Pipl Search

I may be a little behind on this find, but today I ran across a new (to me anyway) search called Pipl. It claims to search the deep web, including genealogy sites and databases. I tested it on one of my ancestors, Edwin Dyer, who was a police captain in New York. I didn’t see any hits from Ancestry.com, although I know he is in several databases, but it did turn him up in the 1880 Census on FamilySearch, and I did see a different Edwin Dyer come up in the SSDI on RootsWeb. There was also an entry on Find-a-Grave that caught my eye. I clicked through and recognized the e-mail address of my cousin’s wife. Although we’ve stayed in contact off and on over the years, it was neat to run across her e-mail address. I dropped her a line to thank her for adding it and I plan to search for some other ancestors on Pipl. Hopefully there are more cousins out there for me to find!


23andMe and Ancestry.com Partner to Extend Access to Genetic Ancestry Expertise

Ancestry.com logo.bmp

Mountain View, Calif. and Provo, Utah – September 9, 2008 – 23andMe, Inc., the industry leader in personal genetics, and Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history 23andMe.bmpresource with nearly 3 million active users and 875,000 subscribers, have teamed up to provide improved genetic information to Ancestry.com’s DNA customers. The partnership furthers the shared vision of 23andMe and Ancestry.com of enriching the lives of individuals by providing access to novel ancestral information through DNA analysis.

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service™ provides unprecedented, individual access to genetic information, including deep ancestry analysis developed by the 23andMe science team. Users of the Ancestry.com DNA service will now have access to the same ancestral content available through the 23andMe website, designed to give people a deeper understanding of their past.  23andMe’s ancestry analysis allows users to trace their genetic lineage and discover the role that their ancestral origins have played in human history.

Ancestry.com DNA testing combines science with a robust database of more than 7 billion names in 26,000 databases and more than 7 million user-submitted family trees to create an incredible asset for users to make connections, trace their roots and connect with distant cousins. 23andMe utilizes the latest advances in DNA analysis and Web-based technology to provide its customers with a detailed genetic profile and interactive tools to explore their family lineage and health traits. 23andMe population geneticists have developed an unrivaled compilation of genetic content related to ancestry.  As leaders in online ancestry and population genetics tools, Ancestry.com and 23andMe will continue to collaborate to provide Ancestry.com DNA customers with new and valuable information about their forebears. Continue reading

Weekly Planner: Scan Ten Photographs a Day

Do you still have a boxes or albums full of old photographs that are still not in electronic form? I know I do! These photographs are deteriorating as we procrastinate preserving them in digital form. In addition to creating a back-up copy of the original photograph, scanning photographs makes them easier to share with family, on a CD, on a MyFamily or some other photo sharing site, or even attached to an e-mail to brighten someone’s day. This week, grab a big stack and scan just ten photographs a day (and if you get carried away and do more, I won’t tell!). By the end of one week, you’ll have seventy photographs (or more) backed up in electronic format and in a way that’s easy to share.

Beyond the Naturalization Index, by Juliana Smith

John Menkalski alien registrationI love that thrill that comes when you find an ancestor in a database or record collection. Even after many years of researching, I still get excited. I’ll usually let out a little whoop, startling any dogs or cats that happen to be hanging around in my office, and perhaps do a little happy dance. My daughter will roll her eyes and give me that, “My mom is crazy” look, and I’ll just remind her it could be worse. Perhaps she’d like to see the dance I do when I make discoveries in libraries and other public places. Ahh, mortifying the teenager . . . good times.

Fortunately for her more and more of my happy dances can be JohnMenkalskiAlienReg002-resize.bmpdone from home. Not only do we have indexes, we also often find original records online. Even when we can’t, government agencies are finding it practical to make record requests easier through their websites by adding helpful information, indexes, and downloadable forms to submit with record requests.

Back in May, Ancestry posted nearly 2.5 million index cards to U.S. Naturalization Records, 1794-1995 to its Immigration Collection. On August 13th, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS), launched its Genealogy Program to expedite our requests for older records, including naturalization records. I wondered about the relationship between the naturalization indices at Ancestry and USCIS records, and so I contacted USCIS to learn more. They gave me some helpful information for those who have found their ancestors in the index entries and are ready to request the naturalization records from the USCIS.

What records do they have?
The USCIS offers five sets of records under their new program, the largest of which are their naturalization records, which begin 27 September 1906. These are known as “C-Files.” Some C-Files are in textual form, and others have been microfilmed. When you locate your ancestor on the index, you’ll (hopefully–more on this later) find a C-File number. If the number is below 6500000, the record is on microfilm. If the C-File number is above 6500000, it will be a textual (paper) file. Textual files are a bit more expensive to order ($35) because it’s more labor intensive to retrieve them and copy them, as opposed to the files that have been microfilmed ($20).

The USCIS also has an index to all of the C-Files ($20), and you can request a search of that index if necessary. In some cases this index will be a carbon copy of the court indexes that Ancestry has posted to its website. In other cases, the format may vary a bit. In most cases, the court index cards at Ancestry will include the C-File number that is necessary to order the naturalization file for your ancestor. Continue reading

Sample Naturalization Index Cards

In reference to the 08 September 2008 article on the naturalization index at Ancestry and how it pertains to the USCIS records that are available for the post-1906 era, I was able to obtain some examples of various cards that were used.

Card Missing C-Number
The index cards for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) did not use the standard U.S. Naturalization Service index card form. The Certificate number (C-number) is missing from the Court record from Ancestry on the left. Circled in red on the USCIS index card on the right, it is the number required for requesting the naturalization file from USCIS.










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Truth or Goof: Where’s the Proof? by Mary Penner

What is a fact?  Google the definition of “fact” and you’ll get a variety of answers.  Most definitions hinge on the concept of truth; so, a common definition would be that a fact is something that can be proven to be true. Then how do you define “truth?”  Well, one definition asserts that truth is a fact that has been verified.  We’re back where we started.

Abraham Lincoln addressed the dilemma of truth by positing this question:  “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?  Four — calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”  That’s the “aha” moment for genealogists; simply saying your ancestor was born on such and such a date in such and such a place doesn’t make it so.  Unless you can travel back in time and witness your ancestor’s birth, you’ll never know the absolute truth about that happy event. Even eyewitnesses to events can mangle the facts; just ask any police detective investigating a crime.

Genealogists frequently wrangle with these concepts of “facts” and “truth.”  We try to figure out what is true, or factual, about our ancestral past and what is Pulitzer prize-worthy fiction.  Pulling together an accurate family history is problematic because we rely largely on the efforts made by humans decades–even centuries ago.  And humans, as we all know, are prone to blunders, miscalculations, carelessness, and gargantuan goofs.  That’s why every time we collect a piece of information about our ancestors from a source we need to consider the reliability of the source.

In the genealogy world we distinguish sources in two ways:  original and derivative.  An original source is something in its original form usually created by someone with firsthand information about the details described in the source.  A derivative source is anything that provides information apart from its original form.

For example, an original death certificate filled out by a physician who was present when the dearly deceased departed is considered an original source. 

That original death certificate may have been sent to the state or county for safekeeping.  And, maybe the county recorder transcribed all of the information from the death certificate into a ledger book.  The ledger book would be considered a derivative source, even if the careful clerk accurately recorded everything from the original source.

That’s the kicker, though – just how careful were the recorders and transcribers of our ancestral comings and goings?  Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Saving School Treasures, from Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

Do you ever think about all the papers your kids bring home from school? There are some that will be treasured, just as there are “special” teachers during their school days.

What about you? Do you have papers from your school days? Do you remember all your teachers? What about those favorite teachers? Or, maybe those that weren’t “favorites” at all! I remember one of my favorite teachers was John Bonam, history teacher from Swanton Local Schools in Swanton, Ohio. He was the type of teacher that made American History come alive. Instead of just reading about people in our books, he was able to add anecdotes for some of the more illustrious figures such as Ben Franklin and Andrew Jackson.

Have you thought about writing down your thoughts of school? Or, draw the school as you remember it? It certainly doesn’t have to be drawn to scale–but rather what teacher was in what room. Who taught what grade?

Remember black boards? Radiators where you put your snowy mittens? Pictures of George Washington on the wall? The desks in high school which were so small you couldn’t get a notebook AND your text book open at the same time? And of course, “mystery meat” in the cafeteria!

Put down your thoughts and include them in your family history. Who knows, you may want to take these thoughts to your next class reunion and compare with others?

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Your Quick Tips, 08 September

Heirloom Tablecloth
Here is an idea you might want to share with your readers.  A neat keepsake can be made using a plain tablecloth.  At any special holiday (birthday, thanksgiving, Christmas, wedding, etc.) have all the guests trace the outline of their hand and sign their name and date in the “palm” of the hand. This can be done anywhere on the tablecloth.   After the party, embroider over each outline and signature, making them permanent.  The tablecloth may then be laundered and put away for the next occasion.  Each year can be embroidered in a different color, making “who else was there that day” easier to determine.  It’s a permanent record/keepsake. 
Our daughter did this and we now treasure a tablecloth with the signatures and handprints of grandparents who are long departed, as well as the little handprints of the newest generation of the family tree.  We can also trace the handprints from infant to adult with some of the children.  In fact, we are on our SECOND tablecloth.  It’s truly a treasure.
Thank you SO MUCH for your interesting newsletter and the helpful hints. Keep up your good work!
Leora Lee Continue reading