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QuickSheet to Evidence Appraisal

“Sources give us information, from which we select Evidence for evaluation. A conclusion based on thorough research, careful documentation, and sound analysis might be considered Proof.”

Elizabeth Shown Mills, who brought us two of the most referenced books on the subject of citation and evidence analysis (Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian and Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace), has also given us a couple of great QuickSheets to help the researcher quickly, yet efficiently, cite and analyze evidence.

QuickSheet — Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategic Plan – Evidence! Style is a excellent complement to Mills’ two books. This sheet covers the basic premise of evidence analysis for the genealogist, basic elements to appraise, 10 steps to a solution, and a life stages worksheet.

This guide will help the researcher evaluate records and sources to determine which facts are accurate, if the source is reliable, to determine new possibilities from materials gathered, and many other great strategies to getting the most out of records with the highest assurance possible for validity. Practicing Mills’ approach will change the readers mindset towards their own research. In practice the researcher will become better organized, with improved research skills, and ultimately a higher confidence level on the accuracy on one’s family history.

Order this great companion guide, along with Elizabeth Mills’ other books and guides at Family Roots Publishing. QuickSheet — Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategic Plan – Evidence! Style is Item #:GPC3862.

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“Day of the Dead celebration grows in national popularity”

Early this weeks I posted a blog about cemeteries across the country celebrating Halloween in unique ways. Well it appears that cemeteries and many people in general are beginning to celebrate in the U.S. a similar holiday with increasing attention. November 1 is known in Mexico as Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. The same day is also known among Catholics as All Souls Day. November 1 for many is like a second Memorial Day, a day to remember the departed. The day gives people the chance to reflect on their ancestors and the lives they led.

Studying the past, remember the dead, and celebrating the lives of our ancestors is what family history is all about. This is why we conduct genealogical research. The more cemeteries, organizations, and families celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos with a reflection upon the past the more exciting these days become. I look forward to an further increase in the celebration of these days in the future.

Here is one article I found discussing the growth of Day of the Dead celebrations in Texas:

Day of the Dead celebration grows in national popularity

Fernando del Valle

Valley Morning Star

LAS RUSIAS — For two days, Mike Salazar worked to repair the broken bricks that surround his family’s gravestones.

Monday, his wife Aurora placed flowers that fluttered at the foot of the old tombstones at the edge of the cemetery along U.S. 281.

Today, they’ll pray for their loved ones as they celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in the historic cemetery that dates to some of the region’s earliest settlers.

“There’s a lot of history here,” said Salazar, a retired inspector for the Texas Department of Transportation. “This is something we do for those who went before us. We have to honor the dead. It’s unfortunate we only try to do something for the graves for the day we honor the dead.”

Like many Mexican Americans, Salazar celebrates Dia de los Muertos, a holiday steeped in Meso-American tradition, with All Souls Day, the Roman Catholic holy day.

Across much of the United States, the folk art and tradition that surrounds Dia de los Muertos has helped spread the holiday into mainstream America, said Melissa Tijerina, special events officer at the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg.

“The event in Texas and different parts of the country has grown,” she said. “More people are interested in the history of it.”

For eight years, the museum has staged an exhibit that’s grown along with the holiday’s popularity, Tijerina said.

Through Sunday, the museum will showcase 13 altars that area residents decorated to honor their loved ones, she said.

The altars hold mementos that the deceased treasured in life — everything from cowboy hats and tequila to mole and fresh fruit, she said.

“It’s a tradition fused in European and Meso-American traditions,” Tijerina said. “Dia de los Muertos is a sort of veil between life and death. It’s not a morbid occasion. It’s a celebration of life rather than death. We take a day to remember our passed loved ones and reflect on what they meant to us.”

Leave a Comment and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Release First Searchable Online Records Collections From World Memory Project

The following news release was received from Heather Erickson at

Information on Holocaust survivors and victims of Nazi persecution available online at no cost through efforts of World Memory Project.

WASHINGTON, D.C./PROVO, Utah, November 2, 2011 – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and announced that material from four Museum collections containing information on more than 30,000 victims of Nazi persecution is now available online at and can be searched at no cost. The collections contain information on thousands of individuals including displaced Jewish orphans; Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp and camps in occupied Poland; and French victims of Nazi persecution.

The collections are being made available through the World Memory Project, launched in May 2011. The project is recruiting the public to help build the world’s largest online resource on Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of non-Jews who were targeted for persecution by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, allowing victims’ families and survivors themselves to discover missing chapters of their history, learn the truth about the fate of their relatives and honor those who were lost.

World Memory Project contributors are continuously keying information that will form new searchable databases of historical collections when complete. To date, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed almost 650,000 records. Anyone, anywhere can contribute to the project by simply typing information from historical records into the online database.

“World Memory Project contributors are helping Holocaust survivors and their families learn the truth about what happened to loved ones,” says Lisa Yavnai, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum WMP project leader. “It is an incredible gift that anyone can give to those who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany. In a few months, the contributors’ efforts have resulted in more online searchable records than the Museum alone could have produced in many years.”

The World Memory Project utilizes proprietary software and project management donated by, which hosts its own online archival project to transcribe historical records. Once Museum records are transcribed, the indices are hosted exclusively on and are permanently free to search. The Museum provides copies of documents upon request at no cost. The original documentation remains in the Museum’s archival collection.

“We’ve been inspired by the steadfast efforts of the thousands of contributors who have in some cases spent hundreds of hours transcribing this important material,” remarked Tim Sullivan, CEO, “These early results would likely have taken years without the dedication of the many individuals who have embraced the mission of the World Memory Project.”

To find out more about the World Memory Project or to learn how to become a contributor, please visit
What World Memory Project contributors are saying:
“I chose to try to make available to the public a few documents from Poland during WWII. I found it to be a very emotional and most privileged moment in my life.” ─ Valentina, Australia
“I feel privileged and honored to bring historical accuracy and facts to the many families out there today who may not have known, until now, what became of their family members. It was extremely important to me to key in these documents with the utmost care.” – Donna, United States
“…It brought home to me the fact that each of these names had been a person who probably once reached out with their hands to others for help, and for many of them, that help never came… Ultimately, though, I took comfort in the idea that, while he might have been among those who were taken from the world through bigotry and hatred, at least I was helping in a little way to make sure he and others like him were not forgotten.” ─ Kerri, United States

About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit

About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world’s largest online family history resource, with more than 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 7 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 28 million family trees containing over 2.8 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at

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Join Us at the Georgia Family History Expo November 11 & 12

The Georgia Family History Expo will be held at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, in Duluth, Georgia on November 11 and 12 – less than 2 weeks away!

The hours on November 11 are 1:00 to 9:00 pm and November 12 are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The program includes a 56 great genealogical lectures – plus opening and closing keynote addresses!

Registration begins at 1:00 pm on Friday and the Keynote will begin at 2:00 pm. This gives you plenty of time to check out our exhibits before things kick off. Family Roots Publishing will have our full display of hundreds of top genealogy guidebooks there again this year.

The Exhibit Hall is one of the greatest parts of the Expo. Be sure to tell you friends and those curious, but not committed to classes that the hall is open and free to the public. They will have lots of fun browsing in the Exhibit Hall.

The prize drawings are tops! Exhibitors, advertisers, and local vendors donate gifts for the door prizes. You will want to be sure you get yourself registered so you qualify to win prizes.

You will absolutely enjoy the education opportunities offered in the myriad of classes. Be sure to study the agenda and speaker bios so you can make your best choices once you arrive.

Free Book Scanning Service at the Georgia Expo
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is world renowned as the largest research collection under one roof anywhere in the world! You can access their collections through more than 3,000 FamilySearch Centers throughout the U.S.

At the Atlanta Family History Expo, FamilySearch is offering to scan your family history book and give you a digital copy on a flash drive, provided by FamilySearch for your convenience.

Benefits of scanning your book:

  • Share it with others easily and inexpensively
  • Have a copy of your book preserved by FamilySearch
  • Provide access to others who may share your ancestral lines by making the book available free of charge on

How it works:

  • Sign-up and reserve your time for your book to be scanned (300 page limit)
  • If your book is copyrighted, print out and have the copyright holder sign the permission form in order for scanning to be performed
  • Bring your book and signed permission form to the FamilySearch Scanning booth at the Expo on day of your reservation. Please drop the book off before 10:00 am, if possible, to allow maximum time for scanning
  • Pick up your book and the digital copy on a flash drive provided by FamilySearch at the end of the day

Sign up online to reserve a day for your book to be scanned:
Friday —
Saturday —

Yes, you can miss the commute!
Remember, the Expo is scheduled to allow you driving time to get to the Expo on Friday missing the morning commute! We finish early enough Saturday so that have time to travel home after the Expo if you wish. Don’t delay, register for the Expo now!

