Smokey Robinson to be Featured on the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, Motown legend and icon Smokey Robinson dives into his late mother’s family history. He searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives, and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy. Then Smokey uncovers the story of his great-grandfather, and comes face to face with horrific history he knew was inevitable.

You can watch a sneak peek of the episode at:

TheGenealogist Launches Millions of New Parish Records as well as their New British in India Collection

The following announcement was released by TheGenealogist at the beginning of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England:

TheGenealogist has just announced three important releases to coincide with the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show covering Britain and British India.

Over 2.5 Million people in the latest release of Parish records!

Augmenting the substantial Parish Records that are already available on TheGenealogist comes the release of more than 2.5 million people for two major counties:

Hampshire Parish Records (Bishop’s Transcripts) (886,616 individuals)
This brings our total number of records to 3,199,820 with coverage of

FamilySearch Marks World War I Centennial with Free Historic Record Collections

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Salt Lake City, Utah (4 April 2017), Did your ancestor serve in World War I? As the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I approaches, FamilySearch International is highlighting its free online collections of World War I records. Millions of free draft registration, service, and naturalization records online help fill in details about ancestors who served in the military during the conflict. April 6, 2017, will mark the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I.  Search the free collections at

A century ago, the United States joined its allies to fight in World War I—the “Great War” or the “War to End All Wars.” When the U.S. joined the war effort, battles had already raged in Europe for nearly three years between the Allies and the Central Powers.

What is the Most Popular Computer Operating System? No, It Isn’t Windows.

For the first time in many years, Microsoft Windows in now the second-most popular operating system and is falling further behind. So what is the most popular operating system? Android.

Admittedly, the two operating systems are essentially tied. Web-analytics company StatCounter reports that Android now runs on 37.93 percent of all computers while Windows is used on 37.91 percent of the computers. Admittedly, that’s only a 0.02% difference and that is within the margin of statistical error.

However, Android held just 2.4 percent of global Internet usage share only five years ago. It is obvious that Android is growing rapidly while Windows is declining in use. Anyone who has been watching the statistics concerning the growth of “smartphones” and tablets along with the decline of PCs shouldn’t be too surprised.

DNA Identifies a Previously Unidentified Body

DNA is helping solve many mysteries, not the least of which is identifying people who previously could not be identified. One recent example occurred in Washington, D.C., where a young lady was found deceased and without identification.

Dental work and fingerprints failed to identify the deceased. However, a DNA sample from the Justice Department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System database made the identificarion.

Announcing the 2017 British Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah on 18-22 September 2017

The following announcement was written by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH):

Don’t miss out on this amazing educational experience!

Choose one of the four tracks by prominent genealogists focused on British Isles research.
The Institute strives to further your education about the records and locations that are important to your genealogical research. Classes are intentionally small so that you can experience individual instruction, both in class and in the Family History Library.

“DNA as a Genealogical Tool”

Understanding DNA is the cutting edge of genealogical education. Maurice Gleeson, MB, genetic genealogist, based in London, will delve into the world of DNA and explain the various scientific resources available to the family historian with specific focus on British Isles research. This course of instruction is suitable to all persons wishing to understand the complexities of DNA and how it is applied to family history research.

“English Genealogical Research Before 1837”

Book Review: Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors
By Dina C. Carson. Iron Gate Publishing. 2015. 369 pages.

I’m not a good storyteller. I’ve ruined many a good yarn with a lot of pointless detail and too much talk.

I haven’t a clue how to design a book cover except by stealing the ideas of others.

I have no idea how to put together a book except by reading the instructions written by Dina Carson.

Ms. Carson is a Colorado genealogist, gravestone photographer, writer, and publisher. Her books on self-publishing are so helpful, easy to read, full of direction and inspiration, I simply don’t try to write a book without her references nearby.

Dick Eastman and This Newsletter to Relocate to Iceland

April 1, 2017 – Reykjavík, Iceland – While on a trip to Reykjavík, Iceland, Dick Eastman was awestruck by the beauty and the stark contrasts of this island nation. Hot springs, geysers, and volcanos are visible at almost every turn of the road. Houses are heated by underground hot springs. Food is grown in greenhouses that are heated by the same hot springs. Use of fossil fuels is minimized in this energy-saving country.

Even better, the island is “heaven on earth” for genealogists. Iceland has everyone’s family tree, complete with original source citations, online and available for all the country’s citizens to see. In fact, there is even an Android app available to show each Icelandic citizen his or her genealogy, in most cases back to 874 AD.

Everyone in Iceland is related. Every member of the 300,000 population derives from the same family tree, according to genealogy website

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.

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

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

Several articles have appeared online in the past few years describing the slowly dying music CD business. In short, sales of CD disks are being replaced by directly downloading music 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?

You can find dozens of articles about the declining sales of music CDs if you start at Those articles got me thinking: if sales of music CDs are plummeting, can data CDs be far behind?

For more than two decades, genealogists have been enthusiastic buyers of genealogy data CDs. At least, looking in my storage area in the basement confirms that I have been an enthusiastic buyer! I have several hundred genealogy data CDs stored in a large box, most of which haven’t been touched in years.

New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of March 27, 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:


Many Catholic Church records from Argentina are now freely searchable on Also in the recent publication are some large historic record collections including Outward Passenger Lists from Australia, France Census records, and Boston Massachusetts Crew Lists. Search these new free records and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday 31/03/17

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Over 85,000 records are available to search this Findmypast Friday including;

New Zealand University Graduates 1870-1963

Over 37,000 new education records have been added to our New Zealand collection. These records enable researchers to uncover details of colleges attended, awards received and other vital family tree information. Up until 1961, the University of New Zealand was the only degree-granting university in the country but graduates came from all over with regional colleges in Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury, and Otago.

Northamptonshire Militia Lists 1771

Actress/Producer Jessica Biel on be Guest on US Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

On this Sunday’s episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actress Jessica Biel makes surprising discoveries that change what she thought knew about her heritage. She sets out to debunk several tales of family lore.

Catch a sneak peek of the episode at:

Next week’s episode follows Smokey Robinson.

And You Thought You Had Problems Researching the Ancestry of Your Last Name?

In the United States, the most popular family surname is Smith. As per the 2010 census, about 0.8 percent of Americans have it. In Vietnam, the most popular surname name is Nguyen. The estimate for how many people answer to it? Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the country’s population.

You think tracing the Smith family is difficult? Try tracing the Nguyen family!

An article by Dan Nosowitz in the Atlas Obscura web site states:

“Nguyen doesn’t indicate much more than that you are Vietnamese. Someone with the [surname of] Nguyen is going to have basically no luck tracing their heritage back beyond a generation or two, will not be able to use search engines to find out much of anything about themselves.”

On the Road Again: Iceland, Denmark, and England

Once again, I am taking a “little trip.” If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I travel often. However, this trip may not be so little.

By the time you read these words, I should be on board IcelandAir someplace over the Atlantic or possibly may have already landed in Reykjavík, Iceland. I plan to spend a few days there as a tourist. Visiting Iceland has been on my “bucket list” for years. Now I finally have the chance to fulfill the dream.

From Reykjavík, I will fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, and spend a few more days as a tourist. I am told it is a beautiful city so I am looking forward to that experience.

Finally, before returning home, I will fly to Birmingham, England, to attend the annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham on 6 to 8 April. This family history conference is expected to attract between 10,000 to 13,000 attendees!

Cellular Research Institute Ventures into Ancestry Testing with the Launch of CRI Genetics

I must admit I never heard of this company before until I received the following announcement:

Cellular Research Institute has recently introduced CRI Genetics, the organization’s Genetics division dedicated to helping individuals find out key information pertaining to their ancestry. Led by seasoned researcher Alexei Fedorov, CRI Genetics is now offering the most advanced DNA testing kit on the market.

March 25th, 2017 – Cellular Research Institute, a team of researchers dedicated to providing accurate information about research, medicine, and the environment, has recently introduced their Genetics division. Operating under the name CRI Genetics, this new division is now offering a DNA testing kit to help people find out their detailed family history based on Genealogy and Anthropology.

Help Wanted: Senior Software Engineer in Provo, Utah

A help wanted ad has appeared that may appeal to software engineers with experience in genealogy. It is for an unnamed company. However, the ad says that it is for “a British-owned world leader in online genealogy” with offices in Provo. How many companies fit that description?


The help wanted ad may be found at:

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Why Did Outhouses Often Have Crescent Moons in Their Doors?

OK, here is today’s history question. I suspect our ancestors all knew the reason for the markings on outhouse doors but those reasons are fast being lost to today’s generation of people who have only been exposed to more modern conveniences. Perhaps the information has already been lost. After all, our ancestors often wrote about many topics but few seemed to have documented the minute details of their outhouses.

An article by Eric Grundhauser in the Atlas Obscura web site insists:

“From cartoons to films to modern-day replicas of historic toilets, the cut-out shape of a crescent moon in an outhouse door seems like something that is so ingrained in our cultural consciousness, that it must have existed in real life. But it doesn’t seem to have been much of a historic reality.”

Genetic Communities™ Beta: New Innovation from AncestryDNA

The following announcement was written by AncestryDNA:

Today, we are pleased to share the roll-out of a new beta experience for AncestryDNA we call, Genetic Communities™. This new experience gives you a more detailed connection to the people, places, cultures, and stories that led to you.

Taking DNA testing to a whole new level

This new advancement is only possible through the millions of AncestryDNA members around the world who have chosen to participate in the Research Project as well as the massive collection of family trees, only available on Ancestry. The science behind this feature was recently published in one of the prominent scientific journals Nature Communications here).

At launch there will be over 300 Genetic Communities all around the world to go and explore, with many more on the horizon. We will compare you to all of them and list the ones you have a connection to based on your DNA. These Genetic Communities dot the globe and are often more specific than what’s possible to discover with an ethnicity estimate, providing a more recent connection to your past.

And, this is just the beginning. We are just scratching the surface of advancements in science and technology that will translate into faster, more insightful discoveries about who we are and where we come from. Genetic Communities is a very BIG and exciting step in this direction.

Watch this video to see why we are so excited about this new experience.

TheGenealogist Launches Various London Educational Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has just released a batch of London school and university records to join its ever growing educational collection.

Researchers can use this new data to find ancestors who attended or taught at a variety of Educational establishments within London between 1831 and 1927. Also listed are the names of those who held high office in the institutions, such as the patrons; deans; visitors and professors, in the case of universities and the principles, masters and governors in the case of the schools.

This release covers the names of those who graduated from the University of London between 1836 and 1926 – while for King’s College London, it also provides a list of Fellows from 1847 to 1920, registered students for 1920-1921 and those awarded degrees in 1920 and 1921 as well as the prizes given at King’s.