Archive for March, 2009

Family Treasures

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

By Whitney McGowan,, Inc.

I have kept many of the gifts my grandparents have given me. For example, my paternal grandma loves antiques and has collected many roomfuls of treasures. Occasionally when I go over to visit her, she will let me go through her antique jewelry and pick something out. I treasure these valuables because my grandma gave them to me. I also have many treasures from my Grammie (my mom’s mom). She has written me many beautiful, heartfelt letters. She has also sewn my name on towels, crocheted dish towels for me, and has given me the recipes for many of my favorite foods and desserts that she makes. When I look at the jewelry, or the towels, or even read through some of the letters I remember some of the memories I have shared with my grandmothers.

I think I am not unique in having sentiments in this area. For example here are a few excerpts, in their own words, from others who shared their thoughts on owning simple treasures from their loved ones:

When my grandfather passed away I told my mother I wanted just one treasure from my grandparents’ estate: the Toas-Tite sandwich maker. I’m sure I was the only grandchild to make this request. Out of the chaos of sorting through half a century of my grandparents’ belongings, my mother eventually unearthed my inheritance. On that day I became a rich man.  Almost sixteen inches long, with a round four-and-three-quarter-inch sandwich holder at the end, this kitchen collectible was the well-spring of hundreds of perfectly circular grilled cheese sandwiches made by my grandmother in her Cedar Rapids, Iowa, home. Manufactured sometime in the 1940s by Bar-B-Bun, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Toas-Tite has two black wooden handles held together with a metal loop on the end to keep them closed and, well, tight. The face of an almost hysterically smiling woman adorned the cover of the manufacturer’s original box. Next to the happy chef was the sales pitch: “Make a luscious sealed in hot drip prof (sic) toasted sandwich.” Prof, stood for “proof” I imagine, and “hot drips” meant lots of saturated fat. The beauty behind Toas-Tite’s unique design was the ability to make grilled cheese sandwiches, toast, and hamburgers over an outdoor campfire or, in my case, over a gas flame in Grandmother’s kitchen. …No, the treasures my grandparents passed on to me are more valuable than shares of stock and acres of land. For how do you inventory gardens, food, family, and the love of simple pleasures? Inheriting these qualities will take the rest of my life and there is no guarantee that I will succeed. No wonder that the first time I used the Toas-Tite I burned the grilled cheese sandwiches. Just as I feared — it’s not easy as it looks. – Stephen Lyons,

What do I really treasure? Many people often paid my grandparents with silver dollars. You don’t see that any more, it’s too inconvenient to carry those big pieces of metal now. Of course you didn’t need to carry near as many of them in those days. Silver dollars are a special memory to me for another reason: they were grandma and grandpa’s savings. They put aside the silver dollars that came into the shop to purchase special things. They also used these silver dollars to give to their grandchildren on their birthdays. I still have a couple of those old silver dollars they gave me. No, they are not collector’s pieces, they are not worth a whole lot more than a dollar to anyone else, but to me they hold memories and are priceless. –

What heirlooms or family treasures have value in your life? Preserving these treasures can help you remember your loved ones and the times you shared with them. If you have heirlooms or special family treasures from one of your loved ones whom you never met, try learning more about them on, a treasure-trove of information.

New GPC Content From Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New York, Virginia, and Wales.

Friday, March 6th, 2009

This week’s major collection includes birth, marriage, and death records, stories and histories, and census and voter lists from Genealogical Publishing Company. The content for these ten new databases is from Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New York, Virginia, and Wales.

View all recently added databases.

Calendar of Wills, 1626-1836– online 2/26/09
This sought-after volume contains abstracts of 2,162 wills, giving the name of the testator, place of residence, date, names of wife and children, legatees, names of executors and witnesses, and the number of the will. Arranged in rough alphabetical order and thereunder approximately chronologically, this work identifies some 15,000 persons from the wills filed, which were filed from all around New York State. The complete name index at the back of the book further enhances its usefulness. Fernow’s introduction, consisting of an explanation of New York testamentary law, is another outstanding feature of this collection of the earliest wills on record for New York State.

Electoral Registers Since 1832; and Burgess Rolls– online 2/26/2009
Published annually since 1832, electoral registers list the names and addresses of everyone entitled to vote, noting the qualifications which brought each voter onto the register, such as current residence or ownership of property. During most of the 19th century the printed registers were arranged in alphabetical order by constituency, while later they were arranged in street order by parish. Thus they are used widely by genealogists as a tool to locate individuals in the various decennial censuses. Until now there has never been a guide showing just where these amazingly informative lists can be consulted, but this present work redresses that problem and provides a county-by-county inventory of published electoral registers held in libraries and record offices throughout Britain.

Adventures of Purse and Person, Volume 3-– online 2/27/2009
This third volume of the fourth edition of Adventurers of Purse and Person is a culmination of the author’s twenty-five year association with the Order of First Families of Virginia. It is the final volume of a project with the purpose to identify the descendants of the earliest settlers of the colony and those who as members of the Virginia Company financed the venture on new shores. The investigations by many students of colonial Virginia genealogy have made possible the inclusion of this information, and their contributions, frequently noted in the footnote citations, have enhanced the accounts presented herein.

The Founding Families of Virginia refers to approximately 150 individuals who can be identified as (1) Adventurers of Purse (i.e. stockholders in the Virginia Company of London) who either came to Virginia in the period 1607–1625 and had descendants or who did not come to Virginia within that period but whose grandchildren were residents there; or (2) Adventurers of Person, 1607–1625 (i.e. immigrants to Virginia) who left descendants.

Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, Volume 1– online 2/27/2009 and
Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, Volume 2- online 3/2/2009
First published in 1872, with a second edition in 1875, Nicholas’s Annals and Antiquities of the County Families of Wales is still the standard work on Welsh family history and the chief source of genealogical data on the counties and families of the principality. Unlike other books on the subject, it combines histories of the ancient counties of Wales with family lineages, integrating the two to show the social and genealogical evolution of the country. Again unlike other works, it is based on the author’s personal investigation of county records and family papers, producing in the end what can only be described as the most complete and faithful compendium of Welsh family history ever published.

In this work, then, we are entrusted with a reliable record of ancient and modern families as well as—to paraphrase the subtitle—a reliable record of all ranks of the gentry, their lineages, appointments, armorial ensigns, and residences; ancient pedigrees and memorials of old and extinct families; notices of the family history and antiquities of each county; and rolls of high sheriffs and other county officials. So little is available on the subject that the reprint of this famous work will be a godsend to Americans of Welsh descent.

Cavaliers and Pioneers. Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666, Volume 1-– online 3/2/2009
This is one of the most outstanding records of early emigrants to Virginia. It records under the name of the patentee or grantee, the earliest Virginia land grants and patents from 1623 to 1666, giving the number of acres, locations and dates of settlement, and names of family members, and it further provides references to marriages, wills, and other legal instruments. It also has the names of some thousands who were transported or brought over by the early settlers as “headrights.” The index contains the names of about 20,000 persons.

Early Families of Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky and Their Descendants-– online 3/3/2009
This massive compilation contains genealogies of the early families of eastern and southeastern Kentucky, the section originally comprised of the counties of Floyd, Knox, Greenup, and Clay. The genealogies refer to approximately 12,000 individuals, many of them worked through seven generations. The main families, many of them of Scotch-Irish descent, are listed alphabetically starting with the progenitor of the Kentucky line and continue chronologically thereafter according to the succession of children. Data furnished on each of the descendants generally includes name, date of birth, marriage and death, place of residence, incidental facts pertaining to military and public service, references to public records, and so on.

Cape Cod Library of Local History and Genealogy, Volume – online 3/3/2009 and
Cape Cod Library of Local History and Genealogy, Volume 2-– online 3/4/2009It is well known that Cape Cod families are difficult to trace. Only the probate records survived the burning of the Barnstable County Courthouse in 1827, and similar disasters have taken their toll on the Cape’s town records. Many of Chatham’s records, for instance, were lost in a fire, and Yarmouth’s records of the Revolutionary War period have been missing for years. Even so, many important Cape Cod town records still exist: the problem is that so few of them are in print. So it was fortuitous when Col. Leonard Smith stumbled upon a series of pamphlets published at Yarmouthport by Charles W. Swift in the early part of the 20th century under the name Cape Cod Library of History and Genealogy. A series of 108 pamphlets!

Although contributors to the Cape Cod Library included such celebrated genealogists as Josiah Paine (author of History of Harwich), William C. Smith (known for his History of Chatham), and Amos Otis (Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families), the series never reached a large audience, and is today virtually inaccessible. No library in the country holds the complete collection of 108 pamphlets. With great diligence, Col. Smith put together a complete collection for himself, arranged the pamphlets in the order in which they were published, and then, to make the material usable, compiled an index of names. In just over 2,000 pages he has managed to put together a reference work that compensates for the chronic shortage of printed Cape Cod source material, and it is available now in this splendid two-volume consolidation. See for yourself. The contents are listed below.

Volume 1: Cape Cod Byways; The Descendants of John Jenkins; Plymouth Trading Corporation; Summer Street-Hawes Lane, Yarmouthport; The Baker Zone in West Dennis; Cape Cod Land Titles; Permissive Use of the Common Lands of Proprietary Plantations; “Cast-Up” Lands; The Prince-Howes Court Cupboard; The Cape Type of House; Shipbuilding at East Dennis; The Nye House at Sandwich; History of Sandwich Glass and the Deming Jarves Book of Designs; Description of the Farris Windmill in South Yarmouth; William Swift and Descendants to the Sixth Generation; Old Shipmasters; Church Councils; Homer; The South Dennis Meeting House; Old Indian Meeting House at Mashpee; The Revolutionary War Service of Nathan Crosby; The Revolutionary War Service of Ansel Taylor; The Oldest Public Library Building in the U.S.; The Geological Formation of Cape Cod; Fast Runs of Clipper Ships; The Romance of a Barnstable Bell; Glass-Making in Sandwich; Thomas Foster of Weymouth and His Descendants; The Robbins Family of Cape Cod; Bangs Family Papers; Puddington-Purrington-Purinton; Thomas Howes of Yarmouth, Mass., and Some of His Descendants, Together with the Rev. John Mayo, Allied to Him by Marriage; Early Settlers of Eastham, Book 2; Early Settlers of Eastham, Book 1; Nicholas Snow of Eastham and Some of His Descendants, Together with Samuel Storrs, Thomas Huckins, Elder John Chipman, and Isaac Wells, Allied to the Snows by Marriage; Edward Kenwrick, the Ancestor of the Kenricks or Kendricks of Barnstable County and Nova Scotia and His Descendants; Early Chatham Settlers; Stephen and Giles Hopkins, Mayflower Passengers, and Some of Their Descendants, Including an Eldridge Line; Old Quaker Village, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts; West Yarmouth Houses Seventy-Five Years Ago, from Parker’s River Westward; A Mayflower Line; Hopkins-Snow-Cook; Atwood Genealogy; Newcombe Genealogy; Early Wheldens of Yarmouth; Descendants of William Hedge of Yarmouth; Thomas Clarke, the Pilgrim, and His Descendants; Burgess; The Yarmouth Families of Eldredge; Richard Taylor, Tailor, and Some of His Descendants; The Cross Families of Truro and Wellfleet; The Mayo Family of Truro; Deacon John Doane and the Doane Family; A Brief Sketch of the Life of George Webb, A Cape Cod Captain in the Revolutionary War; Genealogical Sketch of Descendants of Jeremiah Howes of Dennis, Mass.; The Lumbert or Lombard Family; Eastham and Orleans Historical Papers; Richard Rich of Dover Neck; John Robinson of Leyden and His Descendants to the Sixth Generation; The Yarmouth Family of Gray; and The Yarmouth Family of Chase.

Families of Early Milford, Connecticut– online 3/4/2009
This monumental compilation contains the genealogical records of approximately 300 families of early Milford, Connecticut. The genealogies range from a single paragraph to a dozen pages or more, enumerating descents through several generations, and are arranged alphabetically by family name, under which may also be found the names and records of allied families. The families traced here include those called Free Planters, who settled Milford in 1639, those who came soon afterward and who are called After Planters, and, in addition, those families who were in town at an early date and about whom there is a significant amount of information available. There are nearly 15,000 names in the index., Inc. Announces New Lead Developer

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Founder of GenForum, GenCircles, and Family Tree Legends to help connect families on
PROVO, UT, March 2, 2009 – Cliff Shaw, founder and developer of numerous genealogy companies and products, recently joined, Inc. as its new lead developer.

“FamilyLink is charting new territory in family social networking and it’s exciting to be on the leading edge of this. The growth the company is experiencing, even in a down market, is truly remarkable,” said Cliff Shaw, lead developer,, Inc. “It’s great to work with such an unbelievably well-rounded team.  Paul Allen and I have done great things in the industry working apart. I can’t wait to see what our merged teams can do together.”

“One of my major goals at is to assemble the right people to build a great company,” said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. “Cliff Shaw is a talented addition to our team who definitely knows the ins and outs of how to best connect families.”

As lead developer, Shaw will work toward helping the company become the global leader in family social networking on all social networks and mobile platforms. The, Inc. network of sites became one of the Top 500 Web companies in the world in December 2008, based on Quantcast statistics. Currently the network ranks No. 165 based on total monthly unique visitors, making the company one of the fastest growing Web properties in the world.

“Families are connecting in new ways thanks to social networks. With the increasing distance between family members, online and mobile communication has become a vital way for many families to stay connected. FamilyLink is on the leading edge of this trend and will help families stay closer,” Shaw said.

Shaw is an entrepreneur who has founded a number of companies in the past 13 years, both in and out of genealogy. At 18, he started GenForum and quickly grew it into the largest family history community on the Internet. GenForum was a top 200 site with more than 75 million monthly page views and remains a popular destination. GenForum was sold to the Learning Company in 1998. In 2000, Shaw founded GenCircles, a user-contributed family tree site that introduced SmartMatching, the first technology that automatically linked users’ family trees. GenCircles grew to become the No. 2 family tree contribution site on the Internet with hundreds of millions of names in trees. In 2001, Shaw founded Pearl Street Software and led the development of Family Tree Legends, the No. 2 family tree software package in worldwide sales. Family Tree Legends received consistent critical acclaim and sold at most major retail outlets in the United States and UK. acquired Pearl Street Software in 2006 and makes significant use of the SmartMatching technology to this day.

Shaw lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and is an avid environmentalist and world traveler.

About, Inc., Inc. is the leading social networking company for families globally.
It was formed in 2006 by original founding executives of and
The company operates several genealogy web sites and has popular applications on
Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, and Friendster. The company’s We’re Related application
is currently the third most popular application on Facebook and has helped users
define nearly 200 million family relationships., Inc. also operates
the AdMazing ad network that represents more than 200 million monthly impressions
on high traffic family history and heritage sites. Genealogy partners include Everton,
brightsolid, Statute of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Genealogical Publishing
Company,, Godfrey Memorial Library, and FamilySearch.

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

Just A Reminder of Some of the Features 30 Million People Are Using on We’re Related

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Yes, it’s true. This week We’re Related on Facebook reached the 30 million user milestone and is also the number four application (for most active users), out of more than 54,000 applications on Facebook.

Here are a few features you may want to try out on We’re Related.

Possible RelativesWe’re Related sends you an email to tell you how many possible relatives it has found for you. You simply click the link, and start looking at the list of potential family members…and even some family members you may not know yet.

Birthdays – Do you ever have trouble remembering the birthdays of your family members? Worry no more. We’re Related will keep track of those dates for you. You can even send one of your family members a virtual gift.

Private Wall – Do you have thoughts you want to share with just your family, and not with all of your friends on Facebook? Try out the Private Wall. Here only you and your family will see the messages, photos, and videos you post.

Photos – Here you can upload photos for your family to see. Get started now on your first family album. Enjoy the photos your family members have posted for your viewing pleasure as well.

Status Updates – This is the place where you can tell your family what you are up to. You can also see how your family members are connected to each other and help in the process of determining who is related to whom and how everyone is related. Nearly 200 million relationships have been defined using this feature.

Trees, Ancestors, and GEDCOMs – This feature will be working again soon. And when it does, be ready to get going on your family tree. Your ancestors will be happy that you are discovering who they are.