Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society

As reported in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Genealogy: Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society prepares for 29th annual conference," the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society Inc. was founded with the goal of preserving the family histories of those individuals with African ancestry. The organization promotes cultural diversity by its focus on genealogy and historical research. Its national headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

The Society plans to stage its 29th annual conference this year in the Boston area. Titled “What’s in a Name . . . The Voyage of Discovery,” the conference will be staged Oct. 25-28 in the Boston Marriott Burlington Hotel, Burlington, Mass. The conference will feature more than 30 sessions, six historical tours, and a workshop on National Archives records. More information and the registration brochure can be downloaded from the www.aahgs.org Web site.

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California Marriage and Divorce Indexes online

Ancestry.com announced in mid-July the release of California Marriage and Divorce Indexes. According to the web site, "If you have family from the Golden State, look no further than the more than 16 million names in the newly added California Marriage and Divorce Indexes. Spanning roughly 25 years, you’ll discover bride and groom names, dates and locations. These great indexes will ensure you strike gold when searching for your Californian ancestors. Search the California Marriage and California Divorce indexes now. Check Ancestry's Genealogy Databases Posted and Updated Recently for information on other new releases and updates to existing databases.

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Traditional genealogy societies struggle to survive

An article on About.com, "Save Your Genealogy Society - Become Involved!," explores the problems facing genealogical societies today and encourages participation. Learn more about this issue and what you can do to help support these institutions that we have relied on so heavily in the past.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Revisiting our research brings comfort and encouragement

While we do not think of people moving from one place to another today as migrating in the sense that our ancestors did, en mass over dusty trails, suffering many hardships and even death, we are nonetheless a moving people. Modern travel makes it so much easier, and yet, relocating is not without its challenges. In her article, "Inspired and Encouraged by Our Ancestors," Vicki Boartfield recounts her own recent move across country and how she turned to the stories of her ancestors to find comfort and encouragement.

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"Warts-and-all journey into the past"

The old adage, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family certainly holds true for genealogy. We often find ancestors with less than admirable traits or behaviors, and yet, as hard as it may be to confront the issues, we may come to a greater understanding as we view our ancestors within a historical context. While this does not excuse them, it may help us come to terms with that part of our history. An interesting article on EUX.TV, "Family history TV digs up German past including Nazis, takes a look at the popular British family history TV series when it is transported to Germany:

The BBC programme, Who Do You Think You Are?, premiered in 2004 and gained such big audiences that a fourth series is set to air this September. In each programme, a famous actor or TV personality discovers what their ancestors did in two World Wars, then explores places where forebears lived in the 19th century and meets up with previously unknown cousins. Transposing the programme to Germany creates a problem. Discovering a rabid Nazi in the family tree is often enough to put people off any further inquiries. "Still, there were no inhibitions on the two shows which were aired this month by public channel ZDF. . . . [as] 1.26 million people or 8 per cent of the viewers watched his warts-and-all journey into the past."

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Genealogy software for Mac Users

An article in the Atlanta Sentinel, "Mac users can trace their roots," poses the question, Family Tree Maker's Web site says it has abandoned efforts to create a Mac version of that genealogy software. What can Mac owners who want to computerize their genealogy do? In reply, the item states, although Family Tree Maker, now on version 16 for Windows, has long been a stalwart in the genealogy software category, it's just one of many options for Macintosh users. In fact, there is a whole site dedicated just to Mac roots-and-relatives software at macgenealogy.org, and the site also offers news, reviews and user forums.

Some of the Mac-based genealogy programs available include iFamily for Tiger (ifamilyfortiger.com), which integrates itself with the Mac OS X iPhoto program for organizing family pictures. Other options include MacFamilyTree (onlymac.de/indexe.html) and Reunion (leisterpro .com). All three programs offer trial versions to download from their sites. The Mac Genealogy site has Web links to several other Mac-friendly applications and utilities to help build up your database of personal history.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

FamilySearch adds Jewish research web site

Earlier this month the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints announced that FamilySearch had added Jewish Family History Resources online to its substantial Jewish genealogical collection. The new Web page located at www.familysearch.org includes a Jewish genealogy database, a new research guide called Tracing Your Jewish Ancestors and information on thousands of Jews from the British Isles called the Knowles Collection. The Knowles Collection links individuals into family groups which are being added to continuously. The collection is available as a file that can be viewed and edited through most genealogy software programs, as reported in the Jackson Clarion Ledger, "FamilySearch adds Jewish research Web site."

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Records of transported convicts published online

According to an article published on VNUNet.com, entitled, "Records of transported convicts published online," the records of around 160,000 deportees sent to Australia have been placed on the Ancestry.co.uk web site. The transportation records date from 1788 to 1868 and include all but a few thousand of the 163,021 convicts who were sent to Australia. Information contained in the records includes name, date and place of conviction, length of sentence, name of ship, departure date and the colony to which they were sent. Additional information in some cases includes occupation, marital status, religion and the date on which freedom was finally granted. Josh Hanna, a spokesman for Ancestry.co.uk, estimated that more than two million Britons are directly descended from the deportees, meaning that there is a one in 30 chance of Britons having a convict ancestor listed among the records.

A related article in Scotsman, "No mercy shown in the prison ships era," provides insight into the those who became prisoners, often as mere children, "poverty struck young servants who dared to steal a trinket from their wealthy masters' family silver, desperate men who snared livestock to feed their families, young husbands banished for years and leaving behind penniless wives, middle-aged women torn from their children and those who would today be classed as pensioners. All were condemned to a journey in conditions so harsh it would claim many lives." Many such prisoners were shipped to the U.S., as well.

