Complaints Filed After Logging Operations Damages Historic Illinois Cemetery

Local genealogists and archaeologists are concerned about logging damage in an historic black cemetery between Millstadt and Centreville, Illinois, that has graves from the 1800s and early 1900s, including those of Civil War soldiers. They’ve complained to local authorities about logging trucks driving through the hilly, overgrown property, known as St. George Cemetery, and knocking over, breaking or moving headstones, some a century or more old.

“It’s history, and it’s being destroyed, and nobody seems to care,” said cemetery researcher Judy Jennings, of O’Fallon, a member of the St. Clair County Genealogical Society.

Incubation Chambers Help Libraries Save Old Newspapers

The University of Connecticut is undergoing a restoration project to revive 19th century Chilean newspapers documenting the years leading up to the war between Chile and an allied Peru and Bolivia. Over the centuries, the newspaper has become brittle and awkwardly creased in ways that make it difficult to read, even tearing when you try to turn the page. The University is using a humidification chamber that relaxes the pages, allowing for a series of follow-up techniques to restore and eventually digitize the print. The process lasts about 15 minutes.

You can read more about the process and view several pictures of the humidification chamber in operation in an article by Sidney Fussell in the Gizmodo web site at: https://goo.gl/zC610p as well as in the video below:

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Over 311,000 new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Ireland, Petty Sessions Court Registers

Over 227,700 new records have been added to our collection of Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers. Petty Sessions handled the bulk of lesser criminal and civil legal proceedings in Ireland. Ireland, Petty Sessions Court Registers now contains over 22.8 million records and is the largest collection of Irish court & prison records available anywhere online. Each record includes both a transcript and a scanned image of the original document that will include details of victims, witnesses and the accused, such as address, date in court, details of the offence, details of the verdict and the sentence.

Paul A. Cyr, R.I.P.

The genealogy community lost another good friend recently. Paul Albert Cyr, 66, of North Kingstown died peacefully Friday, December 30, 2016.

Paul Cyr was the head of the Genealogy Department and Special Collections at the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Free Public Library where he worked for over 30 years until his retirement. As a librarian, he helped his patrons research their families, organized lectures and exhibitions, and provided resources to writers and researchers on New Bedford and its environs. Under his direction, the Genealogy Department grew as he extended the collection.

Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes Reach a Quarter of a Million Names

Have Irish ancestry? If so, you might want to know about a very popular set of online indexes. The following announcement was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Major Irish Genealogy Database Reaches Quarter of a Million Names

irish-genealogical-research-societyGreat news for anyone seeking their elusive Irish ancestors! The online Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes have collectively smashed through to a quarter of a million names.

The three indexes are compiled and hosted online by the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS). The marriage database was the first established, in 2014, with an initial 40,000 names. Since then the Society has launched two corresponding additional databases, one for births and another for deaths. All three have been regularly updated, with the latest bringing the total record count, collectively, to a quarter of a million names.

Kingston Announces the World’s Largest Capacity USB Flash Drive that has More Storage than Your Desktop Computer: 2 Terabytes

I have written often about the need to make frequent backups of your genealogy data and anything else that is important to you. While not the only backup method available, one method is by copying files to flash drives. Traditionally, flash drives have been capable of storing a few gigabytes of data although the exact number keeps increasing every few months as the manufacturers constantly release new, higher-capacity devices. Now Kingston has beat the competition by offering a two-terabyte flash drive. That’s 2,000 gigabytes! This is now the world’s largest capacity USB flash drive.

kingston-2tb-flash-drive

The new DataTraveler Ultimate GT is a USB flash drive that offers 2 terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) of storage. It is expected to start shipping next month. A one-terabyte version will also be available. The drive features a case made out of zinc-alloy for improved durability, and the storage capacity means you can carry over 70 hours’ worth of 4K video in your pocket. It uses a USB 3.1 high-speed interface that is also backwards compatible with older USB 2 computers. Even at USB 3.1’s high speeds, I can guess that copying 2 terabytes of data from your computer to the new flash drive will require many hours.

Best Genealogy Organization of 2016: MyHeritage

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has recently been named as the “Best Genealogy Organization of 2016” by Tamura Jones, a widely respected blogger and reviewer. The review states: “MyHeritage did what it should be doing: improve their products and services to deliver increased value to their users.” You can read the full review at http://www.tamurajones.net/GeneAwards2016.xhtml.

Tamura Jones also named:

  • Best Genealogy Product of 2016
  • Best New Genealogy Product of 2016
  • Best Genealogy Organisation of 2016
  • Best New Genealogy Organisation of 2016
  • Best New GEDCOM Technology

and also:

  • Worst Genealogy Product of 2016
  • Worst New Genealogy Product of 2016
  • Worst Genealogy Organisation of 2016

All of the above may be found at: http://www.tamurajones.net/GeneAwards2016.xhtml.

The State Archives of North Carolina Publishes a New Online Collection of Tax Records

The North Carolina State Archives has released a new digital collection, entitled Tax Lists and Records, drawing from General Assembly, Treasurer & Comptroller and Secretary of State records. The bulk of the records are from the Colonial and Revolutionary War eras, but some lists date from as late as 1853.

Lists sent to the General Assembly are from various counties and give the names of the heads of households and others who were subject to taxation. Horses, cattle, livestock, and other luxury goods such as carriages and coaches are also often referenced. Information about slaves may also be present in these lists.

Follow-Up: Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement?

Last week, I wrote Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement? at https://goo.gl/7fSfgX. A new article this week about Samsung’s upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone seems to make the predictions in my article become true even faster than I had expected. Samsung’s upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone could give users the ability to plug it into a screen and turn it into a desktop personal computer, according to a media report.

samsung-desktop-experience-smaller

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

The All About Windows Phone blog written by Steve Litchfield contains a leaked slide from a presentation showing a Samsung smartphone being connected to a large external screen, along with a full-sized keyboard and mouse. The slide is titled “Samsung Desktop Experience” and shows a phone powering a screen to create a multi-tasking interface, presumably running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Early Canadiana Online: History and Genealogy Treasures

I doubt if this is new but I just heard of it for the first time. The Ottawa Public Library has an excellent online collection, called Early Canadiana Online. Quoting from the Library’s web site:

ecoStart Canada’s 150th anniversary year off by exploring our past with the latest addition to OPL’s online resources, Early Canadiana Online. Early Canadiana Online is a multilingual virtual library of digitized historical publications about Canada, including books, magazines, and government documents, from the 16th to the early 20th century.

National Genealogical Society Issues Call for Proposals for the 2018 Family History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

ARLINGTON, VA, 3 JANUARY 2017—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will open the call for proposals for the 2018 Family History Conference, Paths to Your Past, on 3 January 2017. The conference will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 2–5 May 2018.

In the nineteenth century, the Great Lakes were major, strategic waterways that aided Americans moving West and immigrants coming from overseas through Canada to settle and develop the Midwest. Cheap land, mining, and the timber industry made the area attractive. The combination of water power from the rivers and rapids, together with access to grain and lumber, encouraged manufacturing and industry, including breweries, furniture, and cereal.

Among the topics being considered by NGS are presentations on migration paths to the Midwest, including waterways, trails, and railroads; records and repositories for Michigan, the surrounding states, and Canada; records generated by France, Great Britain, and later by the newly established United States as they fought for control of the Old Northwest Territory; land grants, deeds, and maps; and laws and court records.

The American Legion’s Historical Archives

The American Legion’s digital archive has just added a bunch of new items that may be of interest to researchers with ancestors who were part of that organization as well as with people looking at military social history of that time. According the announcement at https://goo.gl/D20k1u:

“The American Legion’s Digital Archive has received a new batch of historical documents. Recently added is the full run of the National Legionnaire, a newspaper that ran more or less monthly from January 1935 through November 1948. The Legionnaire provided the latest news on Legion activities and priorities from across the country. It was folded into The American Legion Magazine as its own section in February 1949. 2017 will bring even more additions to the Digital Archive, including 30 years of press releases from the Legion’s news service. To learn how to use the archive, visit the American Legion website.”

