New Records Added This Week to Findmypast

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are over 291,000 new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Suffragette Collection Update

An additional 3,000 records have been added to our recently released Suffragette collection. The new additions consist of fully indexed newspaper reports taken from The Suffragette (later The Britannia). The paper was edited by Christabel Pankhurst and was the official organ of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). In 1915, the newspaper title changed its name to reflect the WSPU’s patriotic ideals and was used to campaign for the war effort while retaining a focus on women’s issues.

At its peak the Suffragette had a circulation of around 40,000 and was used to announce the activities of suffragettes and upcoming meetings. It was also packed with interviews, first-hand accounts and articles related to a wide range of women’s issues.

Suffragette Newspaper Collection Browse

Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Completes Historic Scranton Diocese Parish Records Preservation Project

The following article was first published in the Winter 2018 edition of The Heritage, a publication of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Inc. It is republished here with the kind permission of the society. Please do not republish it elsewhere with first obtaining permission of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Inc. You may contact the Society at or at P.O. Box 1776 Shavertown, PA 18708. The Society’s web site is available at:

After an intensive 20 month effort led by the Records Preservation Team at NEPGS, the Scranton Diocese Parish Records Preservation Project is complete!

Formally launched in May 2016 with completion targeted for the March 2018 150th Anniversary of the Scranton Diocese, all primary goals have been achieved. Digitally preserving the irreplaceable parish records was of utmost importance considering the age and fragile condition of the older sacramental register books. Office staff at the parishes now can conveniently access their register books on their computers via external hard drives provided by NEPGS. This will help to arrest further deterioration of the register books since they will be handled less frequently. The project also creates a unique digital collection for genealogical research containing a wealth of information.

A Digital Project is Underway to Recreate Ireland’s Public Record Office Destroyed by Fire in 1922

A project is under way to digitally recreate the building and contents of the Public Record Office of Ireland, which were destroyed by an explosion and fire at Dublin’s Four Courts in 1922. The six-story Victorian building went up in flames on 30 June 1922 during the Civil War. Seven centuries of Ireland’s historical and genealogical records were lost, seemingly forever.

However, thanks to new technology, historical research and careful archival practise, Trinity College Dublin says these losses “are not irrecoverable”. The “Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury” project will see the creation of a virtual reality reconstruction of the Public Record Office.

Over 650,000 Criminal Records Added to TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 documents to their Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.

The new data includes:

  • 651,369 Records covering the years 1824 to 1854
  • Quarterly returns from Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums

How to Preserve Your Family Memories, Letters and Trinkets… and How Not To

Quoting from an article written by Kelsey Mckinney in the New York Times:

Recently, someone wrote to Mary Oey, a conservator at the Library of Congress, asking for help archiving her father’s personal papers. He was a Holocaust survivor, and he had used his diaries and papers as primary sources to teach schoolchildren about his experience. He had laminated them to keep them safe, and — Ms. Oey gave a mournful sigh as she told this story — lamination is a terrible way to preserve documents. There was no way to save this patron’s history.

“The only way to extricate paper from lamination is to use lots of solvents to dissolve the plastic,” Ms. Oey said. “Some stiffer laminations, we don’t know how to get off, and it doesn’t protect the document. The lamination itself can ruin a document beyond repair.”

Was the Westford Knight also on Oak Island?

Subtitle: Was the Westford Knight also on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, with other Knights Templar in the Year 1398? Watch the History Channel to Learn More.

Are you aware that a number of Europeans were in North American many years before Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492? You might want to set your video recorder to the History Channel next Tuesday evening, February 13, 2018, at 9pm Eastern Time, 8pm Central, to learn about a fascinating story concerning some early travelers to North America. You can check your local listings for The History Channel to see broadcast times in your area.

“The Curse of Oak Island” is an ongoing television series that has been broadcast on the History Channel for several years now. It shows the multi-year efforts to find a mysterious buried treasure on a rather small island on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. There have been various legends passed down throughout the years concerning Oak Island. I vaguely remember reading about this mystery in a magazine article back when I was about 12 years old although my memory of it is rather fuzzy. In those days, I was a big fan of stories about buried pirate treasures. I guess I never grew up; I still am interested in pirates and buried treasure and similar topics. I think I have seen every episode of “The Curse of Oak Island.” My cable TV recorder is set to record every episode in case I am not home. I find it to be a fascinating story.

“The Curse of Oak Island” has described many theories about the possibility of treasure on the island. To quote the History Channel’s description:

Census Bureau Clarifies How it Will Count Overseas Federal Employees in 2020 Census

This won’t help today’s genealogists but may be useful to future researchers. The Census Bureau has published a memo in the Federal Register that outlines residence criteria and residence situations that determine who should be counted and where they should be counted. Federal employees working overseas are specifically mentioned in this memo.

The memo specifically states:

Overseas military and civilian employees of the U.S. government — The 2020 Census will count military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are temporarily deployed overseas on Census Day at their usual home address in the United States, as part of the resident population, instead of their home state of record. Military and civilian employees of the U.S. government who are stationed or assigned overseas on Census Day, as well as their dependents living with them, will continue to be counted in their home state of record for apportionment purposes only.

Where Old, Unreadable Documents go to be Understood

Where can you decipher that difficult-to-read document or letter found in your genealogy research? A transcriber on the Isle of Man can decipher almost anything.

According to an article by Sarah Laskow in the Atlas Obscura web site:

“On any given day, from her home on the Isle of Man, Linda Watson might be reading a handwritten letter from one Confederate soldier to another, or a list of convicts transported to Australia. Or perhaps she is reading a will, a brief from a long-forgotten legal case, an original Jane Austen manuscript. Whatever is in them, these documents made their way to her because they have one thing in common: They’re close to impossible to read.

Corrections to the Previously-published Ancestry of Meghan Markle

The name of Meghan Markle is all over the news these days. The American actress, model, and humanitarian recently became engaged to Prince Henry of Wales. Several news services have published articles about her mixed British and American ancestry. I published articles pointing to the news stories earlier at and at

John Wells is a long-time genealogist who has studied one of the families in Meghan Markle’s family tree. He believes he has found errors in the recently-published claims of her Ragland ancestors and he has the documentation to prove his information is based on original sources. If you have an interest in Meghan Markle’s ancestry, you undoubtedly will want to read John Wells’s report at:

ISFHWE Election of Officers

The following announcement was written by the folks at the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE):

The 2018 election of officers and board members for ISFHWE will be held very soon. The election results will be announced 2 May 2018 at the National Genealogical Society conference. The Nominating Committee will compile the nominations and an election ballot will be e-mailed to every ISFHWE member in good standing in April 2018. (Your annual dues must be paid to maintain your membership in good standing.) We will again be voting electronically through the members-only website. The following positions are up for election this year:

Announcing Two New Additions to Past & Present Pathways

The following announcement was written by the folks at: Past & Present Pathways

Tina Sansone and Roccie Hill are proud to announce two new additions to Past & Present Pathways. Past and Present Pathways is a genealogical research, history writing, DNA analysis, and family history editing company. The company formed in 2016 with Tina Sansone, Roccie Hill, Carla Love Maitland and Sheri McNeil Savory. Each are independent researchers that support each other. The two newest additions are Sheri Beffort Fenley and Diane L. Giannini, CG. Both are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

A New Company Wants to Sequence Your Genome and Let You Share It on a Blockchain

Disclaimer: I am questioning the wisdom of this proposal. I don’t think I will participate. However, it is an interesting story so I will mention here and let you make up your own mind. Nebula Genomics plans to address one of the concerns about taking DNA tests: Who owns your test results? You? Or the company that did the testing?

Nebula Genomics says it plans to sequence your genome for under $1,000, give you insights about it, secure it using a blockchain, and allow you to do whatever you want with the data.

Nebula is the brainchild of PhD student Dennis Grishin, graduate Kamal Obbad, and geneticist George Church, all from Harvard. Mirza Cifric, CEO of Veritas Genetics, which offers a genome-sequencing service for $999, is a founding advisor.

rootstrust now Supports Ultra-High Resolution Displays

I have written before about rootstrust, a genealogy program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. (See for my past articles about rootstrust.) Now the producers of rootstrust have announced a major new addition to the program’s capabilities. The following announcement was written by the folks at Atavus, the procers of the rootstrust software:

Atavus, Inc. announces that the current version of its multiplatform genealogy program, rootstrust, automatically resizes its window to accommodate ultra-high resolution video displays like Apple’s Retina Display and the 4K displays currently offered by so many other computer manufacturers.

