July 23, 2016

PERSI for Genealogy: the Periodical Source Citation Index

PERSI for Genealogy Periodical Source Citation Index

Have you met PERSI? You should! PERSI is the Periodical Source Citation Index. Use PERSI for genealogy and you may discover your ancestors in thousands of articles you never knew existed. 

You may have heard me talk in the past about PERSI. In case you haven’t…PERSI is not a person—it’s the acronym for the Periodical Source Index. PERSI is THE master index for periodicals with over 2.5 million entries. Thousands of magazines, newsletters, journals, and other periodicals from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Ireland, and Australia are indexed here.

PERSI is maintained by the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They have the equivalent of 6 full-time staff who are dedicated to subject-indexing every issue of every known genealogy or historical periodical and even the tiniest society newsletter.

Curt Witcher, who runs the Genealogy Center at Allen County and who has been a guest on the podcast in the past, estimates that if you don’t consult periodicals in your research, you could be missing up to 30% of your research leads! That’s a lot of leads! PERSI has long been a staple resource for advanced and professional genealogists to help them break through brick walls. With its help, you can much more quickly locate articles like biographical sketches of ancestors (or people they knew), transcribed indexes to naturalization or probate records, church records, school records, and the like. There might be just-what-you-need histories of places or the organizations your ancestors belonged to.

These key articles are often buried so deep in back issues of little local genealogy newsletters that you may never come across them on your own. Sometimes, they’re what we call “orphaned” content: articles we’d find in totally unexpected places.

HOW TO SEARCH PERSI ONLINE

PERSI used to be searchable on Ancestry, but it isn’t there anymore. You can use an older, archived version of PERSI on HeritageQuest Online at libraries that subscribe. The current version of PERSI is exclusively on Findmypast and they’re doing something really cool with it. They are adding digitized articles to the index. In fact, they added a total of 18,257 articles from 94 publications in their recent July update. They are doing this by signing contracts with each individual society or journal publisher, so it’s not a fast process. The vast majority of entries on PERSI do not have digitized articles linked to them yet. It’s a bonus when you do find them!

To search PERSI at Findmypast you do not actually need a subscription. They allow anyone to search and see the list of results. To see a image of a specific search result, you will need a subscription OR you will need to purchase their pay-per-view credits. You can also use Findmypast at Family History Centers and at many libraries that have institutional subscriptions.

Once you have located an article, it’s inexpensive to order a copy directly from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Simply download the order form PDF from their website, fill it out, and mail it in. You can request up to six articles for only $7.50, which you pre-pay and then they bill you separately for copies at 20 cents per page.

Sometime soon, why not take 15 minutes—or your next lunch break at work–and search PERSI for your top surnames and locations? Again, the database is PERSI, it is at Findmypast, and the chance to discover is all yours.

MORE GEMS ON PERSI

PERSI Digitized Collections Gaining GroundGenealogy Gems - Family History Podcast and Website

New FindMyPast Hints Help Find Records

The Genealogy Gems Podcast Premium Episode 135: Comparsion of Google Scholar & PERSI (Premium Member Subscription Needed)

 

New Record Collections Offer a Royal Treat

dig these new record collections

New record collections for the United Kingdom offer a royal treat for your week! You will find new collections for monumental inscriptions, British newspapers, and baptisms. And for the cherry on top, see the new and updated collections for the U.S. Military and the great state of Texas!

 

UNITED KINGDOM – WORCESTERSHIRE & OTHER COUNTY TOWNS

A new record collection at Findmypast entitled Worcestershire Monumental Inscriptions is now available. A monumental inscription is an etching carved into stone, wood, or on a plaque as a memorial to a person buried there. Monumental inscriptions are an important source for genealogical data. Many will include more than one name and help trace further family connections. Name, year of death, and a location are some of the things often carved into these monumental inscriptions. What is even better is if you find an ancestor in these Worcestershire Monumental Inscriptions, you can pop over and look for a baptismal record in the Worcestershire Baptisms collection.

Another new monumental inscription collection at Findmypast is entitled Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, & Kincardineshire Monumental Inscriptions. These records are going to include more data than the Worcestershire inscriptions. Name, date of death, denomination, graveyard name, special inscriptions, and even some notes may be included in these transcribed records. Many of these records will also hold multiple names.

UNITED KINGDOM – NEWSPAPERS

Findmypast has updated their British Newspapers 1710-1953 collection this week, too. There are literally thousands of local and regional publications across England, Wales, and Scotland. Each page has been digitized and indexed, which makes it super simple to find what you are looking for!

UNITED STATES – MILITARY

Fold3 now has WWI Draft Registration Cards as a searchable online database. In 1917 and 1918, about 24 million men living in the U.S. filled out a World War I draft registration card. These draft cards will contain a name, date of birth (if known), birthplace, citizenship status, and information on a relative or close associate. Even though this record collection is only about 14% complete, you may find the person you have been wondering about. Don’t forget to check back often as more records are made available.

UNITED STATES – TEXAS

FamilySearch helps the Lonestar State researchers with the Texas, Tax Rolls, 1837-1910 records. This collection has indexed records for only 231 out of the 254 counties in Texas, but you can still find records that have not been indexed by using the browse only feature. [Tip: Read step-by-step instructions for how to access the browse only databases here.]

Texas tax roll records include the first year for each county included prior to 1845, as well as 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1890, 1895, and 1905. There are some gaps in several years of some counties. Ellis County, 1886, images 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, and 134 are cut off on the left side, so some of the beginning letters of the surnames are missing.

Information in Texas tax records include:

  • Name of owner
  • Assessment number
  • Original grantee
  • Number of acres of land
  • Value
  • Town plot description
  • Name of city or town
  • Kind, number, and value of livestock
  • Kind, quantity, and value of farm commodities
  • Amount of state taxes
  • Amount of county taxes

MORE GEMS ON NEWSPAPER RESEARCH FOR GENEALOGY

How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers

Are you looking for some tips and tricks to find and research newspaper articles for your family history? Lisa shares all her valuable know-how and years of experience in her book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers. Available in both a printed copy and digital version, this book provides you with a fool-proof research process and is stuffed with everything you need for genealogical success in newspaper research!

BYU Family History Conference 2016


The BYU family history conference is coming up July 26-29, 2016 in Provo, Utah. I’ll be there! Will you? I hope you’ll come say hello.

I hope to meet many of you at Brigham Young University’s annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy in Provo, Utah, coming up on July 26-29, 2016.byu family history conference 2016They’re keeping me busy during the first two days of the conference, when I will be teaching five lectures! Those presentations will include:

  • Genealogical Time Travel: Google Earth is Your DeLorean. Get ready to experience old historic maps, genealogical records, images, and videos coming together to create stunning time travel experiences in the free Google Earth program. We’ll incorporate automated changing boundaries, and uncover historic maps that are built right into Google Earth. Tell time travel stories that will truly excite your non-genealogist relatives! You’ve never seen anything like this class!
  • Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers. Yearning to “read all about it?” Newspapers are a fantastic source of research leads, information and historical context for your family history. Learn the specialized approach that is required to achieve success in locating the news on your ancestors.  Includes 3 Cool Tech Tools that will get you started.
  • Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries. In this session we will put Google to the test. Discover Google tools and the process for using them to solve the genealogical challenges you face. You’ll walk away with exciting new techniques you can use right away.
  • Soothe Your Tech Tummy Ache with These 10 Tech Tools. Are you sick and tired of navigating the countless tech tools available to help with your family history? The good news: You don’t need them all to accomplish your genealogy goals. The video session will soothe your suffering by simply focusing on these 10 technology tools that will help you bypass tech overload and get back to your genealogy research.
  • Tablet and Smartphone Tricks, Tips and Apps. Tablets and smartphones are built for hitting the road and are ideally suited for genealogy due to their sleek size, gorgeous graphics and myriad of apps and tools.  In this class you will discover the top apps and best practices that will make your mobile device a genealogical powerhouse! (iOS and Android)

WHAT: Brigham Young University Conference on Family History & Genealogy
WHEN: July 26-29, 2016
WHERE:  BYU Conference Center, 730 East University Pkwy, Provo, UT
REGISTER: Click here for full conference information

Gems editor Sunny Morton will join me at the BYU family history conference in the vendor hall and in the classroom. She’ll be lecturing on researching collateral relatives (as indirect routes to direct ancestors); finding “relatively recent” 20th-century relatives; finding family history in Catholic church records; how to carefully consider your sources; and a hands-on workshop for planning your next family history writing project.

This year’s conference promises to be rich in expertise and education. Keynote speakers include FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood and professional genealogist and author, Paul Milner. There are more than 100 classes planned in several topic areas. ICAPGen will host a luncheon, too. A nice extra is that the conference center is so easy to get around in, with free parking right next to the building.

Click here to learn more about the conference and register. And please come say hello to me and Sunny at the Genealogy Gems booth in the exhibit hall on Wednesday or Thursday!

The BYU Family History Conference 2015

BYU Family History conference 2015

Photo Credit: Ancestry Insider

Last year, I delivered gave a keynote address on various technologies that help our research. It reminds me how quickly technology moves–and how enthusiastically genealogists continue to embrace new opportunities given them by technology. Click here to read a summary of that talk and whet your appetite for this year’s conference!

Emigration Records With an E: When Your Ancestors Left the Country

emigration records assist genealogists

Traveling ancestors created records when they left the country of their origin and when they arrived at their new residence. We often talk about immigration, with an I, but have you researched your ancestors emigration records with an E?

When our ancestors traveled from one place to another, they became two types of migrants. First, they were Emigrants with an E, and then, they were Immigrants with an I. Emigration with an E means someone exiting a country and immigration with an I means someone coming into it. Let’s learn more about emigration…with an E.

I live in a country that doesn’t have much in the way of historical emigration records, but other countries do. I have to remember these emigration records when I start looking overseas for my relatives who were crossing the pond to live here.

EXAMPLES OF EMIGRATION RECORDS

Swedish parishes kept emigration records which are now on Ancestry dating back to 1783. According to the database description, this record set is pretty complete, representing about 75% of those who actually left the country. These rich records can provide place of origin, destination, and the date and place of departure.

sweden emigration record

For a time, the U.K. also kept outward passenger lists of those leaving the U.K. ports for destinations outside of Europe. The lists include British citizens and those traveling through the U.K. These passenger lists no longer survive for the years before 1890, but they are on Ancestry for the years of 1890-1960. Of course, while writing this post I just had to take a moment to do a bit of searching myself, and that lead to this genealogy gem: my husband’s grandfather, and his parents embarking at Liverpool in 1912!

UK emigration record

I also spotted this interesting item in the database description. Quoted from the U.K. National Archives website:

“Between 1890 and 1920, among the highest tonnage of ships were leaving British ports bound for North America. Many passengers were emigrants from Britain, Ireland, and Europe. European emigrants bound for America entered the United Kingdom because traveling steerage was less expensive from a British port than from a port in Europe. The shipping companies imposed restrictions on passengers registering; passengers had to have British residency of six weeks to qualify. Many passengers too impatient to qualify for residency changed their names to avoid detection.”

A name change would certainly present a challenge, but it’s very good to know to be on a look out for that situation. This is another example of why it is so important to read the description of the databases you search.

MORE EMIGRATION RECORD COLLECTIONS

A quick search of Ancestry’s card catalog shows emigration collections for Prussia, Switzerland, a few parts of Germany, Jewish refugees from several nations in Europe, and an interesting collection of Dutch emigrants who came to North America with the help of the Canadian and Dutch governments.

Another excellent resource is the FamilySearch Wiki. You can search for the name of the country and the word emigration (with an e) to find out more about your targeted area. I typed in Hungary emigration and found the following information.

FamilySearch Wiki on emigration records

Did your emigrant (or immigrant) ancestor generate records in the country he or she left from as well as the country he or she entered? Remember to check!

MORE GEMS ON IMMIGRATIONFamily History Genealogy Made Easy Podcast

Assisted Immigration to Australia: Queensland Passenger Lists

Immigration and Naturalization Records for Family History, Part I

Immigration and Naturalization Records for Family History, Part II

 

The Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 193: Published!

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 193The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 193 is ready for listening! It’s packed with genealogy news you can use; inspiring tips from listeners and experts and the NEW Genealogy Gems Book Club pick.

Ready to tune in the newest episode of The Genealogy Gems Podcast? Episode 193 offers a true “variety show” of news, listener comments and expert insights. Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard weighs in with a key principle for genetic genealogy: helping you understand the not-quite-so-simple relationship between your genetic family tree and your genealogical family tree.

download backblazeMy favorite segment in The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 193 actually comes from Lisa’s listener mailbox, though. This listener responded to The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 192 with a tip of his own on the U.S. Public Records Index, some great sleuthing on his part into an adoption mystery in his family and even his own research into the area of Sussex, England, which Lisa highlighted in the show in connection with The Summer Before the War, the previous Genealogy Gems Book Club title.

genealogy book club family history readingSpeaking of the Book Club, this episode also announces a brand new featured book. It’s another novel about love and war by a British author. But it’s a different war, a different kind of love story and a VERY different way of telling the story! Click to the podcast episode for the “big reveal.” I will tell you this: Gems audio editor Vienna Thomas just remixed our upcoming interview with the author and she LOVED it! She said now she can’t wait to read the book.

