Tag: sources

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

New Link: Online Newspapers Archive

Learning of this online newspapers archive site was very exciting to me. Some of the most valuable information we can find in our genealogical search comes from newspaper accounts because they provide a more detailed reflection of the lives of our ancestors – not just facts and figures. I have added this link to the main ‘Genealogy Links’ page in the top menu.

 

Online newspapers archive.
Online newspapers archive.

The Online Newspapers Archive site endeavours to centralize the thousands of historical newspapers from various sources in one location.

The first newspapers I looked for were those in the Acadian territories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before, during and after the expulsion. My family names do show in the papers available after 1850, but it will take some time to sift through them.

The newspapers for Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Kentucky also look promising as a great deal of our family history took place in these states.

One great disappointment, though is that there is nothing yet for the United Kingdom.

Although there are great gaps in the newspapers available for some geographical regions, what is available could provide that ‘gem’ one or more of us have been seeking.

I definitely intend to investigate this site further.

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The truth is ” the genealogy community needs more respect ” …

The truth is ” the genealogy community needs more respect ” …

I strongly believe that the genealogy community needs more respect and tolerance in numerous ways.
We all have our own methods, beliefs and processes that we prefer to use in our own genealogy research.

 

tolerance

Just as I believe we should be tolerant of those in society who ARE different from each other, ACT different from each other, or BELIEVE different from each other, the same is true in the field of genealogy.

Tolerance is a key prerequisite to respect. We can’t respect anyone we judge, no matter what the reason or provocation.

I am one who believes in free and open exchange of genealogy information. I act accordingly offering all of my data images and sources for free download on my website. However, this does not mean that I expect the same from others.

I make it clear both on my site and in my personal communications that I do openly share information. Those who exchange information with me do so of their own free will and I respect their right to refuse, no matter what their reasons may be.

I am always amazed at the wonderful people I meet, correspond with, chat with and follow on social media. This aspect of my research is the most rewarding and enjoyable. These wonderful people more than make up for my infrequent encounters with those who are disrespectful, judgmental or demanding. Luckily, encountering them is very, very rare.

I love being an amateur genealogist (amateur being the key word here). After 20 years of research I would still not claim to be anything but an amateur who loves the field.

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Avoiding the quick pace and immediate gratification of ‘Pinball Genealogy’.

Avoiding the quick pace and immediate gratification of ‘Pinball Genealogy’.

Pinball machine.Recently I read a post on the dearMyrtle.com blog about ‘Pinball Genealogy’, a general description of which is the quick ‘bouncing’ from one source to another, attaching the obvious data and facts without taking the time to explore the document to fully investigate all the information available.

An example of such a document is a census, which contains the listings of the individuals living in a household, their relationship to each other, gender, age, place of birth, etc. There is valuable information available elsewhere in the document, including neighbours, street addresses and house numbers, etc. that would be easily overlooked.

I bring this up as I’ve only just realized the importance of her philosophy as it relates to the fun, new, automated methods of mining genealogical data online using the latest generation of software.

Up until recently, I’ve entered everything manually when cataloging and entering data in my genealogy software. I would save the image (or other document), open it and size it to the right half of my screen, then open my software, and resize it to the remaining left half of the screen. The side-by-side windows make it easy to quickly transcribe the data from the image of document to the appropriate individuals, sources, etc. in the database. I have noticed that I have to struggle to resist the temptation to move quickly, saving the image and moving on to the next without transribing the data, fully intending on returning to it. This, however, never seems to happen and I’m left with an individual showing as unsourced even though I do have sources in my collection that have just not been entered. I do now continually work to finish entering these sources and try my hardest to completely exhaust all data from each and every document I use now and in the future.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I decided to switch to the Family Tree Maker 2012 software from Ancestry.com and I’ve been working steadily familiarizing myself with the software and it’s features. The most intriguing feature is that of the ‘shaky leaf’ hints. This refers to the shaky leaf icon appearing at the top right of the individual’s cell in the pedigree window. Clicking on this leaf opens a browser window in the center of all the other windows neatly fitting on the screen and lists all ‘hints’ it has found for the person in question. Initially I started using it by only merging the data directly and quickly, but upon closer examination, I realized that this system only harvests the most obvious information, ignoring all extraneous information on the document.

