Fab Finds in Genealogy for the Week of 5 February 2012

Family Tree

This week I had the pleasure of a visit from friends I hadn’t seen in five years. The last time we saw each other I was on their home turf in Scandinavia. This time they visited us here in the U.S.  I am always overwhelmed by how quickly we catch up, as if time hadn’t passed. I put my life on hold for a few days to get the most out of our visit, since I’m sure it will be another few years before we again have the opportunity.

It’s been a busy week in the genealogy world, especially with all of the announcements at RootsTech. Here are this week’s Fab Finds:


I know many of you had your lives on hold this week to attend Rootstech. The livestream is still available at the RootsTech website, with a note that “individual videos are coming soon.” Cool.  RootsTech 2013 was announced for March 21-23, Salt Lake City. I am already trying to work things out so I can attend next year. Will you be there?

FamilySearch released the free indexing app now available at the Apple store for iPhone and iPad. I read this first on about.com, reported by Kimberly Powell.

Family Tree University Virtual Conference registration is open. The conference runs from March 9-11, 2012. I attended the conference last year and it was worth every penny.

A U.K. based genealogy company, Brightsolid, launched censusrecords.com, allowing researchers to search all available U.S. census records.  The website is currently a beta version.  You can search for your ancestor for free, but to go any further you need a subscription which runs from $7.95 for a “pay as you go credits” service to $34.95 for a 12 month subscription. Out of curiosity I searched for an ancestor whose name was transcribed incorrectly on Ancestry.com, but censusrecords.com has him listed with the correct name. It might be worth running the search even if you have Ancestry.com access.

The Ancestry Insider blog does a nice job of describing changes to the FamilySearch.org search interface.

Mocavo Unveils New Products and Genealogy Content at RootsTech,” including “free storage and sharing of records, iPhone and Android apps, and Discovery Stream.” ~Press release at marketwatch.com.


Megan Smolenyak released the third in her series about the First Lady’s ancestry: “Michelle Obama’s Ancestors: The Great Mixing.” The first two segments can be found here: “Michelle Obama’s Ancestors: Chicago Beginnings,” and here: “Michelle Obama’s Ancestors: The Great Migration.”

“GeneTree.com Unveils New Family Consultation Service in Interpreting Genealogical DNA Data” along with a new Y-19 DNA test. ~Enhanced Online News

Here’s an interesting article: “German computer system piecing together shredded secret police documents.” Yes, it’s exactly as it sounds. There is a computer system that can scan shredded documents and then piece them together. The effort is aimed at piecing together thousands of former Stasi secret police files.

An article by Brenna Carreon in the Deseret News quotes FamilySearch’s former CEO Jay Verkler as predicting nearly 7 billion people will participate in family history by the year 2060, during the RootsTech Conference this year. This has interesting implications for those considering a career in genealogy. Maybe it’s time to start that genealogy blog you’ve been thinking about.

In honor of Black History Month, Fold3 has opened their Black History Collection, containing over a million photos and documents. You will need to sign up for a free Fold3 account to view a record.

Dick Eastman writes about the SSDI Call to Action for Genealogists.

Family historians with Pennsylvania ancestors will soon have access to death certificates after 50 years and birth certificates after 105 years as public records. Reported by James Beidler, ldnews.com.

Tracey Caldwell of guardiannews.com writes about London maps dated from 1936 to 1952 that are being digitized and entered into a GIS system. Some of the  maps are available on the web, yet the article is not clear on whether the remainder will be made available online or if they will be sold commercially.

Brightsolid announced their recruitment of D. Joshua Taylor to their U.S. offices.


Nancy Hendrickson of ancestornews.com released a book “Discover Your Family History Online” which is now available for pre-order at Amazon (no affiliation).

Megan Smolenyak announced her new book “Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing” which contains her “favorite investigatory romps from the past decade.”


Ancestry.com LIVE released a new video on YouTube “Did They Really Come Through New York?” with details on how to search the Ancestry.com passenger list collection.

Of course if you live in the U.S. you probably already know the season three of “Who Do You Think You Are?” kicked off with Martin Sheen this past Friday. Full episodes are available at the nbc.com website.

In this video, Lisa Kudrow appears on NBC Today Show with Matt Lauer to speak about the third season of “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Weekly Geneablogger Finds:

In case you don’t already follow these, here are a few blogs capturing regular summaries of their own finds:

Check out Deb Ruth’s “Follow Friday Gems

Monday Morning Mentions” by the Armchair Genealogist

Not to be missed: Randy Seaver does a great job of rounding up the “Best of the Geneablogs” each week in his Genea-Musings blog.

There are 14 newly discovered genealogy and family history blogs this week, by geneabloggers.com.

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