Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FREE ANCESTRY.COM ACCESS (If you live in the right places)

For Immediate Release
19 December 2007

FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY AND MAJOR REGIONAL FAMILY HISTORY CENTER PATRONS TO RECEIVE FREE ANCESTRY.COM ACCESS

FamilySearch and The Generations Network Agreement Give Patrons Access to More than 24,000 Ancestry.com Databases and Titles

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, today announced an agreement that provides free access of Ancestry.com to patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the 13 largest regional family history centers effective today.

With this new agreement full access will be provided to more than 24,000 Ancestry.com databases and titles and 5 billion names in family history records. In addition to the Family History Library, the following 13 regional family history centers have been licensed to receive access to Ancestry.com:

Mesa, Arizona
Los Angeles, California
Oakland, California
Orange, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Pocatello, Idaho
Las Vegas, Nevada
Logan, Utah
Ogden, Utah
St. George, Utah
Hyde Park, London, England

“We’re excited for our patrons to receive online access to an expanded collection of family history records on Ancestry.com,” said Don Anderson, director of FamilySearch Support. “Ancestry.com’s indexes and digital images of census, immigration, vital, military and other records, combined with the excellent resources of FamilySearch, will increase the likelihood of success for patrons researching their family history.” The Generations Network and FamilySearch hope to expand access to other family history centers in the future.

FamilySearch patrons at the designated facilities will have access to Ancestry.com’s completely indexed U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, and more than 100 million names in passenger lists from 1820-1960, among other U.S. and international record collections. Throughout the past year, Ancestry.com has added indexes to Scotland censuses from 1841-1901, created the largest online collection of military and African American records, and reached more than 4 million user-submitted family trees.


Free access is also available at Brigham Young University Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii campuses, and LDS Business College patrons through a separate agreement with The Generations Network.

“FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is one of the most important physical centers for family history research in the world, and we are happy that patrons to the Library and these major regional centers will have access to Ancestry.com,” said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com. “We’ve enjoyed a ten-year working relationship with FamilySearch, and we look forward to continued collaboration on a number of family history projects.”

About Ancestry.com (visit www.ancestry.com)
With 24,000 searchable databases and titles and more than 2.5 million active users, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including www.myfamily.com, www.rootsweb.com, www.genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 8.7 million unique visitors worldwide and more than 416 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, October 2007).

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Media Contacts
Paul Nauta
FamilySearch Manager of Public Affairs
1-801-240-6498

Mike Ward
Public Relations Director
Ancestry.com
1-801-705-7099
mward@tgn.com

Paul Nauta
Manager of Public Affairs
Family & Church History Department
FamilySearch (TM)
801-240-6498
nautapg@ldschurch.org

Monday, December 03, 2007

What Reference Books Should I Own?” by George G. Morgan

I wrote a column for the Ancestry Daily News a number of years ago that enumerated my ten favorite genealogy books, some genealogy reference CD-ROMs, and my favorite websites. One of the readers of the Ancestry Weekly Journal wrote to Juliana and asked for an article about what specific genealogy research books, common to both beginners and advanced researchers, would be recommended for every serious researcher to have in his or her library.

This is a difficult challenge for several reasons. First, it is a subjective matter and depends on what geographical area an individual is researching. Second, a list that is too “generic” risks losing people’s interest. Finally, the fact is that books are an expensive commodity and not everyone can afford to buy every title they would like to have.

However, there certainly is a core collection of books that every genealogist would find helpful to have close at hand as reference materials for their research. I’ll accept the challenge with the understanding that your list and my list may or may not be the same, and that some of the books may not be applicable to your research. However, it makes sense for each of us to consider a personal genealogical reference library that includes books from each of the categories below.
Click Here to Continue

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NARA & FamilySearch Agreement

For Immediate Release
23 October 2007

National Archives and FamilySearch Team Up to Digitize and Index Mountains of Historic Documents

SALT LAKE CITY—The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the United States and FamilySearch today announced an agreement that will lead to the digitization of millions of historical documents over time. The bulk of the digital images and related indices will be freely accessible through www.FamilySearch.org, 4,500 family history centers worldwide, or at the National Archives and its Regional Centers.

The agreement is the result of several years of discussions between the two organizations and NARA’s new long-term strategy for digitizing and making available major segments of its vast collection online to the public. Ultimately, the records digitized by FamilySearch will consist of court, military, land, and other government records that include information of genealogical significance for family historians. The records date as early as 1754 to as late as the 1990s.

Almost all of the records in the National Archives currently are not readily accessible to patrons who visit the National Archives or one of its regional facilities. The newly digitized and indexed records produced under the agreement will be available online—greatly increasing patron access.

“For a number of years, we have had a very productive relationship with FamilySearch,” said Professor Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States. “This agreement expands our relationship to enable online access to some of the most popular and voluminous records in our holdings. It is an exciting step forward for our institutions and for the American people,” he added.

Under the new agreement, FamilySearch will be operating highly specialized digital cameras 5 days a week at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. FamilySearch intends to extend the digitization services to select regional facilities at a later date. That means there will be a continuous flow of new data for genealogy buffs to explore for years to come. It also means FamilySearch will be able to digitize the thousands of microfilms it has already created from NARA’s holdings—providing access to millions of images for genealogists to search from the convenience of their home computers with Internet access.

The first fruit of this effort is a portion of a very large collection of Civil War records, already underway. In this pilot project, FamilySearch will digitize the first 3,150 Civil War widow pension application files (approximately 500,000 pages). After digitization, these historical documents will be indexed and posted online by Footnote.com with the indices also available for free on www.FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch intends to do all 1,280,000 of these files over the coming years.

James Hastings, director of Access Programs at the National Archives, said, "For decades the National Archives has helped thousands of researchers gain access to this rich trove of records in Washington. Thanks to this agreement with FamilySearch, this valuable information will now be available to millions of users around the world in a far more accessible format."

Wayne Metcalfe, director of FamilySearch Record Services, said, “No single group can preserve, organize, and make available all the information contained in the world’s important genealogical documents—like those found in the National Archives of the United States. Such immense undertakings require the cooperation of record custodians, researchers, and specialized services. FamilySearch is committed to being an integral partner in this global effort.”

FamilySearch is the largest international organization of its kind, working with national archives and record custodians worldwide to preserve and increase access to records of genealogical significance. It is currently working on projects in over 45 countries.

About the National Archives. The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique—to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at www.archives.gov.

About FamilySearch. The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU)—doing business as FamilySearch—is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources; these resources may be accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark licensed to GSU and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Genealogy Librarian News: New Journal Articles - Indiana, Missouri, Connecticut, Massachusetts

Genealogy Librarian News: New Journal Articles - Indiana, Missouri, Connecticut, Massachusetts

10,000 Volunteers Sought

10,000 Volunteers Sought to Put Mexican, Other Latin American Family History on Web
by Mollie Forbes — last modified 2007-10-11 09:16
SALT LAKE CITY — FamilySearch — the world’s largest repository of genealogical records — is calling for 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help index Mexican, Argentine and other Latin American records for the Internet.

FamilySearch is embarking on a massive initiative to digitally preserve and index millions of Latin American records that are now difficult to access because they are located on microfilm or in an archive.

The first target is the Mexican census of 1930. People interested in finding their ancestors in that census now have to hunt among 506 rolls of microfilm at a special library. When the project is finished within about one year from now, people with Mexican ancestry will be able to search for relatives easily from their computers at home.

The project is being launched in cooperation with the National Archives of Mexico.

Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, said the volunteers could spend as little as 30 minutes a week indexing records from their home computers. Volunteers should register at FamilySearchIndexing.org, which will allow them to download one batch (one census page) at a time. Volunteers simply type in the information highlighted on the digital image. Each batch should take about 30 minutes.

The completed product will be a free, fully searchable online index of the 1930 Mexico Census, and it will be linked to the original images at FamilySearch.org. Digital images of the original census can be viewed currently at FamilySearchLabs.org.

“The 1930 census project will be the first fully indexed census for Mexico,” Nauta said. “When finished, the database will be a tremendous asset to family historians with Mexican roots.”

Nauta said that census records are especially valuable because they include a large portion of the population and can provide details about individuals which may not be available on some church and civil records.

“The 1930 Mexico Census is priceless to genealogists because it is the most recent, publicly accessible census for Mexico. It can provide an ancestor’s age, birth year, religion, birthplace and occupation, explain an individual’s relationship to family members and provide other family information,” Nauta added.

The 10,000 bilingual indexers will be added to a growing army of volunteers that will soon top 100,000, well ahead of year-end targets.

Over the past months, FamilySearch has been preparing digital images of the various census pages and many other records for placement on the Internet. However, without an index for the material, family-tree enthusiasts would still have to go through the pages one-by-one looking for their ancestors.

“Once indexed, the records are searchable in seconds, just like looking up a name in a phone book — except quicker, easier and online,” Nauta said.

The 1930 Mexico Census marks the first Latin American project for the Web-based FamilySearch Indexing program. In addition, FamilySearch indexers just completed the Argentina census of 1895 and will soon start on that country’s 1855 census.

A four-year project to digitize historical land and property documents and wills in Paraguay has just begun, and civil records in Nicaragua will become part of the indexing program within 30 days.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members consider it a religious obligation to identify their families. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources, accessible through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

"NEW" FamilyInsight Program

The Past, the Present, and a Bright Future
Sometime in the late summer or early autumn of 2003 I dropped into our Family History Center and found Paula Vilburn testing software developed by her husband, John. She enthusiastically told me
about their new company (it had a Hawaiian name that meant family) and the software would help people clean up their PAF database and search the IGI. She was thrilled with the IGI capabilities. I
wished her luck and hurried off as I was busily preparing for a mission.
In January of 2004, my husband and I began serving in the Family and Church History Mission in Salt Lake City where we worked with staff who were heavily involved with the rollout of what is
now called the new FamilySearch. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be writing a newsletter for Ohana Software and explaining how Insight will interact with the new
FamilySearch. However, here I sit with my past and the future intertwined in the present. I could not be happier. As you read today's edition of Ohana Insight, I hope you agree that our future is bright!
Cina Johnson

For MUCH MORE information open the link to the New FamilyInsight Program indepth description: OhanaSoftware.com

Monday, October 15, 2007

Georgia Death Certificates Now Viewable Online

For Immediate Release
15 October 2007

Some 275,000 certificates from 1919 to 1927 linked with index and images of Georgia Death Certificates Now Viewable Online

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch and the Georgia Archives announced today that Georgia’s death index from 1919 to 1927 can be accessed for free online. The online index is linked to digital images of the original death certificates. This free database will open doors to additional information for family historians and genealogists with Georgia ties. The index and images can be searched and viewed at GeorgiaArchives (Virtual Vault link) or Labs.Familysearch.

The names of Georgia’s deceased from 1919 to 1927 are now very much alive, searchable, and viewable online—and for free. The online index to some 275,000 Georgia deaths is the result of a cooperative effort between FamilySearch Record Services, the Georgia Archives, and the Georgia State Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

FamilySearch digitized the records, and volunteers from both FamilySearch and the Archives used FamilySearch indexing technology to create a searchable online index from the digital images of the original historic documents. “These death records are obviously a gold mine for genealogists and historians. Certificates include age, county of death, parents names, occupation, gender, race and cause of death; these documents open all kinds of possibilities to researchers,” said Georgia Archives director, David Carmicheal.

The deceased person’s name, birth and death dates, sex, spouse and parents’ names and location of death were extracted from each certificate for the searchable database. The linked image of the original death certificate can reveal additional interesting facts and clues for the family historian─like the names and birth places of the deceased person’s parents, place and date of the decedent’s birth, marital status, occupation, permanent residence, and place and date of burial and cause of death.

Before making the certificates viewable online, Carmicheal said patrons had to order copies through the mail for a fee or visit the state archive’s office in person. The new online database will make it quicker and easier for patrons to get the information they are seeking.

“It is always exciting for family historians when they can freely search a vital record index online like the Georgia death records. The link to the original death certificate is an added bonus—it saves you time, money, and provides rich genealogy data,” said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. The users just type in an ancestor’s name that died in Georgia between 1919 and 1927. They will see a brief summary of information from the ancestor’s death certificate with a link to also view the original image. Additional state indexes are currently in production.

Genealogical Society of Utah, doing business as FamilySearch, is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark licensed to the Genealogical Society of Utah and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Create the Perfect Holiday Gift with Ancestry Press

Pretty soon, Christmas tree lights and candy canes will be showing up in every store window.

And while it can be a little annoying to see all that red and green before I’ve even put my cornucopia away, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with starting to plan the presents I’ll be giving.

This year, I think I’ve already found the perfect gift.

ANCESTRY PRESS—CREATING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY BOOK
At the end of September, Ancestry finally launched Ancestry Press—it’s new book-making feature. I’ve been playing with the new product and I think it’s one of the most exciting things to come out of Ancestry in a long time. Finally, a way to show off—and share—all your hard work.

WHAT CAN ANCESTRY PRESS DO?
Ancestry Press allows you to pull a tree you’ve created online at Ancestry into book format. It automatically generates pedigree charts, family group sheets, historical records pages, and timelines. And, of course, you can insert blank pages for photos, stories, recipes, or whatever creative display you can invent.

I started my book with one of the family history book templates available (more will come out as the product progresses) and was very pleased. Right away there were beautiful pedigrees with family photos I had uploaded to my online tree, as well as records—census records, draft cards, and more.

All the pages in the book were viewable as thumbnails at the bottom of the page and it was easy to delete pages I didn’t like and add blank pages for more pictures and stories.

The photos were easily cropped, resized, and rotated. I could change fonts and sizes and add borders to text. And an embellishment feature allowed me to add flourishes and attractive text boxes. I could even add “journaling strips” to include brief notes or stories beside pictures.

WHAT DOES THE FINAL PRODUCT LOOK LIKE?
Right now, there is only one book size—8.5 x 11”. It is professionally bound and the introductory price for printing a book of twenty-four pages is $39.95. Each additional page costs thirty-nine cents.

Over the next several years the options will expand quite a bit. There will be more page layouts, backgrounds, book sizes, and more.

A FEW HINTS
The best way to get into Ancestry Press is just to jump right in and start experimenting. A brief demo on the site gives you an overview of the product, and I recommend watching it. View Demo by Clicking Here.

I would also make sure to have all the names and dates you want in your book added to your online tree before you import it into Ancestry Press. Even though you can import facts later from any of your trees, it’s easier to import it just one time. Otherwise, you have to rearrange the automatically generated charts to include the new information.

Don’t worry about having all the pictures you want in your book attached to your online tree, though. It’s easy to upload photos straight to Ancestry Press.

The hardest thing about Ancestry Press is knowing when to stop. Plan what you will and won’t include and set a reasonable goal—like having one or two pages per ancestor. If you don’t, you’ll be tempted to keep adding new pages and you might never finish.

HOLIDAY GIFTS
A coworker of mine has already created a book in Ancestry Press, and when her mother saw it she was so excited she asked her to print one for each member of the family for Christmas.

So get started. Even if you only have fifteen minutes today, or even if your tree isn’t complete, import it and start playing around with the features. It will give you a good idea of what the product is like and what you need to do to get your tree ready to import.

It takes three to four weeks for an order to be processed and shipped, so make sure to factor that in if you’re planning on using your books as holiday gifts. These are presents turned heirlooms that your family will never forget.

Click Here for more information.

Friday, October 05, 2007

FamilySearch News Release

October 5, 2007

Not Sure Which Genealogy Management Software to Use?

Select vendors allow free use of products through local family history centers.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH─FamilySearch announced that many popular desktop genealogy products can now be used for free in its family history centers in North America. Patrons who already own or use any of the products to manage their personal family histories at home will be able to conveniently update personal files through flash drives while working at the research centers. FamilySearch’s popular genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File) is available as a free download at www.familysearch.org.

FamilySearch’s family history centers are frequented by millions of genealogy enthusiasts. Patrons use the centers’ computers, Internet, and microfilm readers to do genealogy research. “Once you start moving beyond your parents and grandparents in your personal research, I cannot imagine keeping track of your family tree and research efforts completely by hand or in paper files anymore,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “Great software programs are available that make it easy to build, organize, manage, share, and view your family history,” Nauta added.

The challenge is deciding which software programs might be best for the user’s needs. People who want to purchase a commercial program for home use can sample software applications in centers to help decide which to purchase for home use. FamilySearch is working with software developers to make relevant desktop applications available for free for use in family history centers. Some of the products are genealogy management software, while others provide advanced tools for editing and searching personal or online databases, or expanded options for printing or viewing family tree data.

Center patrons that use any of the featured products at home will now have the convenience of using the same product in their local family history center. FamilySearch also offers its own genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File 5.2) for free through www.FamilySearch.org. Following are the new products available for use in centers:

Genealogy Management Software

Ancestral Quest 12 (By Incline Software).
Roots Magic (formerly Family Origins)
Legacy Family Tree (By Milennia Corporation)

Family History Software Utilities

Personal Historian (RootsMagic). Writes and preserves personal life stories.
PAFWiz 2.0 (Incline Software). Add-on tools and report utility for PAF 5.2.
PAF Insight (Ohana Software). Performs advanced functions for LDS patrons. Provides improved merging, place editing, and other data cleanup tools.
PAF Companion 5.2 (Progeny Software). Add-on utility that prints a variety of quality charts and reports in different formats.
Family Atlas (Roots Magic). Creates and publishes custom maps directly from personal genealogy data.
Pedigree Analysis (Generation Maps). Patrons can submit any genealogy computer file for a free pedigree analysis.
Genelines (Progeny Software). Depicts an ancestor's life in the context of time by bringing together elements of time, history, and family relationships on visual time line charts.
Map My Family Tree (Progeny Software). Automatically “geocodes” a family tree from any popular genealogy file format and illustrates where ancestors were born, were married, and died on a navigable geographic map. It also prints customized maps.
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PAF and "NEW" FamilySearch Update

Interfacing PAF with New FamilySearch

Renee's Genealogy Blog had a previous article Interfacing with NFS - Part One. In it she reported:

"...that PAF is a dead animal. They [FamilySearch] understand that some will still use it, so they will still support it. BUT, if you want to have your genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so."

In this post she now corrects that assessment with the following:

At the time of that writing I did not have confirmation on what Ohana Software was trying to engineer to keep the heart of PAF still beating. John Vilburn the owner and developer of PAF Insight and Ohana Software sent me the following:

"There is one big correction I would like to bring to your attention. If you are using PAF and PAF Insight, you do not have to move to another genealogy product to keep your database intact and in sync with NFS. FamilyInsight, which is the successor to PAF Insight (by the same company) will sync your PAF database with NFS. FamilyInsight will be a part of the free update program for current PAF Insight users."
John has also left the following comment on my blog:

"Renee quoted the speaker as saying "BUT, if you want to have your genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so." You do not need to move away from PAF to sync with NFS. If you currently use PAF Insight and you are within your free update period, you can update for free to FamilyInsight when it is released (or in beta). It will sync your PAF file with NFS (in both directions). FamilyInsight is the successor to PAF Insight and will look and feel like PAF Insight, so you won't have to learn a new program."
So you can still see that even though PAF is dead, meaning no new growth, enhancements or development from FamilySearch will be added to it, there is a commercial developer continuing to give life support to PAF for those that can't let a loved one go. Ohana Software will provide you during your PAFInsight free update period an upgrade to Family Insight. (I just can't find anywhere on the website how long the free update period is.) If you already own PAFInsight you have a no-cost way to sync with NFS when it comes in your area. Customers in the St. Louis Temple District are already beta testing FamilyInsight for us.

Like I did in my previous article I want to give MY personal opinion on PAF Insight / Family Insight.

John has made a wonderful, useful product that has helped thousands of members with numerous issues in their PAF databases makes corrections to their files.
It is available for free to all FHCs. You can try it before you buy it. Some of my patrons never buy it and come to the FHC to use it all the time. We LDS genealogist are frugal people to a fault.
Right now it is a MUST for people submitting names for temple ordinances to first use PAFInsight (or similar products) to verify if that work has previously been done or not.

Many have wondered what will happen to PAF Insight when New FamilySearch comes online. I have been one of them. You hate to see the demise of two very nice products with the end of one partner, it's been such a great relationship. Even though PAF gives every indication of no brain waves it kind of feels like FamilyInsight is just a new "machine" to keep the dying PAF's heart beating a little longer. Come on when are we going to announce it finally dead and gone!

I just don't get it. Why do people hold onto a dead animal and then put all these attachments on it. On Bob & Reb's Genealogy Blog they did an estimate that it cost them $182. 25 to purchase add-ons, (i.e. PAFInsight, PAFWiz, etc.), to make PAF do what other commercial products can already do. It might cost you $24.95 to purchase PAF Insight but the full commercial genealogy programs run from the starting price of $29.95 to the Gold Edition of The Master Genealogist for $59.00. I would much rather have the whole package from one provider than bits and pieces here and there. I've never heard of anyone being bounced between programs for support issues, but it feels like a waiting evil to happen.

I haven't given FamilyInsight a spin but I really hope with all the talent and ability John has that he will consider making his own genealogy software program that will get some more competition out there. He has probably dissected PAF in greater detail than anyone out there. He has the name recognition and loyal followers to help him pull that move off. If you really want PAF's heart to continue beating you need to transplate it into a new host. Life support is only going to last for so long.

Ancestry.com - Titles available at the FHC

Although at the Family History Center you can only access 43 of the 24,883 titles available from home on Ancestry, the titles that are available at the Family History Center (listed below) can be very helpful in your research.

Titles available at the Family History Center

1841 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1841 England Census Index Only
1841 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1841 Wales Census Index Only
1851 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1851 England Census Index Only
1851 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1851 Wales Census Index Only
1861 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1861 England Census Index Only
1861 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1861 Wales Census Index Only
1871 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1871 England Census Index Only
1871 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1871 Wales Census Index Only
1880 United States Federal Census Index and Images
1881 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1881 England Census Index Only
1881 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1881 Wales Census Index Only
1891 Channel Islands Census Index Only
1891 England Census Index Only
1891 Isle of Man Census Index Only
1891 Wales Census Index Only
1900 United States Federal Census Index and Images
1920 United States Federal Census Index and Images
Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959 Index Only
Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 Index Only
Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943 Index Only
California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957 Index Only
Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957 Index Only
England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 Index Only
England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983 Index Only
England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1837-1983 Index Only
Florida Passenger Lists, 1898-1951 Index Only
Galveston Passenger Lists, 1896-1948 Index Only
New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945 Index Only
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 Index Only
Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945 Index Only
Seattle Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 Index Only
U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 Index Only
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Index Only

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Family Search Information

Family Search Wiki

The Family History Department in Salt Lake City has developed a new research support tool FamilySearchWiki. This resource has been developed to help make family history research advice easier to find and share. There are two ways to search the site; Keyword search or Browse by country.

FamilySearchWiki is intended as an online community for family history researchers and those interested in learning how to be more successful in the search for their ancestors. This site includes all research outlines published by the Family History Library and many other articles never published such as the wiki material for Japan, China and India. Go ahead, take it for a spin and feel free to tell others about it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Computer Program Traces Ancestry Using Anonymous DNA Samples

Troy, N.Y. — A group of computer scientists, mathematicians, and biologists from around the world have developed a computer algorithm that can help trace the genetic ancestry of thousands of individuals in minutes, without any prior knowledge of their background. The team’s findings will be published in the September 2007 edition of the journal PLoS Genetics.

Unlike previous computer programs of its kind that require prior knowledge of an individual’s ancestry and background, this new algorithm looks for specific DNA markers known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced snips), and needs nothing more than a DNA sample in the form of a simple cheek swab. The researchers used genetic data from previous studies to perform and confirm their research, including the new HapMap database, which is working to uncover and map variations in the human genome.

Plot of genetic markers for 255 individuals from four continental regions. Red and green represents identical genotypes. Black represents genotypic variations. Notice the distinct patterns formed in the four continental blocks, highlighting the genetic similarities between people of the same ancestry.
Image Credit: Democritus University of Thrace/Peristera Paschou

“Now that we have found that the program works well, we hope to implement it on a much larger scale, using hundreds of thousands of SNPs and thousands of individuals,” said Petros Drineas, the senior author of the study and assistant professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “The program will be a valuable tool for understanding our genetic ancestry and targeting drugs and other medical treatments because it might be possible that these can affect people of different ancestry in very different ways.”

Understanding our unique genetic makeup is a crucial step to unraveling the genetic basis for complex diseases, according to the paper. Although the human genome is 99 percent the same from human to human, it is that 1 percent that can have a major impact on our response to diseases, viruses, medications, and toxins. If researchers can uncover the minute genetic details that set each of us apart, biomedical research and treatments can be better customized for each individual, Drineas said.

This program will help people understand their unique backgrounds and aid historians and anthropologists in their study of where different populations originated and how humans became such a hugely diverse, global society.

Their program was more than 99 percent accurate and correctly identified the ancestry of hundreds of individuals. This included people from genetically similar populations (such as Chinese and Japanese) and complex genetic populations like Puerto Ricans who can come from a variety of backgrounds including Native American, European, and African.

“When we compared our findings to the existing datasets, only one individual was incorrectly identified and his background was almost equally close between Chinese and Japanese,” Drineas said.

In addition to Drineas, the algorithm was developed by scientists from California, Puerto Rico, and Greece. The researchers involved include lead author Peristera Paschou from the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece; Elad Ziv, Esteban G. Burchard, and Shweta Choudhry from the University of California, San Francisco; William Rodriguez-Cintron from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan; and Michael W. Mahoney from Yahoo! Research in California.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

10 Things I Could Not Live Without in Genealogy

10 Things I Could Not Live Without in Genealogy
by Kory L. Meyerink, AG
Contemplating such a title, most family historians would first think of key sources, and that was my first inclination. But then, I thought further. You know, each family being so different, there are very few sources that we need for every research project. My professional research extends into every U.S. state and Canadian province, not to mention most European countries. The census, essential in U.S. and British research, is virtually useless for German research. Vital records, another staple, have little use for many colonial problems.

No, I got to thinking, what are the "things" I use in virtually every research project, personal or professional? Once I really started thinking creatively, the number of items was well past ten, with no stopping in sight. Then came the hard part, narrowing the list down to only ten. Well, here they are, with a brief commentary, and not necessarily in priority order.

Family History Library Collection.
I don't know about you, but with over 2 million rolls of microfilm (including all the significant national archives films) and a quarter of a million books, I just can't live without this collection. Why do you think I reside in Salt Lake City? But, even for those living elsewhere, the 3,000 plus branches (Family History Centers) of this library mean the collection is not too far away. Recognized as the largest collection of family history material in the world, and comprising records from virtually every place in the world, I need this collection. So do you.

Putting this on my list also gives me a chance to promote the Family History Library Catalog (which really deserves its own item on my list, but I ran out of room). More than just a list of sources in the collection, the catalog, a comprehensive list of sources, is a major research tool in its own right. It lists and indexes (by surname) more family histories more thoroughly than any other list. The microfilm descriptions tell who owns the data and where they were microfilmed, suggesting additional sources and repositories. And, now the catalog is not just available on the Internet, you can purchase it for home use on CD-ROM. Wow!

GEDCOM Database Computer Program
They say you can do genealogy without a computer, but I sure wouldn't. I remember the pre-computer days. Typing, and retyping reports, forms, charts, etc. Using "whiteout" to correct mistakes, only to find those mistakes on another page too. Getting confused about who's who, and where they fit in the family. Therefore, of all the uses of a computer in genealogy, the most important in my mind is the use of a GEDCOM database program for organizing and sharing information about the people you find in your research. You know, it hasn't just been computers that have brought about the explosion of interest in genealogy, but specifically, commercially available, inexpensive database programs, such as PAF and Family Tree Maker. Without them, millions of people would not now be enjoying the hunt for relatives. I guess that pretty much validates at least this item on my list!

Internet
This almost didn't make my top ten, but even living near the Family History Library, and having a very slow modem, this is an increasingly valuable tool. The growing quantity (and quality) of real data on the Internet, plus the hundreds of millions of names in GEDCOM files, not to mention the ubiquitous presence of e-mail, makes this significant. Yup, if I was out on the proverbial desert island, I probably couldn't take the Family History Library, so I sure would need the Internet.

Government Records
We all grouse about the government, and how intrusive it is in our lives, but the records that governments (township, county, state, federal, and other levels) have created are the lifeblood of family historians. Try doing U.S. research without census, tax, land, probate, vital, and immigration records, as well as many others. For an interesting insight into the value of the records created by just two government programs, see Laurie Castillo's recent article in the Genealogical Journal, volume 28, number 1 (2000), "What Did FDR Do for Genealogy? Plenty!" (For information on the Journal, see UGA's Web site.)

Printed Sources
No, not the book of that name, rather the concept: transcripts, abstracts, indexes, compiled family histories, etc. Not to mention all the reference books out there: directories, gazetteers, dictionaries, how-to manuals, etc. All of these published sources make our research faster and easier. They help us access the records, because the original or microfilm records are often available in only a few places. Plus, they help us as beginners, when we are just starting out, to find information easier, thus nurturing our fledgling interest. Finally, many such sources preserve records from generations ago that are now long lost, such as family Bibles and long worn away tombstones.

Photocopy Machines
I don't know about you, but I'm lazy and impatient, plus I make mistakes when I copy things. Photocopy machines are a Godsend. With this marvelous tool, I can research faster, document better, read and review findings more thoroughly, and conduct more accurate research. Copy machines encourage us to photocopy an entire article or document page, rather than just making notes or abstracts. This makes for better research. Plus, I can copy my findings for any skeptical fellow genealogists out there. While I don't copy entire books or violate copyright laws, these machines, available almost everywhere I research, are essential.

Filing Cabinets
This was not going to be on the list, until I looked around my home office for more ideas, and found eight filing cabinets! Most are full of genealogy papers, and there are more elsewhere in the house and attic. (Where do you think all those photocopies go?) What this really represents is the need for an organized system of maintaining your findings. It really only matters that the system is simple, complete, easy to use, and that you use it. It also reminds us to document our findings.

Genealogical Societies
For over 150 years, genealogical societies have been making a significant contribution to our mutual interest in family history. Through the combined efforts of society members, our work is made easier in many ways. Societies, and their members do all of this:

Preserve records (through publishing and microfilming)
Improve access (through legislation and indexing)Share information (through exchanges) Provide instruction so we can learn how to do our tasks better and easier (through articles, conferences, and mentoring) Gather records into research facilities (through gifts and purchases) Share news and important information (through web sites and newsletters), and do much, much more.

In short, if there is something good happening in genealogy, you can be sure a society is behind it. (Well, what did you expect from a past officer in three major societies?) To find a society of interest to your research, begin with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).

Indexes
Electronic, printed, Soundex, Russell, surname, every-name, card, it doesn't matter. I started doing genealogy when census indexes were a new thing, and I wouldn't want to live without them, or any of the many other indexes out there today. That goes for the Periodical Source Index, Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, Rider's American Genealogical Biographical Index and hundreds of smaller, but equally important indexes. Are they perfect? No. But, they speed up my research so much. The next time you disparage an index, try finding someone in the 1910 census of St. Paul, like my friend recently did. She spent about four hours, and that was even with the help of a street index. With a name index she should have been done in under 15 minutes.

A Loving Supporting Spouse
What else do I need to say? Every married genealogist knows this is probably number one. Who else will listen to your research successes and failures, and the ancestral stories you find? Certainly not your cousin, or those others at the family reunion. But, let me just add that my wife is the one who really got me started in this field, so, it's all her fault!

What Do You Think?
Well, there you have it. How did I do? Which of your favorites did I miss? Who wants to try their hand at a different list? I am sure many of you have found I left out some of your favorites. Why don't you take a few minutes and share some of your "wouldn't live without" genealogical items with me. Perhaps a future article will summarize your ideas. E-mail me your lists/votes, with or without commentary, to: KoryM@msn.com. You don't have to nominate 10 items, just your most important few will do, but please don't exceed 10 (you need the same constraints I had). You can agree with some (or all!) of my choices, or take me "out to the woodshed" on any or all. Let's see what's really perceived as the most important "things" in genealogy.

