Discovery is the British National Archives’ new catalog, which provides a more integrated and functional way to explore the collections. It has been designed to host, search and display the many different databases and datasets being held at the National Archives.
There’s a newly updated version of Discovery available. It is much improved. The new version includes an enhanced search results page and displays the covering dates, references and former references of records searched.
As with any new system there were bugs and issues that have been fixed with the update. You can find out ore by clicking frequently asked questions and there’s also a new blog in development.
Discovery was created in response to user feedback. You can tell them what you think by emailing email@example.com.
Click on British National Archives launch of their new and improved website Discovery to read my original article about the launch of Discovery.
Although we don’t hear as much about Genes Reunited as we hear about Ancestry.com and Findmypast, Genes Reunited has a huge database and recently released a large cache of military records to bring its collection to 8.5 million, including a 16 year old boy convicted for 7 years on the Prison ships for stealing cheese:
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To coincide with Remembrance Day, UK family history site, Genes Reunited has released a variety of military records taking its collection to 8.5 million.
The British Army Service Records are just one of the latest records added to the site and they include the Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service records from 1760-1913. These records are an important resource for family historians as they provide rich information on the soldier’s name, place of birth, regiment and the dates of service within the British Army.
Another fantastic record for family historians are the recently added Prison Hulk Registers from 1811-1843. These records detail the conditions on the prison ships and give an insight into the characters of the prisoners onboard. We’ve found a 14 year old boy, James Smith, who was described by officials as “An unfortunate depraved boy almost past reformation.” The records also detail the crimes committed and we’ve uncovered a 16 year old convicted for 7 years on the Prison ships for stealing cheese. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is a news release from Scotland’s People:
“From inmates of poorhouses to owners of mansions – a fascinating portrait of Scottish life during the early 20th Century and a major new family history resource
A colourful picture of life in Scotland in the early 20th Century is revealed today, with the release of the Wills and Testaments from 1902 to 1925 by the National Records of Scotland on the ScotlandsPeople website.
The new records, 392,595 in total, document the last wishes of 267,548 individuals who lived and died in Scotland during this period. The collection also includes the wills of Scots who died outside Scotland, but still had assets in the country. As inventories of moveable estate (savings, cash, furniture, stock, etc) are also included, you can discover the fine details of people’s worldly possessions in this era.
People from all social classes are included in the records – from famous industrialists and philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie and George Coats, to the impoverished inmates of the nation’s poorhouses. Read the rest of this entry »
“Remember, Remember the 5th of November
The Gun powder, Treason and Plot
I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot.”
Every year on November 5, is remembered in the United Kingdom. It’s known as Guy Fawkes Night, Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night.
It’s a commemoration of the events of November 5 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed under the British Parliament specifically beneath the House of Lords.
To celebrate the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Read the rest of this entry »
With holiday shopping just around the corner, I’d like to share a list of Do’s and Don’ts to remind you that you need to be cognizant of online cyber crime predator’s who’d like to profit from your online shopping experience or banking transactions.
This type of crime uses email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards. There are phishing and pharming scams, which use forged e-mails and websites to trick people into giving out personal information such as credit card data, social security numbers, and passwords.
Even with the best online protection service you need to be aware of what’s happening out there. I’ve included a list of basic steps from Semantic who recommend the following basic steps to avoid becoming a victim: Read the rest of this entry »
Ancestry.com has revealed that actor George Clooney is related to Abraham Lincoln. If you’re interested in AbrahamLincoln himself, Ancestry.com is offering free access to more than 20,000 documents showcasing Lincoln’s life, his family tree and the most pivotal moments of his presidential career. The press release is as follows:
“(PROVO, Utah) – November 1, 2012– This November, as movie-goers prepare to see Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” on the big screen, Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, has uncovered a family connection between Abraham Lincoln and actor George Clooney. In conjunction with the movie’s release, Ancestry.com isalso making its most significant Lincoln-related records available in one place for free viewing.
After researching more than three centuries of Abraham Lincoln’s family tree, Ancestry.com family historians have revealed a Lincoln family secret: famous actor George Clooney is related to the former president. The family bloodline Read the rest of this entry »
In case you’re interested in the impossible task of predicting Tuesday’s election, the National Archives has launched new interactive Electoral College maps. Many people do not understand the significance of the Electoral College and often debate whether we should go with the popular vote. There are reasons why and the National Archives has also launched a new video short (see below) explaining how it works:
“Washington, DC…The National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register has launched new interactive Electoral College maps on its official Electoral College website. The public can actively participate in the electoral process by predicting electoral votes for the upcoming Presidential election and sharing their prediction results through social media. The new maps are online.
With the new interactive maps, users can predict which candidate will win which states, Read the rest of this entry »
“The first 25 of 176 Irish directories, covering the years 1636-1900, are now available for searching on www.origins.net.
About Irish Directories:
Ireland’s turbulent history not only affected those living in Ireland but also affects those of us researching Irish ancestors today.
From the 12th century the English crown had a claim on Ireland and from 1801 (Act of Union) until 1922 the whole of Ireland was officially ‘British’. Additionally although the vast majority of the population was Roman Catholic the penal laws discriminated against these and others who were not members of the established church – the Church of Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »
The Celts, who lived about 2000 years ago in what we now know 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. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, now we know eccentricity and dark humor is not a product of this generation. Ancestry.com has published a cool article for Halloween by Paul Rawlins. Happy Halloween!
“Who would name their daughter Halloween? According to the 1920 (and 1930) U.S. census, that would be John and Ollie Hildebrand of Freeborn Township, Missouri, for one — or two. In case you think maybe the enumerator got it wrong — twice — it’s right there on Halloween’s marriage license. Typed. Though as of 1940, when she was Mrs. Halloween Waltrip, the tradition had not been passed on to son Franklin John.
Who would name their daughter Halloween? According to the 1920 (and 1930) U.S. census, that would be John and Ollie Hildebrand of Freeborn Township, Missouri, for one — or two. In case you think maybe the enumerator got it wrong — twice — it’s right there on Halloween’s marriage license. Typed. Though as of 1940, when she was Mrs. Halloween Waltrip, the tradition had not been passed on to son Franklin John. Read the rest of this entry »
The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands is an excellent and comprehensive work on Scotland’s highland clans and is probably most accurate account of Scottish clans, tartans, and fighting regiments ever published.
In the context of Scottish clans, septs are families that followed another family’s chief. These smaller septs would then comprise, and be part of, the chief’s larger clan. For example, Reid is part of the Robertson clan and Colman is part of the Buchanan clan.
The edition of The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands I’m writing about today features an alphabetical list of Scottish family names arranged according to the clans with which they were associated. Read the rest of this entry »
Some say that genealogy is America’s second-most popular hobby and some say it’s the first. And, as stated by University of Michigan anthropologist Beverly Strassmann, it’s a hobby that started with the hunter-gathers of the Neolithic Period about 11,500 years ago around the same time that the transition to the agriculture society was taking place. I wrote about the agriculture society in my blog post about Scottish mtDNA: Scotland’s DNA: The ancestors of Scottish women have been around longer than Scottish men.
Even in a world where lineage no longer determines our fate, in fact we now take pride in humble hard-working roots. Not so long ago genealogy was a way for the elite to justify their status at the top of the social pyramid.
This might give us pause to wonder, why so many of us care about distant relatives who died so long ago. I’ve said it before and will probably mention it again, a connection to ones past does make a difference. We care about those who came before because we share their genes. It’s all about a sense of connectedness.
The world that has grown more crowded and certainly more anonymous, it’s thought that tracing ancestry allows people to feel more connected to one another. In a society of hundreds of millions strangers, it’s pretty cool to discover that you are a fourth and even eight cousin of someone.
Click on Why We Care About Our Ancestry to read the article published in Life Science magazine is an interesting read with some great links to articles that give a different perspective and helps pull it all together.
Bloomberg reported on October 26 that Ancestry.com shareholders are not doing a happy dance over the proposed $1.6 billion buyout by Permira Advisers LLP. The article below includes links for further information:
“Ancestry.com the world’s largest family-history website, was sued by shareholders who contend they will be shortchanged in a proposed $1.6 billion buyout by Permira Advisers LLP.
Permira, a London-based private-equity firm, agreed to pay $32 a share for Ancestry.com, the companies said Oct. 22. That’s 41 percent higher than Ancestry.com’s closing price on June 5, the last day of trading before the company hired a financial adviser in connection with a possible sale.
“The consideration shareholders will receive is inadequate” and they “are being unfairly cashed-out” given the company’s recent performance, investor John Heck said in a complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington. A Michigan-based pension fund filed a similar suit over the buyout late today. Read the rest of this entry »
Take two minutes to view and hang on for a fast ride:
If you are hooked on researching your family history and want to consider enhancing your skillset to become a certified genealogist to help others, you could start by looking at The Genealogists Proof Standard.
The Proof Standard code t was originally written in 1964 and then updated in 1994 by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The principles and ethics outlined in the code are necessary and essential for professional genealogists.
The code has been written to ensure consistency with those both certified by the board, and those not, who in engage in genealogical research as a profession. As reported by the Examiner it is broken into the following three sections, which exemplify proper ethics and keep reputations safe: Read the rest of this entry »
Remember about two years ago when Apple founder Steve Jobs stated on an earnings conference call that it would be impossible to make a good tablet with a screen smaller than the iPad’s 10 inch display?
“There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them,” Jobs said, citing Apple’s research. And no, a higher screen resolution wouldn’t help upcoming Android-based tablets: “It is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size.”
Okay, forget it! The new iPad mini has a 7.9 inch display and a 1024 by 768-pixel resolution, which is short of the ultra-fine Retina displays on the iPhone 5. The new iPad launched last spring has itself been replaced by a fourth generation model with a processor that Apple says is twice as fast. Read the rest of this entry »
Alan Stewart of Grow Your Own Family Tree has reported that the website Family Relatives has added more than 200,000 records to its collections:
“Family Relatives says: “We are delighted to add some unique records to our expanding collection and existing 850 million records. We have added over 200,000 records in a number of directories in our ‘Rest of the World Collection’ providing some fascinating insights.
“Among the famous names listed are Lord Delamere, one of the leaders of the white settler community; Colonel Grogan, famous for walking from Cape to Cairo between 1898 and 1900; and Lord Egerton of Njoro, Kenya, whose estates and name adorn the prestigious agricultural college. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I passed through Lenoir in North Carolina on the way to enjoy mountain views of the North Carolina Fall foliage. (Lenoir by the way is pronounced Lenore although Renoir is not pronounced Renore).
We did wonder in passing about the location of the new Google data center that did bring some much needed jobs to North Carolina—as long as they actually did employ North Carolinians.
The Lenoir data center is an intricate maze of computers that process Internet search requests, show You Tube video clips, and distributes email for millions of people.
Color-coded pipes for the cooling system, and a G-Bike for employees to get around the facility
Also, last week, a post on Google’s official blog announced a project that allows users to step inside the private world of its data centers. It’s the first time Google’s impressive efficiency records have been open. Read the rest of this entry »
According to Bloomberg and USA today, Permira Advisers LLP has reached an agreement to buy Ancestry. com for about $1.6 billion, according to someone familiar with the sale. At this time Premira has declined to comment. The AP press release is as follows:
“PROVO, Utah (AP) — Genealogy website Ancestry.com has agreed to be acquired by a group led by European private equity firm Permira Funds in a cash deal valued at about $1.6 billion.
The offered price of $32 per share (ACOM) is a nearly 10% premium over Friday’s closing price of $29.18. Company shares jumped nearly 8%, or $2.31, to $31.49 Monday in premarket trading. Read the rest of this entry »
An interesting list has been put together by Irish Central of the top 100 common Irish surnames with a brief explanation of where these names come from. The list provides an interesting historical reference from A to W.
I was interested to learn that MacCormack was of Scottish origin from the Buchanan clan. As written in Scottish history, the Buchanan’s originally came from Northern Ireland as descendants of the second son of Ulster king Annselan O’ Cahan (Scottish spelling Anselan O’Kyan) who travelled to Scotland to help the Scottish king to fight the Danes. He was given a large parcel of land in central Scotland for his service. It’s also interesting to see from the list that the Irish and Scots mingled extensively followed by the Welsh and some English.
I’m also adding Irish Central to my Blogroll as well as new page with Irish names.
Click on Irish Central to see their list.
Here’s a good news statement from the office of the Governor of Georgia published yesterday October 18:
“Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today that the state will restore $125,000 to Kemp’s budget to keep the Georgia State Archives open to Georgians for the remainder of the budget year.
“Georgia’s Archives are a showcase of our state’s rich history and a source of great pride,” said Deal. “I worked quickly with my budget office and Secretary Kemp to ensure that Georgians can continue to come to Morrow to study and view the important artifacts kept there. I appreciate Secretary Kemp’s commitment to work with me to find a solution.” Read the rest of this entry »
Ancestry.com is publishing a daily mystery genealogy death records challenge using the site’s death records collections. If you enter a challenge you’ll be entered in a November 2 grand prize drawing for an iPad.
Challenges will be available today, Oct. 19 (the weekend challenge) and again on Oct. 22, 24, 26, 29, and 31st. If you answer(s) are correct get ready for the possibility of winning the iPad. If you don’t win the grand price you could still be in line to win: Gift certificates, Ancestry.com subscriptions, or a DNA test.
The following is a release from Genes Reunited and Findmypast with news about free access to all 1911 census transcriptions for the next month:
“ALL 1911 TRANSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW FREE ON GENES REUNITED AND FINDMYPAST.CO.UK
The 1911 census is a great place to start researching your family history as the records are the most detailed of any census. It includes places of birth, details of siblings, occupations, how many children have been born to the marriage, how many still alive at the time of the census and how many had died.
Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager of findmypast.co.uk, said: “The 1911 census is an invaluable resource for tracing your ancestors and it’s fantastic to be able to offer this to our members for free.” Read the rest of this entry »
Since I made the decision to cut the clutter and go electronic with books and other paper records I have, like some others, often commented that ebooks appear over priced overpriced. In fact, I’ve even blogged on the subject several times. The article that would pertain to this blog post is about the Department of Justice(DoJ) filing suit against Apple Inc., and 5 of the largest U.S. publishers who allegedly conspired to raise prices on eBooks and block Amazon.com from selling at discounted prices.( U.S. Department of Justice law suit: Apple, Publishers Colluded on E-Book Prices.) Recently, a $69 million national settlement was reached, so the Attorney General was really serious about eBook prices. Thank you Mr. Attorney General. Read the rest of this entry »
On October 18, 1867, a mere 145 years ago, the U.S. took possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for the insignificant amount (by today’s standards) of $7.2 million. If the Russians had decided to keep it you can rest assured that they would have been drilling for oil and we would be buying it from them.
Alaska is about twice the size of Texas at 586,412 square miles and the purchase was led by William Seward, secretary of state for President Andrew Johnson.
