Ancestry.com Blog » Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry.com Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:50:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 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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Genealogy Education: There is Excellent Help Out Therehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/25/genealogy-education-there-is-excellent-help-out-there/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=genealogy-education-there-is-excellent-help-out-there http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/25/genealogy-education-there-is-excellent-help-out-there/#comments Sat, 25 Jan 2014 16:41:57 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=14505 Read more]]> When people first become interested in family history it is easy, especially in this day and age, to do a few online searches, start building a family tree and develop the confidence that they are an expert. When they hit their first brick wall, they often go looking for assistance in the way of tutorials or articles. Some will even attend a genealogy conference or buy a book or two. This is all a very natural progression of the learning curve with most new hobbies or skills.

 

Ancestry.com employees are genealogists – some of us by profession, the rest by avocation. Some of us have been doing this for decades. And, a few of us do genealogy research every single day. The more time we spend doing this the more we come to understand – we don’t know what we don’t know.

 

Last week six Ancestry.com employees and several of our colleagues from ProGenealogists attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. This week-long program is different from a traditional genealogy conference. Participants select one course of study and, together with 30 or 40 other students, spend all week long with the same two or three instructors learning about a very specialized topic. There are often homework assignments that allow us to spend the evening applying what we have spent the day learning. We begin the next day reviewing our results before diving into another full day of learning.

 

Ancestry.com Employees at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2014

                             Ancestry.com Employees at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2014.                                 Back Row LtoR: Juliana Szucs Smith, Sabrina Peterson, Lisa Elzey. Front Row LtoR: Crista Cowan, Michelle Ercanbrack, Anne Gillespie Mitchell. 

Michelle Ercanbrack, a member of our Corporate PR Research team attended Producing a Quality Family Narrative. The course coordinator, principal instructor and master storyteller, John Philip Coletta, used a passenger list and a picture of a pocket watch to weave a story about one of his ancestors. Michelle learned more about the importance of studying the social history of the times and places our ancestors lived. We can then use that information, in concert with the information we have gleaned from the records we’ve uncovered, to better tell the stories of our ancestors’ lives.

 

Juliana Szucs Smith, genealogist and researcher for our Social Media team, took Karen Mauer Green’s course, Researching New York: Resources and Strategies. Juliana was reminded of the importance of knowing the history of the places where your ancestor lived. An important thing to remember about early New York City was the fact that Dutch was the dominant culture. It influenced the way records were kept—and sometimes how names were spelled. Juliana was prompted to relook at some of the records for her Irish ancestors who came to New York and she found an Irish immigrant in the 1850 census who could be her ancestor William Dennis. He was enumerated with the Dutch spelling of Denyse, but lists his birthplace as Ireland. Other insights she gained was a better understanding of the New York court system, and a much better appreciation of the intricacies of land and other records in both upstate New York and New York City.

 

Sabrina Peterson (Digital Imaging Director), Anne Mitchell (Ancestry Library Edition Product Manager, aka Ancestry Anne) and Lisa Elzey (Corporate PR Research team) all attended Mark Lowe’s class, Research in the South. When I asked Lisa what she learned, she told me, “Farmers aren’t boring!” The terrain of the land they lived on can help you determine where they may have come from. So, get those maps out! Lisa also learned about family members who “make noise.” We all have them – those relatives who leave more records because they get in more trouble or do more good. Follow them and they will often lead you to the rest of the family.

 

I took Advanced Genealogical Methods with Dr. Thomas Jones. He used examples to show us how people don’t appear in records together at random. We need to determine how everyone named in that marriage record, deed, will or land transaction are related, because they usually are. I also learned to track every piece of land my ancestors ever owned. Who did it come from and where did it go? “Blood often follows land.” I was reminded that I need to use spreadsheets more often to compare and correlate the information I find BEFORE I put it into my family tree.

 

Several of the 350+ attendees at this event tweeted little gems throughout the week. Be sure to check them out for more tidbits of genealogical knowledge. And, if you are interested in attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), check out the complete course offerings to see the excellent topics and instructors they have lined up for 2015.

 

Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree!

 

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Favorite Features in Family Tree Makerhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/09/favorite-features-in-family-tree-maker/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=favorite-features-in-family-tree-maker http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/09/favorite-features-in-family-tree-maker/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:30:13 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=13254 Read more]]> I use Family Tree Maker every single day.  There are many reasons why I love it.  I can move around my tree without having to wait for web pages to load with each new click.  I can customize my screen to show me exactly what information I want to see about each person.  I can privatize specific pieces of media or facts that I don’t want uploaded to my public tree on Ancestry.com when I sync my offline and online trees.  Not connected to the internet? No problem. I still can access my tree from my laptop at 30,000 feet or when I’m at grandma’s house.

