Welcome to the Genlighten Blog

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you'll visit often for the latest from the Genlighten team, including site updates and features under development. We'll also offer our take on news from the genealogy community and share personal experiences with "genealogy documented". Your comments are always welcome.


How to Create a Genlighten Research Report

Posted On: July 2nd, 2011 | Posted by: Cynthia

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So you’ve finished a research project for your first Genlighten client. Congratulations! It’s time to upload your report so you can get paid.

Upload ReportLog into the site and click on the “Provide” tab. You’ll see a list of pending requests. Click on the red title for the request you’re ready to complete. Scroll down the page and you’ll see a button on the left that says “Upload Report.” Click it to go to the report page. (If you don’t see the button, check to make sure you’ve accepted the research request.)

A Genlighten report has three required parts but they don’t have to be completed in one sitting. You are welcome to upload images to the report page for safe-keeping while you’re working on a project and you can edit the report as many times as you’d like as long as you remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Save” every time you do. Your client won’t have access to the report page until you select “found” or “not found.”

Part 1: Tag the results “Found” or “Not Found”
Found/Note Found

Select “Document Found” or “Document Not Found” by clicking the radio button to the left. You can toggle back and forth between the two options but you can’t deselect both once you’ve chosen one.


Once you’ve selected “found” or “not found” your client can view your report and any documents that you’ve uploaded. In many cases, it’s best to leave this step for the very end.

Part 2: Compose Report to Client
Report Box

Your report format will depend on the level of service you choose to provide. Many providers use this box to share an informal summary of the research process and results. If you choose this approach, please make sure to tell your client where you found the document(s) you are uploading and to provide enough information that another person could follow in your footsteps and retrieve the same record.

If you choose to share a more formal report, you can enter it in this box or you can upload it in another format. PDFs work well. So do Word documents. If you choose to upload your report in a file instead of using the report box, just add a note that says something like “Please see the report I’ve uploaded.” You have to type something in the box.


If you have Internet access at the repository you visit, you can use the report box to take notes. Just remember to “Save” each time you leave the page.

It’s sometimes helpful to your client if you include site-related guidance at the end of your report. For example, sometimes clients try to print images from a browser and this usually results in the pages being cut off no matter what they do. Adding a link to our “How To Print Your Lookup Document Images on Genlighten” can help clients avoid frustration. You are also welcome to add a note that reminds clients to contact support@genlighten.com if they have any trouble using the site—downloading images, printing images, etc.

Feel free to format your report with HTML. You can use code for things like bold and italic and also to add paragraphs.

Part 3: Upload Scanned Document(s)
Upload Images
Please upload digital images of the records that you retrieved for your client. You can upload almost any image format – JPG, GIF, TIF, BMP, PDF – and you can also upload documents in Word format. If you upload jpgs or gifs, the site will create thumbnails to appear on the report page. If you upload a pdfs or a Word document, your client will just see a red link.

You can upload images one at a time or you can upload them as a batch. If you upload them as a batch, they will be in order from the bottom of the page to the top. In other words, the first image that your client sees will be the last one you uploaded.

What if your research didn’t generate any images? Then you’ll have to be creative because you won’t be able to charge your client until you upload something. You could upload a photo of the repository you visited or provide a copy of the report as a PDF or Word document. You could also provide images of an index or page searched to document a negative result.


Please do your best to provide quality images. Create images with high enough resolution that the record can be easily read on a computer screen and/or printed. If it’s a document, a 200 dpi jpg is probably fine. If it’s a photo, you might want to include a higher resolution image.

Consider making small tweaks to the images with a program like Picasa. Quickly rotating and/or cropping images can make a big difference in your presentation.

If you have the ability to create multiple file formats, e.g., jpgs or pdfs, consider offering a choice to your clients.

Finishing the Research Request

Once you’ve completed and saved the three-part report, a “Charge Client” button will appear on the request page. When you’re ready, click it. Your client will receive email notification that the request is complete and your account will be credited with your fee. Even though the request is complete, you can still edit the report if you find you need to made additions or corrections.

If you get an error message when you click the “Charge Client” button, please delete the images you uploaded (so your client can’t see them) and email support@genlighten.com immediately. Usually, it’s just a matter of the payment authorization having expired (you have about four weeks to complete a request before that happens)–something that can be easily fixed with your client’s help.

If you have questions about how to create a report, just send a quick email to cynthia@genlighten.com. I’m always happy to help.


