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  • 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.

  • 11 Feb 2021 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    The following was extracted from an email message sent by, the parent company of Newspapers.‌com:

    Ancestry® is offering free access to Newspapers.‌com™ during the President's Day weekend in the United States. is the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 636 million+ pages of historical newspapers from 20,200+ newspapers from around the United States and beyond.

    - Thursday, February 11th through Monday, February 15th @11:59pm Mountain Time.

    - Available only through

    - Registration required.

    More Details:

  • 10 Feb 2021 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    According to an announcement from MyHeritage:

    "The Theory of Family Relativity™ harnesses billions of family tree profiles and historical records on MyHeritage to suggest possible relationship paths between you and your DNA Matches, helping you to break down brick walls and potentially saving you dozens of hours of research.

    "With this update, the total number of theories has increased from 33,373,070 to 39,845,078 — a 19% increase. The number of DNA Matches that include a theory has increased by 20%, from 22,618,962 to 27,130,989.

    "As MyHeritage users add more names to their family trees and as we add new historical record collections, the opportunities to receive theories will continue to grow, offering new insights to help you further your genealogical research."

    You can read a lot more details in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 10 Feb 2021 2:25 PM | Anonymous

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

    “A Family for Suzanne”
    by Ruth Randall, CG
    Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 8:00 p.m. EST

    This webinar is based on the subject of the 2007 winner of the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest, “A Family for Suzanne.” The speaker will use historical documents to identify significant events in the life of an enslaved woman who was purchased by a man in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, when she was three-and-a-half or four years old.

    BCG’s next free monthly webinar in conjunction with Legacy Family Tree Webinars is “A Family for Suzanne” by Ruth Randall, CG. This webinar airs Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time (EST).

    Ruth Randall, CG, began her pursuit of family history research in 1996. She is the 2007 winner of the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest and the American Society of Genealogists 2008 Scholar Award. Ruth is a member of the editorial board of the NGS Quarterly. She is in her third decade serving as a volunteer at the Albuquerque Family History Center. Ruth is the author of six articles published in the NGS Quarterly. She is a three-time winner of The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors annual Excellence in Writing Contest.

    When you register before February 16 on our partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars website (, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Anyone with schedule conflicts may access the webinar at no charge for one week after the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

    “We are pleased to present these high-quality educational webinars,” said President LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists promotes public confidence in genealogy by supporting uniform standards of competence. We strive to provide educational opportunities to family historians of all levels of experience.”

    Following the free period for this webinar, BCG receives a small commission if you view this or any BCG webinar by clicking our affiliate link: For access to all BCG webinars, see the BCG Library at Legacy Family Tree Webinars (

    To see the full list of BCG-sponsored webinars for 2021, visit the BCG blog SpringBoard at For additional resources for genealogical education, please visit the BCG Learning Center (

    Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA
    BCG News Release Coordinator

  • 10 Feb 2021 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    Consumer genomics company Ancestry has confirmed it fought two U.S. law enforcement requests to access its DNA database in the past six months, but that neither request resulted in turning over customer or DNA data.

    The Utah-based company disclosed the two requests in its latest transparency report covering the latter half of 2020. The report said Ancestry “challenged both of these requests, which were withdrawn,” and that the company “provided no data” at the time of the report, published Tuesday.

    Ancestry did not say which agencies or police departments requested the DNA data or for what reason the company challenged the request. Ancestry spokesperson Gina Spatafore confirmed the search warrants were to obtain DNA data but declined to comment beyond what was in the report.

    The company also said in its most recent report that it “refused numerous inquiries” from U.S. law enforcement for failing to obtain the proper legal process. The report also said the company received four valid law enforcement requests, but that it did not provide any data in response.

    You can learn more in an article by Zack Whittaker in the TechCrunch web site at:

  • 9 Feb 2021 8:08 PM | Anonymous

    Although everyone may be celebrating Valentine’s Day slightly differently this year, some things will remain the same: the consumption of copious amounts of chocolate and the celebration of love in your family. And what better way to celebrate your family’s greatest love stories than to research their beginnings?

    MyHeritage has announced that the company is offering free access to all marriage records on from February 10–16, 2021.

    Details may be found in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 9 Feb 2021 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Have you researched ALL your ancestors? Obviously, you cannot research all of them for the past few millions of years. However, have you found all of them in the past 10 generations? 20 generations? 50 generations?

    Do you even know how many ancestors that would be?

    Here is a chart to displays how many ancestors you have in past generations, assuming there are no duplicates (and there are ALWAYS duplicates):

    Number of ancestors in that generation   Total ancestors (this generation plus all later generations)
    2   2
    4   6
    8   14
    16   30
    32   62
    64   126
    128   254
    256   510
    512   1,022
    1,024   2,046
    2,048   4,094
    4,096   8,190
    8,192   16,382
    16,384   32,766
    32,768   65,534
    65,536   131,070
    131,072   262,142
    262,144   524,286
    524,288   1,048,574
    1,048,576   2,097,150
    2,097,152   4,194,302
    4,194,304   8,388,606
    8,388,608   16,777,214
    16,777,216   33,554,430
    33,554,432   67,108,862
    67,108,864   134,217,726
    134,217,728   268,435,454
    268,435,456   536,870,910
    536,870,912   1,073,741,822
    1,073,741,824   2,147,483,646
    2,147,483,648   4,294,967,294
    4,294,967,296   8,589,934,590
    8,589,934,592   17,179,869,182
    17,179,869,184   34,359,738,366
    34,359,738,368   68,719,476,734
    68,719,476,736   137,438,953,470
    137,438,953,472   274,877,906,942
    274,877,906,944   549,755,813,886
    549,755,813,888   1,099,511,627,774
    1,099,511,627,776   2,199,023,255,550

     Yes, that's more than TWO TRILLION ANCESTORS if we assume there were no duplicates (one person appearing in more than one place in your family tree). That's more than all the people who ever lived on the face of the earth so obviously there are many duplicates in your family tree and in everyone else's family tree.

    Also, we all are distant cousins of each other but that's another topic for another time...


  • 9 Feb 2021 4:31 PM | Anonymous

    Here is an announcement from NGS:

    FALLS CHURCH, VA, 9 FEBRUARY 2021—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will host its Delegate Council Virtual Kickoff Workshop on 17 May 2021 as part of its weeklong virtual NGS 2021 Family History Conference. The Delegate Council is the new advisory committee for NGS member organizations created as part of the 2020 merger with the former Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). This inaugural workshop will focus on helping delegates understand their role within the National Genealogical Society. The workshop is by invitation only.

    “Our hope is that the Delegate Council will provide the NGS Board of Directors a unique perspective and guidance on issues of significance to the field of genealogy and the family history community both locally and nationally,” says Kathryn M. Doyle, president of NGS. “We will also look to the Council to implement new initiatives that will best serve genealogical and related organizations.”

    During the kickoff workshop, delegates will learn about the structure and function of the Council. They also will discuss optimum ways in which to collaborate effectively and provide feedback to the Council’s leadership. 

    Early Bird registration is now open for the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference. Learn more about the weeklong events planned for 17-21 May.

  • 8 Feb 2021 8:29 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Find a key part of your genealogical puzzle this week on FamilySearch in US City and Business Directories ca 1749 – ca 1990New York Land Records 1630–1975, and new collections for New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1865–1957, the Liberia Census 2008, and 3M more Catholic Church Records for Mexico (Guerrero 1576–1979, Querétaro 1590–1970, Colima 1707–1969),plus new records for Chile, Germany, Peru, S. Africa, Switzerland and the US (GA, MT, SD and VA). 

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    The full list of all the new records is very long, too long to fit here. However, you can find the full list at:

  • 8 Feb 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous

    Here are the words that no genealogist, historian, or archivist ever wants to hear: a major archive with many original documents, most of which have never been copied or digitized, is on fire and the fire has been burning for many hours.

    Firefighters in Kraków, Poland have been battling a blaze that broke out in the city’s archives for 36 hours.

    The fire started on Saturday evening and, according to a spokesman for Małopolska fire brigade, it is difficult to predict when it will be extinguished.

    The city’s archives contain about 20,000 linear metres of documents.

    Temperatures in Kraków presently are below zero which certainly must be a problem for firefighters.

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