Sandy on August 29th, 2014

Thank you Hezekiah Walker, this is the most inspiring Flash Mob I’ve ever seen. Visitor’s to this site will want to watch it more than once… Have a great Labor Day!

FamilySearch has added more than 7.2 million indexed records and images to collections from Argentina, Germany, Jamaica, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,703,079 indexed records from the Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880–1999, collection; the 2,522,767 indexed records and images from the United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014, collection; and the 852,481 indexed records from U.S., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on August 28th, 2014

invasion-polandww2Mr David Bayer, Holocaust survivor and volunteer at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington has just emailed the following notice inviting describing his own experience during the German invasion of Poland, invites us to Visit us online to learn more about the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and to hear stories of individuals’ experiences during the invasion of Poland.

The following events were real and everyone should be reminded of this as we are bombarded with propaganda that suggest otherwise during current difficult times. Please visit the site online and, if possible, in person. Everyone needs to be reminded or to learn about this “Lest We Forget”:

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded and quickly conquered western Poland, beginning World War II. Before the invasion began, Nazi leaders, attentive to popular sentiment against war, initiated a propaganda campaign to paint Poland as the aggressor. On August 31, SS men wearing Polish military uniforms mounted a phony attack on a German radio tower at the border; Hitler then declared on radio that German forces would enter Poland in response to Polish “incursions.”

The speed and ferocity of Germany’s land and air assault shocked Read the rest of this entry »

Android-app-camera360Android-app-camera360Although there are several Android apps that allow users to create custom filters and effects on their photos MIX, the new app by Camera360, is touted to be the best. It reportedly allow you to not only edit photos, it also enables users to create custom filters that can be saved and used again.

Other Android apps like Litho and Adobe Photoshop Express also allows users to create custom filters and effects, but MIX differentiates by being centered entirely on “the creation and propagation of DIY photo filters.”

The following information from TechCrunch describes how it works:

“Once you take or load a photo from your gallery into MIX, the app gives you a selection of nine series of filters (MIX has a total of 115 pre-made filters, including ones designed for portraits, HDR, or black and white photos) to chose from if you want to edit photos in a hurry. Alternatively, you can also add a filter and then start building on it by adding different effects.

If you skip the filters, MIX takes you to the rest of its features, which include 10 more filter series (including ones designed for portraits, HDR, or black and white photos), a comprehensive selection of editing tools, including a blur tool that allows you to replicate the depth-of-field in a photo taken with lens ranging from f1.0 to f3.2 in aperture size. Then you can add different textures (from a selection of 40), light effects, like lens flare, “stage” lights, and light leaks, and a rainbow of adjustable tints.

MIX allows you to save filters as “formulas” in the app. You can see how your photo looks before and after editing by tapping on it to see the original, which is a helpful feature, but one of MIX’s drawbacks is that you can’t undo each step. Hopefully Camera360 will add an undo feature to its next update, because with a total of 200 filters, textures, light leaks, and other effects, it’s a pain if your photo doesn’t quite look the way it should. The app does, however, allow you to save your edits at any point for future use.

The app will monetize by offering in-app purchases including, presumably, more filters and effects. For more examples of what MIX can do and formula guides, check out the app’s blog.

MIX by Camera360 is available for free on Google Play.

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The season finale of Who Do You Think You Are? airs tomorrow, August 27, at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central, on TLC. This episode will feature Minnie Driver as she sets out to learn about her secretive father and traces his career in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

As many have learned family research can be very cathartic. You will join Minnie as she comes to understand, through military documents, why her father was the way he was and how his experience in combat affected the rest of his life.

Minnie has never met her paternal grandparents and decide to follow the paper trail to England where she comes face-to-face with the very first relative on her father’s side of the family that she has ever met. At this meeting she finds a kindred spirit she would never have known about without her research.

Sandy on August 25th, 2014

brownsville-heraldSince newspaper items are extremely useful to family historians, I’d like to share the latest content update from Newspapers.com:

Since Newspapers.com is looking forward to attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in San Antonio, Texas, at the end of this month, we thought we’d get in the Lone Star spirit by highlighting our assortment of over 170 English- and Spanish-language Texas newspapers.

With more than 8.4 million pages so far, our Texas collection has the second-highest number of pages of any of our state collections (only Pennsylvania has more). Cumulatively, our Texas papers span almost 150 years (from 1865 to 2014) and cover 82 different cities, making this an invaluable resource for anyone researching their Texas ancestors or wanting to learn more about events and trends in the state’s remarkable history.

New to our Texas papers are issues of the Waxahachie Daily Light. Based in the county seat, the Daily Light has covered news from Waxahachie and the rest of Ellis County since the 1860s. Now, you can read about the goings on in the county—as well as how state and national news affected the area—in the years 1911 and 1941. For instance, on the same front page from February 4, 1941, news of World War II, politics in Washington DC, and a murder in Cleburne are interspersed with information on local deaths and illnesses, announcements of various cultural, civic, and religious events, and much more.

Recently updated is the San Angelo Press. During its 10-year run (1897–1907), this weekly paper paired local news with news on livestock, ranching, and farming. The long-running column “Stock News” was a staple of the paper, keeping residents of Tom Green County up to date on everything they needed to know about the livestock industry and which of their neighbors were buying or selling animals.

Our Texas paper with the longest time span is the Brownsville Herald, with issues from 1892 to 2008—a period of 116 years! However, the oldest issues of our Texas papers come from theGalveston Daily News, which has issues dating back to 1865. If you’re looking in our collection for a Texas paper with few time gaps, the Abilene Reporter-News is one of our most complete Texas papers, with more than 737,000 pages between the years 1926 and 1977.

From Abilene to Wichita Falls, use Newspapers.com to explore the papers that documented the progress of the state of Texas and its residents.

 

flying_pigsThe following article by the online National Review’s, Andrew Johnson, has reported that a Muslim women has taken issue with a sign advertising bacon at a Vermont diner.

It does, however, make one wonder if the sign would be taken down if the person complaining happened to be Jewish (Jews don’t eat pork and we never hear them complain) or perhaps a Christian stating that the stewed sheep’s eye sign at the diner made him/her feel like throwing up:

A sign advertising the bacon at a Vermont diner has been taken down after a Muslim resident complained about the sign on the Internet and sparked to a massive backlash campaign towards Sneakers Bistro.

In June, in return for taking part in a local volunteer initiative to plant flower beds in the city’s traffic medians, the diner was awarded a sign on a lamp post that said “Yield for Sneakers Bacon.” A woman took issue with the sign, calling it insensitive to those who don’t eat pork, according to WPTZ.

The woman’s objection, which she posted online, prompted several Facebook and Yelp comments calling on Sneakers Bistro to take down the sign. The diner’s owners contacted the woman to apologize and tell her the sign has been removed.

“We are here to serve people breakfast, not politics,” the owners wrote in a separate Facebook post over the weekend. “We removed the sign that was located on public property as a gesture of respect for our diverse community.”

The mayor of the town, Winooski, Vt., commended the diner for taking down the sign. “The cool part of living in a diverse community is that it’s not always comfortable,” Mayor Katherine “Deac” Decarreau told the television network. “It’s a fascinating place with lots of opportunities for conversation. The city has to pay attention to a lot of factors while acting within what we can regulate.”

Winooski is “a fabulous artist mecca,” Mayor Deac has told the Center for Media and Democracy. “Winooski has always welcomed immigrants,” she said, “including my ancestors who spoke only French in 1835 when they arrived here.”

richard-attenboroughThe Independent has reported today August 24,2014 five days before his ninety-first birthday:

The veteran British actor and film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90.

He died at lunchtime on Sunday, his son told BBC News.

Lord Attenborough was one of Britain’s leading actors during the middle of the century, before becoming a highly successful director.

His best known films as an actor included Brighton Rock, The Great Escape and Jurassic Park. His director’s CV included A Bridge Too Far, Gandhi, for which he won Academy Awards as director and producer, in 1982, and Cry Freedom, about the death of South African anti-apartheid campaigner Steven Biko.

His later films as director included Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr, and Shadowlands, an adaptation of the stage play treating the relationship between Narnia author CS Lewis and Joy Gresham.

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Sandy on August 24th, 2014

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On August 25, 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper.

Known as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day. Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon’s geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.

The New York Sun, founded in 1833, was one of the new “penny press” papers that appealed to a wider audience with a cheaper price and a more narrative style of journalism. From the day the first moon hoax article was released, sales of the paper shot up considerably. It was exciting stuff, and readers lapped it up. The only problem was that none of it was true. The Edinburgh Journal of Science had stopped publication years earlier, and Grant was a fictional character. The articles were most likely written by Richard Adams Locke, a Sun reporter educated at Cambridge University. Intended as satire, they were designed to poke fun at earlier, serious speculations about extraterrestrial life, particularly those of Reverend Thomas Dick, a popular science writer who claimed in his bestselling books that the moon alone had 4.2 billion inhabitants.

