Wednesday, February 18, 2009 New content, FTM patch & webinars

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Just got back from a week's trip to Washington, DC. Looks like Ol' Myrt's got a lot of catching up to do in the blogging department. The following was just received from our friends at Please address all inquiries to

In commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, has added five new databases to its Civil War Collection.

The Abraham Lincoln Papers, which hail from the Library of Congress and are searchable for free on, contains more than 20,000 documents such as drafts of speeches, incoming and outgoing correspondence with the president, and printed material. Learn more about the Civil War collection at

Ancestry Content Updates

U.S. Content
In addition, we recently updated two U.S. collections:

International Content
An update to the existing England & Wales Birth Index collection, made 134 million General Records Office (GRO) UK birth records for England and Wales dating from 1837 to 2005 available online for the first time. To find out more, read Echo King’s blog entry: the UK Birth Index Update.

We’ve also recently added or updated the following international databases:

You can view the full list of recently added databases, extending back a couple of months, at

Website and Product Updates
How has your family story changed your life? is looking for family history success stories. Share an amazing discovery you made on — and how it changed your life. What was the discovery? Why was it so meaningful? Share your story here.

The New family Tree Maker 2009 Patch
We’ve recently released an update to Family Tree Maker 2009. This new patch includes:

  • Book building – create books compiled from charts, reports and text documents
  • Source templates based on Evidence Explained, by source expert Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • Calendar Reports – they’re back!
  • Extended Family Chart – shows the people in your tree aligned horizontally and organized by generation
  • Improved Ancestry Member Tree integration
  • If users are connected to the internet, Family Tree Maker 2009 will update automatically.

Tana Pederson, author of The Official Guide to, blogged about a couple of the new changes in this update:

Free Webinars

  • February 24 -- Making a Breakthrough in Your African American Research, 9 PM EDT
    African American research specialist Marjorie Sholes will take you step-by-step through the process she used to trace one of her own ancestors, showing you the tips and tricks she discovered along the way. In particular, she’ll focus on how to identify slave owners to unlock the history of your slave ancestors. You’ll also learn what resources are available on and elsewhere to aid in your research. You can register by clicking here.
  • Archived Webinar -- Getting Started on New to Come join us for a one-hour webinar where you'll discover the excitement of finding your first family member on a historical record. Plus, learn how can help you piece together your family story by providing you with more than 27,000 historical databases and innovative family tree building technology. View this webinar by clicking here.

Note: To register for a webinar or view an archived webinar, click on the Learning Center tab on the home page. Then Keep Learning and, finally, webinars.

Highlights from the Blog
Here’s what employees have been talking about on the blog: