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Monday, October 20, 2014
Call for Old Family Photos: Family Tree Magazine Seeks Ancestral Cover Model for 15th Anniversary Issue
Posted by Diane
We're getting pretty excited for Family Tree Magazine's big 15th anniversary issue in
January 2015, and we'd love to put your ancestor on the cover!
us your ancestral photo before midnight on Friday, Oct. 31.
We'll choose one photo to appear on our January/February 2015 cover,
and other photos may appear with articles inside the magazine.
Here's how to submit:
- Scan your old family photo at high resolution
(300 dpi or greater). Old family photos of ancestors and relatives are fine,
but no living folks, please. If you have a few favorite photos, it's
fine to send more than one.
If we choose
your photo, we'll contact you and get your mailing address to send
you a copy of the issue.
- Include information you know about the photo, such as the name of
the person or people shown, their relationship to you, when the picture was taken, etc.
Also include your name, email address and phone number.
By sending your photo, you affirm that you're the owner of the
image, and you give us permission to use it on the cover or in the
interior of Family Tree Magazine. We also may use it in
other print or electronic genealogy products.
Remember to submit before midnight on Oct. 31!
Family Tree Magazine articles | Photos
Monday, October 20, 2014 1:07:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Free Immigration Records on Ancestry.com Through Oct. 23
Posted by Diane
is offering free access to its immigration records collection
from now through Oct. 23 at midnight ET.
The promotion highlights this week's episode of "Finding Your Roots
With Henry Louis Gates, Jr." which Ancestry.com sponsors. Watch chefs Aarón Sánchez, Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai learn about
their immigrant ancestors Tuesday night at 8 ET/7 CT.
here to start searching Ancestry.com immigration records.
You'll need to register for a free account with Ancestry.com (or log
in to your existing account) to see full search results.
I gave the offer a try, and I'm relatively certain that this is the
passenger record for my third-great-grandfather Franz Edward Thoss,
showing his arrival at the port of New York, Feb. 10, 1837, on the
Tiber, which left from Bremen.
This is for my great-granduncle, Ralph E. Thoss, coming back
from World War II on the Vulcania, which arrived Nov. 10, 1945, from
Le Havre, France. (Here's
a neat website about the "cigarette camps" through which WWII
troops moved when arriving and departing the port of Le Havre. Ralph
was at Camp Phillip Morris.)
more help using Ancestry.com in your genealogy search, check out
our Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com book.
Ancestry.com | immigration records
Monday, October 20, 2014 12:34:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Enter Our Family History Month Sweepstakes: You Could Win a Genealogy Shopping Spree!
Posted by Diane
Happy Family History Month! To help you get started celebrating and
discovering your family's history, we're giving you a chance
(or chances—see below) to win a $100 gift card to
The winner of Family Tree Magazine's Family
History Month Sweepstakes can choose from hundreds of
genealogy how-to guides, books, CDs, video classes and more in ShopFamilyTree.com.
here to enter the Family History Month Sweepstakes before
midnight Eastern on Oct. 30, 2014. (You'll find the official
You can get extra chances to win, too: After you submit your entry,
you'll receive a unique link to share with friends. For each person
who clicks your link and then enters the sweepstakes, you'll receive
an additional two chances to win.
Genealogy fun | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:15:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
5 Websites for Norwegian Genealogy
Posted by Diane
If you have ancestors in Norway, their old records might be in
Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. Their parish name might refer to a
village, a fork in the road or the largest town in the area.
1831. Published by D. Lizars, Edinburgh.
David Rumsey Map Collection.
Scandinavian genealogy expert Diana
Crisman Smith is very familiar with these Norwegian research
challenges, and she'll help you get around them in our Norwegian
Genealogy Crash Course webinar, coming up on Thursday, Oct.
Here, Diana gives you a sneak peek at the webinar by sharing some of
her favorite online resources for Norwegian genealogy:
In the Norwegian
Genealogy Crash Course webinar, Diana will show you how to use
these and other resources, and give you details about the most
important Norwegian genealogy records, how to find those records, and
tips for reading the records.
- The National Archival
Services of Norway, which has record indexes and
transcriptions, along with some digital images. You'll also find
interesting articles such as Norwegian Emigration to America
- Norway-Heritage: Hands
Across the Sea, with searchable indexes and helpful
explanationd for understanding Norwegian names.
Genealogical Society (Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, or
NSF) website, which lets you search an online index of its
- FamilySearch.org, which
in addition to online genealogy records, has abundant
information in its research
& History (Slekt & Historie), a site all about the
authors' personal research, along with historical information
and links to more than 100 additional resources.
As always, anyone who registers for the webinar receives a PDF handout of the webinar
slides, as well as access to view the webinar again as often as desired.
more about the Norwegian Genealogy Crash Course webinar in ShopFamilyTree.com.
Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | Research Tips | Webinars
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 11:03:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
"Finding Your Roots" Features Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Benjamin Jealous
Posted by Diane
All three guests—Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Benjamin Jealous—in last night's "Finding Your
Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr." had connections to the
Civil War and to the American Revolution, highlighting the
contradictions in a country that supported the ideals of the
American Revolution yet allowed slavery to continue.
Revolutionary War pension files were the source for most information
on the ancestors' Revolutionary War service. Laws making pensions
available to most veterans or their dependents weren't passed until
years after the war, when the ranks of those eligible to apply were
Revolutionary War pension applications are on microfilm at the
National Archives and the Family History Library. In addition, the
records are digitized and available on subscription sites
Ancestry.com and Fold3. FamilySearch.org has a free index you can
search, then you'll link to Fold3 to see the record.
Learn more about military pension records for the American
Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil War in our Pension
Records Workbook, available from ShopFamilyTree.com.
Here's a rundown of this episode's genealogy finds:
- Ben Affleck, a Boston native, actor and producer, discovered
he has a third-great-grandfather Almon Bruce French who was active
in the Spiritualist
movement that took hold of the country in the latter 19th
century. He believed he was a medium and would travel around
conducting seances so Civil War widows and orphans could
"communicate" with their deceased loved ones.
His sixth-great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary War under
Gen. George Washington in the summer of 1776. Gates also revealed that
Affleck is 10th cousins once removed with his good friend and fellow
Bostonian Matt Damon (Affleck seemed surprised, but this link was actually uncovered several years ago).
- Khandi Alexander, an actor, knew nothing of her family history, which
Gates pointed out is common in African-American families who chose
to forget the painful experiences of slavery and segregation. She'd never even seen a picture of her grandfather, who she
learned died as a young man in an industrial explosion in Florida.
The newspapers called it an accident, but his family suspected it
was rigged by employees who didn't want a black supervisor.
Alexander's second-great-grandfather, born a slave, was the son of
an unidentified black slave and a white slaveowner. Through that man,
Alexander is descended from a man who served in the American
Revolution and went on to own 85 slaves on a large plantation.
Her DNA test showed she's about three-quarters African, and a
more-specific analysis pinpointed the areas in Africa where her DNA
- Benjamin Jealous, a civil rights activist and past president
of the NAACP, is a descendant of Peter G. Morgan, an
African-American who was born into slavery, took advantage of the
rare opportunity to learn a trade, and earned enough to purchase his
own freedom just before the Civil War. He received special
permission to remain in Virginia (the law there stated that freed
slaves had to leave the state), and claimed ownership of his wife
and daughters as slaves to help protect them from being kidnapped
and sold into slavery. He freed them with a moving manumission
statement in 1864.
In his white father's family, Jealous has
eight ancestors known to have served in the American Revolution,
including a 16-year-old who played the fife at the Battles
of Lexington and Concord.
Jealous' DNA test revealed he is 80 percent European and about 18
can watch the full "Finding Your Roots" episode with Ben Affleck,
Benjamin Jealous and Khandi Alexander on the show's website.
And keep an eye on the
show's Genealogy Blog, where genetic genealogist CeCe Moore is
providing more information about the show's DNA testing strategy and
the results revealed on air.
African-American roots | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV | Military records | Research Tips
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:49:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Friday, October 10, 2014
Genealogy News Corral: Oct. 6-10
Posted by Diane
- A genealogist has started the InstitutionalCemeteries.org
website to catalog cemeteries established for asylums,
poorhouses, prisons, orphanages and other institutions, whose
residents often were buried unclaimed and forgotten. On the site,
you can view maps by region of the country, and you also can submit
information on any such cemeteries you know about.
- FamilySearch has announced
plans to digitize a portion of the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
starting with compiled family histories. The digitized documents
will be available free at FamilySearch.org. You
can read more in the announcement here.
- For all you UK genealogists: Ancestry.com
is holding a "Branching Out" sweepstakes for UK residents (a
separate sweepstakes was held for US residents). The grand prize
includes 20 hours of professional genealogy research, a one-year
Ancestry.co.uk WorldWide subscription and a copy of Family Tree
Maker software. The sweepstakes is open to residents of the UK
(except for Northern Ireland), and you can enter
here by Sunday, Nov. 9.
- The TV series "Genealogy Roadshow" is filming in Philadelphia the
weekend of Oct. 25 and 26, and producers are looking
to cast men and women age 35-55 (the casting call doesn't say,
but I believe it's to be the onlookers shown in the background as
guests' genealogy mysteries are unraveled). This gig pays $75, and
the chance to witness firsthand as family history legends are
supported or shattered. You
can submit your application here.
Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Genealogy TV | Libraries and Archives | NARA | UK and Irish roots
Friday, October 10, 2014 2:09:16 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
CNN Highlights Genealogy in "Roots: Our Journeys Home" Series, Oct. 12-20
Posted by Diane
CNN will highlight genealogy in a weeklong series
"Roots: Our Journeys Home," Starting this Sunday, Oct. 12, at 9.p.m. The series will follow 13 of the network's most
familiar faces as they trace their roots.
You'll see hosts and anchors
including Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper (who's having a great
genealogy year, having also recently appeared on "Finding Your Roots
With Henry Louis Gates Jr."), Chris Cuomo, Wolf Blitzer, Sanjay
Gupta, Christine Romans and others.
The series will touch on a variety of topics, ethnic origins and
places: Bourdain travels to Paraguay; Blitzer visits the Auschwitz
extermination camp in Poland, where his paternal grandparents died;
Michaela Pereira, adopted as an infant, goes to St. James Parish,
Jamaica; Gupta explores the places where his parents were born in
Pakistan and India; Kate Bouldan learns about her ancestral family's
glass-blowing business in a tiny Belgian town.
The series culminates in a two-hour special on Monday, Oct. 20, at 9
p.m. ET, hosted by Cooper and Pereira.
can see a schedule of
CNN's "Roots: Our Journeys Home" series
and an overview of each installment here.
And here's a video sneak peek:
Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Friday, October 10, 2014 11:03:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
"Finding Your Roots": Anderson Cooper, Anna Deavere Smith, Ken Burns
Posted by Diane
Last night's "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." linked
its guests, Anderson
Burns and Anna
Deavere Smith, by the events of the Civil War.
- CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, who is related to New York's Vanderbilt
family through his mother Gloria, has Southern roots on
his father's side. Several of his relatives who fought in the
Confederate Army were small farmers and laborers in Mississippi,
and among the majority of Southerners who didn't own slaves. But
Cooper was surprised to learn that a third-great-grandfather who
did own a plantation was killed by one of his slaves.
Normally toward the end of each episode, Gates will
reveal the results of the guests' DNA tests.We didn't hear
anything about Cooper's DNA. Makes me wonder if the results were so
anticlimactic, or maybe revealed sensitive information.
can see an interactive family tree for Anderson Cooper here.
- Ken Burns has an ancestry worthy of a producer of
documentaries about history, with relatives in the Civil War (on
the Confederate side, including one held at Camp Chase
in Ohio), a slave-owning third-great-grandfather, relatives on
both sides of the American Revolution, and a link to his hero,
Abraham Lincoln (his 5th cousin four times removed). The show's
researchers' also found DNA evidence to support Burns' family
legend that he's related to Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Gates asked Smith, "How could your family have lost the story of
this man?", a question that could apply to pretty much anyone's
family history, and a situation genealogists work so hard to fix.
- Anna Deavere Smith, an actress and playwright, had the best
story of the episode, I thought. Her free black
great-great-grandfather Basel Biggs moved his family to
Pennsylvania before the Civil War—where their farm was right in
the path of the Confederate army on its way to Gettysburg. The
family fled before the battle; their land was used as a
Confederate field hospital. Afterward, Basel was hired to
supervise a handful of men disinterring Union soldiers who fell
on the battlefield and reburying them in orderly graves—the
first burials in what became the Gettysburg
National Cemetery. A Cleveland, Ohio, newspaper article
celebrated his success as a veterinarian and his "magnificent"
home. Last, Gates showed Smith Basel's obituary, which revealed
that Basel Biggs was active on the Underground
Finally, Smith's DNA results showed she shares maternal ancestry
with the Igbo
people in what's now Nigeria.
You can watch the full "Finding
Your Roots" season 2, episode 3 online.
African-American roots | Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Wednesday, October 08, 2014 11:22:09 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
6 Great Italian Genealogy Resources
Posted by Diane
Italian Americans are one of the United States' largest ethnic
groups, and they celebrate their heritage during Italian-American
Heritage Month in October.
Thomas & Andrews, 1812, David Rumsey Map Collection
The largest wave of Italian immigrants, from 1880 to 1920, brought
more than 4 million arrivals, most from Southern Italy.
Italians who've helped shape American history include Christopher
Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci (whose lent his name to the American
continents), Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), Giovanni da Verrazzano,
Francesco Vigo (spy and financier of the American Revolution),
Francis Spinola (the first Italian-American to serve in Congress),
Francesca Cabrini (founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred
Heart, and the first American saint) and Fiorello LaGuardia.
Following are just a few of the Italian genealogy resources gleaned
from our Italian
Genealogy Premium Collection:
- Comuni-Italiani.it: Clicking on one of the regions in Italy on this site, you’ll learn
the names of all the provinces; click on a province for a list of
all its towns and cities. Then click on the town for helpful
genealogy links, contact info for the town hall, and an e-mail link.
- Newspapers: The country’s largest collection of Italian-language and
Italian-American newspapers is at
the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the
University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. You can purchase copies of
most IHRC microfilm or borrow it through interlibrary loan (ask your
local librarian to make the request for you).
- Order Sons of
Italy in America:
Originally called Figli d’Italia, this organization was formed June
22, 1905, by Italian immigrants in New York City. The goal of this
still-active group was to help Italian immigrants become US
citizens, assimilate to American life, find educational
opportunities, and obtain health and death benefits. The
aforementioned IHRC is the depository for the organization’s
historical membership and other records. Search the IHRC's online
manuscript finding aids
for Order Sons of Italy to see what's available.
Genealogy Premium Collection has essential tools for
discovering ancestors from Italy, including
- Italian Genealogy Group
: This New York City-based group has members worldwide. Its website
has how-to articles and several searchable databases (most including
non-Italians as well) covering NYC births, marriages and deaths; New
York and New Jersey naturalizations, Italian commune names, and
can learn more about the Italian Genealogy Premium Collection in
ShopFamilyTree.com, and happy Italian-American Heritage Month!
- the classic Finding Italian Roots by John Philip
- our Best Resources for Tracing Your Italian Roots video class
- our Italian Genealogy Cheat Sheet download
- Our Italian Genealogy Guide download
- Italian Genealogy 101 Independent Study Course
- the Genealogist's Guide to Italian Names
Italian roots | ShopFamilyTree.com Sales
Wednesday, October 08, 2014 10:01:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
MyHeritage Launches My Heritage Library Edition
Posted by Diane
Genealogy website MyHeritage has launched MyHeritage Library
Edition, a version of the site libraries can subscribe to and
make available free to their patrons.
Library patrons will be able to access MyHeritage Library Edition
from home over the internet, according
to the press release. (Usually, the way this works is the user
clicks a link on the library's website and logs in with a library
The service will give library patrons access to the indexed and
digitized records, digitized photos and family trees on
MyHeritage.com, as well as the trees on Geni.com. Those include
birth, death and marriage records from 48 countries; US and UK
censuses; immigration and military records; US public records; and
more than 1.5 billion family tree profiles. Content MyHeritage
licenses from Tributes.com, WikiTree, BillionGraves and CanadianHeadstones.com
also will be available.
The MyHeritage Library Edition interface will be available in 40
languages (the same as for MyHeritage.com).
EBSCO Information Services will
distribute the service.
see a video about MyHeritage Library Edition here.
Libraries and Archives | MyHeritage
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 12:12:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)