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  • 5 Dec 2022 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC):

    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) hosted the inaugural National Conversation on Race: Reckoning with Our Racial Past this month, the first in a series of conversations across the U.S. that will bring together diverse groups of individuals to discuss race and racism in historical, cultural and contemporary contexts. The panel discussion explored how events during the past two years have affected and shaped the ongoing legacy of race and racism in the U.S. The program, part of Smithsonian’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past initiative, included remarks from Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III and a musical performance by composer and producer Nolan Williams Jr.

    The museum will hold its annual Freedom’s Eve program, providing a look into how enslaved African Americans celebrated New Year’s Eve in the past and how the African American community uses food to help bring good fortune into the new year. The two-part program will include curated in-person activities to help plan goals for the new year and conclude with a virtual concert featuring piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker.

    This year, beginning Dec. 26, the public can view a new video on Kwanzaa’s history and how to celebrate featuring museum specialist and oral historian Kelly Navies. The public can view the video and learn more about this seven-day celebration of African American culture on the museum’s Kwanzaa webpage. Users can find enlightening videos, unique family activities to do at home and special holiday recipes rooted in Black culinary traditions. 

    December highlights also include the continuation of the museum’s Dine and Shop Pass option. NMAAHC offers a two-per-day limit of passes to access both the museum store and Sweet Home Café between 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during regular operating hours. Visitors can enjoy a fusion of rich African American culture paired with present-day food traditions like southern buttermilk fried chicken, savory collard greens and mouthwatering macaroni and cheese at Sweet Home Café. Afterward, visitors can stop by the museum store to purchase the perfect holiday gift. Passes must be reserved 48 hours in advance at 8 a.m. ET on a rolling basis. 

    A full list of all the December In-Person and Virtual Programs may be found at:

  • 5 Dec 2022 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS):

    Hundreds of genealogists from the U.S and all over the world are expected to descend on London, England, this summer for the 43rd Annual IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Sunday, July 30 – Thursday, August 3, 2023. The conference hotel is a stone’s throw from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

    This is the first time since 2019 that the conference will be held in person and the first time since 2001 that professional and amateur genealogists will have gathered in London.

    IAJGS has also announced that the Call for Proposals is now open until January 15 Eastern Standard Time.

    The conference will feature more than 100 speakers, with more than 200 sessions covering virtually every aspect of Jewish genealogy. Programs at the Conference will be geared from first-timers to conference veterans, and will include lectures, lunches, computer labs, and networking through Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Birds of a Feather (BOFs). An Exhibitor Hall and Resource Room will include genealogy experts, mentors, and archivists for a one-stop research experience at the conference site.

    Proposed abstracts which meet one of the following theme categories are encouraged, along with other broad topics in Jewish genealogy as well. The Conference tracks are: Commonwealth Track, Jewish Communities Worldwide and the Shoah, Migration, Methodology, Technology/Computer Labs, DNA, and Storytelling. Presentations will be 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for Q & A. In addition, non-traditional presentations can be submitted for Computer Labs, Panels and Short Sessions.

    Details on the Call for Proposals can be found on

    “We are excited to be able to have an in-person conference once again and host it in an international city,” said Chuck Weinstein, lead chair. “We are encouraging genealogists, both new and veteran speakers, to submit proposals for topics they are interested in presenting.”

    The Conference is hosted by IAJGS, an umbrella organization of nearly 90 Jewish genealogical organizations worldwide. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain is the local co-host. Leigh Dworkin, president of the Great Britain Society, is the Conference local co-chair. “We are excited to be hosting this year’s Conference in London for the first time since 2001. As an international city with a vibrant Jewish history and population, London offers genealogists a wide array of resources such as archives, museums, libraries, synagogues and cemeteries relevant to furthering visitors’ family history research.

    Planning for the Conference is now in progress and details of the conference, including registration and hotel reservations, will be posted on the conference website: as they become available.

    The IAJGS coordinates and organizes activities such as its annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and provides a unified voice as the spokesperson on behalf of its members.

    The IAJGS’s vision is of a worldwide network of Jewish genealogical research organizations and partners working together as one coherent, effective and respected community, enabling people to succeed in researching Jewish ancestry and heritage. Find the IAJGS at: and like us on Facebook at

    The JGSGB aims to promote and encourage the study of and research into Jewish Genealogy and is the only Jewish Genealogical Society in the United Kingdom. Find us at, on Twitter at @JewishGreat, or on Facebook at

  • 2 Dec 2022 5:09 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

    I travel a lot and occasionally find myself in need of a file that I left "back home." I need a way of quickly and easily obtaining any files that I need, but there are times when remote access is not an option since it requires my computer to stay powered on and have constant Internet access. If you do not want to leave your computer powered on all the time, uploading your files to a server on the web is the best solution. 

    There is a second advantage as well: uploading the files to an online server is also a great method of making backups of your important files. I’ve long preached the utter importance of backing up your critical genealogy files. If your primary computer ever fails, an online storage service lets you easily retrieve any of the files you earlier uploaded to the service.

    You can find a number of web services that let you upload files. A few of them even provide some amount of file space free of charge.

    With any online file storage service, you need to make sure that security is sufficient to meet your needs. In most cases, that means the file needs to be encrypted, either automatically or manually by you, before it leaves your computer and is transferred to the online file storage system. Encrypted files cannot be decoded by anyone without the encryption key, not even by the employees of the file storage service.

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/13011317.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

  • 2 Dec 2022 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    Genealogists study the lives of humans throughout the ages. It appears that future genealogists will have it easier to make such studies due to a dwindling number of humans.

    Five years ago, a study describing a precipitous decline in sperm counts sparked extreme concerns that humanity was on the path to extinction. Now a new study shows that sperm counts have fallen further and the rate of decline is speeding up, raising fears of a looming global fertility crisis. From a report:

    The initial study, published in July 2017, revealed that sperm counts -- the number of sperm in a single ejaculate -- plummeted by more than 50 percent among men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011. Since then, a team led by the same researchers has explored what has happened in the last 10 years. In a new meta-analysis, which appeared in the journal Human Reproduction Update, researchers analyzed studies of semen samples published between 2014 and 2019 and added this to their previous data. The newer studies have a more global perspective and involved semen samples from 14,233 men, including some from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. The upshot: Not only has the decline in total sperm counts continued -- reaching a drop of 62 percent -- but the decline per year has doubled since 2000. The 2017 report also revealed that sperm concentration (the number of sperm per milliliter of semen) dropped by an average of 1.6 percent per year, totaling more than a 52 percent among men in these regions over the previous four decades.

  • 2 Dec 2022 11:31 AM | Anonymous

    OK, this article is off-topic. But how often do you read about "bargains" like this one?

    Do you have an urge to own the largest yacht at the local yacht club? (I am assuming your local yacht club has dock space enough to handle this thing.)

    One of the world’s newest and largest cruise ships, the 150,695-ton World Dream, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at a sheriff’s sale on Dec. 21 — and anyone can bid.

    World Dream as it looked at its debut in 2017.

    That means that — with a high-enough bid — you could be in possession of one of the world’s most state-of-the-art cruise vessels in time to visit it for the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Day

    Not that you could do much with it — at least not initially. The 18-deck-high ship, currently anchored off Singapore, is designed to operate with a crew of nearly 2,000 people, none of which would come with the purchase.

    Originally built at a cost of nearly $1 billion for the now-defunct, Asia-based line Dream Cruises, the five-year-old vessel is being sold “as is, where is,” according to the office of the sheriff of Singapore, which is conducting the auction. That means that it won’t come with crew or formal instructions on how to operate it.

    Plus, you better be ready to pick it up... in Singapore. And bring a crew as you can't handle it alone.

    World Dream has been under arrest in Singapore since Dream Cruises and its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, went out of business earlier this year.

    The vessel auction is being conducted by the sheriff of Singapore by court order to raise money to pay off the company’s debts.

    According to a notice of the sale on a Singapore government website, anyone who puts down a $50,000 deposit can bid on the vessel. If you don’t win the bidding, you get the $50,000 back.

    Before you put in a bid for just a few dollars, hoping for a bargain, know that there’s a caveat to what you’ll end up paying: In addition to the winning bid, whoever buys the vessel will also have to pay for the unconsumed fuel remaining in the ship’s fuel tanks, which is worth $1,175,887, according to the sheriff’s office.

