Navigate Local Town Hall Research

by Marian Pierre-Louis

The ease of accessing documents online is indisputable and a great advancement to genealogical research. I have to admit, though, that I still prefer to research in original record books. Perhaps it's my location here in New England. We are blessed with local records still kept in their original town or city.

When I research people from my local town I can access vital records online from databases on the AmericanAncestors.com website, Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org. More often than not I prefer to drive two miles up the road to my local town hall and see the records for myself.

The records held at the town (or city) level are the originals. Copies are sent to the state level and are recorded in copybooks. The data contained in the two sets of records can vary. For instance, for a birth record, the local copy may include the mother's maiden name whereas the state copy will likely leave that off.

There are challenges, however, to working in original records. The records are not indexed electronically so you can't type in a name and have the record you want suddenly appear. There are still indexes but you have to use them the old fashioned way - you need to look them up in the index book. That will give you the volume and page number you need to refer to in the original record volumes. If you have many vital records to look up it could take quite an effort finding the references in the index book(s) and then locating each book you need for the records. Of course, if you are researching in a very short time frame you may be lucky enough to find all the records you need in one book.

Another challenge is the handwriting. On the major database sites you can still view the original records and handwriting but you have the advantage of having someone else read and index the records for you ahead of time. All you have to do is verify the handwriting against what has been indexed in the record. You're on your own in a town hall. You will not likely find help or handwriting expertise from the local staff.

You have to be meticulous when researching in local records so as not to introduce typos in your notes. You could waste time if you transpose or write down the wrong volume and page number for a record. After spending considerable time looking for a record you can't find, you'll be forced back to the index to check your notes again and to discover where you made your error.

You'll also have to be very careful to copy down all the information you find in the record accurately. In addition to the handwriting, you'll want to make sure you don't introduce any errors in your transcriptions.

The last thing you'll want to be very careful about is collecting the information for your citation. Original record books may not have pages numbers so it is easy to forget that you need determine the page number and write it down. Also, the title of the book may only be on the spine. It's easy to forget to record that too!

Here's what I do to ensure a successful trip to the local town hall:

1) Photograph the actual record book (if you are allowed to do this). Pose the book at an angle so that you can see both the spine and the cover. If the inside of the book has a title page be sure to photograph that too. I actually do this whenever I do onsite research (even for modern books), at libraries and archives so that I can gather the citation information.

2) Make a chart BEFORE you go to the archives that will contain all the information you will be recording. If you are unfamiliar with the records, you may have to guess what items the records will include. For instance, if you are recording a birth record, make a chart that includes the name of the child, the father's name, the mother's name, the birth date, birth location and parent's residence. Be aware that different information will be available in different time periods. The farther back you go the less information you will find. In my Plan Your Way to Research Success webinar I referred to these as data collection sheets (Legacy members can find it in the webinar library).

What type of chart you make is up to your personal preference as well as the restriction of the town hall you will be visiting. Some places will let you bring in a computer. If that is the case you may want to keep your chart in a program like MS Word or Excel. Also consider whether there will be internet access. You might not be able to use internet or cloud resources until you get back to your home or hotel. If the town hall only lets you use paper and pencil be sure you print out a copy of your chart before you leave.

3) Create a citation template. I like to use the book Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills to determine what information I should collect. For a birth record in a vital record register (list style as opposed to individual certificates) I can find examples on page 426 of her book. I will then type out the citation using the information I already know and put XXs for the information that will be collected during the visit. I will also include columns in my data chart for volume and page number for each individual record (see image below).

If you create a chart with this information ahead of time you will be much more likely to gather the information you need so you don't have to make a second trip.

There are challenges to researching original records in a New England Town Hall but the touch of the old records books and the ambiance of actually being in the town where your ancestors lived should make it all worth it!

The form below is available for download for your personal use:
Download PDF version

Download MS Word version (editable)

BirthRecords

Click to enlarge

Marian Pierre-Louis is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. She is also the host of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.

 


United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story - free webinar by Bernice Alexander Bennett now online for limited time

2015-04-24-play

The recording of today's webinar, the second of our Freedom Webinar Series, "United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story," by Bernice Alexander Bennett is now available to view for free at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for a limited time. Lots of great comments:

  • Had no idea what was in store for me today, was I pleasantly surprised...what a webinar!
  • I enjoyed Ms. Bennett's lecture. I was happy to learn that Fold3 has scanned National Archive documents. I'm heading to the website now. Thank you Legacy for providing these great genealogy education lectures!
  • While this presentation was centered on African-American pensions from service in the Civil War, it actually provides great insight for all folks, not only for anyone researching Civil War pensions, but lots of areas, including a look at NARA and at Fold3. Everyone should have found something helpful in this presentation.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 14 minute recording of "United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story"is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - pension - for 10% off anything at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com or www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com, valid through Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 230 classes, 336 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 965 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year (that's about the cost of 5 webinar CDs)
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Using Legacy with Specialized Studies - Legacy is for more than your family history by Tessa Keough. April 29.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 2 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. May 6.
  • After You're Gone - Future-Proofing Your Genealogy Research by Thomas MacEntee (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). May 8.
  • GenealogyBank - The Power of Finding Our Ancestor's Stories by Tom Kemp. May 13.
  • Martha Benshura - Enemy Alien by Judy Russell. May 20.
  • Migration Patterns East of the Mississippi Prior to 1860 by Mary Hill. May 27.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 3 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. June 3.
  • Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar by Jana Sloan Broglin. June 10.
  • 10 Tips for Using Legacy with Specialized Studies by Tessa Keough. June 12.
  • The Secret Lives of Women - Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega. July 1.
  • Pinning Your Family History by Thomas MacEntee. July 8.
  • Making a Federal Case Out of It by Judy Russell (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). July 10.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. July 15.
  • Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started? by Kathy Meade. July 22.
  • Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo. July 29.
  • Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery by Melvin J. Collier. July 31.
  • What's in a Name? Trouble! by Ron Arons. August 5.
  • Power Platting - Technology Tools to Create Pictures from Property Descriptions by Chris Staats. August 12.
  • Discovering Your Kentucky Ancestors by Mark Lowe. August 19.
  • Digital Family Reunions by Devin Ashby. August 21.
  • German Names and Naming Patterns by Jim Beidler. August 26.
  • Break Down Brick Walls in Eastern European Research - Tips, Tools and Tricks by Lisa Alzo. September 2.
  • Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online by Kathy Meade. September 9.
  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. September 11.
  • Researching Your Dutch Ancestors by Yvette Hoitink. September 16.
  • Researching Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Kirsty Gray. September 23.
  • Maps Tell Some of the Story for the African-Ancestored Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji. September 25.
  • Using Periodicals to Find Your Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. September 30.
  • Wearables and Genealogy - Wacky and Wild or Worth the Wait by Thomas MacEntee. October 7.
  • Colonial Immigration - The English Pioneers of Early America by Beth Foulk. October 14.
  • Billions of Records, Billions of Stories by Devin Ashby. October 16.
  • What Happened to the State of Frankland - Using Tennessee's Pre-Statehood Records by Mark Lowe. October 21.
  • Complex Evidence - What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter? by Warren Bittner. October 28.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. November 4.
  • Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard. November 11.
  • Bringing it All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record by Tom Kemp. November 13.
  • Mapping Madness by Ron Arons. November 18.
  • Stories in Stone - Cemetery Research by Gail Blankenau. December 2.
  • Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist? by Apryl Cox and Kelly Summers. December 9.
  • Pointing Fingers at Ancestors' Siblings - Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. December 16.

Click here to register. Or click here register for multiple webinars at the same time.

Print the 2015 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


New Legacy QuickTip Video - How to Add Divorce Information

We have another great Legacy QuickTip Video for you today! Learn:

  • How to change the Marriage Status to "Divorced" and add the date/place
  • How to display the Marriage Status on the Family View
  • How to display the Marriage Status in a report
  • Other Legacy tips and tricks as answered during the Q/A session

This QuickTip was presented live during the after-webinar party of yesterday's D-I-V-O-R-C-E! webinar by Judy Russell.

Click here for the video.

Thumb-divorce

Click here for more Legacy QuickTip videos.


FamilySearch Records Update: More than 4 million new records for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Italy, South Africa, and U.S.

