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Latest Standard Edition Articles

  • 30 Nov 2020 9:05 AM | Anonymous

    If you have Scottish ancestry, you might be able to find information about noble ancestors. Genealogy researchers at the University of Strathclyde have compiled a progress report on the men who signed or attached their seals to the Declaration of Arbroath. 

    The Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project has, to date, gathered information on 40 of the document’s 48 signatories, while the remaining eight were covered in the previous Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. The new report focuses on 15 of them, along with King Robert the Bruce.

    The new report is based on latest research by postgraduate diploma students at Strathclyde and staff from the university’s Genealogical Studies postgraduate programme. It is being published to coincide with St Andrew’s Day.

    You can read more in an article by Martin Hannan in The National at

  • 25 Nov 2020 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    Archivists and curators have long required the use of white cotton gloves for handling very old paper or old books, when the paper is brittle and threatens to crumble. In fact, on one episodes of the popular television series Who Do You Think You Are? the guests and even some of the experts shown in the program were criticized for not wearing cotton gloves when handling old documents. However, experts now say that the use of white gloves not only provides a false sense of security but even can induce more damage than handling the same documents with bare hands! On the other, um, hand, simple frequent washing and drying of the hands may be the better solution.

    In an article that first appeared in the December 2005 issue of International Preservation News, conservation consultant Cathleen A. Baker and librarian Randy Silverman argued that for the handling of most types of materials, white gloves don’t help and actually may contribute to the damage. As they pointed out, handling books with gloves is apt to do more harm than good. Gloves are just as likely to be dirty as fingers, especially if they have been used a number of times previously and have already absorbed dirt and chemicals from previously-handled papers. Once absorbed into the cotton, dirt, abrasive grit, and chemicals are easily spread from one old document to another. Washing the gloves frequently is only a partial solution since chemicals from detergents are retained in the cotton fibers and then spread to documents handled later.

    A second issue is the loss of dexterity when wearing gloves. Without tactile "feel," wearing gloves actually increases the potential for physically damaging fragile material through mishandling. This is especially true for ultra thin or brittle papers that become far more difficult to handle with the sense of touch dulled.

    Baker and Silverman wrote, "Routine hand washing is recommended as a more effective means of preventing the spread of dirt while improving the user's haptic response to and tactile appreciation of the collections."

    They also stated, "Institutional insistence that patrons and special collections staff don white cotton gloves when handling rare books and documents to prevent dirt and skin oils from damaging paper-based collections is inherently flawed; gloves are as easily soiled as bare hands. Cotton gloves are extremely absorbent, both from within and without; for example, even a scrupulously clean reading room provides numerous opportunities for gloves to pick up and transfer dirt to surfaces such as a text page."

    Finally, they wrote: "White cotton gloves provide no guarantee of protecting books and paper from perspiration and dirt, yet they increase the likelihood of people inflicting physical damage to collection material. Implementing a universally observed, hand-cleaning policy is a reasonable and effective alternative to glove-use, and it follows the standard protocol employed by book and paper conservators before handling the very same material."

    The authors did point out that their recommendations are limited to paper. Other materials, such as photographic prints, negatives, and slides, have their own unique set of requirements.

    You can read the entire report by Cathleen A. Baker and Randy Silverman at

    Other preservation organizations agree. Rather than wearing gloves, the American Institute for Conservation of Historical and Artistic Works instructs conservators to “handle books only with freshly washed hands.” Then they recognize that “wearing white cotton gloves for handling rare bindings is a good preventive measure, but turning fragile or brittle pages with gloves may cause damage and is not advised.” Thoroughly washing hands with lotion-free soap will remove most of the dirt, grease, and oils that may be left on pages.

    Microfilm and digitization crews at The National Archives in London now follow the same rules for handling documents as those in the reading rooms – they have to remove their white gloves!

  • 25 Nov 2020 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    Census records are amongst the primary tools of genealogists. Yet, those of us who have been reading them for a while can tell you that the records are not as reliable as we would wish. I am still trying to find great-great-granddad in the 1850 census although he appears hale and hearty in the enumerations of 1840, 1860, 1870 and 1880. His absence in 1850 is still unexplained. Yet my quandary is minor compared to some others. For instance, The 1990 census is thought to have missed one native American in eight. Thousands, perhaps millions, of others have been missed in census records taken over the past two centuries.

