Friday, February 19, 2010

Useful update on researching immigration records

A recent column on, "Why are genealogists fascinated with our immigrant records and why are they so hard to find?" reviews the methods and resources for researching immigration records. One important point made is that one cannot typically go right to the country of origin and dig into the records, without first narrowing the field place within the country, information usually derived from more recent records and tracing back. The article provides a nice update on researching immigration records and includes some useful links. 

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Friday, January 8, 2010

How to interpret marriage records

A recent article in the TribStar genealogy column by Tamie Dehler, "Marriage records are among the most sought documents," provides some insightful information on researching and interpreting marriage records. The article identifies various types of marriage records and helps clarify what different records mean and how they can be used to extend the family tree. A good article.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to start your own "genea-blog"

"Discover the online tool that will have people searching for your information instead of the other way around. A genea-blog is a way to have long-lost relatives and fellow researchers in the same fields come to you." In her article, "Instead of Searching the Internet, Have the Internet Search for You: Start a Genea-Blog," Rita Marshall explains how these blogs work and how to get started.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's new at your local Family History Center? — in a word, LOTS

A recent article on, "Mormon Family History Centers get trove of new documents," reports how LDS Family History Centers (and consequently their patrons) are proving the beneficiary of the Church's new indexing program. "Among the new databases: the 1915 Rhode Island state census; Mexican Catholic Church records dating back to 1627; Delaware birth records from 1861 to 1908; and Canadian censuses from 1851, 1861 and 1871." The article goes on to say, "Although it has become increasingly easy to research ancestors from the comfort of a home computer through Web sites such as, the Mormon Family History Centers have access to microfilm and international collections that are unavailable on many of these sites, said Paul Nauta, public affairs manager of" And the real beauty of the Family History Center is there's one near you -- there are 4,500 Mormon Family History Centers around the world, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which is visited by more than 2,000 people a day. 

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Finding Digitized Books Online

"Millions of digitized books and periodicals exist on the internet that can assist you in your research. The secret is knowing where to find them. Just ‘googling' a book's title may not help you, but knowing what websites feature digitized books can." In her latest article, "Finding Digitized Books Online," Gene Philibert Ortega directs us to some new and interesting sources for finding books online.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Manuscript Collections and Your Genealogy

Manuscript collections are one of those less utilized but valuable resource materials. Often buried in archives and libraries, manuscript collections may go unnoticed. In her article, "Manuscript Collections and Your Genealogy," Gena Philbert Ortega explores the wealth of information available and suggests methods for surfacing relevant material.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Using Google Scholar for Genealogy

As we all know, Google offers many, many services, some we might not know about or might not know how a particular relates to our own needs and interests. Gena Philibert-Ortega has presented several articles bring to light some of the Google advantages. Her latest article, "Using Google Scholar for Genealogy," suggests ways to find obscure books and articles that might related to your own family and enhance your research. 

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MyHeritage announces "significant" search improvements

Leaving no stone unturned, another good place to run those family names is, one of the leading family history web sites, now with expanded search capability. MyHeritage announced today, "significant improvements: and expansion to its search engine. The updated “MyHeritage Research” now provides access to some 12 billion names in 1,526 genealogy databases from across the Internet. New sources included in the search include, Facebook, Digg, and others. MyHeritage Research accesses only genealogical resources which helps researchers find those websites and databases most relevant to their unique family histories. This allows you a much quicker and efficient search, so you don't have to wade through volumes of non relevant records. You can access the search at

Researchers can perform a name search using different spelling options: Exact, Soundex, or the unique Megadex spelling variations. Megadex allows you to choose from the most commonly used spelling variations of last names, cutting down on the time needed to research name variations. MyHeritage services are free of charge and available in 34 languages.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Online research in Canada

For those doing research in Canada, an article published in the Time & Transcript, provides a list of favorite web sites. The author writes, "Each week, I spend hours visiting genealogy-related websites. Many are visited only once, but I've worn an electronic path to the front door of many others. . . . Like many genealogists, my research takes me all over Atlantic Canada, so some websites contain information for specific provinces while others cover the entire country.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Genealogy Today's new Live Roots web site

Wouldn't it be nice to have one resource that showed every site where a genealogical resource was available so you could select the closest or most affordable resource? And wouldn't it be nice to know if a particular resource was available ONLY by subscription or if it were also available online for free? -- in the vast world of available information, there is duplication. Further, wouldn't it be nice to know if you found a valuable resource that was not online but was available somewhere in print or on CD, that you could easily connect with someone who could check that resource for you? Such a service is the vision of Genealogy Today's new Live Roots web site, announced today.

Genealogy Today ( announced the release of a new web site designed to help researchers locate genealogical data -- both online and offline, and either digitized or in-print. Live Roots ( bridges the gaps between independent web sites, large commercial repositories and printed materials yet to be digitized and published on the World Wide Web.

Live Roots extends beyond the typical bounds of a traditional search engine or link directory by facilitating access to offline records and publications through partnerships with amateur and professional researchers who either own copies or are geographically close to the libraries and archives that do. In a few quick steps, visitors will be able to hire a researcher to obtain digital copies (scanned or hi-res photo) of pages referencing a specific name (or surname).

For many of the resources in its catalog, Live Roots captures names from their listings and aggregates the data into a searchable index. This makes it possible to locate names within resources, rather than just searching for keywords in titles and descriptions. This includes many of the resources that have yet to be digitized and/or transcribed online.

Using Live Roots, researchers will be able to clearly see where duplication exists among sites, and with its focus on the accessibility of the resources (i.e. online versus offline, free versus paid), they will be able to work more efficiently. By bridging the gap between online researchers and offline resources, Live Roots hopes to make more genealogical information accessible than ever before.

For more details, visit

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

FamilySearch pilot project - check back often

FamilySearch announced that its pilot project continues to add names and data. About 1.2 million new images have been added to the Web site, bringing the total up to 43.6 million documents and records, according to an article in the Terre Haute News. Lately, the 1841 and 1861 British censuses have been added to the site with links to

Although the images from the pilot project are being tied to two commercial Web sites — and — FamilySearch ensures the public of its intention to keep the indexes to the databases free and open to all. However, access to the actual images may not always be free to everyone. This is a good reason to check back often as more databases are added to the pilot project and before they are turned over for fee-based viewing.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Revisiting the Research Library

Genealogy may be a whole new experience for those who have not visited a research library recently. "You may be surprised," says Judy Rosella Edwards in her article, "Revisiting the Research Library." Noting some of the changes in her own area in Illinois, the author also offers a few tips on what you can do before you visit to save time.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

The Worth of Genealogy Societies

Genealogy societies, historically, have been a real blessing to genealogy research; not only in direct services they provide, but in their original research and in their publications. With the advent of the web, local genealogy societies are struggling to retain membership and interest. In her article, "The Worth of Genealogy Societies," Gena Philibert-Ortega reviews the services of national and local genealogical societies, and provides links to genealogy societies for each state.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Society launches online guide to parishes

As reported in the Worcester New, "Help on hand for family researchers," a new online guide has been launced to help family historians research their ancestors in Worcestershire. Tracing Your Ancestors in Worcestershire is a guide to all the parishes of the old county of Worcestershire as it was prior to the reorganisation of local government in 1974. It has been launched on the Worcester branch web site of the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (BMSGH).

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Genealogy Blogs

The global water cooler -- blogs are where the world exchanges ideas, information, and opinion. Everything from food to politics to local news is covered in the blogs, to say nothing of special interest topics. In her article, "Reading the Blogs," Gena Philibert-Ortega provides a quick review of popular genealogy blogs, including their focus and value to researchers, with links to the source.

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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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Friday, June 22, 2007

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.

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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.

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Monday, May 7, 2007

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.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

All that glitters . . .

City officials in Logan, Utah are lamenting accepting the Everton Collection, indicating its use has not warranted its display. According to an article in the Provo Dailey Herald, "Logan's lonely genealogy library," the city reports less than 200 people visited the collection between its opening, Oct. 10, and the end of 2006. Oficials are wondering if the benefits were exaggerated when they initially agreed to accept and display the collection.

Long revered in the genealogy community, Everton Publishing Co. collection was one of the largest privately owned genealogical archives in the country when Logan acquired it two years ago.

"Maybe it's too early to tell, but it doesn't seem to be panning out from the projections," Councilwoman Tami Pyfer said. "I think it validates our initial concern with accepting this donation."


Monday, February 5, 2007

Could You Live Without Salt?

Today we take salt for granted, and aside from cooking, don't bother much with it. But in the years of the Civil War, our ancestors relied on it for tanning leather, making dyes, curing meats and maintaining the health of their farm animals.

That's why when the Union soldiers blockaded the major salt mines and shipments from Europe the Confederate states began to ration salt to families. Aside from an interesting history lesson, there's a genealogical resource hidden away in the salt lists recorded by the courts in the southern states. While many have only been reproduced in print, some are online and indexed for researchers.

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