Archive for June, 2008

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) Online Passenger Ship Lists Now Browseable at WorldVitalRecords.com

Monday, June 16th, 2008

PROVO, UT, June 16, 2008 — More than 9,000 passenger lists, containing millions of names from the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG), are now online at WorldVitalRecords.com. Approximately 200 of these lists were launched in February when ISTG announced its partnership with FamilyLink.com, Inc, but now all 9,000 of the lists are browseable. Beginning June 20, these records will also be searchable using WorldVitalRecords.com’s global search. Click here to access this content.

“I am very excited about this partnership. I’m happy to partner with FamilyLink.com, Inc. because they provide a service that is affordable and easily accessed on the Internet. Knowing who came before you is a heart’s desire, and it is information that is important for all of us to know,” said Patty MacFarlane McCormack, Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.

The ISTG records include information such as surname, captain’s name, port of arrival/departure, and name of the ship.

“When our content acquisition team came across the ISTG records, we were looking for records from Portugal. Not only did we find records from Portugal, but passenger lists from more than 35 countries. These lists are invaluable to family historians to help locate their ancestors,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Partnerships, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

McCormack claims the success of the site should be attributed to the 500+ people who have volunteered work on these lists over the years, including the 250 that are currently volunteers.

“I’m blessed to have volunteers who are so totally dedicated to this cause. I could not do this without them. I coordinate the overall effort, but my volunteers are some of the most dedicated people in the world,” McCormack said. “Our mission statement: ‘Bringing Our Ancestors Home: Reuniting Our Families’ really sums up what we are all about. People find their ancestors on our site, and they write to us. We then include any other information they can provide directly to a link on the passenger list. They are so grateful for the work we do, and we hear it every day. It is what keeps us going.”

ISTG has helped thousands of individuals since McCormack began asking for volunteers to help with the transcription of the passenger lists in 1998.

At the time, McCormack was affiliated with RootsWeb’s Ships List. There were many online discussions regarding how scarce passengers lists were on the Internet. Because of this, McCormack wrote to a few individuals on the listserv and told them she wanted to start a group to help bring an increased number of passenger lists online. The idea was not received very warmly. In fact, some individuals on the listserv sent discouraging remarks.

“I heard, ‘It has been tried many times before. It has always failed. You won’t be able to do it. It will cost too much money, and it is impossible.’ Really that is all I needed to hear, and I was determined to make it happen,” McCormack said.

McCormack sent out a new email and received 20 responses from individuals who wanted to help. Not long after, 14 lists were posted on the Web from the volunteers’ work and were part of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild site.

“Transcribing manifests, with their hard-to-read handwriting, and bringing them to life online is a labor of love” said Pam O’Day, ISTG charter member and surname coordinator from Havre de Grace, MD. “My own contribution to the Guild is to upload the surnames from the manifests into alphabetic files for ease in researching. Our work will not be done until the last available manifest has been transcribed.”

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Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director
FamilyLink.com, Inc.

http://www.worldvitalrecords.com

whitney@familylink.com

About Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) was founded by a small group of people in late September of 1998. Today, ISTG has more 500 volunteers who work diligently to decipher and transcribe passenger lists which are then uploaded to its Web site.

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. FamilyLink.com, Inc. has more than 1.9 million unique global visitors each month and 17.5 million impressions per month. Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools. More than 30,000 individuals have subscribed to WorldVitalRecords.com. With more than a billion records and 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.

Win Two Free Tickets to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree June 27-June 29

Friday, June 13th, 2008

If you have been thinking about attending the 2008 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree on June 27-June 29, here is your chance to win two free tickets!

How do you enter?

Describe a favorite experience you have had while researching your ancestors on WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, or We’re Related on Facebook. Email your entry to Whitney at Whitney@familylink.com.

The winner of the contest will win two free tickets (a $180 value) to the SCGS Jamboree, which is the largest genealogy conference on the West Coast. Entries are due on Friday, June 20, 2008 at 8 p.m.(MST). The winner will be notified on Monday June 23, 2008. (If you have already registered for the conference, and win, you will be reimbursed for your ticket.) All submissions will become the property of FamilyLink.com, Inc. and may be used for promotional purposes.

If you do not want to enter the competition, but still would like to attend the Jamboree, sign up now. Preregister before June 15. Until June 15, you can also register for the Friday bus trip and guided tour of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. If you prefer, you can�attend either of the free Friday morning sessions:Introduction to Genealogy, or the Kids’ Genealogy Camp (ages 5+).

FamilyLink.com, Inc. will be a sponsor at the Jamboree. We hope you will join us at our booth. David Lifferth, President, FamilyLink.com, Inc. will also be speaking at the Jamboree on Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. The title of his presentation is Innovative Family Tools to Connect Families.

Seats are still available for all of the special events, including the Friday night banquet with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak; Saturday Effective Society Management breakfast and panel discussion; Saturday evening’s dinner with Dick Eastman; and the Sunday morning Presidential Genealogy with Chris Child and Gary Boyd Roberts of NEHGS. Reservations for the meals will close on June 15.

The Jamboree will be held at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank, California. This year, the program will include speakers and lectures of particular interest to those researching German, Eastern European, and Jewish roots. These include John T. Humphrey on German records, Peter Lande on “Holocaust Records as a Source for All Genealogists,” which includes how to obtain records from Bad Arolsen; Steve Morse on “One-Step Webpages” and several others.

Many well-known professional genealogists, among them Dick Eastman, Tom Underhill, Arlene Eakle, and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, will speak about online and traditional resources, tech applications for genealogy, including several DNA talks, German ancestry, genealogy applications for today, such as family health histories, dealing with family secrets and black sheep, finding living relatives, and more.

A featured session will be the first-ever Blogger Summit, which will feature seven of the leading genealogy bloggers: Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter; Steve Danko of Steve’s Genealogy Blog; George G. Morgan, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak of Megan’s Roots World and RootsTelevision, Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe, and Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings. Moderating the panel discussion will be Leland Meitzler of GenealogyBlog.com.

You can find full descriptions of speakers, lectures, evening events, and you can pre-register at this website: www.scgsgenealogy.com and the Jamboree blog at www.genealogyjamboree.blogspot.com.

Map It Out: Using Maps to Answer Family History Questions

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

By Sherry Lindsay, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

It is often said that in beginning research on a family, you need three types of basic information: a name, a date, and a place. In solving research problems it is generally important to know the name of the place, where it is located on a map, and perhaps how it relates (or related) to the places that surrounded it. However, learning even more about a place through mapping can be a great boon to solving family history puzzles and learning more about the ancestor’s way of life.

In researching a place, it is very helpful to find maps of the location from the time your ancestors lived there. Sometimes it is difficult to find such maps, and sometimes even when those maps are available they can be difficult to decipher. I tend to prefer a simple street map, particularly if I am researching a non-rural area.

Using the map, locate the address where the family lived using a record like a directory or census. From there, it is important to locate the local civic or religious buildings and jurisdictions. You can usually use a research guide to help you identify things like churches, and then you can use the Internet or other research materials to identify the location of these of these other places.

If you don’t know much about the family, this process of mapping it out can help you choose which records would be most likely to have information about your family. For example, it can help you identify which church your ancestors attended, which cemetery they were most likely buried in, and other sorts of useful information. Of course, you’ll want to take into account the family’s religion, if you do already know it. Knowing the locations of all the Catholic churches in the area won’t do you much good if your ancestors had been staunch Methodists for generations.

Mapping can also be crucial in helping you identify how your family fits into the extended family. If you are researching a family with a common name, using the census and directories can help you identify which other people with that common name are most likely to be related. This is not a sure-fire way of identifying family members, but since families often lived near each other, knowing where all the Browns were in a county or city can help you pin down which ones are most likely to be a part of the extended family. Perhaps you will find that family members lived near each other because they divided family land amongst themselves. Or perhaps several branches of an extended family followed each other in a similar migration pattern. Using maps will help you identify these sorts of scenarios.

Not only can mapping help you solve research problems, it can also make a visit to the place all the more exciting. There are probably numerous places where your ancestors lived that would make for a great family trip. Mapping out the location will help you better utilize your time in that place and help you see how the place has changed since your ancestor lived there.

MarketingSherpa Names Paul Allen 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

PROVO, UT, June 11, 2008 MarketingSherpa, the leading publisher of marketing case studies, recently named Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com, Inc., 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year for the online subscription industry.

“MarketingSherpa’s Entrepreneur of the Year recognition calls out a member of the online subscription industry that we believe can be an inspiration to other marketers by demonstrating that you don’t have to be a huge brand name or have endless supplies of money to market yourself,” said Eric Stockton, President of MarketingSherpa.

This is the eighth year that MarketingSherpa has awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year at its Selling Online Subscriptions Summit which is held annually in New York City. More than 200 top executives of the paid online content and subscriber services industries attended this year’s Summit in May.

“I am honored to have been selected for this award. I have been relying on MarketingSherpa case studies and summits for years,” said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com, Inc. “They have been my favorite single source for Internet marketing know-how since I discovered them in 2001.”

The award is presented each year to an individual who has had great success leading an online company without major corporate backing. Past winners include companies such as TheLadders.com and AskTheBuilder.com.

“We chose Paul Allen this year because of the rapid growth he’s been able to achieve with WorldVitalRecords.com, and the way his team uses a combination of tried-and-true subscription marketing efforts and emerging tactics, such as developing a Facebook application that’s been downloaded by 3.5 million people,” Stockton said. “He’s also passionate about his business – online genealogy – and about the online subscription business model, and about the potential of Web 2.0 technologies as a significant opportunity for subscription marketers.”

Allen has founded several companies, including Ancestry.com in 1997 and MyFamily.com in 1998. He also founded 10X Marketing in 2002 and FundingUniverse in 2004. His latest venture is FamilyLink.com, Inc, a family of services that includes WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, and We’re Related on Facebook.

FamilyLink.com, Inc. was founded in 2006 and currently has more than 30 employees dedicated to creating and implementing innovative tools to connect families. The company’s subscriber base has grown as a result of its aggressive affiliate marketing program and its co-marketing deals with partners. Since the company was founded in 2006, more than 35 different companies and organizations from across the world have partnered with FamilyLink.com, Inc. Allen credits his employees and the company’s partners for FamilyLink.com’s growth.

“Each company milestone we’ve reached happened because of a collaboration with our partners,” Allen said.

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

About Marketing Sherpa
MarketingSherpa is a research firm publishing practical case studies and benchmark guides for its community of marketers and thousands of weekly case study readers. Topics covered include practical how-to and exclusive data and proven tactics in business-to-business marketing, ecommerce marketing, email marketing, search marketing, telemarketing, media relations, landing page design, marketing measurement and online subscription marketing. The firm also operates six annual Summits attended by thousands of marketers. MarketingSherpa, along with MarketingExperiments and InTouch, is part of the MECLABS Group.

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. FamilyLink.com, Inc. has more than 1.9 million unique global visitors each month and 17.5 million impressions per month. Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools. More than 30,000 individuals have subscribed to WorldVitalRecords.com. With more than a billion records and 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.

395 titles from Genealogical Publishing Company and the Godfrey Memorial Library

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

The Major Collection for this week includes 395 titles from Genealogical Publishing Company and the Godfrey Memorial Library. These databases will be launched throughout the week, and will be available free for 10 days.

The databases include books in the categories of local histories, family histories and genealogies, biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and extracts from diaries, and transcripts and indexes of public records.

The amount of transcripts and indexes of public records is especially of note this week as they frequently lead to original records, which are crucial to doing family history. A few of these titles include: all three volumes of Marriages of Some Virginia Residents, 1607-1800; Names in Stone: 75,000 Cemetery Inscriptions from Frederick County, Maryland, Volume 2; all three volumes of Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia; Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 for the states of New York, Maryland, South Carolina, Vermont, and Connecticut.

A few of the surnames listed include: Hutchinson, Hawley, Kingman, Martin, Miller, Peck, Rice, Robinson, Ruffin, Selleck, Stimpson, Stanley, Stowell, Tinker, Torrey, Upham and Van Lennep.

There are also a large number of local histories. A few titles include: two volumes of History of Kentucky; two volumes of History of Western Maryland; Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812; History of Spartanburg County, South Carolina; The Story of Wilkes County, Georgia; A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky; and Ohio County, Kentucky, in the Olden Days.

Recording Family Stories in “Fits and Starts”

Friday, June 6th, 2008

By Sherry Lindsay, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

It is never too early to start interviewing your relatives to record their histories, but one day it might be too late.

When I was a child I loved listening to my grandfather tell stories about his extraordinarily interesting life, and by the time I was about sixteen I had decided that I needed to start recording the stories-not necessarily audio-recordings, but some sort of written record of his experiences in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, Iran, and various places across the United States. Of course, I didn’t get going right away; then I started college 1,500 miles away from him, and, although I kept in good contact with him, I still did not work on recording the fantastic stories he told me.

During my junior year of college I took a class on writing family histories. Upon signing up for the class I knew that I would finally be writing my grandfather’s history. Unfortunately, within three weeks of my starting the class my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was finally struck with the realization that I had wasted a lot of time.

Of course, on the up-side, I was extremely fortunate to have about six good months where I could call my grandfather and ask him questions about his life. As I wrote his history, though, the thought that I could have known and recorded more always lingered.

My intent in writing this is not to guilt-trip you into interrogating your elderly family members until every worthwhile personal and family history detail has been extracted from their memories. Rather, my intent is to help you realize that family histories can be written in pieces, in fits and starts if you will.

Just as you log details on your pedigree chart as you find them, you can record historic details of your family members as you hear them. Next time you get off the phone or come home from a visit with a family member (young or old-the earlier your start, the more you will accumulate) take a few moments to write down any interesting stories you may have heard. With time you will find that you have accumulated a great deal of family history data, and it will be ready for a cumulative story.

If your older family members are anything like mine, you may think that you’ve heard all the stories several times before, and if push came to shove you’d be able to record them all without the assistance of your relative. But why test the limits of your own memory? Writing down these histories in fits and starts won’t take much time at all, and it will preserve the memory of those you love for generations to come.

Creating Your Own Family Yearbook

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

By Amanda Forson, WorldVitalRecords.com

Instead of falling prey to bogus companies offering pre-made family yearbooks or histories that often include little or no real genealogical information, create your own in fifteen minutes a day.

Day One:
Determine who the book’s audience is. Ask who may be interested in receiving the yearbook. Content may be different if going to Great Aunt Martha versus going to co-ed, Amber. Start putting together a brief outline of what the book should contain, so you know what to ask for when you start gathering materials.

Day Two: If you want to write only one book for distribution to multiple parties, determine who is directly related to those people. Everyone is more interested in families that are directly related to them versus extraneous people they have never met, and will not meet. This may expand your audience, or help in knowing whether or not Susie’s birth date should be included. Do not include information requested to not be included, but, unless specifically requested, include whatever else is left. In family documents, relatives are often more offended by information that was left out once they see the finished product.

Day Three: If you want to write a yearbook that gets updated each year, consider going digital. A good digital option is a blog-style family webpage. When setting up such a blog, allow for multiple members to contribute and for picture and video uploads. Many families are currently now using family blogs, not realizing that they are creating digital yearbooks.

Day Four: If creating a paper yearbook, request pictures and information from the different family lines that are included in the book. So that those included understand how they are related to each other (you never know when a step-relative or an in-law may be looking over the book), include family group sheets and enough pedigree charts to help the generations make sense of each other.

Day Five: After gathering photographs and updates of email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, and general family information for the year, compile information according to your outline. This may include a brief family history introduction for the yearbook recipients. Examples of what to include could be how the family got to the country most of the family lives, where the family has lived in the past, occupations, religions, mannerisms, cultural traditions, etc. As years go by, include major milestones for family members or summaries of information from past years for help with context.

Day Six: Determine who wants a hard copy and ask them to contribute to the printing and shipping cost in exchange for a copy. If members prefer digital copies, set up a webpage or blog with a password so family members are able to view, but that is not accessible to anyone else, depending upon the information that is on the blog. Mother’s maiden names and birth years are especially important to safeguard.

Day Seven: Continue to update the information as needed. This activity could also turn into a family directory as well as yearbook, and allow for pertinent family information to be gathered into one place versus scattered among distant relatives who do not know each other well.

WorldGenWeb Partners With FamilyLink.com, Inc.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

WorldGenWeb project to be hosted on FamilyLink.com

PROVO, UT, June 3, 2008 — WorldGenWeb, a non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to providing genealogical and historical records and resources for world-wide access, recently partnered with FamilyLink.com, Inc.

“I think WorldVitalRecords.com is a wonderfully unique resource to the genealogy community. This is definitely a win-win partnership, as well as a great opportunity,” said Nathan Zipfel, Chairperson, WorldGenWeb. “We have been very limited in what we can do using our current servers. For example, we have not been able to take advantage of some new technology tools, such as a content management system and bulletin boards. Partnering with FamilyLink.com will give us access to these resources.”

As part of the partnership, FamilyLink.com, Inc.will host the WorldGenWeb project on its servers. In return, the content on the WorldGenWeb project will be indexed and made available online for free at WorldVitalRecords.com.

“We are very supportive of WorldGenWeb’s objectives and volunteer efforts. FamilyLink.com is happy to provide the necessary resources and support to allow WorldGenWeb to continue providing top quality online information free of charge to their many world wide users,” said David Lifferth, President, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

The WorldGenWeb Project was created in 1997 and serves as a great starting point for individuals beginning their genealogy and family history. The WorldGenWeb project consists of volunteers from all over the world who have created user-friendly Websites that individuals can research to learn more about specific parts of the world, as well as their ancestors. Essentially, individuals can receive free research guidance from genealogists on a global scale.

Individuals who are interested in participating in the WorldGenWeb Project can contact the country or regional coordinator of their area of interest to see which country/parish or states are available.

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

About WorldGenWeb
The WorldGenWeb is a non-profit volunteer organization that is dedicated to the free use and access of public domain genealogical information. To further this goal, the WorldGenWeb uses internet websites to create “local repositories” of information that researchers worldwide can access. Each project website (generally) will contain local resource addresses of county/country public records offices, cemetery locations, maps, library addresses, archive addresses, and association addresses including Family History Centers or other genealogical or historical societies, and some history and culture of the region. Other resources include query pages or message boards, mail lists, historical data including census records, cemetery records, biographies, bibliographies, and family/surname registration websites.

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.

389 New Databases From Godfrey Memorial Library

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

The Major Collection for this week is a set of 389 databases from the Godfrey Memorial Library. One hundred of these databases will be launched today, and the remaining 289 will be released during the rest of the week. Click here to access the Godfrey Memorial Library database.
The databases include books in the categories of correspondence, family histories, genealogies, biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and from extracts from diaries, and writings and works of famous people.

The family histories and genealogies include surnames such as Caspar, Clark, Harwood, Hoffman, Jacobs, Lemon, Morison, Morris, Nichols, Norris. Randall, Robinson, Safford, Setons, Silsbee, Tiley, Valentines, Van Pelt, Wanton, Weld, Whiting, Wingate, Wolcott, Woodside, Wright, and Yeager.

In the collection this week are autobiographies and biographies from Gerrit Smith, Leonard Wood, Naomi Norsworthy, John Murray, Silas Wright, Thurlow Weed, and Mary Washington.

Other works include diaries from Anna Green Winslow, Gideon Welles, John Woolman, and William Wheelwright.

Some memorials included in the collection are from the services of John White, George E. Spring, Nathanial White, David Wilber, Daniel Safford, Robert Winthrop, Orrin Welch, and Samuel Mills.

As always, these resources are fully indexed, searchable and free for ten days.