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  • 10 Mar 2021 9:26 PM | Anonymous

    In 2017, Kathy Gillcrist, newly retired from her job as a high school teacher, was wondering what she would do next.

    She had always known she was adopted but had never felt a strong desire to learn about her birth parents. But curiosity and a need to fill her free time overcame that ambivalence.

    She took a DNA test, the first step of a genealogical journey that led her to a stunning discovery: Her father was most likely William Bradford Bishop Jr., who vanished in 1976 after bludgeoning his family to death with a sledgehammer, law enforcement officials believe.

    “It just was surreal,” Gillcrist, 63, said Tuesday. “It still is surreal.”

    You can read the interesting story in an article by Maria Cramer published in The Berkshire (Massachusetts) Eagle at:

  • 10 Mar 2021 9:15 PM | Anonymous

    The following press release was written by DigitalNC:

    176 issues of The Wilmington Sun (newspapers) are now available for browsing on DigitalNC. This a brand new addition to our newspaper collection and we would like to thank our partners at New Hanover County Public Library for making this possible.

    Spanning October 1878 to May 1879, these newspapers give insight into the happenings of the late 19th century. During this time, The Sun published issues daily except for Mondays and select holidays. As Wilmington was quickly becoming the largest city in North Carolina at the time, each issue covered a wide range of topics, from the international to the local.

    Notably, Wilmington had a thriving shipping port and railroad industry in the mid to late 1800s, so The Sun included a Markets and Shipping section. These sections list out the market activity of materials such as cotton, rosin, tar, spirits turpentine, and crude turpentine while also noting the arrival and clearance of national and international goods.

    To take a look at all the new issues of The Wilmington Sun, click here. For more information about New Hanover County Public Library, you can visit their homepage here.

  • 10 Mar 2021 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to genealogy resource site Cyndi’s List, which is now 25 years old! “After all these years people still don’t often believe me when I say that I am the only person who works on the site. It’s true, it’s just me. This is my job, but it’s also my life’s work and my passion. I still enjoy what I do and still find it rewarding, particularly when I hear of success stories from all of you. I am happy to keep providing Cyndi’s List as a genealogical research tool for everyone to use.”

    Here's to another 25 years, OK Cyndi?

  • 10 Mar 2021 8:30 PM | Anonymous

    Note: The following article has nothing to do with genealogy, DNA, or any of the other topics normally found in this newsletter. If you are looking for genealogy and similar articles, you might want to skip this one. However, this article references a recent article in ZDNet that I think all computer owners should read.

    From an article by J. Vaughan-Nichols published in ZDNet at

    "Free and cheap personal and small business cloud storage services are everywhere. But which one is best for you? Let's look at the top cloud storage options."

    Vaughan-Nichols then goes on to list 8 of the largest cloud-based file storage services available today. He then writes:

    "With so many of us working from home, having reliable cloud storage is more important than ever.

    "Personal cloud storage all started in 2007, when Drew Houston, Dropbox's CEO, got sick and tired of losing his USB drive. So, he created the first individual, small business cloud storage service. It was a radical idea in its time, and everyone loved it. Today, there are dozens of cheap or free cloud storage services. But -- beyond giving you storage -- they're very different.

    "How do you choose which one is right for you? You could just pick by how much free storage space you get. That's simple, but it's only part of the story. A cloud storage service's real value comes from how well it works for you or your business. As you'll see, some work much better with some operating systems and business plans than others."

    The article gores on at some length to describe the largest cloud services in some detail. You can find the article at:

    Comment by Dick Eastman: My belief is that everyone has any information on their computer(s) that needs to be saved should should be using one or more of the cloud-based file storage services.

    I have accounts at several of the companies listed by J. Vaughan-Nichols. However, the one service I use daily is the last one on his list: pCloud.

    Based in Switzerland, pCloud offers privacy (as dictated by Swiss laws), clients for Linux, macOS, and Windows as well as Android and iOS smartphones, and "lifetime" subscriptions at reasonable prices. I have found the service is also very reliable. I have never experienced an outage.

    I have almost 2 terabytes of data stored on pCloud and every file on my desktop and laptop Macintosh systems is backed up to pCloud within a few seconds after it is stored on my computers' hard drives.

    All in all, I can say I am very pleased with pCloud. However, I also will quickly admit that the other 7 services listed in the article all have excellent reputations and I doubt if you will be disappointed by any of them.

    Again, you can find the article at:

    By the way, I am not compensated by pCloud or anyone else in any way for writing this article. I am simply a user who spent his own money to subscribe to pCloud and is very thankful that he did so.  I'd like to share my story with anyone else who may be interested.

  • 10 Mar 2021 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at

    FInd your ancestors on FamilySearch this week in 3M new France, Mayenne Parish and Civil Registrations 1427–1897Insee Social Security Death Index 1970–2019, plus 2M more Catholic Church records from Germany, Bavaria 1650–1875, North Rhine-Westphalia 1580–1975, Bolivia 1566–1996, and the Dominican Republic 1590–1955. Search expanded country collections for England, Germany, Jamaica, Peru, S. Africa and the US (Indiana, Iowa, Virginia and Washington).

    Discover 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 is very long, too long to fit here. However, you can find the full list at:

  • 10 Mar 2021 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    If you have been following all the stories about MyHeritage's new Deep Nostalgia™ app that has gone viral (30 million animations created in the first few days since release) in social media, various news stories, and elsewhere, you probably will be interested in a new interview published in a video on CNN International.

    The MyHeritage mobile app has rocketed to #1 in the rankings for free iOS apps in 22 countries. Founder and CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet, was interviewed on CNN International by correspondent Julia Chatterley about the feature that has become such a phenomenon and the company behind it.

    In the interview, Gilad talked about how Deep Nostalgia™, created using D-ID technology, was conceived, how it works, and why this feature seems to have resonated so deeply with audiences across the globe. He mentioned that he had been particularly moved to see an animation of his father while working on the release of this feature. Interviewer Julia Chatterley also became quite emotional at the display of a Deep Nostalgia™ animation of her own grandmother. She said, "You started me crying."

    You can watch the video on YouTube at:

    Then you can download the free app and look at full motion, color images of your ancestors and other family members.

  • 9 Mar 2021 11:39 PM | Anonymous

    Hurricane season will be upon us in a few months. Melting snow will cause some major flooding even before that, typically in March or April. We should learn from the experiences of past storms. Recent hurricanes and flooding taught all of us again that paper is a very fragile storage medium for old records. However, paper is also the most common storage method in use today. The news reports from last year's hurricanes told of numerous libraries, public records offices, and more that had water in their offices. In some cases, the water reached records that should be saved for centuries. Many families also lost family documents, old photos, and even examples of their children's art work. Unfortunately, water-soaked paper documents will only last for a few days unless treated immediately.

    For the best-known loss of records by water damage, ask the U.S. Census Bureau about water-soaked documents. Most U.S. genealogists have been told that the 1890 census records was "destroyed by fire" in 1921. In fact, the fire damaged only a small percentage of the records. Far more damage was caused by the firehoses of the fire department called in to battle the blaze. Most of the damage was caused by water being poured onto the fire, water that soon seeped into millions of otherwise undamaged records. The fire did not go above the basement but water poured into the upper floors drained into the basement, extinguishing the fire. Unfortunately, in the process of water draining through the upper floors, a high percentage of the otherwise undamaged documents became soaked with water.

    Disaster planning and recovery were almost unknown in 1921. Nobody had the proper equipment to salvage water-soaked paper documents. Once the flames were extinguished, everyone went home except for the night watchmen on patrol. No immediate effort was made to preserve the water-soaked documents. The following morning, Census Director Sam Rogers reported the extensive damage to the 1890 schedules, estimating 25 percent destroyed, with 50 percent of the remainder damaged (but not destroyed) by water, smoke, and fire.

    The records sat and gathered mildew for thirteen years. Even though only 25 percent of the census records had been destroyed in the fire, all the records were eventually destroyed by Department of Commerce personnel in 1934 or 1935. (The exact date apparently was never recorded.) You can read more about the fate of the 1890 U.S. census on the National Archives' web site at

    Whether water-soaked by firemen or by a tropical storm or even by a burst water pipe, today's technology can usually save water-soaked documents. This is equally true for a major collection of government records that fills a warehouse or for a shoebox full of important family papers, stored in a closet below the upstairs bathroom. A genealogist who knows what prompt actions need to be taken can quickly act to minimize the damage. The key word here is "prompt." Any delay can result in far more damage than is necessary.

    First Things First

    The first thing to do after paper documents become waterlogged is to freeze the records. Freezing a large warehouse full of documents can be a challenge. Commercial food storage freezers have been pressed into use in the past. However, the typical home owner with a small collection of documents often has a perfect preservation tool nearby: a home freezer. Place the water-damaged documents into a freezer IMMEDIATELY.

    This may be difficult to do if the electricity is off following a hurricane. Some well-prepared homeowners keep electric generators in order to keep home freezers and other appliances running. If the electricity is off in your home, place the water damaged documents into the freezer as soon as possible after power is restored.

    If there is not enough room in your own freezer, "borrow" space in the freezers of friends and neighbors. For a really large collection, ask the local grocery store if they have room to store documents for a few days. In some cases, a refrigerator-freezer trailer with an attached 18-wheeler can be pressed into service.

    If inadequate space is found, call the local fire department. The fire officials always know where the large freezers are located and they also will usually know which major corporations in the area already have well-defined disaster recovery plans. Those companies probably have already identified high-capacity freezers in the area that can be pressed into service, if needed. The fire department also probably has the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of nearby companies with large freezers.

    Immediate freezing of paper documents inhibits mold growth. It also provides time to determine if the originals are important and worth the effort and finances to repair. If nothing else, frozen documents can later be separated into two piles: (1.) those worth saving and (2.) those that can be thrown away.

    If freezers had been widely available in 1921, we all could be reading the 1890 census records today.

    Freezing also provides time to review insurance policies.

    Frozen documents can be left in their frozen state for months, if necessary, giving the document owners time to work with insurance companies, create an action plan, and prepare for preservation efforts.

    Never freeze audio or video tapes, computer tapes, disks, compact discs, or CD-ROM disks. Freezing them will induce more damage. These recordings should be rinsed with clean water (only if the items have been contaminated with dirt and debris) and then air dried. Photographs may be preserved but techniques are somewhat different; this article will only address the salvage and preservation of paper.

    Recovery and Preservation

    Freezing is important as it buys time. However, freezing alone does not preserve damaged documents. An action plan is needed to later remove the water in a manner that minimizes long-term damage.

    The action plan to salvage documents depends heavily upon the water that caused the damage. Was it clear drinking water, such as that from a typical burst water pipe? Or was it a mix of water, dirt, and other contaminants as typically produced by a tropical storm or a flood? Worst of all, is it salt water?

    In almost all cases, the individual home owner does not have the necessary equipment or experience to salvage documents. Professional assistance is strongly recommended.

    If the water is only contaminated by rust, dirt, or salt water, rinsing wet books and records before freezing helps by removing debris that could be difficult to clean off after drying. However, do not rinse any paper where the inks are soluble; instead, freeze those documents immediately, mud and all.

    Professionals will usually thaw the books in small batches at a time and then start rinsing them with clean water. Often a "bucket brigade" is established, where books are dipped into a series of water-filled buckets or other containers, each containing successively cleaner water. This will remove much of the surface debris. As the buckets become contaminated with mud and debris from the books, each bucket is drained, rinsed, and refilled with clean water.

    If individual pages are mud-covered, professionals will usually rinse them by supporting the records on a piece of plexiglass or other rigid, inert support, and rinse with a gentle stream of water from a hose or pitcher.

    At this point, the books and papers have been cleaned of mud and other debris, but are still wet. Materials can be re-frozen and remain in the freezer indefinitely and will eventually dry there. However, that process may require months or even years. Not only is that inconvenient, the required space may not be available that long. Most professionals will use one of two methods to remove water: air drying and vacuum freeze drying.

    Air Drying

    Air drying is the most common method of dealing with water-damaged books and records. Because it requires no special equipment, it is often believed to be the more inexpensive method of drying. However, air drying is labor intensive, requiring constant, even round-the-clock, monitoring of the process. It also usually results in a distorted finished product. In other words, the page(s) will always look as if it has been underwater and the page will soon turn brittle. Due to the time required for air drying, it is also not unusual for mold to re-develop during air drying large-scale operations.

    Air drying is most suitable for a small numbers of records. The best method is to remove only a small batch of paper documents from the freezer at any one time. Records with water-sensitive ink or paper should be left in the freezer as long as possible or vacuum freeze dried.

    To air dry documents, find a dry, secure space where controlled temperature and humidity are available. Thaw out small groups of records at a time, starting with the records of least value. Experiment with lower-value documents until the process is working, then move on to the higher-valued documents. Reduce the relative humidity as low as you possible to prevent mold growth and improve drying conditions. Never apply heat. Cover tables, non-carpeted floors, or other flat surfaces with unprinted newsprint, blotting paper, or paper towels, and hang the paper documents on clotheslines. Keep the air moving at all times using fans in the drying area. This will accelerate the drying process and discourage mold growth. Aim fans into the air rather than directly at drying records. The fans are used to remove humidity from the room, not to blow air on the documents.

    Carefully separate the frozen records as they thaw. If the paper is stable or strong, you can carefully peel the pages as they thaw and lay them out on your prepared surface or hang them up to dry. If the paper is fragile, you can put a support sheet of Hollytex (see or Reemay (an open-weave spun polyester fabric) (see on the top document and carefully peel the single item back. Move the single document on its support to the drying space and lay face down. Take the support sheet back to remove the next document. If you encounter any resistance as you are separating a leaf, stop. Resistance indicates that the paper is still frozen and damage will occur if you continue.

    If work on a group of items cannot be finished in time, the items can go back in the freezer until time is available.

    Once completely dry, records may be rehoused in clean folders and boxes, or they may be digitized, photocopied or reformatted in other ways. In fact, now is a perfect time to digitally scan all documents as there is an excellent chance that not all of them will survive the preservation process. Scan now while they are still readable!

    Vacuum Freeze Drying

    Vacuum freeze drying is the best way to remove water. It is also the only practical method of preserving print when the documents were printed with water-soluble inks, such as inks used in most inkjet printers. However, the required vacuum equipment is not commonly found outside of specialized preservation centers. A local high school's science lab may have a vacuum pump capable of removing water from a small stack of papers or from a single book. However, vacuum pumps capable of removing water from larger collections are very large, very heavy, and very expensive.

    Frozen books and records are placed in a vacuum chamber without thawing them first. A vacuum is pulled and a source of heat introduced while the overall temperature remains below 32° F. The materials are dried by a process called sublimation: the water in the solid phase (ice) is removed from the materials in the gaseous phase without passing through the liquid phase. In short, the ice turns to ice crystals that then evaporate directly without becoming water first. The result is a nice, dry page with minimal water damage.

    Other advantages include speed and reduced requirements for a large "drying area." Wet documents can be placed into a vacuum pump, the water removed within a minute or two, and then the documents may be placed directly back on the shelf for long-term storage. In contrast, air-dried documents require large, dry areas for drying, as described earlier.

    If materials have been stabilized quickly after becoming wet, very little extra shelf or storage space will be required when they are dry.

    Although vacuum drying may initially appear to be more expensive because of the equipment required, vacuum-dried documents usually do not require rebinding while air-dried documents often do require new bindings. This can result in significant savings, sometimes enough to pay for the vacuum pumps.

    In addition, mud, dirt, and/or soot are lifted to the surface during the vacuum-drying process, then easily removed with a gentle vacuum or, in the case of more delicate documents, with a soft brush.

    All of the above is to be considered a "last ditch" effort. Embark on these steps only after the damage has been done. A far better plan is to make sure documents are stored in locations where water will never reach them, areas far removed from water pipes as well as from rivers and streams. However, no storage method is ever perfect as Mother Nature constantly creates new disasters not previously envisioned. The professional archivist and the individual genealogist both should plan to minimize the risk as much as possible and also to make digital copies of everything IN ADVANCE of an actual disaster. Of course, multiple copies of the digital images must be made and stored in multiple locations. Those images also need to be updated to the latest file formats and storage media every few years. Digital copies will never be as good as the originals on paper, but may suddenly become valuable when the originals are destroyed by water or by some other disaster.

    As the Boy Scouts teach us, "Be Prepared."

    For further information, you might want to read Preserving Family Collections: A Workshop Manual by Clement Bautista and Gina Vergara-Bautista, published by the Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii and available as a PDF file at

  • 9 Mar 2021 8:03 AM | Anonymous

    A huge collection of Lithuanian-Jewish Records from LitvakSIG, 1795–1940 is now available online on The collection consists of several million historical records and covers the era from the Russian Empire (1795 to World War I) to the period of independent Lithuania (1919–1940).

    The majority of records are from places in present-day Lithuania. However, due to various geopolitical changes during the time period covered, the records are not limited to the modern boundaries of Lithuania; they also cover areas located in present-day Poland, Belarus, or other neighboring countries.

    The records in this compilation include vital records, census records, tax and voter lists, conscription lists, household registers, directories, emigration lists, and more. Some records in this collection were kept for taxation or conscription purposes. Many of the original records have also been lost or destroyed. As a result, there may be significant gaps in the years available.

    The collection has been provided to MyHeritage from LitvakSIG, Inc., an independent organization, which retains all rights, title, and interest in the data. © Copyright 1998-2021 LitvakSIG, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit LitvakSIG for more information and to search its All-Lithuanian Database.

    This newly-published collection is a valuable resource for anyone of Lithuanian-Jewish origin. subscribers may access the Lithuanian-Jewish Records from LitvakSIG, 1795–1940 collection at

    Here is the press release from MyHeritage and from LitvakSIG, Inc., that provides more details:

    MyHeritage Adds Lithuanian-Jewish Historical Records in Coordination with LitvakSIG

    Tel Aviv, Israel and Lehi, Utah, March 9, 2021 — MyHeritage, the leading global service for discovering your past and empowering your future, and LitvakSIG, a U.S. non-profit organization providing the primary online resource for Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy research worldwide, jointly announced today the publication of an important compilation of Lithuanian-Jewish historical records by MyHeritage. The records in this collection were originally translated and indexed by LitvakSIG, and represent almost the entire corpus of LitvakSIG's work over more than twenty years. These records have now been added to MyHeritage's historical record database.

    The Lithuanian-Jewish Records from LitvakSIG, 1795-1940 collection consists of several million historical records and covers the era from the Russian Empire (1795 to World War I) to the period of independent Lithuania (1919–1940). The majority of records are from places in present-day Lithuania. However, due to various geopolitical changes during the time period covered, the records are not limited to the modern boundaries of Lithuania; they also cover areas located in present-day Poland, Belarus, or other neighboring countries. The records in this compilation include vital records, census records, tax and voter lists, conscription lists, household registers, directories, emigration lists, and more.

    These records have tremendous genealogical value, and together with MyHeritage’s search and matching technologies, which overcome language barriers and provide matches to family trees in English, Russian, and Hebrew, among other languages, will open a new frontier of discovery for individuals who are researching their Lithuanian-Jewish heritage. MyHeritage is home to a treasure trove of Jewish historical records. In addition, the company’s collections include millions of pages from passenger and immigration lists documenting the wave of emigration from Europe to North America, South America, and Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

    “This year we are increasing our efforts to expand the Jewish genealogy resources on MyHeritage,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Adding this collection from LitvakSIG provides a valuable resource for anyone of Lithuanian-Jewish origin. On a personal level, some of my own ancestors appear in this collection, including my paternal grandmother and her siblings from the small Lithuanian town of Valkininkai (Olkieniki), making this addition especially meaningful for me and my family.”

    “We are excited to make the bulk of LitvakSIG’s translated historical records available to millions of MyHeritage users,” said Jill Anderson, President of LitvakSIG. “By allowing this collection to be searchable on the MyHeritage platform, LitvakSIG is fulfilling its mission to promote widely Lithuanian-Jewish (Litvak) genealogical research. This arrangement will enable LitvakSIG to accelerate the pace of publishing new records, which will be added to the collection on MyHeritage in the future.”"

    The Lithuanian-Jewish Records from LitvakSIG collection is available on MyHeritage. Searching the collection is free. A subscription is required to view the full records and to access Record Matches.

    Search the collection now

    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 4.8 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 animating, enhancing, and colorizing historical photos.

    About LitvakSIG

    LitvakSIG is the primary internet resource for Lithuanian-Jewish (Litvak) genealogy research worldwide. LitvakSIG is dedicated to discovering and preserving Litvak heritage. Its mission is to discover, collect, document, disseminate and preserve information about the once vibrant Jewish community of Lithuania. LitvakSIG's vehicle for disseminating genealogical data, the "All-Lithuania Database", will not be affected by the arrangement with MyHeritage.

  • 8 Mar 2021 5:10 PM | Anonymous

    This article was removed because of a significant typo error in the source document that resulted in a mix-up. I am investigating the error and will republish it again here if a corrected source document is located.

     - Dick Eastman

  • 8 Mar 2021 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    NOTE: See the update to this article at:

    The following announcement was written by the organizers of the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show:

    The virtual shows of February are over! Family historians can now ready themselves for the second the Federation of Family History Societies' REALLY USEFUL Family History Show, to be hosted by the Family History Federation and Parish Chest on Saturday 10th April. The show builds on the success of the first Show held last November.

    There are over twenty top presentations on a wide range of genealogical topics. Plus over sixty exhibitors are already confirmed who will be actively manning their booths and happy to discuss topics with visitors. Many talks will be available for up to seven days from opening of the show giving attendees ample time to visit exhibitors on the day then catch up on talks later. In addition there will be workshops along with the ever-popular “Ask the Experts” (pre-booking essential). And don’t forget the goody bag…!

    Regular updates will be on:

    This is THE show for unique opportunity in one place to visit many family history societies for access to local expertise and information, plus other organisations providing supplies for the family historian. And to enjoy over twenty full-length presentations by leading specialists. A comment from an attendee at the last show says it all: The talks were brilliant and it was a great chance to ask for advice from various family history societies.

    All this without leaving your armchair!

    All inclusive tickets are just £10 per person

    BOOK NOW to visit the festival of Really Useful things for family historians!

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