Vote for Your Favorite Genealogy Blogs!

Once again, Family Tree Magazine has announced the nominees for the “40 Best Genealogy Blogs” for 2011.  And once again, I’m honored to be in the running – thanks for anyone who nominated What’s Past is Prologue.  There are many great genealogy blogs on the list!  The voting polls close at midnight on December 20th, so head on over to the voting page where you can choose 5 nominees in the following categories: Everything, Cemeteries, Technology, Heritage Groups, Research Advice/How-to, Local/Regional Research, New Blogs, and My Family History.  Results will be announced in the magazine’s July 2011 issue.

Psst…What’s Past is Prologue is in the “My Family History” category!  If you’re a fan, please cast a vote!


Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs – Thanks for Voting for Me!

What’s Past is Prologue has been named one of Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs!  Many thanks to all of my readers and friends who voted for me.  It is truly an honor to be recognized.  I am also honored to be in the company of the other 39 Best – for they truly are the very best that genea-blogging has to offer.  Visit Family Tree Magazine’s site and read the names and descriptions of all of the Fab Forty!  Thanks also to Family Tree Magazine’s managing editor, Diane Haddad, and Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, who wrote the article about the Top 40 and said such nice things about all of us.

Fact or Fiction? Only Research Will Tell!

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.  ~ John F. Kennedy

In the current issue (December 2008) of Discovering Family History magazine, I have an article entitled “Fact or Fiction?  Top Genealogical Myths.”  I define a “genealogical myth” as a dramatic family history story that is often untrue, and if we fall into the trap of believing in it, it may bring our research to a halt. I’m not going to reprint the article here as I’m sure my editors would like you all to purchase a copy of the magazine while it’s on the newstands, but I would like to briefly list the myths included.

  • The “Name was Changed at Ellis Island” Myth – in which the immigrant’s “ethnic name is changed upon arrival in America!
  • The “Our Family Hid from the Census” Myth – which is why they’re nowhere to be found in the records!
  • The “Stowaway” Myth – in which the brave immigrant traveled to America “illegally” and unnoticed by authorities!
  • The “Name’s Not Spelled That Way” Myth – in which the family surname absolutely, positively was never spelled any other way!
  • The “If They’re Not in the SSDI, They Don’t Have a Social Security Number” Myth  – in which we take the various SSDI online databases as gospel!
  • The “Famous Ancestor” Myth – in which you are descended from royalty, outlaws, or some other famous figure because Grandpa said so!
  • The “There Were No Records Back Then” Myth – in which you have no hope of finding any ancestors because either all the records were destroyed or they just didn’t keep any!

That’s a sneak peak, but there are several other good genealogical myths like the story of the three brothers that came to America and settled in different areas, or the story about the family inheritance that’s waiting to be found.  In my own personal genealogical quest I had to deal with three of the myths listed above.  The stories were persistent, but, to quote JFK, unrealistic.  A good, determined  researcher will find the truth.  And trust me, there really were some stowaways!  But not all of us are lucky enough to have one in our family tree.  If you do have one, good research will help you prove it!

New Genealogy Magazine

Well, the news is finally public! Halvor Moorshead is starting a brand new genealogy magazine in addition to Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. The new magazine is entitled Discovering Family History and will hit the newsstands in April. But, you can view a free “preview” at the website and download a 56-page preview issue in PDF format. I have an article in the first issue (which is also in the free download) on genealogical societies. Although this new magazine is aimed at beginners, as most genealogists eventually discover – we’re always learning new things. Check out the preview issue and see if you’ll want to add another subscription to your mailbox.