These are the feeds from some of the best blogs about Family History / Genealogy

Family History old picture Venice

  • House of the Dragon: discover the Targaryen family tree!
    by Jean-Yves on June 19, 2024 at 8:05 am

    With 9 billion data points, Geneanet has millions of real genealogies… but a few fictional ones too! With the arrival on our screens of the second season of House of the Dragon, we present the genealogy of its heroes, the Targaryen family.

  • Profile of the Day: Paul McCartney
    by Amanda on June 18, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Happy birthday to Paul McCartney! Today the legendary musician turns 82. Image: Paul McCartney / Nationaal Archief CC0, Wikimedia Commons McCartney was born on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England to James McCartney and Mary Mohin. Music was always a part of McCartney’s life growing up. His father was a trumpet player and pianist and encouraged his son’s pursuit of music. When he was 14, his mother died of an embolism shortly after surgery for… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Paul McCartney first appeared on About Geni.

  • Special DNA Sale: Unlock Your Family History This Summer!
    by Esther on June 18, 2024 at 8:52 am

    Summer is here, and with it comes the perfect time for family gatherings, outdoor activities, and diving into family history discovery. We are excited to announce our Special DNA Sale, starting today and lasting until June 26! With the MyHeritage DNA kit, you can uncover the hidden stories in your family tree, connect with relatives The post Special DNA Sale: Unlock Your Family History This Summer! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Barry Manilow
    by Amanda on June 17, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    Happy birthday to Barry Manilow! Today the singer-songwriter turns 81. Image: Barry Manilow / Alan Light, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) Manilow was born Barry Alan Pincus on June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn New York to Harold Pincus and Edna Manilow. His father left the family when he was two and he eventually adopted his mother’s maiden name as his last name. He began his career working as a commercial jingle writer, penning memorable jingles… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Barry Manilow first appeared on About Geni.

  • She Got to See Her Father Smile Thanks to Deep Nostalgia™
    by Esther on June 16, 2024 at 7:57 am

    We developed the Deep Nostalgia™ feature to give our users the powerful experience of seeing an ancestor in a still photo move, look around, and smile. The experience can be especially profound in a case where the user may never have had the opportunity to see that person in real life. This Father’s Day, we The post She Got to See Her Father Smile Thanks to Deep Nostalgia™ appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Harriet Beecher Stowe
    by Amanda on June 14, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    On this day in 1811, American writer and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. Image: Harriet Beecher Stowe / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration She was the seventh of thirteen children born to Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist preacher, and Roxana Foote. The Beecher family was a prominent New England family known for their involvement in political issues regarding religion, civil rights and social reform. Her great grandfather, General Andrew Ward V,… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Harriet Beecher Stowe first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: W.B. Yeats
    by Amanda on June 13, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Do you have Irish ancestors? On this day in 1865, Irish poet W.B. Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland. Image: W.B. Yeats / Library of Congress William Butler Yeats was the son of John Butler Yeats, a lawyer and portrait painter, and Susan Mary Pollexfen, whose wealthy merchant family owned a milling and shipping business. His father was not the only artist of the family. His brother Jack became a well-known artist and Olympic medalist, while… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: W.B. Yeats first appeared on About Geni.

  • Enhanced Search Capabilities Added to OldNews.com
    by Erica on June 13, 2024 at 7:54 am

    It’s been only three months since launch, and OldNews.com is already on its way to becoming the top website for historical newspapers from around the world. OldNews.com was warmly received by the genealogy community, and the feedback we’ve gotten has been wonderful. Several genealogists even shared the priceless discoveries they made using historical newspapers from The post Enhanced Search Capabilities Added to OldNews.com appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Anne Frank
    by Amanda on June 12, 2024 at 4:05 pm

    Today we remember Anne Frank on what would have been her 95th birthday. Image: Anne Frank / Wikimedia Commons It was 82 years ago today that Anne received her famous diary as a gift for her 13th birthday. Her father had given it to her after she had pointed it out in a store window days before. The red checkered autograph book had a small lock on the front, so Anne decided to use it… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Anne Frank first appeared on About Geni.

  • The Slocum Families: Winifred Crager and her larger-than-life, absent father
    by Sean Daly on June 12, 2024 at 8:14 am

    The General Slocum Families Trees collaborative project is documenting the 700+ families impacted by the 1904 excursion steamer disaster in New York, when over a thousand German-American women and children died. In this multipart series, we are telling the stories of some of these families.

  • Offer a Beautiful Ancestry Chart To Your Family and Friends!
    by Jean-Yves on June 11, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    On Geneanet, you can download (in PDF) and print ancestry and descendancy charts for free!

  • Profile of the Day: Gene Wilder
    by Amanda on June 11, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    Do you remember watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? On this day in 1933, actor Gene Wilder was born. Image: Gene Wilder / Nationaal Archief, CC0 Wilder was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He first gained an interest in acting after his mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. The doctor had told the 8-year-old Wilder that he should try to make his mother laugh. By the age of 13, he began studying acting… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Gene Wilder first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Judy Garland
    by Amanda on June 10, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    Today we remember Judy Garland on what would have been her 102nd birthday. A star by the age of 16, Garland is remembered as one of the greatest performers in film history. Image: Judy Garland / Wikimedia Commons She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922 to Ethel Marion and Frances Avent Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The daughter of vaudeville performers, Garland had a knack for song and dance and made her… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Judy Garland first appeared on About Geni.

  • I Was an Only Child. Thanks to MyHeritage DNA, I Found 3 Siblings
    by Daniella on June 10, 2024 at 8:10 am

    Monika Fleming discovered she was adopted at age 30. 37 years later, she uploaded her DNA to MyHeritage — and was matched with a half-brother. This is her story: I learned I was adopted when I was 30 years old. I was an only child in a military family.  Because we moved a lot, I The post I Was an Only Child. Thanks to MyHeritage DNA, I Found 3 Siblings appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Prince
    by Amanda on June 7, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Today we remember Prince on what would have been his 66th birthday. Image: Prince / Scott Penner, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to John Lewis Nelson, a jazz musician, and Mattie Della Shaw. He was named after his father, who used the stage name Prince Rogers while performing with his jazz group, the Prince Rogers Trio. With music a big part of his… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Prince first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Diego Velázquez
    by Amanda on June 6, 2024 at 4:34 pm

    Do you have Spanish ancestry? On this day in 1599, Spanish painter Diego Velázquez was born in Seville, Spain. Image: Diego Velázquez / Wikimedia Commons The first child of João Rodrigues da Silva and Jerónima Velázquez, Velázquez showed a gift for art at a young age. At the age of 12, he began a six-year apprenticeship with painter Francisco Pacheco. He would later marry Pacheco’s daughter, Juana, and have two daughters. Remembered as one of the most important… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Diego Velázquez first appeared on About Geni.

  • The Three Stevens Brothers: An Extraordinary Transatlantic Bond Formed in Memory of a Fallen D-Day Soldier
    by Daniella on June 6, 2024 at 8:30 am

    Since the end of WWII, a beautiful and incredible friendship has connected the family of Sylvie Laillier, a French user from Normandy, and an American family from Pennsylvania that sent 3 sons to fight in the war. Two of them, Paul and William Stevens, did not return. The third, Donald Stevens, now 97 years old, The post The Three Stevens Brothers: An Extraordinary Transatlantic Bond Formed in Memory of a Fallen D-Day Soldier appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Robert F. Kennedy
    by Amanda on June 5, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    Today we remember Robert F. Kennedy on the anniversary of his assassination. After winning the California presidential primary, Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968. He would succumb to his wounds the following day. Image: Library of Congress Kennedy was the seventh child born to Joseph Kennedy, Sr. And Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. During his brother’s presidency, Kennedy served as the Attorney General of the United States… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Robert F. Kennedy first appeared on About Geni.

  • D-Day in our fabulous Postcards collection!
    by Sean Daly on June 5, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    Eighty years ago this week, Allied forces landed on five beaches in Normandy and set out to join up with paratroopers who had landed overnight. We browsed Geneanet’s massive Postcards collection for striking images to commemorate the day, and found these!

  • MyHeritage Adds 123 Million Historical Records in April and May 2024
    by Esther on June 5, 2024 at 9:12 am

    In April and May 2024, we published 123 million historical records from 18 collections. The newly added records are from the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Italy, Luxembourg, and England, and include birth records, marriage and divorce records, death and burial records, census records, voter The post MyHeritage Adds 123 Million Historical Records in April and May 2024 appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: King George III
    by Amanda on June 4, 2024 at 5:15 pm

    On this day in 1738, King George III was born. He ruled for over 59 years until his death in 1820. Image: King George III / Library of Congress Born two months prematurely, George was not expected to survive. He was the eldest son born to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. When his father unexpectedly died in 1751, the young George became the heir apparent to the throne. Nine years later in 1760,… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: King George III first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: George V
    by Amanda on June 3, 2024 at 6:40 pm

    Have you found your connection to the British royal family? On this day in 1865, George V was born in Marlborough House, London. Image: George V / Library of Congress The grandson of Queen Victoria and the second son of Prince and Princess of Wales, Albert Edward and Alexandra, George was not expected to be king. In 1892, his older brother, Prince Albert Victor, died of pneumonia just six weeks after announcing his engagement to… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: George V first appeared on About Geni.

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in May 2024
    by Jean-Yves on June 3, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 6 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in May 2024: Australia Lyrup Cemetery, Lyrup, South Australia, 75 graves (sjdeez) Welshmans Reef Cemetery, Welshmans

  • A Bittersweet D-Day Love Story Comes Full Circle as Brothers Find Each Other After 70 Years
    by Daniella on June 3, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    The upcoming 80th anniversary of D-Day is an opportunity to reflect on the colossal impact that day had on our world. It’s also a good opportunity to note the stories of those for whom D-Day served as a catalyst on a much more personal scale. One such story is that of Wilburn Henderson, an American The post A Bittersweet D-Day Love Story Comes Full Circle as Brothers Find Each Other After 70 Years appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in May 2024
    by Jean-Yves on June 3, 2024 at 10:22 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in May 2024: Lash LARUE, American actor Mary-Russell FERRELL COLTON, American artist, author, educator, ethnographer, and curator Charlie COLIN, American musician, bassist for the rock band

  • Profile of the Day: Walt Whitman
    by Amanda on May 31, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    Today marks the 205th birthday of American poet Walt Whitman! Considered to be one of the most influential poets in American literature, Whitman is often called the “father of free verse.” Image: Walt Whitman /  Library of Congress Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, New York and was the second of nine children. By the age of 11, he had left school and began working to help support his family. He learned… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Walt Whitman first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Mel Blanc
    by Amanda on May 30, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    On May 30, 1908, voice actor Mel Blanc was born in San Francisco, California. Nicknamed “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the history of voice acting.  Image: Mel Blanc / Wikimedia Commons Although he began his nearly six-decade long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros. He brought to life a plethora of memorable Looney Tunes cartoons,… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Mel Blanc first appeared on About Geni.

  • Millions of Nordic Newspaper Pages Added to OldNews.com
    by Esther on May 30, 2024 at 11:38 am

    We’re excited to announce the addition of 11.6 million new Nordic newspaper pages to OldNews.com, the innovative website for historical newspapers, by MyHeritage. OldNews.com enables genealogists, researchers, and history enthusiasts to search, save, and share articles about people and events throughout history.  The new content includes historical local, regional and national newspapers, periodicals and gazettes The post Millions of Nordic Newspaper Pages Added to OldNews.com appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • 4 Incredible Family History Finds from Old Newspapers
    by Daniella on May 30, 2024 at 6:08 am

    Newspapers are one of the most valuable sources of information for family historians because they offer so much more than dry facts. The 4 people below found priceless information about their ancestors in old newspapers available on OldNews.com, from a detailed account of a grandfather’s wedding to an ad about a gold mine owned by The post 4 Incredible Family History Finds from Old Newspapers appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: John F. Kennedy
    by Amanda on May 29, 2024 at 4:55 pm

    Today we remember President John F. Kennedy, who was born on this day in 1917. Image: John F. Kennedy / NASA, Flickr John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. The second of nine children born to Joseph “Joe” Kennedy and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, John was frequently ill as a child. His older brother, Joe, had been pegged to be the family’s political standard-bearer and was expected by his father to seek the… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: John F. Kennedy first appeared on About Geni.

  • Results of our “Save our Graves” weekend
    by Jean-Yves on May 29, 2024 at 9:18 am

    Many of you participated in our “Save or Graves” weekend, many thanks to all of you! Spotlight on this project and its participants around the world.

  • Profile of the Day: Jim Thorpe
    by Amanda on May 28, 2024 at 4:55 pm

    Today we remember athlete Jim Thorpe, who was born on this day in 1888. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, Thorpe was not only an Olympic champion, but also played professional football, baseball, and basketball. Image: Jim Thorpe / Library of Congress Thorpe was born in Indian Territory near the town of Prague, Oklahoma to Hiram Thorpe and Charlotte Vieux. Thorpe had a mix of European and Native American ancestry and… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Jim Thorpe first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Queen Victoria
    by Amanda on May 24, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    Have you found your connection to the British royal family? On this day in 1819, Queen Victoria was born in Kensington Palace in London, England. Image: Queen Victoria / Library of Congress She was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, who was the fourth son of King George III. At the time of her birth, she was the fifth in the line of succession. While she was still an infant, her grandfather and… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Queen Victoria first appeared on About Geni.

  • Save our Graves Weekend!
    by Sean Daly on May 24, 2024 at 1:56 pm

    This weekend, Save our Graves! We invite all our members to visit a nearby cemetery and photograph graves. Upload them to Geneanet with our GeneaGraves app on your iOS or Android smartphone, or take photos with your digital camera and upload them on the Geneanet site — other genealogists will index them!

  • Daughters of the American Revolution – Episode 283 (Audio Podcast)
    by Lisa Cooke on May 24, 2024 at 12:15 am

    AUDIO PODCAST SHOW NOTES: Do you have a Revolutionary War ancestor? Have you thought about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)? I’ve invited Barbara Jurs of the DAR to explain the process. In this podcast episode, you’ll learn the answers to the questions: What is the DAR? What do I need to do Source

  • Profile of the Day: Carl Linnaeus
    by Amanda on May 23, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    On this day in 1707, Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus was born. Known as the “father of modern taxonomy,” Linnaeus is best remembered for formalizing the modern system of naming organisms. Image: Carl Linnaeus / Nationalmuseum, Sweden Linnaeus was born in the village of Råshult in Småland, Sweden to Nicolaus (Nils) Linnaeus, a pastor, and Anna Christina Brodersonia. His father was an avid gardener and introduced Linnaeus to the world of botany at an… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Carl Linnaeus first appeared on About Geni.

  • Honoring Our Heroes: Free Military Records for U.S. Memorial Day on MyHeritage
    by Esther on May 23, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    Update: This campaign is now open until June 1, 2024 Memorial Day in the United States is a time to honor the brave men and women who served for their country, and a day of reflection and gratitude for the sacrifices they made. At MyHeritage, we understand the importance of preserving the memories and stories The post Honoring Our Heroes: Free Military Records for U.S. Memorial Day on MyHeritage appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

  • Profile of the Day: Arthur Conan Doyle
    by Amanda on May 22, 2024 at 4:50 pm

    On this day in 1859, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. A prolific writer, Doyle is best remembered for his creation of private detective Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and over fifty short stories featuring the fictional detective. Image: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle / Library of Congress Doyle was born to a prosperous Irish family. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, where he first began writing… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Arthur Conan Doyle first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Mary Anning
    by Amanda on May 21, 2024 at 5:06 pm

    Remember the tongue twister, “She sells seashells on the seashore?” On this day 225 years ago, Mary Anning, the English fossil collector and pioneering paleontologist who inspired the tongue twister, was born. Image: Mary Anning / Wikimedia Commons Anning grew up in the coastal town of Lyme Regis in Dorset, England. Her father, Richard Anning, was a cabinetmaker and supplemented his income by selling curiosities found along the coastal cliffside near the town to tourists…. Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Mary Anning first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: James Stewart
    by Amanda on May 20, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    Today we remember actor James Stewart, who was born on this day in 1908. Image: James Stewart / U.S. Air Force Stewart was the eldest of three children born to Alexander Maitland Stewart and Elizabeth Ruth Jackson. He got his first taste of performing while a student at Princeton University. Although he earned a degree in architecture, Stewart would ultimately choose to pursue an acting career after graduating college. He began his career on stage before finding… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: James Stewart first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Edward Jenner
    by Amanda on May 17, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    On this day in 1749, English physician and scientist Edward Jenner was born. Jenner is best remembered for pioneering the vaccine for smallpox. Image: Edward Jenner / Library of Congress Edward Anthony Jenner was born on May 17, 1749 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England. His father was the vicar of Berkeley and believed firmly in a strong education. A country doctor, Jenner was familiar with local folklore that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox, a mild disease, often… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Edward Jenner first appeared on About Geni.

  • Look Who’s Related: Taylor Swift, Post Malone, and More From the Tortured Poets Department
    by Amanda on May 16, 2024 at 10:05 pm

    Taylor Swift recently kicked off the European leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour with a fresh new era added to the setlist in honor of her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department. Before the start of her Paris concert, MyHeritage shared with the world Swift’s connection to French royalty, the former King of France, Louis XIV. The interesting path can be traced through Geni’s World Family Tree, which shows that Swift and the Sun King… Read the full story The post Look Who’s Related: Taylor Swift, Post Malone, and More From the Tortured Poets Department first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Henry Fonda
    by Amanda on May 16, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    Today we remember actor Henry Fonda, who was born on this day in 1905. Remembered as a legend in Hollywood, Fonda’s remarkable career spanned over five decades. Image: Henry Fonda / Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Navy Fonda was born on May 16, 1905 in Grand Island, Nebraska to William Brace Fonda, a printer, and Herberta Jaynes. Fonda’s Dutch ancestry can be traced back to the early settlers of upstate New York in the small village of Fonda…. Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Henry Fonda first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: L. Frank Baum
    by Amanda on May 15, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    Do you love the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Author L. Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York. Image: L. Frank Baum / Library of Congress A popular writer, Baum is best remembered for his story of Dorothy and her dog Toto and their adventure home after a tornado transports them to the magical land of Oz. First published on May 17, 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a commercial… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: L. Frank Baum first appeared on About Geni.

  • Interview with Susan Doyle, a Save our Graves volunteer
    by Sean Daly on May 15, 2024 at 9:53 am

    May 24-26 is Save our Graves weekend, when we encourage Geneanet members to document local cemeteries. Here is an interview with Susan Doyle, who has photographed over 22,000 graves and memorials in Australia!

  • Profile of the Day: George Lucas
    by Amanda on May 14, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    Happy birthday to George Lucas! Today the Star Wars creator turns 80. Image: Nicolas Genin, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) The iconic filmmaker was born George Walton Lucas, Jr. on May 14, 1944 in Modesto, California. He was the son of Dorothy Bomberger and George Walton Lucas,Sr. As a teen, he formed an interest in filmmaking and car-racing. He spent much of his years in high school racing cars until experiencing a near-fatal car crash at… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: George Lucas first appeared on About Geni.

  • Are You Related To Cher?
    by Jean-Yves on May 14, 2024 at 9:14 am

    Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May 20, 1946) is an American singer, actress and television personality. Often referred to by the media as the “Goddess of Pop”, she has been described as embodying female autonomy in a male-dominated industry. She is known for her distinctive contralto singing voice, for having worked in numerous areas of entertainment and for adopting a variety of styles and appearances. Cher rose to fame in 1965 as one half of the folk rock husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher before releasing her first solo top-ten singles “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” and “You Better Sit Down Kids”. Throughout the 1970s, she scored the US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”, “Half-Breed”, and “Dark Lady”, becoming the female solo artist with the most number-one singles in US history at the time.

  • Profile of the Day: Bea Arthur
    by Amanda on May 13, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    On this day in 1922, actress Bea Arthur was born. An Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress, Arthur is perhaps best remembered for her roles in Maude and The Golden Girls. Image: Bea Arthur / Photo by Alan Light, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0 Arthur was born Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1922 in New York City, New York to Philip Frankel and Rebecca Pressner. During World War II, Arthur enlisted as one of the first… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Bea Arthur first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Fred Astaire
    by Amanda on May 10, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    Today we remember Hollywood icon Fred Astaire, who was born on this day in 1899. Remembered as one of the most influential dancers in the history of film and television musicals, Astaire’s impressive career spanned a total of 76 years.  Image: Fred Astaire / Wikimedia Commons Astaire got his start as a dancer at the tender age of four. By the age of six, he was performing along with his sister Adele as a popular vaudeville act. The siblings changed… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Fred Astaire first appeared on About Geni.

  • The Canadian Expeditionary Force enlistments of WWI
    by Sean Daly on May 10, 2024 at 3:32 pm

    Between 1914 and 1918, some 630,000 Canadians enlisted for military service, and 424,000 crossed the Atlantic to Europe to serve. Geneanet volunteers have indexed nearly half of this collection over the past five years!

  • Geneanet ‘Save our Graves’ Weekend, May 24-26, 2024
    by Aliénor on May 10, 2024 at 6:00 am

    On May 24-26, 2024, take pictures of graves in a nearby cemetery.

  • Profile of the Day: J.M. Barrie
    by Amanda on May 9, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    Do you remember the story of Peter Pan? On May 9, 1860, playwright J.M. Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland. Image: J.M. Barrie / National Science and Media Museum, Flickr James Matthew Barrie was the ninth child of ten born to a conservative Calvinist family. He moved to London to pursue a career as a novelist and playwright. It was there that he first met the Llewelyn Davies boys, who would inspire him to write of… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: J.M. Barrie first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
    by Amanda on May 8, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    Do you have Mexican ancestry? On this day in 1753, Mexican Roman Catholic priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, was born. Image: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla / Library of Congress Hidalgo was the second child born to Don Cristóbal Hidalgo y Costilla and Doña Ana María Mandarte Villaseñor. In 1779, he entered the priesthood and later became the parish priest in Dolores, Guanajuato. Hidalgo worked hard for the… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Robert Browning
    by Amanda on May 7, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    On this day in 1812, English poet and playwright Robert Browning was born in London, England. A prolific poet, Browning was known as one of the leading Victorian writers of his era. Image: Robert Browning / Library of Congress Browning was the only son born to Sarah Ann Widermann and Robert Browning, who worked as a clerk for the Bank of England. His paternal grandfather was a slave owner in the West Indies, but Browning’s father opposed slavery,… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Robert Browning first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Orson Welles
    by Amanda on May 6, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Legendary filmmaker Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915. Welles was known as one of the greatest radio and cinema artists of the era.  Image: Orson Welles / Wikimedia Commons, Library of Congress Early in his career, Welles juggled work in the theater with his extensive work as a radio actor, writer, director and producer. His famous live broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds caused widespread panic after many listeners mistakenly believed the show to… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Orson Welles first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Bing Crosby
    by Amanda on May 3, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    On this day in 1903, legendary entertainer Bing Crosby was born. Image: Bing Crosby / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration He was born Henry Lillis Crosby, Jr. on May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, Washington. The fourth of seven children, Crosby loved to listen to music on his phonograph as a child and enjoyed reading the comedy feature “The Bingville Bugle” in the Sunday edition of the Spokesman-Review. His love for the comic earned him the nickname “Bingo… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Bing Crosby first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Catherine II
    by Amanda on May 2, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    Russian Empress Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was born on this day in 1729. Image: Catherine II of Russia / New York Public Library She was born Sophie Friederike Auguste and was the daughter of a poor German prince. In 1745, she married Peter III, who was the heir to the Russian Empire. After the death of Empress Elizabeth in 1762, Peter III succeeded the throne as Emperor. However, his reign would last… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Catherine II first appeared on About Geni.

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in April 2024
    by Jean-Yves on May 2, 2024 at 8:33 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 6 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in April 2024: Canada Cimetière de Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Québec, 316 graves (francerivet) Cimetière Saint-Vallier, Saint-Vallier, Québec,

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in April 2024
    by Jean-Yves on May 2, 2024 at 8:16 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in April 2024: Fred THOMPSON, American politician, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, actor, and radio personality James DENTON, American film and television actor Shawn PYFROM, American actor and

  • Profile of the Day: Calamity Jane
    by Amanda on May 1, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    Frontierswoman and sharp-shooter Calamity Jane was born on this day in 1852. Image: Calamity Jane / Library of Congress The legend of Calamity Jane was known throughout the Wild West. However, little hard facts are known about her life and much of what was said was likely embellished or fabricated by writers and storytellers of the day. She was born Martha Jane Canary in Princeton, Missouri and by the age of 12, both of her parents had… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Calamity Jane first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Juliana of the Netherlands
    by Amanda on April 30, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    Do you have Dutch ancestry? On this day in 1909, Juliana of the Netherlands  was born. She reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 until her abdication in 1980. Image: Juliana of the Netherlands / Nationaal Archief Born in the Hague, Juliana was the only child of Dutch monarch Queen Wihelmina and Prince Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Juliana was the first Dutch royal baby to be born since her mother’s birth in 1880. Her mother had suffered two miscarriages and… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Juliana of the Netherlands first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Duke Ellington
    by Amanda on April 29, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    Today we celebrate Jazz legend Duke Ellington, who was born on this day 125 years ago. Image: Duke Ellington / Library of Congress He was born Edward Kennedy Ellington on April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C. to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy, both pianists. With musically talented parents, Ellington was encouraged to pursue his interest in music. He began studying the piano at the age of 7 and acquired the nickname “Duke” for his suave and classy demeanor…. Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Duke Ellington first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Carol Burnett
    by Amanda on April 26, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Happy birthday to Carol Burnett! Today the beloved comedic actress celebrates her 91st birthday. Image: Carol Burnett / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Born on April 26, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas, Burnett caught the acting bug at a young age. After her parents divorced in the late 1930s, she was sent to live with her grandmother in a boarding house in Hollywood, California. In the second grade, she briefly invented an imaginary twin sister named Karen and… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Carol Burnett first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald
    by Amanda on April 25, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    On this day in 1917, American Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia. One of the most beloved Jazz vocalist of all time, Fitzgerald had an extraordinary vocal range spanning three octaves. Image: Ella Fitzgerald / Library of Congress Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 to William Fitzgerald and Temperance Fitzgerald. From a young age, she was passionate about dancing and singing and spent hours listening to Jazz records her mother brought home. She… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Kelly Clarkson
    by Amanda on April 24, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    Happy birthday to Kelly Clarkson! Today the singer turns 42. Image: Kelly Clarkson / NPS, Marcey Frutchey, Wikimedia Commons Clarkson was born on April 24, 1982 in Fort Worth, Texas to Jeanne Ann Rose, a teacher, and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer. The youngest of three children, Clarkson’s parents divorced when she was 6. Her third great grandfather, Isaiah R. Rose, served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. During the war, he was captured and… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Kelly Clarkson first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Shirley Temple
    by Amanda on April 23, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    On April 23, 1928, star Shirley Temple was born. Image: Shirley Temple / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution CC0 Temple was born in Santa Monica, California to Gertrude Temple, a homemaker, and George Temple, a banker. She began taking dancing lessons at the age of 3 and was soon spotted by a casting director for Baby Burlesks, a series of comedy shorts satirizing recent films with preschool-aged children starring in every role. She soon was… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Shirley Temple first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Jack Nicholson
    by Amanda on April 22, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    Happy birthday to Jack Nicholson! Today the actor turns 87. Image: Jack Nicholson / Georges Biard, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Nicholson was born on April 22, 1937 in Neptune, New Jersey. For the first 37 years of his life, Nicholson believed his parents were John Nicholson and Ethel Rhoads. In 1974, a Times reporter researching a cover story on Nicholson discovered that the person Nicholson believed to be his older sister June was in… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Jack Nicholson first appeared on About Geni.

  • New collection: the Saint Helena Medals
    by Sean Daly on April 22, 2024 at 6:00 am

    During the years of Napoléon I’s reign, well over a million men from France and conquered territories in Europe were recruited for the Grande Armée. In 1857, veterans were awarded the Saint Helena Medal by the emperor’s nephew Napoléon III. Explore our new collection of over 200,000 men — a few with photographs!

  • Newspapers and Obituaries for Genealogy – Episode 282 (Audio Podcast)
    by Lisa Cooke on April 21, 2024 at 12:20 am

    SHOW NOTES: In our first segment, Lisa Louise Cooke and her guest Jenny Ashcraft from Newspapers.com discuss how to use newspapers to fill in the missing stories in your ancestors’ lives. Jenny shares strategic tips on finding unique information many researchers miss.  In the second segment of this episode, Shannon Combs-Bennett, the author of the Source

  • Profile of the Day: Charles Darwin
    by Amanda on April 19, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    On this day in 1882, Charles Darwin died at his home, the Down House, in Kent at the age of 73. Considered to be one of the most influential scientific minds in history, Darwin’s work transformed the world’s understanding of nature. Image: Charles Darwin / Library of Congress Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in his family home, The Mount, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The fifth of six children, Darwin came from a line… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Charles Darwin first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Paul Revere
    by Amanda on April 18, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    On this day in 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback to warn the American colonies of approaching British troops. Revere’s role in the famous ride would later be immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Image: Paul Revere’s ride / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Late in the night on April 18, British troops began marching towards Lexington and Concord to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Taking separate… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Paul Revere first appeared on About Geni.

  • Video #5 of our 25 Websites for Genealogy – Libraries and Archives
    by Lisa Cooke on April 18, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    VIDEO & SHOW NOTES: Video #5 of our 25 Websites for Genealogy YouTube Playlist. In this video, my guest presenter Gena Philibert-Ortega covers Library and Archive websites that are must-haves for family history research. You’ll find plenty of genealogy gems waiting for free at websites #23 through 25 in our list.   Websites 23 through Source

  • Profile of the Day: Alexander Cartwright
    by Amanda on April 17, 2024 at 4:50 pm

    Do you enjoy baseball? On this day in 1820, Alexander Cartwright, the “Father of Modern Baseball,” was born in New York City, New York.  Image: Alexander Cartwright / Hawaii State Archives, Wikimedia Commons Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. was the son of Alexander Cartwright, Sr., a merchant sea captain, and Esther Rebecca Burlock. A volunteer firefighter, Cartwright often played bat-and-ball games with other volunteers. He founded the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in New York and is often credited with… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Alexander Cartwright first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Charlie Chaplin
    by Amanda on April 16, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    Silent film star Charlie Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in London, England. Image: Charlie Chaplin / Library of Congress In a true rags-to-riches story, Chaplin grew up in poverty and became one of the most successful actors in the industry. He endured several hardships early in his life. His father abandoned the family when he was very young, while his mother suffered from a mental illness that kept her in-and-out of the asylum…. Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Charlie Chaplin first appeared on About Geni.

  • The Story of Titanic Survivor Violet Jessop
    by Amanda on April 15, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    April 15 marks the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Every year the public’s imagination is captured by the infamous ship along with its harrowing stories of survival and loss. Amongst one of the crew was stewardess Violet Jessop, who would experience more than one maritime disaster in her lifetime. She remarkably survived not only the sinking of the Titanic, but also a second disaster at sea on the HMHS Britannic only a… Read the full story The post The Story of Titanic Survivor Violet Jessop first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Leonardo da Vinci
    by Amanda on April 15, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    On this day in 1452, Renaissance Man Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci in the Republic of Florence. Image: Leonardo da Vinci / Library of Congress A gifted and extremely talented individual, da Vinci’s genius ranged from science, arts, mathematics, engineering, astronomy, architecture, and much more. Some of his greatest artistic masterpieces include the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man. A brilliant inventor and engineer, da Vinci designed and illustrated concepts… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Leonardo da Vinci first appeared on About Geni.

  • Profile of the Day: Christian IV of Denmark
    by Amanda on April 12, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    On this day in 1577, Christian IV of Denmark was born.  Image: Christian IV of Denmark / Wikimedia Commons Christian IV was born on April 12, 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark to King Frederick II and Sofie of Mecklenburg. He was the third child but eldest son of the couple. Since Denmark was still an elective monarchy at the time, Christian was not automatically heir to the throne. However, when he was 3, his father had… Read the full story The post Profile of the Day: Christian IV of Denmark first appeared on About Geni.

  • Resources for Norwegian genealogy
    by Sean Daly on April 12, 2024 at 10:28 am

    Do you have ancestors from Norway? Here is a list of resources as well as some key facts about Norwegian genealogy which will help you unearth the stories of your forbears!

  • Profile of the Day: William III of England
    by Amanda on April 11, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    On this day in 1689, William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The couple reigned together until Mary’s death in 1694 at the age of 32. The post Profile of the Day: William III of England first appeared on About Geni.

  • Website Review & How To: Archives.com
    by Lisa Cooke on April 3, 2024 at 2:35 pm

    VIDEO & SHOW NOTES: Learn how Archives.com can help you find your family history. We cover getting started, finding records, building your family tree and answer the question as to whether you should use it if you already use another genealogy website. Why Use Archives.com? If you’re new to genealogy, returning after taking a break, Source

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in March 2024
    by Jean-Yves on April 3, 2024 at 8:23 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in March 2024: Lynda DAY GEORGE, American television and film actress Anthony EDWARDS, American actor, director, and producer Mare WINNINGHAM, American actress and singer-songwriter Matt HOBBY,

  • Download, Print and Share Your Geneanet Family Tree as a List
    by Jean-Yves on April 2, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    On Geneanet, you can download, print and share your family tree in a number of charts and lists.

  • Geneanet Community Helps Auction House Identify Napoléon’s Missing Waistcoat Button
    by Sean Daly on April 1, 2024 at 4:00 am

    The Hôtel Grout auction house in Paris, assisted by volunteers at Geneanet, has confirmed an old waistcoat button found in their laundry room belonged to the Emperor himself – and explains his repeated wardrobe malfunctions!

  • Send a vintage Easter card with Geneanet!
    by Sean Daly on March 28, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Geneanet has a fabulous collection of over 830,000 postcards to illustrate your tree: villages, churches, landscapes, monuments, street scenes… This month, we went through our collection and created a brand new Easter category for you — choose from over 2600 vintage cards to send to your family & friends!

  • This week, help us index the US Navy Muster Rolls!
    by Sean Daly on March 14, 2024 at 5:35 pm

    From March 15-24, Geneanet is organizing a special week dedicated to the indexing of the US Navy’s Muster Rolls from the Civil War through the end of the century. Whether you are a frequent contributor to Geneanet’s indexing projects, or you haven’t used our indexing tools yet, discover this fascinating project with American but also British, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch sailors!

  • Upload Your Pictures To Geneanet With Your GEDCOM File!
    by Jean-Yves on March 12, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    With Geneanet Upload, import your family pictures and archival records with your GEDCOM file, and easily update your family tree.

  • Marie Marvingt, the Bride of Danger
    by Sean Daly on March 6, 2024 at 2:00 pm

    March 8 is International Women’s Day and this week, we want to tell you about a trailblazing superwoman who is largely forgotten today: sportswoman, pilot and aerospace medicine advocate Marie Marvingt, the Bride of Danger!

  • RootsTech 2024!
    by Sean Daly on March 2, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    RootsTech 2024 is over and we were thrilled to meet our members as well as genealogists just discovering Geneanet!

  • French ancestry? Geneanet is the #1 genealogy database in France!
    by Sean Daly on March 2, 2024 at 7:50 am

    Do you have French ancestry? Geneanet’s rich collections include many not found elsewhere, contributed by members of our community. And our forums are a great place to get help tracking down your French ancestors!

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in February 2024
    by Jean-Yves on March 1, 2024 at 9:04 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in February 2024: Travis KELCE, American football tight end Susan OLSEN, American actress and former radio host Maureen MCCORMICK, American actress Barry WILLIAMS, American actor Mike

  • Visit us at RootsTech 2024!
    by Sean Daly on February 20, 2024 at 3:31 pm

    RootsTech will take place February 29-March 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Come meet with us at booth #507!

  • Are You Related To Dakota Fanning?
    by Jean-Yves on February 20, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    Hannah Dakota Fanning (born February 23, 1994) is an American actress. She rose to prominence at the age of seven for her performance as Lucy Dawson in the drama film I Am Sam (2001), for which she received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination at the age of eight, making her the youngest nominee in SAG history. Fanning played major roles as a child actress in the films Uptown Girls (2003), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Man on Fire (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Dreamer (2005), Hide and Seek (2005), Charlotte’s Web (2006), Push (2009), and the title character in Coraline (2009).

  • Geneanet: List of Possible Duplicates
    by Jean-Yves on February 15, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    On Geneanet, you can view the list of possible duplicates in your family tree and easily merge them if needed.

  • Send a Valentine’s Day card from our vintage collection!
    by Sean Daly on February 13, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Geneanet has a fabulous collection of over 800,000 postcards to illustrate your tree: villages, churches, landscapes, monuments, street scenes… This month, we combed through our collection and created a brand new Valentine’s Day category for you — choose from 800 vintage cards to send to your Beloved!

  • Women in science are in the spotlight at Geneanet!
    by Jean-Yves on February 4, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, discover the genealogy of some famous female scientists from around the world. You may even be related to some of them!      

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in January 2024
    by Jean-Yves on February 2, 2024 at 2:46 pm

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in January 2024: Adam ANT, English singer, musician, and actor Isaac Charles PARKER, American politician and jurist Michael SCHUR, American television producer, writer, director, and actor

  • Swedish research at Geneanet: the genealogy of Ivar Johansson
    by Sean Daly on January 31, 2024 at 10:04 am

    How do you start genealogical research on Geneanet? What search criteria should you use when tracing your Swedish ancestors, and what results can you expect? Using a concrete case, the reconstruction of the genealogy of Olympic wrestler Ivar Johansson (1933-1971), discover how to optimize your searches on Geneanet and easily trace your family history!

  • Geneanet in 2023: a look back at a rich year
    by Jean-Yves on January 21, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    2023 is over! Now is the time to take stock of this year and recall our key new developments… some of which you may have missed.

  • Are You Related To Dolly Parton?
    by Jean-Yves on January 17, 2024 at 8:00 am

    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is known for her decades-long career in country music.

  • A simpler and more intuitive interface to customize, configure, and manage your family tree
    by Jean-Yves on January 15, 2024 at 11:00 am

    The customization, configuration, and management options of your family tree have been changed considerably to be simpler and more intuitive.

  • Do You Have Some Errors in Your Family Tree? Discover our Consistency Checker!
    by Jean-Yves on January 8, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    Our consistency checker has been recently updated for greater flexibility and efficiency.

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in December 2023
    by Jean-Yves on January 4, 2024 at 12:45 pm

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 6 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in December 2023: Australia Blue Mountain Cemetery Reserve, Trentham, Victoria, 20 graves (sjdeez) Vaughan Cemetery, Vaughan,

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in December 2023
    by Jean-Yves on January 4, 2024 at 11:36 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in December 2023: Lewis STRAUSS, American government official, businessman, philanthropist, and naval officer Thomas J. HUDNER JR., United States Navy officer and naval aviator Frederic FORREST,

  • Geneanet’s mission: to make genealogy accessible to all!
    by Jean-Yves on January 2, 2024 at 10:33 am

    As the new year begins, we’d like to remind you of Geneanet’s founding principles and tell you about our New Year’s resolutions for 2024.

  • Thanks to Geneanet, a military passbook from World War I given to his descendant
    by Sean Daly on December 24, 2023 at 11:00 pm

    We have a heartwarming story to tell about Lauren and Jean-Marc in this holiday season. Thanks to Geneanet’s international community, the Soldbuch — military service passbook — of a World War I German soldier has traveled through time and space and has been given to his great-granddaughter halfway around the world.

  • The Christmas Truce of the Great War
    by Sean Daly on December 21, 2023 at 10:36 am

    The first Christmas of the Great War — later called World War I — was marked by a number of spontaneous, unplanned yet nearly identical events in the northern reaches of the Western Front: unarmed soldiers from both sides left their trenches and exchanged gifts and pleasantries with their sworn enemies. A Christmas story.

  • Send your Christmas cards with Geneanet!
    by Jean-Yves on December 13, 2023 at 8:51 am

    More than 800,000 vintage postcards are available free online at Geneanet, including more than 6000 Christmas and New Year cards. This year, find an unusual card to send with just a few clicks!

  • Share the results of your genealogy research through your family book!
    by Jean-Yves on December 7, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    With Geneanet, you can generate your family book automatically from your family tree. It’s easy to do and you can download the result for free! Here’s how.

  • What is a haplogroup?
    by Jean-Yves on December 5, 2023 at 8:28 am

    A haplogroup is a series of mutations found in a chromosome. It is therefore detectable in the DNA of an individual and may be different from one population to another, or even from one individual to another.

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in November 2023
    by Jean-Yves on December 1, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 6 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in November 2023: Australia Cobbitty Anglican Church Cemetery, Cobbitty, New South Wales, 201 graves (just3thoughts) Mystic

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in November 2023
    by Jean-Yves on December 1, 2023 at 8:44 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in November 2023: Rosie HUNTINGTON-WHITELEY, English model Jason STATHAM, English actor Penn JILLETTE, American magician, actor, musician, inventor, television presenter, and author Theron T. POND, American

  • The tree comparison tool has been updated!
    by Jean-Yves on November 29, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    A few days ago, we announced the launch of Hints to allow you to easily find missing information in your online tree. This new feature was accompanied by another major development: the complete overhaul of the “Match Your Family Tree” section. Discover a brand new service… which is really two!

  • “Napoléon” on the silver screen… and at Geneanet!
    by Sean Daly on November 24, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Ridley Scott’s film about the emperor Napoléon Bonaparte — and his empress Joséphine de Beauharnais — starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, is the cinematic event of the season. Want to learn more about Napoléon’s era? Geneanet is the right place, as we are France’s #1 genealogy site, with many Premier Empire resources you might not know about!

  • Geneanet DNA: how to backup your data
    by Jean-Yves on November 20, 2023 at 8:00 am

    On December 20, 2023, the entire Geneanet DNA section of our site will be permanently deleted. In order to backup the analysis of your DNA matches, we invite you to download before this date your list of DNA cousins (including your notes) and the data concerning the matching chromosome segments of your DNA cousins. Here’s how to do it.

  • Geneanet DNA features will be discontinued
    by Jean-Yves on November 20, 2023 at 8:00 am

    Three and a half years since the launch of Geneanet DNA, it’s time to take stock. We have made the difficult decision to end this feature set which unfortunately hasn’t had the success we had hoped for.

  • A new feature at Geneanet: hints!
    by Jean-Yves on November 13, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Perhaps you know about Automatic matches, those small red check marks visible on your tree which signal new information is available about your ancestors. We have completely revamped this service to help you save even more time: make way for hints!

  • Eugene Bullard, the first African-American Combat Pilot
    by Sean Daly on November 10, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    For Veterans Day — also called Remembrance Day or Armistice Day — we tell the story of Eugene J. Bullard, the first African-American combat pilot, who flew for France in World War I — but was refused a transfer into the US Army Air Corps due to prejudice. Learn about his adventurous life: jockey, stowaway, vaudeville performer, boxer, infantryman, pilot, jazz drummer, nightclub impresario, and spy — then soldier again, then Free French and civil rights activist!

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in October 2023
    by Jean-Yves on October 31, 2023 at 9:37 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 6 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in October 2023: Australia Big Hill Uniting Church Cemetery, Big Hill, New South Wales, 41 graves

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in October 2023
    by Jean-Yves on October 31, 2023 at 9:27 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in October 2023: Denver PYLE, American film and television actor and director Mike JOHNSON, American politician, 56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Richard

  • Resources for Austrian Genealogy
    by Sean Daly on October 25, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    October 26 is Austrian National Day! To celebrate, here are some resources for Austrian genealogy, many of which may help you as you research your ancestors. Check our curated list, you may find resources you haven’t used before!

  • Results of our “Save our Graves” weekend
    by Jean-Yves on October 17, 2023 at 6:01 am

    Many of you participated in our “Save or Graves” weekend, many thanks to all of you! Spotlight on this project and its participants around the world.

  • Are You Related To Katy Perry?
    by Jean-Yves on October 16, 2023 at 11:44 pm

    Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter and television personality. She is known for her influence on modern pop music and her camp style, being dubbed the “Queen of Camp” by Vogue and Rolling Stone.

  • Resources for Polish Genealogy
    by Sean Daly on October 13, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    Do you have Polish ancestry? The many border changes of Poland in the past centuries — including several partitions when the country was divided up by its neighbors — make Polish genealogy a true challenge. These resources will help you find your elusive forbears.

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in September 2023
    by Jean-Yves on October 3, 2023 at 10:07 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 5 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in September 2023: Australia Kangaroo Valley Cemetery, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, 185 graves (just3thoughts) Canada

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in September 2023
    by Jean-Yves on October 3, 2023 at 9:52 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in September 2023: Paul WILLIAMS, American composer, singer, songwriter, and actor Amber TAMBLYN, American actress and author Josh DUHAMEL, American actor Hugh GROSVENOR, British aristocrat and

  • Geneanet ‘Save our Graves’ Weekend, October 13-15, 2023
    by Jean-Yves on September 28, 2023 at 5:00 am

    On October 13-15, 2023, take pictures of graves in a nearby cemetery.

  • Matches and comparisons: what is changing
    by Jean-Yves on September 14, 2023 at 11:00 pm

    Matches and comparisons have a new name! Don’t worry, none of the features you use are disappearing, and work as before: these are just technical and look & feel improvements. Here’s a quick overview of the changes.

  • Celebrate the King of Sweden’s Jubilee With the House of Bernadotte Family Tree
    by Sean Daly on September 11, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    On September 15, King Carl XVI Gustaf will celebrate 50 years on the throne of Sweden. To mark this event, genealogists and community members at Geneanet searched archives throughout France for a special surprise present: unseen documents about the King’s French ancestor, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte! Visit our tree to see these fascinating documents.

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in August 2023
    by Jean-Yves on September 1, 2023 at 2:05 pm

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in August 2023: Reed HASTINGS, American billionaire businessman, co-founder, and executive chairman of Netflix, Inc. Steven ADLER, American musician, drummer and co-songwriter of the hard rock

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in August 2023
    by Jean-Yves on September 1, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 5 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in August 2023: Australia Bong Bong Cemetery, Bong Bong, New South Wales, 334 graves (just3thoughts) Mortis

  • Resources for Swedish Genealogy
    by Sean Daly on August 24, 2023 at 7:25 am

    Were your ancestors from Sweden? There is a long tradition of careful recordkeeping in Sweden, which Swedes continued after emigrating to North America. Here is a rich list of resources which can help you understand the specifics of Swedish genealogy and go further researching your family history!

  • Finding Your Ancestors From Alsace-Lorraine
    by Sean Daly on August 5, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    Alsace and Lorraine are two distinct regions in eastern France, each with a long and storied history, and coveted by empires and states. “Alsace-Lorraine” refers specifically to the lands where Germanic dialects are spoken: upper and lower Alsace and the Moselle valley in Lorraine. Explanations.

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in July 2023
    by Jean-Yves on August 1, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in July 2023: John TRUMBULL, American poet William WOODBRIDGE, American politician, 2nd Governor of Michigan Laurel LEE, American lawyer and politician Carolyn GOODMAN, American politician Rick

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in July 2023
    by Jean-Yves on August 1, 2023 at 6:38 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 5 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in July 2023: Australia St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Cemetery, Currawang, New South Wales, 62 graves (just3thoughts)

  • New York City opens new naturalizations database
    by Sean Daly on July 12, 2023 at 12:02 am

    Naturalization documents are rich in information for genealogists. Did your European immigrants settle in New York City? The boroughs (counties) of Queens and the Bronx have just opened a new online database with 400,000 fresh color scans never before online, with more boroughs to come!

  • Adding sources to your Geneanet tree
    by Sean Daly on July 7, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    At Geneanet, we believe genealogy is about sharing — cousins and fellow genealogists benefiting from your research and vice versa. A key aspect of that is documenting your tree: providing others with information proving the accuracy of your tree, in the interest of all. Copying bad data is bad!

  • Geneastar: New Famous Family Trees Added in June 2023
    by Jean-Yves on July 4, 2023 at 8:32 am

    Have you ever heard of Geneastar? Geneastar is a Geneanet website that focuses on the genealogy of famous people. Some new famous family trees have been added to Geneastar in June 2023: Kinsley S. BINGHAM, American politician and lawyer William BRADFORD, American lawyer and judge Thomas LAW, Reformer of British policy in India, where he

  • Save our Graves: Cemeteries added to Geneanet in June 2023
    by Jean-Yves on July 4, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Because cemeteries are one of the most important resources for genealogists, Geneanet has launched the project “Save our Graves” to capture graves before they are lost. More than 5 million graves are already available! Here are the cemeteries added in June 2023: Australia Saint Brelade’s Parish Church, Les Creux, Channel Islands, 15 graves (sclamaron15) St

  • 23 million certificates added from the Baltic states!
    by Aliénor on June 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    In the past few months, a number of index and archival document collections have been published online at Geneanet.

  • How to Use Marginal Annotations in French Deeds
    by Wesley Eames on March 20, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Sophie Boudarel   Original text written in French Marginal annotations are, as we saw in my last post, a precious element of French deeds. Although they are useful in descending genealogy, they may contain traps that must be skipped. All our ancestors did not die at age 50, and we may find exceptionally marginal… The post How to Use Marginal Annotations in French Deeds appeared first on Trace.com.

  • III. Explaining Genealogic Germany – Some notes on civil records
    by Wesley Eames on March 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

    By Kathrin Kweseleit Most requests that reach me are dealing with the search for ancestors in the pre-civil record era but some are dealing with finding relatives during the time period the German Empire was existing or for finding relatives today. In this case civil records are great. But even if your ancestors left during… The post III. Explaining Genealogic Germany – Some notes on civil records appeared first on Trace.com.

  • 5 More Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy
    by Wesley Eames on March 16, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Julia Joy Dumas This is the 2nd installment of Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy. Click here to read the 1st installment of Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy.   Patience + Perseverance = Pride   Genealogy research is not for the faint of heart. It is important to remember to be patient. It… The post 5 More Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy appeared first on Trace.com.

  • 5 Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy
    by Wesley Eames on March 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Julia Joy Dumas Relax, you got this! The biggest misconception regarding African-American genealogy is the fear that Black people are invisible in America’s written historical records. Some people I speak with believe finding one’s African-American family history is impossible. I must admit, there are more challenges, but it is not impossible. Begin your research… The post 5 Tips for Embarking on African-American Genealogy appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Marginal Annotations in French Deeds
    by Wesley Eames on March 14, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Sophie Boudarel Original text written in French Marginal annotations are a measure of publicity intended to establish a relationship between two acts of civil status or between an act and the transcription of another act or judgment.They are, for the genealogist, a valuable element of his research. Varied and numerous, they make it possible… The post Marginal Annotations in French Deeds appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Using Historical Documents to Capture Student Engagement
    by Wesley Eames on March 13, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Nikki Paine As well as my genealogical work, I also work part time teaching mathematics to adults in the community for a local further education college. This week I was planning a session on revision for mean, mode, median, range, tally charts and graphs. Not the most inspiring of subjects for learners who find… The post Using Historical Documents to Capture Student Engagement appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Mothering Sunday
    by Wesley Eames on March 12, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Anne Sherman Today Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday are seen as the same day, and are celebrated at the same time, however they started as very separate celebrations. Mother’s Day In America Mother’s Day officially dates from about 1914 and was the result of a campaign by Anna Jarvis, whose mother had died on… The post Mothering Sunday appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Finding Records From the War to End All Wars: Thinking “Outside-The-Box”
    by Wesley Eames on March 9, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Sharon Hall There certainly are obvious ways for genealogists to obtain World War I records, and you’ll find those at sites like Ancestry.com, Fold3 and more (see Part I).  For instance, you may begin by typing “World War I” in the keyword field (with quotes) in Ancestry’s Card Catalog and you’ll see a long… The post Finding Records From the War to End All Wars: Thinking “Outside-The-Box” appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Civil War Pension Records: A Wealth of Knowledge
    by Wesley Eames on March 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Erika Grizzard Did you know that there is a wealth of information hidden in Civil War pension records? I certainly didn’t until recently, when these records helped me to begin knocking down a long-standing brick wall in my own family’s genealogy. I thought that the information gained wouldn’t extend beyond an acknowledgement of service and a… The post Civil War Pension Records: A Wealth of Knowledge appeared first on Trace.com.

  • Going to College…back in the Day…even girls!
    by Wesley Eames on March 7, 2018 at 10:00 am

    By Bonnie Samuel In 1870 America, there were only 500 public high schools with enrollment of about 50,000 students (U.S. population was almost 40 million in 1870 as per census data). At that time, enrollment had opened to accept females, mostly to be trained as teachers. Reading, writing and arithmetic curriculums were also expanding to… The post Going to College…back in the Day…even girls! appeared first on Trace.com.

  • A Fond Farewell
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Dear friends, I’m afraid the time has come for the Ancestry Insider to say goodbye. Over ten years ago I put virtual pen to virtual paper. Now it is time to put it down. I wonder if a couple of times a year you might still see something from me, but this may be it. This newsletter has brought me lots of enjoyment. I’ve enjoyed trying to bring you news you didn’t get anywhere else. I’ve enjoyed teaching how to better utilize Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Through my reports about national conferences, I’ve enjoyed promoting education. Through my series on serendipity, I’ve enjoyed sharing my belief about the miraculous nature of life and family history. Through my Monday mailbox series, I’ve enjoyed answering your questions. Through my series, “Records Say the Darnedest Things,” I’ve enjoyed teaching about records and methodology. I have enjoyed the opportunities to acknowledge FamilySearch’s sponsor—and my current employer—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This newsletter began at a time when Ancestry’s communication policy was to say nothing. FamilySearch didn’t do much better when I started reporting on the rollout of New FamilySearch. Today, both organizations have healthy, vibrant communication programs. This newsletter has also consumed about six hours of my personal life each week and I think it is time for a change. But I put down this pen with a great measure of sadness. This newsletter has given me the opportunity to rub shoulders with many wonderful people. Thank you. For that I am most grateful. Of myself, I am pretty insignificant and I am forever humbled that you would consider this newsletter worth a little of your time. Before I say goodbye, I’d like to personally thank each and every single one of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you… Wow! This is going to take some time… Please feel free to go about your lives while I finish up. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …;  (inside joke), …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, …, … Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • The Science Behind AncestryDNA — #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Julie Granka, of AncestryDNA, spoke about “Understanding the Science Behind Your DNA Results” at the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference last week. I’m hardly qualified to report about this session, but I’ll give it a try. Julie started by defining several terms, utilizing lots of diagrams. I was hoping to link to some pages on Ancestry.com that contain explanations as clear and simple as Julie’s. No luck. If I am going to provide links to basic information about DNA and genealogy, I will have to send you to someplace other than Ancestry. That is too bad. They should publish Julie’s presentation on their website. Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has provided a nice list of links to introductory information. See “DNA Basics for a Sound Foundation.” Suffice it to say, there are basic building blocks of DNA that are represented by the letters A, C, G, and T. Our chromosomes are composed of long strings of these—3 billion, in fact. Almost all the letters are the same in every single person on the planet. Julie said that only about 10 million are different among different individuals and populations. A DNA test looks at about 700,000 of them. A location in the string of letters where the letters differ between individuals is called a SNP (pronounced “snip”). A group of inherited letters is called a haplotype. Julie studies SNPs and haplotypes in the context of human populations. “Patterns of SNPs and haplotypes among human populations are driven by history,” she said. “As humans migrate, they bring their DNA with them.” She explained the founder effect: Not everyone in a population has the same SNPs and haplotypes. If a small number of people migrate somewhere, their most common SNPs and haplotypes are likely to be different than the parent population. They have founded a population with a different profile than the parent population. A related phenomena is isolation. If I understand correctly, newborns in an isolated population are statistically more likely to have the most common SNPs and haplotypes of their population. These effects make different populations look different genetically. AncestryDNA uses the SNPs and haplotypes to determine three things.  Tiny amounts of the haplotypes and SNPs associated with a population from the distant past (hundreds of thousands of years) survive in our DNA. AncestryDNA uses this information to provide your ethnicity estimates. To determine what SNPs and haplotypes are associated with distant populations, AncestryDNA uses reference panels. These are individuals whose haplotypes and SNPs are thought to be representative of the distant populations. AncestryDNA has 26 reference panels. Founder effect and isolation make ethnicity estimates easy. Migration makes ethnicity estimates difficult. Large amounts of shared haplotypes between two persons indicate recent common ancestors. The more closely related, the more DNA is shared. AncestryDNA uses this information to provide your DNA matches. There are several challenges in determining DNA matches. Just sharing DNA doesn’t mean you are closely related. DNA you share for other reasons is called identical by state (IBS). DNA shared because of recent common ancestry is called identical by descent (IBD). AncestryDNA has to determine the difference. Another challenge arises from the way DNA is processed in the laboratory. For any given SNP, the data coming from the lab does not differentiate between the value contributed by your father and the value coming from your mother. AncestryDNA uses tools to estimate which came from which. She didn’t say this, but I would guess that if they ever get it wrong, you could be shown relatives who aren’t really your relatives. In between the two extremes, AncestryDNA searches for groups of people who share large numbers of matches to others within a group. They use this information to provide your Genetic Communities. It is possible to share no DNA at all with cousins. The closer the cousin, the higher the probability of shared DNA. Julie showed these numbers: Cousin Probability of shared DNA 1st 100 2nd 100 3rd 98 4th 71 5th 32 6th 11 7th 3.2 She showed a chart that looked like the one below. I think it indicated the average amount of shared DNA between two close relatives. It went by so fast, I am not certain. However, Blaine T. Bettinger provides similar data, which I’ve charted below. Source: Blaine T. Bettinger, “The Shared CM Project – Version 2.0 (June 25, 2016),” The Genetic Genealogist (http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com : updated 31 July 2016). AncestryDNA uses these numbers to estimate your relationship to your DNA matches. She covered more, but that’s about all I have time and space for here. I’m sorry that I’m not as clear as she was, but hopefully you learned something.     Chromosome inheritance diagram credit: Catherine A. Ball, et. al., “DNA Circles White Paper,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com/cs/dna-help/circles/whitepaper : updated 18 November 2014), figure 2.1. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • FamilySearch: A Global Experience at #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    The 2017 National Genealogical Society conference wrapped up last Saturday, and after a couple of articles, so will I. Diane Loosely of FamilySearch spoke at the FamilySearch luncheon. Her title was “FamilySearch: A Global Experience.” She described three definitions of global for which FamilySearch is global. One definitions of global refers to world-wide global reach. Diane showed us a FamilySearch booklet, My Family: Stories that Bring Us Together. It is available in 66 languages. FamilySearch has 5,000 family history centers located in 33 countries. They offer support to patrons in 13 languages. FamilySearch operates cameras in countries across the globe. They have 5.6 billion names published online from many countries. They publish an additional 2 million names a day. Diane showed a video, “Preserving and Accessing the Records of the World,” documenting record destruction in the Philippines resulting from super-Typhoon Yolanda. One town’s records, indeed all the town offices, were completely destroyed. All that was left was the cement floor of the building. Because FamilySearch had photographed their records, FamilySearch was able to restore all the records to them. Diane said that FamilySearch is gathering the genealogies of villages in Africa that, today, are preserved only by “Rememberers.” Aging village elders have memorized the genealogies of the village. Many are old and their knowledge is perishing with them. In the case of 95-year old Opanin Kwame Nketia, FamilySearch interviewed him and documented 12 generations and 1,000 people. A couple of days later when they returned to thank him, they discovered he had passed way. Diane said that 50 years ago FamilySearch canvassed Mexico, filming their records. It is thought that today 15 to 20% of those records have perished. Another sense of the word global is the idea of operating on a whole set of things. To find and search all of FamilySearch’s records, you have to know a few ways of accessing the records. Diane showed a Kentucky probate collection containing 12,000 names and nearly a million images. Obviously, FamilySearch had not completely indexed the collection. To access all the records, you have to be prepared to browse through the images like you would microfilm. She also pointed out that some records are accessed only through the catalog. Another sense of the word global is embracing the whole of something. “We feel a responsibility to help everyone discover their family history,” she said. She shared the quote from the Emory university study stating that the more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. FamilySearch recently remodeled the first floor of the Salt Lake Family History Library to appeal to a younger generation. Diane shared the well-known quote of Alex Haley: In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage—to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. She then challenged us to choose a person we would like to introduce to family history. Prepare beforehand. Then go and give them a meaningful experience with family history.     Note: I was interested in where one might find Alex Haley’s original quote, as very few people cite the source. Barbara Renick in her book Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family’s History and Heritage (Thomas Nelson Inc., 2003) is the only source I could find who cited a source: “What Roots Means to Me,” Reader’s Digest (May 1977), 73-74. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Darned Page Order
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Tracy Reinhart is a long-time researcher who remembers way back when accessing the census meant scrolling through microfilm. Long ago she discovered her Braford ancestors’ family in Cannon, Kent, Michigan was one of those split across pages in a census. Online publishers like Ancestry and FamilySearch have to identify these split families and join them back together. That’s a fairly straightforward process unless you run into the situation Tracy ran into recently. “Part of the 1870 census for Cannon, Kent Co. Mich.  was not filmed in page order,” she told me.  “As a result,  when a family list carries over from one page to the next,  you will find wrong family associations.” She found that for Cannon, Kent, Michigan: Image 28 on Ancestry.com is page 28 and ends with the Henry Wolaver family. Image 29 on Ancestry.com is page 30. Notice page 29 was skipped. It starts with Emma Braford. Since Emma has no family or dwelling numbers, we know that she belongs to the family on the previous page. Because the pages were filmed in the wrong order, Ancestry erroneously places her in the Henry Wolaver family. This page ends with the Harry (or Harvy) Haines family. Image 30 on Ancestry.com is page 31, which correctly continues with Mary Haines. Image 31 on Ancestry.com is page 29, the skipped page. It ends with the A. B. Brayford family. I was interested to see how FamilySearch handled this situation. Researchers with access to both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org universally advise using Ancestry.com for census research and the 1870 census on FamilySearch.org is a good illustration of why. If you search for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, you get everyone living in the entire state of Michigan! If you don’t know where your person lived, but you somehow find them, FamilySearch doesn’t indicate where the person was! The only advantage I see for searching FamilySearch’s 1870 census is that in a search you can specify another family member (in the “Other Person” field). That’s not possible on Ancestry. But I digress… As I compared FamilySearch.org with Ancestry.com, I noticed several interesting things. The image order on FamilySearch.org matches Ancestry.com. FamilySearch didn’t erroneously combine the Wolaver and Braford families. But they also didn’t correctly join the the two parts of the Brayford/Braford family. While Ancestry has 31 images for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, FamilySearch has 32. Ancestry has left out one of the pages from the microfilm! I’ve seen FamilySearch do the same thing. Neither company discloses the censure. The companies deem the image to have no genealogical value so they delete it. This is a very bad practice! There is no guarantee the decision maker understands advanced methodologies that may require a knowledge of the existence of that page, its contents, or the lack thereof. (A little looking showed this particular page is facing page 31 on folio 139. It has no names on it.) The digital folder number (004271429) and image number (00268) for Emma Bradford on FamilySearch.org match the image URL on Ancestry.com: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4271429_00268. That’s kind of techie, but the takeaway is that Ancestry seems to be using FamilySearch images. FamilySearch misindexed the name Braford on page 30 as Bradford. Ancestry did not. Ancestry doesn’t seem to be using FamilySearch’s index. I see several lessons we should draw from this: If you don’t find your ancestor on one website, check others. Search several images forward and backward from your ancestor. Your ancestor’s name can be spelled differently by the same person in the same record. Look at and try to understand all the information on a page. When the day comes that we no longer have access to microfilm, there will be errors that we can no longer detect or overcome. Everybody makes mistakes. Ancestry. FamilySearch. Microfilm. Everybody. ”Just a heads up for something that I never expected to find on Ancestry,” Tracy said. “Grrrrrrr” Thank you, Tracy. Image credit: Ancestry.com. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • NGS Announces Tom Jones Documentation Book at #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Today marks the opening of the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference. At the conference NGS is announcing Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Thomas W. Jones. Tom is considered one of the top educators in the genealogical community. He is a PhD, Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, Fellow of the National Genealogical Society, and Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof, another in the NGS Special Topics Series. According to NGS, “Mastering Genealogical Documentation teaches genealogists how to describe and cite their sources—including sources for which no model citation exists. … In this new step-by-step guidebook, Dr. Thomas W. Jones provides a foundation in the principles, logic, and decisions that underpin genealogical documentation. Exercises are provided at the end of each chapter (with answers at the back of the book) to reinforce concepts and provide opportunities for practice.” You can order the book in the store on the NGS website. It’s true that I’m prejudiced (I volunteer for the NGS), but I’m genuinely excited to get this book. I’ve attended Tom’s lectures on documentation at national institutes and they have been most helpful. Speaking of the NGS Conference, it’s not too late to attend. You can register onsite. For more information, visit the National Genealogical Society Conference website. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Free Exhibit Hall at #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 10, 2017 at 11:00 am

    The 2017 National Genealogical Society conference started today (10 May 2017) in Raleigh, North Carolina. The exhibit hall is free, so even if you don’t register for classes, come see mini-classes, product demos, product announcements, sell prices, and give-away prizes. If you are in the area, you should come down and check it out at the Raleigh Convention Center. The exhibit hall opens at 9:00am each morning with the exception of 9:30 on Wednesday. It closes at 5:30pm each day, with the exception of 3:00pm Saturday.The Ancestry booth presentation schedule for Wednesday, 10 May is: Ancestry, Thursday, 11 May: Ancestry, Friday, 12 May: Ancestry, Saturday, 13 May: Other vendors do product demos, either on a schedule or by request. Lisa Louise Cooke included the Genealogy Gems schedule in the conference bag: Stop by the National Genealogical Society’s booth to enter daily drawings, buy their latest books, and get books signed by the authors. Judging from the advertising inserts in the conference bag, I imagine at the MyHeritage booth they would give you a coupon code for 30% off MyHeritage subscriptions. Likewise for a 15% coupon code from jigsaw genealogy. Genealogical Studies might give you a promo code for a free course and let you enter a drawing for additional free courses. Excelsior College has a drawing for an AncestryDNA kit. It’s not too late to register for one or more days of the conference. Come on down and check it out. Oh, and FamilySearch is offering free accounts in their booth. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Review: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Somehow I missed the release of the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson. When I reviewed Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org, I became a big fan of Family Tree Book’s unofficial series, so I was very happy when I received a review copy of the new Ancestry book, Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website. Chapters are organized around record types. The chapters of the book are: Search and the Card Catalog Census Records Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Military Records Immigration Records Historical Maps, Images, Newspapers, and Publications Social History [directories, tax records, land records, histories, etc.] AncestryDNA Each chapter contains overviews of the databases of the chapter’s record type and helpful instructions on using that type. For example, from the vital records chapter: Death records can open up new lines of research, primarily because they can contain the name of the person’s parents (including the mother’s maiden name) as well as where the parents and the decedent were born. Each chapter has a number of exercises. Don’t think workbook quizzes; think step-by-step walkthroughs.  Each chapter also contains some helpful “search strategies” for the chapter’s record type. Here is an example search strategy from the census chapter: Don’t assume your ancestor was skipped during an enumeration. Look for alternate surname spellings, first name shown as initials, or location in a neighboring county. Each chapter contains workbook forms and worksheets for things like searching the census and abstracting birth records. Appendices have additional checklists, worksheets, and census abstract forms. While a book obviously isn’t going to contain enough copies of each form or worksheet, additional copies can be downloaded from the Family Tree Magazine website.   Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy WebsiteNancy Hendrickson8.2 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches, 192 pp., paperback. 2017.ISBN 1440349061Family Tree Books1-855-278-0408, shopfamilytree.com$10.99 Kindle$13.19 Google eBook$14.57 Amazon$21.99 Paperback/eBook list price, plus shipping. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Darned Record: No Father — Just Growed
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things! Reader Steve Squier shared this: Hello, I thought you might like to use the attached image for one of your “Records Say the Darnedest Things” posts. The first entry in this register of births is for an unnamed daughter of a Miss Knox, of whose father the clerk wrote: “hain’t got none just growed.” Source: Taylor County, Iowa, Register of Births, vol. 1 (1880–1897): 160, entry no. 110 for [unnamed female]; County Courthouse, Bedford; digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/search/catalog/679412 : accessed 16 April 2017); imaged from FHL film no. 1,035,143, item no. 1. Unfortunately, I can’t show you the image. To see it, visit your local family history center and click here: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYWS-4V5. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Dear #NGS2017GEN Attendees
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    For those headed off to the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 10‒13 May 2017, I have two items: syllabus and conference app. I attended a genealogy conference recently and heard that some attendees—first time conference attendees—were confused when presenters kept referring to handouts and syllabi. They were surprised that other attendees seemed to have copies of these handouts when they, themselves did not. Don’t be caught in the same situation at NGS. If you paid for a printed syllabus or syllabus on a flash drive, then you will receive said syllabus when you check-in at the conference. If not (or even if you did), you should download the syllabus PDF file beforehand and print any pages that you wish to hold in your physical paws during the conference. All conference attendees should have received by now an email with instructions on how to download the syllabus. (I received my email on Friday, 28 April 2017.) The file is 70 megabytes, so it will take forever to download if you wait and try to do it using the conference center wi-fi. Wi-fi connections at conference centers are seldom robust. I also wanted to point out that the conference app is available now for download. To download it, visit http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/mobile-app. The app offers another way to access class syllabi. To access the syllabus through the app requires a password. You received that password in the same email that gave instructions on downloading the PDF. Reading the syllabus on a phone is difficult, but it isn’t bad on a tablet. If you have attended an NGS conference before and never deleted the conference app, then when you install this time, there is an additional step you must take to see this year’s conference. The new conference app uses a blue color scheme (below, left). If you see the green color scheme from last year (below, right), you need to tap the icon on the bottom row that is titled “Exit to Conference List.” Then select the 2017 conference. The third of the two things I wanted to mention was the class schedule. Look through it beforehand to decide which classes you wish to attend, and which classes to attend if your first choices are full. If you are inclined to purchase recordings of some sessions, consider attending other sessions at corresponding times. Sessions marked “(R)” will be audio recorded and those marked “(LS)” will be lived streamed and video recorded. Hope to see you next week, at the 2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference! Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • NGS Live Streaming – #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    If you can’t make it to the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference, all is not lost. NGS is offering select sessions via live streaming or for three-month’s later viewing. You can purchase five sessions for Thursday, 11 May 2017 and five sessions for Friday, 12 May 2017. Thursday: Viewers will be able to stream five lectures on DNA from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. These lectures will demonstrate how DNA has revolutionized genealogy problem solving, clarified contradictions in records, and found female ancestors without a known maiden name. They will also offer advice on the best practices for analyzing autosomal DNA. $95 member, $115 non-member.      Friday: View five “BCG Skillbuilding” lectures by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. This set of lectures will teach how to probe documents beyond the obvious, find rich evidence in deeds, use an ancestors’ neighbors, prepare a Genealogical Proof Summary, and build a solid conclusion from disparate evidence. $95 member, $115 non-member. x     All ten sessions can be purchased for $150 member, $185 non-member, if purchased before midnight, 10 May 2017. After 14 May 2017, the price jumps to $175 member, $215 non-member. Sessions can be viewed for three months following the conference. All packages include a full, electronic conference syllabus. For more information, or to purchase sessions, visit http://www.playbackngs.com/7770. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • AncestryDNA Whips Past 4 Million Samples
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Four million. It’s staggering, really. AncestryDNA has exceeded four million samples in its DNA database! It took AncestryDNA three years to get the first million samples. (See “AncestryDNA Exceeds Million Mark” on my blog on 22 July 2015.) It took them 11 months to reach two million. (See “AncestryDNA Database Reaches Two Million” on 28 June 2016.) It took just seven months to get to the three million mark. (See “AncestryDNA Zips Past 3 Million Samples” on 19 January 2017.) Less than 4 months later, AncestryDNA has reached four million persons in the DNA database. (See “AncestryDNA Reaches 4 Million Customers in DNA Database” on the Ancestry blog, 27 April 2017.) AncestryDNA must be selling over 8,000 kits a day to grow that fast. Ancestry says as many people took their DNA test during that period as got married in the United States. They said “that’s about as fast as babies are born in the United States.” That’s astonishing. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Monday Mailbox: FamilySearch Change or User Change?
    by The Ancestry Insider on May 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Dear Ancestry Insider, Hello, I enjoy reading your emails, and wonder if I missed something important, such as:         Did Familysearch.org change how personal family trees are managed?    Last week I looked up my Wilmot tree there, and found someone had changed a last name of an ancestor to Wilmont, when the father and grandson were right there as Wilmot. Duh??? A friend said the family trees are now wide open and anyone can add or change information.         Normally, all information is good, but in this case I am dealing with an idiot.   Then someone else gave my Hessian ancestor, John Stegman, a wife who was his mother-in-law, Does this mean that my tree can be changed by anyone going online to FamilySearch.org? If that is the case, I will not use the program anymore.  It would be a waste of time – I am not a church member – have served/helped many years in a local Family History library.Too many people are well meaning but uneducated on proof of sources.     Ellen Thorne Morris, Monmouth Co., New Jersey Dear Ellen, May Day! May Day! (Yes, today is the first of May. But I digress…) There has been no change. FamilySearch has Genealogies (personal trees) and it has Family Tree (a shared tree). What you are using is Family Tree, and yes, anyone can change anything. FamilySearch’s Genealogies feature is a GEDCOM preservation service. It is not an online tree management program like Family Tree or Ancestry Member Trees. It is merely a repository to preserve and share your life’s work. Export a GEDCOM file from your genealogy program. Go to FamilySearch.org. Select Free Account in the upper-right corner and create an account. Or if you already have an account, sign in. Select Search > Genealogies. Scroll to the bottom. Underneath “Contribute Your Research to the FamilySearch Community,” select Submit Tree. Follow the instructions to add your tree. You will be given the opportunity to synch your tree with Family Tree. That step is unnecessary, especially since it sounds like you already have. I don’t know how long it takes to appear, but when others go to Search > Genealogies and search for a person, they will see results from your tree along with the other contributed GEDCOMs. Ellen, let me close with a heartfelt thank you for your service in a family history center. Several times last month I had patrons express frustration at the limited hours of their local center. It is only through volunteers like yourself that FamilySearch family history centers are open at all. Thank you, thank you! Signed,—The Ancestry Insider Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Darned Carcinogenic Names
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things! What parent names their child after some kind of cancer?! Brain Cancer Lung Cancer Prostate Cancer Skin Cancer Cancer de la Laringe (larynx) Cancer de la Matriz (uterus) Cancer Primitivo del Higado (Primitive Cancer of the Liver) Cancer del Riñon (kidney) Yes, records say the darnedest things! Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • NGS 2017 Conference Pre-Registration Ends Today – #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Still need convincing? Pre-registration for the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference ends today (27 April 2017), so you need to get on the stick. NGS has put together a heck of a program. NGS has loosely organized sessions into 10 tracks each day: Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday BCG Skillbuilding BCG Skillbuilding BCG Skillbuilding BCG Skillbuilding DNA DNA DNA DNA Research Planning Solving Problems Records & Repositories Research in the States North Carolina Historical Context Methodology North Carolina Historical Context Religion Military Records & Repositories Working with Records North Carolina African American Family Stories Tips & Techniques Records & Repositories Historical Context Methodology Military Technology Technology Records & Repositories Records & Repositories Organizing Research Native American Religion Methodology Beyond the Borders Methodology Solving Problems Pretty much every speaker is a nationally known expert or an expert in subjects in and around North Carolina. You may know these names (in no particular order): D. Joshua Taylor Thomas W. Jones Elizabeth Shown Mills J. Mark Lowe Judy G. Russell Mary M. Tedesco John Philip Colletta From Ancestry: Anne Gillespie Mitchell Anna Swayne Peter Drinkwater (Find A Grave, Newspapers.com) Juliana Szucs From FamilySearch: James Ison Diane C. Loosle David E. Rencher David S. Ouimette Robert Raymond To see the program online, go to http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/program. To see the PDF registration brochure, click here. The National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference is being held 10-13 May 2017 at the Raleigh, North Carolina convention center. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Pre-Registration for NGS Conference Ends Tomorrow #NGS2017GEN
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Pre-registration for the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference ends tomorrow, 27 April 2017. The conference will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, 10-13 May 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center. While you can register onsite starting noon on 9 May 2017, you must register by tomorrow for meals, events, and workshops. As I write this, some luncheon choices and workshops are already sold out. According to NGS, The conference program, Family History Lives Here, features more than 175 lectures from basic to advanced genealogical research, including eighteen presentations on DNA science and methodology. Finding records and effectively using them is the focus of fifty-seven lectures. Among the types of records discussed are a wide range of religious records, military and associated records, North Carolina and regional U.S. records, and African American and Native American records. Organizations sponsor luncheons during the conference and provide entertaining speakers ($32). The North Carolina Genealogical Society is hosting an evening event, “Pig Pickin” ($45). Pig Pickin’ features North Carolina BBQ, a five-member blue grass band, and local artisans. NGS is hosting its annual banquet with speaker Stuart Watson, an award-winning investigative reporter ($45).  The conference costs $240 for society members and $275 for non-members. One day registrations are available for $110 (member) and $120 (non-member). For more information or to register for the conference, visit http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org. I’m happy to serve again this year as an official social media reporter for the conference. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • AncestryDNA 20% Sale
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Happy DNA Day! Today (25 April) is the anniversary of the publication of articles theorizing the helical structure of DNA. Ancestry is celebrating with a 20% sale on its DNA kit. (Thomas MacEntee has put together a list.) Normally priced $99, Ancestry is offering the kit for $79 (plus taxes and shipping) through 26 April 2017 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. While I sometimes see a $89 sale price, I don’t recall seeing the $79 price since DNA Day last year. After Thanksgiving the past couple years they have offered the kit for $69. It seems likely they will do the same this year. At RootsTech this year they were trying to overshadow the announcement of kits from other vendors by selling AncestryDNA for $49 (with no shipping since you purchased in-person). I don’t know that you will ever see that happen again. Bottom line, if you aren’t willing to wait until after Thanksgiving, today’s the day to order AncestryDNA for $79. To see what scientists, teachers, and students are doing to commemorate DNA Day, visit the National Genome Research Institute website. Click here to order AncestryDNA for $79. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Serendipity in a Box
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Over 40 years ago Glen and Joyce Alt lived in Platteville, Wisconsin where they became friends with Glenda Clyde and her husband. After several years, the two couples moved their separate ways, the Alts to Massachusetts, the Clydes to Washington state, and the couples had no further contact. Years passed by. One day Glen’s parents were participating in a household auction in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. When they bought a box of stuff for a few dollars, the auctioneer threw in another for free. The Alts found the second box contained a bunch of old photographs and a piece of paper with names, dates, and places. For some reason, Glen’s mother threw them into a drawer instead of throwing them away. Eventually, she passed them on to Glen. Glen felt there must be someone out there who would place great value on the photographs, so he began investing great efforts in finding them. He had a clue. The paper identified the family as the Urens of Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Glen started looking, but without success. When he went to Wisconsin on vacation three years later, he availed himself of the opportunity to ask around. He asked some old friends in Platteville if they knew any Urens. One remembered that they had a mutual friend whose maiden name was U’Ren: Glenda Clyde. Twenty-eight years after they had last communicated, Glen found Glenda on social media. She thought the photographs and information might be of her family, so Glen sent the photographs and the paper to her. Glenda discovered that the pictures and paper were of her great-grandfather’s brother’s family. The information gave her seven new families and 31 new names. “These precious pictures/paper were bought in the Midwest, given to Glen on the East Coast and then sent to me, a family member, on the West Coast,” Glenda wrote. “Considering the incredible preservation and journey of this valuable information, to us, it truly is a miracle.”   Retold with the permission of Glenda Clyde. You can also read her story in R. Scott Lloyd, “Family History Moments: Package Deal,” Deseret News (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865675767/Package-deal.html : 16 March 2017). Photograph contributed by Glenda Clyde. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Ancestry Offering Irish Heritage Tour
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Ancestry ProGenealogists, in conjunction with Go Ahead Tours, is offering an 11 day tour to the Emerald Isle. “Discover the country’s highlights and enduring heritage with special insight from the expert AncestryProGenealogists team.” This guided tour visits Dublin, County Cork, County Kerry , Galway, and back to Dublin. For an extra cost, “continue your experience by adding an ancestral home visit to the places where your family members once lived, worked, worshipped, and went to school.” The tour runs 22 October through 1 November 2017. For more information, visit https://ancestry.grouptoursite.com/. Photograph by Gary Deane, used under license. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Erroneous AncestryDNA Genetic Community
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Reader Clytee Gold wrote me about an apparently erroneous AncestryDNA Genetic Community assignment. One of her two communities is “Mormon Pioneers in the West.” (First, I am jealous that she has two community assignments.) She is rather positive that none of her ancestors were ever Mormons. She has done extensive research and has never found any connection to the Church. As there are still pockets of prejudice against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this assignment could be highly offensive to some people. Coincidentally—or not—it is not offensive to Clytee. Forty years ago she joined the Church and moved to Utah. She is, literally, the “Mormon Pioneer in the West” of her family. I’m not qualified to explain how this misassignment occurred, but fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Perhaps experts among my readers can correct me. Clytee gave one possible explanation: The only thing I can figure out is that is based on OTHERS testing (guess that makes a community – who else took the test to compare to), and that somewhere, 5-6 generations back a sibling of a great-great something of mine joined the church in Denmark in the late 1800’s and came to Utah as a “Mormon Pioneer in the west” and populated the west and there are lots of descendants who took the DNA test. Ancestry has explained that they use an algorithm called community detection to detect groups of individuals with a large number of interconnections. I think of it like large DNA Circles that don’t require common ancestors. The Mormon Pioneers community contains 89,000 testers. Just like a DNA Circle, Ancestry states a confidence level for your membership in the genetic community. My connection to the Mormon Pioneers community is “Very Likely.” Ancestry says they then examine the Ancestry Member Trees of the genetic community “to learn about the historical forces that may have brought their ancestors together.” Of course, some testers don’t have trees, some don’t include all their ancestors, some have ancestors without complete location information, and some have complete garbage in their trees. I assume Ancestry looks for common locations in 25-year increments. If they find a large number of ancestors who lived in the same place at the same time, they look into the history of that time period and why there was a large number of individuals there. Then they give that community a name. For example, the sweet spot for one genetic community is centered on Massachusetts in 1725-1750 (shown on the map, below left). Ancestry chose to name that community, “Settlers of Colonial New England.” Another centered on Utah at a much later time period, 1875-1900 (below, right). Ancestry called this one “Mormon Pioneers in the Mountain West.”   I assume Ancestry can follow the group forward and backward in time, up and down the member trees. This provides additional touchpoints to compare against historical sources and decide if they have correctly identified and named the genetic communities. Moving forward in time gives an interesting view on migration that may not be available from other demographic sources. This may truly be groundbreaking demographic tools. For example, look at the 1900-1925 map (below) of the descendants of early residents of Chihuahua and Durango. If I am interpreting the map right, by that time they were as likely to be living in El Paso as Chihuahua. (The large circle over central Texas represents ancestors whose member trees didn’t specify where in Texas they lived.) Moving backwards in time gives an interesting view on where the Mormons who settled in Utah came from. In the period 1825-1850, most were living in England, with a fair number in Denmark. (See map, below.) The surnames associated with the Mormon pioneer genetic community further point to Denmark: Jensen, Christensen, Larsen, Hansen, Allred, Nielsen, Olsen, Sorensen, Nielson, Rasmussen, Christiansen, Madsen, Peterson, Anderson, Barney, Leavitt, Child, Andersen, Petersen, and Jorgensen Once they are sure they have identified the genetic community, Ancestry can take information from history books about that group and display it next to the migration map. However, the information may not apply to your ancestors who didn’t participate in the chain migration. That is how Clytee may have been put in a migratory group that her ancestors didn’t participate in. She told me her ancestry: My father was half Swiss (4 generations from the immigrant to Missouri) and half German (5 generations from the immigrant to Missouri).  Mother half Norwegian (2nd generation from the immigrant to Iowa) and half Danish (2nd generation from the immigrant to Iowa). I think the conjunction on Denmark is more than coincidence. Clytee’s Danish ancestors didn’t have to join the Mormon church for her ancestors to share DNA with those that did. I don’t think it had to have been a sibling in genealogic-time, either. I think Ancestry is looking at shared DNA in a closed community with hundreds of years of intermarriages. There is a possibility that the genetic community Ancestry has identified is actually more specific than “all Mormon pioneers.” Ancestry may have identified DNA of Mormon pioneers of Danish origin. Look back at the dominant surnames for this genetic community. Does it look more English or Danish? There are other possibilities. Remember the mention of confidence level? Clytee may not belong to the genetic community at all. Her DNA may just be a statistical anomaly. Remember the mention of garbage trees? Ancestry may be running calculations overwhelmed by erroneous information. GIGO. Garbage in—garbage out. Thank you, Clytee, for your message. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Monday Mailbox: Browsing Ancestry Database Images
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Dear Ancestry Insider, The database “Pennsylvania Wills and Probate Records 1683-1993,” offers the subscriber a “Browse this collection” window which works perfectly for all Pennsylvania counties except for Philadelphia County. The list of available images for Philadelphia County never shows up anymore—it did when the database was first launched. Perhaps because it is such a huge amount of data, it cannot load properly. Because the list of digitized probate files for Philadelphia County can only be accessed by clicking on a link from this “Browse” function (administrations, etc), it is now not possible to access those files since there is no dropdown menu. If you know someone at Ancestry who could correct this, I know many researchers would be grateful. With thanks, Sandi Hewlett Dear Sandi, I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, there is a workaround. There are two ways to access the browse capability of an Ancestry collection. One is the browse you have identified on the collection page. The other is accessed via the breadcrumb path at the top of the page, underneath the title when viewing an image. If you can find a way to see any image, then you can browse to any other image. You can get to an image via browsing one of the other counties that works, or by searching for a common name. Or do this: 1. Start at https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8802/005871739_00002. 2. Underneath the collection title at the top of the page, click on “Administration Files, 1764.” 3. Select from the available options. Signed, —The Ancestry Insider Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Darned Undertaking
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 14, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things! Kenneth H. Rich was the undertaker. He was also the decedent. Weird. After 30 years as an undertaker, Kenneth retired just 7 weeks before his doctor started treating him for interstitial nephritis. Less than 6 weeks later, Kenneth was gone. His son, Robert, took over the family business. Six years after his father’s passing, Robert had his first born son. He named him Kenneth. Reader Naomi Martineau shared this record with me. Thanks, Naomi! Image credit: Ancestry.com. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Funny AncestryDNA Commercial Parody
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    A coworker alerted me to this video from the CBC show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It is titled, “”Have you ever questioned your family’s ancestry?” Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Monday Mailbox: AncestryDNA Genetic Community List of Surnames
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Dear Ancestry Insider, I was playing with this new feature but I did not see the list of Associated Last Names. Would you tell me where to find it please? It is fun to play with but I don’t see that it gave me any new information; anything that I have not already researched. Signed,Colleen G. Brown Pasquale Dear Colleen, Do you see on the third line down in the screen shot, below, where it says “STORY | CONNECTION”? Click on CONNECTION. Scroll to the bottom of the page; it’s on the right hand side. Signed,—tai Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Ancestry Launches New Genetic Communities
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Ancestry launched Genetic Communities last week. “Think of the AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates on steroids, and you’ll have a sense of what this is,” Tim Sullivan told RootsTech attendees last February. While ethnicity estimates show your genetic origins from hundreds to thousands of years ago, the Genetic Communities feature shows groups of people you are related to in the last few hundred years. Ancestry defines a Genetic Community as “a group of people who are connected to each other through DNA, most likely because they share a common history or lived in the same places.” Kendall Hulet said, “Applying rigorous statistics and scientific development, we’ve created a unique experience that can connect you through your DNA to places your ancestors called home and the migration paths they followed to get there.” This doesn’t necessarily pin your particular ancestors to a particular place, since your ancestor may have been an outlier. Chances are good, however, that Ancestry will nail part of your ancestry to a particular region and timeframe. AncestryDNA has identified over 300 communities with plans to release more in the future. Brad Argent of AncestryUK says that most people are members of at least one Genetic Community, some people are members of two, and, rarely, some are members of three. In my case, I am a member of one. My ethnicity map now shows my ethnicity estimates on a dark azure map. (Can I just say, I don’t like this new color scheme?) Notice that Ancestry has narrowed (not!) my Native American ancestry to the entire Western hemisphere. Not very helpful in determining my tribal origin (Massachuset). But notice the small Orange spot on Utah? That’s my genetic community, “Mormon Pioneers in the Mountain West.” While my genetic community is of no surprise to me (I’m 5th generation Mormon on every single line—my ancestors all being good genealogists—I was born into a completely full, 7-generation pedigree), a Genetic Community could be very interesting to someone vaguely aware of—say—Germanic roots. Your Genetic Communities are listed beneath your ethnicity pie chart on the left side of the page. The way statistics work, AncestryDNA can’t say with 100% confidence that you are a member of a community. When you click on your community, you are given an overview of the community. Scrolling past the overview reveals migration time periods with commentary. Selecting a time period shows a migration map, different for each time period. Orange dots show birthplaces from community members’ Ancestry Trees during that time period. Pins show birthplaces from your own tree. Animated lines show the direction of migration. Did you notice, I’m aboot one-fourth Canadian, eh? Beneath the community name, two buttons select between the default Story view, which I’ve shown above, and Connection view. Connection view states that they are 95% confident that I am a member of the Mormon Pioneers Genetic Community, and that it has 89,000 members. Connection view provides a link to see all 737 of the ones that I am related to. It also lists common surnames in the community: Hmmm. Anything jump out at you? To see Genetic Communities, you don’t need to have a tree or a paid Ancestry subscription. It is available for free to everyone who has had an AncestryDNA test. Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

  • Monday Mailbox: Find A Grave
    by The Ancestry Insider on April 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Dear Readers, Many of you had strong feelings about Ancestry’s new design of Find A Grave. You can see it at www.gravestage.com. Here are some representative samples: This new format sucks!!! … So disappointed! … I absolutely HATE IT. … Another website ruined by people who don’t use it. … Do.. Not.. Like.. It … New and improved??? It’s absolutely horrible, isn’t it??? … From Irene Sheridan: The new site would not take my email and password. Is it a separate registration to try the test site? I don’t want to mess with my “real” login info. 🙂 Dear Irene, If I understand correctly, the account systems are currently separate. Your email address and real password won’t work on the staging site and vice versa. You have to register again to try some of the functionality of the staging site. Angela and others found that the information is messed up: I just looked at my great grandfather’s memorial on the new site. It doesn’t have his wife, children and parents attached to him like it does on the old site. It says there are no family members currently associated with this memorial. So that is not right and did not flow over to the new site like it should have. I also now manage his memorial as the lady who originally made his memorial transferred him over to me. It does not list me as being the person managing his memorial. The new site also says that there is no bio information on him but I added his obituary to the old site so it is not on the new site. I also left a flower on his memorial for the old site but he does not have any flowers on the new site. I don’t like the new site at all. I forgot to warn you that the data isn’t always real. Don’t worry about that. It is just test data. A corollary is that any changes you make on this staging site is thrown away! Don’t do any real work on it. Diane Gould Hall commented that the layout is a step backward: Everything should still be nicely located on one page, as it is now. Now made so you have to click, click, click to find things. The photos are put into that little box, just like on the new and horrible Ancestry site. I understand updating code. I don’t understand a complete new format that makes this beloved website more difficult to navigate and ugly to look at. Toot echoed that theme: Just from what I see here, the grey with white text is difficult to read, hard on the eyes. The pleasant colors on the “old” site with black text was very easy on the eyes, and pleasant to look at (why the ugly colors of death needed?). Understand the need for new code, but don’t understand the need to change to ugly colors, hard to read text, and reformat of the page. Hopefully, the attached spouse, children, Bio, etc., will flow over in the “new.” And hopefully, the name and date will continue to be on the photo’s contributed, as well as Flowers contributed. Photo size needs to be large enough to see the text on the Headstones (as it is now,) not some little Thumbnail you can barely see. Name of person (with link) who manages the Memorial is important, unless FaG is going to “manage” all Memorials, which I don’t forsee. The current page format is easy to use, easy on the eyes, and does NOT need to be changed. As someone else stated in their comment, it is obvious that the persons coding, and changing the platform/format, are NOT users of FaG! As did Anna: The new site is not a pleasant one to use, at least in this beta version. Too much wasted space, too much scrolling, the photos look funny, and too much clicking around to see what used to be one tidy page with everything instantly visible. It has caused me great wonder that design experts mess up websites when they get involved. Designers think that poorly utilizing screen space and decreasing contract is somehow a good thing. (Do a Google search for [graphic design white space] and [design “never use black”] . After the designers have been paid and move on, websites FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com relent to user demand and switch back to black text on white. Unfortunately, they never seem to fix the “whitespace is good” problem that results in so many extra clicks scrolling or switching tabs. Michael Dorsey Iams stole my thunder and preached my usual sermon: I work in the software industry although not for any of the genealogy companies. I thought it would be useful to talk about how users can most effectively provide actionable feedback to software developers. First of all, I applaud the Find A Grave team for publishing a public beta site. Developers are reluctant to show work they know is not complete, but it is in everyone’s best interest to get direct user feedback early and often during the development process. Second, we all need to acknowledge that user interfaces need to change over time although the benefits of those changes are not often immediately apparent. And finally, recognize their job is to make money. On a free site, that means they need to increase traffic. Concepts such as internationalization and mobile support are significant to them. 1) Generally, don’t focus on colors and fonts. Everyone has difficulty accepting the unfamiliar, and everyone adjusts with time. Although Google is an extreme example (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/05/why-google-engineers-designers), major companies employ experts and detailed processes for deciding these things. 2) One exception to this I believe is handicapped people. Although there are tools and guidelines for accessibility, real-world feedback is still encouraged in this area. 3) Mobile support is about providing a good user experience a variety of resolutions. Try this experiment. Pick up a corner of your browser displaying the Gravestage site. Adjust it bigger and smaller. The elements change to accommodate. A good design finds ways to continue to show the most important information as the screen size drops. This is called responsive design and it takes a lot of effort to do it well. Pick a resolution that matches your mobile screen resolution and provide feedback in this context. 4) Developers aren’t genealogists so it is all too easy for them to make false assumptions. Help them understand with specific, actionable insights into what you want to accomplish and how you go about it. If there are enough people like you, they will surely try to accommodate. 5) It is generally accepted that reducing number of clicks is important, and I think this is a very fair criticism. 6) Provide your feedback with context describing what type of user you are and how you use the site. Even a specialized site such as Find A Grave has dozens of different types of users that use the site in different ways. They need to be able to all these constituencies. 7) It is safe to assume they are familiar with similar sites in the industry, but the internet is a very big place and I find it helpful when someone says “I like to do X with the site, and I find that Y site does this particular function very well”. As they finish the site, they will fix all the bugs like photo cropping and stuff. But, they need help with understanding the many diverse use cases that ultimately affect the broad structure and design of the site. Mander asked: Is there a link we can use to send our feedback and suggestions to Find a Grave? Lisa replied: Yes, when you are on the page, there is a feedback link in the bottom right corner of the page. So, good readers, go use it! Notice: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Ancestry Insider, not necessarily those of Ancestry.com or FamilySearch. All content is copyrighted by the Ancestry Insider unless designated otherwise. See http://ancestryinsider.org for other important legal notices.

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