Readers were completely taken in by the story, Read the rest of this entry »

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We are now living in very difficult times and I know that it’s certainly not Gov. Perry’s fault. In it’s my personal opinion that he is a great candidate to lead our country out of these dark days. The opposition party, in my opinion is doing its typical dirty best to discredit him. I’ll be very surprised if he gets the drones.  To quote Chuck Hagel, our Secretary of Defense, This is way beyond anything we have seen. We must prepare for everything. Get Ready!”  Drones on the border would be a good idea.

Bloomberg News has reported the following:

Texas Governor Rick Perry, speaking in the home state of a recently killed American journalist, repeated his assertion that Islamic State militants may have crossed a “porous” border between the U.S. and Mexico.

“There already may be ISIS cells — ISIS individuals — in America,” Perry said during a meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with business men and women. “We don’t know. They may have used our southern border, because it’s porous.”

Perry, who is considering a second presidential campaign, said the U.S. needs military-style drones and more troops to help secure the border.

“The border is not secure,” Perry said, adding there have been “too many instances” of rapes, murders and assaults committed by undocumented immigrants. “We know that, you know that.”

Perry, 64, has campaign-style events today and tomorrow in New Hampshire, the home of James Foley, whose beheading in the Middle East by IS militants was shown in a graphic video released this week. Referring to the killing, Perry said the crisis in the Middle East “has been brought right to your doorstep” by the images.

Perry is also scheduled to visit Iowa and South Carolina, which, along with New Hampshire, hold the earliest presidential nominating contests. Read the rest of this entry »

Barnes & Noble

A Discovery article reports on the building of a database designed to store and give access to all human knowledge. The fully automated database is called Knowledge Vault and uses algorithms to turn raw dated gathered online into bite-sized chunks of data. The information will be readable to both machines and humans, or you might rely on your future smartphone do the searching for you.

Is this good or bad? See below to read the article to decide for yourself, or click on Discovery.com:

New research details emerging this week suggest that Google is after the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. According to an intriguing report in New Scientist, Google is building a next-generation information database called Knowledge Vault that’s designed to index and store what we can reasonably term facts. And not just some facts — the Vault is intended to continually catalog and store all facts about our world and our history.

It’s certainly an ambitious plan, and likely beyond the capability of even the largest crowdsourcing initiative. But that’s all right, because Knowledge Vault is fully automated and uses algorithms to turn raw data gathered online into bite-sized, usable chunks of knowledge.

What’s more, because of the nature of the knowledge base, the information would be readable by both machines and humans. You could query Knowledge Vault directly, as with a Google search. Or you could rely on your future smartphone — or digital assistant or robotic helper — to do the searching for you.

The Vault project is building upon Google’s existing crowdsourced database, Knowledge Graph, and so far has cataloged about 1.6 million facts. Google researchers will present a paper on Knowledge Vault next week at the Conference on Knowledge Discovery at Data Mining, in New York.

It’s all part of a larger initiative, in the information technology arena, to improve the manner in which we interact with machines and databases. Similar knowledge bases are being built by companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft and IBM.
One of the first practical applications for these ultra-database systems is to create a new generation of virtual personal assistants. In other words, Siri is about to get a lot smarter and faster.

Down the line, the Knowledge Vault could serve as the foundation for advanced augmented reality networks. The database would provide instant data, via heads-up display, on virtually anything you look at. The Knowledge Vault could also be used, eventually, to model all of human history and society as a vast collection of pure data. That knowledge, in turn, could be extrapolated to make predictions about the future.

Turning all of history into data and prophesying the future? Those Google guys sure don’t monkey around.

 

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The following information from Fold3 will likely be of interest to all who enjoy a good mystery, including family historians and writers:

“Like a good mystery? Then take a look through Fold3′s collection of old FBI Case Files. Written between 1908 and 1922 when the FBI was still just the Bureau of Investigation, these files document the fledgling organization’s investigations into crimes against the United States and violations of federal laws.

The case files (via the National Archives) cover a vast range of topics, though common ones include investigations into suspicious or anti-American activities of German aliens during WWI and Mexican aliens during the Mexican revolution; conditions at the US-Mexico border; instances of draft-registration avoidance; violations of Prohibition and its precursors (like the Reed Amendment and Wartime Prohibition Act); and alleged communist, socialist, or otherwise radical activities.

With more than 2.3 million records, the majority about individuals, this collection can also be a good place to look for your ancestors, especially if they’re of German or Mexican descent. Not only do the case files give details on the individuals being investigated, but they also commonly mention interviews with family, employers, and neighbors, giving you a more rounded look into an ancestor’s past rather than simply the bare facts.

A few cases you might find interesting include the following: Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on August 20th, 2014

I often find these searches frustrating and decided to share the following article written by Trevor Hammond of Newspapers.com:

Newspapers.com is a valuable resource for locating your ancestors’ obituaries and death notices. Our indexed digital newspapers make the process much easier than sorting through hard copies or microfilm. Perhaps the most convenient way to find obituaries on our site is by using the “search” feature. While Newspapers.com’s “search” is straightforward and easy to use, you can make your searches even more effective by using a few of the following tricks and tips:

  1. Learn how to use Newspapers.com’s “search” feature. This tip may sound obvious, but it’s essential. Searching for obituaries will be a lot easier if you’re already familiar with how to do a general search of the papers on our site. For instance, did you know that you can narrow your results by date, state, and/or paper? If you haven’t watched our helpful “Searching Newspapers.com” video yet, do it!
  2. Add key terms to your search. Say you’re searching for the obituary of John Bair. If you search just for ["John Bair"], you’ll get many results that don’t have anything to do with a possible obituary. But if you instead search for ["John Bair" obituary], it will narrow down your results to much more likely candidates. Such key terms include “obituary”, “death”, “died”, “dead,” and “funeral.”
  3. Search using alternative names, nicknames, abbreviations, initials, and common misspellings. If a search of an ancestor’s legal name doesn’t bring up the obituary you want, try different variations of their name. Many older newspapers identified men by their first and middle initials along with their last names, while others sometimes used abbreviations (e.g., “Wm.” for William). If you’re searching in obituaries for a female ancestor, you’ll want to try also looking for her under her husband’s name (or husband’s initials)—for example, “Mrs. George E. Moring”, “Mrs. George (Grace) Moring,” or “Mrs. G. E. Moring.” And don’t forget to try a search using a woman’s maiden name.
  4. Know when to narrow your search and when to widen it. The more information you know about your ancestor, the easier it will be to narrow your results to find their obituary more quickly. For example, if you know your ancestor lived between 1870 and 1928 and spent their whole life in Kansas, you can narrow your search to those parameters of time and place to get rid of many superfluous results. However, don’t automatically discount results from a wider search just because they’re not from the city or state where your ancestor died. Obituaries may have been published in the place where they spent the majority of their life instead of the one where they died. Or obituaries may be in newspapers from the city where the deceased’s relatives lived.
  5. Save your search. If you didn’t find the obituary you want, save your search by selecting the “Save/Notify” button in the top-right corner of your search results (watch this video for more details on how to do this). By doing so, Newspapers.com will automatically notify you when any newspapers are added that fit your search criteria.
  6. Don’t be afraid to browse instead of search. Newspapers.com uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to find names and terms in the newspapers. However, while OCR can locate many instances of the words you’re searching for, it isn’t 100 percent accurate, especially for newspapers that are in poor condition. So if a search doesn’t turn up an obituary you’re looking for, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not on Newspapers.com. It just may mean that you’ll have to look for the obituary the old-fashioned way, going through likely newspapers page by page until you find what you’re looking for.

Ready to begin searching for those obituaries? Get started on our Search page.”

 

Sandy on August 16th, 2014

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the “Wizard of Oz” premiere, the following press release from Ancestry.com informs the reader of a bewitching past is uncovered for “Wicked Witch of The West” character played by Margaret Hamilton; Emerald City creator Frank Baum and visitors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley all have ancestral ties to the Emerald Isle.  See below:

PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – August 15, 2014) - To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Hollywood premiere of The Wizard of Oz, Ancestry.com researchers have revealed a newly-discovered family history connection that links Margaret Hamilton, the legendary actress that brought the iconic “Wicked Witch of the West” to life on the big screen, to the Salem Witch Trials. Ancestry has also linked Emerald City creator L. Frank Baum and other actors from the cinematic classic to the Emerald Isle.

“We love the fun and unexpected things discovered on a daily basis on Ancestry.com. Finding the similarities between the Wizard of Oz cast and their iconic characters adds a touch of magical serendipity to the beloved classic,” said Michelle Ercanbrack, a Family Historian for Ancestry.com. “It goes to show that whether your ancestors were from Kansas or Ireland, there’s always something new to discover in your family history.”

Actress Margaret Hamilton has a connection to the Salem Witch Trials, as does the book’s author, L. Frank Baum. According to family history experts at Ancestry.com, Hamilton’s 5thgreat grandparents found themselves living in colonial America near Salem, Massachusetts in the year of the famous Salem Witch Trials, after immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. Research also revealed Baum had ancestors who lived near Salem during that same time period. With the Wicked Witch of the West playing a prominent role in Baum’s story, the family history connection may have been the inspiration for the infamous character.

Maybe having “emerald” on the resume was also criteria for being cast in The Wizard of Oz. Hamilton and Baum are also joined by the film’s top stars in having ancestral connections to another land of emerald green — Ireland. Actors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley who played “Dorothy,” the “Scarecrow” and the “Tin Man” respectively, all have ancestors hailing from the Emerald Isle. Garland’s roots go back to County Meath, while Bolger has family connections to County Limerick. Haley’s ancestors left Ireland in the 1800s.

Want to learn more about your own connection to the Emerald Isle or colonial era America? Visit Ancestry.com and search billions of historical records to discover your own family history.

 

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FamilySearch.org remains one of our best resources for family history research and it’s free. See below the learn about the latest additions to their database:

FamilySearch has added more than 5.1 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 375,900 indexedrecords from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980, collection; the 1,152,816 indexed records and images from the U.S., BillionGraves Index, collection; and the 3,560,424 indexed records from U.S., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments

Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980

375,900 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

New Zealand, Auckland, Albertland Index, 1862–1962

20,415 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., BillionGraves Index

576,408 576,408

Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

U.S., Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820–1951

0 139

Added images to an existing collection.

U.S., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891

3,560,424 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Montana, Pondera County Records, 1910–2012

21,120 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

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I can hardly believe eleven years have passed since the major power outage in the Eastern States. A difficult situation for all who experienced it, everyone should realize that our National Grid is vulnerable.

The Shield Act H.R. 2417 explains what needs to be done to ensure our safety. Given the horrendous situations taking place overseas and here in the U.S., I personally believe the vulnerability of our National Grid should be taken very seriously. By the way the Russian National Grid is not vulnerable. Please remember that it’s not only our Latino friends entering through the our open borders, there are also some very bad people walking into this country who don’t have our best interests at heart.

The history of  the August 14, 2003, event is laid out below:

“On August 14, 2003, a major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Yes, our friends in Toronto and Quebec Canada were also affected.

Although power companies were able to resume some service in as little as two hours, power remained off in other places for more than a day. The outage stopped trains and elevators, and disrupted everything from cellular telephone service to operations at hospitals to traffic at airports. In New York City, it took more than two hours for passengers to be evacuated from stalled subway trains. Small business owners were affected when they lost expensive refrigerated stock. The loss of use of electric water pumps interrupted water service in many areas. There were even some reports of people being stranded mid-ride on amusement park roller coasters. At the New York Stock Exchange and bond market, though, trading was able to continue thanks to backup generators.

Authorities soon calmed the fears of jittery Americans that terrorists may have been responsible for the blackout, but they were initially unable to determine the cause of the massive outage. American and Canadian representatives pointed figures at each other, while politicians (oh yes!) Read the rest of this entry »

The United Kingdom family history website Findmypast has added over 28,000 more Yorkshire parish records covering 9 parishes as follows:

The Wakefield and District baptisms contain 28,372 records comprised of transcripts of original parish registers made by the Wakefield and District Family History Society.

Spanning the years 1622 to 1913, they add to Findmypast’s existing collection of Wakefield baptisms that now totals 213,000 records.

The new additions cover 9 parishes: Wakefield All Saints, Warmfield St Peter’s, Chapelthorpe St James, Monk Bretton St Paul’s, Felkirk St Peter’s, Ryhill St James, Wragby St Michael’s, Wakefield St Andrew’s, South Ossett Christ Church, so there are now over 30 parishes from Wakefield district in West Yorkshire available to search on Findmypast.

150,000 records added to the National Burial Index collection

150,000 more burial records have also been added to Findmypast’s already extensive collection of National Burial Index records, which now total 12 million.

Transcribed by the Cleveland Family History Society, thousands of these new records have never before been published by the Federation of Family History Societies and are only available at Findmypast.

Both the Wakefield and District baptisms and National Burial Index records from Cleveland are part of Findmypast’s ongoing partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies to publish online parish records held by their numerous member societies across the country.

Explore the Wakefield baptisms

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Sandy on August 11th, 2014

robin-williamsOscar-winning actor and comedic genius Robin Williams has died at age 63, as reported by police in Marin County, California. He brought joy and laughter to millions.

The full statement is below:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 a.m, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63-year-old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.

An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Division s of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made. A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.

Williams’ publicist Mara Buxbaum told The Hollywood Reporter: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

His wife, Susan Schneider, said: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

Williams, a four-time Oscar nominee, won a supporting actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting. He most recently starred in CBS’ comedy The Crazy Ones, which lasted only one season.

He recently checked into rehab in an effort to maintain his sobriety.

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Sandy on August 11th, 2014

According to TechCrunch, Apple is getting ready for a big product announcement on September 9, and everything seems to be pointing to a new iPhone.

The iPhone 6, as it’s being called in the press, is expected to deliver  a lot of changes over the iPhone 5s with its relatively modest updates compared to the iPhone 5. It’s been a while since the company unveiled a new marquee product and is one of the most important device launches Apple has ever had.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch said, “As is generally the case, at this point we have a pretty good idea of what’s coming thanks to the rumor mill, which has been in high gear over the past month or so. Whispers suggest we’ll see a larger screen, with a 4.7-inch model launching first and a 5.5-inch model also being unveiled at the same time, but possibly shipping a bit later or in constrained supply.

The large screen and its value to Apple shouldn’t be underestimated. Samsung delivered a commercial recently that attempted to lambaste Apple for having waited so long to deliver a larger display, but in fact it pointed out only that there is now a strong appetite for a larger face on Apple’s smartphone, not that people were eager to jump ship to another device manufacturer in order to get that feature.

But the screen size isn’t the whole story – Apple is also expected to use a new material that offers a lot more durability to protect its display. This will likely be some kind of sapphire composite, and based on leaked videos of durability tests, it should be much better able to withstand both shattering and scratching. This would give Apple a considerable advantage over the rest of the market, which finally mostly uses Gorilla Glass, the material it pioneered with its original iPhone but which it now looks ready to leap beyond.”

Apple’s work on both these things, display size and display durability, speak to some of the most sought-after requests of both existing and would-be iPhone buyers. The company will also likely improve the cameras on its devices, and might finally add NFC into the mix, opening the door for a lot more potential when it comes to mobile payments.

Cupertino will deliver all the things that normally encourage their loyal customers and many new ones to jump on board, including improved processor power and performance, but if they can also deliver on some of the fever dreams of iPhone watchers, we’ll see a launch that exceeds any that came before it. The iPhone is currently exhibiting a late-cycle strength that it rarely has before, and anyone who thinks that “just” putting a bigger screen on its flagship device won’t do much to improve its fortunes hasn’t been paying attention – plus, Apple being Apple, they’ll do a lot more besides.”

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Is today’s situation infinitely worse? Think about then and now.

In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announced his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing, which is so desperately needed in America.”

Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

On June 17, 1972, five men, including a salaried security coordinator for President Nixon’s reelection committee, were arrested for breaking into and illegally wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate complex. Soon after, two other former White House aides were implicated in the break-in, but the Nixon administration denied any involvement. Later that year, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post discovered a higher-echelon conspiracy surrounding the incident, and a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude erupted. Read the rest of this entry »

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A very useful announcement comes from the Society of Genealogists (SoG) as follows:

”We are delighted to announce that 10 of our most popular books are now available to buy as Kindle ebooks from Amazon. We hope to announce further ebook releases in the coming months but in the meantime, the first batch contains the following titles;

  • My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer by Ian Waller
  • My Ancestor was in the Royal Navy by Ian Waller
  • My Ancestor was Irish by Alan Stewart
  • My Ancestor was Scottish by Alan Stewart
  • My Ancestor was a Gentleman by Stuart Raymond
  • My Ancestor was a Railway Worker by Frank Hardy
  • My Ancestor was a Woman at War by Emma Jolly
  • My Ancestor was a Royal Marine by Ken Divall
  • My Ancestors were Thames Watermen by James Legon
  • My Ancestor was in the British Army by Christopher & Michael Watts

Just type My Ancestor Kindle into the Amazon search engine and the ebooks will appear and can be purchased and downloaded on to your Kindle.”

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Sandy on August 4th, 2014

Burning_of_Washington_DC_1814August 24 and 25 marked the 200th anniversary of the British burning of Washington DC during the War of 1812. The entry below is from Fold3’s War of 1812 collection and is an interesting read:

Prior to the burning, 4,500 British soldiers went up against 5,000 Americans (mostly militiamen) in a battle at Bladensburg, Maryland, just 4 miles northeast of Washington. Though the Americans had the advantage of numbers and artillery, the untried and poorly led militiamen didn’t stand much of a chance against the better trained and disciplined British soldiers. Three hours of battle had the Americans fleeing as fast as they could, while the British commanding officers, General Ross and Admiral Cockburn, led a portion of their men into Washington, which was now undefended.

