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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

August 9, 2007

What Makes OneGreatFamily So Different From Other Genealogy Websites?

In This Issue:

How is OneGreatFamily Different From Other Genealogy Websites?

OneGreatFamily Can Help You Find ALL Your Ancestors

OneGreatFamily is a cooperative effort between you and the rest of the world. It is an online genealogical service which allows everyone to combine their knowledge and data to build one huge, shared database.

OneGreatFamily is more than a simple collection of different family trees. Using breakthrough technology, OneGreatFamily is actually linking all of the family trees together into one great family.

What This Means To You:

With the world working together on one database, each individual is able to leverage the effort and research of all OneGreatFamily users rather than wasting time duplicating research that others have already done.

How It Works:

After you enter what you already know about your ancestors, we begin searching for more of your ancestors. Once our search process starts, it never stops.

A genealogist can only search for information about one ancestor at a time. The OneGreatFamily automated search engine continually looks for additional information and relatives for every one of your ancestors at the same time.

As OneGreatFamily members add new individuals, our search process checks to see if any of them are your ancestors. Even if we find some of your ancestors today, we may find more in a week, a month, or a year.

Once we find new information about your ancestors, we notify you by email and when you login to OneGreatFamily. You can see the new information about your ancestors in your family tree.

As we continue to search for your ancestors, you can review the data we gather, add new data, and see what others are finding about your ancestors. OneGreatFamily offers a unique genealogy experience that will help you enjoy the journey and the results.

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OneGreatFamily Tip: You've Submitted Your Family Tree To OneGreatFamily - Now What?

What Can You Do At OneGreatFamily Once Your Family Tree Is Submitted?

Here is a list of things you can do at OneGreatFamily that will increase your chances of success at OneGreatFamily. We hope that as a subscriber you have come to appreciate the unique service provided by OneGreatFamily.

1. Discover what has been done on your family tree already

The OneGreatFamily Tree is a powerful genealogy database that is shared and built by people like you all over the world. Every single name, date, place, picture, biography and video clip has been submitted by people like you. In fact, the OneGreatFamily Tree started without a single name. Users in over 80 countries have submitted millions of names . . . and we've only just begun! So what does a "shared" worldwide database mean to you? It means someone else may have already entered dozens or even hundreds of your ancestors!

2. Start researching where others left off

Spend some time searching for your ancestors at OneGreatFamily and pay special attention to new information that is added to your pedigree over time. This will help you know what research others have already done or are doing on your family tree. You can then spend your time conducting new research or simply verifying information that others have provided.

3. Meet and collaborate with family

OneGreatFamily allows people around the world to work on one common family tree. This means others can be researching and improving information on your ancestors. Wouldn't you like to meet and collaborate with these genealogical cousins? You can! OneGreatFamily provides collaboration features that allow you to work with other researchers and family members.

4. Search millions of names

At OneGreatFamily, you can search millions of names in the OneGreatFamily Tree and in the Social Security Death Index. When you find an individual that you would like to learn more about, simply click on them to view detailed information that we store in our databases.

With OneGreatFamily, you have the flexibility to choose when to work on your genealogy and when to focus on other needs in your life, knowing that work on your family tree continues.

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Your Family Bible: A Treasure Trove

By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian

Before the times of digitized records, microfilms, and family history programs used to store genealogical data, families recorded their births, marriages, deaths, and baptisms in the family bible. Family bibles are priceless to genealogists because they contain primary source information about family events.

A primary source record was written at the time that an incident occurred, or shortly thereafter, by someone who was involved. Unlike secondary source material, which was recorded at a later time, primary source information is not hearsay. Most of the events you will find recorded in a family bible were written down by the family record-keeper, often the matriarch of the family, shortly after they happened.

Where can you find family bibles? They can be in the possession of antique dealers or collectors, or they can be part of a family bible record collection. Bible record collections aim to transcribe the information in family bibles and make them available to researchers. Some bible collections with online indexes are: The Bible Archives, Bible Records Online, and Family Bible Records.

It is most likely, however, that your family bible is still in your family’s possession. Talk to living relatives like your aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents. Even if they don’t have the bible, they may know the distant cousin who does. Once you track down the current owner of the family bible, you can ask him or her for the genealogical information it contains. He or she probably won’t want to part with the bible to loan it to you, but you can ask for a transcription or a photocopy. Get a photocopy of the pages if you can, because you can learn a lot by evaluating the ink and handwriting.

Family information is usually recorded in the front of the bible, but ask if you can check the other pages as well. Sometimes documents, photos, or other mementos are tucked in between the pages.

Most, but not all, information in a family bible is primary source material. There are a few simple ways to tell if the information in the bible was written down at the time that the events happened. Check the publication date of the bible, advises genealogist George Morgan (Morgan 1998). If the bible was published after the events on the family record page occurred, they were all written down much later, and this information is not primary.

You should also pay attention to variations in ink and handwriting. If the handwriting changes, that means that information was recorded at different times or by different people. If some of the ink looks especially faded, that text was probably written down earlier than the rest. On the other hand, if the ink and handwriting all looks the same, the information must have all been written down at the same time, after the events occurred. This kind of secondary information is not necessarily incorrect, but it needs to be evaluated carefully. It is also important to be aware that family record-keepers may have altered information that they didn’t want future generations to know. A wedding date may have been “fudged” to hide the fact that a child was born less than nine months after marriage, for instance.

As long as you carefully evaluate the information from a family bible, it is one of the greatest genealogical sources you’ll ever encounter. Only in a family bible will you find the births of children who died young, in between censuses, who were not recorded anywhere else. And only in a family bible will you find your family’s genealogical events, recorded in your ancestor’s own hand.

Morgan, George G. 1998. Questioning the Bible.
“Along those Lines…” (accessed August 4, 2007).

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One Great Genealogy Site Award

Cinnamon Toast Genealogy

Research your surname or find records by region, record type, or religion at CinnamonToast Genealogy. This site is an excellent resource for genealogy records and information available online.

The site provides visitors with 9921 links to other sites and contains links or information on more than 153,000 surnames. Take some time to enjoy the site's genealogy explorer search functionality or submit your own genealogy website to its growing index.

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Rob Armstrong and Kimberly Brown
    Editor: Eric Hoffman

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