Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Monday, September 13, 2021
Monday, August 2, 2021
Remember how your parents had to provide information about you, such as date and place of birth, as part of registering you for school? Many schools maintain their records indefinitely, usually in some records retention facility. Registration, grades, yearbooks, and other information may still exist. If you can determine the location of the school that your ancestor or relative attended, and the county it is/was in, chances are that you may be able to obtain copies of school records.
Also, don't overlook colleges and universities your ancestor attended. Registrars’ offices can be contacted for academic records and alumni associations may have subsequent addresses. Yearbooks are usually a permanent part of the institution’s library so be sure to check them for details about your ancestors’ extracurricular school activities. Don’t forget to check with fraternities, sororities, and alumni offices. Be prepared, however, to provide proof of your relationship in order to gain access to or copies of some of the academic records.
Thursday, July 1, 2021
The Genealogy Guys Learn subscription education site is on sale at 25% off from July 1st through July 31st for $74 for the first year's subscription (new members only). Our regular annual subscription price is $99, and this sale price of $74 is a 25% savings!
Genealogy Guys Learn currently offers 35 video and 20 written courses with new content added every month. Courses range from beginning to advanced topics. A complete list of current courses and new topics coming soon can be found at https://ahaseminars.com/cpage.php?pt=29.
Learn from The Genealogy Guys, producers since 2005 of the longest-running genealogy podcast, expert researchers and presenters, and prolific authors!
This sale is in effect from July 1, 2021, until 11:59 PM Eastern U.S. time on July 31, 2021. Take advantage of this great price by going to the website at https://genealogyguyslearn.com/, click the red Enroll Now! box at the bottom of the screen, fill in the information requested, and add the code SUMMERTIME for your discount.
Fill the coming year with new knowledge and make some great new discoveries!
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Help Find Uncle George!
Vivid-Pix has created a fun genealogy whodunit game that combines elements of family history research with the use of RESTORE, their powerful image restoration software.
The game immerses you into the genealogy process using restored photos and documents to learn about relatives’ past. The game is all about a fictional long-lost Great-Uncle: George Albert Bellamy, who emigrated from the U.K. to the U.S. in the early 1900’s. By collaborating with distant cousin Peter, you will analyze miniscule details in old photos and documents using the restoration tools in Vivid-Pix to discover hidden clues from Great-Uncle George’s past in the U.K. and his mysterious travels overseas to the U.S. Prepare yourself for a journey through Edwardian Britain and beyond, complete with crime, cryptic postcards, and more!
The game provides Tips & Tricks on genealogy research and Vivid-Pix RESTORE software.
Those who successfully complete the challenge can enter to win great prizes, including a weekend in New York City, London or $1,000 USD, and photo gifts.
Get started by clicking the image below or this link! The game goes on through September 30, 2021, but get started NOW!
Enjoy the mystery!
Monday, June 14, 2021
A number of African American cemeteries in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area have been "lost" or "erased" over time. One cemetery, the Zion Cemetery, has been the focus of a great deal of scrutiny. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) has been used to verify the presence of graves. Government and community members have gotten involved to identify those interred there, and to learn more about them.
Drew Smith is the Genealogy Librarian at the University of South Florida Libraries and he is leading a group of volunteers to trace the families and descendants of those interred in the Zion Cemetery. The article he wrote about the project can be found at https://lib.usf.edu/news/the-lost-african-american-cemeteries-of-tampa-bay-whats-being-done-to-remember-them/?fbclid=IwAR3CC0WUQMtSCw6u7kan9t0m05SFE2mSw3HXlBREGcgKtcKnsYxHpXgb7T4.
Monday, June 7, 2021
FamilySearch International is pleased to announce the release of FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 (Genealogical Data Communications). The latest version allows zip packaging capabilities for photos and files with genealogical information, plus new tools, and a public GitHub repository for ongoing maintenance. Technical information, specifications, tools, and guides can be found at GEDCOM.io.
At RootsTech 2020, FamilySearch launched an effort to create a new version of GEDCOM based on the 5.5.1 version that would include: 1) new expressivity, flexibility, and compatibility; 2) zip packaging of associated images and other files with the related GEDCOM file; and 3) public access using a GitHub repository. Many industry software providers and key influencers participated, and the initiative concluded May 15, 2021, with the completion of this comprehensive effort.
FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 is the outcome of those efforts and includes the following new enhancements:
· Zip packaging capabilities for photos and files have been added.
· Notes have been expanded for more versatile use and styling of text.
· Tools, sample files, sample code, and self-testing guides are included.
· The GEDCOM specification and any code available from FamilySearch based on the specification is subject to the terms and conditions of the Apache License, Version 2.0.
· Ambiguities in the GEDCOM Version 5.5.1 specification have been removed.
· A public GitHub repository generates maintenance requests and on-going discussions about future features.
Users of FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 will be able to import files from older GEDCOM versions. However, users of older versions of GEDCOM will not be able to import from FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0.
FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 is copyrighted.
© 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2019, and 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
General information can be found at GEDCOM.info.
General Info: GEDCOM.info
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
We are pleased again to have been selected by Family Tree Magazine as one of their 101 Best Genealogy Websites - 2021! You will find their complete list at https://www.familytreemagazine.com/best-genealogy-websites/.
The winners of our drawing for copies of the Russia Genealogy Research at a glance reference sheets from Genealogical Publishing Company are:
Bonnie Birns of Jericho, NY
Donna M. Moughty of Lakewood Ranch, FL
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Introducing Photo Repair on MyHeritage - New Feature to Automatically Fix Scratched and Damaged Photos
MyHeritage did it again! I’m very excited to announce the release of Photo Repair — the newest feature to join MyHeritage’s photo toolbox. Photo Repair automagically fixes scratches, tears, holes, stains and other damage on historical photos.
When a photo is uploaded to MyHeritage, a specialized detection algorithm runs in the background and determines if it has sustained damage. If so, a Repair button will appear, ensuring that users will not waste time attempting to repair photos that don’t need it. Photos may be repaired with a single click, and in just a few seconds. The default repair model, named Gentle Repair, will fix most types of damage with minimal changes to the rest of the photo. For photos with more substantial damage, an Extensive Repair model can be applied.
Watch the video to see some amazing examples of the results produced when using Photo Repair.
Please see some more incredible examples of repaired photos in the blog post and find more information in the press release. See for yourself!
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
I’m happy to share that we’ve added a new filtering option on the DNA Matches page, which enables users to filter their DNA Matches to show only those who are members of a certain Genetic Group.
By filtering your matches based on a Genetic Group, you’ll be able to further pinpoint which matches come from a specific location or region, giving you deeper insight into how you’re related. You can filter the matches based on the Genetic Groups in your results, or use the search field to search for any of the 2,114 Genetic Groups supported on MyHeritage.
MyHeritage Ltd., P.O.Box 50, 3 Ariel Sharon Blvd., Or Yehuda, Israel 6037606, Israel, +972-3-6280000
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Findmypast announces weekend of free access to all British census records
· All British census records from 1841 to 1911 free to access from April 30th to May 3rd
· Includes free access to census hints on family trees and Findmypast’s new address search
· Explore the lives of your ancestors, the history of your home or grow your family tree
Leading family history website Findmypast have announced a weekend of free access to their collection of British census records.
From 10 am(BST) on Friday April 30th to Monday May 3rd, all British censuses from 1841 to 1911 will be completely free to search and explore.
Census records are the perfect way to tell the story of what your family looked like in times gone by. They not only reveal where your ancestors lived what they were doing, but can also provide valuable clues as to where they may be found in other family records.
By offering free access to these essential resources, Findmypast is providing all visitors to the site with the opportunity to discover a whole host a valuable family details, jump back through the generations and grow their family tree.
Those looking to explore the history of their home or local area can make use of Findmypast’s recently released address search feature. Unique to Findmypast, this new tool makes it easier to search for streets and locations across all UK censuses to trace the occupancy of a specific address, locate ancestors or discover their friends, relatives and neighbors.
Monday, April 5, 2021
We've released 10 additional "special" animations for Deep Nostalgia™ today, doubling the number of animations available and allowing you to see your ancestors express a wider spectrum of gestures and emotions, for example, dance, blow a kiss, smile wholeheartedly, nod approval, and more. The special animations are available to subscribers on the Complete plan.
Deep Nostalgia™ has taken social media by storm, and since its launch 5 weeks ago, 72 million animations have been created!
Please share this wonderful news with your audience and on all your social channels. You can find a complete overview of the special animations in the blog post.
Here are some examples of the special animations:
When you animate a photo, the initial animation is selected by default so as to match the pose and angle of the person in your photo perfectly. That initial animation is always one of the first 10 general animations and is never one of the special animations. The special animations need to be selected manually.
