Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Charles Anthony and Agnes (LYTON) PATTON

Charles Anthony and Agnes (Lyton) Patton. Nebraska City, Otoe Co., Nebraska. c. 1894-8. Copy privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane, Washington. 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 2010 Scanfest

Friday, September 24, 2010

Follow Friday: Dutch Ancestry Magazine Blog by Kirsten Huijsen

Today's Follow Friday post features the Dutch Ancestry Magazine Blog written by Kirsten Schimmel Huijsen of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This blog is part of the Dutch Ancestry Coach website, all of which is written in excellent English. Kirsten is a Dutch cultural historian and brings her experience and love of genealogy and Dutch history to her research and writing.

My favorite themed posts are Forgotten Crafts, in which Kirsten writes about Dutch professions and crafts that have gone by the wayside, such as the milkman, the ferryman, or the water and fire seller! Each post is illustrated with a photograph or painting depicting the professional or craftsman at work, and the history behind that craft is explained, as well as why it became obsolete. These expand your cultural knowledge of the Netherlands as well as help your research should you discover that one of your ancestors was engaged in one of these occupations!

Kirsten also writes about various historical events that happened not only in the Netherlands proper, but in the territories once ruled by this tiny kingdom, such as Indonesia. Additionally, she inserts her own family history and relates it to genealogical research.

The Dutch Ancestry Coach website offers a variety of genealogical resources including a free e-newsletter, free e-books, an interactive map, discussion groups, free coaching (giving you information so you can do the research yourself), as well as a variety of paid research and translation services.

If you have Dutch ancestry, you will definitely want to read the Dutch Ancestry Magazine Blog and subscribe to it in your favorite blog reader.You can follow Kirsten on Twitter and friend her on Facebook and LinkedIn, too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Not Too Late to Register for the October 2010 Workshop!

It's not too late to register for the October workshop with Thomas MacEntee! Please send in your registration form (which you can download here - it will open with Microsoft Word) with a check to EWGS, PO Box 1826, Spokane, WA 99210-1826 as soon as possible! I would like to be able to give our caterer, Apple Spice Junction, a head count for the box lunches on Monday, September 27th.

If you choose NOT to preregister, you may register at the door at 8:30 on Saturday morning; HOWEVER, please bring your own lunch or plan to go out to grab lunch during the lunch hour, as ONLY those who PREREGISTER will be getting a box lunch from Apple Spice Junction.

Some other things to keep in mind:
  • Bring your laptop, netbook, smartphone or whichever device with which you prefer to access the Internet. This is a workshop, and you may wish to follow Thomas' step-by-step directions in reading or building a blog, accessing Google Docs, or using Facebook for genealogy!
  • If you are an EWGS member, you can come to Friday evening's presentation, "Building a Research Toolbox," for free. This will be from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the library meeting rooms on the first floor.
  • You will need to park in River Park Square or some other lot/parking garage instead of the library basement, because that lot will not be open the same hours as our workshop meetings.
I know that you will thoroughly enjoy Thomas, as he is an engaging and enthusiastic presenter and is very good at explaining technology in an easy-to-understand way. For those of you who would like to start a blog or have considered creating a genealogy website (a blog is a much-easier to create alternative to a website), you won't want to miss the two presentations on blogs. If you've ever felt intimidated by technology or thought, "How on earth would that relate to genealogy?", then this workshop is definitely for you!  I look forward to seeing you all there!

If you have any questions, please e-mail me.

Scanfest is Coming in Three Days!

The September 2010 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories next Sunday, September 26th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, September 25th at 4 PM, PDT and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done! to Acquire iArchives

Press release from announcing plans to buy iArchives, which includes

Leading Brand for American Historical Content

PROVO, Utah, September 23, 2010 – Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire iArchives, Inc. and its branded Web site,, a leading American History Web site, for approximately $27 million in a mix of stock, cash and assumption of liabilities. This acquisition will provide the company with a complementary consumer brand, expanded content offerings, and enhanced digitization and image-viewing technologies.

iArchives digitizes and delivers high-quality images of American historical records of individuals involved in the Revolutionary War, Continental Congress, Civil War, and other US historical events to subscribers interested in early American roots. iArchives has digitized more than 65 million original source documents to date through its proprietary digitization process for paper, microfilm and microfiche collections.

