Tag Archives: FamilySearch.org

New Feature – FamilySearch.org “Compare-A-Face”

New Feature – FamilySearch.org “Compare-A-Face”

August 27, 2018

Vicki’s note – a fun new feature announced by FamilySearch.org – A way to do facial recognition with your ancestors!  Do you have your Grandfather’s nose?; your Great-Grandmother’s dimple? :

8 sideways

Facial Recognition


(Here is a how-to this new feature on YouTube video, that Felvir Dieta Ordinaio posted on Facebook.com.)  

In the Genealogy Zone of Serenity

In the Genealogy Zone of Serenity

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter


See the source image

I spent a great day indoors on the beautifully sunny day this last Saturday July 7, 2018.  What could tempt me to do such a thing on a perfect 80 degree summer gardening day?

(By the way, as I have told you before – Genealogy is the most popular hobby, and gardening is the most popular in the summer.)

The annual (MCGS) McHenry County Genealogical Society Conference was held at the McHenry County Community College, Illinois.  Always professional regional and national genealogy speakers, and great accommodations at a fairly low price. The  MCGS group has it organized well, and improves every year.  This is my third ? year attending.

I learned a lot from all four sessions – one with each speaker.

2018 Jul 7 - MCGS Conference McHenry IL - Vicki Hahn, Judy Russell

Vicki Hahn with the “Legal Genealogist” Judy Russell – who spoke on “NARA Mythbusters: Your  family IS in the Archives”.  I learned how to navigate the complex and thorough government website.  So many records of your family’s interactions with many government agencies!


2018 Jul 7 - MCGS Conference McHenry IL - Vicki Hahn, Lisa Alzo

Vicki Hahn with Family Tree University instructor, author, and Slavic Genealogy expert Lisa Alzo “ImmersionGenealogy.com“, who spoke on “Crossing the Pond: successful Strategies for Researching Eastern European Ancestors”.

The closest that my family gets (as far as I know now) is a slight DNA for “Finland/Russia”, but what a lot of great techniques I learned.  And so many links to Slavic websites that Lisa shared.  Be looking for them soon on the BLOG tab ” Genealogy Links and  Electronic Resources”.

Lisa describes –

“What is Immersion Genealogy?

Immersion Genealogy is the process of discovering where and how our ancestors lived, worked, and worshiped, and experiencing first-hand those customs and traditions they passed down through the generations.”

Some hints from Lisa Alzo:

After searching the United State online records, then search the other country’s on-line databases.  Open them in  Google Chrome using that country’s Google, not the United States one – “.com”  If the website doesn’t not have an in “English” button, GC will ask, “Do you want to translate this page?”

When the records are in a foreign language – learn the key foreign words from that country’s FamilySearch.org WIKI.  Learn the words that are on the column headings, or circle the key words if in a paragraph form – birth, marriage, death, burial, father, mother, village, etc..  Look for your ancestor’s original name.

Look for your cousins/ancestor/village on Facebook (Groups), or location photographs on Flickr.com or Ebay.com. (Click on these two links to see some historic Beloit Wisconsin pictures.)


David Rencher, Chief Genealogist Officer for FamilySearch.org spoke on “Applied Methodology for Irish Genealogical Research”.  He gave some further insights on how to search for those elusive same-named Irish folks.  Narrow it down to their original name and village. Also look into connections to the rich families in the area – servants were only named in household inventories and did not have their own records early on.  David likened it to searching for African-American slaves before the Civil War.


Curt Witcher, Allen County Library’s Senior Manager for Special Collections, spoke on “German Migration into the American Midwest”  focusing on mostly Indiana.  He showed how to use any secondary source for additional information/clues on the history of your ancestors.  David gave several examples of this, including the use of Wikipedia (which I use all the time.)  He even found pertinent references to German immigrant settlement patterns in a Walworth County (Wisconsin) County History book!

I asked Curt to announce our upcoming visit from Astrid Adler to the Beloit Public Library on October 23, 2018.  It was too perfect of a segue-way on the same topic.  He said, “Come to the program and hear from a real German expert on migration to the United States.”  About 25 people took our Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2018 Programs handout with information about the 6:30 p.m. program, “Our Ancestors Were German”.  As Astrid is coming from Germany, it really is great to have a wider interest from the area.

David and Curt both said that migration follows language and not religion.  You may find your ancestor in church records not their own.


I will be adding the two books on McHenry Illinois, (that I obtained), to the Beloit Public Library Local History Genealogy Collection.:

“McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society 10th Anniversary 1981 – 1991 Index – Quarterlies, Newsletters.”, 1993.

“1870 McHenry County Illinois Federal Census”, transcribed by Dee-Ann Stambazze, 1992

I also gathered several brochures to share – on several topics/ regional genealogy groups.  We may want to look into going to Newberry Library in Chicago   Lots of resources, like at WHS Wisconsin Historical Society Library in Madison.


One of the things that I learned from volunteers at the Chicago LDS Family Center was that FamilySearch.org  intends to have all of their microfilm collection digitized and on-line in 2022.  Some of the bigger Family Centers (like Chicago) have their regional microfilm on-site meanwhile, even though FamilySearch has stopped sending patron’s requested microfilms to any Family Center.  I guess Salt Lake wants to have the microfilm there to digitize 🙂

Lunch was spent speaking with others at the table about genealogy (and quilting!); and sharing information with venders at the booths.  I got three speakers from the venders who are going to present genealogy programs for us in Beloit in 2019.

Marty Acks – from (CAGGNI) Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois will do a program to be determined – maybe on USGENWEB.org.

Kathy Meade from ArkivDigital.com, a subscription service will do a program on how to find your Swedish roots on-line.

And Rebecca Quinn from CreativeMemories.com – “Your photos and stories + our best quality albums = memories to be shared and enjoyed.”  She will present a workshop on either scrap-booking, or how to do the Lifewriting techniques  of “Snapshots of the Spirit; Capturing Your Current Family’s Stories with Bullet Journaling”.  Rebecca will bring her products for purchase, or supply your own.

I also touched bases with people from two genealogy groups that are having me give programs this year (more on that in another Posting,)

So overall, I’m a happy genealogy camper after submerging in the Genealogy Zone of Serenity.

Maybe I will see you there next year?




Some Family Tree Software And On-line Options To Consider

Some Family Tree Software Options To Consider

May 16, 2018

Vicki’s note – Once you find several families in your family history, it is time to look into organizing them onto a computerized family tree.  Here is an update on some options that you may want to consider:

Related image


From Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker FAQ

In 2016, Ancestry.com got out of the software business to concentrate on their database.  They sold their Family Tree Maker software to Software MacKiev.  There has been a transition to the new owner with Ancestry.com continuing support of Family Tree Maker support.  

It seemed that I did not hear a lot about a finished stable product,until I searched the Ancestry.com website for this information.  The beta testing is over and they worked closely with MacKiev to make sure there would still be the ability to upload, download, and sync Family Tree Maker to Ancestry.

Software MacKiev is using a new syncing technology incorporated into Family Tree Maker 2017, called FamilySync™. Family Tree Maker 2017 is now available for purchase on MacKiev.com. The new technology, FamilySync™by Software MacKiev, replaced Ancestry’s TreeSync®.

“What you should know:

  • On March 29, 2017, Ancestry and MacKiev permanently retired TreeSync.
  • FamilySync is available only in Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017.
  • Family Tree Maker editions prior to 2017 are no longer able to sync with Ancestry trees, but older software is still usable as a standalone program.
  • Ancestry search, merge, and tree hints will continue to work in Family Tree Maker 2017.

How can I continue to connect Family Tree Maker to Ancestry?

You’ll need to upgrade to Family Tree Maker 2017. Family Tree Maker 2017 allows you to sync Ancestry trees, search Ancestry records, and receive Ancestry hints.

The features below are available in Family Tree Maker 2017:

  • Syncing your trees in Family Tree Maker to your Ancestry trees
  • Searching Ancestry’s databases and merging data into your tree
  • Viewing Ancestry hints
  • Uploading and downloading a trees
  • Web dashboard Information
  • The interactive map
  • Viewing sources on Ancestry

How can I purchase Family Tree Maker 2017?

Family Tree Maker 2017 for Mac and Windows is available for purchase by visiting MacKiev.com.

Do I need a new Ancestry subscription to use FTM 2017?

Any Ancestry subscription may be used with Family Tree Maker 2017.”

If you have an Ancestry.com subscription, you can build on-line family tree(s).  Once your subscription ends, you can no longer access your family tree to make additions or to edit it, until you pay for a new subscription.

“From https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Differences-between-Ancestry-and-Family-Tree-Maker :

Ancestry is a website, and Family Tree Maker is software you install on your computer. Ancestry can be accessed only from web browsers (such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) and (on mobile devices) the Ancestry app, while Family Tree Maker can be accessed even when a computer is not connected to the internet.

Though Family Tree Maker software works with Ancestry, Family Tree Maker is sold and supported by Software MacKiev.”


From http://www.rootsmagic.com/ancestry/

RootsMagic and Ancestry: Working Together at Last

“Last year, we announced we were working with Ancestry® to integrate Ancestry Hints® and Ancestry’s records and online trees with our software. After months of development and the feedback of thousands of testers, we’re pleased to announce the release of RootsMagic 7.5, a free update to RootsMagic 7 that adds two amazing new features: TreeShare™ for Ancestry and the addition of Ancestry Hints to RootsMagic’s WebHints™ feature.

TreeShare for Ancestry

RootsMagic’s TreeShare for Ancestry will let you move data between your RootsMagic files on your computers and your personal Ancestry online trees. You can transfer people, events, notes, source citations, and even pictures between the two systems.

RootsMagic users also gain the ability to easily share and collaborate with others by giving family members access to their Ancestry online tree. Using the new TreeShare feature, family members can then synchronize the latest changes and additions to both the online tree and their desktop computers.

Ancestry Hints Integration

RootsMagic leverages the Ancestry Hints capability, and as possible matches are found, users may conveniently review them from within the software. RootsMagic then lets you add new information and media from matching records into your file.

Free RootsMagic Essentials Software

For those that are just starting their journey into the world of genealogy, RootsMagic offers “RootsMagic Essentials”- a free version of their software with a limited set of features tailored towards beginners.

If you have an account with Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials includes the ability to upload your file to Ancestry or download your existing online trees from Ancestry. If you are a subscriber to Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials also allows you to search and view all of the content in your subscription. Those wishing to compare and transfer individual records between RootsMagic and Ancestry will want to use the full-featured RootsMagic software.”


Here are some other Software products to record your family tree on:

LegacyFamilyTree.com – has a robust, free “Standard” computer software version, and the option for a paid “Deluxe” version.  I have used the basic free software, and decided to purchase the deluxe for the enhanced features.  Your Family Tree is not on-line.  MyHeritage.com and Legacy Family Tree have created a partnership (separate yet linked).  On LegacyFamilyTree, you can receive hints for MyHeritage.com, but can only see brief information without an additional subscription.

MyHeritage.com itself has a free basic (on-line) family tree (250 people) that you can create, with a full (on-line)family tree available as part of a subscription.

TribalPages.com is another free (on-line) family tree  – Family Tree Maker.  Others can only see it if you invite family and relatives to view or update your family tree website.

“Each ancestry project becomes its own private and secure website that can be loaded with photos, charts, reports, maps, relationships, events and stories. Just add names of your relatives & ancestors or import a GEDCOM file and instantly create your free family tree. Your site can create custom newsletters for each member with birthday and anniversary reminders, recent site activity and send them out every two weeks.”

You can share/copy your family tree to any of these by importing a GEDCOM file from any other site, and instantly create/duplicate your family tree.

FamilySearch.org is another on-line site where you can create a family tree.  It is my understanding that, not only is it on-line, but that anyone in the world can add/change “your” tree.  It is a shared tree.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints manages FamilySearch.org.  You can send in corrections for them to consider changing.

MyHeritage.com and Genealogy DNA testing and syncing

Vicki’s note – here’s the newest from Legacy Family Tree and RootsTech 2018 on MyHeritage.com and Genealogy DNA testing and syncing:



Perspectives on Combining Genealogy and Genetics

Join MyHeritage’s founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, as he reveals many first-time-ever technologies that take the lead in and shapes the future of both traditional and genetic genealogy.

Presented live at RootsTech 2018 (and concluded with a rousing standing ovation), Gilad announced the immediate availability of:

He also announced what’s coming soon at MyHeritage including the interactive Pedigree View, the “Big Tree” and the Theory of Family Relativity.


Click here to view the presentation.


Another Chance to Get Training on How to Use Familysearch.org – Saturday March 3, 2018

Another Chance to Get Training on How to Use Familysearch.org – Saturday March 3, 2018


Vicki Ruthe Hahn

I just got this notification:

WBCGS Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society will be having a meeting Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at the Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, Illinois, free to all.  (Directions Here.)

The program is on Familysearch.org, by Lori Bessler, Reference Librarian at WHS Wisconsin Historical Society Library.  Lori does a nice job training on genealogy topics.  It will be worth the drive down to Rockford, IL.

Here is your chance if you missed the snowed out (Feb. 9) and rescheduled (Feb. 16) Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library program on How to Use Familysearch.org, by Nancy Ritter.  We really learned a lot, and even practiced afterwards by setting up our own Family Trees on the Computer Class computers, with Nancy’s help.

The most interesting thing that I learned was that all of the family trees are held in common, and contributed to by users – similar to a wikipedia.  Users that make corrections put in a source or reason (i.e. “personal knowledge”, etc.) for why they change information on any person already listed on the website.  FamilySearch.org monitors any difficulties in doing that.

FamilySearch.org is a free site with access to many sources.  You can search there, even if you decide that you don’t want to create/add to a family tree.

Nancy Ritter is available for further help, and to use research databases  at the Beloit Family History Center.



FamilySearch.org “Homework” for Stateline Genealogy Club Program February 9, 2018


Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch

Relatives Around Me

Tracing Your German Ancestors

Vicki’s note – article from FamilyTreeMagazine http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/tips-for-tracing-german-ancestors.

Hint – Microfilms will not be available at local Family Search Centers after mid-August.


Tips for Tracing German Ancestors


Overcome five common genealogy search problems facing German family historians.

More Americans trace ancestors to German-speaking parts of Europe than anywhere else. “German” ancestors may have come from Germany, but they also may have come from Austria, Switzerland, Alsace (part of France), much of what is now Poland, Luxembourg, southern Denmark, the present Czech Republic, or even a little bit of Russia. And until 1871, when modern Germany was born, our ancestors said they came from Prussia or Bavaria or Brandenburg or another German state, not from Germany.

 What all these “Germans” had in common was that they were German-speaking. Even so, they may have spoken any number of German dialects. We’ll refer to people with the more-inclusive term of Germanic instead of German.

 All you need to research your Germanic ancestor is his or her name, town or village of origin, and the date of a life event (such as birth or death). This sounds easy, but some common pitfalls can throw you off. We’ll explain five traps in German genealogy and help you avoid them to start discovering your Germanic roots.


Pitfall 1: Tough-to-understand records

You can find many records on this side of the ocean, too, such as microfilmed church records, German newspapers, German-American church records, and Pennsylvania German baptismal certificates. Use the FamilySearch catalog to see what records the Family History Library in Salt Lake City might have for your ancestors. Run a place search for the county or town (in their American home or their village in Germany), then examine the listings. Note the microfilm numbers of relevant records, then visit your local FamilySearch Center to rent the film for a fee.


 Early German records are usually composed in open paragraph form, rather than nicely laid out in columns labeled name, birth date, father’s name and so on. Some later records do use this standard columnar format. Because not every set of records is indexed, you may need to look through dozens or even hundreds of pages to find a burial, for example. Having a good idea when the birth, baptism or death occurred will help you narrow your search.


 Unfortunately, some records have been damaged or destroyed by wars, fires, floods or disposal by authorities. So plan to look for alternate and secondary resources. On occasion, you may find that a German village sent duplicate records to regional archives. Or if a civil birth record went up in a blaze at the Rathaus (city hall), you may be able to gather information from a baptismal record.


 Even surviving records may show damage by water, mildew, pests or smoke, making reading them a challenge. Again, try to “fill in the gaps” with other types of records.


 But your greatest problem in understanding German records will likely be the language barrier and hard-to-read writing, whether German, Latin, French or some other language (due to changing jurisdictions in Europe, your Germanic ancestor’s records may be in any of these languages). For help, use the alphabet guides and word lists in our downloadable German Genealogy Cheat Sheet and see the handwriting guide at Family Search: German Handwriting.

