Archive for 2008

“As of Today, Families are More Important Than Poker”

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Today Jason McGowan, product manager of We’re Related on Facebook said, “As of today, families are more important than poker.” What he was referring to was the fact that the We’re Related application has moved up to be the #6 most popular application on Facebook, by Most Active Users, surpassing the Texas HoldEm Poker application.

We’re Related was launched in October 2007 and is currently the most popular Facebook application for families, with more than 15 million users.

What is the purpose of We’re Related, and what is the connection to families? We’re Related allows you to keep up with your family, through photo sharing, a news feed, birthday reminders, etc. Using We’re Related, you can also build your family tree.  For example, more than 50 million relationships (of living people) have been defined on We’re Related. The most common relationship, by far, is “cousin, or cuz, or first cousin, or my cousin.” We’re Related is a free application on Facebook. It can be downloaded through Facebook  (, or by pasting the following link into your browser:

Looking Back at Content Added During 2008 at

Monday, December 29th, 2008

It has been an exciting year at, and we hope that you have had a wonderful year as well. At this Christmas season, we are truly grateful to our subscribers, partners, affiliates, friends, and family members. One of the benefits you enjoy at, is that we add content daily. Currently we have more than 1.3 billion names in more than 11,000 databases (that’s more than twice as many databases as we had last year!)…and we’re just getting started! As 2008 is quickly coming to a close, we thought we would highlight some of the databases we have added this year at

In February, launched its flagship product, the World Collection, an online genealogy database containing more than 1.5 billion names from 35 countries. The World Collection launch included significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal. More than 20 companies partnered with to make this new collection possible. They included Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, Archive CD Books Australia, British Origins, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, Eneclann, Quintin Publications, Gould Genealogy, Familias Argentinas, Godfrey Memorial Library, and Moravian Heritage Society.

The World Collection includes birth, marriage and death records, census records, passenger lists, immigration lists, emigration records, foreign newspapers, cemetery records, reference materials, land records, family histories, historical records, city directories, business directories, township histories, civil service records, telephone directories, government records, war records, and maps, atlases, and gazetteers. also launched the 1841, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 UK Censuses. These records are the official civil registration records for England and Wales from 1837 to the present. Census records are valuable since they can tell you where a person lived at a certain place and time. Censuses were conducted by the federal government and will offer a variety of information, depending on year. Census records can answer questions like where your ancestors were living at the time the census was taken, who they were living with, what their occupations were, who their neighbors were, if they had any brothers and sisters, what their ages were at the time of the census and if they had any disabilities. All of these censuses were periodically posted county by county throughout the year. These censuses include images, and also a key-word searchable index.

A brief description of each of the censuses is listed below:
The 1841 UK Census was the first census of high genealogical value because enumerators asked for the names of the occupants of enumerated residences, along with questions as listed below.

The 1861 UK Census was taken on the 7th of April and includes the following information for each person enumerated: name, address, relation to head of family, marital status, gender, age, profession and birthplace.

The 1871 UK Census was continued the genealogical value of censuses due to using names, especially first and last, and in this census, including further value-added information of mental/physical condition of members of society that otherwise would not have been accounted for. Despite this listing, however, few people enumerated their relatives in this manner until later years when the categories were treated more sensitive phraseology.

The 1881 UK Census is a very important part of the World Collection. It was taken on April 3, 1881 and contains approximately 26 million names (26,094,304). This census covers England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Isle of Man. The 1881 census includes the following information for each person enumerated: name, address, relation to head of family, marital status, gender, age, profession and birthplace. This census can be very valuable in determining family relationships, birth dates and locations as well as other genealogical information.

The UK 1891 Census was taken on the night of April 5, 1891 and gave the total population as 28,999,725. It contains the following details for each registered participant: full name, address, relation to the head of the household, marital status, gender, exact age, occupation, parish and county of birth, medical disabilities and employment status. The information given in the census paints a clear and colorful picture of life in 1891.

Another exciting database launch in 2008 was the 1851 Dublin City Census from Eneclann Ltd, a Trinity College campus company specializing in Irish history. The 1851 Dublin City Census index was compiled by Dr. D. A. Chart in the 19th century from the original census records-since destroyed in the 1922 Public Record Office fire. This index covers central Dublin-the inner city area between the canals-and consists of approximately 59,000 names and addresses of heads of households, from 21 civil parishes, with a total of 25,429 entries or 43.1% of the population of Dublin city. The destruction of the 19th Irish Census returns is probably the greatest loss that genealogy in Ireland has suffered. Irish genealogists have tried to fill this gap using extant documentary sources from the 19th Century, as census substitutes.

During 2008, also partnered with The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) to bring more than 9,000 passenger lists and millions of names online at The ISTG records include information such as surname, captain’s name, port of arrival/departure, and name of the ship. These records are the result of the work of more than 500 volunteers over a ten-year period.

More than 1000 databases from Genealogical Publishing Company were added in 2008, including colonial and Irish genealogy, royal ancestry, and family history.

Thousands of names from Find A Grave were also added to in 2008. Find A Grave offers listings of cemeteries and graves from all around the world. American cemeteries are organized by state and county, and many cemetery records contain photographs of the individual markers or the entire cemeteries. The records contain some or all of the following data fields: dates and places of birth and death, biographical information, cemetery and plot information, photographs, and contributor information. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour. There have been more than 200,000 contributors to the site. Find A Grave is operated by its founder, Jim Tipton.

Several hundred databases from Quintin Publications were also added to this year. Many books in the collection are mid-western American records from Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, and updates for Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and British records from Yorkshire, York, Surrey, and Yarmouth. Many family histories were also added this year from the Quintin Collection. Quintin continues to be an integral partner with as it continues to update its collection with further quality records from locations across America and the world. Quintin Publications is scheduled to provide with a total of more than 10,000 books and articles. All databases in this collection area free to view for ten days from the date they are launched on the website.

A database was also placed online at provides a free place online for families to store, share, and print heirloom-quality family history charts and graphs. During the six-week beta period (that ended in the beginning of August), more than ten million names and almost seven hundred GEDCOMs were uploaded to the site. This averages to approximately 250,000 names added per day.

Furthermore, more than 500,000 records from hundreds of Jewish cemeteries across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Israel were indexed and made searchable at through Jewish Data.. The database also includes thousands of Declaration of Intention documents filed by Jewish immigrants as well as rare books, and other records.

The Ryerson Index was published as one of’s first large Australian databases. The Ryerson Index plugs a hole in available resources for those researching in Australia. There are no official records available for deaths post 1985 (in New South Wales), and from varying dates for other states. By indexing the deaths published in all major, and many smaller newspapers in New South Wales, the volunteers helping with the Ryerson index continue to make that gap in the records less of a brick wall for researchers. The Ryerson index has also been expanded to include other states of Australia, and now has a large number of entries from the major newspapers in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Combined, these four states cover about 85% of the Australian population.

Queensland Family History Society has also contributed many databases to, such as Queensland Public Service 1864 – 1948, Classification List of the Queensland Loco Enginemen, Firemen, & Cleaners 1912 South, Brisbane Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions, Toowong Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions, The Army Index 1787, Queensland Railway Employees 1889 – 1940, Queensland Railway Dismissals 1879, Queensland Railway Appointments and Removals 1890.

Archive CD Books has also contributed a great deal to the site. Many of the collections include directories, reference materials, family histories, military records, newspapers, and court records.

And lets not forget about the Simmons Historical Collection, containing many records from the United States, particularly from Kentucky. Many of these databases include court records, newspaper abstracts, wills, deed books, and marriage records.

Godfrey Memorial Library continues to add data to Since 1951, the Godfrey Memorial Library has promoted the study of family history by inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history. It has also sought to support educational activities that create enthusiasm for family research and to make genealogical and historical resources available to all on a national and international level. It aims to achieve this by continuing the expansion, modernization, and distribution of the collection of print, electronic manuscript and other information media as technology develops.

Many databases were also added this year from, including two yearbooks from California: Stanford’s University Quad, and the University of Southern California’s El Rodeo, as well as a compilation of yearbooks from the United States Military Academy West Point -Howitzer, (1921 – 1935, 1937 – 1960); United States Coast Guard Academy – Tide Rips Yearbook (1925, 1930, 1932 – 1933, 1935 – 1940, 1943 – 1956); United States Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point – Midships Yearbook (1945 – 1947, 1949 – 1950, 1952 – 1954, 1959); and the United States Air Force Academy Colorado Springs – Polaris Yearbook (1959 – 1960).

Of course we are just beginning to list some of the content that has been launched this year. We have also only mentioned a few content providers who have contributed their content to make a success. Thanks to everyone! We hope to bring even more content next year online at

Finding Free Genealogy Records Online &

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Personal Life Media recently published Episode 8 of Family History: Genealogy Made Easy featuring The title of the interview is Finding Free Genealogy Records Online & World Vital Records featuring, former Director of Content Partnership, Yvette Arts. During the pod cast, learn about some of the exciting news at, as well as a sneak preview into 2009. Click here to view the podcast.

New Content from US, Mexico, and Chile

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

The major collection this week includes 12 databases from Genealogical Publishing Company, as well as some content from Mexico and Chile. partnered with Genealogical Publishing Company in March 2008. Genealogical Publishing Company, also known as, publishes genealogy books and CDs for beginning genealogists, as well as experienced. has published over 2,000 titles featuring colonial genealogy, Irish genealogy, immigration, royal ancestry, family history, and genealogy methods and sources. Some of the titles of the databases included in this week’s launch are listed below.

* El Apostolado de la Cruz (Mexico)
* El Arte Musical (Mexico)
* El Asesor Jurídico : Revista Popular de Jurisprudencia (Mexico)
* El Asilo de Mendigos (Mexico)
* El Bautista (León, Guanajuato, Mexico)
* El Celage (Mexico)
* El Centinela Espanol (Mexico)
* El Centinela (Hermosillo, Sonora) (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)
* El Chisme, Diario de la Tarde (Mexico)
* El Circulo Catolico (Mexico)
* El Combate (Mexico)
* El Comerciante Mexicano (The Mexican Trader) (Mexico)
* El Contemporaneo (Mexico)
* El Correo del Comercio (Mexico)
* El Correo Germanico (Mexico)

Individuals who wish to view the collection has online from can access the databases here. These records include family histories, court, land, and probate records, military records, birth, marriage and death records, immigration records, and reference materials.

Databases Highlighted Featuring Property Transactions in Nauvoo

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

This week we are featuring several databases compiled by Susan Easton Black. Black, prolific LDS author and historian, is one of the world’s renowned experts on Joseph Smith, Jr., a prominent religious and political figure during the 1830s and 1840s. His birthday was on December 23rd.

The primary database we are featuring from Black is her six-volume set, Property Transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, and Surrounding Communities, 1839-1859 . This set is not available anywhere else! Nauvoo was founded by Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The city was originally called The City of Joseph. Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN

Black has also compiled the following databases, important primarily to Latter-day Saints, as well as to individuals who had ancestors living in Illinois during 1830-1956:

Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN Inscriptions Found on Tombstones and Monuments in Early Latter-day Saint Burial Grounds
Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN Marriages in the Nauvoo Region 1839-1845
Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1848
Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN Members of the Ellsworth and McArthur Handcart Companies of 1856
Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN
Members of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1856
Listen to Susan Black talk about the database. LISTEN Members of the Mormon Battalion: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance
Pioneers of 1847: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance

We’re Related Proves Families are Popular on Facebook

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Recently, wrote an article titled, “We’re Related Proves Families are Popular on Facebook.” Click here to view the entire article.

The Rich Heritage of Christmas Traditions

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Family traditions, especially traditions associated with holidays, help form the heritage of each individual. Along with the pedigree charts, group sheets, and family histories that naturally come with genealogy work, a rich resource that could uncover new perspectives on your ancestors is to discover more about their family traditions.

Perhaps your ancestors were immigrants to a new country and brought with them traditions from their native land. This Christmas season we suggest you search out a Christmas tradition from the country of one of your ancestors, and document it for future generations.
Here are some examples of Christmas traditions from around the World to help get you started.

One of the most unique traditions we discovered in our search happens a in Finland. Just before the start of Christmas festivities, families and friends go to the sauna and then dress up in clean clothes for a Christmas dinner, which is usually served from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In Central Europe countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary, the main celebration happens on Christmas Eve. During the day, individuals usually don’t eat. In some areas children are told they’ll see a golden pig if they can make it until dinner. The actual meal served varies from country to country. For example, in the Czech Republic their meal includes a fish or cabbage soup and breaded roasted carp with potato salad. In Poland, the meal often includes Golabki filled with Kasza, Pierogies, Borscht, and pickled Herring. A wonderful common holiday tradition in these countries is for people to gather together as families. Many families bring their grandparents into their homes during Christmas.

One of the best resources we found online (besides Google!) to learn more about Christmas traditions around the word is Wikipededia at

Share what you find with your family!

Google Your Family Tree Featured on Roots Television

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Roots Televsion, a channel servicing the millions of people interested in genealogy and family history, recently featured a short video clip on Dan Lynch’s popular genealogy book, Google Your Family Tree.Roots Television also featured the Google Your Family Tree book on their blog. It is listed as one of the books to purchase in Og’s Genealogy Gift Guide. Here is the link to the Gift Guide:

New Features at

Friday, December 19th, 2008, a service of, Inc., recently added some new. For those of you who are new to, the site is an innovative and fun family tree building community with more than 12.8 million ancestor names. can also be accessed at Click here to view this database on (Note the database on WorldVital Records contains 10.5 million names. The rest of the names will be added during the next update from to is free to access and free to join.

The two new features that have been added include user community status updates with profile photos and graphical chart export. A description of each of these features is listed below.

User Community Status Updates with Profile Photos
Keep your fellow researchers up-to-date on what you’re doing with WebTree status updates. Status updates are designed to be short messages on “what you’re working on right now.” The updates are posted to the homepage at, allowing members of the community to track your progress on your latest brick wall. You can also add a profile photo to your user page at WebTree. To post an update, go to My Trees and click Update Status. Click on the picture to the right to add your profile photo.

Graphical Chart Export
You can export your beautiful chart creations as a graphic file that you can save or print. The chart export feature perfectly preserves all of the options you choose.  Just go to any chart and click the Export button on the top left. See a great example here: Chart Example

If you would like to learn more about,click here to read a press release.

Renowned Connecticut Town Vital Records Featured This Week

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Ten volumes from the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, one of the largest genealogical compilations ever published, will be posted online this week as our Major Collection. has already released 27 volumes of the 55-volume-set that covers 137 towns and includes 14,333 typed pages. The online version of this series is a result of’s partnership with Genealogical Publishing Company.

The ten databases to be released this week represent about 265,000 individuals. Entries are in alphabetical order by town and given name, date of event, names of parents (in the case of births and sometimes deaths), names of both spouses (in the case of marriages). Sometimes information such as age, occupation, and specific place of residence are included.

The full collection of vital records (from the early 1600s to about 1850) was the life work of General Lucius Barnes Barbour, Connecticut Examiner of Public Records from 1911 to 1934. The original records are housed at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. In 2002,Genealogical Publishing Company. released the final volumes in the series.

Lorraine Cook White is the general editor, and she worked with compilers such as Carol Magnuson, Marsh Carbaugh, Wilma Moore, and the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society featured in this week’s release.

Barbour Databases to be released this week. These databases will be free for ten days from their release date:

­December 18–Preston = About 30,700 names.

­December 18–Middleton = Covers half of the records of the city of Middletown, Connecticut, from the mid-17th century. About 28,000 names.

December 19–Newton = Identifies about 26,500 residents of Newtown, North Branford, and North Haven.

December 19–Sherman = Includes the towns of Sherman and Simsbury. About 22,000 records.

December 22–Stamford = More than 200 years of vital records of the town/city of Stamford. References to about 30,500 persons.

December 22–Orange = Contains about 27,000 records for Orange, Oxford, and Plainfield.

December 23–Plymouth = Covers the Connecticut towns of Plymouth and Pomfret, and refers to some 30,500 persons.

December 23–Sterling = Includes Sterling and Stratford, Connecticut, and brings together vital references to more than 24,500 individuals (some are from the 17th century)

December 24–Portland = Covers the towns of Portland, Prospect, Redding, and Ridgefield. References to about 30,200 persons.

December 24–Weston = Vital records from the towns of Weston, Westport, and Willington. Compiled by the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society.
About Genealogical Publishing Company:
Genealogical Publishing Company and its affiliate, Clearfield Company, are the leading publishers of books and CDs on genealogy and family history. Their combined genealogy collection includes over 2,000 books and CDs featuring a wide range of materials on topics such as colonial genealogy, immigration, royal ancestry, and genealogy methods and sources.