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# Monday, 23 November 2015
StoryCorps App Lets You Record a Story for the Great Thanksgiving Listen
Posted by Diane


Shutterstock

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative of the national oral history project StoryCorps to encourage high school students to spend part of Thanksgiving weekend interviewing an elder and preserving his or her story.

And you can still be part of it even if you're not in high school: StoryCorps suggests making a plan to interview a grandparent, neighbor or family friend over the age of 65.

That advice was written for a general audience, so for folks who are themselves circling 65 and/or might not have older generations around to query: I'd add that you also could participate by sharing your own story with the youngsters in your family.

You could record it, write it down and/or gather the children and tell them in person. My kids love to hear about the trouble my sisters and I got into when I was their age (although I might be sorry I shared when they decide to create their own slip-and-slide on the basement floor with pancake syrup).

Also consider interviewing close-to-your-age siblings, spouses, cousins or friends to preserve their unique life experiences.

StoryCorps has an app you can use on your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad to record your (or someone else's) story. And if you plan to interview someone about family history, our Oral History Interviewing Made Easy e-book is a handy, informative guide to
  • how to set up the interview
  • what questions to ask
  • how to get relatives to open up
  • how to record and preserve their words
Happy Thanksgiving!


Genealogy Apps | Oral History | saving and sharing family history
Monday, 23 November 2015 14:51:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Flip-pal Mobile Scanner's StoryScans: Digital Photos With Recorded Memories
Posted by Diane

Looking through old photos with your family (a fun post-Thanksgiving dinner family history activity) is an often-recommended way to draw out stories and genealogy information. If you have a Flip-pal mobile scanner, you now can capture those stories along with the photos that inspired them. 

Flip-pal's new Toolbox 4.0 software includes StoryScans, a feature that lets you scan a photo, then record the story behind the scanned image on your Windows or Mac computer or iOS mobile device.

The resulting file keeps the image and the audio together, and don't require an additional player to open. The Toolbox 4.0 includes automated uploads to Facebook, Picasa, Dropbox and Evernote.

You could go to Grandma's house, scan her wedding photo (without having to remove it from the album) and touch a button to record Grandma herself talking about the day. Read more about StoryScans and see examples here.

Visit Flip-pal's website to see what else is updated in Toolbox 4.0, check out the system requirements, and click a link to download the software.

And if you've been wanting a Flip-pal mobile scanner, we carry it in ShopFamilyTree.com!


Photos | saving and sharing family history
Monday, 23 November 2015 11:42:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Resolution Rules of Thumb for Scanning Old Family Photos and Documents
Posted by Diane

Anyone undertaking a genealogy scanning project, or just scanning a single old picture for Throwback Thursday, might have wondered what resolution is best for the particular thing about to be scanned.

Wonder no more! Here are some quick resolution tips for scanning old photos and documents from the Family Tree University Digitize Your Family History online course, which starts Monday, Nov. 23.

In general, the higher the resolution (measured in dpi, for dots per inch), the more you can enlarge the image without getting that grainy, pixilated look. But higher-resolution files also are bigger and hog space on your computer or in your cloud storage, so you don't want to scan everything at the highest-available dpi. Instead, go with these rules of thumb:
  • If you plan to post the digitized image to a blog or website, the standard is 72 dpi.
  • If you want to print the image at its original size, scan at least 300 dpi.

  • If you're scanning old letters and other documents to archive, use 300 dpi. (But notes, receipts and papers you're not intending to archive are fine at 72 dpi.)

  • If you plan to view the scanned photos on your HDTV screen, use a minimum of 300 dpi for 4x6-inch originals, and higher dpi for smaller originals.
  • If you want to enlarge the photo up to double in size (for printing or on-screen zooming-in and examining), scan it at least 600 dpi.

  • If you'll want to more than double the size of the original photo, go even higher with the dpi. At 900 dpi, a 4x6-inch printed photo turns into a 16x24-inch digital image.
  • If the original photo is small, scan at 600 dpi or higher. If you scan a 2x3-inch photo at 1200 dpi, for example, it will become a 16x24-inch digital image without losing quality.

