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Proposed Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) has been Released

If passed, this is very good news for all Americans, including genealogists, librarians, social scientists, and others. As stated by James G. Neal, President of the American Library Association:

“No freedoms are more vital, and important to librarians, than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither. Current law that allows our government to get and view the full content of our most private electronic communications without a search warrant isn’t just outdated, it’s dangerous in a democracy. ALA strongly supports the bipartisan Leahy/Lee “ECPA Modernization Act” to finally and fully bring the Electronic Communications Privacy Act – and with it our fundamental rights to privacy, inquiry and speech – into the modern era.”

James G. Neal specifically mentions libraries, but his comments apply to all American citizens. If I might change one word in his statement, “No freedoms are more vital, and important to [all Americans], than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither.”

NYG&B and the Ontario Genealogical Society Announce Partnership

This looks to me to be a major announcement. Two large genealogy societies in two different countries offering reciprocal membership at a discount to all members?

The following was written by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and the Ontario Genealogical Society:

Today the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) announced a new partnership offering reciprocal membership at a discount to all members. The two societies hope that this will allow their respective members to gain access to even more records and resources.

NYG&B President, D. Joshua Taylor noted “The NYG&B is delighted to partner with OGS. Numerous New York families had connections with Ontario and we look forward to working together to provide resources that help share and tell their stories.”

OGS President Patti Mordasewicz said: “We are excited to announce this expansion in our advantages of OGS membership for our members and to partner with the NYG&B. Our respective members should benefit greatly from enhanced access to resources for researching their Ontario and New York family histories. This is of particular importance when traditional migration and settlement patterns are considered.”

TheGenealogist Introduces a New UK Census Substitute for the Year 1921

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has just released a new circa 1921 resource, covering 23 counties, with over one million records. These form part of the Trade, Residential & Telephone record sets on TheGenealogist covering a period currently not served by a census.

The fully transcribed, searchable records released today will allow researchers to:

  • search on forename, surname and profession
  • search by street, town and county
  • look for a business name
  • discover your ancestors’ addresses
  • find professions listed

A Fresh, New Look for the Twile Timeline

Twile, a Website that lets family historians share what they find, has a major update to the service. The following was written by the folks at Twile:

Today we’ve launched a new version of the Twile timeline, designed to make your family history look even better!

We’ve introduced a number of changes to make everything clearer, brighter and easier to use. Your milestones have more colour, your photos are larger and you can see more about each event without having to click and open it.

Most French Canadians are Descended from 800 Women Known as the Filles du Roi

If you have French-Canadian ancestry, you probably have one, two, or perhaps a dozen filles du roi in your family tree. Several of them even have proven lines of descent from Charlemagne and a number of other royal families from throughout Europe. If you are descended from one of the Charlemagne descendants, that obviously makes you a descendant of Charlemagne and other royal families as well.

Who were these young French women known as les filles du roi? They traveled from France to what was then called New France, now known as Québec, between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program designed to boost the population by encouraging female immigrants to settle, marry, and raise families.

Kaspersky Now Offers a Free Antivirus Program for Your Windows PC

Kaspersky is a Russian security vendor that offers several well-known and well-respected anti-virus and anti-malware (“malevolent software) products. Now the company is launching a free version of its award-winning antivirus software worldwide. Kaspersky Free offers the most basic protection for free for everyone who wants it. And all without bombarding you with ads.

Kaspersky Free is now available in selected countries. In the words of Eugene Kaspersky himself, it offers “the bare essentials: file, email and web antivirus; automatic updates, self-defense; quarantine; and so on.” These are essentially “the indispensable basics that no one [Windows user] on the planet should do without.”

The free product will occasionally suggest you might want to upgrade to one of Kaspersky’s paid offerings that include extra protection, such as parental control, online payment protection, and a VPN (Virtual Private Network). However, the company also promises that such suggestions will not be obnoxious or frequent.

The Unusual Cause of Death of Allan Pinkerton

Allan J. Pinkerton (25 August 1819 – 1 July 1884) was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Pinkerton emigrated as a young man to seek his fortune in the United States of America. A self-educated man, he had little formal training in any of the professions usually available to immigrants. However, that never slowed the ambitious young man.

He settled in Dundee Township, Illinois, fifty miles northwest of Chicago. He built a cabin and started a cooperage (making barrels). His home soon became a stop on the Underground Railroad, smuggling escaping slaves northward to Canada.

Pinkerton worked with the local sheriff to identify some counterfeiters who were working nearby. Soon he was appointed as the first police detective in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. In 1850 he partnered with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker in forming the North-Western Police Agency, one of the nation’s first private detective services. The company later became Pinkerton & Co and finally Pinkerton National Detective Agency, still in existence today as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, a subsidiary of Securitas AB.

Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

The notice of the latest EOGN Plus Edition newsletter was sent to you a few minutes ago. Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

Book Review: In Search of Your German Roots

Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Michigan Sustains $1.5 Million Flood Damage

Hard Drives and Storage Space Continue to Become Cheaper and Cheaper

McLennan County, Texas, Marriage Records Since 1850 are being Digitized

The International African American Museum Launches an African American Genealogy Center

A Short Note from Dick Eastman

You’ll notice there have been fewer articles than usual this past week. The reason is simple: I made a mistake.

I went to see my doctor for a quarterly check-up a few days ago. I should never have done that. During the visit, I complained that I was taking too many prescriptions for my diabetes and that they all seem to have undesirable side effects. She countered by giving me a new prescription in addition to all the others I have been taking. Stupid me. I had the new prescription filled and starting taking it as directed.

I spent the following three days in bed most of the time.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

California, Colorado, Florida, and New York

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.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast

Somerset Baptisms Index

Our new collection of Somerset Baptisms is an index to more than 2.1 million parish baptisms held at the Somerset Archives. The collection consists of transcripts spanning the years 1501 to 1917 and covers baptisms performed in 496 parishes across the county. The amount of information found in each record will depend on the date and legibility of the original document. Most transcripts will reveal your ancestor’s date of birth, baptism date, where the ceremony was preformed, their religious denomination, parent’s names and father’s occupation.

Somerset Banns Index

Forces War Records Offers a New Collection: Pipers of Scottish and Overseas Regiments 1914-18

The following announcement was written by Forces War Records:

There is a long history of Bagpipes and the British Army, and whilst they weren’t officially recognised until 1854, much of the Army’s battles since the mid-1700s had been fought with piper’s playing. The original purpose of the pipes in battle was to signal tactical movements to the troops during battle.

By the time of WWI it was not only the Scottish, or even British Regiments that had pipe bands, with Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia or even South Africa having regiments with their own Pipers. The bag pipes importance in linking the men back to the history of their unit, and of their homeland was not under appreciated. The sound and swirl of the pipes boosted morale amongst the troops and intimidated the enemy. However, unarmed and drawing attention to themselves these extraordinary men were sitting ducks as they went over the top to pipe their men into battle as pipers were always an easy target for the enemy guns.

Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Michigan Sustains $1.5 Million Flood Damage

Here is still another example why we cannot depend upon paper documents alone to be accessible in the future. Homes, streets, businesses, parks and city buildings in Midland, Michigan got soaked in a flood several weeks ago. In the city alone, more than 1,000 homes had some type of damage. Of interest to genealogists, the hardest hit city building was the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. The early estimate puts clean up and repair work for the library at $1.5 million.

The library had never flooded before.

Book Review: In Search of Your German Roots

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

In Search of Your German Roots

by Angus Baxter.
This Fifth Edition was updated and revised by Marian Hoffman.
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015. 125 pages.

Angus Baxter wrote the first through the fourth editions of In Search of Your German Roots. His daughter Susan Baxter updated the fourth edition (2008), and Marian Hoffman updated this fifth edition. Mr. Baxter died in 2005, and his name remains as author.