“ is highly complementary to’s online family history offering,” said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of “By promoting Footnote to our Ancestry audience, we hope to expand its reach among researchers who care about early American records. iArchives also brings outstanding image-viewing technology and content digitization capabilities that will improve our leadership position in bringing valuable historical records to the market. We welcome the iArchives team to the family.”

Upon completion of the transaction, iArchives will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of As part of the transaction, currently expects to issue approximately 1.0 million shares of common stock. The transaction is subject to various closing conditions and is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of 2010. also announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program of up to approximately $25 million of its common stock. Under the authorization, share repurchases may be made by the Company from time to time in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions depending on market conditions, share price and other factors and may include accelerated or forward or similar stock repurchases and/or Rule 10b5-1 plans. Part of the rationale for the repurchase is to offset dilution of equity resulting from the iArchives acquisition. No time limit was set for the completion of this program. The share repurchase program may be modified or discontinued at any time by the Board of Directors.

About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with approximately 1.3 million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 19 million family trees containing over 1.9 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at

About iArchives
iArchives is a leading digitization service provider that also operates, a subscription Web site that features searchable original documents, providing over 35,000 paying subscribers with a view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "appears," "may," "designed," "expect," "intend," "focus," "seek," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "should," "continue" or "work" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements include statements concerning among other things, the proposed transaction between and iArchives, Inc., including the consummation and anticipated timing of the transaction as well as the expected benefits of the proposed transaction, and the effects of the proposed transaction on, our subscriber base, our reach, our activities to enhance subscribers' experience, our business outlook, our leadership position and our opportunities and prospects for growth. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the risk that the transaction does not close when anticipated, or at all; difficulties encountered in integrating acquired businesses and retaining customers, and the additional difficulty of integration when continuing the acquired operation; the adverse impact of competitive product announcements; failure to achieve anticipated revenues and operating performance; changes in overall economic conditions; the loss of key employees; competitors’ actions; pricing and gross margin pressures; inability to control costs and expenses; and significant litigation.

Information concerning additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2010, and in discussions in other of our SEC filings.

These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Jennie (TON) and Martin HOEKSTRA

Jennie (Ton) and Martin Hoekstra. 1225 Cooper Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan. 1932. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane, Washington. 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Visit with Becky Wiseman

Miriam Robbins Midkiff and Becky Wiseman. Spokane, Washington. 19 Sep 2010. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane, Washington. 2010.

I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to visit with one of my favorite geneabloggers, Becky Wiseman of kinexxions this past weekend! If you are a reader of her blog, you'll know that she has been on The Journey all over the United States (and parts of Canada) for over a year. I first met Becky at the Southern California Genealogical Society's 2010 Jamboree this past June and invited her to stop by Spokane if ever she was in the area.

We had a great visit! Becky came by my home late yesterday morning and she got to meet my husband and son and even our two cats! We ate lunch, hung out, took a drive, and hung out some more. She showed off her home on wheels and recounted some of her adventures on the road. We finished off the evening with a pot roast dinner followed by Dutch apple pie.

The best part of our visit probably was the chance to talk genealogy for hours with another person without any eye rolling! I truly enjoyed getting to know Becky better and sharing my home and hometown with her for the day. Safe travels, Becky, and I look forward to meeting up with you again in the future!

(P.S. Here's Becky's post on the same visit: Thanks, Miriam!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stay Tuned... see some great new posts featuring some of my (and your) favorite geneabloggers between now and Christmas! But instead of featuring their blogs, these posts will highlight visits that these well-known and popular bloggers are paying to the Inland Northwest in the next two-and-a-half months!

