Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Generating Income with Family History

Back in June my husband's back finally gave out and he has been unable to work since the last of October. The plan was for me to get a job and bring in enough to supplement his service retirement check. I started looking, but my GERD got totally out of hand and I realized that every time I went to work my stomach would start giving me fits to the point there were times I had to leave work. The more I thought about needing to find a job the worse my stomach got. Almost 2 months ago I started looking for something I could do at home and bring in extra money. I discovered blogging and Google AdSense. I realized I could use my love for genealogy and my love of writing together with Google AdSense and maybe make enough to keep us going until my husband officially retires in 2 years.

I did a little, well, actually I've been doing a lot of research on different ways to generate income from the blogs (I have 3 main blogs) and family history. I found out that Family History is a big business now and many people are earning income from their passion for family history. According to a telephone survey, about 60% of the United States population is engaged in genealogy, and genealogy has become the number one hobby in the United States. On the Internet you can find 7.2 million hits for "genealogy" and 1.8 million hits for "family history."

This is great, but my AdSense wasn't going anywhere and I needed to give it time to grow, so I looked into affiliate programs, and I have 3 companies I'm affiliated with. Still not getting much of anywhere, and as you can tell I get impatient.

One day I was in the forum (Work At Home Moms) and discovered a way to actually make some money while I write my blogs. Actually get paid after I write my post. Last week I earned $20, and the only thing holding me back is landing assignments. Go ahead and check out Bloggitive and Blogsvertise see what you think of their programs.

I haven't stopped looking for ways to bring in income because $20 a week really isn't enough to take up the slack. So, I have continued to look for ways for me to bring in more income doing the things I really like to do such as genealogy and writing. I came accross Helium Knowledge. It's a site where those who like to write can make some money and indulge their love of words and knowledge.

In the beginning I looked into paid surveys, mystery shopping, reading e-mails, ect. They just weren't programs I could work with, but there are people who make them work and are able to earn a living from those programs.

I've done party plans before, and I enjoyed it, but for some reason (probably because I spent too much money on my own wares) I couldn't make money at them. I looked at some party plans on the net and thought about it, but decided that although others could make money that way, I would be unlikely to do so myself.

I'm still looking and thinking. Earning that $20 has given me hope that with hard work I'll be able to make these programs work for me.

Dale L. Edwards

Friday, August 25, 2006

Court Records for Familly History

Court records, property records, and vital records are considered primary records and are a good source of information about our ancestors. There are many different kinds of court and vital records. We all know how important vital records are, well court records and land records are just as important as vital records. Wouldn't you like to know what kind of property your ancestors owned? How about a will for that ancestor you've been looking for? Did your ancestor sue anyone? Was there someone who sued him? These are all questions that can be answered by court and land records.

Before we can search the court and land records we need to know where your ancestor was born, where he lived, and where he died. To get this type of information we start with the census. Preferrably start with a census that has a soundex index, not all censuses are indexed. The 1880 census is online at the Family Search site. has most if not all of the censuses online, but you need to be a member to use their records. If you can afford to do this it's well worth it. Start with the location you know farthest back in time. In other words, if you know where your grandfather was born, but don't know where his parents were born,that would be the first location you would start searching for records.

Now, if the court record was historically important, you'll find much more information on it than if the proceedings were a common everyday occurance law suit. As an example lets take the story of a woman who was widowed in the 9/11 attack. I'm sure you've heard about the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund which was created for those who lost loved ones in the attack. She hired a lawyer to help her make her claim. The way the fund was set up lawyers weren't supposed to charge the families of the victims for their help, or at least not gouge them. The lawyer she hired filed a suit in a federal court for $2M to cover his fees for representing her. She has hired Simmons Jannace & Stagg to defend her against the lawsuit. Her lawyers argued the Compensation Fund didn't give the federal court jurisdiction over a dispute between the lawyer and his client and the federal court agreed to abstain until if and when the state court finished its investigation into the lawyer's fees. This is a benchmark case because the federal court abstained from exercising their jurisdiction while the state court tried their case. I have a feeling that alot of papers and articles are going to be written about this case before its conclusion. Which will be good for genealogists who come along later looking for information about their relatives.

I have a colleague that reasearches each person in her line extensively and has umpteen spiral binders, not the little ones, either, but the big 2" to 3 " binders packed with information on the individuals she has researched. Those binders are a personal history all by themselves. Anything she can find with the ancestor's name on it she copies and puts in a sheet protector
to place in her binder for that family. Wouldn't it be something to come accross a binder like that with your greatgrandparents information?

Legal papers are primary source materials. Even legal documents can have errors, but if you find the same information in several different places, you can be pretty sure you have the right information, unless they all copied from the incorrect original.

Questions and comments are very welcome. Hope this helps you in your search for your ancestors.

Dale L. Edwards

Monday, August 21, 2006

Google Accessible Search Engine

I found a search engine that I really like. It's called Google's Accessible Search and is in beta testing right now. Accessible uses Google's PageRank system and added an evaluation to determine how easy the web page is to use. This is a great step forward because Google has shown the ability to link PageRank to accessibility, and will make Accessible Search much more useful to a wider range of people.

I found the results interesting when I used the search term "family history," because Accessible returned no American website on the first page. The Cleveland Family History Society was #2 on the second page with 2 more before the end of the page. Google has no international on the first return page and only 2 international sites on the second page.

"Flowers" was the next search term I used, and again I found that Accessible had more international results (Google had none on the first page). Only 3 American companies showed up on the first page and a company from the UK had the first position.

Why is the difference so great between the two search engines? Accessible searches for sites that use Web Standards, and are in compliance with Web Accessibility Guidelines. In fact I learned that 2 of the 3 American companies on Accessible's "flowers" first return page used the same search engine marketing firm.

The next search term I used was "online marketing" and both Google and Accessible had USWeb as #1 on the first return page. I used "Internet marketing" as my next search term and USWeb was #2 on Accessible and #8 on Google.

It would make a lot of sense for Google to use these guidelines in their main search engine. A website that uses Accessible Search Guidelines is using a road map to a better site. When I am looking for a search engine marketing firm, USWeb's track record makes it the one I would choose.

Governement and education websites already comply with the Accessible Search Guidelines.

The link to a site that explains the guidelines is in the Link section to the right along with the link to Accessible Search. Go ahead and try it out and compare the two search engines.

Dale L. Edwards

Friday, August 18, 2006 and Family History is stuffed with interesting links and articles on genealogy. They have articles on how to get started, what to look for in a cemetery, how to find information about your ancestor in the military, even how to do a tombstone rubbing, and many more.

Here are some links inside with interesting articles and links:

Genealogy Conferences and Events
Links and information for some of the largest and best known conferences and events in genealogy.

Genealogy Blogs - Family History News & Web Logs on the Internet
Stay current with the world of online genealogy with these fun and interesting genealogy blogs.

About Genealogy A-Z - Family Tree Resources by Topic and Location
Find the genealogy resources you need fast with this A-Z directory of family tree resources, organized alphabetically by topic.

Genealogy Software Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons - Family Tree Software Reviews
Check out this great assortment of genealogy software reviews and ratings.

Genealogical and Historical Societies
Learn more about or join one of these well-respected genealogical organizations

Genealogy Clipart & Graphics - Family Tree Art for Websites and Family History Books
Looking for graphics for your personal genealogy Web site or a family history book, newsletter or project?

Genealogy Search - Tips and Strategies for Genealogy Search
Learn how to find your family tree on the Internet with these tips for advanced genealogy searching.

Genealogy Hoaxes Scams Myths and Frauds - Protecting Yourself From Genealogy Schemes
Learn to protect yourself with these links to common genealogy scams, hoaxes, frauds and myths including fake coat of arms, phony inheritance and estate scams, fraudulent genealogy software and services, misleading family surname books and more.

This is just a sampling of what you can find at There are no surname lists here. They give you links to sites that do have surname lists and many other sites that are interesting to genealogists.

Happy hunting,
Dale L. Edwards

Friday, August 11, 2006

Family Tree Magazine

Family Tree Magazine's website is a wealth of information. They have some of the best free genealogy forms I've seen. I found this site when I was looking for free genealogy forms online. At the Homepage you can Subscribe, Renew your subscription, give the magazine as a Gift, access the Tool Kit, Article Archive, Marketplace, Current Issue, Back Issues, Special Issues, and the Bookstore. There is even a pop-up offering a free copy of the Family Tree Magazine.

The Tool Kit Page

This page includes links to:

Ethnic Tools
Includes web sites, books, organizations, other resources, and essential tips to help you explore your ethnic heritage. Presently there are 42 ethnic toolkits ranging from African-American to Welsh. There are more being added all the time.

Web Exclusive
This information isn't available in their Family Tree Magazine. You can submit your unidentified photographs to a noted genealogist specializing in photograph identification. Browse photographs already examined. Index of questions others have asked with the answers. Don't find the answer you're looking for, send in your question to receive and answer. Nancy Hendrickson of supplies new and helpful ways to do your online genealogy research. Included is access to her prior columns. You can check to see if Family History Tree Experts are coming to your area, and when they will arrive. They have a Site of the Day featuring a site their experts pick as an informative and well-designed site with archives.

Download Forms
Family Tree Magazine's free genealogical forms will help you organize and access your research, and are available in PDF format as well as text format. They have forms for general research, people or families, census, tombstones and artifacts, books, and articles.

The Bookstore
Carries Betterway Books. Subjects are, Start your research right, Computer-based genealogy, Create a written legacy, Keeping in touch with the family, Fascinating details from every era, Discovering your Ancestors series, and Scrapbooking. A different book is featured each week.

Soundex Generator
The Soundex Generator converts surnames into the soundex code. The soundex is a way to find your ancestors even if they are spelled differently from what you're looking for. Lets take 3 variations of Growel, the way my maternal grandfather spelled the name; Growel, Growell, and Growl. Growel comes out G-640, Growell is also G-640, and Growl also comes out as G-640. I can just hear you asking yourselves, why on earth would I want to do that? Well, this code is used in the later census indexes to help find our ancestors. As another example, lets say Janzen is recorded as Johnson because the town clerk doesn't speak German, and the German father doesn't speak, read, or understand English. So, we're looking for Johnson, because that is now our family's legal name. Do you think we'll find the family? This is where the soundex comes in because Janzen and Johnson both have a code of J-525. Try it for yourself.

Resource Guide
The Resource Guide Supersearch is designed to help you find the answers to genealogy questions.

Writing Workshops
Fundamentals of Lifestories Writing and Focus on the Personal/Family Memoir are workshops presented online to work on whenever you have the time.

Family Tree News
The Family Tree News Service is a wire service that sends free e-mails with genealogy news.

Free e-mail newsletter.

Not everything on Family Tree Magazine website is free, but there is loads of free stuff here. You can spend many hours mining this site for all its nuggets. They are also continually adding content, so we won't be done with this site any time soon.

Dale L. Edwards

Monday, August 07, 2006

RootsWeb Resources

RootsWeb is a free site. When going into the site, an ad shows up that will take you to, which supports RootsWeb. and is not free. If you want to use RootsWeb, scroll down to the list of links they have further down the page, or if you want to search the family trees click on Family Trees in the top menu.

Getting Started

Getting Started at RootsWeb is an overview of the services available at RootsWeb.

Ancestry Tour gives information about This link also connects with their free trial offer. The free trial is for 14 days.

RootsWeb Review Archives is a data base of all the editions of the newsletter from 1998 to 2006.

Subscribe takes you to the Newsletter Management Center. You can subscribe to their free newsletters and search the archives.

What's New is a list of all new databases added to RootsWeb.

Search Engines and Databases

Search the RSL DataBase includes adding and editing your surnames, problem solving as well as a place to search for surnames.

SearchThingy is just that, a place to go to search in RootsWeb.

Social Security Death Index is a place to search for SS numbers for your deceased relatives that had a SS number. The Railroad Retirement is also included. If you don't find your relative in the database it's probably because they didn't have a SS number or there was no claim made against the account.

Town Search takes you to a place to search for town record databases.

USGenWeb Archives searches all the USGenWeb archives.

Index of all Search Engines and Databases is just what it says it is.

Family Trees (WorldConnect) is your entry into the family trees where you can search, add your genealogy, edit your files, connect with others researching your line, add comments by way of post-its, and learn the history of WorldConnect.

Mailing Lists Index is a way to browse all the lists that are available.

Requests for Mailing Lists Don't see a list you'd like to belong to? Here is where you can request a new list start and adopt an old list if there is one adoptable for what you want. Gives you the rules and responsibilities of a list administrator.

Message Board Homepage contains a way to search or browse the lisings.

Requests for Message Boards requests sign-in before using.

Research Templates

They have search areas for surnames, USA, countries, and a plact to link your site to RootsWeb.


Register your website at RootsWeb gives you a way to link your website to RootsWeb.

Free website at RootsWeb, to apply fill out this form.

This is just a sampling of what you can find at RootsWeb. I can spend hours at this site and just scratch the surface.

Dale L. Edwards