aaaaSt Malachy 2Although the Catholic church regards the prophecy as a forgery, we are currently living in times where some  see the Irish Saint Malachy’s prophecy as so significant that it’s considered hindsight.

St. Malachy was a 12th century Irish Archbishop of Armagh,  who predicted, from a prophetic vision, that the next Pope after Benedict will be the last, known as Peter the Roman (Petrus Romanus),  who will guide  us through trials and tribulations leading to the destruction of Rome and the time where Gods people will be judged. “In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop]. Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.

Some believe that it all refers to an Italian pope who would take Peter’s name but this is not necessarily the case. After all Polish Karol Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II and German Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

In 1139, Malachy went on a pilgrimage to Rome to give an account of his affairs. It was during the return trip that he received a vision about the future that included the name of every pope, totaling 112 from his time, who would rule until the end of time. Is the Catholic church about to nominate the last prophecy.

His predictions are taken very seriously. As one report states: ” In 1958, before the Conclave that would elect Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Spellman of New York hired a boat, Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on February 11th, 2013

In these days of difficult personal finances, I’ve been on the lookout for interesting free resources for genealogists. You might want to take note for the record that The Google + hangout is becoming increasingly popular and a very informational meeting place and I was very impressed by the amount of digitized newspapers for genealogical purposes that are now available online and searchable free of charge.

Kenneth R. Marks of The Ancestor Hunt has put this information on his blog. It’s truly must share information and includes an 18 minute video clip which provides some great instruction plus 5 important links. I lost track of time looking at the links and recommend them as a tremendous assets.

The 5 links to are listed below:

Historic American Newspapers – Library of Congress

Penn Libraries - Historical Newspapers Online

Lawson Research Services (Leslie Lawson) – Newspaper Links of Old

Online Historical Newspapers Website (Miriam Robbins)

Wikipedia Online Newspaper Archives

Click on the video below to hear Kenneth detail the various sources and their search methods.

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The latest FamilySearch news release is as follows:

FamilySearch added 8.5 million new, free indexed records and images this week to its collection. Included are 2,897,940 additional index records and images for the new New York State Census of 1855 collection, the 1,070,807 index records and images from the Texas Birth Certificates collection from 1903-1935, and the 554,541 images from the Italy, Catania, Diocesi di Caltagirone, Catholic Church Records collection from 1502-1942. 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

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read the rest of this entry »

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dnastructureTo celebrate the first anniversary of their DNA testing program, MyHertitage is offering significant discounts to make DNA tests more affordable for all their users.

A year ago they teamed up with Family Tree DNA and from experience and research I think they are currently the best (FTDNA). See my original article click on: MyHeritage the world’s largest family genealogy network now offers DNA testing.

The discounts are available for a limited period and if you’ve been considering having a test for a while, now is the time. Although I have to mention, the Y-DNA 12 marker test is a starter test regardless of vendor and won’t really tell you much. The Family Finder test is a good deal at the low cost of $169 instead of $289.

MyHeritage says:

For a very limited time, we’re offering the Family Finder test at the low cost of $169 instead of $289. Additionally, we’re offering a 10% discount on all DNA tests (other than Family Finder) for our Premium subscribers and 15% off for our PremiumPlus subscribers.”

The Family Finder test uses autosomal DNA from your mother and father approximately within last 6 generations.

A significant price reduction is also offered on the Comprehensive Genome test US $598 down from $797. This test is the most comprehensive and highest resolution DNA test.

To learn more about the DNA tests and what you can expect, click on MyHeritage All DNA Tests.


Sandy on February 8th, 2013

As an update to my blog post on the new collection of British newspapers I’m adding this link to their interesting podcast where you can listen to Josh Taylor discuss what you can expect with the collection.

Click on British Newspapers at  to listen and learn more about it.

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The following news release comes from Findmypast:

Throughout the next 10 years, approximately 8,000 new pages will be digitized every day and every new addition will be included in existing subscriptions.

The British have always had a particularly voracious appetite for newspapers, especially during the 19th century when nearly every town in the country had its own newspaper. From the man who decided to walk around the world in an iron mask to the coronation of Queen Victoria, British newspapers have captured every aspect of people’s lives.

The British newspapers are part of an exclusive partnership with the British Library to digitize 50 million pages over the next 10 years.

Until now, if you wanted to use these newspapers you’d have to travel to Colindale in the UK and call up the bound volumes or microfilm reels and  Read the rest of this entry »

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In addition to my blog post yesterday on the identification of the remains of Richard III of England, I’m adding a couple of videos regarding the role that DNA played in the amazing discovery. We have come so far in the science of DNA in the past couple of years I’m in awe of what can be done. See below:

Professor Kevin Schürer, the University of Leicester’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, discusses how direct descendants of King Richard III’s family were traced, whose DNA could then be used to identify the remains found under a council car park in September 2012 as those of the King. See below:

Dr Turi King from the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics and Dr Jo Appleby from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History discuss the scientific processes and techniques which will be applied to the skeleton found under a council car park in September 2012, techniques which will subsequently confirm the remains as those of King Richard III. See below:

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RichardIIILead archaeologist Richard Buckley said today that the remains found beneath a social services car park in Leicester, England are “beyond reasonable doubt” the remains of Richard III the last Plantagenet King of England who was killed in battle in 1485.

The remains bore the marks of ten injuries inflicted shortly before his death. It was a horrible death according to reports of “humiliation” injuries. The skeleton showed marks of ten injuries.

Richard III was known as the hunchback king and the remains showed evidence of curvature of the spine and

Richard, was rendered by William Shakespeare as a monstrous tyrant who murdered the two princes in the Tower of London and died at the Battle of Bosworth Field, by an army led by Henry Tudor.

The discovery will certainly rewrite history. Click on Capital Bay to read today’s report and see some interesting photos of the skeleton.

Also click on One Page News to see video commentary.

The Family History Library has a policy change for patrons requesting copies from the library in Salt Lake City, Utah, as follows:

Please note the following change in the policy for patrons who are requesting copies from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All requests for information copied from films, book pages, CDs, marriage, death or birth certificates, wills and/or deeds, etc. will be copied in digital format and emailed to patrons in a zipped PDF or JPG file format. There is no charge for this service if we are able to email to information to patrons.

If a patron does not have an email address, we can mail the information to the patron using the US Postal Service.  However, as much as possible, we will rely on emailing all requests for information through the internet. If patrons do not own a computer or do not have an email address, they can request to have the information emailed to their local Family History Center, where they can print the information at the center.

Patrons should request copies by emailing their request to  All requests MUST include the following information: Read the rest of this entry »

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New England town maps are more useful to genealogy researchers than county maps. now has maps showing each town and the town’s neighbors in New England , New York, and Canada. Thanks to Wiki contributors eventually maps will be clickable by town so a click on the map will take users to the page detailing the records of the town.

So far Wiki maps have been added for:

  • Connecticut:  8 county maps with 169 cities or towns
  • Massachusetts:  14 county maps with 351 cities or towns
  • New Hampshire:  10 county maps with 13 cities, 221 towns, and 24 unorganized townships
  • Rhode Island:  5 county maps with 8 cities and 31 towns
  • and most of Maine:  12 of 16 county maps with 22 cities, 435 towns, 33 plantations, 424 unorganized townships, and 3 Indian reservations.

Similar Vermont maps might be added in the future.

Click on New England town maps in the Wiki to learn more including some facts learned about New England towns and lessons learned by the author of the blog post.

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davidson_north carolinaGeneral William Lee Davidson died in combat against General Cornwallis February 1, 1781

On February 1, 1781, American Brigadier General Davidson died in combat attempting to prevent General Charles Cornwallis’ army from crossing the Catawba River in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

General William Lee Davidson, the son of Ulster-Scot Presbyterian immigrants to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The family moved in 1748, two years after William’s birth, to what was then known as Rowan (now Iredell) County, North Carolina.

At that time Davidson’s North Carolina militia, comprised between 600 and 800 men, set up camp on the far side of the river, hoping to thwart or at least slow Cornwallis’ crossing. The Patriots stayed back from the banks of the river in order to prevent Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tartleton’s forces from fording the river at a different point and surprising the Patriots with a rear attack.

As the story goes, “At 1 a.m., Cornwallis began to move his troops toward the ford; by daybreak, they were crossing in a double-pronged formation–one prong for horses, the other for wagons. The noise of the rough crossing, during which the horses were forced to plunge in over their heads in the storm-swollen stream, woke the sleeping Patriot guard. Read the rest of this entry »

Sandy on January 30th, 2013

I’ve recently found a wonderful free digital magazine called Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy. It’s published by Irish Lives Remembered which is a free to join Genealogy Community.

Each edition is has 70 pages, is interactive and created to enhance the research experience for anyone looking into their Irish heritage. It doesn’t matter if you’re a genealogy enthusiast, a beginner, or just interested in Irish heritage, you’ll find something of interest.

The site has genealogy forums for every county in Ireland and allows people to upload questions about their searches and communicate with others who may be able to help them in their research.

The genealogy community has volunteer members from around the world who actively contribute to the forums.

Click on Irish Genealogy Magazines – FREE to view to download the magazine. The January issue is available along with many back issues.

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I’ve discussed the demise of the brick and mortar book stores a couple of times on this blog along with the lawsuits regarding price gouging in the world of eBook publishing.

Barnes & Noble didn’t do well this year, including coming up short during the December sales. They are currently examining the reason for the shortfall but most people think Amazon is the cause along with the economy and necessities versus nice to have.

In 10 years the company plans to have about 450 to 500 retail stores, closing down as many as 20 stores per year over the next 10 years. This is down by 189 to 239 stores that exist today.

The company inked a partnership with Microsoft last year around its NOOK digital reader business and, unlike Border’s, isn’t planning to toss in the towel and believes their business model is sound. You’ve probably noticed that the store has upped the ante on selling merchandise other than books and has sections clearly marked to cater to early childhood development.

Sales of the NOOK eReader have also been down but will probably stabilize as long as they can keep the cost of eBooks down. The recent tax imposed on credit card purchases will likely impact even Amazon when it comes to online sales.

We all like choices, so keep up the good fight Barnes and Noble, Alibris, and Abe’s Books.

