Photo Corner

Ilona, Joseph and Mary Vajko, in late 1956-57Contributed by Elizabeth Raver
This is a picture of my mother, Ilona Danko, when she was sixteen, and my grandparents, Joseph and Mary Vajko, in late 1956-57. They were Hungarian Freedom fighters during the revolution and this picture was taken in a work camp, in what used to be Yugoslavia. Thankfully, they escaped and came to America in 1958. I was the first American born in my family, on 4 July 1961. Kosonom szepen (thank you), Elizabeth Raver

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Willie Miller Hudson, taken 25 Sept 1918 in Nancy, FranceContributed by Eloise Hudson Hunt
The attached photo is one of my father, Willie Miller Hudson, taken 25 Sept 1918 in Nancy, France, during World War I. He served as a private, U.S. Army, Company C, 508th Engineers. Born 12 Aug 1895, Newport, AR; Died 15 Sept 1962, St. Louis, MO.

Coming Soon to Ancestry: Drouin Collection

This collection of records, acquired from the Drouin Institute in Canada with cooperation from the University of Montreal, is considered to be the best genealogical resource for French-Canadian research. It contains the names of 37 million people collected on church records in Quebec, Ontario, and other U.S. French regions from the late 1600s to the 1940s.

The Practical Archivist

I received an email from Sally Jacobs last month letting me know about her blog, “The Practical Archivist,” which unfortunately promptly got buried in my inbox. I went and checked it out this morning and found it’s well worth a look. Today’s post is more of a venting session on a recent customer  service experience, and although I found myself shaking my head in a kind of “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” way, the real gems are in the preservation articles. Here are some of the post titles:

  • Have you been protecting the wrong side of your CDs?
  • Research Tip: Custom Search Engines
  • Help! My Photos Are Stuck
  • How Long Will My Digital Prints Last?
  • The Truth About “Archival” Products

You can check out Sally’s blog at:  I’m off to search her archives for an article on keeping your inbox uncluttered. 😉

3rd Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise

I received the following press release from Wholly Genes, and after waking to yet another sub-zero morning, the Caribbean sure sounds good!

Announcing the 3rd Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise.
The largest family history conference on the seas.

Wholly Genes, Inc., of Columbia, Maryland, is proud to announce the 2007 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, October 28-November 4, 2007.  This annual event attracts more than 400 family researchers who learn about research methods, tools, and techniques from some of the foremost experts in those fields.

This year’s conference will be held on the elegant Caribbean Princess as it cruises the Eastern Caribbean.  Between educational lectures, the group will enjoy relaxing vacations at the tropical ports of St.
Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess Cays, Bahamas.

This conference on the sea has a reputation for hosting an all-star lineup of lecturers that rivals many national and regional conferences.  This year’s event is no exception, offering an unprecedented schedule of ten principal speakers, including some of the most prominent professional genealogists and technology experts from the United States, England, and Ireland: Continue reading

What Happened in Vegas, Stayed in Vegas…Until Now

Ancestry logo.bmpAncestry has sent out the following press release: 


Infamous Records Tell All – 50 Years of Hook-Ups and Break-Ups Unleashed in’s Nevada Marriage & Divorce Records Collection; This Valentine’s Day – What’s Love Got to Do with It? Find Out What Really Went On…

PROVO, UTAH – February 7, 2007 – For more than 9 million people who said their ‘I do’s’ and ‘I don’ts’ in Nevada between 1956 and 2005 – the cat’s out of the bag., the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced it is unleashing a unique collection of Nevada’s infamous marriage and divorce records.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the collection provides an inside look into this iconic location for marriages and divorces in the United States – from high profile hook-ups and break-ups to nuptials of the common folk. A cross-section of the collection reveals some fascinating and fun facts on getting together, splitting up and everything in between – celebrity sightings, most popular days of the week to get married, percent of marriages that take place in Nevada vs. nationwide, how many marriages take place per minute, number of divorces per capita, shortest marriages of Nevada history, repeat offenders and more.

“Only in Nevada could you find a collection that’s as enlightening as it is light-hearted, amusing and, at times, even absurd,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian at “Whether you’re interested in celebrity gossip, statistics on marriage, picking a date for a Vegas wedding, this collection has something for everyone whether you’re researching your family history or simply being nosy.” 

Crunching the data from the collection, is launching, an online marriage-predicting site, which, based on your first name, will give you the first names of the people you’re most likely to marry in Nevada. At you will be given the Nevada odds that you will, in fact, someday wed that special someone in your life. Visit to get a glimpse of your odds in Vegas. Continue reading

It’s Monday…

Below zero thermometer.jpgWell, it’s definitely a Monday morning here in freezing NW Indiana. Not only am I mourning the loss of my beloved Chicago Bears, but am coming in to the office to find that this week’s the tool we use to deliver the newsletter is giving us grief again, so the newsletter has not gone out yet. You can however, read it here on the blog in the meantime.

I’m sorry for the delay in today’s delivery, but the good news is, we’ll be switching to a new tool that we’re hoping will do a better job of getting the newsletter out to our readers. Stay tuned for more information.


New at Ancestry

Posted This Week:

Weekly Planner: Attack a Brick Wall

brick wall.jpgWe are sometimes advised that when we run into one of those so-called “brick walls,” we should take a break from it and work on another line. Good advice, but also remember to periodically go back and take a whack at it. There have been significant additions to what is available online and you may find that recent additions have carved a hole in that wall. Dust off one of those challenging family lines and see what you can dig up. You’ll be amazed at what a fresh perspective and new resources can do for you!


Using Ancestry: Exploring New Resources in the African American Collection, by Juliana Smith

Camp Alger, Va.: Colored troops in skirmish drill, ca. 1898When Ancestry launched the expanded African American Collection, several of the new databases caught my interest. As someone with relatively little experience in this area, I was eager to explore them and see what I could find. Focusing on the new information, here are some of the items I found.

Freedmen’s Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1865-1872
Following the Civil War, millions of Americans were in need. 4 million former slaves were now free, and in need of a way to make a living. In March of 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was formed and would become better known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. According to “The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy,” (Chapter 14, African American Research, by Tony Burroughs, FUGA), “The bureau’s agents delivered medical care, rations, and transportation to destitutes and refugees–primarily white Americans. Its activities among freed people (former slaves) were varied and included drawing up and enforcing labor contracts; registering people and supervising work details; legalizing slave marriages; processing Civil War military claims; establishing schools; conducting trials for complaints, outrages, and murders; managing, leasing, and selling land abandoned by Confederates and sympathizers; and in general, presiding over Reconstruction policy.” Continue reading

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