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  • 19 Mar 2021 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    The 41st Annual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference will be held in historic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from August 2 through 5, 2021. The plans for the 2021 Conference have changed from previous conferences as well. The 2021 event will be more focused over a shorter time frame—now four days and nights at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. One major change is that it will include a virtual component.

    The conference will feature more than 100 speakers, with more than 250 sessions covering virtually every aspect of Jewish genealogy.

    Ken Bravo of South Euclid, president of the IAJGS, will preside over the conference.

    The keynote speaker will be Michael Hoberman, professor of American literature at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Mass., and author of New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America and A Hundred Acres of America: The Geography of Jewish American Literature.

    You can read more at:

  • 18 Mar 2021 4:57 PM | Anonymous

    Most experienced genealogists are aware of the major "online powerhouses" that contain text or even images of millions of historical records. Such web sites include,,,,,,,,, and many more. However, I suspect many of us "old pros" might be overlooking some of the most valuable research sites of all.

    If you haven't looked at your favorite search engines, I would suggest you check out what is available. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    You might check*,,,,,, or

    *NOTE: I usually avoid the use of Google because of all the privacy issues with that service. Admittedly, most of the other search engines have somewhat similar issues. Luckily, there is one delightful exception. I always use as my default search engine simply because of that company doesn't invade users' privacy by tracking the users and then selling their private information to other companies. See for the details.

    Actually, I have used search engines for years to find all sorts of online information, including info about living and deceased people. However, I have to admit I haven't used the search engines to find genealogy information as much in recent years as I used to. The reason? I simply forgot. In fact, I am rather embarrassed to admit that. I got so wrapped up in the "sophisticated" web sites listed earlier that I usually forgot about the more common search engines.

    However, I recently experienced a memory-jarring "reminder." I wasn't using the simplest of all tools, one that also often produces excellent results. Perhaps you need a reminder also so here is my (updated) recommendation.

    My most recent experience involved a search for information about my own father. OK, obviously I already knew a lot about him but not everything. My father passed away 31 years ago and I certainly remember a lot of detailed information about him. However, he died several years before the invention of the World Wide Web. Could the Web provide any information about a man who never heard of the Web?

    A relative of mine and I were discussing my father’s life recently and we both knew he belonged to a certain men's fraternal organization but neither my relative nor I remembered all the details. I had a vague recollection that Dad was a "grand master" (or a similar title) of the local lodge for several years. My relative stated, "I don't remember that." I certainly did not remember the details either.

    A quick check of my favorite search engine refreshed memories I had not thought about for 31 years. Yes, Dad was the "grand master" for quite a number of years, according to the rather lengthy description of that lodge listed online.

    Later, I started performing searches on several other deceased relatives: aunts, uncles, cousins, and even information about my great-great-grandfather who died in 1887. I even picked up some new (to me) information about great-great-granddad.

    After poking around online looking for ancestral information, I found the searches worked well for people who lived the last half of the twentieth century. As I looked for older and older information, I found less and less information was available but occasionally bits and pieces of information could still be found. Even my great-great-grandfather, a farmer who died in 1887, more than 100 years before the invention of the World Wide Web, was listed with several significant facts about his life.

    For information about politicians, royalty, senior military officers, and other notable individuals, you may occasionally find limited information even back into the Middle Ages.

    NOTE: When I searched for my great-great-grandfather's name, I wasn't expecting much. Luckily, another person who is a genealogist and appears to be a very distant cousin of mine had posted information about HER ancestor who just happened to be the same man. Her online data provided me with two (probably) accurate facts about great-great-granddad that I did not know previously.

    My task for this summer is to visit his grave in Maine and then visit the local town clerk's office to see if I can verify the information.

    In my father’s case, he had a rather common name. When I searched for his name, I found more than a dozen people listed who had the same first and last names. However, his middle name was unique. I had no difficulty in finding the several records about him that I wanted. If he had an even more common name (How many John Smiths are listed?), I probably could have narrowed the search by adding the name of the town where he lived, the state, his occupation, or other identifying information.


    Information may be found wherever you might find it. Yes, the online genealogy sites are excellent sources of information and I probably will continue to use them frequently. However, once I exhaust the obvious searches, I will start looking for less obvious sources of information. However, I will never refer to the World Wide Web as "less obvious." Indeed, it will be one of the more valuable resources that needs to be checked.

    I hope you will do the same.

  • 18 Mar 2021 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    I have mentioned the Virtual FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show before (at but the show organizers now have updated some of the information and released the following updated version of the plans:

    Family historians are booking for the second FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show, to be hosted by the Family History Federation and Parish Chest on Saturday 10th April. The show builds on the success of the first Show held last November.

    Opportunity to place questions for “Ask the Experts” will close on 26th March – don’t delay! However, is a question specific to an area covered by one of the societies attending the Show? Each society has a wealth of knowledge and information for their area of work. Do check out the Exhibitor Hall!

    There are over twenty top presentations on a wide range of genealogical topics. Plus over seventy exhibitors – societies and commercial stands - confirmed who will be actively manning their booths and delighted to discuss topics with visitors.

    Remember that many talks will be available for up to seven days from opening of the show giving attendees ample time to visit exhibitors on the day then catch up on talks later.

    Regular updates will be on:

    A raft of expert presentations, opportunity to ask your questions (perhaps bring down that brick wall), join a workshop and to investigate what leading vendors have available for the show…All this with one ticket and without leaving your armchair!

    All inclusive tickets are just £10 per person

    BOOK NOW to visit the festival of Really Useful things for family historians!

    Postal address: FHF, PO Box 62, Sheringham NR26 9AR

    Family History Federation’ is the operating name of the Federation of Family History Societies

    Registered Charity Number 1038721.

    FFHS Services Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, company number 2930189 (England & Wales).

    Registered Office: 2 Primrose Avenue, Urmston, Manchester M41 OTY

  • 17 Mar 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Society of Ireland:

    At the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Genealogical Society of Ireland held on Tuesday March 9th 2021, Rosslare Harbour based Member, John Goggins, was unanimously elected as the 9th Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of the Genealogical Society of Ireland which was founded in October 1990 to promote the study of genealogy, heraldry, vexillology, and related subjects.

    John Goggins was born in Dún Laoghaire and educated by the Christian Brothers and at UCD and DCU. He moved to Rosslare Harbour, Wexford in 1973 with CIÉ and subsequently started his own successful Customs Brokerage business.

    He founded a local youth club which he ran for twenty years and he is now involved in the Mens Shed movement. He is a keen fly-fisherman and a woodturner and has always been an enthusiastic family historian.

    He writes short stories and essays to complement his genealogical research and has read at various venues including Wicklow Writers, De Barra’s in Cork and in Vermont USA.

    He has renewed his life-long love of the Irish language in the past few years and enjoys using the cúpla focail at every opportunity.

    The President of the Society, London based, Stuart Rosenblatt, PC, FGSI, warmly congratulated John Goggins on his election and wished him every success in the year ahead.

    John Goggins takes the helm of the Society in a challenging time with the Covid-19 restrictions keeping An Daonchartlann - the Society's Archive and Research Centre based at DLR Leisure Centre Loughlinstown, closed to visitors and its two Open Meetings each month now held via Zoom. Although, the Zoom Open Meetings are proving to be immensely popular with Members from all around the world now participating in the activities of the Society from the comforts of their own fireside - giving an added meaning to 'Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin'.

  • 17 Mar 2021 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was posted to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ Public Records Access Monitoring Committee’s mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    The Maine State Archives has launched its first-ever catalog of its holdings. Researchers can now search through its bureau’ listing of collections online. The Maine State Archives maintains approximately 100 million pages of official state records considered to be permanently valuable, such as bills introduced in the Legislature, Governor’s Executive Council Reports, election returns, deeds, maps, and military records through World War I.

    The link is:

    However, when I tried “vital records” in the search field only for digital materials nothing appeared. They did appear when I tried search all record types, but not current records. This is because of the current embargo periods for vital records were established by a 2010 law: embargo periods of 75 years for birth; 25 years for death; 50 years for fetal death and 50 years for marriage.

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 16 Mar 2021 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    Where does the time go? The National Genealogical Society is already planning the 2022 Family History Conference?

    Yes, it is just a bit more than 12 months away, the perfect time to do the planning. OK, here is the announcement from the NGS:





    The National Genealogical Society 2022 Family History Conference, Our American Mosaic, will be held in Sacramento, California, 25-28 May 2022. The call for proposals opens on 1 December 2020 and closes on 1 April 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

    Across the dramatic landscape that became America, our diverse ancestors each contributed a precious piece to the colorful design of our American mosaic. In the West, Native American cultures have thrived for thousands of years. While eighteenth-century American colonists were fighting for independence from Great Britain in the East, the Spanish were establishing missions and military outposts in what is now California. The discovery of gold near Sacramento in 1848 sparked a frenzy of migration to California from Asia, Mexico, and the eastern states. The lure of western skies has continued to the present day, attracting ranchers, Dust Bowl refugees, the Great Migration of African Americans from the South, immigrants fleeing poverty or persecution, and technology entrepreneurs.

    Our family histories make each of us unique, and our separate stories are a shared history within our American mosaic. Attendees at the 2022 NGS Family History Conference in Sacramento will benefit from lectures and workshops to help build skills in methodology and the use of records and resources to advance their genealogical research.

    Lecture Proposals

    NGS encourages proposals on a variety of general and specific topics of interest to family historians from beginning to advanced levels. Conference tracks under consideration include the following:

    • African American research: resources and techniques for researching African Americans in the western states, free people of color, the enslaved, post-slavery era documentation, and migration family stories
    • Asian and Pacific Islander research: resources and techniques for researching Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast and South Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families, in the United States and abroad
    • DNA: testing options, interpretation of results, case studies that incorporate methodology and DNA, and tools and techniques for identifying unknown biological parentage
    • European and Middle Eastern research: records, repositories, and techniques for researching ancestors in Europe and the Middle East
    • Hispanic and Latin American ancestry: resources and techniques for researching Hispanic and Latin American ancestry
    • Immigration and migration: to the western states from overseas, New England, the Midwest, and the South
    • Methodology: all aspects of family history methodology, from basic organizing tips to source documentation, planning, research techniques, and interpretation of findings
    • Native American research: records and resources for First Nations, Inuit, and Native American family history
    • New England research: records and repositories of New England states, with special emphasis on migrations to the West and the origins of early settlers
    • Non-traditional families: topics and concerns related to researching lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals and families
    • Records and repositories: the use of record types including but not limited to church, military, immigration, land, court, and vital records; the use and content of local, regional, and national record repositories
    • Reference services: presentations by experts in libraries, archives, societies, and other repositories who assist family history researchers
    • Society management: best practices, leadership, membership, programs, publications, disaster plans, and records preservation
    • Technology: online databases, sites, and tools for accessing digitized record images, and computer applications for organizing and saving information
    • The 1950s: specifically, the 1950 US federal census, which will be available shortly before the conference, and genealogically significant events of the 1950s
    • Western states: history, records, and repositories in the western states as well as historical migrations from the 1600s to the present day
    • Writing: skills, techniques, and tools for communicating family history information, from family blogs to peer-reviewed journals

    NGS has a free webinar, Becoming a Better Conference Speaker: Proposals and Preparations, which can be found at the National Genealogical Society YouTube channel. Speakers are encouraged to view the video before beginning the proposal process. Topics covered include: Lecture Proposals, Presentation, Syllabus, Communicate, and Delivery.

    NGS members will receive first consideration as speakers. Notifications for acceptance will be issued in the fall of 2021. Syllabus material, due 1 February 2022, is required for each lecture or workshop presentation and will be included in the syllabus distributed to all conference registrants. Speakers are expected to use electronic presentation programs and, provide their own digital projector, laptop, and connector to the projector cable. NGS will provide projector support, which consists of a VGA or HDMI cable, cart, and power strip. Internet connections will not be provided in lecture rooms.

    Speakers who wish to submit lecture proposals may submit up to eight proposals electronically. The speaker compensation is described in detail here on the website. Each submitted proposal requires the following information:

    • Speaker’s full name, mailing address, telephone, and email address
    • Presentation title, not to exceed fourteen words
    • Lecture summary for program brochure, not to exceed twenty-five words
    • Brief but comprehensive lecture outline, not to exceed one page
    • Speaker’s biography, not to exceed twenty-five words
    • Speaker’s recent lecture experience, including a listing of national or regional conferences where the speaker has presented in the last two years
    • Identification of the appropriate audience level: beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced, or all

    Do not submit a proposed lecture that has been presented nationally or regionally in the last two years, is scheduled to be presented before May 2022, or is available for free online.

    Submit a Proposal Today! >

    Sponsored Lecture Proposals

    If your genealogical organization would like to sponsor a lecture, submit proposals to NGS. If your organization would like to sponsor a luncheon, please contact Do not use the sponsored lecture form.

  • 16 Mar 2021 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    According to an announcement from ScotlandsPeople:

    Thousands of volumes of historical records from the collections of National Records of Scotland (NRS) are now available online for the first time, covering the years 1559 to 1900.

    Images of more than a million pages from the kirk session and other court records of the Church of Scotland, containing details of key events in communities across the country, have been added to ScotlandsPeople, NRS’s online research service.

    Drainie kirk session minutes, 1707, CH2/384/2, page 3

    These records offer remarkable insights into the everyday lives of ordinary Scots, recording important moments such as births, marriages and deaths. The church also adjudicated on paternity of children and provided basic education, as well as disciplining parishioners for what could be called anti-social behaviour – drunkenness, cursing and breaking the Sabbath.

    The newly-added records also include accounts of how people dealt with exceptional historical events such as:

    • wars
    • witchcraft trials
    • epidemics
    • crop failures
    • extreme weather

    Further details may be found at

  • 16 Mar 2021 7:35 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    This week FamilySearch added 7 million new indexed historical records from Find A Grave Index, Catholic and Lutheran Church Records from Germany, West Prussia 1537–1981East Prussia 1551–1992England, Cambridgeshire Bishop's Transcripts 1538–1983, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1865–1957, and more records for Brazil, England, France, Norway and Puerto RicoUnited States collections added 3 million more records for US City and Business Directories ca 1749–ca. 1990, Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records 1822–1918, Louisiana Voter Registrations 1867–1905, and additional for Maine, Montana, N. Jersey, and Virginia.

    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 fit here. However, the full list may be found at:

  • 15 Mar 2021 10:29 PM | Anonymous

    Every March 17, millions of people pause to reflect on their Irish heritage. Conceived as a Saint’s Day in the Catholic Church, Saint Patrick’s Day is now a time of celebration for millions. However, many of us have little knowledge of the man whose name we celebrate.

    First of all, Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was a Roman, although born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton in Scotland, in the year 387. His original name is recorded as Maewyn Succat. His father, Calphurnius, belonged to a Roman family of high rank and held the office of decurio in Gaul or Britain. At the age of sixteen years old, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftain named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim in Ireland. He was soon sold to another chieftain in the area. The future saint spent six years tending his master’s flocks near the modern town of Ballymena. During this time he learned to speak fluent Celtic.

    After six years of bondage, Patrick escaped, apparently by simply walking away at a convenient opportunity. He wandered for some time, eventually finding his way to Westport. There he found a ship ready to set sail and was allowed on board. In a few days he was in Britain, safe under Roman rule. He then traveled extensively to other lands and studied religion. Patrick spent time in St. Martin’s monastery at Tours and at the island sanctuary of Lérins. He met Saint Germain and became a student of the great bishop. When Germain was commissioned by the Holy See to proceed to Britain to combat the erroneous teachings of Pelagius, he chose Patrick to be one of his missionary companions.

    Pope St. Celestine the First had taken note of the young man’s abilities and commissioned Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into the Catholic Church; he also gave him the name “Patercius” or “Patritius.” It was probably in the summer months of the year 433 that Patrick and his companions landed at the mouth of the Vantry River in Ireland, close by Wicklow Head. The Druids were against his missionary work and wanted to kill him, so Patrick searched for friendly territory in which to enter on his mission. Near Slemish, the missionary was struck with horror on seeing at a distance the fort of his old master, Milchu, enveloped in flames. It seems the fame of Patrick’s marvelous power of miracles had preceded him. In anticipation of Patrick’s arrival, Milchu had gathered his treasures into his mansion and set it on fire, casting himself into the flames in a fit of frenzy. An ancient record adds, “His pride could not endure the thought of being vanquished by his former slave.”

    Saint Patrick traveled all over Ireland, preaching wherever people gathered. His sermons were not always well received, and many attempted to murder him. Saint Patrick wrote in his “Confessio” that twelve times he and his companions were seized and carried off as captives. On one occasion in particular, he was loaded with chains, and his death was decreed. However, Saint Patrick always managed to escape death. He converted thousands to Christianity and built many churches. It is recorded that he consecrated no fewer than 350 bishops. Legends attribute many miracles to Saint Patrick.

    Saint Patrick died on 17 March 493, and that date is now dedicated to his memory. It is not known for sure where his remains were laid although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be his final resting place.

    There are many Web sites devoted to Saint Patrick, providing a wealth of material. You can read more at and many others.

  • 15 Mar 2021 10:01 PM | Anonymous

    MyHeritage seems to be having great success with the new Deep Nostalgia™ that creates colorized animations from black-and-white photos you may have in your collection. 50 million animations have been created in just 18 days!

    The company now has launched the #DeepNostalgiaChallenge, offering a free MyHeritage Complete plan to 5 lucky winners who share their favorite animations created with Deep Nostalgia™. The contest runs until March 31, so if you haven’t entered yet, you still have a chance! Click here to read more about the challenge and to learn how to enter.

    You can also read a lot more about Deep Nostalgia™ in the MyHeritage Blog at:

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