Saturday, May 24, 2008

New familysarch

Shoebox Genealogy: "3) Poor sourcing practices
The sourcing currently used by NFS is sloppy, and unbecoming, though it tries hard to look impressive.

Try printing out a family group sheet from NFS of anyone who lived over a hundred years ago.
It will likely give about 2 or 3 pages of family information (poorly arranged)
and then about 5 pages of the church’s source information.

This information is useless. 99.999% of people, especially genealogists, could care less about how many hundreds of times the individual was in the IGI.
Reduce, if not eliminate, the LDS source repetition.

This also goes for viewing the notes and sources on the screen. Representing each different source with the number of times it is contained in a particular database would be sufficient,"

Friday, May 23, 2008

India Office

India Office Family History Search: "Use this website to search:

* 300,000 births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials in the India Office Records

* biographical notes from a variety of sources

* for mainly British and European people in India c.1600-1949

* for people in other countries connected with the history of the British in India"

India Office Records: " are the documentary archives of the administration in London of the pre-1947 government of India. They comprise the archives of the East India Company (1600-1858), of the Board of Control or Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India (1784-1858), of the India Office (1858-1947), of the Burma Office (1937-1948), and of a number of related British agencies overseas. The India Office Records are administered by The British Library as part of the Public Records of the United Kingdom, and are open for public consultation."

GENTREK: Timesaving Techniques for Effective Research

by Dae Powell []
presented by Jayne McCormick []
Do you settle in for a research session and spin your wheels? Do you get little or nothing accomplished? I can't afford to waste my research time, and I’ll bet you can't, either. This little presentation will share some of my tips and hints for minimizing my research time, but yet result in a maximum return. This involves some pre-work the first time, but later, you'll find that you just “grab your bag” and go.
My personal research falls into eight categories:
1) Pre-work;
2) Using forms;
3) Controlling your paper file;
4) Gathering information by mail;
5) Using the Internet;
6) Analyzing every record to its fullest potential;
7) Utilizing research facilities; and
8) Tapping into the knowledge of others.
Along the way, you learn research etiquette and how to make every minute count on your research trips.
1) Pre-work. The first thing I learned from an experienced researcher was to take *every* surname I had in my records, and make a 3 x 5 card with the surname listed at the top, with the “soundex” just below it. These are filed in alphabetical order in a small box. This box goes with me on research trips, or I take out the cards I will need and take just those. By doing this, I don't take up valuable time working up a soundex code at the last minute when I'm in a library or other research facility. When I return, they are refiled in my box to be used again and again. When I get a new surname, I immediately make a “Soundex Card” and file it. That way, my Soundex Box is always up to date.
Make up a “To Do” list if you can't do it with your software program. Have a definite game plan of what you need, where you need to visit or write, and prioritize those items on your list. When I make my list, I use my computer-generated list, and then prioritize them as to making as few stops as possible. Combine research tasks: if you can do all of them at a Family History Center, go for it. If the Family History Center is near the city library, perhaps you can combine the two for one trip.
Classifying your ancestors by ethnic group, fraternal or religious affiliation, residence (local, county and state), gender, occupation, military service, time frame or era, social class, and any other classification you can think of will give you ideas for additional records to seek. On my g-g-grandmother’s side, most of my people were farmers in South and Central Illinois, so I wouldn't be looking in big cities for their records. I would check the land records or tax records at the county level and go from there. My grandfather's people immigrated from Germany to London to St. Louis, Missouri. A totally different group of parameters apply there. Make your plans accordingly.
Other groups or societies that may already have the information you need may include fraternal organizations such as the Foresters, Masons, Eastern Star, Sons of Italy, etc. Also check the records for a church affiliation (e.g., Catholic, Latter-day Saints, Methodists, etc.). My family has a Catholic background and their records are extensive. If your family was born, married, raised a family and died in the same area, the church records may be one of your best resources. Again, make your plans accordingly.
Check migration patterns. How did your people arrive at the final destination? Records could be found all along that route.
2) Using Forms - there are as many forms out there as people doing genealogy. I've found that taking an existing form, and adapting it for my uses seems to be the most effective for me. An excellent book showing the many types of forms available is Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook by Emily Anne Croom. There are forms there that can be copied for your use. I personally don't worry much about the Pedigree Forms, the Family Group Sheet, or the Individual Sheet because my computer's software program does that for me. The forms that I can't live without are my logs and my check-off sheet. I made up my own check-off sheet so that I know which resources I have checked. That way, I don't retrace my steps. My log tells me what I found at that resource. I use these two forms as an adjunct to one another. Many researchers neglect to use this important concept to record *everything* they look at. Use of these prevents duplication of research, but it also allows you to retrace your steps if you have to take another look at the source.
Record *both* negative and positive information. If you look at a census and don't find anything, do you want to look at it again a year from now because you forgot you already looked there? I don't think so.
Another *form* I use is a local map. I color in the towns where I know my people lived. You can see what towns are adjacent to one another. For example, if there are two towns involved with no records, look for a town in the middle or close by. Often, the records you seek will be there.
Always use a correspondence log. You use this to record all genealogy correspondence whether it is by regular mail, e-mail, or fax. This will be explained in more detail later.
I made a check list sheet. It has places to note where I've looked and where I still need to look. Our local genealogy society uses this and has them available for reference to anyone who comes to the library. If you would like a copy of the check-off sheet, or any of these other forms, visit and click on the menu option, Charts.
3) Control your paper file. We all have piles of paper on the desk, floor, wherever. I admit this was my weak link. The idea is to find a place for that piece of paper the minute you're through working with it. Those piles can get very intimidating and irritating to the other members of the household. They just can't understand why each and every scrap of paper is vital to your research.
Get a good genealogy software program, one that fits your needs. There are many out there, check them out and get one that you can use easily. Look for a program that is easy to learn and to get started with, but that has ample growth potential. I use The Master Genealogist (TMG), but that is my personal choice and may not be suitable for everyone. (NOTE: TMG is THE BEST software for documenting ancestors. If you are only collecting names, however, it is like hiring a Certified Public Accountant to balance your checkbook.) Once you decide on a program, see if there is a local users’ group. Attending their meetings is a good way to become proficient in your data entry in a very short period of time.
4) Gather information by mail. Why not let the US Postal Service work for you? Requesting information and records by mail can save you hours of research time. Using the mail to send for information on a particular facility is the most efficient use of your time. If you only need one document, it is not practical to make a trip. This is when I use the mail. If I need many items in the same locality, then I plan a trip. The only drawback to using the US Postal Service is you must have PATIENCE! Remember....... only submit one request at a time. Wait till you get an answer before you ask for another search. Always send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. This is especially true if you are requesting information from a private party. Aunt Nellie may not be able to get out to buy an envelope and a stamp, and that may keep her from replying to you with the information you have been seeking for years. Another reminder...the less information you ask for in each request, the more likely the reply will be fairly prompt. Most of the time, you will not get a reply by return mail; it probably will take several months.
Use a correspondence log to keep track of the status of your requests. Record the date it was sent out, and the date you received a reply. Assign an index or catalog number to EVERY piece of correspondence (regular mail, fax, or e-mail). Write the number from your log directly on the response, and you will always have a cross-reference to the question you asked. I have a file with the log on top, and a copy of the correspondence behind it. When I receive an answer, the copy is removed from the file and the answer, along with the letter, is filed in the family file in my file cabinet.
5) Use the Internet to its full potential. New items are being added every day. Use Rootsweb ( Use the GenWeb pages. Subscribe to the newsletters (Dick Eastman's "Online Genealogy Newsletter," Dear Myrtle's "Genealogy Column," George Morgan's "Along Those Lines" and Bill Hocutt's "Adventures in Genealogy" ( are a few. Family Tree Magazine has a good one. You can sign up to receive it via e-mail at their home page at
