Archive for 2008

California University Yearbooks Brought Online by and

Friday, October 17th, 2008

This week’s major collection comes from E-Yearbook, one of’s premier partners. The collection contains two yearbooks from California: Stanford’s University Quad, and the University of Southern California’s El Rodeo.

Stanford University’s Quad is funded entirely by purchase, advertisement, and dedicatory sales. Originally started in 1895, the Stanford senior class is highlighted while including information from various undergraduate activities. The Quad on contains 17,026 records from 1898-1959. “There are an estimated 180,358 living Stanford degree holders, including 72,284 undergraduate alumni, 90,157 graduate alumni, and 17,917 dual-degree holders.”

The University of Southern California’s El Rodeo, was named in honor of fundraising activities by yearbook staff. Originally named the Sybil at the yearbook’s start in 1889, the change to El Rodeo occurred in 1899. El Rodeo on boasts 17,200 records from 1898-1960. A few notable alumni include George Lucas, Neil Armstrong, John Wayne, and Frank Gehry. An extensive list of distinguished alumni can be found at the USC Alumni Wikipedia site.

Stanford Facts: Alumni,” Stanford University webpage. [Accessed 14 Oct 2008.]

Finding Identity through the Past: Genealogy Meets Public History

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

By Amanda Forson,

Part of a nation’s culture is its history. When groups of people forget where they come from, they lose a part of their identity. Seeking to re-create the sense of self, and their place within the general social framework, they often start by looking to a local, individual level, researching their own family’s history. Since family could be considered the basic unit of society, learning how one’s family fits into history may be the most direct route to establishing a sense of self. The process of learning how one’s family fits into the larger realm of history is one aspect of public history.Public history is “a joint endeavor in which historians and their various publics [collaborate] in trying to make the past useful to the public.”i Although taught at an academic level in various undergraduate and graduate-level programs , public history is a relatively new field, with its most discernable roots going back to the 1970s. This form of history usually includes experiential modes and models that may or may not be historically accurate. Collective memoryii is the general term for the modes and models of how people think about history. This “memory” is shaped by all sorts of different factors, many of which come from popular media, museums, and going to places where something of a historic nature occurred.

For someone beginning to have historical interest, a normal beginning introduction into history is popular media. Easier than hunting down and reading primary documents, movies often become a building block upon which to base certain parts of collective memory. A few examples from the film genre (listed in semi-chronological order) include: The Ten Commandments, The Passion of the Christ, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Braveheart, The Mission, The Three Musketeers, Last of the Mohicans, 1776, The Patriot, Amadeus, Amazing Grace, Gone With the Wind, Dances With Wolves, Far and Away, Roots (various time periods), Lawrence of Arabia, The Last Emporer, Ghandi, Fiddler on the Roof, The Grapes of Wrath, The Sound of Music, Schindler’s List, Life Is Beautiful, A Beautiful Mind, Apocalypse Now, Forrest Gump, and Hotel Rwanda. Unfortunately, a bibliographical list of sources is not often found at the end of movie credits, even though a few libraries, archives, and people may be credited with their efforts on the film.

Some examples from the “see the sites” category include: Colonial Williamsburg, Manassas/Bull Run, The Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, Ellis Island, The Winchester Mystery House, the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, The Hermitage, and many other places. For a list of the current designated historic places in the United States, check the National Register of Historic Places. For outside the United States, see the United Nation’s (UNESCO) World Heritage sites.

All of these examples help set the mental constructs for historical events that affected the lives of the people that are being researched. Public history includes genealogy in its local history and personal history aspects. These may be considered the “fun” part of history-where documents prove or disprove family stories and the research connects the family members to particular historical events.

A few organizations developed with the intent of helping with the professionalism and standardization efforts in the public history field include the National Council on Public History , the American Association of Museums, American Historical Association , and the American Association for State and Local History. The NCPH has excellent resources for specific educational programs and intern pursuits. The AHA is an overall bed of knowledge for anyone in any historical field. While specifically geared towards museums, the AAM has an intense array of links to help with making a museum exceptionally relevant to its audience. The AASLH is geared towards aiding historical-based programs and companies in finding ways of developing their strengths to fullest potential, including computer software and kits to make programs run more easily. All of these organizations help with different aspects of the historical field, and are the background behind what is seen in museums, and the experiences that help drive the public’s vision of their collective history and consciousness.

Stanton, Cathy. “”What is Public History?” Redux,” National Council on Public History Webpage. [Accessed 7 October 2008.]
“Collective Memory” Wikipedia .
[Accessed 8 October 2008.]

Paul Allen and Dan Lynch Featured on KSL NewsRadio Genealogy Show

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Recently, Paul Allen and Dan Lynch from, Inc. were featured on the KSL NewsRadio Relatively Speaking Radio Genealogy Show with radio personality and genealogy author Mary Slawson.

Click on the links below to listen to Allen and Lynch.
Part 1:
Part 2:

New Massachusetts and Maine Vital Records Now Online

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The Major Collection for this week consists of more databases resulting from the partnership between the Godfrey Memorial Library and Most of the records deal with the state of Massachusetts with vital records from Kingston, Wrentham, and Norton. Click here to access the Godfrey Memorial Library databases.

Also included in the collection are Massachusetts town histories from Woburn, Hingham, and Newburyport. A topical and historical description of Boston is also among the titles. Town histories from Maine round out the collection.

Since 1951, the Godfrey Memorial Library has promoted the study of family history by inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history. It has also sought to support educational activities that create enthusiasm for family research and to make genealogical and historical resources available to all on a national and international level. It aims to achieve this by continuing the expansion, modernization, and distribution of the collection of print, electronic manuscript and other information media as technology develops., Inc. Announces New Guidebook for Free Online Genealogy– Google Your Family Tree

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

PROVO, UT, October 8, 2008 —, Inc. announced today the availability of Google Your Family Tree, a new book that teaches family historians how to unlock the hidden power of the Internet’s most popular search engine. Written by Daniel M. Lynch, the book received an enthusiastic reception in Philadelphia last month when it was unveiled at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference. Pre-orders for the book have been brisk, and it is expected to ship within two weeks.

“This book is well positioned to become the best-selling genealogy book of all time,” said Paul Allen, chief executive officer of “It is the right content, by the right author, at the right time. We couldn’t be more pleased to be releasing this book this month as millions of people in the United States celebrate Family History Month.”, Inc. and Lynch agreed to the deal in March of this year. “Dan has done an exceptional job documenting the hidden power Google offers to family history enthusiasts worldwide,” Allen said. “It is the first such book written specifically for genealogists by an accomplished genealogist and technology expert.”

Lynch was recently on the KSL NewsRadio Relatively Speaking radio genealogy show with KSL NewsRadio personality and genealogy author Mary Slawson. During the show, Slawson commented about the book, “I just finished reading it today, and 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 in most of the beginners’ libraries. It’s a great book!”

Lynch began his career in the technology industry in 1984 and has also been involved in genealogy research for nearly 30 years. A frequent lecturer and writer, he began sharing his Google tips with fellow genealogists at the local and national level shortly after the search engine launched ten years ago. As the capabilities of Google have expanded, so too have its applications for use by family historians. “Google is easily the most important tool available for anyone engaged in family history research,” noted Lynch.

The book is 352 pages and sells for $34.95 (USD). To learn more about the book, or to reserve a copy, go to

About, Inc., Inc. is a family of services that includes,,, and the We’re Related and My Family applications on Facebook. The company’s focus 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. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools. More than 30,000 individuals have subscribed to With more than a billion names in thousands of databases–including birth, death, military, census, and parish records– 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.

