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September 30, 2006

Genealogy Video Clip

Dan Lawyer, who works in the Family History Department for the LDS church, recently posted a short video he made about one of his ancestors. I really enjoyed watching it and thought that others might like seeing it to. This could be a good method for Family History Consultants to get their ward members interested in Genealogy.

Here is a link to his video.

September 28, 2006

Family History Consultants

My parents are Directors of the Family History Center in Alpine, Utah. They sometimes notify me of genealogy events or church related things. They recently told me that all the Family History Consultants for wards/branches are supposed to sign up to a Mailing List for information and lessons on the new FamilySearch.

There is a good explanation of this and how to do it at Renee's Genealogy Blog. Renee's blog is a good one to follow if you are interested in updates with the "new FamilySearch" or LDS related topics. I think she should be in charge of the new website once it's finally up. :)

September 20, 2006

Soundex Genealogy Searches

A few weeks ago I went to a presentation by Steve Morse about his One-Step Database at my local Genealogy Society Meeting. He basically went through his whole website in 90 minutes explaining how everything works. Most of the presentation I had read online, so it wasn't that new to me, but the part about generating Soundex Codes got me excited. I had never heard about needing soundex codes since I used Ancestry.com when I first started researching and their site searches soundex for you. But I did not resubscribe to Ancestry.com this year, so I have been using Heritage Quest Online instead to access U.S. Federal Census records. But as many users of this site know, they do not search by soundex. The spelling you type in is the only one their search engine can find.

So when I got home from Mr. Morse's presentation, I looked up a soundex code for one of my ancestors and then tried to use it at Heritage Quest Online. Nothing happened. I couldn't figure out how it worked. So I did some research and at first I just found a bunch of articles explaining how to figure out the Soundex code for a name. There is a very thorough article by Dick Eastman, and another one at About.com. I finally found another article by Kimberly Powell titled, Heritage Quest Online - Census Records. One of the cons on her list for this site is that there are no soundex or wildcard searches. This is definitely a con. I really enjoy using this website since it's free with my library card, but the census records are sometimes hard to search with only the head of household indexed and no soundex searching.

If you are searching a census and need the soundex code, there is a quick one-step converter by Steve Morse. And the PAF program also has a soundex calculator, so other genealogy programs might have this as well.

September 15, 2006

Massachusetts Death Index

Dick Eastman posted about the Massachusetts Death Index the other day. There is a free online index for deaths in Massachusetts from 1841 to 1910. I immediately went to check it out and it was as simple to use as Eastman said it would be.

Check it out here.

September 14, 2006

World Vital Records soon to be a Subscription Website

The following is an announcement from the World Vital Records Newsletter:

World Vital Records Subscription Coming Soon!

First 5,000 World Vital Records Subscribers Get 2 Years for the Price of 1!!!

World Vital Records will always have free content on its site. However, beginning October 4, 2006, a new world of content will be available. World Vital Records will launch its subscription model. The first 5,000 subscribers will receive a two-year subscription when they sign up for 1 year. The cost will only be $49.95 (less than $1 per week!).

September 13, 2006

Family History Certificate from BYU

If you're looking for a way to increase your knowledge of genealogy, there is a certificate program offered through BYU's Independent Study. You are required to take 18 hours of course work in order to receive their Family History Certificate.

The courses include:

Required Courses
HIST 400 - The Family and the Law in American History (3 hours)
HIST 421 - English Language Handwriting and Documents (3 hours) Section 1 (American Emphasis), or Section 2 (British Emphasis)
HIST 482 - Professional Paths and Credentials in Family History

And then 2 source courses below (6 hours) and 1 elective course (3 hours) in either the American or British option.

North American Option
Source Courses
HIST 403 U.S.--Midwest Family History Research
HIST 404 U.S.--Southern States Family History Research
HIST 411 Latin American Family History Research

Elective Courses
HIST 378 American Family History
HIST 432 Oral History Interviewing and Processing (currently not available)
HIST 433 Writing Family Histories
HIST 481R Section 1 (3 credits), or HIST 481R Section 2 (1 credits) Directed Research in Family History

British Option

Source Courses
HIST 409R (1) Germanic/Slavic Family History
HIST 413 England/Wales Since 1700 Family History Research
HIST 414 Scottish Family History Research
HIST 415 Irish Family History Research

Elective Courses
GERM 490R(3) German for Family Historians and Genealogists
HIST 319 The Family in Europe
HIST 322 England to 1689
HIST 323 England Since 1689
HIST 390R (1) Special Topics in History
HIST 432 Oral History Interviewing and Processing (currently not available)
HIST 433 Writing Family Histories
HIST 481R Section 1 (3 credits), or HIST 481R Section 2 (1 credits) Directed Research in Family History

In order to apply to the program you need to send a letter to:

Roy Schmidt
Family History Certificate Program Coordinator
Independent Study
239 Harman Continuing Education Building
P.O. Box 21514
Provo, UT 84602-1514

Include the following:

* Name
* Address
* Date of Birth
* Social Security Number
* Telephone Number
* A paragraph describing your experience, if any, in family history/genealogy
* A paragraph explaining why you want to earn a certificate through BYU Independent Study

NOTE: I recently applied for this program and got a call from Roy Schmidt telling me that the Certificate Program is currently under review so they are not accepting any new applicants. I'll let you know when this changes.

September 12, 2006

General Land Office Records

There was a page in the free issue of the Internet Genealogy Magazine about the General Land Office Records Online. I had remembered reading about this website a long time ago as one of the top 14 websites for Professional Genealogists. But when I first heard about it, it was offline. It seems to be up and working again though and I was happy to try it out and find one of my ancestors' land patents.


A land patent for my husband's ancestor, Samuel Bickel, born in Indiana in 1834 and then moved to Missouri.

And here is a land patent for Heber J. Grant, the 7th President of the LDS Church, and George A. Holt, a member of the LDS church who served as a Bishop in Enterprise, Utah.


The General Land Office Records site has images of over 2 million federal land patents. Almost all of my husband's ancestors are from New England though, so my only complaint is that they don't cover the thirteen colonies.

September 11, 2006

Free Issue of Internet Genealogy Magazine

A new magazine was released back in February called Internet Genealogy. It seems to have become a big hit with over 10,000 subscribers. They are now offering a free issue to everyone. You can go to their website and download a 64-page issue for free. I'm excited to read it and see if I want to subscribe.


They are also offering a special subscription rate of $22 for one year (the regular rate is $28). The $22 rate is only valid until October 31, 2006.

September 8, 2006

Ancestry.com Sweepstakes - Win a Trip!

The following is a post from Ancestry.com's blog, 24/7 Family History Circle.

Ancestral Vacation Sweepstakes: Win a Trip or One of Three Other Prizes

Upload photos of your favorite ancestors, and you could win an unforgettable trip to their homeland. Visit Ancestry.com anytime between September 1 and September 30, upload up to five photos a day of earlier generations* of your family, and you could win an all-expense paid† trip to visit any of your ancestors’ place of origin. Register, start your tree and upload photos absolutely free. You’ll be able to learn first-hand details about their lives and their homeland that may give you a better picture of who they were, and maybe a little about yourself as well – information you can’t get from traditional research.

In addition to the grand prize trip, each week we’ll also choose ten winners for additional prizes. Two first place winners will win a portable scanner, perfect for digitizing family photos for your album. Four second place winners will receive a free year subscription to Ancestry.com. And four third place winners will receive a personalized and unique copy of Our Name in History, a book detailing the history of their family name!

For more information, click here.

*Limit of 5 photo uploads per day. Please see Official Rules for photo eligibility requirements
†See Official Rules for details

September 7, 2006

Free Surname Photo Search - DeadFred.com

I'm not sure why I haven't heard about this website until today, but there is a great website available called deadfred.com. People around the world can upload old photographs and then genealogists can search for their surnames to try and find relatives. Here is one of their ads:


This ad is actually a little outdated - they now have almost 63,000 photo records to search.

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