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US Census Bureau Director Nominated

The following announcement was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc. (IAJGS) Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

This is a critical time for the US Census Bureau. They have been without a permanent director for a year and there is much consternation about issues revolving around the 2020 census regarding adequate funding, potential undercounting of certain groups, and especially the added question regarding citizenship which was added at the request of the Department of Justice. Several lawsuits are pending regarding the citizenship question.

On July 18 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the Permanent Census Bureau Leadership team. The White House announced their intent to nominate Dr. Steven Dillingham to be the Director of the US Census Bureau. Dr. Dillingham currently serves the Director of the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning for the Peace Corps.

U.S. Census Should Be More Transparent About Cyber Protections, Former Officials Say

The U.S. Census Bureau will conduct its first largely online decennial census in 2020 but hasn’t said how it will secure the process. The U.S. Census Bureau should detail for the American people how it will secure their information as it prepares to accept online questionnaires for the first time during the 2020 decennial survey, former top government cyber officials said Monday.

That should include technical details about how the bureau will encrypt questionnaires and whether it will encrypt them both in transit and once they’ve arrived in government computer networks, the former officials said in a letter organized by a division of Georgetown University’s Law Center.

Details are available in an article by Joseph Marks in the Route Fifty web site. Click here to read it.

How Can Siblings Have DNA Showing Different Ethnicity Estimates?

If you have a DNA test performed and it shows 35% German ancestry, 25% Irish ancestry, 10% Scandinavian ancestry, and the rest from the Middle East, does that mean your brother or sister will show exactly the same results if they also take a DNA test? Actually, the answer usually is “no.”

How can full-siblings have different ethnicities when they have the same parents? It’s a consequence of the complex relationship between genetics, ancestry, and ethnicity.

Saving Aberdeen’s History turns up Gems, Mysteries

This is a follow-up to articles I published earlier at http://bit.ly/2JKz3Mq and at http://bit.ly/2yzicuQ and also at http://bit.ly/2LpOzOA about a disastrous fire at the Aberdeen (Washington) Museum of History. The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society research library was housed in the same building and suffered a major loss as well. The building was destroyed.

Volunteers have been working to rescue as much of the contents as possible. Archivists have spent 787 hours (so far) in a high-intensity, low-tech effort to save thousands of soaked and soot-covered prints, negatives, film and even VHS tapes. The archivists hauled out 119 office boxes filled with Aberdeen history to a storage building the size of half a football field, with ceilings at least 30 feet high.

Digipulse Sends Access Information about Your Digital Assets After You Die

If you should pass away unexpectedly or simply become unable to manage your own affairs for any reason, who will step in and manage your digital assets? Such assets might include passwords to web sites, access to Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, documents of any sort that are stored in your computer(s) or in the cloud, and any other digital items that need to be passed on to your heirs or caretakers. One new service uses the latest technology to securely make the information available to those who need it, but only after you can no longer control the information yourself.

Digipulse operates a decentralized asset encryption and distribution storage service, meaning that your uploaded files will only be accessible to you and your designated recipients. “Decentralized” means there is no one place that a hacker can go to to find the information you wish to keep secret. Everything is encrypted and broken up into pieces, and then the pieces are stored in different servers. Of course, normal backup procedures are also in use, as is typical in most cloud-based services. Everything is managed by a blockchain.

The Family History Researcher Academy’s English/Welsh Family History Course now Available on USB – as Well as Download

The following announcement was written by the Family History Researcher Academy:

The Family History Researcher Academy has added some new delivery options to their in-depth English & Welsh Family History Course that reveals the best records and resources for searching for your elusive English or Welsh ancestors

Following customer feedback, those who want to pay a one-off fee and receive all the modules in one package can now do so. The new delivery methods would do away with having to wait for the normal weekly scheduled lesson release – though this is still available with the monthly subscription option, for those who preferred this discipline (see below).

University of Minnesota: Immigration History Research Center Archives

The following announcement was written by the University of Minnesota:

The University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center is home to a rich collection of archival material held in the University Archives that documents the experiences of American immigrant communities in the state of Minnesota throughout history. A number of these archival materials have been digitized in the school’s UMedia Archives, allowing visitors around to the world to explore hundreds of photographs, newspapers, letters, oral history interviews, and more. Visitors can explore these items through a series of collections, which include the Armenian American Collection, Digitizing Immigrant Letters, Italians in Duluth Oral History Collection, and the Twin Cities Ukrainian and Folk Ballet and Chorus Collection. Each item in this collection is accompanied by full cataloging information. This collection includes many items in English, as well as newspapers and letters in other languages including Italian, Finnish, and Greek.

Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

A 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:

(+) Some Thoughts About Organizing Documents and Folders on Your Hard Drive

Common Misconceptions about DNA Testing

New Historical Records Added to MyHeritage in June 2018

RootsWeb Hosted Web Sites are Returning

The Scanner in Your Pocket or Purse

Another Reason to Store Your Data in the Cloud

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

United Kingdom, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Oregon

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 Historical Records Added to MyHeritage in June 2018

The following is an announcement written by the folks at MyHeritage:

We are delighted to announce the addition of 25 million new historical record collections that were added in June 2018.

These record additions include updates to two of our most exciting collections — The Ellis Island & Other Passenger List collection and The Sweden Household Examination Books collection. We’ve added 16.7 million new records to our Ellis Island & Other Passenger List collection for a whopping total of 113,439,616 records. Our Sweden Household Examination Books now totals 87,401,340 records with this month’s addition of 3.6 million new records.

We have also added two completely new collections, the West Virginia Death Index & Certificates, 1853-1964 and the 1835 Denmark Census collection from the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.

RootsWeb Hosted Web Sites are Returning

Ancestry.com, the parent company of RootsWeb, is slowly bring RootsWeb hosted sites back online. (For more information about the issues involved, see my earlier articles by starting at https://tinyurl.com/yc49tbuk.) Now an article in the RootsWeb Blog states:

“We are bringing hosted websites back in phases.

“We have identified about 600 USGENWEB sites to bring back first, listed below. Owners of these sites should have received an email with instructions on how to reset their password and get to their content. These sites are now available from the appropriate USGENWEB page. If you believe you should have been contacted, please contact us: Questions about USGENWEB. Please include the name of your site and any other information you have.

(US) Census Comments Invited on Proposed Information Collection 2020 US Census

The following message was posted to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) mailing list by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

The (US) Federal Register published on June 8, 2018 an invitation to the public to submit comments on proposed information collection for the US 2020 Census. Comments must be received by August 7, 2018.

Concern is that there not be an undercount of people living in different areas—cities, towns, rural areas as that results in the loss of federal funds. The undercounts may affect children, minorities including Asian Americans, Latinos, African Americans. American Indians and Alaska Natives, homeless, low incomes and people of Middle Eastern descent.

A major concern to some, and one which is the subject of several law suits is the addition of a question on citizenship which may deter some from responding. This has been discussed in previous IAJGS Record Access Alerts.

The Scanner in Your Pocket or Purse

NOTE: This is an update to an article I wrote four years ago. A newsletter reader asked about scanners today and I wanted to refer her to my old article. However, when I looked at the old article, I found some of the information I published four years ago is no longer accurate or relevant today. In addition, there are several new apps available today that did not exist four years ago. Therefore, I updated the article with today’s information and am re-publishing it now.

pixel-xlGenealogists have lots of uses for scanners. We like to make digital images of information from books, court records, old maps, and even records found on microfilm. High quality portable scanners are inexpensive these days, typically $50 and up. You can occasionally find them at even lower prices if you watch the sales. However, convenience is always an issue. Do you really want to carry a portable scanner with you at all times just in case you happen to encounter something you want to digitize? Actually, you probably already have such a scanner with you every time you leave the house.

Today’s Apple and Android smartphones typically have excellent, high-quality digital cameras built in. These make terrific scanners. Need to digitize a record in the deed books or the receipt you just received from a fast food restaurant? Make sure you have good lighting and snap a picture of it. I have been doing that for years and find it works well.

