Friday, December 14, 2007

Separating fact from fiction

Family history is full of mystery, which is one quality that makes it so fascinating. Melissa Slate, in her article, "The Legend of Virgina Dare," recounts the story of an early American lost colony and the legend of first white child born to English parents. As the article reminds us, about our own histories, fanciful though the legends may be, do not be too quick to dismiss them, as there may be kernels of truth.

Denver Public Library grant holds promise

As a Denver native, an article in the Cherry Creek News, "Digitizing Denver's Historic neighborhoods," was of interest. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the Denver Public Library's Western History/Genealogy Department a grant in the amount of $778,000 for the Library's Creating Communities: Digitizing Denver's Historic Neighborhoods project.

"We are extremely pleased that the Denver Public Library will become the home of the archival records of the City of Denver," said Jim Kroll, manager of the Western History/Genealogy Department. "The project will create a centralized digital repository of materials about Denver."

According to Kroll, manuscripts, photographs, published narrative, cartography, audio and video recordings and newspaper clippings from private sources will be linked with the public records to provide in- depth information about the history of Denver and its neighborhoods.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gold Between the Census Returns

We've all heard about "gold fever," mining boom towns, those who made it rich and those who went bust. But who were these miners? In her article, "Gold Between the Census Returns," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests local biographical histories as one resource for identifying those who tried their luck but then returned and took up their lives. By way of example, the article points to just one resource in Livingston County, Illinois that profiles a number of former minders. Local county histories also contain biographical sketches, and even if you ancestor is not profiled, the histories and the sketches mention many other people, as well. The value of these histories is that so many exist, published in earlier time periods when the subjects themselves or someone closely related provided the information. It was from one fo these biographical sketches that we learned from a son's biography that his father came from Ireland to America as an indentured servant in the early 1700s. As the article points out, "While the stories are brief, they probably are not documented anywhere else." Truly, there is gold in these resources.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Narrated photo albums, new from MyFamily

Just in time for the holiday,, currently available as a "beta" or test site, will eventually become a regular feature of The Generations Network's popular, as reported yesterday in the Cincinnati Post, "Preserve Memories on" SnapGenie is a free, easy-to-use, online photo-sharing resource in which visitors can build narrated photo slide shows, then e-mail links to their slide shows to relatives or post them to a personal Web site, blog or their private family site for viewing by family members and friends using a code provided by SnapGenie.

Here's how it works. After signing up for a free account, users can begin building their own slide show by uploading images such as digital pictures, scanned heirloom photographs and other one-of-a-kind documents. (Note: SnapGenie does not accept images saved in the TIFF format.) Users can then dial a toll-free number, enter their access code, and record up to one hour of commentary to accompany the images -- and you can do this for any number of narrated photo "albums," although users are encouraged to prepare their comments, reminiscences and other captions ahead of time, before recording the audio clips. Once created, slide shows can be replayed as often as desired by family members and friends living in every corner of the world.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tis the Season . . .

Melissa Slate in her article, "The Ancestor's Christmas,"reminds us that our "Christmas traditions and celebrations are varied and diverse with roots in many nationalities." This time of year many faiths, Christian and non-Christian alike celebrate special observances with a rich history, dating back many generations. Reflecting on our heritage may help us take less for granted in busy rush of the season.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tips and hints for overcoming "Researcher's Block"

Sometimes our mind hits a brick wall, as much as our research. In his article, "Tips on Researcher's Block," Alan Smith provides some ideas to help you get reoriented and maybe take fresh perspective. One idea, for example, is to rearrange the format of your data such as writing out what you know in narrative form, putting it into an outline, or building a scrapbook. The process may shed new light. This and other tips and hints might to refresh your thinking . . . and your enthusiasm.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Wreaths Across America bound for Arlington, Sunday, Dec 9

Time once again for Wreaths Across America, a stunning tribute to our men in arms. The Wreaths Across America convoy to Arlington National Cemetery will travel Route 1 through the Midcoast on Sunday, Dec. 9. This year's convoy from Maine to Virginia is slated to be the biggest, with between 50 and 300 vehicles joining along various sections of the route, according to an article yesterday in VillageSoup.

Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington has for 15 years been donating wreaths and decorating the graves of 4,500 veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Each year the parade of wreaths is escorted 750 miles, through 196 communities, by the Patriot Guard Riders and Civil Air Patrol on their trek to Arlington National Cemetery, where the wreaths make their eventual home adorning the graves of veterans.

The Wreaths Across America story began more than 15 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington began a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones. It's worth taking a look at the article and/or the Wreaths Across America web site to see the beautiful photos of the wreaths after they've been placed

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Plan ahead for 2008 Genealogy Cruise

Time to plan ahead. The WhollyGenes fourth annual cruise and conference is scheduled for Oct. 26 - Nov. 2, 2008, according to an article on, "Genealogists to gather on Caribbean cruise." Bob Velke, president of WhollyGenes, is the developer of The Master Genealogist, a genealogy database software program. The educational and fun-filled voyage to the Eastern Caribbean will include opportunities to learn about genealogical research methods, tools and technologies from noted speakers and authorities in those fields. For more information and to obtain a registration form for the conference and cruise, go to or call
(800) 377-9383 and press "8.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What we hope to find in an obituary

A good article in The Capital Times, "Don't make obit a resume," among other things, tells what to look for in an obituary. While the article laments modern-day obits sounding more like resumes, it does note the kinds of things one likes to find in an obituary, especially from a family history point of view. Jim Olle, who has collected about 1,200 obits in his pursuit of family history was asked what he likes to find in an obituary.

"It is helpful for me to find all of the names, dates and places and the names of all of the children and grandchildren. In the pursuit of genealogy, it is helpful to read about their military history, their social history, what clubs they belonged to, such as the VFW or the Elks,." he said. Olle believes that when the obituary describes the person's interests, such as fishing or travel, it gives you a more complete picture of the person. Something else to consider is where the obituary should/could appear. If someone lived and worked in one community and retired to another, the notice could appear in several papers.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Researching Your Quaker Ancestors

The Quakers or Society of Friends is another religious group that took issue with the Church of England and participated in the founding of America. Most notable among them, perhaps, is William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. This year marks the 325th anniversary of Penn's arrival in America. An informative article by Gena Philibert-Ortega on "Researching Your Quaker Ancestors" provides considerable useful information and online resources for this select group.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New online Wales and England burial records date back to 1538

According to an article today in ic Wales, "New online family research sources," online family tree researchers will be able to delve 300 years further back into their histories from today, thanks to a new register of burials in Wales and England. The database, available on, dates back to 1538, predating the centralised registration of deaths in Wales and England, which began in 1837. It includes details of more than 13 million burials contained in parish registers, non-conformist registers, Roman Catholic, Jewish and other registers as well as cemetery and cremation records. All the records are cross-searchable, making it possible to search for ancestors by surname without needing to know where in the country they came from.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Online resources available to advance your genealogical education

As we look toward the new year and the beginning rounds of genealogy conferences and seminars, you may want to consider getting a head start on your genealogy education. In her article, "Genealogy Education," Melissa Slate offers some online "resources to enhance your genealogical learning."

WorldVitalRecords to sponsor 4th Annual St. George Jamboree announced in a press release today its major sponsorship of the 2008 St. George Utah Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree to be held on February 8-9, 2008.

"Being a sponsor of this event is an awesome opportunity and privilege because we have never had sponsors before," said Kimberly Savage, VP of My Ancestors Found. "I have attended conferences for 20 years, and this is an excellent conference. Professionals who are on the cutting edge of learning will be attending, along with the leaders in the industry, such as, Footnote, Ancestry, and FamilySearch.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 announces beta release of Genealogy Maps

Plot your family history using Google Maps. In a press release today, the Beta release of their new Genealogy Maps. These new tools take location information already present in GEDCOM or online family trees, and provide a unique graphical view of a family history: Ancestor Map shows all known locations of an individual's ancestors, showing many generations at one glance; Family Map displays where the parents and children of an individual were born, allowing the family historian to step-by-step through the family's past just by following the links to each family member; Descendants Map provides a single view, showing how an ancestor's offspring spread throughout the world.

"We aren't trying to be the leading research site, or provide the largest database of names to search," explained Vandana Rao of TribalPages, "What we do is help you present your family history to the world. These new Genealogy Maps are a great new way to do that. Seeing where your ancestors came from and where their families ended up is a very powerful experience."

TribalPages is one of the last online services offering completely free online family trees, with no trial periods or gimmicks. "We're happy to provide these Maps to our free family trees, " says Rao, "We feel that the more usable and powerful our platform is, the more likely our free customers will choose to pay for the additional photo storage and premium features our paid sites provide."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Extensive account of Native American tribes reprinted

An article in the Tribune Star, "Genealogy: 'Indian Tribes of North America' quite an undertaking," notes this year’s reprinting by the Genealogical Publishing Co. of “Indian Tribes of North America” by John R. Swanson. This "extensive volume" originally published in 1952 by the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, the report says, encompasses every known tribe in North America from upper Canada, Greenland and Alaska, through the lower 48 states, and culminating in Mexico, Central America and the islands of the Caribbean. It focuses on the time period of 1650 in order to document the tribes that existed before being relocated by the encroaching Europeans. This book seeks to fill in the huge gap in our knowledge of Native American tribes before the period of removal to Indian Territory (what later became Oklahoma), when record keeping was established. This 726-page authoritative volume with its four, large fold-out maps is priced at $75 and can be ordered from the Genealogy Publishing Co.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Memento mori: Funeral Photography

Many of us have in our possession or have seen old photos of an ancestor lying in a coffin, and many have thought this photographing the dead a very macabre practice. But it does have a long and respectable tradition. In her article, "Memento mori: Funeral Photography," Judy Rosella Edwards examines the history and uses of funeral photography.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A CD of your old family photos -- a perfect gift

You know the old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket. The rule applies to many things, including money and your treasured family photos, something money can't buy. Thanks to modern technology, we have a way to preserve and protect old family pictures by scanning them. As Shelley Poblete notes in her article, "Photographs: The Importance of Sharing," scanning preserves the image in its current state, even though the original may continue to deteriorate. But she also notes that scanning them and storing them in your own home is not enough -- to finish the job of preservation, they need to be distributed. You need to share them. With the holiday season at hand, a CD of your old photos may be the perfect gift.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family History Library hosts holiday event, Dec 1

As announced in the Deseret Morning News, "Family History Library is planning holiday event," a special holiday event will be held at the LDS Family History Library and the Museum of Church History and Art, located immediately to the west of Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. The event takes place on Saturday, December 1 and features activities for families, including presentations on holiday traditions in various countries. For a schedule of activities, go to and click on the link under the Family History Library heading. Parking is available for a fee at the northwest corner of West Temple and North Temple streets.

Monday, November 19, 2007 2.0 Beta adds online family trees from

It was in the summer of 2000, following a family reunion in Denver, that I first signed up with It has been a great "meeting place" for our extended family, from Alaska to Arizona, California to Tennessee. We have planned and executed two additional family reunions in the seven years plus that we have been online. We have shared much on the site, including family photos and announcements to all the family of both happy and the sad events. is now underway with a complete redesign, including the launch of its Family Trees application through the integration of's family tree service, which enables members to create and share family trees within their sites. With this release, members can now create, share, print and publish an online family tree. This new feature links users research tools and services provided by its sister site As noted in the press release, one of the most popular new features of 2.0 beta is SnapGenie, a photo slide show with voice narration that makes telling stories much more personal and captivating. Users can easily record their voice by calling a toll-free number and telling the story behind the pictures in their own voice. And while we are comfortable with the old and familiar, I'll be anxious to try out these new features.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Encyclopedias may open new doors in research

Encyclopedias, even those you've had sitting around the house for years, may contain historical information relevant to your genealogy. In her article, "Finding Aids: Encyclopedias," Gena Philibert-Ortega discusses the ways in which encyclopedias might be used to assist genealogy research, suggesting the types of encyclopedias researchers might find useful, along with some specific titles. Among the resources suggested is one of my favorites, The Handbook of Texas Online. The great thing about encyclopedias is that they also direct to additional source information, some of which may be entirely new to you and send you down a new path.

GenealogyBank Announces 3 Million New Articles of Digitized Historical Newspapers

GenealogyBank, a leading online provider of historical and recent newspapers for family history research, announced in a press release today the addition of 100 fully searchable historical newspapers. These newspapers will add 3 million new articles filled with significant genealogical content. GenealogyBank now has over 106 million historical newspaper articles available online for family history research. Next month, GenealogyBank will add another 100 newspapers including over 2 million new articles. Now complementing more than 210 million family history records, this latest addition will expand coverage to over 2,200 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New approach to interpreting African American DNA

If you watched the PBS miniseries, "African American Lives," you are familiar with its host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard University professor. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "Harvard's Gates Refines Genetic-Ancestry Searches for Blacks," explores Gates new venture, emphasizing DNA research is not yet a perfect science.

The article notes, In 2005, Dr. Gates, an African-American Studies scholar, had his DNA tested again and was told by another commercial genealogy service that his maternal lineage didn't track to Egypt, or even to Africa. Instead, it went back to a European in colonial America, who historians believe was a white indentured servant . . . the second version of Dr. Gates's lineage turned out to be the right one. But the mistakes made by the burgeoning genetic-ancestry industry have continued -- prompting Dr. Gates to start his own DNA-tracing company, one that he says will be able to take a more refined look at African-American ancestry. Dr. Gates's new company, African DNA LLC, aims to use historians and anthropologists to explain which of various genetic possibilities prompted by DNA traces is more historically likely.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nauvoo, Illinois -- a new look

A fresh perspective is always welcome in the world of genealogy. In her article, "Nauvoo Retains Its Place in History," Judy Rosella Edwards takes a look at Nauvoo, Illinois after the Mormons were driven out, pointing out that ethnic and religious groups have a history in the area. Among the newcomers was one Christian Jung, a German immigrant and staunch Lutheran who spent his life "devoted to reinventing Nauvoo." The article also mentions the French Icarians, a group of French idealists attempting to establish a Utopian society.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WorldVitalRecords announces new scanning service announced in a press release yesterday a new genealogical service to preserve photos, documents, videos and slides. decided to offer this service after discovering that 91 percent of the survey panel said they were concerned about preserving their family photos, videos and/or documents in a digital format. Videotapes, it says, have an expected life of 7-15 years before the quality deteriorates, whereas DVDs have an expected life of 100-500 years. Over time, photos and film can fade, discolor, deteriorate, dry out or become brittle, regardless of how well they are stored. In an effort to preserve these valuable tapes, photos and documents, now offers the its Preservation Package services, including converting a variety of film and tape media to DVD; scanning photos and documents; digitizing slides and negatives, and providing secure storage filing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Partnership focuses on history of family names

According to a recent article in TechRockies, ", BookSurge Partner On Family History Books, " BookSurge, the on-demand publishing arm of online retailer, reports that it has collaborated to produce a series of family history books. BookSurge said the series, called "Our Name in History," comprises more than a quarter of a million volumes and will be sold on The series details the most common 279,000 surnames in the United States and is based on historical records dating from the 1600s. To research the books, studied more than 5 billion names from U.S. Census data, as well as immigration, birth, marriage, death, military and other historical records, BookSurge noted.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Special research day at Family History Library, Nov 17

If you are in the Salt Lake area on November 17 and are struggling with research on American Indian ancestry, you will have an opportunity to learn from experts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Family History Library, 35 N. West Temple, with free classes, according to an article in the Deseret Morning News. The topics include "Searching for Southwest Indians," "Records at the National Archives" and more. Also that day, the Family History Library is offering an all-day series of classes, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., that can help you research your military ancestry. Additionally on Nov. 17, the Family History Library will sponsor free classes on the new FamilySearch Indexing program, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on any of the classes, go to

Friday, November 9, 2007

MacFamilyTree 5 final release announced

In a press release today, Synium Software announces the full release of MacFamilyTree 5, their popular genealogy application. On October 1st, 2007, MacFamilyTree 5 had entered Public Beta and received a widespread acclaim from users worldwide.

MacFamilyTree 5 is the most advanced genealogy software on the Mac and is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard). Rewritten from the ground up using XCode and Cocoa, MacFamilyTree sports a much faster database engine, and a completely redesigned user interface, marking Version 5.0 as the most significant update in the application's history.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orphan Trains: The Illinois Apprenticeship Agent

The idea put forth, justifying the shipping the children across the country on so-called Orphan Trains, was for children without family and without means to be placed in the protective care of an adoptive family. Many of the children ended up as indentured laborers in a forced labor situation, in which there was really no escape until they became of age. In her article, "Orphan Trains: The Illinois Apprenticeship Agent," Judy Rosella Edwards give a brief history of the New York Juvenile Asylum and recounts the placement of children "apprenticed" through the organization's Chicago branch, some 4, 557 children.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

National Oprhan Train Complex Now Open

In her article, "National Orphan Train Complex Opens," Melissa Slate says it is estimated that around two million people are descended from an Orphan Train rider, children orphaned for one reason or another who were shipped across the country and to Canada and put up for adoption. The Museum offers resources for those who have . . . or suspect they have . . . orphan train ancestors.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

SMGF partners to expand Central Asia DNA collection

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and the International University of Kyrgyzstan (IUK), in a press release today reported significant progress in their collaborative research partnership to study genetic genealogies, migration and demographic patterns of Kyrgyzstan's various populations.

Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked Central Asian country characterized by dramatic, rugged mountain terrain and strong nomadic traditions. Despite a relatively small population (just over 5.2 million in 2006), the country contains a wide variety of ethnic groups, with a large number of primary languages. While approximately 65 percent of the population is comprised of indigenous Kyrgyz residents, more than 13 percent of residents have Uzbek ancestry, and 12.5 percent of residents are of Russian descent - a reminder of the fact that Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1864. The country achieved independence from the then-Soviet Union in 1991.

The Kyrgyzstan project is a major addition to SMGF's Central Asia collections. In September 2007, SMGF partnered with the National University of Mongolia to complete the largest DNA collection in the history of Mongolia. For more information about SMGF's DNA collections throughout the world, visit

Monday, November 5, 2007

Family Tree DNA introduces latest innovations

According to a recent press release, Family Tree DNA, at its 4th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy, announced the launch of the first comparative database for Full Mitochondria Sequences; the introduction of MyMaps, the world’s first personalized interactive genetic mapping system; and the novel “A Walk Through the Y Chromosome” test that allows participants to map genetic relationships through the male-inherited Y Chromosome. These represent bellwether innovations that pair the science of genetic testing and the world of genetic genealogy with the computer technology that makes worldwide networking a family affair. To learn more about Family Tree DNA and its services, or contact or 713-868-1438.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Collecting your family's medical history

Thanks to the U. S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, launched in 2004, the Thanksgiving holiday season has become a time to take advantage of all that family togetherness and gather as much family medical history as possible. Alan Smith's most recent article, "Medical Family History," keeps us reminded of the importance of collecting a this information and how it can help you identify important health patterns through the generations. So you may wish to begin now, preparing for what you can learn this holiday season.

To aid families, is the new, revised version of the tool, "My Family Health Portrait," a collaboration between the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Human Genome Research Institute. In case you are not familiar, "My Family Health Portrait" provides a place for you to record and story your personal family health information. This is a web-enabled program that runs on any computer that is connected to the Internet and running an up-to-date version of any major Internet browser (Mozilla, Internet Explorer, etc.). The new version of the tool offers numerous advantages over previous versions, which had to be downloaded to the user's computer and was available only to those running the Microsoft Windows operating system. This new version is accessible to all and is free to use.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fourth Annual National Family History Day, Nov 22

This Thanksgiving is the fourth annual National Family History Day, as declared by the U.S. Surgeon General. The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG), in a press release today, encourages every American to know their family medical history and if they haven't already gathered this potentially life-saving information, to start the conversation about family medical history this Thanksgiving, often the only time when extended family is gathered together.

Why is family health history so important? Knowing your family's medical history can help your health care provider to predict conditions for which you and your blood relatives may be at risk and help you take actions to minimize risks and protect your health. A family health record is among the greatest gifts you can leave your children and grandchildren," said genetic counselor, Judith Benkendorf, MS, CGC, Project Manager at The American College of Medical Genetics.;

You can discuss family health history by starting with questions like, "Are there any health problems that are known to run in our family? If so, what are these conditions, who has/had them and at what age were they diagnosed?" You may also want to talk privately with certain family members about potentially sensitive topics.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

First Family of New England

This is the time year when our thoughts turn to the first Pilgrims and the colonizing of America. In her article, "First Family of New England, " Melissa Slate reminds us of the Edward Winslow family and its early contributions. While Winslow's first wife did not survive that first winter, his second wife, Susannah White, a recent widow, was one of only four women to survive and care for the fifty men and children.

Greater access to college yearbooks through latest collaboration announced in a press release today its partnership with World Vital Records, Inc., bringing greater online accessibility to thousands of names from hundreds of old college yearbooks. The partnership with will allow World Vital Records subscribers access to yearbooks from the late 1800's to 1960, containing rich data and images of the student body members, school traditions, faculty and staff members, clubs, Greek life, ROTC, intramurals, and more. E-Yearbook collection will be offered to World Vital Records on an exclusive basis for genealogy searches. has exclusive content license agreements with dozens of major universities such as the University of California Berkeley, the University of Iowa, the University of Kansas, the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Texas (Austin). Some of the larger yearbooks that will be part of the collection offered at World Vital Records contain tens of thousands of names with associated images, as well as rich, historical data. For example, the University of Texas at Austin Cactus yearbook collection is the oldest publication on campus, containing more than 114 volumes of rich historical data. The University of California Berkeley published the first Blue and Gold yearbook in 1875.

Many genealogists find great value in using old yearbooks for research. In fact, using yearbooks for genealogical purposes is one of the most common reasons members utilize this resource. Additional college yearbooks will be included at World Vital Records as they become available through

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jury Summons becomes Genealogical Adventure

As luck would have it, my jury group was given a two hour lunch today, so after grabbing a quick bite, I went across the street from the Union County Court House and visited the Elizabeth Public Library's new Elizabeth Room. This local history room was opened in mid-September and was filled with many interesting items.

Materials include a variety of books, The Elizabeth Daily Journal and its index, which was completed by Elizabeth Public Library, a pretty complete series of city directories going back to the late 1800's, maps, photos, high school yearbooks and other records of local interest. A microfilm machine is dedicated to the room, as well as new furniture and a computer. The Local History Room has been made possible with support from the Trustees of The Josephine Ebbe Kenah Trust.

I found some interesting items that will be added to my Family Tree Connection database, including an Elizabeth Police Department report from 1927, three Elizabeth Fire Department reports (for 1902, 1903-4 and 1905), a 1907 yearbook for the Elizabeth Board of Trade, and a bunch of other local items of genealogical interest.

So, what I expected to be a long, boring day, turned in to something quite unexpected. Many of the items I photocopied will be indexed and uploaded next Monday (Nov. 5, 2007).

New genealogy web site focuses on natural disasters

An article in the Cincinnati Post, "New genealogy Web site focuses on natural disasters," observes, nearly every family, at some point throughout its history, has been impacted by natural disasters such as fires, floods and tornadoes, or been touched by tragic events such as explosions, building collapses and railroad accidents. For this reason, genealogists may be interested in a recently launched Web site called

As noted on the site's main page, "is a genealogy site, compiling information on the historic disasters, events, and tragic accidents our ancestors endured, as well as information about their life and death."

The Post reports, "This fascinating online chronicle includes an impressive array of photographs, transcribed newspaper articles and excerpted entries from historical books, all detailing hundreds of events - spanning from the 1800s to the 1950s - which affected the lives of past generations. Researchers may limit their search by state, or select from among the numerous disaster headings and then browse a listing of events in alphabetical order by state."

First Annual Family Restoration Conference to be held in Gambia

Slave Descendants Freedom Society, Inc. and Diversity Restoration Solutions, Inc., in a recent press release, announced the first annual Family Restoration Conference will take place in The Gambia, West Africa in June 2008. The in-depth conference will explore historical and cultural points of interest related to family genealogy and history and business development opportunities available in The Gambia. The conference evolved from three genealogy and history symposium events conducted by Slave Descendants Freedom Society, Inc. and Diversity Restoration Solutions, Inc. in the United States since 2004. The conference is slated for May 31-June 8, 2008, with travel arrangements coordinated by Avocet Travel. To learn more about the Family Restoration Conference, visit

Slave Descendants Freedom Society's, Inc.’s mission is to help descendants of enslaved African ancestors in America and others reconnect with their ancestral heritage. Established by Eric and Lisa Sheppard in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Society seeks to promote and encourage an open dialogue across generations about African American ancestral history through genealogy research and awareness initiatives and sponsorship of educational events.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Georgia death certificates 1919-1927 now online

FamilySearch has announced the completion of two new online projects and asks for volunteers to help them in a third, according to an article on, "FamilySearch completes two new online projects."

FamilySearch Record Services, the Georgia Archives, and the Georgia State Office of Vital Records and Statistics recently entered into a cooperative effort to place the Georgia death certificates online. Now approximately 275,000 Georgia death records from 1919-1927 can be viewed for free at one of two Web sites. The sites have an online searchable index that is linked to a scanned digital image of each death record. These can be viewed by going to (go to the virtual vault), or at

FamilySearch is also launching a Latin America project and needs 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help index Mexican, Argentine, and other Latin American records for placement on the Internet. The first records to be indexed will be the 1930 Mexican census. Volunteers would download one census page at a time onto their home computers, index that page, and send it back to Family search. Each page would take about 30 minutes to index and volunteers would work at their own pace, accepting only as many pages as they have time for. If you want to be a part of this exciting project, register at Por favor!

CEO discusses the future of

If you are interested in "What's next for, "you may be wish to read Kimberly Powell's Genealogy Blog on, reporting her interview with Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network (TGN). Now that the recent majority buyout of TGN by Spectrum Equity Investors has been announced, Sullivan speaks freely with the media and the genealogy community regarding a wide variety of issues, both past and future.

Using DNA to create a global family tree

GeneTree, a new genealogy site launched this week, adds a new twist to online family history searches by allowing users to submit their own DNA and to collaborate with others using social networking tools. The new site is being launched by several companies owned by Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Cos., including Sorenson Media Inc. and the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), which operates a genetic database that contains DNA samples from 80,000 people in 170 countries, as noted in a Computerworld article, "Genealogy site uses DNA and social networks to trace ancestors."

Another article in AppScout, "GeneTree: Using DNA to Create a Global Family Tree," observes GeneTree is a whole new idea: It maps how everyone on Earth is related to one another, not based entirely on research and historical documents but based on DNA. . . . But the service is only as good as its database of genetic information. . . . so before it can help you answer the big questions about how you're related to your ancestors in Africa or Europe, its database of DNA information will have to grow significantly. In the meantime, you can use the service as a genealogy service and ancestry site.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Researching family lore

Sooner or later the family historian is likely to come across evidence suggesting a family member spent time in some type of mental institution. In earlier times, this information was very hush-hush. In her article, "Asylums, State Hospitals, and Private Institutions," Gena Philibert-Ortega not only gives some ideas for researching family members that may have live and/or died in an institution, but also gives a little insight into how people might end up there. You might be surprised, for example, to learn that a husband could have his wife committed for no particular reason. And while you may not be able to learn all you would like to know, owing to privacy laws governing such records, beyond death, some resources are available that may at least help you confirm family lore and pinpoint time and place.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tips and hints for identifying Irish place of origin

While knowing the country of origin for an ancestor is certainly better than not knowing, narrowing down the locality is even better. In his article, "Identifying Irish Place of Origin," Kevin Cassidy provides tips and hints for narrowing down the place of origin for Irish ancestors, which can be challenging if not downright frustrating at times. A great many resources -- a number of them online -- are available. As with any research, the author suggests, persistence is key.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

GenealogyBank Celebrates Anniversary of Launch is one year old this week, and has started a two week celebration by adding a record amount of content - over 4 Million records. Anyone may search this site for FREE and see a portion of the page where the search terms appear. This let's you know if your ancestors are in there - and yes, to see the entire page - you do need to join.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Expect the unexpected in church records

In her article, "Faith as Archivist," Judy Rosella Edwards discusses the value of church records for genealogical information, beyond the baptism and marriage records you might expect. In many cases, she points out, church records provide varied information about members of the congregation and not it's leaders only, and many of these resources are online. One such resource is the MennObits project, maintained by the Mennonite Church, which is a database of searchable obituaries for church members of any age, indexed, including by maiden name. This is a great resource for finding female ancestors. The article suggests resources for a number of faiths.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SOLD for $300 Million -- and sister sites

Definitely a sea change. The Generations Network, which encompasses,, and other genealogy web sites has been sold, it was announced yesterday. It will no longer be a Utah company -- the new owners, Spectrum Equity Investors are based in Menlo Park and Boston.

According to an article in Marketing Pilgrim, "The Generations Network Aquired for $300 Million," Spectrum, a private equity firm is a shareholder in The Generations Network since 2003. The company’s current management team will continue to lead the company, it says.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to find those long sought-after books

Found Aunt Doris in a county history book? Want to own a copy of that book for future reference or just as a keepsake? In her article, "Finding Rare Genealogical and Historical Books," Gena Philibert-Ortega suggests a number web sites to help you find a copy of that treasured book, in addition to some tips and hints for evaluating books and finding one in your price range.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Redesigned Canadian Genealogy Centre web site benefits users

In a recent press release , Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced three new online products to assist genealogists and family historians to access information on their ancestors in both LAC and other Canadian collections. Chief among these is the newly redesigned Canadian Genealogy Centre website, at The website makes available Canadian collections of immigration, military, public service, land and census records and provides advice and guidance to researchers. It was voted one of the world's 100-best genealogy websites by Family Tree magazine.

