Genealogy Blog

31 January 2009

PhpGedView 4.1.7

Web Publishing - Windows, Mac, Linux - Freeware/Open Source

PhpGedView 4.1.7 has been released.


• Ahnentafel report crashes.
• Ahnentafel report crashes.
• v4.1.6 not compatible with php 4?.
• Various lightbox/multimedia issues.
• Unable to update with GDBI.
• Client.php 4498 inconsistency.
• Error in item called by client.php.
• GDBI fails with 4.1.6.
• 4.1.6 Timeline Chart error.
• 4.1.6 class event error displaying indi.
• Find Individual ID.
• Unable to add new folder in Manage Media.
• Wrong thumbnail path using Media Firewall.

From release 4.2, PhpGedView requires PHP5 in order to run.

This release exists to maintain compatibility with PHP4 for anyone who cannot upgrade their web server. It will not be maintained, other than for major security problems and PHP4 compatibility issues.

Viking DNA Tests In Cumbria, England

Residents are being invited to take part in a study to see if viking blood once ran through their ancestors veins.

Scientists are undertaking a study to map the extent of Viking ancestory in men who live in the north of England and are looking for volunteers for the study.

Researchers want to recruit male volunteers whose father’s father was born in Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Yorkshire, Durham or Northumberland.


Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian To Put Collection Online

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is putting its 800,000-object collection online.

The museum plans to launch the first phase of the project Monday, beginning with 5,500 items and photographs. The project is part of the museum's regular Web site.

Officials say the digital showcase will allow people living far away from the museum's three locations in Washington and New York to view its archives.

Officials say it will take about four years to put all of its objects on the Web site.


30 January 2009

Hemingway's Cuba Letters Now At JFK Library

When Gaylord Johnson Jr. was struggling with a term paper at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., he figured he'd ask for help from someone who knew the material best: Ernest Hemingway.

Johnson's letter, along with more than 3,000 other documents from Hemingway's time in Cuba, was previously tucked away in the basement of Hemingway's estate at Finca Vigia, unseen by scholars and researchers.

Now, thanks to an agreement between U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., and the Cuban government, copies of those writings are at the John F. Kennedy Library.

The archival replicas include corrected proofs of "The Old Man and the Sea," a movie script based on the novel, an alternate ending to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and thousands of letters, with correspondence from authors Sinclair Lewis and John Dos Passos and actress Ingrid Bergman. The documents were previewed last Thursday and will likely be available to researchers in late spring.


Thatcher Records Released Soon If Rule Changes

Key documents from Margaret Thatcher's time in power could be released within years after a review concluded that the period of secrecy for Government records should be reduced.

The "30-year rule" governing when official papers are made public at the National Archives should be cut to 15 years, a panel of experts said.

Under one suggested timetable, papers relating to the 1981 IRA hunger strikes and the 1982 Falklands War would be released in 2011, with documents about the 1984 miners' strike following in 2012.

There was no right of access to Government records until the Public Records Act 1958 introduced a 50-year rule. This was reduced to 30 years in 1967.


29 January 2009


Organization - Research - Windows - Purchase

GenSmarts has been released.


• More improvements to RootsMagic 4 support.
• Added support for "primary" birth/death tags in TMG.
• Fixed bug in TMG marriage source importing.
• Several bug fixes in advanced filtering.

MacFamilyTree 5.3.9

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

MacFamilyTree 5.3.9 has been released.


• Swedish Localization added.
• Other Localization issues fixed.

Map My Ancestors 1.8.1

Mapmaking - Windows - Purchase

Map My Ancestors 1.8.1 has been released.


• Bug fix release only.

Some U.S. Genealogy Marketing Information

Some interesting U.S. genealogy marketing information from the Family Tree Magazine's 2009 Media Kit (PDF):

The Genealogy Market

• 78% of Americans say they are interested in learning more about their family history.
• Half of American families have ever researched their roots.
• Genealogy isn’t just for older Americans: 83% of 18- to 34-year-olds are interested in learning their family history, followed by 77 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and at 73% of Americans over age 55.
• 500,000 active genealogists belong to more than 500 Federation of Genealogical Societies member groups.
• 651,500 people have taken a genetic genealogy test.
• 9.1 million US Web visitors use genealogy Web sites each month.
• 35 million Americans are interested in online genealogy research.
• 1,900 people visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City every day.
• 1 million+ people visit the National Archives annually.

The Family Tree Magazine Audience

• 60% consider themselves intermediate genealogists; 24 % are beginners.
• Magazine readers have been researching for an average of 13 years, and spend an average of 6 hours and 10 minutes each week on genealogy activities.
• 90% use the Internet more frequently than any other research tool or method.
• On average, they do 45% of their genealogy research online.
• 74% spend $200+ per year on genealogy.
• 60% feel that prices charged for genealogy products and services are fair.
• 54% attended a genealogy class, meeting or conference.
• 48% participated in a genealogical or historical society.
• 47% purchased archival preservation materials.

