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Registration is Open for the 2016 NGS Family History Conference


Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s thirty-eighth annual family history conference, Exploring the Centuries: Footprints in Time. The conference will be held 4–7 May 2016 at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Conference highlights include a choice of more than 180 lectures given by nationally known speakers and subject matter experts on a broad array of topics. The conference will open with “Ordinary” People, Extraordinary Lives given by Connie L. Lester, Ph.D., Associate Professor in History, University of Central Florida; editor Florida Historical Quarterly; Director, RICHES of Central Florida.

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Why the Mormons are So Interested in Genealogy

Disclaimer: This article was written by Dick Eastman who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Statements in this article do not reflect the Church’s official views.

Most of us know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormons, are very interested in genealogy. The Church spends millions of dollars annually digitizing records and making them available online and in thousands of Family History Centers all over the world, free of charge. Mormons and non-Mormons alike are always invited to use these resources. (See to find your nearest Family History Center.)

The Mormon Church’s web site has an explanation of the current reasons the Mormons are so interested in genealogy, found at That explanation states, “Strong family ties help us create precious moments that can turn into long-lasting memories.” It also states, “Family ties are a strong force for good. And, in God’s plan, family ties last forever.” Details may be found at

John Martino, R.I.P.

John Martino, a very active genealogist and the Project Coordinator for the Italian Genealogical Group, passed away earlier today. John dedicated all his spare time to coordinating the funding and digitizing of our online databases which have been so helpful to researchers worldwide.

Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

Cornish Memory: A Digital Archive of Cornish Life

A photo, film and audio archive documenting Cornish life has been made available online. On Cornish Memory, you can find photos, watch films, and listen to the stories of Cornwall’s rich history from Victorian times to the present day. The collection of more than 30,000 items, some dating back to 1850, have been donated by professional and amateur photographers.

Tall masted ships in Charlestown harbour - Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Tall masted ships in Charlestown harbour – Click on the above image to view a larger version.

The project, called Cornish Memory, received £225,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund which was used to create the website and digitise the media. Organisers plan to add thousands more images over the coming months.

TheGenealogist adds Passenger Lists from Britain to New South Wales 1828-1896

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has released over 190,000 records for passengers who departed these shores on early migrant ships to New South Wales in the years between 1828 and 1896. These new records expand TheGenealogist’s Immigration, Emigration and Naturalisation and passenger list records.

The transcripts of the latest release uniquely give a family link so you can see spouses and children setting out on their new life. They also reveal details such as which ship they had sailed on, where they were landing, the passenger’s occupation and in the case where the migrant has been assisted to travel out to a job, their employer’s name.

Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

The notice of the latest EOGN Plus Edition newsletter was sent to you a few hours ago. Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

(+) The True Expense of Genealogy Research
(+) A Lesson to be Learned From One Library’s Conversion to a Digital Library
Wanted to Rent: New Home for 19,000 Arizona Genealogy Research Documents
eBook: Sources for Genealogical Research at the Austrian War Archives in Vienna (Kriegsarchiv Wien)
Requesting Public Records? Depending on the State, That Could Cost Money
Ancestral Quest is Now Available for Macintosh
Scottish Ancestral Research Company Releases New Records for Major Family History Show
More than 82,000 FamilySearch Volunteers “Fuel the Find” for People Worldwide
FamilySearch opens a new Seattle Family Discovery Center
New FamilySearch Collections: Week of August 17, 2015
New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday
Introducing SNAC
Announcing the Launch of new Website for the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)
Certificate of Irish Heritage Abandoned
New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Announces Appointment of Christopher C. Child as Editor of the Mayflower Descendant
Do Not Install Dictation Software on Your Windows or Macintosh Computer!
Run Windows Programs on your Macintosh with Parallels Desktop
Millionaire Property Developer Used Children’s Gravestones to Build a Patio
Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

(+) Why Isn’t Your Society Accepting Credit Card Payments?

Book Review: Endogamy: One Family, One People

Looking for Descendants of the Orphan Train Riders

MemoryStoria Declares War on “the Right to be Forgotten”

6,300 Nazi Holocaust Documents Found Behind Wall of a Budapest Apartment

Christmas Offer: Heredis at 50% OFF

Heirloom Registry Family History Holiday Campaign

Launch of North of Ireland Family History Society Biennial Writing Competition 2016 – My Family Odyssey

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:

Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey

Some of the above changes may have been deletions of past events.

All information in the Calendar of Events is contributed by YOU and by other genealogists. You can directly add information to the Calendar about your local genealogy event.

(+) Why Isn’t Your Society Accepting Credit Card Payments?

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Now_Accepting_Credit_CardsMost genealogy societies now have web sites to publicize their activities and to attract new members. However, I am still amazed at how many of those sites have an online application for membership that states something similar to the following:

“To join the society, please print the following application on your printer, put it into an envelope, enclose a check, and mail it to the society.”

That is so 1990s!

I suspect that many would-be members stop when they see such requirements and then move on to something else. They don’t join simply because it isn’t convenient to do so.

MemoryStoria Declares War on “the Right to be Forgotten”

I met the two founders of MemoryStoria at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England, last spring. Their start-up company was so new at the time that they didn’t yet have a product ready for announcement. However, they told me of their plans and I must say their future sounded bright.

Ryan and George recently sent an email to me saying, “We spent the summer developing the features and now the platform is live (and free to use). A selection of public stories are available on our home page. The end result of a user’s storytelling journey is a digital book that can be shared online with friends and family.” They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development. The following press release explains their plans in some detail as does the MemoryStoria web site at

MemoryStoria’s digital book preserves your life stories for future generations. Its Christmas campaign is putting to a test the self-centered culture of Kickstarter crowdfunding.

November 27, 2015

George and Ryan got together in 2014 to work on a dream. They wanted to create a world where no one is ever forgotten. This is how one of London’s socially-responsible startups was born, as a collaboration between a Bulgarian and a Scot. They called it MemoryStoria, to remind people of “memories of stories”, or as a gentle encouragement to “store your memories”.

Ryan And George

6,300 Nazi Holocaust Documents Found Behind Wall of a Budapest Apartment

A vast and historically valuable trove of Holocaust-era documents, long thought destroyed during World War II, has been found hidden in a wall cavity by a couple renovating their Budapest apartment. The haul of 6,300 documents are from a 1944 census that was a precursor to the intended liquidation of the Hungarian capital’s 200,000 Jews in Nazi death camps. This census contains the names of Jews and Christians alike.

61 kilogrammes (135 pounds) of dusty papers were found. The forms found in the Budapest apartment contain names of each building’s inhabitants, and whether they are Jewish or not, with total numbers of Christians and Jews marked in the corners. The yellowed papers were given to the Budapest City Archives where they are being prepared for long-term preservation.

Bah Humbug Black Friday – Forces War Records says Stay in and Search Friday


No, it doesn’t need to be “Black Friday.” In the run up to ‘Black Friday,’ Forces War Records is putting a message out on the company’s social media pages to ‘Stay in and Search’ and avoid the crush of the shoppers, and to help the company’s members search their military ancestors, Forces War Records is providing a blog a day:

The SS United States has been saved from the Scrapyard

This story isn’t genealogy-related but it does describe history. Besides, I think I think it is a wonderful turn of events.


The SS United States Conservancy announced Tuesday that it has received more than $600,000 in donations to keep the SS United States from being sold for scrap metal, after the nonprofit revealed in early October that it was running out of funding to maintain it and was exploring its sale.

Christmas Offer: Heredis at 50% OFF

Christmas is still a month away but the sales are already starting. One interesting announcement is that both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Heredis genealogy software are available now through January 3 at big discounts from the normal prices. Heredis is a full-featured genealogy program that is very popular worldwide.

Today’s announcement states:

Looking for Descendants of the Orphan Train Riders

2015SBAGSOrphanTrain-smallerFrom the 1850s until the 1900s the Children’s Aid Society’s orphan trains brought children to families in the Midwest. During the early years, Indiana received the largest number of children.

If you are descended from one of the orphan train riders, at the program the South Bend Area Genealogical Society would like the opportunity to recognize you and honor your ancestor’s experience.

You can read more about the South Bend Area Genealogical Society’s meeting in the poster to the right. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Launch of North of Ireland Family History Society Biennial Writing Competition 2016 – My Family Odyssey

The following was written by the North of Ireland Family History Society:

Twitter poster oblong

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) runs a writing competition every other year for its members. Organised by the Belfast Branch for all members of the society, it attracts entries from all around the world. The purpose of the competition is to encourage people to write up stories about their family history, going beyond just constructing a family tree.

The title of this year’s competition is ‘My Family Odyssey’. Weave a story on this subject which you can share with members of your family, fellow members of the North of Ireland Family History Society and others by entering the society’s Biennial Competition for 2016.

Heirloom Registry Family History Holiday Campaign

The following announcement was written by the folks at Heirloom Registry:

‘White Friday’ Anyone? Heirloom Registry Launches Family History Campaign as Alternative for Holiday Shoppers

FERNDALE, WASH. – NOVEMBER 24, 2015 – The Heirloom Registry’s fourth “No More Stuff” campaign will officially kickoff with “White Friday,” an alternative to Black Friday that encourages shoppers to stay home with families and have fun with family history instead of simply buying more “stuff.”

“Instead of waking up earlier and earlier on Friday, battling the traffic and fighting the crowds for more stuff, what if you gave White Friday (#WhiteFriday) a try instead?” asks Mike Hiestand, Heirloom Registry founder. “We’ve run our campaign to encourage people to re-think the relationship they have with the objects and things that surround them before they head out shopping for things they may not really need or even truly want.”

The holiday campaign (#NoMoreStuff) runs from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31. It first started in 2012, but the declaration of White Friday as the official launch date is new to 2015. Participation in White Friday is easy, Hiestand explains. Participants sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and then gather family and a few family heirlooms from around the house.

Book Review: Endogamy: One Family, One People

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

EndogamyEndogamy: One Family, One People
by Israel Pickholtz. Colonial Roots, Millsboro, DE. 2015. 201 pages.

Endogamy is “marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Mr. Pickholtz writes that European Jews, for generations, married within their own tribes leaving behind a limited genetic pool among the descendants. Members of a tribe today are all related to one another multiple times, creating endogamy, and a situation of research difficulty for the Jewish genealogist.

Endogamy is the account of Mr. Pickholtz’s DNA research of his family. He is of Jewish roots, and notes that he hasn’t seen anything written about the genetic genealogy of Jews. So he wrote this book as his “How I Did It” chronology and hopes to guide along others with similar “closed family” relationships.

Menus of the 1850s and 1860s

The Hilton College of the University of Houston’s Hospitality Industry Archives includes a wonderful selection of menus from the 1850s and 1860s. It is interesting to see that our ancestors’ food choices were quite different from what we might choose today. My favorite is shown below. (Click on the image to view a larger version.)


Was the First Thanksgiving Held in Florida?

Did the first Thanksgiving held in the New World happen in Saint Augustine, Florida on September 8, 1565? One person with significant credentials in history claims Thanksgiving started decades before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

“The first Thanksgiving that involved a feast and lots of local food and inviting the local people, the Timacuan Indians here in St. Augustine to be part of it, and that’s our Thanksgiving,” says Kathleen Deagan, Ph.D., the distinguished research curator emerita at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. “Most of us associate our early history and our founders of the English colonies of Jamestown and of Plymouth, and really the first settlement was here in St. Augustine in 1565.”

Dr. Deagan continues, “It never ceases to astonish people the first thanksgiving meal was smoked meat and fish. Ham. Garbanzo beans. Red Wine. Olives and Olive oil. There wasn’t any corn as far as we know, no turkeys, no mashed potatoes, no pecan pie for sure!”


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