This is not a large book, but it’s dense with information about Germans, Germany, and German records research. Chapters and sections are:

Hard Drives and Storage Space Continue to Become Cheaper and Cheaper

The following isn’t directly related to genealogy but it is related to something that concerns all genealogists: storage of information that we have found. Today, it is easier and much, much cheaper to save information in our own computers or in the cloud than ever before. Saving things in digital format is also much, much cheaper (and safer) than storing paper. However, there are signs that consumers are saving less and less these days.

For the past 35+ years or so, hard drives prices have dropped, from around $500,000 per gigabyte in 1981 to less than $0.03 per gigabyte today. See http://www.mkomo.com/cost-per-gigabyte-update for details.

Somewhat surprisingly, manufacturers are selling fewer disk drives to consumers these days than they used to. Consumers are not downloading and saving as many files as they used to, be it text information, music, videos, or anything else. Why not? It appears that the primary reason is that all those things are increasingly more available upon demand in the cloud. There is less need than ever to save things yourself when you can retrieve those items again and again in the future at any time. Even better, the version you retrieve in the future may be updated or be an enhanced version, such as a higher-resolution image or video or contain higher-fidelity sound.

The International African American Museum Launches an African American Genealogy Center

The following announcement was written by the folks at the International African American Museum:

CHARLESTON, SC – Today, the International African American Museum (IAAM) announced the launch of its Center for Family History – an innovative national genealogy research center dedicated solely to celebrating and researching African American ancestry. The center will engage in genealogy education, original research, community archiving, public outreach, and collections. It will also assist with DNA testing.

The Center for Family History is the International African American Museum’s first program launch. It will engage visitors online now at www.iaamuseum.org, and in one of the most prominent gallery spaces in the museum.

Pass It Down Reinvents the Greeting Card to Help Capture Family Memories

I haven’t had this in my hands yet but it certainly looks interesting. Here is the announcement from Pass It Down:

greetingStory™ makes it simple and fun to capture family stories one greeting card at a time.



Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 18, 2017) – Pass It Down, an award-winning storytelling platform that makes it easy to digitally record and preserve family memories, announced today the launch of its first physical product, greetingStory™. greetingStory™ reinvents the greeting card, making it easy to capture family memories and handwriting, reconnect with loved ones and preserve family stories.

Live Cannonball (or is it a Mortar Shell?) from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham found in Old Quebec

A cannonball fired by the British during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 has been unearthed at a building site in Old Quebec. The rusted, 90-kilogram projectile was unearthed during excavation work last week at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets and still contained a charge and gunpowder.

One person took the cannonball back to his home, and noticed it still contained a charge. A team of army munitions technicians was dispatched from CFB Valcartier to collect the ball and neutralize it.

McLennan County, Texas, Marriage Records Since 1850 are being Digitized

McLennan County Clerk Andy Harwell and his staff have undertaken a project to digitally scan and preserve county marriage records from 1850 to 1996. After six weeks of work, the documents have been digitized, but that’s just a start, Harwell said. The county hired Edoc Technologies for about $36,000 to perform the digitization work, and Harwell’s staff is starting to index the more than 170,000 marriage records by groom’s name, bride’s name and date.

“You’ll be able to sit at home and research in McLennan County back to 1850,” Harwell said. “So if we would have had a fire or tornado or something or a flood, we would have lost everything.”

You can read more in an article by Cassie L. Smith in the Waco Tribune web site at: http://bit.ly/2v3qaXt.

Fire Damages Eckhart Public Library in Auburn, Indiana

Fire caused extensive damage to Eckhart Public Library early Sunday morning, July 2. The fire appears to have been intentionally set. The damage will force the 106-year-old main library building to close indefinitely, according to the library leaders.

The library’s entire collection of DVDs and audio books was lost. However, the library’s digital collection of eBooks and downloadable audiobooks remain available along with the many online databases. Luckily, the library’s extensive genealogy collection appears to have been spared.

Details may be found at http://bit.ly/2vooPdb and at http://www.epl.lib.in.us.