The Genlighten Research Process: Provider View

Posted On: February 8th, 2011 | Posted by: Cynthia

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Genlighten Report PageIf you’re thinking about offering research services on Genlighten for the first time, you’re probably wondering how the Genlighten website works. In this blog post, I’ll walk you though it from the provider side with a quick summary of the steps involved.

Create a Research Offering
You can find a detailed description of how to post research offerings in a previous blog post titled Five Steps to a Successful Lookup Offering

Watch for Email
When a client requests your services, an email with the subject “Genlighten: New lookup request from” will arrive in your inbox. Please make sure the email address you have listed on your Genlighten account is current and typed correctly so those messages are delivered to you.

Accept or Decline
Review the information the client has provided, message back and forth, if necessary, and accept or decline the request. I usually send a quick note when I accept to let the client know what the likely turnaround time will be.

Do the Research
If a request involves multiple steps, I often upload documents to the report page for safe keeping and keep my notes in the report box. Clients aren’t able to view the report page if you haven’t selected “found” or “not found.” (Do that as a last step.)

Create the Report
Return to the request page and create a three-part report. Upload image(s), type in your report text, and select “found” or “not found.” You can use HTML to format your report, if you’d like.

Charge the Client
Once you’ve saved the report with all three parts completed you’ll be returned to the request page and a “charge client” button will be visible. Edit the report, if needed. When you’re ready, click the “charge client” button to finish the request.

Let the Site Notify Your Client
When you click the “charge client” button an email is automatically generated to let your client know that the research is finished. The email contains a link back to the request page so that he or she can read your report and view/save the images you’ve uploaded. You can continue to message back and forth on the request page and you can also edit the report, if needed.

Get Paid
Your account will be credited with your fee minus our commission when you click the “charge client” button. Funds for new providers are held in escrow for seven days but that period can be shortened or eliminated for providers who have stellar feedback. (If you’re a five-star provider, feel free to contact us about that.) Available account balances can be transferred to your PayPal account by clicking the “Payout” button.


ExpertConnect’s going away. Can Genlighten take its place?

Posted On: January 25th, 2011 | Posted by: Dean

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At Genlighten, we’ve tried to take the 37Signals approach towards our competitors:

People sometimes ask us how much we look at the competition. The answer: not much. We can’t control what they do. We can control what we do. So we focus on that.

Still, when I first heard about Ancestry’s plans to debut ExpertConnect just a few months before our beta launch in 2009, my stomach experienced one of those roller-coaster drops that tend to characterize startup life.

Now a year and a half later, ExpertConnect is shutting down. When I saw Ancestry’s e-mail in my inbox yesterday, I went through three reactions in rapid succession:

  • Cool, the 800-pound gorilla has left our market… we don’t have to compete with them anymore!
  • Uh-oh. If they can’t make this business work, how can we expect to?
  • Darn… I wish all our marvelous new features were ready to go right now!

Now that we’ve had a little time to process it, here’s our “official” response to Ancestry’s announcement:

To our current clients and providers:

  • Genlighten will continue to serve you in the months and years ahead. We’ve heard your feedback and we’re working hard to implement the improvements and new features you’ve asked for.
  • Our next release is currently targeted for the end of June. We’ll be inviting some of you to test the new version beginning in March or April. You’ll see an upgraded homepage, simplified navigation, a brand-new search capability, internal messaging, and an overall higher level of fit and finish.

To ExpertConnect users considering switching to Genlighten:

  • We’d love to tell you that we’re ready right now to step in and completely fill the void left by ExpertConnect’s departure. We’re not. But we expect to be there soon.
  • When we first launched, we focused Genlighten on offline record lookups rather than hourly research in order to differentiate ourselves somewhat from Ancestry. In response to client and provider requests, we are now revising our strategy. We plan to fully embrace high-end professional research offerings and online searches in addition to document retrieval and record lookups.
  • By joining us now, you’ll have the opportunity to exert a significant influence on the direction we take in response to ExpertConnect’s closure. We’d love to get your help in making Genlighten all you’d like it to be.

Our next release

When our new release is launched this summer, we plan to offer both new and existing users the baseline functionality ExpertConnect had, plus:

  • a flexible and customizable storefront interface optimized for client discovery and frictionless e-commerce.
  • no one-year “lock-in” of clients you acquire through Genlighten
  • active social media marketing of your profile and service listings
  • tools to let you promote your presence on Genlighten via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Adwords and more
  • analytics to help you understand how to draw more traffic to your offerings.
  • search-optimized research tools for localities and repositories that will attract visitors to the site and spotlight our providers to prospective customers.

How we plan to succeed

Genlighten lacks Ancestry’s global reach, brand awareness, massive staff and financial backing. Still, size and strength apparently weren’t enough to make ExpertConnect “a winner“. [Note the first comment to that linked post on Dick Eastman's blog. It's a particular favorite of mine!]

We think there are some advantages to our small size that will keep us from getting “blown out of the water.” For one thing, we don’t need to make anywhere near as much money as Ancestry required to justify ExpertConnect’s existence. We’re completely bootstrapped, with no institutional investors, so we’re quite content to be a “lifestyle business.” At the same time, Genlighten is our core product, not an add-on to a much larger offering, so you can expect us to be focused on it for the long term. And there’s another upside to our small size: when you call us on the phone or e-mail us, you’re connecting directly with our founding team.


As you can imagine, this is an exciting time for our little startup. We hope you’ll share it with us! If this is your first time here, please explore the site and contact us with your questions and suggestions. If you’ve been with Genlighten for a while, please help us spread the word to your fellow genealogists. Either way, Thank you for your interest and support!


Downloading Multiple Images with a Few Clicks of a Mouse

Posted On: January 19th, 2011 | Posted by: Cynthia

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DownThemAll!Let’s say that a provider has completed your lookup and uploaded the resulting images to Genlighten. How do you get them from there to your computer’s hard drive?

If it’s just a couple of images, click on the thumbnail to load the full-size image in your browser, then right-click and save it to your computer. From there you can print it, share it, or attach it to a record in your genealogy database.

But what if it’s a divorce file with eighty images? You could right-click and save eighty times but there’s an easier way to transfer the files to your computer if you use Firefox as your browser.

Go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/downthemall/ and download the Firefox add-on called “DownThemAll!” It’s a five-star program developed by Nils Maier, a graduate student at the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany.

When the program has finished downloading you’ll be prompted to close Firefox and open it again. After you’ve done that, you’ll find that DownThemAll! appears in the drop-down tools menu.

Once you’ve installed the add-on–it takes no time at all to do it–log into Genlighten and go to the lookup report page that has the images you’d like to download. Select DownThemAll! from the drop-down tools menu.

You’ll see a screen that looks like the image below. Notice that there are Genlighten files listed that you won’t want to download. Typing .jpg (or .tiff or .pdf — whatever file type the provider used) in the box that says “Fast Filtering” will select just the images you want to download.

DownThemAll! Download Manager

If you want to save the files to a particular place on your computer, click the folder icon next to the “Save Files In” drop-down and navigate to the correct folder.

Then click “Start!” If your experience is anything like mine, the images will download remarkably fast. I started counting “one-thousand one, one-thousand two … ” when I started a batch of 120 files and it was finished by the time I got to ” … one-thousand sixty.”

If you try this approach to downloading images, stop back by and let us know how it worked for you.


Nine Questions with Ben Hollister

Posted On: July 26th, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

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ben_hollister_profile_imageOn Mondays, I often publish brief e-mail interviews with our lookup providers. This week I’d like to introduce you to Ben Hollister, our first provider from Australia.

From benhollister‘s profile

Ben’s passionate about teaching, history, and information/knowledge management. His extensive educational background includes a sub-major in Australian Culture and History and a Graduate Certificate in Applied History and Heritage. He’s a member of the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society and NGS. On Genlighten, Ben offers lookups covering South Australia vital records (BMD), Australian Army Service Records, and cemetery photos in the Adelaide area.

Nine Questions with Ben

1) How did you get started doing genealogy research?

I have always loved history. My grandmother had compiled a huge amount of family history research, and for some reason all family papers and heirlooms seem to end up with me. I found out so much that I didn’t know that I just had to do more myself.

2) Do you have a genealogy superpower? If so, what is it?

No superpowers here, just the tenacity to try a variety of searches to see if a record exists.

3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?

When I first started chasing my BOHLMANN family, I found that previous researchers had identified 2 separate Johann BOHLMANNs in South Australia with 2 separate families. After a certain amount of digging, I proved that it was the same person. He had been widowed shortly after arriving and all of his family had died young, then he remarried and started another family.

4) What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request?

Details, Details, Details….and dot points (Ed.: otherwise known as ‘bullet points’.) Don’t leave anything out that may even be vaguely relevant, but make sure that it isn’t buried in too much padding.

5) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?

The General Registry Office (Old Land Titles Section) is fascinating as the Deeds are produced on parchment and contain a history of so many of the early buildings on Adelaide.

6) What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?

As much as possible I like to scan at about 600dpi, but luckily my wife is a photographer, so when I have to take photos of documents on site, I sneak out with her digital SLR and table tripod!! I use Adobe Photoshop 8.0 to adjust and edit, and Transcript 2.3 to do my transcriptions.

7) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?

South Australian Land records (old and new system), electoral rolls (all of Australia), and any other series from the State Library or State Archives that I can quantify.

8 ) What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?

Be really clear about what you want to offer and make sure that your prices are comparable to others for the service level and quality you provide.

9) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups?

That’s funny!!!! Well I sometimes come home and search archives online(for a change), I am always studying (just finished my 3rd post-graduate degree -one in computer science, one in education, and one in applied history), and occasionally my wife pulls me up for air and we work on renovating our house.

Lookups benhollister offers


Nine Questions with Michael Hait

Posted On: July 19th, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

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Michael Hait

On Mondays, I try to publish brief e-mail interviews with some of our lookup providers. (I apologize that I’ve fallen down on this practice lately.) This week’s interview is with Michael Hait.

From michaelhait‘s profile

Michael is a professional genealogical researcher, author of numerous genealogy-related publications and an APG Chapter Vice President. He specializes in Maryland research, African-American genealogy, and Civil War records. On Genlighten, Michael offers a broad selection of lookups, including Maryland vital records, probate records, wills, and land patents. He can also retrieve and digitize Civil War Pension files (Union) from the National Archives in Washington, D.C..

Nine Questions with Michael

1) How did you get started doing genealogy research?

When I was about eight or nine years old, my grandmother showed me a “family tree” that her sister, an LDS convert, had compiled.  This immediately intrigued me, and my grandmother and I began our own “research.”  When I was about twenty, I really jumped into research vigorously, going to the National Archives in Washington DC every Saturday, writing letters to ancestral hometown historical and genealogical societies, etc., and discovered the Rootsweb mailing lists (no message boards yet). I have been researching ever since then.

2) Do you have a genealogy “superpower”? If so, what is it?

I would say that my “superpower” is my ability to locate evidence in records outside of the everyday record groups.

3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?

I have researched many tricky problems in five years as a professional genealogist.  I am proud of them all, because each of them helps a family understand their heritage more.  But I guess that I would choose a recent case involving an enslaved family, where the official records only offered indirect evidence and confusion ca. 1824. Then I located a family history book that reproduced pages from a family Bible containing all of the slaves’ births!

4) What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request?

The most important is to read every word of the offer.  Sometimes there are outside factors that affect a particular lookup, such as years missing in the records due to fire, etc.  If there are special instructions, etc., then there is also probably a reason for them.  But overall, I feel that a well-formulated request should be very specific — it should include an exact name, relatively narrow date range, and specific location.

5) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?

One of my specialties is African-American, particularly slave, genealogy, so any record group that provides information specific to individual enslaved people or families is of great interest to me.  One of the most interesting record groups I located were registers of claims submitted to the Slave Claims Commissions during and following the Civil War.  These Commissions were established to compensate loyal slaveowners in the border states whose slaves joined the Union Army.

Each register includes the name and location of the slaveowner, and the FULL name (given and surname) of each slave, as well as in some cases other details like the regiment and company in which the slave served.  I am currently in the process of transcribing and publishing these registers.  I have already published the short register of claims of the Delaware Slave Claims Commission, and am finishing up the much larger Kentucky register.

6)  What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?

I have a scanner with a top-load feeder so that I can scan many pages at once.  I use the free Photoshop alternative GIMP to edit photos, and the free version of PrimoPDF to compile PDF reports.

7) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?

I am thinking of offering several record groups available at the National Archives in Washington, DC. [Update: Michael recently added Civil War pension file lookups to his offerings. See the list below.]

8 ) What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?

Knowledge of the records is key to being able to efficiently and effectively search records.  Before offering lookups, be sure to have a lot of experience with the record group.

9) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups?

I am full-time genealogical researcher, so most of my time is spent conducting research, and writing.  When I do have spare time for other activities, I usually spend it with my family, including my beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Mary.

Lookups michaelhait Offers


Picasa for Family History Images

Posted On: June 3rd, 2010 | Posted by: Cynthia

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I’m a fan of Picasa, a photo editing program that’s available for free download from Google, and I mostly use it for organizing, tweaking, and sharing scans of genealogical documents.

A Picasa tutorial is beyond the scope of a short blog post, but I thought it would be useful for me share a list of the features I find particularly helpful with some simple directions on how to use them.


Select Images to Appear: You can decide which images appear in Picasa by selecting folders under “Tools” then “Folder Manager.”

Organize Images:
Move images from folder to folder by dragging and dropping. You can also rearrange images within a folder using the same approach.

Rename an Image: Click on an image to select it, then hit F2. Type the new image name in the pop-up box.

Rename Multiple Images: Select multiple images (holding down Ctrl lets you do that) and then hit F2. Type an image name and the selected images will be renamed in sequential order. For example, decree.jpg, decree1.jpg, decree2.jpg, etc.


If you open Picasa and double-click on an image and you’ll see three tabbed menus appear on the left: Basic Fixes, Tuning, and Effects. These menus are key.

Rotate an Image: Click “Straighten” under the “Basic Fixes” tab; use the sliding bar to rotate the image left or right, then click on “Apply.”

Crop an Image: Click “Crop” under the “Basic Fixes” tab; draw a box around the portion of the image you want to save and click “Apply” when done. If you’re not happy with how the cropped image turned out, click “Recrop” and try again.

Tweak Brightness and Contrast Automatically: Click “Auto Contrast” under the “Basic Fixes” tab; if you’re not happy with the result, just click “Undo Auto Contrast.” If Auto Contrast doesn’t work, click on the “Tuning” tab. Move the sliding bars to tweak the image.


Print an Image: Click on the image(s) you want to print. Click on the “Print” icon at the bottom of the page. Use the resulting menu options to assure that the image will appear on the page the way you want it to.

Upload an Image to a Picasa Web Album: Web albums are a great way to keep, backup and share images. Click on the “Upload” button and follow the instructions. Images will be sent to a folder associated with your gmail address and once they’re there you can rearrange them, add captions, and share links to individual images or a folder. It’s a convenient way to back up the files and it’s a nice way to make sure they’re accessible from any place you have Internet access. (The image below says “paid storage” but free storage is also available.)

Emailing Images:
The one thing that hasn’t worked well for me is the email option. I find that the documents shrink somewhere along in the process and the resulting images may not be large enough to be read easily. (If anyone has a solution to that problem, please let me know.)

These are just a few ideas but I’d encourage you to explore the program to discover other useful features and if you discover one, please add a comment to this post.


Picasa and Genlighten go great together! Here’s how:

For lookup providers: use Picasa to enhance the quality of the document scans you upload to your clients. Here’s a tip. Upload both your original scan and a second one that you tweak with Picasa. That way, clients can see the difference and appreciate the extra effort you went to. Also, there may be certain details in the image (handwriting, for example) that are discernible in one version but not the other.

For clients: once you’ve downloaded the images your provider posted to your account, use Picasa to bring out details you might otherwise have missed. Experiment with the techniques mentioned in this post and save different versions of your images with descriptive names. Have fun!


Nine Questions with Kim Stankiewicz

Posted On: May 10th, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

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On Mondays, I frequently publish brief e-mail interviews with some of our lookup providers. This week’s interview is with Kim Stankiewicz, whose Genlighten username is — you guessed it — kimstankiewicz.

From kimstankiewicz‘s profile

Kim’s been doing genealogy research for herself and others for the last ten years. She’s located in the Chicago area and has access to the Great Lakes Region NARA facility, the Cook County Courthouse, the Wilmette LDS Family History Center and numerous Chicago libraries. She can retrieve Bohemian obituaries, criminal court records, naturalization records, probate records and wills. She participated in ProGen2 and is a member of the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists and the Polish Genealogical Society of America. She’s committed to treating your ancestors as if they were her own.

Nine questions with Kim

1)         How did you get started doing genealogy research?

After researching my own family history, friends and acquaintances started asking me to help them with their family histories.  I found that I enjoyed researching others’ ancestors just as much as my own and I learned so much through the process.  I get just as excited when I find good information for others as I do for myself!  Solving a genealogical puzzle is always fun!

2)      Do you have a genealogy “superpower”? If so, what is it?

One of my strengths is my persistence in attempting every avenue I can think of to find elusive ancestors.  Sometimes people just can’t be found, but I will always try every trick in the book to track people’s ancestors down.  I do this through a step by step process of searching different records that are available in the Chicago area.

3)      Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?

I recently had a client that wanted to find out what happened to her aunt’s baby after her aunt’s divorce.  This divorce took place many years ago and no one ever talked about it and the aunt had since passed on.  After pulling the divorce records, it was discovered exactly where the child was placed and what the child’s new name was.  It was very exciting as my client was able to reconnect with this new found cousin!

4)      What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request?

It is helpful when a client can give as many details or stories that they’ve heard about their ancestors.  Sometimes the littlest details can be the biggest clues for looking for documents in the right place.

5)      What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?

My favorite repository is definitely the Cook County Archives.  I enjoy searching court records for either criminal cases, general lawsuits or divorces.  Many people have very interesting stories and so much can be gleaned through these records.  Their narratives are all documented via court records and their testimony.  It’s almost as you can hear them speaking when you read their 100+ year old testimony word for word!

6)      What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?

I have a new hp computer and a new scanner so that I can easily upload documents and deliver them digitally to my clients.

7)      Any new lookups you’re considering offering?

I plan to offer wills and probate look ups, divorce, law and chancery case look ups and obituary look ups from newspapers that are not yet on-line.

8)      What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?

One needs to first start off by offering their favorite look ups so that they will find it fun, fulfilling and interesting.

9)      What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups?

I like running, reading, going to the movies and spending time with my husband and five kids.

Lookups kimstankiewicz Offers


Surname Saturday: Swetland

Posted On: May 1st, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

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Here’s what I know (or believe I do) about my SWETLAND line.

1. Dean Richardson

2. David Richardson, born 17 Nov 1935 in Erie, Erie County, PA; died 16 Oct 1998 in Stanford, Santa Clara County, CA

3. Owen Richardson, born 02 Dec 1899 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, MD; died 05 Dec 1993 in Edinboro, Erie County, PA

4. Louise Grant Smith, born 01 Apr 1861 in Detroit, Wayne County, MI; died 01 May 1941 in Saybrook, Ashtabula County, OH

5. James Thomas Smith, born 1834 in Waterville, Oneida County, NY; died 18 Feb 1863 in Detroit, Wayne County, MI

6. Marcia Mahala Swetland, born 1808, Sangerfield, Oneida County, NY; died 05 Jun 1885 in Chicago, Cook County, IL

7. Benjamin Swetland, born 29 Sep 1756 in Bolton, Tolland County, CT; died 29 Sep 1819 in Waterville, Oneida County, NY

8. John Swetland, Jr. born 1708 in CT; died 16 Mar 1783.

Some of the data above is from “Memories”, a typescript family history compiled by Louise Grant Smith. Other details (including the image of Benjamin Swetland’s music, copied into his Revolutionary War roster book) is from “Chapter Sketches” as referenced below.

Bibliographic details from Google Books:
Chapter Sketches: Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution; Patriots' Daughters
By Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution,  Mary Philotheta Root,  Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution
Published by Connecticut chapters, Daughters of the American revolution, 1904
Original from the New York Public Library
Digitized Feb 26, 2008
390 pages

Follow Friday: AppleTree.com

Posted On: May 1st, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

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The folks at AppleTree.com have been our booth neighbors this week in the NGS Exhibit Hall. It’s their first genealogy conference as an exhibitor and they’re getting an enthusiastic response from attendees. I’ve only got a few early impressions of their startup at this point, but from what I’ve seen, I think they’re building something that’s going to make a big impact in the online genealogy space. Here’s why:

  • AppleTree is aiming to build a single comprehensive “family tree of the world that “we all belong to”, echoing the vision of NewFamilySearch and several private companies.
  • Their founder Scott Mueller is a serial entrepreneur, the veteran of several startups that have seen successful exits.
  • AppleTree has earned venture backing from a top-shelf VC firm, which gives them the runway they need to hire talented people and develop crucial features at a rapid pace.
  • AppleTree’s business model appears to involve a combination of advertising and paid media hosting, while the basic tree functionality will be free to users for the foreseeable future. This differentiates them from Geni, which has pursued a slightly different freemium / virtual goods model and largely avoided ads to this point.
  • They appear to be working hard on integration with NewFamilySearch, claiming “We are the only way to link media with people, events, locations and sources in New FamilySearch.” The folks at Photoloom would dispute that point, but such competing claims are to be expected.

I’m excited to see energetic and visionary new startups tackling the goals that AppleTree is going after. I think they’re worth paying attention to, and they’re my Follow Friday recommendation for this week.