Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Research News for October 2007

At the Research Group today, Randy shared the following genealogy news for them onth of October:



a) WeRelate, the USF Africana Heritage Project and Ideas4 will build a free, central Internet database for digital images and records of African American genealogy, history and culture. The database, which will be called the Afriquest data crossroads (, will be built using collaborative software. Access to the images and records on Afriquest will always be free.

b) launched DNA Ancestry -- a new service combining the precision of DNA testing with's collection of 5 billion names in historical records and the site's family history community. The DNA testing service is at

c) launched AncestryPress, a tool that lets users create printed, custom family history books, family recipe books and more. Users can build their family tree online at and create their AncestryPress family history book at

d) The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), contains information about almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States. The GNIS serves two purposes for genealogists. First, it gives precise locations of every village, mountain, river, airport, bay, beach, bridge, etc. in the United States. The information includes the exact latitude and longitude of each named feature. Second, it can help find locations mentioned in old documents. The Geographic Names Information System is available at:

e) Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) announced a new Web site dedicated to genealogical research. Launched by BAnQ in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC),, also available in French at, provides the public with a user-friendly and innovative federated search engine free of charge.

f) The Kansas Historical Society's newest online offering, Kansas Memory will feature the largest collection of photographs and manuscripts from Kansas history on the Internet, can be accessed at


a) FamilySearch and the Georgia Archives announced that Georgia’s death index from 1919 to 1927 can be accessed for free online. The online index is linked to digital images of the original death certificates. The index and images can be searched and viewed at (Virtual Vault link) or

b) The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) will open, for the first time, all of the individual Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard military personnel who served and were discharged, retired or died while in the service, prior to 1946. These files will cost $15 (5 pages or less) or $50 (6 pages or more). See

c) ($$) has added:
* Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases (1507-2000) from Historic Map works (
* Kentucky Vital Records and Indexes - Births, Marriages, Deaths (1852-1999), not all years for each type of record.
* "Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire" by Walter Goodwin Davis.
* Many Maryland Genealogies, Marriage, Death and Newspaper Records.

d) ($$) has new databases, including:
* 2500 ahnentafel pedigree charts that Heritage Quest Magazine subscribers filled out and returned nearly 20 years ago.
* Many family surname books - G and H surnames.
* See new databases at WVR offers free access for 10 days for each database.

e) ($$) added records for 69 more historical newspapers.


a) FamilyTreeMaker 2008 announced and distributed Service Pack 2 which added more fixes to the software, including something like the standard report capability that was in FTM 2006 and earlier. There were bugs in the fixes, the reports were not well done, and the software was withdrawn. Don't buy this software until they get it well fixed.

b) FamilySearch announced that many popular desktop genealogy products can now be used for free in its family history centers in North America. The genealogy database programs include:
* Ancestral Quest 12 (By Incline Software)
* Roots Magic (formerly Family Origins, by RootsMagic, Inc.)
* Legacy Family Tree (By Milennia Corporation)

The Family History Software Utilities include:
* Personal Historian (RootsMagic, Inc.). Writes and preserves personal life stories.
* PAFWiz 2.0 (Incline Software). Add-on tools and report utility for PAF 5.2.
* PAF Insight (Ohana Software). Performs advanced functions for LDS patrons. Provides improved merging, place editing, and other data cleanup tools.
* PAF Companion 5.2 (Progeny Software). Add-on utility that prints a variety of quality charts and reports in different formats.
* Family Atlas (RootsMagic, Inc.). Creates and publishes custom maps directly from personal genealogy data.
* Pedigree Analysis (Generation Maps). Patrons can submit any genealogy computer file for a free pedigree analysis.
* Genelines (Progeny Software). Depicts an ancestor's life in the context of time by bringing together elements of time, history, and family relationships on visual time line charts.
* Map My Family Tree (Progeny Software). Automatically “geocodes” a family tree from any popular genealogy file format and illustrates where ancestors were born, were married, and died on a navigable geographic map. It also prints customized maps.


a) NARA and FamilySearch announced a partnership to digitize, index, and make available the Civil War Widows Pension files. They will start with a pilot project for 3,150 of the pension files. Upon successful completion of the pilot, FamilySearch, in conjunction with , intends to digitize and index all 1,280,000 Civil War and later widows' files in the series.

b) The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) will collaborate with, making special pricing and other member benefits available. An Ancestry subscriber can join NEHGS for $60, and an NEHGS member can subscribe to Ancestry for $100. A subscription to both NEHGS and Ancestry will be $155.40 - the deal exists until 31 December 2007.

c) Spectrum Equity Investors bought a controlling interest in The Generations Network (Ancestry, MyFamily, FamilyTreeMaker, for $300 million. TGN management will remain the same, and SEI will have two Board positions.

d) FamilySearch is calling for 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help index Mexican, Argentine and other Latin American records for the Internet. It will be a massive effort to digitally preserve and index millions of Latin American records that are now difficult to access because they are located on microfilm or in an archive. The first target is the Mexican census of 1930.


That's the news!

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