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  • 15 Feb 2021 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from the IAJGS Records Access Alert mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    The IAJGS Records Access Alert previously wrote about the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved closing its facility in Seattle—without any public input. The sale is due to the recommendation for sale by the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) and approved sale by the Office of Management and Budget. This would severely hamper access for people in the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. See: There was a public hearing on January 19 where over 300 were in attendance- as the Zoom call maxed out at 300, so some testified and then left so others could testify- therefore we are uncertain as to the total number of people who participated. RPAC, of which IAJGS is a sponsoring member, submitted a statement to Washington State Attorney General Ferguson supporting his position in opposition of relocating the NARA records outside of the Pacific NW.

    Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement after John C. Coughenour, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, blocked the federal government’s plan to expedite the sale of Seattle’s National Archives facility and ship the undigitized records 1,000 miles away to Southern California. The statement says Judge Coughenour will issue a preliminary injunction next week in which he will rule that Ferguson’s coalition was likely to prevail in its lawsuit asserting that the federal government acted unlawfully when it moved to sell the National Archives facility and scatter the archival records thousands of miles away.

    Ferguson, working with a coalition of regional tribes, community organizations, the City of Seattle and Oregon’s Attorney General, asked the court in January to enjoin, or block, the sale while the litigation continues. The coalition filed nearly 600 pages of declarations from 79 individuals see:

    AG Ferguson filed a lawsuit earlier this week asserting the sale violates the conditions Congress placed on agencies’ ability to sell federal properties on an expedited basis and fails to appropriately account for the records’ importance to the Pacific Northwest region. Further, the federal government refused to consult or cooperate with local stakeholders, including tribal governments, in deciding to sell the property. Twenty-nine federally recognized tribes, Alaskan tribal entities, and tribal communities from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, as well as nine community organizations, historical preservation societies and museums and Oregon joined Ferguson’s lawsuit.

    For nearly six months Ferguson sought public records related to the proposed sale. The agencies refused to produce the public records. the PBRB demanded that taxpayers pay more than $65,000 for records redaction before producing them. In response to the agencies’ refusal to comply with Ferguson’s records request, Ferguson filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits in August 2020 and a fourth in September. The PBRB dropped the demand for the $65,000 but requested until March 31 to produce its responsive documents — a date by which the Archives building may have already been sold.

    On January 5 the judge ruled in favor of Ferguson ordering the PBRB to turn over previously identified, non-exempt documents within 14 business days and all other responsive non-exempt records within 21 business days.

    The Seattle archive facility houses original case files for people who entered the country through ports in Portland and Seattle. These case files include identification photographs, biographical information, interrogation notes, copies of federal and local court records, as well as personal letters and photographs. These files, created to discriminate against Chinese workers, have become a critical resource to Chinese Americans looking for information about their ancestors.

    To read more see:

    Thank you to Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG and president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council for sharing the aforementioned article with us.

    To read the previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings about the Seattle, WA NARA Building pending sale and removal of documents to 1,000 miles away go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at: You must be registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to: You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.)

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 15 Feb 2021 10:37 AM | Anonymous is pleased to announce that we just completed a large update to our online U.S. newspaper listings. We're now cataloging the newspaper titles of 1,183 different websites with digitized newspapers or newspaper indexes. The listings include all of the major newspaper sites, as well as offline listings from WorldCat, the Family History Library, and the U.S. Newspaper Directory from the Library of Congress.

    The newspaper titles are arranged by county and city and include the year range of the digitized newspapers. You simply find the county you're interested in and find all of the newspapers in one easy stop. is a free website that is designed to help anyone quickly locate more record sources for U.S. ancestors. The site catalogs over 1,500 websites so that rather than visiting all of those websites individually, you can come to the U.S. genealogy records directory and find the record sources in one place. There are currently over 1.1 million record sources listed in the directory which are organized by state, county, city, and record type. The site also features dozens of in-depth articles to help you learn to do genealogy research more effectively.

    Note: The web site is privately owned and is not an official site of FamilySearch International or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

  • 15 Feb 2021 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc., also known as IAJGS:

    The Call for Applications from candidates interested in serving on the IAJGS Board of Directors is now open. This year, as it is an odd-numbered year and in accordance with our bylaws, we will elect four Officers: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. In addition, we are seeking one new Director to fill the one year remaining of a two-year term.

    IAJGS Officer and Director candidates must be members in good standing of at least one IAJGS member society at the time of their nomination for election or appointment and must continuously maintain such membership during their term of office. We are seeking candidates who will contribute to advancing the Association in fulfilling its objectives (listed below).

    We invite all candidates who are interested in serving as an Officer or Director on the IAJGS Board to submit a completed Board Application Form online at

    Information about the election and nomination process is at The deadline for receipt of Board Application Forms by the Nominating Committee is March 12, 2021, 7:00 pm EDT.

    The term of those Officers elected begins at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting on August 4, 2021, and ends at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting two years later. The Director position will serve out the one year remaining of the two-year term. Candidates should be aware that serving on the board requires a commitment of time and travel expenses.

    Elections will be held through electronic voting procedures, which will be completed by July 12, 2021.

    Objectives of the IAJGS

    The objectives of the Association shall be:

    1. To collect, preserve, and disseminate knowledge and information with reference to Jewish genealogy

    2. To assist and promote the research of Jewish family history

    3. To provide opportunities for the sharing of Jewish genealogical information

    4. To aim toward the publication of worthy material in the field of Jewish genealogy

    5. To promote membership in member Jewish genealogical societies

    6. To act as spokesperson for Jewish genealogical societies in areas of mutual interest

    7. To provide member societies with services to help them become more effective organizations

    8. To elevate Jewish Genealogy among Jewish people and in the academic community

    9. To promote public access to genealogically relevant records

    10. To foster creation of Jewish genealogical organizations in new geographical areas

  • 15 Feb 2021 10:03 AM | Anonymous

    Here is a bit of a nightmare that nobody envisioned 20 or 30 or more years ago: when you have an unknown, but undoubtedly large, number of step-brothers and step-sisters, you may meet many of them at most any time. This can be especially awkward when dating.

    As one person remarked, "Not knowing how many siblings I have has damaged my dating life."

    According to an article written by KC Archana:

    "For 24-year-old Zave Fors, a dating app is nothing short of a nightmare as he keeps bumping into long lost siblings. In fact, it has happened so frequently that Zave is now mortified just by the word dating app.

    "And all the blame goes to his 'serial sperm donor' father. According to reports, in the past few years, Zave has managed to track down eight of his siblings."

    It seems that his biological father sold his sperm hundreds of times over a 10-year period. The donor is said to have an estimated 50 children.

    There's details on the impact on how this has affected the son's dating life at:

  • 12 Feb 2021 12:10 PM | Anonymous

    MyHeritage keeps adding more and more records to the company's online collection and hopefully I have posted their announcements of these records as they became available. However, this time the latest collection is one that I am intimately familiar with.

    My own ancestry is 50% French-Canadian (thanks to my mother's 100% French-Canadian ancestry) and almost all of her relatives lived along both sides of the border dividing the northern area of the State of Maine from the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. In my genealogy research, I spent hundreds of hours going through the United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956.

    Unfortunately for me, the records were only available on microfilm years ago when I was researching these border crossings. It was a slow, meticulous, and often tedious process in those days. (MyHeritage: where were you when I needed you?)

    I found my ancestors listed dozens of times. Not only did these people cross the border once to move to the United States, they often crossed the border in both directions for years in order to visit relatives for a weekend, to work on farms on both sides of the border, to be a midwife at a relative's delivery of new babies, and all sorts of other (undocumented) reasons. It was not unusual to find one of my ancestors or great-aunts or great-uncles listed a dozen different times over a period of years in these records.

    (Some of my relatives still live in Canada while others are in the U.S.)

    Yes, it was fun finding these records but also tedious. However, MyHeritage has now simplified the search process for today's and for future genealogists. Here is a brief announcement from MyHeritage and a much more detailed announcement may be found in the MyHeritage Blog:

    During the late 19th century many immigrants to the U.S. arrived via passage from Canada to avoid harsh inspections at U.S. ports like Ellis Island. The collection, which includes images, is significant as it offers important details of travelers as they made their way to the United States. The MyHeritage index offers additional details not found in other versions of this collection, such as information on family members.

    Search the U.S. Border Crossings from Canada, 1895–1956 collection now

    The records include the individual’s name, age, gender, date of arrival, arrival port, marital status, birth date, birth place, last residence, destination, port of departure, and nationality, as well as the names and addresses of family members both in the United States and the home country. In addition to immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States, many of the records in the collection pertain to U.S. or Canadian citizens passing through the border for work or travel.

    You can read more about the U.S. Border Crossings from Canada, 1895–1956 collection in the company's blog post.

  • 12 Feb 2021 12:05 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Findmypast’s archives continue to grow with thousands of new and exclusive Welsh family records and a fascinating Antiguan petition dating back to 1830. Here is what's new this Findmypast Friday.

    Denbighshire Parish Records

    Over 23,000 new baptism, marriage and burial records from north-east Wales are now available to search exclusively on Findmypast. This includes;

    All of this week’s new additions include both transcripts and images of original documents covering the parishes of Ruthin and Llanrhydd. See Findmypast’s Denbighshire parish list for all of the individual churches and date ranges covered by these collections.

    Perfect for delving deeper into your Welsh heritage, transcripts will provide you with essential dates and locations as well as names of your ancestor’s parents or spouse. Images may provide additional details such as residences, occupations, the names of witnesses and even your ancestor’s signature.

    Antigua, Petition Of The Coloured Inhabitants 1830

    This relatively small but powerful new addition to Findmypast’s international record collection reframes a hidden part of Black history. Over 300 mixed-race males signed this fascinating document, demanding equality from the British parliament.

    In the stratified and hierarchical society of the then colonies of the British West Indies, populations were divided broadly into three categories, these being white, “coloured” and “negro”. “Coloured” was the term that had replaced “mulatto” (and “mustee” etc.) for what we would now regard as persons of mixed race. The 1830 Petition of the Coloured Inhabitants of the Island of Antigua should be regarded in the above context. There are 316 signatories - all adult males.

    The petition itself is significant as a claim for equal civil rights for the mixed race population as for the white colonial population. The tone is respectful but firm. The petitioners emphasise that, as loyal British subjects, they want parity, including the obligations that come alongside the privileges to which they feel entitled. Specifically, they demand such rights as:

      • Freedom to engage in agricultural pursuits
      • Employment as overseers and managers on plantations
      • Eligibility to be commissioned as officers in the island militia (in which they comprised a majority of the non-commissioned officers and privates)
      • Entitlement to serve as jurors
      • Right to receive parish relief andto pay poor rates


    Findmypast have gone global this week with the arrival of six new Caribbean papers and their first from New Zealand. Brand new to the collection are:

    While new pages have also been added to:

  • 12 Feb 2021 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

    TheGenealogist has just released the records for another 98,618 individuals from Southwark to increase the number of records to over 800,000 individuals in its unique online Lloyd George Domesday Survey. These property records are a fantastic resource for researchers searching for where an ancestor lived in the period 1910-1915.

    The Lloyd George Domesday Survey is a massive project being carried out by TheGenealogist to digitise a combination of large scale Ordnance Survey maps and residential data field books from The National Archives. Using the records from the former Valuation Office Survey (known as the Lloyd George Domesday Survey) enables family history researchers to precisely pinpoint where an ancestor’s house had been on exceptionally detailed hand annotated maps from the period. These have been made even more useful to researchers as they have been georeferenced and are displayed as a layer in TheGenealogist’s powerful Map Explorer™.

    Nelson Dockyard Rotherhithe from Lloyd George Domesday Survey maps

    Family historians can often have problems when looking for where their ancestors lived. Even when they have located an ancestor’s address in the census, over time road names may have changed and many streets have been renumbered or bombed out of existence in the Blitz. With redevelopment the area can change substantially, adopting new layouts that make searching for where an ancestor lived using modern maps a frustrating experience.
    With the Lloyd George Domesday Survey records on TheGenealogist, however, researchers will be able to:

    • link individual properties to pins on extremely detailed ordnance survey maps from the 1910s
    • read information often giving a detailed description of the property in original Field Books
    • locate a specific house on the map from an address found in a census or street directory
    • search the records by surname, parish and street.
    • zoom down to show plots of the individual properties as they existed in 1910-1915
    • reveal modern map layers georeferenced to the survey maps to show the modern topography

    The linked Field Books will also provide researchers with information regarding the valuation of each property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.

    This mammoth project is ongoing with over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages to digitise with associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps. This release from TheGenealogist takes the total released so far to over 800,000 individuals and is available to their Diamond subscribers.

    This new release of records include properties situated in the following Southwark parishes: Bermondsey Central, Bermondsey East, Bermondsey South, Bermondsey West, Camberwell, Camden, Christchurch, Dulwich, Dulwich East, Peckham North, Peckham South & Nunhead, Rotherhithe, Rye Lane & St Georges, Saint Peter, St George the Martyr East, St George the Martyr North, St George the Martyr South, St Georges East, St John by Horsleydown, St Mary & St Paul, St Olave & St Thomas, St Saviour 1, St Saviour 2, and Trinity.

    Read TheGenealogist’s article about how the Lloyd George Domesday Survey Property records from the 1910s show us the Southwark home of Michael Caine’s family

    To find out more about these records, you can visit their informative record collection page at

    About TheGenealogist

    TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections.

    TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

    TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

  • 11 Feb 2021 8:11 PM | Anonymous

    This has to be one of the most "interesting" videos I have ever seen: Abraham Lincoln speaking to us directly.

    OK, a bit of high-tech magic was used simply because high-tech digitized video did not exist during his lifetime. That is perhaps why this video is so impressive. Honest Abe speaks to us and everything appears to be as if it was recorded within a few minutes ago.

    This brief video is actually an advertisement for MyHeritage that serves as an example of all the technology the company is developing. This technology may or may not become a part of MyHeritage's future offerings, depending upon user feedback.

    You can watch the video and also read more about the making of this incredible project on the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 11 Feb 2021 8:03 PM | Anonymous

    This should become a VERY popular service! By using FamilySearch Memories, you can safeguard your most prized photographs for free!

    "You read that right. If you have an account with FamilySearch (which is free to everyone and always will be), you have access to free cloud storage for your most cherished family photographs, historical records, and other heirloom family documents. This isn’t the place to keep ALL your photos (such as the ones your kids take when they steal your phone and get 53 pictures of their stuffed animals); we want you to store only your best and most impactful memories."

    You can read all the details in the FamilySearch Blog at:

  • 11 Feb 2021 12:02 PM | Anonymous

    Two new bills filed in the Florida state legislature may have a major impact to genealogists. The sponsor of the proposed bill states “Collection and testing of someone else’s genetic data without consent is a cutting-edge problem this bill will solve in the state of Florida.”

    Will this include "collecting the DNA" of someone else's DNA from web sites, such as GEDmatch, Family Tree DNA, and others to be illegal? I am not an attorney nor have I seen the text of the proposed bill so I cannot answer that question but it does cause me to wonder.

    According to an article by John Haughey published in The Center Square website:

    Florida in 2020 became the nation’s first state to enact a “DNA privacy” law prohibiting life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from using genetic tests for coverage purposes.

    Companion 2021 Senate-House bills would also establish a national first for Florida within the rapidly expanding realm of genetic privacy policy legislation and regulation: Felony criminal penalties for “stealing” or using someone’s DNA data, like any other personal property, without their consent.

    Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed Senate Bill 1140 and Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, introduced House Bill 833 Monday. Both would prohibit collection or retention of DNA samples, and the analysis and disclosure of results, without authorization, with criminal penalties for specified violations.

    “I’m proud to sponsor this legislation in the Senate that will help take DNA privacy protections a step further in our state,” Rodrigues said. “Collection and testing of someone else’s genetic data without consent is a cutting-edge problem this bill will solve in the state of Florida.”

    “There will be serious criminal penalties in Florida for these actions,” Tomkow vowed. “It will not be tolerated.”

    Both bills would make submitting another person’s DNA sample for analysis without their permission, or knowingly conducting an analysis of DNA without the person’s permission, a third degree felony.

    Further details may be found at:

    My thanks to newsletter reader Walter Wood for telling me about this article.

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