Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do not go to the USGenWeb site!

I have the following information courtesy of Tammy, the USGenWeb Bastrop County, Texas website:

UsGenWeb has been fighting a hacker and virus for the past month. Each time the site is cleaned, it is reinfected. It was clean yesterday and today infected again.

As a county coordinator, we have been asked to pass on the message asking folks not to visit the or sites until these issues have been resolved.

UsGenWeb is now owned by Ancestry and some have reported Ancestry is infected as well. Not sure if the freepages accounts are housed on the same server but if this is the case, then the freepages accounts could be too.

What is happening is that when you visit an infected page your virus scan would alert you, if your virus scan is working and catches it, or Adobe might try and download a file. It is said that it steals your cookies and sends them somewhere. This is dangerous because the cookies could contain personal information you have sent to a legitimate site and saved in a cookie.

If you have a webpage on the usgenweb site (most that do are county or state coordinators) then if you download (usually through ftp) you are at risk of getting the virus, which could infect your webpages and write code at the bottoms of the pages.

We haven't been told too much except that county coordinators who's pages are on rootsweb cannot ftp into their sites and pass the word about not visiting the main usgenweb page.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shirley Cullum
Date: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 5:07 PM
Subject: [TXGW-NEWS] Do not go to the USGenWeb site

This was sent from the NC, Sherri Bradley:

"Please ask folks not to visit National, and for those that host their sites on not to log in at all.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

All 2.5 Million Granite Mountain Films May be Digitized by Early Next Year

The FamilySearch Center in the Joseph Smith Building is getting a full upgrade - and progress on the digitization of the Granite Mountain microfilm is moving ahead at a terrific pace. According to Paul Nauta, with FamilySearch, all that film - 2.5 million rolls - may all be digitized by early next year. That is amazing statement and may bode well for all of all of us genealogists.

"Nauta (Paul) said FamilySearch has 185 camera teams filming 60 million new images annually. Also, the Granite Vaults are having all of their microfilm (2.5 million rolls) digitized and that process could be completed as early as next year."

The following teaser is from the October 22, 2009 edition of the Mormon Times
(Deseret News).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Using Google Search Books

Here is a great video from the folks at Family Tree Magazine on how to use Google Search Books.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Antietam Union Civil War Soldier Buried

The remains of a Union Civil War soldier found nearly a year ago on the Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland are laid to rest. Video story from the Pentagon Channel.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

House Republicans Harpoon $8.7-Million Intended to Connect Whalers to Their Ancestors

Normally I wouldn't post something political here on this genealogy blog, but this one I can't pass up. Hey, it is a bit of Genealogy in the News you might find interesting.The House Democrats wanted to spend $8.7 million for a "cultural exchange program" to connect whalers in Massachusetts with their whaling ancestors in Alaska and Hawaii.

The spending proposal has apparently been eliminated from the appropriations bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Departments.And just when I was starting to see "Franklins" and a new job as a working genealogist. I wonder how many of these types of government programs are available for the genealogist to apply for?

More details at

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Preventing Identity Theft with the SSDI

Identity theft and genealogy is a subject that I have discussed before in my genealogy classes and on the road in lectures.

An article on preventing identity theft on Dick Eastman's blog is well worth the read, especially for these all knowing politicians who think they have all the answers, read the paragraph below.

"Identity theft is a major concern these days, as it should be. Many legislators seem to think that the problem can be solved by locking up all the birth, marriage, and death records, which, of course, has an impact on genealogists. The legislators apparently have never checked with the security experts who deal with identity theft every day, however. The security experts report that public domain records of birth, marriage, and death are rarely used by identity thieves. Instead, the thieves have easier methods."

You can read the rest of the article at

Monday, June 22, 2009

What’s This FamilySearch Alpha Thing?

There is something new hanging around the Family Search family of websites. You can learn more at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FamilySearch Expands Canadian Census Collection

FamilySearch, in partnership with and the Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC), announced today the addition of the 1851, 1861, and 1871 Canada Census indexes to its online collection. The new indexes can be searched for free at (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot). FamilySearch published the 1881 Canada Census previously online and plans to add the 1891 Canada Census shortly.

Over a fourth of all Canadians struggle to trace their roots past 100 years. Having the indexes to all of the pre-1900 Canadian censuses online will make it much easier for Canadians to extend their understanding of their family’s history.

