• National DNA Day 2017: What It Is & Genetic Genealogy Sales To Look For

    National Human Genome Research InstituteIf you follow genealogy folks on Facebook, Twitter or blogs, you might've seen mention
    DNA Day. What, you wonder, is DNA Day?
    National DNA Day is April 25. It commemorates two landmark events in human genetic
    research that happened in April:In 1953, the journal Nature published papers by geneticists and molecular biologists
    revealing the double
    helix structure of DNA.In 2003, the Human
    Genome Project was declared complete in 2003.The US Senate and House o
  • DNA Tests, and Sometimes Surprising Results

    Think you know your racial background? A communications studies project involving ancestry DNA testing has led to interesting conversations on identity.
  • Find Ancestors in Free Probate Records on AmericanAncestors!

    AmericanAncestors.org, the database website of the New England Historic Genealogical
    Society, is offering you free
    access to 32 of its probate records-related databases through next Tuesday, April
    You must register as a free guest member with AmericanAncestors.org in
    order to access the probate databases, which mostly come from New York and New England.Click here to start searching.
    Probate records, which relate to the distribution of a deceased person's estate, may
    include wills, estate inv
  • Q&A With Randy Majors, Creator of Online Map & Search Tools Genealogists Love

    Randy Majors is the inventor of the Historical
    US County Boundary Maps tool genealogists use to trace their ancestors' county
    boundary changes (we at Family Tree Magazine think it's so useful that we made
    it one of our101 Best
    Websites for 2016).AncestorSearch, which
    lets you run genealogy-specific advanced Google searches, is another one of his creations.
    Our intrepid reporter Sunny Morton tracked him
    down to ask a few questions about maps and genealogy.Q. What inspired you to develop the count
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  • 23andMe Authorized to Provide 10 New Genetic Health Reports to DNA Customers

    Genetic genealogy and health testing company 23andMe announced
    that the FDA has authorized the company to issue 10 new genetic health risk reports
    to customers. Those include Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Hereditary
    Thrombophilia, Celiac Disease and others (see
    the rest of the authorized report and a description of each condition in this 23andMe
    blog post).
    The FDA in 2013 ordered
    23andMe to stop offering its health analysis, which informed test-takers about
    their risks fo
  • 6 Records to Trace Ancestors Who Served in World War I

    The United States declared war on Germany 100 years ago this month,
    on April 6, 1917, joining the side of the Allies in the Great War. See
    all the countries caught up in the conflict in our timeline of World War I war declarations.
    More than 650,000 from Canada and Newfoundland and about 4 million from the United
    States served in the military. These are two of the US Expeditionary Force soldiers
    in my family:
     On the left is Joe Seeger, who enlisted September 1917; and on the right is his b
  • Social History & Noah Wyle's Civil War Ancestry on "Who Do You Think You Are?"

    I remember Noah Wyle from his days portraying a wide-eyed medical student on "ER."
    Last night on "Who
    Do You Think You Are?" we saw him tracking down his third-great-grandfather J.H.
    Mills, who served the Confederacy in the Civil War and fought in the bloody Battle
    of Shiloh.
    Later, in Mississippi, newspaper articles show J.H. was a prominent, well-liked citizen.
    But he killed himself when he couldn't make a premium payment for his life insurance
    policy, which under a then-common "deferred divi
  • Tracing His Roots, Georgetown Employee Learns University Sold His Ancestor

    Jeremy Alexander’s paternal great-great-great grandmother was one of the 272 slaves sold by two Jesuit priests at Georgetown in 1838.
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  • Family Tree Maker 2017 Introduces FamilySync, Ditches TreeSync

    Time to Sync Your Family Tree Maker and Ancestry Trees
    Important news for Family Tree Maker software users: Software MacKiev, the company
    that acquired Family Tree Maker from
    Ancestry.com early last year, will release Family Tree Maker 2017 on March 31.
    Previous versions of Family Tree Maker used something called TreeSync to sync your
    software with your tree on Ancestry.com. Family Tree Maker 2017 will use something
    else, called FamilySync, to sync your trees. As of March 29, Ancestry will no lo
  • AncestryDNA Genetic Communities First Look! My Mom's Munster Irish Connections

    I've been hoping DNA testing would shine some light on my Irish
    origins. But since I'm just 1/16 Irish through a set of
    third-great-grandparents on my mom's side, her DNA test might be
    more useful than mine in this regard.
    We haven't made any connections with cousins who know where we come from in Ireland,
    but we did learn Mom is a "likely" member of what AncestryDNA calls
    the Munster Irish genetic
    community. The company is beta testing a genetic communities experience for members
    who test resul
  • Keep Calm and Carrigan On: Using Collateral Research to Find Irish Ancestors

