Launches a YouTube Series Offering Advice and Tips for the Family Historian

The following announcement was written by James Pylant, owner of

GenealogyMagazine is the name of a new YouTube series offering advice and tips for the family historian. Hosted by James Pylant, an award-winning true-crime writer, authorized celebrity biographer, and professional genealogist, each five-minute episode offers tips and “how-to” examples for genealogical research.

The first episode, “County Courthouse Research,” is now available at YouTube:

Upcoming episodes include “Family Bible Records,” “Diaries and Journals,” “Longevity Lies,” “Misidentified Family Pictures,” and “Handwriting Analysis.”

Don’t Print These Articles!

Warning: This article contains personal opinions.

A newsletter reader asked today, “Is there a way to print out (I know; I am bad) an item without all of the right column (Subscribe, Read, Steal, Search, Links, Etc.) being printed? A recent blog was 23 pages of the blog but would have printed out 45 pages in all. If not, OK. I can watch and halt the printing, when I remember.”

My answer may have surprised the person who asked. I replied, “I strongly recommend that you NEVER print anything and thereby waste paper! I save lots of articles from many different web sites but never print anything, if I can avoid it. I work hard to keep a paperless lifestyle.”

Actually, you are free to print most anything in this newsletter and even forward most items or republish them elsewhere, as you please. See for details. However, I try hard to never print anything and I suggest you do the same. Why waste paper?

There are better ways to keep things for a long time! In fact, it is easier to find things that are saved electronically than it is to find things saved on paper. Computers are marvelous devices when it comes to searching through hundreds or thousands of saved text files.

As I wrote in an article more than two years ago:

Deciphering Colonial-Era Handwritten Documents

The State Archives of North Carolina blog has published a three-part series on how to interpret Colonial-era handwriting. The series includes a brief history of writing during this time period, characteristics of 17th and 18th century British-American handwriting, and some tips on deciphering the text found within these records.

The information contained will help anyone researching ancestors or history the British Isles, anywhere in the American colonies, Canada, or other English-speaking countries and colonies.

What You Missed Last Week at the FGS Conference in Pittsburgh

A major genealogy conference was held last week at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from August 30 through September 2, 2017. It was the site of the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, co-sponsored by the local host, the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. The conference center saw hundreds of genealogists wandering the halls, attending presentations, checking out the latest offerings in the exhibits hall, attending sponsored lunches, and simply having a good time.


This turned out to be an excellent venue for the conference. It is super modern and has all the audio-visual equipment one expects of a modern conference center. The only significant drawback that I noticed is that things were spread out in this huge facility. It was a long walk from the presentation rooms to the exhibits hall and back again. A few attendees with mobility issues had a difficult time with the walking. As for myself, I thought it was enjoyable exercise.

I was fortunate enough to attend this conference and must say that I had a good time. Judging by the smiles I saw, I believe most everyone else had similar experiences.

Family History Researcher Academy English & Welsh Family History Course One-Time Payment Offers Expanded

In July of this year the Family History Researcher Academy trialled a One-Time Payment offer for those wishing to pay in US Dollars or British Pounds. This gave students a deep saving of US$88 on the regular price of the 52 lesson English/Welsh Family History Course.

The results were amazing and the trial was a great success – so for a short while more it is being extended and opened up to other currencies as well.

In response to customer demand from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the One-Time Payment option is being rolled out to those who would like to pay in Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars or New Zealand Dollars as well as keeping the US Dollar and British Pounds, offers open.

New Records Available to Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 160,000 records available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Oxfordshire marriage bonds 1634-1849

Search more than 46,000 records to discover when, where and to whom your Oxfordshire ancestor was married. Marriage bonds were made as an assurance that no legal impediment existed to prevent a marriage taking place. This was required when a couple chose to marry by licence instead of by banns. While the reading of the banns allowed for individuals to come forward with legal objections to the intended marriage before it had taken place, bonds served as a replacement means of assurance. A marriage bond would only need to be paid out if it was discovered that there was a legal reason the couple should not have been married. The licence would be given to the minister officiating the marriage, and the bond would be given to the Archdeacon’s office.

Britain, marriage licences Browse

WikiTree Hosts Second Annual Source-a-Thon

The following announcement was written by the folks at WikiTree:

Genealogy community donates $4,600 in prizes

September 1, 2017: Today WikiTree is opening registration for the second annual “Source-a-Thon,” a three-day genealogical sourcing marathon. The event starts on the morning of September 30 and ends at midnight on Monday, October 2. It is timed to coincide with the start of Family History Month in October.

The Source-a-Thon highlights the importance of citing sources for good genealogy. Inexperienced genealogists don’t always record their sources, or their tree has been handed down to them. Second-hand family history deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Currently, 220,000 person profiles on WikiTree’s 15-million person tree have been identified as needing independent verification.

In the Source-a-Thon, hundreds of genealogists will be working side-by-side — in teams such as the Kiwi Crew, Team Australia, GB Gen, and the Southern Sourcers — to add sources to as many profiles as possible.

Ballincollig Military Men & Their Families 1810-1922: the Church of Ireland Registers Unlock Their Stories

The following announcement was written by the Church of Ireland:

Archive of the Month September 2017

The details of some 2,187 people – soldiers and their families – recorded in the registers of Ballincollig Garrison Chapel have been recovered using the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials between 1810 and 1922 now in the safe custody of the RCB Library. Further research using a variety of additional resources has further unlocked their hidden stories, and the detailed searchable list is now available for a worldwide audience through the Library’s Archive of the Month slot.

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.

Update Regarding the MyHeritage DNA Lab in Houston, Texas

Here is an excerpt from the MyHeritage DNA Blog:

“As many of you know, Houston was recently hit by Hurricane Harvey, which became Tropical Storm Harvey, and has since moved out of Houston. MyHeritage uses the FTDNA lab which is located in Houston. Thankfully, all of the employees who work in the DNA lab are safe. The lab, as well as all the DNA samples, are completely intact. The DNA lab is on the 8th floor of a high-rise office building, which is very high above ground level. Due to its placement, there is no risk of flooding and no risk of rain leakage into the lab.

Find your U.K. Naval Ancestor with help from Forces War Records

The following announcement was written by Forces War Records

Forces War Records, the specialist genealogy website, now holds over 10 million military individuals’ records, 1000s of which are Naval. In remembrance of all Naval heroes on Merchant Navy Day, we’d like to help you to find your Naval ancestor today.

We have 1000s of Naval records for you to search (including exclusive collections) which may hold the information you’ve been looking for. There’s 1000s of original publications and articles within our online Archive, and military specialists on tap to help you overcome genealogy brick walls, and find your ancestor.

(+) The Easy Way of Finding Genealogy Books, Maps, e-Books, Periodicals, and Much More

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

Today’s online resources offer access to information that was undreamed of only a couple of decades ago. For a century or more, each library has maintained a catalog that provides an index to its holdings. In order to determine if a particular library had information of interest, individuals have always needed to visit the library in person to look through the thousands of index cards, typically arranged in alphabetical order by title, topic, and author’s name. That was expensive, especially if it was not a local library. Travel to a library hundreds of miles away, perhaps thousands of miles, simply is not practical for most people.

A few libraries did offer “look up by mail” services. That is, you could write a letter to the library staff and ask them to look in the library’s card catalog for you. Look up by mail has always been slow and somewhat expensive. The person making the request typically has to supply a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the reply. The expenses of two-way postage plus purchase of envelopes can add up quickly when sending requests to hundred of libraries!

The 19th-Century Freakout Over Steam-Powered Buses

Many of our ancestors were petrified by buses. No, not the twentieth-century buses but those of an earlier generation.

In the 1830s, the transportation industry of the United Kingdom took a dramatic turn. Large, clunking, hissing steam-engined vehicles—which looked like a cross between a carriage and a trolley car—began to rumble along the roads. Alarmed by their appearance, some people threw rocks at them. Others wrote furious letters to the local government. Still others used stones to block the paths of traveling steam buses.

UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Salt Lake City, Utah (30 August 2017), Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. (See FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm). As its remaining microfilms are digitized, FamilySearch has provided additional information to users of its historic microfilm program. m.

FamilySearch, a global leader in historic records preservation and access, began microfilming historic records in 1938. Advancements in technology have enabled it to be more efficient, making an unbelievable tide of digital images of historic records accessible much quicker online and to a far greater customer base.

FamilySearch released a list of helpful facts and tips to help patrons better navigate the transition from microfilm to digital.


A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population [for Great Britain], 1921.

A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921 was published in 1927 and, as the full title indicates, it was based on the classification of occupations used in the 1921 UK census. It obviously is a great resource when tracing ancestry in Great Britain. However, many of the occupations listed in this book also were commonly used in all the other English-speaking countries so the use of this reference book is not limited to only the “mother country.”

Originally published as a printed book, the Dictionary of Occupational Terms is by far the most comprehensive dictionary of British occupations, with almost 30,000 terms, and includes (sometimes very detailed) descriptions of the activities that each occupation involves.

A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921 is extremely rare. In the British Isles, copies are available in only three of the six legal deposit libraries, four university libraries, two public libraries, and the London Library. The UK National Archives has two copies, one in the document collection and one on the shelves in the Research & Enquiries Room. Copies occasionally surface in the second-hand book trade.

New Historic Records Databases at FamilySearch the Week of August 28, 2017


The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

This week, millions of new records are available from the NetherlandsKansasSweden, and Washington. Many more are available from ArgentinaItalyLouisianaParaguay,
and South Africa! Search these new free records at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

On the Road Again

This is a quick notice to let you know there may not be as many articles as normal posted in this newsletter in the next few days. I am presently in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from now through the end of the week. I am attending the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. See and for details about the conference.

I hope to write about the conference events that I see and attend. Stay tuned!

Free Guide to DNA Testing

Richard Hill has written a genealogist’s Guide to DNA Testing. Best of all, the Guide is available free of change from now through September 2 as a Kindle ebook from Amazon. The ebook will revert to its normal price on September 3, 2017.

NOTE: Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. You can read Kindle format ebooks on Kindle devices as well as on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Windows, Macintosh, and in any sort if computer that can open a web browser and use the Kindle Cloud Reader. For more information about reading Kindle ebooks on non-Kindle devices, see my earlier article at:

Richard Hill’s Guide to DNA Testing is now available as version 3, updated to cover new tests and additional information. The Guide is intended to be a short, easy-to-understand introduction for people who aren’t yet interested enough to devote more time to the subject. Links to longer books and many other resources are useful to anyone.

ISFHWE Excellence-In-Writing Competition Winners Announced

The following announcement was written by Tina Sansone, ISFHWE Competition Coordinator:

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors is proud to announce the winners of the Excellence-in-Writing Competition. All entries were exceptional this year. Submission details for 2018 will be announced soon. For any questions on the competition, email

Category 1 – Columns

1st Place – Elaine Thomas: “For the Love of Dinah”
2nd Place – Carolyn Schott: “Welcome Back to Osthofen”
3rd Place – Maureen Wlodarczyk: “More Than (Immediately) Meets the Eye”
HM – Valerie LaRobardier: “Do You Have an ‘Indian Princess’?”

Category 2 – Articles

Book Review: Genetic Genealogy in Practice

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Genetic Genealogy in Practice
By Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne.
National Genealogical Society.
2016. 196 pages.

This is a workbook type of book. I’ve heard this so many times from my genealogy friends: “Well, I finally got the results of my DNA testing, but now I don’t know what to do with it.”

This workbook should solve that dilemma. There is plenty of instruction along with the “work” part of the book. The early sections cover the biology and basics of genetics, and then continues on with instruction on applying the DNA results to your research.