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DNA that Cracked the ‘Golden State Killer’ Case came from Genealogy Websites

According to officials, DNA from ancestry websites led to the arrest of the suspected “Golden State Killer,” Joseph James DeAngelo. Following the news, Ancestry websites 23andMe and Ancestry.com quickly released statements on the findings, saying mainly that they do not know if their services aided in the arrest of DeAngelo or not.

Investigators knew the killer only through a string of DNA recorded at several of the dozen murder scenes. A spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said officials had struggled for years to figure out whom that DNA belonged to. Recently, they tapped genealogical databases that the public uses to search for relatives and ancestors.

You can read more and watch a video from KGO-TV about this news at: http://abc7ne.ws/2HtOr2B and a somewhat different view of the same story, including a different video, on the WSLS News web site at http://bit.ly/2JuzVEl.

New England Historic Genealogical Society Publishes “2020—Your Guide to the Mayflower 400th Anniversary”

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society

April 25, 2018—Boston, Massachusetts—Anticipating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower in 2020, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has published a special edition of its award-winning quarterly magazine American Ancestors. The special commemorative issue of American Ancestors is titled “2020—Your Guide to the Mayflower 400th Anniversary” and is devoted entirely to the history, relevance, and impact of the Mayflower and its passengers and crew. It is available for purchase in the online Bookstore at NEHGS at AmericanAncestors.org for $6.95 plus shipping.

New Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of April 23, 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Discover your ancestors on FamilySearch this week in more than 1.6 million records from Brazil, 660,000 images from Florida, plus records from Peru, Washington, North Carolina, South Africa, Massachusetts, Denmark, Italy, and obituaries of Germans from Russia in the U.S. Search these new free records by clicking on the collection links below or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Create a Digital Diary and Your Descendants will Thank You

Diaries written by an ancestor are amongst the most valuable family heirlooms of all time. Whether it is a diary written by a soldier in wartime or a day-by-day account of life on the farm, these daily journals provide great a understanding of the lives of our ancestors. However, this begs the question: Are you creating a diary with a plan to leave it for your descendants?

An article by David Nield in Popular Science magazine says:

“Keeping a daily journal lets you practice writing, organize your thoughts, and preserve your habits and events for posterity. But who has the time and energy to sit down for a dedicated recording session every day? Instead, jot down your entries on the go—by keeping the tome on your phone.”

Indeed, writing an electronic journal can provide great benefits to yourself when you need to go back and recall an event or some instructions from your past. However, if preserved properly, the same journal can provide a greater understanding of your life for other family members long after you are gone.

DNA Basics: How DNA Testing Works

The MyHeritage employees have been posting a series of articles in the MyHeritage Blog explaining how DNA works and how it is useful for providing information about one’s family origins. Some of the articles include videos that explain some of the topics covered. Five of these tutorials have been posted so far.

If you would like to learn how DNA works, you might want to read these articles. Start at: https://blog.myheritage.com/?s=DNA+Basics+Chapter.

Historic Weather

What was the weather on the day you were born? When your Dad talked about going out in that great blizzard, just how bad was it? Wolfram Alpha has a number of helpful tools to answer your weather questions, including historical data from weather stations located all over the world.

For example, simply enter “weather” into the search bar, and Wolfram Alpha’s geoIP capabilities identify your approximate location and produce the latest records from your nearest weather station. The “Latest recorded weather” will display the current temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and conditions, such as clear, thunderstorms, or fog.

To find historical weather information, simply enter the word WEATHER followed by a date and a location. For instance:

American Antiquarian Society

Quoting from an article in the Atlas Obscura web site:

“This little-known rival to the Library of Congress houses one of the largest collections of pre-1876 American books, newspapers, and manuscripts.

“Plenty of people in Worcester drive by the American Antiquarian Society every day, but few know about the vast amounts of knowledge held inside. This research library and learned society rivals the Library of Congress in terms of its historical content. Historians from all over the United States and beyond make pilgrimages to come here to do their research.”

Putting Chattanooga’s Historical Newspapers Online

Chattanooga history advocates David Moon of Picnooga and Sam Hall of Deepzoomchattanooga.com are planning to make over 6,000 pages of Chattanooga’s historical newspapers searchable online as a free, open resource to benefit researchers, students, genealogists, and the general public, but they need your financial help.

According to the project’s web page at http://chattanooganewspapers.org:

One of the most valuable historical assets is local newspapers, which have been available on microfilm at public libraries for decades. But the old process of accessing newspapers on microfilm is extremely time-consuming and tedious, requiring points of reference and manual searching. Because of these obstacles, Chattanooga’s papers remain largely inaccessible.

There are now affordable and sustainable options to bring newspapers online. Digitization can produce accurate keyword search results from tens of thousands of indexed pages within seconds.

Help Wanted: a Pescatarian Archives Supervisor at Prince’s Paisley Park

I know a number of archivists read this newsletter on a regular basis so I will post this article for them. The rock star Prince’s Paisley Park estate outside Minneapolis became a permanent museum in 2016 following the musician’s passing. The estate is now looking for an archives supervisor to overlook the maintenance of their artifacts (which include his remains in an urn). They’ve posted a job listing to the American Alliance of Museums’ career website for a full-time position in the Archives Department.

The job posting includes all the regular items you might expect:

  • Actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits.
  • Maintain and Update the archival database system.
  • Monitor the trafficking of archive inventory.
  • Assist the appropriate staff in having access to the archives collection as required.
  • and much more.

However, there is one requirement of the job that I am not used to seeing in help wanted ads: “must adhere to a pescatarian environment.”

FamilySearch Adds 2 Billionth Image of Genealogy Records

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch reaches publishing milestone of 2 billion images of searchable genealogy records online.Salt Lake City, Utah (23 April 2018), In your quest to discover your family history it might be time to take another look at FamilySearch’s online offerings. The genealogy giant’s free online databases of digitized historical documents have now surpassed 2 billion images of genealogy records with millions more being added weekly from countries around the world. Nonprofit FamilySearch, a global leader in historical genealogy records preservation and access, announced the milestone today.

Last September FamilySearch transitioned from its microfilm circulation services to a new digital model that makes its massive genealogical records collections more broadly and readily accessible online (See UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm). Today’s announcement reinforces its continuing commitment to grow online genealogy resources. FamilySearch currently adds over 300 million new images a year online from its microfilm to digital and field operations efforts.

The free genealogy records include censuses, birth, marriage, death, court, immigration and other document types that are invaluable for individuals to make personal family history discoveries and connections. A host of online volunteers (See FamilySearch Indexing), partners, and emerging technologies help to eventually create searchable name indexes to the images, but in the meantime, images (digital photos) can be browsed and saved.

The digital image only collections can be viewed at FamilySearch in three points of access:

CBC Urged to Preserve Master Recordings of Radio and TV Programming after Making Digital Copies

NOTE: This is a follow-up to my earlier article, CBC (English-language) and Radio-Canada (French) Music Library Closing, CD’s to be Digitised, Destroyed, at http://bit.ly/2K9nIpF.

CBC News is reporting:

“The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation (CBMF) is urging CBC to stop destroying original radio and television programming after making digital copies, arguing these master recordings are irreplaceable.

“The Toronto charitable foundation said in a release Wednesday that CBC’s English Services began destroying original radio and TV programming at the beginning of April.

Pennsylvania State Archives Archival Training Workshops

The following announcement was written by the Pennsylvania State Archives and State Historical Records Advisory Board:

The Pennsylvania State Archives (PSA) and State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), in partnership with Erie Maritime Museum and the Franklin County Historical Society, are pleased to announce the Spring 2018 Archives Without Tears workshop schedule. The workshops will be held June 5-6 at Erie Maritime Museum, Erie, PA and June 13–14 at the Franklin County Historical Society, Chambersburg, PA. These are the only sessions planned for 2018. Click here for registration information.

Archives Without Tears is an affordable workshop open to anyone who works, interns or volunteers for organizations that deal with archival records—whether it’s a museum; private, non-profit, or college archives; the city clerk’s office; the library’s local history room; or a historic site. The workshop provides practical advice, sample forms and policies, and discusses archival best practices, disaster planning and response, and records management principles so that staff can collect, preserve, and assist researchers with the archival records in their care.

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:

(+) Use an Old Computer as a Backup Server

The MyHeritage DNA Quest Pro Bono Project helping Adoptees is now Global

Hands On with a 256 Gigabyte Flash Drive

Never Throw Away Records of People!

(US) Department of Commerce Announces Changes to Limited Access Death Master File (also called the Social Security Death Index, or SSDI)

Ancestry Names Margo Georgiadis Chief Executive Officer

April 25 is National DNA Day in the U.S.

Libraries and Archives Canada Introduces Co-Lab, a Tool to Collaborate on Historical Records

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

United Kingdom, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, 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.

(+) Use an Old Computer as a Backup Server

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

Back in the old days of home computers, say twenty years ago, most of us had one free-standing computer in the house, and the whole family shared it. Those days are now long gone. Many families, perhaps most, now have multiple computers. As computers have become more affordable, portable, and necessary, it’s now common to find multiple computers scattered throughout a home. There is often one desktop or laptop or tablet computer per family member. In fact, most of our cell phones are also computers these days. With today’s technology, the in-home computers are easily connected together by a network, sharing one Internet connection.

If you already have a broadband connection with a router, you probably already have a network installed whether you know it or not. If you have wi-fi installed at home, you definitely have a network.

While many people may not realize it, once the network is installed, it is easy to also share printers, disk drives, and more. It’s even easy to share the resources among different operating systems. For instance, in my home we have Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, iPad, Android and “smartphone” computers all connected together via a mix of wired and wi-fi wireless connections. (Yes, we do own too many computers!) All the computers share the same Internet connection, the same two printers, and the same file server for storage of backup files.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 1.1 million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755-1908

Indexed online for the first time, British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755 – 1908, spans more than 150 years of British military history and contains over 13,000 transcripts and scanned images taken from The National Archives series “WO 42: War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers”. The collection consists of bundles of original documents submitted in support of pension claims made by the widows of British Army officers. It covers the families of officers who died in service or on half pay as well as compassionate allowances awarded to the children of both deceased and disabled officers.

These bundles include a variety of original army forms and supporting documents including original application forms completed by widows, marriage and death details of the officers in question, as well as death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates and baptismal records for their wives and children.

Somerset Registers & Records

New Records on FamilySearch: Week of April 16, 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Discover your ancestors on FamilySearch this week in almost 3.5 million records from Oklahoma, 1.5 million from Germany and more from Quebec, ItalyLesothoIrelandPeruGeorgiaTexasCosta Rica, and Poland.Search these new free records by clicking on the collection links below or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

(US) Department of Commerce Announces Changes to Limited Access Death Master File (also called the Social Security Death Index, or SSDI)

The following report was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee and published originally on the IAJGS Public Records Access Alert mailing list:

The (US) Department of Commerce announced that effective April 1, 2018 the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) implemented upgrades to modernize and enhance access to the Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF). One of the changes is their new website accessible at: https://ladmf.ntis.gov/  You will have to register at the site to familiarize yourself with and the new subscription options.

You may recall that when the proposed  certification to the LADMF was announced, genealogists basically could not be certified as they could not  meet the onerous requirements for business security and the cost of subscriptions. The submitted testimonies by various genealogical groups, including the IAJGS and the Records  Preservation and Monitoring Committee (RPAC) of which IAJGS is a sponsoring member fell on “deaf ears”.

The remainder of the notice sent to IAJGS is copied in its entirety below as it is not posted to their website:

Findmypast Publishes More of The National Archives’ Collection of British Army officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • British Army officers’ widows’ pension forms spanning the years 1755 – 1908 indexed online for the first time
  • Over 13,000 records, including transcripts and scanned images of original documents, now available to searchLeading British family history website, Findmypast, today announces the publication of a new online collection of British Army Pension records held by The National Archives.

    Indexed online for the first time, British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755 – 1908, spans more than 150 years of British military history and contains over 13,000 transcripts and scanned images taken from The National Archives series “WO 42: War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers”.