Genealogy Blog

Arborglyphs as a Genealogical Resource

30 May 2012

Since I started genealogical research more than two decades ago, I have run across many different types of record sources. Starting with the traditional paper records of governments and churches, I gradually learned about other records that could be helpful. Craftsmen made cabinets and other types of furniture that can provide research clues. Women created needlepoints and quilts that often told family stories. D. Brenton Simons edited an entire book, The Art of Family, that discusses genealogy and material culture.

In Evidence Explained, Elizabeth Shown Mills explains that “Citation is an art, not a science.” There follows almost 750 pages of examples (more…)

Remembering Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

25 May 2012

The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is a nonprofit that provides support to the families of military personnel from Massachusetts who lost their lives in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. Since 2010, they have sponsored an installation in the Boston Common.

Flag Garden

This year, hundreds of volunteers worked to put together the Boston Common Memorial Day Flag Garden. It contains more than 33,000 flags; one for each Massachusetts man or woman who died in military service from the Civil War to today. The garden sits on the side of Flagstaff Hill, on a lawn that slopes down from Boston’s Soldiers and (more…)

American Legacies Study

23 May 2012

The Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America just conducted an “American Legacies Study.” It was a follow-up to a 2005 study. This one surveyed baby boomers (individuals aged 47 to 66) and “elders (aged 72 and older). When the 2005 study was taken, the economy was in much better shape than it is today.

The questions concerned different aspects of legacy issues. Everything from financial and living will issues to family history. The most important legacy for baby boomers: “Family stories are very important to me for keeping my family history and memories alive.” 86 percent of respondents chose this. 75 (more…)


21 May 2012

Last week I posted about’s new AncestryDNA service. In that post I mistakenly stated that it was being done in partnership with 23andMe. The services are quite separate.



The testing provided by 23andMe can be divided into two categories: health and genealogy. Unlike other genetic genealogy testing groups, 23andMe incorporates family health history into their testing. Your results can give you information on possible drug response issues for 20 subjects, carrier status for 44 different conditions, 55 inherited traits, and potential risk for developing 118 diseases.

The ancestry testing includes not only Y-chromosome and mtDNA, but autosomal testing as well. The (more…)

Ancient Currency and Buying Power Convertor

18 May 2012

Probate records contain a great deal of information. Too often people stop at the will, and don’t explore other materials further. One of the most valuable parts of the administration of an estate for putting your ancestors in context is the inventory.

TNA Currency Conversion

As part of the administration, the executor, administrator, and/or other individuals are charged with tabulating the real and personal estate of the deceased. The real estate is comprised of the land and buildings thereon.

Personal estate consist of all of the things that can be taken from place to place: furniture, housewares, tools of the trade, clothing, etc. Personal estate is (more…)

Location, Location, Location

17 May 2012

When looking for your ancestors, researching the places they lived is at least as important as researching their lives individually. Many hidden clues can come to life by paying attention to local history.

In her book Know Your Ancestors: A Guide to Genealogical Research (Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1960), Ethel W. Williams states that “Michigan may well be called thei child of New York and the grandchild of New England, for in 1827 two-thirds of Michigan’s population were New Yorkers and New Englanders, and 85 percent of the pioneers of southwestern Michigan were ‘Yorkers.’ So, the family trees of their (more…)

Mocavo Raises $4 Million from Foundry Group

16 May 2012

Today, we are very excited to announce that we have finalized our Series A round of funding with an investment from Foundry Group. Along with this funding, our team welcomes the Foundry Group Managing Director, Seth Levine, to the Mocavo board of directors. We’re very excited about our future with the support that Seth and Foundry bring to the company.

Since our launch in March 2011, we have focused on creating the most engaging and social experience in the research of family history. We’ve already created a custom search engine focused in genealogy, an automated system to send undiscovered content to users, (more…)

FGS Conference Early Bird Registration Deadline Approaching

15 May 2012

The NGS conference is over, and now our thoughts turn to the end of Summer when the Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their annual conference. This year’s theme is Indians, Squatters, Settlers, and Soldiers in the “Old Southwest.” It will be held August 29 through September 1, 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama.

As always, there is a great program with dozens of interesting sessions. The keynote session should be very interesting. Jay Verkler, former president and CEO of FamilySearch will be speaking about “The Digital Future: It Still Take a Village.”

The exhibit hall will be jam-packed with a wide variety of vendors (more…) Announces New AncestryDNA Service

14 May 2012

One of the biggest announcements at this year’s NGS conference in Cincinnati was Ancestry’s new AncestryDNA service. This new offering increases testing dramatically, and hopes to help people identify more cousins. It will also work to link DNA results to records and trees in the database.


For those of you with little experience in DNA testing and genealogy, Y-chromosome DNA is passed down from your father. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from your mother. For this reason men cannot pass down mtDNA and women cannot pass down Y-DNA. Up to this point, testing for genealogical purposes has been limited to Y- (more…)

Happy Mother’s Day – We Have a Winner!

14 May 2012

Well folks, we’ve come to the end of our Remembering Mothers contest. We can’t thank you all enough for your participation! We received some amazing stories and whittled the finalists down to six. Those six submissions received hundreds of votes from our members. We are very pleased to congratulate our winner, Del Ritchhart! Del has won a trip for two to Boston MA to meet with Mocavo’s Chief Genealogist, Michael J. Leclerc.

Here is Del’s story:

When we had thunder and lightning I always knew I could find my grandmother sitting on the front porch. In fact, at the age of 5 or (more…)