Current Affairs

Personal Data Removed from Irish Genealogy Site over Security Fears

The Irish government closed part of its genealogy website on Friday, after the country’s data protection commissioner warned that potentially sensitive personal details were available to all.

Irish Genealogy, a website at created by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered people born or married in Ireland the ability to search for civil records such as birth certificates as part of their research into their heritage.

Toledo Library Honored for Genealogy and Historical Work

The Local History & Genealogy Department of the Toledo-Lucas County Library was awarded the 2014 John Sessions Memorial Award by the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association earlier this month in Las Vegas.

The library received the honor for its work promoting the history of the labor movement, and particularly its Rogowski-Kaptur Labor History Room in the Main Library.

You can read more about the John Sessions Memorial Award at

Local Draft Board Wants “Old Timers”

Uncle Sam wants you – dead or alive?

An error by PennDOT resulted in the Selective Service sending more than 14,000 military draft registration notices to men born between 1893 and 1897.

Ilene Landis, of Manheim, got one recently for her uncle, Ivan Keller. He’s been dead at least a quarter century, she figures.

It seems that a clerk working with the state’s database failed to select the century while transferring nearly 400,000 records to Selective Service. The records were supposed to be of all males born between 1993 and 1997. However, the records sent also included males born between 1893 and 1897.

Manuscript Now Available Charting History of the O’Reilly Clan

A unique Irish manuscript relating to the history and genealogy of The O’Reilly clan from the Kingdom of Breifne – today the modern County Cavan – was launched in a limited edition of 225 copies in Belfast this week.

The 18th Century Irish manuscript was discovered in 2008 and purchased by Professor Nikolaus Grüger at a rare books auction in Munich. The advantage of this unknown manuscript, written by the Chevalier Tomas O’Gorman, is that it used traceable references and contemporary research culled from the Books of Ballymote and Lecan, both written around 1400.

Only 225 copies were made and will be available in libraries throughout Ireland and the United States. You can read more in an article by Damian McCarney in the Anglo-Celt web site at

Genealogy Jewelry

You can literally wear your ancestors around your neck. This product’s web page states:

Hanging on the walls and hidden in the corners of our homes are the photographs and works of those who came before us. These seemingly mundane and irrelevant objects are the indexical records of family and human history. Accumulating in layers and decaying through time, these remnants of our physical world provide tangible reference points for how we understand one another and ultimately ourselves. Books, furniture, clothing, and even silverware can influence the dynamics and relationships between the past and future generations.

Update: US National Archives Will Upload all its Holdings to Wikipedia

I wrote earlier (at about a newly-announced plan by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration to upload all of its holdings to the Wikimedia Commons division of I mentioned in the earlier article, “The plan seems to be a bit fuzzy at the moment with a long-term objective defined but with few details announced.” However, the newly-released Open Government Plan 2014-2016 (available at provides many of those details.

US National Archives Will Upload all its Holdings to Wikipedia

The US National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) has announced that it will be uploading all of its holdings to the Wikimedia Commons. Dominic McDevitt-Parks, the Wikipedian in residence at the National Archives and Record Administration, stated, “The records we have uploaded so far contain some of the most high-value holdings … However, we are not limiting ourselves … Our approach has always been simply to upload as much as possible … to make them as widely accessible to the public as possible.”

Join the Worldwide Indexing Event

FamilySearch is hosting a party and you are invited:

“On July 2, 2012, a total of 49,025 FamilySearch indexers and arbitrators joined together to set the all-time record for the most indexing participants in a single day. That lofty record is about to be broken—by you!

“Join volunteers from around the world on July 20 and 21 for an international history-making event! The goal? For 50,000 indexers and arbitrators to submit at least one batch in a 24-hour period! Do more if you would like, but one batch is all that is required to be counted in the record!

Construction at Historical Houston Cemetery Has Community Outraged

The Bradshaw Family Cemetery is a historic African American cemetery that dates back to the 1800s. Family members claim there are slaves and soldiers buried there. Many of the grave sites are covered by brush and are unmarked. Recently, a and developer and contractor showed up to the site claiming ownership of the land and plans to build new housing and a street that runs through the cemetery.

Another Sad Story about DDOS Attacks

The big news this week has been the outage of web servers at and several other web sites that are subsidiaries of the same company. The outages were caused by a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. In short, a criminal managed to overload the servers, rendering them inoperative, then demanded a ransom to stop the attack. I am sympathetic to the problem. This newsletter’s hosting service suffered a DDOS attack a few months ago that lasted for many days and that hosting service still is dealing with remnants of the attack. I moved the newsletter to a different hosting service to escape the problem although the move does not provide insurance against future attacks. See for a short report about my actions to escape the attack.

A sadder story has become public this morning. Code Spaces (a web hosting service) has been under DDOS attacks since the beginning of the week. The attack apparently started at about the same time was attacked. The outcome was radically different, however. The attacker managed to delete all Code Spaces’ hosted customer data and most of the backups. The managers of Code Spaces have now announced that they are shutting down business.

Today’s announcement states, “In summary, most of our data, backups, machine configurations and offsite backups were either partially or completely deleted.”

Eagle Scout Project to Photograph 50,000 Graves

Fifteen-year-old Hunter Boyer has chosen a unique Eagle Scout project to benefit the past, present and future at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Boyer’s goal is to recruit enough volunteers to take photos of over 50,000 graves using the smartphone app BillionGraves.

Update: Galway Historian Reveals Truth Behind 800 Orphans in Mass Grave

Yesterday I wrote (at about the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of about 800 forgotten infants and children who died at a Mother and Baby home for pregnant, unmarried girls and young women. The home in in Tuam, County, Ireland, was run by the Bon Secours sisters. Now officials are to meet to discuss the “horrific details” emerging from the discovery.

Ireland’s junior minister for education and skills, Ciaran Cannon, said an inquiry was needed to determine the facts surrounding the unmarked burial site.

Details may be found in an article by Brian Mcdonald in the Independent at:

National Archives Records Stored in Anchorage bound for Juneau and Seattle

About a quarter of the records stored in the National Archives office in Anchorage are being transferred to the state archives in Juneau, the head of the National Archives told Sen. Lisa Murkowski Friday. The transfer includes court records from territorial days and documents concerning the history of the Alaska Railroad, archivist David Ferriero wrote to Murkowski. The documents include birth and marriage records, mining paperwork and other legal paperwork.

The balance of the federal and territorial records stored in Anchorage by the National Archives and Records Administration would be moved to Seattle this summer as part of a plan to close the Anchorage facility.

You can read more in an article by Dermot Cole in the Anchorage Daily News at

How Genealogy Became Almost as Popular as Porn

Genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the U.S. after gardening, according to ABC News, and the second most visited category of websites, after pornography. It’s a billion-dollar industry that has spawned profitable websites, television shows, scores of books and — with the advent of over-the-counter genetic test kits — a cottage industry in DNA ancestry testing.

Writing in Time Magazine, Gregory Rodriguez describes the changes and growth in genealogy. As he writes, “Now I understand why so many millions of Americans love it. Genealogy is fun.”

You can read the article at:

Free Genealogy Advisory Service in the National Library of Ireland, Summer 2014.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Eneclann Ltd.:

Eneclann & Ancestor Network make it a hat trick!

The joint consortium of Eneclann and Ancestor Network are delighted to announce that they have been selected by the National Library of Ireland to enhance its provision of Summer genealogy services, following a competitive tendering process.

New England Holocaust Institute and Museum is Closing

A man who opened a small Holocaust museum in western Massachusetts a year and a half ago says he’s shutting down because there just isn’t enough interest. Rare photographs of life in the concentration camps are there, as are records Nazis kept on Jews and prisoners. Owner Darrell English says the New England Holocaust Institute and Museum in North Adams will close June 30.

Details and a video may be found in an article by Scott Stafford published in the Berkshire Eagle at

The Death of Microfilm

Genealogists love microfilm. Visit any genealogy library anywhere, and you will see genealogists in darkened rooms, hunched over microfilm viewers, trying to solve the puzzles of their family trees. I have taken several pictures of genealogists sitting at rows of microfilm readers. However, I suspect that within ten years those pictures will become collectors’ items, recalling an era that exists only as distant memories in the minds of “the old-timers.” You see, microfilm and microfiche are about to disappear.

Many of the manufacturers of microfilm and microfiche equipment have already disappeared or else have switched their production lines to other products.

Moniteau County (Missouri) Historical Society Genealogy Library Grand Opening Saturday

The Moniteau County Historical Society Genealogy Library committee is pleased to announce the new addition is finished and open to the public. A grand opening will be held Saturday, May 31, at 1 p.m. Details may be found at

Personalized Family Tree Vinyl Decals for your Wall

Off The Wall Expressions offers large vinyl decals that can be used to display a family tree, a photo, a number of photos, or a monogram name. These can be up to six feet high. Each made-to-order self adhesive decal ships with appliques and stickers. This should righten the entrance to your home! Perhaps it should be in the den or in the room in your home, called “the office,” that is dedicated to storing your research materials.

Thee Personalized Family Tree Vinyl Decals may be found on at

Private Group Works to Identify America’s War Dead

Opportunities to finally identify America’s war dead — including some from World War II who have been missing for more than 70 years — and return them to family members abound as the Department of Defense prepares to overhaul its troubled national recovery efforts, according to advocates for missing service members who gathered for a conference in Washington, D.C. Friday.

More than 83,000 servicemembers are still listed as missing from War World II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and other conflicts, according to the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.


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