26 February 2010

Ancestry.com Sweepstakes: Winner Gets $20,000 +

Ancestry.com has a new sweepstakes offer that runs through April 30. The grand prize winner will receive

* $20,000 in travel money
* Eight-hour consultation with an expert genealogist
* Five experts in fields relevant to your personal family history to help you learn even more
* Annual World Deluxe Subscription for you and five family members

In addition, twenty First Prize winners will receive a subscription to Ancestry World Deluxe Edition.

To sign up for the sweepstakes, you need to provide your email address and give your contact information (so they can get in touch if you win big, of course!) NO PURCHASE is necessary. By becoming a "member" (a "registered guest") of the site, you can build and share a family tree, access certain free databases, use message boards and more. This is different from a "subscriber," who as a paying member of Ancestry.com, has access to our billions of records. (quoting from an explanation on Ancestry.com's Facebook page.

To enter, go directly to Ancestry.com.

You can register once a day. Read the rules to be sure you comply.

25 February 2010

The Simpsons Family History

It seems like glory days with all the current media attention shining on our favorite pastime. It has to be a sign that family history has made it to the mainstream when The Simpsons plot revolves around a search for ancestors.

Next time the grandkids are visiting, pull the family around the computer screen and watch the program. If you haven't seen The Simpsons before, be warned to expect a fair amount of irreverence.

21 February 2010

You Didn't Get Email from SCGS? Blame Your Spam Blocker!

In the coming weeks, SCGS will begin to use email more regularly in communicating with its members. If we have your current email address in our files or if you are now receiving notices through the CA-SCGS email list, you’ll begin to receive more emails from SCGS. The emails will keep you updated on the Society's activities, on Jamboree events, announcements from genealogy suppliers and other societies, and websites and databases that we will feel will be useful to you.

If you're lucky, your email supplier may send these emails directly through to you.  Not all are so cooperative.

To be certain to get SCGS emails, you should add the following email addresses to your address book or your email provider's "white list." Here is a handy website that will provide "whitelisting" instructions for many of the ISPs that cause problems.

Please put the following addresses and domains on your whitelist.

Email Addresses


Check your spam or reject folder from time to time. If you see an email about Jamboree or SCGS, flag it as not spam.

If you need additional assistance, please contact your ISP provider.

Please make sure that we have your current email address. If you have not been receiving email updates from us, please send your email to membership@scgsgenealogy.com and ask to be added to our list.

09 February 2010

Become a Standard Bearer for Genealogy

Are you prepared to help capitalize on the opportunity that television programs like "Faces of America" and "Who Do You Think You Are" offer for societies like the Southern California Genealogical Society?

As a genealogist, you are in a position to help others understand the joy of unveiling a new generation in your family.  You can help share your passion and knowledge.  Let's think about some things that each of us can do to help spread the word.

For example, you can start water-cooler conversations "Did you see last night's 'Who Do You Think You Are"?  Once people know that you've an experienced genealogist or family historian, you will become a resource and they will look to you for advice.

If you find someone interested starting their own research, take the initiative to invite them to a genealogy program or visit a library. Offer to go with them to introduce them or show them around. You'll gain a research buddy and someone with whom to share your discoveries and your challenges.

Offer to do a look-up, or have them watch over your shoulder as you use Ancestry.com or FamilySearch to find a record for their family.  Remember how you felt the first time you saw your great-grandfather's name on a census record? You can give that feeling to someone else.

Carry a few copies of  your society's membership brochures in your purse or briefcase. Encourage them to explore membership.  Explain that they can learn effective search techniques and help them avoid the mistakes that we all made when we started.  Show them the Society's website and help them understand the education and resources available to them at a very nominal cost.  Have copies of the Society newsletter or journal to show, too. 

Contact your local PBS and NBC stations and provide them with contact information for your genealogical society.  Write a letter on the station's website and invite them to interview members -- a student member, a beginner, experienced professional, someone with a particularly interesting ancestor. 

Some churches, employers, schools have informal sessions where someone talks about their hobby or interest. Jump in and offer to lead one of those classes.

Individuals genealogists, as well as genealogical organizations, can help spread the word about family history.  What other ideas do you have to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity?

I'd love to hear them.


"Who Do You Think You Are" Promo

I am so excited about the upcoming debut of Who Do You Think You Are.  Here's another teaser to whet your appetite.

06 February 2010

Henry Louis Gates to Stephen Colbert:

"You're the whitest man I've ever tested using genetic analysis." 

If you're not familiar with Stephen Colbert's sense of humor, watch the clip below.  This is classic Colbert.  Colbert is one of the subjects of  Gates' PBS program "Faces of America" which debuts February 10 on PBS.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

#facesofamerica  #DNA

05 February 2010

Library of Congress Puts Thousands of Historic Books Online

"Nearly 60,000 books prized by historians, writers and genealogists, many too old and fragile to be safely handled, have been digitally scanned as part of the first-ever mass book-digitization project of the U.S. Library of Congress (LOC), the world’s largest library. Anyone who wants to learn about the early history of the United States, or track the history of their own families, can read and download these books for free."

Read more of the Library of Congress announcement for all the details.

Access the archives:  http://www.archive.org/details/library_of_congress
Thanks to Terri Carlson for sharing this information.

What's 99% Done? SCGS-Sponsored World Archives Project

It's been nearly two years since work began to transcribe the Southern California Naturalization Index for the World Archives Project. This set of records is 99% finished, and the information will be soon online and available for searching.

A hearty thank-you goes out to everyone who helped work on this project. If you haven't had a chance to donate time to this important project, tonight's a great time to start.

Here's an announcement I received from our good friend Suzanne Russo Adams, our contact at Ancestry.com:

Tonight (February 5) from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Mountain Time (that’s 8:00 PM New York time or GMT+7) we will be testing out the idea of a “virtual” keying party using Twitter as our platform for communication.

Use the hashtag #awap to participate in and keep track of the conversation. Want to know what to tweet about? Here are a few ideas.
  • Have a question about a record you are keying? Tweet about it.
  • Downloading an image set and want to let us know what project you are working on? Tweet about it.
  • Finished an image set and want to tell us how many records you keyed? Tweet about it.
  • Done for the night and want to give us a total of what you accomplished? Tweet about it.
Join the party and help to preserve some of the world's important records for future generations.

Not a Tweeter?  You can get a free Twitter account at www.twitter.com

01 February 2010

The News & Notes Available Online

The February/March/April 2010 issue of The News & Notes, electronic newsletter of the Southern California Genealogical Society, is available for download.

This issue of The News & Notes includes articles on:
SCGS Genealogy Jamboree
Ancestry World Archives Project
GENEii Family History Writers Contest
Lunch & Learn - February and March
Research Trip to Allen County Library
Notes from the SCGS Annual Meeting
Introducing the SCGS Blog
Re-Register your Ralphs Card for Donations to SCGS
Ancestry Magazine to Cease Publication
SCGS Interest groups
- French-Canadian Research and Heritage Society
- Writers Group
- African American Interest Group
- German Interest Group
- DNA Interest Group
Recent Genealogical Successes
Volunteer "You Made My Day"
SUVCW National Graves Registry Database
Boston University's Certificate in Genealogical Research