Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 4th and Canada Day Special - Save $300!

To commemorate July 4th and Canada Day, for the next 5 days is offering our $995 Research Package for only $695 -- a $300 savings!  This offer is valid through July 6, 2015 for any new research project.

For only $695, we will provide 10+ hours of research.  We will provide digital results of everything we find as well as a calendar/log showing our searches.

Now is an excellent time to take advantage of the resources of world's largest family history research firm to add to your family's stories and history.  We have over 1,200 professional genealogists, historians, DNA experts, university professors, scholars, and archivists working worldwide in over 2,500 archives around the globe.  Our experts access and analyze the over 90% of family history records that are not yet online.

We provide high quality family history research services with prices customized to your specific research needs.  

To take advantage of this holiday special, purchase on or before before July 6, 2015 by going by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We  look forward to helping you make this holiday weekend  one your family will remember for the rest of their  lives.

Note: Document fees may apply.  This offer cannot be used on any previously requested or in-process research.  Offer expires July 6, 2015.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Your Ancestors Think About Your Selfies

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Would They Find Our Modern-Day Pictures Bizarre?

As digital technology has evolved to take over practically every aspect of our relationships — from forming new friendships, to dating and even staying in touch with family members — it’s only natural for us to turn to our smartphone cameras to document and share our lives online in picture form.
And for better or worse, the fascination with the modern-day ‘selfie’ is still a strong one, especially with younger people.
What Your Ancestors Really Think About Your Selfies
Photo Credit: Ben K Adams via Compfight cc
If you aren’t familiar with the term, pop culture suggests that a ‘selfie’ is created when you take a picture of yourself with a smartphone or small camera for the purpose of sharing on social media. Some studies show this ‘selfie generation’ is linked to narcissism and could be detrimental to society as young people are turning more inward and growing less compassionate and aware of the bigger issues going on in the world.
This got us thinking that if our ancestors were alive today to witness our ‘selfie’ photography skills, they would probably find this behavior quite bizarre. And wouldn’t they also agree with experts that we’re now completely out of touch with life itself?

The Truth About Our Ancestors and Selfies

The truth is, selfies have been in existence since the first one was snapped back in 1839 by Philadelphia photographer, Robert Cornelius. Little did Robert know that this vintage daguerreotype photo would later evolve into what we now know as the modern-day selfie. Surprisingly, the first-ever selfie looks better than you’d think it would.
First Selfie from 1839
Photo credit: Library of Congress
Later in the 1900s, our ancestors got much more innovative with their self portraits as the first “mirror selfies” emerged, a trend we also find in the modern-day selfie.
And vintage selfies of our ancestors don’t stop there. In fact, the father of photo journalism, Mathew Brady, attempted to take a series of selfies with his photography equipment in the 19th century.
Mathew Brady Portrait
Photo credit: Library of Congress
Also, if we use the term ‘selfie’ a bit more loosely, you could say that the selfie was invented as far back as the 15th and 16th century when Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo created their own selfies sans camera. Rembrandt even sketched a selfie of his own — complete with the ‘fish lips’ pout that so many young people these days pose with in their own selfies.
Rembrandt Selfie Sketch
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps these innovative, famed artists from yesteryear were on to something long before the modern-day selfie emerged. Some of today’s psychology experts say that selfies aren’t necessarily linked to narcissism, but rather, self-exploration — an art form in and of itself.
But even though the selfie originated long before smartphone cameras came to be, it was much more difficult for your ancestors to create self portraits on their own given the photography equipment they had to use. Because of this, most of your family members from the Victorian era more than likely had their photos taken and processed professionally — a very time-consuming process.
And now, with over 1 million selfies being taken each day, it just goes to show how much easier technology has made it to take self portraits on our own and instantly share them with the world. The selfie won’t be going away anytime soon!
So what would your ancestors REALLY think about your selfies?
As you can see above, our ancestors were all about the selfie-taking, too! Perhaps our behavior wouldn’t be bizarre to them since they were familiar with this photography technique. In fact, if they were here today, we’re willing to bet they’d jump right in for a group selfie with the rest of the family!

Have you stumbled across selfies of your ancestors while conducting family history research? Let us know in the comments!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You Won’t Believe These Strange Deaths From the Victorian Era

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Your Victorian Ancestors Died in Some Truly Bizarre Ways

10 Strange Deaths from the Victorian Era
Photo Credit: Interiorrain via Compfight cc
In this day and age, death is feared more often than it is celebrated. But back in the Victorian era, even though death was still frightening to our ancestors, it was also glorified in some particularly morbid ways. Victorian era mourning photos that sometimes captured the corpses of the recently deceased amongst the living, are just one strange way our ancestors celebrated the death of their family members. And even though it was considered normal back then, it just seems creepy to us today. You may have even stumbled upon photos like these while researching your family history, only to be left feeling spooked!
In addition to their peculiar obsession with death and dying, some of our Victorian ancestors passed away under strange circumstances, as well.
These 10 bizarre deaths from the Victorian era will make you scratch your head in disbelief.

Unbelievably Strange Deaths From the Victorian Era

1.) Death by Eating Her Own Hair

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, doctors were baffled when a 30-year-old woman fell incredibly ill. They asked permission from relatives to carry out a post mortem in order to uncover the cause. They were shocked by what they found — a two-pound, sold lump of human hair. The hair caused ulceration of the stomach, resulting in this woman’s bizarre death in 1889.

2.) Death by Laughing

In 1893, a Laurel, Indiana farmer by the name of Wesley Parsons was joking around with friends when he couldn’t stop himself from fits of uncontrollable laughter. Mr. Parsons laughed nonstop for an entire hour, which then caused him to hiccup uncontrollably. This made him so exhausted, he keeled over.
Man Laughing in Victorian Era - Cabinet Card
Photo credit: tarastarlight

3.) Death by Corset

On October 22, 1844, Jane Goodwin fell ill while sitting in church. Some helpful church-goers decided to carry her to the sexton’s house where she died because her corset was too tightly laced. Jane was only 22.

4.) Death by Cat-Clawing

Back in 1870, a wealthy and eccentric Iranian woman was breeding and buying as many cats as she could handle. Unfortunately, a fire broke out in her home causing the woman’s beloved cats to become trapped behind a door. When her maids opened the door to set them free, the cats were so frightened by the fire, that they flew into the young maids, tearing, scratching and biting at them causing the women to die premature deaths.
Death by Cats Victorian Era
Photo credit: Illustrated Police News

5.) Death by Drunken Bear

In 1891 Russia, there was once a bear that had a taste for vodka. One day, the bear busted into a tavern where it snatched a keg of its favorite drink. The inn’s owner, Isaack Rabbanovitch, attempted to take back the keg from the bear, infuriating it to the point that it hugged Mr. Rabbanovitch to death, as well as his two sons and daughter. The bear also met its demise that day when it was shot by villagers.

6.) Death by Dentures

According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Edwin Clayton died in 1904 when he accidentally swallowed his false teeth. A doctor found that the teeth were caught behind the claque of his throat. The location of the teeth made Mr. Clayton vomit and the fluid wound up in his lungs, suffocating him.
Photo credit: Evanion Collection
Photo credit: Evanion Collection

7.) Death by Dubious Dumplings

In 1868, the wealthy Eliza Coulson fell to her death after feasting on dubious dumplings and beef that had gone bad. Though food poisoning still occurs today, deaths such as these are not as common thanks to federal food laws and regulations.

8.) Death by Passion

Back in 1889, Sarah Ann Koyton got into a quarrel with her neighbor over a washing line. Because Sarah was so passionate and excited about her cause, she ended up dying suddenly due to what could’ve been high blood pressure.
Victorian Women Fighting Clothesline
Photo credit: Early Pics

9.) Death by Coffin

Henry Taylor‘s cause of death is as ironic as it is strange. Mr. Taylor, a pall bearer for London’s Kensal Green Cemetery, was midway through a funeral when he tripped and fell to the ground. As this happened, the other pall bearers weren’t able to hold the coffin and it fell on Mr. Taylor, killing him in 1872. According to the Illustrated Police News, “the greatest confusion was created amongst the mourners who witnessed the accident, and the widow of the person about to be buried nearly went into hysterics.”

