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  • 22 Dec 2023 7:20 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 39 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/13293932.

    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

  • 22 Dec 2023 8:16 AM | Anonymous

    "The Ministry of Justice is consulting on digitizing and then throwing away about 100 million paper originals of the last wills and testaments of British people dating back more than 150 years in an effort to save 4.5 million pounds a year," reports Robert Booth via The Guardian. Leading historians are calling these plans "sheer vandalism" and "insane." From the report: 

    Ministers believe digitisation will speed up access to the papers, but the proposal has provoked a backlash among historians and archivists who took to X to decry it as "bananas" and "a seriously bad idea." The government is proposing to keep the originals of some wills of "famous people" -- likely including those of Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Diana, Princess of Wales -- but others would be destroyed after 25 years and only a digital copy would be kept. It is feared that wills of ordinary people, some of whom may become historically significant in the future, risk being lost.

    Wills are considered essential documents, particularly for social historians and genealogists, as they capture what people considered important at the time and reveal unknown family links. The proposal comes amid growing concern at the fragility of digital archives, after a cyber-attack on the British Library left the online catalogue and digitized documents unavailable to users since late October. 

    "We are advocates of digitization but not at the cost of destroying originals," says Natalie Pithers, interim co-chief executive of the Society of Genealogists. "In any digitization projects mistakes get made. We don't know what further information could be gained in the future from the original documents. There could be somebody in there who did something extraordinary."
  • 22 Dec 2023 2:23 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from Findmypast:

    In our last record update of 2023, we've added over 18,500 English records. These fascinating additions include monumental inscriptions from Yorkshire, Lincolnshire workhouse guardians' minutes, and 18th-century school records from the UK's first free school for deaf children. 

    We've also added two new titles to our newspaper collection, taking us past yet another exciting landmark. 

    Read on for a full rundown of all that's been added this festive Findmypast Friday.

    Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions

    We've added 8,273 transcriptions to our existing collection of monumental inscriptions from Yorkshire. Spanning from 1807 right up to 2022, these latest additions are from parishes across the county. To see the parishes included, check our updated list

    There are now over 318,000 records in this set. Each is a transcription of the details on a gravestone in Yorkshire. In the records, you can expect to learn names, ages, birth years, death years, inscription details, and descriptions of each grave site, as well as the memorials' locations. 

    If you've got roots in Yorkshire, you may be able to uncover a moving tribute to your ancestor. You'll find deeply emotional and personal inscriptions - take the record of Harry Aaron, for example. Harry died in 1938, aged 67. He is buried at Illingworth Moor Methodist Chapel in Halifax. 

    yorkshire memorial inscription

    View this record.

    His gravestone reads 'Treasured memories of him we loved best'. From his record, we learn that he is buried with Sarah Ann Williamson (perhaps his wife), who died on 22 April 1940, aged 58. Their joint inscription reads 'Peace, perfect peace'.

    Lincolnshire, Workhouse Guardians' Minutes

    This week's second update brings a brand-new record set, comprising 9,354 workhouse guardian records from Lincolnshire. These additions span 1837 to 1901 and document poor law relief applications as recorded by the guardians who administered each case. 

    Lincolnshire's Sleaford Union Workhouse.

    Lincolnshire's Sleaford Union Workhouse in the 19th century.

    Though the information included varies slightly, each record typically contains a full name, residence, date of birth, status, and event date. There are transcriptions and images available, so consult the original record to glean all the details. Within the documents attached to each record, you may be able to see the rates that were paid, as well as more biographical details and notes about the case.

    London, Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb Pupils 1792-1859

    Last but not least, we've got yet another brand-new set. Containing 899 records, this collection is from the London Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb - the first free public institution in England to offer education to deaf children from poor families.

    These transcriptions span almost 70 years, from 1792 to 1859. They offer a valuable insight into the lives of the school's pupils and will be of particular interest to those of us who may have deaf ancestors. 

    A map of the school (formerly called Deaf and Dumb Asylum) on Old Kent Road, c.1875.

    A map of the school (formerly called Deaf and Dumb Asylum) on Old Kent Road, c.1875.

    The information recorded changed significantly over time. For some pupils, only very brief detail is included. Nevertheless, you may be able to discover a name, year of attendance, parental details, and residence, as well as other family facts (including whether other relatives were also deaf).

    Peruse Pictures and more...

    This week, we added 127,786 new pages to our newspaper collection, taking our total page count past the impressive 73 million landmark. With two new titles - the Blyth News Post Leader and Pictures - there are more stories to explore than ever.

    A precursor to the movie fan magazine PicturegoerPictures was first published in October 1911. It described itself as 'an illustrated weekly magazine of fiction for lovers of moving pictures'. It ran stories about upcoming features, articles about the most popular stars of the day, and images of cinema stills. 

    Pictures magazine

    PicturesView this title in full.

    Here's a full rundown of all that's been added this week.

    New titles:

    • Blyth News Post Leader, 1987-1988, 1991-1992
    • Pictures, 1911

    Updated titles: 

    • Atherstone News and Herald, 1991 
    • Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 1895, 1903, 1905, 1917-1920, 1930, 1960-1970, 1985-1989, 1991-1992 
    • Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury, 1986 
    • Gloucestershire Echo, 1995-1996, 1998-1999 
    • Kent Messenger, 1941 
    • Kentish Express, 1976 
    • Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 1873-1875, 1878-1886, 1909 
    • Maidstone Telegraph, 1939, 1941-1945 
    • Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald, 1987-1989 
    • South Eastern Gazette, 1977

    Last week, we added new parish records for Kent and over 187,000 1939 register entries. Discover the full release here.

    Have you made a surprising family history discovery? Whatever you've uncovered about your past, we'd love to hear about it. You can now get in touch and tell us using this handy form.

  • 21 Dec 2023 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    People can now easily dive into the rich 225-year history of Newtown School Waterford, as a digital outreach project between the independent school and South East Technological University (SETU) hosts the freely available artifacts.

    The digital archive contains a wealth of information on the school, which has seen the likes of Erskine Barton Childers, Ralph Fiennes, Sinéad O’Connor, and Leslie Dowdall pass through its storied halls.

    The project, led by Kieran Cronin, special collections, heritage and outreach librarian at SETU’s campus in Waterford, enables easy access to the school’s history and it’s hoped the archive will act as an important tool for students, researchers and those in the local community who wish to gain a deeper understanding of Newtown School and its influence on the cultural fabric of Waterford city.

    The school also hopes the democratisation of this history will foster a sense of shared heritage and community pride.

    You can read more (including a link to the Archive) in an article by Jessica Martin published in theWaterford News & Star web site at:

  • 20 Dec 2023 6:27 PM | Anonymous

    Those attempting to track down their Irish ancestors' port of entry shouldn't forget about New Brunswick, which lies closer to Ireland than Boston or New York. Irish Famine Migration to New Brunswick from the Provincial Archives has 23,318 records of Irish arrivals between 1845 and 1852. If your ancestors emigrated at an earlier date, check Port Returns [including Passenger Lists], 1816-1838: 10,412 indexed records of arrivals with digitized images of the passenger manifests.

    Take a look at:

  • 20 Dec 2023 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release issued by the (U.S.) National Archives and Records Administration:

    WASHINGTON, December 20, 2023 –  In January, the National Archives will present free public programs at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, at its Presidential Libraries nationwide, and online. Programs this month include a book talk with Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Antonia Hylton, author of Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum, and a ceremony for Franklin D. Rooselvet’s birthday, as well as a continuation of the Concert Series at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museumprogram.

    (In person) Sunday Concert Series at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
    Sunday, January 7, 14, 21 and 28, at 2 p.m. PT 
    Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Yorba Linda, CA
    Open to the public
    January 7: Eric Marchese and Friends - Ragtime Piano
    January 14: TBA
    January 21:  Robert Zappulla - Harpsichord Recital

    January 28: TBA

    (In person & Virtual) Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction

    Thursday, January 25, at 6:30 p.m. ET

    William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives Museum, Washington, DC
    Author Fergus Bordewich and Archivist of the United States Dr. Colleen Shogan will discuss how President Ulysses S. Grant waged a two-term battle against both armed Southern enemies of Reconstruction and Northern politicians with postwar conciliation. 

    (In person) Paint and Sip

    Saturday, January 27, at 10 a.m. CT 
    Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, MO
    Email to attend 
    Join artist and Truman Library events manager Azalea Michel-Whitley for the inaugural Paint & Sip brunch. Inspired by the Thomas Hart Benton mural Independence and the Opening of the West, you'll create a keepsake while sipping mocktail mimosas and enjoying light brunch refreshments.

    (In person) Ceremony & Birthday Cake: Franklin D. Roosevelt 

    Tuesday, January 30, at 3 p.m. ET
    Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY
    Open to the public
    The National Park Service will hold a Rose Garden Ceremony to commemorate Franklin Roosevelt's Birthday. Following the ceremony, the FDR Presidential Library will invite attendees to return to the Wallace Center for birthday cake and refreshments.

    (In person) Antonia Hylton, Author of Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum

    Wednesday, January 31, at 7 p.m. ET
    Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Atlanta, GA
    Open to the public
    In Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum, Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Antonia Hylton tells the 93-year-old history of Crownsville Hospital, one of the last segregated asylums with surviving records and a campus that still stands to this day in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. She blends the intimate tales of patients and employees whose lives were shaped by Crownsville with a decade-worth of investigative research and archival documents. Madness chronicles the stories of Black families whose mental health suffered as they tried, and sometimes failed, to find safety and dignity.
  • 20 Dec 2023 10:34 AM | Anonymous

    Here is an article that is not about any of the "normal" topics of this newsletter: genealogy, history, current affairs, DNA, and related topics. However, I know that UseNet is very popular so I decided to report this as an “FYI:"

    With Google dropping support for the oldest of social networks, Usenet is now left without another major entry gate.

    Long before Facebook existed, or even before the Internet, there was Usenet. Usenet was the first social network. Now, with Google Groups abandoning Usenet, this oldest of all social networks is doomed to disappear.

    Google declared:

    Starting on February 22, 2024, you can no longer use Google Groups (at to post content to Usenet groups, subscribe to Usenet groups, or view new Usenet content. You can continue to view and search for historical Usenet content posted before February 22, 2024, on Google Groups.

    Some might say it's well past time. As Google declared, "Over the last several years, legitimate activity in text-based Usenet groups has declined significantly because users have moved to more modern technologies and formats such as social media and web-based forums. Much of the content being disseminated via Usenet today is binary (non-text) file sharing, which Google Groups does not support, as well as spam."

    You can read (a lot) more in an article by Steven Vaughan-Nichols in the ZDNet web site at:

  • 20 Dec 2023 7:49 AM | Anonymous
    • One of the mysteries about the origin of life is how DNA randomly formed palindrome pairs in order to function.
    • A new study from the University of Helsinki analyzes regulatory genes known as microRNA to discover how these necessary palindromes formed. 
    • Using computer modeling, the study’s results show that whole palindromes can arise from a singular mutation event.

    To understand the origins of life means to understand the origins of DNA—the information-containing molecule that makes all life possible. The beginning of life on Earth remains a mystery, and for some time, the beginnings of DNA have similarly appeared to arise from nothing. A new study from the University of Helsinki now attempts to fill this notoriously tricky hole in our understanding. 

    To answer this very big question, University of Helsinki researcher Ari Löytynoja and his team focused on the very small—regulatory genes that encode microRNA molecules, which are only 22 base pairs in length. The human genome is a complicated highway of 20,000 genes capable of constructing life-sustaining proteins, and these protein factories are managed by regulatory genes. The sequences of these regulatory genes (like other RNA and DNA sequences) are palindromic, meaning that genetic code reads the same forwards and backwards.

    You can read more in an article by Darren Orf published in the PopularMechanics web site at:

  • 19 Dec 2023 11:16 PM | Anonymous

    JewishGen, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1987 by Susan King, a world-renown professional forensic and genetic genealogist and family legacy historian. Started as a Fidonet bulletin board, users dialed into the connection via telephones in order to access the bulletin board. At that time, there were 150 users.

    “Susan King sought to leverage what was then an emerging technology – online bulletin boards, and apply it to genealogical research. At that time, if you were interested in genealogy, you could join a genealogy society and attend meetings, where you would compare names and share information. Susan engaged the new technology to expand these opportunities to share and make connections. Databases and networking opportunities expanded, and in the early 1990s, JewishGen launched a website and a discussion group that’s a precursor to what we have today,” said Avraham Groll, Executive Director of JewishGen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

    Today, JewishGen is the global home for Jewish genealogy, offering unique search tools and opportunities for researchers to connect with others who share similar interests. Avraham Groll said, “today, you can search JewishGen’s discussion groups going back thirty years, a searchable archive of over 500,000 messages. The resource is completely community driven. And, you can search listings for over 651,000 names researched by genealogists on the Family Finder, which allows researchers to connect with others who share their same research interests.”

    In 2002, JewishGen was acquired by The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, at the southern tip of Manhattan, and which today operates as the Jewish genealogy research division of the Museum. “The mission of JewishGen,” Groll explained,”is to preserve Jewish family history and heritage for future generations. It fulfills this mission in three primary ways: 1. The website provides access to more than 30 million records including vital records, census data, a Holocaust database, and burial registries. To enhance research, we have a number of search tools to help improve results, such as a Soundex system, which accounts for spelling variations. 2. The website provides historical and contextual information about how our ancestors lived, through resources like the JewishGen Communities Database, an encyclopedia of Jewish communities, and the translation of Memorial (Yizkor) books into English – a major, multi-year project. These Yizkor books, written in the immediate decades after the Holocaust predominately by survivors, include histories of Jewish settlement in towns, biographical sketches of Rabbis and famous personalities, details about daily life, education, holiday observance and celebrations, culture, and more. They capture the values which the inhabitants of these towns held most dear. These meticulously translated Yizkor books generally offer first-hand-testimony of the communities during the Holocaust. The translations are freely available on our website, and more than 140 books, also translated and are also available in hardcover via the JewishGen Press. 3. JewishGen offers educational and networking resources, such as online classes (24 courses offered throughout the year), the Family Finder, and the JewishGen Discussion Group and Jewish Genealogy Portal (on Facebook), which allow people to connect with researchers around the world in order to ask questions, share research advice, describe success, stay informed of news around the Jewish Genealogical community, and more.”

    JewishGen is offered as a free resource. Its database features important collections of historical records pertaining to Jewish communities across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and North America. Currently, Intensive expansion efforts are bringing many more records, tools, and resources to its collections. such as new programs like holiday companion publications, a fellowship program to train the next generation of Jewish genealogical leaders, and a neshama study/volunteer trip to Poland for those “out of school.” Additionally, over the past year, more than 2.7 million records have been added to their database, JewishGen has entered into two major significant partnerships, “Generations” the new Jewish genealogy themed TV show in partnership with JLTV and the Museum of Jewish Heritage

    You can read more in an article by Susan R. Eisenstein published in the JewishPress web site at:

  • 19 Dec 2023 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    The TUMO Center for Creative Technologies is expanding its multi-year initiative to capture detailed 3D scans of hundreds of Armenian heritage sites.

    In 2018 and 2019, TUMO students made their first 3D scans of Armenian historical and cultural heritage monuments in a series of special learning labs. They used laser scanning and photogrammetry to document sites including the Matosavank monastery in Dilijan National Park, Amberd Fortress on Mount Aragats, the Dadivank monastery in Karvachar, and Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. Since then, the number of scanned sites has reached 230, and will now expand to include all of Armenia’s important monuments over the coming years.

    TUMO’s digital preservation initiative includes a large number of important monuments in Artsakh. In the weeks immediately following the 44-Day War in 2020, TUMO teams carried out high-resolution 3D scans of 46 historical monuments in Martuni, Martakert, Askeran and Berdzor. These included archeological sites such as Tigranakert, churches and monasteries such as the Tsitsernavank monastery, and historic monuments such as the Hak bridge. In November of 2022, TUMO scanned over 30 additional heritage sites in Artsakh and on Armenia’s borders.

    The resulting high-resolution 3D data sets and visualizations make it possible to document and study cultural monuments in detail, contributing to long term preservation. They also provide material for educational and cultural activities as well as digital media production. Just as importantly, they allow scholars and institutions to monitor cultural heritage sites and eventually carry out preservation and restoration projects as needed.

    You can read more in an article by Siranush Ghazanchyan published in the Public Radio of Armenia web site at:

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