Archive for the ‘Success Story’ Category Ranked #10 Most Popular Genealogy Site For 2008

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Kory Meyerink recently gave a presentation on the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Web Sites at the Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy. was ranked number 10 on this list!

Ranking Criteria

Meyerink felt this list was needed to minimize opinion ranking and to provide a useful list based on an extensive study of genealogical Web traffic. He first merged the rankings from,, and Google PageRank. Then he used Alexa’s top 100 under Genealogy, Kip Sperry’s Link List, Genealogy Sleuth List, cross-linked sites noted on as similar, and Yahoo and Google Directories to compile the list.

Meyerink used sites that were specifically designed for genealogical purposes (free sites, as well as paid), multiple sites from the same owner (if they had a different URL), sites of primary interest to genealogists, and sites that had a ranking of 2-3 ranking services. He did not include the following type of sites in the list: government, repository, general sites (,, and general reference sites (dictionaries, gazetteers, calendars, etc.).

About the Presenter

Kory Meyerink, BS, MLS, AG®, FUGA, has been involved in nearly every aspect of genealogy and family history for the past 20 years. Kory is an accredited genealogist in four geographic areas (Germany, Midwestern U.S., Eastern U.S. and New England U.S.). He specializes in tracing the origins of German and Dutch immigrants.

Click here to view the list of the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Web Sites.

Success Story: Finding Success After 30 Years of Searching

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The following success story was submitted by a subscriber:

My story started when I was 3-6 years old. My Grandmother, Adeline (Addie) Briggs, Signor, Comstock, Mitchell, lived with us for a while, then left to go live in New Hampshire, and I was told she died there. But where???

Now that in the past 30 years, doing genealogy, I have been searching for her in every state we lived in, including NH, using all her names, (she outlived 3 husbands!). Since I am now the “oldest” and still searching using all three names, I now decided to go back to NH.

Christmas week this past year, 2007, I was at my computer and waiting for my youngest son and family to arrive. Having just started to subscribe to World Vital records, I got to the site, just put in her name, Adeline Mitchell, and up came 3 hits!!! I knew the first 2 didn’t match because of the birth dates, the 3rd one had NO birth date, but did have a death date, and it was between the date range I felt would be correct. Subtracting her birth date from the new found death date, I came up with the year I have of her birth!!!

I was so excited, and I saw on the info that I could check out Find-a-Grave, so I clicked on it, found a picture of the grave and was elated! Knowing that I wasn’t sure or done yet with the proof I wanted/needed, I took a chance and sent for the birth certificate in Concord, NH. My sister in Texas, another genealogist, was not sure it was our Grandmother, since she was younger than I, and never heard that NH was the place.

Lo and behold, when it arrived a few days later, there it was, with her mother’s maiden name on it!! What a Christmas gift to receive after 30 years of searching!! I can’t wait to go to Concord, NH, to see the gravesite. So, my advice, be patient and never give up! – Beryl Nulph

One Billion Names Now Online at

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

PROVO, UT, March 11 2008 –After only 17 months since the company began, (a service of, Inc.) now has 1 billion searchable names on its site.

“We have been looking forward to this day since we started 17 months ago. It’s an important milestone to have passed the billion-name mark, and a real testament to the company’s hard work to have put this together, a collection of this size and importance,” said David Lifferth, President,, Inc.’s genealogical collections contain data from 35 countries and consists of birth, marriage, death, military, immigration, emigration, census, parish, court, civil service, land and probate records, passenger lists, newspapers, family histories, township histories, family trees, maps, atlases, gazetteers, directories, and reference material. These collections are helping many people find their ancestors.

“Thank you for adding all these wonderful resources. I have recently discovered that my husband has two Mayflower ancestors. You have provided so many resources for me. It could keep me busy for weeks,” said Julia Stuart, subscriber. has a unique business model in which it partners with a variety of companies to obtain its data. Since its launch, has made content agreements with more than 30 partners. They include Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, Archive CD Books Australia, British Origins, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, Eneclann, Quintin Publications, Gould Genealogy, Familias Argentinas, Godfrey Memorial Library, NewspaperARCHIVE, Find A Grave, Allcensus, SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., the Moravian Heritage Society, and FamilySearchâ„¢. recently launched its flagship product, the World Collection, which includes significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Hungary.

“We are so grateful for the many people who have partnered with us to help us meet our billion name milestone,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition,, Inc. “We have another billion records that we are processing right now, and we will work with more content providers to get to three billion names and beyond.”


Media Contact
Whitney Ransom
Corporate Communications Director, Inc.

About, Inc., Inc. is a family of services that includes,, and We’re Related on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families.

Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original team,, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors, 9.4 million monthly pages views, and more than 25,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases including birth, death, military, census, and parish records, makes it easy to extend your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, 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 FamilySearchâ„¢. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.

And The Winner of the St. George Expo Tickets Is Valerie Sweet!!!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 congratulates Valerie Smith as the winner of two free tickets ($120 value) to the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, on February 8th and 9th.

Here is Valerie’s success story!

From Frustrated to Pacified! Finally Another Link!

My searches were exhausted to the point I put everything away, and didn’t want to look at it again for a very long time. Any genealogy researcher who has hit that brick wall in their tree line knows what I’m talking about.

My father, John Sweet, is elderly and had begun to question his living arrangements as a child. It seemed his mother, Iola Benefield Sweet (b. 1911, Illinois – d. 1965, Arkansas) gave him away to relatives when he was just a baby, to raise, and yet, Iola and his father John Richard lived nearby. It hurt him deeply. John would never consider sending one of his children away, and he needed to know he was loved despite their decision. As my father John faced his final years, he really wanted a few answers, but answers were hard to find. John’s mother and father passed away before he summoned the courage to ask them. In fact, most of our relatives had passed away except a few cousins who knew little to nothing.

So, I began my lineage search to find distant relatives and descendents who may have an answer. I wanted to find out why John’s mother gave him away, and why her mother gave her away. I also wanted to find the burial location of his maternal grandmother (Ida May Cohoon, b. 1888, Illinois) and grandfather (Samuel David Benefield, b. 1885, Illinois), who, according to what John and his mother were told, had supposedly died in a black powder factory explosion when Iola was very young.

I started with everything my father could tell me about the family, hoping to find an older living member who could fill in the gaps. I joined every online genealogy group I could find. I sifted and sifted through all the censuses, contacted every distant cousin I could find in the forums, and exhausted every family member’s name in Internet searches.

The amount of information was staggering. I found my father’s 90-year-old aunt Ruth through newspaper articles announcing her 75th wedding anniversary and her husband’s death soon after. I waited for what I hoped was an appropriate amount of time to respect her grief, then sent Ruth a letter. Her son (my cousin), Jack, responded. I was dancing on air. Through Aunt Ruth, Jack was able to give me quite a few of the answers my dad was seeking about why he ended up living with other relatives when it seemed his parents could have cared for him. The answers gave my father a little peace of mind.

But it was too late for peace of mind for me. I was hooked. I wanted it all. I’m sure all the family tree searchers can relate to that feeling. I couldn’t be pacified. Like many, I had found some captivating mysteries in my family tree and I wanted to solve them. I’d search and search, then get frustrated and put it all away for a while. I’d get it out and search some more, then put it away yet again. I traced dozens of branches of our family tree, in all directions, for a number of years. Then I hit those nasty brick walls that we all hit sooner or later. I could not find the black powder factory explosion that killed my grandmother and grandfather. I was sure the information might lead me to some of Ida May Cohoon’s living relatives, which might help complete my tree. I had the wonderful assistance of a lady who writes a column for the Illinois newspaper, who gave me lots of Benefield information. Despite family stories, together, we found my grandmother and grandfather never died in any black powder factory explosion.

My continued search showed grandfather Samuel Benefield lived on for a number of years and remarried and had other children. But I was unable to find any current addresses of the descendents. I found that the family of my grandmother, Ida May Benefield, never knew she had baby Iola, whom was given away. My father’s family revealed that John’s mother, baby Iola Benefield, had been placed on a train when she was very, very young, and sent to live with relatives because her mother, Ida May, had disappeared and her father did not really want to raise her. It was also stated that Ida May Cohoon Benefield went a little crazy after the death of her first husband (last name Davis) who died in a fire, prior to her time with Samuel. So, there was no explosion and no deaths at a factory, even though Iola Benefield was told that her parents died in such a fashion. The mystery deepened. Sadly, Iola Benefield also died before ever knowing her father was alive and living nearby throughout her childhood.

This incited my search for my paternal grandmother, Ida May Benefield. I wanted to know where she died and how, and where she was buried. I wanted to know if she remarried, had more children, or maybe had a living relative who could tell me her side of the story about her daughter (my father’s mother). I wanted to know if maybe she suffered from mental illness after her young husband’s death, or maybe she just couldn’t cope with the death at such a young age … or maybe it was something more sinister like she died or disappeared mysteriously or maybe there was a domestic incident no one knew about. Or maybe, she just disappeared and no one really knows what happened. No one from Ida May’s side of the family even knew she had a baby with Samuel, and none of them know what happened to her. I hit my first brick wall. I bounced my head off that wall for a number of years, and never broke through.

I hit the second brick wall when I traced my Sweet line back to Moses Sweet (abt. 1773, Virginia). I found this was a brick wall that held up many researchers. I bounced my head off that wall for a few years, as well, with no luck.

When I saw a new genealogy group advertised, World Vital Records, I almost passed it by. Most of the sites just duplicate each other, and I was too frustrated to deal with that. But, I broke down and decided to give it a try. I joined World Vital Records, but only for one month. I was sure I had exhausted anything they had to offer and didn’t want to waste too much time or money on more duplication.

I logged on and entered my the information for my first brick wall, Ida May Benefield. As I scanned down the page of results, I saw something new – a listing of books! There were books on genealogy, history, soldiers, LDS records, etc. Some of the books were written by family lineage researchers like me. I clicked each book and Bingo! I found several genealogy and lineage books written by distant cousins of mine that named Ida May Benefield. In addition to this great find, the site allowed me to place each of these selections in “My Library” online, to hold, until I could make purchases or contact libraries or authors about the books.

I am so glad I decided to try World Vital Records. The book listing has become a new and vital source of information for me. I contacted each library, holding books I wanted that were out of print, and although they could not sell me the books, they were able to make copies of any pages where my family names were mentioned or tell me where I may be able to purchase the book. Needless to say, I have ordered about half a dozen books with several that mention Ida May Benefield. Maybe one will lead me to the “sweet” answers I seek.

The thrill is back. I pulled out all my genealogy papers and began searching again. I’m very excited about this new source of information and the ease of searching through it. But mostly, I am excited about the results. I found results. I found new avenues to chase. Peace of mind may be within reach. At the very least, I am pacified for a while, thanks to World Vital Records.

Respectfully submitted,

Valerie Sweet

Success Story: New Insight For Pasenker Family

Friday, January 11th, 2008

The following success story was submitted to from Alan Steinfeld. The article first appeared in a family newsletter.

Success Story: Otto Prinkaln’s Record Found at

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

By Judy Levy Pfaff – Michigan State University

My great success story with World Vital Records occurred with my nephew’s family, the Prinkalns. The first generation American Prinkalns were WWII refugees from Latvia. The family had fled into Germany after the war and spent approximately 2 years in a displaced persons camp. They were able to come to America. The family story I remembered said that the father of the family was working in an orchard picking fruit. This was soon after their arrival to America. He could not speak English. At the end of the day, he was missing. They found him dead under a tree. He possibly had a stroke or heart attack. I did not know his first name, or which state he had died in. I knew his wife’s name, first name, and the children’s names and approximate ages.

My work had turned up nothing useful. I could account for all the current Prinkalns in the public databases. The man would not have worked or collected Social Security. I thought he had died in Georgia harvesting peaches, but that turned out to be the wrong state. I thought he had died about 1949, but that was a guess.

I put the last name in the search box for World Vital Records. There were 4 returns. One was a fictional character in the book Sharkman Six by Owen West. By an odd coincidence the grandson of the man I was looking for has the same name. Another was a mention of my sister-in-law in the Michigan State Alumni Magazine. Another was in a book titled Latvijas revolucionāro cīnītāju pieminas grāmata, by Sigurds Ziemelis, published 1987 in Latvia. There is a copy available in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This may prove useful later.

It was the first entry under Birth, Marriage and Death from Find A Grave that proved to be my great find. Marie V. had submitted a photograph of a gravestone of Otto B. Prinkalns, 1903-1949, in Macpelah Cemetery, Prince William County, Virginia, photo added on Nov. 8, 2006. I was pretty sure this was the man I was seeking.

I have since followed up by contacting Marie V. She gave me a lead on an archivist for the county and a local genealogy librarian. These leads proved without a doubt that I had the right man. He died July 15 or 17, 1949 and survivors were the same children. Now, I have some needed information for further work on this family.

Thank you World Vital Records, and Marie V., a volunteer for Find a Grave, for getting me started on my latest quest.