You Can Inherit Facebook Content Like a Letter or Diary, German Court Rules

A German court ruled Thursday that Facebook content can be passed onto heirs in the same manner as letters, books, or diaries are passed on today. The ruling comes after the parents of a teenager who died in 2012 after being hit by a train argued Facebook should allow them to access her account, including her private messages, to determine whether she committed suicide.

You can learn more at http://alturl.co.

Keep in mind that this is a decision by a German court. It probably will not affect the rules in other countries. Instead, you might want to think about what happens to your Facebook account (and other accounts as well) after your demise.

 

Beware of Paraskevidekatriaphobia

friday-the-13thToday is Friday the 13th this week. For many people, this means an attack of paraskevidekatriaphobia or a fear of Friday the thirteenth. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is derived from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”).

The origins of this fear are are not well known, but several theories exist. One claim is that it originates from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, known to Christians as Maundy Thursday, the night before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

Other theories abound as well.

(+) Some Thoughts About Organizing Documents and Folders on Your Hard Drive

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

A few days ago, I wrote Another Reason to Store Your Data in the Cloud and published it at http://bit.ly/2NGS4BG. A newsletter reader then posted a comment and suggested, “Maybe sometime you could talk about how you organize so you find all of this.”

Good idea! In fact, I will suggest that how to organize and file documents and pictures is only the first part of “the problem.” The bigger question is: “Can you quickly find and retrieve files in the future?”

This article is the result of the reader’s suggestion. Indeed, the “problem” of organizing your files and photographs in a computer becomes even bigger as you store more and more information. However, one thought keeps popping to my mind as I ponder this “problem.”

OldNews USA – an Online Search of Old Newspapers

OldNews USA is the app that won the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown. It makes it easy to find interesting stories and articles in historical US newspapers, using the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection of over 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1943. Quoting from the OldNews web site:

Designed for both genealogists and history enthusiasts, OldNews USA makes getting started with historical newspaper research easier than ever. With OldNews USA, you can quickly discover interesting stories and articles in historical US newspapers, using the Library of Congress Chronicling America collection of over 12 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1963.

With OldNews USA, you begin by entering who or what you are looking for. If you want to find articles about a person, all you need to enter is a name, a date range, and a location.

You can Purchase a refurbished HP 14 Chromebook for $110

I have written often about the many advantages of Chromebooks. See http://bit.ly/2pm21Iu for a list of my earlier articles about these inexpensive laptop computers. Also see Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps written by Tyler Lacoma at: http://bit.ly/2JlY3si.

I have a Chromebook and it has become my primary traveling computer. I also use it often when at the house. (“Who was the director of that 1993 movie I am now watching on TV?”) Now the Cheapskate Blog, written by Rick Broida, describes a bargain: a Chromebook you can purchase for $110 US. If you are thinking about picking up a laptop for yourself or for a family member, this might be a tempting offer for you.

The Hewlett-Packard 14-AK040NR is refurbished, not brand-new. However, it includes a 6-month guarantee, longer than most other refurbished items.

Common Misconceptions about DNA Testing

When learning about any new technology, it is equally important to learn what the technology CAN do as well as what it CANNOT do. In fact, there are numerous fallacies floating around concerning DNA testing.

A new article in the MyHeritage Blog explains why some of these fallacies are inaccurate. You might want to read the article at http://bit.ly/2KP5lKN.

 

Grieving Families Protest ‘Duplicitous’ Website that Reposts Death Notices in order to Sell Flower Deliveries

When does crass advertising go too far? Here is one strong candidate for that label: Everhere.com.

An Alberta man who, on the advice of doctors, is trying to keep news of his father’s death from his dementia-stricken mother, is the latest grieving family member to complain about a new website that reposts online obituaries alongside ads for flower deliveries.

His fear is that a bouquet and card will show up on his mother’s doorstep, and thus interrupt the delicate balance of what she knows about her husband, what she is capable of understanding through her dementia, and how it will affect her.

“I can handle it if she hears it from me,” Rick Laursen said. But finding out from a delivery would be needlessly traumatic. He has now put a sign on her front door directing any flower deliveries to a neighbour’s house.