New System Authenticates Digital Records For Generations

A team of University of Washington researchers released the first part of a public system that will authenticate video archives of interviews with prosecutors and other participants of the International Crime Tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. Initial portions of the Rwandan archive will also be unveiled, according to a report in the New York Times.

The system, whose digital technology will make it more difficult to misrepresent historical events in the future, seeks to digitally authenticate and preserve first-hand accounts of war crimes, genocide and other atrocities.

Such tools are of critical importance since it is now possible to digitally alter video, text, audio and other material in ways that are undetectable without the aid of technology.

The system is based on an algorithm that is used to compute a 128-character number, known as a cryptographic hash, from the digital information contained in the document.  Even the tiniest change in the original document will change the hash value.


28 January 2009

Book Tells Horror Of 18th Century Surgery

We all know medicine has come a long way in the past century. Now a 300-year-old guidebook, recently found on a dusty shelf, reveals how horrible things were way back then. The book, written in 1712 and titled "Treatise of the Operations of Surgery," gives advice on such horrific procedures as amputations — before anesthesia was invented.

On amputating a leg: "Cut quick with a crooked knife before covering the stump with the remaining skin," French medical author Joseph Charriere recommended.

On treating wounds: "If the wound be only in the flesh you may bathe it with brandy and cover the part with a compressed dip in a warm wine quickened with spir vini," Charriere wrote. "If the wound is to the nervous parts you can dissolve sugar candy, camphire and myrrh in it."


NBC To Premiere New "Who Do You Think You Are?" Series On April 20

Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon explore their family histories in the U.S. reality series "Who Do You Think You Are?" NBC said Tuesday.

The program, which former "Friends" star Kudrow also executive produces, is set to premiere April 20.

In conjunction with Kudrow's production company Is or Isn't Entertainment and the U.K.'s Wall to Wall productions, the new show is an adaptation of the hit, award-winning British television documentary series of the same name.


The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding: New Template

Web Publishing - Windows, Mac, Linux - Purchase

A new template (#8) is now available on the TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) downloads page, included in the full v7 zip files and as a standalone zip.

It was created by Bret Rumsey, and it looks both modern and somewhat antique at the same time. Bret has added quite a few comments in the code to help you customize it, and the title is all text as well, making it easier to put your own name up there.

To see what it all looks like, you can try it with the online demo (choose Public or Admin, then click on the #8 in the top frame).

MobileFamilyTree 1.3.2

Full Featured - PDAs and Handhelds - Purchase

MobileFamilyTree 1.3.2 has been released.


• Full French localization added.
• Bug fixes and performance improvements.

27 January 2009

Kenya To Launch Obama Family Tree

The Kenyan government has launched a study to document the lineage of US President Barack Obama.

The government said the decision to trace Obama's cultural roots was in honour of the former Illinois senator, whose father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr, hailed from Kogelo village in Nyanza Province.

Kenya National Archives director John M'Reria told excited villagers in Kogelo that the study will trace Obama's roots from the first Luo during the community's migration from Sudan.


Australia: Giant Genealogy Project To Trace The Nation's Convict Bloodlines

A giant genealogy project is being launched after Australia Day to begin tracing the nation's convict bloodlines.

First off the blocks are the 73,000 convicts who landed in Tasmania. The original records describing these nation builders are not only intact but they are among the most detailed inventories created "of any human beings in the 19th century", right down to the hue of their eyes, historian Janet McCalman said.

A great missing link in Australian history, however, is what came after many convicts received their "tickets of leave" from penal servitude. That is where the hobbyist historian will be of immense use.

With the help of amateur genealogists, a team ranging from historians to epidemiologists want to uncover these stories and put them on to the historical record.

Once authenticated, an "honour roll" of convict settlers will be assembled online.


26 January 2009

Websites 'Must Be Saved For History'

Historians face a "black hole" of lost material unless urgent action is taken to preserve websites and other digital records, the head of the British Library has warned.

Just as families store digital photos on computers which might never be passed on to their descendants, so Britain's cultural heritage is at risk as the internet evolves and technologies become obsolete, says Lynne Brindley, the library's chief executive.

Historians have become increasingly concerned that while the Domesday Book, written on sheepskin in 1086, is still easily accessible, the software for many decade-old computer files - including thousands of government records - already renders them unreadable. The ephemera of emails, text messages and online video add to the headache of the 21st-century archivist.


Why Did Humans Migrate To The Americas?

The Americas were the last (well, second-to-last if you count Antarctica) continents to be inhabited by early humans. Archaeologists estimate that people entered North America by crossing over the Bering Strait, which back then was a wide swath of land, about 15,000 years ago.

