Skeletons in the Closet

I received the following from one of our customers today and enjoyed it so much that I'm republishing it here (with permission).

Decades ago when I first started investigating my 6th great-grandfather’s family of descendants I was particularly fascinated by the oblique notes I found in the older genealogies.  

“Killed in a hunting accident” “Met an accident in the woods” “Went West and untraced” “Died in the great Galveston Hurricane.”  

Since then I’ve discovered that none of the above was entirely true if at all. 

I’ve also discovered descendants omitted, “died” or down-played in family accounts for more onerous reasons – multiple divorce, murder, kidnapping, suicide, medical tragedy and more. 

If like me, your twig of the family tree hasn’t exactly been pristine, consider the gifts these people have given you. 

Strength – if you have experienced one of these things as a near relative, realize that no matter how much you suffered at the time that you have survived it and congratulate yourself. You are strong. 

Perspective – if you know or discover that an earlier relative is a closet skeleton - thank them if you haven’t experienced the same thing yourself. If you have, also thank them – it means you aren’t the only family member who’s faced the same thing whether now or generations ago. 

Faith – Learn about the lives of your ancestors and their message to you. I have found at least three times that their survival is the miracle that I even exist. 

Embrace the past with love and sensibility. Learn as much as possible about your ancestors recent and distant and respect any medical problems those in your twig might have had – you may have inherited them as I have.

New Legacy QuickGuide Now Available - Ephemera: Genealogy Gold by Sharon Atkins

Legacy QuickGuidesTM have quickly become one of the more popular resources for genealogists. Each guide contains four (sometimes five, sometimes more) pages of valuable information covering a variety of genealogy research topics, dozens of clickable links, and are written by genealogists and family historians who are experts in the subject areas. We've added another brand new Legacy QuickGuides: Ephemera: Genealogy Gold by Sharon Atkins. Now choose from 86 Legacy QuickGuides!

Ephemeral-Gen GoldEphemera: Genealogy Gold by Sharon Atkins - $2.95

Valuable clues about an ancestor’s life are often found by locating different forms of ephemera as well as researching various categories of ephemera. Ephemera can provide a glimpse into the world of your ancestor; whether you find an old postcard, a newspaper article, a graduation program, or something as wonderful as a diary, you can instantly be transported back in time and place to experience your ancestor’s life.
The Ephemera: Genealogy Gold Legacy QuickGuide™ contains useful information including tips and tricks, a list of different types of ephemera, terminology, and more. This handy 4-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device for anytime access.


Now choose from 86!

Purchase for just $2.95


United States - State Guides

United States - other Guides


United Kingdom




Register for Webinar Wednesday - Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo


Learn how the Scrivener software, a multifaceted word processor and project management tool, can help you plot, organize, and write your family history narrative, prepare research reports, and much more. (Attendees are encouraged to download the free trial (PC or Mac) prior to webinar to maximize the learning experience).

Join us and Lisa Alzo for the live webinar Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

On the Upcoming Webinars tab, login to view the webinars you are already signed up for (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

Alzolisa-144Lisa A.  Alzo. M.F.A. is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research, writing your family history, and using the Internet to trace female and immigrant ancestors. She is the author of nine books, including the award-winning Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles, and writes the blog "The Accidental Genealogist."

View Lisa's other webinars here.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

4 Places on Facebook to Find Genealogy Help

In last week's blog post "Ancestors Please! How to ask for help online" I wrote about best practices for asking others for help on social media sites like Facebook. A number of people commented, asking where on Facebook to find genealogy help. In this post we'll explore five effective places for finding genealogy help on Facebook.

1) Your Facebook Wall

You may not realize it but your very own Facebook wall might be the place to start. Who will better know your family history than your own family? Asking genealogy questions on your wall might prompt family members to share information  you didn't know they had and they didn't realize you wanted. Keep in mind that that Facebook is not really private. Consider who else among your Facebook friends can see your discussion and decided whether the topic should better be handled in an email or not.

The other great use of posting on your Facebook wall is to share with other genealogists. Genealogists has long since taken over Facebook and many of us use Facebook more for connecting with other genealogists than we do with old friends or family. In this case posting to your wall can be very effective.

If you don't currently have a lot of genealogy connections on Facebook start by "friending" the genealogists you do know from your local society. Once you connect with a genealogist that is very active on Facebook you'll notice that they are tied in to a much larger community of genealogists on Facebook. That will be your entry into connecting with a very large community online.

2) A Surname Group

There are many groups dedicated to specific surnames.  I belong to one group called the House of Learneds for Learned family descendants. Surname groups are perfect for posting a genealogy query but only if it relates directly to that surname.  Be sure to read the group or page description to understand what the group is all about. The description for the House of Learneds says "If you are a Learned/Larned/Learnard/Larnett, etc. (no joke!) you can join. If you can state your lineage, even better! Please keep it light - no politics or religious proselytizing. Beyond that, you may say or submit anything you want. This is YOUR Facebook page!" 

Here are some to get you started:

To find surname groups try searching Facebook for the surname plus the word "family" or "genealogy" such as "Chandler Family." Keep in mind that some groups are created for a small group of family members for staying in touch or organizing reunions rather than connecting with all descendants. Try to get a feel for what type of group it is by reading the description before asking to join.

Also, don't try asking questions about your other family lines or it might just get you kicked out of the group for being off topic.

3) A Geographic Focused Group

If you don't find a group for the surname you are looking for then try a group based on the location where your ancestors came from. This is a great way to get help from people who are experienced in researching in that same location. You may not share the same family but you may be researching the same records.

There are literally hundreds of these types of groups on Facebook. One that I belong to is the Indiana County PA Genealogy group.

Other groups include:

Not finding what you need? Katherine R. Willson has created a comprehensive list of "genealogy on Facebook" links which you can access on her website at


4) The Legacy User Group

And let's not forget the new Legacy User Group !

This group was created for people using the Legacy Family Tree software so most of the questions deal with genealogy as relates to the Legacy software.  There is a terrific amount of sharing going on the group and not only will you learn about the software but you'll get some great genealogy tips too!

Thanks to Alona Tester, Dawn Fulton, Liz Loveland, Clarise Fleck Soper, Joyce Homan and Elizabeth Handler for contributing suggestions to this article.

Marian Pierre-Louis is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. She is also the host of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.

Storyboard Basics for Family Historians: How to Get Started in Three Simple Steps

Do you struggle to put together a family history narrative? Want to learn how to plot like a pro? A storyboard could be the answer to your writing woes. Many fiction writers use storyboards to plot their novels.

A storyboard is a simple way to visually outline or map out your writing project. You can use the storyboard as your guidepost to start writing, or as chapter or section titles to take you through the writing process. If you're not sure about where or how to begin crafting a story others will want to read, here are three simple steps to help you get started with storyboarding.


1. Think like a writer, not like a genealogist. During the research phase of family history, most genealogists deal primarily with facts (names, dates, places, and other pertinent details), and use their analytical skills to "put the puzzle pieces together" and interpret the information. But, when it comes to plotting a story, you should be thinking like a writer—tapping into your inner creativity to put those facts together in an accurate, yet compelling way.

2. Write cinematically. All good stories have three basic parts: Beginning, Middle, and End (or in theatre terms, “three acts”). Although you may not think of your family's story as a movie, it often helps if you do. Try writing cinematically—breaking the story you want to tell into scenes. Scenes move your plot forward, set the tone, and highlight your voice.

3. Outline Your Ideas. Identify key points, ideas, scenes etc. you want to convey or include in your book, profile, or short story using a technique typically taught in novel writing workshops: the “Index Card" method. For a book project, the “old school” way is to get a stack (about 60) of 3 x 5 index cards and write down one scene per card (aiming for 15 scenes for Act 1, 30 for Act 2, and 15 for Act 3). This keeps the story moving.

For example, in my book, Three Slovak Women, the overall main plot is a story about three different generations of Slovak women. For Act I, my main plot is my grandmother's immigration story, and my subplots would be her family life in Slovakia, her arranged marriage to my grandfather, and her assimilation in America.

The index card method is useful because once you have your scenes written out you can shuffle the cards around to get the order you desire—the one that makes the most sense for your story. Software tools or apps make the process easier by letting you create “virtual” index cards.

One of my favorite programs is Scrivener by Literature and Latte, (available for PC and Mac), which has many useful features, including the ability to set up your projects in storyboard format using a virtual corkboard. There is a 30-day free trial available (and it runs for 30 days of actual use rather than by calendar days).

Next, transcribe or develop what you've written on each card into an outline, with your main plot (and then subplot a, b, c). This process will help you to see what does or doesn't work. (Scrivener lets you seamlessly switch to outline view, and easily shuffle your cards if you want to change, move or delete a scene). For smaller projects (for example, ancestor profiles), you would use less cards, but follow the same basic guidelines.

To learn more about creating storyboards with Scrivener, register for the upcoming Legacy webinar on Storyboard Your Family History.

Consider giving storyboarding a try. A storyboard gives you a “bird’s eye view” of your project so you can build a structure that works, see the holes in your content, and have a place to store notes, ideas, source information, and more.

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., is a freelance writer, instructor and lecturer specializing in genealogy and creative nonfiction. She is a frequent presenter for the Legacy Family Tree Webinars series and can be contacted via

FamilySearch Records Update: New records for Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, and United States

Family historians hungry for historic Irish records will enjoy FamilySearch’s new collection, Ireland Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912. These indexed court documents bring 22 million records to your fingertips. These records were originally filmed at the National Archives of Ireland and the index was created by See the table below for additions to over 60 historical record collections, including 46 million US obituaries. Click on the collection’s link to start your discovery.





Australia New South Wales Census (fragment) 1891



Added images to an existing collection

Belgium Antwerp Civil Registration 1588-1910



Added images to an existing collection

BillionGraves Index



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

Brazil Pernambuco Civil Registration 1804-2014



Added images to an existing collection

Brazil São Paulo Immigration Cards 1902-1980



Added indexed records to an existing collection

California Death Index 1905-1939



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Delaware Vital Records 1680-1971



Added indexed records to an existing collection

District of Columbia Marriages 1811-1950



Added indexed records to an existing collection

France Finistère Quimper et Léon Diocese Catholic Parish Records 1772-1863



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Germany Saxony Dresden Citizens' Documents and Business Licenses 1820- 1962



Added images to an existing collection

Illinois County Marriages 1810-1934



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Iowa State Census 1915



Added images to an existing collection

India Bihar Koilukh Pandit Kirtinand Jha Maithil Brahmin Genealogical Records 1750-1990



Added images to an existing collection

India Hindu Pilgrimage Records 1194-2015



New indexed records and images collection

Iowa State Census 1925



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Ireland Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912



New indexed record collection

Italy Caltanissetta Civil Registration (State Archive) 1820-1935



Added images to an existing collection

Italy Cremona Civil Registration (State Archive) 1744-1942



New browsable-image collection.

Italy Grosseto Civil Registration (State Archive) 1851-1907



New browsable-image collection.

Italy L'Aquila Civil Registration (State Archive) 1809-1865 1911-1943



Added images to an existing collection

Italy Pesaro e Urbino Pesaro Civil Registration (State Archive) 1808-1813 1861- 1865



New browsable-image collection.

Italy Pesaro e Urbino Urbino Civil Registration (State Archive) 1866-1942



New browsable-image collection.

Italy Ragusa Civil Registration (State Archive) 1900-1940



New browsable-image collection.

Italy Toscana Civil Registration (State Archive) 1804-1874



Added images to an existing collection

Kentucky Vital Record Indexes 1911-1999



New indexed record collection

Louisiana First Registration Draft Cards compiled 1940-1945



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Massachusetts Boston Passenger Lists Index 1899-1940



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Massachusetts Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1627-2001



Added images to an existing collection

Mexico Baja California and Baja California Sur Catholic Church Records 1750- 1984



Added images to an existing collection

Mexico Chihuahua Catholic Church Records 1632-1958



New browsable-image collection.

Mexico Guanajuato Catholic Church Records 1519-1984



Added images to an existing collection

Mexico Hidalgo Catholic Church Records 1546-1971



Added images to an existing collection

Mexico Michoacán Catholic Church Records 1555-1996



Added images to an existing collection

Mexico Tamaulipas Catholic Church Records 1703-1964



Added images to an existing collection

Michigan Births 1867-1902



Added images to an existing collection

Michigan Obituaries 1820-2006



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Newfoundland Vital Records 1840-1949



Added indexed records to an existing collection

North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970



Added images to an existing collection

Nova Scotia Births 1864-1877



Added images to an existing collection

Nova Scotia Deaths 1864-1877



Added images to an existing collection

Nova Scotia Marriages 1864-1918



Added images to an existing collection

Peru Callao Civil Registration 1874-1996



Added images to an existing collection

Perú Lima Civil Registration 1874-1996



Added images to an existing collection

Philippines Negros Occidental Roman Catholic Diocese of Bacolod Parish Registers 1755-1976



New browsable-image collection.

South Dakota School Records 1879-1970



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Spain Province of Valencia Miscellaneous Records 1251-1950



Added images to an existing collection

Sweden Halland Church Records 1615-1904; index 1615-1860



Added images to an existing collection

Tennessee County Marriages 1790-1950



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

United States Census 1790



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

United States Census 1800



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

United States Freedmen's Bureau Hospital and Medical Records 1865-1872



New Indexed records and images collection

United States GenealogyBank Obituaries 1980-2014



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States Index to Service Records War with Spain 1898



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database 1847-1868



New indexed record collection

Utah Uintah County Discharge Records 1893-2009



New browsable-image collection.

Utah Uintah County Land and Property Records 1888-2004



New browsable-image collection.

Utah Uintah County Marriage Records 1888-2015



New browsable-image collection.

Utah Uintah County Naturalization and Citizenship Records 1888-1929



New browsable-image collection.

Vermont St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings 1895-1924



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Vermont Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1732-2005



Added images to an existing collection


Help Us Publish More Free Records Online
Searchable historical records are made available on through the help of thousands of online volunteers worldwide. These volunteers transcribe (or index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are always needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published weekly online on Learn how you can volunteer to help provide free access to the world’s historical genealogical records online at
About FamilySearch International
FamilySearch 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 for free at or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

5 Tips to Help You Navigate the Confusing Maze of Surname Variations

Question: What do Sean Gough, Jean Lefevre, Giovanni Ferrari, Juan Herrero, Ivan Kowalski, Hans Schmidt, Jan Kowalski and Janos Kovacs have in common?

Answer: In Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively, all are the equivalent of John Smith. [Source:]

This Q&A is an excellent reinforcer of the notion that as genealogists we need to look beyond the familiar. We need to think outside the box. Coming from a different culture we might assume if we find an ancestor named Janos Kovacs that it's an unusual name. But that may not be the case!

I recently learned that my maiden name of McGinnis is one of the most common names in Ireland. My son is a Schulze. I thought that was an unusual name but in Germany it’s very commonplace.

Tips to Help You Navigate the Confusing Maze of Name Variations

1. Don’t be confused by spelling. How often have you found a name in a census or other genealogy record, that was close to the name you were seeking but not exactly the same? My Peer ancestors have also had their name recorded as Pier, Pear, Peare and Pierre. Don't discard a record with a variant spelling of your name! Remember spelling didn't "count” and it was not consistent before the early 1900s. Many of our ancestors had little or no schooling and often they could not write their own names. That meant they could not verify that the way their name was recorded was in fact correct.

2. Foreign accents also confused English speaking clerks and that is when phonetics kicked in with clerks and census takers recording what they heard. If you are puzzled by a document, say the name out loud. Does it sound like the name you are looking for? Perhaps it is!

3. The surname you found may be the result of an error in transcribing or indexing. Look for the original document to verify what was written. Handwriting and formation of letters changed over the centuries. Early forms of the letter “S” can be mistaken for an “L” and vice versa. I once attempted in vain to explain to a client that her ancestor's name was not Lamuel but Samuel.

The double “ss” in a surname was frequently written in a way that we read it as “fs. My husband's Massey ancestors are frequently found erroneously indexed as Mafsey. 

4. Look at other clues such as spouse, children, ages, occupation, location, etc. Could the individual you found be your ancestor?

5. Remember that your ancestor may have deliberately changed his name or may be using an abbreviated form of it. It might also be a nickname that has become the surname in use.

Case Studies

Van Valkenburg to Vollick and Follick: My great-grandmother’s surname was Vollick. Often it was recorded as Follick. Other variations I found in documents are Valck, Volk, Valic, Falic, Folic, Falk, and Falck. Why "V" and "F" interchangeably? Because the Dutch-German "V" can sound like "F" to English speaker's ears. Remember that whoever was writing out that original record may have been an English speaking person listening to a different accent. He would write what he heard, in other words, phonetic spelling was the key to recording documents.

Petition of Sophia Spirbeck regarding her father Storm’s surname incorrectly recorded as Follick instead of Vollick. Notation from witness that Storm’s surname Vollick is generally pronounced Follick. Source: Upper Canada Land Petitions on Library & Archives Canada

As I methodically researched back from my last known Vollick ancestor I discovered to my surprise that his birth surname was Van Valkenburg! He apparently was known by his nickname of Valk which over time became Vollick. How would I ever have found my ancestor if I hadn't kept an open mind and looked at other clues? And much to my initial surprise, Van Valkenburg is not an unusual name.

Le Roy to Larroway: When Leonard-Tremi Le Roy left Quebec for New York, his name was misinterpreted by Dutch recorders as "Jonar" and then "Jonas". His surname Le Roy (pronounced Le Raw) was misinterpreted as Larrowa which evolved into Larroway.

So be aware that bad handwriting, inability to spell, accents, and other events can change an ancestor's name - and don't be too quick to assume, for example, that Leonard-Tremi Le Roy is not your 5th great grandfather Jonas Larroway. If both men have the same wives and children, same birth year, same place of birth, and siblings who are identical, you can be pretty sure that you've found the right ancestor in the confusing maze of names in genealogy research.

Helpful Links

Surname Variations found in Ireland at

The University of Pittsburgh’s Slovak Studies Program at

Norway Heritage shares common Norwegian names at

Dutch Patronymics of the 1600s at

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started? Free webinar by Kathy Meade now online for limited time


The recording of today's excellent webinar, "Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started?" by Kathy Meade PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view for free at for a limited time. Some great comments:

  • Great info for a rank beginner at Swedish research ! Kathy sure knows her stuff!
  • I would rate this actually as a 10+. Kathy Mead was amazing, lots of tips, lots of links, and she was very knowledgeable!! I am looking forward to her next webinar in September!! I have just started on filling in more information on my Swedish ancestors and now I have lots of new ideas! Thank you Kathy Meade, excellent Webinar. Thank you Geoff and Legacy for providing wonderful Webinars!
  • Another wonderful Webinar and After Party. These are the best. Just renewed membership for year 3! Thanks for all you do.

View the Recording at

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 44 minute recording of "Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started?" PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - sweden - for 10% off anything at or, valid through Monday, July 27, 2015.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 248 classes, 367 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 1,078 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year (that's about the cost of 5 webinar CDs)
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Storyboard Your Family History by Lisa Alzo. July 29.
  • Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery by Melvin J. Collier. July 31.
  • What's in a Name? Trouble! by Ron Arons. August 5.
  • Power Platting - Technology Tools to Create Pictures from Property Descriptions by Chris Staats. August 12.
  • Discovering Your Kentucky Ancestors by Mark Lowe. August 19.
  • Digital Family Reunions by Devin Ashby. August 21.
  • German Names and Naming Patterns by Jim Beidler. August 26.
  • Break Down Brick Walls in Eastern European Research - Tips, Tools and Tricks by Lisa Alzo. September 2.
  • Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online by Kathy Meade. September 9.
  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. September 11.
  • Researching Your Dutch Ancestors by Yvette Hoitink. September 16.
  • Researching Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Kirsty Gray. September 23.
  • Maps Tell Some of the Story for the African-Ancestored Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji. September 25.
  • Using Periodicals to Find Your Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. September 30.
  • Wearables and Genealogy - Wacky and Wild or Worth the Wait by Thomas MacEntee. October 7.
  • Colonial Immigration - The English Pioneers of Early America by Beth Foulk. October 14.
  • Billions of Records, Billions of Stories by Devin Ashby. October 16.
  • What Happened to the State of Frankland - Using Tennessee's Pre-Statehood Records by Mark Lowe. October 21.
  • Complex Evidence - What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter? by Warren Bittner. October 28.
  • Researching with Karen! by Karen Clifford. November 4.
  • Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard. November 11.
  • Bringing it All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record by Tom Kemp. November 13.
  • Mapping Madness by Ron Arons. November 18.
  • Stories in Stone - Cemetery Research by Gail Blankenau. December 2.
  • Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist? by Apryl Cox and Kelly Summers. December 9.
  • Pointing Fingers at Ancestors' Siblings - Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. December 16.

Click here to register. Or click here register for multiple webinars at the same time.

Print the 2015 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Families 2.3.0 (Legacy's mobile app) update now available


Got a smartphone or mobile device? Take your Legacy family files with you on the go! I have the Families app on my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and love it. And while it provides the ability to do data entry in the app, I just like knowing that I can view my Legacy files wherever I am.

Click here to purchase Families.

Click here to watch a webinar about Families.

A new update (free) was recently announced, version 2.3.0, and available for both iOS and Android. In addition to some minor bug fixes, it now supports the following additional languages:

  • Dutch
  • German
  • Italian
  • Danish
  • Swedish
  • Norwegian (Bokmål)

Visit the app stores on your mobile device to download the update.

2nd Annual Worldwide FamilySearch Indexing event - August 7-14, 2015

I'll be there. I hope you will join me, and 100,000 others! If you're not registered, visit Here's the announcement:

A record-setting 100,000 online volunteers are expected to participate in the second annual Worldwide Indexing Event, facilitating millions of discoveries for eager family history researchers. Scheduled for August 7–14, the event will show how anyone with a computer and Internet connection can help “Fuel the Find” by making information from historical documents easily searchable online.

What Does It Mean to “Fuel the Find”?  

Indexed (transcribed) historical records are like the fuel that powers genealogical search engines such as, enabling people to find missing or unknown branches in their family trees. Beyond simple name searches, indexed records also allow to provide patrons with highly relevant and accurate hints, essentially bringing the records of their ancestors to them automatically. Every name that a volunteer indexes from a historical record adds another drop of precious fuel that can ultimately help someone easily and quickly find a missing ancestor.

International Language Emphasis

Already one of the largest and most successful volunteer transcription programs in history with more than 1.3 billion records indexed since 2007,FamilySearch indexing is looking toward this year’s event to launch an expanded push for indexed records in languages other than English. Currently offers 20 times more searchable records in English than in all other languages combined. To balance this ratio, people with fluency in other languages, especially French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, are being sought as indexing volunteers.

“Family history research in English-speaking countries is a dream compared to research in other parts of the world,” said Mike Judson, manager of FamilySearch’s indexing workforce development. “Our goal is to make research for our friends in other lands as joyful and productive as it is in the United States, Great Britain, and other English-speaking countries. To do this we need tens of thousands of volunteers with well-developed language skills to step forward and use those talents to bless others’ lives. We have the records—now we just need the hands.”

To help volunteers with language skills to get started, FamilySearch indexing has launched carefully chosen indexing projects in its four focus languages of French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Special training guides are now available to help new and experienced English indexers with skills in these languages to quickly familiarize themselves with how to index these particular records.

New One-Week Record Anticipated 

Last year’s Worldwide Indexing Event established a one-week record of 91,721 participants. This year, more than 100,000 participants are expected. To be counted, each volunteer must submit at least one indexing or arbitration batch sometime during the week. Volunteers and potential volunteers can visit to learn more, including strategies for avoiding high demand periods that may tend to slow down the indexing system.  


 © 2015 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint

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 or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.