The article adds: Criminal records - dating from 1800 to 1994 and including those of people transported to the penal colonies - are held at the National Archives of Scotland, West Register House, Charlotte Square. Online searches at www.nas.gov.uk, or go to www.ancestry.co.uk.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Using State Libraries & Archives

At your fingertips, access to most U.S. state libraries and archives web sites. A great opportunity to browse this valuable resource. In her article, "Using State Libraries and Archives," Gena Philibert-Ortega compares the two resources, offers a review of holdings, and provides current links to many, if not all, state web sites.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free Mortality Schedules search tool released

Announced in a recent press release, GenealogyBuff.com has released a new research tool for researching census mortality schedules which have been transcribed and posted across the web. MortalitySchedules.com is a directory of these schedules which provides a search function to find surnames for genealogy research. MortalitySchedules.com, indexes and links to online transcriptions of the Federal Census Mortality Schedules which were taken during census years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. These schedules list deaths which occurred in the enumeration district for the previous year.

A valuable resource for genealogy studies, mortality schedules contain information that, in many cases, give the only record of an ancestor's death. The census enumerators were instructed to give great care and obtain accurate information, especially for these mortality schedules. Bill Cribbs, the owner and webmaster for both GenealogyBuff.com and MortalitySchedules.com, spent many days combing cyberspace, to find transcriptions of these records. Most of these online transcriptions were made by individuals who volunteer their time and effort freely. A volunteer will normally transcribe an individual county or, in most cases, one census year for that county. Thousands of transcriptions are located on a multitude of servers across the web.

"I compiled a directory of every schedule that I could locate. There are still more to be found and they are being added to MortalitySchedules.com as they are discovered," stated Cribbs. The site is free to use and is made possible by the promotion of Ancestry.com and links to Rootsweb.com.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Value of message boards and posting successful queries

Without a doubt, genealogy message boards are a boon to researchers. One of the most intriguing aspects of messages boards, as pointed out by Shelley Poblete in her article, "Message Boards: Finding Potential Treasure," is the happy surprise that comes with a long-forgotten post yields a rewarding reply. There is, however, an art to posting queries, and your greatest success will come from a well-phrased, well-placed query. The article offers suggestions for posting successful queries and how to utilize the various categories available.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review of The National Genealogical Society

Most researchers are well aware of the National Genealogical Society and its contributions to the field. Some may not be aware of the early history and many services offered by the Society. In his article, "The National Genealogical Society," Alan Smith provides a brief history of its beginnings and holdings today, in addition to a review of its educational offerings.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

The Wilderness Road

First known as Boone's Trace after the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone, the Wilderness Road was one of the most important migratory pathways in the history of our country. "Today, an estimated 43 millions Americans can trace their lineage to pioneers who migrated along the Wilderness Road," among them many of my own ancestors, making their way from the southeast, ultimately arriving In Texas. For my East Tennessee ancestors, the Cumberland Gap was practically in their own back yard. In her article, "The Wilderness Road," Melissa Slate provides a history of the Wilderness Road and its impact of westward migration.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Unsung Heroes of Map-Making

Surveying and map making was an important part of westward expansion. In her article, "Which Way Is North?" Judy Rosella Edwards observes, "Genealogists use maps all the time and we trust they are accurate." Her article recounts the early surveying and map-making efforts of Charles Manners and his cohort Joseph Ledlie, who "fixed" the First Guide Meridian and 6th Principal Meridian "so maps would be accurate." She reports, "It is the longest baseline in the United States and . . . was the demarcation line separating slave and free, North and South, during the American Civil War." The article is an opportunity for us to reflect on contributions of those responsible for these maps, large and small that we often take for granted.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Genealogy on the Road

Anytime of year is a great time for traveling and doing genealogy, but summer is the time most families vacation. In her article, "Genealogy on the Road," Gena Philibert-Ortega passes on her tips and hints for making the most of a genealogy vacation. I especially liked her idea of binding copies of essential documents into a working file, reducing clutter (and things lost) and providing greater access. She also offers a post-vacation resource for managing your research findings on the return home.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Recognizing German Colonists

In this year of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, we are reminded that while "Jamestown was settled by the English in 1607 . . . following closely behind them were German immigrants in 1608." In her article, "The First Germans at Jamestown," Melissa Slate provides insight into the significant, early contributions of German immigrants to the American colonies.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ancestry.com Library Editon granted to BYU Library

According to an article at EarthTimes.org, The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com, today announced it is providing Brigham Young University, BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii and LDS Business College with free access to Ancestry Library Edition.

"In an effort to recognize the tremendous influence the BYU Library and its unmatched faculty has had in transforming the genealogy landscape through technology-based education, we are pleased to offer the students and faculty free on-campus access to Ancestry.com," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network.

"As the only university in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree in the field of family history, BYU is dedicated to providing our faculty and students with premier resources," said Robert Murdoch, BYU Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development and Technical Services. "Ancestry.com plays a leading role in family history research. At BYU, Ancestry.com helps more than 600 students each semester with their coursework. . . . We appreciate the generosity of The Generations Network, recognizing the major multi-million dollar investment they have made in transforming family history category for everyone. We look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration and breakthroughs in this great endeavor."

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Monday, July 2, 2007

Have you tried Digital Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooks today have taken on entirely new dimensions. More than just a place to keep memorabilia, today's scrapbooks are works of art. The process, however, can become overwhelming and expensive. In her article, "Digital Scrapbooking," Gena Philibert-Ortega suggests an alternative and provides a number of resources to help you get started. Digital scrapbooking differs from traditional scrapbooking in that it utlizes a photo, graphics or publishing software program to manipulate and arrange photographs saved to your computer, which can then be printed and placed into a physical album. Like traditional scrapbooking, "virtual" embellishments, papers, and other scrapbook goodies are available; however, unlike tradtional scrapbooking supplies, they can be reused and, the "won't take over your house."

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