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  • 2 Jun 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous

    A newsletter reader posted a comment recently expressing dissatisfaction that a set of images of Cook County, Illinois birth records has been removed from Indeed, removal of any online records of genealogical value is sad, hut not unusual. Such contract changes are quite common on FamilySearch,, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, and most all other online sites that provide old records online. Removal of datasets has occurred dozens of times in the past and I suspect such things will continue to happen in the future. I thought I would write a brief explanation.

    In most cases, information of genealogical value obtained from government agencies, religious groups, and other organizations is provided under contractual agreements. The contracts specify what information is to provided, how it is to be made available, and the price the web site has to pay to the provider for the records. All contracts also have an expiration date, typically 2 years or 3 years or 5 years after the contract is signed. In this case, Cook County obviously had a contract with

    When the contract nears expiration, the two parties usually attempt to renegotiate the contract. Sometimes renewal is automatic but often it is not. Maybe the information provider (in this case, Cook County) decides they want more money or maybe they decide they no longer want to supply the data to the Web service. For instance, in the time the information has been available online, the information provider may have learned just how valuable the information really is. The information provider may decide to ask for more money or may even refuse to provide the information any more since the provider may have a NEW plan to create their own web site and offer the same information online on their new site for a fee.

    Sure, that stinks for those of us who would like to have free information everywhere but it makes sense to most everyone else. I am sure the budget officer at Cook County thinks it makes sense.

    Every contract renegotiation is different, but it is not unusual to agree to disagree. The contract ends and the web site provider legally MUST remove the information from their web site. In this case, the web provider was FamilySearch but the same thing also happens to all the other online sites that provide old records online.

  • 2 Jun 2021 5:12 PM | Anonymous

    Thousands of Americans have grown up with stories in the family that today's family members are descended from a Cherokee princess. If you heard those stories in your family, there is one fact that you need to know about the story:

    It's a lie!

    I am saddened to tell you that there was no such thing as an Indian princess, not in the Cherokee tribe nor in any other North American Indian tribe. They may have had Indian princesses in India, but not in North America. If you have a maharajah in your family tree then maybe you also have an Indian princess. If so, she did not live in North America.

    The North American Indian tribes had no notion of royalty or anything like it. They did have chiefs, and a few of the chiefs may have even acted like kings. One Indian chief in Massachusetts and Rhode Island was even called "King Philip" by the English colonists in the 1670s. However, that title was bestowed by the white settlers. The Wampanoag leader's name really was Metacom although the English settlers often called him Philip. When he talked several other tribes into joining him in a war against the whites, the settlers dubbed him "King Philip." However, Metacom apparently never used that title.

    The rules of chieftain succession varied from tribe to tribe. In some tribes, the eldest son of a chief may have become the new chief upon the death of his father. However, none of the tribes had kings, queens, princes, or princesses of any sort.

    Perhaps the Indian woman who was most often called a "princess" was Pocahontas. She was the daughter of a powerful Algonquian Indian chief named Powhatan. However, Powhatan was not a king, and his sons and daughters were not princes or princesses. Pocahontas was not called a princess until after she married John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia, and then accompanied her husband on a trip to England. She was presented to King James I, the royal family, and the rest of London society. Apparently John Rolfe or someone else in the party decided to call her an "Indian princess" in order to increase her credibility amongst the English nobility. The title was fictitious.

    The next time you hear someone claim to be descended from an Indian princess, I suggest that you quietly smile to yourself and let the person keep on talking. There's no sense in debunking a perfectly good fairy tale if the other person wishes to believe it.

    At least you now know the truth.

  • 2 Jun 2021 5:01 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch published 11M more records from US Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916–1939, this week, plus sizeable collections from Georgia (Tax Digests 1787–1900), Illinois (Cook County Births 1811–2007), Louisiana (Orleans Cemetery Records 1805-1944), Massachusetts (Boston Tax Records 1822–1918), North Dakota (Cemetery Records 1877–1999), and Washington (Voting Records 1876–1940). Also added were over 500K Catholic Church Records from Argentina (Córdoba 1557–1974, La Rioja 1714–1970, Buenos Aires 1635–1981, etc.), and more from Chile 1710–1928, Costa Rica 1595–1992, El Salvador 1655–1977, Puerto Rico 1645–1969, and jurisdictions in Mexico (Guanajuato 1519–1984, Jalisco 1590–1979, Michoacán 1555–1996, Nuevo León 1667–1981, Puebla 1545–1977, San Luis Potosí 1586–1977, Sinaloa 1671–1968, and Sonora 1657–1994). Country collections were expanded for England (Middlesex Parish Registers 1539–1988 and Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts 1583–1898) and a new collection for the 1891 France Eure Census. 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 all newly-added records is very long, too long to fit here. However, you can find the full list at:

    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 or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 1 Jun 2021 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Progeny Genealogy:

    We are pleased to announce Charting Companion ver. 8 for Windows, the genealogy graphics software to help you tell the story of your family. Charting Companion 8 has a new look, and the same functionality as ver 7. Charting Companion 8 is built with the same code used for the Macintosh version. We have consolidated the two versions to reduce development costs, and insure that the same new features and enhancements are immediately available to both Windows and Mac customers.

    CC 8 offers new "Wizard"-style dialogs that are simpler for first-time users. "Expert" dialogs are available to old hands who want to quickly navigate Charting Companion's rich features.

    Charting Companion comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The 32-bit version targets PAF, Ancestral Quest and Legacy users, as well as customers with 32-bit computers. All other customers will use the 64-bit version.

    If you have version 7, there is no need to buy a Registration Key for ver. 8 yet, as both versions have the same charts. Our upgrade policy is:

      • If you bought Charting Companion within the last year, you get a free upgrade. Contact us.
      • If you bought more than a year ago, use coupon code CTN4CV8 for a 30% discount (download only).

    We are now free to tackle new features and enhancements, simultaneously delivered to all our cherished customers.

    Mac users: relax! you got this last November.

  • 1 Jun 2021 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Oregon Health Authority, then rebroadcast by the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee's mailing list:

    Last fall, Oregon suffered from severe wild fires and as a result, many families lost all their vital records. As a result, the Oregon Center for Health Statistics has issued temporary rules to waive fees for certified copies of records for these families, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-35.  The temporary rules were in effect September 14, 2020 through March 1, 2021.  Now the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) says Oregon wildfire survivors who need some certified vital records can get them for free starting Tuesday, June 1st through October 28, 2021.

    OHA says it will charge no fee for a search and issuance of up to three certified copies of vital records requested in connection with Oregon wildfires. Those records include: birth, death, marriage, divorce, domestic partnership or dissolution of domestic partnership records.

    It says customers may order up to three certificates of each type of record at no charge.

    OHA says the no-fee charge applies to certified copies ordered through the State Vital Records Office and all Oregon county vital records offices. It advises that in the “Reason for Needing Record” section on order forms, customers must list “Oregon Wildfires” to receive their records free of charge.

    OHA reminds that county vital records offices “must charge the same fees as the state. The fee is $0 for up to three certified copies of vital records issued June 1, 2021 through October 28, 2021 to Oregonians affected by the Oregon wildfires.”


    When ordering the certified copies of the vital record, the person ordering the certificates must state the reason for needing the record as “Oregon Wildfires." It is important that this information is noted on the order so the fee can be removed appropriately. If ordering over the Internet or phone, the certificate fee also will not be charged. You will still need to pay the expedite fee and Vendor fee.

    The temporary administrative order Executive Order 20-35 issued September 14, 2020

    Only individuals eligible to receive the vital records as outlined in law can order the certificates. Only those affected by wildfires that occurred in Oregon are eligible to get the certificates free of charge.

    For more information go to:  or call  971-673-1190.

    To access the previous postings about Oregon Wild Fires and Vital Records see the IAJGS Records Access Alert archives at:  You must be registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to:  You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.)

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 1 Jun 2021 2:35 PM | Anonymous

    New laws in Maryland and Montana are the first in the nation to restrict law enforcement’s use of genetic genealogy, the DNA matching technique that in 2018 identified the Golden State Killer, in an effort to ensure the genetic privacy of the accused and their relatives.

    Beginning on Oct. 1, investigators working on Maryland cases will need a judge’s signoff before using the method, in which a “profile” of thousands of DNA markers from a crime scene is uploaded to genealogy websites to find relatives of the culprit. The new law, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers, also dictates that the technique be used only for serious crimes, such as murder and sexual assault. And it states that investigators may only use websites with strict policies around user consent.

    Montana’s new law, sponsored by a Republican, is narrower, requiring that government investigators obtain a search warrant before using a consumer DNA database, unless the consumer has waived the right to privacy.

    The laws “demonstrate that people across the political spectrum find law enforcement use of consumer genetic data chilling, concerning and privacy-invasive,” said Natalie Ram, a law professor at the University of Maryland who championed the Maryland law. “I hope to see more states embrace robust regulation of this law enforcement technique in the future.”

    You can read more in an article by Virginia Hughes in the New York Times at

  • 1 Jun 2021 2:23 PM | Anonymous

    The mystery of 16-year-old double murder in Sweden was solved last year using data from genealogy websites, a method first used to identify and capture the “Golden State Killer” in 2018. Detailing the case in a new study, scientists in Sweden say it’s the first time this technology has been used to catch a murderer outside the US.

    On October 19, 2004, an eight-year-old boy was stabbed to death while walking to school in the city of Linköping in southern Sweden. The attacker then turned on a 56-year-old woman who had just left her home and witnessed the event, stabbing her several times and leaving her for dead. The attacker fled the scene but left behind a knitted cap and the butterfly knife he used to kill the victims. Although traces of the murder’s DNA had been traced on the weapon, detectives ran out of leads and the investigation dried up.

    Swedish police then became aware of the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo – the so-called “Golden State Killer” – using genetic information from the commercial genealogy website GEDmatch. In this notorious case, police compared genetic material left at the crime scene to the DNA of people who voluntarily submitted their gene information to public genealogy databases to trace their own family tree. This was able to identify a number of DeAngelo’s family members, eventually leading them to DeAngelo himself. After following the suspect, they then picked up an unidentified object he discarded to obtain his DNA, which then linked him to a number of the crimes. The novel method proved to be a remarkable success; DeAngelo will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Intrigued by the story, Swedish police asked higher authorities whether they could solve the Linköping murders using this DNA-based genealogy method in a pilot study. They eventually got the green light in 2019, and a new investigation got underway.

    Sifting through data on the platforms GEDmatch and FamilyTree, investigators found a number of distant relatives to the DNA picked up from the crime scene. A further investigation used this lead to identify two prime suspects: two brothers. More snooping revealed one of the brothers had a direct match to the crime scene DNA, affirming his guilt.

    You can read all the details in an article at

  • 1 Jun 2021 2:04 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon:

    The Genealogical Forum of Oregon has hit major milestones during its 75th anniversary year. The GFO now has:
      • Uploaded a quarter million digital pages and made them available to members in the
      • GFO website’s MemberSpace
      • Provided 503 lookups for members during the pandemic library closure
      • Hosted 253 online classes and meetings
    The GFO has added 258,211 digital pages to its online library since December 24, 2020.

    Thousands more are uploaded every week. Volunteers scan documents, use software to make printed text word searchable, name and organize the files, and upload them to the website. These include Oregon birth, death, and marriage records; genealogical journals; manuscript  collections; and dozens of eBooks that provide cemetery records, pioneer registers, vital records indexes, and

    much, much more.

    The public can get a glimpse of what is available here:

    These resources will remain available to members in the GFO’s MemberSpace, even after the library reopens for research in a few weeks. Lookups for members who cannot visit the library will continue as well. All special interest groups, seminars, workshops and board meetings will continue to be held online.

    The world is digital and the GFO has embraced this new reality.

  • 28 May 2021 6:18 PM | Anonymous

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

    I am writing this article while seated at a desk in my home. I am staring at a large monitor on the desk and typing these words on a keyboard that sits on that desk. The keyboard is connected to a boxy-looking computer on my desk. This is how I use a computer most of the time. It is the same method that I used 37 years ago, in 1984.

    This is modern technology?

    Of course, I do also use a laptop computer, and that has changed things somewhat. Nonetheless, the laptop is merely a miniaturized copy of a desktop computer, and I use it in more or less the same manner as the desktop, except that I am not chained to the desk at home. I can use it in different locations, but the way I use it remains the same as what I was doing in 1984.

    Admittedly, I also have a small tablet computer. In my case, it is an Android device but it also could be an Apple iOS tablet. My cell phone is a “smartphone,” meaning it is really a handheld computer that happens to make phone calls and it takes photographs. I even have a digital wristwatch that connects to the Internet via wireless technology and retrieves information, records my exercise, and performs other (limited) computing tasks. However, I don’t use any of these smaller devices for my writing and also do less of my genealogy work on these portable devices simply because of the constraints of the smaller screen sizes and the on-screen “keyboards.” Instead, I use desktop and laptop systems for my “serious computing.”

    The hardware has changed dramatically in the past 37 years, but the method by which I use a computer remains the same: I sit in a chair and type on the keyboard and stare at a monitor.

    All this is been changing for some years and now desktop computers are dropping in popularity. Sales of laptops has outnumbered the sales of desktops for the past several years. New devices, such as the Apple iPad and other tablet computers, Kindles, the various smartphones, and other portable computing devices threaten to change the way we use computers.

    The desktop is dying.

    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/10570804.

    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

  • 28 May 2021 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Immerse yourself in genealogy all month long by attending free FamilySearch Family History Library webinars in June 2021. Scheduled sessions will get you started with the Research Process, Research Helpand Searching Records, help Finding  Elusive Records, using the FamilySearch Catalog, Attaching SourcesMaking Corrections, and Merging Duplicates in Family Tree. A special sesson on the Family Tree App will keep Spanish speakers progressing on the mobile platform.

    If you are wondering where to begin with Jewish research in Europe, a beginner session using the Knowles Collection will get you off and running, and an intermediate level class on Tracing Women in US Research will help you overcome roadblocks to your research.  A beginner level class in Chinese entitled  如何閲讀和理解中文 (How to Read and Understand Chinese) will help you interpret the records. 

    No registration is required for these free online sessions. See the table of classes below for more details.

    If you cannot attend a live event, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later at your convenience at Family History Library classes and webinars

    All class times are in Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

    Tue, Jun 1, 10:00 AM MDT The Research Process, Research Help, and Searching Records on FamilySearch (Beginner) Yes
    Thu, Jun 3, 10:00 AM MDT Forgotten Wives, Mothers, and Old Maids: Tracing Women in U.S. Research (Intermediate) Yes
    Mon, Jun 7, 10:00 AM MDT Using the FamilySearch Catalog (Beginner) Yes
    Tue, Jun 8, 10:00 AM MDT Tips and Tricks for Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch (Beginner) Yes
    Thu, Jun 10, 1:00 PM MDT Family Tree App desde cero (Spanish - Beginner) Yes
    Fri, Jun 11, 7:00 PM MDT 如何閲讀和理解中文 (一) (Beginner) Yes
    Tue, Jun 15, 10:00 AM MDT Attaching Sources to FamilySearch Family Tree (Beginner) Yes
    Thu, Jun 17, 10:00 AM MDT The Knowles Collection, What Is It and How Do I Use It? (Beginner) Yes
    Tue, Jun 22, 10:00 AM MDT Merging Duplicate Records in FamilySearch Family Tree (Beginner) Yes
    Tue, Jun 29, 10:00 AM MDT Correcting Relationships in FamilySearch Family Tree (Beginner) Yes

    Want more? Peruse over 1,000 free, on-demand sessions from RootsTech Connect 2021 to expand on topics offered.

    Visit Classes and Online Webinars for more information.

    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 or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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