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  • 6 Aug 2021 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    The U.S. Census agency has released information about how to retrieve redistricting files. This is not names and addresses of residents. Instead, it contains population counts to use in their redrawing of congressional and state legislative district boundaries—a process known as “redistricting.” Population counts are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    Instructions provided include:

    The U.S. Census Bureau provides the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with population counts to use in their redrawing of congressional and state legisla­tive district boundaries—a process known as “redistricting.”

    The Census Bureau will release these data on its public FTP site on August 12, 2021. The Census Bureau will release the same data in easier-to-use formats by September 30, 2021.

    While the states are responsible for legislative redistricting, the Census Bureau provides the most accurate population counts possible for the geographic areas the states need.

    Webinar in Advance of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Release

    You can learn more by starting at:

  • 6 Aug 2021 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FindMyPast:

    Search new school and parish records

    Where will your past take you this Findmypast Friday? Find out with Findmypast’s latest new additions.

    National School Admission Registers

    Findmypast have added over 9,000 new records from Halifax, Yorkshire to their collection of National School Admission registers. This vast collection spans the years 1870 to 1914 and contains over 9.3 million transcripts and images from 41 counties across England and Wales

    Search these records to discover where your ancestor went to school, their birth date, admission year and the name of the school they attended. You may also be able to discover their parents’ names, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school.

    Staffordshire Parish Registers

    Explore thousands of new baptismmarriagebanns and burial registers from four parishes in Staffordshire, including;

      • Caverswall, St Peter
      • Chebsey, All Saints
      • Checkley, St Mary & All Saints
      • Tipton, St Mary

    Revealing essential names, dates, locations and family details, these new Staffordshire resources form part of the largest collection of UK parish records available anywhere online.


    15 new papers have just joined the site along with updates to seven existing titles. Brand new to the Findmypast archives are:

    While year coverage has been expanded in:

  • 5 Aug 2021 9:18 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

    "We’re pleased to announce that the most popular view for family trees on MyHeritage has been improved with a new design — making it easier than ever to navigate your family tree and make new discoveries. 

    "It’s easy to get absorbed in family history research, and spend hours on the family tree. The new tree design, which is cleaner and more modern, helps improve the overall user experience and make discovering your family history easier and more enjoyable. We have added useful new features, and some nice touches.

    "The improvements also include a new Relationship diagram that enables you to visualize your relationship to other people in the family tree to easily understand how you are related."

    The full description is much longer and has numerous images of the improvements. You can learn the full story at:

  • 4 Aug 2021 2:51 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from an article written  by MyHeritage:

  • 4 Aug 2021 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    "A cemetery with some 45 gravestones lost to time in dense woods off Riverside Drive was recently rediscovered, and contains the graves of both Civil War and Revolutionary War soldiers.

    "Gravestones there date back to at least 1801 and the last interment took place there, city officials believe, in 1910. But until recent deeds and other historical research, the city had no record it even existed.

    "Among the graves are one of Robert Deniston, a Revolutionary War veteran, whose slate stone remains upright and in remarkably intact and legible condition. Another is the marker of Henry Lyon, a Union soldier who fought in five Civil War battles with the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment before he was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. His granite headstone has toppled over and broken into pieces.

    "The overgrown and long-neglected cemetery — with no paths or roads leading to it — was rediscovered by Augusta resident Justin Vogel. Vogel and his wife, Amanda, were considering buying a historic Riverside Drive house once owned by the Lawson family, which has multiple gravestones in the old cemetery.

    You can read more in an article by Keith Edwards published in the Kennebec Journal at:

    My thanks to the several newsletter readers who wrote to me to tell me about this article.

  • 3 Aug 2021 9:14 PM | Anonymous

    Many genealogists scan old photographs, touch them up in a photo editing program, and then print the photos on high quality ink-jet printers. Many of us also take new photographs with our digital cameras and often print some of them on paper. There is but one problem: those printed pictures may disappear within a few years.

    To be sure, this isn't a problem just with digital photographs. If your family used Polaroid cameras or the Anscochrome or early versions of Kodak’s Ektachrome slide films for their photographs in the 1960s, you probably already know that conventional color photography has not always been a model of image longevity. Anscochrome and early Ektachrome color pictures have already faded significantly. Polaroid color photos are even worse. The reds probably are already gone, and the other colors have also faded significantly. Later color photos were better, however. Color photos and slides taken in the 1980s and 1990s probably will last longer. Of course, conventional black-and-white prints, which are made up of tiny grains of silver, remain the undisputed longevity champions. They probably will last for 100 years or more. 

