Current Affairs

Turkey Shuts Down Genealogy Service after Overload of Inquiries

Genealogy interest turned out to be popular for Turkey’s new online genealogy service. The country’s population registry has shut down its online genealogy service after one day, due to an overload of inquiries, according to reports from the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.

The service allowed Turkish citizens who registered themselves to the digital citizenship services to find their ancestors.

Your Family History Magazine is Going Out of Business

Your Family History Magazine has been a printed magazine produced in the U.K. for the past 15 years. Sadly, it is no more. According to the magazine’s web site at https://subscribe.yourfamilyhistorymag.co.uk/yourfamilyhistory:

“After 15 years at the forefront of genealogy advice, Your Family History is saying farewell. Issue 192 (out in mid-February) will be the last issue you will receive – and, once again, it will be packed with useful information on how to get the most out of your research. As a loyal subscriber, we thank you for your support and wish you all the very best in your family history adventure.”

A Digital Project is Underway to Recreate Ireland’s Public Record Office Destroyed by Fire in 1922

A project is under way to digitally recreate the building and contents of the Public Record Office of Ireland, which were destroyed by an explosion and fire at Dublin’s Four Courts in 1922. The six-story Victorian building went up in flames on 30 June 1922 during the Civil War. Seven centuries of Ireland’s historical and genealogical records were lost, seemingly forever.

However, thanks to new technology, historical research and careful archival practise, Trinity College Dublin says these losses “are not irrecoverable”. The “Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury” project will see the creation of a virtual reality reconstruction of the Public Record Office.

An African-American Cemetery in Baltimore was Bulldozed

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.” – William Gladstone

Since it was opened in 1852, Laurel Cemetery was supposed to become a place where the luminaries of Baltimore’s black community could be remembered forever. “All who procure burials here are sure of an undisturbed resting place for all time to come,” an 1858 ad promised. However, “forever” ended in the 1960s.

The cemetery was paved over by developers with political connections. Today the former cemetery is the site of a Food Depot, a discount department store, and a Dollar General, among other commercial buildings.

Journalist/Genealogist Takes on Trump’s Hard-line Immigration Advisers with Their Own Genealogy

The present administration in Washington is working hard to tighten the requirements for immigration to the United States. It is interesting to learn that many of the people who are advocating such restrictions would not be American citizens themselves if similar regulations had been in effect years ago when their own ancestors immigrated. In fact, under Trump’s proposed immigration rules, his own grandfather likely wouldn’t have been allowed into the country.

Jennifer Mendelsohn traced the family histories of Trump and many of his team’s members. This is a trending news story this week and you can find dozens of online stories about it by beginning at: http://bit.ly/2DA6QF7.

In addition, a video from MSNBC is also available at: http://on.msnbc.com/2DAhUG7.

Crowdsourcing the Transcription of Anti-Slavery Manuscripts at the Boston Public Library

“Through the participation of citizen historians, we now stand on the threshold of having available — free to all — the entire contents of the Boston Public Library’s extraordinary Anti-Slavery Manuscripts collection: the personal papers of women and men who joined together, across barriers of race and class, in the Abolitionist crusade,” according to Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The Boston Public Library is looking for help from hundreds, maybe thousands, of volunteers. Quoting from the project’s web site:

“The Boston Public Library’s Anti-Slavery collection—one of the largest and most important collections of abolitionist material in the United States—contains roughly 40,000 pieces of correspondence, broadsides, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and memorabilia from the 1830s through the 1870s. The extensive body of correspondence records interactions among leading abolitionists in the United States and Great Britain over a fifty year period, thus creating an archive that comprehensively documents the history of the 19th century anti-slavery movement in Boston as well as abroad through the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery.

The Phillips Library is being Moved from Salem, Massachusetts to Another Town, Taking Away some of Salem’s Most Valuable History and Genealogy Resources

From an article by Malcolm Gay in the Boston Globe web site:

“Salem is best known for the witch trials, but it was also a vitally important seaport in the Colonial economy and the hometown of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who took early inspiration for “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of the Seven Gables” there.

“Now, angry residents say, a plan by the Peabody Essex Museum threatens to cut the city’s link to its proud history.

“The museum is preparing to move permanently a vast collection of the city’s historical records to a facility in another town and turn portions of the buildings that housed the museum’s Phillips Library into office space for the fast- growing museum.”

You can read the entire story at: http://bit.ly/2mASZHi.

Developer Mistakenly Grades, or Levels, a Century-Old Wake Forest, North Carolina, Cemetery

A Facebook video claiming a family cemetery that dates back more than a century in Wake Forest had been bulldozed triggered hundreds of angry comments, but officials are saying it is all a misunderstanding. Mungo Homes is building a new neighborhood in the area, but the developer says no graves were bulldozed. However, the site had been graded, or leveled, by mistake.

The North Carolina Office of State Archeology came out and determined that 2 to 4 inches of dirt had been scraped off, but the graves themselves were not disturbed. However, scraping the dirt off was itself a violation of state cemetery preservation laws.

Mungo Homes now faces a $24,000 fine from the town.

You can read more in an article, with a video, in the WRAL.com web site at: http://bit.ly/2D2yaQa.

Weatherford, Texas is Downsizing the City Library’s Genealogy Section

The Weatherford Public Library’s decision to downsize its genealogy section to deal with increasing need for space and a lack of funding for expansion has caused concern and outrage among some. In preparation for an anticipated renovation, the city is donating some of its non-Parker County-related materials from the genealogy area.

“Materials that are still accurate and in good shape that will not be kept in our collection are being offered, in accordance with law and policy, to other libraries and non-profit organizations,” according to Library Director Chris Accardo. The city is expected to hold a public meeting Jan. 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the library to discuss the issue.

You can read the details in an article by Christin Coyne in the Weatherford Democrat at: http://bit.ly/2CLXw1f.

State of New Hampshire May Create a Database of Cemeteries

There are thousands of historic cemeteries and burial grounds all over the state of New Hampshire, and a state lawmaker wants to make it easier to keep track of them.

Senator David Watters of Dover says a central, online database would not only preserve this history, but could help developers or other community members who are planning construction projects.

Details may be found in an article by Lauren Chooljian in the New Hampshire Public Radio web site at: http://nhpr.org/post/bill-would-create-database-nh-cemeteries.

State of Tennessee Breaks Ground on a new Library and Archives Building

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, along with Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Speaker Beth Harwell, and Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill, officially broke ground on the new home of the Tennessee State Library and Archives on Monday.

Drawing of the new Tennessee Library and Archives Building

A GIS Mapping Project to Accurately Document Every Grave in a Waxahachie Cemetery

A Geographic Information System (GIS Software) is designed to store, retrieve, manage, display, and analyze all types of geographic and spatial data. It stores data on geographical features and their characteristics. Surveyors and cartographers use GIS technology extensively. The same technology cn be used to document cemeteries. Waxahachie, Texas is one of the latest cities to use GIS technology to document history at the Waxahachie City Cemetery.

The mapping project will record biographical information of each person buried as well as the location of each grave. This information will then be put into an interactive map that residents can view through the city’s website. The result will be a map that will have a look similar to a Google map. It will be an aerial view that will show the terrain of the cemetery. The map will show the different sections and allow people to zoom in and out.

Rising Seas Could Submerge the Jamestown Settlement

Sea-level rise this century may threaten Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas; the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which launches all of NASA’s human spaceflight missions; and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, a new study finds.

These iconic locales are some of the more than 13,000 archaeological and historical sites on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States that rising sea levels will endanger this century, researchers in the new study said.

Details may be found in an article by Charles Q. Choi published in the LiveScience web site at http://bit.ly/2zIFlac.

Philadelphia City Archives Relocating/Closing Through August 2018

The following notice was received from the IAJGS Records Acess mailing list:

Philadelphia City Archives are relocating effective December 15, 2017. However, they have to temporarily close to the public to facilitate their relocation. They will be closed through August 2018. During the closure period they will continue to fulfill requests for copies of deeds, but not for historical research and/or academic research purposes. They will reopen their new location to the public on September 1, 2018. The new address is 456 N. 5th Street in Philadelphia. Information on where to mail deed requests and how to contact their office is on the notice available at: http://www.phila.gov/records/pdfs/External%20Archive%20Notice.pdf

Sephardi Community Launches Genealogy Service

The organisation representing Britain’s Sephardi Jews this week launched a genealogy service to help descendants of Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition 500 years ago gain Spanish and Portuguese passports. The Spanish and Portuguese (S&P) Community launched its internet-based ancestry tracking service as Brits worried about the impact of Brexit look for ways to get EU-qualifying passports.

Details may be found in an article in the Times of Israel web site at: http://bit.ly/2zyJ3U4.

Can You Find a Relative of Charles Manson?

Cult leader Charles Manson doesn’t appear to have any relatives on file with prison officials, meaning his body is likely to be left in state custody following his death on Sunday night. This sounds like a challenge for genealogists: find his nearest living relative.

Admittedly, not many would want to admit being related to the 83-year-old murderer serving nine life sentences at California’s Corcoran State Prison.

Charles Milles Manson was born with the name Charles Milles Maddox on November 12, 1934. According to Wikipedia, his mother was an unmarried 16-year-old with various names. She is listed as Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, née Maddox (1918–1973). Manson was born in the General Hospital, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His birth name was first listed as “no name Maddox”. Within weeks, he was called Charles Milles Maddox.

Even After Death, Social Media Still Connects Loved Ones

The Voice of America web site has an interesting article about the online memorials left by recently-deceased computer users. The article states:

“Social media is turning into a vast graveyard for profiles of owners who have passed away, leaving them unattended or as standing memorials. And some experts are urging social networks to do more to help users prepare for their digital deaths.

“There are millions of them – pages that remain on social media sites, and in some cases, automatically update after their owners’ death.

“Memento Mori” Auction to be Held Tomorrow, November 15

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s article on Memento Mori Photography. By coincidence, this morning I received an announcement of an auction for one of America’s largest collections of Memento Mori art. The auction includes pictures as well as paintings, brooches, rings, and other objects that commemorate people who had died. This may be the largest collection of mourning art ever offered for sale.

WARNING: The auction is being held TOMORROW: November 15. I only received notice of it today.

Gold “Stuart crystal” mourning slide, England, late 17th century

The collection comes from the Museum of Mourning Art, owned by the late Anita and Irvin G. Schorsch. Following the deaths of the couple in 2015 and 2014, the Museum was closed and the entire collection is being offered for sale at auction.

Quoting from the auction house’s description:

Ancestor Network Moves to Establish Branch in Northern Ireland

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestor Network:

Belfast and Dublin, 17 October 2017 – Because of growing demand from people of the Irish Diaspora with Ulster roots, as well as demand from solicitor firms and heir hunting firms for specialist genealogical researchers in the six counties, Ancestor Network Ltd (www.ancestornetwork.ie) has announced today the establishment of its Northern Ireland branch and the opening of its new Belfast office (www.ancestornetwork.co.uk). The branch is headed by Michael Rooney, a native of Northern Ireland, who is the Permanent Representative and Lead Genealogist for Ancestor Network in Belfast. The registered address of the Northern Ireland branch is 138 University Street, Belfast, BT71HJ, Northern Ireland.

Ancestor Network is the first Irish genealogy research, advisory and publishing company to establish offices in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

“CG®” Officially Registered with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists®:

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) obtained official registration of its “CG” mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was assigned Registration #5280660. This registration offers several legal benefits such as

  • the right to use the federal registration symbol ® for CG,
  • a legal presumption of ownership of the mark and the exclusive right to use it nationwide,
  • the right to bring a federal lawsuit against infringers and recover damages and attorney’s fees, and
  • a means of stopping “cybersquatters” from registering a domain name using the mark.