Saint Patrick’s Day 2017 Genealogy Deals

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Saint Patrick’s Day is often an excuse to remember your Irish heritage and to celebrate with green clothing and beer.

If you want to celebrate your Irish heritage by exploring your Irish ancestry, then there are several Irish Genealogy deals you may find interesting.

Free Access to Irish Records

Irish Genealogy Records are free to view for the time around Saint Patrick’s Day 2017 at three genealogy sites:

FindMyPast.com

through March 17th (Saint Patrick’s Day). One of the largest collections of online Irish Genealogy Records.

Ancestry.com

Through March 19th at Ancestry.com

American Ancestors

The New England Historic Genealogical Society’s “American Ancestors” website through Mar 22.

DNA

Also, if you want to test your DNA to find out how much Irish  DNA you inherited. DNA tests at Ancestry.com/DNA are on sale for 10% off ($89). Shipping is $9.95 for the first kit and $4.95 for additional kits shipped to the same address.

This is a lower price for Ancestry DNA which is usually $99 and Ancestry DNA does have the largest DNA database with over 3 Million tests.

But if price is your main concern, both Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and newcomer MyHeritage offer autosomal DNA test kits for $79 plus shipping.

23andMe DNA kits are $99 for genealogy tests and $199 for genealogy plus health reports (plus shipping)

If you are puzzled about where to begin your DNA testing journey, contact  Genealogist Anna Hopkins-Arnold,  PhD for a personal DNA Testing Consultation over the phone or using a simple computer screen share program.  Consultations for Irish Heritage are 10% off when you call before 31 March 2017.

Irish Genealogy Coaching or Research Packages

Rootfinders Genealogy Research is offering a 10% Discount on Irish Genealogy Coaching or Research Packages.

If you are interested in either learning more about how to do Irish Genealogy Research or booking Irish Genealogy Research. Contact Anna for more information on coaching and research packages.

All Irish Research or Coaching packages booked by during the month of March (for research or coaching scheduled for April-July 2017) will be discounted 10%. Call 970-946-4876 or click to Contact our Genealogist.

 

© A Hopkins-Arnold 2017

American Indian Records for Your Genealogy Research

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

American Indian Records for genealogy research vary with tribe, time period, and region. Each American Indian Tribe has its own unique history and may have its own unique records.  The United States Government created most American Indian records. The National Archives (NARA) holds the records of the US Federal Census and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), but some of those record sets are also available online at Ancestry.com or Fold3.com. States, Territories and individual Tribes also created American Indian records that can be useful for genealogy and family history.

If you are not sure which tribe your Native American Indian ancestor came from, click here for tips on how to find your ancestor’s tribe.

American Indian Records from the US Government

A few US Federal records apply to all American Indian Tribes. Some exist within a national record set that applies to all Americans like the 1910 US Federal Census.  Other records are unique American Indian records like the Indian Census Rolls of 1885-1940.

Unique Tribal Records?

Consult the Family Search Wiki and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records at the National Archives (NARA) to find any American Indian records unique to a specific tribe.

Dawes Roll

Some records apply to several tribes, like the Dawes Rolls for those eligible for tribal membership in the “Five Civilized Tribes”: Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles.

Guion Miller Roll

Other records apply to a group within a specific tribe like the Guion Miller Roll records for disbursement of the settlement due to those Eastern Cherokee who descended from Indians forced to travel the “Trail of Tears”. Because of these applications required applicants to prove descent from someone on the “Trail of Tears”, both the accepted and rejected applications containing rich and valuable family history information for many American Indian families from several tribes.

“Accepted applications” for the “Guion Miller Roll”  traced and documented the lineage of descendants of Eastern Cherokee people who traveled the “Trail of Tears” and settled in Oklahoma.

Rejected Applications

The “Rejected Applications” for the “Guion Miller Roll” include some applicants who were:

  • Western Cherokee whose ancestors migrated to Oklahoma before the “Trail of Tears”
  • Eastern Cherokee whose ancestors  remained in the east and did not travel the “Trail of Tears”
  • Eastern Cherokee whose application was incomplete or not strong enough for acceptance
  • Applicants descended from other Indian Tribes
  • Applicants unable to prove Indian ancestry in 1906

American Indian Records from the US Government affecting ALL Tribes

Indian Census Rolls (1885-1940)

If your ancestor lived on a reservation or in predominantly Indian Communities during the period 1885-1940, the American Indian Census Rolls may include them. We can use these annual Indian Census records to trace an enrolled tribal member through time showing birth, family members, marriage or divorce, children’s births, and death.

The annual Indian Census records are most useful for those who stayed on reservations or within nearby mostly Indian communities. Those who migrated to cities, married outside the tribe, or moved to non-Indian communities were often omitted from the census.

1910 US Census “Indian Schedules”

The 1910 US Census contained special forms “Indian Schedules” that were used to record Indians for the 1910 Census. While Indian ancestors may have resented being singled out, modern genealogists are glad to have the additional information supplied by these records. However, not all Indians were recorded on this schedule. The enumerator had to produce the proper form and especially in communities where American Indians were not a large part of the population, the census enumerator might not have the forms or remember to use them.

In future posts, we will talk about American Indian Records that from specific states or tribal goverments that provide valuable genealogy or family history information for Native American Indian families and their descendants.

Questions? Contact professional Genealogist Anna Hopkins-Arnold of Rootfinders Genealogy Research for more help locating records for your American Indian ancestors or call me at 970-946-4876.

Submit Questions or Comments below:


text © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2017 - all rights reserved

photo public domain: Hocking Bros. (photographers), "U.S. Census taking--Wisconsin Indians" (Winnebago tribe), Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, (www.loc.gov/resource/cph.3c24436 ; accessed Feb 2017), originally published by Hocking Bros., Waupaca, WI, 1911 , Digital Id: cph 3c24436 (www.hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c24436 accessed Feb 2017)

 

Native American Indian Ancestry: Genealogy Research Tips

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Native American Indian Ancestry is a common tradition, but many families do not have documents to support the tradition. Doing genealogy research on Native American Indian families presents unique challenges.

Native American Indian

Please note the terms preferred by individual people and tribes vary with region, tribe, and personal preference. I have combined the most frequently used search terms Native American, American Indian, and the abbreviations Indian and Native into one term “Native American Indian” so anyone searching for this information on the internet can find it. Please read into this article whichever term you prefer knowing that in this article all these terms are always used with respect.

Research Challenges

As a professional genealogist working in the Four Corners region where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet, I’ve traced ancestors for quite a few families with Native American Indian ancestry and am well aware of the challenges. In a series of blog posts about researching Native American Indian ancestry, I’ll recommend  records that may be useful when tracing your Native American Indian ancestors and in this post and share tips about how to find your ancestor’s tribe if you are not sure of the Tribe of your ancestor.

Do You Know Your Tribe?

If you already know your ancestor’s tribe, click here to learn about records to find for your family.

While attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) 2017, I attended a lecture by Joan E. Healey of the Family History Library. She has been conducting research for Native American Indian patrons at the Family History Libary for many years and shared her suggestions about how to identify possible tribes when your family’s tradition of Native American Indian Ancestry did not include a specific tribal name.

Joan cautioned people with a tradition of Cherokee ancestry to consider other possibilities. Many people with unknown Native American Indian Ancestry assume their ancestor was Cherokee because the tribe is so well known, but many other tribes lived along the east coast and in frontier America. As you collect information about your family’s tradition and stories, keep your eyes, ears, and heart open for clues in your family’s stories about your ancestors’ life histories, the region where they lived, and their possible tribe or tribes.

Collect Your Records

As with all genealogical research, begin by collecting your family records and find out as much as possible from standard genealogical records. See my “Beginning Genealogy” class series for more info on these steps.

If you know where your family lived in 1910, search for the family’s records to see whether they appear in the “Indian Schedule” of the 1910 Census. If so, it will give you the name of their tribe and you can click here to learn how to find records for that tribe.  If your ancestor was not identified in the 1910 Census as Indian, then follow the steps below to find the tribe of your American Indian ancestor.

Identify Possible Tribes

It is important to find the tribe of your ancestor. Many families have the name of a particular tribe in their tradition. But some do not. It is important to recognize that many different Indian Tribes existed across the United States each with different history, traditions, and records.

