Friday, August 31, 2007

Penny shipping from GPC

Genealogical Publishing Company is offering shipping for ONE penny between now and September 5th (12 noon EDT). You can't beat that on book orders! Check out any of these areas or titles:

Monday, August 27, 2007

New category: U.S. - The American Revolution

I have a new category online today, with more than 300 links:
U.S. - The American Revolution

And I updated my lineage society page:
Societies & Groups - Lineage

I sub-divided it into three new, additional sub-categories:
  • Mayflower
  • National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
  • National Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Naturalization Links

I've started adding links to (see their 7-day free trial). You can search their databases for free, then view the original document images with a fee-based membership. They have an arrangement with the National Archives and Records Administration to digitize many of their records. The 17 new links I added tonight are all NARA naturalization records and indexes:

  • Naturalization Index - MA Original source: NARA M1545. Index to naturalization petitions and records for the District of Massachusetts, within the US District Court, 1906-1966, and the US Circuit Court, 1906-1911.
  • Naturalization Index - MD Original source: NARA M1168. Index cards for Naturalization Petitions filed in the US Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951.
  • Naturalization Index - NYC Courts Original source: NARA M1674. The Soundex index to naturalization petitions filed in federal, state, and local courts in New York City, including New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties, 1792-1906.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Jul 1865-Sep 1906 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from July 1865 through September 1906.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Oct 1906-Nov 1925 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from October 1907 through November 1925.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Nov 1925-Dec 1957 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from November 1925 through December 1957.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Southern Intentions Original source: NARA M1675. Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917-1950.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Southern Petitions Original source: NARA M1676. Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1824-1941.
  • Naturalization Index - NY Western Original source: NARA M1677. Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalizations of the US District Court for the Western District of New York, 1907-1966.
  • Naturalization Index - WWI Soldiers Original source: NARA M1952. Index cards for locating naturalization records for soldiers serving in the US Armed Forces during World War I, specifically the year 1918.
  • Naturalizations - CA Southern Original source: NARA M1524. Naturalization Petitions for the Southern District Of California, 1887-1940.
  • Naturalizations - LA Eastern Original source: NARA P2233. Naturalization records in this publication include petitions and oaths for new citizens in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1838 to 1861.
  • Naturalizations - MD Original source: NARA M1640. Naturalization Petitions of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1906-1930.
  • Naturalizations - MA Original source: NARA M1368. Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the US District and Circuit Courts of the District of Massachusetts, 1906-1929.
    Naturalizations - PA Eastern Original source: NARA M1522. Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 1795-1930.
  • Naturalizations - PA Middle Original source: NARA M1626. Naturalization records for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1906-1930, also include US Circuit Court records for 1901-1906.
  • Naturalizations - PA Western Original source: NARA M1537. Naturalization petitions of the US District Court, 1820-1930, and the Circuit Court, 1820-1922, for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

More naturalization and immigration links (434+) are here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Punctuation: It Isn't Just For Breakfast Anymore

At what point did it become acceptable to avoid using punctuation? And since when can you enter a long series of surnames with commas between them, but no spaces? And why is it okay to write complete sentences without using one uppercase letter? I may have failed the 8th grade spelling bee because of the word "scenario," but I do know that spelling is a lot easier these days with a spellchecker. Use it!!

I do not take e-mails seriously when several words are misspelled, when no punctuation is used, or when consonants and vowels are added or dropped randomly from words. Call me picky, but that is that. So there.

(who is overly fond of the comma and misplaces it regularly)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Google Tips for Genealogy: The Basics

The first time you went to the library you had to learn how to use the card catalog. The first time you went to the archives or a Family History Center you had to learn how to use a microfilm reader. So, you should take time to learn how to use another important research tool: Google.
  1. Take time to read the Help files at
  2. Start by reading the Basics, even if you think you've already had enough experience using Google. It is never too late to learn something new.
  3. Read the Advanced search help files to learn a new trick or two.
  4. Keep a research workbook open on your computer (a word processing file for your research notes) while you are visiting web sites.
  5. Copy and paste directly from the web browser window to your notes the search terms you use, the sets of results you get back, ideas you have for future searches, etc. Keep a running log of what you are doing so that when you step away from the computer you can later pick up again where you left off.

Basic Search:

  • Google is not case-sensitive for keywords, so uppercase or lowercase letters will each return the same results. Boolean operators are case-sensitive (AND, OR, NOT).
  • Google automatically uses "and" in the query, returning hits that include all of your keywords.
  • Google allows up to 10 words to be used in a search. Use your 10 words wisely.
  • Use distinct keywords unique to your query: a place name, a unique given name or surname, a year, etc.
  • Don't use common words or phrases such as: the, of, is, but (these waste your 10 words)
    For example, instead of The Genealogy of the Johnson Family in Iowa enter a simpler, more specific query with unique keywords such as:
    genealogy peter johnson iowa sweden

A Slightly More Advanced Search:

  • Place quotes around a set of words to keep them together as an exact phrase. In the example above I would use them if I want to be sure to get returns that include exactly the name "peter johnson"
  • Use + in front of a search term to insure it is included (although Google does default to assume this)
  • Use - in front of a search term to exclude a keyword or a phrase. In my example I could exclude possible hits returned that might include Norway:
    genealogy peter johnson iowa sweden -norway
  • Use OR in a phrase to include results, but not necessarily all of the words in your query. In my example I could use OR to look for variant spellings on the surname:
    genealogy "peter johnson" OR "peter johnsen" iowa sweden

I will post more Google Tips for Genealogy in the days to come . . . in the meantime visit my Googling for Grandma page for links.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ancestry's Free Databases - More Than I Realized

I have a links category called Basics. I created it a while back for several reasons: to draw attention to the numerous freely accessible resources available to everyone through Ancestry, and to point out how to subscribe and unsubscribe from their services (after hearing from people who stated they couldn't figure out how to do so).

In reviewing some of the many databases at Ancestry I noticed that they have highlighted several of them with a "FREE" tag next to the title. So, tonight I added a new section to my page for "Free Databases" and I started adding links. I have to say I'm really surprised how many there are. I just barely scratched the surface tonight, browsing through the first 900 out of 24,778. I didn't realize the number was so big. I have 29 new links to free databases already. Obviously I have more work ahead of me. In the meantime these links should keep you busy!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Follow the Bouncing E-mail

This is one of the things that really drives me crazy: bounced e-mail because of bad addresses, filters, or blocking services.

On average I receive about 200 e-mails a day. My ISP filters spam and viruses. My e-mail software (Eudora) then filters spam and junk one more time. Each day I go through both my ISP and my local junk boxes just to be sure that they didn't mistakenly identify something as spam. Periodically I find one that shouldn't be there. Following the junk filters my e-mail software then filters and sorts specific types of messages such as new link requests, broken link reports, blog posts, etc. Once all that is done my daily e-mail is whittled down to the daily odds and ends.

On my web site I clearly state that because of the huge load of e-mail and work on the site each day I don't have time to answer personal research questions. But that doesn't stop people. I get e-mail from them asking for help, advice, etc. Now, that makes me a bit irritable, but what is worse is when I actually reply to those types of people/messages only to have my e-mail bounced back at me with "no such address" "doesn't like recipient" or "not accepting e-mail from this sender" messages. Aaargh!! First, they ignore the fact that I say I can't help them, then they make it impossible to reply to them at all. That makes no sense! And their messages are usually full of "help me!" and "I'm desperate" and other such urgentness. I also get new link requests submitted with bad e-mail addresses, which means I can't contact them if I need further information and I can't send them my usual replies.

Hey folks, if you are going to e-mail someone with a genealogical query, first be sure you do a few things to make the correspondence successful.
  1. Add that person's e-mail address to your non-spam/junk filters.
  2. Add that person's e-mail address to your "It's OK, I like this person" list or whatever it might be called in your e-mail options.
  3. Check and double-check your own e-mail address as you supply it to them for a reply. If you can't correctly spell your own e-mail address you've got problems.
  4. Don't make the receiver go through one of the spam-blocking services by making them reply to an automated message first in order to be added to your list of acceptable addresses.

I've become pretty darned grumpy about that last one. When someone writes to me, I reply. When I get back the automated "please reply to message so that you can be added to my list of acceptable e-mail addresses" message I put my foot down. I don't reply. I delete. It really makes me grumpy because they wrote to me first.

Because e-mail is so easy to send it has also become easy to use to intrude on others without thinking first. Please be sure you use your e-mail wisely and think about the person at the receiving end. Especially if you hope to have a successful correspondence with them in the future.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cyndi's List Genealogy Bookstore

I created a new storefront on tonight:
Cyndi's List Genealogy Bookstore
It is a categorized list of genealogy research books that looks a lot like my bookshelf at home.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Family Tree Magazine 101 Best Web Sites!

I'm honored to have received this today from Family Tree Magazine:

"Cyndi’s List
This classic collection of links continues to grow—with 264,800 links in 180-plus categories at last count—and remains our favorite stop to find family history sites."

Thank you David Frixel & Family Tree Magazine!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

New category: Podcasts

I just put a new category online:
Podcasts for Genealogy
It is small, but gives you a few ideas of what some people are thinking to do with them.