MyHeritage Announces a “Stay at Home” DNA Sale, a Steep Discount on MyHeritage DNA to Encourage You to Stay Home

The following is an announcement from MyHeritage:

Your health and safety are of utmost importance to us at MyHeritage. In light of the unfolding global situation, we strongly encourage all our users to practice social distancing and adhere closely to the instructions outlined by your local government and health authorities.

We understand that it’s not easy to stay cooped up at home, and we’d like to do what we can to sweeten the deal. For that reason, we’ve decided to offer the MyHeritage DNA kit at a steep discount throughout the month of April. The price is $39 US and includes Free Shipping on 2+ kits. This is the lowest price ever for these DNA kits!

Order a DNA kit now

How to Digitize Your Most Important Documents

The New York Times has published an article by J. D. Biersdorfer that I will suggest should be required reading by every genealogist. Here is a quote:

“But even if you’re already backing up your digital files, do you have a backup plan for your one-of-a-kind documents and photos that you have only on paper — like birth certificates, marriage licenses and military-discharge papers?

“Scanning copies of your personal papers creates a digital archive that can also be used as a backup, especially if you have the files password-protected and stored in a secure location. And even if you don’t have a document scanner, you can create your personal archive with a smartphone, a few apps and a bit of time. Here’s a guide to getting started.”

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 6 April 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Inspect over 13 million New York Land Records, US Newspaper obituaries, and American Medical Association physician records newly added this week to historical collections at FamilySearch. Find English and Welsh ancestors in the National Index of Wills and Administrations, and family names in church and civil registrations for Brazil, England, Peru, the Netherlands, South Africa, Chili, American SamoaJamaica, Puerto Rico and the United States (CA, DC, HI, IA, LA, ME, MI, NE, NC, OH, SC, SD, TX, VA, WI).

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

How the Telephone Failed its Big Test During 1918’s Spanish Flu Pandemic

This 102-year-old pandemic sounds a lot like today’s problems. From an article by Harry MaCracken in the FastCompany web site:

Being cooped up at home during a pandemic is not fun. But in 2020, it doesn’t involve being disconnected from the outside world. Actually, thanks to the internet, the greater risk is that you might end up feeling overwhelmed by information.

Now rewind 102 years to the outbreak of the so-called Spanish flu of 1918. In many ways, the upshot was eerily similar to our current conundrum. Local directives shut down everything from kindergartens to saloons; quarantines kept people out of work and away from friends and family. Nobody talked about implementing “social distancing” out of “an abundance of caution,” but they practiced it in spades.

And one piece of technology promised to help life go on: the telephone.

You Can Help the National Archives UK Uncover WW1 Ships Crew Logs

According to the IanVisits blog:

“If you’re stuck at home and want to do something good, then the National Archives [of Great Britain] is seeking volunteers to help transcribe First World War Royal Navy service records for a free online database it is building.

“Service records for the First World War can provide information about individuals and their lives. However, as crew lists for ships and submarines during this period rarely survive, it is difficult for researchers to determine who was on a ship or in a certain battle together.

Update: How to Get Microsoft Office for Free in 2020

On January 1, 2020, I published Off Topic: How to Get Microsoft Office for Free in 2020. The instructions for obtaining free copies of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar and Skype apps have changed a bit since January 1 so I have deleted the original article. In its place, I would suggest you read Microsoft Office is now Microsoft 365. Here’s how you could get it for free by Alison DeNisco Rayome and available on the CNET web site at

Please keep in mind that the free versions are mostly the same as the older versions that require payment but there are a few differences. Quoting the article by Alison DeNisco Rayome in the CNET web site:

(+) Facts About Immigration You Never Learned in School

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

Hundreds of articles about immigration to the United States have been published over the years in various magazines, books, and online sites. Indeed, a few dozen articles about immigration have been published in this newsletter alone. To my knowledge, the numbers and facts mentioned in all of those articles have been quite accurate. I would suggest, however, the more interesting facts and statistics are the ones that were never mentioned in most articles.

Much has been written about the 47 million Europeans and Asians who entered the various ports of entry from 1820 through 1960. For all that, how many of those articles ever mention the fact that more than one-half of those immigrants RETURNED to their homelands?

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

Online Webinars, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and North Carolina

NOTE: Many of these are notices of event cancellations because of CoronaVirus concerns. 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.

Recently Added and Updated Collections on

From the list of recent new and/or updated additions at

New and Updated

Update: MyHeritage is Offering FREE Access to all U.S. Census Records and the Offer Has Been Extended through April 12, 2020

On March 30, I wrote about an offer by MyHeritage: “To mark this once-a-decade milestone, searching and viewing all of MyHeritage’s U.S. census collections is completely FREE from now until April 5th, 2020.” Click here to see that announcement.

Now MyHeritage has announced, “We’re extending our free access to all U.S. Census records on MyHeritage for one more week. Searching and viewing all of our U.S. census collections is completely free through April 12, 2020.”

Click here to explore the collection.

UPDATE #20: Genealogy Cancellations and Postponements Due to Coronavirus

New updates: Ontario and Wisconsin

As the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) outbreak spreads, many public events are being canceled, postponed, or turned into virtual events. Whether as a result of travel bans, laws banning large gatherings, or an abundance of caution, officials are canceling, postponing, or converting events to virtual conferences… leaving show organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors scrambling to make alternative plans.

Genealogy events are not immune to these concerns. I plan to publish notices of cancellations of genealogy-related events for as long as there is a need for these notices.


New updates since the last update are marked with an asterisk (*).

Ken Burns Presents the Gene: An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee

What happens when a world-famous filmmaker reads a book written by leading physician, biologist, oncologist, and author and then decides to use the book as the basis for a 4-hour PBS special broadcast about genetics? The result is a documentary called The Gene: An Intimate History.

And, yes, quite a bit of this documentary will discuss the things that people inherit from their ancestors.

Ken Burns Presents the Gene: An Intimate History will be broadcast on April 7 and 14 on PBS. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., and acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns have collaborated on the new documentary inspired by Mukherjee’s best-selling 2016 book, The Gene: An Intimate History.

Quoting from the show’s web site at

Findmypast Add Over 116 Million New Records to their Exclusive Collection of English and Welsh Electoral Registers

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

·         Second phase of vast collection published online for the first time in partnership with the British Library 

·         Enables researchers to trace ancestors between census years, uncover details of the property they occupied and explore the history of their home or local area 

·         Over 6.7 million records spanning 1832 to 1932 now available to search online – only at FIndmypast

Leading family history website Findmypast have announced the online publication of over 116 million records of English and Welsh voters in association with The British Library

This vast update forms the second phase of Findmypast’s exclusive England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932 collection and is the largest single release published by Findmypast this year. 

Coping with Quarantine in a Pre-Digital Era

The Times [Seymour, IN], October 8, 1918, accessed

Staying at home because of the CoronaVirus’ self-isolation policies is certainly unpleasant for many people. However, we are not the first to be quarantined. An article by Nicole Poletika in the Indiana State Library web site shows similarities (and differences) between what we are experiencing today versus what our ancestors endured.

The article focuses on the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and 1919. It had many similarities to today’s CoronaVirus but with one major exception: the Spanish flu epidemic was more deadly than today’s CoronaVirus.

Quoting from the article:

The [Spanish] flu struck Fort Benjamin Harrison in September of 1918 and by October 6, U.S. public health service officials mandated a statewide quarantine for Indiana and most other states. Making us grateful for the immediacy of Apple News and Google Alerts, state board officials at the time spread the news by dispatching telegrams to board secretaries in every county, ordering them to “immediately close all schools, churches, theaters, amusements of all kinds, and to put a ban on all public meetings and gatherings.” The order initially exempted factories, “business houses,” and restaurants, and limited confectionaries’ services.

Vivid-Pix Announces “Round Tuit!” Education Program — Free & Low-Cost Online Family History Genealogy Activities for Quarantined Adults, Kids & Families

Free and $1.99 Online Programs Keep Adults, Kids, Families, & the Secluded
Educated, Entertained and Connected

Create Your Family History: Restore and Organize Old Photos & Documents
and Learn About Your Roots

Classes Taught by the World’s Most Respected Historians, Genealogists, DNA Researchers, Lawyers,
PBS & Travel Channel Genealogy Researchers, and Immigration Experts

Savannah, GA, April 2, 2020 — Vivid-Pix, announced today the Vivid-Pix “Round Tuit!” (Get Around to It!) Online Education Program at that helps people during quarantine with classes priced for free or $1.99 to organize family photos and learn about their family history with the help of the world’s most respected historians, genealogists, and educators. The series is hosted by Daniel Earl and will be broadcast live each Tuesday and Friday evening, starting April 3rd, and available to view on demand at

“Roots Less Traveled”, a New Television Series Co-Produced by Ancestry®, to Debut on NBC April 4

UPDATE: The following press release written by Ancestry and also available on the Ancestry blog at says the show will be broadcast on April 4 but some EOGN newsletter readers have found it in their local lists of television schedules as being scheduled for April 5.

The following is an announcement written by Ancestry®:

We’re excited to announce we have a new television show debuting on NBC which features real people and their personal discoveries! From the comfort of your own couch, you can tag along each week as Roots Less Traveled follows a pair of family members​ who bond over their joint quest to learn more about their shared family history.

NOTE for newsletter readers outside the USA: NBC is an American television network. Roots Less Traveled probably will not be available in your country.

The series features relatives as they set out on an adventure to solve mysteries in their family tree. From rumors of ancestors aboard the Titanic to stories of homesteaders forging a new path for future generations, the duos discover the truth behind the tales that have been passed down for generations, revealing the inspiring lives their ancestors led. In partnership with Ancestry®, they learn how their past has shaped their present and through this shared journey how family bonds are deepened.

Because of the CoronaVirus, is Making 750 eBooks Available Online

Quoting from an announcement by

“Subscribe now to access our entire collection of ePubs for 3 months for only $49.95

“3 Months – 750 ePub titles

“While so many of us are in our homes looking for ways to make good use of the time, is making an unprecedented offer. You can access our entire eBook collection with a three-month subscription. Subscribe today and acquire access to a collection of some of the best publications in genealogy.”

Here is another quote from the details of the three-month subscription:

ISBGFH DNA Virtual Institute Registration is Now Open

The following announcement was written by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History:


The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History is pleased to announce that registration for the DNA Virtual Institute by Dr Maurice Gleeson is now OPEN!

The virtual institute will run over two days and all presentations will be LIVE so seats are limited. The presentations will be held on September 8 & 9, 2020.

Topics to be covered:

Kansas City’s WWI Museum is Avoiding Layoffs by Giving Employees Thousands of Pages From Its Archives to Digitize

I wonder if other museums, companies, or even the larger genealogy societies could do something like this. Of course, there are major issues to be solved, but an article by Alisha Ebrahimji published in the CNN web site shows that one museum is using its employees to transcribe records:

“A museum in Kansas City, Missouri is avoiding laying off its employees during the coronavirus pandemic by giving some of them a big project to take on.

“The National WWI Museum and Memorial said it is moving 10 of its employees to a team dedicated to digitizing thousands of letters, diaries and journals.

It’s April Fools’ Day, but Understandably, Not Many People are in a Joking Mood. Here is a Genealogy Alternative.

All Fools’ Day is an annual custom on April 1 consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes. While the jokes and hoaxes may be in various forms, it is common for online publications to publish a misleading article that first appears to be factual, then at the end of that article, the author reveals the joke is on the reader.

I was going to write an April Fools’ article this year, but my heart really wasn’t in it. Sitting in my self-imposed CoronaVirus isolation, filled with anxiety and depression, I simply could not dream up any suitable joke or hoax. However, since I had lots of time available, I whiled away the hours by surfing the web, often looking for humorous articles in an attempt to improve my mental outlook. Then I found “it!”

In this case, “it” is a song that is really a joke, reveals a hoax near the end of the song, and even features a young man who finds a surprise in his family tree. OK, it isn’t an April Fool’s joke but it has all the required elements to be published in a genealogy-related newsletter.