This Newsletter is Sponsored by MyHeritage


One More Update: New “Save as PDF” Feature Added to this Newsletter

If you have been following the comments in this newsletter’s web site for the past few days, you know that I am experimenting with a new feature of adding PDF versions of each article published. The first experiment (described at was low effort on my part as it used an automated service from an online site. However, it created cluttered PDF files that were not very good looking. I wasn’t happy with the results.

The second effort (described at produces much better-looking results that I like. Unfortunately, it is not automated. Instead, making the PDF files now requires quite a bit extra manual effort on my part on every single article that gets posted here. I am not certain I want to continue with this second process.

I will offer one more idea for discussion here.

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.

Norfolk Parish Records to go Online on

The following announcement was written by the folks at

TheGenealogist and the Norfolk Record Office announce that they have signed an agreement to make Norfolk parish and other historical records available online for the first time. The registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and banns of marriage feature the majority of the parishes in Norfolk.

On release the searchable transcripts will be linked to original images of baptism, marriage and burial records from the parish registers of this East Anglian county

  • Some of the surviving records are from the early 1500s
  • These vital records will allow family history researchers from all over the world to search for their Norfolk ancestors online for the first time

Famous people that can be found in these records include:

The Secret of Erikoussa: The Reunion

Three months ago I wrote at about how MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has been working closely with Emmy Award winning writer, producer and author, Yvette Manessis Corporon. About a year ago Yvette published a book called When The Cypress Whispers. The book is fictional but some of it is based on true stories she grew up hearing from her grandmother, including the secret of the Greek Island of Erikoussa.

When the Nazis invaded Corfu, most of the Jewish citizens were killed, but a tailor by the name of Savas (shown here) was able to escape with his three daughters, and a girl called Rosa, to the nearby Island of Erikoussa. Savas had customers and acquaintances on the island, but what was incredible was that the entire island joined forces – at risk of death – and gave refuge to Savas and his girls, and kept their identity secret from the Nazis, for the duration of the war.

Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder and CEO, found the descendants in a true example of genealogy detective work at it’s finest.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 27,000 fascinating British Army Military School records from both England and Ireland. This week’s additions also include over 92,000 historic Irish Newspapers articles, substantial updates to the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) and the ability to browse our collection of Norfolk parish registers.

British Army schoolchildren and schoolmasters 1803-1932

Update: New “Save as PDF” Feature Added to this Newsletter

Two days ago I published an article at describing my latest plan to make PDF versions available of every article published in this newsletter. I described it as a sort of “beta test” to see how well it worked and to receive comments and suggestions from newsletter readers.

I would now describe the test as a partial success. However, I have now gone back and switched to a different method of creating each article’s PDF version. It is a manual process that adds to my workload but I believe the result is a better-looking PDF article.

New FamilySearch Collections: Week of July 20, 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Historic Philippines records stand out in this week’s collections update with more than 380,000 browsable digital images. Philippines Civil Registration (Archives Division) 1902-1945Philippines Civil Registration (Local) 1888-1984Philippines Civil Registration (Spanish Period) 1706-1911, and Philippines Pangasinan Civil Registration1945-1981 are now searchable at  Explore the complete weekly update by clicking on the links below.

A Proposal to Solve the Relocation and Downsizing of the Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection

Warning: This article contains personal opinions!

Two days ago, I republished an article from Judy Russell’s blog, The Legal Genealogist, entitled “Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection is Threatened.” The article explained that a “major genealogical collection is under major and imminent threat of being lost.”

The article also stated, “Unless something changes — and fast — the Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection — a vast collection of more than 200,000 volumes, many of them irreplaceable — is about to be lost to public access.” (Note: The number of books affected was later adjusted to 20,000.)

According to an article by Mary Jo Pitzl in today’s AZCentral at, a news site owned and operated by the Gannett Company, closure is no longer a threat. It is to be a fact. She writes:

Hellenic Genealogy Conference in Salt Lake City on September 26

Are you researching Greek ancestry? If so, can you be in Salt Lake City on September 26, 2015? If you answered “yes” to both questions, plan on attending the first-ever Greek genealogy conference held in the western U.S. The event will be held at the Hellenic Memorial Building (Holy Trinity Cathedral) 279 South 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monmouth County, New Jersey, County Clerk to Preserve Naturalization History

Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon recently found a treasure trove of Monmouth County history when she came upon books documenting thousands of applications for naturalization that date back to the 1800s. The records of 34,677 applicants for naturalization to be moved to Archives, located in the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

You can watch a YouTube video of the preservation process at or in the video player below:

Dallas Genealogical Society Announces Winners of 2015 Writing Contest

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Dallas Genealogical Society:

Dallas, TX , July 30, 2015 – – The Dallas Genealogical Society announces the winners of their 2015 Writing Contest.

First Prize $500: Rising – the Story of John Wesley Barnes and Edna Mollie Crawford by Diane Gawedzinski

Diane Barnes Gawedzinski

Diane Barnes Gawedzinski is a Dallas native, raised in the Elmwood section of Oak Cliff. As a junior at Duncanville High School, she interviewed her grandfather Wesley Barnes for a school project. Those notes inspired her first baby steps into genealogy and are the basis for this article. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of North Texas. She lives in Rockwall and is a school counselor at Wylie High School. Husband Rob, sons John and David, and Diane’s parents John and Jane Barnes have provided her with great support and encouragement over the years, even as Diane continues to hijack family vacations to visit another great-great-somebody’s gravesite. Following the lead of her maternal aunt, June Chandler Everheart, Diane has learned genealogy mostly through trial-and-error, experiencing the rush of excitement when discovering treasures in obscure courthouse drawers, and knowing the frustration of those slippery ancestors who disappear behind brick walls. “Rising” is her first genealogical article to be published.

Second Prize $300: Tracing Polly’s Life from Slavery to Freedom by RL Canady

Explore Your Family Tree with FTAnalyzer 5

Genealogy sites and as well as genealogy programs like RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, AncestralQuest, Family Historian, and many others are great for presenting family trees, displaying your data in a straightforward graphical form. However, one Windows program allows you to really understand your tree, to spot problems, links, and patterns you might have missed.

FTAnalyzer is an open source tool for Windows which imports your data in the form of a GEDCOM file, then analyzes it by using a number of useful reports, providing details you might not have uncovered any other way.

To use FTAnalyzer, you have to export your family tree from your present genealogy program or online service as a GECDCOM file. (If you are unfamiliar with GEDCOM files, read my GEDCOM Explained article at All modern genealogy programs and the leading genealogy web sites all do that although instructions will vary from one such service to another. In most programs and online family tree web sites, you need to find the command to EXPORT your family tree and then follow the menus.

FTAnalyzer produces many reports, including:

Indiana State Library to Shorten Saturday Hours

According to a post on the Indiana Genealogical Society’ Blog, effective 1 September 2015, the Indiana State Library will be open from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Saturdays. Previously, the Saturday hours had been from 8:00am – 4:00pm.

Details may be found at

New! Save this article to a PDF file in your computer

Are There 9,000 Unmarked Graves in Huntsville’s Slave Cemetery?

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Near Huntsville, Alabama’s downtown business district, Glenwood Cemetery is an oasis of green, with neatly manicured grass and groupings of shade trees. It’s a large cemetery: 1,148 tombstones mark burial sites of slaves, as well as the city’s most prominent black citizens. But Huntsville Cemetery Director Joy McKee believes the number is only the tip of the iceberg and there could be as many as 10,000 people buried in Glenwood. With the help of the community, she plans to find out who they are.

“A History of the Geography of NYC” by Joel Weintraub

Steve Morse’s “One Step” web site at is a gold mine for genealogists. It provides simplified tools to access U.S. census records, Canada/UK census records, New York census, Social Security Death Index, vital records, calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, Holocaust, genetic and more. Thousands of genealogists use Steve Morse’s web site every day to simplify their searches of online sites. However, I suspect many of them overlook one hidden gem on the site: A History of the Geography of NYC by Joel Weintraub.

Weintraub’s five-page article provides a a great deal of information about boundary changes within that city and also contains links to Changed Street Names (for NYC as well as some other cities), graphics and other references. If you have ancestors who lived in New York City, you need this free document!

(+) The Cheap and Easy Way to Find an Ancestor’s Grave

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

If you own a smartphone (Android or iPhone), you already have all the hardware needed to easily locate cemeteries and, in many cases, even go quickly to specific tombstones within each cemetery. You will need a bit of software, but that is available free of charge from several vendors. You will also need to spend a bit of time online, preparing for the trip.

Gulbenkian Grant Helps Update the “Armenian Jerusalem” Project

I was in the Armenian Quarter of Old Jerusalem a couple of weeks ago so this new article caught my eye today. The Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the world’s leading philanthropic organizations, has provided the “Armenian Jerusalem” heritage preservation website project with a new grant, enabling organizers to carry out necessary hardware upgrades and software updates.

One of its primary objectives was the creation of an all-in-one family tree that highlights the inter-relationship and inter-connectivity of the “kaghakatsi” residents of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

U.S. Version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ to Feature J. K. Rowling’s Family History

J. K. Rowling

Viewers of next Sunday’s edition of the TLC genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? will see an interesting program about J. K. Rowling’s ancestry. She is the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter stories. She learns, among other things, that a family story about a grandfather who won a high honor in France wasn’t quite right.

This episode was broadcast originally on the BBC network in the U.K. on 17 August 2011. Obviously, it will also appeal to many U.S. fans of J. K. Rowling so it is being rebroadcast in the U.S. on Sunday, August 2, at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central time.

New “Save as PDF” Feature Added to this Newsletter

I am experimenting a bit. I have added a new capability to save recent articles in the Standard Edition newsletter as a PDF file saved in your computer.

At the end of all new articles added in the last few days, you will see a line that says, “New! Save this article to a PDF file in your computer.” Click on that link and the entire article will be saved in the folder on your computer where downloads are normally saved. Of course, you can then move the PDF file to any folder you wish for long-term storage. You also can send any PDF file to someone else via email, if you want to share it.

Unearthing the Dead with Mobile GPS

The following announcement was written by Ryan Vinson:

The dead shall never be forgotten – not if a certain smart American software engineer and genealogist has anything to do with it.

Ryan Vinson has developed an app that will excite genealogists worldwide by potentially unearthing long dead ancestors. He’s also hoping his Here Lies project will encourage users to explore local cemeteries and learn a little about their town or city – or those of a place they’re visiting.

The app works by getting individuals to catalogue gravesites around the world using mobile GPS data. Ryan is looking for anyone who uses the app to upload a pic of their favourite tomb or gravestone (or as many as they like). They should also add a name, date of birth and even any comments. By making a digital recording, that burial plot will remain recorded for ever – even if the markings on the stone fade from view over time. This, in turn, will make ancestors much easier to find, including those buried in long-forgotten small family graveyards.


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