Family history stories, Genealogy basics, Genealogy News, Research helps, Writing family histories

Rootstech will be Free in 2021

img_8428One of the events I look forward to each year is Rootstech in Salt Lake City, Utah. Next year it will be virtual and FREE! It is the world’s largest genealogy conference. There will be dozens of classes in multiple languages available on demand throughout the year! Don’t miss this great opportunity. Click here for more info and to sign up.

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Going back in time

Curious what your house or any part of the neighborhood looked like a few years ago?

Butterfield 2018

Google Maps has a feature that is kind of fun.  Google has a “time slider” that will show a range of about 6-10 years.Butterfield  Go to Google Maps and type the location’s name or address in the search bar in the top left corner and hit “Search.”  Click on the “Street View” picture.  Once the image loads, you will see a black box in the top-left corner. There is a month and year timestamp next to the clock, click that.  A box will drop down and show a slider on the bottom (see picture to right).  You can move the slider to select a different month and year to view.


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My most asked question. It’s taken the U.S. by storm. Most people know about ethnicity results which often come through an autosomal DNA test but there are other options as well and these options are currently on sale. Should you do it? The debate continues – with recent prosecutions aided by DNA, many question whether they should take the plunge.

mtDNA is a test that examines your mother’s line. This test examines your maternal ancestors only,  including their geographic origins. It can come in handy as women are often difficult to find with traditional records (they had few legal rights and thus were not recorded as frequently in history). Family Tree DNA is probably the most well know company to offer this test and their full sequence mtDNA test is on sale for $149 ($40 off) until August 31st. There are less expensive options as well.

Y-DNA is the second test that is unfamiliar to many. It examines your father’s line. The Y chromosome is passed from a father to his sons only. Testing the chromosome identifies the male’s paternal family line and can help determine your paternal surname as well as their geographic origins. This basic test is on sale now as well although it is recommended one complete the 67 marker test at a minimum(which in not currently on sale). is still the most popular autosomal DNA testing company with over 9 million people in their database. A good comparison chart of the various companies offering autosomal DNA testing can be found here. Most are currently running sales on these tests as well.

Should you do it? The New York Times recently published an article about genealogists cracking five more cold cases. In these examples the genealogist used an open-source DNA site called GEDMatch to find their matches. If you purchase a DNA test through or Family Tree DNA your results remain secure on their sites. But many people pull their DNA results from those sites and upload them to GEDMatch in hopes of finding additional matches. Personally I’m happy to see criminals put behind bars, but many are concerned that eventually medical insurance companies will collect this information which could result in denial of service or expensive rates. On the other hand, DNA is very easy to obtain and I know people who were adopted and have found their family through DNA testing and genealogical research. The debate continues and each person must evaluate the situation for themselves.

Genealogy News, Research helps

Updates in the world of genealogy

FamilySearch discontinues microfilm lending. National Archives court records now only available online. MyHeritage now provides free ethnicity reports.

2007_microfilm_readers_1697320296FamilySearch is discontinuing their microfilm lending on September 1, 2017. Microfilm will still be available at the library in Salt Lake City. The digitization process is taking less time than expected, with a projected completion in 2020. The change is driven because “he cost of duplicating microfilm for circulation has risen dramatically, while demand has decreased significantly,” says FamilySearch. See for more information.

MyHeritage now provides free ethnicity reports to all who upload their DNA results. Previously they only provided DNA matching. Visit

National Archives closed bankruptcy, civil, criminal, and court of appeals case files now only available online.