Archive for May, 2008

The Value of Government and Police Gazettes in Australian and New Zealand Genealogy

Friday, May 30th, 2008

By Sherry Lindsay, WorldVitalRecords.com

Most genealogists and family history enthusiasts are unaware of the immense value of the government and police gazettes available in Australia and New Zealand. Most family historians, even in Australia and New Zealand, don’t even know what the gazettes are, let alone how they can be used in genealogy research.

As part of its the World Collection launch, World Vital Records partnered with Archive CD Books Australia to provide a vast array of excellent content from Australia as well as other nearby countries. Included in that content are 276 databases, 174 of which are government and police gazettes, a highly valuable but underused resource for researching genealogy in that area of the world. Click here to view these databases.

Government gazettes typically contain information that the government wanted the general population of the state to be aware of. Generally this would include any sort of new government policy, taxing issues, land for sale, lists of unclaimed letters available at post offices and the like. These gazettes are often abundant in names, and even if your ancestor did not have a career in the government, it is still possible that you might find his name in a government gazette.

Police gazettes were a bit different, and often contain more amusing, anecdotal evidence. Police gazettes were generally published by states and territories each year, and they contained information meant especially for police. Do not assume, however, that only criminals’ names or police officers’ names were used in the gazettes; people of all types were mentioned in gazettes, even law-abiding citizens. For instance, a person who had been robbed would be mentioned in a gazette, and so would a person who had filed for a license to run a business within a town.

Because the gazettes generally include details about day-to-day life, they are rich in historical and genealogical data. Even if your ancestor is not mentioned specifically, browsing through a gazette from the time period and location in which he lived can help you have an understanding of what life was like for him.

You might think that these gazettes are of no value to those who don’t have Australian ancestors, but they can be of great value to those doing descendancy research. With so many resources available for Australia, it might be worth your time to discover if one of your ancestors had descendants who immigrated to Australia.

Finding your ancestor in government or police records can be intriguing. Perhaps you have a petty thief in your family. Or perhaps your ancestor was assaulted while traveling to the market. Perhaps your ancestor found an abandoned baby. While these events might not provide the much sought-after dates and places, they do provide insight into their lives and perhaps give enough information to help you put together a few more pieces of your genealogy puzzle.

GenClass.com Partners With FamilyLink.com, Inc. To Provide Free Family History Courses

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

PROVO, UT, May 28, 2008 —GenClass.com, a leading online genealogy course provider, has recently partnered with FamilyLink.com, Inc. to provide free introductory courses exclusively to WorldVitalRecords.com members.

“This partnership is a win-win proposition. One frequent request we get from our members is for help in starting their genealogy and family history. The training that GenClass provides will be a great help to those who want to learn more and expand their skills,” said David Lifferth, President, FamilyLink.com, Inc. “We are happy to provide these two training courses for free to our members by a fast-growing leader in the genealogy field.”

“We seek to work with people who are flexible, and look toward the future. We have been impressed with how WorldVitalRecords.com has partnered with a variety of organizations and companies to provide new resources, talent, and great products,” said Schelly Talalay Dardashti, GenClass co-founder and instructor. “We like what we see at WorldVitalRecords.com, and think it is a good match for a partnership.”

FamilyLink.com, Inc. and GenClass have been working together on this partnership over the past year. The initial success of this partnership has been overwhelming: All 400 openings for the first four free courses (June and July) were filled within five days.

“There are many genealogy courses out there in a variety of formats, but our operating model can be summed up as short-term, economical, information-packed courses with enthusiastic and passionate expert instructors,” said Micha Reisel, GenClass co-founder, instructor, and administrator. “We recognize that people are busy, so we provide them with as much information as possible in the most practical way possible.”

WorldVitalRecords.com members can begin registering on June 20, 2008 for August’s free courses on genealogy basics. GenClass provides 23 additional for-fee genealogy courses taught by nine professional genealogists. See all courses– including Native American Genealogy, Eastern European Genealogy, Canadian Genealogy, Brick Wall Research and more– at http://genclass.com.

“People are bombarded with so much information, but what they really need is direction on how to approach this passion for genealogy that they have developed,” added Reisel. “We want to empower these individuals from the beginning with knowledge to assist them with their genealogy and family history. All of GenClass.com’s offerings are designed to fulfill that need.”

xxx

Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
FamilyLink.com, Inc.
http://www.worldvitalrecords.com
whitney@familylink.com

About GenClass.com
GenClass.com focuses on providing short-term, practical, economical online genealogy courses on many topics taught by expert instructors based in the United States, Canada, Scotland, and elsewhere. During 2008, GenClass has scheduled 93 courses on 23 topics, including Organizing Your Family History, Finding Your Female Ancestors, Family Tree Maker 2008–The Basics, Salt Lake City–the Largest Genealogical Library in the World, and many others.