So why did they buy it? Russia wanted to sell its remote and sparsely populated Alaska territory to the U.S. rather than risk losing it in battle with a rival like Great Britain. And, would you believe, the American public believed the land to be barren and worthless and labeled the purchase “Seward’s Folly” and “Andrew Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden”. There were other derogatory names, which were probably due to the fact that Andrew Johnson was not a popular president. Read the rest of this entry »
When you’ve been researching family history for a few years it’s easy to forget to pass along what seems obvious. I’m talking about those helpful hints for finding your ancestors that seem clear, but are not so apparent to people starting out.
Nick Cifuentes has published a blog post on Ancestry that provides some great tips on the valuable information found in death certificates. That one document alone can provide you with the details about your ancestor’s birth, life and death, such as:
- Parents’ names are usually included and you’ll likely learn where your ancestor was born. This information can be used as a starting point to research the birth certificates of the parents
- The deceased’s occupation is usually mentioned too, as well as, where he or she lived at time of death Read the rest of this entry »
According to a new Spanish National Research Council report, a concrete structure nearly 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall has been unearthed by archaeologists.
It is currently thought to have been erected by Julius Caesar’s successor, Augustus, to condemn the assassination of Caesar on March 25, 44 B.C.
The structure was found at the base of the Curia, or Theater, of Pompey, the spot where classical writers reported the stabbing took place.
It has always been known that Julius Caesar was murdered in Curia because of written classical texts passed down through the centuries. Until now, there has been no material evidence of this fact often depicted in historical paintings. Read the rest of this entry »
In these days of cloud storage the following news release from Genes Reunited could be a welcome solution to storing your family genealogy records if you’re already a Genes Reunited member. If you’re researching family history, Genes Reunited reportedly has 12 million members and over 780 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second:
“Today leading family history website Genes Reunited added new and innovative features including a Keepsafe, for digitally storing all of your family records, photos and memories and Relation Profiles, where you can view and edit details about each individual in your tree. This latest addition comes after genesreunited.co.uk recently refreshed its appearance with a new, and easy to navigate redesign. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland’s University of Glasgow has announced an 18 month project to produce the first ever extensive database of Scotland’s loved poet Robert Burns manuscripts, which could hold great significance for Burns scholars across Scotland.
The Centre (center) for Robert Burns Studies is in collaboration with BurnsScotland to examine, digitize and store all Burns papers.
Papers will likely be drawn from several institutions, which include private collections and national libraries and the project will also record physical details of the papers such as watermarks, differences in paper quality and size. The quality of paper that Burns used varied depending on what he was doing at the time and different stages of his life. And, according to Gerard Carruthers, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, “When a ploughman it was sometimes whatever scraps of paper he could find, and when Burns was an exciseman he used paper from his employment there”. An exciseman is a government tax collector. Read the rest of this entry »
October is American Archives Month, a time when the efforts of all the great archivists throughout the country are recognized. The work of an archivist at the National Archives is a lot different from what you’ve experienced at the office. You may even have seen the commercial with the file clerk sitting exhausted at her desk with her file basket filled to overflowing until she gets a blast from the five hour energy elixir and voilà all is well and work is completed within seconds.
David S. Ferriero, 10th Archivist of the United States since November 6, 2009, has written a very nice pose on his blog praising the work of his archivists at the National Archives. He tells the reader what he loves about the National Archives and the discoveries made every day in the records of our country.
If you’d like to read the blog post click on Archives of the United States (AOTUS).
If you’re a regular Facebook user as well as a family historian you’ll be interested to know about Ancestry.com’s new future that allows members to use Facebook to add information and new people to family trees:
“We are excited to announce the release of a new feature that allows Ancestry members to use Facebook to add information and new people to family trees quickly and easily. When you attach Facebook information to someone in your tree you’ll get the following:
- Photos: We’ll pull the most recent profile photo from Facebook into your tree. When your cousin Jen updates her Facebook profile photo, it’s automatically updated in your tree.
- Find Long Lost Relatives:We’ll use Facebook to suggest people who might be family members–
just click to accept. As relatives grow their trees you’ll get even more hints about people to add.
- Birthdays:If your relative includes their birth date in Facebook, we’ll grab it for you and insert it into your tree.
- Quick Contact: Remember that cool photo of Grandma that your uncle has hanging on his wall? When he is added to your family tree from Facebook you have instant access to his Facebook profile right from your tree. Just click through and send him a message on Facebook asking for a copy of that cool photo.
- Simple Sourcing: When we pull data from Facebook, we’ll create Source citations so you know where the data came from.”
To see the easy how-to steps click on Ancestry.com Blog.
A fascinating new website has been launched to explore the history and mystery of Native American artwork. The website highlights the major milestones in the evolution of Native American Indian art of the Southwest and explores the connection between history and today’s culture from basket weaving to jewelry styles with each piece of art illustrative of complex indigenous people.
As with all social history throughout the world, Native American history developed over thousands of years with art playing a crucial role in the development of their civilizations through time.
Art has always been a factor in daily life and spiritual belief from the Navajo and Hopi to the Plains Indians and is expressed through several types of materials featuring imagery and symbols.
Those distinctive symbols have a deep connection with spirituality and Mother Nature with an expressive art that has literally been a way of life for Native Americans. Starting off with cave painting, stonework and earthenware thousands of years ago evolving from rocks and feathers to cloth, clay, turquoise, silver, glass and fabric.
