29 November 2011

Simple Kindness Grants Small Miracle

Have I ever told you how much I love old newspapers? Well, they put life to a name and a date. Newspapers often make the person come to life! And I love having my ancestors "come to life".

I've been researching my great-uncle Frank's life and struggled with the fact that he committed suicide at the tender age of 21 in 1897. Distraught over the loss of the love of his life, Lena, three months earlier, he said his goodbye's to family and friends and shot himself to death. A distraught mother lost her first-born child, having already lost three more babies shortly after birth. Frank never had the opportunity to marry Lena, nor raise a family of his own with her. My heart has ached for them both.

I had been able to piece together much of Lena's family but found it difficult to prove relationships. Different sources listed different parents names. I had two potential sets of parents for her. And her name had two middle initials or names. I discovered that Lena's mother died when she was only a little over a year old, so I figured that someone else must have helped to raise her.

I had searched all the available issues of newspapers online that I could find but none told me about Lena's father nor could I find anything explaining the multiple names for both Lena and her father. Then, just a few days ago I received an email from an angel, Laura. She had sent me a newspaper page from 1892 with a small article explaining how Lena's father had legally changed his name because he was not raised by his parents, but rather an aunt and uncle. He was always being asked why his name was different from his "parents", was embarrassed, and wanted his name changed to match theirs. I had missed this article!

After a few exchanges of emails, I found that my angel, Laura, was not even related to this family. She apparently was researching someone else and just happened to run across the article. She went online to FamilySearch, found that I had entered information about the family and sent the article to me! How special is that! Laura had taken that extra step, a few extra minutes, and found me! She could have just as easily skipped it and moved on -- but she didn't! She touched my heart!

So to you, Laura, may all your research prove fruitful! And, may all your miracles come to pass!

Ancestry.com Updates Apps for iPhone, iPad, Touch

Ancestry Brings Family History Alive With New Features

PROVO, UTAH (November 29, 2011) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the availability of a new, upgraded version of its Ancestry.com Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with features designed to enable more rewarding discoveries as users build, update and share their family trees. The Ancestry.com mobile app, which to-date has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times, is now available for free from the Apple App Store.

This upgrade adds three new features to Ancestry.com’s existing family history app:
Ø  “In-app purchasing,” which allows non-Ancestry.com subscribers to view, then buy fascinating historical records about their ancestors – such as World War I draft cards, Census records, birth/death certificates, and school yearbook photos, from among billions of historical documents in the Ancestry.com database
Ø  A “Shaky Leaf” hinting feature that employs predictive analytics to suggest possible new connections between a user’s family tree and undiscovered documents in the world’s largest family history database
Ø  A new merge feature, which automatically identifies and extracts information about family members from historical records so users can quickly and easily update their family tree

“Our goal with the new Ancestry.com mobile app is to enable more people to discover their family history through our billions of historic records, and allow them to share their findings easily with others,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product at Ancestry.com. “Our ‘Shaky Leaf’ hinting feature has resulted in tens of millions of successful family history discoveries online and it’s now accessible to our growing mobile user base.”

For users new to Ancestry.com, the latest iOS app provides an easy way to get started by giving access to relevant historical documents on the site without a subscription.  For existing Ancestry.com members, the new app gives them the ability to grow their tree using Ancestry.com records and share them with others while on-the-go. 

The Ancestry.com mobile app offers many of the most popular features available in the online version of Ancestry.com’s industry-leading family history website, including the ability to add and edit family information, view and share documents and photos, take and attach photos and create and navigate multi-generational family trees.

To get started, download the free Ancestry.com mobile app to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and either register for a new, or log in to an existing Ancestry.com account and choose a family tree. Ancestry.com subscribers can download family history records in the app free of charge. Non-subscribers pay a special introductory price starting at $0.99 for each record purchased through the Mobile app’s “in-app purchase” feature.

27 November 2011

RootsMagic Releases New Version 5!!

NEW features! ..Research logs, Timeline View, Media Enhancements, CountyCheck, Database Tools, Source Enhancements, and more!

RootsMagic has announced the release of RootsMagic 5! Some of the most requested features have been added making RootsMagic better than ever -- a timeline view showing a person's events as well as those of their immediate family members, a research manager which lets you create and track unlimited research logs, the ability to filter the people view, as well as enhancements to multimedia, sources, to-do lists, and much more.  There's a little something for everyone.

You can see screen shots and more detail about what's new here. and a webinar is scheduled Tuesday, November 29, 2011 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM MST

Archives.com Partners with Family Tree DNA

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 22, 2011 -- Archives.com, a website devoted to making family history simple and affordable, announces another exciting way users can explore their family heritage. Archives has partnered with Family Tree DNA, the world leader in genetic genealogy, to enable users to purchase DNA tests through its website for the first time. These are being offered at up to 30 percent off the regular price for a limited time. Archives recognizes that DNA testing plays a critical role in family history research, and is glad to offer a simple, convenient way for users to get started with genetic genealogy.

If you want to read the entire press release, click here.
If you want to take advantage of the special 30% off deal on DNA testing, click here!

I've had a good deal of personal experience using Family Tree DNA and Archives.com! I really like both of them. I have done three different surname DNA tests (well, I did have to get the guys to take the tests!). One of them conclusively proved that the research was going down the WRONG line. Now I just have to jump from Tennessee to North Carolina in the late 1700s. The other two I am still struggling with, but I'm sure, will payoff one of these days. One is on a very common surname of Williams and comes out of Georgia during the Civil War era. I get lots of hits in the lower marker counts but haven't yet been able to tie in to one of the higher marker groups. My third surname test is extremely uncommon in the United States, so I'm patiently (haha) waiting for someone in England to also submit to a study. There just may not be any other descendants.

I originally received a free membership trial  to Archives.com and have grown to really appreciate it! I'm having a great deal of luck finding records for living cousins, and, I have found a lot of marriage and divorce records that have answered many a question in my research. They have vital records, newspapers, living people/public records. obituaries and much more. You may want to consider giving them a try to help you get past some of those brick walls!

21 November 2011

RootsTech Registration - We have a Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone that submitted an entry in my contest for the FREE registration to RootsTech! Congratulations to the winner, Warren Curtis! For those of you that didn't win --- blame it on my husband!  :-)  I made him draw the winning name.

Remember that the Early Bird Registration rates are only good until November 30! Registration will go from $129 to $189 the following day, so take advantage of it! You won't want to miss out on this great conference! There were about 3,000 people in attendance at the first conference last February, both genealogists and techies! It's an amazing way of bringing the two groups together to learn from each other.

If you are ever planning on attending a genealogy conference, pick this one! You won't be sorry. To read more about RootsTech and what it is all about, click on RootsTech.

17 November 2011

Archives.com Partners with the National Archives to Unveil the 1940 Census

1940 is Coming!

We are exactly 136 days away from the unveiling of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census! This is such an exciting time for genealogists and for anyone who is interested in their family's history!

Today, Archives.com, has announced a partnership with the National Archives to provide free digital access to  the 1940 Federal Population Census beginning on April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between Archives.com and the National Archives. In close collaboration with the National Archives, Archives.com will build this new website for researchers to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 Census, the most important collection of newly released U.S. genealogy records in a decade.

The new 1940 collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.
To learn more about Archives.com and the National Archives bringing the 1940 Census online, please visit www.archives.com/1940census. The National Archives also has published a number of helpful resources available to researchers on their website, which can help you to prepare to most effectively search the 1940 Census on April 2nd. As the project progresses, updates and additional information will be posted at www.archives.com/blog. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #1940Census.

Keep an eye on the countdown to the release of the 1940 census right here on my blog! -->>

15 November 2011

FamilySearch News! Brimhall Replaces Verkler

FamilySearch Announces New CEO

15 November 2011
SALT LAKE CITY— FamilySearch International announced today a change in its chief executive officer. Effective January 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch.  Mr. Verkler will continue in a consulting capacity for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.

It is the business culture and practice of FamilySearch, as an organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to regularly rotate its senior leaders. This pattern assures the forward momentum of its core programs.

Over the past decade under Mr. Verkler’s leadership, FamilySearch has shifted its vast stores of genealogical records and resources to a digital, worldwide, internet-based focus.  FamilySearch has developed partnerships with many genealogy and technology industry organizations, helping form a broad and deep industry community including companies, societies, and archives.

FamilySearch has helped make the world’s historic records easier to access online, publishing over 2.4 billion names in historic records at familysearch.org, including 870 collections from over 50 countries indexed by over 250,000 volunteers. During this period, FamilySearch has also created an unprecedented, free global service organization that engages over 70,000 volunteers who provide needed local and online support to research patrons and the genealogical community.  FamilySearch has pioneered genealogical search, record linkage, imaging, crowd-sourcing, and digital preservation technologies.

“It has been a career highlight for me to work in such a significant and meaningful effort,” said Jay L. Verkler regarding his time at FamilySearch’s helm. “I have had the privilege to work with countless great individuals, organizations, and companies, all striving to provide the best of user experiences.”

Mr. Brimhall comes to FamilySearch with a deep background in management.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He recently served for 17 years as president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005.  Since then Mr. Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I am very excited to help lead the work of FamilySearch, to continue the great things that have been done and move forward in new directions as appropriate,” said Brimhall.  “FamilySearch provides services to millions of people worldwide. We really need to understand our customers’ needs and satisfy them. Our focus will be to ensure that FamilySearch’s customer experiences are really first rate.”

FamilySearch looks forward to further strengthening its commitment to the global genealogical community, to publishing and digitizing the world’s records, and encouraging all people to discover, preserve, and share their family histories.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer–driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessor organizations have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Everyone's Going to RootsTech But You?

Win a FREE complimentary registration to RootsTech 2012!

I'll be at RootsTech in February but will you? I was there last February and I'm so excited for it again! RootsTech just isn't your normal genealogy conference -- so what is it and why would YOU want to go?

You tell me why you want to go to RootsTech and you could win a FREE registration to attend!

Here is what you need to do --

1. Go to the RootsTech website and review the conference material and then post a comment on my blog telling me why you want to attend RootsTech in 2012 and be as specific as you can! That's all there is to it. You have until midnight MST on Sunday, November 20th to do this. Tell all your friends by sending them the link to the blog or share on Facebook or Google+. If you have any questions my contact information is located in the upper right of the blog.

2. Wait until Monday morning and I will randomly select a winner and announce it on the blog! I will then get the information to you to claim your registration. Please only submit an entry if you can make it to RootsTech. This contest is for registration only.

[NOTE:  I am an official RootsTech Blogger and this registration is being provided by the kind people behind RootsTech.]
Good Luck!

11 November 2011

FamilySearch Records Updates

Here are the latest updates to FamilySearch Records. Some of the databases are browsable only, while others are indexed. New records are being made available so quickly and yet FamilySearch Indexing is in much need of more indexers. Remember to log in when you get to FamilySearch for access to the most records.

Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1829–1961
Austria, Carinthia, Military Personnel Records, 1846–1897
Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537-1888
Belgium Civil Registration, 1795-1920
Chile, Santiago, Cementerio General, 1821–2006
Czech Republic, Land Records 1450-1850
Dominican Republic, Catholic Church Records, 1590–1955
El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655–1977
England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538–2010
England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797–2004
England, Northumberland, Miscellaneous Records, 1705–1950
Germany, Württemberg, Schwäbisch Hall, Probate Records, 1833–1905
Guam, Land Records, 1898–1964
Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598–1950
Italy, Napoli, Castellammare di Stabia, Civil Registration (Comune), 1809–1936
Italy, Potenza, Lagonegro, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866–1910
Japan, Clan Genealogies, 1700–1900
Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Civil Registration, 1859-2000
Norway Census, 1875
Paraguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754–1981
Peru, Civil Registration, 1874-1978
Philippines, Civil Registration, 1945-1980
Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592–1910
Spain, Catastro of Ensenada, 1749-1756
Spain, Consular Records of Emigrants, 1808–1960
Spain, Valencia, Miscellaneous Records, 1251-1950
Venezuela, Civil Registration
Wales, West Glamorgan, Electoral Registers, 1839–1925

United States Records
Arkansas, Sebastian County Births and Deaths, 1877-1963
California, County Marriages, 1850–1952
California, San Mateo County, Colma, Italian Cemetery Records, 1899-2011
California, State Census, 1852
Florida, Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1955
Idaho, Clark County Records, 1884-1998
Illinois, Macon County, Decatur Public Library Collections, 1879–2007
Iowa, County Births, 1880–1935
Oregon, Columbia County Records, 1854-1958
Texas Birth Certificates, 1903–1934
Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio Cemetery Records, 1893–2007
Texas Deaths, 1977–1986
Texas, Matagorda County, School Census Records, 1923–1946
Utah, Probate Records, 1851-1961

17 Miracles author T.C. Christensen to speak at Riverton FamilySearch Library!

17 Miracles in Retrospect

T. C. Christensen will be showing clips from the movie and talking about what insights he has gained from being involved with it.

T. C. Christensen is the writer, the director, and the director of photography for the movie 17 Miracles, the story of the Willie and Martin Handcart companies, their struggles, and the miracles they received as they crossed the plains.

He has made several films about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Among these are Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and Emma Smith: My Story. He also made A Giant Among Men on the life of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Other LDS films include Testaments and The Work and the Glory.

T. C. has been involved in many feature films including Rigoletto and Forever Strong as well as IMAX films including Lewis and Clark for National Geographic and Roving Mars for Disney. His short films include The Touch of the Master’s Hand, The Pump, Only a Stonecutter, and The John Tanner Story.

Riverton FamilySearch Library
13400 South and Bangerter
(Four-Story Building East of Home Depot)
Free Saturday Seminar – November 19, 2011
9:00 a.m. to Noon

UVTAGG Meeting Tomorrow

I know this is very late notice but the regular Saturday meeting and training classes for the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group is scheduled for Saturday, November 12.

Claire Brisson-Banks will be speaking on THE PERFECT SOCIAL MEDIA: FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY.  Claire will discuss how family history really helps you find and connect with your extended family.  She has created a nice approach to accomplishing this and the outline is linked on her website  https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/User:BrissonBanksCV .

The classes following the main speaker are as follows:
1. Fold3 - Access to Government Records, by Marilyn Thomsen
2. MAC: OSX-7 (Lion), Using iPhoto, and Reunion Q&A, by Ron Snowden;
3. Keeping Your PC Healthy, by Jerry Castillo;
4. Personalized Help, by Don Engstrom & Finn Hansen;
5. Using Technology to Involve Youth in Family History, by Claire Brisson-Banks;
6. Video from last month's main presentation: Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by Loretta Evans;
7. Ancestral Quest, by Gaylon Findlay;
8. Legacy 7.5, by Joel Graham; and
9. RootsMagic 4, by Sue Maxwell.

As usual the class is held from 9am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo. Website: http://uvtagg.org