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February 2006
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Cyndi's List - Ten Years Old

Cyndi's List, the online "Yellow-pages" of genealogy, is celebrating its tenth year with a new look and feel. Today the site boasts over 251,000 categorized links and is one of the most popular starting points on the Internet.

Cyndi's List began back in 1996 as a six-page article written for her local genealogy society. It went online on March 4, 1996 and was announced as such:

You are cordially invited to visit our new genealogy home page entitled: Mark and Cyndi's Family Tree

The many resources include:

  • a categorized list with over 1,000 links to genealogy Internet sites
  • Civil War research articles
  • UK research articles
  • Genealogy Terms and Phrases

We hope you enjoy our new page and would love to hear from you!

Mark and Cyndi Howells

Click here for the original article.

Isn't it amazing how it has turned out? Take a look at the new design at

Your Legacy Database - Should You Split It?

At some point, users of any genealogy computer program, including Legacy Family Tree, will ask the question, "Should I split my database?"

The reasons given for wanting to split a database are many:

  1. you may want to keep your spouse's genealogy in a separate database
  2. you may want a separate database for each line you're working on
  3. you may want to share just a portion of your database with another relative/researcher
  4. you feel that splitting your database would make more room in your main database

Before making the plunge and splitting your database, consider these cautions:


Suppose you separated your genealogy from your spouse's, and they are now in two separate family files. As your research progresses, you get further and further back in time. You begin researching a family that seems all too familiar - maybe you've researched it before. In fact, you had previously researched it - on your spouse's side.

The further back you trace, the chances are higher that you and your spouse have common ancestry. Such is the case with my wife and me. Back in the 1580s, we share a common ancestor - Stephen Hopkins is my 12th great-grandfather. He is also my wife's 12th great-grandfather. If I had split my database so that my wife's database was not included in mine, I may not have picked up on the fact that we were 13th cousins. I may have even duplicated our research.

This is one of the reasons why I keep all my genealogy in the same database.

Duplication of data entry

When I first started my research, I had eight separate databases. One for each of my eight great-grandparents. I thought it'd be easier to research this way. The descendants of these great-grandparents number into the thousands. In fact, because I am a descendant of each of these great-grandparents, I entered myself into each database.

The challenge this presented was that every time I needed to update my information, or I became a new dad, or even if I needed to update information on any of my cousins, I had to update the same information in at least two of the databases. If I needed to update my personal information, I would have to update it in all eight. Chances are greater that I would make a typo in at least one of them.


If my database were separated from my wife's, printing a pedigree chart or other reports becomes challenging. For example, I could not print cascading pedigree charts beginning with my son, Evan, because on the first chart, only his paternal side of the family would appear. If all my genealogy were combined into one family file, this would not be a problem.

But won't it get too big?

We have "test databases" of Legacy where we've linked over a million individuals. There are two potential challenges when working with databases of this magnitude. First, navigation becomes a bit slower. Second, the size of the database is considerably larger than one of just a few thousand. However, we haven't run into too many researchers that claim to have researched a million individuals - I'd love to see their documentation....

It's still okay...

There may still be good reason to split your database. I've created a separate research database to help me in tracking all the different Alanson Browns. Once I have positively identified my Alanson Brown, using Legacy's split screen tool, I can drag and drop him and his family into my personal database.

I've also created a separate database where I indexed the tax lists of Washington County, Tennessee from 1778-1850. Now doesn't that sound like an exciting way to spend a weekend?

So before you go ahead and make your split, carefully consider the above implications.

National Genealogical Society Home Study Course Discounted Bundled Offer

from the National Genealogical Society:

Periodically we all need to refresh our skills in genealogical research or learn new ones.   The National Genealogical Society’s Learning Center is currently offering a special discounted pricing on the NGS research-intensive Home Study Course.  Now exclusively available as a CD, this course is recommended by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). For more information please visit our website at

The revised course, issued in 2005, includes:

  • detailed instruction on genealogical subjects,
  • evidence analysis,
  • source citation examples and explanations,
  • bibliographies and reference lists,
  • strategies for conducting genealogical research on the Internet, in libraries, and in archives,
  • new detailed instructions on newspaper research, censuses, vital records, migrations, and writing short biographies on ancestors,
  • self-correcting exams,
  • samples of the assignments showing how they should be completed, and
  • online mail list for advice and research help.

Issued on three CDs, contents include:

CD #1, issued January 2005

Lesson  1: Introduction
Lesson  2: Family Traditions and Family Records
Lesson  3: Interviews, Correspondence, and Queries
Lesson  4: Library Resources
Lesson  5: Census Records
Lesson  6: Vital Records

CD #2, issued May 2005:

Lesson  7: Church and Cemetery Records
Lesson  8: Probate and Other Court Records
Lesson  9: State and Federal Land Records
Lesson 10: Local Land and Tax Records
Lesson 11: Migration Studies & Resources

CD#3, issued December 2005

Lesson 12: Passenger Arrival Records
Lesson 13: Naturalization Records
Lesson 14: Military and Veterans Benefit Records
Lesson 15: Interpreting and Evaluating Evidence
Lesson 16: What Next? Write The Story 

HomeStudy Course Bundled Special (Buy CD 1, 2 and 3 together and save)

Visit to purchase or for more information.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Legacy Genealogy Cruise to Alaska

Reason #9: Food, food, and more food!

Food is included in the cost of the cruise. Have you ever had a 5 course meal - for every meal of the day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner??? If you're not sure if you want the steak or the lobster - order both! Have a sweet tooth? Order the ice cream and the cake. There's also a 24-hour pizza bar, a sandwich bar, and pasta bar. We're not making this up....

Hint: make sure you bring two sizes of clothes. One for the first couple of days, and another for the end of the week after you've enjoyed all the food.

To learn more about this year's Legacy cruise to Alaska, please visit

Enter the drawing to win a free cruise at

New British Venture - Launch of Online Genealogy Classes

Delving into your family history is fascinating but, as people already hooked on genealogy realize, progress is uneven and some problems bring research to a halt. How do you know there is a way around the problem or there really is a lack of information? There are so many records, so many places to search and so much information appearing online it is difficult to know where to begin planning effective searches. Fortunately, help is at hand.

Sherry Irvine, a Canadian and past President of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and Helen Osborn, of English Researchers, Helen Osborn Research Ltd, have teamed up to launch Pharos Teaching & Tutoring.  Pharos is the first British company to provide online classes aimed specifically at helping researchers with British ancestry.  Students can register and pay on the website at  The arrangements for courses are simple and flexible making it easy to get started, study in your own time without having to travel, get help from experienced teachers, and chat about family history with other students. Courses are aimed at beginners and experienced researchers alike.

Emphasis is on online resources, both indexes and images, what you can achieve on the Internet and how to work effectively with what is online and what must be found on site in libraries and archives. The historical, social and geographical context in which our ancestors lived and in which the records were created is an important part of every program.  All Pharos tutors are full-time genealogists and experienced teachers with many years experience searching in British records.

Managing Director, Helen Osborn already runs a successful genealogy and historical research agency from her London home, and was previously an archivist.  She is one of the independent researchers at the National Archives, Kew and has clients from all over the world.  Helen has lectured and written on aspects of local and family history for over 10 years.

Course Director, Sherry Irvine has been teaching family history for over 20 years. In the classroom she has taught at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama and at the British Institute, Salt Lake City, a program of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Since 1996 she has led study tours to England and Scotland for IGHR.

Sherry is the author of Your English Ancestry (2nd ed. 1998) and Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians (2003) both published by Ancestry. In 2005 the Association of Professional Genealogists presented her with the Smallwood Award of Merit for services to the organization and to genealogy.

Sherry says, “we are creating great courses at Pharos because we have definite ideas about good teaching, we enjoy helping others get the most out of family history and we want to give that help at a personal level”.

Special Offer for Legacy users

Meet the instructors and receive a special offer from Pharos. Sherry Irvine and Helen Osborn will hold a free chat session on Monday March 20th at 7PM GMT (London time) which is 2PM EST (New York time). Bring along a British genealogy question. To get your invitation and details of how to take part please send a request to Space is limited.

For more information on courses at Pharos, email -

Legacy Update Now Available - 28 February 2006, Version

Legacy 6.0 Deluxe Edition Users

If you have Legacy 6.0 Deluxe Edition, connect to the Internet, then start Legacy and click on the "Install and Download Now" on the Legacy Home tab. (If you're reading this from within the Legacy Home tab, you'll first need to click on the Home button in the top left which looks like the following picture:)

Legacy 6.0 Standard Edition Users

Standard Edition users are required to visit our web site in order to download the new update.


  • Increased the field length of the Marriage User ID to 50 to match the field length of the Individual's User ID


  • Notes - minor update to fix a problem with notes that a couple of people were running into

Wisconsin Birth Index Now Online

The Wisconsin Historical Society is pleased to announce its Pre-1907 Wisconsin Birth Index ( The index was made by digitizing a 1970's microfiche index and then expanding it with tens of thousands of delayed births, or births that were filed many years after the event, that were previously indexed separately. The result is free public access to more than 1,000,000 Wisconsin births, dating from the 1840s through 1907.

The index can be searched in a variety of ways - using just a last name or browsing by county and year. Users can try various names and locations to find Wisconsin ancestors. When an ancestor is found, a copy of the birth record can be ordered from the Wisconsin Historical Society online.

The Society plans to add pre-1907 death and marriage indexes in the next few months, creating a comprehensive vital records index that will be entirely free and publicly searchable. Until the death and marriage indexes are available, searches can be requested through our Wisconsin Genealogical Research Service (

For further information please email