Posts By Dick Eastman

Secrets of London’s Infamous Bedlam Mental Hospital Revealed at Findmypast

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

  • Findmypast is working with Bethlem Museum of the Mind at Bethlem Royal Hospital, in London, UK, popularly known as Bedlam, to make its extensive patient records from 1683 – 1932 available online for the very first time
  • Over 248,000 records, many including photos, reveal the lives and stories of its inmates
  • Highlights of the detailed records show why people were committed included stabbing people with cutlery, insatiable appetite for pleasure, condemnation of sinful behaviour from public officials, objecting to a forced marriage, religious fervour, paralysis, women dressing as men and moreLondon, UK, 19 March 2015 – Leading family history website, Findmypast, today announced an exciting partnership with Bethlem Museum of the Mind to release Bethlem Royal Hospital’s extensive patient records online for the very first time. The records are being released today to mark the official reopening of the museum in Beckenham, with Findmypast making scans of the original patient case notes and staff registers available online for browsing and searching by everyone.

Milford (Michigan) Times Obituary Index 1929-1949 is now Online

One of the earliest newspapers in the State of Michigan, the Milford Times was the premiere newspaper in the Huron Valley area. The newspaper is still in publication and has always included news from Milford, Michigan, and many of the surrounding communities, including Highland Township, Commerce Townhip, White Lake Township, Hartland, Hickory Ridge, Wixom, Clyde, Walled Lake, Novi, and New Hudson. Now the obituaries from 1929 through 1949 have been indexed and made available online. The index is available at http://milfordlibrary.info/find-information/milford-times-obituary-request.

The Milford Public Library also won a grant for digitizing the paper. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/pA48Wm.

Genetic Study Reveals 30% of White British DNA has German Ancestry

The Romans, Vikings and Normans may have ruled or invaded the British for hundreds of years, but they left barely a trace on our DNA, the first detailed study of the genetics of British people has revealed.

The analysis shows that the Anglo-Saxons were the only conquering force, around 400-500 AD, to substantially alter the country’s genetic makeup, with most white British people now owing almost 30% of their DNA to the ancestors of modern-day Germans.

Student Genealogy Grant Applications Invited

The following announcement was written by the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant Committee:

March 17, 2015 – The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant Committee is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Student Genealogy award. Student genealogists between the ages of 18 and 23 are eligible to apply for the $500 cash award.

The 2015 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society will provide a full conference registration to the SCGS Jamboree in June where the award will be presented. This is a unique opportunity for a young genealogist to attend a premiere regional conference and meet genealogists from throughout the nation.

RootsTech 2015 Breaks all Attendance Records

The fifth annual RootsTech 2015 conference held last month in Salt lake City appears to have been the largest genealogy conference ever held with 23,918 attendees. Here is the announcement from FamilySearch:

The fifth annual RootsTech 2015 conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is officially in the record books as registering 23,918 attendees over three days, an 83% increase over 2014. And it’s not done yet as the world’s largest family history conference. There are already plans to deliver over 1,000 local family discovery day events throughout the remainder of 2015. It’s another indicator that family history continues to be a strong and growing interest not only in the United States, but internationally as well. Attendees to RootsTech 2015 came from far and wide, hailing from 49 states (West Virginia was the holdout) and 37 countries.

The popular conference’s formula for success included attracting well-known keynote speakers, such as former First Lady Laura Bush, Donny Osmond, Tan Le, and A. J. Jacobs, who shared inspiring family stories, and offering a rich combination of more than 500 classes, exhibits, demonstrations, and fun entertainment designed to appeal to multiple generations of family members and broad family history interests. Select sessions from RootsTech 2015 can be viewed for free at RootsTech.org.

NEHGS Announces Changes in The Register

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the Oldest Genealogical Journal in America, Appears in a New Format

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Announces Changes in Content and Design of the “Register,” Its Scholarly Journal First Published in 1847

Click on the above image to view a larger version

March 18, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—A new, colorful cover on the country’s oldest genealogical journal signals change. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register—the quarterly journal of New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)—appears this week in its 673rd issue, with a new design and an important broadening of editorial focus.

In making the announcement, NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons stated, “This makes the Register even more accessible and valuable to genealogists everywhere and solidifies its place as the flagship journal of American genealogy.”

The “Register,” as it is frequently called, has seen relatively few changes during its many years of publication spanning 168 of the 170 years of the life of NEHGS, the founding genealogical society in America. But the newest quarterly issue contains some important new features designed to encourage family historians to explore the genealogical scholarship for which the Register has long been known.

California Man Receives a Law Licence to Practice after 125 Years

The California Supreme Court has posthumously awarded a law license to a Chinese immigrant who was barred from becoming a lawyer 125 years ago.

Hong Yen Chang was barred from practicing law in 1890 by the same court because “persons of the Mongolian race” were not granted citizenship.

Kansas Supreme Court Proposed Restricted Access to Kansas Marriage Records

The Kansas Supreme Court is considering proposed changes to Supreme Court Rule 106 to clarify treatment of personally identifiable information in marriage licensing documents maintained by the district courts. The new proposal restricts marriage records to attorneys, court officers, and to:

Progeny Genealogy’s Charting Companion now includes Scalable Vector Graphics

One of the more attractive genealogy products available is Charting Companion, produced by Progeny Genealogy. I am always amazed that this great charting program isn’t better known. Charting Companion is a Windows program that creates great looking charts, including giant wall charts, from GEDCOM files or directly from Ancestral Quest, Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File or RootsMagic. Now a new option has been added that can create family tree charts in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format, or embedded in an HTML page. This means genealogists can display their charts in a better, more compact and Web-friendly format than ever before.

Now Online: Death Notices Appearing in Lansingburgh, New York, Newspapers 1787 – 1895

The following announcement was written by the Troy Irish Genealogy Society:

An index to 9,682 death notices that were published in ten different Lansingburgh, New York, newspapers from 1787 to 1895 was created by staff at the Troy Public Library in 1938 through 1939. The Troy Irish Genealogy Society was allowed by the Troy Library to scan the two books of these important records so they could be made available on-line for genealogy researchers. To see these records go to the TIGS website – www.troyirish.com – click on PROJECTS and then click on DEATH NOTICES APPEARING IN LANSINGBURGH NEWSPAPERS.

Lansingburgh, by the way, for those not in the Capital District Region, was the first chartered village in Rensselaer County and was settled around 1763. In 1900 Lansingburgh became part of the City of Troy, New York.

ArkivDigital in Sweden is having Another Free Weekend This Weekend

The very popular ArkivDigital web site is offering free access this weekend, March 21 and 22. You will have to register in order to access the site but there is no charge. You will also have to install the ArkivDigital software in your Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or iPad computer in order to view the files.

Details may be found at http://www.arkivdigital.net/products/adonline/try-for-free/.

Michigan Death Certificates 1921-1939 are now Available for FREE at Seeking Michigan

The following is a quote from the SeekingMichigan.com web site at http://seekingmichigan.org/look/2015/03/17/theyre-here:

Today (March 17, 2015) is Seeking Michigan’s sixth birthday, and the Archives of Michigan is thrilled to announce that images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 are now available for free here at Seeking Michigan. The index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks, with additional certificate images to be released each year as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available here for years, this collection makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million free, publicly-available 20th century death records for your Michigan ancestors.

Tour a Jewish Cemetery in Bialystok by Drone

Drones have received a lot of negative publicity recently but we should never ignore the fact that these device have dozens of useful purposes, even one or two uses in researching family history. An article in the Jewish Heritage Europe web site describes a tour of a Jewish cemetery in Bialystok, Poland, by drone.

Participate in the #1000pages Transcription Challenge from the US National Archives

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, has challenged all history enthusiasts and citizen archivists to participate in the Transcription Challenge this week. The goal is to transcribe more than 1000 pages of historical documents.

Transcribing is fun, but also an important open government activity.

You can read more in David Ferriero’s blog at http://blogs.archives.gov/aotus/?p=5948, then visit the Transcription Challenge webpage at http://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/transcribe/ for more information.

Ohio to Open Adoption Records Sealed for 50 Years

Ohio birth certificates and court decrees, some sealed as long as 51 years, will soon become available to adoptees or to their direct descendants for the first time without a court order. As many as 400,000 documents will now become available. The new law goes into effect Friday, March 20, 2015.

The state doesn’t plan to make the request form available on line until just before it begins accepting requests Friday. The forms may be submitted only via postal mail or in person at the vital statistics office because of the notarized documentation required. It could take six weeks for requests to be processed. A video spelling out the process is available at odh.ohio.gov/vs.

In advance of St. Patrick’s Day, Findmypast is Making Records from Ireland’s Western Seaboard Available Online for the First Time

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Includes detailed information from the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund’s Poverty Relief Loans, and role they played in the mass immigration of the Irish to America

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 16, 2015 – Findmypast, a leading family history site which provides access to more than two billion international ancestry records, will mark St. Patrick’s Day 2015 by making records pertaining to the Irish diaspora in the United States available online for the first time.

The depth of data included in these records offers much more than just names, dates and monetary figures. The archives also reveal details which allow researchers to build an accurate story of the events, challenges and emigration dreams of people living during and in the immediate aftermath of The Great Famine.

Update: Want a Cheap Laptop? Add a Keyboard to an iPad or Android Tablet Computer

Yesterday I published a Plus Edition article of (+) The PC and the Macintosh are Dying. Several newsletter readers posted comments about how they felt that the “keyboards” of tablet computers are insufficient for daily use. Actually, there is a simple and effective solution, one I have been using for about two years.

I am republishing an article I wrote last April that shows how easy it is to add a good keyboard to an iPad, an Android tablet, or even to a cell phone. I never take my iPad with me without the Logitech keyboard. Both slip into the same carrying case that also protects against scratches or other damage from dropping the devices.

Many people own and love their tablet computers. I have an Pad Mini and it has become my primary traveling computer. I hear similar statements from owners of various Android tablets as well. As useful as these tiny powerhouses may be, they are still seriously hampered by the lack of a keyboard. The solution? Add a keyboard!

Many people own and love their tablet computers. I have an Pad Mini and it has become my primary traveling computer. I hear similar statements from owners of various Android tablets as well. As useful as these tiny powerhouses may be, they are still seriously hampered by the lack of a keyboard. The solution? Add a keyboard!

iPad with Logitech Keyboard

That suggestion is obvious. Adding an external high quality keyboard converts a tablet computer into a reasonably-priced laptop computer. Perhaps it should be called a netbook.

(+) The PC and the Macintosh are Dying

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

Most of today’s genealogists use some sort of computer program to keep track of the information found during their searches. Popular programs include RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Reunion, Family Historian, AncestralQuest, Family Tree Maker, Heredis, Mac Family Tree, and quite a few others. They all have one thing in common: they are all becoming obsolete.

The Myths of St. Patrick’s Day

Many people of Irish ancestry love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. After all, it is a great way to celebrate one’s Irish heritage. However, some of the celebrations are a bit questionable. In fact, many of the commonly-held beliefs about St. Patrick are wrong. Before making plans, you might want to consider a few facts:

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish

Patrick was probably born in what is now England, Scotland or Wales around A.D. 390. Different historians have different beliefs about his place of birth. After all, the borders moved a bit over the years as well. Most agree that St. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in the British Isles. Therefore, Patrick himself was a Roman citizen even though he was born somewhere in what is now Great Britain.

BCG Offers Free Webinar

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

“Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have”

What can a genealogist do when key direct evidence is missing or inadequate? The Board for Certification of Genealogists will present a webinar on this question free to the public at 8pm EDT 17 March 2015. James M. Baker, CG, will offer step-by-step approaches for using inferential and analytic thinking to solve these challenging genealogy problems – including the use of naming patterns, birth/marriage witness data, inheritance data, sibling research, timelines, and family migrations.

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