"The new Canadian Genealogy Centre website provides easy access to records of significant interest to Canadians," said Librarian and Archivist of Canada Ian E. Wilson. "The search tools allow Canadians access to a very personal piece of Canadian history-a piece relating to somebody's own family-with the click of a mouse." Mr. Wilson added that the new website and search tools demonstrate how LAC's priorities in digitizing its collections and in working through partnerships with other institutions, benefit Canadians wherever they may be.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New tool aids Canadian genealogy research

A new service out of Quebec, Canada is in the news. According to a press release out today, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) announces a new Web site dedicated to genealogical research. Launched by BAnQ in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC),, also available in French at, provides the public with a user-friendly and innovative federated search engine free of charge.

Designed to respond to the growing public interest in genealogy, features a set of search tools that even beginners can master rapidly. Maintained by BAnQ, the new search engine allows genealogists to conduct searches against several databases at once.

Most of the interface-compatible databases brought together at are hosted by federal, provincial or territorial Canadian libraries or archives centres. The project's leading partners are BAnQ, LAC and the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists of Canada.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Researching Emigrant Aid Societies

Non-traditional sources, those other than the traditional vital records, church records, census, and court records, are valuable resources for pinpointing people in time and place. Fortunately, many of these sources have been made available through historical publications or, more recently, on the Internet. All it takes is for us to become aware that these sources exist. In her mose article, Melissa Slate explores "Emigrant Aid Societies," an often overlooked resource.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tenth Annual Hispanic Family History Conference, Oct 19-20

As noted in the Deseret Morning News, The Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting the tenth annual on 19-20 October, 2007.

The conference is free to the public, and classes will be conducted in Spanish and English. Attendees will also receive free genealogy software.

For additional information, please contact Ruth Merriman (801) 240-6208 or Ruth Gomez Schirmacher at (801) 240-1530, or go to FamilySearch. Co-host for the conference is the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Who are the Mohawk Dutch?

We often hear terms to describe a segment of the population, but may not know exactly what those terms represent; for example, Acadian, Cajun, Scots-Irish. In her article, "Mohawk Dutch," Judy Rosella Edwards introduces the Mohawk Dutch, explains where the name derives, reveals interesting details of their culture, and suggests where to look for additional information.

Ancestry launches Digital Scrapbooking tool

Announced in a press release,, today launched AncestryPress(TM), a tool that lets users create professionally printed, custom family history books, family recipe books and more. With this new state-of-the-art publishing tool, offers users a one-stop solution to build their family tree, discover historical documents about their ancestors, collaborate with their family members and create high-quality family history books for themselves or family gifts.

Friday, October 5, 2007

No News is Still Good News, Right?

war ration booksThe other day someone told me that I was wasting my time by scanning and indexing war ration books that had little (or no) information on them. I tried to explain to him that as a genealogist, it is better to know that a document does in fact exist, but has little informative value, than in endlessly wondering how to locate it. He didn't accept my argument.

Don't genealogists have to accept that along the way they will encounter genealogical duds? I have a death certificate of a female ancestor and the maiden name is blank. I was certainly bummed when I got the document, and even more confused when I saw that the witness (i.e. person providing the information) was the woman's son! He didn't even know that detail about his mother. Up until that point, getting that death certificate was my sole quest. Once I saw it, even though it was disappointing, I was able to move on.

Ration books have so many cool pieces of information (when they are filled out properly), which is much like so many other documents genealogists crave. When I acquire these documents, I don't always know how complete they will be, and I see no reason not to scan/archive the ones which are lacking.

Ration books are also somewhat unique in that they have series and serial numbers on them, so even the blank ones can yield relationship information by noting the books that are in the same series and serial number range. You may not be able to tell who were the parents, but you'll have a good idea that they were all in the same household.

I was always fascinated by the Columbo movies. As a detective, Columbo was able to piece together a murder mystery with the smallest of clues. As a genealogist, sometimes these partial documents can be just as important.

Genealogical duds are a fact of life for researchers. If you can think of a better argument for me NOT to scan/index these partial documents, I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Researching Your Seventh-Day Adventist Ancestors

It goes without saying that church records are among the most valuable resources in genealogy. Many early church records have been microfilmed and are readily available, while others are more elusive. In her most recent article, "Researching Your Seventh-Day Adventist Ancestors," Gena Philibert-Ortega offers a variety of options for researching ancestors belonging to this church, organized in the mid-nineteenth century. to bring U.S. Census online

Announced in a press release today, Allcensus has partnered with World Vital Records, Inc. to bring the Federal U.S. Census from 1790-1930 online at

“We, at Allcensus, are excited about this opportunity to assist a broader audience in tracing their family history. Our high quality census pages and correction of errors in pagination will make it easier for researchers to find the data they need in a very convenient and easy to use fashion,” said Jon McInnis, President,

The Federal Census online at contains more than 800,000 browseable images and 32 million names from select counties in every state, except Alaska. The Federal Census contains unique and pertinent information.

“The thing that I love about census data is that it helps connect the dots between many diverse genealogy data bases. The various census data sets, while not perfect, are the closest to consistent data collecting at any point in history,” said David Lifferth, President, World Vital Records, Inc. “With each successive census, more data elements are known and tracked. In most of the census you can get family group sheet info that is not documented anywhere else except for the family bible.”

The Federal Census database will be free to access at for 10 days after its initial launch.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MacFamilyTree 5 public beta now available

Synium Software has announced a public beta of MacFamilyTree 5, the latest release of the popular genealogy software for the Mac, according to an article on MacNN. The company previously announced that with this release, it will complete the acquisition of all rights to the software and be responsible for development, distribution and support. Version 5 has been completely redesigned and rewritten application, and Synium claims it will provide biggest leap in performance and product design so far. The entire GUI as well as the underlying database have been dramatically changed while maintaining true backwards compatibility.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Family Tree Connection At One Million Names and Growing

Family Tree ConnectionOur flagship database, Family Tree Connection, reached the one million name milestone last month. Launched in 2003, this project is about archiving and transcribing genealogical information from smaller documents published between 1830 and 1930.

Looking beyond the traditional genealogical vitals (birth, marriage, census and death records), the Family Tree Connection project captures information from a variety of organizations: schools, churches, clubs, societies, prisons, orphanages and business associations are just a few examples.

These organizations frequently published reports, proceedings and rosters that contain relevant information for genealogists often including addresses and occupations. Surprisingly, many clubs and societies kept track of their members long after they moved out of the area, giving genealogists all sorts of migration data to track their ancestors movements around the country.

Family Tree Connection is a subscription database with a very affordable annual rate of just $29.95 -- slightly more than two dollars a month for complete access to the existing database and all of the weekly updates (of typically 5,000 to 10,000 names).

Genealogy is Boring. Say What?

I was browsing around the other day and stumbled upon an article where the writer, Mike Elgan, starts out by saying, "I've always found genealogy boring." I've always considered genealogy to be one of the most passionate hobbies around. Connecting with pieces of your heritage brings out so many different emotions.

Then, after the shock of his statement wore off, I began to wonder if what he really meant was that online genealogy was boring -- or more accurately, frustrating. I do find it somewhat challenging to conduct research online when all of the information you need to search is stored in a variety of different "islands." There is no meta-genealogy search engine, and that's what Mike was speculating about in his article.

He ponders, "Is combining all genealogy data too scary?" I don't think so. Just like anything in life, there will be bad people who take advantage of improved access to information. Genealogists would certainly benefit from the efficiency of being able to access information from a variety of online databases in a single search.

Recently, a friend asked for some help in tracking down any immigration information regarding her grandfather. It was a simple request, but it took me over an hour to make the rounds (,, and before I located a relevant document. It must be challenging for some researchers to contend with the different search techniques required to find information at each of these (and other) sites.

Will it take a company like Google to persuade our industry to provide open interfaces to their databases? The databases of my company, Genealogy Today, are small in comparison to the other players, but I'm ready to join the bandwagon and would be willing to develop an XML interface.

