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  • 5 Jan 2021 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    The following was first published in the IAJGS Records Access Alert mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    The IAJGS Records Access Alert previously informed its readers that 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 the sale by the Office of Management and Budget. See: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the PBRB will offer the buildings early this year for an expedited sale in a single portfolio. 

    As reported by ABC News, Washington, Oregon and two dozen Native American and Alaska Native tribes and cultural groups are suing the federal government to stop the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle. The sale would force the relocation of invaluable historical records thousands of miles away—to Riverside, California and Kansas City, Missouri.

    The PBRB is selling the property under a law aimed at unloading excess federal property. The lawsuit disputes that contention saying the building is anything but excess. The documents included in the building are used for research from everything from tribal history to Japanese internment during World War ll and fur seal hunts on remote Alaskan islands.  While the federal government says they will digitize many of the items that could take excessively long periods as these documents are not currently digitized. 

    The sale is opposed by all 8 US Senators and many US Representatives from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. 

    For more information see:

    Thank you to Barbara J. Mathews, CG CG, FASG, President of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council for sharing the article.

    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 and more 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

  • 4 Jan 2021 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in December of 2020 with over 28 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. New historical records were added from Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Guatemala, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Samoa, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zambia, and the United States, which includes  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    Find your ancestors using these free archives online, including birth, marriage, death, and church records. Millions of new genealogy records are added each month to make your search easier.

    The full list is very long, too long to publish here. You can find the full list at:

    Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check back next month and, in the meantime, search existing records on FamilySearch.

  • 4 Jan 2021 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    Since 2008, GenSoftReviews has had users write 5,874 reviews for the 1,041 different genealogy-based programs listed at the site. Every year, the reviews are summarized and published online. While somewhat unscientific, the result is a list of the genealogy programs that others are using and an analysis of which ones were the higher-rated programs.

    NOTE: The word "programs" includes the cloud-based programs including: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding© ("TNG"), Genealogie Online, GedSite, and others.

    As written in the summation, "The goal of GenSoftReviews is to encourage developers to build genealogy software that their users like. Congratulations to the award winners. You have a majority of users who are willing to praise you for your software."

    You can find the 2020 GenSoftReviews Users Choice Awards at and many details of the programs listed at

  • 4 Jan 2021 12:32 PM | Anonymous

    Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go back in time and talk with your ancestors? Unfortunately, technology hasn't progressed that far... yet. Not even for our English-speaking ancestors.

    However, Simon Roper is an expert in the English language as it changed over the years. He has now recorded a YouTube video in which he speaks in what is believed to be an example of "modern English." He provides an example of English as it was spoken in southern England every 60 years, starting in the year 1346 A.D.

    English? I couldn't understand a word of English in the year 1346!

    You can check it out for yourself at

  • 31 Dec 2020 2:41 PM | Anonymous

  • 31 Dec 2020 1:19 PM | Anonymous

    2020 may have been the year of cloud storage. It has become a useful tool for all computer owners. I have become more productive in the past year because of the ease of having all my data with me wherever I go.

    At the moment, the biggest hurdle to actually using all that storage is bandwidth. Even on a relatively fast connection in the United States, it can take weeks to upload a terabyte of data.

    The availability of safe and secure online storage available at very low prices has changed the way I work forever. My personal backups are in additional copies backed up on to make sure everything remains available in case pCloud ever becomes unavailable for some reason. Yes, I have backups to my backups. I suggest you do something similar also.

    I haven’t given up local backups, of course, because old habits die hard. I also keep backups of every file that ever existed on my Macintosh systems by using Apple’s TimeMachine backup software and external hard drives that plug into each Mac. That includes my laptop and the two iMac desktop systems I have at my two locations.

    In the not-so-distant future, we’ll marvel at the old-fashioned idea that people used to keep terabytes of data on big in-home hard drives where they were subject to hardware failures, fires, floods, and other things that destroy such drives.

    Where are your backups?

  • 31 Dec 2020 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    According to an article by Darrell Etherington published in the TechCrunch web site:

    "DNA testing technology company 23andMe has raised just shy of $82.5 million in new funding, from an offering of $85 million in total equity shares, according to a new SEC filing. The funding, confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, comes from investors including Sequoia Capital and NewView Capital. It brings the total raised by 23andMe to date to over $850 million.

    "There’s no specific agenda earmarked for this Series F round, according to a statement from the company to the WSJ, beyond general use to continue to fund and grow the business. 23andMe’s business is based on its distribution of individual home genetic testing kits, which provide customers with insights about their potential health and their family tree based on their DNA."

    You may find the article at:

  • 30 Dec 2020 10:11 PM | Anonymous

    The North Carolina State Archives Website has just moved to an updated version of its website. Although the primary address ( remains the same, there will be some changes to web addresses deeper within the site, primarily to pages that host documents like lesson plans, finding aids, guidance documentation, and record schedules. If you have one of these pages bookmarked you may need to verify that the link is still correct and, if the location has changed, create a new bookmark.

    While the move is expected to proceed smoothly, there are bound to be a few glitches with any project of this magnitude. Archives' personnel ask for your patience while they complete this work and apologize in advance for any inconvenience it may cause.

  • 30 Dec 2020 10:01 PM | Anonymous

    The U.S. National Museum of Women in the Arts is asking the public to share recipes that document unique family histories.

    "Family recipes, whether invented on the fly or handed down through generations, often become treasured heirlooms, offering a window into the private lives, flavors and histories of one’s ancestors. Now, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is giving the public a chance to share their relatives’ beloved recipes with a broader audience.

    "The Washington, D.C. institution—the only major museum dedicated exclusively to women artists—is currently accepting submissions for an online exhibition, “Reclamation: Recipes, Remedies, and Ritual,” slated to open on January 18. Participants are encouraged to share their family recipes, as well as pictures of the dish, anecdotes and reflections on its significance, through an online form.

    "The program is part of the museum’s “Women, Arts, and Social Change” initiative, which seeks to highlight “the power of women and the arts as catalysts for change.” Per a statement, community recipe submissions will feature in the museum’s first-ever exclusively online, interactive exhibition alongside creations by nine artists.

    “[Recipes] will be layered with the artists’ work, creating a dynamic portal for exploring the interconnectedness of food and the communal nature of nourishing and curing the body,” the statement notes. “In this way, both artists and viewers will use those materials to honor women’s roles in the practices and traditions surrounding food.”"

    You can read more in an article by Nora McGreevy in the Smithsonian Magazine website at:

  • 30 Dec 2020 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    From an article by I. C. Murrell published in the Port Arthur News web site:

    "Some Sabine Pass (Texas) School students and their instructor are determined to restore headstones of those buried in nearby cemeteries that date back to the 19th century.

    "Noah Escareno, Allan Cantu, and Cody Schaller were in Scott Hagedorn’s graphic design class last spring when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted their plans to create these monuments. Through the use of historical data and 21st-century technology, the first headstone will soon be restored.

    “'It’s a long time coming, since we’ve been working on it for most of last year,' Schaller said. 'It’s going to be nice finally getting to finish it, especially since COVID hit to stop it. We worked on it for a long time last year.'

    “It took a lot of time and effort, a lot of different days going into the cemetery when it was really cold outside, a lot of field trips and walking with the iPads and phones and taking videos of everything, all the tombstones that were destroyed and where they were at. We had to build a layout of the entire cemetery so we would know where the old tombstones were and the bodies were buried. So, it was a whole lot of work.”

    The full article is much longer and goes on to describe the use of 3D printing, robotics, a laser-etching machine, and more in the article at:

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