There are 562 federally recognized Indian tribes, bands, nations, pueblos, rancherias, communities and Native villages in the United States. Approximately 229 of these are located in Alaska; the rest are located in 33 other states. Tribes are ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse.

National Congress of American Indians, An Introduction to American Indian Nations in the United States, n.d., (http://www.ncai.org/about-tribes/indians_101.pdf  accessed Feb 2017)

How to find Your Tribe

If you are not sure, which tribe your ancestor might have come from, try to narrow down the time period and region where your Native American ancestor lived.

Compare their home region to a map of the historic territories of American Indian tribes.

Native American Indian Tribes - Map of Historical Regions

“Early Indian Tribes, Culture Areas, and Linguistic Stocks”

Maps Showing Tribal Regions

These two maps show the traditional areas where certain tribes lived and the languages spoken there (labels may show tribe or linguistic group). Compare your ancestors home to both maps and read the descriptions to understand which Native American Indian Tribes inhabited the region where your ancestor lived. Also look for historic maps showing Indian lands during the time period when your ancestor lived.

These boundaries did shift over time. Consider all tribes active in the area near where your ancestor lived. You may have several possible tribes to research.

Research Tribal History and Locations

Learn about the history of these tribes and compare them to the history of the ancestors you have been able to trace using other genealogical records. Was that tribe living in the same area as your ancestor during the same period in history? Does the history of the tribe and the story of your ancestor fit together? Are there conflicts to be resolved?

Once you have researched the history of the tribe, you may know which tribe your ancestor came from. Or you may still have several possible tribes to consider, Search for your ancestor’s name in the records for that tribe during that time period. Also, search for your ancestor in local history records.

Click here to learn about American Indian records for your ancestors Tribe.

Questions? Contact me for more help locating records for your American Indian ancestors. Or leave comments below.

Thanks to Joan Healey for recommending this method to identify the tribe of a Native American Indian ancestor. 

I also added my own suggestions concerning the 1910 Census, suggestions for useful maps (above), and wrote a separate blog post on available records based on my own experience working with Native American Indian records.

text: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2017 - all rights reserved

Lithograph: Holenstein, The marriage of Pocohontas to John Rolfe (Lithograph), Joseph Hoover, Philadelphia [719 Sansom Street] : 1861. in collection of Wellcome Library, London, Iconographic Collection 575285i, Photo number: V0050148 (https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0050148.html accessed Feb 2017)
(Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0  Welcome Library, London, UK)

Map: Sturtevant, William C., "Early Indian Tribes, Culture Areas, and Linguistic Stocks" (map), Smithsonian Institution, 1967, US Geological Survey, 1970, (public domain - US government - USGS) (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Early_Localization_Native_Americans_USA.jpg  accessed Feb 2017)

DNA Advanced Training at SLIG 2017

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

DNA testing for genealogy has become an important component of reasonably exhaustive research. Many people are testing their DNA, but many do not understand how to wring all the useful information from those results and apply them to identify the relationships between a DNA tester and his DNA matches.

At the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) 2017, Anna Hopkins-Arnold joined an advanced group of genetic genealogists attending a hands-on course “DNA Bootcamp: Practical Application” to learn about the latest research techniques for interpreting and analyzing autosomal DNA results to solve tough real-world genealogy research problems.

Learning Level:

SLIG classes vary in level. Some intermediate genealogists who want to take their research to the next level. Some help high intermediate and advanced genealogists learn more about specific methods or geographic regions. Several classes train experienced and professional genealogists in advanced techniques for tough practical problem-solving.

“DNA Bootcamp” was one of the advanced classes. For admission, students were required show they had previously attended a week-long institute level fundamental DNA class or had equivalent preparation and experience. I recognized several students from other advanced genealogical institutes (both FGI and Gen-Fed).

Instructors:

Our instructors included genetic genealogists CeCe Moore, Karen Stanbary, Paul Woodbury, and Angie Bush.  CeCe Moore, known both as a “Rock Star” genealogist for 2015 and 2016 and as the genetic genealogy consultant for Henry Louis Gates’ PBS show “Finding Your Roots” also gave the keynote lecture for the SLIG 2017 Plenary Session, Monday evening.

