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FamilySearch Photo Duplication Services to be Discontinued

According to a recently-updated wiki page at

“Photo duplication Services will be discontinued as of December 5, 2014. As of this date, existing orders will be completed, but new orders will not be accepted.

“Second Cousins,” “Once Removed”, and More Explained in Chart Form

It’s simple: “Figure out the common ancestor between two relatives. Then select the relationship of the first relative to the common ancestor in the top row. Move down to the row that corresponds to the relationship of the second person to the common ancestor. The result is the relationship of the second person to the first.”

OK, so maybe that isn’t so simple after all. I am not sure if a chart is worth a thousand words or not but a cousin relationship chart at does save a lot of words. It is easier to understand than the above explanation.

See you yourself at

The Great Stink of 1858 in London

NOTE: I suggest you not read this article just before dinner. However, it describes a major problem that many of our ancestors faced, in London and elsewhere.

Modern developed cities of millions produce a lot of waste, not the least of which is that produced directly by the population. Over time, people have developed infrastructure to remove this waste quickly to avoid infection and contamination of ground water. For much of the world and for much of human history, however, the process of waste disposal has been much less sterile and impersonal.

About 150 years ago, London saw the formal opening of a great sewage system constructed by the Metropolitan Board of Works and its engineer, Joseph Bazalgette (1819-1891). Prior to this, an increasing proportion of London’s sewage was routed into the Thames (via drains set up originally for surface water), leading to dreadful pollution and the Great Stink of 1858.

The Great Stink, sometimes called the Big Stink, was a time in the summer of 1858 during which the smell of untreated human waste and effluent from other activities was very strong in central London. The stench prompted London authorities to accept a sewerage scheme proposed by Joseph Bazalgette, implemented during the 1860s.

Family Film Offers a Glimpse of ‘Three Minutes In Poland’ Before Holocaust

In 2009, Glenn Kurtz stumbled across some old family films in a closet in his parents’ house in Florida. One of the films, shot more than 70 years earlier by his grandparents while on vacation in Europe, turned out to include footage of his grandfather’s hometown of Nasielsk in Poland, taken in 1938, a year before the Nazi occupation. Only approximately 80 of the 3,000 Jews living in Nasielsk in 1939 survived the war.

Glenn Kurtz quickly recognized the brief footage as a crucial link in a lost history. He gave it to the Holocaust Museum where it was digitized and made available on the Web. One day, Kurtz heard from a young woman who had watched the video on the Holocaust Museum’s website. As the camera panned across the faces of children, she recognized her grandfather as a thirteen-year-old boy. Moszek Tuchendler of Nasielsk was now eighty-six-year-old Maurice Chandler of Florida, and when Kurtz meets him, the lost history of Nasielsk came into view. Chandler’s laser-sharp recollections created a bridge between two worlds, and he helped Kurtz eventually locate six more survivors, including a ninety-six-year-old woman who also appears in the film, standing next to the man she would later marry.

Announcing RootsTrust, a Genealogy Program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux

This sounds interesting. A new genealogy program works on all the popular desktop and laptop operating systems. It even will operate directly from a flash drive, not requiring installation on a hard drive. I suspect hard drive installation will result in faster operation, however.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Atavus, Inc.:

On October 31, 2014 Atavus, Inc. officially released rootstrust, an advanced genealogy program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It is one of the few genealogy programs that is portable across all three operating systems.

Atavus calls its product a genealogical data management system (GDMS), which is a computer program designed to manage relationships between people, and relationships between people and places as well as historical and administrative relationships between places and other places. A GDMS also allows users to import and export data, generate family tree charts and other textual reports, link document and multimedia image files as well as websites to the objects it manages: Persons, Families, Events, Places, Sources and Repositories (libraries, archives museums and private collections).

(+) How I Ditched My Laptop for a Tablet Computer

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

As a frequent traveler who also lives in a high tech world, I am always looking for ways to travel lighter, with less luggage, and with less effort. I started out years ago traveling with a 12-pound laptop computer with a black-and-white screen and two floppy disk drives (and no hard drive). I think the charger added another three or four pounds to my luggage weight as well. That was state-of-the-art in the 1980s. Of course, I was younger and stronger in those days, and carrying an extra 15 pounds or so wasn’t much of an issue.

In those days I had a separate suitcase just for the laptop, charger, modem, and assorted cables and tools needed to take apart the telephone in a hotel room in order to hook into the phone system and connect to the outside world. This was before the airlines started charging extra for every piece of luggage. The normal method of connecting online in those days was to use a dial-up modem to connect to CompuServe. The World Wide Web and the phrase “wi-fi” hadn’t been invented in the 1980s.

Luckily, technology has improved greatly since those days!

Findmypast releases 953,000 District of Columbia birth, marriage and death records, 18 new US periodicals, new Irish Survey Maps & Plans and thousands of UK School & Prison Hulk registers

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Every Friday, leading family history website Findmypast reveals thousands of new records to explore over the weekend on its dedicated Findmypast Friday page. This week’s new additions include 95,000 Griffiths Survey of Ireland records, over 953,000 US birth, marriage and death records for the District of Columbia, 18 new PERSI titles and thousands of new UK school admissions and Prison Ship records.

The new District of Columbia Births & Baptisms 1830-1955 contain over 109,000 records. These records provide information on births and baptisms that occurred in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, between 1830 and 1955. Although the district began officially collecting this information in 1874, many records are from years earlier and do contain some duplicates that often contain slightly different information. Each record consists of a transcript that lists the child’s name, date of birth, date and place of christening, parents’ names and ethnicity.

Wellcome Library funds a new Partnership to Digitize 800,000 pages of Mental Health Archives

The following announcement was written by the Wellcome Library in partnership with the Borthwick Institute for Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, Dumfries and Galloway Council Archives:

The Wellcome Library will partner with the Borthwick Institute for Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, Dumfries and Galloway Council Archives, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the project, which will bring together documents from the York Retreat, St Luke’s Hospital Woodside, Crichton Royal Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital and Camberwell House Asylum. These collections will be added to the Wellcome Library’s own collection of archives from public and private mental health institutions, including the records of Ticehurst House Hospital in Sussex, which provide a rare insight into the running of a privately run asylum.

The project will mostly focus on records dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, and will touch on the movement away from institutional care as the 20th century progressed. Patient records and case notes, photographs, administrative documents and registers will be digitised, creating an extensive online archive that will be a valuable resource for historical research.

A Popular Song for Funerals: Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

A study by The Co-operative Funeralcare of songs played at 30,000 funerals in the U.K. showed that traditional hymns, football anthems and classic pop songs top the list of the “funeral music chart.” The most popular song amongst the pop songs? Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, a song from The Monty Python movie, The Life of Brian.

Details may be found at

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!”

Rabbi Abraham S. Goldberg, R.I.P.

The recent attack by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem took several lives. One of the murder victims was Rabbi Abraham S. Goldberg who was very active on JewishGen and a person who helped many people research their lineage.

You can read more in an article in the JewishGen Blog at

St. John’s Cemetery, Albany, NY – Interments 1841-1887 now Online

The latest addition to the transcription projects on the website of the Troy Irish Genealogy Society, are the recently discovered interment records of 12,731 individuals from the long closed St. John’s Cemetery in Albany New York. St. John’s Cemetery was located on Delaware Avenue in Albany, New York. To see these records on the TIGS website, click on PROJECTS and then ST. JOHN’S CEMETERY, ALBANY, NY – INTERMENT RECORDS.

It had been widely reported that the interment records for this cemetery, covering interments starting over 173 years ago, had been lost or destroyed. However, in a recent chance conversation with the Historian at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, New York, it was discovered that the mostly intact St. John’s interment book was in the possession of a retired cemetery employee and the book was promptly recovered.

Irish Artifacts Infographic Summary

Ireland has an incredibly vibrant history that is rich in history and culture. Particularly symbolic for the Irish is the many Celtic symbols and emblems used across many traditional Irish Artifacts and crafts.

Paul Murphy, Managing Director of Murphy of Ireland, has created an infographic that explores the most prevalent and perhaps most popular artifacts along with an overview of Celtic design. These Artifacts range for the Aran Jumper to the Claddagh Ring, and the Tin Whistle to the Tweed Waistcoat and Cap. It takes an in depth view of the origins of these Artifacts, how they were made, and the many alluring and interesting facts that surround them.

Did you know for example that the hands on a Claddagh ring symbolise friendship? Or that Irish children would gather flowers, berries and even turf to dye the cloth that was woven into tweed waistcoats and cap? You might be surprised to know that the typical Aran Jumper has 100,000 carefully constructed stitches taking upwards of 2 month to complete.

Click here to view the full-sized infographic.

NOTE: Your web browser may try to compress the image to make it fit into the browser’s window although that is not true of all web browsers. If the image is too small to read, you can enlarge the window by “zooming in” on it. To do so, display the image on our screen. Windows users then can hold the CONTROL key down and press “+” several times to make the image appear larger. Macintosh users may do the same by holding don the COMMAND key and and pressing “+” several times to make the image appear larger.

To “zoom out” to normal size, hold the CONTROL (or COMMAND) key down and press the minus key (“-”) several times.

You can also learn more about Murphy of Ireland at Murphy of Ireland has been selling high quality Irish clothing for over 75 years. Irish tweed jackets, vests and caps have been a staple part Irish culture for generations.

UK Enhanced Procedure to Obtain Copy Wills and Grants of Probate

The following was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the International Jewish Genealogy Society’s Public Records Access Monitoring Committee and is used here with her permission:

Sometimes it pays to contact your elected official! The following information was shared with me by David Lewin in London, England sent to him via his member of Parliament. Justice Minister thanked David for his suggestions to improve the service for the provision of copies of documents resulting in the new changes below.

UK Justice Minister Chris Grayling announced effective September 30 that the Probate Service launched an online probate search facility. Customers can now access probate records from 1996 to the present day for a fee of £10 and order a copy of the grant which will be provided in 10 days. When an order is placed the customer will receive notification by email that the order has been received and when the document is available for download a further email will be sent. Payments may be made by debit or credit card.

Talk to Your Family This Holiday Season

Many of us will be enjoying dinners and other festive occasions with our relatives during the next few weeks. I would suggest this is a great time to compare notes with the relatives. Indeed, older members of the family may know a few tidbits of genealogy information that you have not yet found. However, there is another, more serious, reason for comparing notes with relatives: family health hazards.

Compiling a family tree can offer more benefits than discovering stories of war heroes or family dramas; science and preventive medicine are getting a look in, too. The skeleton in the cupboard could be a genetic predisposition towards disease that, once uncovered, might provide potentially life-saving indicators.

Call for Market Research Volunteers

Want to help test a genealogy-related product that may come to market soon?

Volunteers are needed for a survey related to a new research product. Participants will have a brief phone call while they use a browser to view mockups. Interested individuals should email Beau Sharbrough ( and include the following helpful information:

Note: There are no right or wrong responses. We hope to balance the mix.

  • Your Name
  • The name of the state where you live
  • The number of years you have been researching your family history (0 is okay)
  • The number of years you have subscribed to any family history website (0 is okay)
  • No more than 30 words describing your genealogical interest (not surnames – what makes you do it?)

Respondents will be contacted via email to arrange the survey.

Thanks for reading! Claims Online Family History Research in United States Has Grown by 14 Times in the Past Decade

The following announcement was written by the folks at

PROVO, UT–November 19, 2014 – Over the past decade, online family history research has grown in the United States by 14 times, with two-thirds (63%) of respondents in a recent study reporting that family history has become more important than ever. They also say that this growth is motivated by a belief that knowing more about the past is a key part of understanding who we are.

Announced today by, the world’s largest online family history resource, the new findings are part of the first chapter in its Global Family History Report, a multi-country study that examined trends in the family — both past and present — across six developed countries: the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden.

AncestryDNA Announces Enhanced DNA matching and a Beta for DNA Circles

This morning AncestryDNA announced some major updates to its available services. DNA Circles is the name for what was previously known as DNA match groups. This is being launched in beta as the technology is still in its early days. The help section of DNA Circles has lots of information on how this works and the company also will be posting an overview for everyone to read shortly.

You need to have a subscription (any level) and a public tree linked to your DNA results in order to see your own DNA Circles. You will be able to download your old DNA matches for a limited time.

You can read more in the Ancestry Blog at

Here are some screen shots to illustrate the new DNA features. Click on any of the following to view larger versions:

(+) Follow-Up: A Tablet Computer that Runs Windows 8.1 for $99

Yesterday I published a Plus Edition article (at describing my experiences running Windows 8.1 and a standard Windows genealogy program on an 8-inch tablet computer. Apparently, the other retailers are not sitting idly by. Now two more brands of tablet computers with almost identical specifications are being offered at the same price. All of these tablet computers run Windows 8.1 and are capable of running almost any Windows programs, including all of today’s Windows genealogy programs.

(+) A Tablet Computer that Runs Windows 8.1 for $99

This is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. Please do not forward this article to others without the author’s permission.

Want a small tablet computer that slips into a purse or (a large) pocket and yet can run RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, Family Tree Builder, Family Historian, Microsoft Office 365, Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, Angry Birds, or almost any other Windows program? Sound too good to be true? What is your reaction if I tell you that you can buy this tiny powerhouse for $99? Even better, you can purchase it from one of the “big box” retailers near you.

I recently purchased this 8-inch tablet computer that runs Windows 8.1 and have been using it for a while. I am generally pleased with it although it does have some drawbacks. Then again, at this price, I am willing to live with a few shortcomings.

That’s right: it is a handheld tablet computer that fits into a large pocket or a purse. It runs the full version of Windows 8.1, not a normal tablet operating system such as Android or Apple’s iOS or even Microsoft’s dummied-down tablet operating system called Windows RT. This tiny tablet computer includes the full version of Windows 8.1 and can run (almost) all normal Windows programs. You can purchase it for $99 or for $149. I’ll explain the two prices in a moment.


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