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  • 3 May 2022 7:22 PM | Anonymous

    Happy Star Wars Day!

    Perhaps I should say, "May the Fourth Be With You."

    Star Wars Day is a (very) informal commemorative day observed annually on May 4th to celebrate George Lucas's Star Wars media franchise. Observance of the day has spread quickly through media and grassroots celebrations since the franchise began in 1977.

    The date of May 4th originated from the pun "May the Fourth be with you", a variant of the popular Star Wars catchphrase "May the Force be with you". Even though the holiday was not created or declared by Lucasfilm, many Star Wars fans across the world have chosen to celebrate the holiday. It has since been embraced by Lucasfilm and parent company Disney as an annual celebration of Star Wars.

    The first recorded reference was the phrase being first used on May 4, 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher took the job as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. An online news article from the Danish public broadcaster says her political party, the Conservatives, placed a congratulatory advertisement in The London Evening News, saying "May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations."

    Of course, that reference to May 4, 1979 has nothing to do with Star Wars. However, why let that stand in the way of a good promotion?

    Perhaps a better reference is that on May 4th, 2015, astronauts in the International Space Station watched the Star Wars movie.

    Whatever the reason, I would like to wish you and Yoda a Happy Star Wars Day!

    By the way, the next day, May 5th is Cinco de Mayo in Mexico but is also known as "Revenge of the Fifth" day in a galaxy not so far away.


  • 3 May 2022 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    Buried deep inside an article about many different (and unrelated) things, there is this brief mention:

    After more than a decade, the head of the National Archives and Records Administration retires. April 30 was David Ferreiro’s last day as archivist of the United States. He led NARA since being confirmed in late 2009 during President Barack Obama’s first term. During his 12 years in charge, Ferreiro oversaw a major shift from paper to electronic recordkeeping. Ferreiro also led the establishment of the Citizen Archivist program that allows volunteers to transcribe and tag records.

    Deputy Archivist Debra Wall will serve as the acting archivist of the United States until the White House selects a permanent replacement.


  • 3 May 2022 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    You may be interested in an article by Maya Jasanoff and published in The New Yorker magazine. It describes the "history of genealogy." That is, how we got to where we are today. and how genealogy purposes have changed over the years Quoting from the article:

    "You hardly meet an American who does not want to be connected a bit by his birth to the first settlers of the colonies, and, as for branches of the great families of England, America seemed to me totally covered by them,” Alexis de Tocqueville marvelled in 1840. It’s often said that genealogical research is the second most popular hobby in the United States, after gardening, and the second most popular search category online, after porn. Those claims should be sprinkled with a few grains of salt, but more than twenty-six million people have taken genetic ancestry tests since 2012, incidentally creating a database of huge value to pharmaceutical companies and law enforcement. The Silicon Valley-based testing company 23andMe, which formed a partnership with Airbnb to market “travel as unique as your DNA,” went public in June, 2021, with a valuation of $3.5 billion. The genealogical behemoth Ancestry, which boasts more than three million subscribers and the nation’s largest genetic database, was purchased for $4.7 billion in 2020."

    The article also states:

    "Our engagement with ancestry spans the spiritual, material, political, and biological realms, each of which has its own technologies and authorities. As a result, our laws, institutions, and imaginations are poorly prepared to deal with the contradictions that arise when one kind of evidence, like a DNA test, contradicts another, like a family story. Such tensions provide fertile ground for memoirs and magazine features, but the situation gets murkier when it comes to privacy, social justice, and national politics."

    In years past, Maya Jasanoff claims that genealogy was an attempt to prove that one was in a "higher position" person than those of the masses. While true at one time, I would hope that is no longer true today. Instead Maya Jasanoff describes today's genealogy as requiring much more effort and complexity than I ever imagined. You can read the article at: https://bit.ly/3w2WN7Q.


  • 3 May 2022 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    On Monday, The Columbian’s digital archives became available to the public for the first time, allowing users to search with keywords and date ranges.

    The archives, available at columbian.newspapers.com, open up a new world for historians, students and curious Clark County residents who may want to search for their own names, an ancestor’s name, addresses, or a date of a specific paper or an event.

    “The digital newspaper archives are a really great resource,” said Donna Sinclair, history professor at Washington State University Vancouver. “They bring life to the past.”

    The Columbian archives from 1890 to 2011 are available for $7.95 a month. The public can also access the archives on a computer at the Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main St., with a standard admission price of $5 for adults and $4 for seniors and students.

    The Columbian’s digital archives are the first Clark County-specific online newspaper archives available after 1884 (The Vancouver Independent’s archives are at newspapers.com for the years 1875-1884). The archive may be found at: https://columbian.newspapers.com/.

    You can read more at: https://bit.ly/3yaUd2v.


  • 3 May 2022 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    The next release of detailed data about U.S. residents from the 2020 census will be postponed until next year because the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday that it needs more time to crunch the numbers, including implementing a controversial method used to protect participants’ identities.

    The delays leave government budget-makers, city planners and researchers in a lurch because the detailed data are used for planning future growth, locating schools or firehouses and research.

    NOTE: Today's announcement has nothing to do with the release of residents' names, ages, addresses, and other personal information. By law, that information will not be released for 72 years (in 2092). Instead, today's announcement refers only to such items as American Housing Survey Table Creator, Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) Explorer, Census COVID-19 Data Hub, Census Flows Mapper, Data Equity Tools, and similar aggregate information.

  • 3 May 2022 8:56 AM | Anonymous

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

    If you read my Plus Edition article last week, (+) Hands-On with My New DPN (available at: https://eogn.com/(*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/12759512), and if you are thinking of purchasing one of the units I described, I can now offer even more information about why you might want one immediately.

    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: https://eogn.com/(*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/12765111.

    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 https://eogn.com/page-18077.


  • 2 May 2022 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey:

    The Genealogical Society of New Jersey is pleased to announce their 2022 Spring Conference Jerseyology to be held on Saturday, 4 June 2022. This year’s event will be virtual, and all presentations will be recorded and available to pre-registered attendees only for viewing until 4 July 2022.

    Join us for a fun-filled day from the comfort of your own home where you can learn more about Jewish research, land records, using social history for our female ancestors, records in the State Library’s Collection, how to use the federal census, a refresher on citations and exciting case studies.

      • Finding a Father for Elizabeth; High Hopes & Shattered Dreams by Mary Szaro, CG®
      • Exactly the Same—Totally Different: An Introduction to Jewish Research by Roger Lustig
      • New Jersey’s Legal Treasures: The State Library’s Collections by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG®, CGLSM
      • Discovering Your Family’s Story Through the U.S. Census by Daniel Horowitz
      • Good Deeds: Lessons from the Land by Joe Grabas, MA, CTP, NTP
      • Cite That Source When You Find It by Chris Tracy
      • Murder in Woodbridge: The Untold Story of a 3rd Great-Grandfather’s Untimely Demise in Civil War Era New Jersey by Mark A.J. Szep
      • Using Social History and Underused Records to Tell Our Female Ancestors' Stories by Pam Vestal

    Registration: GSNJ Members: $45; Non-Members: $60; Register and Join GSNJ: $85 [Savings of $15 over purchasing a Non-Member registration ($60) and a Membership ($40)]

    Online Registration: https://www.gsnj.org/gsnj-2022-spring-conference/

  • 2 May 2022 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release written by Accenture:

    A team of volunteers from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has built an artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution that helps extract information on victims of Nazi persecution from documents in the Arolsen Archives 40 times faster than previous efforts.

    The Arolsen Archives preserve the world’s largest collection of documents on Nazi persecution — 110 million documents and digital objects, a portion of which are part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program — to keep the memory of the crimes of the German terror regime alive. An essential part of the Archives’ work is to make these documents accessible to all who wish to search for traces of Holocaust victims and survivors, persecution of minorities and forced labor.

    Every document maintained in the archives needs to be reviewed and its information (e.g., the family name and birth date on a prisoner registration form) put into a database. To facilitate this process, the Arolsen Archives established “#everynamecounts,” a crowdsourcing project for volunteers to extract information from documents manually.

    Translating, reading, transcribing, cataloging and validating these documents by hand could take decades. Each document is indexed independently by three volunteers and, if the entries don’t match, reviewed for accuracy by an Arolsen Archives employee. In effect, it can take up to four people to index and validate four documents in one hour.

    Ian Lever, an Accenture volunteer and a member of the company’s Jewish Employee Resource Group, quickly realized that AI could accelerate this process significantly. Within 10 weeks, he and other Accenture volunteers set up an AI solution to index the documents. Because the AI captures the information faster and increases its accuracy, four volunteers can now validate approximately 160 documents in one hour, a 40-fold increase in productivity.

    Working with Accenture’s Solutions.AI team, the volunteers configured an existing Accenture AI solution, which uses optical character recognition and machine learning technology. It indexes documents that are particularly difficult and tedious to extract for humans. These include prisoner and transfer lists with dozens of rows, concentration camp records, and tracing documents, which are inquiries about the locations and fates of family members and loved ones.

    Even though the AI does the heavy lifting, human oversight of the process remains important not just to ensure accuracy but also to keep the AI solution learning. By reviewing and correcting information, volunteers “teach” the solution to recognize handwriting characters and abbreviations that were typical for the time. Thanks to their inputs, the AI has gradually improved its precision by 10% within the form field of “mother’s last name.” For the “religion” field, the AI is now operating at 99% confidence.

    Since Accenture implemented the AI solution in December 2021, the solution has indexed more than 160,000 names of Nazi persecution victims, extracted information from more than 18,000 documents, and clustered more than 60,000 documents into similar groups to improve identification and analysis.

    More than 950 Accenture people have volunteered for the project to date, with Accenture also supporting maintenance and further development of the AI solution.

    “We are proud of our people’s efforts to help keep alive the memories of those who endured unimaginable pain and suffering, at a time when antisemitism, racism and ultra-nationalism are rearing their ugly heads again,” said David Metnick, a managing director and executive sponsor of the project at Accenture. “We saw a problem and, in it, an opportunity to live our values and use digital technology for good.”

    “We are overwhelmed by how many volunteers support digitizing our archive,” said Floriane Azoulay, director of the Arolsen Archives. “Our collaboration with the Accenture team stands out. It is fantastic that there is now a digital solution to capture the content of documents faster, which helps make more important information about the fates of Nazi persecution victims findable in our online archive.”

    Learn more about how Accenture volunteers have helped #everynamecounts.

    About Accenture
    Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 699,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners, and communities. Visit us at accenture.com.

    About Arolsen Archives
    The Arolsen Archives are the international center on Nazi persecution with the world's most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of National Socialism. The collection has information on about 17.5 million people and belongs to UNESCO's Memory of the World. It contains documents on the various victim groups targeted by the Nazi regime and is an important source of knowledge for society today.

    Copyright © 2022 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are trademarks of Accenture.

    This document is produced by consultants at Accenture as general guidance. It is not intended to provide specific advice on your circumstances. If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative.

    Accenture provides the information on an “as-is” basis without representation or warranty and accepts no liability for any action or failure to act taken in response to the information contained or referenced in this publication.

  • 2 May 2022 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    Were your ancestors European immigrants? It is estimated that 85% of immigrants in the century starting in 1820 arrived in New York City, which progressively displaced Boston as the chief port of entry to the United States. Some families arrived from the old country and headed west right away, joining relatives already established, or enticed by amazing claims about land made by the American railroads. However, many others arrived young, found work, married someone from their home country (or not), and started families. Germans, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, Eastern Europeans… their stories are told in the vital records — the civil registrations — begun in the cities of New York and Brooklyn in 1866, and in all 5 boroughs of NYC — New York County or Manhattan, the Bronx, Kings County or Brooklyn, Queens County, and Richmond County or Staten Island — by the time of “consolidation” in 1898. Note that because of its huge volume, New York City vital records are kept in the city; all other New York State vital records are in the local town records and in the central repository in Albany.

    9 million certificates online!

    Last month, New York’s Department of Records & Information Services (DORIS) which manages the Municipal Archives suddenly opened online to the public  without charge — 9.3 million digitized birth, marriage, and death certificates, some 70% of the total 13.3 million records. You can read more about the collection here. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it should be to find a certificate with a name search. Let’s look at why.

    You can read much more in the Geneanet web site at: https://bit.ly/39jVyJJ.

  • 2 May 2022 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    As an archivist on the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA) projectMoska Rokay doesn't just preserve the past – she unearths it. 

    ""

    Rokay, a graduate of the University of Toronto's master of information program in the Faculty of Information, speaks to Canadians across the country to collect stories, documents and images that bring the rich history of Muslims in Canada to life.

    “For instance, many people I have spoken to recall attending a co-ed Muslim youth summer camp in the 1980s and 90s, pre 9/11,” she says. “It’s been fascinating to speak to so many different people who each have fond memories of this time, like playing sports, learning how to canoe, doing arts and crafts, and, of course, participating in lectures on Islam.”

    Although it's changed names and locations over the years, the camp still exists as Ontario's Camp Deen. Rokay has spoken to many Muslims across Ontario who has attended what's now known as Camp Deen, as first step toward piecing together the camp's history. 

    That's just one example of the kinds of stories in the MiCA project that illuminates how Muslim Canadians fit within Canada's broader historical narrative, says Institute of Islamic Studies Director Anver Emon

    You can read more in an article published in the University Of Toronto New web site at: https://bit.ly/38Nw3k0


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