Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 95 is Ready for Listening

The nature of genealogy is that along our research path we find new data that sheds light on old data, revealing a mistake here and there in our family tree. In fact, one of my Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners recently ran up against this situation, and asked for help to make her way out of it. She wrote:

“My GGG grandfather had many children with two wives. I recently found out that wife #1 died sooner than I had thought and that about five of the middle children belonged to wife #2. Is there an easy way to move them over to wife #2? All I know to do is detach them from wife #1, but that puts the child in a third category as the child of a third unknown wife. I tried adding the child to the #2 wife, but that doesn’t take the attached documentation with it. There must be an easier way, as this is such an easy mistake to make.”

To find the answer I headed to the source,, and in the new Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 95 Jennifer Hodnett, Product Manager for Ancestry provides the solution which is also featured in this new video:

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iTouch get the Genealogy Gems Podcast App and you’ll get this kind of Bonus Content delivered directly to your mobile device.

Also in this new episode you'll get the latest genealogy news, websites, and tips on preservation from my special guest Scott Haskins, author of the book How to Save Your Stuff From A Disaster.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get $20 off My Family Tree University Classes

Seems like everyone is getting ready to go back to school this month.  How about you?  Making an investment in your genealogical education can pay huge dividends in making the best use of your limited research time and getting higher quality results. 

I'll be teaching two online classes in the new Family Tree University session starting up on Monday, August 16:

Reverse Genealogy: Working Forward to Break Brick Walls
Google Tools for Genealogists:  Four Resources to Enhance Your Family History

And there's never been a better time to invest in your sleuthing skills because Family Tree University is offering $20 off any class in August. Just use the coupon code SCHOOL20 when you register.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Become a Friend of the U.S. Constitution on NARA's Facebook Page

August 12, 2010


WASHINGTON, DC…  In anticipation of Constitution Day, the National
Archives will unveil a new exhibition: “The Charters of Freedom: Our
Nation’s Founding Documents” on September 13, 2010.  This exhibit
takes a fresh look at these Charters - the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights - all on permanent display in
the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom.  The new exhibit surrounds the
Charters’ centerpiece cases, using originals and facsimiles of
historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives to
answer two key questions about each Charter -- “How did it happen?”
and “Why is it important?”  The new exhibit is an attempt to answer
questions visitors often ask when see the Charters.

Constitution Day activities marking the 223rd anniversary of the
September 17 signing of this milestone document
include daylong special
events and programs on September 17 (Constitution Day), an evening with
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussing his new book, Making Our
Democracy Work: A Judge's View, on September 13, and an evening panel
discussion with constitutional scholars on September 21.  These events
are free and open to the public.  For more information see

In honor of this celebration, the National Archives has launched a
Facebook page for the Constitution.  Friend the Constitution on Facebook
at!  This new page is interactive forum
for the Constitution that encourages open discussion and debate.

Background on the exhibition

Highlights of the new exhibition include “Secrets of the Documents” and special quotes from the Founding Fathers, as well as the following:
●       Elizabeth Burgin’s remarkable story- told through original
letters ¬¬- of her escape from New York in a whaleboat¬¬ and of her
heroic role in a successful plot to free solders from British prison
●       The fascinating travels of the Declaration of Independence
before it was displayed safely at the National Archives:  it has had
many homes, including government offices, the interiors of safes and
other public displays. Wagons, ships, a Pullman sleeper, and an armored
vehicle have transported this priceless document; and
●       Information about how the National Archives preserves these
National Treasures.

The new Charters exhibition also provides answers to the following
●       Why is it so dark and cold in the Rotunda?
●       What is parchment, and why were the Charters written on it and
not paper?
●       Did slaves really fight on both sides in the Revolutionary War?
●       Which of the original colonies did not sign the Constitution or
even send delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
●       Are there really “typos” in the Constitution?
●       Which of the articles proposed in the original Bill of Rights
was not ratified until 1992?
●       How were the murals created?

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is located on the
National Mall and is fully accessible.  National Archives Exhibit Hours
are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily (through Labor Day), and 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
through March 14.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Family History Comes to Your BlackBerry with Genealogy Gems Podcast

We are happy to announce that you can now download Genealogy Gems podcast episodes on your BlackBerry! 

Today Research In Motion (RIM) launched BlackBerry Podcasts, a free application and service that allows BlackBerry smartphone users to gain access to free audio and video content that can be downloaded and then enjoyed on a BlackBerry media player. 

In a press release, Alistair Mitchell, Vice President, Multimedia Integration said that "The new BlackBerry Podcasts app and service makes it easier than ever to discover and download a wide range of content directly from a BlackBerry smartphone, and users can even subscribe to their favorite podcasts and receive an alert when new content is available."

We are excited that the Genealogy Gems Podcast is among the first 1000 shows available through this service.

To get the free app for your BlackBerry, go to  You will need a BlackBerry smartphone running BlackBerry OS v4.6 or higher.

Friday, August 6, 2010 to Acquire Professional Genealogy Firm ProGenealogists, Inc.

Big news from Ancestry, and not totally unexpected since they partnered heavily on the new Who Do You Think You Are? television show that launched this spring in the U.S.  Here's the press release:

PROVO, UTAH (August 6, 2010) – Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) announced today that it has acquired leading professional genealogy research firm, ProGenealogists, Inc.
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, ProGenealogists specializes in genealogical, forensic and family history research. During its 10-year history, the firm has become a trusted name in professional genealogy, finding great success with client research and expanding both its domestic and international capabilities.  As a part of, ProGenealogists will continue to provide premier family history research to its existing clients while extending the reach across the genealogy value chain.

“We are delighted to welcome ProGenealogists into the network,” said David Rinn, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development for “With this acquisition can better serve subscribers who are seeking dedicated, personal support in their family history research. As a natural service extension for, we expect the addition of ProGenealogists will also enhance and expand the professional research offerings currently available through Expert Connect.”

 “ is definitely in a class by itself in the genealogy industry,” said Natalie Cottrill, CEO of ProGenealogists, Inc. “We are excited to become part of the family and look forward to finding new ways to help more people interested in learning about their roots.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on its financial guidance as issued in connection with its second quarter earnings release on July 29, 2010.

ProGenealogists and have worked together on several initiatives over the past few years including driving the research for the NBC television program, “Who Do You Think You Are?” which traced the family histories of celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Kudrow, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, Matthew Broderick and Spike Lee. will continue leveraging the expertise at ProGenealogists for similar initiatives in the future.