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A Small, Green, and Incredibly Useful Guide to Catholic Records

There is a very good chance that somewhere in your family’s past you have Catholic ancestors. If so, then a small, green handbook compiled some years ago by the Indiana Historical Society may be just the little treasure you need to finding and using those Catholic records.

The Catholic Church has been keeping records for hundreds of years. Key records which often provide vital family data include baptisms, confirmations, marriages, event records, and more. This guide is a primer to understanding and finding these records. The booklet contains three parts, as follows:

  • Genealogical Use of Catholic Records in North America; by Monsignor John J. Doyle – Archivist and Historian of the Indianapolis Diocese
  • Genealogical Research In Protestant and Catholic Church Records in Ireland; by Donna Hotaling
  • A List of References for Catholic Research

These documents were papers given for the family history sessions at the annual meeting of the Indiana Historical Society, November 5th, 1977. This booklet was first printed in 1978 and reprinted in 1992. Though small and relatively old, this short booklet provides a great starting point to accessing Catholic records.

For under $5, you get get your own copy of this booklet on Catholic Records from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: IHS018. The guide is a great companion to U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide, also available from Family Roots Publishing.

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Cemeteries Celebrate Halloween in Unique Ways

Cemeteries across the country are celebrating Halloween and Saints Day (or Day of the Dead) with tours, ceremonies, and other events. Events range from celebration of historic figures to the restoration of cemeteries. History is often played out in costumes and stories. Here are just a few of the events happening this Halloween:

In Houston, historic cemeteries opened their gates over the weekend as part of the city’s 175th birthday celebration. In one event a ceremony was held honoring the first sheriff of Harris County, John W. Moore, buried in founders cemetery in 1846. [see sources below]

At Westminster Hall and burial ground in Baltimore, the crowds line up to celebrate one its its city’s most famous purveyor of fright, Edgar Alan Poe. “Indeed, touring the catacombs and burial grounds, which date to 1786, has become a Baltimore tradition in itself. Normally, the Halloween festivities are a major fundraiser for Westminster Hall, but this year, all proceeds from the tours will be put toward the operation of the nearby Poe House and Museum. It has faced the possibility of closing since the city withdrew its financial support last year. A consulting firm is studying ways the home could be made profitable; its report is expected early next year.” [see sources below]

New Orleans, where they have always celebrated death with unique fanfare, will host two events at the historic cemeteries St. Louis No. 1 and No. 2.  At St. Louis No.1 “on Basin Street will be the site of an event called “Dearly Departed,” billed as ‘a cemetery exploration with costumed historical characters,’ on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon. Among the famous figures buried in St. Louis No. 1 are 19th-century developer Bernard de Marigny and, of course, voodoo queen Marie Laveau.” St. Louis No.2 will sponsor a tour. Save Our Cemeteries, a preservation group, will have information tables at St. Louis No. 1 and St. Louis No. 2, as well as Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, 1400 Washington Ave. in the Garden District. [see sources below]

Take a moment to Google historic cemeteries in you area. You may just find they are hosting an historical even worthy of All Hallows Eve.


Cemeteries open gates to Houston’s past; By Hallie Jordan, HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Being for the benefit of Mr. E.A. Poe; By Chris Kaltenbach; The Baltimore Sun

For All Saints Day in New Orleans, traditions new and old; By Annette Sisco, The Times-Picayun

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A Field Guide for Genealogists Complements Most Any Other Handbook

Back in July, Leland wrote A Review of “History For Genealogists – Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors.” This book is one of Leland’s favorites, and Judy Jacobson has proven to be one of his favorite authors on Genealogy. After going through A Field Guide for Genealogists, also by Judy Jacobson, I can see why Leland is such a fan.

Imagine a book part encyclopedia, part dictionary, part facts and figures, and part pocket reference guide and you have A Field Guide for Genealogists. This book is as fun as it is valuable to any family historian. The knowledge areas covered are extensive and rarely found with such detail in other research guides. Take for example the chapter on photographs. Yes, Jacobson covers the different types of photographs made over the years. And, yes, she provides practical ways to identify and roughly date a photograph. But, she goes much further. For example, pages 96–101 provide ways to identify time periods and individuals by hairstyle. Year ranges and style details are given for both men and women. There is even a practical guide to gender identification for children, especially prior to 1900. Prior to 1900 many young children would be dressed similarly. Skirts and short hair were the norm for both boys and girls. However, did your know that girls often parted their hair in the middle and boys did not? Jacobson did, and she explains this and many other interesting facts in the book.

Reading through the pages of the Field Guide, the reader will find lists for major U.S. epidemics by year; sources of surnames and their meanings; less common occupations; French, Spanish, and Russian measurement conversions; resources to look for in museums; and much more. If you are a facts and figures person, or you love top 10 lists, or if you have ever Googled a topic just to see what everyone is talking about, then you will have a tough time putting this book down. This book fills in the gaps left behind by other resource guides and research how-to books.

For those who want to learn even more about a topic, each chapter of the book ends with a sources and additional reading list. However, I doubt most researchers will need to look further than the details provided within. Take a look at the following table of contents and see just how extensive this book is:

Table of Contents

The Laws of Genealogy


Genealogy in General

  • Practical uses of genealogy
  • What you need to know about an ancestor
  • What to ask relative about ancestors
  • Home sweet home
  • When you think you have hit a dead end
  • Where to find the information in records
  • Avoiding genealogical headaches
  • Genealogical terms
  • Familial terms
  • Household goods
  • Abbreviations
  • Organizations which might have genealogical information
  • Acceptable proofs of relationship
  • Unacceptable proofs of relationship
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Given names
    • Six most common males given names — Boston, 1630–1634
    • Three most common female given names — Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630–1670
    • Translated male given names
    • Abbreviations for male given names
    • Unusual nicknames
    • Female nicknames
    • Male nicknames
    • Two kids, on name
    • Sources of early American given names
  • Surnames
    • Sources for surnames
    • Surname Prefixes, suffixes and conjunctions
    • Reasons surnames have changed
    • Where to find a maiden name
  • Titles
  • Place names
    • Place name prefixes and suffixes (European origins)
    • Sources for place names
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Cataloging systems
  • Types of libraries
    • Public libraries
    • Genealogical libraries
    • University libraries
    • Specialty libraries
  • Types of Genealogy Books
  • Places other than usual genealogy books to find information in university or public libraries
    • Newspapers
      • Places in the library having genealogical information taken from newspapers
      • Genealogical information found in the newspaper
    • Periodicals
    • Published and unpublished histories
    • Obituary collections and cemetery records
    • Church histories
    • Indexes
    • Biographies/Diaries
    • Vertical (V) files
    • City and county directories
    • Local county censuses
    • Mortality schedules
    • Directories
    • Governmental records
    • Encyclopedia/Dictionaries
    • Maps and gazetteers
    • Non-paper sources
  • Getting a book your library does not own
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Identifying people in photographs
  • The basics of dating a picture by the photographic process
  • Types of photographs
  • Hair styles
    • Differentiating between boys and girls
    • Hair styles among the poor
    • Men’s hair styles
    • Women’s hair styles and head dressing
  • Clothing
    • Children’s clothing styles
    • Men’s clothing styles
    • Women’s clothing styles
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Diseases and Calamities

  • Those old time diseases
  • Epidemics in America
  • Important international medical events and medical curses having an influence on populations and migrations
  • Disasters in the United States
  • World’s worst disasters
  • American military actions
  • Major Revolutionary War events and battles
  • Foreign military and armed engagements
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Problems to expect working in a courthouse
  • Remember
  • Types of county courthouse records which could be useful to genealogists
  • Two most under-used county records and why they are important
  • Information which might be found in records
    • Probate records
    • Birth records
    • Marriage records
    • Tax records
    • Land records
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Land Records

  • Information available in land records
  • Land surveying
    • Rectangular survey system
    • Land and survey teams
  • Homestead and bounty lands
    • Revolutionary War bounty lands
    • States which gave additional land to war veterans
    • Homestead-type acts
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Two sides of the law
  • Legal terms
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Deciphering Documents

  • How to decipher handwriting in old documents
  • Hints for deciphering records
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Finding the cemetery
  • Interpreting the cemetery
  • Pinpointing grave sites
    • Grave markers
    • Ways to find unmarked graves
  • Epitaphs
  • Terms of death
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • A quick history of measurement
  • Measurement prefixes
  • Measurement terms found in old records
  • Foreign measurements found in America land records
    • Spanish measurements used in North America
    • French measurements used in North America
    • Russian measurements used in North America
  • Metric
  • U.S. system of measurements
  • Conversion
    • To meters
    • From meters
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Christian time
  • Calendars
    • Types of calendars
    • When was he born?
    • A couple of things to remember when reading dates
    • Approximating a date
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Time line for money as it relates to the United States
  • Consumer price index conversion factors
  • Value of the British Pound Sterling
    • In years prior to settlement in the New World
    • Number of dollars equaling one pound 1800–1996
    • Value of a British Pound Sterling c. 1775
  • Value of one Spanish Dollar
  • Value of Halifax Currency in 1780
  • Money glossary
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Where to look in the museum
  • What to look for in a museum
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • America’s earliest professionals
  • Less obvious occupations of old
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Early immigration groups
  • Native Americans
    • American Indians
      • Seven most populous Indian tribes in the United States
    • Alaskan natives
  • Of unknown or mixed ethnicity
    • Signals that a family has hidden their racial or ethnic origin
    • Groups of mixed race
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Time After Time

  • Transportation time lines
    • Air
    • Sea
    • Rail
    • Road
  • Order in which states were admitted to the Union
  • United States history time line
  • Topic sources and additional reading


  • Definition
  • State archives
  • National archives and records administration
    • Black studies
    • Census
      • Information given in census years
      • Using the census to get the most out of it
      • Problems with using the census
    • Soundex
    • Civilians in war
    • Diplomatic records
    • District of Columbia
    • Federal court records
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Federal land records
    • Immigrant Affairs
    • Military records
      • A listing of categories
      • Civil War
      • World War I draft cards
      • Military burials
      • Military pension applications
    • Native American Affairs
    • Pardon applications
    • Passenger lists
    • Passport applications
    • Territorial records
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Research in Washington, D.C.

  • The basics of getting around
  • Before going to Washington, D.C.
  • Once you get there
  • Genealogical sources in Washington, D.C.
  • Genealogical sources near Washington, D.C. and their locations
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Researching Genealogy on the Internet

  • Internet address ingredients
  • Internet sources
    • Types of sites
      • Search engines
      • gateways to genealogy
      • Genealogical publications on the Internet
      • Genealogical societies
      • Genealogical supplies
      • Miscellaneous genealogical sites
      • Collections or encyclopedic-type sources
      • Translations sites
      • Dictionaries
      • General information sites
      • All about the Internet
  • Topic sources and additional reading

Miscellaneous Sources and Additional Reading


 Make this book a part of your active genealogy library, order a copy from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: CF9411.

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53 New Databases. 120 Million More Names. Ancestry Grows by Leap and Bounds.

This past week released a massive new addition to their website. The genealogy research site added 53 new databases and 120 million names to the U.S. Vital Records collection. The news was shared in a press release, on the Ancestry Blog, and posted on the Ancestry homepage with a link to a listing of the new records. All three are covered, with link, below.

An excerpt from the press release provides further details [the entire release can be read here]:

The new additions encompass 23 states, include more than 50 million historical records dating from the 1600s (some of the oldest U.S. records available) through to 2010 and have been made available through partnerships with state and local archives, county offices and newspapers. Many notable Americans can be found in the collections, including John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland and many more.

Interesting facts presented by these records include John Wayne’s birth name as Marion Robert Morrison, changed to the legendary stage name when he began working in Hollywood. “Gone with the Wind” star Clark Gable hailed from the small village of Cadiz, Ohio according to the Ohio Births and Christening Index (1800-1962). The Minnesota Birth and Christening Records (1840-1980) show that “The Wizard of Oz” star Judy Garland’s given birth name was Frances Gumm.

These new vital record collections are available to all current subscribers and can be found at As always, is free of charge for 14 days to all new users.


Ancestry’s Blog put a more personal twist to the addition [read the entire blog post here]:

Did you notice what happened this week here at We released over 50 databases containing indexes to millions of vital records from all over the United States. Some of these records date all the way back the 1600s and the most recent of them are from last year. (You can find the complete list by viewing our recently added or updated collections list. Most of these databases were released on 17 Oct.)

I love discovering my ancestors and tracking down their descendants. I climb up a branch of my family tree to a set of 3rd or 4th great-grandparents and then back down again finding all of their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, right down to those living cousins. I enjoy chasing families through census records, seeing where they pop up and what their family looks like decade after decade.

But, birth, marriage and death records provide more concrete boundaries to the lives my ancestors and their families lived. These records provide anchor events that I can use to build complete family histories as I chase my relatives up the family tree and out the branches. If census records are the cornerstone of good genealogy research, then vital records are the capstone.


View and access the new records here. With so many databases to choose from you may have difficulty knowing where to start, which is probably a nice change for most researchers. Don’t forget, new uses can get a 14-day free trial.

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Diocese Research — Finding Your Family’s U.S. Catholic Records

The Catholic Church has been keeping key vital records of religious ceremonies and events for hundreds of years. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and other events have been well documented and serve as key vital records in genealogical research. Local parishes keep most of the records associated with these key events. However, diocesan archives keep records which can help the researcher find the local parishes, as well as other Catholic institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Other records held by the diocesan may include diocesan newspapers, parish and institutional histories, records from closed churches, and more.

U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide, compiled by Virginia Humling, provides information on addresses, contact information, and briefly outlines the holdings and research policies for each. Geographical boundaries for every diocese and archdiocese in the country are also included. This handbook is broken down by state, listed alphabetically, making finding the diocese nearest your ancestor’s home as easy as can be.

The introduction to the book discusses the types of records the researcher may find and what information the records may contain.

Get a copy of U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: TP604.

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Salt Lake Christmas Tour Week Peek……….Next!

“Oh the weather outside is getting frightful…..” Pre-Halloween SNOW in New Jersey and the Northeast? And SNOW in Texas when they are barely over their run of 100+ degree days? The weather outside is surely getting frightful……….. but the weather in Salt Lake City will be perfect for us in early December! Yes, it will be cold but we’re prepared for that and we’re not outside all that much anyway, right?

Thomas MacEntee is coming from Chicago where the winter weather is always frightful and is once again pleased to be with us for the 2011 tour. This year he has new topics, classes and sessions for us and (knowing that we need it) is expecting to work one-on-one with us as needed. (So bring your laptop!)

And don’t forget your wrapped Christmas gifts for the daily breakfast drawings! No junk (or junque), please; office supplies are always welcome. And if you have something extra special to bring, give it to me for the Saturday evening Biggee drawing.

To get you in the mode of Questions & Answers, what is this (above)?? It has something to do with Salt Lake City and the Christmas tour. First correct answer gets an extra draw from the gift basket on Monday morning!

Soon! Donna, aka Mother Hen

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Celebrities Increasing Irish Interest in Family History

Celebrity fame and interesting television have spiked a frenzy of family history interest in a once disinterested Irish public. Take a look at the following article from the Irish Central:

TV show ‘Who do you think you are?’ prompts spike in genealogy research in Ireland

Ireland’s new obsession with family history


IrishCentral Intern

The usually quiet rooms of Dublin’s National Archives have been swarmed recently by a new wave of people seeking to illuminate their family’s genealogical history.

On the other side of town, the General Register Office has reported a similar spike in the number of visitors interested in genealogical research.

But what has transformed a pastime once considered of interest only to American visitors into a national obsession? General Manager of the genealogy website, Cliona Weldon, is in little doubt as to the cause.

Speaking with the Irish Independent, she explained, “The growth in family history in Ireland can definitely be attributed to the popularity and publicity surrounding television shows such as, ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, and RTÉ’s ‘The Genealogy Roadshow.’”

The Irish version of the hit show ‘Who do you think you are?’ featured such national celebrities as actress Fionnula Flanagan and Irish presidential hopeful Dana Rosemary Scallon, while NBC’s adaptation in the US traced the lineage of Irish-American star Rosie O’Donnell.

In an interview with the Irish Voice earlier this month, the legendary TV personality described the profound effect that taking part in the show had on her.

“Doing that show really did change my life in a huge way because I really did identify as being Irish,” she said. “Both my parents are Irish. It was a huge part of my identity.”

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Genealogical Charts for Research or Fun

Sometimes you need to inject a little fun into your research. Filling in a giant wall chart is one way you can have some fun and learn a little as well. The Genealogist’s Historiograph set is one such educational and relaxing activity. The package provides a two-part set, with each chart sizing in at 22” x 35”. Chart one covers the years 1620 to 1810, with chart two running 1811 to 2000.

These charts provide a way for you to identify historical influences to your own family history. The first column is for the names of your ancestors. The other columns include pre-selected statistics and historical facts. Columns exist for Population, Reigns and Administration, Famous Births & Deaths, Wars and Disasters, and Other Historical Events. None of these columns are completely filled in. Gaps are left where you can include items of interest directly related to your own family. For example, if you ancestors come from a particular town or city, you might research the population of that town for the given dates and include that information. Perhaps you considers a particular ancestor of worthy note in the Famous Births & Deaths column.

Pick up a set of the Genealogist’s Historiograph and the next time you need a break from your research, pull it out and fill in a few lines. You might be surprised at both how fun it can be as well as how much you will learn about your family when viewed in chart form.

Order your Genealogist’s Historiograph set today, from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: AC0020.

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Finding Family Connections in Iceland

Icelanders have a problem few experience elsewhere in the World. With an isolated population of only 300,000, Icelanders face the very real threat of accidental incest. The concern may be more urban legend than not, then again, it seems to be a real enough fear that Íslendigabók, a genealogical information website for Iceland’s inhabitants, plays on the legend in their commercials. Read more in the following article from the Global Post:

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — The television commercial for a local mobile phone company here wouldn’t work in many places outside Iceland.

It portrays a curly-haired couple who just woke up next to each other after what appears to be a one-night stand. (That isn’t the scandalous part in this famously liberal society.)

The two are pictured lingering in bed, on their smart phones, checking out a genealogical website called Íslendingabók. Their smiles freeze when they find out they are related. Closely.

While other nations might find the commercial funny — mainly for its “as if” value — Icelanders can relate on levels unimaginable in larger countries. The commercial works here because, in this isolated island country of 300,000 people, these situations actually happen. Regularly.

Most Icelanders have heard a story of somebody, who knew somebody, who found out a bit late in the game that the subject of their romance is actually an estranged cousin.

A collaborative effort between medical research company deCODE genetics and Friðrik Skúlason, an anti-virus software entrepreneur, Íslendigabók looks to create an complete genealogical picture of the entire country. The database is a collection of “church records, national censuses, inhabitants registers and other public documents, but in addition to these sources there are chronicles, books of convictions, various publications on genealogy, books about individuals within specific occupations, lists of descendants and ancestral records as well as memorial articles to name but a few.”  The site includes information dating more than 1,200 years back

The only downside to the site is the database is in Icelandic, often considered to be one of the most difficult languages learn. The good news is, if you are of Icelandic descent, you probably still have relatives living on the Island who could help you translate

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Learning Google Tools for Genealogists

Google is far more than a basic search engine. While it may have started as a basic engine, the additional tools Google provides for free makes Google an excellent, all-around research assistant. Google Alerts for up to the minute web tracking, free email for all through Gmail, iGoogle is a search dashboard for your own system, Google Books, Google News, Google Translate, YouTube, Google Earth, and more. These tools can help the Genealogist improve and expand their research. But, does one learn to use all of these tools? More so, how can these tools be used together for research synergy? The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox is the perfect guidebook to successfully using all the above listed Google tools in your family history research.

According to author Lisa Louise Cook, this volume is “right up to date,” giving the latest information about using the features of Google. This is a great guidebook, in that it’s heavily illustrated and geared toward showing the genealogist how to use many of the free online “tools” that Google has made available to us. The use of the “tools” is laid out in a step-by-step manner that anyone can follow. The first 5 chapters all deal with Google’s Search abilities, followed by chapters on Google Alerts, Gmail, iGoogle, Books, News Timeline, Translation, YouTube & Video, Google Earth (in all its glory!), Family History Tour Maps, and an amazing “How to” index at the back.


Table of Contents


Chapter 1 — Caffeine & Search Options Column

Chapter 2 — Basic & Advances Search

Chapter 3 — Search Strategies for High-Quality Results

Chapter 4 —Site Search & Resurrecting Web Sites

Chapter 5 — Image Search

Chapter 6 — Google Alerts

Chapter 7 — Gmail

Chapter 8 — iGoogle – Your Personal Genealogy Homepage

Chapter 9 — Google Books

Chapter 10 — Google News Timeline

Chapter 11 — Google Translate & Translation Toolkit

Chapter 12 — YouTube and Google Video

Chapter 13 — Google Earth Overview

Chapter 14 — Google Earth – Ancestral Homes and Locations

Chapter 15 — Google Earth – Organizing, Naming, and Sharing

Chapter 16 — Google Earth – Historic Maps and Images

Chapter 17 — Google Earth – Plotting Your Ancestor’s Homestead

Chapter 18 — Google Earth – Fun with Images and Video

Chapter 19 — Family History Tour Maps

Appendix — Find it Quick: The “How To” Index


Order your own copy of, or give as a gift, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox from Family Root Publishing; Item #: LU01.

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Colorado’s Century Chest

In 1901 the citizens of Colorado Springs placed essays, photographs, a wax recording cylinder, and more into a time capsule for 100 years. The large steel-riveted box stood sealed until opened during a ceremony January 1, 2001. The contents were dedicated to the descendant of those early city inhabitants. One brief letter exemplifies the hopes shared by many of the boxes contributors:

My dear descendants,

You are verily dear to me, and over the span of a century my love goes out to you.

In the pressure of my engagements I was compelled to dictate the body of my letter to you, but I want to add a few words on a subject too sacred to admit of dictation to a stranger ear. When I returned from Europe in the fall of 1870 and entered the store of Ehrich & Co. I found a girl of fifteen seated in the cashier’s desk; petite but of perfect figure, eyes large and dark, of beautiful face, strong mind[?], expressive mouth, fine teeth, and with two long braids of hair. This is your ancestress. Her father, having lost whatever money he had, had moved from Newbern, N.C. to New York, and after failure in the running of a dyeing-establishment, had accepted employment with some relatives. Henrietta was too proud to remain at home inactive, and had accordingly accepted the position of cashier, receiving six dollars a week as salary. We soon developed a fondness for another, gradually ripening into love, into an engagement in 1872, and into marriage in 1874. Henrietta was born in New York City, August 16, 1856. Our married life has been immensely happy and blessed. The terrible strain which overtook us with the coming of my illness in 1878 and which threatened to wreck all our hopes, happily passed away. The violent death of our beautiful, noble first-born, which took place when the ocean separated us, left a sear in our lives, — more especially in the hear of his mother, who grieved bitterly for him for many years. Time has assuaged the sorrow, and has brought so many consolations in the fine growth and development of our other children. Our home-life has always been fine and sweet. Our hospitality is wide, and valued guests are often seated at our table. Our acquaintance embraces the best Americans of our time. Our lives, based on deepest mutual love and respect, have been singularly joyful.

May all possible blessings rest on each one of you! May each of you set his or her life on so high a plane that, in spirit, I shall be proud of you! May you cherish a loving memory of Henrietta and

Louis R. Ehrich

Immediately after opening the box, historians and librarians began scanning and indexing the contents. Transcripts and copies are available through the special collections department of the Colorado College’s Tutt Library. The entire contents of this historical collections can be found on the library’s websites.

Contributors included both town leaders and local citizens. In a addition, there is a letter from visiting dignitary, then Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt. Here is a copy of his brief, yet poignant letter:

Colorado Springs
Aug 4th 1901

I have come here partly to speak at the quarter centennial of Colorado as a state, partly to meet the men of my old regiment, the 1st USV cavalry, or Roughriders, at whose head I fought in the Spanish War. They are a splendid set of men, these grim hunters and miners of the mountains, these wild riders of the plains; with many and grave faults, but essentially men; fearless, steeled to the endurance of fatigue and hardship, resolute and hardy, loyal, and for all their ferocity in fight, yet gentle to women and children. I hope that a century hence their descendants, though gaining in all humanizing ways, though gentler and more refined, will not lose the whipcord fibre, the iron strength and courage of these pioneers and sons of pioneers. We cannot in the long run afford to have our people less than men; nor yet can we afford to have them other than good men.

I have with me the Memoirs of Marbot, the Saga of Burnt Njal, and Longfellow’s poems; and I am about to start with the grayhounds for a wolf hunt. May you who chance to read this enjoy life as much as I have enjoyed it; and work as hard!

Theodore Roosevelt
Vice President USA

President Roosevelt was inspired by courage. He hoped for a future of quiet courage, a “gentler” time. The citizens of Colorado Springs had their own hopes, dreams, and memories which they put into pictures and writings for their descendents. In celebration and dedication to their efforts, the same steel box was carefully resealed on April 20, 2001 with the memories and personalities of a new generation. CDROMs, DVDs, letters, pictures, and other items were placed into the time capsule and resealed for another 100 years. The people of 1901 wished their descendants to open the box in a new, stronger, happy world. I am sure the citizens of Colorado Springs hope the same for their descendant in 2101.

Visit the Colorado Century Chest website and enjoy a look into the lives and dreams of some of our forefathers. Maybe you will find the story of one of your ancestors in the mix.

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