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<May 2015>

More Links

# Friday, May 29, 2015
Genealogy News Corral: May 25-29
Posted by Diane

  •, a website where people can post family heirlooms they're seeking to reunite with owners, a new free membership that lets you search for a surname in the site's database and view initial results. To get detailed information about an item and contact the person who listed it, you'll need to become a supporting member for $20 per year.
  • has launched a new MyHeritage User Stories site, where you can view inspirational stories and video of MyHeritage members from around the world who've discovered family history information, documents and photos on the site. There's also a link to submit your own stories.
  • The International Society for Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) wants to remind everyone that the 2015 Excellence in Writing Competition is open until June 15. For details on the categories and how to enter, see the ISFHWE website and download the entry package.

Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage
Friday, May 29, 2015 2:44:24 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 28, 2015
Finding My Ancestor's Old Property Deed: Tips You Can Use
Posted by Diane

When last I blogged about my Seeger family, I had uncovered their previously unknown migration (a short one, just a few doors down the street) and added finding the associated deed record to my genealogy to-do list.

Deeds are both rewarding and difficult to find. They're rarely online. Counties keep them in various states of organization, and they're usually unindexed or only partially indexed. A resource like Family Tree University's Land Records 101 online course (the next session starts June 8) can arm you with knowledge and confidence to start your deed search.

I'm lucky that Hamilton County, Ohio, records are on the free They're not yet in the site's record search, so they must be browsed. The collection includes deed index books, which give the volume and page number with the recorded deed.

But most of the index books aren't organized by name. Instead, each series of index books covers a year range. Sections of the books are devoted to subdivisions (with multiple books including each subdivision), but you don't know what subdivisions are in a book without paging through. Pages for a subdivision list property transactions with the grantor (seller), grantee (buyer), lot number and a short description with street names. (More on Hamilton County, Ohio, deeds here.)

I knew my ancestors' subdivision (Ferneding's), lot number (23), and about when they moved (1883). So over two or three episodes of "Castle," I browsed through the series of index books covering this year. It helped to be familiar with the area: Subdivisions located near each other seemed to appear together in the indexes, so I skipped a bunch of pages when I could tell from street names that I was in the wrong part of town.

The series had 36 books in all, and I found what I needed in book 27, page 110 (this is the top of the page and my ancestor's entry near the bottom):

After that it was much easier—I found the deed in vol. 560, page 508, right where the index said it should be. Here's how the record, dated Oct. 13, 1883, starts:

Apparently there was a legal dispute over dividing the lot, and my great-great-grandfather H.A. Seeger purchased the southern half once it was settled. This is consistent with my mom's memory of another building behind our family's, with a courtyard in the middle. (The two buildings have since been combined and the front door relocated around the corner, which changed the address.)

You might not have such a lengthy deed search if a local genealogical society or repository has published a name index to deeds in your ancestor's area, or even made records searchable online. Try an online search for the county name plus deeds genealogy.

Then you can use the index information to find the deed on microfilm through FamilySearch or a local archive, on a visit to the courthouse, or via a written request for photocopies.

The Land Records 101 online course helps you find and understand deed records as well as land patents and land entry case files. Learn more about the course and sign yourself up at

Family Tree University | Land records | Research Tips
Thursday, May 28, 2015 9:45:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
Now You Can Search the Entire US Census, 1790-1940, FREE on Mocavo
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website Mocavo has made its indexes and record images for all US census records, 1790 to 1940, available free for everyone—no Gold membership needed.

Use this link to search the entire census or one census at a time. My search for my great-great-grandfather H.A. (Henry) Seeger:

found him in the 1900 through 1920 censuses (here's 1920):

But even a broad search on just the last name didn't turn up his 1880 census record. Then when I looked for his wife with just a first name, Prentice (that's how she was recorded in 1880, although her name was actually Frances), and birth year, I found the family indexed with the last name Saeger.

The moral of the story is that you may need to try plenty of surname variants when you search here.

I couldn't find a way to download the census record image to my computer, but I was able to take a screenshot of it. This was all without having to register or log in to the site, even as a free basic member.

Read more about this announcement on the Mocavo blog.

Can't find folks in the federal census? Download Family Tree Magazine's complete genealogy guide to US census records, just $4.99 in

census records | Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, May 28, 2015 9:26:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 27, 2015
A Genealogist's Must-Have Tool for Organizing & Archiving Digital Photos
Posted by Diane

This week, guest blogger Denise Levenick, author of the new How To Archive Your Family Photos (Family Tree Books), shares one of her favorite tools for organizing and archiving digital photos.

Here's Denise:

A great photo management solution for mobile genealogists, and one I use in my digital asset management workflow, is the Eye-Fi Mobi SD Card.

It looks like any other removable SD storage card you might use in your camera. But the Eyefi Mobi includes built-in wi-fi connectivity to send your photos directly from the card to your computer or other device.

The Eyefi Mobi SD card works like a standard SD card—you can use it in your digital camera to store images and remove it to transfer images to your computer. But the real magic happens when you configure the Eyefi Mobi to transfer images wirelessly from your camera directly to your computer, smartphone or tablet. You don’t even need to remove the card from your camera. Here's how I use it:
  • I keep an Eyefi Mobi card in my FlipPal Mobile Scanner, where it’s configured to transfer images to my desktop computer as I scan them.
  • I keep a second Eyefi Mobi card in my digital camera, where it’s handy for digitizing oversize items like scrapbook and photo album pages.

  • When the card’s storage capacity is full, I confirm that the photo transfer is complete before deleting the images.
The Eyefi Mobi cards work with PC and Mac computers, and with virtually any device that uses an SD card for storage of JPG images and popular video formats. The higher-capacity Eyefi Mobi Pro card also allows transfer of RAW files, as well as selective photo transfer.

A lot has changed since I reviewed the original Eye-Fi Card card on my blog in 2009. I noted then that the slow speed was a disadvantage for transferring hundreds of photos. This is no longer true. The new generation of Eyefi cards is fast, and easier to configure than the original cards.

New features like the optional Eyefi Cloud service also add functionality. This cloud service works in the background to synchronize all your images on all your devices by hosting full-resolution copies on Eyefi’s Cloud storage website. You can use Eyefi wireless transfer without the Eyefi Cloud, but your images will be located only in the original download location.  

With Eyefi Mobi cards in my camera and portable scanner, I know that my images exist in two locations shortly after they’re digitized, and I have quick access to the photos without physically removing the SD card.

Learn about other tools and strategies for managing your collection of digital photos and scans in my book How to Archive Family Photos and on my blog,

Want a chance to win your very own copy of How To Archive Family Photos? Read this post over on the Heirloom Registry Houstory blog to find out how to enter the Heirloom Registry's drawing. The deadline is May 31, 2015.

Genealogy books | Photos | Tech Advice
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 2:56:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 21, 2015
11 Free Genealogy Sites to Research Americans Who've Died in Military Service
Posted by Diane

Memorial Day, coming up Monday, May 25, honors Americans who died in military service to their country (more on the origins of Memorial Day here). To help honor those people, we've gathered these websites where you can search for those in your family tree who died serving in US wars:
  • Nationwide Gravesite Locator database from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which catalogs burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, other military and Department of the Interior cemeteries, and private cemeteries (after 1997) when the grave is marked with a government marker
Don't stop with these resources—look also for print and digitized books naming those in your ancestors' area who died in a particular war (these may have been published by a genealogical society or a state adjutant general's office), and try to get burial records if you can find the place of burial.

Update: I received an email that is offering free US military records through May 25, so I wanted to let you know. Here's the link to start searching:

Trace your military ancestors with help from our Online Military Records on-demand webinar or a war-specific guide, such as our Civil War Genealogy Value Pack. | Military records | Research Tips
Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:22:29 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Free Colonial & Early American Military Databases on
Posted by Diane

In observance of Memorial Day, the website will feature several free databases to help you search for patriots in early American and colonial wars. The databases, free now through Wed., May 27, include:
  • Colonial Soldiers and Officers in New England, 1620-1775

  • Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pensioners’ Receipts 1799-1807

  • Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pensioners’ Receipts 1829-1837
Find more information here about these record collections. You'll need a free guest registration to to use these databases. Click the link at to register, then start searching for your Patriots.

Military records
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 3:37:35 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
7 Canadian Genealogy Tips
Posted by Diane

Upper and Lower Canada, 1838, David Rumsey Map Collection

Looking for ancestors in Canada? Whether you're a native Canadian or you're from the United States, you'll find guidance in our Canadian Genealogy Crash Course webinar on May 26, with professional researcher Janice Nickerson.

You can get more details on the webinar in, and in the mean time, let these Canadian family history tips tide you over.
  • In 1791, French-speaking Lower Canada was separated from English-speaking Upper Canada (these are shown in the 1838 map above). Confederation unified Canada in 1867. The Canada Act of 1982 made Canada a self-governing parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
  • Places are important to know because most records were created and stored locally. With 10 provinces and three territories, Canada's borders have shifted as new administrative divisions formed. The Geographical Names of Canada database can help you figure out place name changes. 
  • Starting in the 1870s, the Canadian government encouraged homesteading through land grants in the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, attracting many Europeans and Americans. Gold rushes, railroads and lumber work attracted many Asians to western Canada.
  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds federal records such as censuses, passenger lists and military records. Access searchable databases, record images and research guides in the Genealogy and Family History section of its website.

Ready to dig deeper into your Canadian roots with more tips and in-depth, expert advice? Register for our May 26 Canadian Genealogy Crash Course webinar in

Canadian roots | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 11:16:07 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 19, 2015
A Simple Four-Part System for Naming Digital Photo Files
Posted by Diane

Guest blogger Denise Levenick, who helps you manage your digital photo collection in the new book How To Archive Family Photos, is sharing these file-naming tips this week:

The key to organizing your photo collection is a simple and logical naming system. Start with simple file names that don't require a key to abbreviations. And make it a habit to import and rename images soon after a photo shoot or scanning session.

