Ancestry Projects–Just in Time for the Holidays

With temperatures unseasonably warm here in the Midwestern U.S., it’s hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner. If it weren’t for the leaves falling from the trees, I would be hard-pressed to believe we’re moving into late October. Next thing, you know the holidays are here.

This year I was thrilled to see the launch of a new Ancestry Projects page roll out, with helpful instructions on how to turn photographs, record images, and information you’ve worked hard to gather into thoughtful gifts for family. You can open a PDF file with instructions for creating:

  • Family History Book (which we talked about in my column last week)Anc. Projects-recipe book1.bmp
  • Family Recipe Book
  • Portrait Templates
  • Family History Calendar
  • Hoodie/T-shirt
  • Greeting Cards

My husband inherited his grandmother’s treasured recipe book. It’s falling apart and includes tons of recipes, with handwritten recipes and notes from family members. My plan is to scan the family favorites and create a recipe book with Ancestry Press to share with my husband’s mom and siblings (and of course one for my daughter!).

Anyway, they’ve come up with some great ideas for meaningful family history projects and step-by-step instructions make the projects simple to create. Check it out and have some fun making gifts for your family–and yourself! Click here to learn more.

The Generations Network, Parent Company of, to be Acquired by Spectrum Equity Investors


Investment Will Support and Accelerate Company’s Strategic Direction and Growth Plan

PROVO, UTAH – October 17, 2007 – The Generations Network, Inc., today announced that Spectrum Equity Investors will lead an investment of $300 million to purchase a majority interest in the company. Spectrum, a private equity firm based in Menlo Park and Boston, has been a shareholder in The Generations Network since 2003. Following the transaction, Vic Parker and Ben Spero from Spectrum will serve on the company’s new board of directors, along with Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions and is expected to close in 2007.

The Generations Network’s portfolio of sites and products includes and seven international Ancestry sites,,,, Family Tree Maker® and Ancestry Magazine. The company’s current management team will continue to lead the company.

“As an investor in The Generations Network for the past four years, we have watched the company revolutionize the family history category by leveraging the power of the Internet to make it more accessible and easy for anyone,” said Vic Parker, Managing Partner, Spectrum Equity Investors. “ and are clear category leaders in the growing and rapidly evolving family history and family networking markets. We are excited to partner with The Generations Network management team to continue growing this truly unique company that has the power to impact users at a very personal and emotional level.” Continue reading Launches Online DNA Testing Service Combining Science and Social Networking

DNA Ancestry.bmpAncestry put out the the following press release this morning. The Chicago Sun-Times picked up on this story and they have an interesting article by Howard Wolinsky on their website.

Integration of DNA, Historical Records and Online Community of 15 Million Users Creates Ultimate Social Network for Family History

PROVO, UTAH – October 16, 2007 –, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today launched DNA Ancestry – a new service combining the precision of DNA testing with’s unrivaled collection of 5 billion names in historical records and the site’s unmatched online family history community.

This DNA testing service, online at, provides’s growing network of more than 15 million users a tool that helps solve family-tree mysteries through science. By taking a simple cheek-swab test and comparing DNA test results in DNA Ancestry’s expanding results database, individuals may be able to extend the branches of their family trees, prove (or disprove) family legends, discover living relatives they never knew existed and find new leads where traditional paper trails dead end.

“DNA testing in family history is reaching critical mass,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for and co-author of the no. 1 selling book on genetic genealogy, Tracing Your Roots with DNA. “As more people add their results, the DNA Ancestry database becomes a powerful asset for users to make connections and discover their family tree. Already, many people have taken a simple DNA test to uncover genetic cousins and tap into their research, gathering names, dates, places and stories for their own family tree.”

DNA Ancestry offers Y-DNA and mtDNA tests – the two types of DNA tests most useful in family history, ranging in price from $149 to $199. The Y-DNA test analyzes the DNA in the Y chromosome, which is passed virtually unchanged from father to son. Test results can help users identify living individuals who share Y-DNA as well as predict ancient ancestors’ origins. Women can benefit from Y-DNA by having their father or other related male take the test. The mtDNA test analyzes DNA in an individual’s mitochondrial DNA, which passes from a mother to her children. Test results predict ancient ancestors’ origins and migration route from Africa and can aid in identifying living cousins. Continue reading

Breaking News about the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference Blog

fgs2008Phil.bmpThe next FGS Conference will take place from 03-06 September 2008 in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This four day Footprints of Family History educational conference honors the host city as the place where the ancestors of millions of Americans first set foot on the continent. Family historians like to keep up with additional news and details about the annual FGS Conferences. The 2008 conference committee has a blog to provide that.

It is easy to join in on the knowledge – just go to, click on Conferences, then on 2008 Conference, and on that page click on Blog. Direct access to the blog can be reached via Check back often to see the frequent news, updates, program announcements, vendor details, and more that will be provided by the dedicated volunteers of the conference committee and others in the genealogical, archival, and historical communities. Why not add the site to your Favorites or Bookmark it for easy access!

New at Ancestry

Ancestry____logo.bmpPosted This Week:

Coming Soon:

  • U.S. Passport Applications, 1787-1925 
  • Historic U.S. & Canada Atlases, 1591-2000 
  • Major U.S. & Canada Newspaper Update 
  • North Dakota State Census, 1915 & 1925 
  • Oklahoma Territorial Census, 1890 & 1907 
  • Southern Claims Commission Records 
  • Stars and Stripes, Pacific Theater, 1942-1964

Weekly Planner: Five Questions About Home

Mary DennisIn honor of Family History Month, your challenge is to answer five questions from each Weekly Planner topic–or make up five of your own. This week’s topic is home. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What was your room like when you were growing up? Did you share it or did you have your own room? What did it look like?
  • Did you have a backyard? A garden? Did you grow fruits and/or vegetables? 
  • Did you have a secret hiding place?
  • What household chores were your responsibilities?
  • In what room did your family gather most? Was it in the living room or around the kitchen table? What did you do there? Sing? Talk about the day? Watch T.V.? Tell stories?

Feel free to share your memories in the Comments section of this blog below; or, if you have a blog, post a link to your responses. Your memory may help spark the memories of other readers who had similar experiences. For more interesting questions, see

Previous challenges:

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Using Ancestry Press, by Juliana Smith

Muriel Dyer APress--Pass. Arr. 1928-resize.bmpUnfortunately, I have to start this week by apologizing to those of you who did not receive last week’s newsletter. There was a problem with the mailing list. If you still haven’t seen it, it is available online in the Ancestry Library.  If you still haven’t received a newsletter via email, and are reading this online, please check your account preferences to make sure you’re still on our mailing list. (To do this, log in to using your membership or free registered user I.D. and password, and click on My Account. In the top right box, select Update your newsletter and marketing email preferences, then make sure the box for Weekly Journal is checked. If not, check it and scroll down to Update Preferences.) I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.

One last little piece of housekeeping. I’ve included some samples here on the blog from a book I created from one of my trees. It’s in the experimental stages, but I’m including a variety of examples of what you can do, and so you can see some of the tools and icons I am describing. I realize the images aren’t optimum size for reading, but if you click on the images it will enlarge them a bit. Now, let’s get started!

In last week’s column, I discussed how I have been working on tidying up my online tree at Ancestry, attaching records and photographs. This week we’re going to take a look at what we can do with the new Ancestry Press tool that was launched this week, using all those images that we loaded to our tree.

Getting Started
Beginning your book is easy. Go to the new Publish tab at Ancestry and click on the orange Get Started button. (You’ll want to disable any pop-up blockers you have enabled.) Next you can choose to either create a new book using templates, or to create one from scratch. Let’s walk through the steps of creating a new book using the templates. This will bring in all the records and images you’ve attached to your tree.

On the next screen, you’ll see a list of the trees you have posted at Ancestry. Select the tree you want, then the format of the pedigree chart, and finally the starting person for your book. Then click Continue. Ancestry will gather all the information from your tree and create pages based on what you have attached. When it finishes loading you’ll find pedigree charts, family group sheets, timelines, and pages for the records you have loaded. You can also create blank pages.

Let the Fun Begin
With your tree loaded, now the fun part begins–customizing your book. You’ll notice on the left side of the first page there is a menu bar with three buttons. The bottom button will be opened at first and through this button you can choose to view records and photos that you attached to anyone in that tree. It will default to your start person, but you can change views by typing in the name of someone else in the tree.

Dyer Family Group Sheet-AncestryPress

The button above it contains Embellishments that you can use in your book, and above that you’ll find Photos. Click on any button to open that selection, and then you can just click and drag whatever image or text you’ve selected to the page you’re working on. Continue reading

Cite Your Sources Right! A Book Review, by George G. Morgan

Evidence Explained.bmpThe long-awaited official release of Elizabeth Shown Mills’s new book, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, published by Genealogical Publishing Co., occurred at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2008 Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in August. And what a great book it is! It doesn’t replace her previous book, Evidence! which remains an excellent reference for a large number of source materials. Nor does it replace the laminated QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style, published in 2005. Instead, it takes source citations to the most current of levels and includes a wonderful collection of source materials and definitive citation examples.

The book boasts more than 1,000 examples, weighs in at 2 lbs. 4 oz., is 885 pages long (including the indexes), and retails for $49.95. While not intended to be read cover to cover, I will tell you that, as a genealogist concerned with performing and documenting research in a scholarly way, this is a must-have book for your personal reference library. Don’t skip the foreword, which is a short and concise statement of why we should all be interested in citations. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Not the Newspaper of Record, from D.G. Fulford

We used to have a saying when I first worked for a newspaper, an alternative weekly in Pasadena, California. “We are not the newspaper of record,” we’d say. There was a daily paper in town that carried that responsibility. This freed us up to write more quirky and colorful stories.

You are not the newspaper of record, either. Remember that. It is not your duty to recreate World War II on the page, or sum up the Great Depression.  What your readers want to know, the story only you can tell, is what you felt in those days, what you saw, and how you were affected.

Are you particularly careful with your money because of your family’s experiences in the 1929 stock market crash? Do your children or your children’s children agree with you about the value of a dollar? Do they buy designer clothes when you think store brand would do? Do you have military clothing stashed away?  Is it your father’s, your brother’s, your sister’s, or your own? When you get together to tell war stories, what stories do you tell?

Do not feel that you must recount the history of the world. If you put down your own experiences, you are adding your individual voice to humanity’s ambitious goal of getting the story told.

Get more tips on preserving your memories on The

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