Selecting a special animation is not available from the landing page, which is only meant for quick animation and sharing, and is only available from the "My Photos" section of the website and the "Photos" section of the MyHeritage mobile app, where in both locations more advanced functionality is at your disposal.
I hope you enjoy seeing your ancestors move with these new animations!
Thursday, April 1, 2021
The next Decennial (ten-year) Census of the United States will be available online next year. In 1978, Public Law 95-416, also known as the “72-Year Rule,” restricted access to decennial records to everyone except for the individual named on the record for 72 years. The National Archives will release the 1950 Census records in April 2022.
The 1950 Census contains an estimated:
- 7,816,000 population schedule pages
- 9,634 enumeration district maps
- 60,000 “Indian Census” pages
The agency has been preparing for this launch for the last decade. Right after we launched the 1940 website in 2012, we developed a list of lessons learned, and began planning for the scanning of the 1950 Census. It is a good thing we started early, too, because we have had limited access to our buildings during the pandemic. Fortunately, selected staff who have received special clearances to work on these records have scanned the majority of the pages and are also able to work remotely on indexing efforts. Our staff are busy ensuring that state, county, city and enumeration district metadata will be available at the time of launch.
Our User Experience team has been working with a variety of NARA staff and public stakeholders to develop the website. Using agile and human-centered design methodologies, we have recently completed our first sprints working with wireframes to develop what will be the layout of the webpage. We are planning to use current cloud technologies to ensure that the website will be able to withstand the expected crush of users when we launch in April 2022 and beyond. We are also exploring ways to provide person names, which we know are the most common searches for family historians and researchers.
In addition to the website, we are exploring possibilities for providing bulk downloads of the 1950 Census for those who would like to work with the data as a whole or in large chunks, for digital humanities and other purposes beyond the traditional genealogical value that the Census holds.
We know that the Census data is important to so many of you. Supporting public access to these records is right at the heart of our mission–to make access happen. We have much to do, many constraints, and relatively little time left to accomplish our vision. Stay tuned for upcoming developments as we work toward our April 2022 launch.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Viewing Genetic Groups of DNA Matches
As part of our continued improvement of Genetic Groups on MyHeritage, you can now compare your Genetic Groups to those of your DNA Matches! Previously, you were able to view the Ethnicity Estimate of your DNA Matches and see which ethnicities you share. Now, you can drill down even further and see which Genetic Groups they belong to, and which ones you have in common. This addition has important genealogical value, and may enable you to narrow down which side of your family a DNA Match comes from. Read more about this exciting new addition in the blog post.
Significant Update to Swedish Historical Records on MyHeritage
We recently added 19.35 million records to our collection of Sweden Household Examination Books. The new records cover the years 1820–1839, and bring the total number of records in this collection to 144.5 million. The records in this collection are the #1 source of information about families and individuals who lived in Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is great news for all genealogists with Swedish roots, who may now be able to date their family tree back even further and make new discoveries.
The month flew by, but I feel that I ended it with a much stronger family tree on FamilySearch Family Tree, especially my paternal side, but also my maternal-side ancestors. There are still things to do, but I think that I learned enough that the month-long experiment was worth doing.
I encourage anyone who has never used the FamilySearch Family Tree to explore it. And I encourage those who have tried it in the past but who were disappointed with all the problems to look at it again, and consider doing it, at least in part.
There are other collaborative trees out there. WikiTree is one, and I will be expecting to write about my experiences there sometime in August. Between now and then, I may take a closer look at Geni. There are other sites, too, but one can only spend so much time with these things. I also will continue to work on my "official" tree on my own computer, and I will upload copies to public sites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc.).
I am hopeful that my actions will result in collaborations with previously unknown cousins. Part of the fun of doing genealogy is doing it with others. Imagine working with a distant cousin to attempt to break down a brick wall involving common ancestors!
I would love to hear about your own experiences in using FamilySearch Family Tree, especially successes. I want to hear about any tricks you have learned. I posted links to this entire series on Facebook in The Genealogy Squad group, and that is a great place to engage with other genealogists, including me!
I am also going to talk to the folks at FamilySearch who are the official Family Tree managers. I can give them the benefit of my own experience and perhaps suggest ways to improve it.
I hope you enjoyed my "march" in March. If there are other sites or tools you'd like me to spend a month exploring, let me know.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
With only two days left in the month of March, I realize that I won't have time to review all of the descendants of my maternal-side ancestors. So I have decided to use these two days to reflect on the past month in terms of what I've learned about my own family tree and about the FamilySearch Family Tree.
First, I learned that I hadn't spent nearly enough time collecting sources to support the conclusions I had formed about relationships and the facts of my ancestors' lives. The Family Tree system made it easy to find many relevant sources and to connect them to my relatives, and its suggestions were nearly always right. In so doing, I had less reason to believe that the work I had done would be undone by others.
Second, I learned that it takes work, and a good family tree isn't really built in a month. Of course, I wasn't starting from scratch. Some of my lines I had researched as early as nearly 30 years ago, although in other cases I had learned about some direct ancestors only as recently as the past few years.
Third, I learned that the Family Tree had been designed extremely well in order to enter new information, to change existing information, and to remove duplications. On the negative side, in one sense, a lot of duplicates had been created by an automated system where birth records for siblings might generate a new set of parents for each child, which meant that all of those parents would need to be merged together. But at least they were findable by those descended from those particular children.
So what's next? I'll talk about that tomorrow.
Monday, March 29, 2021
Once I had taken care of Mary Ann Bannon's siblings and their families, it was time to look again at my Smith ancestors and their descendants. On Day 5 I had worked my way back through my grandfather William Henry Smith, my great-grandfather Charles Henry Smith, my 2g-grandfather James Smith, and my 3g-grandfather Philip Smith. It was time to come forward in the Family Tree.
Philip, the immigrant ancestor (together with his wife Catharine and their 4 children, including my 2g-grandfather James) arrived in Newark in 1842, according to a letter that Philip sent his married daughter Anna years later. She had married a Kelly and settled in Mobile, Alabama. Fortunately, one of their descendants, living in Houston, had found me and emailed me a digital copy of the letter. Life in Newark wasn't pleasant. Lots of cholera. The letter also talked about who Philip had heard from back in County Cavan (and nearby), Ireland, and who he hadn't.
I added Anna (and her husband), James, and Catharine to Philip and Catharine's record.
I then moved down to my 2g-grandfather James. I had already added his and Mary Ann Reilly's children, but I needed to fix some middle names and add sources, so I proceeded to do that.
Then I looked at the spouses of the Smith sons. Oldest son Philip Smith was married to Jane Stephens, so when I went to add her, it turns out that there were already 5 different Jane Stephens married to a Philip Smith. This was going to take some work to look through them and see if they were the same couple. I decided that it was easier to add her as a new person, then let FamilySearch find all the duplicates again so that I could compare them more easily. Once I started this process, even more duplicates were found.
As I worked my way down through the children of Philip and Jane, I found individuals who were already in the Family Tree, but who may have had some errors in their records.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
William Bannon married Mary Ann Hyland while his sister Elizabeth Bannon married Mary Ann's brother Peter Hyland. Fortunately, William and Mary Ann had a much smaller family than most of their siblings, with only 3 children: my great-grandmother Mary Ann Bannon who married my great-grandfather Charles Henry Smith, her brother James Joseph Bannon who married Elizabeth Monica "Lizzie" Kearns, and her sister Catherine R. "Kate" Bannon who married Patrick J. O'Connor.
I knew that my great-grandparents were buried in the same plot with Charles mother Mary Ann Reilly Smith, but had no idea where William Bannon and Mary Ann Hyland Bannon were buried, and originally I had no idea what happened to James Joseph Bannon or his sister Kate. But then I had a DNA match to an O'Connor, and in his tree was his ancestor Patrick married to Catherine Bannon. When I then looked at their burial site, it was in the same cemetery as my great-grandparents (Holy Sepulchre in Essex County, NJ), and in the same plot were William and Mary Ann Bannon. A major mystery solved in part due to DNA testing!
I worked on the children for James Joseph Bannon and his wife Elizabeth Monica "Lizzie" Kearns, merging together duplicates and attaching sources. I ended up with 20 sources for James and 24 for Elizabeth.
Then I worked on the children for Patrick J. O'Connor and Catherine R. "Kate" Bannon. By the time I was done, I had added all 10. Kate now had 9 sources.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 27 (you take the Hylands and I'll detach the sources)
Peter, John, and Mary Ann Hyland are the only siblings I have children for, other than Robert, who also married a Keeley (probably a relative of John's wife Margaret). So I wouldn't expect a lot of duplicates for Catherine, first James, Robert, or second James (I presume the first one died). But you never know. So let's go through them and see.
