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  • 15 Apr 2021 8:46 PM | Anonymous

    Here is an announcement from MyHeritage that I am certain will interest many readers of this newsletter. MyHeritage earlier announced total FREE access to the company's 1,144,541,613 individual records from all over the world. Some of the collections contain indexes which help you find out where the birth record is located, while others contain the actual image of the record.

    (See my earlier article about this at

    Today, MyHeritage announced the company is offering free access to all birth records on MyHeritage for a whole week, from April 18–24, 2021!

    Further details, including detailed instructions of how to obtain full access to all these records, absolutely free, may be found in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 15 Apr 2021 8:11 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release issued by the White House:

    WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Robert Santos for Director of the Census Bureau at the Department of Commerce. If confirmed, Santos would be the first person of color to serve as the Senate confirmed Director of the Census Bureau.

    Robert Santos is Vice President & Chief Methodologist at the Urban Institute, Washington, DC. He is an expert in survey sampling, survey design and more generally in social science/policy research, with over 40 years of experience. His career includes: Director of Survey Operations, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan; VP Statistics and Methodology, NORC University of Chicago; and Senior Study Director at ISR Temple University. Santos is the 116th President of the American Statistical Association (ASA), serving in 2021. He is an elected ASA Fellow and a recipient of the ASA Founder’s Award, the association’s highest recognition for distinguished service and leadership. He is past President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Santos has served on numerous National Academies’ panels, the Census Advisory Committee for Professional Organizations (2001-2006), and the CDC National Center for Health Statistics’ Board of Scientific Counselors (2017-2020). He is a long time member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group (2004-2021).

    Santos was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he attended Little Flower School and graduated from Holy Cross High School. He received a BA in Mathematics from Trinity University in San Antonio and a MA in Statistics from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Adella, of 47 years. He is a proud father of two adult children, Emilio and Clarisa, and a doting grandfather to two granddaughters, Renee and Layla. Santos enjoys Texas coastal fishing, ranching and hunting in the hill country and photographing live music as a member of the SXSW Photocrew.

  • 14 Apr 2021 11:49 AM | Anonymous

    The Iowa House has unanimously voted to let adults who were adopted get a copy of their original birth certificate that likely shows the names of their biological parents. However, the proposed law has not yet been approved by the State Senate and by the governor.

    Details may be found in an article by Marti Anderson in the Radio Iowa web site at:

  • 14 Apr 2021 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    Reclaim the Records wins another lawsuit! The following is extracted from an Associated Press article:

    "Missouri is on the hook for nearly $138,000 in legal fees and expenses after an appeals court upheld a ruling that the state “knowingly and purposefully” violated the open records law.

    "The Missouri Court of Appeals agreed with a judge’s finding that the state ran afoul of the Sunshine Law when the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services sought to charge a genealogy research group nearly $1.5 million for state birth and death records dating to 1910, KCUR-FM reported.

    "The dispute stems from open records request in early 2016 by Reclaim the Records, a California-based nonprofit whose mission is to make public records available online for genealogical and historical researchers. Reclaim the Records and its founder, Brooke Schreier Ganz, sued, claiming that even a revised $5,174 fee for the records was excessive."

    You can read the full story at:

  • 14 Apr 2021 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    Researching the history of one's house is a very popular project in the United Kingdom, probably because of the number of old and historic houses there. Here is an announcement written by Family Tree Magazine, based in the UK:

      • The House History Show is set to take place online on 15 May, 10am-4.30pm

      • Special online event to feature lectures and webinars from leading team of House Historians

      • Experts include Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan and Melanie Backe-Hansen, consultants for BBC show A House Through Time

      • The full-day show is followed by an online house history lecture series through May and June

      • Find out more at:

    'When was my house built?' is a question many of us wonder. The House History Show, brought to you by Family Tree and a team of leading house historians, will help researchers of all levels m​​​​aster the skills needed to turn back time and reveal the history of a house, inside and out.

    Highlights of the full day programme include:

      • Keynote: A House Through Time – with BBC series A House Through Time
        consultants Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan and Melanie Backe-Hansen

      • Terraced House Tales: New 19th Century Housing and its Occupants with Karen Averby

      • Stepping Sideways: How to Step Round Brick Walls with Gill Blanchard

      • Keynote: Sources for House History with Dr Nick Barratt

      • London: Building Storeys with Ellen Leslie

      • Don’t Judge a House by its Plaque with Cathy Soughton

    Helen Tovey, Editor of Family Tree said: “We’re so excited to be working with the #HouseHistoryHour team to bring you the House History Show. Their collective wealth of experience is stunning, and the presentations will shed light on so many aspects of the history of homes and buildings, and the people who once occupied them. The House History Show is sure to fascinate anyone interested in family history, local history – as well as, of course, house history!”

    The one-day event will be followed by a series of four lectures exploring the subject of house history further. Topics for the online lectures include Who’s Been Living in My House?, A Virtual View: Online Sources and The Interwar House: From Tenant to Home Owner.

  • 13 Apr 2021 5:58 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from Michigan State University:

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $1.4 million to Michigan State University for Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade, or, a first-of-its-kind database containing millions of records cataloging the lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants., developed and maintained by Michigan State University researchers, links data collections from multiple universities, archives, museums and family history centers. The Mellon Foundation funded the initial two phases of - the first beginning in 2018 and the second in 2020 - which provided support for both proof-of-concept and implementation.

    The third phase of funding will run through March 2023 and will expand the reach of the project by refining infrastructure; driving sustainability; strengthening a commitment to the inclusion of underrepresented voices in humanities scholarship; and continuing partnerships with scholars, heritage and cultural organizations and the public.

    "The early response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, but it also speaks to the great amount of work still to be done," said Dean Rehberger, principal investigator and director of Matrix at MSU. "We could not do this work or envision sustainability for the project without the critical support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."

    The project is a collaborative effort between Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of History both within the College of Social Science at MSU; the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland; the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University; the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture; and the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Kansas State University.

    "Historians, archivists, librarians, genealogists, data scientists and the general public have shown an immense interest in the data that is available on an open-access platform optimized to handle billions of pieces of data in a flexible and open-source manner," said Walter Hawthorne, project co-investigator, professor of African history, and associate dean of academic and student affairs in MSU's College of Social Science. "While we continue to digitize records, such as those that are handwritten, to preserve them, we know there is more to each person's story," he said.

    The project team will expand its venture by refining the data infrastructure, publishing both more datasets and narrative stories, and introducing new features for data visualizations.

    "I am especially energized by the expanded partnership with Harvard University's renowned Hutchins Center to tell the stories of the lives of the enslaved, as well as a new collaboration with the Omohundro Institute centered around the rigorous historical scholarship of the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation, and inclusive careers in scholarly publication about people in slavery and freedom," said UMD's Daryle Williams, co-principal investigator and associate professor of history and associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Arts and Humanities.

    By compiling fragmentary archival information and making it machine readable, offers us the opportunity to honor and learn from the lives of enslaved people whose stories have not been told.

    Hawthorne adds: "The Mellon Foundation's new grant will allow for expansion into the millions the number of enslaved people we have knowledge of, opening up new possibilities for historical research, genealogical discoveries and new understandings of our shared past."

    More information about the project can be found at

  • 13 Apr 2021 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement written by

    LEHI, Utah & SAN FRANCISCO - (April 12, 2021) Ancestry®, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced the launch of its new Community Impact Program, which aims to mobilize Ancestry resources and products to build more connected and resilient communities through preserving at-risk history and empowering the next generation of history makers.

    Research shows that family history is a powerful tool for building resilience, connection and understanding among all ages, and Ancestry is committed to helping even more people unlock their pasts--so we can realize our shared humanity and build a stronger society. Ancestry is fulfilling its commitment through key education programs and preservation initiatives.

    Empowering the Next Generation of History Makers

    For nearly a decade, Ancestry has offered access to historical record collections and content through its no-cost AncestryK12® program for K-12 schools nationwide to help students personally connect to and learn from history. Today, 5 million students have access to Ancestry in their classrooms. To expand the impact of this program, Ancestry has partnered with Facing History and Ourselves -  a global organization dedicated to empowering teachers and students to think critically about history - to develop a robust collection of resources for educators. The classroom resources, professional learning tools for educators, and Ancestry historical record collections will cover topics including: Race, Slavery & Reconstruction, Immigration, World War II & the Holocaust, and The Power of Identity. These materials will help teachers educate their students on these important topics and use lessons from history to help them learn more about themselves, navigate the world, and become more resilient. 

    Educators can visit AncestryK12 at to access these new educational materials and apply for AncestryK12 access for their school or classroom at

    Additionally, Ancestry has made a donation to Facing History and Ourselves to support their crucial work of helping millions of students around the world use lessons from history to better stand up to bigotry and hate.

