August 19, 2008

Request to Find Evaluators for the New Web Site

Please e-mail the following request to family and friends, including Church members and nonmembers:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing a new version of the Web site. This new Web site will help individuals identify ancestors and link them to families, and it will help Church members perform temple ordinances for their ancestors.

Can you volunteer an hour of time to help evaluate this new Web site? Do you know someone else who might be interested? We are looking for feedback to help make the Web site as easy and enjoyable to use as possible. We are especially interested in feedback from individuals who are new to family history.

Anyone over age 18 interested in participating in this evaluation is invited to go to the following Internet address to sign-up:

Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm. We greatly value your time and opinion.


The FamilySearch User Experience Evaluation Team

Family History Department

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

February 2, 2008 Launches World Genealogy Collection

The following is an announcement from Launches World Genealogy Collection

A billion names from 33 countries coming online

PROVO, UT, February 4, 2008 -- (a service of released today its flagship product, the World Collection, an online genealogy database containing more than 1.5 billion names from 35 countries.'s World Collection launch includes significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal.

"All over the world there are wonderful people who are digitizing and preserving historic records," said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. "During the past year we have traveled and met with these content providers from more than a dozen countries. We are pleased today to announce that many of them have chosen to let us distribute their genealogical databases on the Internet."

More than 20 companies have partnered with to make this new collection possible. They include Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, Archive CD Books Australia, British Origins, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, Eneclann, Quintin Publications, Gould Genealogy, Familias Argentinas, Godfrey Memorial Library, and Moravian Heritage Society.

"This is a very exciting announcement for our members. As we enter our second year, we have accomplished much including having more than 24,000 paid subscribers, 2 million users on our We're Related application on Facebook, and have announced 2 billion names in our two major content collections, the US and World Collection. The number two seems to be common theme in this announcement as we enter our second stage," said David Lifferth, President,, Inc.

The World Collection includes birth, marriage and death records, census records, passenger lists, immigration lists, emigration records, foreign newspapers, cemetery records, reference materials, land records, family histories, historical records, city directories, business directories, township histories, civil service records, telephone directories, government records, war records, and maps, atlases, and gazetteers.

Census records from the UK comprise's largest database in the World Collection. These records include the 1851, 1861, 1881, and 1891, 1901 censuses. These records are the official civil registration records for England and Wales from 1837 to the present. All of these censuses will be periodically posted county by county throughout the year. These censuses include images, and also a key-word searchable index.

"Alongside birth, marriage, and death records, census records are the most important building block for family historians," said Elaine Collins, Commercial Director, Find My Past. "We feel is set for success, and we are excited to make our census records more accessible to an American audience who wouldn't normally think of Find My Past as the first place to look for census records."

The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) lists is another large database containing almost 9,000 passenger lists and millions of names. The ISTG records include information such as surname, captain's name, port of arrival/departure, and name of the ship. These records are the result of the work of more than 500 volunteers over a ten-year period.

"I am very excited about this partnership. I remember when ISTG was one-year old, and everyone was supporting us. In return, I'm happy to partner with because they provide a service that is affordable and easily accessible on the Internet," said Patty MacFarlane McCormack, Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.

The World Collection also includes newspapers from Australia, the Bahamas, Canada (over 80 newspaper representing all provinces), Chile, Ecuador, England, Ireland, and Mexico (more than 150 newspapers from 15 states).

Genealogical Publishing Company also adds more than 600 large databases to the World Collection including colonial and Irish genealogy, royal ancestry, and family history.

"We have been publishing at for 55 years, and we look forward to expanding our work into new territories, such as," said Barry Chodak, President, Genealogical Publishing Company.

Individuals can access more than 5,000 genealogical databases, more than 2 billion names (these names are being added throughout the year), and the World Collection at

About, Inc., Inc. is a family of services that includes,, and We're Related on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families.

About World Vital Records, Inc.

Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original team, World Vital Records, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 470,000 monthly visitors, 6.4 million monthly pages views, and more than 24,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases including birth, death, military, census, and parish records, makes it easy to extend your family tree. World Vital Records also runs, a social network for genealogists, and We're Related, a popular Facebook application with more than 2 million users. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Genealogical Publishing Company, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find A Grave, and FamilySearch™. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

February 1, 2008 - Arts Directory

I recently received an invitation from to add my url to their site. Before I added it I decided to look through all the genealogy links they currently have and I was impressed with the long list. I am going to have fun looking through some of these websites.

Here is the list.

June 10, 2007

Found: Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

Miriam Midkiff from Ancestories has been very kind in letting me know what happened to Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness the past few days. Here is a forwarded email message from the owner of RAOGK, Bridgett Schneider.

From: Bridgett Schneider

Date: Jun 9, 2007 4:15 PM

Subject: [Raogk-announce] Site Downtime

By now the majority of you know that RAOGK had been off-line for a few days. We are at least 80% back in service, and should be 100% by Wednesday (June 13). We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone.

The outage was due to computer hardware problems with our uplink to the Internet, something we had no control over. However, due to that outage we have had to go with another Internet provider. Although we are using the same URL ( the way the Internet recognizes our domain has changed. It takes time for the Internet to recognize this change and to find us again.

For those who may be interested in the particulars of why we were off-line and why we needed to find another provider after 7 years, I've provided a timeline and explanation below. For those who are just happy we are back online and that the site has not disappeared forever, thank you for your patience while waiting for us to reappear.

(I didn't include the lengthy description of what happened. If you want the whole story email me and I'll forward it along)

June 8, 2007

Lost: Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

I just received an email from Phyllis in Sunbury, Ohio letting me know that my link to the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website doesn't work. After much searching on Google I can not seem to find the website. I found 3 different URLs for it, but none of them are working right now.

Does anyone know where their website went?

May 23, 2007

Lowest Ancestry Offer Ever?

I just received this following notice by email. I've never seen an Ancestry membership so cheap. A few years ago I bought a US membership for around $200, and a few months ago I bought one for $99. This annual payment would be $83.40. A World Deluxe Membership would be $155.40 annually. I wonder if all the new developments with FamilySearch are getting them worried. Either way, the great deal ends this Friday, May 25th.


February 21, 2007

Canada Heritage Day - 3 Free Days at Ancestry

A lot of people have posted about the 3 free days of I signed up for mine this past weekend and have enjoyed it, so I wanted to let others know that you still have some time until the end of February. This offer is a celebration of Heritage Day in Canada. An explanation of this holiday and offer found at follows:

Established in 1973, Heritage Day was created to preserve and promote Canada's nationally significant, historic, natural and scenic heritage. Celebrated the third Monday of February, it's an opportunity to reflect on the people, events and places in history that have contributed to who we are as a nation, and who we are as individuals. It's also a great time to think about our ancestors.

An important part of who we are today consists of the traditions, habits, values, and even the genetics of our ancestors. Each one has contributed something to make you who you are today. As part of Heritage Day, we're celebrating all of their contributions - the good, the bad and even the ugly. Enjoy 3 days of free access so you can get to know them... you may be surprised to discover where you come from.

Ancestry's offers tend to last longer than they say. I signed up on Friday and just lost access today on Wednesday. My only Canadian research at the moment is in Prince Edward Island. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't find more information on PEI at Ancestry, but at least I tried. Their 1851 Canadian Census doesn't include PEI, and their other censuses, 1901 and 1911, can be found elsewhere. I use Automated Genealogy to access the indexes for 1901 and 1911 for free.

Well, the offer is good for one more week, so check it out. They seem to have a lot of information in Ontario.

February 20, 2007

Beta 2 Testing Begins for the new Family Search

According to Renee Zamora's blog, the beta 2 testing has begun! Renee said that 3,000 people were chosen out of 19,000 applicants and unfortunately I don't think I was one of them. Renee posted on Sunday evening and had been looking at the new Family Search all day. I haven't received an email either way, but am assuming I'm out of the running.

So check Renee's blog often for updates.

January 29, 2007

Family Search Beta Testing Coming Soon!

Renee Zamora already posted about this earlier, but I just wanted to let my readers know as well. This morning an email was sent to those people who participated in the first round of Family Search beta testing over a year ago. This means the 2nd round should hopefully be starting up again soon. Renee pointed out that everyone has to take a survey to see if they meet the desired criteria. I am in the 18-25 age range and now live in California, so hopefully I will be chosen due to my youthfulness and geographical location.

I'll keep you posted.

January 17, 2007 Special Offer


I canceled my ancestry membership over a year ago because I didn't think it was worth the current price. I began using HeritageQuestOnline for my census searching. But they do not cover the 1850 or 1930 censuses and their search engine isn't as good as Ancestry's. So I think I am going to sign up with this discounted price. I think it will be worth the $8 a month.

Sign up for monthly payment for U.S. Deluxe Membership

Sign up for annual payment for the U.S. Deluxe Membership

Sign up for monthly payment for the World Deluxe Membership

Sign up for annual payment for the World Deluxe Membership

January 16, 2007

New Family History Business

The following is a press release from Verify Family History


Summit, NJ, 1/16/07. On January 15, 2006, Martin Luther King Day, Verify Family History was launched, in fulfillment of its business dream. Its dream is comparing and verifying ancestors’ temple ordinances with the official temple ordinance records of the Church.

Several people have genealogies that include temple ordinances. Unfortunately, many people have not verified their ancestors’ temple ordinances. And unfortunately some and even many temple ordinances are not listed on the official Church records. Thus many ordinances are not considered done.

Verify Family History has eight Church members in Jinja, Uganda, located in East Africa. The employees have been extensively trained to inexpensively compare, verify and document people’s temple ordinances. Utlilizing the Personal Ancestral File (PAF) program and the internet, the eight employees are easily able to perform the verification work.

Having temple ordinances inexpensively verified allows family historians to easily authenticate their ancestors’ ordinances, frees them from the repetitive drudgery and allows them to explore the more interesting unknowns of their genealogies. Furthermore, the compiled information of the ancestors’ missing temple ordinances allows for easy submission to the temple. Furthermore, it provides a peace of mind.

Family historians may start to have their ancestors’ temple ordinances verified by attaching a PAF (Personal Ancestral File) or gedcom file to an email sent to, or access the website to obtain more information. The cost is $0.75 per ancestor and the first 10 names are free. (more)

So, on Martin Luther King Day, some may have heard their ancestors rightfully shouting with joy: “Free at last, Free at last, Free at last!”

About Verify Family History. VFH is a New Jersey corporation working with 24-7 Uganda Ltd., an Ugandan corporation. Both corporations are owned by Merrill Clark.

Contact: (Mr.) Merrill J. Clark

Verify Family History

72 Division Avenue

Summit, NJ 07901

(973) 985-8641

(973) 847-5147 fax

I am honestly rather perplexed by this press release. Verifying temple ordinances is free if you use the IGI at I don't know why this new company is starting to charge people for it. I checked out their website and they clearly state that they will be using the IGI to "verify" our family history. They charge an "inexpensive fee" of 75 cents for each individual. If you have only 100 individuals in your file, you will pay $75. Many people have more than 100 people in their file, try thousands. This would get pricey.

I think I'll keep checking my ancestors free by using the IGI myself. Also, I bought PAF Insight a few years ago for $20 and that checks the IGI for me pretty easily. It is much quicker than doing it by hand, though sometimes I have to admit it does miss some ordinances that have been done. I still haven't figured out why.

NOTE: You do have to be a member of the LDS church in order to see the temple ordinances in the IGI.

January 1, 2007

Generation Maps

In November Dan Lawyer posted about his 7' x 4' map from I liked the idea of displaying your genealogy, and had also seen a post from Randy Seaver in October displaying his calligraphy-written ancestry chart.

Since I am currently working on a cross-stitch of my family tree, I am not in the market for ordering one of these charts yet. But when thinking about Christmas gifts, I thought it might be a good idea for my parents and my in-laws. I decided to test out (since I don't have very good handwriting for making a chart of my own). I ordered each of them a 6 generation fan chart with a picture of the Salt Lake Temple in the background (both of them having gotten married there). Uploading my gedcom to the site was fairly easy. The problem came when the price of my shopping cart didn't change. I uploaded my file 4 or 5 times before the shopping cart price finally changed and I was able to then check out. That was a little frustrating, but could have been my own fault.

Everything else went very smoothly after that. I ordered the charts and had an email from one of their workers named Janet the very next day. She verified the 5 files I had uploaded and said she would get a mock-up to me soon. When the mock-up came I approved and disapproved things very easily and fixed information I didn't know was missing. I also wanted birth places, in addition to dates, and Janet put those all in by hand. She was always quick to change things and mailed the charts to me priority mail so that I would have them in time to ship for Christmas.

Sometimes companies do not impress me with their customer service, but Generation Maps had wonderful customer service. I highly recommend ordering a wall chart from them. Both of my charts look very nice and hopefully were a nice Christmas present. Thank you Generation Maps!

November 29, 2006

iMemoryBook Update

I wrote about my experience with iMemoryBook over a year ago. I recently received a comment from Jeffrey at FamilyLearn saying there's a new updated version of iMemoryBook available.

I just thought I would let you know that we released version 2.0 of iMemoryBook on November 15th. That's right we just released it this past week. It is FREE to use during it's BETA period. You can get to the new system at:

So anyone who wants to try out their service, maybe for a Christmas gift, can do so for free right now.

There is also an article about this new release at

November 22, 2006

World Vital Records Thanksgiving Special


To celebrate Thanksgiving we have a special offer to those who sign up for our newsletter.

Signup for the World Vital Records weekly newsletter. The newsletter covers:

* Genealogy and family history industry news and updates
* WorldVitalRecords news and information
* Information on new and upcoming databases to be added to the site
* Upcoming conferences and events
* View an example of the newsletter

When you signup for the newsletter you will also get:

* Free eSourcebook of American History - Over 1,000 key works of American History from 1000 to 1999
* Free audio book - Four Traits of Great Leaders by Stephen R. Covey
* Free $5 gift certificate at to get the ebook of your choosing. Thousands to choose from.

November 21, 2006

NGS Members-Only Data available FREE for Thanksgiving

I found the following announcement from the National Genealogical Society at Dick Eastman's site:

The National Genealogical Society opens the "Members-Only Data Section" of its Website for the Thanksgiving Holiday!

In recognition of the number of families that will be together over the Thanksgiving Holiday, the National Genealogical Society will open its "Members-Only Section" from November 23 through November 26, 2006 free of charge.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions about your grandparents, great grandparents, and great, great grandparents. Where did they live? How long had they lived in the community? Who were their brothers and sisters? What did they do for a living? Did your ancestors immigrate to the United States in the 19th or 20th Century? What was their country of origin? Did your ancestors serve in World War I, World War II, the Civil War, the War of 1812 or the Revolutionary War? There are records about your family waiting to be discovered!

The National Genealogical Society has many resources to assist you in your family history research.

* Our Members Ancestry Charts contain more than a million names, with more than 800,000 names already online. Additional names are being added monthly.
* Our Bible Collection includes more than 3,000 Bibles with more than 50,000 names online.
* Our bookstore includes popular genealogical publications, Genealogy 101, Online Roots, The Organized Family Historian, and Unlocking Your Genetic History. A great Christmas gift for the genealogist in your family.
* Members receive a quarterly NewsMagazine with articles about record sources and methodology to improve your research.
* Members receive the NGS Quarterly four times a year, a scholarly publication which includes compiled genealogies, case studies, essays on new methodologies, critical reviews of current books and previously unpublished source materials.
* An Annual Conference in the States and Family History Fair held this year on May 16-19, 2007 in Richmond, Virginia, will feature "400 Years of Virginia History" along with 150 exhibitors and over 140 lectures, workshops, luncheons and networking events.

For those ready to take the next step, check out our Learning Center where you can sign up for "Introduction to Genealogy" - an online course available at a discounted price for members. If you are an experienced family researcher, our "Home Study Course" may help take your research to the next level.

To access the NGS Members Only Section, click on and enter the username: member and password: ngspromo in the respective textboxes when prompted for credentials. Upon successful login, please feel free to browse our website including the Members Only Section.

If you are already a NGS member, we hope that this brief open access will enable a family member to make contact with you via the National Genealogical Society and perhaps solve a missing link in your genealogical research.

Come, take a look at our website at over the Thanksgiving Weekend and consider membership in NGS.

November 17, 2006

Measuring Worth

A few weeks ago the RootsWeb newsletter mentioned a website to check out called The website uses different calculators to help determine the "worth" of something during different time periods. Using these calculators, you can answer these questions.

* What Is the Annualized Growth Rate of Various Historical Economic Series?
* What Is the Relative Value? Five Ways to Compare the Worth of a United States Dollar,
1790 - 2005
* What Is the Relative Value? Five Ways to Compare the Worth of a United Kingdom
Pound, 1830 - 2005
* Computing 'Real Value' Over Time With a Conversion Between U.K. Pounds and U.S.
Dollars, 1830 - 2005
* Computing Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar, 1774 - 2005
* Computing Purchasing Power of the British Pound, 1264 - 2005
* Computing Inflation Rates for the United States (1774 - 2005) and United Kingdom (Britain) (1264 - 2005)

I recently found one of my ancestors in the 1870 Census. In this census he said that his real estate value was $850.00. Using one of Measuring Worth's calculators led me to this answer for 2005 value.

In 2005, $850.00 from 1870 is worth:
$13,122.92 using the Consumer Price Index
$12,317.35 using the GDP deflator
$94,098.59 using the unskilled wage
$183,224.09 using the nominal GDP per capita
$1,359,105.26 using the relative share of GDP

I'm not really sure which of these 5 answers is most accurate. If it's one of the first 3, then he had a rather inexpensive home. The 4th one would be reasonable, but the 5th one would be quite nice and expensive.

Measuring is currently developing a decision table, with associated expanded calculators, to help users determine which measure is best for their question.

November 7, 2006

Family Tree Legends Website

Many people have probably heard of the genealogy software called Family Tree Legends. I haven't used it myself, but if you look at their website you can read about all their features.

What you may not know is that their website contains more than just genealogy software. I recently have been using their site to access a free index to many vital records. So far I've searched Illinois marriages and Missouri Births and have found some good information. Here is a list of just their Birth, Marriage, & Death Records: (I've been able to access some of the ones that aren't marked as free - so they may all be free)

Arizona Births, 1887-1928
Arizona Deaths, 1878-1953
Boulder County, Colorado Divorces, 1904-1912
California Births, 1905 - 1995 FREE!
California Deaths, 1940 - 1997 FREE!
Colorado 1870 Federal Census
Delaware Naturalizations
Idaho Deaths, 1911-1951
Illinois Deaths, 1916-1950
Illinois Deaths, Before 1916
Illinois Marriages, 1763-1900 FREE!
Indiana Naturalizations
Kentucky Births, 1911 - 199
Kentucky Deaths, 1911 - 1992 FREE!
Kentucky Divorces, 1907 - 1998
Kentucky Marriages, 1960 - 1993
Maine Deaths, 1960-1996
Michigan Deaths, Late 1800's
Missouri Births
Missouri Deaths
New Mexico Deaths, 1899-1940
Oregon Deaths, Early 1900's
Portland, Oregon Deaths
Social Security Death Index FREE!
Tennessee Deaths, 1908-1912
Texas Births, 1926-1995 FREE!
Texas Deaths, 1964-1998 FREE!
Texas Divorces, 1968 - 2002
Texas Marriages FREE
Vermont Deaths, 1989-2001

They also have Military, Land, Court, Probate, Biographies, and History Records as well. I suggest checking it out when you get the chance.

November 3, 2006

The Training Corner - New FamilySearch Information

I stumbled upon a brand new blog called The Training Corner, which looks to be a place for demonstrations/training on the new FamilySearch. There are only 3 entries, each posted today. The first one is a link to a 4-page PDF of the changes from Beta 1 to Beta 2 for the new FamilySearch. There is also a flash demonstration posted showing how FamilySearch will match and combine vital records for different individuals. I really enjoyed watching this one.

Hopefully there will be more to come at this blog.

October 26, 2006

ABC News advertises 3 free days of Ancestry was on Good Morning America this morning and traced Chris Cuomo’s roots. They will also be on tomorrow, October 27th, and next Thursday and Friday as well.

The Genealogue alerted me to 3 free days of Ancestry use by going to the ABC website. I guess I've got some work to do. See you in 4 days!

October 24, 2006

RootsWeb's WorldConnect

Recently Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings wrote about Ancestry Member Trees. He wondered if anybody had uploaded their family tree to Ancestry and how it had gone. I proudly commented that I had.

I have my genealogy file uploaded to Ancestry's Family Tree, and RootsWeb's WorldConnect. (I was going to link to my file at Ancestry, but I just realized that having the tree "public" at their site means that my full name as well as all other living members' full names are visible. With all the identity theft issues, I decided I better mark my tree "personal." People can still find out information on my deceased ancestors, but no information on the living ones.) RootsWeb just shows living people's last names. I guess this isn't a whole lot better, but it gives me a little more comfort - and people can't tell which of the living members I am.

Two different women have found me in the last month through my RootsWeb file. One has emailed pictures and information to my mother and me about our Mullins line and the other one has mailed many documents and sources to me on my Bickel line. I also found someone else just last week who emailed me a picture of my husband's GGG Grandmother (picture below), an ancestor who's been quite elusive to us. I've only had my file up for a few months, but I have had some great finds since then.

I was also recently contacted by someone through Ancestry, but we haven't shared any information yet. I'm excited to continue finding more cousins!

Emily Wilson - Born in 1814 in Kentucky, parents unknown.

(I feel like I just wrote one of those success stories in the RootsWeb Weekly Emails :>)

October 19, 2006

Genealogy Bank - New Website

A few people have posted about a new website available for Family History research. It is called

Genealogy Bank offers:

Historical Newspapers 1690 - 1977

Historical Books 1652 - 1900

Historical Documents 1789 - 1930

America's Obituaries 1977 to current

Social Security Death Index 1937 to current

You are allowed to search names for free and see what hits were found. But then you will have to pay $19.95 per month for access to everything.

Here are some links to other blogs with reviews:

Dick Eastman's article

Genealogy Blog's Article
DearMYRTLE's Article

October 10, 2006

Update on Family Search

Arlene Eakle recently posted an update on Family Search acquired from "Elder Marlin K. Jensen, LDS Church Historian and Recorder, Director of Family History and Genealogy. Keynote Address, Northern Utah Genealogy Conference, Eccles Conference Center, 6 Oct 2006."

Here is an excerpt that interested me.

Beta testing is ongoing. Duplicates in the current databases are being eliminated or merged: 1 billion, 200,000 names have been shrunk to 700,000 million names during Beta I. Beta II will be restricted to members of the LDS Church to further shrink their family data to about 500,000 million names. It is estimated that about 130,000 LDS members submit information to the databases on a regular basis. They will participate in Beta II.

I was part of Beta I and had no idea we shrunk that many names. Hopefully we can get Beta II going soon.

There was also a more thorough update in the Deseret News about 10 days ago. It was written by Carrie A. Moore and gives some different details on the Family History Overhaul.

October 4, 2006

New England Historic Genealogical Society

I recently received free access to NEHGS's website,, because of a survey I took. There was free access to their Register for a few days back in March, and they later emailed me offering free access to their whole website if I took a survey. I was very excited for this since I have many relatives from New England. And I was not disappointed. I found a lot of information at their site, including at least 10 maiden names for women in my file.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the oldest genealogical society in the country and has been helping new and experienced researchers trace their heritage in New England and throughout the world for over 160 years. Their mission statement is as follows:

The New England Historic Genealogical Society advances genealogical scholarship and develops the capabilities of both new and experienced researchers of family history by collecting, preserving, interpreting, and communicating in a variety of accessible formats reliable genealogical data with emphasis on families and communities connected to the New England.

For me, the most helpful database on their website was the Massachusetts Vital Records. I recently posted about a site with free access to the MA Death Index, but you can't look at the actual image there. You are able to see the image for all vital records (birth, marriage, or death) at and both parents' names are listed...usually including the mother's maiden name. This was very exciting for me. And this is why I didn't post many blog entries last week, because I was busy researching as often as I could before my free week expired.

This is an image I found with a death date for an ancestor from Ireland I hadn't been able to find until now.


Mary Toomey Bixby died 17 May 1902 in Boxford, MA. Further to the right it tells me that she died of cardiac disease and that she was born in Ireland to Cornelius and Ellen M. Toomey. I wasn't sure of her maiden name before and I certainly didn't know who her parents were.

To find out the different membership plans and fees to join the NEHGS, click here.

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 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 7, 2006

Free Surname Photo Search -

I'm not sure why I haven't heard about this website until today, but there is a great website available called 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.

August 11, 2006

Unsolved Ancestry Awards

If you have hit a brick wall with one of your genealogy lines, Unsolved could help you. I learned about this site from a post by Dick Eastman. All you do is post your question with all the known facts and offer an award. The average award seems to be around $100 - $200. Some of them are as little as $10, which might not entice many people to help you, but others go as high as $500...even an $800 reward. I'm sure there are some professional genealogists and amateur genealogists interested in making a little extra money, depending on how hard the problem is.

If you are interested in solving the mysteries, you will need to provide "proof" by genealogical standards. The unsolved mysteries are listed by surnames, so you can't just search for your area of geographical expertise.

The highest award listed right now is for $1500! It is to find the parents of Arthur Garfield Taft. The original award was for $500, but then someone else who was interested came along and added a $1000 reward. This seems like a good way to get a mystery solved. My mother and I are both having trouble working on our Reed line, so perhaps we should pool our money together to offer a big reward for some help.

You are allowed to post your unsolved case for free for the first 3 months. Then it will cost $10 for the rest of the year. And once your mystery has been solved with adequate proof and you pay your award, you will also have to pay 3% of your award amount to Unsolved Ancestry. So you need to remember that extra 3% when determining your award.

August 9, 2006

A year ago I wrote about a new website called Map Your Ancestors. Originally the idea was for you to fill out a 5 generation pedigree chart and email it to the support team and they would map our your ancestors for you. Soon after I found out about the site they stopped taking emails though, so I didn't get my map.

I just revisited the site and now you can sign up (for free) and publish your own map and pedigree. The site is a little slow to work with, but I've finally finished inputting 5 generations, starting with me. The map then plots the birth and death of each person. I have chosen to keep my web page private, since there is personal information for living people, but here is a screen shot of my map.


August 4, 2006

Affiliate Programs

If you have a website related to genealogy, you could earn a little extra money by joining's affiliate program. Here is their description of the program: Affiliate Program

Earn extra $$$ by promoting family history research!
Join our Ancestry affiliate team and begin earning commissions by helping other Internet users find!

We pay more than $300,000 per month in commissions
We have several successful affiliates who earn more than $10,000 per month and dozens more who earn more than $5,000 per quarter.

The leading genealogy site in the world, signs up tens of thousands of new subscribers each month. Now with more than 700,000 current subscriptions, Ancestry ranks behind the Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports as the most successful subscription service on the web.

Join our program and we'll teach you how to:

* create useful genealogy pages on your website
* get new traffic from search engines and elsewhere
* successfully promote Ancestry on your site

Then we do the rest! We keep track of all your visitors. Check out our complete commission plan.

Here is a link to a list of other genealogy-related affiliate programs.

July 28, 2006

Paul Allen, the founder of, has a new website out called The company's main slogan is to become the #2 player in the genealogy industry. Their home page says this about their site:

World Vital Records exists to create a place where people can connect with one another, share memories, and discover more about who they are and their roots.

At World Vital Records we will utilize the latest web 2.0 technologies and best practices to provide services and products that will transform genealogy and historical research to be a comfortable, intuitive, and personally rewarding experience.

I think this is a good mission statement and I hope to see great things from the site. Right now they are offering a contest called Pioneering Into The Future. Here are the details:

Show your pioneer spirit and break new ground by uploading a photo at You will receive one entry for every old photo (taken before 1950) you upload to WorldVitalRecords from July 24- until midnight on August 25. (There is no limitation on the number of photos an individual can submit.) The winner (from a random drawing) will receive a gift certificate to have 25 photos professionally scanned and will be notified on August 26. The photos will be added to our ALWAYS FREE WVR Family Collection database .

July 26, 2006

Maine Genealogy

I posted about a humorous genealogy blog a while ago titled, The Genealogue. Just to give you an idea of what Chris posts about, today he wrote about nude genealogists. :) It is a very interesting blog, to say the least.

I just found out that the webmaster, Christopher Dunham, also has another website called Maine Genealogy. Here you can find Maine Marriages, 1892-1996, Maine Deaths, 1960-1996, World War II Enlistment Records, passenger lists, divorce records, and wills recorded between 1640 and 1760. I have searched for some of my ancestors from Maine and it appears to be rather helpful.

Other websites by Chris Dunham include:

All Things Maine

Strange Maine

Oxford County Genealogy Notebook

Genealogy Websites I Don't Hate

I'm not sure, but I think his research might focus in Maine. :)

July 25, 2006


I posted about the top 14 websites preferred by professional genealogists over a year ago, and I am just now beginning to use and appreciate the website ranked 3rd, RootsWeb. I don't know why I haven't tried it out sooner, since it is free, but at long last I am making good use of it. The original article about these websites, written by Kory L. Meyerink, said this about RootsWeb, "Free data makes RootsWeb a great place for hobbyist genealogists to publish their work and for others to find it."

I wish I had realized the option of sharing my work with others by using RootsWeb's offer of free web space. I have uploaded my gedcom file to Tribal Pages, but others need a password to access it and no one has actually found me and contacted me through their site. RootsWeb, on the other hand, files your website under their surnames list and any other genealogists searching for information on that surname can contact you and see what you have displaying on your site.

I am currently concentrating on one of my lines from New England, the Hersams, and I found one link to a common variation of Hersom. The website didn't actually have any information on the Hersoms, but it did have an email address to another lady studying the same line in Maine. We are now sharing information.

I plan to start my own web page with RootsWeb in order to share my information and be a reference for others. It takes 3-5 days after you apply for RootsWeb to approve you and get things ready. I will post again to let you know how easy or hard it is to make a website. Here are a few examples of sites I've found matching surnames in my file: Chapman and Mullins

If you don't feel up to making your own web page on their site, you can easily take advantage of their message boards and mailing lists. You can sign up for specific surname mailing lists or check surname message boards.

This truly is a great reference to check when working on your family history. It's supported by, but there is no fee to use it.

June 14, 2006

New Progeny Genealogy Site


June 14, 2006

Dear Genealogists & Family Historians,

We've launched a new website for our genealogy products and to
celebrate, we're offering some great deals!

Please bookmark our new site and
buy Genelines, Charting Companion, World Place Advisor, World Place
Finder or GEDmark on sale!

Download versions are $5.00 off and we're offering free shipping on
any CD-ROM version of these products.

Meanwhile our former site,, will be redesigned
as our corporate website to introduce visitors to all areas of Progeny
Software's business. In addition to offering quality genealogy software
and research tools, Progeny Software also produces products for visual
analysis and presentations. Our newest product announced is Timeline
Maker Professional.

Visit our new Progeny Genealogy site,,
and choose from any of these products below to receive $5.00 off downloads
or get free shipping on CD-ROM versions. This offer expires June 30, 2006
so order your genealogy products today!

June 7, 2006

Remote Access to HeritageQuest Online

For the past few years HeritageQuest Online has offered remote access at home to many genealogical societies. According to an article by Dick Eastman, ProQuest recently announced that they will be terminating this option. Remote, in-home access will still be allowed to many library users around the United States though.

I just recently moved from the Salt Lake area to the Sacramento area and was worried about keeping my remote access to HeritageQuest Online. My Salt Lake County library card allowed me to access their website for free from home. Dick Eastman's informative article answered my question though, showing me that all California residents can get remote access. Here is the summary list from his recent post on which states allow in-home access through a local library.

* All residents of California
* All residents of Colorado
* Any Connecticut Public Library Card holder (library cards are free)
* All residents of Delaware
* Most Florida residents, but not all, have free in-home access to HeritageQuest Online through Florida's library cooperatives.
* Hawaiian residents may obtain free access through the Hawaii State Public Library System.
* All Kansas residents have remote access to HeritageQuest Online. You will need a Kansas Library Card, available at any Public Library.
* Any Maryland Public Library Card holder automatically has remote access through Sailor, a project of Maryland Public Libraries. Contact your local library to obtain a card in order to gain access to all Sailor resources.
* All Massachusetts residents can obtain free remote access to HQ using the Boston Public Library's online gateway.
* All Nebraska residents have remote access to HeritageQuest Online via the Nebraska Library Commission, operated by the State of Nebraska. Your Nebraska driver's license number serves as a library card and will give you free access to many online databases.
* All New Hampshire residents have remote access to HeritageQuest Online through the state's NHewLink provided by the NH State Library.
* Virtually all libraries in the state of North Carolina offer HeritageQuest Online from the library buildings. Many of those libraries also offer remote access, although not all do so.
* All Ohio residents can obtain free remote access to HQ. Most local public libraries subscribe. If your local library does not, all Ohio residents can get a card from the Columbus Metropolitan Library, which does give you access.
* Pennsylvania residents who have library cards with ACCESS PA stickers, but do not have remote access through their own library, may be able to get a free card from one of the participating libraries within the system.
* All South Dakota residents can obtain free online access via the South Dakota State Library.
* Texas residents who are registered patrons of public or academic libraries can obtain free remote access to HeritageQuest Online through the TexShare Databases program. Access is available free of charge.
* HeritageQuest Online can be accessed from any Utah public library & all but a few from your home. How you get into the databases depends on where you live and which library is offering access. Check with your local library for details.
* All Vermont residents may obtain remote, in-home access to HeritageQuest Online via the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. The required library cards are free to those in surrounding towns while more distant Vermont residents will need to pay $12.50 for a card.
* All residents of Wyoming can have remote access through the state library.

For a more specific list of what libraries to use for access in these states, go to Eastman's Encyclopedia of Genealogy.

May 29, 2006


I recently read about a new website at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. It is called Unclaimed and sounds pretty interesting. Here is an overview of their service.

The purpose of this web site is to provide information to the public regarding a deceased loved one for whom next of kin has never been located. Coroner’s Departments, Medical Examiner’s offices and Sheriff’s departments throughout the United States oftentimes conduct an investigation for which a deceased persons identity is known, however due to various reasons, family member(s) could not be located. The respective investigative agency may utilize resources such as a local newspaper to attempt to locate family. When all effort to find family is exhausted, the deceased loved one is generally buried or cremated at the expense of the respective governmental agency. It is our sincere hope that this web site will assist family and friends in locating a lost loved one providing information and closure.

The function of this web site is quite simple. You may search by the person’s last name and first name; by county or you may view all names in the database. If you locate the name of a person in which you would like additional information, simply click on the persons underlined name and another screen will appear with full information including the responsible governmental agency. Simply call the phone number on that screen and refer to their case number.

March 27, 2006 has a new Blog's new blog, 24/7 Family History Circle, is now up and running. In the past if you subscribed to Ancestry Daily News, Weekly News, or Monthly Newsletter you would get the articles via email. The Newsletter has finally made it into the blogger world though, and will post their articles at their website,

This is how Juliana Smith describes the site:

Hosted by, 24/7 Family History Circle, is a destination for anyone with an interest in family history–be it a passing interest or a raging passion. Long-time newsletter editor, Juliana Smith, will be writing for the blog, and will include articles from family history columnists, George G. Morgan, Michael Neill, Megan Smolenyak, Maureen Taylor, Paula Warren, and Sherry Irvine, as well as the occasional guest columnist.

The Ancestry Weekly Journal is posted weekly on this blog, along with some unique content. At 24/7 Family History Circle, you’ll find helpful tips (from readers and from our regular columnists), how-to articles, research stories, and whatever else Juliana thinks might be of interest.

The majority of the content will be open to comments and we hope to hear from you, although we reserve the right to delete inappropriate postings.

We expect that over time we’ll be making changes, and we welcome your input at:

I think every entry posted so far has multiple comments, so it seems to be a big hit. This site will become a great asset to genealogists as professionals share their knowledge and allow amateurs to ask questions.

February 23, 2006

Our Living Tree

I recently received an advertisement from a worker at Our Living Tree. The advertisement is for what their company calls a Celebration Calendar.

We can take your file from FamilySearch or any other gedcom file, add photos, and create a Family Calendar filled with photos on each date you want to celebrate. We like to show different snippets of Family History for each month of the year. Over time, these calendars become part of your family history that you can pass on.

It's a pleasure to have my calendar hanging in front of me everyday as a wonderful reminder of my family. As one of eleven children, it was very hard to remember the birthdays of all my neices and nephews. Now, I get great comfort in knowing I am not going to miss anyone's birthday or anniversary because their photos are right there on the calendar.

Here is a sample of the calendar.


February 13, 2006

Genealogical Heroes

Back at the beginning of January Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak wrote an article for the Ancestry Daily News titled, Unsung Genealogical Heroes. I have had that article bookmarked since then in order to read it and investigate the people she talked about. I finally got around to it this morning and Smolenyak has found some people who have done great work for genealogy.

Steve Morse was the first one on the list. He was the only one she mentioned that I've actually heard of. I've written a few articles about his website as well, since I found it listed as one of the top-rated websites by professional genealogists.

Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database
Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database Part II

Joe Beine was the next person on the list. He is the maker of the website, Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records. This was the person I was most excited to hear about. Within 10 minutes of going to his online guide to death indexes, I found at least 20 of my ancestors' cemetery records in Grundy County, Missouri. I have lots of new dates and people to add to my file. What a great site.

To find out about the other 3 "unsung genealogical heroes," please visit Megan's article. There are really some great people out there doing generous work for other genealogists.

February 10, 2006

Family Tree

The LDS church, who put together the FamilySearch website, has been working on a whole new system called Family Tree. I first learned a little bit about this project back in September at the FGS Conference in Salt Lake City. Jay Verkler, from the LDS church, was the keynote speaker and talked about this new system.

At the end of December 2005, the LDS church released the first version of Family Tree to a small group of beta testers to test out the system. I have been a part of this testing but have decided not to write about it yet. One of the other beta testers, Renee Zamora, has written some very thorough articles on Family Tree though and if you are interested in more information, the benefits, and future release dates please check with her links:

FamilySearch's New Feature Family Tree
Beta 1 for Family Tree Ends

January 27, 2006 - New Canadian Site Launches New Canadian Site with 150 million Names

Now researchers seeking their Canadian roots can search 150 million records covering the years 1592-2002 through, a new Canadian site. The new site, part of the World Deluxe package (and also available through a new Canada Deluxe membership) includes the following databases:

* 1911 Canada Census (Every-name index and images)
* Ontario Birth Index, 1869-1907
* Ontario Marriage Index, 1858-1899
* Ontario Death Index, 1869-1932
* Ontario, Canada Census Index, 1871
* Ontario and Nova Scotia Census Records, 1800-1842
* Canadian Genealogy Index, 1600s-1900s
* Canadian Address and Phone Directories, 1995-2002

Canada Deluxe Membership - 12 months for only CDN $99.95
1 month for only CDN $14.95

World Deluxe Membership - 12 months for $359.95
1 month for $49.95

January 23, 2006

Cyndi's List

Last June I wrote an entry titled, Professional genealogists choose the best genealogy websites to use. I cited the 14 websites preferred by professional genealogists in a 2004 survey. I then tried to write an entry about each website, but just found a few that I missed. Cyndi's List was ranked 4th on the list, so I thought it was about time that I wrote a quick article about her site.

I'll give you the basic synopsis of Cyndi's List right from her FAQ section.

Cyndi's List - FAQ
What is Cyndi's List?

* A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
* A list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.
* A free jumping-off point for you to use in your online research.
* A "card catalog" to the genealogical collection in the immense library that is the Internet.
* Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet.

I have not used this resource as much as I should, but after browsing through it a little bit today I found some very valuable websites. Cyndi currently has over 250,000 links and I'm sure she adds new ones each day. There are links to almost anything related to genealogy: scrapbooking, timelines, obituaries, Family History Centers, How-to guides, etc. There are also many links to different countries to aid you in whatever geographical area you are researching. I highly recommend bookmarking this website for future use.

October 3, 2005


For Father's Day this past June, my Father-in-Law asked each of his children to write some of their childhood memories and share them with him as his gift. My husband and his siblings each enjoyed sharing different stories and listening to the ones others remembered. I thought it was a great idea for a present. We had not thought of something quite as clever for my Dad's gift, so I decided perhaps that was a good idea for his birthday in September.

I then happened upon Neal's Blog, an employee for FamilyLearn. He wrote about a site that could put together a very nice memory book to give to someone or to make for yourself. It is called iMemoryBook. I looked it over and liked what I saw and then suggested the idea to my siblings of making a memory book for my Dad's 60th birthday.

We all decided to do it and then after emailing and inviting all of my dad's siblings, and my mom's siblings, and old friends to share a memory of my dad...we soon had about 105 pages of pictures and memories.

Here is my review of iMemoryBook's product and service.

When we first started adding memories and pictures online, there were a few problems with the database. I think the company is fairly new, so I'm sure all the kinks had not been worked out yet. I emailed with lots of questions and they always emailed me back promptly with ways to fix my problem or to help me. They were very willing to please me, and had truly good customer service (unlike some companies these days) to make up for any problems with the database. We needed our book in the middle of September, but FamilyLearn did tell me they were going to fix a lot of bugs and different issues for a new version with an October 1st release date, so I'm sure it is working much better now.

Once we had uploaded all of the contributions we wanted in my Dad's book, it took about a week for FamilyLearn to organize it all together and get it ready for printing. They then sent me a preview of the book in PDF format and I was able to look through all 105 pages to check it out. We didn't really have a good order for all the entries, but FamilyLearn made a nice Table of Contents grouping together the entries from Parents, Siblings, Kids, Grandkids, and then Sweetheart. My mother had written quite a few different entries, so I thought it was a nice idea to group those all together under the heading "Sweetheart."

There were a few problems when I got the first preview...some pictures had not made it in, and some picture captions were wrong, so I emailed them back and they fixed it and sent me a new preview. Unfortunately I had missed some of the other errors, like the wrong spelling of Sweetheart as Sweatheart and also 2 other picture captions that were wrong. I did not realize these errors until we had already ordered 7 books, one for my dad and 1 for each of us kids. I take the blame since I didn't catch them in the preview, but I'm sure that my Dad still loved the gift and appreciated the time and thought we put into it.

So if you're interested in using iMemoryBook's services, I would recommend them. I think they are a small company, and perhaps don't have the most polished products yet, but as long as you explain how you want your book to look and proofread it carefully, you will have a nice book for many generations to cherish.

We got my dad a hardbound color book about the size of a yearbook. But you can order smaller books with just black and white pictures and a softbound cover to make it cheaper if you prefer. The cost also drops if you order multiple books or if you just get the free cover. We got a "Silver Cover," which just means that they took one of our pictures of my dad and added a nice background with a motorcycle (since he loves his Harley). Here is what it looks like.

nick silver cover.jpg

September 20, 2005

Google Blog Search Engine

You can now find genealogy blogs much easier than before. Google has just released a blog search engine, which allows you to just search for key words or phrases located in a blog. I found out about this the other day by reading Dick Eastman's genealogy blog, also known as Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

I then decided to search for other genealogy blogs myself. Here are a few good ones that I found.

Genealogy Help


Random Genealogy

And my favorite one to find is called The Genealogue. This blogger, Chris, has written some rather humorous genealogy posts. Here are a few to tickle your fancy.

Top Ten Signs the Census-Taker was Insane

Top Ten Mistakes Made by Newbie Genealogists

Genealogue Exclusive: Reality TV Series to Pick New NEHGS Head

September 19, 2005

WikiTree - The Family Tree of Humankind

I just found out about WikiTree by reading this post at GeneaBlogie. Here is a description of WikiTree from their website:

The primary goal of the WikiTree Project is to provide a central place on the Internet for kin information about all people we know ever lived. WikiTree automatically constructs bloodline trees, and will result in the gradual emergence of global family forest of humanity. It might seem a huge undertaking, but in fact it is not. There is very little information that needs to be entered about any person - just their name, names of his/her children, plus birth and death data; other relations can be inferred! WikiTree uses open-source software MediaWiki - the same that is used by Wikipedia and other WikiMedia Foundation projects.

WikiTree was started on April 26, 2005 and already has almost 33,500 pages as of today. You can go to their site to search for surnames in your file, or you can decide to add people to their site yourself. I registered and was able to add about 6 names all in 10 minutes, so it's very easy to use. I'm curious to see how this "Family Tree of Humankind" will look in a few years once genealogists around the world start adding their names.

September 14, 2005

Family Histories on BYU website

On Monday I wrote about the Project planned to make microfilm in LDS vaults available on the Internet. FamilySearch has also recently started to digitize published family histories normally only found at the Family History Library. I was told this by one of the FamilySearch workers in the Exhibit Hall at the Genealogy Conference on Thursday. I have since looked up some of the family histories and was delighted to find many that could be very helpful to me. I've heard some people complain that it is not enjoyable to read books online, but for someone who can't get to the Family History Library that often, I think it is great to be able to read them online and to cut and paste information into my file without worrying about making copies and then typing notes into my PAF later.

You can search the Family History Library Catalog to find published family histories containing the surname you are looking for, but the digitized family histories are actually found at the BYU Website. So I've just been searching on the Family History Archive section of the BYU site and have found 4 or 5 family histories so far that I think will be of much use to me.

I've only been doing genealogy for 1 1/2 years, but I'm told that the availability for resources has come a long way in just the last 5 years or so. I'm thankful for all the great technology we have and that the LDS church is so willing to make so many resources freely available.

September 10, 2005

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

I have just finished a four-day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. It was wonderful! But I have quickly realized that doing genealogy for a little over a year now qualifies me to know about 1% of what professional genealogists know or those who have had the hobby for 30 years. Hopefully this will not discredit me to my readers, for I do plan to share all the knowledge I've learned this past week with you.

One quick tip of information that I wish I'd heard about sooner is the website for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. I met a nice lady at the conference, Jackie, who told me about this website because she volunteers for it. Basically the idea is to have volunteers from all over the United States, as well as other countries, sign up and help other researchers who need information from their city or county.

For example, maybe there is a document or microfilm that I need for my research in a library in Colorado Springs. I live in Utah and can not easily get access to that document here. I can then request a volunteer from Colorado Springs, such as Jackie, to go to that library and copy the information and send it to me.

What a great idea this is! The website is completely free to use; the volunteers will just charge you for copy fees, shipping fees, driving costs, etc. The website does ask that once you've received help from somebody else you sign up as a volunteer yourself to return the favor. This reminds me of the movie Pay It Forward, which is about a little boy who has the idea to help three people in trouble and then have each of them do the same for three others in order to keep paying it forward. I like these types of ideas.

September 7, 2005

Ancestry's New Community

For those of you who use, which any serious genealogist does, you've probably seen notices on their website about "changes" coming soon. I just found an article about one of the updates called,
"Expanding Community Connectivity Top Priority for" And based on this article it sounds like is putting together an Instant Message type system that will allow us to talk to other users and genealogists through their website. We will also be able to correct some of those mistakes on OneWorldTree.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"The ability to collaborate with others searching on similar interests is vital to members of Ancestry, as it not only furthers their family history research but often connects them with living family members who were previously unknown," said Michael Sherrod, Ancestry's vice president of community and publishing. "These integrated community tools will help you discover and connect with those researching the same people, places and events as you, while also enabling you to build lasting bonds with both family and existing and new friends."

"Connection services will allow our members to associate with others on Ancestry in a secure environment by using screen names -- without having to give out personal information," Sherrod said. "In addition, members may easily note comments and corrections to Ancestry's records, as well as connect with others for online discussions and to gather additional information."

August 16, 2005

Map Your Ancestors

I just found a very cool website called The home page of this site shows the genealogy of the current United States President, George W. Bush, and a map showing where each of his ancestors were born. I think this is a great idea, and like their slogan says, it "brings genealogy to life."

You can request your own free web page if you complete their family tree form and email it to them. It also allows you to upload pictures of your ancestors to display as well. I am in the process of completing mine and look forward to seeing the final product. uses Google Maps API. If you haven't checked out Google Maps before, I highly recommend trying it. It's the only website I use to get directions and look up places.

August 2, 2005

Encyclopedia of Genealogy

In December of 2004, Dick Eastman formulated a free online service for genealogists called the Encyclopedia of Genealogy.

"The Encyclopedia of Genealogy serves as a free compendium of genealogical tools and techniques. It provides reference information about everything in genealogy except people. Look to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy to provide explanations of how to look up your family tree. It will also provide explanations of terms found in genealogy research, including obsolete medical and legal terms. In addition, it will describe locations where records may be found. Within a few months, this online encyclopedia will describe how to research Italian, German, Polish, French-Canadian, Jewish, Black, Indian, and other ancestors. In short, the Encyclopedia of Genealogy will serve as your standard genealogy reference manual."

Dick Eastman created the framework of this encyclopedia, and genealogists around the world have been submitting articles over the past 8 months. The encyclopedia works just like wikipedia or wiktionary, which basically means anybody who sees an error or wants to change something to an entry can do so.

Here are some examples of the articles this encyclopedia offers:

Family History Library
Pedigree Resource File
Social Security Death Records

July 29, 2005


I've probably linked to this website at least half a dozen times in past articles, so I thought it was time to do a write-up specifically on the FamilySearch Website.

There are many resources at this website including:

1. Printable Pedigree Charts and Family Group Records (Not really necessary if you store all your names in a computer file, but some people still like to have a hard copy of their information)

2. Free genealogy software that is easy to download called Personal Ancestral File (The PAF program I'm constantly referring to and the program you need to use if you are LDS and want to do temple work)

3. Search for Ancestors (When you type in a name and search for it on this site, FamilySearch will search in the Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource File, the US Social Security Index, the International Genealogical Index, and the 1880 US Census as well as the 1881 Canada Census.

4. Email groups who are researching the same names (I just realized they had this feature, so I haven't tried it out yet -- I have signed up though and hope to find some contacts with new information)

5. Surname Search (This is especially useful for finding written family histories)

6. Family History Center locations

7. Links to other Family History Websites

Family Search was ranked the 2nd most popular website used by Professional Genealogists, probably because there is more free data here than anywhere else in genealogy. There are about a billion names in their database, so you're bound to find some new information.

July 22, 2005

Our Timelines

Our Timelines is a free website that generates a timeline of historical events that happened during a person's life. For example, I typed in a few of my great-great grandfathers, Francis Edward Abbott and George W. Sherlock, with their birth years and death years and this is what appeared for their timelines.

Francis Edward Abbott (black & white timeline - printable)

George W. Sherlock (color timeline)

Our Timelines is a great resource for genealogists..."For Genealogists, these capabilities are a veritable gold mine - you can actually see how a family member fits into history, and that not only helps users of your genealogical efforts to know these people a lot better, it helps you to better direct your research."

You can also add 10 personal events into your timeline as well: marriage, graduation, children, etc. Plus, any event that is underlined links to more information on that event. I think this a great learning tool, as well as a great genealogical tool.

July 20, 2005

HeritageQuest Online

I have lived in Salt Lake County for over 2 years now, and am just now starting to take advantage of the free access to the HeritageQuest Online database. Through the use of my Salt Lake County library card number, I can search HeritageQuest Online from my home computer...for free.

You don't have to live in Salt Lake County though to get free access. I believe that most libraries around the country offer access to this resource. According to their site, "HeritageQuest Online is designed specifically for patrons in public libraries who are either just beginning their family research or who after years of work are still uncovering their past."

Records on this site include:

* The complete U.S. Federal Census 1790-1930 (they advertise a complete Census Record, but they don't actually have 1830, 1840, 1850, or 1880...and have only part of 1930 - you can find the 1880 Census for free though on

* ProQuest's Genealogy & Local History Collection of 25,000+ family and local history books - every word searchable

* The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) - a comprehensive subject index covering more than 6,500 genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French since 1800

* Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files with records of 80,000+ individuals who served in the Revolutionary War

This is the 6th most popular website used by professional genealogists, so I recommend trying it out. And if you are trying to sign on with your library card number, you first need to go to your library website and click on HeritageQuest from there to sign on. (I went straight to HeritageQuest Online and it asked me for a username and password; there was nowhere to put my library card number)

July 19, 2005

Learning Centers on

In the Ancestry Daily News today there is an article titled "Viva Learning Centers," by Anastasia Sutherland Tyler. In it she talks all about a new feature at - The Learning Center.

The Learning Center is a free area on where you can learn about different resources to use in researching family history. There are currently ten learning center topics, but will continue to come up with new ones as new content is added to their site and new articles are written on different topics. The current 10 include:

* Census Records
* Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
* Trees and Community
* Immigration Records
* Military Records
* Directories and Member Lists
* Family and Local Histories
* Newspapers and Periodicals
* Court, Land, and Probate Records
* Reference and Finding Aids

Like Anastasia, I don't know much about researching military records, so I can get an overview on how to do it through this Learning Center. I also haven't used newspaper articles very often in my research, but can easily read about it here. It looks like this is a valuable "how-to research" guide.

When you go to the Learning Center page, the ten different topics are located on the right side, under the heading "Learn More About." Topics for future centers include specific holidays and other hobbies related to family history.

July 18, 2005

Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database Part II

On June 28, 2005 I wrote a review of the Stephen P. Morse One-Step Database. As you can see by the article, I was clearly confused as to how this site works.

After receiving a comment from Joel Weintraub, a member of the One-Step team, and then receiving an email from Steve Morse himself, I started to understand the site a little bit better.

I had assumed that the words "one-step" meant that when I entered a name at the top of the page that the database would search each folder all at once in "one-step." I was wrong. There is a very thorough explanation of what the site does listed under the Miscellaneous section in the One-Step Portal folder. The explanation is long, but Mr. Morse has actually made it quite entertaining, so it is worth the time spent to understand his website. I apologize to Mr. Morse and Mr. Weintraub for the confusion, and definitely plan on taking advantage of all that this site has to offer in the future.

July 14, 2005

Any Day in History

I recently found this website called Scope Systems that will look up any day of the year and tell you exactly what has happened on that day throughout history. It lists births, deaths, holidays, world events, religious events, etc. It's worth a minute just to see all the information on your birthday. I found lots of interesting information for my birthday.

There were many famous people born on my day, but only 3 who stood out to me: Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, and Christina Aguilera. I also found out that Chris Farley died on my birthday. One other interesting fact I learned was that whenever my birthday falls on a Friday, it's a holiday called Underdog Day. I looked up this holiday and it is actually a day to honor all the underdogs and unsung heroes out there, as opposed to a day to honor the Underdog TV Show.

Another search you can do on the Scopes website is to search for a month and year, instead of just a single day. I think this would be an interesting tool to use for family history research. It could give you an idea of what was happening when your ancestors were born or living and perhaps lead you to a new focus for researching.

There is a list of other websites just like Scope Systems on a blog I like to read everyday called Amidst a Tangled Web.

July 12, 2005

Getting the most out of Google searches

Google was ranked as the 8th most popular website used by professional genealogists and I wholeheartedly agree with this ranking. Google is the only search engine that I ever use and I've always been able to find what I'm looking for with it. I never really thought of it as a genealogy tool until reading this article, but ever since then I have used it occasionally and found some websites with information on my ancestors.

I wondered if there was a better way to do searches though, and I found this article written by Mark Howells titled, "Google for Genealogy." It was written for Ancestry Magazine and I located it at In it Howells gives a little tutorial on how to use Google for your genealogy search.

I highly recommend genealogists to read this article and find out how to use Google more effectively. Howells says at the end:

"Google is an extremely powerful search engine, and you’ll need to educate yourself in its various features to use it most effectively in your family research. Just as you had to learn how to use the microfilm readers when you first visited your local library or Family History Center, you must familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of Google’s capabilities. By just typing in a name and hoping for the best, you are not letting Google do the heavy lifting for you."

July 8, 2005

Ellis Island Records

Did you know that 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry to one of the passengers who arrived in Ellis Island? I had no idea this was such an important port. The Ellis Island site contains the largest collection of passenger lists on the Web.

They have records for over 22 million passengers and ships' crew who entered America through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Each person's information was written down in ships' passenger lists, otherwise known as "manifests."

The Passenger Record Archive includes passenger records, original manifests, and ship information. These records will have the passenger name, date of arrival, ship of travel, and age of arrival. Sometimes there will also be a picture of the ship they sailed on.

I have not found any of my own ancestors as passengers yet, but I urge others to give it a try and let me know how it goes. Ellis Island is the only website that has post-1890 U.S. passenger lists.

July 1, 2005

National Archives and Records Administration

For the past few days I have been trying to figure out what information I could find from the 11th most popular website used by professional genealogists. Supposedly it was ranked 6th last year, and seems to have dropped in popularity this year. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent Federal agency that oversees the management of all Federal records.

I've been confused as to how to use their site and what information they might have on my ancestors. So I used the 8th most popular website, Google, and found an article written by that is titled, Finding Your Way Through the National Archives.

This article uses an excerpt from the revised edition of the Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, published by the National Archives Trust Fund Board. The excerpt then describes what you can and can't expect from the National Archives records collection, and what resources can guide you to the records you're looking for.

Based on some of the limitations outlined in this article, the NARA Trust Fund Board suggested that a researcher should never ask an archivist for information about an ancestor about whom only the name is known. They recommend knowing information about when and how and where an ancestor came into contact with the federal government.

All I have in my file right now are names and dates, so I don't think I'm quite ready for the in depth research this site would require. Sometimes the exact date and place of contact are necessary to find records of your ancestor from the NARA. Hopefully once I find some more information on my ancestors, this site will come in handy.

June 28, 2005

Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database

The Stephen P. Morse website was ranked #12 for most popular websites used by professional genealogists, so I decided to try it out. It is a one-step database that is supposed to search the Ellis Island records, census records (with a subscription), Social Security Death Index, and many other websites all at once.

Every time I search for a name though, the only thing that pops up is the search for the name on I assume that the website is helpful for those people who have ancestors who immigrated to either New York, or Boston, or Baltimore, or any of the other ports listed on Morse's database. Apparently, none of the people I've searched for have had any information at the other sites Morse's One-Step Database searches. There isn't really a "how to" guide to his website, so I'm a bit confused. It seems like I can just keep using and find the same information Stephen P. Morse's website would pull up for me.

June 25, 2005

World GenWeb

After reading about the World GenWeb as one of the top websites used by professional genealogists, I decided to try it out. It was definitely worth the effort. I found loads of information on an ancestral line I've been stuck on for a year. I have had trouble finding information on my husband's Canadian relatives, but I hit the jackpot with this website.

The WorldGenWeb Project is a world-wide volunteer group of genealogists sharing their information. When I went to this site, I clicked on North America first, and then decided to try the Canada GenWeb just for kicks. Our ancestors come from Prince Edward Island (PEI), so I clicked on that location and then went to PEI Lineages.

My husband has 2 sets of great-great-great grandparents all raised in PEI. This lineage section then let me search for each surname and 3 out of the 4 of them were listed on this site. I found lists of Barlows and Ramsays who lived in PEI that were all related to our relatives. I then was able to email each of the genealogists who posted this information and have already received a few pictures from a nice lady named Carol.

I highly recommend the use of this website and I have these 2 pictures to prove it works.

Barlow.jpeg mansion.jpeg

The Barlow mansion in PEI belonging to John Barlow, born in England in 1808...moved to Prince Edward Island in 1832.

June 24, 2005

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System(CWSS) is a database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. Their main focus is on the names of all the soldiers, where they served, and what their rank was. They now have 6.3 million soldiers in the database.

I wasn't sure of anyone in my family history who served in the Civil War (1861-1865), so I just typed in a few different last names to see who the database would pull up. I found 1 or 2 soldiers that I believe are my ancestors, based on their peculiar names and being of age to serve. The information you get is very basic, no birth dates to verify the person is your ancestor, but it's good information nonetheless.

The CWSS is still trying to obtain and enter in all the records of the Naval personnel (sailors); these records were not as organized as the Army records, so are taking longer. They are also looking into including information on thousands of Civil War monuments in the future.

They do have information on Union and Confederate regiments as well as information on over 1,200 Civil War soldiers who received medals of honor. There are also prisoner records, histories of the 364 most significant Civil War battles, and a few cemetery records as well.

The CWSS appears to be adding information regularly and seems to be a good place to search for some ancestors.

June 21, 2005

Professional genealogists choose the best genealogy websites to use

I was just reading through some articles on and found a very interesting article titled, "14 Websites Preferred by Professionals," written by Kory L. Meyerink. In this article Meyerink reveals the results of the 2004 survey to professional genealogists asking which 5 genealogy websites they use the most. (Please link to the article to find out how she identified and questioned these professionals).

Meyerink then lists the top 14 websites. Given that 12 of these 14 sites were all in the 2003 survey as well, I would suggest starting your research with one of these sites.

(there was a tie for 13)
13. Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
13. World GenWeb
12. Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database Interfaces
11. National Archives and Records Administration
10. Ellis Island
 9. General Land Office Records (BLM)
 8. Google
 6. Heritage Quest Online
 5. US GenWeb
 4. Cyndi's List
 3. RootsWeb
 2. FamilySearch

Since I have only used about 4 or 5 of these websites, I plan on finding out more information about each one and posting it soon.

To find out more about Professional Genealogists go to

June 18, 2005

Tribal Pages

There is a great website that will let you upload your whole family tree for free. It's called TribalPages and it allows you to put all your family history research online for others to view. The website allows you to set up a password protected site, so that only those who know the password can see all the information.

I uploaded my gedcom file a few weeks ago and I think it has some great features. For one, it allows me to give out the website to my family members to view...instead of me having to email them a huge file and wait for them to download it. Plus, whenever I make updates I can just make it on the website for all to see, instead of again having to email the updates.

TribalPages also allows you to upload photographs and file them in a photo index. I also think the relationships tool is a great feature to let you know your exact relationship to someone in your file (PAF also has this feature). Your tribal page will also keep you up to date on all birthdays and anniversaries among the living people in your family, which could definitely help with a big family.

All in all, the best thing about this website is the fact that it's free. You can't lose, just make sure to use their security password feature.

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