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  • 15 Jun 2021 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    Here is information about a historic family:

    Devoney Looser, Regents and Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University, has uncovered new information on the family of English novelist Jane Austen that establishes the family’s direct ties to the anti-slavery movement.

    With an increased worldwide awareness surrounding the history of race and racial justice, the subject of Austen and her family connections to colonialism and slavery recently came under renewed scrutiny. Through research she conducted over the past year, Looser discovered several new facts that deepen and further complicate the previous understanding of the Austen family’s relationship to the institution of slavery. The information was published as the cover feature in the May 21 issue of the Times Literary Supplement.Devoney Looser / ASU photoDevoney Looser, Regents and Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University, has uncovered new information on the family of English novelist Jane Austen that establishes the family’s direct ties to the anti-slavery movement.

    “Jane Austen and her family have rightly come under scrutiny,” Looser said. “But a reductive story was forming that her family — and, by association, she — was pro-slavery. What my work adds is that her immediate family might also be described as anti-slavery. So the best answer to the oversimplified question, ‘Was the Austen family pro-slavery or anti-slavery?’ — is both.”

    You can read the full article by Emily Balli published in the Arizona State University web site at: https://bit.ly/2RURTd0.
  • 14 Jun 2021 9:08 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    This week FamilySearch added 4M new indexed records from Find A Grave Index, plus Argentina Cemetery Records 1882–2019England Middlesex Parish Registers 1539–1988, the Netherlands Archival Indexes Vital Records 1600–2000, and thousands more Catholic Church records for Peru (Huaraz) 1641–2016 and Venezuela 1577–1995.

    US collections added Arizona Divorce Records 1877–1937Georgia Tax Digests 1787–1900Louisiana Orleans Parish Cemetery Records 1805–1944, and Missouri Civil Marriages 1820–1874.

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    The full list of newly-added. records is very long, too long to publish here. However, you can find the full list at: https://media.familysearch.org/new-free-historical-records-on-familysearch-week-of-14-june-2020/. 

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


  • 11 Jun 2021 5:58 PM | Anonymous

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

    One question that pops up frequently is: "What format should I use to save my files?" The question is often asked about digital pictures. Should they be saved as JPG or PDF or GIF or PNG or TIFF or some other format? Similar questions are often asked about word processing files, although there seem to be fewer options available. I thought I would offer a few suggestions and also tell what works for me.

    Digital Picture

    Today's technology allows for a selection of image file formats, including JPG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PSD, RAW, PNG, EPS, PDF, and others in a seemingly endless alphabet soup of abbreviations and acronyms.

    You can find many good reasons and bad reasons for selecting any of these file formats. However, from a genealogist's point of view, there are two significant issues to deal with: image size and image compression.

    NOTE: PDF files have unique advantages and disadvantages for both digital pictures and for documents. I will write about PDF separately later in this article.

    Image size has been an issue since the first scanned images were stored on a computer, back in the vacuum tube days. In this case, the physical size of the picture is not the issue, but the size of the file you create was very important. That is, the problem revolved around the number of bytes required to store a faithful reproduction of the original image.

    Not many years ago, disk drives were expensive. Luckily, that problem is disappearing as the price per byte of storage has plummeted in the past few decades. Prices for one-terabyte disk drives have now dropped to the $50 range, a price undreamed of only a few years ago. It is now cost-effective to store hundreds of thousands of very large digital image files. Prices for disk storage are still dropping nearly every week.

    However, file size remains an issue when transferring those files to another computer or when inserting images into a web page. Not everyone uses high-speed, multi-megabyte-per-second Internet connections. Next, even those who do use such high-speed connections find that including very large digital images in a web page results in slow performance. A high-resolution picture also might not display properly inside a web page. Such a picture might fill the entire screen or even “overflow” the screen, leaving no space for text, links, and other information in the web page. Finally, sending a hundred or so old family photographs to a cousin can be a painstaking effort if the files are very large.

    Image file size, expressed as the number of bytes, increases with the number of pixels composing an image and the color depth of the pixels. The greater the number of rows and columns, the greater the image resolution and the larger the file. Also, each pixel of an image increases in size when its color depth increases: an 8-bit pixel (1 byte) stores 256 colors, and a 24-bit pixel (3 bytes) stores 16 million colors. Most color images these days are stored as 16-bit or, even better, as 24-bit colors. However, if the original picture is large (perhaps 8-by-10 inches or larger) and is scanned as a high-resolution image, the resultant digital image can be huge.

    Fold3.com (formerly known as Footnote.com) created a single image of the entire Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The picture was created by taking several thousand very high resolution photographs, one for each small section of "the Wall," and then electronically "stitching the images together" to form one huge image. The result is one huge image that consumes gigabytes of disk space. It is believed to be the biggest single image ever posted to the Internet, and special software had to be developed so that users could view pieces of the original image without downloading the entire master image. Downloading the entire master image might require several days or a week or even longer on a dial-up connection! Luckily, there is no need to do that as the custom-written software allows the user to "zoom in" and look only at specific segments. The result is quick downloads, even on dial-up connections. However, that is the only picture I know of that is available via the custom-written software that transfers only part of the image at a time.

    The issue of file size quickly became a problem back in the days of expensive disk drives, when typical computer connection speeds were 300 baud or so. Storing hundreds of images on the limited storage capacity disk drives of the day was a problem, as was the inability to send large images across very slow network connections. To solve these problems, image compression was invented. Compression is not much of an issue in these days of high-speed Internet connections and cheap disk drives but still cannot be ignored.

    File compression refers to the application of computer algorithms to analyze images and to find pixels to delete, thereby reducing the file size. For instance, if the picture had three red pixels in a row, the compression algorithms might eliminate one, or even two, of those pixels. The human eye probably won't notice the difference, and the savings in file size is significant when thousands of pixels can be combined and the duplicates eliminated. The elimination of duplicate pixels is only one part of the sophisticated compression techniques used.

    Of course, any time you delete pixels you are also reducing the quality of the original image. However, modern compression algorithms are very good at reducing file sizes without inducing significant loss of image quality. The most important word is "significant."

    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: https://eogn.com/(*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/10619149.

    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 https://eogn.com/page-18077.


  • 11 Jun 2021 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    New English Catholic sacramental registers are available to search this Findmypast Friday along with new WW1 medical records and historical newspapers.

    England Roman Catholic Parish Registers

    Thousands of additional Catholic baptism, marriage, burial and congregational records have been added to the Catholic Heritage Archive. These exclusive resources cover the dioceses of Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Westminster. This includes:

    Each record includes both a transcript and scanned colour image of the original document. The amount of information listed in these detail rich records may vary, although most results will reveal key biographical details as well as the date, parish, and location of the event that was being recorded.

    Baptisms will reveal the names of godparents and parents, enabling you to uncover details of previous generations as well as the identities of family friends or relatives. Marriages will provide the name of your ancestor’s spouse, father and witnesses while burials allow you to discover the final resting place of your ancestors, their age at death, marital status and in some cases even cause of death.

    Congregational records are packed with other fascinating facts surrounding your ancestor’s relationship with the church such as details of their confirmation, first confession or even the location of their seat rental. 

    For more advice on making the Catholic Heritage Archive, read Findmypast’s comprehensive guide.

    British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records 

    Receiving 50% of the votes in last week’s community poll, this detail rich WW1 collection from the National Archives has been updated with 1,900 new entries. The collection includes transcripts and images of admissions and discharge records from hospitals, field ambulances, and casualty clearing stations.

    Transcripts will reveal names, ranks, service numbers, and hospitals as well as dates of admission, transfer and discharge. Images will provide a variety of unique details such as descriptions of the serviceman’s illness or wound and how long they stayed at the medical facility.

    Newspapers

    Spanning from 1801-1803, the Morning Herald (London) has joined Findmypast’s newspaper collection.

    Morning Herald (London), 29 January 1803. Read the full page.

    The following existing titles have also been updated with additional page;

     

  • 11 Jun 2021 7:16 AM | Anonymous

    NOTE: This article contains personal opinions.

    I recently read about a new book that documents all the readable tombstones in a cemetery and provides a map of that cemetery. The single copy of this hand-made book is available at a public library near the cemetery that was documented. That effort results in a valuable resource for anyone researching ancestry in the area IF THEY CAN TRAVEL TO VIEW THE BOOK. For some descendants, that may require travel of thousands of miles.

    Of course, thinking about the publication of a single book immediately begs the question, "What about those of us who are unable to travel to a specific library that might be thousands of miles away?" I will suggest it is time to change everyone's thinking about publishing.

    The "old mentality" always has been to publish a book in order to preserve information and to make that information available to everyone. Of course, this also implies that the information really is available only to everyone who is able to travel to the location of the book or is able to purchase a copy of the book.

    In reality, that's not a very good solution. Economic factors often prevent people from finding the information they seek. Many of us cannot travel to a library that is thousands of miles away. Even the purchase of a copy is difficult. You first have to find if a copy is available for sale. Often, the answer is "no." Next, if you are lucky enough to find copies for sale, you then have to pay for the book plus whatever shipping charges are required. For many of us, it isn't practical to pay $25 or $50 or more for every book that we would like to read, especially if we only need a paragraph or two. Even worse, many of us cannot pay hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in travel expenses to visit various local libraries and repositories to view books and records of interest.

    In this day and age, there is a better solution. That solution involves technology.

    I will suggest that all books of interest to genealogists, historians, and others with an interest in the books' contents should be published electronically and copies should be placed online. There are thousands of web sites that will gladly host the books.

    These books generally are labors of love where the authors typically have no expectations of generating large profits. In a few cases, the books will be available free of charge. However, I would think it appropriate to pay the author a modest fee to help reimburse expenses and to encourage further production of future books of valuable records. These electronic books could either be placed on a public site with free access or be published on any of dozens of web sites that charge a small fee for access, such as Lulu.com. Books can be published as PDF files or as HTML or even as DOC or RTF files, as the author desires. Once the book is written, publishing online requires only a few additional minutes.

    Of course, having the book visible to Google and other search engines greatly increases the chances of someone being able to find valued information whenever they wish.

    A book of cemetery records is a perfect example. I'd gladly pay $3 or $4 to access an electronic copy of a book online when I want to obtain a paragraph or two of information. However, I probably will be reluctant to pay $20 or more for a printed copy of the same book. After all, I will only use the book for a few minutes.

    My guess is that someone who places a book of cemetery records online on Lulu.com and charges $3 for access will probably make a lot more money than someone who charges $20 for a printed copy of the same book. Many people will pay $3 while they won't pay $20. Which produces more profit: selling 50 copies at $20 each or 5,000 copies at $3 each? The authors also will provide a better service to distant genealogists who seek the information. I also suspect the same will be true of tax lists, school records, and other transcriptions of interest to genealogists and historians.

    Placing the book online provides immediate, low-cost access to many more people than those who will ever see the book that is sitting on a shelf at a local library. In addition, multiple backup copies can easily be stored in multiple locations, guaranteeing availability of the book for generations, regardless of fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or burst water pipes.

    To be sure, there are some genealogists who do not use computers and therefore would seemingly be denied access. However, I will suggest that the number of non-computer-using genealogists is decreasing rapidly. Besides, without a computer, how would they ever learn about the printed book?

    The solution is simple: even non-computer-using genealogists can ask a computer-using friend or relative to order the book for them. I doubt if there is any genealogist who neither uses a computer nor knows someone with a computer.

    In today's world, "using a computer" is the same thing as saying "is connected online on the Internet."

    Finally, I would suggest it is still appropriate to print one copy of the book and donate it to one library in the same way as before. That's the way it has always been done for non-computer-owning genealogists, and it seems trivial to continue the practice. Let's continue to publish in the old-fashioned method whenever possible by printing and placing a printed book on a shelf. All I am suggesting is an ADDITIONAL method of distributing the books for the ever-growing majority of genealogists who use computers.

    Are you planning on compiling records? Is your local society involved in a project to transcribe important information and to make it available to others? If so, I hope that the information becomes available to everyone easily and at low cost. Luckily, this is easy to do in today's world. In fact, publishing online is easier than publishing on paper.

    The next time a person or a society publishes a book of transcribed records, please ask them a question: “Why isn't it online?”

    Let's move into the twenty-first century.


  • 10 Jun 2021 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement is extracted from the IAJGS mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    Following an emotional and personal debate over whether privacy rights of birth parents should override the rights of adoptees seeking information about their past Connecticut is now the 10th state to guarantee original birth certificate access.  Governor Ned Lamont’s signature on the legislation—HB 6105—this week makes approximately 40,000 adoptees in Connecticut access to their original birth certificates.

    Prior to this legislation, the state first sealed birth records in 1944 and then unsealed adoptions going forth in 1983. So for those adopted between 1944 and 1983 they could not access their original birth records.

    To read the new law, Public Act No 21-21 go to:

    https://www.cga.ct.gov/searchresults.asp?cx=005177121039084408563%3Ahs1zq3ague8&ie=UTF-8&cof=FORID%3A10&q=HB+6105&submission=%EF%80%82

    To read more see:

    https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/lamont-sign-bill-giving-adult-adoptees-access-original-birth-certificates/

    and

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/connecticut/articles/2021-05-04/house-votes-to-grant-all-adoptees-access-to-birth-records

    Jan Meisels Allen

    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


  • 10 Jun 2021 7:49 AM | Anonymous

    Police officers are trying to find the rightful owner or family of a stash of World War II-era photos and letters discovered in Stockton this week.

    On Tuesday, officers found more than 150 photographs and letters, a Stockton Police Department spokesperson said. “These are photos but, there also precious moments captured in time,” said Officer Rosie Calderon, a Stockton Police Department Community Service Officer.

    The items were found by a Community Service Officer after a call for service on St. Andrews Drive on Tuesday.

    “What we know is that a male subject abandoned a bag — probably didn’t see any value in it,” Calderon said. The find included a three-page love letter addressed to Mary Ellen Driscoll.

    Officers say it appeared the woman also used the names of Williams, Metcalf, Bohannon, Henderson, and Andrews.

    Police are now looking for the family of the woman, whose photos were posted to the police department’s Facebook page.

    Here is hoping that a genealogist can assist. You can read the full story in an article by Ryan Hill published in the local television station's web site at: https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2021/06/09/keepsakes-photos-letters-documents-family/.


  • 9 Jun 2021 9:54 PM | Anonymous

    Following is a News Release from FamilySearch:

    New patron film scanning station in the FamilySearch Family History LibraryThe FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced it will begin a phased reopening starting 6 July 2021. The popular destination service has been closed since March 13, 2020, due to precautions pertaining to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The library serves beginner and professional family history patrons from all over the world and is a popular tourist attraction for the state of Utah. Initially, hours will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with plans to extend to additional days and hours soon.

    “While billions of our records are available online, we realize that many researchers—including professional genealogists whose livelihoods depend on reliable records—are anxious to access records in-person within the library. We know the extended closing has created difficulties, and we are excited to welcome our guests back into a safe environment for continued research and discoveries,” said David Rencher, director of the Family History Library and FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogical Officer.

    Rencher says as one of the most popular attractions in the state, it has been tough to be closed for so long, but necessary to ensure the health and safety of staff and guests. When the library reopens, patrons will be asked to respect any prevailing safety precautions at that time. In addition, sanitizing stations are placed throughout the library, and continuous cleaning procedures will also be in place.

    New patron workstations at the FamilySearch Family History Library.The library has taken advantage of the prolonged closure to make needed renovations to the facility that will be very exciting to patrons when the doors reopen. “Guests will return to an environment that will significantly improve discovery and research experiences,” said Rencher. Crews have been busy preparing to welcome guests back by remodeling, adding new features like state-of-the-art patron workstations with multiple monitors and adjustable height desks to accommodate sitting or standing preferences, enhanced workflow throughout, and nearly 40,000 books from new acquisition and long-term storage.

    The library has added or upgraded the following new, free patron services. They are accessible through the new Family History Library web page.

    Guests can sign up for free, online, one-on-one virtual consultations with a research specialist (available in languages).

    Library look-up services. If you can’t come to the library, a staff member can retrieve a book from its shelves and help you find what you’re seeking.

    In FamilySearch Communities online, guests can get assistance from volunteers worldwide, including locating or interpreting ancestor records, asking questions, or sharing their expertise with others.

    Check out the growing menu of popular free online classes and webinars. New selections are offered and recorded weekly and made available on-demand.

    In the library, take advantage of improved services to digitize your family photos and artifacts or convert family audio and video tapes to digital media.

    FamilySearch family history centers and libraries will open based on the direction of their local ecclesiastical leaders and government guidelines. If you plan to visit a FamilySearch center soon, please call ahead to ensure it is open and its hours of operation.

    From: https://media.familysearch.org/familysearch-family-history-library-reopening/
    Related: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/temple-square-reopening


  • 8 Jun 2021 8:22 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Uncover important facts about your ancestors this week on FamilySearch in more than a half million Netherlands Vital Records Indexes 1600–2000, and nearly 2M more Catholic Church records from Argentina beginning 1576, plus Bolivia 1566–1996, Chile 1710–1928, Costa Rica 1595–1992, the Dominican Republic 1590–1955, Puerto Rico 1645–1969, Spain 1307–1985, and Venezuela 1577-1995

    Peruse the Liberia Census 2008, and expanded collections for the US (Louisiana Voter Registrations 1867–1905, US Bureau of Land Management Tract Books 1800–c. 1955, and Iowa Military Records ca.1862–ca. 1978).

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    Note: The full list of newly-added records is very long, too long to be published here. However, you can find the full list at: https://media.familysearch.org/new-free-historical-records-on-familysearch-week-of-7-june-2021/.

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 7 Jun 2021 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Graham and Emma Maxwell:

    [Glasgow, Scotland 7 June 2021] Learn how to trace your Scottish family history. The 11th Scottish Indexes Conference will be held on 11 July 2021. This ‘timezone friendly’ event is free to watch on Zoom and Facebook.

    The 16 hour conference (7am to 11 pm BST) hosted by genealogists Graham and Emma Maxwell will include:

    • ‘Merchant and Trades House Records’ by Dr. Irene O’Brien
    • ‘Tracing Scottish Women’ by Kirsty Wilkinson
    • ‘Tracing Scottish Ancestors Before 1855’ by Alison Spring
    • ‘Overcoming Brickwalls: Case Studies’ by Emma Maxwell

    A full list of presentations can be found on www.scottishindexes.com.

    The Q&A sessions are always a highlight of a Scottish Indexes Conference. These are an opportunity for the attendees to ask questions and receive help from our panel of experts.

    Cinda Baxter, professional genealogist says, “A huge and hearty thanks again to Emma and Graham for providing the virtual conference. What a labor of love (and terrific gift) during these crazy times.”

    Emma Maxwell, genealogist and co-founder of scottishindexes.com says, “By hosting a 16-hour marathon event we’re able to engage with people the world over.”

    Registration is free on Zoom and Facebook. Follow the directions on www.scottishindexes.com.

    About www.scottishindexes.com:

    www.scottishindexes.com is run by husband and wife team Graham and Emma Maxwell, both experienced Scottish genealogists. As well as helping clients with their family history, Graham and Emma also index historical Scottish records and make them available for free on their website.


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