Pitfall 2: Name changes and translations

Not finding your ancestor in genealogical records? The name you’ve been searching for may be wrong. Your ancestor may have changed his surname after immigration, or English-speaking clerks may have translated it. In colonial America, Bentz evolved to Pentz and eventually Pence; Zimmermann became Zimmerman or was translated to Carpenter; and Schwarzwälder became Blackwelder. As many as a hundred names could be derived from a single German surname.


 Watch for regional customs, too. If you have ancestors from northern Germany around Ostfriesland, you may find a pattern of changing last names. This area used patronymics—surnames taken from the father’s given name. For example, Peter Hansen’s offspring would have the last name Petersen. Ancestors from around Westphalia may have based their surname on farm ownership. A telltale sign is when a man’s surname changed at marriage—his wife was heir to a farm.


 If an immigrant’s name is different in US records than in those of his homeland, the change happened after he immigrated. Ellis Island officials didn’t write names, they merely checked the passenger list that was created at the port of departure. Rather, your ancestor may have adopted an American-sounding name as a way to identify with his new home and avoid anti-German sentiments.

Don’t use census records alone to conclude an ancestor changed the spelling of his or her name. People didn’t write their own names on censuses. They (or a family member, or even a neighbor) stated their names to the census enumerator, who wrote them down. One census enumerator may write Müller, another Mueller and another Miller. Even within the same document, such as a will, you might find a name spelled different ways. Note all name variations you find and don’t limit your research to the most common spelling.

Say your ancestor was named John Snyder. But that may not be how he spelled it. He wrote it as Johann Peter Schneider. John is the English form of Johann and Snyder is an Anglicized form of Schneider. So you might not be able to find him in the census index under Snyder or even Snider. You also should look under the original German spelling, Schneider. Fortunately, most genealogy databases, such as those at FamilySearch.org and subscription site Ancestry.com, will find these name equivalents.

German Ancestry Research Tip

But yet another pitfall lurks. North Americans typically use our first names. Looking at the name Johann Peter Schneider, we’d see Peter as just a middle name. But in Germany, people were often given saints’ names (common ones were Johann, Maria and Anna) as first names and were called by their middle names. Your safest bet is to look for both Johann and Peter in records.

And Peter’s wife Maria Baker? By now you know to search with her middle name, Magdalena. But Magdalena may have been shortened to Magda, Maggie or Lena. Baker is a translation for the common German surname Becker, derived from the baker occupation. In other words, you might find Maria Magdalena Becker under Lena Becker, Maggie Baker, Magdalena Becker or Mary Baker.

Some given names are typical of a certain region or religion. The use of a saint’s name doesn’t automatically indicate a Catholic ancestor—Protestants have saints, too—but individuals with names such as Franz Xaver, Anton, Josef, Johann Baptist, Maria Theresia, Franziska or Maximiliane are likely Catholic. Men named Carsten or Jens probably came from Schleswig-Holstein. Women named Frauke or Antje probably came from around the North Sea or the Netherlands. Men named Benedicht or women named Verena or Rosine may be Swiss. Harm and Cord are Hanoverian versions of Hermann and Conrad. Gesche, Mette and Wiebke are Hanoverian female names.

Note that families didn’t always follow patterns in naming children. In a few regions, you might see the oldest son named after his father’s father; the oldest daughter named after her mother’s mother; the second son named after the mother’s father; and the second daughter named after the father’s mother. In other areas, baptismal sponsors or godparents provide given names. Baptismal sponsors were usually, but not always, related to a parent.


Pitfall 3: Elusive places of origin

European places of origin are hard to identify and pinpoint geographically. Look for any mention of the place in censuses, marriage and death records, obituaries, family Bibles, papers brought from overseas and family histories. Friends and neighbors in America may have come from the same place as your ancestor, so try to follow the same process with them.

Suppose you find your ancestor’s birthplace listed as “Preisen” in the 1880 US census. You might think your next step would be to locate a village named Preisen. But before you try too hard, know that birthplaces in most censuses aren’t specific. American birthplaces are states, not cities, and similarly, foreign origins are listed by country. Don’t expect Preisen to be a village, but rather a country or perhaps a state within a country.

