Making Connections: Middle Eastern Research, War Letters and Family Tree Maker 16

By Family Tree Editors Premium

‘Middle’ Class

Congratulations for the excellent article “Middle Ground” by Brad Crawford, which appeared in the February 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine. As someone who has been researching Middle Eastern roots for nine years, I am in a position to say that everything about it was exceptional: the depth and breadth of research, the lively writing, the photos and graphics, the layout and font, and the seamless integration of the sidebars and online extras. Aside from being interesting and informative, it as a yawning gap in genealogy for a sizable group of people, who often have had to keep a low profile over the decades to “make it” in America. The increasing prejudice against and misconceptions about those of Middle Eastern origin makes the very fact of your publishing it in these times courageous. I feel proud to be quoted in such a fine article, and was especially impressed and appreciative that Mr. Crawford was willing to take the extra time needed to ensure his quotes conveyed the intended meaning. Living abroad, this is the first time I have seen Family Tree Magazine, and I look forward to reading the rest of the issue.

Leyla Zuaiter

Pushing the Envelope

An interesting item in “War of Words” (Preserving Memories, February 2007) says to “remove letters from their envelopes and open them flat.” You go on to cover the proper storage of these letters, but you did not specifically say to save and properly store the envelopes.

I feel this warning should have been included so the reader doesn’t feel it’s a good idea to toss/destroy the envelopes once the letters are removed. The return address on most WWII and later military mail has the sender’s correct name, serial number (later called a service number), unit and mailing address, often an Army post office (APO) or fleet post office (FPO) number. This information usually isn’t repeated in the letter. With a series of such mail, you can track the unit movements as the war moved through Europe or the Pacific islands.

I’m a collector of postal history and have a series of envelopes from various wars and the Cold War period. By the time we collectors get pieces, we usually get only the envelopes with the letters long gone. It’s a shame for both collectors and families that the items have been separated.

Paul T. Schroeder
Oshkosh, Wis.

Money Maker

I just received your latest and greatest issue of Family Tree Magazine (February 2007). The first thing I saw on the cover was “Family Tree Maker 16: Should you upgrade?” Well, that was a question I was pondering. Over the years, I have upgraded many times, and I didn’t really want to put out the money again. To my surprise, I read in Rick’s article that if you have the 2006 version of the software, you can get the upgrade for free by going to the help center and clicking on Updates. Well, I did and it worked. Thanks for saving me some money! I’m just truly sad that Family Tree Maker didn’t inform users of this; instead, the company just sent information on how much it would cost to upgrade to the newer version. Thanks for the information – I truly appreciated it.

Arlene Korte
via e-mail

Taking It to the Bank

I was glad to see that you covered Genealogy Bank in this issue of the magazine (The Toolkit, February 2007). I found this site by accident on Google <>, and was able to break a major brick wall using its newspaper database.

I’m researching a Jesse George Phy (my third-great-grandfather), and assumed George was his grandfather’s name. I knew Phy was a wrong spelling of a similar German name, and have been searching for years for George. Well, I found an 1898 article from the Philadelphia Inquirer where my ancestor was interviewed!

It turns out Jesse George – the man who donated George’s Hill, part of Fairmount Park, to the city of Philadelphia – was also the employer and friend of my Jesse’s father. Jesse Phy was named for Mr. George, not a relative. Now I have a place to start searching, as it seems Mr. George saved all his payroll slips, notes on employees’ families, rent receipts and so forth, and all are archived at a major university. Genealogy Bank is definitely worth the monthly cost!

Ingrid Briles
Charleston, WV

Variety Pack

I just adore your magazine. I subscribed and have received two issues, both of which are wonderful. A lot of my family is from Georgia, and I’m still researching all the sites you recommended in your Georgia state guide (December 2006). Keep up the wonderful and delightful magazine. I like the diversity – from information to humor.

Jane Vaughan
Tampa, Fla.

Bringing Home the Baking

I was inspired by the idea “Cook Up Family History” in your article on quick-and-easy holiday gifts (December 2006). My children are always requesting their favorite dishes when we have a family function. I created recipe boxes for each of them and wrote out recipe cards for their favorite dishes. They were thrilled to receive these gifts.

Now I’m taking it a step further, collecting favorite recipes from when I was growing up. I am lucky enough to still have my mother, who is 90 years old. She makes some of my favorite dishes each year when I visit. This time, I will collect these memories in photos as she prepares my childhood favorites. I can’t wait for my next trip!

Tillie Van Sickle
Westland, Mich.
From the July 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine