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When High-Class Ladies Wore Masks That Made It Impossible to Speak

Here is a bit of history about some of our ancestors that I had not heard before. For refined, upper-class ladies in 16th-century Europe, getting a tan, especially on your face, was not a good look.

The implication of such coloring was that one must work outside, and thus, quite possibly be poor (cue gasps and swooning faints). So to make sure they didn’t get burned, some 16th-century ladies wore face masks called visards (or vizards) that covered their delicate visages. Unfortunately, the masks also made it so they couldn’t speak. And, look as if they belonged to an evil cult.

You can find this interesting article by Eric Grundhauser in Atlas Obscura at: http://bit.ly/2mppytY.

CLARIFICATION: How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable

The article entitled How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable (at http://bit.ly/2mAne0j) refers to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on streaming video over the Internet, not to watching it on cable or satellite television.

truTV is the Internet television division of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc., a Time-Warner company. All references to truTV in the How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable article refer ONLY to watching television programming over Internet streaming video, not to watching it on cable or satellite television. truTV typically is available via Roku boxes, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and similar “set-top boxes” as well as on Windows and Macintosh computers and on iPad, Android, and similar tablet computers.

Who Do You Think You Are? is also being broadcast on the TLC network, which is available on most cable and satellite television services.

Again, as the article title of How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable at http://bit.ly/2mAne0j refers ONLY to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on the Internet. For satellite or cable TV, look at TLC.

I have re-worded the original article in hopes of clarifying the differences.

Iceland’s Entire Family Tree is Online

I’m jealous! One country has everyone’s family tree, complete with original source citations, online and available for all the country’s citizens to see. In fact, there is even an Android app available to show each Icelandic citizen his or her genealogy, in most cases back to 874 AD.

Everyone in Iceland is related. Every member of the 300,000 population derives from the same family tree, according to genealogy website islendingabok.is.

Íslendingabók

Íslendingabók

The islendingabok.is web site hosts the online registry Íslendingabók (“The Book of Icelanders”). In it one can find information about the families of about 720,000 individuals who were born in Iceland at some point in time. Anyone who is registered in the database has free access to it.

Íslendingabók is the product of a cooperation between Icelandic company, deCODE Genetics, and Fridrik Skúlason, who first began registering genealogy information in 1988 into a program called Espólín. In 1997 Skúlason and deCODE began cooperating on registrations for genealogy research, and Íslendigabók was born.

Íslendingabók claims to be the only genealogy database in the world that covers a whole nation. More than 95 percent of all Icelanders born since 1703, when the first national census was taken, are registered in the database, along with half of all Icelanders who have lived on the island from the settlement in 874 until 1703.

How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable

CLARIFICATION: The article entitled How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable, (originally published yesterday and shown below) refers to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on streaming video over the Internet, not to watching it on cable or satellite television.

truTV is the Internet television division of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc., a Time-Warner company. All references to truTV in the How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable article refer ONLY to watching television programming over Internet streaming video, not to watching it on cable or satellite television. truTV typically is available via Internet-connected devices, such as Roku boxes, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and similar “set-top boxes” as well as on Windows and Macintosh computers and on iPad, Android, and similar tablet computers.

Who Do You Think You Are? is also being broadcast on the TLC network, which is available on most cable and satellite television services.

Again, as the article title of How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable  refers ONLY to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on the Internet. To watch it on satellite or cable TV, look at TLC.

I have re-worded the original article (shown below) in hopes of clarifying the differences.

Stagecoach Mary: the Black Cowgirl

America’s Old West was undoubtedly a Wild West before an ex-slave named Mary Fields arrived in 1885 at a small railroad town in present-day Montana. Yet she certainly made things more interesting.

Miss Fields, who came to be known as “Stagecoach Mary,” stood tall and brawny by even frontier standards, weighing more than 200 pounds. Though she preferred men’s clothes to women’s, beneath her work apron she sometimes packed a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. She was the only woman the local mayor permitted to drink in the saloons, where she favored hard liquor, smoked black cigars, and didn’t shy from arguments, fistfights, or at least one confirmed duel.

mary_fields

Born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, around 1832, Fields was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee

Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, and Ohio

Some of the above changes may have been deletions of past events.

All information in the Calendar of Events is contributed by YOU and by other genealogists. You can directly add information to the Calendar about your local genealogy event.