The only German state that resembles Preisen in spelling is the largest German state, Preußen/Preussen, which you probably know as Prussia. Just as surnames are often misinterpreted, place names also can be misunderstood. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Germanic Ancestors provides advice for getting around such obstacles and locating your ancestors’ homeland.

Tip: Don’t forget that neighbors in America may have come from the same place as your ancestor—their records may contain clues about your family.


Pitfall 4: Confusing dates

Germans have historically used numerical abbreviations for months ending in -ber: 7ber, 8ber, 9ber, and 10ber. But July and August, the seventh and eighth months, don’t end in -ber. What’s going on? This counting goes back to the time when the year began on March 25, which made March the first month, April the second month, and so on. The abbreviations 7ber, 8ber, 9ber, and 10ber refer to September, October, November and December. The variations 7bris, 8bris, 9bris, and 10bris mean “of September,” “of October,” and so forth. These abbreviations were common even after the calendar was modernized to begin the year on Jan. 1.

Sometimes Roman numerals are used for months, for example, Xber, Xbr and Xbris refer to December. If the Roman numerals are not followed by -ber, -br, or -bris, they conform to the new calendar style, with X for October and XII for December. A record might read as follows: geboren den 15. V. 1833 (born 15 May 1833) or getauft den 3. IV. 1759 (baptized 3 April 1759).
Another way to distinguish dates in Germanic records is the occasional reference to special days: Easter is Ostern, Pentecost (Whitsunday) is Pfingsten, Christmas is Weihnachten, and New Year’s Eve is Silvester.


Pitfall 5: Cultural myths

You may be familiar with—and even have ancestors from—various small Germanic cultural groups that helped settle North America. But don’t believe everything you hear about these groups:

  • Anabaptist: This movement gave rise to a number of religious groups, including Mennonites, Brethren, Amish, Hutterites, Baptists, Dunkards and Schwenkfelders. Adherents have as little as possible to do with civil government and the military. They dress simply and believe in personal faith. The term Anabaptist does not mean “anti-Baptist.” Rather, it means “rebaptism.” Anabaptists believed those baptized as infants didn’t understand the rite and must be rebaptized by their own choice.

  • Hessians: You may remember these soldiers as mercenaries for the British in the American Revolution. But not all of the soldiers we call Hessians were from Hesse; many were from Waldeck, Brunswick, Anhalt-Zerbst, or Ansbach-Bayreuth. Sometimes the very colonists the Hessians were fighting against had emigrated a generation earlier from those same German-speaking lands. When a “Hessian” soldier was captured as a prisoner of war, he may have been sent to work for a farmer who understood his German language.

  • Huguenots: These French Protestants dispersed after 1685, when King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes guaranteeing the freedom to practice their religion. Many Huguenots remained “underground” in France, while hundreds of thousands left for Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Sometimes they kept their French language and culture, and sometimes they adopted the language and customs of those around them. Some Huguenots eventually immigrated to America.

  • Moravians: Similar to Palatines and Hessians, Moravians don’t necessarily come from Moravia. Jan Hus founded the religion in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, but Moravians’ European “headquarters” at the time of their emigration to America was far to the northwest in Herrnhut, Saxony.

  • Palatines: In the 1700s, the Palatinate was a fragmented area along the Rhine River ruled by the prince-elector of the Palatinate. After 1815, the Palatinate was a contiguous area on the west side of the Rhine with its capital at Speyer and ruled by the King of Bavaria. The largest number of Germans in colonial America came from the Palatinate, so people tended to call all Germans Palatines no matter their origins.

  • Pennsylvania Dutch: This misnomer describes Germans in William Penn’s colony. Though a handful of Hollanders or Netherlanders also may have lived there, the “Pennsylvania Dutch” were German-speakers from Germany. Because the German word for the German language is Deutsch, colonial Americans may have lumped Deutsch and Dutch together.

  • Waldensians: This group, followers of Peter Waldo (1140-1217), split from the Catholic church. Many moved to the tolerant Dutch states, and from there left to start the New Netherland colony in America. Italian Waldensians emigrated alongside their countrymen in the late 1800s.

We’ve shown you the pitfalls in understanding records, names, places, dates and cultural groups. Don’t let these challenges stop you. You can overcome them, just as thousands of other Germanic researchers have. When one road to discovery looks blocked, keep searching for a detour to the information you seek.

Learn how to translate months in German genealogy records

Learn about common German names and nicknames

More online

Re-visiting the Census Records

Vicki’s note – article from http://ancestralfindings.com

Look here for more on Census recordsCensus Research


3 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Census Research

Census research is one of the first things most people learn how to do outside of talking to family members when they begin their genealogy research. And, no matter how long you are a genealogist, you will always come back to the census. It is excellent for confirming findings from other record sources, begin research on new lines in your family, and to look for missing ancestors (or those you didn’t examine in-depth the first time you saw their census entry). You can even look at a census entry for someone many different times over many years, and even decades, and get something new out of the information on the entry every time. The census is more than just gathering names and ages off of a page. You can get some really important, otherwise unavailable information on your ancestors from it.

Here are three ways to make the most out of your census research.

1. Look at Other Things the Census Says

You may be looking at the census just to get the names, ages, and birthplaces of your ancestors, and this is good. You should do this, as it is a basic research task in genealogy. Looking up these things on the census records can tell you a lot about your ancestors you never knew, such as children, parents, and other relatives who are living with them who you never knew existed. You can also get important information on their origins and the origins of their parents. There is more to most census records than just this basic information, however,

Some census records, like 1850 through 1870 censuses, only give you the basic information. Others, however, have a treasure trove of other information you can use. Depending on the census, you may find things of important genealogical significance, such as:

  • Whether or not an ancestor served in the Revolution or Civil War
  • If they were a slave owner (and how many slaves they owned, sometimes even by gender and age range)
  • Their level of schooling
  • Their occupation
  • The number of children a woman has given birth to and how many were still living
  • The year of marriage
  • The number of marriages a person has had
  • The month and year of birth, the year they immigrated to the United States
  • Whether they were a naturalized citizen or not
  • Their address
  • Their native language
  • Whether they could speak English
  • Whether they could read or write
  • Whether they had any disability
  • Whether they rented or owned their home
  • And more

These are all things you will want to put in your family history research.

2. Use Unique Ways to Look Up Names

Census takers didn’t always spell names correctly. If it was an unusual name or a foreign one spoken by foreign people, the census taker may have spelled the name phonetically, or misheard it and spelled it completely differently from anything it was supposed to be. You may think your ancestor is not in the census, but this is because you haven’t checked using all the search methods that can lead you to them.

This method works best on online census records that are searchable with an interactive index, such as on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Try the following search methods to discover your ancestor:

  • Search by the first name only, with an age range, gender, and location
  • Search by the last name only, with an age range, gender, and location
  • Search only by age range, gender, and location, with no name
  • Search by age range, gender, location, and place of birth, with no name

Using any of these methods may lead you to the ancestor you seek. You’ll know the person when you see them, even if their name is spelled completely incorrectly. They’ll be even more obvious if they are living with recognizable family members you already know. Remember, not everyone made it into every census, so your ancestor may legitimately not be there. But using these techniques will weed them out if they were recorded.

3. Use Earlier Census Records to Your Advantage

The 1790 through 1840 census records only list the name of the head of the household, but that doesn’t mean you can’t glean more information from them than this. They also include lists of how many people are living in the household, and most of them categorize these people into gender and age groups within those genders. Really early ones may even include listings of who is free and who is the slave in a household, and categorize the slaves into genders and age groups, too.

You can use this to your advantage by comparing the names and ages of people in that household on later census records where they are all listed, to get an idea of who was in the household in earlier census records. You can also discover new ancestors by looking up the head of household in old newspaper records and discovering mentions of his or her family. Obituaries, wedding announcements, and birth announcements may be in old newspaper records and give the names, and even ages of family members who were never recorded in a census by name. You can use this information to fill in the names of the people in a household in earlier census records. Wills and probate records are another excellent source of family names that you can use to fill in an earlier census with names. It takes a little bit of detective work but can give you a fuller picture of your family history, so it’s well worth doing.

FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services.

Vicki’s note – 6-26-2017 news update – thanks to Ron Zarnick.  These are the microfilms that you can order from FamilySearch.org to be delivered to your local  Church of the Latter Day Saints Family History Center.  They must feel that they have enough information online now so that it is more affordable not to send them by mail.  So if you wanted to order some microfilms for research, here is your deadline.:

On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services.  (The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31, 2017.)

Free FamilySearch.org Family History Library Abundant Genealogy Webinars

Vicki’s note – 5-30-2017 article from Thomas MacEntee about free classes and webinars.  Thanks to Ron Zarnick who sent this to me.


Free FamilySearch.org Family History Library Abundant Genealogy Webinars

Free Family History Library Classes and Webinars for June 2017 – Abundant Genealogy


[Editor’s Note: we received the following announcement from our friends at FamilySearch regarding their free classes and webinars coming up in June. Please take advantage of this great opportunity!]

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free family history classes and webinars for June 2017. Participants can attend in person or online. The June classes feature instruction on how to do research in China, Britain, and Germany, tips and tricks on using U.S. records. In addition, a variety of how-to classes will be taught which includes indexing in several languages, using FamilySearch more effectively, searching Civil War records and more. Mark your calendars for events you want to join so you don’t forget. Easily find and share this announcement online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.

Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars. Webinar attendees need to click the link next to the class title at the scheduled date and time to attend the class online. Those attending in person simply go to the room noted. Invite your family and friends. All class times are in mountain standard time (MST).

If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online at your convenience. To access these, go to the archive for Family History Library classes and webinars.



Sat, 3 June, 1:00 PM Buscando antepasados en los registros civiles (Beginner) Webinar | B1 Lab
Mon, 5 June , 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 6 June, 11:00 AM Overview of FamilySearch.org (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Wed, 7 June, 10:00 AM Starting Family Tree: Preserving Memories Using Photos andDocuments (Intermediate) Webinar | M Lab
Wed, 7 June, 1:00 PM Researching in German Archives (Intermediate) Webinar | MF – B
Wed, 7June, 3:00 PM Ask Your United States Research Question (Beginner) Webinar | MF – B
Thurs, 8 June, 11:00 AM U.S. Vital Records Overview (Beginner)  Webinar | MF – B
Thurs, 8 June, 7:00 PM Language Indexing Event (1½ hrs.) (Intermediate) M Lab
Sat, 10 June, 9:30 AM Italian Language Indexing (1½ hrs.) (Intermediate) 2N Lab
Sat, 10 June, 9:30 AM Spanish Language Indexing (1½ hrs.) (Intermediate) M Lab
Sat, 10 June, 12:30 PM French Language Indexing (1½ hrs.) (Intermediate) 2N Lab
Sat, 10 June, 12:30 PM Portuguese Language Indexing (1½ hrs.) (Intermediate) M Lab
Mon, 12 June, 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 13 June, 11:00 AM Tips and Tricks for Using FamilySearch’s Historical Records (Intermediate) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 13 June, 1:00 PM How to Find Ancestors in the Digitalarkivet (Beginner) Webinar | MF – B
Mon, 19 June, 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Mon, 19 June.1:00 PM Chinese Research on FamilySearch.org (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 20 June, 11:00 AM Family Tree Next Step: Attaching Non-FamilySearch Sources (Intermediate) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 20 June, 1:00 PM Tracing Pre-1900 British Army Ancestry (Intermediate) Webinar | B2 Lab
Wed, 21 June, 1:00 PM Using the Genteam Website for Austrian and Czech Research (Beginner) Webinar | MF – B
Thurs, 22 June, 11:00 AM What’s New at FamilySearch.org (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Thurs, 22 June, 1:00 PM Scotlands People (Intermediate) Webinar | B2 Lab
Thurs, 22 June, 3:00 PM The Blue and Gray: Finding U.S. Civil War Records (Beginner) Webinar | MF – B
Mon, 26 June, 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Tues, 27 June, 10:00 AM Submitting Names for Temple Work (LDS Account required) (Beginner) Webinar | M Lab
Wed, 28 June, 11:00 AM Introducing Danish Probates (Beginner) Webinar | MF – C
Thurs, 29 June, 1:00 PM Your British Questions Answered (Beginner) Webinar | B2 Lab

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International 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 free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee.  All rights reserved.