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  • 3 Feb 2023 2:42 PM | Anonymous

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

    Compact discs and DVDs have going the way of the dodo, and online streaming media will keep that trend going throughout 2023, 2024, and probably for many more years.

    Several articles have appeared online in the past few years describing the slowly dying music CD business. In short, sales of CD disks are being replaced by directly downloading music online to iPods, computers, and other music playback devices. 

    Remember the record and CD stores that used to be available at your local mall? Where have they all gone? What happened to the music store that sold CDs? How about the Blockbuster DVD rental store that used to be in your neighborhood? Where did it go? The reality is that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Apple TV, and other online video services made the DVD rental stores obsolete. The same is true of music CDs: it is easier, much faster, and usually cheaper to download the music online that it is to go to a “brick-and-mortar” store to purchase the same things on plastic disks. 

    We are now seeing the same thing with the companies that sell genealogy-related CD-ROM disks. Music CDs are already plummeting, video DVD sales are plummeting, and I believe the same is happening to data CDs.

    For more than two decades, genealogists have been enthusiastic buyers of genealogy data CDs. At least, looking in my storage area in the basement confirms that I have been an enthusiastic buyer! I have several hundred genealogy data CDs stored in a large box, most of which haven't been touched in years. 

    I assume that most other genealogists have also been purchasing CDs. I know the CD-ROM disks from, (formerly Broderbund, with CDs designed to be read by earlier versions of Family Tree Maker), FamilySearch, HeritageQuest, Genealogical Publishing Company, Heritage Books, Family Chronicle, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Progeny Software, S&N Genealogy Supplies in England, Archive CD Books (from several countries), and dozens of other companies and societies have sold thousands of copies. In addition, I see dozens of independent genealogy CD-ROM disks offered for sale on eBay; most are apparently produced by one-person businesses. Prices vary widely, but $10 to $50 US seems to be the price range for most genealogy CDs with a few others at higher or lower prices. 

    There is but one problem: Of the multiple computers that I own, I don’t have a single one that has a built-in CD or DVD-ROM player!  (I do have one ancient computer with a built-in CD player that I keep “just in case I need it.” There’s one problem with that: it is stored in a closet, underneath other devices that I no longer use. It hasn’t been powered on for 3 or 4 years and I don’t even know if it still works. I haven’t had a need for it in at least 3 or 4 years, maybe longer.)

    Shouldn't we be accessing genealogy information online instead of on CD-ROM disks? 

    Why would we ever want to change to online distribution? I see several reasons, some of which are already major factors:

    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/13084095

    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

  • 3 Feb 2023 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    A newsletter reader sent me a link to an online article that made me shudder when I read it. The article claims:

    “Do you have an old book or important document that has been passed down from generation to generation? These books and documents break down over time due to oxygen, moisture, and other hazards. By sealing it, you’re also giving it added protection in the event of a flood, fire (smoke), or accidental damage.”

    I am no expert in preservation, but I believe the last thing you want to do to a valuable old book or photo or other document is to seal it in an airtight plastic bag, especially a bag that is not labeled "archival quality." Sealing in a cheap plastic bag can cause more damage than it prevents!

    Paper, photographs, film, and tape are all made from materials that change over time. When these materials change, they will leach chemicals or give off gases that will loop back and inflict self damage if they are “sealed in their own juices.” Your books, photographs, and documents will last much longer if they are exposed to the air, where the chemicals and gases can dissipate. Storage temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees and humidity levels between 50 and 60 percent are ideal.

    Archival plastic enclosures can be made from polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene. Don't use any plastic that is not one of these three, and don't use anything that is not labeled "archival quality." Also, never seal it.

    You can read advice written by Sherelyn Ogden, Head of Conservation for the Minnesota Historical Society, at Storage Enclosures for Books and Artifacts on Paper at

  • 3 Feb 2023 7:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the organizers of The Family History Show Online:

    The Family History Show Online is just two weeks away on Saturday 18th February 2023 and the subjects of the expert talks have been announced for this year’s virtual event.

    Featuring All New Talks for the show!

    The Restless Spy: the Secret Life of Ernest Oldham

    Nick Barratt - Historian, Author and Professional Genealogist

    Exploring how to research and write your family history to publication standard using a real case study.

    Walking in the footsteps of our ancestors

    Keith Gregson - Professional Researcher & Social Historian

    This talk explores how with research and the right tools you can step back in time looking at where your ancestors lived, worked and spent their leisure time. Follow the routes they may have taken on old maps and look at the views they may have seen.

    The Techniques of Building a DNA Research Tree

    Donna Rutherford - DNA Expert

    Learn how to build out your tree for doing DNA research, with a look at different methods and ideas.

    Understanding and Dating Photographs

    Stephen Gill - Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society

    Learn how to investigate and date your old photographs.

    Professionally presented and recorded, these lectures are not just streamed screen shares, and each talk will be available for 72 hours, so don't worry if you're in another time zone. These presentations will cover a wide variety of family history topics from multiple speakers and will be available throughout the day.

    The Family History Show Online, organised by Discover Your Ancestors magazine, is a great opportunity for you to put your research questions to an expert, watch free talks and to speak to family history societies, archives and genealogical suppliers by text, audio, video chat or email from the comfort of your own home.

    Make a date in your diary and snap up an early bird ticket now for only £7! You'll also get a downloadable goody bag worth over £10.

    Save the date in your diary and snap up an early bird ticket now for only £7! You'll also get a downloadable goody bag worth over £10.

    Societies, Archives and Companies

    Visit exhibitors, societies, archives and companies in our virtual exhibition hall. Here there will be the opportunity to talk to some of the stallholders by text, audio or video from the comfort of your own home.

    Show Partners

    SoG, AGRA, TheGenealogist, GenFair, S&N Genealogy Supplies

    Early Bird Ticket Offer

    Buy your tickets in advance and save - tickets to attend The Family History Show Online are available from the website at just £7.00 each. You will also get a FREE virtual goody bag on the day worth over £10.

  • 3 Feb 2023 7:29 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Northumberland Baptisms

    There are over 13,000 new additions to this collection from six parishes across the county, spanning the years 1571-1847. While you’ll typically find both parents’ names and dates, you may also uncover the father’s occupation, residences, and even if the child is the firstborn, and so on.  

    Northumberland Marriages 

    384 records have been added to this set, covering 1769-1771. Detail you’ll find may include the spouses’ names and ages, residences, witnesses and father’s names. 

    Northumberland Burials 

    There are 86 new records to this collection, all for the Catholic church of Haggerston, Our Lady and St Cuthbert. You'll normally find a name, burial date, residence, and sometimes next of kin, useful for ensuring you have the right ancestor. 

    Northumberland & Durham Memorial Inscriptions 

    Lastly, 5,300 memorial inscriptions have been added to this set, covering seven burial grounds across both counties. You may find an ancestor’s name, burial and birth year, along with some additional notes or the inscription.  


    A further 156,854 pages have been added to the newspaper archive this week, with a duo of new titles from London.

    New titles: 

    ·         Comet for Hornsey, Crouch End and Highgate, 1889 

    ·         Wandsworth Borough News, 1914 

    Updated titles: 

    ·         Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 1770, 1792 

    ·         Bath Journal, 1762 

    ·         Birmingham Daily Post, 1901, 1912 

    ·         Birmingham Mail, 1918 

    ·         Coleshill Chronicle, 1982 

    ·         Coventry Evening Telegraph, 1980 

    ·         Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter, 1956 

    ·         Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 1881 

    ·         Esher News and Mail, 1970-1971, 1974, 1999 

    ·         Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 1997 

    ·         Hull Daily Mail, 1987 

    ·         Kensington News and West London Times, 1911 

    ·         Lincolnshire Echo, 1952, 1954-1955, 1965-1966, 1987 

    ·         Liverpool Daily Post, 1916 

    ·         Liverpool Daily Post (Welsh Edition), 1962, 1965 

    ·         Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 1923 

    ·         Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 1938 

    ·         Nottingham Evening Post, 1967 

    ·         Nottingham Guardian, 1909 

    ·         Staffordshire Newsletter, 1987 

    ·         Sunbury & Shepperton Herald, 1994 

    ·         Sunday Sun (Newcastle), 1993, 1995 

    ·         Surrey Advertiser, 1904-1908, 1910, 1921, 1924-1926, 1928, 1930, 1934-1938, 1946, 1948-1949, 1951, 1953-1954, 1956-1958, 1962, 1965-1966, 1968-1973 

    ·         Winsford Chronicle, 1991 

    ·         Wokingham Times, 1997 

  • 2 Feb 2023 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    The International German Genealogy Partnership 2023 conference is one of the few occasions in which you will hear from and connect with people focused on German genealogy, and only German genealogy. Attendees will enjoy a weekend of programs and activities that highlight the diversity of the German-speaking genealogy community.

    This amazing conference will offer more than 100 presentations and more than 25 Connection sessions — the most presentations we have ever offered and the largest number of German genealogy presentations at a genealogical conference in the U.S. 

