Friday, March 30, 2012

New Google Earth Images, Free Tool, and 30% Off SALE

While some Google tools come and go (like the Google News Timeline and Labs), it's nice to know that Google remains committed to supporting Google Earth. And in that effort they have just announced a new assortment of high resolution satellite images. (see below)

If there is a location you are either waiting for updates for, or are anxious to see Street View arrive, there's a quick and easy way to find out.  Follow Your World is a free tool (think Google Alerts for Google Earth) that allows you to request email updates when new imagery becomes available for a desired area.

And why would you want all of this geographic information on Google Earth?  Because Google Earth is PERFECT for genealogy research!  You can find ancestor homes, precisely plot homesteads, create historic map overlays that take you back in time, and even tell your family history story in Google Earth. The Family History Tours I developed for my Google Earth for Genealogy series will give you a way to capture the attention of even the most video-game-mad youngsters in your life!

Watch these quick videos to see for yourself what you can accomplish using Google Earth for genealogy, then click here for 30% off (or type in your browser) of the Google Earth for Genealogy tutorial video CDs now through 4/3/12:

Visit for 30% off now through 4/3/12

Countries/regions receiving high resolution satellite updates:Canada, United States, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Greenland, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Madagascar, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Antarctica

These updates are now available in Google Earth and will be live in Google Maps in the coming days. For a full picture of the updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Deleted Scenes and Preview

Helen Hunt's full episode of the family history TV series Who Do You Think You Are? is now available to watch online. Click here.

And be sure to check out a deleted scene from the episode where Helen shares with her father the discoveries she made on her ancestral journey.

Below you can watch a sneak peek of Friday's new episode featuring actress Rita Wilson as she explores the world of genealogy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

National Archives Video Offers Peek Inside Preservation Lab

This is pretty interesting stuff!  See how the pros create custom storage boxes.  How could your family history heirlooms benefit from something like this? 

From a March 21, 2012 Press Release:
Washington, DC… The National Archives today is releasing its latest Inside the Vaults video short, Boxing our Treasures, which takes viewers inside the National Archives preservation lab to see how archival treasures are lovingly and carefully housed in custom-made encasements. The three-minute video is part of the ongoing “Inside the Vaults” series and can be viewed on the National Archives YouTube channel:
National Archives senior conservator Gail Harriman explains the importance of such custom-made boxing:  “About 60% of the holdings require some level of preservation.  A great deal of that can be solved by proper housing.”  A custom box, what Harriman calls a “microenvironment,” is a common preservation strategy.
Viewers get special access to the preservation lab at the National Archives where specialists construct custom boxes for items as varied as a Cold War-era pistol and a 1761 Indian treaty.   The boxes can be simple affairs, built to house a book – or extremely complex, holding multiple, related items in multi-chambered constructions.
Background on “Inside the Vaults”
“Inside the Vaults” is part of the ongoing effort by the National Archives to make its collections, stories, and accomplishments more accessible to the public. “Inside the Vaults” gives voice to Archives staff and users, highlights new and exciting finds at the Archives, and reports on complicated and technical subjects in easily understandable presentations.  

Watch the video below:

Learn How to Use the British Newspaper Archive for Family History Research

Click here to Listen at the Website
The recently launched British Newspapers Archive (BNA) database has over 200 UK newspapers, published from 1700-1950, and over 3 million pages – and is growing daily. It's a wonderful genealogy resource collection for anyone interested in their British family history.

Ed King has worked for the British Library since 1975. He is currently head of Newspaper Collections at the library. Since 2004, he has been involved with projects to digitise older newspapers in the library’s collections. He has been working with many colleagues to realise the British Newspaper Archive, launched late in 2011.

Click the link to listen to Mr. King discuss the value of newspapers, which are often the only place where information about local people and events are published. In this talk he gives practical examples from newspapers in the collection. Also covered briefly are some of the non-UK older digitized newspaper databases available.

Learn more about how to use newspapers for genealogy research from my new book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, available now at You'll get a proven research process and high tech tips for tracking down exactly the newspapers you are after.

Live Webcast of 1940 Census Opening Event April 2

National Archives Launches 1940 Census April 2 Online at
Live webcast of Opening Event, 8:30 A.M. EDT
Follow the 1940 Census on Twitter (using hashtag #1940census), FacebookTumblrFlickr, and YouTube, and subscribe to our blogs: NARAtions and Prologue: Pieces of History. The launch event is open to the media and to a limited number of members of the public on a first come, first served basis, by emailing

This video provides a “behind-the-scenes” look at staff preparations and gives viewers tips on how to access the 1940 census data:

WHAT: Washington DC...Special ceremonial launch of the 1940 census. The National Archives' largest single release of digitized records will be online at For the genealogical community, the 1940 census is the most eagerly-anticipated records release in the past decade.  Following remarks, the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will launch the first search.
Beginning April 2, 2012, users will be able to search,m browse, and download the 1940 census schedules, free of charge, through the new 1940 census website:  National Archives partnered with to build and host the site.  The launch event will be webcast live online starting at 8L39 A.M.. Please visit, closer to April 2 for the link. 
WHEN:          Monday, April 2, 2012, 8:30 A.M.    

WHERE:       William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
Enter through Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Friday Night Episode Sneak Peek

Genealogy on  TV
Tomorrow night brings another episode of NBC's family history themed television series Who Do You Think You Are?  This week's episode features actress Helen Hunt of "Made About You" TV fame.

Here's a sneak peek: Helen Hunt learns that her ancestors played a pivotal role in the forming of Wells Fargo Bank.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Google Earth Street View Story - Cool Video

Ya gotta love Google Earth's Street View!  It can bring you up close and personal to locations important to your family history. For instance in our family there's the house in
England where Grandpa Cooke was born...

And the Opera House where he and his mother played in the orchestra in the early 20th century...

It's almost like being there!  But what if you really could be there?  There's a great little video that brings street view to life. It's called 2nd Avenue, and it's one of the finalist WNET's Favorite short videos contest. Check it out and cast your vote for Street View!

Images like these are just the tip of the iceberg as to what Google Earth can do for your family history.  Watch this short video to see more, and my Google Earth for Genealogy DVDs will show you step by step how to do it all.

Family History Expo Comes to Houston, TX

Family History Expos is coming to Houston, Texas for the first time on April 6-7, 2012, and I'm very excited to help kick off the event as the keynote speaker, in addition to teaching four classes. Here's everything you need to know from the folks at Family History Expos. I hope to see you in class and be sure and stop by my booth in the exhibit hall and say "hi!"


Beginners to old-timers can get a Texas-sized jump on their family history April 6-7 at the Houston Family

History Expo 2012. Opening keynote speaker Lisa Louise Cooke will fire up the crowd with great ways to

get started and stay motivated to engage in family history during her opening address on Friday at 2 p.m.

Register online, by telephone, or at the door. The Expo will take place at the Houston Marriott South at

Hobby Airport. Registration begins and exhibits open at 1 p.m., Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

“Our 2012 theme is: ‘Your family history starts here!’” FHE Founder and President Holly T. Hansen said.

“We are so thrilled to bring our Expo to Houston this year. This is going to be a great event with such

quality information. I just can’t believe how great our presenter line-up is for this Expo!”

Hansen said Family History Expos is responding to a soft economy by lowering prices to make family

history education more affordable than ever before. “We know people are stretching their dollars as far as

they can and we want everyone to get the information they need,” Hansen said. The company travels

throughout the United States to help people get jump started on their family history and this year it is

presenting more shows than ever before.

Lisa Louise Cooke Brings Expertise, Excitement
Keynote speaker Lisa Louise Cooke is producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online

genealogy audio show at .
In addition to her keynote address at 2 p.m. on Friday, Cooke will present a seminar on “Ultimate Google

Search Strategies” at 4:50 p.m. At 7:50 p.m. she will present, “Google Earth for Genealogy – Rock your

Ancestor’s World.”

Cooke’s Saturday presentations include “Getting the Scoop on your Family History in Newspapers” at

11:20 a.m. and “Sharing the Joy: Projects that Will Captivate the Non-Genealogists in Your Life” at 2:30


“Our industry experts are people with years and years of experience who are delighted to assist family

history and genealogy researchers in breaking down the brick walls blocking paths to their pasts,” Hansen


Expo to Feature Speaker from Kumasi-Ghana

Oral historian Paul Adjei, Worldbiz Business Chief Executive Officer will be on hand to enlighten

participants on his company’s efforts to preserve the oral history of the Akan, one of the most powerful

tribes in West Africa. Adjei and 20 field staff members are performing research on the tribe and collecting

oral genealogical data. Adjei will present on “The Importance of Oral Genealogy in Ghana” and “Challenges of

Genealogical Research" in Ghana.

Participants can attend any single class for just $20.

Exhibitors will be on hand to offer products and services to assist families in furthering their family history


The cost to attend this two-day event is just $69 with pre-registration and $99 at the door. Pay only $59

for one day. Onsite registration will begin and the exhibit hall will open at 1 p.m. on Friday. The event will

close at 9 p.m. Exhibits and registration will re-open at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The exhibit hall will close at 4

p.m. Prizes donated by exhibitors will be given away both days and Grand Prizes donated by sponsors

will be given away at the closing ceremony. This event is sponsored by Family History Expos and

supported by FamilySearch.

Register now at or call 801-829-3295 for telephone registration.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Newspapers: Chronicling America Continues Growth!

The Library of Congress recently announced that "since October 2011, the National Digital Newspaper Program has expanded the Chronicling America site by more than 550,000 historic newspaper pages published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Including titles like the Wenatchee Daily World (Wenatchee, WA), the Anti-Slavery Bugle (New-Lisbon, OH) and the Montana News (Lewiston, MT), these pages have been digitized from collections in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. More than 4.7 million pages are now available online, published between 1836 and 1922." Read more about it here.

Chronicling America is just one of many websites across the Internet offering free digitized newspapers.  However, the fragmented nature of online newspapers can make finding the one that holds your family history quite a challenge.  That's why I wrote Everything You Need to Know About How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers

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