Tuesday, March 31, 2015

10 Ways to Tell That You Might Be a Genealogist

Reposted from Legacy Tree Genealogy Blog

Genealogy may not appeal to everyone, but those who catch the “bug” tend to get it bad! Do any of these 10 things sound familiar?

* If you carry a “relationship calculator” card around in your wallet, you might be a genealogist. (Second cousin twice-removed, great-grandniece…)

* If your Google home page displays the home pages to MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, or FindaGrave.com, you might be a genealogist.

* If every time someone mentions a major U.S. city, you silently name the county it’s in, you might be a genealogist. (Chicago, Cook County; Nashville, Davidson County…) Bonus points if the city doesn’t even have to be major!

* If the idea of walking through old houses and cemeteries thrills you more than sitting on a beach or riding a roller coaster, you might be a genealogist.

* If you can read this, you just might be a genealogist:

* If you get the amazing privilege of handling dusty old land record books in the back of a Kentucky courthouse, and you have to resist the urge to lay your cheek down on the ancient pages, you might be a genealogist.

* If you giggle with delight as you sign your own “genealogical” document at the title company, you just might be a genealogist.

* If your spouse wakes up at 2:00 a.m. to find you hovering over your computer mumbling about a ship’s passenger list, you might be a genealogist.

* If you know the cause of death for each of your great-grandparents because you have all their death records in the file next to your computer, you might be a genealogist.

* And finally, if you really want to know who your ancestors are, and care about understanding the generations of people that have shaped our history and our lives, you are definitely a genealogist.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Top Five Genealogy Software Programs Under $40

Okay - so you are searching for your ancestors. Most of you are using at least one on-line resource such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, etc. That's great. Hopefully you are building your tree, one little branch at a time, collecting information, and WRITING CITATIONS .... couldn't resist, sorry.

If your plan (you do have a plan - right?) is to compile all those goodies into something meaningful and worthwhile - something you can pass on to future generations, then you might want to consider one of the software programs outlined in a recent Genealogy.com blog post.

This is very well written, so I have reposted the whole thing here. In case you are interested, I have public trees on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and WikiTree. Family Tree Maker is my software of choice because it gives me the tools to write my book. If you have a different goal, perhaps a different choice is better for you. No goal yet? Something to think about.

Reposted from the Genealogy.com blog, post by Joy Neighbors 28 March 2015

With the start of the second quarter of the year, we at Genealogists.com begin, yet again, our quest for better ways to organize and improve our researching methods. There are a host of new genealogy products out there, so let’s start by taking a look at some of the latest software.Family Tree Maker 2014 ($39.99) The always-popular Family Tree Maker makes creating and sharing your information simple and fun. Share, update, and sync your family tree from anywhere--all you need is an Internet connection. New for you: Family Views, better organizing tools, and improved report and chart options. Plus, you’ll get a 14-day free trial to Ancestry.com.

Family Tree Maker 2014 ($39.99) The always-popular Family Tree Maker makes creating and sharing your information simple and fun. Share, update, and sync your family tree from anywhere--all you need is an Internet connection. New for you: Family Views, better organizing tools, and improved report and chart options. Plus, you’ll get a 14-day free trial to Ancestry.com.

Family Tree Heritage Platinum ($39.99) This software is connected to one of the largest genealogy databases in the world, FamilySearch.com. Plus, you can search directly in Ancestry.com making searching for and locating records only a click away. New for you: Color Coding family lines, Tags, and an Interactive Research Timeline that uncovers events occurring during your ancestor’s lifetime.

Heredis 2014 ($39.99) Developed in France, this genealogy program is available for Windows and Mac OS. The interface is modern, and accessible, allowing you to tailor the program to fit your needs. New for you: Extended Family and Migrations Map, two new views, and a Find Relationships search.

Legacy 8.0 Family Tree ($34.99) Loaded with new features, Legacy 8.0 makes it easy to store all your genealogical information in one location. Navigation is easy and you can keep track of millions of people with just a few keys strokes. New for you: Origins Report, Migration Report, and Instant Duplicate Checking.

RootsMagic 7 ($29.95) Great for everyone from beginners to experienced genealogists. RootsMagic Explorer makes genealogy easy, from locating an ancestor to editing a file. And, RootsMagic To Go allows you to pop your data onto a USB flash drive and access it on any computer. New for you: Automatic backup and restoring of your data, automatic online searches for ancestor matches, and data error warnings. RootsMagic 7 also runs on the MAC OS X operating system with MacBridge.

But genealogists do not research by software alone: If there’s a lot of “heavy lifting” in your genealogical investigations, we’d be happy to assist you. With our foot-in-the-door access to thousands of libraries and archives around the world, Genealogists.com can help you make your genealogy goals a reality. Fill out the form on our web page and we'll talk.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Records Available

GenealogyInTime Magazine  recently published an immense list of new resources available to search.  Normally I would have reposted it all here - but it really is a BIG list of new stuff.

Take a look!  You never know what you will find.  Click here to access their most recent list of goodies.

Citation Saturday - Find A Grave

Citations are a pain in the neck - but if you want your research to be taken seriously, you need to cite your sources.  Since most of us haven't cited a source since college, we thought it would be fun to institute "Citation Saturday".  Each Saturday we will publish a post on how to put together a specific citation.

This is the first week - so we are going to start with an easy one.  Many of us use Find A Grave when searching for information about our ancestors. It is a great resource and it's free.  But like many sites that cater to the research needs of genealogists, this one does not have an automatic citation generator. More on that topic another Saturday.

There are lots of "expert sources" on citations.  And you can knock yourself out trying to conform to each and every nuance of the style you choose.  I have added a citation reference guide to the documents available on the "Resources" page of the blog entitled, "Geneaology Source Citations Quick Reference Guide" that will give you a quick and easy-to-understand guide to citing sources.

But the sole purpose of a citation is to create a path for someone else to find the exact same source you found.  So the more information you give, the better.  Why do it at all?  Because without citations and evidence evaluation, all your hard work is just a lot of scribble on a piece of paper.  If the information is valid, then give it credence by citing the source and give any doubting Thomases who want to second guess you the map to find the treasure.

Whenever I am in doubt as to how to cite a reference - and I don't have my time-worn copy of Kate Turabian's Style Manual in my pocket - I use a formula.  Start with the most general element and move to the most specific and include every single relevant piece of information you can.  If you found the material online, copy the URL into the cite.  When you are done, take a look at it and if you are confident you could look at that cite again in 5 years and it would bring you back to the same resource then you did a good job.  This is one of those cases where more is better than less.

So, how do you cite the information you find on Find A Grave?  Let's use my Grandmother's grave as an example.  Erna R. Muller Voigt is buried at East Cemetery in Manchester, CT.  I found the grave on Find A Grave by searching for the cemetery and then her name.  This is a screenshot of what my search revealed:

Screenshot A

If you go to the FAQs on the Find A Grave website and look for information about how to cite Find A Grave in a bibliography, it will tell you to use whatever format you deem appropriate.  Not very useful.  So go to the formula.  Keeping in mind that the goal is to make sure someone else can find this exact resource in the future, start with the broadest element and work your way down:

Find A Grave, (http://bit.ly/1y5BgoM), East Cemetery, Manchester, Hartford County, CT, USA, Erna R. Muller Voigt, b. 1899, d. 1983, (Spouse: John H A Voigt, b. 1893, d. 1960), Find A Grave Memorial # 74064915, accessed 25 March 2015.

Note that this citation gives only the information printed on the left side of the Screenshot A above - not the information from the grave marker.

So you might think it would now be very easy to cite my grandfather's grave by just putting his name, birth and death dates first and then putting my grandmother's info inside the parentheses.  Nope.  If you search the same cemetery for my grandfather, this is what you get:

Screenshot B

Notice that the Find a Grave memorial number is different.  I don't know why they do this, but it does change the citation.  The cite for this resource would be:

Find A Grave, (http://bit.ly/1y5BgoM), East Cemetery, Manchester, Hartford County, CT, USA, John H A Voigt, b. 1893, d. 1960 (Spouse: Erna R. Muller Voigt, b. 1899, d. 1983), Find A Grave Memorial # 74064930, accessed 25 March 2015.

Now, let's assume for a moment that you have gotten a much clearer photo of the gravestone:

Screenshot C

Here, you can read the actual birth and death dates,  Personally, I would then change the citations to show the full dates instead of just the year.  The cite for Erna's Find A Grave reference would be:

Find A Grave, (http://bit.ly/1y5BgoM), East Cemetery, Manchester, Hartford County, CT, USA, Erna R. Muller Voigt, b. 24 Aug 1899, d. 23 April 1983, (Spouse: John H A Voigt, b. 8 Oct 1893, d. 19 Dec 1960), Find A Grave Memorial # 74064915, accessed 25 March 2015.

This citation is probably overkill.  But you never know when you might need that detailed information down the road.

You may notice that the URL I provided is a bit.ly link.  The actual link, as copied from the page that contained the resource for Erna is:


This is very long, messy and distracting.  Bit.ly is a link shortener.  Go to https://bitly.com/shorten/. In the top right corner of the web page is a grey box that says, "paste a link to shorten it".  Paste in your link and click on the orange box labled "Shorten".  Bit.ly will then give you a new box in the center of the screen with the shortened link.  Click on the orange button labeled "copy" and you can then paste the shortened link into your cite.

You will also notice that I ended the cite with the date I accessed the resource. Why? Mainly because it is a website and also so that someone, down the road, knows when the cited resource was accessed in case the website disappears in the future, or the format of the website or the way it accesses records, changes. In the event Find A Grave is gone in five years (not likely) the person trying to find the resource using your citation will know that you accessed it before everything changed. If Find a Grave went away, the next person will know the name and location of the cemetery, the name, birth date and death date of your ancestor(s), and their spouse.  All of that is very useful information if they were trying to locate a new source for verification.

So if you want to be precise in all things, you can follow one of the time-tested citation formats such as APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian.  But for most of us, citing the resource using the formula above will work just fine.

So next time you find information about your ancestors, regardless of where (book, on-line, courthouse, library, etc.), CREATE A CITATION.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Friday, March 27, 2015

Animated Tribute - Part 3

Yes, you are correct, I did mess it up again.  They say, "three time's the charm...".  Let's hope.

If you want to watch Gemma's tribute - it's on Vimeo - and if you click here it should take you to the right place.  It really is very well done and I promise it is worth the wait and all the misdirection.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

-- Denise

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Animated Portrait - The Sequel

For those of you tried to get to Gemma's animated portrait link in the last blog post - the portrait link was originally routed through website - and that link no longer works.

I found the correct site, and have corrected the blog post - but for those of you who do not want to go back to the blog to see this beautiful tribute, you can click here to watch.

Sorry about the confusion.

An Animated Portrait

All of us are working on our family stories.  Yes, we are researching facts and collecting data, and digging up stuff about our ancestors.  But in the end, isn't it really all about the stories?  As we work, we are telling ourselves the story of our family.  Some of us will turn that into a form that we can share with the rest of our family.  The format we choose will depend on our talents, abilities, and our imagination.

I recently stumbled across a very unique and touching memorial.  After the death of her grandmother in 2010, Gemma Green-Hope was helping to sort through her grandmother's things, and decided to use those things to create an animated portrait.

Click here to view Gemma's beautiful testament to her grandmother.  I think you will find it a touching and inspirational story.

--  submitted by Denise Doyon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Legend of Harry Setzer

The Ancestry.com blog recently posted a piece entitled "The Legend of Harry Setzer".  Why should you care about Harry Setzer?  Well, you probably don't - but what you should care about is the real purpose of the blog post, which is to give you a blow-by-blow account on how to dig up some missing information and in the process evaluate the sources.   Although the post doesn't address the citation of the sources they uncover - it is ALWAYS best to do so as you go along.  As someone who didn't do that in the beginning, I can tell you it is a LOT harder to go back and reconstruct than it is to do it right the first time.  All of this gives credibility to your search and the tree you are building. After all, why do all this work if you aren't going to do it well.

