Announcements

Ancestor Network’s New Online Irish Genealogy Advisory Service

Even with all the COVID-19 happenings, is launching a new online Irish genealogy advisory service. The announcement states:

Hi friends and colleagues of Ancestor Network and Flyleaf Press. We wish you and your loved ones good health from Ireland.

With this lockdown, now is a great time to explore your Irish family history. There is no better time than now in getting more connected with your own Irish family history and heritage.

During the lockdown, all the libraries, and archives and repositories are closed; there is no travel to Ireland or anywhere really for a while; but people like you will still want to research their Irish ancestors online; or to learn how to do it by reading a book, or getting some online coaching or genealogy education.

The National Genealogical Society Announces 2020 Family History Conference Will be Virtual

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 16 APRIL 2020—Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 across the nation and concern for the health and safety of all involved in the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2020 Family History Conference, NGS has changed its in-person conference to a virtual conference.

“Our main priority is to protect the welfare of all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff involved in the conference,” said NGS President Benjamin Spratling. “We really want to thank Visit Salt Lake, the Salt Palace Convention Center, and our partner hotels for working with us to help transition this event to a virtual one.”

The Ontario Historical Society Launches Ontario History Journal Digital Archive

The following announcement was written by the Ontario Historical Society:

The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) is excited to announce that, for the first time, the entire run of over 120 years of the Society’s Ontario History journal is now available online. The OHS has digitized the full text of over 2,000 articles and book reviews, making the archive the largest single collection of stories about Ontario’s history.

Ontario History journal, formerly called Papers & Records, is one of the oldest history journals in Canada, having been published continuously since 1899. The journal’s archive contains a wealth of original documents and new research, written by a “who’s who” of Ontario historians, and comprises one of the most important sources for the history of the province.

Students, teachers, historians, researchers, genealogists, and anyone interested in Canadian history will benefit from digital access to back issues of the journal.

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 www.vivid-pix.com, announced today the Vivid-Pix “Round Tuit!” (Get Around to It!) Online Education Program at https://vivid-pix.com/education 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 www.familyhistoryguy.net and will be broadcast live each Tuesday and Friday evening, starting April 3rd, and available to view on demand at www.vivid-pix.com/education.

Announcing “Ask The Expert” Webinars Conducted by MyHeritage

These times of self-imposed quarantines and other unpleasantness imposed by the CoronaVirus pandemic create problems but also create opportunities. One such opportunity is the ability to stay home and learn about all sorts of topics. For genealogy-related topics, MyHeritage has just announced a series of live “Ask The Expert” webinars. Yes, you can stay home and learn more about topics that interest you.

The “Ask The Expert” webinars will be conducted via the already popular GoToWebinars. The webinars will focus on the use of the MyHeritage web site and how to get more from the service. In each webinar, Genealogy Expert Daniel Horowitz will explain how to use a particular feature of MyHeritage and also will answer questions from the audience.

Help Needed To Rescue UK’s Old Rainfall Records

Are you sitting around the house, completely isolated from the outside world because of the CoronaVirus’ social isolation requirements? Are you bored? Would you like to help meteorologists, historians, and others with a crowdsourcing effort? There’s a great crowdsourcing project that needs your help.

The UK has rainfall records dating back 200 years or so, but the vast majority of these are in handwritten form and can’t easily be used to analyze past periods of flooding and drought. The Rainfall Rescue Project is seeking volunteers to transfer all the data into online spreadsheets.

Announcing a Change in the List of Canceled or Rescheduled Genealogy Events

I have been posting cancellations and/or rescheduling of genealogy events on a case-by-case basis. Most of these are being changed because of the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) concerns.

However, there is a problem: there are too many of them!

In fact, the number of cancellations undoubtedly will increase even more. After all, the governors of most states and even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are recommending cancellation of public events.

Quoting the CDC web site at: http://cdc.gov:

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Read full recommendation.

Authorities in most other countries are making similar or even stronger recommendations.

(*) Saturday, April 3, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Spring Seminar is CANCELLED

The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Spring Seminar scheduled for April 4th has been postponed till May 2nd. If you have already paid and can not make the May date you can get a refund, or the money carries over for the May Seminar.

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Enhancing Your Genealogy Repertoire (Seminar)
9:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Prince of Peace Lutheran – 8441 N Indian Trail Rd. Spokane, WA 99208

(*) Minnesota Genealogy Center to Close through April 18 because of CoronaVirus Concerns

The following is an announcement from the Minnesota Genealogical Society:

We regret to inform you that the Minnesota Genealogy Center and the Hoffman Research Library will be closed March 15 through April 18 to protect our members and guests during the COVID-19 public health emergency. All classes, meetings, and other programs during this time have been canceled:

The March 28-29 MGC Open House is canceled.

The April 18 MGS Spring Conference is canceled. Full refunds will be issued to registrants.

These events may be rescheduled at a later date. In the meantime, MGS will be exploring options for increasing online programming.

 

(*) DNA Discovery 2020 Classes in New Zealand to be Held Online as Virtual Meetings

Not only is this planned in-person classroom sessions being changed because of concerns about the CoronaVius pandemic, the change to “virtual classes” means that many more people will be able to attend from around the world. The following is an announcement from the DNA Discovery Team:

The virus may have stopped them hopping on a plane to New Zealand, but it won’t stop Blaine Bettinger & Angie Bush from sharing their knowledge.

Our Christchurch and Wellington DNA Discovery 2020 classrooms are now going virtual and you can attend them online from anywhere in the world.

For those that would like to attend virtually, click on the links below to book your ticket.

(*) Harford County, Maryland library’s Genealogy Conference is Postponed until the Summer

Harford County Public Library’s seventh annual Genealogy Conference, which had been scheduled for later this month, has been postponed due to concerns over coronavirus. It will likely be rescheduled sometime this summer.

(*) The Southern California Genealogical Society Library Will Be Closed for the Remainder of March and All of April

From the SCGS web site at http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/:

Due to the threat of Covid-19, we will be closing the library for the reminder of March and for all of April.

Health providers are recommending that people over 60 avoid even small gatherings. Since many of our librarians and researcher have gained this age, we wish to protect their health and well-being. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this period of time.

(*) Genealogy Library Closes in Portland, Oregon

From the Genealogical Forum of Oregon:

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is immediately closing its library in Portland until April 1. We will re-evaluate that status later based on how the coronavirus progresses in our community.

In addition, here is a full summary of all GFO Events canceled and rescheduled:

    • Canceled Special Interest Group meetings and Volunteer Work Parties.
    • Canceled GenTalk about PERSI on March 21.
    • Rescheduled the free Genealogy Open House to Sept. 25-Oct. 4.
    • Rescheduled the DNA Seminar with Karen Stanbary to August 8-9.

We need to control the contagion. If closing our library to the public helps to “flatten the curve,” as epidemiologists say, then we want to play our part.

Temporary Family History Library Closure Due to CoronaVirus Concerns

The following announcement was written by David E. Rencher, Director of the Family History Library:

Out of concern for the health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will temporarily close starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 until further notice. This closure is to support preventive efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

Regional FamilySearch centers and libraries have been asked to consider the direction of their local and government leaders, and then make informed decisions about temporary closures. If you plan to visit a FamilySearch center soon, please call ahead to ensure it is open at the regular times. (Included at the bottom of this post is a list of centers that are currently closed.)

How to Filter Search Results from People Search Sites and Social Media Sites

The following was written by Randy Majors, a prolific author of numerous online improvements to various web sites:

Now AncestorSearch can cut through the muck of all of those annoying People SearchSite

Does doing a Google search for your ancestors turn up a ton of results from those annoying People Search websites?  Now you can easily INCLUDE or EXCLUDE those websites from your search based on a new enhancement to AncestorSearch on Google Search!

Now you can filter your AncestorSearch search results to EXCLUDE or to INCLUDE ONLY search results from major people search sites and social media sites.  The options look like this:

AncestorSearch and PeopleSearch Filter Search Results options

You can view the full description of the new functionality below the AncestorSearch tool under the heading “NEW!  How to Filter Search Results from People Search sites and Social Media sites“.

What People Search sites are searched?

These are the people search sites searched by AncestorSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

Ancestry® Announces Digitization of all 36 Million Available US Draft Cards, Answering More Members’ Questions about Family History

The following announcement was written by Ancestry:

LEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO, California, February 28, 2020 – Today at RootsTech, the largest family history technology conference, Ancestry® announced the release of a game-changing content collection of all 36 million of the nation’s available World War II young man’s draft cards, further empowering customers’ journeys of personal discovery. Available now on Ancestry, the completion of this multi-year project with the US National Archives & Records Administration involved digitizing these valuable records to create a fully searchable collection, including color images. The World War II draft card collection adds to more than 24 billion records available on Ancestry.com, including historical records from its archive partners and family tree records, stories, and photographs from the community.

“For more than 30 years, Ancestry has continued its unwavering commitment to family history and helping millions of people discover more about themselves and their past,” said Todd Godfrey, Vice President for Global Content, Ancestry. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and today we are excited to announce significant content additions with the digitization of all 36 million of the nation’s available World War II young man’s draft cards. These records add to the largest collection of US military records for family history research. We are proud to continue investing in building the best tools and the largest record collections that answer more questions about your family story and give our members the personal discovery journey they deserve.”

Society of Genealogists and FamilySearch Partnership to Digitize the SoG’s Collection of Compiled Family Histories

The following announcement was written by the Society of Genealogists:

The Society of Genealogists and FamilySearch are about to start work on a programme of digitization of some 9000 family history books and over 5000 genealogy pamphlets, offprints and unpublished tracts from the Society of Genealogists’ extensive genealogy library.

Since its foundation in 1911 the Society of Genealogists has collected the largest assembly of narrative family histories and biographies in the United Kingdom. Some of its collection are unique materials deposited in in the Society’s library for the use of genealogists. This digitization programme not only ensures the preservation of the library’s books, bound monographs and multi-volume histories, but also enables the Society to make them available to a wider audience. Scanned digital images of the works will be available for use in the library and, where possible, will be published online as part of the SoG’s digital collections.

Findmypast’s Newspaper Archive Goes Global

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

The world’s largest online collection of historic British & Irish newspapers branches out into new territories for the first time

·          Titles from Canada and the wider Commonwealth now available to search 

·         New publications covering regions of North America, the Carribean and Asia to be published online in the coming months 

Salt Lake City, Utah,  February 28th 17, 2019. For Immediate Release

Findmypast and the British Newspaper Archive, have today announced a major new development in their project to digitize the British Library’s vast collection of historical newspapers.

Following the recent addition of brand new titles covering Canada and British India, including some of the first English language-newspapers ever to be printed in these regions, Findmypast will continue to add thousands of pages from a variety of Commonwealth publications throughout 2020.

Findmypast’s newspaper collection now contains over 36 million pages from over 1000 titles covering England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and beyond. Spanning over 300 years (1708 – 2009) years of local, national and world history, it contains over 3.2 billion names found within notices of births, marriages and deaths, obituaries, advertisements, letters, news reports and much more. 

MyHeritage Introduces Fan View for Family Trees

I saw this demonstrated today at the RootsTech conference and must say I was impressed. First of all, I love fan charts. They can display an excellent image of a person’s ancestry in an easy-to-understand format. Lots of genealogy programs can create excellent PRINTED fan charts and display them as printed reports or as visually pleasing images on a computer screen. With most genealogy programs, you can have your computer create a fan chart and then you and your relatives can view the output.

The demo by MyHeritage that I saw today is different: it creates INTERACTIVE fan charts. Ok, that is a fancy term but what does it mean? In short, when displaying information on screen as a fan chart, it is not only a static display but you can also click on any individual within the chart to add or modify the information as you wish. The changes to the person’s data then are saved to the main database of your ancestors.

If you wish, you can even make the fan chart as your main “starting point” when entering new data. Click on a person and enter whatever new data you have. You can also change the chart’s colors, size, formatting, and may other options until you crate the display you prefer.

Where Am I From? New FamilySearch Discovery Activity Is a Fun Way to Explore Heritage

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch released its new Where Am I From? interactive online activity this week. The experience is a fun way to explore your ancestral origins. Users can see emigration and immigration movements of their ancestors on a map, discover their countries of origin, and learn the heritage and traditions of their ancestors’ homelands. To start having fun, users will need a free FamilySearch account.

The Where Am I From? experience is the newest addition to a series of FamilySearch discovery activities. Dan Call, the FamilySearch experience manager for the feature, said, “Users can learn fun facts from their family homelands, like the types of food they eat, popular recipes, and family and social dynamics, including common greetings, gestures, and other cultural attributes.”