These censuses are part of the FamilySearch records access program reported in May 2008 to provide public access to more records more quickly. In this project, provided the indexes to the 1851 and 1891 Canada Censuses, and FamilySearch created the indexes for the 1861, 1871, and 1881 Canada Censuses. It is a win-win for the public, who will have free access to all five of the pre-1900 census indexes online at

FamilySearch used its growing community of online volunteers to index the 1861 and 1871 Census records. For the past year, volunteers have logged online to FamilySearch’s indexing application from all over the world, working seven days a week, 24 hours a day—literally—to accomplish the feat. Thousands of volunteer hours later, coupled with the added indexes from, the public now has free, easily searchable databases of millions of Canadian citizens from 1851 to 1891.

“The publication of free indexes to these major censuses gives a great boost to Canadian family history research. For the first time, genealogy enthusiasts and historians may search online databases containing some 17 million records of individuals who lived in Canada in the latter half of the 19th century. Indexers keyed many personal details—names, ages, birthplaces, religions, and residences—for individuals listed in these early Canadian censuses,” said FamilySearch chief genealogical officer, David Rencher.

Researchers will discover heads of households, their family members, and any lodgers residing with a family at the time. They can also see the street address where ancestors were living at the time the census was taken, along with their age, occupation, and perhaps their ethnicity.

Free access to the indexes for the 19th century collection of Canada Censuses is the first phase. Free access to the record images will also be available to qualified FamilySearch members as soon as an authentication process is implemented.

The 1881 Canada Census was published on in 2002. The 1916 Canada Census was also made available for free to the public earlier this year through FamilySearch’s 4,600 family history centers worldwide.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

FamilySearch Indexing Update - May 27, 2009

Eleven new indexing projects were added this week—most international (Argentina, Canada, and France). Five of the projects are birth, marriage, and death records for France. Please forward this update to any organizations or individuals that might be interested in helping create indexes to these or other FamilySearch indexing projects.

New indexing projects added this week are:

· Argentina Censo 1869—Jujuy Salta Tucuman
· Canada, British Columbia Births, 1854–1903
· France, Paroisses de Cherbourg, 1802–1907
· France, Paroisses de Saint-Lo, 1802–1907
· France, Paroisses de Coutances, 1802–1907
· France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 1]
· France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 2]
· Indiana, Blackford County Marriages 1811–1959
· North Dakota—1920 U.S. Federal Census
· Ohio Tax Records—3 of 4, Post 1825
· South Carolina—1920 U.S. Federal Census

(See the chart below for a complete list and current status of all indexing projects).

Recently Completed Projects

(Note: Recently completed projects have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.)

· Argentina Censo 1869—Catamarca y La Rioja
· Minnesota—1920 U.S. Federal Census
· Minnesota Probate Court Wills 1849–1918

Current FamilySearch Indexing

Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion
Argentina, Buenos Aires 1855 Census Spanish 28%
Argentina Censo 1869—Corrientes y Entre Rios Spanish 87%
Argentina Censo 1869—Jujuy Salta Tucuman Spanish (New)
Arkansas County Marriages V, 1837–1957 English 93%
Arkansas County Marriages VI, 1837–1957 English 15%
Austria, Wiener Meldezettel, 1890–1925 German 1%
Belgium, Antwerp Foreigners Index, 1840–1930 Dutch, Flemish 36%
Brandenburg Kirchenbücher, 1789–1875 German 61%*
Canada, British Columbia Births, 1854–1903 English (New)
France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 1] French (New)
France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 2] French (New)
France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche, 1792–1906 French 9%
France, Paroisses de Cherbourg, 1802–1907 French (New)
France, Paroisses de Coutances, 1802–1907 French (New)
France, Paroisses de Saint-Lo, 1802–1907 French (New)
Germany, Mecklenburg 1890 Volkszählung, Div 24–38 German 12%
Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1916–1922 [Part 1] English 83%
Indiana, Adams County Marriages, 1811–1959 English 3%
Indiana, Allen County Marriages, 1811–1959 English 4%
Indiana, Blackford County Marriages 1811–1959 English 24%
Italy, Trento Baptism Records, 1784–1924 Italian 75%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Sinaloa Spanish 95%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Tamaulipas Spanish 54%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Yucatan Spanish 16%
Mississippi—1920 U.S. Federal Census English 67%
New York 1905 State Census English 13%
Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records, 1879–Present Spanish 44%*
North Dakota—1920 U.S. Federal Census English (New)
Peru, Lima—Registros Civiles, 1910–1930 Spanish 24%
Russia, St. Petersburg Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1833–1885 German 1%
South Carolina—1920 U.S. Federal Census English (New)
Spain, Avila, Moraleja de Matacabras, 1540–1904 Spanish 19%
Spain, Lugo—Registros Parroquiales [Part 1], 1530–1930 Spanish 18%
U.K., Cheshire—Land Tax, 1778–1832 English 92%
U.K., Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538–Present English 1%
Ukraine, Kyiv, 1840–1842 Russian 17%
Venezuela, Mérida Registros Parroquiales. 1654–1992 Spanish 15%*
(*Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)

Current FamilySearch Partner Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

Arkansas Marriages IV, 1837–1957 English 31%
Belgique—Registres Des Décès—En Français, 1796–1910 French 21%*
Belgique— Registres Des Décès—Charleroi, 1851–1900 French 21%
België—Overlijdens Registers—In het Nederlands, 1796–1910 Dutch, Flemish 84%*
België—Overlijdens Registers—Kalmthout, 1851–1900 Dutch, Flemish 17%
België—Overlijdens Registers—Mechelen, 1851–1900 Dutch, Flemish 6%
Bremer Schifflisten, 1904–1914 German 53%
Flanders Death Registration, 1796–1900 French, Dutch, Flemish 79%*
Indiana Marriages, 1882 to April 1905 English 89%
Norway 1875 Census [Part 1] Norwegian 31%
Nova Scotia, Antigonish Church Records, 1823–1905 English 81%
Ohio Tax Records—2 of 4, Post 1825 English 76%
Ohio Tax Records—3 of 4, Post 1825 English (New)
Vermont Militia Records, 1861–1867 English 39%
(*Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)

Current FamilySearch Regional Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

(These projects are being indexed by volunteers in specific areas of the world.)

Australia, Sydney Cemetery Inscriptions, 1800–1960 English 4%
Australia—Victoria Probate Records, 1853–1989 English 63%
Canada, British Columbia Marriages, 1859–1932 English 5%
Quebec—Trois-Rivières IC, 1800–1900 French 48%

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Millions of Historic Southern Records Now on the Web

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch announced today it has published millions of records from Southern states to its rapidly growing, free online collection. The collection includes both digital images and indexes. Millions of death records from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida were the most recent additions. Viewers can search the free collection on the Record Search pilot at (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

In the past 18 months, FamilySearch has been diligently publishing digital images and indexes from Southern states. It is part of a worldwide initiative to provide fast, economical access to genealogical records. Fueled by over 100,000 online volunteers, FamilySearch is digitizing and indexing historical records and publishing them online.

The most recent additions are from the following collections:

· Alabama Statewide Deaths 1908 to 1974 (Index)
· Arkansas County Marriages: 1837 to 1957
· Civil War Pension Index Cards (Digital Images)
· Florida Deaths 1877 to 1939 (Index)
· Florida State Censuses: 1855, 1935, 1945 (Digital Images)
· Freedman Bank Records: 1865 to 1874
· Freedman’s Bureau Virginia Marriages 1855 to 1866
· Georgia Deaths 1914 to 1927
· Louisiana War of 1812 Pension Lists (Images)
· North Carolina Deaths 1906 to 1930
· North Carolina, Davidson County Marriages and Deaths, 1867–1984 (Digital Images)
· South Carolina Deaths 1915 to 1943
· South Carolina Deaths 1944 to 1955 (Index)
· Texas Death Index 1964 to 1998 (Index)
· Texas Deaths 1890 to 1976
· Virginia Fluvanna County Funeral Home Records 1929 to 1976 (Digital Images)
· West Virginia Births 1853 to 1990 (Index)
· West Virginia Marriages 1853 to 1970 (Index)
· West Virginia Deaths 1853 to 1970 (Index)

FamilySearch has also published free indexes to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1920 (partial) U.S Censuses—all important resources for Southern states research.

David E. Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer said, “This significant set of records fills a real need in Southern states research. To be able to search vital records across the South by name and locality leverages the best search techniques and greatly improves the odds of success for those researching Southern families.”

During both pre and post Civil War eras, there was general migration from the eastern seaboard, down through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and on into Texas. “The publication of these records will begin to open up and answer many questions about family members that migrated and were never heard from again,” Rencher added.

With just a few clicks, visitors can now search millions of records online for that elusive ancestor. Or pore through digital images of historic documents that before this time were inconvenient or impossible for many to access because the original documents were located in an archive somewhere in the South.

“There is much more to come,” said Rencher. “FamilySearch has a large collection of records [on film] from the Southern states that still need to be digitized, indexed, and made available for the public online—and we are acquiring new records all the time. It’s a great time to be a family history enthusiast,” concluded Rencher.

