QRZ DX and The DX Magazine Publisher Carl Smith, N4AA, SK

QRZ DX and The DX Magazine Publisher and Editor Carl Smith, N4AA, of Asheville, North Carolina, died on October 20. An ARRL member, he was 77 and had been a radio amateur and DXer for more than 6 decades. Smith and his late wife Miriam, KB4C, bought

 the two publications’ parent DX Publishing in 1997

“Carl was a ham’s ham, as he dabbled in many aspects of our great hobby,” The Daily DX Editor Ber...

The K7RA Solar Update

The past reporting week (October 12-18) saw very little solar activity, with a sunspot number of 12 on October 15, meaning the average daily sunspot number was only 1.7, down from the already low average of 8.4 over the previous seven days.

Over the same two periods, average daily solar flux declined from 76.8 to 70.5, while average daily planetary A index increased from 8.9 to 21.1 and average ...

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) FM Satellite Set to Launch in November

The next AMSAT Fox-1 satellite, RadFxSat (Fox-1B), is scheduled to launch on November 10 at 0947 UTC. RadFxSat (Fox-1B), which will carry a 435/145 MHz FM transponder, is one of four CubeSats making up the NASA ELaNa XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) mission. JPSS-1 will launch on a Delta II vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif...

New "Member Friday" Webinar – Digging for Gold in Probate Packets by Chris Staats

  New "Member Friday" Webinar - Digging for Gold in Probate Packets by Chris Staats

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new bonus webinar just for them!   This Friday enjoy "Beyond the Docket Books: Digging for Gold in Probate Packets" by Chris Staats. If you're not a member,  remember the webinar previews are always free.

Beyond the Docket Books: Digging for Gold in Probate Packets

Probate records provide an intimate window through which to view the lives of our ancestors, revealing information about them that make their identities unique. 

Beyond the Docket Books: Digging for Gold in Probate Packets



ChrisStaats_144x144About the Presenter

Chris Staats is a Cleveland, Ohio-based professional genealogical researcher, presenter, and writer. He has written articles for Family Tree Magazine, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and other publications. Chris has given presentations covering methodology, resources, technology, and other topics at genealogical societies and libraries across Ohio. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, chapter representative for the Great Lakes APG chapter, and Seminar Chairperson for the Western Reserve Historical Society's Genealogical Committee.

Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 603 classes in the library 816 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 2,787 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.


Look at our lineup of speakers for 2017! All live webinars are free to watch.


Print the 2017 webinar brochure here.

What is Soundex and how it is still being used

Newcomers to genealogy are sometimes confused by the word soundex. Whereas those who have been researching for decades have likely memorized the soundex codes for each of their favorite ancestors' surnames. With the advent of every-name census indexes, soundex has been somewhat left behind.

A to Zax: A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists & Historians by Barbara Jean Evans, defines soundex as:

A system of indexing surnames that sound alike. Consonants have certain values, vowels are ignored. The first letter of the name and three digits are used, e.g. Evans = E152. This system is used to index the 1880, 1900 and 1910 censuses and some states use the soundex code on drivers' licenses.

Now doesn't that sound exciting??? Evans is right - to be able to search the census records, we used to have to translate our ancestors' surnames into a soundex code. Manuals were written about how to do this.

Here are some coding rules:

1 - B P F V 
2 - C S K G J Q X Z
3 - D T
4 - L
5 - M N
6 - R

Do not code A, E, I, O, U, W, Y, and H.

Note that surname prefixes such as van, Von, Di, de, le, D', dela, or du are sometimesdisregarded in alphabetizing and in coding.

. . . many other little rules

Confused? You don't need to be. Computers have made this easier - even Legacy Family Tree has a built-in soundex code calculator.

So do we still use Soundex codes?

Not as much as we used to, but still - passenger lists, vital record indexes, and other record groups are still indexed/sorted by soundex code. For example, the Washington state death indexes are arranged this way. To search for my BROWN relatives, I need to know that B-650 is the right code, because all the Browns, and possibly even other surnames are grouped/indexed together.

Calculating this code is easy in Legacy:

  1. Click on the Tools tab.
  2. Click on Soundex Calculator.
  3. Type in the desired surname, and click Calculate Soundex Code.


Locating other surnames with the same soundex code

Perhaps you are researching the Brown surname. Throughout your research, you've found and recorded several variants for the surname. Remembering all the variants is hard to do all the time. Legacy's Search Name List button on the Soundex Calculator will search all the surnames in your family file and give you a list of those surnames that also have the same soundex code as B-650.

Online databases

Even search engines at the big genealogy sites recognize the value of searching for similarly-sounding names.


At www.myheritage.com/research, click on the Advanced Search link and then click on the Match Similar Names option to pull up this menu of choices:



At https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-records add a checkmark next to Name Variants:



At http://search.ancestry.com click on the "Exact" option below the surname:



At https://www.familysearch.org/search, leave the checkmark box blank:


Clearly, each site has its own tools and vary from a checkmark to using the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex. Experiment with each of the settings in your searching and you may be surprised how your ancestors' names were spelled.


ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, Wins G3AAJ Trophy

ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, has been honored with the Ron Broadbent, G3AAJ, Trophy. The presentation came during the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium this past weekend.

“AMSAT-UK totally shocked me yesterday at the colloquium with the Ron Broadbent Trophy,” Bauer reacted. “I was nearly speechless when asked to come up and receive the trophy for ARISS work. I mentioned t...

Reminder: This is JOTA Weekend

With nearly 600 stations in the US registered to take part in Scouting’s 60th Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) October 20-22, and many more planning to operate around the world, expect some additional activity on the bands. Listen for JOTA stations and help to introduce some Scouts to Amateur Radio. JOTA uses Amateur Radio to link Scouts and hams around the world, around the nation, and in communitie...

Chinese CAS-4A and CAS-4B Amateur Radio Satellite Transponders Activated

The Amateur Radio linear (SSB/CW) inverting transponders on the CAS-4A and CAS-4B satellites were activated on October 18. CAMSAT’s Amateur Radio payloads piggybacked on the optical remote-sensing micro-satellites OVS-1A (CAS-4A) and OVS-1B (CAS-4B), launched on June 15.

CAS-4A (call sign BJ1SK) has a CW telemetry beacon on 144.855 MHz, and 4.8 kB GMSK telemetry on 145.835 MHz. The uplink is 435...

The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Dirty Transmitters” is the topic of the current episode of the “ARRL The Doctor is In“ podcast. Listen...and learn!


Sponsored by DX Engineering, “ARRL The Doctor is In” is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like!


Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, J...

California Fire Situation Improves

San Francisco Section District Emergency Coordinator Len Gwinn, WA6KLK, in the Redwood Valley told ARRL this week that Amateur Radio volunteers in Mendocino and Lake counties have stood down, and things are “kind of back to normal, in that no emergency stations are being operated.” Gwinn, who spent more than 3 decades with Cal Fire and a few more years as a volunteer, said the sound of the wild...

The WPA: Sources for Your Genealogy – free webinar by Gena Philibert-Ortega now online for limited time


The recording of today's webinar "The WPA: Sources for Your Genealogy” by Gena Philibert-Ortega is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

The Works Progress Administration left behind a legacy that is used by family historians today. In this presentation we will discuss The WPA, projects under the WPA relevant to genealogy, and how you can research some of those records today.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 32 minute recording of "The WPA: Sources for Your Genealogy” PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 602 classes, 815 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 2,783 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year (currently 50% off until August 20, 2017)
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Midwestern & Plains States Level Census Records by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. October 25.
  • Filling in the In-Between of the Jewish BMD by Rose Feldman. October 29.
  • Introduction to the Use of Autosomal DNA Testing by Tim Janzen. October 29.
  • Google for Genealogy: Search Tricks to Tease Out Information by Jessica Taylor. October 29.
  • Discover Your Family History with MyHeritage's Unique Technologies by Daniel Horowitz. October 29.
  • How to Pass Your Ancestors' Legacy to Your Grandchildren by Jessica Taylor. October 29.
  • Advanced Autosomal DNA Techniques used in Genetic Genealogy by Tim Janzen. October 29.
  • Jewish Family Research Challenges by Garri Regev. October 29.
  • Is this the End? Taking Your German Brick Walls Down Piece by Piece by Luana Darby and Ursula C. Krause. November 1.
  • New York City Genealogical Research: Navigating Through The Five Boroughs by Michael L. Strauss, AG. November 8.
  • Using Non-Population Schedules for Context and Evidence by Jill Morelli. November 10.
  • British and Irish research: the differences by Brian Donovan. November 15.
  • Research in Federal Records: Some Assembly Required by Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG. November 21.
  • Understanding Alabama by Rorey Cathcart. November 29.
  • Finding Your Roots in Catholic Records by Lisa Toth Salinas. December 6.
  • I Thought He Was My Ancestor: Avoiding the Six Biggest Genealogy Mistakes by James M. Baker, PhD, CG. December 13.
  • Finding Your Nordic Parish of Birth by Jill Morelli. December 15.
  • The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. December 19.
  • Palmetto Pride - South Carolina for Genealogist by Rorey Cathcart. December 20.
  • Problems and Pitfalls of a Reasonably Shallow Search by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. December 27.

Print the 2017 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Family Foodways

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary perhaps says it best. Foodways are the “eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical time period.” Foodways include the growth and production of food, methods of cooking, spices, who cooked the food, social occasions, and special events. Even the intangibles such as aroma, food’s association with memories, folktales and Read More

Focus on Emergency Communication at Pacificon 2017

Emergency communication will be a prominent part of the program at Pacificon 2017, the ARRL Pacific Division Convention, October 20-22 in San Ramon, California, sponsored by the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club.

National SATERN Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, will speak on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday session will cover “SATERN and Amateur Radio Emergency Communications in the 21st Century,” whi...