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  • 11 Jan 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    For Steve Skafte, the quest to find Nova Scotia's abandoned cemeteries feels a bit like bringing the dead back to life. The photographer from Bridgetown, N.S., has always been drawn to the places others may have forgotten or overlooked.

    His latest project is to create a record of all the abandoned cemeteries in the province, and he's starting close to home. So far, he's plotted about 40 old cemeteries in Annapolis County alone. He drove by some of them hundreds of times without ever noticing they were there.

    You can read the full story and view several pictures and a map of known abandoned cemeteries in an article by Emma Smith in the CBC News website at:

  • 11 Jan 2021 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilyTree DNA:

    MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 7, 2021 -- Dr. Lior Rauchberger, CEO of leading Australian genomics company, myDNA, announced a merger with the U.S., Houston-based consumer DNA test company, FamilyTreeDNA, and its parent company, Gene by Gene. Dr. Rauchberger will step into the role of CEO of the merged companies, effective immediately. Gene by Gene co-founders Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld will join the Board of Directors.

    FamilyTreeDNA, launched in 2000, has the distinction of being the first company in the U.S to offer direct-to-consumer DNA testing for genealogical research. myDNA, founded in 2007 by Associate Professor, Les Sheffield, started with a mission to improve countless lives by revolutionizing the field of pharmacogenomics, making truly personalized medicine a reality, before expanding into nutrigenomics to deliver actionable, personalized nutrition, fitness and skincare recommendations.

    The innovative merger of myDNA and Gene by Gene is built on several shared beliefs about the tremendous potential of genetic information to dramatically improve our understanding, not only of who we are and where we come from, but by providing a scientific foundation for actionable, personalized insights, and how they can guide us in how best to care for ourselves and maintain optimal health and wellness both physically and mentally. The two businesses come together as one of the leading global experts of genealogy, pharmacogenomic and nutrigenomic services.

    At myDNA, consumer privacy is paramount. myDNA believes the importance of the consumer's ability to trust in the privacy of their genetic information, and retain control over it, cannot be overstated. Along the same line, Gene by Gene and FamilyTreeDNA will continue acting in the field of Genetic Genealogy, their original business, keeping intact their privacy rules and all terms of service.

    According to myDNA CEO, Dr. Lior Rauchberger, an M.D. who practiced medicine for nine years before becoming a leading expert in personalized medicine and the intersection of medicine and technology. "It's thanks to pioneering brands like Gene by Gene and FamilyTreeDNA that consumers see the value in safely and securely exchanging genetic information for personalized services. The Personalized Wellness revolution is only just beginning and we're eager to be able to offer FamilyTreeDNA and myDNA members a box seat to a wider range of services thanks to the merging of these fantastic businesses."

    About myDNA -

    myDNA is an Australian personalized genomics company that decodes the information in our genes to help us understand the power of our DNA and what to do with that knowledge. myDNA's tests are simple cheek-swabs that can be ordered online and carried out in the safety of your own home. Their vision is to be the world's most trusted provider of personalized, actionable, genetic information.

    About Gene by Gene - |

    Founded in 2000, Gene by Gene, Ltd. provides reliable genetic testing services to a wide range of consumers and institutional customers through its four divisions focusing on ancestry, health, research, and paternity. Genetic genealogy testing services are provided by FamilyTreeDNA - a division of Gene by Gene and the pioneers of the direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy industry. Gene by Gene is CAP/CLIA registered and, through its clinical health division, offers health, wellness, and regulated diagnostic testing services. The privately held company, along with its state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center, is headquartered in Houston, TX.

    To read more see:

  • 8 Jan 2021 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    I have often written about genealogist's using digital scanners and scanner substitutes. (Use the "Search entire web site" box at to find my recent scanner-related articles.) for a list of some of the more recent scanner-related articles.) However, an article in Macworld by Glenn Fleishman surprised me.

    Fleishman states, "Relatively few people buy stand-alone scanners these days unless they work with printed documents, photos, or photographic negatives, and most financial, medical, and legal documents show up in digital form—but not all."

    I don't know where Fleishman got the information that scanner sales are declining. However, after thinking it over for a bit, I suspect he is correct. In fact, millions of people are now using their smartphones (and possibly tablet computers) as competent replacements for flatbed scanner hardware. In fact, I wrote about that in recent Plus Edition article at*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/9542976 and in a Standard Edition article at

    I agree that dedicated hardware scanners are no longer required unless you "work with printed documents, photos, or photographic negatives." If you have one of the more recent "smartphones," you probably have a scanner substitute with you most all the time. That can be a lot more convenient than carrying a flatbed scanner with you on various trips!

    Glenn Fleishman's article describes available software for use with Apple's iPhone and iPad devices. However, similar products are also available for Android devices. (I use my Android phone's scanner more often than I do the 2 scanners I own but that I always leave at home.) You might want to read Fleishman's article at

    Of course, I will also recommend reading my own articles at and my Plus Edition article at*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/9542976.

  • 8 Jan 2021 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

    BCG today released a 2021 edition of the BCG Application Guide. The new guide reduces BCG’s renewal requirements and clarifies several issues for new applicants. It also incorporates changes involving the ethical use of DNA that were implemented in October.

    BCG today also released a revised set of new-application rubrics. The respect for privacy rubrics RR12, CS8, and KD10 have been reworked to reflect the recent revision of Standard 57 and the code of ethics.

    Individuals who have already submitted a preliminary application or whose renewal applications are due before 1 January 2022 are not subject to the new 2021 guide. They are subject to the 2019 guide unless they elect otherwise or apply for an extension.

    The new guide and rubrics can be downloaded from BCG’s website. The guide is available at The rubrics are available at

    Changes to Renewal Requirements

    The change to renewal requirements reduces the number of allowable work samples from three to two and the page allowance from 150 to 100. Additional guidance is provided to help certificants select at least one renewal work sample that meets the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). To address a common misunderstanding, the guide also notes that GPS work samples need not be complex.

    Changes to New Applications

    One of several clarifications for new applicants addresses the scope of analysis needed for Requirement 3-D in the BCG-supplied document work. Applicants often overlook important aspects of the document they are given. The guide provides more details about the type of discussion needed to meet the standards associated with rubrics DW6‒DW9.

    The new guide also addresses a problem commonly seen in case studies. Many applicants submit the wrong kind of study because they misunderstand what is meant by an identity problem. The guide now specifies that “a study about a single identifying characteristic of a person such as their date or place of birth” does not meet the requirement.

    Changes to DNA Standards and Code of Ethics

    The DNA-related changes, announced in October and applied retroactively to applicants subject to the 2019 guide, are also included. The changes, involving Standard 57 (respect for privacy) and related parts of the Genealogist’s Code of Ethics, make it easier to share DNA match details in a private setting such as BCG’s certification process. The new guide refers applicants to “DNA Resources” on BCG’s website for more guidance on meeting Standards 51–56.

    To conform with the October changes, the new guide also eliminates the requirement to include permission from any living individuals mentioned in the kinship-determination project. This change should not be taken as encouragement to submit a KDP that includes multiple living individuals. Strong KDPs rarely include living individuals due to limited record availability and privacy restrictions.

    BCG’s newly revised Genealogist’s Code of Ethics can be viewed here:

    BCG’s newly provided guidance on DNA can be found here:

  • 8 Jan 2021 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast

    Go back to school on the first Findmypast Friday of the New Year. Here's a rundown of what's new this week.

    National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

    Over 13,000 new additions from Yorkshire schools have been added to this exclusive collection. Explore these records to discover your ancestor’s birth dates, admission years and the school they attended. Some records may also reveal their parents’ names, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school.

    The National School Admission Registers & Log-books records are the result of a landmark project between schools, record offices and archives in England and Wales. Never before have so many organisations come together to create a digital version of their records. This is an ongoing project to scan and transcribe school admission registers and log-books from around the country.

    Check under Yorkshire on Findmypast’s list of schools to see full details on the school records that have been added and the timeframes covered.

