Posted in News

RootsTech – Saturday’s Online Sessions

Here is the list of today’s RootsTech sessions being broadcast live. You can watch these broadcasts online at the RootsTech home page. If you can’t watch them live, they will also be available after the conference is over. Note that the times listed here are Eastern Standard Time.

10:30am – General Session – CeCe Moore; Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro

Buddy Valastro

For New York Times best-selling author Buddy Valastro, mixing eggs, sugar, butter and flour means a lot more than “making a cake.” As a fourth generation baker, it’s a constant source of pleasure, pride and creativity. Creating amazing cakes connects Buddy with the memory of his father Buddy Sr. and his extended Italian family history. His talent and passion for the family business, Carlo’s Bakery, has earned the straight-talking cake expert the moniker, and TLC TV show, Cake Boss.

For this best-selling author, cake expert, and successful businessman, family is a top priority. When Buddy was 11, he began working at the family bakery alongside his father. “My dad was my best friend and idol, anything to spend more time with him was important.” In the precious years they worked together as a father and son team, his dad passed on his wealth of baking knowledge and instilled in him a cast iron business sense and a drive for success. Now a father himself to a daughter and three sons, Buddy continues to pass on Valastro family traditions.

CeCe Moore

CeCe Moore is an independent professional genetic genealogist and media consultant. She’s passionate about her daily work, and combines her extensive knowledge of the latest DNA research and testing with modern genealogical technology to shed light on family history mysteries—truly detective work at its finest. One of the most rewarding aspects of her work is helping individuals, such as adoptees, discover their genetic heritage. CeCe’s knowledge and unique talents have afforded her many opportunities to share what she’s learned on screen, in writing, and in person as a popular speaker.

1:00pm – Journaling Principles That Work – Steve Reed, JRNL, Inc

This class will cover effective principles for starting, maintaining and preserving your journaling efforts. Discover how to find deep and meaningful motivation and explore the pros, cons and risk factors associated with a wide variety of journaling mediums. Whether you’ve been journaling for years, or are just getting started, this class will provide valuable information and shouldn’t be missed.

3:30pm – Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher – Crista Cowan, Ancestry

In this age of easy internet access to billions of genealogical records, internet search engines, and SIRI it is easy to think all we have to do is ask a computer for the identity of our great-great-grandparents. Searching is a great first step. But then we must research. And re-search. And re-search again. In this presentation we will cover the basics of good search strategies and some tips about how to be an even better researcher.

5:00pm – Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy – Katherine R Willson

Google Alerts notify genealogists when information about their ancestors is published online in the U.S. or in the home country of immigrant ancestors. Learn tips for creating the most effective Google Alerts in a who-when-where format, utilizing a variety of search operators, as well as techniques for managing the delivery of these notifications.

Posted in News

RootsTech – Friday’s Online Sessions

Here is the list of today’s RootsTech sessions being broadcast live. You can watch these broadcasts online at the RootsTech home page. If you can’t watch them live, they will also be available after the conference is over. Note that the times listed here are Eastern Standard Time.

10:30am – General Session – LeVar Burton; Kenyatta Berry, Entrepreneur and Genealogist; Sherri Camp, AAHGS; Melvin Collier

LeVar Burton is known by millions as the face of Reading Rainbow, the beloved, long running PBS children’s television series, and for his role as Geordi La Forge, Chief Engineer in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation series. Many also remember seeing his talent debut in 1977 when he was cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television miniseries Roots.

In addition to his familiar talent as an actor, he is an accomplished director, producer, writer, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. He is the honored recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Awards. Burton has experienced continual success in his innovative efforts to promote his passion for literature, storytelling, and imagination. He is the Co-Founder and Curator-in-Chief of RRKIDZ, the online home of Reading Rainbow and Skybrary. With millions of fans throughout the world, he continues his mission to inspire, entertain and educate.

12:30pm – Innovator Showdown Finals – Jason Hewlitt

2:15pm – Mothers, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines – Judy G. Russell

Our family history isn’t complete without the stories of the women of our families. But all too often they’re the ones who just aren’t there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. Yet despite the limited public existence of women under the law, there are many records left by, about or relevant to our female ancestors. Learn how to find the mothers, daughters, wives in your lines through their own records and the records of their menfolk.

3:30pm – Censational Census Strategies – Mary Kircher Roddy, MKR Genealogy

The US Federal census and its “little brother,” the state census, are among the major workhorses of genealogical research. But are you getting the most out of them? This presentation presents 20+ tips for finding missing ancestors and mining the census for more clues for follow-up research.

5:00pm – Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch & MyHeritage – Sunny Morton, Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems,, FamilySearch and all provide international audiences with tools and records for researching family trees online. But which one—or ones—should you use? This lecture introduces and compares important features for beginning and intermediate users. You’ll learn why you should be familiar with all four sites; subscription and free access options; and how they compare for overall historical, tree and DNA record content. You’ll learn general geographic strengths and how to find specific geographic content on each, as well as the presenter’s favorite features and cautions/challenges of working with each. Finally, you’ll get a suggestion for building your “master family tree” securely—and from more than one website.