    Collateral research—studying the siblings and cousins of your ancestors—can help you
    overcome some of the hardest genealogy roadblocks. In this case study from Claire
    Santry's new book The
    Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide, Editor and Content Producer Andrew Koch
    uses collateral research to discover his Irish immigrant ancestors in records from
    the Emerald Isle:
    I’ve always been enchanted by Irish culture: the lyrical names (Saoirse, Liam, Siobhan),
    the beauty of a well-played
  • Kiss Me, I’m Pretty Sure I’m Irish

    A DNA test could tell me if my ancestry matches my identity, but I don’t think I want to know.
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  • 9 Timesaving Hacks for Ancestry, FamilySearch & Other Top Genealogy Websites

    These quick tricks for some of the genealogy websites you use most
    often will help you get to the records you want faster. You'll find
    even more genealogy website hacks in the March/April
    2017 Family Tree Magazine, our special genealogy websites issue.
    Map your family tree locations in MyHeritage.
    In the menu on the left side of your MyHeritage home page, select PedigreeMap, and
    the site generates an interactive world map of events in your online tree. Read
    more about PedigreeMap in this blog po
  • Foreshadowing and Courteney Cox’s Royal Roots on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

    WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
    Courteney Cox's lengthy family tree is unfurled.Whenever a WDYTYA? celebrity
    says at the beginning of the episode “I hope I don’t find X in my family tree,”
    it’s foreshadowing. You know the person is going to find X in a BIG way.
    It happened twice in the Courteney Cox season
    premiere, last night at 10 Eastern (hello, tired genealogists!) on TLC. Joking about
    possibly finding rich royal ancestors, Cox said, “I hope I’m from Buckingham P
  • Agreeing to Go Steady Before You Are Ready

    Plus: the current politics of asking people where they’re from, an older partner and an H.R. puzzle.
  • Family Tree DNA accepting DNA results from other companies

    One of the major DNA testing companies announced it’s bringing back a useful feature
    to make DNA analysis between testing companies easier. Family
    Tree DNA will once again accept autosomal test results from rival testing companies 23andMe and AncestryDNA via
    its autosomal transfer
    The returning feature will allow users to upload raw data from 23andMe and AncestryDNA
    tests to Family Tree DNA database for free, giving AncestryDNA and 23andMe customers
    access to DNA matches and relatio
  • "Who Do You Think You Are?" Returns to TLC March 5!

    John Stamos on "Who Do You Think You Are?"
    The family history TV show "Who
    Do You Think You Are?" is returning to TLC March 9, with a new host of celebrities
    ready to dive into their genealogy. The television show, which partners with Ancestry.com,
    pairs celebrities with genealogists determined to uncover their family history.
    The stars travel the globe hunting for family ties and often discover family secrets.
    The new season will feature Jessica Biel, Courteney Cox, Julie Bowen, Jennifer Grey,
  • 5 Can’t-Miss Sessions at the 2017 Winter Virtual Conference

    RootsTech 2017 might be over, but you can still learn a lot from this season’s genealogy
    conference circuit. Family Tree University’s 2017
    Winter Virtual Conference runs March 3–5, and you can’t afford to miss the weekend’s
    fifteen presentations from top-notch genealogists, with topics ranging from AncestryDNA
    to the Freedmen’s Bureau to WWI records.
    Attendees will have access to all of the conference’s offerings, but here are Editor
    and Content Producer
  • Breaking Genealogy News from the RootsTech Conference

    If you’re watching RootsTech sessions online
    from afar like I am, or you’re there and so busy you can barely catch a breath,
    here’s a news digest to help you catch up quickly:The Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, shared family stories and photos during
    Thursday’s opening session. At the end of their talk, Family History Library director
    Diane Loosle shared details about the brothers’ Scottish ancestry.Last night’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir event was a
  • Free Expo Hall Classes and 6 Other Must-dos at RootsTech

    With everything going on at FamilySearch's RootsTech
    conference, happening this Wedensday through Saturday in Salt Lake City, it's
    easy to miss opportunities for genealogy learning and fun.
    You've already picked
    the classes you want to go to. Here's what else to put on your list of RootsTech
    must-dos:  1. Of course, stop by Family Tree Magazine's Expo Hall booth No.
    1136 to check out our books, genealogy cheat sheets and other offerings; find
    out about Family
    Tree University's online cours
  • 6 Keys to Success for African-American Genealogy Research

