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  • 25 Feb 2021 9:55 PM | Anonymous

    GEDCOM 7.0 is being announced this week at the RootsTech virtual conference. If you did not attend the virtual conference, you can still read all about release candidate 1 (7.0.0-rc1) at

    GEDCOM 7 includes some important changes, but perhaps most important of all, GEDCOM-related activity was dormant at FamilySearch for a long, long time but now it is active again. That is great news for the genealogy community.

  • 24 Feb 2021 3:31 PM | Anonymous

    TechCrunch is a website that often publishes news stories about online services. Today, TechCrunch published the following:

    "Genealogy tracking online is a big business, and today comes some M&A [Merger & Acquisition] news for one of the bigger names in the field. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Israel’s — a profitable site that lets people test DNA and track their family lineage and has some 62 million users — is getting acquired by Francisco Partners, for a price that a source close to the deal tells us is $600 million.

    "A spokesperson for MyHeritage confirmed the deal to TechCrunch over the phone but not the price. Francisco Partners has not responded to our request for comment but we’ll update this post as we learn more.

    "From what we understand the deal will be announced officially very soon. Update: we [TechCrunch] now have received a press release, so I guess that makes it 'official.'"

    The article goes on to to detail the rise and profitability of at some length. TechCrunch also states, "In addition to its 62 million active users of its site — which is available in 42 languages — it also has a database of some 13 billion historical records. Users have built and expanded on some 58 million family trees on its platform. It’s also run nearly 5 million DNA tests for its users.

    Finally, the article states:

    "'By leveraging our operational expertise, market resources and strong industry networks, we believe Francisco Partners is uniquely positioned to help MyHeritage accelerate its vision for growth. We are deeply impressed by the incredible achievements and relentless determination of Gilad, a visionary leader in genealogy who has grown the company from a start-up to a profitable global market leader,' said Eran Gorev, Francisco Partners‘ President of Israel & Senior Operating Partner, in a statement. 'We are looking forward to partnering with Gilad and the entire MyHeritage team to help drive market expansion for the company.'

    "Gorev is joining the board along with Francisco’s Europe head Matt Spetzler with this deal.

    “'Francisco Partners shares MyHeritage’s vision for growth as well as its intense commitment to ensuring the privacy of its users. The users’ personal data is an extremely important priority and we will work together with MyHeritage to expand its already strong privacy framework going forward,' said Spetzler."

    You can read the full TechCrunch article at:

    Comment by Dick Eastman:

    This newsletter has been sponsored by MyHeritage for the past several years and I have learned to respect the business methods of MyHeritage. I have been very impressed with the fact that the company CEO, Gilad Japhet, became a serious genealogist when he was a teenager, unlike the CEOs of most other genealogy-related companies. That fact shows in his business philosophies and actions.

    I had no "inside information" about an acquisition but must say that I am not surprised. I have always assumed that most web-based businesses in the genealogy world have always had a business plan that states something similar to: "Either become wildly profitable and become acquired by someone else or else remain unprofitable and hope that someone else will purchase whatever is left of the company."

    It looks like MyHeritage has successfully achieved the first part of that plan: becoming very profitable.

  • 24 Feb 2021 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    It is rare that any legislative body proposes to REDUCE the embargo periods for public domain records. However, a proposed bill in the state of Georgia may do exactly that.

    The following is an announcement from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS)) Public Records Access Monitoring Committee mailing list:

    There is a bill currently in the Georgia House, HB 92, that proposes to lower the embargo periods for birth records to 100 years and death, marriage, divorce and annulment dates for vital records to 75 years respectively. The records would then be transferred to the State Archives from the State Registrar. The bill may be read at:

    Currently, the embargo periods are 125 years for birth records and 100 years from date of death, application for marriage, divorce, or annulment.

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 24 Feb 2021 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherill recently stated that the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new State Library and Archives Building for the facility in Nashville will take place April 12.

    Work began in 2005 on the $123.8 million project and a groundbreaking took place in late 2017. The new building is located just outside downtown on the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

  • 24 Feb 2021 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    The Clallam County Genealogical Society’s Research Center at 403 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles, Washington, will open for limited use — by both members and the public — beginning Tuesday, March 2.

    The center will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

    A limited number of individuals will be allowed in the center per COVID-19 rules; masks, physical separation, hand sanitizer and wipe-down of desks and computer terminals between users are required.

    Call the center first to make sure space is available, at 360-417-5000.

    The Clallam County Genealogical Society’s web site may be found at:

  • 23 Feb 2021 1:03 PM | Anonymous

    Constructed in 1790, Evergreen remains one of the most intact plantation sites in the South. The grounds include 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), including 22 slave cabins. It’s among a handful of remaining plantation homes interspersed along River Road in southeast Louisiana.

    While Evergreen Plantation has been open to tour groups since 1997, the site was already steering its efforts to focus on education and research. This was before the pandemic slowed the usual flow of visitors to the historic site.

    “It’s the difference between a tourism site and a museum. I felt strongly that it was important to remember the lives of real people and pay tribute to them in a way that doesn’t exploit them again,” Shannon said.

    A picture of Victorine, a privately owned domestic slave of Lezin Becnel and his wife Josephine. It is likely that her mother Maria was Josephine’s personal slave, attending to her needs, helping her dress and bathe, and cleaning the house. Victorine was baptized at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on May 31, 1835, when she was nine months old. The identity of Victorine’s father remains unknown, but as she was described as a mulatresse, half African and half European, her father must have been white.

    In addition to the Ancestor Project, Evergreen also established a free online database with information about the lives of more than 400 enslaved individuals who lived and worked at the plantation. While the Ancestor Project is more personal, the digital database is an online tool tailored to teachers, students, genealogists, and visitors. The database launched just as the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the New Orleans-area last March.

    You can learn more, a lot more, in an article by Maria Clark, published in the Tennessean website at:

    The Evergreen Plantation website, including a Slavery Database, may be found at

  • 23 Feb 2021 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    The searchable database of cemetery records in eastern Massachusetts will include one million names by end of 2021. Here is the announcement:

    February 23, 2021—Boston, Massachusetts—Researchers can now search hundreds of thousands of records containing detailed information about people buried in eastern Massachusetts Catholic cemeteries through a new online database, thanks to a partnership between American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Archive Department of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB), and The Catholic Cemetery Association of the Archdiocese of Boston, Inc. (CCA). The Catholic Cemetery database—which will include an estimated one million names by December 2021—is available with a member subscription on

    The database—which spans the years 1833 through 1940—contains records of burials from 20 cemeteries throughout eastern Massachusetts. Family members of the deceased, family historians and researchers can now easily locate and view detailed information about lot sales and interments, including burial dates and locations, and names of lot owners. Since many of the deceased may not have purchased a grave marker or their marker may have eroded with time, this collection is of essential value for anyone researching deceased people buried in eastern Massachusetts. Digitization of this information is not only a boon for researchers, it also helps to preserve the original, and often fragile, paper-based records kept by the Archdiocese.

    The Catholic Cemetery Association database currently features information from nine cemeteries: Holy Cross (Malden), Calvary (Waltham), Sacred Heart (Andover), St. George (Framingham), St. James (Haverhill), St. Joseph (Haverhill), St. Jean Baptiste (Lynn), St. Mary (Beverly), and St. Mary (Malden). Records for eleven more cemeteries will be added throughout 2021.

    In addition to the searchable database, American Ancestors and its partners are providing maps of each cemetery to help researchers locate burial plots. Where possible, maps include sections, ranges and—in some cases—narrative description of how headstones are arranged by row and lot number. Also included are points of interest such as entrances, exits, flag poles, monuments, offices and spigots. Special sections for burials of infants, priests and members of religious orders are also noted. Links to the cemetery maps can be found in the database description. Additional maps will be added throughout 2021.

    “American Ancestors is proud to offer this new cemetery records database alongside our current project with the Archdiocese – the digitization of sacramental records from 1789 to 1920,” said D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society. “After the positive feedback we received for our sacramental records collection, this was the next logical step, and we are grateful to the CCA for agreeing to make these records available through our website,”

    Thomas Lester, Director of the Archive and Library at the Archdiocese of Boston commented, “American Ancestors has been a valued partner in helping the Archdiocese make these records available to a wider audience than ever before. We hope that the ability to find a record and use the maps to locate the final resting place of family members, whether they be long-deceased ancestors or a close relation, will bring peace and comfort to many.”

    “We look forward to continuing our focus on the management of the original records and maintaining our cemetery grounds throughout the archdiocese, making sure they are a place where visitors can peacefully pray, mourn and reflect upon the lives of the deceased,” remarked Rob Visconti, Executive Director of the CCA.

    According to Molly Rogers, Database Manager for Digital Projects for American Ancestors, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and when finished will include all of the CCA records through 1940 and maps of each cemetery.

    Future releases include records from: St. Francis de Sales (Charlestown), St. Paul (Arlington), North Cambridge Catholic (Cambridge), St. Joseph (Lynn), St. Mary (Lynn), Holy Cross (Malden) (additional volumes), Immaculate Conception (Marlborough), St. Mary (Salem), St. Patrick (Stoneham), Catholic Mount Auburn (Watertown), St. Patrick (Watertown), and Calvary (Winchester).

    The Catholic records databases, including the cemetery and sacramental records collections, are made possible through the work of American Ancestors volunteers and philanthropic support. In 2017, American Ancestors launched the Historic Catholic Records Fund to support the project.

    About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

    American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), with its national headquarters located in Boston’s Back Bay, is the oldest and largest genealogical society in America. It serves more than 300,000 members and millions of online users engaged in family history nationally and around the world. It is home to a world-class research library and archive, and an expert staff. American Ancestors offers an award-winning genealogical research website at with more than 1.4 billion names and maintains a publishing division which produces original genealogical research, scholarship, and educational materials, including Mayflower Descendant, a quarterly journal of Pilgrim genealogy and history.

    About the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

    The Archdiocese of Boston is the fourth largest archdiocese in the United States and is the spiritual home for more than 1.8 million Catholics. Since July 2003, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap., has led the Archdiocese through unprecedented events with a focus on healing and rebuilding the local Church.

    Centered in one of the world’s great cities—Boston—and spread across 144 communities in eastern Massachusetts, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 260 parishes, well performing Catholic schools that are educating more than 30,000 students annually, and a social service outreach that is helping to assist more than 200,000 individuals each year. Mass is celebrated in more than twenty different languages each week.

  • 23 Feb 2021 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    According to an article in the U.S. National Archives News:

    "Photographs of Buffalo Soldiers serving at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, during the early 20th century recently came to light at the National Archives. The images were discovered by a preservationist who was digitizing thousands of nitrate negatives transferred from the Academy to the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives at College Park, MD. Recognized for their expertise in riding, African American cavalry noncommissioned officers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were stationed at West Point to serve in the Academy’s Detachment of Cavalry and teach Academy cadets military horsemanship. Starting in 1907, the detachment became a “colored unit” composed of African American soldiers during a time when the military was still racially segregated. The Buffalo Soldiers instructed cadets until 1947."

    You can see many of the pictures at

  • 23 Feb 2021 11:59 AM | Anonymous

    If you have Moldovan ancestors who lived there in the 1950s through the 1970s, you will be interested in a photo project reuniting Moldovan villagers with their younger selves.

    NOTE: I probably should mention that Moldova is a small, landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. Then again, if you have Moldovan ancestry, you probably already knew where the country is located.

    In 2016, film school student Victor Galușca found the negatives for thousands of photographs in an abandoned home in the northern Moldovan village of Roșietici. The 4,000 vivid portraits were taken of the people living in the village between the 1950s and the 1970s. The photos belonged to Zaharia Cușnir (1912-1993), an amateur photographer who worked as a teacher before the Soviet occupation but was forced to take on manual jobs — such as metalwork, construction, and shepherding — by the new regime.

