Genealogy Blog

28 May 2009

New Lincoln Letter Added To The National Archives Collection

The National Archives added to its collection a short letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to help an ousted U.S. Mint director, who was a friend of a fellow Republican.

In the new letter, Lincoln asked his treasury secretary, Salmon Chase, to allow the fired head of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, Robert Stevens, to review the charges that led to his removal. Lincoln had appointed Stevens as a favor to Oregon Sen. Edward Baker, the ousted director's father-in-law.

"This letter, while seemingly routine, is an extremely important key to understanding President Lincoln's relationship with Sen. Baker," said James Hastings, director of access programs at the archives. "It shows his interest, even in the midst of the Civil War, in political issues on the West Coast."

The letter is written on yellowed stationary simply marked Executive Mansion, Washington, with a dashed line where the date — Nov. 14, 1863 — was filled in by hand.

Source & Full Story

Entire Run of American Archivist to be Online this Fall

OCLC is digitizing 242 back issues of the American Archivist—from January 1938 through Fall/Winter 2000. The first batch of 47 issues was dispatched for digitization in April. Four other batches will be sent across the summer.

Kate Elgayeva, a recent graduate of Dominican University who is a preservation assistant at the American Theological Library Association in downtown Chicago, will assist SAA with administrative tasks in prepping the batches and with quality control of the digitized material. The goal is to upload all of the content on the American Archivist Online website by this fall so that the entire run of this important body of scholarship would be available electronically for the first time.


27 May 2009


Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

RootsMagic has been released.


• Can view and edit place details for places from the master place list (Lists > Place list)
• Added source templates for Elizabeth Shown Mills’ new Ancestry QuickSheet
• Indexes in reports now support color coding
• Added several color schemes (in addition to blue) for toolbar and menu colors (blue, silver, green, windows setting)
• Several reports allow editing title
• Added optional built-in background images for website creation
• New ordinance reservation list when selecting “# people are ready for temple ordinances” from FamilySearch Central
• Added option to exclude RM specific tags when exporting GEDCOM files


Continue reading...

MacFamilyTree 5.5.3

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

MacFamilyTree 5.5.3 has been released.


• New person merge functions to search for duplicates in your database.
• Search duplicates for either a single person or in your whole database.
• Improved GEDCOM merge when adding a GEDCOM file.
• Full Chinese localization added (Simplified Chinese).
• Many bug fixes and minor improvements.

25 May 2009

MyBlood 1.0 beta 1

Full Featured - Windows, Mac - Purchase

MyBlood 1.0 beta 1 has been released.


• Multiple MyBlood files open at the same time.
• Merge files, and import GEDCOM files into an existing database.
• PDF-export of reports.
• Privacy implementation for GEDCOM export and web-site export.

Celebrities & Their Honorable Ancestors

Johnny Depp’s fifth great-grandfather William Depp served in the American Revolution. He fought in the March 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina. He enlisted in the Virginia state militia three times.

Brad Pitt’s sixth great-grandfather, Abraham Hammer, who was a Quaker, was told to leave his Quaker community in 1768 for “warlike preparations.” He was among the many who petitioned North Carolina for unjust taxation. Their petition later started the Battle of Alamance, which is considered to be one of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather Conrad Hilton was a Reserve Officer in WWI. He worked as training camp at the Presidio in San Francisco, Calif. before going off to war.

Source & Full Story

21 May 2009

Who Wants to Buy a Cemetery?

For sale: 13 acres, 4.5 of them undeveloped. Easy access to public transportation. Walking distance to the waterfront. Historical details. Lush landscaping. Well maintained by its landlord of more than a century.

One last thing: It’s a cemetery, one that comes with 6,500 filled graves.

“The chances of a new cemetery in New York City is nil. There is no land,” said Richard D. Fishman, the director of New York State’s Division of Cemeteries. There is room enough for about 4,000 additional graves in Canarsie. And in a city of 8.4 million people, many of whom die each year, he noted, “These four and a half acres are a lot.”

Source & Full Story

19 May 2009

Ancient Human Ancestor 'Ida' Discovered

A discovery of a 47-million-year-old fossil primate that is said to be a human ancestor was announced and unveiled today at a press conference in New York City.

Known as "Ida," the nearly complete transitional fossil is 20 times older than most fossils that provide evidence for human evolution.

It shows characteristics from the very primitive non-human evolutionary line (prosimians, such as lemurs), but is more related to the human evolutionary line (anthropoids, such as monkeys, apes and humans), said Norwegian paleontologist Jørn Hurum of University of Oslo Natural History Museum. However, she is not really an anthropoid either, he said.

The fossil, called Darwinius masillae and said to be a female, provides the most complete understanding of the paleobiology of any primate so far discovered from the Eocene Epoch, Hurum said. An analysis of the fossil mammal is detailed today in the journal PLoS ONE.

Source & Full Story

Historic Cemetery Vandalized

A historic Kentucky cemetery falls victim to vandals. More than a dozen headstones were overturned and destroyed over the weekend.

The Ebenezer Church in Jessamine County was one of the first churches in Kentucky. On its property is the Ebenezer Cemetery,. A historic site with more than 150 tombstones, some of which belong to Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers.

Some of the tombstones date back to the 1700's.

"This site is on the historic register", says Jeff Smith, a trustee and caretaker at the church. However, this quiet place has recently been disrupted. "Between Saturday night and Sunday morning", says Smith.

More than a dozen headstones were knocked over, vandalized, and destroyed over the weekend.

Jeff Smith says it's not what he ever wanted to see. "It kinda hurts my feelings someone would come out here and destroy things. It's disgusting", says Smith. Smith says not only did people destroy the headstones of people he knows, they also broke into the church. "They used a cinder block trying to break the door down. When that didn't work they tried to kick the door in", says Smith.

Source & Full Story (+ video)

The Federal Government Allocated $805,000 to Australia’s Main Collecting Institutions

Australia’s main collecting institutions have received a welcome injection of funds to help them collect and preserve huge volumes of digital information.

The Federal Government allocated $805,000 to the National Library of Australia (NLA), the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) and the National Archives of Australia (NAA) in the recent Budget to be put towards digitising important cultural and historical collections.

By digitising their collections, the three institutions aim to preserve them for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

The Budget allocation will allow each of them to look at preserving at-risk audio and video collections by converting them into a digital form.

Source & Full Story

18 May 2009

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), a cooperative cataloging program of the Library of Congress and eligible archival and manuscript repositories located throughout the United States and its territories, celebrates its 50th anniversary in May 2009.

In its first half-century, the NUCMC program has worked with almost 1,500 repositories and produced more than 114,000 catalog records to describe archival and manuscript collections held by those repositories. The program provides and promotes bibliographic access to the nation’s vital historical resources.

The NUCMC may be searched freely via a gateway at The catalog includes not only the MARC-standard cataloging produced by NUCMC since the mid-1980s but also cataloging produced by libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and other holders of archival and manuscript collections around the world.

Source & Information

Mystery Of Missing Marker Solved

The old headstone is faded and the carved letters are not easily read, but Henry Hill can once again rest in peace knowing the monument bearing his information is safely back at Clear Springs Cemetery in rural Hillsboro.

Hill's headstone disappeared from the cemetery, probably sometime in the period of the mid-1960s to mid-1980s, according to Montgomery County Genealogical Society member Carol Berry. She also happens to be the caretaker of Clear Springs.

During that 20-year period, a rash of cemetery vandalism occurred throughout Montgomery County. Stones were broken or removed and general mischief of cemetery grounds was popular.

Source & Full Story

17 May 2009

145-Year-Old Remains of Civil War Soldier Found in Tennessee

A construction worker in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, made a historic discovery Thursday afternoon while digging a sewer line. He found the remains of a Civil War soldier.

The soldier was still wearing part of his Union uniform.

It was a fierce and bloody battle, fought 145 years ago.

Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in the historic Battle of Franklin.

Source & Full Story

Scotland's First Family History Centre Opens

Scotland's first purpose-built centre for researching ancestral history is due to be opened by the first minister. It is hoped the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock will make it easier for people to trace their family tree.

The facility has had a £5m facelift and now brings together an archive centre, registration service, local and family history under one roof. Alex Salmond will open it in Scotland's Homecoming year and the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.

The Homecoming programme aims to attract expatriates back to Scotland to celebrate the country's culture and heritage. It is hoped some of the estimated 40m people around the world who can claim Scottish roots will use the new centre to research their ancestors. The facility has been created in the town's Kay Park and is built around a statue of Burns.

Source & Full Story

16 May 2009

Scottish Council on Archives Consultation

An initial project to explore ways to develop Scottish Archives Online is currently underway led by consultants Julian Tomlin and Martin Bazley on behalf of the Scottish Council on Archives. The assumption behind the project is that searchers for information, historical and current assume that if it can not be found on-line then it does not exist. Although information about collections of Scottish Archives can be found on-line, only a small percentage of individual names, places, dates and subjects held within such collections can be located. Scottish Archives require an infrastructure to open their rich and diverse holdings to people everywhere.

The final report will be ready by the end of June 2009.

Comments are welcome on their blog as to whether such an on-line catalogue is a desirable; do archivists have time to create on-line catalogues; who will use them; what do users want from archive catalogues; who is going to catalogue archival backlogs of collections?

Source & Full Story

'Civil War' Silver Found in Pot

An earthenware pot containing silver items thought to have been buried for safekeeping during the Civil War has been discovered in a Somerset garden.

It was found 18in (46cm) below the surface of the garden of a cottage in Nether Stowey, near Bridgwater.

The items bear the letters CGA, which are thought to stand for the initials of Angel Grey, the then owner of Stowey Court, and his wife, Catherine.

A treasure inquest has been adjourned to see if there is any claim on it.

Source & Full Story

15 May 2009

You Can't Fool All Of The People All Of The Time

David Parker, Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Northwest Georgia, is collecting advertisements that used some variation of Abraham Lincoln's famous saying, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Set #1 - Set #2 - Set #3 - Set #4 - Set #5 - Set #6 - Set #7

After 200 Years, Three Slaves Get a Final Resting Place

The 200-year-old remains of three black slaves from Sussex County were reburied Thursday afternoon in a small graveside ceremony in Newton after being stored at Space Farms Zoo and Museum, New Jersey, USA, for 30 years.

The three men, named Tom, Dan and John, were discovered in the 1970s when the land, once owned by Henry Simson Sr., was being developed.

The ceremony was held in a small African-American cemetery nestled between St. Joseph's Cemetery and the Old Newton Cemetery. About 20 people gathered in drizzling rain to honor the dead, including members of the Sussex County Historical Society.

Source & Full Story

University of Pittsburgh Press - Digital Editions

The University of Pittsburgh Press and the University Library System (ULS) have formed a partnership to make books published by the Press available online. By digitizing these volumes and distributing them freely on the Internet, the University of Pittsburgh Press is enabling greater access to the material previously available only as print editions.

The digital representations of the monographs are made possible through the efforts of the ULS Digital Research Library, responsible for digitizing the material and supporting their full-text searchability.

Pitt Press has selected 521 monographs for open access, including titles from the Pitt Latin American Series, Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies, and Composition, Literacy and Culture. The majority of these titles are out-of-print, but are now available online.

