Archive for 2008

Participate in National Day of Listening – November 28th

Friday, November 28th, 2008

November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving, has been declared National Day of Listeningby StoryCorps in partnership with NPR and the Library of Congress. On this day, individuals are invited to have a meaningful conversation with someone they care about (essentially a short interview to hear stories from this special individual). This individual could be a family member, friend, co-worker, someone who has touched your life, or anyone whose story you would like to hear. There isn’t a set agenda on the questions to ask, nor on the procedure to take. For those looking for ideas, however, StoryCorps created a Do-It-Yourself-Guide to help those who want to participate in the National Day of Listening. Here are the basic steps they suggest:

1.    Download the Do-It-Yourself Guide
2.    Select your interview partner
3.    Create a question list, using their online custom Question Generator
4.    Record your conversation.
5.    Save and share your conversation.

Participating in the National Day of Listening is a great way to preserve your loved one’s experiences-experiences may be heard generations from now. The interviews could be recorded and saved on your computer, or any place that works best with the recording equipment you are using. Be sure to label the interview with the individual’s name and the date.

November 28th was selected as National Day of Listening because it is typically a time when individuals are home with their families. This is a simple way to connect with your family and friends and create a meaningful holiday tradition.

We, at WorldVitalRecords.com, would also love to hear your stories. If you have a great experience and want to share it with the readers our newsletter, please send a copy of your recording to whitney@worldvitalrecords.com. StoryCorps also invites you to submit your stories on their site as well: http://www.entertonement.com/nationaldayoflistening

Happy National Day of Listening!


About StoryCorps

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening. Since 2003, tens of thousands of Americans have shared their stories and life experiences in our StoryBooths. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share and is preserved at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is the largest oral history project of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web.

Happy Thanksgiving From WorldVitalRecords.com!

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

We are grateful for you, and we are grateful for these records. In celebration of Thanksgiving, we have gathered a few databases that relate to Thanksgiving. Click on the links below to access these databases.A Record of the Names of the Passengers on the Good Ship Mayflower in December 1620

Old Plymouth Trails

Old Plymouth: A Guide to its Localities and Objects of InterestPlymouth Memories of an Octogenarian

Shawmut: The Settlement of Boston by the Puritan Pilgrims

The Pilgrims of Boston and Their Descendants

The Romantic Story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and its Place in Life of Today

Gratitude List on Genealogy

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

By Whitney McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc. 

With another Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to write a short list of some of the things I am grateful for that have helped me and others find their ancestors.

First, thanks to our members at WorldVitalRecords.com who have supported us, believed in us, and have provided us with feedback on how we can make our site better.

I am grateful for my family members who have taken the time to write the names, dates, and places on the back of their photos. Doing this saves has saved a great deal of time and confusion.

I am grateful for websites such as WorldVitalRecords.com, Footnote, and Ancestry.com that contain millions and even billions of records that I can search to find my ancestors… and at a low price! For example, WorldVitalRecords.com currently has 1.2 billion records on its site. Access to all of these records is available at a discounted price of only $9.95 per month for an annual subscription to the World Collection. Click here for details.

I am grateful for the programmers and developers who created the search engines to make searching by name, keyword, place, and location a possibility.

I am grateful for those individuals who took the time to scan and index all of these records, making it simple for us to access them.

I am grateful for some of my family members who have devoted their lives to doing my family’s genealogy-allowing me to start many generations down the line on my pedigree charts.

I am grateful for technology that allows me to preserve memories now (i.e. audio recorders, .mp3 files, video cameras, computers, etc.).

I am grateful for people and organizations that have created, kept, and maintained records for me, and others, to search.

I am grateful for all the individuals who run and take part in genealogical societies. These individuals put on conferences, preserve and store genealogy records, inform others about family history, and much more.

I am grateful that it is not a necessity for me to travel to places like Ireland and England (although it would be fun) to find census records, wills, land and property records, birth, marriage, and death records that people have microfilmed, containing information about my ancestors.

I am grateful that there are many actual cemeteries (as well as online cemeteries) throughout the world where I can see the actual headstones of my ancestors (containing important information about their lives). I’m also grateful for who the individuals who maintain these cemeteries.

I am grateful for family members who have been willing to let me interview them as they have shared stories about their lives and also provided photos to me.

I am grateful that my mother taught me at a young age the value of keeping a journal. I have been keeping a daily journal now since I was 8! She didn’t talk to me about where I was going to store more than 20 journals. (I have since switched to digital journals.)

During this Thanksgiving holiday take time to be grateful for the things that matter in your life and to thank the individuals who have impacted your life for good.

Get That Interview In While Gathering With Friends and Family For the Holidays

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008


By Whitney Ransom McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

For many, holidays are a great time for families to gather and spend time together. If your Thanksgiving holiday isn’t too filled with cranberry sauce and turkey, you may be able to take the time to talk with your family members about family history. If you are not celebrating Thanksgiving, take time to talk with your family members anyway!

I love talking with my grandparents. When I was 15 years old, I wrote my grandfather’s life history. I was eight years old when he died, and he was only in his fifties when he passed away. I really wanted to know more about what he was like. My grandfather had seven children. So, I first went to all of his children and interviewed them. I also interviewed all of his siblings who were alive at the time. I gathered photos along the way as well. When I recorded the interviews, I just listened and wrote down important points. I asked them to tell me memories they had of my grandfather (what he was like, their favorite memory of him, etc.). Unfortunately, about 20 pages into the writing, I somehow deleted the file on my computer and had to start all over again! Of course, the second time around, I gained an even greater appreciation and love for my grandfather and really embedded the details of his life into my own. When the writing was finished, I made copies of the pictures I had gathered, and put it all in a book. I gave a copy to each of my family members as a Christmas gift.

Although my family members were very appreciative of the book, if I were to do it again, I would do some things differently. First, I would get an audio recording, as well as a video recording of the people whom I interviewed. I would scan all of the photos. I would ask more questions while I was interviewing my family members. I would even interview some of them on more than one occasion to get additional information. Doing several interviews would give them time to think about the questions I asked and also give them time to see if they had anything else they wanted to add. I would also create a copy of the book in digital format and provide a digital copy, as well as a hard copy to all of my family members. I would also put together a video to go with the book. I would keep several backup copies of the file I was working on… just in case I somehow deleted one of them.

If you want to interview some of your family members, or if you want them to interview you, here are a few questions you might use…

  • When and where were you born?
  • Describe the house you lived in growing up.
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • How did you meet your spouse? Describe the proposal.
  • What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?
  • Do you have any children? If so, what are their names?
  • What do you know about your family surname?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What was the best advice your parents gave to you?
  • What was your favorite childhood toy?
  • Did any world events have a particularly strong impact on your life? If so, which ones?
  • Tell me about your childhood?
  • What did you do for work? What do you currently do for employment?
  • Tell me a memory from one of your favorite holidays.
  • What is your earliest childhood memory?
  • Do you have any special traditions?
  • What did you do together as a family?
  • If you could be remembered for one characteristic or attribute, what would it be and why?

The interviews don’t have to take a long time and can also be extended to include several short interviews. Have fun with them and enjoy getting to know better the person you interview. Don’t forget to record these interviews as well if you have access to an audio recorder or video camera (remember to ask for permission from the interviewee prior to recording).

If you want to get serious about your family history while doing the interviews, I invite you to check out WorldVitalRecords.com. You may just find a photo of your ancestor along with important birth, marriage, and death dates, certificates, and variety of other information about your ancestors. If the individual mentions a name of one of his or her siblings or grandparents, or other relatives, take the time to look them up on WorldVitalRecords.com and see if you can gather even more information about your family members!

Improvements Made to Ellis Island Database

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Recently, a major improvement was made to the Ellis Island database titled Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records (1892-1924) at WorldVitalRecords.com. In the past, individuals who clicked on a result from this database (containing content from The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation) were sent to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s website sign-up screen. Now, when they click on the link to access that database they are sent immediately to the record. Click here to search the Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records (1892-1924). This database is free to access.

What is the Ellis Island database?
The Ellis Island database contains an index to more than 22 million records of individuals who entered the Port of New York through Ellis Island between 1892-1924. The Ellis Island database was created by more than 12,000 volunteers from FamilySearch.org who spent more than 5 million hours over seven years working on this database. The database allows approximately 40 percent of Americans to trace back their roots to an ancestor who entered this country through Ellis Island during this time period.

About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created a museum in the Statue’s base and the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor® and the American Family Immigration History Center® (www.ellisisland.org). Its endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.

Subscribe to WorldVitalRecords.com today to help support our efforts to make the “best of genealogy” available through a single search.

New Collection of Newspapers From the United States and Canada

Friday, November 21st, 2008

The major collection this week includes content from the United States and Canada. As part of the release, one database each from Canada and the United States will be launched each day this week. The US content will be free to access for ten days.

  • Afro American Ledger (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
  • Sunday Grit (Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Mackenzie’s Gazette (New York, New York, USA)
  • Philadelphia Afro American (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
  • The Sporting News(St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

Canada

  • Qu’Appelle Vidette (Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Qu’Appelle Progress (Qu’Appelle Station, Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Renfrew Advance (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)
  • Renfrew Journal (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)
  • Renfrew Mercury(Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)

The databases launched this week include content from 1838-2003. Subscribe to WorldVitalRecords.com today to gain continued access to all of these databases. Sign up here!

Thank You To Our Veterans

Friday, November 14th, 2008

This week at WorldVitalRecords.com, we recognize our veterans who have fought in many wars and conflicts throughout the world. We thank these individuals who have risked their lives and have left their families and friends to put themselves in danger for our freedom. Thank you to all the veterans! We appreciate you!

Below is a list of some of our databases containing names of former military officers and soldiers. Click on the links below to access each of the databases.

Army Casualties 1956 – 2003

This database contains information on U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile occurrence, including while missing in action or while prisoner of war, or non-hostile occurrence in the Southeast Asian combat area during the Vietnam War. In particular, it provides unit information the series creators had been able to locate about the following: more than 37,000 of the 38,200 casualties from the U.S. Army, more than 11,000 of the 14,836 from the U.S. Marine Corps, more than 1,700 of the 2,584 from the U.S. Air Force, more than 2,200 of the 2,564 from the U.S. Navy, and all 7 from the U.S. Coast Guard. Each record includes identifying information for the casualty, such as name, service number, date of birth, date of death, and city and state of home of record, and as much unit information as available from Military Command to task group or the equivalent.

US Korean Casualties 1950 – 1957
This database was created to maintain a centralized information source within the Department of Defense for memorials to those who died due to combat during the Korean conflict and other public issuances. This series contains selected descriptive data about U.S. military personnel who died by hostile means (i.e. battle deaths) as a result of combat duty in the Korean War. The data were usually extracted from Department of Defense Form 1300 (Report of Casualty) as well as from each of the four military services of the Department of Defense. Coverage dates are for dates of death; inclusive dates are for dates records entered into the system. The series lists as the home of record the county for those casualties in the Army and lists as the home of record the city, town, or municipality for those casualties in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Vietnam Casualties 1956 – 1998
The Office of the Secretary of Defense created this series as the official repository for records on U.S. military casualties in the Southeast Asian combat areas during the Vietnam Conflict and used the database as the source for official information about U.S. military personnel casualties related to the Vietnam Conflict and for disseminating statistical data concerning them. This series contains records of U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile or non-hostile occurrence or who were missing in action or prisoners of war in the Southeast Asian combat area during the Vietnamese Conflict, including casualties that occurred in Cambodia, China, Laos, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Thailand. This database contains both final and nonfinal records; a data field in each record distinguishes between them. Final records, also referred to as the “last” records, represent the most current official information about a deceased casualty or about repatriated personnel; nonfinal records, also referred to as “previous” records, are those that precede the final records. Each record includes: the casualty’s name, service number, file reference number, date of birth, date of death or repatriation, date Southeast Asian tour began, record processing date, city and state of home of record, the casualty’s military service branch, country of casualty, type of casualty, military grade and pay grade, military occupation, service component, race, religion, length of service, marital status, sex, citizenship, the reason or cause of casualty, whether the casualty involved an aircraft, the status of the casualty’s body (whether recovered or not), whether the casualty was posthumously promoted, and the South Vietnam province where the casualty occurred, when applicable.

World War II Prisoners of War 1941 – 1946
This database contains information about U.S. military officers and soldiers and U.S. and some Allied civilians who were prisoners of war and internees. The record for each prisoner provides serial number, personal name, branch of service or civilian status, grade, date reported, race, state of residence, type of organization, parent unit number and type, place of capture (theater of war), source of report, status, detaining power, and prisoner of war or civilian internee camp site. Records of prisoners of the Japanese who died also document whether the prisoner was on a Japanese ship that sank or if he or she died during transport from the Philippine Islands to Japan. There are no records for some prisoners of war whose names appear in the lists or cables transmitted to the Office of the Provost Marshal General by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

World War II Prisoners of Japanese
World War II Prisoners of the Japanese database includes records from 1941 -1945. These records were compiled to provide NARA with more complete data on World War II prisoners of the Japanese. The database contains information on military personnel and a few civilians who were prisoners of the Japanese during World War II. The records include name, rank, service number, branch of service, source of the information, unit information as available from parent unit to subordinate unit, and notes.

Google Your Family Tree Available For Shipping

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

On October 10, we announced in our newsletter that pre-orders were available for a brand new book called Google Your Family Tree by Dan Lynch. Now, WorldVitalRecords.com is happy to announce that Google Your Family Tree is available for shipping.

What is Google Your Family Tree?
Google Your Family Tree is a book written for anyone who uses Google and wants to discover how to sift through these billions of information on Google to find relevant results specifically related to your family.

Google Your Family Tree is designed for experts in genealogy, as well as anyone who uses a computer. Both groups will find valuable information in the book. Click here to view the Table of Contents.

Google Your Family Tree is a soft-bound book containing 352 pages filled with text, numerous screen shots, tables, and other diagrams that combine to make this a must-have book for every family historian – hobbyist or professional.

How Can I Get a Copy of Google Your Family Tree?
Google Your Family Tree can be purchased for only $34.95! To order your copy, click here, or call 1-888-377-0588.

What Are Others Saying About Google Your Family Tree?
Many well-known genealogists and family history enthusiasts have been enthusiastic about the book:

“Easily the most important technology book for genealogists written in more than a decade. This is a must read for anyone using the Internet – for family history or any other reason!” – Dan Taggart, Co-Founder, Ancestry.com, Inc.

“Dan Lynch has done a splendid job of unlocking the power of Google, sometimes showing us how to use basic tools more effectively and other times by revealing lesser known features of Google. With Lynch’s book, mastery of Google has finally become possible.” – Halvor Moorshead, Founder, Moorshead Magazines, Ltd. Publishers of Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle, History Magazine, and Discovering Family History

“This is a fabulous book and it’s going to become, I think, a standard in the industry. I just finished reading it today – it’s incredible. It’s up there with Elizabeth Shown Mills Evidence book…it will be in every major professional researcher’s library and hopefully most of the beginners…I think it’s a great book!” – Mary Slawson, Professional Genealogist and Host of KSL Radio’s “Relatively Speaking”

“Dan Lynch has written an excellent new book called ‘Google Your Family Tree.’ I have a pre-release copy of the book and can tell you that it is top-notch. Dan went the ‘extra mile’ to create a valuable book for online genealogists. I hope he sells a million of these books; it’s that good.” – Dick Eastman, Editor, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

“If you thought you knew how to use Google, think again. Lynch’s book will teach even experienced Google genealogists new tricks. It’s a must-have for any family historian (and anyone else) who wants to find information online.” – Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective

EveryDay Genealogy Value

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

With the current state of the economy money is tight for most of us. In an effort to help, we have strengthened our commitment to provide what we are calling “everyday genealogy value.”

EveryDay Genealogy Value Means:

* We have lowered our subscription price.Our annual subscription is now priced at $119.95 for unlimited access, instead of $149.95 ($30 savings) and our U.S. collection is now only $39.95, instead of $49.95 ($10 savings).

* We have improved our site (see the New Site Design article in this newsletter). We made these changes to help you have a better experience using our site, and to make it easier for you to find your ancestors.

* New content. As always, we continue to add new and free content daily (Monday through Friday). Your subscription value increases every business day.

* We listen to your feedback. Your input is important at WorldVitalRecords.com. It’s so important that we have added a section on our site for you to share your thoughts (wvr.uservoice.com). You can also call our toll free number at 1-877-0588 (8-5 p.m. MST) if you ever need any assistance. We’re here to help.

New Site Design Streamlines Search, Brings More Subscribers

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Users benefit from improved search and browsing functionality, expanded collections, user feedback feature, and increased value 

PROVO, UT, November 11, 2008 — Finding ancestors recently became easier at WorldVitalRecords.com. The site has launched a new site design with improved search and browsing functionality, expanded collections, added user feedback feature, and increased value to users.

“Finding an ancestor within a collection that includes 1.2 billion names across more than 11,000 databases can at times feel like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s not the experience WorldVitalRecords.com wants for its guests and customers, which is why we have given WorldVitalRecords.com a facelift,” said Jim Ericson, VP Marketing, FamilyLink.com, Inc.

One of the major changes to the site is a new user interface, which allows individuals to access and navigate the site easier and faster. For example, with the old site, a search for content in Italy would mean searching individually through each Italian database to find results. Now, with one click, users can search all the Italian databases on the site. Another new feature is that individuals can now select the type of record they would like to search, with choices ranging from census records to family trees to marriage, birth, and death records.

The View All Databases link has also been improved. In the past, when users clicked this link, they would get an alphabetical list of the titles of thousands of databases. Users would have to know the title of the database to locate their ancestors. Now, when users click on the View All Databases link, they are able to easily select the record type they would like to view, in the place or location where they believe their ancestors’ records may be located.

These site changes also come as the company is getting ready to launch several new, premier collections to WorldVitalRecords.com, which include the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI), the Brenner Collection of more than 4.5 million German vital records, the largest collection of international newspapers, and other key international collections. Meanwhile WorldVitalRecords.com continues to negotiate contracts for other notable collections from premier publishers, societies, and organizations.

The prices of annual subscriptions to WorldVitalRecords.com have also been reduced by 20 percent to address the increased financial pressures facing many genealogists. An annual subscription to unlimited site access to more than 1.2 billion names now costs an effective monthly rate of only $9.95.

“Tough economic conditions shouldn’t prevent devoted genealogists from tracing their family trees and discovering their roots online,” explained Ericson.

“These major enhancements, along with all the upcoming content additions, have already started to have an impact. The rate of people signing up for the site has doubled, which will benefit our users, as well as our content partners, and affiliates,” said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com.

WorldVitalRecords.com wants to be as responsive to its customers as possible. To aid in this goal, WorldVitalRecords.com has added several new feedback features. Users can now provide feedback on the site, vote on the features they want the most, and view improvements that are currently in process. If they choose, they can also be notified when errors have been fixed, or when new features have been added to the site. The url to provide this feedback is wvr.uservoice.com.

Users can also communicate to WorldVitalRecords.com the content they want indexed as well. Using new content request features on the site, individuals can specify the type of content they want, and the countries in which they are the most interested. The url to provide this feedback on content is wvrcontent.uservoice.com.

“This is a great tool that allows the community to tell us what they want, rather than us deciding what is most important. Users will now determine the type of content we go after and scan. It’s a very organized system that puts our users in charge,” Allen said.

xxx

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

http://www.worldvitalrecords.com

whitney@familylink.com

About FamilyLink.com, Inc.
FamilyLink.com, Inc. is a family of services that includes WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, WebTree.com, and the We’re Related and My Family applications on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families. FamilyLink.com, Inc. has more than 3.4 million unique global visitors each month and 27.3 million page views per month. WorldVitalRecords.com has more than 1.2 billion names in 11,000 databases. New content is also added every business day. We’re Related is one of the fastest growing social networks for genealogists. We’re Related is a family-based application on Facebook.com 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.