New FamilySearch Collections: Week of July 13, 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Family historians hungry for historic Irish records will enjoy FamilySearch’s new collection, Ireland
Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912
. These indexed court documents bring 22 million records to your fingertips. These records were originally filmed at the National Archives of Ireland
and the index was created by See the table below for additions to over 60 historical record collections, including 46 million US obituaries. Click on the collection’s link to start your discovery.

Wanted: A New Home for News, Data and Information from San Diego’s Past

The San Diego Daily Transcript, which has covered local business, law and real estate for 130 years, announced Wednesday that it will cease operations next month. The final edition will be published Sept. 1, and the newspaper will close Sept. 21, publisher Robert Loomis said.

Loomis also said, “We hope a local university or library will accept the donation of our past editions and possibly even the web database so the news, data and information from the past can be a resource for future San Diego researchers and business people,” Loomis said. “It has been a great ride, one more time, our sincere thanks to our employees, and the many advertisers and subscribers who have supported us during the last 130 years.”

Ginnifer Goodwin To Appear On TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? This Sunday

On Sunday, July 26 at 9PM/8PM Central, TLC will be bringing a new season of episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? with a brand new batch of celebrities ready to embark on a journey to learn more about their family history.

Sunday’s episode features Once Upon A Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin. In the episode, Goodwin knows little about her paternal grandfather’s family, and sets out to learn why her father never knew his own grandparents. What she does know is that her grandfather left home at the young age of just 11 years old. Ginnifer searches to find out why.


Comment on “Another Personal Genetics Company Is Sharing Client Data”

Yesterday I published an announcement from AncestryDNA and Calico that provides details about a new collaboration between the two organizations. In fact, the goals of the collaboration sound great: “to investigate human heredity of lifespan.” However, pessimists always see a negative side to anything and this announcement is no exception. This is a variation of the “glass is half full” versus “the glass is half empty” comparison.

Writing in Wired, Katie M. Palmer wrote an article entitled Another Personal Genetics Company Is Sharing Client Data. She states, “… companies like AncestryDNA have convinced customers to pay to give their genetic data away, at a cost of about $100 per sample. This is the same sort of bargain you make when you begrudgingly hand your personal information over to Google or Facebook: You sacrifice some amount of data about yourself in return for added convenience.” LLC Reports Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results

The following an an excerpt from a long announcement written by The full announcement may be found at:

– Second Quarter Revenues $169.4 million, Up 8.5% Year-Over-Year; Up 10.2% on Constant Currency Basis –

– Second Quarter Adjusted EBITDA $67.3 million, Up 16.1%Year-Over-Year1 –

PROVO, Utah, July 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LLC (the “Company”), the world’s largest online family history resource, reported financial results today for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.

Acadian French-Canadian Name Variations

A long and detailed article about Acadian French-Canadian Name Variations has been contributed to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy entitled Acadian French-Canadian Name Variations. It has been translated and is reproduced in the Encyclopedia with thanks to Claude Perrault and the Socièté Généalogique Canadienne-Française.

I recognized several of my Acadian ancestors’ names here! You might do the same.

Acadian French-Canadian Name Variations may be found at

Winnetka, Illinois, Library To Close Genealogy Room

The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library Board of Trustees on July 20 voted unanimously to close the library’s genealogy room, despite protests from residents and people from neighboring communities. While the genealogy collection has been a fixture at the library since 1963, the library will close the room for good on July 30 with plans to relocate the collection outside of the library.

Details may be found in an article by by Emily Spectre in the Daily North Shore web site at

If You Want to Attend the New York State Family History Conference, the Time to Buy a Ticket is NOW!

The following announcement was written by the New York State Family History Conference. Notice the words “is approaching “sold out” status.

The New York State Family History Conference, scheduled for September 17–19 in Syracuse, New York, in partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, is approaching “sold out” status. “The idea of the conference,” said Sue Miller, Education Director of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, “is to have the very top national presenters in a smaller, more personal conference environment.” The NYG&B and the Central New York Genealogical Society are the conference co-sponsors. Complete details are at

AncestryDNA and Calico to Research the Genetics of Human Lifespan

The following announcement was written by AncestryDNA:

Collaboration Will Analyze Family History and Genetics to Facilitate Development of Cutting-Edge Therapeutics

PROVO, Utah and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 21, 2015  — AncestryDNA, an industry leader in consumer genetics, and Calico, a company focused on longevity research and therapeutics, today announced an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. Together, they will evaluate anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

AncestryDNA and Calico will work together to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families experiencing unusual longevity using Ancestry’s proprietary databases, tools and algorithms. Calico will then focus its efforts to develop and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.

A Scavenger Hunt in the Cemeteries

Here is an idea for your local genealogy society or local historical society: a scavenger hunt.

John McVicar of Cambridge, Ontario, created an elaborate scavenger hunt of gravesites and monuments of famous people buried across Cambridge. He knew it would grab the interest of a few fellow genealogy and local history enthusiasts, but he didn’t think over 200 people would get involved.

It was so successful that McVicar has now pieced together two scavenger hunts: one in Cambridge and another one using cemeteries in Kitchener and Waterloo. Participants are asked to find the monuments or gravesites listed in the scavenger hunt guide and answer the accompanying questions.

U.S. National Archives opens an Innovation Hub

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, has announced in his personal blog the opening of an Innovation Hub on the first floor of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. The new Innovation Hub has two sections: a meeting area, and a citizen scanning room where researchers can scan the National Archives’ records with state-of-the-art equipment at no cost as long as they also contribute a copy of their digital scans for inclusion in the National Archives’ online catalog.

The result is a win-win: the visitor to the National Archives receives free use of state-of-the-art digitizing equipment to keep for his or her own use while the National Archives gets pieces of its holdings digitized at no additional expense beyond creating and stocking the Innovation Hub. (Paying someone to digitize documents normally is quite expensive.)

Book Review: Wood – A Family of Kent

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

A Family of Kent
by Charles Wood.
Ian Hodgkins & Co Ltd., United Kingdom. 2015. 172 pages.

In his introduction, Mr. Wood acknowledges the fragility of his evidence before the eighteenth century.

I admire a genealogist who uses the words “probably,” and “likely,” acknowledging what we all know but might refuse to admit: ersatz family history lurks around every repository corner. Mr. Wood discusses not only what he found, but what he couldn’t find, and the implications of both to his family history.

I especially like his phrasing “…with reasonable confidence [emphasis mine] Richard Wood (1655-1704/5) can be identified as a direct ancestor of a family group of Minster and Milton.” This is a researcher you can trust.

Update: A $20 Android PC

Three days ago I published an article about a $20 Android PC. That article is still available at I described a Kickstarter project in which a company is trying to raise $50,000 to go into production of this tiny device.

For a description of Kickstarter campaigns, see and specifically to learn about this particular campaign.

Today the company announced that they met their $50,000 goal 68 minutes after announcing it on Kickstarter! The campaign hit $250,000 in funding about 27 hours after launch and hit $500,000 in funding about 113 hours after launch! That is ten times the goal. Not bad. Obviously, there is a lot of demand for this device.

And, yes, one of those orders came from me.

London Jewish Synagogue Seatholder Records Go Online

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has released online 99,500 records of London synagogue seat-holders spanning the years from 1920 to 1939.

  • Covering the records from 18 Synagogues around London with many connected guilds, societies and charities etc.
  • Additional information found in these records include names of gentlemen eligible for office, life member of the council, women who are seatholders in their own right and seatholders who are not eligible to vote.
  • Fully searchable by name, keyword, synagogue and address, the Jewish Synagogue Seatholders has been extracted from various years of: “Seatholders for Synagogues in London”

Those with Jewish ancestors from London will welcome this fascinating new release from TheGenealogist. Revealing details of positions held by forebears, researchers will be able to track ancestors who became wardens, council members, or served on committees of their synagogue, as well as seatholders in synagogues from around the capital city. These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, keyword, synagogue and address and with one click see an image taken from the pages of Seatholders for Synagogues in London.

(+) Is It Unverified Data and Will It Always be Unverified?

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

Warning: this article contains personal opinions.

I have been fascinated with the comments posted on this newsletter over the years concerning “unverified information on the Internet” and comments about linking to family trees without verification. I agree with some of the comments and disagree with some others. I thought I would add my two cents’ worth.

First of all, I believe in verification of every bit of information I obtain. I don’t care if a fact came from the Internet, from a book, or even from an original record. I still want to verify every bit of information I read. (Most original records are correct but you will find occasional errors even in the original records.) I always look to see who reported the information or who wrote the book I am reading. Even if I recognize the author as being a leading genealogy expert, I still want to verify the claim independently. I don’t believe anyone!

So you think I would be against unsourced, unverified information on the Internet? Wrong!

On the Road Again

Well, it is time to travel again. After all, I have been home for five days since my last trip and I am getting restless.

As usual, I will be travelling with an iPad and a laptop computer, a wireless cellular modem, and wi-fi networking. I should be connected wherever I am. When it comes to posting articles in this newsletter, connectivity should not be an issue. Time available is usually the gating factor. I may not post as much as usual for the next week or so.

Book Your RootsTech Hotel Today

If you are planning to go to RootsTech in Salt Lake City February 3–6, 2016, here is a bit of advice: make your hotel reservation now! The nearby hotels usually are sold out many weeks before the conference.

Four Salt Lake City hotels are now taking reservations for RootsTech 2016. The Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Hilton Salt Lake City Center, and Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown will offer reduced rates to RootsTech conference attendees. Each hotel is conveniently located near the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Develop a Genealogy App at the RootsTech Innovator Showdown and Win $20,000

FamilySearch International is inviting innovators from around the globe and from all industries to develop the next generation of mobile and social applications to impact discovering, preserving, and sharing family connections across generations.

The 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown is a global competition where developers and entrepreneurs participate by submitting cutting-edge applications to compete for a piece of the $100,000 in total cash and in-kind prizes provided by industry and national sponsors.

The $100,000 Innovator Showdown Prizes include:

Another Method of Finding Your Ancestors: Use Time Travel

NOTE: I have no way of verifying the accuracy of these claims. In fact, I have serious doubts about them. However, this story does present some intriguing facts and makes for interesting speculation.

Did a few time travelers from the year 8100 go back in time to see the past for themselves? Have time travelers from Suffolk in the year 8100 been attempting to make contact with the past through the use of UFOs and “complex pictures (crop circles) in English fields?”

Several books and web sites make that claim. They also speculate that the time travelers were here only to observe their history. Maybe they are future genealogists.

A former US Air Force commander claims to have gathered new evidence which proves that a UFO landed in 1980 in Rendlesham Forest, near a US airbase in Suffolk, England. Officially, there was nothing seen on radar that night. However, the “landing” or whatever it may have been was witnessed by 30 US servicemen, as well as by several British policemen.

A $20 Android PC

I believe this is the wave of the future. In fact, I also believe the days of the Windows and Macintosh desktop and laptop computers are numbered. Those bigger computers won’t disappear overnight but I suspect sales will dwindle within ten years. The world is moving to smaller, lightweight, handheld computers that are all connected online with storage in the cloud.

But wait, you say you don’t want a tiny screen and a make-believe keyboard that requires you to type letters on a small screen? The ultra-cheap Remix Mini PC might be just what you want. The price certainly is attractive: $20 to $40 (US), depending upon the amount of included memory and internal storage. You will also have to add a monitor of any size you wish plus a keyboard and mouse. The total cost with everything should be under $150 unless you decide to use a really large monitor. Of course, if you already have a monitor, keyboard, or mouse available, the total price will be reduced.


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