Thursday, December 31, 2020

Join the RootsMagic 8 Community Preview!

Join the RootsMagic 8 Community Preview!

With a new year comes a new release. We are excited to present the RootsMagic 8 Community Preview!

Now, you may be asking yourself- “What is a community preview?”

Basically, it is pre-release software. RootsMagic 8 has already been through extensive development and testing, but there is still some “spit n’ polish” before we are ready to officially release it. The Community Preview is a chance for us to get feedback from a larger group of testers and a chance for you to get acquainted with the software early.

As we are expecting a lot of feedback as we open the floodgates, we respectfully ask that you please do not contact our technical support regarding the preview. Our technicians are still becoming acquainted with the software themselves and are unable to offer any help with it until it is officially released.

In the meantime, we’ve set up a new special Facebook group just for users to discuss the preview with others. We’ve also made a special feedback form to send in any errors, bugs, or suggestions.

Do you still have questions? Check out our Frequently-asked questions for important answers to common questions.

Are you ready to take RootsMagic 8 for an early spin? Get the RootsMagic 8 Community Preview today!

(Copy and paste this URL into your browser.)


Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

MyHeritage Announces Release of Genetic Groups Feature

MyHeritage announces enounce the release of Genetic Groups, our long-awaited feature that accurately identifies ancestral origins with an incredibly high resolution of 2100+ geographic regions, more than any other DNA test on the market.

Genetic Groups provide greater granularity than standard ethnicity breakdowns by segmenting larger ethnic groups into smaller ones that share a common historical background. For example, beyond learning that they have Scandinavian origins, a user can now find out that they are Danish, and they may now learn where exactly in Denmark their ancestors came from.

Please find much more detail and information in the full press release here and blog post here.

The outstanding resolution of Genetic Groups and the innovative technology that powers this feature mean that MyHeritage is now able to identify many populations that have never before been detected by any consumer DNA test. For example, descendants of the ancient Jewish communities of Aleppo in Syria, or Tripoli in Libya, can now trace their origins among 55 different Jewish groups supported by MyHeritage. Another population with fascinating history is the Volga Germans — this group is composed of descendants of German settlers who migrated to the Volga River region of Russia and whose descendants later moved to Ellis County in Kansas and other locations. MyHeritage can identify 9 distinct Genetic Groups of Volga Germans. More examples of groups that are unique to MyHeritage include Norwegians from Kvam and Bergen and their descendants in Minnesota, Italians from Potenza and Basilicata and their descendants in the United States, and hundreds more.


Genetic Groups include detailed genealogical insights about each group. Users can view a group's migration patterns and drill down to view its precise whereabouts during different time periods from the 17th century until today. For each Genetic Group, users can view common ancestral surnames and common given names, the most prevalent ethnicities among the group's members, a list of other groups that have high affinity to the current one, and more.


This special animation we prepared for a specific Genetic Group of Mormons tells the story of Mormon settlement in the USA over 400 years, providing enlightening information about the group’s migration history
Genetic Groups are available for free to anyone who has already taken a MyHeritage DNA test, as an enhancement to the ethnicity estimate. Users who have previously uploaded DNA results to MyHeritage from another service and have access to advanced DNA features (including those who uploaded before December 16, 2018 and have been grandfathered in), or who have an active subscription, will likewise be able to access Genetic Groups at no added cost. Users who have uploaded DNA results from another service and do not currently have access to advanced DNA features may pay a one-time unlock fee of $29 per kit to view their Genetic Groups and much more. Users who have taken a DNA test with another service are welcome to upload their results to MyHeritage and unlock access to their Genetic Groups, which will be calculated for them overnight.


This is a gift to all MyHeritage users for the holidays!

We hope you enjoy exploring your Genetic Groups and gaining meaningful new insights about your family history.


Happy Holidays!

Daniel Horowitz

Genealogy Expert

Monday, December 21, 2020

Remember that Genealogy Guys Learn is on Sale throgh December 31st! Regularly $99 for a year's subscription, nwe subscribers can now subscribe for a year for $69!

What a perfect gift for a genealogy friend or family member! Take advantage of this great price by going to the website at, click the red Enroll Now box at the bottom of the screen, fill in the information requested, and enter the code Holiday2020 for your discount.

Order now or on Christmas Eve for a gift, and remember that the sale continues through midnight on December 31, 2020.

Friday, December 18, 2020

RootsMagic 7 Now Runs on macOS11 (Big Sur)

 RootsMagic 7 Now Available for macOS 11 (Big Sur)

We are pleased to announce that RootsMagic 7 is now available for Apple computers running macOS 11 Big Sur. When Big Sur was released last month, it made some changes that broke the wrapper that allowed RootsMagic to run on macOS. While users with previous version of macOS could still use RootsMagic, users who had upgraded to Big Sur found that RootsMagic (and many other software applications) stopped working.

After much work and testing, the wrapper for RootsMagic 7 has been updated to run on Big Sur, as well as prior versions of macOS.

Users who installed a previous version of RootsMagic 7 on their Mac should uninstall RootsMagic before installing the new wrapper. Full instructions are found here.

Those users that are installing RootsMagic 7 on their Mac for the first time may download it here.

RootsMagic 8

In addition to the updated wrapper for RootsMagic 7, we are hard at work finishing up RootsMagic 8.  Version 8 is a fully-native, 64-bit macOS application and runs great on macOS Big Sur. Keep watching for more news about RootsMagic 8.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Slavery Ancestor Project Expands


American abolitionist Harriet Tubman stands with a group of formerly enslaved people she helped lead to freedom. Photo: Bettmann/Getty

A database that gathers records about the lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants is undergoing a massive, crowdsourcing-powered expansion to unlock Black Americans' genealogical histories, organizers tell Axios.

Why it matters: The initiative to be unveiled today by is the latest to reconstruct lost or incomplete timelines and records from the 1600s-1800s, as the U.S. and other nations reckon with systemic racism.

How it works: The general public and outside researchers can submit family histories, runaway slave ads, or documents of purchase to

• Project manager Catherine Foley tells Axios that two levels of review will then determine if the material can be included.

• Users can search their names and town histories and connect the experiences of enslaved people, from voyages to the changing of names, Foley said: "The records will tell the story."

• Technological improvements have helped researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Maryland grow into one of the most comprehensive sites on slavery by organizing millions of data points from multiple university collections.

The big picture: The expansion comes as Americans show heightened interest in their family histories; as U.S. universities, cities and corporations confront legacies of how they benefited from slavery; and as public school districts face pressure to teach more clear-eyed accounts of slavery.

 • Websites like have made old primary documents like birth certificates and baptism records more accessible with a click. Interest also skyrocketed in recent years thanks to Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and his PBS shows on ancestry.

• The University of Virginia organized a consortium of more than 40 colleges and universities to share resources as they confront the role of slavery and racism in their histories.

• Two big British companies — insurer Lloyd's of London and brewer Greene King — promised last year to make certain amends for their historic role in slavery.

• The New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project generated school curriculum changes but a backlash from conservatives who saw a refocusing on slavery as anti-American.

President Trump has pushed back on some efforts to educate about systemic racism and is threatening to veto defense spending to keep Confederate leaders' names on some military bases.

Flashback: "Critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together. It will destroy our country," Trump said in September 2020.

• Trump called new scholarship and the reexamining of slavery in the U.S. a "twisted web of lies" and said it was "a form of child abuse" if taught in schools.

What they’re saying: Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor, founder of the National Black Cultural Information Trust, said African Americans have long sought to reclaim their past amidst hostility.

• "Even after the Civil War, former enslaved people put ads in newspapers looking for lost family members," she said. "This website is a continuation of that tradition as we look for our past and family but this time in a digital space."

Source: -

Genealogy Guys Learn Just Published a New Video

Genealogy Guys Learn just published a new video, "Analyze Your Findings" It discusses important ways to collect and analyze evidence in multiple ways, develop hypotheses, and document your conclusions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix Call For Society Grants Program and New Unsung Heroes Program Nominees

Genealogy Guys Podcast, the world’s longest running genealogy podcast, and Vivid-Pix, makers of the acclaimed RESTORE photo and document image improvement software, announce a call for the Unsung Heroes Society Grant Program and a call for nominations for Unsung Heroes Awards.

The partners created the Unsung Heroes Awards in 2019 to encourage, acknowledge and celebrate members of the genealogy community who lead the way in digitizing, indexing, and transcribing photos and documents, for use by researchers around the globe. They added a new Unsung Heroes Societies Grant Program in 2020 for societies to apply to receive a scanner and high-quality software to make digitization projects a reality. 

Unsung Heroes Societies Grant Program

This program awards grants to two societies each year to facilitate their digitizing, indexing, and transcribing photographs and documents. The winning grantees each will receive a high-quality scanner, a backup and online storage software package, and two copies of Vivid-Pix RESTORE software to improve the legibility of documents, the color/contrast of photographs, and to add image tags and other important information to the image metadata. The grant package is valued at $500.

Applications must describe the intended use of the grant. Multiple applications may be submitted by a single society/chapter but grantees are limited to one grant per society. The grant application form is available at the Aha! Seminars, Inc., website at The due date for this grant is by midnight EDT on January 1, 2021 and should be sent to Successful grantees will be announced separately at different times of the year by The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Vivid-Pix via press release, social media, and the partners’ websites. 

The first grant recipient society was announced during the 2020 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. The next recipient will be announced during the RootsTech Connect Virtua Conference February, February 25-27, 2021.

Unsung Heroes Awards Program

The Unsung Heroes Awards Program continues to recognize individuals, societies, and libraries for their work in digitizing, indexing, and transcribing photographs and documents and making that work accessible to the genealogical community. All nominations are to be submitted using the nomination form at the Aha! Seminars, Inc., website at Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged. The due date for the next set of nominations is midnight EDT on January 1, 2021, and should be sent to

Award winners will receive a commemorative certificate, a customized mug that can include an image of their choice, and a copy of Vivid-Pix RESTORE software. Individual winners will also receive a one-year subscription to Genealogy Guys Learn, the online subscription education program. Winners will be announced by The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Vivid-Pix via media release, social media, and on the partners’ websites. Winners for the next round of category nominations will be announced during the RootsTech Connect Virtua Conference February, February 25-27, 2021. Nominations received from non-winners will be retained for consideration for future awards. 

Instructions for Submissions

Full details of the programs are available at the Aha! Seminars, Inc., website at The grant application form and the award nomination form are available there in PDF format for download. If you have any questions, please email or 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Vivid-Pix Offers BOGO Sale for the Holidays


Vivid-Pix has a special offer on their patented RESTORE image improvement software this holiday season.
Buy One Give One!
Purchase a copy for yourself and receive a free gift coupon to email to a friend or family member.
What a great way to photo reminisce and improve your genealogy research with clear, legible documents.
Go to to learn more.

Evidentia Holiday Sale Through 2020


You don't have to wait until Black Friday to get the best deals.

Running through the end of the year we will be offering everything in the Evidentia store for 20% off.

Not enough? How about free shipping?

Give a gift of Evidentia to the Family Historian in your family.

Everyone who purchased Evidentia 3 in 2020 is eligible for a free upgrade to Evidentia 4.

That's 2020+

There, I said it.

I am as disappointed as many of you that Evidentia 4 isn’t ready for the holiday season. In fact, I am a year late. To make up for it I want to be sure you feel you are getting a good value for your dollar. Therefore anyone who bought (or buys) Evidentia on or after Jan 1st is eligible for a free upgrade when v4 becomes available.

We are still not announcing a release date, but when we do, You’re a Winner!

How’s that for lighting a fire under the developer!

We at Evidentia Software wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.
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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Missouri Secretary of State - U.S. Federal Census Slave Schedules (1850 & 1860)

The Missouri Secretary of State has published a webpage concerning U.S. federal census slave schedules for 1850 and 1860 for the state. Links to each county's slave schedules are included.

Of particular interest is that "census enumerators were instructed to include the names of slaves who were 100 years old or older.  Only about half of those over 100 actually included names.  A list of the 43 slaves in Missouri who were 100 years old or older was compiled by RootsWeb.  To view the list, open this PDF."  This can be an important link in family history research.

This webpage can be accessed at



The Genealogy Guys Learn subscription education site, is on sale from November 15 through December 31, 2020 for $69 for your first year's subscription (new subscribers only). This is our lowest price of the year! 

We currently offer 26 video and 26 written courses with new content added every month. Courses range from beginning to advanced topics. We also provide links to books and printed materials as well as links to helpful websites.

Learn from The Genealogy Guys, producers since 2005 of the longest-running genealogy podcast, expert researchers and presenters, and prolific authors. 

Our regular annual subscription is $99 and the sale price of $69 - a $30 saving- is only good until 11:59 PM Eastern U.S. time on December 31, 2020. Take advantage of this great price by going to the website at, click the red Enroll Now box at the bottom of the screen, fill in the information requested, and enter the code Holiday2020 for your discount.
Fill the coming year with new knowledge and make some great new discoveries!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Introducing the MyHeritage Gift Membership

Just in time for the holidays, is happy to announce the launch of the new MyHeritage gift membership! You can now give someone special the MyHeritage Complete plan, our best plan for family history research. To celebrate the launch, gift memberships are now available with a 50% introductory discount.

With many people spending more time at home and looking for meaningful activities to enjoy, the MyHeritage gift membership makes the perfect holiday gift and is sure to delight a dear family member or close friend.

The gift membership provides access to all features and all 12.7 billion historical records on MyHeritage.

Please share this wonderful news with your audience, and read more about the new gift membership in the blog post. Full instructions are included there.

Order a gift membership in a few clicks, and your chosen recipient will receive an email explaining the super simple steps needed to redeem their gift.

You can choose to give either a 1-year or 6-month gift membership. Gift memberships are one-time and do not renew. At the end of the membership period, the recipient will retain access to their MyHeritage account and all family tree data. If they wish to continue enjoying the full benefits of a membership, it will be up to them to extend their plan (or you can decide to be kind to them and give them another gift membership – it’s up to you).

A gift membership on MyHeritage makes a great holiday or birthday gift. It’s the perfect way to introduce someone you care about to the enjoyable world of genealogy and help them discover their family history. We’d appreciate it if you could help spread the word!

 WhatsApp Image 2020-11-16 at 5.23.59 PM


Daniel Horowitz

Genealogy Expert

MyHeritage Ltd.,
P.O.Box 50, 3 Ariel Sharon Blvd.,
Or Yehuda 60250, Israel

Sunday, November 15, 2020


The Genealogy Guys Learn subscription education site, is on sale from November 15 through December 31, 2020 for $69 for your first year's subscription (new subscribers only). This is our lowest price of the year! 

We currently offer 26 video and 26 written courses with new content added every month. Courses range from beginning to advanced topics. We also provide links to books and printed materials as well as links to helpful websites.

Learn from The Genealogy Guys, producers since 2005 of the longest-running genealogy podcast, expert researchers and presenters, and prolific authors. 

Our regular annual subscription is $99 and the sale price of $69 - a $30 saving-  is only good until 11:59 PM Eastern U.S. time on December 31, 2020. Take advantage of this great price by going to the website at, click the red Enroll Now box at the bottom of the screen, fill in the information requested, and add the code Holiday2020 for your discount. 

Fill the coming year with new knowledge and make some great new discoveries!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

FamilySearch Announces Virtual Research Strategy Sessions

FamilySearch has announced a new, free service: Virtual Research Strategy Sessions. This might be just the thing to help you past your brick wall. To read all about it, and learn how to book one of these sessions, go here: 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Federation of Genealogical Societies Announces 2020 Awards

Federation of Genealogical Societies Announces

 2020 Awards


9/2/2020 – Austin, TX.


The Federation of Genealogical Societies announced the recipients of its 2020 Awards at its Virtual Family History Conference on September 2, 2020. These award recipients have exhibited outstanding service, excellence, and achievement in genealogical pursuits.


Repository of the Year Award: Mid-Continent Public Library and Midwest Genealogy Center

This award recognizes a library, archive, historical society, museum, academic institution, or other repository for its exceptional impact and contribution to the genealogy community, preservation of records, access to records, technology advances, or other services to family history. The Mid-Continent Public Library and the Midwest Genealogy Center were recognized for their exceptional impact and contributions to the genealogy community. Cheryl Lang, Manager of the Midwest Genealogy Center, and Steve Potter, Director of the Mid-Continent Public Library, provided significant support to prepare for the 2020 FGS Conference originally planned for in Kansas City on September 2. Although the conference transitioned to virtual, MCPL continued to support librarians and genealogists by providing a learning experience entitled “Why Genealogy Matters to Public Libraries,” by Steve Potter, which is available for free with a registration to the 2020 Family History Conference.


George E. Williams Award: Rick and JoAnn Shields

This award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions within a single year to either FGS, a member organization, or both. Rick and JoAnn Shields were recognized for their above and beyond efforts to organize and implement the FGS 2020 Conference and transition it to a virtual event. Without their efforts, the last FGS conference would not have been possible.


Rabbi Malcom H. Stern Humanitarian Award: Miriam Weiner

The Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award recognizes the lifetime contributions of a rare individual whose positive personal influence and example have fostered unity in the genealogical community, provided leadership to its individual members, and helped make family history a vital force in the community at large.  This year we honor Miriam Weiner for her leadership and contributions to the genealogical community. Miriam has been described as the genealogist who lifted the “Archival Iron Curtain." For years, she has actively worked to make previously unaccessible records available to those interested in researching the history of their ancestors. Her career represents the highest standard that embodies both the purpose and spirit of this award.


