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  • 17 Dec 2020 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Preservica has issued an announcement and video concerning the product's trusted and powerful active digital preservation technology. I doubt if many individual genealogists will be interested in this product but it should appeal to archivists and preservationists at many large libraries, archives, museums, and elsewhere.

    The following was written by Preservica:

    BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec 16, 2020--

    Preservica is pleased to announce Preservica Starter, a brand new set of FREE (forever) and low-cost (from $199 per month) digital preservation solutions, making it easy and affordable for institutions of all sizes to preserve, curate and share digital content online in minutes.

    View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201216005659/en/

    Preservica Starter, a brand new set of FREE (forever) and low-cost (from $199 per month) digital preservation solutions, making it easy and affordable for institutions of all sizes to preserve, curate and share digital content online in minutes. (Photo: Business Wire)

    The first 250 users of the new free 5GB Starter edition will also be automatically enrolled in a free of charge digital preservation training series starting January 2021, where they will join fellow archivists, records managers and Preservica experts to explore the practical steps of building a digital preservation archive using Starter.

    Digital preservation made easy.

    Starter edition combines Preservica’s trusted and powerful active digital preservation technology with an all-new intuitive user interface. This makes it easy for archivists and records managers to quickly build a digital archive to showcase to colleagues, stakeholders and the public, safe in the knowledge that all the vital steps to keep content safe and usable over decades are automatically taken care of.

    The free solution is fully hosted in the cloud with 5GB of secure AWS storage, with no software downloads required. All stored data is highly resilient and includes duplicate copies to ensure integrity and accessibility.

    Designed by archivists for archivists.

    Preservica Starter solutions are the result of close collaboration between the archives and records management community and Preservica, with dozens of participants from academic, public sector and culture and heritage institutions contributing to its design and testing using real digital collections.

    “I never thought I would say this about digital preservation, but Preservica’s Starter edition is fun,” says Limestone County, Alabama Archivist Rebekah Davis, an early participant in the design of the new solution. “It’s easy to use and has great features that I enjoy working with to upload, organize and enrich our collections of government records, as well as historical videos and special collections.”

    Preservica CEO Mike Quinn adds, “In a year in which the records and archival community has had to pivot to working from home, document world-changing events as they are being made and make materials available online, the importance of digital archiving and being digitally savvy has never been more important. It is one of the reasons why we wanted to make digital preservation accessible to every archive and include free best practice workshops.”

    Learn more and sign up to use the FREE 5GB Preservica Starter edition (it’s free forever, not a trial, no credit cards and no software to download) now by visiting: https://starter.preservica.com/.

    Preservica Starter at a glance:

      • Upload, preserve, organize and share your content online in minutes
      • Quickly get content safely in alignment with NDSA levels and OAIS
      • Transform files into recommended preservation formats on upload
      • Instantly render hundreds of formats without the original application
      • Easily organize your collections and enrich metadata on demand
      • Engage your audience online with easy sharing and discovery
      • Control which assets and folders are private or public
      • Learn about digital preservation practices as you go
      • Quickly demonstrate the value of digital preservation to your stakeholders
      • Everything you need in one simple and intuitive application
      • Start now with free 5GB Starter edition

    About Preservica

    With offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Oxford, U.K., Preservica is changing the way the world future-proofs and accesses critical long-term digital information – enabling organizations to drive innovation, confidently meet compliance and legal requirements and safeguard digital content of unique cultural and brand importance.

    Our world-leading cloud-hosted (SaaS) and on-premise active digital preservation software is trusted by a rapidly growing customer base of organizations across the globe, from major corporations, to government bodies, and iconic cultural institutions, including HSBC, Associated Press, British Telecom, Yale, MoMA, 22 US state archives and 15 national and pan-national archives.

    A video of the product also may be found at: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201216005659/en/.

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:42 PM | Anonymous

    For years, genealogists learned that anything published in 1923 or later might still enjoy copyright protection. Well, that changed 2 years ago, again last year, and is about to change again.

    We’re rapidly approaching another Public Domain Day, the day at the start of the year when a year’s worth of creative work joins the public domain.

    On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller. Even Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf becomes public domain in 2021.

    Of course, many less-popular genealogy books published in 1925 will also become public domain.

    You can read more in an article by Jennifer Jenkins in the Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain web site at: https://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2021/.

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:09 PM | Anonymous

    Growing genetic databases have proven to be rich resources for discovering distant relatives, However, law enforcement agencies have perhaps been the biggest benefactors of this biometric boom.

    An article by Megan Molteni in the Wired.com web site describes the process the recent rise of genetic genealogy—a technique that makes it possible to identify people through relatives who have added their genetic information to genealogy databases—changed the odds. A skilled genetic genealogist can now turn an unknown DNA profile that strikes out in traditional forensic searches into a suspect’s name nearly half of the time that it used to require. That article may be found at https://www.wired.com/story/cops-are-getting-a-new-tool-for-family-tree-sleuthing/.

    In addition, a different article by the same person (Megan Molteni) published 2 years ago in the same Wired.com web site describes the risks involved in the same investigations by law enforcement personnel. The older article focuses in the intrusion into your personal privacy created by such investigations. This is especially true even if you have never taken a DNA test. In short, the government can discover most everything about you, your ancestors, and your relatives. That includes your rather distant relatives.

    The second article is available at https://www.wired.com/story/genome-hackers-show-no-ones-dna-is-anonymous-anymore/.

    Which is more important to you and to other citizens: solving often violent crimes or protecting your personal privacy against massive  government spying, even if you were not involved in the crime?

    Are you in favor of "Big Brother" watching you?

    I don't know the answer to those questions but I believe those are questions we all need to think about. I suggest everyone should read these 2 somewhat contradictory articles by the same person and then decide what is more important: personal privacy or wide-open access to everyone's ancestry and relatives in the name of solving crimes?

  • 16 Dec 2020 3:50 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 16 December 2020—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has selected Anne Leishman Merrell of Marshall, Virginia, as Marketing Communications Manager of the Association.

    Anne Leishman Merrell began her career as a professional genealogist after earning a B.A. in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University. Anne enjoys exploring the professional genealogy world. Previous work has included directing family history youth camps for teenagers, researching for private clients, assisting in the creation of family archives, and working as a DAR staff genealogist.

    Through this varied work, Anne discovered many genealogists and societies often lack marketing knowledge and struggle to find their ideal customers. With that problem in mind, Anne turned her focus to digital marketing for genealogists and societies. She improves their revenue and reach by implementing modern marketing strategies that utilize important tools such as social media and email marketing.

    Anne is excited work to with APG in their efforts to communicate the Association’s mission and values to a broader audience. “I look forward to highlighting the great professionalism found in our field while sharing the immense skillset and expertise of APG’s membership,” said Merrell.

    About the Association of Professional Genealogists
    The Association of Professional Genealogists (www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents more than 2,700 genealogists in various genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its 2 members represent all fifty U.S. states, Canada, and forty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

  • 15 Dec 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    An article by Trace Christenson in the Battle Creek (Michigan) Enquirer describes a new effort to bring genealogy research to a group of people who traditionally have not often performed such searches. The article describes the successful results of one such person. Several people who have begun looking at their heritage are using a new program called Roots Matter, begun by Jonathan Matthews.

    Using genealogy programs and DNA, Matthews, 34, said he is providing facts and history to low-income families who couldn't afford the searches. Williams started his historical search using web-based sites Ancestry, African Ancestry and Family Search. Matthews' program is designed to pay for the cost of the genealogy and DNA fees and also assist people with their research.

    You might like to read the article at http://bit.ly/3nmlbfd.

    Comment by Dick Eastman: I found the article to be very interesting although any experienced genealogist will consider it to be a bit too brief. In short, the article probably will successfully encourage non-genealogists to start a genealogy search but will create additional questions for experienced genealogists.

    After reading the article, I immediately wondered "Did they verify the claimed information?"

    Experienced genealogists all know that all claimed information needs to be verified. Online web sites and old genealogy books alike often contain errors. Is the need for verification being taught to people using Roots Matter?

    I suspect the Roots Matter program is successfully achieving its goals: increasing awareness of genealogy studies. However, I hope it also also doing a bit more.

  • 15 Dec 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Discover your ancestors in the 1900 Norway Census this week on FamilySearch and additions to Catholic Church records for Mexico, Nuevo León 1667–1981Sinaloa 1671–1968, and Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate, Diocese of Mainz 1540–1952, plus more for Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, S. Africa and Venezuela.  US collections were expanded for Seattle, Washington Passenger Lists 1890–1957Port of Del Rio, Texas Indexes and Manifests, 1906–1953Maine, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Washington.   

