Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salt Lake Family History Expo

I have to tell you that I love a Genealogy conference and the Family History Expo is one of my favorites. If you are planning to attend, let me know! The following is the official press release.

July 23, 2009
‘Not Your Grandma’s Genealogy’
Salt Lake Family History Expo Teaches ‘Tech to Trace Your Roots’

This is not your grandma’s genealogy. Family History Founder and President Holly T. Hansen says new techniques and technology have turned family history research into a happening industry that attracts fans from nearly every walk of life.

“You just can’t believe what’s happening out there,” Hansen said. “New developments, especially those associated with the Internet, are connecting people all over the world and bringing families together faster than we would have ever imagined.”

Family historians (and those even mildly interested in researching their roots) can learn all about the latest techniques and technology at the Salt Lake City, Utah Family History Expo, Aug. 28 and 29.

The Salt Lake City, Utah Family History Expo will be held at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 South State Street, Sandy, Utah 84070. Free parking is available at the event venue. The expo will take place Aug. 28 and 29, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. At the door registration begins at 7 a.m. on Friday and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The exhibit hall is open to the public, as is the event’s keynote address. Don R. Anderson, senior vice president of services for FamilySearch will speak.

Paid registrants can sign up for two days chalk-full of classes on research techniques and new technology. FamilySearch is in the process of releasing an updated version. Classes offered will include instruction on using the newest version. Register for classes online at

Other classes offered will include (but are not limited to) “Facebook for Family History,” “Google, a Gold Mine of Genealogy Gems,” “The Chicken Walked Here: Principles & Procedures for Learning to Read Germanic & Scandinavian Gothic Script,” and more.

The expo will also feature Family History’s newest addition to the events it holds throughout the Western United States called the Twitter CafĂ© and Blogger Bistro. Here participants can learn fun and exciting ways to get connected and stay connected with family members and friends. Hansen said social Internet networking is becoming more and more popular among researchers.

Register online today at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Religious Periodicals

Many religious denomination put out periodicals that share stories involving doctrine, church happenings and even various reports from members. Information about members may include photos, vital record information including obituaries, activities they participated in and even their thoughts related to religious doctrine.

These periodicals may not be indexed, in that case you will need to search them through the years that your ancestor was a member of that religious denomination.

Where do you find religious periodicals?

The Christan Periodical Index began in 1957 and is a subscription based databases, indexing 130 titles. Consult their website for a list of these titles at Many of their periodicals are Christian in nature but also have to do with another topic like science or teaching. Even so there are some denominational journals that may be of use in your search. To search the index, you will need to find a library near you who subscribes to it.

One source is Religious Periodicals of the United States edited by Charles H. Lippy. According to one of the reviews of this book,

The latest in Greenwood's `Historical Guides to the World's Periodicals and Newspapers,' this work is a pleasure to read, especially for those interested in American religions or periodicals. In profiles of 1,000 to 2,000 words, it describes the histories and points of view for more than 100 American religious periodicals, mostly current; then, for each it lists indexing sources, reprints available, major locations, and a detailed publication history. The profiles were written by about 50 contributors, including some outstanding scholars of American religions. Two appendixes list the periodicals' founding dates, with a parallel column noting selected events in American religious history, and the titles profiled by sponsor or religious orientation.... One might quibble with details ... but that would be ungrateful when the content is so authoritative and so readable, and the bibliographical apparatus so abundant. Recommended for any library supporting work in American religious history or the history of periodicals. --Choice

(found at
This book retails for $110.95 so you may want to find a library with a copy of it to consult.

Other places to find religious periodicals include any archive where that denomination has donated items. Some religions have their own archives and some even have universities that they support. These university library/archives may contain the religion's historical items. Some periodicals may be digitized through a service like Internet Archive or Google Books. You may also want to look to see if a compilation of older periodicals has been published.

Online sources for lists of current religious periodicals can be found at the Online Christian Library, Another way to find a denominations periodicals is to Google the word periodical with the name of the denomination.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

GenealogyWise Announcment

GenealogyWise is a new social network site for genealogists. It's a little like Facebook in concept but this is a place that you meet other genealogists, find those that are researching your surnames and join all kinds of genealogy groups.

The following is the announcement sent out by FamilyLink this morning. FamilyLink is the company behind WorldVitalRecords. Just so you know, I am the newsletter editor for WorldVitalRecords.

Please join me on GenealogyWise. We have a group for the newsletter, World Vital Records Newsletter. You can also read what's new with the newsletter on Twitter at WVRnewsletter and on Facebook, World Vital Records Newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, go to and click on 'newsletter'., Inc. Launches Genealogy Social Network Website GenealogyWise
Open community-based website represents a new option for family history exploration and unique way to discover and connect with family members around the world

Provo, UT, July 14, 2009 --, Inc. today introduced, a new web property that combines community interaction with tools and resources for people who are interested in researching and sharing their family history with others. joins other web properties operated by, Inc. in an effort to connect families with each other and with their histories.

GenealogyWise is an open network that allows anyone to join and create social groups within the genealogy-focused community. The innovative and easy-to-use platform opens the doors of social networking to millions around the world who are interested in sharing their passion for family history and in meeting new people that share that passion.

“FamilyLink is focused on bringing families closer together and in connecting families around the world. GenealogyWise is a natural extension of our social networking efforts,” said Paul Allen, CEO at, Inc. “We are thrilled to see the enormous interest in GenealogyWise. More than 3,000 users joined and contributed more than 10,000 items to the site within the first four days. The site is being created and driven by the users, truly leveraging the power behind social networks. We believe this type of service - connecting family and family history researchers with others who are interested in and share that same passion - is what makes the site so powerful.”

GenealogyWise community members have contributed thousands of photos and hundreds of videos to the site. They have also created more than 2,000 social groups, some of which already have more than 200 members.

The service allows users to join surname groups, explore ancestral records, share photos, video, and family trees. Users can create a profile to tell others about their research interests, to receive and respond to emails from other users without publishing an email address, to create online family trees and personal research pages, and to collaborate with other users. The service is completely free.
"Social networking platforms provide the perfect technology for sharing genealogy information and connecting with an unlimited number of people from all corners of the globe," said Allen. "FamilyLink will continue to innovate and provide social experiences on existing platforms and new and emerging platforms as the company extends its reach and expands its efforts to connect families through social networking."

About, Inc.
The leader in social networking for families, FamilyLink has developed a suite of web properties, applications and tools to connect families with each other and their heritage. The FamilyLink network of web properties includes,,, and FamilyLink is also the developer of the fourth most popular networking application on Facebook, We’re Related, which has a user base of 50 million. The We’re Related application helps individuals stay in touch with their families by connecting them to their possible relatives, and also by sharing photos, news events, links, favorites lists, and more., Inc. also operates the AdMazing ad network that helps high traffic social applications and sites related to family history and heritage monetize their audiences.

Jim Ericson VP Marketing
801-592-2520 Twitter: @jkericson

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Learning more about Researching Church Records

The Source is the one of the "bibles" of genealogical research. Chapter 6 of The Source is a primer on researching church records. This is a good way to learn more about researching your ancestor's church records or as a way to get ideas that will help your research.

Don't own The Source? That's ok, you can read this chapter on Google Books, where it is digitized. It can be found at,

Friday, July 10, 2009

World War II APO's

While researching a relative's World War II career my dad and I came across this booklet. Numerical Listings of APO's,, provides a listing of APO's(Army Post Offices) during World War II and their geographical locations.

We were able to use this booklet and the Final Pay Voucher that we had to ascertain where and with whom this family member had served.

This is one of those great hidden sources that can be so helpful to your research.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Shaker Museum and Library

The Shaker Museum and Library, Emma B. King Library, holds many manuscripts, photographs and ephemera that may help in better understanding your Shaker ancestor. This website,, includes a description of their holdings as well as a bibliography.

Their holdings include 40 linear feet of personal diaries, account books, legal documents, essays, deeds, indentures, and more dating from 1790-1947. In addition, they have 3000 images, 1000 pieces of ephemera, and 224 microfilm rolls.

The bibliography includes books that they have indicated are inaccurate in their portrayal of the Shakers. The books in the bibliography can be purchased at the Museum gift shop.

There is a fee to research in the library and materials are not available for interlibrary loan. You can call, email, fax or mail the library and ask research questions.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Taking on your Brickwalls

We all have them. I have them, you have them. For some, they are minor annoyances and for others it might become so frustrating that they quit genealogy altogether. Everyone has ideas about tackling brick walls, the following are some that might just help you break down a few of your own.

I will caution you that you will have some family lines that you will get stuck on and may be stuck on for long periods of time…maybe even years. This can happen because resources aren’t available to you or maybe the records you need can only be found through a research trip to your ancestor’s hometown. Don’t get discouraged, just put that research away and tackle a different family line. Go back to that brick wall research at a later date and see if by accessing new databases or ordering a different microfilm, you are able to find out even more information.

Field Trip

Although I believe that you should always start your research at home, via the internet, family history center, and other local sources, you really may get to the point where a field trip to your ancestor’s hometown is in order. Now, I realize that this is not always possible. Raising children, health issues, finances and a less than enthusiastic spouse can make such trips difficult. But if you can and you have exhausted most of your resources, a field trip might be in order.

From my own experience traveling to Texas from California to conduct research, the one thing that was obvious to me was that, some of the sources I found I would have only found on location. These source had not been microfilmed and there were no indexes for them.

If you absolutely can’t travel anytime in the near future than consider hiring an onsite genealogist for a certain number of hours, contact a local genealogy society or consult an online help source like Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.

Read, Read, Read

I think that genealogists love books, I know I do. Because genealogy sources are always evolving and being discovered it’s important to keep up to date. I read several popular genealogy magazines plus genealogical/historical journals each month. Then I try to read books that will increase my understanding of research, sources, and history.

There’s one book that I would recommend that can help you break down brick walls. The Family Tree Problem Solver by Marsha Hoffman Rising (ISBN# 9781558706859) is an excellent book that provides ideas for solving problems frequently encountered in genealogy including what to do about missing records and researching a person with a common surname. This book isn’t a beginner’s book but a great book for those who have some genealogical research experience and have run out of ideas.

Know Your Sources

It can be frustrating to find out that the birth certificate you need burned down in the great fire of 1906 or that the 1890 U. S. census would really answer your question, too bad it’s pretty much destroyed. But it can help when you are more familiar with all the different types of sources that can answer a particular question you have. During a recent presentation I was reminding participants that when researching a death, newspapers are an excellent source. But there is more to finding the death of your ancestor then looking for an obituary. Remember deaths can be recorded in the newspaper through a death notice, funeral notice, probate notice, sale notice, memorial or an article in the case of a mysterious death or one caused by a murder or accident. And for those that were caused by a crime, articles about the death and the subsequent trial may go one for months or even years.

William Dollarhide’s book Census Substitutes and State Census Records (Vol 1 and 2) is a resource to help you learn about additional “name lists” to check when the census or other sources aren’t working for you. Dollarhide’s talk on this subject is excellent and his series that was previously published in the Genealogy Bulletin.

Fresh Eyes

I think once in a while it is a great idea to have someone else look at your genealogy. Ask someone else to look at your research, whether you ask a fellow genealogist, a professional or even a family member not interested in the dead. Letting someone else read what you have done already can help you get some fresh perspective. Sometimes when you are too close to your work you can make mistakes or overlook something.

So you don’t have a genealogy friend that can help you? Your local genealogy society is a wonderful place to seek help, get ideas and gain new skills.


I always suggest to researchers that a timeline can help put your research into perspective. I suggest making a table (you can do this in your word processing program on your computer). This table should have about 3-4 columns and as many rows as you need. In the first column, write the event date. The second column should have the event name and then the third column write in what sources you have to document that event. You can also use additional columns to document your source citations. Once you have this, look at your ancestor’s timeline and add historical dates. For example if your ancestor lived in the 19th century, you may want to write in 1861-1865 for the Civil War. Historical events can help you think about other sources that might exist for this ancestor.

Whatever happens with your research, remember genealogy is a process it is not a short term project. Learning about your family is a life long pursuit that at times feels like it will take a few lifetimes but in the end, whatever you find on your family is worth it.