Census Mortality Schedules -- an often overlooked resource

While the Census is well known for its value to family history research, the various schedules appearing with the Census over the years are often overlooked. One of those schedules is the Census Mortality Schedule that began with the 1850 Census. In her article, "Mortality Schedules Are Often Overlooked," Karan Pittman provides insight into these schedules and how they might be utilized.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Courthouse records are under-utilized but rich in data

In her article, "Meet Me At the Courthouse," Melissa Slate offers some insight on the wealth of information to be found in courthouse records, "a very under-utilized resource." The distinction between Civil and Criminal records is explained, along with the types of documents that might be found.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

WorldVitalRecords CEO earns pretigious award

Announced in a press release today, World Vital Records, Inc.’s CEO, Paul Allen, recently received the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) Fellow award at the 2007 UGA Annual Genealogical Conference held in Salt Lake City.

“UGA is pleased to present its highest award to Paul Allen. We recognize Allen’s long-time interest in trying to make genealogical information available to the public,” said Neal Southwick, UGA Award Committee Chair. “We applaud Allen’s leadership in the field of making genealogical resources more available on the Internet which affects genealogical enthusiasts worldwide.”

The UGA Fellow award is given annually to one or two living individuals in recognition of their contributions and on-going commitment to the field of genealogy that are major in scope. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership.

Allen has made substantial contributions to the field of genealogy. He co-founded in 1997 and was its first CEO. He also served in several major roles before leaving the company in 2002. Allen is currently the CEO of World Vital Records, Inc., with a goal to provide access to billions of high quality records from all around the world to people who are doing genealogy and family history research. World Vital Records, Inc. also recently launched a free, social network for genealogists and families. announces Family Tree Viewer, a free, social networking site for genealogists, announced its launch Wednesday of Family Tree Viewer, allowing individuals to upload their family tree and expand it with the help of local genealogists from all over the world.

"I am so excited about the new features of This is groundbreaking in so many ways. This site will change the genealogy world,” said David Lifferth, President, World Vital Records, Inc.

When individuals upload their family trees, they can quickly connect with other genealogists who live in the same places they are researching who can help them extend their trees by finding records they could not easily access for themselves. For example, suppose an individual has hit a brick wall who is doing genealogical research in Sweden. With a few clicks of the mouse, this person could easily find all the individuals who are currently researching Swedish records, as well as the individuals who are living in Sweden.

Although is free and accessible to anyone, users decide exactly who has permission to view their family trees, their profiles, as well as any information they post on the site. Founded by Paul Allen in 2007, is a worldwide effort to help individuals collaborate on a global scale.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The value of researching all marriages within a family

Experienced researchers recognize the value of collateral-line research; that is, in addition to researching direct-line ancestors, also researching the siblings within a family. In his article, "Searching All Marriages in a Family," Kevin Cassidy provides a substantial case for researching the marriage records for all siblings in a family to identify people and establish relationships. The marriage records when combined with the information from other available records can help significantly to pin down a considerable amount of detail about a particular individual and/or family, to say nothing of the additional information that can be discovered along the way. So rather than a deterrent, collateral-line research may be the most direct route to key information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ancestry posts two new WW II collections

Announced in a recent press release, with regard to the highly anticipated premiere this week of Ken Burns documentary "The War," encourages Americans to honor the legacies of their family members or loved ones who served in WWII by preserving their unique stories online. For the 81 percent of Americans who say they have had a family member or loved one serve in the military, provides a wide range of services to archive and explore their family's military history, such as recording oral histories with its new audio storytelling service.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, America loses approximately 1,000 WWII veterans every day. Their vanishing legacies have sparked a growing consciousness to capture their stories.

For those interested in delving deeper into their military roots, hosts the largest collection of U.S. military records available and searchable online, featuring more than 90 million names that span the 1600s through Vietnam. This week, added two new collections pertaining specifically to WWII, including: WWII Military Personnel (MIA/Lost at Sea) and WWII "Stars and Stripes" Newspaper.

Monday, September 24, 2007

UK National Archive nonconformist records go online

As posted on, "National Archives aids genealogy with new web birth, marriage & deaths service," the UK National Archives' collection of nonconformist birth, marriage and death records from 1567 has gone online for the first time. A new partnership project between The National Archives and S&N Genealogy Supplies means that you can now access images of these records online. BMD Registers provides access to the non-parochial and nonconformist registers 1567-1840 held in RG 4 and RG 5.

The National Archives holds 5,000 registers of a huge variety of nonconformist congregations, including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Protestant Dissenters (known as 'Dr Williams Library') and Independents. There are also registers from a small number of Roman Catholic communities. Basic searching is free of charge, but there is a fee for advanced searching and to download images.The entries are rich in detail and may include material about up to three generations of a family.

When the project is complete you will also be able to access further miscellaneous birth, marriage and death records from the series RG 6-8, RG 32-36 and BT 158-160. These include records of Quakers, of foreign congregations in England and of clandestine marriages before 1754, as well as miscellaneous foreign returns, and records of life events occurring at sea.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tips on obtaining burial information in the UK

If you've ever bumped into a problem locating burial information in the United Kingdom, you re not alone, according to an article by Shelley Poblete, "UK Burials: The Value of Persistence." In addition to persistence, she suggests, an "understanding of English burials can be extremely useful."

Genealogy recap and prediction for the future

In a Computerworld article, "Coming Soon: The Mother of All Genealogy Databases." Mike Elgan writes, "I've always found genealogy boring. But it's about to get exciting, very exciting, and for everybody." The article summarizes where genealogy has come in the last 10 years, and what the author finds exciting is his prediction of where it will go in the next 10 years.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boilerplate biographies may prove enlightening

As researchers, we are always happy be made aware of little known or under-utilized resources. This week's article by Judy Rosella-Edwards, "From Apples to Oranges: Portrait and Biographical Albums," brings attention to just such a resource, the "Portrait and Biographical Albums" of Chapman Bros. and Chapman Publishing, which contain valuable personal accounts of early immigrants and pioneers in select states and counties. The article discusses the benefit and limitations of these "boilerplate" publications. What I think is particularly interesting is even though an account may not be your own family member, the experiences within a given locality or time period may reflect experiences that parallel that of your ancestors, as the article points out. Certainly another resource worth exploring.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Louisiana Creole Cultural Conference, Set 22

A Times-Picayune article on, "Conference on Creole culture starts Sept. 22," announces the Louisiana Creole Research Association, two-day conference, Sept. 22 and 23, with the theme "Louisiana Creoles of Color: Inspiration, Admiration and Race Relations" at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. For information about the conference or LA Creole, go to

Survey suggests ancestors' lives not so different from our own

An entertaining article in the The Guardian, "Happy in our Skeletons," reports on an survey that reveals "you are far more likely to discover that your grandparents weren't married or your great uncle was married twice - but at the same time - than you are to learn that Prince William is your third cousin." The article makes the point that we tend to romanticize the past, but people then lived pretty much as we do today, with the same temptations and foibles -- it just wasn't as public.then as it is today, owing to modern news media and modern forms of documentation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Argentine database online at

As announced in a recent press release, the largest online genealogy tree database of Argentinian people is now online at through a recent partnership with

“When I was contacted by I recognized immediately the benefits of this partnership. The database has a lot of family data that branches into North American family records. will be the key to reach them and to develop those links,” said Francisco Fernández Bell Fano, President,

Fernández Bell Fano started the project in an effort to learn more about his family. The project has now expanded to include more than 130,000 entries which are all connected to one another and not a loose list of individuals from different sources. This database is considered to be the largest genealogical database in South America.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Researching Libraries From Home

