Genealogy Blog

28 February 2009

DNA Proves Author Alex Haley Had Scottish Roots

DNA tests have proved that Alex Haley – the black American author whose book Roots traced his family origins from the slave plantations of the US back to Africa – was of Scottish ancestry.

The findings came after a sample of DNA from Haley's nephew Chris Haley matched that of his distant cousin June Baff-Black, who lives in Wales and whose shared lineage starts in 17th century Scotland.

Until recently, Chris Haley had only word of mouth family history to show that his great, great-grandfather had been born of an African slave mother and white Scottish father, both of whom lived and worked on a slave plantation in the US.

Source & Full Story

Essex Record Office Has Been Awarded Four Star Status In The National Archives Local Authority Archive Survey

The Chelmsford based Essex Record Office has been awarded four star status in the prestigious National Archives Local Authority Archive Survey which is the highest level of the award and means the ERO has moved up a grade since the previous survey in 2007.

The Record Office in Wharf Road benefits from a modern, purpose-built headquarters where it cares for a huge collection of historic documents, maps, photographs, and sound and video recordings which tell the story of Essex’s history.


27 February 2009

Battle To Rescue Literary Gems After National Library Of Scotland Floods

Major flooding hit the National Library of Scotland last night, after a sprinkler valve burst on a top floor.

The building, in the heart of Edinburgh, is the country's legal deposit library and holds many extremely rare items. The National Library of Scotland holds seven million books, 13 million printed items and more than 1.6 million maps.

Up to 30 staff including specialists were called in to work through the night to save valuable manuscripts as water flooded from the building's top levels nine floors down to the basement.

Bruce Blacklaw, the press officer for the library, said: "We have a large team of staff, including preservation and conservation specialists, who will be working through the night to dry out some damp items and assess the damage. The collections are incredibly diverse and we are talking about perhaps a couple of hundred items. It is difficult to categorise precisely what they are right now."


Heritage Microfilm And NewspaperARCHIVE Announce Access For State Of West Virginia

Heritage Microfilm has partnered with the State of West Virginia to grant state-wide access to more than 90 million historical newspaper pages through their product ACCESS NewspaperARCHIVE. Access to the site will be provided to every library in West Virginia via their website portal

"We have some great West Virginia newspapers in our collection," said Jamie Leon, ACCESS NewspaperARCHIVE Product Manager. "Now students, genealogists, researchers, historians and more will be able to access papers like the Charleston Gazette and the Morgantown Post at their local libraries. Karen Goff and West Virginia reacted quickly to supply a research tool in heavy demand by the people."


26 February 2009

FamilyHistoryOnline Will Close On Monday 2nd March 2009

FamilyHistoryOnline will close on Monday 2nd March 2009 and the data will be transfered to

The Federation of Family History Societies and its services company will not be able to invest sufficient time and money in the considerable resources that would be necessary to enable FamilyHistoryOnline to continue as a viable alternative to other commercial sites.

The hosting of FamilyHistoryOnline by is providing greater access to this valuable information and bringing the data to a wider audience worldwide. It will also produce greater returns to the family history societies who own this data, and they will be able to use this income to support their educational, project and other work.

An online partnership between the Federation of Family History Societies and was announced in a press release on 1st September 2007.


With 4,700 Boxes, Former Sen. Ted Stevens' Papers Will Be Largest Archival Collection At University Of Alaska Fairbanks

The university announced today that former Sen. Ted Stevens is sending the records of his 40-year Senate career to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

About three or four truckloads are expected in Fairbanks by late March.

The collection includes about 4,700 boxes of papers and other records. The collection has not been inventoried, but UAF expects it will fill 92 pallets and weigh about 60 to 70 tons.

For historians and researchers interested in understanding modern Alaska, the Stevens collection will be among the most important in the world.


Oldest English Words Revealed?

Using a computer simulation, a British researcher says he's examined the rate of change of words in languages to reveal the oldest English-sounding words, which would have been used by Stone Age humans 20,000 years ago.

Among the Stone Age words that presumably would've sounded then much like they do now in the English language: I, we, two and three.

The study concludes that the frequency with which a word is used relates to how slowly it changes through time, so that the most common words tend to be the oldest ones. While it cannot necessary predict exactly what words were used 20,000 years ago — there's little to go on, since writing was invented only about 5,000 years ago — it makes some interesting guesses.


25 February 2009

DNA Identification Of Czar's Children Available

Cutting edge science has finally put to rest a 90-year-old mystery that involved nobility, revolution, murder and the long-romanticized story of a child's escape from the firing squad. Genomic analysis performed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in cooperation with Institutions of Russian Academy of Science (VIGG) and Academy of Medical Sciences (MHRC) have confirmed that human remains found in the Ural Mountains in July 2007 are indeed those of the two "missing" children of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, whose family was murdered in 1918 during the Bolshevik Revolution.

The final evidence was presented in a paper published this week in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Genomic identification in historical case of Nicholas II Royal family" by Evgeny I. Rogaev, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School's Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute and professor of genetics at the Russian Academic Institutions, and his colleagues.


24 February 2009

Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci discovered in Basilicata

What may be a hitherto unknown portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in middle age shows that the Renaissance genius had piercing blue eyes, a long nose and long greying hair with a droopy moustache.

The damaged oil-on-panel portrait was discovered by Nicola Barbatelli, a medieval historian, while he was researching the archive and picture collection of an aristocratic family at Acerenza (population 3,000), an ancient village perched on a rock above the river Bradano near Potenza in the southern Italian region of Basilicata.


23 February 2009

Secret Footage Unearthed Of American Troops Practising D-Day Landings At Devon, England

It was the practise run which would lead to the liberation of Europe from the tyranny of Hitler's Nazi empire. And it took place in Devon.

Secret footage of U.S. soldiers training alongside British troops for D-Day in South-West England have been unearthed from a dusty archive and seen for the first time in 65 years.

The 38 reels - lasting ten minutes each - show a variety of images including tanks rolling across beaches and soldiers wading through waves. In another sequence, troops are lined up in make-shift landing barges.

Wartime leaders Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower are also seen inspecting troops and remarkably there is footage of Russian military staff observing the manoeuvres.


GeneaNet: Delete A Duplicate Individual In Your Online Family Tree

When entering a lot of data or merging a GEDCOM file, you may create some duplicate individuals in your online family tree. See how to delete these duplicates:

Online Family Tree (GeneWeb)

A duplicate record has been created for Susan Leech, spouse of John Baxter.

Click the "Wizard Access" link in the left sidebar then enter your GeneaNet username and password to log on as "Wizard".

Enter the surname and name of the duplicate individual in the search form, select "first name/name", then click "OK".

Both Susan Leech are shown in the search results list.

The first one is the duplicate we want to delete and the second one is the spouse of John Baxter.

Click the first Susan Leech link.

Click the "Update - Nidividual, family, media" link.

Verify that this is the right person (not the spouse of John Baxter) then click the "Delete" link to delete this duplicate.

21 February 2009

The Scottish Register Of Tartans Goes Live

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) launched The Scottish Register of Tartans to promote and preserve information about registered tartans. The Register, which will be maintained by the NAS, will provide a focal point for tartan, its design and production and for genealogical research.

Tartan, known throughout the world as a national symbol of Scotland, has now been officially recognised by the Parliament in Edinburgh. It has taken six years to complete the legislation establishing the Register with The Scottish Register of Tartan Act receiving Royal Assent in November 2008.

The Register will provide users with the opportunity to search its database for tartans already recorded and will also provide a registration service for recording new tartans. The Scottish Register of Tartans Act specifies the criteria which new tartans will be required to meet, and these official vetting procedures will promote and protect the status of registered tartans.


Thomas MacEntee: My First Attempts At Using A DNA Testing Kit

By Thomas MacEntee, a techno-geek and genealogist:

For years I’ve been following the practice of sampling DNA as it relates to one’s own genealogy and family history. I’ve read many stories of how some who were absolutely certain their family came from a certain ethnic group found out that such was not the case. And I’ve also watched the African American Lives series hosted by Henry Louis Gates on PBS which has used DNA to trace the ancestry of the show’s celebrity participants.

So I decided to take the plunge. One part of the process is to ask: why do I want to do this? And do I really want to receive DNA results that might turn years of genealogy research upside down instead of reveal further insights?

Continue reading

20 February 2009

European Commission Allocates 25 Million Euros for Digital Libraries

The European Commission CIP-ICT Policy Support Programme has allocated 25 million euros for digital libraries in 2009.

Here's an excerpt from European Commission CIP-ICT Policy Support Programme: Digital Libraries Information Day, Luxembourg, 17th February 2009:

A budget of 25 million euros is allocated to digital libraries in the 2009 call. The main goals of this call are contributing to Europeana (the European digital library) and maximizing the impact of European research results. The specific objectives are:

• Developing services to improve the usability of Europeana.
• Aggregating content for Europeana.
• Digitising content for Europeana.
• Open access to scientific information.
• Use of heritage content for education.


Caribbean Archives Newspaper Collection Increases

The acquisition of one issue, each, of the St. Christopher Advertizer, Weekly Intelligencer and the Caribbean Courier’s St. Christopher Chronicle have taken both collections back by several years.

Archivist Victoria Borg O’Flaherty said previously the National Archives’ physical paper collections of the Courier (Gazette), and the Advertizer dated back to the 1870s while there were microfilm copies available from 1822, thanks to donations from the American Antiquarian Society and the British Library. The latest acquisition provided the Courier of Saturday, 18 April, 1801 and the Advertizer for Tuesday, 28 April, 1801.

The National Archives does not have copies of all the mentioned newspapers of the 19th century, but O’Flaherty is hopeful that more finds would come from would be benefactors.


19 February 2009

New Software: Reunion for iPhone & iPod Touch

Full Featured - PDAs and Handhelds - Purchase

New software: Reunion for iPhone & iPod Touch.


• Multiple family files can be transferred to the iPhone.
• Preferred pictures appear for people.
• View multiple pictures of a person with swiping gesture.
• Starts with a source couple, goes up 3 generations and down 2.
• Searchable on last name, first name, married name, soundex and person id.
• Show the spouses, children, parents, & siblings of a person.
• View all the sources sorted by source number.
• All data can be edited and synced back to the family file on the Desktop.
• Add new children, spouses, and parents.
• Add unrelated people.
• Link to existing children and spouses.
And much more.

Reunion 9.08

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

Reunion 9.08 has been released.


• New Feature: Added support for the iPhone and iPod Touch version of Reunion.
• Register Report - fixed 2 problems with the privacy filter.
• Fixed a rare crash when exporting Temple Ready files.
• Improved date sorting in lists and reports.
• Better support for RTF index codes in NeoOffice.
• Fixed problem with the Find Citation Detail function.
• Fixed a problem when importing family files containing new source types and new source fields.
• Improved the "Leister Home" web style to support longer names.
• Fixed a problem with Google Analytics.
• Fixed a rare problem with saving sources in facts fields.
• Marked Sets would not work for family files containing more than 262K people.
• Fixed a rare crash that would happen when opening saved found lists.
• Fixed a rare problem with duplicate files on Web Media pages.
• Fixed a problem with Web Media pages reporting links to missing media files.
• Updated the LDS Temples file.
• Updated the US Presidents perspective events.

TreeDraw 3.1.7

Charts and Diagrams - Windows - Purchase

TreeDraw 3.1.7 has been released.


• Fixed a bug which prevented proper selection of text in the top-left quadrant of a wheel chart.

A Digital Atlas Of Denmark Tracking Data From The 1600s

The National Archive has received a 15 million kroner grant from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation to create a digital atlas of Denmark, tracking data from the 1600s.

Trade publication Ingeniøren reports that the joint project, which includes the archives, the National Survey and Cadastre, and the University of Copenhagen, will map historical Danish data to provide a detailed tool for researchers.

The three-year project will create an internet-based GIS (geographic information system) map that will include a database of cultural, historical and geographical information.


18 February 2009

Family Tree Maker 2009 -

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Family Tree Maker 2009 - has been released.


• Extended Family Chart. This chart is bound to become a favorite because of its ability to display every individual in your tree—or just the people you select. Each generation appears on its own horizontal row, making it easy to quickly tell where people fall within your tree. Note: This is not a replacement for the All-in-One chart; the All-in-One will be added in a future release.
• Calendar. The calendar is back! You can create a monthly calendar that displays birthdays and anniversaries included in your tree. Personalize the calendar by choosing which individuals are included and customizing colors.
• Enhancements to Data Entry. The pedigree view has always made it easy to navigate between family members as you’re adding and editing information. But with the new data entry keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly move between family members without even lifting your fingers from the keyboard.
• Source Templates. Take the guesswork out of citing sources with new source templates. Family Tree Maker has created source templates based on the QuickCheck models in Elizabeth Shown Mills’s book Evidence Explained. Can’t figure out how to document the tombstone photo you found at Family Tree Maker has a source template for that—and more.
• Desktop Book-Building Functionality. By popular demand the book-building tool is back. You can create your own family history book complete with charts, reports, photos, personal stories, and an automated table of contents and index.

National Libraries Of Iran And Philippines Sign A Memorandum Of Understanding

The National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and the Iran National Library and Archive (INLA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) here Tuesday morning.

INLA director Ali-Akbar Ash’ari expressed hopes that this agreement will enhance bilateral ties between both libraries.

NLP director Prudenciana Cruz also said that this is not simply the beginning of a relationship between both libraries but rather will help increase existing cultural ties.

Based on the MOU, both parties are to exchange books, periodicals, microfilms of the rare manuscripts, and current information.


17 February 2009

Legend Seekers: First TV Series Dedicated To The Genealogy Of Ordinary Everyday People

Legend Seekers is the first TV series dedicated to the genealogy of ordinary everyday people -- like you!

Legend Seekers preview episode "The Lively Family Massacre" will begin airing on public television in select local markets starting with WFYI-TV Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26th at 9:30pm.

Check website often starting in mid-March for a complete listing of listings and markets.

FamilyInsight 2009.2.16.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.2.16.0 has been released.

Enhancements / Updates:

• Our German translation team completed a partial translation of the help files.
• Our French translation team updated the French translation.
• Reworked the opening "How would you like to start" screen to make it more clear.
• Improved the automatic PAF database repair to handle several additional types of database corruption.

Bug fixes:

• Fixed a crash in rare cases when starting Separate.
• Fixed a problem with very long descriptions on custom event types.
• Corrected a few minor spelling errors.
• Fixed a problem with entering a new license when the trial expires.
• Fixed a problem with help failing to appear for some customers.

iScrapbook 2.0.1

Family Pictures - Mac - Purchase

iScrapbook 2.0.1 has been released.


• Added a button to the Preferences dialog for re-enabling all informational dialogs and warnings.
• Fixed issue where printed/exported pages used the IMAGE quality setting rather than the PRINT quality setting (which can be changed in the Preferences dialog).
• Fixed issue where a document couldn't be opened by double-clicking the file or choosing it from the Recent Items menu.
• Fixed issue where the Save command couldn't be used to save a new document when it hadn't been modified.
• When images are dragged from the iScrapKit browser, they now appear directly under the mouse pointer when dropped (previously, they could be offset from the mouse position).

100 Years Later, Geronimo May Return To NM

The 100th anniversary of the death of legendary Chiricahua Apache leader and warrior Geronimo will be marked with an attempt to "bring him home."

Carlos Melendrez of Las Cruces said efforts to "repatriate" Geronimo's remains from Fort Sill, Okla., to a site in the Gila Wilderness will be announced today.

In a May 1, 2007, interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News, Harlyn Geronimo of Mescalero identified himself as the great-grandson of Geronimo and said he wants to see the return of Geronimo's remains from his "burial in captivity" in Fort Sill, Okla., and to "complete a cycle" by establishing a final resting place in his New Mexico homeland.

After decades of eluding capture, Geronimo surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles on Sept. 4, 1886, officially becoming "the last American Indian force formally to capitulate to the United States," according to a history provided by Melendrez and Geronimo's family members.


16 February 2009

How To Reach The GeneaNet Technical Support

GeneaNet offers various technical support options.

Within The Forums

The GeneaNet Forums are designed to post questions and engage in discussions related to GeneaNet specifically and genealogy in general.

GeneaNet Team members frequent the forum. You'll see the following icon in any GeneaNet Team member's post.

Before starting a new topic, we suggest that you search the forums using the search button. Your question or suggestion may already have been discussed.

The GeneaNet Forums are available to anyone and there's no need to create a GeneaNet account before posting a question.

Within The Tickets Contact

Tickets Contact let you post an email to the GeneaNet staff to have a private talk.

They are available to GeneaNet Club Privilege Members only.

Tickets Contact are the best way to contact GeneaNet Technical Support in the cases of issues, ident/password loss, Club Privilege subscription and online orders.

GeneaNet don't answer letters, except in some exceptional cases.

15 February 2009

Henry VIII Love Letter Exhibited

Concealed in the Vatican for almost five centuries, a love letter from King Henry VIII to his second wife Anne Boleyn is to go on display at the British Library in London.

Probably written in January 1528, it shows a softer side to the infamously bloodthirsty royal as he pursues her. He assures Anne that "henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone," and apologises profusely for ever suggesting she could be a mere mistress.

The letter - originally written in French - appears to show that she has finally made a "too humble submission" to his advances.