    The question arises: how to preserve the photographs of your family so they will be available to family members 100 years from now?

    Many people print pictures on ink-jet printers. Sometimes they use "generic" printers deigned for office use. Others will use ink-jet printers that are designed to print on photo paper. Photo inkjet paper is generally coated to prevent the printer ink from soaking into its base, which would create a blurry and discolored photo; but, that coating usually leaves the ink sprayed by the printer directly on top of the print, where it is vulnerable to light, humidity, pollution, and scratches. The images on photo paper will look great when printed and probably will last longer than those printed on typical printer paper but still will not last for many years before they fade.

    For several years dye-based printing was believed to be the best method of high-speed printing of color photographs with the expectation the printed photos would last for decades. After all, dye-based inks are generally much stronger than pigment-based inks and can produce much more color of a given density per unit of mass. Such inks are not affected by water, alcohol, and other solvents. However, they still fade, especially if exposed to light for a long period of time.

    In testing, pictures printed on Epson's Stylus Photo 870 and 1270 dye-based printers were expected to last ten years. When these products went to market, users found that the colors in prints were changing drastically in as little as two months. The Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 475, a dye printer that produces snapshot-size photos, will produce photographs that last longer. Hewlett-Packard estimates the printed photos will last up to 82 years.  However, if unframed and exposed to fluorescent light, that estimate drops to 42 years. 

    Of course, we may have to wait 82 years to see if the Hewlett-Packard claim is true. Keep in mind the estimate is only true if the picture is kept inside a dark box, stored under ideal temperature and humidity controls, where no one can see it. If you prefer to display the picture in frame and hang it on the wall in your home, the expected lifetime drops quickly. 

    The predictions are based upon torture tests using bright light, high heat, and varying humidity to estimate how the prints will fare over time. These tests do not produce precise results but do give an idea of what will happen eventually. All of the predictions are also based on the use of ideal photo-quality paper. However, the higher quality paper is usually the type that requires a longer time for the inks or dyes to dry on the surface. Shuffling the paper before the ink is dry creates smudges. 

    Due to customer demand, most paper manufacturers have switched to quick-drying photo paper. The result is pictures that don't smudge when first created but also don't last as many years. If framed and placed on the wall (exposed to normal in-home lighting), photos printed on quick-drying paper will start to fade within a few years.

    Regardless of the predictions, all engineers and scientists involved in color printing will tell you that no ink-jet printer will ever create "permanent" pictures.

    A newer technology involves color laser printing. While there is hope that these printers may someday produce output that lasts for centuries, that hope has not yet been realized. Color laser printing is still in its infancy, and early tests have shown the output from today's color laser printers don't last as long as dye-based ink-jet printers. Today's color laser printers also are not very good at producing photographic-quality images.

    Henry Wilhelm, an American researcher on photographic preservation with offices in Grinnell, Iowa, is an expert on the preservation of printed images. His web site at contains a wealth of information on the subject. In fact, I'd describe the amount of information available there as "overwhelming." Take a look at to see what I mean. Henry Wilhelm has written numerous reports and white papers about many topics that discuss the longevity of printed images. Most of those reports may be downloaded from his web site free of charge as PDF files.

    One report that I downloaded is "Long-Term Preservation of Photographic Originals and Digital Image Files in the Corbis/Sygma Collection in France." It is available at along with many other reports.

    So how is the private individual supposed to make sure his or her photographs are available to future generations of the family? I have a suggestion: don't worry about it! 

    Instead, make sure you preserve the digital files of those pictures, and then create new printed pictures whenever you wish. Print on any printer that is available at the time, and don't worry about preservation. When the picture you print starts to fade, throw it away, retrieve the file and print a new picture. In other words, all photographs should be considered to be disposable and also easy to re-print at any future date. 

    Of course, this brings up a second issue: preservation of digital files. Luckily, that is an easier problem to solve.

    The one thing about preserving digital files is that you cannot create them one time and then put them away someplace for long-term storage, expecting them to be readable 25 or 50 or 100 years from now. You will encounter all sorts of issues with the selection of file format (will anyone be using .JPG files 100 years from now?) and with the media of choice. We can expect that today's hard drives, flash drives, and CD-ROM disks will all be obsolete within a decade or so.

    Data processing professionals will tell you that they still maintain data entered 40 or even 50 years ago by simply making multiple copies, storing them on different media, and then (most important of all) "refreshing" that information every few years by copying it to modern file formats on modern media available at that time. You can do the same.

    Whenever a new file format becomes popular or a new storage media (disks, floppies, CDs, flash drives, or future media) replaces older media, those forms of media tend to be available simultaneously for five or ten years. During that "window," copying from old media and formats to modern media is easy. Problems arise only when the owners (caretakers) of those files ignore the technology changes and let ten or more years pass without making copies to updated media and formats.

    Yes, if the entire world stops using .JPG files tomorrow and replaces them with something new (I'll call the new format ".XYZ files"), you will have about a ten-year window in which you can use a conversion program to copy your digital images from .JPG files on old media to .XYZ files on whatever new media is popular at that time. Roughly ten years later, you or someone else will have to do the same thing again: copy the .XYZ files to the newest technology available at that time.

    In addition, you should never save a single copy of anything that is valuable. Instead, save multiple copies in multiple formats, and place them in different locations. Just for insurance, I would suggest saving files in .JPG, .TIFF, .PNG, and other formats. Place copies on your computer's hard drive as well as on an external hard drive, on your cousins' computers, in the cloud, on flash drives, and on any other storage media available. If you make enough copies and store them in enough places, at least one of those copies should survive for a decade or more.

    Perhaps the biggest problem of all is the same as it always has been: people. Sure, you will make copies every decade or so for as long as you are around and are able to do so. However, what happens after you are gone? This may be the most difficult issue of all: finding caretakers for your files and images. 

    Ideally, you should find more than one or two caretakers. They will be the ones to keep your work "alive." Perhaps the simplest plan is to saturate your family with copies. Give copies to every cousin, niece, nephew, or descendant who owns a computer. To be sure, some of these people won't care and will eventually throw their copies away. However, if you have entrusted enough people with copies, SOME of the recipients will care and will keep them and preserve them. If instructed in advance, they will even periodically copy your files to new file formats and save them on new media that is popular at that time.

    Twenty or thirty years ago, you would have to find computer experts to perform this preservation since the computers of those times required expertise. Today, this isn't much of a problem as computers are becoming easier and easier to use. In the not-too-distant future, expertise will be even less of an issue as everyone will use the super simple computers of that time. Most futurists will tell you that families will not own a single computer ten years from now. Instead, they will have multiple computers, each tasked with a single function. Amazon’s Echo (also known as “Alexa”) and Google Home are two excellent examples of a family having multiple special-purpose computers. 

    Storing of old family photographs, home movies and videos, or audio recordings of all sorts will be trivial in the future, even for non-technical family members. 

    These future family members also will be able to make printouts of family photographs and place them on the wall at any time although I suspect the "printouts" won't be printed on paper. Have you seen the digital photo frames we already have available today? That technology undoubtedly will expand.

    The time to preserve your family photographs is now! Yes, print them on paper–all sorts of paper–and store them in all sorts of places. Also keep the digital files containing those images, and make lots of copies of those files. Give those files to anyone who cares, and make sure additional copies are stored in every place you can think of. 

    If you take steps today, you can make sure that family information of past generations is still available to future generations for many more years.

  • 3 Aug 2021 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    In the 28 May 2021 newsletter, I wrote an article describing the newly-announced but-not-yet-shipping Windows 365 Cloud PC. The article is still available at:

    In that article, I wrote:

    "The Windows 365 Cloud PC is intended to be used as your only computer but available at multiple locations. This piece of magic is accomplished by having the customer rent a new, high-powered Windows system that is installed "in the cloud." That is, the new Windows system will be installed in (possibly multiple) data centers, possibly in different locations around the world, and being accessed via low-powered computers remotely through the Internet. This "remote computer" could be an older, lower-powered Windows computer or even a Macintosh, a Linux system, a laptop, an iPad, or even a (less than $100) Raspberry Pi. It also could be easily portable so that the user may access the Windows 365 Cloud PC from any location: from home, from the office, from on-board an airliner, or perhaps from a hotel room in a foreign county."

    I also wrote:

    "I expect to write about my own "hands on" experience from a genealogist's viewpoint as soon as these things become available and I can get my hands on one (remotely, of course)."

    Well the Windows 365 Cloud PC is now being released. It isn't hardware as much as it is new software. It runs much like other cloud-based computing services, such as GMail, Amazon Web Services, DropBox, Google Drive, and dozens of other web-based services. The one item that is the same in all web-based services is that the computing is performed by a high-powered server installed in distant data centers while the user accesses the server via a (usually) lower-powered keyboard, mouse, and video screen.