    The results give a glimpse into the tumultuous changes that have marked these people’s lives over the past half-century. Shot in their homes, against typical rugs hung on walls, Christian icons, or in bed, these portraits are also metaphor for the disappearing world of the Moldovan village amid post-communist economic instability, and mass emigration.

    The incredible archive was made into a photo book, showcased at exhibitions in Chișinău and Bucharest, and is now available to view online. But the publicity also meant that people who recognized themselves in Cușnir’s photographs got in touch with Galușca. The young photographer decided to embark on a new project: taking pictures of Cușnir’s former subjects with the black-and-white portraits of their younger selves. Victor Galușca is especially interested in the residents of Roșietici that have since left and emigrated to other countries.

    Vera Borș: Then and Now

    If you would be interested in finding a photograph of a relative taken 50 to 70 years ago and especially interested in adding a later photo to that collection, read the article Lost and Found: The Photo Project Reuniting Moldovan Villagers With Their Younger Selves by Paula Erizanu and published in The Calvert Journal at for all the details.

    Comment: I am sure the above article will be of primary interest to a small group of people: Moldovan descendants who read this newsletter. However, would you like to do the same thing by focusing on your ancestor's village? home town? or your home town? How about your grammar school class.

    The possibilities are nearly endless!

  • 22 Feb 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    The recently-added Genetic Groups on MyHeritage significantly increased the resolution of MyHeritage DNA’s ethnicity breakdown to 2,114 geographic regions. However, many people who have tested with services such as 23andMe, Ancestry or FamilyTree DNA Family Finder, were unable to join the fun. Now MyHeritage is making a special offer for a week:

    From now through February 28, 2021, MyHeritage allows everyone to upload their DNA data from other providers and obtain DNA Matches for free.

    Here is the announcement from the MyHeritage Blog:

    Christmas came just a tad early for MyHeritage DNA users when we finally released a long-awaited enhancement to our DNA ethnicity results: Genetic Groups. This feature significantly increases the resolution of MyHeritage DNA’s ethnicity breakdown to 2,114 geographic regions. Our users have been raving about it ever since.

    But many folks who have tested their DNA with other services, such as 23andMe, Ancestry, or FamilyTree DNA Family Finder, were unable to join the fun.

    MyHeritage allows you to upload your DNA data from other providers and get DNA Matches for free, but a one-time unlock fee of $29 (or a Complete plan with MyHeritage) has been required to access the advanced DNA features — and that includes the Ethnicity Estimate and the new Genetic Groups.

    Well, we don’t want you to feel left out just because you tested with another service! For a limited time only, between February 21–28, 2021, we are waiving the unlock fee. You can now upload your DNA data to MyHeritage and get access to your Ethnicity Estimate, Genetic Groups, and other advanced DNA tools such as the Chromosome Browser, AutoClusters, and Theory of Family Relativity™ — absolutely free! These features will remain free forever for the DNA kits you upload to MyHeritage during this week.

    Upload your data to MyHeritage now

    If you’ve already tested your DNA with another service, you don’t need to waste your time and money purchasing a new kit. We’re aware that people who are searching for family members — such as adopted people searching for their birth parents — want to “fish in multiple ponds” and try multiple DNA databases to find leads, and purchasing multiple DNA kits gets expensive. That’s why we offer users the option of uploading their DNA data to MyHeritage for free.

    Here’s what one user, Joan Matalon, recently had to say about her experience uploading her DNA data to MyHeritage: “I uploaded my raw DNA from Ancestry to MyHeritage and in May last year I joined and it has been fabulous! I have found relatives that I never knew about! I would recommend MyHeritage to anyone who would like to learn more about their family! MyHeritage has so many features that are helping me with my research.”

    If you tested your DNA with another service and haven’t uploaded it to MyHeritage yet, now’s the best time to do it! Upload your data to MyHeritage now


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