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  • 1 Dec 2022 5:59 AM | Anonymous

    Today is the first day of the month. Today is an excellent time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

    Your backups aren't worth much unless you make a quick test by restoring a small file or two after the backup is completed.

    Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often. (My computers automatically make off-site backups of all new files every few minutes.)

    Given the events of the past few months during the pandemic with genealogy websites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer, what happens if you have a hard drive crash or other disaster? If you have one or more recent backup copies, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

    Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month? or even more often?

  • 30 Nov 2022 6:38 PM | Anonymous

    If you had ancestors or relatives who died in while serving in the Canadian military  during the World War I years, be sure you’ve looked for their estate files. Those files will provide more insight into how the turmoil of war impacted on your family, as well as (with a little luck) some unexpected treasures.

    It isn’t difficult to imagine that a war that caused the deaths of some 60,000 young Canadian men and women would affect the plans families had to pass on the goods and property they had accumulated over a lifetime or perhaps several lifetimes. The War years saw fathers or mothers acting as executors for their sons and daughters, and young wives administering their husbands’ estates—decades earlier than they expected. That wasn’t the way things were supposed to happen. It was supposed to be the other way around.

    You can read a lot more in an article by Jane E. MacNamara published in the Where The Story Takes Me web site at

    My  thanks to newsletter reader Terry Mulcahy for informing me about this article.


  • 30 Nov 2022 6:16 PM | Anonymous

    From an article by Deepti Hajela published in The Washington Post:

    The New York-based Center for Jewish History is launching the DNA Reunion Project, offering DNA testing kits for free through an application on its website. 

    For those who use the kits it is also offering a chance to get some guidance on next steps from genealogists.

    Those genealogists, Jennifer Mendelsohn and Adina Newman, have been doing this kind of work over the last several years, and run a Facebook group about Jewish DNA and genetic genealogy.

    The advent of DNA technology has opened up a new world of possibilities in addition to the paper trails and archives that Holocaust survivors and their descendants have used to learn about family connections severed by genocide, Newman said.

    You can read more at:

  • 30 Nov 2022 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Quoting from the web site:

    The 1921 census records, made up of over 9000 volumes of enumeration district books, have now been released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) on the online research service ScotlandsPeople. 200,000 images of 4.8 million individual records can now be searched, viewed and downloaded and have been added to the census returns already available on the website, covering every 10 years from 1841.

    The census is a survey which collects information on every household, building and vessel in Scotland on a particular night. The enumeration books contain all of the information transcribed from the household schedules (which were destroyed after work on the census was completed) and can be seen online as full colour images.  

    An example page from the 1921 census enumerating some of the inhabitants of the fishing village of Helmsdale in the parish of Kildonan Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland, 1921 census, 052/3 page 9

    An example page from the 1921 census enumerating some of the inhabitants of the fishing village of Helmsdale in the parish of Kildonan
    Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland, 1921 census, 052/3 page 9

    The 1921 census revealed that the population of Scotland had reached 4,882,500 inhabitants; twice as large as had been recorded in 1831, and three times the size as in 1801. The effects of the First World War (1914-1918) and the influenza pandemic known as ‘Spanish ‘Flu’ (1918) had been felt, however, by local communities and were reflected in the 1921 returns. Between the 1911 and 1921 census the male population had grown by 38,803 and the female population by 82,790, totalling 121,593 individuals or a growth of around 2.5%. This was, however, the smallest increase since 1801 in any census period due to war and emigration.

    Over the years, the questions which formed the census have varied, but all are a guide to what the government at the time wanted to know about its population, including its size and age, location, sex and the variety of occupations employing its citizens. Details captured by the census were used to inform government policy at the time; immediately after the census was taken, as is still the case, statistics were made available publicly for demographic purposes. Today, however, these records offer a rich resource of contemporary information which can be explored by historians and genealogists alike in order to trace people, the history of buildings or local areas. 

    You can read a lot more at:

  • 30 Nov 2022 1:35 PM | Anonymous

    MyHeritage users Vanesa and Emilio from Valencia, Spain, were adopted at birth and spent years searching for their biological families. Then, they took DNA tests through MyHeritage and discovered each other: full siblings!

    “My message is simple… don’t lose hope, and take a DNA test. I had completely lost hope,” says Emilio.

    You can read this heartwarming story in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 30 Nov 2022 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    This is somewhat of a duplicate of the article 1960 Census: NARA’s Already Working Toward 2032 published in this newsletter yesterday at However, it was written by a different person at NARA, offers a slightly different "view" of the preparations, and provides some information not in yesterday's article.

    The following article was written by the (U.S.) National Archives and Records Administration: 

    Though genealogists and other researchers are still busy researching the 1950 U.S. Federal Census, which the National Archives released entirely online April 1, the agency is already preparing for the next launch: the 1960 population census.

    Almost as soon as the 1950 Census schedules went live, work began on digitizing approximately 41,000 rolls of the microfilmed 1960 Census, a notable increase from the 6,373 rolls of the 1950 Census. The 1960 Census records are scheduled to be released in April 2032. 

    For the next decade, the agency will work on digitizing the census schedules as well as administrative records related to the census.

    “It’s amazing to see our staff shift from launching the 1950 Census to starting work on the next one,” said Digitization Division Director Denise Henderson. “Every census comes with unique, interesting challenges for digitization. We’re excited to figure out the best solutions for getting the 1960 Census online and sharing that wealth of information with the public in 2032.”

    Staff have already digitized a series of meetings and conference papers related to the 1960 Census, which can be found in the Catalog.

    Claire Kluskens, a Digital Projects Archivist and Genealogy/Census Related Records subject-matter expert, will be guiding researchers, family historians, and others through the 1960 Census, just as she did for the 1950 Census, via a series of blog posts and webinars. 

    Her work on the 1960 Census debuted last month with her blog post on the topic on History Hub, “1960 Census: NARA’s Already Working Toward 2032.” 

    Check out this post to find out why the 1960 Census has more than six times the microfilm rolls than the 1950 Census and why the agency has already begun its work.

    Kluskens will continue to highlight major features of the 1960 Census and how to research it in the decade-long leadup to its release in April 2032. You can follow along on History Hub and also catch up on her series about the 1950 Census

  • 29 Nov 2022 6:11 PM | Anonymous

    The following article is from the (U.S.) National Archives and Records Administration Blog:

    NARA expects to release the 1960 census on April 1, 2032.  This is the first in a series of blog posts on the 1960 census.

    Less than 10 years from now, on April 1, 2032, NARA expects to release the 1960 population census. Staff members are already at work to make this happen on time!  Why so soon?  The sheer volume of records makes it imperative.  There are 41,000 microfilm rolls of 1960 census records, which is 6.4 times more than the number of microfilm rolls for the 1950 census. The table below shows the number of accessioned census microfilm rolls received by NARA from the Bureau of the Census for the 1900 to 1960 censuses.  The number of rolls needed for each census depended upon the number of census pages, the length of microfilm used, the photographic reduction ratio, and the number of census pages filmed per roll.

    Census Year

    Number of

    Microfilm Rolls

    U.S. Population

    1900 1,854 76,212,168
    1910 1,784 92,228,496
    1920 2.076 106,021,537
    1930 2,668 123,202,624
    1940 4,645 132,164,569
    1950 6,373 151,325,798
    1960 41,000 179,323,175


    Why are there 41,000 16mm microfilm rolls? The 1960 census was conducted mostly by self-enumeration so each household has a separate census form. Separate forms meant more paper, and more paper meant more microfilm (photograph) images.  The paper forms were destroyed after microfilming.  In addition, 1960 census microfilm rolls tend to be around 100 feet in length, which is much shorter than most microfilm rolls from prior census years. 

    What is NARA doing now?

      • We’ve started scanning the population census microfilm to create high quality digital images that will be released on April 1, 2032. As microfilm rolls are scanned, staff members will create “metadata” that identify state, county, Enumeration District number, and other necessary information.
      • We’ve started reviewing the administrative (background) records for interesting and useful records about the planning, taking, and analysis of the 1960 census. Digital images of some of these unrestricted records will be added to NARA’s Catalog over the next 10 years.  Our 1960 Census Blog post series will discuss that material.

    What is NARA doing now?

    Title 13 of the United States Code prohibits unauthorized disclosure of confidential census information, such as the 1960 and later population census records. NARA takes this responsibility seriously and protects the records in several ways:

      • NARA keeps confidential census microfilm in secure temperature and humidity controlled archival storage locations to which only specific designated individuals have access.
      • NARA limits the number of staff who work with confidential census records.  These staff members must be authorized by the Bureau of the Census (BOC) to work with confidential material and take the same annual training as employees of the BOC.  They are sworn for life (or until the materials are legally released for public use) to protect confidential census information.
      • NARA employees who are authorized to work with confidential census material are granted access only to the materials they need to conduct their immediate work assignments, and lose access to materials they no longer need to work with.
      • Digital images of restricted microfilmed census records are stored on secure servers that are not connected to the internet.

    Census records tell us about the past, but archival institutions like NARA must continually think about and plan for the future.  As Fleetwood Mac once wrote, “Don’t stop thinking about the future, it will soon be here….”

    Author's Note:  In the table above, the number of microfilm rolls is the total for both the United States and its territories and overseas possessions; the U.S. population figures are for the United States only.

  • 29 Nov 2022 6:05 PM | Anonymous

    From an interesting article by Sara Jabakhanji published in the VBC News web site:

    Experts in genetics and criminology say this is an "exciting time" for DNA mining technology and its potential impact in helping solve cold cases — after police identified and charged a man in the deaths of two women in Toronto dating back nearly four decades.

    Ontario Provincial Police arrested Joseph George Sutherland, 61, in northern Ontario on Nov. 24. Sutherland was brought to Toronto to face two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Susan Tice and Erin Gilmour in 1983, both of whom were sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in their beds, four months apart.

    In a news conference Monday, Toronto police said the findings would not have been possible without the help of investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) to identify and trace back the family tree of the accused.

    "It's a very, very exciting time because if we can essentially resolve even a small percentage more of our missing persons or unidentified human remains cases, that's really incredible," said Nicole Novroski, an assistant professor of forensic genetics at the University of Toronto.

    "The technology itself is incredibly useful and incredibly powerful within this investigative arena," she told CBC Toronto.

    But Novroski also said it's important that the database collected is done so with public consent. The process involves cross-referencing DNA found at crime scenes with samples voluntarily submitted to services such as 23andMe or and then uploaded to open-source databases like GEDmatch, a site that compares DNA data files from various testing companies.

    "The number one thing to remember is that everybody who is in the database should be providing their consent to be in the database, to be searched against or to be searched for in order for this to be kind of a viable technology that people are comfortable using."

    The full article is much longer and provides numerous details. You can read it at:

  • 29 Nov 2022 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    Apple has announced its list of App Store award winners for this year along with the top chart for most downloaded apps and games across free and paid categories. These awards include apps for all of the company’s platforms including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and Apple TV. 

    What caught my eye is that Synium Software GmbH’s MacFamilyTree 10 — a visual family tree exploration app — was noted as the top Macintosh app of the year.

    You can read the announcements at:

    Synium Software GmbH’s MacFamilyTree 10 may be found at:

    Quoting the program's description on the Synium web site:

    MacFamilyTree 10 - Genealogy for Mac

    Discover and experience your personal family history, explore your origins, your ancestors, and how your family has evolved over the course of time. MacFamilyTree 10 offers you a wide range of options to capture and visualize your family history. Search the free FamilySearch archive, which contains billions of genealogical entries, and continue your research on the go, using MobileFamilyTree (available separately) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

    No matter how you want to document your findings, MacFamilyTree 10 is the perfect genealogy solution for you. Display your relationships in reports, visually appealing charts, or the innovative Virtual Tree 3D view, or invite other users to contribute to your family tree in real time by using the free "CloudTree Sync&Share" feature.

    Also available for iOS & iPadOS: MobileFamilyTree 10

  • 29 Nov 2022 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    In 1920, after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Boston's women registered to vote by the thousands. The 1920 Women's Voter Registers now live at the Boston City Archives and document women's names, addresses, places of birth and occupations. Sometimes women provided additional information about their naturalization process to become a US citizen, including where their husbands were born because in 1920, a woman's citizenship status was tied to her husband's nationality. 

    The Mary Eliza Project, named after African American nurse, civil rights activist, and Boston voter Mary Eliza Mahoney, is transcribing these valuable handwritten records into an easily searchable and sortable dataset. We've recently finished transcribing the Ward 11 registers and have added them into our dataset. Transforming the Ward 11 Women Voters Registers into a dataset gives us new information and insights into the lives of women in northern Dorchester. 

    Most Ward 11 women voters were born in Massachusetts, but we also found large numbers of women born in Ireland and Canada. Women born in Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Norway, Poland, and more also make an appearance. 

    You can read more at:

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