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Salt Lake Christmas Tour………….. Week’s Peek


This is not genealogy, but it is history…….. the history of our planet………. and aren’t history and genealogy partners????  We were just in Hawaii (on the Big Island of Hawaii) where we went for February sunshine and to escape the winter snow, gray and gloom. We learned some fascinating geologic history of these Pacific Islands. They move at the fast rate (so say geologists) of 4 inches per year in a northwesternly direction over a hot spot welling up from the ocean floor. It is from these hot spots that Hawaii was formed and is still being formed……… as in the recent lava flows from Kilauea volcano. This means that in a bezillion years Kilauea volcano will be a quiet and interesting lava-rock place. And Loih’i is the next island-to-be  in the chain, rising from the ocean floor off the southeastern shores of the Big Island and said to surface in 10,000 years. (Wags on the Internet are already staking out beach-front land claims.)

In a special sense, it was like seeing Creation to stand there and watch the smaller Halema’uma’u Crater in the vast Kilauea Crater belching and billowing white smoke and knowing there was a boiling lava pit that was parent to that rising column of steam. It was also like Creation to stand at the end of Highway 137 at the Kalapana point (where the town was) and from a safe 2-mile viewpoint look up and see the lava flowing over the pali (cliffs) in its glide to the sea, destroying everything  in its path.

None of my ancestors were Hawaiian, Polynesian or Asian in any way. But knowing and believing that “no man is an island,” what happens there has always impacted mankind here. And that means my ancestors and yours too.

(I posted more cool photos on my blog:  )

Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next week.

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Creating Junior Genealogists

Genealogists tend to develop a deep connection, a love, for their ancestors. It is only natural that the genealogist would want to share that love with those living members of their family, whom they also love. Of course, the key question is, “Where do I begin?”  Creating Junior Genealogists: Tips and Activities for Family History Fun, by Karen Frisch, helps answer that question, and the many other questions likely to arise in sharing one’s family history with children.

Frisch suggests two key variable must exist to effectively introduce children to their ancestors. First, the reader must know their ancestors for themselves, by getting to know the stories and the historical perspective for the times in which one’s ancestors lived. Second, the reader must know their own children/grandchildren; including, their interests, their learning styles, and their dislikes. What motives your child? What peaks their interest? Children won’t simple grasp the value of knowing their ancestors. Without knowing their interests, the chances a child will connect with their past becomes limited. This book provides suggestions and way in which the older generation can successfully meet these two requirements and bring fun and joy to the process of teaching and learning about family history.

From discovering family treasures to participating in research activities, this book offers many ideas from bridging the generational gaps between children and their ancestors. Activities are not limited to the home or the computer. Suggestions include movies and museums, reunions and reenactments, ideas for beginners and the value of traditions. Each topic is covered with examples and suggestion which are easy to follow or copy.

Ideas in the book include ideas for teaching interested children in the actual process of research. For example, learn to teach children how to start a family tree, explore cemeteries for names and dates, and find records on the Internet, something they probably already excel at. Through these tools, kids don’t just learn about their ancestors, they develop key educational skills, like researching and writing. The following table of contents provides a good view into the books coverage on the subject.


Table of Contents


1. Treasures in the Attic

  • Old Photographs
  • Treasures in Hiding
  • Family Heirlooms
  • Heirloom Jewelry

2. Activities You Can Do at Home

  • Family Stories
  • Family Night
  • Games and Activities
  • Holidays and Civic Events

3. Fun with History

  • Life in the Past
  • School History and Genealogy Projects
  • Historical Books
  • Historical Movies and Videos
  • Living Histories and Historical Reenactments

4. Family History for Beginners

  • Churches and Cemeteries
  • Family History Centers and Libraries
  • Kids on the Internet
  • Stories from Relatives
  • Family Reunions
  • Scrapbooks and Photograph Albums

5. Writing That connects Lives

  • E-mails to Grandma
  • Letter Writing
  • Fun with Pen Pals
  • Family Newsletters
  • Diaries

6. Fun on the Road

  • Children’s Museums
  • Historic Museums and Homes
  • Renaissance Fairs and the SCA
  • Historic USA

7. The Importance of Traditions

  • Local and Family Traditions
  • Ethnic and heritage Festivals
  • Holiday Traditions
  • Holiday Cooking
  • Religious Traditions

8. Adopted Children: A Dual Heritage


  • Appendix A: Websites by State
  • Appendix B: Websites Just for Kids
  • Appendix C: Resources for Parents
  • Appendix D: Children’s Books
  • Appendix E: Websites for Families with Adopted Children


About the Author


Creating Junior Genealogists: Tips and Activities for Family History Fun is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: TP293, Price: $17.59.


