Research at DAR Library Now Free to the Public

The DAR Library, one of the country’s premier genealogical research facilities, is now FREE to all researchers. In October, the entrance fee for use of the Washington, D.C. family history library was eliminated as part of ongoing efforts to make the extensive DAR genealogical resources more accessible to the public.

“We are so pleased to be able to now offer the DAR Library resources free of charge,” says Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library. “We invite and encourage anyone who may have been deterred in the past by the usage fee to come visit and explore our vast holdings. You never know what you may be able to discover about your family at the DAR Library.”

You can read the full article on the NSDAR website Research at DAR Library Now Free to the Public

Tennessee Family Bible Records

According to the Genealogy in Time newsletter,

the Tennessee State Public Library has put online a collection of some 1,500 family bibles that the library has been collecting since the 1920s. The collection consists of scans of all the pages in the bibles that contain notations such as dates of birth, baptism and marriage of various family members. In Tennessee, birth certificates were not required until 1908, making this collection particularly valuable for anyone with Tennessee ancestors (interesting fact: the US government still accepts a list of births in a family bible as one proof of citizenship).

When using Bible records, a number of things you should take into consideration include:

  • The information has NOT been checked to ascertain whether it is valid or not.
  • Families MAY have altered the date of a marriage in the Bible to make it look like the children were NOT conceived out of wedlock.
  • If the cause of death is included in the Bible, it may be different than the official record.
  • Some wealthy families may have also recorded the names and dates of birth of their slaves.

What’s happened to Rootsweb?

At about 1:30 p.m. MT on Monday, June 16, 2014, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS),’ wrote Scott Sorensen, chief technology officer for the site.

Read more:

As of today, Sunday, June 22, 2014 and  Find A Grave are again working although they may be slow. Apparently NONE of the websites hosted by RootsWeb/Ancestry are back up. With some of them you will receive the following screen


With some of them including the freepages sites, you get no notice and just the connecting from your web browser. How long will these sites be down? No one seems to know and these sites are evidently low priority to Ancestry.

I am assuming the various mailing lists are also down since there has been no traffic on the ones I am subscribed too.


Hackers can use a network of ‘zombie’ computers to sabotage a specific Web site or server.

The idea is pretty simple — a cracker tells all the computers on his botnet to contact a specific server or Web site repeatedly.

The sudden increase in traffic can cause the site to load very slowly for legitimate users.

Sometimes the traffic is enough to shut the site down completely.

Top 10 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid

I’m always telling folks that once you get the “genealogy bug” it is ADDICTIVE.  As a hobby, it can be fascinating as well as frustrating but very addictive.  Each step you take in researching your family can lead you to new ancestors. Sometimes you may even find stories about your ancestors and sometimes you may find things you might rather not know. If you are new to genealogy research or even if you are an old timer, there are ten key mistakes you might want to avoid to make your search successful.

Kimberly Powell advises:

Don’t Forget Your Living Relatives – YOUR family members are  YOUR most important source, and often the only source for the stories which bring our family history to life. Make sure you talk to them BEFORE they are gone.

Don’t Trust Everything You See in Print –  In your searching, you may have come across a written genealogy on your family or a family tree on the Internet.  Just because it has been  written down or published does not necessarily mean that it is correct. Everyone from professional genealogists to your own family members can make mistakes! Transcriptions of various records – censuses, cemetery records, wills, etc can also contain errors. How many times have you seen a census record that was transcribed and then looked at the actual records and found something totally different? The Internet is a valuable genealogy research tool, but Internet data, like other published sources, should be approached with skepticism.It too can contain errors and in some cases is totally wrong.

[Read more…]

Online newspaper archives

Wikipedia has  a list of free and subscription digital online newspaper archives. Most are scanned from microfilm into pdf, gif or similar graphic formats and many of the graphic archives have been indexed into searchable text databases utilizing optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Some newspapers do not allow access to the OCR-converted text until it is proofread. Older newspapers are still in image format, and newer newspapers are available as full text that can be cut and pasted. Most text is in ASCII, some are using Unicode for diacritical marks not available in ASCII. Google now indexes many newspaper archives.

Historical Newspapers Online is a collection of newspapers listed by states and is part of the Penn Libraries collections.

Chonicling America is a collection of over 600 newspapers from 30 states published between the 1830s and 1922, and it continues to grow rapidly.  Backed by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, these newspapers are all freely available.   Although each state on the newspapers by state listing indicates if Chronicling America includes newspapers from it, this site also allows you to search all Chronicling America newspapers simultaneously.