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March 2009
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May 2009

Upcoming Legacy classes in California, Colorado, North Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming

We are excited to participate in the following upcoming genealogy seminars. If you are in the area, please stop by our booth to say hello. You can ask the Legacy Family Tree experts questions and take advantage of special seminar discounts.

May 2009

USA | Utah | Logan - May 9, 2009. 3rd Annual Logan Utah Family History Expo 2009. Click here for more information.

USA | North Carolina | Raleigh - May 13-16, 2009. National Genealogical Society Conference 2009, "The Building of a Nation from Roanoke to the West". Legacy's Jim Terry will teach "Legacy Family Tree: An Overview" on Thursday, May 14th at 11:00am. Click here for more information.

USA | California | Hemet - Saturday, May 16, 2009. The Hemet - San Jacinto Genealogical Society will feature an all-day seminar presented by Legacy's Geoff Rasmussen. Classes will include:

  • Organizing, Planning & Sharing Using Legacy Family Tree
  • Tips & Tricks with Legacy Family Tree
  • Mapping Your Ancestors Electronically: Using Software and the Internet
  • Sharing Genealogical Electronically: Publishing to CD/DVD, the Internet, and E-Mail

Registration is required and seating is limited. Visit for more information.June 2009

USA | Colorado | Loveland - June 12-13, 2009. Colorado Family History Expo 2009. Click here for more information.

USA | California | Burbank - June 26-28, 2009. Southern California Genealogical Jamboree 2009. Visit for more information.

July 2009

USA | Wyoming | Sheridan - July 17-18, 2009. Wyoming Family History Expo 2009. Click here for more information.

USA | Utah | Provo - July 28-31, 2009. Conference on Family History and Genealogy. Visit for more information.

Video interview with Legacy's Ken McGinnis

Ken McGinnis, vice-president of Millennia Corporation (that's us!), was interviewed at the recent St. George Family History Expo. His interview is now published online as a video for you to view. Ken talks about some of the differences between the free, Standard Edition of Legacy and the Deluxe edition. He also talks a bit about Legacy's Research Guidance and SourceWriter features.

Ken is one of the main reasons we have Legacy Family Tree. Meet him online by watching the video below.

FamilySearch Publishes its First Portuguese Collection Online

Brazil from

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch added the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Civil Registration to its online collection—about 4.5 million new digital images. The free collection contains searchable digital images of the original birth, marriage, and death records from all of the municipalities in the state of Rio de Janeiro from 1889 to 2006. The new digital images can be searched for free at (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

The published records cover births up to 1930, marriages to 1950, and deaths up to 2006. There are an estimated 18 million names in the free online digital collection. FamilySearch continues to film civil registration records in Rio de Janeiro and will update the collection as applicable.

Prior to now, the Rio de Janeiro Civil Registration records were only available in archive offices in Brazil or on microfilm through one of FamilySearch’s family history centers worldwide. FamilySearch digitized the collection—over 2,500 microfilms, spanning 117 years of vital records—and published them online for free public access.

“Now instead of ordering some of the films and traveling to a local family history center to use it, researchers worldwide can search any of the 2,500 films digitally and freely online from the comfort of their home,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “Family history enthusiasts with Rio de Janeiro ancestors have just been handed a big-time free gift,” added Nauta.

FamilySearch’s online digital image viewer makes it easy to search the historical documents. Patrons can quickly navigate from a Rio de Janeiro municipality down to individual towns. Simply click on a town, and the images are typically divided up by birth, marriage, death, and a year range—making it very convenient to comb through the original records for that town during a specific period in search of a Brazilian ancestor from Rio de Janeiro. Digital images can also be printed or saved electronically.

“Civil registrations (Registros Civis) are the vital records made by the Brazilian government and are an excellent source of accurate information on names, dates, and vital events,” said Lynn Turner, FamilySearch collection manager records specialist for Latin America. “The new digital image collection online is extremely important for those doing genealogical research in Rio de Janeiro because they document critical events in a person’s life and cover such a large percentage of the population—and they are freely accessible to anyone with Internet access,” concluded Turner.

Civil records were kept for all the population, including the Catholics and the non-Catholics. There was a large infusion of non-Catholics in Brazil after the 1880s. The civil registration records are an important public record of this section of the population as well.

FamilySearch has the largest collection of Brazilian vital records outside of Brazil. Currently these records are available to the public on microfilm through FamilySearch’s 4,500 family history centers worldwide or affiliate public libraries. FamilySearch plans to continue expanding online access to its Brazil collections. Pernambuco and Paranã will be the next state civil registrations added to the collection.

Volunteers Transcribe 250 Million Historical Records

from FamilySearch International:

Incredible Effort Speeds Up Access to Online Genealogical Information

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch volunteers reached a monumental milestone this week, transcribing their 250 millionth historical record.  The incredible online initiative started in January 2006 with a few thousand volunteers and has now grown to be the largest Web-based initiative of its kind with over 100,000 volunteers worldwide. The 250 millionth record was part of the current Nicaragua Civil Registration indexing project online at—one of 45 projects being indexed by online volunteers. It was extracted by three different online indexers from Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras.

FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical collections in the world—2.5 million rolls of microfilm and millions of additional digital images from over 100 countries worldwide.

For decades, FamilySearch has allowed the public to use its collection for free through 4,500 family history centers throughout the world. In 2005, it began to improve access to its collection by converting microfilm to digital images that could be searched online. The next step was to create an online tool that volunteers around the world could use to look at the digital images and extract relevant data that could then be published online in searchable indexes linked to the digital images. FamilySearch Indexing is that tool.

“What makes the 250 million record milestone even more impressive is the fact that each record was actually indexed at least twice to ensure accuracy,” reported Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “The result is an amazing searchable online index for people around the world,” Nauta added.

The unique quality control process means each document is transcribed by two different indexers. In the case of the 250 millionth record, the two indexers were from Nicaragua and Guatemala. Any discrepancies in their two transcriptions were then forwarded to a third volunteer—an arbitrator—who would have made any needed corrections between the two transcriptions. In this case, that arbitrator was from Honduras. “Three volunteers, three countries, one common goal—to provide access to the world’s genealogical records quicker and more economically,” said Nauta.

In 2006, FamilySearch volunteers indexed a total of 11 million records. “Today, thanks to the growth in our volunteer numbers, FamilySearch volunteers are now transcribing about a million names per day. At that rate, we expect to hit the 500 million milestone much quicker than the 250 million marker,” added Nauta.

Today, tens of thousands of volunteers, young and old, log on to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from all over the world to help with the ongoing goal to transcribe the world’s genealogical records. Some donate a few minutes a month, others hours a day. Some do it as a sort of “pay it forward” activity because they have personally benefited in their family history research by using FamilySearch’s collections over the years. Others help because they like the idea that just a little bit of donated time can help preserve historic information and make it more available for public access.

Completed indexes are ultimately made available online for public access through or through one of FamilySearch’s family history centers.

FamilySearch, at any given time, has over 35 online indexing projects underway—many of them international projects. “Volunteers usually have a preference for one type of indexing project over another,” said Paul Starkey, FamilySearch Indexing project manager. “For example, if you have ancestors from Spain, you might be very motivated to help index the Spain Catholic Church records because it could facilitate your personal research once the completed indexes are published online.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or seeing what projects are being indexed can do so at

We've upgraded our LegacyNews blog - searching and listening

Today we added two new features to this blog - searching and listening.

First, you can now search the nearly 700 LegacyNews articles by keyword or phrase. Previously, if I wanted to locate a LegacyNews article about setting relationships, I had to go to Google and type: " relationships" (without the quotes). Now, you can use the "Search This Site" section in the right panel.

Second, you can now listen to each article. I read about this new feature in a recent blog article. Today, I noticed Dick Eastman added this "widget" to his blog. If it's on his, it's good enough to be on ours too! :) If you want to listen to our news articles, just click on the Listen Now link just under each article's title. Those who subscribe to podcasts via their MP3 player will be the most excited about this.

What is a blog?

If you are surprised to discover that you are actually reading a "blog", you might want to read our republication of Dick Eastman's article entitled, "What is a blog?"

Genealogy Mailbox Blues

Mailbox I admit it. I have the Genealogy Mailbox Blues.

Eleven days ago I ordered a marriage certificate from England. (I wrote about this here.) I know it's still a little soon for the certificate to arrive in my mailbox...but...I just can't wait! I find myself imagining what the certificate will report, and then planning my next research strategies based on what I hope will appear in the envelope. Although I'm now in my 16th year of researching my ancestors, I still have the same excitement and anticipation for what I may or may not find. And so as each day passes without the envelope from the General Register Office in my mailbox, I look for other things to do to take my mind off of this.

Have you experienced similar Genealogy Mailbox Blues?

As I wait, I've noticed my FamilySearch Indexing statistics increase, and I'm actually getting more of my old photos digitized. I've even got a little time to finish my Blogging lecture for this weekend's seminar in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The mail doesn't arrive for another six hours. Guess I'll get back to work...

New software for Europe: Centennia Historical Atlas (Europe's AniMap)

Centennia If you have ever been confused by the numerous border changes in Germany, Poland, Prussia or of any other country in Europe or the Middle East, you need to check out this terrific new software. (See the brief video below.)

Centennia Historical Atlas is a software program that shows the changing country boundaries in Europe and the Middle East from the beginning of the 11th century to the present. It is a dynamic, animated historical atlas and includes over 9,000 border changes. Centennia is ideal for anyone who loves maps and history, and is especially helpful for genealogists as they try to uncover their past.

The map controls evolve the map forward or backward in time bringing the static map to life. Centennia displays every major war and territorial conflict displaying the status of each region at intervals of a tenth of a year. The maps reflect actual "power on the ground" rather than internationally-sanctioned or "recognized" borders.

"As a kid I dreamed of maps that would move; I got what I wanted in Centennia. This colorful political map of Europe and the Mid-East redraws itself at yearly intervals from the year 1000 to present. It's a living map, an atlas with the dimension of time. I can zoom around history, pause at particular dates, or simply watch how nations melt away, or disintegrate into tiny fragements, or unite! Year by year the outlines of tribes and nations spread, retreat, and reform almost as if they were tides or infections. The resolution of detail (almost at the "county" level) is astounding; the breadth of time (ten centuries) thrilling. It rewards hours and hours of study." (from Kevin Kelly, editor-at-large of "Wired" magazine)

Watch the video overview

Click on the Play button below to watch a brief overview of Centennia Historical Atlas. (If the video below doesn't work, click here to watch the video from our videos page.)

The Centennia Historical Atlas has been required reading for all beginning students at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis for the past ten years. Over 1,200 copies have been purchased annually for all prospective naval officers at Annapolis. The software serves as a visual introduction to Western History from a cartographic perspective. Centennia is also licensed by hundreds of secondary schools, colleges, and universities worldwide.

Individual home users also purchase the Centennia Historical Atlas. It's ideal for anyone who loves maps and history, and it's also extremely popular among genealogy enthusiasts. There's no easier way to get a long-time-scale perspective on the history of the regions of Europe and the Middle East than by watching the borders shift back and forth in Centennia.

CENTENNIA covers in detail the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Hundred Years War, the Mongol invasions, the Napoleonic Wars, the Unification of Italy and Germany, the First World War, the Rise of Nazi Germany, the Arab-Israeli wars, and even recent events like the collapse of the USSR, the wars of the former Yugoslavia, and the Chechen wars.

The Centennia Historical Atlas software runs under Microsoft Windows Vista, and Windows XP/98/etc. as well as Apple Macintosh OSX (runs on Intel-based and PowerPC-based Mac computers). The software requires 20 megabytes of hard disk space and 40 megabytes of memory. Centennia does not have any other significant system requirements, and it will run well on almost any computer made in the year 2000 or later.

See what people are saying about Centennia Historical Atlas

Professor Randall Baker, Ph.D., Indiana University writes...
"For years I have struggled with an unwieldy and dangerous towering pile of historical atlases, often with frustrating results in my research. Centennia is a truly remarkable piece of work that provides a degree of interactive precision that no atlas does, or ever will, provide. It is a program in which one can lose oneself for hours in total fascination, beyond the general utility of research. It instantly provides clear and easily intelligible maps in full color, as well as crisp, narrative text. If only it covered the whole world... "

Mercator's World magazine writes...
Using Centennia, "History suddenly becomes a dramatic and dynamic process, and you feel that you are there".
Wired Magazine's Ivan Berger calls Centennia...
"Time Trippin'" and says it's "something I've always dreamed of".
The German Studies Newsletter writes...
"one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread." OK, even we agree that that's a bit of friendly hyperbole.

How to Purchase - $20 off

For a limited time, purchase Centennia Historical Atlas software at the introductory price of $59.95 (a savings of $20). Available by download or CD (shipping charges apply for CD).


For more information about Centennia, click here.

Family History Made Simple - a video for your kids and grandkids

We all hope that someone else in our family will catch the genealogy bug. Not only would it be nice to have someone to share the research with, but we also need someone who actually wants to listen to our research success stories.

Douglas Hatch, of, recently produced a terrific video entitled "Family History - Made Simple" that I will recommend to all of my younger relatives. In 2 minutes and 19 seconds, the video attempts to reach out to the younger generation and get them interested in doing family history work.

The video is very well done. Watch it yourself, or recommend it to your family by clicking here.


New Internet-Genealogy Blog

One of genealogy's favorite bloggers, (and past Legacy Genealogy Cruise speaker) DearMYRTLE announced today her new blog - Internet-Genealogy Blog. The basis for her blog will be quotes from the following Moorshead Magazines, Ltd. magazines:

According to the Genealogy Blog Finder, there are already 1,331 genealogy blogs out there. In fact, ProGenealogists just released the 25 Most Popular Genealogy Blogs of 2009. This LegacyNews blog made the list! DearMYRTLE's new blog provides a new angle into the genealogy world, where she will teach and comment from a variety of the best genealogy columnists and researchers in the industry.

If her new blog is anything like her current blog, this will definitely be one to add to my list.

Digital picture enhancement tips: cloning and vignettes

We took our 3-month-old daughter, Kaitlyn, to the mall this weekend to get her pictures done. Everyone else had the same idea but we were the ones without the appointment. So we did our own pictures at home. Now I don't know too much about digital photography, but with a few touch-ups in Photoshop Elements 7.0 we now have a nice 8x10 on our wall, and it only cost us $2.89.


The picture on the left is the original picture without any touch-ups. In the picture on the right, we made two adjustments: we removed the fold in the chair (near the middle of the picture) using Photoshop Elements' clone tool. And we added an oval vignette.


The cloning tool is the digital photographer's best friend. It is what the professionals use to fix scratches and tears in old pictures. I even used it once to remove the coach from the picture of my son's first goal he scored in soccer. The cloning tool allows you to replace a part of a picture with a different part of the picture.

In my daughter's picture I did not want the chair's fold to be part of the background. So, using the clone tool, I selected the smooth area just above the fold to be the "source" point. Then I painted over the fold and "magically" the fold was gone. It was simply replaced by the part of the picture that I set as the source.


In Photoshop Elements, and likely most other photo editing software, one of the picture effects is a Circle Vignette. I tried this, but the result was that too much of the picture was "blurred out". Doing a little Googling, I located some easy instructions which gave me the nice result in the right picture. Here's how I did it:

  1. Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
  2. Click and drag across the image to select the area of the photo you want to keep.
  3. Go to Select > Feather and enter a radius amount. A value between 20-50 works well. I actually used 250. The higher the value, the softer the fade will be.
  4. Go to Select > Inverse and select a color. Using the eye dropper tool, I selected a color from her dress.
  5. Go to Edit > Fill and select a color or pattern to fill in the background.

I'm still waiting for the certificates from England to arrive, so in the meantime I'm spending a little time with my "alive" family. If you have any other digital image touch-up techniques, I'd love to hear about them in your comments below....