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 4 million indexed records and images for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Italy, South Africa, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 700,220 indexed records from the US, Alabama, County Marriages, 1809–1950 collection; 461,167 indexed records from the US, Montana, Cascade County Records, 1880–2009 collection; and 380,334 indexed records from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

CollectionIndexed RecordsDigital ImagesComments
Belgium, East Flanders, Civil Registration, 1541–1912 70,174 49,538 Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.
Belgium, Limburg, Civil Registration, 1798–1906 2,962 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980 380,334 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
Canada, Ontario Marriages, 1869–1927 246,273 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
China Collection of Genealogies, 1239–2014 0 232,895 Added images to an existing collection.
England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537–1918 0 53,151 Added images to an existing collection.
Italy, Caserta, Gricignano d’Aversa, Civil Registration (Comune), 1809–1929 5,472 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951–2006 43,036 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Alabama, County Marriages, 1809–1950 700,220 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Alabama, Mobile Magnolia Cemetery Interment Cards, 1836–1995 32,735 32,865 New indexed records and images collection.
US, Arizona Obituary Index to Arizona Newspapers, 1993–1994 223,443 51,701 New indexed records and images collection.
US, California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893–1953 21,052 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1938 201,363 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Maine, Faylene Hutton Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780–1990 297,412 298,228 New indexed records and images collection.
US, Montana, Cascade County Records, 1880–2009 461,167 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Montana, Sanders County Records, 1866–2010 1,527 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891 349,251 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Texas, El Paso Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of El Paso, 1905–1927 218,031 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.
US, Texas, Indexes and Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Del Rio, 1906–1953 104,679 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection.


D-I-V-O-R-C-E! Free webinar by Judy Russell now online for limited time

Divorce

Judy Russell entertained, inspired, and educated all in attendance at today's live webinar, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E!" Its recording, including the after-webinar party, is now available in the Webinar Library for free for a limited time. A few great comments:

  • Judy is the best. She makes law fun! What could have been a very dry and boring subject was laugh out loud funny.. thanks for hosting!
  • Enjoyed the speaker. Makes me want to look for my ancestors' divorce records!!! Didn't know they may be very juicy.
  • Excellent, excellent, excellent! "D-I-V-O-R-C-E!" was just full of very interesting avenues to explore and I loved the stories! Geoff's after webinar was (as usual) very helpful.
  • Judy is so knowledgeable and entertaining--a combination that's hard to beat!

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 44 minute recording of "D-I-V-O-R-C-E!" PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - divorce - for 10% off anything at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com or www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com, valid through Monday, April 27, 2015.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 229 classes, 335 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 965 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year (that's about the cost of 5 webinar CDs)
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story by Bernice Alexander Bennett. April 24.
  • Using Legacy with Specialized Studies - Legacy is for more than your family history by Tessa Keough. April 29.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 2 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. May 6.
  • After You're Gone - Future-Proofing Your Genealogy Research by Thomas MacEntee (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). May 8.
  • GenealogyBank - The Power of Finding Our Ancestor's Stories by Tom Kemp. May 13.
  • Martha Benshura - Enemy Alien by Judy Russell. May 20.
  • Migration Patterns East of the Mississippi Prior to 1860 by Mary Hill. May 27.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 3 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. June 3.
  • Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar by Jana Sloan Broglin. June 10.
  • 10 Tips for Using Legacy with Specialized Studies by Tessa Keough. June 12.
  • The Secret Lives of Women - Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega. July 1.
  • Pinning Your Family History by Thomas MacEntee. July 8.
  • Making a Federal Case Out of It by Judy Russell (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). July 10.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. July 15.
  • Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started? by Kathy Meade. July 22.
  • Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo. July 29.
  • Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery by Melvin J. Collier. July 31.
  • What's in a Name? Trouble! by Ron Arons. August 5.
  • Power Platting - Technology Tools to Create Pictures from Property Descriptions by Chris Staats. August 12.
  • Discovering Your Kentucky Ancestors by Mark Lowe. August 19.
  • Digital Family Reunions by Devin Ashby. August 21.
  • German Names and Naming Patterns by Jim Beidler. August 26.
  • Break Down Brick Walls in Eastern European Research - Tips, Tools and Tricks by Lisa Alzo. September 2.
  • Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online by Kathy Meade. September 9.
  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. September 11.
  • Researching Your Dutch Ancestors by Yvette Hoitink. September 16.
  • Researching Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Kirsty Gray. September 23.
  • Maps Tell Some of the Story for the African-Ancestored Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji. September 25.
  • Using Periodicals to Find Your Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. September 30.
  • Wearables and Genealogy - Wacky and Wild or Worth the Wait by Thomas MacEntee. October 7.
  • Colonial Immigration - The English Pioneers of Early America by Beth Foulk. October 14.
  • Billions of Records, Billions of Stories by Devin Ashby. October 16.
  • What Happened to the State of Frankland - Using Tennessee's Pre-Statehood Records by Mark Lowe. October 21.
  • Complex Evidence - What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter? by Warren Bittner. October 28.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. November 4.
  • Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard. November 11.
  • Bringing it All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record by Tom Kemp. November 13.
  • Mapping Madness by Ron Arons. November 18.
  • Stories in Stone - Cemetery Research by Gail Blankenau. December 2.
  • Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist? by Apryl Cox and Kelly Summers. December 9.
  • Pointing Fingers at Ancestors' Siblings - Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. December 16.

Click here to register. Or click here register for multiple webinars at the same time.

Print the 2015 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


Register for 2 Genealogy webinars this week - Divorce! (by Judy Russell) and Freedom Webinar Series (by Bernice Bennett)

Judybernice

Join us this Wednesday AND Friday for two exciting genealogy webinars presented by Judy Russell and Bernice Alexander Bennett. On Wednesday Judy will present "D-I-V-O-R-C-E!" and on Friday Bernice will present as part of our Freedom Webinar Series, "United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story."

Presenter-8755Wednesday - D-I-V-O-R-C-E! by Judy Russell

Our ancestors' marriages lasted so much longer than our own. One reason: it was so hard to get a divorce. But it still happened, and the records created in the process tell us much about our ancestors, their lives and the laws they lived by.

Download the syllabus

In preparation for the webinar, download the supplemental syllabus materials here. The syllabus is available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers. Log in here or subscribe here.

Click here to register (free).

Bennettb-100Friday - United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story by Bernice Alexander Bennett (Freedom Webinar Series)

Explore the challenges faced by widows and/or former slave descendants of soldiers in the United States Colored Troops Widows’ Pension Applications.

Click here to register (free).

Pre-webinar interview:

Webinar Reminder: Join us for the live webinars Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 2:00pm Eastern U.S. and Friday, April 24, 2015, at 2:00pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit www.java.com to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.

Registerbut

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for free for the first 7 days after the live event. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access for the duration of their membership.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinars will be live on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

and Friday, April 24, 2015 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Webinarlogo


New Legacy QuickTip Video - How to make a backup

We have another great Legacy QuickTip Video for you today! Learn:

  • How to make a backup of your Legacy family file to a Flash/USB drive
  • How to change the default location for your backup files

There are only two types of computer users out there - one who has had their computer crash and the other whose computer will crash. Be prepared by having a backup of your Legacy Family Tree family files. This quicktip video will show you how.

Click here for the video.

Backup

Click here for more Legacy QuickTip videos.


Spreadsheets 201: Excel-lent Examples - brand new BONUS webinar for subscribers

Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets can help you analyze your genealogy data and keep track of your research. In this webinar, Mary Roddy teaches how to use this powerful tool to gain perspective and further your genealogy research. You’ll learn how to quickly take search results from Familysearch and Ancestry.com and create a spreadsheet for further analysis. You'll also get lots of ideas for using spreadsheets in genealogy such as city directory research, recording census birth places of families, keeping track of spelling variations for your online searching, and learn amazing spreadsheet tips and tricks along the way. Spreadsheets 201 is the brand new companion to Mary's Spreadsheets 101: Excel-lence in Genealogy.

How to view:

If you are an annual or monthly webinar subscriber, this webinar's recording is now available in the Webinar Library. Just head over to the library, login, and enjoy! Fix pages of supplemental syllabus materials also accompany this webinar.

Click here to watch the webinar.

If you are not yet a webinar subscriber...when you join as an annual or monthly subscriber you, too, will have access to these bonus members-only webinars. This is the tenth we've added since January. Take a look at all of these benefits:

  • Unlimited access to the entire Webinar Library (currently 228 classes to choose from)
  • Access to the instructors' handouts (currently 960 pages)
  • Access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • 5% off anything in the FamilyTreeWebinars.com store
  • See which live webinars you have registered for

For more information, or to subscribe, click here.

About the presenter

Presenter-6281Mary Roddy, a Certified Public Accountant, has been a genealogist for 13 years, becoming interested in the subject in anticipation of an extended trip to Ireland. She earned a certificate from the Genealogy and Family History program at the University of Washington in 2005. She is an active member of the Seattle Genealogical Society, having served in multiple board positions and on the seminar and education committees and is a regular facilitator on the SGS Brick Wall panel. She lectures frequently on various genealogical topics in the Seattle area. Her articles, “Mark Golden: A Case Study in World War II Research,” and “Sailing in Their Wake,” were published in Family Chronicle Magazine in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Her article, “Five Tips for Online Newspaper Research,” appeared in the June/July 2013 issue of Internet Genealogy. She presented her research on Mark Golden as part of the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree webinar series. She is currently working on a novel set in the San Francisco area in 1900 and 1901, based on stories of several of her ancestors and their associates which she discovered in her genealogical research.

Click here for all of Mary's webinars.


Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way - free webinar by Warren Bittner now online for limited time

Webinarlogo

Another terrific webinar today, Warren Bittner was fabulous!

The recording of today's webinar, "Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way" by Warren Bittner AND the after-webinar party is now available in the Webinar Library for free for a limited time. A few comments:

  • My all time favorite webinar to date. I will refer back to this many times, I am sure!!!
  • Another wonderful Webinar! Thanks so much for this great service. I'm in the second year of my membership and this is the best genealogy value! Please continue what you're doing. I've told all my friends about you and hope some of them join, or at least do some Webinars. Thanks again.
  • Excellent idieas. I especially liked the idea of adding canvas space in Photoshop Elements. I will use that.
  • Fabulous! Warren Bittner was one of the most knowledgable genealogists I've heard. I will certainly look for him at future conferences!

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 44 minute recording of "Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way" PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - lesson - for 10% off anything at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com or www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com, valid through Monday, April 20, 2015.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 227 classes, 332 hours of genealogy education)
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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E! by Judy Russell. April 22.
  • United States Colored Troops Civil War Widows' Pension Applications: Tell the Story by Bernice Alexander Bennett. April 24.
  • Using Legacy with Specialized Studies - Legacy is for more than your family history by Tessa Keough. April 29.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 2 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. May 6.
  • After You're Gone - Future-Proofing Your Genealogy Research by Thomas MacEntee (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). May 8.
  • GenealogyBank - The Power of Finding Our Ancestor's Stories by Tom Kemp. May 13.
  • Martha Benshura - Enemy Alien by Judy Russell. May 20.
  • Migration Patterns East of the Mississippi Prior to 1860 by Mary Hill. May 27.
  • Genealogy 101, a 3-Session Course in Beginning Genealogy - Part 3 by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. June 3.
  • Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar by Jana Sloan Broglin. June 10.
  • 10 Tips for Using Legacy with Specialized Studies by Tessa Keough. June 12.
  • The Secret Lives of Women - Researching Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega. July 1.
  • Pinning Your Family History by Thomas MacEntee. July 8.
  • Making a Federal Case Out of It by Judy Russell (bonus webinar for annual/monthly webinar subscribers only). July 10.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. July 15.
  • Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started? by Kathy Meade. July 22.
  • Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo. July 29.
  • Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery by Melvin J. Collier. July 31.
  • What's in a Name? Trouble! by Ron Arons. August 5.
  • Power Platting - Technology Tools to Create Pictures from Property Descriptions by Chris Staats. August 12.
  • Discovering Your Kentucky Ancestors by Mark Lowe. August 19.
  • Digital Family Reunions by Devin Ashby. August 21.
  • German Names and Naming Patterns by Jim Beidler. August 26.
  • Break Down Brick Walls in Eastern European Research - Tips, Tools and Tricks by Lisa Alzo. September 2.
  • Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online by Kathy Meade. September 9.
  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. September 11.
  • Researching Your Dutch Ancestors by Yvette Hoitink. September 16.
  • Researching Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Kirsty Gray. September 23.
  • Maps Tell Some of the Story for the African-Ancestored Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji. September 25.
  • Using Periodicals to Find Your Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. September 30.
  • Wearables and Genealogy - Wacky and Wild or Worth the Wait by Thomas MacEntee. October 7.
  • Colonial Immigration - The English Pioneers of Early America by Beth Foulk. October 14.
  • Billions of Records, Billions of Stories by Devin Ashby. October 16.
  • What Happened to the State of Frankland - Using Tennessee's Pre-Statehood Records by Mark Lowe. October 21.
  • Complex Evidence - What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter? by Warren Bittner. October 28.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. November 4.
  • Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard. November 11.
  • Bringing it All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record by Tom Kemp. November 13.
  • Mapping Madness by Ron Arons. November 18.
  • Stories in Stone - Cemetery Research by Gail Blankenau. December 2.
  • Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist? by Apryl Cox and Kelly Summers. December 9.
  • Pointing Fingers at Ancestors' Siblings - Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. December 16.

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Protect an Overlooked Genealogy Treasure

by Marian Pierre-Louis

  Mail

When it comes to recording, preserving and conservation genealogists have impressive skills. Genealogists will scan or photograph original documents for later review. They will enter their data in a genealogy program - and even cite the sources! They will put family letters into protective sleeves and precious photos into acid free boxes. But there's one area that genealogists often overlook.

When was the last time you saved your email? While all email can be considered important, let's just consider the email related to your family history. This could be correspondence with a distant cousin or sending a request to an archive for a document. It could be a group collaboration on a sticky genealogical puzzle. Or it could be correspondence with a genealogical professional located in your ancestor's home town.

The Problem

Many people feel that saving email in their email program is good enough. That's a dangerous game to play. Email programs were never intended to be database repositories. Many of them even have a size capacity limit. After that limit has been reached the programs can get glitches, crash or stop working.  For instance, when using Outlook 2003 or 2007 the size limit of the file (a .pst file) is 20 GB.  That may seem large but if you are emailing photos or videos you could reach capacity very quickly. The size limit for Outlook 2010 is 50 GB but from what I've read online 5GB is a good practical working limit for any of those programs.

While you may not experience software crashes with Google Mail (Gmail), you will encounter mailbox size limits. Most users have the standard free 15GB limit. Schools and businesses may have 30 GB limits. Items in your spam and trash folders count toward your limit. Beyond that you will either have to delete email to make more room or have to purchase extra space.

Even if your inbox doesn't reach capacity there are other threats to the safety of your email. In my case, my HP laptop overheated (a known issue) and the hard drive crashed not once, but twice. Some of my data was salvaged but much of it was lost.

Over the years I have been negligent about saving my email properly. I did make backup copies but over a 10 year period sometimes even the backup copies get lost.

The Solution

So what is the solution? Save individual emails to another format. Using the "Save As" feature in Outlook, you can save individual emails as html, text (.txt) as well as some Outlook message formats. My recommendation is to save the email in .txt format to your genealogy directories. Txt is the most basic format and most easily read by other programs. It is the least likely to become obsolete due to software version changes.

Outlook-1

Gmail users have a harder time saving their email beyond using copy and paste.  It is now possible to save your Gmail in the .mbox format (see here for instructions). This will save all of your emails to a single file (which is great for backing up!). If you want to save individual emails to your genealogy folders, you'll have to use the cut and paste method.

Another thing you can do (I would do this in addition to saving individual emails to your computer) is to copy and paste emails to the notes area for the relevant ancestor in your genealogy software program.

While some correspondence, as mentioned earlier, is very obvious and should be saved, there are other emails hiding in your inbox that are even more important. These are the emails you exchange with your parents, siblings and extended family.

Sometimes these emails are very short such as "when was Aunt Louise born?" and its corresponding answer. Others are important gems hidden in the midst of day to day chatting. For instance your mother might mention the weather being windy today and then mention that time when the family gathered together during the 1938 hurricane.

These are the emails that I've lost. I've emailed my uncles with quick queries or received unsolicited stories and memories. But my day to day life was too busy to stop what I was doing to save the emails to a different format on my hard drive in an organized manner. One of my uncles has since passed and all my email exchanges with him are lost.

There's no teacher like experience! I now carefully consider each email I receive and quickly save it to the correct family directory. When saving emails be sure to capture the date and to and from fields Hopefully you will have the chance to learn from my experience before you make the same mistake yourself.

Do you have a different way to save your family history related email? Tell us about it!

Marian Pierre-Louis is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. She is also the host of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.