Monday, December 29, 2014

Preserve Your Family Pictures

Have you been wondering what to do with all those family photos? If you have a Kindle and $2.99, you might want to consider purchasing Amber Richard's ebook entitled Preserve Your Family Pictures:  How to Save Photo Heirlooms for Future Generations.

Here's the product description from

Do you value your family pictures and photographs? Then, this is a must-read guide for you! Don't risk losing forever these irreplaceable treasures.

Our family pictures are priceless, a visual record of memories and loved ones. They deserve and require special care to guarantee they will still be around to pass on to the next generation. Many who enjoy family genealogy also have amazing collections of vintage family photos that need extra care in order to preserve them.

Learn how to take the practical steps to protect your family photos, both the physical prints, and digital formats. Ensure that your treasures will survive and you don't face the tragic loss of these pictures.
If you are interested in learning more about the ebook (it is only 43 pages long and is also available in paperback for $7.25 from click here.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Genealogy Do-Over

I've said it myself, a hundred times, "It would just be easier if I started over from scratch."  Not all of us are professional genealogists.  Most of us started down the path of researching our family history out of curiosity and then, one day, found ourselves knee-deep in files, photos, documents - some of it organized, most of it in some degree of chaos.  And it seems that this state of affairs is not exclusive to the amateurs among us.  Even the professionals don't always get it right - like Thomas MacEntee.

Thomas is a genealogist.  His background is in information technology, and he has taken those skills and adapted them for genealogy.  His genealogy business is called High Definition Genealogy.  He also created an online community of family history bloggers known as Geneabloggers.   His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy is his attempt at "re-purposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy."  You can learn more about Thomas by clicking here.

So Thomas is setting out on a Genealogy Do-Over and is inviting us to come along on the journey.  Here is a description from his blog:

Genealogy Do-Over: A New Journey of Genealogical Discovery

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on a long-distance trip will be retained).

Since I started my initial research, much has changed in the areas of genealogy research methodology and education. I now realize the need to collect facts and track them properly, including the use of source citations. I now understand the process of analyzing evidence and proving facts to reach a conclusion. In essence, I know a lot more about the “process” of genealogical research and I want to put it to use.

This is not to say that I haven’t been following proven guidelines when it comes to finding family history. For my research clients (mostly pro bono), I actually employ all the methods that I advocate as well advocated by many in the genealogy community. However, currently when it comes to my own research, I’m not walking the walk, I’m just talking the talk.

And it isn’t always easy to “walk backwards” and review each and every bit of information gathered over the years. Instead, I want to do more than re-walk a trodden path: I want to head out from the same starting point but see where the journey takes me this time. I’ll have better tools, better knowledge and be better equipped for each twist and turn. And again, I encourage you to join me on this journey.

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which I’ve laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on firm footing to finding your ancestors.

If you would like to learn more or join in this unique learning experience, here's how to get started:

  • Read the original announcement here (

  • Review the list of scheduled topics here (

  • Stay tuned for a new domain - - and look for more announcements before the 2 January 2015 start date.

So if you are interested in going along for the ride because you find yourself in the exact same place as Thomas - or if you are thinking about a do-over for yourself and want to see how successful he is before you begin - here is your opportunity.

Nothing like starting off the New Year with a plan!

-- Submitted by Linda Mecchi

Monday, December 22, 2014

Find A Grave Android Mobile App Release

For those of you who are interested in cemeteries - just blogged about the new Find A Grave Android App Release.

The app has a lot of very cool features - such as allowing you to search for cemeteries on a map or by name; find deceased relatives grave sites; even add your own photos.

Find A Grave is the largest, public grave data base in the world and continues to be successful because of contributions from its users.

Click here to learn more - or just go to the Google Play Store to download it.

Reposted from ( by Michael Lawless, 17 Dec 2014

Find a Grave

If you are a genealogist, want to be a genealogist, or know a genealogist, you have discovered, or will soon discover, that they have an obsession with cemeteries.  Given a choice, visiting a cemetery will always come out on the top of  a family researcher's list of things to do.  One can learn a great deal from a tombstone - and if you are lucky enough to come upon a family plot, well, that is the ultimate bonanza!

But let's face it, unless you are lucky enough that your entire family, going back ten generations, all lived and died in the same location, cemetery stalking can be an expensive research tool.  Never fear - someone figured that out and the result is Find A Grave.

Find A Grave was the brain-child of James Tipton of Salt Lake City, who, in 1995 was looking for a way to enhance his hobby of visiting the graves of famous people.  The site later expanded to include the graves of non-famous people.

On 30 Sept 2013, acquired the site.  As of June 2014, the site contained 116 million burial records and 75 million photos world-wide.

The website contains listings of cemeteries and graves from around the world.  American cemeteries are organized by state and county and many cemetery records contain Google Maps (with GPS coordinates supplied by contributors) and photographs of the cemeteries.  Individual grave records contain some or all of the following data fields:  Dates and places of birth and death, biographical information, cemetery and plot information, photographs and contributor information.

If you want to become a contributor to the site, check out the website (linked above).  If you just want to take a walk through your past, sign up at the Find A Grave website and explore the possibilities.

A Personal "Aside"

Now, I don't normally wander off the reservation with personal stories - but I do have one that concerns a cemetery that I think is worth sharing.  I promise this won't happen often - I hope you will enjoy it.

I grew up in a relatively small (50,000 residents in the 1970s) town in Connecticut.  I am only the second generation of my family, on either side, to be born in the United States - so you won't find a lot of my ancestors buried anywhere close by.  When my maternal grandfather died in 1961, my grandmother purchased a small plot in the local cemetery with the intent that this is would be where all of us would eventually be buried.  After my grandfather was interred, we began a Sunday cemetery tradition.  The Sunday routine was:  church; cemetery visit, mid-day meal at my grandmother's; and hanging out with the family until it was time to go home and watch Ed Sullivan and The Wonderful World of Disney.

In the early 1970s, I moved to New York City, then to Washington, D.C., and did not return to my hometown until 1989.  It had never been my plan to "go home again".  But there was some force that kept telling me that this was what I was supposed to do.  When I first returned to Connecticut,  I lived with my mother briefly while I looked for a home to purchase, and was not surprised to see that the Sunday tradition was still in place, if just a bit modified.  By then, my maternal grandmother had also passed away, and my mother (along with me for a while) was living in the home which her parents had built in 1941.

A few months after I moved in with Mom, I met a very nice man who asked me out to dinner one Saturday night in August.  His last name was Haberern, and interestingly, he had grown up just two blocks away from the house I now shared with my mother, and where I had spent a great deal of time as a child and young adult.  He was eleven years older than I, which explains why we didn't hang out together as kids and why I didn't remember him, or know much about his family.  Long story short, we had our date, and on Sunday morning, after church, and on our way to the cemetery, my mother asked about it and whether I would be seeing this man again.  I told her that I had a very strong, good feeling about this guy. There was a strange "connection" that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  My mother told me that she felt "something" similar when he came to the door to pick me up the night before, but she, too, couldn't put her finger on exactly what it was - although she did mention how much she liked his little, red sports car.

We pulled into the cemetery and wound our way up to the beautiful hill my grandmother had chosen for our family to spend eternity.  When she had purchased this plot, the area wasn't much more than a pile of dirt and a some small trees.  It had grown and expanded and the trees had filled out, and it was very peaceful with a beautiful view of the surrounding town.  As was our routine, Mom jumped out of the car and started weeding and picking at the flowers we had planted, and I grabbed the watering can from the trunk and walked over to a nearby spigot to fill it.  When I turned to walk back to our plot, I saw my mother standing, with one hand over her mouth, looking like she had just seen a ghost.  I quickly ran over and asked what was wrong.  "Look", she said pointing her finger.  I followed her finger as she swept it in an arc in front of her, pointing out the five gravestones closest to our family burial site.  All five gravestones bore the name "Haberern".  We had found the connection.

-- Contributed by Denise Doyon

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Happens To Your Research If Something Happens To You?

It's a questions one has to ask.  We put a LOT of time and resources into the search for our roots.  It is our legacy; our heritage; our cultural identity.  It is as much a part of our estate as the land we own or the money we have in the bank.  It is more than Aunt Lydia's breakfront or great-grandma's silver service.  It is the story of who we are and how we got here - the blood and bones of our family.  Let's face it, you never know what each new day will bring.  It would be a shame for all of that work to go to waste if something untoward happens.  As much as we might like to hope, we can't count on having even one other "genealogy obsessed" member of our family to carry on our quest.  Not to mention one that would be up-to-speed on our project.

A Google search of "how to protect your genealogy research after your own death", "passing on your family research after death" and numerous like-worded searches only came up with one source:  Michael Tom's Legacy Blog

There is a great deal of useful information in Michael's blog, but the bottom line is that you have to do what is necessary to preserve the legacy you have been working on.  If, like many of us, you have spent years in this pursuit, and have spent money on travel, researchers, documents, translators, etc., you have a substantial investment in this "hobby".

Alex Haley, the author of Roots  is often cited as the driving force behind the world-wide obsession with genealogy.  He was quoted as saying, "In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, and a bridge to our future."

Take the time to think about the investment you have made.  Read Michael's blog; talk to a trusts & estates professional.  Make sure it doesn't all end with you.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Poet Genealogist


I went searching for an ancestor, I can not find him still
He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will
He married where a courthouse burned, he mended all his fences
He avoided any man who came to take the US Census

He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame
And every 20 years or so, that rascal changed his name.
His parents came from Europe, they should be on some list
Of passengers to the USA, but somehow they got missed.

And no one else in the world is searching for this man
So I'm playing "gene solitaire" to find him if I can
I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed,
But weather took the engraving, and vandals took the rest.

He died before the county clerks decided to keep records
No family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts.
To top to off, this ancestor, who's caused me so many groans,
Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named Jones !

                                                              -- by Merrell Kenworthy

    This isn't exactly timeless prose but it is one of my current favorite poems for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it expresses in an amusing way all of the frustrations my beloved genealogy hobby carries with it. I can honestly say that I have personally run into everyone of the pitfalls enumerated in this little ditty over the course of my five years search. Small bits of this poem riddle every step of the way I have travelled while looking for my ancestors and those of my husband. But those "speed bumps" help to make the hunt that much more satisfying when I finally can say "aha, I've got you now, Ransom Arrant !".....or whomever I currently seek....
    Genealogy is the thrill of the hunt, the solving of a riddle within a riddle, woven around all of these problems and more that can get in your way while on the hunt. And that is precisely why it is so rewarding to find a new fact, step, lead or person along the way. Oh, and each new find leads to more, which leads to more, which....well, you get the picture.
    And I did say there were a couple of reasons I liked it. The other one is that within its lines is a memory jogger of each record you hope to find for every ancestor eventually. The only things she left out were military records, naturalization, and obituaries, so I use it to help me remember all of the things I am seeking for each new ancestor without having to refer to my checkoff sheets of records to seek.
    It amuses and tutors me all at the same time. It gives me hope and a chuckle. Hope it does the same for you.

-- Submitted by Linda Mecchi

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Share A Story

If you have an interesting story to tell about the search for your roots, we would love to share it with our readers.  If, instead, you would like to share a useful research tip, or tell the story of how you broke down a particularly stubborn brick wall, I know we can all benefit from your experience.

This blog is for all of us - and it is our hope all of you will contribute to its content.

Please send your story, tip or brick wall solution to the blog editor at  Please keep your post to 800 words or less.  

Let's share what we know so we can all learn and grow while we dig into our roots together.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tell Us What You Want

D.I.R.T. was born because Linda Mecchi thought it would be great to gather together the genealogists on Seabrook and share our combined knowledge and experience.  The blog came about as a way to communicate and post pertinent information about D.I.R.T. specifically, and about genealogy, in general.  As our official "blogger",  I have been posting stuff that I thought might be of interest to my fellow family historians out there.  I probably read/peruse 12-15 genealogy blogs every day.  The world is full of great ideas, pertinent insights, and zillions of genealogists willing to share what they know.  I found an extraordinarily talented woman in North Carolina who was able to translate and transcribe a nine-page, handwritten poem, written in German, that my great-aunt wrote for my grandparents on their 25th wedding anniversary.  The poem was chock full of information I would never have found otherwise.  Through this poem I finally got to "meet" my great-aunt.  I found this translator because of a blog post.  The power of communication on the Internet is awesome.

But this is Seabrook's genealogy blog, and we want to know, "What Do You Want?".  Let us know what kind of information you are interested in seeing on the blog - and let us tailor it to your needs.  Do you want more info on breaking down brick walls?  Are you stuck trying to locate ancestors in a foreign country?  Do you need transcribers and translators for your foreign-language documents?  Are you looking for more, local resoures?  How abour publishing/printing info?  Do you need someone who can digitize stuff for you?

You can leave a comment at the end of this post, or send us an email at and let us know your vision for D.I.R.T.

And please don't forget that the blog has a "Help Forum" tab.  This forum is a place for you to post questions looking for answers and open discussion on various genealogical topics.

This resource is here for you - let's make it our own!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Monday, December 15, 2014

What's In A Date?

Those of you who have been researching your family history for a while, have become very familiar with the different ways genealogists record information.  Many times they use formats and abbreviations that seem foreign to us, but adhere to a standard that make it easy for all genealogists, everywhere, to understand.  If you are new to genealogy and are just beginning your search, you will learn.

One of the nuances of genealogy is the date format.  Most of us who live in the United States are used to the Month/Day/Year format:  January 1, 2015 or 1/1/15.  If you have ever lived abroad, the standard is Day/Month/Year:  12 January 2015 or 12/1/15.  It can get confusing.

As genealogists, we use the European standard, with a twist.  February 18, 2015 would be shown as 18 February 2015 - and most of the time, the month will be abbreviated.
Examples:  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
So, January 12th 2015 turns into 12 Jan 2015.

This format has become so ingrained in me that I now use it all the time, for everything, everywhere. This drives some people nuts, but I figure if enough of us use it everywhere, all the time, we can convert them to our, internationally accepted, method. Genealogy has a very well-written explanation of this date format and why we use it. has a more detailed outline of the method.

If you want to walk among the genealogists, you have to talk like them.  Do it long enough, and you, too, will be converted.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ten Ways to Use to Gain Historical Perspective

Anne Gillepsie Mitchell is the driving source behind Ask Ancestry Anne - her own blog on  Yes, another bog - I told you the Internet was saturated with them!  She recently posted on how to use to help you gain historical perspective. (By the way, if you are an subscriber, you can get a subscription to for half-price.  That would mean half-off the annual subscription rte of $79.95 or the monthly rate of $7.95.)  Anne's premise is that reading the newspapers your ancestors read will give you a lot of insight into their lives at any given point in time.   This is a very powerful tool to harness.

Some of the things she focuses on in using this research are:

1.  Front Page Headline
2.  Vital Information on births, marriages and deaths
3.  Local gossip - look at the Society News page(s)
4.  Editorials, editorial cartoons and other musing about the issues of the day
5.  The comics
6.  Movie listings
7.  Classifieds - how much did it cost to live, how much did people earn, what did it cost to buy or rent a home
8.  Shopping - you can learn a lot of the adds for clothing and merchandise

You can check out Anne's original, illustrated post by clicking here.

So go read a newspaper your grandfather may have read - you'll be surprised by what you'll learn.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Originally posted by Anne Gillespie MItchell on 10 Oct 2013 in Ask Ancestry Ann, Family History Month

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Keep It Safe

Christmas is almost here and maybe it is time to buy yourself a gift that will help you keep all your research safe and secure.  Let's face it.  We live on a barrier island on the east coast.  Although we have been blessed with many hurricane-free years, we all know that we are always at the mercy of Mother Nature.  Do you really think that cardboard box in the closet is going to keep all that family ephemera safe?  And even if you don't have a lot of family history research, photos, and papers to protect, how about the stuff you would normally want to secure in case of an emergency?

The Armchair Genealogist recently posted her list of top ten Christmas gifts for the dis-organized genealogist.  You can see her whole post here.  But at the top of her list was a Guardian Storage Box.  Lynn posted her review of this box back in October.  You can read her opinion by clicking here.  The box(es) are available directly from the manufacturer or you can purchase them on  If you are an Amazon Prime Member, the price for the one shown below is $77.31 (as of 28 Nov) and shipping is free.

Although I read Lynn's October post, I didn't think much of it at the time.  I am now rethinking the purchase of one (or more) of these boxes.  Better safe than sorry!

Happy Shopping!

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If you have European roots, you may find the following blog post of interest.  Don't be intimidated by the fact that these papers are printed in a language you may not be familiar with.  The papers are searchable by date, country, and newspaper title.  They can also be searched by word or name.  If you come across something you think might be relevant, just copy it and paste it into Google Translator!  Couldn't be easier!

Reposted from The French Genealogy Blog, 9 Dec 2014

The European Library has been digitizing old newspapers, indexing them and making them available to the general public at no charge. (Taxes are high over here, but one is rewarded with so many goodies such as this.) This is a project entitled Europeana Newspapers and is funded by the European Union through 2015. The newspapers come from the national libraries of:

  • Wales
  • Slovenia
  • Serbia
  • Croatia
  • Luxembourg
  • Spain
  • Iceland
  • Poland
  • Finland
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Austria
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria
  • The Czach Republic
  • Belgium
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia

Germany's contributions come from the Berlin and Hamburg State Libraries.

Nearly a million and a half pages have been uploaded and can be searched thoroughly. They can be browsed by date, by country, and by newspaper title. Alternatively -- and here is how to find an ancestor -- they can be Searched for a word. As with Gallica, the search refinement is rather clumsy, so a search on a common name will yield too much and it will be hard to filter usefully. If, however, you have an ancestor who went by an oddly spelt or slightly unusual name, you have a very good chance of finding him or her.

We have spent the past couple of days testing this new toy. We have been researching an American who lived in France in the nineteenth century, and who travelled quite a bit. We thought we knew all of his ports, but a search on these newspapers brought the discovery of two more countries where he had travelled. A second test was to search on the quite unusual name of a family from Montauban on which we have worked and this brought some very interesting new material as well, revealing a country not known to have been visited by one member of the family, and a discussion of his work there. A third test on a name that is also a common word was hopeless: over 300,000 results that no amount of filtering could reduce by more than a third or so

Though larger numbers of newspapers seem to have been contributed by Spain, it would appear that those from The Netherlands and Germany have more robust indexing, for no matter what name we put in the search box, the majority of the results were in Dutch, with many in German. To turn a language not known into gibberish, one can always stumble along with Google's translator effort.

Try this new newspaper toy!

©2014 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy

PBS Announces Season 2 Schedule for Genealogy Roadshow

(More information and season 1 full episodes available here)


Premieres January 13 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS

ARLINGTON, VA; DECEMBER 9, 2014 – From descendants of the infamous pirate Blackbeard to heroes of the Holocaust, PBS’GENEALOGY ROADSHOW uncovers family secrets in the series’ second season, which premieres Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. ET and airs every Tuesday through February 24 (check local listings). Part detective story, part emotional journey,GENEALOGY ROADSHOW combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans in and around St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Each individual’s story links to a larger community (and in some cases, national) history, to become part of America’s rich cultural tapestry.

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW stars genealogists Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco and features participants with unique claims and storylines, including a woman seeking to find out if she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a pair of sisters exploring connections to a survivor of the legendary Donner party; a man hoping to recover essential family history that washed away in Hurricane Katrina; and a man learns that the event that drove his family to the City of Brotherly Love changed the course of history.

Over the course of the series, Berry, Taylor and Tedesco work with participants’ anecdotal clues, documents and family heirlooms to unite them with histories and people they never knew existed, as well as to reveal surprising turns and incredible histories.

“In three great and complex American cities we find engaging stories, dark mysteries, emotional reveals and more” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “In each episode, GENEALOGY ROADSHOW reaches out to help Americans who are interested in their family heritage and their community history. It proves that no matter one’s culture and background, everyone is part of the American story.”

St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Orleans were chosen as representative of America’s fascinating crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, as well as for their deep pools of riveting stories. GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s hosts and experts add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes part of solving the mystery.

Below are episode descriptions for each of GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s six episodes:

New Orleans – Cabildo

Premieres, January 13, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the famous Cabildo, home of the Louisiana State Museum. A couple whose ancestors hail from the same small Italian town explore the chance they may be related; a woman is desperate to find out who committed a gruesome murder in her ancestor’s past; a home held by one family for more than a century renders a fascinating story; and a woman discovers the difficult journey her ancestor took on the path to freedom from slavery.

St. Louis – Central Library

Premieres, January 20, 2015 at 8:00 p.m

At Saint Louis’ historic central library, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from Missouri’s famous gateway city. A mystery writer discovers her mother has hidden a life-changing secret; a woman finds out if she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a mother and daughter seek connections to a famous author; and a young man seeks connection to the Mali tribe in Africa.

Philadelphia – Franklin Institute

Premieres, January 27, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

At Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories. A man learns that the event that drove his family to the City of Brotherly Love changed the course of history; a man may be a Viking descendant; another’s family could have part of one of history’s biggest scams; a young man hopes to confirm his relation to a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and two sisters learn their ancestors were part of the great Irish migration.

New Orleans – Board of Trade

Premieres, February 3, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the New Orleans Board of Trade. A local man seeks to recover essential history washed away in Hurricane Katrina; a woman discovers she has links to both sides of the Civil War; another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption; and one man explores a link to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

St. Louis – Union Station

Premieres, February 10, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

At St. Louis’ historic Union Station, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from Missouri. A musician hopes to find connections to a famous St. Louis jazz composer; two sisters explore links to a survivor of the legendary Donner party; an Italian-American woman finds out if she is related to Italian royalty; and a schoolteacher who has all the answers for her students has very few about her own past.

Philadelphia – Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Premieres, February 17, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. One woman’s ancestor may have sparked historic labor laws; a pastor may have an outlaw in her family tree; a woman learns about slave genealogy and, with the help of DNA testing, gets the answer she has waited for; and another woman learns her ancestor may have helped others escape the Holocaust.

PBS LearningMedia, PBS’ destination for educators and students, offers a range of curriculum-targeted resources that support lessons on genealogy, immigration, and identity and delve into the personal histories of well-known icons and everyday Americans. Through discussion questions, worksheets, and videos, PBS LearningMedia helps teachers to promote inquiry in their classrooms and strengthen their student’s personal connection to history. For more information on the latest digital resources for GENEALOGY ROADSHOW classroom instruction, please visit

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW is produced by Krasnow Productions. President and owner Stuart Krasnow is a longtime television industry veteran, having worked for all of the country’s top broadcasters in news and entertainment, as well as at numerous cable networks as a creator and executive producer. The series is also executive produced by TV veteran Carlos Ortiz, who has produced mega-hits for almost every major network on television. He brings 20 years of development and producing experience to the table and returns to PBS for his second season on the series.

About Big Mountain Productions

Big Mountain originated the GENEALOGY ROADSHOW format, and recently aired its second hit season in Ireland on RTE Television. Run by husband-and-wife team Jane Kelly and Philip McGovern — who are former BBC/RTE executive producers — Big Mountain originates and produces television shows for national broadcasters, specializing in hybrid shows that combine great content and entertainment value, including The Tenements, Life in the Big House, Craftmaster, Living the Eviction and the music-mentoring show Jam. For more

About Krasnow Productions

Krasnow Productions is named for its founder and president, Stuart Krasnow, a 30-year veteran television producer. Under his banner, Krasnow has developed and produced series in almost every genre of unscripted television for broadcast and cable networks, including The Weakest Link, Average Joe, Dog Eat Dog and The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. Krasnow Productions also sold and produced Searching For…, one of the first original series to be produced for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Additionally, Krasnow Productions has sold and produced original projects for NBC, A&E, TBS, GSN, MTV, HGTV, E! and Fremantlemedia.

About PBS

PBS, with its more than 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website,, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through ourapps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

Reposted from The Federation of Genealogical Societies blog post 9 Dec 2014 (

TV Worth Watching

Recently there has been a surge in people who are looking for their ancestors.  This as been partially fueled by a couple of television series that follow celebrities as they search for their roots.  Some of these are currently still in production, but those that are not are still offering full episodes for streaming on their websites.  You might enjoy:

Finding Your Roots on PBS
The last episode of the current season aired on November 25, but you can still watch full episodes at:

Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC
This is a take-off from Finding Your Roots on PBS.  The show premiered in March 2010.  Each week a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree:
Available for free at:
With your Hulu subscription at:

CNN has also been airing some episodes about finding your roots.  You can find more information about the networks contribution to the genealogy craze and watch episodes at:

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Free Webinars from Legacy Family Tree

Legacy Family Tree has scheduled more than fifty free webinars from January through December 2015.  The list covers a broad range of subjects and features some of the best genealogists from around the world.

For the beginners among us - Legacy Family Tree is offering a webinar in 2015 entitled "Geneaology 101 - A 3- Session Course in Beginning Geneaology".  If you have never tried this educational venue, I highly recommend you give it a chance.  You have nothing to lose and a great deal to learn.

For a complete list of titles and speakers, please take a look at the Legacy Family Tree Brochure.  For details about each webinar, and to register, visit the Legacy Family Tree Website.  You can register now and receive reminders by email.

I registered for two of the offerings - maybe I'll see you there!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Christmas Shopping

One of my favorite genealogy blogs is The Armchair Genealogist.  Lynn Palermo does a wonderful job with this blog and it is always chock full of useful information.  She recently posted "Ten Tech Gifts for Your Favorite Genealogist".  As long as you are shopping anyway, why not be nice to yourself or, at the very least, add some of these suggestions to your "wish list".

Here is Lynn's list of ten things that might make your family history search a bit more fun, interesting and high-tech.
  1. Portable chargers for smartphone recharging- No more low batteries while out on your family history research trips. 
  2. Noise cancelling headphones - Ideal for a family historian who travels! No more noisy airplanes.
  3. Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner- This is not a new toy to genealogists, put it is a fantastic tool, and makes my list every single year. 
  4. External Hard Drive - Genealogist's rule No. 1, back-up, back-up, back-up! Every genealogist needs one.
  5. Evidentia 2 - Beyond buying the newest version of your genealogist's favorite software consider Evidentia 2. Evidentia takes research beyond organization, it helps analyze and draw conclusions based on the sources in their research. Great gift for the intermediate genealogist who is ready to take their research to the next level. 
  6. Projector - A projector is great for home use but also ideal tool for the genealogy speaker in your life.
  7. Live Scribe Pen - The infrared camera in the tip of the pen captures your handwriting, storing it on the built-­in memory. When it's paired to a tablet or smartphone, all notes are synced to the Livescribe+ mobile app.
  8. Label Maker - Genealogists are avid organizers, with so much data and documents to manage how could they not be. That's why I guarantee that your genealogist will go gaga over a label maker. 
  9. Microsoft Surface Pro 3- If I had my pick of tablets, this would be the one! 
  10. SD Cards - It's always good to a few of these in your bag. There's some great Black Friday deals on now. Great stocking-stuffer for your favorite genealogist
I am going to add to Lynn's list, a list of things I find invaluable to my genealogy research:
  1. Evernote - This is where I put EVERYTHING.  Evernote is a free program that runs on iOS, Windows, Android and Linux.  It is the repository of  all my research, notes (audio, typed and handwritten), photos and ideas.  It is one of the best tools I have ever used. It has a built-in camera function (that works with the camera in your phone or tablet).  Click here for more information.  
  2. Genius Scan - I don't use a Flip-Pal scanner, mainly because my all-in-one printer does a great job of scanning, When I'm in the road, instead of carrying around another tech gizmo, I use Evernote's scanning capability or Genius Scan.  This is one of the most versatile scanning apps, is free, allows you to share your scans across dozens of programs and all platforms, And, best of all, lives in my phone, which goes with me everywhere, anyway.  You can find out more about this app by clicking here
  3. Thumb Drives - One can never have enough thumb drives!  
    They (and the SC cards on Lynn's list) are invaluable for storing stuff you want to carry around with you.  I have quite a collection and was having trouble remembering what I had stored on each one.  So I recently took the time to do some digital housekeeping and attached small, round key tags to my drives so I would know what was in them! 
  4. Dragon - Dragon is voice recognition software for your PC or Mac.  This program has improved immensely over the years, and is now rated as the number-one product in it's field.  If you spend a lot of time working on your desk or lap top, this is a great tool. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

--  submitted by Denise Doyon

Monday, December 8, 2014

GenealogyInTime Magazine Top 100 List for 2014

Genealogy In Time Magazine Top 100 List for 2014

The top 73 are shown above.  Click on the link below to see the entire list.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Memory of Smells

Just when I thought there was nothing new to blog about, something pops up!  The "Safekeeping Stories" blog post yesterday was about all the wonderful "smells" we encounter over the holiday season and how those scents remind us of our past.  I hope you will read "Use Your Sense of Smell To Find Your Story".  It contains a great recipe for Russian tea and some excellent writing prompts.

Tip:  Most of us today keep our smartphones close by.  When you get a great idea - perhaps the aroma of freshly baked hot-cross buns on Christmas morning reminds you of your grandmother's kitchen - grab the phone, tap the icon for your voice recorder, and "remember" it.  Later, you can listen to it and make the recording, or a transcription of it, part of your family history narrative.

Friday, December 5, 2014

On-Line Genealogy Webinars

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as on-line genealogy webinars.  This blogger has "attended" about a dozen of them over the years.  Some of them are free, some you can attend for a minimal cost.  The best thing about them is that you get to attend in the comfort of your own home, in front of your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone screen.  And if the convenience doesn't entice you, think about all the "stuff" you can learn.

The Geneabloggers Daily recently posted a list of the "10 Online Webinars You Should Be Attending".  If you click here you can go directly to the site and view the entire list.  I have listed the top two below:

Dear Myrtle  This blog offers a variety of workshops and webinars along with interview with people in the industry.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars The great thing about genealogy webinars is that they allow you to learn at your own pace.  Legacy Family Tree is all about fostering that with free, on-demand access to its entire video archives, which includes 193 classes, 284 hours and 787 pages of instructor handouts.  Best of all, all of their live genealogy webinars are free.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Gift Guide

This is a re-post from The Armchair Genealogist Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - The Family History Writer.  Her list this year includes writing software, grammar programs, style guides, books about the craft by well-known authors, notebooks, pens, journals, ebooks and voice-activated software for your computer.

To see the complete list and a further explanation of each item and how it will help you in your family history writing, please visit the blog by clicking here.

Genealogy Pages on Pinterest

I have been blogger for a while now, and as a result, I am "plugged in" to a lot of other bloggers out there.  The blogosphere is jam packed with information on genealogy, and bloggers are very nice about sharing.  A lot of what I post to D.I.R.T. will be things I am "re-posting".  I will always give credit to the blogger I am borrowing information from as well as a link to the original source of the information.

One very cool way to find new "stuff" is using Pinterest.  The best way to describe it is a "visual inspiration board".  It's a cool place to store stuff you find online, instead of emailing it to yourself or printing it out or bookmarking it, you can set up an account and as many "boards" as you like and start pinning.

If you would like more information on what Pinterest is and how to use it, click here.  Family Search has also published a short piece on using Pinterest for your family history resarch.  Click here  to take a look.

On 20 Nov 2014, Family History Newsletter posted the "8 Best Genealogy Pages on Pinterest".  I have summarized and provided links for a few of them.  I hope you will take a look and perhaps have some fun exploring this resource and finding interesting ways to use it to enhance your own family history research.

Ancestor Help
Ancestor Hunter's Vintage Maps board features nearly 60 maps pinned from around the web.  Click the pinner's name you you'll find 26 other boards devoted to genealogy and history

Caroline Pointer
Caroline has more than 70 boards, the majority of which are dedicated to genealogy.  Don't miss:  Productivity Tips and Apps for Researchers featuring pins that prompt you to be more efficient, organized and productive.

Genealogy Tip Jar
This board, spearheaded by GeneaBloggers' Thomas MacEntee, has tips from 10 contributors.  If you want to see the genealogical potential of Pinterest boards?  Check out Thomas's 70-Plus Other Boards as well.

Janet Hovorka
Among Janet's many boards are more than 10 for genealogy.  Her pining specialty is family history displays (she's the owner of Family ChartMasters) and you'll find plenty of inspiration.  Don't miss her Genealogy Fun Board, either.

--Submitted by Denise Doyon

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Legacy Box

If you are a genealogist, it isn't hard to figure out what a "legacy box" is - a box filled with the photos, documents, recordings, videos, etc. of your family.  It is the collection of many lifetimes and is probably residing in various boxes, drawers, closets and cupboards waiting for someone (perhaps you) to put it all in order and preserve it for generations to come.  Not an easy task.  I have been working on it for years and am still not done - and I don't have all that much stuff.  Most of it has been scanned and digitized and lives on a thumb drive.  So now I have two collections, one physical and one digital.  Some of it will be worked into my family history narrative, some into my memoir, but in the end, if I don't figure out how to preserve it, it will all just stay where it is and get passed along to someone else in the family.  Ideally, it would be great to organize all the digital stuff onto a DVD in a format that would make it fun to watch and turn it into a true keepsake of our family.  Again, a lot of work, particularly for someone who is not adept at making "movies".  Wouldn't it be great to be able to just hand it all off to someone else who could do it for me?