10.) Death by Pig-Mauling

Unfortunately, children aren’t exempt from death. And in this case, a child namedMullins was mauled by a pig, which caused him to die on December 2, 1873. Even more bizarre? According to the Yorkshire Post, this untimely death was preceded by another fatal pig-mauling accident at the same location, in the same month.
Victorian Era Pig Illustration
Photo credit:
Have you stumbled upon any strange deaths of your ancestors while researching your family’s history? Let us know in the comments!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top Resources for Finding Your Scottish Ancestors

Where to Find Your Scottish Ancestors – Guest Article by Christine Woodcock, Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland

Scottish Genealogy Top Resources for Finding Scottish Ancestors
Photo Credit: postaletrice via Compfight cc
For those of us fortunate enough to have ancestors with Scottish heritage, researching is a fairly easy task. Knowing where to look is usually where we get tied up. Following these hints should help.
Remember: If you ever get stuck or have any questions, professional help from the largest research firm in the world is only a phone call (888-509-1130) or email ( away.

Getting Started Researching Your Scottish Ancestors

First, you need to know where in Scotland your ancestors lived. If you don’t know this, try reaching out to others. You can do this by visiting the following websites.
FamilySearch – FamilySearch is free to use and you can start by researching genealogies already submitted herePlease remember that you still need to check the actual records and documents for yourself to make sure that you are researching the correct family.
GenesReunited –  This is by far the best place to connect with others that are researching your same ancestors. Upload your Gedcom and let the smart match filters connect you with others who are researching your ancestors. The connections you make will be distant family members. The subscription for the year is £20.20 ($31.67usd), but you do not need to subscribe to search the records. A basic membership is all you need so that you can be matched up with others and discover where your ancestors lived.
ScotlandsPeople – Once you know what part of Scotland your ancestors were from, you need to visit the this website. ScotlandsPeople is for the records of the General Register (GRO). Their website is the repository for all official documents: birth, marriage, death, census, wills and testaments.
Some tips on using
  • ScotlandsPeople is a pay-per-view site, so be prepared. You can purchase 30 credits for £7. It is one credit to view the index and five additional credits to view the image of the record. So, 6 credits to get to that point. Credits are purchased in bundles of 30 and are good for one year from the date of purchase. So, if you purchase 30 credits on May 1, they will last you until April 30 of next year. If in June, you decide to give genealogy up for the summer and have 4 credits left, when you resume your research in September, you can add 30 credits to your existing 4 and you will then have 34 credits for one year from September! (Just like roll-over minutes on a phone plan!)
  • Civil Registration didn’t start until 1855. Before that date, you need to look at the Old Parish Registers (OPRs). Find that link on the left hand side of the website and enter the data fields. You will get very little information from the OPRs, so don’t be too disappointed.
  • Census & Birth records are accessible to the public after 100 years. On the birth records, you will find the maiden name of the mother, which will help you to build her family tree (again, check for her family on the census returns under her maiden name and you will come up with her siblings as well). You will also find the date and place of marriage for the parents of the new baby. This will give you the information you need to proceed with searching marriage records.
  • Marriage Records are accessible after 75 years. On the marriage record, you will find the names for each partner’s parents, the occupation of each partner and for each father. Because of the information available, marriage records will always get you one generation back.
  • Death Records are accessible after 50 years. The death records will list the name of the deceased, including her maiden name in the event of a woman’s death, the name of the spouse, the place and cause of death. It will also give you some indication of the length of the illness that caused the death in the event that it was from anything other than old age.
Visiting these websites will give you a good start in researching your Scottish Ancestors. Once you are ready to start adding details to the lives of your ancestors, you can check the records available on other websites like Ancestry (UK) and Findmypast (UK). Here you can search military records, occupation records, education records, passenger lists, passport applications and other documents.
I wish you the best of luck as you start your quest to discover all that you can about your Scottish ancestors, and your own Scottish heritage in the process.
About Christine:
Blogger and lecturer Christine Woodcock is the Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland

You can also use the following list of additional Scottish ancestry resources from Crestleaf to help aid you in your search.

How to Find Your Scottish Ancestors: Scottish Genealogy Resources

Scottish Census Records

Scottish Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Scottish Church & Parish Records

Scottish Military Records & Information

Scottish Immigration/Emigration Records & Passenger Lists

 Scottish Surname/Forename Search & Meanings

Scottish Publications, Archives, Libraries and Collections 

Scottish Graveyards & Burial Indexes 

Scottish Genealogical & Family History Societies & Associations

Other Great Scottish Genealogy Resources 

Are we missing some Scottish genealogy resources? Let us know about them in the comments! 
This entry was originally posted by Crestleaf in Genealogy RecordsGenealogy ResourcesGenealogy Tips and tagged  on June 2, 2015 by 

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