In order to avoid the ‘quick and easy’ habit (ergo ‘Pinball Genealogy’), I have instead worked on making a habit of opening the image in a separate window after completing the merge as structured with Family Tree Maker 2012. Then I systematically go through the document and transcribe any additional data that was useful or may be useful in the future and enter it as well. This is especially important for the ‘hints’ from scanned publications, books, etc. as, although they are searchable, it is not possible to automatically merge the data into one’s database. In these cases, it is essential to manually enter the data from the document.

Perhaps there should be a 12-step program for those of us prone to ‘Pinball Genealogy’ to assist and support us in our efforts to change our ways…

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Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

 

I have been researching my family’s genealogy for over twenty years and my appreciation of the tireless and volunteer contributions in the pursuit of genealogy is endless.

 

All of our continuing efforts to expand our own genealogies do contribute to the cumulative effort of us all to save and expand our genealogical resources.

 

At one time, the only options for researching outside one’s own community were to depend on the mail system at the time or to travel to the location involved.

Although mail was relatively inexpensive, the flexibility of performing research oneself was lost. There was no opportunity to just dive right in and pursue a lead found in the return information. One would then have to mail another request, and then another, and then another – making this process time-consuming.

Submit Hall
Submit Hall

Travel to the location(s) in question could be very expensive, but resulted in the opportunity to pursue leads found while on site. If new information led to other organizations, agencies, museums, archives, etc. within the area, it was possible to also visit and do further research. This option provided a much more timely method of researching.

Genealogy has evolved considerably with the advent of the personal computer. Now, one can travel the world, visit museums and historical sites, communicate with organizations virtually, as well as doing research using free and paid sites online. The immediacy and flexibility of researching genealogy is something to be marveled at.

How was this possible?

This evolution started with passionate and dedicated volunteers and individuals who began transcribing physical records, collecting photos and images of documents, and placing them in online archives, databases and in specialty archive sites. For the most part, these resources were free and available to everyone.

With some sadness, I have watched a major shift take place in the short time since I began. As the popularity of genealogy became evident, commercial sites and paid services suddenly appeared online – the most noted of which being Ancestry.com .

Barker, William Sr. - Accused in Salem Witch Trials
Barker, William Sr. – Accused in Salem Witch Trials

It was still possible to find considerable free information and resources online, but those who had the funds and wanted to save time and effort could pay for subscriptions to make their search easier. Those of us with limited funds began setting up our own sites posting tips and information for other genealogists.

The newest shift I’ve been seeing is the trend for paid services and sites to ‘buy out’ free resources and add them to their paid catalog, leaving paid sites as the only option.

I still consider genealogy as a historical ‘treasure hunt’, one which I pursue with great effort and pleasure. I love nothing better than to discover an obscure site offering valuable information and this blog has provided the venue for me to post this information and assist others.

All links I find to valuable sites can be found in the ‘Genealogy Links’ tab above. Another update with dozens of new links will be completed soon.

Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate. Let's all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.
Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate.  Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

I think it is important for us to try and preserve the free resources that remain, and possibly add new ones. This is only possible through the efforts of volunteers and the willingness of those of us researching to share information for free. I have made all information from my research available in the ‘Blythe Database’ in the tab above, including sources. Unfortunately, in order to include photos and images, I would have to start my own server. I do wish I could though, because the gold in the genealogy treasure for me has always been photos and images of documents, etc. I will say, though, that the images in my articles are either owned by me, credited to the rightful owner or under free commons license (credit requirements). Feel free to use any images on my site, but please be sure to include the photo credit. A credit to this site on the ones I own (uncredited) would be appreciated.

How can we all help to encourage and preserve free information?

Here are just a few ideas.

  • Start a website of your own and freely post any information you are willing to share.
  • Donate physical items to genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries and archives that provide free services to the field.
  • Start a newsletter or contribute to existing newsletters to collect and provide information to other researchers.
  • Offer your services to anyone researching in your area through services such as RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), which has since shut down indefinitely due to the illness and death of its Administrator, Bridgett Schneider.
  • Volunteer in ways to add to or improve what is available. Examples include transcription of documents, taking and submitting photographs of historical and/or genealogical importance, voluntary work at a location providing free services and resources, and conducting and documenting interviews for first hand accounts.