My SLIG roommate’s “Virginia Research” class, Barbara Vines Little, gave the keynote for our Friday graduation banquet. We were both fortunate to have interesting and honored instructors.

Students:

Most students in my class were already members of CeCe’s DNA Detectives group, many had attended her previous programs, many were professional genealogists and at least two SLIG instructors teaching other courses attended some of our lectures.

We also included a cross section of people interested in using DNA for genealogy including those solving brick wall problems, adoptees, birth mothers, and members of endogamous populations including both descendants of island communities and Jewish genealogists.

Unfortunately, the fast-paced, hands-on boot camp style course was not for everyone. I was sad to see a few students drop out as the week progressed. This is extremely unusual for SLIG courses. However, students who were less interested in the intricacies of the different DNA tools succumbed to the lure of research opportunities at the nearby Family History Library.

Library Research Opportunities:

As if a week of intensive instruction was not enough, SLIG also provided shuttles to and from the Family History Library so attendees could do research in the evenings and offered the opportunity to take special classes at the library at the SLIG Library Night, Wednesday evening.

  • I registered for Baerbel Johnson’s class on “German Online Research” and discovered a new record for one of my more elusive German ancestors.
  • I was also lucky to find extra space in Joan E. Healey’s “American Indian Research” class where I connected with other students researching Native American and American Indian ancestry or connected people including Indian Traders and Indian Agents.

My SLIG roommate and I planned a research day on the Saturday after SLIG so that we could apply all the lessons we had just learned at SLIG.

Course Content & Homework:

Since our course was “DNA Bootcamp: Practical Applications”, it included lots of hands-on practical work with both our own DNA results and family trees and with results used for class case studies. We worked on one case study that lasted most of the week and worked on other hands-on projects and another case study as the week progressed. We needed to spend evening time working on homework.

Genetic Genealogy Code of Ethics

We discussed the Genetic Genealogy Code of Ethics and how it applied to our case study work that week, to asking people to test, and managing DNA tests. This is especially relevant as Ancestry DNA has now begun to require a separate account for each DNA test. We discussed why to post public trees attached to our DNA results and what those trees should include, but also why to make “mirror trees” private and unsearchable.

Who to Test? Which Test to Use?

Our instructors shared their expertise and had us practice deciding which tests to use, who to test, and in what order to use a limited research budget to efficiently solve different genealogy cases.

Matches: what to say and when

We discussed when and how to approach DNA matches under various circumstances, and how to proceed without approaching the matches at all.

Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to DNA

Karen Stanbary discussed how to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard to a DNA research project, and when to use a “quick and dirty” tree to test a hypothesis. Obviously, once the hypothesis is proven, we need to spruce up that tree, adding any citations and footnotes that were left out and making sure the genealogy and the DNA results line up correctly.

Continuing Need for Traditional Genealogy Research

One thing is clear. Using DNA results for genealogy research does NOT reduce the amount of traditional genealogy research involved. In fact, it can increase that research, because you end up researching the trees of your matches to find the connection. But, DNA can help guide you to the right line, so you can be sure you are researching a connection that is real and not “barking up the wrong tree”.

Company & Third Party Analysis Tools

We learned tips to efficiently use the different comparison and analysis tools from each of the “big three” autosomal DNA testing companies: 23andMe, Ancestry.com/DNA, and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). We learned how to compare results from each of the three companies, even though they compute the amount of shared DNA differently.

Third party research tools provide the opportunity to compare results from different testing companies add another level of analysis. We learned to compare and analyze DNA results using several different third party tools including GEDmatch, Genome Mate Pro, and GWorks. While working on our case studies we had to create mirror trees for matches and use various DNA tools to help us build those trees backward and forward in time to solve the genealogical problems.

Networking

Attending a live institute offers the opportunity to network with others in your field. I met genetic genealogists from across and even outside the US and have made arrangements to join forces with some of them working on tough DNA problems.

Contact me for more information on using DNA for your Genealogy Research or interpreting your results. I also offer private coaching or group classes on using DNA for Genealogy. – Anna Hopkins-Arnold

Bio: Rootfinders Genealogy Research’s professional genetic genealogist, Anna Hopkins-Arnold, PhD. (Biology) has used DNA tests for genetic genealogy since 2008. In addition to the advanced institute course reviewed here, she has followed this rapidly evolving field, read the relevant books and journal articles, and attended many hours of training on using DNA  to guide genealogy research.

If you have a question for Anna call 970-946-4876 or type it in the form below. She will reply by email. Putleave your phone number in the question box if you prefer a reply by phone.


©Anna Hopkins-Arnold – 2017 – text and photo all rights reserved

German Genealogy Online Research : Tips from Baerbel Johnson

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

German online resources for Genealogy Research have increased tremendously over the past few years.

While attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) 2017, I had the pleasure of attending a hands-on workshop on “Online Resources for German Genealogy” taught by German genealogy expert Baerbel Johnson of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Baerbel showed us several useful resources.

Meyer’s Gazetteer

The valuable resource for locating German hometowns has been onlineShe reminded us that Meyer’s Gazetteer, the most valuable resource for locating German hometowns has been online for some time at www.meyersgaz.org.

German Records at Family Search

She pointed out recent updates in Family Search’s 62 online German record sets including many with images.

German Church Records

Many German Church records that not included in Family Search’s collections are being offered online by a variety of organizations. One online for two years now and continuing to digitize new records is the Evangelical Church Book Portal, Archion is providing digitized church records from twelve different archives. Currently, about half of these are new records that have not been filmed by Family Search. Search for free, but viewing the image requires a subscription ($200 per year). Contact me for info on church record archives for other areas or other denominations.

Civil Registration Records Online

Revisions to the German right to privacy law in 2009 allowed more civil registration records online. Some are at Family Search and others are available on German government and genealogy websites.

Address Books

For Germany, “Address Books” (German = adressbuch) are the equivalent of US City Directories. These can help to locate your ancestors in a particular place at a particular time and may provide information about occupations as well. Find them by searching www.google.de for

[town name] + adressbuch

Local Family Books – Ortsfamilienbücher

Another very useful resource is the parish or town genealogy book, the Ortsfamilienbüch (OFB), literally “place – family – book”. These often give family group sheets for local families over several generations.

Improvements

Many existing databases are also getting improved indexes and additional records added.

Bottom Line

If you have not checked online resources lately, I encourage you to take a look at the Family Search wiki to locate recently updated resources that may cover the area where you are researching.

One new resource that is not online, was a recently released book the “Guide to German Census Records”.

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World War II: What is Your Family’s Story?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

World War II ended 70 years ago. Over the past year, we have celebrated the 70th anniversary of many final milestones of World War II. We know it shaped our parents’ or grandparents’ generations. The challenges they faced  and the hardships they endured made the survivors into what we now call, “The Greatest Generation”.  And, of course, many of them did not survive the war.

How did their wartime experiences transform our families?

This week the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On January 27, 1945 the Soviet Army liberated the infamous Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in present day Poland. The families of Holocaust survivors are keenly aware of how the war shaped and decimated their families. But World War II also reshaped the destiny of countless other families around the world. Have you considered how World War II affected your family?

Living Relatives Memories

If you are lucky enough to have relatives who lived during the war, make time to talk to them about their wartime experiences. How did the war affect them and their family? Many of them saw the war through a child’s eyes. Their memories of the world and of their parents’ dilemmas and choices can help make sense of how and where your family emerged from the war.

Your Family’s World War II Story

Each of our families has its own World War II stories. World War II redrew the borders of Europe and Asia. It changed governments and the international balance of power. Some families both at home and abroad lost their homes, possessions, and livelihoods. Others emerged from the war with new confidence and experience that inspired them to rebuild, move to a new city or country, or become the first in their family to attend college. Some lost families, and others brought home war brides. Some  rebuilt their homelands, and others emigrated to the western hemisphere or to Israel.

For most, the results of the war included a messy combination of grief, friendship, family, and confidence building.

Many were optimistic, planning to rebuild the post-war world. Across the world, WWII sparked civil rights changes. In colonial nations it began or strengthened independence movements that would transform nations over the next fifty years.

But some were less optimistic. Some wartime experiences crushed the spirit and drove families apart. Fears of another Hitler or another Axis Powers led us into the Cold War, the McCarthy era, and conflicts in Cuba, Korea, Vietnam and central America throughout the 20th century.

Some of our ancestors’ stories are inspiring. Some are tragic. And others are more subtle. You probably already know the big stories for your family. But take time to explore some of the more subtle experiences that shaped people’s attitudes, trust, and dreams.

These include the stories of how witnessing and participating in wartime events and activities change a person. Consider how a family chooses in a moment whether to stay together, send children to safety, or  flee. Consider what they kept and what they left behind. Ask who they trusted, and who they feared. Try to understand how they dealt with their wartime experiences. These stories can hold the keys to understanding post war family relationships and even personal habits or quirks.

Consider the stories of men and women who volunteered, or were drafted or detained. Learn the stories of where and how those men and women trained, fought, and were captured, killed, or finally survived. Your family’s stories include stories about family, their community, their friends, and their enemies.

Learn the stories of how families on the “home front” coped with absent fathers and wartime shortages. Mothers went to work in factories and dock facilities. Children practiced bomb drills in school and collected metal for the war effort. Most people grew victory gardens and to supplement the food limited by ration coupons. Grandparents served as blackout and air raid wardens. Everyone did without.

Ask Questions – And Listen Closely to Answers

As our wartime survivors age. They may finally be willing to tell some of the stories that they didn’t tell us before. They didn’t share them before, because they were too messy or painful, because we were too young, or they thought we couldn’t understand. And some of them discount their own experience, comparing it to the grave suffering of others and finding it not worthy of being told.

If you think your wartime survivors are ready to tell some of those stories. Then take this opportunity to listen. Let them know that you want to hear their stories. Let them know that you are listening. Now.

For Additional Information . . .

For help documenting WWII service, immigration, or wartime events in the US, Canada, England, Europe, or the Pacific, contact me using the form below.


Text Copyright: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2016 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution
Photo Credit: Public Domain photo by Hudson, F A (Lt), Royal Navy official photographerphotograph A 12661 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//29/media-29701/large.jpg

 

Celebrating Wikipedia and Martin Luther King

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Wikipedia and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  both changed the world. Today we celebrate the shared birthday of both a great historical figure and a fifteen year old information source. Both of them revolutionized our world.

Dr. Martin Luther King

Today we honor the story of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrate the changes he brought to our national attitudes toward race, civil rights, and freedom. Most of us know his story, but if you needed to brush up on the details, it’s likely that you’d check Wikipedia first.

Wikipedia

Remember the days before Yahoo, Google and Wikipedia changed how we looked up information?  Google used their successful search engine and apps to become a world business and advertising leader. But, Wikipedia (also a top ten internet property) is still run by a non-profit foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
 
Founded on this day fifteen years ago, Wikipedia has grown into the worlds largest community edited encyclopedia. Named “wiki” after the Hawaiian word for “quick”, Wikipedia pioneered a way to allow many people to work on the same document at the same time.
Back then, before it’s astounding success, there were plenty of skeptics. They thought that a community edited encyclopedia would be riddled with errors, and indeed it is an ongoing “work in progress”, but the many, many knowledgeable and generous people worldwide who have stepped up to give information and edit articles have made it an amazing source of information on a dizzying array of topics.
Those who tried to use Wikipedia to promote disinformation or narrow, biased views have learned that the human and bot editors at Wikipedia flag suspect content, to alert the public when an article seems biased or has no sources. And others can step in to balance such content with alternative points of view. No printed encyclopedia has such an internationally and culturally diverse group of editors.
Genealogists often use Wikipedia for preliminary research on historical people, places, and events. And the footnotes for the Wikipedia article lead to both internet and document sources that give specific details. Watch for more posts on how to use Wikipedia to help learn about the lives of your ancestors.
Genealogists also used the “wiki” concept to create WikiTree, a free universal family tree. WikiTree encourages genealogists to collaborate using traditional genealogy sources and DNA. Like Wikipedia, WikiTree encourages many editors who all record the SOURCE of their information. And that helps genealogists work together to find and solve problems.
 
Please join me in wishing Happy Fifteenth Birthday to both Martin Luther King, Jr. and to Wikipedia and giving thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of both.
Please comment below, if you participated in the Civil Rights Movement, or if you participate in Wikipedia or another Wiki, and if you are collaborating with others on an online tree, like WikiTree or Family Search Family Tree.
If you haven’t done so, please consider making this the year that you collaborate with others to share your knowledge.
And contact me for help finding information that can help you understand more about your ancestors, whether they were famous, or not.

Text Copyright: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2016 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution
Photo Credit: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2016 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution

Superstar Genealogists: Nice People DO Finish First !

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Each year, genealogists from the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia / New Zealand nominate candidates and vote for the  Rock Star Genealogist awards hosted by Canadian genealogist, John D. Reid. There is a category for country or region, for Genetic Genealogy, and an International category. In each category voters from that region or field choose the top ten as Rock Star Genealogists. And the top three are designated Superstars (gold, silver, and bronze).
These “rock star” genealogists earn the respect of their peers and students by presenting the most “MUST SEE” presentations about research their country or field. They teach their way to success. Congratulations to every Genealogist nominated for this honor. Special congratulations to those who placed in the top ten  “Rock Star” list. setting the bar for others in their country or region.
Among the top three for each region (the Superstars), there is stiff competition. All are tops in their field. But because I know two of them, have used the website created by a third and was able see comments and info about the other two, I was struck by the fact that all the winners are not just top genealogists, but also genuinely nice people. In genealogy, nice people DO finish first!
Yesterday, competition host John D. Reid announced the gold Superstar Genealogists, who got the most votes for each of the categories: International; Australia & New Zealand; Canada; England, Scotland & Wales; Ireland; Genetic Genealogy; and the USA. Votes for each region’s winners were limited to people living in that region.Votes for the Genetic Genealogist were counted from voters identifying as genetic genealogists.
One of the winners, Genetic Genealogy expert CeCe Moore, won in three of the Superstar categories: Genetic Genealogy (of course), USA (Congrats), and International (WOW!!). Her blog, Your Genetic Genealogist, one of the go-to resources for genetic genealogy. And as both a popular speaker and southern California meeting coordinator for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy she has earned her stellar reputation.
I was excited to see that, in this select international group of talented genealogists, I had actually met and spoken to one, and have emailed over a shared research topic with another. So, while I congratulate them all on a job well done, I send special congratulations to both CeCe Moore, and Kirsty Gray.
I met CeCe Moore at the 2015 Forensic Genealogy Institute. And I share a research interest with my friend and fellow Cornwall genealogy enthusiast, UK Superstar Kirsty Gray.  Both write top notch blogs for their field and through blogs, webinars and live classes have helped guide many genealogists toward finding their ancestors.
UK Superstar Professional Genealogist, Kirsty Gray is celebrating her second win as UK Superstar, having won the title in 2013 and taken silver in 2014. From her tweets and posts she is both excited and gratified to have earned the title once again, but humble enough to be responding with genuine surprise.
Having taken a webinar from Kirsty, followed her blog, and communicated over a shared research interest, I think she well deserves the award. She is also celebrating her two year blogiversary with her prolific and informative blog Family Wise. She has posted a mind blowing 730 posts over the past two years. Well done and happy 2nd blogiversary, Kirsty!
And the laurels just keep on coming, as today Kirsty Gray was also included as #8 on the list of top ten Canadian Genealogists.  And like our other gold superstars, her response is overwhelming gratitude and joy.
You can tell by Australian Superstar Jill Ball‘s comment on the awards page, and by the awards Canadian Superstar Dave Obee has received that they both are not just talented genealogists, but also genuinely nice and generous people. And having used Irish Superstar Claire Santry‘s website, I send my sincere thanks for creating such a thoroughly useful guide.
My hearty Congratulations to each of the gold Superstars. It’s wonderful to know that in Genealogy, nice people DO finish first !