What is Wrong with this Tombstone?

Look closely at the picture above. Do you see what is wrong with it?

Christiana Haag’s gravestone is in the Old Mission Church Cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

The Sweet Home Genealogical Society Seeks Help Identifying Hundreds of Photos

The Sweet Home Genealogical Society of Sweet Home, Oregon, needs help from the community to identify people in its collection of photographs. Among the resources at SHGS are donated family photos that include images of people and places.

The society has also acquired hundreds of photos from the John Eggen family after he passed away in 2010. Eggen was a photographer who owned a studio in Lebanon, chronicling residents and the Lebanon, Sweet Home, and surrounding areas for three decades.

Details may be found in an article in The New Era web site at:

AGRA to be a Gold Sponsor of the Secret Lives Conference

The following announcement was written by the organizers of Secret Lives:Hidden Voices of our Ancestors, a forthcoming international genealogical conference that focuses on the unusual and often untold stories of our ancestors’ lives. The conference will be held later this summer in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England:

The Secret Lives conference committee are delighted to announce that AGRA [the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives] have become a gold sponsor for the forthcoming conference. AGRA have kindly agreed to sponsor the Saturday evening banquet as part of their fiftieth birthday celebrations.

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection Says it will Help Digitize Newspapers Throughout the State

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is offering assistance to “cultural heritage organizations” to digitize newspapers being held in their collections. I assume “cultural heritage organizations” includes genealogy societies. Quoting from the organization’s web site:

“CHNC New Content Support Program

“The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) is excited to announce a new program to support the addition of new historic news in the CHNC. The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection New Content Support Program for newspaper digitization is designed to help cultural heritage organizations increase online access to historic community news through the CHNC. We want to help local communities add their historic stories to the larger Colorado footprint.

“About CHNC

“A service of the Colorado State Library, the CHNC currently includes more than 1 million digitized pages, representing more than 230 individual newspaper titles published in Colorado primarily from 1859 through 1922. Due to copyright restrictions, the CHNC does not always include newspapers published after 1922, but the CHNC can digitize beyond 1922 if publisher permission can be secured.

How Tom Tryniski Digitized Nearly 50 Million Pages of Newspapers in his Living Room

Tom Tryniski has been mentioned several times in this newsletter. (See for a list of past articles about him and his work.) Anyone who has looked at Tom Tryniski’s web site at probably has been impressed by the site’s collection of 27 million historic newspaper pages available to everyone, free of charge.

Now the Columbia Journalism Review has also written about Tom’s work, saying (amongst other things):

“TOM TRYNISKI DOES NOT LOCK HIS DOORS. He spends most days sitting in his living room in Fulton, New York, 30 miles northwest of Syracuse, in front of two jumbo computer monitors, looking something like a security guard, but friendlier. He appears young for 68—skinny, with a head of white hair and an energetic demeanor. He wears a uniform of jeans and a slim-fitting T-shirt, but no coat in the chilly fall air. When we talk, he is almost always smirking.

Ambitious Project to Digitize Hundreds of Thousands of New Zealand Probate Records Complete after Nine Years

Volunteers from around the world have been methodically working their way through more than 4 million pieces of paper stored at the Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office. For the past nine years, it’s been a base for FamilySearch volunteers, working to archive New Zealand probate records, up till 1993, and make them available online for free.

Mike and Lois Woods, of Arizona, came to New Zealand at their own cost to undertake the archiving work after becoming hooked on learning – and teaching others – about their own family histories. As part of the project, FamilySearch will keep a digital copy on Archives NZ’s behalf, as a safeguard in case anything happens to the original records.

Reunion version 12 is Now Available for the Macintosh

Reunion 12 has just been released. According to the program’s web site at, the new features include:

  • New Duplicate Check feature. When adding a person, a new window appears showing possible duplicates to the person you’re adding. You can make it as sensitive as you want. Potential duplicates can be reviewed, to help decide whether to link an existing person or continue adding a new person. No need to look for duplicates after the fact.
  • Sort events for everybody, marked people, or the current couple. An “Event Template” lets you determine the best order for events that have no dates. For example, always keeping burial after death, even when the burial date is unknown.