Findmypast adds new US & UK Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Over a million fascinating British and US military records are now available to search thanks to the latest installment of Findmypast Friday. Over 1.3 million US Civil War pension records are now available to search and the ability to search by surname has been added to our collection of British Mariners, Trinity House Calendar records. Nearly 29,000 records containing the details of Officers and enlisted men who served with the Royal Artillery are also now available to search along with a First World War Roll of Honour from Clacton on Sea in Essex.

United States Civil War Pension Files Index 1861-1934
Containing over 1.3 million records, the United States Civil War Pension Files Index, 1861-1934, is an index of pension application cards for veterans and their beneficiaries. This time period actually covers veterans of numerous wars including the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I. The bulk of these files pertain to service in the U.S. Civil War, which saw millions of Americans enlisted into the Union Army. Pensions were received by soldiers or their beneficiaries for service rendered and were available to widows, children under the age of sixteen, and dependent relatives of soldiers who died in military service from war-related injuries or diseases. Each record includes a transcript and many include an image of the original index card. Most transcripts will list the applicant’s name, relation and year of application, while images can reveal the veteran’s unit, the time he applied for the pension, names of his widow or children, pension application numbers, previous pension application numbers, certificate numbers, and the name of his attorney.

Ancestry.com Contract Worker at National Records Center in St. Louis Fired for Mishandling Draft-Card Information

An employee of ancestry.com who was working at the Federal Records Center in St. Louis was fired for allegedly throwing out draft-card information, a federal administrator said.

Bryan McGraw, director of the National Personnel Records Center, said Friday that his staff recovered all the papers, some of them from a trash can. The incident on March 12 prompted the federal agency to halt contract work by Ancestry Inc., which operates as ancestry.com, at St. Louis and four other sites.

Details may be found in an article by Tim O’Neil in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at http://goo.gl/FrQcze.

U.S. Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” to Feature Sean Hayes this Sunday

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Sean Hayes’ estranged father has a troubled past, so Sean goes on a journey to discover the root of the problem on Who Do You Think You Are?, airing this Sunday, March 29 at 10/9c on TLC.

Sean’s journey takes him to Chicago where he uncovers the sad details of his grandfather’s early death on skid row. Sean then follows his ancestral trail to Ireland, where court documents reveal the chaos in the Hayes family runs generations deep. Through Sean’s search, he is able to deepen his understanding of his father and appreciate that he’s broken a turbulent family pattern on his own.

Key details from Sean’s episode include:

  • Sean’s father left the family when Sean was just 5, and they’re currently estranged. Since there’s such a big disconnect with his father’s family, Sean wants to know more about his paternal roots. He’d like to know what led to his father’s troubled past; why his father and his siblings were placed in an orphanage when at least one of their parents was still alive.

NGS 2016 Family History Conference Call for Papers Closes 1 April 2015

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 26 MARCH 2015—Time is running out to submit lecture proposals for the NGS 2016 Family History Conference. Speakers and sponsoring organizations must submit their proposals by 1 April 2015. The conference, entitled Exploring the Centuries: Footprints in Time, will be held 4–7 May 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The ethnic makeup of Florida is, and always has been, diverse. Native Americans—including Miccosukees, Choctaw, Creek, Timucua, and Calusa—lived throughout the area, which became known as La Florida after the arrival of Ponce de León in 1513. The Spanish were followed by other groups such as the French, British, Irish, German, and Greeks. The importation of African slaves also affected society in Florida as did the formation of the Seminole alliance. All of these people have left many footprints in time and a rich repository of records to trace our ancestry.

Announcing LibreOffice Online

I ditched Microsoft Word several years ago and started experimenting with different word processors. I eventually settled on LibreOffice, a FREE suite of programs that includes a word processor (replacing Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet program (replacing Microsoft Excel), a presentation program (replacing Microsoft PowerPoint), a drawing program, a database creation and management program, and a formula editor that can be invoked in your text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, to enable you to insert mathematical and scientific formulas. LibreOffice is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.

NOTE: The LibreOffice programs are similar to, but different from, Microsoft Office. It is not 100% compatible. For instance, macros in LibreOffice’s spreadsheet program are different from those in Microsoft Excel. Even so, the LibreOffice suite of programs meets the needs of hundreds of thousands of computer users, corporations, and non-profits around the world.

Best of all is the price tag: FREE. LibreOffice never asks for payments although the sponsoring organization will accept donations. Most of the articles published in this newsletter, including the article you are reading at this moment, were created with LibreOffice.

