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Latest Standard Edition Articles

  • 15 May 2023 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    Millennials face digital end-of-life planning

    From an article by John Dias published in the CBS News web site:

    Millennials were the first digitally-native generation, and now they're some of the first planning for their digital end.

    When you think about end-of-life planning, having a well thought out plan for how you want your social media accounts handled may not have been a popular topic in the past. But for millennials, it's a new thought process: Who controls your social media when you're gone? 

    "This stuff can out live you in ways that tangible stuff may not," said Mitch Mitchell, associate counsel of estate planning at Trust & Will. "Used to be family photo albums, or tax returns and things you would leave in boxes." 

    Facebook was created in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016. Nearly 20 years of social media means two decades of information, pictures and videos uploaded for countless to see. 

    Millennials have been around for all of it. Which is why Mitchell says some are thinking about what will happen to their digital legacy upon death. 

    Many are now designating a particular person to control their social media, called a legacy contact or digital executor. 

    You can read the entire article at:

  • 15 May 2023 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    From an article Justin Zooby and published in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (an agency of the United States Department of Commerce) web site:  

    Twenty years ago, scientists mapped more than 90% of the entire human genome. A huge accomplishment involving many scientists, mapping our genes has allowed researchers to better understand inherited diseases and led to many other scientific advancements.  

    If a researcher wanted to analyze your DNA, they’d compare you to that single reference genome that’s been in use for years and try to figure out how your DNA is different from that reference.

    Last year, we were part of a large international team that finished the last 8% and completed the first human genome. This has enabled insights into previously unexplored parts of the genome, including providing a map of millions of genetic variations, or stretches of DNA that vary from person to person.

    But here’s the problem — the composite human genome, while taken from a diverse group of people from all over the world, does not represent the full diversity of human DNA. Even the first “complete” human genome is missing sequences that only exist in some individuals. That can make medical research or testing someone’s genes for diseases a challenge for scientists. This is especially true for people with ancestry from regions of the world that have high genetic diversity — though it affects everyone. 

    Say you have an extra copy of a gene that’s not in the reference. That could be missed when comparing your DNA to the standard reference.   

    My colleagues and I are helping scientists make a new form of a genome — the pangenome — or “all genome.” The pangenome has been released in a draft version with about 50 people’s DNA, with the long-term goal of having about 350 people’s DNA in the completed pangenome in the next two or three years. It will allow us to understand the full diversity of our genes and advance medical research. 

    So instead of researchers comparing one person’s DNA to one standard reference, researchers can compare the person’s DNA to a reference library containing potentially hundreds of diverse people’s DNA. 

    You can read the full article at:

  • 15 May 2023 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    This strikes me as a very useful article for genealogists with old family photographs and modern photos alike as well as for millions of others also with photos that are "less than perfect:"

    From an article by Eoin Wiley published in the web site:

    Are you still manually removing image backgrounds using Photoshop or other photo editing tools? Well, you shouldn’t be, at least not anymore. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of the 10 best online tools to remove image backgrounds effortlessly.

    These image background-removing tools, with the assistance of AI, are designed to make your life easier, save you time, and help you achieve professional-looking results.

    Whether you are a graphic designer, a social media manager, or just someone looking to enhance your images, these online tools will undoubtedly come in handy. Let’s check them out.

    The entire article may be found at:
  • 15 May 2023 10:52 AM | Anonymous

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

    (+) How to Make Money Selling Genealogy Information – Part I

    Shogan Confirmed by U.S. Senate as 11th Archivist of the United States

    Does Your Genealogy Society Publish eBooks? If Not, They Should.

    Unveiling of List of Catholic-Run Native Boarding Schools Allows for ‘Subsequent Generations to Achieve Healing’

    Cork Genealogy Database Holds 57,000 Burial Records to Help Search for Ancestors

    University of Louisville Researchers’ Artifact Archive Tells the Story of Louisville

    Some Ancestors of Native Americans Came From China, Says Study

    MyHeritage Adds High-Quality Images to the 1910 Norway Census Collection

    Exploring a New UK Web Archive Collection on King Charles III

    IGHR - Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (Virtual)

    Chronolocation: Determining When a Photo was Taken Using Facebook, Google Street View and Assorted Tiny Details

    New Genome Map Tries To Capture All Human Genetic Variation

    Free BCG-Sponsored Webinar “Name Changes and the Law”

    Genealogy Products and Services Industry Flourishing as DNA Testing Soars in Popularity

    Are FlashDrives Effective For Making Backups of Important Data or Digital Pictures?

    Carnegie Mellon Students Make AI Shine in New ChatGPT-Based Game

    Boston Bus Stops Double as Digital Libraries Under New Pilot Program

    Is Facebook Only for Old People?

  • 15 May 2023 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    This is basically an advertisement for a report that sells for high price. (I won't be buying it.) However, the ad has some interesting comments about the current status of genealogy research. 

    Unleashing the Power of DNA Testing:

    DNA testing has revolutionized the field of genealogy by providing individuals with unprecedented insights into their family history. Unlike traditional genealogical research, which relied on paper records and historical documents, DNA testing allows people to trace their genetic ancestry with scientific precision. By analyzing specific markers in their DNA, individuals can identify ancestral origins, discover ethnic heritage, and even locate long-lost relatives.

    DNA testing has gained immense popularity due to its accessibility and simplicity. Various direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies offer at-home DNA test kits that can be easily ordered online. These kits typically involve a simple saliva or cheek swab sample, which is sent to the laboratory for analysis. Within a few weeks, individuals receive detailed reports showcasing their genetic heritage, ethnicity estimates, and potential matches with other individuals who share genetic similarities.

    Growing Demand for Genealogy Products and Services:

    As DNA testing continues to soar in popularity, a complementary industry for genealogy products and services has emerged. This industry caters to the growing demand for tools, resources, and expertise that help individuals make the most of their DNA test results and delve deeper into their family history.

    You can read more at:

  • 15 May 2023 7:25 AM | Anonymous

    This looks like it might (1.) be fun and (2.) teach you what our Colonial-Era ancestors endured.

    Carnegie Mellon students make AI shine in new ChatGPT-based game.

    A tragedy looms over the town of Howlsbend — and asking the right questions of artificial intelligence may be the only way to discover the witch behind this wickedness.

    Chatbot AI(opens in new window) a team of Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC)(opens in new window) students, have created a role-playing video game, Hysteria in Howlsbend, set in a fictional colonial town. The player takes the role of the deputy governor of Massachusetts and must interview three townsfolk to determine which of them is the witch who killed the local reverend.

    Even Charles Agriogianis, a game designer on the project, doesn’t know what the townsfolk will say. They are voiced, in part, by AI.

    "We can only exert so much control over what it's doing, so we had to think carefully about narrative in the game and how we defined a successful experience," said Agriogianis, a student at the ETC — a master's program that prepares students for careers in entertainment technology and interactive experience development.

    Players can chat one-on-one with characters Hope, Elizabeth and Adam to determine who is telling the truth, who knows what and, ultimately, who is the witch. Powered by ChatGPT, the characters will respond to anything. Players could ask "Hope, do you think Adam is the witch?" or "Where did you get your hat?"

    Amber Griffith, a narrative designer, game designer and 2D artist on the team, said incorporating AI means no two playthroughs have been the same.

    You can read more in an article by Caroline Sheedy published in the Carnegie Mellon web site at:

  • 15 May 2023 6:59 AM | 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 found it interesting so I decided to share it here.

    Bus stops in Boston are beginning to double as digital libraries under a new pilot program being rolled out across the city.

    Riders at 20 bus stops can now dip into free digital content by using a QR code to browse and borrow audiobooks, eBooks, e-newspapers and e-magazines for all ages, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday.

    Library cards are not required and readers don’t need to download an app. The program, which runs through the end of August, features blue slip-proof decals on sidewalks at the bus stops.

    Wu said the initiative “builds on our efforts to make public transportation more enjoyable, while also connecting our residents to the resources the Boston Public Library already offers.”

    Riders will be able to enjoy offerings primarily in English and Spanish with a focus on items that are easy to read on the go, including poetry, short stories and short audiobooks, as well as a selection of bestsellers and titles for children and teens.

    The newspaper and magazine content includes 7,000 titles from over 125 countries.

    You can read the full story in an Associated Press article at:

  • 12 May 2023 1:17 PM | Anonymous

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

    This is the first installment of a multi-part article. 

    The computer revolution, and especially the Internet revolution, has created business opportunities for thousands of everyday citizens. To create and sell goods or information, it is no longer necessary to have a "bricks and mortar" store. Likewise, to launch a mail order business, it is no longer necessary to have a fleet of trucks. In fact, you do not even need to maintain specific office hours when your business is open to the public. All you need is a personal computer and a presence in cyberspace. Your business will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if you happen to be sleeping at the moment. 

    Many individuals have started part-time, "sideline" businesses on the Internet. The goods and services sold online run the gamut from artwork to zippers. Many of these sideline businesses have become profitable, and more than a few have grown to become full-time occupations. In fact, there are numerous stories around about online millionaires – those who converted an idea into an online business and now earn seven-figure incomes.

    I doubt if anyone will earn such riches by packaging and selling genealogy information. However, modest profits certainly are attainable. You can also earn satisfaction from helping other genealogists. In fact, a number of people are selling genealogy information today. It looks to me like the marketplace is not crowded; there's room for many more people to get into this "business." You do not need to be a large corporation to help others and earn a few dollars yourself. In fact, I see many ads for genealogy information being sold by one-person operations. 

    Genealogists are hungry for information. Genealogy information is often available in old printed books and records, printed works that are not covered by copyright laws. The problem is that identifying and locating these records can be very difficult. Genealogists often want information about a particular ancestor but don't know what books exist that might list the ancestor's name. Many genealogists are willing to pay reasonable fees to obtain these books and other publications.

    For years, many vendors have been republishing old books, tax lists, and other records of genealogical interest. However, these mostly small-time vendors often had difficulty finding buyers. Advertising expenses are significant for those who expect to sell limited numbers of republished books. The books typically sell for $20 (for small booklets) to $150 or more (for large volumes). That is a lot of money for someone who simply wants to look to see if one person or one family might be listed. 

    Buyers cannot find vendors easily, and the vendors have similar difficulties finding would-be buyers. Do you see a common theme here? This is a perfect opportunity for the Internet!

    Whenever there is a need, you can expect that some entrepreneurial businessperson will find a means to meet this need. Indeed, there may be a number of people who go into business to fulfill the needs of others. This has been the case with genealogy information. 

    The first installment of this article covers the republishing of entire books, pamphlets, public records, and other original published information. Sales of extracted information will be discussed in a later installment.

    Republishing Old Books

    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/13200814.

    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

  • 12 May 2023 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    USB thumb drives are a convenient and portable means of storing data. However, how long can flash drives actually keep your data maintained? Are they really useful for storing information for an extended period of time?

    Note: These are often called flash drives or flash memory or thumb drives or USB drives or possibly other names. The reality is that they all are the same things.

    Most technical gurus will tell you that a good USB drive can function for an average of 10 years or longer. The actual data lifespan varies depending on build quality, write cycles, temperature, and storage conditions of a thumb drive. However, the “real-world” life expectancy is somewhat more complicated.

    First, there is the phrase “an average of 10 years or longer.”  Think about that one word: “average.” What that really means is that of all the “good USB drives” available today, an average means that about half of them will last less than 10 years while the other half will last longer than 10 years. That’s the definition of an average. The question is: how do you tell in advance that the flashdrive in your hand is going to last more than or less than the average of all flashdrives?

    Yes, half of the “good USB drives” will fail in less (sometimes much less) than 10 years.

    Next, how do you tell that your flashdrive is one of the “good” ones? Does the flashdrive you purchase on sale qualify as a “good” one or is it perhaps a more-cheaply built one?

    How about the storage conditions of a thumb drive.? Are you keeping it in a room at home or the office where temperatures and humidity remain fairly constant or are you keeping it in the glovebox of your automobile or perhaps in your purse or pocket? Yes,  temperature, and storage conditions of a thumb drive will greatly affect the life expectancy of a flashdrive.

    Luckily, there are a few simple solutions to these questions.

    First of all, you should have a basic understanding of how usb thumb drives store data. They use NAND flash memory to store data. NAND flash memory is a non-volatile storage type, meaning it retains data even when the power is disconnected. This feature makes it ideal for portable storage devices like USB thumb drives.

    Unlike old-fashioned hard drives, there are no moving parts in a flashdrive. Next, they are rugged. Yes, even the cheapest flashdrives can be bounced around, dropped, and otherwise abused. They don’t withstand crushing, however

    NAND flash memory stores data in memory cells. These cells use electrons trapped in a “floating gate” to represent binary values (0s and 1s). The biggest threat to data stored in flashdrives is that, over time, the electrical charge in these cells can leak, leading to data degradation because it becomes harder to read whether the charge level represents a 1 or 0. While a thumb drive might seem like a pretty sturdy storage device thanks to its solid-state nature, several factors can impact the longevity of data stored on a USB thumb drive.

    Perhaps the biggest risk concerns the quality of the drive: The quality of the NAND flash memory and the overall construction of the drive can significantly affect data retention. Cheaper, lower-quality drives may have a shorter lifespan. Unfortunately, there is no method of determining the quality simply by looking at the flashdrive.

    Flash memory has a finite number of write cycles (i.e., how often data can be written and erased). As the number of write cycles increases, the likelihood of data degradation also increases, and eventually, you’ll get total drive failure. In short, they may be considered to be “write infrequently, read frequently” devices.

    Extreme temperatures can negatively affect data retention. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause the trapped electrons to leak faster, leading to data loss.

    Humidity, dust, and other environmental factors can also influence the longevity of data stored on a USB thumb drive. Unfortunately, there is no easy way of determining how much of an impact environmental factors can impact a particular flashdrives. Some (higher quality) flashdrives are hermetically sealed while cheaper drives normally are not. Again, there is no method of determining the quality of construction simply by looking at the flashdrive.

    So What Should You Do to Ensure Longevity of Your Data?

    The easiest way to is to do the same as you do to making backups to other media: make multiple copies and store the copies on different flashdrives (or a variety of other media). You DO make multiple copies of your backups, don’t you?

    Next, verify the stored data periodically. The easiest way to do this is to copy the entire flashdrive from one flashdrive to another flashdrive periodically. Your computer is very good at detecting errors when the copy software encounters errors. If there is a problem with corrupted data on the flashdrive, you will know about it withing seconds after encountering the error. This also has the added benefit of easily making extra copies of your data, as mentioned earlier. There is no “magic” as to determining how often to copy the device. I try to copy my stored flashdrives once every fiscal quarter (every three months).

    How Long Should It Last?

    There is no definitive answer to this lifespan question for data stored on a USB thumb drive because it depends on the above-mentioned factors. However, under normal storage conditions and usage, a high-quality USB thumb drive should be able to retain data for at least 10 years. Again, I will repeat what I wrote earlier: “The actual data lifespan varies depending on build quality, write cycles, temperature, and storage conditions of a thumb drive. However, the “real-world” life expectancy is somewhat more complicated.”

    Flashdrives are some of the most useful tools any computer user can own. However, like all other tools, it is necessary to know how to use the tool and what the tool’s capabilities are. Perhaps knowing the limitation of each tool used is the best method of preventing frustrations.

  • 12 May 2023 7:09 AM | Anonymous

    "A study has now found that some of the ancestors of Native Americans in the Americas included people from China! It does appear counterintuitive as China and the US are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean and human migrations, particularly in prehistoric periods did not appear to involve crossing of large water bodies. It was widely held before that ancestors of Native Americans came from modern-day Siberia. They crossed the prehistoric land bridge that joined eastern tip of Russia with Alaska and entered the American continent.

    "But now, a research says that the some of those people who migrated to the Americas included those from China.

    “'Our findings indicate that besides the previously indicated ancestral sources of Native Americans in Siberia, the northern coastal China also served as a genetic reservoir contributing to the gene pool,' said Yu-Chun Li, one of the report authors as quoted in a report by The Guardian.

    "Li also added that during what was called the second migration, some of the people of that lineage settled in Japan.

    "Kunming Institute of Zoology researchers studied the lineage known as D4h. It is associated with Mitochondrial DNA which is passed on to next generation only by mothers.

    "The team of researchers analysed 100,000 modern and 15000 ancient DNA samples to hunt for D4h. The researchers at the end, landed on 216 contemporary and 39 ancient individuals.

    "They studied the mutations that had occurred over time. By looking at the samples' geographical location and by using carbon dating, the researchers were able to get an idea of D4h's origin and expansion history."

    You can read a lot more in an article edited by Manas Joshi and published in the web site at:

    I found it interesting that the study claimed it was not a one-time migration. It stated there were a number of different migrations and some perhaps were by different routes.

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