Scott_J on FamilyTreeCircles - journals

Scott_J on Family Tree Circles

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Where can you turn to find information on your ancestors when the vital records from the town or county that you are looking in are simply gone?

A user posted a journal here with this scenario where the records were blown up (!).

I have a similar situation where apparently the records from Barnstable county here in Massachusetts were lost in a fire.

What are some other ways to get to this information?

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 4 months ago

Who Uses FamilyTreeCircles - 2015 Edition

Back at the end of 2011, I posted a chart of where familytreecircles visitors come from. You can see it here.

And here's an update...

The United States 27.5% Australia 25% New Zealand 23.3% The United Kingdom 11.5% Canada 4% Poland 1.6% South Africa 1.1% Ireland 0.8% India 0.7% Czech Republic 0.6% Germany 0.4% France 0.3% The Netherlands 0.2% The Philippines 0.2% Sweden 0.2% Spain 0.1% Russian Federation 0.1% Italy 0.1% Switzerland 0.1% Singapore 0.1% 100+ Others 0.2%

It's no surprise to me that Australia/New Zealand makes a strong showing here, and significant growth over 2011, thanks to some of our top users being from that part of the world, also evidence that they're the friendliest people in the world. :)


13 comment(s), latest 5 years, 3 months ago

What is a second or third cousin vs. a cousin once or twice removed?

There are charts to view, but does anyone have an easy to remember explanation of this, so that when you hear second cousin once removed, you know what it means intuitively?

18 comment(s), latest 5 years, 4 months ago

What's the correct way to cite a Facebook post, Tweet or other social media content as a source?

Or even a FamilyTreeCircles post! It's important to cite sources, of course. What's the best way to do that? Do you have a template that you use?

3 comment(s), latest 5 years, 4 months ago

How do you use the term née?

I always say it in my head, I think in the wrong direction (wrong name first). And is it a term that's commonly used when doing family history?

11 comment(s), latest 5 years, 3 months ago

Newsletter: Lookup Requests! ...and the first FamilyTreeCircles Digest

The following went to the FamilyTreeCircles email list today.

If you didn't receive it and would like to, you can subscribe here


We continue to invest in FamilyTreeCircles improvements, and the latest is a new post type for Lookup Requests. Most of the posts on FamilyTreeCircles are actually this, and by segmenting them, I think we can increase the quality of all posts.

We now have Journals, Questions, and Lookup Requests, all color coded so you can easily tell them apart in the various places to view posts. And if you have questions, lookup requests, or stories to share, please do!

Here are some posts from the past week. Is yours in here? It could be next week if you just ask.


Here's this week's featured question. Can you provide an answer?

What's the most interesting story in your family tree?

I've got a few mayflower ancestors, but none of those stories feel very unique or "real" to me. Maybe because they're so well known. Do you have a great story?

And here are some great questions from this past week...

What's the best piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their family tree research?

Are there any tools that they can't live without or blogs they need to read? How would you recommend they keep from getting overwhelmed?

kirbycraw , from Marshall, Calhoun, Michigan, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jul 2013.

My great grandfather was Thomas Smith Williams (1855-1935) and his family resided on "Broombank" farm back in the 1900's or earlier. His daughter Florence Grace Williams(Grace)had a son Leslie John Williams (Lesley on his birth certificate) - 10/5/12...

Looking for Alfred Pimm's arrival in NZ. It is thought he was in the British Merchant Navy.

My father in law Robert Hart was born in New Zealand. We only have his fathers name, Solomon Hart.I can,t find any birth records etc. I did find a Robert Hart, that was in the military file recordsfor WW1 N/N Army, but his birth date was 1889, which is 12 years earlier than we have. The rest of the record has a lot of coincidences. Birth date, 6/4,born Auckland, fathers name Solomon,trade or calling, farmers.these are all the same as info we already have on our Robert Hart! His hair colour was l...

Got Questions?

If you have any genealogy questions -- general questions, or specific lookup requests, post them on FamilyTreeCircles. The best questions will get sent out in the email digest each week.

And if you have answers, please help! Go here to see all the latest posts.


1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 3 months ago

What's the most interesting story in your family tree?

I've got a few mayflower ancestors, but none of those stories feel very unique or "real" to me. Maybe because they're so well known. Do you have a great story?

12 comment(s), latest 5 years, 4 months ago

What's next, and thank you!

Guys, it's just been a few days since the updates, but I just wanted to say how grateful I am for the activity recently.

In the past few weeks, we re-launched FamilyTreeCircles Answers. Basically, to create a place for people to ask questions about genealogy (rather than about a specific family member). My goal is to create something even more than the amazing journal content that we already have.

The first launch of this was lackluster and I was a bit nervous about a relaunch. I shouldn't have been, as I now see that it was more how I positioned it before than the willingness of people to ask and answer genealogy questions.

I sent out an email yesterday featuring a few of the recent questions. One was one that we just put here as an example:

What's the best piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their family tree research?

and the other one was by a user, SallySparkman (I'm not sure she realizes that her question went out to tens of thousands of people in email :) )

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to look in researching my family tree back to Scotland, Ireland and England pre-1700's?

Both got incredibly well thought out responses, as did many others. And the questions poured in. Thank you!

One thing that's becoming apparent to me is that we need another post type for lookup requests. These aren't genealogy questions so much as a request for help on a specific person or surname. I'll be working on that so we can easily keep the three types separate:

  • Journals - stories and information that you know and want to share with the community. What I call "Cousin bait".
  • Questions - genealogy questions that are bigger than just a lookup. The context may contain specifics, but there's a general question there, like, "What are all the ways that people may have emigrated from Nova Scotia to the US?"
  • Lookups - Requests from people who are stuck on a person or line and need help, or another set of eyes. Brick walls.

Lookup requests happen a lot on FamilyTreeCircles, and I think giving them their own space will improve the quality of the requests, as well as allow Questions from getting cluttered.

If you have any feedback on that, I'm all ears. Post a comment here.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for that change, as well as some others.

Again, thanks for being a great community. If you want to keep a close eye on questions that need a response, I added an "Unanswered" item in the menu at the top a well as few others.

Comment and Answer Voting

The next phase in FamilyTreeCircles improvements appeared overnight last night.

You can now vote comments and answers up and down. This is something that's seen all over the web on various blogs and discussion websites, to encourage good comments and to reward the most well thought out answers.


Currently anybody can vote any number of times, but we may need to limit it only to certain users (who have at least already posted a question, journal, or comment), and possibly limit it to a certain number per day.

We'll see how things go, and we'll let the community dictate what types of content warrant a vote up and down. I have faith that it will be constructive, but it it's abused I'll clean things up.

Voting is and always will be anonymous.

Please give it a try. Test it out on my comment below.

We'll start further rewarding up-voted answers, and issuing points.

Let us know if you have any questions.

7 comment(s), latest 5 years, 4 months ago

Site layout change

I've changed the layout of the site so that it is a fluid design, rather than fixed width.

That's for two reasons: 1. the new sidebar just needs to be wider to accommodate the new content, and it was screwing things up with the fixed width because the content side got too narrow, and 2. the world is moving toward mobile, and a fluid layout will work better on mobile.

I've been around the site, but don't have every browser to test on. If you see anything that doesn't look good, please comment here and let me know, along with what browser you're using.