Click on Native American Art History: A cultural experience to visit the website.
There’s a brand new Irish genealogy library in Phoenix, Arizona. The McClelland Irish Library (MIL), five years in the making, cost $5 million dollars and holds more than 6,000 books, journals and periodicals on the rich Irish genealogy. Along with reading rooms and computer research resources there’s an exiting ongoing exhibit of the Book of Kells.
Briefly, The Book of Kells ( Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) is an illustrated manuscript, also known as the Book of Columba, is an illuminated manuscript of four New Testament Gospels written in Latin and created by Celtic monks in 800 AD or a little earlier. I wrote about the book of Kells in my blog post Iona Abbey one of the oldest and most important religious centers in Western Europe.
The three-story library resembles a traditional 12th century Norman castle from the Emerald Isle. It houses more than 5,000 books from Irish authors and poets, journals and periodicals, on Irish genealogy, literature and culture and aims to be recognized as a major Irish genealogical research center. Read the rest of this entry »
1000memories founded in 2010 is an online photo digitizing technology, which brings sharing capability previously unavailable to ancestry.com users. I wrote about the release of the release of 1000memories ShoeBox App for the Android and iPhone. I believe this is a win-win situation for Ancestry.
The following Globe Newswire release was published by NASDAQ:
“PROVO, Utah, Oct. 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, announced today it has acquired 1000memories Inc., the San Francisco-based startup that has been focused on helping people digitize and share the estimated 1.7 trillion paper photos stored in their albums, attics, and shoeboxes.
Founded in 2010, 1000memories’ mission has been to help families and friends preserve their personal memories and share those memories with others. 1000memories will provide Ancestry.com members a compelling new way to share their family history discoveries with friends and family as well as scan and add their old photos to their family trees. It also brings an innovative team to the Ancestry.com family to advance Ancestry.com members’ abilities to share the past with others. Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight, millions of Americans and people from other nations will be tuning into as Obama and Romney go head to head in the first of three presidential debates.
In case you haven’t noticed each has poured praise on the others debating skills in a the usual effort to lower the public’s expectations for his own performance.
Debates are now critical to presidential campaigns, especially this one, but only entered the campaign 50 years ago. Prior to the age of the debates, interaction between the candidates and the campaigns was completely different.
In fact, according to The The Commission on Presidential Debates, “the debates of 1858 set the stage for Abraham Lincoln’s later run for the presidency; 1948 and 1956 were the only public debates among presidential candidates prior to 1960; there were no presidential debates between 1960 and 1976.” Read the rest of this entry »
According to Reuters news service, Permira Advisers LLP has now emerged as the front-runner to take Ancestry.com Inc private with a deal that could top $1.5 billion.
This is a result of a request by Ancestry to the private equity firm and its competitors to improve on their offers. It has been reported that the Permira deal could still fall apart.
The negotiation price in negotiation is not known, but sources familiar with the deal informed Reuters that Ancestry was seeking more than $35 per share valuing the company at over $1.5 billion.
Permira and TPG Capital LP (another competitor) have declined to comment on negotiations.
Ancestry did suffer a blow in May when U.S. network NBC decided not to renew the company’s TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” for a fourth season. The company sponsored the U.S. version of the popular British series “Who Do You Think You Are?” The show was so popular that most people think another organization will pick it up.
Quote from Reuters: “Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners is advising on the process, the sources said. Qatalyst was not immediately available for comment.”
We’ve often heard the opinion that the platform used by Wikipedia in which anyone can contribute is likely to be filled with errors and bias that would make it completely unreliable and unusable. This unfortunate perception continues in spite of evidence that Wikipedia is every bit as accurate as printed encyclopedias.
The latest rumble is reports of people and companies editing negative information out of their own pages. Allegedly Roger Bramkin, a Wikimedia trustee, is being accused of running a pay-for-play system using Wikipedia’s “Did You Know” and GLAM projects to keep his “day job clients in the wiki bloodstream”. It has been reported that Bramkin took Gibraltaron as a consulting client and went on to routinely pump their stories into Wikipedia. It’s a pity that upfront organizations including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are now in the spotlight. Read the rest of this entry »
The British National Archives is an amazing online resource. The latest addition to their collection is a project titled “Asia through a lens”. The collection is made up of more than 35,000 photographs, sketches and drawings from across the British Empire and offers a unique insight into life in the colonies from the second half of the 19th century through to the 20th century.
The press release is as follows:
“As China and Hong Kong prepare to mark National Day on October 1, The National Archives (UK) has put hundreds of early photographs online as part of its „Asia through a lens‟ project. The images from the British Colonial Office‟s Photographic Collection date back to the middle of the 19th century and include pictures of buildings, people and places across Asia.
The photographs are a vivid reminder of the dramatic changes which have turned Hong Kong from an island of several thousand people to a modern metropolis and home to more than 7 million people. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is a flash sale from Family Tree DNA and as the heading suggests you’ll need to be quick to catch it:
“It seems every time we run a flash sale a few people e-mail us days later they were traveling, sick or just had not looked at their e-mails in time, so for all of you who want to entice a friend, neighbor or reluctant relative to get involved in Genetic Genealogy here’s one more opportunity, but it will last for only 72 hours
We are gearing this sale for newcomers and upgrades by promoting the Family Finder and the Full Mitochondria Sequence (FMS).This sale starts Friday, September 28, at 12:00am and ends Sunday, September 30, at 11:59PM Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a list of Genealogy and Family History Conferences from FamilySearch.org throughout the U.S. through the rest of the year. You can click on the links to the organizations to find out times, fees, classes, locations and more:
Place: Greensboro, North Carolina
Date: 4-7 October 2012
Logan Utah FHC Conference
Place: Logan, UT
Date: 13 October 2012 Read the rest of this entry »
The idea of a Family History Information Standards Organization (FHISO) is a welcome one for many family historians who often stick with one group because technology platforms differ along with genealogy products and services. Uniform standards like those in other areas like the ISO (International Standards Organization) are becoming increasingly important.
There are at least three different types of standards that I can think of, such as:
- Formal standards refer specifically to a specification that has been approved by a standards setting organization.
- De Jure standards refer to a standard mandated by legal requirements or refers generally to any formal standard,
- De facto standards refer to a specification (or protocol or technology) that has achieved widespread use and acceptance – often without being approved by any standards organization (or receiving such approval only after it already has achieved widespread use). For example Apple’s True Type font design is a de facto standard.
As you can see it’s all very complicated and the FHISO will address problems that most family historians encounter sooner or later. See below:
“One community, one standard
Family History Information Standards Organisation, or FHISO, is a newly-formed international organisation Read the rest of this entry »
Today at sundown, is the beginning of the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur (יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים.) It’s the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews and continues until nightfall tomorrow October 8th.
The most heard greeting for the Jewish New Year season is “May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life”.
According to Jewish tradition, inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah (September 26 this year).
In Christianity as well as in Judaism, The Book of Life is the book in which God holds the name of every person who is bound for Heaven. And, according to the Talmud the Book of Life is open on Rosh Hashanah and its opposite for the wicked the Book of the Dead is open on this date as well.
For this reason extra mention is made for the Book of Life during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur particularly called the Days of Awe. Read the rest of this entry »
Family Tree Maker 2012 has released a bonus batch of updates to improve your experience with the software. What they are saying is that this batch is so good they’re not to release a new version for 2013. If you already have Family Tree Maker 2012 you’ll find the following additions very useful. If you decide to purchase the software the updates will be included:
- “Numerous enhancements to TreeSync so syncing your tree to Ancestry.com is faster and more reliable
- A new Family View Report that displays a person’s ancestors, spouse and children together
- Place names and associated people listed hierarchically by country, state, county, city and detail
- Ability to mark media items as private so they don’t sync or export Read the rest of this entry »
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a critical time 50 years ago and the National Archives and Records Administration and the JFK Library are marking the 50th Anniversary of the historic time with an exhibition “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis”, which features items from both collections. The news release from NARA is as follows:
“Washington, DC…The Cuban Missile Crisis—13 days in October 1962—when the world teetered on the edge of thermonuclear war, is the subject of a new exhibition, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” opening in October at the National Archives Building in downtown Washington.
The exhibition, coming on the 50th anniversary of that historic time, opens October 12, 2012, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building and will run through February 2, 2013. Admission is free. It then travels to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, where it opens April 12 and runs through November 11, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
Hot of the press! Microsoft has fixed the security bug in Internet Explorer that hackers exploited to attack customers. It was serious enough for the German government and security experts to urge people to temporarily stop using the browser.
The vulnerability in Internet Explorer was identified by a security researcher in Luxemburg, when his system was infected while analyzing a computer server used last year to launch a cyber industrial espionage campaign on dozens of chemical makers and defense contractors.
There are two updates: One covers a zero-day flaw in IE9 and earlier versions, the second updates Flash in Windows 8. IE9 and earlier versions will be installed automatically through your scheduled maintenance. The Flash update requires a restart. You can also manually update both.
Click on ZDNet to learn more details.
I stay up to date on a much of the current news on Bloomberg and Bloomgerg BusinessWeek. There are actually two headlines this week that are of interest to genealogists and historians. One in particular is this news story for fans of Who Do You Think You Are? who are disappointed over NBCs cancellation of the show.
TLC a Discovery Company, is in talks with Ancestry.com to pick up Who Do You Think You Are? This sounds like a good fit, so fans can hope for successful negotiations. Although Bloomberg is reporting that talks are in the advanced stages, the Ancestry producers are also reaching out to other networks.
It’s not a surprise to learn that the cancellation by NBC contributed to a one third plunge in the value of Ancestry’s market value. A new show would attract more viewers and boost prospects for the sale of the company. Ancestry shares are currently trading at $31.22 +0.09(0.29%).
Click on Bloomberg to learn more details about current developments and potential buyers of Ancestry and contact information of the reporters of this story.
I mentioned in a recent blog post that competition is always good among genealogy database vendors because of the constant pressure to stay ahead of the game. In that instance I was referring to Ancestry and brightsolid’s (lower case b) Findmypast.com, which has an ever increasing footprint in the United States.
