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Sep 17, 2011

Published Sept 17, 2011

Everyone has a special name for grandparents in their family.  In ours we have Nanna, Grandma, and even Pat-Pat.  I look forward to the day my grandson Davy calls me Grandma.  While I wait, tell me the unusual terms of endearment used in your family for grandparents.  Email or leave a voice mail and be included on the show:  (925) 272-4021


Listen to the episode:



FamilySearch has added millions of new records of both Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War. Also now available for viewing are newly added notarial records from Canada, church records and civil registrations from Mexico, and records from England.

From the UK National Archives: The UK National Archives announced that has just released 1 million Merchant Navy seamen records, dating from 1918 to 1941. 

Useful guides at the UK National Archives website to help with your research into merchant seamen.


Apprenticeship records
Over half a million records of apprentices have been added to the site.  They cover Scotland, England & Wales during the years 1710-1811.

To learn more about apprenticeship records, check out the TNA Research Guide to Apprenticeship Records


Australian military records
You can now access the records of Australian soldiers who fought in the Great War free at the National Archives of Australia website.

If your relative was an Australian soldier, the Office of Australian War Graves at the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs website offers free photographs of Australian solder’s graves.


Our wonderful sponsor RootsMagic is offering 2 new webinars absolutely free.  


What's New in Personal Historian 2

Creating a Shareable CD with RootsMagic

If the webinars don’t fit your schedule they will be posting a recording of the class on their website at  that you can watch at your convenience absolutely free!  And it stays free – it doesn’t disappear in a month.  I love that about the RootsMagic webinars!


Lisa’s Upcoming Speaking Engagements: 

9/25/11 - Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA

10/7 & 8/11 - Northern California Family History Expo, San Mateo, CA

10/21/11 - Waterloo Iowa Public Library Webinar

10/22/11 - Webinar for the Hayden Idaho Family History Center Fall Family History Seminar

10/29/11 - Victoria Genealogical Society Seminar, Victoria, British Columbia

11/11 & 12/11 - Georgia Family History Expo, Duluth, GA

Feb 2 – 4, 2012 – RootsTech, Salt Lake City, UT



As you’ll remember I had an interesting conversation with DearMYRTLE in Episode 117 about the abbreviation FL that showed up in podcast listener Dot’s family history research. She was wondering what it stood for, and DearMYRTLE was intrigued as well so she did a bit of investigation on it which we discussed in the show. Well several of you wrote in with your thoughts on the subject:

Sean writes:
“My first thought was that the abbreviation would stand for "found living" and it sort of makes sense based on the discussion.  Finding this abbreviation in research could provide an important clue to narrow down when and where a person lived.”

And Dot chimed in with:
“Rob and I do however think there is a time when it is handy for genealogists to use it. If you don’t have birth and death dates, we think that  instead of having nothing, fl. gives you dates  as a rough guide as to when the ancestor lived  and you can always extend the dates once more information is found.”

Dave wrote in with a different take:
“It does refer to someone’s “productive” time, but typically it refers the time that someone is known to have practiced their profession.   Usually, it is used when no biographical information exists…In genealogy, it is less likely that this kind of sourcing is useful, since the person is tied, biologically, to a time and place.  We know the age ranges for life events, so we can guess better. That said, it is very useful to be able to interpret information of this kind.”

It’s always nice to hear when the gems I talk about here on the show sparkle in your own research.  Tina wrote in recently to share not one but two examples:

“I just wanted to thank you for putting the idea into my head that Paula Sassi might be able to contribute something to my knowledge about a relative…  I gave her a bit of background to the handwriting I submitted and she came back with insights and suggestions in areas that I hadn't mentioned, but nonetheless knew or suspected - all astonishingly accurate.  I am just so grateful to her - and to you!”

“And can I give you another thank you?  This is an old one, but still the most useful tip I think I have ever had: go back and look at original documents again, and again, and again.  Each time I do so, I seem to notice something I had missed the first few times, or now meant more because I had more information.  Invaluable.  Thank you!”


Thomas On Facebook asked about using children’s sidewalk chalk as a mediaum to read gravestones better.

Lisa says: Tombstone rubbing is a touchy subject and there is no concensus on the matter.  Some people are against rubbing any substance on a tombstone because each one reduces the clarity of the stone. Certainly the chalk wouldn't harm it, but the application could.  Be  careful to check with the local authorities at the cemetery to get permission if you decide to go forward. My preference is to take multiple photograph and manipulate them with an editing program to alter the light, contrast and sharpeness which can often reveal what can't be seen with the naked eye.

Watch the video I produced for Family Tree Magazine called  "Grave Transformation"

iGoogle Changes
Being the Genealogy Google Guru has some challenges.  It seems like as soon as I tell you about something Google is doing, or publish a tutorial video or article Google goes and changes everything.  Like the Google News Timeline which bit the dust recently. Well all iGoogle hasn’t been immune to that constant change and after some serious hair pulling Pam wrote in asking for help. She says:

“My iGoogle page has changed in the last week. The whole left side is different but I can't remember what was there before.”

Lisa answers:
The only significant change I see is that "add stuff" link has been removed and now is an "add gadgets" button on the left above the tab names.  If you don't see your tabs it's because the are now retractable.  There is a little arrow that hides and reveals the tabs column.


GEM:  PERSI with Allison Stacy of Family Tree Magazine
As you know in addition to the Genealogy Gems Podcast I also produce and host the monthly Family Tree Magazine Podcast for my friends at Family Tree Magazine.  In the September 2011 episode I recorded a segment with Allison Stacy the publisher of Family Tree Magazine about PERSI at Heritage Quest Online. 

My guess is that you’ve heard of PERSI but maybe it’s been a long time since you checked it out or maybe you’ve never gotten around to searching this incredible database. It’s been ages for me, so I really enjoy chatting with Allison about it and it really reminded me what a goldmine it is. 


GEM: Another Free Transcription Software Program
A big hat tip to podcast listener Phil Rowly who wrote in to share a gem he spotted recently. Phil writes:

“I keep a regular eye on some of the best sites covering freeware and I've recently noticed another piece of transcription software - with the advantage of being free - which is specifically aimed at transcribing data in tabular - rather then free-form - layout. The resulting data is then saved as a csv file, which can be imported into a wide range of standard programs for further analysis &c - eg Excel, Word, databases, etc.”


Transcript 2.3 

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, it was episode #39

GenScriber is a desktop application, designed for transcribing genealogy documents from images of census registers, church/parish records etc. and was designed to be easy to use.

No installation is required. Just unzip and run it. You can even run it from a pendisk.  There are versions for Linux and Windows, and it’s free for personal and non-commercial use