Here are a couple more examples of ways in which I use Family Tree Maker to enhance and improve my genealogy research experience..

Reports

I enjoy having so many options for creating reports.  I can create pedigree charts and family group sheets, relationship charts or descendants reports.  There is even a report I can run for all undocumented facts in my tree.  I can print these reports to use as a map for my research or just create a PDF file to share with family via email.

Family Tree Maker Reports

My favorite Family Tree Maker report is the data error report.  This report allows me to check my file for common mistakes that are made when I enter information into my tree.  Did I mistype a birth date and have a woman married to a man who died before she was born?  Are there families in my tree where the children are not listed in birth order?  Is there anyone in my tree who lived to be more than 120 years old because I copied a piece of information incorrectly?  The data error report allows me to search for these and many other possible errors.  A list is generated that I can then print out and use as a guide to go through my tree and review those errors so I can fix what needs fixing..

Filters

As much as I love family history research, one of my personal challenges is focus. Some days I sit down to work on my family history and I don’t know where to start.  Or I start with one thing and get distracted along other lines of the family.  Sometimes this is a fun way to approach the climb up my family tree.  Other times I frustrate myself with this behavior.  One of the features in Family Tree Maker I use a lot is the filter.  I can filter the index of people in my tree down to any specific criteria.  Then I can focus on that specific list of people to do further research.  The possibilities are endless but here are some suggestions to get your brain working.

  • Who in my tree was living in the United States in 1940 but does not yet have a 1940 census record attached?
  • A new database just came online at Ancestry.com.  Who in my tree ever lived in the specific location covered by the records in this new database?
  • Which men in my tree were eligible for the World War One draft but don’t yet have a draft card attached?
  • Who are all of the descendants of a specific ancestor?

Family Tree Maker Filter

The list of filter options is only bound by your imagination and could invigorate your family history research.  And, the more facts you record about people (hair color, eye color, height, military service, occupation, etc.), the more your filter options become a really fun tool to use.

Now, I’d like to hear from you.  What’s your favorite feature of Family Tree Maker?

Have fun climbing your family tree!

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Thanksgivukkah and Family Historyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/11/28/thanksgivukkah-and-family-history/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thanksgivukkah-and-family-history http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/11/28/thanksgivukkah-and-family-history/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 22:56:45 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=13525 Read more]]> Hanukkah began last night.  For the first time since 1888, the Jewish holiday coincides with Thanksgiving here in the United States. Not only that, but Thanksgivukkah will not happen for another 79,000 years.  So, families are finding unique ways to celebrate the two holidays together.  I’ve seen turkey menorahs and fall colored dreidels.  I even did a search for a pumpkin challah recipe – and I’m not even Jewish.

For those of you who are Jewish, as you spend time with family over the coming days of Hanukkah, I am sure that the conversation at some point will turn to Hanukkah’s past.  Stories will be shared.  Loved ones will be remembered.  You may even find a few quiet moment to do a little family history research – alone or with a family member.

If you are just getting started, be sure to check out the Top Tips for Beginning Jewish Family History Research.  Once you have traced your ancestors into Europe, the research becomes a little more challenging so my best advice is to be sure you know exactly where in Europe your family came from before trying to do further research.  Google the name of that location to learn a little more about it.  Understand what country it was part of when your family lived there, and what country it is part of today.  Understanding geo-political boundaries is critical to knowing where records about your ancestors may exist today.

Next, use the Card Catalog on Ancestry.com to narrow down the list of databases to only those that have records about the particular country you are interested in, using the filters on the left hand side.  You can further filter that list by time period and record type.  You will likely find birth, marriage and burial records, voter lists and assorted censuses.  Click on any one of these databases to search. Try searching by last name only (including spelling variations) in a specific location to identify other possible family members.

If your family is from Eastern Europe, and you don’t find a collection on Ancestry.com that contains records for the time period and location your ancestors lived, be sure to check out Miriam Weiner’s Eastern European Archival Database.  Search this database by location to discover what records are held in archives throughout the countries of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine.  Many birth, marriage and death records yet to be digitized, some dating back to the mid-1700s, can be found in national and local archives.  This database provides you with specifics about the record types, years covered and exactly where you can write to obtain copies of those records.

Example of an entry from the Archival Database

Example of an entry from the Archival Database

Regardless of whether you are eating mashed potatoes or latkes for dinner, I hope you have the opportunity to gather with family to remember the miracles in your life and express gratitude to one another.  While you are doing that, don’t forget to take lots of pictures, ask lots of questions, and tell your favorite family stories.  While lighting the menorah each night, you may discover that the flame of family history is lit in the hearts of your loved ones as well.

Happy Hanukkah!  And, have fun climbing your family tree.