All of us encounter brick walls in our family history journey. But a well-constructed research plan that you follow consistently will usually get you somewhere useful. This blog post shows you just how well such a plan can work.  If you use a research log as a guide while you are digging around, it makes your search easier, and saves a ton of time.  Plus it gives you a place to cite all those sources as you go along.

Click here to read the post and follow along as Ancestry.com unravels the mystery surrounding Harry Setzer.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Resources Posted Today

I have scanned a number of useful documents/templates into the blog today.  You can access them under the "Resources" tab.  All of them can be found at the end of the list.  I put the upload date in parentheses.  If you click on the link access ("here") it will take you directly to the document, which you can then save to your own computer or print out.

The following are now available.  Thank you, Linda!

  • German Alphabet Chart
  • Common Genealogical Terms (in 7 languages)
  • Family Group Record Sheet
  • Circular Family Tree Chart
  • Ancestral Chart
  • Census Checklist

D.I.R.T. Survey

To help us determine how to better organize D.I.R.T. in order to meet the needs and expectations of the members of the group, we ask that you complete this brief survey and return it to Linda Mecchi or Denise Doyon before Friday 3 April. (You can drop it in one of our mailboxes at 3080 or 3085 Baywood Dr). This is an anonymous survey - we appreciate your honesty and candor.

Click here  to access the survey.  You can then print it out, fill it in, and return it by April 3rd.

Family Search Indexing

In light of one of my recent posts regarding FamilySearch indexing and our meeting tomorrow, where I will discuss this program briefly, I had to repost Esto Frigus's latest Geneapalooza strip.  If you are having trouble reading this, click here for an expanded version.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What's Wrong With Genealogy Today?

Kenneth Marks of The Ancestor Hunt posted an inciteful article on 19 March about what is wrong with genealogy, and genealogists, today.

Whether you are an experienced researcher, or a total newbie, this is a must-read article - and a collection of very good comments - about genealogy today, how it is evolving, and how that affects each of us.

Click here to read Kenneth's article.

Friday, March 20, 2015


On 25 February, a group of us took a field trip to the Family History Center in West Ashley.  I think that everyone found it informative.  I know that I was amazed at the amount of information they had on-site, and learned a great deal about their online search tools.  It was very impressive, especially when you consider that they supply all this information, and access to all their resources to anyone who is interested, for free.

Until recently, I believe it is safe to say that Ancestry.com was probably at the top of the list for the number of records available online.  But Family Search is slowly closing the gap.  It is truly remarkable to be able to research our family histories from the comfort of our home.  Technology, teamed with the power of the internet, is amazing.  No more writing letters and waiting for replies.  No more field trips to far away libraries, town halls, and church archives.  Never again do we have to pay for copies printed on strange paper with disappearing ink.  We can open a website, type in a search phrase, and be presented with a list of matches to peruse.  We still have to go through the list to find what we are looking for, but the process is a whole lot easier, cheaper and more gratifying than it used to be.

All this has been made possible because of dedicated volunteers who have taken the time to index records.  Many repositories such as the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress have volunteer indexing programs.  Like Family Search, these organizations make their resources available to the public at no charge.  If you enjoy the convenience of having these vast resources available on the internet, volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to a process that has given so much to you.

How does it work?
First, you download the software from FamilySearch.org and set up an account. You then set your preferences (beginner, intermediate or experienced level, and language).  You can pick a project such as the 1930 U.S. Federal Census and download a batch of records to work on.  A batch is a small piece of a project that can be indexed in a short time, usually about an hour or less.  You review the image and instructions; type in the requested information; review entries during quality check; and, submit the entries.  Your work is saved each time you make an entry, you can return a batch at any time (and someone else will finish it) and help is always available.  Couldn’t be easier.  Not only is this a very worthwhile project - but it can be very interesting.  They could use your help.

And D.I.R.T. would like to help.  If any of you are interested in indexing records for the Family History Center - please email me at diggingtogether@yahoo.com and I will put together a list of volunteers.  I will then spend time at one of our upcoming meetings to walk the volunteers through the process.  This is something we can do together at our meetings, and/or by ourselves in the comfort of our homes.  Either way, we can help each other get started and work through questions.

If you would like to find out more about how the program works, there is a good overview at https://familysearch.org/indexing/.  You can view tutorials and how-tos, as well as take a look through the FAQs at https://familysearch.org/indexing/get-started-indexer.

You can watch a video presentation on FamilySearch's indexing program at by clicking here.
We will talk about this more at the next meeting.  I hope you will join me in taking the time to make even more records available for our fellow genealogists.

- - submitted by Denise Doyon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five Free Websites I Can't Research Without

Michael LeClerc, who writes for the Mocavo blog, recently post a piece entitled Five Free Websites I Can't Research Without.  I thought it was informative enough to re-post it here.  You can read Michael's original post by clicking on the post title above.

While there are many pay website that we use for our research, there are also a great number of free websites (like Mocavo) to help you. Here, in no particular order, are five websites that I find invaluable in my research, and each and every one of them is free to use. And if you’ve used these before, perhaps you’ll take this as a good reminder of the resources you should be using more frequently.

1. WorldCat

As much as we would like it to be, not everything we need to conduct our research is available online. WorldCat is the best way to identify published and unpublished materials. The search engine at WorldCat.org contains information on more than 2 billion published works in repositories around the world. The ArchiveGrid section has information on more than 2 million manuscript resources around the world. You can build a bibliography to bring with you to a repository to save time there.

2. WorldGenWeb

USGenWeb started in 1996. Over the course of the last almost twenty years it has spread around the world. Armies of volunteers have transcribed records, compiled reference information, and keep the web pages running. It is a wonderful place to start, and to find information that may not be easily available elsewhere. Many of these pages are run by (or are contributed to by) local residents who are tremendous experts on that particular area, and may know of specialized resources not available elsewhere. Start at WorldGenWeb and navigate to the area of the world you are interested in.

3. American Memory

The Library of Congress is one of the largest repositories in the world. Twenty years ago they started the American Memory program to digitize materials from the collection. While these collections may not directly have genealogically valuable information, but they can add a tremendous amount to understanding your family. Local histories, oral histories, music, sports, recreation, and more are all represented. LOC is in the process of moving collections to a new system, so be certain to check both areas to find what you are looking for.

4. Cyndi's List

Cyndi Ingle is one of my personal heroes (don’t tell her, it will just go to her head). For almost two decades she has been publishing a list of websites of interest to genealogists. From a simple one-page handout for her local group, Cyndi’s List has grown to a website with more than 330,000 links. And all of it is done by Cyndi herself (despite what people may think about her large staff of paid employees). You can browse through categories listed alphabetically, or search for what you seeking.

5. Boston Public Library

Now, in reality, you should insert the name of your local public library. As a Bostonian, I’m lucky to have the BPL as mine. Your local library likely provides access to a wide variety of subscription databases. Some of these will be restricted to onsite use, but others you will be able to access remotely. BPL, for example, provides me access to databases like 19th Century British Newspapers, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, American Historical Newspapers, Early American Imprints, JSTOR, Index to Early American Periodicals, and more. Visit your local library and get your library card.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Family History Writing Studio

Many of you know that I am a big fan of Lynn Palermo's blog, The Armchair Genealogist.  For the last two years, I have participated in her month-long writing challenge.  She has been hinting for a while about a big surprise - and today she sent out an email to her writing challenge participants and issued a press release announcing the launch of The Family History Writing Studio.  For any of you who are looking for resources, webinars, courses, workbooks, or personal guidance on writing your family history, this is the place you want to hang out.  

I have printed part of Lynn's press release below and provided a link so you can read the whole document.  Lynn has also provided a logo, which I have posted on the blog (in the right-hand column) that will bring you directly to the Studio.

With tools like this available from the comfort of your home, there is no excuse to get started writing the story of your ancestors.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

The Family History Writing Studio: A New Resource for Family 
History Writers


10  March 2015 – Simcoe, On, Canada. Genealogy Professional and Author Lynn Palermo announces the debut of  The Family History Writing Studio, a multi-media online resource designed to aid family historians seeking to turn their research into stories.

The Family History Writing Studio offers tools and resources to help genealogists create engaging and compelling stories in shareable formats for today and tomorrow’s generation.

What’s inside The FHWriting Studio?

Click here to read the rest of the press release and learn more about The Family History Writing Studio.

Using and Managing a Genealogy Research Log

One of the hardest things about doing our genealogy research is keeping track of everything. Almost every ancestor has his or her own "to-do" list of information we need to find. Then there is the problem of notating where we looked for what kind of information for each ancestor and what we found (or didn't find) - which often leads to another "to-do" item. We need citations. We need to document record types and their repositories. How many times have you gone searching for information and encountered a deja-vu moment - that "I've already been here and checked this once before" revelation. And if you make it a habit of chasing "bright shiny objects" as they present themselves, you can very easily get off track and find yourself wandering aimlessly, getting nothing constructive accomplished.  I know because I have been there and done that myself.

I recently attended one of Thomas MacEntee's webinars on using and managing a genealogy research log. He has created a marvelous spreadsheet tool to help us "do it right the first time". Why use a research log? There are a number of advantages: 1) create a research plan; 2) stay organized; 3) allow instant recall; 4) reduce "do-overs"; and 5) help analyze data.

Although Thomas withheld permission for me to share his hand-out for this tool (he felt that should only be available to those who paid to attend the webinar), he has made the spreadsheets available to anyone who wants to use them. I am currently using this tool to help me with my "do-over" and added another page to the existing sheet listing all the sources I regularly visit and their links. I add new resources to the sheet as I go so they will always be available.

Below is a screen shot from Thomas's sample page:

The sample sheets also include a page with explanations labeled "Start Here". Thomas shows you a sample log (see above) as well as one page devoted to citation formats.  It is very self-explanatory and flexible so that you can use it any way you please and add to it in any way you choose.  You can use the log for your whole project, or use separate logs for each branch or family name - whatever works for you.

Here are the links for the Excel version (which also works with Open Office) and the Google Sheets version.  Click on the links below to access the sheet format you are interested in.  The Excel version will download to your computer, and you can then double-click on the download to open the file.  The Google Sheets version will come up on your screen.  You can then use "save as" to save the template to your computer. At that point, I would make a copy of the template to use for your project and leave the original template intact in case you need to use it again or want to share it.  In the "Geneaology" folder on my hard drive, I have a sub-folder for "Templates".  Over the next few months I will be showing you many other template tools.  This would be a great opportunity to set up a place to store those you want to keep.

Thomas lists his email address at the bottom of the "Start Here" page in case you have any questions.

EXCEL:    http://www.geneabloggers.com/reslog
GOOGLE SHEETS:  http://www.geneabloggers.com/reslog

Of course, if I can answer any questions, I will be happy to help!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saint Patrick's Day Deals and Freebies

$1 FindMyPast Offer!

When I first saw this offer, I said, "There has to be a catch!" Last weekend FindMyPast offered free access to over 2 BILLION records and now they want you to try a FindMyPast World Subscription for just $1 for the first month. And get this - you can go into you account and remove the auto-renewal at ANY TIME, even during the first month! So why not take an entire month to get what you need and see if FindMyPast will work for you. Click here for more information.

Evidentia Software - Exclusive 15% Discount Coupon

Use promo code HIDEFGEN at checkout and get 15% off the list price – you pay $25.49 instead of $29.99 – via Evidentia. Click here for more information.

“Evidentia not only solves the problems facing the genealogy community, but also simplifies the process of analyzing evidence and creating proof arguments while still following the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).” There is also a FREE 14-day trial available! If you haven’t checked out this amazing software, you really it owe to yourself and your genealogy research to do so!

FREE Irish Genealogy Webinars

Now through Wednesday March 18th, you can view three Irish genealogy-related webinars from the library of over 200 recorded webinars at Legacy Family Tree Webinars!

  • The Three Cs of Irish Research: Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census: Three of the main Irish genealogical resources of key importance to those tracing their Irish ancestors are census returns, church records, and civil registration (vital records). Although pre-1901 census records were almost completely destroyed and church records also suffered from either a lack of record keeping or destruction, much still exists. This presentation is an overview of surviving censuses and census substitutes, church records and civil registration.
  • Breaking Down Your Irish Brick Wall: Irish Estate Records:   Where do you turn when you can’t find your Irish ancestors in civil registration, church records or what few censuses survive? Experienced researchers dive right in to the Irish estate records. There is a surprising array of material in estate records that can be used to document the tenants who lived on the estates that covered rural Ireland. In this webinar you will learn how to identify the estate where your ancestor lived, repositories where estate records might be found, and what types of records were kept.
  • Some Lesser Known Irish Resources: This webinar is an overview of some lesser known Irish resources that may provide additional information about your Irish ancestors. Some of the sources that will be discussed include school records, taxation sources and court records.

Enter the MyHeritage March Madness Giveaway

Feeling lucky? Or feeling mad that you can’t find those elusive ancestors? Here’s a solution: enter the My Heritage March Madness Giveaway before 12:00 pm CST on Friday 20 March 2015 and you could find that pot of gold! Click here to enter.

If you’re selected as the winner (and we will draw 3 winners!), you’ll receive a 1-year Premium Plus and 1-year Data Subscription – Full ACCESS genealogy package, which includes both the PremiumPlus Family Tree account and the MyHeritage Data Plan with access to records from around the world including NewspaperArchive.com. Click here for a list of collections available at MyHeritage.

-- submitted by Linda Mecchi

Monday, March 16, 2015

Family Search Learning Center

Those of you who participated in the recent field trip to the local Family History Center in West Ashley were introduced to some of the vast resources available through the LDS library.  Most of us aren't going to hop on a plane and visit Salt Lake City to take advantage of this repository. But this is 2015 and you don't have to do that in order to access most of the available material.

Did you know that FamilySearch.org also houses, within its website, an entire learning center complete with videos and webinars?

If you click here the link will take you directly to the Learning Center home page. There are classes and training sessions (long and short) listed by country, skill level and subject matter.  Hundreds and hundreds of them.  For FREE! Just on the home page there were twenty-one, five-minute mini-courses for the beginning genealogist.  

Below is a screenshot of their new and most popular courses:

Who doesn't have five minutes to learn something new?  So sit down at your computer and take a virtual trip to the LDS library in Salt Lake City.  You have nothing to lose and everything to learn!

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Genealogy Ebooks

If you have been following this blog, attending our meetings, listening to any of my presentations, or got stuck in the car with me on the way to our recent field trip, you know that I am BIG into learning stuff.  I have always strongly believed in the old adage, "Knowledge is Power".  Maybe it was my parochial school education or just a twisted little genome, but whenever I have a question, the journey I take to find the answer is even better than the answer itself. I love reading, research and discovering new things.

When I started my family history project I literally knew nothing about the process. It has been "baptism under fire" the whole way. When I needed answers to questions, I scoured the internet and in the process discovered an enormous amount of resources. I have taken webinars, downloaded and read ebooks, taken part in research and writing challenges and read countless blogs. Along the way, I learned a lot about genealogy and met some interesting people. One of the lessons I have learned is that even when I am working in the solitude of my home studio/office, I don't have to work alone. Not only that, but the internet is chock full of information that I can instantly view, download, or save. You may have also noticed that I am in love with technology.

Learning excites me and I am always anxious to share that passion. The best part of all is finding something new I can share.  I recently discovered GenEbooks. Genealogy ebooks is the ebooks division of Gould Genealogy & History. They have been supplying genealogy-related information since the 1970s and have recently launched its ebook division in an effort to keep up with the times.

From their website:
Ebooks are a great way to get instant access to the resources you need to help with your research. You can buy and download instantly any of the books available on this site. View them on your computer, smart phone or tablet, the choice is yours. If you need to you can print a few pages to have that hard copy of some important portion.
All of their ebooks are reasonably priced, and a few are offered free of charge. Even if you don't want to spend the money to download one of their books, you might be lucky enough to find a hard-copy edition of one that interests you at our local library. Either way, it is a wonderful way to discover new sources of information.

Hope you will visit their website: http://www.gen-ebooks.com/.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Special St. Patrick's Day Edition of the Genealogy Newsline

Geneaology Newlsline published a special edition for St. Paddy's Day.  Included are links to many, many resources you may not have known about - including books, internet publications and research information.  There are way too many goodies to list them all here.  So if you have Irish ancestors or are just interested in Irish genealogy, click on the link to this Special St. Patrick;s Day Edition of Genealogy Newsline and prepare to be amazed!  Some of the links are free, some of the material comes at a cost - but anyone with Irish roots will find something new and interesting.

-- submitted by Linda Mecchi

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ancestry.com Announces 2015 Product and Content Lineup

Ancestry Announces 2015 Product and Content Lineup

Industry Leader Talks Innovation and New Collections At Annual RootsTech Conference

(PROVO, Utah) – February 11, 2015– Ancestry, the world's leading family history service, is ushering in the next generation of family history, with the debut of an updated story centric website, groundbreaking advancements in AncestryDNA that will revolutionize how people discover their ancestors, and the anticipated addition of nearly 1 billion new records to the largest collection of historical records online in 2015.

“We’re incredibly excited about all the amazing things we have in store for our members this year,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry. “In 2015, we’ll be launching some of the most innovative new features and services in our company’s history. We think these additions are going to make Ancestry an even more powerful resource for our existing users, while also making family history easier, more accessible, and more fun for those just getting started. We’re also proud of our commitment to continue investing in new content. Our 2015 content roadmap will be anchored by our expected fall release of more than 170 million Probate and Wills images, one of the most exciting, engaging, and interesting content collections we’ve ever published.”

Over the next year, Ancestry will introduce breakthrough features and compelling content – made possible by powerful advancements in science and technology – that will give you an easier, richer and more engaging way to discover and tell your family story, and make your family history journey easy and engaging, through a highly customized, relevant and historically rich experience rooted in discovery and storytelling.

Major Product Developments

  • A new and improved Ancestry website will make it easier for anyone to discover and tell the rich, unique story of their family, through new features and site enhancements that will reinvent the ways Ancestry members create and showcase their family story. The new site experience is currently in limited Beta and will be demonstrated at RootsTech On Friday, Feb. 13 at 1:00 pm MT (Room 151) as well as at the Ancestry booth. Visitors to the Ancestry booth will be able to opt in to participate in the Beta.
  • Ancestry mobile will introduce a full search feature in the iOS app that will empower users to access 15 billion historical records and hints anytime, anywhere in the native app environment. The intuitive interface will make both simple and advanced searches easier, while the presentation of search results will also help you quickly identify and prioritize the most important results, making search less complicated. The Ancestry mobile team will showcase version 1 search in the Ancestry booth and discuss search and other mobile features in length during an FGS class, “Ancestry’s Mobile World,” on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 1:00 pm MT.
  • Ancestry will also remain committed to providing the best in educational resources with the launch of Ancestry Academy in April. The new resource will offer how-to tutorials and historical guidance to help experts and novices alike. Released as a limited Beta this week, Ancestry Academy will be showcased via demo in the Exhibit Hall on Friday, Feb 13 at 3 pm MT. Those interested in participating in this Beta should stop by the Ancestry booth for more information.
  • Continued Growth for AncestryDNA
  • With a database of over 700,000 genotyped members, AncestryDNA has generated over one billion cousin connections to date. In 2015, we project this database to grow to exceed well over one million genotyped members, resulting in even more and higher quality cousin matches.
  • Following the successful launch of AncestryDNA in the UK, we will soon be bringing the service to our members in Australia and Canada, and in doing so, will connect the major English-speaking migrations and globally connect families like never before.
  • Building on DNA Circles, in 2015 we will launch a new experience that will use the latest genetic technology to discover new ancestors without the customer having to search records or build a family tree. This new feature will transform how family history research is done by providing valuable hints to help experienced genealogist looking to break through brick walls, as well as open family history to a whole new segment of the population. Through this new experience, AncestryDNA customers will be able to discover new ancestors as far back as the 1700’s by connecting into existing DNA Circles.
  • Ancestry Around the World
  • Last winter, Ancestry expanded the availability of Archives.com to users in the UK, and just last month in Australia and Canada.
  • Later this year, Ancestry will announce resources for users in Germany and Mexico. With more than 58 million Americans claiming sole or partial German heritage* and an estimated 34 million residents of Mexican origin** the new sites will give nearly 100 million people in the US alone, the ability to learn more about their family’s story.
  • New Record Collections
  • This fall Ancestry will release more than 170 million name-searchable images of million Probate and Wills records. The most comprehensive collections of its kind, these records will provide access to almost all wills probated in the United States from the mid 19th century to 2000– an unprecedented treasure trove of information to better inform familial narratives.
  • This spring, Ancestry will release the comprehensive service records collection for the Australian Imperial Forces – the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War 1. Made available in time for Australia’s 100-year commemoration of its entrance into the war, the historical records will help honor the brave men and women that served.
  • Also in 2015, Ancestry will make available in the UK, a variety of content collections including WWI War Diaries, Parish Baptism Marriage and Burial Registers, and a collection of Francis Frith historic photos gathered from over 7,000 individual cities, towns, and villages across the UK from 1860-1960.
  • Professional Research, Award Winning Television and You
  • With more than 150 years of combined research experience, Ancestry’s professional research group, AncestryProGenealogists, has helped people trace their family trees and connect with the past for more than 15 years. The team has grown to become the largest service of its kind, supporting research for the Emmy Nominated Show “Who Do You Think You Are?.” AncestryProGenealogists will continue to grow and help solve family mysteries, break down brick walls, and discover the stories that tell you who you are and where you came from.
  • Ancestry will also continue showcasing family history around the world, through shows like Who Do You Think You Are?, Genealogy Roadshow, Finding Your Roots, and Long Lost Family.
“Your family story is a universe that is always expanding,” said Sullivan. “With new products and even more records, Ancestry will provide the most unique, personable, and engaging family history experience on the planet.”

To learn more about how Ancestry is transforming family history, visit the Ancestry booth at the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 11-14, 2015.

* 1990 U.S. Census
** Pew Research Center 2013

About Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com is the world's largest online family history resource with more than 2 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 15 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 60 million family trees to the core Ancestry websites, including its flagship site www.ancestry.comand its affiliated international websites. Ancestry.com offers a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3.com, Newspapers.com, as well as the AncestryDNA product, sold by its subsidiary, Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, all of which along with its core Ancestry websites, are all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the company’s control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the company's ability to add tools and features and provide value to satisfy customer demand and its ability to acquire content and make it available online. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially is contained under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for Ancestry.com LLC for the period ended September 30, 2014, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2014, and in discussions in other of the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

FindMyPast To Host Digital Library of New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

Findmypast, one of the world’s fastest growing family history companies, partners with New York’s largest genealogical organization to bring wider access to New York records

Findmypast will be the new home of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society’s Digital Library, offering millions of records from across the United States.

Salt Lake City, Utah, 11 February 2015. Findmypast and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) announced today that Findmypast will host the newly expanded Digital Library of the NYG&B. The partnership will provide additional membership benefits for the one of the nation’s oldest genealogical organizations, while also offering a stream of new content to Findmypast’s growing collections.

When launched, the expanded Digital Library will bring millions of new records to members of the NYG&B, including the complete U.S. Census, 1790-1940; U.S. Passenger Lists, 1820s-1950s; birth, marriage, and death records from across the U.S.; the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), and many more. NYG&B members will be able to create an online family tree at Findmypast, and use new features such as Findmypast’s recently launched Hints to accelerate their research.

The partnership will offer Findmypast’s customers access to new records from the state of New York, covering more than three centuries. Major collections that will be added to Findmypast include the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record which has been in publication for 145 years, vital records, bible extracts, cemetery transcriptions, and more. 
The two organizations will also work together to bring new content online over the course of the partnership. “The partnership is a terrific step forward for anyone researching ancestors from New York – we are delighted to join forces with such a historic organization to enrich the family history experience for Findmypast and members of the NYG&B,” said D. Joshua Taylor, Director of Family History at Findmypast. 

“Our agreement with Findmypast offers our members two very significant benefits—vastly more effective searching of the complete run of the NYG&B Record and other NYG&B online collections, and direct access to the growing United States collections on findmypast.com. Findmypast subscribers also benefit significantly which makes the partnership a strong two-way street and thus sustainable for the long term," said McKelden Smith, the NYG&B's president.

About Findmypast

Findmypast is an international leader in online family history and genealogy research with customers and operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Its searchable online archive includes over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and making family connections.

Findmypast has an unrivalled record of innovation in the field of family history, and works closely with the genealogy community, including local libraries, archives, societies, and other organizations from around the world, to preserve, digitize, and provide access to historical records. Findmypast’s historical records, advanced search tools and accurate data work together to help both professional and budding genealogists discover, explore and share their family stories.

About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has been a primary resource for research on New York families since 1869. The Society’s mission is to help people of all backgrounds find their places in American history through family history and genealogy. The NYG&B offers educational programs, including a biennial, three-day statewide conference; two essential quarterly publications, including its scholarly journal, the NYG&B Record; and extensive resources online at NewYorkFamilyHistory.org. In January 2015, the NYG&B published its monumental, 856-page New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, the first and only comprehensive guide of its kind in the United States.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

FamilySearch Partnerships

The Inside Scoop on FamilySearch Partnerships

March 3, 2015 By Ellen Bahr

Did you know that FamilySearch.org now has over 60 certified partner applications (or ‘apps’)–and that number continues to grow! These partner apps include familiar websites such as FindMyPast, Research Ties, Ancestral Quest, and AllMyCousins.com plus many more. If you are a FamilySearch user, what exactly does this mean for you? It means you now have even more options and ways to assist your family history research, and some of them intend to make your research fun.

Partnering with FamilySearch simply means that these other websites are allowed to take information from FamilySearch and use it in their interface, helping you find more ancestors and broadening FamilySearch’s worldwide audience. Ryan Koelliker, partner services administrator for FamilySearch explained the reasons why they have partnered with so many other websites, and why they plan to add even more this year. With millions of people globally searching their ancestors online, there needs to be wider access to services and resources that caters to the needs of different cultures and users. After all, says Koelliker, “We deal with both the living and the deceased.” Even gaming apps are being introduced on FamilySearch. Why? Because we should stop thinking of family history as just a genealogy industry, says Koelliker, and more of an entertainment industry. After all, family history can be fun. Why not create gaming apps that will entice the young as well as the old?

To learn more about these partner apps, go to FamilySearch.org and scroll to the bottom of the home page. Three boxes appear. The middle box is labeled “App Gallery.” Click on “get started” to be directed to dozens of other links that will help you search millions of historical records online.

19 Strange Professions of Your Ancestors That Don’t Exist Today

These Weird Careers Are Now Ancient History

Photo credit: roletroll.com

Everyone loves to complain about their jobs from time to time. And while it’s true that horrible bosses and lazy coworkers can be the bane of our existence, we definitely have it a lot better than our ancestors did back in the day. And while organising your family history research,we’re sure you’ve come across some common jobs of yesteryear that were either fairly gross, tedious, dangerous and even downright scary.

These strange careers of your ancestors will make your cushy office job with that annoying cubicle mate seem like a beach vacation! 

19 Jobs of Your Ancestors That Are Now Defunct

See full descriptions and photos by clicking here.

  1. Lamplighter
  2. Switchboard Operator
  3. Resurrectionist
  4. Chimney Sweep
  5. Powder Monkey
  6. Hemp Dresser
  7. Rat Catcher
  8. Ice Cutter
  9. Phrenologist
  10. Knocker-Upper
  11. Pin Setter
  12. Leech Collector
  13. Town Crier
  14. Nomenclator
  15. Lector
  16. Barber-Surgeon
  17. Computer
  18. Airplane Listener
  19. Plague Doctor
-- reposted from Genea-Bloggers Daily

Findmypast Announces Free Weekend 6-9 March 2015

FindMyPast has a free weekend from Friday, 6 March (1200 GMT, 7 AM EST, 4 AM PT) until Monday, 9 March (1200 GMT, 7 AM ET, 4 AM PT). The press release says:

  • Findmypast announces they will be giving free access to all their historical records this weekend
  • Over 2 billion records available to everyone to search for free
  • Local subscribers granted World access, and World subscribers granted 3 extra days to their subscription
  • Getting Started video and Finding Women in the Records webinar will be available to view this weekend
London, UK, 4 February 2015 FindMyPast has announced that this weekend, they will be opening up their archives and giving unlimited free access to billions of records and newspaper pages from all over the world. That means that between midday on Friday, March 6th and midday on Monday, March 9th (GMT), absolutely everyone will have access to their comprehensive collections of historical records and innovative research tools, including:

  • Over 900 million census records from across the UK, USA and Ireland
  • Passenger lists for ships sailing to and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA
  • Birth, marriage and death records dating back to the 18th century, and the largest online collection of UK parish record
  • The most comprehensive collection of UK military records anywhere online
  • The largest collection of Irish family history records available online
  • Historical newspapers from across the world, including more than 10 million British newspaper pages from as long ago as 1710
  • An easy to use online family tree builder which allows you to import and export your tree if you’ve built it elsewhere
  • Our automatic Hints feature, which automatically searches our records for you and suggests potential matches to the people you add to your family tree
As well as millions of other records that will give everyone the opportunity to explore their family history and bring their past to life.

Webinar and new Getting Started video
To celebrate International Women’s Day, at 7am EST on Sunday 8th March, Findmypast will be hosting a webinar on searching for women in their historical records. As, historically, women’s names changed or were not recorded, finding female ancestors can be tricky. This webinar will help users trace maternal lines and get further with their family tree.

To help everyone make the most of the free weekend, Findmypast have also created a new Getting Started video which will be available to view from this weekend.

Extended access for existing users
It’s not only new users who will be able to take their family history research further this weekend. Those with current Findmypast Local subscriptions (with an active Britain, Ireland, US & Canada or Australia & New Zealand subscription) will be able to access Findmypast’s historical World records during the free access weekend, and those with active World subscriptions will have an additional three days added on to their subscription.

Find out more at Findmypast’s dedicated Free Weekend page.

Terms & conditions: Free access lasts from 12:00pm midday (GMT) on Friday 6th March 2015 until 11:59am (GMT) on Monday 9th March 2015. To access the records you will need to be signed in at Findmypast: you can register for free using your name, email address and country of residence. The free access excludes the UK Electoral Registers (2002-2013) and the UK Companies House Directors (2002-2013) record sets. Free access is subject to our fair usage policy: each account may view up to a maximum of 1,000 records per day.

-- Reposted from Genea-Musings - 4 Mar 2015

Find My Past Continues To Grow

Thanks to loyal subscribers, innovative technology and an international team, Findmypast gains subscribers while Ancestry’s numbers fall

As one of the fastest growing family history companies, Findmypast is challenging the status quo of the industry by acting on their belief that genealogy should be accessible to everyone.

Salt Lake City, Utah, 11 February 2015. In a highly competitive market, family history site findmypast.com continues to grow. According to Ancestry’s annual report, Ancestry’s subscriber numbers fell by 25K year on year in 2014, while Findmypast’s active subscribers rose by 34K year on year for the same period.

Millions of new records – added faster than ever before

In the last year, Findmypast has added millions of records to help everyone discover their family’s story. Their collection now boasts over 2 billion records including thousands of unique records that cannot be found anywhere else.

Through their Findmypast Fridays project, the company continues to add thousands of new record sets every week. In addition to these new records, last year Findmypast’s sister site, Mocavo, added more than 1,000 databases every day, granting customers free access to more than 8 billion names. Altogether, Findmypast has more than 10 billion names and records available to help people everywhere find and connect their family.

New records and family history experiences to help everyone bring their past to life

Over the past year, Findmypast announced a partnership with FamilySearch, and the acquisition of Mocavo.com. In May, they launched Lives of The First World War, enabling everyone to build the stories of their World War 1 ancestors, and in June, they releasedWho Do You Think You Are? Story, an online family history storytelling platform.

In the past couple weeks, Findmypast site The British Newspaper Archive announced the publication of their 10 millionth historic newspaper page. This important archive, along with their ScotlandsPeople site, their rich Irish records collection, and the upcoming 1939 Register for England and Wales, makes Findmypast the best place to research your family history, wherever you’re from.
Findmypast is now announcing many new projects to build on their recent successes and expand the family history category even further.

Family history should be accessible to everyone
Findmypast is challenging the status quo of the genealogy industry by making family history accessible to everyone, through a combination of more free data, automated search tools, and ensuring that your data always remains your own.

  • Findmypast site Mocavo’s data is free, and will remain so forever.
  • Findmypast’s recently launched free Hints service moves research beyond the rigorous search process, and allows the site to discover connections for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The ability to build or upload a tree to Findmypast for free, as well as the ability to export it freely anytime and anywhere ensures your data remains yours.
  • More partnerships to be announced this week.

Findmypast at RootsTech

At RootsTech, the world’s largest family history event, Findmypast will be showcasing new features and record sets to help genealogists make meaningful discoveries. They’re looking forward to meeting family history experts and enthusiasts and sharing more information about the exciting developments they’ll be announcing.

Findmypast Executive Vice President, Ben Bennett, said ‘This is a hugely exciting time for Findmypast. We are announcing exciting partnerships and projects at RootsTech which will make family history accessible to a new audience, and making it easier than ever to bring your past to life. We’re really looking forward to continuing to shake up the family history industry and help more people connect with their family’s story. This week we announce the first instalment of many exciting things to come for anyone who wants to discover and connect with their family’.

About FindmyPast

Findmypast is an international leader in online family history and genealogy research with customers and operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Its searchable online archive includes over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and making family connections.

Findmypast has an unrivaled record of innovation in the field of family history, and works closely with the genealogy community, including local libraries, archives, societies, and other organizations from around the world, to preserve, digitize, and provide access to historical records. Findmypast’s historical records, advanced search tools and accurate data work together to help both professional and budding genealogists discover, explore and share their family stories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Many Ancestors Do You Have?

Here's the math:

Parents:  2
Grandparents:  4
Great-Grandparents:  8
2nd Great-Grandparents:  16
3rd Great-Grandparents:  32
4th Great-Grandparents:  64
5th Great-Grandparents: 128
6th Great-Grandparents: 256
7th Great Grandparents:  512
8th Great-Grandparents:  1,024
9th Great-Grandparents:  2,048
10th Great-Grandparents:  4,096

38th Great-Grandparents:  1,099,511,627,776

If you want to see the progression from 10th to 38th great-grandparents, go to the Number of Ancestors in a Given Generation chart.

-- submitted by Linda Mecchi