    The conference will be held in-person in Fort Wayne, Indiana, June 9-11. But there is also a robust virtual option, with access to programming in real-time. And a USB drive is available for purchase, allowing all attendees to watch the recorded presentations

    Go to to learn more and to register.

    Look for presentations from speakers in Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Serbia, and Germany. They do not usually present in the U.S. But you can hear from them at the IGGP conference! And, of course, U.S. experts in the field of German genealogy will speak as well.

    Here are a few examples of those who will be in-person at the conference:

    · Dr. Thomas Aigner from Austria, the man behind the website Matricula

    · Viktor Pordzik, archivist at the Bremen State Archives and vice-chair of Die MAUS, the Bremen genealogical society

    · Andrea Bentschneider, professional genealogist from Hamburg, with presentations on Mecklenburg and how to research in German archives

    · Dr. Michael Lacopo with a brand new presentation about WWII SS records

    ·  Antje Petty of the Max Kade Institute on hidden resources in German language newspapers

    · Katie Schober will lead "Learn to Read Vital Records: A Workshop Experience" — a first for the IGGP conference  

    IGGP also will be delivering on two key aspects of its mission statement:

    · We'll give attendees the opportunity to CONNECT with others who share their interests. Our Connection sessions bring you together for informal meetings on a variety of topics. A sneak peek at a partial list includes research in historically German-speaking areas of Europe, finding records that aren't online, favorite research databases, using maps in German research, and working with professional genealogists in Germany. Our conference app, Whova, also allows you to post messages and organize your own meetups with others.

    · We'll SHARE German genealogical knowledge by sponsoring Librarians Day on Thursday, June 8. If you are a librarian or archivist who needs to answer questions about German genealogy research, our speakers will share their expertise with you.

    This is a weekend not to be missed by anyone doing German genealogy research anywhere in the world. The early registration period ends March 3, 2023. Register now and save money. Go to to register and to see more presentation titles, Connection topics and additional conference details. Questions may be sent to

  • 2 Feb 2023 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by The National Archives of Great Britain:

    The Cartographic Branch is pleased to announce that RG 242: Target Dossiers Pertaining to the British Isles, 1938-1945 (NAID 3371016) has now been fully digitized and is available for viewing and download through the National Archives Catalog.

    The records in this series are a subset of RG 242: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675-1958. The dossiers, which are aerial photographs and maps of German identified bombing targets, are arranged by country and, thereunder, by location. Other series, not yet digitized, include France, Iceland, Egypt, Yugoslavia, and Iraq just to name a few!

    This series relates specifically to the British Isles is made up of over 1,100 images.  Each dossier, in the most basic sense, is composed of three parts: a map, an overprinted aerial photograph, and a site report (in German). However, there are variances in the number of actual documents in each dossier.  Some dossiers have as few as a single document out of the three while others will have dozens of various versions of the documents included.  

    Below is an example of a typical dossier from this series. This one focuses on Edinburgh, Scotland.

    RG 242: Target Dossiers Pertaining to the British Isles, 1938-1945. Edinburgh, Scotland. Dossier GB-53-88. 1939. NAID 283024728.
    RG 242: Target Dossiers Pertaining to the British Isles, 1938-1945. Edinburgh, Scotland. Dossier GB-53-88. 1939. NAID 283024728.
    RG 242: Target Dossiers Pertaining to the British Isles, 1938-1945. Edinburgh, Scotland. Dossier GB-53-88. 1939. NAID 283024728.

    In addition to the maps and aerial photos being detailed, the dossiers also provide a wealth of other information printed on the individual pages.  Coordinates, scale, date, locations, and dossier number are printed on each and every sheet making this series incredibly easy to work with even if you do not speak German!

  • 2 Feb 2023 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    Queen Camilla traveled back into the past with a little help from a historian — and had something funny to say about it!

    The Queen Consort, 75, surprised Adam Simpson-York, who runs the Facebook page Medals Going Home, with a personal thank-you note. Simpson-York had recently mailed Buckingham Palace a photo he found on eBay of Queen Camilla's ancestor, her great-great-grandmother Edrica Faulkner, and he was delighted to receive a reply from the royal.

    "Many thanks for the photograph of my great, great-grandmother. It is the first time I have ever seen her picture, I must say she looks a bit sad in it!" the Queen Consort wrote. "With best wishes, Camilla," she signed the note on Clarence House stationery, stamped with her new royal cypher.

    Simpson-York said he was thrilled to receive such a genuine reply from the royal after mailing in the picture on Jan. 4.