One More Thing
Can I squeeze in just one more item? Call it a "bonus" item I could not live without (and fortunately don't have to): My ancestors. They gave so much to me in creating the society I live in. From the Mayflower to Ellis Island. From Colonial wars to 20th century conflicts, I really can't live without them, and it is a privilege to be constantly seeking them, and learning about their lives.

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About the Author
Kory Meyerink is an accredited genealogist who lives in Salt Lake City where he currently conducts professional research for ProGenealogists.com, a division of Ancestral Quest, and for Genealogical Research Associates. He is the author of Ancestry's Printed Sources, past president of the Utah Genealogical Society, founder of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and teaches at many national and local conferences.

Digital Media Peril (1 & 2)

Digital Media Peril: Redux
August 22, 2007 | By Joel Dehlin

I received a number of thoughtful responses to my last post (Digital Media Peril) which discusses the dangers of having all of your pictures and movies on your computer rather than in shoe boxes in your closet. Folks should feel free to keep posting comments there, but I’m going to summarize some principles I see emerging in the thread and some additional thoughts I’ve had.

1. Start now. Some solution is better than no solution. The risking losing your pictures and videos is a very real danger. Get it fixed now. There is a risk that if you implement a sub-optimal solution with the intention to “fix it” later that you’ll get complacent and never get around to fixing it. Or that the solution won’t work in 10, 20, 50 years. It’s better to do something instead of nothing and to continue evaluating your solution and looking for something better.

2. Redundancy. Implement multiple solutions to cover yourself in case one goes awry.

3. Online backup. I think online backup is a great way to go: Flickr, Mozy, .mac, whatever. You get the added benefit of easy photo sharing. There is a risk that you’ll put all of your content up on some web site and that it will close down. 1) I think the likeihood that a mass storage web site will disappear with no warning, without someone purchasing the assets & customers, etc., is very low. 2) Create a redundant solution. I think this is a great solution.

4. Share, share, share! Share your media with as many friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers as you can reasonably do without irritating people. The more you spread your media out, the easier it will be to re-create your photo library if digital medial disaster ever strikes.

5. CD/DVD. CDs and DVDs aren’t great long-term solutions, but they’re fine in the short-term. You can buy software which will make them easier to recover if they fail, but you’ll still want to make sure this is a backup, not a primary measure. Make sure you have a place to send discs that is away from your home (work, family home, etc.) Try to re-create your discs every few years as the long-term failure rate of this media is high.

6. Hard Disk. Some people just use hard drives in their home to back everything up. This is a quick solution which is easy to automate. It doesn’t give you offsite archival, and hard drives can fail, just like discs can. But it’s a great backup plan or redundancy strategy.

7. Prints. Pictures are still wonderful! Just because you’re saving everything digitally, doesn’t mean you can’t make prints! If you make prints of your favorite pictures, you’re no worse off than you were before you started this digital craziness.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Product Comparison : Ancestral Quest 12 vs. PAFWiz 2.0 with PAF 5.x

Product Comparison
Ancestral Quest 12 vs. PAFWiz 2.0 with PAF 5


AQ 12, PAFWiz 2.0, and PAF 5.x (which was derived from AQ 3.0) all have many more basic features in common than listed in this chart.

This chart is intended to show the differences rather than all the features.

View the differences between Ancestral Quest 12 and PAF 5.x with PAFWiz 2.0

Order Ancestral Quest 12 Today!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

GenCircles & MyHeritage Merge

Dear GenCircles User,

We have a very exciting announcement to share with you! Pearl Street Software, maker of GenCircles and Family Tree Legends, has merged with MyHeritage.com. In the first of many positive developments that will come from this merger, Family Tree Legends and GenCircles are now 100% free!

Why did you merge with MyHeritage.com?
So we can grow! The development team from Pearl Street Software has joined the much larger MyHeritage team so we can bring you amazing new tools to aid your search. MyHeritage brings vast resources that will enable technologies like Smart Matching to greatly improve, to the benefit of everyone!

What will happen to GenCircles and Family Tree Legends?
GenCircles, the Family Tree Legends software program, and the Family Tree Legends Records Collection are now free. That's right - in one announcement, we have made the highest-rated genealogy software program, the massively popular GenCircles site, and over 400 million records in the Family Tree Legends Records Collection completely free! This is a significant day for genealogists everywhere!

What about support?
With the backing of MyHeritage, we can now offer much improved support. For email support on our various services, please email ftl@myheritage.com for FTL or gencircles@myheritage.com for GenCircles.

What else can we look forward to?
- MyHeritage has made significant improvements to our Smart Matching
technology in the past 6 months and these improvements are being released now for the first time.
- MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder 2.0 has just been released and
contains many of the technologies found in Family Tree Legends. Family Tree Builder has support for real-time Smart Matching and is available in 17 languages. You can automatically import your FTL file into Family Tree Builder if you choose to. You can use both programs completely for free - we urge you to see which one is right for you!
- MyHeritage has launched an initiative to map and connect all of the world's family trees using Smart Matching technology, and is well on their way with more than 100,000 trees!

Can we trust MyHeritage as a good steward for our data?
One of the reasons we chose to merge with MyHeritage.com was their absolute respect for users' data. GenCircles built its reputation on respecting its users and their data - we are proud to say that MyHeritage.com shares this respect with us!

This is an exciting day in our company's history and we couldn't have done it without the help of our amazing users! The joined teams of MyHeritage and Pearl Street Software are committed more than ever to providing the best genealogy products and services, and keeping them free!

Best Regards,
Cliff Shaw
President & CEO
Pearl Street Software

Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know

The New York Times (nytimes.com)
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August 18, 2007
Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know
By ELLEN ROSEN

Katherine Holden’s family had long kept what she called “a deep dark secret.” When the family discussed its roots, there were hints, but no outright discussion, of a great-grandmother who had lived in South Dakota and was the equivalent of native royalty: the putative daughter of an American Indian chief.

But her family never spoke in detail of their heritage, and it was only when Dr. Holden, a Connecticut physician, became interested in her family tree that she verified her lineage.

“I was fairly surprised to find her name in the 1900 U.S. Census in an American Indian orphanage under her childhood name,” she said.

Armed with that knowledge and “bits and pieces of information” she and her sister had gleaned as children, she tried to confirm her hunch. A simple $250 DNA test this year, the latest in the arsenal of ancestry tools, confirmed that she was, in fact, “12 percent American Indian.”

Researching their roots has become a passion for many Americans like Dr. Holden. As Web sites and genealogical societies proliferate and DNA testing becomes more widely available, the tools for tracing a family tree are becoming more accessible — and the hunt is often intriguing. A bit of online detective work can yield a significant amount of information for little or nothing. But for extensive or difficult searches, the cost in money and time can mount.

Robert Kraus, a retired New Jersey businessman who began to research his family’s past in 1985, said, “You can dip your toe in the water for $100 and stop there or you can spend a couple of thousand dollars.”

Genealogy specialists recommend that novices begin by gathering information from relatives. That initial data can be entered on one of several sites that let users create family trees.

Ancestry.com — the most widely used — is the flagship site of Generations Network in Provo, Utah, which also owns Genealogy.com, a rival site, and Myfamily.com, which is essentially a family networking site. According to its chief executive, Tim Sullivan, Ancestry.com has 800,000 paying subscribers and 14 million registered users.

The site has free content, including a family tree maker, but also lets users search immigration, census and military records for fees that depend on the level of records sought. Family Tree Maker, a software program for use in personal computers, is part of the company as well, Mr. Sullivan said.

Another company, Onegreatfamily.com, also lets users create family trees and aims to share work with other genealogists, according to its chief executive, Dale H. Munk. “In genealogy, there is a tremendous amount of duplicated effort,” he said. “You and I could be working on the same family without knowing it.”

Mr. Munk’s company’s site, which charges a range of subscription fees, will automatically merge family trees once it finds a common ancestor.

The proliferation of sites did not deter David O. Sacks, the former chief operating officer of PayPal, from creating a new entrant this year. His interest in his family history inspired him to design a site combining genealogy software with the ability to network with relatives — essentially a Facebook for families.

The site, www.geni.com, allows users to create a family tree and to post photos, send messages and write free profiles. Mr. Sacks says that his site’s success depends on what is known in the online industry as viral growth, as users invite others to join by sending links to the site. Since its January introduction, Mr. Sacks says the site has attracted approximately 500,000 users.

While the Web sites are very popular, they have their limits; some documents, like marriage records or baptism records, are not easily found online if at all. Many of these records have not been digitized or even microfilmed.

To tap all the resources, “you may need to travel and go to where the records are,” like the towns where the original documents exist, says Thomas W. Jones, a professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, who edits The National Genealogical Quarterly.

Sometimes, online resources are not enough. In that instance, dedicated amateur genealogists and professionals alike are likely to turn to the millions of records housed in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library, which has extensive genealogical records from all over the world on microfilm.

The center, run by the Mormon Church, is nondenominational, and has records for many religions and nationalities. It has outposts in other cities as well, where research can be done.

Several firms and genealogical societies sponsor fact-finding trips to Salt Lake City. Avotaynu, an organization based in New Jersey that specializes in Jewish genealogy, has published a host of books on research. Its director, Gary Mokotoff, and his associate, Eileen Polakoff, accompany about 40 people to Utah each year to do research. The trips, apart from airfare, meals and incidental expenses, cost $770 to $985, including hotel accommodations, lectures and research assistance.

Susan Berkson of Minneapolis recently returned from a five-day trip to the library, sponsored by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The trip, excluding hotel and travel expenses, cost $275.

Ms. Berkson said that there were “instructive seminars on how to do general and specialized searches and how to use the library; and the library has staff genealogists and missionary volunteers help you as well at no charge.”

As a result of her trip, Ms. Berkson learned the ancestral town of one branch of her family tree. “I found the ship that brought over my father’s family, how long it took and when it arrived. And I learned that my great-great-great grandfather and his son were in the cigar business in Pittsburgh.”

For those who have neither the time nor the patience to undertake the research themselves, another option is to hire a professional genealogist. Rates range from $25 an hour in small towns to well in excess of $100 an hour in major metropolitan centers.

Finding a professional can be tricky. Experts advise contacting local genealogical societies that often can provide referrals. (A complete list can be found at the site run by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, www.fgs.org.) Additionally, the Board for Certification of Genealogists certifies genealogists who complete a qualification process that includes testing on their ability to research records.

Another source, the Association of Professional Genealogists, at www.apgen.org, does not vet its members, but those who join must agree to a code of ethics and accept mediation of any disputes with a client, says its executive director, Kathleen W. Hinckley.

Before getting started, Mr. Jones, the genealogy quarterly editor, said “clients should collect what they can from the family, like family bibles or oral history.”

Ms. Hinckley added: “Just knowing you’re from Germany or Ireland won’t work. You need a city or province or something specific.”

Family names can be misleading, she said, adding that a common misconception is that families changed their names at Ellis Island. Family names, she said, were changed either before emigration or after families arrived in the United States.

Whether the research is do-it-yourself or done by a professional, expenses can mount because of the time involved. Mr. Jones said that the hours add up because every discovery of a relative leads to two more questions — the ancestor’s parents.

Dr. Holden said she had spent hundreds of hours since she became serious about genealogy. “I do it in fits and spurts,” she explained. For a time, she “spoke on a daily basis to a cousin I had never met.”

“We were consumed by finding our story,” she said. “I felt like Nancy Drew, it was exciting.”

Adds Mr. Kraus: “if you’re successful in the early stages, it’s like salted peanuts. Once you start, you won’t stop.”

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Published histories to go online

Published histories to go online
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August 18, 2007

Thousands of published family histories, city and county histories, historic city directories, and related records are coming to the Internet. The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Ind., BYU's Harold B. Lee Library, and the Church's Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project Aug. 15.
It is expected to be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web — and access will be free at www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu.

The digital history project will target more than 100,000 published family histories and thousands of local histories that are rich in names as well as biographical and genealogical data associated with those names.

"Publishing those collections from the three libraries involved will make a significant and attractive family history digital library online for genealogists and historians," said David Rencher, director of Records and Information for the Church's FamilySearch organization.

"I believe the most immediate, substantial contribution of this collaboration will be the addition of local history materials," said Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center Manager, Curt Witcher. The collaborative project will digitally scan thousands of historic city directories, as well as city and county histories from North America. The ACPL and the Family History Library have the largest collections of city and county histories from North America."

He added, "I believe the strength of our two well-known, well-used, and well-loved institutions working together is a terrific benefit to the genealogical community."

Once digitized, the collections will have "every-word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high-quality digital images of the original publication. Digitization efforts have begun. New additions will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners and camera operators required to complete the project.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Church. It maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Jewish Family History Resources Online

New Jewish Family History Resources Online
FamilySearch Releases Free Database and Research Guides

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH— FamilySearch added to its substantial Jewish genealogical collection with the addition of its new Jewish Family History Resources online. The announcement was made in conjunction with the 27th International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference in Salt Lake City this week. The new web page includes a new Jewish genealogy database, the Knowles Collection, as well as a new research guide, Tracing Your Jewish Ancestors. The new features can be accessed for free at FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch provides numerous free tools and resources for anyone researching Jewish ancestry.

The Knowles Collection contains information for thousands of Jews from the British Isles. Building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy, the collection links individuals into family groups with more names added continuously. The collection is available as a file that can be viewed and edited through most genealogy software programs. Genealogy software is also available as a free download.

“The Tracing Your Jewish Ancestors guide is an excellent, free reference tool for anyone with a Jewish ancestor who came to the United States from Europe,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “Users will be able to follow simple steps to identify an ancestor’s birthplace or place of origin—a difficult task for many with Jewish ancestry,” Nauta added. It provides instructions on which records to search first, what to look for, and what research tools to use. It includes 30 colorful pages of examples and rich, helpful details. The digital document is available in a high quality, easy-to-use PDF format. The popular Jewish Genealogy Research Outline has also been revised and is accessible for free.

Other FamilySearch Jewish Family History Resources highlights include:

Links to relevant records and searchable databases
Helpful guides and forms to view online or print
Online indexing projects, where individuals can register to volunteer or to see what databases are forthcoming
Free genealogy management software
Directions to receive free personal assistance through a family history center near you
Those with Jewish ancestry should bookmark the site. Links to new resources and tools will be added as they become available.

FamilySearch.org - Family History and Genealogy Records

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ancestry Weekly Journal

If you haven't seen Ancestry.com's "Ancestry Weekly Journal", take a look at this link. You can subscribe to receive it weekly in your inbox or save the link and jump to it each week. Here is a copy of the July 16th Issue: Ancestry.com - Ancestry Weekly Journal, 16 July 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

FamilySearch Record Search

What you can do with Record Search:
* Search indexed records and view original documents
* Browse images of death certificates, census records and more
* Find your ancestors

Be sure to check it out: FamilySearch Record Search

Saturday, June 23, 2007

DNA data added to ancestry Web site

By Zack Van Eyck
Deseret Morning News

Two Utah-based companies have entered a partnership, announced today, that will help people use DNA technology to conduct genealogical research.

DNA technician Meaghan Roache works on DNA quantitation at the Sorenson Genomics laboratory in Salt Lake City on Friday.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
The Generations Network Inc. of Provo, the parent company for the genealogical Web site Ancestry.com, and Salt Lake-based Sorenson Genomics are teaming up to create "an incredible combination of resources designed to demonstrate how closely we are all related," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network.

Ancestry.com officials say the site has more than 14 million users and the world's largest collection of online family trees. Sorenson Genomics is one of the world's largest genetic genealogy laboratories and DNA testing companies. With the new association between the two, Ancestry.com customers will be able to add scientific technology as a tool in researching their genealogy.

"Entering the DNA category is a natural and powerful extension of our company's mission to connect families across distance and time," Sullivan said.

Those interested in utilizing the new service will simply take a cheek-swab test to obtain their own DNA data, then compare the results with existing DNA information in the Web site's searchable database. Company officials say that will allow people to easily uncover genealogical connections that were nearly impossible just a few years ago, and to discover lost or unknown relatives within a few generations. That information could also provide insight into the origin of families going back thousands of years.

"DNA research becomes more meaningful to people searching for relatives as more peoples' DNA results become part of the database," said Doug Fogg, COO of Sorenson Genomics.

Previously, Sorenson had provided DNA testing and database matching services through its genetic genealogy division, Relative Genetics. With the new partnership, Relative Genetics customers and the division's DNA database will become part of The Generations Network. Ancestry.com will now market those DNA testing and matching services, for the purpose of genealogical research, through its Web site.

"After looking at a lot of options ... we determined a partnership with Sorenson Genomics was just a fantastic idea, putting together two very important players in genealogy and DNA testing," Sullivan said. "

Officials of both companies say the partnership is a milestone and "revolutionary" venture for the DNA genealogy field.

Ancestry.com, launched in 1997, has a complete online U.S. Census collection from 1790-1930 and a large collection of U.S. passenger ship registries with more than 100 million names from 1820-1960. Other Web sites owned by The Generations Network include MyFamily.com, Rootsweb.com and Genealogy.com.


Sorenson Genomics has provided genetic testing services for genealogical purposes since 2001. It conducted the DNA testing for the PBS TV series "African-American Lives," which traced the roots of Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg and others.


For more information, go to www.ancestry.com or www.sorensongenomics.com.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Footnote.com Review - Explore Genealogical & Historical Documents at Footnote

Footnote.com
From Kimberly Powell,
Your Guide to Genealogy.
FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
Guide Rating -
The Bottom Line
Important historic documents from the U.S. National Archives are now making their way online due to an agreement with Footnote.com. Digitized copies of documents such as Revolutionary War pension records and Civil War service records can be viewed and even annotated through what is possibly the best image viewer I've seen on the Web. You can also create free personal story pages to track your research or share your documents and photos. Search results are also free, although you'll have to subscribe to view, print and save most of the actual document images. In my opinion, Footnote.com is a bargain for the money.
Pros
One of the best image viewers I've seen for accessing images online
Offers access to millions of historic documents previously unavailable online
The ability to annotate and/or add comments to any individual document page
7-day free trial available
Cons
Requires the lastest version of Flash. In some cases, the site won't even load without it.
No soundex search. Some advanced search features are available, but not obvious.
No FAQ or easy answers to support questions such as the Flash issue.
Many document series are still "in progress"
Description
Over 5 million images of historical American documents and photos from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Records include: Revolutionary & Civil War pension & service records, state naturalization records and case files of the FBI.
Annotate, comment, print and save digital document images.
Story pages allow you to create a simple Web page with point and click editing.
Upload and post your own historical documents for free.
Under the nonexclusive agreement, Footnote's images will be available on the National Archives' Web site after five years.
Guide Review - Footnote.com
Footnote.com allows you to search and view over 5 million digitized documents and photos from American history. Members can view, save and print the documents they find. A nifty feature allows you to highlight a name, place or date and add an annotation. Comments can also be added to post corrections or add additional information for anyone else who views the same image. The image viewer works as quickly and seamlessly as any I've seen. Since many of the titles are "in progress," I recommend that you use the "Browse by Title" feature to view the full description of the each document series, as it includes a nice completion status feature.
The biggest drawback for me at first was that the site would load slowly or hang my browser on a regular basis. A few people report not even being able to load the site. For all of you out there with the same issue, I fixed it by downloading the latest version of Flash player for my browser.

Simple search is just that - simple. You enter search terms and then choose whether to search across all documents, or within a specific document set, such as PA Western Naturalizations. There is presently no soundex search, or any way to narrow the search by document type, such as across all naturalization records. Advanced search features are available, but that isn't readily apparent to the casual user.

Footnote.com has the framework in place to be one of the most flexible and user-friendly sites on the Web for American genealogists. Once they add more records (and there are many in the works), upgrade the search feature, and do some tweaking, it has the potential to be a 5 star site. Despite being a newcomer to the world of digitized historic documents, Footnote has definitely risen the bar.
>

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Allen County Public Library: Genealogy

Allen County Public Library: Genealogy


This renowned collection includes more than 332,000 printed volumes and 362,000 items of microfilm and microfiche. Patrons of the department also have access to major online databases at:


The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has signed a cooperative agreement with the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to collaborate to digitize their family history reference collection, 50,000 + family histories, and place the digital books on the internet free of charge. This work is all being done by missionaries (volunteers) from our church.

The same kind of digitizing is being carried out in SLC for family history books from the Family History Library and at Orem, Utah for BYU Library family history books.

The website is BYU Family History Archive and may be accessed now.

The easiest way to start on the above website is to click on the above URL and then specify a surname using the Surname Search.
If it doesn't find the name, it will notify you with "Your search retrieved no results." If it finds the name in any of the book descriptions, the search engine will list each book where it finds the name you specified.
On the Search Results screen, click on the title of a book, and it brings up an image of the first page and digital Table of Contents for that book.
For the first book, you have to re-type the Surname into the "Search for Object" box, then click Search. The pages having the specified surname are shown with red brackets. Click on the page number, or "Next Hit", and the image of that page will be displayed, and by reading the image page, you will find the name you searched for (Hopefully its the right one!) If you don't find the surname on the website, check back often for more books will be added as these projects progress.

Also, one may click "Browse the Collection" on the home page, and it will list every book which can be viewed, 20 titles at a time.

This represents a quantum leap in technology. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"New" FamilySearch and the Future of Family History

People where having problems with my previous link to this Power Point presentation so I uploaded it to a new server. Now you can view it on-line or download it. If you don't have a PowerPoint viewer you can download it from here: Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer

Howard

New England Historic Genealogical Society

New England Historic Genealogical Society
Longtime staff member David Allen Lambert is now available to offer you research guidance, orientation to online resources and library-based collections via email. He also will facilitate referrals to specific NEHGS staff experts and departments when required. This position will offer a new way to serve members and potential members of NEHGS.

Free genealogy family history photo search by surname - Dead Fred .com

Free genealogy family history photo search by surname - Dead Fred .com
Over 14,000 Family Photo's listed by Surname (FREE).

Free Utah History Record Images Available on-line

Index Search

Utah Death Certificates Now Viewable Online
250,000+ certificates from 1905 to 1954 linked with index and images

SALT LAKE CITY - FamilySearch, in conjunction with the Genealogical Society of Utah and the Utah State Archives and Records Service, announced today that the state’s free online index to death certificates is now linked to original images of the historic documents. The integration of the index with free digital pictures of the death certificates issued from 1905 to 1954 by the state will open doors to additional information for family historians and genealogists with Utah ties. To search the index and view the certificates, users need to go to HistoryResearch.Utah.gov.

The online index to 250,000+ Utah deaths was created by the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics and has searchable information limited to the name of the deceased person, their date of death, sex, and where they died. The Utah State Archives turned to FamilySearch to help them get the digital images online. FamilySearch digitized the images and provided the technology to link the images of the certificates to the state’s online index. The linking process was completed in just a few weeks - incredibly fast for a project of this nature and magnitude. The names of Utah’s deceased are now very much alive, searchable, and viewable online - and for free.

ProQuest Information and Learning :: Press Release

ProQuest CSA Teams Up with LexisNexis to Add Selected Serial Set Content to HeritageQuest™ Online
Agreement Increases Access to Government Documents for Genealogical Research at Public Libraries

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 15, 2007 -- ProQuest CSA and LexisNexis, a leading provider of information and services solutions, are working together to add valuable genealogical data from the LexisNexis® U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection to HeritageQuest™ Online. The addition of the Private Relief Actions and Memorials and Petitions from the LexisNexis Serial Set collection serves the growing genealogy and local history segment of the public library market.

"HeritageQuest Online's library advisors confirm these two data sets, which date back to the Revolutionary War, are highly valuable for both novice and advanced family history researchers," said Chris Cowan, vice president of publishing of ProQuest CSA. "The LexisNexis Serial Set content serves as a good complement to the other data sets within HeritageQuest Online, and strategically strengthens its content offerings."

By incorporating the two sources from Serial Set within HeritageQuest, the value of government documents for family history research becomes much more evident and easier to search. Through a simple keyword search, researchers can access 480,000 pages of images contained within 150,000 U.S. Government documents dating back to 1789.

"The collaboration with ProQuest CSA allows us to reach further into an important market, public libraries," said Tim Fusco, vice president of publishing operations for LexisNexis Government and Academic Markets. "The alliance will leverage LexisNexis' deep and robust government document archives to help genealogists find new paths for researching their family histories."

