Ancestry Blog » Crista Cowan http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 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.

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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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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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