UPDATED: Steals & Deals: 2015 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Edition

Black Friday Genealogy Deals 2015

I love this time of year: family gatherings, good food, and awesome SALES! Believe it or not, I really used to enjoy getting up early on the Friday after Thanksgiving to experience the hostility excitement of Black Friday shopping. Now that I’m older – and a teeny bit wiser – I would much rather shop the interwebs from the comfort of my sofa with a big cup of coffee.

So these are a few deals that caught my eye while I was doing this year’s pre-shopping “recon.” I hope you find something you like – be sure to check back for updates! :-)

UPDATED 11/27 to add new deals from Genealogical.com, Evernote, and Amazon.com to the Featured Deals section.

UPDATED AGAIN 11/27 to add deals from Hack Genealogy, The Armchair Genealogist, Thomas MacEntee, RootsMagic, and another offer from the In-Depth Genealogist to the Additional Deals section.

UPDATED 11/28 to add Legacy Family Tree to Additional Deals section.

UPDATED 11/29 to add Newspapers.com to the Featured Deals section.



Evidentia Holiday Sale 2015

Evidentia software helps you organize and analyze your evidence in a manner that supports the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). From now until Christmas day, you can purchase the current version of Evidentia for $24.00. Users of version 1 can upgrade to the newest version for only $9.99 (upgrades from v.2 are free). A free trial copy is available for download.


Genealogical.com Thanksgiving Sale

If you need books for your genealogy library – and frankly, who doesn’t – now is the time to shop Genealogical.com! From now until 11:59 p.m. on November 30, everything is on sale for 30% off. Choose from titles like the third edition of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Jamestowne Ancestors 1607-1699, by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis, Mayflower Increasings, by Susan E. Roser, or ANYTHING ELSE you can find on Genealogical.com! Be sure to add the special code THANKS15 (all caps, no spaces) in the Discount Code box on the “Shipping and Handling” page during the check-out process to receive the discount.


fold3 Black Friday 2015

Fold3 is a must-have for anyone doing U.S. military research. From now until November 29, you can subscribe to fold3 for $47.95, which is 40% off the regular price, and even a few dollars cheaper than the typical discount for Ancestry.com members. Don’t miss out on this great price!


Scrivener Holiday Sale

If you’ve been waiting to purchase the fabulous Scrivener writing software, now’s the time! This weekend only, Scivener will be on sale for just $25.00, which is almost 40% off the regular price. I started using Scrivener a few months ago, and I love it! Download a free trial first, so you can try before you buy.


Family Tree DNA Holiday Sale

In addition to the “Mystery Rewards” which are being emailed to current customers, Family Tree DNA is offering discounted pricing on orders of new kits. Remember, Family Tree DNA is currently the only company offering Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, so if you are in the market for one of those, you won’t want to miss the discounted pricing!


You may have heard that 23andMe recently received FDA approval to provide genetic (not just genealogical) information to consumers. Kits are currently priced at $199, but the company is offering a holiday promotion of “buy one, get 10% off each additional kit.”


Bluehost Black Friday Sale 

Ready to start blogging your family history? Or maybe you’re ready to move your current blog to a self-hosted WordPress platform? If so, I highly recommend Bluehost as a hosting provider. I was referred to Bluehost a couple years ago by several trusted genealogy blogger friends, and I am so glad that I took their advice. The Black Friday sale starts at 12:00 a.m. MST on Friday, November 27th. There will also be a Cyber Monday sale with even deeper discounts on hosting packages, so stay tuned!


Amazon Holiday Book Sale

In addition to Amazon.com’s crazy-awesome $34.99 deal on the 7″ Kindle Fire, they are also offering 30% off of any book in their store. Enter “HOLIDAY30” at checkout under the “Gift cards & promotional codes” section to receive 30% off any ONE (1) book, with a maximum discount of $10.00. The offer only applies to print books (remember those?), and expires on November 30 at 2:59 a.m. EST (full list of terms here). I’ve got my eye on David Dowell’s NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection, so I think now is the time to buy a present for me! :-) Search genealogy books here.

Another amazing deal from Amazon.com: Amazon Cloud Drive – Unlimited Online Storage (1 Year Plan), regularly priced at $59.99, is on sale for only $5.00! If you’ve been looking for a cloud back-up service, you will definitely want to take advantage of this deal!


Evernote Promo

If you aren’t using Evernote for your genealogical research, you should be! From now until December 1 at 10:00 a.m. GMT, you will receive an extra 6 months free when you purchase a 1-year premium subscription for $49.99. Not sure how to use Evernote for genealogy? Pick up Kerry Scott’s book, How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity, and get 30% off the print version (see above).


Newspapers.com Black Friday Sale

Newspapers are an absolute goldmine of information nuggets. In fact, without newspapers, I would probably never have found out where my great-great grandmother was buried (or it would have taken me much longer to find). Newspapers.com is offering a 40% discount on an annual subscription, but hurry because the offer expires on November 29 at 11:59 p.m. MST!



  • AncestryDNA kits are on sale for $69, which I’ve heard is their lowest price EVER. Ancestry.com gift memberships are on sale for 20% off, or $79 for a 6-month subscription. Both offers expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30.
  • Findmypast is offering a whopping 75% off of a 12-month world subscription. Use coupon code THNKSGNG15 to receive the discount. Offer expires on November 30.
  • The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR) is offering a 20% discount on all past recordings. Use coupon code HOLIDAY20 at checkout. Past attendees may receive a 10% discount on registration for future, live presentations – check your email for that code. Both offers end on December 2.
  • Shop Family Tree is offering 50% off of products in its store until November 30.
  • In-Depth Genealogist is offering 25% off of PDF products in their store until November 30. Additionally, you can subscribe to their magazine, Going In-Depth, for just $25 (regularly $35) through December 4. Use coupon code Thankful15.
  • Genealogy software Heredis for Windows is on sale for $14.99, which is 50% off the regular price. Current users can upgrade to the 2015 version for $9.99. Offer valid through January 3, 2016.
  • On Cyber Monday, all Zap the Grandma Gap ebooks will be on sale for 50% off. I can’t tell if the discounted price is already available, so be sure to wait until Monday to make your purchase.
  • Members of the DAR and other lineage societies may want to purchase that insignia now! Until midnight on November 30, Hamilton Insignia is offering complimentary shipping on all orders. Use promo code ECOMP to receive the discount.
  • Hack Genealogy is holding a Black Friday Flash Sale: Save 50% on most Boot Camp digital downloads. Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY starting Thursday, November 26 at 9:00 pm CST through Monday, November 30.
  • Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist is offering 20% off all workbooks and 30% off her Getting Ready to Write webinar in her Family History Writing Studio. Offer ends November 30. Details and coupon codes are here.
  • Genealogy blogger and author Thomas MacEntee is offering 5 of his Kindle e-books for free TODAY (Friday) ONLY! Check out his list of offerings here. EXPIRED
  • RootsMagic, maker of my favorite genealogy software, is holding their 12th Annual Holiday Sale. There is no limit to the number of copies you can buy, so order one for yourself and one for a family member. As a bonus, for every copy of Personal Historian 2 that you order, you will receive a copy of the new Personal Historian 2: The Companion Guide book absolutely free (a $14.95 value)! Visit the link for pricing and details.
  • Legacy Family Tree is offering 50% off of Legacy Family Tree Software, as well as discounts on books and other products. Offer ends at 11:59 p.m. (not sure what time zone) on November 28.



Best Bytes for the Week of 28 Nov 2015

Best Bytes

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals


Contests & Free/Fun Stuff


Help Wanted

From the Blogs

The Last Byte

Wreaths Across AmericaAs you go about your Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping, I hope you will remember those who gave their lives for our freedom to shop – or not to shop – during this holiday season. It was recently reported that Wreaths Across America is short on funding this year, and that 30,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery may not receive wreaths.

Consider taking a moment out of your busy schedule to support this amazing organization. Sponsor a wreath for $15 for delivery to Arlington National Cemetery, or to a cemetery in your local area. Many cemeteries accept specific grave requests, so you may want to honor a loved one or an ancestor. Volunteer your time on December 12th to help put wreaths on the graves.

It’s a small price to pay to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.



Finding Nellie Part I: Beginning With the End

Back in early 2008, I wrote a post titled “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” in which I lamented the fact that my maternal ancestors must have been beamed to Earth from The Mother Ship because they left almost no trace of themselves anywhere. 

I received several comments on the post, the most helpful of which was made by fellow blogger Charley “Apple” Grabowski. Apple had done a bit of sleuthing for me, and in the process, found a few interesting newspaper articles that I had previously missed. (I blame the busy toddler I was caring for at the time. Or Ancestry.com’s kooky search engine.)

Using these and other clues, I have slowly chipped away at the mystery of this family. There is still plenty more to keep me busy, but I am so glad to know that maybe – just maybe – these ancestors really were Earthlings after all. :-)

So, working backwards, here is some of what I have learned about my great-great grandmother, Nellie (Coyne) Delaney’s short life.


The Death of Nellie (Coyne) Delaney

My grandmother’s cousin (now deceased) had already provided the clue that Nellie died in 1901, but she did not know exactly when, why, or where Nellie was buried. In the “Grandma’s Memories” journal I gave to my grandmother a few years before she died, my grandmother indicated that Nellie died in childbirth. I have yet to verify that bit of information, but at least I can confirm Nellie’s date of death and burial location.

One of newspaper articles found by Apple was a death notice for “Mrs. D. Delaney,” which was published in The Nebraska State Journal on 13 February 1901.1

Death Notice of Nellie (Coyne) Delaney, 1901

I knew this was “my” Nellie because her she was married to Dennis (or Daniel?) Delaney, and 943 U Street was the address at which the family was living when the 1900 U.S. census – my only previous information about this family – was enumerated. Based on the article’s date of publication, I now knew that Nellie had died at her home on 12 February 1901. Whether or not she died during childbirth remains to be proven. I really hope that story was not true.


Nellie’s Burial

The following day, Nellie’s funeral notice was published.2

Funeral notice of Nellie (Coyne) Delaney, 1901

What was helpful in this article – aside from her full name, her husband’s name, and her address – was the information that she was taken to Harvard for burial, thus keeping me from fruitless searches of the many cemeteries in Lincoln!

Since Harvard is in Clay County, I paid a visit to the Clay County, Nebraska, GenWeb page to see what I could find out about cemeteries in that town. I learned that the Adams County Historical Society has a copy of grave marker transcriptions from the Harvard Cemetery, so I fired off an email asking if Nellie was found on any of their lists. In a couple of days I had the answer: Nellie is indeed buried in Harvard Cemetery, along with her brother- and sister-in-law, Jeremiah and Zella Delaney, as well as their infant son Charles. Alas, no sign of her husband Dennis (or Daniel?).

I had to see where she was buried, even if only virtually, so I added a memorial for Nellie on Find A Grave and made a photo request. Within a couple of months, a kind volunteer posted a photo.3 


Nearly 25 years of searching for Nellie, and I had found her final resting place, at last. I cried (I’m a big sap like that).



  1.  “Personal,” The (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, 13 February 1901, p. 6, col. 2, death notice of Mrs. D. Delaney; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 November 2015).
  2. “People You Know,” The (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, 14 February 1901, p. 6, col. 2, funeral notice of Nellie Delaney; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 November 2015).
  3.  Find A Grave, digital images (http:/www.findagrave.com : accessed 4 April 2015), photograph by Peggy Bargen Duey #46873059, grave marker for Nellie Delaney (1875-1901), memorial #66007620, Harvard Cemetery, Harvard, Clay County, Nebraska.

The Big History of a Little Bug

Betsy Ross 1777

For you history and/or insect lovers, here’s something that will make you go “Hmmmm” (or just plain “Eeewww!”).

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, has opened a new exhibit called “The Red That Colored the World,” which is all about the impact a little insect has had on society:

The cochineal insect is tiny and not all that impressive-looking. But its impact has been big. Valued for the high-quality red color made from it, the little bug created huge wealth for Spain in colonial times. It found its way into clothing, painting, weavings and furniture in the Old World and New World. More recently, it’s angered vegans who’ve objected to its use in food.

Yeah, you read that right: food. That would be the “eewww” part.

The article quoted above from The Orange County Register, “Santa Ana museum shows how a bug changed fashion and fabric,” shares a bit of history about how cochineal dye (or carmine lake) has been used throughout history.

Bug-phobic me had never heard about this practice – especially the food part (eeewww), so I did a little research of my own and found this science-y video on YouTube:

(My descendant watched it with me and has vowed never to eat red-colored food ever again.)

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It will continue at the Bowers Museum until February 21, 2016. If you get a chance to see it, let me know!

For those of you who want to learn more about the history of cochineal dye, check out A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield. It sounds rather fascinating!





Image from Wikipedia Commons: “Betsy Ross 1777, a ca. 1920 depiction by artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris of Ross showing Gen. George Washington (seated, left), Robert Morris and George Ross how she cut the revised five-pointed stars for the flag.” Betsy Ross is said to have used cochineal dye for the red stripes in the first American flag.



WWII-Era Digital Collection Coming to Anaheim Public Library

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp

Coming next week to the Anaheim Public Library’s Digital Collection is a treasure trove of 2,000+ photos taken by photographer George Hirahara. Many of the photos were taken during his time spent incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Wyoming, one of the internment camps that held Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.

The Anaheim collection, which is designed to showcase local history, captures four generations of Hiraharas, from their arrival to the United States in 1909, to the internment camps at Heart Mountain and the 60 years they later spent as residents of the city best known as the home of Disneyland.

The collection is currently housed at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and can also be seen in the Emmy Award-winning documentary “The Legacy of Heart Mountain.”

In honor of the digital collection’s unveiling, the documentary will be shown on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., at the Anaheim Central Library. George Hirahara’s granddaughter, Patti Hirahara, will be on-hand to introduce the new Hirahara Family Digital Photo Collection. More information in this flyer.


Read the sourcelink from The Los Angeles Times.

Photo of Heart Mountain Relocation Center, 1942, from Wikipedia Commons.



Updates from the Veterans History Project (VHP): VHP Across the Airwaves

Veterans History Project

The following was received this morning from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This Veterans Day, let’s try to preserve a few more of these precious stories before the veterans themselves are gone.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015, marks Veterans Day, and the Veterans History Project (VHP) is again asking everyone to make it meaningful. Starting this morning and leading up to the holiday, VHP Director Bob Patrick will be a featured guest on several radio, satellite and internet programs across the nation, discussing the importance of collecting and preserving veterans’ oral histories for the Library of Congress.

Spread the word, tune in to one of the stations below to find out how to help. Air times may vary. Dates and times listed are for live interviews only.

  • Sirius XM Channel 124- The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley (11/4 at 7:40 a.m. ET)
  • Sirius XM Urban View- The Joe Madison Show (11/4 at 7:50 a.m. ET)
  • WBAV-FM, Charlotte, NC- The Front Page
  • North Carolina News Network
  • WLAC-AM, TN- Music City Mag
  • Tennessee Radio Network, Tennessee Matters
  • Florida Public Radio Network
  • 24/7 News Network
  • WFED-AM, Washington, DC
  • WUSF-FM, Tampa, FL
  • Generation ‘Merica (11/4 at 11 a.m. ET)
  • 96.3 WHUR-FM- Taking it to the Streets/Steve Harvey Morning Show, Washington, DC
  • Texas Public Radio- Texas Matters
  • American Urban Radio Networks
  • Native America Calling
  • The National Defense Radio Show (11/5 at 11 a.m. ET)
  • KUHF- Houston Public Media, Houston, TX
  • KGO-AM- KGO Morning News , San Francisco, CA

Those in the DC area may also tune in to NBC4 on Saturday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. to view a 30-minute news feature on VHP’s “Do Your Part, DC” campaign.



BOO! Free Access to NEHGS’s Cemetery Databases Through Nov. 7

This just in from NEHGS… plus, the catch phrase gave me a giggle. :-)

Halloween promo image NEHGS 2015


Your ancestors have been dying for you to uncover them— and NEHGS has opened the cemetery gates so you can start digging!

During Halloween, NEHGS offers family historians a FREE opportunity to uncover their ancestors.

NEHGS’s Cemetery Collection on AmericanAncestors.org is FREE to search from October 30 through November 7.


October 30, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—“Your ancestors have been dying for you to uncover them. NEHGS has opened the cemetery gates so you can start digging!”

Just in time for the Halloween celebrations and to add some fun to ancestral research this holiday, AmericanAncestors.org and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have made their complete collection of American cemetery databases accessible for FREE to guest users on their data-rich website.

The collection of more than 100 databases comprising more than one million records is accessible FREE from Friday, October 30, through midnight on Saturday, November 7.  The collection includes cemetery transcriptions from New England and other states and was compiled from many different sources to create a unique group of cemetery offerings.

Registration at AmericanAncestors.org is required as a FREE Guest Member to gain access to these valuable resources. Guest User accounts allow web visitors to use a limited suite of databases on AmericanAncestors.org and to access web content such as making purchases from the NEHGS online store. Unlimited access to more than one billion online records on the website and to other benefits is through membership at NEHGS.

Family historians may start digging for their ancestors in these historic American cemeteries at: http://www.americanancestors.org/free-cemetery-databases.

The cemetery databases included in this special offering and FREE Access event are:

  • American Jewish Historical Society – New England Archives: Jewish Cemeteries in Massachusetts
  • Boston, MA: Old Cemeteries of Boston
  • Brooklyn, NY: Cemetery Inscriptions, 1686-1882
  • Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections
  • Charleston, SC: Inscriptions in Old Jewish Cemeteries, 1762-1903
  • Dedham, MA: Church and Cemetery Records 1638-1845
  • Gloucester, MA: Burials in Gloucester Cemeteries
  • New York: Long Island Cemetery Inscriptions, 1652-1910
  • North Andover, MA: Burials in Ridgewood Cemetery, 1848-1950
  • Northampton, MA: West Farms Cemetery
  • Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Database Index
  • Sharon, MA: Sharon Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Sterling, MA: Leg Cemetery Records
  • Westbrook, CT: Cemetery Inscriptions
  • Western Massachusetts: Jewish Cemeteries of Western Massachusetts

About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

The founding genealogical society in America, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) was established in 1845. Today it has a national collecting scope and serves more than 130,000 constituents through an award-winning website, AmericanAncestors.org.

NEHGS’s resources, expertise, and service are unmatched in the field, and their leading staff of on-site and online genealogists includes experts in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Italian, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, Chinese, and Jewish research. The NEHGS library and archive, located at 99–101 Newbury Street in downtown Boston, is home to more than 28 million items, including artifacts, documents, records, journals, letters, books, manuscripts, and other items dating back hundreds of years.



Port of Los Angeles Archives Needs Your Help

Port of Los Angeles Archives Building

“In early 2015, the Port of Los Angeles clandestinely closed its archival facilities and ended its program to preserve and protect its historic records.” 

This information has been circulating on a few email lists and blogs, but I wanted to share it here, in case you missed it.



In 2010, The Port of Los Angeles, with the full approval of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission and the Port of Los Angeles Executive Director, began a program to identify, protect and preserve its historic resources.


An estimated 25,000 linear feet of historic materials have been identified, an enormous collection practically unknown to scholars and researchers. This includes photographs (prints and negatives), operational records, accounting ledgers, maps, engineering blueprints, promotional material and assorted ephemera.


The archives were previously retained in the former Coast Fishing Company Offices in Wilmington. By 2010, the building had been converted to a proper archival facility. This included climate controls, security in the form of storage rooms with keyed entry and space to process oversized historic materials such as maps.




In early 2015, the Port of Los Angeles clandestinely closed its archival facilities and ended its program to preserve and protect its historic records. The historic resources were removed from the appropriate archival storage facility and placed  in storage conditions that are inhospitable to any kind of records. The current facilities suffer from vermin infestation and are located directly adjacent to the water; the humidity is on any given day approximately 15-20 percent higher inside than it is outside the facility. The historic records are in immediate danger of being lost forever.

You can read the open letter from Nicholas Beyelia to learn more about this archive’s importance. Nicholas states that he has worked at the Los Angeles Harbor Department/Port of Los Angeles Archives for the past three years. Concerned Californians, and all who are interested in historic preservation, should take a look and sign the petition, if you feel so inclined.


*Photo from the website referenced in this post.



News From the Library of Congress


A couple of interesting emails about one of my favorite places – the Library of Congress – popped into my inbox this morning.

First off, the LOC’s fabulous newspaper site, Chronicling America, has just posted it’s 10 millionth page:

The site now features more than 10 million pages – 74 terabytes of total data – from more than 1,900 newspapers in 38 states and territories and the District of Columbia. The site averaged nearly 3.8 million page views per month last year and is being used by students, researchers, journalists and others for all kinds of research, from family history to in-depth analysis of U.S. culture. The headlines, articles and advertisements capture the life and times of the American people, shining new light on historic events as they unfolded.


The Library is celebrating the milestone with a series of 10 lists featuring interesting and off-beat content from the online archive presented in weekly blog posts beginning Oct. 8 with “Cat Tales.” Other topics will include “Medical Advances Gone Wrong,” “Coffee ‘Facts’” and “End of the World.” Sign up for the blog at loc.gov/blogs and follow the fun on Twitter at @librarycongress #ChronAm #10Million.

That’s an awful lot of scanning, when you think about it! And oh boy, I can’t wait to read those posts about “Medical Advances Gone Wrong.” How ’bout you? 😯

You can read the entire press release at Online Resource of Historic Newspapers Posts 10 Millionth Page.

Second, did you know that the Library of Congress is on Instagram? Neither did I, but they want us to follow!

It is a great time to follow the Library on Instagram. If you haven’t been to our Main Reading Room, it is a feast for the eyes – and the camera. Our own photographer, the very talented Shawn Miller, will be capturing and posting images.

This coming Monday, the LOC will open its Main Reading Room for their traditional Columbus Day Open House, giving people chance to take pictures of the historic room (apparently not everyone gets free run of the place, like Nicholas Cage did in National Treasure). So if you’re in town, post your Library photos on Instagram using the hashtag #LibraryOpenHouse. They will pick three favorites to feature on their blog next Wednesday.

Read the rest of the post, Going Inside the Library on Instagram. And don’t forget to follow the follow the LOC. (If you feel so inclined, you can also follow me on Instagram, although I am nowhere near as interesting as the LOC!)



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