Sandy on February 11th, 2014

The Valuation Rolls of 1885 offer genealogists and other history researchers a fascinating picture of Victorian Scottish society, including figures ranging from William McGonagall (the world’s worst poet) to Dr Sophia Jex-Blake as follows:

Property records containing the names and addresses of more than 1.4 million people living in Scotland in 1885 will be released on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government’s family history website, at 9am on Tuesday 11 February.

Called Valuation Rolls, the new records comprise over 77,000 digital images taken from 144 volumes, and cover every type of property which was assessed as having a rateable value in 1885. As the records include details of owners, tenants and occupiers of property, they offer historians and genealogists an excellent online resource for researching Scottish society in the late Victorian age.

Visitors to the website will be able to search the 1885 Valuation Rolls by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – in many cases occupations are also included. Since the Rolls list every type of rateable property in Scotland, these new records include people from all the social classes.

Some famous episodes in Scottish history can be traced using the Rolls. As the 1880s witnessed mass protests by crofters in the Highlands and Islands, ScotlandsPeople researchers looked at Rolls that contain the names and addresses of people who were imprisoned following the ‘Battle of the Braes’ on Skye in 1883.

Dr Sophia Jex-Blake, one of the first female medical students of Edinburgh University, was running her pioneering medical practice in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, for the benefit of Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on February 7th, 2014

Images of will proved in the 54 ‘peculiar’ courts of England’s Province (Archbishopric) of York have been made available online.

The index covers over 25,000 wills proved in the 54 peculiar courts of the Province of York in the 500 year period from 1383 to 1857. The originals of all the probate documents are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

Purchasing and viewing original documents online

Most of the York Peculiars Probate documents have been digitized, and these images can be purchased with Pay per View credits and viewed directly from the index records.

The database records provide the following information:

Name: surname & forename
You can search on surname and on forename. There are often multiple variant spellings of surnames shown, eg PATTRICK(E)/PATTERICKE/PARTERICKE. You will be able to retrieve records regardless of which spelling you may be familiar with, particularly is you use the NameX option when searching.
This field (or the occupation field) often contains additional information, particularly names of children.

Occupation
Not always present, this is usually the occupation, eg “Butcher”, “Merchant”; sometimes a relationship is shown, eg “widow of John Turner, bookseller” – where other names are mentioned these have also been indexed. The occupation sometimes appears in the name field.

Place
This field usually contain the place where the testator lived, but often where they died, sometimes both.

Date
Usually, but not always present. Usually the date of probate or of the will. The full date is sometimes given, otherwise just the year. The year is given as Old Style and New Style for dates before 25 March.

Document type
Although the majority of the documents are wills, there are often other document types available.

Reference
This field – which is not always used – gives the number of the folio (sheet) within the volume containing the original. Note that if you are ordering hard copies from the Borthwick Institute via the British Origins database, the reference data is forwarded automatically to the Institute.

For more on the collection see About York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1857

Sandy on February 6th, 2014

Leading family history website findmypast.com is changing subscription prices to create a more accessible service and provide even better value for both new and existing customers.

  •  Monthly subscription offered for the first time, for less than $10
  • 12 months’ access to all US records now less than $100
  • Simpler options give better value without compromising quality

Anyone can start discovering their family history from only $9.95 with findmypast’s brand new one month US subscription. This allows you to explore all records from the USA for an entire month for under $10, a unique price point in the family history market. Findmypast is also offering a one month World subscription for only $19.95, which includes access to records from around the world, including the largest collection of Irish records online.

This is the first time that findmypast has offered a monthly subscription, giving family historians the opportunity to get to know the site without any long-term commitment. Viewing all of the US records for a whole year is now available for less than $100, and the findmypast 12 month world subscription is now only $199.50. Findmypast aims to make subscription options simpler, offering consistently better value while maintaining a premium quality service. Customers will see new records published every month, constantly increasing the value of all findmypast subscriptions.

Paul Yates, Brand Director for findmypast, says: “At findmypast.com we believe everyone should have the opportunity to understand their place in history through their ancestors’ stories. By offering a new monthly subscription for under $10 we are making family history more affordable and accessible, enabling more people to share magical moments of discovery.”

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The latest news from the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is as follows:

“Arlington, VA, 5 February 2014: The National Genealogical Society proudly announces the release of its newest American Genealogical Studies course, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation. This course joins The Basics in the series of online courses developed by NGS to help those interested in finding their family.

In this three-module self-paced course, Michael Grant Hait Jr., CGSM, helps genealogists with one of the most confusing areas of genealogy research, “how do I cite my family information?” Knowing where we located our family information and keeping accurate notes, or citations, is the backbone of reliable genealogy. The course modules consist of lessons, examples, citations, and graded quizzes and cover topics on “Introduction to Documentation,” “Basic Citation Principles,” and “Applying Citation Principles.”

This NGS American Genealogical Studies course, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation, is available for Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on February 4th, 2014

Microsoft has officially named Steve Ballmer’s successor: Satya Nadella. Now the third CEO in the company’s history, he most recently has led Redmond’s efforts in the cloud and enterprise space.

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Sandy on February 4th, 2014

I’d like to share the article “Ten tips for more success with newspaper research” written by Robin Foster, which recently appeared in The Genealogy Examiner. You’re bound to find something that you’ve missed or overlooked:

“You can find access to historic newspapers through local county and university libraries. Many newspapers have been made available through online databases at:

What do you do once you gain access to a newspaper that may contain information about your ancestor? The following tips will help you: Read the rest of this entry »

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RootsTech, is the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6-8, 2014, has announced that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet.

The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The fourth-year conference has attracted over 10,000 registered attendees in-person, and leaders expect over 20,000 additional viewers online.

The streamed sessions include a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in mountain standard time (MST):

Thursday, February 6

  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Top 10 Things I Learned About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps
  • 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., FamilySearch Family Tree: What’s New and What’s Next by Ron Tanner
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Intro to DNA for Genealogists by James Rader
  • 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Genealogy in the Cloud by Randy Hoffman
  • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sharing Your Family with Multimedia by Michael LeClerc

Friday, February 7

  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Storytelling Super Powers: How to Come Off as Your Family’s Genealogy Hero by David Adelman
  • 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Tweets, Links, Pins, and Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media by Lisa Alzo
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.comby Crista Cowen
  • 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Finding Family and Ancestors Outside the USA with New Technologies by Daniel Horowitz
  • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Do It Yourself Photo Restoration by Ancestry Insider

Saturday, February 8

  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Become an iPad Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results by D. Josh Taylor
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., A Beginner’s Guide to Going Paperless by Randy Whited
  • 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., How to Interview Yourself for a Personal History by Tom Taylor
  • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble

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Here’s a reminder that DNA tests are not yet perfect.

Thanks to a rare medical condition, a Washington state woman found out that pregnancy was not enough to prove motherhood; DNA testing indicated that she was, in fact, not the mother of her own children. During the course of a desperate battle to retain custody of her three children, it was discovered that her twin was the real biological parent, and She, 26-year-old Lydia Fairchild, was her own twin. By the time Fairchild was 23 years old, she had given birth to two children and was pregnant with a third. Her relationship with the father had been rocky. They separated – not for the first time – and she found herself an out of work, single mother, unable to support her kids. When she applied for government assistance an incredible revelation shattered her world.  A revelation that  led to criminal accusations and the prospect of losing her children to the state. In order to qualify for financial assistance, Fairchild was required to undergo DNA testing to prove that she was the mother of children for whom she was claiming. The father, Jamie Townsend, was also required to submit to testing. Fairchild assumed the test was a mere formality especially since she was in the middle of a third pregnancy.  In December, 2002, Fairchild was contacted by the Washington state prosecutor’s office and told to come in to discuss the test results where the young mother was informed that she would be the subject of an investigation into possible welfare fraud as the DNA tests had revealed no genetic link between her and the children she claimed were hers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Leading family history website findmypast.com has, in partnership with the British Library, today exclusively added 2.5 million records covering over 200 years of history of the British in India, published online for the first time.

These records covering 1698-1947 give real insight into the heart warming and heart breaking stories of British citizens living in India during the tenure of the East India Company and the British Raj.

Debra Chatfield, Brand Manager at findmypast.com said of the release: “The new British in India records at findmypast are a great opportunity to find ancestors that previously were considered missing, as so many of our relatives sought their fortune on the subcontinent. Whether your relatives were clergy, aristocracy, tradespeople, merchants, civil servants or soldiers, the lowest and the landed all have stories to be told with these records.”

These 2.5 million records include:

  • Baptisms, Marriages & Burials (Catholic, Anglican & Civil registers)
  • Army officers’ marriage notifications
  • Records for other locations administered by the India office (Aden, Burma, Kuwait, St Helena)
  • Civil service records
  • Pension registers
  • Probate records & wills

British in India records are available on all findmypast sites and can be searched at http://search.findmypast.com/search-united-kingdom-records/british-india-office-births-and-baptisms

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Ancestry.com has expanded its collaboration with FamilySearch.org by added 1 billion records from 67 countries to the Ancestry.com database as follows:

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry.com announced today an extension of their collaborative efforts with FamilySearch International that will make more than 1 billion additional records from 67 countries available on Ancestry.com. These already digitized records, provided by FamilySearch, are in addition to the agreement the two largest providers of family history resources announced a few months ago that will help digitize, index and publish an expected 1 billion global historical records never before published online from the FamilySearch vault over the next five years.

These additional records, which are already digitized collections, represent a significant expansion to Ancestry.com, which hosts the largest collection of global records available online. The records also add to the aggressive international digitization efforts already in place by Ancestry.com.

As stated previously by the company, Ancestry.com has a long-term content strategy, which is committed to investing $100 million to digitize and index new content over the next five years. The company is focused on providing access to a global collection of records and expand family history interest in its current markets and worldwide.

The additional collections include more than 1 billion digitized and indexed records and over 200 million images containing Read the rest of this entry »

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On January 25,  Scots all over the world remember  Scotland’s sweetest bard Robert Burns  (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) and, ever January 25 I’ve written about Burns. This year I’ve decided to post  this video which accurately describe how folks feel about Robert (Robin, Rabbie, Robbie).

Please enjoy this rendition of The Star o’ Rabbie Burns, the lyrics are written blow:

The Star o’ Rabbie Burns

by James Thomson (words) James Booth (Music)

There is a star whose beaming ray
Is shed on every clime.
It shines by night, it shines by day,
And ne’er grows dim wi’ time.
It rose upon the banks o’ Ayr,
It shone on Doon’s clear stream.
A hundred years are gane and mair,
Yet brighter grows its beam.

Chorus
Let kings and courtiers rise and fa’
This world has mony turns,
But brightly beams abune them aw’
The Star o’ Rabbie Burns.

Though he was but a ploughman lad
And wore the hodden grey,
Auld Scotland’s sweetest bard was bred
Aneath a roof o’ strae.
To sweep the strings o’ Scotia’s lyre,
It needs nae classic lore;
It’s mither wit an’ native fire
That warms the bosom’s core.

Chorus

On fame’s emblazon’d page enshrin’d
His name is foremost now,
And many a costly wreath’s been twin’d
To grace his honest brow.
And Scotland’s heart expands wi’ joy
Whene’er the day returns
That gave the world its peasant boy
Immortal Rabbie Burns.

Chorus

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Sandy on January 23rd, 2014

The following is a great price-break announcement from the very popular MyHerigage.ccm. MyHeritage has a partnership with Family Tree DNA which I consider to be the best genealogy testing service:

MyHeritage is happy to announce substantial discounts on DNA tests. As the technology for DNA analysis has matured and now reaches the mainstream, prices of DNA tests for genealogy have become much more affordable and so we are passing on these savings directly to our users.

Our simple cheek-swab DNA tests allow you to make exciting discoveries.

  • Discover your origins and find new relatives: DNA matching can locate relatives based on your DNA, including relatives you never knew you had.
  • Extend your family tree deep into the past: DNA can help you go further back in time than the paper trail of historical records typically allows.
  • Solve lifelong mysteries: DNA can help you overcome “brick walls” in your genealogical research that have eluded you for years.
  • and much more.

MyHeritage is a close partner of the global leader in genetic genealogy, Family Tree DNA, which lets us bring you the best DNA tests and services for genealogical DNA matching. Family Tree DNA has pioneered genetic genealogy and it now enjoys the world’s largest DNA database (more than 665,000 DNA records). This means you’ll have the best chances for successful DNA matching when you test with MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA.

There are several different types of tests available on MyHeritage, and each one has a different objective, and specific discoveries it can help you make about your family’s past. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on January 22nd, 2014

A song without end, via TechCrunch. The following case news marks yet another notable victory for Apple over its rival Samsung, after it was awarded damages late last year in a major case in the US on a number of design patents. See below:

Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, presiding over two separate patent cases between Apple and Samsung, yesterday issued a summary ruling against Samsung.

The ruling declared that Samsung was infringing on one of Apple’s patents involving autocomplete on a keyboard.

Namely, Apple holds the rights to showing both the word that has been typed as well as the suggested autocompletion at the same time.

Therefore, Samsung’s Android devices are infringing unless Samsung can go so far as to invalidate the patent altogether during the spring trial.

To make matters worse for Samsung, Koh also declared one of Samsung’s patents on multimedia synchronization invalid.

Both Samsung and Apple entered this two-sided legal battle with five patents each. Yet this decision from Koh, invalidating one of Samsung’s patents and giving a win to Apple before the trial even starts, puts Samsung at a huge disadvantage going into the March 31 trial.

Moreover, Apple’s win concerning the autocomplete patent could have further-reaching effects. Not only are Samsung’s Android devices infringing, but it’s wholly possible that Android Jelly Bean itself is infringing Apple’s patent, which would effectively bring Google into the fight.

Click on FOSS Patents to read the complete ruling.

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Sandy on January 19th, 2014

This year signals the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. To mark this globally important anniversary, the British National Archives is running First World War 100, which includes a broad program of activities and events.  

Starting this week the National Archives is launching two of their most exciting initiatives: the online release of the first batch of digitised unit war diaries, and Operation War Diary, an innovative crowd sourcing project aimed at tagging the data from the diaries. Read their blog to see how you can help 

For full details of these initiatives and the rest of the program visit First World War 100 portal to see all the First World War records, plus advice on how to carry out your research.

I’d like to share the latest news and fascinating facts from ScotlandsPeople. See below:

Happy New Year! After ‘seeing in the bells’ at Hogmanay and New Year, we added the New Year BMD images to the ScotlandsPeople website. So you can now view the images of records for births in 1913, marriages in 1938 and deaths in 1963.

‘Poetess Weds Lion Tamer’ – Glasgow, 5 January 1938
As promised in our December newsletter, we said we’d first-foot you with some highlights from these new records. For the marriages, we decided to spotlight a wedding between Alfred Kaden, a lion tamer, and Vera Husing (nee Ludtke), a German poetess. We imagine that there are probably not too many marriages between lion tamers and poets in the ScotlandsPeople records – hence our decision to feature this exotic wedding.

As the story also involves the Castlecary Disaster, it really is quite a tale – almost a “shaggy lion’s tale”, in fact. To read our short article about this exotic marriage, follow this link.

Do you know what happened to the Kadens after their marriage?
We ‘re actually still trying to find out what eventually happened to the happy couple after their wedding, so if you know anything about Mr and Mrs Kaden, please drop us a line at press@scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

Other newsworthy marriages in Scotland in 1938
Another Glasgow wedding from 1938 that caught our eye was the marriage between Paul Oskar Hennersdorf and Erzebet Racz. The bride and bridegroom were performers at the Empire Exhibition, which took place at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow in 1938. To find out more about this wedding (interestingly, a newspaper story on the wedding reported that the bridegroom ‘seemed confused in his answers’) and to view their marriage record, follow this link.

Other famous people tying the knot in 1938 were Miss Louise Carnegie-Miller (Andrew Carnegie’s grand-daughter), Scott Duncan (a former manager of Manchester United) and Janet Roberts (the famous matriarch of the Glenfiddich whisky family). Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on January 15th, 2014

The New York Times cyber security reporter has written an excellent article about sharing emails. This is information you shouldn’t need to share when you’re buying cat food or underwear.  I personally hate when people do this in stores as well as being asked for my phone number at the checkout register and informed by the clerk that it’s only for demographic purposes. And, by the way Target, Neiman Marcus and others do not need your debit card pin.

No company is secure. Even if your politely asked don’t hand over any personal information.

Click on Stop Asking Me for My Email Address to read the very interesting and timely article.

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The following press release announces a long-term strategic partnership between GoDaddy and Microsoft Corp. to offer Office 365 to GoDaddy’s 12 million customers worldwide:

REDMOND, Wash. and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — GoDaddy, the Web’s top platform for small business, and Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a long-term strategic partnership to offer Office 365 as GoDaddy’s exclusive core business-class email and productivity service to its small-business customers. This partnership supports GoDaddy’s ongoing push to deliver premium small-business management solutions. Serving 12 million customers worldwide, GoDaddy has created a simple experience for small businesses to get started with industry-leading productivity tools backed by best-in-class, personalized customer support.

“Combining our small-business expertise together with Microsoft’s productivity offerings opens new doors for small businesses to easily get the tools they need to get more done in their day,” said Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of Business Applications, GoDaddy. “We’ve created a simple way to attach Office 365 to a domain name, helping small-business owners look professional and work anywhere, making the business of running their business easier.”

The strategic agreement between Microsoft and GoDaddy provides small businesses with seamless access to professional email connected to their domain names, cloud storage and a full suite of Microsoft productivity solutions. Plus, with GoDaddy, users receive around-the-clock live customer service, helping save time best spent focusing on their business. Also as part of the agreement, Microsoft created a unique offering of domain-based email and storage especially built with GoDaddy’s very small businesses in mind.

Office 365 offers business-class email, shared calendars, instant messaging, online conferencing and access to the most up-to-date Office documents. These capabilities are delivered as a cloud service available to users wherever they are, online or offline and across a variety of devices, offering access to the most up-to-date versions of the files and tools they need to get things done. Unlike some offerings designed for consumers or small businesses, Office 365 includes built-in security features that help deflect malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats.

“We’re excited that GoDaddy has chosen to exclusively offer Office 365 to its small-business customers, giving them easy and supported access to productivity tools being used by some of the most successful businesses in the world,” said John Case, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office. “GoDaddy’s relationship with small businesses combined with Office 365, the fastest-growing Microsoft product in history, will help bring the benefits of Office 365 and modern cloud services to even more companies, whether they’re seeking to modernize how they do business or simply starting up.”

There are an estimated 28 million small businesses in the U.S. alone1 and 125 million worldwide2. Of those 33 million, 92 percent of businesses have fewer than four employees. According to a Boston Consulting Group global study commissioned by Microsoft, if more small and medium-sized businesses adopted the latest in IT tools, it could potentially boost their revenues by a combined $770 billion and create more than 6 million jobs.2

Office 365 from GoDaddy is currently available in the U.S. and Canada and will expand globally within the next three months.

Supporting Resources

About GoDaddy
GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name provider, Web hosting provider and new SSL provider, focused on helping small businesses grow larger. GoDaddy provides dozens of cloud-based services and is the largest worldwide mass-market hosting provider by annual revenue according to 451 Research (Mass-Market Hosting Report-Fall 2012) and is the #1 provider of net-new SSL certificates for 2012, according to the Netcraft, LTD Secure Server Survey. To learn more about the company, visit GoDaddy.com/PR.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 GoDaddy research; U.S. Census Bureau, Longitudinal Business Database 1977–2010, 2009 County Business Patterns, 2010, http://censtats.census.gov/cgi-bin/nonemployer/nonsect.pl, http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/849/12162

2 Source: International Finance Corp., member of the World Bank Group, “Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Around the World: How Many Are There, and What Affects the Count?” 2010

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The January issue of Irish Lives Remembered is now available for free download (it’s always free).

This month’s issue features:

The Irish in New Jersey
Meryl  Streep’s Donegal roots
Resources at Dublin Diocesan Archive
Tracing your County Dublin ancestors
Finding the Irish in Colonial South Australia
Cork Genealogy Summer School

Click on Irish Lives Remembered to access the January issue.

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Sandy on January 8th, 2014

The announcement from Barnes and Noble of a new CEO, Michael Huseby, who formerly headed its digital division illustrates the importance of digital technology. See below:

“(Reuters) – Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) said on Wednesday that Michael Huseby, the head of its digital division, was named chief executive, a move Wall Street interpreted to mean the bookseller still sees e-books and e-readers as a priority.

The largest U.S. bookstore chain had been without a CEO since July, when William Lynch resigned in the wake of several quarters of poor sales of Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-readers and e-books business, which he developed. Last quarter, Nook division sales fell 32 percent, continuing the decline.

Huseby joined Barnes & Noble as finance chief in March 2012 and was made head of its Nook digital unit last summer.

The selection of Huseby “shows tech still a priority,” said Barclays Capital analyst Alan Rifkin in the headline of a research note.

In November, he told investors that Barnes & Noble was in the device business “to stay,” although the company had suggested in June it would scale back its digital business.

The company is facing declining sales in all its units, in its Nook business, its superstores and at its college stores, and Huseby has his work cut out for him, Rifkin said.

“We remain concerned around material same-store sales declines in the Retail segment, volatility in the College segment and significant losses in the NOOK segment,” Rifkin wrote.

In November, Barnes & Noble estimated it had a 20 percent share of the U.S. e-books market, compared with about 27 percent in February.

Two year ago, Barnes & Noble floated the idea of splitting the company, with one entity for its digital and college business and the other for retail. The retailer abandoned those plans in August and Chairman and founder Leonard Riggio decided not to make an offer for the retail business, an idea he floated in February 2013.

Huseby has experience in spinning off businesses and overseeing mergers. Earlier in his career, he worked at AT&T Broadband and led the team that completed its merger with Comcast in 2002, and he spun off two businesses at Cablevision, where he was chief financial officer from 2004 to 2011.

At the time of his hiring, Barnes & Noble touted Huseby’s deal-making skills.

The bookseller is set to report its holiday sales on Thursday.”

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Sandy on January 7th, 2014


On January 7, 1789, America’s first presidential election was held. Voters cast ballots to choose state electors; only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. As expected, George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on April 30, 1789.

As it did in 1789, the United States still uses the Electoral College system, established by the U.S. Constitution, which today gives all American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote for electors, who in turn vote for the president. The president and vice president are the only elected federal officials chosen by the Electoral College instead of by direct popular vote.

Today political parties usually nominate their slate of electors at their state conventions or by a vote of the party’s central state committee, with party loyalists often being picked for the job. Members of the U.S. Congress, though, can’t be electors. Each state is allowed to choose as many electors as it has senators and representatives in Congress. The District of Columbia has 3 electors. During a presidential election year, on Election Day (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November), the electors from the party that gets the most popular votes are elected in a winner-take-all-system, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, which allocate electors proportionally. In order to win the presidency, a candidate needs a majority of 270 electoral votes out of a possible 538. Read the rest of this entry »

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Family Tree DNA has a new tool to assist with our personal autosomal DNA analysis which, according to the Legal Genealogist is likely to take some getting used to.

The Family Finder DNA test at Family Tree includes autosomal DNA.  We all have autosomal DNA in our 23 pairs of chromosomes. I’ve read several different explanations of what autosomal DNA actually is and what it represents in the male and female DNA and found some contradictory information, which leads to confusion.

The article X marks the spot, written by Judy G. Russell on the Legal Genealogist blog explains it all very well and keeps it concise and simple. Russell’s use of diagrams is also well-done.

To learn more about it click on the The Legal Genealogist to read the article and to further explore the blog.

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Sandy on December 31st, 2013

Have a Very Happy New Year!

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Sandy on December 31st, 2013

The latest Press Release from ScotlandsPeople is as follows:

poetessliontamerjpgScottish records of births from 1913, marriages from 1938 and deaths from 1963 will go online for the first time tomorrow (1 Jan 2014).

Almost 222,000 images of birth, marriage and death records will be made available to family history researchers, including those of well-known people and unusual stories.

There were 38,716 marriages in 1938, including that between German circus performer and lion tamer Alfred Kaden, then 35, and Vera Hüsing (née Lüdtke), 25, the poet daughter of a German landowner. At the time a Glasgow newspaper described Hüsing as “vivacious, flaxen-haired and handsome” and said she had “won distinction by her poems and songs.”

The records show that in 1938, the average age for women to be married was 26.7 and for men was 29.7. In 2012, the average age for women was 34.8 and for men was 37.2, and there were 30,534 marriages.

In 1913 the population was 4,73 million and there were 120,516 births. By contrast, in 2012 there were 58,027 births and a total population of 5.31 million people. Read the rest of this entry »

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portrait of Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth

Robert Burns 1759-1796

In Scotland the word Hogmanay is used to describe the New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31. The holiday is so important in Scotland that it tends to eclipse Christmas and gifts are also given and received on New Year’s Eve.

The custom of Hogmanay was mentioned in the Elgin, Scotland, records as “hagmonay” and is believed to stem from a northern French dialect word hoguinane (a gift given at New Year) from the Scottish connection with the French through the Auld Alliance.

There are many traditions associated with New Year and many people believe the house should be cleaned (a good idea if you’re planning a party) to rid the house of the old dirt before Hogmanay. Just before midnight, a window is opened at each side of the house to let the old year out and the New Year in.

“First-footing” is another great tradition when, at midnight, people pay the first visit of the year to friends and neighbors. This is an informal get together and you never know who is going to show up at the door.

It’s customary to welcome people into your home to enjoy a New Year’s drink and have a bite to eat. For good luck the first person to enter your home in the New Year should be tall and dark-haired. The first-footer should arrive through the front door and leave through the back door.

Gifts given by first-footers and should include a lump of coal to bring warmth to the home, a bottle of whisky and something to eat.

“Auld Lang Syne” the world most famous New Year song that most people sing, but nobody really knows, is sung just after midnight on December 31.

Here’s the original lyrics written by Scotland’s Bard Robert Burns (1759-1796):

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Chorus

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.
Chorus

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.
Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

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FamilySearch has added more than 1.9 million indexed records and images to collections from Austria, Denmark, Hungary, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 834,729 indexed records and images from the U.S., Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820–1948, collection, the 590,658 indexed records from the new U.S., New York, State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957–1963, collection, and the 12,338 indexed records and images from the new Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index, 1800–1945, 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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thousands of overseas military burial records at the British National Archives have just been made available online from Deceased Online. The records are in addition to burial records from eight British burial sites in the UK, as well as, other records from The National Archives.

The military burials overseas can be located from ten cemeteries in the following four countries: Cyprus, Egypt, Singapore and Malta—mostly in Malta. The records are register scans and burials date from 1823.

About 40,000 National Archives burial records are now available on Deceased Online for military personnel and support staff across all services dating back to 1756.

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The latest press release from Ancestry.com is as follows:

PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – Dec 26, 2013) – As the holiday season comes into full swing, many of us will start to spend our days surrounded by loved ones, sharing stories from holidays past and making memories that will be shared for holidays to come. With many generations under the same roof, it is the ideal time to start a conversation about your family’s unique history – and New Year’s is the perfect time to take all you have learned and begin your family history journey!

Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, makes it easy for people to discover, preserve and share their family’s history through millions of records, historical documents and images. “As families get together during the holidays, it is a great time to start learning more about the generations that came before you,” says Michelle Ercanbrack, Family Historian at Ancestry.com. “Our hope is that Ancestry.com can help people not only discover more about the people in your family tree, but your family’s story, including when and where your ancestors lived, the jobs they had, the size of their families, and the events that helped shape not only them and their families, but the time period in which they lived.”

Making family history your New Year’s resolution is as easy as 1-2-3: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 22nd, 2013

The best of the best Billy Graham:

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Sandy on December 18th, 2013

728x90 e-Newspaper USA Today

I’d like to share the following article published in USA Today with a focus on blocking 23andMe from spreading awareness of the benefits of genetic testing. It’s suggested that the FDA is worried that by giving Americans more access to more information regarding their genomes they might get too much medical care. See below:

“The Food and Drug Administration has ordered 23andMe to cease all marketing. This blocks 23andMe from spreading awareness of the benefits of genetic testing just as many Americans might, for the first time, have considered giving away the company’s $99 saliva home-testing kit for Christmas.

OUR VIEW: Ensure that genetic tests are accurate

The FDA worries that giving Americans more information about their own genomes might lead some to get too much medical care — or not enough. The letter claims a false positive for a breast or ovarian cancer risk factor “could lead a patient to undergo prophylactic surgery, chemoprevention, (or) intensive screening … while a false negative could result in a failure to recognize an actual risk that may exist.”

But are Americans really so foolish with their own health? The FDA can’t cite a single example of someone actually being hurt because of 23andMe. Indeed, 23andMe has peer-reviewed research showing that its customers are no more likely to over- or under-estimate their risks.

Worse, the FDA says nothing of 23andMe’s benefits. The company has slashed prices 90% since 2007. At $99, its comprehensive test is cheaper than getting tested for many single risk factors by Old Medicine companies.

Even more important, mass-marketing 23andMe could change the cultural paradigm of medicine: The more people get tested, the more will ask their doctor about their results, and the more doctors will have to start incorporating personalized genomics into their practices.

When I got tested in 2011, I was the first to ask my doctor’s office about genetic results. Exasperated with the transition to electronic medical records, they weren’t eager to deal with yet another change. But the more patients ask, the more doctors are listening. That’s what the Internet has done in countless industries: Force old dogs to learn new tricks. It’s never pretty, but the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

But the FDA doesn’t care about these benefits — only that someone might, theoretically, get hurt. It wants 23andMe to spend years jumping through bureaucratic hoops, which means delaying the inevitable shift in how medicine is practiced.

Government has a role in protecting consumers from inaccurate testing and misleading information. But if medical innovation is to thrive, the FDA should bear the burden of showing that services such as 23andMe do more harm than good. Thus far, it hasn’t.

Berin Szoka is the president of TechFreedom, a Washington-based think tank focused on policy issues raised by disruptive innovation.”

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More news from FamilySearch.org:

FamilySearch has added more than 1.2 million indexed records and images to collections from BillionGraves, Bolivia, Germany, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 512, 388 indexed records and images from the BillionGraves Index, the 230,873 images from the U.S., North Carolina, Civil Action Court Papers, 1712–1970, collection, and the 79,078 indexed records from the Germany, Prussia, Pomerania Church Records, 1544–1945, 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 world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org. Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on December 15th, 2013

 

Countdown to Christmas:

“WestJet airline employees pulled off a wonderfully orchestrated Christmas surprise for a flight full of Toronto passengers that left many in tears, including the guy who stupidly asked for socks and underwear while everyone else got something much cooler.”

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Sandy on December 13th, 2013

The latest from British Origins:

Poor Law records are a major source for those interested in both local and family history and touched almost every aspect of the lives of those who had fallen on hard times or whose predicaments drew them to the attention of the parish officers.

The parish officer / overseer of the poor was expected when necessary, to feed, clothe, house and find work for his poor inhabitants. He apprenticed pauper children and diligently pursued the fathers of illegitimate children born in the parish. But ultimately he protected his parish from the claims of paupers who were not his responsibility.

These poor law abstracts (summaries) contain a complete summary of the details contained within each entry and includes all details including names and places plus incidental information such as relationships and occupations where found in the original documents.

Poor Law abstracts include: Apprenticeship indentures, Bastardy examinations, Indemnity bonds, Quarter sessions and appeals, Settlement examinations and removal orders, Vagrant removal orders, Workhouse admission and discharges. See some examples below:

Settlement Examination
6 Jun 1783 Settlement examination of Mary ALDRIDGE (X) wife of John. On 22 Aug 1768 married husband at Shoreditch & lived together 6 years & has 3 children, 2 of which are now in St Giles poorhouse. In Easter week 10 years ago last Easter her husband left her. 8 years ago she received a letter from her husband who was then in Virginia, America and she has not heard from him since. Since her absence she has had 2 children Mary (5) & Hannah (3) & she is now pregnant again & Edward BOWMAN a journeyman shoemaker is the father of the 2 children and the one she is pregnant with.

Vagrant’s Removal Order
1 Apr 1765 Vagrant’s Removal Order of Elizabeth WALMSLEY from Cirencester. Gloucestershire. Examination of Sarah MAY (X) who swears that her maiden name was WALMSLEY & has been wandering with her husband & her sister Elizabeth (10) & subsisted for some time by begging. Her sister was born in St Giles Cripplegate & her father is dead after which the child was maintained for some time by St Giles Workhouse.

Bastardy Examination 
29 May 1821 – Bastardy examination of Sarah wife of Henry BROMWELL delivered that day of male bastard & has charged Thomas BROMWELL who works at 4 Coleman Street as father & that on 7 Nov 1822 was delivered of another bastard child named Thomas and Thomas BROMWELL is also the father of this child.

 Search London Poor Law Abstracts 1581-1899

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Sandy on December 12th, 2013

Today at a press event in New York, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has announced that the photo-sharing service is introducing private photo-sharing and messaging feature called Instagram Direct.

The feature provides the ability to send images to users, instead of broadcasting your photos publicly. According to new reports the  photo-sharing network’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, stated that Instagram is not about photography, but about communication. “If we were about photography, we’d be built into cameras,” Systrom said at a press conference in New York today. “But, we’re not built into cameras. We’re built into phones.”

Users will be able to send photos or videos directly to up to 15 people at a time. To share the image privately, you can use the one-to-one button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll be able to tell when the person has seen the photo by showing you a checkmark, similar to how Facebook messaging alerts you that someone has seen your message.

Click on Instagram Direct to learn more.

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Sandy on December 10th, 2013

Alan Stewart says:

The computerisation of Presbyterian Church baptisms, marriages and deaths for County Armagh has been completed.

Armagh Ancestry has added records of the following churches to the online research database:

  • Ahorey Presbyterian (Baptisms 1832-1843);
  • Armagh 2nd Presbyterian (Baptisms 1825-1864);
  • Armagh 3rd Presbyterian (Baptisms 1837-1864);
  • Clare Presbyterian (Baptisms 1824-1837 + Marriages 1828);
  • Creggan Presbyterian (Baptisms 1835-1871 + Marriages 1837-1844 + Deaths 1860-1926);
  • Eglish Presbyterian (Baptisms 1854-1866 + Deaths 1858-1893);
  • Portadown 1st Presbyterian (Marriages 1838-1859);
  • Lislooney Presbyterian (Baptisms 1835-1865);
  • Loughgall (Cloveneden) Presbyterian (Baptisms 1840-1872);
  • Middletown Presbyterian (Baptisms 1829-1873);
  • Richhill Presbyterian (Baptisms 1854-1869);
  • Tandragee Presbyterian (Baptisms 1835-1865 + Marriages 1835-1845);
  • Ballenon Reformed Presbyterian (Baptisms 1810-1877 + Marriages 1859 + Deaths 1849-1889).

You can search these records at the Armagh Ancestry website or at Roots Ireland, which covers most of the counties of the Republic of Ireland and all of those in Northern Ireland.

Armagh Ancestry intends to computerise the remaining Church records and hopes to add more records in the coming months, including those from the Church of Ireland (Anglican), Methodist, Baptist, and Congregations

 

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Sandy on December 7th, 2013

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

 

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Hot on the heels of the failure of the  fingerprint security problem with the iPhone, Apple has recently been granted a patent  by the USPO that uses facial recognition technology to control a computing device, such as, an iPhone, iPad or Mac, allowing for a more secure and productive operating environment.

Apple was issued a patent by the USPO on Tuesday (see AppleInsider) that describes a system for using facial recognition and detection on a mobile or desktop computing device. Reports say that this could work a lot like the Android face-unlock option, which has been criticized for its fallibility. It is also designed to prompt activity and uses facial expressions as input for controlling the device.

This technology could be used not only to protect data on an iPhone in a locked state, but also to determine how much information is shared on the lock screen for a user.

If a person receives an incoming call and their iPhone recognizes them then the caller ID and information from the user’s contacts app will be displayed. If the caller is not someone the phone has listed as a user of the device, it’ll block all that data. Also, with emails or messages, it could potentially scrub the content of any actual info until there’s a positive recognition match for the rightful user.

In a desktop computing environment, the recognition might be used to analyze user behavior over time as they sit in front of their Mac, determining when to trigger actions, such as, screen savers, enter a movie mode, or switch audio devices in preparation for a something like a Skype call.

I mentioned in a recent post that Apple has just acquired PrimeSense, the Israeli company that helped create the original Microsoft Keinect’s motion sensing capabilities, so it’s possible to link the two, although the Apple patent pre-dates the deal.

This technology, however, could provide a way to permit users access to things like Siri from the lock-screen without compromising privacy at the same time be able to use some of the assistant’s more useful convenience features.

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Sandy on December 4th, 2013

Findmypast.co.uk has just published the following records if you are looking for records in Northumberland, Devon, and Thames and Medway.  See below:

We’ve just published some brilliant new parish records so now it’s easier than ever to trace your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials.

Further details of the records are as follows:

Northumberland & Durham marriages – 28,163 records – click here to see places covered (PDF)

Devon baptisms – 11,735 records – click here to see places covered (PDF)

Devon burials – 2,387 records – click here to see places covered (PDF)

Thames & Medway baptisms – 2,080 records for Cliffe At Hoo, 1775-1851

Thames & Medway marriages – 260 records for Cliffe At Hoo, 1775-1919

Thames & Medway burials – 1,652 records for St Helen’s Church, 1775-1851

Any of you with ancestors from these areas will be keen to get searching these records straight away.

Search parish records now

According to Reuters:

(Reuters) – Apple Inc has bought Israel-based PrimeSense Ltd, a developer of chips that enable three-dimensional machine vision, the companies said on Monday, a move that signals gesture-controlled technologies in new devices from the maker of iPhones and iPads.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the purchase but declined to say how much it spent or what the technology will be used for. Israeli media said Apple paid about $350 million for PrimeSense, whose technology powers the gesture control in Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Kinectgaming system.

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesman said in an e-mail.

A spokeswoman for PrimeSense said: “We can confirm the deal with Apple. Further than that, we cannot comment at this stage.”

It was the second acquisition of an Israeli company by Apple in less than two years. Apple bought flash storage chip maker Anobit in January 2012.

PrimeSense’s sensing technology, which gives digital devices the ability to observe a scene in three dimensions, was used to help power Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect device.

The Israeli company has licensed the technology to Microsoft but it is unclear how that deal changes with Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense, which provides the technology behind Kinect’s visual gesture system.

Apple and Microsoft have other licensing deals between them. Microsoft did not return a call seeking comment.

Analysts are expecting PrimeSense’s technology to show up in Apple devices in about 12-18 months from now, potentially in the often-speculated device for the living room such as a television, dubbed iTV by fans.

“While we have not had any more evidence of an iTV coming in the next 6 to 12 months, some sort of living room appliance is in Apple’s future and gesture technology could be critical,” Peter Misek, analyst with Jefferies said in a note to clients.

Apple’s interest in PrimeSense was first reported in July by Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist.

Below is an up-to-date announcement from the National Genealogical Society (NGS):

ARLINGTON, VA, 2 DECEMBER 2013: Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s thirty-sixth annual family history conference, Virginia: The First Frontier, which will be held 7–10 May 2014 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and the Marriott Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia was home to an ever-changing frontier. From Jamestown to Kentucky its people moved ever forward looking for new frontiers and it is this spirit that the conference celebrates as we move to new frontiers in research. The conference will open with Sandra Treadway, Librarian and Archivist of Virginia, who will address the issues that research institutions face as they enter the digital frontier and how they are working to meet the ever-changing needs of their patrons.

Continuing its goal of providing quality educational opportunities to its participants, the conference will again feature the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ Skillbuilding track, Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 29th, 2013

hanukkah-candlesThe  first day of Hannukah and Thanksgiving happening on the same day is a rare event—so rare that it won’t happen again until the year 79811,  this is according to a calculation by Jonathan Mizrahi, which has garnered national attention.

Starting on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It coincides with late November or late December on the secular calendar. This year the first day of  Hanukkah was yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) November 28, 2013.

It all began in 168 B.C.E. when the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. Many of the Jewish people were afraid to fight back because of the kind of payback that would take place.

One year later in 167 B.C.E. the emperor Antiochus forced the Jewish people to worship Greek gods and made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. Jewish resistance started in the village of Modiin near Jerusalem, when a Jewish High Priest called, Mattathias, was ordered to bow down to an idol and eat the flesh of a pig. These practices are forbidden to Jews. Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward to take his place, Mattathias killed the villager as well as the Greek officer. His five sons and the other villagers then killed the remaining soldiers.

More people joined the resistance against the Greeks, which eventually led to the Jews retaking their lands. After regaining control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem, which had by this time been spiritually defiled. Intent on purifying the temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days, they were dismayed to find that there was only enough oil for one day. They lit the menorah anyway and a miracle happened—the oil lasted the full eight days.

The miracle of the Hanukkah oil is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days. The Hanukkah menorah has eight candle holders in a row with a ninth, which is a helper candle called a shamash, placed in the middle and set above the others. Starting from the left side one candle is lit, using the helper candle, on the first night, two on the second and so on until all the candles are lit on the eighth day.

A gift is exchanged between friends and family on each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Another Hanukkah tradition is spinning the dreidel which is a game played with a four-sided top with Hebrew letters on each side. Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is also traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes. Latkes are delicious pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and then served with applesauce.

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Sandy on November 27th, 2013

happythanksgivingBy 1916, United States citizens were referring to Thanksgiving Day as Turkey Day, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the Pilgrims might not have eaten turkey at all. According to historians, the Pilgrims ate wildfowl, corn, and venison.  Turkey first claimed its place as the Thanksgiving bird in the 1700s when Founding Father Alexander Hamilton stated, “No Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.”

As for stuffing, the Pilgrims lacked access to flour or ovens, so bread-based stuffing was not on the first Thanksgiving meal menu. However, the history of stuffing was around and dates back to the Roman Empire, where the recipe appears in the Roman cookbook De re Coquinaria. Although stuffing large birds was common in the Pilgrims era. Today, Americans rarely cook large birds except on Thanksgiving and stuffing is not often prepared without turkey.

Cranberries are native to North America and were eaten by Native Americans along with pumpkins long before the first Thanksgiving. Cranberries became a crucial part of the New England harvest once the settlers began eating them in the mid-1600s. Cranberry sauce was not referenced for another 50 years in historical records, sealing their role in the Thanksgiving celebrations in 1864, when Ulysses S. Grant ordered cranberries to be served to soldiers as part of their holiday meal. A company now known as Ocean Spray began canning and selling cranberry sauce in 1912.

You might be interested (or reminded) to learn that neither white potatoes nor sweet potatoes were part of the first Thanksgiving dinner because they hadn’t arrived yet in North America. White potatoes are native to South America and sweet potatoes are native to the Carribean. Sweet potatoes were actually brought to the United States from Europe and became very popular in the south—humid growing conditions suited the orange potato and were often substituted for pumpkin pie. Sweet potato casseroles were introduced to marshmallows in 1917 by Angelus Marshmallows in a book intended to promote marshmallows as an everyday cooking ingredient. Although marshmallows didn’t catch on with other dishes the pairing of the sweet pototo and marshmallows were immortalized as a Thanksgiving favorite.

Turkeys and pumpkins are native to North America. However it was unlikely to have been baked into a pie because the Pilgrims did not even have access to ovens and probably ate boiled pumpkin. Recipes for pumpkin pie appeared in English cookbooks around 1670 and in American cookbooks in 1670. They didn’t appear in French cookbooks until 1951. Pumpkin pie is a popular way to conclude a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with a sweet dessert.

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The following Warning Letter dated November 22, 2013, was sent to Ann Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, Inc., regarding the marking of the 23andMe Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service without marketing clearance and approval in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. I’ve left off the address, which you can find on the FDA website: 

Document Number: GEN1300666
Re: Personal Genome Service (PGS)
WARNING LETTER

Dear Ms. Wojcicki,

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is sending you this letter because you are marketing the 23andMe Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service (PGS) without marketing clearance or approval in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act).

This product is a device within the meaning of section 201(h) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 321(h), because it is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or is intended to affect the structure or function of the body. For example, your company’s website at www.23andme.com/health (most recently viewed on November 6, 2013) markets the PGS for providing “health reports on 254 diseases and conditions,” including categories such as “carrier status,” “health risks,” and “drug response,” and specifically as a “first step in prevention” that enables users to “take steps toward mitigating serious diseases” such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and breast cancer. Most of the intended uses for PGS listed on your website, a list that has grown over time, are medical device uses under section 201(h) of the FD&C Act. Most of these uses have not been classified and thus require premarket approval or de novo classification, as FDA has explained to you on numerous occasions.

Some of the uses for which PGS is intended are particularly concerning, such as assessments for BRCA-related genetic risk and drug responses (e.g., warfarin sensitivity, clopidogrel response, and 5-fluorouracil toxicity) because of the potential health consequences that could result from false positive or false negative assessments for high-risk indications such as these. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 22nd, 2013

50 years ago today.

john-f-kennedy

Sandy on November 22nd, 2013

identitytheftKannon Yamada has written a simply excellent article, How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step.  It really is a must read for everyone.

In the article Mr.Yamada explains how to take care of your personal information in a way that is easy to follow and a real eye opener with a few surprises for all of us.

You’ll learn that stealing someone’s identity doesn’t take a lot of intelligence, or a lot of effort. You’ll also learn about Ophcrack  a Linux-based Live USB/CD that recovers passwords without users having to understand much about computers. Then there’s Recuva a tool that can undelete data you’ve sent to the recycling bin, even after emptying it. Recuva  exploits a loop-hole in how operating systems erase data in order to preserve performance. Information isn’t deleted after you clear the recycling bin.

There’s plenty more. To read the article click on How to Get Your Identity Stolen in One Easy Step. You might also want to bookmark Kannon Yamada’s blog, it’s packed with useful information.

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The following news release from Ancestry.com looks back at the assassination of President John F.  Kennedy in their new online historical record collection:

PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – Nov 20, 2013) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today released for the first time online 6.5 million new birth and death records from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Spanning nearly a century (1890-1980), the collection includes the state’s entire public archive of death records, including a newly-rediscovered certificate for President John F. Kennedy, as well as those involved in the investigation and reporting of his assassination, which rocked the nation 50 years ago this month.

“Stories can be gleaned from every record we put on Ancestry.com, whether it’s an ancestor’s personal story, or an important moment in our nation’s history,” said Dan Jones, Vice President of Content Acquisition at Ancestry.com. “For example, just a few records in the newly-available Texas collections paint a picture of the events surrounding JFK’s death. These records can provide a similar level of insight to those with Texas family histories, who will find great amounts of information in these record sets.”

The president’s death certificate describes the weapon used, injuries inflicted, location of injuries, and duration before death, which is noted as only “minutes.” Evelyn Lincoln, the president’s personal secretary, is listed as the informant — the person responsible for positively identifying the body of her former Commander-in-Chief. Read the rest of this entry »

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The latest announcement from NGS regarding the 2014 Family History Conference is as follows

NGS is pleased to announce the program for the 2014 Family History Conference is now available in a sixteen-page Registration Brochure, which can be downloaded at http://goo.gl/KwHTix. The online version of the program is also available on the conference website at conference.ngsgenealogy.org. Conference registration opens on 1 December 2013 at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/.  A number of special events have limited seating, so register on 1 December or as soon as possible thereafter if you plan to attend these events.

The conference will be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Marriott Hotel located in downtown Richmond, Virginia, 7–10 May 2014. Conference highlights include a choice of more than 175 lectures, given by many nationally known speakers and subject matter experts about a broad array of topics including records for Virginia and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records; ethnic groups including African Americans, German, Irish, and Ulster Scots; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research. Read the rest of this entry »

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On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

The Gettysburg Address as read by Johnny Cash

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The latest news from FamilySearch.org is shared below:

FamilySearch has added more than 3.2 million indexed records and images from Austria, BillionGraves, Brazil, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,157,399 images from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980, collection, the 324,226 images from the new South Africa, Eastern Cape, Estate Files, 1962–2004 and South Africa, Western Cape, Estate Files, 1966–2004, collections, and the 71,367 indexed records from the U.S., Minnesota, Naturalization Card Index, 1930–1988, 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 world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 15th, 2013

The following article was published in Bloomberg online news that Google Books achieved a major victory in federal court yesterday when Judge Denny Chin ruled that its digitization of more than 20+ million books is a fair use under the United States copyright laws

Google Inc.’s (GOOG) project to digitally copy millions of books for online searches doesn’t violate copyright law, a federal judge ruled, dismissing an eight-year-old lawsuit against the largest search-engine company.

Google Books provides a public benefit and is a fair use of copyrighted material, Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan ruled today. The project, which has scanned more than 20 million books so far, doesn’t harm authors or inventors of original works, Chin said.

“Google Books provides significant public benefits,” Chin wrote. “It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

Chin’s decision comes more than two years after he rejected a proposed $125 million settlement in the case filed by The Authors Guild, which represents writers. The group sued in 2005 alleging that Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, infringed copyrights by scanning and indexing books without writers’ permission.

Paul Aiken, the Authors Guild’s executive director, said in a statement today that the ruling is a “fundamental challenge” to copyrights and that his group plans to appeal.

Fair Use Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on November 13th, 2013

On November 13, 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is born in Scotland.

Stevenson studied civil engineering and law, but decided to pursue a career as a writer and began publishing essays and travel pieces. His decision alienated his parents, who expected him to follow the family trade of lighthouse keeping. The family wasn’t reconciled for years.

In 1876, Stevenson fell in love with an American woman named Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was separated from her husband. When she returned to San Francisco in 1879, Stevenson followed her. The couple married and returned to Scotland in 1880. Stevenson published a collection of essays in 1881, and Treasure Island, one of his most popular books, in 1883. In 1885, he published the first version of the popular nursery-rhyme book A Child’s Garden of Verse. In 1846, he published Kidnapped, and in 1886 he published Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

In 1888, the family set off for the South Seas, seeking a healthier climate for Stevenson’s tuberculosis. The family finally settled in Samoa, where Stevenson died in 1894.

According to TechCrunch, Google is today releasing another update to Gmail. Google users will now be able to skip the downloading process with email messages with just a click.  You can view and save your files directly to Google Drive without leaving your inbox.

This change is being made a day after the rollout of the new “Quick Actions” buttons, which gives you easier interactions with email messages, with just a click. The Google Drive integrations are also designed to speed up users’ interactions with attached files.

Gmail users will begin to see new thumbnail previews for files at the bottom of their email messages. This includes photos and videos, as well as office documents, PDFs, and spreadsheets.

When you click on one of the files previews will then display the item in a full-screen image format. From here, you can basically interact with the file itself right from your Gmail inbox, with no need to first download then launch the file using desktop software.

If you do need to save the item for later viewing, just click on the Google Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. From the window that appears, you can click to save the file to your Drive, even choosing the folder where the item should be stored.

If you still feel more comfortable with the old-school “download” route, don’t worry, an arrow button will allow you to continue to do things in the traditional way.

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As Veteran’s Day draws near (Monday, November 11) hear in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, it’s a time to remember those who fought and died in conflicts across the globe.

To honor the approaching centenary of the First World War the British National Archives is offering a way to research this war and the people involved by launching a dedicated First World War portal where researchers and family historians can explore all of the National Archives’ First World War resources in a single place.

Listed below are the resources you might find useful in your research:

First World collections online 

Explore some of the most popular First World War record series, including medal card indexes (WO 372), prisoner of war interview records 1914-1918 (WO 161) and RAF Officers’ service records (AIR 76).*
From January 2014 a digitized records series will be launched including, the unit war diaries (WO 95).

First World War service and pension records

Ancestry.com has a wealth of the National Archives military records to search, including surviving service records from 1914 to 1920 (WO 363) and pension records from 1914 to 1920 (WO 364).*

And women went too… Read the rest of this entry »

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Hot on the heels of yesterdays much talked about Twitter’s big public launch, an article in Forbes titled The Twitter Guide for Professionals Who ‘Just Don’t Get It’ written by Tim Maurer, provides some interesting context on what Twitter is all about.

I actually do “get” the value of Twitter at the same time am still unsure if I’d like to be a part of the machine—human nature being the way it is, it’s not all rainbows, sunshine and pots of gold. Although I do think it’s a more productive use of your time than Facebook maintenance.

In case you don’t really know what Twitter is, it’s a communication medium where messages are sent and read and the catch or, the good thing, is that messages are limited to no more than 140 characters—keep it pithy.  More often than not, you’ll find a link to a URL in these short sentences. It’s a great source of information and, if you have nothing to communicate, it’s still a convenient  way for scanning and receiving quality information.  If you have a couple of days where you don’t have anything to say, Twitter allows you to open an account and just start following the people who interest you. You can also stop following them too.

Click on the link The Twitter Guide for Professionals Who ‘Just Don’t Get It’ to read Mr. Maurer’s article. It provides an interesting perspective on what it’s all about—some self-promotion too, but that’s okay.

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FamilySearch has added more than 1.2 million indexed records and images from Brazil, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 442,32 images from the Italy, Bologna, Bologna, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866–1942, collection, the 241,897 images from the India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194–2013, collection, and the 244,840 images from the Mexico, Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Miscellaneous Marriage Records, 1605–1910, 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 world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org. Read the rest of this entry »

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napoleonAccording to AP a copy of Napoleon’s will soon be up for auction on tomorrow in Paris’ Drouot Auction house, giving unusual insight into Napoleon’s final days.

The original letter penned in Napoleon’s own illegible hand on April 16, 1821, is in France’s national archives and unavailable for purchase. The copy written by a close advisor is expected to fetch about $162,000 (120,000 euros).

The frail Napoleon new his time was almost up when he penned his will and asked that his ashes be scattered along the river Seine among the French people he loved. When he started to write his will he said to a friend, “My son, it’s time I go, I feel it.”

Napoleon expert Pierre Gheno said, “This document is very special in the great mass of documents produced in Napoleon’s era Napoleon always writes in a factual way. But here we see emotion, saying that he wants his ashes to be scattered on the banks of the Seine (river) among the beloved French. He knew he was dying.

As it turned out, Napoleon’s ashes weren’t scattered along the river, but were transferred to Paris’ Invalides monument some two decades after his death in 1840. Historians say that the new king ignored the will’s wishes and delayed bringing Napoleon’s remains back to Paris out of fear his legacy was too linked with the French Revolution.

The will also calls for his remaining possessions to be distributed among his close friends in exile on the island of Saint Helena and shows how little Napoleon had during his punitive six years of captivity at the hands of the British following his defeat at Waterloo in 1815.

The once-feared man, who conquered half of Europe, had nothing more than a few jewels, sculptures, porcelain crockery and the odd painting at the time of his death.

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The following press release from the National Archives and Records Administration regarding a new exhibition opening Friday, November 8 on the Iraqi Jewish artifacts—See below:

Washington, DC…On Friday, October 11, 2013, the National Archives will unveil a new exhibition, “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” The exhibit details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives’ ongoing work in support of U.S. Government efforts to preserve these materials.

Located in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, “Discovery and Recovery” is free and open to the public and runs through January 5, 2014. In both English and Arabic, the 2,000 square foot exhibit features 24 recovered items and a “behind the scenes” video of the fascinating yet painstaking preservation process. This exhibit marks the first time these items have been on public display.

Click on the link to read Washington Post reporter Michael Ruane’s  rave review of the project. Also click on the video below to see a preview:

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Sandy on October 31st, 2013

samhainThe Celts, those interesting and mysterious folks who lived about 2000 years ago in what is known today as the United Kingdom and Ireland, celebrated New Year on November 1st. They believed that on the night before New Year the boundary between the worlds of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. It was at this time, on the night of October 31st, when they celebrated Samhain, that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The Celts believed that the presence of spirits made it easier for the Druids, who were Celtic priests, to predict the future. Samhain was celebrated with the wearing of costumes (typically made up of animal heads and skins) and prophecies of the future. They also extinguished their hearth fires and built huge bonfires, where people gathered to burn crops and offer animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities. After the ceremonies, they re-lit their hearth fires to protect them through the winter.

By A.D. 43 the Romans had conquered the bulk of the Celtic territory and during the course of the next 400 years the ritual of Samhain evolved to combine two festivals of Roman origin. One was Feralia, a day in late October when Romans commemorated the passing of the dead. The other was to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Her symbol is the apple, which might tie in with the “bobbing” for apples tradition enjoyed by “children” of all ages at Halloween.

When the 800′s rolled around, the influence of Christianity had spread to Celtic lands. And, it is generally believed that, in the 7th century, Pope Bonafice IV attempted to replace the Samhain festival of the dead by designating November 1st as a church-sanctioned holiday labeled All Saints’ Day to honor saints and martyrs. It was also called All-hallows or All-hallowsmas. Later on, around A.D. 1000, the second day of November was labeled All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. The All Saints Day festivity was similar to Samhain with bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and demons. The combination of all three celebrations was called Hallowmas. The eve of Samhain started to be called All-hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.

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Sandy on October 30th, 2013

halloween-myheritageAs I’ve often mentioned on SpittalStreet.com, gravestones and obituaries are useful tools to add meaningful and hard to find information to your family tree.

Obituaries are among the few places that usually include a woman’s maiden as well as her married name together. This makes it easier to track down female ancestors. They also often include information on the persons appearance, their talents, all part of how they will be remembered.

As Halloween approaches MyHeritage is bringing you new tricks and treats to help you find out more about your ancestors in the form of 5.5 million gravestone records and obituaries newly added to SuperSearch.

Click on MyHeritage.com blog to learn more about it.

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The National Archives is hosting the 9th annual forum on communications with former White House photographers on October 30th at 7 p.m. The event will be webcast live on the National ARchives UStream channel. The link is available on the following press release from NARA:

Washington, DC…On Wednesday, October 30, at 7 p.m., the National Archives hosts the Ninth Annual McGowan Forum on Communications. This year’s special program focuses on “Communicating the Presidency: Presidential Photographers.” The event will be webcast live on the National Archives UStream channel.

This public program is free, and no advance registration is required. It will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.

This program is presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association and the White House Correspondents’ Association and is made possible through the generous support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. and the Foundation for the National Archives.

Communicating the Presidency: Presidential Photographers

What is it like to photograph the most powerful person in the world? Read the rest of this entry »

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A new website is in the launch stage to request volunteers to record all the Welsh place-names. I tried the site today and it doesn’t appear to be ready yet. Keep trying.

Alan Stewart says:

October 22nd 2013 saw the launch of a new website which hopes to harness the power of volunteers to record all the place-names of Wales as they appeared on Ordnance Survey maps at the end of the Victorian period.

Cymru1900Wales.org is a ground-breaking collaborative project, developed jointly by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, The National Library of Wales, University of Wales and the People’s Collection Wales.

Visitors to the cymru1900wales.org website are being asked to study historic mapping of Wales, published by the Ordnance Survey between 1899 and 1908, and to record the location of all text shown on the maps: the names of towns, villages, woods, farms, rivers, springs, mansions – everything! There is even a competitive element to this mildly addictive process; the more place-names recorded by a volunteer, the higher his or her position in the Contributors’ Chart. Read the rest of this entry »

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billion-year-data-storageIf you’ve been worried about how to preserve your digital records, you may soon be able to purchase a new optical disk that could store data for up to a billion years. To some this may seem hubristic, to others definitely not.

According to the latest gizmag report, a researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands has developed a new optical memory device made out of tungsten and silicon nitride that could store data for extremely long periods of time—up to a billion years.

Hopefully planet earth will not be hit by a huge asteroid or a future weapon of war that will permanently shut down the power grid between now and a billion years hence. ABC might also decide to shut down Castle, which would definitely cause a cataclysmic event.

Many of us have already discovered through experience that hard drives are very susceptible to external magnetic fields and mechanical failures with a lifespan not much longer than 10 years—too often less. Similarly, CDs, DVDs and flash drives, most definitely have their own Achilles’ heel.

Jeroen de Vries, a researcher at the University of Twente decided to solve this problem by designing his own data storing device. The materials he chose were tungsten, which can withstand very high temperatures, encased in silicon nitride, which is highly resistant to fracture and warps very little when exposed to high levels of heat.

Information is stored inside the device by etching QR codes in tungsten—these are easily decoded by today’s smartphones. It’s a very durable method because the information is still even “when up to seven percent of the date has been compromised. Each pixel of the code has also within it a second set of much smaller QR codes, with pixels of only a few microns in size.”

The researcher tested the device by heating it to a temperature of 400˚F (200˚C) for one hour and saw no visible degradation, which according to the model simulates one million years of usage and only showed some signs of deterioration when it was heated to around 820˚F (440˚C). Even after the additional heat, the tungsten was not harmed and the data was still readable.

The experiment was limited to exposure to high temperatures and, according to the researcher, may not be entirely accurate. De Vries does say that if a very stable place can be found to store the device, such as a nuclear storage facility, then the disc and the data it contains still has all the requisites to last for extremely long periods of time, on the order of millions of years.

Online backup will likely be around for a while. At the same time it’s a good reminder not to rely to heavily on flash drives, etc.

Sandy on October 25th, 2013

New online records of Scottish Property Valuation Rolls for 1920 are scheduled to be released on Monday October 28, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. The news release from ScotlandsPeople is as follows: 

‘Homes fit for heroes’? New historical records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish society in the wake of the First World War

The names and addresses of more than 2.6 million people living in Scotland during the post-WW1 period will be published online at 10am on Monday 28 October, as records of Scottish properties in 1920 are released on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government’s family history website.

Comprising over 76,000 digital images taken from 169 volumes, these new records – known as Valuation Rolls – cover every type of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value in 1920. As the records contain details for the owners and occupiers of properties, they will offer genealogists and historians fresh insight into Scottish society in 1920.

Each Valuation Roll entry on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – in many cases occupations are also included. As the Rolls include all types of property, from castles and mansions to crofts and tenements, in turn, the records also include people from across the whole social spectrum.

The Rolls also reveal some fascinating trends in Scotland’s social history at this time, such as the building of the first council housing estate, and the growth of urban allotments and gardens cultivated by working-class gardeners to achieve self-sufficiency. The Rolls also reveal the widespread disposal of land by owners who faced new tax and other burdens from 1918 onwards, and the opportunities for tenant farmers to buy their own farms.

Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also been spotting celebrities (and family ancestors of famous people) Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on October 23rd, 2013

Crista Cowan (The Barefoot Genealogist) offers a simple plan on the Ancestry.com blog about how to get more from your AncestryDNA test.

If you find a lot of cousin matches and are not sure how to make the connection, Christa has offered a very commonsense approach. There are six points with explanations along with a Common Ancestors chart pictured below that you can print out to help you remember the hierarchy.

See below:

  • Remember how cousins are connected to you
  • Do you have dates attached to each of your ancestors? If not, how you can estimate the birth years .
  • Go back through your family tree and make sure you use the drop-down list to enter birth locations for each of your ancestors.
  • Some people don’t know how to attach their DNA results to their online tree so it looks like they have “No Family Tree.”
  • If someone has a private tree, especially if they are a close match (4th cousins or closer), send them a message and ask for permission to view their tree for a couple of days so you can work with them to discover your connection.
  • Be patient! More than 200,000 people have taken the AncestryDNA test and more people are taking the test every day.

Click on the link to access the Ancestry.com blog.

CousinsChart

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Scara-BraeAccording to an official report, rising sea levels are threatening the existence of Orkney’s island’s famous Stone Age village of Skara Brae.

A draft management plan for the protection of the Stone Age site chronicles coastal erosion as “a threat to the long-term survival” of the subterranean village.

The report, compiled by Unesco, Historic Scotland, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and Orkney Islands Council, said the site is at “significant risk from a variety of climate-related factors”, such as, “increases in storminess and sea level rise and consequent increases in coast erosion; torrential rain and flooding; changes to wetting and drying cycles; and changes to flora and fauna.”

Skara Brae settlement is estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old and is the main attraction of Heart of Neolithic Orkney and was made a World Heritage site by Unesco in December 1999.

In addition to the village, the historical site includes Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar, the Standing Stones of Stenness and other nearby sites. Unesco said, the monuments “proclaim the triumphs of the human spirit in early ages and isolated places” and “stand as a visible symbol of the achievements of early peoples away from the traditional centers of civilization”. This is certainly true because the weather can be wild in the north of Scotland and the islands during the winter months.

For the past 100 years, a specially erected sea wall has been the main barrier against serious storm damage and erosion to the village.  Unfortunately, has been undermined by waves over the years and is in need of major repairs, and archaeologists now fear that rising sea levels may prove too much for it.

Skara Brae was discovered in the 19th century because of a cycle of severe weather. In the winter of 1850 a storm-battered Orkney and a combination of gale-force winds and extremely high tides stripped the grass from a large mound, then known as “Skerrabra” and revealed the outline of a number of stone buildings.

“According to the latest figures, 46 per cent of people who visit Orkney each year go to Skara Brae. The number of cruise ships stopping there is increasing each year, making the site integral to the island economy.”

Since it has lasted for thousands of years, I hope we can assume that something will be done to prevent the loss of the amazing Stone Age village.

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