Archive for September, 2008

Benefits of Attending Genealogy Conferences

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

By Whitney Ransom McGowan,, Inc. 

This article is written specifically for genealogists and family historians who have never attended a genealogy conference, but who may be persuaded to attend one in the near future. Genealogy conferences are a great place to learn, share ideas, meet new people, gain new enthusiasm for your research, and have your questions answered by experts. There are hundreds of genealogy conferences, seminars, and meetings held every year across the United States and abroad. Many of these conferences are offered in the spring and fall. Here are ten reasons to attend a genealogy conference.

Ten Reasons For Attending a Genealogy Conference

1. Knowledge: Stay up-to-date on the latest information in the field. Most conferences offer a keynote address, as well as a variety of classes. Some classes are for beginners, and others are for the seasoned genealogist. In these classes you will also have the opportunity to learn new research methodologies and techniques. Whatever, your level of experience may be, there is a conference out there just for you.

2. New People: Genealogists are social people. Once you’re at the conference, you will have the opportunity to meet a lot of new people, some of whom may even be researching your same line. Even if you don’t find a cousin, you will meet folks that may have some ideas to help you with your research.

3. Audio Recordings and Syllabi: Many of the conferences you attend will offer a syllabus, which contains the notes, handouts, additional Websites and overviews of the presentations. Often the syllabus will also contain the biographies of the speakers. These syllabi are thick books filled with a goldmine of genealogical information.

4. Products and Services: At most of the larger genealogy conferences, and many of the smaller conferences, you will find a vendor hall full of genealogy products and services. Take some time to see some of the latest innovations in genealogy. Many of the vendors also offer something free (whether that be a trial subscription, candy, pens, magazines, stickers, etc.) simply for visiting their booth. usually offers free newsletter signups, drawings to win a free subscription, stress balls, candy, luggage tags, and more.

5. Luncheons and Banquets: What would a conference be without a luncheon or banquet? These gatherings offer delicious food, networking opportunities, and even an opportunity to hear from a well-known genealogist or family historian. Individuals and companies who sponsor the conferences want to make your life as easy as possible, and often provide a luncheon or banquet that takes place at the conference venue.

6. Libraries, Research, and More Libraries: Often conferences are held near a library. This will give you an opportunity to research to your heart’s desire… but make sure you come back to the conference. Many times the libraries will also be open for extended periods during the conference to allow everyone interested a chance to visit and use the library resources.

7. Genealogical and Family History Societies: Many society members take the time to attend the conference and put up a display. Their booths are usually located in the vendor hall and are often full of friendly people, books, pamphlets, and information about the society. You can join one or more of these societies and contribute to their success.

8. Computer Labs: Perhaps you are the kind of person who likes to try electronic or Internet services out before you purchase. Conferences are a great place to get hands-on experience with a variety of websites and software products. Some vendors also offer demonstrations of their products or free one-on-one training. (There is usually a sign up list for this service, so get there fast.)

9. Networking Opportunities: People from all over the world attend some of the larger genealogy conferences. Even if you attend a smaller conference, chances are you will meet many people from all walks of life. Genealogy conferences are great places to network with others.

10. Meet Professional Genealogists and Family Historians: It’s true. Conferences are the place where you can meet many professional and well-known genealogists, as well as individuals who have shaped the field. These individuals are usually at the conferences to lecture, but also attend because these events are where new information, breakthroughs, and innovations in genealogy are shared.

Dundurn Group Partners With, Inc. To Bring More Than 400 Genealogical and Historical Books Online

Monday, September 29th, 2008

PROVO, UT, September 29, 2008 —Dundurn Group, one of the largest publishers of adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction books in Canada, recently partnered with to host more than 400 titles from its 2,000-book collection.

“We are keen to start doing business with and look forward to a successful partnership with them,” said Beth Bruder, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Dundurn Group. “We have wanted to extend our reach into the field of history and genealogy and feel like this is the right fit.”

Some of the Dundurn titles include The Genealogist’s Internet, 100 Canadian Heroines, Christian Names in Local and Family History, DNA and Family History: How Genetic Testing Can Advance Your Genealogical Research, Maps for Family and Local History: The Records of the Tithe, Valuation Office and National Farm Surveys and Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540 – 2006.

The Dundurn Collection online at contains a variety of records ranging from maps, to immigration records to introductory guides to guides for researching family history online.