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Making More Family Connections With AncestryDNAhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/22/making-family-connections-with-ancestrydna/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=making-family-connections-with-ancestrydna http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/22/making-family-connections-with-ancestrydna/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 22:30:10 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12673 Read more]]> Did you take the AncestryDNA test? Do you have a lot of cousin matches? Are you not quite sure how you connect with each of those matches? Here is a plan to ensure that you get the most out of your AncestryDNA experience.

How are cousins related to you? (Click for larger view.)

How are cousins related to you? (Click for larger view.)

 

1. Remember how cousins are connected to you. First cousins mean you have a common grandparent. Second cousins mean you have a common great-grandparent. Third cousins mean you have a common great-great-grandparent. And so on. The more great-grandparents you have in your tree, the more likely you are to discover a common relative with some of your matches.

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2. Do you have dates attached to each of your ancestors? Even if you don’t know an exact date when an ancestor was born, estimate it based on the birth year of their oldest child. I typically use a date 20-22 years before that oldest child was born. You can put “about” and then the year so you know it is an estimate. Then include a note about why you chose that date so you can make adjustments as more information comes to light. Not sure who their oldest child is? Do a little more research.

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3. Go back through your family tree and make sure you use the drop-down list to enter birth locations for each of your ancestors. This allows us to compare locations in your tree to the locations in the family trees of your matches. If you have “non-standardized” locations entered (for example, abbreviations for state names or missing counties), you may be missing out on match hints because our computers don’t recognize the place.

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4. Some people don’t know how to attach their DNA results to their online tree so it looks like they have “No Family Tree.” Click through to review the match anyway. You may discover that they actually DO have a family tree, but just haven’t attached it yet. Better yet, send them a (kind) message and let them know that you’d love to learn more about your family connection. Invite them to attach their DNA results to their online tree so you will both have all of the automated tools at your disposal to help discover more. (Haven’t attached your own results yet? Follow these simple instructions.)

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SendMessage

.5. If someone has a private tree, especially if they are a close match (4th cousins or closer), send them a message and ask for permission to view their tree for a couple of days so you can work with them to discover your connection.  If you have a private tree, be sure to check your message box and respond to messages in a timely manner.

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6. Be patient! More than 200,000 people have taken the AncestryDNA test and more people are taking the test every day. New cousin matches are being added to your list each time one of those new people has DNA that connects with yours.

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What are your best tips for finding success with your AncestryDNA matches? 

Now, go have fun climbing your (genetic) family tree!

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Top Tips for Beginning Jewish Family History Researchhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/15/top-tips-for-beginning-jewish-family-history-research/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-tips-for-beginning-jewish-family-history-research http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/15/top-tips-for-beginning-jewish-family-history-research/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 20:44:04 +0000 Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12489 Read more]]> In 1925 more than 3.5% of Americans identified as Jewish. Today it is less than 2%. Do you know all eight of your great-grandparents? Is it possible that one of them was Jewish?

JewishFamilyHistoryCollection

Jews have been in America since colonial times. Throughout the 1800s German Jews immigrated to the United States and spread throughout the country. From 1880 to 1924 there was a large scale immigration of more than 2 million Jews. Most of them were poor, Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews fleeing persecution in Russia, Romania, and Poland. They settled in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. Some went straight to Chicago, New Orleans or Galveston. Eventually many of them made their way out to Los Angeles or San Francisco.

On today’s broadcast of The Barefoot Genealogist I discussed some of the top tips for beginning Jewish family history research. Most of the information I shared at the beginning echoes what I posted yesterday (with specific examples) and is applicable to anyone with late 19th century or early 20th century immigrant ancestors. Near the end of the video I shared additional tips specific to those with Jewish ancestry.

At Ancestry.com/Jewish you will find a portal to the Jewish Family History Collection on Ancestry.com. Here you will find a list of all of the Jewish specific content available on our website – free and premium.

From this page, you can search our collections using “Jewish” priority. First, priority is given to Jewish databases and any record in any database where we can identify that the person is Jewish. Maybe they listed their language as Yiddish on a census or their race as Hebrew on a passenger lists. We look at that and those search results are returned higher on the list than someone with the same name that doesn’t have that information. Second, the last name field utilizes the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex instead of the standard American Soundex normally used on our website. (You can also utilize this same search functionality on the main search page by changing the Collection Priority to Jewish.)

Two other tools available on the Jewish family history page are the Community Locator and the Name Variations widgets. The first allows you to locate any town or village in Eastern Europe to see where it is, what countries it has belonged to over time, and all of the variant spellings and names by which it has been known. The second allows you to enter the first name of a relative and see what the Yiddish and country specific variations of that name have been over time. Watch the video for specific examples of how to use each of these widgets and for more research tips and tricks.

Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree!

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