The Genealogy Gems Podcast is the leading genealogy and family history show. Launched in 2007, the show is hosted by genealogy author, keynote presenter, and video producer Lisa Louise Cooke. The podcast can be found in all major podcasting directories, or download the exclusive Genealogy Gems Podcast app to listen to all the episodes and receive bonus content.
Podcast host: Lisa Louise Cooke
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We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Genealogy Gems app. We blazed a new trail back in 2010 when we launched the app – apps were still really new back then. I loved the idea of having a way to deliver exclusive bonus content to you as well as the audio, the show notes and best of all an easy way for you to contact me and the show.
It’s more popular than ever, and as far as I know we are still the only genealogy podcast app available. If you haven’t already downloaded it just search for Genealogy Gems in Google Play or Apple’s App Store, or get the right app for your phone or tablet here.
In this episode I have two interviews for you on very different subjects. First up will be a follow up to last month’s episode where we focused specifically on the New York Public Library Photographers’ Identities Catalog.
Well, in this episode we’re going to talk to the genealogy reference librarian at the New York Public Library, Andy McCarthy. And as you’ll hear, there are a massive amount of resource available there for genealogists everywhere.
Then we’ll switch gears to Scandinavian genealogy with David Fryxell, author of the new book The Family Tree Scandinavian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
The free podcast is sponsored by RootsMagic
GEM: The New York Public Library’s Milstein Division of United States
History, Local History & Genealogy with Reference Librarian Andy McCarthy.
The NYPL is one of the largest public genealogical collections in the country. They have a “wide-angle” approach to providing reference materials for local and US History.
The Top Resources at The New York Public Library
#1 The reference librarians.
Email them at email@example.com Ask questions, prepare for your visit.
#2 The online catalog:
Click here to visit the New York Public Library’s Online Catalog.
While they subscribe to many genealogy databases, they don’t host many. Use the catalog to determine what’s available, and what to ask for. See if what you’re looking for exists. Pay close attention to subject headings to identify resources.
#3 The Digital Collections
Click here to visit the Digital Collections at the New York Public Library.
- City Directory Collection up to 1933.
- Manhattan is the largest and is coming soon. This collection was only available previously on microfilm. It is a browse-only collection (not keyword searchable)
- The 1940 Phone Directory is online.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Map collection is digitized and online.
- The Map Wharper which is a crowd-sourcing project providing for historic map overlays, and super zooming in views.
They also have a massive collection available in house of books, pamphlets, newspapers, etc. There are research and photo copying services available.
#4 Research Guides online
Click here to view the New York Public Library’s research guides.
Before you go:
- Definitely reach out before you go.
- Provide them with specific questions and they can help you identify what to focus on while you’re there.
- Visit the Milstein home page. They also have many public classes. Check to see what will be available during your visit.
One of Andy’s Favorites Collections
The Photographic Views of NYC Collection. Arranged by cross streets
The free podcast is sponsored by MyHeritage
GEM: Scandinavian Research with Author David Fryxell
David A. Fryxell is the author of the book The Family Tree Scandinavian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
David is an award-winning author, editor, speaker and publishing consultant. He founded Family Tree Magazine, the nation’s leading genealogy publication. As a writing expert, he wrote the Nonfiction column for Writer’s Digest magazine for more than a decade and served as director of the famous Maui Writer’s Retreat. He has authored countless articles for Family Tree Magazine, and is also the author of additional books including Good Old Days, My Ass and MicroHistory: Ideas and inventions that made the modern world.
Here’s a brief outline of my Q&A with David Fryxell on his new book and Scandinavian genealogy research:
To understand the ties between the Scandinavian countries, and why countries like Finland and Iceland aren’t included, we have to learn about the cultures and languages, right?
Scandinavian countries are really tied by language. And at one point all the countries were united. Borders change. The records reflect these various changes.
What’s the timeline of Scandinavian immigration?
The First Wave, 1825–1860
The Second Wave, 1865–1880
The Third Wave, 1880–1924
What value do you think DNA testing provides, and what should we keep in mind if we do test?
DNA results are most helpful to find other relatives who may be able to assist in your research.
Let’s say we know we’ve identified the ancestor who immigrated. What else do we need to know before we can jump the pond and start digging into Scandinavian records?
In the case of Scandinavian ancestors, you may not have to find the U.S. passenger records. They have excellent passenger departure records.
Tell us about the census in Scandinavia. Is it consistent among all three countries?
Norway and Denmark have good census records. You can find them at:
- and Digital Archive Norway
They are increasingly searchable, and much like our census records in the U.S.
Sweden doesn’t really have useful census records. But they have Household Inventory records in church books. They were recorded every year. Turn to websites such as ArchivDigital, and Ancestry.com.
Let’s dig into the records. Where do you recommend we start?
Church records are key. (Vital Records, census, vaccination, etc.) Also Military, Land and Tax.
I love that chapter 16 is called What to do when you get stuck! Give us an example of a common area where researchers get stuck and one of your favorite strategies for unsticking them.
- Get familiar with and pay close attention to patronymic naming conventions where a man’s name is typically based on the given name of their father.
- Look closely!
- Challenge your assumptions!
More Resources from David Fryxell: https://vikinggenealogy.com
Protect Your Precious Genealogy Data
Don’t wait another day. Get the computer backup that I use www.backblaze.com/Lisa.
Profile America: First Radio Broadcast
Monday, January 13th. Today is the anniversary of the first radio broadcast to the public. It took place 110 years ago in New York City, engineered by Lee deForest, a radio pioneer and inventor of the electron tube.
The 1910 broadcast wasn’t made from a purpose-built radio studio, but from the Metropolitan Opera house. DeForest broadcast the voices of Enrico Caruso and other opera singers. A small but impressed audience throughout the city gathered around special receivers to listen with headphones.
Today, 95 percent of American households have at least one radio.
One-hundred ten years after deForest’s lonely effort, some 5,400 radio stations employ about 92,000 people.
- First broadcast, accessed 9/10/2019
- Receivers, accessed 9/10/2019
- Households with radios, accessed 9/10/2019
- Radio broadcasting establishments, County Business Patterns, NAICS 51511
Courtesy of Census.gov.
MyHeritage LIVE conference
I’ll be speaking at this conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 25 & 26, 2020. Read more here.
I’ll be presenting 4 sessions and look forward to visiting with you at the Genealogy Gems booth at the front of the exhibit hall. Get all the details here.
Read our latest articles at Genealogy Gems:
- 5 Steps to Digitizing Your Old Negatives
- How to Find and Browse Unindexed Records at Ancestry – The Better Browsing Checklist
- Best Strategies: How to Find Church Marriage Records
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I just recently started listening to podcast. Apparently it is the new rave with a lot of women in my church. So I figured “what the hey, lets give it a try”. You were my first listen! And I just want you to know, I am now addicted. WOW. What a great show. I learned a plethora of information. David Fryxell is so fun to listen to. If I could just be inside his brain for one day! Thank you guys for an amazing show. Thank you for showing me how fun these podcast can be. You now have a lifelong subscriber. And David, I will definitely be purchasing one of your books, and look forward to future books. I host a Genealogy workshop every week here local and will definitely be taking notes to pass on information as well as share your show. Thanks again Lisa!
Hi Holly! Thank you for your enthusiastic comment. I’m thrilled to hear it and you’re a Gem for sharing the podcast with your friends and students, thank you!
Just listened to your podcast #237 on NYC Public Libraries. Being from New Jersey, I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast. I especially found Andy McCarthy entertaining!
Thank you again for all the information you put out there for we beginners!
Andy was a delight to talk to. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and thank you for listening to the show!
Dear Lisa, This January marks it one year that I have been listening to your podcast. It took me months to catch up and listen to all the previous podcasts. I have purchased Backblaze, RootsMagic and your books and genealogy gems pin. I have fallen in love with genealogy again. Thank you for all you do. I have now started to listen to you on the Family Tree podcast. I hardly have time to do my genealogy. I started doing genealogy in the 1990s however life’s circumstances got in the way and I stopped researching. I am now going be on my way to researching again however, just in a matter of a decade how things have changed for research. Keep informing all of us in the electronic world.
Karen, thank you for your lovely and kind comment! So happy to have you as part of our Genealogy Gems family.
We just got the link fixed. Please try it again. Thanks!