    Library of Congress
    National African-American History
    Month began in 1926 when Carter
    G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of
    African-American Life and History founded Negro History Week.
    The observation was expanded to a month in February 1976 with a declaration
    by President Gerald Ford. In 2017, you'll find commemorations
    the Smithsonian
    your TV on PBS
    on the National Park Service website
    the National Endowment for the Humanities website
    and on
    the US Holocaust Memorial Museu
  • Watch 19 RootsTech Genealogy Conference Sessions Free Online

    FamilySearch's giant RootsTech genealogy conference is almost upon us: It happens
    Feb. 8-11 in Salt Lake City, and you'll want to stick around for this blog post whether
    or not you're planning to go in person.If you're not attending Rootstech in person: RootsTech
    will livestream 19 sessions so you can watch them online at home. Those include
    the Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Diahan Southard
    on DNA, Judy Russell on tracing female ancestors, and lots more. T
  • Family DNA Searches Seen as Crime-Solving Tool, and Intrusion on Rights

    An unsolved Queens killing has led to calls for widening DNA searches to include relatives of possible suspects. But the method, a frontier in forensic science, has critics.
  • A New U.S. Budget Blueprint May Affect Genealogists

    This blog is written by guest blogger and Associate Editor of Family Tree Magazine,
    Madge MarilThe new administration’s federal budget blueprint—a sort of planning document in the
    budgeting process—would eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities. If this
    line item manages to make it through to the final budget for fiscal year 2018, its
    genealogical impact might surprise you.
    The National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) was created in 1965 as an independent
    federal a
  • Who Decides Who Counts as Native American?

    Four years ago, the Nooksack in Washington State announced that they were expelling hundreds of members, setting off a bitter debate over tribal identity.
  • Findmypast Allowing Free Access to 1.9 Billion Genealogy Records

    How does four days of free access to 1.9-billion genealogy records sound?Findmypast announced today that they
    would be making all birth, marriage, census and death records free to access, starting
    today and ending January 15th, 2017. A happy weekend for genealogists, indeed!
    If you have Irish ancestry, you will want to check out their collection: their free
    records include over 10 million Irish Catholic Parish registers. Many of their parish
    records are not available anywhere else.
    Also availabl
  • How to Get Better at Genealogy Without Leaving Home

    We're really looking forward to bringing you the Family
    Tree University Winter 2017 Virtual Conference, coming up March 3-5!
    If you haven't been to one of our Virtual Conferences, here's what's terrific about
    it: It brings the learning and camaraderie of a genealogy conference right to you
    No need to book a hotel, take time off work and spend your retirement fund on airline
    tickets and eating out. Your computer and all your research materials are right there,
    so you can immediately use th
  • Writing Your Life Story: How to Bring Back "Lost" Memories

    Library of Congress"Recording your own stories" is one of Family Tree Magazine’s list of 17
    genealogy habits for success in 2017 (part of our hot-off-the-presses January/February
    How many of us spend months or years tracking down every possible record of an ancestor’s
    life, the whole time wishing he or she had left a journal revealing personality, opinions,
    interests, hopes and pet peeves? But then we neglect to record all those things about ourselves—whethe
  • Exercise Your Genealogy in 2017

    Need some motivation to jump-start your research in 2017? Online Community Editor
    and Family Tree University Dean Vanessa Wieland shares her journey from hapkido newbie
    to black-belt expert:
    A few years ago, I joined my sister and several other people in our first class to
    study hapkido—a form of martial arts. We’d been taking my nephew for years and watched
    as he developed into a confident, successful leader in his classes. But for my sister
    and me, the first class was rough. Never
  • Let's Celebrate Our Genealogy Research Accomplishments in 2016!

    Library of CongressFarewell 2016, hello 2017! It's been a busy year for my family, but I still can pat
    myself on the back for accomplishing few things, genealogy-wise:positively
    identified the sister of my great-great-grandfather
    met a few new-to-me cousins online and/or in personstarted cloud-based albums for old photos from each family branchcreated a photo
    book summarizing my research about my grandfather
    finally got my dad a DNA testjoined Facebook
    genealogy groups for several places my fam
  • Family Cemeteries Bind Generations, for Remembrance and Tax Reasons

    They give people a powerful reason to connect with their family history. The I.R.S. provides its own: Nonprofit cemetery rules require a detailed accounting of descendants.
  • Inside a Report on Slavery and Its Legacy

    The reporter Rachel Swarns describes the painstaking research involved in finding the descendants of slaves whose deaths benefited slaveholders.
  • 31 Days of Family Holiday Recipes: Mom's Easy Pecan Pie

    Christmas afternoons when I was little were spent at Grandma's
    house. After dinner, the grownups would talk in the kitchen upstairs
    and the kids would play downstairs, eagerly listening for some aunt
    or uncle to yell "Kids—DESSERT!" The spread always included two of mom's pecan pies.  I remembered this recently,
    when I found her "easy" recipe written in the margin of her 1983 cookbook, next to
    Betty Crocker's less-easy one.
    Pecans are native to the Southeast United States, and re
  • RootsMagic Explains Why the Ancestry Sync Won't Happen This Year

    Ever since RootsMagic announced back
    in February 2016 that it was collaborating with Ancestry on the sync, inquiring
    genealogy minds have wanted to know, "how much longer?"
    An answer of sorts came yesterday in an open
    letter from RootsMagic head honcho Bruce Buzbee. Although initially, "by
    the end of the year" seemed like a safe deadline, he writes that more time is
    needed to complete and properly test the new syncing feature.
    Bruce includes a good explanation of the behind-the-scenes technical
  • Evolution of a Holiday Tradition

    This is a guest post from Online editor, Vanessa Wieland.While most of America (or, at least, most of the Americans I know) think of Thanksgiving
    as their favorite meal of the year, in our family, it’s Christmas day brunch. It used
    to be Thanksgiving, where we’d get together with all my dad’s siblings and their families
    for a massive meal. Once the 13 cousins started having children of their own and started
    scattering to various parts of the country, it got too big and unwieldy
  • 31 Days of Family Holiday Recipes: Easy Birthday Cupcakes

    We at Family Tree Magazine are
    sharing 31
    Days of Family Holiday Recipes in December to honor the folks in our family histories
    who prepare mountains of cookies, pies, fancy entrees, beverages, coffee cakes (my
    mom-in-law has about 40 stashed in friends' freezers all over town) and other special
    For those of us who enjoy the fruits of our baking relatives' labor, the holidays
    just wouldn't be the same without their culinary creations.
    Of course, all this cooking and baking takes time, wh
  • Free Access to Fold3 In Honor of Pearl Harbor's 75th Anniversary

    Madge Maril, associate editor of Family Tree Magazine, here with news from Fold3>.
    This Wednesday will mark 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. For many, it is
    difficult to believe that much time has elapsed since the tragedy unfolded in 1941.
    Photo from the Library of CongressDuring December, Fold3 is also allowing free access to over 113 million WWII records—including
    35 million WWII draft registration cards. “Fold3 hopes these resources can help each
    user discover their
  • Are You Missing the Best Genealogy Websites for Finding U.S. Ancestors?

    David Rumsey
    Historical MapsWe published our annual list
    of 75 top US state genealogy websites in the December
    2016 Family Tree Magazine (you can see
    the list right here).
    These state-focused genealogy websites stand out for their digitized historical records,
    searchable indexes to vital and other records, and how-to advice.
    But our list is just a starting point. There are many more state-focused genealogy
    websites to mine as you research American ancestors. Nonprofit and government sites
  • What Gift Would You Buy Your Ancestor On Black Friday?

    Today's prompt for Family
    Tree Magazine's 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge is:
    In honor of Black Friday, review resources like the Sears
    Catalog and “buy” three Christmas presents for an ancestor. Why did you choose
    them?I'm going to cheat and skip the Sears
    Wish Book and choose one gift, because it's allowed and because I know EXACTLY
    what I want to buy an ancestor—my grandfather—for Christmas.
    A pig.
    Library of CongressTo be more specific, a sow.
    If you want to k
  • Sharing is Caring When It Comes to Family Photos

    This week's post is from Vanessa Wieland,
    online editor for Family Tree University, with gratitude and credit to Sandra Mingua
    Stephens for the photos and the inspiration.
    A week or so ago my mother’s friend, Sandy, posted some pictures on Facebook.
    The first was of she and my mom and some other kids, arms flung around each other
    on a sidewalk. The image is quintessential 50s, but while the cars and the clothes
    have changed, the neighborhood - not so much. 
    The second image she shared
  • FamilySearch Announces Property Brothers to Keynote 2017 RootsTech Conference

    Madge Maril, associate editor of Family Tree Magazine, here with some exciting news: If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Property Brothers, you’ll be happy to hear that FamilySearch announced today that the two brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, will keynote the 2017 RootsTech conference.RootsTech is the largest genealogy conferences in the world, aptly held in Salt Lake
    City, Utah. Organized by FamilySearch, RootsTech is sponsored by Ancestry, Find My
    Past, MyHeritage and other beloved
  • 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge: Day 15

    November rolls on! We’re at the halfway point of our 30-Day Family History Writing
    Challenge, and guest editor Andrew Koch shares his response to today’s prompt in this
    guest post:
    "Pick an ancestor from the 1800s, drop him into today, and (as your ancestor) write
    a letter to family members still in the 1800s. How would he describe today? What surprises
    him? What questions would he have?"
    In this letter, my third great-grandfather, a 25-year-old clothing repairman named
    Henry Winter
  • Free Online Access To Genealogy Websites for Veteran's Day

    In honor of Veteran’s day, some genealogy websites grantfree access to online military records as well as other genealogy resources.Image via Library
    of CongressThis year you can browse Findmypast's military category free in honor of Veteran’s
    day. Their collection of more than 70 million military records will be available starting
    04:00 EST November 10th and ending 18:59 GMT November 13th.
    The category on Findmypast is called “Military,
    Armed Forces and Conflict,” and in
  • New! in Genetic Genealogy: MyHeritage DNA Autosomal Testing

    MyHeritage today debuts MyHeritage DNA,
    an international, mass-market, home-testing autosomal DNA kit it says "is simple,
    affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world."
    The $79 (plus shipping) kit includes a cheek swab to collect cells from the inside
    of your cheek. Testers mail the sample to the MyHeritage lab (located in the United
    States) for analysis, wait three to four weeks, and view results on the MyHeritage
    This post includes a few screenshots of wha
  • 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge: Day 6

    We're six days into the NaNoWriMo-inspired 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge. 
    Today's post is from guest editor, Vanessa Wieland, who writes in response to this
    Select your favorite family photo, and write about the moments just before and/or
    after the photo was taken. Why was it taken? Was your ancestor happy to be in it?
    This is a portrait of my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Samuels. The occasion
    of this photo is presumably a happy one. According to the note on the bac
  • Were Six Days Into The NaNoWriMoinspired 30Day Family History Writing Challengenbsp Todays Post Is From Guest Edit

    We're six days into the NaNoWriMo-inspired 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge. 
    Today's post is from guest editor, Vanessa Wieland, who writes in response to this
    Select your favorite family photo, and write about the moments just before and/or
    after the photo was taken. Why was it taken? Was your ancestor happy to be in it?
    This is a portrait of my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Samuels. The occasion
    of this photo is presumably a happy one. According to the note on the bac
  • 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge: Day 1

    Inspired by November's National Writing Month (known as NaNoWriMo online), the editors of Family Tree are kicking off the 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge.
    Each day in November, we'll share a writing prompt on the front page of FamilyTreeMagazine.com
    that will help you use your research in a new, creative way. We will also post the
    prompt on this
    page. Spend as much or as little time on each prompt as you can—after all, it's
    your family's story! You can also follow along on Facebook
  • How to Learn What Your Ancestor's Life Was Really Like

    Genealogists are increasingly interested in knowing not just their
    ancestors' names and important dates, but also what they did every
    day, where they went and what they saw. What their lives were really like. 
    This will do (at least) two things for you:It'll improve your research by helping you form theories about your ancestors' lives
    and figure out where to look for records. For example, learning about the history
    of German immigrants to your family's American hometown might help you see
  • Nine Kinds of Ancestor Death Records You Should Look For

    Genealogists start with death—meaning that we generally
    research ancestors from their deaths and moving back in time. But
    death-record searches can be challenging for several reasons,
    including when relatives died before statewide vital record-keeping or their
    names were recorded oddly.
    If you can't find a death certificate for a relative, look for other death records
    for the time and place he died. If you've found one death record, look for others.
    Different types of records might have di
  • 9 Things You Can Learn About Your Ancestors From the Cemetery

    Changing scenery and pleasant temperatures make Fall an especially
    good time to visit cemeteries (alongside a genealogy buddy for fun
    and safety). Seeing the gravestone and viewing records in the
    cemetery office may yield ancestry information you won't find in an
    online database of burials—although online databases are very
    helpful, too.
    The latest
    issue of Family Tree Magazine, October/November 2016, has our Genealogy
    Workbook on cemetery research. You'll also find essential guidance in F

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