    “It is more important than ever that students understand critical periods in history, as well as the choices that created them,” said Roger Brooks, President and CEO of Facing History and Ourselves. “Our partnership with Ancestry will invite students to bring both their minds and hearts to the study of history, and galvanize the next generation of history makers to shape more connected and resilient communities.”

    Preserving At-Risk History

    A key initiative of the Ancestry Community Impact Program is digitizing and preserving at-risk history -  unique record collections about a specific time in history that is at risk of being forgotten or overlooked. Ancestry has already made millions of these records available for free, including its Holocaust and Nazi Persecution collections. To continue this philanthropic effort, today Ancestry announced the release of the new Danish West Indies collection.

    This collection of more than 1 million birth, death, marriage, census, labor, and plantation records from 1724 - 1916 provides unique insight into the lives of Black people who were enslaved, and then legally free, in the Danish West Indies. Through a partnership with the Danish National Archives, the records in this collection will now be indexed, fully searchable, and accessible to anyone for free.

    These records provide insight into the challenging elements of this period, such as the harsh labor conditions that accompanied enslavement. However, they also illuminate many overlooked histories, such as what faiths were observed and other cultural and social traditions in the West Indies.

    “The Danish West Indies were a pivotal part of the transatlantic slave trade and the records within this collection can offer important clues for the Black community working to trace their history and better understand their ancestors' experiences,” said Allan Vestergaard, Head of Division at the Danish National Archives. “We are happy to be working with Ancestry to provide more access to these records to more people than ever before. The common goal is to help break down some of the barriers for people seeking information about their families.”

    To view this new collection, please visit

    “For more than 30 years, Ancestry has helped millions of people around the world discover and share their family stories,” said Deb Liu, Ancestry CEO. “Family is more important now than ever, and Ancestry’s new Community Impact Program will help accelerate the important work of building a more connected, understanding and resilient world.”

    About Ancestry®

    Ancestry®, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, empowers journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. With our unparalleled collection of more than 27 billion records and over 18 million people in our growing DNA network, customers can discover their family story and gain a new level of understanding about their lives. For over 30 years, we’ve built trusted relationships with millions of people who have chosen us as the platform for discovering, preserving and sharing the most important information about themselves and their families.

  • 13 Apr 2021 5:24 PM | Anonymous

    I’d like to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Burger-King. It seems that Joel Burger and Ashley King of Illinois were getting married a few years ago, finally uniting the two warring families of the fast food kingdom and bringing peace to our land.

    No, this isn’t a joke. A Burger-King wedding really happened. This should be an interesting entry in some genealogy databases! 

    I thought it was a nice touch that the engagement photos were taken at a local Burger King fast food restaurant.

    No, this is not the wedding officiant (the person who officiates at a wedding ceremony):

    And no, the wedding ceremony was not held at a local BurgerKing restaurant. However,  However, BurgerKing (the restaurant chain, that is) contacted the bride and groom and told them that the restaurant chain would pick up the tab for the wedding.

    Details may be found at:

  • 12 Apr 2021 8:25 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch added 3.3M new, browsable images this week from Italy, Lecce Civil Registrations 1901–1941, 2.2M more Catholic Church Records for Mexico from Distrito Federal 1514–1970, Hidalgo 1546–1971, Nayarit 1596–1967, and Sinaloa 1861–1921, plus 1.6M Catholic and Lutheran Church Records from GermanyEast Prussia 1551–1992, North-Rhine-Westphalia 1580–1975Pomerania 1544–1966, Rhineland-Palatinate 1540–1952, and West Prussia 1537–1981.  Also search new censuses from DR Congo (1984) and France, Eure (1836), and more from England and the US (IL, MA, and VA).

    Search these new records and images by going to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    NOTE: The full list is very long, too long to fit in this article. However, you can read the entire 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.

  • 12 Apr 2021 9:34 AM | Anonymous

    This was unofficially announced earlier (see my earlier article at: but today MyHeritage published the official announcement. It is a "done deal" The transaction was signed on February 24, 2021, and was pending regulatory approvals, which have recently been received, and hence the acquisition was completed today.

    All the details may be found in the MyHeritage Blog at:

    The summation in that article states: "Going forward, MyHeritage will remain the same family history company that you have grown to love. Our mission remains unchanged and we will continue innovating to make family history more fulfilling, enjoyable, and accessible."

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