A Message from MyHeritage

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Mayflower Descendant Records and Family Trees Available Free at FamilySearch

FamilySearch has announced it has added tens of thousands of Mayflower Society member applications and documented descendant family trees of the Mayflower passengers to its website.

This new initiative is the work of FamilySearch International, AmericanAncestors.org (New England Historic Genealogical Society) and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD).

Note: Please notice the words “member applications and documented descendant family trees.” The member applications are claims made by applicants and are not proven to be accurate. Many of the claims were rejected because of accuracy issues. However, the documented descendant family trees” are exactly that: documented. These records have been verified by the the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and should be very accurate. (However, the information still needs to be verified in order to meet recommended practices of always verifying your information.)

Senators Introduce Last-Minute, Bipartisan Bill To Prevent A Census Disaster

Here is an update to the ongoing saga of the multiple problems of conducting the 2020 U.S. census:

Senators unveiled bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to give the Census Bureau more time to finish the 2020 census ― an eleventh-hour effort to prevent a potentially severe undercount of the U.S. population, particularly in Native, minority and rural communities.

The census count, which is conducted every 10 years, was delayed for months because of COVID-19. Now the Trump administration is insisting on ending the count early, on Sept. 30, to meet end-of-year deadlines. The crunched schedule all but ensures that hard-to-reach areas, which are typically poor and minority communities, will be even harder to reach, if they are reached at all. The effects of an even lower count in these regions would be devastating: The areas would lose a lot of federal money and have weaker representation in Congress.

Due to Wild Fires and Vital Records Lost, Oregon State Vital Records Department Will Provide Free Replacements

The following announcement was posted to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Public Records Access Monitoring Committee’s mailing list:

Due to the many wild fires in Oregon, which has so far burned over one million acres, many families have lost all their vital records.

As a result, the Oregon Center for Health Statistics has issued temporary rules to waive fees for certified copies of records for these families, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-35. The State Vital Records office will provide up to three certified certificates of birth, death, marriage, divorce, domestic partnership or dissolution of domestic partnership free of charge if the record is requested in connection with the wildfire response. The temporary rules are in effect September 14, 2020 through March 1, 2021.

The temporary administrative order may be read at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/RULESREGULATIONS/SiteAssets/Pages/index/PH_63-2020.pdf.

The Family History Show, Online, returns 26th September 2020

The following announcement was written by Discover Your Ancestors:

The Family History Show, Online, run by Discover Your Ancestors, returns on Saturday 26th September 2020 in place of the London Family History Show for this year. Building on the huge success of the first online Family History Show in June, where over a thousand attendees enjoyed a great day, the next one is on track to be even better!

Online access means that we are all able to safely enjoy many of the usual features of the physical show from wherever we are in the world, as well as making it possible for those that have disabilities to easily attend.

The Family History Show, Online will, mirroring the format of the very successful live shows, feature an online lecture theatre, the popular ‘Ask the expert’ area – where you can put questions forward to their specialists – as well as over 100 stalls where you can ask for advice as well as buy genealogical products.

Q&A Expert Session

Free Genealogy Books Available on The Internet Archive

When I started researching my family tree more than thirty years ago, I purchased a reprint of a genealogy book first published in 1920: The Harmon Genealogy, comprising all branches in New England” written by Artemas C. Harmon. The book mentions my great-grandmother, Lucy Harmon, and documents her Harmon ancestry back to 1667. It is a wonderful resource, and I have referred to this book often over the years.

I paid more than $100 for this reprinted book many years ago. Today I found the same book online. Anyone may find the book online and then download it to their own computer or to a flash drive or even print out.T(hat last option will consume a LOT of paper and some storage space on a shelf, however.) The cost is ZERO.

Which version would you prefer?

Hairenik Launches an Online Digital Archive of Armenian-American Newspapers

The Armenian language Hairenik newspaper began publication in 1899. Over the years, it has been published as a daily and a weekly, and currently as the Hairenik Weekly. It is the oldest continuously published Armenian newspaper in the world, last year celebrating its 120th anniversary. In 1934, the Hairenik Association began publishing an English language weekly newspaper that continues to this day as the Armenian Weekly. In total, tens of thousands of issues have been published of these storied newspapers, serving as both witness and participant to the history of the Armenian people through the lens of our region.

Although the project is not yet completed, a significant number of issues have already been digitized and are now online. Included are the first 21 years of publication as well as almost all issues published since 1938.

Library of Congress Launches New Tool to Search Historical Newspaper Images

Looking for information about family members in old newspapers? It can be a tedious task if you search each online newspaper manually. Luckily, automation can save you many hours of tedious searching.

Quoting a new article in the News from the Library of Congress:

“The public can now explore more than 1.5 million historical newspaper images online and free of charge. The latest machine learning experience from Library of Congress Labs, Newspaper Navigator allows users to search visual content in American newspapers dating 1789-1963.

