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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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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