January 25 is Robert Burns Day So Let’s Eat Vegetarian Haggis

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns was born January 25, 1759. In celebration of his birthday, Burns Suppers range from formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to very informal dinners throughout Scotland and in restaurants and the homes of Scottish descendants worldwide. Most Burns Suppers adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honored form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.

NOTE: American and Irish liquor producers spell it as WHISKEY, while Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese producers usually spell it without an “e”: WHISKY.

Almost anyone can enjoy a Burns Night celebration. All that’s needed is a place to gather, plenty of haggis and neeps to go around, a master of ceremonies, friendly celebrants, and good Scotch drink to keep you warm.

2015 FGS Conference Early Registration Discount Extended Until Monday, January 26

If you missed the deadline, you have until Monday to register. The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

2015 FGS Conference Early registration discount Extended

January 23, 2015 – Austin, TX. The early registration discount for the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference has been extended to midnight (MST), Monday, January 26. This extension allows three more days to register at $159 for the full four days of the conference coming up February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with RootsTech.

(+) How to become a Paid Genealogy Speaker

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

Ah, the glamorous life: flying from city to city, giving presentations before genealogy conferences and society meetings. How would you like to do the same?

Amazon Kindle Textbook Creator

A new product from Amazon to create Kindle ebooks has the word “Textbook” in its name but it appears to work for all sorts of books. Of course, I am thinking about genealogy books. The new software appears to be an extension to the already-available Kindle Direct Publishing application.

Kindle Textbook Creator even makes it easy to transform PDFs into an e-book format. I haven’t used the product yet but hope to do so soon. I noticed that Amazon claims its Textbook Creator offers a simple way to organize an array of educational materials — graphs, equations, charts or anything else you might find in a textbook.

Best of all, Kindle Textbook Creator is available free of charge for Windows and Macintosh. The books can be read on all sorts of devices, including Amazon’s Kindles, of course, as well as iPads, iPhones or Android devices.

NTIS Extends Comments Period for Proposed Changes to the Certification for Access to the Death Master File (DMF)

The Death Master File, or DMF, is better known to genealogists as the SDSDI or Social Security Death Index. The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) has proposed new rules that will, if implemented, create a certification program to replace the temporary certification program currently in place for access to the DMF. The result will create an expensive impediment to genealogists attempting to learn more about their ancestors.

For more information, see my earlier articles at http://goo.gl/vq5fSF and at http://goo.gl/U7MJLs.

I’m My Own Grandpa

Some of the readers’ comments following my recent article of Is There Any Such Thing as a Half-Cousin? at http://goo.gl/j4y3q1 described some complex relationships. The comments include stories of “double first cousins,” children who are simultaneously siblings as well as cousins, and more. All of this reminds me of a popular song from the 1940s called I’m My Own Grandpa.

The song was written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, performed by Lonzo and Oscar in 1947, about a man who, through an unlikely (but legal) combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother. The song pays no attention to the prefix “step-” however. As a result, the singer becomes his own grandfather.

Records from the Archdiocese of Louisiana and the Floridas between 1576-1803 are now Online

Another great resource is now available online: Records from the Archdiocese of Louisiana and the Floridas – 1576-1803.

The database contains two entries for each record: (1.) an image of the original hand-witten record in French and (2.) an image of an accompanying 3″ by 5″ index card that was created some years ago.

Famous Kin of Thomas Jefferson

Click on the above image to view the full sized infographic on the Crestview site.

Crestleaf has an interesting infographic that helps confirm the idea that everyone is related to most everyone else. The infographic shows many of the notable Americans who are related to Thomas Jefferson, ranging from George Washington to Paris Hilton.

Of course, millions of other, less notable, people are also related to Thomas Jefferson and, through him, to all the others shown in the Crestleaf infographic at http://goo.gl/6bS1Ai.

Proposed Elimination of the Genealogy Department at Indiana State Library

This could be a huge loss to genealogists: the new Indiana state budget bill proposes a 24% cut in funding to the Indiana State Library. This proposal would eliminate the Genealogy Department, as well as reduce the staff at ISL by 10%.

The Indiana Genealogical Society has posted information about this on their blog, and includes links to an analysis by the State Librarian, the contact info for the House Ways and Means Committee, and committee chair Rep. Timothy Brown. You can read more about the proposal at: http://indgensoc.blogspot.com/2015/01/proposed-elimination-of-genealogy-at.html.

My thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for telling me about this proposed loss to genealogists.

Is There Any Such Thing as a Half-Cousin?

One of my pet peeves is a term that I see online over and over: someone claiming to be a “half first cousin” or a “half second cousin once removed” or something similar. Sorry folks, but there is no such thing as a “half first cousin” according to legal dictionaries. However, the term is used by others. I know that lots of families use that term to refer to various relatives.

NOTE: I will describe references used in the U.S. It is possible that relations are described differently in other countries and especially in languages other than English.

Many people think that a “half first cousin” is someone who shares one grandparent with you but not both of them. For instance, my great-grandfather was married twice. He had several children by his first wife. The wife then died in childbirth, and great-grandfather later remarried and had more children by his second wife. I am descended from great-grandfather and his first wife. I recently met a man who is descended from my great-grandfather and his second wife. Some people would think that this other man and I are half-second cousins. “Half” apparently refers to the fact that we share only half the relationship because of our different great-grandmothers.

In fact, we are second cousins. Period.

Photos of UFOs Now Available from the National Archives and Records Administration

Click on the above image to view a larger, although still fuzzy, version.

For decades, the U.S. Air Force kept a record of all of its investigations into extraterrestrial activity in one extensive report called Project Blue Book. Up until last week, Project Blue Book’s massive catalog of over 10,000 UFO and extraterrestrial reports from the 1940s to the 1970s had only been accessible by visiting the National Archives in Washington. Now the archives are available online.

A South Texas Internment Camp for German-American Citizens during World War II

Click on the above image to view a Larger version.

The hardships endured by Japanese-Americans who suffered forced relocation and incarceration during World War II are well documented and well-known. The rationale is that these Americans of Japanese ancestry might have been spies. However, Japan was not the only nation at war with the United States and not the only nation to have sent emigrants to the United States.

Americans of German descent were also sent to internment camps. One thing I found interesting is that many of the detainees were pawns traded for “more important” Americans held behind enemy lines during and after the war.

Genealogy Roadshow, Season 2, Episode 2

Genealogy Roadshow aired earlier this evening. It was the second episode of the new season. Hosts Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco worked with guests in St. Louis to prove and disprove family stories handed down over the years and to make new discoveries for the guests.

This week’s episode was videotaped at the St. Louis Central Library and featured several interesting stories. The first story may have been the most interesting. It started with a family legend that a great-grandmother’s immigration from Italy was for an arranged marriage to an American cowboy from Wyoming. However, when she met the man, she didn’t like him. The Genealogy Roadshow researchers found that this story was like many other family stories: a kernel of truth that had been twisted and embellished over the years.

Dayton, Ohio, Metro Library’s Genealogy Collection to Relocate

The Dayton Metro Library’s construction takes another step at the Main Library when the Genealogy Collection moves to temporary quarters at 359 Maryland Avenue. Library staff will move collections, equipment, and other materials over a three-day period beginning on Saturday, January 24, 2015, requiring temporary suspension of genealogy services.

When it reopens on Tuesday, January 27, the Dayton Metro Library Genealogy Center at Maryland Avenue will offer collections and services during regular Library hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (no Sunday hours).

A Relationship Chart by Betty Eichhorn

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

In the recent comments to earlier newsletter articles, several readers suggested that one or more relationship charts may be difficult to read. Betty Eichhorn suggested to me that she has an easier-to-read chart that is also accompanied by a description of relationships.

After looking at her chart and the accompanying description, I agree. Betty’s chart is easier to read and understand. Betty has graciously agreed to share her two page chart and description with everyone.

Patricia Shawker, R.I.P.

Click on the above image to view a larger version

Sad news. The following was written by Claire Bettag and Marie Melchiori:

With profound sadness we learned that our colleague and friend, Patricia Shawker, CG, FNGS, died Friday, 16 January 2015, after a two-and-a half-year battle with cancer. Patty’s husband, Tom, also our genealogical colleague, has asked us to reach out to the larger community with this unexpected news. The funeral will be on Saturday 24 January, noon until 2PM at Gasch’s Funeral Home, 4739 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD, 20781. An obituary will be published later this week and will be forwarded to you at that time.

Vita Infinita Hopes to Connect Socially Active Relatives Worldwide

Vita Infinita is a web site under development. There is almost nothing available on the site just yet except for a tantalizing statement: “Vita Infinita is a web application that allows users to connect with socially active relatives worldwide, crowdsource the family relationships, collect personal memories and organise them in a simple genealogy and timeline system for the future generations.”

The site does say that it will maintain privacy as well as to allow collaboration amongst relatives to build a family tree.

This Week’s Genealogy Roadshow was Videotaped in St. Louis

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Genealogy Roadshow, featuring stories videotaped at St. Louis’ historic central library, will be broadcast on Tuesday evening, January 20. The program will feature a mystery writer who discovers her mother has hidden a life-changing secret; a woman who finds out whether she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a mother and daughter who seek connections to a famous author; and a young man who seeks connection to the Mali tribe in Africa.

The program is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS at 8 pm Eastern time, 7 PM Central. However, PBS stations often “time shift” programs to different times or dates. Check your local listings to find the time and PBS station near you.

Kentucky Genealogy Enthusiast Recovers Central Ohio Library Time Capsule

A tin box holding records of daily life in Marysville was inside the cornerstone of the city’s Carnegie library for 75 years before its 1997 demolition. The box arrived at the current public library earlier this month from a genealogy enthusiast from Kentucky who bought it at a yard sale about a decade ago, the Marysville Journal-Tribune reported.

A New Family Relationship Chart and Infographic

Crestleaf has created a family relationship chart to explain how you’re related to other people and start asking yourself questions, including:

  • How exactly am I related to Uncle Bob, who I only see once a year?
  • There are a bunch of kids running around these days – how do they fit into the family tree?
  • How in the world do I fit into all of this?
  • Boy, these people are weird. Am I completely sure I’m related to them?
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