The Ancestry Insider: 1812 Pension Files Campaign is Complete – #FGS2016

The Ancestry Insider

The unofficial, unauthorized view of and The Ancestry Insider reports on, defends, and constructively criticizes these two websites and associated topics. The author attempts to fairly and evenly support both.

Tuesday, September 6, 20161812 Pension Files Campaign is Complete – #FGS2016 Credit: Ed Donakey

In a stunning announcement at the opening session of the 2016 conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Curt Witcher announced that the fund raising goal of the Preserve the Pensions campaign has been met! The FGS project to raise $3.7 million dollars has been going on since 2010. The War of 1812 pension files are among the most frequently requested materials at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and have never been microfilmed or digitized. Since handling the files damages them, they needed to be digitized to prevent further damage.An anonymous donor made a contribution of $500,000, which matched. FGS also acknowledged the individual conference attendees who included a donation along with their conference payment. All told, over 4,000 individuals and 115 genealogical and lineage societies contributed money to the effort. Ancestry matched each donation.“We are humbled and grateful for the generosity of the genealogical community and those outside of our community who are dedicated to the preservation of records. Thank you!” said D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “This historic gift, in-tandem with the thousands of contributions from individual genealogists and societies, illustrates the incredible power of the genealogical community; together we can make a difference.”With ongoing cooperation from the project’s partners and major supporters, NARA, Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, these important documents will be made available free, forever to the general public.“It’s gratifying to see the fundraising portion of this project completed after five years, and now we look forward to ensuring these important records are preserved,” said Ancestry President and CEO, Tim Sullivan. “This is a fantastic moment for FGS, the genealogical community, and future generations who will benefit from the perseveration of these rich pension records.”Several minutes earlier, FGS had announced some awards given in recognition of service to the Preserve the Pensions project. Both are good friends of mine.

Judy Russell from New Jersey, also known as “The Legal Genealogist,” was presented with the Directors Award for her role as a leader within the genealogical community in helping to raise awareness and funds for the Preserve the Pensions project. I’ve been in more than one luncheon or class where Judy passed around the plate and raised amazing amounts of money. She sponsored money raising events on her blog. She’s amazing.

Note:  Judy Russell will be in Medford OR Sept 26 and Sep 27 for a banquet presentation and then a day long seminar.  Learn more at the Jackson County Genealogy Library Website. 

Source: The Ancestry Insider: 1812 Pension Files Campaign is Complete – #FGS2016

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Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter – Plus Edition–Findmypast subscription

Findmypast Offers New 12-Month Starter Subscription for $34.95 in the US MarketAn announcement made today at the FGS conference should appeal to anyone researching primarily US ancestry. Findmypast has bundled its core US collections, as well as a number of the company’s British offerings, into one package and is offering access to the records at a much lower price than before. In fact, the price is significantly lower than those of the company’s competitors.The following announcement was written by Findmypast:• Low cost starter subscription offered for the first time• 12 months’ access to over 2.9 billion UK & US records for less than $35 a year• Over 830 million records available to search and explore for FREESpringfield, Illinois: 02 September 2016Leading family history website Findmypast has announced a new subscription package for U.S. customers. The new Starter Package will create a more competitive and accessible service while providing even better value to customers.For only $34.95 a year budding family historians can begin their journey with access to over 2.9 billion records. This includes a variety of core US collections, as well as a taste of the sites British offerings including US birth, marriage and death records, US immigration and travel records, US newspapers and Findmypast’s entire collection of UK census records.The package offers a unique price point in the family history market and is over 50% cheaper than similar subscriptions available on other family history websites.

Source: Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter – Plus Edition

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Opening Session of FGS 2016: Notes by Dick Eastman

A Report from the FGS 2016 Opening Session

The opening session of the Federation of Genealogical Societies took place this morning in Springfield, Illinois in a crowded room containing hundreds of conference attendees. I took notes on the iPad but my typing ability is not fast enough to capture everything. Here is a bit of what I did record.


FGS President Josh Taylor offered opening remarks and a number of announcements. One announcement that was well received was that MyHeritage has become the Platinum Sponsor of FGS conferences for the next three years. This is a major financial commitment by vendor to financially support the genealogy community.

Paula Stuart-Warren made several award presentations, including:

Judy Russell received the Directors’ Award for in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy and family history.

Loretto “Lou” Szucs received The Rabbi Malcolm Stern Award (the FGS’ highest award) for numerous humanitarian efforts towards Genealogy and Family History. Lou is a founding member of FGS. A lengthly list of her many other accomplishments were also announced but I couldn’t write fast enough to capture all of them. I suspect an official announcement will be released soon. Check that for details.

A new award, to be called The Lou D. Szucs Service Award, will be given in future years recognizing individuals for service above and beyond the norm.

Big news: David Rencher and Curt Witcher, representing the War of 1812 Preserve the FGS Pension Project, announced an anonymous $500,000 donation for the project from an individual outside the genealogy community, to be matched by for a total of $1 million. Details are in the official announcement which I have already published.

Left to right: J. Mark Lowe, CeCe Moore, and Mary Tedesco

Left to right: J. Mark Lowe, CeCe Moore, and Mary Tedesco

The keynote speeches were given by CeCe Moore, Mary Tedesco, and J. Mark Lowe, speaking on “Genealogy, Past, Present & Future.” This was a very impressive presentation. J. Mark Lowe started by a re-enactment from Sept. 1, 1896 of Robert Wilson Patterson, Business Manager of the Chicago Tribune. Mary Tedesco did a great job of re-enacting genealogy over the past few years. CeCe Moore then offered “Genealogy Future,” an interactive audio-visual offering that included almost instant genealogy research resulting in reconstruction of a family tree as performed many years from now. Starting with a DNA sample, computers created an Ancestry Atlas of all locations and a computer-generated facial reconstruction of a 4th great-grandmother in Galway, Ireland. Yes, it ended in a computer-generated image of the woman’s face, complete with eye and hair colors. The computer then accessed genetic memory of records to find name and other information about the woman’s life.

To be blunt, I have sat through many boring opening sessions at genealogy conferences throughout the years. This was not one of them! I enjoyed this morning’s opening session immensely and obviously hundreds of other people did as well. My hat is off to all the people who worked hard to make this session a success.


Thanks to Dick Eastman for sharing this news with the genealogy community.

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Genealogy Past, Present, and Future

#Genealogy Past, Present, and Future – #FGS2016

Credit: Ed Donakey

J. Mark Lowe, Mary M. Tedesco, and CeCe Moore presented the opening keynote at the 2016 Conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Springfield, Illinois. They spoke to the theme “Genealogy: Past, Present, and Future.”

Mark represented the past. He is a full-time professional researcher and educator, and a former APG president and FGS officer.

He took us back 120 years to 1 September 1896 in the persona of Robert Wilson Patterson, Jr., business manager of the Chicago Tribune. “Robert” regaled us with genealogy-related stories taken from his newspaper. The Mexican government pays a pension to hundreds of the descendants of Montezuma II. (“Too bad we jus’ can’t test their blood to see if they qualify.”) The Marquis of Alba had a fake pedigree. (“You can’t believe in everything you hear. You can only believe what you read in the Tribune.”)

Mary represented the present. Mary M. Tedesco is a professional genealogist, cohost of Genealogy Roadshow (PBS), and founder of Origins Italy.  Read more at Ancestry Insider.

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50th Year Heritage Celebration 

These announcements are from the current issue of the RVGS eNews.  To read more go to


Raffle Choice #1.PNG

The 50th Year Heritage Celebration committee has assembled wonderful items to be raffled off on Sept. 27th, the last day of festivities. Raffle tickets can be purchased through the morning of Sept. 27th at the Seminar. There are four collections of items each valued between $400 and $790. Raffle tickets can be purchased at JCGL OR you can print and mail raffle tickets to us. The ticket price is $1/ticket; 6 tickets for $5; 12 for $10, or 24 tickets for $20. The raffle is NOT limited to RVGS members. To learn about the raffle collections follow the link: PARTICIPATE IN OUR GIGANTIC RAFFLE. To print more raffle tickets to mail in, click the following link, raffle tickets.


judy3Judy Russell is coming to Medford, Oregon in September 2016. The Banquet (Sept. 26th) and daylong Seminar (Sept. 27th) will feature Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, as guest speaker. For complete details of our wonderful celebration and for updates please visit either of our websites at or Both the banquet and the seminar will be held at The Inn at the Commons in Medford. Click the following link, Banquet Registration, to reserve your space at the banquet. YOU CAN ALSO REGISTER IN PERSON AT JCGL. Judy Russell’s topic is: “Blackguards and Black Sheep—The Lighter Side of the Law.” Judy says, “No, actually, our ancestors didn’t behave any better back then than we do today, and the records they left behind documenting their missteps and misdeeds are among the priceless gems of genealogy.” To be enjoyed by genealogists and non-genealogists alike. Click the following link, Seminar Registration, to reserve your space at the Seminar. YOU CAN ALSO REGISTER IN PERSON AT JCGL. Check-in begins at 8:30 AM, Seminar at 9:15. Judy Russell will present four seminar lectures:

MORNING: “Don’t Forget the Ladies — A Genealogist’s Guide to Women and the Law,” and “Beyond X and Y — The Promise and Pitfalls of Autosomal DNA Testing.”


AFTERNOON: “No Person Shall … Gallop Horses In the Streets — Using Court Records to Tell the Story of Our Ancestors’ Lives,” and “Dowered or Bound Out — Records of Widows and Orphans.”

Funded (in part) by the Jackson County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust, together investing in Oregon’s arts, heritage, and humanities and by the Genealogy Fairy (Thomas MacEntee)

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United States, Transatlantic Migration |

Search new records on Findmypast about Transatlantic Migration. Findmypast is available for your use on all patron computers at Jackson County Genealogy Library, Medford, OR.

Source: United States, Transatlantic Migration |

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New Book on DNA from NEHGS

The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir

by Bill Griffeth

The Stranger in My Genes will be the focus of national media in coming weeks, including four consecutive days of programming on Closing Bell, beginning Tuesday, September 6, at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on CNBC, through Friday, September 9.  Special guests on the show, which Bill Griffeth himself co-anchors, will discuss a wide range of topics concerning genealogy and DNA.  Appearing on the show on Friday will be Christopher C. Child, Senior Genealogist of NEHGS’ Newbury Street Press and author of a regular column on “Genetics & Genealogy” in American Ancestors magazine.

Bill will also be appearing at DNA Day: Everything you need to know about genetic testing for genealogy on Saturday, October 22 at 9 a.m. in Worcester, MA

The Stranger in My Genes will be the focus of national media in coming weeks, including four consecutive days of programming on Closing Bell, beginning Tuesday, September 6, at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on CNBC, through Friday, September 9.  Special guests on the show, which Bill Griffeth himself co-anchors, will discuss a wide range of topics concerning genealogy and DNA.  Appearing on the show on Friday will be Christopher C. Child, Senior Genealogist of NEHGS’ Newbury Street Press and author of a regular column on “Genetics & Genealogy” in American Ancestors magazine.


Bill Griffeth, longtime genealogy buff, takes a DNA test that has an unexpected outcome: “If the results were correct, it meant that the family I had spent years documenting was not my own.” Bill undertakes a quest to solve the mystery of his origins, a quest which will shake his sense of identity. As he takes us on his journey, we learn about choices made by his ancestors, parents, and others—and we see Bill measure and weigh his own difficult choices as he confronts the past! Order now and save 20% until September 13, 2016 on both the hardcover and e-book editions
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Search Records for Labor Day

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT HAVE PERSONAL ANCESTRY ACCOUNTS: Search work records for free on Ancestry through Monday, Sept. 5. Source: Search Records for Labor Day

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Genealogy Jamboree Blog: REMINDER: FREE Webinar From SCGS September 3, 2016 – J. H. Fonkert, CG®: “Discover Family History in Historical Newspapers Online and Off”

Source: Genealogy Jamboree Blog: REMINDER: FREE Webinar From SCGS September 3, 2016 – J. H. Fonkert, CG®: “Discover Family History in Historical Newspapers Online and Off”

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How to find the maiden names of women in your family tree

Finding the maiden names of women in your family tree doesn’t have to be a struggle!

Source: How to find the maiden names of women in your family tree

Tracking down your women ancestors can be a challenge since almost all women took their husband’s family name when they were married. But, not all is lost, there are many ways to track down the maiden names of women in your family tree with a bit of digging and using a variety of records available. Below are some of the many ways to find your ancestor’s maiden name to help you get started!

Marriage Records

For many of you this may seem like an obvious place to begin, but for those of you unaware, marriage records can be a wealth of information! Marriage certificates will list both the groom’s surname and the bride’s surname, so it’s a great place to begin. When looking at marriage records, don’t forget about marriage licenses, marriage certificates, marriage announcements, banns, bonds, civil registrations, and even divorce records! If you find her marriage record, but her maiden name isn’t listed, check the witness’s name on the form. The witness could be a close family member. If you’re still having problems locating marriage records or finding the maiden name associated, try searching for her children’s marriage records, sometimes the mother’s maiden name will appear on her children’s marriage records as well! Be careful, though, sometimes if the mother is a widow or was remarried, that won’t be the maiden name, so be diligent with your search to confirm, the same goes for the bride herself, so make sure to check the marital status.

Here’s an abstract of a record, which reveals the maiden name!

Birth and Death Records

A great place to find the maiden name of a woman in your tree could be birth and death records. Granted, if you don’t know her maiden name, finding her birth certificate will be next to impossible, initially. Try searching her death records first. Often her parents will be listed on the death record, so you could potentially see what her maiden name is. Something to keep in mind with the death records and the parent’s name is that her mother may have remarried and the listed name isn’t necessarily her maiden name. If you find a potential match, be sure to look in the census records and see if everything matches up. Use the birth records and search for her children’s birth records as well, there is a possibility her maiden name is listed there.

There is both the mother and father’s name in this document

Cemetery Records

Cemetery records are a great place to look, even if the woman’s maiden name isn’t included on the records themselves. Often times you’ll find that the inscriptions on the tombstones state the parent’s of the deceased, so you might see “Daughter of Mr Smith and Mrs Foley” or the burial records might include the information of each parent, which might include both the mother’s maiden name and the father’s surname, which gives you a great jumping off point.

Above you have 2 sets of names for the deceased woman, so you have 2 new names to look into!

Census Records

The census records are a great resource to try and figure out your ancestor’s maiden name. Often times as relatives grew older they would move back in with their younger relatives or children, so be sure to check the census records to see if anyone is suddenly living with your ancestor with a different name, it could be somebody from your ancestor’s side with the same maiden name, like a maiden uncle, or even your ancestor’s father or mother. When doing this, keep in mind the marital status because the particular person might be widowed or remarried, so be diligent in verifying the facts.


Newspapers are an invaluable resource for locating a woman’s maiden name. Newspapers have obituaries, which often list the parent’s names of the deceased. Check for the obituary in local papers either where the death occurred or the hometown of your ancestor. Wedding announcements are also often listed in the paper and list the name of both the bride and groom to be! Check for the approximate date of the event and a few weeks following. You can also search by the groom’s name and often your female ancestor’s maiden name will be included in the announcement as well!

In this marriage announcement you can see the woman’s maiden name

Military Records

One place people forget to look for their female ancestors is in the military records. Even if your ancestor didn’t serve herself, if her husband or a young son died in the war, often there are records of the pension files with the maiden name listed. Sometimes there are marriage certificates or an affidavit included with the records. If a mother’s son died, it is possible that the mother’s maiden name will appear on the pension records as well, so check for both spouses and children in the military.

Land Records

Land records are a great place to look for your ancestor because often the deeds are transferred to the widowed wife, and sometimes your ancestor’s maiden name will be listed in the records there. TIP: Look for the latin et ux, which means “and wife,” and her name might be listed there!

Naming Patterns

Naming patterns can reveal information about a woman’s maiden name. Look through the names of your ancestors and if any seemingly unusual names appear, it’s worth checking into. It is not uncommon that your ancestor’s middle name is that of their mother’s maiden name, this applies to both men and women in the record. So if you see an unusual middle name, it’s worth looking into.

Check your belongings, records, and family photos!

Another great place to look for a woman’s maiden name is your family’s belongings! Check the back of old photographs for clues to who was photographed, check the insides of old books, and look at any old documents you may have! Family bibles are also a great source of information and are a great place to look too!

Reach out for help!

You can try reaching out to churches for access to their records that they may have on the woman you’re looking for! If you know the general location where your ancestor lived, then you can start by contacting all the churches in that location and that have the same denomination of your ancestor for access to their records. Often if your ancestor belonged to a particular church and later moved, the church may have a record of this as your ancestor likely joined another church of the same denomination in a different location.

Finding your ancestor’s maiden name can seem like a difficult task, but there’s are many different options for you to begin or advance your search! Where have you found the maiden names of your women ancestors?

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