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Family Tree

Family Tree May - June 2020

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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!

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United States
Yankee Publishing Inc.
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: JOY40
7 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
out on a limb

“Keep your head up.” Those were my great-uncle’s last words to me. I’ll never know if he meant them figuratively or literally. (I looked down a lot as a teenager.) But his words have stuck with me ever since. My great-uncle had a hard life. Born in Romania in 1921, he survived the horrors of World War II only to flee his town during Soviet occupation. Without a place to call home, he crossed the Atlantic in 1952 and landed on Ellis Island with his wife and 19-month-old son. In their passenger list, they’re classified as “stateless.” But Carl Pot (pot is our family’s word for “uncle”) quickly made a new life. Just a few years later, he helped his brother—my grandfather, Peter—come to the United States. A role model for my dad…

1 min.
tree talk

My paternal grandmother’s childhood rocking chair. It is now approximately 105 years old. I have taken pictures of my children and grandchildren sitting in it. Terri Craig Bakowski via Facebook PHOTOS OF ANCESTORS! I have been given the family photo albums and photo collections of each of my grandparents as well as those from my husband’s ancestors. These are priceless treasures and bring joy to our family. Cindy Newell via Facebook An old cribbage board. I’m the youngest of five, but the only one that Dad ever taught to play. We played every weekend while I lived at home. This board means so much more to me—it’s the memories. Nina Harwood via Facebook I HAVE ALL OF THE LETTERS my dad wrote home when he was in World War II! It is an amazing and emotion[al]…

2 min.
journey to the past

App Obsession The Pocketbooth app <www.projectbox.com/pocketbooth> offers a nostalgic experience in a high-tech app. Gather your family to snap a series of fun photos-reminiscent of the ones your parents and grandparents enjoyed at public photo booths of yore. Set up a phone or tablet on a tripod, then print copies of your ancestor's photo booth photos to hang as a bunting backdrop. This makes for the perfect activity at your family reunion this summer. Print them out or Air Play them to a TV for all to enjoy. On the Bookshelf Get your beach chair out of storage and grab a novel that will take you on a family history journey. Bestselling author Kate Morton offers many great titles to choose from, but my pick is The Forgotten Garden: A Novel (Washington Square…

1 min.
new database: mexican war soldiers & sailors

THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE’S Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park has launched an online database <www.nps.gov/subjects/usmexicanwar/index.htm> of information on more than 85,000 US and Mexican troops who served in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). Many of the records include personal details, such as hair color and occupation. This database follows in the footsteps of the popular Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database <www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiersand-sailors-database.htm>, also sponsored by the National Park Service. Data processing required over 17,000 hours of volunteer help. And according to a press release, the project moved slowly until Palo Alto joined forces with the Federation of Genealogical Societies <www.fgs.org>, which offered additional expertise and volunteers.…

1 min.
auschwitz museum to identify more victims

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum <www.auschwitz.org>, site of the world’s most notorious concentration camp, has identified more than 60% of the 400,000 registered prisoners interned during World War II. But an additional 900,000 Jews were murdered immediately upon arrival at the camp, with no further documentation. In an attempt to identify some of these unknown dead, the museum is collecting transport lists and cross-referencing them with the list of registered prisoners to identify those killed on arrival. Through this project, the museum plans to add 420,000 names from these transport lists to the database at <www.auschwitz.org/en/museum/auschwitz-prisoners> as early as May 2020. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN (LITHOGRAPH); GATSI/ISTOCK (AUSCHWITZ); M.H. KIMBALL/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (CHILDREN)…

1 min.
new dna test comes to market

THE MARKET FOR AUTOSOMAL DNA testing slowed down in 2019, which experts attribute to market saturation and privacy concerns related to criminal investigative access to genetic genealogy databases. Despite this, a new kind of DNA test has emerged: whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS creates a 200GB file that includes raw data on your entire set of DNA—all 3 billion base pairs. (Note: This is different from whole exome sequencing, which tests only an estimated 1% of a person’s genome.) Most WGS test reports are geared toward health information rather than ancestry research. WGS products on the market vary widely in quality and price: find an excellent summary at <tinyurl.com/wholegs>. In case you missed it: DNA website GEDmatch was acquired by a forensic genomics firm in December 2019. Learn what GEDmatch users can…