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  • 8 Dec 2022 7:14 PM | Anonymous

    From an article by Miryam Naddaf published in the Nature web site:

    More than 3,500 genetic variations that potentially affect smoking and drinking behaviour have been identified in a study involving almost 3.4 million people with African, American, East Asian and European ancestry.

    The findings, published in Nature on 7 December1, highlight how increasing the sample size and ethnic diversity improves the power of such genome-screening analyses — called genome-wide association studies (GWASs) — to reveal how various traits are linked to genes, combinations of genes or mutations.

    Smoking and drinking are important risk factors for several physical and mental illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases and psychiatric disorders. Although both behaviours are influenced by environmental and social factors, there is evidence that genetics can affect tobacco and alcohol consumption. “We’re at a stage where genetic discoveries are being translated into clinical [applications],” says study co-author Dajiang Liu, a statistical geneticist at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “If we can forecast someone's risk of developing nicotine or alcohol dependence using this information, we can intervene early and potentially prevent a lot of deaths.”

    Ancestral diversity

    Scientists use GWASs to find genetic ties to diseases or behaviours by comparing genetic sequences in large numbers of people. But so far, most of these studies have focused on European populations. Liu and his colleagues constructed a model that incorporated the genomic data of 3,383,199 people, 21% of whom had non-European ancestry.

    They identified 3,823 genetic variants that were associated with smoking or drinking behaviours. Thirty-nine of these were linked with the age at which individuals started smoking, 243 with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and 849 with the number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week.

    Of the total number of associated variants, 721 were identified only by the multi-ancestry GWAS, and not by an ancestry-naive model that the authors used for comparison. This suggests that large and diverse population samples significantly increase the power of such studies.

    The researchers found that the majority of genetic associations for drinking and smoking have similar effects across the different ancestries. “We also find similar heritability estimates [for the traits] across the ancestries … suggesting that generally, the genetic architecture of these behaviours is similar across ancestries,” says Gretchen Saunders, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and co-author of the paper.

    You can read more at:

  • 8 Dec 2022 6:58 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG):

    “Wayward Girls: A Context Case Study”
    by Stephanie O’Connell, CG  
    Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 8:00 p.m. (EDT)

    Young women who rebelled against nineteenth-century moral conventions were deemed delinquent. For some, seeking social independence resulted in a reformatory sentence. This case study highlights strategies used to overcome missing records and the importance of historical context. 

    Stephanie O’Connell, CG, is a genealogy researcher and lecturer. She began looking into the secrets of her ancestors in 2010 and has been discovering their true stories ever since. She lectures frequently on various genealogical topics in the Seattle area and at conferences across the country. Her personal research has focused on her female ancestors and writing them into their rightful place in history.

    BCG’s next free monthly webinar in conjunction with Legacy Family Tree Webinars is “Wayward Girls: A Context Case Study” Stephanie O’Connell, CG.   This webinar airs Tuesday, December 20, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. EST. 

    When you register before December 18 with our partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars ( you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Anyone with schedule conflicts may access the webinar at no charge for one week after the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

    "We appreciate the opportunity to present these high-quality educational webinars," said President Faye Jenkins Stallings, CG. "At BCG, our purpose is to promote public confidence in genealogy by supporting uniform standards of competence. These webinars help to achieve that by providing educational opportunities to family historians of all levels of experience." 

    Following the free period for this webinar, BCG receives a small commission if you view this or any BCG webinar by clicking our affiliate link: (

    To see the full list of BCG-sponsored webinars for 2022, visit the BCG blog SpringBoard at  For additional resources for genealogical education, please visit the BCG Learning Center (

  • 8 Dec 2022 9:40 AM | Anonymous

    Reverberate is an oral history project developed by Éireann and I, a black migrant community archive, in collaboration with members of Galway’s African diaspora.

    The project invited Black migrants settled in Galway to recount their journeys to Ireland, their relationship with the city, and to reflect on whether or not they have developed a sense of belonging. It opens on Saturday December 3 in the Galway Arts Centre, with music and performances by Church and Wally Nikita and food by Melting Pot Luck. The exhibition will run until Thursday 22 December.

    Reverberate documents the legacies of migration as they happen, giving narrative agency and equal centering to each perspective. The testimonies gathered here come from eight individuals of varying age and origin, whose stories touch on parenting, politics, the effects of the asylum system, and the communities and organisations they have built.

    The narrators share obvious commonalities, but in between each story is woven more implicit threads of connection that make evident the ways in which we are all affected by the same global and local tensions that cause people to leave where they are from and build new lives elsewhere.

    This project consists of a series of radio broadcasts and a listening library and recording room installed in the Galway Arts Centre. By using oral history as a parallel to African storytelling tradition - which functions to pass past beliefs, counsel, morals, and myths down to new generations - we are seeking to challenge the fixedness of the archive, restructuring it as an active and living space that accommodates multiple voices, that responds, repeats, and echoes between places and perspective. One which invites others to add to the record too.

    The listening library invites you to listen, read transcripts and other resources which connect and expand on the subjects shared by the participants. The recording room is offered as an activation of the archive where you can enter to record your own oral history.

    You can read more in an article at:

  • 8 Dec 2022 9:22 AM | Anonymous

    This is an update to an article I published last June at Ford Heritage Vault Opens to Public With Over 5,000 Classic Images and Brochures Online.

    That announcement concerned the publication of photos and brochures of U.S. automobiles produced by Ford 5,000 selections covering Ford's first century, from 1903 to 2003.

    Ford Motor Company has now announced the addition of more than 1,600 new photos and brochures of Ford UK-produced vehicles.

    The following is an announcement written by the Ford Motor Company:

    Daventry, UK, Dec. 7, 2022 – Ford’s new online Heritage Vault now offers a more comprehensive digital archive collection following the addition of more than 1,600 new photos showing every car produced in the U.K.

    Following the opening of the vault earlier in 2022 which saw unprecedented web traffic from around the world, Ford’s new UK upload includes the Anglia to Zodiac and everything in between including Transit, Consul, Escort, Fiesta, Thames van, and more.

    Ford created the Heritage Vault ( for journalists and car enthusiasts, making it easy to discover the company’s rich heritage from anywhere in the world. The searchable artifacts are downloadable for personal use, free of charge, for the first time as one of the auto industry’s most comprehensive online databases.

    Throughout 2022, Ford has made almost 10,000 curated Ford and Lincoln photographs and product brochures from the first century of the company’s history available to the public online for the first time – and the site is currently seeing around 3,000 downloads per day.

    “We’re opening up in a way we’ve never done before,” said Ted Ryan, Ford archive and heritage brand manager. “Making our archives accessible for everyone online is a real passion project for me and the team. Looking back through Ford’s history not only helps to educate, but can serve as inspiration as we accelerate our transformation into an all-electric and software-driven vehicle company.”

    Online access to Ford’s archives complements Ford’s UK collection of heritage vehicles – also enjoying a new upgraded home – in Daventry, UK.

    Ford’s new Heritage and Innovation Centre houses more than 100 vehicles including rare and iconic models from a Model T 100R; Fordson Tug; Model AA Truck; Mark I Transit GEC; Mark II Zodiac; Sierra Cosworth; Escort Mexico, RS200, GT40s and more (including the 1975 Ford Escort shown above).

    As well as the vehicles, Ford’s new site will provide access to a physical library containing brochures, owners’ manuals and advertising materials of Ford’s UK history. Other artifacts from the collection will also be on display. The site relocation from Dagenham has been orchestrated by Len Keen, Ford Heritage and Innovation Communications, with the help of a dedicated volunteer group of ex-Ford retiree team members.

    Commenting on the new UK Heritage and Innovation Centre, Len said: “The move to the new location will allow for greater access to this very special collection, as well as an opportunity to show our customers how Ford has played a major role in personal and business transportation within the UK over the past 100 years, from Model T to now Model E.

    “Although not open to the public just yet, I’m passionate about providing easier access to the collection for employees and visitors in the near future, and I’m looking forward to working with the local community on future possibilities and collaborations so we can share our story.”

    # # #

    About Ford Motor Company

    Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, as well as connected services. Additionally, Ford is establishing leadership positions in mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 182,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Credit is available at

    Ford of Britain has been number one commercial vehicle brand for over 55 years, and is rolling out an electrified range so that, by 2026, 100% of our cars will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid. The UK is Ford’s third-largest global market and accounts for around 30% of total Ford vehicle sales in Europe. Ford directly employs 6,500 people in the UK, with thousands more employed in its extensive dealer network. The Ford Britain Dunton Campus in Essex is the home of its European commercial vehicle business group, the Ford of Britain & Ireland sales company and Ford’s banking arm – Ford Credit Europe.

  • 7 Dec 2022 4:05 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists (ASG):

    The Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists are pleased to offer four more grant opportunities in support of important continuing genealogical research projects. These grants are intended to assist with those projects sitting unfinished (or unstarted) on every genealogist’s “back burner” for lack of financial aid to help cover researching and writing time, costs of copies, fees, travel, and other usual expenses associated with genealogical research and publication.

    Each grant is for $2,500. Projects are not limited regarding subject, length, or format, but the value of the work to other researchers and institutions will be an important consideration. Examples of possible projects include, but are not limited to, compilation of single or extended family genealogies, transcriptions or translations of original documents, bibliographies, indexes, studies of ethnic groups, geographic locations, migration patterns, legal history, etc., using genealogical resources and methods. Publication is not required, but acknowledgement of the support from the American Society of Genealogists in any distribution of the project results is requisite. Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists are not eligible for these grants.

    For further information about the grants and application forms, e-mail:, or write to:

    ASG Continuing Grants
    c/o Alicia Crane Williams, FASG 4 White Trellis
    Plymouth MA 02360

    Submission deadline: All applications for the 2023 grants must be received by March 1, 2023.

  • 7 Dec 2022 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    NOTE: This article is not about any of the "normal" topics of this newsletter: genealogy, history, current affairs, DNA, and related topics. However, I believe that all computer users and owners should be aware of the privacy concerns and the solutions that are available.

    Proton appears to be the leading privacy-focused application (Proton Mail, Proton VPN, Proton Drive, and Proton Calendar) available today. Best of all, these applications are available free of charge, although payment is requested for enhanced versions offering additional features.

    You can learn more at:

    According to a new announcement from Proton, the following additions have just been made to Proton Calendar:

    Proton Calendar, which claims to be the "world's only" calendar using end-to-end encryption and cryptographic verification, has arrived on iOS, giving those seeking a more secure work suite an alternative to Google, Apple, and the like.

    Proton Calendar is pitched as offering encryption for all event details, as well as "high-performance elliptic curve cryptography (ECC Curve25519)" to lock it. The web app version of Proton Calendar is open source, with the code for mobile apps to come next, Proton says. Proton also notes that it never finds out who you've invited to an event, and it allows for inviting people outside the Proton ecosystem, letting people "cryptographically verify that it was you who invited them."

    Andy Yen, CEO of Proton, said in an interview with Wired in May that calendars are an "extremely sensitive" record of your life and that protecting them is essential. Encryption protects your calendar data from government requests, data leaks, or "a change in business model of your cloud provider."

    For its part, Google, the 800-pound gorilla of calendar data syncing, says that Google Calendar data is "encrypted in-transit and at-rest," using "strong industry standards and practices." But Google has your name, email address, and phone number, and Calendar "uses data to improve your experience" and saves "some location info," search queries, and other activity. Apple's iCloud security/privacy policy is broader and not as readily broken down into individual apps, but it's similar regarding encryption. (A summary-friendly policy for personal Outlook accounts was not something the author could provide at this time.)

    Proton, then, is offering a far more simple pitch: your data is always encrypted, and it's not being used to connect other (often ad-driven) services or, as is often the case, round out a heap of user data.

    Getting a calendar app onto iOS is part of Proton's broader push to position its suite of services—email, calendar, file storage, and VPN—as a security and privacy-minded alternative to the free (or freemium) ecosystems run by the biggest tech firms. You pay for all but the most basic services, and you get services focused on protecting your work and communications. Proton's services are not nearly as feature-packed as the more established suites from Google, Apple, or enterprise firms, but they are under active development.

    Proton touts its servers and user data as being protected by "Swiss data privacy laws," which somewhat came back on the company last year. Proton (then known as ProtonMail) had said that it did not, by default, "keep any IP logs which can be linked to your anonymous email account." After a Swiss court injunction, Proton was forced to keep IP logs on an account under investigation, removed the logging language from its policy, and pointed to Tor as a way to better anonymize Proton access.

  • 7 Dec 2022 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    A woman says she received a message from an unknown number urging her to conduct a DNA test in order to find the truth about her parentage in a now-viral TikTok storytime.

    In the video posted by TikToker Lane (@laneiscool14) on Dec. 1, she points to a screenshot of a text message she received from an unknown number, saying, “This text message right here changed my life forever.”

    “About a year ago now, on Jan. 9, I get a text message telling me to get a DNA test And I think it’s fake, I FaceTime my friend, and I’m like, ‘Listen to this.’ And she’s like, ‘I swear my gut is telling me this is real. You need to respond.’ So I respond, and then they write me back,” Lane continues.

    Lane shows another part of the text conversation, saying, “I was shook that they responded, and I let them know I had already done 23andMe the year before because it was on sale. I was hoping I was gonna find that I was like secretly exotic or related to royalty, but I’m just English and Irish like I thought I was.”

    “They would not provide me with any sort of proof that this was real, and, obviously, I called my mom immediately.

    As it turns out, the message she received wasn’t someone just messing with her, and Lane’s mom revealed that she had an “affair” while she was in college.

    “I find out that, yes, this man is my father."

    There are many more details in an article by Jack Alban published in the Daily Dot web site at:

  • 7 Dec 2022 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Now that we have easy and open access to DNA testing, family mysteries are often mysteries no more. But for people across the globe, family trees remain an often murky subject.

    It’s part of why celebrity genealogy shows are so gripping — don’t we all wish we could have a team of researchers and DNA experts at our disposal?

    Since 2012, the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., has illuminated the family trees of public figures including actors, artists, musicians, journalists, filmmakers and activists. Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher university professor at Harvard University, is the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. With the scholar at the helm, the show has shed light on the family histories of New Jersey celebrities including Queen LatifahNathan Lane and Paul Rudd.

    Next, to celebrate the show’s 10th season on the air, “Finding Your Roots” producers are looking for regular people — yes, all you non-celebrities out there — to feature on the show. This will be the first time the series opens its resources up to fans and viewers who aren’t normally in the limelight.

    Anyone interested in being featured on the show is asked to send in their family mysteries.

    You can read more in an article by Amy Kuperinsky published in the web site at:

  • 7 Dec 2022 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    The State Historical Society of North Dakota says it has added more than 50,000 additional newspapers to its digital archives. The papers date as far back as 1883 and run through the 1930s.

    The project was done in partnership with the North Dakota Genealogy Society. To date, more than 1.4 million pages of historical newspapers have been archived by the state, and are free and available for the public to view.

    “Whether an individual is doing family history or working on a school paper, the newspapers are a great primary source and full of information not found elsewhere,” said State Archives Director Shane Molander.

    You can view the archives online at

  • 6 Dec 2022 7:23 PM | Anonymous

    Are you fed up with search engines that search your searches to determine and save whatever it is you are searching for. For search engines that also offer email services (such as Google/Gmail), are you also fed up with those companies reading your email to collect all sorts of personal information about you, and selling that information to anyone who will pay for it? (Such as various political parties, foreign governments, hackers, merchants, and more?)

    If so, let me introduce you to Qwant.

    Yes, stop using Google or Bing or other shady search engines. Start using in their place.

    An Alternative Made in France That Implements European Legislation

    Qwant advertises:

    Qwant Search: The search engine that doesn't know anything about you, and that changes everything: zero tracing of your searches, zero personal data use, zero targeted advertising.

    At Qwant, we don’t know who you are. We don’t target you with ads or keep your search history. Because your age, gender, and interests belong only to you. And so with each new search request, you get a blank page to begin anew.

    Being informed should not turn you into a Click Machine. Turning our users into click machines goes against our ethics. That's why, at Qwant, we don't track advertising or analyze your personal data. Qwant puts aside the algorithms that pre-format the web and turn you into a commodity.

    By not tracking our users, our search engine offers you a completely unfiltered overview of the Internet and guarantees neutral results. Your search results are never locked into certainties. Thus, your previous searches don’t influence the results of your next ones.

    Qwant does not place any advertising cookies in your browser. Therefore, any advertisements that appear during your browsing will be linked to your search keywords, and not to your user profile.

    Nowadays it is common to refer to data as, “black gold”. Not at Qwant. We don’t sell your data to third-party organizations, for advertising or for any other purposes.

    Qwant Maps: The map service that finds the right addresses and guides you around without tracking you. (I am not sure how often the maps are updated. For instance, it doesn't show the street where I live. Admittedly, I live in a housing development that was only created about 3 years ago and new streets are still being established today.)

    Qwant Junior: The only secure search engine designed for children's learning and their parents' peace of mind.

    Qwant is always available thanks to the Qwant mobile app (mobile apps are available on Google Play and on the Apple App Store).

    Qwant is based in France. In order to respect the French and European legislative frameworks, Qwant thoroughly incorporates the RGPD. We respect all fundamental rights, including the right to be forgotten, which gives you the possibility to have your data deleted.

    All in all, Qwant looks like a winner! I am using Qwant nowadays and, so far, I am very happy with it.

    I suggest you try it out for yourself. You can do so by going to:

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