    These latest additions bring the entire collection to over 9.2 million records. It's a must-search for anyone interested in their ancestor's school days in England and Wales.

    Montgomeryshire Monumental Inscriptions

    Over 40,000 new records spanning 600 years have been added to Findmypast’s collection of Montgomeryshire Monumental Inscriptions. Some entries include multiple names, ideal for the Welsh branches of your family tree.

    An example of the detail that can be found in these records. This entry includes seven names and other vital details. View the full record.

    This latest update covers 19 Montgomeryshire parishes. Check the location list to see exactly which churches and years are included.

    Devon Marriages

    Did your Methodist ancestors exchange vows in Devon? Search for answers in thousands of new additions from 44 parishes spanning from 1845 to 2001. Each record contains an image or a transcript of the original record (or both) that will reveal the couple’s marriage date, marriage location, residences, occupations and witnesses. 

    The parish list highlights which chapels are new or updated, the years they cover and the number of records we've released from each one. With millions of exclusive parish records and other unique resources, Findmypast is the best place for tracing Devon family history online. 


    With papers from India to Irvine, Wales to Worcestershire, we’ve added eight brand new additions and updated 12 others. Brand new to our newspaper archives this week are:

    While we've supplemented the following papers with extra pages:

      • Nairnshire Telegraph and General Advertiser for the Northern Counties from 1874-1901, 1903-1916, 1918-1927, 1929, 1931-1934 and 1936-1939
      • South London Press from 1870, 1872-1877 and 1910-1913
      • Chelsea News and General Advertiser from 1871, 1876-1913, 1919-1938, 1948-1962, 1964-1972 and 1975
      • Newry Telegraph from 1877, 1882-1900 and 1902
      • Indian Statesman from 1874 and 1884-1885
      • Bangalore Spectator from 1884-1885, 1887, 1893 and 1895
      • Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette from 1898-1899
      • Kenilworth Advertiser from 1881-1885, 1890-1895 and 1897-1899
      • Northern Weekly Gazette from 1881-1882
      • Indian Daily News from 1881-1885, 1894-1897 and 1899
      • St. Helens Examiner from 1888, 1896, 1899, 1901-1908, 1910 and 1912-1920
      • North Wales Weekly News from 1896-1898, 1902, 1911, 1923, 1940, 1943-1952 and 1954


  • 8 Jan 2021 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

    TheGenealogist has added to its expanding International Headstone Collection with some interesting and useful new searchable images of gravestones.

    These enable family historians to see details that have been recorded about their ancestors by the monumental masons in various churches and cemeteries. All the records are fully searchable with transcripts of the inscriptions that help to decipher some of the more weathered memorials.

    The headstone records released cover 174 new churchyards or cemeteries and include submissions from our many prolific volunteers. The International Headstone Collection is an ongoing project where every headstone photographed or transcribed earns credits for volunteers.

    The credits are used by volunteers to help support their hobby spending them on subscriptions at or products from If you would like to join them, you can find out more about the scheme at:

    The unusual, but informative, plaque on the Penruddocke family tomb at St Michael’s, Compton Chamberlayne

    These new records are all available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.

    You can read TheGenealogist’s article: Headstones and Church Memorial plaques a fantastic resource for family historians

  • 7 Jan 2021 12:15 PM | Anonymous

    Bryan Clifford Sykes, a British geneticist, and an Emeritus Professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, passed away last month. He was one of the first scientists to describe the process of using DNA to research one's ethnic ancestry.

    In 2001, Sykes published a book for the popular audience, The Seven Daughters of Eve, in which he explained how the dynamics of maternal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) inheritance leave their mark on the human population in the form of genetic clans sharing common maternal descent. He notes that the majority of Europeans can be classified in seven such clans, known scientifically as haplogroups, distinguishable by differences in their mtDNA that are unique to each group, with each clan descending from a separate prehistoric female-line ancestor. He referred to these seven 'clan mothers' as 'daughters of Eve', a reference to the mitochondrial Eve to whom the mtDNA of all modern humans traces.

    Due to his book and his public speaking, a dozen or more "genealogy DNA companies" were formed and soon after that thousands of genealogists took DNA tests. Even this newsletter soon started writing about genealogy DNA research soon after his first book was published.

    In his 2006 book, Blood of the Isles (published in the United States and Canada as Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland), Sykes examined British genetic "clans". He presented evidence from mitochondrial DNA, inherited by both sexes from their mothers, and the Y chromosome, inherited by men from their fathers.

    Sykes died on 10 December 2020. His obituary may be found in The Guardian at

  • 7 Jan 2021 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    German Immigrants in American Church Records
    Volume 19: Missouri (excluding St. Louis County)
    By Roger P. Minert. (Orting, WA: Family Roots Publishing Co.). 2016. 761 pages.

    Roger Minert is a masterful and prolific author, organizer, compiler, and teacher of German genealogy. This prodigious series of volumes alone would earn him a magnificent gold star on the Genealogy Walk of Fame—if there was one. (I nominate the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Family History Library.)

    Eighteen years ago, at Brigham Young University, Mr. Minert assumed professorship for the department of Germanic family history. For his students enrolled in the course on German paleography (the study of ancient writings and inscriptions), Mr. Minert required that they study and extract data from German-language documents of certain American churches.

    Their first practicals examined the American Protestant—principally Lutheran—church records of Indiana congregations populated by predominantly
    German immigrants. The church pastors, commonly themselves of German background, were already familiar with church ledgers and forms pre-printed in the German (Gothic) typefaces, into which they hand-wrote the names of parishioners and the dates of the church events using the native German script notation they had learned and used in Germany.

    These particular records are difficult to read and decipher for the novice researcher who has no background nor study in the German and Latin old-style texts and scripts. The BYU students interpreted and extracted the data of all persons possibly born in the Germanic areas of Central Europe, especially those church record entries that indicated the names of ancestral towns of origin, a potentially sole and very important resource for a family researcher.

    The church records project expanded to include the states of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Missouri. These many volumes can be found on the Family Roots Publishing website where they are described in detail.

    I looked at Volume 19: Missouri (excluding St. Louis County) where I found no Catholic church records; listed are predominantly Evangelical Church, Lutheran Church, and Reformed Church congregations. There is a huge every-name index including 5879 surnames. There are 18,563 entries from 68 churches and 25 counties. This volume is the first of seven volumes for records in the state of Missouri.

    Some examples from the Appleton City Trinity Church, Appleton City, St. Clair Co., Missouri:

    Albert Finke b. Lichtenstein, Sachsen (kingdom) 13 June 1877; son of Ernestine Finke. Ref: pp. 74-75.
    Johanna Steffens b. Bremervörde, Hannover 31 March 1877; dau of Henrich Steffens and Elisabeth Wieselhahn. Ref: pp. 74-75.
    Adelheid Steffens b. Barchel, Bremervörde, Hannover; dau of Hinrich Steffens and Elisabeth Wiesehan. Ref: pp. 76-77.
    Dorothea Schumacher b. Germany 29 July 1891. Ref: pp. 82-83.
    Anna Maria Radell b. Baden (grand duchy); dau of Johannes Radell and Friederike - -; m. Appleton City, MO 14 November 1869, Johann Friedrich Breitwieser. Ref: pp. 130-131.
    Jacob Koenig b. Unterniebelsbach, Württemberg; son of J. Koenig and Regine Bodemann; m. Appleton City, MO 15 July

    Mr. Minert informs me that when the project began, he excluded the Catholic church records as they rarely mentioned German home towns. Now, with their current project in Kentucky, Catholic church records are being included in the search. But by far the greatest number of Catholic entries have only “Germany” as an immigrant’s place of origin. Nevertheless, Catholic records will be included from now on as their project continues.

    Such an epic work!
    The editor, compilers, students, and publishers have shaped a remarkable legacy.

    German Immigrants in American Church Records Volume 19: Missouri (excluding St. Louis County) by Roger P. Minert is available from the publisher, Family Roots Publishing Co., at The ISBN number is 978-1-62859-093-7.