Loretto Dennis Szucs Award: Gary Mokotoff

This award recognizes the contributions of an individual whose positive personal influence and extraordinary service to FGS and the genealogy industry have gone above and beyond the norm, impacting the overall benefit to the genealogical community at large and spreading the awareness of family history to the general public. This year Gary Mokotoff is recognized for his many years of dedicated service and for helping to revolutionize the way we do research. Gary became involved in genealogy in 1979 and has spent many years serving the genealogical community in many leadership positions. He used his computer background to develop some of the earliest databases for Jewish genealogy including the Jewish Genealogical Family Finder (now called JewishGen Family Finder), a database used by more than 100,000 Jewish genealogists. Gary was also instrumental in founding the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.


David S. Vogels Jr. Award: Paul Milner and Frederick E. Moss

This award is given to two individual this year in recognition of outstanding career contributions to FGS. FGS recognizes Paul Milner for his years of service to FGS and his contributions to the FORUM magazine with over 1,000 book reviews contributed during the last 25 years.


FGS also recognizes Frederick E. Moss for his years of guidance and tireless service to FGS and the Records Preservation and Access Committee. Fred has worked tirelessly to help the organization and to protect access to documents of importance to family historians.


Director’s Award: FamilySearch and Pat Rand

The Director’s Award is presented in recognition of both exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy and family history, and extra-mile efforts to promote good will and improve services. This year, FGS recognizes both an organization and individual for their exceptional contributions. FGS first recognizes FamilySearch for the efforts of its volunteers who contributed to the US- Mexican War Soldiers and Sailors database project.


FGS also recognizes Pat Rand for her extraordinary efforts and contribution to the US- Mexican War Soldiers and Sailors database project to preserve the history and commemorate the veterans who sacrificed in this war. Pat endured for years to make sure that this project was accomplished and it is now available on the Palo Alto Battlefield National Park Service website. Pat was also recognized by the National Park Service with the Regional Hartzog Enduring Service Award. The Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was created by former NPS director George Hartzog, Jr. and his wife Helen to honor the efforts of volunteers who go beyond the normal call of duty. The Hartzog Enduring Service Award recognizes an individual who made a significant difference through specific volunteer work that has a sustained, positive impact and advances the NPS mission


Genealogical Tourism Award: Jacqueline Bidanec, HPN Global Meeting Services

This award recognizes and encourages a phenomenon garnering greater public attention: tourism and travel related to family history. This year FGS recognizes Jacqueline Bidanec and HPN Global Meeting Services for proving superb event planning and management support, including during the difficult times resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.


FORUM Writer’s Award: Jane Neff Rollins

The FORUM Writer’s Award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the FGS magazine, FORUM. This year’s recipient is Jane Neff Rollins, for her article “Labor Union Documents: Genealogically Relevant Sources,” which appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of FORUM. Rollins’s contribution provided a wealth of information on the types of records available, how to find them, and how they can be used for genealogy.


Award of Merit

For contributions to the US-Mexican War database project, the following individuals are recognized with the Award of Merit:

·      Karen Weaver, NPS

·      Barbara Brown, Texas

·      David Davenport, California

·      David A. Lambert, Massachusetts

·      Linda Sparks, Arizona

·      Curt Witcher, Indiana

·      Craig Scott, North Carolina

·      John Peterson, NPS (retired)

·      Patricia Adams, Florida

·      Joshua Taylor, New York


The Federation of Genealogical Societies congratulates all of the 2020 award recipients A special thank you also goes out to Awards Chair, Juliana Szucs, for her efforts in this endeavor.


About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and empowers the genealogical and family history community, especially its societies and organizations, by advocating for the preservation and access of records and providing resources that enable genealogical organizations to succeed in pursuing their missions. FGS helps genealogical societies and family history enthusiasts alike to strengthen and grow through online resources, FGS FORUM magazine, and through its annual national conference. FGS launched the Preserve the Pensions project in 2010 to raise more than $3 million to digitize and make freely available the pension files from the War of 1812. Fundraising was completed for that project in 2016 and the digitization continues. FGS was also the driving force behind the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors project alongside the National Parks Service. To learn more visit


Contact:        Federation of Genealogical Societies
PO Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
phone: +1 (888) 347-1500
fax: +1 (866) 347-1350