“ collects a variety of content from many recognized family history and genealogical sources,” said Yvette Arts, Director of Content Partnerships,, Inc. “The Dundurn Group databases are a great example of rich content that covers areas of research, that are not usually included in ordinary genealogical collections.”

Media Contact
Whitney Ransom McGowan
Corporate Communications Director, Inc.

About Dundurn
Established in 1972, Dundurn Press evolved from a small publisher of Canadian history, politics, and biography to one of the leading Canadian trade publishers of Canadian non-fiction, as well as literary fiction, drama, poetry, art books, and junior fiction and non-fiction. Dundurn Press publishes 80 new titles per year and many of their books have won or been nominated for many prestigious awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Translation, and the Silver Birch Award. For more information visit

About, Inc., Inc. is a family of services that includes,,, and the We’re Related and My Family applications on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families., Inc. has more than 3.4 million unique global visitors each month and 27.3 million page views per month. 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. My Family is a great way for people to express themselves and to share interesting characteristics about their family with those they connect with on social platforms.

New Canadian Collection Part of International Newspaper Launch at

Friday, September 26th, 2008

The Major Collection for this week is a collection more than 60 Canadian newspapers representing every province and territory except Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Additional newspapers from Canada will be posted at as part of the International Newspaper Collection scheduled to be released during September, October and November.

In addition to the Canadian newspapers, the collection will include newspapers from the United States, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Great Britain and Australia. Papers from the international collection will be posted online at the rate of 1 or more a day until the entire collection is online.

Half of the Canadian newspapers that will be launched from this collection are from Ontario (33) with titles such as the Temiskaming Speaker, 1905-2001 (9.4 million names); Toronto World, 1880-1921 (3.4 million names); the Waterford Star, 1987-1934 (2.2 million names); and the Ottawa Free Press, 1871-1881 (1 million names).

Other newspapers include newspapers from Quebec (7), Nova Scotia (4), Prince Edward Island (4), Alberta (3), British Columbia (3), Manitoba (2), New Brunswick (2), Saskatchewan (2) and Yukon (1).

All of the newspapers will be available for free for ten days after being posted online.

Australian Police Gazettes Used To Find Information On “Lost” Ancestors

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

The following is a success story from a subscriber:

I just had to email you and say what a great resource you are providing. My subscription is one of the best genealogy resources I have encountered in the many years I have been researching. I have been able to find what happened to several ‘lost’ ancestors, thanks to the Australian Police Gazettes.

For example, one fellow I discovered was lost in a boating mishap. Since his body was never found, there is no death certificate for him. Also the boating accident happened in a different state to where he was last known to have lived. The police gazette reporting the accident is the only source I have found so far that tells what happened to him. Now that we know where to look, we are following up with local newspapers for a report.

Another fellow simply disappeared shortly after the death of his wife in childbirth leaving six young children to be raised by other family members. We could never understand what had happened until I found a report in the Police gazette stating a warrant had been issued for his arrest for embezzlement, and he was thought to have left the town and gone to the gold diggings at Temora. Although I haven’t confirmed his death after this, I am one step closer to matching him with a fellow of the same name who died after a drinking spree in a town not far from Temora a few weeks later. Few details are given on his death certificate but his age and name match my fellow. Knowing he was reported to be in the vicinity at the time certainly helps narrow down the search.

These are my two major finds, but I have found other little gems that have really added flesh to the skeletons in the cupboard. The physical descriptions that are given are an added bonus. I have recommended your website to several fellow researchers as I really think it is great value for money. It is wonderful to find some of the lost family.

Thank you so much, and I do hope you will be including the gazettes from 1900 onwards.

Jenny [Brisbane]

General Information About Police Gazettes

Police Gazettes are a unique, useful and extremely fascinating resource for local, family and social historians and researchers in other fields throughout Australia. Compiled to be distributed amongst the Police Force only, these Gazettes therefore contain details and information that can not be found anywhere else

They include court lists, lists of warrants issued, appointments and changes in the Police Service, lists of Justices of the Peace, lists of arrests and discharges (which include descriptions), escaped prisoners, and missing persons, as well as lists for liquor, wine sellers, tobacco sellers, auctioneers, billiard and poisons licenses. Notices from Police Gazettes from other states are also often included.
Click here for general description and more information on Police Gazettes

Four Partners Collaborate on Archive CD Books Project

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Across the world there are several groups working on commercial projects related to genealogy and family history. One of these groups, the Archive CD Books Project, is truly international, with four partners in different areas of the globe. The team is represented by companies in Canada, Ireland, Australia and the United States. All of these companies have partnered with to bring many rare genealogy resources online.

The members of the Archive CD Books Project create digital reproductions of old books, documents, and maps and make them available on CD to genealogists and historians. Thousands of titles have already been published in this way and the number is growing. Each scanned book is then made available to all of the other partner companies.  Archive CD Books also works with local libraries, museums, and record offices by providing money to renovate old books from the organization’s collection. Archive CD Books also donates books to library collections, where they will be preserved for future generations.

The Archive CD Books model not only provides individuals with access to the project’s entire worldwide inventory of CDs, but with so many different offices, it serves to reduce delivery time and shipping costs.

The project started with Rod Neep in the UK in March 2000 (the UK company is no longer operational), and has now developed worldwide, with each country scanning and producing its own books on CD. The Canadian branch (Archive CD Books Canada) was formed during 2003 and opened for business in March 2004. To access Archive CD Books Canada on, click here.

Archive CD Books Ireland was established in 2005, with the aim of digitizing its rich published heritage and making it available on CD. Archive CD Books Ireland and Eneclann are currently working in partnership with Trinity College Library (the largest library in Ireland) to digitize the old books in that library’s care.

Archive CD Books Australia was established 2003. Over 600 of their titles can be found at

Archive CD Books USA was formed in mid 2005. The U.S. company works with societies, libraries, and individuals to digitize a wide range of U.S. historical resources. Click here to access the Archive CD Books database on

UK 1871 Census Online at

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

The 1871 UK census was continued the genealogical value of censuses due to using names, especially first and last, and in this census, including further value-added information of mental/physical condition of members of society that otherwise would not have been accounted for. Despite this listing, however, few people enumerated their relatives in this manner until later years when the categories were treated more sensitive phraseology. Click here to access the 1871 UK Census at

Questions Asked in the 1871 Census
Column 1- Schedule number
Column 2- Street name, name/number of house
Column 3- House
Column 4- Name and surname
Column 5- Relationship to head of family
Column 6- Marital status
Column 7- Ages listed with separate columns for males and females
Column 8- Profession, occupation, or rank
Column 9- Where born- county/place
Column 10- Whether deaf, dumb, blind, imbecile, idiot, or lunatic as designated by numbers

Why This Database is So Valuable 
Census records are valuable since they can tell you where a person lived at a certain place and time. Censuses were conducted by the federal government and will offer a variety of information, depending on year. Census records can answer questions like where your ancestors were living at the time the census was taken, who they were living with, what their occupations were, who their neighbors were, if they had any brothers and sisters, what their ages were at the time of the census and if they had any disabilities.

Next Steps
With the information you gain from these census records, you will have the information you need to search for vital records in the locality where you found your ancestor. Also, the fact that census returns are taken every ten years also allows you to track the movements of our ancestors through time as they perhaps move house, get married, have children or even change occupations. Social Genealogy Site Changes Name To

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

You may have noticed recently that has changed its name to If you go to, you will be see a page that asks you to update your bookmarks/favorites, and also provides a link for you to go to is the exact same website as, the name has just changed.

For those who have never visited the site, is a free social networking site designed to help individuals collaborate on their family history with family members, friends, and local genealogists throughout the world. Currently there are more than 103,000 members on

Using, you can easily connect with other genealogists to find information on the surnames you are seeking. For example, type in the surname you are searching on the site and immediately receive access to all other genealogists on the site who are researching the same surname. You can also narrow your search to the people you want to find by distance, country, county, state, city, zip code, online status, experience, age, and more.

You can also search for researchers that live in or are researching a certain location. For example, after typing in the research location, search results display a city page that displays all the members who live within up to 100 miles from the research location. The search results also display those who are researching the same location. also has a feature that allows you to upload your family tree. Using the Family Tree Viewer, you can view up to twelve generations of your family tree. The pedigree files display in five formats: standard, compact, box, text, and ahnentafel.

Note: The former website,, should not be confused with, Inc., Inc. owns and operates a family of services that includes,,, and the We’re Related and My Family applications on Facebook.

Get the Youth Involved in Family History

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

By Whitney Ransom McGowan,, Inc.

Young people are at an excellent age to get involved in family history because they are comfortable with using the Internet and are generally tech savvy. Although family history and genealogy have traditionally been thought of as a favorite pastime or hobby for older folks, more and more young people are joining in. Much of this interest can be attributed to new social-networking tools available through the Internet that draw younger people in by building on their “need” for connection. Also, academia has recognized the growing interest in genealogy by the “younger” generation. Currently there are more than 50 college and university genealogical courses available in the United Kingdom (

Getting youth involved in genealogy does not have to be difficult. Parents can encourage teenagers to record their thoughts and day-to-day activities in a personal journal. Parents can also share their personal experiences and stories, as well as interesting stories about the teenager’s ancestors. Performing genealogy research can also help young people gain a closer relationship with their family members. Through this process they will learn more about themselves as they learn about their ancestors. And because of their technical abilities, teenagers can help other individuals, such as their parents and grandparents, who may not be as skilled with computers.

Here are some questions to help a young person get started. To make things easier, you may just want to email or text this list to them…

* When were your parents born and where?
* Where did your parents grow up?
* When and where were they married?
* What were their parents’ names?
* When did their parents marry and where?
* Are their parents still living? If so, where do they live? If not, where are they buried and when did they pass away (name of cemetery, city, state)?
* Are there any other family members buried there or close by
* Who were your parents’ aunts and uncles?
* Do you parents know when/where their aunts and uncles were born, married, lived, buried?
* Who is your oldest living relative? Make plans to visit this person as soon as possible!

(Questions courtesy:

Here are also a few websites for beginning genealogists (particularly suited to children and teenagers):

* USGenWeb Kidz
* WorldGenWeb For Kids
* Family Tree Kids!
* Genealogical Bingo
* CanadaGenWeb

The New FamilySearch Wiki Invites Collaborators

Monday, September 15th, 2008

During the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Philadelphia, visitors to the FamilySearch booth were introduced to FamilySearch Wiki, a new site where members of the genealogy and family history community can collaborate to post articles, lessons, news, events and research advice. FamilySearch encourages participation in their new “wiki” (short for “wiki wiki” which means “rapidly” in the Hawaiian language) and invite users to create an account and contribute their knowledge.

There are several tutorials and step-by step instructions to guide individuals through the process of using and contributing to the wiki. FamilySearch also suggests tasks that volunteers can do such as create a new article, categorize articles, get an idea for an article, add external and internal links to articles, suggest an article, or be a moderator.

Research guides for several countries are already included, along with forums and technical support.

Roots, Branches, Trees and Forests

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

By Yvette Arts, Director, Content Partnerships,, Inc. 

I can’t see the forest for all of the trees!

Millions of genealogy records are available via the Internet. And millions of people are searching those records for their ancestors. Where does one start to search for a James Wood or a Miho Won? And how can one be certain that the James Wood she finds is the James Wood that connects the branches on her family tree?

For the uninitiated seeker, one name from one place that closely fits the puzzle is picked up with satisfaction and placed on the tree. With all of the exploring and finding that goes on each day, many mistakes are unknowingly made. What can be done to increase the probability of a perfect match? And, can these records be layered with each other in such a way that results are quicker and more accurate? These are the types of questions we at are striving to answer. As we amass more data in tandem with technological advances, we are driven to find answers to these and many other questions. Right now we are working on new search tools to help make the discovery process easier for you.  As always, we invite your input as we strive to make our data site,, a better resource.

And as my colleague said to me this morning, “People pay for results.” And whether the historical records are offered for free or whether they come at a premium, people will pay for results either with their time or with their money.

We are committed to producing results. What this means to us is that the James Woods and Miho Wons of the world will be found and put on the right tree in “record” time. And this means that with the accelerated pace that we are working to provide these search features, all those individuals who are searching can more quickly locate their relatives.

So, when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? You bet it does. And we will be there to hear it.

Yvette Arts is the Director of Content Acquisition at World Vital Records, Inc. Her vision for World Vital Records is to have it reach a global audience and influence the field of family history and genealogy in such a way as to make the “work” (and the tools for the work) bring meaning and life to the lives of those who are seeking and searching for their ancestors.