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Effort to Preserve WWI Artefacts

A unique effort is taking place in Europe to preserve WWI artefacts as part of a WWI roadshow to cross 10 countries. Here is an excerpt from an article in The Visitor:

Appeal to help preserve World War One artefacts

LANCASTRIANS are being asked to help create an archive of World War One memorabilia.

They are being asked to take letters, photos, diaries and other items to a WW1 Family History Roadshow at the Museum of Lancashire, Preston.

Instead of festering in shoe boxes under the bed or deep inside the attic, we want to save your personal memories of the war in our virtual archive

The Preston roadshow is one of the first in a series that is being rolled-out across 10 countries in Europe this year to create a unique pan-European account of WW1 that is available to everyone.

Europeana 1914-1918 brings together a partnership of libraries, museums, academic and cultural institutions, which in the UK includes the British Library, Oxford University, JISC, and Lancashire County Council.

The organisers want ordinary families to tell us about their keepsakes, who they belonged to and why they are so important to them. Historians and experts will be on hand to talk about the significance of the finds – while professional digitisers and cataloguers will upload them to the website.

As the centenary approaches, the plan is to preserve these precious documents for future generations. Digitisation saves them from being lost or thrown away – and it keeps them safe for use by schools, genealogists and cultural organisations.

Click here to read the full article.

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Genealogy at a Glance: French Genealogy Research

If you are looking for French-Canadian research, there are plenty of resources available to help you out; including, a Genealogy at a Glance: French-Canadian Research. However, there are precious few book on researching one’s French ancestors, as in, from France. This makes Genealogy at a Glance: French Genealogy Research, that much more important as a tool to researchers. According to this guide’s “Quick Facts”:

  • 8.3 million Americans (about 3% of the population in 2000) claim French ancestry
  • 2.4 million American (or just shy of 1% in 2000) claimed French-Canadian or Acadian ancestry
  • The majority claiming French ancestry reside in Louisiana, New England, and the Midwest

French Genealogy Research was put together by Claire Bettag, CG, CGL. Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research.

This guide is packed with information to help family historians discover their immigrant ancestors, locate their ancestor’s town of origin, and other key historical points. Discussion cover important resource types and locations; including printed and online resources. Additional tips and “further references” provide reader interest and added research value.

Like each At A Glance, the top of the first page provides Contents and Quick Facts. The Contents of this sheet include:


  • Major Periods of French Immigration
  • Who Were the Immigrants
  • Emigration/Immigration Records

Unlocking French Family History

  • Pinpointing the Town of Origin
  • Family Names
  • Huguenots

Political/Archival Organization

Major Record Sources

  • Parish Registers, 16th century–1792
  • Civil Registrations, 1792–present
  • Notarial Records, 16th century–present
  • Censuses

Other Records


Online Resources

Other Records includes subsections for land records, military records, municipal/communal archives, departmental archives, archives in Paris, national archives, and the Family History Library.


Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copy of Genealogy At A Glance: French Genealogy Research available at Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC479, Price: $8.77

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Jerome Bettis, Next on Who Do You Think You Are?

This Friday, 9 March 2012, will feature retires Rams and Steelers running back Jerome Bettis.

Time: 8/7c

“NFL superstar Jerome Bettis discovers ancestors of courage and determination as they stood up against injustice during the Jim Crow era.”

Click here to see a preview.

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A Primer for the Master Genealogist

A Primer for the Master Genealogist was updated this past year in support of The Master Genealogist (TMG) version 8. If you are looking for a guide to using TMG then consider yourself lucky. This book is one of the best written software guides I have ever come across. The writing is concise and well organized. The language is not overly technical; rather, the book was well written for the target audience, the average user. Visual examples are plentiful. Most visuals are labeled to match key bullet points in the text. Each chapter builds on the previous chapter, moving from basic concepts to more advanced features, developing a clear path to a successful user experience.

The introduction outlines the topics found in the various chapters, along with a list of conventions used in the text to help the reader quickly identify key points. For example, bold-italics identify key terms of specific importance in the program. Bold words represent buttons or menu commands. Menus commands are written to show each level or choice under the top menu, for example: Report >List of…>People. Reviewing these conventions before jumping into the main text will help the reader better understand the content.

The book itself begins by covering basic concepts like name and event tags, importing data or starting a new project, navigating the key sections of the software, and entering personal data. From there, chapters progress into entering and editing data, citing sources, creating and generating reports. With the basics covered, the reader can progress into more advanced subjects, like customizing the workspace; working with “sentences” to create narrative reports, or book ready content; adding “witnesses” and “roles”; using custom tags or fields, and more.

TMG users speak highly of the book. Here are some of their comments:

“This is a great introduction for new users! Terry explains complicated topics in terms a beginner can understand, and he explains the concepts as well as the specific steps to make fast, effective use of TMG. Even experienced users will learn from this book, particularly in the chapters about more advanced topics. Terry’s TMG Tips website is a great resource for TMG users, and now Terry has expanded that with A Primer for The Master Genealogist.” – John Cardinal, author of Second Site, TMG Utility, and other companion programs for TMG

“A Primer for The Master Genealogist is a ‘must have’ for the new user. With its easy to read format and multiple illustrations even those seemingly complex features and tasks are easy to understand. I wish I’d had a copy of this book when I first started using The Master Genealogist.” – Mark A. Cunningham, TMG user for two months

“Thanks for your book. Even though I am a long time user of TMG, I am still learning some things from it and understanding some other things better. I will shortly be buying another copy for a friend of mine who is newer to TMG.” – Holly Timm, TMG user since version 3

TMG users would be hard pressed to find a better written guide to using the software than A Primer for the Master Genealogist.


Table of Contents



  • Conventions Used in This Guide

The Parts of TMG’s Standard Screen

Chapter 1 – Basic Concepts

  • Everyone is a Number
  • All Data is Entered in Tags
  • Names are Tags
  • Events are Tags
  • Relationships are Tags
  • Tag Type and Tag Type Groups
  • Multiple Tags of Same Type Are Allowed
  • Primary and Non-Primary Tags
  • Flags
  • Sources and Citations
  • Recording Sources
  • Citing Sources

Chapter 2 – Getting Started

  • Starting Fresh
  • Importing from Another Program
  • The Important Wizard
  • Cleanup After Import – Places
  • Reviewing Sources or People Next
  • Splitting Large Notes
  • Keeping Track of Who’s Been Reviewed
  • A Cleanup Checklist for Each Person
  • Use John Cardinal’s TMG Utility

Chapter 3 – Navigating from Person to Person

  • Double-Clicking a Name
  • Last Viewed Person Button
  • Go To Button
  • View Menu
  • The Picklist
  • Project Explorer
  • Focus Group
  • Bookmarks

Chapter 4 – Personal Data Entry Standards

  • You Objectives are Key
  • Name Conventions
  • Place Conventions
  • Abbreviations
  • Conflicting Data
  • Multiple Persons in an Event
  • Is GEDCOM Export Required?
  • Source Conventions
  • Create a Test Project

Chapter 5 – Entering and Editing Data

  • Name Tags
  • Parent/Child Relationship Tags
  • Event Tags Reminder Screens
  • Editing Existing Data
  • Adding New Tags to an Existing Person
  • Adding New People
  • Duplicate Person Warning
  • Entering Repeated Place or Other Data
  • Consider switching to Advanced Data Entry Mode

Chapter 6 – Working with Sources

  • Understanding the Terms
  • Source types
  • Defining a Source
  • Testing Our Work
  • Citing a Source
  • Repositories

Chapter 7 – Setting Up Reports

  • The Report Definition Screen
  • Specifying the Subject Elements of the Report
  • Output to Screen Printer, or File
  • Using Filters
  • Query by Example Filters
  • Creating a Filter Line-by-Line
  • Adding Spouses Ancestors, and Descendants

Chapter 8 – Reports for Research and Analysis

  • The List of People Report
  • The List of Events Report
  • The List of Citations Report
  • Specifying the Output
  • Secondary Output
  • Other Analysis Reports

Chapter 9 – Genealogy Reports

  • Selecting the Subjects of the Report
  • Controlling Who is Included
  • Sources, Endnotes, and Bibliographies
  • controlling Formatting
  • Specifying Report Content
  • Narrative Reports
  • Forms and Charts
  • Box Charts
  • Websites

Chapter 10 – Customizing Your Workspace

  • Customizing Your Layout
  • Saving a Layout
  • Customizing the Toolbars
  • Setting Fonts, Colors, Sorting, and More
  • Accents
  • Creating a New Accent Definition
  • My Accent System – An Example
  • Customizing the Picklist
  • Customizing the Add Person Screen

Chapter 11 – Working with Sentences

  • Local vs. Global Modifications
  • Deciding to Use Local or Global Sentences, Roles, or New Tag Types
  • Where to Modify Sentence Structures
  • Writing Sentence Structures
  • Testing Your Work
  • Some General Considerations

Chapter 12 – Witnesses

  • Why Add Witnesses?
  • Basic Functions of Witnesses
  • Adding Household Members to the Narratives of Principals
  • Witnesses with Different Parts in the Event
  • Entering Witnesses
  • Witness Memos

Chapter 13 – Roles

  • TMG’s Standard Roles
  • What Can Roles Do?
  • Overview
  • Using Roles – An Example
  • Creating Custom Roles
  • Defining Role Sentences
  • Using Role Names to Refer to Participants by Role
  • Applying the Roles
  • Some Thoughts on Design of Roles
  • The Confusing Term “Witness”
  • More About Using Roles

Chapter 14 – Adding Custom Tag Types

  • Why Create a Custom Tag Type?
  • Creating a Custom Tag Type
  • Adding Roles and Sentences
  • Add a Reminder

Chapter 15 – Customizing Sources

  • Local vs. Global Source Templates
  • Deciding to Modify Templates Locally or Globally
  • Where to Modify Source Templates
  • Editing the Templates
  • Locations of Elements
  • Source Elements Are in Groups
  • Groups Designed for Names
  • Testing Your Work
  • Advanced Topics

Chapter 16 – Projects and Data Sets

  • What is a Data Set?
  • So then What is a Project?
  • Maybe an Analogy Would Help
  • Why Use More than One Data Set or Project?
  • Data Sets and ID Numbers
  • “Switching” Data Sets
  • About Merging Projects and Data Sets
  • Merging Projects
  • Merging Data Sets
  • Using Copy Persons Rather than Merging Data Sets

Appendix A – Other Resources

Appendix B – Shortcut Keys



Get A Primer for the Master Genealogist from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: RR01, Price: $24.45.

Family Roots Publishing also carries these guides to other popular genealogy software packages:

RootsMagic Webinars On CD, Volume 1

RootsMagic Webinars On CD, Volume 2

Legacy 7 Deluxe (with User’s Guide And CD)

Legacy Training Video CDS – Volume 1

Legacy Training Video CDS – Volume 2

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Cemetery in Need of Assistance

How many cemeteries, possibly near our own hometowns, are in need of similar help as the historical cemetery in the following article?

Historic Cemetery Needs Help

A local cemetery that serves as a burial place for African American civil war veterans is in dire need of money and maintenance.

“A lot of people say that if you don’t know where you came from you won’t know where you’re going.”

That’s the message Ray Fussell of the Lawnside Historic Society is trying to spread in order to help save an important piece of history in danger of being lost forever.

The Mount Peace Cemetery was created in 1902 on White Horse Pike in Lawnside. It serves as a burial place for African Americans who were not allowed to be buried in white cemeteries.

“These are Civil War soldiers,” said Fussell. “Black soldiers, black people couldn’t be buried anywhere they wanted to be, that’s why so many of them came here.”

Click here to read the full article on NBC Philidelphia.

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Protect Your Precious Documents

Every genealogist has something special worth preserving. From their own research to family photographs, from ancestral diaries to family heirlooms there are countless treasures to be collected and given the best preservation possible. Protect Your Precious Documents was written to help genealogist in the preservation process.

Author Louise St. Denis educates the reader on the dos and don’ts of preservation. St. Denis creates the groundwork of understanding on subject like document and enclosure acidity, document cleaning, photographs and negatives protection, and much more. Learn to properly store different media, protect books, and select the best overall storage options. There is even coverage for heirlooms on fabric, on wood, and on metal.

Louise first gained an interest in genealogy as a hobby in 1984. Since then she has become a true expert, lecturing across the U.S. and Canada in both English and French. She was the founding President of the Société franco-ontarienne d’histoire et de généalogie – Toronto Branch, plus having held other leadership positions in other genealogical related organizations. St. Denis’ passion for collecting and preserving precious records and keepsakes comes through in her book as she seeks to help genealogists everywhere with their preservation skills.


