Archive for January, 2008

And The Winner of the St. George Expo Tickets Is Valerie Sweet!!!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

WorldVitalRecords.com congratulates Valerie Smith as the winner of two free tickets ($120 value) to the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, on February 8th and 9th.

Here is Valerie’s success story!

From Frustrated to Pacified! Finally Another Link!

My searches were exhausted to the point I put everything away, and didn’t want to look at it again for a very long time. Any genealogy researcher who has hit that brick wall in their tree line knows what I’m talking about.

My father, John Sweet, is elderly and had begun to question his living arrangements as a child. It seemed his mother, Iola Benefield Sweet (b. 1911, Illinois – d. 1965, Arkansas) gave him away to relatives when he was just a baby, to raise, and yet, Iola and his father John Richard lived nearby. It hurt him deeply. John would never consider sending one of his children away, and he needed to know he was loved despite their decision. As my father John faced his final years, he really wanted a few answers, but answers were hard to find. John’s mother and father passed away before he summoned the courage to ask them. In fact, most of our relatives had passed away except a few cousins who knew little to nothing.

So, I began my lineage search to find distant relatives and descendents who may have an answer. I wanted to find out why John’s mother gave him away, and why her mother gave her away. I also wanted to find the burial location of his maternal grandmother (Ida May Cohoon, b. 1888, Illinois) and grandfather (Samuel David Benefield, b. 1885, Illinois), who, according to what John and his mother were told, had supposedly died in a black powder factory explosion when Iola was very young.

I started with everything my father could tell me about the family, hoping to find an older living member who could fill in the gaps. I joined every online genealogy group I could find. I sifted and sifted through all the censuses, contacted every distant cousin I could find in the forums, and exhausted every family member’s name in Internet searches.

The amount of information was staggering. I found my father’s 90-year-old aunt Ruth through newspaper articles announcing her 75th wedding anniversary and her husband’s death soon after. I waited for what I hoped was an appropriate amount of time to respect her grief, then sent Ruth a letter. Her son (my cousin), Jack, responded. I was dancing on air. Through Aunt Ruth, Jack was able to give me quite a few of the answers my dad was seeking about why he ended up living with other relatives when it seemed his parents could have cared for him. The answers gave my father a little peace of mind.

But it was too late for peace of mind for me. I was hooked. I wanted it all. I’m sure all the family tree searchers can relate to that feeling. I couldn’t be pacified. Like many, I had found some captivating mysteries in my family tree and I wanted to solve them. I’d search and search, then get frustrated and put it all away for a while. I’d get it out and search some more, then put it away yet again. I traced dozens of branches of our family tree, in all directions, for a number of years. Then I hit those nasty brick walls that we all hit sooner or later. I could not find the black powder factory explosion that killed my grandmother and grandfather. I was sure the information might lead me to some of Ida May Cohoon’s living relatives, which might help complete my tree. I had the wonderful assistance of a lady who writes a column for the Illinois newspaper, who gave me lots of Benefield information. Despite family stories, together, we found my grandmother and grandfather never died in any black powder factory explosion.

My continued search showed grandfather Samuel Benefield lived on for a number of years and remarried and had other children. But I was unable to find any current addresses of the descendents. I found that the family of my grandmother, Ida May Benefield, never knew she had baby Iola, whom was given away. My father’s family revealed that John’s mother, baby Iola Benefield, had been placed on a train when she was very, very young, and sent to live with relatives because her mother, Ida May, had disappeared and her father did not really want to raise her. It was also stated that Ida May Cohoon Benefield went a little crazy after the death of her first husband (last name Davis) who died in a fire, prior to her time with Samuel. So, there was no explosion and no deaths at a factory, even though Iola Benefield was told that her parents died in such a fashion. The mystery deepened. Sadly, Iola Benefield also died before ever knowing her father was alive and living nearby throughout her childhood.

This incited my search for my paternal grandmother, Ida May Benefield. I wanted to know where she died and how, and where she was buried. I wanted to know if she remarried, had more children, or maybe had a living relative who could tell me her side of the story about her daughter (my father’s mother). I wanted to know if maybe she suffered from mental illness after her young husband’s death, or maybe she just couldn’t cope with the death at such a young age … or maybe it was something more sinister like she died or disappeared mysteriously or maybe there was a domestic incident no one knew about. Or maybe, she just disappeared and no one really knows what happened. No one from Ida May’s side of the family even knew she had a baby with Samuel, and none of them know what happened to her. I hit my first brick wall. I bounced my head off that wall for a number of years, and never broke through.

I hit the second brick wall when I traced my Sweet line back to Moses Sweet (abt. 1773, Virginia). I found this was a brick wall that held up many researchers. I bounced my head off that wall for a few years, as well, with no luck.

When I saw a new genealogy group advertised, World Vital Records, I almost passed it by. Most of the sites just duplicate each other, and I was too frustrated to deal with that. But, I broke down and decided to give it a try. I joined World Vital Records, but only for one month. I was sure I had exhausted anything they had to offer and didn’t want to waste too much time or money on more duplication.

I logged on and entered my the information for my first brick wall, Ida May Benefield. As I scanned down the page of results, I saw something new – a listing of books! There were books on genealogy, history, soldiers, LDS records, etc. Some of the books were written by family lineage researchers like me. I clicked each book and Bingo! I found several genealogy and lineage books written by distant cousins of mine that named Ida May Benefield. In addition to this great find, the site allowed me to place each of these selections in “My Library” online, to hold, until I could make purchases or contact libraries or authors about the books.

I am so glad I decided to try World Vital Records. The book listing has become a new and vital source of information for me. I contacted each library, holding books I wanted that were out of print, and although they could not sell me the books, they were able to make copies of any pages where my family names were mentioned or tell me where I may be able to purchase the book. Needless to say, I have ordered about half a dozen books with several that mention Ida May Benefield. Maybe one will lead me to the “sweet” answers I seek.

The thrill is back. I pulled out all my genealogy papers and began searching again. I’m very excited about this new source of information and the ease of searching through it. But mostly, I am excited about the results. I found results. I found new avenues to chase. Peace of mind may be within reach. At the very least, I am pacified for a while, thanks to World Vital Records.

Respectfully submitted,

Valerie Sweet

Wonderbase of the Week: Early American Records

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

The Wonderbase of the Week consists of twelve books from Genealogical.com which focus primarily on the early American period. Click here to view the databases. These databases, most of which contain more than 30,000 names each, are extremely valuable for people searching for ancestors who settled in America during its earliest days.

One of the most important series of databases included in this week’s Wonderbase is The Maryland Calendar of Wills, Volumes 1-8. In total, these volumes contain more than 183,000 names. These volumes are of particular importance because wills can be so valuable in genealogical research. Having an index of these wills makes them more accessible to researchers.

Included as part of these 12 databases are a number of books about some of America’s first settlers. One volume, Chronicle of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1623-1636, contains more than 45,000 names. A similar volume, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, 1602-1625, contains more than 43,000 names.

A couple of the books included in today’s Wonderbase are important records from early colonial churches. One book, Early Lutheran Baptisms and Marriages in Southeastern Pennsylvania, which contains nearly 13,000 names and The Annals and parish Register of St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish in South Carolina, 1680-1884, which contains more than 9,000 names.

All of these databases are fully indexed and searchable on WorldVitalRecords.com, and will be free for 10 days.

Don’t Forget Descendents

Thursday, January 24th, 2008


Creating Family Newsletters for Coordinating Genealogical Efforts
By Amanda, Forson, WorldVitalRecords.com

When searching for genealogical materials and information on ancestors, descendents of those ancestors are just as likely to have sources of information as a court house or obituary. Most genealogical database organizational programs are programmed to allow for addresses and telephone numbers of individuals. One of my favorite genealogical database programs, Legacy Family Tree, has a simple interface for keeping this information organized, and allows for using the information in an efficient and timely manner.

When in the Family View of the program, click on the house with phone icon directly below the person whose information you wish to enter. Fields available for the person include basic name and address along with two phone numbers, email address, and home page. Possible uses for this include family newsletters, family associations, birthdays, research, Christmas, holidays, and information can be tagged or made private.

RootsMagic also has similar functionality, though with an area for a secondary address, useful for “snow birds” or anyone who spends enough time in two separate areas to use both addresses on a regular basis.

Both programs can be used to create publications for the living about the dead, explaining what the most recent discoveries are, asking for help on certain tasks, and generally introducing the family to their ancestors and helping them understand what research has been done and how it got to that point. It is also useful when trying to contact relatives previously unknown. Sending copies of the family newsletter to new possible family members (those who are engaged, or those to whom one is reaching out in contact) also helps with opening communication between families members long distanced.

Keeping family members informed is an extremely important and useful way of aiding research, and of helping to make sure that relatives understand why aid may be needed in purchasing documents for future research. Consider it a family research report without excessive formality.

FamilyLink.com Adds New Application Called Family Groups On Facebook.com

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Family Groups is a brand new application FamilyLink.com recently built for Facebook.com. The application is a great way to upload photos, share family memories, and have fun discussion with your friends and family members on and off Facebook.com.

You can tag people (To tag means to select the name of the individual) in your memory or photos, and when you do, they will receive an update of your new message or photo through a news feed.

If one of your friends or family members do not have a Facebook account, you can simply send them a link to access your family page.

The Family Group app can be password protected and you can set an administrative level to members who can add to or revise your family group content.

Signing up to Family Groups is easy.

Option 1

1. Go to Facebook.com
2. Search for Family Groups in the application section.

Option 2

1. Go to Facebook.com
2. Click here.

Wonderbase of the Week: 50 Databases From the Quintin Publications Collection

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

The Wonderbase of the Week at WorldVitalRecords.com consists of 50 databases from the Quintin Publications Collection. The databases will be free to access until January 31, 2008. Click here to access the records.

The majority of the databases that comprise the Wonderbase are family histories, with most of the histories about families with surnames beginning with W.

Many of the histories include several thousand names. The largest database this week is The Whitney Family of Connecticut and its Affiliations Being an Attempt to Trace the Descendants in the Female and Male Lines of Henry Whitney from 1649 to 1878 that contains more than 257,000 names. Other large databases include The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America with more than 90,000 names; History of Torrington, CT, From Its First Settlement in 1737, with Biographies and Genealogies with more than 76,000 names; History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family of Connecticut with more than 70,000 names; and Andrew Warde and His Descendants, 1597 – 1910: Being a Compilation of Facts Relating to One of the Oldest New England Families with more than 55,000 names.

These titles date between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. Some of the earlier titles include: Genealogy of the Wright Family from 1639 – 1901; Ward Family: Descendants of William Ward, Who Settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1639; and A Wiswall Line: Ten Generations in Descent from Elder Thomas Wiswall of Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1635.

As you navigate your way through these titles, it is important to remember that even if the surname in the title is not one that is in your tree, one of your ancestors may be mentioned in the volume anyway. As always, these Quintin databases are completely indexed, searchable and free for ten days, which means that if your ancestor is in one of these volumes, you are likely to find him/her with a few simple clicks.

Today Is The Last Day To Win Two Free Tickets To The St. George Expo

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Shown above: The Dixie Center, venue for the Family History Expo 2008

Last week WorldVitalRecords.com announced that is has two free tickets ($120 value) to give away at the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, on February 8th and 9th. The contest ends today (Monday, January 21, 2008).

Entering the Contest is Easy

To be considered for a free ticket, send your favorite success story that you have had using WorldVitalRecords.com to amy@worldvitalrecords.com.

The contest winner will receive 2 free tickets to the expo. All submissions will become the property of FamilyLink.com, Inc. and may be used for promotional purposes.

The winner will be notified Wednesday January 23, 2008. The name of the individual will also be announced in the newsletter next week.

Win A Free Ticket To The St. George Expo

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Shown above: The Dixie Center, venue for the Family History Expo 2008

WorldVitalRecords.com has two free tickets ($120 value) to give away at the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, on February 8th and 9th.

Entering the Contest is Easy
To be considered for a free ticket, send your favorite success story that you have had using WorldVitalRecords.com to amy@worldvitalrecords.com.

The contest winner will receive 2 free tickets to the expo. All submissions will become the property of FamilyLink.com, Inc. and may be used for promotional purposes.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 21, 2008. Notified Wednesday January 23, 2008.

Wonderbase of the Week: 100 Databases From The Quintin Publications Collection

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

The Wonderbase of the Week consists of 100 databases from the Quintin Publications Collection. The databases will be free to access until January 24, 2008. Click here to access the records.

The majority of the databases that comprise the Wonderbase are family histories, with most of the histories about families with surnames beginning with V, Y or W.

Most of the histories include several thousand names. The largest database this week is The Wentworth Genealogy: Comprising the Origin of the Name, the Family in England, and a Particular Account of Elder William Wentworth, the Emigrant which contains more than 135,000 names. Other large databases include History of the Descendants of John Whitman with more than 95,000 names; Byberry Waltons: An Account of our Four English Brothers Nathaniel & Thomas & Daniel & William Walton, with more than 94,000 names; and Genealogy of the Waldo Family: A Record of Descendants of Cornelius Waldo, which is a two-volume set containing more than 77,000 names.

Many of these titles date back to the seventeenth century or earlier. Some of these titles are as follows: Genealogy of the Yardley Family, 1402-1881; Viele Records, 1613-1913; The Van Norden Family: Three Hundred Years in America, 1623-1923; and The Wight Family: Memoir of Thomas Wight of Dedham, Massachusetts, with Genealogical Notices of His Descendants, from 1637 to 1670.

As you navigate your way through these 100 titles, it is important to remember that even if the surname in the title is not one that is in your tree, one of your ancestors may be mentioned in the volume anyway. As always, these Quintin databases are completely indexed, searchable and free for ten days, which means that if your ancestor is in one of these volumes, you are likely to find him with a few simple clicks.

World Vital Records, Inc. Changes Name To FamilyLink.com, Inc.

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

PROVO, UT, January 14, 2008 - A new year brings a new name to the world’s fastest growing genealogical and family history corporation, World Vital Records, Inc. World Vital Records, Inc. has changed its name to FamilyLink.com, Inc., a name which better reflects the company’s mission of connecting families to one another through innovative online tools.

“We marvel at the opportunity that the Internet provides to build web sites and social networking applications that can literally reach millions of users. FamilyLink.com will be our umbrella brand for a whole portfolio of web sites, widgets, and applications that all help families get connected to each other and to the past,” said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com.

FamilyLink.com will continue to operate the WorldVitalRecords.com web site, with its 5,000 databases, nearly 1 billion records, and nearly 24,000 paying subscribers.

“We will continue to add new US and international records to the site every business day,” said Allen. “Our strong emphasis on aggregating vital records and other family history materials from around the world will continue, as will our use of the World Vital Records brand on our genealogical products. However, the company’s official name will now be FamilyLink.com, Inc.”

The company said it will also continue to grow its FamilyLink.com social network that has attracted more than 47,000 customers and has doubled its site traffic already this year. It will also continue to operate the We’re Related Facebook application, the #1 social application for families out of nearly 14,000 Facebook.com applications. We’re Related has more than 2 million users and is growing at a rate of 6,000 users a day. More Facebook applications are in the works.

“The FamilyLink.com name is more reflective of the broad mission of our company, which is to provide innovative tools to help families connect,” said David Lifferth, President, FamilyLink.com. “WorldVitalRecords.com will continue to provide hundreds of millions of vital records that family historians love, but as a company we are also creating tools and content for family members of all ages and interests.”

“Our enthusiastic team of genealogists and IT professionals is excited to keep up the tradition we have had of delivering extremely high quality resources and tools to our users at a very low cost,” said Lifferth.

xxx

Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
Family Link Corporation

http://www.worldvitalrecords.com

whitney@familylink.com

About FamilyLink.com, Inc.
FamilyLink.com, Inc. is a family of services that includes WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, and We’re Related on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families.

About World Vital Records, Inc.
Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, World Vital Records, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 470,000 monthly visitors, 6.4 million monthly pages views, and more than 22,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases including birth, death, military, census, and parish records, WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to extend your family tree. World Vital Records also runs FamilyLink.com, a social network for genealogists, and We’re Related, a popular Facebook application. Partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Ancestral Quest, Find A Grave, and FamilySearchâ„¢. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

About We’re Related

With more than 2 million users, We’re Related is one of the fastest growing social networks for genealogists. We’re Related is a family-based application on Facebook.com that allows individuals to find relatives on Facebook, connect with friends and family members, build family trees, and share news and photos.

About FamilyLink.com
FamilyLink.com is a social networking site that provides an innovative platform for individuals to connect, research family history, and preserve memories. FamilyLink.com has been created in a response to help genealogists from all over the world gather the information they need in a vibrantly efficient, fun, and easy way. Founded by Paul Allen in 2007, FamilyLink.com is a worldwide effort to help individuals collaborate on a global scale.

TidBit Research Strategies:Censuses-Check The Other Page

Friday, January 11th, 2008

By Amanda Forson, WorldVitalRecords.com

When a family member is on the top or the bottom of another page, check the next page as well. Whether or not there seems to be other family members, a thorough researcher will check the next or previous page to be sure they are not missing family members, especially when a head and wife are the only family members listed on the page. Otherwise, children (whether young or grown) can be missed easily.

Even when it is thought that “everyone for a particular family has been found,” check anyway. Better to be thorough than to be stubborn.