Calculating Birth Dates from Death Date Information

What day was that ancestor born? It seems like such a simple question, and yet finding the answer can be surprisingly complex, even when you have the numbers in front of you. Exact dates are often found in death certificates and frequently on tombstones. The problem is that these are often written as death dates followed by the person’s age at death.

Here is a common example:

Here lies the body of John Smith,

Died August 3, 1904,

Aged 79 years, 9 months, 29 days

How do you tell John Smith’s date of birth?

You obviously need to subtract 79 years and 9 months and 29 days from the date of death. Simple, right? Well, not as simple as it first appears.

Pasadena (California) Museum of History’s Black History Collection Is Now Available Online

Online Project is Part of USC’s Award-winning L.A. as Subject Community Histories Digitization Project

From the PasadenaNow web site:

Pictured: Merlene Ballard and boyfriend (Black History Collection, BH-D-5-19

“The Black History Collection, one of more than 250 special collections in the Archives at Pasadena Museum of History, is part of a generous digitization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the University of Southern California’s L.A. as Subject Community Histories Digitization Project.

General Society of Mayflower Descendants has cancelled its 42nd Congress

The cancellation is due to the Covid19 (CoronaVirus) pandemic. The society plans to hold its next Congress in September 2021.

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. The latest Plus Edition newsletter is available at: https://eognplus.com/news/thisweek.htm.

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

(+) CDs Are Not Forever

The History of Memorial Day

Book Review: The Sterling Affair

Genealogy Myths

My DNA Test Claims that I Am Someone Else!

Announcing the 400th Anniversary Edition of “Of Plimoth Plantation”

Ancestry.com Announces COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Testing

OpenSFHistory is an Online Archive of more than 50,000 Historic Images of San Francisco and the Bay Area

Over One Million RAF Operations Record Books released on TheGenealogist

Findmypast Friday: Commemorate Military Ancestors this Memorial Day with New WW2 Records

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 18 May 2020

National Genealogical Society Announces Its 2020 Awards & Competition Honorees

Registration Now Open for NYSFHC and NYSFHC @Home

Cubbit – a Personal Cloud Storage System Without Monthly Fees

(+) CDs Are Not Forever

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

CD discs (often called “optical discs) have been commercially available since the 1980s. Sadly, many computer users have inserted their older CDs into a computer and found that the discs no longer work.

Sometimes it is a software problem: the old software for the CD might not work on a newer version of Windows or Macintosh. However, the most common problem seems to be physical: the CDs themselves have microscopic mold or “rot” that ruins the surface and prevents the data from being read. Even worse, there is no cure. If the data is bad now, it will only get worse. There is no reliable way to restore data from a defective CD.

Some experts claim that CDs will last up to 200 years. However, practical experience shows that hasn’t happened in the first 30 or 40 years. To be sure, not all CDs have gone bad. Only a percentage of them have failed so far. Perhaps the MAJORITY will last 200 years or the AVERAGE will be 200 years, but we know it will not be true of 100% of the discs. However, nobody knows how to predict which disc will fail next. The CD that is most valuable to you might last another 170 years, or it may fail tomorrow.

Book Review: The Sterling Affair

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Sterling Affair
By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Self-published. 2019. 386 pages.

Readers will be happy to know that this most recent novel of the Morton Farrier series is the longest. Yay, more to read!

Most of Nathan Goodwin’s fans have read all seven of the Farrier books preceding The Sterling Affair. From what I can see, Mr. Goodwin is far and away the most popular author of this admittedly small corner of the fiction book world: the genealogical fiction mystery genre. Even without serious competition, his books are very good.

Morton Farrier is the main character, a forensic genealogist who finds himself drawn into some difficult and dangerous situations as he explores the backgrounds of his clients. And adding quandary to the general state of affairs, Farrier’s own family history can bring disquiet into the mix.

Cubbit – a Personal Cloud Storage System Without Monthly Fees

This article is “off topic.” That is, it has nothing to do with the normal topics of this newsletter: genealogy, family history, DNA, and related articles. However, I do find that many readers of this newsletter also have an interest in new hardware as it becomes available so I decided to publish this article. It you are looking for articles about true genealogy, family history, or DNA, you might want to skip this one.

My belief is that everyone has need for more and more storage space. Even if your own computer(s) are not yet full, you always need space for backup copies of your important information, space that is located “off site” for security purposes. I use several such services as I believe no one can have too many backups. Also, the prices keep dropping which entices me to switch to newer, more cost-effective services frequently. While there are dozens of such cloud-based services to choose from, a recent announcement from one new vendor caught my eye and I am probably going to sign up for this as soon as it becomes available.

Cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Box and others all require a monthly subscription to use if you want to store anything of significant size. Cubbit is a new piece of hardware that allows you to create your very own personal cloud storage system without any monthly fees. According to the Cubbit web site at https://www.cubbit.io/, features of the Cubbit Cloud Storage system include:

The History of Memorial Day

Monday in the United States is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation’s service. The origins of this day of remembrance are in doubt, with more than two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.

Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day

Originally called Decoration Day, the holiday was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

It is believed that the end of May was chosen for the first Memorial Day because ” flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”

Findmypast Friday: Commemorate Military Ancestors this Memorial Day with New WW2 Records

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Findmypast are commemorating and celebrating the lives of American military heroes with the release of 2 million additional military records this Findmypast Friday.

The War Illustrated 1939-1947

The War Illustrated 1939-1947 was a magazine first published in 1939 following the start of the Second World War. The series was edited by Sir John Hammerton and its 255 editions ran from 16 September 1938 to 11 April 1947.

The magazine captured World War 2 as it was happening. It is filled with black and white photographs and stories from those involved in the conflict, living up to its tagline as ‘a permanent picture record of the Second World War’.

United States, National Veterans Cemetery Index

Over One Million RAF Operations Record Books released on TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has expanded its unique collection of searchable RAF Operations Record Books with the addition of 1.2 Million new records for aircrew operations.

Airmen – planning their next mission. Public domain

Operations Record Books (ORBs) are official air force documents chronicling an air force unit from the time of its formation. They were intended to be an accurate daily record of the operations that the squadron carried out in peace and at war. The ORBs are for squadrons primarily after the First World War, but there are a few early squadron records from 1911 to 1918. TheGenealogist uniquely has made the Operations Record Books fully searchable by name, year and keywords.

Announcing the 400th Anniversary Edition of “Of Plimoth Plantation”

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors|New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts:

Native American Historian and American History Experts
Offer a Groundbreaking Look at
the Most Important Eyewitness Account of the Mayflower Story

A Newly-Annotated Edition of
Governor William Bradford’s Account of Plymouth Colony,
Published by American Ancestors and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Provides New Perspectives on Colonization and Conflict

May 21, 2020—Boston, Massachusetts—In this first-of-its-kind edition of Bradford’s account of the Mayflower’s journey, its arrival in 1620, and life in the New World—published this week by American Ancestors and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts—Wampanoag, American, and Dutch scholars set the record straight about the impact of the arrival of 102 passengers to what they would call Plymouth Colony. This new book offers a fresh perspective on what took place over the first years of settlement—particularly the interactions between the Pilgrims and the Native people—in time for this year’s 400th anniversary of one of the most impactful events in world history.

Genealogy Myths

Family stories are a wonderful thing. They often give you insights into the lives of your ancestors. However, beware! Not all family stories are true. Many such stories are fictional. Yet, even the stories that are either entirely or part fiction may contain clues to facts. Good genealogical practice requires that we admit the fiction. But the next step the genealogist takes separates art from science. Before we discard these stories altogether, we need to mine them for nuggets of truth. Let’s look at a few of the more common “family legends” to see which ones you can mine for real gold.

Myth #1: Our name was changed at Ellis Island.

Ancestry.com Announces COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Testing

If you’ve recently taken an AncestryDNA test, Ancestry.com is inviting you to supply some information that could assist in the fight against COVID-19.

Quoting an article in the Ancestry.com Blog:

“…Ancestry is launching a survey through our Personal Discoveries Project® to enable a genome-wide association study to explore how different people respond to this novel coronavirus. Our hope is that, through this knowledge, the pace of research into new preventive and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 can be accelerated.

National Genealogical Society Announces Its 2020 Awards & Competition Honorees

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

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 20 MAY 2020—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced its 2020 award honorees and competition winners at its Virtual Family History Conference NGS 2020 Live! on 20 May 2020. The following awards were announced to recognize excellence, achievement, and genealogical service.

National Genealogy Hall of Fame: George Ely Russell, CG®, FASG, FNGS

NGS introduced its National Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1986. The award honors outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field.  We invite you to visit the National Genealogy Hall of Fame and learn about its honorees. This year George Ely Russell, nominated by the American Society of Genealogists, was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. Born in Niagara Falls, New York, on 24 November 1927, George died in Ijamsville, Maryland, on 9 January 2013.

My DNA Test Claims that I Am Someone Else!

If you have your DNA tested and the test results indicate you are someone other than yourself, the cause might be something other than a mix-up at the DNA testing lab. Instead, it probably indicates the DNA that you are carrying in your body is not the DNA you were born with.

Did you ever have a bone marrow transplant? When you have an allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplant, the blood-producing cells in your bone marrow are killed off by radiation or chemotherapy and then replaced with functioning cells from the person who donated the bone marrow. The technical term for this process is allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

An allogeneic stem cell transplant is most often used to treat blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, and certain types of blood or immune system disorders.

This may explain “strange results” some people have found in their DNA tests.

OpenSFHistory is an Online Archive of more than 50,000 Historic Images of San Francisco and the Bay Area

OpenSFHistory, an online archive of over 50,000 historic images of San Francisco and the Bay Area, recently launched a project to integrate modern-day S.F. with its historic past. With walking tours halted and most historic sites closed, the folks behind the site are hoping their “guerrilla history posters” will give residents a little entertainment and education.

Church and 22nd as it appeared in June of 1916. The construction of the J-Church line can be seen on the right.

Registration Now Open for NYSFHC and NYSFHC @Home

The following announcement was written by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

Dear Friends –

The NYG&B has been actively working to transition our plans for the 2020 New York State Family History Conference (NYSFHC) to ensure a safe, healthy, and productive experience for everyone. NYSFHC is New York’s largest family history event, with attendees from across the United States. This year, we are proud to announce the addition of NYSFHC@Home—a digital conference experience in conjunction with our activities in Albany. Thanks to the dedication of our speakers and sponsors, this brand-new experience will deliver the NYSFHC experience remotely, from the comfort of your home.

What is NSYFHC@Home?

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 18 May 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch added 7 million new land, obituary, death, and divorce records this week to United States collections. Additional indexed records and images were added for American Samoa, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Niue, Peru,Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, and Venezuela. Other United States records were added for AZ, CA, GA, IA, ID, LA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, NE, NM, NY, OKOH, ORPA, UT, VAand WI. 

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.

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. The latest Plus Edition newsletter is available at: https://eognplus.com/news/thisweek.htm.

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

(+) Why Are We Limited to Soundex?

How Do You Pronounce “Ye”?

10 Letters We Dropped From The Alphabet

MyHeritage Releases Three Major Collections of Greek Historical Records

A Correction to the Correction Concerning the New Prime-Time Television Series “The Genetic Detective”

How to Download Free Ebooks and Digital Audiobooks from Public Libraries

rootstrust, Version 2 Beta now Available

Surnames Dictionary is Free During Lockdown

Forensic Genomics, a Dynamic New Peer-Reviewed Journal, is Launching in the Fall of 2020

American Ancestors│NEHGS and the Boston Public Library to Look at “How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are” in a Virtual Event

(+) Why Are We Limited to Soundex?

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

Genealogists love Soundex, a method of matching names that have similar sounds but may be spelled differently. In fact, Soundex became popular amongst genealogists almost as soon as it was invented in 1918. Soundex was patented by Robert C. Russell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is sometimes called the “Russell Code.” The U.S. Census Bureau immediately adopted Soundex for indexing census records. Since then, others have used the Soundex code to sort similar-sounding names for telephone books, work records, drivers’ licenses, and many other purposes. I noticed that the first four characters of my driver’s license number are “E235,” the Soundex code for my last name.

Genealogists use Soundex to find variant spellings of ancestors’ names. Almost all modern genealogy databases have a “search by Soundex” capability.

Soundex is a form of “phonetic encoding” or “sound-alike” codes. A Soundex code consists of one letter followed by three digits. For instance, Smith and Smythe both are coded as S530, Eastman is E235, and Williams is W452.