Thursday, May 31, 2007

Canadian passenger lists 1865-1935 to be digitized and indexed

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and, the largest Canadian family history web site announced, at the Ontario Genealogical Society's (OGS) annual seminar, a strategic partnership to make more resources accessible to Canadians interested in online family research, as noted in press release out today.

Initially, and LAC will focus on indexing the Quebec City passenger lists from 1870 - 1900, which comprise more than 750,000 names. The digital images of these and other passenger lists are already available on the LAC web site. The index for Quebec City will be available free of charge on as well as on LAC and will continue to work together to ensure that eventually the entire Canadian passenger list collection from 1865 to 1935, which includes ports in Halifax, St. John, Vancouver, Victoria and North Sydney, is digitized and indexed.

In addition to the Canadian passenger list collection, later this year and LAC will also make available border crossings records from the United States to Canada that took place between 1908 and 1935, and other Canadian immigration forms later this year. These additions will add to's already expansive Canadian Border Crossing Collection, which already includes more than 4 million names of individuals who crossed the Canadian-U.S. border between 1895 and 1956.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

DAR Basics

For those who may be new to family history research, in his article, What is the DAR? Alan Smith provides a basic introduction to one of America's formost heritage societies, the Daughter's of the American Revolution.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jewish Gen to be held in Salt Lake City

According to a recent press release, hundred of international researchers, experts and archivists will meet July 15-20 in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The event, offering over 100 speakers and more than 200 programs will run for six days. Held in a different city each year, the conference is under the aegis of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, the umbrella organization for nearly 80 societies. This year's event provides access to the Family History Library, the world's largest genealogical repository with extensive Jewish resources.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Don't Bleach That Tombstone! and other preservation tips

"Tombstones won’t always look new and they shouldn’t." Before heading out to the cemetery with good intentions, you may want to take a moment to think carefully about your plans to tidy up. An article in the News Examiner - Enterprise, "Don't bleach or scrub that tombstone," provides a number of tips for what NOT to do when cleaning cemetery headstones. Based recommendations from a National Park Service preservation workshop we find many of the methods commonly used to clean tombstones actually destroy the stone.

Having attended the workshop, Shirley Pettingill who oversees maintenance of Ross and Worcester cemeteries in Park Hill, Oklahoma notes, "cleaning a tombstone is a lot different than cleaning a bathroom." Using chemicals on a tombstone will ruin it. "People mean well, but they don’t realize that what they’re doing can be more harmful than helpful,” she said. Even the simple practice of "chalking" or "rubbing" will wear down the headstone.

"I learned so much at that seminar,” said Pettingill, “A lot of us just looked at each other and said, ’Oh! We’ve been so bad!” For more information on "Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker" and other topics, visit the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training web site.

FREE ACCESS to Ancestry military records through June 6

As reported this week on AHN, has posted more than 90 million U.S. war records online, from the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. In honor of Memorial Day and those who gave their lives, the entire U. S. Military Collection can be viewed for free through the anniversary of D-Day on June 6.

The records, taken from the National Archives and Records Administration, include 37 million images, draft registration cards from the world wars, military yearbooks, prisoner-of-war records from four wars, unit rosters from the Marine Corps from 1893 through 1958, and Civil War pension records. The site also lists the names the U.S. soldiers killed numbering 3.5 million including the 2,000 who perished in Iraq.

The U. S. Military Collection page also features one of Ancestry's latest acquisitions, the United Newsreel Motion Pictures (1942-1946), newsreel footage from World War II.

WW II Movie Newsreels Online at

Long before we consumed our news from network television and eons before the 24/7 news coverage we have today, you could "see" what was happening in the world every time you went to the movies. Anyone who went to the movies through the 1940s and 50s will remember the movie newsreels, giving us the news of the day. Bigger than life and dramatically presented, an important part of this movie history is now available on The site provides online access to the United Newsreel Motion Pictures (1942-1946), the actual movie newsreel of the war years.

As described on the Ancestry site, "During WWII, the U.S. Government produced a number of newsreels depicting Allied military operations in various theatres of war and events taking place in the U.S. home front. Typically 10 minutes long, these counter-propaganda newsreels were shown in U.S. movie theaters, distributed in friendly and neutral countries and dropped behind German lines." As a child of the 50s, having sat through what seemed like hundreds of these at the movie matinees we went to as kids (and not to thrilled at the time), today I am thrilled that we can now share some of that experience with our children.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day -- Locating cemetery information for veteran ancestors

While Memorial Day has come to be a day of remembering all loved ones who have passed away, its origin was a day to remember those who died in the service of their country. In her article, "Memorial Day," Gena Philibert-Ortega gives a brief background on the history of the day and provides a number of resources to help researchers find the cemetery and tombstone information veteran ancestors who died during wartime and at home.

Remembering American veterans buried abroad

A very poignant article yesterday in Stars and Stripes, "Row upon row, Americans lie at Dutch cemetery," reminds us of the many fallen Americans whose graves remain abroad. According to the article, the American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 21 cemeteries in Europe and North Africa where U.S. military members killed during the two world wars are buried. At a time when modern society is taking over the land and traces of battle are harder to find, these are places where the reminders of the wars are easy to see and where it is possible to honor those who gave their lives for their countries.

The article pays tribute to those who died and those who lived but carried the wounds of battle with them to their graves, physically and emotionally. It also pays tribute to those whose missing in action. "About 78,000 Americans who went off to World War II are listed as missing. Eight thousand of them are buried in American cemeteries as unknown soldiers." Between 1945 and 1951, more than 230,000 U.S. service members killed during World War II were repatriated from cemeteries worldwide. However, many families believed it more appropriate for them to stay with comrades near the battlefields where they died. As a result, more than 93,000 men and women are buried in American cemeteries around the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Book Captures Solemnity, Ceremony at Arlington Cemetery

An article on, "New Book Captures Solemnity, Ceremony at Arlington Cemetery," reviews "Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery," a new book released on May 18. The 191-page book embodies the culmination of a two-year effort by Arlington National Cemetery Commemorative Project, Inc., in conjunction with National Geographic, and Rich Clarkson and Associates.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Inventor in the Family

Finding an inventor in your family is easier than ever with Google Patents. But what does that have to do with genealogy? In her article, "An Inventor in the Family: Google Patents as a Genealogical Tool," Judy Rosella-Edwards answers the question, comparing Google Patents to the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, and it's global: "Type in any country name in Google Patents and you'll find the country of residence for inventors at the time of their application." In addition to pin-pointing individuals within time and place, the patents are also useful in identifying witness who could vouch for the inventor and might be related. The article brings home, once again, the genealogical value of non-tradtional sources.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Alex Haley's "Roots" now available on DVD

As reported in the Denver Post, "Reviving Roots," the monumentally resonating TV production of Alex Haley's "Roots," is now available on DVD. "Roots: 30th Anniversary Special Edition" (Warner Home Video, $59.98), the four-disc edition has nine commercial-free hours of the miniseries "that forced Americans to engage what Denver Post TV critic Clark Secrest called at the time 'the central and gruesome fact in American history.'" The DVD also contains compelling bonus material, especially "Roots: One Year Later," narrated by Lou Gossett Jr. and "Crossing Over: How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Researching illigitimate births

This week we would like to welcome Shelley Poblete as a new writer for GenWeekly. In her first article, "Illegitimate Children" a Search for British Parentage," Shelley addresses the subject of illegitimate birth, providing us with a little historical background and some tips for researching. As most of us know, many researchers find one or more illegitimate births in the course of building the family tree. Having discovered the fact is one thing, trying to unravel the parentage is another. Understanding a little more about the historical traditions surrounding illegitimate birth may suggest new places to look.

New Records Access Program announced

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, "Online genealogy just got easier," summarizes efforts of the LDS Church to make more records available to researchers sooner. For the first time ever, the LDS Church is joining forces with various archives, libraries and family-history web sites in an effort to open a floodgate of free records and images onto the Internet. Under the Records Access program, unveiled this week at a conference of genealogists in Richmond, Va., the collaboration will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish and preserve their collections.

The new program will speed up the process of indexing and posting billions of records and reduce costs for each party involved, said Steve W. Anderson, marketing manager for Ancestry is not among the church's partners in its Records Access program. In the article CEO Tom Sullivan casts some doubt on "the church's
model" to have volunteers indexing the data, but notes also, "Anything the church does will move the industry forward." Ancestry recently terminated its agreement providing free access to at Family History Centers worldwide. For researchers, the Records Acces program and its new collaborations is exciting news, providing greater choice.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More news on FamilySearch partnerships

In press release today, it was announced that more than 4,500 FamilySearch Family History Centers throughout the world will now have free access to’s genealogical records and resources, as a result of an agreement signed between FamilySearch (TM) and As part of the agreement, will provide a vast collection of genealogical materials including vital, land, immigration, and military records; newspapers, international databases, and a collection of reference material. also partnered with Everton Publishers last year to provide the Everton Genealogical Library containing numerous databases, as well as 60 years of the Everton Genealogical Helper and 150,000 Everton Pedigree Files and Family Group Sheets, all of which will now be made available through local Family History Centers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 partners with FamilySearch

Great news for researchers. has announced an agreement with FamilySearch, bringing together their combined resources to digitize and make available many large historical collections, as noted in The first project will be the three million U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files which will be published for the first time online in their entirety. in partnership with the National Archives has digitized over eight million historical records, with more being added each month, estimating over 25 million digitized documents available by the end of the year. As part of the agreement, will be accessible for free in all FamilySearch operated centers worldwide. The article also states that is now offering free seven-day trial memberships.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Birthday celebrations have ancient roots

If you've ever wondered how your ancestors might have celebrated their birthdays, an enlightening article by Melissa Slate, "Social Customs of our Ancestors Birthdays," provides some insight. It's interesting to see how birthday customs originated and evolved over time. Turns out, it's not just another day, after all.

New subscriber web site for British records

An article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Web site offers gateway to British records." introduces a new subscriber genealogy web site. If you have ancestors from anywhere in the United Kingdom, a Web site to visit is Find My Past. Located at, this site offers the subscriber a multitude of British records online, with a search engine that looks through all of the records for a surname of interest. The site offers various subscriber options, including pay-per-view, unlimited access, and a voucher system.

Monday, May 14, 2007

2007 NGS Conference and Family History Fair, this week!

The 2007 NGS Conference in the States and Family History Fair will be held this week, May 16-19. The National Genealogical Society together with the Virginia Genealogical Society, the Fairfax Genealogical Society, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia (GRIVA) will be hosting this year's conference, bringing together genealogists and family historians from around the country and beyond.

The 2007 conference which marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of America in 1607 and the first settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, will be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Richmond Marriott Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Check it out, it's not too late and promises to be a memorable event.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

ROOTS 2007 Conference to be held in June

An article in the West Island Chronicle spotlights the Quebec Family History Society ROOTS 2007 Conference, celebrating 30 years of volunteer community service. The conference will be held June 15 -17 at Montreal's McGill University.

Friday, May 11, 2007

National Black Arts Festival spotlights DNA technology

From July 20 thru 29, the world is set to descend upon Atlanta for the 19th annual National Black Arts Festival (NBAF). The 10-day summer festival -- packed with music, theatre, visual arts, dance, spoken word, film and family events -- offers something for everyone without regard to race, age or ethnicity, according to an article on This year NBAF asks the question "Who are you?" as it spotlights DNA technology and encourages festival-goers to trace ancestry to their African origins.

The DNA spotlight also extends to a landmark presentation certain to spark dialogue. NBAF and will team up to test the DNA of an unprecedented number of people during this Festival, beginning with a select group of notable Atlanta politicians, civil rights leaders, clergy, entertainers, entrepreneurs and sports figures. The results will be revealed in July.

May is Museums and Galleries Month in the UK

As reported in Qultures, May is Museums and Galleries Month in the UK, with the theme "People - Who are we?" To get an impression of the range of exhibitions and events, the 24 Hour Museum web site can be recommended. This is the UK's National Virtual Museum, updated daily with at least two new stories including arts and museum news as well as exhibition notices, reviews, features and trails. You can search the site for what's on by place, date or by any subject you choose. The site aims to encourage visitors out into attractions around the country, not only during the Museum month, but also all year round. The theme - "People, Who are we?" - is in keeping with a seemingly global trend. It aims to explore the relationship between museums and identities, the musuem explores this question, suggesting "identity is so much more than our ancestry . . . determined by events and actions of today, more so than by events of the past." The article directs the reader to various resources and related links.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Latest in social networking, the Encyclopedia of Genealogy

As reported in the Cincinnati Post, "Encyclopedia of Genealogy created, updated by readers," the powerful and progressive impact of social networking sites continues to transform the Internet as well as online genealogical research with the ever-increasing popularity of interactive web sites such as the free-content Encyclopedia of Genealogy. Similar to the tremendously popular and sometimes controversial web-based interactive encyclopedia, Wikipedia, entries within the Encyclopedia of Genealogy are created, edited and updated entirely by its readers. The project is sponsored by Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and online genealogy bookstores and

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

For an overview of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and an update of online access to WPA records, you'll find a good resource in Gena Philibert-Ortega's article, "The Works Progress Administration and Genealogy." As noted in the article, "Although only in existence for 8 years, the WPA employed approximately 8.5 million workers," and at least one project of the WPA is responsible documenting and cataloging resources vital to American history and genealogy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

South Carolina Magnolia Plantation slave records to be online

Descendants of slaves who worked at Magnolia Plantation will be able to trace their family lineage through a new online archive next year, according to an article on WCIV, Charleston. The Lowcountry Africana web site will be launched in March, when the renovation slave cabins dating back to the 1850s is finished at the plantation outside Charleston.

The site will include records showing the genealogy and daily lives of people who worked at the plantation. The web site is affiliated with the Africana Heritage Project based at the University of South Florida in Tampa and will tell the story not only of slaves, but of blacks who lived there after emancipation.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Googling Genealogy and Other Items from 3 May Show

We certainly had a great interview with Paul Allen on May 3rd. His vision of the future of genealogy is far reaching, and one I think most of us can appreciate, and help to bring to pass. You can read more of Paul's insights on his blog.

Time got away from us in our interactive web site segment, as we explored some less-common ways to use Google. Among the things missed was the promised PowerPoint presentation on "Googling Genealogy." Well, we posted it on the ProGenealogists' website, on the Articles page. On that page, look for the section on "Encyclopedic and Educational Materials" and then click on the "Googling Genealogy" link. Note that the link may take 20 seconds or so to load, and you need to manually advance the slides by clicking on them.

We also did not get time for the news items of the week, which was the posting of the Mexican Boarder Crossing database at The database covers 1903-1957, with hundreds of thousands of names from over a thousand microfilms. Our free site of the week was the Illinois State Archives, which has posted a significant number of databases, including marriage and death indexes.

Thanks for all your support for this first season of Family Roots Radio. Be sure to send us your questions and comments, as we plan for the next season.

You too can survey a cemetery and presrve our past

Most genealogy researchers can relate to happening upon a cemetery survey, either online or in a genealogy society publication, and finding record of a long sought ancestor. And in our hearts we are grateful, even if we don't take time to send a written thank you, we most likely express our gratitude to others in spreading the word. In her article, "Survey a Cemetery - Preserve Our Past," Teresa Hilburn explores the subject of cemetery surveys from the individual surveyor's point of view, the efforts and rewards of doing a survey, along with some helpful tips and encouragement for those interested in undertaking a project. One of the best ways to express gratitude for an act of kindness is to pass it forward.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Remember to take your family health history

A recent press release in recognition of National Women's Health Week reminds us to gather our family health history. Taking charge of your health is a recurring theme of National Women’s Health Week, which kicks off annually on Mother’s Day. It takes place May 13-19 this year.

“Women’s Health Week is a great reminder that we need to take time to care for ourselves,” said Jo Parrish, vice president of communications for the Society for Women’s Health Research.“No one knows your body, your health and your history better than you do. You have to stay informed and be engaged in the decision making process about your care to improve or maintain your health.”

Some studies show that you cannot rely on health care providers to have all the answers and to know all of your needs. A 2005 American Heart Association study revealed that only 8 percent of primary care physicians and 17 percent of cardiologists knew that heart disease kills more women than men.

But there are proven ways to protect yourself and safeguard your own health. Knowing your family’s medical history and sharing your history with your physician can go a long way. The article goes on to suggest five important screening tests for women. Next month, as Father's Day approaches, National Men's Health Week puts the spotlight on mens' health and important screenings for men.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Episode Thirteen: Podcast Available

Click to LISTENIf you missed our thirteenth episode, you can listen to the archived version, or feel free to download a copy to your desktop or mp3 player.

The quickest way to download is to right click on the "download a copy" link above and select "Save Link As" (Mozilla) or "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer). You will then be given options where on your computer to store the file. Our podcasts are 60 minutes long and average approximately 12mb in size.

If you use Apple iTunes (available for Mac and Windows) to listen to podcasts, click here to subscribe via iTunes to Family Roots Radio.

Canadian research books online

Digitized newspapers and books are a great boon to genealogy, and more and more such resources are being put online. A recent article in Nova Scotia's Amherst Citizen, "Finding treasure in digitized books," discusses the difficulty of building a personal library and finding the right books, and suggests a useful resource for Canadian local histories. Our Roots, Canada’s Local Histories ( is an on-line library of Canadian history books. Although limited by copyright, availability and funding, the library is well stocked. Thousands of English and French titles are available. Each book listed on the web site has been digitized. In other words, every page of each book has been scanned or photographed. The pages can be viewed and printed. In a brief survey of the site, I was able to view the scanned images at no charge.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Genealogy in the Park

GenWeekly welcomes a new writer, Judy Rosella Edwards. Her first article, "Genealogy in the Park," provides a nice blend of research tips and local history to illustrate the point that local area parks may be a good place to look for research clues. Many parks are named for an individual in the community, either someone who is distinguished in some way or someone who has donated money to build the park -- a story to discover if that someone is your ancestor. Edwards suggests that parks, like cemeteries, can be "read" by those who can see beyond the grass and trees. And you might even want to look beyond the park . . . consider applying the same principle to the names of streets and buildings in your area of interest. The article suggests a new way to look beyond the books at local area history.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Future of Internet Genealogy, and Google the Topics on 3 May

As we approach the end of our first season on Family Roots Radio, we've got a great show with significant topics to share. With Paul Allen as our guest, what better topic to discuss than the future of Internet genealogy. It's hard to believe how far we've come in the past decade or so, but just wait till you hear what's coming in the future. You'll enjoy sharing Paul's vision for what we'll all be able to do, in the not too distant future.

Of course, as they've already proven, Google is a major part of the future of the Internet. They are already a major tool for genealogists, so we'll explore the topic of "Googling Your Genealogy." With such a powerful search engine, it's surprising how much more it can do than we expect. Indeed, we'll even introduce you to Google's "custom search engine" function through which you can create a search engine for all your favorite pages. We'll even demo the concept with our Genealogy Sleuth Search Engine. Powerful things are happening in the future, and with Google. You won't to miss this.

Then, of course, there's our professional tip of the week, as well as the software tip. Don't forget about our free data site of the week as well. It'll be another jammed packed show. Tune in!

Ancestry releases Mexico Border Crossing Collection

Very significant for those with Mexico heritage, announced in a press release yesterday, its Mexico Border Crossings Collection, the "first and only" online collection of border crossing records for individuals who crossed the U.S. - Mexico border between 1903 and 1957. This new collection, which includes more than 3.5 million names, is the latest addition to's Immigration Records Collection, which also includes the largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names from 1820 to 1960. These border crossing records primarily document early 20th-century Mexican immigration to the United States. During the first 30 years of the 1900s, more than 1 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States as a result of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, job opportunities during WWI and U.S. agricultural advances.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Paul Allen to Guest on 3 May Show

Our May 3rd show will have a very special guest. As the founder of, Paul Allen, will be discussing the future of Internet genealogy with us. Currently the CEO of World Vital Records, Paul's been measuring and assessing the Internet as a genealogical venue for more than a decade. Few people know more about how to use the Internet as a vehicle to bring people together with records, other researchers, family members, and even their ancestors. He'll have the inside scoop for us on Family Link, a new way to approach your family history research. Paul's excitement and experience is something we can all learn from. You won't want to miss this special interview with America's leading Internet genealogy entrepeneur.

More Library Links from 26 April Show

We had a great show with Christine Rose, and we again thank her for her time and knowledge, as well as the lifetime of research work she has put into family history. During the show we talked a lot about researching common surnames and there were a couple of points to bring out here on the website. Christine mentioned the value of DNA surname study projects, especially for common surnames, to see into which clan of the name your family might fit. It can be hard to find such projects, so start with the major DNA companies, such as Relative Genetics, Family Tree DNA or Sorensen Molecular Genealogy Foundation, but it would not hurt to do a Google search such as "Miller DNA Study." Christine also reminded us to make good use of the different genealogy forums, which we discussed further in the show. It is also important to use Cyndi's List as well as Linkpendium to find surname websites.

Christine is also a noted author. We earlier wrote about her book on courthouse research, but she is also the co-author of the Idiot's Guide to Genealogy, available at most book stores. Her other books are available on her website.

In our research tip from the Pros, we spoke about the very helpful "Site Finder" from Gold Bug. It's easy to use, and tells you the county for any location, while also plotting it on a map. Be sure to choose "Show both map and table." Meanwhile, our "Free Data Site" for the week was the excellent Database Searches from the Kentucky Land Office.

We also answered Laurie's question about creating her own free website by pointing out a series of articles (now up to three installments) on Dick Eastman's Online Newsletter. Go to "Host Your Own Genealogy Web Server at Home" for more information.

Also, as we wind down the first season of Family Roots Radio, we asked listeners to send us their suggestions for guests and topics as we plan the next season. Just write to We're anxious to hear from you!

SSDI Overview

In his article, "Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Overview," Alan Smith provides a basic overview and insights into the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The article notes that the SSDI includes some 400,000 railroad retirement records from early 1900s to 1950s. To clarify, we have this from the RootsWeb site quoted in the article, "Railroad workers were enrolled in the same Social Security program, but from 1937 to 1963 they had numbers ranging between 700 and 728 as the first three digits. In 1964 their numbers began to reflect the same geographic location as other workers. Some railroad workers received Social Security benefits, but some did not. However, it is wise to check the SSDI in any case."