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Research Notes 2017-5-22

If you missed Ann Staley’s presentation Saturday, you missed some great research techniques. Fortunately, her speaker’s notes contain an impressive collection of sources that will help you discover more about the everyday lives of your ancestors. You can download a copy from the Speakers Handouts page.

Ann uses timelines to put her ancestors into their time and place in history. She showed several different types of timelines. All appeared quite useful, but pretty dull. Fortunately there is a new timeline platform that not only makes it easy to build your timeline, it does it beautifully. It’s called Twile.


Sample Timeline in Twile

Twile costs nothing and your timeline is completely private . . . unless or until you decide to make it visible to your family or friends. The easiest way to get started is to import a GEDCOM into the Family Tree section. If you have a family tree on FamilySearch, you can import it. Twile will build your family tree and create a milestone in the timeline for each of the events found in the import. Each milestone has an icon and color to describe its type. In the example above you can see birth, marriage and death milestones. You can add images – like the wedding photo shown above – memories and documents to each milestone. There are also several historical timeline overlays that you can add to your timeline to put your ancestors’ lives in context with historical events.

While you control your Twile timeline, you can also invite family members to view it. As you can see in the example above, adding family photos turns these timelines into eye-catching works of art. Consider what happens when you include newspaper clippings, letters and other ephemera. If you are looking for ways to get your family interested in their family history, this could be a good one.

American Battle Monuments Commission –


2016 Veterans Day Ceremony at Rhone American Cemetery

Last Saturday was Armed Forces Day and next Monday is Memorial Day so now is a good time to introduce the American Battle Monuments Commission ( Established by Congress in 1923, this agency’s mission includes:

  1. Designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries.

  2. Establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the United States when directed by public law.

  3. Controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance.

On the site’s home page you will find a search box to search overseas burials. There is also a section on the site listing every overseas cemetery and memorial with links to each cemetery’s page. These pages provide information about the cemetery, monument or memorial along with photos and PDF copies of brochures and booklets describing each site. The Commission has a Facebook page and just recently held their first Facebook Live chat.


MyHeritage has created a Collection Catalog listing the collections available in their archives. MyHeritage users will find the catalog in the Research tab on the site’s main menu. Here’s what their blog says about this catalog:

We’re happy to introduce the Collection Catalog, a new section on our website listing the historical record collections indexed and available on MyHeritage SuperSearch™. The catalog is useful for beginners as well as professional users. It lists next to the name of each collection the number of records in it and the date in which it was added or last updated, and indicates with a special icon which collections are new or recently updated. Some people call this a “card catalog” in reference to the way libraries used to index their inventory on cards in the old days, but our Collection Catalog is digital; It is available online and includes many useful functions.

Even if you aren’t a MyHeritage member, you may find this article on Finding Your Medieval Roots interesting.


If you pre-purchased FTM 2017, you should have received an invitation to test drive the app. This means you can try out the latest update, but still have the ability to quickly “roll back” to your current version. It appears that the only problem related to the test drive is that MacKiev is releasing numerous updates as they find bugs and incorporate additional features.

The Fine Print

Each new post published at SAGS Support is automatically emailed to member subscribers and/or delivered to their newsreader. Research Notes is published every Monday morning and other articles are posted during the week. Subscribers have the option to control how often these updates are delivered. Look down at the bottom of this message and you will find a Manage Subscriptions link in the fine print as you see in this example. Click it and you will be taken to the Subscription Management page. Use the Delivery Frequency column to change your delivery options from “Immediate” to either “Daily” or “Weekly”.

Fine Print

Sample of the “fine print” at the bottom of each post.

Also down at the bottom of each delivered post is a Comment button. If you would like to comment on something discussed in a post or ask a question, just click the Comment button and you will be taken online to the comment section of the post where you can share your thoughts and read what others have shared.

To learn more, download a copy of the SAGS Support Guide on the Member Guides page at SAGS Support.

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