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# Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Findmypast Launches Record Hints for Members' Family Trees
Posted by Diane

Subscription genealogy website Findmypast has launched the beta version of record Hints for its members' family trees.

Hints for an individual are activated when you add or update the person's information in your Findmypast family tree. Hints will search the site's record collections for matches to the person, then display the hint for you to accept, further consider, or reject.

"Hints currently provide matches from our birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records across the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia," says Findmypast's director of family history, D. Joshua Taylor. Other record sets will be included in the future. 

Members will see the number of hints available for an ancestor in their family tree pedigree or family view (shown):



You can click on the orange My Hints button to see all your hints for this tree:



... or click on an ancestor and then on the Hints tab to see all hints for that person:



Click Review to compare the information from a Hint record to the information in your tree, and decide of they name the same person:



Then you can use the buttons at the bottom to reject the hint, continue considering it, or attach the record to the person in your tree.

Building a family tree is free on Findmypast, but you'd need a subscription to view most matching records in your Hints.

Taylor says that Hints, which is currently in beta, will appear gradually in Findmypast members' trees over the coming weeks.

For help using hints, see the video and guide on Findmypast


findmypast
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 2:31:08 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Announces 2015 Premiere & Partial Celebrity Lineup
Posted by Diane

TLC has announced the premiere date and a partial lineup for the next season of the genealogy TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?"

We'll see eight episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?" this year, with the premiere scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 10/9 central. (This gives us an unbroken 14 weeks of Tuesday evening genealogy viewing, as PBS' "Genealogy Roadshow" airs weekly Jan. 13-Feb. 17.)

Four of the celebrity guests who'll explore their family history on this season's episodes are:
  • Julie Chen, television personality, who takes the series to China for the first time
  • Angie Harmon, actor, who learns a relative served under Gen. George Washington
  • Sean Hayes, actor/producer, who discovers his paternal Irish roots
  • Bill Paxton, actor/director/producer, who learns about his family's part in the American Revolution
The series is produced by Shed Media and Is or Isn't Entertainment, and sponsored by Ancestry.com, which also provides the research into guests' family trees.

Here's a quick preview of the 2015 season:



and a clip of coproducer Lisa Kudrow talking about the show on "The Talk":



"Who Do You Think You Are?" | Celebrity Roots
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:52:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 12, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Dec. 8-12
Posted by Diane

  • FamilySearch announced another big-name keynote speaker—actually, two—for the February 2015 RootsTech conference: Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager, a special correspondent to NBC's "Today," will present the keynote talk during the Friday morning general session, Feb. 13. The former First Lady will talk about life in the White House, the importance of family, and the days following Sept. 11; Hager will join her to share family stories.


FamilySearch | findmypast
Friday, December 12, 2014 2:12:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
"Finding Your Roots" Reveals Genealogical Secrets in Guests' DNA
Posted by Diane



The final episode of "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.," which aired a couple of weeks ago (I'm just now blogging about it thanks to holiday busy-ness), features actor Jessica Alba, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Gates himself.

It also focused on the genetic ancestry of these and previous guests, with analysis from genetic genealogy consultant and Your Genetic Genealogist blogger CeCe Moore.

If you're considering DNA testing, or you've tested and you're not sure how to use your results, this episode can give you an idea of the possibilities. I'll include the highlights here, but watch the episode (soon—the video expires Dec. 26) and read Moore's post on the show's blog for more details, including information that had to be cut or simplified for the show.

(You also should consider taking the next session of our Family Tree University Genetic Genealogy 101 course, starting Jan. 12 and instructed by The Genetic Genealogist blogger Blaine Bettinger.)
  • Jessica Alba: Gates commented that Alba's ancestral breakdown was one of the most diverse he'd ever seen, with British, Iberian (where her Mexican heritage comes in), Italian and French-German. Her Mexican family is among the two-thirds of Mexicans of Mestizo heritage, with a combination of European and native roots.

    Alba's father's test revealed he has Native American (including Mayan), Jewish, Italian and Middle Eastern ancestry, suggesting Sephardic Jewish roots. Genealogical research shows that his mother's line includes fourth-great-grandmother Carmen Carillo. His mitochondrial DNA matches who had Carmen in their tree also had confirmed Sephardic Jewish ancestry, suggesting that she's the link to Alba's Sephardic roots. 
  • Gates: Gates was able to solve one of his own genealogy brick walls with genetic genealogy testing. Although DNA shows that more than half of his ancestors were white, he had never been able to identify them by name. Moore noted that a Mayle family repeatedly occurred in his genetic matches, with many of the matches' lines going back to a Wilmore Mayle, a white man.
Genealogical research, much of it by Gates' newfound cousin, Alexandra, revealed that Wilmore Mayle, born in England, emancipated a slave, Nancy, in 1826, with the condition that she remain with him "in the quality of [his] wife." After that, Mayle appears variously in records as white, free black, and mulatto. The family settled in an isolated area of what's now West Virginia with other mixed-race families. On the show, Gates joins a gathering of Mayle relatives. 
  • Deval Patrick: Patrick's DNA revealed he's nearly 40 percent European, with all of his Y-DNA ancestors originating in Europe. Genealogical records for another line showed that Patrick's African-American great-great-grandmother Emily Wintersmith and her son purchased a farm from a white man, Dr. Harvey Slaughter, for a very small sum. In analyzing Deval Patrick's autosomal DNA, Moore observed that one of his matches is a woman descended from a Capt. George Gray, the brother of Harvey Slaughter's mother. This suggests that Harvey Slaughter is Patrick's great-great-grandfather.
Other interesting genetic genealogy-related tidbits in this episode:
  • Gates put to rest rumors of Native American ancestry in the family trees of Billie Jean King, Anna Deveare Smith and Benjamin Jealous. Those whose American Indian heritage rumors did have merit include Anderson Cooper (who, to oversimplify it, has Chilean DNA on his 21st chromosome—see Moore's blog post for the details) and Valerie Jarrett (whose DNA corroborated her 7th-great-grandmother's baptismal record suggesting that her mother was Algonquin).
  • The average African-American today is a quarter European.
  • Humans are genetically 99.9 percent identical. The part of our DNA that makes us different "races" is  miniscule.
  • Jessica Alba is related to Alan Dershowitz, who appeared on a previous episode; and Tony Kushner and Carole King also are related.
Moore's post reports that production for next season is already underway, with Jimmy Kimmel, John McCain, Sandra Cisneros and Soledad O'Brien so far. (All I want for Christmas is to be on that list!) 

You can watch the full episode online before Dec. 26 on the 'Finding Your Roots" website.

Visit the genetic genealogy section of ShopFamilyTree.com for guides such as our Using DNA to Solve Family Mysteries webinar and our DNA Success Stories download.

Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Friday, December 12, 2014 10:59:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, December 10, 2014
MyHeritage Charms First-Time Users With "Instant Discoveries"
Posted by Diane

Genealogy website MyHeritage unveiled a new feature today called Instant Discoveries, designed for first-time users of the site.

As part of the sign-up process, new members enter basic information about themselves, their parents and their grandparents (names, birth years and places, and death years). Within seconds of doing so, a new member will get a free, polished-looking Instant Discovery showing a person likely to be his or her ancestor, plus information about the family branch, names, photos and documents.

MyHeritage released a video showing New Yorkers testing out the feature at Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and elsewhere:



This is pretty smart. It's a great way to give people instant gratification and spark an interest in genealogy. The people in the video, and probably many others who try the site, are starting off their MyHeritage relationship on a big positive note.

Like I said, it's for new users. Wanting to give Instant Discoveries a try, I started a new MyHeritage account using a new email address, but the site remembered my name associated with my parents' and grandparents' names and life dates from an old account I had under a different email address—so no discoveries for me. (Luckily, the MyHeritage folks who answered my questions said they're planning something similar for existing users.)

Learn more about Instant Discoveries on MyHeritage from the MyHeritage blog. If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think.


MyHeritage
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 2:41:23 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 09, 2014
"Genealogy Roadshow" Season Two Premieres Next Month
Posted by Diane



Mark your calendar for Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET: That's when family history TV series "Genealogy Roadshow" returns to PBS for its second season, producers announced today.

The show, part "Antiques Roadshow" and part "History Detectives," has genealogy experts Kenyatta D. BerryD. Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco explore guests' family history mysteries and legends. It's shot in talk show format: We see an introduction to the guest, then the guest sits down with the expert and the expert reveals the truth behind the family story. A live audience (composed of both family history enthusiasts and hired extras) looks on.

Shooting locations and highlights for the six episodes in season two are:
  • Jan 13, New Orleans: A couple with ancestry in the same small Italian town explore whether they're related, a woman wants to find out who committed a murder in her family’s past, a home held in one family for more than a century has a fascinating story, and a woman discovers her ancestor's journey from slavery to freedom.
  • Jan 20, St. Louis: A woman discovers her mother's life-changing secret, a woman finds out if she's descended from the pirate Blackbeard, a mother and daughter want to know if they're related to a famous author, and a young man seeks connection to the Mali tribe of Africa
  • Jan. 27, Philadelphia: A man learns about the historic event that drove his family to Phildelphia, another may be a Viking descendant, a family wants to know its involvement with one of history’s biggest scams, a man hopes to confirm his link to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and two sisters learn their ancestors were part of the great Irish migration
  • Feb. 3, New Orleans: A local man wants to recover history washed away in Hurricane Katrina, a woman discovers connections to both sides of the Civil War, another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption, and a man explores a link to New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau
  • Feb. 10, St. Louis: A musician hopes to find family connections to a famous St. Louis jazz composer, two sisters find out if they're related links to a survivor of the Donner party disaster, and an Italian-American woman learns whether she's related to Italian royalty
  • Feb. 17, Philadelphia: One woman’s ancestor may have inspired labor laws, a pastor may have an outlaw in her family tree, DNA testing helps a woman find answers about slavery in her family, and another woman learns her ancestor may have helped people escape the Holocaust
You can see photos from each filming event, which also included a family history fair with vendors, on the show's website. Guests were cast earlier this year, after a call for genealogists to submit their family mysteries.

Taylor reveals the research strategies experts used to unravel family mysteries during season one in our on-demand webinar, 11 Essential Research Tricks from Genealogy Roadshow. It's available in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Genealogy TV
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 4:58:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
4 Favorite "Unofficial" Tips for Using Ancestry.com
Posted by Diane

Many of you use Ancestry.com in your genealogy research, as do I. Lots of us get into a routine with the site, searching the same databases in the same way every time. Not surprisingly, the meaningful results start to dry up.

Our Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com book shows you the depth of the site and the range of ways to find ancestral information. Here, I'll summarize four of my favorite ideas from author Nancy Hendrickson, who's also presenting our Making the Most of Ancestry.com webinar on Dec. 18:
  • Delve into the card catalog. Far, far into it. Explore the categories and subcategories of databases, and type ancestral towns and counties into the Keyword search box. You'll find such obscure collections such as "California Narratives: The Adventures of a Forty-Niner," "General Business Review of Highland County, Ohio" and "Burlington Court Book" (court records and historical information on Quaker, Swedish, English and Dutch settlers in West New Jersey from 1680 to about 1709).
  • Look for old photos of family and the places they lived. Try databases including US School Yearbooks, Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents, and Historical Postcards (separate databases are named for 10 countries or regions, including the US, Germany and Austria, Canada, Italy and others). Find more with a card catalog search on the keyword pictures.

    I've been on the lookout for old images of tiny Pickstown, SD, where my dad lived as a child while his dad helped build the Fort Randall Dam, and this is just one of the ones I found:

  • Add notes to records you find on Ancestry.com. You might find errors in the site's index, where the transcriber who read the name in a historical record misinterpreted what the record said. Or the census taker or county clerk might have garbled your relative's name on the original record. Or maybe the record shows Great-grandpa's given name, and you know the nickname he more commonly used.

    On the record summary page, you can click the Leave a Comment button to leave a general comment with more information on the record. Others will be able to see your user name as the person who left a comment, potentially putting you in touch with more relatives:


Or you can add alternate information to transcriptions for many records. When you view a record, click the green Index button at the bottom to pull up a transcription of fields in the record. Click on the line you want to edit, then hover over the field you want to edit. An orange button appears; click the pencil:  


You also can fill in some fields that weren't already transcribed. Here, I added "Lodger" to the Relation to Head of Household column in my grandfather's 1940 census listing. The alternate information becomes part of Ancestry.com's searchable index along with the original transcription, a help to others searching for those people.
  • Use Ancestry.com in conjunction with other sources. In many of her examples, Nancy shows how she uses names and places found on Ancestry.com as a springboard for searches on sites such as Google, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and Findmypast. The book also includes listings of other sites you should check for city directories, digitized books and newspapers, and other types of genealogy records. 
The Making the Most of Ancestry.com webinar on Dec. 18 will show you:
  • how to build your Ancestry.com searches for better, faster results
  • how to zero in on the best databases for your search in the Ancestry.com Card Catalog
  • how to use the site's many shortcut tools to make your research more efficient and lead to additional relatives
  • and lots more
The webinar is Thursday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. ET (6p.m. CT, 5p.m. MT, 4p.m. PT). All registrants will receive a PDF copy of the presentation slides and access to view the recorded webinar again as often as they like. Learn more and register now for Making the Most of Ancestry.com in ShopFamilyTree.com.


Ancestry.com | Genealogy books | Webinars
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:44:34 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 05, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Dec. 1-5
Posted by Diane

  • Great news for Irish genealogists: Starting in summer 2015, the National Library of Ireland plans to post its Irish Catholic Church records online for free, according to IrishCentral.com. The collection, consisting primarily of baptismal and marriage records, dates as early as the 1700s and covers more than 1,000 parishes.


Genealogy Events | Genealogy societies | MyHeritage | UK and Irish roots
Friday, December 05, 2014 12:42:06 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Ways to Solve Genealogy Problems With Cluster Research
Posted by Diane

Studying your ancestors in the context of their community of relatives, friends, neighbors and associates is a tried-and-true way to solve family mysteries. For example:
  • If you can't find an ancestor's parents' names, you might be able to identify her brother and then establish his parents.

  • Getting your ancestor confused with someone else in his town of the same name and age? Keep them straight by identifying their wives, children, siblings and neighbors.

  • Want to understand why your ancestor migrated to a particular place or took a certain job? He may have had friends in that place, or a family member helped him get the job.
These cluster genealogy research tips are from next week's Cluster Genealogy Crash Course webinar. There's still time to sign up!
  • Start by creating a family group sheet for the ancestor's nuclear family, including each person's name; birth, marriage and death dates and places; and spouse's name.
  • Cluster research candidates include others who appear in your ancestors' records: neighbors in the census, land records and city directories; ship passengers from the same place; witnesses in marriage and naturalization records; sponsors in baptismal and other religious records; survivors in obituaries; heirs, executors and guardians in probate records.
  •  Next-door neighbors are sometimes separated by several pages in the census because of the route the census taker followed. As you read these pages, note other families of your ancestor's surname or families with similar birthplace patterns or other details in common. These families may need to be on your cluster research list.
  • Also make note if your ancestors' neighboring families reported the same birthplaces for parents and children. You need to study them: Did they migrate together? Were they related?

In the Cluster Genealogy Crash Course webinar, professional researcher and "Genealogy Roadshow" host D. Joshua Taylor will show you the details of strategies for identifying your ancestors' "clusters," researching those clusters, and adding up the evidence to conquer your family history brick walls.

The webinar takes place next Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. PT). All registrants will receive a PDF file of the webinar slides and access to view the presentation again whenever you want. Learn more about the Cluster Genealogy Crash Course here.


Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, December 03, 2014 10:11:49 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 02, 2014
New Release: RootsMagic 7 Genealogy Software
Posted by Diane

RootsMagic has released version 7 of its genealogy software. The new version includes both new features and updates that make the current features easier to use, according to this press release from RootsMagic. Here's the main screen:



New features in RootsMagic 7 include:
  • WebHints: Hints to records from both FamilySearch and MyHeritage that match profiles in your family tree. Read more about the MyHeritage record matching here.

  • MyRootsMagic: New accounts let you easily publish and maintain multiple online trees, which you can make public or private.

  • DataClean: find and fix problems (such as typos) in names and places in your database.

  • File Compare: Compare any two RootsMagic files side by side, and easily transfer information or media between them.

  • QuickGroups: Instantly add or remove an individual to or from multiple groups at once.
Here's a breakdown of all the RootsMagic 7 features, with icons to indicate what's "new" and "better."

RootsMagic is Windows software, though you can use MacBridge for RootsMagic to run it on a Mac.

New RootsMagic users can purchase version 7 for $29.95. If you use a previous version of RootsMagic or its predecessor, Family Origins, you can upgrade for $19.95.

The free RootsMagic Essentials, a "lite" version of the software that has many of the core features, also has been updated. It's fully compatible with the full version.

Look for a review of RootsMagic 7 in an upcoming issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Genealogy Software
Tuesday, December 02, 2014 8:50:12 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]