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  • 16 Mar 2023 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    There is a new genealogy service available these days, but it is a bit different from most other genealogy-related services. The company is called Storied and the company's service is called StoryAssist™.

    I saw StoryAssist™ in action at the recent RootsTech conference and have used the service briefly. I'm hooked and am now working on a much larger StoryAssist™ project.

    The brief description of StoryAssist™ is that it is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine that empowers users to enter a few details and then it generates a draft article for sharing with others that can be edited and published as family history stories on the Storied platform.

    Quoting from the company's introduction of the new service:

    "StoryAssist™ is the first AI-powered tool to help family history enthusiasts capture rich details from the past at a speed and scale previously impossible. With StoryAssist™, users simply select a tone (e.g. “happy”) and add a few details. From there, StoryAssist™ produces a draft that the user can edit and publish on Storied in a few seconds.

    “At Storied, our vision is to make online family history accessible to more people and to help users paint a more complete picture of their rich past. This means it needs to be as simple and effortless as possible to make connections and publish stories,” said Storied CEO Kendall Hulet. “StoryAssist is a phenomenal tool to accomplish these goals, and it’s just the first of many AI-enabled features we plan to launch on the Storied platform."

    Formerly called World Archives, Storied launched its new brand and online family history platform in public beta on January 18, 2023. Backed by Charles Thayne Capital—and built by former executives—Storied delivers a modernized approach for casual and serious family history enthusiasts around the globe to connect, discover, and reminisce about the moments that matter, whether recent or in the distant past.

    Storied has embraced AI in a wide range of applications, from the platform itself to new features and the marketing produced for the company’s rebrand and product launch, which received national attention.

    “We want to leverage all the tools at our disposal to bring family history 3.0 into the mainstream,” Hulet said. “That includes designing an elegant product experience and using emerging technologies in intelligent ways. StoryAssist™ is a terrific example of technology making it easier for users to get tremendous value out of a product feature with minimal time and effort required.”

    During Storied’s public beta, users can build family trees, create and share stories, and receive hint notifications for free. Paid plans, which start at $4.99 a month, enable users to create private groups and gain access to billions of records and newspaper articles from 46 countries.

    Learn more about StoryAssist in this short video. To start your next chapter of discovery, visit

    About Storied

    Storied is the next chapter in family history. Backed by Charles Thayne Capital, and built by former executives and technologists, Storied leverages next-generation family history technology and billions of records to deliver a fresh approach to discovering, capturing, preserving, and sharing stories about the past. To learn more, visit

  • 16 Mar 2023 12:39 PM | Anonymous

    I have written frequently about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and the reasons why everyone should be using one. (I am a believer in what I preach. I am using a VPN to post this article online. When I turn my computer on in the morning, it immediately connects to the Internet via a VPN and remains connected all day long. The same is true for my laptop computer when traveling and for my cell phone wherever I am.)

    Now one of the bigger VPN providers has announced the addition of unlimited simultaneous connections. Private Internet Access is one of the most popular VPNs. Many VPN providers place a limit on how many devices you can have connected at once, partially to manage network capacity, and also to prevent someone from sharing their account with many other people. 

    Starting today, PIA is dropping its device limit entirely, allowing people to have as many devices connected through the same subscription as desired. The company said in its announcement, “PIA’s new offer of unlimited device connections per subscription applies to both new and existing customers, and is a significant upgrade from the 10 device connections previously offered.”

    Private Internet Access already has most of the features you would expect from a VPN provider, including apps on every major platform, browser extensions, WireGuard support, servers across the world, and limited support for streaming services. Most people probably weren’t maxing out that 10-device connection limit, but dropping it certainly makes PIA a better overall value.

    You can learn more about the service from PIA’s official site: (scroll down to the section entitled Want To Know More? for more information about VPNs).

  • 16 Mar 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was issued by Heritage Canada:

    The Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez announced the reappointment of Leslie Weir as Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a four-year term, effective August 30, 2023.

    Since her first appointment in August 2019, Leslie Weir has led Library and Archives Canada through a series of exceptional challenges and major initiatives. In addition to guiding the institution through the COVID-19 pandemic, she oversaw the development of the library’s Vision 2030 strategic plan and the launch of digital and service transformations to better serve Canadians. Weir has also helped guide major building projects, such as the Gatineau 2 Preservation Storage Facility and Ādisōke, the joint facility with the Ottawa Public Library.

    Before joining the library, Ms. Weir was university librarian at the University of Ottawa, where she founded the bilingual School of Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts. She previously worked at the National Library of Canada, Statistics Canada Library and Côte St. Luc Public Library in Montréal.

    In her career, Weir has played a key role in launching many significant library and archives research projects. She was a founding architect of the Scholars Portal, a research infrastructure initiative for Ontario universities, hosted at the University of Toronto. As President of, she oversaw the launch of the Heritage Project, which digitized 60 million heritage archival images in partnership with LAC, which are publicly accessible. She also played a leading role in the development of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network and the Canadian Digital Content for the Social and Human Sciences Project.

    Weir has served as President of both the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Ontario Library Association, as well as Chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries. She is a Professional Division Chair and member of the Professional Council at the International Federation of Library Associations. She has received numerous awards, including the CLA/Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship (2015), the Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (2016), the Ontario Council of University Libraries Lifetime Achievement Award (2018) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship (2018).

    Weir holds a Master’s degree in Library Science from McGill University and a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University.

  • 16 Mar 2023 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release issued by Library and Archives Canada:

    After the legislated 92 years in the vault, the highly anticipated 1931 Census of Canada will be made available to the public. Collected during the Great Depression and at a time of significant immigration, the census provides a snapshot of the more than 10 million people living in Canada in 1931. On June 1, 2023, Canadians can expect to browse the digitized census images by geographic district and sub-district on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website. Following the initial release, LAC will work collaboratively with Ancestry® and FamilySearch International to create an advanced searchable database for Canadians and those with Canadian heritage who wish to look for their ancestors.

    In this collaborative effort to increase access to the 1931 Census of Canada, LAC has digitized all 234,687 pages of the census, and Ancestry will apply its state-of-the-art handwriting recognition technology to the digital images to create a full index of the entire census. FamilySearch will then review the computer-generated index to ensure a complete and accurate index of all fields at a level never achieved before. The images and indexes will be available and searchable online for free through Census Search, Library and Archives Canada’s new one-stop shop for national census records. The images and indexes will also be available on and

    LAC has been working in collaboration with external organizations including Ancestry and FamilySearch for over 20 years to help preserve, and provide access to, its genealogically significant historical records. Today, collaborations between private organizations and public institutions are the meeting ground of cutting-edge technology and subject-matter expertise. This collaborative partnership is key to meeting public demand and ensuring that the 1931 Census of Canada can be viewed and searched online more quickly than previous censuses.

    Users can bookmark LAC’s Preparing the 1931 Census web page to stay up to date on the project’s status.

    About Library and Archives Canada

    The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to acquire and preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

    About Ancestry®

    Ancestry®, the global leader in family history, empowers journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. With our unparalleled collection of more than 40 billion records, over 3 million subscribers and over 23 million people in our growing DNA network, customers can discover their family story and gain a new level of understanding about their lives. For over 40 years, we’ve built trusted relationships with millions of people who have chosen us as the platform for discovering, preserving and sharing the most important information about themselves and their families. 

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to make joyful, personal, and family discoveries. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 FamilySearch centres in 129 countries, including the main FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 16 Mar 2023 8:28 AM | Anonymous

    One of the many presentations at RootsTech 2023 that was videotaped is now available online. I was in the audience during this presentation and enjoyed it. I hope you will also. MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet discussed several recent additions to the service. Gilad gave a sneak peek of one exclusive new photo feature that will be released very soon. 

    You can watch the video in the in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 16 Mar 2023 8:21 AM | Anonymous

    TouringCars.Net is today (14 March) announcing the launch of the Touring Car Database, featuring one of the internet’s most comprehensive sources of tin-top history and information.

    Data spanning more than four decades, 263 seasons, 4,066 races, 3,477 drivers, 2,438 qualifying sessions and over 30,000 photographs (and counting) is included in the comprehensive dataset.

    As well as this, contextual information on 216 individual circuits and venues is presented, along with graphical representations and historical configurations of each track.

    Utilising this data, detailed statistical lists and comparisons are able to be presented. Whilst for some series (such as the British Touring Car Championship), a currently incomplete list of race winners is presented, for others, detailed comprehensive lists can be assessed.

    The announcement follows many years of research from TouringCars.Net into the history of the sport at a national and international level. This research remains an ongoing project, with the intention of pulling together as much of a complete dataset as possible.

    You can learn more in an article by Andrew Abbott published in the web site at: 

  • 16 Mar 2023 8:13 AM | Anonymous

    A new federal archivist is one step closer to Senate confirmation after a committee voted to approve her, despite controversy over the National Archives’ handling of presidential records and Equal Rights Amendment ratification.

    The full Senate is finally going to get to vote on President Biden’s nominee to be archivist. 

    The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-4 (among those present) on Wednesday to advance Colleen Shogan’s nomination to be archivist of the United States. She was most recently a senior vice president and director at the White House Historical Association and previously worked at the Library of Congress and Congressional Research Service. She was also a professor at George Mason University, and wrote a series of mystery novels. 

    Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called for the vote to be postponed following allegations from a whistleblower, who is a former employee of Shogan. The whistleblower claimed that when Shogan was at the Congressional Research Service “she engaged in partisan conduct and abusive behavior allegedly, that she allegedly made unsolicited statements of support for political candidates in the workplace, [and] that she also attempted to organize signing events for her book on federal property during work hours for commercial gain,” the senator said. Also, the whistleblower alleged Shogan engaged in “abuse, retaliation, and persecution,” said Hawley, who sent a letter to the Congressional Research Service about the situation on Tuesday.  

    “Shogan categorically denied the accusations described by Hawley in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee dated March 10,” The Hill reported on Wednesday. “The nominee noted she received multiple promotions during her 12-year career at the Library of Congress, earned ‘outstanding performance ratings and awards’ and didn’t face a single reprimand, sanction or warning.” This came after Hawley and other Republicans criticized and scrutinized Shogan for her tweets, leading to her failure to advance out of committee the first time. 

    Government Executive asked Shogan via LinkedIn message for additional comment on the situation, but she did not immediately respond. The Library of Congress, which houses the Congressional Research Service, said it doesn’t comment on personnel matters, when asked about the letter and allegations. 

    During her confirmation hearing last month, Shogun testified that her priorities would include reducing the backlog of over 300,000 veterans’ records requests and looking for opportunities to declassify older records. In the fall, the Society of American Archivists, Council of State Archivists, American Historical Associationand EveryLibrary (a political action committee for libraries) all urged her confirmation. 

    You can read more in an article by Courtney Bublé published in the Government Executive web site at:

  • 15 Mar 2023 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    The MyHeritage Irish collections include Irish birth, marriage, death, census, wills, atlases, directories, calendars, historical books, registers, passenger lists, prisoner, and registration records. Many of the collections also include images.

    The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

    We are pleased to announce that in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, we are making all 106 of our Irish record collections available to search for free for a limited time, March 14–19, 2023! If you have Irish heritage, you may get lucky and discover a family treasure!

    Search Irish collections on MyHeritage for free!

    The MyHeritage Irish collections include Irish birth, marriage, death, census, wills, atlases, directories, calendars, historical books, registers, passenger lists, prisoner, and registration records. Many of the collections also include images. 

    Here is an example from the Irish collections.

    The 1901 Irish census collection contains a record of renowned Irish writer, James Joyce. The record contains his birth year, circa 1882; place, County Dublin, Ireland; and religion, Roman Catholic. His occupation is listed as “student” and his age as 19. The record includes his father’s name, John Stanislaus Joyce, and mother’s name, Mary Joyce. It also lists all of his nine siblings: Eileen, Mabel, Florence, Margaret Alice, Eva May, May Kathleen, Charles Patrick, John Stanislaus, and George Alfred. In the Household section in the record, you can flip between different members to view their entire records. You can also click the icon at the top right corner to see the image of the record as it appears on the Irish National Archives site.

    You can read more in the MyHeritage Blog at:
  • 15 Mar 2023 3:45 PM | Anonymous

    When Civil War soldiers were stationed in Northern Virginia, they left behind drawings, written passages, and other graffiti that serve as a historical record.

    Now those markings at two historic Virginia sites are being preserved thanks to a partnership between George Mason University’s award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), the Fairfax City’s Office of Historic Resources, and the Brandy Station Foundation. The partnership recently received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation and Access, to support the project.

    The grant “Off the Wall: Digital Preservation of Civil War Graffiti Houses” will develop a proposal for an eventual implementation grant aimed at digitizing and contextualizing the graffiti and associated ancillary materials held by Historic Blenheim in Fairfax and the Brandy Station Foundation in Culpeper related to the graffiti in their two historic house museums.

    Working with R.B. Toth Associates LLC of Oakton, this grant will use a range of digital imaging technology and work processes to capture the graffiti on the walls of Historic Blenheim and the Graffiti House at Brandy Station, and develop a metadata schema that will allow for the digitization and contextualization of the graffiti. This schema will serve as a model for future digitization projects of images on vertical surfaces.

    “The graffiti gives you an insight into the lived experience of an individual soldier who was struggling to deal with an incredibly brutal war,” said Mills Kelly, director of RRCHNM and project manager.

    You can read more in an article by Shayla Brown published in George Mason University’s web site at:

  • 15 Mar 2023 8:16 AM | Anonymous

    Every March 17, millions of people pause to reflect on their Irish heritage. Conceived as a Saint's Day in the Catholic Church, Saint Patrick's Day is now a time of celebration for millions. However, many of us have little knowledge of the man whose name we celebrate.

    First of all, Saint Patrick wasn't even Irish. He was a Roman citizen. The place of his birth is disputed. Many biographies claim that he was born in Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton in Scotland, in the year 387. Others claim he was born in the village of Bannavem of Taburnia (vico banavem taburniae in his Confession), which has never been securely identified. Still others claim that Saint Patrick was born somewhere along the coastline of Wales or in northern France or in the settlement of Bannaventa in Northamptonshire.

    His original name is recorded as Maewyn Succat. In his Confessio, Patrick names his father as Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, who was Romano-British. A questionable old tradition makes his mother from the upper-class Gaulish family of Martin of Tours, though Patrick makes no such prideful claim.

    At the age of sixteen, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftain named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim in Ireland. He was soon sold to another chieftain in the area. The future saint spent six years tending his master's flocks near the modern town of Ballymena. During this time he learned to speak fluent Celtic. 

    After six years of bondage, Patrick escaped, apparently by simply walking away at a convenient opportunity. He wandered for some time, eventually finding his way to Westport. There he found a ship ready to set sail and was allowed on board. In a few days he was in Britain, safe under Roman rule. He then traveled extensively to other lands and studied religion. Patrick spent time in St. Martin's monastery at Tours and at the island sanctuary of Lérins. He met Saint Germain and became a student of the great bishop. When Germain was commissioned by the Holy See to proceed to Britain to combat the erroneous teachings of Pelagius, he chose Patrick to be one of his missionary companions.

    Pope St. Celestine the First had taken note of the young man's abilities and commissioned Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into the Catholic Church; he also gave him the name "Patercius" or "Patritius." It was probably in the summer months of the year 433 that Patrick and his companions landed at the mouth of the Vantry River in Ireland, close by Wicklow Head. The Druids were against his missionary work and wanted to kill him, so Patrick searched for friendly territory in which to enter on his mission. Near Slemish, the missionary was horrified to see in the distance the fort of his old master, Milchu, enveloped in flames. It seems the fame of Patrick's marvelous power of miracles had preceded him. In anticipation of Patrick’s arrival, Milchu had gathered his treasures into his mansion and set it on fire, casting himself into the flames in a fit of frenzy. An ancient record adds, "His pride could not endure the thought of being vanquished by his former slave." 

    Saint Patrick traveled all over Ireland, preaching wherever people gathered. His sermons were not always well received, and many attempted to murder him. Saint Patrick wrote in his "Confessio" that twelve times he and his companions were seized and carried off as captives. On one occasion in particular, he was loaded with chains, and his death was decreed. However, Saint Patrick always managed to escape death. He converted thousands to Christianity and built many churches. It is recorded that he consecrated no fewer than 350 bishops. Legends attribute many miracles to Saint Patrick. 

    Saint Patrick died on 17 March, and that date is now dedicated to his memory. While the day and month is known, the year is not so certain. Various histories and biographies claim that he died in A.D. 462, 492, or 493. It is not known for sure where his remains were laid, either, although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be his final resting place, as its name seems to proclaim. 

    There are many Web sites devoted to Saint Patrick, providing a wealth of material. You can read more at, and many others. 

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