Category: publications

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institutions that deploy the MyHeritage Library Edition™ will be able to offer their patrons access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past 5 centuries.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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US obituaries project to be made searchable online.

Press Release: Massive Online US Obituaries Project Will Help Find Your Ancestors
October 1, 2014
obituary project to be made searchable online.

US obituary project to be made searchable online.

Volunteers making over a billion names from US death records searchable online.

Salt Lake City, Utah —October 1, 2014

In celebration of Family History Month, FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank (GenealogyBank.com) today announced an agreement to make over a billion records from historical obituaries searchable online. It will be the largest—and perhaps most significant—online US historic records access initiative yet. It will take tens of thousands of online volunteers to make GenealogyBank’s vast U.S. obituary collection more discoverable online. Find out more at FamilySearch.org/Campaign/Obituaries.

The tremendous undertaking will make a billion records from over 100 million US newspaper obituaries readily searchable online. The newspapers are from all 50 states and cover the period 1730 to present. The completed online index will be fairly comprehensive, including 85% of U.S. deaths from the last decade alone. The death collection will easily become one of the most popular online genealogy databases ever, detailing names, dates, relationships, locations of the deceased, and multi-generational family members.

Family history information from obituaries are being indexed by volunteers and made searchable online.

Obituaries can solve family puzzles, tell stories, dispel myths, and provide tremendous help with family history research. A single obituary can include the names and relationships of dozens of family members. For example, Alice E. Cummings’ obituary (See above) sheds light on where she lived during her lifespan, her personal history, and it provides information connecting five generations of ancestors and descendants in her family tree—14 people in all.

Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, explained that obituaries are extremely valuable because they tell the stories of our ancestors’ lives long after they are deceased. He invites online volunteers to help unlock the “treasure trove” of precious family information locked away in newspaper obituaries.

“Billions of records exist in US obituaries alone,” Brimhall said. “The average obituary contains the names of about ten family members of the deceased—parents, spouse, children, and other relatives. Some include much more. Making them easily searchable online creates an enormously important source for compiling our family histories. The number of people who will benefit from this joint initiative is incalculable.”

GenealogyBank has over 6,500 historical U.S. newspapers and growing, spanning over 280 years. The death notices in these publications go beyond names and dates. They can provide insightful first-hand accounts about an ancestor that simply are not available from censuses or vital records alone.

“Obituaries, unlike any other resource, have the ability to add incredible dimensions to an individual’s family history research. They contain a wealth of information including facts and details that help capture the legacy of those who have passed on,” said Dan V. Jones, GenealogyBank Vice President. “The unique life stories written, dates documented, and generations of family members mentioned are often only found within an obituary, which makes them such an invaluable resource. Obituaries have the unique power to both tell a story and enable individuals to learn more about their family relationships. GenealogyBank is proud and excited to partner with FamilySearch in bringing these obituaries to researchers all over the world.”

Volunteers Are Key

The success of the massive US obituary campaign will depend on online volunteers. The obituaries are fairly simple to read, since they are digital images of the typeset, printed originals, but require human judgment to sort through the rich, historic data and family relationships recorded about each person. Information about online volunteering is available at FamilySearch.org/indexing. A training video, indexing guide, detailed instructions, telephone and online support are available to help new volunteer indexers if needed.

FamilySearch.org volunteers have already indexed over one billion historic records online since 2006, including all of the available U.S. Censuses, 1790 to 1940. In 2012 volunteers rallied in a record-breaking effort to index the entire 1940 U.S. Census in just four months. Today, the US censuses, 1790 to 1940, are the most popular online databases for family history research. Indexed obituary collections can be searched online at FamilySearch.org and GenealogyBank.com.

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About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

About GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank.com is one of the largest exclusive collections of newspapers and historical documents for family history research. It provides information on millions of American families from 1690–today. Over 6,500 newspapers provide first-hand accounts of your ancestors’ lives that simply can’t be found in other genealogy resources: obituaries, birth and marriage notices, photographs, hometown news and more. Over 380,000 historical books and documents from 1749-1994 include military records, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants, casualty lists, funeral sermons, biographies and much more. Discover the stories, names, dates, places and events that have shaped your family story at GenealogyBank.com.

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Sign of the times: Ancestry.com killing local genealogy societies?

To me, the new article I discovered today on the Simcoe Reformer website illustrates a disturbing trend in which the larger, conglomerate sites such as Ancestry.com are killing local genealogy societies.
online genealogy websites killing local genealogy societies?

Are large online genealogy websites killing local genealogy societies?

I must admit, I’ve never been one to do physical research. As one whose personal income depended on computers, the internet and their use on the job, I began my genealogy research twenty years ago using the internet almost exclusively. My timing was just right as there was an influx of information being indexed online and I was able to take advantage as I progressed in my research.

Admittedly, I would hit frequent brick walls, but the scope of my research was so extensive, I would just shelve that brick wall, move on to something else, and come back to it later with the hope something had been put online that would allow me to break down that brick wall.

According to the above mentioned article, the Norfolk chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be holding a sad but important meeting to discuss the organization’s chances of survival into the future. With a membership that has dropped by almost 50% over several years, and this is easily attributed to the mass availability of genealogy data online with large sites such as Ancestry.com. There’s no longer much reason to do physical research in local repositories, libraries and genealogy societies.

As sad as this seems, it is a sign of progress and global accessibility to all information, which is as it should be – giving everyone with computers and internet connections equal access.

The only part about this that bothers me is, what will happen to the collections held by these organizations? My hope is that there will still be regional organizations in the larger city centers and these collections can be transferred, care for and made available to the general public at these venues.

Living in Chilliwack, British Columbia, I would have no problem traveling to Vancouver if the local collections were transferred to the larger city. For those times when we have to research areas not indexed online, it would be well worth making the periodic trip.

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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions – 11 Sep 2014

Following are the Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions for the week ending September 11, 2014.

 

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions – 11 Sep 2014

FamilySearch.org

Brazil

Canada

Colombia

Ghana

India

Italy

Mexico

Netherlands

Philippines

Portugal

Russia

South Africa

Spain

United Kingdom

United States

 

Ancestry.com

Canada

United States

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DNA solves mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper.

It is gratifying that in today’s day and age, science and technology are such that DNA solves mysteries and breaks down walls in more than just genealogy. It holds the promise of possibly identifying the culprits in unsolved crimes throughout history – as long as DNA can be found on artifacts left on the scene. In this case, DNA solves the mystery of the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
DNA solves the mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper.

DNA solves the mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper.

In a previous post, “Be prepared for the skeletons in the closet you find,” I discussed the discoveries I have made in our genealogies and those of others I’ve done. Although some were fascinating and positive, others were decidedly negative and I had to be careful how I relayed the information to the recipient of the research.

An example of the positive side of discoveries made and mysteries solved through DNA is the discovery of the burial site of Richard III. I can just imagine how the distant ancestor they approached for testing must have felt. I’d have been glad to be able to know for sure whether or not I was his ancestor.

Then there’s the recent announcement of the analysis of DNA found on a shawl left at the scene of the murder of Catherine Eddowes. DNA has proved that Jack the Ripper was a long held suspect, Aaron Kosminski, a recent Polish immigrant and hair stylist.

I can just imagine how the distant ancestor of his sister felt when she was approached to be tested and have it confirmed that her distant uncle was indeed Jack the Ripper.

The DNA results identifying Jack the Ripper are supported by the fact that the Ripper’s last victim, Frances Coles, was attacked just prior to Kosminski being placed in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, where he remained until his death at 53 in 1919.

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Are free genealogy databases a thing of the past?

In almost twenty years of genealogy research, I have found a considerable amount of the sources, data and images on free genealogy databases online. They still exist in large numbers and can be very valuable.
find free genealogy databases

Finding free genealogy databases.

The tough part in some cases is finding them, as most sites created by amateur genealogists and website owners are not optimized for the internet and therefore may not rank well in Google searches.

Be sure to sift through as many links as you can. If the site entered from a Google search result links to other sites, then by all means check them out. It’s important to bookmark any sites you find valuable as it’s very likely that days, weeks, months or even years down the road, you may never be able to find it again.

One tool I find very helpful for finding free genealogy databases is the Google Genealogy Search Tool at the Ancestor Search website. Scroll to the very bottom for the search tool, just one of many on the page. This tool incorporates most of all the search types above it. Just proceed to the next search results once you’ve waded through a set. This is very quick, easy and fruitful.

It is also important to search by other means than just names, such as location, topical sites (i.e. military service, war records, births, deaths, etc.) and dedicated surname websites.

When you begin to study genealogy, the resources that you have are few and far between. Most of us don’t go out and purchase expensive books or buy memberships in larger sites to get the information that we want. We tend to rely more on our own experiences and family members, but the truth is that those resources, while good, won’t carry you back through too many generations before you need some additional help.

Frustration can be an integral part of genealogy research. When it gets to the point where I’m very frustrated and feeling blocked, I create a ‘to do’ note on the person’s record in my genealogy software and turn to a different item. I find when I return later, either with a fresh, clear mind, or having given the database time to make updates, I will find something useful.

While you’re working online on your family tree, the free genealogy database will very often be a life saver. Those of us who don’t, or can’t buy the online access to the many paid databases, use the free ones religiously to find our way through family members. While you may not find all of the things that you want to know, you will find a great deal of information that will point you in another direction you weren’t even aware that you had to explore.

Even paid genealogy sites offer some specific databases for free access. These sites include Ancestry.com, and Fold3.com, amongst others. To search for free records on any given paid genealogy site, find the search link, go to advanced search, and enter the keyword ‘free.’ Most sites will produce a list of all free databases on the site. Also, try a general ‘free database’ keyword search on Google. Be prepared for thousands of search results, but at least it’s a place to start.

It is also important to subscribe to the blogs or newsletters to learn of any time limited free database promotions that may be coming up.

For all of you who thought the free genealogy search was a thing of the past, and that nothing worth having was free any more, take heart. There are literally thousands of free genealogy database sites out there that are waiting for you to come and pick through them and get what you can for your own genealogy.

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