Introducing MyHeritage Surveys for Those Who took a MyHeritage DNA Test or Uploaded Their DNA Test to MyHeritage

The MyHeritage Blog has announced a new service from the company that will “investigate how genetics affects various aspects of our lives.” The announcement says (in part):

“At MyHeritage, we constantly discover new ways for our users to explore their origins and learn more about who they are. Our Science Team, led by world-renowned genetics pioneer Dr. Yaniv Erlich, recently released surveys — a cutting-edge research project to help us investigate how genetics affects various aspects of our lives, with the cooperation of the MyHeritage community.

New BT27 UK Outbound Passenger Lists Go Online for the 1930s Decade

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

Queen Mary on her maiden voyage 1936; from TheGenealogist’s Image Archive

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s. These Outbound Passenger Lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that feature the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again.

The fully searchable BT27 records from The National Archives released today will allow researchers to:

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, stunned virtually everyone in the United States. Pearl Harbor was totally unprepared. 353 Japanese planes mounted a surprise assault on American naval forces stationed in Hawaii. The attack killed 2,403 United States personnel, injured 1,178, drew the United States into World War II, and altered the course of history forever.

President Franklin Roosevelt quickly addressed Congress to ask for a declaration of war. This action was soon followed by declaration of war with Germany and, soon after, with Italy.

Today is the appropriate time to pause and reflect on the events of 76 years ago today. Let us vow to never again allow any nation ever catch us unprepared.

Hands on with the $149.99 Insignia™ NS-P11A8100 11.6-inch Tablet with Removable Keyboard

I had a chance this week to use a new (to me) low-cost Insignia™ NS-P11A8100 tablet computer. I thought I would write about it here as many people are looking for potential Christmas presents or perhaps a tablet to add to one’s own “Christmas wish list.”

I selected the Insignia™ NS-P11A8100 tablet primarily because it is cheap. While it has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199, BestBuy is selling it for $149.99. That is ridiculously cheap for an Android tablet with an 11.6” screen and a keyboard. After reading all the specifications, I visited a nearby BestBuy store and purchased one.

I plan to use the new tablet computer to run genealogy apps as well as dozens of other uses. It can surf the web, read and write email, run any of several word processing programs and spreadsheets, do everything on Facebook, and run all sorts of other applications for many different uses (see https://play.google.com/store/search?q=Android%20apps for information about the thousands of Android apps available). It even has dozens of genealogy apps available; most of them are available free of charge. (See https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps). I am primarily using it with MyHeritage’s genealogy app as well as BillionGraves.

100 Years Ago Today the Halifax Explosion nearly destroyed Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

On the morning of 6 December 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives left the dock in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and headed for Bordeaux, France. The explosives were destined to be used by the French military in World War I. At 8:45 AM, the SS Mont-Blanc collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire broke out on the French cargo ship. 20 minutes after the collision, at 9:04:35 am, the SS Mont-Blanc exploded.

The blast destroyed both ships along with most of the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed, about 500 of them children, by the blast or by flying debris, fires or collapsed buildings. An estimated 9,000 others were injured.

The Halifax Explosion was one of the worst disasters in North American history. It was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT.

Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations Launches an Online Petition for the Early Release of the 1926 Census

The following announcement was written by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations:

On 6th December 2017 CIGO is launching an online petition calling on the Government of Ireland to honour the commitment given in the 2011 Programme for Government to release the 1926 Census of Ireland.

The date has two historical associations for Ireland. It was on the 6th December 1921 that the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed and exactly one year later the Irish Free State was established.

Ireland has a sad history with regard to the preservation of census returns. After a series of administrative blunders and the subsequent fire in the Public Records Office during the Civil War in 1922, only fragments of the 19th century census returns now survive.

The period between 1911 and 1926 was one of great change in Ireland: the Great War, Easter Rising, War of Independence, Partition and then the Civil War. All this upheaval led to significant internal migration and overseas emigration.

Call for Papers: 2019 Annual Conference of the Ohio Genealogical Society

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Ohio Genealogical Society:

December 1, 2017 — Bellville, Ohio: The Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) announces a request for lecture proposals for its 2019 conference, “Building A Heritage,” to be held May 1 – 4, 2019, at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio.

Topics being considered include: Ohio history, its records, and repositories; ethnic (African American, German, Irish, Polish, etc.); religious groups; migration into, within, and out of Ohio; origins of early Ohio settlers, and the Old Northwest Territory. Other topics of interest that will be considered include: land and military records; technology; DNA; mobile devices and apps; social media; and methodology, analysis, and problem solving in genealogical research

Call for Papers: 2018 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the folks who organize and manage the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy:

Strengthening Ties That Bind Families Together” Tuesday, July 31 through Friday, August 3, 2018 Proposals are now being accepted for the 2018 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy which will be held Tuesday, July 31 through Friday, August 3, at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah.

Proposals are accepted through the BYU recruiting system. You will be required to have a BYU Net ID. If you do not have a Net ID, click here to create one. You may submit up to eight proposals by clicking on the following link: Submit Proposals and Apply Here

How to Transfer Cassette Tapes to a Computer for Long-Term Preservation

A newsletter reader wrote to me recently, asking:

“I am in the process of backing up my family/genealogy records. There is a lot of information available about commercial services transfer of information. However, I am not seeing much about transfer of audiotapes to more stable backup. Have you written any articles or know of sources to help me evaluate commercial services for audiotapes?”

My answer is:

Genealogy Data Entry Techniques

In the course of a week, I get to see a lot of genealogy data. Some of what I see is abysmal. Many otherwise highly-skilled genealogists do not seem to know that their keyboards have a SHIFT key! Instead, they simply turn on CAPS LOCK and then ignore upper and lower case after that.

Of course, the use of UPPER CASE text has a long history in the computer business. The mainframes of the 1960s and 70s only used upper case text. Data typically was entered on 80-column punch cards. The IBM 026 keypunch machine, the most popular keypunch machine ever built, indeed did not have a shift key and was incapable of entering lower case text.

By the late 1970s, all of this had changed, and data was being entered from computer terminals in normal upper and lower case. However, not everyone got the word. It seems that a number of people do not realize that the keyboards of the twenty-first century have improved since those “stone age” computers of 40 or 50 years ago.

Here are two short examples produced by a popular genealogy program. Which one do you find easier to read?

Book Review: In Search of a Fair Wind – The Sea Letters of Georgia Townsend Yates, 1891-1892

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

In Search of a Fair Wind
The Sea Letters of Georgia Townsend Yates, 1891-1892
By Georgia Townsend Yates and Clint Cargile.
Zea Mays Publ., Sycamore, Ill. 2017. 229 pages.

I find memoirs to be extraordinarily engaging, even when the central topic is of no great interest to me.

Being pulled into someone else’s life, reading the private thoughts, feelings, perspective, reactions to family, fears, insecurities, being privy to someone who has had a life different from mine, and shares it so unpretentiously, feels like a privilege.

Georgia Townsend Yates wrote letters home to her mother from the Willie Reed, an ocean vessel that sailed from the East Coast to Japan and Singapore from 1891 to 1892. Captain John Elvin Yates, Georgia’s husband, commanded the ship, and she sailed with him for fifteen months, accompanied by their toddler daughter Dorothy.

New Historic Records on FamilySearch: Week of December 4, 2017

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Over one million records and one million images from Denmark Censuses 1834, 1840, and 1925 were added on FamilySearch this week. Many more records from ArgentinaBillionGravesEnglandItalySweden and the United States were also published. Search these new free records at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

DNA Wall Art

Here is a rather unusual Christmas gift: a framed canvas art displaying one’s DNA, suitable for hanging on a wall. No two of these will ever be alike. I bet not everyone will receive one of these!

DNA11 is a company in Ottawa, Ontario that produces colorful framed canvas art for hanging, and smaller versions for desk display. One of the offerings is a display of one’s DNA markers. The information for each display comes from a quick and easy swabbing of the inside of your cheek.

(+) Why a Search Engine Cannot Find All Online Genealogy Information

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

Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo and Bing are great inventions for genealogists. We can go to a search engine and enter a name of an ancestor or other relative. The search engine will then provide us with a “hit” list—a list of web pages that contain that name. If the name is an uncommon one, we often can find the information we seek within seconds. The more common names may be a bit more difficult as the search engines return too many “hits” for us to read quickly. In these cases we can narrow the search by entering the person’s place of residence, occupation, family members’ names, and other facts from the person’s life, hoping to find web pages that contain those facts in addition to the person’s name.

However, search engines never return information about certain records, even though we know that those records are already available online. In fact, the search engines typically cannot find information contained in some of the largest genealogy web sites: MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, and others. Perhaps you saw information about your ancestor online last week in one of the larger genealogy sites. Today, you want to look at that information again for further research, but you don’t remember which site had the info. Most genealogists will go to Google.com to search for the person and then click on Google’s link to the web site where the information is stored. However, Google and the other search engines typically will not find information stored on the larger genealogy web sites. The question arises, “Why not?” The answer is easy, but it does require a bit of explanation.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the people at Findmypast:

There are over 8.5 million new records available to search this Findypast Friday. New additions include;

Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions

Our Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions have been supplemented with over 13,000 additional records from Rotherham Family History Society. These records, a mix of original images and transcript-only entries, can help you discover birth years, death years, memorial locations and inscription details.

Yorkshire Burials

New additions covering Methodist burials at sites near South Street and Carver Street in Sheffield have been added to the collection.

Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-1943

Rising Seas Could Submerge the Jamestown Settlement

Sea-level rise this century may threaten Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas; the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which launches all of NASA’s human spaceflight missions; and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, a new study finds.

These iconic locales are some of the more than 13,000 archaeological and historical sites on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States that rising sea levels will endanger this century, researchers in the new study said.

Details may be found in an article by Charles Q. Choi published in the LiveScience web site at http://bit.ly/2zIFlac.

Registration Opens for the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Family History Conference

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

Arlington, VA, 1 DECEMBER 2017— Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s fortieth annual Family History Conference, Paths to Your Past, which will be held 2–5 May 2018 at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To register on or after 1 December 2017, visit the NGS website and complete the online registration form.

Join thousands of family historians and genealogists for four days of the consummate genealogical networking and learning environment. Choose from more than 175 lectures and special programs and enjoy luncheons with guest speakers who are experts in their fields. Discover Michigan’s expansive genealogical and archival repositories and learn about the wealth of family history resources throughout the Great Lakes region. Explore the Exhibit Hall and Family History Expo featuring more than eighty exhibitors.

Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania has Shut Down

For close to 20 years, the Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania has occupied an old church on Main Street in Peckville. However, the building is now locked and “closed” signs cover the building. The society’s web site at https://www.grsnp.net now says, “We are no longer in business as of November 4, 2017. Scranton Public Library, and other local 501c3 organizations, have our records.”

Society officers are in the process of dissolving the non-profit organization that helped people research their family histories. The society reportedly closed because of a lack of volunteers.

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

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. 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.

Using the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules

Almost all experienced genealogists have used the census records to find ancestors. However, how many of us have used the Census Mortality Schedules? In fact, I have to wonder how many of us even know what the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules are? And why would we find them to be valuable?

In 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, and 1900, the U.S. census enumerators were required to collect all the normal census information plus even more: information about all persons dying within the 12 months preceding the census taking. These lists are known as the “Mortality Schedules”.

Mortality data can prove very useful in your research. For instance, for several years I suspected that a man found in the Massachusetts census records was my great-great-grandfather. I hadn’t found proof, but the circumstantial evidence was almost overwhelming: he had the correct name, lived in the same area that my later, proven ancestors lived, had the correct number of children as mentioned in a family history book, and more. In fact, I really wanted to prove my descent from this Revolutionary War soldier who spent the winter at Valley Forge in the Continental Army under the command of George Washington. (Most Revolutionary soldiers served in the militia, not in the Continental Army.) I searched hard for the proof.