Check "Cyndi's List" for sources ( Check John Fuller's list of mailing lists ( Post queries on localities and surname mailing lists. Use the surname message boards. Use your search engines to find URL's and bookmark them. Go there frequently to check for updates. Attend chats and participate in those relative to the localities you are researching. SHARE your information. Don't expect another chatter to hand you years of their research without getting something in return. If you don't have anything to share, offer them something in return. If they need a lookup in your area, do it. Make a donation to a local genealogy society in their name if they will not accept any reimbursement for what they give you. Don't expect everything to be handed to you on a silver platter. It just doesn't work that way.
6) Analyze what you find. Get the most out of it you can. I will have a future talk about "Analyzing Your Genealogical Research." Is the information reliable, usable, or simply a clue to further research? Think like a detective . . . look for clues. Most researchers do not fully utilize the records they acquire. Understanding how and why the record was created can help you understand the information contained in the record. Why was this document created? Am I looking at the original or a copy? Study the differences in the census records. Each new census added columns, subjects, and questions. Check for locations, occupations, education, etc. Look for maiden names, parents' names, places of birth. Terminology has changed over the years. What were they trying to say back then? Put it away . . . make a note to yourself to go back every couple of months to see if any new information you've received sheds a light on what you got earlier. Use the "bulldog" approach . . . latch onto a source and don't let go until you get everything you can out of it. Review, review, and review again. And then . . . in 6 months, review it again! See what you missed the first time. See how it ties into the research you've done since you reviewed it last time.
7) Utilize research facilities ... there are so many, I don't know where to start. Use the National Archives (census, passenger arrival lists, naturalization records, military pension record, bounty land warrant records, etc.) Send for copies of the Social Security Applications. Use the State research facilities. Every state has archives. Some are better than others, it's true . . . but use what they have. Use the Family History Centers! There are also state libraries, state vital records offices, state historical societies, local libraries, societies and record offices. The Everton's Book (Everton's Handybook for Genealogists) is a wonderful reference book which lists these sources by state, then by county. In a chat you may often hear, "I don't know, let me get my Everton's." The Source is another good source of where to go for what.
One interesting source is to check the cookbook section of the local library. Many churches and schools are publishing "local" softbound cookbooks. I've found recipes from my grandmother, aunts, cousins . . . they make joyous additions to the genealogy history of my family. You also have a time frame here . . . check the publication date. I found some of my grandmother's recipes in a depression-era cookbook when sugar was rationed. It seems that the farm families fared better than most, but they still had to get quite creative with their cooking.
Organize your information on the research facilities. Get information (hours, holidays, lunchrooms, parking, restrictions, etc.) Find out the best time to go there (is it busier in the mornings than in the afternoon)? Take a good supply of change for the copy machine, or purchase a copy card. Get flyers of local interest. Is there a local living history museum? Get maps of the area.
About halfway through your allotted research time, check your progress. Are you spending too much time on records of lesser importance? If so, go on to the important ones. Reassess your goals if you need to.
Make copies instead of writing things down. Make sure to copy the title page of the book first. That contains information including the title, author, place and date of publication. This will be needed to cite your sources. Then copy the pages you need. Write the library call number down on the cover page. I also write the name of the facility so I can remember where I used the book, in case I need to go back later for additional information. If you carry a laptop with you, try to avoid the temptation to enter all the information you find in books or records while at the research facility. You can spend hours transcribing information that could be copied in seconds for a nominal fee. Copies are cheap insurance that you get all of the information you need EXACTLY as it was presented. Remember, your time is valuable. Decide which is more valuable . . . your time or copies of the information. Later on at home, you can enter this information at your leisure and analyze it more thoroughly.
8) Tap into the knowledge of others. Network with other genealogists (that's what the Forum's chat rooms are for). Networking is one of the best timesaving tools available. Become a member of a local, county, state or national genealogical society; watch newspapers for lectures that might interest you; volunteer at a facility that houses records, such as a library or archives facility. If you are a member of a local genealogical group, you should be able to network with other researchers in the area. If you use the local libraries, you will most likely run into the same people again and again. Make friends with them and everyone will benefit.
Another resource that is often overlooked is the local Council on Aging or senior citizens groups in the area you are researching.
Talk to your relatives. Before you do, make a list of the things you want to ask Aunt Nellie. They may be different from what you'd ask Aunt Sophie. Tailor your questions to the individual you are interviewing. Be patient, especially if they are elderly. Don't overwhelm them or you will get zilch. I like to give them a copy of the pedigree chart, showing where they fit in. That usually opens the topic of conversation. Then I promise that when I get their data processed and on the computer I'll send them a copy. And I then do it. The next time I have questions, the door is wide open. Also, if you find out when Aunt Nellie's or Aunt Sophia's birthday is, sending them a birthday card just sweetens the pot for the next time you have questions. Just don't be too disappointed if not everyone is as excited about the family tree as you are.
One thing I have noticed about my relatives is that they tend to get self-conscious when I ask them questions and they see my pencil and pad. So I've gotten clever. I find they will talk freely when they don't see a pencil and paper. So, I used to have a *very* small tape recorder in my pocket and I watched the time. My new digital recorder is truly a marvel. Some of the memories can be quite emotional for them, especially if they are elderly. Respect their feelings and give them a break from time to time. Don't try to do too much at a time. You may get more out of several short sessions rather than one session. Some memories are quite emotionally draining for them. The wonderful side aspect of this is that you have their voice on tape for forthcoming generations.
Don't forget about talking to neighbors of the people you're researching. Some of my most precious stories come from neighbors of my grandparents who remembered 4th of July parties, Christmas doings, ice cream socials, weddings, deaths, births, etc.
Finally, I close with the researchers' rules of etiquette:
1. Remember that your research is not the clerk's priority.
2. Don't enter an office or library within one hour of closing time.
3. Be patient with the staff and wait your turn.
4. Dress in a businesslike fashion -- neat, clean and professional.
5. Show respect for the records and the staff that maintains them.
6. Leave all books or records in the same, or better, condition than you found them.
7. Be careful in your handling of all documents.
8. If there is no charge for the assistance given you (at churches, historical societies, and cemetery offices), make a small monetary contribution.
9. If you use a facility on a regular basis, consider volunteering or just assisting others while you are there.
10. Learn about the records you intend to use BEFORE you go.
11. Present a positive attitude and say "please" and "thank you."
12. Always express your appreciation to the staff before leaving.
(List by Marcia Yannizze Melnyk)
Remember, be nice and you'll get nice back. If you come across as a snert, and that's exactly the way you'll be treated. Ask permission before you cross private land. If you open a gate, close it behind you. If you're researching in farm country those fences and gates are there for a reason. And, remember the genealogist's code: If the locals have a good experience with helping you, they'll be more apt to help the next person. Be sure to leave a good legacy for the next researcher.

new chat location
GeneaologyFriendsUK (Keyword to: aol://2719:2-2-GeneaologyFriendsUK)

Fiday evenings 9:00 pm UK time od 4:00 pm NY USA time

thanks to Dae, Jayne and UKLeaderLeafy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shoebox Genealogy blog

Elder Maynes is new FamilySearch head: "Recently, I was asked by a friend to write a letter to Elder Maynes, the yet-to-be-announced head of I am assuming this is Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the first quorum of the seventy. He has asked for the opinions of professional genealogists in the continued improvement of NFS. It seems that his opinion is that the programmers built the system without enough insight from the genealogical industry. I'm beginning to like the guy already.

My letter was long, a little biting, and somewhat sarcastic in places (what's new?). The letter contained 18 points of improvement for NFS. As I understand, some of these are already being addressed. I have not heard from Elder Maynes in reply, but I am pretty sure he got it, as my friend has very close connections. I present them here unedited. I wrote this in about 2 hours, and didn't really review it, as there were some time limitations on delivery. I probably should have looked over it a bit more.

I will try to post one section a day until it is all presented, as to not overload anyone. Section one immediately follows..."

Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1: "In general, the experiences I have had with NFS seem to show that the programmers of the system have taken great efforts to produce a quality piece of software, however they do not understand genealogy. This is reflected in the experiences I have with others:

  • Friends and family members who do not do genealogy and are not familiar with the process of genealogy, or even vaguely familiar with their extended ancestry, are very excited about the program and find it easy to use.
  • Those who are somewhat knowledgeable about their ancestry and are somewhat interested in their genealogy realize that there are errors in the system, but don’t know what to do, and come to me for advice.
  • Those who are very involved in genealogy are truly overwhelmed with the errors, the time involved in cleaning it up, and the inability to protect the work they have done. These people tend to abandon the system, and keep to themselves pristine files they have spent years compiling.

In my opinion, it is this last set of people who are vital to the success of the NFS, and these are the very people it is turning away. The only way that NFS can become a “pure and delight some” database is with the diligent efforts of the people who have immaculate personal records and PAF files. Leaving these people out, and focusing on “getting everyone involved” will result in disaster, and genealogical anarchy."

the operation could also be called "cleaning up familysearch"

Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1: "1) The myth of complete information – Hierarchy of Evidence
In a conversation I had recently in a group which met with Gordon Clarke of the NFS program, we were to only upload or add “complete or proved information.” This is not how the genealogical process works, and is definitely not what is currently on the system. , , , , , and do read the whole blog Shoebox Genealogy: NFS Concerns: Intro and Part 1:
as an external user I would like to contribute in return for all the benefits and help I have received from old familysearch and the UK 1881 census cd set in particular for example

BUT I learned if I submitted a gedcom I could not edit it or replace it with a newer version, because no way is my own research that perfect or correct, I prefer to share my data via Rootsweb instead.

RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: LAPHAM one-name study: "There are bound to be errors - so always check original sources - assumptions and hypotheses exist - this ONE-NAME STUDY is a work in progress not a final authority"

I apply a version of the scientific method, and from the data I have make a hypothesis, and then collect evidence to prove or disprove my concept

Consensuses of other researchers is completely irrelevant - I demand of myself three independent references before I regard any data as "gold plated" in my trees

The damage done by the new generation of young brilliant, but genealogically ignorant, programmers to the reputation of Rootsweb and TGN "new ancestry search" and FTM 2008 is another issue

my own contribution is via
FamilySearch Indexing: Home: "The goal of FamilySearch indexing is to make the records currently held in the Granite Mountain Records Vault and other genealogical repositories accessible to family history researchers around the world. In order to do this, we need your help. The task may seem daunting at times, but together we can accomplish great things."

AND by visiting and giving feedback on:-

FamilySearch Labs: "FamilySearch Labs showcases new family history technologies that aren't ready for prime time. Your feedback will help us refine new ideas and bring them to market sooner. Have fun playing with these innovations and send your feedback directly to our development teams."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

RootsWeb Newsroom » Blog

RootsWeb Newsroom » Blog Archive » New Mastheads - Look for them today…: "As planned, the updated mastheads will start appearing later today. We receive a lot of positive feedback on the content of your sites and are proud to be able to be a small part of your success." RootsWeb Newsroom

the Book of Negroes

Why I'm not allowed my book title | Books | "I used The Book of Negroes as the title for my novel, in Canada, because it derives from a historical document of the same name kept by British naval officers at the tail end of the American Revolutionary War. It documents the 3,000 blacks who had served the King in the war and were fleeing Manhattan for Canada in 1783. Unless you were in The Book of Negroes, you couldn't escape to Canada. My character, an African woman named Aminata Diallo whose story is based on this history, has to get into the book before she gets out."

Remembering Black Loyalists - 1775-1800 - The Book of Negroes: "This book is a hand-written list of Black passengers leaving New York on British ships in 1783. It gives a name, age, physical description, and status (slave or free) for each passenger, and often an owner's name and place of residence. Three copies of the Book of Negroes exist: one in England, at the Public Records Office, Kew; one in the United States, at the National Archives, Washington; and one in Canada, at the Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax. Knowledge of the Black Loyalists begins with this list, made by British and American inspectors."

Remembering Black Loyalists - Black Loyalist Surnames: "lists of Black Loyalist surnames recovered during the 1998-'99 research project. They are all the surnames recorded in the Book of Negroes in 1783, with some additions from the 1784 Nova Scotian muster rolls."

The Book Of Negroes: " presented in its full form online for the first time.

We have prepared this crucial record of the Black Loyalist's journey in several different forms for your use.

If you want to look at the book of Negroes in its original chronological order with the notations describing each person and their condition, we have transcribed the original books as well.

These are rather long lists of names - they will take a long time to load through a slow modem. Please be patient. To get an idea how the lists are formatted, take a look at Book Three." Black Loyalist Heritage Society

Family History Library Catalog 2.0 | Paul Allen

Family History Library Catalog 2.0 | Paul Allen
At a press conference in Kansas City at the National Genealogical Society annual we announced a partnership between FamilySearch and to publish the Family History Library Catalog -- the largest single database of genealogy sources in the world -- in Web 2.0 fashion.

This means that individual genealogists, librarians, archivists, and others from around the world will be able, when the Catalog 2.0 comes online in the coming months, to enhance and extend the value of the catalog. Users will be able to add new sources that are currently in the library catalog, and thus extend its scope of coverage. They will be able to improve the source descriptions, and even rate and review sources as to their usefulness.

The new catalog, which will be available via both and in the future, may become the single best starting point for family history searches, the way Yahoo used to be the best place to find any web site, and may help any researcher quickly see which sources will help the most, and which other researchers have used those sources previously.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


NARA - " has partnered with America’s record keeper, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), to preserve important documents and help people discover more of their family stories.

Since 1998, has digitized and indexed millions of NARA records to create the largest collection of NARA records online. Starting in the spring of 2008, we’ll be scanning documents on location at NARA. This will enable access to more U.S. historical records online than ever before.

Our growing collection of NARA records includes more than 750 million names and 70 million images in census, immigration and military records, among many others."

TGN, ancestry and other offers

Their campaign was in honor of America’s military heroes. From May 20 – 31 offered FREE access to its entire U.S. Military Collection.

my own primary site is dot co dot uk

Tony Digging Your Ancestors

and I use the free DSL at up to 6 mbs from my peerless TalkTalk 3 Internationl account to view many images

Genes Reunited

lastly GenesReunited is my most effective connection for finding new cousins - and new cousins finding me - after I uploaded a privatized GEDCOM

Genes Reunited is officially the number 1 family website in the UK by visits (source: Hitwise, July - September 2007)

Find out now for FREE trying Genes Reunited

search for surnames in German telephone books

Verteilung des Namens "Rehorn" in Deutschland -

this is for German genealogy and plots a neat map of a surname distribution from telephone directories

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Statistik: Zahlen zum Nachnamen 'Rehorn'

In Deutschland gibt es 202 Telefonbucheinträge zum Namen Rehorn und damit ca. 538 Personen mit diesem Namen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

California talk

Researcher to talk about area's archives - The Reporter: "The Solano County Genealogical Society will welcome speaker Leslie Batson, the chairwoman of the Solano County Historical Records Commission, at its June 11 meeting.

The 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. session will be held at the Fairfield Senior Center, 1200 Civic Center Drive in the Christiansen room.

A graduate of San Jose State University, Batson has researched Cordelia Waterman's life for more than a decade at archives and libraries across the country.

Batson will discuss the information that can be found in a county archive as well as the efforts to preserve and provide access to Solano County's historical records. For more information, call 448-5217 or visit"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

dit names

Genealogy of Quebec: What are dit names: "A 'dit name' is an alias given to a family name. Compared to other alias or a.k.a. that are given to one specific person, the dit names will be given to many persons. It seems the usage exists almost only in France, New France and in Scotland where we find clans or septs."


with Roots Television and Dick Eastman

and Ken Martindale on the slave trade (very long)

Brian Donovan, CEO of Eneclann, at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! 2008 in London. Eneclann is a leader in Irish family history research.

Who do you think you are - Live at Olympia 2008 - my own snapshots as a set on Flickr


Roots Television and Dick Eastman with Ken Martindale




Roots Televison had this booth / stall / stand / tent - according to which flavour of english you use


and many more videos on Roots Television - Brightcove: "A hundred years from now, will anyone know who you were? Roots Television is committed to offering the very best in family history programming, both original and licensed, from talented filmmakers around the world."