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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

February 23, 2006

See Donny Osmond's Experience at OneGreatFamily

In This Issue:

Success at OneGreatFamily: Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond's Genealogy Experience at OneGreatFamily

"I have been searching my genealogy for over 20 years, and this program [] is the most amazing tool I have ever seen! I've always known there were other people out there who had information I was missing. I just didn't know how to find them. OneGreatFamily is certainly connecting the world together."
    -Donny Osmond

Just like the famous entertainer Donny Osmond, you can experience success at OneGreatFamily. The following information can be found on Donny's official website:

A Special Invitation from Donny

Donny's passion for family history (genealogy) is well known among those that know him. Donny came across an incredible program for helping anyone with their family research. Whether you're just getting started, a long-time enthusiast like Donny, or you're somewhere in between, OneGreatFamily offers a service that can help everyone

You can start with your immediate family and close relatives or you can upload your current research done in other programs (GEDCOM). The exciting part is's worldwide shared database. This technology gives you the potential of watching your own family history grow right before your eyes because of others who are contributing to that same data base may be sharing common information. For instance, Donny started with 353 individuals not long ago, and to date, he has over 2000 direct descendants linked to his family because OneGreatFamily found common ancestors from others contributions. It's like bringing the whole world together on one computer!

Have you had success using OneGreatFamily? We want to hear from YOU! We are looking for more testimonials about how OneGreatFamily has helped your family tree to grow. Please email us your success story along with a picture. Please visit the following page for more OneGreatFamily success stories:

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Save Time Using OneGreatFamily

Researching ancestral information can often be time consuming and monotonous - OneGreatFamily can help you save time.

Have you ever spent hours tracking a lead in your family tree, only to discover that the information had already been recorded? At OneGreatFamily, we've developed multiple techniques to avoid these kinds of situations. We can help keep you from wasting your time on redundant research. Here are several ways that OneGreatFamily can save you time:

1. Save time by letting OneGreatFamily do the routine searching and sifting of obvious matches and non-matches, allowing you to focus on truly potential leads. While you sleep, work, play ball with the kids, or take the dog for a walk, the OneGreatFamily Match & Merge system will be working to find links that will enlarge your family tree. After searching your tree against those from all other members, OneGreatFamily will determine if any of these records should be merged. If two records are obviously identical, they will automatically be merged, extending your family tree. Obvious non-matches are immediately ignored, saving you time. However, if the two records contain some of the same information, but not enough to be obviously merged, these records will be marked as "hints" and a light bulb will appear next to each record, indicating a possible match. You then can look at the two records side-by-side and make you own decision about whether to merge them or not. Remember, no information will ever be deleted or destroyed by OneGreatFamily without your express approval, and you will never be compelled to accept anyone else's research.

2. Save time by letting OneGreatFamily research your data around the clock, even while you sleep!
That's right! Whether you are awake or asleep, the OneGreatFamily system continually searches your data against any newly entered data. Some genealogists feel they need to search the same on-line sites for the same people every week, just in case a key piece of information was added after their last search. OneGreatFamily goes further, searching for you continually, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

3. Save time by working together!
If you are new to OneGreatFamily, chances are that a distant relative of yours has already begun work on your branch of the human family tree. Working together, you can each add to your knowledge and understanding of your common ancestry.

4. Save time by organizing your data! OneGreatFamily incorporates a unique system to help you better organize and understand your data based on "groups" and "anchors". A "group" is a storage facility for your data, which is often maintained by multiple users who are working together on closely related data. An "anchor" is a bookmark, which allows you to quickly reference records anywhere in OneGreatFamily. When entering information, be sure to include citations for all source information. This is helpful to you and those who are working with you.

5. Save time while searching! Don't waste time searching millions of records for a single individual--use OneGreatFamily's database to find your entire family tree! Using the correct search techniques can make finding your ancestors quick and easy. When searching through possible matching records, make sure you check notes, citations, and any other information attached to the records. Remember to keep in mind name variations, dates, and other identifying information when attempting to narrow search results.

6. Save time by sharing data! Share your data quickly with friends and family around the globe. All OneGreatFamily members can stay in touch with each other using the collaboration feature. Don't bother sending disks or printouts by snail mail; all you need to do is allow a friend access to your group! Everyone, anywhere in the world, can instantly see any changes you make. By collaborating with others, you can share success and save time.

We hope these guidelines will save you time and effort in your journey.

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Lisa Lights the Way

Marriage Records

by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

The following article was written in the June 2, 2005 OneGreatFamily newsletter. Since Lisa is no longer writing for us, we are featuring some of our favorite articles written by her.

I was a nineteen year old bride to be and my fiancé had just arrived home on leave from the military for our wedding. We walked into the courthouse in our hometown to apply for our wedding license and were told we could not get married on the date we had set because we did not have enough time to post banns. The invitations were out and my groom's leave was short - and did I mention I was young? I became a puddle of tears on the floor repeating the words "What's a bann? What's a bann?"

During the course of our country's History, a plethora of marriage documents have been created. These include banns, applications, bonds, certificates, consent notices, intentions, licenses, proclamations, register entries and returns. Each of these can be very useful for the genealogist on the trail of an elusive ancestor, so it's a good idea to become familiar with all of them.

Banns & Proclamations - These were usually ecclesiastical records. The couple had to post banns (an announcement of their upcoming marriage) for two or three consecutive Sundays. This allowed a person to register a protest if they knew of some reason the marriage should not take place. When banns were posted, the couple was not required to give the minister a license or bond to perform the ceremony. The minister was to report the information about the marriage to the county or town office.

Intentions - These will be found in New England. They are similar to the banns, but are civil records. The couple's intention to marry was usually recorded in the town meeting book for two or three weeks. If there was no protest, the marriage could take place without needing a license.

Consent to Marry - When an under-aged bride or groom was involved (the legal age changed over time), you may find a "consent to marry" document on file. This was usually given by the father (genealogists love a document that gives the name of the father!) If a mother signed the consent form, it probably means the father was deceased.

Marriage Bond - This was a written guarantee that no financial impediment to the marriage existed. It would have been supplied by the intended bridegroom alone or with a second person - usually the father of the bride.

Register Entry and Return - When a couple applied for a marriage license, it was entered into the court house register. After the ceremony was completed, the minister or official would "return" that information to the court house where it was entered into the register. It is usually just a date that follows the application information. Too often, novice genealogists list the date the license was issued as the marriage date, when in fact it is the second date (the date registered on the "return") that is the actual marriage date.

Most of these records merely indicate that a marriage was being planned - only three records actually prove that a marriage took place: a marriage return entered into a civil record, a marriage recorded in a church record, or a marriage certificate. If you can not find one of these three, but find banns, bonds, etc., it's a good bet (but not positive proof!) that the marriage did take place.

By the way, through the kindness of the officials in the court-house and some fancy planning, our marriage did take place before my husband's leave was over and I can prove it. You'll find the record in the Register Entry and Return records!!

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One Great Genealogy Site Award

Last week, we introduced you to this new site created by the founders of Rootweb. We wanted to feature the site again in case any of you might have missed last week's newsletter. will be a helpful resource for genealogists. There is so much free information on the internet that it's becoming very complex to find your ancestors. is a site that categorizes and organizing genealogical information.

Even looking beyond genealogy, Linkpendium is one of the largest human-edited directories to resources on the Web. The Linkpendium collection includes 3,516,226 links specialized to genealogical information.

The links are divided into two collections. There is a 3,033,240 link surname collection, categorized by almost a half-million surnames from around the globe. There is also an American locality collection, categorized by the 3,000+ American counties and similar geographical entities.

An average of 100,000 links are being added every month. Check out to see if you can find any of your ancestors in the new genealogy directory.

  • Visit
  • See past award recipients
  • Recommend a Site Award recipient

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Lisa South and Rob Armstrong
    Editor: Tracy Armstrong

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