I am still actively pursuing my research and operating my sites, Empty Nest Ancestry and Blythe Genealogy. All data I’ve accumulated, including images, documents, links and sources is available for free access and download on Blythe Genealogy. Feel free to check it out by searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the upper drop down menu.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

If you have new information of relevance to genealogy, or are willing to volunteer your services to provide research in your area on behalf of others and would like to spread the word about your own efforts in this regard, or just plain news of interest, please let me know and I’d be glad to post it here.

Guest posts are welcomed but are subject to Editor review and may not be accepted. If accepted, the author will be given credit for the article and can include two nofollow links.

Please consider making information you have available to others in any way possible and for as little cost as possible and volunteer and/or donate to those who do if you can. Let’s keep our voluntary and free networks operating and providing for researchers in the future.

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We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

 

It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research.

There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so.

Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.

 

My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.

I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.”

I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue.

When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can.

Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.

I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.

Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:

“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.

I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…

…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.

I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.

This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.

I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”

Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.

Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.

There will never be an end to my quest…

photo credit: droetker0912 via photopin cc

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New to genealogy? Start with free genealogy sites and tools online.

New to genealogy? Start with free genealogy sites and tools online.

Using available free genealogy sites and tools to the best advantage.

 

I’ve been doing genealogy research for well over fifteen years now and have amassed a database of over 100,000 individuals with supporting sources, images, and documents for over 90% of the individuals, which are available for free download. Yet, I still find new information every day.

There is a certain pattern of research I highly recommend to new researchers and here it is:

  • Interview or have a questionnaire completed by as many accessible family members as possible.

Everyone needs a place to start and with genealogy, depending on the location of the information sought, privacy laws vary, but information can be inaccessible for up to 100 years back.

To successfully trace back further than 100 years, one must have information from a closely linked generation to provide clues for working back in the family history. From here, one can also work forward and fill out collateral lines by contacting individuals who are willing to impart information, documents and sources that are not public due to privacy laws.

Here is a double-sided Family View Report I designed for use during interviews or for others to fill out and return. The reverse side is for notes, tasks, etc.

Using free software allows you to learn which functions and features are important to you if you find you wish to use paid software later on.

  • Using the Family View Reports gathered, enter the data into your genealogy software of choice and then research the individuals mentioned with the free sites, databases and tools available online.

I have amassed a very large collection of links to free resources of all types in the right sidebar. It pays to explore the free resources first and obtain as much information as possible until one or more ‘brick walls’ are reached and no further information is forthcoming for free.

I also highly recommend the free genealogy link directory site Cyndi’s List, which offers over 300,000 categorized and cross-referenced links.

  • Once one reaches a brick wall (sometimes called a dead end), it is advisable to explore the paid resources available online.

The paid site I recommend most highly is Ancestry.com , where I find I get by far the best return for my dollar.

I post periodically (usually between 7 and 14 days apart) on this blog with a listing of all of the updates and additions to both of these databases and they can be accessed by clicking here.

  • If the cost of research is a concern, I have found that it’s best to purchase a short-term subscription for the paid site you prefer.

Work within this site as much as possible during the subscription period to try to find information to help break through any brick walls, and then once the subscription expires, once again use the free resources to continue.

Working in this manner can save a considerable amount of money over time.

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Protecting genealogy data and files!

Protecting genealogy data and files!

After twenty years of genealogy research, I have learned a few things about the fragility of the valuable data and files we work hard to accumulate. In response, I have worked hard to develop some good habits when it comes to protecting genealogy data and files.

 

Safe Front
Protecting genealogy data and files.

Some of the issues I’ve encountered in the past are:

  • Sudden corruption of files.
  • Malfunction of hardware including CDs, flash drives and both internal and external hard drives.
  • Accidentally overwriting files.
  • Spontaneous software shutdowns, computer seizures or crashes prior to saving of files.

Following are some key rules that will protect against technical, software and hardware problems; viruses and malware; and deliberate or accidental interference.

 

  • My first and most basic rule when working with data and files is ‘SAVE OFTEN‘! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost data when my computer has seized or crashed prior to saving work.

 

  • Keep two copies of all data and files, one on the computer you use and another on an external hard drive. External hard drives are getting larger and less expensive all the time. It’s well worth the cost. Once you start using an external hard drive, be sure to eject it properly before unplugging the hard drive to avoid damage.

 

  • To secure against more extreme events, upload to an online server or cloud drive. This will safeguard against more extreme damage that can be caused by fire, theft, flood, etc. in one’s own home, possibly damaging or destroying everything in the home.

 

  • Keep your backup copy current by conducting daily backups of all data including media, sources, and software files to the external hard drive or cloud server. Some will tell you to use DVDs or CDs or flash drives for backup copies, but I’ve learned the hard way – DO NOT trust CDs, DVDs or flash drives except for transport of data. They are easily corrupted and/or damaged.

 

  • Always password protect genealogy software, directories and hard drives to safeguard against accidental and deliberate access by unauthorized persons. It is best to use a unique password for your genealogy data.

 

  • In a case where there is no backup and damage or loss occurs, it is possible to take your computer/hard drive to a knowledgeable technician to attempt data recovery. There are never any guarantees to this and the likelihood is that if anything can be recovered, it will most likely only be a percentage. Full recovery is very unlikely. The one time I had a hard drive recovery done was about five years ago and it cost me $99.
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I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

Ideally, I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

I’ve long been a proponent of the open and free exchange of genealogy data to ensure ready access to information for everyone researching their family history.

This morning, however, I read “Cooperation Makes Records Available for Free” at FamilySearch.org and it made me think.

As much as I’d like all genealogical data to be free, I can understand someone wishing to recover their costs of researching the data.

Database profile for Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, including references to numerous images, documents and sources. (Click on the image to see in full size.)

Although the costs of genealogy research have reduced considerably over the past two decades due to computers and the increasing availability of records, images and data online, we’re seeing a correlating increase in sites online offering valuable data for a fee of some kind, making free data harder to find.

FamilySearch.org is one of the few sites still offering data for free.

In my case, ALL of my data (including images, sources and documents) is available online for free download. I do not charge for anything. I do, however, make revenue from ad clicks and sponsored posts on my sites. The end result is that, at least at present, I can offer all of my data for free as the ads pay for the upkeep and maintenance of my sites – for the most part.

There is a delicate balance here, though. As long as I can afford to offer this information free of charge it will remain so. If there comes a point where I have to recover my costs, I will have to either charge for downloads or remove the site from the internet altogether. Rest assured that this is not anywhere in the foreseeable future.

I’ve also seen a marked increase in the amount of personal genealogy data online that is ‘locked’ or marked ‘private’. I have contacted the owners of such data and in most cases they have been very forthcoming and willing to exchange information. In a few cases, however, the owner can be very protective of their data and will not make it available. Luckily, these appear to be few and far between at present.

I welcome the exchange of data offered by anyone doing genealogy research. It is important that this information remain available. One caveat, however, is to ALWAYS categorize the data as it appears when received. If there are no sources attached, it is questionable at best and it is important to use this information as ‘clues’ to further finds. Do not take this information at face value.

I have a very large database and about half of the data is sourced, while about half is not. I am constantly actively seeking and adding sources to prove the data.

I have received some criticism for this. One researcher contacted me about a particular line of information because it was claimed I had a place name incorrect. Little did this person know I had lived in the area for 21 years and knew it very well. To say this person was hostile is putting it mildly. I couldn’t believe it when it was demanded that I remove the lines pertaining to HER RESEARCH as she was the researcher of this family and I had no business researching it since our connection was only by remarriage, adoption and the birth of half-siblings. She also demanded that I remove anything that was not sourced or proven. To do as she demanded would break up lines and create gaps, leaving me without clues to search for sources to prove the information I do have and fill the gaps.

As I stated above, a good portion of my data is accumulated through free exchange of information, including the import of gedcoms of other peoples’ research. The sources (or lack thereof) remain as they have cited them, but I do search for actual copies of listed sources to attach where possible. I leave unsourced data as I receive it until I can research it further and I categorize any sources I have confirmed or added.

It is important to realize that cooperation and goodwill among researchers is essential to keeping the lines of communication and free flow of information open. Once we start becoming territorial and protective of our data, we contribute to the scarcity of information and increased costs for all.

Again, although such data can be invaluable as clues to further research, it is important to note that all sources are only as good as the attachments and assessed quality.

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FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions to January 3, 2014

FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions to January 3, 2014

FamilyAncestry.com Updates and Additions” src=”http://www.emptynestancestry.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/small__3568501582.jpg” alt=”FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions” width=”320″ height=”240″ />Search.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions to January 3, 2014

Family Search.org

Russia

United Kingdom

United States

Worldwide

 

Ancestry.com

Canada

 

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Agreement between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org will enable future release of billions of records.

Agreement between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org will enable future release of billions of records.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org” src=”http://www.emptynestancestry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Blythe-Chas-Ships-Entry-Immigration-small.jpg” alt=”Agreement between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org” width=”300″ height=”307″ />Agreement between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org will enable future release of billions of records.

I rarely print press releases since I want this blog to resemble your local community genealogy center or club, where information, data and sources are made freely available and those involved in the pursuit of genealogy can communicate with me and with each other.

The last thing I want is for this blog to become just a ‘news’ website.

In this case, however, this press release is concerning an agreement between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org that will make billions of records available and accessible online, making the experience of researching our family trees and ancestry even more productive and enjoyable. You can read more in the press release below.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to Make a Billion Global Records Available Online

Groundbreaking Agreement to Deliver Valuable Historical Content Over the Next Five Years

PROVO, Utah, Sept. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry.com and FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org), the two largest providers of family history resources, announced today an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault.

The access to the global collection of records marks a major investment in international content as Ancestry.com continues to invest in expanding family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.

“This agreement sets a path for the future for Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to increasingly share international sets of records more collaboratively,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com . “A significant part of our vision for family history is helping provide a rich, engaging experience on a global scale. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring to help benefit the family history community and look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch to identify other opportunities to help people discover and share their family history.”

The organizations will also be looking at other ways to share content across the two organizations. Both organizations expect to add to the already digitized records shared across the two websites in addition to new record projects to be completed over the next five years.

“We are excited to work with Ancestry.com on a vision we both share,” said Dennis Brimhall, President of FamilySearch. “Expanding online access to historical records through this type of collaboration can help millions more people discover and share their family’s history.”

This marks a groundbreaking agreement between the two services. But the two organizations aren’t strangers to working with each other; hundreds of millions of records have already been shared and are available on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.

About Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 11 billion records have been added to the Ancestry.com sites and users have created more than 50 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3 and Newspapers.com, all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,800 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “appears,” “may,” “designed,” “expect,” “intend,” “focus,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “should,” “continue” or “work” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to the Company as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include our ability to acquire and digitize new content, to provide desired content and product features to new and current subscribers and to otherwise satisfy customer expectations regarding the content of the collection, now and in the future. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2013, and in discussions in other of our Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

 

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Blythe Genealogy Database update and repair is now complete.

Blythe Genealogy Database update and repair is now complete.

Mark-Blythe-to-Barack-Obama-Relationship-Chart_11-583x10241.gifUpdate, August 1, 2013:

The links from within my posts of transcriptions to images and individuals are now reset and functional, and the images, documents and sources on my Blythe Database are now working correctly. If you find a broken link, just enter the  Blythe Database also linked in upper horizontal menu), and go to the surname search to find individuals, or photos to find media and sources.

_____________________________________________________

Update, July 26, 2013:

Because I had to reinstall the site completely, the links from within my posts of transcriptions to images and individuals are not functional. I am in the process of updating the links but it will take a while as there are a lot of them. If you find a broken link, just enter the Blythe Database (also linked in upper horizontal menu), and go to the surname search to find individuals, or photos to find media and sources.

_____________________________________________________

In a previous post I described the problems I was having with Family Tree Maker 2012 (FTM 2012) and how I was trying to  work around it.

As mentioned in that post, I worked to re-convert the gedcom file from FTM 2012 to be used in RootsMagic 6 as I had decided to return to it. Despite my fickle nature and several attempts to take advantage of newer technology and features in several other programs, I end up returning to RootsMagic 6 every time.

In other programs I tried,  I had issues with custom dates, facts and events; image and media handling, etc. Although they were good in some areas, tere  was always something lacking that was crucial to how I do my genealogy.

FTM 2012, however, was by far worse as it actually caused damage to my original data in that I was never consistently able to do backups or export to gedcoms. In the end, after six months of use, I couldn’t export to gedcom at all,  and this is crucial for use of the data in other software and on my Blythe Genealogy Database website.

