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Free webinar now online - Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story by Lisa Alzo

Lisa-alzo-100 Anyone with a desire to start writing their family history should watch the recording of today's webinar, Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story, presented by Lisa Alzo. One attendee wrote:

Lisa has inspired me to start writing THIS AFTERNOON. I have thought for years about how to organize and start our family history--now I have good suggestions on how to organize it that will fit my style.

I especially liked the suggestion of writing individual character sketches and am anxious to get started with her new ideas.

View the recording

If you could not make it to the live event, the 1 hour 33 minute recording of Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story is now available to view in our webinar archives. Visit to watch. It is available for free until July 11, 2011.

Pre-order the webinar-on-CD

Own your own copy of Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story by purchasing the webinar-on-CD for just $9.95. It includes the recording of the class, the complete Q/A session, and four pages of handouts. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Special discount coupon

The special discount coupon of lisa that was announced during the webinar is valid for 10% off anything in our online store through Monday, July 4, 2011.

Viewers' comments

  • This webinar exceeded my expectations. Before viewing this webinar I was not sure I'd want to write a family history but now I really do want to. Lisa did a terrific job and presented a ton of helpful information. Thank you!
  • Very good Webinar. She really knows how to tell you the best way to get started. I like the idea of using Photos and family stories plus the passport/visa/passenger way of introducing a story or book.
  • This was very motivating and enjoyable. I am not as overwhelmed by all the info I have as I was before. Also I feel more confident about some of the approaches I have been considering. Great Job!
  • Thank you Lisa, and Geoff. You have inspired me to get started turning facts into stories. I had no idea Legacy had so many features to help with the writing projects.  I appreciated seeing you demonstrate the timeline and report features. These webinars have given me confidence to dig in.
  • Terrific!!! Very informative and it encourages me to write my family history which I have wanted to do but didn't even know how to start. This gives me the tools to do just that.
  • She made writing about my family seem a lot less intimidating and more "do-able". I don't have to write Gone With the Wind -- I can just start writing.
  • Lisa has inspired me to start writing THIS AFTERNOON. I have thought for years about how to organize and start our family history--now I have good suggestions on how to organize it that will fit my style.
  • I have attended a number of similar lectures but none have "fired up" my desire to get writing like this one by Lisa Alzo. Kudos.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Watch Geoff Live: Adding an Obituary with Legacy's Geoff Rasmussen - Friday, July 1, 2011
  • Leveraging the Power of "We": a Watershed Event in Discovering Where to Find Your Ancestors with FamilySearch's Michael Ritchey - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
  • The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships with Ugo Perego - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
  • Google Images and Beyond with Maureen Taylor - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
  • Organizing for Success with Karen Clifford - Wednesday, August 3, 2011
  • Newspapers for Genealogists with Tom Kemp - Wednesday, August 17, 2011
  • Best Internet Resources for African American Genealogy with Angela Walton-Raji - Wednesday, August 31, 2011
  • Facebook for Genealogists with Thomas MacEntee - Wednesday, September 14, 2011
  • Researching Your Connecticut Ancestors with Marian Pierre-Louis - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Click here to register.

Legacy Tip: How to Display Conflicting Information

I've just discovered a great new tool - in Legacy Family Tree - to help me with conflicting information. Well, I've always known about the tool, but I had a new idea about how to use it today.

But first, have you ever discovered information in a document that conflicts with information you already know about an ancestor? One of my ancestors, John Williams, was born in 1845, 1851, 1852, 1853, or 1854, depending on which document I look at. Just today, as I was evaluating a different ancestor, I remembered that Clarinda Williams was thought to be born in either Boston, Massachusetts or in New Hampshire. However, I often forget about the New Hampshire possibility because when viewing her information in the Family View, it only shows me the main birth information. See below (click on image to enlarge):


I guess this is one reason why using the Chronology View is so much more valuable when analyzing an ancestor. However, because the five labels (Born, Chr, Died, Buried, DthCau) in the Family View are customizable, we can make our analysis a bit easier, even when you are in the Family View. If you follow these steps, you can view the conflicting data:

  1. Click on one of the 5 labels.
  2. Click on one of the buttons with the three dots to replace the current field name (I selected the Christening Date/Place in this example), and select the "Event..." field.
  3. Next, select the "Alt. Birth" event and click Select.
  4. Click Close.

See the difference:


We are now able to see the main birth event of "abt 1853 in Boston..." AND we can see the conflicting birth event of "abt 1852 in New Hampshire". This aids as a simple reminder that there is more than one place I could be looking for evidence of her birth.

The conflicting information will only appear as I've described above if you actually record the conflicting data as an "Alt. Birth" event. I've written about this a couple of times in past articles: click here and here for the instructions.

So while locating conflicting information will never go away, Legacy Family Tree provides tools to help us with it all.


Upcoming free webinars - 8 to choose from through August

Logo We've got a great lineup of free webinars for you to attend this summer. Some of the biggest names in genealogy will speak to us about writing, obituaries and Legacy, FamilySearch wikis and forums, DNA, images, Google, organization, newspapers, and even African-American genealogy. Sign up for one or sign up for them all - they are free to join. Registration is limited to the first 1,000 so register today at

June 2011

Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story by Lisa Alzo. Wednesday, June 29.

July 2011

Watch Geoff Live: Adding an Obituary by Geoff Rasmussen. Friday, July 1.

FamilySearch Wiki and Forums by FamilySearch's Michael Ritchey. Wednesday, July 6.

The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships by Ugo Perego. Wednesday, July 13.

Google Images and Beyond by Maureen Taylor. Wednesday, July 20.

August 2011

Organizing for Success by Karen Clifford. Wednesday, August 3.

Newspapers for Genealogists by Tom Kemp. Wednesday, August 17.

Best Internet Resources for African-American Genealogy by Angela Walton-Raji. Wednesday, August 31.

More Information

Visit for detailed descriptions of each webinar and to register.

FamilySearch Adds Free Records for 10 Countries

U.S. collections added for Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin

Twenty-two collections for 10 countries were updated recently at The Germany and Mexico church records were the two largest collections added. Collections were also added for Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. See the list below for more details. See the records online now at





Brazil, Catholic Church Records, 1835–1966



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Canada, Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826–1935



New index collection.

Canada, Quebec Notarial Records, 1800–1900



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Canada, Saskatchewan Provincial Records



New browsable image collection. Homestead files for 1908.

Germany, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794–1874



Added index records to existing collection.

Guatemala Civil Registration, 1877–1934



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Italy, Civil Registration, 1806–1940



Added browsable images to existing collection for Bologna, Catania, Genova, Padova, and Teramo.

Mexico, Michoacán, Catholic Church Records (1649–1909)



New browsable image collection.

Norway Census, 1875



Added index records to existing collection.

Sweden, Örebro Church Records, 1641–1860



Added index records to existing collection. Images available on external website.

Sweden, Södermanland Church Records, 1640–1860



Added index records to existing collection. Images available on external website.

Sweden, Uppsala Church Records, 1613–1860



Added index records to existing collection. Images available on external website.

U.S. Social Security Death Index



Added records to existing collection. Current to 30 April 2011.

U.S., Iowa, County Marriages, 1838–1934



New index collection.

U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959



Added indexed records to existing collection.

U.S., Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1940–1945



Added browsable images to existing collection.

U.S., Ohio Tax Records, 1800–1850



New index collection.

U.S., Vermont, Vital Records, 1760–1954



Added index records and images to existing collection.

U.S., Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781–1921



New browsable image collection.

U.S., Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907–1933



Added browsable images to existing collection.

U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848–1933



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Wales, Probate Abstracts, 1773–1780



Added browsable images to existing collection.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"But I thought genealogy was boring..."

I hope every genealogist gets to experience what I did this week.

It all started two weeks ago when I located Albert Brown's death information in an online death index. I then asked my sister if she would obtain a copy of the certificate from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Her answer was no. I guess I shouldn't have asked her then because we were leaving for our family reunion in Yellowstone National Park the next day. So I had to wait until our reunion was over. I guess it would be good to spend time with my living relatives for a few days.

Bison Last Saturday the reunion ended, and if it weren't for the bison traffic jam heading out of Yellowstone, we would have made better time leaving (it's a 19 hour drive home).

Lucky for me, Salt Lake City was on the way home, so of course we stopped at the Family History Library. I told my wife that I wouldn't be long - I just wanted to get a copy of Albert's death certificate which should only take a few minutes. To my delight, my 11-year-old, Evan, wanted to come with.

He and I located the film and I showed him how to use the microfilm reader. Since I already had the index information, I suspected it would be pretty easy to locate the certificate so I showed him where to look for the correct certificate number.

This is Evan using a microfilm reader for the first time.

2011 06 18_0030

This is Evan as he located the certificate we were seeking:

2011 06 18_0032

I explained to him that he just found a brand new ancestor. His excitement grew as I showed him that he just found Albert's parents. In his burst of emotion he said,

"Dad, I thought genealogy was boring. This is so ... much ... fun!"

Using my digital camera, I let him take the photo of the certificate (way faster and cheaper than making a paper copy). We put the film back and on the way out Evan stopped me and asked,

"Dad, isn't there anyone else we could look for?"

Recognizing that a new genealogist was being born, but still aware that my wife and three other kids were waiting for us, I brought Evan to the computers and did a search in the same database (Washington state Death Index) and located the index entry for one of Albert's children - Wilbur. With the little research I had done of the family previously, I recognized that Wilbur did in fact belong to the family but I had not yet recorded anything of his existence. So we pulled the microfilm and Evan quickly located Wilbur's death certificate. This was truely original research - my 11-year-old just found an ancestor that nobody else had. All along he asked questions like, "how do we know that this is the right person?" He was anxious to know how Albert and Wilbur fit into the family.

Fast forward three days to this morning at 8:00. Before I invited Evan into my office (yes, it's a mess...) I did a little preparation by adding the death certificate information to my source clipboard. Then I invited him to sit in my chair which I think surprised him a bit. With Legacy open we navigated to Albert Brown where I showed my son how they were both related. I opened up Legacy Charting to help him visualize it better. Then, with Legacy open on my left monitor (28" wide-screen - everyone should have one...or two) and the death certificate image open on my right monitor, I taught Evan how to type in the new information. Of course I showed him how to use the source clipboard, for there is no truth without proof.

Next, I opened Wilbur Brown's death certificate and asked Evan, "if you want to add a brand new person, which button do you think you should click on?" He looked around and decided that the "Add" button might do the job. Now, without my instruction, he added Wilbur Brown as a new child to Albert (and Emily), analyzed the death certificate and entered the new details (name, birth, and death).

2011 06 21_0001

I was so proud of him, and equally as proud that Legacy Family Tree made it easy for him to do it all.

Have you had a similar experience? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Cyndi's List has a new website - now with over 305,000 genealogy links

A major upgrade to celebrate 15 years of service

EDGEWOOD, WASHINGTON  (June 6, 2011) - Cyndi's List is proud to announce a newly upgraded web site. With improved navigation, a custom database, and a custom administrative interface, the upgrade means that everything will be quicker and easier for both visitors and for the site's owner and administrator, Cyndi Ingle Howells. The upgrade has been done by fusionSpan of Maryland.  Their staff worked closely with Cyndi to make improvements and to implement new technology and new ideas designed specifically for Cyndi's List and for the genealogical community.

Part of the upgrade was made possible by donations from generous users of Cyndi's List. To date, 20% of what was accomplished in the project was thanks to them.  Donors have been listed on the web site.

What's New with the Upgrade:

  • The front page of the Cyndi's List site has a rolling genealogy news feed and a link to The Cyndi's List Daily, a daily dose of family history news as tagged in Twitter and Facebook. Start each day with the front page of Cyndi's List and read the current genealogy news stories.
  • The links are now contained within a database and pages will be dynamically loaded on each visit.
  • The custom database and administration interface means that maintaining the link list will be much easier for Cyndi, which ultimately benefits the user with faster and more frequent updates.
  • The new interface means that the backlog of uncategorized links can be processed much faster. The goal is to get the entire backlog done by the end of this year.
  • New links will be reviewed, approved, and categorized within 24-72 hours after submission by visitors.
  • Updates made to Cyndi's List will be immediately available to the public.
  • Previous to the upgrade, the "What's New" page and mailing list post contained only new links submitted by visitors. The new "What's New" page and e-mail will contain those, as well as links added to the site during the day by Cyndi, *and* existing links that have been updated throughout the site (new addresses, updated descriptions, etc.).
  • Across the site links have been labeled with graphics as "new" or "updated" when appropriate. With the upgrade these will now be text-based notations (easily spotted in green), which means that you can search on a page for "new" or "updated" with the Edit>Find function in your web browser.
  • Now sub-categories within a category heading each have their own page. And each page displays 20 links, with pagination in place to go to the next page and so on. This means there will be a lot less scrolling through long pages as in the past. Shorter pages mean faster load time in the browser as well.
  • Intuitive navigation at the top of the category makes it easy to find your way to previous category headings.
  • The number of links within each category/sub-category is displayed at the top right on each page.
  • Each of the U.S. counties (more than 3,100) now has a designated page of its own.
  • URLs (addresses) for the pages have changed so bookmarks, favorites, and links to Cyndi's List will need to be updated.
  • Opportunities to shop, support, or donate are highlighted on each page.

What Has Stayed the Same?

  • The category and sub-category names are all the same.
  • Related Categories are highlighted at the top right on each category.
  • The layout and format of the links are the same.
  • The policies, procedures, and disclaimers for maintaining the link list are the same.
  • The Cyndi's List Mailing List will still distribute a daily What's New e-mail and a daily Link Activity e-mail. However, the What's New e-mail will contain information about all new and updated links.
  • You can still follow Cyndi's List on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The purpose and intent of Cyndi's List is to be a free jumping-off point for your daily genealogical research.
  • Cyndi's List remains free for everyone to use just as it has for the past 15 years.
  • This is still just a one-woman show!

"I started doing genealogy research in earnest back in 1998 and Cyndi's List has always been one of my very favorite websites. It is on my 'Go To' list because I always find so much good information there." --Kay F.

"I've relied on your website as THE best resource on the 'net to help with my research..." --Jan J.

"Where can you get at all things genealogical in one fell swoop? Everyone knows it's Every genealogist who uses the web MUST use Cyndi's List." --Polly K.

About is the world's largest one-woman family history resource, with more than 300,000 categorized links for genealogical research. For more than 15 years Cyndi's List has helped hundreds of thousands of people with their online journey to trace their family history. The site averages 275,000 unique visitors and 5,000,000 page hits every month. Cyndi's List has won numerous awards and consistently remains one of the top genealogical portals for beginners, intermediate, and veteran researchers.

About fusionSpan

fusionSpan is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of non-profit associations and commercial organizations in the full range of the business cycle. With a core staff of highly experienced professionals from non-profit associations and a team approach to most consulting projects, fusionSpan will be able to offer a more balanced quality service and sustainable solution than many of its competitors. Our expertise covers the entire range of the web site and application development process: Strategy, Design, Development, Hosting, and Maintenance. For more information, visit

Print and share our new webinar brochure

Webinarflyer In less than one year, tens of thousands of you have viewed our webinars. Thanks to all of you and to our world-class speakers, they have become the hottest thing in genealogy.

We want your genealogy society, family history center, relatives, and even your neighbors to know about our webinars - after all, they are a fun - and free - way to spend an hour and a half. We've published a brochure for you to print and pass out at your next genealogy get-together. It explains the basics of a webinar, provides an up-to-date list of the upcoming webinars (including 5 new ones we haven't even announced yet), and lists the webinars in the archives.

So if you've enjoyed the webinars so far, we'd invite you to print the brochure and give it to anyone you think would be interested. Thanks everyone - we look forward to "seeing" you online.

Click here to download, print and email the brochure.

Register for our free webinar - Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story

Lisa-alzo-100 You've gathered the facts, interviewed your relatives and entered the names, dates, and places into Legacy. Now what? Family history is so much more than just a collection of facts or charts. In this webinar, presented by professional writer, Lisa Alzo, you'll learn key techniques and tools for documenting your ancestors' lives, or your own life story, how to overcome writer's block, and methods for creating a compelling family history narrative in simple, manageable steps.

Join webinar host Geoff Rasmussen and speaker Lisa Alzo for this 90-minute free webinar, Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story.

The live webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29, 2011, so register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free.


About the presenter

Lisa A. Alzo. M.F.A. is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research, writing your family history, and using the Internet to trace female and immigrant ancestors. She is the author of nine books, including the award winning, Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles, and writes the blog, The Accidental Genealogist.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific/Arizona
  • 6pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email during the week prior to the webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  6. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Other upcoming webinars

Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Leveraging the Power of "We": a Watershed Event in Discovering Where to Find Your Ancestors with FamilySearch's Michael Ritchey. Register here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011. The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships with Ugo Perego. Register here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Google Images and Beyond with Maureen Taylor. Register here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011. Organizing for Success with Karen Clifford. Register here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011. Newspapers for Genealogists with Tom Kemp. Register here.

View past webinars

Our webinars are available in the archives at for at least 10 days. Select webinars are now available to purchase on CD for $9.95 each:

Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2012 - watch the webinar AND we added a 2nd destination

Exciting announcements for next year's 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise! We're still sailing to the British Isles May 12-21, 2012, but we've now added a second cruise to the Norwegian Fjords and Denmark.

Join us for one - or the other - or for both. The Norwegian Fjords cruise sets sail - on the same ship - and on the same day (May 21-27) that we conclude our British Isles cruise. So if you've always wanted to visit France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Norway, or Denmark - this is a fantastic opportunity to do it with a large group of other Legacy Family Tree users.

Watch the webinar

Christy Downing, our Legacy Cruise coordinator, explained everything you need to know in today's webinar. She showed us pictures of the ship, talked about the dining choices, explained what we will see in each destination, and answered everyone's questions in a Q/A session. Legacy's vice-president, Ken McGinnis, was also a guest and told a little about how our genealogy cruises got started.

Click here to watch the webinar.


If you have any questions, you can:

5 Minute Genealogy: Find a Record in Five Minutes

Anyone with an interest in genealogy should watch this video produced by FamilySearch. It was fun to watch host Jessie Davis help genealogists-on-the-street find an ancestor.

Genealogy experts will enjoy the brief 4 minute 29 second video. They will be reminded of the good-ole-days when there was lots of "low-hanging genealogy fruit" to pick.

Genealogy beginners will like it - they will be inspired by the new resources that FamilySearch offers - for free.

Watch the video here.