RootsTech and FGS: Joint Genealogy Conferences in 2015

stick_figure_podium_speech_group_anim_150_clr_9408Ever had to choose between attending two fantastic genealogy conferences? In 2015, your choice will be easier: RootsTech and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) will host events in the same time and place: the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark your calendars and make your hotel reservations early for February 12-14, 2015!

Never been to either of these events?

  • RootsTech is a mammoth event hosted by the folks at FamilySearch. There’s lots of genealogy education but the primary focus is one I love: harnessing advances in technology to better help us discover and share family history.
  • FGS helps genealogical societies strengthen and grow by providing events and online resources. Their annual  conference is a 4-day event with tons of excellent lectures, including a full day on society management topics.

According to a press release from FGS, “With the Salt Palace Convention Center as the common venue, both FamilySearch and FGS are committed to producing a one-of-a-kind genealogy event addressing the educational needs of the family history, technology and genealogical society communities. As the logistics of this sizeable event are still being worked out, both FGS and FamilySearch will work together to share resources and provide cost benefits for all parties, including attendees and exhibitors. Attendees can expect to see familiar elements of previous FGS and RootsTech events including keynote presentations, a Society Showcase and Expo Hall.”

More details will be announced later: watch for them here e at the RootsTech and FGS websites.

 

New U.S. WWI Military Records for Genealogy

Topping the list of new and updated genealogy records this week are United States military records. Ancestry.com has a new collection of U.S. Navy Muster Rolls and an updated collection of historical postcards. Enjoy a special interview with military expert Michael Strauss on how he solved an old postcard mystery! Also new this week are WWI U.S. records at FamilySearch for Michigan and Utah, which you can access for free online. 

Featured: U.S. Navy Muster Rolls

Ancestry.com has a new collection of U.S. Navy Muster Rolls, 1949-1963. From the description:

“These records were created to document enlisted Navy personnel assigned to each and every discrete Navy command (known as “activities” in Navy terminology), such as ships, aviation squadrons, air stations, bases, stations, training centers and schools, flag staffs, and Marine Corps units.
“Arranged by two-year chronological subseries (1949-1950, 1951-1952, 1953-1954, 1955-1956, and 1957-1958), followed by single-year subseries (1959-1971). Each subseries is arranged by “activity number,” a unique number assigned to each ship, unit, and command within the Navy. Each activity’s muster rolls are arranged in chronological order by quarter, typically with enlisted personnel arranged by rate and thereunder alphabetically by surname.
“Beginning in the spring of 1956, officers precede enlisted personnel, with officers arranged either alphabetically by surname or hierarchically by rank. Personnel diaries, which precede each quarter’s muster rolls, are arranged chronologically by date.”

Historical Postcards

Ancestry.com also recently updated their collection of U.S. Historical Postcards, 1893-1960. You might be wondering how historical postcards would be valuable to your genealogy research. The collection description sheds some light on what you can use this database for:

“This database contains over 115,000 historical postcards with photos of places in the United States. Each postcard caption has been indexed and may be searched by keyword or location. The database also includes the city, county, state, and postcard era (estimated year range) for most postcards.

This database is primarily useful for obtaining a photograph or picture of a specific place in time. If you do not already have pictures of the places your ancestors lived, historical postcards are a good alternative to personal photos.”

In the video below: A captivating story unfolds of old postcards from WWI that are snatched from oblivion by Michael Strauss, who is the Genealogy Gems Podcast Military Minutes man. Michael shares the story of how he found the historic postcards on eBay, and the research process he followed to identify their author. These are strategies that you can use in many areas of your family history research!

FamilySearch

You can explore even more new WWI records for genealogy thanks to FamilySearch’s newest additions to their free records.

These records may help you find out more about your ancestors who served in the military during WWI. Depending on the collection and record, you might find:

  • name of Veteran;
  • serial number;
  • address;
  • place and date of birth;
  • nationality;
  • color;
  • occupation before and after the war;
  • marriage date;
  • wife’s name,
  • birthplace and date;
  • names of children and their birth dates;
  • parents’ names and addresses;
  • first camp entered and date;
  • rank, company, and regiment;
  • transfers and promotions;
  • battles engaged in;
  • discharged date and reason, and additional information.

If you don’t find the person you’re looking for, FamilySearch has these helpful suggestions for next steps:

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the records of nearby localities (or military units, counties, parishes, etc.).

More Military Records with Michael Strauss

Michael Strauss is our resident Military Minutes man for The Genealogy Gems Podcast. He first debuted on the show on episode #207, where he talked about draft registrations. Click here to listen to the episode and download an exclusive free 4-page handout! For more expert military research tips and insight, browse Michael’s many articles on our website by clicking here.

 

About the Author: Lacey Cooke has been working with Genealogy Gems since the company’s inception in 2007. Now, as the full-time manager of Genealogy Gems, she creates the free weekly newsletter, writes blogs, coordinates live events, and collaborates on new product development. No stranger to working with dead people, Lacey holds a degree in Forensic Anthropology, and is passionate about criminal justice and investigative techniques. She is the proud dog mom of Renly the corgi.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

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

Pin It on Pinterest

MENU