Archive for January, 2008

Success Story: New Insight For Pasenker Family

Friday, January 11th, 2008

The following success story was submitted to from Alan Steinfeld. The article first appeared in a family newsletter.

Labeling Without Punishing

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

By Amanda Forson,
How to Keep Sources and Citation Information Together Without Damaging the Document

Day One: Choose a document for labeling.

Day Two: Type or write the citation on acid-free paper.

Day Three: Place the acid-free citation inside the same folder as the document, if the document is filed.

Day Four: Place in a plastic sheet protector placed next to the document, also in its own plastic sheet protector, dependent upon the document size.

Day Five: For ease of use later, a good idea would be to collect all citations for an individual’s documents and place two copies in files:
a) copy of citations in item order as the items are in the files currently.
b) copy of citations in alpha order, ensuring that a citation does not receive undue double attention.

This works best when the citations are typed on a computer/word processor and are easily maneuvered as wanted.

Day Six: Make sure all document citations are included in genealogical software, or included on websites to make sure that they are published along with family information.

Day Seven: When finding new documents (and if there is the ability to control settings on the copies made), allow a half inch around the side of the document for labeling on the actual document, eliminating further need for separate labels in the future.

Note: When doing this, cite the FULL citation, not simply film numbers. The point of the citation is to get a researcher back to the part of film where the document is located or to the original as quickly as possible. A lone film number means nothing without context.

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

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

This week’s Wonderbase of the Week comes from the Quintin Publications Collection and contains 50 databases. The majority of the databases that comprise the Wonderbase are family histories, with most of the histories about families with surnames beginning with W. Click here to view the databases, which will be free until January 17, 2008.

Most of the histories include several thousand names. The largest database this week is The Washington Ancestry: and Records of the McClain, Johnson, and Forty Other Colonial American Families which contains nearly 215,000 names. Other large databases this week Genealogy of Wilkinson and Kindred Families with more than 46,000 names; The Wannamaker, Salley, Mackay, and Bellinger Families: Genealogies and Memoirs with more than 35,000; and The Walcott Book: History and Genealogy of the American Family of Walcott and Notes of English Walcotts with more than 30,000 names.

Shown above: South Front of Washington Manor House, Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England

Many of these titles date back to the seventeenth century or earlier. Some of these titles are as follows: Col. John Wise of England and Virgina (1617-1695): His Ancestors and Descendants; Genealogy of Two Branches of the Whittier Family, from 1620-1873; Genealogy of the Woodward Family, 1584-1926; and The Wanderer-Wander Family of Bohemia, Germany and America, 1450-195.

As you navigate your way through these 50 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 and searchable, which means that if your ancestor is in one of these volumes, you are likely to find him with a few simple clicks.

We’re Related Becomes #1 Social App For Families

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

We’re Related attracts more than 2 million users in less than 3 months

PROVO, UT, January 8, 2008— In less than three months since it was introduced, Were Related, a Facebook application created by Provo based, has become the #1 social application for families, out of more than 11,000 applications, with more than 2 million users.

Were Related allows people to create and share their family tree, connect with members of their living families, and find relatives on Facebook.

Since October, nearly 700,000 family trees have been built or uploaded and thousands of photos and family documents are being uploaded to individual Ancestor Pages. CEO Paul Allen, who founded and in the 1990s, says that Facebook provides an incredible platform for virally spreading web applications. “It took us 140 days to reach a million users when we launched in 1998. But Were Related reached 1 million installs in just 29 days.”

Members are adding millions of names to their family trees and inviting other family members to view their trees. The application is particular popular in Canada, where more than 25 percent of the population is using Facebook.

We wanted to make it easy for anyone to create a family tree and to share it with their relatives,” said Jason McGowan, Were Related product manager. “Now we have thousands of customers asking us for new features and giving us lots of great feedback. We intend to focus a great deal of energy on our Facebook applications and we have some exciting plans for this year.”

Were Related already has users from 189 countries and from all 50 states. Part of the reason the application has spread so quickly is that family members tell other family members about it.

“This application is the cat’s meow, especially since finding long lost family we haven’t seen in 20 years. Keep up the good work,” said Michelle Little, Were Related user, Halifax, NS.

“I really am enjoying this little application, which just allows me to show off the people I’m related to, and I can appreciate that. It’s just a way to remind all how were related. I like it a lot,” said Lizmari Collazo, Were Related user, Des Moines, IA.

“I’m totally digging this app. I love that I can see a list of my potential relations and add them to my tree with a click of a button, and uploading my gedcom (with over 2200 people) was surprisingly easy,” said

Individuals can install the Were Related application by searching for Were Related in the application directory on Facebook.


Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
World Vital Records, Inc.

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 that allows individuals to find relatives on Facebook, connect with friends and family members, build family trees, and share news and photos.

Add Substance To Your Ancestors’ Lives

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

By Sherry Lindsay,
Often, learning about ancestors and their lives can become a redundant list of names, places and dates. Perhaps there are a few additional pieces of information like profession, honors received, land purchased and sold, and other tidbits from various records that hold genealogical data.

For many people, these simple outlines of people’s lives are enough to keep the researcher completely captivated by his/her ancestors. Other people, though, need more substance to find their ancestors’ lives interesting or to feel emotionally connected to their ancestors. One of the best ways to add substance to your ancestors’ lives is to research the historic events that happened during their lives. Doing this transforms genealogy into family history.

There are numerous ways to learn about historical context, the primary way being to read literature written about the time periods during which your ancestors lived. You can also read about events that happened during their lifetimes, and more general histories about people who lived during that same time period.

In researching a family living in Chicago during the 1850s, I’ve read books about the development of Chicago, urban life during the time period, books about women during the time period, and online resources about the history of Catholicism and law in Chicago. All of these resources somehow related to the ancestors I was researching.

This sort of research has strengthened my understanding of my ancestors. While the vast majority of them left no sort of journal accounting for their day to day comings and goings and their general lifestyles, I can at least guess and begin to understand what their lifestyles were like. I’ve learned what was typical for people of their income status, religion, location and time.

Contextual research certainly doesn’t solve my complicated research queries, but sometimes it does lead me to resources I otherwise might not have checked.

For example, when I learned the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was built in Chicago during the time of my ancestor and became the primary church for the Irish Catholics in the city, it helped me find the christening records for the rest of the children in a large family. I might have found the information otherwise by tediously searching the records for every other Catholic Church in the Chicago region, but instead I knew exactly where to go to obtain the records I needed.

I’ve also used contextual research to understand naming patterns, reasons for immigration and family size.

Contextual research is like the meat on what is otherwise merely a skeletal structure. It can provide clues for future places to research, an understanding of cultural patterns, and can create interest for family members that otherwise may find family history rather dull.

Try The New Ancestor Pages At We’re Related On

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

We’re Related is a fast-growing application on Facebook that has nearly two million users! Recently We’re Related added functionality to allow you to add ancestor pages.

What is an Ancestor Page?

Of course birth, marriage and death dates are important to know about an individual. Now you can add details to the lives of our ancestors. Using the ancestor pages, you can add a picture of your family member. Then you can post stories and experiences about this individual. The information is archived and shows up in your family tree. For example, when you click on the name of the individual in your family tree, his/her ancestor page will come up showing the information you added.

How do I access the Ancestor Pages?

1. Go to
2. Go to the We’re Related application. (You need to download the We’re Related application for this link to work. If you have not downloaded this application, click here and search for We’re Related.)
3. Click on Family Tree.
4. Add a name to the Family Tree.

4. Click on the name of the individual for whom you would like to create an ancestor page.
5. Have fun adding pictures, stories, etc.

Wonderbase of the Week: 100 Databases From Simmons Historical Publications

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

This week’s Wonderbase of the Week comes from the Simmons Historical Publications collection. The databases include a series of records from Graves County, Kentucky. Located in Western Kentucky, Graves County was formed in 1824 from Hickman County. Early settlers came primarily from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Click here to view the records.

The Simmons collection for Graves County is quite substantial. It includes indexes to the federal census for several years, county deed books, funeral home records from the 1920s, county cemetery extracts, various church records, tax lists from 1824, newspaper abstracts beginning in 1876 and a variety of other valuable records.

All of these records are transcribed from the originals and contain excellent genealogical data. Anyone who has researched families from the American South knows how difficult it can be to find records for that region of the country. Fortunately these Graves County records are abundant and are now available on World Vital Records and will be free for 10 days (until January 10, 2008).