Free Online Deed Platter

Thanks to HendricksonP at for pointing out this free online deed platter for metes and bounds (rods and poles measurements).

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Returns This Week

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. –Viewers can take an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today’s most beloved and iconic celebrities when NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” returns for its second season on Friday, February 4 (7-8 p.m. Central Time). The celebrities who star in the series this season are Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Judd.

From executive producers Lisa Kudrow “Who Do You Think You Are?” is an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series that leads celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their family trees that reveal surprising, inspiring and even tragic stories that often are linked to crucial events in American history.

From the trenches of the Civil War to the shores of the Caribbean, and from the valleys of Virginia to the island nations of Australia and Ireland, “Who Do You Think You Are?” will reveal the fabric of humanity through everyone’s place in history. Each week a different celebrity takes a journey into their family’s past, traveling all over the world. While giving viewers an in-depth look into their favorite stars’ family tree, each episode will expose surprising facts and life changing encounters that will unlock people’s emotions, show just how connected everyone is not only to the past, but to one another.

For “Who Do You Think You Are?” embeddable clips and full episodes, visit’s official show site:

Source: News Release from NBC


By Juliana Smith 13 December 2010
19 December 2010 The Weekly Discovery from
Re-printed with Permission

If the answers to your family history dilemmas can’t be found in the descriptive materials for the collection, as we discussed in the previous article, here are some problem-solving strategies that can help.

1.) Look at External Factors
For the past week, our local weatherman has been warning us of the storm that began yesterday, and since I’m in charge of snow removal for our house and several neighbors who are unable to do it, last week I made sure that the snow blower had gas, and I had my gloves, hat and scarf at the ready. With the sophisticated weather predictions that are available now, it’s hard to imagine not knowing when bad weather might strike. Certainly, our ancestors learned to keep their eyes on the skies and noted certain weather indicators, but they couldn’t just flip on the Weather Channel and be informed as to when and where they should evacuate. The 1900 Galveston Hurricane is a tragic example of the catastrophic results that often came when unexpected weather events struck populated areas.

If your ancestors inexplicably picked up and moved, turn to local histories to see if you can determine the reason. Drought, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, pestilence, a brutally cold and snowy winter, or an unusually hot summer may have convinced your ancestor that this was not the place he wanted to raise his family and he may have moved on to greener pastures.

Check local histories and familiarize yourself with major events in the areas in which they lived. You may find it helpful to create a local history timeline that you can compare against the timelines of your ancestors.

2.) Widen Your Horizons
Just a decade ago, your chances of locating an ancestor with wanderlust were much slimmer than they are these days. With the ability to search the entire country–or even abroad–with the click of a mouse, it’s much easier to find ancestors who turn up in unexpected places. Try a search without including a residence, but instead including other factors that will narrow the search to your ancestor–things like age, birthplace, race, and in some cases, even the names of other household members.

In researching our Tobin family of hatters, I was missing my ancestor’s brother in 1870. The family had for the most part stayed in the New York City area, but George was eluding me that year. When I removed the residence of New York and searched for him using his name, age, and birthplace of Ireland, I was able to quickly locate him in Washington, D.C., where I had no inkling any of the family had lived. Without the nation-wide index to the census for 1870, I might not have thought to look for him there.

3.) Explore What’s Available
There are currently nearly 30,000 individual collections available on, and some of them may hold the clues you need. But with so many options, it can be difficult to keep up. This past year, created new place pages that give you a better look at what’s available for the places where your ancestors lived. To access the state pages, just click on the Search tab, and then select a location from the map in the lower left corner of the pages.

Sometimes it pays to revisit collections as well. New data may have been added or search functionality may have been tweaked and your ancestors may surface where they hadn’t before. You can see when a collection was last updated by locating it in the Card Catalog. Hover your mouse over the collection title and you’ll see a box appear a brief description along with the date the collection was originally published on and the date it was last updated.

4.) Side-Step
Consider this–a spouse dies and in the next census you find that several young children are also missing. An epidemic, natural disaster, or perhaps some other family tragedy? Perhaps. But maybe they were sent to live with other family members because the single parent was unable to care for them while they were working to support the rest of the family. Check with other family members and see if you find them living with siblings, grandparents, or cousins. You may also find your ancestor’s parents living with his or her sibling. Be sure to conduct “whole family” research, gathering census records for even extended family and keep track of the addresses you find on records. You may find that the address your ancestor gave on his marriage record was the same as that of his aunt and uncle.

5.) Finding Holes in Your Research
Too often I’ve found that my brick-wall problems are of my own making. Usually they are based around some assumption that I’ve sub-consciously made. I learned early in my career writing about family history that if I ever want to find a hole in an area of my research, I should plan an article around that very topic. Never fails. As soon as I start writing about how I made this amazing discovery, I’ll find holes in my logic. But it’s a good way to keep my research on track. Try it. Write up a brief summary of the research steps you’ve taken and keep it with your research log. Not only does putting it in writing help you to better analyze your research, but years from now when you’re wondering how the heck you came to that conclusion, it will be right there for you.

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Daily Genealogy News, Tips, Ideas

A good place to see general genealogy news for ideas, tips, and what other’s are doing is at this daily genealogy newspaper. The link is

Good Review of FREE Genealogy Software

There are lots of opinions of the best programs to use to get your family history data on to the computer, etc. One I ran across today from one of my RSS feeds is from Gizmo, a site which reviews FREE software in general.

The posting today lists some of the most popular FREE genealogy programs. For most of us (and especially for those just starting to get your data on your computer) these programs will work just as well as the ones you have to buy. It would be possible to start here and never use any other program, or a person could start here and upgrade to a commercial program later.

If you have been looking, you might want to give this Gizmo page a look-see:’s+Best-ever+Freeware)

FREE Genealogy Help at

Familiar with This all inclusive website/service features (for FREE) advice on all sorts of topics. Particularly helpful to genealogists is Kimberly’s Genealogy Blog at

Kimberly Powell features what seems like a never-ending variety of topics with which she is familiar and has obviously researched. For instance, recently she offered an entry on questions to ask to get your relatives to give their oral histories and an article titled “Family Health History Better Than Genetic Screening.” Many other postings there include sources for searching for information (almost always FREE) and how-to tips.

Thanks to QPL Librarian Delene Delarosa for suggesting this website which I have used so often but that I guess I took too much for granted.

Free Military Records Search This week

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Diane Haddad of the Genealogy Insider blog and Family Tree Magazine for this notice: will allow free search of its military records this week in honor of Veterans’ Day. Details are at this Genealogy Insider page.


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