Sunday, July 31, 2011

Genealogy Tip of the Day: Marriage Bann

Michael John Neill in his Genealogy Tip of the Day gives a good, short explanation of a marriage bann.

If you were ever wondering about what that is, check it out at Genealogy Tip of the Day: Marriage Bann

Friday, July 29, 2011

RootsMagic Webinars

If you are a Roots Magic user, you will be interested in this. The Roots Magic website has a list of webinars that have already been presented and are now in their archive. You can watch any of them with a simple click of your mouse.

New webinars are being presented all of the time. You can watch them live (only the first 1000 people who register can see them). After they are aired for the first time, they then go into the archive for “any-time access.”

Check out the list at RootsMagic Webinars

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Try Mocavo!

On 23 June I put up a post on the new genealogy search engine called "Mocavo." Since then I have read more and more about it. This is something worth checking out. In fact, I even covered the website during our last Internet Explorations class. At any rate, I think it deserves a second "shout."

Mocavo searches free websites, and if that is not interesting enough, it includes such things as query lists and blogs in the search. Here is what the authors have to say about the site:

"The world’s largest free genealogy search engine,, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information. While discovers new sites every day, some of the existing sites searchable on include genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals."

It is easy to use--just type you search terms into the box that appears on the home page of the site...and don't forget, just as with most search engines, it may be best to put full names in quotes.

Check it out at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Interactive Map of Historic Manhattan

Those of you who have ancestors who lived in NYC, especially Manhattan, will love this. The New York Times website offers a map of historic 1811 Manhattan (created by John Randel)with an interactive overlay of modern Manhattan. That means you can switch back and forth between the two views to see the modern equivalent of historic streets and locations.

Also available in the same window is an 1830 mop of the farms in Manhattan, a map of street openings since 1642, and an overlay that indicates the growth of Manhattan based on historic census data.

You can play with the map at

Thanks to Dick Eastman for revealing this site.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baptismal Sponsors May Provide Clues

Michael John Neil in his "Genealogy Tip of the Day" Blog, recently gave a tip about the value of checking out the sponsors in a child's baptism. They could be relatives you did not know about, of course. But Michael also suggests that if you can not trace your ancestor's immigration or birth country, perhaps you can do so for their children's baptismal sponsors.

Check out the tip at

Thursday, July 21, 2011

National Events effects on Family History

We have all probably heard of using time lines to help understand our family's history. You know, plotting historic events on a time line and then plotting and ancestor's personal history on that same time line. The examination of the coincidence of those two plots can reveal possible influences on the actions our ancestors chose to take.

In the April-June 2011 issue of NGS Magazine, Harold E. Hinds Jr. wrote an article titled "Pivotal Moments In U. S. and Personal Family History." In that article he outlines the process briefly described above. He shares his own experience in carrying out such a strategy, complete with telling some of the references he used.

Hinds brings great credentials to the article--he is a distinguished research professor of history at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and he lectures on history and genealogy.

The magazine is in our collection at the Genealogy Center of the Largo Public Library...or at least it will be. We just received it, so give it some time to get entered into the system before you look for it on the shelves.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Ready for the 1940 US Census Release

The 1940 US Census record will be available to us on 4 April 2012, but you can get ready for it now.

When it is first released, there will be no indexed searches available. That means to use it you have to be aware of where you ancestors lived in 1940 in order to find them in the census.

More and more articles are being written about the census release, and a helpful one comes from Randy Seaver in his Blog "Genea-Musings." You can read Randy's article at

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Take a Genealogy Trip

With the increased interest in genealogy and family history, an increasing number of guided research trips oriented on discovering your roots are being offered by travel companies and genalogy professionals.

We are all familiar with trips to Salt Lake City to the LDS Family History Library and to the Allen County Library, but there are also trips designed to explore specific geographic areas. These can be a bit pricey, especially if air travel abroad is involved, but they may be just the thing to combine travel and research to break through a brick wall or to walk the ground of ancestral homes.

Here are some organizations that offer specialized genealogy tours:
>Ancestral Attic (Carp Lake, MI) specializes in Eastern Europe
>European Focus, Inc. (Sarasota, FL) specializes in Europe, especially Germany
>Scottish Ancestral Trail (Dumfriesshire, Scotland) specializes in Scotland

You can find other companies by doing a search at

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dealing With Early Handwriting

The Blog, Genealogy's Star, recently had a post dealing with the subject of old handwriting. As we go back in time for our research, we all run into handwritten documents that we have to wade through.

It can be an exhilerating experience when we figure things out, but that good feeling is usually accompanied by frustration as we deal with poor penmanship, different writing styles, and even multiple languages.

The Blog post gives some insights into dealing with those records as well as several handy links to sites that will help with understanding different writing styles and even help with translation.

Check it out at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

At on-line, interactive program to study the change in state and county boundaries over time. That is what the NewBerry Library's "Atlas of Historical County Boundaries" provides.

This is a feature-rich website that demands a lot of exploration to get the most out of it, but is intuitive enought that you can start making it work for you immediately.

Now you can trace how county lines changed over time (you select your state of interest and timeframe of interest), which of course, influenced in what courthouse your ancestor's records might be archived.

Check out the site at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Answer to Genealogy Quiz 0710

Her is the answer to yesterday's genealogy question: "The year (365 days) preceding the effective date of the census."

Note: In addition to federal census mortality schedules for the 1850 to 1880, they also exist in the 1885 census for Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, and North and South Dakota. In the New York state census, mortality schedules were generally recorded for the years of 1855, 1865, and 1875

Sunday, July 10, 2011

PGS Features Progam on Crime Prevention

This topic is not directly aimed at genealogy, but it is aimed at a topic that concerns us all--crime prevention (especially when it involves us personally). Here is what the presenting group, Crime Prevention Consultants, has to say about their program:

"We are Crime Prevention Practitioners trained by the Attorney Generals Office offering complimentary Crime Prevention seminars to organizations, residents and businesses across the state of Florida. Our seminars cover timely information on recent rise in crime due to the economy. Seminars are approximately 30 minutes and covers criminal threats in your community such as burglary, home invasion, purse snatching, assaults, identity theft and other self-defense tips recommended by local Law Enforcement."

Identity theft is a concern to all of us who research the Internet. Join us at the monthly PGS meeting at 11 am on 16 July at the Largo Public Library to hear presenter Brian MacNeel address this and other sensitive topics.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

Genealogy Quiz 0710

Here is a genealogy question for you. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

When did a person have to die to be included in the US census mortality schedules produced in 1850, 1860, 1970, and 1880?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Answer to Genealogy Quiz 0707

Here is the answer to yesterday's question: "1870."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Genealogy Quiz 0707

Here is genealogy question for you. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

In which year did the US census first list by name African Americans who had been slaves?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Answer to Genealogy Quiz 0704

Here is the answer to yesterday's quiz: "It is the form used to request a copy of the original Social Security application form (SS-5) from the Social Security Administration.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Genealogy Quiz 0704

Here is a genealogy question for you. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

What is the SSA-771 form used for?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Answer to Genealogy Quiz 0701

Here is the answer to yesterday's quiz: "The application form for a Social Security number." This can provide some great information on your ancestor if he/she filled one out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Genealogy Quiz 0701

Here is a genealogy question for you. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

What is the SS-5 form used for?