Why Your Latest Ancestry.com Results Could Include More Scottish or Irish in Your Ethnicity Estimates

Five days ago I published a press release written by Ancestry.com entitled Ancestry® Now Delivers More Precise Ethnicity Estimates and I added a couple of brief comments of my own.

The article generated a lot of comments from newsletter readers, many of whom questioned if the new and “improved” results were really more accurate than earlier reports or if perhaps the new reports were even less accurate.

Randy Majors Announces Auto-Checking of All Location Facts in Ancestry Family Trees Now Available

Randy Majors is a prolific author of numerous utility programs that add extra functionality to various programs of interest to genealogists. To see my past articles of Randy’s past accomplishes, look at my earlier articles by starting at https://blog.eogn.com/?s=%22Randy+Majors%22.

Now Randy has added still another program to his collection of useful tools for genealogists Here is his latest announcement:

Posted: 15 Sep 2020 10:14 AM PDT

While searching on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, the FREE Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, checks for valid places, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching.

Now, in addition, if you are a randymajors.com Research Hub contributor, the Auto-Checker will ALSO automatically check all U.S. location facts on person profile pages on all Ancestry.com family trees! And your MAP links will open into ad-free fullscreen map windows any time you click a MAP link!

Auto-Check location facts on all Ancestry.com family trees

California Enacts the Genetic Privacy Information Act

This undoubtedly will affect the sharing of DNA information for genealogy and many other purposes.   I suspect that GEDmatch.com will be affected, at least for any activities involving residents of California. The following is an extract from the jdsupra.com website, an online service that provides legal information to the legal community:

justice statue

“With the focus of personal privacy increasing, it is unsurprising that additional laws are being proposed to increase privacy rights, including the California Privacy Rights Act initiative on the ballot this upcoming November. More immediately, the California legislature passed, and Governor Newsom signed, the Genetic Information Privacy Act (“GIPA”). GIPA specifically targets biometric information, due to the increase of genetic tracing services, like 23andMe and Ancestry.com. This law pertains to adding more protections to genetic privacy. Many questions arise following the passage of GIPA, such as what businesses are affected? What, if any, penalties or causes of action exist under this new law? How does this law work alongside the CCPA?

“WHAT IS IN THE LAW?

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. A link to the latest Plus Edition newsletter was sent to all Plus Edition subscribers in an email message.

The following articles are listed in this week’s Plus Edition email:

(+) Why We All Need to Ignore Our Old Ideas about Filing Systems
Consider the Source: Original, Derivative, or Copy
Book Review: Family Stories…and How I Found Mine
Grandson of Former US President Asks to Exhume His Remains
Ancestry® Now Delivers More Precise Ethnicity Estimates
One More Article About “How to go Paperless”
Researchers Use DNA to Identify 72 Men Buried at a Convict Work Camp Site
Arlington National Cemetery Gravesites Will Reopen to the Public This Week
New Records from the Canadian Expeditionary Force Now Available on Fold3
FamilySearch Recognized for US-Mexican War Database Creation
New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 7 September 2020
Findmypast Friday adds Mayflower Compact and New “Immigrant Guides”

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dick Eastman at https://blog.eogn.com/contact-dick-eastman.

Grandson of Former US President Asks to Exhume His Remains

Warren G. Harding

Here is a person who is really determined to prove his ancestry:

The grandson of former US President Warren G Harding has launched a legal bid to have the Republican’s remains exhumed to confirm they are related.

James Blaesing is the grandson of Nan Britton who was Harding’s mistress while the president was still married to Florence (Kling) Harding. James Blaesing told a court he wants to establish his ancestry with “scientific certainty”.

But other members of Harding’s family have opposed the request, filed in May.

You can read more about this story in an article in the BBC News website at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54146221.

Consider the Source: Original, Derivative, or Copy

Experienced genealogists are always aware that they must verify information by looking at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We should know better than to believe a statement on a web site, in a genealogy book, or a verbal statement from Aunt Tilley about the “facts” of our family trees. However, what is the definition of an “original document?”

Let’s take one well-known claim of an original document that isn’t really accurate: the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Almost all American schoolchildren are familiar with this document; and, if we paid attention in class, we know that the document is on display at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington, D.C. In fact, millions of us, myself included, have visited that building to view the document on display. However, how many of us were ever told that the document displayed in Washington is not the original, hand-written document? Instead, it is one of many copies that were produced on a printing press.

No, this isn’t a story plot from a Nicholas Cage movie. In fact, the document displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. is a copy made by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress, during the evening of July 4, 1776, after the original, hand-written document was given to him. Admittedly, the original and the copies made by John Dunlap had no signatures. The “copy” now on display at the National Archives is the only copy that was actually signed by each delegate and therefore is the one that we can now refer to as the real Declaration of Independence. However, it was produced on a printing press and is not the original, hand-written piece of paper.

The Dunlap Broadside with no signatures

Ancestry® Now Delivers More Precise Ethnicity Estimates

Those of us who have taken multiple DNA tests from different DNA companies have often experienced results where all the tests did not agree with each other.  As stated in today’s announcement from Ancestry.com:

While your DNA doesn’t change, the science we use to determine your ethnicity estimates does. Advances in the algorithms used to analyze your DNA and increases in the size and diversity of the reference panel can help you connect to even more regions around the world. As our DNA network grows and science advances, you can expect more comprehensive and precise results.”

My interpretation: if you had your DNA tested a few years ago or even recently by a different DNA testing company, taking a new DNA test today (or re-interpreting your original DNA sample) may result in more comprehensive and precise results.”  Of course, this isn’t limited to Ancestry.com or to any other one DNA testing company. All the major DNA testing companies are constantly working to improve the accuracy of their tests.

Today’s announcement from Ancestry.com describes the recent improvements made to that company’s DNA test methodologies. The result should be significantly improved accuracy. It may even shift your reported ancestry to a different place of origin. I suggest you carefully read the last two paragraphs of the following Ancestry.com announcement (You may want to “trade in your lederhosen for a kilt):

Findmypast Friday adds Mayflower Compact and New “Immigrant Guides”

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

400 years on from its famous voyage, Findmypast have published a new Mayflower passengers lists along with a vast collection of “Immigrant Guides”, perfect for learning more about the lives of your immigrant ancestors.

Around 35 million people are descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims. Are you one of them?

Massachusetts, Mayflower Passengers 1620

This iconic collection includes the names and details of all 132 known passengers and crew who set sail from Plymouth on board the Mayflower 400 years ago.

The collection consists of five pages of the Mayflower Compact. Created and signed during the vessel’s ten weeks at sea, it recorded the essential details of who those on-board and established a rudimentary form of democracy for the new settlement.

Transcripts list the Pilgrims’ names, birth years, birth places and relationships to others on the ship while images may reveal additional details.

Book Review: Family Stories…and How I Found Mine

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Family Stories…and How I Found Mine

By J. Michael Cleverley. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2020. 550 pages.

A few weeks ago, Dick wrote in this newsletter an article about family stories and their place within the context of the genealogy work we do. We know the general pattern—a bit of truth amid exaggeration, a tidbit of accuracy in the course of misunderstanding, a gram of reality in a sensational newspaper story.

J. Michael Cleverley took his family stories and started discovering his family history. Over a period of five years and travels across Europe and the United States, he found the records and visited the places his ancestors inhabited. He tells us about his ancestors, then he tells us about the history surrounding them.

FamilySearch Recognized for US-Mexican War Database Creation

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch International and Pat Rand of the National Park Service were both presented with the prestigious Directors’ Award of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) at the FGS 2020 virtual annual conference. The Directors’ Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy and family history, and extra-mile efforts to promote good will and improve services.

FamilySearch was specifically commended for its volunteers’ efforts in indexing records for the United States Mexican War Soldiers and Sailors Database project. Through the efforts of FamilySearch volunteers, records for 130,000 soldiers who served in the war are now searchable for free online.

Arlington National Cemetery Gravesites Will Reopen to the Public This Week

From an article by Nikki Wentling published in Stars and Stripes:

Members of the public will be allowed inside Arlington National Cemetery this week for the first time since March.

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 7 September 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

This week FamilySearch added over 1M new Catholic Church records from Morelos, Mexico (1598–1994), and more for BrazilCanadaDominican RepublicEnglandFranceGermanyLuxembourgMicronesiaPeruPuerto RicoS. Africa and Spain.

Over 500K records were added to United States collections for ArizonaCaliforniaHawaiiKansasMissouriNew JerseyNew YorkN. CarolinaPennsylvaniaTexasVirginia, and Washington (state).

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

New Records from the Canadian Expeditionary Force Now Available on Fold3

The following announcement was written by Fold3:

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the force raised by Canada for service overseas during WWI. Some 620,000 Canadians who enlisted between 1914-1918 served in the CEF. Of those enlistees, about 424,000 went overseas. Most were volunteers, but when recruitment slowed, a conscription law went into effect in 1918. Our new Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915-1919 collection contains nominal rolls, rosters, war diaries, yearbooks, and unit histories for the CEF. Before the war came to an end in November 1918, the CEF gained the respect of both friend and foe as an elite fighting force. There were more than 233,000 Canadian casualties during WWI, resulting in nearly 61,000 deaths.

Canadian troops are issued tea ration from field kitchen along the Western Front