Homestead Records Available at Footnote

HOMESTEAD RECORDS BECOME AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET FOR THE FIRST TIME ON FOOTNOTE.COM

Original Records Documenting the Lives of Early Settlers Offer a Unique View Into 19th Century America

Lindon, UT — September 18, 2008 – In an event held today at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Footnote.com along with several partners announced a project to make available hundreds of thousands of original Homestead Records on the Internet for the first time. This project involved the efforts of organizations including The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Parks Service, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and FamilySearch.

“It’s exciting to see various organizations with different strengths and capabilities come together to make this information widely available,” says Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. “This record collection is just one example how individuals on Footnote.com can connect their own family history to the big picture of American History.”

The Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark event at a time when the American Nation was being torn apart by the Civil War. These records, most of which have never been microfilmed, contain more than simply the names of those who petitioned the U.S. Government for land. They tell the rich story of a fast-growing country and those men and women eager to live the American dream by becoming land owners.

Footnote.com has already digitized and indexed the Homestead Records from Broken Bow, Nebraska featuring almost 40,000 records. To view samples of these records and see what Footnote users have discovered, click here. Working together with its’ partners, Footnote.com will continue to release more records on the site.

Footnote.com has focused on making real history accessible to everyone and providing tools that enable people to connect with history and with each other.

Footnote.com recently released Footnote Pages, which allows users to create interactive pages for an individual, group, place or event. These pages bring history to life by allowing users to create:

• Interactive timelines and maps
• Photo galleries
• Stories
• Links to other related Footnote Pages and Footnote Members

“We encourage everyone with an interest in these Homestead Records to come and enrich this content with your contributions,” says Wilding. “When people come together and share their insights, a new and exciting side of history is revealed.”

Learn more by visiting http://www.footnote.com

About Footnote.com
Footnote.com is a history website where real history might just surprise you. Footnote.com features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit www.footnote.com.

Press Release from Footnote!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Footnote.com Takes Social Networking into the Past

Footnote.com launches Footnote Pages at TechCrunch50

San Francisco — September 10, 2008 Losing a loved one can result in a range of emotions, from the grief and sorrow to comfort, which often comes from reminiscing stories and memories with family and friends. The challenge arises when there is no single place where all of these stories can easily come together to be shared, enriched and preserved.

Now at Footnote.com, anyone can find or create Footnote Pages where users connect and share stories, photos, and information about the people important to them.

To kick-off the new Footnote Pages, Footnote.com today released over 80 million of these pages created from data from the Social Security Death Index. Most visitors will find existing pages about several deceased friends and family members already on the site.

Footnote.com was selected from over 1,000 applicants to launch Footnote Pages at this year’s TechCrunch50 held in San Francisco. Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote, demonstrated Footnote Pages to an audience of over 1,500 investors, bloggers, and major media outlets.

“We encourage people to upload their personal shoeboxes of photos and documents to Footnote.com,” explains Wilding. “Now with Footnote Pages, friends and family can come together to share stories and memories about the people they care about.”

Described as Facebook for the Deceased, these pages feature a photo gallery, an interactive timeline and map, and other tools that bring people together to create a more colorful and rich picture of the past. “Social networking is not only for the younger generations any more,” explains Wilding. “We are seeing Baby Boomers contribute and connect online in increasing numbers. Footnote Pages are an easy way for this audience to interact with each other and learn things they would not otherwise know about deceased friends and family.”

Beyond profiling people, Footnote pages can also be used to document and discuss historical events or places including: the Vietnam War, the Assassination of JFK and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Unlike other social networking sites, Footnote.com provides content that enables users to tell and share stories from the past. Through its partnership with the National Archives, Footnote.com has digitized over 43 million documents including historical newspapers, military records, photos and more. Footnote.com adds about 2 million new records to the site every month.

Visit Footnote.com to learn more about Footnote Pages and get a new perspective on the lives of your own friends and family who have passed away.