# # #

Media Contacts:, Inc.
Whitney Ransom McGowan
Director, Corporate Communications
(801) 377-0588 (Utah)

Daniel M. Lynch
(203) 459-4949 (Connecticut)

Military Yearbooks Honor Heroes of Wars, Education, and Invention

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

The major collection for this week at is a compilation of yearbooks from the United States Military Academy West Point -Howitzer , (1921 – 1935, 1937 – 1960); United States Coast Guard Academy – Tide Rips Yearbook (1925, 1930, 1932 – 1933, 1935 – 1940, 1943 – 1956); United States Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point – Midships Yearbook (1945 – 1947, 1949 – 1950, 1952 – 1954, 1959); and the United States Air Force Academy Colorado Springs – Polaris Yearbook (1959 – 1960).

Due to partnership agreements, these books will not be free for the first ten days. These yearbooks join others in our collection including the United States Naval Academy’s Lucky Bag Yearbook brought to you by our partnership with

This article focuses on distinguished alumni and the makings of the Howitzer. The other schools to join the collection also have distinguished alumni who pursued interesting and varied professions. We are honored to showcase this collection of distinguished individuals who began their careers with educational pursuits within the military’s academies.

How the Howitzer began:

Class photograph albums were first published during the Civil War. Class annuals were first published in 1884. Class yearbooks were first published in 1896. There was no issue in 1899 due to the Spanish American War. There were no issues in 1901, 1902, and 1903 due to a hazing scandal. However, photograph albums and pictures have been found for some of those missing years. Official yearbooks were re-introduced in 1904. There was no issue in 1918 (combined issue with 1917). There were two issues for the Classes of 1920, original (actually published in 1927) and redesignated. There were two issues for the Classes of 1921, original and redesignated. -John Greiman’s USMA Class of 1981 website

Distinguished alumni from years covered (1921-1935, 1936-1960) by the Howitzer’s collected on include the following (listed by class year):

* Information for the alumni list was compiled from West Point Distinguished Alumni page on

Celebrate Family History Month

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Since September 26, 2001, October has been recognized as the Family History Month. This initiative was passed by unanimous consent from the Senate more than seven years ago.

Click here to read the press release from Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah that describes the bill which was passed to commemorate October as Family History Month.

There are many ways to celebrate Family History Month. Here are a few suggestions from

* Share a story with your children about your childhood. If you don’t have children, share a story with your spouse or parents.
* Encourage your children to write in a journal.
* Start writing your personal history.
* Record one of your relatives talking about his or her life.
* Add a new page to your scrapbook.
* Sort through and label your pictures.
* Ask one of your relatives for a family recipe. Make it and share it with your family.
* Start a family website.
* Perform some searches for your ancestors on
* Plan a family trip.
* Attend a family reunion.
* Write a letter to one of your relatives. If you are searching for some information on your family, ask for it. If you have done the research, share it.
* Watch a home video of your family. If you don’t have one, make one.
* Convert some old VHS or 8 mm to DVD. Make copies and share them with your family.
* Start or add to your family tree.
* Make a family calendar for Christmas that includes photos of your family and important dates.
* Visit a cemetery where one of your relatives is buried. Take pictures of the cemetery and upload them to Find A Grave (if the photo is not already there).
* Trace your family medical history.
* Make copies of important family documents. Put the copies in a safe place, and share them with other family. Making the copies digital and putting them online is also recommended.
* Tell a friend that it is family history month and send them these tips! Announces New President and VP Marketing

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Shown above (from left to right): Steve Nickle and Jim Ericson

Steve Nickle and Jim Ericson bring new vision and strong leadership to

PROVO, UT, October 3, 2008 —, an online genealogy service of, Inc., announced a new leadership team with Steve Nickle as the company’s new president, and Jim Erickson as Vice President, Marketing. Paul Allen will remain as CEO.

“I believe is in a unique position to make a difference in the world of genealogy because of its dedicated and passionate employees to its unique perspective on how to partner with the rest of the genealogy community,” said Steve Nickle, President,

Nickle comes to the company with more than 20 years of executive and management leadership. He spent the first half of his career in financial services after earning a Financial Planning degree from BYU. The second half of his career has been spent primarily as an executive in small and medium-sized companies, including two Vice President roles at — Vice President of Global Content Acquisition and Electronic Production, and Vice President of Marketing. Nickle also served on the advisory board of New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS). He has been involved in the genealogy space for the past seven years. ”

One of our goals is to become the world’s largest gateway to family and individual discovery and expression,” Nickle said. “With the current state of the economy, the desire to return to core values of family and connectedness is becoming more and more compelling to people. At, we want to facilitate our customer’s desire to connect to their family and familyroots.”

Ericson has served in many leadership positions including VP Marketing for Agilix and Move Networks (a leading provider of Internet television services that provides streaming for ABC, ESPN, Fox, CW TV and Televisa). Ericson has also had genealogy experience as vice president of marketing at OneGreatFamily and as director of marketing and a product manager at While at he launched Ancestry Family Tree, managed the and World Family Tree online services, and launched the affiliate program.

“What impressed me most with FamilyLink and the opportunity to work at WorldVitalRecords is the caliber of the team that is assembled here,” said Jim Ericson, VP Marketing, “I have a high level of respect for the entire team and have had the pleasure of working with many of these people before. I have confidence in our ability to do great things together to make a difference in the lives of our customers.”

Ericson is passionate about the values, traditions, and knowledge of families, and having that information shared from one generation to the next.

“Family history and genealogy provide us with a sense of identity and help us better understand ourselves. I enjoy the close connection people have with one another within the genealogy community, which is something you don’t often find in other markets.”

With the additions of Nickle and Ericson to the executive team is demonstrating its deep commitment to the area of family history research and discovery. The company promises to continue to expand its popular service.


Media Contact
Whitney Ransom McGowan
Corporate Communications Director, Inc.

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 with nearly 10 million users. 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 application 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.

“Extreme” Family History and Genealogy

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

With the advent of digital technology, new ways of “doing” family history and genealogy are appearing, allowing individuals to more fully “experience” history, or to collaborate with others in finding their ancestors through innovative tools being developed or adapted for genealogical research. Some of these new ways are out-of-the ordinary-even extreme-in comparison with traditional methods. This article briefly shares two ways in which family history and genealogy may be called “extreme.”


The first “extreme” we found is where individuals actually live in a recreated time period. We discovered that Lisa Cooke, Genealogy Gems, and her family participated in PBS television series called Texas Ranch House. A Web site has preserved the experience and comes complete with journal excerpts as a reality check with plenty of links to historical resources. Life on a Texas ranch in 1867 was recreated for television and Lisa’s family by outfitting the family and ranch workers in period clothing and providing them with the tools of the time to experience “what the saddle-sore, rope-burned, and sun-blistered ranch life was really like.” The site features details of the episodes where “real” life depicted the recreation, leisure time, music, cattle drives, and food of the Texas cowboys and their families. An interactive history page features games where individuals can test their skills of wrangling, roping, selecting food, cattle prodding, and cowboy slang. This area helps young people learn many aspects of history and have fun while learning.

Genealogical record collection on an “extreme” scale is what is doing all over the world. The current FamilySearch effort to convert their microfilm collection to digital is to create better access to the films and new records. FamilySearch operates 4500 Family History centers in 80 countries throughout the world. Dick Eastman, a popular blogger in the genealogy and family history field, interviewed Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs, at FamilySearch. a non-profit organization that has accumulated the largest repository of genealogical records in the world. Dick interviewed Paul at the recent FGS conference in Philadelphia. You can view the entire interview at Roots Television by clicking here.

Facts on the “extreme” nature of the FamilySearch project:

* The bulk of the collection is still on microfilm and FamilySearch has almost 2.5 million rolls of microfilm left to digitize.

* Less than 3% of this material is digitized and indexed online.

* This microfilm collection will take 8-10 years to convert it to digital.

* 15 high speed scanners are in the Granite Mountain Records vault in Salt Lake City Utah and are being used five days a week.

* FamilySearch has replaced most of their microfilm cameras in the world with digital cameras.

* Over 200 camera teams in 45 countries are digitizing original documents five days a week.

* These teams produce 40 million images a year that FamilySearch wants to put online.

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.