It reads: "The demonstrations of your affection are such, and the beautiful words of your letter are so cordially phrased, that they really oblige me to honour, love, and serve you for ever." [...] "For my part, I will out-do you, if this be possible, rather than reciprocate, in loyalty of heart and my desire to please you." [...] "Beseeching you also that if I have in any way offended you, you will give me the same absolution for which you ask, assuring you that henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone, and wishing greatly that my body was so too."


14 February 2009

JK Rowling's Great-Grandfather Was A French First World War Hero

When JK Rowling was awarded the Legion d'honneur by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, she revealed that her courageous ancestor, Louis Valont, had won the same award for his bravery during the Battle of Verdun.

Valont was wounded and evacuated three times but kept returning to the trenches to fight for the French army against the Germans. He was awarded the Legion d'honneur for bravery when he was wounded while trying to bring supplies of grenades to French soldiers besieged by German troops at the Fort de Vaux, near Verdun.

The soldier, who married an Englishwoman in 1900, suffered injuries that left him disabled, depressed and with only 50 per cent of his vision in one eye.

Details of his distinguished military career are contained in documents held at the national archives in Paris.


The Master Genealogist 8 To Come

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Wholly Genes announces that they're working on The Master Genealogist 8:

"We're working on TMG v8, including a fix to the word processor and HTML output problem under the 64-bit version of Windows Vista (the problem does not apply to the more common 32-bit version of Vista)."

The Master Genealogist 7.04

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

The Master Genealogist 7.04 has been released.


• GenBridge - Support has been added for direct import from FTM 2008 and FTM 2009.
• [:NP:] code - In addition to suppressing punctuation, the code now suppresses the spaces normally output at the end of the sentence.
• UK Edition - Edits were made to the sentences for the UK-specific tags so that they would be more compatible with Second Site.
• Sample_UK project - Edits were made to the sentences for the UK-specific tags so that they would be more compatible with Second Site.
• Details window - The beginner buttons to the right of the Tag Box are now saved in the layout.
• Research task - The comments field now displays formatting rather than the format codes.
• DNA templates - A revised template for the Relative Genetics 43 marker test was added.
• DNA templates - The screen design for the Y-DNA 'DNA Fingerprint' templates has been updated to add additional fields.
• Log files - Added or revised the List of external exhibits.log, Last backup.log, and _restore.log. The output to these logs will aid managing external exhibits.
• Journal Report - The 'First Reference Number' field on the Options / General tab now accepts values from 1 - 99999.


Continue reading...

13 February 2009

Student Finds Rare Lincoln Fingerprint

A student at Miami University has discovered what experts say is a fingerprint belonging to Abraham Lincoln from nearly 150 years ago.

Lydia Smith, a first-year psychology major from Granville, Ohio, was transcribing a letter written by Lincoln on Oct. 5, 1863, for a class project when she noticed a smudge that she suspected could be the 16th president’s thumbprint. Lincoln historians have confirmed the print.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, reviewed and confirmed the print, making it the second rare fingerprint of the 16th president housed at Miami’s libraries.


Fresh Start For Lost File Formats

Long lost file formats could soon be resurrected by pan-European research.

The 4.02m euro (£3.58m) project aims to create a universal emulator that can open and play obsolete file formats.

Using the emulator, researchers hope to ensure that digital materials such as games, websites and multimedia documents and are not lost for good.

The emulator will also be regularly updated to ensure that formats that fall out of favour remain supported in the near and far future.

Called Keeping Emulation Environments Portable (Keep), the project aims to create software that can recognise, play and open all types of computer file from the 1970s onwards.


Team In Germany Maps Neanderthal Genome

Researchers in Germany have completed the first draft of the Neanderthal genome, more than 3 billion genetic building blocks that will shed new light on the ancient hominid as well as the origins of its closest relation — modern humans.

The draft covers about 63 percent of the roughly 3.2 billion base pairs in the Neanderthal genome. The team led by geneticist Svante Paabo has actually isolated 3.7 billion base pairs, but that includes many duplications.

Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said the Neanderthal genome will be an important tool for researchers tracing hominid evolution, and for those probing the origins of the genetic traits that make humans so dominant.

The announcement was planned to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.


Botswana: Archive Digitization Expected To Be Completed In September 2010

The computerization of archives and records management processes dubbed National Archives and Records Management System (NARMS) by Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture, is said to be at phase one where it is piloted at the Office of the President and the Botswana National Archives and Records Management headquarters.

The system, which costs the government P32 million ($250M), is expected to be completed in September 2010.

By September 2010 phases one and two are expected to be completed. According to the Secure Data Project Manger, Mr Steve Parrymore, they will rollout the programme to other ministries and departments in the third and final phase.

The solution uses Trim Context Software developed by Tower Software, an Australian company.


12 February 2009

Our Family Book 5.5.1b

Family Books - Windows - Purchase

Our Family Book 5.5.1b has been released.


• Gedcom Validation version 1.0.2.

Family Tree DNA: Over 500,000 DNA Test Kits Sold

Family Tree DNA, the world leader in genetic genealogy, announced today that it has received its 500,000th DNA test order for genealogy and anthropology purposes. This historic milestone comprises Family Tree DNA's own customers as well as the public participation samples in National Geographic and IBM`s Genographic Project, which are also processed by Family Tree DNA.

Rare Trove Of 11,000 Hebrew Books And Manuscripts To Be Selled

A rare trove of 11,000 Hebrew books and manuscripts went on display at Sotheby's this week as the auction house seeks to find a buyer for what is considered the greatest collection of Judaica in private hands.

The Valmadonna Trust Library includes documents of unparalleled significance including a copy of a 16th-century Hebrew Bible once owned by Westminster Abbey. Some have burn or water marks or other signs of religious persecution.

The complete library, valued at more than $40 million, is being shown in its entirety for the first time at Sotheby's Manhattan galleries until Feb. 19. The trust has asked the auction house to facilitate the sale of the complete collection to a public institution or private collector. It will not break up the collection or sell individuals works.


Taiwan: Archiving Program Offers Public Countless Insights

Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program (TELDAP), a government sponsored program that archives Taiwan's cultural and natural assets digitally, held an opening ceremony for its annual exhibition in Taipei's Technology Building yesterday. The exhibition is open to public from now to Feb. 28.

TELDAP is an integrated program of National Digital Archives Program (NDAP) and Program for e-Learning (ELNP), which aims to showcase Taiwan's cultural, biological and social diversity. This is the first exhibition since the merger in 2008.

"TELDAP has archived 2.18 million of items digitally, with a total number of 3.7 million pieces of data. As for e-learning, thousands of digital courses have been built. Everyone can make use of the resource through the union catalog online," said the Program Director Liu Tsui-jung at the opening ceremony. She is also vice president to Academia Sinica.


11 February 2009

David Rumsey Donates 150,000 Maps To Stanford

A retired San Francisco real estate developer announced recently that he is donating a collection of about 150,000 historical maps to Stanford University.

David Rumsey had spent three decades collecting maps of the Americas, most of which were drawn between 1700 and 1925 but decided to donate them to the university, according to Stanford officials.

Rumsey, who is posting much of his collection online at, is also donating the digital copies of the maps.


UCLA Team Creates Virtual Library Of Medieval Manuscripts

The UCLA-based Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts now to nearly 1,000 manuscripts by 193 authors in 20 languages from 59 libraries around the world, allowing users to flit from England to France to Switzerland to the United States — to name the locations of just a few of the featured repositories — with the click of a mouse.

Highlights of the virtual holdings include:

• The largest surviving collection of the works of Christine de Pizan, one of the first women in Europe to earn a living as a writer. The manuscript was commissioned by Queen Isabeau of France in 1414 and is now held by the British Library.
• An Irish copy of the Gospel of John, bound in ivory and presented to Charlemagne sometime around 800, now in the library of the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland.
• The Junius manuscript, one of only four major manuscripts preserving poetry in Old English. Dated to around 1000, the book is now among the holdings of Oxford's Bodleian Library.

"Because these manuscripts are so old and fragile, libraries are digitizing them, but you can't find them," Fisher said. "We're completing the step of making them accessible to the world."


Penn Libraries And Kirtas Technologies Team Up To Make More Than 200,000 Books Available For Research And Purchase

Since 2001, Kirtas Technologies has worked with the world’s most renowned libraries to bring rare, out-of-copyright books into the digital age, making centuries-worth of books available to the world.

Today, Kirtas announces a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries to make over 200,000 titles available to the public in a unique way.

Using existing information drawn from Penn’s catalog records, Kirtas is able to offer out-of-copyright books for sale through its own retail site, What makes this initiative unique is that the books can be offered for sale before they are ever digitized, so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost.


10 February 2009

Medieval Data On Hundred Years War Goes Online

Important unpublished records of the Hundred Years War are to be made available online in an innovative new project led by the University of Oxford and assisted by The National Archives.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded almost £750,000 to the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool to digitise and edit the Gascon Rolls. These consist of 113 unpublished manuscripts which cover the era 1317 to 1468.

The rolls, currently held at The National Archives, comprise administrative records relating to English rule in medieval Gascony. These include writs and grants, but also contain enrolments of diplomatic and official material.

The project is expected to last three years, and will also be assisted by King's College London and the Ranulf Higden Society.


Digital Archivists, Now In Demand

When the world entered the digital age, a great majority of human historical records did not immediately make the trip.

Literature, film, scientific journals, newspapers, court records, corporate documents and other material, accumulated over centuries, needed to be adapted for computer databases. Once there, it had to be arranged — along with newer, born-digital material — in a way that would let people find what they needed and keep finding it well into the future.

The people entrusted to find a place for this wealth of information are known as digital asset managers, or sometimes as digital archivists and digital preservation officers. Whatever they are called, demand for them is expanding.


The University Of Kentucky Announces New Online Resource

The University of Kentucky Libraries University Archives announces the creation of a new online resource, Explore UK, which aims to preserve the memory of the institution and make university history more readily available. University Archives collaborated with Digital Programs to expand the availability of historic items frequently requested by researchers, alumni, current students and faculty for the new online resource.

Explore UK brings together textual and visual records that can be browsed or keyword searched. Many more resources will be added over time. Currently, the site offers: searchable photographic images; Board of Trustees minutes (1862- 2007); and the University of Kentucky Yearbooks (1894-1975). In the next year, an expanded Athletic Archive will be made available for researchers and fans.


Dictionary Of Scottish Architects, 1840-1980

The Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA) is a database providing biographical information and job lists for all architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1980, whether as principals, assistants or apprentices.

The resource is searchable by name or location of architect, practice, or building, as well as by client. Architects based in Scotland have their known works fully catalogued; but only the Scottish works of English and Irish architects have been included. The Dictionary is currently being extended to cover up to 1980 and the entries for many architects who practised after World War II are skeletons only. These will gradually be filled out over the next three years. The works of architects who trained in Scotland but practised in England, Wales, the Dominions and the USA have not been comprehensively catalogued because of time and cost constraints.

9 February 2009

National Archive Of United Arab Emirates Launched

More than 400 local government and cultural representatives, librarians and archivists gathered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, today for the launch of an initiative aimed at preserving the history of the nation.

The plan is to establish an integrated and comprehensive national archive in 15 years, an initiative headed by the National Center for Documentation and Research (NCDR).

The project, known as “The memory of the nation”, will start by providing ministerial and governmental associations with the know-how to set-up and organise existing databases and archives in their respective offices. An interim project, with an expected two year timetable, aims to make sure that all ministries in the country organise their archives.


Personal Ancestry Writer II 84

Full Featured - Mac - Freeware

Personal Ancestry Writer II 84 has been released.


