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RootsTech 2019 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers and Entertainers

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

RootsTech_2019_Keynote_Speaker_Collage.pngSalt Lake City, Utah (13 February 2019), RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family history conference, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers and entertainers, including Saroo BrierleyPatricia HeatonDerek HoughJake Shimabukuro, and Steve Rockwood. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social networking platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech 2018 had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees. Hosted by FamilySearch International, the conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 27 through March 2, and select content is broadcast live online.

Keynote Speakers

RootsTech 2019 kicks off on Wednesday, February 27, with classes on topics such as DNA research, photo preservation, and using social media to preserve family legacies. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. mountain standard time.

How to Remotely Watch RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

If you are unable to attend RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City, you have two remote viewing options. Some of the show’s sessions will be streamed live for free at RootsTech.org (see the broadcast schedule below)! If you want more, you can purchase a Virtual Pass to view additional sessions from the conference. RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City runs February 27 to March 3, 2019. Go to RootsTech.org to view the entire schedule of events.

The RootsTech daily general sessions will be broadcast live and for free. They include keynote addresses by Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, Patricia Heaton, popular actress from Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, Saroo Brierley, whose incredible family reunification story which inspired the movie, Lion, and Jake Shimabukuro, world renowned ukulele master.

In addition to the select free classes broadcasted, RootsTech is offering a Virtual Pass, which provides access to 18 online recorded sessions from the conference. You can watch playbacks from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone device whenever and however you’d like—for just $129. Go to Virtual Pass for more information.

IGRS adds 14,000 names to its Early Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes

The following announcement was written by the the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Great news from the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS). An additional 7,000 records have been uploaded to the Society’s Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, a unique collection of life event references from lesser-used and obscure sources. The update delivers 14,000 names, creating a new total names count for the three indexes of 274,000.

School Registers released Online by TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist launches more school registers into its Educational Records adding tens of thousands of additional individuals.

  • The records can be used to discover a school pupil or university student’s achievements
  • Educational records will confirm birth dates and sometimes place of birth
  • Give father’s name and address useful when they are missing from the census
  • Give details of their later occupation etc.

Opinion: Your DNA Is Not Your Culture

This is a bit of a follow-up and a rebuttal to an article I published a few days ago: Discover Your “Musical DNA” at https://blog.eogn.com/2018/09/24/discover-your-musical-dna/:

Writing in The Atlantic, Sarah Zhang points out that “A Spotify playlist tailored to your DNA is the latest example of brands cashing in on people’s search for identity.”

MyHeritage becomes Presenting Partner of Eurovision 2019

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

September 26, 2018 – We’re delighted to share exciting news! MyHeritage, has been announced today by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as Presenting Partner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! As the event’s main sponsor, MyHeritage has been granted extensive global association and event, media, and digital rights for the upcoming song contest.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a famous international song competition held annually since the 1950’s, primarily among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. It is the world’s biggest live music event, a hugely popular television event that has been watched live by an average of close to 200 million people in the past 3 years. The contest is hosted by the previous year’s winning country — as Israel won the 2018 competition, Eurovision 2019 will be held in Tel Aviv.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 222,000 new records and newspapers available to search this Findmypast Friday.

Irish Officers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Search over 1,000 records to learn more about the Irish officers who died in the First World War. Discover where and when an officer died, as well as the cause of death. You may also uncover details of an officer’s family and pre-war life.

Originally published in 1916 as Our Heroes, this book covered the period August 1914 to July 1916. It contained photographs, with biographical notes, of officers of Irish regiments and Irish officers of British regiments who had fallen in action, or who had been mentioned for Distinguished Conduct. Also included in this volume is a brief history of the chief events of the Great War (to July 1916) in which Irish regiments were engaged.

Honourable Women of the Great War, 1914-1918

Genealogists Help in the Hunt for ALS Genes along a large Family Tree in Kentucky and Virginia

One family with origins in Ewing, Virginia, just east of the state’s mountainous meeting point with Kentucky and Tennessee seem to suffer from a medical condition they knew as cancer of the throat. They lost the ability to chew, swallow, and speak, they lost weight, and then they died. A doctor recognized it as something else: ALS. The medical condition also is often called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

NOTE: ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.

Notable individuals who have been diagnosed with ALS include baseball great Lou Gehrig, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone, musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, and others.

ALS often is inherited, passed on from one generation to another within a family. However, not everyone within the family develops ALS. By the time the symptoms are apparent, it is normally too late to slow down the disease.

New Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are more than 849,000 new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Britain, Royal Navy, Navy Lists 1827-1945

Search for your ancestor in official lists of Royal Navy Officers. The collection consists of 147 publications spanning the 1824 to 1945. The collection consists of digital images of original lists presented in PDF format.

The amount of information available will vary from volume to volume. Some details you may be able to discover include an individual’s name, rank, seniority, and place of service.

British Army Service Records

New Historical Records Added to MyHeritage in June 2018

The following is an announcement written by the folks at MyHeritage:

We are delighted to announce the addition of 25 million new historical record collections that were added in June 2018.

These record additions include updates to two of our most exciting collections — The Ellis Island & Other Passenger List collection and The Sweden Household Examination Books collection. We’ve added 16.7 million new records to our Ellis Island & Other Passenger List collection for a whopping total of 113,439,616 records. Our Sweden Household Examination Books now totals 87,401,340 records with this month’s addition of 3.6 million new records.

We have also added two completely new collections, the West Virginia Death Index & Certificates, 1853-1964 and the 1835 Denmark Census collection from the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.

Scan and Digitize Your Books for $1 Each

I have been scanning genealogy books for several reasons. Finding information in digitized books is much easier and faster than manually searching through thousands of printed pages. However, the biggest reason is for a word that still gives me shivers. It is a word dreaded by almost every soon-to-be retiree:

DOWNSIZING

A few years ago, I became a “snowbird.” That is, I go south every winter and north every summer, following many of the birds. I now spend my winters in Florida where the weather is much more pleasant than where I have lived most of my life in the “snowbelt.” However, I still spend summers “up north.”

Having two homes has several obvious advantages but also more than a few disadvantages. First of all, it seems like every time I want to use something, such as a book full of genealogy information, it is always in “the other place.” That is a serious disadvantage for any genealogist!

Next, I downsized. My new home in the south is considerably smaller than where I spend my summers.

So here are the quandaries:

A Fire at the Aberdeen (Washington) Museum of History Destroys Much of the Museum’s Collection and a Genealogy Society’s Library

Here is a story that every genealogist, archivist, historian, and museum manager never wants to read: On Saturday, a fire destroyed the Aberdeen Museum of History in Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, which included items from his early life.

NOTE: The late Kurt Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard in 1987.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. It took 77 firefighters 10.5 hours to suppress the fire. The fire started from within the building, a cause most typically related to heating or electrical malfunctions. At around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, firefighters from multiple agencies responded to the fire in the Armory Building. It spread through most of the building, and collapsed a majority of the roof. It caused serious damage to the museum and other organizations located inside like the Coastal Community Action Program, the Senior Center, and the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society research library.

Are You a Family Historian or a Name Collector?

I have a question. None of my living relatives knows the answer to this question. I have not found the answer to this question in any public records, nor have I been able to find the answer in cemeteries. I have read a few magazine articles and Internet pages about the topic, but none of them have directly answered the question.

The question is… “Why do we study genealogy?”

What makes anyone so curious about his or her family tree? What drives us to dedicate time, effort, and sometimes expenses to go find dead people?

What is it inside of us that makes us spend hours and hours cranking reels of microfilm, then we go home and report to our family members what a great day we had?

Internet Archive’s Book Scanning Robot

This is the way to digitize old books! The Internet Archive’s version of the Kirtas APT 1200 book scanning system in Toronto, Ontario, is shown in this video. Simply insert a (bound) book, press a button or two, and let the robotic scanner turn the pages automatically, saving a digital image of each and every page as it operates.
The first section of the video shows an operator working with the robot on every page turn. Later there is a section in this 10-minute video where the robot runs without being touched.

Help Wanted: a Pescatarian Archives Supervisor at Prince’s Paisley Park

I know a number of archivists read this newsletter on a regular basis so I will post this article for them. The rock star Prince’s Paisley Park estate outside Minneapolis became a permanent museum in 2016 following the musician’s passing. The estate is now looking for an archives supervisor to overlook the maintenance of their artifacts (which include his remains in an urn). They’ve posted a job listing to the American Alliance of Museums’ career website for a full-time position in the Archives Department.

The job posting includes all the regular items you might expect:

  • Actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits.
  • Maintain and Update the archival database system.
  • Monitor the trafficking of archive inventory.
  • Assist the appropriate staff in having access to the archives collection as required.
  • and much more.

However, there is one requirement of the job that I am not used to seeing in help wanted ads: “must adhere to a pescatarian environment.”

CBC Urged to Preserve Master Recordings of Radio and TV Programming after Making Digital Copies

NOTE: This is a follow-up to my earlier article, CBC (English-language) and Radio-Canada (French) Music Library Closing, CD’s to be Digitised, Destroyed, at http://bit.ly/2K9nIpF.

CBC News is reporting:

“The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation (CBMF) is urging CBC to stop destroying original radio and television programming after making digital copies, arguing these master recordings are irreplaceable.

“The Toronto charitable foundation said in a release Wednesday that CBC’s English Services began destroying original radio and TV programming at the beginning of April.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 1.1 million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755-1908

Indexed online for the first time, British Army Officers’ Widows’ Pension Forms 1755 – 1908, spans more than 150 years of British military history and contains over 13,000 transcripts and scanned images taken from The National Archives series “WO 42: War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers”. The collection consists of bundles of original documents submitted in support of pension claims made by the widows of British Army officers. It covers the families of officers who died in service or on half pay as well as compassionate allowances awarded to the children of both deceased and disabled officers.

These bundles include a variety of original army forms and supporting documents including original application forms completed by widows, marriage and death details of the officers in question, as well as death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates and baptismal records for their wives and children.

Somerset Registers & Records

Update: California sues the Trump Administration over the Addition of Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census

I recently wrote a brief article describing California’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the Addition of Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census. That article generated quite a bit of discussion. You can read the article at: http://bit.ly/2qawVVV.

Newsletter reader Ted Russell has written a response to the various discussions that strikes me as common sense. Here is his response, published here with Ted’s permission:

Yes, data on citizenship status will be of great use to future genealogists. And yes, the question is legal and constitutional. But it will likely have the effect of either driving undocumented immigrants further into the shadows, or exposing and deporting them, and this administration knows this very well. The Census Bureau is not supposed to share individual information with other agencies, but based on this administration’s disregard for the law, it would be hard for a Census enumerator to convince a respondent that the information will not be shared with ICE.

RootsTech 2018 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the RootsTech conferences:

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 31, 2018 — RootsTech 2018, the world’s largest family history conference hosted by FamilySearch International, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers, including Brandon Stanton, Scott Hamilton, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Natalia Lafourcade. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees in 2017. The conference is held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 28 through March 3, and select content is broadcast live daily online.

RootsTech 2018 Keynote Speakers (PRNewsfoto/RootsTech)

Keynote Speakers

Buy a New Samsung Chromebook for $99

This article has nothing to do with genealogy. Instead, it is about one of my other interests: low-cost computer hardware. If you are looking for true genealogy articles, you might want to skip this article.

UPDATE: This was obviously a very popular sale! Most BestBuy stores are reporting they have now sold out of this model. However, you still might check with a BestBuy store near you to see if that store is one of the exceptions and still has a few left.

If not, keep your eyes open. Similar sales on other models of Chromebooks do happen, often in the $100 to $150 price range.

I have written many times about the advantages of Chromebooks, low-cost laptop computers that are web-oriented. I have a Chromebook and love it. The cheap laptop has become my preferred laptop for traveling. I know that laptops are frequently stolen from airports, train stations, bus stations, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, and other public places. While I would hate to have my Chromebook stolen, I would feel much worse if my much more expensive Macintosh laptop was stolen! That is one of the reasons why I travel with a Chromebook: reducing the risk of financial loss. The other reason is the Chromebook accomplishes everything I need to do when traveling.

I also use the Chromebook frequently at home when watching TV. Chromebooks are designed to run applications “in the cloud” although they are also capable of running a few programs internally.

To find my past articles about Chromebooks, start at: http://bit.ly/2m3fGXz.

Now BestBuy is offering a basic Chromebook laptop for $99 US. That’s not a refurb nor a product by some manufacturer you never heard of. Instead, it is for a brand-new Samsung model XE500C13-S03US Chromebook with a one-year parts and labor warranty. To see the Black Friday sale, go to http://bit.ly/2AjZS4W.