  • If the original is a tintype or daguerreotype, scan at 1200 dpi.
  • If you don't know how the digitized photo will be used or you're scanning it to archive for posterity, scan at least 600 and up to 1200 dpi.
Remember that you can always downsave a copy to a lower resolution, but you can't add image quality without re-scanning the original.

Family Tree University's Digitize Your Family History four-week course, starting next Monday, Nov. 23, has guidance from Denise Levenick (author of the book How to Archive Family Keepsakes) on how to digitize your old family photographs, precious documents and heirlooms.

This course will help you achieve the peace of mind that your family's visual memories and their associated stories are safeguarded against fire, weather damage, loss and family discord. And you'll be easily able to share these mementos or publish them in book form. Learn more and register for the course at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.



Family Tree University | saving and sharing family history | Tech Advice
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 16:34:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
StoryCorps App Lets You Record a Story for the Great Thanksgiving Listen
Posted by Diane


Shutterstock

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative of the national oral history project StoryCorps to encourage high school students to spend part of Thanksgiving weekend interviewing an elder and preserving his or her story.

And you can still be part of it even if you're not in high school: StoryCorps suggests making a plan to interview a grandparent, neighbor or family friend over the age of 65.

That advice was written for a general audience, so for folks who are themselves circling 65 and/or might not have older generations around to query: I'd add that you also could participate by sharing your own story with the youngsters in your family.

You could record it, write it down and/or gather the children and tell them in person. My kids love to hear about the trouble my sisters and I got into when I was their age (although I might be sorry I shared when they decide to create their own slip-and-slide on the basement floor with pancake syrup).

Also consider interviewing close-to-your-age siblings, spouses, cousins or friends to preserve their unique life experiences.

StoryCorps has an app you can use on your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad to record your (or someone else's) story. And if you plan to interview someone about family history, our Oral History Interviewing Made Easy e-book is a handy, informative guide to
  • how to set up the interview
  • what questions to ask
  • how to get relatives to open up
  • how to record and preserve their words
Happy Thanksgiving!


Genealogy Apps | Oral History | saving and sharing family history
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 14:50:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Cousin-Finding Features on Genealogy Websites
Posted by Diane

Genealogy subscription site MyHeritage added a new feature this month called Search Connect, which lets you find other MyHeritage members who searched the site for people with the same names you're searching for.

Basically, Search Connect turns every search into a record that you can then search for. You can see the search criteria used and get in contact with the other member to exchange more information.

You don't have to do anything different to use Search Connect: Results are automatically included when you use the site's search engine (called SuperSearch). But you also can use a separate Search Connect search page. Learn more about this new feature from the MyHeritage blog.

This made me wonder how other genealogy data sites help you get in touch with potential cousins:
  • On subscription site Ancestry.com, go to an ancestor's profile page and click the Tools menu, then select Member Connect. This shows you profiles in other members' trees that the site thinks match your ancestor. And if you view a record for which someone else has added alternate information, you can see who added the notes.
  • On Fold3 (Ancestry.com's military-focused subscription site), when you're viewing a record, look to the left side of the record viewer and click the Annotations tab. There, you'll see any notes other members have left on the record, and you can click to view the member's profile.
  • If you have a family tree on the free FamilySearch.org, you can email another contributor if he or she has a publicly viewable email address.



Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Fold3 | Genealogy Web Sites | MyHeritage
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 14:41:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 10 November 2015
5 Tricks for Using Evernote in Your DNA Research
Posted by Diane

This guest post was written by Kerry Scott, blogger at Clue Wagon and author of a new book on the Evernote software and its potential for genealogists, How to Use Evernote for Genealogy.

There are two kinds of genealogists: those who are overwhelmed by their DNA results and those who haven't done DNA testing yet. Seeing that list of hundreds of cousins is exciting, but humbling for even the most skilled family historians. Who are all of these people? How do they fit into your family tree?

