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(+) Selecting an Appropriate Database Program for Genealogy Uses

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

I often receive e-mails asking questions about converting genealogy databases. The questions usually are more or less like this example:

My organization has been entering data for a long time in a general-purpose database program, not a genealogy program. We use Microsoft Access (or FileMaker Pro or SQL or some other general-purpose database program or Excel spreadsheets). We have thousands of entries in our database. We now want to put this information on the Web (or on CD-ROM or in a book), and we want to use the report generation capabilities of the Brand X genealogy program. Can we convert our Access (or other) database to GEDCOM and import it into the genealogy program?

The quick answer is, “Yes, if you have enough time and money. However, you will undoubtedly find that it is not practical.”

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 175,334 records available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Greater London Marriage Index

Over 94,000 new records from the Royal College of Arms covering historic chapels at St James Duke’s Place, Gray’s Inn, Somerset House and the Austin Friars Dutch Reform Church are now available to search. Dating back to the early 1500’s the records will reveal details of your ancestor’s residence, occupation, marriage and spouse. A number of records also include images of original documents.

These new additions are not the only update the Index has received this week. We have also merged a number of existing London marriage collections to make them accessible through one unified search. The Greater London Marriage Index will now also include results from the Middlesex Marriage Index, the West Middlesex Marriage Index, the St Andrew’s Holborn Marriage Index and our collection of Docklands and East End Marriages.

England, Mining Disaster Victims

Alan Mann, R.I.P

Many genealogists who spent time a few years ago at Salt Lake City’s Family History Library will remember Alan Mann. He had various assignments there over the years but probably is best remembered as the supervisor of the Automated Resource Center at the Family History Library. He also was a frequent speaker at many genealogy conferences around the country.

Sadly, Alan’s brother, Steve Mann, posted the following to Facebook last night: “My brother, Alan Mann, passed away last night after a 5-year battle with cancer. He worked for more than 25 years for FamilySearch. He went all over the world teaching.”

There is more to Steve Mann’s message. You can read it at: http://bit.ly/2CDAkAE.

Dr. J. Christopher Young, R.I.P.

The genealogy world lost another valuable member recently. The following is an extract from the ForeignProtestants.com web site:

“Dr. J. Christopher Chris Young passed away on January 29, 2018, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Nearly 2 million living Foreign Protestants descendants have lost one of their most passionate and prolific advocates of the historical and genealogical study of these reliant and creative initial 1,453 immigrant settlers to Lunenburg in 1753 who were so important to the economic and cultural development of not just the Nova Scotia and Canada, but all of North America.

“Chris’ Foreign Protestants family heritage (Jung & nee Corkum) fueled his passions in applying his exceptional analytical and writing skills to further extend the heritage discovery and preservation efforts of Dr. Winthrop Pickard Bell’s historical book The “Foreign Protestants” and the Settlement of Nova Scotia. Chris spent thousands of hours completing Dr. Bell’s unfinished goal of developing a registry of the 1st 1,453 immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, and the Montbeliard region of France and Holland who landed on June 7, 1753 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Chris’ editing efforts yielded not only the Register of the Foreign Protestants of Nova Scotia (ca. 1749-1770), but also Maps Associated With Lunenburg County Family History. Both were published in 2003.”

A Survival Guide to RootsTech

Will you be at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City next week? If so, make sure you read the Survival Guide to RootsTech available now at https://www.rootstech.org/blog/a-survival-guide-to-rootstech.

The online guide covers such things as early check-in, the Expo Hall’s hours of operation, the RootsTech app for your cell phone or tablet computer, your attendee badge that needs to be scanned by the (new) scanners in order to gain admission to the various sessions, suggested clothing, and the fact that the Salt Palace offers free Wi-Fi for attendees.

You probably will want to study this document before you travel to Salt Lake City. Check it out at at https://www.rootstech.org/blog/a-survival-guide-to-rootstech.

MacFamilyTree 8.3 is On Sale at 50% Off

Synium Software has an offer that will appeal to many Macintosh owners. MacFamilyTree is a highly-rated Macintosh genealogy program with an outstanding user graphic user interface. While it has many available options, perhaps the most notable feature in MacFamilyTree 8.3 is the new “CloudTree – Sync & Share“ added in version 8.

CloudTree is a FREE service that allows the user to (optionally) store genealogy information in the cloud and share it with relatives. All new updates to the CloudTree instantly become available to others, who may view it on their Macs, iPhones, or iPads. The other users who have access to the family tree may be able to add new information or, if you prefer, you can make your family tree available as a read-only version instead. Although all entries are synced via CloudTree, all your information is still available locally on your Mac, iPhone or iPad, allowing you to continue your genealogical research when your device is offline. CloudTree will automatically sync any changes once you reconnect to the internet.

MacFamilyTree also works with MobileFamilyTree 8, a full-featured genealogy app for iPhone and iPads that is also produced by Synium Software.

NYG&B Labs Releases The Record Map Search

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

Thursday, February 22, 2018 – New York, NY – The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has launched a brand new tool, produced by NYG&B Labs titled “Mapping The Record.”

This innovative project allows visitors to search an index of articles from New York’s oldest (and largest) genealogical publication, The Record and return map-based results at https://labs.newyorkfamilyhistory.org.

Colour Tithe Maps for Buckinghamshire added to TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has added Colour Tithe Maps from The National Archives to their National Tithe Records collection. With this release researchers can see the plots owned or occupied by ancestors that lived in this ‘home county’ at the time of the survey in the 19th century.

Colour Tithe map of Buckingham 1847

The new data includes:

  • Over 40,000 Plots of Land covering the years from 1837 to 1855 with some much later plans of altered apportionments
  • Joining the apportionment record books and the previously published greyscale maps

The Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies is Renamed to Family History Connections

The Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies located in Blackburn, Victoria, Australia will now be known as Family History Connections. According to the new web site at: https://www.familyhistoryconnections.org.au:

“In the name AIGS, each word had a certain meaning. The word Australian implies that we help people with their Australian research. This is misleading because we provide access to family history resources from around the world. The word could also imply that our members are from around Australia, which is also incorrect, as the majority of our members live locally in Melbourne. We are not an Institute in the modern meaning of the word – conducting research and publishing papers. Rather, we help members to do their own research through the resources we provide. Genealogical Studies is a term not widely recognised in this day and age, when the commonly used term on web sites, commercial databases, magazines and books is Family History.

The First British People Were Dark-Skinned

DNA from one of Britain’s first people, Cheddar Man, shows that he was very likely to have dark brown skin and blue eyes. By sequencing the ancient DNA extracted from his skeleton, scientists were able to create skin color, eye color, and hair type. Despite his name of “Cheddar Man,” scientists also know from his DNA that he couldn’t digest milk.

Close up of the model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions

One More Update about the Turkish Online Genealogy Database

I have written twice about the new online genealogy database created by the government of Turkey. (See http://bit.ly/2CbUjdT to find my earlier articles about this story.) When the Turkish genealogy web site first appeared, it was so popular that it soon became overloaded, then was shut down so that the system administrators could add more hardware to the cluster of servers in order to handle the load. The Turkish genealogy web site is now back online and apparently is running well, handling a huge number of visitors.

Fehim Tastekin has written an article explaining why the web site become so popular. It seems that many Turkish citizens have deep, dark secrets in their family trees: some of their ancestors were Armenians, Syriacs, Greeks or Jews. In Turkey, this apparently is the equivalent to Germans in the 1930s and early 1940s hiding the fact they had Jewish ancestors or Americans in the Deep South hiding the fact they had Black Americans in the family tree. While the facts in Turkey have been hushed up for years, the new web site reportedly shows the truth. The story involves the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. (What was once called the Ottoman Empire was the forerunner of present-day Turkey.)

These facts have apparently been hidden from many of today’s younger Turks while they were growing up. Yes, apparently there are many skeletons in the Turkish family closets. The new web site reveals many family secrets and curious Turks want to know those secrets.

Tastekin’s article states, “Some people who had always boasted of their ‘pure’ Turkish ancestry were shocked to learn they actually had other ethnic and religious roots.”

Online U.S. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

One of the more useful tools for genealogists is the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries created by the Newberry Library in Chicago. When I first started in genealogy, one of my biggest frustrations was trying to find records of ancestors in the county where they lived. Many genealogical records are created by counties. In many cases, I knew the town where they lived and I also knew what county the town was in. Yet I couldn’t find the records that normally are kept in county courthouses, such as probate records or the deeds of land transfers.

As I gained more experience, I soon learned that the problem was mine. I had looked in the country records for the county lines of today. In many cases, the county lines had moved over the years, even though my ancestors had not moved an inch. Once recorded at the county courthouse, records normally remain at that courthouse forever, even if the county lines are redrawn later and the property or the town in question is then “moved” to a different county.

For instance, if your ancestor lived in the town of Smallville in Washington County when the information was recorded at the courthouse and later the county lines were redrawn so that town of Smallville and your ancestor’s location were later in Lincoln County, you still need to look for older records in the Washington County courthouse. Existing courthouse records usually are not moved to a new courthouse when county lines are redrawn.

RootsFinder Delivers Powerful New Tools to Genealogists for Free

I suspect this is going to be a major tool for all genealogists. The following announcement describes the latest project by several people, including Dallan Quass, a well-known software developer who has produced several excellent genealogy products in the past. He was the Chief Technology Officer of FamilySearch from 2002-2004 and the creator of WeRelate.org and GenGophers.com, two of FamilyTree Magazine’s top 101 genealogy websites.

RootsFinder tries to be a great tree for supporting genealogy researchers at all levels, but especially new genealogy researchers. It also focuses heavily on pictures, stories, and videos to make things more interesting for a younger audience.

