Category: Locations

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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MyHeritage, EBSCO to provide genealogy services for institutions.

This press release brings great news for genealogy researchers. We’ve seen this in the past with Ancestry.com in libraries and Family Search through local LDS Family History Centers, and now MyHeritage will be partnering with EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) to provide genealogy services for worldwide institutions and libraries.
Ancestry and genealogy services for institutions

Providing genealogy services for institutions.

PRESS RELEASE
October 7, 2014

MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced a significant expansion into the institutional education market, with the launch of a dedicated, high-performance family history genealogy service for worldwide institutions and the signing of a strategic partnership with EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) to distribute it exclusively.

As the leading provider of online research content for libraries and other institutions, EBSCO’s partnership with MyHeritage reaffirms its commitment to providing first-class content to libraries at affordable prices.

EBSCO Senior Vice President of Product Management Michael Laddin, said: “MyHeritage brings to the table an unparalleled offering of a vast, content-rich database and innovative, easy-to-use technologies. With a proven track-record of supporting customers across the globe, we are very excited about this partnership and the value it will bring to libraries and other educational centers worldwide.”

The new, state-of-the-art MyHeritage Library Edition™ MyHeritage Library Edition™ empowers people to discover more about their family history and the lives led by their ancestors. It’s the first product servicing libraries that offers a one-stop-shop of global content, powerful technologies and remote access.

The MyHeritage Library Edition™ provides access to a vast collection of U.S. and international documents online, with images of original documents to enhance research and encourage critical thinking.

Key highlights include:

Vast Global Content

Educational institutions that deploy the MyHeritage Library Edition™ will be able to offer their patrons access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past 5 centuries. Available in 40 languages, the MyHeritage Library Edition™ is the industry’s most multilingual family history search engine, breaking down geographical and language barriers in research. The data repository, one of the largest and most internationally diverse of its kind, includes birth, death and marriage records from 48 countries, the complete US and UK censuses, immigration, military and tombstone records and more than 1.5 billion family tree profiles. The database grows at an average pace of more than 5 million records each day.

Powerful Technology

The MyHeritage Library Edition™ builds upon MyHeritage’s deep investment in innovation. Its search engine’s automatic handling of translations, synonyms and spelling variations of millions of names in multiple languages is unparalleled. Its unique Record Detective™ technology takes research one step further by recommending additional records for each record discovered. This enhances research and helps users discover a lot more in less time.

Remote Access

Library members can use the MyHeritage Library Edition™ either at their local library or in the comfort of their own home using remote access.

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Relatives of adopted adults are now able to trace family tree.

Press release: Relatives of adopted adults now able to trace family tree.

Children, grandchildren and other relatives of adopted adults can now trace back through their ancestors’ lives – helping them to unearth their family history, discover more about their medical background and reach out to long-lost relatives under new rules introduced today.

Previously, only the person adopted and their birth relatives were able to use specialized adoption agencies to help shed light on their family history and make contact with their biological family members.

The new rules will extend this right to all relatives of adopted adults, from children and grandchildren to partners and adoptive relatives, allowing greater openness in adoption while ensuring adopted people have the right to a private, family life.

For example, those who have lost a parent to cancer or a heart problem will be able to discover whether their grandparents or other birth relatives suffered from the same condition, giving them the chance to seek advice and support.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who has 2 adopted brothers, said:

It’s right that descendants and other relatives of adopted adults are able to access important information, such as medical records or genetic health conditions, which could impact upon how they live their life today.

They should also be able to find out about important events from their past, as well as make contact with family members if they wish.

This positive change will help thousands of people discover their place in history, while keeping important safeguards in place to protect the right to a private family life for those who were adopted.

Julia Feast OBE, from the British Association for Fostering and Adoption (BAAF) said:

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering is delighted that the government’s consultation about extending intermediary services to descendants of adopted people has now been published.

We are very pleased that the government has extended the rights of descendants and other relatives to access an intermediary service whilst ensuring that the adopted person’s rights are not overlooked and will be at the centre of the decision making.

Today’s announcement (25 September 2014) is just the latest milestone in the government’s plan to overhaul support for adopted families.

We have announced plans to introduce a £19.3 million fund to help adopted children settle into their new families by accessing crucial support services as and when they need it, and have extended entitlements so that adopted children have access to priority school admissions, the pupil premium, and eligibility for free early education for 2-year-olds.

In addition, we have also published the Adoption Passport which sets out in one place all the rights and entitlements of adoptive parents, alongside new online maps which allow potential adopters to find out more information about services in their area. We have also set up First4Adoption, the government funded information service for people interested in adopting a child.

Notes to Editor

The government has today published new rules to make provision for intermediary services to facilitate contact between ‘persons with a prescribed relationship’ and the birth relatives of a person adopted before 30 December 2005.

The regulations will define ‘persons with a prescribed relationship’ as anyone related to an adopted person by blood (including half-blood), marriage or civil partnership or by virtue of the adoption. This will include all relatives of the adopted person, including but not limited to the children and grandchildren of adopted persons.

The regulations will ensure that that the consent of the adopted person is obtained before contact or information sharing is facilitated between persons with a prescribed relationship and birth relatives, other than:

where a person with a prescribed relationship seeks non-identifying medical information from birth relatives of the adopted person and this can be shared by the intermediary agency without sharing identifying information
where a person with a prescribed relationship wishes to make contact with a birth relative and the adopted person cannot be found, despite all reasonable steps having been taken
where the adopted person has died or lacks capacity

The ‘Intermediary services for relatives of adopted people’ consultation is now available.

The new rules will come into force by November 2014.
DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk 020 7783 8300

General enquiries 0370 000 2288

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DNA, archaeology, anthropology and genealogy open eyes to the past.

It seems that every time I turn on my computer to view the internet, I find new articles and posts about discoveries made in DNA, archaeology, genealogy and even science, that shed new light on our search into the origins of our own family and heritage, and the origins of our ethnic groups.

Today I stumbled upon the article “Discovered 2.3 k-yr-old human skeleton throws light on our ancestry,” on the ANINews website.archaeology, genealogy and science teach about our past and history.

According to this article, “DNA from the complete 1.5 metre tall skeleton is one of the ‘earliest diverged,’ oldest in genetic terms, found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.”

The DNA evidence pointed to this man being from a branch that is the most closely related to ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and now presumed to be extinct.

Reading about these new discoveries points out something very intriguing to me. In the past, the discoveries were made based on exploration, experimentation, and finding something new, affecting and changing the future.

Today, the discoveries one hears of most are those delving into the past, using all disciplines of social studies including genealogy, anthropology and archaeology; and the sciences including DNA and chemical analysis.

Today’s most most well known and talked about discoveries are looking to the past and where we came from; individually, as a family, and as part of a broader ethnic group.

This suits me fine as this is my area of interest and fascination. I can’t help but feel excitement with each new discovery in my own genealogy, as well as reading and hearing about the discoveries made with a much broader, more global impact.

It all matters and sheds light on who we are and where we came from.