    The Windows 365 Cloud PC is the same: it functions as a high-powered Windows server that the end user accesses via a remote computer of almost any sort, including Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, iPad, and even very-low-cost Raspberry Pi computers.

    The concept is wonderful: use a low-cost (and possibly aging) computing device to access a high-powered, modern, state-of-the-art Windows system.It sounds great when described by Microsoft's PR department.

    The Windows 365 Cloud PC is now available and I have read several reviews of the new device. After reading a number of reviews, I have changed my mind. I no longer plan to "can get my hands on one (remotely, of course)."

    According the the many reviews I have read, the Windows 365 Cloud PC is available for rent for $20 a month for a stripped-down (low-powered) model and the price goes up quickly. For that price, you can get 1vCPU, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and 12GB of outbound data, a very modest-performance device. However, that requires you to have the Windows Hybrid Benefit. Without it, the minimum monthly buy-in is $24 (and a fully-decked out system will cost $158 a month).

    See for more information about the limitations of the Windows 365 Cloud PC.

    Most of the reviewers mentioned the slow performance of the base-model "Cloud PC" and then went on to describe other major limitations. In fact, a high-powered Windows 365 Cloud PC will cost close to $100 per month and then will still suffer from delays of accessing a computer across the internet, the fact that not all Windows programs will yet run on it (that is promised to be fixed in the future), difficulties with remote printing, and more.

    In short, I have decided to stay with my medium-powered Macintosh systems.

    If you are interested in the Windows 365 Cloud PC, I will suggest your search your favorite search engine to find 'Hands on" reviews. Search for "review Windows 365 Cloud PC."

    Don't wait for my review as you will be waiting a long time.

  • 2 Aug 2021 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

    PARIS & TEL AVIV, Israel--MyHeritage, the leading global service for discovering your past and empowering your future, announced today that it has signed agreements to acquire 90.91% of the share capital and 89.11% of the voting rights of Filae, a leading family history service in France, through TreeHouse Junior Limited, a parent company in the MyHeritage group.

    Under the terms of these agreements, MyHeritage acquires all shares of Filae held by Geneanet and Trudaine Participations, i.e., a total of 710,782 Filae shares representing 43.08% of the share capital and 42.23% of the voting rights of Filae, at a price of 20.75 € per share, and shares of the founders and historical shareholders of Filae, including its founder and CEO Toussaint Roze, i.e., a total of 789,161 Filae shares, representing 47.83% of the share capital and 46.88% of the voting rights of Filae, at a price of 20 € per share.

    Following these two operations, MyHeritage will hold 90.91% of the share capital and 89.11% of the voting rights of Filae. With the contemplated cancellation by Filae of its 55,321 treasury shares, these percentages will increase to 94.06% in share capital and to 92.13% in voting rights.

    The announcement marks the dawn of a new era for French genealogy that will leverage Filae’s expertise in French historical records and MyHeritage’s cutting-edge technologies and global reach. This marks the 12th acquisition by MyHeritage and reinforces the company’s position as the leading family history service in Europe.

    Founded in 1994, formerly known as and and renamed in 2016, the company is dedicated to making genealogical research easier and more accessible through innovative technologies and exclusive collections of digitized and transcribed historical records from France. The underlying values of ease of use, accessibility, and innovation, coupled with a deep passion for genealogical content, have served as the foundation for the ongoing relationship between MyHeritage and Filae. Both companies’ founders saw a combination as the natural next step in this relationship.

    Founded in 2003, MyHeritage has developed one of the world’s leading family history platforms. Powered by unique and proprietary technologies, MyHeritage is currently used by 90 million registered users worldwide and is available in 42 languages, which is a testament to the company’s international reach and diverse user base. MyHeritage users have collectively created tens of millions of family trees, and the platform is home to a vast collection of nearly 14 billion historical records. The platform’s many features include world-class tools that are based on artificial intelligence.

    Following the acquisition, the exclusive historical record collections housed on Filae will be made accessible to MyHeritage users, creating new opportunities for genealogical discoveries for individuals around the world with French roots. MyHeritage’s resources and technologies will enable Filae to accelerate the digitization and indexing of additional historical record collections, which will be made accessible to users of both platforms. Filae will remain a French company based in Paris and will continue to operate autonomously. Filae’s founder, Toussaint Roze, will continue to manage the company and its operations will continue uninterrupted. The scope of services available to current subscribers on Filae will remain unchanged and special benefits will soon be introduced to its members.