Well, there is just a someone.  It's called Legacy Box.  You fill a legacy box with all your memories (tape, file, photos, audio) and send it off to the folks at Legacy Box, and in a few weeks they send it all back to you with everything preserved on DVDs.  The cost runs anywhere from $75 to $500 (depending on how much stuff you have).  When you order your box they will send you a package containing three crush-proof boxes, a welcome guide and reference card, a pre-paid FedEx shipping label and packing material.  All you have to do is fill it up, slap on a label, and get it to a FedEx drop off.  What you get back are archival DVDs with digital copies, a legacy box (for keepsakes) and your original collection of stuff.  Easy peasy.  

Today, 2 Dec 2014, when I was perusing their website, I noticed they are offering 25% off and also have a bogo special.

So check out and start preserving those memories!

NOTE:  I have not used Legacy Box.  In preparing this blog post, I did scour the Internet for reviews of the company and their services and did not find a great deal.  In all fairness, the company is only about a year old.  They do have a Facebook page, and you can find extensive material on the company by visiting their Kickstarter page.  

--  submitted by Denise Doyon

Calling All Mentors!

Seabrook's new genealogy group, D.I.R.T. - Digging Into Roots Together, is looking for residents who can mentor some of the group's less experienced genealogists.  As those of you who have been researching for a while know, getting started and finding a way to organize your research is the hardest part.  Resources, research opportunities and information about family research is expanding exponentially.  It's hard for even the experienced among us to keep up.  As a group, we possess a vast amount of knowledge and experience we can pass along. The original vision for D.I.R.T. was that of a forum to share, learn, and grow together as genealogists.  

We have a list of people who would appreciate some assistance finding their way.  If you are willing to work with one or more new genealogists to help them begin their journey (either as part of our monthly meetings or off-site at times and places more convenient to you and a budding genealogist), please contact Denise Doyon at  It is our hope that once our "newbies" get organized, they will be able to use the resources of D.I.R.T. to continue their journey and themselves become productive, contributing members of our genealogy community.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Family History Writing Challenge

Every February, Lynn Palermo (The Armchair Genealogist), runs a program called The Family History Writing Challenge.  It is a 28-day commitment to writing your family history.  I took the challenge in February of 2014 because I was spending all my time researching and I needed something to kick-start me into actually WRITING.  It worked.  If you would like more information about the challenge, please go to Lynn's About FHWC page.  If you want a little help turning all that research into a written family history, I think this may just do the trick!

--  submitted by Denise Doyon

Book Review: Crash Course In Family History, 5th Edition, by Paul Larsen

There are a ton of books out there about genealogy.  You could spend all your time reading these, and have little time left for actual research.  But every once in a while one comes along that grabs your attention.  I personally read this book in its 4th edition printing, and was impressed.  It was an excellent tool for anyone getting started.  Randy Seaver recently posted his review of the new 5th edition printing, which you can read here.  Please take a look at the blog post for his review and links to information about the book.  You can see pages from the 344 page book on the preview page.  It is not an inexpensive resource ($32.99 on  The 3rd edition is available at the Charleston County Public Library - I have shown the CCPL catalog listing at the end of this post.

There is more information about the book on the book product page.

Randy Seaver thought one of the most useful features of this book is the Jump-Start Chart (two screens below):

There is a lot of great information in this book and with technology changing by the hour, and the available resources growing on a daily basis, it is a great to have an updated edition!

Happy Researching!

Crash Course in Family History - 3rd edition - CCPL catalog listing.

Freebies from Family History Library

Family History Library Offers Free Webinars Online

Family History Library IP Approved
If you are interested in attending some of the upcoming free webinars being offered by the Family History Library in 2015, please click here to go to their official listing page and to get more details about each webinar and instructions on how to join a live webinar.
A short summary of what's coming up in the next few months:

January 2015
Thursday, 8 January @ 6:00 pm, MST, Beginning Research Techniques:  Let's Start at the Very Beginning
Thursday, 22 January @ 6:00 pm, MST, Using Research Logs

 February 2015
Thursday, 12 February @ 6:00 pm, MST, US Research Series Family Search Library Catalog
Thursday, 26 February @ 6:00 pm, MST, US Research Series  Family Search Historical Records Collection

March 2015
Thursday, 12 March @ 6:00 pm, MST Solving Tough Research Problems
Thursday, 26 March @ 6:00 pm, MST  Document Analysis

The Beginners Among Us

We have all taken that first step.  We sat down armed with some basic information and the strong desire to find out about our family history and dove into the pool.  Some of us have been at this for a very long time; others, not so long.  Some of us have had help and guidance; others have "gone it alone".  In either case, we have learned a lot and have a great deal of knowledge and experience to share.

The purpose of assembling this group of Seabrook genealogists is to provide a forum to share what we know.  This can be a very valuable resource for all of us, and especially for those of you among us you are just starting out.

If you have just begun, are thinking about beginning, or are just plain curious, and would like some help "getting your feet wet", let us know.  We will partner you with someone who can help you get started.

Please contact Denise Doyon at and we will help you take those first steps on your journey to find your roots.