6:30pm – Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records – Jen Baldwin, findmypast

Religious records are a vital category in genealogy, and can lead to many exciting discoveries. The collections available on Findmypast span the British Isles and provide a unique look at early American settlement. By exploring these materials, you are accessing vital records, religious history, migration patterns, opportunities for in-depth research and much more. From the largest municipal congregations to the smallest village parish, attendees will benefit from the various denominations discussed and learn to apply these records to their personal family history.

Posted in News

RootsTech – Thursday’s Online Sessions

Here is the list of RootsTech sessions being broadcast live. You can watch these broadcasts online at the RootsTech home page. If you can’t watch them live, they will also be available after the conference is over. Note that the times listed here are Eastern Standard Time.

10:30am – General Session featuring the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott and Steve Rockwood from FamilySearch.

1:00pm – Getting Started in Genealogy – Kelli Bergheimer
How do you get started in genealogy? How do you organize what you know? Learn tools for success such as pedigree charts and family history software, where to go, and how to avoid common assumptions that can lead you astray.

2:15pm – DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together – Diahan Southard
My mom was adopted from an unwed mother’s home in Seattle, Washington. Come learn how we were able to use a combination of genetic and genealogical tools to connect with our biological family, and how it has affected our lives. Leave with concrete ideas on how to apply these same methods to your own personal genetic genealogy endeavors, weather you are looking for your father, or your 3X Great Grandfather.

3:30pm – DNA Matching on MyHeritage – Dana Drutman
DNA Matching is a powerful new service developed by MyHeritage to help our users find relatives based on their shared genetic sequences. The technology compares data from autosomal DNA tests results and family trees to identify matches between users that indicate a family relationship. It allows people who have already tested their DNA through 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and AncestryDNA services, and now MyHeritage DNA, to enjoy MyHeritage’s exceptional matching capabilities for their family history research, and get greater value from their DNA test results.

5:00pm – Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look & What’s Available – Lara Diamond
This lecture gives a comprehensive overview of genealogy resources available for Jewish genealogy. The presentation will include online sources and documents not yet online for both the United States and Europe; she will also cover some basic knowledge critical to researching one’s Jewish roots.

6:30pm – Family History is Anything But Boring – Crystal Farish, Ancestry ProGenealogists; Rhonna Farrer
Are you intrigued by social media & looking for new ways it can be used for something constructive? Are you interested in getting your young people & little ones excited about and involved in family history? We are, too! And we want to share some great ideas with you that will give family history the power and attraction of social media and our favorite handheld devices.


Posted in Archives

American Ancestors

American Ancestors ( is the online archive at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. It is the most-used genealogical society website in the world. This archive provides access to more than one billion records. Included in their collections are early American records including England, New England, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia materials. They also maintain the largest searchable collection of published genealogical research journals and magazines.

A free Guest account gives web visitors access to a limited number of databases and occasionally offers access to selected databases for a limited time. The free databases include:

  • Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
  • Worcester County, MA: Index to Probate Records, 1731-1881
  • Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati
  • Gloucester, MA: Burials in Gloucester Cemeteries
  • Social Security Death Index
  • Irish Immigrant Advertisements, 1831-1920
  • New York Wills, 1626-1836
  • Index of Revolutionary War Pensioners
  • Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871
  • Rhode Island Roots journal
  • Mass Historical Data Relating to Cities and Towns
  • American Jewish Historical Society – New England Archives: Jewish Cemeteries in Massachusetts
  • Sharon, MA: Sharon Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Ware, MA Families, Genealogies of
  • Weymouth Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors
  • Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881
  • Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881
  • Worcester County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1731-1881
  • Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas – Index to Cases, 1756-1776
  • Norfolk County, MA: Index to Probate records, 1793-1900
  • Armenian Immigrant Births, Deaths and Marriages in Massachusetts – 1880-1915
  • Boston, MA: Taking Records, 1800
  • Family Tree Samplers

There are three levels of membership offering different services. The Individual membership ($89.95/year) offers research benefits for one individual while the Friend level ($150/year) includes discounts on consultations and research-for-hire with a 15-minute complimentary consultation. The Associate level ($250/year) includes the same discounts along with a 45-minute complimentary consultation. Some of the Friend and Associate membership fees are tax deductible.

The society also publishes the Vita Brevis blog ( which is available to all. It spotlights items from their collections, offers tips, announces special offers and other useful information. If you are researching ancestors in the New England region, this blog offers an good preview of what American Ancestors has available.

Posted in Storytelling

Bringing family history to life

So Twile is now free for you and all of your family – go ahead and build an awesome timeline of your family story, together!

If you aren’t familiar with Twile, it is a beautiful online platform for building and sharing a multimedia timeline of your family history. You mark the events in your family’s history and add details, stories and photos. You control your timeline and decide who can see and share it. With your permission, other family members can add their own content to the timeline.

Source: Bringing family history to life

Posted in News

Amazon Fire Tablet Sale

Looking for an affordable tablet to take your research mobile? Right now the Amazon Fire tablet is on sale for $39.99! Not only that but accessories like memory cards, cases and screen protectors are on sale too. The tablet comes with 8GB of builtin memory and supports a memory card. Their 32GB card – normally $19.99 – is also on sale for $11.75.

There are a number of genealogy apps available in Amazon’s app store including RootsMagic viewer, Ancestry tree and FamilySearch tree. The built-in Kindle Reader gives you access to Amazon’s impressive catalog of genealogy books and magazines.