A few oddities popped up as I added James and Robert. Apparently these same individuals were attached to a different James Hyland as father with a mother named Orney (no first name given), as were all the other siblings. I suspected that these were duplicates so I pursued the records.
One of the problems I was starting to see was that the records for my Mary Ann Hyland's siblings, especially census records, were being attached to the wrong people. For instance, Peter Hyland (Mary Ann's brother who married Mary Ann's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Bannon) appeared in the 1851 and 1861 England censuses, but someone had attached those records to a completely different Peter Hyland. So I had to detach the inappropriate sources.
Fortunately, the source linker provides a warning when the same record is attached to another person. So I was able to start this clean-up process.
I then attached Peter's wife, Elizabeth Bannon, who was already in the Family Tree, and this added all of Peter Hyland and Elizabeth Bannon's children after I merged everyone together. At this point, I had a lot of sources for Peter, including him in the 1851, 1871, 1881, and 1901 censuses. What about 1861 or 1891? A search in FamilySearch turned up widower Peter in 1911 in the home of his daughter Mary, who had apparently married Thomas Kelly. No sign yet of him or Elizabeth in 1861 or 1891.
I also went back and added children (a lot of them) to John Hyland and Margaret Kealy.
Friday, March 26, 2021
My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 26 (the many clones of John Hyland and Margaret Kealy)
My 3g-grandparents James Hyland and Catherine Delaney of Queen's County, Ireland, left there for Oldbury, Worcestershire, England sometime between the birth of their daughter Mary Ann (my 2g-grandparent) in 1845 and her next younger sibling Catherine in 19 January 1847 in Oldbury. I know of 7 children for James and Catherine (the 3 oldest born in Ireland, the 4 youngest born in Oldbury). So I set about adding all these Hyland children to James and Catherine.
Nothing odd happened when I added the oldest child, Peter, but when I started to add the next child, John (born about 1841), up popped two possible matches in the FamilySearch Family Tree. One was born in 1843 and died in 1897, married Margerett Keely, and was the son of a James Hyland and a Catherine Delany. The other was born in 1845 in England, died in Newark, NJ in 1897, married Margeret Kaley, and was the son of James Hyland and Catherine Keely. I felt fairly certain that these were all the same person. So I set about merging all the duplicates that had not previously turned up. As I went through this process, even more duplicates turned up. By the time I was done merging all the various John Hyland clones, I had 6 different entries for a Margaret Keely (various spellings of Margaret and of Keeley)
And before I was going to merge all the duplicate Margarets, I went back to James and Catherine, now that 2 new duplicate couples had been found for them. One was definitely the same couple (even had 2 censuses attached which I had previously seen for my own James and Catherine). And even for the one I knew that was mine, someone had attached a source to James and Catherine that didn't seem to have any connection to them at all, so I detached that one.
The other James and Catherine had ended up in Cumberland, England, with their son John born in Scotland. So I set about detaching that set of parents from my John.
Once I had John figured out, I went back to all the entries for his wife Margaret. It took a while to merge all her duplicates, but I was able to do so.
What would I find tomorrow when I looked at all of the other siblings of Peter, John, and Mary Ann?
Thursday, March 25, 2021
At this point, with one week to go in the month, I have enough of my Jewish relatives done that I should be easily found by any cousins on those lines. It's time to move on to the Irish. The Smiths will take a while (I have a lot on those already), and I don't have any relatives for my Reilly ancestor yet, so I will focus here on the Bannons of County Laois, Ireland, and deal with the Hylands tomorrow.
William Bannon, born between 1803 and 1806 (probably in County Laois) and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown) had 6 children that I'm aware of, but I had not put any but my direct ancestor William (born 1843) in the Family Tree, so I added William the younger's siblings: Margaret, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Ann.
The most interesting part about adding William's siblings was that it standardized on the birth location as Queen's County (prior to 1922). It also suggested that I change "Maryboro" to "Maryborough".
I had spouses for all of the siblings, so I added those next: Margaret's husband Patrick Hickey, John's wife Mary Ann Parker, Joseph's wife Mary Burns, Elizabeth's husband Peter Hyland (a brother to William's wife Mary Ann), and Ann's husband John Kinsella. I didn't go any deeper with their children on the Family Tree, but I figured I had enough to interest any cousins.