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  • 23 Feb 2021 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    The searchable database of cemetery records in eastern Massachusetts will include one million names by end of 2021. Here is the announcement:

    February 23, 2021—Boston, Massachusetts—Researchers can now search hundreds of thousands of records containing detailed information about people buried in eastern Massachusetts Catholic cemeteries through a new online database, thanks to a partnership between American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Archive Department of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB), and The Catholic Cemetery Association of the Archdiocese of Boston, Inc. (CCA). The Catholic Cemetery database—which will include an estimated one million names by December 2021—is available with a member subscription on AmericanAncestors.org.

    The database—which spans the years 1833 through 1940—contains records of burials from 20 cemeteries throughout eastern Massachusetts. Family members of the deceased, family historians and researchers can now easily locate and view detailed information about lot sales and interments, including burial dates and locations, and names of lot owners. Since many of the deceased may not have purchased a grave marker or their marker may have eroded with time, this collection is of essential value for anyone researching deceased people buried in eastern Massachusetts. Digitization of this information is not only a boon for researchers, it also helps to preserve the original, and often fragile, paper-based records kept by the Archdiocese.

    The Catholic Cemetery Association database currently features information from nine cemeteries: Holy Cross (Malden), Calvary (Waltham), Sacred Heart (Andover), St. George (Framingham), St. James (Haverhill), St. Joseph (Haverhill), St. Jean Baptiste (Lynn), St. Mary (Beverly), and St. Mary (Malden). Records for eleven more cemeteries will be added throughout 2021.

    In addition to the searchable database, American Ancestors and its partners are providing maps of each cemetery to help researchers locate burial plots. Where possible, maps include sections, ranges and—in some cases—narrative description of how headstones are arranged by row and lot number. Also included are points of interest such as entrances, exits, flag poles, monuments, offices and spigots. Special sections for burials of infants, priests and members of religious orders are also noted. Links to the cemetery maps can be found in the database description. Additional maps will be added throughout 2021.

    “American Ancestors is proud to offer this new cemetery records database alongside our current project with the Archdiocese – the digitization of sacramental records from 1789 to 1920,” said D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society. “After the positive feedback we received for our sacramental records collection, this was the next logical step, and we are grateful to the CCA for agreeing to make these records available through our website, AmericanAncestors.org.”

    Thomas Lester, Director of the Archive and Library at the Archdiocese of Boston commented, “American Ancestors has been a valued partner in helping the Archdiocese make these records available to a wider audience than ever before. We hope that the ability to find a record and use the maps to locate the final resting place of family members, whether they be long-deceased ancestors or a close relation, will bring peace and comfort to many.”

    “We look forward to continuing our focus on the management of the original records and maintaining our cemetery grounds throughout the archdiocese, making sure they are a place where visitors can peacefully pray, mourn and reflect upon the lives of the deceased,” remarked Rob Visconti, Executive Director of the CCA.

    According to Molly Rogers, Database Manager for Digital Projects for American Ancestors, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and when finished will include all of the CCA records through 1940 and maps of each cemetery.

    Future releases include records from: St. Francis de Sales (Charlestown), St. Paul (Arlington), North Cambridge Catholic (Cambridge), St. Joseph (Lynn), St. Mary (Lynn), Holy Cross (Malden) (additional volumes), Immaculate Conception (Marlborough), St. Mary (Salem), St. Patrick (Stoneham), Catholic Mount Auburn (Watertown), St. Patrick (Watertown), and Calvary (Winchester).

    The Catholic records databases, including the cemetery and sacramental records collections, are made possible through the work of American Ancestors volunteers and philanthropic support. In 2017, American Ancestors launched the Historic Catholic Records Fund to support the project.

    About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

    American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), with its national headquarters located in Boston’s Back Bay, is the oldest and largest genealogical society in America. It serves more than 300,000 members and millions of online users engaged in family history nationally and around the world. It is home to a world-class research library and archive, and an expert staff. American Ancestors offers an award-winning genealogical research website at AmericanAncestors.org with more than 1.4 billion names and maintains a publishing division which produces original genealogical research, scholarship, and educational materials, including Mayflower Descendant, a quarterly journal of Pilgrim genealogy and history.

    About the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

    The Archdiocese of Boston is the fourth largest archdiocese in the United States and is the spiritual home for more than 1.8 million Catholics. Since July 2003, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap., has led the Archdiocese through unprecedented events with a focus on healing and rebuilding the local Church.

    Centered in one of the world’s great cities—Boston—and spread across 144 communities in eastern Massachusetts, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 260 parishes, well performing Catholic schools that are educating more than 30,000 students annually, and a social service outreach that is helping to assist more than 200,000 individuals each year. Mass is celebrated in more than twenty different languages each week.


  • 23 Feb 2021 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    According to an article in the U.S. National Archives News:

    "Photographs of Buffalo Soldiers serving at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, during the early 20th century recently came to light at the National Archives. The images were discovered by a preservationist who was digitizing thousands of nitrate negatives transferred from the Academy to the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives at College Park, MD. Recognized for their expertise in riding, African American cavalry noncommissioned officers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were stationed at West Point to serve in the Academy’s Detachment of Cavalry and teach Academy cadets military horsemanship. Starting in 1907, the detachment became a “colored unit” composed of African American soldiers during a time when the military was still racially segregated. The Buffalo Soldiers instructed cadets until 1947."

    You can see many of the pictures at https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/buffalo-soldiers-west-point-photos.


  • 23 Feb 2021 11:59 AM | Anonymous

    If you have Moldovan ancestors who lived there in the 1950s through the 1970s, you will be interested in a photo project reuniting Moldovan villagers with their younger selves.

    NOTE: I probably should mention that Moldova is a small, landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. Then again, if you have Moldovan ancestry, you probably already knew where the country is located.

    In 2016, film school student Victor Galușca found the negatives for thousands of photographs in an abandoned home in the northern Moldovan village of Roșietici. The 4,000 vivid portraits were taken of the people living in the village between the 1950s and the 1970s. The photos belonged to Zaharia Cușnir (1912-1993), an amateur photographer who worked as a teacher before the Soviet occupation but was forced to take on manual jobs — such as metalwork, construction, and shepherding — by the new regime.

    The results give a glimpse into the tumultuous changes that have marked these people’s lives over the past half-century. Shot in their homes, against typical rugs hung on walls, Christian icons, or in bed, these portraits are also metaphor for the disappearing world of the Moldovan village amid post-communist economic instability, and mass emigration.

    The incredible archive was made into a photo book, showcased at exhibitions in Chișinău and Bucharest, and is now available to view online. But the publicity also meant that people who recognized themselves in Cușnir’s photographs got in touch with Galușca. The young photographer decided to embark on a new project: taking pictures of Cușnir’s former subjects with the black-and-white portraits of their younger selves. Victor Galușca is especially interested in the residents of Roșietici that have since left and emigrated to other countries.

    Vera Borș: Then and Now

    If you would be interested in finding a photograph of a relative taken 50 to 70 years ago and especially interested in adding a later photo to that collection, read the article Lost and Found: The Photo Project Reuniting Moldovan Villagers With Their Younger Selves by Paula Erizanu and published in The Calvert Journal at http://bit.ly/3sm5Du8 for all the details.

    Comment: I am sure the above article will be of primary interest to a small group of people: Moldovan descendants who read this newsletter. However, would you like to do the same thing by focusing on your ancestor's village? home town? or your home town? How about your grammar school class.

    The possibilities are nearly endless!

  • 22 Feb 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    The recently-added Genetic Groups on MyHeritage significantly increased the resolution of MyHeritage DNA’s ethnicity breakdown to 2,114 geographic regions. However, many people who have tested with services such as 23andMe, Ancestry or FamilyTree DNA Family Finder, were unable to join the fun. Now MyHeritage is making a special offer for a week:

    From now through February 28, 2021, MyHeritage allows everyone to upload their DNA data from other providers and obtain DNA Matches for free.

    Here is the announcement from the MyHeritage Blog:

    Christmas came just a tad early for MyHeritage DNA users when we finally released a long-awaited enhancement to our DNA ethnicity results: Genetic Groups. This feature significantly increases the resolution of MyHeritage DNA’s ethnicity breakdown to 2,114 geographic regions. Our users have been raving about it ever since.

    But many folks who have tested their DNA with other services, such as 23andMe, Ancestry, or FamilyTree DNA Family Finder, were unable to join the fun.

    MyHeritage allows you to upload your DNA data from other providers and get DNA Matches for free, but a one-time unlock fee of $29 (or a Complete plan with MyHeritage) has been required to access the advanced DNA features — and that includes the Ethnicity Estimate and the new Genetic Groups.

    Well, we don’t want you to feel left out just because you tested with another service! For a limited time only, between February 21–28, 2021, we are waiving the unlock fee. You can now upload your DNA data to MyHeritage and get access to your Ethnicity Estimate, Genetic Groups, and other advanced DNA tools such as the Chromosome Browser, AutoClusters, and Theory of Family Relativity™ — absolutely free! These features will remain free forever for the DNA kits you upload to MyHeritage during this week.

    Upload your data to MyHeritage now

    If you’ve already tested your DNA with another service, you don’t need to waste your time and money purchasing a new kit. We’re aware that people who are searching for family members — such as adopted people searching for their birth parents — want to “fish in multiple ponds” and try multiple DNA databases to find leads, and purchasing multiple DNA kits gets expensive. That’s why we offer users the option of uploading their DNA data to MyHeritage for free.

    Here’s what one user, Joan Matalon, recently had to say about her experience uploading her DNA data to MyHeritage: “I uploaded my raw DNA from Ancestry to MyHeritage and in May last year I joined and it has been fabulous! I have found relatives that I never knew about! I would recommend MyHeritage to anyone who would like to learn more about their family! MyHeritage has so many features that are helping me with my research.”

    If you tested your DNA with another service and haven’t uploaded it to MyHeritage yet, now’s the best time to do it! Upload your data to MyHeritage now

    Enjoy!

  • 22 Feb 2021 11:19 AM | Anonymous

    Do you have any old VHS videotapes around? If so, you need to understand that the video quality of those tapes is deteriorating every year, even if you are not playing them!

    Jeanette D. Moses explains all this and provides information on how to convert the VHS tapes to more modern (and longer-lasting) media in her article in the Tom's Guide website at: https://www.tomsguide.com/how-to/digitize-vhs-tapes.


  • 22 Feb 2021 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    Elon Reeve Musk is a self-made multibillionaire business magnate, industrial designer, and engineer. He is also one of the richest people in the world.

    Musk is the CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc., the founder, CEO, CTO, and chief designer of SpaceX; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI.

    Perhaps his obvious success is due to something in his genes.

    Elon Musk may be transforming everything from power to space travel, but Elon isn’t the only entrepreneur in his family tree. A YouTube video explores the rest of Elon’s family. There are a LOT of entrepreneurs in the family!

    You can watch the YouTube video at: https://youtu.be/nLT1A6XtjZ8.


  • 19 Feb 2021 8:59 PM | Anonymous

    Bay State College’s Boston Campus has donated its entire undergraduate library to the Internet Archive so that the digital library can preserve and scan the books, while allowing Bay State to gain much needed open space for student collaboration. By donating and scanning its 11,000-volume collection centered on fashion, criminal justice, allied health, and business books, Bay State’s Boston campus decided to “flip entirely to digital.”

    You can read more about the move at http://bit.ly/3ugfpQ3.

    Comment: OK, now here is a proposal I believe is worth pondering: Should we promote the same kind of moves for most (or all) genealogy libraries?

    Most of the smaller genealogy libraries are woefully underfunded. Also, access to these libraries is a problem if the would-be patron lives a long distance away, such as in another country. Wouldn't it be better to place all books that may legally be copied or digitized online and make them available 24 hours a day, to every place in the world? (Optionally, the books could also be placed back on the shelves after being digitized for local use.)

    Yes, I would even pay a reasonable amount to access them remotely. That would be a lot cheaper than what I have paid in past years for travel to remote locations, hotels, restaurant meals, and more expenses I don't even want to contemplate.

    Yes, I am in favor of digitizing all sorts of things and make those digital images online. Is it a perfect solution? Absolutely not but I am sure that it is better than the present system of storing a few things here, a few things there, and lots of things not documented or not available at all because of travel constraints.

    What do you think?


  • 19 Feb 2021 8:34 PM | Anonymous

    Are you contemplating a major effort to digitize old paper records, either at home or at a local archive? If so, read "Six Steps To Consider Before Scanning Vertical Files" in the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center Blog first. A bit of thought and planning might save you a lot of work later!

    Look at https://www.digitalnc.org/blog/vertical-files/.

  • 19 Feb 2021 8:16 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from Findmypast:

    Discover marriages, pub landlords and more this Findmypast Friday. Here's what's new this week.

    Britain, Marriage Licences

    Search over 100,000 new additions from the Diocese of Durham dating all the way back to the 16th century.

    With records from as early as 1115, this useful collection covers fifteen English counties including London, Lancashire, Suffolk, Exeter, Lincoln, Yorkshire, and more. Marriage licenses will reveal your ancestor’s intended spouse, father’s name, and the intended marriage place.

    Cambridgeshire, Licensed Victuallers

    Were your Cambridgeshire ancestors pub landlords? Discover the name of their establishment, its location and when they ran it.

    The surviving records for Cambridgeshire 1764-1828 are kept in the Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. They have been photographed and transcribed by members of the Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Family History Society, which has kindly licensed the records for the use of researchers on Findmypast. 

    Each record normally includes the name and abode of the victualler, the name of the alehouse, tavern or inn, and the name and abode of the person providing surety.

    United States, Inspection Roll Of Negroes, 1783

    Search the records of Black Loyalists evacuated by the British from New York in 1783 after defeat in the American War of Independence. Please note that the terms used in historical records reflect the attitudes and language of the time and may now be considered inappropriate, derogatory or offensive.

    A page from the Inspection Rolls documenting Harry Washington (see attached), former slave of George Washington, who escaped to British lines in 1776 and rose to the rank of corporal in Lord Dunmore's regiment of "Black Pioneers".

    The records in the Inspection Roll are highly detailed. The exact content varies according to the status of the individual evacuee (for instance, whether free, or former slave, or slave of a Loyalist), but most will include a combination of their name, age, status, physical description and the vessel they were evacuated on.

    Newspapers

    Explore11 new titles covering diverse locations from India, China, Dominica and Antigua to Beverley, Birkenhead and Blandford. Brand new to the collection this week are:

    Findmypast have also added additional pages to 19 existing titles as follows;

  • 19 Feb 2021 5:23 PM | Anonymous

    In partnership with the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU (Brigham Young University), and the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU, a research effort is underway with one major goal: to prevent hereditary cancer.

    Leaders behind the project say Utah is the best place to start because people in the state know their family history really well.

    Brian Shirts, an M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Washington is spearheading a research effort to prevent hereditary cancer. In partnership with Brigham Young University (BYU), Shirts joined Jill Crandall, the director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU, and an associate professor in the history department, and professor of family history, along with Julie Stoddard, the center coordinator at the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU, to conduct such research.

    Dr. Shirts had a thought: what if people knew about their cancer risks based on their family history? And he started to dive in to the question.

    “We’re working in conjunction with the University of Washington to identify individuals who may have cancer-causing genetic variants,” Stoddard said. “These individuals are identified through genealogical research on the different lines of these participants who have the same variants.

    “What Dr. Shirts does is he finds these participants who have the variant and then he sends them to our BYU team. We do the research on their pedigrees to help them identify which ancestor may have had the variant. And then look for those descendants of those ancestors so they can be identified, and the participants can reach out and tell them of their increased chance of cancer.”

    “Hereditary-cancer risk is something that affects about 1 percent of the population. But this is inherited in families, so it’s not just a random 1 percent of the population,” Shirts said.

    These inherited genes — such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that cause breast cancer or one of four genes that causes Lynch Syndrome, which creates a higher risk for developing certain types of cancer, particularly of the colon — cause more than a 50 percent lifetime risk of cancer for the people who inherit them, Shirts observed.

    You can read a lot more in an article by Curt Gresseth publish in the KSL News web site at: https://kslnewsradio.com/1943437/genealogy-cancer-research-beginning-in-utah/.

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