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Text Copyright: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2015 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution
Photo Credit: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2015 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution

Animas Museum’s New Database Accesses Info about Four Corners History Collection

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Animas Museum volunteer, Susan Jones, described the museum’s new public access database to members of the Southwest Colorado Genealogical Society at their September meeting. Jones volunteers in the Animas Museum collections department and also gives tours in the costume of local pioneer, Ann Eliza Pinkerton, for both the museum and on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad‘s Historic Narration San Juan Coach. She wore a dress patterned after one worn by her great grandmother in about 1889.

Jones described the collections that were included in the public access database and gave tips for finding photographs and information about artifacts related to a particular person or family. This new tool can help local genealogists and historians researching ancestors from Durango, La Plata County, or the Four Corners region. Four Corners genealogy often relies on locating information from smaller archives like the Animas Museum. The workstation is located at the Animas Museum and will not be available online.

But as the museum continues to photograph their collection of 3-D artifacts and digitize documents and photos more and more of the museum’s collection will be made accessible to the public.  Local historian Jill Seyfarth also participated in the database project.

The Animas Museum directed by historian, Carolyn Bowra, is located in the 1904 Animas City School at 3065 W 2nd Ave in historic Durango, Colorado is the home of the La Plata County Historical Society. It  houses  exhibits on local history, hosts traveling exhibits, and has on the grounds a historic log cabin (the Joy Cabin) and an early twentieth century home. The museum exhibits, the historic buildings, research library, and the books and art for sale in the museum gift shop,  all provide insight into pioneer life in southwest Colorado and the Four Corners Region.

Now the behind-the-scenes stored document and artifact collection can also be accessed by local researchers (appointments recommended).

Rootfinders Genealogy Research thanks Susan Jones for her informative presentation and congratulates the Animas Museum on their new public access database and looks forward to using the workstation for genealogy research on historic families in the Four Corners Region.

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Text Copyright: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2015 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution
Photo Credit: © Anna Hopkins-Arnold 2015 – CC-BY-SA-4.0 – share alike with attribution

Customize “Family Tree Maker 2012”: Transgender Family Member

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

This is the third in a series of blog posts by Anna Hopkins-Arnold, genealogist for Rootfinders Genealogy Research, in Durango, Colorado reviewing the ability of Family Tree Maker 2012 to accurately represent real families with complex relationships. This series was inspired by a challenge issued in a blog post (regrettably no longer available on the web) by George Geder of Geder Genealogy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In his original blog post, George showed that Family Tree Maker 2012 could show a couple with the same gender.

Represent Transgender Family Member in Family Tree Maker 2012

Then, George mentioned trying to represent a transgender family  member. This is a challenge since Family Tree Maker does not allow us to associate a date with either the “Name” or  “Gender” facts. I have often found people using different names at different times in their lives, It would be very handy to have a date associated with the “name” fact for all kinds of individuals.

Since both “name” and “gender” facts change for a transgender person, I would represent the person with two different profiles: one for the birth name and gender and another for the transgendered name and new gender.  Both individuals would have the same birth date, birth place, and parents. On their parents family group sheet this one person would look like two people: boy and girl twins, but the birth identity would contain only the facts documented for the birth identity, so that timeline would end when the person began using the transgendered identity. After that, documents will show the new identity and facts would be recorded under the new identity, so when the timeline for the birth identity ended, the  timeline for the transgender identity would begin.

Review: Family Tree Maker could document separate timelines for the two different profiles of a Transgendered  Individual, but not a single unified timeline

I was able to document timelines for the two different name and gender profiles to represent a transgendered individual, but that representation made the person appear to be twin siblings. Additional text will be needed to clarify the situation. Because Family Tree Maker 2012 does not allow users to change the properties of the name and gender facts, I could not use just a single profile and have the name and gender change with time. It worked, but it was clunky.

This is just one of many instances when I have wished I could add a date property to the name fact. Many people throughout history have used different names at different periods in their lives. Allowing users to add a date to the name fact would make it much easier to see name use patterns.

Allowing users to add date properties to both name and gender will allow them the flexibility to represent every one in their family tree. So I’d like to see Family Tree Maker add these two options to future versions:

  1. Allow users to  modify the properties of the name fact to include a date.
  2. Allow users to  modify the properties of the gender fact to include a date.