Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Orleans Occupations, Part II -- a pattern emerges

In the second of her series on New Orleans, "New Orleans Occupations, Part II," Judy Rosella Edwards adds to her previous discussion on early occupations. The article explains the pattern emerging from a study of those occupations and what that can mean to your genealogical research.

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Update on FHL archives digitizing project

Don Andersen, Family History Division Director at the Family History Library, gave the keynote address Monday at the 40th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, and explored the changes that are coming in the Library's ongoing effort to digitize its archive holdings, a reported on, "Online data making it easier to do family history in pajamas."

Anderson estimates it will take about 10 years to convert the LDS Church's entire genealogical records vault into digital images and about 100 years to index all those records. . . . The Family History Library has around 300,000 family history books. Now they are being indexed electronically online at BYU's Archive. More than 15,000 of those books are now searchable online. Unlike using a book, however, readers do not need to look at them one at a time. They can search across all 15,000 books at once.

FamilySearch is currently indexing more than 1.5 million names per day and flowing them into record search in logical sets. "It wouldn't surprise me if we were closer to two million names per day by the end of the year," Anderson said, encouraging people to try indexing themselves.

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To be or not to be - FamilySearch and its commercial partnerships

On, this week Kimberly Powell discussed the prevailing angst regarding FamilySearch partnering with various commercial affiliates and what that might mean to the traditionally free access to FamilySearch records the public has come to rely on. On the surface it appears the data will remain free even if the associated images may require a fee, but there appear to be a few other caveats, as well.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Using DNA to Find Your Surname

For those who are adopted, finding their family tree has always been a challenge. Records may be sealed, hidden, on non-existent. Until now, very few resources were available to help adoptees find their genealogical roots. In her article, "Using DNA to Find Your Surname," Melissa Slate discusses the latest DNA technology and how the Y-Chromosome DNA test can help adoptees identify their paternal surname, which puts them one step closer to identifying their biological roots.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Students in the Graveyard - what can it mean to you?

Here's a new twist on cemetery research -- it may be that others have done some research on your family on assignment with local colleges. In his article, "Students in the Graveyard," Larry Naukam reports on what you might find, and most interesting of all . . . what the student may have found in their pursuit.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Irish Case Study: Putting the Pieces Together

In his third and final article on the quest for a grandmother's maiden name, "Irish Case Study: Putting the Pieces Together," Kevin Cassidy illustrates the challenge of pulling together pieces of information from disparate sources.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Benefits of Lineage/Heritage Societies

In her article, "Benefits of Lineage Societies," Melissa Slate observes, "Some people have the mistaken notion that these are little more than clubs for people who wish to claim bragging rights to famous ancestors; however, lineage societies provide many beneficial services." Lineage or heritage societies as they are sometimes called, represents one of those underutilized but potentially valuable resources. And if you don't know where to look for a lineage society or aren't sure what's available, the article directs to a useful listing of societies. You might be surprised at what you find.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

U. S. Veteran Burial Places

Summer is an excellent for visiting cemeteries and doing so is rewarding in so many ways, and while it's not the same as being there, thanks to the Internet, researchers can conduct cemetery research during any season right from home. In her article, "United States Veteran Burial Places," Gena Philibert-Ortega offers some tips for conducting cemetery research for U. S. soldiers and veterans, and it's not just in veteran cemeteries. The article covers burials from earlier wars in U. S. history, as well those of a more recent times.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mom's Kitchen, back behind the peanut butter . . .

What do a lawn mower shop and a funeral parlor have in common? Mom's kitchen, and it's not her cooking. On first hearing Larry Naukam's, "The Long and Winding Road," one might think the story a bit far-fetched, but in genealogy anything is possible, which is precisely his point never give up. Experiences such as this really help us take heart and realize the information is out there . . . . somewhere . . . over the rainbow.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Orleans Revisited

Next month is the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating hurricanes in the history of the United States. New Orleans has always been a fascinating city, with a rich history and cultural heritage. In her article, "New Orleans Revisted: Early Occupations," Judy Rosella Edwards begins a series exploring the city's historical and genealogical roots.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Irish Case Study: Irish Records

In the U.S., we lean heavily on the U.S. Federal Census for locating ancestors and establishing relationships. In researching Irish records, one finds most of nineteenth century Irish censuses do not exist today. In his article, "Irish Study: Irish Records," Kevin Cassidy continues his quest for maiden name of an Irish grandmother, and along the way explores three important census substitutes.

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Family tree mapping software integrates with Google Earth

According to a recent press release, a new software package entitled "Map My Ancestors" aims to link the world of Genealogy with the powerful mapping capabilities of Google Earth. Published in the UK by Integrated Earth, "Map My Ancestors" enables users who have exported their family tree from their favourite editing program in the industry standard GEDCOM format, to automatically read and identify places from their tree. A unique feature allows the user to view ratings for the locations which will help them to identify and correct any errors in the automatically assigned locations. Locations that have been corrected are remembered in an internal database so that the user doesn’t need to repeat the process next time a revised GEDCOM file is imported.

"Map My Ancestors" can also save the resulting geographic data in KMZ or KML format, ready to be emailed or published on a web site – enabling other relations or friends to view the data in Google Earth without any other Family Tree software. Since Map My Ancestors uses the online Yahoo Geocoding technology to locate places it has been possible to keep download sizes small enabling a trial version to be made available. Visit for more information to see a tutorial video, and to download and a free trial copy of "Map My Ancestors."

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Denver Public Library digitizing important frontier documents

Although my ancestors did not arrive in Colorado until the late 1930s, I am very interested in the digitization efforts of the Denver Public Library, and particularly interested in how the neighborhoods developed. A recent article in the Denver Post, "Library to preserve documents of 19th-century Denver," reports more than 100 volumes of documents housed in the Denver Public Library can tell when great-great-grandma married great-great-granddad and where they lived and how their frontier neighborhood developed.

Now these fragile books, dating from 1859 to 1900, are being digitized for "an excellent resource for our genealogy and house history customers," said Jim Kroll, the manager of the library's Western History/Genealogy Department.

The digital "repository of private and public records" will detail the stories of each Denver community, he said. The digitized records will be accessible through the library's web site. The records I need between 1939 to the present have been harder than hen's teeth to acquire through the county, so I have looked to the marvelous Denver Public Library and have great interest in their continued efforts.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

County boundry changes in Colonial Virginia

Identifying county boundary changes can often lend a new perspective to research. In her article, "The First Eight Counties of the Colonies," Melissa Slate discusses county boundary changes in Colonial Virginia. One of the most interesting . . . and sometimes challenging . . . aspects of genealogy is pinpointing ancestors in time and place. Geographical boundary changes, regardless of county, state, or country being researched, may suggest looking across the line for that elusive ancestor.

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Midwest Genealogy Center - A New Kid on the Block

Now adding to its attraction, Independence, Missouri, boasts the all new, Midwest Genealogy Center, which opened June 21. Billed as one the nation’s largest libraries specifically for people tracing their ancestry, the 52,000-square-foot building replaces a facility one-quarter its size that was previously housed in the Mid-Continent Public Library’s north Independence branch, as announced recently in the Lawrence Journal - World & News.

“There aren’t too many places where you can research the entire United States in just one spot,” said Steve Potter, assistant director of the Mid-Continent system, which serves Jackson, Platte and Clay counties.

Among genealogists, the Mormon church’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is considered the mother lode of information, with millions of documents available online or through local branches. The next tier is occupied by public libraries in Dallas, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Independence — a one-time frontier town known as the jumping off spot for westward expansion.

The $8 million center features ample classrooms, videoconference space and computer work stations. Security and fire safety have improved, and researchers can now digitally convert the documents they find, rather than relying on librarians. With more space, the genealogy center expects to boost its public programs and attract regional and national speakers, as well as pursue its own collections.

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