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

About WorldVitalRecords.com
Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com, Inc. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 9.4 million monthly pages views and has more than 30,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases–including birth, death, military, census, and parish records–WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, 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 FamilySearch. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

30 Years of Naval Academy Records Online at WorldVitalRecords.com

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The major collection of the week has arrived just in time for Memorial Day and includes more than 30 years of Naval Academy content from E-Yearbook.com. This content will be free to access at WorldVitalRecords.com for ten days (until June 4, 2008). Click here to access the Naval Academy database.

The United States Naval Academy is a national institution established on October 10, 1845 to provide education for undergraduate students who are training to be naval officers. The Academy is located in Annapolis, Maryland, and is often referred to as “Annapolis,” “The Academy,” “The Boat School,” or “Canoe U.”

The official yearbook of the Naval Academy is called The Lucky Bag Yearbook. The content found in this yearbook can be found online at WorldVitalRecords.com under the Naval Academy – Lucky Bag Yearbook database. Although some of the collection is currently online, WorldVitalRecords.com plans to have the entire pre-1960 collection online by July 4, 2008. Each yearbook contains hundreds of pages consisting of thousands of midshipmens’ pictures with names.

“This is the first of several large military yearbook collections we will digitize in the coming months, which will eventually grow to include more than a million pictures with names. The Lucky Bag Yearbook collection provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of the midshipmen and the military leaders who have shaped the history of this country,” said Bryan Michael, President, E-Yearbook.com. “Browsing through this collection brings a unique historical perspective to one of the most revered institutions of our Armed Forces.”

The term Lucky Bag refers to the “lost and found” bag which sailors were able to search through when they returned from deployment. If they found personal articles they had lost, they were considered to be lucky.

The Navel Academy database is unique for a variety of reasons. First, it contains a complete list of all of the midshipmen who attended the academy. The database also provides interesting details about the midshipmen, such as their personalities, likes, dislikes, nicknames, what they were known for, as well as historical information. Many famous admirals, successful businessmen and politicians graduated from the Naval Academy and can be found in this database.

The Naval Academy collection is just one of several large service academy collections (U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, etc.) E-Yearbook.com will be scanning over the next few months. Each individual database will be announced when it comes online at WorldVitalRecords.com.

Cemetery Upkeep – The True Meaning of Memorial Day

Monday, May 26th, 2008

By Amanda Forson, WorldVitalRecords.com

Started as a day for remembering fallen Civil War soldiers, Memorial Day evolved into a national holiday in 1971. On this day, local relatives help to clean up grave sites, especially in places where there aren’t maintenance fees for graves. Cemetery maintenance can be as simple as paying for the maintenance by the grounds crew at a cemetery to as complex as planting flowers where allowed. Most discount stores have silk flowers available for purchasing for the day’s events.

Here are some tips for making Memorial Day about the person, and not simply a gardening exercise:

Day One: Choose an ancestor or family in a local cemetery, preferably a relative when possible.

Day Two:
Research the person or family chosen. Try to find out as much as possible about this person or family.

Day Three: Post the findings on the Internet to help possible researchers from the family.

Day Four:
Check with the local cemetery to see what the normal or current grounds-keeping requirements are.

Day Five: Either contribute to the upkeep of the grave(s) at the cemetery, or organize a group (whether family or other genealogy enthusiasts, or friends looking for a useful way of spending Memorial Day) to help with the upkeep.

Day Six: Making sure to keep within the guidelines and laws of the area, prepare for the gardening work by obtaining gloves, trowels or small shovels, rakes, and either self-seeding annuals or non-vine perennial flowers. Remember to bring along bottled water for workers, and if possible, serve refreshments afterwards. If the person in question had a military record, placing a flag at the gravesite is appropriate during daytime hours.

Day Seven: Go to work! Carry out your plan. Share with the workers (either when driving over, in some sort of small ceremony, or while working at the site) what was learned about the person in your research. Consider posting before and after pictures of the grave site to a website, and sharing them with other family members. This task can easily be started by one person and turned into a group effort, or kept the effort of one. If scouts are looking for activities, this could make a great Eagle Scout project depending upon the cemetery and the size of the job needed.

How A Genealogy Should Be Written

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

By Amanda Forson, WorldVitalRecords.com

Many genealogical researchers look for relatives and are hungry to know how to share their hard-earned findings. What is a model for a good genealogy?

The database, known on the WorldVitalRecords.com site as The Descendants of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, is a great model for a well-researched genealogy. Genealogies through the years have often been fabricated to give the contracted party legitimacy to govern. The fabrications frequently including references to ancient royalty, prophets of the Bible, and on occasion, even deity (be it Zeus, Christ, or otherwise).

While the author does not mean to offend those who cherish such genealogies, current research often disproves these lines quickly and without apology. Such genealogies are leads for current research but unless they can be proven with as-close-to-the-primary-source-as-possible documents, then they are unlikely to be accurate. Page after page throughout the book, The Descendents of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, a Godfrey Library database, shows primary documentation.

The narrative story comes alive because the documents are included in entirety, highlighting the family in question. The format is useful and favorable. Some highlights of the genealogy include transcribed documents, indexes of names of relatives and non-relatives, estate inventories, deeds, vital information, pictures of houses, etc.

When the book was published, it was the fashion to abbreviate states of the United States, so they may be overlooked as the formatting of the time. Present-day genealogies should always spell out names, especially since abbreviations can be confused between countries. The author of this book, Jared Sidney Torrance, was the founder of the city of Torrance, California, and was a real estate developer in Los Angeles, dying shortly before the establishment of a hospital in the Torrance area .

His genealogical interest first started at the age of sixty-three (1915-16), when he found letters from his mother. Mr. Torrance subsequently completed research for this book during the next five years, by using only a few hours a day. The genealogy was published two years following the researcher’s death, but as the explanatory notes at the beginning of the book indicate, the notes were included, and all that was needed for publication purposes was the final index.

Although not a professional genealogist, or a professional historian, Jared Sidney Torrance’s genealogical legacy is an organized, methodical book that is a model for future researchers. Especially considering that he did not use his entire lifetime in research, but did it a few hours at a time, he was able to produce a quality genealogical book worthy of inclusion in the Godfrey Library, and online through WorldVitalRecords.com.

“Jared Sidney Torrance,” Wikipedia.org. [Accessed 12 May 2008.]

Major Collection of the Week: 480 Databases From Godfrey Memorial Library

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

The Major Collection this week at WorldVitalRecords.com consists of 480 databases from the Godfrey Memorial Library. Trace your family’s roots with a plethora of pedigrees, family histories, biographies, memorials, and historical books.Highlights in this collection are the selections on Abraham Lincoln. Descendant or not, one will surely find his story interesting, from his early life (Abraham Lincoln, A History), political career and family life (Abe Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories), to the circumstances of his death (Assassination of Lincoln: A History of the Great Conspiracy).

Go way back into your family’s history by reading selections like Gleanings From the Parker Records, 1271-1893 and Genealogy of the Marsh Family : Outline For Five Generations of the Families of John of Salem, 1633.

Databases from the Major Collection are fully indexed, searchable and free for ten days.

FamilyLink.com, Inc. to Add Online Functionality and Enhancements to Popular Family History Library Catalog

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

PROVO, UT, May 14, 2008 — FamilyLink.com, Inc has teamed with FamilySearch to improve the user experience of the Family History Library Catalog for millions of people worldwide by adding new Web 2.0 functionality and enhancements. The improvements will also enable users to spend research time more efficiently by directing them to the information that will generate the quickest results.

FamilyLink.com’s improvements to the catalog will make it searchable by major online search engines and allow users to annotate item descriptions–increasing their accuracy and enriching the content.

FamilySearch’s Family History Library Catalog is used extensively by family history enthusiasts. It is a window to the vast collection of genealogical resources amassed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the past 100 years–millions of microfilms, fiche, and books from 110+ countries throughout the world.

Genealogists use the popular online catalog to see if FamilySearch has any material that can help them in their research. Materials are then ordered on an interlibrary loan one FamilySearch’s 4,500 local family history centers worldwide.

“The enhancements FamilyLink.com will help make to the Family History Library Catalog will increase its usability and exposure. Beginners will find it particularly easier to navigate, and searching and browsing will be more rewarding,” said Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs, FamilySearch.

Improved Searching

In a typical search of the Family History Library Catalog, users first identify known facts about a family and then go through a step-by-step process to locate records. Newly integrated FamilyLink.com tools will help users better identify information. Guided searches will help users decide what they want to learn about their families, point them to relevant records, help obtain and search the records, provide clues to more information, and assist with the application of the new information.

As part of the enhancement, FamilyLink.com will make searches more useful by allowing the user to browse, sort (by popularity, relevance, most used, etc.), and perform multiple searches. A new “probability engine” feature will calculate the likelihood that a particular source contains the desired item. It will also be able to search across someone’s entire family tree to determine which ancestry lines have the highest likelihood of success based on known sources.

“We are excited to work with FamilySearch and to add this extensive catalog to our database collections,” said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com, Inc. “We have looked at doing this collaboration for quite a while. We will enhance the catalog by connecting it with new innovative tools, along with the best resources of our WorldVitalRecords.com databases, the FamilyLink.com social networking site, and our We’re Related application in Facebook. Putting all of these resources together will dramatically change the meaning of ’search’ in genealogy.”

Social Networking

Another enhancement to the Family History Library Catalog will be its increased interactivity. Every entry in the catalog will link to an online or digital source, if available. The user will then be able to link directly to the publisher, buy the book, or search for the nearest copy.

FamilyLink.com will also add an annotation feature that allows users to suggest a new source, enhance an existing source by adding a place (location) or a time period, and rate and review a source based on its usefulness.

“We know that search traffic will increase on both the FamilyLink services and FamilySearch’s site when users discover the new guided search tools,” said FamilyLink.com President David Lifferth. “Last month we had over 700,000 unique visitors and 8.5 million page views. We are predicting that these numbers will more than double after the first quarter of use.”

xxx

Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
FamilyLink.com, Inc.
http://www.worldvitalrecords.com
whitney@familylink.com

Paul Nauta
FamilySearch Public Affairs Manager
nautapg@familysearch.org

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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

About WorldVitalRecords.com
Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com, Inc. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 9.4 million monthly pages views and has more than 30,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases–including birth, death, military, census, and parish records–WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, 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 FamilySearch. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

FamilyLink.com, Inc. Press Conference TOMORROW at NGS Conference to Announce Major Collaboration and Partnerships

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

FamilyLink.com, Inc./WorldVitalRecords.com will be hosting a press conference tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. (Wednesday, May 14) at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The event will be held in the Fremont Room located on the Mezzanine Level of the Hyatt Regency Crown Center for those who would like to attend.

The announcement will include exclusive information about an exciting new collaboration with FamilySearch and partnerships with Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild and Godfrey Memorial Library. Look for the press release to be posted on this blog tomorrow.

FamilySearch Teams With FamilyLink.com, Inc. to Bring German Collection Online

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

PROVO, UT, May 13, 2008 — FamilySearch recently announced an inaugural project in concert with FamilyLink.com, Inc., to digitize and index a valuable German genealogy collection containing over 3.5 million names from the period of 1650-1875.

The Brenner Collection contains 3.5 million names on more than 750 rolls of microfilm, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million images. A final count will be determined once all of the records have been indexed. The complete Brenner Collection database is scheduled to be online at WorldVitalRecords.com by the end of this year, although segments of the database will be launched in the interim.

“The genealogy market for German records is hungry for online data. FamilyLink.com was selected for this project because of the company’s focus on international vital record sets,” said Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs, FamilySearch.

The FamilySearch Records Access Program (RAP), announced in 2007, works with record custodians and companies to preserve and publish the world’s genealogical records faster, more effectively, and efficiently. Under the RAP agreement for the Brenner Collection, FamilySearch will digitize the records, and FamilyLink.com will create the indexes. When completed, the index will be available for free at FamilySearch.org and WorldVitalRecords.com. Access to the images will be free to FamilySearch members and WorldVitalRecords.com subscribers.

“This is our first project with FamilySearch, and we are excited to collaborate with them,” said Jonathan Burton, COO, FamilyLink.com, Inc. “This database will be an invaluable part of our growing German collection. Certainly it will be priceless to the descendants worldwide of the families listed in these records.”

The Brenner Collection was discovered in a Bavarian barn and includes data from approximately 97 parishes primarily within the vicinity of Ansbach, and also other places in Mittelfranken, Bavaria.

“I love that that these German records have found a home on our site,” said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com, Inc. “This collection will be a highlight of the German records coming soon on our site, and will provide important links to information for those with German ancestry.”

Using the extracts found in the Brenner Collection is comparable to searching the original parish registers, with the exception that these records have been alphabetized and arranged in families by FamilySearch over a ten-year period.

“The Brenner Collection is a fabulous collection because you receive information on such a large section of the population. No other microfilm collection exists of this material,” said Warren Bittner, German collection management specialist for FamilySearch. “You would have to go from village to village to receive the same information that you can now find in one place.”

xxx

Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
FamilyLink.com, Inc.
http://www.worldvitalrecords.com
whitney@familylink.com

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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

About WorldVitalRecords.com
Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com, Inc. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 9.4 million monthly pages views and has more than 30,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases-including birth, death, military, census, and parish records-WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, 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 FamilySearch. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.