quick lookups while at a repository
- Downloads apps for libraries she's visiting (if available) for
- Downloads a note-taking app, which would be a biggie for me.
Kerry uses a stylus to "write" notes on the tablet, like so:
The tips will work for both iPads and Android tablets—Kerry mentioned apps for both, and the course has videos for both. Now I can't wait to check out the rest of the video courses and
chat about apps on the workshop message board.
Click here to see
the course lineup and other features for our Maximize
Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy one-week workshop.
Family Tree University | Genealogy Apps | Webinars
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 3:28:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, June 06, 2014
Genealogy News Corral, June 2-6
Posted by Diane
- British technology company brightsolid (part of DC Thomson,
which owns findmypast.com)
has a new game called Family House you can play on your iPhone,
iPad or Facebook.
Players build and restore a "family house," moving in more
family members as they explore their family history. Players
even can represent these virtual family members with avatars
dressed in period clothing. Download the app from the iTunes
store or play
it on Facebook.
- The subscription-based digital
archive of The Stars and Stripes, a newspaper
published for the American community in Europe, has been updated
with WWII-era editions from London (1942-1945) and Northern
Ireland (1943-1945). The archive launched in 2008 with papers
from 1948 to 1999. Subscriptions range from $4.95 for a one-day
pass to $47.40 for one year.
- Registration has opened for the Foundation for East European
Family History Studies' 2014 conference, taking place Aug. 12-15
in Salt Lake City. The opening reception features Eastern
European hors d'oeuvres—yum!—and classes cover German, Russian,
Austrian, Polish, Czech, Jewish and other Eastern European
ancestry. See a
program and register at the conference website.
- FamilySearch.org's record additions this week come from
Chile, China, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and the United
States (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and
Texas). You can
see the list of new and updated databases. and click to search
or browse each one, here.
FamilySearch | Genealogy Apps | Genealogy Events | Military records | Newspapers
Friday, June 06, 2014 12:57:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Ancestry.com to Retire Five Genealogy Services
Posted by Diane
today announced that it will "retire" five of its services as of
Sept. 5, 2014:
Ancestry.com's executive vice president of product, Eric Shoup, said
yesterday in a conference call with genealogy media that ending
these services will allow Ancestry.com to focus on its core products
- MyFamily.com, the family
- MyCanvas, the photo
book publishing service
- Genealogy.com (though the
site will remain online with some content)
- Mundia.com, the worldwide
family tree site
- Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing
Subscribers and active users of each service will receive an email with details
on any refunds (if applicable) and how to retrieve their content, and each site will
have retirement landing pages and FAQs for customers. Here's an
overview of what will happen:
customers can export their group data using an Export Now button
that appears on the site when you're logged in. Prorated refunds
will be automatically issued to owners of active sites.
customers can complete projects through Sept. 4. After then,
printing orders won't be accepted and saved projects will be
deleted. Kinda makes me sad, because I created my wedding photo book here. You should be able to print a project for free at home
by going to My Projects, clicking Preview for a project, then
clicking the Print button (if you have trouble, try selecting pages to print a
couple at a time).
subscriptions and member accounts will end, but the site will
remain online (it would be silly to give up a domain name like
Genealogy.com) with the message boards and Family Tree Maker
home pages in read-only format, as well as the most popular
- Mundia family trees
also are on Ancestry.com, where you can search them for free
(you must subscribe in order to contact tree owners, which is
the case with all of Ancestry.com's member trees). Mundia
tree owners can download their family trees in their native
language before Sept. 5.
- Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are no longer being sold on
Ancestry.com (but the company will continue to sell its AncestryDNA autosomal tests,
and autosomal DNA customers aren't affected). Customers who've
taken Y-DNA or mitochondrial DNA tests can download their raw
data by visiting the
AncestryDNA website. Y-DNA and mtDNA customers' samples
will be destroyed (it might become possible to upgrade samples
to autosomal testing, such as for someone who is now
Click here to read Ancestry.com's
blog post on the discontinuation of these services.
Thursday, June 05, 2014 12:06:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Using Search Wildcards on Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane
Searching for ancestors online is about more than just typing a name
into a database or search engine, as you probably learned after the first few dozen
times your search for a problem ancestor came up empty.
