Monday, April 30, 2012

Reverse Genealogy Webinar

Have you been keeping up with the FREE Legacy Family Tree genealogy webinars?
If not, you might want to check out their webinar website at
Last week Megan Smolnyak Smolnyak presented a webinar titled "Reverse Genealogy: Finding the Living." You'll need to scroll down a ways to get to the listing and WATCH NOW button. If you want to watch it for free, you have until May 7th.
Our own Mary Roddy has given several informative and interesting presentations on finding living relatives. Megan Smolnyak takes a slightly different approach and suggests some additional resources to use.
I heartily recommend that you take advantage of this free opportunity to hear Megan speak....and definitely check out the other free webinar offerings from Legacy Family Search. They're offering a great educational opportunity to the worldwide genealogy community.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finding Your Roots

I just finished watching the 6th episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS. It featured the family histories of Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I thought this particular show was absolutely fantastic and I'm trying to figure out why I liked it so much.
Both "stars" seemed to be genuinely interested in their family histories and in their DNA results.
Both family trees were traced waaay back in time. Both Robert and Maggie seemed genuinely surprised at how long some of their ancestors had lived in the U.S.
Maggie's family included Swedish royalty and a connection to Henry the first of England. The fact that she has a cousin who has spent years researching the Gyllenhaal line and hasn't contacted her was a bit troubling to me. Surely he must have tried contacting her, right?
The Eastern European history that was woven into the stories was also fascinating. It added credance to my theory that my husband's Swedish-Finn grandfather left Finland to avoid conscription into the Russian Army.
And I loved the footage of the county court records. I have no idea which courthouse was filmed, but it made me want to dig through some deed books!
What else did you like or dislike about this episode? Please click the "comment" button below and share your thoughts.

Monday, April 2, 2012

1940 Census Release

It's April 2nd at 10:30 AM and I'm already totally frustrated with NARA and their much hyped 1940 census release.
After all the assurances that they planned for and could handle the huge demand they generated, they certainly haven't lived up to their promises.
I, for one, believed the hype and thought they'd have sufficient capacity to handle the pent-up demand from millions of genealogists.
Not so.
Unfortunately, Dick Eastman was right in his prediction of massive frustration and lack of access.
I naively thought that I could just zip into the site and download the ED where most of my mother's family was living in 1940.
So far I've tried to access that ED about 10 times and haven't gotten past the little circle spinning around.
Have any of you had any better luck?
A few states are already up on, but not mine (of course).
I suspect that we in Seattle would have had better access if they'd released the 1940 census on microfilm. At least then we could run over to our very own NARA branch and scroll through the pages!