Online Sites

Google Takeout Can Retrieve Your Data

Google Takeout (also called Google Takeaway in some languages) is a little known service that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube, Google Drive files, Google Calendar appointments, Google Contacts, and Gmail, to export their data as a downloadable ZIP file. It is a great method of keeping backup copies of your online data. Google Takeout makes it easy for you to make copies of your information that is stored in many of Google’s many services. In fact, the service is so simple to use that there is little documentation needed or available. Best of all, the Google Takeout service is available free of charge.

The full list of Google data services available (so far) with Google Takeout include:

YouTube, Bookmarks, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Voice, Profile, Hangouts, Google+, Circles, Google+, Stream, +1s, Google+, Pages, Blogger, Orkut, Messenger, YouTube, Google Photos, Google Play, Books, Location, and History.

Google does not delete your data after exporting.

RootsIreland.ie Adds Subscription Options

The Irish Family History Foundation, RootsIreland.ie, is the largest online database of Irish family records, and is best known for its extensive holdings of parish registers. The web site’s owners have now changed from a “pay per view” business model to a subscription model.

A one-month subscription costs €25/£20/$32; a six-month sub costs €125/£98/$161; and a one-year sub costs €225/£177/$289. The old pay per view service is being closed down and no further purchases of credits can be made.

Hopkins County (Texas) Genealogical Society Creates Online Map of more than 250 County Cemeteries

The Hopkins County Genealogical Society of Sulphur Springs, Texas, has created a map that shows nearly all known cemetery plots across the county. Best of all, the map is available online where it is conveniently available to everyone, not limited to only those who can visit the society in person.

When looking at the map, the user can move the cursor over marker for info and then click for more info. A pop-up appears that provides the name of the cemetery as well as a link to more detailed information. Clicking on the link then opens a page on USGenWeb that provides more information about the cemetery. Some of the links I clicked on, although not all, contained lists of the tombstones in each cemetery, including name(s), birth date, death date, burial date, and comments of the transcriber. Many of the dates were left blank when the information did not appear on the tombstone or in the cemetery’s records.

The Easy Way to Store Backups on Multiple Online Services with CloudHQ

If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably realize that I am a backup fanatic. I will suggest that having backups of your important data can be a lifesaver.

I believe that everyone should have a MINIMUM of three copies of every digital file that is important: the original file stored in the computer’s hard drive, plus a copy of that file stored on a backup device (hard drive, flashdrive, CD-ROM disk, or whatever you choose) that is stored near the computer for convenience, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL copy or two, stored off-site where the copies will be safe from in-home disasters, such as fire, flood, or burst water pipes.

Three copies are a barebones MINIMUM. For safety, I would recommend even more copies be kept in more locations. Luckily, that is easy to do.

Ancestor Cloud

A new start-up has quietly built a web site and is soliciting genealogists to be beta testers of the service. I admit I know almost nothing about the company and therefore cannot make any recommendations for or against the new site. However, it is interesting and you might want to take a look at the site for yourself.

Ancestor Cloud at http://www.ancestorcloud.com claims to be a “social genealogy” service. The home page states:

“Share publicly or privately

“Showcase your genealogy research to the world or select family and friends. AncestorCloud is a simple and secure place that helps you easily share your research files for free.

First World War Records on TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

Find records of injured First World War servicemen online for the first time

Over 1.3 million records from daily and weekly First World War casualty lists have been released online by TheGenealogist. This vast collection of unique records cover all ranks to help you discover more about your injured ancestor’s wartime service.

The new records include career soldiers, volunteer Pals battalions, war poets and even a future Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. The collection covers both those who died of their wounds and those who recovered and returned to the front.

The records are a great resource for finding out what happened to an ancestor during The First World War. Details include:- the name of the injured serviceman, his regiment and rank, the date he was registered as a ‘casualty’ and often his home town or place of enlistment.

Elephind: A Digital Newspaper Collections Search Engine

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Elephind is a great service that searches online digital newspaper collections. Best of all, it is available free of charge.

Elephind.com is a search engine that operates much like Google, Bing, and other search engines. The one thing that is different with Elephind is that it searches only historical, digitized newspapers. It enables you to search for free across many newspaper sites simultaneously rather than having to visit each collection’s web site separately.

At this time Elephind has indexed 2,677 newspaper titles containing more than two and a half million editions, ranging from March 1803 up to August 2013. The Elephind search engine has indexed 141,628,238 items from 2,677 newspaper titles. These include such well known sites as Chronicling America (the U.S.’s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. Many of the smaller newspaper sites are not well known and may be difficult to find with the usual search engines, but they are searchable from Elephind.com. A list of available newspaper collections that have been indexed so far is available at http://goo.gl/VRQN5l.

Additional newspaper collections are added to Elephind’s indexes frequently.

I found that Elephind operates in much the same manner as many other search engines. If you already know how to search for things in Google, Bing, Yahoo, or elsewhere, you already know how to use Elephind. In fact, there are two search methods available on Elephind:

German Digital Church Book Portal is Now Online

Newsletter reader Ernie Thode wrote to say that an announcement of a new online site was made at the German national genealogy conference in Kassel on September 13. The beta test of the German digital church book portal is now available.

Of about 140,000 individual church books in Germany, the records of about 35,000 (25%) have been digitized thus far. Most of the German Protestant regional church bodies are participating, others and Catholic archives and civil registrations may be joining in later. There will be a fee.

I used Google Translate to display much of the introductory text in English. This may be an imperfect translation:

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies Now Online

Fold3.com has added a new title: the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies. Like its name suggests, this collection contains the two navies’ official reports, orders, and correspondence from the Civil War. If you’re interested in the Civil War, this is the go-to title for contemporary, first-hand information about the Northern and Southern navies.

Originally compiled by the Navy Department, the Official Records of the Navies are organized into two series: Series I, with 27 individual volumes, and Series II, with 3 volumes and an index. Series I documents all wartime operations of the two navies, while Series II deals with statistical data of Union and Confederate ships, letters of marque and reprisal, Confederate departmental investigations, Navy and State department correspondence, proclamations and appointments of President Davis, and more.

You can read more in an article by Trevor Hammond in the Fold3 Blog at http://blog.fold3.com/official-records-of-the-union-and-confederate-navies.

Irish Archives Resource Goes Online

Irish Archives Resource, abbreviated as “IAR,” is a portal that recently has been greatly expanded. It links together hundreds of unique archival collections and 34 archive services in Ireland north and south. Ireland’s first archive web portal, Irish Archives Resource (IAR), includes contribution from Trinity College Dublin’s Manuscripts and Archives Research Department, RTÉ Stills Library, National Museum of Ireland Archives, University College Cork Archives, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, and the archives of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. It does not hold any images of archives or records. Instead, it provides a means to search archival descriptions from various contributing institutions.

The archive is not specifically a genealogy resource. Instead, it contains all sorts of archival descriptions, many of which will prove to be useful resources to genealogists, historians, social scientists, film historians, Irish citizens, Irish emigrants and their descendants, and to many others. It should appeal to anyone interested in accessing Ireland’s archival heritage.

New Images Added to PERSI

The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. It is an index to more than 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications. Most of PERSI’s articles are from periodicals covering the United States and Canada, but you can also find thousands of genealogy and local history entries (in both English and French) from Britain, Ireland and Australia.

Created by the staff of the Allen County Public Library Foundation and the ACPL’s Genealogy Center, PERSI is widely recognized as a vital tool for genealogical researchers. For years, PERSI was available in a series of books but now is available online at the FindMyPast web site. PERSI is updated frequently. Now FindMyPast has images to the indexes, allowing the user to access articles, photos, and other material that might be difficult to find using other research methods. PERSI’s titles may be searched free of charge although viewing the contents found requires a paid FindMyPast subscription.

According to the FindMyPast Blog, the list of images added to periodicals in the past month include:

FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.8 Million Indexed Records and Images to Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States

The following was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 3.8 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States. Notable collection updates include the 634,582 images from the Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600–2012, collection; the 928,307 images from the US, Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797–1954, collection; and the 899,395 images from the US, Ohio, County Death Records, 1840–2001, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

Use CensusReporter to Learn About Your City and Census Tool to Dig Through Decades of Data

An interesting article by Justin Pot in the MakeUseOf web site describes a couple of tools that can make U.S. census data even more useful.

With CensusReporter, you can type in the name of your town and you can start scrolling through all kinds of census data. You’ll see charts that let you absorb the information at a glance, along with comparisons to regional and state numbers. Scrolling through the information offered by default is a great start, but you can also search for other reports.

Have you ever wondered about the people who used to live in your house? Census Tool may be able to help. You can find your old house in the 1940 and earlier U.S. census records and then discover a little about what life was like for its former residences. You’ll see their name, what they did for a living, even how much money they make.

DeceasedOnline adds Blackburn with Darwen Burial and Cremation Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at DeceasedOnline:

deceasedonlineBlackburn with Darwen burial and cremation records available on family history website

One of the North West’s first councils to digitize records for global access

All burial and cremation records for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have been digitized and added to the specialist family history website www.deceasedonline.com.

Library of Congress Offers a New Collection of Depression Era Photographs

The Library of Congress has a great collection of photographs from the Great Depression that has recently been updated. The collection now contains more than 175,000 portraits of America between the years 1935 and 1945, taken by photographers of the government’s Farm Security Administration. The photographs also include all known data about the subject(s) in each photo, including the date and location of the photograph and also the name of the photographer.

Click on the images to view larger versions.

Thanks to a new project known as Photogrammar from Yale University, viewers will have a much easier time exploring the photographs. There’s a map that displays the images by county and another that shows where each picture was taken and by which photographer. There’s also an interactive that allows viewers to sort the photos by theme (e.g. “war” or “religion”) and then browse from there. Other tools are still in the works.

TellMeBye

You made out your will, correct? Once you depart this earth, your heirs will be informed of your wishes for disposition of the insurance money, the house, the family heirlooms, and the other various items you have accumulated in your life. However, what about your genealogy data? How about the collection of tweets or the posts on Facebook? How about your digital images and videos? How about your Bitcoins that are stored only in electronic format? Who should be able to look at your email messages? If you don’t take positive action NOW, all those electronic items can vaporize with no one to look after them.

TellMeBye is an online tool for everyone who would like to plan the inheritance of their entire digital legacy and, therefore, make it easier for others to receive their documents, messages, memories, or content. You can also disclose your final wishes and provide information to help your family members with formalities after your death, such as details of your insurance policies, a PDF copy of your will, what to do with your body, people to be told, final wishes, and much more.

MyHeritage and BillionGraves Honored for Global Crowdsourcing Project

MyHeritage and BillionGraves were awarded the Presidential Citation at the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference this past weekend for their partnership in promoting the preservation of international burial locations.

Quoting from the MyHeritage Blog:

Gravestones are a great resource for family history investigation and a useful tool to learn more about your ancestors. They provide detailed information such as names, dates of birth and death and often describe personality. However, natural wear and tear means that these important family history sources need to be preserved before it’s too late. Together, MyHeritage and BillionGraves launched a global initiative to digitize cemeteries and gravestones to preserve these gravestones by making them accessible for free online to millions to aid in their family history research.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 7.2 Million Indexed Records and Images to Argentina, Germany, Jamaica, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 7.2 million indexed records and images to collections from Argentina, Germany, Jamaica, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,703,079 indexed records from the Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880–1999, collection; the 2,522,767 indexed records and images from the United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014, collection; and the 852,481 indexed records from U.S., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Price of Online Storage Drops Even More: Dropbox Slashes Its Dropbox Pro Price by 90%!

I was pleasantly surprised today to receive an email message from Dropbox announcing a major price DECREASE. I am a Dropbox Pro subscriber and have been paying $9.99 per month to store up to 100 gigabytes of data. Now, for that same price, any Dropbox Pro subscriber can store one terabyte. That’s ten times the storage at no increase in price. I am surprised.

Update: Create Your Own Who Do You Think You Are? Story with FindMyPast

A bit more than two weeks ago, I wrote about a new service entitled, Create Your Own Who Do You Think You Are? Story with FindMyPast.co.uk.” Note the letters “.co.uk” on the end of the address. Near the end of the article, I wrote, “The historical information added by FindMyPast seems to feature mostly U.K. events. That isn’t surprising as the service is being offered on FindMyPast’s U.K. web site at FindMyPast.co.uk. If this new beta test becomes successful, I might guess it will later be offered in versions for the U.S. as well as for other countries.”

It looks like my guess was correct. The service is now available with U.S. historical events included in the timelines. For an example of a family story using U.S. history and timelines, look at Josh Taylor’s family story at http://goo.gl/jUze3o.

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