For example, my third-great-grandmother Elizabeth (Teipel) Thoss
mysteriously vanishes sometime between her youngest child's birth in
1894 and the 1900 census, when her husband is a widow. She's not
where she should be in death records, and searches on genealogy sites net few results. When I search
collections indexed with optical character recognition software, I
get hundreds of hits on the word "those."
There are a bunch of variants for Elizabeth's maiden and married
names, too. Wildcards, which you'll learn about in our upcoming Secrets
of Successful Web Searches webinar, can be helpful when you
can't find an ancestor because the name in the record (whether the
original or a searchable index) isn't spelled as you expect.
Usually, a * wildcard stands in for zero or more characters in a
name, and a ? stands for one character, but genealogy websites
handle them differently:
You even can use
* as a
wildcard with some search engines: Put it at the end of a truncated word to find related words (such as Thos* to find
Thoss, Thossen or Those). But on Google, *
stands in for a whole word.
In addition to wildcard searching, our Secrets of Successful Web Searches webinar will show you
The Secrets of Successful Web Searches webinar is next Thursday, June 12,
at 7 pm Eastern (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific).
You can learn more about it in ShopFamilyTree.com.
- Search secrets that work across popular genealogy websites, as
well as with Google
- How to use FamilySearch.org and Google to unlock family
history information on Ancestry.com
- How browsing can help you find ancestors that searches
- How to get results by searching without a name
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | MyHeritage | Research Tips | Webinars
Thursday, June 05, 2014 10:43:38 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Premiere Announced + More Genealogy TV News
Posted by Diane
Cable television network TLC has announced the premiere date and the stars of the 2014 season
Do You Think You Are?" (US version).
The new season will start Wednesday, July 23, at 9/8 central on TLC.
(If you don't have cable or can't watch that evening, the episodes
usually become available on
the show's website after they air.)
Six new episodes will air, featuring the family histories of:
In addition, TLC has acquired 10 of the episodes that aired on NBC
during previous seasons. Those feature
Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Rob Lowe, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw,
Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Vanessa
Williams and Rita Wilson.
- Valerie Bertinelli, an actor whose work includes the 70s/80s
series "One Day at a Time" and the current "Hot in Cleveland"
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson, an actor on "Modern Family"
- Lauren Graham, actor on "Gilmore Girls" (one of my
most-favorite-ever TV shows)
- Kelsey Grammer, actor on "Cheers" and "Frasier"
- Cynthia Nixon, actor on the "Sex and the City" TV series and movies
- Rachel McAdams, Canadian actor in movies such as "The
Notebook" and "About Time," and her sister, celebrity makeup
artist Kayleen McAdams
You can read
about the new "Who Do You Think You Are?" season on The Wrap.
In other genealogy television news:
- "Finding Your
Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.," will premiere on PBS Sept.
23. Guests will include actor Sally Field, Food Network chef
Aarón Sánchez, actor Ben Affleck,
singer Carole King,actor and comedian Tina Fey, political
commentator Alan Dershowitz,
White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett
"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Genealogy TV
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 2:20:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tips for Researching Norwegian Genealogy
Posted by Diane
Did you know Norway is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its
constitution this year? In 1814, Norway's constitution was
signed as part of the transfer of the country from a
union with Denmark to a new union with Sweden. That set the stage
for Norwegian independence in 1905.
David Rumsey Map Collection
You can see photos
of the bicentennial celebration outside Norway's Parliament here.
In the United States, those claiming heritage from Norway are
the 10th largest ancestry group, according to census data.
recently about Norwegian roots and its Community Trees Project
containing lineage-linked data from Norwegian
bygdebøker (parish books) and other
sources. You can search
all the community trees here, or browse
individual Norwegian parishes by scrolling down to Norway on this
If you're researching ancestry in Norway—or nearby in Sweden or
Denmark—you'll find our Scandinavian
Genealogy Guide helpful.
You can get in-depth genealogy research guidance in our Scandinavian
Genealogy 101 Family Tree University online course. It starts
Monday, June 16, and includes four lessons (take them at your own
pace) along with guidance from instructor Diana Crisman Smith via
the course message board. You'll learn about Scandinavian
patronymic, military, farm and geographic names; geography;
resources such as websites, bygdebøker and censuses;
language tips; and more. View
a Scandinavian Genealogy 101 course syllabus and register here.
FamilySearch | International Genealogy
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 9:28:06 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)