The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has required the New York Public Library to return the birth indices post 1909 and death indices post 1948 stating having them available to the public was a violation of the NYC Health Code.
The reason? According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “The Department will no longer make such indexes available, since such access can be abused and result in identity theft and attendant security risks. In addition, genealogists and others interested in genealogical research can access appropriate information from the Municipal Archives.”
This is a major loss for genealogists.
The national news media has been full of stories in recent weeks about North Carolina’s controversial new law, called HB 2. In short, the law allows and even encourages discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals. Even the U.S. Justice Department officials are on record as stating the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding. You can read more about that issue at http://goo.gl/qdPS3U.
Many people, myself included, are boycotting North Carolina businesses until the law can be repealed and full civil rights are restored to all citizens.
The National Genealogical Society got caught in a quandary. The Society had already committed to holding its 2017 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina before the law was enacted. Cancelling the plans at this time would mean the violation of contractual committments, probably resulting in thousands of dollars in financial penalties. Another problem is that finding and planning a new venue is difficult to impossible with only twelve months’ notice.
This left the senior management of the National Genealogical Society with a dilemma: how to hold a conference that will “ensure Raleigh is a safe and welcoming location for all of our 2017 conference attendees.” Now the NGS managers have published a statement, available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/pressroom/ngs_concern:
NGS States Concerns About HB 2 Impact on Their 2017 Raleigh Conference
The folks who produce RootsMagic genealogy software have announced a major new feature: integration with Findmypast.com. The program previously searched performed automatic searches of both FamilySearch.org and MyHeritage.com for possible matches to your data stored inside your own RootsMagic database. As matches are found, a light bulb appears next to each person’s name. Clicking on the light bulb opens up a web browser with the matching records (some records may require a subscription). Now Findmypast has been added to the automated search capabilities in RootsMagic version 7.2.
As stated on the RootsMagic Blog: “Findmypast is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. They have over 4 billion historical records from around the world with more being added every week. With more than 1,000 exclusive collections, Findmypast has records which you just won’t find anywhere else.”
National Genealogical Society Presents Awards Honoring Excellence in Newsletter Editorship and Service to NGS
OK, if I may “toot my own horn” just a bit, I received a very pleasant surprise today during the opening ceremony of the National Genealogical Society’s annul conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I received an award. Actually, the award was presented to two people: myself and Cyndi Ingle, publisher of Cyndi’s List. If I am to share an award with anyone, I am proud to share it with Cyndi, a person whose work I have admired for years.
I never expected any such recognition. I was in the back of the room taking notes. When I heard my own name mentioned, I froze and stopped taking notes. I never knew what NGS President Jordan Jones said after that until I read the announcement later in the day.
A number of other people received special awards today as well. Here is the announcement sent today by the National Genealogical Society:
I was pleased to learn of a new announcement today from Michael J. Leclerc, CGSM. Michael has been a friend of mine for years and we were co-workers for a few years as well. I have long admired his genealogy expertise and am pleased to see him embark on a new venture. Michael will be teaching some of these courses himself while others will be taught by partners that join in the effort:
May 4, 2016 – Boston, MA. Founder Michael J. Leclerc, CGSM is excited to announce the launch of a new opportunity for genealogy education. Genealogy Professor developed from a passion to provide high-quality independent education to those who want to find their ancestors. Major websites often focus on getting subscribers in the door without considering that most genealogists need a variety of resources to identify the members of their family tree. Our focus is high-quality education to give researchers the tools they need, no matter where those tools are to be found. This includes the incredible resources that are not yet available online that can make the difference between success and failure.
Another major announcement has been made at the National Genealogical Company’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale: Findmypast is releasing a huge batch of US marriage records. The following was written by Findmypast:
- New records contain over 30 million names
- Includes significant additions from Indiana, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maine
- Includes 1 million names published online for the first time and only found on Findmypast
Leading family history website, Findmypast , announced today at the 2016 conference of the National Genealogical Society the release of over 10 million new marriage records in the second installment of their United States Marriages collection.
Released in partnership with FamilySearch International, the records contain more than 30 million names, nearly 1 million of which have never before been published online and can only be found at Findmypast.
The release marks the second stage of an ambitious project that will see Findmypast digitize and publish the single largest online archive of U.S. marriages in history. Covering 360 years of marriages from 1650-2010, when complete this landmark collection will contain at least 100 million records and more than 450 million names from 2,800 counties across America.
The following announcement was written by the folks at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh:
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh [GRIP] holds week-long courses at La Roche College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, each summer in two separate weeks, each with different courses. The 2017 dates are June 25-30, 2017 and July 16-21, 2017. The following courses will be held (schedule to be determined):
Two British entrepreneurs have announced a new smartphone app that will allow people to upload, store and share their old photographs. The founders hope that the Clixta app can act both as a place where families or other groups can share old photos privately and as a public archive for British social history.
The app looks interesting but I have to wonder “what’s new?” Today’s smartphones already have a dozen or more available apps that will do essentially the same thing.
Ancestry.com Loses a Trademark Case Against DNA Diagnostics Center for the Marketing of “AncestryByDNA”
Last year, Ancestry.com filed a trademark infringement law suit against DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (“DDC”) in the Ohio Southern District Court in Cincinnati. The lawsuit alleged that DDC’s use of the “AncestrybyDNA” brand and trademark was an infringement of Ancestry.com’s trademark of “AncestryDNA” and was causing confusion amongst consumers. Some people were purchasing DNA services from DDC without realizing they were not dealing with Ancestry.com.
It appears that Ancestry.com has lost the case.
DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (“DDC”) has issued a press release stating:
The annual conference of the (US) National Genealogical Society starts tomorrow and I expect a number of new announcements will be issued. Here is the first one, written by the National Genealogical Society:
ARLINGTON, VA, 3 MAY 2016— Drew Smith, MLS, is the 2016 recipient of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. Smith, an Assistant Librarian in the Academic Services department of the University of South Florida Tampa Library, received his award and its $1,000 prize, which is underwritten by ProQuest, at the opening session of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2016 Family History Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Created in 1999 by NGS, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest and Mr. William Forsyth since 2006.
Genealogists often don’t understand the need when they begin but soon find it is important to cite their sources. After all, someday you will ask, “Where did I find that?” If you were smart enough to record the source citation at the time you recorded the other information, your question is easily answered. You will find many other genealogy uses for source citations as well.
Cite This For Me is a FREE extension for the Chrome web browser that will automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button. Simply browse to the page you wish to cite and click the button to generate a correctly formatted citation. Then copy-paste the citation into your assignment, or add it to your online bibliography for safe keeping until later. Cite This For Me also comes with a Google Chrome extension.
Not bad for a free product!
I have written before about Twile (www.twile.com), a product that allows family historians to create rich, visual timelines of their family history, made up of milestones and photos from their ancestors’ lives. (See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+twile for a list of my past articles about Twile.) Now the company made some big changes to the invisible parts of Twile, which means that the whole website now runs faster and can handle any size of family tree. You will hopefully notice that everything loads more quickly, especially if you have a large family on the site.
You can read more about the new improvements in the Twile Blog at https://twile.com/blog/2016/04/twile-is-now-even-faster/.
MyHeritage has released the details of another heartwarming reunion, this time involving two long-lost brothers born in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp. The reunion is the subject of a documentary called “Aida’s Secrets” which will have its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto on May 3, 2016. The story is also told in the MyHeritage Blog at http://goo.gl/Cfg08h and in the article below:
TEL AVIV, Israel & TORONTO — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the reuniting of two long-lost brothers born in the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp who subsequently separated as young children and grew up in Israel and Canada, respectively.
Izak Szewelewicz, who was born in the displaced persons camp at Bergen-Belsen, Germany shortly after World War II, was adopted by an Israeli family in 1948 at the age of three, and was then raised in Israel. Izak’s mother, Aida, had meanwhile immigrated to Canada, and later found and contacted Izak when he was an adolescent. They met a few times, but she always refused to speak about the identity or fate of Izak’s father or anyone else from the family. Only a few years ago, Izak received documents from the Bergen-Belsen archive that delivered a shocking revelation: he had a brother named Shepsyl in the camp, as well as another relative. The records indicated that both relatives had emigrated to Canada, separately from his mother. In September 2013, Izak’s nephew Alon Schwarz reached out to MyHeritage with a special request: to help him find Izak’s lost brother. MyHeritage rose to the challenge.
The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:
Ontario, California, Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, 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.
In 1847, less than 16 years after the Trail of Tears, the all but penniless Choctaw Nation donated $170 – nearly $5,000 today – to complete strangers starving in the Irish Potato Famine. 168 years later, the Irish have not forgotten.
During the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s, more than a million people perished in Ireland when a blight decimated potato crops that served as the primary food source for almost half the population, but primarily the rural poor.
It is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!
Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.
The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:
This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 697,000 new records including more than 172,000 new additions to our collection of Dorset parish records and significant updates to our Irish newspaper collection. Also included this week are new British Army Boer War records that will allow you to uncover fascinating details of your ancestor’s military service.
Over 2,500 records have been added to our collection of Anglo-Boer War Records.
Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902 is a unique collection of assorted document taken from more than 470 sources and containing more than 293,000 names. Consisting of casualty rolls, service rolls, honour rolls, force rolls and a variety of other documents, the records will allow you to uncover your ancestors rank, regiment, service number, details of the awards they received and whether they were killed or wounded in the line of duty.
The following announcement was written by the folks at Family History Researcher Academy:
Back in Spring 2013 Nick Thorne launched his English/Welsh family history course online to help people with ancestors from this part of the world find their family in the records. He saw that many family history researchers would benefit from a set of accessible guides that would show them how to master the many record collections and the various resources available. With this knowledge they would be better equipped to discover their English/Welsh ancestors more easily.
Nick, has researched ancestors for private clients, worked on various projects for one of the leading British genealogical research websites, and is also a regular writer in Discover Your Ancestors Bookazine and its sister monthly online periodical. He writes case-study articles, published in several of the monthly British family history magazines, which reveal the best way to make the most of the records sets on a top data subscription site. Nick also has his own Help Me With My Family Tree blog at www.NoseyGenealogist.com/blog.