IN THIS EDITION -- January 17. 2002


Genealogy E-Books Enter the Scene


Whether it's famous ancestors or common folk you're seeking, several new e-book series could be just the thing for you.

Millisecond Publishing, maker of Family Forest genealogy databases, released this week The Family Forest Ancestors of President Bush, an e-book tracing George W. Bush's lineage back to Mark Anthony. It's the first in a series of e-books containing the ancestries of celebrities, military and political leaders, and other famous people. Soon to follow is the Family Forest Descendants series, showing the descendants of Mayflower passengers and other early American settlers, as well as famous historical figures such as King Edward I. The Bush e-book is $19.95; you can get a free preview by referring three friends to the Family Forest Web site. See for details.

Meanwhile, Heritage Books is offering a free e-book to promote its latest venture: digitized versions of the Genealogical Periodical Annual Index (GPAI). Each year, the GPAI indexes 15,000 citations to names, places and topics mentioned in 350 genealogical periodicals, including book reviews. Now you can get the last nine editions (1992 to 2000) in e-book format for $10 each. If you subscribe to the Heritage Books free e-newsletter at, you can download the 2000 GPAI as a free trial.


Revolutionary Ancestors Put in Their Place


Remember when we told you about Heritage Quest digitizing the microfilmed records of 80,000 Revolutionary War patriots, resulting in a nearly 900-CD collection? Now the company has come out with a CD-ROM indexing all those pension and bounty land warrant application files, so you know which of those 898 CDs your ancestors are on. The index costs $19.95 and requires Windows 95, 16MB RAM and 88MB free hard drive space to operate. Call (800) 760-2455 or visit to order.


Searchable Databases


Genealogists thrive on databases. They relied on them even before personal computing was so affordable and available. The International Genealogical Index or IGI has been available for many years. Its original format was microfiche. This was one of the first databases that genealogists used.

Although the IGI was initially intended for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to track Temple ordinance work, genealogists everywhere discovered that the IGI could serve in the capacity of an index to the world. The IGI is far from complete, but if you are fortunate enough to find your ancestor in this index, you will have an idea of where he was born or where he lived.

Over the years, the IGI has gone from microfiche to CD-ROM to the Internet, where you can now access it at any time. This is just one of the many databases that is available on the Internet.

When working with any online database, including commercial sites, there are a few questions to keep in mind:

* Where did the compiler of the database get the information?
* How was the information digitized?
* Are there source citations for the information included in the database?



-Rhonda McClure, author of The Genealogist's Computer Companion


Mobile, Ala., Kicks Off Tricentennial Celebration


Alabama's Azalea Coast turns 300 this year, and Mobile is throwing a year-long party to celebrate. It was the first city established in Alabama, founded by European adventurers. Historians believe the actual birthday is Jan. 20, 1702. To commemorate its beginnings, the city will show a 90-minute documentary called We Are Mobile-The Spirit of a Place & Its People on Jan. 18 at the Saenger Theatre. Other activities include:

* Jan. 20: History Mobile-Visit to 27-Mile Bluff to celebrate Bienville's Landing; call (251) 342-4386
* Feb. 23: Mobile Symphony's Southern Sketches-A Musical Portrait of the South, Saenger Theatre; call (251) 432-2010
* March 6-9: Mobile Historic Homes Tours; call (251) 433-0259
* May 4-5: Battle of Mobile Re-enactment, Fort Morgan/Fort Gaines; call (251) 460-2423 or (251) 661-8450
* May 18-19: Tricentennial Culinary Jubilee; call (251) 342-4386
* July 3-7: Sail Mobile-A Salute to the Sea!, Mobile River Harbor; call (251) 342-4386
* Nov. 1-3: Homecoming At The Homeport-Mobile's 300th Birthday Party; call (251) 342-4386

Get more information about Mobile, its history and tricentennial celebration at Also, read highlights from Family Tree Magazine's guide to tracing Southern ancestors at


Watch Out for Family Heirlooms


This week's tip comes from Esther Cunliffe:

"I recently took my late grandfather's pocket watch out of its original box and figured out how to open it. I typed the name of the company (Elgin) into Google, and was directed to a Web site devoted to this brand with many links to other sites. After inputting the serial number, I learned when the watch was made (between 1903 and 1916), how many were made (18,000), its size (6s) and type, plus its original price (around $30). It turns out the watch is actually a ladies' watch! From the box, I learned the jeweller's name, the town where the watch was purchased, and that the jeweller was also an optician and an issuer of marriage licenses.

"Inside the watch there were also two tiny engravings, placed there by a watch repairer. The first date was Aug. 2, 1949; the second, 1951 (in the same handwriting). I believe that the first date (my grandfather's birthday) was the date he died (the exact date of his death has eluded me so far), and that my father had the jeweller add that date when he took the watch in for repairs in 1951.

"I intend to investigate whether the historical society in the area has retained the records of this jeweller. If I can find out the date of sale and who bought it, and also if he issued a marriage license between 1907 and 1911 to my grandparents, it will clear up a number of mysteries such as narrowing down their wedding date. Was this watch a wedding present from one grandparent to another, or was it given as an engagement present or after the births of my father (1911) or his brother (1914)? Did my grandmother give my grandfather a women's watch? Did my grandfather purchase a women's watch for himself? If the watch actually belonged to my grandmother, my grandfather must have used it after her death (many years before 1949) and that's why it was regarded as his watch.

"I don't know if this watch will lead me to the information I desperately want, but it has already given me more information than I had before. And to think it's been sitting under my nose for at least 20 years! I'm passing this on to remind others not to leave any stone unturned in their search for family information."

Editor's Note: Do you have a family heirloom you'd like to learn more about? Family Tree Magazine's newest column, "Attic Treasures," explores the genealogical value of such items (including pocket watches). Tell columnist Maureen Taylor about your attic treasure, and you might see it featured in a future issue! E-mail her at