Archive for the ‘Genealogy’ Category

40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Today marks the 40th year of Earth Day, originally started by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970, that is now celebrated in 190 countries. Earth Day is an opportunity for us to reflect and raise awareness about important environmental issues and, more importantly, take action to improve our planet!!

Here are 7 interesting facts to reflect upon:

  • 1/3 of all water is used to flush the toilet.
  • Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day.
  • An average family throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year
  • Almost 13 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year
  • Fossil fuels are being consumed 100,000 times faster than they are being formed
  • For every ton of newspaper recycled,  17 trees are saved
  • Approximately 27% of all food produced in North America is gone to waste

If you want to take action and don’t know how, we encourage you to visit Pick 5 for the Environment website. Also, if you have a twitter account you can follow: @epagov to get updates throughout the day.

What Does It Take To Be A Successful Genealogist?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

successful genealogist

We wanted to find out what traits and personal qualities are important to have success in genealogy, so we posed this question to a few reputable genealogists who would know best. Whether you’re just starting out or already have some experience in genealogical research, here are some qualities worth thinking about to help bring out your inner genealogist…

What the Experts Say:

Megan Smolenyak (@megansmolenyak)
“Above all, curiosity!  That and persistence.  There’s almost always a way around those inevitable brick walls if you’re stubborn enough!  Also doesn’t hurt if you’re of a puzzle-solving mindset.  The real fun begins once you get past name-collecting mode.”

Miriam Midkiff (@Kidmiff)
“It is important to learn about the various genealogy resources, be they vital records, court records, or deeds. Learn why these resources are helpful and what can be gleaned from them genealogically, by reading up on them, taking classes, or attending genealogical society meetings.  Learn where to access these resources, too.  Are they microfilmed?  Are they online?  Do you have to visit a courthouse, archive, library, or other repository to access them?  Remember that not all resources are online, and many never will be! Cite your sources so when conflicting information comes up, you can determine which is more likely to be accurate by analyzing the source of that information. Finally, understand the social, religious, and political history of the times and locations in which your ancestors lived. I recommend reading Joy Hakim’s “The History of U.S.” as a great start to understanding American history.”

Leland Meitzler (@lemetizler)
“I believe that it’s important that anyone involved in exploring family history have the ability to analyze data, extract even the smallest of clues and locate additional data – leading to interesting and useful family history. These are usually learned traits, but I’ve met folks who just seemed to have it in their genes…

It’s good to have a “never give up” attitude, but it’s also important to know when to back off, and let the problem rest for a bit. A brick wall today may be successfully dealt with by letting time go by, allowing additional resources to surface. This has certainly been the case as the Internet has grown.”

Randy Seaver (@RJSeaver)
* A general knowledge of world history, and a specialized knowledge of the events and key persons that created national and local history in the times and places that our ancestors lived.  Governmental units, migration paths, legal issues, settlement patterns, social folkways and norms, etc. are all part of this history challenge.

* Experience in learning and using research techniques to perform genealogy and family history research in both traditional (libraries, archives, courthouses, cemeteries, etc.) and online (websites, databases, CDROMs, software, etc.) resources, plus the knowledge of how different record types (e.g., family papers, vital records, military, census, land, probate, newspaper, cemetery, directories, and many others) can be used.

* Conduct of a reasonably extensive search for all records pertaining to a person and his/her extended family and associates using cluster genealogy techniques.

* The personal discipline to cite record sources consistently in appropriate citation formats, for all records obtained.

* The critical thinking ability to analyze research needs, to determine where records might be found, to use the found genealogy records correctly, and to draw objective conclusions about relationships, names, places, and dates.

* An organizational system that provides ready access to all gathered research material – books, periodicals, papers, documents, images, etc.

* A network of like-minded researchers that can provide advice, encouragement and constructive criticism on seemingly unsolvable research problems.  This may be an online study group, a genealogy society small group, or an extensive mail correspondence.

* Sharing research knowledge and techniques with other interested parties through books, magazine articles, blogs, websites, society meetings, presentations, etc.

* This knowledge and experience is not gained overnight, or even in a year or two.  Most people learn these habits and skills over many years and gradually become more effective and successful.  There is no substitute for hard work and studying in genealogy research!


What other traits or characteristics would you add?

45 Great Genealogy Sites Worth Bookmarking

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Knowledge is worth sharing. So we decided to compose a list of our favorite genealogy sites to equip you with more resources and new tools as you move forward on your genealogical journey and create your family tree. We’ve divided these websites into several categories, although, there are some that could surely fit into more than one.

Records, Documents & Databases – Over a billion records including vital records, immigration lists, birth, marriage, death, military records and more…

Footnote – tens of millions of original source historic documents from the world’s finest archives available on the Internet

National Archives – preserves the records of the United States Federal government – records from the US, Canada and Europe including Federal Census records since 1790

DistantCousin – online archive of genealogy records and scanned images of historical documents – published transcriptions from 5,000+ cemeteries across the world

GenealogyBank – includes modern obituaries and historical newspapers, books, pamphlets, military records, government documents and more

Find A Grave – over 36 million grave records

Family Search – search records of your ancestors and explore free genealogy resources

Obituary Central – online database for finding obituaries and performing cemetery searches

GenWed – database and directory of marriage records in the U.S., Canada and UK

Genealogy Today – variety of sources including Masonic lodge rosters, funeral notices, school catalogues, yearbooks, telephone directories, church member list and more

DNA testing

Roots for Real – offers mtDNA, Y-DNA and autosomal DNA testing services

DNA Consultants – variety of DNA tests and personalized genealogical history reports

Family Tree DNA – self-proclaimed “world’s largest DNA testing company” in the new field of genetic genealogy

Nimble Diagnostics – full range of paternity, family relationship, drug, asthma, and ancestry DNA testing services

GeneTree – DNA testing services and visual representation’s of a family’s genetic history

DNA Heritage – DNA kits for paternal and maternal roots

Last Names

– free database containing over 50,000 surnames and their history

Behind the Name - etymology and history of surnames

Last Name Meanings – Ethnic origins and meaning of names of Irish, German, English, French, Italian, and Jewish descent.

Cousin Connect – database of surnames and genealogical query engine – store, search, and manage your queries

Blogs & Discussion

The Genealogue – insightful and funny genealogy blog authored by Chris Dunham

Eastman’s Online Genealogy – Dick Eastman’s genealogy blog and online newsletter

Genea-Musings – tips and commentary by Randy Seaver

The Genealogy Guys – podcasts and genealogy news since 2005 brought to you by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith

GenealogyBlog – genealogy insight and happenings co-authored by Leland & Patty Meitzler

Family Roots Radio – internet radio devoted to family history and genealogy, hosted by Kory L. Meyerink

Family Matters – as they say “tech support for the Family Historian”

GeneaBlogie – personal observations, news and tips by Craig manson

RootDig – resourceful genealogy blog authored by genealogy researcher and speaker Michael Neill

Dear Myrtle – online since ‘95, everything you need to know about genealogy

Genealogy Gems – online genealogy radio and free podcasts

Genealogy Insider – Family Tree Magazine’s genealogy blog written by Diane Haddad


Genealogy Workshops – genealogical workshops and courses brought to you by the National Archives and Records Administration

Genealogy Meetup Groups – meet other local genealogists and people who are interested in genealogy near you

Federation of Genealogical Societies – calendar of genealogical society events in the U.S.

Events Calendar by NGS- conferences and events compiled by the National Genealogical Society

Genealogy Blog’s Events Page – comprehensive listing of events, workshops, conferences compiled by Genealogy Blog

Education & Resources

Cyndi’s List – massive directory of links and genealogy resources on the internet – over 50,000 genealogy links for US, UK, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Europe, Canada, Australia & New Zealand.

Genealogy Blog Finder – find blogs and content about genealogy on the web

Family Tree Magazine – special interest magazine covering everything related to genealogy; great overall resource

About Genealogy – lots of well-written content, links, tips and tutorials as well as a free genealogy newsletter – publisher of useful genealogy books and CDs that can be purchased directly from the site

Starting Your Family Tree: Advice from the Pros

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Starting your family tree is something that requires a lot of effort and patience but the overall process can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. If you’re a newcomer and just beginning your adventure, get ready to roll up your sleeves but don’t get discouraged when you hit the occasional roadblock!

We’ve hand-selected three very knowledgeable genealogists to provide some insight about starting a family tree and presented them with the following question: 

What is the best piece advice you can give to someone that wants to start building their family tree?

Here’s what they have to say…

Dick Eastman (@dickeastman):
Write it down!

Researching your family tree is a very personal and rewarding experience. You can really find out who you are and where you came from.

One problem with collecting all the facts about your ancestry is that you can quickly become overwhelmed with the details. Names, dates, and places can become confusing as you find more and more ancestors. Luckily, the “problem” is easily solved.

Starting with your very first efforts, always record what you found. Record not only the names and the facts (dates and locations), always record where you found that information. In some cases, you found the information in a book. Other sources of information might be verbal from an older relative.
In any case, always write it down.

Your memory isn’t perfect! Someday you will ask, “Where did I obtain that information?” Recording it now solves future problems.

You can obtain a fancy computer program to capture your information or you can write it down on a plain piece of paper. The method is not important but make sure you record every scrap of information and the source where you found it.

Randy Seaver (@rjseaver):
Building your family tree will be a lifetime effort.  There is no such thing as a worldwide family tree with your family in it – you will have to search high and low for information about your ancestors and to find their family stories.

The search should be in all possible resources – in books, in court records, in state vital records, in passenger lists, in census records, in military records, in DNA testing, and in many more resources.  You may find information about your ancestors that is published by someone else in print or on the Internet.  You should use this information only as a finding aid – to help you find the original sources with primary information that prove birth, marriage, death and event facts and relationships.  You should attempt to verify or disprove every fact or story you find about your ancestor, and cite your source material.

Lastly, only a small percentage (probably less than 5% in 2009) of all genealogy information is on the Internet.  Enjoy the search for your ancestors, and honor them with your research.

Debra Fleming (@ancestrydetect):
The best advice I could give to a beginning genealogist would be to start writing your family history now.  Don’t collect documents and facts but start the narrative.  The reason for this is that it puts your focus on filling in the blanks of who they were and the time in which they lived, putting your ancestor into historical context and causing you to research in between the lines.  I inherited a narrative format from my father that he wrote for a college course when I was three years old.  The unusual thing about this narrative is the format.  It forces you to ask questions like:  What were their political leanings and why?  What Religion were they?  Did they attend church regularly?  Did their Religion influence their choices and decisions?  What does it mean that he was a member of the Knights of Columbus?  What kind of life was factory work in a Thread Mill?  Was it unusual to be an immigrant home owner in Willimantic, CT?  What was Willimantic like in 1919?

These are the actions of our ancestors lives.  We owe it to them to provide the verbs and adjectives that paint color on the lives of our ancestors.  They were not just a collection of facts or nouns.  They lived and we need to paint them that way with our narratives.  Starting out writing is the best way to keep our focus on what matters, the actions of their lives.  In other words, how they lived.


Thanks to Dick, Randy and Debra for their great advice!!

Family Tree of Royal Family of Spain

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Have you ever wondered what a royal family tree looks like? We were curious ourselves and have constructed the family tree of the royal family of Spain.

Starting from the point of view of Prince Felipe, you can see his parents, Juan Carlos I de Borbón and Sofia De Grecia, including all family members up to Felipe V de Borbón ( Dec 19, 1683 – July 9, 1746). That´s 11 generations of royal history!

Did you know the royal family of Spain is also connected to the royal family of Britain – can you find the connection?

5 Simple Rules for Family History

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This is a guest post by Lee Everton from Everton´s Genealogical Helper, a magazine dedicated to family history and genealogy topics.

Are you a budding genealogist? Or, do you want to just add a couple of your relatives to your online family tree? Whichever the case, there are some basic rules to follow which will help you keep track of anyone in your family. Five rules to remember when writing down your information, or adding to Genoom follow.

Rule #1 – Enter the family name(surname) in capital letters. This allows a reader to quickly know what name they are looking at. For example, if you see Lee EVERTON, or EVERTON Lee, you will know that “EVERTON” is the family name.

Rule #2 - When including the name of a female ancestor, always use their maiden name. If you always do this when you are entering new individuals on your family tree, you will notice that the family lines become easier to follow. For example, my family name is “Everton”, the name of my father. However, my mothers’ maiden name is “Mathews”, which is the family name of her father. This is the name that I would include on my family history records.

Rule #3 - Dates are written in the format, “Day, Month, Year.” An example is 12 December 2008. To avoid confusion when you are writing the dates, you should spell out the month and include all four digits of the year.

Rule #4 - Keep documentation on your information. For a death date, it might be as simple as “I saw the gravestone at the Springfield, Illinois city cemetery with these dates. I was there on 8 August 2008.” If it was a date for your brothers’ wedding, the notation might be, “I have a picture with the date on the bottom of the picture.” You do this so that others can follow and verify where you discovered the information.

Rule #5 – Try to keep any stories that you have heard about a relative with that individual. It might be a simple story about your mother and how she learned to ride a bike with her head. (Maybe, she was the one who invented the bicycle helmet.) These stories are what brings people in your family tree to life. With these stories, you will begin to see family traits that are passed from one generation to the next. You might even have one of the “Hmmm” moments when you realize that your quirky way of holding your mouth when you laugh is just like your great great grandpa.

Everton´s Genealogical Helper Magazine

Every issue of Everton’s Genealogical Helper magazine provides you with great insight to doing little things for your family history. Also, included in every issue is current information on websites, CD-ROMs for genealogy, information on various countries (Germany, Sweden, England, Canada, Ireland, etc.).

As a member of the Genoom family, you have taken one step in starting your family tree. Now, as you go along, discover other simple things you can do in the pages of Everton’s Genealogical Helper.

To help you get started, when you subscribe to our print magazine, we are going to give you a FREE poster-size Picture Family Tree where you can add your own family pictures and display on your wall. This is a great way to show off your family. We will also include a poster-size 7 Generation Family Tree to match the picture family tree that we are sending to you when you subscribe.

To receive one of these with your order, simply follow the appropriate link:

United States


As an additional bonus when you subscribe, you will receive complimentary access to Everton’s Genealogical Helper online edition. This gives you access to the current issue and the archive of past issues.