Archive for March, 2012

Discovering Family Tree Records

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

NEW: MYHERITAGE FAMILY TREES COLLECTION

We’ve just added a powerful new resource to World Vital Records – the MyHeritage Family Trees Collection, an exclusive database with more than 400 million tree profiles and tens of millions of associated photos.

Using this data collection, researchers can find trees which connect with their own or lead to new information about ancestors.  Now you can quickly find information and learn from other researchers and discover family members and yet unknown distant cousins as you search this large, dynamically updated collection.

SEARCHING THE COLLECTION

To search the trees, simply log on to your World Vital Records account and click “Search>Card Catalog” to go to a new page showing the MyHeritage Family Trees Collection.

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Combining Social Media with Family History

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

As Facebook enters its eighth year and many other social networking sites become publicly-traded companies (LinkedIn, Groupon, Yelp, Zynga, Twitter), it seems that social media is here to stay.

As genealogists, how can we embrace today’s online social media tools to further our research? I’ve spoken to people who – through social networking – find both long lost cousins and other family members. Some find family they did not know they had.

One society I know of uses the free online meet-up technology available through GooglePlus – they are called Hangouts – to hold weekly meetings without leaving home.

There is so much knowledge and shared experience in the blogosphere. Whether it is a wiki website with user-submitted articles or a professional genealogist sharing his or her experience, blogs offer relevant hints and tricks. If you are not already familiar with blogs, follow a few presenters from a recent conference, company page or visit Geneabloggers.com for a comprehensive list of genealogy blogs. Once you find writers who resonate with you on your favorite social networking site, it’s like checking the daily news. You’ll receive valuable insights and entertaining snippets.

Microblogging, blogging but on a smaller scale, allows people to share quick bits of content. Whether you want to share a link to a great video or just your thoughts at the moment, Twitter is the most common forum for microbloggers. If you aren’t into sharing right away, following others is a fascinating way to learn about current trends. It feels as if you are listening simultaneously to 100 conversations. It is easy to see what topics are most commonly discussed. Are you are a visual person? There are sites to pin images of products, fun ideas or content as well like Pinterest. Whatever your style, share the best of what you find online within your network and learn new ideas from others — that’s what it’s all about. (more…)

Meet our historical content team

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The Provo, Utah office is delighted to welcome two new members to the MyHeritage Family: Russ Wilding and Roger Bell.

Roger Bell (L) and Russ Wilding (R)
Roger Bell (L) and Russ Wilding (R)

They are the former founders of Footnote.com, which was acquired by Ancestry.com in 2010. Russ has been appointed chief content officer and Roger is VP Product.  They will be based in the MyHeritage Utah office.

Russ and Roger will be responsible for increasing the volume of international historical record content for our users. This will be a major benefit to our user base as it will complement the massive amount of user-contributed content that has made MyHeritage the world’s largest family social network for discovering and sharing family memories. (more…)

The missing link: Finding an enumeration district

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The missing link: Finding an enumeration district

As a genealogist, I’m excited about the release of the 1940 census. Not only will it be online but – better yet – it will be available directly from WorldVitalRecords.com and MyHeritage.com on the very day that NARA releases the census to the public.

It is essential for researchers to know their enumeration districts (EDs) to ensure their early success on April 2nd. The last thing you want to do is call Grandma to help you find the location you should be searching instead of actually spending time in the census images.

I thought I was going to easily find my grandmother’s ED. Wow – was I wrong! Here’s my story and I hope it will provide some tips for you.

First, I called my family and asked for the city and state where my grandmother lived in 1940. The answer wasn’t immediately given, but within a day, we had an exact address: 217½ Clubhouse Avenue, Venice, California.

I went to the NARA ED finder site and to SteveMorse.org and expected a very fast ED response. However, I ran into a problem on both sites, as there was no city of Venice.  I was perplexed – Venice is a rather well known place southwest of Los Angeles, so I thought it must have been a case where the county – in 1940 – is no longer the county today.

After some research, I thought it could be under San Joaquin County – and tried that on the ED calculator, with no luck. I talked to some friends and some experienced genealogy buffs, but found no answer.  I was not overly concerned because I did find a range of EDs where it could be listed under the “other” field and typing in Venice.  I had a list of 10 or so possible EDs.  This would limit my image search but would still require a lot of work.

Hoping for better results I tried again a few days later – still no Venice.  I had read the early history of Venice up to and beyond 1940 on Wikipedia. Despite much information, there was nothing to help determine the ED.  I decided to read more slowly and look for something.

Here is what I found – and was surprised to find. (more…)

1940 Census: Just six days away – Get prepared

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Genealogists around the world and members of WorldVitalRecords.com are thrilled that the release of the 1940 census is less than one week away!

Here at WorldVitalRecords, a MyHeritage Company, we are excited about the news released last week that the census images will be available at www.worldvitalrecords.com/1940census for free as well as on the MyHeritage 1940 Census Site.

On April 2nd the census images will be made available via both sites the same day they are released by the National Archives. The census images will also be indexed and – as quickly as they are made available – added to the sites.

From April 2 and beyond, you’ll be able to search our sites and census images free of charge.  To search, it will be best if you do some preparation ahead of time and know where to look among the 132 million estimated individuals included in the 1940 census images.

Census images are broken down to the state and county levels and then to enumeration districts (EDs), the area which an enumerator could cover in a limited amount of time. In big cities, the ED may only be a few blocks. In rural areas, the ED was much larger and the census-taker had a month to cover that. (more…)

Family Stories: Teach and create memories

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Family Stories: Teach and create memories

When we attend conferences, we hope we’ll bring something home that changes our perspective and provides new ideas and opportunities to try new things – or change others – to make progress on our personal family history goals.

If a family history or genealogy conference provides that experience, we are fortunate. However, if we attend an event that opens our minds to countless new ideas, new areas of interest and new methods of researching, then we’re not only merely successful, but that experience can be considered a game-changer.

Steve Anderson

Such was the Story@Home conference held March 9-10.

Generally, I attend an event, come home with knowledge that makes me a better genealogist and person. But following this most recent event, I came home with an entire list of speakers’ names, stories, and faces etched into my brain. Not just one speaker – but all of them – shared their stories.

From the beginning, as Steve Anderson – Family Search’s marketing director –introduced David Rencher – Family Search’s chief genealogist and keynote speaker – the event was filled with memorable stories. David spoke of great successes in finding not just one cemetery full of ancestors but a whole weekend of discoveries. Every time he turned around, another person said, “Oh, that’s my line as well.”

Carol Rice – CEO and founder of CherishBound (the producer of Story@Home) – related her experiences in recording her family stories. She spoke about the women in her family, and through pictures and books, the birth of her company.

Popular blogger C Jane Kendrick and her husband Chup put on a lively show – discussing the “upcoming” Story@Home conference when, in reality, they were already there. They discussed how and what they would present. They “decided” to tell the story of their last child’s birth at home with no midwife or other medical staff present and the special moments they shared together. They truly demonstrated the power of story in sharing their own family history.

Syd Lieberman Storyteller

Syd Lieberman Storyteller

Syd Lieberman – a world-renowned storyteller (and typical father) – told us of his wonderful daughter – and slouch of a son. He walked us through heartfelt stories of both relationships and how each grew over time.  These stories will forever be remembered by that audience. (more…)

A day just for me: South Davis Family History Fair

Monday, March 5th, 2012

A day just for me: South Davis Family History Fair

Normally, I am officially representing World Vital Records and MyHeritage at many events, as part of a team, and staffing a booth. This past weekend, however, I was able to attend the South Davis Utah Family History Fair as just a conference-goer.

While it is always an adventure to go to a show with a team and a display booth, attending as an individual – simply to learn – is a renewing experience. We don’t always have time to attend interesting sessions when we attend events as an official team!

Here are some of my day’s highlights:

The keynote by Karen Clifford (“Uniting Generations: The Changing Face of Family History Research”) demonstrated how time has changed everything from FamilySearch to the way we search, how we share genealogy and collaborate. The great talk stressed that as the modern world continues to make massive and fast improvements in technology, we need to not only keep researching but also to share and collaborate, nicely, online so that the most recent advancements are used to our advantage.

She discussed her son who decided to research his father’s line despite the work going back many generations and the work already “being complete.” As a professor and genealogist, Karen told him “good luck” and hoped he’d find something to do.

In reality, her son found 52 mistakes in the line – some included incorrect LDS ordinance submissions – sealing the wrong husband and wife and other errors. Because he went back and investigated from the beginning, he was able to find new sources of information that were not available 15 years ago. Advances in genealogy proved to be a great asset. (more…)

Recap of the St. George Family History Expo

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
St. George Family History Expo MyHeritage Booth

St. George Family History Expo MyHeritage Booth

The MyHeritage booth at the St. George (Utah) Family History Expo was a huge success. We heard many fascinating stories and met many amazing people during the two-day event. Some people were just starting out, although others had been researching for more than 20 years and just needed a little help.

Many attendees were eager to sign up to family-friendly MyHeritage because of its ability to help them share information with their relatives near and far – that’s what MyHeritage is all about! We are thankful to the people we met and helped.

At the event, Mark Olsen presented to classrooms of genealogists who were eager to learn more about MyHeritage and other social tools. He spoke about ways to use new technology to connect with relatives around the world and preserve family history.

Social technology is a hot topic in genealogy with many books written about these cutting-edge tools. The presentation on Hangouts attracted a full room of conference goers.

Relaying family moments captured and shared across the globe brought tears to the eyes of several attendees. There was a tangible excitement as Mark showed how online free social technology can be used to strengthen family bonds and further research. (more…)