Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R.I.P. Google News Timeline

I'm sorry to report that on August 17, 2011 Google quietly closed down one of my favorite Google Labs tools - the Google News Timeline with two simple sentences:

"As part of the phasing out of Google Labs, we have shut down Google News Timeline. It was a pleasure to serve you!"

Google News Timeline is not to be confused with Google News Archive.  Google did also recently announce that they were discontinuing newspaper digitization efforts, but that the Google News Archive would remain in tact as is.  Those digitized newspapers were also fed through the Google News Timeline which I considered a superior way to view the newspapers.

Since the Timeline had not been officially launched, it was kept where beta-baby tools were kept: in Google Labs. I say "were kept" because Google Labs is also now defunct.

So here's a recap:

Google News Archive - Still available, no new newspapers being added
Google New Timeline - No longer available.
Google Labs - Finis.  Poof!

Google Giveth...and Google Taketh Away

Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Tree Magazine Welcomes Kerry Scott as Online Editor

Here's the latest news from Family Tree Magazine.  Welcome Kerry Scott! 
Press Release: Family Tree Magazine, America’s No. 1 genealogy how-to magazine, is pleased to announce the addition of Kerry Scott to its team.

She’ll be the magazine’s new online editor, focusing on Family Tree University online classes, webinars and digital products. (And remember you can get 20% off any class at Family Tree University with the coupon code: GemsFTU)
Scott brings to the team her experience as a genealogy researcher, active member of the genealogy blogging community (she blogs at Clue Wagon), and human resources executive.

“This position gives me the opportunity to connect with and share great content with other researchers,” Scott says. “I'm especially excited about growing Family Tree University, which is such a great resource for the genealogical community."

The Milwaukee, Wis., resident and mom of two has loved family history since childhood. “My favorite ancestor is my Uncle Fred, who was my second-great-grandfather's brother. He was an attorney, politician and judge who left behind a mountain of paperwork. How can you not love a guy like that?”

Not all of her ancestors left so many records—a situation familiar to most genealogists. “The genealogical skill I'm most proud of is my ability to stick to a search until I hit pay dirt,” Kerry says. “I've been known to walk through every grave in every cemetery in an entire county, or search an entire big city in a particular census year until I found the family I needed. I don't give up easily.”

About Family Tree Magazine

Family Tree Magazine, America's No. 1 family history magazine, is part of the Genealogy Community at F+W Media, Inc., which also encompasses Family Tree University online courses and webinars; the Family Tree Books imprint; and Free Shipping on US Orders Over $25. These publications and products are devoted to providing engaging, easy-to-understand instruction that makes genealogy a hobby anyone can do.

Free Genealogy Records Now thru Labor Day

Today announced an entire week of free access to its U.S. and International Immigration and Naturalization records. The free access week begins August 29th and runs through the Labor Day holiday ending September 5th

To get the most from this opportunity start by listening to my free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast episodes all about immigration and naturalization records with my special guest Stephan Danko:

During this week, all visitors to will be able to search for free the indices and images of new and updated U.S. immigration records as well as selected international immigration records from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Mexico

Ancestry has also recently added the following to their U.S. collections:
  • Florida Petitions for Naturalization1913-199
  • Delaware Naturalization Records1796-1959 
  • Utah Naturalization and Citizenship Records1850-1960

Noteworthy updated U.S. and international collections include:
  • U.S. Naturalization and Passport applications, 1795-1972
  • UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
  • Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S. 1895-1956
  • New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922
  • Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957
  • New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1973
  • Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959

Happy Hunting!

Monday, August 8, 2011

File Search Trick, and Prepping for an Archive Visit

Podcast Listener Joan wrote me recently:  "I get to spend a day at the National Archives. What should I do to prepare to take full advantage of the visit? I checked their website, but it was not as helpful as I hoped. Any suggestions?"

While this first resource is from the National Archives in the UK, it's applicable to archives in other countries as well.  Check out their video series called Quick Animated Guide.

Another good approach is to search for presentations on archive visits using Google.  By conducting a 'file type search' in Google you can uncover presentations posted on the Web that are geared to doing research at the National Archives.

I conducted the following search in Google: .ppt national archives research and came up with a Powerpoint presentation called Beginning Your Genealogical Research at the National Archives which comes from the US National Archives website. When you click the link above you’ll be prompted to RUN the presentation, and I found that it detected Powerpoint on my computer and opened the presentation in my Powerpoint program.

This little genealogy search gem can come in quite handy. Sometimes you know exactly what kind of file or document you are looking for online. By searching for the keywords of the subject and then adding .ppt (the file extension for Powerpoint presentations) Google will pull up only Powerpoint presentations that include those keywords.

You may not be able to get out to genealogy conferences very often, but some creative searching may bring up presentations that cover topics that interest you right from your home computer. That’s a little gem you need to add to your search toolbox for sure!  For more search gems check out my book The Genealogist's Google Toolbox.  Now through August 12, 2011 you can get 20% off* the book as well as anything at my Genealogy Gems store at with the coupon code:  SINK305

And finally, when it comes to preparing for and making a trip to an archive or library Margery Bell of the Family History Centers offered some great ideas for preparing for a research trip, regardless of whether it is to the National Archives or the Family History Library. The interviews are episode 17, 18 & 19 in the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast.

Great question Joan and have a wonderful time! Happy hunting everyone!

* Enter coupon code SINK305 at checkout and receive 20% off your order. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer is only valid in US Dollars and cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use these codes once per account, and unfortunately you can't use these coupons in combination with other coupon codes. These great offers expire on Friday August 12, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don't miss out! While very unlikely, Lulu does reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.

How to Make the Trip to Your Ancestor's Homeland in Genealogy Gems Episode 115

When my husband Bill and I travelled to England earlier this year, I was as excited about visiting the old stomping grounds of his ancestors as I was about speaking at the Who Do You You think You Are? LIVE event.
If you listened to Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 106 then you heard about the amazing experiences we had, both planned and unplanned!

In the newest Episode #115 I've got the scoop on what it takes to put together a Family History Trip of your own from an expert in the field.

You can listen right from here, or download the podcast for free in iTunes. (Need more info on how to use the free iTunes media player.  I've got answers for you here)