• The animated cursor added in version 83 (visible when opening notes windows and draft windows) was updated to fix a problem where the animated cursor got stuck when opening an empty notes window.

Our Family Book 5.5.1a

Family Books - Windows - Purchase

Our Family Book 5.5.1a has been released.


• A message will be written to the logfile, if during reading of a DATE value the year is greater than the current year.

Osk 4.61

Full Featured - Windows, Mac - Purchase

Osk 4.61 has been released.


• All issues have been fixed, and all flickering issues solved.

Rowan University Participates In The Genographic Project Ancestral Study

Rowan University associate professor Kathleen Pereles had no idea she had Native American aboriginal roots. The DNA in Pereles' cheek cells revealed that the management professor's maternal ancestors traveled from Africa, north to Siberia, across the Bering Strait into North America more than 15,000 years ago.

The unexpected finding was one of many received by 60 Rowan students and 10 faculty members participating in the Genographic Project, a worldwide investigation launched in 2005 by National Geographic and IBM.

The group joined more than 300,000 public participants who have purchased $100 DNA-gathering kits online. Scientists in Arizona analyze the cells for genetic mutations or markers that link people to geographically oriented "haplogroups." From that, researchers generate a confidential migratory map and narrative for each participant.


GeneaNet: Set Your Online Family Tree Root

An Ahnentafel is a genealogical numbering system that allows one to list a person's ancestors in a particular order. It is also known as the Sosa-Stradonitz Method. In an Ahnentafel each person's father is numbered twice that of the person. Each person's mother is two times that person's number plus one.

You can easily set your GeneaNet online family tree root and automatically list your ancestors.

Basic Edit

Click "Modify Individual" in the box of the selected person, then click "Define as Family Tree Root" to set the person as your family tree root

Expert Edit (GeneWeb)

Log on to your online family tree as "Wizard", then select an individual and click "Update - Individual/Family". This will open a window that shows you a list of available update options. Click "Set to home individual" to set the selected individual as your family tree root.

Sosa numbers will be automatically assigned to your family tree root ancestors.

Remove Your Family Tree Root

If needed, you can deactivate the numbering system. Select the "Online Family Tree - Manage - Expert Options" menu item then click "Remove the family tree root". Note that this will not remove the individual in your family tree!

7 February 2009

Heritage Microfilm Announces International Initiative

Cedar Rapids-based Heritage Microfilm announces an international initiative aimed at preserving and making accessible the world's newspaper history. The initiative will consist of working with newspaper publishers and libraries to identify and secure newspapers and newspaper microfilm which are unique and generally unavailable.

Preservation will involve archival microfilming of international newspapers, using the most modern methods and standards. Heritage Microfilm will also work with content holders to remaster any damaged or obsolete film. The initiative will also aim to digitize the microfilmed newspaper content and make it available to the world via, the world's largest digital newspaper archive.


MacFamilyTree 5.3.10

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

MacFamilyTree 5.3.10 has been released.


• Bug fixes for the timeline.
• Stability improvements.
• Localization fixes for English and Swedish.


Organization - Research - Windows - Purchase

GenSmarts has been released.


• GenSmarts Family Tree Maker Special Edition: This special editon only supports FTM 2009 and all earlier versions.

Brother's Keeper 6.3.9

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

Brother's Keeper 6.3.9 has been released.


• On the procedure File, Delete unused sources, it will show each unused source and ask if you want to delete it (instead of deleting all unused sources sight unseen).
• On the Backup and Restore screens, if you click "Pick a different drive" it shows all available drives and folders.
• On the Restore screen, when it is restoring the Text, Picture, and Media files, it can create multiple levels of folders if the folders do not already exist.

Ahnenblatt 2.59

Full Featured - Windows - Freeware

Ahnenblatt 2.59 has been released.


• Fixing of some installation issues.
• New language: Estonian.

6 February 2009

US Army Rededicates Buffalo Soldier Display

The Army rededicated a Buffalo Soldier display in the Pentagon Thursday and kicked off its observance of African American History Month.

The ceremony was more than just a rededication of the 10th Cavalry statuette, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who hosted the event. He said it was a ceremony to honor the invaluable legacy of commitment, pride and sacrifice African Americans have made in the U.S. Army.

"This is a time for all of us to celebrate the past, the present and the future contributions of all African Americans to this nation," Casey said.

Buffalo Soldiers were the first African Americans to serve in the military during peacetime. In 1866, Congress approved the formation of six Black regiments: the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th 40th and 41st Infantry.

In 1869 the military down- sized and the four infantry units were combine into two, the 24th and 25th. In about 1867 the Indians gave them the name Buffalo Soldiers, reportedly as a result of the buffalo skin coats they were issued and their prowess on the battlefield.


Google Brings e-Books To Mobiles

Google is making its vast online library of books available for mobile phones.

The Internet search giant, in a post on Thursday on the Google Book Search blog, said mobile versions of the books could be read on devices such as the Apple iPhone or T-Mobile G1, which is powered by Google's Android software.

"These new mobile editions are optimized to be read on a small screen," Google said. "With this launch, we believe that we've taken an important step toward more universal access to books."

To access the mobile version of Google Book Search a user needs to type into the Web browser of their iPhone or Android phone.


5 February 2009

Ibero-American Archive Directors Meet In Cuba

The Committee of the Intergovernmental Support Program for the Development of Ibero-American Archives (ADAI) will hold its first meeting in Cuba since its creation in 1998 in Portugal.

Flor Ines Cassola, specialist of the National Archive of the Republic of Cuba, told the Cuban National Agency that debates in Havana will run from February 16-20.

She said the event will discuss and approve projects aimed at improving preservation conditions of national documentary stock.

The meeting gathers directors from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and El Salvador.


Chandigarh, India, To Digitise Documents Of Le Corbusier

Some invaluable documents related to legendary French architect Le Corbusier who planned Chandigarh in the 1950s can be seen online very soon, thanks to a move to digitize them.

The administration of the union territory of Chandigarh has decided to digitize all the old documents of Corbusier about the designing of the city and all the correspondence between the Indian government and other architects of that time.

Chandigarh is one of India's most well-planned cities.

The Government Museum and Art Gallery here has started the work of digitizing over 50,000 documents available with them that pertain to the period from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.


Fire At The College Of Arms In The City Of London

A fire that broke out on two floors of the College of Arms in the City of London has been brought under control, London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

LFB said eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were at the six-storey office building in Queen Victoria Street, south of St Paul's Cathedral.

Some 35 people were evacuated from the building on Thursday morning. There are no reports of any injuries and another 100 people were asked to leave adjacent buildings. Fire had broken out in parts of the third and fourth floor.

The coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families are kept there.

A spokesman for the LFB said so far no historical documents have been reported lost or damaged in the fire. The curator at the College is working ''closely with fire crews to preserve historical manuscripts held in the building".


4 February 2009

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) / Wordpress Plugin

The new TNG/Wordpress Plugin integrates The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) into WordPress!


• Displays TNG within Wordpress with no iFrames (great for SEO!), on whichever page you choose.
• Requires no mods, and overwrites no core files. Just upload the plugin to your Wordpress plugins folder.
• Moves the TNG menu into Wordpress sidebar, and optionally adds a search box there, too.
• Optionally add a template switcher so every user can choose the TNG template they like best.
• Optionally add single sign-on through Wordpress for new and existing users.
• Can be used with any TNG theme, and any variable width Wordpress theme.
• TNG and Wordpress can be kept in separate folders for easy upgrading.

View the TNG/Wordpress demo site.

Library of Congress Scans 25,000 Books

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, housing millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts. Like many other great research libraries, the Library of Congress has been moving into the digital world.

One way they're doing it is through a scanning project that has so far put 25,000 books online for anyone to read or download.

Doron Weber of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is funding the $2 million project, stresses the importance of scanning complete books to preserve their cultural context.


Digital Transfer Will Preserve Holocaust Stories For Future

Fifteen years ago, nearly 52,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses began sharing their stories with a group that would come to be known as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. The testimonies, averaging about two hours each, were documented on videotape, a format whose quality deteriorates over time.

That’s why the foundation, intent on preserving its Holocaust material for future generations, has launched a $10 million initiative to turn 105,000 hours of videotaped testimony into a vast digital archive.

The switch, foundation leaders say, cannot come too soon — with the videotapes expected to start decaying within five years and aging Holocaust survivors dying off. The foundation planned to digitize 12,000 testimonies a year, finishing the collection by 2013.


3 February 2009

Archives Rescue Corps Works To Preserve Alaska History

Historian Frances Field is working to help Alaskans discover and preserve the documents, photographs, letters and papers that make up the state's archives.

"People tend to think more of objects when (thinking about) saving history," Field said.

And for this reason, key parts of history often are neglected, she said.

As project coordinator for the Archives Rescue Corps (ARC), a State of Alaska project, Field is working to recruit volunteers and encourage people to register their archives with ARC. So far, Field has recruited 15 volunteers throughout the state and is looking for more. The only communities in Southeast with a volunteer are Juneau and Wrangell.


African Ancestry, Educators, Identity Experts Launch DNA Education Project during Historic Black History Month

African Ancestry, Inc., the DC-based company that pioneered DNA-driven ancestry tracing for people of African descent in the U.S, inspires students with the launch of its "Ancestry Education Project" during this monumental Black History Month.

With DC Public School Walker Jones Education Campus as its first beneficiary, the pilot program employs interdisciplinary learning modules such as ancestry DNA tracing, life sciences and world geography and identity development -- in a classroom setting. Slated to expand to other markets later this year, the goal of Ancestry Education Project is to promote science education, achievement motivation and positive psychological development among the nation's young people.


Our Family Book 5.5.1

Family Books - Windows - Purchase

Our Family Book 5.5.1 has been released.


• Large index lists optionally may be split according to the aöphabet or the date groups. For printouts the lists should remain as single list. In addition a button to delete all index lists in the output folder has been implemented for erasing data waste. In index lists "First Names" for persons no data as first name will be replacement character "_" will be used.
• Some minor bug replacements.

Map My Ancestors 1.8.3

Mapmaking - Windows - Purchase

Map My Ancestors 1.8.3 has been released.


• Bug fix releases only.

Family Matters 4.23c

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Family Matters 4.23c has been released.


• Fixed GEDCOM output for second children of parents not in a Group.
• Fixed SourceForm resize PersonList error.
• Added VerboseDate to DecForm, GroupReport and IndReport.
• Fixed form resize errors.
• Updated Copyright.
• Set off web picture description, place and occasion fields.
• Corrected StartupStuff Path Not Found errors.
• Added “Show Only Relations” to PictureView.
• Improved editing ability in EventView Places.
• Interpreted more extensive date modifiers.

First Sign Of Chocolate In Ancient U.S. Found

Chocolate residues left on ancient jars mark cacao's earliest known presence north of what is now the U.S.-Mexico border.

The residues, found on pottery shards excavated from a large pueblo (called Pueblo Bonito) in Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, suggest the practice of drinking chocolate had traveled from what is now Mexico to the American Southwest by about 1,000 years ago.

Scientists have known about the early uses of chocolate in Mesoamerica, with evidence for rituals involving liquid drinks made from cacao beans dating back more than 1,000 years. (Mesoamerica extends from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua.)


2 February 2009

MyBlood 1.0 alpha 3

Full Featured - Windows, Mac - Purchase

MyBlood 1.0 alpha 3 has been released.


• New File format: Improvement: In the previous versions of MyBlood the file format and the database where separate items. The MyBlood file “.gja” was an export to a file from the database. So each time you opened a file, the contents was read and put into the database. If that was a big file, it could take some time. In the same way, when you saved a file, the database was exported. In alpha 3, the file is the database. Once the file exists, you only connect to the database file which is almost instantly regardless of the database size. The database file is created next to the old “.gja” file and has the extension “.mb1” (from MyBlood1). Saving a file now is also instantly.
• Save As: The Save As function didn't us to copy the contents of the Media Files to the new location. Now it does.
• About: The About Window now also displays if QuickTime is installed or not. Click on QuickTime to go the download site.
• Open GEDCOM: Bug fix: Translation of “Number of People and Families”
• Open GEDCOM: Added check box “Show Report”. This will show an import report of the opened GEDCOM file after import.

Continue reading...

New Guide Will Help In Tracing Australia's Convict Past

Australia's convict background might have provided an easy target in the past, but not any more.

The day has come when people are proud to have had a felon in the family.

Many people are now desperately searching for that convict link. And due to the demand, the State Library of NSW has set up a resource to help people in their search.

The Convict Research Guide focuses on people who came to the NSW penal colony as a convict during 1788 to 1823.

It links materials from throughout Australia and the world, including the National Library of Australia and the National Archives of Australia.


NPO Finds Document Listing About 6,000 Japanese POWs

A nonprofit Japanese organization said Sunday it has found at the U.S. National Archives a list of names of some 6,000 Japanese soldiers who became prisoners of war in Asia and the Pacific regions during World War II and later died. Members of the association that promotes peace and reverence for World War II casualties said the finding may help them to collect the remains of such soldiers and return them to family members.

According to the group in Saga Prefecture, the document was compiled in 1952 by a U.S. government body and it gives the names of about 6,000 Japanese POWs in Roman alphabet, the dates of their deaths and the names of gravesites. The 6,000 POWs include those who died in Hawaii, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan’s Okinawa Island. The document also includes a map showing the location of gravesites of some Japanese POWs on Leyte Island in the Philippines. NPO members plan to collect the remains of such soldiers on the island.


How To Contact A GeneaNet User?

Anyone who has registered with GeneaNet can send or receive messages from other users as well as reply to messages if they are contacted.

Through the email address

You may contact another user either anonymously through the email address provided on their public profile.

To view their public profile:

- In the GeneaNet search results list, click on the username
- In the user's online family tree, click on the icon at the top left of the screen (see image below)

Through the user's personal forum

Every GeneaNet user has their own online family tree forum for free.

By clicking on the icon at the top left of the screen (see image below) you can post a message and an email will be automatically send to the user.

Through the "All Relatives" address book

Enter the name or the username of the user in the search form, then click "Add to my address book". When adding a user to your address book, you can enter a message. The user will automatically receive an email.

More about the "All Relatives" feature.

1 February 2009

PhpGedView 4.2

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

PhpGedView 4.2 has been released.


• Improvements to the external database structure, and a redesign of the internal data structures, for performance, flexibility and ease of maintenance.
• More options for statistics and charting.
• Improved multimedia handling.
• Support for three new languages: Slovenian, Romanian and Indonesian.
• Improved soundex searching for non-English languages.
And much more.

Note that PGV4.2 now requires PHP5.2.0 or later in order to run. Please ensure your server has a suitable version of PHP before upgrading. If you don't know your version, you can find it out from the phpinfo link on PGV's admin page.

Many web-host companies offer both PHP4 and PHP5, and you may need to ask them to make the switch for you, or you may be able to do this from a control panel, or you may need to a .htaccess or other configuration file.

For anyone who is unable use PHP5, we have patched all the critical changes into 4.1.6, to create 4.1.7.

Personal Ancestry Writer II 83

Full Featured - Mac - Freeware

Personal Ancestry Writer II 83 has been released.


• Unmarried couples no longer cause an entry in the problem list for "People remarried before previous spouse died or was divorced.
• Improved the fix for a rare note problem.
• When the user exports a GEDCOM using ANSEL or UTF-8 (and that GEDCOM is not to be submitted for TempleReady), PAWriter will ask the user whether to "Exclude Events and Notes for Living People?" If the user clicks "Yes", then for any person whose Died popup is set to Living, PAWriter will not include in the GEDCOM birth, baptism and marriage dates and places nor any notes for that person.
• Suppressed marriage number if only one marriage in all reports.
• Added a preference check box to exclude a partner's other partner(s) and their children from all reports. For example, stepchildren and their parents' marriage will not be included when a report is written if this box is checked.
• Displayed OS X draft windows in Arial font (the Geneva font doesn't display boldfaced text in OS X).
• Animated the OS X watch cursor (visible when opening notes windows and draft windows).

Live Roots On Second Life

A Second Life destination created to assist researchers, much in the way the real life (RL) versions does.

In the Live Roots on Second Life area, you can easily locate all of the available SL genealogy (related) areas, and get information about a variety of database companies in the upcoming exhibitor area.

Future enhancements to the Live Roots on Second Life area will include being able to preview available results for a specific surname (or full name) you are researching on a variety of database sites.

Already a Second Life member? Jump to the Live Roots on Second Life area.

A Historic First In Norfolk, England

As America celebrates its first African American President, recent research has uncovered the making of history in the UK with the election of the first black Mayor in Britain.

According to the research by the Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council (NNREC), the Norfolk Record Office and historian Sean Creighton, Britain's first black Mayor was Dr Allan Glais(y)er Minns, elected in 1904 in Thetford, Norfolk.

Until recently, John Archer, elected as Mayor in Battersea in 1913, was thought to be the first black man to hold this title. However the 'American Negro Year Book 1914' recorded that:  'In 1904 Mr Allan Glais(y)er Minns, a col'd man from West Indies, was elected Mayor of borough of Thetford, Norfolk'.

Allan Glais(y)er Minns was the son of Jonn Minns of Inagua, Bahamas. He was born on 19 October 1858 and educated at Nassau Grammar School. He later studied at Guy's Hospital and became the Medical Officer at Thetford Workhouse and Thetford Cottage Hospital.