Table of Contents


What Should We Preserve?

Cleaning Procedures



Plastic Enclosures

Boxes, Boxes, & More Boxes

Available Products

Articles We Will Likely Want to Preserve

Worst Enemies of Preservation

Paper Documents


What to Keep, What to Discard?

How Are Your Documents Held Together?

Do Your documents Require Cleaning?

Suggestions When Cleaning Documents

What Level of Acidity Does Your Document Have?

Should Your Deacidify Your Documents?

Does Your Document Have Tears or Rips in It?

How to Store Your Documents?

Photographs & Negatives

Family books: The Family Bible, Diaries & Family History Books

How to Store Your Books

Audio Recordings, Photography Records & Audio Cassettes

Live Action Recordings

Compact Disks

Special Heirlooms on Fabric, on Wood, on Metal

In the End


Order Protect Your Precious Documents from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: HB05, Price: $7.84.

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Another View of Mormon Proxy Baptism of Jews

The following excerpt is from an article written by Jeff Jacoby, a Jewish columnist for the Boston Globe. The article is dated March 1, 2012, and is posted at the website. It’s a different take on LDS proxy baptisms of Jews. Interesting…

Memo to the kvetchers: Get a life — especially when dealing with actions by strangers after death

In a column many years ago, I described how I once attempted to chart a family tree. Most of my father’s family had been killed in Auschwitz, and my efforts to trace their genealogy left me, I wrote, with a family tree that “has stumps where branches ought to be” and “gets narrower, not wider, as it grows.”

A woman phoned me the morning that column appeared. She said she was a Mormon, and wanted to add the names of my father’s massacred relatives — the column had mentioned about 18 of them by name — to the Mormon Church’s vast genealogical archives. I told her that I certainly had no objection. Indeed, I was grateful for any gesture that might help preserve some remembrance of these family members whose lives had been so cruelly cut short.

At the time I knew nothing about “baptism by proxy,” the ritual that Mormons believe gives even souls in the afterlife a chance to accept their faith and thus enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only later did I learn that some Mormons, eager to save the souls of dead Jews, had taken to submitting the names of Holocaust victims for posthumous baptism.

The discovery didn’t trouble me at all. In Judaism, conversion after death is a concept without meaning; no after-the-fact rites in this world can possibly change the Jewishness of the men, women, children, and babies whom the Nazis, in their obsessive hatred, singled out for extermination. I found the Mormons’ belief eccentric, not offensive. By my lights, their efforts to make salvation available to millions of deceased strangers were ineffectual. But plainly they were sincere, and intended as a kindness.

Read the full article.

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A Review of “Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing“

Several weeks ago, my friend, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, sent me a copy of her new book. It’s titled “Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing.” I finally got the chance to sit down and read it cover to cover. Megan knows how to write, with several successful books behind her. However, in my humble opinion, this time she’s outdone herself. The book is brilliant – and should be required reading for any genealogist that wishes to sharpen their skills. I’ve been reading and editing genealogy books and articles as a profession for 30 years. This is without a doubt the best genealogy book I’ve ever read.

In full disclosure, I’ve known Megan for many years, and she’s a friend. However, she’s also arguably one of the very best genealogists in the country, if not on planet Earth. Megan can find the living as well as the dead – and she has the skills to do it quickly. This 288-page book is made up of first-hand accounts about how Megan has gone about doing the research that has made her famous. She has been on more network television talk shows and genealogy-related programs than any of the other genealogists that I know. Sure – this came about principally because of celebrity research, but there were many hours of sleuthing required before the 15 minutes of fame in a network studio.

The book covers a wide variety of topics, as Megan has been involved in many types of genealogical quests. Each of the chapters tells a story. She details the story well enough that any of us can come away with research ideas we may never have considered before. There’s a lot to be learned here.

The Foreword is written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr – and Ken Burns added this note to the back cover, “Megan Smolenyak2 decodes our fascinating complicated past, in this tour de force of detective work.” Wow! Ken Burns on the back cover! Now that’s something to be proud of.

Following is a list of the chapters:
Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Introduction: Rewriting History
1. No Man Left Behind (for real)
A decade of forensic consulting for the Army
2. Famous Cousins
Barak Obama and Sarah Palin are related – “Yawn”
3. Serial Centenarians
Could two relatives who knew each other live in four centuries?
4. Alex Hailey Was Scottish?
Uncovering the unexpected heritage of Roots author, Alex Hailey, through DNA
5. Egyptian Roots in a Hurry
Researching Hota Kotb’s roots for the Today show on a fierce deadline.
6. A House Divided, A Bible Shared
The strange travels of a Civil War-era Bible.
7. There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama
Tracing his roots to the Auld Sod.
8. Unclaimed Persons
Why you should call your estranged brother.
9. Adventures in TV Land
You need what by when?
10. Finding Melvina, Michelle Obama’s Great, Great, Great Grandmother
How do you trace a slave girl in South Carolina?
11. The Road to the First Lady’s Roots
Road-tripping to discover all that’s not online about Michelle Obama’s heritage.
12. King of America
Who would rule America today if George Washington had been king?
13. Skeletons in the Turret
Could DNA reveal the identity of the men of the USS Monitor?
14. Anatomy of an Adoption Search
Helping adoptees discover who they are.
15. The Slave Who Rescued Freedom
Rediscovering Phillip Reed, without whom the capital would look very different.
16. No, Your Name Wasn’t Changed at Ellis Island
Why you shouldn’t fall for this popular myth.
17. Paralyzed Prostitute
Following the trail of an Oregon madam.
18. Half a Negro Boy
Finding a hidden connection between Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond.
19. A Lonely Tombstone on the Sidewalks of Manhattan
The wandering memorial of a Jewish pioneer goes home.
20. Grandma Stepped Out
My accidental genetic discovery.
21. They Call Me Yak-Yak
What I learned from helping the FBI with civil rights cold cases.
22. Annie Moore, Ellis Island’s First
Rectifying a case of historical identity theft.


To purchase a copy of Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing, click here. $15.63.

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Baptisms, Marriages and Burials From Welsh Archives Published Online for the First Time

The following news release was received from from Debra Chatfield at

Today, in honour of St David’s Day, leading family history website has announced the launch of the first tranche of parish records from Wales – part of a major new project with the Welsh County Archivists Group and the National Library of Wales.

3,878,862 million records from parish registers from the Church in Wales can now be searched for the first time online from today comprising:

  • 1,418,921 baptism records covering 1538-1911
  • 950,254 marriage records covering 1539-1926
  • 340,002 marriage banns covering 1701-1926
  • 1,169,685 burial records covering 1539-2007

These records cover the counties of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire.

Over the following weeks approximately 5 million more Welsh parish records from Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire will be added to the website, enabling anyone to search the complete parish records from Wales online for the very first time.

Catherine Richards, county archivist from the Welsh Archives, said: “Archive Services in Wales hold a wealth of information, and our written history reflects the rich culture and heritage of the Welsh nation. Celebrating family history has had a long tradition in Wales. Welsh Law made it essential for people to know how they were descended from an ancestor and the ancient patronymic system was an important way of conveying and reaffirming lineage. The importance of tracing Welsh roots has been revived through modern genealogy. Parish registers provide one of the primary sources for the family historian and help to bring to life Welsh ancestors from the past.”

Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at added: “This is a really exciting development for anyone with Welsh family history. Even if you are currently unaware of your Welsh roots, a simple search of the 46 million UK parish records at will now potentially reveal relevant results from the new Welsh Collection, opening up a whole new chapter in your research.”

The records can be accessed within the Life Events section of and are free to search. The transcripts and handwritten images of the original parish registers can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits or with a Full subscription to

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Research Perseverance Leads to WWII Hero Getting a Proper Military Memorial Service

In 2008, WWII highly decorated First Lt. George Balthazor died alone, an “unclaimed indigent” in San Diego, CA. Through the research efforts of a nephew and records found on the Social Security Death Index, Balthazor’s story is told and a military memorial service is held in his honor. See the full details in this story at

FdL World War II hero will get military memorial service

Air Force First Lt. George Balthazor made quite the dashing figure in his World War II bomber jacket, his hair swept back to one side.

Surviving 32 missions while piloting a B-17 named “Flutterby” over enemy territory earned him membership in the elite “Lucky Bastard Club” of the 487th Bombardment Group, the group nicknamed “The Gentlemen from Hell.”

His medals and awards, among them the “Distinguished Flying Cross,” were numerous.

Some 64 years later, George died alone in San Diego, Calif., an “unclaimed indigent.” His ashes were scattered at sea without a military funeral.

The memory of George’s meritorious service to his country may have also remained lost had it not been for two nephews who never gave up looking for their “nomadic” uncle, last seen by his Fond du
Lac family sometime in the mid 1970s.

“As a child I recall him staying at my grandmother’s house after the war, and he taught me how to tell time. I would hear him in the middle of the night screaming from night terrors,” said George’s nephew, Frank Balthazor of Madison.

On and off through the years Frank and another nephew, Steve Balthazor of West Bend, tried searching for George, pouring over names, places and military records found on the Internet.

Then one day in August 2010 Steve came across his uncle’s name listed in the Social Security death index. He discovered George had died in July 2008, at the age of 86.

Click here to read the full story.

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Map Guide to German Parish Registers: Thuringia — Taking Another Look

German parish records are critical to researching one’s German ancestors. William Dollarhide explained it well:

“Unlike American genealogical research, where the place to search for basic vital records is usually a civil registration (city, county, state), European research is usually related to an ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In 18th & 19th century German-speaking areas, one must search the parish registers for Catholic, Lutheran, and other churches to find the births, christenings, marriages, deaths, and burials. The historic boundaries of the old German parishes have not been defined except in very general terms, particularly for the mid-to-late-1800s. This book remedies that problem and serves as a road map to these records—saving hours of effort.”

Map guides help make finding German Parishes easier. Map Guide to German Parish Registers: Thuringia maps and lists parishes in the area of Thuringia in the mid to late 1800s. These maps serve as a “snapshot” to the parish districts as they existed at that time. Parishes were defined by the town to which they were assigned, and vice versa. Like the other volumes in this series, this map book offers the following:

  • Identifies the parish where an ancestor worshipped 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.

This specific guide provides an historical background to the region, including a complete list of rulers from 632 until 1918. There are also listings of genealogical resources covering civil registration, emigration, lineage books, periodicals and genealogical collections, plus archives and repositories. Archive include both state, church, and district or city archives.

The Map Guide for Thuringia, like all in the series, is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: FR0047, Price: $34.25.

Listed here are the places found is this volume:

  • Abteroda
  • Abtsbessingen
  • Achelstädt
  • Adelhausen
  • Ahlendorf
  • Ahlstadt
  • Ahorn
  • Aicha
  • Albersdorf
  • Albingshausen
  • Alexandrinnenthal

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Reba McEntire, Next on Who Do You Think You Are?

This Friday, 2 March 2012, will feature country superstar Reba McEntire.

Time: 8/7c

“Country superstar Reba McEntire embarks on an ancestral journey to discover how her family came to America.”

Click here to see a preview.

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Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790–1920

Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790–1920 shows county outline maps at ten-year intervals. Effectively, a map of each state’s county lines at the time of each Federal census through 1920.

The county has always been used as the basic Federal census unit. Genealogical research in the census, therefore, begins with identifying the correct county jurisdictions. This work (one of the top-five best selling genealogy books) shows all U.S. county boundaries from 1790 to 1920.

The books starts with an introduction to the Federal censuses, the records, and basic facts for each enumeration. Page xxvi provides a sample map, explanation, and legend as used on the nearly 400 maps in the book. Key elements include the following:

Each map shows modern counties and states with a white outline
Black outlines show the counties as they existed at the time of the relevant census
modern lines which match the old boundaries also appear in black (the black overlaying the while)
Defunct counties appear in the index in italics
Dashed lines indicate boundaries through water, uncertain boundaries, etc. (sometimes noted in the “notes” section on the page)

With each map there is data on boundary changes, notes about the census, and locality finding keys. There also are inset maps that clarify territorial lines, a state-by-state bibliography of sources, and an appendix outlining pitfalls in mapping county boundaries. Other details such as major Indian treaty lines are also covered.

The volume includes an index listing all present-day counties, plus nearly all defunct counties or counties later re-named. Maps in the book are shown in chronological order, alphabetically by state.




Introduction • Federal Censuses

  • History
  • Records
  • Completeness

Sample Map

U.S. Maps, 1790–1920

State Maps

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Loisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming


  • Pitfalls in Mapping Boundaries


  • National Projects
  • General Sources
  • State Sources

County Index, by State


Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790–1920 is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC5786; Price: $58.75.

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