Here is the announcement:

RootsFinder.com is a free, online family tree that makes researching family history much easier. Unlike other online trees, which only provide hints to their own content, RootsFinder provides hints and search suggestions to websites such as:

  • FamilySearch
  • FindMyPast
  • AmericanAncestors
  • BillionGraves
  • FindAGrave
  • Ancestry
  • MyHeritage
  • and more

JoyFlips giving away $80,000 worth of FamilyArchive™ Kits at RootsTech

The following announcement was written by the folks at JoyFlips, a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform:

San Francisco, CA. February 20, 2018:

JoyFlips will be launching several technical breakthroughs in version 4.0 of its family album technology at RootsTech 2018, along with a giveaway of 2,000 of its new FamilyArchive™ Kits — an $80,000 value — during the event, Feb. 28 – Mar 3, 2018, in Salt Lake City. The new technology in JoyFlips 4.0 will also be featured in the RootsTech Innovation Showcase during the conference.

The new FamilyArchive Kit is a secure offline automatic backup, protected by patent-pending technology, that will keep your family’s digital archive safe for over 50 years. Anyone attending the conference who has a free JoyFlips account, or opens one between February 28 and March 3 at 3pm, is eligible to receive a free $40 value FamilyArchive Kit by stopping by one of the JoyFlips booths at the show. (Recipients must be 14 or older to be eligible) Offer limited to 2,000 eligible attendees. One FamilyArchive Kit per person. Anyone not attending the conference in person who opens a free JoyFlips account from February 28th through March 3rd will be eligible for a 50% discount off the normal price of $40, including free shipping, if ordered by March 31, 2018.

2018 Lackey Scholarship Winner Announced: Linda MacIver

The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Alumni Association:

The Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Alumni Association (Gen-Fed Alumni) announces, with great pleasure, the recipient of the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship for 2018, Linda MacIver of Boston, Massachusetts. Awarded yearly, this scholarship covers tuition and some other expenses for the week long seminar, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed). The scholarship application specifies an “experienced researcher employed in a paid or volunteer position in the services of the genealogical community.”

Texas State Genealogical Society Issues Call for Presentations for the 2018 TxSGS Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the Texas State Genealogical Society:

Austin, Texas, February 15, 2018 – The Texas State Genealogical Society (TxSGS) announces a Call for Presentations for their 2018 Family History Conference. This year’s conference is slated for November 2-4, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas, at the Omni San Antonio at the Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78230, 855-516-1090. The deadline for proposals is March 18, 2018.

MyHeritage on BBC World News

MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, visited the BBC’s London studio to speak to Aaron Heslehurst and Talking Business, BBC World News’ flagship business show. They spoke about MyHeritage DNA and the future of genetic genealogy. Japhet also talked about the growth of MyHeritage and the growth of DNA as a genealogy tool.

You can watch the interview on YouTube at https://youtu.be/WBWE9saXOD0 or in the video player below.

Book Review: The Acadian Miracle

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Acadian Miracle
by Dudley J. Le Blanc, revised and edited by M.M. Le Blanc. Published by BizEntine Press. 2016. 392 pages.

Dudley Joseph Le Blanc (1894-1971), who continued to speak his ethnic Cajun French language for all his life, was a patent oil salesman (made him wealthy), an elected Louisiana state legislator and congressional U.S. senator, staunch advocate and defender of Acadian culture and history, and author, whose books celebrated the life of Acadian peoples and memorialized the forced Acadian Exile via his extensive personal research and publication of Acadian history.

The Acadian Miracle was published 50 years ago, in 1966. (An earlier book, The True Story of the Acadians, was previously reviewed in this newsletter). His granddaughter, M.M. Le Blanc, has taken the original manuscript and improved upon it, while maintaining original text, source material, and tone. This 50th Anniversary edition contains new content, added tables and charts, and appendices reorganized and revised. There are simple pencil drawings of people and events that illustrate the text, some maps, and tables with names.

Canadian Military Looking for DNA and Burial Experts to Help ID Missing War Dead

The Canadian Department of National Defence is seeking forensic DNA experts and funeral organizers to help its efforts to recover, identify and arrange burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead. The prospective group of anthropologists, archaeologists and genealogists would help the department’s Casualty Identification Program analyze DNA from the remains of formerly missing Canadian servicemen discovered around the world.

The program has been identifying and organizing burials for Canada’s formerly missing war dead since 2007. Bidding on the new contract closes March 12.

Details may be found at: http://bit.ly/2EOgdEM.

Follow-up: Turkey Shuts Down Genealogy Service after Overload of Inquiries

As mentioned last week in this newsletter (at https://blog.eogn.com/2018/02/13/turkey-shuts-down-genealogy-service-after-overload-of-inquiries/), “Genealogy interest turned out to be popular for Turkey’s new online genealogy service. The country’s population registry has shut down its online genealogy service after one day, due to an overload of inquiries, according to reports from the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.

The site is now back online at http://www.turkiye.gov.tr and appears to be working well. However, all information on the web site is in Turkish.

According to an article in The Daily Sabah at http://bit.ly/2HnCfwV: