Air Raid on Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Commander in Chief Pacific, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.

World War II Enlistment Records Online

One great resource available from the U.S. National Archives is the World War II Enlistment Records. These records have been transcribed and made available on the National Archives web site. These records are especially valuable as many of the personnel papers of these soldiers and sailors were later destroyed in a fire.

The National Archives scanned War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments to support the reconstruction of the military personnel records at its National Personnel Records Center. That strikes me as a sad commentary about technology: the data was originally stored on punch cards which, once upon a time, could be read by machines. I haven’t seen a punch card reader in operation for many years, however. The cards were eventually microfilmed for long-term preservation.

Nine million records were later transcribed manually by humans who sat and read the microfilms and transcribed the information onto keyboards. Due to the condition of the microfilms, approximately 1.5 million records could not be scanned. Scanning problems when the microfilms were created also contributed to the errors. Despite these challenges, information about a majority of sixteen million World War II servicemen and women is available via the web site.

Homestead Final Certificate Land Entry Case Files of Nebraska are now Online

If your ancestors received homestead land, the Homestead Records may provide a wealth of information. Some case files include records of military service, evidence of naturalization, and much more. The files from Nebraska are now online. The following announcement was written by the folks at the Homestead National Monument:

Homestead National Monument of America is excited to announce that the Homestead Final Certificate Land Entry Case Files of Nebraska are online and available at Ancestry.com.

More than 3.4 Million British Trade Union Registers and More Released Online Today

The folks at Findmypast today announced the release of over 3.4 million British Trade Union Membership registers as part of this week’s Findmypast Friday. The company also released other UK, US, Australian and Irish records.

Newly-added resources include:

Man Finds Wedding Ring Near Site of a 1959 Plane Crash, Tracks Down Daughter

Fifty-five years ago, Joyce Wharton lost her parents in a small plane crash. For more than a decade, the family lived under a shroud of mystery. The family agonized for nearly 15 years without answers until plane wreckage was discovered in a dense wooded area in Washington.

With closure and peace finally in hand, Wharton, who now lives in New Jersey, said she never imagined there could be more to come. Then, on Sunday, she got an unexpected phone call and received a wondrous gift from a stranger that brought back memories more than a half-century in the past. “He said, ‘Joyce, I have your mother’s ring, and I’ve been looking for you all these years and I want you to have this,'” Wharton said.

Ancestral Systems LLC Releases a Major New Clooz 3 Update

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestral Systems LLC:

Clooz users have invested a substantial amount of time building their Clooz database and linking it to the people and sources in their linked family tree program. Therefore, Clooz users previously were faced with a difficult situation when a family tree program change is needed, as may happen to our users who have relied on The Master Genealogist, which is being discontinued.

To support this challenge for our users, a new Synchronization Transfer Tool has been added to assist users migrating from one family tree program to another. Users can now transfer the links from one external file to another different file (e.g., a TMG user who linked to their data from Clooz can shift the links to apply to a Legacy or RootsMagic file containing the same identification numbers as the TMG file).

(+) Obtain an ISBN Number for Your Genealogy Book

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

“ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number.” An ISBN number is an ISO standard and normally is found in all books published in the United States since 1970 and on many books published in other countries as well. Technically, an ISBN number is not a requirement for any book; you may publish books without such a number. However, experience has shown that an ISBN number is required if you want the book to be listed in the many indexing and cataloging systems available. Also, an ISBN number is required for all books that are to be sold by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Border Books, and most any other major bookseller. These booksellers use the ISBN numbers to order, inventory, and track books.

Only the smallest self-published and self-marketed books can survive without ISBN numbers.

MyHeritage’s Efforts at Digitizing Cemeteries

MyHeritage, the exclusive sponsor of this newsletter, has mounted a major effort to preserve and digitize cemeteries worldwide, with the help of some friends. This is expected to be a multi-year effort. A major milestone has already been met with the ambitious goal to digitize Israel’s largest cemetery, Holon, collaborating with genealogy companies, genealogy organizations, societies and other volunteers who love genealogy. It was one of the largest events of its kind ever organized – in the world!

Digitizing Israel’s largest cemetery, Holon.

A Preservation Problem

Do you plan to leave your genealogy records for use by others after your death? If so, what storage method will you use for the information?

Paper doesn’t work too well. Today’s acid-based paper will probably last only for fifty to one hundred years or so. Even worse, toner used by modern laser printers and photocopy machines will only last ten to twenty years although the paper itself will last longer. Nobody will be able to read the paper documents if the toner has faded.

Archival quality paper with high-quality ink will last more than 100 years, but such ink is not readily available for computer printers. Would you want to write your entire genealogy by hand? Using a fountain pen?

Richard III’s DNA shows an Infidelity Surprise

It seems there was a bit of hanky-panky under the sheets a few hundred years ago. That’s certainly nor unusual amongst the royals but the degree of proof certainly is new. When Richard III’s body was exhumed recently and a DNA sample was obtained, it proved that his supposed descendants weren’t his at all. It seems there was a “false paternity” event somewhere along the way.

Details may be found in an article by Paul Rincon, science editor for BBC News, at http://goo.gl/X0zqlP.

23andMe Expands into the UK

DNA testing firm 23andMe had to stop offering its medical testing in the U.S. because of pressure from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA apparently doesn’t believe that consumers should have direct access to medical information concerning their own bodies. Instead, the warning letter sent to 23andMe stated that such information should only be given to medical professionals. 23andMe continues to provide genealogy DNA information to customers, however.

23andMe earlier announced the company will start offering all services in Canada. Now the company has also been approved to provide both medical and genealogical DNA services in the U.K. These governments apparently are interested in having their citizens monitor their own health issues.

57,000 Photo Studio Negatives in Richland, WA to be Destroyed

Get them while you can! Much genealogical information will be lost unless it is claimed now by an interested party.

Negatives from photos shot by professional photographers between 1950 to 2007y donated to the REACH Center in Richland, Washington, from 1950-2007, are being deaccessioned. All unclaimed negatives will be destroyed. The center has extended the deadline to December 5 after receiving more than 500 requests for photo negatives within two days of a Monday Tri-City Herald story about the negatives.

New York City Publishes Online 17th Century ‘New Amsterdam’ Historical Manuscripts

The following announcement was written by New York City’s Department of Records and Information Services:

Municipal Archives launches project to digitize collections, beginning with the New Amsterdam historical manuscripts

Access the New Amsterdam digitized collection at www.archives.NYC

NEW YORK—As the first step in its efforts to digitize and make available to the public the historical records of New York City government, the City’s Department of Records and Information Services (DoRIS), announced today that it is releasing its first online collection of 17th Century historical manuscripts, showing the early development of the City’s government: ordinances drawn from the Records of New Amsterdam for the period of 1647 to 1661, and their corresponding translations, maintained by the Municipal Archives and Municipal Library.

Book Review: Alex Haley’s Roots An Author’s Odyssey

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey
by Adam Henig. Self published. 2014. 110 pages.

This is a brief biography of Alex Haley.

Sixty pages are devoted to Mr. Haley’s success as a writer for Reader’s Digest, Playboy magazine, co-author of the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and very significantly, Roots, the book and the miniseries, whose impact was seminal on the renaissance of interest in family history. And not to pass unnoticed, Roots‘ unflinching saga of slavery brought home the incalculable tragedy of human bondage.

Mr. Henig focusses on events after the triumph of Roots. Haley’s difficulties with the press, the accusations of plagiarism, and the challenges of flaws in his genealogy, were all factors that contributed to Haley’s troublesome last years of life. Mr. Henig references the events through newspaper accounts, interviews with those who knew Haley, and Haley’s papers.

Unlock the Past Cruises Schedule 2015–16

Want to take a genealogy cruise? Unlock the Past Cruises has many available to choose from. The following was written by Unlock the Past Cruises:

Adelaide, South Australia, 1 December 2014 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its 2015-16 program of seven history and genealogy cruises – all now booking. Discover more about your family history in great company while visiting great destinations. All who book a cruise during the remainder of 2014 and 2015 are in a draw for $6000 worth of prizes. In addition there are more great prize opportunities on each cruise!

From Fremantle, Western Australia on the Astor, 19-24 January 2015, a cruise commemorating the departure of the convoys carrying the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force (later to be known collectively as the ANZACs) in late 1914. Noted Irish and military historian, Richard Reid, will be the lead presenter.

Baltic cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, 11-25 July 2015, visiting northern Europe, St Petersburg and Scandinavia – departing Southampton and visiting Bruges (Belgium), Berlin (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden), and Copenhagen (Denmark). Apart from fantastic ports of call learn from a great team of presenters including Cyndi Ingle and Paul Milner (United States), Chris Paton and Janet Few (UK), Shauna Hicks and Carol Baxter (Australia) and many more.

Biggest Digitization of Irish Genealogy Records to Begin

The National Library of Ireland is to digitise more than 400,000 images of Catholic parish register microfilms and publish them online for free. In what is being described as the most significant ever digitisation project for Irish genealogy, the microfilms will be available online for free from the National Library of Ireland (NLI) by the summer of 2015.

The records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

“This is the most ambitious digitisation project in the history of the NLI, and our most significant ever genealogy project,” said Colette O’Flaherty, head of special collections at the NLI.

View the Only Video of Mark Twain in Existence

Thomas Edison once said, “An average American loves his family. If he has any love left over for some other person, he generally selects Mark Twain.”

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain, would have been 179 years old yesterday. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, but spent his later years in Redding, Connecticut. The only known film of Mark twain is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqaSOw1WhjI.

Registration Open for the National Genealogical Society’s 2015 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

2015 Family History Conference
St. Charles, Missouri, 13–16 May 2015

Crossroads of America

Arlington, VA, 1 DECEMBER 2014: Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s thirty-seventh annual family history conference, Crossroads of America, which will be held 13–16 May 2015 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. Conference highlights include a choice of more than 150 lectures, given by nationally known speakers and subject matter experts on a broad array of topics. The conference will open with The Tales of Pioneer Paths: Rivers, Roads & Rails given by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, a full-time professional researcher and educator, and former APG president.

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

(+) The Problems with OCR

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

Much of the genealogy information available on the World Wide Web is obtained from old books, published many years ago. With today’s technology, vendors are finding it easy to scan the books and to convert the pages into computer text. The results are placed online and the text becomes searchable in Google and other search engines, as well as each site’s own “search box.” The conversion from printed pages to computer text can be performed at modest expense and the information derived can be valuable for many genealogists. There is but one problem: it doesn’t always work very well.

Scanning a page from a book creates a picture of the page. However, a picture is not easily searchable. The image is similar to taking a picture with a digital camera: while it is easily readable by a human eye, the computer cannot “see” the words in the picture. A conversion process, called Optical Character Recognition, is required.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,581 other followers