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

Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com products. You can learn more on Ancestry.com’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 Ancestry.com 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) — Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the launch of Newspapers.com, 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, Newspapers.com 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 »

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MyHeritage.com second only to Ancestry.com 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 Geni.com in an eight figure deal that combines cash and equity.

The Israeli company did not disclose how much it paid for Los Angeles-based Geni.com 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 Geni.com and closed a new USD$25M funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participating. Geni.com 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 Geni.com 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

1746

Invergarry Cemetery, Highlands

1957

Cromdale and Advie, Morayshire

1768

Old Monklands Cemetery

1632

Biggar Churchyard and Cemetery, South Lanarkshire

1700

Larkhall, South Lanarkshire

1900

Lesmahagow Churchyard, South Lanarkshire

1622

Stonehouse Churchyard, South Lanarkshire

1651

Stonehouse Old and New Cemeteries, South Lanarkshire

1876

Strathaven Cemetery, South Lanarkshire

1676

St Mary’s Churchyard, Dunblane, Stirling

1833

Abercorn Churchyard and Cemetery, West Lothian

1662

Adambrae Cemetery, West Lothian

1932

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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 OnlineCourses.com.  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.

FamilySearch.org 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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Sandy on November 21st, 2012

Millions of people tuned in to the hit CBS primetime drama “Dallas” 32 years ago today to find out who shot J.R Ewing known as J.R, the one people loved to hate.

J.R. had been shot on the season-ending episode the previous March, and probably stands as television’s most famous cliffhangers. I can’t think of another which could compete. It was a long eight months. The mystery was solved on November 21st, identifying Kristin Shepard J.R.’s sister in law and his former mistress as the culprit.

The CBS television network aired the first five-episode pilot season of “Dallas” in 1978 and it went on to run for 12 full-length seasons. It was the first show of its kind and correctly dubbed as a “primetime soap opera”.

The show revolved around the relationship between two Texas oil families—the wealthy, successful Ewing family and the continually down-on-their-luck Barnes family.  Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes family patriarchs, former partners were locked in a long feud over oil fields Barnes claimed had been stolen by Ewing—A modern and probably more sophisticated version of the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys (1863-1891). Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 20th, 2012

Start Looking

Ancestry.com has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make public documentation that goes beyond name, rank and regiment which reveals some interesting details some of the great figures in United States history,  from Abraham Lincoln’s cause of death to records of a jilted fiancé, Vivia Thomas, who went to great lengths to elicit revenge on her lover—and did.

The following is the latest press release from Ancestry.com:

PROVO, UTAH – November 9, 2012 – Going beyond name, rank and regiment, a new collection of military burial registers on Ancestry.com provides insight into some of America’s greatest historical figures – including Abraham Lincoln, General Custer and others dating to the Civil War. The online, searchable collection launches today courtesy of a partnership between Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and theNational Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 19th, 2012

These days with increasing frequency, pundits and political candidates cite the Constitution of the United States as the legal backing for what should or what shouldn’t be done. Although many people studied the Constitution in school or college, we often need to be reminded about things we though it said and it doesn’t.

Listed below are statements that you probably thought it said:

The President can veto a proposed amendment to the Constitution:

Answer: No. He has nothing to do with the amendments. Congress can propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote of both houses, or a Constitutional Convention can be called by a vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures. However, once the amendment is proposed either by Congress or a convention, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Only one amendment, the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition (the 18th Amendment), was ratified by conventions in the states.

The “Founding Fathers” who wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776 are the same men who wrote the Constitution in 1787: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 16th, 2012

Well, maybe. I’ve just come across a different kind of article. As the title suggest the author believes that the Sudoku puzzle is a good way to develop your genealogical skills—an interesting idea.

If you’re not good at math don’t worry, don’t let the numbers fool you. You don’t need to be great at arithmetic. It’s really all about reasoning. And, by the way, it’s not Japanese as the name suggests.

Click on the history of Sudoko to learn more about the brain teasing number puzzle.

If you don’t know how, click on Learn to Play Sudoko to understand the basics. If you understand the basics you’ll understand the premise of the article.

Click on Sudoku as a Genealogical tool to read the article and decide for yourself. If you don’t agree you’ll at least find some mental stimulation to get those creative juices flowing if you decide to play.  You’ll also find some interesting links on where to find Sudoko puzzles.

 

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Sandy on November 15th, 2012

On November 15, 1867, the first stock ticker was unveiled in New York City. The event was a show stopper which made up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Up until that point information from the New York Stock Exchange, which opened its doors in 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.

The ticker was invented by Edward Calahan, who worked for Gold & Stock Telegraph, configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape. This is the same paper tape used later on in ticker-tape parades.  The ticker, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.

Gold & Stock Telegraph Company rented its tickers to brokerage houses and regional exchanges for a fee and then transmitted the latest gold and stock prices to all its machines at the same time.

Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an Read the rest of this entry »

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Some of the most interesting articles can be found in unexpected places. This article on the Mayan  December 2012 prophecy was posted by a friend on Facebook.

The past couple of weeks have certainly been difficult for the folks in New York and New Jersey and comments have been made about doomsday warnings and the Mayan Prophecy by many people.

The writer was invited to meet the Mayan Elders from Guatemala and to interview Dom Tomás Calvo who is the head of the Order of the Mayan Lords and keepers of the Mayan Book of Creation.

The article is an inquiry into the true meaning of the Mayan Prophecy and its significance for planet Earth as part of our solar system is predicted to become the center of the galaxy. The significance for human beings is potential to change.

The answers are so simple but probably impossible to achieve in our increasingly complicated existence.

Click on The True Meaning of the Mayan Prophecy to read the article.

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Ancestry.com

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) recently held the largest human genetics conference and exposition in the world. The 5-day event brought together some of the world’s top geneticists and over 6,000 attendees, which included a big lineup of top AncestryDNA scientists who shared some of their latest research and finding in the field of human genetics.

Here’s a brief list of some of the topics:

  • Pushing the boundaries: Using Haplotypes to infer ancestral origins for recently admixed individuals
  • Using Y-chromosomes Haplotypes to improve inferred ancestral origins in European populations
  • Genetic evidence of multiple non-Asian migrations into the new world

I found the third topic Genetic evidence of multiple non-Asian migrations into the new world very interesting. It’s an Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 13th, 2012

In answer to requests from attendees at their 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference, Family Tree DNA has started their year-end sale immediately. The deals are really good:

New Kits

Current Price

SALE PRICE

Y-DNA 37

$169

$119

Y-DNA 67

$268

$199

mtDNAPlus

$159

$139

mtFullSequence (FMS)

$299

$199

SuperDNA (Y-DNA 67 and mtFullSequence)

$548

$398

Family Finder

$289

$199

Family Finder + mtDNAPlus

$438

$318

Family Finder + mtFullSequence

$559

$398

Family Finder + Y-DNA 37

$438

$318

Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-67)

$837

$597

Upgrades

Current Price

SALE PRICE Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 12th, 2012

Acer is reported to be launching a new 11.6-inch AC700 Chromebook. What is a Chromebook? It’s an internet connected laptop that doesn’t run Windows and instead uses Chrome OS a more powerful version of Google Chrome’s internet browser.

There’s no storage and users will store in the cloud by using services like Dropbox or Google documents. Similar to the netbook launched in 2007 Chromebooks are designed to be low cost and low power. And, no annoying updates.

The new Acer C7 Chromebook delivers a hassle-free computing experience with speed, built-in security and the simplicity of automatic updates. It features a full-size keyboard, fully clickable trackpad, an extra bright 11.6-inch display and over 3.5 hours of battery life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on November 11th, 2012

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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 discovery@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.

Click on British National Archives launch of their new and improved website Discovery to read my original article about the launch of Discovery.

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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 »

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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 »

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Sandy on November 5th, 2012

“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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Sandy on November 1st, 2012

Origins.net says:

“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 »

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Sandy on October 31st, 2012

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Sandy on October 29th, 2012


Discover

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.

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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 »

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Sandy on October 27th, 2012

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 »

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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 »

Sandy on October 24th, 2012

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.

East Africa

“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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Sandy on October 21st, 2012

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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.

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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 »

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Sandy on October 19th, 2012

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.

Dig in to a mystery right now!

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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

Leading family history websites genesreunited.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk have teamed up to offer their members free access to all 1911 census transcriptions from today until 18th November 2012.

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 »

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Sandy on October 17th, 2012

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Discover

The latest press release from Ancestry.com:

(PROVO, Utah) – October 11, 2012– What do Justin Bieber, Ryan Gosling, Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion have in common? According to Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource,the four Canadian performers are all related, sharing a family connection with some of Quebec’s earliest settlers.

  • Heartthrobs: It’s a family reunion of heartthrobs as Justin Bieber, who’s appeared on the cover of almost every teen magazine connects with his newly found 11th cousin, once removed, Ryan Gosling. Gosling, who stole hearts in the drama, The Notebook, shares a bloodline with Bieber by way of Mathurin Roy and wife Marguerite Biré. Records indicate Roy and Biré were born in France in the early 1600s and later immigrated to Quebec, where Roy was a mason. By the time the couple passed away in the late 1600s, their family tree had already started to grow. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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Sandy on October 10th, 2012

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).

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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.

 

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As regular as clockwork every Saturday morning I receive the Genealogy in Time Magazine newsletter. It’s an excellent resource and I can personally recommend that you sign up if you don’t already receive it.

This week the focus is on a three-part Date Guide to English Genealogy, which provides a reference timeline for English genealogy records. The guide illustrates a common sense chronological way to look at genealogy research..

To access the informational guide click on GenealogyInTime.com.

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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.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Sandy on October 3rd, 2012

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.”

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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 »

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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 »

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Until now, Mac users have been unable to participate in the Ancestry World Archives Project and would like to do so there is now a Mac version of the keying tool. If this is the first time you’re learning about this project the information below will help you to understand what it’s all about:

Have you always wanted to participate in the Ancestry World Archives Project but haven’t been able to because you have a Mac?  Well, you’re in luck.  There is now a Mac version of the keying tool!  We are excited to expand into the Mac world and to add more contributors to our amazing community.  The keying tool is the software we use to download records from Ancestry and then enter data from the records that result in indexes that will later be available on Ancestry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sandy on September 28th, 2012

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 »

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Sandy on September 27th, 2012

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:

AAHGS 
www.aahgs.org
Place: Greensboro, North Carolina
Date: 4-7 October 2012

Logan Utah FHC Conference
www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Logan_Utah_Family_History_Center/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 »

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