(+) Waymarking for Genealogists and Historians

This article might be subtitled “How to Have Fun with Your GPS Receiver and Simultaneously Provide a Public Service for Others.”

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

Beatrix Potter used Hill Top, a 17 century farm house as a holiday home in the village of Sawrey. Here she wrote and based many of her books. N 54° 21.097 W 002° 58.227

A new hobby has appeared that is a “natural fit” for genealogists, historians, and many others. It is called “waymarking.” It is fun, gives you a chance to get a little exercise, and also provides a great public service. If you join in the waymarking activities of today, you can help future genealogists and others for decades to come.

Waymarking is a game/project/obsession which uses GPS coordinates to mark locations of interest and share them with others. You can even post online digital pictures of the location for others to see.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas sue the Texas General Land Office

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas sued the state General Land Office, accusing the state agency of “an unlawful attempt” to take some 30,000 books and artifacts at the Alamo that the group says belong to the DRT.

The suit comes shortly after Land Commissioner George P. Bush decided to remove the Daughters as overseers of the Alamo, ending the nonprofit’s 110-year role there.

Announcing Avotaynu Online!

A new web site appeared online this afternoon. It is a significant new undertaking by Avotaynu Inc. Best of all, it includes all articles from 2007 through 2011 published in AVOTAYNU, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. The following announcement was written by the folks at Avotaynu Inc.:

Avotaynu Inc is pleased to announce the creation of “Avotaynu Online,” an exciting new venture intended to stimulate collaboration among Jewish genealogists in all its forms. Leading participants in the various areas of genealogical research will provide in-depth articles on events and discoveries on a regular basis.

Avotaynu Online will be available free of charge from the venture’s website at http://avotaynuonline.com/, which will be shared simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter. Reports will be delivered in different formats, including text, video, and podcasts.

Scottish Highlanders in America Documented in New Series

Dr. David Dobson, noted author of books pertaining to Scottish origins of American colonists, has introduced a new series designed to identify the origins of Scottish Highlanders who traveled to America prior to the Great Highland Migration that began in the 1730s. His first volume lists groups of Highlanders from Argyll who headed for North Carolina and New York.

The Knowles Collection Jewish Genealogy Database Reaches One Million Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, March 25, 2015 — The Knowles Collection, a quickly growing, free online Jewish genealogy database linking generations of Jewish families from all over the world, reached its one-millionth record milestone and is now easily searchable online. The collection started from scratch just over seven years ago, with historical records gathered from FamilySearch’s collections. Now the vast majority of new contributions are coming from families and private archives worldwide. The free collection can be accessed at FamilySearch.org/family-trees.

The databases from the Knowles Collection are unlike other collections in that people are linked as families and the collection can be searched by name, giving researchers access to records of entire families. All records are sourced and show the people who donated the records so cousins can contact one another. New records are added continually, and the collection is growing by about 10,000 names per month from over 80 countries. Corrections are made as the need is found, and new links are added continually.

Branches for iPad adds Several New Features

The following announcement was written by Sherwood Electronics, the producers of Branches for iPad:

Sherwood Electronics releases an update to BRANCHES FOR iPAD that provides access to LDS FamilySearch™ data and ordinances, plus support for DropBox and email GEDCOM downloads.

Sherwood Electronics Laboratories, Inc. announces an update to Branches for iPad that allows users to access the vast FamilySearch™ database and download family tree information onto their iPad. Downloading of GEDCOM files using DropBox and email has also been added. GEDCOMs can be created, and emailed, from downloaded data.

The new and expanded features of Branches for iPad make Branches even easier to use, and more powerful. Email and DropBox transfer of GEDCOM files has been added and is easy and fast.

The FamilySearch™ features support downloading of pedigree trees directly from FamilySearch™, which is a free service to everyone. Explore relationships and search back into your family tree.

Troy (New York) Irish Genealogy Society Adds Marriage Notices Appearing in Lansingburgh Newspapers 1787 – 1895

The following announcement was written by the Troy (New York) Irish Genealogy Society:

An index to 2,712 marriage notices covering 5,424 names 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 this book so these important records 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 MARRIAGE 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.

The ten different Lansingburgh newspapers were:

Drouin Institute adds to its Repertory of Vital Events

The following announcement was written by the Drouin Institute, a well-known provider of French-Canadian data:

A year ago, the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) of the Université de Montréal proudly announced that the Drouin Institute (IGD) (http://www.drouininstitute.com/) was now the editor for the public use of the PRDH data put together for the needs of University research. We had then written that this new development, qualified as “a welcome marriage between genealogy and university research”, would certainly lead to new initiatives, favourable for both researchers and the general public.

Here is a striking example of what we meant! We are adding today to the Repertory of Vital Events on our site the 1 700 000 baptisms, marriages and burials for the period 1800-1849 obtained from the IGD who did the data extracting for the baptisms and burials and of the Protestant marriages and made it available for university research, the marriages coming from the Balsac project at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The Connecticut Library Association’s Rally for Libraries

The genealogy community relies on our public libraries, especially those with terrific genealogy divisions and clubs. The new Connecticut proposed budget would eliminate the funding for interlibrary loan, consortia, grants for special programs and collections (like genealogy and local history), etc. Several years have seen proposals like this, but this battle is seen as the most dire.

The following is a “call for action” issued by the Connecticut Library Association:

As you know, Connecticut libraries are reeling from the news that the governor’s recent budget proposes to eliminate all state funding for Cooperating Library Service Units (CLC) as well as funding for Connecticard, Grants to Public Libraries, and more. In addition, there is a proposal to eliminate the state statutes that authorize and support these programs.

We need your help now to make sure the budget that is recommended in April by the Appropriations Committee includes full funding for CLC, Connecticard and Grants to Public Libraries.

What can you do to help?

Co-founder of Ancestry.com Charged with Sexually Abusing Teen

Sad news. A person who once was a well known person in the genealogy community had criminal charges filed Monday against him. However, I believe Dan Taggart has not been associated with Ancestry.com in any way for several years.

Details may be found in an article in the Deseret News at http://goo.gl/pilqaT.

(+) The Web as We Knew it is Dead. Long Live the Web!

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

Are you using the latest and most convenient technology available today? Or are you using an ancient Windowsaurus (an old personal computing device from the paleo-Vista era)?

The history of the Internet began with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET (which would become the first network to use the Internet Protocol). Numerous people worked to connect computers together in a collaborative manner. Early examples include ARPANET, Mark I at NPL in the UK, CYCLADES, Merit Network, Tymnet, and Telenet. All were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols.

Book Review: BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating A Digital Genealogy Scrapbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating A Digital Genealogy Scrapbook
By Barb Groth
89 ppg. Published by BarbwireDigi/Barb Groth

Word has it that there was an emphasis on storytelling at the FGS/RootsTech conference this year.

To assist the genealogist who is ready to publish, there is an abundance of “How-To” guidebooks out there on the market. I’d say it’s a good idea to determine exactly where you’re at in your abilities to publish, then buy a guidebook suited to your immediate needs.

Ms. Groth has published a guide for creating a digital scrapbook, specifically targeted for the users of Adobe Photoshop© Elements. This program is an excellent photo-editing software for many genealogists, most especially for beginners. It’s fairly easy to learn, and does an excellent job of preparing photos for viewing and publication, adequately meeting the needs of most of us. Besides removing red-eye and cropping photos, I use photo-editing software to enhance contrast and modify light values on fuzzy scanned documents for improved readability and clarity. And, most importantly, Elements is affordable.

Announcing the 2016 ASG Scholar Award

The following announcement was written by the American Society of Genealogists:

Established in 1996, the ASG Scholar Award is an annual scholarship now providing an increased stipend of $1,000 toward tuition and expenses at one of three major academic genealogical programs in the United States. Candidacy for the award is open to all genealogists, genealogical librarians, and researchers working in related fields. Applicants submit a published work or a manuscript of work in progress, to be judged by a panel of three Fellows. The goal of the award is to recognize talent and build genealogical expertise by providing promising genealogists the opportunity to receive advanced academic training in genealogy.

Who Owns Your Genealogy Data?

Overheard at a genealogy conference recently (repeated from memory so the wording might not be exact):

Person #1: “I won’t put my genealogy information online because I am afraid someone might steal it.”

Person #2: “Where did you obtain all that information?”

Person #1: “From freely available public records, including census records, birth and death records, newspapers, and such.”

OK, now let me add my own comments and questions: All of those records are always available to everyone else. What is person #1 trying to hide?

Angie Harmon featured on Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

The U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? continues this Sunday as Angie Harmon sets out to discover the roots of her beloved father, whose heritage is relatively vague.

On her journey, Angie uncovers the dramatic story of her five-times great grandfather, who endured hardship and danger as an immigrant coming to America. She discovers that he fought in the American Revolution and risked death for standing his ground. She makes modern connections with some of her own values that appear to have been in the family for generations.

Key details discovered in Angie’s episode include:

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