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  • 17 May 2024 2:33 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

    The National Genealogical Society (NGS) began its first full day of sessions for the Virtual Family History Conference, Expanding Possibilities, on 17 May 2024. Following the plenary’s keynote address, entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy: The First Year and Onward!” by NGS AI Program Director Steve Little, NGS Awards Chair Judy Nimer Muhn presented several awards. They were the President’s Citation, National Genealogy Hall of Fame induction, NGS Fellows, the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award, Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award, and The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism.

    President’s Citation

    NGS Vice President Ellen Pinckney Balthazar was awarded the President’s Citation for years of service to the NGS board. Elected to the board in 2018, she has served as vice president and chair of the governance committee since 2020. She has also served as an advisor to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee since its formation in 2021. She has worked tirelessly to elevate the work of the board, leading strategic planning, orientation for newly elected board members, board assessment, bylaws revision, and much more.

    National Genealogy Hall of Fame 
    NGS introduced its National Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1986. This award honors outstanding genealogists whose achievements in American genealogy have had a great impact on the field and who have been deceased for at least five years. Their contributions to genealogy in this country need to be significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States.

    This year, Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. 

    Bockstruck was born on 26 May 1945 in Vandalia, Fayette County, Illinois; he died on 23 May 2018 in Dallas, Texas. With a thirty-year tenure as supervisor of the Genealogy Section (1979-2009) at the Dallas Public Library, he established the library’s reputation as a leading genealogical collection in the United States—including records not widely available—with more than 100,000 books, over 40,000 rolls of microfilm, and nearly 20,000 microfiche. He compiled over fifty bibliographies covering various subjects including colonial Germans, church records, Hoosier genealogy, land memorials, military and pension records, probate records, Virginia Baptists, and many more.

    Between 1976 and 2017, he authored ten genealogical reference books and monographs. He served for eleven years on the faculty of the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America, University of Illinois at Springfield (1994-2005); seventeen years as a weekly columnist for the Dallas Morning News (1991-2008); seventeen years as an instructor at the School of Continuing Education, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (1974-1991), and thirty-nine years on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama (1974-2013). Bockstruck lectured throughout the country at genealogical society workshops, seminars, and conferences, influencing several generations of genealogists, family historians, and librarians. His honors include being named a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society (1992), receiving the initial Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship (1999), and being named a Fellow of the Texas State Genealogical Society (2008).

    NGS Fellows

    The NGS Fellow (FNGS) recognizes outstanding work in service to NGS and in the field of genealogy. This year's recipients were Eric G. Grundset, MLS, FVGS, and David Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS. 

    Eric Grundset’s volunteer work for NGS began in 1990, when he joined the NGS board. He was consecutively an NGS councilor, first vice president, and vice president from 1990 to 2000. He has volunteered for the NGS Book Awards Committee since 1995 and still serves as a member of that committee. Grundset twice served as NGS conference co-chair and has lectured at NGS conferences for more than thirty-five years. He also lectures across the United States on Virginia records, colonial records, and the collections of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library.

    Grundset authored the first edition of Research in Virginia as well as its second and third editions for the NGS Research in the States series. He is currently working on Research in Upstate New York. One of the most prolific contributors to the field of genealogy, he served as the DAR Library director for thirty-three years and has compiled eight comprehensive bibliographical books covering five thousand pages of Revolutionary War states’ resources, including guides on colonial New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Virginia. 

    David Rencher began his career in genealogy four decades ago. Over the years, he has directed the management of genealogical resources and education offered by FamilySearch, the FamilySearch Library, and RootsTech. Today, he is the chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch International. 

    A past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), Rencher was a key leader in the merger of NGS with FGS in 2019-2020. After the merger, he was elected to the NGS board as a director and became its chair of development. He also represents NGS on the Research Preservation and Access Coalition (RPAC). 

    Rencher has lectured at nearly all the NGS conferences and has written numerous articles in genealogical periodicals, including NGS Magazine. In 2020 he authoredResearch in Arizona, for the NGS Research in the States series. During his tenure as FGS vice president, Rencher helped raise the funds to support Preserve the Pensions for the War of 1812. As an NGS director, he has continued in that role, working with Ancestry and NARA to ensure completion of Preserve the Pensions I, and he is the driving force to create Phase II—the Veteran Bounty Lands project.

    Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement recognizes an individual whose positive influence and leadership have fostered unity and helped make family history a vital force in the community. This year’s award recipient is Larry Naukam. Naukam has dedicated over forty-five years to genealogy and local history research. He retired in 2011, concluding a thirty-year career as a librarian. His final position was as director of historical services at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (New York). His genealogy expertise spans American and German research, digitization, library and archive collections, online resources, and newspaper retrieval. Naukam has made significant contributions to the Rochester Genealogical Society (RGS) since 1978, serving as its historian/genealogist, first vice-president, and as president for six years. As a member of the RGS Education Committee and Church Records Preservation Committee, he helped to safeguard thousands of vital records and make them accessible to researchers from across the globe. During the past two decades, he has delivered more than 250 free presentations. His publications include “An In-brief Guide to New York Genealogy,” a laminated guide for New York researchers, and numerous articles forGenealogical Computing (1987-2005), Genweekly (2005-2013) and The In-Depth Genealogist(2014-2018).

    The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary contributions to the mission of NGS. This year Cheri Hudson Passey received the award for her outstanding service to NGS as its first vice president of Society & Organization Management and board liaison to the Delegate Council Steering Committee, both established as a result of the merger of NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Passey, who previously served as secretary of the FGS board, has been instrumental in serving the growing NGS community of genealogy and family history societies, libraries, archives, museums, and institutions.

    Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes volunteers whose generosity of spirit and time has greatly benefited NGS and the genealogical community in general. This year the Society is honoring an entire NGS committee—the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee—Chair Andre Kearns, Ellen Pinckney Balthazar, Bernice Alexander Bennett, Kenneth A. Bravo, Lisa Fanning, Carly Morgan, and David Morrow. The committee was formed in 2021 to help NGS realize its vision to be a society open to all. Through their efforts, NGS published "Our Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion” and issued an apology at the 2023 Richmond Conference for past acts of discrimination, bigotry, and racism. This year, the committee launched Culture Conversations, webinars on the nexus of history, culture, and genealogy through films, books, and dialogue. 

    The NGS 2024 Virtual Family History Conference continues through Saturday, 18 May.


  • 17 May 2024 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    Here is an article that is not about any of the "normal" topics of this newsletter: genealogy, history, current affairs, DNA, and related topics. But it is about a program that I use daily and I decided to share it with my readers.

    I created an Evernote account years ago, and I currently have hundreds of notes saved there covering a wide range of subjects. I save information about hundreds of websites (including URLs) that I may need to consult at a later time, articles (especially draft articles) for my genealogy newsletter, the names and email addresses of dozens of people in case I need to contact them later, details about all of my insurance policies, prescription drugs that I take, information about past meals at various restaurants and coffee shops across the globe that I may need to consult again (usually when I'm craving a good meal), credit card numbers, airline tickets, hotel reservations, and a host of other items that I might need to remember at some point in the future. Evernote allows voice note recording and picture capture from cameras on compatible devices in addition to keyboard input of textual notes. 

    To put it briefly, Evernote has taken over as my go-to app for everything I might need to remember in the future. However, there are certain issues with Evernote.

    I don't recall the exact date of my sign-up, but it was a long time ago. Evernote was free to use and saved notes online, on the cloud, accessible from any of my computers running Windows, Macintosh, and other operating systems. Back then, I wasn't too worried about security.

    Different "restrictions" were applied over time. Initially, Evernote soon could only be used on two separate computers (unless a premium edition was purchased). The service has seen multiple instances of lost consumer data over the years, including some of my data. Evernote said on March 2, 2013, that hackers had broken into their network and were able to obtain user data, including hashed passwords, email addresses, and usernames. It was requested of all users to change their passwords. Evernote revealed changes to its privacy policy in December 2016, which sparked rumors that under certain circumstances, the policy may permit access to user content by Evernote staff members. Evernote expressed regret for the issues raised, said the policy will not be put into effect, and said that staff members would not have access to users' content unless the users specifically requested it. Nonetheless, Evernote staff members can now access your data. Periodically, online hackers have also been able to access the notes that Evernote subscribers claim to be private.

    Evernote substantially decreased its free plan (to a maximum of 50 editable notes) on December 20, 2023, and the restriction went into effect that same day.

    Bending Spoons purchased Evernote in November 2022. Since then, I haven't noticed any other upgrades or adjustments to its offerings, to be honest.

    Here I sit, using a pricey service that occasionally trims its offers but never lowers its cost. I set out to find better services.

    I tried Microsoft OneNote first. Fortunately, OneNote was and I believe still is a totally free program. However, I quickly discovered that it was not cross-platform. When I originally started exploring for alternatives, it wanted to only run on Microsoft PCs because it was a Microsoft product. OneNote for Mac was later released by Microsoft; I checked it out but it seemed like a trimmed-down version of the Windows program. Microsoft never made a version for Linux, which is what I required. I didn't stop searching for a worthy substitute.

    I then tried Joplin, a well-liked Evernote substitute for Windows, Android, Mac, and iPhone. According to reports, it is the most widely used free and open-source substitute for Evernote. Even though there is a somewhat awkward Terminal version that can be used on Linux, no Linux app was available when I really wanted to move to Joplin. I thus continued to search.

    I eventually came into Standard Notes at https://standardnotes.com/. I didn't like it right away. The software lacks many of the features seen in other apps and seems to still be in its early stages of development. But as time passed, I found myself returning again and time again to Standard Notes.

    First of all, Standard Notes is an open-source, free product (more on that later). It is compatible with Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and the web (see https://itsfoss.com/standard-notes/). I believed I had arrived to nirvana. But I was going to be let down very soon.

    An independent business based on the principles of ethical data practices and sustainable software development creates and distributes Standard Notes. Prominent security researchers have independently audited the code, which is fully transparent.

    It is said that end-to-end AES-256 encryption is used by the application. This implies that under no circumstances can anybody else read your notes except you. Your data is encrypted every time it is transmitted to the server. Both when it is "at rest" within the server and when it is traveling between you and the server, it is always encrypted.

    One feature that I really like is the capability that allows Standard Notes to create backups and email them to you daily in encrypted form. That really brought me joy

    Speaking of servers, you can store the data for Standard Notes on almost any server or cloud-based file service that you can access. Additionally, it can save your data on any disk drive that is attached to your computer. Nevertheless, this restricts the ability to share data with other machines, though it is still possible just more difficult.

    The fact that Standard Notes' free edition only stores notes in basic ASCII text format—simple, devoid of bold, italics, colors, or even clickable URLs—is my main complaint about the program. Moreover, with comparable limitations and without any images or other graphics. Indeed, those features are accessible for an additional fee of $90 or $120 per year (in US dollars) if you want to pay for productivity or professional skills. For more information, visit https://standardnotes.com/plans

    What a waste of "free" software!

    I continued to use Standard Notes' free edition. Since I'm a geek and can copy and paste URLs into a web browser, I felt that the application's many advantages outweighed the drawbacks and I could live with just text notes. Although I regret not having more images and visuals, I was willing to accept the software's deficiency in exchange for its free nature.

    I was wrong.

    After a few weeks of putting up with Standard Notes and all of its limitations, I took out my credit card and registered for the Professional version, which costs $120 annually. (For further information, visit https://standardnotes.com/plans.) I am now a much happier, if poorer, Standard Notes user.

    To those who are interested in giving Standard Notes a try, my advice would be to "Try it and see if it works for you." After all, even though the free version is restricted to text notes only, it is accessible for a no cost. What do you stand to lose?

    But be advised that Standard Notes appears rather dated. That is to say, it lacks bells and whistles and resembles programs from 20 or more years ago. I am accustomed to utilizing old-fashioned computer software because I have been doing it for over 50 years. But you may like it or not.

    Regardless, visit https://standardnotes.com/ to obtain and utilize Standard Notes or to learn more about it.


  • 17 May 2024 8:49 AM | Anonymous

    The following article was written by Arielle Gray and published in the WBUR.org web site:

    It's relatively quiet in the Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Ebony Gill explores a few cardboard boxes, thumbing through old tapes, photos and newspapers. Gill is currently a senior English student at UMass Boston but she's not at the library to study. She's looking for materials to post on Boston Urban Archive, the Instagram page she runs that showcases old videos and photos of Boston's Black and brown communities.

    "These are all cassette tapes that were sent in to 'Lecco's Lemma,'" Gill says, pulling out a few cassettes to inspect them. "This was a radio show that was run at MIT. They focused on hip-hop and rap, so local rappers would record on these cassettes and send them in to get played on the radio. It was a really big thing in Boston at the time."

    "Lecco's Lemma" started in 1985 on WMBR and was run out of the basement of the Walker Memorial Building at MIT. Host Magnus Johnstone created a space for burgeoning hip-hop artists in Boston to reach the ears of listeners. In 1986, WMBR canceled “Lecco’s Lemma” and Johnstone ended up moving the show to WZBC at Newton's Boston College. The show officially ended in 1988.

    Gill pulls over another box. "What's special about these is that I found some of Gang Starr's original cassettes in here," she adds. "And The Almighty RSO. Those are two of the biggest groups coming out of Boston." She can't find those particular tapes, however, and moves on to carefully shuffling through some newspapers from the 1980s.

    This is a process that's become intimately familiar to Gill. She loves researching and finding gems in the archive that highlight Boston's history. Since its inception at the end of 2023, Boston Urban Archive has amassed over 30,000 followers. Gill started the page after doing research for a paper she was writing for a journalism class. She decided to delve into hip-hop and the genre's history in Bostontaking advantage of the college's Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive.

    "I was just finding a lot of things in my research that I'm like 'other people need to see this,'" Gill says. "From the newspaper clippings to just musicians and music that I've never heard come from Boston before. I wanted to put it in a concentrated place and I felt like social media was the perfect place to do that."

    So, Gill started posting archival materials she found. A video of Mark Wahlberg as a child gained traction and brought a lot of attention to the Boston Urban Archive. She realized, "People like this, they like these vintage clips of familiar faces. So I just kind of continued to look for more."

    Gill's love of research started when she was a child — she was pretty nosy, she says, and was always looking for new and exciting information. She grew up splitting her time between living with her mother in New Hampshire and spending weekends and summers in Boston with her father. She moved to Boston full-time at 13 years old. "I am biracial and growing up was a bit different for me because I lived with my white mother in a smaller, quieter community," Gill says. "Then I would come to Boston and my dad would teach me a lot of things ... I've just always felt very connected to what Black Boston is and what it represents."

    For Gill and many other Bostonians of color, there is a feeling that Black and brown history in the city is not highlighted or celebrated in the ways that it should be. Recent developments and projects, like the Embrace Memorial on Boston Common, have helped uncover some of the longstanding Black history here, but Gill says that more needs to be done.

    You can read more at: https://bit.ly/4bGNkX1.

  • 17 May 2024 8:43 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at Central Piedmont Community College:

    2024 marks 10 years of fruitful partnership between Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC)! With over 40,000 students enrolled annually, 6 campuses, and nearly 300 programs offered, CPCC is a significant educational institution in North Carolina with a long history and extensive archives. We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with this latest addition from CPCC, a large batch of student literary magazines spanning 46 years. The CPCC literary magazine has been known as The Paul Atwell Memorial Literary Magazine, Keystone, and in its most recent iteration, The Hammer. These magazines showcase the talents of decades of students, and gives researchers insight into the literary and artistic subjects that most preoccupied them. 

    “Fill in the Blank,” Akossi Kouadio. Oil on canvas. 2022.

    See over 500 digitized records from Central Piedmont Community College at their contributor page here. Check out our North Carolina Community College Collections exhibit here



  • 17 May 2024 8:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

    Over 750,000 new records to explore...

    We made large updates to three of our existing death record sets this week, as part of our annual update of modern death records. Covering 1980 right up to 2024, there are 751,279 death records from Wales, Scotland and Ireland for you to explore. 

    We also added 417,546 historical pages to our newspaper collection, with the brand new Sporting Post and updates to 44 existing titles. 

    Scotland Deaths, 1855-2024

    We added 497,172 Scottish death record transcriptions this week, spanning 1980 to 2024. 

    If you've got Scottish ancestors, these new additions may help to fill a gap or two within the more modern branches of your family tree. 

    England & Wales Deaths, 2007-2024

    We also added 225,815 Welsh death records to this existing collection, which covers the years 2007 to 2024.

    Northern Ireland Deaths, 1980-2024

    Last in our trio of death record updates is these 28,292 Northern Irish additions. 

    These transcriptions cover from 1980 to 2024.

    45 new and updated titles...

    We added over 400,000 newspaper pages to our collection this Findmypast Friday, so there's truly never been a better time to delve into detail-rich stories from the past. 

    The Sporting Post, 4 January 1986.

    The Sporting Post, 4 January 1986.

    Explore the brand new Scottish Sporting Post from 1986 in addition to 44 updated publications. 

    Here's a full rundown of all that's been added to our newspaper collection this week. 

    New titles:

    • Sporting Post, 1986

    Updated titles:

    • Alnwick Mercury, 2000
    • Ballymena Observer, 1985, 1991, 1993, 1995
    • Banbridge Chronicle, 1992, 2000-2001
    • Belfast News-Letter, 2000
    • Beverley Guardian, 1987, 1992
    • Bexhill-on-Sea Observer, 1998
    • Blyth News Post Leader, 1999
    • Bognor Regis Observer, 1900
    • Bridlington Free Press, 1992
    • Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser, 1994
    • Buteman, 1856
    • Daventry and District Weekly Express, 1949, 1957-1963, 1994-2000
    • Derry Journal, 2002
    • Dunstable Gazette, 1986
    • Eastbourne Gazette, 1912
    • Fife Free Press, 1990-1992
    • Galloway Gazette, 1987
    • Horncastle News, 1977-1979, 1981, 1992
    • Kilsyth Chronicle, 1898-1899
    • Leamington Spa Courier, 1988-1989
    • Lincoln Leader and County Advertiser, 1897, 1912
    • Louth Standard, 1986-1989, 1997, 1999
    • Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail, 1994, 1997, 2000-2002
    • Market Rasen Weekly Mail, 1999
    • Mearns Leader, 1994
    • Melton Mowbray Times and Vale of Belvoir Gazette, 2000-2002
    • Mid Sussex Times, 1987-1988
    • Motherwell Times, 1994
    • Nelson Leader, 1970
    • Northampton Chronicle and Echo, 2000-2003
    • Northampton Mercury, 1988
    • Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, 2001
    • Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald, 1995, 1998-1999, 2001-2002
    • Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 1960, 1966, 1970
    • Retford, Worksop, Isle of Axholme and Gainsborough News, 1988, 1999-2001
    • Ripon Gazette, 2002
    • Scarborough Evening News, 1899, 1999, 2002
    • Sleaford Standard, 1997, 1999-2002
    • Southern Reporter, 1980-1984
    • Star Green ‘un, 1946
    • Sussex Express, 1987
    • Todmorden & District News, 1933-1934, 1952-1979
    • West Sussex County Times, 1989
    • Whitby Gazette, 1995, 2003

    Have you made a surprising family history discovery? Whatever you've uncovered about your past, we'd love to hear about it. You can now get in touch and tell us using this handy form.

    Last week we add Scottish occupational records, British Rolls of Honour and more. Don't miss out on this exciting addition - explore the full release for yourself today.

  • 16 May 2024 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    Here is an announcement written by the folks at American Ancestors® (also known as the New England Historic Genealogical Society):

    Watch Video: Filmmaker and PBS host of Finding Your Roots Henry Louis Gates, Jr., interviews Woods about “the power and promise of family history.” 

    Interview: https://www.americanancestors.org/rjwinterview 

    May 16, 2024—Boston, Mass.—The Board of Trustees for American Ancestors, a national center for family history, heritage, and culture, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan J. Woods to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. Woods has held multiple positions at the nonprofit since joining the staff in 2007, including managerial roles for web technology and educational programs. Over his long tenure, he has helped grow and diversify American Ancestors’ services and offerings, further establishing its reputation as a national resource for family history research and public programming about genealogy and heritage.

    In his most recent position as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Woods oversaw the launch of major initiatives that have received national attention and praise, including 10 Million Names, a project to recover the names of the 10 million people of African descent who were enslaved in what is now the United States of America; the Boston Tea Party Descendants Program, an initiative celebrating the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, in cooperation with the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, to trace the full lineages of the Boston Tea Party participants; Historic Catholic Records Online, an initiative to make the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston historical sacramental records publicly accessible and searchable; and Mayflower 2020, a multifaceted project that included publicly searchable lineages of the Mayflower passengers and their descendants, alongside perspectives from descendants of the Native peoples they encountered.

    “Ryan is the right person to take American Ancestors further into the 21st century. He has an expansive, inclusive vision and the experience and ability to realize that vision,” commented American Ancestors Board Chair David M. Trebing. “My colleagues will agree with me that Ryan has proven himself time and again to be an inspiring leader with a deep dedication to family history.” 

    “I am honored to be the temporary steward of this extraordinary organization,” said Woods. “American Ancestors can help anyone learn more about their family history, and that knowledge builds a foundation for increased self-esteem, social awareness, and civic pride. Though our collaborative work with our many partners, colleagues, and friends in the cultural and historical space, we intend to bring the power and promise of family history to as many people as possible.”

    Woods succeeds D. Brenton Simons, who, after serving as CEO for eighteen years, remains on staff as President Emeritus and Chief Stewardship Officer. 

    In a recent interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., filmmaker and host of the PBS show Finding Your Roots, Woods talked about his vision for American Ancestors. Gates and Woods discussed how knowing one’s own family history can create positive change. Woods provided context for the organization’s many projects, including its national youth education program, designed to help educators reap the benefits of teaching genealogy in the classroom. Woods also revealed details about the upcoming Family Heritage Experience, a unique in-person, exhibit-based experience scheduled to open in late fall 2024 on Newbury Street in Boston.  

    Prior to joining American Ancestors, Woods held executive positions at cultural and historical institutions, including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), at which he received the Archivist of the United States' Award for Outstanding Public Service. Woods also serves in leadership roles for several nonprofit historical and cultural organizations. He was recently appointed commissioner of the Special Commission for the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; he is on the advisory board for the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and is a past President of the Boston University School of Education Alumni Association.

    About American Ancestors® 

    American Ancestors is a national center for family history, heritage, and culture based in Boston, Massachusetts, and one of the world’s top destinations for family history research, according to USA Today. American Ancestors is the global brand of New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), America’s oldest and largest genealogical society (founded in 1845). American Ancestors serves more than 450,000 members and online subscribers engaged in family history nationally and around the world through its website, AmericanAncestors.org, with more than one billion names in its databases. Located in Boston’s Back Bay, American Ancestors is home to a world-class research center and archive, an expert staff, and the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center. It maintains a publishing division that produces original genealogical research, scholarship, and educational materials, including the Register, the flagship journal of American genealogy since 1847, and American Ancestors, its award-winning magazine.

  • 16 May 2024 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Have you ever wondered, "Who was the original owner of my house? When was my house built? What is the history of my house?" An online article provides help.

    realestate.usnews.com contains an article that describes how to find historic information that can be shared or searched. The site is looking for stories about all houses, whether historic or not. Quoting the web site:

    "Here are eight things about your house you may want to know:

        • History of major construction and work on the property.

        • Details of previous sales.

        • Names associated with the address.

        • Environmental information about the property.

        • Deaths that occurred on the property.

        • Fires or gas leaks that have been reported on the property.

        • Meth activity.

        • Historic photos of the home and neighborhood."

    Every old house has a story to tell. What gives a home such great value is its history, and what I mean by history is not necessarily the age of the building but the stories that come with it. The reason most people like historic buildings isn’t just because of its architecture, which can be replicated. It’s the knowing that another preceded you, and lifetimes occurred within that home’s walls.

    The article also states:

    “Before you scour the public record and historic documents for information about your house, be sure that you are ready to deal with the issues that may arise from knowing more. If you discover major issues with a property you own – whether it's soil contamination that makes it dangerous to live there or a murder that occurred in the house – you may have to disclose the information to would-be buyers when you try to sell the property.

    “Still, the more you know, the better equipped you are to restore a historical property, make the structure safe for your family or simply stay away if it's a home you haven't purchased yet.”

    You can learn more at: https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/how-to-look-up-the-history-of-your-house


  • 16 May 2024 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    Mills Kelly, Senior Scholar and Former Director, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM); Professor, History, has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for: “Off the Wall: Digital Preservation of (U.S.) Civil War Graffiti Houses.”

    Kelly will use the funding to support the building and publishing of a digital archive focused on soldiers’ graffiti found in Civil War-era structures located in the greater Northern Virginia region operated by six local project partners.

    The digital archive will provide scholars, students, and the public access to not only the graffiti, but also to a reasonably large collection of ancillary archival material associated with the graffiti. 

    Taken together, the resources in this digital collection will provide users – both the general public and scholars – with a digital resource that offers unique and often unexpected insights into the lived experience of war in America from 1861-1865. 

    Kelly has received $350,000 for this project. Funding will begin in June 2024 and will end in late May 2026.

  • 15 May 2024 5:15 PM | Anonymous

    Their names and stories deserve to be known. That is the foundation of the 246 Years Project started by Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia seven years ago. 

    On Monday, the organizers debuted the fruits of that work—an online database that sheds light on the lives of enslaved people whose records of existence were largely limited to property legers from the beginning of African slavery in America in 1619 to emancipation through the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.  

    The announcement was made from the stately, columned portico of the Davis mansion at Morven Park, a building that dates back to the early 1800s when the estate operated with slave labor as a Virginia plantation. At least 81 enslaved people worked on the property, according to records that helped launch the database. 

    “It's that part of our history here. That is really the reason, and it was the inspiration for establishing the 246 Years Project,” Morven Park Executive Director and CEO Stacey Metcalfe said. “The 246 Years Project is dedicated to documenting and honoring the millions of enslaved men, women, and children whose names and life stories deserve to be known.”

    The project started with Morven Park’s records but expanded to include work conducted by the historical records staff at in the Loudoun County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. And organizers are working for a far broader reach.

    “We're hoping that the 246 Years Project will bring to light thousands of untold stories of strength, resilience, and persistence. It's intended to create an opportunity for truth-telling, memorialization, and reconciliation,” Metcalfe said. 

    Through the support of donors, she noted, the information will be available free of charge. 

    You can read more in an article by Norman K. Styer published in the loudounnow.com web site at: https://bit.ly/3WJ2h6F.


  • 15 May 2024 11:31 AM | Anonymous

    This announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

    FREE Board for Certification of Genealogists -Sponsored Webinar

    Editing Your Own Writing – Part 1” 

    by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGG, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

    Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 8:00 p.m. (EDT) 

    Genealogists write. Their written narratives include stories of ancestral families, biographies of individual ancestors, and explanations supporting genealogical proofs. For their writing to succeed, genealogists—like all effective writers—repeatedly self-edit everything they write. The process results in polished products that the genealogist’s readers will understand, enjoy, and cherish.

    Emphasizing genealogical narrative, these two webinars will address the self-editing process. Part 1 will focus on “big-picture” editing, including stages of self-editing; focus; keeping the writer out of the narrative; editing the writing’s overall structure, organization, and flow; and improving major and minor subdivisions of written genealogical narratives, including paragraphing. Part 2 will focus on “nitty-gritty” editing, including capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, spelling, word choice, and reducing word count.

    Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGG, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, is an award-winning genealogical researcher, writer, editor, and educator. He co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 2003 through 2018, and he is the author of the textbooks Mastering Genealogical Proof and Mastering Genealogical Documentation. He has been certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists since 1994. A professor emeritus at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Tom teaches genealogical research methods at week-long genealogy institutes. He also speaks at national, regional, and local seminars in the United States and internationally, and he writes frequently on genealogical evidence, proof, and problem solving. 

    BCG’s next free monthly webinar in conjunction with Legacy Family Tree Webinars is “Editing Your Own Writing – Part 1” by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGG. This webinar airs Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.  

    When you register before May 21 with our partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars (http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=9011) 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 Webinarswebsite.

    “Education is one of the most significant ways of achieving BCG’s mission for promoting public confidence in genealogy through uniform standards of competence,” said President Faye Jenkins Stallings, CG. “We appreciate this opportunity to provide these webinars that focus on the standards that help family historians of all levels practice good genealogy.”

    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: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=2619.

    To see the full list of BCG-sponsored webinars for 2024, visit the BCG blog SpringBoard at https://bcgcertification.org/bcg-2024-free-webinars.  For additional resources for genealogical education, please visit the BCG Learning Center (https://bcgcertification.org/learning)

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