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“Her name was Matoaka, but they called her Pocahontas.” There are many books, some more story and legend than accurate portrayal, on the famous Indian girl who “saved” the life of Captain John Smith. Few books, however, offer as concise or possibly as an accurate accounting of the life of Matoaka as can be found in Pocahontas by Stuart E. Brown, Jr.

Brown’s recount of life and events of Pocahontas are brief, the book being only  34 pages. However, the details and stories told in these few pages are fascinating. From the time Pocahontas entered the small settlement at Jamestown she seems to have captured the interest and fascination of the English colonists. Many of the settlers wrote about the young, spirited, and wanton girl who would play in market place with the boys.

Stuart uses the words of those who wrote about Pocahontas directly in the story he weaves throughout this book. These direct quotes are unchanged in spelling or tone. Brown masterfully includes many of the quote inline with his own words, providing essential details but with the direct observations of those who witnessed these events first hand. Here are a couple of examples:

“Pocahontas also warned that is Smith and his friends ‘would live, whe wished us presently to bee gone.’

Prior to departing, the grateful Smith offered Pocahontas ‘such things as shee delighted in…but with the teares running down her cheekes, she said shee durst not be seene to have any; for if Powhatan should know it, she were but dead, and so shee ranne away by her selfe as she came.”

Another short example:

“However, in Virginia, Hamor noted that ‘a gentlemen of approved behaviour and honest carriage, maister John Rolfe’ was ‘in love with Pocahontas and she with him.’

In addition to his fabulous recounting, Brown includes a number of paintings, wood engravings, and other images, which he carefully selected as being the best representations he could provide. In the forward, he mentions other popular images and why he thinks some of them probably took “artistic license” as opposed to an accurate representation of events. Either way, this book is as fun as it is informative. If you ever wanted the read the true story of Pocahontas, then this book is for you.


Get your copy of Pocahontas from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: CF9098, Price: $14.21.

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ST. Louis County Library Builds Dedicated Family Heritage Center

In June of last year, the St. Louis County Library announced it would build a 60,000-square-foot Family Heritage Center. The center will become only the fifth, free-standing library dedicated specifically to genealogy and family history research. Perhaps even more amazing, it becomes the second such library in the state. The other resides in Independence, with Boston, Houston, and Salt Lake City rounding out the list.

The library’s foundation is raising money to build the library, and took a step closer this week with a $1 million donation from Emerson to build the auditorium at the new center. Below are abstracts and links to articles about the library and the latest donation from Emerson:

St. Louis County Library records to get a new home in Chesterfield

But soon the collection will get a place of its own, the latest sign of how genealogy research has boomed in recent years.

The St. Louis County Library Foundation is designing a 60,000-square-foot Family Heritage Center in Chesterfield at the corner of Wild Horse Creek and Baxter roads, with the goal of opening it in 2012.

Click here to read the full article in STLToday.


Emerson donates $1 million for genealogy center

Emerson is giving $1 million to build the auditorium for the Center for Family History, the genealogy center planned by the St. Louis County Library.

The large gift is part of the $18 million private capital campaign for the center, which will be built in Chesterfield. The library’s foundation is raising the money.

Ground has not yet been broken, but work should begin this year, said Jennifer McBride, communications manager for the library. Construction is estimated to take 15 months.

Click here to read the full article in STLToday.

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American Place Names of Long Ago

Times change, people change, cities and towns change. Over time places disappear, become obsolete, or change names. Sometimes these places are so small, they never even appeared on the map. Finding these places, years and decade after they have gone, is not easy task. As for places found only in the past, there is one book to help researchers find locations missing from recent memory. Subtitled, A Republication of the Index to Cram’s Unrivaled Atlas of the World as Based on the Census of 1890, American Place Names of Long Ago contains over 100,000 place names from all across the United States, as they existed at the time of the 1890 census.

George F. Cram served in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war he opened, what became at the time, the leading map publishing company in the U.S. The company was the first American firm to print a World Atlas. Cram published what is probably his best know Atlas in 1898; under the title, Cram’s Unrivaled Atlas of the World. The Atlas was 500 pages, with the final 106 pages providing a detailed index of “every county, city, town, village and post-office in the United States, and shows the population of the same according to the Census of 1890.”

This reproduction of that index was assembled by Gilbert S. Bahn. Bahn also wrote the introduction where he gives background to the project, as well as added information regarding the printing of the original Atlas and the index’s value to genealogists. The original atlas was published for popular, not academic, interest, with an emphasis on the United States. Cram could not have foreseen the future destruction by fire of the 1890 census. Nor, could he have guessed at the future value of his index in providing not just place names but population sizes for towns and cities long forgotten, yet, critical to research.

American Place Names of Long Ago lists places alphabetically by state and territory in three columns per page. Each printing column includes three columns of data. Listed first are the names of the county, town, city, village, or post office and are listed as place, county. Second, is the an index letter referring to the portion of the state in which the counties are located. Index letters include the following:

  • C = Central
  • N = Northern
  • S = Southern
  • E = Eastern
  • W = Western
  • N E = North-Eastern
  • S E = South-Eastern
  • N W = North-Western
  • S W =  South-Western

The Third Column denoted population. An “x” under population means the populations figures where taken together with the civil district and the exact size is unknown. State capitals and large cities are in all caps, with post-offices set in a smaller type. A black dot, ““, indicates express offices. Places not post-offices are indicated in italics.

Gilbert estimates 35% of the places listed had populations below 100. I am not sure if anyone has actually tried to count just how many places have changed names or disappeared over time, but the number is not small. Indexes such as the one found in this book are critical to genealogical research, to finding a reference to the places people (ancestors) once lived. Contents of this book include all the states and territories as they existed in 1890. Hawaii was not yet either a territory or a state; however, the list does include the District of Columbia and Indian Territory.


Copies of American Place Names of Long Ago: A Republication of the Index to Cram’s Unrivaled Atlas of the World as Based on the Census of 1890 are available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC225, Price: $34.30.

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2013 FGS National Conference Request for Lecture Proposals

The following news release was received from Thomas MacEntee:

Deadline for Submissions is May 15, 2012

January 19, 2012 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces a Request for Lecture Proposals for the FGS 2013 Conference, “Journey Through Generations,” to be held August 21 – 24, 2013, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana and the Allen County Public Library as local hosts. Outstanding nearby research facilities and attractions will enhance the conference experience. The deadline for submission of lecture proposals is Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

The 2013 FGS Conference theme, Journey Through Generations, has dual meaning. It symbolizes the literal journey our ancestors took through America’s heartland, on rivers, railroads, Indian trails, wagon roads, canals and the Underground Railroad. The theme also infers the virtual journey that genealogists take through bygone times and distant places as they explore the lives of their ancestors generation by generation.

Topics relating to the Midwest, migration patterns, technology, regional repositories, and religious and ethnic groups are encouraged. Wednesday, 21 August 2013, is an all-day “Focus on Societies” program for genealogical society officers, board members, volunteers, and other interested parties.

The program committee specifically seeks new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional and unique educational experiences for conference attendees. Proposals for workshops and sponsored talks are also encouraged.

Categories for submissions include:
· Focus on Society Management
· Methodologies and Strategies
· Transportation (e.g. canals, Great Lakes, railroads)
· Midwestern Records (e.g. land records, early forts and settlements)
· Military Records
· Repositories
· Record Types
· Technology
· Religious Groups (e.g. Quakers, Amish, United Brethren)
· Ethnic Groups (e.g. German, African American, Native American, Polish, Irish)
· Genetics and DNA
· Migration/Immigration

Speakers are strongly encouraged to submit multiple proposals (more than four), as most speakers will be invited to present a minimum of three lectures at the conference. There is no limit to the number of proposals a speaker may submit.

Submission Requirements
Send proposals in PDF, Microsoft Word, or RTF format. File names should include your last name, first initial, and proposal topic. (Example: SmithR – TechStrategies). Each proposal should include:

· Speaker(s) name.
· Speaker(s) contact information, including mailing address, phone, email, fax, and website, if applicable.
· Prior speaking experience. Speakers who have not spoken at a national conference are encouraged to submit a video, audiotape, or CD recording of a recent lecture by mail.
· Speaker(s) biography.
· Speaker(s) brief brochure biography (50 word maximum).
· Lecture title (not to exceed 10 words).
· Lecture brochure description (40 word maximum).
· Lecture outline/summary.
· Lecture audio-visual requirements. FGS does NOT provide projectors, computers, or internet access for speakers.
· Intended audience level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, any level.

Send proposals, as an email attachment, with “FGS 2013 Lecture Proposals” in the subject line, to no later than May 15, 2012. If submitting lecture recordings by mail, please email for the appropriate postal address.

Selected speakers receive an honorarium, travel compensation, and conference registration as well as per diem and hotel nights based on the number of lectures presented. (Sponsored speakers only receive conference registration and syllabus materials. See more about sponsorships below.) Non-sponsored speakers receive compensation according to the FGS Conference Speaker Policy at

Sponsored Lectures
Societies and businesses are encouraged to submit proposals for sponsored talks. The sponsoring organization will cover its speaker’s costs to present the lecture. Sponsored speakers will abide by all speaker deadlines and syllabus requirements. Sponsored speakers will receive complimentary FGS conference registration and electronic syllabus materials.

Additional Information
Camera-ready handouts are required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be compiled in a syllabus distributed to conference participants. The deadline for submissions of syllabus materials is April 15, 2013.

Invitations to speak will be issued in October 2012. Syllabus format guidelines will be sent to speakers at that time. The deadline for acceptance and submission of signed speaker contracts is November 1, 2012.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference — four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit

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Genealogy At A Glance: Revolutionary War Genealogy Research

There is an entire series of Genealogy At A Glance guide sheets. We have reviewed many here on this blog. Each is a four-page, full-color laminated guide provide a quick reference to specific research topics. In this review we examine the Revolutionary War.

Genealogy At A Glance: Revolutionary War Genealogy Research was written by Craig R. Scott, CG. Like each At A Glance, the top of the first page provides contents and quick facts related to the topic. The contents of this sheet include:

Finding a Revolutionary War Soldier

Major Record Sources

  • Lineage Societies
  • Pension Records
  • Compiled Military Service Records

Other Record Sources

  • Muster Rolls
  • Settled Accounts
  • Bounty Land
  • Manuscript Collections
  • Loyalist Records
  • Federal Census Records

Other Online Resources

Each of these sections provides definitions, resources, facts, and additional tips for researching the different types of records. For example, under “Muster Rolls”, there is a further breakdown for military units; including, militia, state troops, and continental troops, each listed with further reference sources. Scott did an excellent job of writing clear and concise information, make the best use of space possible. It is incredible how much information is packed into four pages. With the laminate covering, you can carry this guide with you without worrying about damaging it.


Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copu of Genealogy At A Glance: Revolutionary War Genealogy Research at Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC5210, Price: $8.77.

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Easier Access to Pennsylvanian Vital Records, Sort Of!

A new law was passed in Pennsylvania, back in December, in an effort to make access to birth and death records easier. However, there is some controversy as to how much easier the law really makes records access. See the following article from The Times Leader.

Birth, death records more readily available Tom Mooney Out on a Limb

Tom Mooney

Pennsylvania has taken a step toward making birth and death records more readily available to genealogists and other members of the public. But, according to a records activist group, that step is not quite far enough.

Starting in about mid-February, birth certificates 105 years old and more as well as death certificates 50 years old and more will be open to the public, but with some limits. You will have to visit the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg and search on a computer there or be a subscriber to, which is digitizing the records.

The new law, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in December, will replace the current system, under which for all those birth and death records it is necessary to submit a postal mail request, or visit a state Vital Records office, give the date and place of death and pay a fee. Genealogists, of course, are the heaviest users of birth and death records, and they have long found the process for obtaining them difficult and time-consuming — particularly since the state maintains no index.

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Kinship: It’s All Relative

Who is your kin? The answer is not always as clear as it may seem. Culture, laws, and personal opinions all play a part in who people consider to be their kin. From marriage and divorce to childbirth, surrogacy, and adoptions the opinions and legal definitions have varied widely over time and differ from place to place. Differences don’t just exist between different countries and areas of the world, but even state by state laws can vary widely. Jackie Smith Arnold tries to unravel some of the complexity behind family relations in her book Kinship: It’s All Relative, second edition.

Jackie provides clarity and consideration to modern concerns and issues around family ties. Right up front, in chapter one, she explores kinship and why it matters. She gives an overview and consideration to just about every family connection we see in today’s world. In marriage there are options you may not even be aware of. Did you know proxy marriage are possible, as are secret marriages? Arnold makes a point of note that while there are secret marriages there are no secret divorces in the U.S. What exactly is a common-law marriage and which states allow them? You can find out in the book.

What makes up a family? That is covered in the book as well. The chapter on family covers issues, including, children, foster children, adoptions, illegitimate children, adult adoptions, family responsibilities to relatives, and more. Chapter by chapter you will likely find some tidbit of information you were not aware of. If you have ever wondered how to explain complex family relations, like third cousins once removed, well that is in here as well.

Kinship: It’s All Relative, second edition is fun and educational at the same time. If you ever thought family relationships were complex, you were right. However, Arnold’s book will help you clear up any misunderstandings as well as open your eyes to a whole new modern world of concerns on both a legal as well as a personal level. To be clear, this book does not provide legal definitions, but rather looks at how laws are different across the country and how legal definitions of family have changed over time. This is not a legal manual, but rather a guide to help families and individuals better understand what kinship really is.


Table of Contents


1 Kinship

  • Why does kinship matter?
  • How the family go started
  • Enter the patriarchy

2 Marriage

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Live-ins

3 Kinship Groups

  • Belonging to a family
  • Types of family
  • Ascents and descents
  • Three families at once

4 Our Three Families

  • Family of orientation
  • Family of procreation
  • Family of affinity

5 Family

  • Family defined
  • Family law
  • Children
  • Adoption
  • Adoption annulments
  • Responsibilities of other relatives
  • Grandparents’ rights
  • Grandparent resource test
  • Miscellaneous
  • Vital statistics

6 Names

  • Surnames of married women
  • Surnames of children
  • First names
  • Name changes

7 Wills

8 Kinship and Your Health

  • Your genetic inheritance
  • Al, in vitro, and surrogacy
  • Medical charts

Medical Charts

  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Self and spouse
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Great-grandparents

9 Tracing Your Family Tree

  • Family history
  • Immediate sources
  • More distant sources
  • Why research?

10 Kinship and the Future

  • Families in the future
  • Kinship, who needs it?


Bibliography and Reference List




A copy of Kinship: It’s All Relative, second edition is ready for you at Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC177, Price: $10.78.

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Building Homes on an Old Graveyard

I just ran across an article and a follow-up letter out of the LynnNews, a Norfolk, UK publication. The article relates to the intent to build homes on an old Methodist graveyard. When I was 12, I saw the movie Poltergeist in the theater. If I learned one this from that movie, it was that you never ever build homes on old graves. Now, poltergeists may not be real, but I will still stand by the idea that building on old graves is in bad taste.  Following are abstracts and links to the article and letter:

Homes to be built on a Methwold graveyard

Published on Friday 30 December 2011 14:30

PLANS to build on an old graveyard look set to be approved despite objections from relatives.

West Norfolk planning committee is recommended to approve the plan at Methwold Methodist Church, which will see the conversion of the redundant Sunday school and chapel into two homes, when it meets on Monday.

One objector said: “Many of my family are buried there including the sisters of my grandfather and the last burial was in 1927.

Click here to read the full article.

Will vital family history be lost?

Published on Sunday 15 January 2012 14:38

I WAS most dismayed to read the article about homes being built on Methwold Methodist graveyard, although I was in total ignorance of this matter until a link to your article was posted on a family history site on the web.

Family members who live not far away (Hockwold) were unaware of this, maybe because it appeared in the business section on December 30.

I also notice that West Norfolk planning department was “pushing” planning permission through at the beginning of New Year!

Click here to read the full letter.

As a family historian I am greatly disturbed by the idea of building over graves and probably destroying old headstones and the related family histories. I am also concerned for the families who may potential lose a connection with their past, not to mention the emotional ties they may have with this disturbance of their ancestors’ graves. Building on old cemeteries is not a new story, nor is this likely to be the last time this happens. Individuals need to keep watch for these troubling events and make others aware in time to take action.

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Abstracts of Obituaries in the Western Christian Advocate

Abstracts are not the most glamorous of books. There are no stories, rarely any pictures, and definitely not intended for leisure reading. However, where would we be as genealogist if not for these critical research tomes. Every individual who has taken the time to either index records or pull abstracts deserve praise and recognition for their contributions to research, especially, family history research. Abstracts of Obituaries in the Western Christian Advocate 1834—1850 is another of the many great abstract volumes available at Family Roots Publishing.

Abstracts of Obituaries contains an colleciton of obituaries taken from the Western Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper. The paper began as the Christian Advocate and Journal in 1826 in New York City. Different sections of the country wanted their own paper, with more localized information, so the Methodist Church began printing The Western Christian Advocate on May 2, 1834, in Cincinnati. Shortly following, the publication opened offices in Charlestown, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This abstract covers Western Christian Advocate printings from 1834 to 1850. The newspaper grew from 14,000 subscribers in 1840 to 18,000 by 1850. As many as 20 obituaries were listed in a single issue. Reports of deaths came predominately from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and other mid-western states. There are, however, abstracts from other states as well.

Margaret R. Waters, Dorothy Riker, and Doris Leistner are credited with the abstraction work for this volume. In some records the actual death date and place were not available. In these cases the date of the obituary and its author’s residence are used. These can serve as clues for searching additional information regarding exact death date and location. In all, this book contains nearly 8,000 obituaries.


Order a copy of Abstracts of Obituaries in the Western Christian Advocate 1834—1850  for your home or local library. Available at Family Roots Publishing; Item #:IHS006, Price: $57.61.


Here are some other great abstracts available from Family Roots Publishing:

Voices of the Irish Immigrant: Information Wanted Ads in The Truth Teller, New York City 1825-1844[click here to read a review]

Compendium Of Early Mohawk Valley Families, 2 Volumes[click here to read a review]

10,000 Vital Records Of Central New York: 1813–1850 — [click here to read a review]

10,000 Vital Records Of Eastern New York, 1777-1834[click here to read a review]

10,000 Vital Records Of Western New York: 1809–1850 — [click here to read a review]

Abstracts of Georgia Land Plat Books A & B 1779-1785 Volume 1

Abstracts of the Records of The Society of Friends, Vol. 1

Abstracts of the Records of The Society of Friends, Vol.2

Coroners’ Reports, New York City 1823-1842

Genealogical Abstracts from 18th-Century Virginia Newspapers

Kings County, New York, Administration Proceedings, 1817-1856

Naturalizations in the Marine Court, New York City, 1834-1840

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2012 FGS Conference Registration is Open

The following news release was received today from Thomas MacEntee. Family Roots Publishing is exhibiting at this conference. You’ll find us in booths 213, 215, 312, and 314. My good friend, Rich Williams, with the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, will also be there in the booth next to us, booth #211. We look forward to seeing you there!

Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the “Old Southwest” – A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

January 16, 2012 – Austin, TX. Registration for the 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, scheduled for August 29 – September 1, 2012, in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama, is now open. This year’s conference theme is “Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the ‘Old Southwest’,” and the local host is the Alabama Genealogical Society (AGS).

This year’s FGS conference offers an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in researching their family history. Over 175 educational sessions and 13 luncheons are designed to balance the needs of genealogists at all levels, exploring a variety of records, strategies, and other tools available to those interested in researching their family history. Special sessions include a wide variety targeting members and leaders of genealogical and historical societies. In addition, special events, such as the Alabama Genealogical Society Opening Social at the Alabama Theater, the FGS Evening Social at the historic Sloss Furnaces, Spotlight on Societies, and daily sponsored lectures provide an excellent environment to meet and network with others interested in family history and genealogy.

Session sponsors include FamilySearch,,, the National Archives and Records Administration, and others.

Conference Highlights

  • Librarian’s Day: On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, ProQuest is sponsoring a full day of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.
  • Conference Sessions: A wide variety of genealogy-related lectures and workshops for all experience levels. Topics include Southern research, Settlers and Indians, soldiers, strategies and techniques, technology, and writing.
  • Special Events: Include the AGS Opening Social at the Alabama Theater and the FGS Evening Social at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark—all providing an excellent environment to meet and network with others interested in family history and genealogy. This exciting week of genealogy closes with a Farewell Brunch on Sunday.
  • Exhibit Hall: Filled with a wide array of vendors and organizations, Cyber Cafe and lounge area sponsored by RootsMagic, and a special Spotlight on Societies area will showcase local and regional genealogical and historical societies.

There are more activities and research opportunities too numerous to list. However, you can learn all about the 2012 FGS Conference and register for this exciting four-day event at Be sure to also visit or subscribe to the FGS Conference Blog at for more information and travel advice. We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham in August!

Learn More and Stay Connected

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference — four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit

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Salt Lake Christmas Tour…… Week’s Peek

Anybody remember that handsome hunk, Illya D’Addezio, who joined our Christmas tour for a couple of years recently? His passion was his websites, GenealogyToday and LiveRoots, and he tried his darndest to help us understand and value using what he was offering. He is still trying! This came from Illya just a few days ago:

Genealogy Today gets a Haircut and a Shave for 2012… Well, maybe a mini-facelift too (but I’ll never tell). This weekend the search engine at Genealogy Today was released with a faster, simpler version that (and here’s the key benefit) offers better results. In addition to the search improvements, the home page was redesigned and the site navigation was improved.

The improved search combines free and paid resources into a single result set, highlighting new and updated items. External resources are clearly identified with “Web:” before their titles, and free items announce themselves with a Free! indicator. There’s also a new line at the top of the search results that displays the criteria used in the search. And (did I mention that) the Genealogy Today search is now much faster, more consistent between the different types of records and offers better results (for special cases and name variations).

Released with the search engine (as you might expect) is an improved search form that allows you to filter free/paid, local/external and restrict “fuzzy” name logic. The new form also does a better job of keeping track of what you’ve just searched on, and as you drill down into the databases, offers options to reverse direction and expand your search.

Still in the works… support for searching alternate names (e.g. maiden, married, nicknames, typos) and a real-time checker for external resources to better handle moved/dead links. And, of course, there will lots of new data added during 2012!

While the search engine may not look all that different on the surface, it drives a lot better… so go ahead and take the improved search engine for a test drive…

I think and recommend that we go take a looksee and a long peek! Think?
Donna, aka Mother Hen

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German Map Guide Volume 1 – Hessen

By now, most of our readers are familiar with Family Roots Publishing’s Map Guide to German Parish Registers Series. The series has received praise and great reviews throughout the genealogy community. We have reviewed many of the volumes here on the GenealogyBlog, but never the first volume, the one that started it all. Or, we hadn’t until now.

The series began back in 2004 with Map Guide to German Parish Registers (Volume I): Grandduchy of Hessen. Like all books in the series, was put together and written by Kevan M. Hansen. The volume was created to help genealogist find the churches their ancestors attended and ultimately the vital records left behind in these parishes. Every effort was made to include even the smallest places — some with as little population as one person! Places are from about 1870 back. If the place existed prior to that date, it will most likely be listed. If the place was named after that date, the chances drop. The volume covers 1,582 places (usually towns).

From this first volume, family historians have been able to successfully find their ancestors vital records through the help of these books. Take the following comments as an example:

“Thanks to the Map Guide to German Parish Registers – Grandduchy of Hessen, I found my Great Great Grandfather’s Baptism. I had been searching for the parish for 6 years and thanks to Kevan Hansen’s book, I found him. I probably would have found it without the Map Guide, but who knows how many years it would have taken. I can’t wait for Hessen-Nassau book to come out.”

Ginni Morey; Campbell CA

Like each volume in the series, this book:

  • Identifies the parish where an ancestor worshiped based on where they lived.
  • Gives the FHL microfilm number for the family’s parish records.
  • Identifies nearly every city, town, and place that included residents.
  • Visually identifies church parishes for Lutherans & Catholics in each district.
  • Identifies adjoining parishes in case an ancestor attended an alternate parish.
  • Aids in area searches, particularly across district or regional borders.
  • Provides visual identification of search areas in which to look for a family.
  • Helps in determining proximity of one area to another.
  • Aids in determining reasonable distances of travel from one area to another.
  • Identifies population centers in each parish.
  • Identifies archives, repositories, and other resources.
  • Aids in identification of the location of minority religions.

Map Guide to German Parish Registers (Volume I): Grandduchy of Hessen is available at Family Roots Publishing in soft cover (Item #:FR0001, Price: $34.25) or in a hard cover library quality binding. (Item #:FR0002, Price: $63.70)


Following is a list of places found in the Grandduchy of Hessen (Volume1):

  • Abenheim
  • Achtbuchen
  • Ächzeller Hof
  • Affhöllerbach
  • Affolterbach Odenwald
  • Airlenbach
  • Albach
  • Albacher Hof
  • Albersbach
  • Albertsruhe
  • Albig
  • Allendorf an der Lahn
  • Allendorf an der Lumba
  • Allenrod
  • Allertshausen
  • Allertshofen
  • Allmenrod
  • Alsbach
  • Alsfeld
  • Alsheim
  • Alt Wiedermus
  • Altdörfer
  • alte Sandaue
  • Altenburg
  • Alten-Buseck
  • Altenfelder
  • Altenhain
  • Altensand
  • Altenschlirf
  • Altenstadt
  • Alter Sand
  • Altheim hessische
  • Alzey
  • Angelhof
  • Angenrod
  • Angersbach
  • Annelsbach
  • Annerod
  • Antoniusberg
  • Apfelbachbrücke
  • Appenheim
  • Appenrod
  • Arheilgen
  • Armsheim
  • Arnheider
  • Arnsburg
  • Arnshain
  • Asbach
  • Aschbach
  • Aspisheim
  • Asselbrunn
  • Assenheim
  • Astheim
  • Atzenhain
  • Auerbach
  • auf dem Loh [Read the rest of this entry…]

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A Reminder To Preserve Copies of Your Family History

A recent article in the Allied News, from Grove City, Pennsylvania, serves as a key reminder as to why creating and keeping offsite copies of family photos and information is so important.

Family history goes up in flames

FINDLEY — Fire destroyed a 107-year-old farmhouse at 62 Courtney Lane, Findley Township, Wednesday, taking with it generations of cherished family heirlooms.

“There’s a history that went up in smoke,” Pamela Courtney, 67, who lived in the house with her 69-year-old husband, John, said several hours after the fire.

“I really think it’s true that the pictures are the hardest to lose,” Mrs. Courtney said. “The kids are trying to recall stuff of theirs still in the house. They’re taking it hard. I think (Mr. Courtney) is taking it better than I am.”

Click here to read the full article.


While there may be little anyone can do to fully protect heirlooms and personal items from destruction in flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disasters and accidents, there are things genealogist can do to preserve their precious family photographs and important genealogical data.

Making digital copies is an easy first step with today’s technology. But what to do with those copies. I have long recommended people send both a digital and print copy of their photos and databases to a friend or relative living in another state. Learning basic storage techniques can also help preserve items from smaller incidents. I have know people to work and save 30 years of family history research only to lose it all with no backup. Allow the above article to serve as a reminder, and take time this week to backup your data, save your digital files, and find somewhere outside your own home to store and preserve a second copy.

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Another Early Indiana Photographer and Fascinating History

Last week I had the opportunity to review a fascinating book on the photography of an early Indiana photographer, Otto Ping. The collection of his 1900 to 1940 photographs provides great insight into life of the rural American in the first part of the 20th Century. Now, by happy luck and coincidence, I get to review another great book about another photography from early 20th century Indiana. The Photography of Ben Winans of Brookville, Indiana, 1902–1926, by Donald L. Dunaway.

Benjamin Franklin Winans ran a printing business, from 1891 until 1947, in Brookville, the county seat for Franklin County, Indiana. In 1902, Winans grew his business, purchasing a state-of-the-art camera and add photographic services. He quickly became an expert, both in shooting photographs and in his darkroom skills. Most of his pictures depict life in and around Brookville. However, unlike Brown County where Otto Ping shot his pictures, Brookville was an archetypical, self-sufficient small town. The town had only two thousand residents, but included “doctors, dentists, undertakers, bankers, grocers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, druggists, saloon keepers, newspaper publishers, cigar makers, cabinetmakers, and artists.” The town had running water and electric street lights. Ben Winans captured the lives of these people and this small town with resounding clarity.

Ben’s best work was done during the period from 1902 to 1916, where he produced over 3,000 glass negatives in various sizes. These pictures were almost lost and destroyed after his death in 1949. Fortunately, Eugene Brock, and Anderson newspaper man, saved the glass negatives. These were later given to this books author. Dunaway, a Brookville resident himself, carefully restored many of these images. This book contains 130 of Winans best works, selected to not only show his skill but also to show Brookville’s place in Indiana history.

The book is published by the Indiana Historical Society, and includes some of the clearest and cleanest 100 year old photos I have ever seen. Having been a publisher myself, I can attest to not only the overall quality and crispness of these photos, but also to the sheer skill Ben Winans uses to frame and capture life and events of all types throughout his community. Every picture is captioned with what and where the photo was taken. Historical information is also provided to most photographs. Added to the pictures, each chapter starts with a brief history as it pertains to the chapter. Dunaway has done an exceptional job at making this book an historical treasure for the people of Indiana, as well as for those with a love of photography and American history.


Table of Contents


Chapter One: The World of Ben Winans

Chapter Two: People

Chapter Three: Significant Town Buildings and Businesses

Chapter Four: The Whitewater Canal

Chapter Five: Street Fairs and Parades

Chapter Six: Bridges

Chapter Seven: Log Houses

Chapter Eight: Churches

Chapter Nine: Schools

Chapter Ten: Ben Winans and the Hermitage

Chapter Eleven: The 1913 Flood

Chapter Twelve: Country Scenes

Chapter Thirteen: Trains and Railroads

Chapter Fourteen: Automobiles


Grab a copy and enjoy The Photography of Ben Winans of Brookville, Indiana, 1902–1926, available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #:IHS035, Price: $17,47, Reg. $24.45.

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Family Tree Maker for Mac 2

Back in early December, released a new version of its popular genealogy software—Family Tree Maker 2012. About a week later, the company released an upgrade for its Mac version of the same software. Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 offers a number of new features.

One big change was the inclusion of TreeSync, a popular Family Tree Maker utility that lets you update and synchronize your family tree in multiple locations, including on’s iPad and iPod apps and on your account. Other key enhancements were noted in an Blog, as follows:

  • New Mac-only features. Now you can capture photos using your iSight or built-in camera and import it directly into Family Tree Maker. And if you’re using OS X Lion, you can take advantage of the new full-screen capability—with one click fill your entire desktop with the Family Tree Maker workspace.
  • Easy-to-understand combined family view. The family group view has a new “blended families” option that lets you display all of a couple’s children in one location, including stepchildren and adoptees. An icon next to a child’s name lets you see at a glance whether he or she is the child of the father, the mother, or both parents.
  • More Ancestry integration. Find other Ancestry members who are searching for your ancestors by viewing Member Connect activity in the expanded Web Dashboard. You’ll also see links to message boards and notification of your new Ancestry messages.
  • Enhanced performance. Now you can choose the type of Internet connection you’re using, which allows Family Tree Maker to tailor how it downloads information from the Web. Uploading and downloading speeds have been improved, and there is an increased ability to upload large files to
  • New image collection. Create beautiful family trees and reports with a variety of new backgrounds and images.

You can order Family Tree Maker 2012 or Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 directly from’s online store.

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