Archive for February, 2008

Housekeeping – Cleaning Up Those Locations

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

By Amanda Forson,

With only fifteen minutes used per day, this could take up a month’s worth of days depending upon the size of the file and the extent of location morass. It is easier to break up some projects more than it is for others, or is a useful activity when a family member wants to help but has no idea how to help with research. This task is time-consuming and mind-numbing, but necessary to get a database thoroughly cleaned out and useful. For those of LDS faith, this also helps eliminate duplications in work for the dead.

This article also assumes that a genealogical database for a family exists, and is intended for users with at least 1,000 or more “names” in a database.

Day One: Open the genealogical software of choice and find the master list of locations. For purposes of this article, Legacy Family Tree will be used as the example. For Legacy, that would be done by going to View-Master List-Location.

Day Two: Look at the list and see whether there is punctuation, numbers, or other information in the location fields besides the town, county, and state, or the parish, district, province, etc. Personal preference delineates how to look at places. I prefer sorting locations from smallest to largest as is the acceptable postal and geopolitical designations for my country. Other countries use different designations. It is up to the individual to decide how to look at locations, but for the case of this article, going from smallest location up to the country specification will be my designations.

Day Three: When noticing and wanting to edit punctuation, click on Edit on the right side of the screen and eliminate the excess punctuation. Excess <>’s, “Of,” commas starting a location, and other similar punctuation can be removed as wanted. After removing excessive primary punctuation, begin removing extra periods.

Day Four: Usually the screen will prompt whether you prefer to update all records with that designation. Personal preference is to update all records for purposes of brevity of the location list and constancy in specific areas, depending upon the time frame.

As my relatives come from different counties in the United States, various parishes in England, geographical regions of Slovakia, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scotland, there are at least that many places that need checking eventually. The more likely that I have one designation for the smallest place, instead of many designations; the more likely it is that I find all the relatives who lived in that area.

Example: Cold Spring, Putnam, New York
could be: Cold Springs, Putnam, New York
Cold Spring, Putnam County, New York
Cold Spring, Putnam, New York, USA
Cold Spring, Putnam County, New York, USA
Cold Springs, Putnam County, New York, USA

If searching for a place, all of these different options may be on the Master List. There could also be wrong counties or wrong place spellings, such as “Cold Springs” versus the correct, “Cold Spring.” Whenever possible, correct the different options to reflect ONE location. If possible, check for accuracy while correcting the location list. If lacking time for that, it is possible to do a mass US County Verification later.

Day Five: The designations for day four certainly do not pertain to when an area’s names evolved over time. When dealing with someone who lived and died in the same place, technically it is the same geographical location. However, it is also different places as an area grew or boundaries shifted. Use whatever was right for the time period.

Example: A person born in Honolulu, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, USA in 1952 who died in 1963, but lived in the same house the entire time would have died in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, USA.

Day Six: If time was not taken during the Day Five step, check for the counties now. Various software means help with checking this information. There is a US County Verifier on Legacy and other family history programs. There is also AniMap, and other software that aids in verifying county, country, or other location information.

Day Seven: Re-save your file with the clean information to make sure that your clean copy stays clean. Share it with family now, and upload it to to make faster connections with others interested in similar locations. As always, keep checking back at for new information!

BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Award: Ranks #1 Database Site For The Week

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008 ranked as the number 1 database site for the best of the Internet for Genealogists Award for the week!

Here is the comment from DearMyrtle’s site:
DATABASE SITE:, already expanding an impressive US collection of genealogy data, WVR will release releasing tomorrow the new World Collection mentioned in my previous blog entry. Paul Allen’s projects never fail to amaze me.

Happy family tree climbing! Myrt :)

DearMYRTLE, Your friend in genealogy.

Click here to view the full blog post.

A Note About World Collection Subscription Prices From David Lifferth, President,, Inc.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Shown above: David Lifferth, President,, Inc.

I wanted to take some time and explain to our members some of the important details of our World Collection. Without this information, our members may not fully appreciate the effort that has gone into creating this new collection on

The launch of the World Collection has taken a long time and we have spent many months working out the financial and logistical details of this important addition to We have struggled with the realities of costs and values that we are providing to our users.

We have tried for almost a year to license some of the key pieces of data that we now have in the World Collection for our regular $49 price. However, we have been unsuccessful in licensing these valuable databases that we want and our customers’ continuously request. We have had to make a difficult choice for our users. Our decision was between either:

A) could not include the databases that we could not license for a percentage of our $49 per year subscription cost, or

B) had to define a different business model that would allow us to pay a higher licensing fee per user.

We, at, Inc., made the business decision to create a new subscription model that allows us to pay a larger portion of a higher priced product in licensing fees to our content providers. This results in a sizable license fee from each $149 subscription fee that we pay to our content partners.

I do want to provide significant revenue for our content partners. It is important to me that we provide financial support for our content partners to help them fulfill their missions in maintaining and developing the valuable and diverse records that we provide access on our site for our subscribers.
The math to make this World Collection on a reality is that simple. makes approximately the same profit from a $149 World Collection that we do from a $49 US collection. We are paying a much higher licensing fee to make these databases available on

This was a difficult choice for us, but we have decided to license and develop more expensive content with a higher price point. We hope that users will find the UK Census, European BMD and Land Ownership Records, International Military records, exclusive Australian and Canadian databases to be valuable enough to pay $149. The people that want access to this data will either buy it from us or buy from someone else that is selling it for even more than we are.

We are not taking anything away from our current subscribers. We have “grandfathered” all of the international content that was part of their original $49.95 collection. These databases that were part of the original collection that have now been moved to the World Collection will still be accessible to that ‘international component’ of your original subscription as long as you are a member.

We want to take good care of our subscribers. We have gotten consideration from our content partners to offer introductory prices as low as we can to give our existing members full consideration for their subscriptions. We consider these membership dollars to be an investment in our company. And every month we try to add value to their membership in every way we can. I want to make every member satisfied with their membership. If we cannot make a subscriber happy, I wouldn’t feel good about keeping their money and we will return their subscription fee.

David Lifferth, President,

Note:, Inc. was formely known as World Vital Records, Inc. is now a service provided by, Inc. Launches World Genealogy Collection: A Billion Names From 33 Countries Coming Online

Monday, February 4th, 2008

PROVO, UT, February 4, 2008 — (a service of, Inc.) released today its flagship product, the World Collection, an online genealogy database containing more than 1.5 billion names from 35 countries.’s World Collection launch includes significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal.

“All over the world there are wonderful people who are digitizing and preserving historic records,” said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. “During the past year we have traveled and met with these content providers from more than a dozen countries. We are pleased today to announce that many of them have chosen to let us distribute their genealogical databases on the Internet.”

More than 20 companies have partnered with to make this new collection possible. They include 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.

“This is a very exciting announcement for our members. As we enter our second year, we have accomplished much including having more than 24,000 paid subscribers, 2 million users on our We’re Related application on Facebook, and have announced 2 billion names in our two major content collections, the US and World Collection. The number two seems to be common theme in this announcement as we enter our second stage,” said David Lifferth, President,, Inc.

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.

Census records from the UK comprise’s largest database in the World Collection. These records include the 1851, 1861, 1881, and 1891, 1901 censuses. These records are the official civil registration records for England and Wales from 1837 to the present. All of these censuses will be periodically posted county by county throughout the year. These censuses include images, and also a key-word searchable index.

“Alongside birth, marriage, and death records, census records are the most important building block for family historians,” said Elaine Collins, Commercial Director, Find My Past. “We feel is set for success, and we are excited to make our census records more accessible to an American audience who wouldn’t normally think of Find My Past as the first place to look for census records.”

The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) lists is another large database containing almost 9,000 passenger lists and millions of names. 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.

“I am very excited about this partnership. I remember when ISTG was one-year old, and everyone was supporting us. In return, I’m happy to partner with because they provide a service that is affordable and easily accessible on the Internet,” said Patty MacFarlane McCormack, Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.

The World Collection also includes newspapers from Australia, the Bahamas, Canada (over 80 newspaper representing all provinces), Chile, Ecuador, England, Ireland, and Mexico (more than 150 newspapers from 15 states).

Genealogical Publishing Company also adds more than 600 large databases to the World Collection including colonial and Irish genealogy, royal ancestry, and family history.

“We have been publishing at for 55 years, and we look forward to expanding our work into new territories, such as,” said Barry Chodak, President, Genealogical Publishing Company.

Individuals can access more than 5,000 genealogical databases, more than 2 billion names (these names are being added throughout the year), and the World Collection at


Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director, Inc.

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

Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original team,, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors, 9.4 million monthly pages views, and more than 25,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases including birth, death, military, census, and parish records, makes it easy to extend your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Genealogical Publishing Company, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find A Grave, and FamilySearchâ„¢. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

Tid-Bit Research Strategies- Finding Women on

Friday, February 1st, 2008

By Amanda Forson,

Most genealogists are used to seeing the maiden names of wives, mothers, sisters, etc., often forgetting that (at least in Western countries where the female surname is usually dropped in favor of the male) the woman would live most of her life under her husband’s surname. This is especially true in the South and other places where women’s property belonged to her husband or oldest son.

When searching for women, look for them with married names in addition to maiden names. Maiden names often only lasted for the first twenty to twenty-five years of a woman’s life. Few documents besides birth and marriage would list a woman’s maiden name otherwise. Look for married names for property transfers, obituaries, church records, etc. when searching for women’s records.