Due to the problems I’ve been working on fixing, my Blythe Genealogy Database site has been severely affected for a couple of weeks now. Images were not being linked properly to individuals, sources or events, making it difficult to access images and sources directly from the database entries. Instead, images could only be accessed through the main ‘Media’ link, search, and list.

Today, after several unsuccessful attempts to rectify the situation without having to delete the database and start from scratch,  I finally broke down and did just that.

The database is now a brand new tree and import, and the links and data are all up to date and functional.

I do apologize for the inconvenience to those of  you who had difficulty accessing information you were looking for. By all means, please try again now and you should have no problems. The image below shows how the website pages now look with the images and links set up properly. (Click the image for full size view.)

Sample Blythe Database page.

 

 

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FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions – May 28, 2013

FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions – May 28, 2013

Ancestry.com Updates and Additions” src=”http://www.emptynestancestry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Pennsylvania-Church-and-Town-Records-1708-1985-Aubrey-Bevan-small.jpg” alt=”FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions” width=”300″ height=”354″ />FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions

FamilySearch.org

Austria

Brazil

Chile

China

Czechoslovakia

England

Honduras

Italy

Luxembourg

Mexico

Peru

Portugal

Russia

Switzerland

Ukraine

United States

 

Ancestry.com

United States

 

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Historica WordPress Genealogy Theme: Ideal for any history, genealogy, or family tree site.

Historica WordPress Genealogy Theme: Ideal for any history, genealogy, or family tree site.

Genealogy ThemeI just posted my newest theme that would lend itself extremely well for any website or blog dealing with family tree, family history, historical and/or genealogy topics.

This theme is attractive and features vintage images and documents in a neutral color scheme.

If you’re in the market for a great theme for your blog or website, be sure to check ‘Historica’ out!

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WARGS is yet another great genealogy research discovery: thank you TYWKIWDBI!

WARGS is yet another great genealogy research discovery: thank you TYWKIWDBI!

Barack Obama Profile I came across an interesting blog post yesterday, entitled “Barack Obama’s ancestry online” on TYWKIWDBI (“Tai-Wiki-Widbee”). It popped up in a random search and what immediately caught my interest was the reference to the ancestry of Barack Obama.

First though, I must say I really like the concept of this blog, as illustrated by the definition of it’s title highlighted in the sidebar:

“Tai-wiki-widbee” is an eclectic mix of trivialities, ephemera, curiosities, and exotica with a smattering of current events, social commentary, science, history, English language and literature, videos, and humor. We try to be the cyberequivalent of a Victorian cabinet of curiosities.

I had already discovered that my husband and children are distantly related to Barack Obama through a common “Stehle” or “Steely” ancestor but have been so busy logging sources for other individuals in my database that appear to not have any sources, that I’ve neglected that line to this point.

When I do get to working on this line more, the website referenced on this blog, WARGS by William Addams Reitwiesner, will be a great place to start.

In addition to the ancestry of Barack Obama, this site also has Reitwiesner’s own genealogy, those of European royalty and nobility, US political figures, as well as matrilineal genealogies and genealogy related essays.

I haven’t spent a lot of time on the site, but on first examination, it appears to be well sourced with numerous detailed transcriptions and references listed.

I definitely will be delving into this site further – when I have the time!

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Blythe Database Updated Today!

Blythe Database Updated Today!

Assassination of Saint Wenzels I.

I have just completed updating the Blythe Database with extensive new information, sources and images in the royal and medieval lines.

If you have tried to access the database only to find the images missing, that is because I have to delete the old associations to the images and create new associations with the gedcom upload. Everything should be up and available now.

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Updated Links In Transcription Posts

Updated Links In Transcription Posts

I just discovered that the new update to the Blythe Database (link above) changed the page setups and therefore made the majority of links in the transcription posts invalid.

I have gone through and updated the links at the end of each post so they point to the Surname Index page and the Advanced Search page. Not linking to specific individuals will prevent this from happening in future updates.

All images and sources referred to in the posts are attached to the relevant individuals and available for free download in the Blythe Database.

 

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Blythe Database Update In Progress

Blythe Database Update In Progress

If you have attempted unsuccessfully to access the database in the past 12 hours or so, please note that it has been down while I do an extensive update of files and data. Unfortunately, these updates necessitate the database being done for approximately one day. This is the reason I prefer to update only two or three times per year.

