Posts By Dick Eastman

Presidential Ancestry

With Presidents’ Day in the U.S. next Monday, this is a good time to look at the ancestry of the U.S. presidents. After all, if your ancestors have been in the U.S. for 100 years or more, there is a strong possibility that your ancestry intersects with at least one of the U.S. presidents. The same can be said for many others of Canadian, British, Scottish, or Irish ancestry, as well as a few from the European continent.

presidents

You can find many sources of information about U.S. presidential genealogy. Probably the most scholarly resource is Gary Boyd Roberts’ book, Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States.

The Web is full of information about U.S. presidential ancestry, but with varying degrees of accuracy. Here is a list of some of those pages:

Announcing the Launch of the Journal of Genealogy & Family History

A new, scholarly genealogy journal is about to be published by the Register of Qualified Genealogists, based in the United Kingdom. Here is the announcement:

jgfhLaunching in April 2017, the new Journal of Genealogy and Family History (JGFH) will address the current need for a high quality, peer reviewed publication, covering broad scholarly research in genealogy and family history in a 21st century online format. The journal will be offered to readers and contributors for free, on an open-access, non-commercial basis, with content available under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The scope of the journal will include any field or academic discipline associated with genealogy or family history research such as heraldry, demography, education and record conservation.

Articles will offer the reader insights into current thinking and practice and provide an outlet for theoretical and speculative ideas within genealogy and family history. Topics will be wide ranging, and include for example:

TLC Reveals New Celebrity Contributors for Who Do You Think You Are? (US Version)

The following announcement was written by TLC:

New season premieres Sunday, March 5 at 10/9c

whodoyouthinkyouarelogoTLC’s Emmy Award-winning series, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? returns this spring with a new group of celebrities ready to delve into their lineage and get answers to the questions they’ve wondered about their entire lives. Eight new one-hour episodes bring more unexpected turns and surprising discoveries of great historical significance. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, the new season premieres on Sunday, March 5th at 10/9c.

This season’s celebrity contributors include:

Howard Margol (1924–2017), R.I.P.

The following is republished here with the permission of Gary Mokotoff, Editor of Nu? What’s New? – The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu:

howard_margolMr. Litvak has died. Howard Margol, who likely did more to advance Lithuanian-Jewish genealogical research than any other person, died this past Thursday, February 9. He was 92.

Margol began tracing his family history in 1990. He joined the newly formed Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia and eventually served a two-year term as president of the society. Under his leadership, the membership grew from 65 members to 130 members. After his term as president, he continued to serve on its board of directors.

Amazon unveils Chime, a Competitor to Skype and GoToMeeting

amazon-chimeI doubt if many individual genealogists will use this new service to call each other but it should become valuable for meetings, such as at your local society meetings or the board of directors’ meeting of any organization. Amazon Web Services has unveiled Chime, a new service that it says takes the “frustration out of meetings” by delivering video, voice, chat, and screen sharing.

Instead of forcing participants to call one another on a dedicated line, Amazon Chime automatically calls all participants at the start of a meeting, so “joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, no PIN required,” the company said in a press release. Chime also shows a visual roster of participants, and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.

(+) The Differences Between Simple File Storage Services and True Backup Services

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

Back Up And Restore Keys For Computer Data Security

Back Up And Restore Keys For Computer Data Security

NOTE: In this article I often refer to “Dropbox or Google Drive.” I picked those two simply because they are the most popular online file storage services. The same things can be said about many other services as well. However, there are a few services that are different; they make true backups.

A newsletter reader asked, “I don’t know Google Drive. Do you consider it primarily a ‘backup’ service or a ‘storage’ service? Can it be used for either? Does this persuade you to drop Dropbox for Google Drive or would you keep both?”

My answer cannot be condensed to one or two sentences. I decided to write this article which, hopefully, provides some in-depth information about the differences.

Book Review: Frozen in Time

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

frozen-in-timeFrozen in Time
An Early Carte de Visite Album from New Bedford, Massachusetts
By Susan Snow Lukesh
Self-published at Lulu.com. 2016. 166 pages.

“Cartes de visite: small, mass-produced, and inexpensive photographs introduced in the United States in 1859, widely used in the 1860s and then almost completely superseded by the larger cabinet card photograph in the 1870s.”

Ms. Lukesh inherited a carte de visite album created in the 1860s by her great-great grandmother Abby Taber Hunt. She presents this album, along with biographical sketches of the families, with detailed descriptions of a neighborhood, as a glimpse of one sectional area as being representative of the larger metropolis, and a sense of the culture and times of the seacoast town and whaling port city of New Bedford.

