Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Records for Argentina, Canada, Germany, Ireland, & Netherlands

Since the last update on January 5, 2009, FamilySearch added over 40 million new records to its Record Search pilot. Individuals with international roots from Argentina, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and the Philippines will find some nice surprises in the newly added collections.

Birth, marriage, and death records were added for the Netherlands and Ireland. Irish researchers in particular have been anxiously awaiting the 23 million records from the Irish Civil Registration indexes. These records date from 1845-1958 and are also known as the Statutory Registration Records. Statutory registration for Protestants began in 1845 and for Catholics in 1864.

Here's a complete list of the new additions:

1869 Argentina National Census
California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records 1835-193143
Canada Census 1916
Costa Rica Church Records 1595-19921
Germany Burials 1500-1992
Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958
Mexico Aguascalientes Catholic Church Records 1616-1961
Netherlands Births and Baptisms
Netherlands Marriages
Netherlands Deaths and Burials
Philippines Marriages
1920 United States Census (Added Alabama)
1850 United States Census (Added Alabama and Indian Population)
1850 United States Census (Slave Schedule) Added Alabama, Missouri, and South Carolina
1850 United States Census (Mortality Schedule) Added Louisiana and Indian Population
1870 United States Census (Added Pennsylvania)
The new records can be searched for free at

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Documentary on Ellis Island Hospital Airs in February 2009

Diane Haddad, author of the Genealogy Insider Blog just posted about a new documentary hitting the airwaves about the hospital at Ellis Island...

Ellis Island Hospital Documentary Airs in February
Forgotten Ellis Island, a documentary based on film producer Lorie Conway’s book of the same name about the immigrant hospital at America’s busiest port of arrival, is set to air on many PBS stations Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. (It'll air Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in some places.)

Read the rest of the story at The Genealogy Insider Blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ancestry Dramatically Reduces Price of DNA Test just announced that it has reduced the prices of its genetic genealogy DNA tests.

Effectively immediately, the 33-marker paternal lineage test is now $79 (down from $149). The paternal lineage test analyzes DNA in the Y chromosome, which is passed virtually unchanged from father to son. Advanced paternal lineage tests, maternal lineage tests (which looks at mitochondrial DNA passed from a mother to her children), and combination paternal and maternal lineage testing options are also part of the product suite.

Similar DNA tests typically cost more than $150. Many test options priced in the $79 range usually test fewer markers and can be less genealogically useful.

“ has built a reputation synonymous with family history, and we think that DNA testing is a great complement to membership in our core service,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of

“Our very clear goal is to build the world’s largest database of genetic genealogy results. Substantially reducing the price of our 33-marker paternal lineage test will allow more people than ever before to unlock the mystery of their ancient origins and to find living relatives from around the world.”

Names & Dates for WDYTYA TV Show

As genealogists we like names and dates, and NBC has finally released some for their new television show "Who Do You Think You Are?"

The TV show which is the descendant of the British hit show by the same name will feature one celebrity each episode discovering their family tree (with the help of producers and experienced researchers!)

Lisa Kudrow (also producer of the new series)
Sarah Jessica Parker (of Sex in the City fame)
Susan Sarandon (movie actress)

Premieres Monday, April 20

Mondays at 8:00 pm

Read the past Genealogy Gems News article about WYDTYA and other so-called reality TV shows.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Got Questions About Putting Your Family Tree Online?

In last week's episode of Family History: Genealogy Made Easy (#12) we took an in depth look at’s family tree as a way to share your research and connect with other researchers online. But Ancestry is not the only website offering tools for family networking and tree building.

In the newest episode (#13) we’re going to continue exploring the incredible options that are available today in online family trees.

In our first segment my guest is Scott Huskey, President and Founder of an innovative website called Photoloom which, like the name implies, creatively weaves photos and your family tree together for a very unique visual family tree

Then in our second segment I’ll be talking to Sasha Masick of GeneTree a family networking website that also incorporates a genetic component by allowing you to incorporate DNA test results.

Putting your family tree, your genetic profile, your treasured family photos online are all ways to not only connect with other researchers and distant cousins, but also to gain greater enjoyment for you personally as you research your family tree.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #10

Strategy #10
Have FUN!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2008 was to have more fun. If you run against a research brick wall, or database that is temporarily down don’t fret...Stop and have some fun!

Here are some fun video goodies for you:

The Socks to America - a Sockumentary ala Ken Burns!
A Son’s Tale - A tongue in cheek family history.
Our Summer Vacation - A wild genealogy road trip

For more videos visit the Genealogy Gems TV Channel

Action Item: Have Genealogical Fun This Year!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #9

Strategy #9

Stay Current: Sign up for the free Genealogy Gems e-newsletter.

I send out about two e-newsletters a month that will give you links to new podcast episodes for Family History: Genealogy Made Easy and The Genealogy Gems Podcast, blog posts, new records that have just come online, and tons more. I won’t share your address with anyone, but I will share LOTS of great tools and ideas!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #8

Strategy # 8
Tap into FREE Genealogical Resources

By keeping costs down where you can you will have the resources to spend on those records you want most that are going to cost you.

Action Item: Listen to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast Episode 8 for great FREE research ideas.

Then check out Family Tree Magazine's August 2008 podcast episode and listen to author David Fryxell talk about "fabulous freebies."

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Podcast Episode: Family Trees Online

In the newest episode of the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast we focus on posting your family tree online.

There’s no use in re-inventing the research wheel, and by posting what you know about your family tree online you can easily connect with others who are researching people in your family tree, share information, collaborate and even connect with distant relatives.

My guest is Kenny Freestone, Senior Product Manager at whose primary responsibility is Ancestry’s Family Tree Feature. Kenny’s not only going to walk us through the process of setting up and using our family tree on Ancestry but this tree expert will be giving us his Top 5 Tips making the most of them.

Whether you’re currently working with your family tree online, or have just thought about doing so, this episode is for you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #7

Strategy #7
Post your family tree online

This year reach out to the rest of the world and find out who else is researching your family tree. Entice your family members to get involved by including lots of photos and stories. The more the merrier! If you haven't put your tree online yet, you are missing out.

Action Item: Stay tuned to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast because I’ll be devoting an two entire episodes to this subject! Episodes 12 & 13.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #6

Strategy #6
Post your three top research goals above your computer monitor.

We have a lot on our minds, so it's not surprising that when we have a few free moments to sit down and dig into our research, we may not remember what our top research goals were. Make it easy on yourself and post them in a place you're guaranteed to see them.

Action Item: Leave a comment stating your current top three research goals.

A reminder a day keeps procrastination away.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #5

Strategy #5
Call your oldest living relative IMMEDIATELY and ask them about your family's history.

Action Item: Listen to Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Episode 2 for a refresher on this topic and then DO IT!

Need more help making calls? Listen to Episode 28 of the Genealogy Gems Podcast.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #4

Strategy #4

Make an appointment with Family History: Genealogy Made Easy
Lunch time is a great time to listen to the newest episode of the podcast, or refresh your memory by re-listening to a previous episode. (That’s the beauty of podcasts - they are pre-recorded and you can listen whereever you are!) Episode run about a half an hour which is a perfect fit for a mid-day break. Why not share the show with your friends or co-workers?
Action Item: Invite a few folks to bring their brown bag lunch into your office or conference room for your own private weekly “genealogy class."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The National Archives 75th Anniversary

From the National Archives:
Opening March 13, 2009

Washington, DC*The National Archives celebrates its 75th year in 2009 with a new exhibition featuring big records, big events, and big ideas. BIG! opens Friday, March 13, 2009, in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building. From the 13-foot scroll of the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, to the size 22 sneakers of basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, the items in the exhibition are pieces of the American story-writ large.

The exhibition will be on display through January 3, 2010, and is free and open to the public. The National Archives is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Exhibit Hall hours are 10 A.M. - 5:30 P.M. daily, except Thanksgiving and December 25.
At a time when many people struggle to see documents and images on smaller and smaller screens, the National Archives presents the nation's original record in its full-scale glory. For example:

* A section of an enormous 13-by-13-foot Civil War-era map of the Gettysburg battlefield will be shown. With a scale of one inch to 200 feet, it shows the terrain at the site of Pickett's charge, one of the great infantry charges in military history, and the site where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address.

* As evidence that William Howard Taft was almost certainly the biggest man to serve as President of the United States, the exhibit presents the 1909 order for a bathtub and other special items to accommodate Taft's 300-plus-pound frame. A replica of the massive tub will be on view.

* The military personnel file of General Douglas McArthur is one of the biggest in the holdings of the National Archives National Personnel Records Center. The many thousands of items in the file chronicle the famous 5-Star General's half-century of military service. Included is a Presidential directive indicating a big clash of power between military and civilian command.

* The National Archives will display a treasure that embodies an idea so big that it engendered the birth of the nation. It is one of only 25 surviving copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence by John Dunlap. This broadside was inserted into the "rough journal" of the Continental Congress in the July 4, 1776, entry.

Throughout 2009, in addition to BIG! the National Archives is planning a wide range of events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its establishment. A special web page,, shines a spotlight on defining moments in the agency's history through the decades with photo galleries, notices of special events at dozens of agency sites nationwide, a new National History Day award for middle and high school students, and a new Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship award. The website will also feature a guest book for researchers to share their stories of discovery and of how the agency has a made a difference in their lives. Check in the coming months for full details.

New Years Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #3

Strategy #3
Make an Appointment with Yourself
You’re an important and busy person and that means you need to get on your own calendar!

Make an appointment for a realistic amount of time to do your research. Then write it on your calendar, log it in your palm pilot, or wherever you keep your official calendar. Then stay committed to it. When that hour or two rolls around, you’ll have a blast and will thankful that you made time for yourself and your heritage.

Action Item: Post a comment stating the day and time you've committed on your calendar to your research.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #2

Strategy #2

Record source information for what you find when you find it.

It’s not enough to enter the information into your database, you need to make note of where you got it.

In The Beginning Times...once when I found a primary record that completely contradicted information that I had previously entered into my database, I was stumped as to which “fact” was correct because I had failed to document my source of the original information. I later found a sticky note that revealed it had come from a great aunt with a less than pristine memory. Armed with documented proof of the true facts, I corrected my family tree and vowed to sourcing each “fact” as it surfaced.

Learn from my mistake grasshopper...

Friday, January 2, 2009

10 Strategies for a New Year Blog Series - Strategy #1

Strategy #1
Enter what you find into your genealogy database at the time you find it.

When you sit down to your computer, open your genealogy database BEFORE you search for the first record. As soon as you find a record you may be excited and on fire but STOP, DROP, AND RECORD that information before you take another step!

I made a committment to this principle a very long time ago after investing an hour and a half and several $$ locating a record only to find out I had found it 3 months earlier and failed to enter it into my database. Remember: the definition of insanity is when you hit your head against a wall and it hurts, and then you do it again expecting a different result. It’s going to hurt if you don’t record what you find when you find it!