    America's first census was carried out in 1790, and it was groundbreaking in many ways. It was the first to be mandated in any country's constitution. It also caused America's first presidential veto when George Washington, on the advice of Thomas Jefferson, disagreed with legislation defining how this “apportionment” was to be carried out. Washington’s primary objection to the proposed amendment was that “there is no one proportion or divisor which, applied to the respective numbers of the States will yield the number and allotment of representatives proposed by the Bill.”  It is interesting to note that today’s fixed allocation of 435 seats also does not pass the test established by President Washington.

    An older article in The Economist compares the U.S. census with similar efforts in other countries. “Where government is oppressive, people want to keep out of censuses, lest information they provide is misused. Where government provides, people want to be in censuses, and to boost their numbers, in order to claim a larger share of the goodies.”

    The Nazis used population records to round up Jews into concentration camps. As a result, Germans are still reluctant to be counted. In 1936 Stalin told his officials that the following year's census would find a total population of 170 million—a figure that did not account for his slaughter of millions in famines and purges. The enumerators (census takers) found only 162 million people, and also revealed other unwelcome facts, including that nearly half the population of his supposedly atheist country was religious. So Stalin denounced the count as a “wrecker's census” and had the census takers either imprisoned or shot.

    A new count in 1939, apparently conducted by a new team of enumerators, gave Stalin his figure of 170 million.

    You can read more about census records at

  • 24 Nov 2020 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    New Zealand's Law Commission has made 193 recommendations in total which would provide clear guidelines to the police on how to obtain, use and retain DNA.

    A new report from the commission found the current way DNA is used in criminal investigations ignores human rights values, tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi.

    The review looked into the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995, and found there was no clear and robust process which guided police on how to collect, use and store DNA. It would also protect individuals' human rights and privacy, and address the disproportionate impact the current system has on Māori.

    You can read more in an article by Harry Lock in the Radio New Zealand website at:

  • 23 Nov 2020 11:41 AM | Anonymous

    An article in Bloomberg News says that the "Blackstone Group Inc. is looking to sell $2.8 billion of debt for its buyout of Inc. this holiday-shortened week, while just a handful of investment-grade borrowers are expected to come forward.

    "Marketing for Ancestry’s $1 billion high yield portion ends Monday, while commitments on its $1.8 billion leveraged loan are due the same day. Ancestry is the sole deal currently slated to price in high-yield, but it follows the busiest week for issuance in about two months with about $15.7 billion sold, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

    You can read more at:

  • 23 Nov 2020 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Rick Brewer:

    IOWA CITY, IA.—The first season of Let’s Reminisce launched on Monday November 23, 2020. Let’s Reminisce tells true family narratives as a means to show listeners the value of recording and preserving their own family’s history for future generations. This podcast is hosted and produced by public radio producer and former archivist Rick Brewer.

    Season 1 of the podcast will feature stories from Brewer’s family history. Many of the interviews were never intended to be put on a podcast. They were just family oral histories. Episode 1 unpacks the family secret of how Brewer’s parents met using a pre-internet dating service. Another episode will feature Brewer’s late grandfather, Lowell Polley. With dozens of hours of recordings with Polley, Brewer reaches out to distant family members to tell the story of what he was able to learn about his grandfather. Also to come, the story of Matt Alvarez’s relationship with his grandmother and how they were able to communicate without speaking the same language.

    Currently, Brewer’s full-time job is at Iowa Public Radio as a talk show producer. Before his life in audio, Brewer was an archivist and librarian. Soon after graduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Brewer began producing feature stories for WFIU Public Radio, WIUX’s American Student Radio and created the podcast GPSG Radio. He also hosted a morning music show on community radio station WFHB and his work has been featured on WFYI’s Curious Mix, WAMC’s 51 Percent, and PRX Remix. 

    Let’s Reminisce is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, Pocket Casts, and anywhere podcasts are found.
  • 20 Nov 2020 12:59 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Throughout November, Findmypast has been honouring family heroes in commemoration of Remembrance Day 2020. This week’s new additions will enable even more users to explore the incredible sacrifices made by their military ancestors.

    British Armed Forces Soldiers' Wills 1850-1986

    Covering over 130 years of British military history, discover the last wishes of British privates and non-commissioned officers who served in the Army and Air Force. Originally collated by the War Office, each indexed record will reveal the serviceman’s next of kin, name, regimental number and date of death. 

    Soldiers on active service were encouraged to make a short will, which had to be in their own handwriting and signed. This would give names and addresses of beneficiaries and all sums and articles to be left. This was usually completed in their pay book, and if they were killed, it would be extracted and sent back to the War Office.

    The majority of these wills were extracted from pay books, but a number have been written as formal wills, statements from next of kin to confirm last wishes or letters that express similar sentiments.

    Ireland, Londonderry (Derry) War Memorial 1914-1918

    In 1919 the Mayor of the city of Londonderry (Derry), Sir Robert Anderson, set up the War Memorial Fund, dedicated to the creation of a memorial to commemorate the lives of the 756 soldiers from the city who fought and died during the Great War. Forms were sent out by the Secretary of the War Memorial Committee to next of kin of every fallen soldier, to confirm or amend held information prior to it being included on the War Memorial itself.

    These records contain details of their service and next of kin, enabling researchers to learn more about the lives and deaths of these brave men.

    Findmypast’s War Memorials Register is another resource that can help researchers discover the stories behind the names etched on monuments across the British Isles. It features over 780,000 records that reveal birth years, service numbers, military honours and more.

    British Red Cross & Order of St John Enquiry List, Wounded & Missing, 1914-1919

    These new records can unearth valuable details pertaining to the wounded and missing of WW1, many of which won’t be found in other sources.

    Between 1915 and 1918 The British Red Cross & Order of St John published regular lists of men missing in action during the First World War, about whom enquiries had been made. These lists were published at regular intervals, each list cancelling all lists previous to it.

    Typical information includes a man’s name, regiment, battalion and company (for infantry battalions). Ranks are rarely given, but details about the date of casualty, the place where this occurred, and sometimes extensive additional information are included.

    There are over 158,000 records in this collection which is published in partnership with the Naval & Military Press. The vast majority of these men will have complementary records already published in Findmypast medal index card, service and pension records, and prisoner of war collections.


    Three new papers as well as substantial updates to six existing titles are now available to search on Findmypast. Brand new to the site are:

    • Widnes Examiner from 1892-1896, 1898, 1900-1902, 1904, 1906 and 1908-1909
    • Runcorn Examiner from 1873 and 1891
    • St. Helens Examiner from 1891

    While thousands of additional pages have been added to the following publications

    • Drogheda Conservative covering 1852-1888 and 1890-1896
    • Halifax Evening Courier covering 1940-1943 and 1959-1960
    • Kinematograph Weekly covering 1931-1944, 1946-1947 and 1953-1960
    • Civil & Military Gazette (Pakistan) covering 1876-1883 and 1885
    • Daily Record covering 1897
    • Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer covering 1904-1910, 1912-1962
  • 20 Nov 2020 12:02 PM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

    TheGenealogist has today released additional new R.A.F. records that are fully searchable by name, aircraft, location and many other fields, making it simpler to find your air force ancestors.

    In a release of over 1.8 million records, this batch of R.A.F. Operations Record Books (ORBs) joins TheGenealogist’s huge military records collection and includes entries for the famous children’s author Roald Dahl when he flew Hurricanes in WW2.

    Hurricanes of No. 80 Squadron in Palestine, June 1941 as flown by Roald Dahl

    The Operations Record Books record the stories of day to day operations of units and so will give the researcher an idea of action that took place as well as give insights into the everyday lives on the bases. You can use this collection to follow an airman’s war time experiences by searching these fully searchable Air Ministry operations record books which cover various Royal Air Force, dominion and Allied Air Force squadrons that came under British Command. The AIR 27 records allow the family history researcher a fascinating insight into their relatives' time while serving in a number of units of the air force.

    The ORBs give summaries of events and can reveal encounters with the enemy, pilots who went missing or were shot down, plane crashes, as well as less traumatic details such as weather and places patrolled by the aircraft and where the squadrons were based as the war wore on. As aircrew personnel are named in these Operations Record Books, researchers wanting to follow where an ancestor had been posted to and what may have happened to them will find these records extremely useful.

    Operations Record Book for No. 80 Squadron on TheGenealogist

    Family historians will find the duties recorded in these documents interesting when they reveal the assignments that a serviceman took part in. Examples include Bombing, Convoy Escort, Submarine Hunt, Fleet protection, Attacking Aerodromes and Shipping, Dive Bombing Raids and more.

    Use these records to:

    • Add colour to an aircrewman’s story
    • Read the war movements of personnel in air force units
    • Discover if a pilot, navigator, radio operator or gunner is mentioned in the action
    • Find if an airman is listed for receiving an Honour or an Award
    • Note the names of squadron members wounded, killed, or who did not return
    • Easily search these National Archives records and images

    This expands TheGenealogist’s extensive Military records collection.

    Read TheGenealogist’s feature article: R.A.F. Operations Record Books that tell a storyteller’s story

    These records and many more are available to Diamond subscribers of

    About TheGenealogist

    TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections.

    TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

    TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

  • 18 Nov 2020 9:40 PM | Anonymous

    I'd like to let you know that you might not see new articles every day in this newsletter for a couple of weeks. I am traveling off to visit relatives over the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be an extended stay: I am leaving about a week early and will be staying a week after the holiday on November 26.

    A part of the time I will be in the north woods of Maine at a cabin that is not too far from the border with Quebec province. The cabin is some distance from the nearest paved road and is missing some of the conveniences we normally expect these days: no electricity, no running water, and no central heating. No, there isn't even a thermostat on the wall. I am also told that cellular phone coverage is not reliable there so I may really be incommunicado for a few days.

    In other words, it is similar to the house where I grew up in central Maine.

    Even the Thanksgiving dinner will be similar to what some of our ancestors enjoyed: cooked in a wood-burning stove. This should be interesting!

    I will only be in the cabin for a few days but will escape to a modern home with modern conveniences for the rest of my stay.

    I will be traveling with a laptop computer so most days I should be able to connect to the internet and perform business as usual. There probably will be exceptions for a few days, however.

  • 18 Nov 2020 8:33 PM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    Two Revolutionary War Privateers. (St. Paul, Minn.: Two Trees Roots.) 2019. 412 pages.

    Here is the Revolutionary War as experienced by two brothers, Ship Captains William and Joseph Packwood, patriots who commandeered their sailing ships across trade routes running out from the American Colonies to the centers of commerce on the Caribbean Islands. Their ships carried goods including arms and gunpowder, war materiel that was distributed into the armies of George Washington in support of the cause of rebellion.

    The authors accessed and read an extensive archive of original letters written by the Packwood captains that give account of their businesses, daily activities, events of the day, and their families. The authors transcribed the letters in their original style, then wrote transliterations. There are numerous maps, illustrations, and photos accompanying the texts, and a glossary and index.

    The book begins with background information about the American Revolution and the private citizens whose pirating naval activities, as commissioned and authorized by the Second Continental Congress, harassed the British Navy in aid to the patriotic cause. As British commercial shipping was effectively disrupted, the privateers recovered fortunes that helped finance the revolution.

    The Packwood brothers lived and sailed out of New London, Connecticut, a deep-water port situated near enough to New York City to attack British headquarters. Beginning chapters outline the genealogies of Captains William and Joseph Packwood, and offer brief biographies of key individuals.

    The authors intersperse the letter examples with descriptions of contemporary events making it easy to understand the Packwood events within the broader picture of New England history.

    It’s an interesting, well-written book, flawless in its documentation, and certainly of interest to a New England history buff.

    And especially of interest to the Packwoods, to hear the voices of their ancestors coming through the letters.

    Two Revolutionary War Privateers may be purchased from the authors at

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