Sandy on January 28th, 2013

The following news release from brightsolid is about the launch of the 1905 Valuation Rolls on the ScotlandsPeople website. Images, case studies, background information and statistics for this launch can all be accessed at the ScotlandsPeople Media Website on January 31. The case studies contain interesting and quirky stories about famous Scots who appear in these historical records. The case studies also include interesting stories about some of the details contained in these historical property records:

From tenements to palaces – these records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scotland during the Edwardian era and are a major new genealogy resource

Over 2 million names of Scots included in the property records for 1905 are being released today online for the first time via ScotlandsPeople, the official government family history website. The new records, known as the Valuation Rolls and comprising over 2.4 million indexed names and over 74,000 digital images, cover every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland which were assessed as having a rateable value. Read the rest of this entry »

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has an updated and improved Genealogy website which includes a new “Genealogy Notebook” section that’s a gateway to the history of the service providing research guidance, records requests and other useful services, such as:

  • Providing help to researchers to avoid errors casting them extra time and money
  • Ensuring that people requesting information are able to define which Genealogy Program service would be most beneficial to their focus
  • Helps researchers find information about “Arrival” and “Nationality” records organized by date and provides information about USCIS topics and events.

Click on Genealogy Notebook to access the website.

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In addition to my previous biographical post on Robert Burns, I’d like to share the wonderful 1932 rendition by Peter Dawson of “The “Star O’ Rabbie Burns” often sung at a Burns Supper. The words are printed below :


There is a star whose beaming ray
Is shed on ev’ry clime,
It shines by night, it shines by day
And ne’er grows dim wi’ time.
It rose upon the banks of 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 aboon them a’
The star o’ Rabbie Burns.

Though he was but a ploughman lad Read the rest of this entry »


Sandy on January 25th, 2013

portrait of Robert Burns by Alexander NasmythOn, January 25th every year Scots all over the world gather to celebrate the birth of Scotland’s Bard, Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).

Robert Burns, born in Alloway, Ayreshire, Scotland, is also known as the Ploughman Poet.  His popularity back then (and now) is probably due to the fact that he wrote in the same way the Scottish people spoke. He had empathy for the plight of others (including creatures great and small). His works give a unique and vivid insight into the social circumstances of his era—the aspirations and trials of “the brotherhood of man” were vividly depicted.

Although he lived in near poverty most of his life Burns gained entrance to the homes of the wealthy. Despite being a humble farm worker, he was well educated.  He read Shakespeare and could read and write in French and Latin. He was also a competent fiddler and could sight read music.

Burns was not a heavy drinker, although his works might suggest that this was the case. His health and his wallet didn’t allow it.

Robert Burns succumbed to a form of rheumatic fever, which would have been treatable today, on 26th July, 1796, the same day that his wife gave birth to their ninth child, Maxwell. He was still a young man at 37 years of age and it is said that his early demise was probably hastened by a course of sea-bathing in icy waters. Read the rest of this entry »

Findmypast Ireland will allow free access tomorrow to honor Irish Family Family History Day. TA joint venture with Eneclann, and the Findmypast (brightsolid) network that started in the UK has now spread to the United States, Australia and New Zealand, Findmypast Ireland, online has records dating from the mid-1800s to the late 1950s. This is a robust collection of records.

The site has recently added 21 million birth, marriage and death certificates to its records bringing the total to more than 60 million

Tomorrow, January 24 the site will open up the online records free of charge to promote its first Family History Day. A promotion code will be released as part of the free access for family researchers.

The event is promoted to include the United States, the UK, Australia and Canada. “With so much attention on Ireland due to The Gathering Ireland, our website will prove a very useful source for the many millions of people with Irish ancestry around the world,” said Cliona Weldon, General Manager of Findmypast Ireland.


Bus has added two sets of records this month, the UK Civil Divorce Records 1858–1911 and UK, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911and UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960. The details are as follows:

Historical Background

Divorce in the UK changed in 1858 when the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act took effect. Among other things, this law removed divorce from the jurisdiction of the church and made it a civil matter. Though divorce still remained primarily a privilege of the wealthy, it no longer required the intervention of Parliament as it had in days past. Women were also given more access to divorce if they could prove both adultery and an accompanying cause such as cruelty, desertion, or bigamy. Later reforms would give women more control over property they brought into a marriage and more custody rights.

Records in this database were generated by civil divorce proceedings that followed the Matrimonial Causes Act. The National Archives describes them as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on January 21st, 2013

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Sandy on January 18th, 2013

The Department of Human Services in Albert Lea, Minnesota is planning to digitize about five million pages worth of old adoption records, some from the late 19th Century.

As we know, with all the resources available these days, looking into your past has become one of our favorite pastimes.

It’s not quite so simple for people who were adopted and leaders in Minnesota are hoping to make things easier for people who were adopted to find their roots.

Even if adopted parents are great it’s natural for people to be curious about who and where they came from. It can sometimes be about a health issue that turns out to be genetic. And, this was the case with Stephen Helleksen who has a family of his own and is hoping his past will help him to learn more about his family’s health.

If you’d like to read about the new digital project and know more about Mr. Helleksen’s story click on Digitizing the Past. There’s also an interesting video in the article.

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RootsTech 2013 is shaping up to be a memorable event. This year Story@Home is offering a two-day conference during the event with workshops and performances by award-winning storytellers, performers, and speakers will help you explore ways to use the power of story in your home.

“RootsTech is a unique conference focused on helping individuals learn and use the latest technology to get started or accelerate their efforts to find, organize, preserve and share their family’s connections and history.”

The following press release today comes from

December 17, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY-RootsTech, the largest paid family history conference in the United States, is pleased to announce the addition of Story@Home, a two-day conference offering classes and workshops dedicated to the art and inspiration of connecting generations through stories. Story@Home will enrich the RootsTech experience for anyone interested in learning how to preserve and share their personal and family stories. Read the rest of this entry »

ObamaandSalazarThe following news announcing the resignation of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior,  was delivered to my in-box today:

WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that he will return to his home state of Colorado, having fulfilled his promise to President Obama to serve four years as Secretary. Secretary Salazar has informed President Obama that he intends to leave the Department by the end of March.

“Colorado is and will always be my home. I look forward to returning to my family and Colorado after eight years in Washington, D.C.,” said Secretary Salazar. “I am forever grateful to President Obama for his friendship in the U.S. Senate and the opportunity he gave me to serve as a member of his cabinet during this historic presidency.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on January 14th, 2013


After some bad publicity circulated about AncestryDNA, it looks as though the company is making progress moving things in the right direction. The company reporting that their autosomal DNA test is one of the best on the market and they are continuing to improved their ethnicity prediction models by deciphering the unique language of the human genome. They are also employing some of the top geneticists and acquiring the latest technology to help determine what the human genome can tell us.

AncestryDNA says there is no genetic dictionary, but they are building one by analyzing the genetic signature of people who have a long cultural history in a specific country or region, have spoken a certain language, and practiced a single religion.

I’m wondering at this point if there are “industry standards” in this midst of all this discovery, especially since it means big business to everyone involved. To be more specific I’m wondering if all companies participating in this type of research are identifying each discovery with their very own identifiers.

That said, there’s a lot more to the story and I encourage readers to read the interesting and well-written article on the Ancestry blog, which offers hope for more accuracy in the field of ethnic predictions. This is good news.

Click on Ethnicity Prediction: Learning to Speak Genetics.

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The following is a news release from the Department of Veterans affairs on their partnership with Ancestry. com to index historic burial records:

WASHINGTONThe Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the internet-based genealogy research firm to bring burial records from historic national cemetery ledgers into the digital age.  The effort will make the collection—predominantly of Civil War interments—accessible to researchers and subscribers undertaking historical and genealogical research.

“We are excited to be able to share this wealth of primary documentation,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve L. Muro. “With the help of, we have opened the doors to thousands of service members’ histories through the information contained in these burial ledgers.”

From the 1860s until the mid-20th century, U.S. Army personnel tracked national cemetery burials in hand-written burial ledgers or “registers.”  Due to concern for the fragile documents and a desire to expand public access to the ledger contents, VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) duplicated about 60 hand-written ledgers representing 36 cemeteries using a high-resolution scanning process. Read the rest of this entry »

myheritageThe recently released mobile app from MyHeritage version 2.0 has some great new features that enable the user to build and edit their own family tree, add and share information, and have it all at your fingertips anywhere you decided to go.

It’s available for iPad, iPhone, and Android smartphones  and tablets in 32 languages.  It’s optimized for each platform using cutting-edge HTML5 and SVG technologies.

You can download the new app, free of charge, from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

If you happen to own the older version MyHeritage says that the new app will upgrade seamlessly and will not affect your data.

The 1.0 version was introduced in December 2011 and has reached 1.35 million installations. The first version was a read-only family tree and photo sharing. In April 2012 version 1.2 added a mobile friendly SuperSearch to allow users to search billions of historical records on-the-go.

This new version has some very impressive features. To access the download for the various devices and see more about what it can do, click on MyHeritage.

The British National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and for England and Wales.  They are the guardians of some  iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years.

This year the UK National Archives will begin the move towards releasing records when they are 20 years old instead of 30. During 2013 the National archives will receive records from 1983 and 1984 and will be transferred each year until 2022 for records from 2001 and 2002..

In 2013 the government will begin its move towards releasing records when they are 20 years old, instead of 30. During 2013 The National Archives will receive records from 1983 and 1984. Then, two further years’ worth of government records will be transferred to us each year until 2022 when we will receive the records from 2001 and 2002.

This change is a key part of a transparency agenda and will result in historical material being open to the public much earlier than under current arrangements. The intention is to strengthen the democracy through timely public scrutiny of government policy and decision making. Read the rest of this entry »

trakdot-thumbThere’s a newly launched gadget on the market which tracks your luggage during a trip that should allay some of the lost buggage fears every time you check one in at the airport. It’s called the Trakdot Luggage Tracker from GlobaTrac LLC and acts like a homing beacon to monitor and locate your bags anywhere in the world in real time with Apple, Android, or SMS-capable mobile devices.

The idea is to enable you to keep track of your bags as you make your way through different airports to ensure that your luggage is actually moving along with you. The Trakdot gadget is slightly larger than a deck of cards and powered by two AA batteries. It can easily fit inside a bag and stays charged and you’ll already have an idea that AA batteries have a reasonably long life.

Users register their devices on the Trakdot website and toss it in their bag. Location updates via SMS texts or email. A single device can be linked to multiple phones or one phone linked to multiple devices. Your luggage can be monitored in real time from the Trakdot website or with a free app. There’s another app that can alert users when their luggage is close to arriving at the airport baggage claim.

The company-owned GSM frequency to detect its location has been approved by the FAA and there’s an effective security measure just in case someone grabs your luggage from the baggage claim by mistake.

This is a neat device and I was surprised to learn that one device costs US$49.95 with a a one-time activation fee of $8.99 and a service fee of $12.99 per year.

Click on Globatrac to learn more about it.

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Sandy on January 7th, 2013

Thomas-Jefferson3John Meacham’s book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, is amazing. It’s a brilliant biography, of a great president, politician, an extremely complex personality and a multidimensional thinker.

