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The Boston Molasses Disaster

Posted January 15, 2019 by Amanda | No Comment
BostonPost 1919 - MH 2

On January 15, 1919, one of the strangest disasters in history occurred in Boston, Massachusetts when 2.3 million gallons of molasses poured down the streets of Boston, killing 21 people. The tragedy became known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood. The Boston Daily Globe, January 16, 1919 / MyHeritage SuperSearch The disaster occurred at the Purity Distilling Company facility in the North End neighborhood of Boston. During this time, molasses was… Read the full story

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5 Family History Research Goals for 2019

Posted January 11, 2019 by Amanda | No Comment
5 Family History Research Goals for 2019

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to sit down and layout what you want to accomplish in your family history research this year. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, here are some genealogy research goals you may want to keep in mind for 2019. 1. Create research plans This year strive to create a research plan before jumping into your tree. With a specific focus in mind, you will be able to better… Read the full story

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The First U.S. Census

Posted August 2, 2018 by Amanda | One Comment

Have you found ancestors in the United States census? Census records are one of the most important resources in genealogy. With the information provided in these records, finding a relative in the census will often open doors to additional discoveries. The very first U.S. census was conducted on August 2, 1790. Every household was visited by a census taker to record information for each person who was within the household on the census day. In… Read the full story

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Memorial Day: Remembering Our Military Ancestors

Posted May 28, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment

Today the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day to honor of the men and women who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Many people will take this time to visit cemeteries to honor our fallen soldiers. The holiday is often celebrated with large parades and family barbecues as we also welcome the unofficial beginning of summer. Image: Kathleen T. Rhem, U.S. Army This long weekend also presents a great opportunity to research your military ancestors. Here are a few ideas on… Read the full story

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They Died of What? Old Diseases Explained

Posted April 11, 2018 by Amanda | One Comment

While researching your ancestors, have you come across a cause of death that you do not recognize? When looking at old records, it’s not uncommon to find a cause of death or illness whose name is no longer in use today. You may find these terms in old historical records such as obituaries, death certificates, probate records, or census mortality schedules. Here’s a quick roundup of a few terms you may encounter: Croup – a swelling of… Read the full story

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5 Things to Do to Get Started on Your Family Tree

Posted January 12, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
5 Things to Do When You First Get Started on Your Family Tree

If you’re interested in getting started on your genealogy, but at a loss as to what you need to do first, here are some tips on what to do to begin building your family tree. 1. Keep it simple and start with what you know. The first step is the easiest – simply start with what you know. Begin with yourself and work your way back to your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. This will give you a good… Read the full story

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Tips for Overcoming Your Brick Walls

Posted November 3, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment
Tips for Overcoming Your Brick Walls

Sometimes when you hit a brick wall in your genealogy research, you may feel like there is no hope in overcoming it. However, there may be a few things to try that you may have overlooked. Here are a few quick tips on how to overcome your brick walls: Review what you have Go back and review what you know about your ancestor. Take some time to to create a timeline during your review to get a better picture of your… Read the full story

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10 Ways to Find Your Ancestor’s Death Information

Posted October 19, 2017 by Amanda | 3 Comments

One of the most basic pieces of information a genealogists may search for is an ancestor’s date of death. However, sometimes family history researchers are unable to locate a death certificate for an ancestor. Good thing there are many other options available to locate an ancestor’s death information! If you’re searching for an ancestor’s death information, you may want to consider exploring these valuable resources: 1. Newspapers and obituaries The Harlowton News, October 27, 1911 Search through old newspapers for obituaries and death notices,… Read the full story

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7 Places to Find Where Your Ancestors are Buried

Posted June 28, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment

Do you know where your ancestors are buried? As many genealogists would know, you can find a lot of genealogical information on a gravestone. That is if you know where to look. If you have yet to find where your ancestor is buried, check out these tips to help you locate your ancestor’s final resting place. 1. Obituaries Obituaries hold a wealth of genealogical information. Often you may find vital information such as birth or death dates, the names… Read the full story

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Honor Your Military Ancestors This Memorial Day

Posted May 26, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment

As we enter Memorial Day weekend, we take the time to remember the men and women who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Image: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana – Civil War, Archives Center, National Museum of American History Originally called Decoration Day, the tradition of the holiday was born after the Civil War. On Decoration Day, the graves of Civil War soldiers were decorated with flowers. However, after the devastation of World… Read the full story

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10 Tips to Decipher Hard-to-Read Handwriting

