New Library Director at the Godfrey

The following announcement was written by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut:

January 9, 2019 – The Godfrey Memorial Library is pleased to announce that Carol Ansel has been appointed Library Director as of January 1, 2019.

Carol has been the Reference Librarian at the Library since July 2018. She has over 35 years of experience in various libraries in Connecticut and is a Board member of the Connecticut Library Consortium.

New Records Available To Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are more than 500,000 new records and newspapers articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Kent Baptisms

Over 23,000 new records covering Anglican and Wesleyan baptisms in Dover, Gravesend, Higham, Nettlestead and Maidstone have been added to our collection of Kent parish baptisms.

The new additions span the years 1736-1917 and will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s birth year, residence, parent’s names and father’s occupation as well as the date and location of their baptism. A number of records may provide a variety of extra details such as the mother’s maiden name, the child’s relationship to the parents or guardians, a dedication or any additional notes.

Kent Marriages

Portland Genealogy Library Waives Fees to Federal Workers During Shutdown

Here is a great example of a genealogy society and library helping the Federal workers who are not being paid because of the government shutdown. The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon:

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon will waive admission fees to use its library for all federal workers for the duration of the federal shutdown.

The GFO recognizes these workers are not getting paid and have unscheduled time available.

Federal employees can show their federal employment identification to save the $7 daily use fee while researching their ancestry.

Findmypast Announces a new CEO and a new CTO

Findmypast has announced the appointment of two new executives. Elaine Maddison will fill the role of CEO while Bryan Lambe will join the DC Thomson-owned company as CTO.

Bryan Lambe and Elaine Maddison

Former Findmypast CEO, Elaine Van Der Berg, Moves to Amazon Web Services

Elaine Van Der Berg is well-known in the genealogy community as the former CEO of Findmypast. Her friends and acquaintances will be interested to know that she has a new position at Amazon Web Services in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her new role involves assisting European public sector clients.

Elaine has had an international career with Dell, and other technology companies, before returning to Scotland to work as managing director of G2G3, part of Capita, and then at Brightsolid.

Don’t Store Books or Documents in Sealed Plastic!

A newsletter reader sent me a link to an online article that made me shudder when I read it. The article claims:

“Do you have an old book or important document that has been passed down from generation to generation? These books and documents break down over time due to oxygen, moisture, and other hazards. By sealing it, you’re also giving it added protection in the event of a flood, fire (smoke), or accidental damage.”

I am no expert in preservation, but I believe the last thing you want to do to a valuable old book or photo or other document is to seal it in an airtight plastic bag, especially a bag that is not labeled “archival quality.” Sealing in a cheap plastic bag can cause more damage than it prevents!

More than 144,700 Worcestershire Baptism Records added to TheGenealogist and a Further 20,000 Individuals on Headstones

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist is releasing the records of 144,793 individuals added to their Worcestershire Baptisms (in Partnership with Malvern FHS) and an additional 20,000 individuals on headstones from the UKIndexer project where volunteers help their fellow genealogists by indexing and/or photographing the monumental inscriptions in churchyards and cemeteries.

  • Discover dates of ancestors’ baptisms
  • Glean names of parents of those baptised in Worcestershire
  • Headstones give dates and name details of those buried and sometimes familiar relationships
  • Memorials can reveal information not recorded elsewhere for ancestors

St. Giles – Imber

New Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of January 7, 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—FamilySearch added over 600,000 free indexed historical records this week from Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, South Africa, and Ohio in the United States. ​Almost 200,00 digital images were also added from BillionGraves. 

Research these free 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.

Bill Filed in Texas to Place 125 Year Embargo Period on Birth Records

If passed, this will be a major obstacle to researching Texas ancestors. The following message was received from Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

A bill has been filed in the Texas State Legislature that would impose a 125 year embargo period on access to birth records. Death records are not changed from their current 25 year embargo. Existing law regarding indexes whether a general or summary index is not being proposed to be amended from current statute. To read the bill see:

The bill was filed on January 9, 2019 and not yet assigned to a committee.

Thank you to Brooke Schreier Ganz, president and founder, Reclaim the Records for sharing the information on the bill filing with us.

Findmypast Announces Release of Over 53 Million Indexed Electoral Registers

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • 1920s and 30s Electoral Registers now available to search with greater accuracy than ever before
  • New and improved collection bridges the vital gap left by the destruction of the 1931 census of England and Wales

Important documents will enable family historians to trace ancestors between the 1911 Census and 1939 register

Friday August 31st 2018: Leading British and Irish family history website, Findmypast, has today announced the release over 53 million indexed England and Wales Electoral Registers covering the 1920s and early 1930s.

Improved access to these important documents will enable many family historians bridge the vital gap left by the destruction of the 1931 census of England & Wales. Combined with the 1911 census and 1939 register, today’s release means that Findmypast is now able provide customers with unrivalled record coverage for early 20th century Britain, allowing them to trace their ancestors across a period of history that has traditionally been problematic for many researchers.

FamilySearch’s Top Record Collections of 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (8 January 2019), In 2018, FamilySearch added hundreds of millions of searchable free images and indexes of historical records from all around the world. The records came from locations such as Germany, Sweden, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico, and the United States. We thought we’d summarize those countries with the largest volume of new records and images for you and provide convenient links to help you quickly discover a few new ancestors. FamilySearch now has over 8 billion free names and record images.

NYG&B Welcomes 150th Anniversary Year with Landmark Gift from Kinship Books

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

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) announced today that Arthur C.M. and Nancy V. Kelly, co-founders and owners of Kinship Books, have donated the assets of their business, Kinship Books, to the NYG&B. This generous gift includes rights to more than 300 publications, including transcribed and indexed materials from more than 50 New York counties.

Kinship Books began more than 50 years ago, under the careful stewardship of Arthur C.M. Kelly of Rhinebeck, New York, who began locating, copying, and transcribing religious records, account books, store ledgers, census records, and other important materials from various locations throughout the state of New York. Focusing heavily on the areas surrounding the Hudson River, Kinship’s publications have helped thousands of researchers uncover their New York ancestors. Now under the careful watch of the NYG&B, New York’s largest— and oldest—genealogical organization, the Kellys’ work will continue for generations to come.

Nevada Issues Almost 1,000 Marriage Certificates on the Ethereum Blockchain, But Government Acceptance Varies

This could be a game changer for future genealogists seeking information about marriage licenses. It should reduce paperwork and provide security for important government records. I don’t see it having much impact on genealogists for a few years. However, I do suspect we will all hear more and more about “the blockchain” any time we are discussing record keeping of legal documents.

So far, 950 digital marriage certificates, which use smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain for security, have been issued to couples residing both within and outside Nevada since April 2018.

Volunteers Needed to Transcribe an Edwardian Book of Railway Accidents in a Day

The following announcement was written by the folks at the University of Portsmouth (in Hampshire, England), the Modern Records Centre, and the National Railway Museum:

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth, the Modern Records Centre and the National Railway Museum (NRM) are looking for volunteers to help transcribe a book of railway worker accidents spanning 1901–1907 in just 24 hours. The project is one of three that have been chosen as part of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine’s annual Transcription Tuesday event, which this year takes place on 5 February 2019.

Transcription Tuesday was launched in 2017 by Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, to encourage family and local historians to get involved in transcription projects. “The internet has transformed family history,” said editor Sarah Williams, “but the documents that are going online need to be transcribed or indexed to make them searchable, and for many projects the only way that is going to happen is with the help of volunteers.”

Don’t Print These Articles!

NOTE: This is an updated repeat of an article I published more than a year ago. The question arouse again today in an email message from a newsletter reader. I decided that it is time to encourage all newsletter readers to stop wasting paper, toner, and ink.

Warning: This article contains personal opinions.

A newsletter reader asked today, “Is there a way to print out (I know; I am bad) an item without all of the right column (Subscribe, Read, Steal, Search, Links, Etc.) being printed? A recent blog was 23 pages of the blog but would have printed out 45 pages in all. If not, OK. I can watch and halt the printing, when I remember.”

My answer may have surprised the person who asked. I replied, “I strongly recommend that you NEVER print anything and thereby waste paper! I save lots of articles from many different web sites but never print anything, if I can avoid it. I work hard to keep a paperless lifestyle.”

Actually, you are free to print most anything in this newsletter and even forward most items or republish them elsewhere, as you please. See for details. However, I try hard to never print anything and I suggest you do the same.

Why waste paper?

What’s Coming from FamilySearch in 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch creates free services to promote family fun and family history discoveries.SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (7 January 2019), The popular, free genealogy website,, announced its 2019 plans to enhance its record search and Family Tree search capabilities and introduce new interactive discovery experiences. FamilySearch is a global leader in the growing Family History market segment, serving 12 million users worldwide.

In addition to over 300 million additional historical records and images for family history discoveries, look for the following new offerings in 2019.

1. Online Interactive Discovery Experiences

For the first time, fun discovery experiences that have been available only at life-sized, interactive kiosks in select FamilySearch venues will also be available on in 2019. Making these three discovery experiences available online will expand the reach of the activities to more patrons globally.

  • All about Me

AGRA recognises University of Dundee Family History qualifications in Membership & Associate Applications

The following announcement was written by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA):

The University of Dundee’s post-graduate qualifications in Family and Local History are the latest to be recognised by AGRA. This applies to all three levels of post-graduate qualification in Family and Local History offered by Dundee University’s Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS), with a requirement that students must have taken the “Skills and Sources for Family & Local History in England” module as one of their course options.

This means that Dundee graduates, working professionally in genealogy, can now apply for AGRA Membership by submitting just one example of client work, rather than three. This is the same as the arrangements already in place for holders of similar Post-Graduate qualifications from Strathclyde University, the Higher Certificate of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, and Pharos Tutors/Society of Genealogists’ Advanced Skills Certificate.

FamilySearch 2018 Genealogy Highlights

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch 2018 Searchable Records Published InfographicSalt Lake City, Utah (4 January 2019), FamilySearch International, global leader in helping individuals discover their family history, published its annual at-a-glance summary of its efforts in 2018. A key FamilySearch initiative is to simplify family history and increase discovery experiences for beginners. In 2018, FamilySearch published hundreds of millions of new, free historical records online, provided personal, interactive learning opportunities, opened new facilities, and created more effective search experiences at (Find this announcement and all six related infographics in the FamilySearch Newsroom).

FamilySearch has the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world and 5.8 billion of those are now searchable online. True to its mission to connect families, FamilySearch published its two billionth digital image of historical records online and continues adding records at a rate of over 300 million new records and images yearly. Over 300,000 online volunteers clocked in over 11 million hours to help index 122 million new records, making them easy to search for an ancestor’s name.

The David Rumsey Map Collection Places a 42×38 foot 1940 WPA San Francisco Model Online

“But my computer monitor isn’t big enough to display that!”

Seriously, if you have ancestors in San Francisco or have any other interest in the city as it existed in 1940, you will be interested in the scale model of San Francisco.

The Digital Library of Georgia has Digitized Approximately 53,930 pages of Historic Georgia Newspaper Titles Published Prior to 1861

As part of a $14,495 grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized approximately 53,930 pages of Georgia newspaper titles published prior to 1861 from microfilm held by the Georgia Newspaper Project (