FamilySearch is currently working on federal and state censuses and birth, marriage, death, and war records. New indexing projects and searchable collections are added weekly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Video interview with Legacy's Ken McGinnis

As most of my genealogy class students know I recommend the Legacy Genealogy Software package. If you are still using the "free" standard edition, below is a link to a video report that describes the differences between the standard and deluxe editions. Wonder if you should take the #29.95 plunge?

"Ken McGinnis, vice-president of Millennia Corporation (that's us!), was interviewed at the recent St. George Family History Expo. His interview is now published online as a video for you to view. Ken talks about some of the differences between the free, Standard Edition of Legacy and the Deluxe edition. He also talks a bit about Legacy's Research Guidance and SourceWriter features.

"Ken is one of the main reasons we have Legacy Family Tree. Meet him online by watching the video at the link below. "

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Cemetery Research Toolkit

The Van Horn Cemetery Toolkit Checklist

We have been asked on numerous occasions what gear we take with us when we are on a cemetery research trip. Below are some of the items that have traveled with us at one time or another. Not everything may be a go on every trip, but we take with us what we think we may need for the areas we are going to be researching in.

• Antibacterial liquid soap and/or waterless instant hand sanitizer (such as Purell)
• Batteries for the electronics
• Binoculars
• Boots/Sturdy shoes
• Cutoff broom or mop handle for probing.
• Brush; Soft-bristled plastic, nylon or natural bristle brushes only. Plain water, rags and a soft nylon brush are the items of choice for cleaning tombstones. Choose a brush, such as a kitchen scrub brush, with an easy-to-grasp handle and soft nylon bristles. No wire brushes - they can damage tombstones! Clean the tombstone from bottom to top to avoid further streaking or staining, rinsing well as you go. Old tootbrush for working small areas.
• Carpenters apron
• Cellular phone (sooner or later someone will fall over a tombstone or footstone)
• Composition book
• Digital Camera and accessories: memory cards, batteries, mirror, etc
• Digital Tape recorder
• Dog spray to keep away the stray dogs and animals.
• Drinking water and snack foods
• Family Radio Service Radios - pair
• First Aid kit and Snakebite kit (available from sporting goods stores that carry camping and hiking goods)
• Gardeners knee pads
• Gloves (leather work gloves, jersey work gloves and rubber gloves) Protective hand lotion (such as "Gloves in a Bottle" or Ivy Block (poison ivy, oak and sumac protectant)
• GPS device to record the position for your County and the DHPA's Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry.
• Hand tools: Rakes, Shovels and spades, Trowels, Clam-shell post hole digger, Grubbing hoe, Machete, Chain saw, Weed eaters, Pruning, shears, garden trowl.
• Insect repellant and Bee and wasp spray.
• Jumbo Wax Crayons. An inexpensive alternative to rubbing wax for tombstone rubbings is a jumbo crayon, such as the ones used by young children. Peel the paper off of the crayons (your toddler can probably do this quicker than you can) and use the side of the crayon for your rubbing, rather than the point.
• Kodak Photo-Flo (1/4 oz. to 5 quarts of water; used for initial cleaning) [wash stone with Photo-Flo and water, using a soft-bristled brush; rinse thoroughly]
• Long-sleeved shirt
• Magnifying glass
• Paper: Parchment, butcher paper, wax paper for rubbings
• Pens and pencils
• Plastic trash bags
• Probes (i.e., "Smart Stick" sold by T&T Tools, Forestry Suppliers Bench Meadows or your local plumbing supply dealer) Ask for tile probes.
• Rags
• Safety goggles
• Spray bottle with water
• Sunscreen and hats
• Tape Measure
• Tombstone cleaning compound; Also you might try 1 part Ammonia and 4 parts water. Be sure to rinse the stones well with clean water in the beginning and at the end. Start at the bottom and work upwards.
• Tombstone cleaning soap: Orvus soap by Proctor & Gamble (available at farm and animal supply stores; 1/4 cup to 1 gallon water for cleaning) Wash stone with Orvus and water, using a soft-bristled brush; rinse thoroughly
• Tombstone rubbing Pellon Interfacing. Soft non-fusible Pellon interfacing material is perfect for tombstone rubbings. It folds neatly in a bag without wrinkles, takes crayon beautifully and can even be ironed when you get back home to melt the wax into the fabric and preserve the rubbing for years to come. It is readily available from your local fabric store. Be sure to get the non-fusible variety!
• Water: Lots and lots of water, always start with water and finish with clean rinsing.
• Wet Wipes
• Whisk broom
• White Chalk (no colored chalk)