Friday, December 17, 2010

NBC Announces Who Do You Think You Are Season 2 Celebrities

Season 2 of Who Do You Think You Are will premiere February 4, 2011  (8-9 p.m. ET) according to a recent NBC press releases.  Celebrities starring in season 2 include:
  1. Gwyneth Paltrow
  2. Tim McGraw
  3. Rosie O’Donnell
  4. Steve Buscemi
  5. Kim Cattrall
  6. Lionel Richie
  7. Vanessa Williams
  8. Ashley Judd  
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – December 16, 2010 – 
From executive producers Lisa Kudrow (“Friends,” “The Comeback”) and Dan Bucatinsky (“Lipstick Jungle,” “The Comeback”) – through their production company Is or Isn’t Entertainment and Shed Media U.S. (“Supernanny,” “The Real Housewives of New York City”) -- “Who Do You Think You Are?” is an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series that leads celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their family trees that reveal surprising, inspiring and even tragic stories that often are linked to crucial events in American history.

“I've been a fan of the U.K. version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ for a long time, so it's very rewarding that the U.S. version is back with more compelling stories this season that are illuminating, touching and aspirational,” said Kudrow. “This is such a unique show for network television and we're all thrilled that the American audience has embraced it.”

From the trenches of the Civil War to the shores of the Caribbean, and from the valleys of Virginia to the island nations of Australia and Ireland, “Who Do You Think You Are?” will reveal the fabric of humanity through everyone’s place in history. Each week a different celebrity takes a journey into their family’s past, traveling all over the world. While giving viewers an in-depth look into their favorite stars’ family tree, each episode will expose surprising facts and life changing encounters that will unlock people’s emotions, show just how connected everyone is not only to the past, but to one another.

Here's a clip from last season

Monday, December 13, 2010

Genealogy Gems Goodness for the Droid Now Available!

Ever since we launched the Genealogy Gems Podcast App for the iPhone and iPod Touch earlier this year, we’ve heard from Android users that they want to be able to stream the show on their mobile devices too. And now they can! The Genealogy Gems Podcast Companion App for Android is now LIVE in the Android marketplace!

Genealogy Gems is the only genealogy podcast to enter the app market, and we’re thrilled at the overwhelming response from our listeners:
Susan H. wrote on Facebook: "Wow, you granted my wish! Lisa, you are awesome! Going to install it right now. Thanks for the early Christmas present."

And Mary L. emailed exclaiming, “The Genealogy Gems Podcast is now on my Droid phone! It was very easy to download and install, and, it works like a charm! Best $2.99 I've spent in a long time. Thank you for making this available.”

The Genealogy Gems Podcast App for Android allows genealogists to stream the entire catalogue of podcast episodes (which has just topped 100!) as well have exclusive access to bonus content such as videos, pdf files and much more. The new app is compatible with OS 1.6 or later.

Downloading this little gem is easy as going to the Android Marketplace and doing a quick search on Genealogy Gems Podcast. Or check it out at the AppBrain website.

Harnessing emerging technology for genealogy is my passion, and I’m committed to staying on the cutting edge. My hope is that our iPhone and Android apps will help genealogists around the world find it even easier to listen to the show so they can stay up to date on the latest genealogy news, research tips, interviews and project.

Vote for the Best Genealogy Blogs Now

Voting is now open for the 40 Best Genealogy blogs - the Family Tree 40!

The final list will appear in the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine, and your help is needed to choose from blogs nominated by the genealogy community.

To vote, use the survey at .

The nominees are divided into eight categories. In each category, please choose five blogs (you'll get an error message if you choose too many).

Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. You may vote multiple times.

It was my honor to serve as a Family Tree 40 panelist along with Genea-Musings blogger Randy Seaver, Myrt of the DearMyrtle blog and Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.  Our job was to help formulate the blog categories and qualifications, as well as narrow categories with the most nominations. With so many fantastic blogs out there, it was a challenge indeed!

I'm excited to see the final selections that the genealogy community makes.  Be sure and vote today!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sneak Peek: New Interactive Preview of NARA website

The National Archives and Records Administration just announced that it will launch a redesigned web site on December 13, 2010, as part of its Open Government Initiative.  But you can get an interactive preview of the redesigned right now at
"It's essential for the National Archives to have a user-friendly online presence,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, (the first Archivist to blog, tweet, and launch a Facebook page). “We hope to reach new audiences while still engaging our long-time users, researchers and visitors. This redesign – part of the National Archives flagship Open Government Initiative – reflects the ongoing effort to engage the public and make records of the National Archives easier to find and use."

The new web site will feature:
  • A brand new home page voted by the public in July 2010
  • A new interactive “Our Locations” map of NARA’s facilities nationwide
  • Historical documents and streamlined access to military service records (81 percent of visitors are looking for this information)
  • Single topically organized sections focused on the needs of both casual browsers and professional researchers
  • Easy links to National Archives’ social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and both the Archivist's AOTUS blog and other National Archives blogs.

According to NARA the public and National Archives staff participated in the redesign process. A multi-faceted participatory approach, including online card sorts, voting on home page designs, and usability testing was used to gather input to create content organization on

The interactive preview will explain what has and has not changed and give you the opportunity to walk through the redesign. NARA recognizes that a web site is never done and acknowledges that this is the first step in a number of ongoing changes.

They are looking for your input. You can contact us at

National Archives Challenges the Twitter-verse to Tweet the Bill of Rights

Here's a fun way to celebrate history!

Washington, D.C. . . The National Archives is celebrating the 219th

anniversary of the Bill of Rights (December 15, 2010) social media-style

with a contest to tweet @archivesnews condensing each amendment to the

U.S. Constitution into a single tweet counting down to the First

Amendment using hashtag #BillofRights. On Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15)

the final contest will be to create one tweet summarizing all ten

amendments. See the contest schedule and more information below.

The previous day’s winner will be announced at 10 a.m. on the

National Archives Facebook and Twitter (@archivesnews) site. Archivist

of the United States David S. Ferriero will select one winner for each

amendment. Each winner will receive a Bill of Rights poster from the

National Archives eStore, and the winning tweets may be used in a future

Archive store product!

Contest Schedule:
December 6:

Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the

Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the

States respectively, or to the people.

December 7:

Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights,

shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the


December 8: (same day, but a separate tweet for each!)

Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive

fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment VII: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy

shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be

preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined

in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the

common law.

December 9: (same day, but a separate tweet for each!)

Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the

right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State

and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district

shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the

nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses

against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his

favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or

otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a

Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in

the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor

shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in

jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to

be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or

property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be

taken for public use, without just compensation.

December 10:

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons,

houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,

shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable

cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the

place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

December 13:

Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any

house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a

manner to be prescribed by law.

December 14:

Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security

of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall

not be infringed.

December 15:

Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of

religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the

freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably

to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

BONUS: In one tweet, summarize the entire Bill of Rights!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Your Adoption Question Could Be Featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network

Long time Genealogy Gems Podcast listener Brandt wrote me recently in hopes of helping a friend:

"Hi Lisa.  A friend of mine who was adopted as a toddler in 1987 is trying to find some information on her birth parents. She has her father's name, and the adoption agency says he was a Vietnam vet, who died but she doesn't know when (after his service in the war at least). (She also has) her mother's last name, but her first name is unknown. She's asked for help in getting info on her parents, mostly her mom. I have the contact info for the adoption agency, but I've never contacted one before and I'm not sure how to approach them, or whether they'd even release info to me. Do you have any pointers on what I can do to help my friend?"

Now folks like Brandt and his friend who have adoption questions can apply to have their case taken on by adoption research specialist and genealogist Pam Slaton on the new show Search coming to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Announces Free Family Builder 5.0

News from the folks at MyHeritage:
London, England & Tel Aviv, Israel – December 1, 2010 –, the largest family network on the web, today announced the launch of Family Tree Builder 5.0, the most advanced and easy-to-use free genealogy software in the world. Introducing a range of new practical features, Family Tree Builder 5.0 makes researching, building, printing and sharing family trees easier than ever. The new ‘To-Do’ lists and unique ‘Tree Consistency Checker’ are amongst the useful new tools for genealogists, while the new fully customizable family tree charts and professional poster prints provide a colorful way for any family to showcase its past and present. With improved privacy settings, Family Tree Builder 5.0 also gives users more flexibility and security for sharing family history data.

Family history enthusiasts and genealogists around the world use Family Tree Builder to find long-lost relatives, and discover and showcase their family roots. Popular free features, such as Smart Matches™ and Facial Recognition, empower users to overcome the challenges of family history research in a fun and innovative way. Family Tree Builder users can synchronize their data with a private online family site on Family sites serve as an ideal platform for families to share their heritage and stay in touch – through photo sharing, event planning and other social networking tools.

"We’re witnessing a massive upward trend in people being passionate to discover their roots", said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of "Our newly released Family Tree Builder 5.0 software is the ideal companion in the journey to explore your family’s past. Easy-to-use, packed with innovative features and completely free, it transforms family history into a hobby that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone.”

The new Family Tree Builder 5.0, free to download at, offers several new ways of organizing, documenting and showcasing family history. The major new features include:

· ‘To-Do’ Lists: A new feature that makes organizing and conducting research much more effective. Users can enter tasks that need to be done and associate them with people and locations, and organize the next steps they need to do in their research and prioritize them. Offers the ability to find all tasks associated with a certain person or location.

· Tree Consistency Checker: A unique and free tool that helps find mistakes in family tree data, automatically identifying errors and inconsistencies in 40 categories. The tool excels in detecting anomalies – for example if users have entered dates inside place fields or tagged someone in a photo before that person’s birth – and shows users exactly how to fix them.

· Improved Privacy Settings: A centralized place for controlling privacy settings. Users can now make specific information (e.g., names, facts and notes) of family members private and prevent this data from being published to family sites, or exclude it from family tree charts.

· New Family Tree Charts: In only a few clicks, users can create beautiful family tree charts for free using a new easy-to-use chart wizard. With a dozen different chart types to choose from (click here to view), 18 predefined chart styles (click here to view), plus a wide variety of border designs, frames, background images, decorations, colours and fonts, users now enjoy thousands of combinations for personalizing their family tree charts. Charts can be saved in PDF format, which makes them easy to print at home and to share with others.

· Family Tree Posters: With worldwide shipping, users can now order a poster sized version of any family tree chart, either direct to their home or sent as a gift to a family member. Prices start from as little as $20.

· Custom Reports: Users can copy and export to excel data specific to a particular research project (such as a wedding or trip), sorting information according to their needs – e.g. by region, emails of particular individuals, information on reunion attendees etc.

· DNA markers: Users can enter results from a genealogy DNA test or be directed to over 10 companies that conduct such tests. This information is encrypted.

· Plus dozens of additional enhancements.