    You can read more at:

  • 2 Dec 2022 11:13 AM | Anonymous

    From an unattributed article in the Atlas Obscura web site:

    In a graveyard next to Saint James Episcopal Church in Edison, New Jersey lies a large red sandstone tablet that tells a somber story of two brothers that fell victim to the dangers of wild mushroom foraging in the 17th century.

    Sometime in 1693, brothers Richard and Charles Hoopar came across some mushrooms and decided to eat them. They were dead within a day. The brothers were buried together under a ledger-style gravestone in what is today the Old Piscatawaytown Burial Ground. While being one of the oldest marked gravestones in the United States, Reader’s Digest has also reported this as the oldest known recorded case of mushroom poisoning in the US.


    A reader of the magazine Weird N.J. provided the following translation: “Spectators, beneath this tomb lay two brothers, aged 12 and 10 years. They died within one day of eating poisoned mushrooms. Their names were Richard and Charles Hoopar and they died in 1693.”

    Though still unidentified, postulates a likely candidate for the ultimately fatal mushroom: the Death Cap, also known as Amanita phalloides. Though rare in New Jersey, this fungus does occur beneath oak trees in the state. In fact, a number of deaths and illnesses attributed to eating the same kind of mushroom were reported in the New York Times, including the deaths of two people in Paterson, New Jersey in September 1911. 

    Whatever the identity of this mushroom, the facts remain the same: One week in 1693, two brothers succumbed to poisoning and were lain to rest together near Edison, New Jersey.

    The moral of this story: Never, ever eat wild mushrooms unless you really, really, really know what you are doing!

  • 2 Dec 2022 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    Life was difficult for the Chinese Transcontinental Railroad workers. An article by Shoshi Parks published in the AtlasObscura web site describes the difficulties:

    The winter of 1867 came bitter and merciless to the Chinese men that tunneled through the transcontinental railroad’s most formidable section, a nearly 1,700-foot stretch of granite at the Donner Summit in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The men, immigrants from subtropical Guangdong, had never before known snow, let alone the relentless blizzards of the kind that, just 20 years before, forced the Donner party into cannibalism a few miles away.

    The laborers, who worked around-the-clock to drill the tunnels by hand, were no strangers to suffering. Starvation, however, was one hardship they did not face—far from it. In the railroad camps, many of the men ate better than they ever had back home in southern China.

    While the Transcontinental Railroad Company provided the largely Irish workers on the eastern section of the railroad with free meals and housing, they forced the Chinese workers on the western section to supply their own. The cost—around half of their $30 monthly wage—bit into their already meager earnings, but the company’s discriminatory decision not to feed the Chinese had an unexpected benefit. Many of the Irish laborers languished on an unvarying company-provided diet of boiled beef, potatoes, and water (with the occasional addition of liquor). But the Chinese workers opted for fresh local produce and livestock, as well as familiar ingredients shipped directly from Hong Kong to the labor camps, which kept them healthy and strong.

    The wide variety of available food satiated the workers not just physically but mentally through the men’s practice of traditional Chinese medicine. A diet that balanced hot and cold foods and washed them down with carefully prepared herbal teas didn’t just keep the body, mind, and spirit at a healthy equilibrium, it was one of the few connections to home that they carried with them in the strange new land.

    What and how the Chinese transcontinental workers ate has a clear signature in the archaeological record. In his work at the Donner Summit, archaeologist Scott Baxter found abundant evidence of the food containers, cooking equipment, and servingware required to feed the couple hundred Chinese men who worked and lived there at any given time. During the 16 months of grueling labor on the tunnels, Chinese workers were split up into teams of 12 to 20. Each crew had a designated cook who prepared food on keyhole-shaped wok stoves scattered among the wooden cabins built at the site.

    You can read the full article at:

  • 2 Dec 2022 7:27 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

    Thousands of records added for the English county of Norfolk this Findmypast Friday 

    ·         A bumper release for newspapers, with 12 new titles and 74 updated titles 

    Brand new to Findmypast this week, this collection has over 257,000 records covering the years 1301-1858. The records cover 14 Deaneries, including Norwich and Lynn. You should normally spot an ancestor’s name year, residence and title, which will often include their occupation and birthplace.  

    Over 65,000 records have been added to this existing set, covering 1702-1923. You’ll normally discover details such as the marriage year, parish, and often the father’s first name. So, multiple generations could be unlocked with just one record.  

    (The remainder of this announcement may be found at:

  • 1 Dec 2022 10:07 PM | Anonymous

    Warning: this article contains personal opinions.

    I have been fascinated with the comments posted online concerning "unverified information on the Internet" and comments about linking to family trees without verification. I agree with some of the comments and disagree with some others. I thought I would add my two cents' worth.

    First of all, I believe in verification of every bit of information I obtain. I don't care if a fact came from the Internet, from a book, or even from an original record. I still want to verify every bit of information I read. (Most original records are correct but you will find occasional errors even in the original records.) I always look to see who reported the information or who wrote the book I am reading. Even if I recognize the author as being a leading genealogy expert, I still want to verify the claim independently. I don't believe anyone! 

    So you think I would be against unsourced, unverified information on the Internet? Wrong!

    When I am looking for genealogy information about my ancestors, I want to see EVERYTHING. I want to see the sourced information, the unsourced information, the verbal claims from someone's Aunt Lydia, and even the guesswork. Since I don't know where my great-great-granddad was born, I want to see every hint and every bit of guesswork. I want to know what everyone else is thinking. I am hoping that someone, somewhere has an idea that I have haven't thought of so far. Sure, when I read someone else's guesswork or facts, I'll check them out and I will ask questions, but I still want all the hints.

    The proof is always up to me, regardless of where I found the claimed information.

    Yes, I constantly look at unsourced databases and I look for clues every time I see an ancestor of mine mentioned, especially if that claim is different from what I believe to be factual. A couple of times the "facts" that I determined in past years have later been proven wrong when new evidence was shown to me, evidence that I was later able to verify.

    NOTE: I "lost" more than 100 ancestors one evening when I was able to verify a new claim I found in an online database. It contradicted something I previously believed to be true. Using the new claim as a hint, I followed a new path of investigation and found that the new "fact" was, indeed, correct. The information I previously believed to be correct had a significant error: two men of the same name lived in the same small town, something I didn't know previously. I had researched the ancestry of the wrong man!

    I would never have recognized that error and been able to later determine the truth if I hadn't looked at an unsourced claim that was different from what I believed to be the truth.

    I am a big fan of group collaboration. Some people call that "crowd sourcing." Such crowd sourcing will often be wrong, but it almost always includes some clues that I have not seen or thought of previously. Those can be valuable clues.

    Bring on the Internet databases! I want to see's user-contributed family trees.  I want to see the I.G.I.  I want to see the Ancestral File. I want to see's database. I want to see FamilySearch. I want to see the handwritten notes of every professional and amateur genealogist who shares ancestry with me. I want to see more of every bit of conjecture that I can find. 

    What I do see is an education problem. A lot of newcomers will believe "I saw it on the Internet so it must be true." That is a problem. In fact, it is a huge problem but we will not solve it by sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that nobody else has information that can be trusted or even worth evaluating. The ostrich approach doesn't work very well for ostriches, it certainly does not work well for genealogists who seek the truth.

    What we need is a warning label similar to that found on cigarettes and alcohol. "Warning: the information contained here may include erroneous data." That disclaimer should be in a big, bold font on the top of every genealogy web site, followed by a hyperlink to an article about why we want to verify every scrap of information we obtain.

    We also should encourage our newcomers to document their sources and to include that documentation when posting information online. Of course, this is not a one-time effort. Newcomers appear all the time. We are watching a parade of newcomers. Some will drop out, some will slow down, and others will follow the parade route for years. Our challenge is to educate all of them early in the parade.

    However, I still never automatically discard something simply because it is unsourced. I never look down my nose at any online genealogy database, regardless of the source of information. I do, however, maintain a healthy skepticism.

    Do source citations "prove" anything? I would suggest they do not. Instead, I believe source citations are useful only as a courtesy to others that say, "Here is where I found the information I believe to be correct. You should check this citation and others for yourself."

    A source citation simply is an example of being polite, trying to help others save time and effort. We still want others to verify the same information defined in the source citation. The genealogists who read the source citations can also offer valuable feedback: if 10 or 50 or 500 other genealogists look at these same source citation that I did and they all came to the same conclusion that I did, that's valuable feedback for me. Then again, if they all looked at the same source citation that I did and many of them came to a DIFFERENT conclusion, that's even MORE valuable feedback! Please let me know of any errors you find in my work!

