MyGreatBigFamily.com: An Alternative to MyFamily.com

Ancestry.com recently announced that it will soon close the popular MyFamily.com web service. (See http://wp.me/p5Z3-lk for the details.) The outcry from MyFamily.com users has been loud. However, all is not lost. Several other web sites offer similar services to those previously offered by Ancestry.com’s subsidiary at MyFamily.com. Anyone who has been using MyFamily.com will want to check out the alternatives available.

This week I took a look at MyGreatBigFamily.com and must say that I am impressed.

MyGreatBigFamily.com supplies family web sites that are preconfigured with most everything you need to connect online with your relatives around the world and to preserve your family history. The web site proclaims, “We’ve made it so easy for you to customize & manage a professional looking website. All you do is add the content. No need to understand web publishing tools or be a web wizard.” After using the site for a while, I believe that is an accurate claim. In fact, I was so impressed with this service that I am now a MyGreatBigFamily.com customer. Details are given near the end of this article.

Victoria Craig’s Interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com

Victoria Craig of Fox Business News has published an interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. It gives an insight to the man that you won’t read in his official bio on the company’s web site.

Did you know that Tim’s first job was working for the Washington Redskins? No, he wasn’t the starting quarterback. Instead, the 14-year-old landed a job handing out towels to the team’s players at the summer training camp. He seems to have done well since then, however.

You can read Victoria Craig’s interview and watch a video at http://goo.gl/698kBp.

FamilySearch Introduces Two New Mobile Apps

FamilySearch has released two new mobile apps that will make it easy to take your ancestors with you. With FamilySearch Tree and FamilySearch Memories you can add memories and sources of your relatives on the go. Everything you add will sync with FamilySearch.org, so information will be accessible from any device and will be preserved for future generations. Both apps are free.

FamilySearch Tree

Join the New England Historic Genealogical Society, MyHeritage, and Myself for a Family History Day in Amherst, Massachusetts on August 2nd

I am delighted to announce that two of my favorite organizations, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and MyHeritage, are cooperating to produce an intensive one-day genealogy workshop on August 2nd. The goal is to introduce attendees to the best practices in genealogy. Attendees from all over New England and the Middle Atlantic states are expected to attend this conference held on the University of Massachusetts campus in scenic Amherst, Massachusetts.

I will also be at the workshop and hope to meet newsletter readers.

If you would like to attend this workshop, I suggest you register NOW. The Early Bird (Discounted) Registration ends this Friday, July 18. The discount is significant: 50%! The price increases from $40 to $80 after Friday. Details are in the conference brochure available below.

EOGN: The Swimsuit Edition

Hey, if Sports Illustrated and other magazines can produce “swimsuit editions,” why can’t a genealogy newsletter? Therefore, I am delighted to introduce the first (annual?) swimsuit edition of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter:

Update: EOGN Calendar of Genealogy Events

I created the Calendar of Genealogy Events at www.eogn.com/calendar on May 26, 2013, then moved it to a more powerful web publishing platform on September 21 of the same year. I am pleased with the growth and input from newsletter readers. The Calendar continues to grow and is now becoming a significant resource.

The purpose of the calendar is to provide information about future genealogy conferences, seminars, conventions, cruises, trips, and even online “webinars.” All information is to be provided by you and other readers of this newsletter.

(+) Two Easy Methods of Creating PDF Documents from Evernote

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

I have written several times recently about going paperless. One of my primary tools for simplifying my life is Evernote. It is the perfect tool to save notes, to save audio or video, to save articles from the web, and to create and store documents of all sorts. In fact, it is even possible to create blog posts directly from Evernote notes by using the Postach.io blog platform. Notes saved in Evernote are easily printed if you are really determined to create more paper. Evernote will also save notes as HTML or XML files. However, one format is strangely missing: Evernote will not create PDF files by itself.

Actually, creating PDF files from Evernote is rather simple although you won’t find that capability in Evernote’s menus.

Toledo Library Honored for Genealogy and Historical Work

The Local History & Genealogy Department of the Toledo-Lucas County Library was awarded the 2014 John Sessions Memorial Award by the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association earlier this month in Las Vegas.

The library received the honor for its work promoting the history of the labor movement, and particularly its Rogowski-Kaptur Labor History Room in the Main Library.

You can read more about the John Sessions Memorial Award at http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/sessions.

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2015 – Call for Speakers

The following was written by the folks at the Ontario Genealogical Society:

The Ontario Genealogical Society will host the Society’s annual conference on 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada. The conference theme — Tracks through Time – originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we track our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are tracking the right people from the right line. The variations on Tracks through Time are endless.

The subject of presentations should preferably fall within one of the following categories:

Citing Sources

One thing that genealogists need to do is to always cite their sources. I well remember my early days of family tree searches. I would record new information into three-ring notebooks. (This was long before the invention of the personal computer.) I would write down names, dates, places, and perhaps a bit more information that I was lucky enough to find.

Unfortunately, in those early days I did not write down where I obtained the information. Nobody told me that I needed to do this, and I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out for myself. I simply assumed that everything I found was accurate. After all, it was printed in a book, wasn’t it?

As time passed, I frequently found new information that contradicted what I found earlier. When I discovered these discrepancies, I needed to determine which piece of information was more accurate. The question that arose time and again was, “Where did I find that information?” Sadly, I often did not know.

(+) Donald Duck’s Family Tree

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

This week I would like to present the family tree of one of our best known and most-loved movie stars. The ancestry of this famous 80-year-old movie actor has been ignored for far too long. Now is the time to document the extended family of a great movie star, the subject of film, television, and numerous comic books, the anthropomorphic duck with yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet: Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

Actually, this isn’t as much of a joke as one might imagine. It seems that the Disney Corporation has kept meticulous details about all the Donald Duck cartoons and comic books since Donald’s first appearance in 1934 in “The Wise Little Hen.” For the following eighty years, the Disney Corporation has been remarkably consistent in referring to Donald’s relatives as well as many other facts.

For instance, you may have seen many cartoons of Donald Duck driving his automobile; but did you ever notice the license plate number? It is always “313.” That’s right, Donald’s license plate number has always been the same since his automobile first appeared in 1938.

FGS Conference August 27-30 in San Antonio, Texas

One of the major genealogy conferences of the year will take place in a few weeks in San Antonio. If you would like to attend, now is the time to make your plans.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference will be held August 27-30. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society and the Texas State Genealogical Society. The four-day conference will be held in downtown San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This convenient location at 200 East Market Street is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and historical sites. In fact, the Alamo is within walking distance of the convention center.

One Day, Kid, Your Car Will Have a Built-In Phonograph

Click on the image above to view a full-sized version of this circa 1927 photograph from the Shorpy Historical Photo Archive.

Who Do You Think You Are? Marathon on TLC

If you missed some or all of last season’s episodes of the U.S. version of the Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy television program, you have an opportunity to view them later this month. TLC will rebroadcast all of Season 4′s episodes, one after another, on Sunday, July 20 and again on July 23. If you missed earlier episodes, you can watch them on July 20 or 23 or program your video recorder to capture the episodes for you.

In each episode, a celebrity explores his or her family tree in this seven-part profile series. In each episode, a star takes a globe-spanning journey of self-discovery to uncover the mysteries of his or her ancestral history. Their familial stories in turn shed light on events in American and world history.

Episodes that will be rebroadcast include:

Amateur Explorers Claim to Find Lost US Army Fort in Florida Everglades

A team of amateur explorers say they found the site of a lost U.S. Army fort buried deep in the Everglades that once served as a restocking post for troops during a series of guerilla-like battles with Seminole Indians. Nestled into the dense, waterlogged swamps 60 miles from the coast, Fort Harrell, built in 1837, was one of nearly a dozen forts across Florida used in the early and mid-19th century.

The team identified the site by overlaying old maps with global positioning satellite coordinates. They found one site on a 1940s aerial map and found post holes in the damp ground and limestone that may have supported a wall. About 100 yards away buried in the mud they found a weathered 20-foot Cypress log carved into a long beam.

You can read more in a Reuters article by Zachary Fagenson, and available at http://goo.gl/zDOAHM.

Savannah, Georgia, City Records Back to Late 1700s Now Available Online

Savannah officials announced Friday that the has made many of the city’s records from 1790 through 1900 available online on the Ancestry.com web site. Currently the following collections of City records are available to researchers online through Ancestry.com at:

  • Savannah, Georgia, Vital Records, 1803-1966
  • Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939
  • Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery Burial Lot Cards, 1807-1995*
  • Savannah, Georgia, Court Records, 1790-1934
  • Savannah, Georgia, Land Tax & Property Records, 1896-1938
  • Savannah, Georgia, Naturalization Records, 1790-1910
  • Savannah, Georgia, Records of Titles, 1791-1971
  • Savannah, Georgia, Registers of Free Persons of Color, 1817-1864*
  • Savannah, Georgia, Voter Records, 1901-1917
  • Savannah, Georgia, City Council Minutes, 1790-1900*

Auto Racing Was Wildly Dangerous in the ’30s—And a Lot More Fun

If you are a motor racing enthusiast, as I am, you might enjoy looking at the photographs available at the Motoring Picture Library. It is primarily a stock photography service. Print photographs may be purchased for a fee. However, anyone and everyone is invited to look at the available old and new photographs at no charge.

An Austin 747 cc takes a gnarly turn at the Donington Park Race Meeting, May 13, 1933. Click on the above image to view a larger version.

The White Stone Project Seeks $50,000 to Create a New & Powerful Genealogy Search Engine, App, and a Family Heritage Social Network Site

I am not familiar with this project but the press release certainly looks interesting:

The White Stone Project comprises of a new & powerful Genealogy search engine, app, and a family heritage social network site.

Los Angeles, CA — 07/11/2014 — The White Stone Project is all about putting the power to find one’s true family heritage into the hands of millions of people who until now rely mostly upon the current inadequate genealogy software and technology available, combined with stories passed down, from generation to generation about their own family histories. It’s also about bridging the more difficult aspects of finding one’s true heritage, like those who may have fled from Europe to escape poverty and famine; it’s about slaves, and the plight of Native Americans.

The White Stone Project is much more than a project – it’s a personal way to bring people closer together by helping to open the gates of knowledge to their family histories; knowledge about who they really are, where they came from, and who they are connected to, based upon their family heritage.

Canaan, Connecticut, History Center to Open July 13

The Canaan History Center will open its doors for the first time to the public on July 13, providing an opportunity for researchers to delve into the history of the area. The center is located in a white clapboard building at 115 Main St. that once served as the law offices of civil rights attorney Catherine G. Roraback.

Details are available in an article by Alice Tessier in the Litchfield County Times at http://goo.gl/bU6fU4.

Tennessee State Library & Archives Puts Family Bible Records Online

Visitors to the website of the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) can now access family Bible records previously available only to patrons visiting TSLA’s building. Over the past few years, TSLA volunteer Cinamon Collins scanned more than 1,500 family Bible records held at TSLA.

Most of the records were photocopied from privately-held family Bibles and preserved at TSLA by archivists and librarians. A new database on the TSLA website allows researchers to browse these records in their entirety, and a search function will ultimately include all of the thousands of names written in these unique documents.

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