Shoebox Turns Your Phone into a Scanner

Shoebox from Ancestry.com turns your iPhone or Android phone into a mobile photo scanner. You can scan your old paper photos and share them with family and friends. Shoebox’s edge detection and perspective correction technology produces accurate images of your photos quickly and accurately. The face detection feature will automatically find your family members so you can tag them in the photo.

shoebox

Dates can be manually added to your photos so that the information is recorded for future generations. After you’ve cropped a photo, you will be taken to a “Edit details” page. Use the icons at the bottom to tag family members, date your photo, add a location, and write your own description.

Who Was Saint Valentine?

saint-valentineValentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday to send a card. The Greeting Card Association claims that an estimated one billion cards are sent each year. Yet, most of the people who send the cards have no idea who Saint Valentine was. Even historians cannot agree.

According to some authorities, there were two Valentines. One was a priest and doctor who was martyred in the year 269, and the other was the bishop of Terni, who was brought to Rome to be tortured and executed in 273. Others say it was the same person. Both men (or the same man) have legends attributed to them concerning love and matrimony, legends that may or may not be true.

Early Victorian Photos Featured on new Website

William Henry Fox Talbot in 1864

William Henry Fox Talbot in 1864

The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné contains the complete corpus of the works of the Victorian inventor of photography on paper. More than 25,000 known surviving Talbot negatives and prints are now online.

The photographs are mostly from Talbot’s home in Wiltshire home of Lacock Abbey as well as from Oxford, Reading, and York (England) and a few from Paris, all taken from 1839 to 1846. In most cases, these are the only known photographs of that era. It should provide the best available views or life in those areas in the 1840s.

A Report from RootsTech2017, with Pictures

rootsfinder_treeRootsTech2017 was held in Salt Lake City on February 8 through 11. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

Wednesday kicked off with a one-day focus on the Innovator Summit, a one-day event that focused on new family history-related software development. The sessions included presentations for entrepreneurs, marketing, development, start-up funding, and also presentations for any conference attendees interested in the development of future family history services, presented by an elite group of industry experts. You can learn more about the Innovator Summit at https://goo.gl/Gm4ynl. You might want to watch the short introductory video on that page as well.

Of course, the big news is the winners of the Innovator Showdown, a major contest with $199,000 in cash and other prizes! OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an Android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.

Other winners were:

Announcing a New Consistency Checker for Online Family Trees at MyHeritage

What errors are in your genealogy database? Most people have several and are not aware of the errors. A new Consistency Checker for online family trees at MyHeritage scans your family tree and identifies potential mistakes and inconsistencies in your data so that you can quickly make the necessary changes in your tree, improving its overall quality and accuracy.

pr_consistency_checker

I ran this on my database and am a bit embarrassed to admit it found two errors.

In addition, the Consistency Checker identified several possible problems, such as people who had children at a rather young, but possible, age or at an advanced, but possible, age. In other words, it displayed a notice that “you might want to double-check this.” Luckily, in my case they were all legitimate facts as many of my French-Canadian ancestors did have children while in their mid-teens. However, it never hurts to double-check your sources.

MyHeritage Launches Photo Discoveries™

I saw this demonstrated today at RootsTech. MyHeritage found a picture of my great-uncle. I had never seen a picture of him before. I think this is going to be big. The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

Exclusive feature delights users with photographs of their ancestors and relatives, added to their family tree in one click

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, February 10, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today the launch of Photo Discoveries, an innovative feature which transforms family trees by automatically adding matching historical photos. A Photo Discovery provides users with a set of photographs of ancestors and relatives they may have never seen before, originating in family trees contributed by others. Users can add the photographs to the matching profiles in their family tree, in a single click.

pr_photo_discoveries_final

Layered on top of MyHeritage’s highly accurate Smart Matching™ technology, which locates matching profiles in other family trees, and Instant Discoveries™, which enable users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks, Photo Discoveries identifies the profiles that have no photographs in the user’s family tree and provides photographs of these individuals from matching profiles on other family trees.

OldNews USA Wins Top Honors at RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown

This was a major contest this week with big prize money! The following was written by FamilySearch:

oldnews-usaOld news, it seems, is actually “new” news. Very innovative news in fact. Today at RootsTech, the world’s largest family history technology conference, OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

findmypast_logoOver 31 million new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Philadelphia Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms

Discover your Catholic ancestors from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in this first record release from an agreement we’ve made with the Roman Catholic Church to digitise their unique records for the first time ever. These baptism records list your ancestor’s name, their parent’s names, and their residence at the time.

Additional information that you may find from the images include place of birth, sponsors, minister who performed the ceremony, and notice of marriage. Catholic priests were charged with noting all vital events of their parishioners. If, for instance, a parishioner married outside her home parish, the priest who performed the marriage would contact her priest to confirm she was baptised and to share the details of her marriage, hence the marriage notice in the baptism register.

Philadelphia Roman Catholic Parish Marriages

MyHeritage Appoints Prominent DNA Expert Dr. Yaniv Erlich as Chief Science Officer

The following announcement from MyHeritage was released today at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. I would draw your attention to two different facts in the announcement: (1.) the credentials of Dr. Yaniv Erlich indicate that he is one of the leading DNA scientists of our time and (2.) the announcement of “MyHeritage DNA, the company’s newly established DNA service for family history and ethnicity.”

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah , February 9, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today the appointment of Dr. Yaniv Erlich as its Chief Science Officer. Dr. Erlich, a DNA scientist of world renown, will lead scientific development and strategy for MyHeritage DNA, the company’s newly established DNA service for family history and ethnicity, and ensure that its products are built on a solid scientific foundation.

Dr. Erlich, nicknamed the Genome Hacker by Nature journal, brings to MyHeritage unparalleled experience in the field of genomics as Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computational Biology at Columbia University and as a Core Member at the New York Genome Center. He is also the former principal investigator and a Whitehead Fellow at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, founder of DNA.LAND and the principal investigator of the Erlich DNA lab.

Findmypast launches Catholic Heritage Archive

Findmypast Has announced immediate availability of millions of exclusive Catholic records published online with more coming soon. The records are from thre United States, Britain and Ireland. The company also announced:

  • Findmypast also announces new additions to the ambitious United States Marriages project
  • Release marks significant expansion of Findmypast’s US data collection

catholicheritagearchive

Thursday 9th February 2017

Leading family history website, Findmypast, today announced the creation of the Roman Catholic Heritage Archive, a ground breaking initiative that aims to digitize the historic records of the Catholic Church in the United States, Britain and Ireland.

Findmypast is today releasing over 3 million exclusive records including sacramental registers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1757 to 1916 as well as for the British Archdioceses of Westminster and Birmingham from 1657 onwards. This builds on last year’s publication of more than 10 million Irish Catholic parish registers.

New Free App to Help Visitors in Dublin Trace Their Irish Ancestors

I wish this had been available when I was in Dublin a few months ago! The following announcement was written by Ancestor Network and announced this morning at RootsTech:

Dublin, Ireland, and Salt Lake City, Utah; Wednesday, 8 February 2017

ancestor_networkAncestor Network, Ireland’s leading provider of professional genealogy and probate research, has just released at RootsTech 2017 a free, new and interactive Irish Genealogy Research App; Your Dublin Map Guide to Irish Genealogy and History Sources. This ‘Ancestor Network’ App displays a list of the leading Dublin-based libraries, archives, research centres, historic sites and museums. These are linked to a detailed interactive map of Dublin containing supplemental information such as physical and web address location, contact details, and opening hours.

This App functions as your historical and genealogical guide in navigating through the streets of Dublin and to make the most of your time visiting or researching in Ireland.

On the Road Again, This Time to RootsTech

By the time you read these words, I should be in the air or possibly already arrived in Salt Lake City. I will attend the annual RootsTech conference. I hope to write about the events there daily and perhaps publish a few photographs in this newsletter as well. I will also be hosting a dinner for readers of this newsletter on Saturday evening, February 11.

As usual, I will be traveling with a Chromebook computer along with other gadgets that should keep me in touch with the newsletter. Connectivity should not be a problem but available time is usually the biggest impediment. You probably will see fewer articles posted here than normal in the next few days. However, I do hope to post a few new articles during the conference.

I’ll be back home on February 13.

Ancestry Publishes New Genetic Research on U.S. Population Structures in Nature Communications

The following announcement was written by Ancestry:

DNA and genealogical information from more than 700,000 AncestryDNA users gives new insight into historical events in North America during the last several hundred years

ancestry-com-logoLEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 07, 2017 — Today, Ancestry published a scientific article entitled “Clustering of 770 thousand genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America” in Nature Communications. The article shares new research using genetic data from over 700,000 individuals from North America to uncover a detailed picture of the subtle patterns of migration and settlement in post-colonial USA. Ancestry is the leader in family history and consumer genomics with 80 million family trees and more than three million people using AncestryDNA, a combination which powered the fine-grain historical insights that have previously been inaccessible from genetic studies.

This research was led by Ancestry’s Chief Scientific Officer Catherine Ball, Ph.D., her Ancestry colleagues and historian Erin Battat, Ph.D., from Harvard University.

“Ancestry is just scratching the surface of scientific discoveries that can be made when combining large amounts of genomic data with detailed pedigree information, and I’m incredibly proud of the work the team put into this research project as well as the fascinating results we’ve found,” said Ball. “It’s especially rewarding to gain insights that not only contribute significantly to genomic research, but provide a glimpse into our own personal histories and identities.”

Key highlights of the paper: