Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Were They Optimistic as They Rang in the New Year 100 Years Ago?


In an editorial cartoon appearing in the Washington Herald depicted the start of a new year with great optimism, displaying a Wright Brothers airplane labeled "1909" on the crown and "Hopes," "Successes," "Happiness," and "Peace" across the wings.

On the ground, a bearded old man wielding Time's scythe labeled "Disaster" and "Ruin" retreats into the distance in a open automobile labeled "1908." View the original image and read more about it at the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Top Ten Genealogy Favorites for 2008


1. Favorite New Blog (New to me that is!)
George Geder: Genealogy – Photography – Restoration. George’s blog features captivating photos, and a keen use of technology. A fave post: Great Grandmother Harriet Geder Chillin’ George’s ancestor is chilling “tin-type style.”

2. Favorite Way to Spend 5 Minutes Having Fun Online
The Facebook News Feed, which serves up quick updates on all those genealogists out there on Facebook. Joining Facebook simply requires an email address and a password and a LOT of genealogists have gotten on board. You can visit me at Facebook and join the Genealogy Gems Podcast Fan Page.

Wanna learn more? Try the Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-bloggers Blog where contributing editors Miriam Robbing Midkiff, Thomas MacEntee, Moultrie Creek, footnoteMaven, Terry Thornton, and Kathryn Doyle answer your questions about how to use Facebook, and blogging in general.

3. Favorite Genealogy Conference
Hands down the Mesa AZ Family History Expo was my favorite genealogy conference that I attended in 2008. I did a marathon of video interviews for the new Family History Expos TV channel on YouTube.

I got to meet some online friends for the first time: Mark Tucker from ThinkGenealogy Blog, Listener Amy Urman who I interviewed several months ago for Genealogy Gems Premium Episode 3 about using private investigation techniques to find your living relatives, Bruce Buzbee from Rootsmagic (who’s about to launch a new version,) and Scott Huskey of Photoloom a new fave of mine that uses your family photos to visually represent your family tree. Holly Hansen and her crew at Family History Expos sure now how to put on a fun and informative shindig!

4. Favorite New Online Tool
I started using an online newsletter service called Constant Contact and I love it! Not only is it now super easy to email my listeners, but I can add color and photos and images. Sign up today to receive the new and improved Genealogy Gems Podcast e-Newsletter.

5. Favorite Online Gadget
Page2RSS which allows you to create an RSS feed for any website that doesn’t have an RSS feed. I featured Page2RSS in Premium Episode 6, teaching listeners how to monitor updates to any genealogy website in their favorite RSS reader or iGoogle homepage.

6. Favorite Controversial Posting
You gotta admit that Dick Eastman knows how to stir things up once and while. On May 22, 2008 he posted a blog article called I Have a Complaint Concerning Many Genealogists which he prefaced with “Warning: This article contains personal opinions”. Eastman not only shares his opinions with his readers, but also generated a ton of opinions from readers - a whopping 222 Comments were posted. Eastman wrote a follow up blog commenting on the hoopla on May 26, 2008 which generated another 52 comments. The topic that riled everyone up: Folks griping about having to pay for access to records online.

7. Favorite Family History Ebay Find
Photograph dated 1895 of the first automobile exhibition in England featuring Sir David Salomon sitting in his first “horseless carriage” along with Gottlieb Daimler, automotive pioneer. And standing next to the horseless carriage? Harry Cooke, my husband’s great grandfather who was Sir David Salomon’s “right hand man” and owner of Cooke’s Carriage and Motor Works in Tunbridge Wells, Kent!

8. Favorite Family History Song
The Family Tree by Venice
From Episode 38 published January 6, 2008

9. Favorite Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode
By the end of 2008 I had published a total of 65 podcast episodes so I’ve given some thought to which one is my favorite. I’d probably have to choose The Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 39 featuring the segment called Heritage Quilts. This is my favorite personal story and I enjoyed sharing it. It also resulted in the largest number of listener emails, some very detailed about their own personal and heartfelt family experiences.

10. Favorite Unexpected & Somewhat Misunderstood Genealogy Blog Post
The Genealogy Insider’s April 1 blog post featuring a mock magazine cover just in time for April Fools. A few folks didn’t get it, but it made me do a double take and then roar with laughter!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Florida Census Collection Online

PROVO, Utah, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- According to historical documents available as part of Ancestry.com's new Florida State Census Collection, actress Faye Dunaway, famous for her performances in "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Mommie Dearest," was a four-year-old living with her parents and brother in Florida in 1945 and NASCAR co-founder William France, Sr., was already in the car business by 1935, listed as a mechanic living in Daytona. Now others with Florida roots can make discoveries about their own relatives. Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, has digitized and indexed the 1867, 1875, 1935 and 1945 Florida state censuses, which contain more than 3.8 million names and 75,000 original images. This is the first time these censuses have been indexed, making the information easily available and searchable online.

Florida is one of only two U.S. states (South Dakota is the other) to have completed a census as recently as 1945, which means many Floridians can potentially find their parents -- or even themselves -- while searching the collection and building their family tree. Using powerful search tools, users can easily discover the name, address, place of birth, level of education and occupation of family members and others living in the same household, as well as locate and view digital images of the original census documents handwritten decades ago.

"With the addition of our new Florida State Census Collection, never-before-discovered family histories will be found at the click of a mouse," said Gary Gibb, vice president of U.S. content for Ancestry.com. "Censuses are one of the best resources for tracing your family history and Ancestry.com is adding the 1945, 1935, 1875 and 1867 Florida state censuses to the largest and most complete census collections available on the Web."

Some famous Floridians found in the Florida State Census Collection include:

-- Faye Dunaway -- Four-year-old Faye Dunaway is found in the 1945 Florida census along with her younger brother, Mack, and their parents. According to the census, her father, John, was serving in the Army, while her mother was involved in "defense work."

-- Janet Reno -- This former U.S. Attorney General is found as a 6-year-old in the 1945 census living in Dade County with her father, Henry, who was working as a reporter.

-- Edith Ringling -- Edith Ringling, wife of Ringling Bros. circus founder Charles Ringling, is the only family member noted to be living at the Ringling Estate during the 1945 Florida census and her occupation is listed as circus proprietor.

-- William France, Sr. -- NASCAR co-founder William France, Sr., was already in the car business at 25 years old. The 1935 Florida census lists him as a mechanic in Daytona.

-- Abraham Lincoln Lewis -- Florida's first African-American billionaire and his wife are found in the 1945 Florida census, retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida.

Ancestry.com also offers a wide expanse of other Florida historical records, including the 1885 Florida State Census, a Florida Marriage Collection (1822-1875 and 1927-2001), the Florida Death Index (1877-1998), Florida Passenger Lists (1898-1951) and Florida Land Records.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

FamilySearch Adds 15million + Records to Record Search Pilot

FamilySearch added over 15 million new indexed records to its Record Search pilot—all from the 1850 and 1870 U.S. Censuses. The records are linked to the digital images of the originals. The new records can be searched for free at FamilySearch.org (Click Search Records, then Record Search pilot).

1870 Census:
Added 7 new indexed states (KY, MN, MO, NY, TN, VA, and WV)

1850 census:
Population: Added 3 new indexed states (AL, IN, and MO)
Slavery: Added 3 new indexed states (AL, MO, and SC)
Mortality: Added 3 new indexed states (AL, IN, and LA)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Records Previously Only Viewable on Microfilm Just Released by UK National Archives


News from the UK National Archives:



"More than 600,000 records of births, baptisms, marriages and burials have been added to the searchable online service at BMDRegisters. These records were previously only viewable on microfilm as the RG 8 series.

Among the extensive collections you can find:


Maternity records from the British Lying-in Hospital, Holborn, 1749-1868


Registers of burials in the Victoria Park Cemetery, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters Burying Ground and many more


The archive of the Russian Orthodox Church in London, 1721-1927: these records include births, marriages, deaths and conversions, as well as comprehensive general records on the day-to-day running of the church."


If this information was helpful to I hope you'll share it with your friends and genealogy society. Society Newsletters are welcome to reprint Genealogy Gems News Blog articles with the attribution "by Lisa L. Cooke, The Genealogy Gems New Blog at www.genealogygemspodcast.blogspot.com"


Recommended Collection: New York Public Library Now on Flickr

I LOVE a good photo! And today the New York Public Library has just added a LOT of good photos ("good" being a major understatement) to Flickr.com.

NYPL dips it's toes into the Flickr Commons today by posting 1,300 items from various areas of its diverse photographic collections.

From the NYPL: "Consider this a sort of appetizer course, a sampler of collections accessible in greater breadth and depth on the NYPL Digital Gallery, and on-site in our network of libraries. Lush images of modern dance pioneers; haunting early cyanotypes of algae (the first photographic works to be produced by a woman); majestic geographical surveys taken along the Union Pacific Railroad, iconic Depression-era images taken under the Farm Security Administration's famed photography program; Berenice Abbott's epic documentation of 1930s New York for the Federal Art Project; stunning 19th century vistas of the Egypt and Syria; scenes and portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants, the Statue of Liberty under construction... These and more are now available to view, tag and discuss in the Flickr Commons, and are offered as an invitation to explore further on the NYPL's own website or in our physical libraries. After this initial road test, we expect to post many more images into the Commons pool."

Since we have an ancestor in our family who directed orchestras for the silent movies, my current fave NYPL collection is "Production Photographs from the Early Cinema." featuring amazingly clear shots of the faces that Grandpa Cooke set to music.


Listen to Family History: Genealogy Made Easy to learn how to uncover your family history. Subscribe to the free weekly podcast in iTunes or listen from the website.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ellis Island Special Discount Starts Today

I just got word from The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation that starting today they are offering a very special promotion: 25% off the cost of any of their heritage documents: passenger record, ship passenger manifest or ship picture. I can't think of any gifts that you could give those hard to buy for relatives that would be more unique or meaningful.

Once you locate the documents you want, you could then present them in the Elegant Heritage Document Holder. (Photo left)

Another unique gift option: The Annual Holiday Ornament called Liberty 2008: Arrival. This year's ornament is beautiful, made from copper from Lady Liberty's Centennial Restoration. And it will be the last to plated with the historic copper.

If you're the last-minute kind of shopper, you've waited for just the right time: A Meaningful, Affordable Gift that will be in your family's possession for generations. And you will have the pleasure of knowing that you will be supporting The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Podcast Episode Ready For Listening

Have you been wanting to get a subscription to one of the major genealogy records sites, but just not been sure about taking the plunge? Then tune in to Episode 7 of the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast.

We start of with a great conversation with genealogist and author Lisa A. Alzo who shares her inspiring story.

Then we jump in to the world of paid subscription websites, cutting through the murky waters and focusing in on how to decide what you really need.

We finish up with my 3 Top Tips for Utilizing Subscription Websites.
Listen to Episode 7

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy is you guide through the genealogical process:

Episode 1: Get Inspired! Get Started!
Guest: Margery Bell, Asst. Director, Family History Center

Episode 2: What Your Relatives Can Tell You
Guest: Cath Madden Trindle, Certified Genealogist, FGS Board Member

Episode 3: What Do We Work Backwards? And Our First Online Record
Guest: Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Genealogy Blogger and Instructor

Episode 4: Tracking Down Death Records
Guest: Dick Eastman, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Episode 5: Scouring Your Home For Clues
Guest: David Fryxell, Author & Publisher

Episode 6: An Overview of Genealogy Records
Guest: Barry Ewell, Genealogist & Lecturer



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Friday, December 12, 2008

183,698 more newspaper pages now online!

On Dec. 11, the National Digital Newspaper Program added 183,698 historic newspaper pages (including 14 new titles) to the Chronicling America Web site, hosted by the Library of Congress.

The site now provides free and open access to 864,509 pages from 108 titles, that were published in 9 states (CA, FL, KY, MN, NE, NY, TX, UT, VA) and the District of Columbia between 1880 and 1910.

Six additional states--Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington--will be contributing content in 2009.

Chronicling America is a project of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress....Read more about it at the website!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spread a Bit of Vintage Christmas Cheer


Looking for a fun way to send holiday cheer online?

Head to the United Kingdom's National Archives Send An e-Card web page.

There you can pick from a variety of vintage Christmas postcards (and even one for New Years from 1879) that you can personalize and send to your friends.

I mean, where else could you find Santa delivering pints along with presents!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Curt Witcher of The Allen County Library Talks Census Records on Episode 55

Genealogy Gems Episode 55 is Now Available:

I got a chance to talk with Curt Witcher, Manager of The Allen County Library, The Genealogy Center while attending the Federation of Genealogy Societies Conference in Philadelphia, PA this last Sept. 2008. Curt comes on the show to talk about the wide range of census records that many genealogists are missing.


Also in this episode I share with you some terrific new Google gadgets specifically created for genealogists!


And finally we play another round of Name That Tune!


You can listen directly from the Genealogy Gems web site. Or better yet, subscribe for free to the show in iTunes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Debuts at Emory


'Voyages' sheds light on hidden history of 12.5 million slaves

ATLANTA, GA - Emory University - Dec. 5, 2008:
Visiting professor Jelmer Vos and geospatial consultant Stacey Martin use the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database to see a geographic display of the African regions and ports of the slave trade.A group of international scholars will gather at Emory Dec. 5-6 to celebrate the debut of "Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database" as it begins its own maiden expedition.

Two years in the making at Emory, the free and interactive Web-based resource documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries, says David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History and one of the scholars who originally published "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade" as a CD-ROM in 1999. He and Martin Halbert, director of digital innovations for Emory Libraries, directed the work that made the online "Voyages" project expandable, interactive and publicly accessible.

"'Voyages' provides searchable information on almost 35,000 trans-Atlantic voyages hauling human cargo, as well as maps, images and data on some individual Africans transported," says Eltis.

The conference, which also marks the bicentennial of the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808, will feature presentations by Eltis' graduate students who have worked on the database, with leading scholars commenting on their papers. Other sessions include "The Slave Trade, the Web site and Atlantic History" and "The Slave Trade, the Website and the Classroom."

David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus and founding director emeritus of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University, will give a keynote lecture on "Camparing the Paths to American and British Slave-Trade Abolition." Following Davis' talk will be the formal launch of the "Voyages" database by Rick Luce, director of University Libraries.

Database Establishes Links Between America, Africa

Funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, "Voyages" is based on the seminal 1999 work, "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade." That CD-ROM included more than 27,000 slave trade voyages and has been popular with scholars and genealogists alike. However, it is no longer available and had several limitations.

"Everyone wants to know where their ancestors came from," Eltis says. "There are more data on the slave trade than on the free migrant movement simply because the slave trade was a business and people were property, so records were likely to be better. What the database makes possible is the establishment of links between America and Africa in a way that already has been done by historians for Europeans."

Adds Halbert: "The digital and Web-based Voyages publication is intentionally collaborative and can grow and change over time. Scholars who discover new information can add it to the database, and thus share it with their colleagues. In addition, researchers can download the database in a format compatible with the SPSS statistical package."

Slave Trade Database in the Classroom

Halbert, Eltis and their team also collaborated with educators from public and private middle and high schools to create lessons plans and other materials, so that K-12 teachers can take "Voyages" into their classrooms. These and other resources on the site, such as images, introductory maps and essays, help visitors appreciate the reality of the slave trade, says project manager Liz Milewicz.

Henry Louis Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and writer/producer of the PBS documentary "African American Lives," credits "Voyages" with shedding an important light on the hidden history of 12.5 million slaves.

"The greatest mystery in the history of the West, I believe, has always been the Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the New World," he said. "Their ancestries, their identities, their stories were lost in the ships that carried them across the Atlantic. The multi-decade and collaborative project that brought us [the Voyages] site has done more to reverse the Middle Passage than any other single act of scholarship possibly could."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Records for Illinois & Ohio, as well as GA, KS, NC & TX

FamilySearch has added four new indexed states GA, KS, NC, and TX)to their 1870 Census.

Nearly 575,00 ILlinois Cook County Marriage records have been added. This datab ase currently includes years from 1900 to 1920.

For Ohio FamilySearch has added the Diocese of Toledo, Catholic Parish Records 1796 to 2004 which includes 101,982 searchable digital images. Also, Ohio Tax Records 1816 to 1838 including records from Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison, and Jefferson Counties.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Those Genealogy Gals Are At It Again!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


A little vintage Christmas Cheer this time starring:

Lisa Cooke of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, Family Tree Magazine's Allison Stacy & Diane Haddad, genealogy podcaster DearMYRTLE and genealogy blogger Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Monday, December 1, 2008

Excellence in Genealogy Awards Available from the National Archives

Two awards to be granted for articles based on National Archives records

From the National Archives: In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the National Archives announces two awards to recognize significant achievements in genealogy research, based on records from the National Archives.

The National Archives is known worldwide as a treasure chest of genealogical information. Each year, millions of people use Federal records in the National Archives to search for their family roots. Census schedules, ship passenger arrival lists, citizenship papers, military pension files, land patents, and court records offer detailed evidence to flesh out family histories. This competition provides an opportunity for students to share their research "treasures" with the public.

The awards are $1,000 for first place; $500 for second place. Winning articles may be published in Prologue, the quarterly magazine of the National Archives, and/or on the National Archives web site.

To be eligible, an applicant must be either an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in an accredited institution of higher learning; have completed at least one semester; and have not yet advanced to candidacy, if in a Ph.D. program. An applicant does not have to be an American citizen, but must be attending an American college or university. Permanent National Archives employees are not eligible.

Awards will be announced at the National Archives annual Genealogy Fair on April 22, 2009.

Applicants are required to submit:
1. Cover sheet that includes the following:
o Name and contact information
o Proof of enrollment at an accredited academic institution
o Signature giving permission for the article to be published.

2. An original, unpublished work between 1,000 and 3,000 words that demonstrates the use of National Archives holdings to conduct genealogical research. The essay must be typed and include a works-cited page or bibliography. End notes are suggested but not required.

Submit applications to:
Diane DimkoffDirector, Customer Services Division
Room G-13700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408
diane.dimkoff@nara.gov

Essays may be submitted in-person or via e-mail before 5:00 p.m. EST March 1, 2009 or via regular mail (postmarked by February 25, 2009).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Houston Public Library's Fantastic Collection Coming Online

There is some really exciting news coming from the folks at FamilySearch and The Houston Public Library. (See press release below) In the October 2008 Episode of The Family Tree Magazine Podcast I had an opportunity to interview Susan D. Kaufman, manager, Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. They have a fantastic collection of genealogical resources. Listen as Susan discloses what one of her favorite collections at the Houston Library happens to be!

Gulf Coast State Histories Slated for Online AccessHouston Public Library Joins FamilySearch in Digitization Effort SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

Thousands of publications that capture the diverse histories of Gulf Coast states will be accessible for free online.

FamilySearch and the Houston Public Library announced a joint project today to digitally preserve and publish the library’s vast collection of county and local histories, registers of individuals, directories of Texas Rangers, church histories, and biographical dictionaries. The digital records will be available for free online at FamilySearch.org and HoustonLibrary.org.

“Houston Public Library has one of the top 10 genealogy libraries in the nation and a very strong Gulf Coast and international collection,” said Susan D. Kaufman, manager, Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. “Visitors come from all over the country to visit the library. Researchers will benefit from the convenience of online access to the collection targeted under the joint venture with FamilySearch,” added Kaufman.

In 2007, FamilySearch announced its plans to create the largest and most comprehensive collection of free city and county histories online. Over 23,000 digital publications have been made available online since then. The addition of Houston Public Library and its collection furthers that goal.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve thousands of Houston Public Library’s historic publications collection and provide free access to the images online. The targeted publications range in date from 1795 to 1923.

The new digital collections published online will have “every word” search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Users will also be able to just browse or read the publications as digital books online if they prefer.

The digitization efforts have already begun, and publications are now viewable online. Texas records are the first publications targeted by the initiative, followed by other Gulf Coast states. The project will take up to five years to complete.

Digital publications will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized. The growing collection can be accessed currently at FamilySearch.org (go to Search Records, and then Historical Books).

“We are honored to be part of such an important and beneficial initiative with a world leader like FamilySearch,” said Kaufman. “The digitization and online publication of Houston Public Library’s historic collections will help increase the inquisitiveness of library patrons and create a heightened sense of awareness of the library’s resources—which then brings customers back more often with more research questions. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Kaufman added.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch previously announced projects with Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch’s own Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. That means local patrons have access to millions of microfilms from FamilySearch’s vast genealogical collection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Patrons can order research material from FamilySearch through the library and use the library’s film readers and copiers to further their genealogical efforts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Genealogists: RUN, DO NOT WALK to Google

I feel like Google has been reading my mind. For ages now I've been wishing for a way to manipulate my Google search results to benefit my research. And then I jump online this morning and Google announces the SearchWiki. My wish has been granted! And believe me, once you start using this, you'll realize that your wishes have been granted too!

The Search Wiki allows you to work "hands on" with your Google search results. How does this benefit genealogists? Think of the benefits of being able to do a search, put the results in the order of importantance to YOUR research, delete the results that are irrelevant, make notes to your self about what you did with those results, and the save it to refer to in the future! This is monumentally exciting stuff for genealogy researchers! The SearchWiki brings us another step closer to what I'm always preaching in my classes "YOU should not be a slave to the Internet - The Internet should be working for YOU!"

The key here is that you must be logged into your Google account to use Search Wiki. Now I know all my listeners already have Google accounts, but for those of you new to Genealogy Gems RUN, DO NOT WALK to Google and get yourself a free Google account.

I'll be covering the SearchWiki more in depth in Genealogy Gems Premium Episode #15 which will be coming out on Monday Nov 21. Premium Members can keep an eye out for that! I will also publish a Premium video for you showing you step by step how to squeeze out every little benefit of the Search Wiki in the very near future.

Thank you Google Fairy Godmother!

Sign Up for Genealogy Gems Premium Membership Today. Good news: The coupon code SAVE20 has been extended to Dec 15 so that you can make membership a Christmas gift to yourself or your genealogists friends! You'll save 20% off the annual membership. Learn more about the benefits of Premium Membership by visiting HERE.




Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Records Online at Ancestry

New this week from Ancestry.com:

This week we added to the U.S. City Directories database on Ancestry.com. We’ve had thousands of city directories on the site for some years now, but many of these databases contain no page images. This new release:

- Adds 50 million names in 1,100 city directories from 45 states and Washington, D.C.

- Includes directories concentrated around the year 1890, making them a great substitute for the 1890 US Federal Census.

- Has high-quality grayscale images that are much clearer than images in previous city directory collections.

We plan to add thousands more city directories to this collection over the next several months.

You can search the U.S. City Directories database at http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1540

Chris Lydiksen, US Content product manager for Ancestry.com, blogs about the new city directories here.

Additional New Content
In addition to the city directories, we recently added the following U.S. military collections:

- U.S. Military and Naval Academy Registers, 1805–1908
- U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861–1910
- Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office


We’ve also recently released and/or updated the following international collections:

- Värmland, Sweden, Parish Records, 1661-1895 (in Swedish)
- UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
- Veli Lošinj & Mali Lošinj, Croatia Christenings, 1821-1888
- Veli Lošinj & Mali Lošinj, Croatia Marriages, 1821-1890
- Veli Lošinj & Mali Lošinj, Croatia Deaths, 1822-1859

You can view the full list of recently added databases, extending back a couple of months, at http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/recent.aspx.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Genealogy Holiday Hoe Down!

I just got back from the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ. I had such a great time meeting up with old friends, and matching the faces to the names of online friends. More about that in an upcoming post.

But now that the bags have been emptied and put away, and my email is pretty caught up, I've started thinking about what to serve at Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm getting serious about getting my Christmas shopping done. So to get me thoroughly in the holiday mood, I thought I'd start off with some good ole online fun!

So here's my version of A Genealogy Holiday Hoe Down starring some of my genealogy buddies:
AnceStories Genealogy Blogger Miriam Robbins Midkiff
Genealogy Insider Blogger and Family Tree Magazine Managing Editor Diane Haddad
Allison Stacy Editor & Publisher of Family Tree Magazine
Myrt of DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour Podcast

Yee Haw!

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Listen to The Genealogy Gems Podcast - Your Family History Show
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things To Check Off Your List



I'm just minutes away from heading out to the airport and on my way to the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ. The last thing here on my checklist to do is to let you know the following:

  1. The Genealogy Gems Booth in the Exhibit Hall is Booth #8
  2. I'll be conducting OTF (on the fly) audio interviews for upcoming podcast episodes and I want to include you! Are you game?
  3. I'll be doing video interviews for the brand new Family History Expos TV at Booths 9 & 10
  4. Be sure and sit in on my class Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems I on Sat. 11/15 at 11:00 am in the Palo Verde I room
  5. Be there for the premiere of my new class Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems II on Sat at 1:00 pm in the Palo Verde I room.
  6. Sign up for your annual Genealogy Gems Premium membership and use the coupon code SAVE20 to get 20% off the annual membership. The offer expires this Saturday Nov. 15, 2008

Now most importantly...where are my car keys?


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ancestry's Collections Priority Search

With the new Priority Search, you tell Ancestry.com which national or ethnic records are most relevant to your search. When you select a specific nationality or ethnicity, the Ancestry.com search engine will give databases with data pertinent to that nationality or ethnicity more weight when search results are returned.

In addition, choosing to prioritize a search helps Ancestry.com know which Soundex algorithm and/or name dictionaries to use to better approximate matches for the names you’re searching.

Look for the “Give priority to” drop-down menu on Ancestry.com search screens.

Anne Mitchell, search product manager, discusses Priority Search on the Ancestry blog: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2008/10/28/focusing-your-search-with-the-collections-options/

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Indexing Projects at FamilySearch


Seven new indexing projects were released during the past two weeks:
  • Argentina 1869 Census – Buenos Aires (Part 2)
  • Argentina 1869 Census – Cordoba y San Luis
  • Massachusetts Death Records
  • Massachusetts Marriage Records
  • New Hampshire Birth Records
  • UK – Cheshire – Church Records
  • UK– Cheshire – Land Tax
To help with these or any other indexing projects, go to http://www.familysearch.org/ (and click Index Records) or http://www.familysearchindexing.org/.



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Veterans History Project Spotlights Stories of WWII

News from the Library of Congress:
Veterans History Project Spotlights Stories of WWII 92nd Infantry Division
Soldiers from WWII African American Unit Recount History in Their Own Words

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), a program of the American Folklife Center, commemorates Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and National Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 9-15, with a special Web presentation at www.loc.gov/vets featuring the firsthand recollections of soldiers from the 92nd Infantry Division of World War II.

(Photo: Meda of Honor Recipient Vernon Baker, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army 370th Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division)

The 92nd Division, an all-African-American unit in World War II nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers," distinguished itself on the battlefields of Italy and earned an honored chapter in our nation’s history. Two years after the war ended, President Harry Truman signed an order to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces.

Showcasing original photographs, video and firsthand narratives, the VHP presentation provides an up-close look at the experiences of nine division soldiers who contributed their recollections to the Library of Congress. The special feature is the latest installment in more than 20 online presentations comprising the "Experiencing War" series.

Narratives include that of A. William Perry, who had been in the Army for only 10 days when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was shipped from his hometown in Cleveland to Alabama for the first of many postings in the racially divided South. Perry recalls that Italy was the first place in his service career where he actually felt welcomed by certain senior officers and by grateful Italian citizens. He describes the challenge of fighting the Germans while they hid out in landmark buildings like the Tower of Pisa, off-limits to Allied firepower.

Elvin Davidson enlisted with a plan to become a cavalry officer, just as his father had during the Spanish-American War. As the cavalry became obsolete, Davidson wound up a noncommissioned officer in the infantry with the 92nd Division. Davidson describes the hardships of serving in Italy, his leniency with his men, the importance of camaraderie to morale and the conditions in postwar Japan, where he served during the Occupation.

Robert Madison’s profile is rich in personal perspective. "We really believed sincerely that we were going to make our mark in this war and become able to claim our rights when we returned to the States." An architecture student at Howard University on December 7, 1941, Madison was also a member of ROTC, which allowed him to serve in the Army as an officer, albeit in a segregated environment. Madison lacked the points he needed to go home at the close of the war, and he served in various duties until May 1946. He faced prejudice back home in Cleveland as he studied architecture, but he persevered and eventually opened a minority-based firm in Ohio.

"Because these extraordinary individuals shared their recollections with the Veterans History Project," said VHP Director Bob Patrick, "future generations will have more than a textbook account of what it was like to serve in the 92nd Division. They will learn history directly from those who lived it."

The Veterans History Project was created in 2000 by Congress to record the firsthand remembrances of American service personnel in major conflicts beginning with World War I. During Veterans Day and National Veterans Awareness Week, the Library of Congress and VHP issue a challenge to Americans to interview a veteran in their family or community. Guidelines are online at www.loc.gov/vets. Individuals may also request information via email at mailto:%20vohp@loc.gov or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Remembrance Day

From the talented Scottish blogger Chris Paton at Scotland's Greatest Story:

"Today is Remembrance Sunday, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Great War, but also the soldiers of all conflicts.

However, please spare a thought too for the many civilians who lost their lives."

Read Paton's touching blog about his grandfather who was a young boy trapped in Brussels with his Scottish civilian family throughout World War One.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

British WWI Veterans - One of 5 Remaining - Dies


Just days before Veteran's Day here in the States, one of World War I's remaining Veteran's has died. Sydney Lucas was one of the few WWI vets to see the turn of the 21st century. According to his obituary he was among the last batch of conscripts to be called up in 1918. However, the Armistice meant he escaped the horror of the trenches. He later went on to serve in WWII.

Sydney Maurice Lucas was born in Leicester, England on 21 September 1900 and, after leaving school, began his apprenticeship as a plumber. (Listen to Genealogy Gems Episode 52 for more information on British Apprenticeship Records) He was just 17 when he was drafted into the Sherwood Foresters, in August 1918, and sent off to Yorkshire for his basic training.

Both of his elder brothers had fought in France during the war. Sydney later recalled, "The youngest one of the two was blown up twice but he didn't get any bad injuries and the other one was shot through the finger, that's all he got. They were lucky."

He attributed his long life to a moderate consumption of alcohol. "My doctor used to say that if you have two whiskies a day, it won't hurt you. He used to call in and bring the bottle."

(Image: WWI Poster from WWI)

The Forgotten Records of 22 Poor Law Unions


Volunteers around England and Wales are embarking on an exciting project to unearth the often sad and gruesome world of the Victorian poor. Led by The National Archives, the ‘Living the Poor Life’ project will see more than 200 local and family historians catalogue thousands of memos, letters and reports held within the long forgotten records of 22 Poor Law Unions. Ultimately the scanned records will be made available online at The National Archives website.

Local and family historians will be able to search by name, place, date and event, providing a level of detail found in no other records from this period.

From the running of the workhouses, to tales of family breakdown, greed and corruption, these records provide a detailed snapshot of a key period in Britain’s history.

It is estimated that around 80% of people in the mid-1800s would have been affected by the Poor Law Unions. Yet despite their historic value these files are currently poorly catalogued and underused. (More on Poor Law Unions)

Over the next 18 months the volunteers will catalogue more than 100,000 pages of documents dating from the mid-1830s to around 1850.

“While the 19th century saw a huge growth in Britain’s economy and industrial capacity, not everyone shared the material benefits,” says Dr Paul Carter, Project Director and Principal Modern Records Specialist at The National Archives. “These are the kind of records that will help researchers, whether a family historian or an academic, answer the question of what life was like for these people.”

The National Archives, which is funding the current work, is actively seeking additional funding to continue the project through to the early 1870s.

“The raw historical data this project will release will prompt researchers to formulate new questions about this period of British social history, and help them to answer existing ones,” says Roger Kershaw, Head of Records Knowledge at The National Archives. “Furthermore, designing the project the way we have, and working with volunteer editors from around the country, makes this a truly national partnership project and we hope to secure funding to allow us to complete the cataloguing of these records up to 1870.” (continue...)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Great Family Tradition & Heirloom Ideas and A Riveting Story of DNA and Genealogy

I love a good story and my friend Colleen Fitzpatrick has one that brings together DNA and genealogical research in a fascinating way. Listen to the brand new Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 54 to hear her tale.


And of course you've heard it said that every picture tells a story. Well, according to Lee and Connie Drew every quilt can tell a story as well. Find out how Drew's creative wife Connie turned her love for the needle arts into a catalyst for family bonding and the creation of future heirlooms. And the photos of these creations that you'll find on the epsiode show notes are just glorious!

Also in this episode regular contributer Ben Sayer the MacGenealogist is back with his review of MacFamily Tree. And James Mowatt of the Historyzine Podcast has a Linguistic History Trivia Bit for us.


This week also marks the launch of my brand new family history podcast called Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. You'll find the weekly half hour show right along side Genealogy Gems in iTunes where you can subscribe for free. Download iTunes for free now.


Each episode starts off with a personal conversation with leading experts in the field of genealogy, and then takes you step by step through the research process. While those of you who are experienced researchers will enjoy hearing from your fellow researchers in ways you never have before, Family History: Genealogy Made Easy is a show that you can send to any of your friends or relatives who are brand new to genealogy.


Do you teach a beginning genealogy class? Why not give your students the link to the show so that they will have ongoing support and encouragement right from their computer every week! Direct Link: http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/415-family-history

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween From Genealogy Gems

Press the PLAY button and then move the lever to get it started

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Podcast Launched - Family History: Genealogy Made Easy!


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Millions of Jewish Family History Records Coming Soon

NEW YORK CITY and PROVO, UTAH – Oct. 29, 2008 – Ancestry.com has partnered with two leading organizations committed to the preservation of Jewish heritage – JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City that maintains the world’s premier Jewish genealogy website, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an overseas humanitarian aid organization committed to providing relief for Jews in more than 70 countries. These partnerships will make millions of important Jewish historical documents available on Ancestry.com, many of which are online for the first time ever and searchable for free. These unique records, including photographs, immigration records, Holocaust records and memorials, can now be searched alongside other records already accessible on Ancestry.com, creating the largest collection of Jewish family history records on the Web with more than 26 million records documenting Jewish life.

Details about the new Jewish Family History Collection on Ancestry.com will be unveiled today at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

“Ancestry.com, the JDC and JewishGen are committed to the preservation of important Jewish historical records, and we’re honored to be working with these well-respected organizations to help in this effort,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of The Generations Network, Inc. “For the millions of people interested in discovering more about their Jewish heritage, these new partnerships make researching family history easier than ever before.”

Many documents digitized as a part of this agreement have never before been available online, including two important JDC collections:
  • Jewish Transmigration Bureau Deposit Cards, 1939-1954 (JDC), a collection of records showing the amount of money paid by American Jewish citizens to support the emigration of friends and relatives from European countries during and after WWII.
  • Munich, Vienna and Barcelona Jewish Displaced Persons and Refugee Cards, 1943-1959 (JDC), a collection containing records of displaced Jews who were provided with food, medical care and clothing and emigration assistance by the JDC.
“Since 1914, JDC has helped revitalize Jewish communities throughout the world and has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews,” said Steve Schwager, Chief Executive Officer for JDC. “We are excited to partner with Ancestry.com, providing descendants access to rare new information about their families and themselves. JDC and Ancestry.com are opening up a wealth of previously inaccessible information through the digitization and dissemination of 125,000 records of those who were helped and of those who helped provide relief to others during and directly after WWII.”

More than 300 databases from JewishGen will also now be available on Ancestry.com. These JewishGen databases represent 14 different countries and contain more than 5 million records, such as:
  • The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry, an invaluable collection with more than 1 million names of Jews represented in nearly 2,000 Jewish cemeteries around the world.
  • Yizkor Book Necrologies, a list of the names of those murdered in the Holocaust which directs users back to the Yizkor Books themselves – memorials which offer vivid, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
  • The Given Names Database, which enables one to learn possible European, Hebrew and Yiddish translations of an ancestor’s given name.
  • A Holocaust Database of 2 million names such as Schindler’s List, which includes names of 1,980 inmates in Oscar Schindler's factories in Plaszów, Poland and Brünnlitz, Czechoslovakia.
  • Jewish Records Indexing (JRI-PL) Poland and All Lithuania Database, representing more than 2 million indexed names from databases in Lithuania and Poland containing vital information on the regions.
"JewishGen began as a volunteer community devoted to gathering and sharing Jewish records," said David G. Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. "We are excited that, through this new relationship with Ancestry.com, we will be able to broaden our reach and extend our invaluable resources to a much larger group of researchers around the world. The entire community benefits when more people get involved in the fascinating and rewarding activity of researching their family history. "

In July 2008, JewishGen entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ancestry.com that provides Ancestry.com with significant resources in the Jewish genealogy world. Under the agreement, not only will Ancestry.com eventually receive access to well in excess of 10 million records, some of which date back to the 1700s, but JewishGen’s user base of more than 250,000 will be alerted to Ancestry.com’s rich resources. Ancestry.com will also provide technical support to the JewishGen site.

The JDC and JewishGen databases included in this release will be searchable for free in a new Jewish Family History experience on Ancestry.com at www.ancestry.com/JewishFamilyHistory. These databases can be searched in combination with millions of other invaluable records documenting Jews available on Ancestry.com, including census records, passenger lists, military records and more.

Are Genealogy Wars Starting?


As I mentioned in a previous post What Will You Think You Saw On Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy reality TV is coming soon. The NBC / Is or Isn't Entertainment / Wall to Wall production of Who Do You Think You Are? should hit the airwaves shortly after the first of the year.

Fox Television is not to be outdone though. It's reported that their genealogy reality show Who Am I? is already in production. The Albany Herald out of Albany, Georgia is reporting that actor and comedian George Wallace visited the Dougherty County Judicial Building on Monday afternoon to view records dug up by researchers.

The air date of the new Fox show hasn't been announced yet, but will likely be sometime next year just in time to rival the NBC show.


Monday, October 27, 2008

New Homepage & New Content for Ancestry

Ancestry.com announced today the launch of their updated homepage that you can use to further tailor your homepage to your research style.

"The logged-in homepage now allows you to add, re-order, and remove sections you’re your Ancestry.com homepage. Just click the “Customize your homepage” button at the upper-right to customize your homepage. This will let you move or remove sections you already have on the page. As part of this update, we have also introduced a few new optional items that you can add to your page:
  • Links to key Record collections including individual U.S. Census years and the Ancestry.com
  • Card Catalog
  • A place to easily keep track of and access your Message Board Favorites
  • Quick links to the Ancestry.com Blog and 24/7 Family History Circle Blog
Learn more about the customizable homepage in the Ancestry.com Blog "

New Content
Ancestry.com recently added the following international collections:
Paris, France & Vicinity Births, 1700-1899 (in French)
Paris, France & Vicinity Marriages, 1710-1907 (in French)
Paris, France & Vicinity Deaths, 1707-1907 (in French)
Paris, France & Vicinity Marriage Banns, 1860-1902 (in French)
UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NARA Does More Than Documents!


From the folks at the National Archives:

For most Americans, Election Day marks the end ofthe presidential selection process. At the National Archives, it is only the beginning.

Most Americans know that the National Archives preserves historicaldocuments such as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution,and the Bill of Rights. But a little known function of the National Archives is the administration of the Electoral College by the Office of the Federal Register.

After Election Day the staff at the Federal Register ensure the complicated and sometimes confusing steps in the electoral process arefollowed exactly. In the weeks prior to the election, they contact state officials who will be responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Constitution and United States Code governing the Electoral College. The main task of National Archives staff is to guide state officials in preparing Certificates of Ascertainment, that identify the electors, and the Certificates of Vote, that document how the electors voted.

The Electoral College consists of 538 Electors (one for each of 435U.S. Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators, and three for the Districtof Columbia). Each state has the same number of electors as it does Members of Congress -- Representatives and Senators. In most states, each political party selects a slate of electors, and the slate pledged to the candidate who won the most popular votes is elected to the Electoral College. Immediately after Election Day, the Governors of each state and the Mayor of the District of Columbia must prepare Certificates of Ascertainment that identify their slate of electors.The states send these certificates by registered mail to the Archivist of the United States, who is required by law to administer the Electoral College.

As the Archivist and the Office of the Federal Register receive the Certificates of Ascertainment from each state, attorneys check them forfacial legal sufficiency. When all certificates are received, the Federal Register makes copies available for public inspection and transmits certificates to each House of Congress.

On December 15, electors meet in each state to cast their votes for President and Vice President. The votes are documented on Certificates of Vote, and the execution of these certificates is witnessed by the Governor, who sends the certificates to the President of the Senate and the Archivist of the United States. As the Certificates of Vote are delivered to the National Archives, attorneys examine the certificates for legal sufficiency. They then make copies available to the public and secure the originals.

The next step at the National Archives is to ensure the Certificates of Vote have been delivered to Congress. The states are required to send certificates directly to the President of the Senate, where they are held under seal until January 6, 2009, when Congress opens and counts them in joint session. The Archivist is responsible for ensuring in advance that the certificates are properly executed and that all Electoral Votes are accounted for. If the President of the Senate has not received copies of the Certificates of Vote sent by the states, the Archivist provides sealed copies.

After the Certificates of Vote are opened and tabulated in a Joint Session of Congress, they are placed in the permanent custody of the National Archives. The National Archives preserves Electoral College documents dating from 1789.

For more information, visit the Electoral College Home Page maintained by the Office of the Federal Register at: www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Summer Vacation Revisited

Dear Readers,

Now that Summer is over, many of us are going through our vacation photos and videos and remembering the good times. I thought it would fun to revisit an unusual summer vacation I had several years ago in this video appropriately called "Our Summer Vacation" (Hang on to your genealogical hats!)

Enjoy! Lisa




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Friday, October 17, 2008

More Yearbooks Available Online

Ancestry has recently doubled the size of their yearbook collection. The collection now contains more than 6,000 yearbooks ranging from 1902 to 2005. You can search the updated yearbook collection for free through the end of October at www.ancestry.com/yearbooks.

In conjunction with this yearbook release, they have kicked off a yearbook scanning project. Ancestry.com is compiling a nationwide collection of school yearbooks starting from the time yearbooks began. These yearbooks will be digitized and the resulting images will be made available on their websites. Their goal is to collect yearbooks and histories from institutions such as schools and libraries, however, individuals with collections are welcome to participate also.
Learn more about this project.

And from World Vital Records, "this week's major collection comes from E-Yearbook, one of WorldVitalRecords.com's premier partners. The collection contains two yearbooks from California: Stanford's University Quad, and the University of Southern California’s El Rodeo.Stanford University’s Quad is funded entirely by purchase, advertisement, and dedicatory sales. Originally started in 1895, the Stanford senior class is highlighted while including information from various undergraduate activities. The Quad on WorldVitalRecords.com contains 17,026 records from 1898-1959. “There are an estimated 180,358 living Stanford degree holders, including 72,284 undergraduate alumni, 90,157 graduate alumni, and 17,917 dual-degree holders.

The University of Southern California’s El Rodeo, was named in honor of fundraising activities by yearbook staff. Originally named the Sybil at the yearbook’s start in 1889, the change to El Rodeo occurred in 1899. El Rodeo on WorldVitalRecords.com boasts 17,200 records from 1898-1960. A few notable alumni include George Lucas, Neil Armstrong, John Wayne, and Frank Gehry. An extensive list of distinguished alumni can be found at the USC Alumni Wikipedia site.
"Stanford Facts: Alumni,” Stanford University webpage.
http://www.stanford.edu/about/facts/alumni.html.."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

iThink iMGonna Like the New iGoogle





Wow! One minute you're going along minding your own business chasing down a census record or listening to the latest episode of The Genealogy Gems Podcast (a shameless plug!) and WHAM!! iGoogle looks NOTHING LIKE the iGoogle you knew ten minutes ago.

If you follow the podcast, then you know that I'm a huge advocate of iGoogle for the genealogist. You are truly working too hard if you don't utilize this free tool. (Listen to Episode 15 to get started now)

No worries my friend, iGoogle just got better! (she said optimistically) And from all accounts that should be the case.

It always helps to understand the rational behind "upgrades" like this. Google says it's meant to provide full "canvas views" for gadget and support for full feed reading. Not all of the Google gadgets support full feed reading, but many of the general popular ones do. (Here's a full list of what's currently available) Chances are you will first see the full benefits of this feature in your favorite gadgets produced by Google such as Gmail which will allow you now to read your full email and perform simple actions like send or reply to emails with the new gadget drop down menu without leaving iGoogle. Click the Maximize button in the upper right corner of the Gmail gadget to instantly see how it works.


The other primary reason for this revamp is that Google is trying to make iGoogle a better platform for gadget developers. This means we should expect to see even more cool and innovative gadgets from talented folks all over the world.

So don't be timid. Play around with iGoogle...click all the buttons...sound all the whistles...and have FUN!

Want to learn even more about how to turn iGoogle into your own personal Genealogy Assistant? Become a Genealogy Gems Premium Member and you'll have instant access to the 7 part iGoogle video series. You'll learn everything you need to know to put iGoogle to work for you by watching this step-by-step on-screen tutorial I created specifically for you, the family historian. And as a member you'll also enjoy Members Only podcast episodes, the Message Forum, and much more. Use the coupon code SAVE20 and save 20% off the annual membership for a limited time only. Sign Up Today.




I'm It - A Game of Tag

Diane Haddad over at the Genealogy Insider Blog has tagged me, (as did Bruce Buzbee at the Rootsmagic blog) in a game of Genealogy Blogger Tag. So I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, unless of course it makes me look bad. Here we go...

10 Years Ago I ...
  1. was working in Human Resources
  2. had teenage daughter for the first time (I've survived three now!)
  3. was doing a lot more cross stitching than I do now
  4. had never heard of a podcast - they didn't exist
  5. (with all this trying to remember my brain hurts)
Five Things on Today's To-Do List:
  1. Decorate my middle daughter's birthday cake (she turned 21 yesterday and the party is tomorrow)
  2. Finish recording Genealogy Gems Episode 53
  3. Finish sewing my youngest daughter's costume for her upcoming Choir performance
  4. Prep for speaking at Saturday's conference in Northern CA
  5. Tag 5 more bloggers
Five snacks I enjoy:

  1. Pringles potatoe chips
  2. Coke Cherry Zero
  3. Laffy Taffy
  4. Anything with Carmel
  5. My daughter's homemade Snickerdoodle cookies

Five Places I’ve Lived:

  1. Puyallup, WA (try to pronounce that correctly!)
  2. Stockton
  3. Tacoma
  4. Pullman
  5. Modesto
Five Jobs I’ve Had:
  1. Pizza maker
  2. First female salesperson at Radio Shack in our state as far as I know
  3. Theatre Director
  4. Human Resources Director
  5. Podcaster








Above: Here I am (seated center, wearing pink) and one of my terrific casts!

Tag - You're It!
AnceStories by Miriam Robbins Midkiff
Genealogy Traces by Judith G. Shubert
MacGenealogist by Ben Sayer
The Practical Archivist by Sally Jacobs
Genea-musings by Randy Seaver

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting the Most Out of WorldCat

To take advantage of everything WorldCat has to offer, consider these free, quick and easy upgrades to your account recommended by the folks at WorldCat:

- Fill in your profile.
- Catch tagging fever. Group things the way YOU find most helpful.
- Make a list. Covers-only view is a great way to browse a long list.
- Write a review. Share your opinions with the world.
- Rate an item. Help others be informed.
- Get automatic citations. Generated for APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Turabian style.

Learn About Lists: You can also learn how to create a List and get some good ideas on fun thing to do with WorldCat Lists by watching this 3 minute video:


Seeking Citations: Still want more? Learn how to use the WorldCat.org citations tool to cite research items and help you create a bibliography in this brief video. (1 min 47 sec)



Wild About Webinars: And finally, sign up for the free Live WorldCat Webinar on Oct. 28 at 2:00pm Eastern, 11:00am Pacific. You’ll get a sneak preview of what’s coming in the future and be able to ask questions and give your feedback. It's all from the world of WorldCat!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Biographical TV Set To Hit The Air

Reality Show producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) is resurrecting the classic TV show This Is Your Life according to a recent report by Reuters.

The show has an impressive genealogy of its own. It was born as a radio show airing from 1948 to 1952 on NBC Radio. It then grew into a television series hosted by its producer Ralph Edwards from 1952 to 1961 on NBC. And it enjoyed a brief comeback in 1972.


While I'm too young to have enjoyed the original
series, I distinctly remember Ralph Edwards honoring Shirley Jones from my FAVE childhood TV show The Partridge Family in 1972

This Is Your Life also had cuzins in the United Kingdom (starting in 1955), and more recently in Australia and New Zealand.

Take the This Is Your Life Pop Quiz:

1) Which celebrity refused to appear when surprised by Edwards?

2) What famous movie comedy team made their TV debut on This Is Your Life?

3) Which honoree was the most annoyed by being ambushed for the show?

4) What was the name of the character played by Flip Wilson who was "surprised" by Edwards on The Flip Wilson Show?

5) On what long running talk show was Edwards himself the recipient of This Is Your Life spoof?

Click here for the answers


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buckeye State Gets A Genealogy Boost


The Generations Network, which owns Ancestry.com, just announced the following:

Summit County Ohio Court Receives GrantHundreds of thousands of historic records will be freely available online.

Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, and the National Association of Government Archive and Records Administrators (NAGARA) announced this summer that Judge Bill Spicer and the Probate Division of the Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron, Ohio, were awarded a 2008 grant for the digitization of Summit County marriage, birth, and death records. The court’s grant was one of only two awarded in 2008. This significant grant will make it possible for Summit County to digitally preserve and provide free online access to select historical documents.

The project targets 1840 to 1980 marriage records for over 550,000 individuals, birth records prior to 1908 for over 46,000 individuals, and death records prior to 1908 for over 22,000 individuals. A free, searchable name index linked to the digital images of the original records will be available to the public through the probate court’s Web site and the grant partners’ sites.

“As a result of the grant, our Website, which was chosen as one of the 10 best in the country by the National College of Probate Judges, will now have the added distinction of being a model for the state and country for accessing historical court records,” said Judge Spicer. “Not only will it improve access, but by reducing the need to see the often-fragile originals, it will make the court’s job of preserving hundreds of thousands of original records easier. The project is a far-sighted and important effort in preserving local history. On behalf of the court and the citizens of Summit County, I thank the project sponsors for selecting Summit County Probate Court as its 2008 grant recipient.”

This is the first year that this national grant was offered. It is sponsored by Ancestry.com and FamilySearch and administered by NAGARA. Under the grant, FamilySearch will digitize the original documents on-site in the Summit County courthouse by the end of 2008, and Ancestry.com will create an electronic index linked to the images. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2009. The commercial value of the grant is estimated to be $150,000.00.