    You can read the full story at

  • 2 Feb 2023 7:57 AM | Anonymous

    Today is Groundhog Day in the United States

    groundhogEvery February 2nd, residents of the United States turn their attention to the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A group of men in top hats put a groundhog on a log in front of hundreds of people and wait for it to notice or not notice its own shadow. If Phil the groundhog sees his shadow, we're supposed to have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see it, winter is supposed to end earlier.

    NOTE: The weather forecast for today for Punxsutawney calls for “mostly cloudy” skies. So what does that mean for how long winter is supposed to last?

    A groundhog is also known as a woodchuck. It is a member of the family of rodents known as marmots.

    A rodent in Pennsylvania, watched by men in top hats, can tell what the weather will be like for the next several weeks? Sounds strange to me! Actually, it is based upon the traditions of some of our ancestors.

    Ancient Pagans celebrated the holiday Imbolc on the midpoint between the solstice and the equinox, which was considered the real beginning of spring. On our modern calendar, that day is February 2. Early Christians celebrated Candlemas on February 2nd, which marked the end of Mary's 40-day purification period after the birth of Jesus.

    Celebrating the real beginning of spring makes sense to me but what about the groundhog? It seems that different animals have been used as weather prognosticators in various times throughout history. In much of Europe, the bear was used the predict the weather. If a bear awoke from winter hibernation, it was considered to be an omen that spring would soon be here.

    However, Germany used the badger as its prognosticator. An old diary from 1841 shows that German immigrants brought the Candlemas tradition of weather prediction to Pennsylvania but said it was a the groundhog that could predict weather. Perhaps badgers were rare in colonial Pennsylvania.

    NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, knows something about weather forecasting. Its web site states:

    "The trail of Phil’s history leads back to Clymer H. Freas, city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper. Inspired by a group of local groundhog hunters — whom he would dub the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club — Freas declared Phil as America’s official forecasting groundhog in 1887. As he continued to embellish the groundhog's story year after year, other newspapers picked it up, and soon everyone looked to Punxsutawney Phil for the prediction of when spring would return to the country."

    In the years following the release of Groundhog Day, a 1993 film starring Bill Murray, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney where the ceremony takes place.

    However, I don't think any of those early-morning revelers have any idea of what next week's weather will be.


  • 1 Feb 2023 11:02 PM | Anonymous

    A new email, notepad, and file space service in the cloud is now available. The best part of Skiff is that everything is automatically encrypted. Skiff gives you the power to take your thoughts and ideas to the next level and to communicate freely.

    Nobody spies on your email (are the folks who supply GMail paying attention to this?) If someone attempts to access your files stored in Skiff's cloud-based file storage service, they won't be able to read the files because everything is encrypted.

    Best of all, you don’t have to pay a thing to use Skiff for end-to-end encrypted email, file sharing, and collaboration. (That includes limited file storage space. Obtaining addition file storage space requires payment.) It’s also very easy to use, but includes advanced features for the technically inclined.

    You probably understand that using a popular free email service like Gmail means you pay by losing a degree of privacy. But have you thought about the risks of using cloud storage or collaboration from the same corporate sources? The developers of Skiff started with an encrypted collaboration solution as a private alternative, then expanded to secure file storage and sharing, and finally added encrypted email.

    The Skiff team hopes this combination of secure email, file sharing, and collaboration will be attractive enough to wean users off of Google and other large public entities. Using Skiff's impressive combination of free email encryption, private collaboration, and secure file sharing, you'll make a major step toward taking back your privacy.

    Skiff offers apps for Macintosh, Android, and Apple's iOS. The company expects to soon bring out a Linux application. There is no announced plan to ever bring out a version for Windows. 

    By default, your secure files and email messages reside on Skiff’s secure servers. Communication between those servers and your local app are end-to-end encrypted. But those who like to live on the cutting edge can opt for storage in the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS)(Opens in a new window), a distributed secure storage system that’s independent of Skiff. Rather than going to a central server, files stored in the IPFS get broken into chunks, encrypted, and pushed out to different nodes in the IPFS system hosted on multiple servers all around the globe. 

    The biggest disadvantages of Skiff in my opinion is the lack of a Windows client and the fact that both the email sender and the recipient must be using Skiff in order to send and receive messages.

    If you don't want spying eyes to monitor your communications, you might want to check out Skiff.

    Other encrypted data services include Proton (Mail, Drive, and VPN), Tutanota, StartMail, Private-Mail, SecureMyMail, PreVeil, Hushmail, CounterMail, Runbox, Mailfence, Posteo, Mailbox, Zoho Mail, and others. 

    You can learn more about Skiff at as well as in  series of YouTube videos at:

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