This Newsletter is Sponsored by MyHeritage

MyHeritage

Instant Discoveries™ are now available for all MyHeritage Users

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

This is a nifty piece of software. I had a chance to use Instant Discoveries™ and to help others use it at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event last week in Birmingham, England. Instant Discoveries™ have been available in a limited test version for several months. Starting today, MyHeritage has opened it up for all customers to use.

By signing up at MyHeritage and entering some basic information about immediate family members, new users discovered ancestors, relatives and never-seen-before photos in just a few seconds.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is sponsored by MyHeritage so I might be accused of bias in reporting this. I agree! I am undoubtedly biased. However, I’d suggest you try Instant Discoveries™ yourself to see if it works for you.

Instant Discoveries™ can be useful for any genealogist but I am certain it will especially appeal to newcomers to family history. If you have been researching your family tree for some time you probably have found much (but probably not all) of the information that Instant Discoveries™ will find. However, I watched last week as a number of people who are new to family history searches used Instant Discoveries™ to find previously-unknown family tree members within a minute or two. This is a product that can provide a “head start” on researching your family tree.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia

Some of the above changes may have been deletions of previous 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.

Latest Version of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Bill Paxton is now Available on iTunes

If you missed last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Bill Paxton (as I did), you can now retrieve the episode from iTunes for $2.99. Previous episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? are also available. A Season Pass to all of this year’s episodes costs $14.99.

To view the episodes, launch the iTunes Software on your Windows, Macintosh, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device and search for “Who Do You Think You Are?”

I will be watching the latest episode later this evening as I was riding on an airplane when it was broadcast yesterday on TLC.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham, England – Day #3

The third and final day of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event finished a few hours ago in Birmingham, England. It must have been a great show because I know I am bushed!

The crowd at the Guild of One-Name Studies stand

This final day was similar to the first two days (see my earlier reports here and here for details). The biggest single difference is that the crowd was even bigger today than either of the two previous days. No surprises there as more people can attend on a Saturday than can be there on a weekday.

Mark Your Calendar: the next Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show will be held in Birmingham, England, on April 7 through 9, 2016

After a successful Who Do You Think You Are? Live! this week, the conference organizers have announced that the next several Who Do You Think You Are? Live! shows will be held in the same location as this year’s event: in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England. The next one will be held April 7 through 9, 2016.

Big Data of Genealogy Databases Provides New Tools to Analyze Royal Lifestyles between 800 and 1800

An article in the London School of Economics and Political Science describes hew methods being used to provide insights into the lives the European nobility, and may provide important clues about why Western Europe led the Industrial Revolution. One huge database from FamilySearch is giving economic historians like Dr Neil Cummins of the London School of Economics’ History Department access to genealogical ‘big data’ for the first time.

Describing the significance of the newly digitised information, he says: “Individual demographic data before 1538 in England is extremely rare – that’s the time of Henry VIII, Cromwell and the English reformation. Before that we only had scraps.”

Updated Clooz Software Now Interfaces with Legacy Family Tree

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestral Systems LLC, producers of Clooz:

Exciting Improvement for the Clooz Data Interface with Legacy

Ancestral Systems LLC is releasing another in our continuing series of updates to improve the data exchange capabilities of Clooz. In addition to the existing transfer of images and links into Legacy, now non-picture media files (PDF, document, sound, video) and URLs attached to Clooz documents can be exported. People in Clooz being exported to Legacy can be inserted directly into the existing Legacy family structure. These files will display in the Media Gallery screens of Legacy, for the individual or event, as well as source details.

JewishGen Education will offer a new Online Forum – The Jewish in Jewish Genealogy May 1 – May 29

The following information was written by the folks at JewishGen Education:

Genealogy is more than statistics and facts. This class will give you a chance to understand the Jewish immigration experience and we’ll discover tricks and tips to successfully search for Jewish ancestry.

With each passing generation, the torch passes to children whose lifestyle is further from the immigrant experience. Now we have to dig deep in order to bring up images and voices from the past, to understand and recreate their lives.

The Genealogist Launches Millions of Online Records and Maps

At the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in Birmingham, England, this week, the folks at TheGenealogist.co.uk announced the immediate availability of several new record sets online. Here is a brief introduction to each new record set along with pointers to where you can read more about each one:

New Tithe Maps for more English counties

A major addition to the National Tithe Records has just been launched. Joining the previously released maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire, are the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire & Yorkshire.

Tithe maps allow you to identify the land on which your ancestors lived and worked in the 19th century. The tithe apportionments list the names of both the owner and the occupier as well as detail the amount of land, how it was used, and tithe rent due. These unique records are key to geographically placing where your ancestors lived and worked in these times.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham, England – Day #2

The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event continued for a second day today at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England. In fact, it was very much like the first day of the event with one major exception. In fact, I have to take back one statement I wrote yesterday and re-state it a bit differently.

Yesterday, in my report of Day #1, I wrote, “The total attendance undoubtedly was lower than the past few years when the event was held in London …” However, the attendance today (Friday) was much higher than that of Thursday. Attendance today may or may not have reached the levels seen in previous years in London but, whatever the number, the hall was crowded most of the time. Several of the commercial vendors reported late this afternoon they were quite happy with sales made to this larger crowd.

Here is a small sample of today’s larger crowds filling the rather wide aisles in the exhibits hall.

Findmypast Adds Derbyshire Records and Persi Images

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of baptism, marriage and burial index records from the English county of Derbyshire and substantial updates to the The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).

Derbyshire Baptism Index 1538-1910

Derbyshire Baptism Index 1538-1910 contains over 692,000 records taken from Church of England Parish registers. Derbyshire is in the East Midlands of England. The southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills stretches into the north of the county. The county also contains part of the National Forest with Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east and Leicestershire to the southeast. Staffordshire is to the west and southwest and Cheshire is also to the west.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham, England – Day #1

The newly-relocated Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference opened at 9:30 this morning in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England. I think every one of the several thousand people who attended would agree that the first day’s events were successful.

The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! annual events have always been held in London in the past although a “special edition” was held in Glasgow, Scotland last year as a second event of 2014. (You can read my reports from last year’s Glasgow event by starting at http://goo.gl/kEPcei.)

This year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Event was moved to a very modern convention center in Birmingham, England. The 2015 event is being held this week in an industrial area well outside the city but very close to the airport and a train station and also easily accessible by motorways. In short, it is an excellent location for attendees who must travel some distance to attend. While I traveled a considerable distance from Orlando, Florida, to Birmingham, I was not even close to having traveled the furthest to attend. I met a number of attendees at today’s event who were from Australia, California, Texas, Germany, and a number of other places.

The National Exhibition Centre, or NEC., is an ideal place for a conference with several thousand attendees. I believe there are 20 exhibition halls inside the cavernous NEC facility. Yes, twenty! All the several thousand genealogists and the vendors combined did not fill one hall. There was room for 19 more conferences of similar or even larger size to be held simultaneously!

Bill Paxton featured on the U.S. Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Sunday on TLC

The following announcement was written by the folks at Who Do You Think You Are?

This week on Who Do You Think You Are? Bill Paxton researches his paternal lineage, uncovering the life of an ancestor who was a war hero in an historic battle; and struggling with the morality of actions his four times great grandfather took. The episode airs this Sunday, April 19 at 10/9c on TLC.

Key details from Bill’s episode include:

(+) How Long Does a Flash Drive Last?

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

Flash drives have generally replaced Blu-Ray disks, DVD-ROM disks, CD-ROM disks, floppy disks, magnetic tape, and even old-fashioned punch cards as the preferred method of storing backup copies of computer data. Indeed, these tiny devices are capable of storing as much as 256 gigabytes of data for reasonable prices, and even higher capacities are available, although perhaps at somewhat unreasonable prices. (“Reasonable prices” are defined as prices that are lower than purchasing equivalent storage capacity on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and Blu-Ray disks.) If history repeats itself again, even today’s unreasonably-priced flash drives will be cheaper within a very few years.

Book Review: A Page of History – Passport Applications 1851-1914

The following review of two books was written by Bobbi King:

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

A Page of History
Passport Applications 1851-1914; Passport Applications Volume II 1915-1925
by Phil Goldfarb
Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC

These two volumes of A Page of History are not exactly genealogy books, but rather, books of general historical interest. Of course, if your ancestor happens to be one of the famous people included in the books, then your interest is very personal. And someone writing a biography of any of the persons in the book could find additional material.

The first pages detail a short history of passport applications, a brief summary of passports in the United States and passport application forms, and types of passport applications.

Birmingham Pubs’ Blacklist from the 1900s now Online on Ancestry.co.uk. Will Your Behavior Also Become Public in the Future?

This article is being written in a hotel room in Birmingham, England. I am here to attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition starting tomorrow at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. (See http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/ for details.) An interesting story in this morning’s local newspaper intrigues me.

“Dirty Dick” of Birmingham. Click on the image to view a larger version.

First, a fearsome bunch of boozers were all banned from pubs in Birmingham at the turn of the last century. The list of these drinkers now forms part of the UK Midlands Collection on Ancestry.co.uk, which covers a 400-year period and contains more than 21 million records detailing the good, the bad, and the famous who have shaped the history of the city. The records of those banned from the local pubs are available for all to see at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1651.

The description of the online database states:

On the Year of its 150th birthday, the Montana Historical Society gets an Anonymous Surprise

The Montana Historical Society received an envelope last Wednesday that had no return address, an illegible postmark and was 63 cents short on postage. Inside was a stark piece of copy paper with the handwritten message: “I think you may have an interest in the attached.”

Sandwiched between the handwritten note and two other pieces of paper was the original act that created the Montana Historical Society on Feb. 2, 1865, handwritten and signed by territorial Gov. Sidney Edgerton.

FamilySearch Free Historic Book Collection Online Hits 200,000th Milestone

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Imagine a free virtual online library of rare historic books from all over the world to help you discover rich, unknown details about the lives of your ancestors. What if the historic book collections held by significant public libraries and venerable societies were the sources of these contributed books? You’d have a dynamic, priceless online repository of some of the greatest hidden historic treasures predominantly unknown to man. International, and a growing host of partnering libraries and organizations and volunteers, have announced today that they’ve reached the milestone of publishing 200,000 historic volumes online for free at books.FamilySearch.org. The growing online collection, which began in 2007, is invaluable to genealogists and family historians in finding their ancestors.

FamilySearch has mobile digitization pods at partnering libraries and organizations across the United States including Fort Wayne (Indiana), Syracuse (New York), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Independence (Missouri), Houston (Texas), at the University of Florida, and in Salt Lake City (Utah). Digitization is also being done at strategic FamilySearch Centers in Pocatello (Idaho), Mesa (Arizona), Oakland, Orange and Sacramento (California), and in Utah at the West Valley and Ogden Centers. . Most of the digitized publications consists of compiled family histories and local and county histories. The collection also includes telephone and postal directories and other resources.

The American Civil War Began 154 Years Ago Today

The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

Canada’s Parliament Buildings were Built on top of a Dump Full of Wine, Beer, and Champagne Bottles

Recent archeological digs outside the main buildings of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa have turned up tens of thousands of artifacts from the early 19th century. The site previously was called Barrack Hill and was a staging ground for the British Royal Engineers to undertake the construction of the nearby Rideau Canal. The local town was called ByTown although the name was later changed to Ottawa.

“When you think of early Bytown, it’s often portrayed as a swamp, as a back country area, but it’s interesting to see the officers still enjoyed a gentlemanly life that was expected of them,” said Kopp, who has worked on other archeological digs on Canadian military sites.

There was lots of evidence of drinking — wine bottles, beer bottles, champagne bottles, tumblers and glasses.

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