Saturday, June 30, 2007

Family History Library sets family day July 7

As announced in the Deseret News, "Family History Library sets family day July 7," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Library will offer family activities for all ages Saturday, July 7. With the theme "Discover Your Family Treasures," families are invited to enjoy activities for all ages designed to introduce them to ways to participate in family history as a family. Activities run from 1-5 p.m.

Due to limited space, participants must register in advance. E-mail names and number in your group to or call 240-4950. The library is west of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Paid parking is available at the northwest corner of West Temple and North Temple streets.

The Generations Network Expands Ancestry Sites to France and Italy

The Generations Network, parent company of, the world's largest online family history resource, announced in a press release today, two new additions to the Ancestry network of sites in France and Italy -- and At launch, and will offer access to Ancestry's unrivaled global collection of more than 5 billion names and 24,000 databases and titles. The new sites will also provide a networking platform for users to collaborate and connect with other site users globally, build an online family tree and upload irreplaceable content from personal archives such as photographs, stories and shoebox keepsakes.

The launch of and brings the tally of the Ancestry suite of sites owned by The Generations Network to seven. Other international sites include:
  • in the United Kingdom, which features the only complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland census records (1841-1901); and England and Wales birth, marriage, and death records (1837-2005).
  • in Canada, which recently announced a deal with the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to digitize Canadian passenger lists from 1865-1935, and hosts the complete Drouin collection of French-Canadian vital records (1621-1940s) and Canada census records from 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911.
  • in Germany, which features Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1867.
  • in Australia, which just launched New South Wales Sands Directories, 1861-1933 and The Anzac Memorial, 1914-1018.
The Generations Network has been working with archives in Italy and is looking forward to building similar relationships with archives in France to bring historical records from repositories in both countries online. Currently, the company is digitizing pre-1930's civil registration records from throughout Italy with the first of these records expected to be available online later this summer.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Roots: The Next Generations" to air July 8-15

A huge critical and ratings success when it debuted in 1979, the powerful saga of “Roots: The Next Generations" is often overlooked because of the unprecedented impact of the original "Roots" miniseries, the epic mini-series that changed the face of television.

Now, continuing its 30th Anniversary celebration of "Roots," TV One announces the telecast of "Roots: The Next Generations," the continuing saga of Alex Haley’s family line from the post-Civil War era to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s genealogical search for his roots in the 1960s, which led him to Africa. The program will air July 8-15.

As with the network’s record-setting telecast of "Roots," TV One’s telecast of "Roots: The Next Generations" will be a week-long television event, hosted by cast members of the award-winning production. The Emmy® Award-winning, 14-hour miniseries will air in seven parts from 8-10 p.m., Sunday July 8 through Friday, July 13, repeating each evening at 10 p.m. and the following weekday at noon, with the finale airing on Sunday, July 15, at 8 and 10 p.m., repeating on Monday, July 16 at 9 p.m. (all times ET). TV One will also air a marathon of the first six parts of "Roots: The Next Generations" on Saturday, July 14 from noon – midnight.

As part of the program, former cast members will reflect on their experiences in interviews that will be available at TV One also has special content on devoted to helping people learn how they can trace their African roots.

The saga of "Roots: The Next Generations" begins during Reconstruction with Kunta Kinte’s great grandson, blacksmith Tom Harvey (Georg Stanford Brown) and continues through the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the passage of Jim Crow laws legalizing racial segregation, World War II and writer Alex Haley (James Earl Jones)’s own personal search for his African roots in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Still the top-rated miniseries of all time, "Roots," based on the late Alex Haley’s best-selling book about his ancestors, begins with the harrowing story of Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), a young West African who is captured by slave traders in 1750 and sold into slavery in America, and the saga continues through the emancipation of Chicken George (Ben Vereen), Kunta Kinte’s grandson.

Said TV One President and CEO Johnathan Rodgers. “We at TV One were especially proud in our 30th Anniversary telecast this spring to introduce "Roots" to a whole new generation of viewers. We look forward now to bringing that new generation this equally compelling sequel, and feel certain they will enjoy Roots: The Next Generations every bit as much.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Site brings Empire's Children together

A recent article on DigitalArtsOnline, introduces a new, user-driven web site created by Illumina Digital, designed to complement the six-part TV history series, Empire's Children. The series – to be broadcast from July 2nd – examines how the dismantlement and legacy of the British Empire have impacted on modern Britain and shaped our national identity. The aim of the site is to create an online space that enables anyone with connections to the Empire to trace, record and share their own family history online. As a specialist online resource the web site will contain a research guide with advice and information on tracing Empire lineage, alongside country histories and an interactive map to guide users through the rise and decline of the Empire. Anyone with an interest in the history of the Empire will also have access to a wealth of archive images and videos from the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum.

Renewal & Remembrance project slated for two historic cemeteries

According to an article in Landscape Management, plans are well under way for the upcoming “Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery and Historic Congressional Cemetery” on Monday, July 16, 2007, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) welcomes the participation of companies and individuals involved in the Green Industry. Hundreds of landscape and lawn care specialists from across the nation will bring their crews to Arlington National and Historic Congressional cemeteries to spend the day mulching, caring for and cabling trees with lightening protection, pruning, liming, planting, and aerating. This gift is valued at more than $250,000 in services and work.

As noted in the article, both cemeteries have a fascinating history. While most people recognize Arlington National Cemetery, few realize how large it is and the number of well-known Americans interred there. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most visited sites at Arlington Cemetery. Historic Congressional Cemetery is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. The grounds occupy 32.5 acres in Southeast Washington, D.C., overlooking the Anacostia River. Since 1807, an estimated 60,000 interments have occurred. To learn more about the project, visit, or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Be willing to "look beyond" preconcieved notions in spelling

Spelling variation is a common problem for researchers, to say nothing of outright errors in spelling and transcription error. In her article, "Looking Beyond 'Your' Spelling," Shelley Poblete explores some common causes of spelling variation and error, in addition to providing tips on using "wild card" and Soundex searches to help you get past spelling variation and error. One of the big things for researchers is to keep an open mind in all things, and be willing to "look beyond" preconceived notions whether in time, place, or what you consider to be the "right" name" or the "correct" spelling of a name. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Branch out when taking your family health history

Recent research suggests that we examine our family health history, we really need to branch out and consider both sides of the family tree. According to a new study, a deadly gene's path can hide in a family tree when a woman has few aunts and older sisters, making it appear that her breast cancer struck out of nowhere when it really came from Dad. As reported in the Baltimore Sun, "Family tree can hide breast cancer genes," the study suggests thousands of young women with breast cancer - an estimated 8,000 a year in the United States - aren't offered testing to identify faulty genes and clarify their medical decisions. Consequently, guidelines used by insurance companies to decide coverage for genetic testing should change to reflect the findings, according to study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel of City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.

Ancestry launches Native American census collection

In a press release today, announced the launch of its U.S. Indian Census Schedules, 1885-1940, containing more than 7.5 million names in U.S. Indian Censuses, the largest online collection of Native American family history records. Taken by the Bureau of Indian affairs, the censuses document some 150 years of Native American family history. These censuses create an intimate portrait of individuals living on all registered Indian reservations between 1885 and the 1940s.

The U.S. Indian Censuses are among the most important documents for tracing Native American family history -- as well as the place to for anyone with Native American ancestry to begin searching for their heritage. Representing more than 250 tribes from some 275 reservations, schools and hospitals across the United States, the censuses typically recorded names, including Indian names, ages, birthdates, tribe, reservation and more.

"The stories contained in these censuses will help Native Americans preserve their tradition-rich personal and cultural identity," says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for "Crossing tribal and reservation boundaries, these censuses tell personal stories of Native Americans living on reservations across the United States. In them we find influential Native Americans who led their people along side those whose stories are still waiting to be told."

German TV channel to focus on topics related to death

As reported on Fox News, "German Morticians Plan TV Channel Dedicated to Death," viewers could be in for a surprise the next time they break from their favorite TV shows to surf the channels. If German morticians have their way, viewers may come across what is being called a 24-hour death channel. The channel, which is set to be distributed on satellite TV and on the Internet, is to focus on the general concept of dying. Funeral ceremonies, cemeteries and obituaries will be featured, along with -- and this will be of interest to family history researchers -- information on old death rituals and eulogies. The producers say the channel is intended to help people become more familiar with death and therefore make the grieving process easier and more familiar when they actually go through it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Newspapers bring added value to research

Many researchers appreciate and understand the value of old newspapers for finding obituaries, birth , marriage and death notices, but certainly there is more to be found. In her article, "The Value of the Newspaper: A Unique Window on the Past," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests many ways old newspapers can be used to provide clues and information, not the least of which might be those advertisements. In the past, researching newspapers has been a very tedious task, whether on microfilm or flipping through the physical pages in some darkened corner of a local archive. Today, as the article points out, more and more newspapers are online and many newspaper projects are working to increase the number, some with full text search capability, making it much more convenient and rewarding to browse local newspapers.

New insights for researching women's maiden names

In searching for female ancestors, the challenge is not only in determining a woman's maiden name, but also how the maiden name may have been used after marriage. A recent article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Genealogy: To help your research, here are 10 things you may not know about women’s maiden names," provides some good information on how maiden names have been used in various countries and cultures. For example, it may help you to know that Quaker women often used their maiden name as a middle name after marriage or that in Europe, German and Polish Catholic women’s deaths were recorded using only their maiden names, not their married names. These and other very useful insights are presented in the article.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame . . .

If someone in your family tree played professional baseball or even if you are simply an ardent fan, you will be interested in Gena Philibert-Ortega's most recent article, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Researching Baseball Players." While the basic methods of research apply to everyone, as Gena points out, the great thing about researching someone who may have gained some fame, even a small amount, is that they are more likely to have left a public trail for us to track, including newspaper articles and interviews, articles in magazines and books, etc. When it comes to baseball, Gena provides a number of resources, including research on the Negro leagues, women in baseball, and even prison leagues. Interesting and fun resources to browse, whether or not it applies to your own family tree.