The very popular Israel-based company MyHeritage, a different kind of genealogy company, has a new system to automatically match its social family trees with billions of historical records from newspaper articles to grave marker images (see below). Users will be offered free snippets of the matches the system has found. This is an add-on feature for their SuperSearch global search engine for historical records launched in June of this year.
According to CEO Gilad Japhet’s interview with gigaom’s David Meyer about the source of the records, Read the rest of this entry »
There are a lot of online articles about the recent discovery of a piece of papyrus written in Coptic that indicates Jesus had a wife. I’ve decided to add my own blog post to remind us that this type of discussion would not be permitted in some other religions.
The fact that the information comes out of Harvard Divinity School indicates that the subject is open for a civilized discussion and reinforces the fact that Christianity isn’t likely to topple on its foundations.
As reported by many, a fragment of papyrus written in Coptic and dating back to the fourth century has been found by a Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King, which appears to indicate that Christ was married. The translation, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’…she will be able to be my disciple.
The papyrus, about the size of a business card, has not yet been date tested, King and other scholars are confident that it is authentic I have read several books on discussions on the early church and this find is certainly not the first time that early Christian artifacts have contradicted history as it was written in the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »
Origins.net offers access to exclusive British and Irish record collections dating back to the 13th century . As stated in their most recent newsletter, Origins has some of the most complete and accurate data on the Internet.
The latest addition to the National Wills Index is the Lancashire Wills Index (1457-1748 & 1793-1812) and Surrey PCC Will Abstracts (1736-1794) is as follows:
“Lancashire Wills Index (1457-1748 & 1793-1812)
Over 32,600 testators are now available for searching online within the Lancashire Wills Index. The Archdeaconry of Richmond comprised that part of Lancashire north of the River Ribble, and parts of Cumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire. It was further subdivided into deaneries. Wills from the western deaneries from following Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society volumes are included in this collection: Read the rest of this entry »
The last day for members of the public to stop by the Georgia State Archives will be on October 31, 2012. Georgia Secretary of state Brian Kemp announced on Thursday of this week that the state archives will be closed to general public walk-ins. This makes Georgia the only state without a place for the public to research and review historical records without prior arrangements.
The Governor of the state ordered a further 3% reduction in spending because of weak tax collections and a choice needed to be made between the services the secretary of state’s office provides businesses or the archives. Mr. Kemp said that his agency has no more excess to eliminate and is left with no choice but to drop services to reach the $733,000 target. By eliminating these services people will be laid off but there is still no announcement about how many or who.
“Kemp vowed to get funding to reopen the facility when the General Assembly returns in January to consider Deal’s latest reductions.”
Click on Jacksonville.com to read more.
Magherafelt District Council has launched a new interactive website which includes a new online genealogy resource to provide accurate historical information both textual and photographic.
The council opened a Tourist Information office 15 years ago and receives daily genealogy inquiries from all over the world so the goal is to have uploaded photographs and maps of local cemeteries and grave markers to give people a starting point in their family history research.
There are over 60 cemeteries in the area and there’s a wealth of information and up until now there has been no single research that houses all this information.
The folks who were hired to develop the site visited each cemetery, took photos and documented descriptions and developed maps. Each of the cemeteries has its own page on the site along with its history and a link to persons of interest buried there. There is another positive side to finding information online because the number of people stepping over resting places is effectively reduced. Read the rest of this entry »
The ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk website is celebrating its 10th anniversary in September 2012. A copy of the news release follows:
“Officially launched in mid-September 2002, ScotlandsPeople was one of the first genealogy sites to arrive on the web. The site now contains over 90 million digital records and corresponding images, and adds new sets of fully-searchable historical records on a regular basis.
With over one million registered users from across the world, the website remains the biggest online resource for Scottish census, birth, marriage and death records. The website has evolved through a decade of huge technological growth and in a time where interest in genealogy has soared.
Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid, the company that enables ScotlandsPeople for the National Records of Scotland, said: Read the rest of this entry »
It has been touted since July of this year that Ancestry.com is looking for a sale. The latest update reports Ancestry.com is putting pressure on buyout firms to sweeten their offers after a second round of bids last month. As yet, no deal has been made.
As reported by Reuters on September 10, there are three companies currently bidding for the company. According to three people who are familiar with the matter, Ancestry is seeking an offer that tops $35 per share, or about $1.5 billion,
Today, Ancestry’s stock is up 13.1% to $30.80 on heavy trading volume with about 1.2 million shares have been traded today, as compared to the 30-day average volume of 505,000 shares. Spikes in volume could validate a breakout or signify a potential turning point.
The press release from Reuters is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve just finished a Scotsman newspaper article about ScotlandsDNA project, which started in 2011. The idea behind the project is to find out who the Scots are, more specifically who arrived there after the ice melted around 9,500BC. Scientists are making exponential gains in their quest to unlock the mysteries of DNA, so this sounds like a fascinating project for everyone involved.
Geneticists can now read genetic markers to a point where tiny variations can reveal a great deal about where we came from. These markers can not only determine the part of the world where they arose, they can also be dated.
ScotlandsDNA group has successfully managed to find some answers to questions about the Scots collective national identity and they are, to say the least, a surprising revelation.
If you and your Scottish relatives have dark hair you may have been told that you’re descended from shipwrecked sailors from the Spanish Armada. You might also have been confidently told that your ancestors included Celts, Picts, a smattering of Vikings, and probably some Irish immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »
Ancestry.com has uploaded a huge amount of new data in the last couple of days. The list is impressive and easy to access. Although the majority of the data is in browse able book form instead of the typical easy to uses indexed records. They are, nevertheless, excellent sources of information for family historians and could even be brick wall busters. Competition among the big subscription databases is good for customers.
It looks as though there is something for just about everyone in this latest batch of 88 items, so I decided to publish the entire list as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
Beware! this article contains my personal opinion.
According to the experts, we are in danger of losing our digital history because it’s stored on ever changing technology that no longer has devices to read them.
They are, of course referring floppy disks, CD’s, mobile phones, cameras, etc. Currently, we are already continually transferring information from one device to another as old technologies die and other forms of media take their place. Most of us back up information in two or three places and constantly need to consider those nasty viruses too (another subject worthy of discussion).
Cloud storage solutions also have problems with loss, corruption and can even make mistakes with data. What if the company fails? I would hope they offer alternatives to customers before they shut down. If you’re looking into storing in the cloud, you might want to check out their company continuity plans and privacy policies. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s difficult for many people to fly around the country attending genealogy conferences. Family Tree University has a terrific solution for family historians and genealogists for folks who can’t travel everywhere. They’re hosting a Virtual Genealogy Conference where you’ll learn about strategies and resources to boost your research all from the comfort of your own home.
The conference starts at 9 a.m. Friday, September 14 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday September 16.
For $199.99 you get a three-day all-access pass to watch 15 pre-recorded video classes and participate in live chats. Join in every day or as your schedule allows—you make your own schedule.
The price is very reasonable when you consider the cost of travel on top of admission fees. You don’t get to network with associates but there are other benefits, such as: Read the rest of this entry »
Some interesting statistics have been picked out of the 2000 U.S. Census. The census was used to identify the top 10 ethnic ancestries in the country. For some reason it was a surprise to be that German was No.1at 15.2% followed by Irish at 10.8%. I personally thought it would be Irish because I lived in New York for 28 years.
Here’s a list of the top 10 with statistics:
- German 15.2%
- Irish 10.8%
- African American 8.8%
- English 8.7%
- American 7.2%
- Hispanic 6.5%
- Italian 5.6%
- Polish 3.0%
- Native American 2.8%
I’m not quite sure how to interpret No. 5. American 7.2%.
To get back to No. 1 Germany, the 2000 census data was used to show those claiming German ancestry state by state: Read the rest of this entry »
Sponsored by Ancestry.com and Family Tree Magazine, The Genealogy Event is scheduled to take place on October 26th and October 27, at the Metropolitan Pavilion located at 18th Street and Avenue of the Americas in New York City. It’s the only New York City even of its kind in 2012 and it looks as though there will be something for everyone with 40 speaking events crammed into two days.
Laid out below is the event notice with a link to the website to learn more including information about the organizer Bridget Bray and Director of Sales Jessica Carney:
“The Genealogy Event is a two day event for those interested in genealogy and family history. The event will feature a wide variety of exhibitors, learning opportunities and one on one expert sessions – and all in one space!
Friday October 26th: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday October 27th: 9:00am – 6:00pm Read the rest of this entry »
It comes as no surprise to me that the enthusiasm for family history is growing in the Hispanic community.
In addition to my day job, I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for 12 years two nights a week and, from my own personal experience, I’ve learned that family is the most important social unit for Hispanics. Family includes not only parents and children, but also the extended family. People within a family unit believe there is a moral responsibility to help other members of the family experiencing problems. And, they walk the talk.
The term Hispanic was created by the United States in 1970 in an attempt to provide a common denominator to a large diverse population connected by the Spanish language to track population and trends. One can view the term Hispanic in the same light that you would Europeans. Think about how many different languages are spoken in Europe and all the different customs and personalities. Read the rest of this entry »
The National Genalogical Society (NGS) very recently announced a new partnership with Funium owner of the Facebook game Family Village. Players will be able to explore their family trees by accessing NGS resources and research aids.
I previously wrote about Family Village in my article Family Village new Facebook® Platform game now open to public. In Family Village, you build a thriving village building businesses, assigning jobs, collecting profits etc. As you grow your village Funium, the creator of the Facebook game, is working behind the scenes to find connections and documents to help you learn about your family. You can save these documents in your library and share them with friends and family. populated with avatars representing your family and ancestors. You’ll build businesses, assign jobs, and collect profits to earn money for your village to grow. You’ll build homes, buy cars, pets, and decorations from the time in which your ancestors lived, all while learning about your heritage.
As your village grows, Funium will be working behind the scenes to find family connections and interesting documents such as newspaper articles, yearbook photos, census records, marriage records, maps and many other interesting items that will allow you to know much more about your family. You will be able to save these documents in your library and share them with other friends and family as you wish.
Click on Market Watch to read the announcement.