Thomas Jefferson was a man who hated confrontation but still able to move men and collect and distribute ideas. He learned from his mistakes and through his understanding of power and human nature to prevail.

He was passionate about just about everything, including  his family, women, science, books, architecture, horticulture, friends, Monticello, Paris and, most of all, America. Jefferson persisted over and over, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision—the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America.

The author has cleverly crafted the biography to allow the reader to see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it and how he found a way to endure and succeed in the face of rife partisan division, economic doubt, and external threat.

John Meacham brilliantly illustrates Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic and likely the most successful in all our American history.

If you’d like to consider purchasing the book click on Thomas Jefferson, The art of power.

It has been said that  Jefferson that he would most likely be diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. There’s a long list of famous people who fall in to the same category. See my earlier post Historic figures who showed autistic tendencies.

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I’ve written several times that any database implementation as large as would take time—lots of it. Family Search has a lot to offer free of charge.

The latest news is the update of their search process with two new features to help user focus their search to achieve meaningful results. One is to restrict results by record location and type and another to search the FamilySearch catalog with multiple search parameters.

For more information and instructions click on the

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Sandy on January 3rd, 2013

Family Tree Magazine says:

Tracking down state-level genealogy records—births, marriages, deaths and more—can be exhausting work, but each year it gets easier and easier as more state historical societies and archives digitize collections and post them online for you to browse or search. They’re also offering more indexes, guides and other tools to help you get your hands on state repositories’ offline records. We commend these ambitious organizations and individuals for providing all of us with these genealogical gifts that keep on giving throughout the year.

In selecting this year’s best state websites, we looked especially for databases (at least one per state) where you can search for your ancestors’ names. Some sites also have digital images of original records, and several of the sites regularly add new searchable documents. So have at it: Open up your laptop, unwrap your web browser and start enjoying your new favorite genealogy websites

As a quick reference for return visitors to, I’ve included a link to the article in my Blogroll listed alphabetically under Top 75 State Website Resources on the inside right side-bar.  You can also click on Top 75 State Websites of 2012 to access the Family Tree article.


Scientists have analyzed rocks from Western Australia and discovered traces of bacteria that might have existed 3.49 billion years ago—a mere billion years after our planet formed.

If the find upholds the scrutiny that usually faces claims of fossils this old, it could move scientists one step closer to understanding the first chapters of life on Earth. The discovery could also aid in the search for life on other planets.

According to Nora Noffke, a biogeochemist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia,  these traces of bacteria “are the oldest fossils ever described. Those are our oldest ancestors,” Noffke, was part of the group that made the find and presented it last month at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Unlike dinosaur bones, the newly identified fossils are not petrified body parts. They’re textures on the surfaces of sandstone thought to be sculpted by once-living organisms. Today, similar patterns decorate parts of Tunisia’s coast, created by thick mats of bacteria that trap and glue together sand particles. Sand that is stuck to the land beneath the mats and thus protected from erosion can over time turn into rock that can long outlast the living organisms above it. Read the rest of this entry »

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For people looking for Scottish Ancestors ScotlandsPeople has now released the following BMDs for 1912, 1937, and 1962:

Images from statutory register of births for 1912, the statutory register of marriages for 1937 and the statutory register of deaths for 1962 are now available to view on the ScotlandsPeople website. We hope that you enjoy using these new images, and that the post-Hogmanay lull is the ideal time for it!

Sandy on December 31st, 2012

Happy New Year! Enjoy Andre Rieu’s rendition:

Happy New YearIn 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 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. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , is being purchased by Permira Advisers LLP and has issued $300 million of bonds to help fund the buyout even although a court ruled that officials can’t close the deal yet.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg the company issued 11 percent 8-year notes at par (an amount or level considered to be average) to yield 964 (one one-hundredth of a percent, used in measuring yield differences among bonds) more than similar maturity Treasuries.  Investors were told the bonds may yield 10.5 to 10.75 percent.

Permira is a London, England, private equity firm who agreed to buy Ancestry at about $1.6 billion back in October. Although Ancestry passed the 2 million user milestone, there was concern that the cancellation of their television show “Who Do You Think You are? would narrow subscriber growth.

If you’d like to read the entire article, click on Bloomberg.

I’ve participated in several Legacy Family Tree Webinars and can recommend them as worthwhile, informative and professional. The list below outlines what’s available for 2013. There’s also a link at the bottom of this post where you can register:

January 2013

  • Successful On-site Research by Marian Pierre-Louis. 1/16
  • Best Internet Resources for East European Genealogy by Lisa Alzo. 1/23
  • Inheritance in Scotland: Wills, Testaments and Land Records by Marie Dougan. 1/30

February 2013 Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 27th, 2012 now has an App for Windows 8 offering a quick and easy way to view and share your family tree right from your desktop.

The App was released into the new Windows Store during the first two weeks of this month and provides an attractive and innovated way to experience and display your tree.

Since editing is not supported yet, you need to go to launch points that take you to on the web. Any changes you make to your online tree on will show up back in your desktop application.

The Ancestry App for Windows 8 has four main areas. Click on Ancestry App for Windows 8 to learn more about the four main areas and view some screen shots.

If you’d like to search the 1940 U.S. Census free of charge, click on the graphic at the top of the page.

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Sandy on December 24th, 2012


SlideShowImg5This year an interesting pamphlet called Passages was included in the neat little plastic pack of handouts visitors receive as they enter the Christmas Village at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

So what is Passages? It’s a 35,000 square-foot interactive multi -media  exhibition for adults and children currently in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It features some of the most amazing and rare biblical manuscripts, printed Bibles, and historical items in the world. You’ll stand mere inches away from hundreds of ancient artifacts that have made a huge impact on history, civilization, and faith.

Here’s a short-list and brief outline of the amazing exhibits: Read the rest of this entry »

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THE-UNIVERSITY-OF-EDINBURGHEstablished in November 1989 the European Ethnological Research Centre (EERC) was established as a Charitable Trust with the primary concern being the promotion of research into the everyday life of the people of Scotland and across all levels of society. Originally based at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh its research activities have been transferred to the University of Edinburgh.

Online researchers can find a treasure trove of 53 resources, one of which is the National Library of Scotland (NLS) which is the largest library in Scotland and is one of the major research libraries in Europe. The library collections range from rare historical documents to online journals, specializing in Scottish history and culture.

You can access a guide for researchers at Read the rest of this entry »

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I’d like to share an article posted on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter about the U.S government’s national strategy for information sharing and the potential  threat to genealogists.

Dick Eastman says:

I spent some time this morning reading through a new document released by the White House yesterday. The National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (or NSISS) outlines how the government will attempt to responsibly share and protect data that enhances national security and protects the American people.

The national strategy will define how the federal government and its assorted departments and agencies share their data. Agencies can also share services and work towards data and network interoperability to be more efficient, the President said.

The President aimed to address concerns over Privacy by noting, ‘This strategy makes it clear that the individual privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of United States persons must be — and will be — protected.’ The full document is available in PDF format from the White House website at Read the rest of this entry »

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Sixty years of Scottish Census records ranging from1841–1901 has now been published by family history website Genes Reunited. The news release is as follows:

Scottish census records are an important resource for family historians interested in tracing their Scottish ancestry.  The newly added census collection allows people to uncover household transcriptions from 1841 to 1901 where they can see who’s living in the household, their sex, age, birth year, occupation and where they were born.

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited comments: “The 1841-1901 Scottish census records are an invaluable resource for people tracing their Scottish heritage and we are delighted to be continually adding to our growing number of historical records.”

Historians at have uncovered the famous novelist and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson in the newly added census collection.  Robert Stevenson is most famous for his books Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Read the rest of this entry »

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In case you didn’t receive the notice I’m passing this one along to readers. Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage are teaming up once again to offer  FTDNA members a unique, limited time only discount on access to more than 4 billion historical records in MyHeritage’s specialized historical records collection – SuperSearch. SuperSearch is the perfect companion to DNA for boosting your personal ancestral research and for improving our more than 7,000 Surname and Geographic projects.

The door now opens for our community to make use of the MyHeritage SuperSearch data collections at a significantly reduced price. The following is included in this excellent family history resource: Read the rest of this entry »

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eneclannEneclann is an award winning history and heritage company, based in the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Centre, Dublin, Ireland.

Eneclann says:

“In August 2012, the National Library of Ireland hosted the ’20×20′ lunchtime series of talks on Irish family history. Organised by Eneclann and Ancestor Network, the assembled experts included genealogists and broadcasters, librarians and archivists, writers and publishers, academics and a medical geneticist. The wide range of expertise on show every day was a showcase of Irish genealogy at its best.

“The response from the audience at the end of the series in August was overwhelming, and the most frequently asked question was whether the speakers would provide notes on their talks, or otherwise make them available.

“In response to the feedback that we received in August, we have now made available the overheads of each of the talks or a synopsis, with the aim of providing a new online resource for family history research.”

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Sandy on December 14th, 2012

This weekend only, if you’re a member of you can save on a DNA test. AncestryDNA is giving people the opportunity to purchase the new AncestryDNA testat the $99 introductory price*. That’s a $30 savings!  This innovative, new way to research your family history ties directly into your existing account and leverages the research you’ve already done, taking your search in exciting and possibly unexpected directions.

It’s considered to be more than a DNA test. It’s a dynamic new experience in family history. Listed below is what’s included:

  • Discover your ethnic roots
  • Make new family connections
  • More than 700,000 DNA markers tested
  • Continually updated, personalized results
  • Built to be integrated with

To order now click on Your DNA has a story. It’s time to discover it.

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Sandy on December 13th, 2012

Would you believe, dairy farmers in Poland used clay strainers to turn cow’s milk into cheese 7000 years ago. That’s a long time ago when you consider our modern day calendar at 2012. There was a lot going on in medieval times.

The earliest evidence to date of cheese-making began before people developed the ability to digest the lactose sugars in raw milk (straight from the cow).

Cheese contains very little lactose and was a valuable source of nutrition prehistoric Europeans. They were able to store milk in the form of cheese that was easy to transport, would keep for months without spoiling, and didn’t make them ill from lactose intolerance.

About 30 years, ago archaeologists found sieve-like pottery fragments in north-central Poland. Some of the region’s earliest farmers settled there. These shards dated back to between 7,200 and 6,800 years ago and the holes in the sieves were minute at just two or three millimeters wide. Cattle bones were also found close by leading to conclusions that reconstructed bowl-shaped containers were cheese strainers. There is a lack of proof which led to other hypotheses including the possibility that the vessels were used to strain chaff while making beer.

To try to figure out once and for all the use of the strainers, chemical analyses were made on 50 fragments taken from 34 vessels.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 12th, 2012

A recent blog post on the Ancestry blog addressed a problem that most of us experience—how to clean up duplicates on your family tree. Situations such as a distant cousin who also appears as “Uncle George’s wife”.

If you’d like to learn the simple process on how to clean up the duplicates, click on


It seems a long time  since car owners were able to fix their own cars with  simple parts and even a home made device. I remember successfully starting my old Ford using a ball point pen to open the carburetor.

These days we are only too well aware that computers control your car’s every function. Microprocessors now control breaking, acceleration and even the horn. Most of us don’t really think about this when we’re driving along in our cars, which do what they want them to do, unless they break down. It would seem that a flat tire is now the least of our worries.

The Chief Operating Officer, Stephan A. Tarunutzer,  for DGE Inc., commented in a Norton article,  “Because they are hidden, people don’t often understand that there can be anywhere from 30 to 40 microprocessors in most cars and even up to 100 different ones running different functions in some vehicles.”

Now, according to Norton by Semantic we are now open to hacker’s compromising our automobile system. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 2013 NGS Family history Conference is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from 8–11 May, as follows:

Registration is now open for the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference will take place 8–11 May 2013 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. For additional information and to register online, go to

The hotel and conference center are under one roof. The LVH is ten minutes from McCarran International Airport and is convenient to I-15 and I-515. Visit for detailed information about the hotel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 8th, 2012

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 Hanukkah begins today, December 8, at sundown.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 7th, 2012

At 7:55 a.m. December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu, Hawaii. 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:

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The following is a PRNewswire  release about the next phase of the National Geographic Genographic . The new stage of research harnesses powerful genetic technology to continue exploration of the historic pathways of human migration:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The National Geographic Society today announced the next phase of its Genographic Project — the multiyear global research initiative that uses DNA to map the history of human migration. Building on seven years of global data collection, Genographic shines new light on humanity’s collective past, yielding tantalizing clues about humankind’s journey across the planet over the past 60,000 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stonehenge is one of the world’s most enduring mysteries, one that every passing generation wants to solve and yet no one has been able to proffer any substantive conclusion. We still don’t know why ancient people, probably the Druids who were Celtic priests, built the enigmatic megaliths.

Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England, and I, like many others, visited it to view it myself and wonder how those ancient people were able to built it and in such a precise manner and for what purpose. The striking photo at the top left is impressive but does not clearly illustrate the grand scale of Stonehenge. Those sandstone boulders are huge and that’s just the portion above ground.

It was thought that smaller bluestones (they turn a bluish hue when wet or freshly cut), imported from Wales, were placed before the massive sandstone horseshoe.  This was no small feat, “The sandstone boulders, or sarsens, can weigh up to 40 tons (36,287 kilograms), while the much smaller blue stones weigh a mere 4 tons (3,628 kg).” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 4th, 2012

It’s hard to believe that text messaging has been around for 20 years and I’m just getting the hang of it. It’s also interesting to learn that the cultural revolution which started with texting did not begin in  high-tech Silicon valley. It actually came from an office in Newbury, Southern England.

The message sent on December 3,1992, was “Merry Christmas” and not Merry Xmas, J Xmas, or  Happy Holidays. The sender was Neil Papworth who worked for a technology called Sema sent the message to a colleague at Vodafone UK during a staff Christmas party.

As part of a team, Papworth was developing a Short Message Service (SMS) Center for Vodafone UK relied on concepts developed in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand of Germany and Bernard Ghillebaert of France.

Texting, however, did not catch on quickly. During the early years Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on December 3rd, 2012 has published the following Instagram Facebook contest to celebrate the holidays. To access the contest you have to click “Like”:

As family historians, we always wish our ancestors had documented and passed down more. Especially around the holidays as I spend time with family, I think of my ancestors more than ever. What was Christmas like for them? What were their holiday traditions? What kinds of gifts did they give each other and more. The next thought comes as a jab in the ribs as I think to myself that I may not be documenting my own family and traditions well enough for future generations. So, to remind everyone of our own need to document, Ancestry is encouraging photo taking and sharing during this holiday season.

This year we’re encouraging everyone to document and share their family and traditions via Instagram. Simply take some family photos with the instagram app and tag the images with #ancestryholiday. Those that participate will be entered to win a variety of products. You can learn more on’s Facebook page here.

We’re looking forward to spending time with your family this holiday season.

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Sandy on November 30th, 2012

The following press release from is about the launch of their new online newspaper website offering a high quality collection of digitized and completely searchable U.S. newspapers dating back centuries:

PROVO, Utah, Nov. 29, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the launch of, a powerful and affordable new web site designed to offer a historically rich collection of more than 800 U.S. newspapers dating from the late 1700s into the early 2000s.

Comprising more than 25 million pages, offers a trove of historical and present-day newspapers ranging from the New York Times to treasured small town and local newspapers throughout the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

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St. Andrews is the Patron Saint of Scotland and although widely celebrated on Novemer 30th in Scotland every year since the 6th century, St. Andrew’s Day isn’t recognized as a public holiday. There are about 40 million people throughout the world who claim Scottish descent, so you can well imagine that there’s a multitude of St. Andrew’s celebrations around the globe. The world’s first St. Andrew’s Society was formed in Charleston, South Carolina, on November 30th 1729.

The flag of Scotland is the cross of St. Andrew and has become a great symbol of national identity. It’s a diagonal (saltire)and, although originally a silver colored cross on a blue background, the Scottish flag is now depicted with a heraldic white cross on a blue background. St. Andrew, who was crucified by the Romans in Petras, southern Greece, was given the choice of being offered as a sacrifice to the gods or, being scourged and crucified. St. Andrew requested to be crucified on a diagonal because, like his brother Peter, he felt himself unworthy to be crucified on the upright cross of Christ. History states that he continued preaching from the cross for three days before he died. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , second only to in the world of family history services, which helps people delve into their ancestry and connect with long-lost relatives has acquired Los Angles company in an eight figure deal that combines cash and equity.

The Israeli company did not disclose how much it paid for Los Angeles-based but said it was an eight-figure deal in a combination of cash and equity.

MyHeritage raised $25 million in a funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participated raising a total of $49 million.

The Business Wire news release is as follows:

LOS ANGELES & PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the popular online genealogy network, announced today it has acquired long-time rival and closed a new USD$25M funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participating. Founder David Sacks and BVP Partner Adam Fisher are joining the MyHeritage Board of Directors.

The acquisition reinforces MyHeritage’s position as a global power player in the family history industry and accelerates its vision of helping families everywhere build and share their legacy online. The purchase of is the eighth and largest acquisition made by MyHeritage since the launch of its online family history network in 2005. It extends MyHeritage’s network to 72 million registered users, 1.5 billion profiles and 27 million family trees, containing the most internationally diverse family history content in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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PRWeb consistently offers a diverse selection of press releases and this one is certainly a surprise. Many of us thought that “Bigfoot” was a mythical creature like the “Loch Ness Monster”.

A team of scientists can apparently verify that a 5-year DNA study, under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species living in North America and  referred to as “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatich”. Extensive DNA sequencing suggests that Bigfoot is a human relative that arose about 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.

According to Dr. Melba S. Ketchum of Texas, who led the team of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology, can confirm that her team has sequenced 3 complete Bigfoot nuclear genomes and hast determined the species is a human hybrid.

Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens. Read the rest of this entry »

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As you will see from the newsletter below, there are great reasons to visit the ScotlandsPeople website. In this letter you can see, among others, a sample of the will of Lord Kelvin( 1824 to 1907).

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, was a Belfast, Northern Ireland, born British mathematical physicist and engineer, Lord Kelvin is widely known for determining the correct value of absolute zero as approximately -273 Celsius.

If you’re interested in giving a ScotlandsPeople Gift Voucher as a holiday gift, you’ll see instructions on the available packages:

The recently-launched Wills and Testaments (1902 to 1925) are proving to be very popular with visitors to the ScotlandsPeople website. These new online records (and accompanying inventories) make for fascinating reading, and offer terrific insights into the lives and relationships of the people who lived in Scotland during this era.

If you have never used the Wills and Testaments records, then this is the perfect time to give them a go. The highly comprehensive indexes are free to search and, as we have recently changed the payment and pricing method, they are now available to view for only 10 credits (which is roughly 2.33 GBP) per document. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 26th, 2012

Deceased Online  has added 13 cemeteries and burial grounds to the Scottish Memorial Inscriptions collection now available. These are  listed below together with location and earliest readable year.

Site Name

Earliest Readable Year

New Calton Burial Ground, Edinburgh


Invergarry Cemetery, Highlands


Cromdale and Advie, Morayshire


Old Monklands Cemetery


Biggar Churchyard and Cemetery, South Lanarkshire


Larkhall, South Lanarkshire


Lesmahagow Churchyard, South Lanarkshire


Stonehouse Churchyard, South Lanarkshire


Stonehouse Old and New Cemeteries, South Lanarkshire


Strathaven Cemetery, South Lanarkshire


St Mary’s Churchyard, Dunblane, Stirling


Abercorn Churchyard and Cemetery, West Lothian


Adambrae Cemetery, West Lothian


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Sandy on November 25th, 2012

If you do a lot of online research, the following book The Web Library: Building a World Class Personal Library with Free Web Resources, by Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo is a good one to own.  The content is broken-down into logical parts and well organized and is a good one to have at hand.  There is also a companion website and along with the book where you can click on a chapter to explore free web resources. The book and the website together clearly illustrates how anyone can build a personal library using no-cost web resources.

If you’d rather  “Sink Your Teeth Into the Free Web Library” published by  If you’re a serious researcher, family historian, writer, or an avid reader the following article is yet another reminder that the Web is an endless resource if you know where to look.

It’s a shame more people are not aware of the wide array of free online libraries. Databases, books, videos, audio recordings and e-books are available, just waiting to be viewed and used. This guide will help avid readers, serious researchers and casual surfers alike get the most out of free web libraries.

Best Online Libraries: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 24th, 2012

Dallas star Larry Hagman has died at the age of 81. The actor, who was famed for playing J.R. Ewing on the hit show, died at a Dallas hospital on Friday after complications with his recent battle with throat cancer.

He is survived by wife Maj, who he married in 1952. In 2008, Maj was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Only a few years ago there were few concerns about future concerns of digital storage outside corporate and organizational records management. More and more we are seeing articles and blog posts about personal digital archiving trickling down from the institutional organizations to everyday personal digital concerns for family history researchers and others. has an excellent  article on the subject which addresses digital challenges including addressing the challenges of obsolete storage technologies, file format challenges and solutions, sharing your digital records, and putting it all together. It’s a long article with an amazing amount of useful information for yourself and to pass along to others.

Listed below are content headings as well as the link to read article: Read the rest of this entry »

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