On the Road Again

Actually, this trip is both by road and by sea.

By the time you read these words, I should be either en route to or on board the Celebrity Silhouette, along with a group of other genealogists, participating in the 3rd annual genealogy cruise to the sunny Eastern Caribbean for a week of great fun and learning while on board. The cruise is sponsored by Gary and Diana Smith. You can learn more about this year’s cruise at: http://www.cecruisegroups.com/genealogy-cruise-2017.html.

(+) Conference Handouts: Do You Ever Later Refer to Them?

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

If you have ever been to a major genealogy conference, I’m sure you’ve received more than your fair share of syllabi, handouts, and other paper. Some of this paper comes from the organizing body while the remainder comes from presenters and vendors. In addition, you probably will also have whatever notes you took during the conference. Here’s the question of the day: Do you ever refer to any of that information later?

Iowa is Issuing new Birth Certificates

The Iowa Department of Public Health says parents whose children were born between May 1993 and October 2009 should exchange their child’s birth certificate for a new one. Children born between those dates were issued a wallet-sized certificate. The cards do not have enough information to be used as identification. The wallet-sized certificates, in some cases, lack information that federal or state agencies need for you to prove your identity

More than 630,000 birth certificates in Iowa need to be exchanged.

Details may be found on the KCCI website at: https://goo.gl/eQL2WW.

Genealogy in the Days of George Washington

Yvonne Seale has published a bizarre and fanciful piece of genealogical scholarship and what it tells us about identity in late 19th-century America. In the four-hundred-page tome The Pedigree and History of the Washington Family Derived from Odin, the Founder of Scandinavia. B.C. 70, Involving a Period of Eighteen Centuries, and Including Fifty-Five Generations, Down to General George Washington, First President of the United States (1879), Welles created a family tree for Washington of truly mythical proportions, and one which shows just how useful nineteenth-century Americans found the Middle Ages to be when it came to shaping their understandings of their country’s origins.

I’m glad that we have better resources for today’s genealogical studies!

You can read Yvonne Seale’s article at: https://goo.gl/lZB2cC.

My thanks to newsletter reader Kristy L Ostergard for telling me about the article.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

findmypast_logoOver 455,000 new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Northamptonshire Baptisms

Northamptonshire Baptisms contains over 14,000 transcripts of original baptism records and covers 34 parishes across the East Midlands county. These records have been transcribed by the Northamptonshire Family History Society from parish registers found at the Northamptonshire Record Office and cover the years 1559 through to 1901

The level of detail found each transcript may vary although most will include a combination of your ancestor’s baptism date, baptism place, the names of both parent’s, document reference, page and entry number.

Northamptonshire, Northampton General Hospital Admissions 1774-1846

TheGenealogist releases Police Letter Books and Northumberland Colour Tithe Maps

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

thegenealogist_003TheGenealogist has just launched a new collection of Police Letter Books for Hampshire. This is an intriguing mixture of promotions, retirements, movements, and other observations about Police officers in this county from 1891 to 1911. In amongst its pages you will be able to trace the career of your Hampshire police ancestors as they rise or fall.

These records reveal names and collar numbers of officers promoted, reduced in rank or dismissed from the force for committing various acts of misconduct. The misdemeanors often seem to involve alcohol, ranging from accepting a glass of beer to being drunk on duty. For those more competent officers who were commended for their actions in the pages of these documents, you can read the actions that had been seen as deserving of inclusion in the Letter Books.

In addition, TheGenealogist has released the Colour Tithe Maps for Northumberland. These maps join the previously released greyscale maps for the majority of the country that are already published on TheGenealogist.

An Easy Way to Add More Disk Space to Your Computer

low-disk-spaceIs your computer’s hard drive getting full? No matter how much hard drive space came with your computer, chances are you have already used a good chunk of that space. Sometimes I think that all disk drives exist simply for the purpose of filling them up. Of course, you can always buy a new computer with a bigger internal disk drive, but my wallet rebels at that that idea. For many people, there is an easier and cheaper solution: add an external plug-in disk drive.

Adding an external hard drive adds huge amounts of disk space, as much as you might want. It also adds portability and safety, and it provides an easy way to backup your valuable data. It is surprisingly affordable and easy to do. I recently added a 960 gigabyte external hard drive (that’s almost a terabyte!) to my laptop computer and thought I would describe the process. It was simple. The entire “installation” process required about three minutes to complete. No screwdrivers or other tools were required. The technical knowledge required? Just about zero.

Clallam County Genealogical Society Research Center in Port Angeles, Washington, Closed Temporarily because of Weather Damage

Melting snow and rain led to a leak at the Clallam County Genealogical Society Research Center at 402 E. Lauridsen Blvd. in Port Angeles that damaged the facility’s ceiling, carpet and a conference table. The center is temporarily closed for repairs.

Fortunately, the damage did not spread to any local historical documents or artifacts. The leak happened in the center of the conference room. All of the books in the shelving and archives in file cabinets were up off the floor and did not get wet.

How Accurate are DNA Kits used for Testing Ancestry?

dnaMillions of people are purchasing and using home DNA kits to determine their ancestry. The television program Inside Edition enlisted the help of two sets of identical triplets and one set of identical quadruplets to investigate the accuracy of the at-home tests. The ancestry of each group should be absolutely identical since they all came from the same egg.

Test kits from 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, and AncestryDNA were used.

The results are surprising.

An Attempt to Save South Carolina’s Historical Documents is Destroying Them

This should be a lesson to all genealogists, archivists, historians, and to anyone with old documents or pictures they would like to preserve: Don’t laminate them!

Back in the 1950s, many people thought that laminating something was a method of preserving it. Even some archivists recommended laminating old documents. As the years went by, these people learned the folly of their recommendations. Laminating something actually hastens its deterioration.

For 20 years, beginning in the 1950s, the state of South Carolina laminated documents to protect them from aging. However, a chemical reaction caused the documents to deteriorate faster than they would have had they been left unlaminated. The natural acids from the paper mix with the degrading laminate to create a noxious vinegar. Each passing year will further degrade the document until it’s gone.

Death Master File (also known as the Social Security Death Index) — How Did The Congress Get So Far Off Track?

Writing in the RPAC Blog, Fred Moss points out an excellent example of Congress taking a valuable tool and totally messing it up. As a result of legislative ineptitude, a tool previously used to REDUCE identity theft has now been mis-labeled as a frequent CAUSE of identity theft. Genealogists, historians, and average citizens all suffer as a result.

You might want to read Fred’s article in the RPAC Blog at http://www.fgs.org/rpac/2017/02/21/dmf-how-did-the-congress-get-so-far-off-track.

I suggest printing Fred’s article out and mailing it to your elected representatives. (I have read that most legislators don’t read email from constituents as most legislators receive too many email messages to manage. Old-fashioned paper and “snail mail” reportedly works better.)

The Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage

You may have asked, “Which is the best online genealogy service for me to use?” Or perhaps you want to know the best two or three services. Sunny Morton gave a presentation about these four online powerhouses at the recent RootsTech2017 conference that may answer your questions.

comparing-ancestry-findmypast-familysearch-and-myheritage

The one-hour four-minute presentation was videotaped and is now available as a video on the RootsTech.org web site. I suspect this video will answer most of your questions. Topics covered include cost, record types, geographic coverage, genetic testing, DNA matching, search flexibility, languages supported, mobile-friendly, automated matching, and a lot more. Sunny provides the most information about these four sites that I have ever seen in any other one document or video.

As Sunny states, “No site has it all.”

DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees

Richard Hill is the author of two books on DNA testing. He has now written a shorter introduction that looks like a great introduction to the topic for any adoptee. DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees may be found on the MyHeritage Blog at: https://goo.gl/C5MZPV.

Mylestone lets you Access Your Personal Memories through Alexa

amazon_echoDo you own an Amazon Echo, the electronic personal assistant often referred to as “Alexa?” I do and I love it. I am finding new uses for it almost daily. However, I never knew of a genealogy use for Alexa until now. Our photographs and social media updates can now turned into memories that we – or our children – could later access just by asking a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa. Mylestone transforms your memories into stories to be heard on virtual assistants.

Mylestone is a new startup that is experimenting with turning our digital footprints into narratives that help us recall highlights from our lives, as well as those of our family members and other loved ones. Mylestone’s mission is to ensure life’s most precious memories are accessible upon command. Utilizing memory artifacts, and a combination of artificial intelligence and external data, the company generates narratives that are available via virtual assistants, such as Alexa.