DNA testing offered as part of Family Restoration Roundtable

In a press release yesterday, Diversity Restoration Solutions and Slave Descendants Freedom Society announced they have partnered with Family Tree DNA, the largest DNA company in the field of genetic genealogy, to offer attendees of the Family Restoration Roundtable Educational Seminar series an opportunity to test their DNA for ancestral origins. The seminar series focuses on reconnecting families from the African Diaspora through the use of genealogy and history.

In addition to offering DNA testing with Family Tree DNA, the DRS and SDFS seminar series entitled "Restoring African American Families Using Genealogy and History" will examine and discuss a number of topics, including Transatlantic slave trade and slavery in America; The importance of African American family genealogy as it relates to slavery; 13 steps to restoring a family with genealogy and history; and Cultural and business opportunities in Africa, with The Gambia as the gateway.

The seminar series will be held in more than 50 cities in the United States and abroad into 2008. For more information, visit or call (757) 238-7790.

Allen County Library a great place to do research

An article in the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette, "Tourism officials rooting for library," provides a great overview of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center is the second largest genealogy library in the nation, next to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The Library recently moved into new facilities and the article highlights a number of benefits available to researchers, including the facility's being wireless throughout so patrons can bring their own computers and use the Library's licensed databases. Many other benefits are noted in the article. The Genealogy Center will be hosting the upcoming Federation of Genealogical Society (FGS) Conference 20007 to be held August 15-18 in Ft. Wayne.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Researching the origin of immigrant ancestors

When researching your family, especially in the United States, you will eventually come across an immigrant ancestor. Learning more about that ancestor before they came to America can present many challenges. In her article, "Origins of Immigrant Ancestors," Karan Pittman provides some general information on researching immigrant ancestors, with an emphasis on records and resources for England.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Using Google Maps to chart your family history vacation

An article on, "Plot Your Family History Trip on Google Maps," suggests using online mapping tools such as Google Maps and Windows Live Local tool for planning your next genealogy vacation. "Just start a new map for the trip, plotting the location of the sights you want to see and places you want to visit," making it easier to chart your path, the distances you need to cover, as well as places to eat, stay, and visit nearby. Something else I found interesting, the article also suggests a strategy for mapping geographic coordinates for places such as cemeteries, that you are not likely to find through a search of place names.

New partnership integrates DNA and genealogy databases

As announced Monday, two Utah companies, and Sorensen Genomics, are partnering to launch a DNA testing product by the end of summer. For less than $200 and a cheek swab, people looking for their ancestors can add DNA results to family history Web sites. The joint venture will allow customers the possibility of finding DNA matches on across Ancestry's 24,000 databases. An article today in Gizmag, " to offer DNA Genealogy," discusses at length the benefits of the collaboration to researchers and corporate partners alike.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Canadian-Style

Announced today in Canada's Cape Breton Post, "CBS's new fall season is full of Canadian reality." Among the release of new reality TV programs is Who Do You Think You Are?, a genealogy-based series of profiles in which 13 prominent Canadians trace their family histories. Don Cherry, Shaun Majumder and Chantal Kreviazuk will be among those profiled.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Museums as a family history resource

In her article, "Researching Your Family History at the Museum," Gena Philibert-Ortega offers insight into museums as a genealogical resource. In addition to exhibits and artifacts, museums sometimes have research rooms that include local and family history files as well as books and periodicals that pertain to the local history, and some may provide research assistance for a fee. When traveling to do genealogy, a trip to the local museum might be as beneficial as a trip to the local library. To give you an idea of what you may find, the article provides a sampling of museum resources and offer tips for working with museum personnel.

Jamestown African Imprint Day

According to an article in the Daily Press, the Jamestown Settlement living-history museum will host an "African Imprint Day" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, as part of the continuing Jamestown 400th anniversary activities and events. Highlights will include performances by storyteller Dylan Pritchett, the gospel group Virginia Mass Choir and African dance group Suwabi African Ballet. Also planned are a cappella music and stories by Legacy of Weyanoke and performance by the jazz and rhythm and blues group Gator Allmond & Spice of Life Band. In addition, African Imprint Day will feature a workshop on African genealogy, hands-on activities for children, ethnic food and cultural demonstrations. This special event is sponsored by the Virginia African American Forum and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
For more information, see or or call the Jamestown Settlement at 253-4838.

GenSmarts Version 2 released

The release of GenSmarts Version 2 was announced in a press release today. Using artificial intelligence to make genealogy suggestions, GenSmarts works alongside existing genealogy software to explain records that should be researched and why. Version 2 features a new user interface, more powerful and as well as easier to use suggestion filters, new source auditing and analysis capabilities, new reports and output options, as well as several other enhancements.