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

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

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

Sandy on March 15th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Click on MyHeritage to access the database.

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

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

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



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This latest news release from is as follows:

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

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

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

The following information was included in the ScotlandsPeople newsletter”

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sandy on March 6th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By George!

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

Sandy on March 3rd, 2014

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


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

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Sandy on February 26th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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


Sandy on February 24th, 2014

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

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

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Deceased Online says:

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

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

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

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Sandy on February 19th, 2014

I’d like to share an article published on that originally appeared in “Business, Institution, and Organization Records” by Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, and Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. It’s part of a series and give you a list for your further research at the end of the article, which is part of a series:

Hospital and physicians’ medical records are excellent sources of genealogical information. However, as confidential documents, they are difficult to obtain and are usually available only to the infirmed or the administrator of his or her estate. Like the more traditional businesses, hospitals have opened, closed, merged, been taken over, and changed names. As a result, knowledge of the history of the hospital may be needed to locate available records.

Some hospital records from the nineteenth century have been released and microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, including the early records of the St. Louis City Hospital, which are fairly representative of the content in most records of this period.

Normally, early hospital registers will indicate the patient’s name, age, birthplace, date of admission, illness or disease, and date of discharge or death, although some records are less informative. In addition to registers, hospitals maintained early death records such as those compiled by the Almshouse Hospital in Philadelphia in 1893. The information on death records varies from hospital to hospital, but usually you can expect to find the deceased’s name, death date, and cause of death.

The federal government maintains a wide range of hospitals, ranging from those for veterans to those for the insane. Because they are government institutions, records from these hospitals may be more readily available in original, film, or print versions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on February 17th, 2014

If you have ancestors who lived in County Durham in the north east of England and are having a hard time finding them in the bigger corporate databases, the Durham Records Online database is likely to have high quality information.

All the transcription is done by people who are familiar with County Durham historic family and place names. They pay attention to fine details. For example, when handwriting is questionable, the staff cross-checks the names against other censuses and parish records and are likely to be more accurate than some of the larger genealogy companies.

If you’ve been having difficulty locating some of your ancestors, the following new records have been added to Durham Online:

South Hetton baptisms 1853-1873 updated with occupations, abodes, birth dates

We have updated 1,612 baptisms at South Hetton Holy Trinity from 1853 to 1873 inclusive with the abodes and father’s occupations, added birth dates where we had missed them, and made corrections. If a major change, such as a name change, was made to a record you purchased, an email has already been sent to you with the correction. Otherwise, if you have purchased a baptism at this church in this period, you should review it to get the father’s occupation and abode (and possibly the child’s birth date) and to see if any minor changes in spelling were made. Log in, click My Account, then click the My Orders tab to see your purchases.

Hurworth baptisms & burials 1841-1885; we have 1,000,000+ baptisms now!

At Hurworth All Saints in Darlington district, from the Bishop’s Transcript:

  • 1,883 baptisms from April 1841 where we had left off before, to the end of 1885
  • 1,280 burials covering 1842-1885

Abodes mentioned include Black Banks, Brass Castle, Close House, Cold Comfort, Creebeck, Croft, Darlington, Dinsdale, Eryholme, Fighting Cocks, Hall Farm, High Rockcliff, Hilton House, Hunger Hill, Hurworth, Hurworth Grange, Hurworth Moor, Hurworth Place, Lane End, Neasham, Neasham Abbey, Neasham Hall, Neasham Moor, Newbus Grange, Newbus Lodge, Pilmore, Railway Cottages, Rose Villa, Round Hill, Skip Bridge, and Springs.

Gateshead burials 1837-1840; maps & images of Gateshead in the past

1,453 burials at Gateshead St. Mary covering 1837-1840, bringing our burial collection to the same ending year as our baptism collection. These are from the Bishop’s Transcript.

Abodes mentioned besides Gateshead include Gateshead Fell, Gosforth, Heworth, Longbenton, Whickham, and the Newcastle parishes of All Saints, St. Andrew, St. John, and St. Nicholas.

South Shields St. Hilda burials 1798-1812

5,508 burials at South Shields St. Hilda, covering 1798-1812 inclusive. This is the wonderful period in which many details are given, such as the maiden surname of mothers and deceased married woman, occupations of men, and in many cases, cause of death.

Abodes are not often mentioned in this period, but the abodes that are mentioned include the Poor House, Barnes, Boldon, Newcastle, North Shields, Scarbrough, South Shields, Sunderland, Westoe, and Woodhorn. Many sailors passed through this port, so there were unfortunate drowned souls who hailed from the Orkneys, Hamburg, Sweden, Yarmouth, Montrose, Hull, London, and Aberdeen.

This data set filled a gap we had, so we now have a continuous block of burials at this church from 1763 through 1855.

Earsdon baptisms & burials 1762-1772

963 baptisms and 745 burials at Earsdon St. Alban in Tynemouth district, Northumberland, covering 1762-1772, from a combination of the Bishop’s Transcript and the parish register.

Abodes mentioned include Backworth, Baulkwell, Briarden, Burradon, Dairy House, Earsdon, Fountain Head, Golden’s Hole or Gowden’s Hole, Halliwell (Holywell), Hartley, Hartley Engine, Hartley Pans, High Murton, Holystone House, Killingworth, Link House, Look Out, Lysdon, Mare Close, Monkseaton, Moor Edge, Murton, New  York, Newcastle, Newsham, North Shields, Preston, Rake House, Seaton, Seaton Delaval, Seaton Sluice, Seghill, Shiremoor, Silver Hill, South Blyth, The Lodge, Tynemouth, Wallsend, Whitley, Whitridge or Whiteridge, and Willington.

You’ll also find:

  • Blaydon Cemetery burials 1873-1998 (consecrated section)
  • Blaydon Cemetery burials 1873-1906 (unconsecrated section)
  • West Hartlepool St. Oswald baptisms 1892-1894

Click on Durham Records Online to learn more.


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Sandy on February 14th, 2014

$10 Off at the A&E Shop

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Legends vary on how the martyr’s name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St Valentine’s Day.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.


Sandy on February 13th, 2014

If you missed the recent 2014 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City you can catch up with an interesting selection of You Tube videos recorded at the conference. Click on You Tube to access 16 videos.


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, 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.

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.

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

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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

Tags: has expanded its collaboration with by added 1 billion records from 67 countries to the database as follows:

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — 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 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, which hosts the largest collection of global records available online. The records also add to the aggressive international digitization efforts already in place by

As stated previously by the company, 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.

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.


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.



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

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

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,,

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.


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!


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 »


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.

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.

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.

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 Read the rest of this entry »


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.


The latest press release from 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!, 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 “Our hope is that 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:


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 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

Searchable historic records are made available on 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 Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at 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.”


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.


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.



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 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.


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)

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 (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.


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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