But what compels people to walk that fast and that far into the unknown? The most obvious reason is that one has to pack up and go because things are not so good at home. Long ago, that probably meant that the climate had changed and made life impossible.

Or maybe, they came because they could. Humans seem to have a universal penchant for moving round.


GeneaNet: Write Your Family History

Some people think that genealogy is just a list of names and dates. But, with the simple addition of personal memories and family stories, genealogy can be much more than that.

GeneaNet helps you write and publish your family history.

Log in to your online family tree as "wizard", then click "Family History" in the left sidebar to open the family history editor.

Your stories and images must be edited as Wikitext, a markup language that offers a simplified alternative to HTML and is used to write pages in wiki websites such as Wikipedia.

Wikitext is simple and some basics will help you create beautiful pages.

You can insert and annotate pictures in your family history book.

This will help you to identify family members and ancestors, tell about places where photos were taken, and comment sweet moments in the life of your family.

Export your family history in PDF file format to share with family and friends.

You can add a title, a cover image and a table of contents, set the order of the pages, protect your PDF file, and much more.

FamilyInsight 2009.1.23.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.1.23.0 has been released.


• Fixed a search issue that caused a long delay in search, sometimes resulting in no results returned.

24 January 2009

JGen Joomla Genealogy Database 0.9.79

Web Publishing - Windows, Mac, Linux - Freeware/Open Source

JGen Joomla Genealogy Database 0.9.79 has been released.


• Added some missing fields to the GEDCOM import.

23 January 2009

Atiz Launches New Book Scanner

Atiz Innovation, Inc., the leader in content digitization, today unveiled its latest book scanning solution, BookDrive Pro, at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Priced more competitively than other book scanners, BookDrive Pro is a powerful, cost-effective book digitization solution. By combining digital SLR cameras with a unique v-shaped book cradle, BookDrive Pro is gentle on books and eliminates curvature problems to produce high-resolution scans at up to 700 pages an hour. Featuring a user-friendly, ergonomic design; automatic center positioning to ensure consistent borders and lessen manual intervention; a double security locking mechanism; distortion-eliminating even light distribution and standard auto capture to simplify the whole process, BookDrive Pro is positioned to become the scanner of choice for libraries looking to digitize their collections.


Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2009

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE will be held from 27 February to 1 March 2009 in the Grand Hall, Olympia, London.

"If you have ever wondered what your ancestors were like, where they lived or what they did for a living - this is an event where you can make incredible discoveries about the story of your family.

With the largest gathering of TV historians, family history experts and nearly 200 exhibitors – this is a unique opportunity to fill in the gaps in your family tree and make your connection to events in history."

Bee Docs' Timeline 2.3

Timeline - Mac - Purchase

Bee Docs' Timeline 2.3 has been released.


• PDF export is now working properly in the German localization.
• “BC” dates are working properly in all of the international formats.
• The minus sign can now be used to indicate a BC date when eras are being used in any global date format. For example, a French customer may prefer to type “-50” instead of “50 av. J.-C.” (or 50 B.C.E.).
• For the 3D Edition, this release adds a new feature to Export menu. You can now export still image sequences in a variety of formats. These are similar to the event images used in the Keynote export, but now you can save them directly to disk. One image will be created for each event with a 3D perspective.
• Line quality for 3D exports improved.

22 January 2009

FamilyInsight 2009.1.20.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.1.20.0 has been released.


• Updated the list of LDS Temple codes.
• Improved the way that events are displayed.
• Added handling for additional forms of PAF file corruption.
• Updated some of the "Guide Me" messages.
• Fixed handling of BC dates when opening a PAF file.
• Fixed a crash when deleting a place that IGI Search doesn't recognize.

Ahnenblatt 2.58

Full Featured - Windows - Freeware

Ahnenblatt 2.58 has been released.


• Saving settings worked under certain circumstances (GetMyIni).
• Bug fixed: 16-color icons were wrong.
• Hourglass: no more error messages when number of generations are limited (eg school charts).
• Hourglass: some options now work correctly.

Genealogy In Time

MissingLink Software Corporation announces the official launch of its new web site Genealogy In Time, a free online genealogy magazine containing genealogy news, articles and links.

Genealogy In Time is owned by the MissingLink Software Corporation, an independent company located in Ottawa, Canada. They specialize in family history software.

Unfortunately there's no RSS feed available.

SmartDraw 2009.5

Charts and Diagrams - Windows - Purchase

SmartDraw 2009.5 has been released.


• Powerful new presentation features: Create complete PowerPoint® slideshow automatically from your SmartDraw storyboard!
• Enhanced project charts: With Microsoft Project integration!
• Improved charts and graphs: Label grouping, hide/show table, and more.

21 January 2009

GeneaNet: Print Family Tree Charts and Lists

GeneaNet offers family tree printing on a number of genealogy charts and lists.

Print a Page of your Online Family Tree

A direct link to your browser print function is available at the top of your online family tree pages.

GeneaNet - imprimer sur son Arbre en Ligne
Print a Family Tree List in PDF Format

Select an individual and click on "Ancestors" at the bottom of the page to build your ancestors list (number of generations, siblings, notes, etc.)

Click on the "List" button at the top of the screen to export your list in a PDF file format.

GeneaNet - imprimer sur son Arbre en LignePrint a Family Tree Chart

Click on the "Chart" button at the top of the screen to print a family tree chart:

- color, 4 generations

- black & white, 8 generations

- PDF and PNG file format

- With or without a background image

GeneaNet - imprimer sur son Arbre en Ligne

20 January 2009

Geves 1.3.21

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Geves 1.3.21 has been released.


• Forms for the 1911 England and Wales census.
• Allows household transcripts to be downloaded from


Charts and Diagrams - Windows - Purchase

FamilyTreeFactory has been released.


• If in the Treeview Options dialog, Box Font tab, the symbol character Christian Cross (Alt+0134) from an Unicode font has been selected, the program froze and could only be exited by the task manager. This happened, because the code 0134 is valid only for Ansi and keyboard input, while the Unicode code is 8224. However, the dropdown lists for the symbols can show only characters up to code 255; the display of all Unicode characters would not be manageable. The bug has been corrected.
• At the Gedcom export of witnesses with the coding User-defined Tag with Names of Witnesses (Top left) a witness entry created once was also written into the following family records if for these records no real witnesses were available. The bug has been corrected.
• The progress indicator has been moved to the status bar of the main window and in some cases to dialogs. Now the status bar is shown permanently. The program option to hide the status bar has been removed.

Continue reading...

FamilyInsight 2009.1.19.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.1.19.0 has been released.


• Updated the list of LDS Temple codes.
• Improved the way that events are displayed.
• Added handling for additional forms of PAF file corruption.
• Updated some of the "Guide Me" messages.
• Fixed handling of BC dates when opening a PAF file.
• Fixed a crash when deleting a place that IGI Search doesn't recognize.

Brother's Keeper 6.3.8

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

Brother's Keeper 6.3.8 has been released.


• (changed) When creating a gedcom file, it will export names of .jpeg pictures in addition to .jpg
• (changed) When adding pictures, it will also show .jpeg files in the folder in addition to .jpg
• (fixed) Fixed problem on Edit where if you changed an individual event to a family event, it would sometimes not keep the event note or source.
• (new) On the book reports (Register, Indented, Ahnentafel) instead of just whole words for Born and Died or abbreviation, there is now an option for symbols. (This option will override the option in File, Options, RTF/Other about symbols.)
• (changed) On the Word Search, on the Event Search tab, it can search for a range between two dates just like on the person tab or the marriage tab. Enter year==year
• (changed) If the BKAUDIT.TXT file gets over 2 megs in size, the program will rename it and create a new one and continue.
• (fixed) The Unlinked Branches would sometimes miss people if a person at one time had parents, but later they were deleted.
• (changed) Quality Check can fix people that at one time had parents, but later the parents were deleted.
• (changed) On the Picture Summary, if you ask for Headings, it will display the headings on the screen and not just print them on paper.

Ahnenblatt 2.57

Full Featured - Windows - Freeware

Ahnenblatt 2.57 has been released.


• Some fixing for Windows Vista.
• Little fixing for GEDCOM.
• New language: Hungarian.

15 January 2009

Find Alternate Surname Spellings

Enter the surname or given name that you want to find and FamilyTrackers will give results including:

- Surnames used by other researchers including those elusive dit names.
- Surnames that start the same way.
- Surnames that have a matching Soundex code.

American History Museum Gets Rare Copy of Emancipation Proclamation

A rare signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation has been lent to the National Museum of American History by Washington financier David M. Rubenstein.

The print, one of 48 signed by President Abraham Lincoln, was purchased by Rubenstein a few months ago in a private sale. The museum is displaying the Rubenstein copy in a permanent exhibition called "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden."

Lincoln artifacts are coveted commodities right now as the country's museums, archives and historical places gear up for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth next month.


The Third Digital Preservation Challenge

The challenge of the Third Digital Preservation Challenge is to develop digital preservation solutions that overcome the barriers hindering access to five digital objects, each accompanied by a scenario based on real-life situations: Electronic art, Webarchiving and Unknown files.

The third challenge asks participants to provide thought-out solution for one of the three tasks. DPE will award prices for each of the tasks. It is up to the participants to provide solutions for more than one task; multiple submissions will be evaluated separately. DPE keep the option open to award prices for all tasks depending on the quality of the submissions. The prices will be announced soon.

Deadline for submissions: 15 June 2009 at 4pm GMT
Announcement of winners: iPres 5-6 October 2009, San Francisco, United States

14 January 2009


The GeoNames geographical database is available for download free of charge under a creative commons attribution license. It contains over eight million geographical names and consists of 6.5 million unique features whereof 2.2 million populated places and 1.8 million alternate names.

GeoNames is integrating geographical data such as names of places in various languages, elevation, population and others from various sources. All lat/long coordinates are in WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984). Users may manually edit, correct and add new names using a user friendly wiki interface.

Bill Stone, Last British Forces Veteran Of World Wars, Dies Aged 108

Bill Stone was one of just three surviving veterans of the First World War in Britain, having joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday and followed his three older brothers by serving as a Stoker.

As well as taking part in a round-the-world 'Empire Cruise' visiting the Colonies onboard HMS Hood, he took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk, served in the 1943 Sicily landings, experienced first-hand the horrors of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic and cut the hair of General Franco's brother on rescuing him from a stricken plane.

During the Second World War he was appointed chief demolition officer for the western half of Australia.

If Japan had succeeded in invading Australia it would have been his responsibility to blow up the key strategic harbour of Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia, to make it useless to the enemy.


Papers Of The War Department, 1784 to 1800

Fire destroyed the office of the War Department and all its files in 1800, and for decades historians believed that the collection, and the window it provided into the workings of the early federal government, was lost forever.

These Papers record far more than the era’s military history. Between 1784 and 1800, the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, naval affairs (until 1798), as well as militia and army matters.

Thanks to a decade-long effort to retrieve copies of the files scattered in archives across the country, the collection has been reconstituted and is offered as a fully-searchable digital database at

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding 7.0.3

Web Publishing - Windows, Mac, Linux - Purchase

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding 7.0.3 has been released.


• A few small fixes were made to increase compatibility with various CMS programs.
• The random photo script supplied with some of the templates was not blocking photos linked to living families (fixed).
• The resequencing utility was breaking some Associations (fixed).
• An onscreen error message indicating that a new family ID already existed was showing behind the popup dialog window (fixed).
• A new index was added to the events table to speed up access relating to event places.
• The lines per column on the public Cemeteries page were not being properly observed (fixed).
• Linking an album to an individual linked that album to all individuals with the same ID in all trees (fixed).
• The "Reliability" message was not visible for source citations on the family group sheet (fixed).
• In same-sex marriages, the GEDCOM export was not listing the spouse family on one of the partners (fixed).

Continue reading...

MacFamilyTree 5.3.8

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

MacFamilyTree 5.3.8 has been released.


• Date picker for date text fields.
• Date format parsing improved.
• Fixes for the Virtual Tree.
• Search Pane can be opened with Command-F.
• Database Maintenance fixes.
• Other minor fixes.

GeneaNet: Latest News From Your Network Of Family And Friends

Your GeneaNet All Relatives home page now provides a snapshot view of the latest news from your network of family and friends.

Only those that are part of your contact network can view your news.

You can be notified when someone creates/update their Online Family Tree, uploads certificates, uploads records, uploads civil records, uploads postcards, uploads family pictures, uploads a file in GeneaStar, finds a famous relative in GeneaStar, adds a contact, updates their profile picture, updates their personal website url, subscribes to the GeneaNet Club Privilege, and updates their presentation.

You can also notify your contacts when you do one of these things.

GeneaNet All Relatives finds people within you network of contacts and suggests them as potential friends or relatives.

You can jump to their profile and online family trees, and send them an invitation to join your network.

Latest News From Your Network Of Family And Friends

13 January 2009

1911 UK Census Launched Online

Records from the 1911 UK Census are now available online at

Thirty-six million people were recorded in the census taken on the night of Sunday 2 April, 1911. It was the most detailed census since UK records began and the first for which the original census schedules have been preserved, complete with our ancestors' own handwriting. It was also the first time in a British census that full details of British Army personnel and their families in military establishments overseas were included.

Source Family Health History is a new free, open-access Family Health History wich allows you to easily create your family pedigree, enter in diseases that run in your family, and present your family health history report to your healthcare professional.

"Because family members often share the same genes and environment which contribute to health risks, family health history is important health factor. Knowing your family history is a glimpse into your own genome. Talk to your family members about their health, doing so will help you determine which diseases you are at risk for so you can take prevention steps to avoid the disease."

Family 2.3

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

Family 2.3 has been released.


• You can now export your Family file to PDF, and it will still be crisp if you zoom in.
• The iSight and iPhoto/iLife integration work again in 10.5.
• You can now zoom in 120% when in the main editor.
• Updated Family bubbles to make Family files look better in general, especially in printing.
• Minor bug fixes regarding text input.
• There is a fun little fade out when you close windows.
• Made it so that dragging a new connection is easier than before. Dragging a connection is not as particular about where you click exactly like it was in 2.0.2.

12 January 2009

DNA Testing May Unlock Secrets Of Medieval Manuscripts

Thousands of painstakingly handwritten books produced in medieval Europe still exist today, but scholars have long struggled with questions about when and where the majority of these works originated. Now a researcher from North Carolina State University is using modern advances in genetics to develop techniques that will shed light on the origins of these important cultural artifacts.

Many medieval manuscripts were written on parchment made from animal skin, and NC State Assistant Professor of English Timothy Stinson is working to perfect techniques for extracting and analyzing the DNA contained in these skins with the long-term goal of creating a genetic database that can be used to determine when and where a manuscript was written.

Once Stinson has created a baseline of DNA markers with known dates and localities, he can take samples from manuscripts of unknown origin. Stinson can then determine what degree of relationship there is between the animals whose skins were used in manuscripts of unknown origin and those used in the baseline manuscripts.


19th Century Book Found In Storage Unit Is Rich With Family History

A decade ago, Joe Florea was cleaning out a vacant storage unit in an Oakland Park warehouse when he made an unusual find -- a leather-bound tome dating back to 1870.

The book, Hitchcock's New and Complete Analysis of the Holy Bible, was rich with history. Tucked inside its pages were two preserved roses, a high school graduation program from 1886 and handwritten family records of births, marriages and deaths.

At the back of the 1,159-page book are three pages of carefully scribed names, written in a caligraphy-like cursive with purple ink. The records document vital events -- births, marriages and deaths -- between 1880 and 1915. The heads of the family noted are Erza B. Osborne, born in 1822, and Elizabeth Hitchcock, born in 1829.

The aged flowers are held together by a string and a white label that reads, "Bessie's Wedding, June 18, 1912.''


Osk 4.61.0

Full Featured - Windows, Mac - Purchase

Osk 4.61.0 has been released.


• Fixed all reported bugs.
• Now always sorts all names based on preference settings.
• The web export has been updated.
• GEDCOM export is now faster.
• Brand new birthday display.

GEDitCOM II 1.0b5

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

GEDitCOM II 1.0b5 has been released.


• GEDitCOM II is now a scriptable applications. There is a new Scripts menu with several sample scripts. The documentation explains how to write scripts, although it takes experience in Apple Script and GEDCOM to write them; anyone can use the ones in the menu.
• The index window, family tree outlines, and family tree charts can now display a "portrait" from the records. When viewing multimedia objects in the index window, add a portrait column give you a quick overview of all the multimedia objects in your file.
• Can select multiple records in the Index Window and preform various actions on them all (e.g. deleting, removing from an album, creating families with husband and wife or with several children, etc.). You can also drag multiple records to places that accept multiple records (e.g., albums, sources, etc.).
• When extracting GEDCOM data from a package, you can extract a subset GEDCOM file using the records in an album.
• The Search Panel can now be kept open and be behind other windows. Before it was a floating panel that stayed in the front. You can also select multiple records in the search hits.
• The family trees can be display in horizontal or vertical orientation and with generations aligned to the edge or centered on each generation.
• Several more drag and drop options were added such as dragging record from any browser window (click in background of the window outside any control), dragging from the search panel, and dropping a record on the source editor (to edit its source)
• The standard Find/Replace panel now works for all multi-line text editing fields (I thought is was working before, but maybe not; it is working now).
• The "chart" and "outline" views for family trees are now synchronized as you toggle back and forth between views expanding and contracting branches in either view.
• Some users were confused by the "Find Field" being disabled until a column was selected. To avoid this confusion a column is automatically sorted when a new list opens and thus the field is always available. In very large files, the automatic sorting is skipped (due to sort speed), but the field is left enabled. The first typing displays an alert explaining that a column should be selected first.
• The Open Recent submenu now only includes genealogy files. it previously added format files when change formats using the Open Formats submenu.
• When importing a GEDCOM file, index window clearly labels the file as "Untitled" until it is first saved as a GEDitCOM package.

The Complete Genealogy Builder 2009 build 90111

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

The Complete Genealogy Builder 2009 build 90111 has been released.


• Fixes and improvements.

9 January 2009

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project

The Feeding America project has created an online collection of some of the most important and influential American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century. The digital archive includes page images of 76 cookbooks from the MSU Library's collection as well as searchable full-text transcriptions.

Personal Highlight: Fannie Farmer, the author of The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, is perhaps the best known of the great American culinary authorities of the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. And this book is arguably the best known and most influential of all American cookbooks. It has been in print from its first appearance in 1896 until the present day, although the newer editions are updated and revised so that Fannie might not easily recognize them. From its first printing it was a bestseller.

Possible Mass Grave Of German WWII Civilians Found In Poland

Some 1,800 corpses that authorities believe to be German civilians killed during World War II have been discovered in the Polish city of Malbork, daily Bild reported Wednesday.

"They are the remains of women, men and children," public prosecuter Waldemar Zduniak told the paper. "A portion of the corpses display bullet wounds."

The first skeletons were uncovered in October in Malbork, which before World War II was part of Germany and known as Marienburg. But officials didn’t have an official body count until Tuesday.

"It could be that the German civilians were killed during fighting in 1945 between Germans and Russian troops," said Bernard Jesionowski of the Marienburg museum.


8 January 2009

US National Archives Celebrates 75th Anniversary

The National Archives announced today the year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary. Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 19, 1934, the legislation established a National Archives to preserve the permanently valuable papers of the Federal government. Today the institution has become a cornerstone of our democracy, making billions of documents created by Federal officials available for inspection, thereby holding public officials accountable for their actions.

To celebrate this milestone, the National Archives has planned a number of special activities and free public programs throughout the year. These events will highlight the history of the Archives and the breadth of the unique holdings.

Today marks the launch of the anniversary web site that shines a spotlight on defining moments in the agency’s history through the decades with photo galleries, notices of special events at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, as well as at the 14 regional archives and 12 Presidential libraries located throughout the nation.

First Americans Arrived As Two Separate Migrations, According To New Genetic Evidence

The first people to arrive in America traveled as at least two separate groups to arrive in their new home at about the same time, according to new genetic evidence published online in Current Biology.

After the Last Glacial Maximum some 15,000 to 17,000 years ago, one group entered North America from Beringia following the ice-free Pacific coastline, while another traversed an open land corridor between two ice sheets to arrive directly into the region east of the Rocky Mountains. Those first Americans later gave rise to almost all modern Native American groups of North, Central, and South America, with the important exceptions of the Na-Dene and the Eskimos-Aleuts of northern North America, the researchers said.

Recently, molecular genetics, together with archaeology and linguistics, has begun to provide some insights. In the new study, Ugo Perego and Alessandro Achilli of Torroni's team analyzed mitochondrial DNA from two rare haplogroups, meaning mitochondrial types that share a common maternal ancestor. Mitochondria are cellular components with their own DNA that allow scientists to trace ancestry and migration because they are passed on directly from mother to child over generations.

Their results show that the haplogroup called D4h3 spread from Beringia into the Americas along the Pacific coastal route, rapidly reaching Tierra del Fuego. The other haplogroup, X2a, spread at about the same time through the ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets and remained restricted to North America.


UK National Archives: Royal Marines Records Available Online

The service registers of some 110,000 seamen who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1936 are now available to search and download at The UK National Archives website.

You can search under surname, forename, register number and date of enlistment, and may uncover the names of ships and shore stations served on, details of conduct, medal entitlement and much more.

LongFamilyHistory 2.3.1

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

LongFamilyHistory 2.3.1 has been released.


• New Chart: "Ancestors and their genera".
• Some small bugs fixed in the import function.

FamilyInsight 2009.1.5.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.1.5.0 has been released.


• Now available in German. • Added an option specifically for those who want to focus primarily on finding LDS temple ordinances on
• After synchronizing a person with, a link icon appears to indicate when the person has been edited in your file or on
• When synchronizing a person with, it is now possible to add FamilySearch person ids to their immediate relatives without a separate search/sync operation.

Bug fixes:

• Fixed a crash when unlinking a person from after clicking on their FamilySearch person id.
• Fixed a crash when attempting to open a PAF file with a specific type of internal error.

7 January 2009

GeneaNet: Send Postcards To Family And Friends

GeneaNet allows you to send a free electronic greeting to your family and friends!

You can pick from a selection of our greeting postcards...

... or click on a category area to browse through our selection of postcards.

Once you've selected your postcard your next step is to customize it.

Please be sure to fill out all boxes completely and check the recipient’s email address for accuracy.

When done click the "View Your Postcard" button to see what will be sent. If everything looks right, click the "Send" button. If you would like to make additional changes before sending, click the "Correct" button to return to the editing screen.

More, you can upload and share postcards!

6 January 2009

Suffolk's Record Office Has Been Awarded By The UK National Archives

Suffolk's Record Office has been awarded four stars by The National Archives and has improved from good to excellent.

The service, which is run by Suffolk County Council and has centres in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft, is home to archives covering the history of Suffolk and its people. The council has recently spent £400,000 upgrading safety measures in the record offices to protect the documents and information in case of fire, flooding or theft. The four-star rating puts the county's service in the top 10 in the country.


5 January 2009

Homecoming Scotland 2009

During Homecoming Scotland 2009 there will be many special events focussing on Scottish ancestry, traditions and culture all along the year:

Forest Heritage Scotland
Meet Your Ancestors in Clackmannanshire
A Home Away from Home: The Scottish Emigration Experience
International Genealogy Festival
Island Emigrants: Conference on Emigration from the Outer Hebrides
and much more...

More information and calendar of events at

UncleGED 9.06

Web Publishing - Windows - Freeware

UncleGED 9.06 has been released.


• On family pages changed “Marriage Events for…” to now read “Marriage/Union Events for…”
• Removed the word “Other” from Events (GEDCOM tag “EVEN”)
• The Help|Contents menu item now displays a compiled help file instead of the PDF user's guide.

MyBlood 1.0 alpha 2.1

Full Featured - Windows, Mac - Purchase

MyBlood 1.0 alpha 2.1 has been released.


• Open GEDCOM File - Bug fix: Images attached to the Individual (INDI) now get the Ids attached to the Media, so you can see the Media of a Person when going to the Media TAB. The attached media is also set as the Main Picture for the Person.
• Web Pages (Web Export) - Bug fix: The character set in the html pages is now set to UTF8. This should be ok for all possible languages. The content that MyBlood puts in the pages is also UTF8 (if correctly converted at “Open GEDCOM” stage.
• Web Pages (Web Export) - Bug fix: The content of the Web-page was incorrect for the partner. This fixed.
• Menu's - Improvement: The grayed out menu item “Import GEDCOM File...” is removed, as this functionality is currently not implemented and seems to confuse people. Remark: MyBlood currently only has one file open at once. To open a GEDCOM file, you need to close the open file and use “Open GEDCOM File...” to “import” the GEDCOM.
• Translation Tool - Improvement: The TAB and Return keys are not used anymore to go to the next line in the list. Use the UP and DOWN keys on your keyboard to move up and down the list.
• Places - Improvement: Added a “Clear Coordinates” Button to clear the Latitude and Longitude of a Place that has wrong coordinates.

Legacy Family Tree

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Legacy Family Tree has been released.


• Book Reports: Enabled the inclusion of the address for individuals. (Previously only the address for the birth, chr, death, and burial were available.)
• Book Reports: Added a new option to start each generation on an odd numbered page.
• Book Reports: Added a new option to start the Table of Contents on an odd numbered page.
• Book Reports: When the Other Spouses option is turned off, meaning you only want one spouse shown for each person, we now include the Preferred Spouse instead of the first spouse.
• Book Reports: Moved the "son/daughter of Fred and Mary Smith" part of the marriage phrase before the marriage date and location.
• Book Reports: Name Index Report - § now shows up in front of married name variations.

Brother’s Keeper 6.3.7

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

Brother's Keeper 6.3.7 has been released.


• (fixed) Fixed a bug in the Utility, Find BK6 Database routine that prevented folder from opening correctly.
• (changed) On Edit, the menu item to Show Source now works on all the tabs which have sources, not just Events or Children tabs.
• (changed) When doing a backup with pictures, if a picture is missing for a source, it has more options.

3 January 2009

Making Genealogy Resolutions

Diana Lynn Tibert lists some interesting genealogy resolutions: Set Goals and Deadlines, Get Organized, Document Sources, Connect with Family, Visit the Archives, Request Records, Re-evaluate the Brick Wall, Back-up Your Data, and Get it in Print.

"Re-evaluate the Brick Wall: If you have given up on solving that brick wall that has been dogging you for six years, take another look at it from a different angle. This is particularly important if it has been filed away in the 'never going to crack' file. Research completed in the last six months might help solve it."


Civil War Letters Donated

The Archives of Michigan announced it has received an extensive collection, one of the largest in the country, of Civil War letters.

Donated by Wallace K. Ewing of Grand Haven, the 291 letters will be available to researchers visiting the Archives, and electronic versions added to the Archives of Michigan Digital Collection at, in the spring of 2009.

The collection consists of correspondence between Ewing's great-grandparents - Henry McKendree (Mack) and Nancy (Nan) Ewing of Hillsdale - from 1856 to 1865, while Mack was fighting in the Civil War.

All of the letters are in their original addressed, stamped and canceled envelopes.


2 January 2009

Confucius Family Tree Revision Ends With 2 Million Descendants

The fifth update of Confucius' family tree ended Wednesday in east China's Shandong Province, putting the revered Chinese philosopher's descendants at more than 2 million.

The latest revision took 10 years to complete. It gives the most complete and systematic record of Confucius genealogy, said Kong Deyong, a 77th-generation descendant and founder of the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee (CGCC).

"The previous revision in 1937 included 600,000 members. Since the new revision started in 1998, we have collected data from more than 1.3 million new people," Kong said.

The new list, which includes overseas and female descendants for the first time, is expected to be published sometime around Confucius' 2560th birthday, which falls on Sept. 28.