GGP award finalistThe FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast has been entertaining audiences on the “internet airwaves” for years! Nominated last year for the first-ever Academy of Podcasters awards, the show has had more than 1.75 million downloads worldwide. Host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke is loved for her warm conversational style, inspiring family history stories and the expert genealogy tips she threads into each episode–especially the tech tips we all need to keep up with the fast-paced and exciting world of genealogy.

GGP thanks for sharingThanks for listening! And thanks for recommending The Genealogy Gems Podcast to your genealogy buddies. You’re a Gem!

Illuminating Time-Lapse Videos Show Our Changing World

Visualize with time lapse videos for genealogy

Time-lapse videos first intrigued me as a child when I watched a little seed grow into a beautiful flower in a matter of seconds. Now, illuminating time-lapse videos and tools are helping genealogists visualize our changing world.

Last month, animator Max Galka published a time-lapse map of the history of urbanization over nearly 6,000 years in just three minutes.

Mr. Galka mentions on his blog that tracking urbanization occuring before the mid-20th century was a difficult task – until recently. A team of Yale researchers published a collection of urban population data dating back to ancient times which helped Galka create his video. Their collection was quoted to be a “clean, accessible dataset of cities, their locations, and their populations over time.”

I was surprised how quickly things changed and found it amazing still how many places in the world are yet to be “urbanized.”

 

Time-lapse Video Covering Immigration to the U.S. Since 1820

Again, Max Galka presented an amazing animation of immigration to the United States. This creation shows the countries that sent the most people to the U.S. since 1820.

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, says Galka. As each dot flies across the page, it represents 10,000 people who immigrated to the U.S. In the bottom left corner, Mr. Galka lists the three top countries where immigrants are coming from at any given time. I was stunned as the map lit up in Russia and Africa only fairly recently. It is clearly shown that the U.S. is indeed a nation of immigrants in this colorful time-lapse video.

 

Time-lapse Tools for Genealogy

As a genealogist, I am constantly in search of county records. So many times, county lines or boundaries changed. I even have one family that lived on the same farm, but technically resided in three different counties over a period of about 50 years. We can’t possibly know when each county of any given state was formed or created, until now that is.

One of my favorite tools for discovering county changes over time is the Map of US.org website. You can find a map of each of the 50 states and run the interactive formation sequence. For example, I can find the Ohio map.

Time lapse video

The Ohio map begins in 1788. It indicates the one county in the Northwest Territory (today’s Ohio) at that time. Washington County was formed as the original county of the Northwest Territory and was created from part of Illinois County, Virginia. That’s another reason I love these interactive maps. With the creation of each county, the map indicates from which parent county or counties it was formed. This is a great help for genealogy research. When I can’t find my targeted ancestor in the county I thought they should be in, I can determine when the county was formed and from what parent county or counties it was formed from. Then, I can quickly determine the other locations that may have records I need.

In addition to the interactive time-lapse maps, each state has a list of other helpful maps that may be of interest to you. For example, the map links for Oregon include the Historical Maps of Oregon, a set of beautiful old maps that can be viewed or downloaded.

Maps can give us a bigger picture of our county, our state, our country, and even the world. These tools help us picture our ever-changing world. What impacted you the most while watching these videos? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

If you feel inspired to learn more about map visualization, you will enjoy Lisa’s Google Earth video. Lisa was an early pioneer of genealogical data visualization and has been teaching genealogists how to use the free software for the last several years. You can watch the free Google Earth for Genealogy video here or check out her revised and updated e-book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox 2nd Edition to learn even more tips and tricks for Google genealogy research.

More Gems on Videos for Genealogists

Genealogy Tech Tips with Lisa Louise Cookegenealogy videos on YouTube

How to Create Captivating Family History Videos

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel

 

Family Maps and Migration Routes Traced with New Tech Tools

family maps and migration routes are easyFamily maps and migration routes can sometimes uncover new record finds and answer brick wall questions. It’s fast and simple to use these free tech tools to map your family’s history! I used them to track my ancestors as they trekked from the eastern seaboard to the Midwestern United States and found some fantastic leads!

There are two online treasures I have just discovered. FamilySearch and MyHeritage family trees can now be mapped with some neat interactive tools. MyHeritage just launched their PedigreeMap saying it is an “innovative way to view your family history,” and I think they are right. I have used migration maps to help me overcome brick walls and questions in my research for years. Using these free online tools have made it really fun and not difficult at all.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes at MyHeritage

PedigreeMap is free for all MyHeritage users. To access it, log on or create a MyHeritage account. If you are new to MyHeritage, you will be prompted to begin creating your free family tree when you click Sign up at the top right corner of their homepage.

Once you have created your family tree, find it by clicking Family Tree and choosing Manage trees from the pull-down menu.

family maps at myheritage

To use the PedigreeMap feature, choose your family tree from the list and then click on Apps and choose PedigreeMap from the pull-down menu.

FamilyMaps_2

You will be able to see a map of the entire world in which your ancestors lives are plotted. From my map below, I can see the large concentration in the eastern half of the United States, but also the location of my ancestors from Europe.

Not only are genealogical events like births, marriages, and deaths plotted on your map, but if you put in a location of a picture, it will plot that too. You will notice, on the left-hand side there is a list of all the places that appear in your family tree. The numbers on the list match up to the number of each place in your family tree.

FamilyMaps_3

You can zoom in or zoom out, but my favorite part is clicking a location in the list to the left. For example, if I click on Marion, Linn, another list pops up on the right. This list shows me what events took place in Marion, Linn County, Iowa.

FamilyMaps_4

Additionally, I can see major roads, rivers, and hills. I can even click on the satellite view to see the street where my great-grandparents were married!

There are many more wonderful tools on PedigreeMap that you will want to check out. To learn more about all the unique features, read their article here.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes with FamilySearch

RootsMapper has been around awhile and is an interactive mapping website that works with FamilySearch. As you know, FamilySearch allows users to create a family tree online and search all their records for free. Like PedigreeMap, you will need to create your free account and family tree at FamilySearch. Then, go to the FamilySearch Apps page and click on RootsMapper. Now, click Get Started.

Family maps at RootsMapper

When you are redirected to the RootsMapper homepage, click Login to begin mapping. You will use your FamilySearch username and password. By clicking Accept, you give permission for RootsMapper to use your FamilySearch tree data.

The interactive map has various features. I particularly like the lines showing both the migration of my paternal line and my maternal line.

FamilyMaps_6

Did you notice my paternal line goes right through modern day West Virginia? Several years ago, I had “lost” my Walls family line. By plotting their known whereabouts on a map and connecting the dots, I could see possible migration routes. In fact, during that time frame, they likely took nothing but trails into Monongalia, Virginia. I did a search for records along this path and was surprised to find my fifth great grandfather on a tax roll for Virginia in 1790!

You can play around with the settings and map just one generation, five generations, or even ten generations. The options allow for pins, migration lines, changing the root person you are charting and much, much more.

It really is amazing how innovative genealogy research is today. The Genealogy Gems team delights in sharing new tech tools and tips to help you in your genealogy goals. Why not try out one of these family map and migration route tools today and share with us your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

More Gems on Mapping and Migration Routesfamily maps and migration routes with old maps

Mapping U.S. Migration Patterns

5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps (Premium Member Video)

3 Sources for Historic Maps That May Surprise You

New Genealogical Records for Immigrant Ancestors

dig these new record collections

Land ho! Your immigrant ancestors are waiting to be found in these new and updated record collections. Find naturalization petitions and passport applications first, then move on to the civil registration records to find the family members they left behind. Records for this week cover the United States, Italy, Peru, and Spain.

UNITED STATES – NATURALIZATION PETITIONS

Find My Past now offers more than 7.8 million digitized records for the U.S. Naturalization Petitions collection.  Records can be found as early as 1795, but may not hold much information other than a name and place of origin. Between the years of 1905-1950 however, the naturalization process asked many helpful questions for today’s genealogist. Not only will you likely find your ancestor’s arrival information and country of origin, but you will likely find a full name, birth date and place, name of spouse and their birth date and place, and names of children and their birth details. The best part is there may be a photograph included of your relative!

This collection includes the following publications from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):

  • NARA microfilm publication M1545, Index to Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the U.S. and District Courts for the District of Massachusetts, 1906-1966
  • NARA publication M1522, Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • NARA publication M1248, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1951
  • NARA microfilm publication M2081, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions for United States District Courts, Connecticut, 1851-1992
  • NARA microfilm publication M1164, Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957
  • NARA microfilm publication M1675, Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917-1950
  • NARA microfilm publication M1676, Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1824-1941

UNITED STATES – PASSPORT APPLICATIONS

The U.S. Passport Applications and Indexes can now be accessed on Find My Past. This collection currently covers records from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Records from others states will be added to the collection as they are obtained. Some records go back to 1795, however the most valuable in genealogical data will likely be those created in the 20th century and beginning in December of 1914, you may find a photograph of your ancestor as well. These applications are loaded with valuable genealogy information. Find out where your ancestors were going and who they were setting out to see!

ITALY – CIVIL REGISTRATIONS

Benevento, Civil Registrations for the years of 1810-1942 have been updated on FamilySearch.org. These civil records include births, marriages, and deaths. Though the records are not yet indexed, you can browse the digital images. The records are in Italian of course, but don’t let that stop you! Just use the handy Google Translate tool for Italian to English.

PERU – CIVIL REGISTRATIONS

The Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998 is a collection of digital images at FamilySearch. Some have already been indexed, but you can browse through the entire collection as well. Included within these civil registrations are birth, marriage, and death records. You will be delighted to find extra genealogically significant pieces of information like names of witnesses and parents, and even the ages of parents. [TIP: When you find the age of the parent, you can calculated the estimated birth year which will come in handy as you continue to fill your family tree.]

SPAIN – MUNICIPAL RECORDS

FamilySearch also offers the Spain, Province of Cadiz, Municipal Records for 1784-1956. Some of these digital images have been indexed, but it would serve you well to browse through the 1.6 million records. Remember, they are broken down into smaller locations which make searching over 1 million records do-able. The municipal records include what is traditionally considered civil records like birth, marriage, and death items. However, they go one step further and contain some interesting record sets such as censuses, military records, and nobility records.

WHY WE’RE HERE

Each week, we share what’s new and updated in genealogical record collections. We hope you will feel inspired to dig with us as we flesh out our long, lost ancestors. For more helpful tips and tricks for your genealogy success, sign-up for our free weekly newsletter found at the top right of this page or by scrolling to the bottom if you are on your mobile device. Have a great weekend!

MORE GEMS ON RESEARCHING IMMIGRANT ANCESTORS

U.S. Passport Applications: Finding Immigrant & Traveling Ancestors

Beginning Irish Genealogy: Tip & Free Records
Google Drive and other tips

How to Use Google Earth for Genealogy

 

Bring Some Sunshine to Your Family Tree

SunChart_FeatureImage

Family tree charts come in all shapes and sizes. Fan charts, bowtie charts, and the popular portrait charts are just a few of the many options. Many of our favorite genealogy software and apps allow us to create a printed version of our family tree. Creating and printing a beautiful family tree chart can bring a little sunshine into your own family tree!

Free Family Tree Charts at FamilySearch

FamilySearch Family Tree is free and available to everyone. When you have created your free account and add your family tree data, you are given four family tree viewing options. These options include the landscape, the fan, the portrait, and the descendancy views. Each of these viewing options are available to download or print in chart form.

I really like the portrait chart. If you have many pictures of your ancestors, I think you will love this option. To see the portrait view, click on the second icon at the top left of the family tree screen.

family tree chart traditional view

Landscape view of family tree at FamilySearch

At the new screen,  you will see the look of your family tree has changed. This is the portrait view. If you would like to print or download the chart, simply click the print icon at the right of the screen. This will open a default screen where you have the option to rotate, print, and download the chart.

family tree chart in portrait view

Portrait view of family tree at FamilySearch

Some of my friends have downloaded their charts to a thumb drive and then taken them to Staples or Office Depot to print them in poster size. Isn’t that neat? What a great way to share the family history at your next family reunion!

Family Tree Charts at MyHeritage

MyHeritage has always had a nice assortment of family tree chart options. One of my favorites is the “bowtie chart.” This bowtie chart shows the main person in the center next to their spouse. Ancestors are on either side, and their children are below. With eighteen style options, you can be sure to find one that is perfect for you.

bowtie family tree chart

Bowtie Chart by MyHeritage

MyHeritage offers some free access and some things that require a subscription. Creating a free account allows you to create a family tree with 250 people. By upgrading to the PremiumPlus subscription level for $9.95, you are unlimited in the number of people in your family tree. To read more about the pricing and subscription level differences and access our digital MyHeritage Cheat Sheet, click here.

Recently, MyHeritage added a beautiful Sun Chart option. Like in all cases, you must first upload a GEDCOM or create a family tree file. A Sun Chart is a type of descendant fan chart, however, unlike other’s it supports photos. The main person or couple is displayed in the center and the descendants are shown in the outer rings.

To create your own Sun Chart, click Family Tree at the top and choose Print charts & books from the pull-down menu. At the new screen, choose whichever chart you are interested in printing. In this case, I chose the Sun Chart.

step one of family tree chart

By scrolling down, you can customize your Sun Chart with a title, specific facts for each individual, photo size, and number of generations.

I customized my settings to large pictures size and included only three generations.

family tree chart sun chart

Sun Chart by MyHeritage

It may take several minutes for your chart to be generated. I had to wait about twenty minutues. MyHeritage also allows you to download, print, and even order a poster size of your chart directly from their website.

Create a Family Chart Today!

Whether you decide to share your family tree chart creation via email or printed poster, it will be sure to be a big hit. We would love to hear about your own favorite family tree chart creations and how you have shared them. Please let us know about them in the comments below.

More Gems on Family Tree Charts

Family Tree Builder for Mac Users

Alternate Family Trees Offer Unique Perspective to Family History

3 Ways to Talk About DNA at Your Next Family Reunion

Episode 193

The free Genealogy Gems PodcastThe Genealogy Gems Podcast
Episode # 193
by Lisa Louise Cooke

Episode highlights:

  • Genealogy milestones, anniversaries, new records, upcoming conferences and new free video tutorials;
  • Email response to The Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #192: another tip on the U.S. Public Records Index, a family adoption story and his own research on the changing coastline of Sussex;
  • More response to the “Where I’m From” poetry initiative;
  • Announcement: the NEW Genealogy Gems Book Club title;
  • A key principle in genetic genealogy from Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard.

NEWS: FOIA Turns 50
What is the FOIA? The Freedom of Information Act opens federal records to the public. The FOIA applies to certain kinds of information about the federal government and certain information created by the federal government. It DOESN’T apply to documents that relate to national security, privacy and trade secrets, or to documents created by state or local governments.

FOIA for genealogy research: Use the FOIA to request:

SS5- applications (Social Security) and Railroad Board Retirement

Post-WWII Selective Service records: draft registrations and SS-102 forms (with more draft/military information on them), through the end of 1959;

Naturalization certificate files from 1906 to 1956;

Alien registration forms from 1940 to 1944;

Visa files from 1924 to1944;

Registry files for 1929 to 1944 (these document the arrival of an immigrant whose passenger or other arrival record could not be found for whatever reason);

A-files, alien case files for 1944 to 1951;

Certain FBI files and certain CIA records (here’s a link to the slides from a National Archives presentation on using FBI files for family history.

Click here to read an article on the 50th anniversary of the FOIA and more on FOIA for genealogy

 

NEWS: NEW RECORD COLLECTIONS ONLINE

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, Honeymoon and Visitor Registers, 1949-2011

The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast #133: Peggy Lauritzen on “Gretna Greens,” quickie wedding destinations (Genealogy Gems Premium website membership required to access)

Announcement of Freedmen’s Bureau Project completion; In September 2016 you can access the full Freedmen’s Bureau Project at www.DiscoverFreedmen.org.

New videos to help find your family history in Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Where to find Freedmen’s Bureau Records online, and the Freedmen’s Bureau indexing project

 

NEWS: AncestryDNA Hits 2 Million Samples

Ancestry.com blog post: AncestryDNA Reaches 2 Million Samples

Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard talks about these AncestryDNA features in:

 

NEWS: UPCOMING CONFERENCES

Midwest Roots, July 15-16, 2016

The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #178 CeCe Moore talks genetic genealogy on genealogy TV shows

Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society 3rd Annual Conference, July 30, 2016

3rd Annual Northwest Genealogy Conference, Arlington,

3rd Annual Northwest Genealogy Conference

  • Hosted by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society, north of Seattle in Arlington, WA  on August 17-20, 2016
  • Theme: “Family Secrets Uncovered — Lost History Found”
  • Keynote speakers include Blaine Bettinger, Claudia Breland and Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Free Day Wednesday afternoon: Beth Foulk will address beginner’s issues — which is also a good refresher for the more seasoned genealogists
  • Other features: Meet a distant cousin with the “Cousin Wall;” participate in the genealogy-related scavenger hunt on Free Day Wednesday, and enjoy the free taco bar at the evening reception. Wear a costume from your ancestors’ homeland on the Friday dress-up day.

 

GEMS NEWS: NEW VIDEOS ONLINE

How to create captivating family history videos: Animoto video tutorial series

Tech Tip Tuesday tutorial videos

NEW Genealogy Gems Premium Video: All About Google Drive (Genealogy Gems Premium website membership required to access)

Evernote blog post about changed pricing

 

MAILBOX: CHRIS WITH US PUBLIC RECORDS INDEX TIP AND MORE

Follow-up email regarding The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #192 from Chris, who blogs at Leaf, Twig and Stem

Chris’ post about a compelling story of an adopted child in his family

Chris’ post about the changing coastline in Sussex

U.S. Public Records Index

MAILBOX: “WHERE I’M FROM”

The Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #185: Interview with George Ella Lyon

“Where I’m From” video and contest results

Tips for writing your own “Where I’m From” poem

Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society “Where I’m From” contest: “Anyone near and far may join our Contest. Each entry receives a gift from the. We will have a drawing from all entries of cash or a nice prize.  Deadline for entries is Aug. 31, 2016. More information on scchgs.org.”

NEW GENEALOGY GEMS BOOK CLUB SELECTION

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

It’s a story inspired by love letters exchanged between his grandparents during World War II, when they were each in dangerous places: he on the island of Malta and she in London, both of which suffered some of the worst sustained bombing campaigns of the war.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a fast-paced book. It begins in London in 1939 with Mary North, a wealthy young lady from a privileged family who, on finding out that war has been declared, immediately leaves her finishing school and signs on for the war effort without telling her parents. She fulfills an assignment as a school teacher long enough to make a meaningful connection with a school official and one of her students. Then her students (along with the rest of London’s children) are evacuated to the countryside, leaving her to figure out what to do next.

The plot gets a lot more involved from here. There’s a love triangle, a long-distance romance, a series of scenes that take place on the heavily-bombarded island of Malta, harrowing descriptions of the London Blitz, homeless children who return from the evacuation only to find themselves parentless, homeless and in constant danger. It’s intense and eye-opening, but it’s compassionate and it’s still very readable for those who have less of a stomach for blood and guts but still want to understand some of the human experience of living and loving in a war zone, and then picking up the pieces afterward and figuring out how to keep living.

Video: Chris Cleave on the U.S troops coming to Europe in World War II

Click here for more Genealogy Gems Book Club titles

 

DNA GEM: GENETIC PEDIGREE V GENEALOGICAL PEDIGREE

A key concept in genetic genealogy is that your genetic pedigree is different than your genealogical pedigree. Let me explain.

Your genealogical pedigree, if you are diligent or lucky (or both!) can contain hundreds, even thousands of names and can go back countless generations. You can include as many collateral lines as you want. You can add several sources to your findings, and these days you can even add media, including pictures and copies of the actual documents. Every time someone gets married or welcomes a new baby, you can add that to your chart. In short, there is no end to the amount of information that can make up your pedigree chart.

Not so for your genetic pedigree.

Your genetic pedigree contains only those ancestors for whom you have received some of their DNA. You do not have DNA from all of your ancestors. Using some fancy math we can calculate that the average generation in which you start to see that you have inherited zero blocks of DNA from an ancestor is about seven. But of course, most of us aren’t trying to figure out how much of our DNA we received from great great great grandma Sarah. Most of us just have a list of DNA matches and we are trying to figure out if we are all related to 3X great grandma Sarah. So how does that work?

Well, the first thing we need to recognize is that living descendants of Sarah’s would be our fourth cousins (though not always, but that is a topic for another post!). Again, bring in the fancy math and we can learn that living, documented fourth cousins who have this autosomal DNA test completed will only share DNA with each other 50% of the time.

Yes, only half.

Only half of the time your DNA will tell you what your paper trail might have already figured out: That you and cousin Jim are fourth cousins, related through sweet 3X great grandma Sarah.  But here’s where the numbers are in our favor. You have, on average, 940 fourth cousins. So if you are only sharing DNA with 470 of them, that’s not quite so bad, is it? And it only takes one or two of them to be tested and show up on your match list. Their presence there, and their documentation back to sweet Sarah, helps to verify the genealogy you have completed and allows you to gather others who might share this connection so you can learn even more about Sarah and her family. Plus, if you find Jim, then Jim will have 470 4th cousins as well, some of which will not be on your list, giving you access to even more of the 940.

This genetic family tree not matching up exactly with your traditional family tree also manifests itself in your ethnicity results, though there are other reasons for discrepancies there as well.

In short, this DNA stuff is not perfect, or even complete, but if you combine it with your traditional resources, it can be a very powerful tool for verifying and extending your family history.

Additional readings:

23andMe blog post: “How Many Relatives Do You Have?”

“How Much of Your Genome Do You Inherit from a Particular Ancestor?”

 

PROFILE AMERICA: First hamburgers at a 4th of July picnic
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