Posted May 24, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment

Have you had trouble making heads-or-tails of an old, handwritten document? Poor penmanship is a common issue you may encounter while doing your genealogy research. But with a little patience, you may be able to figure out just what was written on the page all those years ago. Here are 10 tips to help you decipher hard-to-read handwriting: 1. Read the entire document Try reading through the document a few times to see if what you can… Read the full story

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5 Reasons Why You Should Use Tax Records for Genealogy Research

Posted April 18, 2017 by Amanda | 3 Comments

No one looks forward to doing their taxes year after year. However, since everyone is expected to pay their taxes each year, tax records make an excellent resource for genealogists. Ohio 1826 tax records / MyHeritage SuperSearch Here are 5 reasons why tax records are great for genealogy research: 1. They are consistent. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, expect death and taxes.” Everyone is expected to diligently… Read the full story

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World War I: The U.S. Declares War

Posted April 6, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment

Did your family serve in World War I? On this day 100 years ago, the United States entered World War I and joined the Allies in the fight against Germany. Called the “War to End All Wars,” the Great War would be unlike any war ever seen before. East Oregonian, April 6, 1917 / Library of Congress Upon the announcement, President Woodrow Wilson called on all citizens to volunteer their services to the country. The president declared the… Read the full story

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30 Questions to Ask to Draw Out Family Stories

Posted March 31, 2017 by Amanda | One Comment
30 Questions to Ask to Draw Out Family Stories

When you interview your relatives about your family history, the goal is often to gather names, dates, and locations. Sometimes you may lose sight of the stories behind those names, dates, and locations. Some of the greatest insights into your family come from the family stories that relatives remember. It is easy to forget what questions to ask during a family interview, so it is always best to be prepared with a list of questions…. Read the full story

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Where to Find Your Ancestors’ Signatures

Posted March 23, 2017 by Amanda | No Comment

During your genealogy research, you’ll often come across the signatures of your ancestors. Signatures are fascinating because they might be the only traces of handwriting you may find in your ancestors’ own hand. Not only are they fun to find, they can also help supplement your genealogy research. Signatures can be a good way to verify if separate documents belong to the same person. For example, by comparing signatures, you may be able to conclude that a deed signed by James Ford is… Read the full story

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10 Tips for Family History Interviews

Posted November 16, 2016 by Amanda | 2 Comments
10 Tips for Family History Interviews

With the holidays just around the corner, chances are you will be getting together with your relatives to celebrate. It may also present a great opportunity to catch a few relatives for an interview about your family history! Before seeing your relatives this holiday season, here are some tips to help prepare for an interview with your relatives. 1. Plan ahead First, take a look at what information you have and what you may still be… Read the full story

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Did Your Ancestors Vote?

Posted November 8, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Did Your Ancestors Vote?

It’s Election Day in the U.S. Today, millions of Americans will head to the polls to cast their votes for President. This presidential election between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will certainly go down into the history books and may possibly result in the country’s first female president. As voters take to the polls, we take a minute to remember that many of our ancestors may have also participated in elections during their lifetimes. Did your ancestors vote? Voter… Read the full story

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20 Family History Questions You May Not Think to Ask Your Relatives

Posted September 30, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
20 Questions You Should Ask Your Relatives

When getting started on your family history research, one of the best places to begin is your family. Your living relatives are an incredible resource for your family’s genealogy. While it’s important to make sure ask basic questions about names, birth dates and locations for the person you are interviewing and for other relatives, it’s also just as imperative to get them to open up with stories about their lives or your family history. Image: Powerhouse Museum, Flickr Some of… Read the full story

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9 Tips for Photographing Gravestones

Posted September 21, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
9 Tips for Photographing Cemeteries

Overtime, the information on gravestones may deteriorate and disappear forever. Taking photographs of these markers now is essential to preserving them for future generations. This fun activity is perfect for genealogists and family historians. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your next adventure to the cemetery: 1. Ask for permission Before taking your first snapshot, make sure you have permission to take photographs in the cemetery. A quick search online for the cemetery’s website or a… Read the full story

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Genealogy Research: Don’t Overlook City Directories

Posted September 13, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment

Remember receiving the yellow pages on your door step? Now that we have the Internet at our fingertips, we see these books less and less. However, years ago, thick city directories were one of the few ways a person could look up the names and addresses of local businesses and residents. Old city directories provide a snapshot of a time and place, which makes them a perfect resource for genealogy researchers. 1889 Boston, Massachusetts city directory / MyHeritage SuperSearch Directories… Read the full story

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Genealogy Research: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Posted July 7, 2016 by Amanda | 4 Comments
Genealogy Research: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’re just getting started researching your family history or have been doing genealogy for years, everybody makes mistakes. But if you have them in mind, you can take steps to make sure you don’t make some of the common mistakes that befall genealogists at some time or another. Here are five common genealogy mistakes for you to avoid: 1. Making assumptions One of the easiest and most common mistake to make is to make assumptions about… Read the full story

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10 Reasons Why You Should Collaborate on Geni’s World Family Tree

Posted June 3, 2016 by Amanda | One Comment
10 Reasons Why_blog

Thanks to the collaboration of millions of genealogists and family historians, Geni’s World Family Tree has over 100 million profiles connected. That’s over 100 million people connected to a single family tree! Here are 10 reasons why you should be collaborating in the World Family Tree now: 1. Work with others in projects Why research alone, when there’s an entire community who is just as passionate about genealogy as you? Who better to work with than… Read the full story

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Spring Cleaning: Organize Your Genealogy Research

Posted March 29, 2016 by Amanda | 2 Comments

Now that spring is officially here, it’s the perfect time to do a little genealogy spring cleaning. Take a break from your research to reorganize, refresh and get yourself in the best shape before tackling your next genealogy hurdle. Image: Nationaal Archief, Flickr Here are some quick tips to get started on your genealogy spring cleaning: Time to scan old documents and photos! Do you have a pile of old documents and photos that you’ve been meaning to… Read the full story

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Women in World War I

Posted March 25, 2016 by Amanda | 2 Comments

World War I was an interesting time for women. As millions of men were off fighting in the Great War, women back home entered the work force in droves. It was the first time in American history that many women began to take on the jobs traditionally held by men. Before the U.S. entered the war, women were relegated to the home or to domestic work. In 1914, when World War I broke out in Europe, the traditional… Read the full story

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Middle Names in Your Family Tree

Posted March 10, 2016 by Amanda | 6 Comments

What’s in a middle name? Not everyone has one and its significance varies between different cultures. If you come across someone with a middle name during your genealogy research, a closer investigation may give you fascinating insights into family traditions, your ancestors or even clues to missing branches. While the concept of a “middle name” has been around since the Middle Ages, it was not until 1835 that the phrase “middle name” first appeared in the Harvard University… Read the full story

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Uncover the Maiden Names of Your Female Ancestors

Posted March 3, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment

Are you having trouble searching for your female ancestors? Documentation for women is often difficult to come by in the historical record. Often times, name changes and omissions in favor of male relatives make it difficult to track down your female ancestors. Image: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives The month of March is designated as Women’s History Month. In honor of the month long celebration, here are some ways you can uncover the maiden names of your… Read the full story

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Tips to Get Started on Your Family Tree

Posted February 17, 2016 by Amanda | 3 Comments
Back to Basics: Tips to Get Started on Your Family Tree

Learning about your genealogy can be a rich and rewarding experience, but many who are eager to discover more often find they are at a loss on to where or how to begin. Family history research doesn’t need to feel so overwhelming. Check out these tips on how to get started on researching your family tree: 1. Start with what you know The easiest way to begin is to start with the information you already know. As… Read the full story

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Newspapers: Wedding and Anniversary Announcements

Posted February 12, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment

Have you found your ancestors’ wedding or anniversary announcements in old newspaper records? These happy announcements can be a wonderful treasure trove of genealogical information. They may also hold stories of the love your relatives shared on their special day. Many of these may even include a photograph of the happy couple! We’ve uncovered a few lovely examples below. Check them out: Sisters married on the anniversary of their parents’ wedding The Ogden Standard, February 14, 1920 A… Read the full story

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Remembering Rosa Parks

Posted December 1, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks became one of the defining symbols of the American Civil Rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This simple act of defiance sparked a wave of non-violent protest for equal rights. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was riding home from a long day at work on a segregated bus. She had been working as a seamstress at a Montgomery department… Read the full story

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Photos: The Great Depression

Posted November 3, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

The Great Depression had a devastating effect on the population in the United States. In an effort to document and highlight the impact of the Depression and rally support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) hired eleven photographers to document the conditions of rural America. The powerful photographs captured the lives of impoverished farmers and families during the era and resulted in some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. Walker Evans… Read the full story

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Tips to Decipher Old Handwriting

Posted September 26, 2015 by Amanda | 4 Comments

While researching your family history, you may come across many old handwritten records that are hard to read. Although genealogists would love to see clear, easy-to-read penmanship, you’ll find that that is not always the case. From the census enumerator with the sloppy cursive to your ancestors’ flourished writings in old journals, handwritten documents can sometimes feel impossible to decipher. Image: 1912 Catholic Church marriage record from Mexico Time and patience are key to understanding exactly what is written on the page. Check… Read the full story

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History of Labor Day

Posted September 4, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

This Monday, the United States celebrates Labor Day in honor of the contributions and achievements that workers have made. Celebrated on the first Monday of each September, Labor Day was created as a result of the Labor Movement of the late 19th century. Today, the holiday also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated with parties, parades and community events. Working in bottling factory / Library of Congress The origins of Labor Day can… Read the full story

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The 19th Amendment Ratified

Posted August 18, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

On this day in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing women the right to vote in the United States. The Lowell Sun, August 18, 1920 The long struggle for women’s equal right to vote began with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lurcretia Mott, the event was the first women’s rights convention of its kind to be held in the U.S. It was here that Stanton first met Susan B. Anthony, who would play… Read the full story

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10 Family History Questions to Ask Your Grandparents

Posted August 15, 2015 by Amanda | One Comment

When researching your family history, one of the greatest resources at your disposal are your living relatives. Your grandparents and other older relatives may just be your closest connection to earlier generations of your family. When your grandparents pass, their knowledge and memories of your family’s history disappear forever. Interviewing your elderly relatives now is not only great for capturing and preserving their stories for future generations, but also a wonderful way to get to know… Read the full story

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Genealogy Research: Address Books

Posted August 7, 2015 by Amanda | One Comment
Genealogy Research: Address Books

Do you still keep a handwritten address book? In today’s world, many people have forgone the old paper and pen for digital preservation of contacts either on the computer or a smartphone. But if you take a closer look at an old address book, you’ll find that they may hold the key to unlocking your family history. Before we carried all our contacts on our phones, we kept the names, addresses and phone numbers of our family, friends and… Read the full story

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The Notorious Lizzie Borden

Posted August 4, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Have you heard this popular rhyme? Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Memorialized in this children’s nursery rhyme is Lizzie Borden, who stood trial for the infamous murder of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. It was 123 years ago today on August 4, 1892 that Andrew and Abby Borden were found in their home. Since… Read the full story

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Genealogy: WWI Draft Registration Cards

Posted July 28, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Genealogy: WWI Draft Registration Cards

Do you have ancestors that fought in World War I? On this day in 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia, beginning a war unlike any other. World War I, also known as the Great War, would last 4 years and see the death of over 9 million soldiers. It wasn’t until April 1917 that the United States would enter the war. Six weeks after the U.S. declared war on Germany, the Selective Service Act was passed,… Read the full story

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Modern Names for Old Diseases

Posted June 26, 2015 by Amanda | 2 Comments

Did your ancestor die from bad blood? Or a fatty liver? Have you found yourself wondering what jail fever could be? Your ancestors’ cause of death can be found in several different historical records, including death certificates, obituaries and probate records. The names of many diseases vary over time and geographical location, so it’s not at all surprising to come across an unfamiliar cause of death or illness during your research. Image: Miami University Libraries… Read the full story

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Patents: The Typewriter

Posted June 23, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Do you remember the days of using a typewriter? After the introduction of the first commercially successful typewriter, the mechanical marvel quickly became an indispensable tool, transforming the way the world communicated in both business and the home. 1868 patent drawing for Shole’s typewriter / National Archives (click to view patent) Although various forms of the typewriter had been around for many years, the first practical and commercially successful typewriter was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper publisher… Read the full story

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7 Unexpected Places to Discover Clues to Your Family History

Posted June 16, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
7 Unexpected Places to Find Clues to Your Family History | Geni

As genealogists, we’re always searching for clues about our ancestors. Some of the first documents we search for are census records, birth and death certificates, obituaries and other commonly used sources. However, there are many, many other places you can search to find clues to help you breakthrough your brick walls. Check out some unexpected places to find clues to your family history: Image: pixagraphic, Flickr 1. Fraternal organizations Have you found acronyms or symbols on your… Read the full story

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Video: History of 20th Century Hairstyles

Posted June 2, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Video: History of 20th Century Hairstyles

Are you having some trouble dating your old family photos? Often genealogists have to look for clues within the photos to try to decipher when a photo was taken. Clothing, decor and hairstyles are just some of the many clues you can pick up while examining an old photograph. Knowing popular fashion trends throughout history will go a long way in helping you date your old photographs. Do the women have a 1920s bob? Or the men a 1950s… Read the full story

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8 Tips to Discover Your Irish Ancestors

Posted March 17, 2015 by Amanda | 3 Comments
8 Tips to Discover Your Irish Ancestors

Are you searching for your Irish ancestors? With millions of vital historical records destroyed and droves of Irish immigrants settled all over the world, many people researching their Irish heritage may find it to be a frustrating and challenging pursuit. In the U.S. alone, there are over 36 million people with Irish ancestry. That’s over eight times the population of Ireland! Here are a few tips to help you with your Irish genealogy research: Talk to your relatives - The… Read the full story

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7 Things You May Not Know About Winston Churchill

Posted January 24, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. Considered one of the greatest leaders in history, Churchill was a master orator and statesman. In honor of this momentous anniversary, here are some things you may not have known about Winston Churchill: 1. He comes from an aristocratic family Churchill was born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the Spencer family. His 6th great grandfather was John Churchill, the… Read the full story

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Genealogy Research: Tips to Stay Organized

Posted January 14, 2015 by Amanda | 3 Comments
Genealogy Research: Tips to Stay Organized

We’ve all been there – surrounded by a mountain of paper work as we’re trying to break through that brick wall or uncover that elusive ancestor. A snippet of a newspaper or an old photograph can easily get lost amongst the clutter. How can you avoid getting lost in the mess of research? Check out these tips to stay organized and help you keep track of your family history research. Do it as you go The best way to stay… Read the full story

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Surnames: The Meaning Behind the Name

Posted January 8, 2015 by Amanda | 3 Comments

What’s behind a name? Typically, surnames are passed down through many generations, creating a web of connected family members. The use of surnames is common in most countries around the world, but did you know they didn’t always exist? During the 13th and 14th centuries in Britain, hereditary surnames were adopted, first amongst the aristocracy and then eventually everyone. These early surnames were often derived from patronymics, places, personal characteristics and occupations. Because of this, surnames can give… Read the full story

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Thanksgiving: Tips for the Holiday

Posted November 25, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment
Happy Thanksgiving feature

This Thursday, everyone across the United States will be celebrating Thanksgiving. One of the busiest holidays for travel, people from all over return home to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. While feasting on your Thanksgiving meal this year, take this opportunity to involve your relatives in your family history research. And perhaps create even more lasting family memories! Here are some tips for working family history into your celebrations this year: Before the big day, ask… Read the full story

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60 Years Ago, Ellis Island Closed Its Doors

Posted November 12, 2014 by Amanda | One Comment

Do you have any ancestors who came through Ellis Island? On November 12, 1954, Ellis Island closed its doors after welcoming 12 million immigrants to America. Located in Upper New York Bay, Ellis Island served as the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States from 1892 – 1954. On January 1, 1892, a 17-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore became the first immigrant to set foot through the famous immigration center. She was traveling… Read the full story

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Genealogy: Unusual Deaths

Posted November 7, 2014 by Amanda | 2 Comments

Any genealogy researcher will tell you that death certificates and obituaries hold a great deal of valuable information for your family tree. These often contain the name of the deceased, place of residence, place of death, the names of family members and cause of death. It’s always fascinating when you stumble upon an unusual cause of death. Here’s a clipping from The Ocala Evening Star dated April 3, 1908. A woman, Mrs. Anna Ferrer of New York, laughed herself to death while attending… Read the full story

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Unusual Terms for Your Family Tree

Posted October 10, 2014 by Amanda | One Comment

In many languages, what we call our family members is dependent on age and gender and can get pretty complicated to the non-native speaker. In comparison, the English words we use can seem pretty straightforward. Typically, English uses mom and dad, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, grandma and grandpa, etc. And words such as ‘cousin’ are used generally and can refer to a male or female cousin from your maternal or paternal line. Seems pretty easy right? But… Read the full story

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Genealogy Research: Mugshots

Posted October 1, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment
mugshot (1)

Do you have any black sheep in your family tree? If your ancestor has an arrest under their belt, police reports may exist that will give you very interesting insights into your relative’s history. Not to mention that a mugshot would be a unique addition to your genealogy record collection! The mugshot was invented by Alphonse Bertillon, a French police officer and biometrics researcher. He applied the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement, creating an identification… Read the full story