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Family & Parenting
Family Tree

Family Tree September 2018

Family Tree Magazine will help point the way toward the best research tools and practices to trace your family's history. Each issue includes tips on locating, collecting, and preserving photos, letters, diaries, church and government records, and other documentation, plus fun articles about creating scrapbooks, organizing family reunions, and vacation ideas that combine history with leisure!

United States
Yankee Publishing Inc.
Read More
7 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
out on a limb

When I joined Family Tree Magazine 15 years ago, digitized images of US censuses were new online. But aside from the 1880 census, which Ancestry and FamilySearch had partnered up to index, searchable databases were rare. And before that, you scrolled line by line through microfilmed schedules of the family’s enumeration district, or if you were lucky, you found your ancestor on a Soundex index card. (The Soundex system assigned codes to similar surnames.) The card would tell you which state, county, town, enumeration district and sheet number to check for that person. But only censuses from 1880 through 1930 had Soundex indexes, and most weren’t complete. The 1880 index listed only households with children under age 10, and 1910 and 1930 included just parts of the country. So today, when it’s…

2 min.
tree talk

I KNEW I WAS NAMED for my mother’s sister Dorothy and my grandmother’s sister Ellen, but it wasn’t until my mid-50s that I learned the true source of my middle name. In 1993, I hired a researcher in Sweden to locate possible living family members. The researcher put me in touch with a third cousin who was as passionate a genealogist as I was. A feverish exchange of information let me know that my great-grandmother named her second-born daughter after her own grandmother, Elin Mansdotter. Dorothea Ellen Clymer, via email My sisters and I just returned from the Netherlands where our grandparents grew up. We saw the house our great-great-grandfather built and churches where ancestors were baptized. Phyllis Maathuis Hall, via Facebook MY GRANDFATHER, EMIL JULIUS PELZER (1857-1944), and his brother Adolph emigrated…

1 min.
everything’s relative

BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOS are charming but remote, as though from another world. Artist Marina Amal brings them to life in a new book, The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960 (Head of Zeus) <www.marinamaral.com/the-colour-of-time>. After careful research to determine accurate hues, Amal digitally colorized 200 iconic images: Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington, D.C., the D-Day invasion, this peaceful 1905 scene of the Jersey Shore. Historian Dan Jones tells the stories behind them. Viewed in color, the people in the images gain new substance; places, dimension; and events, gravity. Suddenly, these old photos come closer to home. BLACK›AND›WHITE IMAGE: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION, LC›DIG›DET›4A17764; COLORIZED IMAGE: COURTESY OF MARINA AMAL…

2 min.
aussie adventures

Sites to See I visited lush and balmy Queensland, Australia, after speaking at the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry <affho.org> in Sydney. My husband, Bill, and I snorkeled along the Great Barrier Reef and soared via Skyrail above the world’s oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest. Our gondola drifted past early settlers’ tracks on forested hillsides and by the impressive Barron Falls, to dock in the mountain village of Kuranda. Visitors there can cuddle koala bears at the Kuranda Koala Gardens <www.koalagardens.com> and learn about the pioneering Veivers family, whose descendants operate the gardens. Recent Reads Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s short story The Suffragette’s Secret is a timely tale for this year’s 100th anniversary of Britain’s first law allowing women to vote in general elections. In the book, genealogist Morton Farrier unravels the truth…

4 min.
if the shoe fits

SOME BRIGHT PALEOLITHIC FOLKS figured out their feet were less injury-prone and more comfortable when protected by shoes. The oldest known shoes, found in an Oregon cave in 1938, are sagebrush-bark sandals dating from 7000 to 8000 BCE. Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old “ice man” discovered frozen in a glacier in 1991, wore shoes of deer and bearskin with grass and linden-tree fibers. Over millennia, scientists have theorized, wearing shoes actually led humans to evolve shorter, thinner toes. Let’s walk a mile in the shoes of, um, shoes. WWII rationing in the United States included rubber boots and work shoes. You had to apply for a new pair and turn in the old pair when you bought them. 500 27 BCE The Roman empire is founded on the strength of soldiers wearing tough sandals (from the…

2 min.
war stories

It’s easy to get so absorbed in the details of genealogical research that we forget how our ancestors’ lives reflected—and were impacted by—the events of their times. This point hit home for longtime genealogist Cyndi Wolfley, of Chesterland, Ohio, as she researched her family “war stories.” “I came across a Gwynn family name in Tennessee,” says Wolfley, a director of her local FamilySearch Family History Center <www.familysearch.org>. Recognizing the name from her mother’s paternal branch, she traced the family back to Gwynn Island, Va., during the American Revolution. “Gwynn Island was a battleground for the Colonies fighting against Britain’s Lord Dunmore,” Wolfley says. Dunmore’s army occupied the island for months before Colonial troops ousted him in the summer of 1776. Then the war ended in 1783, and the US government lacked sufficient…