Leaving private homes and property alone for the most part, the British began burning government buildings, starting with Capitol building, which at the time also housed the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. They then proceeded to the White House, which had been abandoned by President Madison and his wife shortly before. (Dolley Madison is famous for staying at the White House as long as possible and directing the rescue of a portrait of George Washington, among other valuables.)

The following day, Cockburn and Ross organized the burning of other buildings, like the State and War departments and the Treasury, which had started to burn the night before but had been doused by a rainstorm. Cockburn ordered the destruction of the printing presses of a newspaper that had been particularly critical of him, but the U.S. Patent Office was saved from destruction by the pleas of its superintendent. The British went to the Navy Yard, but it had already been burned the previous day by the Americans to keep it from falling into British hands. A contingent of soldiers also went to Greenleaf Point Federal Arsenal to destroy the gunpowder and cannons there but ended up causing an explosion that killed or maimed many of them.

Later that day, a huge storm blew in that wreaked havoc on the city, downing trees and ripping roofs off buildings. After the storm had died down somewhat, the British officers ordered a retreat of their men during the night, before the American forces could regroup.

Discover more about the burning of Washington DC, and other events and people of the war, in Fold3′s War of 1812 collection.

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Sandy on August 4th, 2014

ww1The British National Archives has launched a new interactive online map of WWI as follows:

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, we are launching a new interactive online map: First World War: A global view. Using official records of the First World War from our collection, the map shows the global impact of the conflict.

You can see countries, territories and empires as they were during wartime alongside a map of the present day for comparison. This first release focuses on the involvement of countries and territories from across the British Empire during wartime. For each of these, you can read about key events, historical figures and lesser known stories from the war. There are also images and links to our records held here at The National Archives.

Over the next four years, the map will be expanded to include Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa and Asia. When complete it will offer a truly global view of the First World War.

First World War: A global view is part of The National Archives’ centenary programme - First World War 100 - which spans a five-year period from June 2014 to June 2019.

To find out more about the map, please read our blog post. The podcasts of our recent conference War and peace – diplomacy, espionage and the First World War are also being published today.

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rebels_promo_woodAt the very recent San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) Dark Horse Comics plan to launch the comic book Rebels, which “will explore the lives of soldiers, ordinary colonists, and the extraordinary men and women that lived and died during the Revolutionary War era.”

The series was conceived by Brian Wood, and the art work will primarily come from Italian Andrea Mutti and American-Irish colorist Jordie Bellaire.

““War. War never changes.” The opening lines of the Fallout series may seem glib at a glance, but there is truth in those four words. History is cyclical by nature and, at times, it seems like we’re doomed to repeat it. Although it has been 238 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution and the spirit of that era are capturing the national imagination right now, both in terms of entertainment and in our political landscape. It is a phenomenon that has not gone unnoticed, and today we are proud to exclusively announce that writer Brian Wood will be plumbing the depths of the era’s rich history with Rebels, a new ongoing series from Dark Horse Comics

To read the entire announcement click on the Nerdist website.

 

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A reminder about this season’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” on TLC:

In the new season of TLC’s Emmy-nominated series “Who Do You Think You Are?”Ancestry.com researchers mined thousands of historical documents to help producers make new family history discoveries for an all-star line up of celebrities. The new season premieres tonight and will feature Cynthia Nixon, Rachel McAdams and Kayleen McAdams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Valerie Bertinelli, and Kelsey Grammer.

Amassing thousands of hours, Ancestry.com researchers explored 18th and 19th century America, Canada, and even Victorian England, to research topics that range from women’s rights, Italian heritage, and an American Loyalist who sided with the crown. There was even exploration of the Oregon Trail and adventure through the freezing temperatures of the Klondike Gold Rush. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s George Clooney! And other interesting stuff. Here’s the short list of what’s in the July/August editing of Irish Lives Remembered.

  • Tracing your Tyrone ancestors
  • The Irish in Kentucky
  • Military Records in Australian Research
  • George Clooney’s Kilkenny Homestead

Click on Irish Lives Remembered to download read.

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wdytyaFrom ancestry.com:

WDYTYA Star Contest

Have you watched Who Do You Think You Are? and wished you could travel the world to discover more about your own ancestors’ past? Then we have a giveaway for you!

We are picking one lucky winner for the ultimate Who Do You Think You Are? experience, which includes a trip to your family’s homeland plus time with a professional genealogist to help research your family history, just like the stars on the show.

Watch the Who Do You Think You Are? episode airing tonight on TLC at 9p|8c that features Jesse Tyler Ferguson, then visit the Be A Who Do You Think You Are? Star contest page where you will be asked to answer a question about the episode you just saw and enter for a chance to win this family history prize.

The Grand Prize Winner receives

  • Accommodations for two to the land of your ancestors
  • Access to a personal historian just like the celebrities on the show
  • $2,000 in spending cash!
  • Additional prizes will be awarded each week

This Grand Prize package has an approximate retail value of $15,488.

Final entry period ends at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on August 29, 2014 and you must be 21 years or older and agree to the official rules here.

Enter to win here and good luck!

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Walter_Scott_WaverleyA major anniversary taking place in Scotland  this month is the bicentenary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Waverley, arguably the first ever historical novel.

The book was first published on 7 July 1814 and sold like hot cakes, but not everyone was happy about it. Here is what a seemingly scunnered ( Scottish word meaning, to be sick of) Jane Austen had to say on the matter of Scott suddenly transposing his talent for writing poetry to penning novels:

“Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. – It is not fair. He has Fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.– I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it – but fear I must”.

To find out more about the sensation that Waverley caused when it was first published (it struck Edinburgh ‘with an electric shock of delight’, Lord Cockburn said, and all copies of it in the city were sold in 48 hours), visit the Wikipedia page. Source ScotlandsPeople.

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The Associated Press has reported that the Library of Congress is honoring Billy Joel with its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Joel is the sixth top-selling artist of all time with a career spanning 50 years.

The Gershwin Prize honors a living artist’s lifetime achievement in music. There’s quite a line-up recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, and Carole King.

Joel is among the world’s most popular recording artists. He has said his compositions spring from personal life experiences and strives to write songs that capture and transcend those moments.

Librarian James Billington  said that that Billy Joel will receive the prize in Washington in November.

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The Irish Data Protection commissioner has ordered the closing of civil records search because of  fear that it exposes too much information”

“The front of the Irish Genealogy website on Monday morning. Photograph: Irish Genealogy/Screenshot

The Irish government closed part of its genealogy website on Friday, after the country’s data protection commissioner warned that potentially sensitive personal details were available to all.

Irish Genealogy, a website created by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered people born or married in Ireland the ability to search for civil records such as birth certificates as part of their research into their heritage.

But those records contain data such as dates of birth and mothers’ maiden names, information which is frequently used as security questions for accounts such as online banking. That information is not legally defined as “sensitive” under Irish data protection law, but the commission stepped in to prevent the data anyway.

Billy Hawkes, the Irish data protection commissioner, said his office had been consulted on the site, but that it had not been made clear that the information available would be contemporary as well as historical.

“We had been consulted on it in the context of putting on the registers which were over 100 years old – that would be fine. But this was a total shock to us,” he told the Irish Times. The commissioner’s office had not responded to requests for comment at press time.

The information contained on the website has always been publicly available, but before online access to civil records was turned on, it had required payment of a fee to get a copy of an individual record. But online, free searches offered the potential of malicious actors bulk downloading data in an effort to match up information with records from other sources.

The site, which only launched the search on Thursday 3 July, now notes that “Civil Records Search is temporarily unavailable … Further update will be provided.”

In March 2013, when the Irish Genealogy site launched, it focused on historical records, offering users the ability to search the 1901 and 1911 censuses.”

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Sandy on July 23rd, 2014

Making books in 1947 was quite a process. The following vidio was made by Encyclopedia Britannica Films Inc., in collaboration with Luther H. Evans, PhD of the Library of Congress:

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Sandy on July 22nd, 2014

Alan Stewart says:

“Baptism, marriage and burial records for the English county of Staffordshire have been made available online.

The UK family history website Findmypast has published online for the first time over 2.8 million parish records in partnership with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service. This is the final instalment of Findmypast’s 100in100 promise to release 100 record sets in 100 days.

Findmypast says: “Spanning 1538 to 1900, the parish records launched today mark the start of an exciting project to create the Staffordshire Collection on Findmypast – a rich source, which on completion will comprise around six million fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of handwritten parish records.

“The Collection covers all Staffordshire Anglican parish registers up to 1900 deposited with the Archive Service and includes over 3,400 registers recording the baptisms, marriages and burials carried out in the ancient county. This will include the City of Stoke on Trent and parishes now within the City of Wolverhampton, as well as the Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall.

Staffordshire’s colourful history

“These church records provide some unexpected insights into significant events in Staffordshire’s colourful history. In a late 18th century register of baptisms from the parish of Alrewas, curate John Edmonds took it upon himself to record a narrative of local happenings, and this too can now be read online for the first time. Edmonds recounts details of a flood that swept two bridges away, an earthquake that rocked the parish in 1795, a series of local riots over food shortages and even a lightning strike that killed three cows and two horses. He also recorded events of national significance, such as King George III being fired upon with an air gun on his way to parliament.

Notable Potteries folk  Read the rest of this entry »

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FamilySearch has added more than 2 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, England, Germany, Isle of Man, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 148,960 images from the England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650–1857, collection; the 91,952 indexed records from the South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972, collection; and the 804,247 indexed records and images from U.S., Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878–1922, 1959–1994, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments

Brazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804–2013

0 147,861

Added images to an existing collection.

England, Essex Parish Registers, 1503–1997

3,384 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

England, Durham Probate Bonds, 1556–1858

0 48,167

New browsable image collection.

England, Durham Probate Commissions, Monitions and Citations, 1650–1858

0 32,085

New browsable image collection.

England, Durham, Dean and Chapter of Durham’s Allerton and Allertonshire Original Wills, Inventories and Bonds, 1666–1845

0 1,842

New browsable image collection.

England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650–1857

0 148,960

New browsable image collection.

Germany, Hesse, Frankfurt, Civil Registration, 1811–1978

0 24,327

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598–2009

13,929 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Mexico, Jalisco, Catholic Church Records, 1590–1979

0 7,217

Added images to an existing collection.

Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679–1942

905 0

Added images to an existing collection.

Netherlands, Census and Population Registers, 1574–1940

0 535

Added images to an existing collection.

South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972

91,952 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

United States Freedmen’s Branch Records, 1872–1878

0 61,984 New browsable image collection.
South Korea, Civil Service Examinations and Records of Officials and Employees, 1392–1910 0 3,927

New browsable image collection.

Spain, Catholic Church Records, 1307–1985

0 1,449

Added images to an existing collection

United States Census, 1850

0 3,199

Added images to an existing collection.

United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899–2012

0 451,656

New browsable image collection.

United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

169,857 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Alabama, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872

0 36,101

New browsable image collection.

U.S., Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878–1922, 1959–1994

751,805 52,442

New indexed records and images collection.

U.S.,Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820–1951

637 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S.,Ohio, Crawford County Obituaries, 1860–2004

0 25,819

Added images to an existing collection.

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Sandy on July 18th, 2014

This one is for everybody:

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Sandy on July 17th, 2014

Save 20% on A&E Orders!

“Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opened on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.

Walt Disney, born in Chicago in 1901, worked as a commercial artist before setting up a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons. In 1928, his short film Steamboat Willy, starring the character “Mickey Mouse,” was a national sensation. It was the first animated film to use sound, and Disney provided the voice for Mickey. From there on, Disney cartoons were in heavy demand, but the company struggled financially because of Disney’s insistence on ever-improving artistic and technical quality. His first feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938), took three years to complete and was a great commercial success.

Snow White was followed by other feature-length classics for children, such as Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942). Fantasia (1940), which coordinated animated segments with famous classical music pieces, was an artistic and technical achievement. In Song of the South (1946), Disney combined live actors with animated figures, and beginning with Treasure Island in 1950 the company added live-action movies to its repertoire. Disney was also one of the first movie studios to produce film directly for television, and its Zorro and Davy Crockett series were very popular with children.

In the early 1950s, Walt Disney began Read the rest of this entry »

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norway-skullAs reported in the Huffington Post and The Blaze, archaeologists in Norway were exited when they unearthed what could be an 8000-year-old-Stone Age skull and were stunned to find possible traces of preserved brain matter:

“Researchers are not yet sure if it’s human, but an ancient skull found at a Norwegian archaeological dig site is exciting scientists because of what they think they discovered inside — brain matter.

The bones, thought to be about 8,000 years old, were uncovered at a camp in Stokke, Norway, and could be evidence of a Stone Age man.

If the “grey and clay-like” material inside the skull is preserved brain matter, it could give scientists an opportunity to find information they have not been able to study before.

According to Ancient Origins, this wouldn’t be the first time preserved brain tissue has been found, but it could be one of the oldest examples:

For example, brain tissue has been found in the preserved body of an Incan child sacrificed 500 years ago. Her body was found at the top of an Andean mountain where the body swiftly froze, preserving the brain. An older example comes from a 4,000-year-old brain in Turkey, which had been preserved following an earthquake which buried the individual, followed by a fire that consumed any oxygen in the rubble and boiled the brain in its own fluids.

“It’s seldom enough that we get to dig in a camp from a portion of the Stone Age that we really don’t know much about,” excavation lead Gaute Reitan told NRK (via News in English). “But the fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special.”

The skull and other bones that were found are currently being analyzed and could “help us learn more about what it was like to live in the Stone Age in Norway,” Reitan said.”

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I’m a few weeks late with this one and have decided to add this information from ancestry.com since so many Puerto Rican family historians have asked for resources. Hope this helps. See below:

PROVO, Utah, June 24, 2014 – Ancestry.com today announced the availability of nearly 5 million Puerto Rico birth, marriage and death records.  Spanning 165 years (1836-2001), this comprehensive collection of vital records was originally from the Puerto Rico Department of Health. The addition of these new records, when combined with the existing Puerto Rico records currently available on the site, brings to Ancestry.com the largest online family history resource available to Puerto Ricans outside the Commonwealth.

The new collection is a tremendous resource and an incredible breakthrough in family history for the 4.9 million people of Puerto Rican descent living in the United States today — 3.4 million of whom were born in the U.S. and may not know much about their Puerto Rican roots. Up until now, Puerto Ricans in America have had access to these records only by visiting the Department of Health in Puerto Rico.  The collection will prove particularly useful for people in states like New York and Florida, which boast the largest Puerto Rican populations in the country*.

In Puerto Rican communities, which are often tightly-knit and have stayed true to their culture and values, the new online records can help families learn more about their history. For those who were born and raised in the U.S., these vital records can help reveal names, locations, and important dates in their family histories. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ric GillespieThe search for Amelia Earhart is scheduled to continue in the pristine waters of an uninhabited island called Nikumaroro, which lies between Hawaii and Australia (that’s quite a distance).

New forensic imaging techniques might possibly solve the longstanding mystery over Earhart’s fate, whose plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937. The flight was a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

At the center of sophisticated imaging techniques are a handful of 1937 pictures of Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed “Electra.” Those were taken in Miami — the fourth stop on the aviator’s attempt to circumnavigate the globe — and show a distinctive patch of metal installed to replace a navigational window.

According to researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 77 years ago, the metal sheeting appears to match a piece of aluminum recovered in 1991 from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.

To read more about this amazing discovery and view a series of images click on NewsDiscovery.com

 

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Sandy on July 4th, 2014

allure-of-the-archivesAOTUS (Archivist of the United States) has recommended what will likely prove to be a wonderful book about doing research in archives. The Allure of the Archives was written by Arlette Farge, Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

While combing through two-hundred-year-old judicial records from the Archives of the Bastille, historian Farge was inspired by the extremely intimate portrayal provided of the lives of the poor in pre-Revolutionary France, especially women. Farge was seduced by the sensuality of old manuscripts and by the revelatory power of voices that were otherwise lost. In The Allure of the Archives, she conveys the exhilaration of uncovering hidden secrets and the thrill of venturing into new dimensions of the past.

Here’s a quote: “Contact with the archives begins with simple tasks, one of which is handling the documents.  Combing through the archives—a beautifully evocative term—requires a host of tasks, and no matter how complex the planned intellectual investigation will be, they cannot be bypassed.  They are both familiar and simple, and they purify one’s thoughts, temper the spirit of sophistication, and sharpen one’s curiosity.  These tasks are performed without haste, and necessarily so.  One cannot overstate how slow work in the archives is, and how this slowness of hands and thought can be the source of creativity.  But more than inspirational, it is inescapable.  The consultation of these bundles, one after another, is never finished.  No matter how carefully you prepare beforehand, sampling documents and putting together research guides in an effort to limit the number of texts you will have to consult, your patience will inevitably be tested.”

If you are interested in acquiring the book and learning more, it’s on sale at Yale University Press.

Click on The Allure of the Archives to access the site.

 

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Sandy on July 1st, 2014

happycanadadayHappy Canada Day!

The autonomous Dominion of Canada, a confederation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the future provinces of Ontario and Quebec, was officially recognized by Great Britain with the passage of the British North America Act on July 1st, 1867.

During the 19th century, colonial dependence gave way to increasing autonomy for a growing Canada. In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada–now known as Ontario and Quebec–were made a single province by the Act of Union. In the 1860s, a movement for a greater Canadian federation grew out of the need for a common defense, the desire for a national railroad system, and the necessity of finding a solution to the problem of French and British conflict. When the Maritime provinces, which sought union among themselves, called a conference in 1864, delegates from the other provinces of Canada attended. Later in the year, another conference was held in Quebec, and in 1866 Canadian representatives traveled to London to meet with the British government.

On July 1, 1867, with passage of the British North America Act, the Dominion of Canada was officially established as a self-governing entity within the British Empire. Two years later, Canada acquired the vast possessions of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and within a decade the provinces of Manitoba and Prince Edward Island had joined the Canadian federation. In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, making mass settlement across the vast territory of Canada possible.

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News from the British National Archives and their partners at findmypast.co.uk:

We are delighted to announce that today our partners at findmypast.co.uk have made one of our First World War airmen’s service record series (AIR 79) available to search and download online. Earlier this month we also made the surviving service records of over 12,000 men from the Household Cavalry (record series WO 400) available. Read on for more details of how to search both of these record series.

Whether your interest in the First World War is in tracing an ancestor who served, or in how the British government and armed forces conducted the war, our vast collection of records will prove invaluable. For full details of our programme, including research advice and forthcoming events, visit our First World War 100 website.

findmypast.co.uk has released online over 300,000 airmen’s service records (AIR 79), which contain information about an individual’s peacetime and military career, as well as physical description, religious denomination and family status. Next of kin are also often mentioned. Search and download these records now.

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Sandy on June 27th, 2014

You can store and access your files anywhere with Google Drive — on the web, on your hard drive, or on the go. Google Drive for your Mac or PC is like any other folder on your computer. It could probably considered as an alternative to Dropbox. You can: Drag files in and out of the folder, rename files, move files and folders around, edit and save, or move to trash. Most of the files and folders in your Google Drive folder are available even when you don’t have an Internet connection available.

Take a look at the video below to see if it’s something you might be interested in using the service. The third video outlines the differences between Dropbox and Google Drive:

Sharing your documents and files:

Dropbox vs Google Drive–The differences: 

Sandy on June 24th, 2014

$10 Off at the A&E Shop

On June 24, 1997, U.S. Air Force officials released a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.

Public interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, began to flourish in the 1940s, when developments in space travel and the dawn of the atomic age caused many Americans to turn their attention to the skies. The town of Roswell, located near the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico, became a magnet for UFO believers due to the strange events of early July 1947, when ranch foreman W.W. Brazel found a strange, shiny material scattered over some of his land. He turned the material over to the sheriff, who passed it on to authorities at the nearby Air Force base. On July 8, Air Force officials announced they had recovered the wreckage of a “flying disk.” A local newspaper put the story on its front page, launching Roswell into the spotlight of the public’s UFO fascination.

The Air Force soon retracted their story, however, saying the debris had been merely a downed weather balloon. Aside from die-hard UFO believers, or “ufologists,” public interest in the so-called “Roswell Incident” faded until the late 1970s, when claims surfaced that the military had invented the weather balloon story as a cover-up. Believers in this theory argued that officials had in fact retrieved several alien bodies from the crashed spacecraft, which were now stored in the mysterious Area 51 installation in Nevada. Seeking to dispel these suspicions, the Air Force issued a 1,000-page report in 1994 stating that the crashed object was actually a high-altitude weather balloon launched from a nearby missile test-site as part of a classified experiment aimed at monitoring the atmosphere in order to detect Soviet nuclear tests.

On July 24, 1997, barely a week before the extravagant 50th anniversary celebration of the incident, the Air Force released yet another report on the controversial subject. Titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed,” the document stated definitively that there was no Pentagon evidence that any kind of life form was found in the Roswell area in connection with the reported UFO sightings, and that the “bodies” recovered were not aliens but dummies used in parachute tests conducted in the region. Any hopes that this would put an end to the cover-up debate were in vain, as furious ufologists rushed to point out the report’s inconsistencies. With conspiracy theories still alive and well on the Internet, Roswell continues to thrive as a tourist destination for UFO enthusiasts far and wide, hosting the annual UFO Encounter Festival each July and welcoming visitors year-round to its International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Sandy on June 20th, 2014

As reported by KSL.com:

SALT LAKE CITY — Ancestry.com has experienced outages and site failures after being attacked Monday.

The genealogy site was offline for much of Tuesday after a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) crashed the site, as well as Find A Grave — a sister site of Ancestry.com.

Starting Monday afternoon, attackers fooled the websites into thinking there was an inordinate amount of traffic flooding the sites, which crashed their servers.

“We want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and also thank you for your amazing support, as this may have interrupted some of your family history research,” chief technology officer Scott Sorensen said in a news release. “We understand how frustrating this can be for our customers, and please know that it was just as frustrating for us too. We appreciate your patience and support as we dealt with this unfortunate incident against Ancestry.”

Sorensen stressed that no data was compromised or mined by the attackers.

According to Twitter, Ancestry.com went on and off line several times Tuesday as repairs were being attempted in the midst of the attack. Sorensen said Ancestry.com’s Web operations team is working to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.

As of 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the site was not functioning. The ongoing problem will continue to be addressed by Ancestry.com, with updates posted on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sandy on June 19th, 2014

The following information comes from Origins.net. It has a huge database of unique and hard to find family history records, dating back to the 1200s from Britain and Ireland, such as: Marriages, Burials, Baptisms, Electoral Registers, Census records, Apprentice records, Poor Law Abstracts, Passenger Lists, Griffith’s Valuation, Court records, Militia records, Irish Directories, and the amazing  National Wills Index. The National Wills Index is  the largest online resource for pre-1858 English probate material, containing indexes, abstracts and source documents, most not available anywhere else online.

See below:

We have some very important news to share, we’ve announced today that Findmypast has bought Origins.net, one of the early pioneers of online records. The first company to set up a pay-as you-go model for online family history records, Origins.net specialises in unusual and often hard to find British and Irish records.  Its many early records include rare marriage indexes, apprentices and poor law records.  Another key strength is its National Wills Index, which, combined with collections currently on Findmypast and those in development, will provide the largest online resource for UK wills and probate material. Origins will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Findmypast and the extensive record sets from Origins will be brought into Findmypast over the next few months. The Origins website will continue to run as usual.

Elaine Collins, Partnership Director of Findmypast said: “We are delighted to bring Origins and its founder, Ian Galbraith, into the Findmypast group of family history brands.  By joining together, we are able to offer customers the most comprehensive collection of British and Irish online records.   This rich collection will help descendants of early North American settlers to bridge the gap to the old country, as well as anyone with UK ancestry looking to delve beyond 19th and 20th century records.” Ian Galbraith, founder of Origins, said: “The partnership with Findmypast makes perfect sense for both companies and their customers. We have had a long association and together we can offer a broader family history experience and help people to fill in the blanks on the family tree and enrich their family story.”

 

The following announcement comes from FamilyTree DNA:

“Family Tree DNA, a subsidiary company of Houston-based Gene by Gene, Ltd, announced that it has run over 1,000,000 DNA test kits for genealogical and anthropological purposes.

This impressive number was achieved during Father’s Day week, and included samples obtained through a partnership with National Geographic’s Genographic Project, established in 2005 with the goal of uncovering the ancestor origins of human beings and understanding, through our past, how the human race has evolved.

An example of what can be achieved through Family Tree DNA’s technology in relation to better understanding the evolution of human beings is last year’s landmark discovery by Gene by Gene scientists of an “Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome,” as reported by BioNews Texas after the discovery’s publication in a scientific journal.

Another anthropological study using DNA testing is the increased understanding of disease profiling of certain ethnic groups that makes them vulnerable to some diseases and immune to others.

In addition to man’s origins, FTDNA also works to obtain family-matching information for individuals. With the Family Finder test, which is available to the public, an individual can be provided with detailed information about his or her family background five generations back by comparing his or her DNA with the DNA of other users in Family Tree DNA’s massive database.

This service is seen by the company as an important resource for adopted people and their descendants, three million of whom live in the U.S. alone, to discover more about themselves and to be able to understand where  they originally come from.

The Family Tree DNA division of Gene by Gene operates the largest genetic genealogy database in the world and has provided more than 5 million private genetic tests.”

Ancestry.com  has made an official announcement that they have made the decision to discontinue their Y-DNA and mtDNA tests among others effective immediately. Existing results will be available for download until 5th September, then its goodbye. They will be removed from the database. See below:

We’re proud of the variety of products we’ve created over the years that enable people to discover, preserve and share their family history. We recognize that there are a lot of ways that we, as a company, can make family history easier, more accessible and more fun for people all over the world. And we’re continually innovating to make it a reality.

We’re always looking to focus our efforts in a way that provide the most impact, while also delivering the best service and best product experience to users. To that end, we’ve decided to retire some of our services: MyFamily, MyCanvas, Genealogy.com, Mundia and the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.

We will note that the AncestryDNA (autosomal) test is not affected by this change and will continue to be available as we continue to invest in this new technology. Only the y-DNA and mtDNA tests will be retired.