Evernote can help you get your arms around all of that data so you can begin to make sense of it. Here are five ways you can start:

  1. Use the Web Clipper to clip trees when you see them. Your cousins matches may make their tree private at some point, so don’t wait if you see something you might need later. Store that information in Evernote, so you can find it again even if it's no longer online. You can clip and save your chromosome browser views as well.

  2. Use tags to track your matches. Whether it's an AncestryDNA username, a GEDmatch kit number, or some other useful tidbit, you can create a tag to make it easier to find it again. It may take months (or years) to figure out how you're connected to a particular cousin, but tags can shorten that process considerably by allowing you to pull together seemingly unrelated clues to find patterns.

  3. Keep your DNA educational materials in Evernote. Any genealogist will tell you that learning how to work with DNA is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that Evernote is a great place to store the PDFs you have from Family Tree University courses, Family Tree Magazine, blog posts, and other sources. You'll be able to find them easily using Evernote's powerful search feature, so you can re-read sections as they become relevant to your research.



  4. Create a page for each chromosome. The longer you work with your DNA results, the more data you'll gather on which parts of your DNA come from which ancestors. Breaking out your data by chromosome helps you speed this process up. I've learned that a huge chunk of my DNA chromosome 9 comes from one of my Norwegian lines, so when I have new matches on that chromosome, I know where to look first.

  5. Save reports as PDFs, then store them in Evernote. If you've used GEDmatch for any length of time, you know that it's a powerful tool ... except when the site's down and you have a tantalizing clue you can't follow up on. If you run a one-to-many report (the one with the list of your closest matches) once a week or so, you can save it as a PDF. If GEDmatch goes down, you'll still have that report to refer to. Even better, you'll be able to search it in Evernote, which makes it much easier to find a particular kit number, match name, or email address.

The more organized you are, the better you'll be at translating cousin matches into new branches on your family tree. Using Evernote will ensure that you can find what you need—and spot those elusive clues. Learn about more ways Evernote can help your research in How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, available on ShopFamilyTree.com.


Evernote | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 09:47:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 09 November 2015
5 Clues You May Have American Indian Ancestry
Posted by Diane



Many families have passed down stories of American Indian ancestors, and genealogists who grew up hearing them cherish these stories as part of their identities. This interesting article explains why such family tales are so common, and why folks will fiercely defend their American Indian roots even in the absence of concrete evidence. 

Sometimes, though, the tales hold a grain of truth. If you suspect your family has American Indian heritage—perhaps your Grandmother spoke often of her Indian blood—here are five clues that should prompt you to investigate further:

1. An I or In designation appears in the "race" columns for an ancestor in the 1860 and later US censuses. The 1860 census was the first to identify Indians living in the general population. See this National Archives web page for more on Indians in the federal census.

2. A proven blood relative is named on an Indian reservation census or a tribal enrollment. You can search censuses for 16 tribes in Ancestry.com collection Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959. Ancestry.com and Fold 3 also have annual censuses taken by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. On Fold3, these censuses are free to access through Nov. 15, along with the rest of its American Indian records. 

You can browse annual Indian censuses for free using the links on Access Genealogy.

Tribal enrollment, including the Dawes rolls and Guion-Miller rolls, were used to distribute land in Indian Territory.  Many of the resulting records are part of Ancestry.com's American Indian collection. The Oklahoma Historical Society has indexes to the Dawes Rolls and other resources.

3. A genetic genealogy test indicates you have DNA markers associated with American Indian ancestry. The absence of these markers doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have American Indian ancestry. It's possible an American Indian is far back enough in your family tree that you didn't inherit the person's DNA.

4. Family stories and papers tell of American Indian ancestry, and your ancestors lived in areas where they would’ve come into contact with Indians. It's important to know the history of the places you're researching.

5. An ancestor lived in Indian Territory by 1900. This raises the possibility that your ancestor was a member of a tribe that was removed to Indian Territory, which once encompassed most of what's now Oklahoma. 

November is Native American Heritage Month, and the perfect time to research your American Indian ancestors. Let the strategies and resources in our Native American Genealogy Crash Course Webinar on Nov. 17 with Paula Stuart-Warren guide your way.


American Indian roots | Ancestry.com
Monday, 09 November 2015 13:28:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Free Access to Ancestry.com Military Records for Veterans Day
Posted by Diane



Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day in the United States, and this past weekend was Remembrance Weekend in Canada and England. Ancestry.com is marking the occasion by opening up its US, Canadian and English military records collections for free.

Note that you'll need to set up a free basic registration (or log into your basic account if you already have one) in order to view your search results. The free period lasts through Nov. 11 at 11:59 ET.

Start your search here.

Thank you to my dad, my grandfather, several second-great- and third-great-uncles, and to all our military veterans for your service.


Ancestry.com | Military records
Monday, 09 November 2015 10:41:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 03 November 2015
Ohio Genealogy Websites, Resources and Tips
Posted by Diane

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have Ohio roots. My mom's paternal lines (mostly German and a little Irish) came to Cincinnati in the mid-1800s and my Dad's paternal line (from Syria) settled in Cleveland around 1920.


Ohio, 1853, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

More than a dozen years ago when I started genealogy, one of my first finds was my great-grandmother's 1926 death certificate on microfilm at a reader in the Ohio Genealogical Society conference exhibit hall. Now, her death record is online in FamilySearch.org's Ohio collections.

Many Americans share Ohio ancestry, whether those forebears stayed put in the Buckeye State or eventually moved West. So I had to share my excitement for our Best Ohio Genealogy Research Strategies webinar with Ohio expert Amy Johnson Crow, next Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Be part of this Ohio genealogy online class to:
  • discover the best genealogy websites, books and other resources for Ohio research
  • learn about often-overlooked Ohio records with valuable genealogical details
  • get tips for navigating the state's land records (which can be tricky due to the variety of different survey methods used)
  • see real-life examples of successful research strategies
Register for the Best Ohio Genealogy Research Strategies webinar on ShopFamilyTree.com, and have your questions ready for the live event Nov. 11. All who register will receive a recording of the webinar, plus a PDF of the presentation slides.

To tide you over until next Wednesday, find tips and examples in these blog posts I've written over the years about my Ohio ancestor research:


Tuesday, 03 November 2015 11:04:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, 02 November 2015
Findmypast Releases the 1939 Register of England and Wales
Posted by Diane



Findmypast.com just released the newly digitized 1939 Register, a listing of the civilian population of England and Wales taken at the end of September 1939, when World War II had just broken out. Called "The Wartime Domesday Book," the listing was used to issue identity cards, plan evacuations, establish rationing and fulfill other wartime needs.

Each household record includes the names of the inhabitants at the address, dates of birth, marital status and occupation. 

For those researching British roots, this release is at least as significant as the 1940 census was for Americans back in 2012. The 1939 Register is the only surviving record of the population of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951, so it bridges a 30-year gap in history while providing a significant source of genealogical data.

Accessing records works differently than for other collections, and it's not included in your Findmypast subscription.

Instead, you search for a household and click Preview on a result to make sure it's the right one. Then you can "unlock" that household's records for 60 credits, a cost of $10.95. You purchase the credits in bundles of one ($10.95), five ($37.95) or 15 ($82.95) households.

Although pricey, you do get more for the money: In addition to an image of the original register, the unlocked records include old maps and photos, local statistics, and newspaper articles (as indicated in the image above).

If you have more to spend (perhaps for a Christmas gift), a link on the transcript page for your unlocked register lets you purchase a customized coffee table-quality book with your family's Register page, infographics and other information (here's what it looks like), similar items in a frame (see an example here) and other 1939 souvenirs.

Some interesting population data from the 1939 Register:
  • The civilian population of England and Wales was 41 million, living in 12 million households, with an average of 3 people living in one household. (Compare that to the 1940 US census, where the population was 132.2 million, living in 35 million households, an average of 3.7 people per household.)
  • In England and Wales the average age was 33 for men and 35 for women. (In the United States, it was 29 for both men and women).

  • At the beginning of September 1939, under the threat of German bombing, 1.5 million children, women and disabled were evacuated. The 1939 Register, which was taken at the end of September, shows only 2 percent of the population in London was aged 0-10.
  • 53 percent female and 47 percent male (50.17 percent of the US population was male; 49.83 percent was female)
  • Almost 50 percent of women in England and Wales fulfilled a domestic role, either unpaid at home or in service. (In America in 1940, 57 percent of women were devoted to full-time domestic duties, for those in the labor force, the number one occupation was clerical worker).
  • The most common occupation for men was ‘retired’, with ‘clerk’ as second. (For US men the top two areas of occupation were manufacturing and agriculture.
  • 46.2 percent of the population was married, 45.6 percent was single and 6.5 percent widowed. ( In 1940 in the United States, 61.07 percent of the population 15 and older was married.)
Search the 1939 Register on Findmypast here.


findmypast | UK and Irish roots
Monday, 02 November 2015 16:25:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Search NEHGS Cemetery Databases Free Through Nov. 7
Posted by Diane

Several cultures observe post-Halloween holidays that honor departed family members and others. Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Many Christians celebrate All Saints Day Nov. 1, with All Soul's Day on Nov. 2.


(This is a picture I took awhile back during a visit to Boston, showing a gravestone with a winged death's head.)

In this spirit, the New England Historical and Genealogical Society is offering free access to cemetery databases on its AmericanAncestors.org website through Nov. 7.

Most of the databases are from New England cemeteries, with a couple from New York and one from South Carolina. The database of Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections holds transcriptions from New England, New York, New Jerseyand Eastern Canada.

You'll need to sign up for a free guest registration to AmericanAncestors.org to search and view results. Start your free search of AmericanAncestors.org cemetery databases here here. Remember, the free period ends on Nov. 7.

Once you find your folks, here's a PDF cemetery transcription form you can download cheaply from ShopFamilyTree.com, then type (or copy and paste) information into it and save it to your computer. Or you can get this and 74 other forms, worksheets and templates in our Essential Family Tree Forms Library CD.

Cemeteries | Genealogy societies
Monday, 02 November 2015 11:04:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Search for Railroad Worker Ancestors in New, Free Online Index
Posted by Diane

Got ancestors who worked on the railroad? Now you can search a free index of 1.5 million US Railroad Retirement Board pension records on the Midwest Genealogy Center (part of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Mo.) website.

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) administers a federal retirement benefits program similar to Social Security, but for railroad workers. The program started in 1936, so these records don't cover earlier railroad workers, or workers for local streetcar or interurban lines. Those who worked for railroads on a short-term or casual basis also might not have participated in the program.

Start your RRB index search on the Genealogy Quick Look website—choose US Railroad Retirement Board from the Collection menu.

Results give you the last name and usually just a first initial, along with dates of birth and death. This search result (which is missing birth and death days, but has the month and year) might be for someone from my husband's family, but I don't know when this particular relative died. I need to find his death date and clues he might've worked on the railroad before ordering the full pension record:



The RRB index covers records from 1936 to the early 2000s. Once you find a relative , you can order copies of his or her pension records for about 80 cents per page from the National Archives Atlanta office. Use the provided link to Print This Page and then click on Submit Your Request, which gives instructions on how to request copies.

Before this index launched, you had to pay $27 to have RRB staff check their index, even they didn't find your ancestor's name, or request a search from the National Archives. The Midwest Genealogy Center's RRB index saves you the $27 and gives you the flexibility to do further research on potentially relevant search results.

Free Databases | Libraries and Archives | Research Tips
Monday, 02 November 2015 09:58:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]