    “As we did when we acquired eight years ago, our plan is to maintain Filae’s independence and existing team, and strengthen it,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “French genealogists have much to gain from this combination, which brings together MyHeritage’s resources, its powerful matching technologies, and Filae’s extensive historical archives and its expertise in French genealogy. The acquisition of Filae is a significant step for MyHeritage that builds on a longstanding relationship of trust and mutual respect.”

    “We sought to accelerate our growth and recognized the incredible opportunity before us,” said Toussaint Roze, Founder and CEO of Filae. “MyHeritage has unparalleled experience, technological expertise, and an excellent reputation, and we are confident that by combining our respective strengths, Filae will experience strong growth that will enrich the family history resources for anyone of French descent.”

    Privacy Guarantee

    MyHeritage has a strong privacy framework that includes a strict commitment regarding the privacy of users' data, making it unique among the major genealogy companies. Its privacy policy states unequivocally that MyHeritage has never sold or licensed personal data or genetic data and will never do so in the future.

    Next Steps

    MyHeritage, through parent company TreeHouse Junior Limited, will file a simplified mandatory takeover bid on the remaining Filae shares not acquired by MyHeritage, at a price per share of €20.75, followed by a squeeze-out. Subsequently, Filae will be delisted from the French stock exchange.

    Concurrently, Trudaine Participations will file an application to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF – French stock market authority) to note that its takeover bid filed on February 9, 2021 (AMF Deposit No. 221C0318) has become purposeless within the meaning of Article 232-11 of the AMF's general regulations.

    Filae will have to file its draft response note to the draft simplified tender offer initiated by MyHeritage, which will notably include the reasoned opinion of the board of directors of Filae and the supplementary report of the independent expert on the draft simplified tender offer initiated by MyHeritage.

    In the coming days, Filae will redeem its two categories of convertible bonds for a total amount of €2.3 million to be drawn from its available cash.

    In the context of this transaction, Filae, Geneanet, Trudaine Participations and MyHeritage have signed a settlement agreement putting an end to the disputes between them.

    About Filae (ISIN code: FR0010221069, Ticker code: ALFIL) is published by the company Filae SA. Created by Toussaint Roze, this French company has for years been developing unique expertise in the research and development of innovative technologies to facilitate the general public's access to its roots.

    The company is based in Paris and has more than 15 employees.

    Thanks to legislative advances in terms of Open Data and the reuse of public archives, the company has been providing since December 2016 an exclusive offering of digitized, transcribed and indexed genealogical content and is developing algorithms to facilitate public access to historical records.

    About MyHeritage

    MyHeritage is the leading global discovery platform for exploring family history. With billions of historical records and family tree profiles, and with sophisticated matching technologies that work across all its assets, MyHeritage allows users to discover their past and empower their future. MyHeritage DNA is one of the world’s largest consumer DNA databases, with more than 5 million customers. MyHeritage is the most popular DNA test and family history service in Europe. Since 2020, MyHeritage is home to the world’s best AI technologies for enhancing and colorizing historical photos.

  • 2 Aug 2021 7:51 AM | Anonymous

    A quick note from FamilySearch: At RootsTech 2020, FamilySearch launched an effort to create a new version of GEDCOM based on the 5.5.1 version that would include: 1) new expressivity, flexibility, and compatibility; 2) Zip packaging of associated images and other files with the related GEDCOM file; and 3) public access via a GitHub Repository. Many industry software providers and key influencers participated, and the initiative concluded May 15, 2021.

    The newest version is called FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0. General information can be found at Technical information, specifications, tools, and guides can be found at

    The public GitHub repository is the forum for on-going discussions leading to future versions of FamilySearch GEDCOM.

  • 2 Aug 2021 7:49 AM | Anonymous

    Today is the second day of the month. That is still a good time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

    (I normally post a similar message on the first day of each month except that yesterday was a Sunday and I normally do not post new articles on weekends. So today's article is posted on the second.)]

    Your backups aren't worth much unless you make a quick test by restoring a small file or two after the backup is completed.

    Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day (or second day) of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first or second day of every month, if not more often. (My computers automatically make off-site backups of all new files every few minutes.)

    Given the events of the past few months with genealogy websites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer, what happens if you have a hard drive crash or other disaster? If you have one or more recent backup copies, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

    Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month? or even more often?

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