Oldest Human Hairs Found in Hyena Dung Fossil

The oldest known human hair belonged to a 9,000-year-old mummy disinterred from an ancient Chilean cemetery.

Until now. A recent discovery pushes the record back some 200,000 years. (And the newly discovered strands received a rather less dignified burial.)

While excavating in Gladysvale Cave, near Johannesburg, South Africa, a team of researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand discovered an ancient brown-hyena latrine. Upon inspection, hyena coprolites — fossilized dung — appeared to contain uncannily hair-like structures.

Source & Full Story

TreeDraw 3.2.0

Charts and Diagrams - Windows - Purchase

TreeDraw 3.2.0 has been released.


Kith and Kin Pro 3 compatibility release.
• TreeDraw now imports data from Kith and Kin Pro V3 databases and GEDCOM files only. Kith and Kin Pro V1 and V2 are not supported.
• Note that TreeDraw chart files imported from Kith and Kin Pro V1 or V2 databases should have their database links changed by using "File | Linked databases" (only necessary if you are using the "Update text" or "Auto-update text" features).
• Added a direct link to the TreeDraw support forum in the Help menu.
• Added automatic check for program updates.
• Improved the TreeDraw shut-down speed.

Second Site 3.0 build 4

Web Publishing - Windows - Purchase

Second Site 3.0 build 4 has been released.


• Added support for a ThemeGallery folder in the User Data Folder; see the Themes page for details.
• Added three Page Scripts: No Header is a Header Script that suppresses the header content ; Extra at Top is a Content Script that places the Extra Content at the top rather than its usual place at the bottom of the page content ; Surname Index with Extra at Top is a variation of the script above that can be used on the Surname Index.
• Added support for the EthnoAncestry 27-marker Y-DNA test.
• Added the File > Preferences > Unregister... command for beta testing and to allow customers to re-register using updated credentials.


• Fixed an error where the Slideshow User Item was including hidden files in the HTML for the set of pictures.
• Fixed a bug in the Family History Hosting > Publish command where attempting to upload to the main site would cause a folder not found error.
• Fixed a bug where the Open Editor button in the toolbar did not work.
• Replaced the CheckComp.exe program with a version that works with Second Site 3.
• Fixed a bug in the DNA Overlay Chart where the Show Kit Numbers Only property was visible; the functionality associated with that property was removed during beta testing.
• Removed the Add > Links > Main Page command; the command was no longer appropriate in Second Site 3 where the Main Page is a Custom Page, not a Link.

MacFamilyTree 5.5.2

Full Featured - Mac - Purchase

MacFamilyTree 5.5.2 has been released.


• Portuguese Localization added.
• Fixes for Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard (Family Assistant was not showing links correctly).
• Coordinates management fixed.
• Improved Performance of the Virtual Globe.

Kith and Kin Pro 3

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

Kith and Kin Pro 3 has been released.


• Added Adobe PDF file export for all reports.
• Added Soundex and Metaphone searches. This allows users to search for similar sounding surnames.
• Added Soundex and Metaphone code calculator.
• Families can be arranged into selectable "Layers". This allows the user to "grey out" all families except the ones he wants to work on.
• Simplified the Search Window. As well as the V2 SQL queries, users will be able to carry out much simpler searches.
• Function to save SQL queries to file added.
• Several different picture records can link to the same image file.
• Pictures can be arranged into an order defined by the user.
• Pictures can be added to source references and source documents.
• Drag and drop pictures from Windows added.
• Option to exclude picture files from database copying.
• Web page export uses a CSS stylesheet. This makes the Web pages much easier to customise.
• Supplied with several pre-defined stylesheets.
• Living people can be excluded from Web page export.
• Multiple timelines are now possible and timeline management is handled within Kith and Kin Pro.
• Fields "Email" and "Web site" added to the source repositories table.
• The person/family data form picklist popup entries are saved between sessions.
• Importing a GEDCOM file from a different program now produces an acceptable tree on the screen.
• Option to add the same single source reference to every person/family imported from a GEDCOM file.
• The notes editor window can now be used for all multi-line database fields.
• Click the middle mouse button in the Tree Area to return to 100% zoom centered on the mouse.
• Option to automaticaly re-use P and F codes.
• Option to reopen databases at the last viewed position.
• Added a function to create a "clean" new database - ie. one without the current user-defined fields.
• Column widths in person and family selection forms are preserved between sessions.
• Options to include full names and marriage dates in the family rectangles.
• New status bar shows zoom %, current layer and current family selection.
• The "Tree Layout" report now adjusts the font size to fit the scaling.
• The program shut-down has been speeded up.
• The unsupported Borland Database Engine has been replaced with a new engine.

FamilyInsight 2009.5.8.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.5.8.0 has been released.


• Fixed a crash when loading a PAF file with a rare type of error.

Brother's Keeper 6.3.13

Full Featured - Windows - Shareware

Brother's Keeper 6.3.13 has been released.


• (new) When you attach a previous source to an event, there is also an option to attach the same pictures that were attached to the previous source.
• (new) If you use the Option to have the Edit screen go to a certain BK number, then if you have multiple BK databases, it can remember a different number for each database.
• (new) Under File, Options, Edit screen, there are now four options about making the tabs bold.
• (new) After you make an Ancestor chart RTF file, there is an option to open the file with your word processor.
• (changed) If you click the N column to go to an Event Note the text box is larger if your screen is larger than 640 by 480.

Relatives of Abraham Lincoln Discovered at Darby Cemetery (USA)

A day of remembrance program was being held on Friday in Darby, Pa. A nine-year project has cleared an old cemetery where dozens of Abraham Lincoln's relatives are discovered.

The Friends of Darby Methodist Meeting Cemetery spent nine years clearing the 200 year old cemetery on Springfield Road and discovered that Abraham Lincoln's first cousins are buried there along with some of the earliest settlers of Darby as far back as 1735.

Lindy Constance Wardell is president of the Friends: "Elizabeth Lincoln Worrell said that when she was a small child, he visited them and he carried her on his shoulders while he was here."

John Robert Lincoln grew up in Darby and says he's either an eighth or ninth generation Lincoln. But in either case, everyone says he looks like his venerable ancestor.

Source & Full Story

13 May 2009

8th European Conference on Digital Archiving Geneva 2010 - Call for papers

Under the patronage of Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, the 8th European Conference on Digital Archiving is to be held in Geneva from 28 to 30 April 2010. It is organised by the Swiss Federal Arc-hives together with the European Regional Branch and Professional Associations Section of the Inter-national Council on Archives (ICA).

From the 1st of May 2009 it will be possible to submit abstracts for the following topics:

1. Archival profile: professional competence in the digital age
2. What to keep: how to mirror the information society
3. E-Archiving: reorganisation of processes and business models
4. Online access: solutions and implications

Abstract submission will be possible online from the 1st of May 2009. You will find a web-based form and further details at (Submission deadline: 31 August 2009)


Liverpool's World Museum Returns Aboriginal Remains

Members of an Aboriginal tribe are to hold a ritual at Liverpool's World Museum to mark the repatriation of human remains to Australia.

A skull is being returned to representatives of the Ngarrindjeri people because it has strong spiritual and religious significance.

The remains were purchased from Dr William Broad, of Liverpool, in 1948.

He visited Australia between 1902 and 1904 and published works on Australian skeletal remains.

Source & Full Story

Vatican Reveals Letter on Henry VIII’s Papal Plea

The Vatican has opened its secret archives, the repository of centuries worth of documents pertaining to the Holy See, to let the world get a closer look at a document presaging England’s split from the Church of Rome. Dated July 13, 1530, and addressed to Pope Clement VII, the letter, right, asks for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon and includes the seals of dozens of peers of England who concurred with the request.

A reproduction of the document will go on sale next month for about $68,000 from the Venice-based publisher Scrinium, which plans a limited run of 199 copies. A second, more damaged copy of the document is in England, at the National Archives in Kew. The reproduction and accompanying scholarly texts will allow for closer perusal of “the cause of Henry VIII,”

Monsignor Sergio Pagano, the Vatican archive’s prefect, told journalists on Tuesday. It will be officially presented in June, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Henry’s coronation, but the timing is a coincidence, Monsignor Pagano said. “We do not celebrate kings, only popes.”


12 May 2009

The HathiTrust Digital Library: Millions Of Research Records Available Online

The HathiTrust Digital Library, a partnership among some of the nation's largest academic research libraries, has launched a new digital catalog search that delivers nearly 3 million full-text records through an Internet browser.

The HathiTrust Digital Library, launched in October 2008, includes the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the 11 university libraries of the University of California system, and the University of Virginia.

For more information and to test the catalog feature, visit:

From Pilgrim to President

The Pilgrim Archives Leiden give a surprising look in a unique piece of Leiden history: the story of the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were English Protestants, who fled England to escape the oppressive regime of James I and the Anglican established church. They lived and worked in Leiden from 1609 to 1620.

From 1620 groups of Pilgrims travelled onwards to North America: the 'New World'. There, people still celebrate Thanksgiving Day, in memory of the Pilgrims' ordeals and eventual deliverance. The influence of the Pilgrims on the future United States has been great. Just take the fact that no fewer than seven American Presidents are direct descendants of the Leiden Pilgrims.

11 May 2009

Sir David Attenborough documentary 'reveals missing link in human evolution'

Sir David Attenborough is to present a documentary claiming to have discovered a missing link in human evolution – a monkey-like creature called an adapid.

The BBC programme, expected to be screened later this month, could help to resolve the debate about which kind of primates humans are descended from.

Sir David will reveal the well-preserved frame of the small monkey-like creature on the programme.

The fossilised animal, thought to be at least 37 million years old, is a member of the extinct adapid family, and was discovered in a disused quarry in Germany.

Similar in appearance to modern lemurs, the young female has certain key differences which convinced researchers they have found the link to modern apes.

Source & Full Story

GeneaNet: Stay In Touch With Family And Friends

GeneaNet All Relatives can help you stay in touch with family and friends while doing your research.


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

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.

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

Address Book

GeneaNet All Relatives allows you to organise your address book, see if you have been added in a GeneaNet user address book and manage your authorizations, see your family and friends on Google Maps, manage your contact groups and use the color tool to spot them, write private notes.


A feature called "All Relatives Topics" will help you discuss and share on any topic with your contacts.

Many topics are available (digital photography, genetic genealogy, genealogy softwares, etc.) and new topics can be created if needed. The next version will let you create your own new topics.

Contact Page

The GeneaNet Contact Page is information you can include about yourself for others to see. The purpose of this public profile is to help users of GeneaNet collaborate on research they may have in common.

The Contact Page has now merged with GeneaNet "All Relatives" to be more attractive.

9 May 2009

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding 7.1.0

Web Publishing - Windows, Mac, Linux - Purchase

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding 7.1.0 has been released.


• The standard, box and compact pedigree charts now use a JSON feed instead of XML.
• Those same pedigree charts (and some other boxes) now show rounded corners in most browsers (IE being the most notable exception).
• Events on the timeline chart may now have beginning and ending dates.
• A new third-party event timeline (Simile) may also be displayed on the same timeline page (configurable from the Chart Settings).
• The GEDCOM import now features a progress bar and can restart itself automatically if needed.
• A GEDCOM uploaded from your computer will now be saved on your site during the import (you may delete it afterwards).
• GEDCOM and media files may now be deleted from the "filepicker" window.
• A PDF version of the Family Group Sheet is now available.
• Choosing a new tree in the tree selection dropdown box in the public area will now automatically cause the page to bereloaded with the new tree (the "Go" button has been removed).
• The installation instructions (readme.html) now include an "Express" option.

Continue reading...

The Next Age of Discovery

In a 21st-century version of the age of discovery, teams of computer scientists, conservationists and scholars are fanning out across the globe in a race to digitize crumbling literary treasures.

In the process, they're uncovering unexpected troves of new finds, including never-before-seen versions of the Christian Gospels, fragments of Greek poetry and commentaries on Aristotle. Improved technology is allowing researchers to scan ancient texts that were once unreadable -- blackened in fires or by chemical erosion, painted over or simply too fragile to unroll. Now, scholars are studying these works with X-ray fluorescence, multispectral imaging used by NASA to photograph Mars and CAT scans used by medical technicians.

Source & Full Story

An Odd Parcel Post Package

One of the oddest parcel post packages ever sent was "mailed" from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho on February 19, 1914. The 48 1/2 pound package was just short of the 50 pound limit. The name of the package was May Pierstorff, four years old.

May's parents decided to send their daughter for a visit with her grandparents, but were reluctant to pay the train fare. Noticing that there were no provisions in the parcel post regulations specifically concerning sending a person through the mails, they decided to "mail" their daughter. The postage, 53-cents in parcel post stamps, was attached to May's coat. This little girl traveled the entire distance to Lewiston in the train's mail compartment and was delivered to her grandmother's home by the mail clerk on duty, Leonard Mochel.

The National Postal Museum -

I'm My Own Grandpa

"I'm My Own Grandpa" (sometimes rendered as "I'm My Own Grandpaw") is a novelty song written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, performed by Lonzo and Oscar in 1947, about a man who, through an unlikely (but legal) combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother — that is, tacitly dropping the "step-" modifiers, he becomes his own grandfather.

In the song, the narrator marries a widow with an adult daughter. Subsequently, his father marries the widow's daughter. This creates a comic tangle of relationships by a mixture of blood and marriage; for example, the narrator's father is now also his stepson-in-law. The situation is complicated further when both couples have children. (Wikipedia)

Here's a version by Dennis Warner on YouTube:

Read also A Wonder of Relationship

8 May 2009

Ancestry from US Census 2000

I had no idea that America had such a German ancestry!

The 'Ancestry from US Census 2000' report is part of a series that presents population and housing data collected by Census 2000, where 80 percent of respondents to the long form specified at least one ancestry. (About one-sixth of households received the long form.) It presents data on the most frequently reported ancestries and describes population distributions for the United States, including regions, states, counties, and selected cities.

The listed ancestries were reported by at least 100,000 people, and the numbers cited in this report represent the number of people who reported each ancestry either as their first or second response.

Read the 'Ancestry from US Census 2000' report (PDF link)

Henry VIII's Royal Jousting Tournament at Leeds Castle

Take the family to historic Leeds Castle and celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne. From Tuesday May 26 to Sunday May 31, Henry VIII's Royal Jousting Tournament recreates the pageantry of Tudor England against the stunning backdrop of the 900-year-old castle near Maidstone, Kent.

Experience the thrill of twice daily jousts with knights on horseback and men at arms. Staged by Europe's premier jousting company, the Knights of Royal England, the non-stop action features galloping horses, daredevil stunts, falls and fights in an authentic jousting arena complete with a royal box on the Cedar Lawn.

For further information visit


Funeral Held for Stolen Remains

A mass for William and John Higgins, whose father drowned them in a quarry near Winchburgh, was held in Edinburgh University's Catholic chaplaincy.

When the bodies were found, two scientists took some body parts for research without telling the family.

Sir Sidney Smith and Harvey Littlejohn removed limbs and organs before sealing up the remains in coffins for burial.

Parts of the boys' bodies were held by Edinburgh University until Wednesday's service.

The boys were murdered in 1911 but it was not until their bodies were found 18 months later in 1913 that some of the body parts were taken by the scientists during the post-mortem examinations.

Source & Full Story

Russia Still Searching for WWII Dead

Every spring, when the ground thaws, searchers fan out across Russia's vast swamps and forests armed with metal detectors, shovels and long metal probes, scouring for bones.

Most are are barely teenagers, their nails caked in the dirt of this valley west of Moscow, where up to 30,000 soldiers died before Adolf Hitler's advancing Nazi army in 1941.

While their friends gear up to celebrate the May 9 Victory Day holiday by watching the military parade on Red Square, for the volunteers here the memory of the war is stronger.

"Out here, it's worth thinking about what they did for us. If it weren't for them, we might not be here," said Nikolai Krasikov, 23, standing thigh deep in muddy water and plunging for remains.

"It's our duty to find and bury our heroes with honour."

Source & Full Story

7 May 2009

Relatives 2.0

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Relatives 2.0 has been released.


• Special Pedigree window. The pedigree of a person can be viewed in different scales (also with using the Magnifier) and with different numbers of generations of ancestors and descendants. It can be also saved in a separate file.
• Some minor bugs and inaccuracies have been fixed.

Map My Ancestors 1.8.4

Mapmaking - Windows - Purchase

Map My Ancestors 1.8.4 has been released.


• Will now handle trees with circular references.

FamilyInsight 2009.5.5.0

Other Tools - Windows, Mac - Purchase

FamilyInsight 2009.5.5.0 has been released.


• Added the Simple Update mode for
• Added a TempleReady list and TempleReady Export in IGI Search mode and in Simple Update mode.
• Added more German Help file translations.
• General speed improvements for large files.
• Fixed a crash when reading certain PAF files.
• Fixed a crash during Separate.
• Fixed a crash when closing after saving a file.
• Fixed an error when submitting a Residence event to
• Fixed a problem with Help not working on some computers.
• Fixed a crash when searching in Full Synchronize mode.
• Fixed a speed problem for the Compact operation for large files.

Hundreds of Records from Mendon, Utah, Going Online

Schoolchildren and teachers from the Mendon, Utah, area gather for a photograph taken in about 1895. This is one document Mendon resident Richard Watkins has collected over the past several years. This and other photographs, text documents and records areHundreds of records from Mendon city will begin to be digitized later this month, a process that will allow anyone with an Internet connection to see historic documents from one of Cache Valley’s oldest communities.

The project comes at an opportune time for those in Mendon celebrating the city’s 150th anniversary. It is made possible through a $1,500 grant from the Utah State Archives/Historical Records Advisory Board. The money is meant to go toward gathering, organizing and preparing for public access a wide range of historical documents from early settlement days through the 1980s.

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The National World War II Museum's cutting edge Victory Theater, Stage Door Canteen and The American Sector set to open in November

national-wwii-museum.pngThe memories are gathered and the research is complete. Celebrity voice-overs are all recorded. The computer-synchronized props are soon to be stowed in an 18-foot-deep pit waiting for their close-up. The National World War II Museum's gleaming new complex, comprised of The Victory Theater, Stage Door Canteen and The American Sector restaurant, is readying for its debut. When the doors fling open on November 6, 2009, the Museum's $60 million newest addition to its $300 million expansion will become the most significant attraction to the city's cultural scene since Hurricane Katrina.

Groundbreaking for the 70,000-square-foot building occurred on April 7, 2008. Designed by architects Voorsanger Mathes, LLC, the three attraction's centerpiece is the 250-seat Victory Theater. A state-of-the-art venue, the theater boasts a 120 feet wide screen with technology designed to thrust audiences into the titanic struggles of the War That Changed the World via a 4-D cinematic experience entitled Beyond All Boundaries.

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UK Archive Strategy Consultation Launched

The Government is asking people for their views on its proposal for a new policy on archives, published yesterday (6 May).

The consultation document, Archives for the 21st century, seeks to build the foundations for a sustainable future for archival services, responding to the challenges of the digital age and the opportunities to make archives accessible to a wider range of people.

Comments on the policy proposals are welcomed from all parties interested in archives, including local authorities, universities, individual information professionals, archival organisations and the general public.

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Hidden Auschwitz Message Hailed as Rare Find

A note hidden in a bottle by Auschwitz prisoners 65 years ago in a desperate attempt to preserve a small piece of themselves was added Wednesday to the archives of the Polish state-run museum dedicated to the memory of the former Nazi death camp's victims.

Museum Director Piotr Cywinski hailed the document — a list of the names of seven camp inmates that was discovered last month — as a rare discovery and a cause for celebration, given that at least three of the prisoners are still living today.

"This is a very clear sign of hope," Cywinski said. "These young people put the message in a bottle to leave a sign. But not only the bottle survived — some of them also survived. This is very moving."

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A Wonder of Relationship

The following remarkable genealogical curiosity appeared originally in Hood's Magazine, and is a singular piece of reasoning to prove that a man may be his own grandfather.

There was a widow [Anne] and her daughter [Jane], and a man [George] and his son [Henry]. The widow married the son, and the daughter married the father. The widow was therefore mother [in law] to her husband's father, and grand-mother to her own husband.

By this husband she had a son [David], to whom she was also great-grandmother. Now, the son of a great-grandmother must be grand-father or grand-uncle to the person to whom his motherwas great-grandmother ; but Anne was great-grandmother to him [David], therefore David is his own grandfather.

The accompanying diagram will enable the reader to follow this more easily.

From The World of Wonders, 1873

Read The World of Wonders online at Internet Archive

Read also I'm My Own Grandpa

6 May 2009

The First European: Created from Fragments of Fossil, the Face of our Forbears 35,000 Years Ago

Dressed in a suit, this person would not look out of place in a busy street in a modern city.

The clay sculpture, however, portrays the face of the earliest known modern European - a man or woman who hunted deer and gathered fruit and herbs in ancient forests more than 35,000 years ago.

It was created by Richard Neave, one of Britain's leading forensic scientists, using fossilised fragments of skull and jawbone found in a cave seven years ago.

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Museum Puts Off DNA Testing of Lincoln Artifact for Now

The strip of a pillowcase stained with the blood of Abraham Lincoln is usually locked away in a display case or safe at the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library in the city's Frankford section.

But last night it was brought out as Exhibit A during a debate among members of the museum's board over whether to allow DNA testing of the relic to solve a medical mystery.

Was the 16th president dying of cancer, with less than a year to live, when he was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre?

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Legends try to explain mystery behind old grave in Shepherdsville, Kentucky

A short drive behind the Best Western hotel on Lakeview Drive in Shepherdsville, next to Interstate 65 and some apartments, lies a grave.

Not much is known about the person buried there besides a few newspaper articles and the legends, which tell of a young couple who met at the old Paroquet Springs resort in the early to mid-1800s and planned to marry but never did because the young man died in the Mexican-American War.

The heroine of the tale died of a broken heart and was buried where their love began.

After a wrought iron fence that surrounded the nameless grave was destroyed when the land was cleared in 2007, Strange and members of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society's cemetery documentation team began restoring the gravesite, which is on private land.

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Obama to Trace Family History in Germany

Barack Obama's planned trip to Germany in June is not going to be an official state visit. German diplomatic sources told Spiegel Online that the US president is planning a private trip in which he will go on a personal search to places of importance for his family history.

On Tuesday, the news became public that a White House advance team is currently in the eastern German city of Dresden, where they are looking for possible accommodations for the president. In addition to a short visit to the city on the Elbe River, the president is also intending to visit the memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald.

Obama's great-uncle, Charlie Payne, served in the 89th Infantry Division during World War II and participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a forced labor camp that was a satellite camp of Buchenwald. It's possible Obama could visit on June 5, one day before his planned participation in the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the landing of the American troops in Normandy.

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Paris Rediscovers its First Medieval Fortifications

An excavation on the rue de Rivoli is currently uncovering the first Medieval city fortifications of Paris. Curated by the State (Drac Île-de-France), this excavation by an Inrap team has found a deep ditch on land isolated among a group of buildings. This earth and wood fortification comprised a ditch and a bank, which probably held in place a wooden palisade. The bank and the palissade were destroyed when the fortification was abandoned, and have left no traces. The ditch, however, was preserved under existing Paris buildings and has now been rediscovered.

Visible for about 20 metres, this V-shaped dry ditch is approximately 12 metres wide and 3 metres deep. Being the only fortification in the capital with no preserved built remains, it is the most poorly documented. Consequently it has sometimes been called the "Carolingian wall" and at other times the "11th century wall". It is the second city wall of Paris, situated between that built in Late Antiquity (early 4th century, on the Ile de la Cité) and that of Philip Augustus (around 1200, built on both banks). From the 10th century onwards, after the Viking invasions and particularly during the siege of Paris from 885-886, the right bank experienced significant economic and urban development and its protection thus became a necessity.

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5 May 2009

Family Tree Maker 2009- SP1

Full Featured - Windows - Purchase

Family Tree Maker 2009- SP1 has been released.


• Task category creation and use in Person view.
• Calendars fail to display when showing February 29th.
• Memory usage grows after using "Export to One Page PDF" function.
• Book items are not retaining changes.
• Reports not being created due to brackets in facts and notes.
• Chronological facts displaying incorrectly in Individual report.
• Ahnentafel numbers displaying incorrectly in the pedigree chart.
• Images aren't added when merging information from
• Photo Album reports creating memory usage problem.
• Sorting multiple spouses for a woman working incorrectly.
• Landscape charts in a book are rotating incorrectly.

The United States Declaration of Independence on View at New Commonwealth Museum

Displayed under protective argon glass, the invaluable historic documents bearing the signatures of John Winthrop, John Hancock and John Adams have provided the legal basis for the founding and governing of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for nearly four centuries.

They are among the royal charters, bills, constitutions and "one of 14 authentic copies" of the Declaration of Independence on permanent display in the Treasures Gallery of the new Commonwealth Museum at Columbia Point, Boston.

Opened April 16, the museum gives visitors a free tour of Massachusetts history since 1620 through its notable people, events, objects and rarely exhibited documents with an estimated value of $100 million.

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Second Site 3

Web Publishing - Windows - Purchase

Second Site 3 has been released.


Enhancements to the Main Page make it easy to add Pictures, Calendars, Maps, links to specific people, and other content to the Main Page.
• There are new DNA features which make Second Site a great choice for presenting DNA evidence.
• There's a new Slideshow feature for showing a sequence of images.
• The People Section has been re-implemented to make it easier to manage who is included in the site and what details are shown for living people. One of the features in the new People Section is the ability to show more details for excluded deceased people than for excluded living people. You can also control whether or not the primary image appears for living people who are included on the site. When Second Site 3 reads an SDF file written by Second Site 2, it converts the old settings to the new settings. Due to some inconsistencies in how Second Site 2 interpreted its filters (Show Excluded Parents, etc.), and some new options in Second Site 3, you should review the People Section properties to make sure they are set properly for you.
• Second Site now includes an HTML Editor so you can key content in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get window.
• For Family History Hosting customers, Second Site now includes a Publish command to upload your site in one step.
• Multiple charts can now be placed on a single page, and charts can be mixed with other content. See the Content Items and Page Items article on this page for more details.
• A new Search by Name facility is available for entering TMG IDs by selecting a person's name from a list; click the icon next to the properties that accept TMG IDs to open the "Search by Name" window.
• The new Family Section Note feature is similar to the NarrativeChildren event in TMG's Journal report.
• You can use a special shortcut to make the Custom Pages for a site and skip making the person pages, etc. User who create sites with many Custom Pages will appreciate the ability to quickly make a site with only those pages so they can review the recent changes. See the Make Site command for details.

Found Paintings Depict 2 Civil War-Era Forts

Historians and tourism officials jumped at the chance to buy two recently uncovered watercolor paintings that depict Civil War-era forts that once stood near Elizabethtown.

Hardin County History Museum representatives acquired the paintings, which had surfaced in Knoxville, Tenn. The News-Enterprise reports that the museum plans to display the works and sell prints in time for the Civil War sesquicentennial.

The two Edward Henry paintings of the Union strongholds Fort Sands and Fort Boyle fetched $3,000.

The paintings surfaced in December when Betty J. Gorin, who owned another Henry painting, told Elizabethtown historian Elvin Smith Jr. about them.

The University of Tennessee authenticated the paintings.


WWI Graves of UK, Australian Soldiers Excavated

Excavators near a rural village in northern France began work Tuesday unearthing the remains of as many as 400 long-lost Australian and British soldiers who perished in World War I.

The remains, buried in a cluster of mass graves discovered in 2008, are to be individually reinterred in a cemetery being built near the site.

Australian, British and French dignitaries gathered in the village of Fromelles for a ceremony marking the launch of the project, which is expected to conclude in just over a year.

"Today marks the beginning of the journey to afford many of those killed at Fromelles with a fitting and dignified final place of rest," said Admiral Sir Ian Garnett, Vice Chairman of Australia's Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which is charged with overseeing the excavation.

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New Holocaust Findings About Sereď Concentration Camp Presented

The Holocaust Documentation Centre (DSH) and the Slovak National Archive (SNA) have presented research results on May 5 that further document the Holocaust in Slovakia. Historians presented lists with the names of about 2,700 people who were imprisoned in the Sereď concentration camp from November 19, 1944 until March 30, 1945, the TASR newswire wrote.

Until this finding, historians were convinced that the commander of the concentration camp, Alois Brunner, who had restarted the deportations from Slovakia after the country was occupied by German troops, had destroyed the documentation before he disappeared in March 1945.

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4 May 2009

250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives

Hundreds of libraries and archives exist online, from university-supported sites to individual efforts. Each one has something to offer to researchers, students, and teachers. This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories to help you continue your research efforts.

The sites listed here are mainly open access, which means that the digital formats are viewable and usable by the general public.

Localized collections | Multi-State Resources | Larger Collections | eTexts and eBooks | Directories


Italian town to have graveyard Web cam

The Italian town of Pollica will soon offer Web cam services that enable people worldwide to check on the graves of their loved ones, Mayor Angelo Vassallo said.

Vassallo said because of numerous requests from tourists to be buried in the southern Italian town, the decision was made to sell tombs equipped with video and audio equipment, the Italian news agency, ANSA, reported last Thursday.

The mayor said the technology will include a camera that pans the town's graveyard while offering glimpses into the area's scenery.

"We've decided to sell 150 tombs and, what's more, give them the long-distance technology needed for distant relatives to commune with their dear departed," the mayor said. ''A Web cam will be operational 'round the clock and there'll also be a new sound system to give them a feel of the meditative atmosphere."


GeneaNet: Finding Spelling Variations of Names in Searches

GeneaNet allows Club Privilege Members to include variations and possible misspellings of names in their searches.

Go to "Search - Alternate Spellings" and enter a name.

Some spelling variations exist in the database

If some spelling variations already exist in the database, you will be able to uncheck the ones you don't want to be processed in your search.

You can also add some new spelling variation for the name. These new spelling variations will be saved in the database and processed in every upcoming search.

There's no spelling variation for the name

If there's no spelling variation for the name in the database, you will be able to add some new ones. These new spelling variations will be saved in the database and processed in every upcoming search.

Delete a spelling variation

You can delete any spelling variation if it seems to be incorrect. Removals are moderated: they will be effective for your curent searches but GeneaNet can cancel incorrect removals at any time.

3 May 2009

100 Genealogy Resources to Discover Your Ancestry

Research and discover your ancestry with these 100 tools to get you started building a family tree. Trace back as far as you can find and share your results with friends and family. Many of the forums in this list will also garner you a few new friends in the genealogy spectrum. Tracing your roots will give you insight into your family’s past and give you an edge in your own forensic education endeavors.

Read "100 Genealogy Resources to Discover Your Ancestry"

The Secret Of Google's Book Scanning Machine Revealed

"The other day my colleague Kee Malesky turned me on to an incredibly interesting article from the New Scientist website about the granting of patent 7508978. What's so important about Patent 7508978 you ask? It's the patent that explains how Google's proprietary book scanning technology works."

Source & Full Story

2 May 2009

Scientists to Resurrect Ancient Gene to Replay Evolution

The movie "Jurassic Park" was a lesson in how resurrecting extinct organisms can go awry. A new project plans to take a safer route: resurrect a single gene from an extinct species of bacteria. This tiny snippet of DNA will be implanted in modern-day bacteria, with the goal of seeing whether evolution can be replayed in the lab.

In previous work, paleogeneticist Eric Gaucher from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his colleagues reconstructed earlier forms of a common gene by computing the way different lineages diverged to create the bacterial family tree.

"It is a bit like what historical linguists do when they infer the spelling or pronunciation of an ancient word from its modern derivatives," Gaucher says. "Except, we are working with the DNA alphabet."

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1 May 2009

Personal Ancestry Writer II 85

Full Featured - Mac - Freeware

Personal Ancestry Writer II 85 has been released.


• The animated watch cursor now has the appearance of the classic wristwatch cursor.
• The animated watch cursor now appears when large notes are entered.
• When notes are entered (or checked for possible problems), and there are too many different possible problems to fit in the alert, the list of possible problems in the alert ends with an indication that there are more possible problems.
• The Draft and Timeline windows no longer scroll to the beginning of the text when PAWriter is re-activated from another process.
• Vertical tabs in text pasted into notes are treated as horizontal tabs and changed to standard line breaks when the notes are restyled or saved.

Bee Docs' Timeline 2.6

Timeline - Mac - Purchase

Bee Docs' Timeline 2.6 has been released.


• Added video timelines export with the background as an alpha channel (transparent). This would allow them to layer the 3D timeline movie on top of custom graphics using tools such as Final Cut Pro or Motion.
• Added an automatic importer for The Hit List.
• Saved document sizes up to about 40% smaller now if you are using lots of images.
• PDF exports can be compressed which makes them more appropriate for sharing via the web or e-mail.
• Some subtle improvements to the typography of date ranges.
• Movie export is better at using disk space efficiently.

Historic Newspapers From Wales to go Online

Millions of old newspaper reports and magazines articles from Wales, dating as far back as the 18th Century, are to be made available online.

Included in the £2m project by the National Library of Wales will be first-hand accounts from the Chartist march on Newport and the Rebecca riots.

Up to 300 titles will be available at the click of a button by 2012.

Last October, the library began digitising its collection of books, historical documents and works of art.

But the information will not be available online until 2012 because 2m pages have to be digitised.

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