Woman Finds Lost Father with a DNA Test, Previously Thought He Was Dead

Krista Brian was always told that her father that she had never met was dead. She also was told that she had Mexican ancestry.

At the age of 37, Krista took a DNA test from Ancestry.com. to find out for sure on Ancestry.com. When the test results came back, she received two shocks, one immediately and another a few days later.

The first surprise was when the DNA test results proved that Krista Brian’s paternal ancestry was African-American, not Mexican. The second surprise came a few days later: the website put her in touch with a potential family member, named Andrew Baker. He was her father.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 1.1 million new records available to search this Findmypast Friday including;

British Columbia Estate Files Browse 1859-1949

British Columbia Estate Files contains over 783,000 records that allow you to delve through probate estate files pertaining to the judicial districts of British Columbia; the County Court and the Supreme Court. Probate estate records are a valuable resource for family history research, providing vital details such as dates, names, and locations to help grow your family tree. Included in this collection is a probate index for the district of Vancouver, sorted alphabetically by last name.

John Stamos to be Featured on the US Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actor John Stamos explores his Greek heritage for the first time and learns more about his grandfather’s sad childhood. He also meets a relative he never knew and hears firsthand about his family’s enduring strength. In a suiting coincidence and homage to John’s heritage, the episode premieres on Greek Easter, which is usually celebrated on a different date but this year coincides with the Western calendar’s Easter Sunday.

You can catch a sneak peek of the episode at: http://bit.ly/2nJRvOn

New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of April 10, 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:


If you have French heritage, this is your week. FamilySearch has recently published over 3.3 million French Census records from 1876 to 1906. Also in this update are some large historic record collections from Argentina, The Netherlands, Peru, and Sweden. You can also find some newly indexed records from Brazil, Cape Verde, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United States. Search these new free records and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

Bizarre Things People Believed 50 Years Ago

Our ancestors had beliefs that seem strange these days. In some cases, it wasn’t only our ancestors. Some of us are old enough to remember the advertisements that “20,679 physicians smoke Lucky Strikes.”

The Grunge web site has an article, with advertisements, of what was believed to be “common knowledge” only 50 years ago. You might want to check it out at: http://bit.ly/2oAdOFt.

Hmmm, I wonder what “truths” we all accept today that will be considered strange 50 years from now…

Genealogist Discovers Man has been Using Dead Baby’s Identity for Decades

A Pennsylvania man has been using a dead person’s identity for more than 21 years. Authorities got involved after a relative of the deceased used Ancestry.com to put her family tree together. The woman was searching for family information on Ancestry last year and her nephew Nathan Laskoski popped up. She saw he got married and he moved around the country, from Texas, to Mississippi, to Tennessee and eventually to Pennsylvania.

But the problem is Laskoski died in 1972 when he was just two months old.

Authorities say 44-year-old Jon Vincent, back in 1996, escaped from a halfway house in Texas, went to a cemetery to find someone born around the same time he was.

Terry Punch, R.I.P.

Nova Scotia genealogist Terry Punch died Tuesday evening.

Born in 1937 in Halifax, Punch became a well-known teacher and historian. Since 1961, he was a passionate advocate and tireless researcher of all facets of genealogy, holding executive positions in a variety of organizations, including the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, Halifax Charitable Irish Society, Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes, and was founding president of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia. He was a fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society and the Royal Society of Antiquarians in Ireland.

He was the only Canadian to be elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society. He was also a resident genealogist on CBC Radio and editor of Genealogist’s Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research. He was also awarded the Order of Canada.

Louisiana’s Archives are in a ‘State Of Emergency,’ According to Local Historians

Louisiana’s archival and historical records are in a state of emergency. Their destruction “would represent nothing less than a devastating and irreparable loss” of the state’s historical and cultural heritage, according to historians who recently gathered for the Louisiana Historical Association’s annual conference.

A summary by the Louisiana Historical Association called Louisiana’s historical archives “endangered treasures.”

FamilyTreeWebinars.com to Offer Free Access this Weekend

On Friday, April 14, FamilyTreeWebinars.com will air webinar number 500. In addition to the big celebration during Friday’s live webinar, FamilyTreeWebinars.com is also unlocking the membership key of the Webinar Library for the first time ever. Beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday evening, the entire library – all 500 classes – will be open and free to the public.

To view any of the webinars, visit http://www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (starting Friday, not now!) and browse or search for any topic or presenter and enjoy!

Details may be found in an article by Geoff Rasmussen at http://bit.ly/2o0mfG5.

British Dog Tag Find – ‘The Forgotten Army’

Dan Mackey, an avid relic hunter, tells us about the amazing discovery in England of thousands of metal dog tags found in 2016. The dog tags came from both world wars. The majority of the dog tags are those of British soldiers but a few came from various other nations. Now the team that made the discovery is hoping to return any of these dog tags to the families of the soldiers involved. In one case, one dog tag has already been returned in person to an elderly veteran himself.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show for 2017 is a Success

I just returned from the 2017 edition of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show, held in Birmingham, England. I know it must have been a good show; I am so exhausted I can barely move! That’s my indiction of how successful a genealogy event was: measuring the exhaustion levels of myself and other show attendees.

One small example of the crowds at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! 2017

The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference was held for three days, April 6, 7, and 8, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England. The NEC is an ideal venue for genealogy events as well as for many other shows and conferences. It is huge, modern, and is easy to access. The NEC is located near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and has huge car parks. It is also adjacent to Birmingham Airport. Attendees arriving by commercial airlines, such as myself, can ride a free shuttle train connecting the airport terminal directly with the Exhibition Centre. A very active railway station and a bus station are also located at the Exhibition Centre. Finally, several hotels are located either at the National Exhibition Centre or within walking distance.

I have never been to any other genealogy conference that has as many easy access options as the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) just outside of Birmingham.

My Pictures from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show

I posted a lot of pictures from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show for 2017 at http://eogn.com/WDYTYALive-2017/.

Click on any image to view a larger version.

You can watch a slide show of all the images by clicking on the AutoPlay icon (second icon from the right).

FGS 2017 Conference Registration is Now Open

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) Federation of Genealogical Societies:

4/10/2017 – Austin, TX.
Online registration is now open for the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2017 National Conference.

The conference will be held August 30 – September 2, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. This year’s local host is the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and the theme is “Building Bridges to the Past.” Register by July 1, 2017 for the early-bird discount at FGSConference.org.

Attendees can look forward to strengthening their research abilities no matter their skill level or area of interest. The program is available online at http://www.FGSConference.org. An 8-page pdf download is also available at http://fgs.org/upload/files/FGS2017-ProgramPreview.pdf.

Status Updates for Family Tree Maker

One of the common misconceptions is that “no news is bad news.” That is not always true. In some cases, perhaps you simply haven’t heard the latest news.

In this case, the news concerns Software MacKiev, the company that acquired the rights to the popular Family Tree Maker software program from Ancestry.com some months ago. I have read complaints in this newsletter’s comments section and elsewhere that Software McKiev has not met some of their promised delivery dates. In fact, there is some truth to that in a couple of cases but, more commonly, the “problem” is that the customer(s) simply didn’t know the latest status updates.

I spent time talking with representatives of Software McKiev this past week at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show held in Birmingham, England. One fact I learned is that Software McKiev updates their own customer support page frequently, especially when there is news to share with customers.

Announcing the Researching Family in Pennsylvania Summer Genealogy Course

The following announcement was written by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Researching Family in Pennsylvania
Summer Genealogy Course
31 July – 4 August 2017
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Researching Family in Pennsylvania is an intensive, week-long course exploring the records and repositories available for family history research in the Keystone State. The curriculum brings together renowned scholars and genealogists well-versed in the formation and development of Pennsylvania from the colonial era to the modern age.

New Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 5.9 million new records available to search this Findmypast Friday including new Scottish additions to the Catholic Heritage Archive and brand new parish records from the English county of Wiltshire.

Wiltshire parish baptisms index 1538-1917

Explore over 2.1 million records including a number of rare early parish records to discover if your ancestor was born in the British county of Wiltshire in South West England. Some records date back to 1530 though most generally begin in 1538 and, until the introduction of civil registration in 1837, were the most reliable documented source of records for life events. Whilst the registers are for Church of England parishes, most other denominations also used the Anglican parishes for registration purposes, with the exception of Quaker and Jewish records. Transcriptions were created by both Findmypast and Wiltshire Family History Society.

Findmypast’s Catholic Heritage Archive Continues to Grow

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • Findmypast adds over 1.2 million Scottish records to their exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive
  • Millions of Scottish Sacramental Registers added just two months after Archive’s launch
  • New records date back to 1730, span 300 years of Scottish history and cover 27 Scottish counties

Birmingham, 7th April 2017

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of over 1.2 million Scottish sacramental registers and congregational records. The release is the first of many updates to the exclusive Roman Catholic Heritage Archive, a ground breaking initiative that aims to digitise the historic records of the Catholic Church in the United States, Britain and Ireland for the very first time.

Looking for Bodden or Bawden Ancestors With Relatives in the Cayman Islands

If your surname is Bodden or Bawden then it might be time to dig out the family tree – as you could be in line for a free holiday.

The Cayman Islands have launched an appeal to try and trace the descendants of their Cornish founding fathers, with the aim of flying them to the beach paradise to meet their distant relatives.

Twile Now Offers a Printed Infographic

The following announcement was written by Twile. Notice the discount that is only available through April.

Doncaster: 6th April 2017
In response to customer feedback and requests, Twile have this week started offering a printed version of their popular family history infographic, which was launched at RootsTech in February.

The personalised infographic presents statistics pulled from a user’s family tree, such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames and the average age of marriage. Previously it’s been available only as a shareable digital image, but customers can now order a high resolution printed copy.

Findympast Launches Six Counties in Six Months

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • Project to publish parish records from six counties in next six months
  • Wiltshire first county available online from April 6, 2017, includes records of the first woman mauled by a tiger in England and the celebrated architect Sir Christopher Wren

Birmingham, April 6, 2017: Leading family history website, Findmypast, announced today the launch of their Six Counties in Six Months project which will see the online publication of vital parish records from six counties across England over the next six months. These records expand further Findmypast’s unrivalled collection of English and Welsh parish records – the largest collection available online.

First up is Wiltshire, published today to mark the opening of Who Do You Think You Are Live! 2017. The Wiltshire parish records will be followed by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Warwickshire.