Social Security Cards Issued by Woolworth

The most misused Social Security Number of all time was 078-05-1120. In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, New York decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card, used for display purposes, was inserted in each wallet. Company Vice President and Treasurer Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher.

Forces War Records Announces the Launch of a New Look Website

The following announcement was written by Forces War Records:

Forces War Records, the website to visit for anyone researching their family’s military history or searching for ancestors through military data are excited to announce that it’s new and refreshed website is now live.

With a fresh new design and feel, the new look website gives users the opportunity to navigate through Forces War Records extensive database of military records, documents, products and services with ease. Delivering a fully responsive experience, the new website gives users a seamless transition from desktop to mobile browsing and improved searchability. Also, there’s a whole host of smaller but impactful changes, all to make your experience of the Forces War Records site that much better for you.

NEHGS and the Ontario Genealogical Society Announce Collaboration

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Ontario Genealogical Society:

May 15, 2018—Boston, Massachusetts— The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) have announced an historic marketing collaboration between the two organizations. As a result of an agreement made between the two societies, NEHGS—the oldest and largest genealogical organization in the United States— and OGS—the largest in Canada—will offer memberships, products, and services at attractive discount prices to members of the collaborating organization. Original publications of the two family history institutions—as well as research projects, online courses, webinars, and professional consultations—will also be made available at special pricing to members.

Google Cloud Storage Plans are now Cheaper than Ever

I have often recommended using file storage services in the cloud for storing your genealogy information and for storing any other information that is valuable to you. Whether you use the cloud as your primary storage area or if you use it simply as a backup to your computers’ disk drives is unimportant. If information is important to you, you need to have AT LEAST two copies of everything, stored in two different places. Three copies of everything stored in three different places would be better still and four copies… well, you get the idea. You can never have too many backup copies.

What interests me is that prices of storing data in the cloud keep dropping. Today, Google made new changes to its storage plans that include a new, low-cost storage plan and half off the price of its 2 terabytes storage option. Details may be found in Google’s announcement at:

Several changes were announced:

How to Protect Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Your family’s Documents from the Ravages of Climate Change

I will suggest that a story by Sophie Yeo in the PacificStandard web site should be required reading by archivists, librarians, genealogists, government officials, and anyone else who cares about preserving old paper documents. She writes, “Almost all American archives are at risk from disasters or changing temperatures. Community history will probably be the first to go.”

She also writes:

“This history, in the form of manuscripts, codices, printed books, and other material artifacts, is kept in expensive and well-ventilated university collections; it is tucked in crumpling cardboard boxes under the desks of local librarians; it sits crammed into the storage cupboards of city governments. Some documents attract scholars from around the world, while others hold scant interest beyond hobbyist historians. Many are irreplaceable.

23andMe Sues With a Patent Suit Concerning DNA Kits

According to an article in at

Law360 (May 11, 2018, 7:49 PM EDT) — Genealogy company 23andMe Inc. hit rival with a false advertising and patent infringement lawsuit in California federal court on Friday, seeking to invalidate its “Ancestry” trademark and claiming the company sells a DNA-based ancestry test that infringes 23andMe’s patent.

The suit accuses the Utah-based of infringing its patent since 2013 by selling AncestryDNA kits that identify a person’s relatives who share parts of their DNA. 23andMe also claims that has been misleading customers by running a “perpetual sale” and by falsely claiming in ads that it tests five times more regions than its rivals.

“Defendants’ repeated pattern of false and misleading advertising has caused, and will continue to cause irreparable injury to 23andMe’s reputation, goodwill and business, if not enjoined,” the suit says.

The complete article with all the details may be found at: To read the entire article, you must register on the site and provide your name and email address. However, registration is free and will provide seven days’ access to the articles on the site.

(+) Does It Still Make Sense to Buy Genealogy Data CDs?

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

Compact discs and DVDs have going the way of the dodo, and online streaming media will keep that trend going throughout 2018, 2019, and probably for many more years.

Several articles have appeared online in the past few years describing the slowly dying music CD and video DVD businesses. In short, sales of CD and DVD disks are being replaced by directly downloading music and videos online to iPods, computers, and other music playback devices.

Remember the record and CD stores that used to be available at your local mall? Where have they all gone? What happened to the music store that sold CDs? How about the Blockbuster DVD rental store that used to be in your neighborhood? Where did it go? The reality is that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Apple TV, and other online video services made the DVD rental stores obsolete. The same is true of music CDs: it is easier, much faster, and usually cheaper to download the music online that it is to go to a “brick-and-mortar” store to purchase the same things on plastic disks.

We are now seeing the same thing with the companies that sell genealogy-related CD-ROM disks. Music CDs are already plummeting, video DVD sales are plummeting, can data CDs be far behind?

New Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of May 7, 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Discover your ancestors on FamilySearch this week in nearly 300,000 images and indexed records from BillionGraves Index, more than 150,000 from Peru, Cusco, more than 130,000 from Brazil, Rio De Janeiro, and more records from Cape Verde, Denmark, Germany, Guatemala, Panama, Portugal,and Slovakia. Research these new free records by clicking on the collection links below or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Artificial Intelligence is Cracking Open the Vatican’s Secret Archives

The Vatican Secret Archives is one of the grandest historical collections in the world. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries. It’s also one of the most useless. If you want to peruse anything else, you have to apply for special access, schlep all the way to Rome, and go through every page by hand. It isn’t much use to modern scholars, because it’s so inaccessible. However, thanks to modern technology, access is changing.

Known as In Codice Ratio, a new project uses a combination of artificial intelligence and optical-character-recognition (OCR) software to scour these neglected texts and make their transcripts available online for the very first time. If successful, the technology could also open up untold numbers of other documents at historical archives around the world.

RootsTech2019 Call for Papers

Quoting from an announcement by FamilySearch:

“Join us as a presenter at RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference, happening February 27-March 2, 2019, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“As a RootsTech presenter, you’ll be surrounded with unique opportunities to share your personal knowledge, enhance your brand, and network with people throughout the industry.”

The full announcement is a bit lengthy so I won’t reproduce it here. However, you can read all the information by starting at:

Register of Qualified Genealogists’ Call for Speakers and Posters – The Way Ahead: Future Challenges for Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the Register of Qualified Genealogists, a U.K. organization:

The Register of Qualified Genealogists will host a conference “The Way Ahead: Future Challenges for Genealogy” at the National Railway Museum, York, England on 20 October 2018.

We are looking for speaker and poster presentations. Do you have a cutting-edge or original contribution to make? Join the keynote speakers:

  • Law Professor, Rebecca Probert, a specialist on marriage topics and best known as the author of ‘Marriage Law for Genealogists’ (Takeaway, 2012).
  • Dr Iain McDonald, whose work on genetic genealogy was recognized with an Honorary Research Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde’s Genealogical Studies Programme.

The conference theme is future challenges for genealogy. Topics for presentations include:

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 1.3 million new records available to search and explore this Findmypast Friday, including:

Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes

Pinpoint your ancestor’s final resting place with new additions to our Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes. Our latest update includes:

·        Over 670,000 new additions to the United States Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 23,000 new additions to the Canada Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 40,000 new additions to the England Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 500 new additions to the Ireland Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 23,000 new additions to the Scotland Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 2,000 new additions to the Wales Billion Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 147,000 new additions to the Australia Graves Cemetery Index

·        Over 6,000 new additions to the New Zealand Billion Graves Cemetery Index

Findmypast’s partnership with BillionGraves aims to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free. Each entry consists of transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details. The amount of information listed may vary, but most records will include a combination of the deceased’s name, birth date, death date, cemetery, city and county. Each transcripts will also include an image link, allowing you to remotely view your ancestor’s headstone.

Norfolk Parish Registers Browse

Announcing the GEDCOM 5.5.1 Annotated Edition

Tamura Jones is a well-known genealogist and blogger. He has long had an interest in the GEDCOM method of transferring data between genealogy programs. He, like many of us, has been frustrated by the numerous shortcomings of GEDCOM but, unlike the rest of us, he decided to do something about it. Tamura has now released a new FamilySearch GEDCOM 5.5.1 Specification Annotated Edition. You can read more and download the new specification at

Comments by Dick Eastman:

GEDCOM was created by and is still supported by FamilySearch. It remains a product of FamilySearch, not of Tamura Jones. As Tamura writes in his specification, “This is not a new GEDCOM version. This is an enhanced edition of the current GEDCOM version. The Annotated Edition is the full FamilySearch GEDCOM 5.5.1 Specification, improved with corrections and enhanced with annotations.”

Register Now for Computer Workshops at the IAJGS Conference in Warsaw

The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies:

Register now for computer workshops

We have scheduled seven workshops for family researchers with beginning to advanced computer skills to learn how to make the most efficient use of your time online and to give you some useful new tools.

Participants will bring their own computers to a classroom with free Wi-Fi to follow the instructor’s lead on a projection screen. Sessions cost just $25 each, and space is limited, so check out the offerings and make your selections as soon as possible.

Has Your Family an Interesting Irish Emigration Story to Share?

From The Irish Times web site:

“Have you got an interesting migration story to share, or an object that tells the tale of your family’s move from one country to another?

“Members of the public are being encouraged to bring their migration tales to a “story collecting weekend” at Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin on May 26th and 27th, along with objects that form part of their own or their family’s migration story, such as letters, postcards, photographs, tickets, diaries, artworks, items of clothing, recipes, books, footage, mementos, badges, or songs.

Version 12 of the The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (or “TNG”) has been Released

This is big news for one of the most sophisticated genealogy products of today: TNG. It is a genealogy program that installs on a web server and can be used by one person alone or by hundreds of genealogists at once. It is especially useful for family members working together to document their family history and to genealogy societies and other organizations involved in multi-member research efforts. The following announcement was written by Darrin Lythgoe, the man behind Next Generation Software:

SANDY, UT: A major upgrade for The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (or “TNG”), is now available from Next Generation Software. TNG 12 includes many enhancements and new features, plus security and user access improvements. Existing users can purchase the upgrade at a discount by returning to their previous download page.

This release also includes three new template designs, plus added functionality for several others, and a new language is supported (Chinese). Several media handling functions have been improved, and two privacy-related tools have been introduced. Significant upgrades have also been made to the DNA testing feature and the Mod Manager, which allows users to easily install or remove add-ons.

Introducing the Health Family Tree

I am surprised that not all the genealogy and DNA web sites and genealogy programs do this. It certainly should be a major concern for every family. The following is an excerpt from a new entry in the MyHeritage Blog:

We are happy to release a new layer to your family history experience on MyHeritage: the Health Family Tree. This is a free feature, currently in beta mode and initially available to all MyHeritage users who have taken a MyHeritage DNA test or uploaded DNA data to MyHeritage, and who manage a family tree with at least 7 people in it. It will be made available later to many more users.


The Health Family Tree is a private and secure area on your MyHeritage family site, intended to help you document the health conditions of your close family members, both living and deceased, in one convenient place. You can then share this information (if you wish) as a printout. The motivation is simple: you’ll be able to communicate to healthcare professionals more efficiently information about health conditions that run in your family.

New Records on FamilySearch: Week of May 7, 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Discover your ancestors on FamilySearch this week in nearly 300,000 images and indexed records from BillionGraves Index, more than 150,000 from Peru, Cusco, more than 130,000 from Brazil, Rio De Janeiro, and more records from Cape Verde, Denmark, Germany, Guatemala, Panama, Portugal,and Slovakia. Research these new free records by clicking on the collection links below or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

The World’s Most Powerful Windows 10 Pocket-Sized PC

NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, it has nothing to do with genealogy or history. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, I’d love to have one of these tiny computers on my next research trip to a library or archive. In fact, I ordered one today.

The Mi Mini PC, launched last week on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, has to be the smallest Windows 10 computer that is soon to be available. It literally slips into a pocket. Yet it has most everything built in that you will need except for a keyboard. Even that “problem” is easily solved by using a foldable Bluetooth keyboard that is included in the purchase price of the computer.

The Mi Mini PC is being offered on Indiegogo at an introductory price of $149 US although that price is expected to increase soon after it goes into mass production. The price includes a 2.56GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8750 processor, a 128-gigabyte solid state “disk drive,” 8 gigabytes of RAM memory, wi-fi networking, Bluetooth, a variety of USB ports, and a built-in 5-inch display screen of 1,280 x 720 pixels. The manufacturer claims the 6,000mAh battery will deliver six hours of power before needing to be recharged. The solid state “disk drive” also can be upgraded by the manufacturer to 256GB for an additional $30 or upgraded to 500GB for $50.

New UK Family History Show: Family Tree Live

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the (new) Family Tree Live:

Family Tree Live is coming!

Taking place on 26th & 27th April 2019 at London’s Alexandra Palace, you can expect two jam-packed days of family history fun for ALL!

The team from Family Tree Live would love you to join them for a brand new UK family history show – two days of lectures, workshops, displays and stands – suitable for all levels of family history experience.