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  • 21 Dec 2022 5:58 PM | Anonymous

    With families all over the world gathering and enjoying good food and good times together, there’s no better time to give the gift of self-discovery. Spread the love with MyHeritage DNA — now on sale for an amazing affordable price!

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  • 21 Dec 2022 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    Have you encountered this problem when researching birth records from 100 years ago or even earlier? In some parts of the U.S., this was a common practice.

    I had to smile a bit when reading an article in the Boston Globe published several years ago about the "problem" of incomplete birth records. It seems the city of Boston has many birth records from years ago where the baby's name is simply recorded as “baby girl” or “baby boy.” The reporter wrote, "A generation ago — when more families had six or more children — babies without official first names were surprisingly common. Overwhelmed new parents would leave the hospital without completing birth certificate paperwork."

    You can read more in the article by Andrew Ryan in the Boston Globe at: The same article tells how to amend a record and add a first name by providing documentation. 

    Actually, the "problem" is not unique to Boston nor to any particular area of the United States. An experienced genealogist probably can tell you of numerous similar examples. I have seen it many times, especially in the case of my mother and her siblings.

    My mother’s birth record at the town clerk’s office in Ashland, Maine, records her first name as “baby girl.” All of her older brothers and sisters were recorded as “baby girl” or “baby boy.” However, the younger siblings (of the 16 children) are recorded with their correct first names. The same is true for many, many other families in the same town, recorded in the same records.

    When my mother had to get a Social Security card some years later, it was a minor problem. Since there was no birth record showing her true first name, she had to get affidavits from several people who remembered the event. That wasn’t hard for her since her mother (my grandmother) was still alive at the time and she gladly submitted an affidavit saying that she remembered the event well! Apparently, all of my mother's older brothers and sisters had to do the same when they applied for Social Security cards.

    I have heard a number of different stories about why this practice was common, and some of those stories contradict the other stories. As a result, I don’t know what the truth is except that, after reading the town clerk’s records and the records of other town clerks in the area, I do know it was a common practice in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Boston officials estimated that, in the 1950s, roughly 1 of every 25 birth certificates lacked a first name. I suspect it was even more common in many rural areas in mid-winter.

    I will disagree with one statement in Andrew Ryan's article in the Boston Globe: "Overwhelmed new parents would leave the hospital without completing birth certificate paperwork." In the case of my mother, her siblings, and my grandmother, there was no hospital involved. The nearest hospital was more than 20 miles away, a difficult trip at any time of the year and impossible during the winters in northern Maine, where 3 or 4 feet of snow was common and the (dirt) roads were never plowed in the winter. (My mother was born in March.)

    My grandmother gave birth to all 16 of her children at home. I suspect some of your ancestors did the same.

    Who provided the information to the local town clerk? And when was the information provided? In my mother’s case, the town clerk’s office was “in town,” 5 or 6 miles away. That’s a long ways away over unplowed dirt roads in northern Maine where the snow in March was often more than 4 feet deep!

    That was an impossible trip for my grandmother who had just given birth. She also had other children at home that required her care. So she undoubtedly did not provide the information to the town clerk.

    My grandfather was not at home at the time as he was working in the woods (he was a French-Canadian lumberjack working in the deep woods of northern Maine. I doubt if he even heard of the birth of his newest child until he returned home in April or May.)

    None of the other children supplied the information as they were too young to make such a trip into town in the arduous winter weather conditions.

    So, who supplied the information? Unfortunately, the town clerk did not record that fact.

    Was it the doctor? Probably not, as I was told that most of these children were born without a doctor in attendance. Was it a midwife or perhaps another, older relative?

    I wish I knew.

  • 21 Dec 2022 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    'My Town, My Story' will help Connecticut public libraries build digital collections of local history and memory

    Connecticut Humanities (CTH) has awarded a Partnership Grant of $173,711 to the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) for an exciting new project called My Town, My Story. My Town, My Story is focused specifically on helping Connecticut public libraries build digital collections of local histories and encourage individuals and community groups to contribute to the common memory of their town.

    The grant allows the UConn Library to build and market an easy-to-use program to collect local history from communities across Connecticut that can be set up in any public area of a library or similar organization.

    “By creating a pre-packaged and ready to use program, we are excited to get the incredibly rich information from people who have not traditionally contributed to building a digital cultural heritage collection,” says Greg Colati, Director of the UConn Library Digital Preservation Repository Program. The wider net cast to collect from community members will broaden the resources being preserved and made available to the people of Connecticut.

    You can read more in an article by Jean Cardinale published in the UConn web site at:

  • 21 Dec 2022 7:22 AM | Anonymous

    The volumes will be available to anyone visiting the library in Jerusalem and seeking to learn more about their family history.

    The National Library of Israel (NLI) announced on Tuesday that it received a 22-volume genealogical history of Ireland’s Jewish community. According to NLI, this set of records benefits anyone with Irish-Jewish ancestry who is seeking to learn about their family lineage.

    “The history of the Jews in Ireland goes back to the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, when a permanent settlement of Sephardic was established in the late 15th century,” NLI said in a statement. “There was an increase in Jewish immigration to Ireland during the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Eastern Europe. The community has always been small – with a high point of 5,500 persons in 1891—but is well established.”

    “According to the 2016 Irish census,” NLI continued, “there were 2,557 Jews in Ireland, a 28.9 percent increase over the previous 2011 census, and more than half (1,539) living in Dublin.”

    NLI owns one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Judaica in the world. The volumes were gifted to the library by their author and compiler, Stuart Rosenblatt, president of the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society.

    Today, most Irish-Jewish ancestry hails from Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews from Lithuania and neighboring nations who arrived in the 1870s.

    You can read more, including an interview with author Stuart Rosenblatt, in an article published in the Jewish News Syndicate at

  • 20 Dec 2022 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    There are dozens of stories floating around where someone found a long-lost relative through a DNA test, usually involving investigative genetic genealogists and various DNA tools. However, one new story this week is a bit different.

    Rosemarie Helga Doederlein was 14 when she disappeared one afternoon in late 1954. Her mother sent her to a bakery near the family’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce apartment to buy a loaf of bread — and she never returned.

    Vera Doederlein,11 (left), with her sister Rosemarie, 13, in Germany in April 1954. They sailed for Montreal in September and, later that year, Rosemarie disappeared.

    She was new to Montreal, having arrived only weeks earlier with her parents and younger sister, Vera, from a village in Germany; she spoke no English or French and knew no one outside the family. Police efforts to locate her failed. Every year, the family moved from one neighbourhood to another, searching for her.

    Thanks to a DNA test and through the efforts of a Toronto police detective, a social media campaign and, mostly, third-party DNA obtained through a consumer DNA genetic testing kit, it has been determined that Rosemarie turned up in Ontario in 1957 and married at 16, had a family, lived a full life and died at 69.

    With help from digitized records from the 1950s, Detective Constable Michael Kelly of the Toronto police department’s Homicide and Missing Persons Unit was able to figure out that Rosemarie surfaced in Ontario and married in June 1957 at 16 and gave birth six months later. She had five sons, got divorced, married again and moved to British Columbia, where she ran a bed-and-breakfast. She died in 2009.

    “We have been able to answer the question of what happened — but the why and the how give rise to more questions,” said Kelly, who concluded his investigation at the end of September. “Did she leave voluntarily, or was she taken and convinced not to look for her family?”

    The family now knows what happened to the then-14-year-old but still has many unanswered questions. Can you help?

    You can read the whole story, at least the pieces of the story that have become known, in an article in the MSN web site written by Susan Schwartz of the Montreal Gazette, at:

    My thanks to newsletter reader Terry Mulcahy for telling me about this story.

  • 20 Dec 2022 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    Is your genealogy society still publishing newsletters on paper and sending them via (postal) mail to members? If so, it is time to move into the twenty-first century! has built-in features to send new posts out as an email newsletter – automatically. 

    Quoting from the web site:

    "Newsletters have become one of the most powerful and popular ways to reach audiences directly with your content. What you might not know is that has built-in features to send new posts out as an email newsletter – automatically. We’re proud to power tens of millions of emails from sites every day, keeping readers up to date with the latest stories from their favorite creators.

    We’re introducing Newsletter – with its own dedicated theme – to make it even easier to get up and running without going through the full website-building process. Newsletter gives you a place to write and build an audience, with the flexibility of WordPress under the hood to grow in many different directions."

    The article goes on at length describing two or three different methods of establishing an email newsletter. You can read the full article at:

  • 20 Dec 2022 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a follow-up to my earlier article, Online Access to New Zealand's Archives' Records Removed After Potential Privacy Breach, that is still available at:

    A Swedish company has apologised over months of security breaches at Archives New Zealand.

    Technology failings since February have exposed at least 9000 restricted records.

    They have shut down the public's, historians' and researchers' ability to search the archive for days at a time.

    Axiell executive vice president Maria Wasing said the company was putting in "resources globally" to fix the Collections search system, at no additional cost to Archives.

    "We, of course, apologise for the inconvenience that challenges with the system have caused Archives and users," she said.

    The shutdowns, slowness and incompleteness of searching, and Archives' decision in 2020 to reduce opening hours at its reading rooms, have delayed court cases relying on historical records, according to lawyers and a High Court's notes.

    Official Information Act documents say Axiell knew about the "syncing" error causing the breaches but did not tell Archives, which later told Axiell off.

    Wasing, however, said: "We are working with Archives at every step of the way."

    The OIA reports and emails suggest fixing the system will be expensive and take a long time, well into next year.

    You can read more at:

  • 19 Dec 2022 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    Here is a list of all of this week's articles, all of them available here at

    (+) How To Store Data in the Cloud

    'Tis a Giving Time of Year

    How to Kickstart Your Own Alternative With Webtrees

    MyHeritage Adds new AI Time Machine™ Avatars

    MyHeritage Publishes 23 Collections and 14 Million Historical Records in October 2022

    Teenager's Incurable Cancer Cleared With Revolutionary DNA-Editing Technique

    New Collection Features Over 50 Years of Digitized African-American Funeral Programs From Evans County, Georgia, and Are Now Available Freely Online

    Old Vail (Colorado) Trail Editions Are Now Digitized Through July 1992

    Historic Chicano Student Newspaper Made Available Online

    Introducing Mems Dead

    Jamaican RGD Adds Genealogical Research Tool to List of Products, Services

    500 Years of Hampshire (England) Heritage Now Free to View on

    Two Seventeenth Century Atlases Digitised and Online in England

    550-Year-Old Clue to Life of Vlad the Impaler Emerges

    2023 Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship Application

    Findmypast Adds Surrey and US Records

    Recently Added and Updated Collections on

    Fogler Library Creates Subject Guide on Inventor of Earmuffs

    This Year, I Fell Back in Love With My Google Pixelbook and Chrome OS

    Backblaze Expects Hard Disk Drive Storage Costs to Hit One Cent per Gigabyte by 2025

    Whatever Happened to Margo Georgiadis?

  • 19 Dec 2022 7:38 AM | Anonymous

    As we near the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, and also as we begin the thought processes of dealing with income taxes shortly after New Years', the idea of giving gifts to family members and to friends become major consideration in your formulation of plans. In the United States, this also can impact the idea of minimizing your upcoming income tax considerations.

    I would suggest you include planning for a gift to a good friend of all U.S. genealogists: the National Genealogical Society.

    NGS, a non-profit founded in 1903, is the premier U.S. national society for beginners to advanced family historians. Indeed, the NGS is "For generations. Past. Present. Future." 

    As stated in the Society's mission statement, "Our mission is to inspire, connect, and lead the family history community. We foster collaboration and best practices in advocacy, education, preservation, and research. We enable people, cultures, and organizations to discover the past and create a lasting legacy."

    Why not help out our good friend and help make sure the organization can continue to provide services for future genealogists? You can make a big difference with your financial support to NGS.

    There are several things you can do, both at this time of year, and especially over the next two weeks that can make a big difference come tax time in April.

    Charitable contributions can be donated until the end of the year

    Of course, donations by anyone are always appreciated at any time of year. However, if you are 70 1/2 years of age or older, there are additional things to consider. If you "qualify," you can give to charity through a qualified charitable distribution or QCD. By gifting your retirement withdrawals directly to charity, you can avoid paying taxes on next April 15th as well as on income taxes every year thereafter.

    One option (or perhaps I should say "an additional option") is to remember NGS in your will. Of course, the best option of all is to remember NGS every year PLUS in your disposition of assets to be mentioned in your will. Legacy giving lets you leave a monetary donation or item of value to a charity using your last will and testament. While you may not be able to donate a large amount of money or item of value to a charity right now, chances are you will accumulate wealth throughout the remainder of your life. You obviously need to have a home and method of transportation while you’re alive, but you can’t take them with you when you pass away. If you don’t have a loved one you’d like to leave your property to, you can donate the proceeds of its sale to a registered charity, making for a substantial donation, such as to NGS.

    Think of any properties you own and the savings you accrue over time as your living costs decrease, such as vehicle and mortgage payments. Why not specify in your will that such assets be given to the NGS?

    It doesn’t just have to be a property either. The same goes for auctionable items of value, stocks, and cash. The best part is leaving a legacy doesn’t take away from your current assets. This gives you a chance to support the charity of your choice when you can afford to — instead of trying to make small donations here and there that affect your budget. 

    By leaving a charitable bequest to an organization you care about, you’re honoring yourself in relation to a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Depending on the size of your donation (and the type of charity you support), you may even have a chance to memorialize yourself in some way. For example, the charity may plant a tree, make a plaque, or even name a building in your honor. I will suggest that NGS probably will not name a building in your honor (NGS doesn't own buildings) but a substantial donation may well result in a scholarship or perhaps recognition of future accomplishments may be named for you for many years after your passing. I cannot think of a better recognition of you and your gift.

    Perhaps even better, if your net worth is high when you pass away, your estate may also be subject to estate taxes, which can significantly reduce the net amount your heirs receive. The U.S. federal estate tax calculated during the probate process must be paid before your remaining assets are distributed to your family members and loved ones. 

    Consider leaving a gift in your will to maximize your assets’ potential, do some good for the world, and create a legacy for yourself. Consult with your attorney now to further discuss these issues.

    2022 NGS Giving Days are Here! 

    Quoting the NGS web site at:

    We are so thankful to everyone who “answers the call” to support the great programs the National Genealogical Society provides for family historians. In Fiscal Year 2022, we raised over $56,000 to support NGS.

    We greatly appreciate our members and other contributors who support NGS financially throughout the year. We particularly thank everyone who makes NGS Giving Days a success!

    We hope our plans for the coming year will inspire you to renew your support during our 2022 #NGSGivingDays campaign. Please donate whatever amount you can. Whether your gift is $100, $250, or $500, be assured that your generosity is greatly appreciated.

    Please join us in helping the #NewNGS continue its important work with individual genealogists and genealogy societies and organizations! Donate now on our secure website or call 703-525-0050.

    Your contribution helps us strengthen our education and records preservation work. New courses and new books are developed each year to help everyone interested in researching their family. We also continue to support record preservation projects at the National Archives through the Stern-NARA fund and projects like Preserve the Pensions.

    We greatly appreciate your support! Your generosity truly makes a difference.

    Tax ID 52-0745713

  • 19 Dec 2022 7:36 AM | Anonymous

    Thousands of Hampshire’s records, spanning back 500 years, are now available on Ancestry® and in the county’s libraries and record office.

    Hampshire County Council has collaborated with Ancestry, the global leader in family history, to make nearly 100,000 of Hampshire and Isle of Wight wills and probates available online for the first time.

    As well as being digitised for the probate records will be freely accessible from Hampshire Record Office in Winchester and in public libraries across the county.

    Online and in person visitors will be able to discover Hampshire residents like Thomas Hancock of Hawley, Yateley who died of the plague in 1604. The records show that his will was handed to Alexander Read on a nine-foot pole because Hancock was afraid of passing on the infection to his witnesses.

    The registers also features Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials for Hampshire parishes in Winchester Diocese dating from 1536 to 1921.

    You can read more in an article by Adele Bouchard published in the Hampshire Chronicle web site at:

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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