    Side comment: all genealogy works contain errors, even those works created by the best genealogists in the world. For verification, ask any expert genealogist. I bet they will tell you the same.

    Finally, how are we ever going to improve the crowd sourced databases if we constantly encourage people to ignore them? Every time I read a comment from someone that belittles unsourced and unverified information, I want to grab that person and shake him or her vigorously. Pay attention! There are gold nuggets out there in the tons of sand!

    As in Wikipedia and dozens of other online sources, the information in genealogy databases can only be improved if many people look at each fact and each person contributes his or her knowledge and expertise. The more people who look at the information and verify it independently, the higher the accuracy.

    Going back to my example of great-great-granddad's unknown origins: if dozens of people look at the record in the public database, there is an excellent chance that someone will have the correct information and will enter it, alomg ith information where he or she found the info. As a result, we all will benefit.

    In contrast, if we tell people to ignore the undocumented, unsourced databases and to never look at the information therein, the misconceptions and guesswork will never be corrected by later researchers. In fact, the misconceptions and errors will probably then continue to be published and propagated, year after year. We all lose.

    So please, please, enter the genealogy information you have into online databases. Also, please look at what others have entered. If you see something you think is wrong, please, please enter a correction or append a contradictory view. If you have a source citation or other evidence that is not shown in the existing online record, please enter the information you have. If you do that and if I do that and if every other genealogist does that forever and ever, over a period of years we will all benefit. Crowd sourced genealogy databases can become valuable, but only if we all take the time and effort to contribute whatever information we have. 

    The information you contribute can help another person. Maybe dozens of others.

  • 1 Dec 2022 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Ohio Genealogical Society:

    December 1, 2022 - Bellville, Ohio: The Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) announces a request for lecture proposals for the 2024 conference to be held April 9-14, 2024, at Kalahari Resort & Conference Center in Sandusky, Ohio.

    Topics being considered include but not limited to the following: immigration, census records (especially the 1950), religious groups, migration, origins of early Ohio settlers, and the Old Northwest Territory, utilizing land records, military records, technology (including usage mobile devices, apps, social media), DNA, organization, society management and development, and methodology, analysis, and problem solving in genealogical research, Ohio history and its records, archives and repositories, and unique 1950’s topics.

    The program committee is specifically seeking new, unusual, and dynamic proposals. Think outside of the box! Interested speakers are strongly encouraged to submit multiple proposals for either one-hour general sessions, or two-hour workshops. There is no limit to the number of proposals a speaker may submit. The deadline for submission of lecture proposals is May 31, 2023.

    Submit proposals in PDF format. Each proposal must include the following to be considered:

    • Speaker’s name, address, telephone, and e-mail address
    • Lecture title, not to exceed ten words, and a brief, but comprehensive outline
    • Lecture summary, not to exceed twenty-five words to be used in the conference booklet
    • Identification of the audience level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or all
    • Speaker biography, not to exceed twenty-five words
    • Resume of prior speaking experience

    Submit all proposals via e-mail to no later than Midnight EST May 31, 2023. Multiple proposals may be sent in one email. Please limit your emails to no more than two (2) emails. Speakers are required to use an electronic presentation program. Projectors will be provided by Kalahari Resort & Conference Center.


    Selected speakers receive an honorarium, travel compensation, conference registration, hotel, and per diem based on the number of days lectures are presented. (Sponsored speakers will only receive conference registration and syllabus materials. See more about sponsorships below.)


    Societies and businesses are encouraged to submit proposals for sponsored talks. The sponsoring organization will cover speaker’s lecture(s) honorarium. Sponsored speakers will abide by all speaker deadlines. Sponsored speakers will receive complimentary OGS conference registration and electronic syllabus materials. The deadline to submit sponsored lectures is also May 31, 2023.

    Additional information

    Camera-ready syllabus material, due February 1, 2024 is required for each general presentation and will be included in the syllabus distributed to all conference registrants.

    Invitations to speak will be issued by mid-June, 2023. Syllabus format guidelines will be sent to speakers at that time. The deadline for acceptance and submission of signed speaker contracts is July 15, 2023. Letters of regret will not be sent out until all invited speakers have responded.


    Karen Cydrus

    Deborah Litchner Deal

    2024 OGS Conference Co-Chairs

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