My thanks to newsletter reader Jerry Ball for telling me about the new digital archive.

The Genealogy World of Twenty Years Ago

This week I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I re-read the first 50 issues of this newsletter, all published in 1996. The genealogy world indeed has changed. Here are a few of the more memorable newsletter items from twenty years ago, along with a few comments:

20_years

Only the more advanced computer users in 1996 had state-of-the-art software: Microsoft’s latest operating system, called Windows 95. However, because I was now writing a “techie” newsletter, I purchased a very high-speed system (a 90-Mhz Pentium I) with a huge amount of memory (32 megabytes) so that I could use the latest professional operating system from Microsoft: Windows NT 3.51. During the year, Microsoft also released Internet Explorer version 3.0. Most of the 30 million users of the World Wide Web used Netscape, however. A few used the older Mosaic web browser.

The annual GENTECH conference was held in Plano, Texas, with several hundred attendees.

While at the GENTECH conference, I first saw a GPS unit designed for use by consumers. I saved up my money and purchased my own GPS later in the year. GPS devices certainly have become much more popular in the past twenty years!

A Free Update to Family Tree Maker is Now Available

The following announcement was received from Jack Minsky, President of Software MacKiev:

ftm_image_1xDrum roll, please. For those of you who have been waiting patiently (or impatiently) for an update we thought every user of FTM 2014 and Mac 3 should install, well it’s here, and here’s why you should install it. (Even if you’ve already updated to a previous edition of FTM 2014.1 or Mac 3.1).

• SECURITY. New in this build is the ability to add password-protection to the tree files you export. And if you’re sending them outside your computer, that’s a very good idea — so your family history doesn’t ever fall into the wrong hands. You’ll find it as a new option in the export window.

South Carolina Archivists Seek $200,000 to Preserve Copies of Constitutions

South Carolina state archivists are seeking $200,000 to fight the effects of old conservation techniques that threaten South Carolina’s copies of seven constitutions dating to 1776. The copies are in various states of disrepair. Some appear to be in good condition but were conserved using a 1940s process that is slowly degrading the documents housed in the temperature-controlled archives.

The cellulose acetate lamination applied in the 1940s needs to be removed before it breaks down into acetic acid, said Eric Emerson, director of the S.C. Department of Archives and History. In fact, the preservation effort of the 1940s is actually accelerating the deterioration, not preserving the documents.

You can read the details in an article by Gavin Jackson in the Post and Courier at: https://goo.gl/wsn7rx.

Ellis Island Celebrates Its 125th Anniversary

Ellis Island opened as the nation’s main immigrant processing center 125 years ago on Jan. 1. More than 12 million immigrants passed through the gates of the processing center. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation says nearly half of all Americans can trace their family roots to a person who passed through Ellis Island.

ellis-island-immigrants

The 27.5-acre island, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, no longer serves as a port of entry for new arrivals but it does greet about 2 million visitors a year, according to its website.

You can read more in an article by Karen Yi at http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/01/ellis_island_anniversary.html.

GenSoftReviews Announces its Users Choice Awards for 2016

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler who compiles the Users Choice Awards:

gensoftreviewsThe 8th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website based on 750 reviews submitted by users during 2016.

44 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2016. Of those, 27 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and each win a 2016 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

The Winners include:

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month as well as the first day of the year. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Happy New Year!

glowing-happy-new-year

(+) Is Your Genealogy Society Growing or Shrinking?

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

declineI am fortunate in that I travel a lot and am often asked to speak at local genealogy society meetings. I meet a lot of members and officers of these societies, and I hear a lot of stories about each society’s successes and failures. A few stories seem to be repeated over and over by multiple societies although I do hear a few exceptions. By far, the most common stories I hear are that a particular society is struggling and is slowly becoming smaller and smaller. A few societies report the opposite: they are steadily growing in both membership and in services.

What is the difference? I don’t have all the answers, but I do see a few common factors amongst the stories I hear.