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Take the hassle out of backing up your genealogy research

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on November 28th, 2016

a5b10507f0af29fd17ee2f61398df933I’m putting together a library program about how genealogists can use technology.  In the process of doing research I found the website  (produced by MyHeritage) and thought the information about it worth passing on.

If you are like me, you don’t think about backing up your genealogy research as much as you should.  Back Up My Tree is free and takes care of the work for you.  You just need to sign up, upload your tree to the Cloud, and you are done.  The service does automatic back-up’s after that so you don’t have to remind yourself to keep up with the process – the website will do it for you.  Because your information is kept in the Cloud it is protected from loss/damage.  Also, the site is well-encrypted so you shouldn’t have to be concerned about the information being hacked.  Right now you can back-up as many sites as you want.  And, you can take your information off the site anytime you want – you can contact the site and they will delete your trees.

If you are a bit of a cynic about “free” as I am, the website is very straight-forward about saying that its ultimate goal will be to provide a pro version in the future which you will be able to purchase for a small fee.  However, they also say that you will also be able to stay with the free version.  That makes sense and since the site is produced by MyHeritage, a well-known genealogy resource, I am comfortable recommending its use.

There are two negatives:

  1. Right now the resource only works for Microsoft operating systems.  I do all of my genealogy research on my Mac so it won’t help me!  However, the site also says that if enough people request it, they will provide a Mac version.
  2. Right now the site will not back-up photographs but plan to “in the near future”. I have a fair number of those on my family tree right now so my preference will be to wait until they do provide back-up for photos.

You can find the website at – make sure to check out the FAQs page – they addressed all of the questions that I had.  Definitely read the FAQ “What makes Back up My Tree better than other sites?” – it helped convince me that this was a resource worth mentioning.  Happy research!

NY Public Library Digital Collections

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on November 18th, 2016

nypl-digitalcollections-620a3d58-fe41-dc81-e040-e00a18060f0c-001-wIf your genealogy research includes New York City, make sure that you check out the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections which can be found here.

The collection includes a wonderful array of photographs ranging across the history of New York City.  Of particular interest to genealogists will be the photos of apartment houses and streets.  If you have the address of where your ancestors lived in New York, you might also be able to find photographs of those locations.

If you scroll down the home page you will also discover many curated collections of photographs around topics like “Maps and Atlases” or “Book Art and Illustrations”.  At the bottom of the page is a section titled “Explore Further” which I would recommend checking out since it leads to a whole array of visual image collections across the country.

The Collection is also just fun to browse.  You can filter topics by keyword including such as public figures, history, women, cities & towns, arts, dresses.  New collections and items are added every day, making this website well worth going back to on a regular basis.  Additionally, you can order copies of images that you find that are of particular interest.

Happy research!

The PRDH-IGD – a database for French Canadian researchers

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on November 4th, 2016

index1_01If you have French Canadian ancestors that you are researching, consider checking out the genealogy database developed by the University of Montreal.  Called the PRDH-IGD  (Le Programme de recherche en demographie historique or The Research Program in Historical Demography) the database was developed as an “exhaustive reconstruction of the population of Quebec from the beginnings of French colonization in the seventeenth century.”  You can find the site here.

From the PRDH-IGD website:   [The PRDH-IGD] has been realized in the form of a computerized population register, composed of biographical files on all individuals of European ancestry who lived in the St. Lawrence Valley. The file for each individual gives the date and place of birth, marriage(s), and death, as well as family and conjugal ties with other individuals. This basic information is complemented by various socio-demographic characteristics drawn from documents: socio-professional status and occupation, ability to sign his or her name, place of residence, and, for immigrants, place of origin.

The site is an incredible wealth of information about individuals who lived in Canada from 1621 to 1849, based in large part on parish registers.  There are two disadvantages to the site: 1) you have to pay to look at specific records and 2) much of the site is in French.  However, as someone with no French, I have still been able to use the site extensively so I would not let the language issue stop you if you are interested.

Why is the site so helpful?  It includes the maiden names of women, the names of children, and it includes familial relationships.  When you are researching a fairly common French name like Joseph Doucet, having the names of spouses and children tied to a specific individual is invaluable in helping you sort out generations.  It also connects individuals to specific parishes which is very useful if you have information about where your family lived.

You purchase a specific number of “hits” on the site.  So, for about $21 US you have access to 125 hits.  A hit is a specific record of an individual or couple that you open up for more detailed information.  If you decide to use the PRDH my suggestion is to print off every record you open so that you don’t end up opening them more than once and wasting your money.

Happy research!

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