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Mapping Boston’s Entire History

Ed McCarthy grew up in Boston and is now a history geek. McCarthy wondered why it should be so difficult to get a geographic understanding of where Boston’s many historic sites once stood. There had to be a way to combine a literary and visual vehicle to the past. McCarthy needed a map. More specifically, he needed to create a map.

The result is a series of maps that depict different sections of Boston, over a time span of nearly 400 years. When viewed on an individual basis, any one of McCarthy’s maps delivers a block-by-block recreation of a given section of the city in a specific era—where, for example, the British burial ground was located in American Revolution-era Boston. But when viewed as a comprehensive work, as McCarthy intends them to be upon completion, his maps effectively chart the development of Boston over nearly four centuries. It’s an incredibly informative collection, the work of someone who clearly cares very deeply about his city.

The project is even more impressive when you learn that Ed McCarthy is not a professional cartographer. He also is not a programmer. In fact, he is a veteran EMT and ambulance driver in Boston. Yet his maps are impressive.

Millions of Historical Records added to MyHeritage

The folks at MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) have added millions of new records to the service. According to the MyHeritage Blog:

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just added millions of new records to SuperSearch.

The new collections include birth and death records, church records, electoral rolls and more from around the globe to help families everywhere explore their past. The new records come from the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Germany, Russia and other countries to help discover more about your ancestors from around the globe.

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The collections include:

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth receives $500,000 to support Portuguese-American Archives

A $500,000 bequest from Otilia Ferreira will be used to create a fund for scholarships and Luso-American research at UMass Dartmouth. Ferreira announced the gift at the five-year anniversary of the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives on October 9, according to a university news release.

In 2005, Ferreira made the lead gift to help create the archives which is now the largest collection of historical material documenting the experience of Portuguese immigrants in the United States. The holdings include genealogical records, newspapers, books, recordings, family photographs, scrapbooks and correspondence that document social history.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz, singer Carole King and playwright Tony Kushner episode of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots”

The following announcement was written by the folks involved in the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland:

5 million Polish-Jewish records database is key resource for Attorney Alan Dershowitz, singer Carole King and playwright Tony Kushner episode of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots.”

The ancestral search in the forthcoming November 4th episode of PBS’s documentary series “Finding Your Roots,” might not have happened if not for Jewish Records Indexing – Poland (www.jri-poland.org).

This episode features three notable Americans, renowned attorney Alan Dershowitz, Grammy Award winning singer / songwriter Carole King and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screen writer Tony Kushner. All three have deep roots in Poland

Alan Dershowitz

The Dershowitz/King/Kushner story is part of the current 10-part series of Finding Your Roots with host Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. In it, Professor Gates continues the quest he began in African American Lives 1 and 2 and Faces of America delving into the genealogy and genetics of a group of famous Americans. The series combines history and science in a fascinating exploration of race, family, and identity in today’s America. Each hour features celebrity guests, who are bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link, whether it be as old friends, through long-lost relatives, or even through a common ancestral past.

Indiana to Digitize 13 Million Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates

The Indiana Commission on Public Records has approved a contract with Ancestry.com to digitize more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records, Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday. The birth and death certificates date back to the early 1900s, according to a news release, and the state’s marriage records are from 1958 through 2005.

The digitized versions of those records older than 75 years will start becoming available to Hoosiers in 2015, the release said, with completion expected by 2016.

(+) How to Sell Tickets Online for Your Society’s Events

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

I publish a lot of notices of future genealogy-related meetings, conferences, seminars, and such events. One thing that always amuses me is a statement in many of those notices similar to the following:

“You can download the registration form on our web site. Please fill it out, put it in an envelope, enclose a check, and mail it to us.”

Such a statement is so 1980s! In today’s day and age, it is easier and safer to accept payment online than it is to manually handle checks. Handling orders online also allows you to receive the registration forms instantly and have the funds deposited to the society’s bank account, all without a trip to the bank or even to the post office. The price for doing this is either free or a small percentage of the admission fees. It is also safer and more secure than sending checks in the mail and even safer than handling the checks after receipt.

Federation of Genealogical Societies Announces 2014 Election Results

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

D. Joshua Taylor Re-Elected President; New Board Members and Directors include Melissa Tennant, Linda McCauley, and David E. Rencher

October 23, 2014 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces results of its recent election for FGS board members and directors. The election was conducted online September 1 – 30, 2014, with all FGS delegates eligible to vote. Office terms for those elected will begin on January 1, 2015.

With the recent election results, re-elected FGS President D. Joshua Taylor states, “I am honored to serve with such a dedicated board, and look forward to working with those elected to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee over the next two years.”

Re-Elected FGS Board Members

New German Records on Ancestry.com

This morning, Ancestry.com launched 31 new German databases. The collection includes 11.7 million records and consists of civil registration records of birth, marriages and death from 1874-1950. The record sets include:

Our Ancestors Believed that Birds Migrated to the Moon

An article by Matt Simon in Wired Magazine’s web site illustrates the beliefs of many of our ancestors. For instance:

17th century English minister and scientist Charles Morton wrote a surprisingly well-reasoned, though obviously totally inaccurate, treatise claiming birds migrate to the moon and back every year. Some species seem to disappear entirely, the only logical conclusion is that they set off into space. “Now, whither should these creatures go, unless it were to the moon?” he asked.

Aristotle reckoned that some birds hibernate while others simply transform into different species when winter comes around.

In the 16th century, the great cartographer and writer Olaus Magnus championed the theory that swallows disappear in the winter not because they travel to tropical climes to pick up coconuts, but because they bury themselves in the clay at the bottom of rivers.

Donny Osmond Joins RootsTech 2015

One of the biggest names in entertainment from one of the most well-known families in the world will be part of the largest family history conference in the world. RootsTech 2015 announced today that entertainer, actor, author, and television host Donny Osmond will be joining RootsTech as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 14, 2015. He will inspire the thousands of conference attendees to discover and share family stories of the past, present, and future.

Ancestry.com LLC Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Ancestry.com LLC today reported financial results today for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014. It was obviously a good year for the company: Q3 Non-GAAP Revenues were $154.7 Million, Up 8.3% Year-Over-Year,

“Ancestry.com is executing well on our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “We’re continuing to focus on our core customers – the enthusiasts who are passionate about their family history – by adding valuable new content and features to our site, while also aggressively pursuing growth priorities designed to expand our total addressable market. These priorities include our AncestryDNA product, where we’ve doubled our customer base during 2014, our mobile apps, which are generating increased engagement, and our efforts to broaden category awareness, including the creation of terrific family history TV programming. Overall our business is healthy and we believe we’re positioning the company to capture its long-term growth opportunities.”

You can read the full report at http://goo.gl/Wpo5Md.

Connecticut State Library Seeks To Digitize World War I History and You Can Help

For those who lived through it, on the battlefield or the home front, World War I was a life-defining event, and the Connecticut State Library wants to assure that family-held memories and mementos will be preserved and available to historians, students, genealogists or the simply curious. Beginning later this month, state library officials will hold a series of community events at which local residents are urged to bring in family letters, photographs, diaries, recorded stories and other objects from the World War I period.

Pipe Burst Destroys Books

Many genealogists, archivists, public officials often think the best way to save records for many years is to print the information on paper. However, paper is one of the most fragile storage methods available, as demonstrated recently in Watertown, NY.

Some 300 books were destroyed when a pipe burst in the basement of the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library. A pipe from the heating and air conditioning system burst late in the afternoon, causing as much as three inches of water to end up on the floor. Fortunately, a couple of building maintenance workers were nearby when the pipe burst and acted quickly to control the leak. Had the leak occurred when the building was unoccupied, the damage could have been far worse.

(+) How To Self Publish Your Own Printed Book or eBook

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

Many genealogists dream of publishing the results of their research efforts. Whether it is to be a collection of childhood memories of time spent with grandparents or a scholarly study of all the descendants of a family’s immigrant ancestor, publishing books is still the best way to distribute information amongst relatives as well as to preserve the information for future generations.

Publishing most genealogy books has always been done by the use of “vanity press” publishers. A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Unlike mainstream publishers, a “vanity press” publisher requires the author to pay in advance to have the book published. The price usually includes publishing some predetermined number of books. In many cases, the author takes immediate delivery of all the books, stores them, and then sells the individual books as best he or she can. The vanity press publisher may or may not also make the books available for ordering in the company’s catalog.

23andMe and MyHeritage Announce Strategic Collaboration and Product Integration

The following announcement indicates a major partnership that will provide major enhancements to the services of both companies. 23andMe’s customers will be able to enjoy automated family history discoveries by using MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ Record Matching services. MyHeritage customers will now be able to use matching DNA to explore their family tree connections.

You might want to watch the video below and then read the written announcement from MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) and 23andMe:

If your web browser does not display the video player above, you can also watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1MefhlGTA8.

The following was written by MyHeritage and 23andMe:

Genealogy Gems Launches Free Genealogy Book Club

The following announcement was written by Lisa Louise Cooke:

October 21, 2014

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems is pleased to announce the launch of the FREE Genealogy Gems Book Club, which features great reads for genealogy lovers.

“This is an idea we’ve been percolating on for quite a while,” says Gems owner-producer Lisa Louise Cooke. “People are always sending me the names of books they love. I also hear from publishers and the authors themselves. We thought it would be great to share these books more widely.”

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

Participate in the National Archives and Records Administration’s biggest genealogy event of the year! During the three days of Internet broadcasting, learn and ask questions about Federal records as resources for family history research. Speakers include genealogy experts from National Archives facilities across the nation and from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. From beginner to expert, discover new tips and tricks—we have sessions for all skill levels. After the event, recorded sessions and handouts will remain online. Learn more at http://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.

October 28, 29, & 30, starting daily at 10 a.m. EDT

NOAA Team Discovers Two Vessels from WW-II Convoy Battle off North Carolina

A bit more of history has been uncovered: German U-boat 576 and freighter Bluefields were found within 240 yards of each other, approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The following was written by the NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary:

October 21, 2014

A team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.

“This is not just the discovery of a single shipwreck,” said Joe Hoyt, a NOAA sanctuary scientist and chief scientist for the expedition. “We have discovered an important battle site that is part of the Battle of the Atlantic. These two ships rest only a few hundred yards apart and together help us interpret and share their forgotten stories.”

German U-Boat German U-576. Click on the image to view a larger version.

The German U-576 departs Saint-Nazaire, France, on the Atlantic coast, circa 1940-1942. The submarine was sunk in 1942 by aircraft fire after attacking and sinking the Nicaraguan freighter Bluefields and two other ships off North Carolina.

Have You Talked with a Streetlight Recently?

Verizon knows something about technology. The company also spends a lot of time and effort studying future needs of the country. After all, Verizon needs to always be prepared for the future. Now the company is planning to build new or to modify existing streetlights to become serve as emergency call stations for endangered pedestrians. Press a button on the streetlight and be instantly connected to the closest 911 operator.

The same streetlights also could have signs attached that would communicate with traffic control centers via wireless networking and display traffic information and suggest alternate routes. A streetlight-mounted sign also could display up-to-the-minute information, such as the predicted arrival time of the next bus or subway train, as well as weather alerts. The same lights could display advertising or play music.

Update: Was Jack the Ripper REALLY Identified through DNA? No!

On September 8, 2014, I published an article at http://goo.gl/qiOXlb about recent claims that Jack the Ripper had finally been identified by the use of DNA. I thought the “evidence” was much too flimsy to be believed. Now a group of scientists has published a report that agrees: the identity of notorious killer is still a mystery 126 years after string of murders.

Scientists have said evidence which claimed to have unmasked Jack the Ripper is wrong because a decimal point may have been put in the wrong place during calculations to match the killer’s DNA with his descendants. In fact, they say, the sequence he found could be shared by the majority of the population and therefore cannot be matched to Kosminski – one of the suspects in the string of murders which took place on London’s streets more than 100 years ago – or the Ripper’s victim.

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