February 7, 2016

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gems new genealogy records onlineHere’s our weekly roundup of cool new genealogy records online. Should you search any of these: an 1831 England census substitute; parish records for Hertfordshire; images of French forts in North America; Michigan death records; outgoing passenger lists for the US and War of 1812 pension records?

ENGLAND 1831 CENSUS SUBSTITUTE. There’s a new 1831 census substitute database at Findmypast!  England, Pollbooks and Directories 1830-1837  allows you to discover where your ancestors lived, how they earned a living and how they voted. This collection of assorted documents also plugs the important gap left by the lack of a complete 1831 census.”

ENGLAND PARISH REGISTERS. Findmypast now has a browsable collection of parish records for Hertfordshire. The collection spans 1538-1988: that’s 450 years and 1.9 million pages of baptisms, marriages and burials.

NEW FRANCE. Library & Archives Canada has published a new Flickr photo collection with images of North American forts built or captured by the French during the era of New France. It’s free to explore and the history is fascinating!

MICHIGAN DEATHS. A new collection of  Michigan Death Records, 1857-1960 is available to Ancestry.com subscribers. Death registers and certificates contain varying amounts of genealogical information.

US TRAVELERS ABROAD. Ancestry.com has a new database of departing passengers and crew from various U.S. locations (1916-1962) by ship and air. These include military transports. “Details requested on the forms varied, but they typically include the name of the vessel, departure date, ports of departure and destination, shipmaster, full name, age, gender, physical description, military rank (if any), occupation, birthplace, citizen of what country, and residence.” Later documents may include visa or passport information.

WAR OF 1812 PENSIONS (US). Images of pension records for US soldiers with surnames beginning A-M have been posted on Fold3, where they are available to view for FREE. This is part of the ongoing Preserve the Pensions project led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Click here to learn more and contribute to funding for this crowd-sourced effort.

google for genealogy quoteLooking for a specific type of record about your ancestor? Want to find more new genealogy records online yourself? Click here for step-by-step instructions on using Google to search for specific records.

 

You’re Invited! Genealogy Gems Book Club Open House at RootsTech 2016

genealogy gems book club open house rootstech 2016You’re invited to a special event at RootsTech 2016: the Genealogy Gems Book Club Open House!

Do you follow the Genealogy Gems Book Club? It’s a no-commitment, virtual way to experience our must-read list for family history lovers. We feature best-selling novels, riveting memoirs and more and give you time to read them, if you like. Then we bring you exclusive conversations with the authors about themes that resonate with us from the books: family relationships, search for identity, history and more.

If you’re coming to RootsTech 2016, please stop by an extra-special event we’re hosting: the Genealogy Gems Book Club Open House. It’s Thursday morning, February 4, from 10am-11am at the Genealogy Gems booth #1230 in the Exhibitor Hall.

Stop by and talk to us about books, family history and whatever's on your mind!

Stop by and talk to us about books, family history and whatever’s on your mind!

During the Open House, stop by and chat with me and Lisa about books or family history or both! Pick up a free Genealogy Gems Book Club bookmark. Thumb through display copies of featured titles. And best yet–win a chance at a great Book Club prize just for suggesting a book title for the Genealogy Gems Book Club. It’s the perfect LIVE version of our book club: fun, chatty, low-key, with great takeaways for YOU.

Genealogy Gems Book Club Genealogy Family HistoryClick here to learn more about the Genealogy Gems Book Club and explore past titles we’ve recommended.

Click here for the Genealogy Gems RootsTech 2016 schedule, including the Book Club Open House and our free series of Think Tank classes, and a map of how to find us in the Exhibit Hall.

 

This Ancestor Wrote a Poem like “Where I’m From”

Recently Genealogy Gems podcast listeners penned their own versions of a family history poem, “Where I’m From.” This listener found that his ancestor wrote one, too.

Recently I got a lovely email from Scott, a Genealogy Gems Premium website member whom I’ve heard from before. He said:

where i'm from version by evelina bailey“We’ve chatted before about some of the letters that have been passed down to me. Your segments on the ‘Where I’m From’ poems reminded me of a very special poem that I have.  Evalina Belmont Hill was born in 1802 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  She married Francis Baker Bailey there in 1819.  Shortly after that, they moved across Virginia, then into Pope County, Arkansas before Arkansas statehood.  After Francis died, she lived with family in southern Missouri. This is a poem she wrote in 1819 shortly after the married and moved away from home, thinking that she would not see her family again. I thought I would share it as a part of ‘Where I’m From.’ Best regards.  Thanks for all you do for us.”

In case you can’t read it easily, here’s a transcription, which includes her unique spelling:

Home

There is a lovely spot of earth
To whitch I cling with fond delight
It is the place that gave me birth
Where first my eyelids dorn the light
I little thought my wandering feet
From that dear spot so soon would rove
My waywood fate alone to meet
Far far away from native home
Fare from the friends who’s gentle care
Did all my infant pains beguile
No more I view that home so dear
No more on me those friends shall smile
But there’s a place for Souls oppress
And when life sickly dream is over
Beneth the verdant sod shall rest
These wandering feet to rove no more.

Thank you to Scott for sharing his ancestor’s poem. How homesick she seems for the past–I’m sure many of us have felt that before.

In case you missed our special series on family history poetry, click the links below. In the free Genealogy Gems podcast, you’ll hear from Kentucky poet laureate George Ella Lyon, whose original poem “Where I’m From” has inspired thousands of people around the world to write their own versions. We recently invited podcast listeners to share theirs, which you’ll find in recent and coming episodes of the Genealogy Gems podcast.

More ‘Where I’m From’ Gems

GGP 185Genealogy Gems Podcast #185 with Poet George Ella Lyon (FREE!)

Where I’m From Video and Contest Results

More Writing Ideas: 7 Prompts to Help You Write Your Family History

Military Bounty Land: Can You Claim Your Ancestor’s Share?

military bounty land claimCan a descendant claim an ancestor’s unused military bounty land award? Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, takes on this question in the newest episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.

“We have a copy of our great-great-grandfather’s [bounty land] warrant from the War of 1812. This has never been redeemed. I expect that the time for redeeming has long since expired but can’t find confirmation of this anywhere. Do you know for sure?”

What a great question from Robert in Covington, Louisiana! Here’s a little back story:

What is military bounty land?

From colonial times through 1855, cash-poor governments in the US (or future US) often paid soldiers in land for their service. It was a win-win proposition: many colonists and settlers wanted to own land. The Governments claimed more land than they could survey. It was in the best interest of both parties (though not any native residents) to fill up that land.

The lands that were awarded are called military bounty lands. They were awarded by colonial, state and federal governments. Virginia handed out land as far back as the 1600s. Service in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War often generated bounty land awards. (Click here to read a more detailed article I wrote about US military bounty land awards.)

Veterans (or their heirs) had to apply for bounty lands. If they qualified, they were issued warrants (like coupons) that were redeemable for a certain amount of property. Many veterans sold their warrants. Others redeemed them for specific parcels of land (for which they received patents, like deeds). Applications may contain a bounty of genealogical data: the names of applicants (veterans and/or heirs), their residence and age at the time of the application and the veteran’s military service details.

Can I Claim My Ancestor’s Military Bounty Land Award?

With this question, Robert sent us “a copy of a re-issue by the Commissioner of Pensions dated 1917. From the wording on the note the Commissioner scribbled on the copy he sent, it appears he hand copied the information on file onto a blank certificate and certified the copy.” He’s blanked out some identifying information but here it is:

military bounty land expired compressed

Judy RussellThis question is fascinating and complicated. For answers and a little more context, Lisa called on Judy Russell, AKA The Legal Genealogist, who gives her response in the most recent episode of The Genealogy Gems Podcast. Judy says the key is to research the law forward in time: When did the law take effect? What changes were made during its lifetime? When did it expire? Was it ever revived? If so, when did any extensions expire?

GGP 187One of her favorite websites for researching the history of US laws is the Library of Congress’ A Century of Law Making for a New Nation. Click here to listen to Judy’s interview (it’s FREE!) for more tips on researching old laws, more information on military bounty lands–and her answer to Robert’s question.

We Dig These Gems: New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gems new genealogy records onlineEach week, we dig through new genealogy records online and post the “gems” here. Should YOU be digging through any of these for your ancestors?

ENGLAND ELECTORAL REGISTERS. Findmypast.com has posted over 74,000 electoral registers from Plymouth and West Devon, England (1780-1973). These include ancestors’ residences and sometimes even their voting history!

ENGLAND VITAL RECORDS. Baptisms, marriages and burials for Kent, England are all newly available to Findmypast.com subscribers. These contain various bits of genealogical information, from birthplaces to parents’ names, wedding dates, occupations, ages at death and burial dates.

ITALY CIVIL REGISTRATIONS. Nearly 150,000 indexed names have been added to Napoli, Italy civil registration records (1809-1865) available at FamilySearch.org.

MINNESOTA INDEXES. Free to search on Ancestry.com are two new web indexes for Minnesota: Women in Industry, 1919 and an Alien Registration Index, 1918. Data for both collections comes from the Iron Range Research Center, which you’ll find a link for, too. (Click here to read more about Ancestry Web Indexes).

NORTH CAROLINA COURT. Nearly 900,000 names indexed from Supreme Court records for North Carolina (1800-1909) are now searchable for free on FamilySearch.org. Images and indexed records are being added as they are available.

RHODE ISLAND NATURALIZATIONS.  Over 136,000 names have been added to a Rhode Island naturalization index (1906-1991) at FamilySearch.org, created from a card index file.

SOUTHERN CLAIMS COMMISSION. Ancestry.com’s database for Southern Claims Commission Allowed Claims, 1871-1880, has been updated recently. Search here for claims made by ancestors who were awarded damages for personal property losses due to the Civil War.

SWEDEN CHURCH RECORDS. More than 40,000 names have been added to a church records collection of baptisms, marriages and burials for the county of Orebro, Sweden (1613-1918) at FamilySearch.org.

thanks for sharing ancestorThank you for sharing these new genealogy records online with your friends, family and fellow society members! We love it when you help us share good news.

 

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 187: Judy Russell on Law and More

GGP 187 genealogy gems podcast episode 187Listen to the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 187! The Legal Genealogist Judy Russell answers a fabulous listener question and MORE.

Judy RussellGenealogy Gems Podcast Episode 187 has just been published! In this episode, Lisa welcomes Judy Russell, AKA “The Legal Genealogist,” who specializes in researching laws that applied to our ancestors. She takes on a Genealogy Gems listener’s fantastic question about the bounty land his War of 1812 ancestor never claimed. Can he still claim it? Find out in this episode.

More highlights from this episode include:

  • The latest on life after Family Tree Maker software and a fresh look at why family history software is still relevant today;
  • New strategies for using Google to answer your genealogical research questions;
  • Our new Genealogy Gems Book Club announcement. (Get ready to read!);
  • Why you will definitely want to stop by our booth at RootsTech 2016; and
  • New records online and up-to-the-moment emails with questions, tips and inspiring successes.

Click here to access the newest free episode of the Genealogy Gems podcast. (Or click here first to learn how to listen to the Genealogy Gems podcast.) Happy listening!

How to use Google for Genealogy

Get Lisa’s Google Methodology:

For more step-by-step strategies on one of the podcast topics–using Google to answer your genealogical research questions–turn to Lisa Louise Cooke’s book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. It’s your ultimate guide to learning to use Google and its many free tools (Google Books, YouTube, Google Scholar, etc) for genealogy and for everything else! Use it to master Google searching in 2016!

New Genealogy Gems Book Club Title: Orchard House

Orchard House Genealogy Gems Book ClubThe first Genealogy Gems Book Club featured selection for 2016 has been announced. It’s a mouthwatering memoir of food and family. Check it out! 

The newest Genealogy Gems Book Club selection was just announced in the Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 187! The new title is Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow by Tara Austin Weaver.

Tara Austin WeaverTara is most famous as the author of Tea & Cookies, recognized as one of the top 50 food blogs in the world. Orchard House is her recently-published memoir. Tara’s recipe for Orchard House is one part food, one part gardening and two parts family drama, liberally seasoned with humor and introspection. The “book jacket” summary from the publishers describes it this way:

“Peeling paint, stained floors, vine-covered windows, a neglected and wild garden—Tara can’t get the Seattle real estate listing out of her head. Any sane person would see the abandoned property for what it was: a ramshackle half-acre filled with dead grass, blackberry vines, and trouble. But Tara sees potential and promise—not only for the edible bounty the garden could yield for her family, but for the personal renewal she and her mother might reap along the way.

So begins Orchard House, a story of rehabilitation and cultivation—of land and soul. Through bleak winters, springs that sputter with rain and cold, golden days of summer, and autumns full of apples, pears, and pumpkins, this evocative memoir recounts the Weavers’ trials and triumphs, what grew and what didn’t, the obstacles overcome and the lessons learned. Inexorably, as mother and daughter tend this wild patch and the fruits of their labor begin to flourish, green shoots of hope emerge from the darkness of their past.

For anyone who has ever planted something they wished would survive—or tried to mend something that seemed forever broken—Orchard House is a tale of healing and growth, set in the most unlikely place.”

A note of thanks from Lisa for purchasing the book, if you so choose, through the links provided. Each purchase helps support the free Genealogy Gems podcast.

BOOK CLUB EVENTS COMING SOON!

genealogy gems book club open houseRootsTech Book Club Open House: Thurs, Feb 4, 10am-11am at the Genealogy Gems booth #1230 in the Exhibitor Hall. Stop by and chat about books or family history or both! Free bookmarks, display copies of featured titles a win chance to win a great Book Club prize just for suggesting a book.

FEBRUARY: Catch a sneak preview of Orchard House (and a couple more book suggestions to whet your literary appetite) in the Genealogy Gems podcast.

MARCH: We’ll play an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Tara Austen Weaver in the free Genealogy Gems podcast. Genealogy Gems Premium website members will be able to listen to the full interview in March’s Genealogy Gems Premium podcast.

Genealogy Gems Book Club Genealogy Family HistoryLove the Genealogy Gems Book Club idea? Click here to check out all the titles we’ve recommended in the past.

 

 

 

A “Where I’m From” Video and More from Our Poetry Contest

where i'm from kay littleHere are the results from the Genealogy Gems “Where I’m From” poetry contest. They include this fantastic short video version. Check it out!

During the last quarter of 2015, we ran a family history writing contest inspired by a poem by George Ella Lyon called “Where I’m From.” George Ella, the poet laureate for Kentucky, joined us on the Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 185 to share her poem and tips for others to write their own version (click here to listen–it’s free!).

Kay wrote in with this Gem: “When I heard your podcast interview with George Ella Lyon, I just knew that I needed to write a ‘Where I’m From’ poem. Since I am fortunate to have many family photos taken by my dad throughout the years, I decided to add photos to my poem and make a video. I finished it last night, and wanted to share it with you and your listeners.” Kay has posted it on her blog, Just a Little Detail, but you can also watch it below:

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastIn addition to this marvelous video, I received eight audio-recorded entries. Truly, all of them are absolutely wonderful. I had planned on randomly drawing one winner, but I changed my mind. ALL entrants will receive 1 year of Genealogy Gems Premium website membership (if they’re already members, I’m adding on a year). Taking the time to think about their personal history, writing the poem, and then overcoming nerves and recording it to share with really does show above-and-beyond dedication to family history and to our family history community!

Congratulations to the winners you’ve heard from already: Kay Little (above) and a few whose poems have already been shared on the free Genealogy Gems podcast: Kathie Duke, Wanda Stone and Dee Guyre. You’ll hear from more winners in coming episodes.

Feeling inspired? Here are more gems on writing your family history:

cousin bait where I'm fromWHY and HOW to Start a Family History Blog

7 Prompts to Help You Write Your Family History

Easy Project to Write Your Family History: Publish a Q&A

 

 

 

 

 

Family History Software for Mac: Recommendations from You

family history software for mac 2Are you a Mac genealogist? Check out these family history software for Mac recommendations sent in by Genealogy Gems listeners.

Recently we’ve been talking about the importance of keeping your master family tree in family tree software on your computer, especially in the wake of Ancestry’s announcement that they’re retiring Family Tree Maker software. Lisa has given lots of suggestions, including RootsMagic 7 for Mac, but YOU have also sent in these comments for Mac-compatible family history software.

1. MacFamilyTree 5

“On your list of software to replace Family Tree Maker for the Mac, you should take a look at MacFamilyTree 5
. The support is fast and fabulous. The graphics on screen and in print look up-to-date and easy to read.

As someone who has been using The Master Genealogist, I had to start looking for a replacement before the FTM users. My only complaint with MacFamilyTree is that you can’t attach sources to particular items of information as I can in TMG, but you can’t in any of the other genealogy software either. I miss being able to indicate that a source for the birth had the full date but only the state for the place, for example. So I haven’t given up on TMG yet because I don’t want to lose information as I migrate my data.” -Diana

2. Reunion 11

reunion 11“I have received and read your website for some time, and have found many helpful ideas and comments.  Your last edition (Family Tree Maker discontinued) was indeed interesting, and verified how on top of things you are—thank you.

You suggested alternatives to Family Tree Maker…RootsMagic, MyHeritage, and Backblaze. (Editor’s note: Backblaze is Cloud backup for your computer, not genealogy software). While all three programs are available with versions that will work on Macs, in all fairness to Mac users, I suggest that you include (at least mention) that a great alternative for Mac is: Reunion 11 by Leister Productions.  I have used this software since their beginning, and find it world-class for the Macintosh.  They also have a method for moving your tree from Family Tree Maker to Reunion.” -Bill

More Family History Software for Mac

Thanks to Mac Users Diana and Bill for their recommendations. Here’s a great article from Family Tree Magazine outlining more options for genealogy software for the Mac.

More Inspiration from Genealogy Gems Like You

We love hearing from Genealogy Gems listeners and readers! Check out these posts from my “Mailbox.”

 

 

Keeping up with Online and Master Family Trees: Family Tree Maker Questions Answered

sync treesWant tips to keep your online trees current with the master version in your family tree software? I’ve fielded several questions recently from Family Tree Maker users that might be useful to everyone.

In the wake of the announced retirement of Family Tree Maker software, questions continue to pour in about how to use family history software along with online trees. I’ve also taken a couple of questions from people wondering whether to continue their subscriptions at Ancestry.com if they’re not using Family Tree Maker. Find my answers below–and thanks to Gladys, Charles, Lisa and others for sending in these great questions!

Q: “Why switch from Family Tree Maker if it still “works” even after it’s retired? Ancestry.com and its tree system can be continually updated via GEDCOMs (click here to learn more about GEDCOMs) from one’s current Family Tree Maker for as long as one desires. The key problem is that support for FTM will soon disappear.”

A: Yes, you’re right, the key probably is that support will be gone. Into the future, as operating systems and hardware change, FTM users will likely eventually experience problems and ultimately be unable to continue reinstalling it onto new computers. (As I mentioned in this article, this happened to me with my first database.) While it isn’t an emergency, there is an advantage to migrating now. Other companies are offering great specials, and are currently knowledgeable and focused on assisting FTM users in making the move and ensuring that all of their data migrates successfully. Click here to learn about some of these specials.

RootsMagic is a sponsor of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, and the software that I use personally. The following question came from a listener who wanted to know more about it and how to move their data:

Q: “Can you explain more about RootsMagic and what it can do? Will it allow a transfer of data from the old Family Tree Maker files where I have already stored significant amounts of information?”

A: You can download your content from Ancestry and then load that into RootstMagic. This article on the RootsMagic blog will guide you.  And they have an entire “Help” page here devoted specifically to assisting Family Tree Maker users. (Click here to learn why I recommend RootsMagic, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.)

Q: “Should I just resign myself to having to upload a new GEDCOM to RootsMagic every month to add any new people/content I’ve found on Ancestry.com?”

A: Rather than adding info to my Ancestry tree and then duplicating it in RootsMagic, I look at it the other way around. I enter new found data directly into RootsMagic as I work. I may go ahead and add it to my Ancestry tree as well, but it really depends on what it is. You see, I view my Ancestry.com tree as a drafting table or a work space, not the final resting place for my family tree. For me, a little extra effort is worth keeping control of my data.

I really don’t foresee Ancestry.com resurrecting Family Tree Maker or selling it to another company. This article explains some of the business reasons why.

Q: “If I continue to use Ancestry.com and add content to my online tree, what is the best way to get that content into my RootsMagic tree?”

A: You can download your content from Ancestry and then load that into RootsMagic. This article on the RootsMagic blog will guide you. I think after reading all my answers here you will see that I use Ancestry and MyHeritage as research tools, and RootsMagic as my master complete genealogy database. So I leave RootsMagic open on my computer in the background, and pop over to that window to enter confirmed data as I am working on the various websites.

BONUS QUESTIONS! Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com Subscriptions

Here are my responses to Family Tree Maker user questions about where to invest their subscription dollars and efforts.

Q: “Do you recommend not using Ancestry.com for research anymore?”

A: I think Ancestry is a treasure trove of genealogical data and documents, and I absolutely will continue to use it. However, as I mentioned in my article, I’m a believer in housing my master family tree on my own computer, and backing up that computer to the cloud (I use BackBlaze. I like the service so much they have become a sponsor of the Genealogy Gems Podcast.) That way I control the data and know it is protected. I don’t use Ancestry trees for my master tree. Rather, I upload a GEDCOM of the branches I want to generate leads for (shaky leaves). When I find new information I may or may not add it to my Ancestry tree (based on my research needs) but I always add it to RootsMagic master database.

Q: “Should I switch to MyHeritage?”

A: MyHeritage is a great website as well. I use it in much the same way I use Ancestry (above). It has been invaluable for my international research. (Click here to learn why I recommend MyHeritage.com, which is also a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.)

Final thoughts: In the end, it’s your data and your decision. I hope you’ve found these conversations helpful as you do your own homework on what is right for your family tree.

More Gems on Family History Software and Online Trees

FTMaker expiration dateFamily Tree Maker Alternatives and What I Do With My Online Tree

How to Download and Backup Your Ancestry Data

Is that Software Expired? Why I Wouldn’t Use Obsolete Family Tree Maker Software

 

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