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(+) The Problems with OCR

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

OCRMuch of the genealogy information available on the World Wide Web is obtained from old books, published many years ago. With today’s technology, vendors are finding it easy to scan the books and to convert the pages into computer text. The results are placed online and the text becomes searchable in Google and other search engines, as well as each site’s own “search box.” The conversion from printed pages to computer text can be performed at modest expense and the information derived can be valuable for many genealogists. There is but one problem: it doesn’t always work very well.

Scanning a page from a book creates a picture of the page. However, a picture is not easily searchable. The image is similar to taking a picture with a digital camera: while it is easily readable by a human eye, the computer cannot “see” the words in the picture. A conversion process, called Optical Character Recognition, is required.

FamilySearch Event Preserves over 10 Million Global Family Records

As a result of the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing event, 116,475 volunteers from around the globe saved nearly 10.5 million historic family records. This three-day event shattered previous week-long indexing event records. Here is the announcement written by FamilySearch:

Worldwide genealogy event recruits more than 116,000 volunteers and shatters previous record

SALT LAKE CITY (July 25, 2016)—From July 15 to 17, FamilySearch International hosted the world’s largest known indexing event, bringing 116,475 people from around the globe together, saving nearly 10.5 million of the world’s records by making them easily discoverable online for future generations. Volunteers ranged in age from 8 to 65 and pitched in from as far away as Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.

What Can a Hacker Do with Your Genetic Information?

Apparently not much, according to an article by Kaleigh Rogers in the Motherboard web site at http://goo.gl/fYKz2A.

Rogers focuses on the idea of someone hacking into the big databases used by genealogists at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, and similar companies. She points out that there are easier ways to obtain someone’s DNA than by trying to hack into encrypted databases:

“Someone could hack into your account on a genetics site, or even just collect your DNA from a used coffee cup and send it away for analysis—something New Scientist reporters proved was remarkably simple back in 2009.”

Mike Pence’s Irish Roots

On July 25, I wrote (at https://goo.gl/jj4H2u) about vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s Irish ancestry and his visit to ancestral locations in Ireland. A newsletter reader then pointed out that his competitor, Mike Pence, also has Irish ancestry and also has made the trip back to the homeland. It’s interesting that we have two Irish Americans running for Vice-President with traceable genealogical roots.

Mike_PenceAn article from 2013 in the IndyStar describes Pence’s Irish interests:

“Pence’s grandfather emigrated to Ellis Island from Tubercurry, Ireland, about a century ago and later worked as a bus driver in Chicago, according to the governor’s staff. His grandmother was born and raised in Doonbeg, Ireland.

“Their experiences left a lasting impression on Pence, who as a member of Congress sought looser immigration restrictions than many of his fellow conservatives liked.”

On a trip to Ireland, Pence visited the small house where his great-grandfather, James Moloney, was born. He also was able to meet his grandmother’s first cousin, 92-year-old Patrick Moloney.

15 Years of the Raeford News-Journal now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to a partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill and the Raeford News-Journal, 15 more years of the Raeford News-Journal are now available on DigitalNC. With this addition, more than 1,000 issues of the paper are now online, dating back to 1943.

You can check out all of DigitalNC’s digitized community newspapers of the North Carolina Newspapers Collection at http://www.digitalnc.org/collections/newspapers/.

Sir David Goodall, R.I.P.

The following sad announcement was written by the Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Sir David GoodallThe Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society regrets the announcement of the death of the Society’s former President, Sir David Goodall.

Sir David died peacefully at his home on the morning of Friday, 22 July, aged 84. He was a career civil servant, serving with the British Diplomatic Service in Austria, Germany, Indonesia and Kenya. He was later Deputy Secretary at the Cabinet Office and was a senior UK representative during the negotiations that led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. In 1987 he was appointed British High Commissioner to India, a post he held until his retirement 1991.

Tim Kaine, VicePresidential Nominee, Harmonica Player, and Irish Genealogist

TimKaineTim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President, has many talents and interests. Of interest to genealogists, Tim Kaine’s great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, emigrated from Ireland to Kansas, where he became a successful farmer.

Kaine certainly feels Ireland in his heart. Kaine is a member of The Irish National Caucus and of the Congressional Friends of Ireland. During his acceptance speech for The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award, he talked about his family’s 2006 trip to Ireland, where they found the ruins of his great-grandfather’s cottage in Killashee Parish, in Longford. He stated at the dinner: “I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years.”

He spoke at the American Ireland Fund about finding his roots:

Prince Edward Island Historian Jean Bernard Publishes Last of 7-Volume Acadian Genealogy

JeanBernard_2I suspect a lot of people will be scrambling to look at these new books. P.E.I. historian Jean Bernard says he has completed the last volume of his books on Acadian genealogy.

The seven volumes contain 4,600 pages and are all in French. Bernard has begun translating the first volume into English.

You can read more in an article by Gail Harding in the CBC News web site at http://goo.gl/25PRRz.

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 hours ago. Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

MyHeritage Introduces New SuperSearch Alerts

Zoho Writer in the Cloud

A Genealogy Society’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Web Sites

ABBYY FineScanner – a Document Scanner for Android and iPhone/iP

Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus Might Not be Free Much Longer

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Does This Photograph Belong to Your Family?

A Call to Action! Finding the Fallen on July 30

Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus Might Not be Free Much Longer

Economics may have caught up with Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus. After all, it costs a lot of money to offer “free” services. The trustees of those web sites now have proposed to change the availability of data transcribed by volunteers from being “free” to “pay to view.”

The following survey was sent by the trustees:

Free or pay to view Survey

The trustees of Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus propose to change the availability of data transcribed by volunteers from being “free” to “pay to view”.

This survey is being carried out to determine which option is preferred and is open to all past, present and future volunteers of these organisations.

Feel free to send this message to any website, chat group and anyone with an interest in the future of these organisations.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

British Columbia, California, Illinois, and Tennessee

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.

A Genealogy Society’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Web Sites

I was planning to write a Plus Edition article aimed at genealogy societies who wish to create a new web site or to improve an existing web site. While researching the article, I discovered that a similar article has already been written. The other article isn’t specific to genealogy societies, but the information in A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites is about 95% the same as I would have written in my article for genealogy societies.

Since most of the information I planned to offer is already available elsewhere, I will suggest any interested reader should first read the A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites article by Chris Peters at http://goo.gl/s3uVEN. I offer the following comments to supplement the original article with the other 5% of the information that I wanted to write about.

First, I strongly support Chris Peters’ suggestion to use blogging software as the society’s primary web-development tool. Most of today’s blogging software offers a variety of options so that any genealogy society should be able to tailor any of the leading blogging products in a manner to meet the needs of the society. Blogging software is easy enough to learn, and it lets you place your newest information—an announcement, article, or something else—right at the top of the web site’s home page to greet your viewers as soon as they enter your website. This dynamic display encourages viewers to return to your website time after time.

US Census Bureau Selects Sites for 2018 End-to-End Census Test in Preparation for 2020 Census

The following announcement was written by the US Census Bureau:

JULY 22, 2016 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it selected the sites for its largest and most advanced systems and operations test in preparation for the 2020 Census. The 2018 End-to-End Census Test will take place in three locations, covering more than 700,000 housing units. The test locations are Pierce County, Wash.; Providence County, R.I.; and the Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, W.Va., area.

Goals

New Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 257,500 new records including:

PERiodical Source Index

18,257 articles from 94 publications have been added in our June update. The PERiodical Source Index is the world’s largest and most widely used subject index for U.S. genealogy and local history literature. Read our June update blog to find out more about the individual series included in this update.

British Army Service Records Image Browse

Our British Army Service Records are now available to browse. Containing roughly 7.8 million records, Findmypast’s British Army service records is one of the most significant British Army collections available online. The collection includes a myriad of Army forms including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards.

Australian Privacy Advocates say People’s Names in Census Records should not be Retained

Census records are some of the most useful records available to genealogists. However, if some Australians have their way, future genealogists will not have access to these records. Privacy advocates are calling on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) not to collect names of individuals in next month’s census, due to privacy concerns.

Actually, this is not as big a loss as it sounds. All Australian census records in the past few years have only kept the names for 18 months. Unlike many other countries, the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not preserve the names and then make them public after 72 or 100 years.

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Do you have old black-and-white family photographs? A new service on Algorithmia uses a deep learning algorithm to add color to the photos. Yes, it works. The colors may not be perfect but they are almost always better than black-and-white. The service is easy to use and, best of all, is available FREE of charge.

Algorithmia_color

For instance, here is one well-known black-and-white on the left and a computer-enhanced color version on the right. Algorithmia can do the same for your photographs.

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Call for Presentations

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree:

2017-Jamboree

Call for Presentations to the 48th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Conference (Friday through Sunday, June 8 – 11, 2017 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California), the 5th Annual SCGS Genetic Genealogy Conference (Thursday, June 8, 2017), workshops throughout both conferences, AND, the 2017 Jamboree Extension Series Webinar program. Presentations will be accepted through the online portal July 15, 2016 – August 21, 2016.

Ancestry.com is Used to Catch a Florida Man Living Under an Assumed Name for More Than 20 Years

Terry Jude Symansky was a Florida man who drowned in 1991 at age 33. However, his nephew recently was working on a family genealogy project and found his uncle’s information on Ancestry.com. Knowing the uncle died in 1991, the nephew was shocked to find a later marriage license associated with his name. After some investigation, police found that the new Terry Jude Symansky is actually Richard Hoagland, a man who disappeared from Indiana about 25 years ago and was declared dead in 2003.

CanadianHeadstones.com now Exceeds 1.5 Million Records

canadian_headstones_logoThe folks at CanadianHeadstones.com (CH) sent a note announcing that the online web site has now surpassed 1.5 Million records. The announcement states, “CH was founded in 2009 as a completely FREE archive of headstone photographs. As a Canadian non-profit corporation, CH is staffed and controlled by unpaid-volunteer Directors. As a corporation, its longevity does not depend on a single person or private control. CH is the only fully Canadian site which indexes every name on the headstones, provides the complete transcription and is fully searchable on multiple levels including the text of the transcription.

“Hundreds of volunteers and volunteer groups are submitting over 800 records per day!”

You can learn more or even submit your own headstone photos for others to enjoy at http://www.CanadianHeadstones.com.

Staten Island Historical Newspapers Now Online

The New York Public Library just posted more than 9,000 pages from The Richmond County Advance online, covering the years 1886 to 1910. Find them at nypl.org/sinewspapers. This “NYPL Innovation Project” began with the scanning of the Advance from the collections of Historic Richmond Town. It is the largest batch of historical Staten Island papers ever posted to the Web — and it is changing the way we explore the Island’s past. The Advance joins the Richmond County Mirror online, which was previously posted by the New York Public Library.

best_ferru_rc_advance

Historical newspapers can be useful to many different people:

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