December 2009 Making Connections: 101 Best Sites, FOIA and More

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Security Clearance
The excellent information in “Under Surveillance” (November 2009) enables this average genealogist to feel like I’m an investigative reporter by writing FOIA on my envelopes. How empowering! What really made this article pop were the bold, hilarious illustrations. I’d give this artist government clearance any day.

Connie Parrott, via e-mail

Perfect Sites
Despite being descended from ancestors that “swung down from the trees,” David Fryxell has put together an excellent list of handy and helpful Web sites.
Ed Schultz, Renton, Wash.

I was stunned to see that you didn’t list West Virginia’s online archives. They’re fantastic—I’ve downloaded original document copies from the late 1700s to the 1950s.

Kurt Cook, Salt Lake City

As a long-time subscriber, I have always appreciated your 101 Best Web Sites issue (September 2009), but never more than this year. Two of the Web sites listed—both free!—Seeking Michigan and the BYU Family History Archives—helped me break down some age-old brick walls.

I was able to locate death certificates for my great-great-grandmother and third-great-grandmother on the Seeking Michigan site. I found several other relevant death records for various lines in my family tree as well.

The information provided on the death certificates helped me to find the children and maiden names of several additional ancestors.
On a whim I checked out the BYU Family History Archives and found a complete manuscript by Marianna Malkowski on the House family. While I already have a copy of the book, I was happy that Malkowski’s wonderful work is available to House descendants not fortunate enough to have a copy.
Carol Hermann, via e-mail

Big Question
I don’t know how you do it, but the September 2009 issue is chock-full of hints, methods and Web sites. I especially loved the genealogy hope chest, “Perfect Tens” and the excellent section on our National Archives.

Not to be overlooked is the article on local libraries. We’re in the process of cataloging the contents in the genealogy section of our local library, where we have photographs, maps, necrologies and microfilm going back 100 years. These libraries are a treasure trove of information.

A recent conversation with friends brought up this question: Why didn’t our history teachers use genealogy to teach history? It would’ve been more interesting and meaningful to chase our own relatives than to memorize dates and battles.

Dianne Newman, Waters, Mich.

Master Scan
I read with interest the article by Rick Crume on film scanners in the September 2009 issue (“Positive Outlook”). I just talked to a technical service person at Canon Canada who says the CanoScan 9950F has been discontinued and is no longer available. I was disappointed.
Edward Dinniwell,  via e-mail

Editor’s note: Although we make every effort to ensure information in themagazine is up to date, fast-changing technology products sometimes outpace our long lead times. A good alternative to the 9950F, which is no longer being produced, is the CanoScan 8800F.
Library Power

I just read your article “Library of Knowledge” in the September 2009 Family Tree Magazine, and I am so pleased with how it came out. Sunny McClellan Morton truly captured why libraries are still important for genealogical research. Thank you so much for writing a piece that I am so happy to be affiliated with! 

Maira Liriano, Manager, Milstein Division of US History, Local History & Genealogy, The New York Public Library
From the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine