Author Image Christine Blythe

A fifties' child, mom, wife, avid genealogy researcher, web contributor and author/owner of four blogs including Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest Nest, Top Web Blog Tips, Job Bully, and our extensive family genealogy database site at Blythe Genealogy.

23andMe and MyHeritage pool their resources.

The cooperation of 23andMe and MyHeritage to combine their databases for the benefit of their users opens a world of possibilities.
23andMe and MyHeritage

23andMe and MyHeritage pool their resources.

As I work year after year researching my family’s ancestry, it becomes apparent that genealogy researchers are becoming more protective of their information. As a result, access to information is more exclusive and expensive. Despite this, the use of online genealogy resources and databases has grown exponentially.

A surprising benefit of the commercial aspect of genealogy information is the increase in sites offering genealogy data, whether paid or free. Rather than competing against each other, free and paid sites have been cooperating – cross referencing each other’s resources and data, as with Ancestry.com bringing up and linking to free sites such as Library and Archives Canada, BillionGraves.com and FindaGrave.com, to name just a few.

Now, 23andMe, the DNA and genetics company, will be combining its own DNA ancestry database with the family tree database of MyHeritage.

Provide a saliva sample, and 23andMe will discover the geographic origins of ancestors and help connect people to unknown relatives. MyHeritage’s library of over 5.5 billion records, and their technology for automating ancestry research will enable the mapping of ancestral connections via historical records and family trees.

According to MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet, “DNA testing can connect you to relatives you never knew existed, who descend from shared ancestors centuries ago, but family trees and historical records are critical to map and fully understand these connections.”

The cooperation of the two companies will enable 23andMe to offer its 750,000 customers access to MyHeritage’s tools and data, and in return, MyHeritage will use 23andMe’s data, allowing the matching of DNA to explore family trees and connections.

23andMe’s Personal Genome Service and DNA tests will both be offered to MyHeritage’s 70 million registered users.

The integration of the two will occur gradually and is expected to be complete by early 2015.

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Cool gadgets and gifts on every Genealogist’s wish list !

Over time, I have developed this list of my favorite and most wished for cool gadgets and gifts on every genealist’s wish list whether the occasion is Christmas, birthday, graduation, or any of life’s other milestones.

Apple – iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7″ 16 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet – 2013 Model (iOS 6, LCD Touchscreen, 2048×1536, 10 Hours, Lightning Connector)

genealogist's wish list

Apple iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7 on the genealogist’s wish list.

Although in the past, I always used a laptop for portability, I find that I’m home all the time now and have replaced my old laptop with an all in one desktop with 23″ touch screen that I absolutely love.

Since I learned the lovely news that RootsMagic, my favorite genealogy software, has now released Mac and iOS compatible versions, I have decided that my next purchase will be the Apple iPad for portability – for those rare occasions when I do travel away from home.

Wizcom – QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared)

genealogist's wish list

Wizcom QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared) on the genealogist’s wish list.

I have an OCR conversion software for converting pdf and image files to be editable. This is an absolute must for my transcription efforts.

Although I don’t own a pen scanner, this is the next item on my list for my ‘portable pack.’

VuPoint Solutions – Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi (Pewter) with 32GB Card + Reader + Case + Cloth

genealogist's wish list

Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi and 32GB Card is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I did own this handheld scanner until my daughter knocked over my working table one day and broke it. I do intend to get another as it was great for scanning individual pages, open books, etc.

Couragent, Inc. – Flip-Pal mobile scanner

 on every genealogist's wish list.

Flip-Pal mobile scanner is on every genealogist’s wish list.

This is another scanner I don’t yet own, but I’m toying with purchasing this solely because of its portability and ability to ‘stitch’ images together. This is essential for scanning large documents, certificates, photos, charts, and diagrams.

WD – My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

WD - My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I swear by my portable, external hard drive. Using this in conjunction with SkyDrive, my genealogy data is always duplicated and secure. This is by far the best method I’ve found for safeguarding years of hard work and investment.

NMicro – NMicro 1TB USB 3.0 tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series actual 28.8GB Free Space

on every genealogist's wish list

NMicro 32GB tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series is on every genealogist’s wish list.

For those occasions when I don’t want to lug around the portable external hard drive, the micro pen drive is the answers. It is great for storing those scanner images, photos, etc. until I can get home and transfer them to my main system.

Magnabrite – 64mm Magnabrite® Light Gathering Magnifier

is on every genealogist's wish list

Magnabrite® 64mm Light Gathering Magnifier is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I haven’t been doing a lot of research in dimly lit, dusty old libraries, archives, etc., this is an amazing gift as it gathers and magnifies the ambient light to direct it at specific documents, books, etc. and making them more readable.

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred (Voice Recognition Mini Box – PC – English)

 is on every genealogist's wish list

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I love my NaturallySpeaking software and use it all the time. It doesn’t work well when there are people around all the time, but for someone like me who is home alone during the weekdays, this software enables easy verbal transcription of documents, and then it’s just a matter of editing and formatting. Such a time saver!

I also swear by this because I like my blogs to have a more conversational tone, so I dictate my blog posts directly into the software for easy editing and formatting. If you’re a blogger with plenty of quiet time on your own, you really must try this.

NOTE: There is some ‘training’ required to increase accuracy, but except for a few ‘glitchy’ instances, I find it amazingly accurate.

Great Plains – WOW 4-in-1 Combo Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Great Plains 4-in-1 Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets is on every genealogist’s wish list.

Since I just purchased my very first touch screen computer – my new all in one – my next purchase will be a decent stylus for on screen actions and activities – and just for fun!

Antenna Shop – Antenna Shop Brief Bag with Stylish Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets (ASBBNB)

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Antenna Shop Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets on every genealogist’s wish list.

I don’t think I have to say much about this one. Once I’ve purchased all of the items on my list above that I don’t already own, this would be an ideal case for carrying around the iPad and extraneous gadgets required to keep my genealogy research and blogging life simple – believe it or not!

Jack the Ripper mystery solved? Don’t trust what you read on the internet.

Jack the Ripper mystery solved?

Jack the Ripper mystery solved? Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Jack the Ripper mystery solved? Not quite. It’s so true that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, even from me.

Recently, I wrote a post about the DNA analysis of a scarf purported to have belonged to Catherine Eddowes, one of the victims of Jack the Ripper, and which was supposedly present at the murder scene.

According to the earlier news story, the DNA proved to be a match to Jack the Ripper suspect, Polish Jewish immigrant Aaron Kosminski.

I can still hear the words of my husband, Mark, resounding in my head, “Careful, you can’t believe everything you see or read on the internet!”

Oh, how easily I brushed him off and continued on blithely writing and publishing the offending post.

They were fortuitous words, however, as I just read a news article on the Start-Up Israel site in which they present evidence that there were rather basic, but devastating mistakes made in the evaluation of the provenance of the scarf, the type of DNA analysis used, and the actual conclusions drawn from the DNA analysis.

Oh, how I hate to admit that I was snowed, but this wasn’t just a slight sprinkling, it was a full-blown blizzard and unfortunately, I succumbed.

Note to self: Listen to Mark more. Sometimes he does know best.

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Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

As I’ve written in previous posts, much of human history has involved the management of relationships, marriages, etc. to safeguard against incestuous relationships, and has resulted in an impressive genealogy obsession in Iceland.
Genealogy obsession in Iceland

Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

Iceland, with its population of only 320,000, is one small corner of the globe that still deals with the issues of living in the shallow end of the gene pool, manifesting in today’s Icelanders’ preoccupation with genealogy and family history.

In one instance, a group of students from the University of Iceland engineering department created a smart phone app, allowing users to simply bump phones to see if they have a common ancestor, as well as if there’s a relationship and just how close it is.

Prior to the smart phone app, the “Book of Icelanders” (Islendingabok), has been the receptacle of genealogy records. Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic neurologist, created a web-based version of the “Book of Icelanders” to provide constant access to its users. Kári Stefánsson and Fridrik Skulason claim to have documented 95% of Icelanders of the past three hundred years.

A benefit of the impressive job Icelanders have done tracing their family genealogies, is the extensive collection of data available for studies and experiments in many  disciplines including science, social studies, health and genetics.

Another example of the benefits of pursuing genealogy was described in my previous post “Owning a home: Military least likely and fire fighters more likely to own”. In this case, a statistical analysis of census data by Ancestry.com provided data to study home ownership trends over the past century.

Although the thoughts of the current and future benefits of genealogical study are pleasant ones, consider the negative – how would such caches of genealogical information have been used during WWII in Germany? The thought is truly frightening.

Previous posts about this topic are:

Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is now available online. 

Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

The Science of husbandry on a human scale.

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Owning a home: Military least likely and fire fighters more likely to own.

New analysis from Ancestry.com reveals surprising connections between occupation and owning a home today and since 1900.
Owning a home and home ownership.

Owning a home: Military members least likely and fire fighters more likely to.

I found some of the findings described in the following press release by Ancestry.com surprising except for one – the statistic showing that military members are less likely to own a home.

Having been raised in a Canadian military family, economics was never the first consideration for military families when it came to buying a home, although it was very important. Considering the transient nature of military postings and transfers, it often made more sense to rent either from the military itself or private landlords because we never knew how long we would live somewhere before being transferred yet again.

Changing housing markets always were a major factor, making buying a home while in the military a huge gamble. Although a member may be able to buy a home in one location within their financial means, there was a huge risk of having to sell at a loss at a later date since the time to sell was never the choice of the home owner because they remained at the mercy of the military and were governed by their assignments and transfers.This loss could be greatly compounded if the new transfer location was a higher value housing market, pretty much eliminating the possibility of home ownership in the new location.

The possibility of inheriting property was made much more difficult, possibly resulting in the sale of the family property because of the inability of military families to live on their own property and support their homes near their bases.

The volatility of military living circumstances made it almost impossible to make the investment in a home until nearer the time of retirement, when plans were being made for the future outside military service.

PRESS RELEASE by Ancestry.com

PROVO, UT

(Marketwired – October 15, 2014)

Members of the armed services are among the least likely to own a home in the United States, according to a new analysis by Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource. Ancestry recently analyzed 112 years of U.S. Federal Census data to better understand the connection between occupation and owning a home across the nation over the last century. As of 2012, optometrists have the clearest line of sight to home ownership at 90%, while dancers and dance instructors have the lowest home ownership rate at just 23%.

Occupation has had a major impact on home ownership rates since 1900. While the typical size of a profession’s paycheck is an important factor in the rankings, it’s not the only one. There are many instances of a profession having a higher rate of home ownership than another that typically pays more. Some interesting findings from 2012:

Public service often pays off in terms of home ownership rates, except if you are in the armed forces. Fire fighters ranked #7 at 84%, and police officers and detectives #12 at 79%, compared to lawyers and judges who ranked #20 at 78%. Teachers were higher than economists (#45 at 74% versus #97, 64%).
Janitors and sextons had a rate about double that of waiters and waitresses (54% versus 27%).
It turns out that all artists are not starving. Sixty-three percent of artists and art teachers own homes, which is almost twice as high as dancers and dance teachers, which have the lowest rate of home ownership among any profession. Higher rates of home ownership were also seen among musicians and music teachers (62%), entertainers (57%) and authors (63%).
Some skilled professions that include many unionized workers had fairly high rates of home ownership, such as electricians at 73%, plumbers at 70% and power station operators at 87%.
Sixty-two (62) percent of editors and reporters owned homes in 2012, which is higher than almost every other analyzed decade.

Home ownership rates were at just 32% in 1900 and have doubled since then, but nearly all that growth came by 1960. “This kind of historical context is extremely valuable information for people researching their family history,” said Todd Godfrey, Head of Global Content at Ancestry. “Home ownership, occupation, and location are often key bits of information that can help bring the stories of our ancestors to life and greater illumination to the times in which they lived.”

With the stability of the housing market and the economy fluctuating drastically in recent years, occupations with specialized skills and heavy ties to the community fared the best. According to the analysis by Ancestry, top occupations for home ownership in the United States for 2012 are as follows:

Optometrists: 90%
Toolmakers and Die Makers/Setters: 88%
Dentists: 87%
Power Station Operators: 87%
Forgemen and Hammermen: 84%
Inspectors: 84%
Firemen: 84%
Locomotive Engineers: 84%
Airplane Pilots and Navigators: 83%
Farmers: 81%

“Firemen, dentists and farmers all play integral roles in their local community, so perhaps the need to root in the communities they serve has played a role in home ownership,” Godfrey said. “Firefighters have a deep love for the community they serve, farmers are tied to the land and optometrists and dentists have spent their careers building a clientele list tied to the community. It could also be a case of raising their families in the same homes they were raised in and their parents before them.”

Lower rates of home ownership.

From a list of nearly 200 occupations, the rate of home ownership in 2012 is as low as 23% for certain job types. While the professions with the very highest rate of home ownership weren’t necessarily those with the biggest paychecks, the majority of the professions with the worst rates of home ownership have a mean hourly wage of $13 or less. Job stability and job security also played a large role in how likely those in a given profession were to own a home.

As expected, many of the lowest ranking occupations don’t require higher education including cleaners, waiters, counter workers and cashiers–and have lower job stability. Though surprising at first, members of the armed forces are less likely to own a home due to ability/requirement to live on base, possible deployment or the average age skewing younger. The following are occupations with the lowest rate of home ownership in 2012:

Dancers and Dance Teachers: 23%
Motion Picture Projectionists: 27%
Waiters and Waitresses: 27%
Counter and Fountain Workers: 28%
Members of the Armed Forces: 33%
Service Workers (except private households): 34%
Bartenders: 35%
Charwomen and Cleaners: 35%
Cashiers: 36%
Cooks (except private households): 36%

Owning a home has been the dream of working men and women in the United States from the nation’s founding. For people from tool makers to optometrists to dancers, home ownership continues to be part of the American dream. To learn more about the Ancestry analysis of home ownership and occupation, visit http://ancstry.me/1ywaIkB.

____________________

SOURCE: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.

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