  • 6 Jan 2021 12:04 PM | Anonymous

    I don't read articles like this often. In fact, this probably will be the last one mentioning the death of a widow of a U.S. Civil War veteran:

    Helen Viola Jackson, the last known widow of a Civil War soldier, has died. She was 101.

    Helen Viola Jackson in an undated photo although obviously taken many years ago.

    Jackson's death was confirmed in a statement by the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival, which revealed that she died on Dec. 16 at Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri, where she had been living for many years.

    Though she kept details of her life mostly private, Jackson recently disclosed to her minister while working out the details of her funeral that she had married James Bolin, a 93-year-old Civil War veteran, when she was 17 years old, the statement read.

    At the time, Jackson had been providing daily care for Bolin, a widower who served as a private in the 14th Missouri Cavalry through the Civil War.

    James Bolin died on June 18, 1939. Helen Viola Jackson never Jackson never claimed his pension and she also never remarried.

    You can read more in an article by Joelle Goldstein in an article published in the website at:

  • 6 Jan 2021 10:32 AM | Anonymous

    And now for something completely different...

    This announcement appears to have little to do with genealogy except that the fact that genealogy powerhouse MyHeritage is sponsoring a world-famous automobile, truck, and motorcycle race. (The same company also sponsors this not-so-world-famous genealogy newsletter.) The cross-country race will take place over 12 days in Saudi Arabia. 

    Here is the announcement:

    LEHI, Utah--As the international market leader for exploring family history and finding relatives, MyHeritage develops innovative search and matching technologies and has a global database of historical records to help millions of people connect to their family history. Sponsoring a team led by a father-son duo is par for the course for MyHeritage. The company has a long history of partnering with top athletes, sports teams, and cultural figures to reveal their family history, forge connections with their relatives, and underscore the importance of knowing one’s roots.

    Danny and Omer Pearl founded the Pearl Racing Team out of their passion for motorsports. The team has competed for many years in the SSV category, racing in numerous international competitions.

    The Dakar Rally is considered the toughest and most grueling off-road competition in the world. This is the second year the competition is being held in Saudi Arabia, following its relocation from South America, where it was held for the last decade. The race spans more than 7,000 kilometers and 12 days over the challenging and beautiful Saudi terrain. This year’s race departed from Jeddah and will traverse the entire Arabian desert in a circular course. Each day the team will navigate under the most extreme conditions, using a Road Book produced by the rally organizer.

    “As leaders in the field of exploring and discovering family history, we are thrilled to support a team that includes a father and son who are competing in one of the world’s most difficult competitions,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Particularly during these challenging times, we appreciate the significance of supporting family members coming together in bold and creative ways, working as a team to achieve the impossible. Just like the Dakar, family history can be an enjoyable and adventurous journey.”

    “It is with great pride and excitement that we enter this legendary race,” said Omer Pearl. “We believe that determination and perseverance yield results, and our family bond is one of the driving forces behind our success. We hope that our efforts will inspire more families to team up and work together to pursue their dreams.”

    The Dakar Rally is taking place between January 3–15, 2021.

    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.

    Launched in 2016, MyHeritage DNA has become one of the world’s largest consumer DNA databases, with more than 4.6 million customers. Since 2020, MyHeritage is home to the world’s best technologies for enhancing and colorizing historical photos. MyHeritage is the most popular DNA test and family history service in Europe., the leading global platform for discovering your past and empowering your future, announced today that it is sponsoring a racing team in the 2021 Dakar Rally — the elite off-road endurance competition currently taking place in Saudi Arabia. The MyHeritage team comprises driver Danny Pearl, a veteran of off-road racing, and navigator Charly Gotlib, who has participated in the Dakar Rally more than 30 times over the years, and has received an honorary distinction of Dakar Legend from the race organizers. The team is managed by Omer Pearl, Danny’s son. In recent years, Omer has managed the Pearl Racing Team in different competitions around the world. The team is named the MyHeritage Team and is competing in the Dakar’s Lightweight Vehicle category.

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