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  • 4 Jun 2021 6:56 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

    This time of year is stressful for genealogists who live in areas where hurricanes are an issue. The hurricane season in the southeastern United States last from June 1st through November 30. High winds, flooding, downed trees, and more are common. During hurricanes, the news media often reports numerous cases of homes and the contents of homes that were damaged or destroyed.

    The hurricanes of recent years should teach all of us many lessons. One lesson concerns preparedness; waiting until a hurricane is bearing down on you is not the time to start planning!

    Of course, hurricanes are not the only disasters we face. Other parts of the nation face tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, and other threats. While not as common in the U.S., I well remember the 1980 volcano explosion of Mount Saint Helens.

    Some years ago I remember watching a television news story from California when a reporter interviewed a woman in front of her burning home during a wild fire that leveled the entire neighborhood. The woman was obviously crying and, when asked about her losses, she moaned that she had lost years of genealogy work in the flames.

    Widespread disasters are not the only threat to your genealogy records. Of course, anyone can suffer from a burst water pipe or even a local fire that ruins documents, photographs, fabrics, and many other precious items.

    You may be covered by homeowners insurance, but have you "insured" your many hours of genealogy searches? If a disaster does strike, will you be able to replace your genealogy records once you get your life back in order?

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/10592708.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

  • 4 Jun 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    An article in the 23andMe Blog will interest many genealogists:

    "Researchers at 23andMe have identified a new genetic variant associated with COVID-19 induced loss of smell and taste.

    "The findings, published in a preprint released on medRxiv, note that the genetic variant is near two olfactory genes.  Loss of smell and, or taste — also called anosmia — is a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. It is often the earliest indication of infection, and in some cases, the only symptom. An individual with one copy of the variant is about 11.5 percent more likely to lose their sense of smell or taste if infected compared to someone with zero copies.

    "The research adds another piece to the COVID-19 puzzle, and it builds on the work already done by 23andMe over the last year that includes new findings around the role blood type plays in severity and susceptibility to the virus. This piece of the puzzle is intriguing because the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 first enters the body and accumulates in olfactory support cells. The findings may offer researchers important insights into the biological pathway for infection.

    "For these findings, the researchers again used data from more than one million people who consented to participate in 23andMe’s COVID-19 Study.  By examining the differences in the genome between COVID-19 cases who did and did not experience loss of taste or smell, our scientists identified an association on chromosome 4 near the olfactory genes UGT2A1 and UGT2A2."

    You can read the entire article at:
  • 4 Jun 2021 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    This week’s Findmypast Friday sees the leading family history website expand their exclusive collection of Scottish parish registers with over half a million new Roman Catholic sacramental registers.

    Also new to the site this week are monumental inscriptions from England’s largest county as well a whole host of historical newspapers. 

    Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Registers

    646,933 new Scottish baptism, marriage, burial and congregational registers have been added to Findmypast’s exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive.

    Only available to search on Findmypast, the majority of these records cover the Archdiocese of Glasgow. This includes;

    Each record includes both a transcript and scanned colour image of the original document. The amount of information listed in these detail rich records may vary, although most results will reveal key biographical details as well as the date, parish, and location of the event that was being recorded.

    Baptisms will reveal the names of godparents and parents, enabling you to uncover details of previous generations as well as the identities of family friends or relatives. Marriages will provide the name of your ancestor’s spouse, father and witnesses while burials allow you to discover the final resting place of your ancestors, their age at death, marital status and in some cases even cause of death. 

    Congregational records are packed with other fascinating facts surrounding your ancestor’s relationship with the church such as details of their confirmation, first confession or even the location of their seat rental. 

    Visit the Scottish Catholic parish list for precise details on the churches and timeframes covered by each update.

    As many of the original registers were written in Latin, Findmypast have applied a Latin dictionary to the name search field. This gives their search the capability to search for the English and Latin versions of a name when the name variants option is selected.

    Today’s release marks just the latest update to the Catholic Heritage Archive, Findmypast’s ground-breaking digitisation project to bring millions of records from across Scotland, England, Ireland and American online for the very first time.

    The Roman Catholic Church holds some of the oldest and best-preserved family records which, until now, have remained locked away for centuries. By working with partners at various Archdiocese, Findmypast has enabled millions of users across the world to explore their Catholic roots online.

    Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions

    Chosen by Findmypast users in last week’s community poll, more records have Been added to this rich resource. A must-search for anyone with Yorkshire roots, the collection can reveal essential information about your Yorkshire relatives' lives, deaths and families. See Findmypasts Yorkshire parish list for more information this handy list.


    Five English and Irish newspapers are brand new to the site this week, along with updates to 11 other publications. Online for the first time are:

    While the following existing titles have been supplemented with additional pages:

  • 3 Jun 2021 9:29 PM | Anonymous

    The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder has documented daily life in the Twin Cities’ Black community for more than 85 years. But until recently, finding stories from that rich past meant slogging through stacks of old newsprint.

    Now, that history can be found with a few clicks. Archives reaching back to 1934 are online now at the Minnesota Historical Society's digital newspaper hub.

    "We've, over the years, have had a lot of phone calls about old articles. Because our archive system is kind of archaic, it wasn't very user-friendly. You'd be back there digging through old papers forever,” said Tracey Williams-Dillard, owner and publisher of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the state’s oldest Black-owned newspaper.

    “With it being digitized, now you can put a name in and all the articles that have that name, and it will pop up now,” she said. “This is super cool."

    Almost 11,000 pages of the Minneapolis Spokesman, one of the forerunners of today’s Spokesman-Recorder, can be accessed through the hub, said Anne Levin, the digital newspapers manager at the Minnesota Historical Society.

    Issues of the St. Paul Recorder, Twin-City Herald and Timely Digest will also be added to the digital hub in the next few months. Currently, about 8,530 pages of the Recorder are available, covering the years from 1934 to 1941. About 1,800 pages of the Herald and more than 200 pages of the Timely Digest are also digitized.

    You can read more in an article by Matt Mikus published in the MPRnews web site at:

    The Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub may be found at:

  • 3 Jun 2021 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    New laws in Maryland and Montana are the first in the nation to restrict law enforcement’s use of genetic genealogy, the DNA matching technique that in 2018 identified the Golden State Killer, in an effort to ensure the genetic privacy of the accused and their relatives.

    Beginning on Oct. 1, investigators working on Maryland cases will need a judge’s signoff before using the method, in which a “profile” of thousands of DNA markers from a crime scene is uploaded to genealogy websites to find relatives of the culprit. The new law, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers, also dictates that the technique be used only for serious crimes, such as murder and sexual assault. And it states that investigators may only use websites with strict policies around user consent.

    Montana’s new law, sponsored by a Republican, is narrower, requiring that government investigators obtain a search warrant before using a consumer DNA database, unless the consumer has waived the right to privacy.

    The laws “demonstrate that people across the political spectrum find law enforcement use of consumer genetic data chilling, concerning and privacy-invasive,” said Natalie Ram, a law professor at the University of Maryland who championed the Maryland law. “I hope to see more states embrace robust regulation of this law enforcement technique in the future.”

    The full article written by Virginia Hughes is much longer and can be found in the New York Times at:

  • 3 Jun 2021 1:29 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from an article by Ashley Murray and published in the Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Post-Gazette at

    If you’ve ever wanted to explore 19th-century Pittsburgh City Council records, learn what was happening in Allegheny City — today’s North Side — just before its annexation, or delve into the local development decisions during the last 100 years, you may be able to soon do so thanks to a national grant that will kick off two years of digging through files and books that have been hidden or forgotten in city basements.

    Just under $134,000 from the National Archives and Records Administration will fund the processing of 751 cubic feet of historical government records that contains seven collections from City Council, City Planning, the Planning Commission, the Department of Public Works, the Historic Review Commission and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

    The full article may be found at

    The public can find links to records that are currently digitized at

  • 2 Jun 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous

    A newsletter reader posted a comment recently expressing dissatisfaction that a set of images of Cook County, Illinois birth records has been removed from Indeed, removal of any online records of genealogical value is sad, hut not unusual. Such contract changes are quite common on FamilySearch,, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, and most all other online sites that provide old records online. Removal of datasets has occurred dozens of times in the past and I suspect such things will continue to happen in the future. I thought I would write a brief explanation.

    In most cases, information of genealogical value obtained from government agencies, religious groups, and other organizations is provided under contractual agreements. The contracts specify what information is to provided, how it is to be made available, and the price the web site has to pay to the provider for the records. All contracts also have an expiration date, typically 2 years or 3 years or 5 years after the contract is signed. In this case, Cook County obviously had a contract with

    When the contract nears expiration, the two parties usually attempt to renegotiate the contract. Sometimes renewal is automatic but often it is not. Maybe the information provider (in this case, Cook County) decides they want more money or maybe they decide they no longer want to supply the data to the Web service. For instance, in the time the information has been available online, the information provider may have learned just how valuable the information really is. The information provider may decide to ask for more money or may even refuse to provide the information any more since the provider may have a NEW plan to create their own web site and offer the same information online on their new site for a fee.

    Sure, that stinks for those of us who would like to have free information everywhere but it makes sense to most everyone else. I am sure the budget officer at Cook County thinks it makes sense.

    Every contract renegotiation is different, but it is not unusual to agree to disagree. The contract ends and the web site provider legally MUST remove the information from their web site. In this case, the web provider was FamilySearch but the same thing also happens to all the other online sites that provide old records online.

  • 2 Jun 2021 5:12 PM | Anonymous

    Thousands of Americans have grown up with stories in the family that today's family members are descended from a Cherokee princess. If you heard those stories in your family, there is one fact that you need to know about the story:

    It's a lie!

    I am saddened to tell you that there was no such thing as an Indian princess, not in the Cherokee tribe nor in any other North American Indian tribe. They may have had Indian princesses in India, but not in North America. If you have a maharajah in your family tree then maybe you also have an Indian princess. If so, she did not live in North America.

    The North American Indian tribes had no notion of royalty or anything like it. They did have chiefs, and a few of the chiefs may have even acted like kings. One Indian chief in Massachusetts and Rhode Island was even called "King Philip" by the English colonists in the 1670s. However, that title was bestowed by the white settlers. The Wampanoag leader's name really was Metacom although the English settlers often called him Philip. When he talked several other tribes into joining him in a war against the whites, the settlers dubbed him "King Philip." However, Metacom apparently never used that title.

    The rules of chieftain succession varied from tribe to tribe. In some tribes, the eldest son of a chief may have become the new chief upon the death of his father. However, none of the tribes had kings, queens, princes, or princesses of any sort.

    Perhaps the Indian woman who was most often called a "princess" was Pocahontas. She was the daughter of a powerful Algonquian Indian chief named Powhatan. However, Powhatan was not a king, and his sons and daughters were not princes or princesses. Pocahontas was not called a princess until after she married John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia, and then accompanied her husband on a trip to England. She was presented to King James I, the royal family, and the rest of London society. Apparently John Rolfe or someone else in the party decided to call her an "Indian princess" in order to increase her credibility amongst the English nobility. The title was fictitious.

    The next time you hear someone claim to be descended from an Indian princess, I suggest that you quietly smile to yourself and let the person keep on talking. There's no sense in debunking a perfectly good fairy tale if the other person wishes to believe it.

    At least you now know the truth.

  • 2 Jun 2021 5:01 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch published 11M more records from US Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916–1939, this week, plus sizeable collections from Georgia (Tax Digests 1787–1900), Illinois (Cook County Births 1811–2007), Louisiana (Orleans Cemetery Records 1805-1944), Massachusetts (Boston Tax Records 1822–1918), North Dakota (Cemetery Records 1877–1999), and Washington (Voting Records 1876–1940). Also added were over 500K Catholic Church Records from Argentina (Córdoba 1557–1974, La Rioja 1714–1970, Buenos Aires 1635–1981, etc.), and more from Chile 1710–1928, Costa Rica 1595–1992, El Salvador 1655–1977, Puerto Rico 1645–1969, and jurisdictions in Mexico (Guanajuato 1519–1984, Jalisco 1590–1979, Michoacán 1555–1996, Nuevo León 1667–1981, Puebla 1545–1977, San Luis Potosí 1586–1977, Sinaloa 1671–1968, and Sonora 1657–1994). Country collections were expanded for England (Middlesex Parish Registers 1539–1988 and Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts 1583–1898) and a new collection for the 1891 France Eure Census. 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 newly-added records is very long, too long to fit here. However, you can find the full list at:

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch 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 learn more about their family history. 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 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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