I'm excited to play hostess to three amazing geneabloggers in the near future, all of whom I had a chance to meet at Jamboree this June. I look forward to spending more time with them, getting to know them better, and showing off my home town to them. The geneablogger community has been a tight-knit, supportive community since its beginnings, and these particular bloggers have been there with me since the early days.

I'm not going to reveal who these special people are until I write the posts about their respective visits, although you are free to leave your guesses in the comments below! As I said, stay tuned...and if you are a geneablogger who is intending to be in the Spokane area at any time, please make sure to contact me for a potential meet up!

September 19 - A Visit with Becky Wiseman - and here's Becky's take.

October 1 and 2 - A Visit with Thomas MacEntee - and here's Thomas' take.

December 10 - A Visit with Craig Manson

More Newspapers Added: 380,000 Pages Added to Chronicling America, Including Pages from Three New States (LA, MT, SC)

From the Library of Congress:

On Sept 16, 2010, the Library of Congress added more than 380,000 historic newspaper pages to the Chronicling America Web site, including newspapers from 3 new states - Louisiana, Montana, and South Carolina - and expanding the site's time coverage further into the Civil War era. The site now includes almost 2.7 million pages from 348 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Chronicling America is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.... Read more about it!

Links to these newspapers will be added to the Online Historical Newspaper Website soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Follow Friday: The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum

Today in my first Follow Friday post, I would like to highlight one of my favorite "new" blogs that I've been reading for a while: The Turning of Generations by Michelle Roos Goodrum of Arizona. I say "new" because Michelle has been blogging just since this January (2010). However, she has already become an accomplished blogger with her own style, her own blogging themes, and entries to various carnivals.

One of the connections I made almost immediately with Michelle is that the city of Cheney, Washington, located just 17 miles southwest of my own city of Spokane, is an ancestral location of hers. She also mentions Spokane and Tum Tum (24 miles northwest of Spokane) in her writing. It is fascinating to finally read a blog with genealogical posts about the area in which I live. Even in my own society, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, few people have Washington roots. This is an area where everyone seems to be from someplace else!

I mentioned that Michelle has created her own blogging themes. My favorite has been the Time Capsule posts, in which she wrote about each item, layer by layer, that she discovered in an old suitcase which belonged to her great-grandmother. I have also enjoyed her posts on the Archival Closet and her mother's photo album. It has been refreshing to read about family treasures and articles and organization when most geneabloggers tend to write about research or documents (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

I hope you'll take the time to read The Turning of Generations and subscribe to it in your favorite blog reader. And don't forget to follow Michelle with Google Friend Connect (look in the right-hand sidebar of her blog)!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Graduation Portrait of Helen Mary WESTABY

Wapato High School Graduation Portrait of Helen Mary Westaby. Probably Yakima Co., Washington. 1932. Original portrait in the possession of Carol Midkiff McMaster, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Portland, Oregon. Photograph of portrait privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane, Washington. 2010.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Updates to State Census Records Online

One of my most popular posts is State Census Records Online, which I wrote in December 2009. It received a lot of publicity when it was mentioned by Dick Eastman over at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. I recently updated my post to reflect nine new or updated sources for online state census records. Some of these come from my research for my new series, 52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases, and as I continue that series and find more online state census records in those digital archives, I will be adding them to the list.

Speaking of that series, I've had to neglect it again due to my workload at school combined with preparation for multiple presentations and classes I will be giving to various genealogical groups in the next six weeks. Don't worry! I am plugging away at it bit by bit, and as always, appreciate my readers' great patience with me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grandparents Day 2010

Robbins-Valk Wedding, Bride and Groom and Their Parents. Photograph. 25 Jun 1965. Original photograph in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Above is shown one of my favorite photos in my possession, because it depicts all three sets of my grandparents at the wedding of my parents.  My mother is the only child of the marriage of her parents, and after their divorce, each remarried; thus I was blessed with three--rather than the traditional two--sets of grandparents

On the left are my paternal grandparents, Robert Lewis and Jeanne Marie (HOLST) ROBBINS. My grandfather passed in 2003; my grandmother is still living, but has Alzheimer's. I have not seen her in about four years when she last visited Washington State.

The couple on the far right are my maternal grandfather, William VALK, and his wife Elaine Estelle (SEIF). My grandfather passed in 1989, but my step-grandmother is still living. I saw her on my last trip to Michigan in 2000. The woman to the right of my mother (the bride) is my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA). Behind her is her husband, Adrian DeVRIES. My grandmother passed in 2001 and Grandpa DeVRIES passed in 2007.

Growing up, my grandparents were like superheroes or fairy godparents! They lived in Western Michigan, 3,000 miles away from my home in Southeast Alaska, and I rarely got a chance to visit them. When they did visit us or we got to visit them, it was always a Big Deal! There were presents and stories and lots of hugs and kisses. Even after we moved to Eastern Washington when I was 12, we rarely saw them, although traveling was a bit easier and cheaper for both parties than when we lived in Alaska. My ROBBINS grandparents came to my high school graduation and both they and my DeVRIES grandparents attended my wedding. My Grandfather VALK visited Washington State shortly before his death and got to meet my husband. Both my ROBBINS and my DeVRIES grandparents as well as my Grandma VALK got to meet my children at least once.

All of them encouraged my forays into genealogy by sharing stories of their ancestors and memories of their childhoods with me. I was fortunate to inherit many documents, photographs, and some artifacts from the estates of my Grandfather ROBBINS and my DeVRIES grandparents. Thanks to the photographs they took and writings they created, I have a rich family history from which to research.

I dearly miss all my departed grandparents as well as my living grandmothers who I am no longer in contact with because of their health issues. I hope that my life and my research honor their lives and make them proud.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

The following post was originally published on my blog on September 11, 2007:

UPDATE: I had no idea when I wrote the post below that the media would be present at the middle school where I work to document the "Messages of Hope" assembly. Go here to see a slide and audio show of this event, on our local newspaper's website. (I'm not in any of the photos.)

I haven't written for my AnceStories2 blog in two months. Today as I pondered the events that took place six years ago, I realized that they should be a topic for a journal prompt. Every American was affected on September 11th, and yet little of what we personally experienced will be recorded for posterity...unless we take the time to do so. On September 12th, 2001, I asked my children--Missy, then age 10, and Matt, then age 7--to write down something to help them remember how they were feeling that day. I knew that someday, their great-grandchildren would want to know. I wrote my thoughts and emotions, too.

We had just started the 2001 - 2002 school year a few days previously, and were starting to get into the swing of things. I was finishing getting ready for work, while my kids were in the living room, ready for school, waiting for me. They were watching PBS, and one of them called to me that a plane had hit a building somewhere. I walked into the living room to change the channel (my usual response when a news tragedy aired, to keep the kids from getting an eye- and earful), and then realized that whatever was happening was on every station...and it was horrible.

We saw how the towers were collapsing, and my son began to cry. He had no clue as to the terrible loss of life that had occurred; he only knew that a dream he had had was shattered. We had visited Chicago only a year earlier and he had been thrilled with our trip to the top of the Sears Tower. His next goal was to visit the World Trade Center in New York City. For a little boy who loved to make tall towers with Legos, that had been his ultimate dream. As I did my best to try to comfort him, I was angry with the evil behind all of this destruction that was even robbing my son, thousands of miles away.

When I heard that it was a suspected terrorist attack, and that not just New York City, but also Washington, D.C. was hit, as well as talk of the military being on alert, I called work, uncertain as to whether school would be canceled. Assured that for the time being, school would continue as normal, I decided I had better wake my husband before we left. He works nights and I didn't want him to wake up to an empty house and hear the news alone. I can still see the look of shock on his face as I told him...probably an expression that my mirrored my own.

In the emergency staff meeting before work, our principal (a veteran) did a wonderful job of allaying our fears by reminding us that our hometown of Spokane was very unlikely to be a target of terrorism, and that we needed to model for our students a calmness and "business as usual" attitude for their sake. We were also cautioned not to turn on our televisions while students were in the classrooms.

