17    Aug 20100 comments

Korea: Digital database announced

Each day brings more news of genealogy databases in new places.

Preserving the records of a people helps researchers around the world.

The Korea Times reported on a three-year project to create a digital database of genealogical records organized by the Paik Inje Memorial Library at Inje University. Continue reading "Korea: Digital database announced" »

16    Aug 20102 comments

A look back at this summer

Geneabloggers collect Jamboree ribbons!

Now that I'm back to my normal routine, I'm trying to review the great experiences from this summer.

Great times included four conferences in California, Washington State and Texas; visiting dear friends and family members; and meeting several relatives for the first time as we shared family history.

At all the conferences, I helped explain what we do at MyHeritage.com and how our tools and features make it easy for families to connect and communicate no matter where they live.

My suitcase now includes several new T-shirts from this year's events and some for 2011 events.

Here are some highlights:

Jamboree 2010

Some 50 geneabloggers attended the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree this year.

Some spoke on various topics, some participated in blogging panels, others just enjoyed the conference and meeting their readers. Continue reading "A look back at this summer" »

29    Jul 20102 comments

Heritage certificates: The way to go?

In a move that could be a real moneymaker - and thus an incentive to provide genealogical services - for many additional countries, Ireland will begin providing Irish Heritage certificates by the end of 2010.

There are some 70 million individuals worldwide with Irish heritage, and this seems like a great way to show it. The certificate may also provide travel and tourist discounts when the certificate-holders visit Ireland.

Continue reading "Heritage certificates: The way to go?" »

13    Jul 20103 comments

MyHeritage and JewishGen grow trees together

MyHeritage.com and JewishGen.org have partnered to increase the Family Tree of the Jewish People database.

MyHeritage JewishGen

Here's the official press release:

Tel Aviv, Israel; London, UK and Los Angeles, US – July 10, 2010 – MyHeritage.com and JewishGen.org are now working together to invigorate the Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) project.

Under this collaboration, family trees built with a special version of MyHeritage.com available at http://www.myheritage.com/jewishgen, with the consent of the tree creators, will be transferred periodically to the FTJP for digital safekeeping. Privacy controls, using the MyHeritage.com tools, can be set according to the wishes of the tree creator. Data of existing MyHeritage.com users will not be transferred.

JewishGen is a non-profit organization created to help researchers interested in Jewish genealogy around the world connect to each other, research their families and ancestral geographic locations, participate in research projects and store Jewish family trees safely. The mission of JewishGen is to obtain records and information that will be valuable to those with Jewish ancestry and place them on the JewishGen website, at no cost, in an easy to understand and searchable format.

The Family Tree of the Jewish People is a project of JewishGen to bring together family historians around the world who research Jewish family branches. The project offers a central resource for Jewish family trees and helps re-connect Jewish families.

MyHeritage.com is a genealogical social networking site with more than 50 million members and 590 million profiles worldwide. It currently holds some 15 million family trees. It operates in 36 languages including English and Hebrew, making it ideal for Jewish families around the world to connect, as it offers easy and fun tools to enable sharing of information, photos, documents and videos among far-flung relatives, with complete and secure privacy controls that can be set by tree creators.

“JewishGen is committed to ensuring Jewish continuity for present generations and generations yet to come,” says JewishGen managing director Warren Blatt. “Our free, easy-to-use website features thousands of databases, research tools and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members. The vision of JewishGen is to connect Jews throughout the world with their relatives and provide them with the ability to learn about their family history and heritage.”

“MyHeritage.com – a site used all over the world and by all religions – is among the most popular genealogy websites in the Jewish world, making it a natural partner for JewishGen”, said Blatt. “The benefit of this partnership is to offer the free website tools from MyHeritage.com to create and research family trees, with the option to share those trees with the thousands of JewishGen users via the FTJP. Under the new partnership, the FTJP will be invigorated and constantly updated, resulting in an accurate, up-to-date and constantly growing Jewish family tree database for JewishGen.”

“We are excited to join forces with JewishGen,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage.com, himself an avid genealogist and a member of JewishGen since August 2000. “We see it as a privilege to cooperate with JewishGen and help it preserve family trees of people who wish to discover, and be discovered by, fellow researchers and relatives," Japhet added. "Our Smart Matching technology will provide genealogists the added benefit of discovering additional relatives through the large databases on MyHeritage.com. This will fulfill the mutual objective of MyHeritage.com and JewishGen to reunite families whose ties have been lost through time and fate."

About MyHeritage.com:

MyHeritage.com was founded by a team of people who combine their passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. Since launching in November 2005 MyHeritage.com has become the world’s leading international online network for families and the second largest family history website. The fastest growth rates in the industry combined with the acquisitions of Pearl Street Software (2007), Kindo.com (2008) and OSN (2009) have made MyHeritage.com the home for 50 million family members and 590 million profiles. The company has offices in London, UK; Hamburg, Germany; Boulder, Colorado, USA and Tel Aviv, Israel. MyHeritage.com has received funding by Accel Partners and Index Ventures. For more information, visit http://www.myheritage.com/jewishgen

About JewishGen:

JewishGen, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, was founded in 1987 as a bulletin board with only 150 users who were interested in Jewish genealogy. Primarily driven by volunteers, there are over 700 active volunteers throughout the world who actively contribute to its ever growing collection of databases, resources and search tools. Currently, JewishGen hosts more than 14 million records, and provides a myriad of resources and search tools designed to assist those researching their Jewish ancestry. JewishGen provides its resources online as a public service.

30    Jun 20100 comments

Genealogists gone wild!

Genealogists are not normally a wild bunch. 

Our "happy dances" tend to accompany the discovery of new records for elusive ancestors.

Our "wild and crazy" moments happen as we help others find answers to their family history questions or help them locate hard-to-find records. We enjoy discovering the clues and pointers  in both unusual and ordinary places.

This week produced two interesting developments.

I'm in northern California - Silicon Valley - at the home of friends, as I rest from one conference and rest up for three more in quick succession with only a day between each, beginning this coming weekend.

So, along with continuing prep work for my presentations - and blogging - it's nice to get in some fun. Fun, to those of us who pursue our roots, can mean many things.

My friend Rosanne is a semi-retired reference librarian - and an accomplished genealogist. I went with her to her library one day last week. As we parked, I noticed this great license plate on the adjacent car. We agreed that the vehicle MUST belong to a genealogist.

A genealogist's license plate?

Who else but a genealogist would have the abbreviations (BMD) - for birth, marriage and death records - on their license? Continue reading "Genealogists gone wild!" »

13    May 20100 comments

Do you have the time?

MyHeritage has the time - a TimeLine and a TimeBook.

Not sure what these are? Read on for quick descriptions and video links to provide more information. I'm focusing on TimeLine in this post.

Timeline is an interactive feature demonstrating the relationship of history's main events to your family's important dates.

This is an important feature because each person's unique family history has always been impacted by worldwide historical events that caused very local effects.

One example might be an early 19th-century cholera epidemic, quite common at the time around the world and frequently fatal for young children and the elderly. Such epidemics may be responsible for many deaths noticed in historical vital records.

And, while regional and world wars covered a wide swath of territory, local events may have "encouraged" your ancestors to move somewhere less chaotic and more safe.

To truly understand the lives of our ancestors, we need to learn about historical events that may have effected them.

When I began my quest, I noticed that my great-grandmother's brother, Chatzkel Bank, had arrived in New York City in January 1913 and began working to bring over his wife, son and infant daughter. Continue reading "Do you have the time?" »

10    Feb 20091 comment

February is Black History Month

Click to view photo in full size

Black History Month was established in the US in 1926.

OurBlackAncestry.com offers information and has a Facebook page. It includes a very good selection of research links. Check African American Cemeteries for many state resources.

For many black families with roots in the Southern states, genealogy research can be frustrating. Although African American genealogy research can get back to the 1880s. It is difficult for most to follow a trail back to an earlier time.

Every day more resources are available online. If you cannot find what you are looking for today, check again tomorrow or next week.

Southern records do exist, although prior to Emancipation, records of birth, marriages and deaths are rare. Slave owners didn't usually keep these records. Records for free blacks also exist. Some researchers have been successful in finding useful records of sale, land, personal property and the wills of white owners.

In 1867, blacks were required to adopt last names, although some slaves adopted family names earlier. Some took the names of their owners, but there were no restrictions on what names could be adopted.

Like most ethnic groups in the US, names were not exactly permanent. Spellings would change and the names themselves might change several times before settling into a more permanent form.

After being freed, black families were usually too poor to have land or personal property, and many remained as sharecroppers on the plantations of their former owners. Thus, there are few land or estate records with which to trace them. The poorer the families, the fewer the records.

It is hard for most blacks to use a paper trail to trace their ancestry to a specific part of Africa. Slaves came from all parts of Africa, but those of different tribes were mixed together when shipped from various ports. DNA research is being conducted by Henry Louis Gates to trace African origins to a specific area. Some researchers have found that their DNA tests returned European genetic markers.

For more on DNA testing for African Americans, read the articles here

Use MyHeritage Smart Research to access indexes for many free and subscription sites - all at one click. However, you will need to have a subscription to see the document images. Be aware that many US public libraries offer free access to paid subscription services, so check your public library/

On Ancestry.com, begin at African American History, and find information on these databases:

1870 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule): The first census listing former slaves by name and age.
Colored Troops Military Service Records (1861-1865)
Freedmen’s Marriage Records (1861-1869)
Freedman's Bank Records:Nearly 180,000 names of depositors of Freedman's Savings and Trust, which served thousands of African-American former slaves (1865-1874) throughout the Southern States.
Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices (1865-1872): covering District of Columbia, Georgia, North Carolina, New Orleans, Florida, Virginia and Tennessee.
Slave Registers of Former British Colonial Dependencies (1812-1834)
Southern Claims Master Index (1871-1880)
Southern Claims Commission Allowed Claims (1871-1880)
Southern Claims Commission Disallowed and Barred Claims (1871-1880)

On Footnote.com, find

Southern Claims Commission Records: Some 20,000 compensation claim petitions for damage, crops, livestock and other assets seized by Union troops during the Civil War. Many records record the testimony of African American witnesses.

For more information, see this previous January 2008 post at the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog

3    Apr 20080 comments

Searching your roots in the Netherlands?

Put tooltip here

If you have roots in the Netherlands, you might be interested in the Dutch Genealogical Society's English website.

The NGV has some 9,500 members and is one of the largest European genealogical societies. Expert Roelof Vennik is the group's head and says that researching relatives in the Netherlands is easy.


"The Netherlands is a good country to search in, perhaps the best in Europe. We have a very good, logical archive system, which isn't spread out. Everything is in the national, provincial and city archives. What's more, it's completely free of charge in the Netherlands. A lot of data has been archived. I'd say it's an eldorado for genealogists."

He offers tips for researchers outside the country who wish to search Dutch archives and websites.

--Learn the essential key words in Dutch. For a search, know achternaam (surname), genealogie (genealogy), kwartierstaat (a list of all ancestors), stamreeks (a list showing the descent in the male line) and stamboomonderzoek (research on the family tree).

--Spelling is important. While Van Dyke is a common US name, the original Dutch name may be Van Dijk or Van Dijck.

--Learn where a person was born - ask relatives and family friends to help.

--Check private family websites by Googling your name. You might find distant relatives who already have important information. Contact them and see if you can cooperate in researching the family.

--Access Dutch archives - an increasing number are online. These include the city of Rotterdam. There are also genealogical guides for people living outside the Netherlands. The NGV has various publications.

--Contact the NGV, which may be able to answer your questions.

--You might wish to hire a researcher. Vennik says that research can cost 2000-3000 euros plus travel expenses. The Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG) in the Hague has a list of researchers.

Founded in 1946, the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging (NGV) - the Dutch Genealogical Association, the nearly 10,000 members range from beginners to experts, and is run by volunteers who try to support and facilitate research for researchers. They do not perform private research.

The NGV has 28 geographic regional branches which hold meetings and other activities for members and others. It has three divisions which operate nationally: the Computer Genealogy division, the Heraldic division and the Family Organisations division.

The Family Organization division handles one-family associations. Membership includes the NGV magazine, published 10 times each year, but only in Dutch. The group's national center is about 20 minutes from Amsterdam, and it offers service groups such as those working on local and regional levels. These groups include Contact, Research Exchange and Information and Promotion service. The Genealogical Advice service offers help when research attempts have stalled.

The NGV's address is Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging, Postbus 26, 1380 AA Weesp, the Netherlands.

A Dutch Roots blog offers help in tracing roots. In March, a five-part series was announced providing information on both online and offline resources.

Online records:
--Based on offline sources.
--Are often just indexes.
--Document scans are rarely available but this is changing.
--Online records are not exact copies, there may be errors.
--The original documents almost always contain more information than the index.
--While preparing indexes, sometimes records are overlookd.
--Not all sources are online yet, although many birth-death-marriage records are available.

Examples of resources are the birth-marriage-death records of the Civil Register, Population Register, Persoonskaarten, religious books and registers, and many other resources. For each source, you need to know why those collections were created, what years they cover, what information is covered and where they are located.

In January, the blog offered a posting covering online records. Some websites covered include Genlias, Zeeuwen gezocht, Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum, Tresoar, Drenlias, Emigrants from Drenthe, HCO, Het Utrechts Archief, Muster rolls from the Northern Maritime Museum, Noordhollandse huwelijken and the Nationaal Archief .

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