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This Week’s Survey

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last week we asked about genealogists' requests on your holiday wish lists. Perhaps surprisingly, 60% of respondents had no genealogy-related items on their list. The top genealogy-related item on peoples’ wish lists was books, with 21% requesting them. Full results are:

 

60%, No genealogy-related items

21%, Genealogical books

10%, Subscription to genealogical website

9%, Other genealogical present

8%, Membership to a genealogical society

6%, Other genealogical trip

5%, Genealogical education program or conference

2%, Genealogical research assistance from a professional

 

This week’s survey asks about your genealogical New Year’s resolutions. Take the survey now!<<link Take the survey now! to http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e38pna76gi9bkx6m/start>>


Five Biggest Genealogical Events of 2010

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

It is difficult to believe that another New Year’s Eve is upon us. The older I get, the faster time seems to travel. And the more I feel time pressure to finish projects started but not yet completed. It is amazing how the field of family history has changed over the past decade. As I look back over the last year, it seems as if there was a new product announcement, website launch, or software/book release every time I turned around. In reviewing news items since last January, I have picked five things that I believe have affected the field more than anything else. Please note that these items are my opinion only, and in the interest of fairness I have excluded any contributions made by NEHGS (which have been extensive over the year).

 

5. Association of Professional Genealogists Surpasses 2,000 Members
While this may seem trivial to the average genealogist, I believe that this represents a significant benchmark for our field. The increasing numbers of individuals who are becoming serious genealogists signifies a growing professionalism for the field. It also shows an increasing market for the skills of professional genealogists and allied professions. While few professionals are able to make a substantial living off of full-time genealogy, the field is clearly moving more and more closely to that point. It also helps to bring respect from other historical fields which have, in the past, viewed the study of family history as the abode of amateurs only.

 

4. Ancestry.com Acquisitions
Ancestry.com made two interesting acquisitions this year. In August the company acquired the professional genealogy firm ProGenealogists, Inc. This allows the firm to move into the research and analysis end of the business. It also, of course, allows Ancestry to be even more active in their sponsorship of the Who Do You Think You Are? television series on NBC.

 

Just weeks later it was announced that Ancestry.com would acquire the parent company of Footnote.com. Another in a line of acquisitions of competing websites, this purchase provided access to a great deal of additional data, including the Revolutionary War pension files database. On the downside for the public, it decreases the genealogical market by removing another competitor.

 

3. Record Conference Attendance
The National Genealogical Society saw record numbers attend their annual conference this year. More than 2,000 genealogists gathered in Salt Lake City this May to improve their skills in family history. This is not solely due to the tremendous support of FamilySearch. Other conferences, such as the Southern California Jamboree (which saw almost 2,000 attendees if you include exhibitors and speakers), saw tremendous increases in attendance. Demand for education is clearly increasing. As people new to the field start researching and locating vast amounts of material, they are understanding the need for educating themselves on how to judge this material and how to interpret it.

 

2. Apple Launches the iPad
Since launching last January, Apple has sold almost 14 million iPads. With new versions predicted to arrive in April, as well as iPad imitators expected to be launched next year, the iPad is changing the way we interact with computers and software. While bulky programs have normally been the standard, new applications (Apps) are smaller, sleeker, less expensive, and still provide plenty of bang for the buck. The portability is unequaled, and with 3G models allowing access without a wifi connection, genealogists can conduct research virtually anywhere.

 

The iPad is only the latest installment of computer products digging away at the virtual monopoly that Microsoft has had on computers for decades. Apple computers are a steadily increasing segment of the market. Numerous genealogy-related apps are available for iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and the number is constantly growing. Even Ancestry.com has finally recognized this market and reinstated development of the Macintosh version Family Tree Maker that was discontinued years ago.

 

1. The New FamilySearch.org
More than any other event, product, or service in the genealogical community, FamilySearch is changing the way we research family history. With a pilot site, then a beta site, and the recent launch of the new FamilySearch interface, the access to images of original records is unprecedented. In addition to images of records, new indexes are launched quite frequently, providing easier access to information that may still be available only on microfilm or in original paper form.

 

The commitment of FamilySearch to improving research for genealogists is incredible. From top-level mangement down to programmers, I have rarely seen such a team committed to success. Even more appreciated is the commitment to listening to feedback and improving processes. This team is extremely committed to providing a high-quality experience for users, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been solicited for feedback by any group as much as this one.


Even more significant is the price. FamilySearch provides access to all of this material free of charge. Anyone and everyone is allowed to use the materials on FamilySearch.org without a subscription fee. One way many people give back is volunteering to assist in indexing projects. The more volunteers working on projects, the more quickly material will appear on the website. It will be tremendously interesting to see how this changes the business model of other non-profits or for-profit organizations in the coming years. Kudos to everyone at FamilySearch. We are truly grateful for everything that you do.


Holiday Traditions

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

It is official: winter is now upon us. Here in Boston we just had the first snow of the season. As winter starts, people of many different faith traditions gather to celebrate various holidays. Starting in early December and lasting into January, these holidays are surrounded with light, which becomes quite scarce at this time of year.

 

The Society’s Newbury Street home has been decorated for the holidays. Our friends at the American Jewish Historical Society who share our space have included menorahs, dreidels, and Hanukkah gelt to add to the festive atmosphere.

 

The Museum of Science and Industry has an interesting website that explores different traditions from around the world, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and even Chinese New Year. Christmas traditions from a variety of different countries are presented in great detail. You can read more on their website.

 

As you gather with family and friends to celebrate your holiday traditions, remember to work on your genealogy at the same time. Talk to family members and ask about ancestors now gone. Discuss the holidays as they were celebrated in earlier generations. And take lots and lots of pictures (which you will, of course, quickly label with the full names of everyone appearing in the image).

 

No matter your faith tradition, I wish you a wonderful holiday season.


Last Week's Survey

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last week’s survey asked about longevity in your family. The responses revealed some interesting results. 69% had a mother who lived longer than her father, but only 57% had a father who lived longer than his father. 59% had a mother lived longer than their mother while 48% of fathers lived longer than their father. These results mirror information that women tend to live longer than men. The full results are as follows:

 

69%, My mother lived to a greater age than her father
59%, My mother lived to a greater age than her mother
57%, My father lived to a greater age than his father
48%, My father lived to a greater age than his mother
45%, My paternal grandmother lived to a greater age than my father
37%, My paternal grandfather lived to a greater age than my father
33%, My maternal grandmother lived to a greater age than my mother
24%, My maternal grandfather lived to a greater age than my mother

 

This week’s survey is a brief one, asking about your holiday requests. Take the survey now!


Connecticut Removed from New England

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Discover New England, the official tourism group for the New England states, has removed all mentions of Connecticut from its website. This includes literally removing the state from the New England map. The move comes in response to Connecticut eliminating tourism marketing from its budget, including the $100,000 fee paid by each state to Discover New England. You can read more in today's Boston Globe.

Name Origins: Effie(2)

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 EFFIE (f): Nickname for EUPHEMIA. There is also a Dutch name, Aefje, that is presumably related to Euphemia/Effie. In the nineteenth century, EFFIE was often used as a name in itself, and grew much more popular than its ‘parent’ name.

Je Me Souviens/I Remember

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

This week’s survey question is about the longevity of different generations of your family. It was inspired by my paternal grandmother. On Friday, December 17, 2010, Marie Laura (Dube) Leclerc will turn 99 years old. As far as I have found, she is the longest-lived member of her family ever, and by a wide margin. Prior to her, the eldest-living member of her family was her maternal great-grandfather, François Rodrigue, who died at the age of 87 in the summer of 1887.

 

Mémère’s mother (François’ granddaughter), Alphonsine Tondreault, died in 1928 at the age of 52. When I was starting my genealogical research, I talked to mémère about her parents. The conversation went like this:

Me: “How long did your father live after your mother died?”
Mémère: “Oh, he lived for a few years, then he passed away too.”
Me: “Do you remember how long about?”
Mémère: “I’m sorry, I don’t remember.

 

Knowing that my great-grandmother died in 1928, I started looking for the death of my great-grandfather in that year, moving forward in time. He died in 1965, thirty-seven years after his wife passed away. I then had a conversation with Mémère about the definition of “a few years.”

 

My grandfather passed away a decade ago. Her last two surviving siblings both died in 1981 — three decades ago. She has outlived all of her siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers- and sisters-in-law, and even three sons-in-law. I think often about how difficult these past ten years must have been for her, as there was no one left with whom she could share memories of the first decades of her life: growing up, getting married, the births of her eldest children.

 

I’m glad that I asked her many questions while she was still able to remember and answer them. Unfortunately, it is now too late to ask her any more, as her memories are mostly gone. But this weekend my family will gather to celebrate her long life. She has six children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, thirteen grandchildren, nine grandsons- and granddaughters-in-law, eighteen great-grandchildren, three great-grandsons- and granddaughters-in-law, and five great-great-grandchildren. All told, we are fifty-eight descendants and our spouses spread around the globe. I wonder what ages we will reach.

 

This holiday season especially, take the time to talk to your elderly relatives and get as many stories as you can from them. Enjoy their company, and their stories. One day they will all be just memories for you to pass on to your descendants.

 

Joyeux anniversaire, Mémère. Je me souviens, et passera sur vos histoires.

Happy Birthday, Mémère. I remember, and will pass on your stories.


Lewis and Clark County Genealogical Society, Montana

(Spotlight) Permanent link
 
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

The city of Helena is located in southern Lewis and Clark County, Montana, in the central-western part of the state. The Lewis & Clark County Genealogical Society has made a number of resources available on its website. Click on the Online Databases Searches link to access them.

 

Cemetery Records
There are five alphabetical cemetery indexes on the website.

 

Forestvale Cemetery
The database indexes 14,746 burials for the period 1890 – July 1, 2009. The data fields in this database include name (last, first, middle), birth place, last residence, death date, cause of death, age, undertaker, lot owner, lot number, block, remarks.

 

Resurrection Cemetery
The database indexes 5,578 burials for the period for the period 1907–1993. The data fields in this database include surname, given name, and burial date.

 

Sunset Memorial Cemetery
The database indexes 5,578 burials for the period for the period 1985–2003. The data fields in this database include surname, given name and burial date.

 

Montana State Veterans Cemetery Fort Harrison
The data fields for this alphabetical database include name, section/row/plot and comments.

 

Lewis & Clark County Rural Cemeteries
The data fields for this alphabetical index include surname, given name, death date, and cemetery abbreviation. A link to a list of cemetery abbreviations is also provided.

 

County Records
This section includes indexes to births, deaths, divorces, naturalization records and probate records.

 

Death Index
This database covers the period from about 1880 through 1950. The data fields include surname, given name, death date, and book and page number.

 

Birth Index
This database covers the period from about 1860 through 1950. The data fields include surname, given name, sex, birth date, book number, page number, and comments.

 

Divorce Index
The divorce index covers the period from about 1866 through 1944. The data fields include surname, his given name, her given name, and date.

 

Naturalization Records
The naturalization records index covers the period from 1864 through 1941. The data fields include surname, given name, book, page number, date, record number, and comments.

 

Probate Index
The database indexes 12,479 records for the period from 1865–1979. The data fields include surname, first name, book number, page number, estate number, year, and comments.

 

Obituary Index
This alphabetical database is an index to obituaries appearing in the Independent Record for the period from January 1984 through December 2009. The data fields include surname, given name, obituary date, and page and column numbers.

 

Lewis and Clark County Census Indexes
Indexes to the following Lewis and Clark County federal censuses have been included on the website: 1870 (including mortality schedules), 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920.

There are two additional resource links on the homepage. The first is the State Death Index, which is on the website of the Montana State Genealogical Society. The records in this database cover a period from before 1900 through 2002. The data fields in the alphabetical databases vary from period to period. They include some or all of the following: last name, first name, middle, sex, age, death date, county, year, index number, and comments/notes. The second is an index to the 1930 federal census of Montana. In 1930 there were 56 counties. The data fields include line number, surname, first name, county, enumeration district number, City/Township-MT, page number, sheet number, and comments.


Mcgraw and Richie to Uncover Family History on Who Do You Think You Are?

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

NBC has announced that Tim Mcgraw and Lionel Richie are among those who will appear on the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? Read the full list of stars who slated for next year.

Name Origins: Effie

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

EFFIE (f): Nickname for EUPHEMIA. In the nineteenth century, EFFIE was often used as a name in itself, and grew much more popular than its ‘parent’ name.

Civil War Collections Preserve History

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is working with the Tennessee State Museum on a project funded by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission to collect images of Civil War-era items from all of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The images will be preserved in the archives and some will be part of an online exhibition. Read the full story in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

This Week's Survey

(Surveys) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Last week’s survey asked about royal ancestry in the family. The largest group of respondents, 46.2%, has no known royal lineages. 28% of respondents have read undocumented materials claiming to have royal lineages in their ancestry, but have not yet documented them. Only 25% of respondents have documented royal lineages.

 

This week's survey asks where your ancestors lived. Take the survey now!


Family History Unveiled, Traced Back to Jamestown

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

 Walter Anthony was the first black student to walk across the stage at Sheepshead Bay High School’s 1961 inaugural graduation in Brooklyn, N.Y. He remembers walking to school, running track, and going home. He said that he received a good education but had “no social life,” evidence of the cultural isolation that was part of his experience.

 

It was, in part, the essence of that cultural isolation that brouoght Anthony to Jamestown this summer. He was in search of his family history.

 

Read the full story in the Jamestown Press.


Research Recommendations: Remembering Our WWII Armed Forces

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Yesterday marked the 69th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II. My paternal grandfather suffered an accident and lost part of a finger prior to the war, and was unable to serve. Only one of his cousins, Albert Leclerc, was the right age for service. He was drafted into the military at the age of 19. He was deathly afraid of water, so, of course, he was drafted into the Navy. He was a Machinist’s Mate, Second Class, on his first mission, when his ship hit a mine and sank. He was trapped in the ship and drowned. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He is memorialized, along with others whose remains were never recovered, at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.

 

Many databases are now available online to help in researching your family members who served in the war. The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the 16 million men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces, and more than 400,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) originally worked to create the memorial, which was transferred to the National Parks Service in 2004.

 

You can find out more information about the memorial at www.WWIIMemorial.com. The WWI Register of Remembrances is a combination of four databases:

  • Americans buried in ABMC overseas military cemeteries;
  • Those memorialized on ABMC Tablets of the Missing;
  • Listed on Official War and Navy Department Killed in Service rosters at NARA;
  • And those honored by public enrollment in the registry.

 

You can enter the names of family members into the registry for free. Information on registration is available in the Registry section. You can find links to more WWII databases at CyndisList.


Local Genealogy Search Fees Set to Rise

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

The Guardian is reporting that the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), pending parliamentary approval, will soon be drastically increasing ther prices. This will impact the ScotlandsPeople website, which will see their rates rise also.

Name Origins: Benjanetta

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 BENJANETTA (f): Strange nineteenth-century coinage, apparently an attempt at a feminine equivalent to BENJAMIN.

Genealogical Writing: Proofreading Tip

(Research Recommendations) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

Nobody is perfect when writing. Even the most experienced writers and editors make mistakes. It is an axiom of publishing that you cannot proofread and edit yourself. That is why there are so many typographical, grammatical, and other mistakes on blogs and private websites. Most people don’t take the time to proofread or edit themselves. The best way to overcome this is to have an experienced editor/proofreader read your words prior to publishing them.

 

Failing that, there is an abundance of free or inexpensive software available that will read your documents aloud to you. Have your computer read your word processing document, and listen to what it is saying (the second part might be easier said than done). It is critical to listen to every word the computer says, as missing even a syllable means you might let a typographical or grammatical error remain in your writing. See how many problems you correct with software before you publish.


In Spirit, A Father Rejoins the Thanksgiving Table

(Stories of Interest) Permanent link
 
Michael J. Leclerc

Michael J. Leclerc
Director of Special Projects

The Star Tribune reports on Steve Taylor, who was in junior high when his father’s Air Force plane went down in England. His mother took her four young children back to California and rarely spoke of him again. All those years, Steve, has wondered about his father. After more than 50 years, an English village helps him to fill in the blanks about his dad, an “officer and a gentleman.”

Name Origins: Tenty

(Name Origins) Permanent link
 
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

 TENTY (f): A nickname for Puritan ‘virtue name’ CONTENT. Tentey Tiffany, b. Attleborough, Mass. 28 April 1795, daughter of Joseph and Charlotte (Capron) Tiffany, married there 1 December 1814 John Adams Read of that place. She was named for paternal aunt Tenty Tiffany (10 February 1770–10 October 1789), daughter of Ebenezer and Molly (Carpenter) Tiffany of Attleborough (Attleborough VRs, pp. 264, 579, 729).

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