Ancestry Blog » Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:30:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Leaving a Legacy: Sojourner Truthhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/23/leaving-a-legacy-sojourner-truth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leaving-a-legacy-sojourner-truth http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/23/leaving-a-legacy-sojourner-truth/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:15:13 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=23524 Read more]]> When learning about the lives of extraordinary individuals – whether it’s famous women in history or someone from my own family tree – I’m always curious about their childhood.  What experiences did they have that formed them into the human being they became.  What things did they see, what choices did they make in their formative years that allowed them to make more courageous choices later?

Sojourner Truth, 1864. Image Source: Library of Congress

Sojourner Truth, 1864.

No life I have studied shows the connection between early life experience and later life choices more clearly than that of Sojourner Truth.

Born into slavery in 1797, Bell Baumfree lived in Esopus, New York with her parents and siblings until she was nine years old when she was sold at auction “with a flock of sheep” for $100 and removed to Kingston, New York.  Two years later, after daily beatings, she was sold for $105 to a tavern keeper in Port Ewen, New York.  Another two years passed before she was again sold and sent to live in West Park, New York where she endured regular “harassment” from her owner’s wife.

When she was 18 years old, Bell had a tragic love affair with a slave from a neighboring farm.  Her lover’s owner knew that if she got pregnant he would not own the offspring and so forbade their relationship.  When he caught them together, he beat the man so severely that he shortly died from his injuries.  Bell’s firstborn child was born several months following this incident.  The girl did not live long and it is not known whether she was the child of the slave owner or the lover.

Eventually, Bell was forced into marriage with a man named Thomas.  To that union she bore four children.  Her last child, Sophia, was born in 1826.  At that time, Bell’s owner promised her freedom.  Then he changed his mind.  Furious over the injustice, Bell escaped with her infant daughter, leaving her other children behind.  A Van Wagenen family took her in and offered her a job.

Almost a year later, following 30 years of abolitionist legislation and preparations by the state of New York, emancipation was declared on July 4th, 1827.  In inquiring about her other children, Bell learned that her five year old son, Peter, was illegally sold to a slave owner in Alabama.  (Legislation had been passed years earlier, in anticipation of emancipation, that no slaves could be sold out of state.)  Again, furious over the injustice, Bell took the slave owner to court and, after months of legal battles, won her son’s freedom.  In so doing, she became the first black woman to take a white man to court and win. Details on the case can be found in this biographical sketch published in the Inter Ocean of 1 December 1883.

There is much more to the story of Bell Baumfree.  In 1843, following spiritual guidance, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. We can find Sojourner in the 1880 Federal Census here,

1880 United States Federal Census for Sojourner Truth, Ancestry.com

1880 United States Federal Census for Sojourner Truth, Ancestry.com

She became an outspoken abolitionist, a defender of women’s rights, and a deeply religious pacifist.  She owned property.  She travelled.  She spoke before hundreds of audiences, often with thousands in attendance.  She wore out her life in service to the causes she held dear, informed by the experiences of her childhood.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are hosting a series entitled “Leaving a Legacy: Important Women in History,” which will feature notable women who influenced the world through their life’s work, immense courage or commitment to a cause. 

Find our other notable women here, 

Elizabeth Blackwell

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The Indian Removal Act of 1830http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/12/the-indian-removal-act-of-1830/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-indian-removal-act-of-1830 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/12/the-indian-removal-act-of-1830/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:53:45 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=20924 Read more]]>

Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country and philanthropy has long been busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. … But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another … Philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers. What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?

This statement made by President Andrew Jackson in his second annual message to Congress sums up the sentiment that led to the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This law authorized the president to grant unsettled federal lands west of the Mississippi to the Five Civilized Tribes in exchange for their lands within existing state borders.

Lands assigned to emigrant Indians west of Arkansas and Missouri (Photo Credit - Library of Congress, 1836)

Lands assigned to emigrant Indians west of Arkansas and Missouri (Photo Credit – Library of Congress, 1836)

By this time, most of the native tribes in the northeastern United States had been driven to near extinction by the westward expansion of the white man. The Iroquois, Pequot, Powhatan, and Miami were among those tribes already becoming distant memories. Intermarriage and assimilation meant they lost their language and thus their culture within just a generation or two. According to many historians, President Jackson believed that this new policy for dealing with the Indian nations in the southern United States would allow them to maintain their identity, culture and language.

The Five Civilized Tribes – so called because they had already adopted many of the colonists’ customs, had many members in their tribes who spoke English, and, generally, had good relations with the white man – were the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, and Seminole. At the time of removal, they occupied their native lands in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.

The removal act was signed into law on 28 May 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. By the end of September, the Choctaw had signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, conceding to removal, though not before causing deep rifts within the tribe.

More than 14,000 Choctaws (plus 1,000 slaves) were to be removed to Indian Territory in three separate government-supervised migrations over the course of three years. Beginning in mid-October 1831, Army wagons were sent throughout Mississippi gathering up the Indian families set to head west with the first group. However, rains turned heavy, heavy rain turned into flooding and removal by wagon became impossible. Steamboats were rounded up while the Choctaw waited in soggy encampments outside of Memphis and Vicksburg.

The delay meant that all available rations were used up before the group had even crossed the Mississippi River. Once boats were secured, the group was taken up the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers only to be dropped off at Arkansas Post because the military needed the boats. The storms of the weeks previous then turned into a blizzard. The post, not expecting several thousand additional people, was low in rations and only had 60 small army tents to provide as shelter to the scantily clothed, sometimes naked, almost entirely shoeless group of refugees.

They remained in these conditions for eight days before 40 government wagons arrived with food and blankets to convey them the remainder of their journey. When the group reached Little Rock, a reporter spoke with one of the Choctaw chiefs who was quoted as saying that their removal to that point had been a “trail of tears and death.”

More groups would follow in subsequent months and years. Some took a southern route and avoided some of the weather, but very few preparations were made to care for them during their migration. There were not enough rations. Most were forced to walk several hundred miles. To make matters worse, as they were exposed to military personnel and local white men in their travels, they were also exposed to diseases to which they had not built up any immunities, diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and diphtheria.

A 400-mile forced march without shoes. Ill-informed guides, ill-prepared rations, and ill-advised stops and detours. Blizzards, disease and starvation. It is not then surprising, perhaps, that when the final report was made after three years of removal, there were only about 8,000 Choctaw reported as residing in the their new homeland. The journey to that place had been a “trail of tears and death” indeed.

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Upcoming Ancestry Events: November 2014http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/04/upcoming-ancestry-events-november-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upcoming-ancestry-events-november-2014 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/04/upcoming-ancestry-events-november-2014/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:00:15 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22171 Read more]]> There is snow on the mountains here in Utah.  Hard to believe that fall is already winding down and winter is on its way.  The good news is that many of us will now be spending more time indoors.  And what better indoor activity than curling up with your laptop and doing a little family history research.  We’ve got some great webinars, tweetchats, and family history events planned throughout the month to help you maximize your research time, learn more about the new record collections now available online, and improve your genealogy skills.  Will you join us?Calendar

 

Webinars:

What’s New at Ancestry.com:  November 2014 Edition
Tuesday, November 4th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

Updated Search Forms on Ancestry.com
Thursday, November 6th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

With more than 15 billion records now available for searching on Ancestry.com, we want to provide you with as many ways to discover your ancestors and their stories as we can. Shaky leaf hints. Suggested records. And several different ways to search. Join Crista Cowan for a sneak peek at the updated search forms you will soon have available to you on Ancestry.com.

 

Revisiting Pennsylvania Family History Research

Tuesday, November 11th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

This year Ancestry has added more than 7 million new genealogical records that will be of interest to those of you with ancestors in Pennsylvania. Join Crista Cowan for a look at these new death records and some tips and tricks for learning even more about your family from the Keystone State.

 

Genealogical Proof Standard:  Soundly Reasoned, Coherently Written Conclusion

Thursday, November 13th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for the sixth video in our series on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Step five is creating a “soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.” You will learn both WHY this is such an important step in your family history research process and HOW to do it.

 

Can Anyone Read This?  Basic Paleography for Genealogists

Tuesday, November 18th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Almost daily someone posts an image snippet in a genealogy group or message board asking for some assistance reading a record. They can’t tell what they surname is or what occupation their grandfather was engaged in. They can’t read the cause of death or the city their immigration came from. Join Crista Cowan for a look at some basic tips and tricks for improving your paleography skills so you can read your genealogy records like a pro.

 

AncestryDNA:  Q&A

Thursday, November 20th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Have you taken the AncestryDNA test and received your results? Do you have questions about what to do with all those cousin matches? Join Crista Cowan for an AncestryDNA Q&A session where she will answer some of our most frequently asked questions and take some additional questions live.

 

#AncestryChat: Native American Research 

Thursday, November 20th at 7:00 pm (Eastern)/4:00 pm (Pacific)

Join expert genealogists, Crista Cowan and a guest expert for a live Twitter chat on Thursday, November 20 at 4PM PT / 6PM CT / 7PM ET. Come prepared to ask your questions about Native American research and Ancestry’s newest Native American collections release. If you don’t have a question, join us anyway and meet others interested in family history research.

 

Genealogy Source Checklists

Tuesday, November 25th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

You get those shaky leaf hints and then you do a few searches. But, with more than 15 billion records now available online at Ancestry.com and billions more available at archives, libraries and courthouses around the world, how do you know when you’ve done a “reasonably exhaustive search.” How do you even know what records you should be looking for to document the lives of your ancestors? Join Crista Cowan for a look at some of the source checklists she has created for her own research. If you’re inspired to create your own, we’d love to have you share them here.

Click here to RSVP for any of the above webinars. Watch each webinar live via Livestream here. If you can’t watch live RSVP anyway to receive reminders via Facebook prior to each event and a notice when they have been archived on YouTube.

 

Conferences and Events:

Ancestry Day in Oklahoma 

November 7th & 8th in Oklahoma City

Ancestry.com, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Oklahoma Genealogical Society present Ancestry Day in Oklahoma, two days of genealogy and native culture November 7-8, 2014. Both novice and experienced genealogists are welcome at this event. Registration to the main event is $40 and includes admission to all Saturday classes presented by Ancestry.com. Participants may also attend optional activities for an additional charge including Friday sessions, bus tours, a reception, and a Saturday lunch program.

 

 

A Look Towards December and Beyond:

What’s New at Ancestry.com:  December 2014 Edition
Tuesday, November 4th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

RootsTech 2015 and FGS 2015 – Two Conferences, One Location! 

February 11th – 14th, 2015 in Salt Lake City

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!  The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and RootsTech are teaming up for a one-time special genealogy event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, February 11–14, 2015. FGS and RootsTech will share the expo hall, general sessions, activities, and more while each conference offers their own program of sessions. FGS sessions will focus on methodology, records, ethnic research, and migration for honing your research skills and society issues to motivate and inspire society volunteers. RootsTech will offer a program of technology-based solutions for the genealogy needs of both individuals and societies.

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I hope that is enough to keep you warm and cozy and learning something new throughout the month.  One last thing, don’t forget to tune in to Finding Your Roots on PBS on Tuesday nights.

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Immigration in the 1600shttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/07/immigration-in-the-1600s/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=immigration-in-the-1600s http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/07/immigration-in-the-1600s/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:33:19 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=20915 Read more]]> We probably all remember the little school room ditty about how, in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Columbus was not the first and he would not be the last. Exploration of the New World had been happening for a while by then. It would continue for several more decades before the first permanent European settlement would be founded in 1565 at what is now St Augustine, Florida. Within one hundred years, dozens of other European settlements were established as colonists crossed the ocean for economic opportunities and religious freedom. By the close of the 17th century there would be more than 234,000 settlers up and down the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine.

Jamestown, the Virginia Colony and Beyond

Jamestown, known as the first colony in the British Empire, was established in 1607, in Virginia. It took several attempts at colonization before success was achieved. Of the 6,000 colonist who came to the settlement between 1607 and 1624, more than 2,500 died of disease, exposure, starvation or attacks from the natives.

View of historic Jamestowne today, looking toward the status of Captain John Smith (erected in 1909). The Jamestown Church is in the background.  (Photo credit - U.S. Army, public domain)

View of historic Jamestowne today, looking toward the status of Captain John Smith (erected in 1909). The Jamestown Church is in the background. (Photo credit – U.S. Army, public domain)

Many of the settlers were English aristocrats, but there was also a large number of indentured servants who, in exchange for passage to the New World, agreed to work for upwards of seven years for their landed masters. Though primarily an English settlement, German and Polish colonists were recruited early on in order to provide diversity of trade and craft to the developing community.

Once success was achieved with the settlement of Jamestown, the newcomers began to spread out, taking up land, planting crops and creating new settlements. In 1624, Virginia became a royal colony and by 1634, King Charles I divided it into eight counties in order to better govern the growing colony.

Around that same time, in 1632, Charles granted a charter to Lord Baltimore to establish another colony in nearby Maryland. In an attempt to gain settlers, they were offered 50 acres of land for each person they brought to the colony – settler, servant or slave. Similar to Virginia, tobacco quickly became a profitable crop.

Other European countries got in on the action around the same time. The Dutch settled up and down the Hudson River starting in 1624 and then branched out into part of Delaware in 1631. The Swedes sent a group of settlers to the same area in 1638. Conflicting claims to land set the settlers up for conflict in the coming decades – natives, English, Dutch, French, Spanish.

By 1650, it is estimated that there were more than 23,000 European settlers in the area. That number tripled over the next thirty years as settlers spread throughout Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Delaware and New York.

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The Mayflower and the Settling of New England

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth - 22 Dec 1620 (Photo Credit - Library of Congress, public domain)

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth – 22 Dec 1620 (Photo Credit – Library of Congress, public domain)

In 1620, the Mayflower arrived in the New World from Plymouth, England with 102 passengers on board. Mostly English Puritans and Separatists, almost half of them would be dead before that first winter was over. Those that survived are credited with creating the oldest, continuously inhabited English settlement in what would become the United States.

A year later a second ship arrived with 37 new settlers for Plymouth Colony. A year and a half after that another two ships arrived carrying 96 passengers. In the first ten years following the landing of the Mayflower the majority of the 800 colonists arriving in Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colony were from England. Unlike the settlement of Virginia, Maryland and New Amsterdam, the majority of New England colonists immigrated for religious reasons rather than economic reasons. Most of them were middle class, skilled craftsman and merchants, rather than nobility.

Religious conflicts within the colony led some settlers to leave, founding Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire in the process. By 1700 these collective colonies had a total population of more than 106,000 people.

One of the largest land grants during that century was given to William Penn by King Charles II in 1681 – what we now know as Pennsylvania and Delaware. A Quaker and a visionary man, Penn had a plan for his property, a “Holy Experiment” that included providing a safe haven for those of the Quaker faith who had been persecuted and imprisoned in England and Wales and were being kicked out of New England. His plan for religious freedom attracted others and within 20 years there were more than 18,000 settlers in Pennsylvania.

______________________________

Some came for economic freedom, some came for religious freedom. Some came voluntarily, others came forcibly. Some came and dropped down deep roots that remain in those same communities almost 400 years later. Some moved on almost immediately and their descendants continued their established pattern of western expansion. Regardless of why they came, these are the founders of our nation.

A lot of research has been done into the lives of the original settlers of New England, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Amsterdam. Volumes have been written about these gateway ancestors. And, in fact, there are many organizations that have done extensive research to track the descendants of these original settlers.

Not sure if your family was in the New World prior to 1700? Check out just a few of the great resources available on Ancestry.com that could help connect you with your colonial ancestors.

Mayflower Births and Deaths, Vol 1 and 2

A Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Families: And Other Puritan Settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania

Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666

Virginia Land, Marriage and Probate Records from 1639

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Upcoming Ancestry Events: October 2014http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/01/upcoming-ancestry-events-october-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upcoming-ancestry-events-october-2014 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/01/upcoming-ancestry-events-october-2014/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:48:09 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=20773 Read more]]> CalendarHere in the U.S., it is officially National Family History Month.  Fall is in full swing.  Crisp air.  Crunchy leaves.  The perfect weather for taphophiles (also known as cemetery enthusiasts).  We hope you’ll join us this month for our FindAGrave Community Day on October 18th. We’ve also got some great webinars, tweetchats, and family history events planned throughout the month.  Take a look at the complete list below and choose the events that will help you create the perfect Family History Month for you and your family.

 

Webinars:

What’s New at Ancestry.com:  October 2014 Edition
Thursday, October 2nd at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

Ten Things You Can Do To Celebrate Family History Month
Tuesday, October 7th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

October is National Family History Month here in the U.S. Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at ten things you can do to celebrate family history month over the coming weeks. Then join us in the LIVE chat afterwards to share your ideas and suggestions.

 

Genealogical Proof Standard:  Resolution of Conflicting Evidence
Thursday, October 9th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for the fifth in our series on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Step four is “resolution of conflicting evidence.” You will learn both WHY this is such an important step in your research process and HOW to do it.


Five Reasons You Are Not Finding Your Ancestor

Tuesday, October 14th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

You have searched and searched and searched and are still coming up empty when looking for information about a particular family line. Join Crista Cowan for a look at five possible reasons why you might not be finding your ancestor. Even one of them could provide you with the spark of an idea you need to bust right through that #genealogy brick wall.

 

Joining A Hereditary Society
Thursday, October 16th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

SAR. DAR. DUP. ADEAW. What do all of these acronyms have in common? These are just a few of the 100 (or more) hereditary societies you can join once you find a person in your family tree who qualifies. Join Crista Cowan for a look at the different societies that are available for you to join, what the membership benefits are to you, and how to complete the application process.

 

Navigating the Ancestry YouTube Channel
Tuesday, October 21st at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

It’s the 3rd anniversary of The Barefoot Genealogist. Join Crista Cowan for a look at some of her favorite videos from the past three years. She’ll even throw in some tips for navigating YouTube, creating your own playlists, and sharing videos with your genealogy friends.

 

Putting Together a Family Health History
Thursday, October 23rd at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

One of the reasons people are drawn to genealogy is to learn more about their family health history. Join Crista Cowan for a few quick tips about putting together your own family health history for yourself and your children.

 

Lesser Known Ports of Immigration
Tuesday, October 28th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Have you looked for your ancestor coming into the Port of New York/Ellis Island and come up empty? What about Boston? Philadelphia? Baltimore? Join Crista Cowan for a look at the “lesser known” ports of immigration that your ancestor might have used on their journey into the United States.

 

 Top Tips for Beginning Mexico Family History Research
Thursday, October 30th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Do you have Mexican ancestry? Join Crista Cowan as she shares some of the top tools and record collections that will help you find success in tracing your Mexican ancestors.

 

Click here to RSVP for any of the above webinars. Watch each webinar live via Livestream here. If you can’t watch live RSVP anyway to receive reminders via Facebook prior to each event and a notice when they have been archived on YouTube.

 

Conferences and Events:

Central Indiana Genealogy Conference 
Saturday, October 11th in Indianapolis, IN

The Genealogical Society of Marion County, in cooperation with the Indiana Historical Society, presents the 19th Annual Central Indiana Genealogy Conference. This full-day conference features four sessions which includes Ancestry speakers and professional genealogists, Juliana Szucs and Lou Szucs.

 

#AncestryChat:  Migration Through the Centuries 
Thursday, October 16th at 7:00 pm (Eastern)/4:00 pm (Pacific)

Join expert genealogists, Amy Johnson Crow and Juliana Szucs Smith for a Twitter chat. Come prepared to ask your questions about migration patterns through time. If you don’t have a question, join us anyway. You never know what you might learn that will help you in your own family history journey.

The October 16th TweetChat will start at 7:00 pm Eastern (4:00 pm Pacific) and run for approximately 1 hour.

 

The Genealogy Event – NYC 2014 
October 17th, 18th and 19th in New York City

The Genealogy Event, in partnership with the National Archives at New York City, will offer two days of learning, fun – and genealogy enthusiasm! This will be followed with an entire day dedicated to DNA and genetic genealogy at the India House Club in New York City.  Click the link above to see the class schedule for the three day event, which includes a full track of Ancestry classes on Friday and Saturday and a presentation on AncestryDNA on Sunday.

 

Genealogy COMO 2014
Saturday, October 18th in Columbia, Missouri

This regional conference is open to all levels of expertise and boasts 30 sessions to select from including Ancestry professional genealogist, Amy Johnson Crow. This conference is free to attend and children as young as 12 years old are welcome.

 

#AncestryChat: Going Beyond Census and Vital Records 
Thursday, October 30th at 7:00 pm (Eastern)/4:00 pm (Pacific)

Join expert genealogists, Juliana Szucs and Anne Gillespie Mitchell for a live Twitter chat. Come prepared to ask your questions about looking for vital records beyond the census. If you don’t have a question, join us anyway and share your knowledge or tips with others. You never know what you might learn that will help you in your own family history journey.

The October 30th TweetChat will start at 7:00 pm Eastern (4:00 pm Pacific) and run for approximately 1 hour.

 

 

A Look Towards November and Beyond:

Ancestry Day in Oklahoma 
November 7th and 8th in Oklahoma City

Ancestry.com, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Oklahoma Genealogical Society present Ancestry Day in Oklahoma, two days of genealogy and native culture November 7-8, 2014. Both novice and experienced genealogists are welcome at this event. Registration to the main event is $40 and includes admission to all Saturday classes presented by Ancestry.com. Participants may also attend optional activities for an additional charge including Friday sessions, bus tours, a reception, and a Saturday lunch program.  Click the link above for the complete schedule and registration information.  Seats are limited so sign up soon!

 

RootsTech 2015 and FGS 2015 – Two Conferences, One Location! 
February 11th – 14th, 2015 in Salt Lake City

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!  The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and RootsTech are teaming up for a one-time special genealogy event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, February 11–14, 2015. FGS and RootsTech will share the expo hall, general sessions, activities, and more while each conference offers their own program of sessions. FGS sessions will focus on methodology, records, ethnic research, and migration for honing your research skills and society issues to motivate and inspire society volunteers. RootsTech will offer a program of technology-based solutions for the genealogy needs of both individuals and societies.

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That is a lot of events for one month!  We’ve also got some fun and informative posts planned for you here on the blog so check back here often.  One last thing, don’t forget to tune in to Finding Your Roots on PBS every Tuesday night.

Happy Family History Month!

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Upcoming Ancestry.com Events: August 2014http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/08/01/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-august-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upcoming-ancestry-com-events-august-2014 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/08/01/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-august-2014/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:07:38 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=19292 Read more]]> Calendar

Summer is heating up!  Think it’s too hot to spend time outside?  Me, too.  So, join us for a month full of webinars and events that you can enjoy from the air conditioned comfort of your home.  And, don’t forget to tune in to Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC every Wednesday night.

 

Webinars:

What’s New at Ancestry.com: August 2014 Edition
Tuesday, August 5th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

Not All Colonial Americans Were Patriots
Thursday, August 7th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Do you have ancestors who lived in Colonial America at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War? You might be surprised to learn that not all of them were on the side of the Patriots. Join Crista Cowan for a look at where to find Loyalist records to determine which side of the battle your ancestors were on.

 

Twitter for Genealogy
Tuesday, August 12th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

There are lots of ways to reach out and collaborate with others who might be researching some of the same families you are researching. Join Crista Cowan for a look at how you can use Twitter to enhance your family history research.


Westward Expansion on the Oregon Trail

Thursday, August 14th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

From 1811 to 1869 more than 400,000 settlers used the Oregon Trail to head west. Join Crista Cowan for a look at the Oregon Trail and off shoot routes that took your ancestors across the country and into new adventures.

 

Genealogical Proof Standard:  Complete and Accurate Citation of Sources
Tuesday, August 19th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for the third in our series on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Step two is a complete and accurate citation of sources. You will learn both WHY this is such an important step in your research process and HOW to improve your source citations.

 

A Case Study in Quaker Records
Thursday, August 21st at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

If your family lived in New Jersey in the 1700s or early 1800s, odds are pretty high they were Quaker. Join Crista Cowan for a case study in researching available records to tell the story of one family.

 

When You Can’t Find a Marriage Record
Tuesday, August 26th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

We all know the importance of finding documentation about the facts we put into our family tree. But, what happens when you can’t find the records you need? Join Crista Cowan for a look at alternative places to find marriage information.

 

Click here to RSVP for any of the above webinars. Watch each webinar live via Livestream here. If you can’t watch live RSVP anyway to receive reminders via Facebook prior to each event and a notice when they have been archived on YouTube.

 

Conferences and Events:

Ancestry.com Genealogy Tweetchat 
Tuesday, August 12th at 6:00 pm (Eastern)/3:00 pm (Pacific)

Have you always wanted to ask a family history expert a question about your own genealogy research? Now’s your chance! Join family history expert Crista Cowan in an online Ancestry.com Genealogy TweetChat.

The August 12th TweetChat will start at 6:00 pm Eastern (3:00 pm Pacific) and run for 1-1.5 hours long.  Go here for instructions on how to participate.

Genealogy Roadshow
Saturday, August 23rd through Sunday, August 24th in St. Louis, Missouri

Genealogy Roadshow combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans. The producers have cast a selection of St. Louis-area residents whose stories have been researched by a team of local genealogy, history and DNA experts, using family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information. The individual stories that are uncovered will be linked to the larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of St. Louis, Missouri, and America.

Visit this link to learn more about the live taping and other cities the roadshow will be visiting.

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2014
Wednesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 30th in San Antonio, Texas

FGS always provides exceptional educational offerings, great networking with fellow genealogists, and wonderful research opportunities at libraries near their annual conference. This year will be no different. Ancestry.com staff will be out in force to teach an array of classes.  Our presenters include:  Anne Mitchell (Female Ancestors), Anna Swayne (AncestryDNA), Lou Szucs (Ethnic Origins), Juliana Szucs Smith (Common Surnames), Kyle Betit (Irish Immigrants), Amy Johnson Crow (Critical Thinking for Genealogists, Civil War Veterans, Timelines) and Laura G. Prescott (Large Genealogy Databases, Publishing on a Mac, Publishing Online).

Visit the FGS Conference website to check out the complete schedule and get details on registration.

 

Swedish Genealogy Days
Friday, August 29th through Sunday, August 31st in Karlstad, Sweden

“Migration – Past, Present, and Future” is the theme for the conference to be held at Karlstad CCC, sponsored in part by the Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies.  Crista Cowan will speak about Swedish immigrants to America and records available about them on Ancestry.com.

 

A Look Towards September:

AARP Ideas @ 50+
Thursday, September 4th through Saturday, September 6th in San Diego, California

Ancestry.com will be an exhibitor at this event.  Join us in our booth for information about AncestryDNA or to talk with genealogy experts about your tough family history research questions.

 

Tennessee Ancestry Library Event (TALE)
Saturday, September 20th in Nashville, Tennessee

Join the Ancestry team and experts from the Tennessee Library & Archives for a day of learning and discovery.  Click the link above for a complete schedule of events.

 

We hope you can make some time to learn a little bit more about how to be a better family historian. Will you be planning to join us for any August events?

 

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The Beehive State: Utah State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/25/the-beehive-state-utah-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-beehive-state-utah-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/25/the-beehive-state-utah-state-research-guide/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:08:21 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=19001 Read more]]> The Great Salt Lake, 1874 From The Library of Congress Photo Collection

The Great Salt Lake, 1874
From The Library of Congress Photo Collection

This week marks 167 years since the Mormon Pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley. Here are five things you might not know about Utah:

1. The original inhabitants of Utah were Gosiute, Southern Paiute, Ute, Shoshone, and Navajo tribes.

2. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (more commonly called “Mormons”) began arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847. Fleeing religious persecution suffered in Missouri and Illinois, large groups of Mormons, under the direction of their prophet, Brigham Young, trekked west into Utah by covered wagon and handcart.

3. The transcontinental railroad, connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific, was completed with a ceremony at Promontory Summit on 10 May 1869. This further opened the country for even more westward expansion.

4. During The Great Depression, more than 116 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were set up in the state.

5. Utah became the 45th state in 1896.

Our new, free state guide, Utah State Research Guide: Family History Resources in the Beehive State, has a historical overview and timeline of the state’s history. Additionally, there are links to resources for you to explore when searching for connections to Utah in your family tree. Guides for other states are available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.

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Upcoming Ancestry.com Events: July 2014http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/02/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-july-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upcoming-ancestry-com-events-july-2014 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/07/02/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-july-2014/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:59:20 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=18288 Read more]]> Calendar

Summer is in full swing. Family reunions and vacations. Discovering old cemeteries. Getting photos taken for those family Christmas cards.

There is a lot going on around here at Ancestry.com, too. We hope you’ll make some time in your schedule to join us for some of our upcoming webinars and events.

Webinars:

What’s New at Ancestry.com: July 2014 Edition

Tuesday, July 1st at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

Free Records Available on Ancestry.com
Thursday, July 10th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Did you know that there are hundreds of free databases available on Ancestry.com. Join Crista Cowan for a look at the records available to you even without a current subscription. She’ll show you how to access them, how to search them, and how to attach them to your tree. She’ll also share some tips for making note of what you want to search the next time you renew your subscription.

Genealogical Proof Standard:  A Reasonably Exhaustive Search
Tuesday, July 15th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Ready to take your genealogy skills to the next level? “Proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as “proved.” Acceptable conclusions, therefore, meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.” (Board for Certification of Genealogists) Join Crista Cowan for an look at the first element of the Genealogical Proof Standard – a reasonably exhaustive search.

AncestryDNA:  Managing Multiple Tests
Thursday, July 17th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

You have taken the AncestryDNA test. Have you also had your parents, siblings, or aunts and uncles tested as well? Join Crista Cowan for some best practices around managing multiple tests on a single Ancestry.com account. Learn why testing multiple people in your family can benefit you, how to make sure your tests are correctly attached to your tree, and how to use the results to your best advantage.

When You Can’t Find a Birth Record
Tuesday, July 22nd at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

We all know the importance of finding documentation about the facts we put into our family tree. But, what happens when you can’t find the records you need? Join Crista Cowan for a look at alternative places to find birth information.

Black Sheep in Your Family Tree
Thursday, July 24th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

You may not have found your black sheep yet, but we are all bound to have them. In fact, many genealogists relish a good black sheep story because we know they are the people for whom the most records can be found. Join Crista Cowan for a look at prison, convict and criminal records available on Ancestry.com.

FAN Club Research to Build Your Family Tree
Tuesday, July 29th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Revered genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills coined a phrase that explains a genealogy methodology we should all be familiar with – “FAN Club.” Join Crista Cowan for a look at how the study of your ancestors Friends, Associates and Neighbors can help you learn more about your own family.

How Historical Events Shaped Our Ancestors’ Lives
Thursday, July 31st at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

The California Gold Rush. The Civil War. The Influenza Epidemic. There are so many major historical events that shaped our ancestors lives. Join Crista Cowan for a look at how to determine which historical events may have affected your ancestors and where to learn more about them.

Click here to RSVP for any of the above webinars.  Watch each webinar live via Livestream here. If you can’t watch live RSVP anyway to receive reminders via Facebook prior to each event and a notice when they have been archived on YouTube.

Conferences and Events:

Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group, Provo, Utah
Saturday, July 12th

Juliana Szucs Smith will present on researching common names at the monthly meeting of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group. Check out the UVTGG website for directions to this meeting which is free and open to the public.

Ancestry.com Genealogy Tweetchat 
Friday, July 18th at 12:00 pm (Eastern)/9:00 am (Pacific)

Have you always wanted to ask a family history expert a question about your own genealogy research? Now’s your chance! Join family history expert Crista Cowan in an online Ancestry.com Genealogy TweetChat.

The July 18th TweetChat will start at 12:00 pm Eastern (9:00 am Pacific) and run for 1-1.5 hours long.  Go here for instructions on how to participate.

34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah
Sunday, July 27th through Friday, August 1st

Held down the street from the world famous Family History Library, this year’s IAJGS conference will focus on the impact of World War I on our ancestors’ lives.  Other areas of focus will include uses of technology in family history research and Eastern European research.  There will also be several presentations by Ancestry.com employees about search tips and tricks, military records, Fold3, AncestryDNA, Newspapers.com, Family Tree Maker, and the World Memory Project.  Details about the conference, classes, and registration can be found here.

Can’t come to the conference, register for IAJGS Live!  Watch more than 60 of the conference presentations from the comfort of your own home.

Midwestern Roots, Indianapolis, Indiana
Thursday, July 31st through Saturday, August 2nd

Midwestern Roots is a biannual conference hosted by the Indiana Historical Society. There will be more than 30 sessions from nationally-known speakers. This year’s focus is on using ever-changing and emerging technologies and sources online. Other sessions will cover photo preservation, DNA, methodology and using traditional sources. Anne Gillespie Mitchell will present on “How to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story on Ancestry.com,” “Putting Your Ancestors into Historical Perspective with Newspaper.com,” “You’ve Found Your Soldier on Fold3, Now What?”and “Exhaustively Searching on Ancestry.com.” Amy Johnson Crow will give a workshop called “A Guided Tour of Ancestry.com, ” along with sessions “How Do I Know That’s My Ancestor?,” “Finding Females,” “Researching Civil War Ancestors on Fold3,” and “Final Residences: Researching Cemeteries.” Registration information can be found here.

A Look Towards August:

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2014 in San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 30th

FGS always provides exceptional educational offerings, great networking with fellow genealogists, and wonderful research opportunities at libraries near their annual conference. This year will be no different. Ancestry.com staff will be out in force to teach an array of classes.  Our presenters include:  Anne Mitchell (Female Ancestors), Anna Swayne (AncestryDNA), Lou Szucs (Ethnic Origins), Juliana Szucs Smith (Common Surnames), Kyle Betit (Irish Immigrants), Amy Johnson Crow (Critical Thinking for Genealogists, Civil War Veterans, Timelines) and Laura G. Prescott (Large Genealogy Databases, Publishing on a Mac, Publishing Online).

Visit the FGS Conference website to check out the complete schedule and get details on registration.

 

We hope you enjoy your summer with your family.  But, we also hope you can make some time to learn a little bit more about how to be a better family historian. Will you join us for some of our events?

 

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Upcoming Ancestry.com Events: June 2014http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/05/31/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-june-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upcoming-ancestry-com-events-june-2014 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/05/31/upcoming-ancestry-com-events-june-2014/#comments Sat, 31 May 2014 23:37:34 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=17517 Read more]]> High school and college graduations. Weddings. Family vacations and reunions. June is a busy month for everyone. There is a lot going on around here at Ancestry.com, too. We hope you’ll make some time in your schedule to join us for some of our upcoming webinars and events.

Webinars:

Calendar

What’s New at Ancestry.com:  June 2014 Edition
Tuesday, June 3rd at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Join Crista Cowan for a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. She’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

Family Tree Maker: Notes
Thursday, June 12th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Person notes. Research notes. Fact notes. Source notes. There are a lot of places to keep notes in Family Tree Maker. Join Crista Cowan for a look at the different note features in FTM and a look at how she keeps her own notes to help guide her family history research.

 

Free Records Available on Ancestry.com
Tuesday, June 17th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Did you know that there are hundreds of free databases available on Ancestry.com. Join Crista Cowan for a look at the records available to you even without a current subscription. She’ll show you how to access them, how to search them, and how to attach them to your tree. She’ll also share some tips for making note of what you want to search the next time you renew your subscription.

 

AncestryDNA:  The Search for Biological Family
Thursday, June 19th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Many of you have taken the AncestryDNA test for the sole purpose of discovering more about your biological family. Some of you have been contacted by cousin matches who are hoping you can help them in their search. Join Crista Cowan to learn some of the tips and tricks for working with your AncestryDNA results and connecting with your DNA cousins to narrow in on those biological ancestors.

 

Double Dating:  Julian Calendar or Gregorian Calendar
Tuesday, June 24th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

You may have seen the double dates recorded in some family trees – a birth date listed as 1743/1744. But, do you know WHY it is recorded that way? Join Crista Cowan for a look at the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and how that affects your family history research.

 

Genealogical Proof Standard:  An Introduction
Thursday, June 26th at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

Ready to take your genealogy skills to the next level? “Proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as “proved.” Acceptable conclusions, therefore, meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.” (Board for Certification of Genealogists) Join Crista Cowan for an introduction to the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Click here to RSVP for any of the above webinars.  Watch each webinar live via Livestream here.  If you can’t watch live RSVP anyway to receive reminders via Facebook prior to each event and a notice when they have been archived on YouTube.

Conferences and Events:

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, California
Thursday, June 5th through Sunday, June 8th

Come for a day (or all four) to one of our favorite genealogy conferences of the year.  Ancestry.com will have a booth in the FREE exhibit hall where you can visit with experts in family history, AncestryDNA, Family Tree Maker and the Ancestry mobile apps.  Ancestry.com is also offering FREE scanning of your precious photos and documents.

You can also register to attend conference classes with some of the best in the industry – Peter Drinkwater (Newspapers.com and Fold3), Anna Swayne (AncestryDNA), Duff Wilson (Family Tree Maker), Aaron Orr (Ancestry Mobile) and Crista Cowan (Ancestry.com Searching and Military Records).   Check out the complete schedule here.

Can’t make it to Burbank?  Ancestry.com is sponsoring 14 free, live-streamed sessions of the conference that you can watch from the comfort of your own home.  Check out the live-streaming schedule here.

 

Ancestry.com Genealogy Tweetchat 
Monday, June 23rd at 9:00 pm (Eastern)/6:00 pm (Pacific)

Have you always wanted to ask a family history expert a question about your own genealogy research? Now’s your chance! Join family history expert Crista Cowan in an online Ancestry.com Genealogy TweetChat.

The June 23rd TweetChat will start at 9:00 pm Eastern (6:00 pm Pacific) and run for 1-1.5 hours long.  Go here for instructions on how to participate.

Look to the Future:

What’s New at Ancestry.com: July 2014 Edition
Tuesday, July 1st at 1:00 pm (Eastern)/10:00 am (Pacific)

We’ll take a quick look at the new features and tools available to help make your family history easier and more fun. We’ll also review the databases full of new content released in the past month and show you how best to search them to find the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

34th IAJGS International Confernece on Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah
Sunday, July 27th through Friday, August 1st

Held down the street from the world famous Family History Library, this year’s IAJGS conference will focus on the impact of World War I on our ancestors’ lives.  Other areas of focus will include uses of technology in family history research and Eastern European research.  There will also be several presentations by Ancestry.com employees about search tips and tricks, military records, Fold3, AncestryDNA, Newspapers.com, Family Tree Maker, and the World Memory Project.  Details about the conference, classes, and registration can be found here.

 

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2014 in San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 30th

FGS always provides exceptional educational offerings, great networking with fellow genealogists, and wonderful research opportunities at libraries near their annual conference.  This year will be no different.  Ancestry.com staff will be out in force to teach an array of classes.  Our presenters include:  Anne Mitchell (Female Ancestors), Anna Swayne (AncestryDNA), Lou Szucs (Ethnic Origins), Juliana Szucs Smith (Common Surnames), Kyle Betit (Irish Immigrants), Amy Johnson Crow (Critical Thinking for Genealogists, Civil War Veterans, Timelines) and Laura G Prescott (Large Genealogy Databases, Publishing on a Mac, Publishing Online).

Visit the FGS Conference website to check out the complete schedule and get details on registration.

We hope you enjoy your summer with your family.  But, we also hope you can make some time to learn a little bit more about how to be a better family historian.  Will you join us for some of our events?

 

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6 Steps for Success in Working with Your AncestryDNA Matcheshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/05/28/6-steps-for-success-in-working-with-your-ancestrydna-matches/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-steps-for-success-in-working-with-your-ancestrydna-matches http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/05/28/6-steps-for-success-in-working-with-your-ancestrydna-matches/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 19:14:40 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=17347 Read more]]> I’ve been working with my AncestryDNA results for a couple of years now with great success.  Here are six steps you can use to find success with your AncestryDNA matches as well.

1.  Make sure your test is attached to a tree.

SettingsAncestryDNA reveals cousin matches whether you have a family tree attached or not.  However, in order to understand more about those cousin matches and encourage them to work with you to uncover your common ancestors, you need to have a public tree on Ancestry.com and that tree needs to be attached to your AncestryDNA test. Check to make sure your test is attached to the correct person in your family tree by clicking on the SETTINGS button on “Your DNA Home Page.”

Are you looking for biological family members?  Create a tree with a “Biological Father” and “Biological Mother” listed as such so that others know that you are looking for biological family and not just that you don’t have a family tree online.

2.  Use the Hint feature to see those cousins with whom you have an identified shared ancestor.

HintsOnce your tree is attached to your AncestryDNA test, Ancestry.com goes to work trying to identify common ancestors in your tree and the trees of your matches.  Use the Hints filter to discover where a shared ancestor has been identified in your trees. Review your tree and theirs to ensure that the research is solid. If you notice any discrepancies, contact your new-found cousin and invite them to work together to figure it out.

3.  Make notes so you can review later.

Notes

When viewing a match page, use the Notes feature to make note of actual relationships, common ancestors or suspected connections.  Once you save these notes, you can view them from the Member Matches page without having to click through to each individual match’s page. After I make a note I then click on the star so I can quickly filter to a list of matches I’ve reviewed and made notations about.

4.  Search by surname and look for patterns.

SurnameSearch

Once you’ve identified a match or two with the same common ancestor, spend a little time researching that family. Have you identified all of their children? Who did their daughters and granddaughters marry?  Now, use the Surname Search to identify your AncestryDNA matches who have those same surnames in their family trees.

5.  Check back regularly and sort by date to see newest matches.

SortByDateEvery time someone else takes the AncestryDNA test, we compare their DNA to yours to see if you are related.  If they are, we add them to your list of cousin matches.  (I have 196 new matches in just the last seven days.)  As each of these new people build out their family trees, the possibilities of shared ancestor hints showing up increases. Check back regularly and sort your list by date to see the new matches at the top of the list. Be sure to go back to the Hints filter regularly to see what new hints have turned up as well.

6.  Collaborate!  Collaborate!  Collaborate!

SendMessages2

On the profile page for every one of your matches you will find a big green “Send Message” button. Use this to communicate with your matches. Introduce yourself. Ask questions about their research. Offer to share what you know. Establish a relationship. Once those lines of communication are open, you can begin working together to share additional information about your matches, looking for overlapping matches, surnames and locations that will help you triangulate connections on your family trees.

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