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Tuesday, 25 July 2017
New Resource for African-American Genealogy: IAAM Center for Family History
Posted by Diane
The International African American
Museum (IAAM), opening in early 2020 in Charleston, SC, will
include a Center for Family
History dedicated to helping researchers trace
African-Americans in their family trees.
It sounds like a long time to
wait, but the center's website
is already available, with a growing collection of obituary, funeral and marriage records, as
well as research tips in a Learning Library and a blog by
professional genealogist Robin Foster.
Toni Carrier, founder of the LowCountry Africana
website, is developing the IAAM Center for Family History. Staff will assist researchers in finding resources about their families
and help with DNA testing.
The $75 million museum and research center will be located at
Charleston's former Gadsden’s
Wharf, where almost half of all enslaved Africans first
arrived in America via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. You can see
artist's renderings of the museum here.
African-American roots | Genealogy Web Sites | Museums
Tuesday, 25 July 2017 08:55:43 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Five Ways to Have the Best-Ever Virtual Genealogy Conference!
Posted by Diane
Can you believe how fast summer is sailing by? Which means the Family
Tree University Virtual Genealogy Conference is right around
the corner, Sept. 13 to 15.
This online event has the excitement and
shared knowledge of a genealogy conference, without the expense and difficulty of
travel and being away from family and work. Or
the pressure to change out of your fuzzy slippers.
Wikimedia commons, Ch2410
You get a weekend of video classes (which you can download to keep), networking with genealogy researchers and experts via our conference message boards, and a live
keynote. Classes and Q&A sessions cover genetic genealogy,
websites, methodology, organizing and preserving your
research, and ethnic research.
I hope you'll join me
coupon code FALLVCEARLY to save $40 on registration! (Code expires Aug. 11, 2017.)
As a seasoned Virtual Conference attendee, I've got a few tips for
making the most of the experience:
1. Peruse the
program ahead of time.
Most of the conference is on-demand—you log in to watch
videos and post to the message board any time during the conference.
But Lisa Louise Cooke's keynote presentation on Sunday, "Big Pictures
in Little Details," is live, as are the expert Q&A sessions on
the message boards. Mark the scheduled bits on your calendar (remember the Virtual Conference
is on East Coast Time).
Since you can download the classes to watch again,
don't worry if you can't squeeze them all into the weekend. But
do try to watch the ones most related to your research during
the conference so you can discuss them on the
2. Free up some time.
The time-saving convenience of attending from home is
a MAJOR draw. But carve out some time over the weekend to watch
the videos and chat on the message boards. The
Virtual Conference genealogy inspiration gets me excited about
trying new strategies and resources, so I usually want to
spend some time researching, too.
I minimize errands that weekend, and declare a pizza night for the kids. Daddy does something fun with them and we grant them
more screen time. Therefore, my children enjoy the Virtual
Conference almost as much as I do!
3. Log in on Friday.
Even if you're not planning on doing much conferencing on Friday,
take 15 minutes to log in, go over the orientation and click around
the conference. Make sure you can download a video. If you have
any problems accessing the conference content, just post to the
Technical Issues board and we'll address it as quickly as possible.
4. Play along.
You'll get the most benefit out of the classes and opportunities to
interact with others if your research is
fresh in your mind. Go over your tree before the
conference to refamiliarize yourself with difficult
ancestors. Make a list of your surnames and places for the surnames
A lot of action happens on those boards! Introductions are
made, tips shared, questions answered, brick walls solved, books and
websites recommended. We'll even exchange recipes and family
stories. Check here often during the conference, post your
questions, and answer other peoples'.
5. Get comfy.
Everyone talks about how great it is to do genealogy in your
pajamas. NOW'S YOUR CHANCE!! Wear your comfiest PJs and fuzziest
slippers. Don't bother doing your hair. Make some coffee or
tea, fetch your favorite snack and pad over to your computer. Revel
FamilyTreeUniversity.com to check out the conference details and
sign up today. Remember to save $40 (before Aug. 11) with
coupon code FALLVCEARLY!
Family Tree University | Genealogy Events | Research Tips
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 09:54:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
How I Created a Genealogy Timeline To Show My Grandfather's Life
Posted by Diane
My grandfather Joe moved around a lot during his lifetime: Texas,
North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, back to Texas, elsewhere in
Texas, Ohio, more places in Texas, various Ohio cities, South
Dakota, Ohio again.
Timelines organize an ancestor's or a family's family
tree data—dates, places of residence, jobs, historical events,
children's births—in an orderly fashion. I love them.
So when I was
making a photo book about my grandfather as a Christmas present for
my dad, I thought a timeline was just the thing to help summarize
all those migrations. Matching up the timeline with a map of all the
places would be even better.
My Grandfather's Migration Timeline
Here's the timeline and map I came up with:
The right-hand page lists each place Joe lived, with dates and
details about what he did in that place. The information
comes from my research in censuses, city directories, newspapers and
other genealogy records. I'm lucky to have copies of a job
application my grandpa filled out with his work history.
Looking at it now, I can see some things I'd change. But overall, I'm
pleased with it.
For the map, I first tried customizing a Google map using free
numbered place markers downloaded from here (Google's marker
options don't include numbers). To create your own
Google maps timeline, add a generic place marker to the map, click
the paint can to edit the marker style, choose More Icons, then
Custom Icon, and select the marker image file from your computer. You'll need a Google account to save the map.
I didn't love the result for my photo book, though, so I
imported a map image into desktop publishing software I have access
to through work, and added numbered place markers I created myself.
Then I exported the file as a JPG to use in the photo book.
I know a
few tricks, but I'm not a graphic designer, so there's probably an
easier and more artful way to go about making the map.
Using Timelines in Your Genealogy Research
Timelines are among your best genealogy tools. In addition to
helping you easily share genealogical information, they let you:
Our new independent study online course Using
Timelines in Your Genealogy helps you take advantage of all
these genealogy benefits of timelines.
- get an overview of a person or family in historical context
- sort out a confusing jumble of information you've found in
- spot problems (why was Great-grandpa here and Great-grandma
- note periods of missing information
- brainstorm answers to research questions, such as why a
relative immigrated or where your great-grandparents met
It'll show you how to use
timelines to understand your ancestors' lives and solve research
problems, and how to create a timeline by hand or using websites
such as Twile and Treelines. Best of all, you
can take this independent study course at your own pace and download
the videos and research guides to keep.
all the details for our Using Timelines in Your Genealogy course
and register at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
Family Tree University | Maps | Research Tips
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 12:43:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, 05 July 2017
Cemetery Superstitions, Little-Known Facts and Genealogy Secrets
Posted by Diane
Do you love everything about cemeteries—finding family
burial places, studying the old stones with their intricate designs,
taking in the peaceful landscape, discovering old records in the cemetery
Then you'll love our new book, The
Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide, coming in September
from Family Tree Books.
In the Cemetery Field Guide, veteran genealogist, blogger at A Grave Interest,
and self-described "tombstone tourist" Joy Neighbors introduces you to
different types of cemeteries and helps you find your ancestors' burial
sites, understand tombstone symbolism, and uncover cemetery records you didn't realize existed.
Get to know to Joy and find out about her
fascination with cemeteries with our Q&A:
Me: What turned you into a tombstone tourist?
Joy: It all began with a picnic. I was on a date with a
guy (who later became my husband) who took me to a cemetery with a
hamper of great food and a bottle of wine. He spread out a blanket
near the lake and we talked about our lives, our views on life and
death, and our interest in art, and somewhere in there, I
forgot I was in a cemetery. I was just sitting outdoors having an
We married two years later and we’ve been visiting cemeteries ever since.
It was more than 25 years later when I decided to write A Grave Interest
and share this forgotten history and art.
Me: How many cemeteries have you've visited during your
Joy: I’ve visited everything from huge city cemeteries to a cemetery
located in the middle of a highway. Brian (my husband) is on
the lookout for cemeteries when we travel. We
spot one from the highway and we’ll detour off. Every cemetery is
different but they are all worth a visit because you never know
what finds are waiting.
Let’s just say I’ve been to thousands of cemeteries, but I’m
always looking for the next one to visit.
Me: When I was young, my sisters and I would hold our breath
when driving by a cemetery in Mom or Dad's car. What strange
cemetery superstition have you encountered?
Joy:As a child, I was told not to count the cars in the funeral
procession or your funeral would be the next one to drive by. I
was a kid who counted everything: steps, train cars, clouds, so
that was tough.
There are so many superstitions about death and burial. Here are
just a few that I’ve come across:
- Never point at the funeral
procession, it will bring bad luck.
- If it rains in an open grave,
it brings bad luck to the family.
- Flowers and grass grow on the
graves of those who have lived virtuous lives. Only weeds or mud
will cover the grave of someone who was evil.
- Never whistle in a
graveyard, you are summoning the Devil.
- Never take anything from a
cemetery; the dead may follow you to get it back.
- If there is
thunder following a burial, the deceased has reached heaven.
Me: What's your favorite cemetery (and why)?
Joy:It’s so difficult to choose. If I narrowed it down by
size, my favorite large cemetery is Cave Hill in Louisville,
Ky. The artwork there is phenomenal and the history is
amazing. It’s an older cemetery that has maintained a modern edge
with its monuments, sculpture and stained glass. Plus, it’s very
haunted. (And yes, I have stories from visiting.)
For a medium sized cemetery, I’m torn between Highland
Lawn in Terre Haute, Ind., and Oak
Hill in Evansville, Ind. Highland Lawn has great symbolism
on the stones, mausoleums, and a wealth of history. Most of the
town’s historical figures are buried there. (It's haunted, too.)
Oak Hill has tons of tree stones (my favorite), and rolling vistas
with huge oak trees. The Civil War burial ground is one of the
best designs I’ve seen.
I love small cemeteries because they're so intimate. You really
have time to get to know who’s buried there, and I like to read
the stones and wonder what life was like.
Me: Could you share something surprising about cemeteries that
you've found most people don't know?
Joy:A cemetery is one of the most exquisite (and inexpensive) places
to hold a wedding. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and
manicured, and covered with sculpture, architecture, stained glass
and other art. It is truly like getting married in an outdoor art
If the cemetery has a chapel, there’s also the advantage of having
an indoor wedding option. Cemeteries are just
starting to embrace this idea, so if it’s something you’d like to
do, don’t be afraid to approach them.
Me: If readers remember one piece of advice from The
Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide, what do you
want it to be?
Joy:Never stop digging! I loved Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a
girl, and that’s how I approach cemetery research. It’s all a
mystery; I just have to figure out how to find the clues. And those clues could be hidden in records,
family Bibles, photographs, or symbols on stones. Even the people
themselves may hold the answers—or the clues.
I hope that the Cemetery
Field Guide inspires others to become Tombstone
Tourists and enjoy all the history and art that our cemeteries
have to offer.
Me: You wrote on your blog that
cemetery research led you to a family secret of monumental
proportions. You explain everything in the Cemetery
Field Guide, but can you give us a hint about
what you discovered?
Me again: I'm gonna make you wait for this answer—and to
hear about Joy's favorite tombstones of all of her cemetery
visits. Stay tuned for more from Joy Neighbors! And of course you
can find out more about The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide
and preorder it in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Cemeteries | Genealogy books
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 14:40:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)