Out on a Limb: Spreading the News

By Allison Dolan Premium

Here’s the irony of genealogy: We’re always looking forward in order to look backward.

That’s especially true here at Family Tree Magazine. Our staff tirelessly scouts out the latest news and developments in the family history world, so we can share them with you in every issue.

Take our 101 best Web sites feature. We first highlighted the finest family history sites back in April 2000. Readers loved our list — but we didn’t rest once we’d identified that crop of stellar sites. With online genealogy’s surging popularity, we knew that even better sites would come along. So our editors have continued combing the Web in search of new and improved resources. Every August, we publish a new, updated roundup of the 101 top sites.

This issue features our fifth online honor roll — which includes some fantastic tools that recently appeared on the scene. For example, Arizona just launched a database of digitized birth and death records <> that genealogists searching in other states will envy.

As always, we put those Web addresses — and all others we highlight in Family Tree Magazine — in angle brackets like these <>, so you’ll know precisely what to enter into your browser. Recently, several readers have reported difficulty accessing recommended sites. In most cases, they’ve merely mistyped the link or added extra characters (though some sites do “relocate” or go offline after we send an issue to press). Don’t forget: Not all sites begin with www and end in .com. So be sure to type exactly what appears between the brackets. Or better yet, surf over to our Web site and click on all 101 links from our online index at <>.

For news on other genealogy resources, read our Branching Out section, where managing editor Diane Haddad keeps you abreast of what’s new in discovering, preserving and celebrating your roots. And in our Toolkit section, assistant editor Lauren Eisenstodt enlists our experts to put high-tech genealogy products to the test and provide honest, meaningful reviews.

We don’t just report on new genealogy tools — we also create them. For example, our editors are working on a special beginner’s issue called Trace Your Family History. It’s designed to be an indispensable resource for newbies, with easy ways to get started, advice for finding forebears in basic genealogy sources, tips for online ancestor hunting and more. Even if you’ve been researching your family tree for decades, this beginner’s guide serves as a good refresher on family history fundamentals. And it’s a great tool for persuading your genealogically curious friends and relatives to finally take the plunge. They’ll find the same engaging, plain-English how-to help that you tell us you appreciate — and that’s made us America’s most popular family history magazine.

We’re also excited to announce another new resource: a line of companion genealogy books, named — you guessed it — Family Tree Books. Our parent company, F+W Publications, has been publishing genealogy guidebooks since 1994, including such best sellers as Unpuzzling Your Past. We’ve already joined forces with the books team on two titles, The Family Tree Guide Book and The Family Tree Guide Book to Europe. And many of our magazine’s expert writers also author books. So it was only natural to make the connection official. You’ll find tips from the new imprint’s first title — Plugging Into Your Past, by contributing editor Rick Crume.

Of course, we still aren’t going to rest. We’ll continue to create topnotch family history publications, and the genealogy world will keep producing great new resources. We’ll keep you posted.

From the August 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.