That morning, the two teachers that I worked with did an amazing job in front of 40 anxious and confused first- and second-graders, one of whom was my son, and another who was a disabled student that I assisted. I can remember with clarity as we stood as a classroom to recite the pledge of allegiance how each of us adults in the room were unable to finish aloud, so overcome were we by emotion.

When we returned home at the end of the day, I sat and watched the news in horrified awe until I could no longer stand it. The devastation did not fully hit me until the next morning. I woke up and turned on the TV, and realized it had not been a bad dream at all, but it was very, very real. It was then that I finally broke down in tears.

This morning, at the middle school where I now work, we will have an all-school assembly at the flagpole. A fire station company will be our honored guests, while a small group of leadership students will release helium balloons. Attached will be messages of hope written on 3x5 index cards by staff and students. We will have a moment of silence. And we will remember.
"Keeper of the Light" graphic originally created 2001 at for free public use. This website has been disabled for several years.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: HIGBY Brothers Family Reunion, 1906

Higby Brothers Family Reunion. Probably Byron Twp., Kent Co., Michigan. 1906. Copy privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane, Washington. 2010.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

ScotlandsPeople Has a Revamp as Part of New Contract Deal

Press release from ScotlandsPeople:


ScotlandsPeople has a revamp as part of new contract deal

Scotland's new-look genealogy website, has been officially launched today (Tuesday Sep 7) by the Scottish Government’s tourism minister Jim Mather.

The revamped ScotlandsPeople service is up and running and includes new search features designed to make it easier and quicker for people to discover their family roots.

This includes plotting search results on maps, helping those unfamiliar with Scottish geography - such as users overseas - understand more about Scotland and their ancestors.

Following the first revamp of the site since its launch in 2002, it now contains records dating back to when national records of births, deaths and marriages in Scotland first began in 1855. It also includes parish records, dating back as far as 1538, and other data, including wills and testaments and heraldry.  The new site offers advanced search functions, providing quicker results, as well as additional information from Catholic Parish Registers.

Chris van der Kuyl, chief executive of service provider brightsolid, said: "ScotlandsPeople now has nearly 80 million records and will continue to add new exciting data sets to what is, without doubt, a world-leading website.

“brightsolid is enormously proud of the fact that it has established a strong track record in publishing sites such as ScotlandsPeople, and has built a centre of excellence in this growing and popular genealogy market sector.

“We understand the community and we know how to innovate and develop online products for family history enthusiasts."

Mr Mather said: "Once again Scotland has proved that it can make available the key records for those who wish to trace their Scottish family history.  It is estimated that over 50 million people across the world claim Scottish ancestry, with ancestral tourism estimated to contribute £64 million annually to Scotland's economy.

“Following the success of the year of Homecoming, the improved ScotlandsPeople will help connect people to their ancestors and cement links between Scots overseas and their home country - encouraging them to come and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and boost revenues in the Scottish economy."

Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, said: "This is a great step forward in the ongoing improvement of the ScotlandsPeople website, which has over one million registered users. We are proud to have one of the most comprehensive sets of family history records. These changes will continue to make us one of the world leading websites for family history.  This creates a platform for the launch of the 1911 census in April 2011." Offers Special Pricing on Subscriptions

This offer appears to be for new subscriptions only. is offering up to 25% off their subscriptions until midnight, EDT, on Thursday, September 9th. They have four choices:
  • Annual U.S. Deluxe subscription: $10.36 per month (billed in one payment) for the first year; save 20%
  • Monthly U.S. Deluxe subscription: $15.95 per month (billed in one payment) for the first three months; save 20%
  • Annual World Deluxe subscription: $18.71 per month (billed in one payment) for the first year; save 25%
  • Monthly World Deluxe subscription: $22.45 per month (billed in one payment) for the first year; save 25%
For details and to sign up, go here.

