Current Affairs

Your Grandfather’s Bar is Available in San Francisco

The Interval in San Francisco is a bar, cafe, and museum. Award-winning bartender Jennifer Colliau brings cocktails back from the dead. Using alcoholic archaeology, she not only uncovers lost cocktails but often recreates ingredients, like pineapple gum syrup, that have themselves been lost to time in their original forms. The drink menu includes some of the earliest cocktails ever made, as well as drinks from around the world. These quite possibly are the drinks your grandparents enjoyed.

The bar, located in Ft. Mason, in San Francisco, is called The Interval, and its theme is time. The daiquiri menu, for example, features the five original daiquiris from Bar La Florida in Havana, Cuba. They represent the birth of daiquiris as we know them. Colliau refers to the selection as “a moment in time.”

Click on the above image to view a larger version

Canadian Federal Archives Sitting on a Mountain of Unsorted Documents

The Federal Archives is sitting on a backlog of 98,000 boxes of undocumented government records, some dating to 1890, says Canada’s auditor general. Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which serves as the permanent repository for historically valuable government records, has vowed to come up with a plan to tackle the mountain of textual records, maps, microfiches, digital records and sound recordings by the end of 2015.

The uncatalogued material includes 24,000 boxes of military records, 9,800 boxes from Transport Canada, 7,200 boxes from Industry Canada, 6,400 from Public Works and Government Services Canada, and 5,200 from Justice Canada. Liberal MP Stéphane Dion on Tuesday said government funding cuts have led to the “neglect” of countless historical federal documents and form part of a pattern that includes elimination of the long-form census and the cumulative impact of six years of budget cuts at Statistics Canada.

Ohio’s History Museum Considering a Move to Downtown Columbus

The Ohio History Connection is considering moving its museum Downtown, perhaps to a riverfront location. Burt Logan, executive director and chief executive officer of the organization, stressed that a decision to move the museum, now at E. 17th Avenue and I-71, has not been finalized. However, talks about a move are underway, he said. The appeal of moving Downtown would be “a more visible and more accessible location.”

Details may be found in an article by Alan Johnson in the Columbus Dispatch at

London Probate Search Rooms Closing December 2014 to be Replaced by New On-Line Index to Wills from 1858

The following announcement has been made by HM Courts & Tribunals Service. A response from the Society of Genealogists is also attached at the end:

London Probate Search Facility

“As of Friday the 12th December, the Probate Service will make available our records from 1858 to the present and the records of some soldiers who died on active military service between 1860 and 1982 (predominantly those who died in the First World War) for searching online.

You can search, order and receive copies direct from your own computer without waiting for the Probate Registry to send them to you.

You can search and if there is a match you will be informed straightaway. You then decide if you wish to pay £10 and order the documents.

Canada’s Chief Librarian and Archivist Reflects on his First Six Months

When Montreal historian Guy Berthiaume started a five-year term as Canada’s chief librarian and archivist in June, he inherited a demoralized institution reeling from budget and job cuts. Previous Library and Archives Canada (LAC) chief Daniel Caron was criticized by library and archives professionals across Canada for being aloof, remote and unqualified.

Berthiaume was recently interviewed by Chris Cobb of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and web site. Berthiaume discussed some of the problems he faces. You can not only read about the interview but also watch a video at

How Genealogy Became Almost as Popular as Porn

Time Magazine says, “…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.”


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.

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

Orange County, Florida, Public Library’s Genealogy Collection is Moving to the West Oaks Branch

Planning to do some genealogy research on your “snowbird” trip to Florida this winter? You might want to know that research in the Orlando area will be a bit limited for a couple of months.

The Orange County (Florida) Library System provides library services to about 1.25 million people, including everyone in the city of Orlando. The library’s large genealogy collection will soon be moved to its new home at the West Oaks Branch Library and Genealogy Center, 1821 E. Silver Star Road, Ocoee, FL 34761.

How to Find a Lot of Personal Information about Anyone

Subtitle: How Anyone can Find a Lot of Personal Information about You

NOTE: This article is being cross-posted both here and in my new Privacy Blog as this subject seems applicable to both.

Numerous online sites have been available for years that sell personal information about you or about anyone else in the United States. However, one site seems to take this “service” to new heights: The service isn’t free, but it is low-cost. The service is available to anyone with a credit card and an Internet connection.

Instant Checkmate collects and sells an amazing amount of information about U.S. residents, including criminal records, court appearances (even where the person was judged innocent or if the case was dropped), charitable contributions, sex offender databases, information you provided on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more), professional and business licenses, real estate transactions, and even appraisals of real estate owned, voter registration records, employment records, marriage records, birth records (including birth records of the children of the person in question), residential addresses, and more.

When I did a search on my own name, Instant Checkmate found all sorts of information about me, including my FAA-issued pilot’s license.

Question: Do you want others to know all about you?

Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent has Moved to the Cornwall (Ontario) Public Library

Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent was established in 1986 and operated from the Nativity Church basement. It is the only genealogy centre in this region. It was funded by donations and memberships. Earlier this year, officials with the Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent signed a lease agreement with the Cornwall Public Library, with the approval of city hall, that will allow for more than 15,000 documents and associated paraphernalia to move to its new home in the massive basement on Second Street West.

Irish Minister Admonishes the Data Protection Commissioner over the Handling of Her Department’s Genealogy Site

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. After the country’s data protection commissioner warned that potentially sensitive personal details were available to all, the Irish government closed part of the site. You can read about that incident in my earlier article published July 21, 2014, at Now Irish Minister Heather Humphreys has expressed concern at how the Data Protection Commissioner handled the issue relating to her department’s genealogy site.

While civil records on births, marriages and deaths are public records, they had never before been searchable in such an extensive way online for free. Billy Hawkes, who was data protection commissioner at the time, said his office had been consulted about the genealogy site in the context of putting up registers over 100 years old. But the presence of “live” records up to and including 2013 had come as a “total shock” to his office.

Create a Permanent Living Legacy that Memorializes the Passing of a Loved One

Here is a different kind of “cemetery.” Well, not so much a cemetery as a memorial. The goal is to directly rehabilitate and rebuild the dying ocean reefs and, in turn, add new habitat to the marine environment. For families and individuals that choose cremation, Eternal Reefs offers a unique memorial choice that replaces cremation urns and ash scatterings with a permanent environmental living legacy.

MyHeritage’s Institutional Service is now Available at all local FamilySearch Family History Centers and Libraries

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch and MyHeritage announced today that the MyHeritage Library Edition™ is now available for free at every FamilySearch Family History Center and Family History Library in the world. MyHeritage’s new institutional service is a powerful online service that provides libraries and educational facilities with instant access to centuries of history in billions of global historical documents.

FamilySearch operates more than 4,700 Family History Centers in 134 countries. The centers are dedicated family history spaces, open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research. Visitors enjoy free access to historical records and personal assistance from staff to help them in their search for information.

Create a Customized Genealogy Family Tree Board Game

Luanga Nuwame doesn’t play games. He creates them. His latest offering is a new Family Tree Board Game Course. The online course costs $39 and will provide families step-by-step instructions on how to create a board game featuring all immediate family members and ancestry.

Quoting from the online course’s web site:

“There is always more you can learn about your loved ones and now there is a fun and personalized way to do that! More importantly, current and future generations will learn more about you and your immediate family in a way that will be cherished and enjoyed through get-together interaction.

“This course kit will provide you with the instructions to complete a family tree board game that will honor YOUR family members and linage based on the direct feedback of those you care about. The final result will be a time capsule, scrapbook and game all in one!

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Proposes to Expand Requests for Tombstone Markers on Behalf of Deceased Veterans

On October 1, 2014, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published, in the Federal Register, a proposed rule to amend the existing definition of eligible applicants by expanding the types of individuals who may request headstones or markers on behalf of decedents. The amendment addresses concerns that the existing applicant definition is too restrictive and results in identified Veteran gravesites going unmarked.

Mesoloft will Scatter Your Ashes from the Edge of Space

Some people choose to honor the memory of a lost loved one by doing something creative with their ashes. What’s more creative than taking their remains to the very top of the Earth’s atmosphere and releasing them? That’s what Mesoloft is offering to those who want to say goodbye in a way that no one will ever forget.

Mesoloft makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one by lifting the cremated remains of a beloved family member into the magnificent beauty of near space, almost twenty miles above our planet. Once released, the ashes will soar and drift in the upper reaches of the earth’s atmosphere for weeks and months circulating the globe. Over time the ashes will return as dust to earth, settling on mountain tops, desert dunes, oceans, lakes, and rivers. Some will pass through clouds, returning to the surface of the planet in the form of raindrops or snowflakes as water vapor condenses on the particles of ash.

Research at DAR Library Now Free to the Public

The following announcement was written by the folks at the DAR Library:

The DAR Library, one of the country’s premier genealogical research facilities, is now FREE to all researchers. In October, the entrance fee for use of the Washington, D.C. family history library was eliminated as part of ongoing efforts to make the extensive DAR genealogical resources more accessible to the public.

“We are so pleased to be able to now offer the DAR Library resources free of charge,” says Eric Grundset, Director of the DAR Library. “We invite and encourage anyone who may have been deterred in the past by the usage fee to come visit and explore our vast holdings. You never know what you may be able to discover about your family at the DAR Library.”

Wells Fargo Unit Banks on Family History

Want to have professional genealogists prepare a complete family history profile for you, showing your ancestry back at least four generations? The report will include a dossier of pictures and historical documents, from naturalization papers to passenger lists. The reports are available at no extra charge.

Well, there is one hitch: the private bankers at Abbot Downing, Wells Fargo’s advisory for clients, will do this only for customers who have $50 million in assets or more.

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.


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