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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The latest from FamilySearch.org for folks with Norwegian roots with links to the Norwegian American Genealogical Association:

If you have family roots in Norway, you have a celebration coming up. The bicentennial of Norway’s independence is May 17th. There are almost as many descendants of Norwegians in the U.S. (4.5M) as there are in Norway today (5M). Norwegians are the 10th largest American ancestry group in the US. There are more descendants of Norwegians worldwide than native Norwegians—but more about this country’s fascinating history and independence in a moment.

First, if you want to research your Norwegian roots, here are some tips from Nordic genealogy experts.

Liv H. Anderson was born in Kristiansund, Norway. Liv has been fascinated with Norwegian genealogical research since she was 12 years old. “I love everything about it except

the dust on the books,” she says. She moved to Salt Lake City in 1968, gaining her degree and certifications in genealogy at BYU. Today she works helping patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City with their Norwegian research.

Anderson suggested, “Find out everything you can about your ancestors in the United States. Find who was the first emigrant to the US from Norway. Then find that person in a census report. That will help determine the place of birth in Norway.”

There are many other facts you can look for to help your research. “Find the year your ancestor emigrated and what port they left from. That will open up emigration records,” Anderson says. “Those records can lead you to father and mother, grandfathers and grandmothers. Find the church they went to. That also opens up records of the past.”

There is a galaxy of Norwegian genealogical records. Read the rest of this entry »

Apologies for being a little late with this notice about the May/June online publication of Irish Lives Remembered. The content, as usual, will not disappoint:

  • The Irish in New Hampshire
  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s Irish Heritage
  • Tracing your Carlow ancestors

Click on Irish Lives Remembered to access the latest information.

Sandy on May 16th, 2014

Enjoy the beauty of Amazing Grace sung by Walela in Cherokee set to a photo compile:

Sandy on May 15th, 2014

Save $10 at the Lifetime Shop

On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars–as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known–were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

At the time of the first Oscar ceremony, sound had just been introduced into film. The Warner Bros. movie The Jazz Singer–one of the first “talkies”–was not allowed to compete for Best Picture because the Academy decided it was unfair to let movies with sound compete with silent films. The first official Best Picture winner (and the only silent film to win Best Picture) was Wings, directed by William Wellman. The most expensive movie of its time, with a budget of $2 million, the movie told the story of two World War I pilots who fall for the same woman. Another film, F.W. Murnau’s epic Sunrise, was considered a dual winner for the best film of the year. German actor Emil Jannings won the Best Actor honor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh, while 22-year-old Janet Gaynor was the only female winner. After receiving three out of the five Best Actress nods, she won for all three roles, in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise.

A special honorary award was presented to Charlie Chaplin. Originally a nominee for Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Comedy Director for The Circus, Chaplin was removed from these categories so he could receive the special award, a change that some attributed to his unpopularity in Hollywood. It was the last Oscar the Hollywood maverick would receive until another honorary award in 1971.

The Academy officially began using the nickname Oscar for its awards in 1939; a popular but unconfirmed story about the source of the name holds that Academy executive director Margaret Herrick remarked that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar. Since 1942, the results of the secret ballot voting have been announced during the live-broadcast Academy Awards ceremony using the sealed-envelope system. The suspense–not to mention the red-carpet arrival of nominees and other stars wearing their most beautiful or outrageous evening wear–continues to draw international attention to the film industry’s biggest night of the year.

A recent news release from Ancestry.com reports that  the national average of working mothers at an all-time high since national census in 1860:

PROVO, Utah, May 8, 2014 – One hundred and fifty years of federal census data and one thing is clear: the growing trend of working mothers in the United States is as old as Lincoln’s presidency. Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, recently examined 150 years of U.S. Federal Census records to understand the role of mothers in the workforce and found the national average has grown 800% over the past century and a half – from 7.5% working mothers in 1860 to 67% today.

“Mom’s plates have been full for generations, but it wasn’t until the US Census Bureau started recording occupation data for women in 1860 that we really begin to see and understand their role in the nation’s workforce,” said Todd Godfrey, Global Content Acquisition at Ancestry.com. “Exploring the histories of the women in your family tree can help you better understand the times in which they lived and find commonalities among working mothers that transcend time.”

 Growth Over the Decades

According to the analysis, every decade since 1860 shows a different rate of growth, influenced by what was happening in the nation at the time. The woman’s suffrage movement, regional trends and wartime all contributed to growth rates after the turn of the century. With so many fathers going off to war in the first half of 1940, the nation called upon women to join the workforce like never before. This ushered in the highest growth rates for working women in the country since 1860, with double-digit growth continuing for the next four decades (1950-1990). The highest growth over the entire 150-year timeframe occurred in 1980 (12.6%), boosting the percentage of working mothers to 52%.

South Dakota Boasts Largest Growth and Percentage of Working Moms Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve come a long way since the fundamental structure of DNA was discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick.   Nowadays, DNA sequencing can already tell us a lot about our ancestors—but now, a new technique developed by an international team of scientists allows them to pinpoint a person’s geographical origin—going back 1,000 years.

The Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool exceeds previous best attempts to tie location to DNA. It has been reported that it can track populations back to the islands or villages they descend from, with a 98 percent success rate, compared to within about 500 miles for old methods.

Click on the video below to listen to University of Sheffield geneticist and bioinformatics expert Dr Eran Elhaik demonstrate the power of his new DNA research, which allows people to discover their genetic homeland from 1000 years ago. Find out more about our biological research here http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/aps:

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Sandy on May 5th, 2014

cinco-de-mayo1Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, but in the United States it has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Unfortunately, last year it heralded unrest and we got a glimpse through the media of not so great political activism. We can only hope that tomorrow’s celebration will be what it is meant to be, a joyful celebration of the rich heritage of the Mexican people.

What is the history of Cinco de Mayo?

During the course of the French-Mexican war General Ignacio Zaragoza and his poor and outnumbered Mexican army defeated the French army intent on capturing a small town in east-central Mexico called Puebla de Los Angeles. This was a great moral victory for the Mexican government, symbolizing the country’s ability to defend itself against a threat by a powerful foreign nation.

When Benito Juarez became president of Mexico in 1861, the country was in financial ruin and defaulted on debts to the European governments. As a result, France, Spain and Britain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement of their money.

Britain and Spain struck a deal with Mexico and withdrew. France ruled by Napoleon, decided to use the situation to acquire Mexico.

It was late in 1861 that a well-armed French navy stormed Veracruz, the large French military force drove President Juarez and his government into retreat.

The French thought victory would be swift and 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out on a mission to attack Puebla do Lost Angeles. At his new northern headquarters, Juarez pulled together a rag-tag force of 2000 loyal followers and sent them to Puebla.

Led by Texas-born General Zaragoza the Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the arrival of the French army. And, on the 5th May, 1862, Lorencez drew his army well-provisioned and supported by heavy artillery and began their assault from the north.

The battle lasted from first light to early evening and the French finally retreated with a loss of 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans were killed.

Although this was not considered a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, the victory at Puebla enhanced Mexican resistance and 6 years later the French withdrew.

Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juarez’ forces.

Puebla de Los Angeles, the site of Zaragoza’s historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general. And, today the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla is celebrated by Mexicans as Cinco de Mayo—a national holiday in Mexico.

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AP-Obit-Zimbalist“Handsome, debonair and blessed with a distinguished voice that reflected his real-life prep school upbringing, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. seemed born to play the television roles that made him famous, that of hip Hollywood detective and brilliant G-man.

A prolific actor who also appeared in numerous films and stage productions, Zimbalist became a household name in 1958 as Stu Bailey, the wisecracking private investigator who was a co-partner in a swinging Hollywood detective agency located at the exclusive address of “77 Sunset Strip.”

When the show of the same name ended in 1964, Zimbalist became an even bigger star playing the empathetic, methodical G-man Lewis Erskine in “The F.B.I.”

The actor, who in recent years had retired to his ranch in Southern California’s bucolic horse country, died there Friday at age 95.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch,” the actor’s daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and son Efrem Zimbalist III said in a statement. “He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends.” Read the rest of this entry »

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I couldn’t resist sharing the following article which appeared in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. It describes how Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin recently signed into law a law a bill that says you can’t order a death certificate for the first 75 years following a death, unless you are dead. Really!

You may remember the controversy surrounding a recently-enacted law in Oklahoma that restricts access to vital records for many years. Amongst other provisions, the law requires copies of death certificates to be issued only to the person who is listed on the certificate. That’s right, for the first 75 years following a death, you can’t order a death certificate unless you are dead!

Now the state legislature had a chance to fix the problem, but failed to do so. The following was received from Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

Oklahoma SB 1448 was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on April 30, 2014. It becomes effective November 1, 2014. The bill was supposed to correct the legislation enacted several years ago that addressed vital records. Last year when a professional genealogist tried to obtain a copy of a death record it was found out that the law only permitted the named person-the deceased- to request their own death record. The law also made it a felony if a Department of Health Services employee provided the death certificate to anyone other the named person. Instead of “fixing” the glitch, the state incorporated the Model Vital Records Act provisions, which closes records for 125 years for births, death records for 75 years, and marriage and divorce records for 100 years. Unfortunately, the new law retained the same language –permitting only the “named person” to obtain the record during the embargo period. Therefore, for death records only the deceased may request their own records within the 75 years from date of death. The Oklahoma Genealogy Society decided that this was better than never having any access as was included in the original law from several years ago. To read the enrolled version see: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2013-14%20ENR/SB/SB1448%20ENR.PDF.

HB 3028 which was reported upon earlier and would merge the Oklahoma Historical Society into the Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs has had no further action—heard in House Government Modernization Committee in early March. However, as the legislature does not adjourn until May 30, it is always possible that it may be appended into another bill. The genealogical community will continue to monitor.

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The following records are now available at British Origins. They offer subscription access to many unique and hard to find family history records. See below:

“Hearth Tax returns of the second half of the 17th century are a major census substitute resource for local and family historians, providing lists of names midway between the period of surname formation in the Middle Ages and the present day.

This collection includes all legible details relating to over 22,500 individuals found in the original Hearth Tax lists 1673–1674 for the whole of Northamptonshire.

Why use Hearth Tax records?
Hearth Tax records can provide firm evidence of a family’s residence at a certain place in time. For those seeking lost ancestors the distribution of a surname in a specific area may be determined very easily and the location of a particular family quickly revealed. It is also invaluable when researching a specific place, undertaking house history, population movements, patterns of employment, and early modern local government jurisdictions.
The number of hearths in a household is also a clue to a family’s wealth and status.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The latest additions from FamilySearch.org is as follows:

FamilySearch has added more than 5.8 million images to collections from Belgium, England, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 90,674 images from the new Belgium, West Flanders, Civil Registration, 1582–1910, collection; the 485,188 indexed records from the England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538–1900, collection ; and the 1,188,800 indexed records from United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798–1914, 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 April 28th, 2014

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Today marks the 225th Anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty, one of the most notorious seafaring crises of the 18th century.

Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty is seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti.

In December 1787, the Bounty left England for Tahiti in the South Pacific, where it was to collect a cargo of breadfruit saplings to transport to the West Indies. There, the breadfruit would serve as food for slaves. After a 10-month journey, the Bounty arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 and remained there for more than five months. On Tahiti, the crew enjoyed an idyllic life, reveling in the comfortable climate, lush surroundings, and the famous hospitality of the Tahitians. Fletcher Christian fell in love with a Tahitian woman named Mauatua.

On April 4, 1789, the Bounty departed Tahiti with its store of breadfruit saplings. On April 28, near the island of Tonga, Christian and 25 petty officers and seamen seized the ship. Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him. By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had apparently handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles. Bligh returned to England and soon sailed again to Tahiti, from where he successfully transported breadfruit trees to the West Indies. Read the rest of this entry »

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The following information comes from Britain’s  Sky News:

British Pathé has publishes its entire archive on YouTube, making more than 85,000 rare 20th Century videos available to the public. History enthusiasts are now able to browse more than 3,500 hours of some of the most significant moments of the last century.

Although the videos were previously available on the British Pathé website, it is the first time they have been made accessible for browsing and sharing. The film archive, considered one of the finest in the world, ranges from serious historical moments to the downright bizarre.

Included in the vast release is unique footage of both World Wars, the Titantic, boxing legend Muhammed Ali and England’s glorious 1966 World Cup victory over Germany.

British Pathé says the films, which span from 1896 to 1976, cover every aspect of global culture and news.

The collection covers a myriad of social history film items about how people lived, worked and played through the 20th century.

“We decided to publish our entire archive to YouTube to ensure the maximum number of people can enjoy viewing British Pathé films.”

The YouTube channel has been set up in collaboration with the German company Mediakraft Networks, an online television network.

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vatican-libraryA Japanese IT firm has signed on to help the Vatican Library digitize its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts that date from the origins of the church.

According to the BBC the first stage of the project covering the next four years will scan about 3,000 handwritten documents. At some point the library hopes to make available all its 82,000 manuscripts online.

One of the items is a rare Roman manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil dating back to 400AD. It’s among thousands of historic items the Vatican’s library plans to publish online.

The Vatican Apostolic Library was founded in 1451 and is considered one of the world’s most important research libraries. The 82,000 manuscripts comprise more than 41 million pages.

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They’re starting early. The increasingly popular RootsTech global family history event has issued the following call for 2015 presentations:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT–RootsTech is a global family history event, hosted by FamilySearch, where people of all ages learn to discover and celebrate their family across generations. It reaches an audience of 150,000 attendees in-person, online, and through local family history fairs.

The RootsTech 2015 conference will be held on February 11–14, 2015, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Content Committee is calling for dynamic presentations for the 2015 conference that inform and educate both those seeking to begin and those continuing to discover their family story through technology.

Presentation submissions will be accepted June 2 to June 27, 2014, through the Call for Presentations portal on RootsTech.org.

Presentations will be accepted for both RootsTech and the Innovator Summit.

  • RootsTech is a three-day family history conference offering over 200 classes for beginners, avid hobbyists, and experienced researchers.
  • Innovator Summit starts with a pre-RootsTech event on Wednesday, February 11. It is a unique opportunity for software developers, entrepreneurs, and technology business leaders to explore and influence technology solutions in the family history industry. Related classes will continue throughout the RootsTech conference.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, sings the famous Easter hymn Jesus Christ is risen today. COnductor Stephen Cleobury.

Le Chœur du King’s College de Cambridge chante le cantique de Pâques Jesus Christ is risen today (Jésus Christ est ressuscité aujourd’hui). Direction Stephen Cleobury.

Good Friday is always observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday. On Good Friday Christians remember the suffering and death on the cross of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

Click on the video below to learn more:

According to Nick Lavars of Gizmag, the Australian company Swann has announced a nifty new all-connected monitoring system, which allows users to monitor on-the-go that work with both iOS and Android devices. See below.

Australian-based manufacturer of home surveillance products Swann Security has announced a new all-in-one connected monitoring system. The Wi-Fi-enabled SwannSecure system consists of a 720p day and night camera, a 7-inch monitor and a companion app for both iOS and Android devices for monitoring while on-the-go.

The aluminum camera uses a 1-megapixel CMOS sensor and features an infrared cut-off filter for a night vision distance of 50 ft (15 m). It also sports a built-in microphone to record sound, while all cabling is fed through a protective stand to prevent damage from the weather … or vandals.

The system includes motion-triggered recording and an 8 GB MicroSD card for storage, though this can be expanded to 64 GB. A micro HDMI port allows for viewing on HD televisions or LCD monitors, while also enabling recordings to be backed up on an external hard drive.

The SwannSecure system is priced at US$380, though the camera can be purchased individually for $140. It joins other Wi-Fi-enabled home monitoring systems such as Belkin’s NetCam ($130) and Piper ($239), the latter of which is capable of 1080p recording.

Product page: Swann.

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For several reasons this will be an interesting announcement:

“PROVO, Utah, April 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry.com LLC, the world’s largest online family history resource, will release financial results for its first quarter 2014 on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, after the market closes. Following the release, the Company will host a conference call at 3:00 p.m. MT (5:00 p.m. ET).

A live webcast of the conference call will be available on the investor relations section of the Ancestry.com website, http://ir.ancestry.com. Participants can also access the conference call by dialing 719-457-1035 approximately ten minutes prior to the start time.

The webcast replay will be available for 12 months on the investor relations section of the Ancestry.com website, http://ir.ancestry.com, under Events and Presentations.”

FamilySearch has added more than 2.1 million images to collections from Italy. Notable collection updates include the 89,778 images from the new Italy, Lucca, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1807–1814, collection; the 445,302 images from the new Italy, Genova, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1796–1812, 1838–1859, 1866–1899, collection; and the 1,637,317 images from the Italy, Napoli, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1865, 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

Italy, Genova, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1796–1812, 1838–1859, 1866–1899

0 445,302

New browsable image collection.

Italy, Lucca, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1807–1814

0 89,778

New browsable image collection.

Italy, Napoli, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1865

0 1,637,317

Added images to an existing collection.

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Sandy on April 14th, 2014

Passover begins at sundown today.  It’s an eight-day festival celebrated in early spring from the 15th though the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan and commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from a life of slavery in ancient Egypt.

The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs.

In the story of the Exodus (Exodus 23:15), the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt.  According to the Bible the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with blood of a spring lamb and the Angel of Death, upon seeing this, would know  to “pass over” the first-born in these homes.

In the Hebrew Bible, Passover is called the feast of unleavened. The commandment to keep Passover is recorded in the Book of Leviticus 23:5 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month between the two evenings is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.

The video below explains Passover with clarity: 

 

Sandy on April 11th, 2014

On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13, the third lunar landing mission, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise. The spacecraft’s destination was the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon, where the astronauts were to explore the Imbrium Basin and conduct geological experiments. After an oxygen tank exploded on the evening of April 13, however, the new mission objective became to get the Apollo 13 crew home alive.

At 9:00 p.m. EST on April 13, Apollo 13 was just over 200,000 miles from Earth. The crew had just completed a television broadcast and was inspecting Aquarius, the Landing Module (LM). The next day, Apollo 13 was to enter the moon’s orbit, and soon after, Lovell and Haise would become the fifth and sixth men to walk on the moon. At 9:08 p.m., these plans were shattered when an explosion rocked the spacecraft. Oxygen tank No. 2 had blown up, disabling the normal supply of oxygen, electricity, light, and water. Lovell reported to mission control: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” and the crew scrambled to find out what had happened. Several minutes later, Lovell looked out of the left-hand window and saw that the spacecraft was venting a gas, which turned out to be the Command Module’s (CM) oxygen. The landing mission was aborted.

As the CM lost pressure, its fuel cells also died, and Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on April 11th, 2014

A recent newsletter from the British National Archives includes information about The Gazette website where you can search millions of official notices covering almost 350 years of UK history. See below:

The Gazette website enables you to search millions of official notices covering nearly 350 years of the UK’s history. Following on from its beta phase, the enhanced site includes many new interactive features, including social media sharing and the ability to create your own ‘bespoke editions’ of The Gazette.

Janine Eves, Gazette Business and Operations Director at The Stationery Office (TSO), says: ‘With a proud reputation as an authoritative source of public information that’s relevant to everyone, transforming the UK’s oldest public record into a modern, accessible, easy-to-use resource was crucial in today’s digital age. We have opened up centuries of British history and business-critical information, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. We encourage you to explore the new website and share and reuse its data – we’re confident you’ll be delighted with what you see.’

Features include: Read the rest of this entry »

Dropbox founded in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage and file synchronization allowing users to create a special folder on their computers that can be accessed through a website and mobile phone applications. I’ve shared genealogy files with friends and family this way.

If, like me, you’ve found Dropbox to be useful, you’ll find the latest news from Brad Molen of Engadget very interesting. See below or follow the links for more up-to-date information:

If you’re the sort of person that likes to use Dropbox for Business and pleasure, your road has been a bit rough. Up until now, you had to keep them as two separate accounts and switching between the two involved signing out of one and signing into the other. If your dream is to eliminate this painful process and merge the two aspects together, then today is the happiest day of your life: Dropbox is now making it possible to separate both corporate and personal storage options within the same account. This feature has been available to beta testers for quite some time now, but it’s finally available to everyone else.

Additionally, Dropbox also announced that when collaborating with a colleague, you can both look at the same shared document and make tweaks to that file in real-time. The company showed off a Powerpoint presentation shared by two people via Dropbox, in which both people were able to chat with each other and change things without having to re-download the file in the process.” 

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The latest additions at FamilySearch.org are as follows:

FamilySearch has added more than 6.6 million indexed records and images to collections from Austria, Brazil, Dominican Republic, England, Mexico, Nicaragua, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,631,210 indexed records from the Mexico, Hidalgo, Catholic Church Records, 1546–1971, collection; the 411,508 images from the U.S., Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860–1949, collection; and the 1,117,286 images from the Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537–1920, 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. To see the list of records  Read the rest of this entry »

In their latest news release, ancestry.com describes how Chris Evans’ family tree reveals ancestors that fought in nearly every major war throughout American history. See below:

PROVO, Utah, April 1, 2014 – Captain America represents the quintessential American hero, a soldier who is wholly dedicated to defending the ideals of this country. In celebration of the release of the film sequel, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Ancestry.com looked into the family history of Captain America himself, Chris Evans, and found that he is more than qualified to play the iconic American superhero. Evans has a long lineage of real-life heroes who have fought in nearly every major war in American history, all the way back to the American Revolution.

“Chris Evans’ portrayal of Captain America is the modern-day representation of the deep patriotism his ancestors exhibited throughout history. However, finding relevant connections between the past and present isn’t just for actors and superheroes—everyone has a story,” said Michelle Ercanbrack, a family historian for Ancestry.com. “Until you reflect on those who came before you, you might not discover how your past informs the person you are today.”

The Captain America story is about a diminutive and sickly U.S. soldier whose body is enhanced through a medical experiment to achieve its maximum potential and which turns him into the country’s most powerful defender. Read the rest of this entry »

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“On April 2, 2005, John Paul II, history’s most well-traveled pope and the first non-Italian to hold the position since the 16th century, died at his home in the Vatican. Six days later, two million people packed Vatican City for his funeral, said to be the biggest funeral in history.

John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, 35 miles southwest of Krakow, in 1920. After high school, the future pope enrolled at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University, where he studied philosophy and literature and performed in a theater group. During World War II, Nazis occupied Krakow and closed the university, forcing Wojtyla to seek work in a quarry and, later, a chemical factory. By 1941, his mother, father, and only brother had all died, leaving him the sole surviving member of his family.

Although Wojtyla had been involved in the church his whole life, it was not until 1942 that he began seminary training. When the war ended, he returned to school at Jagiellonian to study theology, becoming an ordained priest in 1946. He went on to complete two doctorates and became a professor of moral theology and social ethics. On July 4, 1958, at the age of 38, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow by Pope Pius XII. He later became the city s archbishop, where he spoke out for religious freedom while the church began the Second Vatican Council, which would revolutionize Catholicism. He was made a cardinal in 1967, taking on the challenges of living and working as a Catholic priest in communist Eastern Europe. Once asked if he feared retribution from communist leaders, he replied, “I m not afraid of them. They are afraid of me.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on March 31st, 2014

Microsoft has finally launched new Office for iPad software. People have been asking for it since the iPad launch day in 2010. The new apps are currently available for anyone to download, but if you need it to be fully you’ll have a recurring cost of $5 a month. It is probably worth the investment if you need it, but not necessary for the average tablet user. As with anything computer it’s a good rule-of-thumb to get what you need to function instead of what you would like to have.

The following basics come from TechCrunch:

  • Free (but editing requires a $5/mo Office 365 subscription)
  • Word, Excel and PowerPoint support in separate apps
  • Cloud autosave and collaboration (but not real-time concurrent)
  • Available in 135 markets in 29 languages

Product info page

Pros

  • Reads all Office formats perfectly for free
  • PowerPoint offers presentation mode free

Cons

  • Full functionality requires recurring $5 monthly commitment. Sounds like a bargain to me.