Monday, September 06, 2010

NGS Announces New Education Manager: Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

Press release from the National Genealogical Society:

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the appointment of Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL, of St. Louis, Missouri, as Education Manager. In her new position, Stamm will oversee the development of online education courses and will be responsible for keeping the current education courses updated as related to content and technology.

Stamm has an extensive background as an instructor at the St. Louis Community College, the St. Louis Genealogical Society, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama. She has served as conference program coordinator and education director for the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Stamm is a life member of the State Historical Society of Missouri and the St. Louis Genealogical Society. She received the St. Louis Genealogical Society President’s Award in May 2009 for work that led to an expanded educational program for the society.

Stamm holds a tested concentration of genealogical instruction from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has lectured both locally and nationally. She is a published author with articles appearing in the NGS NewsMagazine, APG Quarterly, and Genealogical Computing. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and NGS, she currently chairs the NGS’ Rubincam Youth Award Committee.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

Family Tree DNA Questions Reporting about Hitler's Possible Jewish Origins

Press release from Family Tree DNA:

Houston, TX - September 1, 2010 - Family Tree DNA, the largest Y-chromosome testing organization for genealogy and ancestry purposes, announced today that the interpretation given by certain media outlets that Adolf Hitler's ancestry included possible Jewish relatives is highly questionable.  These reports were based on information released by Jean-Paul Mulders and historian Marc Vermeeren.  With a Y-chromosome database containing close to 200,000 samples from different populations, Family Tree DNA's Chief Y-DNA Scientist, Professor Michael Hammer said that "scientific studies as well as records from our own database make it clear that one cannot reach the kind of conclusion featured in the published articles.

Based on Family Tree DNA records, no more than 9% of the populations of Germany and Austria belong to the haplogroup E1b1b, and among those, the vast majority - about 80% -are not associated with Jewish ancestry.  "This data clearly show that just because one person belongs to the branch of the Y-chromosome referred to as haplogroup E1b1b, that does not mean the person is likely to be of Jewish ancestry," said Professor Hammer.

Mulders confirmed the misinterpretation of his account with the following statement to Family Tree DNA:  "I never wrote that Hitler was a Jew, or that he had a Jewish grandfather.  I only wrote that Hitler's haplogroup is E1b1b, being more common among Berbers, Somalian people and Jews than among overall Germans.  This, in order to convey that he was not exactly what during the Third Reich would have been called 'Aryan.'  All the rest are speculations of journalists who didn't even take the trouble to read my article, although I had it translated into English especially for this purpose."

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes that had previously been available only for academic and scientific research. Today - with over 300,000 individual records in its Y-DNA and mtDNA databases - and a state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center in Houston, Texas, Family Tree is the prime source for anyone researching recent and distant family ties.

FGS Society Hall

Press release from the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

August 18, 2011
Knoxville, TN

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas, announces the re-launch today of the popular Society Hall at its website at

Society Hall is an informational database accessible on the Internet that can be used to locate FGS member organizations in the U.S. and abroad. This includes genealogical societies, historical societies, family associations, libraries, archives, and genealogical vendors serving the genealogical community. Thousands of people searching for information about these organizations visit Society Hall each month.

Every FGS Member society has a Society Hall listing at that it can edit and maintain.  With the re-launching of the service, FGS has updated Society Hall listings with details from its member database. There are many fields that can be used to promote information about your organization. In addition to name, address, telephone and email, a link can be added to the organization’s website. Membership benefits and dues can be listed, as can periodicals and publications, a calendar of events, services, and pioneer/certification programs.

Member societies can access the site to edit their listing’s content using an ID and password. FGS will be sending these to all Member Societies in good standing via email immediately following the conclusion of its 2010 Conference being held this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition, the ID and password will become the access key to the Members Only area of the FGS website and other content there. FGS has developed the single ID and password scheme in response to members’ requests. previously hosted Society Hall at its site. FGS has now taken over hosting responsibilities for Society Hall at its own website.

Boston Family History Day 2010

Press release from and the New England Historic Genealogical Society: and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have once again collaborated to present Boston Family History Day 2010 -- Saturday, October 16, 2010, at the Seaport World Trade Center, in Boston, Massachusetts.

This full-day event will help you start or hone your genealogical skills:
  •  More than 12 family history classes designed to help you grow your tree and learn more about NEHGS and resources
  •  Chances to meet one-on-one with professional genealogists
  •  A beginner’s track where your family and friends can learn the basics to start their own research
  •  Opportunities to have photos and documents scanned on high-speed scanners
  •  NEHGS and experts on hand to answer your questions
  •  And much more!
Register today to attend Family History Day 2010 in Boston! The cost for attendance is only $38 for the full day. To learn more about Boston Family History Day 2010 – including class, scanning and consultation offerings, visit We hope to see you there!

September 2010 Calendar of Events is Posted

I just posted the September 2010 Calendar of Events at its regular posting date (September 1) and apologize for the delay.

Please note under Carnivals and Other Blogging Events that the September 2010 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival and the 97th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy have just been posted. You won't want to miss these great reads! Keep an eye out for the 9th Edition of the Festival of Postcards ("Locomotion") as well as the next issue of Shades of the Departed to be published soon.

And don't forget to submit your posts to the 4th Edition of the  Carnival of Genealogical Societies (due Sep. 7th) and the October 2010 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival ("An Occupation or Hobby Memorialized in Stone"). Details here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Life Stories of Ellis Island Immigrants Now Available Online for the First Time at

More than 1,700 first-hand audio recordings now available for free online

PROVO, Utah, September 1, 2010— announced today it has launched a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. This is the first time this collection of poignant recordings has been available online. To celebrate the new addition, is making its entire U.S. Immigration Collection free through Labor Day.

“As immigrants created new lives in the U.S., the stories of their homelands and their remarkable journeys to America were often lost,” said Christopher Tracy, senior vice president of global content for “We are thrilled to offer people the opportunity to hear the voices of their ancestors sharing stories of their lives.”

Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants between 1892 and 1954. The oral histories were captured by the National Park Service starting in the 1970s, and contain uniquely inspiring first-hand accounts recalling the lives these immigrants left behind, their reasons for leaving and their incredible and often-trying journeys to America. These recordings are housed at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and until now could be heard only by visitors to the Island itself. In addition to oral histories from immigrants, the collection also includes recordings from military personnel who were stationed on Ellis Island and former Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty workers.

“To our family it is important that we in the U.S. know the origin of the people who came to this country, settled here and made it what it is today. It makes us very proud to know that our mother was part of this,” said Yvonne Rumac, daughter of oral history participant Estelle Belford, who immigrated to the United States from Romania via Ellis Island in 1905.

Other Records Added to the U.S. Immigration Collection:
The Ellis Island Oral Histories are the latest addition to, which boasts the world’s largest online collection of U.S. immigration records. Comprised of more than 170 million records, the U.S. Immigration Collection includes lists of passengers who immigrated by ship to America between 1820 and 1960, including those who came through Ellis Island; more than 7 million citizenship and naturalization records; border crossings, passport applications and more to help reconstruct our ancestors’ journeys and early lives in America. has also added nearly 2 million new U.S. naturalization record indexes, thanks to the many individuals who are part of the World Archives Project –a community effort aimed at transcribing historical records. The indexes span 11 states (AK, CA, CT, HI, LA, ME, MT, NY, PA, TN, WA) and will provide Americans greater opportunity to learn more about their ancestors’ citizenship experience.

In addition, has added nearly 2 million records documenting crew members on ships who arrived in the port of Boston. The records were added to an existing collection of over 3.8 million records from Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.

To honor our nation’s immigrant heritage, has opened up its entire U.S. Immigration Collection so that it can be searched free through Labor Day. The Ellis Island Oral History Collection will remain permanently free on

To begin exploring your family’s journey to America, visit

About Inc. Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 18 million family trees containing over 1.8 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at

Labor Day Weekend Special Offers

Several genealogy companies have special offers of sales, discounts, or freebies during the Labor Day weekend:
  • Family Tree Magazine has a Choose Your Own Sale Through September 7th deal. You can choose between taking 15% off your order (even sale prices!) or free USPS shipping on any US order (no minimum order size!). Click the link above for more details.
  • The Genealogical Publishing Company is offering 30% the current selling price of the books(s) or CD(s) of your choice at To take advantage of this holiday discount, simply add the special code LD10 (caps, no spaces) in the Discount Code box on the "Shipping and Handling" page of the check-out process. The code can be used as many times as you like, so long as you place your final order by 11:59 p.m. EDT, Monday, September 6, 2010.
  • Michael John Neill is having a sale on a year's subscription (52 issues) to Casefile Clues for $14.50. This is a 15% savings off the regular subscription rate of $17. The offer is good through Labor Day, September 6th. Read my review of Casefile Clues here.
  • is offering free access to its U.S. Immigration Collection all through Labor Day weekend. This includes the new New York City, Ellis Island Oral Histories, 1892-1976 collection; the updated U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 and the Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943 collections; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Passenger and Immigration List Index, 1500s-1900s; U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925; and Border Crossings, from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956. You can also view the free webinar, Coming to America: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September 2010 Calendar of Events

September blows soft
Till the fruit's in the loft.

Holidays, History, and Heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)

September 1: Independence Day (Uzbekistan)

September 2: Independence Day (Vietnam)

September 5: Father's Day (Australia and New Zealand)

September 6: Independence Day (Swaziland)
Labor Day (United States)
Labour Day (Canada)
("Labor Day and Ancestral Occupations" by Carolyn L. Barkley)

September 7: Independence Day (Brazil)

September 8: Independence Day (Macedonia)

September 8, sunset to September 10, sunset: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

September 9: Independence Day (North Korea, Tajikistan)

September 10: Eid Al-Fitr (Islam: End of Ramadan)

September 11: Patriot Day (United States)

September 12: National Grandparents' Day (U.S. and Canada)

September 15: Independence Day
(Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua)

September 16: Independence Day (Mexico, Papua New Guinea)

September 17, sunset to September 18, nightfall: Yom Kippur (Judaism: Day of Atonement)

September 19: Independence Day (Saint Kitts and Nevis)

September 21: Independence Day (Armenia, Belize, Malta)

September 22: Independence Day (Bulgaria, Mali)

September 23: Autumnal Equinox (Northern Hemisphere)
Vernal Equinox (Southern Hemisphere)

September 30: Independence Day (Botswana)

Do any of the above events feature in or affect your heritage, culture, or family history?

Carnivals and Other Blogging Events:

Need help? Read my post, "How to Submit a Post to a Carnival", here.

Note: the September 2010 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival ("A Local Celebrity in Our Midst") was published August 31st here.

Posted September 4 - the 97th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - Research from Scratch: A Whole New Family History

Due September 7 - the 4th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogical Societies - Genealogical Societies on Facebook

Due September 25 - the October 2010 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival - An Occupation or Hobby Memorialized in Stone

Heads Up! The Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is on sabbatical; the 21st Edition will be published in November 2010. Also, The Genealogy & Family History Blogger's Almanac has been postponed due to the passing of author Denise Levenick's mother. Look for the next edition at The Family Curator.

September 1 - Data Backup Day

Read the latest Data Backup Day post by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers.

Genealogy Television Shows
(check your local listings for accurate local airing times and reruns)

The Generations Project
Monday Nights at 8 PM on BYU-TV
September 6, 13, 20, 27

Who Do You Think You Are?
Friday Nights at 8 PM on NBC
September 3 - Brooke Shields (repeat)
September 10 - no episode
September 17 - TBA
September 24 - TBA

Scanfest: Sunday, September 26th, 11 AM - 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time

Go here to learn how to join Scanfest and our group of chatting, scanning family archivists, historians, and bloggers!

Go here to add the above deadlines and dates to your Google Calendar,
courtesy of Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.

When the wind is in the north
The skillful fisher goes not forth.
When the wind is in the south
It blows the bait in the fish's mouth.