About Footnote.com
Footnote.com is a history website where real history might just surprise you. Footnote.com features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit www.footnote.com.

About TechCrunch50
Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry’s most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace, and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield Fund, Clearstone Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund and Fenwick & West.

Pricing Changes at Footnote

I received this message the other day:

Dear Valued Footnote Member,

Thanks for making this such an exciting year at Footnote.

When we opened our doors in January of 2007 we had fewer than 5 million images on the site. Since then we’ve added 2 million images a month and have made improvements to the site. Today you can access more than 42 million images on Footnote. Along the way, we’ve worked hard to keep our costs down and subscriptions affordable.

With challenging economic conditions, the time has come to make a modest adjustment to our subscription fees.

Starting September 1, 2008, the monthly All-Access Membership price will be $11.95 and the annual All-Access Membership will be $69.95 (an additional 83 cents per month for annual members).

To help with the transition to the new prices, we’re inviting Members to renew and extend their subscriptions at the current prices.

As a current annual subscriber, you can add an additional year to your subscription for $59.95 if you email or call us before September 30, 2008-email: support@footnote.com or phone: 1-800-613-0181.

We believe that at these prices, a Footnote membership continues to be a great value and a low-cost alternative to traveling to an archive to access the same records. We hope you agree.

We appreciate your support and feedback and look forward to continuing to serve you.

Best regards,

Russ Wilding
CEO, Footnote

Virginia Travis’ Photo is Footnote’s Featured Upload

Congratulations to Virginia Travis of Valeehill Genealogy Blog, whose photo of the 1890 reunion of the Ohio 5th Sharpshooters is Footnote’s Featured Upload for August 2008!

Virginia used the Annotations feature at Footnote to identify every individual in the photo. This feature makes it easy to use for tagging all those group photos, from military, school, and family reunions to casual group shots. The great thing about all this is it’s absolutely free to register and create a gallery in which to upload and annotate your favorite photos or add images that you find at Footnote. It’s a great place to backup all those photos you’ve got sitting on your hard drive. You can also create story pages for free, too. These are similar to blogs in that you can write on a topic and add photos and images of documents to illustrate your posts. Try it out!

P.S. By the way, Happy Birthday, Virginia!

This and That

Scanfest
WOW! Thanks to the great publicity over at facebook’s Genea-Bloggers Group, we had the Best Scanfest Ever. We had three records broken! The first was a total attendance of 20, which means that in all, 20 Scanfesters participated at some point between 11 AM and 2 PM, PDT, but not all at the same time. The second was the highest number of Scanfesters in the chat conversation at once, at 18. The third record was the highest number of first-time Scanfesters in attendance: 11! My only regret was that I did not get as much scanned as anticipated because my hard drive was filling up (I’ve since been working on remedying that problem by deleting unnecessary files and programs). So who were our participants? Besides your humble hostess, we had Colleen, Diana, Diane, Elizabeth, footnoteMaven, George, George, Jasia, Kathryn, Kathryn, Kathy, Laura, Lori, Lorine, Michelle, Randy, Renee, Sheri, and Thomas! Too bad Craig couldn’t make it! Thanks to Diane, Thomas, Randy, Kathy, and George for your announcements or follow-up posts on Scanfest, too.

Online Photo Storage
Speaking of scanning, Lee at the Footnote Blog shares how you can store your photos online for free at Footnote…and do a whole lot more with them, too!

Find A Grave now has 25 million grave records in the non-famous side of their website! Take a look…you might find an ancestor or two.

Facebook
The Facebook craze has hit the genealogy community, thanks to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s Unclaimed Persons project. A side effect of this is a new Facebook group, the Genea-Bloggers, started by Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family. This group is for those who either blog about genealogy, or are fans of genealogy blogs. Genealogy bloggers have been learning more about each other in this terrific social networking community, and thanks to Thomas’ great administrative skills, we’re kept up-to-date on all sorts of blogging and other events, such as carnivals and Scanfest. Thomas recently started the Facebook® Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers blog to help out those genea-bloggers learn how to navigate and use Facebook. I encourage you to join Facebook (a social networking site, similar to MySpace, but a little more “grown up”) and add me as your Friend (contact) by searching for “Miriam Robbins Midkiff.” (Don’t be afraid to challenge me to a round or two of Scramble!) Besides adding genealogy community contacts, I’ve added real-life friends, family members, members of my local genealogical society and acquaintances from church and schools I’ve attended. I also recently searched for and found some cousins I’ve been out of touch with for years.

And if you’re already a member of the Genea-Bloggers Group, stay tuned to the FB for GB blog to hear of an exciting new event coming in August!

An Award

Fellow Washington State genea-blogger Carol Wilkerson of iPentimento honored me with a BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) Award. The rules for passing on the award are:

1. Only five people are allowed to receive this award
2. Four of them must followers of your blog.
3. One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

I hereby pass this on to Jasia, footnoteMaven, Apple, Renee, and Diane (the newbie to my blog, who technically doesn’t live that far away – British Columbia – but it is another country, after all!)

Photos of Ancestors’ Ports of Emigration
My primary heritages are Dutch and Frisian, and thus I’ve been a fan of Henk van Kampen’s Trace Your Dutch Roots. Lately, he’s been featuring photographs of Dutch ports. Do you have Mayflower ancestors? Take a look at the Delfshaven pictures. Did your ancestors (Dutch or not) traverse the Atlantic on one of the Holland-American Line ships? See the Wilhelminakade.

North Frisian Resource
The Frisians are an ethnic minority who live in present-day Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, whose language, customs, and ethnicity are more closely related to the English than the Germanic peoples of the countries wherein they reside. I blog often about my Frisian ancestors from the Netherlands, and if you’re a fan of Michael John Neill’s RootDig, you’ll hear about his Ostfrisians (West Frisians from Germany). Recently, Jennifer of Our Future Rooted in Our Past blogged about the North Frisian Emigrant – Archive of the Nordfriisk Institute in Denmark. Thanks for sharing this great resource, Jennifer!

Family Ties
My parents returned home in the wee hours of this morning after a trip back to Michigan to visit my paternal grandmother, who was diagnosed about a year or so ago with Alzheimer’s. As well, they enjoyed visiting the families of their respective brothers and one of Dad’s sisters. I was relieved to hear that Grandma recognized Dad and Mom and that they had an enjoyable time together. My parents have made similar trips in the past to say their last goodbyes to their parents. Grandma is my last biological grandparent, although my mother’s step-mother is still in good health. They also got to see one of the newest members of the family. I know this was a bittersweet time for the folks…a part of the circle of life.

Internet Genealogy
And finally! I received the latest issue of Internet Genealogy magazine today (I think I was the last person on the planet to do so!). One of the many reasons I love this publication is that I see so many familiar names, sites, and blogs mentioned. footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed blog was featured in the Net Notes column by Donna Pointkouski. If you’re interested in the photography side of genealogy (and who isn’t?), be sure to read this article, then drop by Maven’s blog.

Donna Potter Phillips of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has two articles. One is “E.W.G.S. at 75: Thriving’ and Survivin'” and highlights the many ways our terrific society has kept up with the times and has stayed growing and vibrant in an age when we’re seeing a demise of many societies. Her “Cold Case Research: Genealogy Style” reminds me of the Campbell House and Unclaimed Persons projects, and explains how doing family tree research on strangers from history is not only fun, but educational! If you’re stuck or tired of your own family lines, why don’t you and some genealogy friends or fellow society members do a similar project?

And that’s a wrap!

This and That

Scanfest
WOW! Thanks to the great publicity over at facebook’s Genea-Bloggers Group, we had the Best Scanfest Ever. We had three records broken! The first was a total attendance of 20, which means that in all, 20 Scanfesters participated at some point between 11 AM and 2 PM, PDT, but not all at the same time. The second was the highest number of Scanfesters in the chat conversation at once, at 18. The third record was the highest number of first-time Scanfesters in attendance: 11! My only regret was that I did not get as much scanned as anticipated because my hard drive was filling up (I’ve since been working on remedying that problem by deleting unnecessary files and programs). So who were our participants? Besides your humble hostess, we had Colleen, Diana, Diane, Elizabeth, footnoteMaven, George, George, Jasia, Kathryn, Kathryn, Kathy, Laura, Lori, Lorine, Michelle, Randy, Renee, Sheri, and Thomas! Too bad Craig couldn’t make it! Thanks to Diane, Thomas, Randy, Kathy, and George for your announcements or follow-up posts on Scanfest, too.

Online Photo Storage
Speaking of scanning, Lee at the Footnote Blog shares how you can store your photos online for free at Footnote…and do a whole lot more with them, too!

Find A Grave now has 25 million grave records in the non-famous side of their website! Take a look…you might find an ancestor or two.

Facebook
The Facebook craze has hit the genealogy community, thanks to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s Unclaimed Persons project. A side effect of this is a new Facebook group, the Genea-Bloggers, started by Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family. This group is for those who either blog about genealogy, or are fans of genealogy blogs. Genealogy bloggers have been learning more about each other in this terrific social networking community, and thanks to Thomas’ great administrative skills, we’re kept up-to-date on all sorts of blogging and other events, such as carnivals and Scanfest. Thomas recently started the Facebook® Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers blog to help out those genea-bloggers learn how to navigate and use Facebook. I encourage you to join Facebook (a social networking site, similar to MySpace, but a little more “grown up”) and add me as your Friend (contact) by searching for “Miriam Robbins Midkiff.” (Don’t be afraid to challenge me to a round or two of Scramble!) Besides adding genealogy community contacts, I’ve added real-life friends, family members, members of my local genealogical society and acquaintances from church and schools I’ve attended. I also recently searched for and found some cousins I’ve been out of touch with for years.

And if you’re already a member of the Genea-Bloggers Group, stay tuned to the FB for GB blog to hear of an exciting new event coming in August!

An Award

Fellow Washington State genea-blogger Carol Wilkerson of iPentimento honored me with a BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) Award. The rules for passing on the award are:

1. Only five people are allowed to receive this award
2. Four of them must followers of your blog.
3. One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

I hereby pass this on to Jasia, footnoteMaven, Apple, Renee, and Diane (the newbie to my blog, who technically doesn’t live that far away – British Columbia – but it is another country, after all!)

Photos of Ancestors’ Ports of Emigration
My primary heritages are Dutch and Frisian, and thus I’ve been a fan of Henk van Kampen’s Trace Your Dutch Roots. Lately, he’s been featuring photographs of Dutch ports. Do you have Mayflower ancestors? Take a look at the Delfshaven pictures. Did your ancestors (Dutch or not) traverse the Atlantic on one of the Holland-American Line ships? See the Wilhelminakade.

North Frisian Resource
The Frisians are an ethnic minority who live in present-day Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, whose language, customs, and ethnicity are more closely related to the English than the Germanic peoples of the countries wherein they reside. I blog often about my Frisian ancestors from the Netherlands, and if you’re a fan of Michael John Neill’s RootDig, you’ll hear about his Ostfrisians (West Frisians from Germany). Recently, Jennifer of Our Future Rooted in Our Past blogged about the North Frisian Emigrant – Archive of the Nordfriisk Institute in Denmark. Thanks for sharing this great resource, Jennifer!

Family Ties
My parents returned home in the wee hours of this morning after a trip back to Michigan to visit my paternal grandmother, who was diagnosed about a year or so ago with Alzheimer’s. As well, they enjoyed visiting the families of their respective brothers and one of Dad’s sisters. I was relieved to hear that Grandma recognized Dad and Mom and that they had an enjoyable time together. My parents have made similar trips in the past to say their last goodbyes to their parents. Grandma is my last biological grandparent, although my mother’s step-mother is still in good health. They also got to see one of the newest members of the family. I know this was a bittersweet time for the folks…a part of the circle of life.

Internet Genealogy
And finally! I received the latest issue of Internet Genealogy magazine today (I think I was the last person on the planet to do so!). One of the many reasons I love this publication is that I see so many familiar names, sites, and blogs mentioned. footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed blog was featured in the Net Notes column by Donna Pointkouski. If you’re interested in the photography side of genealogy (and who isn’t?), be sure to read this article, then drop by Maven’s blog.

Donna Potter Phillips of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has two articles. One is “E.W.G.S. at 75: Thriving’ and Survivin'” and highlights the many ways our terrific society has kept up with the times and has stayed growing and vibrant in an age when we’re seeing a demise of many societies. Her “Cold Case Research: Genealogy Style” reminds me of the Campbell House and Unclaimed Persons projects, and explains how doing family tree research on strangers from history is not only fun, but educational! If you’re stuck or tired of your own family lines, why don’t you and some genealogy friends or fellow society members do a similar project?

And that’s a wrap!

Thanksgiving Special at Footnote.com

Footnote.com is offering a special 20% discount off their regular annual membership price during and just after Thanksgiving weekend. This promotion will run from midnight Mountain Time on Friday, November 23 through 11:59 PM on Tuesday, November 27.

For those of you who are not aware of what the Footnote site has to offer, here are some details. Footnote works with the National Archives to scan historical documents and offer them to be viewed by the public. They have free content which include the Pennsylvania Archives, the American Milestone Documents (such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc.), the papers of the Continental Congress, and correspondence of George Washington. The newest paid content includes the following:

  • * WWII JAG Case Files, Pacific – Army
  • * WWII JAG Case Files, Pacific – Navy
  • * Naval Press Clippings
  • * Japanese Air Target Analyses
  • * American Colonization Society
  • * Admiralty Records, Key West
  • * WWI Military Cablegrams – AEF and War Dept
  • * Utah Territorial Case Files

Titles that they are adding to on a regular daily basis are:

  • * Civil War Pensions Index 60% Complete
  • * Navy Widows’ Certificates 62% Complete
  • * Naturalizations – MA 95% Complete
  • * FBI Case Files 86% Complete
  • * Naturalizations – CA Southern 98% Complete
  • * Naturalizations – PA Eastern 78% Complete
  • * Naturalizations – PA Western 84% Complete
  • * Naturalizations – PA Middle 96% Complete
  • * Revolutionary War Pension Files 93% Complete
  • * Texas Birth Certificates (1903-10, 1926-29) 36% Complete
  • * Texas Death Certificates 4% Complete

These are just a sampling of what’s available. The two main record groups I’ve used the most so far are the Historical Files of the U.S. Expeditionary Force, North Russia, 1918 – 1919 (because my great-grandfather Robbins was a part of this expedition); and the Civil War Pensions Index (because the pension cards have different information–and are clearer images–than the ones featured at Ancestry.com).

There’s more to the Footnote site than just records, which of course are appealing to researchers, historians, genealogists, history teachers, and the like. They have some terrific technological features as well, which include zooming in on images with great clarity, adding transcriptions and notations to scanned documents, Spotlights (a way to highlight and write about interesting historical documents) and Story Pages (which can be used as a blog [web log, or journal] or a way to record in written form and then share anything that is of interest to the viewer–not just historical information).

If you live in the Spokane area and are a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, we will be offering a computer class on September 20th, 2008 to learn how to navigate and use this site, as well as to explore its content. It will be presented by yours truly. Meantime, I suggest you check out the many things Footnote has to offer, both the free content and the subscription materials, by clicking on the image below.