Click on the Mashable video for an in-depth review:

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Findmypast.co.uk describes the following press release as the most anticipated history project since the 1911 census and the only complete overview of the population between 1922 and 1950. See below:

British-owned online family history world leader DC Thomson Family History (who own findmypast) and The National Archives have today announced a joint project to make records of 40 million civilians held in the 1939 register available online. Once digitised, it is estimated that the collection will comprise almost 1.2 million scanned full-colour images of documents covering the entire civilian population of England & Wales at the outbreak of WWII.

The 1939 register was taken on 29 September 1939 by the British Government and recorded personal details of individuals in order to issue identity cards and ration books. It later formed the basis of the National Health Service’s records. When complete, the 1939 register will be fully searchable online for the first time, opening up the past to a new generation of family and social historians, just as the 1911 census did on its release in 2009.

The records contain the address, full name, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation of individuals, as well as changes of name. Although the Register is literally within living memory for many people, information about living individuals will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated.

From today, anybody interested in being kept informed about the project can register at www.1939register.co.uk.

Annelies Van Den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History said: Read the rest of this entry »

A mummified Egyptian woman dated at 700 A.D. has a tattoo on her thigh with the name of the biblical archangel Michael.  The tattoo is written in ancient Greek and translated as MIXAHA (Michael). It has been speculated that the symbol was worn for religious and spiritual protection. The article gives emphasis that Christian Gnostics were very interested in the names and functions of intermediary beings between humans and the divine.

The discovery, announced by researchers at the British Museum last weekend, was made during a research project that used advanced medical scans, including Computed Tomography (CT) images, to examine Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.

The tone of the article is interesting with quotes from scientists and theologians. We should be reminded that believers still wear symbols today whether it be jewelry, tattoos, flags, etc.

If you’d like to read the article, click on 1,300-year-old Egyptian mummy has tattoo of Archangel Michael.

Sandy on March 24th, 2014


The worst oil spill in U.S. territory began when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska.

An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.


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The following press release is good news for folks who just can’t afford the cost of access to genealogy pricey databases:

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mocavo.com™ (http://www.mocavo.com), a free search engine geared toward genealogists and people interested in learning more about their family history, launches today. Mocavo.com enables the search of more than 50 billion words – including billions of names, dates and places, all within fractions of a second. Mocavo.com fills an important industry need by providing the first large-scale, free search engine for family history research. Coupled with the speed and accuracy by which search results are produced, Mocavo.com represents a major technological breakthrough within the genealogy world.

Mocavo.com has already been met with critical acclaim by several industry experts. Dick Eastman, writer of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and a top blogger in the field, wrote, “All my future genealogy searches will start on Mocavo.com. I’ve been using the site for a while during its testing and have been very impressed. I suspect you will always have better luck searching for your own surnames of interest on Mocavo.com than on any other search engine.”

Randy Seaver, writer of the popular Genea-Musings blog, said, “Mocavo.com promises to be a genealogist’s dream – a search engine focused on free online genealogy resources.” Mr. Eastman’s and Mr. Seaver’s full reviews can be found at http://www.eogn.com and http://www.geneamusings.com, respectively.

Starting today, the general public can use Mocavo.com for free. Visitors to www.mocavo.com are simply required to type in the names of interest and click on Search. All related results from industry sources such as genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals will be displayed. Similar to other search engines, Mocavo.com honors site owners by linking directly to their content. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oscar, a cute, cuddly, ginger kitten is very sleepy and having a problem trying to stay awake. Adorable.

Apparently, Saudi Arabia has banned 50 names for babies born in the kingdom, citing a variety of reasons including “blasphemous” as reported in the Dubai-based Gulf News. According to the article, the interior ministry of the conservative Islamic kingdom “justified the ban by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or ‘inappropriate,’”

The ministry published a list that included the popular western girls’ names Linda, Alice, Sandy and Lauren. I could comment at this point, but will refrain.

If you’d like to take a look at the names published in the Gulf News, see below: Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on March 15th, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, commemorates the life and work of Ireland’s patron saint and a day full of wonderful and joyous celebrations.

In honor of the day, MyHeritage.com is giving free access through March 17 – to a special collection of passengers arriving in New York from Ireland from 1846-1851.

The collection contains over 600,000 records of immigrants who arrived in the Port of New York (1846-1851), and the ships on which they arrived. The records contain important passenger information and may include name, age, last residence, destination, passenger arrival date, occupation and much more.

This is an especially interesting collection as these records contain information about immigrants from Ireland to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine, 1846-1851.

Again, the offer lasts through March 17 (according to EST). Start your search today!

Click on MyHeritage to access the database.

This month is a great one for Irish Lives Remembered magazine. This month features:

  • The Irish in New York
  • Riverdance composer Bill Whelan’s family history
  • Tracing your Limerick ancestors

Click on Irish Lives Remembered to view online or download for free.

 

 

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This latest news release from Ancestry.com is as follows:

PROVO, Utah, March 13, 2014 –Ancestry.com announced today the addition of over three million historical records that will help people of Irish descent explore their connections to the Emerald Isle. These include more than 25,000 birth, marriage and death records as well as 2.7 million new records that form the 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts state censuses. Made possible through a relationship with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the new records will provide further insight for Irish Americans, the nation’s third most common ancestral group, and give them the resources to discover more about their family history.*

Hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrated to the United States in the 1600s and the 1700s, but the greatest period of immigration occurred between 1820 and 1860, when nearly two million Irish immigrants came to America. Some came seeking a new life for themselves and their families, while others sought refuge from the Great Famine of the late 1840s. With many settling in cities near their port of entry, states like Massachusetts became home to the nation’s biggest Irish communities.  Today, Massachusetts accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. population that claims Irish descent.**

“The people of Ireland have always had a pride and passion for their land and traditions. Read the rest of this entry »

The following information was included in the ScotlandsPeople newsletter”

“Inhabited House Tax Rolls from 1778 to 1798 are the latest fascinating resource to have been added to the ScotlandsPlaces website. These Tax Rolls offer history researchers a valuable insight into 18th Century life, while genealogists can use the records to find the names of ancestors throughout Scotland together with the annual value of the houses they held.

tax rollsThe tax rolls include all houses valued over £5 per annum and include people with more common professions such as bonnetmakers, shoemakers, innkeepers, skinners and wrights. Other tax records available on ScotlandsPlaces relate to carriages, carts, clocks, watches, dogs, horses, servants, hearths, shops and the infamous window tax.

To find out more about these new records and to view two examples, including the entry for James Boswell at Auchinleck House in 1783, follow this link.

N.B. when viewing these two large example images of Inhabited House Tax Rolls on the ScotlandsPeople website, just click on an image to enlarge it further.”

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Did you know that the Micro film and public computers in the research area at National Archives and Records Administration Pacific Alaska Region building on Third Avenue in Anchorage will be closed by the end of the fiscal year and the archives moved to Seattle?

I do know that NARA is under financial pressure, and on Monday a proposed a new budget of $377 million is $10 million below last year’s budget, Unless all the records are available online it’s going to be difficult for folks in Alaska to visit Seattle.

According to an article appearing in the Anchorage Daily news, the chief operating officer of the National Archives and Records Association offered a defense Tuesday for his agency’s decision to shutter its Anchorage branch, which he said costs more than $500,000 annually to keep open even as it recorded just 535 visits last year.

To read the entire article click on NARA official defends plan to close the Anchorage facility.

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The latest very useful news release from Family Search is as follows:

Researchers can find resources that hold needed information no matter where they start their search.

DUBLIN, Ohio, 4 March 2014—OCLC and FamilySearch International are working together to share data between WorldCat and the FamilySearch Catalog to provide more resources for improved genealogy research. More than 1 million FamilySearch genealogical records are now discoverable in WorldCat, the world’s largest database of records representing resources in libraries worldwide. Links to WorldCat are now available on FamilySearch.org.

Many FamilySearch records added to WorldCat represent large collections of vital information, such as birth and death records from localities all over the world. If digitized, these records link back to FamilySearch.org where they can be viewed online. If on film, these records can be requested from FamilySearch to a satellite or affiliate FamilySearch Family History Center. FamilySearch records with a corresponding WorldCat record will indicate a library or libraries that hold the item.

“Many of the books in the FamilySearch library collection are also in other collections of other public and academic libraries and appear in WorldCat,” said Steve Fox, Product Manager for FamilySearch. “This means genealogists using the FamilySearch Catalog may now be able to find additional copies of books and other sources at libraries closer to them. Many additional materials related to their research that are not in the FamilySearch collection will also be discoverable in the collections of other libraries that include their holdings in WorldCat.”

“The FamilySearch Catalog and WorldCat have been tremendous resources for genealogy research for many years,” said Chip Nilges, Vice President of Business Development, OCLC. “OCLC and FamilySearch are bringing these great resources together through our data sharing partnership. We will continue to update these resources through our ongoing partnership to continue to improve and enhance the tools available for genealogy researchers around the world.”

Those who start their research by using the FamilySearch Catalog now have access to unique and freely available sources that libraries can offer, including: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on March 6th, 2014

GenealogyInTime Magazine is, in my opinion, a terrific resource. I’d like to point you to their March 2014 list with content descriptions of new genealogy records that have become available on the Internet. Some of these have been published previously on this blog but it’s handy to see the complete list. See below:

  • South Africa: Cape Town genealogy records
  • Ireland: The Irish Department of Defense has launched a collection of military service pension records that span the years from 1916 to 1923.
  • US: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra Archive
  • US: The US GenNet Data Repository
  • US:The Butte Montana Archives
  • US: The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New York historic student newspaper collection
  • India: The 1947 Partition Archive oral history archive
  • US: Ancestry.com Iowa Marriage Records 1923-1937]
  • UK: TheGenealogist has added over 1.6 million parish records from the following counties: Essex; Kent, Lincolnshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
  • UK: Origins.net has put online the 1891 England and Wales census.
  • Australia: FindMyPast.com.au has added a collection of some 640,000 convict records.
  • Australia: FamilySearch.org has indexed 1 million records from their State of Victoria probate register collection.
  • New Zealand: Ancestry.co.uk has put online a new collection of some 113,000 names from the registers of medical practitioners and nurses from New Zealand.
  • Norway: Arkivverket Digitalarkivet (part of the national archives of Norway) has posted online the 1910 Norwegian census.
  • Scotland: ScotlandsPeople has put online the 1885 Valuation Rolls.
  • US: Archives.com has added 5 million US vital records to their collection.
  • UK: Deceased Online has completed digitizing the records from Kensal Green cemetery in London. Kensal Green was opened in 1833.
  • Wales: Welsh Newspapers Online has added 27 new publications to their growing database of historic newspapers.
  • US: MyHeritage has put online a massive collection of 816 million recent US public records from recent telephone books, property tax assessments, voter registration lists and credit applications (Wow! Credit applications).

Click on GenealogyInTime to see the complete content description and much more:

The latest news release from Ancestry.com highlights the historic and heroic connections found in the family trees of George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon:

PROVO, Utah, January 31, 2014 – To celebrate the release of the movie “Monuments Men” (expected in theaters February 7), Ancestry.com looked into the family histories of the movie’s award-winning stars and found inspiring ancestral ties to the real-life war heroes their characters are based on. Featuring Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon, the film brings to the screen the true story of an unlikely platoon of soldiers brought together to save priceless pieces of art from being destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.

“With any historical film like ‘Monuments Men’, it is interesting to see the links between the actors and the characters they are portraying on the big screen. But what’s fascinating about family history as a whole is that you don’t have to be a George Clooney or a Matt Damon to find these kinds of connections,” said Michelle Ercanbrack, family historian for Ancestry.com. “Everyone has a story, and by researching your family history you can learn more about the times in which your ancestors lived, and get a better sense of a historic event a family member may have been involved in or impacted by.”

While researching the inspirations for the characters of “Monuments Men,” Ancestry.com discovered a bevy of interesting connections between the film’s stars who portray them.

By George!

According to the Ancestry.com family historians, a love for the arts runs in George Clooney’s family as he is second cousins, three times removed with George Leslie Stout, the man his character is based on. A Harvard art conservation expert and museum director who gave lectures and created pamphlets on how to protect European art before the United States entered the war, Stout was one of the first men recruited for the “Monuments” program and supervised its efforts in both Europe and Japan.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on March 3rd, 2014

If you didn’t get to watch the  86th Oscars this video will sum it all up for you. As always Ellen did a great job:

 

Enjoy the latest viral video of NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon taking a blogger on a high-speed prank for Pepsi MAX.

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Sandy on February 26th, 2014

$10 Off at the A&E Shop

February 26 is a big anniversary for two national parks, which were established in the United States 10 years apart–the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929.

Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River. The chasm is exceptionally deep, dropping more than a mile into the earth, and is 15 miles across at its widest point. The canyon is home to more than 1,500 plant species and over 500 animal species, many of them endangered or unique to the area, and it’s steep, multi-colored walls tell the story of 2 billion years of Earth’s history.

In 1540, members of an expedition sent by the Spanish explorer Coronado became the first Europeans to discover the canyon, though because of its remoteness the area was not further explored until 300 years later. American geologist John Wesley Powell, who popularized the term “Grand Canyon” in the 1870s, became the first person to journey the entire length of the gorge in 1869. The harrowing voyage was made in four rowboats.

In January 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt designated more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon a national monument; it was designated a national park under President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.

Ten years later to the day, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a bill passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress establishing the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on February 24th, 2014

Welcome back to the Winner’s Circle, your fans love you. Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a 55-race winless drought in the Sprint Cup Series. Last year he missed two races because of concussions and began the 2014 season emphatically after a winless 2013 in which he finished second five times.

Few in the 55-year history of NASCAR’s most fabled racetrack would have had as many reasons to be elated as Dale Jr. was after weathering the longest day in Daytona history. It was worth the wait.

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Deceased Online says:

We’ve started a long project to upload all burial records for all of the 200+ burial grounds managed by Aberdeenshire Council. Records for 20 burial grounds have just been added to the database joining those for Peterhead’s historic St Peter’s Churchyard and main cemetery.

The records will comprise scans of original registers (example above) many of which contain a wonderful range of information; grave details identifying all those buried in each lair; cemetery section maps.

Records – which date back to the early 17th Century – will be added over the next months and we hope to complete the entire collection by late spring.

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