The majority of the updates and additions are in the medieval period. If you have accessed individuals in the past with no sources or poor quality sources, be sure to check again as I have updated data and attached better quality sources to hundreds if not thousands of individuals.

I am hoping the database will be fully operational again by 4 pm today at the latest.

Thank you for your patience.

 

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“The Next Generation” of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG Version 9)

“The Next Generation” of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG Version 9)

I’ve been using this genealogy site builder for several months now and I absolutely love it.

Among the numerous positives, there are a few that I would rate very highly and they are listed below in order by my preference:

  • Ability to distinguish living individuals and set privacy settings to keep selected data private.
  • User friendly media sorting capabilities.
  • GEDCOM Import/Export.
  • User management including setting rights and access.
  • Simple and advanced searches by name, date, place, etc.
  • Use of image sprites to enable faster loading pages
  • Use of the latest Google Maps engine.
  • Automatic geocoding of places, including latitutde and longitude.
  • WYSIWYG editing of certain pages and elements.
  • Seamless source creation on the source citation screen.

Although the author provides a ‘TNGWiki’ and support forums, they are insufficient to provide complete support, which is a shame considering there is a very large learning curve involved. I would say that I have been able to find answers to about 40% of my queries. It is possible to contact the author directly, but I don’t like to do that if I can help it. For the most part, I’ve managed to find my own answers through trial and error.

TNG Gedcom Import
The ‘Import GEDCOM’ Screen.

I will admit that the bulk of my queries and the areas in which I’m having the most trouble are the import/updating of a GEDCOM,  as well as import/updating of images and media. In the past, every time I have done an update, I have ended up with duplicate (sometimes triplicate) media in the database and links to the wrong individuals. I have found this very frustrating and it has taken me this long and three or four updates to finally figure this all out.

So, to help all of you who may be experiencing the same issues, here is the procedure I have found works best for me. It is very important to follow this order as any other order I’ve attempted has resulted in broken links, faulty links or duplicates.

  1. Upload new images and media (any saved on your computer
    Media Management Screen
    Screenshot of the interface for managing media.

    after the date of the last upload) to category folders within your site on the server via FTP. It has been helpful to me to keep a ‘new updates’ folder on my computer into which I place all new files. Then when the update is actually performed, I copy the contents of this folder into my main genealogy directory on my computer, as well as by FTP to the site server. Be sure to select ‘overwrite if source newer’ to avoid duplicates and be sure only the newest version of files are used.
  2. Then I delete all images within the administration interface ‘Media’ screen of the site (not via FTP). This seems to delete only the ‘connection’ between the images on the server and in the interface. I find this deletion step very cumbersome as only 50 files are visible on the screen at any one time for selection to delete. If there is a method of bulk deletion, I haven’t been able to find any information about it in the forum or wiki. If any of you have a method of doing, this, I would love to know how.
  3. Thumbnails Interface
    ‘Media > Thumbnails’ screen.
  4. At this point I delete the old GEDCOM from the server via FTP. Then I upload the updated one into the same location (see Import/Export GEDCOM screenshot above). If the links to images and sources were created in the software from which the GEDCOM originated, the links to images and media should be automatically set up during importation.
  5. To set up thumbnails, be sure the importation is complete, then do the creation of thumbnails from within the administration interface (click on the Thumbnails tab in the Media screen).
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‘Relics’ Have Their Value

‘Relics’ Have Their Value

Closet skeletonsI read the article by Megan Smolenyak entitled, “Does Accuracy in History Matter? The Case of American Tapestry,” with great interest. As an avid amateur genealogist, I have struggled with the need to ‘prove’ family lore, suppositions and outright myths offered by those providing first, second, third and ‘more-hand’ accounts of family members and genealogical history.

As Megan Smolenyak states, it is all to easy to succumb to the temptation to take these accounts at face value, even without supporting sources and documentation. My way around this, and I have received a small amount of criticism for it, is to insert the questionable information into my database, but clearly label where the information came from, as well as my assessment of its quality based upon the supporting accounts, documents, photos and artifacts. After over fifteen years of research, I have discovered that it is all too easy to forget about or outright ‘lose’ this speculative information if it is not included in some way with the documented data. You’d be amazed at how often speculative information has provided clues to more information, and to proof of the existing information.

With this in mind, I definitely label speculative information as such when I include it in my posts and articles. I do think it is worth including because of the vast expanse of genealogy researchers out there in cyberspace who may hold that one piece of documentary evidence I so sorely need. I optimistically hope this is true every time.

Ms. Smolenyak mentions the current outcries over the claims of Elizabeth Warren and Marco Rubio to native American ancestry. Don’t we all have family stories and lore that have passed down verbally from one generation to the next? Although second-hand verbal and written word are not as valuable in supporting data, they are of immeasurable value for providing new avenues of research and discovery. Again, THIS INFORMATION MUST BE PROPERLY LABELED AS SUCH.

She also discusses how “some of our ancestors were noble and worthy of our admiration. In fact, many of those grim-faced forebears captured in sepia make us look like wimps by comparison. But just like us, some of them were total schmucks, and frankly, those relatives can often be the most interesting…”

I can’t help but agree. As described below, I have started my research based on family tales that have been retold many times over and in some cases, I have created more questions than I answered by delving into the past. In all cases, however, it’s the scandals and misfortune of our ancestors that I find most captivating.

I constantly keep a vigilant eye out for information that may lead to proof of each of the following stories cited in my family lore.

My father’s side:

  • We have been told that at least one ancestor was a native woman. Now, I know everyone will laugh, but we were also told that one of these women was a Chief’s daughter (yea, I know, the proverbial Indian princess). As laughable as this sounds, I do hold this in the back of my mind as a possibility. I just don’t cite it as fact.
  • My father told me years ago that his family is supposedly related to Sarah Bernhardt, the famous theatre actress. Although I have made some efforts to find a connection, my efforts have been unsuccessful to date.

My mother’s side:

  • My mother has mentioned that she has been told and believes that there is Mi’kmaq ancestry in her Acadian family. It is common knowledge that the Acadians who did not leave during the expulsion took refuge in the woods, depending on the aide and friendship of the Mi’kmaq for survival. There were known relationships with Mi’kmaq natives resulting in children. Finding answers to the questions concerning native ancestry are all the more difficult because natives routinely went undocumented. It was lucky to find even a first name in the records.
  • As mentioned in a very recent post, it is believed that the Acadian ancestors of my family who relocated to Upper and Lower Canada to escape the deportation provided support in various ways, including manpower, to the British forces in the War of 1812.

My husband’s side:

  • In an earlier post, I discussed the fact that we may not always be pleased with what we find out and that was definitely the case when researching the birth parents of my husband’s grandmother, who had been adopted at birth. I was provided with a written note page showing the names of her birth parents as provided to her by a family friend, and an official request for information about her birth parents by this grandmother. She had never been able to get an answer. In today’s age, however, when so much documentation is available online, I was able to find evidence showing these individuals lived in the same place at the same time and that at the time of her birth, the father was in military prison. He also showed later as an inmate in the Ohio State Penitentiary. What better reason to give a baby up for adoption in the early 1900’s than that the father was a prisoner, especially considering the social and moral pressures at the time?
  • In another case, I was researching my husband’s step-grandfather and discovered that he served in the US Navy. I was shocked to discover that he was disciplined by being sentenced to the brigg for having shot himself in the foot on Christmas Eve – ostensibly while cleaning his weapon. Could he have shot himself in the foot deliberately because he was homesick? It’s not unheard of, but we’ll probably never know for sure.

Anonymous:

  • A few years ago, I had offered to work on a family’s genealogy as a wedding present, and the background information I was given included the family story that everyone had wondered for years about the connection of an ‘Aunt Annie’ and why she took such interest in one particular niece. During my research, I discovered the maiden name of this ‘Annie’ and using that found a census showing her working as a domestic in a household when she left to give birth to a child. I did find the birth certificate for a baby girl by her – the favorite niece. Although the birth certificate does not state a father’s name, I came to believe based on the ages of the household members, her age, and the family resemblance between the picture of the father of the household and the friend for whom I was doing the genealogy, that her employer was the father. Again, there is no documentary proof that he was, but I strongly believe that he was.

Ms. Smolenyak characterized herself as possibly being a relic in the eyes of the reader. However, I would be more than happy to join the ‘relic’ group. There is nothing wrong with curiosity and discovery, but it must be tempered with valid documentation and sourcing to separate ‘fact’ from ‘fiction’.

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