It is no secret the Internet has revolutionized genealogy, making it easier for researchers to locate records in far-flung places. In her article, "Researching Libraries From Home," Gena Philibert-Ortega explores online access to library holdings, showing it is now possible to "conduct research virtually anytime and, with a laptop computer, anywhere." The article provides links to key resources for accessing books and information at libraries worldwide.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Researching Extinct Counties in Virginia

As noted by Melissa Slate in her article, "They Came and They Went: Extinct Counties of Virginia," one stumbling block that beginning genealogists often encounter is the changing boundaries within the regions that they are researching. Boundaries may have changed many times during the course of a location's history, so it cannot be emphasized strongly enough to research the backgrounds of the localities in which you are doing your research. . . . Virginia is a particular challenge for researchers." The article provides information on specific counties in Virginia--many of which no longer exist, which experienced boundary changes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Middle East DNA testing links to deep ancestry wall chart in Arabic

Announced in a press release yesterday,, offering Family Ancestry testing in the Middle East is now set to launch new wall chart in Arabic. Eastern Biotech & Life Sciences is set to launch a new Wall Chart of DNA Ancestry services to the people of the Middle East to help them invent their deep ancestors from 150,000 years ago. The roots of this tree lie more than 100,000 years in the past, at a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors were living in Africa. As the branches of the tree multiply, they record the history of our species and the dramatic stories of how pioneering groups of humans explored and populated our planet. The different journeys they made shaped the world we know today.

From a simple mouth swab customers can identify key genetic markers within thier unique DNA. “By comparing these markers with genetic information taken from thousands of men and women living all across the world, we can reveal how your personal family history is descended from these epic events”, said Eng. Aida Omar, Marketing Executive of Eastern Biotech & Life Sciences.

DNA forms an unbroken chain from generation to generation, connecting you to your ancestors some 150,000 years ago, around 7,000 generations back. “Your DNA is passed from both of your parents. That is the reason we offer two paths (Paternal & Maternal) to construct your wallchart” said Eng. Aida Omar.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ancestry launches new Swedish-language web site

The Generations Network, Inc., this week unveiled -- a new family history Web site focused on Sweden, as noted in a press release. At launch, the Swedish-language site offers access to more than 37 million names of historical Swedish parish and emigration records, all of which are available for U.S. subscribers on

In 2007 alone, The Generations Network has introduced four international sites, bringing the tally of Ancestry sites to eight. The Ancestry suite of sites now includes in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Canada, in Australia, in Germany, in Italy, in France and in Sweden. As with other sister-sites, offers Swedish-language tree building tools and lets users tap into the world-wide Ancestry community -- the largest global community of individuals searching for their family roots -- as well as an ever-expanding collection of local historical records. . . . Included in these records are more than 1.7 million names in Swedish emigration records, online for the first time. These various emigration records were created in Sweden and cover the major exodus between 1846 and 1930, when about 20 percent of the Swedish population immigrated to North America.

Users will also find more than 36 million names in Swedish parish records on The records, covering more than four centuries of historical data from 81 parishes in the county of Varmland, provide interesting details such as names, dates and places of birth, and marriage and death information.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Old Cook County vital records to be online

As noted in the Chicago Tribune, "Old county records being put online," professional genealogists and people interested in researching their family tree will soon be able to access key records from home instead of ordering by mail or traipsing down to a musty office in the Loop, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Thursday. If all goes as planned, newly digitized versions of county records such as birth and death certificates and marriage licenses will be available beginning in January on one searchable Web site that will revolutionize how such research is done, Orr said.

The Web site is part of a massive yearlong effort to digitize the county's 24 million vital records, which date to 1871, when record-keeping began after the Chicago Fire wiped out previous stockpiles, clerk's office spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. The records have stacked up for decades in the basement area of the county's administration building at Clark and Randolph Streets, where conditions have not been ideal. . . . The process is expected to be complete by the end of the year, Quinn said.

Documents available online will be birth certificates that are at least 75 years old, marriage certificates more than 50 years old, and death certificates more than 20 years old, Quinn said. . . . Users can pay a fee to download records and print them at home. Certified copies, which are required to obtain official documents such as a driver's license, will not be available online. No Social Security numbers will be available on the online documents, she said.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Searching for Family Bibles

No question about it, Family Bibles are a treasure. I had the good fortune early in my genealogical career to personally view several family Bibles and photocopy important pages. The information is priceless. In her article, "Family Bibles Are Worth the Wait," Karan Pittman suggests taking a proactive approach to locating family Bibles and offers a variety of avenues to explore in your quest.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thousands of New Zealand headstone photos online

Good news on TVNZ, "Council puts the dead online." An online cemetery is proving a valuable tool for New Zealanders keen to trace their family history. Timaru District Council has put thousands of images on its web site after laboriously taking 35,500 photos of headstones. Council spokesman Bill Steans says the council took the photos from six cemeteries and loaded every single headstone onto their website. He says the site helps relatives find graves, whether they are local or living overseas, and is also used for paying respects. To search these records visit, Timaru District Council Online.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Maps aid and enhance research

Maps are great aids to genealogy research, and can help you understand more about your ancestor's environment. In his article, "Maps and Genealogy," Alan Smith gives a brief rationale for using maps and suggests a number of map resources. Of particular interest is the online University of Texas Libraries map collection web site which provides access to map in Texas and elsewhere, as well as providing links to other online map resources.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Who Do You Think You Are" now a magazine

As reported on Digital Spy, "BBC launches 'Who Do You Think You Are' magazine," the BBC is to launch a Who Do You Think You Are? magazine off the back of the successful genealogy series of the same name. The show, which returns for its fourth series on BBC One on Thursday, has already been the subject of a live exhibition at London's Olympia in May this year. Previous guests on the TV show, including Colin Jackson, Ian Hislop and David Baddiel, attended the event and talked their experiences.

The new 100-page full-colour magazine will be produced by BBC Magazines Bristol and launches on September 25 for a cost of £4.25. Each issue will include a DVD or CD with clips of the BBC show and archive material. A website to support the magazine goes live later this week. Genealogy website - which also sponsored the live show - will reportedly act as the data provider for the BBC web site. Production company Wall to Wall, which produces the series, has also announced a second live show for May 2008.

Orphan homes played important role in times past

Those with Indiana ancestry might find interesting a column on orphanages in Vigo County,"Genealogy: Orphanages play important role in history." Although orphans’ homes are now a thing of the past in today’s society, they played an important role in earlier centuries, the article states. For genealogists, finding an ancestor or relative who was placed in an orphanage can be a challenge. But in Indiana, one local woman, herself an adoptee, has spent the past three years building some impressive Web sites to honor Vigo County’s three orphanages and their past residents. Jennifer Krockenberger has built sites that tell the history of each institution, feature a variety of pictures and photos, offer a place for former residents to post queries or reminisce, and provide links to the federal censuses for each institution. Visit these sites at,, and

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ancestry DNA service in Beta

Not to be outdone, has launched a beta version of its new DNA Ancestry service, according to an article on Currently the service offers three genealogical tests, two Paternal Lineage tests (Y chromosome 33 marker and Y chromosome 46 marker), and a Maternal Lineage Test. Prices range from $149-$199, depending on the test, as reported on If you've already had your DNA tested with another company, DNA Ancestry has a function that will let users add their test results to the DNA Ancestry database and allow them to connect with others who share their DNA.

Florida cemetery improvies information access and accuracy

Worth noting is an article in The High Springs Herald (Florida), "Newberry documents every grave site as part of major cemetery overhaul." According to the article, Newberry's General Services Department has updated and corrected the information on thousands of burial sites at the Newberry Cemetery over the past six months. A newly constructed kiosk, donated by local business owners, shows all of the compiled information so people can locate specific grave sites. In the kiosk is a large map of the cemetery and an alphabetical listing of those laid to rest. Following the names are detailed descriptions of where their site is located. Ideally, the kiosk will be updated every month.

While the records associated with the cemetery are now organized in an impeccably neat 5-inch binder as well as a computer program, the records used to consist of a single, old binder full of mismatched papers from nearly a century of records.

I could not find on the city's web site that this specific updated information is available online, I did find a transcription for Newberry Cemetery on Rootsweb.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

New family history web site launched in UK

According to an article on New Media Age in the UK, "Telegraph launches family history site," and the Telegraph Media Group today launched a white-label family history site, Telegraph Family History.

The has agreed a deal with to take on a white label version of the site that will be branded Telegraph Family History. The move will mean that visitors to the Telegraph site will have access to findmypast's historical records. The site offers unlimited and pay per view access. The new site will be available from the front page of the as well.

Cemetery for US 'Flying Tigers' found in China

An interesting article in China Daily, "Cemetery for US 'Flying Tigers' found in China," indicates researchers have found in Southwest China a cemetery built during the Second World War where about 300 air warriors of the US squadron "Flying Tigers" were buried. The cemetery lies in the woods in Puzhao village in the northeastern suburbs of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, said Sun Guansheng, head of the Yunnan Flying Tigers Research Association. About 300 Flying Tigers members and 500 Chinese airmen were buried in the cemetery when it was first built near a nunnery in the village in 1943. The cemetery was moved to the current site in 1949, according to Sun.

"Many people came to pay their respect to the air warriors before it was moved. However, few people are coming at present," Sun quoted local elder villagers as saying.

Many tombs have sunk decades after they were built, and the cemetery as a whole lacks due protection, Sun said, adding that the association has called on the local government to repair and protect the cemetery.

The article goes on to give an account of the heroic Flying Tigers in China during the war.

Israel-made web sites growing in popularity

An article in Israel Today, "Israeli-made genealogy websites all the rage," reporting on the growing interest in genealogy observes, a couple of Israeli Internet startups are trying to make the task of mapping one's family tree even easier, and they are gaining a huge following. Those mentioned My,, and are "only the latest in a long list of Israeli Internet and technology innovations," the article states.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Searching for Catholic Marriages in NYC . . . continued

"Searching for Catholic Marriages in New York City, Part Two" is the second of a two-part article by Kevin Cassidy on the challenges of researching Catholic marriages in New York City. This part, takes a general look at marriage records in Manhattan, comparing civil and Catholic marriage records, and suggesting ways to make the best of both to find those elusive New York City marriage records.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Utilizing Genealogy Societies

Most family history researchers appreciate the value of consulting genealogy societies in their quest for information. The business of genealogical societies is the preservation of historical records within the local area; thus, being on-site in your area of interest, genealogical societies are a valuable resource. In addition to conducting original research within the area and publishing indexes, compiliations, and periodic journals, genealogical societies also compile libraries of information related to the area. In her article, "Utilizing Genealogy Societies," Gena Philibert-Ortega provides information on contacting genealogy societies in your area of interest, as well as tips and hints for requesting information.

GenWeekly writer releases new book, "Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra"

Congratulations to Gena Philibert-Ortega, a regular contributor to GenWeekly, on the release this week of her first book, "Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra," an Image of America Series.

More than 20 cemeteries and burial places are featured in Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra. Gena Philibert-Ortega also shares the history of the county that surrounds them, through the 200 vintage images that fill the pages.

Philibert-Ortega hopes her book “will serve as a catalyst to better understanding our history and respecting those who came before us.”

"Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra," is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665,

Highlights of Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra:
  • Features information on little known cemeteries in Inyo and Mono Counties
  • Includes information on the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake, which almost destroyed the town of Lone Pine
  • Describes the history of cemeteries in Bishop, Bridgeport and Big Pine
  • Shows gravestones and gives information about the meaning of the Victorian imagery on them
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Its mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. To see if a book has been done on your town, visit

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WorldVitalRecords and NewspaperARCHIVE announce partnership

Announced in a press release today,, the largest newspaper database available online, has partnered with World Vital Records Inc. to provide increased access to records from newspapers ranging from 1759-1923. has allowed us to extract this information from their newspapers that cover the first 160-years of their collection,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition, World Vital Records, Inc.

Once the material from has been launched, the data will be available for free at for a ten-day period. Beyond that trail period, the collection will be available to subscribers at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Searching for Catholic Marriages in NYC

GenWeekly welcomes our newest writer, Kevin Cassidy. As a result of his own inquiry, Cassidy discovered that, despite New York City law, many Catholic parish marriages in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century went unreported to civil authorities. Curious to understand the depth of the problem, Cassidy undertook a personal study. For his first article, Cassidy reports on the findings of this study, in two parts. The first, "Searching for Catholic Marriages in NYC, Part One." explains the dilemma, citing New York City marriage law, and undertaking a study addressing the questions, How Many NYC Catholic Wedding Were Recorded with Civil Authorities? Understanding the dilemma may shed new light for researchers and provide new avenues for locating the elusive marrage record.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pennsylvania State Library Hosts Genealogy Event, Sep 29

Announced in a press release yesterday, the State Library of Pennsylvania will celebrate Genealogy Day on Saturday, September 29, with exhibits and information sessions. This free event will bring genealogists together from throughout central Pennsylvania for a day of learning and independent research. Genealogy Day will feature information sessions on various subjects. There also will be an exhibit area where local societies can share their information. The State Library is located in the Forum Building, Commonwealth Avenue and Walnut Street, in Harrisburg. For additional information, contact Marc Bender at the State Library at (717) 705-6272 or For more information on Pennsylvania libraries, visit the Department of Education web site.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Heraldry and Coat of Arms

Although it may be tempting to send off for that complete heraldry and coat of arms, supposedly representing your family name, you may want to "Hold your enthusiasm," cautions Alan Smith in his article, "Heraldry and Coat of Arms." There may be more to the story than surname alone -- it's worth checking it out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kudos to SMGF web site

Announced this week, Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit scientific organization, has been named by Family Tree magazine to its annual list of the 101 best family history Web sites in the Sept. 2007 issue. The free, online SMGF database ( is unique because it can link an individual’s genetic profile to specific ancestors by name going back a half-dozen generations and further.

Any individual can query the SMGF database for genetic-genealogy information for free by obtaining his or her DNA profile from a commercial genomics laboratory and then entering the results into the Web site’s database search menu. A DNA sample is usually taken with a simple swab of the inside of the consumer’s cheek. For those who wish to contribute their records to the foundation’s database, the process is free, convenient and confidential. Simply request a kit on the SMGF Web site and then submit a DNA sample and an accompanying four-generation pedigree chart. As SMGF’s free database grows, personal genealogy success stories become more frequent.

For those who are still a little fuzzy on all this DNA stuff, the Sorenson web site also provides a great teaching tool, helping the lay person understand how it works. The site provides information to help you learn as little or a much as you care to know, from the very general, Understanding DNA to the specifics on Y-Chromosome DNA and Mitochondrial DNA, plus a heads-up for the new kid on the block, Autosomal DNA -- where did you get those big brown eyes?

Monday, August 20, 2007

North America Local and County Histories to Go Online

As noted on the FamilySearch web site, three genealogical libraries have pooled their collections in a massive digitization effort. Thousands of published family histories, city and county histories, historic city directories, and related records are coming to the Internet. The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project today. When complete, it will be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web—and access will be free at

Once digitized, the collections will have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other field across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Digitization efforts have begun. New additions will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at as they are digitized.