Long, complicated file naming schemes are difficult to maintain and cumbersome to use. The end of the name may be cut off in your computer folder view or printout. More words give more opportunity for misspellings or inconsistency.

As you develop your file-naming scheme, create a File-naming Cheat Sheet and post it next to your computer to help you maintain consistency. Here's a cheat sheet for my four-part file-naming scheme:

The four parts of my digital photo file names are
  1. Name: Surname-firstname
  2. Date: YYYYMMDD
  3. Location: from largest to smallest with two letter abbreviation used for states
  4. Event: obit, birth-cert, etc.
I separate the parts with an underscore, and use a dash to separate words in each part. The names are short and consistent, with all lowercase characters. Here's an example:
Whatever file-naming scheme you adopt, your files will be easier to organize and access if it’s simple and consistent for all your digital images. Learn more about working with scanned and newly captured digital images in How to Archive Family Photos and at my blog, The Family Curator.

Genealogy books | Photos | Tech Advice
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 4:07:58 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, May 11, 2015
Why You Really Need a Digital Asset Management Workflow
Posted by Diane

This guest post with important tips for managing your growing digital image collection is from Denise May Levenick, author of the new book How to Archive Family Photos:

Genealogists who juggle hundreds of digital images can learn a few things from professional photographers.

When pros moved from film photography to digital media, they needed a comprehensive system to manage all those photo files. They developed a strategy called Digital Asset Management (DAM).

Like pro photographers, genealogists need different versions of their digital files—for sharing via email, archiving for the long term, and posting on the web. Also like the pros, genealogists need to add file names and organization that allows for easy access in the future.

In my new book How to Archive Family Photos, you’ll learn how to set up a system that suits your needs and helps you easily accomplish the seven basic steps of Digital Photo Management for genealogists:

1. Capture photos on your phone, digital camera, scanner or tablet
2. Import image files from your capture devices to one location
3. Rename image files from the generic device-generated names to something related to the image content
4. Back up files to your digital Image Library
5. Add content-related tags and keywords to your image files
6. Archive your images in a permanent, off-site location
7. Edit, export, and share select photos for others to enjoy.

Each step moves you toward curating, organizing, and identifying your digital files for long-term archiving and access. My book offers specific workflow strategies and tools for the Mobile Genealogist, the Family Photographer, the Vacation Shutterbug and others.

You’ll find inspiration and practical guidance in How to Archive Family Photos to help you get control of your digital photo chaos and become a more efficient family historian.
Genealogy books | Photos | saving and sharing family history | Tech Advice
Monday, May 11, 2015 11:25:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
10 Types of Apps Every Genealogist Should Have
Posted by Diane

When I first got my Android tablet, I thought I'd be able to use it like a computer, and I was disappointed when I couldn't. Although my tablet is a lot easier to carry around than my bulky laptop, it spent a few genealogy conferences at home.

I just didn't know what a handy genealogy assistant a tablet (or iPad) could be. In our upcoming Maximize Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy online workshop, you'll learn how to take advantage of your tablet's tools and convenience to—as tech wizard Lisa Louise Cooke would say—turn your device into a "genealogy powerhouse."

Powerful apps optimized for mobile devices are a big part of what can make your tablet or iPad an essential genealogy tool, so they'll be covered thoroughly in the workshop.

Here's a sneak peek: 10 types of apps every genealogist should have on his or her mobile device, along with suggestions for each:
  • Note-taking: Evernote is highly popular with genealogists for taking and organizing notes (which can include record images), and it includes a web clipper. Microsoft One-note also is popular.
  • File storage and transfer: When you use your device to photograph records or microfilm at a library, you'll want a way to easily transfer those images to your computer at home. Dropbox and File Transfer (iPad/Phone and Android) are two options.
  • Library searching: WorldCat has a mobile app available in beta for iPad/Phone and Android. See if libraries in your ancestral locales have mobile apps, too, which might let you search the catalog and find your way around the library.
  • Recording: Interviewy (iPad/Phone) is a good app for recording oral history interviews.
  • Blog reading: Feedly is great for keeping up with genealogy blogs, as is Flipboard.
  • Storytelling/keeping: FamilySearch Memories lets you take photos, record memories and interviews, write stories, and add them to your FamilySearch family tree. Storypress (for the iPad/Phone) and Keepy let you take a picture and record audio or video to go with it.

The Maximize Your iPad (or Tablet) for Genealogy online workshop starts Friday, May 22, and runs for a week. It includes six video classes, advice from Lisa Louise Cooke, and an exclusive workshop message board. View the workshop program and get registered at

Family Tree University | Genealogy Apps | Tech Advice
Monday, May 11, 2015 10:49:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [6]