Starting September 5, 2014, these services will no longer be available to access. Genealogy.com is the exception to the rule, and will continue in a slightly different form. If you are an active member or subscriber to one of these services, you will be contacted directly with details of how to transition the information you’ve created using these services.

We know these services have provided value to you. We think they’re pretty cool too, which is why this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. In the end, it came down to priorities and we think our core offerings are a great place to spend our time and resources.

So here’s to revolutionizing family history, focusing on providing the best product experience we can offer and to the limitless possibilities that lie before us.

Sandy on June 8th, 2014

lincoln-memorial-being-builtThe Lincoln Memorial, built to honor the 16th President of the United States, was dedicated in 1922.

The monument at the West End of the National Mall actually rests on reclaimed land that did not even exist prior to the late 1800s. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deepened the river the dredged silt deposited along its banks expanded the land to its current configuration.

The decision to place the monument at its current location came in 1913 after the land was transformed by landscaping and engineering. Henry Bacon designed the building, David French sculpted the statue, and Jules Guerin painted the two murals.

The featured image is a photograph of the Abraham Lincoln Statue Installation in the Lincoln Memorial in 1920. National Archives identifier: 596194.

 

Sandy on June 6th, 2014

Seventy years ago today, one of the biggest allied military armadas ever assembled was being readied under the utmost secrecy to storm the beaches of Normandy.

D-Day was to be a pivotal turning point in the war to bring down Nazi Germany. This week veterans and serving personnel will be marking that remarkable military feat, culminating today in special ceremonies in Normandy attended by heads of state from allied countries.

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You’ll be glad to hear that there will be a Who Do You Think You Are? season five broadcast for the second time on TLC (The Learning Channel) (and second on TLC) will feature six popular celebrities from TV and film. The celebrities are:   just posted an article announcing the following:

  • Valerie Bertinelli (a personal fave of mine from childhood days on One Day At a Time to Hot in Cleveland)
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (ABC’s Modern Family)
  • Lauren Graham (Wonderful in Gilmore Girls, and currently starring in NBC’s Parenthood)
  • Kelsey Grammer (best known for Cheers and Frasier )
  • Rachel McAdams (known for movies such as Mean GirlsThe Notebook) and her sister, Kayleen McAdams.
  • Cynthia Nixon (HBO’s Sex in the City) 

For more details, click on The Wrap where you’ll find a sneak peek at Cynthia Nixon’s episode.

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The Spa Fields complete record collection comprises 113,800 burials for the period 1778 to 1849, featuring all the registers from The National Archives RG4 are now available at the Deceased Online website:

Spa Fields Burial Ground (formerly located in the area around Exmouth Market and the current Spa Fields Park bordered by Farringdon Rd and Skinner Rd), London EC1.

Spa Fields no longer exists as a burial ground but was originally a small area which is now Spa Fields Park and managed by the London Borough of Islington. Keen genealogists and family historians will know that today’s park is just across the road from the London Metropolitan Archives.

The burial ground was originally privately owned and was then attached to a chapel used originally by the vicar of St James, Clerkenwell (the main St James Church is also nearby). Subsequently, the chapel was taken over in 1777 by by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon who founded ‘The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion’, a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist church. Read the rest of this entry »

The following news comes from Devon Heritage Services

Most of the Church of England parish registers held at the Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office have been digitised and are now searchable online on the genealogical subscription website, Find My Past.

The collection was released online on 30 May 2014.

Spanning the years 1538 to 1915, this collection of online parish registers is a rich source, comprising approximately 2.2 million searchable transcripts and scanned colour images of the handwritten parish registers.  The original registers are held in the archive collections of the two offices, in Exeter and Barnstaple.  Together these offices hold an enormous number of parish registers, and digitising began back in 2012, followed by indexing, which was carried out by Find My Past.  Devon Heritage Services are delighted that, after a lengthy process of preparation involving a lot of hard work by a large team, including our own staff,  family historians and others will now be able to access high quality images of the majority of Devon’s parish register entries online for the first time.

With most of Plymouth and West Devon Record Office’s parish registers, and Devon Family History Society’s indexes to baptisms, marriages and burials already available on Find My Past, these new additions mean that most of the surviving parish registers which have been deposited in Devon archives are now searchable online.  There are another 48 parishes remaining which are still to be digitized and indexed, and we expect these to appear online on Find My Past at a later date.  This is the first time that parish records for most of the county of Devon have been available to search in one place, and this makes the Find My Past website the best site to use when tracing ancestors from Devon.

- See more at Devon Heritage Services

 

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Ray Charles was one of the founding fathers of soul music—a style he helped create and popularize with a string of early 1950s hits on Atlantic Records like “I Got A Woman” and “What’d I Say.” This fact is well known to almost anyone who has ever heard of the man they called “the Genius,” but what is less well known—to younger fans especially—is the pivotal role that Charles played in shaping the course of a seemingly very different genre of popular music. In the words of his good friend and sometime collaborator, Willie Nelson, speaking before Charles’ death in 2004, Ray Charles the R&B legend “did more for country music than any other living human being.” The landmark album that earned Ray Charles that praise was Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which gave him his third #1 hit in “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which topped the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1962

Executives at ABC Records—the label that wooed Ray Charles from Atlantic with one of the richest deals of the era—were adamantly opposed to the idea that Charles brought to them in 1962: to re-record some of the best country songs of the previous 20 years in new arrangements that suited his style. As Charles told Rolling Stone magazine a decade later, ABC executives said, “You can’t do no country-western things….You’re gonna lose all your fans!” But Charles recognized the quality of songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson and “You Don’t Know Me,” by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker, and the fact that his version of both of those country songs landed in the Top 5 on both the pop and R&B charts was vindication of Charles’s long-held belief that “There’s only two kinds of music as far as I’m concerned: good and bad.”

This all-embracing attitude toward music was one that Ray Charles developed during a childhood immersed in the sounds of jazz, blues, gospel and country. To him, the boundaries between those styles of music were made to be crossed, and he made a career out of doing just that. Released over the initial objections of his record label and its distributors, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music went on to be the biggest-selling album of 1962, occupying the top spot on the Billboard album chart for 14 weeks. “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” held the #1 spot on the singles chart for five weeks beginning on this day in 1962, eventually becoming the biggest pop hit of Ray Charles’s monumental career.

Sandy on June 1st, 2014

The latest blog post from the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, written on May 30, 2014, is as follows:

Today we share our new Open Government Plan.

In the four years since we published our first plan, we have demonstrated our contribution to strengthening the principles of open government. We have implemented more than 90 actions to improve transparency, participation, and collaboration.

In our new plan we focus our efforts to engage the public in more than 160 external projects on more than 15 social media platforms, as well as through our public events, educational programs, Research Services, and Presidential Libraries.

At the same time we are working to improve internal communications and employee satisfaction, creating a cohort of managers and supervisors with a common ethos that supports the mission of the agency. And we have empowered Special Emphasis Program Managers across the agency to help create an environment that supports fair and open opportunities for all employees regardless of their differences.

Our Flagship Initiative, “Innovate to Make Access Happen,” describes our digitization, description, and online access efforts for the next two years. Check it out and track us as we develop a program to digitize our analog records, expand digitization partnerships, and update our digitization strategy.

In the next two years, I want the National Archives to become a leader in innovation and transform the way people think about archival collections! Join us in the journey.

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Some up-to-date information about the latest additions to the FamilySearch.org database:

FamilySearch has added more than 2.9 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 609,536 indexed images from the new Canada, Quebec, Notarial Records, 1800–1920, collection; the 240,983 images from the New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1848–1991, collection; and the 464,001 indexed records from U.S., New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925–1957, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments

Brazil, Mato Grosso, Civil Registration, 1845–2013

0 127,603

Added images to an existing collection.

Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Miscellaneous Records, 1748–1998

0 234,056

Added images to an existing collection.

Canada, Quebec, Notarial Records, 1800–1920

0 609,536

Added images to an existing collection.

Chile, Santiago, Cemetery Records, 1821–2011

0 4,509

Added images to an existing collection.

Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1945

0 75,529

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1848–1991

0 240,983

Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890–2005

0 64,616

Added images to an existing collection.

Spain, Cádiz, Testaments, 1531–1920

0 233,865

Added images to an existing collection.

Spain, Province of Sevilla, Municipal Records, 1293–1966

0 86,888

New browsable image collection.

U.S., Cancelled, Relinquished, or Rejected Land Entry Case Files, 1861–1925

0 50,048

Added images to an existing collection.

U.S., District of Columbia, Freedmen’s Bureau Records, 1863–1872

0 20,451

New browsable image collection.

U.S., Florida, Tampa, Passenger Lists, 1898–1945

42,472 0

Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Iowa, County Death Records, 1880–1992

354,301 0

New indexed record collection.

U.S., Maryland, Baltimore, Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes, 1954–1957

2,212 0

Added index records to an existing collection.

U.S., New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925–1957

464,001 0

Added index records to an existing collection.

U.S., Texas, Indexes and Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Del Rio, 1906–1953

0 206,054

New browsable image collection.

U.S., Utah Naturalization Records, 1906–1930

2,553 0

New browsable image collection.

U.S., Utah, Utah County Records, 1856–1920

0 90,000

New browsable image collection.

U.S., West Virginia Naturalization Records, 1814–1991

3,354 0

Added index records to an existing collection.

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Maya Angelou's last tweet

Maya Angelou’s last tweet

Celebrated memorist and poet Maya Angelou, 86, who was found dead Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., was a high school dropout who became a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Angelou was an American Study herself. “I have created myself,” she told USA TODAY in 2007, “I have taught myself so much.”

She was known for her inspiring words that shed light onto the beauty and injustices of the world. USA TODAY has lists 13 of her phenomenal quotes as follows:

1. “I believe that each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.”

2. “I am a Woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal Woman,
that’s me.”

3. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

4. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

5. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

6. “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

7. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

8. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

9. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

10. “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

11. “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

12. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

13. “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Click on USA TODAY to read Maya Angelou’s obituary.

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Sandy on May 27th, 2014

byzantine-ipadTurkish archaeologists have recently unearthed on the European side of the Bosphorus and claim that the find is a 1200-year-old wooden object, which is the equivalent of a tablet computer—both a notebook and tool.

The Byzantine invention was found while excavating a harbor site in one of 37 ships unearched in the Yenikapi area of Istanbul.  Also know as Theodosius Port, the harbor was built in the late 4th century during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I. It was considered the city’s most important commercial port and has been at the center of excavations for the past 10 years.

The object likely belonged to the ship’s captain, the wooden artifact’s cover is carved with decorations and is about the size of a modern seven-inch tablet, but much thicker.

As documented in a Discovery News article, “It consists of a set of five overlaid rectangular panels carved with frames and covered with wax. Notes could be taken on those panels, as shown by writing in Greek which is still visible on the wax.

A primitive “app” is hidden on the bottom panel: a sliding lid revealing a hidden plate with carved spaces.

“When you draw the sliding part, there are small weights used as an assay balance,” Ufuk Kocabaş, director of Istanbul University’s department of marine archeology and the Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project, told Hurriyet Daily News.”

Likely used to assess the value of some items assay balances were used to determine the metal content in ore or the kind of precious metal in an alloy. Amazing.

“The notebook could have been easily carried. Each panel features four holes — they were drilled in two pairs in order to bind the notebook together, probably by leather straps.

“Yenikapı is a phenomenon with its 37 sunken ships and organic products. I think these organic products are the most important feature of the excavations,” Kocabaş said.

The sunken ship upon which the “Byzantine iPad” was found, has been dated to around the 9th century A.D.”

The container the merchant vessel had been carrying indicates the vessel sailed the Black Sea, transporting goods from Crimea to Kersonesos. The ship is now being restored and 60 percent has survived in good condition. The goal is to have her set sail again by 2015.

Sandy on May 26th, 2014

The following news release comes from ScotlandsPeople:

The last wishes of Scottish soldiers at the Front: The National Records of Scotland release Soldiers’ Wills from WW1, WW2, the Boer War, Korean War and other conflicts between 1857 and 1964

The wills of 31,000 Scottish soldiers are being made available online by the National Records of Scotland as part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The poignant documents include the last wishes of 26,000 ordinary Scottish soldiers who died in the Great War.

The new records contain the wills for ancestors of some famous Scots. For instance, John Feeley, the great-great-grandfather of the Paisley musician, Paolo Nutini, is included. Private Feeley served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Arras on 23 April 1917. Feeley left all of his property and effects to his wife, Annie, who lived until 1964.

Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also discovered the will of Andrew Cox, the uncle of Dundee-born actor, Brian Cox. A rope-worker before the war, Private Andrew Cox served with the Highland Light Infantry and was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, aged 22 – sadly, his body was never identified. Like many unmarried soldiers, Andrew Cox left all of his possessions to his mother, Elizabeth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on May 25th, 2014

Memorial Day Tribute: ‘Hero’ – Mariah Carey:

Mr. Paul G. Nauta wrote the following information on the FamilySearch.org blog:

In conjunction with Memorial Day, FamilySearch.org announced today significant updates to its free Civil War historic record collections online. The new FamilySearch.org/civil-warlanding page provides a quick overview of the vast array of historic records and aids for those researching casualties and veterans of the Civil War. Collections include: Collections include: Union and Confederate pension, prisoner of war, cemetery, National Soldier Home, and census records. Families can also freely preserve historic photos, stories and correspondence of family members who served in other periods of the armed forces for future generations at FamilySearch.org.

“Each soldier family has a story, and these stories are handed down from generation to generation,” said Ken Nelson, collection manager for FamilySearch. “When you want to get the particulars of what that service was, you start going to these government records that document the service.”

The searchable records are available by state from sources such as widow’s pension records and headstones of deceased Union soldiers. United States census records from 1850 and 1860 help locate anyone alive at the time of the Civil War. And early state census records after 1865 help you locate them after they have retired from service.

Nelson said the census data gives people a “glimpse of what the towns looked like prior to the war.” He explained the state information is useful because “a majority of the men were in volunteer regiments raised out of counties and states. These regiments represented their homes.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sleepover-pancakes-with-AOTUSArchivist of the United States David Ferriero (AOTUS), always creative, has come up with a great activity for kids and their families. I hope as many as possible take advantage of the opportunity. See below:

It gives me great joy to be able to share the treasures of the National Archives with kids and their families.

In January, we held the first-ever National Archives Sleepover in the Rotunda. It was a great way to create a meaningful experience for families, while giving us the opportunity to explain the important role of the Archives in preserving government records and making them accessible to the public.

The first sleepover drew families from around the country- many of whom had never visited the National Archives before! The response was so positive that we decided to invite more families during summer vacation and again in the fall.

Our next sleepover will be held on August 2.  It will feature an “Explorers Night” night theme, complete with hands-on activities to help young explorers investigate, – through music, chats with historical figures, games, and more – some of the greatest adventures of all time.

You might even see me flipping pancakes again!”

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Newspapers.com has new content as a result of collaboration with UNC. This update has some interesting links for readers to follow:

Recently, Newspapers.com has been working with the University of North Carolina (UNC) Libraries to digitize newspapers in their North Carolina Collection: roughly three thousand microfilm reels, or about two million pages, of pre-1923 newspapers. But the partnership doesn’t stop there. UNC professor Robert Allen is incorporating these newly digitized papers—as well asNewspapers.com—into his Spring 2014 first-year American Studies seminar.

The seminar, called the Family and Social Change in America, studies genealogy and family history as a window to wider social and historical issues and uses ever-growing digital archives—such as Newspapers.com—to do so. Professor Allen’s students have used the papers available on Newspapers.com to do research on subjects such as Lebanese migration in North Carolina, the lives of African American craftsmen in the city of New Bern, and the search for “lost” family members following slavery via “information wanted” ads. The students’ work was spotlighted on the UNC website.

In the New Bern project, the students usedNewspapers.com—in addition to records available through Ancestry.com—to expand the research done by Catherine W. Bishir in her book Crafting Lives: African American Artisans in New Bern, North Carolina, 1770-1900 (UNC Press, 2013). Each student took a craftsman discussed in the book and looked for further information on that person. Read the rest of this entry »

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Diane_HumetewaFor the first time in the history of this country, a Native American woman has taken the oath to become a federal judge. She will be the only American Indian to serve on the federal bench out of almost 900 judges. A very proud moment for Native Americans

Diane Humetewa grew up in austere circumstances on a Hopi reservation in northern Arizona where there was no electricity and only one faucet in her village. As quoted in Fronteras, Humetewa said “We would haul water to my grandmother’s house in buckets. Yes, it was hard labor, hard work but a great experience for kids growing up, I think.”

At that time Hopi children were taken away to boarding schools run by the federal government and punished for practicing Hopi traditions. The Humetewa kids didn’t have to go through this because their parents took them to public schools in Phoenix to give them the best opportunities available at the time. They lived in Phoenix and on the Hopi reservation.

The almost 50 year old Humetewa will be the first Native American federal judge in Arizona. The state has  22 tribes with a quarter of the land tribally owned.

Many have been pushing President Barack Obama to nominate a Native American judge because of the large number of Indian cases and the lack of tribal court knowledge.

“Rebecca Tsosie is a regents professor at Arizona State University and has known Humetewa since she was in law school. Tsosie says the federal bench should represent who we are as a nation.

“Who we are as a nation in fact is a nation that entered into political agreements with American Indian nations,” Tsosie said. “We have now all of these American Indian nations across the country that depend on a fair, equitable and open legal system.”

Tsosie said if there was a case about the first amendment you would expect a judge to have knowledge of constitutional law. The same goes for a tribal court case. But federal Indian law is not a course commonly taught in law schools.”

Humetewa is considered a role model for young Native Americans and has received dozens of letters of support from strangers all over Indian Country. Her confirmation in the U.S. Senate was unanimous.

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