Genealogy Meets the Blogosphere

The following is an excerpt from a good article published in the “Mormon Times” section of the Deseret News on July 14, 2011.


SALT LAKE CITY —”I’m just kind of flabbergasted that you found me,” said Margaret Cason, a genealogy blogger from Bountiful, when called for an interview. “I’m not accustomed to having anything I do found by anybody else.”

A number of people have found Cason’s blog, “Their Hearts Shall Turn,” since she started it in March. It’s likely that even more people will connect with her and follow her entries now.

Cason first started her genealogy research after a Sunday School lesson in her LDS ward particularly struck her with the importance of finding her ancestors. When she attended a RootsTech conference in February and learned about technologies to advance her research, she made the transition to the blogosphere.

Cason has since joined a listing of roughly 2,000 blogs related to genealogy and family history on GeneaBloggers.com. Browsing through the collection, you’ll find quite the variety. Some may think that genealogy is just a “Mormon thing,” but Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Baptists, atheists, etc., find a common interest in studying and finding their ancestors. While the blogs listed on GeneaBloggers are predominantly in English, there are some in Polish, Spanish, Dutch, French and Norwegian, just to name a few. You might even find one that’s multi-lingual.

Read the full article.

Mocavo.com Adds Thousands of New Sites to the World’s Largest Free Genealogy Search Engine, Including More Than 3000 Genealogy Blogs

I wrote about Mocavo.com a few weeks ago when I had a brick-wall breakthrough. Now I see that Cliff Shaw has added the genealogy blogs, as well as other genealogist-suggested sites to be searched by his genealogy search engine. Following is a News Release I received last evening.
mocavo.com

Mocavo.com™ (http://www.mocavo.com), the world’s largest free search engine geared toward genealogists, announced the addition of thousands of new sites today. The new content added to Mocavo.com includes more than 3,000 genealogy blogs and thousands of sites submitted by users over the past month, including some new content for Irish and UK researchers.

A very small sampling of the sites now searchable on Mocavo.com:

Users can submit suggestions for new sites to be added at http://www.mocavo.com/suggest. New additions and updates to Mocavo.com will now occur more frequently.

About Mocavo Inc.
Mocavo Inc. operates the world’s largest free genealogy search engine,Mocavo.com, giving genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places. Founded by industry veteran Cliff Shaw, and backed by prominent angel investor, David Cohen, (founder and CEO of TechStars), Mocavo.com seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information. While Mocavo.com discovers new sites every day, some of the existing sites searchable on Mocavo.com include genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals. For further information, visit http://www.mocavo.com.

From Baumgardner to Brown – or How to Baffle Your Descendants…

Randy Majors posted a fascinating research report a couple weeks ago detailing how he broke a brick wall caused by his ancestor having changed the family surname from Baumgardner to Brown. Mr. Majors was able to make the breakthrough by using his imagination, resourcefulness, technology, and DNA. It’s really an amazing story, and one that’s worth considering, as the techniques that Randy used can be used by any of us. I’m very pleased that he’s been willing to share the story with us. Following is a teaser.

For 130 years – from 1880 to 2010 – John Charles Brown’s past was hidden in veils of secrecy. John’s children and randymajors.comgrandchildren didn’t know who his parents or siblings were. It was the proverbial genealogical brick wall. Therefore, since this was one of my most difficult family lines I could research, I researched it.

JOHN CHARLES BROWN APPARENTLY DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE HIS MARRIAGE

For many years, the first confirmed record found of John Charles Brown was of his marriage to Catherine Connors on 13 April 1887 in Idaho, when he would have been 27 years old. This was followed by the 1900, 1910, and 1920 Census records, which all list him as being born in Illinois and both of his parents as being born in Pennsylvania.

John Charles Brown’s death certificate indicates that he was born in Ottawa, Illinois, on 24 December 1858, and lists his father as Michael Brown from Pennsylvania. So far, these particulars are in agreement with the above Census records. However, on the death certificate, John’s mother’s name is in error. The witness, Charlie Brown (John’s son), accidentally records his own mother (John’s wife), Catherine Connors, as John’s mother. Based on what I know now, I wonder if this really was an accident.

So we know all about John Charles Brown from age 27 onward, but where in the world was John from 1858 through 1887…his first 27 years of life?

Read the full story at Randy’s blog.

Find My Ancestor Receives a Makeover

My friend, AC Ivory, has redesigned his website. Following is his news release, sent out today.

A FRESH LOOK FOR A NEW YEAR
Find My Ancestor Has Received a Makeover

findmyancestor January 2, 2011 – Taylorsville, UT. Find My Ancestor has announced the redesign and update to their site. The site has received many new pages and features including new downloads, new resources, a completely new blog design, social media integration and many more. With the new design, Find My Ancestor is much easier to navigate and find your way around making it a more enjoyable experience for the users. Using the new website builder makes it very easy for creating new pages, quickly allowing Find My Ancestor to be able to create more pages, how-to’s, downloads and many other features to help it’s users learn more about genealogy and the tools available to help them in their research.

About A.C. Ivory
As a genealogist specializing in the use of technology, social media and Mac computers, A.C. Ivory relies on his young genealogist perspectives to relay the importance of using the new tools and resources that will help genealogists achieve their research goals faster, easier and more efficiently. As the creator of FindMyAncestor.com, he has striven to provide genealogists with genealogical news, events, conference reports and new technology updates available to help genealogists in their research efforts.

About Find My Ancestor
Find My Ancestor provides various services to the genealogy and family history community including education, design, Family History Library research assistance and more.

A.C. Ivory is the driving force for Find My Ancestor. A.C. Ivory has been involved with genealogy and family history for over 4 years. A.C. Ivory is only 23 years old and full of genealogy knowledge and ambition.

Follow Find My Ancestor on Facebook (http://facebook.com/findmyancestor), Twitter (http://twitter.com/findmyancestor) and on our blog at http://blog.findmyancestor.com/

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories Returns

The following was written by my friend, Thomas MacEntee:

Capture Your Family’s Memories of Christmas 24 Ways in 24 Days

November 1, 2010 – Chicago, IL. GeneaBloggers – the genealogy community’s resource for blogging – announces the return of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories beginning December 1, 2010.

What started as a bi-annual event December 2007 as a way for genealogy bloggers to capture and document the memories of family holiday traditions has now grown into an annual event with its own blog. Visit the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com and learn how you can participate in this unique online genealogy event.

Beginning December 1, 2010, each day will present a specific blogging prompt such as Christmas Cookies and bloggers will be asked to write about their memories related to the theme and their family history. A new prompt will appear each day through December 24, 2010.

Bloggers who have participated in the past can join in the fun again by either repeating their posts from previous years or creating new posts. Besides creating an on-line journal of Christmas memories, some bloggers have even gone on to create books of their previous Advent Calendar posts to share with family and friends.

Don’t’ forget to check out the list of blogging prompts and get started on capturing your childhood Christmas memories today!

Follow the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories on:

California Family History Expos Contest at Geneabloggers

The following was received from my friend, Thomas MacEntee, at Geneabloggers.

Win Two Free Admission Tickets Valued at $150 US

September 21, 2010 – Chicago, IL. GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for genealogy bloggers, is happy to announce the California Family History Expo contest running from September 21, 2010 through September 24, 2010.

The prize: two free admission tickets to the upcoming California Family History Expo (http://fhexpos.com/expos/) in Pleasanton, California on October 8 & 9, 2010. To participate and enter to win the tickets, simply visit GeneaBloggers at this recent post (http://www.geneabloggers.com/win-tickets-california-family-history-expo/) and let us know how attending a Family History Expo event would help your own genealogy research. Leave your answer in the comments with a valid e-mail address and then check back on Saturday, September 25, 2010 to see if you are a winner!

Check the other upcoming events at Family History Expos including their Atlanta Family History Expo on November 12 & 13, 2010 and an upcoming expo in Mesa, Arizona in January 2011!

About Family History Expos
Family History Expos, Inc. is a Utah-based company headquartered in Croydon, Utah. FHE has been holding successful Expos throughout the Western United States for seven years, teaching thousands to learn the art of and experience the spirit of family history research.
Follow Family History Expos on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgan-UT/Family-History-Exposcom/61175760879), Twitter (http://twitter.com/FHExpos/) and on their blog at http://fhexpos.com/wordpress/.

About Thomas MacEntee
As a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and to interact with others in the family history community, Thomas MacEntee relies upon his 25 years of experience in the information technology field. And as the creator of GeneaBloggers.com, he has organized and engaged a community of over 1,200 bloggers to document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.

Thomas shares his knowledge of technology and experience as a genealogist with others through various forms of social media and speaking engagements. Through his business High-Definition Genealogy, he provides consulting services in the genealogy industry covering such areas as market research, education, technology and more.

Thomas MacEntee is available nationwide for presentations and classes focusing on social media and technology as a way to assist genealogists and genealogical societies.

About High-Definition Genealogy
High-Definition Genealogy provides various services to the genealogy and family history community including market research, consulting, education, and more.

Thomas MacEntee is the driving force between High-Definition Genealogy whose goal is to help companies, non-profits and individual “focus” on family history. Thomas has been involved with genealogy and family history for close to 20 years and for the past two years has dedicated himself professionally to various aspects of the genealogy industry.

Follow High-Definition Genealogy on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/hidefgen), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/hidefgen) and on our blog at http://hidefgen.com.

GeneaBlogger, Terry Thornton, Passes

terry-thornton-blog Terry Thornton, of Fulton, Mississippi, died in the evening of August 9, 2010. He was known among genealogy bloggers for his popular blog and writing on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi. I consider his blog to be one of the very best produced for a local area. He’s been at it for years, and the blog archives are loaded with local history info – all written with Terry’s unique style.

Lori Thornton posted a note at her Smoky Mountain Historian blog stating that the E.E. Pickle Funeral Home of Amory, Mississippi will be in charge of arrangements. An online guest book at their site will be available soon for condolences.

Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family. He will be missed.

Notes and condolences are popping up around the blogisphere – and there will be many more. Our GeneaBlogger leader, Thomas MacEntee, posted about Terry’s passing. Click here to see his blog.

Blogger’s Day 2010 at Ancestry.com

Nine bloggers spent the day at the Ancestry.com facilities on Friday. Most of those in attendance had visited Ancestry.com in January 2009. However, I didn’t because I was just getting back into blogging at that time, after having lost my blog for a few months. So the experience this year was all new to me.

ancestrycom We met at the Little America Hotel in downtown SLC and first went to the data center, which is located in Salt Lake. Needless to say, I was impressed. There we saw row upon row of servers, all feeding data to over a million Ancestry.com members.

The group then traveled to the Ancestry.com Corporate offices in Provo where we spent the day touring the facility, and attending power-point presentations, each given by by the the Ancestry.com VPs and directors.

Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan joined us for lunch, and spent an hour asking questions and looking for input from the bloggers. That evening we went to dinner at the Market Street Grill, and spent a couple more hours getting to know the Ancestry.com executives a bit better. PR Manager, Anastasia Tyler, coordinated the whole thing and made all of us feel very welcome.

On the way to the restaurant last evening, Myrt asked me what I was most impressed with at Ancestry.com. Without hesitation, I replied that I found the Membership Services operations to be the most revealing. Prior to the visit, I imagined that Membership Services was probably where you called if you wanted to cancel your subscription or find out why your Family Tree Maker 2010 wouldn’t work on your old computer (or visa versa). Boy, oh, boy – did I have that wrong. Sure – they do those things, but they now also do little things like making a call to all new members on day 4 or 5 after someone signs up, asking what they can do to help. They have 160 employees who answer the phones, and emails, taking about 110,000 calls per month, as well as answering 40 to 50 thousand monthly emails from Ancestry.com members. Every email is to be answered within 24 hours. Many of the membership services employees are skilled genealogists, who actually have the capability of helping members with their genealogy problems. They can not only help members with getting the most out of Ancestry.com, but can help with their research. Ancestry.com currently has 1,066,000 paying subscribers, and they figure that the best way to keep those members – and get many more – is to do everything in their power to make sure that their members have success in their hobby. To have that success, content is still king, but a great membership services program is right up there alongside it. I agree.

Ancestry.com has changed a lot – just in the last year of so. Not only is it a public company, but this emphasis on customer success and satisfaction is a marked change over the “old” Ancestry. I, like many other bloggers, have made negative comments about the company’s past seeming ineptitude when it came to doing dumb things that just ticked folks off. The management being human, I’m sure that at some point in the future, they’ll do something once again that all of us can pile onto. But, saying that, I’m willing to bet that it won’t happen often, since I firmly believe that they’re doing the right things.

This blog is just the first of a number that I plan to make, based on my time spent at Ancestry.com, as well as my own use of the Internet site. And yes, there’s some pretty exciting stuff to blog – much dealing with new data at Ancestry.com, as well as new indexes and ways to view data… There’s a lot to tell.

TEASERS FOR 2010…

  • The 1920 U.S. Federal Census (all 2.2 million images) will see improved & enhanced images posted online.
  • Ancestry.com will be KEYING THE FIELDS found within the 1790 through 1840 censuses (all 91,000 images). Previously only the heads-of-household were keyed and indexed.
  • The Deaf, Dumb, and Defective (DDDs) U.S. Census Schedules for CA, SC, NY, IL, NJ, WA, NE, KS, MA, IA, ME, VA, and TX (all 30,000 images with 146,000 names) will be indexed and posted.
  • A 1950 Census Substitute, made up of 2500 – 1946 though 1960 City Directories will be posted.
  • and maybe most exciting of all! U.S. land ownership maps 1860-1920 (plat maps) will be posted complete with indexes for the seven million names found thereon. Over 100,000 images will be involved.

Bloggers attending the Bloggers’ Day 2010 event were:
Dick Eastman – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
Thomas MacEntee – Geneabloggers.com
Leland K. Meitzler – GenealogyBlog.com
The unknown blogger – The Ancestry Insider
Craig Manson – Geneablogie.com
Diane Haddad – The Genealogy Insider
Lisa Cooke – Genealogy Gems Podcast
Pat Richley-Erickson – DearMyrtle.com
Kimberly Powell – About.com Genealogy

Following is a group photo taken near the end of the day in Provo. The bloggers are in the same order as I’ve listed them above. Starting with Dick in the upper left hand corner (back row) and going left to right.
Ancestry.com Bloggers Day 2010 group

In order to keep the FCC happy, I need to state that Ancestry.com paid for the bloggers’ transportation to SLC, hotels, and our meals. They even offered to pay my airfare. However, I declined, as the flight from Bountiful to SLC would have only been about 5 miles, and I don’t believe that Salt Lake International accepts private aircraft.

1001 Blog Entries

This post is number 1001 since I got GenealogyBlog up and running again in January. So I just thought I should celebrate a bit this evening. Here’s hoping that the last 1000 blogs were of interest and of use to my readers – and maybe even helped some of you advance your genealogy a bit.

I blog as often as possible – sometimes 12 hours a day – and some days not at all. My blogging depends on whether I have the time, and time at my age is a pretty precious thing. I’ve only got just so much of it left, and playing with grandson, Robbie, has made me realize just how much I want to extend that time as long as possible.

It’s my promise that I’ll keep on blogging as long as you good folks keep reading what I’m cranking out. Now let’s see how long it takes to produce the next thousand entries…

Bloggers to Speak for the California Genealogical Society

If you’re anywhere near Oakland, California next weekend, you will want to attend a program being sponsored by the California Genealogical Society. Thomas MacEntee and Craig Manson will speak on the subject of blogging.

The Saturday, October 10, 2009 Program:

  • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. How to Use a Blog – MacEntee
  • 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Building a Genealogy Blog – MacEntee
  • 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Blogging and the Law – Manson

For more information, see: October Workshop: Genealogy Blogs – Why, How, Do’s and Don’ts

Arlene Eakle’s New Kentucky Blog

Arlene's Kentucky Blog My friend, Arlene Eakle, has just started a new blog dealing with Kentucky research. Her first entry was titled “Kentucky is a Major Genealogical Research Challenge!,” and dealt with the problems that genealogists deal with when doing Kentucky research. Her second blog entry is titled “I, Too, am a Kentuckian…” This entry deals with Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, who made the statement “I, too, am a Kentuckian.” I’m going to be regularly reading Arlene’s Kentucky blog, and recommend it to my readers.

Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters – Now an Online Publication

Louisiana Ancestors, the longest-running genealogy column in the United States and written by Damon Veach, has ended its affiliation with newspapers and is now an ONLINE and FREE weekly column and presented under its original name, as when it was started many years ago. Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters was too long for most newspaper headings, so the shorter Louisiana Ancestors became the name. It is now found at http://claitors.com, and efforts to promote genealogy and historic preservation projects throughout the state will continue uninterrupted.

damonveachEven though most of the data presented is Louisiana related, there will be other items of interest for researchers with ties to other parts of the country. The first column was posted on March 16, 2009 and will be posted each Monday with all entries being archived for easy perusal for those wanting to keep up with what is going on in the world of genealogy.

One of the main items that will be stressed is the importance of genealogical and historical societies in their continuing efforts to preserve records for future generations. All societies and researchers will be offered ample space for the publication of their activities and inquiries. Of course, individual queries should have a Louisiana connection, but information from other parts of the country will be accepted as long the researcher shows a state address. Dated notices should be submitted several weeks in advance of the planned activity, and family reunion notices can include a detailed look at the individual surname(s) involved. Books and magazines are reviewed only if a sample copy is submitted with each request. These items are then donated to the DeSoto Parish Historical Society for inclusion in the Veach-Foshee Memorial Library Collection, which is housed in the Mansfield Female College Museum, the oldest college for women west of the Mississippi River and now one of the finest museums in the state. This is one of the largest private collections of its kind in the south and is open and available to researchers.

Note that the column can be downloaded as a Word Document, or read as a pdf or html document. I’ve never had so many choices in format to read! I like it.

For more information on this online column, inquiries can be sent by way of e-mail to ancestorslaveach@cox.net. For those researchers wanting to correspond with the author, send inquiries to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337.

Arlene Eakle’s New Tennessee Genealogy blog

arleneeaklestnblog1My friend, Arlene Eakle launched a new blog today. She’s calling it Arlene Eakle’s Tennessee Genealogy Blog. Why launch today? According to Arlene, this being March 17, she’s launching “… in observance of the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals which launched the legal occupation of Tennessee in 1775.” Her blog today is a detailed examination of this “pivotal event in our genealogy past.”

“The 17th of Mar 1775 and all the days leading up to it and the aftermath of it created one of the most pivotal events in the history of Tennessee and Kentucky. And it changed forever the developing history of the United States of America. Keep in mind–as Tennessee goes, so goes the rest of the country.”

Arlene already has two blogs, one where she writes on genealogy in general and another titled Arlene Eakle’s Virginia Genealogy Blog. Arlene likes to analyze genealogical problems. She likes to blog about how to use records, and occasionally where to find them. If you’ve got Tennessee ancestry, you’ll want to follow her new Tennessee Genealogy blog.

The Genealogical Value of The Social Networking Related Sites

Prompted by a question posed by Chris Staats on the Staats Place blog (“…what value [do] you feel (or IF you feel) blogs, wikis, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc), and any other tool I am omitting, actually add?”), Randy Seaver has written an excellent blog about the genealogical value of all these new social networking tools and websites. These sites have become known as the flagships of what we call Web 2.0. Check it out.