    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 is very long, too long to list here. However, you can view the full list at: https://media.familysearch.org/new-free-historical-records-on-familysearch-week-of-14-december-2020/.

  • 14 Dec 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 14 December 2020—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has honored several members for their achievements and service to the profession. President David McDonald presented the awards at the 2020 APG Annual Meeting & Holiday Party.

    The Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy was presented to Loretto Dennis Szucs. This award recognizes a career devoted to uplifting fellow genealogists and improving their career circumstances and opportunities, and dedicated service to the field of genealogy. Loretto served the genealogy community for nearly 30 years. She kept communication lines open between Ancestry and the field of professional genealogy. At the time of her retirement, Lou was the Vice President of Community Relations at Ancestry.

    Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd was awarded the Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr. Award of Merit for her outstanding service to the Association. Billie’s commitment to APG included serving ten years on the board, four of which were spent as APG President. In addition to her years of committed service to APG, Billie has also served as the president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. She serves the Oklahoma Genealogical Society (seven terms as President, Board of Directors) and the Oklahoma Historical Society (Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Research, Publications, and Development Committees) and is currently active on the regional, state, and local level in advancing genealogical research and open records access as the state liaison for the Records Preservation and Access Committee.

    The Professional Achievement Award was presented to Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG. This award recognizes a record of long-term exceptional professional achievement with contributions to the field of genealogy through individual excellence and ethical behavior. This is the second time Elizabeth has been honored with the Professional Achievement Award. This year’s award recognizes Elizabeth’s 2019 PMC Keynote Address on “how to become successful as a professional genealogist in a world in which ‘genealogy information’ is free all over the Internet.” Elizabeth’s presentation emphasized the “value added” by professional genealogists. Professionals add value to raw information provided by clients, value drawn from experience, and value pulled from the knowledge that there is much more to “research” and “information” than meets the eye. We appreciate the value Elizabeth has added to the genealogy field.

    Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Amy E. K. Arner. Amy served on the Website Committee from 2015 – 2020. Her leadership, efficiency, and proficiency were instrumental in the creation of the new APG website.

    Mark A. Cross was awarded the APGQ Excellence Award for his article “Books for Professional Genealogists: The Recommendations of Bibliophiles,” September 2019 issue.

    About the Association of Professional Genealogists
    The Association of Professional Genealogists (www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents more than 2,500 genealogists in various genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its many members represent all fifty U.S. states, Canada, and forty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

  • 14 Dec 2020 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    A small Jewish cemetery in East Poultney, Vermont is almost impossible to find. That is apparently caused by 3 reasons: (1.) there never were a lot of Jewish citizens in the area, (2.) the cemetery is small, and (3.) years of neglect. Netanel Crispe, 18, a senior at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, is hoping to preserve the cemetery before it disappears forever. You might be able to help.

    Crispe first learned of the cemetery while doing some metal detecting in town on behalf of a historical society. “I came across a house that I was told was a synagogue,” he explained. The family who owned the house “mentioned that there was a Jewish cemetery in town, and I was blown away because I had no idea.”

    As both a 10th generation Vermonter and an Orthodox Jew, Crispe is keenly interested in the history of Jewish life in the Green Mountain State. “There are not many Jews in the area, so every time I meet one, it’s amazing,” he said.

    The homeowner gave Crispe directions to the cemetery, but even so, it was difficult to find. “This was all grown up,” he said, waving his hand toward the entrance, “and I couldn’t even see the gate. But I finally found it on my third attempt.”

    His research led him to “’Members of this Book’: The Pinkas of Vermont’s First Jewish Congregation” by Robert S. Schine, a professor of Jewish studies at Middlebury College. A pinkas is a notebook, a record of events kept by a Jewish community, and Poultney’s pinkas had somehow survived, discovered in a used bookstore in Denver in 1966.

    Crispe has a threefold plan: Restore and preserve the cemetery and all of its stones, create a fund to ensure that it can be maintained in perpetuity, and obtain official recognition of the cemetery’s historical status. “I’m applying for a state historic marker to be placed here, and I want to get a nice gate – if we can raise the funds – that says ‘Poultney Hebrew Cemetery,’ which is what it’s referred to,” he said.

    There is a lot more to the story by David Lachance published in the Rutland Herald newspaper's web site at https://bit.ly/3gJLadY.

  • 14 Dec 2020 10:12 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI):

    At our recent Annual General Meeting it was announced that AGI Members Máire Mac Conghail and Helen Kelly have been elected Fellows of the Association.  Under its constitution, AGI may award Fellowship in recognition of "invaluable service...to AGI" or a "particularly outstanding contribution to the study of Irish genealogy".

    As an 18 year old student Máire Mac Conghail (then called Doran) worked as a freelance researcher for the Genealogical Office and after graduating in the early 1960s she began practicing independently as a professional genealogist. After marriage and a number of years spent rearing her family, she returned to professional genealogy in the later 1970s and joined AGI in 1990.

    Over her 30 years of membership, Máire has served AGI well.  Since 1990 she has participated AGI's running the Genealogy Services for the Genealogical Office, the National Library and the National Archives.  For several years she represented AGI on the now defunct semi-state body Irish Genealogy Ltd.  She has served as both Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer, and more recently she was President of AGI for the period 2016-2018.

    Commissioned by HarperCollins in 1997, she co-authored Tracing Irish Ancestors with her AGI colleague Paul Gorry. She has been a great ambassador for AGI in her external activities.  She was Chairman of CIGO (the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations) in 2001/2002.  She was also Chairman of the Ireland Branch of the IGRS (the Irish Genealogical Research Society) and she is currently on the Council of the IGRS.  Máire served on the Board of the National Library from 2005 to 2010, and on the National Archives Council from several years until 2017.  She was a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission from at least 2004 until earlier this year.

    Helen Kelly joined AGI in 1995, but she had been active in professional genealogy since the mid-1980s. She served on AGI's Council from 1996 to 2015 and during that time held the post of Hon. Secretary from 1998 until 2000 and then later that of President from 2010 to 2012.

    A native of Co Westmeath, Helen has a deep interest in the descendants of the sizeable number of individuals and families from the adjoining counties of Westmeath and Longford who migrated to Argentina during the course of the mid to late-19th century. She has become an expert on the history of these migrants and has spoken widely on the subject

    In 1997 with a professional colleague Francis Dowling (a former member of AGI) she co-edited and produced a video resource called 'Searching for Your Ancestors in Ireland - a Professional Guide'. One of the main ideas expounded in that video was a concept close to Helen's heart, which is to encourage those seeking to trace of their forbears to "walk the land": to visit where they came from, to experience where earlier generations had been born, had thrived and were buried. Since obtaining the National Tour Guide Certificate in 2002, Helen has been involved in delivering genealogy talks and lectures to various tour groups visiting Ireland.

    In 2007 Helen brought an idea linking genealogy and tourism to Dublin's historic five-star Shelbourne Hotel. Shortly after, she took up the position of Genealogy Butler, providing genealogy advice and help to hotel guests. In the years since, the position has gained such a high profile and enviable reputation that it has led to her speaking about Irish genealogy on radio and television stations in Ireland, Britain, Europe, North America and the Antipodes. Helen was featured in RTE's 2014 six-part documentary on the Shelbourne Hotel and its guests.

    Holding an extra-mural certificate in genealogy from University College Dublin (1992) and a diploma in Local History from Maynooth (1998), it's not surprising Helen has always been keen advocate for professional genealogists continuing to hone their skills throughout their career. She was one of the main proponents for AGI to begin to establish and develop a system of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

    The Council of AGI and the wider Membership congratulate Máire and Helen on their election as Fellows.


  • 11 Dec 2020 12:35 PM | Anonymous

    The following message was posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) Public Records Access Monitoring Committee mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States announced in his blog AOTUS, the granting of projects about making historical records happen. Archivist Ferriero chairs the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    The latest round of grants resulted in 36 grants totaling nearly $3 million for projects in 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    Nineteen of the grants went to state historical records advisory boards which will go on to fund dozens of projects at the local level. They also support workshops for archivists, both professional and amateur, as well as traveling archivists, National History Day competitions, emergency preparedness, and much more.

    To read about the funded project see:

    https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2020/12/10/supporting-public-access-to-historical-records/

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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