Private Relief Actions and Memorials and Petitions have been drawn from the highly regarded LexisNexis Serial Set, an ongoing collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress, which captures every aspect of American life from the early 19th century onward, from farming, to westward expansion, scientific exploration, politics, international relations, business, and manufacturing. It includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

HeritageQuest Online is an essential collection of unique material for both genealogical and historical researchers, with coverage dating back to the late 1700s. Researchers can use HeritageQuest Online to find their ancestors, trace their paths across America, and learn what life was like in the areas where they settled.

Many other distinctive and invaluable sources of information can be found within HeritageQuest Online. The U.S. Federal Census 1790-1930, and 20,000 Genealogy and Local History books are at the cornerstone of HeritageQuest Online. The resource also include Periodical Source Index (PERSI), a widely recognized resource guide, updated annually, that covers more than 6,300 genealogy and history periodicals written in English and French (Canada) since 1800. It also includes Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, which identifies more than 80,000 American military, naval, and marine officers and enlisted men, and Freedman's Bank Records, which documents more than 70,000 bank depositors and their dependants and heirs. All of these resources are fully searchable through HeritageQuest Online.

About ProQuest CSA
ProQuest CSAcombines the strengths of two leading and historic information technology firms: ProQuest Information and Learning and CSA. The company provides seamless access to and navigation of more than 125 billion digital pages of the world's scholarship, delivering it to the desktop and into the workflow of serious researchers in multiple fields, from arts, literature, and social science to science, technology, and medicine. ProQuest CSA is part of Cambridge Information Group (www.cambridgeinformationgroup.com).

ProQuest CSA's vast content pools are available to researchers through libraries of all types and include the world's largest digital newspaper archive, periodical databases comprising the output of more than 9,000 titles and spanning more than 500 years, the preeminent dissertation collection, and various other scholarly collections. Users access the information through the ProQuest® and CSA Illumina Web-based online information systems, Chadwyck-Healey™ electronic and microform resources, UMI® microform and print reference products, eLibrary® and SIRS® educational resources, Ulrich's Serials Analysis System™, COS Scholar Universe, and Serials Solutions resource management tools. Through the expertise of business units Serials Solutions and COS, ProQuest CSA provides technological tools that allow researchers and libraries to better manage and use their information resources. For more information, visit www.proquest.com and www.csa.com.

More Web Site Service Providers Team With FamilySearch

FamilySearch.org - News

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ancestry.com - Military

Ancestry.com - Military: " - FREE THROUGH D-DAY (JUNE 6th) "

Genealogy links

Genealogy links and Resources

Computer - Internet - Software: Genealogy Programs Support

Google™ Trends
* TRENDS: Online research analysis and powerful tracking tool.
- Google™ Trends: Genealogy
- Google™ Trends: Family History
- Surname search data information.

Google™ Trends allows research users to track
genealogy, family history, surname and other
interests of all Internet Google™ users, to gain
additional data news sources and information
about people searching, since A.D. 2004, in
related topics. By using commas, comparison
searches can be graphically presented, with
volume subsets available by regions, cities
and languages.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tidal Wave Starting to Flood FamilySearch.org

It sure has been an exciting past couple of days. Major announcements of databases and partnership with FamilySearch are starting to surface. The exact dates for availability of these database have not been announced yet. Family History Support will be notifying the Family History Directors of each Family History Center (mostly in North America) with directions and availability. It won't be long before we will see access to:

World Vital Records worldvitalrecords.com
Kindred Konnections kindredkonnections.com
Godfrey Memorial Library godfrey.org
Heritage Quest Online (This has been available through most public library.)
Footnote footnote.com so far only the U.S. Revolutionary War Pension records have been announced.

I thought I would send you a copy of the announcements as I received them.
-------------------------
Renee's Genealogy Blog

Friday, May 18, 2007

80 billion family files to go online

Deseret Morning News, Thursday, May 17, 2007

LDS Church plans to be history 'clearinghouse'

By Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News

In what officials say will be a quantum leap forward in providing family history information online, the LDS Church has announced a plan designed to eventually help provide access to as many as 80 billion family records on the Web, in addition to the tens of billions of records it is currently indexing out of its own Granite Vault microfilm archives.

The new Records Access program is being announced this week at the annual meeting of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) in Richmond, Va. The announcement details specifics of how the church is creating partnerships with various archives and other records depositories in a move to become the world's premier international "clearinghouse" for family history.

The first cooperative project under the new program will be to digitize and index U.S. Revolutionary War Pension records with the National Archives in Washington, meaning anyone with ancestors who served in that war will soon be able to access details about that family member online.

Steve W. Anderson, manager of marketing for the church's FamilySearch.org, said the church is working to arrange agreements with commercial Web sites and genealogical organizations worldwide to provide digitizing, indexing and online posting for billions of records, many of which have never been indexed at all, let alone been available online.

"Archives all have two things in mind: preservation and making records available," he said. "When push comes to shove, they would rather preserve them than share them, but most would like to do both."

The church is forming agreements with organizations to help film or digitally image their collections, which can be posted on an organization's Web site, as well as on FamilySearch.org. In some cases, FamilySearch will simply provide a link to a specific organization's Web site, where a small fee for access will be charged to view the records.

The program "recruits volunteers from around the world to index a batch of records at a time. They transcribe those pieces of information — names, dates, locations, marriage, death and birth dates — and make an index that allows the record to be searched by name or place or event," Anderson said.

The project not only will provide "vital statistics," but by imaging the documents, users will be able to pull up a digitized image of the actual record itself. "That's a whole different experience, to see an image of the original document," he said.

The program provides the flexibility necessary to work with small archives as well as giant repositories, he said. It helps those without any resources to complete the entire imaging, indexing and online posting process, and those with more resources who may simply need help posting information online or driving traffic to their Web site.

Once the church has signed an agreement to work with a specific organization, personnel there "typically want to recruit their own patrons to help them index. But with imaging the documents — taking digital photos of them — we do that for them in almost all cases. ... They want preservation-quality digital images, and we do that better than anybody. We've been doing it for decades," to produce the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm that now reside in the church's Granite Mountain near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Anderson said.

FamilySearch can also put indexing projects in progress on its Web site, where volunteers can help index public collections of records. The Revolutionary War records are a "perfect example. We're doing the imaging, posting on our site and will recruit volunteers to help index." An online family history Web site called Footnote.com will create electronic indexes of the records and host the actual images there for public access.

The indexes and images of those records will also be viewable at LDS Family History Centers, as well as at FamilySearch.org.

Anderson said "numerous other national and international projects" of a similar nature are now under development and will be announced as agreements are signed or data is published.

As a result of the "affiliate arrangement," Anderson said FamilySearch.org will "have all the indexes for everything. You can think of it more or less like a Google — you go there to find the source of information you're looking for. Sometimes we're the source, and sometimes a third party is the source."

At least one or two similar agreements are expected to be announced this week in Virginia, Anderson said, noting several of the church's family history specialists are presenting at the conference this week.

While some Web sites may eventually use their information as a money-making enterprise, as commercial family history companies now do, Anderson said the church is not charging partners to help them make their records available.

Church officials have been looking to form such partnerships "for some time now," Anderson said, but have had to push forward the development of technology that would allow it to happen with "the way we scan, photo, transfer and archive. Because some of the necessary technology wasn't available, we had to develop it ourselves."

Working with a scanner producer, the church helped develop high-speed scanners that can scan a roll of microfilm in "a couple of minutes," as opposed to an hour or more that traditional scanners required.

New software developed to process that information into images and make it ready for processing, as well as to manage the warehousing of such huge information banks, also had to be created, Anderson said. "Almost every step of the way, there were significant engineering projects or hardware that needed to be developed."

Now that the technology is in place, the Records Access project will mean "at least 20 billion unique new names that will be in those records (to be posted online), but I'm not uncomfortable saying it could be 80 billion." That's compared with a total of about 5 billion names now online, he said.

The new technology and resulting "affiliate" agreements through FamilySearch will "fundamentally change people's ability to find their ancestors and connect with their families online. It's just going to be a real watershed event," Anderson said.