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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

July 26, 2007

Have Ancestors Been Added To Your Family Tree?

In This Issue:

How Do I Know When Ancestors Have Been Added To My Family Tree?

GenMail™ helps you see what has happened to your family tree.

There are four different ways OneGreatFamily alerts you when new ancestors have been added to your family tree. When new individuals are added to your family tree the following indicators will occur:

1. New individuals in your Starfield™ that are in dark gray boxes
2. Seeing a message while in Genealogy Browser™, indicating that "new ancestors" have been added to your family tree
3. Seeing merge indicators (!) in your family tree.
4. You will receive a GenMail email from OneGreatFamily []

In this newsletter, we will focus on the GenMail emails you receive. We send GenMail email messages each week to those members who had ancestors added to their family tree. If you receive a Genmail email it is telling you that your family trees are growing. Any match and merge that takes place in OneGreatFamily has the potential of adding new ancestors to your family tree. Each GenMail will show you the first 20 names of individuals who have been merged in your family tree during the week. Each merge may result in new collaboration opportunities and in the addition of new individuals in your family tree.

GenMail also includes summary information for all that is happening at OneGreatFamily in overall matches and merges. This information, found in the left-hand column of each GenMail, will include the following site statistics:

  • Number of new individual merges
  • Number of new individual hints
  • Number of new family merges
  • Number of new family hints

These statistics will help you understand how your family tree compares with the other family branches available in Here is what a GenMail email will look like:

If you have not received any merges or hints in your GenMail, you may need to enter more information about your personal family tree. You may be able to get that additional information by talking to other family members or going through old family documents or photographs. Adding information to your family tree provides more potential links within the OneGreatFamily database.

GenMail has proven to be a valuable tool for seeing the growth of family trees at OneGreatFamily. Make sure to check your GenMail every week so that you can see the constant growth of your family tree at OneGreatFamily.

Note: If you do not receive OneGreatFamily GenMail, go to Email Preferences and select that you would like to receive "GenMails™ and other genealogy information"

Also make sure your GenMails are not going into your junk folder or other spam filter. Add to your safe list to ensure you are alerted when ancestors have been added to your family tree.

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OneGreatFamily Tip: I Have Entered Data Into OneGreatFamily; Now What?

Quick Overview Of GenBulbs or Hints

OneGreatFamily is unique in its goal and method. Our goal is to unite the efforts of all people working on genealogy and to connect the world together as OneGreatFamily. This process begins with you, the user. Once you have entered your data into our system, we search our database for common information. When our system finds matches that are certain, it automatically mergers the records together.  No information is ever lost when these mergers occur.  Instead, each user’s unique view of the data is preserved, even if that differs from other users.

When the system identifies a possible match, we call that a Hint.  Hints occur when much of the information about two people are identical, but there are either sufficient differences or a lack of information such that the system cannot be certain of the match.   Hints are indicated in Genealogy Browser by the GenBulb icon.  Note that you must turn on GenBulbs in the toolbar before they will be shown in the Starfield.

When hints appear, you may view them by clicking on the light bulb icon on the right side of the individual edit box. This will bring up the Hint for that particular individual. You may examine and choose to merge the data, or leave it how it is.

Merging data may bring many generations of previously unknown information into your file. Many users have already experienced great increases in their pedigrees through merging.

The more data that you enter and the further back in ancestry you can get, the better chance you have for receiving Hints. For example, a member entered 2000 names. Because of our database’s automatic search capabilities, his family tree now carries 23,000 names in it. You may also choose to collaborate with the user who submitted that data. That way, you may work out any differences you may have. If you would like more information on the many other unique features OneGreatFamily has to offer, please let us know.

OneGreatFamily has much to offer that cannot be found on any other genealogy site or within any other genealogy program! If you have other questions or need further assistance, please contact us again.

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Read All About It! Using Newspapers for Genealogy

By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian

Because most of our ancestors were just ordinary folks, most people who are researching their family history overlook newspapers as a source for more information. They may think that their everyday ancestors weren't mentioned in newspapers, but most small-town newspapers are a gold mine for genealogical information. If your ancestor lived, died, got married, became ill, sold property, served in the military, or even visited family members in a small town, chances are good that they made it into the local newspaper.

To find a newspaper article about one of your ancestors, start by pinning down the time and place that he or she lived. Remember that the name of a place may have changed, or your family may have moved, so you'll have to do a little homework to find a publication for your ancestor's hometown. You can search online indexes, such as the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and the Family History Library Catalog. You can also search published newspaper directories such as The Ayer Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals and Roswell's American Newspaper Directory. Once you know what newspaper you need to search, then you'll need to locate where the records are stored. Almost all newspapers are stored on microfilm to preserve them, although occasionally you may be lucky enough to find a newspaper digitized online. One of the best places to look for the microfilms is your local library. If you live in the same town that your ancestors did, you'll probably find the records there. If not, you can usually order the microfilms on interlibrary loan. If you are searching a newspaper that is still being published, the microfilms may be housed on-site at the newspaper offices, or they may be archived in a library nearby.

Once you find the microfilms for the newspaper, you can start searching for your ancestors. Some records have been indexed by the newspaper companies or by local genealogical societies; if this is the case, finding your family members should be easy. If not, you can usually find articles on your ancestor by searching a few weeks before and after an important event that you know occurred in your ancestor's life. Go through the newspapers carefully and search page by page. Once you find your ancestor mentioned in an article, don't stop searching there because an event is rarely written about just once in a newspaper.

What should you be searching for? Obviously, obituaries and wedding announcements are a valuable find. An obituary gives a brief biography of the decedent, lists all his immediate family members, and lists all his surviving kin. Likewise, wedding announcements list the parents of the bride and the groom, as well as other family members in attendance. Obituaries and wedding announcements can both be clues to finding other records, since they list the church where the funeral or wedding is taking place.

Don't just limit yourself to searching for births, marriages, and deaths. Anything out of the ordinary that your ancestor did may have been written about. Check the business pages in case your ancestor sold property or hired new workers on the family farm. Check the gossip column, where you may find anything from news of an engagement to a married daughter coming home to visit her parents. Of course, don't neglect the front page, either. If your ancestor did something really unusual, such as stealing a horse or dying from a rare illness, he just may have been front-page news.

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One Great Genealogy Site Award

SurnameDB.Com contains a large FREE to access database (almost 50,000 surnames) on the history and origins of family surnames. Most of the research done on this site came from years of research on the part of the founder of Name Origins Research, Michael Brooks. In October of 2006 they decided to put the information online and have seen huge success in the number of people who have visited their site.

  • Visit to learn more about the Surnames in your family tree.
  • See Past Award Recipients
  • Recommend A Site Award Recipient

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews and Rob Armstrong
    Editor: Eric Hoffman

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